Thursday, March 8, 2012

Here’s a Perfect Explanation of Darwin’s Achievement in Two Sentences

As we have been saying over and over, evolution is not about natural selection, common descent, mutations, gradualism, allele frequencies, environmental niches or punctuated equilibrium. These are all sub hypotheses and explanations of evolution which can be dropped at any moment. They are the protective belt of evolution, not its theoretical core, as Lakatos would put it.



Nor, on the other hand is evolution a form of atheism, materialism, secular humanism, or any other godless philosophy, as Charles Hodge described it. What is evolution’s core claim? That the species arose on their own. Call it naturalism, spontaneity or anti teleological, or listen to evolutionist EO Wilson at the 0:50 mark:

CHARLIE ROSE: Great to have you. Let me just start - tell me, put Darwin in perspective for all of us. When you think of the great scientific and intellectual contributions to the humankind, what was the achievement of Charles Darwin?

EDWARD O. WILSON: The achievement was not to present the idea of evolution, but to present the idea of evolution by random genetic change that was then sorted out by natural selection, by the environment. Hence, the origin of diversity of life as we know it on Earth by autonomy, by independent of any outside force. And this then put humanity in a wholly different light, namely as potentially having arisen by this, uncontrolled or un-designed process on our own on this planet, independently.

Or if two sentences are too long for you, and you want the absolute bare bones version of evolution, then continue listening as Rose puts the same question to James Watson and the Nobel Laureate hits it out of the park:

JAMES D. WATSON: That there was no designer.

If you think this is atheism then you don’t understand evolution. More importantly, you will not understand the power of evolution’s deception.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

46 comments:

  1. Hi Cornelius, I don't get the intent of your last paragraph.

    I thought the point was that "religion (i.e. atheism) drives science (by which term is meant evolution)". So evolution does not stand on its own but is a necessity of a specific theological belief (that God does not exist).

    Does evolution (spontaneous generation!) ever stand apart from atheism? I suppose theistic evolution might be given as an example but I think that is really a syncretism or synthesis of two religions.

    Appreciate it, if you get the time to comment.

    Dale

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    1. The constant emphasis on "no designer" in evolutionist talk is revealing. It really is a necessity for that theological position of atheism. Theistic evolutionists etc are really just following the trend. If atheists were not pushing evolution (taking over schools to teach the lie and universities, firing people who opposed etc) then there would be no theistic evolutionists. They would not need to engage in intellectual tricks to satisfy atheist overlords.

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    2. So the designer must be God?

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    3. Dale and Temi:

      So evolution does not stand on its own but is a necessity of a specific theological belief (that God does not exist).

      No, the theological belief is *about* God. See the previous post, just as one example of many:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/03/heres-where-dna-co-discoverer-james.html

      Watson's argument is not from atheism. It is a metaphysical about what a designer or creator would and would not do. That's a metaphysical argument. Consider this: If evolution was based on atheism, then why do theists accept and advocate evolution?

      Evolution's metaphysical arguments are far more powerful than atheism's arguments. If evolution was motivated by atheism then you and I would never have heard of Charles Darwin or his theory.

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    4. It's not a matter of its motivation, its a matter of what it supports now. WIthout evolution, atheists would most likely have to sit in a corner and be quiet about their beliefs. It's exactly true what Dawkins said about evolution allowing one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. It is that kind of worldview that holds the broken theory up now in spite of the problems with it. It has to be true.

      The 2 things are pretty close. Not saying you are wrong on that metaphysical point. It's just that I was not saying that evolution comes from atheist, but that it is now tied to it.

      On theistic evolutionists, I ignore them. There are a lot of problems with the position, but I am sure that they would not be such if evolution was not something people are being brainwashed with. They are simply trying to fit their worldview into a "fact". If we show that it is not a fact, they will stop.

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    5. Temi:

      They are simply trying to fit their worldview into a "fact". If we show that it is not a fact, they will stop.

      No, you have it backwards. The "fact" derives from the theological and philosophical claims.

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  2. How is this different from your previous post?

