If You Want to Pontificate About Darwin…

showing that “randomness” proves that evolution does not move toward an end, be sure you don’t do it around Ye Olde Statistician. He writes:

a) Mutations supposedly occur at random.  But natural selection is directed toward an end.  It weeds out the bad one (defects) and so is directed toward the perfection of a species (perfect: “thoroughly made”), i.e., greater adaptation to a niche.

b) When we think of randomness our thoughts naturally turn to things like casinos and games of chance.  But such games need to be arranged precisely to ensure that very randomness.  There is no such thing as “probability.”  There is only “probability with respect to some given model.”  The game of craps does not merely depend on the rules for counting points, but on the fact that two dice are six-sided, with different numerals on each side.  There is nothing so artificial as a casino.

c) Most Darwinian fanboys (and even some scientists) have no true grasp of statistical processes.  “Randomness” is not a cause of anything, since it is an abstraction.  When they say “chance” they usually mean “unintentional” and “not the common course of nature,” thus putting it in the same category as “miracle.”  Even the most luridly chance event is caused, say a man brained by a hammer dropping from the roof while he (the man, not the hammer) is on his way to lunch.  Everything in the event is caused.  The fall of the hammer and its kinetic energy can even be described in precise Newtonian equations.  The man was walking beneath that point because he was hungry, it was his lunch hour, and his favorite diner was just down the block from his office.  The hammer fell because the workman on the rooftop nudged it with his foot (material cause) and the geometric placement of the tools (formal cause).  So what they mean is “that doesn’t happen all the time,” which it does not, and it was unintentional (which it was).  So it is invisible to scientific analysis, not being the common course of nature, a repetitive “law.”

d) The argument from chance is often made by the vary same people who argue on other occasions that “everything is determined by the inexorable laws of physics” and are blissfully unaware of the logical contradiction.

When you note that things move toward an end, worshipers in the cult of Darwin seem to invariably hear a naively childlike belief that “Mr. Flower chooses to turn his face to the sun” or “Mr. Theropod decided to evolve into Mr. Tyrannosaurus”.  You are then treated to a massively condescending explanation that evolution does not work through the volitional acts of organisms choosing to mutate or non-sentient critters acting sentiently.

Yes.  We know.  Nor does the arrow choose to hit the target.  And yet the arrow moves to an end once the archer lets it fly.  So does the extremely unsentient rock when you drop it.  Volition is not required for a thing to move toward its end.  The “end” of evolution appears to be the multiplication of species.  And all “evolution” means is “unrolling” (Latin “evolvere” = “to unroll”).  In short, it means that potentialities present in creation from the start–and put there by You Know Who–are tending toward their ends.  That’s why Augustine can say:

It is therefore, causally that Scripture has said that earth brought forth the crops and trees, in the sense that it received the power of bringing them forth.  In the earth from the beginning, in what I might call the roots of time, God created what was to be in tmes to come.  [Emph. added]

On the literal meanings of Genesis, Book V Ch. 4:11

And St. Thomas can write:

Nature is nothing but the plan of some art, namely a divine one, put into things themselves, by which those things move towards a concrete end: as if the man who builds up a ship could give to the pieces of wood that they could move by themselves to produce the form of the ship. — Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Physics II.8, lecture 14, no. 268

Indeed, as Mike Flynn (aka “Ye Olde Statistician”) points out:

Thomas Aquinas touched on the issue tangentially during a discussion of other matters.

Objection 3. Further, nothing is said to be complete to which many things are added, unless they are merely superfluous, for a thing is called perfect to which nothing is wanting that it ought to possess. But many things were made after the seventh day, as the production of many individual beings, and even of certain new species that are frequently appearing, especially in the case of animals generated from putrefaction.
Reply to Objection 3. Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God,  but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the  work of the six days. …. Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species  of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars  and elements received at the beginning. ….
– Thomas Aquinas, Summ.Theol. I, 73, 1, ad. 3 et resp. 3
Now, Thomas was relying on science that we now know was wrong.  Pasteur and others showed much later that living things do not in  fact arise from non-living things.  But the example is purely illustrative.  Thomas clearly states that new species (implicit or potential in the old) are brought forth by purely natural powers; and this would be the case whether it really was the stars and the elements causing putrefaction or cosmic rays from the stars causing a mutation in an element of a genome.  He did not suggest that new species arose because of a violation of natural law.
And that is why Thomists resist  *both* atheist materialists *and* intelligent design guys.  The atheist materialist constantly proffers the directedness of nature with the right hand (“Organisms adapt so that they can survive”) while with the left hand taking all that away and trying to assert that evolution has no ends because it is “mindless”.  It tries to constantly state that nature obeys inexorable laws while denying there is a Lawgiver.  Meanwhile, ID argues not from the fact that there are Rules in nature, but that there are mysterious seeming exceptions to rules: a God of the Gaps.  Thomas doesn’t argue for God from the exceptions to the rules.  He argues from the existence of the Rules.  He doesn’t see God the First Cause at war with Nature the secondary cause.

