Jonathan McLatchie: Fact-Checking Wikipedia on Common Descent: The Evidence from Paleontology (2011)

Jonathan McLatchie is an up-and-coming Christian apologist who also has a strong background in biology. I met him in person once while I was speaking in Seattle and he was an intern at the Discovery Institute. He seemed to me to be a very nice and intelligent fellow.McLatchie wrote a series of blog posts critiquing the Wikipedia article on the evidence of common descent; McLatchie's article provides his critique of what Wikipedia has to say about the evidence for common descent from … [Read more...]

Theists, like Math Students, Need to Show Their Work

In my recent debate with Kevin Vandergriff, Vandergriff argued that biological evolution is evidence for theism. In support, he referred to the probability estimate of evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala. According to Ayala, it is fantastically improbable that intelligent life on Earth is the result of unguided evolution.Since I have a background in probability theory, I was most interested in learning how Ayala arrived at this conclusion and, more important, how he arrived at his precis … [Read more...]

Another Christian Apologist Uses Fallacious Objections to Evolution

Real shocker, right?My Twitter feed included a link to an article which I want to comment on:Bill Nye's Naturalistic Evolution is Absurd: Contesting 'Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation': Bill Nye's Atheistic Evolution Is PreposterousEvolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as n … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 2

In a previous post I pointed out three different problems related to the third argument in Richard Swinburne's systematic case for the existence of God.  The third argument is the final argument of his arguments from the nature of the universe.  It is his Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (hereafter: TASO):(e3) There is a complex physical universe that is governed by simple natural laws and the values of the constants of the laws and of the variables of the universe’s initial cond … [Read more...]

Did God Create Nuclear Weapons?

Naive View

Christians and other believers in God often say, 'God created everything.'  If we take this literally, as a young child would do, we might start thinking of some objections or possible counterexamples: 'Did God create nuclear weapons?' 'Did God create the ebola virus?' etc.  The doctrine of divine creation leads quickly to the problem of evil.A common response to such an idea would be to say that 'God created humans, and it was humans who created nuclear weapons--not God.'  So, God is one … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God

In The Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG), Richard Swinburne lays out a systematic cumulative case for the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.I have a specific objection to the third argument in this case, but I believe this objection throws a monkey wrench into the works, and creates a serious problem for the case as a whole.To understand my objection, it is important to understand the general logical structure of Swinburne’s case for the existence of God. … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 8: The Missing Links Argument against Biological Evolution

I began this series with a Bayesian interpretation of arguments from silence and then proceeded to use that interpretation to evaluate various arguments from silence about Jesus and God. In this post, I want to assess an argument from silence that is extremely popular with anti-evolutionists, an argument I call the "missing links" argument.If we abbreviate "the fossil record does not contain any transitional fossils" as S, let B represent our background knowledge, and let E represent e … [Read more...]

Sean B. Carroll’s List of 6 Arguments Used by Science Denialists

I finally found what I was looking for. Sean B. Carroll, the noted evolutionary biologist, author, and vice-president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, delivered a presentation at a 2012 conference on science denialism. He listed 6 arguments employed by science denialists that could be applied to almost any subject. They come from Carroll's book The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.The six listed arguments were to: 1) Cast … [Read more...]


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