Creating Information Naturally, Part 1: Snowflakes, Chess, and DNA

(Ashwin S) #73

Can you point to the “theory of evolution” adhered to by Biologos … just point to any school textbook, or scientific desertation.And I mean theory, not a vague idea/statements which is not a scientifically recognised theory.

Pls understand. I get it that you have a meaning for evolution that is different from that held by most scientists.
However, the current accepted theory of evolution is what is called Neo-Darwinism. This creates a communication problem. When you say evolution, you mean common descent guided by God through natural means.
However that’s not what the vast majority of the world understand evolution to be. The reason for that are school books, scientific explanations of evolution etc.

So when i speak about evolution, I will speak in Darwinian terms. As of now, no other kind of evolution exists/is taught.

(George Brooks) #74


Wow… you are stubborn.

“God-Guided-Evolution” proponents have already accepted the need for an intelligence… and they even state, in public, that the intelligence is Yahweh. And this is something that many I.D. proponents are unwilling to do.

Ashwin, Can we move along to something that is actually in dispute?

Typo: In the second to last sentence, I intended the word “unwilling”, rather than “willing”. I have made the correction.

(Ashwin S) #75

I would prefer to go by the standard definition of evolution as opposed to that of biologos. Because the biologos one is in contradiction to the standard one…

Call me stubborn…

But sure, we can move on other topics… or just agree to disagree on this one. No problem with that.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #76

Not really sure what you are saying. How big of something do you need me to list for me to demonstrate that scientific publications, in any field on any topic ever do not include “guided by intelligence” as part of their explanation of some natural phenomena?

Well it is a broad explanatory network that makes sense of hundreds of thousands of observations all at the same time. But so what? The Big Bang theory is also a powerful idea that accounts for how our universe got to be the way that it is. Let me read on.

Now if I were you, I might ask myself… why is that the case? Why is it that it can easily be understood in an evolutionary/common descent framework? Unfortunately I see far too many then jump to ‘well it’s a massive conspiracy against x, y or z’ rather than the best scientific conclusion ‘because it’s true’ (not ‘True’ with a capital ‘T’ mind you).

No it’s not. Did you know that Hurricane models are built to describe a very complex process with a lot of different factors (some of which we do not yet know or cannot collect data on) but nobody actually includes a times ‘G’ for God’s involvement in messing with the weather? Perhaps this blog post, which I do hope you will take time to read, will highlight some of the challenges or nuances to this discussion!

Let’s just leave this one be for now. As a physicist, I thoroughly disagree with you though especially when we leave the ‘classical world’ and hop in to the quantum world.

(George Brooks) #77


So… give me YOUR definition for the position I support?

God uses natural law and miracles to make it rain. Sometimes one, or the other; sometimes both.


God uses evolutionary law, and miracles, to make Earth’s living things. Sometimes one, or the other; sometimes both.

So… if you refuse to give me your definition for the above sentence description (in bold), then I will have to use the definition that I know describes my position.

What say you?

(Ashwin S) #78

Let me try and explain my view more clearly.
Let’s take Newton’s theories on dynamics. I would not expect any mention of God in such a theory. Not needed at all. But when we go to a more foundational understanding… like say a theory of everything- I would expect it to deal with things like consciousness, information and ultimately a first cause (whether material or immaterial). And we see this actually happening in physics.
We see people like Stephen hawkins positing matter as the first cause and building explanatory frameworks around this philosophical understanding. others suggest information/consciousness as fundamental to the universe (and thus adopt a philosophy that views something immaterial such as information as foundational). For example, we have people theorising the universe is a simulation (implying a simulator) and still other theories implying a fundamental role to consciousness/information
(example Max Plank, Eugene Wigner).

So, yes, science can postulate or at least imply that an intelligence/consciousness can guide reality.

How life came to be and how it reached the diversity we see are fundamental questions similar to the question of the nature of reality. So I would expect it to deals with things like information and at least the seemingly designed nature of life.
So it will have to face the question of intelligence squarely, posing hypothesis for and against an intelligent cause (direct or indirect for life). And frankly, I think evolution does face this question and takes the materialistic philosophical side. Though people at Biologist would disagree. I would love to see a view that is not guided by materialist philosophy.

I don’t view it as a conspiracy, but a result of philosophical compulsions. I say this because, over the years, many things thought to be true have been proven false… and both facts have an evolutionary explanation… it’s a case of heads I win, tails you loose.
It’s not that everything CAN be explained by evolution. It’s that everything HAS TO BE explained by evolution. Hence everything usually is…

Interestingly enough I was thinking about quantum physics as a possible exception when I typed that. But it also more or less underlines my point. We can look at quantum phenomenon in two ways… one as influenced by consciousness… And the other by purely material causes (the many world’s idea).
I am perfectly fine with consciousness being a source of true randomness… leads to interesting ideas about freewill.

I will go through your blog about hurricanes.