  • Brandon Jaloway

    I know that this comment does not address the specific questions raised in the discussion above. I pretty much agree with everything above but I still think evolution is a bunch of hogwash or at least poorly done reasoning. This has nothing to do with theology. As a philosopher I could easily believe in God and evolution. These questions are distinct. Evolution would need to stand intellectually on its own. It would need to have good science on top of good epistemology. Doing good science with good epistemology has nothing to do with theology. From what I can see, what typically happens is that modern philosophers do bad epistemology and then modern scientists do good science building on the bad epistemology which, as scientists, they do not question and often ignore. For them, evolution is a prerequisite intellectual requirement. But as a philosopher, I will not accept evolution as a prerequisite. I question it, first philosophically and then scientifically and I can find very little, if any, philosophical or scientific support for it. I would love to see the philosophical and scientific reasoning behind this discussion.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Oy vey. Don’t say that here. Go to talkorigins or Panda’s Thumb or Ken Miller or any biology department and say that. They’re the ones who can straighten you out. Evolution is not a prerequisite. There’s lots and lots of evidence.

      • sjm

        One of the reasons I don’t believe in (macro)evolution is cos I read “The Panda’s Thumb.” It uses bad arguments and begs the question the whole time. It just pushed me right over the edge away from a belief in the evolution of species. I think Brandon’s point is spot on.

        • ivan_the_mad

          One of the reasons I don’t believe in (macro)evolution is arccos I can distinguish between scientific knowledge and belief.

          • chezami

            Heh. Yes. Very perceptive. Nobody talks about “believing in” hydraulics or light refraction. But the language of faith is routinely invoked for evolution and climate change. I think that’s because both are bound up with and used as fig leaves for larger philosophical and religious agendas.

            • Pavel Chichikov

              That climate is changing is not an article of faith for climate scientists.

              • chezami

                Nor for me. Change is what climate does.

                • Pavel Chichikov

                  Not the point, is it?

              • kenofken

                There are “articles of faith”, even dogmatic belief, in many areas of science. It’s more useful to frame that as a consensus of opinion. It’s an “article of faith” in that sense that HIV is in fact the cause of AIDS and that the universe is old and that genes are conveyed on DNA etc. The relevant question is whether that certainty derives from data or from ideology.

                Science falls victim to the ideology part a lot. Orthodoxies sprout up to protect reputations, egos, funding. The data always wins out in the end though. There is no scientific body of any serious standing which doubts the basic premise of human-caused climate change based on the evidence (or evolution for that matter). Even the petroleum industry is on board with that. The fact that political, ideological or quasi-religious movements have used climate change for their own agendas does not invalidate the data anymore than Iran’s nuclear ambitions would invalidate Special Relativity.

          • Newp Ort

            Can you distinguish btw what is on and off topic? Anyone can sec this thread is moving off on a tan.

        • Newp Ort

          I was of the understanding that “The Panda’s Thumb” was prepared and favored by Intelligent Design proponents.

          I know that proponents of current scientific evolutionary theory strongly object to Panda BECAUSE of its bad arguments and obvious bias towards ID/interventionist creator.

          How did it push you away? I would have guessed it pushed you towards actual science.

          • sjm

            The Panda’s Thumb was written by Stephen Jay Gould, who is an ardent evolutionist. I’m sure he would be horrified that his book pushed anyone away from a belief in the evolution of species. Probably current proponents of scientific evolutionary theory don’t like it because it does have poor arguments – very ad hominem.

          • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

            I was of the understanding that “The Panda’s Thumb” was prepared and favored by Intelligent Design proponents.

            You’re thinking of Of Pandas and People. Those pandas sure get around.

            • Newp Ort

              Pandas…nice. The black n white is a classic, can wear it anywhere. Which is good, because they have to. Every girl’s crazy bout a sharp dressed bear.

        • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

          My point is that if you think you’ve got a really good argument against evolution you need to take it to the people who know. Do the research. I found that all the arguments I was given against evolution just didn’t hold together, whereas evolution – as messy and imperfect a theory as it is – for the most part did. You can’t think these things out all by your onesy. That’s not how being rational works.

    • kenofken

      If you can’t find any scientific support for evolution, you’re trying awfully hard not to find it.

      • Newp Ort

        SAY WORD

    • Newp Ort

      Philosophically Aquinas appears to jibe nicely with evolution, read the post. The Dumb Ox could wipe the floor with your butt, philosophically. That settled, go after the science. I agree with ken, the science is legit. But I also agree w Jon W, there are a billion places to research that. Beyond specific questions dont reinvent the wheel here.

  • Dave G.

    “Natural selection is directed toward an end. It weeds out the bad one (defects) and so is directed toward the perfection of a species (perfect: “thoroughly made”), i.e., greater adaptation to a niche.”

    Sort of weeding out the sick and the crippled. The biological widows and the orphans you might say.

    • Roki

      This is exactly why God set humanity over the rest of nature: because nature’s laws are not the highest laws, and sometimes need to be re-ordered toward the law of love. Therefore, God placed in nature the capacity for reason, and for communion with himself: so that nature could be brought to a higher perfection than mere survival.

      Yet nature itself remains good. Just, not the highest good.

      • Pavel Chichikov

        Humanity is not above the rest of nature. That would be God.

        A steward does what he is told. If he screws up, as Adam and Eve screwed up, he is sacked, as Adam and Eve were sacked.

        • Roki

          A steward is “over” those who are entrusted to his stewardship, as it says in Genesis 1.26-28, and also 2.15, where Adam is given charge over the creatures and especially the Garden. In 3.17-19, he is not “sacked”, but is punished. The command to care for and bring order to God’s creation is not removed.

          • Pavel Chichikov

            I meant that we are not exempt from the consequences of our actions. Pump carbon into the atmosphere and you’ll have to take off your sweater.

            • Ron Van Wegen

              Pump carbon into the atmosphere, temperature goes up, evaporation goes up, more clouds form cooling the earth. Put your sweater back on.

              • Pavel Chichikov

                Over what period of time?

                • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                  We are currently in the middle of our second decade of insignificant warming while CO2 continues its documented rise without interruption (take a look at the Mauna Loa measurements). It’s starting to get scientifically embarrassing for the CAGW supporters, a process which will continue to get worse for them the longer the warming pause lasts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/OldWorldSwine Timothy Jones

    What seems scientifically inexplicable to me is this stubborn, pervasive biological imperative to survive and reproduce. Why should an organism care at all whether it replicates, even once? What’s all the excitement about? We’re told that all these evolutionary developments are driven by the needs of survival… why should the species bother to survive in the first place? Why this desperate striving to continue? Sure seems like nature is haunted with this idea.

    • Reluctant Liberal

      Organisms strive to survive and reproduce because the ones that didn’t all died off a long time ago. Nature selected for species that would try to survive and reproduce because those species would be better at it. This is the scientific explanation for that imperative.

      • http://www.facebook.com/colin.gormley.94 Colin Gormley

        >Organisms strive to survive and reproduce because the ones that didn’t all died off a long time ago.

        It still doesn’t answer the question however. This isn’t an explanation for the “purpose” or “function” of reproduction.

    • TheRealAaron

      I don’t see that as inexplicable. If an organism were directed away from survival and reproduction, it would die out in a single generation. And therefore it wouldn’t be around for us to observe.

    • Patrick Grinaway

      The desire is there because any organism which did not have that desire would have been weeded out long ago. If you have group A, which loves reproducing, and group B, which couldn’t really care less, in time, members of both groups will die out, but A will persist as a group since it has reproduced much more, while B has been distracted with something else, and thus will be outcompeted.

      • chezami

        In short, living things reproduce because they reproduce, which is their telos, the end toward which they are directed by the nature invested in them by their Creator.

        • Patrick Grinaway

          eh, not really. There are a couple issues. First, by the time we came around, life had been pretty well established as “reproducing things.” There may have been life-like things billions of years ago that didn’t care much about reproduction, but then they didn’t survive. There is not necessarily any end to which they are directed. It is simply logical that a group of finite-life objects which create more of themselves will likely persist longer than a group of finite-life objects that do not.

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            Patrick, why did sexual reproduction supplant asexual reproduction? I can see no obvious benefit whatsoever, and many obvious detriments.