    Again, the "designer" being referred to here is based on claims that are explicit by creationists and implicit in cdesign proponents.

    Specifically, he's not considering a designer that created the biosphere in such a way that it would appear *as if* it evolved, but did not.

    In fact, we would consider such a designer choices "genius", if it was trying to fool us.

    However, we have no explanation as to why a designer would try to fool us in the case of the biosphere, but not atoms, the movement of objects, etc. As such, we discard it.

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    1. The designer is not trying to fool you, you are simply a fool by nature. Ever considered that?

      The only way to "evidence" favors evolution is if you assume it to begin with. Also if you hold that it must be true. By simply designing a world, creates the material for evolutionists to construct a theory that assumes the designer never existed. What you really want is a designer that goes out of his way to make sure you don't fool yourself

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    2. I'm a Fallibilist, which means I assume that scientific theories contain errors, the question is where and to what degree.

      As such, if the error resides in the assumption that the biosphere only appears *as if* it was designed, then there must be some explanation as to why this would be the case.

      For example, not only do creationists claim the biosphere was designed, but they claim what we observe was intentionally and intelligently designed. And they also claim that this designer somehow managed to search through an astronomical space to find just the right proteins to achieve this design, etc.

      In other words, if evolutionary theory got it so wrong, wouldn't this same designer have realized this would be the case, based on the particular choices it made and it's supposed capabilities?

      It's as if you think the designer was blindsided by our conclusion, had no other choice but to design the biosphere as we observe it, or that it intentionally wanted us to get it completely wrong.

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  3. I wrote: Furthermore, this sort of argument is parochial in that a designer with enough intelligence and foresight to design this particular biosphere would also also have enough intelligence and foresight to realize we would reach the conclusion that this particular biosphere evolved based on the specific patterns we observe across multiple, independent lines of evidence.

    On one had, this designer was supposedly intelligent enough to "search" though the astronomical range protein space to create just the right proteins. But, on the other had, this designer was apparently blindsided by the fact that we'd conclude the biosphere had evolved, rather than being created, based on the designs it supposedly intentionally and intelligently selected.

    How does this add up?

    This is what I mean when I refer to ID as parochial. It doesn't take it's own arguments seriously.

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  4. Scott said


    "the biosphere in such a way that it would appear *as if* it evolved"

    In a discussion of an older post yo stated:

    "the biosphere appear *as if* it designed"


    Can you tell me if you think how you think the biosphere appear? evolved or designed?

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  5. Could one claim the earth appears *as if* it was flat? Sure.

    But only if one takes into account observations made on the earth's surface. Specifically, it would need to ignore observations from high above the earth's surface, along with a number of other observations in independent fields.

    As such, this too would be a parochial view.

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    1. You didn´t answer. Can you tell me if you think how you think the biosphere appear? evolved or designed?

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    2. It looks designed. Maybe even he will be brave enough to admit that. His problem is ignoring the obvious design to impose an inadequate natural process then ask why the designer allowed him to be able to construct such foolishness at all.

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    3. It looks designed.

      WHY does it look designed? How do you infer design? What about the biosphere says 'design'?

      Remember, be really, really specific here...

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    4. Because it looks designed. NOBODY denies that it looks designed. It's clear as day just from doing the sciences. DESIGN screams out from all corners of our scientific knowledge of the natural world. Why do you think that scientists, even when talking about evolution, cannot avoid using the word design? Why do you think some have even tried to get the word specifically removed from the literature? I do not need to explain to you what can be seen plainly.

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    5. Ritchie you have toask the question to Scott he stated that appear *as if* it was designed.
      He sure can be more specific.

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    6. Temi -

      Because it looks designed.

      That's no answer. That's just insisting you're right.

      What marks it out as looking 'designed'? What features about the biosphere make you say it looks designed?

      NOBODY denies that it looks designed. It's clear as day just from doing the sciences.

      So we can scientifically demonstrate it is designed?

      Again, how?

      And please, don't scrimp on the details.