(Ashwin S) #79

Creationism is the closest definition to what you described.
It’s quite close to what many YECs believe.
And it’s also similar to what Micheal Behe describes in his book “the edge of Evolution”… though God and miracles is not mentioned… if you are willing to see “Intelligent Designer” as equal to God, and miracle as the same as design… Then it could be called ID.

but creationism is the best bet. Perhaps…
Old earth creationist?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #80

Hmm? I don’t really know quite what to say here, but let’s agree to set early universe cosmology aside. Also, technically Stephen ‘Hawking’ but models of cosmogony (i.e. the origins of the universe) are certainly not philosophical, but highly mathematical and potentially verifiable someday:
Random paper on early universe cosmology (not philosophical at all)

Not really. We can build models of gene transfer, ERVs, and many things from biological systems as of now, test them, and reject any falsified models. The nature of reality is much more complicated and based on consciousness, of which nobody quite understands and we cannot build scientific models to test the very notion of reality. Very different topics.

That’s part of what science does. But we have figured out a lot of stuff! And those things that have been most rigorously tested and examined are worth holding on to, i.e. the theory of evolution.

Oh? I mean the theory of evolution has a lot of parts to it, including many different genetic processes, it’s very complex!

No. No. No. No. No. This is not how science is done. IF ANYONE has a better explanation, a better model AND this model actually makes predictions and is testable- if it outperform the theory of evolution-- NOBEL Prize time! That person goes down in history as one of the greatest scientists ever!!! Really I mean this. If someone comes up with an actual scientific explanation that fits the data better, IT WILL become the new paradigm in town. I hope that if anything, you can at least perhaps broaden your perspective on this point.

I don’t look at quantum phenomena in either way. But not matter.

It’s not my blog but I appreciate it.

I think all in all your perspective is very similar to many here. Perhaps the only distinction is what represented a more foundational understanding then. I would argue that a scientific theory is not even close to the same playing field as what is thought of as God’s action in the world from a classic Christian perspective and thus can/should never be in conflict with the classic Christian notion of the hand of God or God’s handiwork in creation.

The Appendix/Cave Fish Eyes/Etc. are (NOT) vestigial
(George Brooks) #81

I hear you, @Ashwin_s, but you cannot simply refuse to use the term we use, without giving me an acceptable term that you WILL use.

So, are you or are you not going to cooperate with this rather crucial request?

(George Brooks) #82

No sir… all you are doing is “submerging us” into someone else’s terms and usage.
I think you should re-evaluate your stubborn fixation with ONE of the dictionary meanings of Evolution.
The whole point of English is to use qualifiers when you want to augment the meaning of something.
The fact you think “God Guided” cannot be appended to “Evolution” in order to clarify the use of the term on these boards suggests that there are all sorts of things you will refuse to acknowledge as well.

cc: @jpm

(Ashwin S) #83

Hi Brooks,

You asked for a term to describe what you believe. I honestly think Old earth creationism is the best fit…
I am not describing what bio logos believes. I heard it’s a big tent.

(George Brooks) #84

It’s a big tent, @Ashwin_s… but it’s a big tent where speciation, common descent and natural selection is built into the decorations and snacks.

Your unwillingness to allow a term to be modified with qualifiers would be like me saying: “Creationism NEVER means Old Earth”… so every time you “Old Earth Creationism”, I will insist on interpreting it to mean something that happened 6000 years ago… no matter how many times you try to explain it to me differently.

I’m not impressed with your capacity for insight. See you next resurrection.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #85

29 posts were split to a new topic: The Appendix is (NOT) vestigial

(Ashwin S) #86

Hi Brooks,

As you wish.

I don’t know anyone who would include miracles in the process of evolution and still call it evolution…

Sorry I can’t digest that.

God bless.

(George Brooks) #87

quote=“Ashwin_s, post:86, topic:38275”]
I don’t know anyone who would include miracles in the process of evolution and still call it evolution…

Sorry I can’t digest that.


We don’t call it Evolution. We qualify the term… just like thousands of non-profit groups do when they develop a new concept.

God-Guided-Evolution is even “self-explanatory”. Your alternative, Old Earth Creationism, is patently inappropriate. So if this is the best you can do… I would say it is not good enough to qualify yourself to discuss science with me.

Just so you understand: the phrase “Old Earth Creationism” is a qualified definition of what used to be Creationism. Do you walk into their building and tell them you won’t recognize the use of the phrase… because Creationism (before the rise of Geology) ALWAYS meant 6 days of Creation?

Here’s a list of qualified terminology used by Philosophers regarding categories of knowledge and logic:
Analytic-synthetic distinction
Descriptive knowledge
Epistemic modal logic
Inductive inference
Inductive probability
Philosophical skepticism
Procedural knowledge

Would you tell them they have it all wrong… none of these words can be qualified to mean something new?