            • kenofken

              The benefits have to do with increased genetic diversity

              • Barfly_Kokhba

                The continued existence, and flourishing, of unicellular and asexually-reproducing organisms puts the lie to that theory. It seems like you’re moving the goalposts.

                EDIT: Upon re-reading, I share some of the blame for using the word “supplant.” That is not correct, because asexual reproduction still exists, and asexually-reproducing organisms are not endangered in any way. So really, my question was: what evolutionary advantage did/does sexual reproduction confer?

                Answering with “genetic diversity” is begging the question, because in light of the reality of continued asexual reproduction, genetic diversity cannot be demonstrated to be an instrumental good.

                • kenofken

                  I never meant to imply that sexual reproduction was inherently superior in all circumstances. Nor do I see any reason why it would have to render asexual reproduction obsolete even if it has advantages. I may be missing whatever deeper philosophical question is at play here. I’m just answering from an evolutionary biology standpoint. Sexual reproduction is a very good way to build and maintain genetic diversity. It has been shown that sexual reproduction, for all its its theoretical fallbacks, actually causes the accumulation of beneficial mutations faster than does asexual reproduction. It is not the only way. The efficiency of natural selection is higher with sexual reproduction.

                  That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to live. Bacteria, for example, have a number of mechanisms for swapping genes among their own kind and even scavenging genes from other species they happen to kill. Nature is not a one-size fits all proposition. Sexual reproduction has its upsides, but it also requires a relatively heavy investment in space and therefore energy for a species to develop and maintain. Bacteria and other asexual organisms can fill a lot of niches by staying small.

                • Piobairean

                  unicellular and asexually reproducing life far outweighs (in gross tonnage) sexually reproducing life, however, they don’t make music, play tennis or lie in the sun dreaming of chasing rabbits. The advantages of sexual reproduction are obvious since we’ve obviously out-competed asexual life in the size, complexity and intellectual departments.

            • Newp Ort

              You keep harassing people about this topic. Have you tried googling it? First result is a large Wikipedia page.

              Maybe take your sexual hang ups over there.

    • Noah Doyle

      Because being is better than non-being.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Why?

        • Newp Ort

          God created creation, of which we are part (along with everything else), from nothing, and he said it was good, and who are we to argue? Therefore bein somethin beats not being anything.

          So, argumentum ad auctoritatem. Otherwise I got nothin.

          Personally, I enjoy existence. I haven’t had the chance to check out any of the alternatives, but when I do I’ll let you know.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Oh, I certainly agree with you. My question (reading quite a bit into Noah’s statement) is that, absent a Creator, what makes existence better than the void? Why should any living species adapt so as to survive at all?

            • chezami

              Or indeed, why is there anything there to do the adapting, and any laws of nature to impose order on the process at all?

            • Newp Ort

              Existing does offer the possibility of continuing to exist, at least in the short term. Non-existence, on the other hand, just continues to…um, well.. it isn’t anything… I guess it’s still nothing. Can something continue to not exist?

              You could really go deep here, it’s like the classic philosophical question: What’s the difference between a duck?

              At any rate, you see the difficulty. It’s a devil you know vs the devil that doesn’t exist problem.

            • Newp Ort

              Oh I’ve got no problems with voids. A void is a big bunch of nothin, without anything it. I mean that is SOMETHING, right? I’ve heard you can look at em! You just kinda gaze inside and there’s nothing there. Supposed to be kinda freaky. The next time one’s around I’m gonna take a peek.

            • Newp Ort

              I went to the internet and did a little research.

              At a recent philosophy conference, attendees were split on the nonexistence panel (that was the topic, the panel did exist).

              Half said that while they had some minor misgivings on nothing they were in agreement that nonexistence does not exist.

              The other half objected strongly stating nothing necessarily does not exist.

              The first half responded “that’s what we said” and some rushed breakout sessions ensued.

              Approximately half switched their position. So it was still split, just not between the same people.

              Most felt that nonexistence cannot persist in not being anything, because time is something.

              A few thought that if it is nonexistent and currently doing nothing, there is no reason it shouldn’t continue to not do that.

              Everyone agreed that even if nonexistence can be considered to persist to not be anything, it’s pretty much impossible to tell when it did not start.

              A group of scientists tried to attend, claiming the recently got something from nothing. The philosophers were having none of it, as there was clearly something in their nothing.