      'It just does look designed' doesn't really cut it.

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    1. So if we assume a designer appears *as if* it is designed, but this is "parrochial".
      If we assume naturalism appears *as if* it is evolved and it is not "parrochial".

      What I have to choose?

      If there is no designer it my brain work according to my genes. So I will choose what my genes says, so will you. Then this discussion make sense only if there is a designer and we have free will to choose.

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    2. Blas: If there is no designer it my brain work according to my genes. So I will choose what my genes says, so will you.

      Except, you've again forgotten that genes contain the knowledge of how to process information. And this knowledge was created over time, via a form of conjecture and refutation.

      We know this knowledge contains errors, but it's by correcting errors that it becomes more accurate.

      Blas: Then this discussion make sense only if there is a designer and we have free will to choose.

      Which is yet another parochial argument. That is, it's narrow in scope.

      You've illustrated this in that you keep "forgetting" the explanations I've previously provided, while presenting your argument as if they were the only option.

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  7. Blas. You didn´t answer.

    It appears designed if one takes a parochial view.

    From an earlier comment..

    The issue Darwin addressed had been around since Socrates: the appearance of design was something that needed to be explained. However, Socrates never got around to defining what constitutes an appearance of design, and why.

    It wasn't until William Paley make his argument for design that the issue was clarified. Specifically, he argued the sort of account that could explain a rock, or the raw materials a watch was assembled from, was not the same sort of account that could explain the watch itself. A watch couldn't have spontaneously appeared. Nor could it have been laying there forever or be a raw material itself.

    Paley asked, "Why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as the stone; why is it not admissible in the second case as in the first?" Paley knew why. The watch not only serves a purpose, but is adapted to that purpose. Specifically, the aspect that needs explaining is that if a watch (or eye) was slightly altered it would serve that purpose less well, or not even at all. That is, the design is hard to vary.

    So, merely being useful for a purpose, without being hard to vary, is not a sign of adaptation or design.

    For example, the sun can be used to tell time. However, it could be varied significantly without impacting how well it serves that purpose. The knowledge of how to use the sun to tell time is within us, and our sundials, rather than in the sun itself. But the knowledge of how to tell time is embodied in the watch, just as the knowledge of how to build an organism's features are embedded into an organism's genome.

    So how did Paley "solve" this problem? He could think of only one explanation: the watch had to have a maker. There cannot be design without a designer; purpose without a purpose giver, etc. However, while Paley is to be credited with clarifying what needs to be explained, he failed to realize his solution didn't actually solve the problem. His ultimate designer would be, by Paley's own criteria, a purposeful entity - no less than a watch or living organism.

    In other words, if we substitute Paley's 'ultimate designer' for the watch in Paley's own argument, we force him to "the [inevitable] inference… that the ultimate designer must have had a maker."

    However [...] we have an explanation for these adaptations: evolutionary processes create the knowledge of how to build these adaptations using conjecture, in the form of genetic variation, and refudiation, in the form of natural selection.

    It appears *as if* it was designed because, as people, we use a form of conjecture and refutation to create the knowledge that is embedded in watches, computers, vehicle assembly robots, etc.


    So, it only appears *as if* it was designed if one ignores Darwin's response to the clarification that Paley made in regards to "the appearance of design" and the explanation for how we create knowledge, etc.

    Just as the earth appears flat if one ignores observations from high above the earth's surface, along with a number of other observations in independent fields, etc.

    One could say that a designer designed the earth *as if* it merely appeared to be flat, including transporting people and photons instantaneously from one end to the other, making the earth appear as if it were an oblique sphere from in space, etc.

    However, we have no explanation as to why a designer would choose to fool us in the case of the earth, but not in the cast of atoms, the movement of objects, etc. As such we discard this as well.

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  8. I wrote: So, merely being useful for a purpose, without being hard to vary, is not a sign of adaptation or design.

    Blas, In case it's not clear, are you suggesting the "purpose" of the biosphere is to fool us into thinking it evolved? Was it adapted specifically to appear *as if* it was designed?