Or how about these terms, qualified to mean something new and specific:

A priori and a posteriori knowledge
Empirical evidence
Experiential knowledge
Explicit knowledge
Libre knowledge
Procedural knowledge

Or this typology:
Common knowledge
Domain knowledge
Mutual knowledge
Traditional knowledge
Traditional ecological knowledge

Mannn… the Definition Police are really going to have full jails after they are done with these folks…


What fools these people are, right @Ashwin_s

They are using these words in ways completely different from how the constituent terms
are defined… and they think they are accomplishing something … if only you had been
there early enough to explain to them where they went wrong!

The list below includes all these, and other, influential schools of thought in psychology:

Activity-oriented approach
Analytical psychology
Anomalistic psychology
Behaviorism (see also radical behaviorism)
Behavioural genetics
Biological psychology
Biopsychosocial model
Cultural-historical psychology
Depth psychology
Descriptive psychology
Developmental psychology
Ecological psychology
Ecological systems theory
Ego psychology
Environmental psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Existential psychology
Experimental analysis of behavior - the school descended from B.F. Skinner’s work.
Gestalt psychology
Gestalt therapy
Humanistic psychology
Individual psychology
Industrial psychology
Liberation psychology
Organismic psychology
Organizational psychology
Phenomenological psychology
Process Psychology
Radical behaviorism - often considered a school of philosophy, not psychology.
Psychology of self
Social psychology (sociocultural psychology)
Strength-based practice
Systems psychology
Transactional analysis
Transpersonal psychology

(George Brooks) #89

And that, @pevaquark, is the perfect explanation of what our dear Mr. A refuses to accept.

(Ashwin S) #93


I read the article you cited. Even the author does not seem sure that evolution can be falsified. It had this big disclaimer and more information about what does not count as a disqualified.
His main theme seems to be the idea that if a trait is seen to appear before the necessary precursors, it would falsify evolution.
I disagree. I can think of a few things that would falsify the following theories of evolution-
Neo Darwinism- If it’s established that random mutations cannot bring the novelty required for speciation/development of new classes. That would put this theory into question.
Common descent- If it’s proven that the first life consisted of several types of single cell organisms that “evolved” from the pre-biotic soup. It should falsify common descent.

However both the above scenarios would fail to falsify the larger view of evolution… But then … Is it worth calling it a theory. Wouldn’t philosophy fit better?

Edit: a trait appearing before the necessary precursors also would not falsify evolution because of the concept of convergent evolution. Theoretically, it would not falsify the overall idea.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #95

Rats. It seems that there is something lacking here… what could it be? I think I’m going to have to go with the fact that there are a lot of different possible ways to get new function! The good ole random mutation is just one part of many (gene duplication, whole genome duplication, frameshift mutation, ERV insertion, lateral transfer in certain bacteria was it, plus many many more).

Ashwin- you have to know what goes into to this massive explanatory network of ideas. I have no idea what you are trying to say regarding abiogenesis. Can you clarify? Also, regardless of what happens with abiogenesis, that has nothing to do at all with the very strong evidence for common descent.

I do hope that you can become more familiar with why and how scientists actually came to the conclusion that the theory of evolution accurately describes at least the natural world very well. While I am not endorsing the author of this blog, I think this one has actually a nice article that hopefully makes a little more sense on how to argue against evolution:

Unfortunately Science Daily can get a little… how shall I say… well they can write ‘pop science’/borderline ‘click-bait’ from time to time. I apologize for my presumption though! Certainly though a proposal of the appendix serving a ‘critical function’ for humans is blatantly false. It is still vestigial for humans in the sense that it serves a fraction of its original purpose! If you do genuinely try to read science papers and well written science books by real scientists then good for you! Consider me impressed. I do apologize for questioning you which I did because your arguments sound word for word like most anti-evolution material that I see.

(George Brooks) #98

Wow… here we are in the very bowels of truth, the inner heart of the non-vestigial
“Appendix” of BioLogos… and what do we read in this thread, circling the drain
while the eyes bleed…

That Evolution is “random” - - according to who? - - disputing with a visiting Creationist
who refuses to engage in any discussion where the premise includes God using
Evolution to create life forms.

Is this some kind of delusional “intra-dimensional” world as depicted by Heironymous Bosch?

Perhaps when birds fly out of my pants somebody will eventually consider how well
we would be served if there was some Mission Statement that defended God’s integral
role in directing the Evolution of Humanity - - as well as all the Evolution of all the
other life on Earth.

Next year! … in Zion.

(GJDS) #103


I have to admire your persistence, especially on this site that accepts evolution as “ordained” or such expressions.

However I would make two points that may be related to your comments.

  1. Biology is probably more complicated that physics and chemistry, and I am not surprised if the current theory of evolution appears inadequate to some scientists, as myself.
  2. Intelligence as a way of obtaining a very broad outlook (and I think in neo-platonic thought) has been recognised and invoked for thousands of years. I think ID advocates have made a fundamental mistake in promoting ID as a scientific discipline. Neo-platonic philosophy, when incorporated into theology, ends up with pantheism among other things - so I think ID advocates need to exercise care regarding their outlook/belief wrt Orthodox doctrine.