              Richard Dawkins tried to bribe his way in offering a philosopher twice what they were paying him to keep him out. Hearing that the man was doing it for free, he offered to triple it.

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      What you’re referring to is sexual reproduction, which is indeed a profound mystery. The reason it is so mysterious is because organisms can reproduce asexually, and those which do are “immortal,” in that they create exact genetic replicas of themselves. The amoeba you pick up in a pond today is genetically the exact same amoeba which began to reproduce millions (billions?) of years ago.

      Individual survival seems to be just as much of an evolutionary imperative as reproduction, and in many cases even more so. “Conquering Death” has been the overriding ambition of man–and even animals–for as long as there have been men. So why did nature “select” a reproductive process that necessitates the death of the individual re-producer in the first place? The development of sexual reproduction is easily the most interesting question in biology, to my mind. And I should note that I first encountered this idea while reading a book by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, so my perspective might be dated.

      • Ron Van Wegen

        Amen. Also, I find it rather difficult to imagine the gradual formation of the complimentary reproductive systems of male and female. Um, the owner of the first slight protuberance was incredibly lucky to “bump into” the owner of the first slight indentation!

      • Newp Ort

        Ya got the whole thing bassackwards, Barf. It’s about the process, not the individual. What’s better about having the same gene code as your great to the millionth power grandpa? What’s the amoeba in the lake today get out of it, a deep personal sense of satisfaction? Lakes have been around a long time, amoebas keep brainlessly making amoebas, blissfully unaware they are doing it. Process continues, that is all. Works good enough to keep working. Nobody is keeping score

        And who’s trying to “conquer death”? Does a cheetah think to itself I really gotta haul ass and get this gazelle or I might die? The speed, the claws the behavior the brain that facilitates so much of it, its a package deal of cheetaness and it runs on automatic. Humans have the big brain so we can think about life and death and blah blah blah but most of our basic survival skills are still automatic and work through subtle chemical messages. I understand I need water to live but I drink water when I’m thirsty. I don’t even have to think about breathing.

    • Dennis85

      It may have happened many many times but that is a short story that leads nowhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.obrien.7923 Kevin O’Brien

    Fr. Jaki coined a phrase “the cult of Chance”. Jaki (PhD in physics and PhD in philosophy) understood the good science that supports evolution and the bad philosophy that makes too much of it. I go into more detail here – http://thwordinc.blogspot.com/2012/01/cult-of-chance.html

  • Reluctant Liberal

    It needs to be pointed out that perfection is not a term relevant to good evolutionary theory. Evolution does not select for the more perfect organism, it selects for the organism best able to reproduce in the current environment. If the environment changes, so will the selection process. Perfection implies an idea of timelessness that is not applicable in evolutionary theory.

    • $16275642

      The language we use to discuss evolution is so misleading. I think it is responsible for many/most of the disagreements about the nature of evolution.
      People talk about “evolution selecting” changes in a species as though it’s some kind of mindful choice … which it is not. People also talk about said selection being random chance … which it is and is not. The randomness comes in at the DNA level of mutation, which could be envisioned as a genetic dice roll … which results in a genetic profile that is more or less suited to the conditions an organism faces in a specific portion of the time-space continuum. Then we say “evolution selects” the organism according to its reproductive performance in that context. But evolution is not a person or consciousness that chooses anything … it is just the end result of whether the individuals en masse (the local population) survive to reproduce in that local context.

      And that selection result can only be determined after the fact. For each individual organism, it will either survive to reproduce or not. That is not evolutionary selection, just happenstance for that individual. For the species or the local population of the species, it will either “adapt itself” in that “enough” individuals survive to reproduce in the particular conditions, which is when we say “evolution has selected” it … or not. But that can be determined only after said reproduction/survival is demonstrated over time.
      This is where the idea that evolution “moves toward an end” is nonsense. Moving toward an end presupposes prior intent. But evolutionary selection can only be determined after the events have occurred. What seems to the observer to be “moving toward an end” is really just a retrospective view of which species populations ended up surviving in the longer run. The reproductive failures were pruned off as time went along, so the observer is not seeing those prior genetic experiments (if you will) as an inherent part of the evolutionary process.
      I’m not going to address whether God is or is not involved. I just want to point out that the terminology is deceptive and leads people to inaccurate conclusions.

      • Newp Ort

        Moving toward an end, or telos, does not require intent. It means a process moves towards an end. It can be as simple as the telos of an object dropped from one’s hand is striking the floor.