    I'm guessing you do not think this is the case.

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    1. No Scott the case are you present doesn´t exist.
      If you assume naturalism it appear *as if* it was evolved and not designed.
      If you assume no naturalism, then it appear *as if* it was designed not evolved.

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    2. So, you disagree with the following as what constitutes design?

      It wasn't until William Paley make his argument for design that the issue was clarified. Specifically, he argued the sort of account that could explain a rock, or the raw materials a watch was assembled from, was not the same sort of account that could explain the watch itself. A watch couldn't have spontaneously appeared. Nor could it have been laying there forever or be a raw material itself.

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    3. Also...

      Paley asked, "Why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as the stone; why is it not admissible in the second case as in the first?" Paley knew why. The watch not only serves a purpose, but is adapted to that purpose. Specifically, the aspect that needs explaining is that if a watch (or eye) was slightly altered it would serve that purpose less well, or not even at all. That is, the design is hard to vary.

      In other words, something being well adapted to a purpose has nothing to do with design?

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    4. Scott, I just was asking wich of the two contradictory sentences you used in two different discussions you beleive is true.
      I tried to summarize your answer as:

      " if we assume a designer appears *as if* it is designed, but this is "parrochial".
      If we assume naturalism appears *as if* it is evolved and it is not "parrochial"."

      If it is not correct plase clarify my mistake.

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    5. I said nothing of assuming naturalism, which is your mistake.

      Does the earth only look flat if you assume naturalism? No.

      The earth only appears flat if you hold a parochial view. That is, you only take into account a narrow scope of observations (what we see from the earth's surface at one location), while ignoring other observations (traveling around the world, the view from space, our theories of optics and geometry, the Foucault pendulum, etc.)

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    6. So refrasing you:

      if we consider only part of the observations appears *as if* it is designed, but this is "parrochial".
      If we consider all the observations appears *as if* it is evolved and it is not "parrochial


      But this contradicts your statement:

      "The biosphere appears *as if* it was deigned because both people and Biological Darwinism create knowledge using variations of the this same process."

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    7. No, it doesn't. your inability understand the difference doesn't mean it's a contradiction.

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    8. You can try to enlighten me.

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  9. I'll do one better. Evolution is:

    "Man stands alone, without help."

    It was very popular at that time to think so. It still is. Always has been. Darwin just said nature proves that this is true. Of course, it's been around for longer than Darwin. The first one to say that was Satan - he said "I stand alone".

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    1. Wow, so basically, Darwin must have been the devil in disguise.

      Well I'm convinced...

      *sigh*

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    2. Motague: "Man stands alone, without help."

      Last time I checked, evolution doesn't posit human beings created themselves. So, no, Man didn't stand alone, without help.

      In fact, man wasn't standing at the time because the knowledge of how to build human beings had yet to be created.

      As such, I'm at a loss as to how your quote is anything but empty rhetoric in regards to darwinism.

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    3. No, don't be idiots, I'm referencing Milton to say that the ideology of Darwinism is that which attempts to separate Man from his maker - that which says, you are your own man and you don't owe it to anyone, so stick it for number one. Shortly, man is God, or as close as one needs to be for now. Milton makes Satan say basically the same thing in Paradise Lost - along the lines of "I don't remember seeing God make me" and such. I doubt Satan actually SAID that, but that's how Milton puts it and it fits. So I don't see what you are doing is anything but trolling what you think to be an idiot Baptist or something, while I am referencing one of the greatest Epics ever written by man.

      That's why you all need an education with a different ideology. Golly.

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  10. "If you think this is atheism then you don’t understand evolution."

    "There is no designer" *just is* atheism.

    If you think that isn't atheism, then you don't understand atheism.

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    1. Ilion:

      ==========
      "If you think this is atheism then you don’t understand evolution."

      "There is no designer" *just is* atheism.

      If you think that isn't atheism, then you don't understand atheism.
      ==========

      Oh I do understand atheism. Darwin showed that "there is no designer" does not mean "there is no god." If it did then Ken Miller, Francis Collins and thousand and thousands of other theists would not be accepting and actively promoting evolution, not to mention having motivated it in the first place centuries ago.

      That Darwin showed that "there is no designer" simply means that the world was not designed, but rather arose via simple, natural laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs. This is no different than what the theist Nicolas Malebranche called for three and a half centuries ago.

      And what's the underlying logic? It's that the world isn't up to our standards of what god would intend. This is an argument from *theism*, not atheism. These people are theists. Sure it has fueled much atheism, but that doesn't mean it is atheism.

      Many skeptics of evolution will respond "Yeah, well to me that's just atheism by another name ..." Well sorry, but that's called projection. Skeptics of creationism say it is just insecure people needing a religious crutch. People regularly project to arrive at all kinds of erroneous conclusions, instead of actually understanding.

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    2. CH: This is no different than what the theist Nicolas Malebranche called for three and a half centuries ago.

      And we've learned absolutely nothing new in the last three and a half centuries, such as DNA, molecular biology, etc., and has science has not evolved significantly since then, such as the decline of logical positivism, instrumentalism, etc.? Really?

      CH: And what's the underlying logic? It's that the world isn't up to our standards of what god would intend. This is an argument from *theism*, not atheism.

      It's an argument made by theism, which is criticized. Apparently, you think there is no distinction between having faith in this argument and criticizing it for errors.

      We create knowable through conjecture and refutation. This means taking a theory seriously, as an explanation for reality, then criticizing it for errors. This is in contrast to having faith that it's true.

      For example, creationists claim that God designed the biosphere. But they also claim that God is perfectly good, all knowing and all powerful. They also claim that God sometimes intervenes to heal loved ones that are prayed for, etc.

      Specifically, they assume that when God does intervene on their behalf, he takes actions which fit our standards of "good", such as healing the sick. And if our prayers are not answered, God is merely taking a neutral stand by allowing nature to take it's course, rather than actively causing illnesses.

      Note: if this is a misrepresentation of creationists, here's your chance to correct my error.

      It's not necessary for me to personally have faith in the above to take it seriously, as explanation for reality, merely for the purpose of testing for errors of self consistency.

      Or are you denying this is the case? I can't really tell, as you reuse to even acknowledge this issue, let alone present any sort of acceptance or denial.

      Furthermore, we lack an explanation as to why an all knowing all powerful being (or an abstract designer, which has no defined limitations) would do it this way, rather than some other way, such as creating the universe last Thursday, with the mere appearance of age, impaneled memories, etc. . As such we discard it, along with a near infinite number of other mere possibilities, such as a highly advanced alien civilization.

      Do we discard the possibility of a highly advanced alien civilization because the world isn't up to our standards of what a highly advanced alien civilization would create?

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  11. ilion, serious question: Could the alleged "designer" be a pink unicorn named Fifi? If not, why not?

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    1. Cause, for one, pink unicorns are stupid. Quite apart from any reason, God can't be a silly unicorn because that is dumb. And ugly. Really in bad taste. Lacks dignity.

      But also, one really cannot be blinded by a sparkly horse. Well, maybe. But not one called Fifi.

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    2. It lacks Beauty and Truth, two of the transcendentals.

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  13. Man, the recent changes to Blogger are for the birds!

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  14. CH: "Darwin showed that "there is no designer" does not mean "there is no god.""

    He did nothing of the sort! He may have presented that wink-wink public pose, as the means to hood-wink a "science" worshipping public, a public that was already materialistic/atheistic in its heart but didn't yet want to admit it, but everyone "in the know" understood exactly what he was doing. Just as everyone "in the know" understood that Huxley's 'agnosticism' was nothing more than atheism without the label.

    Further, he could do noting of the sort -- for to assert that the world, and we, are not created, to assert that the world, and we, are the random-and-unplanned happenstance of random-and-unplanned happenings which just happened to happen, is precisely to assert that that there is no God. From the other direction, to assert that there is no Creator, that there is no transcendent and self-existent Person, who created/creates the world and all that is in it, is precisely to assert that we are the random-and-unplanned happenstance of random-and-unplanned happenings which just happened to happen.