        Evolution does not have an intelligence driving it, but it still has the telos that organisms change over generations when exposed to environmental stress.

        I have a limited understanding of telos and its relationship to Causes, but check out Ye Olde Statistician’s website. He has an excellent post on telos being wrongly divorced from science and how it relates to the language of evolution being confusing.

  • Barfly_Kokhba

    Most of Genesis’ creation narrative does not refer to God creating anything, but rather to God letting nature take its course. God is spoken of as directly “creating” or “making” only a few specific things.

    It should also be noted that the order of this creation narrative, as described in Genesis, does in fact follow the order of life’s evolution on earth as known to science. Except for use of the term “days” to describe the timeline there is nothing in Genesis’ creation account that contradicts modern scientific knowledge in any way.

    Even the idea of putting a man “to sleep,” extracting a body part from him, and creating a new person from that body part would seem terribly far-fetched, if we hadn’t recently discovered that we have the potential ability to do that exact same thing. In fact, we’ve had it all along. We just only recently developed it into a realistic possibility.

    • Newp Ort

      1st Genesis narrative: Light, earth, water, land all created b4 sun moon stars: bad cosmology/ astrophysics. Birds created b4 land animals: bad biology/ evolution.

      Not a big deal unless you’re a literalist. It’s not false, but its not meant to be a science textbook. Its not myth or allegory either, not just a story to make a point. It’s true but more in a poetical sense…see a biblical scholar from there gettin out of my depth.

      Think Song of Solomon, it’s an ode to love and beauty, not a letter to penthouse.

      • Barfly_Kokhba

        It is also not written that way in the original Hebrew. The original Hebrew, like any language, cannot be translated without losing some meaning and nuance.

        If you believe in the big bang theory then the earth, sun, moon and stars all came “into existence” in the exact same instant, in the form of their component parts. It was only their “fixed” places in the universe which took shape in a particular order.

        The delineation between “birds” and “land animals” is not sharp nor completely understood by modern science. It is now known that dinosaurs were physiologically much closer to birds than to lizards. Some modern flightless birds are “land animals.”

        Indeed, the archaeopteryx represents our best-known (in fact, our only) modern archeological evidence of macro-evolutionary process in the fossil record. Interestingly, the significance of this ossified anomaly is correlated with some unique and cryptic passages in Leviticus, where interested Talmudists have long been puzzled by the fact of Leviticus’ dietary codes containing only one instance of repetition: there is an animal which is mentioned both in the list of prohibited birds, and the list of prohibited reptiles. Biblical scholars had been unable to identify this animal, but new archaeological evidence would indicate that the reality behind the seemingly-trivial Scriptural passage might be more profound than previously understood.

        • chezami

          Sigh. Leviticus is not about whether Archaeopteryx was clean or unclean. Archaeopteryx had been extinct for about 148 million years by the time Leviticus was written. There are no dinosaurs or extinct Mesozoic creatures in the Bible. This is a creationist fantasy.

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            Well you’ve completely mis-paraphrased me, *siiiggghhh*….I never claimed that Leviticus is “about the archaeopteryx.” I would think that the quality of my grammar and vocabulary alone would clue you to the fact that I’m not that dumb. I said, in so many words, that there is an interesting correlation between the unique taxonomy of Leviticus’ dietary codes and what we know about the macro-evolutionary fossil record. And that remains a true fact.

            Rather than engage in a pointless back-and-forth on this forum (and I’ve lurked here long enough to know how pointless it truly would be), I will only urge you to read Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s book on the subject, “The Science of God.”

            Although Dr. Schroeder is a mere nuclear physicist with multiple advanced degrees from MIT in both nuclear physics and earth sciences, and who served on the US Nuclear Commission, perhaps HIS writing will rise to match the level of High Discernment and Scientific Prowess found here at “Catholic and Enjoying It!” as I have failed so miserably to do.

  • Mike

    Very helpful post! Thanks!

  • AlbertPond

    I resent the implication that Voldemort is the Uncaused Cause. That’s almost definitely heretical.

    • Newp Ort

      I once had a disturing brush with an uncaused event. While walking one night I conceived of a way a time machine might be constructed.

      Shortly thereafter I was accosted by a shadowy man in a filthy overcoat . It was me, bloodied and disheveled.

      I frantically explained that the time machine had been built and used causing terrible events. I provided no details, and begged myself to never share my idea with anyone. Then just as quickly I disappeared into the night.

      Greatly shaken I contemplated my meeting with myself for the rest of my walk. I ultimately decided I was telling the truth, and took my advice.

      I am confident I made the right choice, but everyday I wonder what never happened.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

    I do wish that the ID people would get beyond their cheap intellectual fooling around and get on with the business of actually trying to find irreducible complexity in the lab. Their disdain for actual experimental work is their weakest point.

    • kenofken

      They’ll never produce any real science because they don’t accept any of the methods or rules of evidence of science. They don’t even accept the central premise of science, that the natural world can be explained by natural causes through observation and experiment.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

        It has been some time since I checked but Behe is a scientist and it is certainly possible to run intelligent design experiments. By accepting the possibility that it could be true and encouraging them to go to the lab and run experiments I am bypassing the care and feeding of the ID people’s persecution complex. It gets us past a lot of politics and useless debate quickly. Your approach, in contrast, demonstrates hostility to new ideas and shows how life is stacked against them (TM). I hope you better understand me.

        And who knows? Maybe I am not so smart about the way that God created the world and they actually will find something interesting.

        • kenofken

          They’ve had 154 years to design experiments and provide real data. They’ve produced absolutely nothing scientific in all that time. All they’ve got is conspiracy theory-style critique of real science and a PR machine for the “controversy” they manufactured.

          Guys like Behe and the Discovery Institute like to spin the narrative that good science is somehow being suppressed and that “the Man” is keeping the truth down, but they’re full of it. No one has stopped them from going into the lab in the past century and a half and no one’s stopping them now. They certainly have some money, and a smattering of scientific talent. At one point, the Templeton Foundation was even open to funding some real scientific studies by DI. No proposals were put forward.

          Behe isn’t a dummy. He knows full well what will happen to ID theories in the lab under honest scientific inquiry. The scam only works by safeguarding the hypothesis from experimental work. The tailor of the Emperor’s New Clothes didn’t sell his non-existent garment by sending out swatches for forensic analysis at an independent lab. He, and Behe, keep the plates spinning by pure hutzpah and by dumping off their burden of proof on others.

          I’m not discouraging them from doing the experiments. Hell, if I thought for a minute they were onto something that could really turn the whole field of biology on it’s ear, they’d have my CV on their desk by the close of business today. I’d work for nothing to get my name even at the bottom of the credits on that paper.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            I’m sorry, are we agreeing or disagreeing? It’s unclear. I’m saying ID people should go do lab work and you’re saying, yes? You do seem to be doing it with an awful lot of words so perhaps I missed your point. In any case, they should get exactly the same amount of mention in textbooks as any other theory devoid of experimental evidence, which means very little mention at all.

            • kenofken

              It sounds like we’re substantially in agreement. If ID people want to have their position taken seriously as a science, they have to do the work. If they ever do, I’d be happy to consider it. I won’t hold my breath waiting for it to come though.

  • Dennis85

    A plan executed 14 billion years in the past with Humans as its goal.
    Hydrogen evolving into humans.
    Wouldn’t it be easier to make them out of clay and breath life into them?

    Isn’t the more rational answer is you don’t need a plan?

    • Smith

      Seems like you’re using evolution as a red herring against God. It doesn’t work that way. Whence did this process arrive from if all things in motion have a instigator? The logical answer for all things in motion is that there had to be a Prime Mover.

      • $36224939

        How could I not have seen the Prime Mover?
        A Magically formed creature that doesn’t have a beginning of its own.

        Airtight argument you have there. I mean when has magic not been the answer to a natural event?

        • chad

          Time has nothing to do with your logic. Nor hydrogen. Would fewer years cause a comparative gain in your faith? How complex of a starting point would it take for you to have faith? You are the one searching for magic.

          • $36224939

            Time has everything to do with it. The universe is exactly as you would expect it for a natural explanation. No magical short cuts.

            • JM1001

              Except “magic” is not what’s being discussed here. Rather, it’s metaphysics. Magic implies interruptions in the common course of nature.

              But the classical theist arguments for God’s existence — like those of Aquinas — do not argue from interruptions in the common course of nature (or magic). Instead, they argue from the metaphysical presupposition that the universe is rationally intelligible, and is governed by natural causes and natural laws and natural regularities.

              The question the classical theist poses is not, “Where is the Magician who spontaneously formed that tree over there?” But, rather, is, “Why does that tree — and every other contingent thing — exist at all?” We already know that the tree, being a natural thing, must have been produced by some natural process. That doesn’t answer the classical theist’s question of what accounts for the existence of the tree (a contingent thing) at the metaphysical level.