    And, since there is no such thing as "randomness", to assert that there is no God is to assert utter determinism ... while generally keeping the term 'random' as the fig-leaf under which to hide (and deny the reality of) agent freedom.

    Hell! Even the Classical pagans had finally figured this out by at least 2300 years ago.

    CH: "If it did then Ken Miller, Francis Collins and thousand and thousands of other theists would not be accepting and actively promoting evolution, ..."

    Right! And there is no such thing as 'Stockholm Syndrome' (or 'dhimmitude').

    CH: "... not to mention having motivated it in the first place centuries ago."

    Even (some of) the ancient pagans were groping for a way out of that mess.

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    CH: "That Darwin showed that "there is no designer" simply means that the world was not designed, but rather arose via simple, natural laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs. This is no different than what the theist Nicolas Malebranche called for three and a half centuries ago."

    Dude!

    Even a computer program which was written by *another* computer program didn't "arise via simple, [programmatic] laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs" -- there is *always* a programmer, an agent, involved.

    Similarly, what you're talking about here is someone making the assertion that there is no God, no Agent-who-is-the-Creator of those "simple, natural laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs", while not having the intellectual honesty to openly admit to, and pointedly avoiding taking up the intellectual task of rationally supporting, what one is claiming. You know, like Darwin always did.

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    1. Ilion:

      He [Darwin] may have presented that wink-wink public pose, as the means to hood-wink a "science" worshipping public, a public that was already materialistic/atheistic in its heart but didn't yet want to admit it, but everyone "in the know" understood exactly what he was doing. Just as everyone "in the know" understood that Huxley's 'agnosticism' was nothing more than atheism without the label.

      This is not an accurate description of Victorian England or 19th c. western culture.


      Further, he could do noting of the sort -- for to assert that the world, and we, are not created, to assert that the world, and we, are the random-and-unplanned happenstance of random-and-unplanned happenings which just happened to happen, is precisely to assert that that there is no God.

      It seems you don’t understand theism very well, and are projecting your own version of theism onto others. The result is a false dichotomy between your version of theism and atheism, a false history, and a flawed understanding of evolutionary thought.


      From the other direction, to assert that there is no Creator, that there is no transcendent and self-existent Person, who created/creates the world and all that is in it, is precisely to assert that we are the random-and-unplanned happenstance of random-and-unplanned happenings which just happened to happen.

      Evolution does not assert that.


      And, since there is no such thing as "randomness", to assert that there is no God is to assert utter determinism ...

      The problem here is not your claim that there is no thing as randomness, but your implicit, unspoken, claim that everybody else is on board with you on that. Folks can argue about the former, but regarding the latter, people are all over the map. You need to pull yourself out of the picture.


      CH: "If it did then Ken Miller, Francis Collins and thousand and thousands of other theists would not be accepting and actively promoting evolution, ..."

      Right! And there is no such thing as 'Stockholm Syndrome' (or 'dhimmitude').


      No, evolutionists such as Ken Miller and “dhimmitude” don’t go together in the same sentence. Not even close. You don’t seem to be very familiar with evolutionists.


      Even a computer program which was written by *another* computer program didn't "arise via simple, [programmatic] laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs" -- there is *always* a programmer, an agent, involved.

      Sure. Like you I have this strange idea that something does not come from nothing. But then again, we’re not talking about you or I, are we?


      Similarly, what you're talking about here is someone making the assertion that there is no God, no Agent-who-is-the-Creator of those "simple, natural laws, susceptible to producing crude, inefficient designs", while not having the intellectual honesty to openly admit to, and pointedly avoiding taking up the intellectual task of rationally supporting, what one is claiming. You know, like Darwin always did.

      No question evolution has fueled atheism, and so in some people the two are intertwined. But even with atheists, it all comes back to religious claims.

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    2. Or, to put it into fewer words, you have absolutely no intention of thinking clearly about this matter.

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