              So it is with the entire universe. Sure, the universe is what you would expect if it formed from a rapid expansion billions of years ago. But that’s completely irrelevant to what’s being discussed.

              Whether the universe is 13.8 billion years old or 13.8 seconds old, it is still a collection of contingent things, which is what the argument is addressing. Time really has nothing to do with it.

              • $36224939

                “metaphysical level” says it all.

                • JM1001

                  Really? That is your response? You plumbed the depths of your intellect, and came up with that? What is it with Internet atheists and their philistine aversion to anything resembling an honest, reasoned discussion.

                  Rather than actually bother to understand and engage with an argument, we get a philistine sneer at two words the commenter seems to think is evidence of double-plus ungood thought crime, or whatever.

                  Never mind that the smarter atheists out there (of whom the commenter is obviously not a member) acknowledge that the more rigorous arguments against God’s existence begin with some sort of metaphysical presuppositions about the world and the totality of existing things to reach that conclusion.

                  Dear commenter is obviously unaware of this, and instead just sneers at two words he doesn’t understand. This sort of anti-intellectualism is usually laid at the feet of religious people.

                  • $36224939

                    Yes, I’m sorry you decided to argue with an unworthy opponent. I can’t
                    be every atheist. I’m just the atheist that sees no value in philosophy(
                    with caveats round the affairs of humans. )

                    It does nothing to advance our understanding of
                    the universe and historically stagnated it. Socrates elements would be
                    my example.
                    You might as well use astrology as philosophy.
                    Philosophy inserts intent where none is needed.

        • chezami

          You do *get*, don’t you that God is not a “creature”. Of course you don’t. Too busy worshipping your intellect to use it.

          • $36224939

            would “Entity” help?

            • chezami

              Actually, no. You can’t break out of the conceptual prison of imagining God as a Being at the head of a list of a long catalog of other beings: in short, as a creature. He’s not a creature. He is Being itself. Beings *participate* in Being. You really should try to understand what you are talking about.

              • $36224939

                Making up your own religion now?

                • chezami

                  Uh, no. Giving you Aquinas. Seriously, dude. You have no idea what you are talking about.

                  • $36224939

                    No, I get it. You have “lets pretend” rules around your favorite character.

                    You don’t have to back it up with anything more than another “Lets pretend” rule.

                    • chezami

                      No. You really don’t. You’re too ignorant to know that the description of God you think I’m inventing just now has been articulated by the Catholic Church’s greatest philosopher for almost a thousand years.

                    • $36224939

                      Does it really matter which kid in the neighborhood made up the “Lets pretend” rules?

                    • chezami

                      Yeah. Thomas Aquinas. Kid. Smart. Nice covering up the fact that you are too ignorant to know what you are talking about.

                    • $36224939

                      and playing pretend doesn’t make a god real.

                    • chezami

                      Devastating argument.

                    • $36224939

                      Your argument is “Pretend this is true”

                      What can I do but laugh?

                    • chezami

                      Um, no. It’s not. But you are too ignorant to get that.

                    • $36224939

                      Sure it is , because it doesn’t require any evidence.

                    • chezami

                      And, again, you are so ignorant that you don’t even know that Thomas argues from evidence. Try using rather than worshipping that intellect of yours.

                    • $36224939

                      Evidence. Get a dictionary. You need it.

                    • chezami

                      The evidence is contingent being. It’s all around you.

                    • $36224939

                      So we’re back to playing pretend again.

                    • chezami

                      You think the universe is a pretense? Because that’s what “contingent being” refers to. Something you’d know if you weren’t ragingly ignorant.

                    • $36224939

                      Your pretense is the nature of the universe.
                      Not the universe itself.

                    • chezami
  • jpaYMCA

    Hello. I confess: I am a “Licensed” Thomist and I support ID.

    I judge that Mr. Shea doesn’t know his Thomists as well as he thinks and that ID is a bit more INvolved than he thinks, i.e., there has to be an original volition for nature to exist, much less “move towards an end”. Simple stuff.

  • paulpriest

    Mark you’re not exactly au fait with this evolution/intelligent design thing are you?
    It’s a bit embarrassing to watch this – you’re arguing against things that non-literalist ID never says [because it would be ludicrously unscientific] and arguing things that evolutionists don’t ever say [though they should because it would be scientifically authentic]


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