New Study Suggests that Life Exploded on Earth After Slow Rise of Oxygen


Some of us here who read Steven Meyer’s response in; Clarifying Issues: My Response to the BioLogos Series Reviewing “Darwin Doubt”, would do well to recall his words in paragraph four of his piece;

“Recall that Darwin’s Doubt argues that intelligent design provides the best explanation for the origin of the genetic (and epigenetic) information necessary to produce the novel forms of animal life that arose in the Cambrian period. In making this case, I show first that neither the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations, nor more recently-proposed mechanisms of evolutionary change (species selection, self-organization, neutral evolution, natural genetic evolution, etc.—see Darwin’s Doubt Chapters 15-16) are sufficient to generate the biological information that arises in the Cambrian period. Instead, I show—based upon our uniform and repeated experience—that only intelligent agents have demonstrated the power to generate the kind of functional information that is present in biological systems (and that arises with the Cambrian animals). Thus, I conclude that the action of a designing intelligence provides the best (“most causally adequate”) explanation for the origin of that information.”

I look forward to 2016 as being a good year for science, BioLogos, and evolutionary creationism. Hopefully, this new study, paves the road to put Intelligent Design to rest.

Don’t miss the connection—this is the same Cambrian Period (541 to 485.4 million years ago) that Meyer gives precedence to Intelligent Design!

Thanks @Patrick—I found the article when I looked over your link on Religion and Politics.

P.S. I recall I was disappointed that Stephen Meyer didn’t respond to my comment. In going back to the blog, to copy this fourth paragraph, I decided to scroll down to the comments section. To my surprise (perhaps I shouldn’t have been) I noticed that Meyer didn’t reply to a single member of the BioLogos forum who took the time and effort to read his article and prepare a comment for him—@Bilbo, @Jon_Garvey, @GJDS, @Tony, @Gerald_Rau, @Wayne, @loujost, @Larry_Bunce. Unless he had a good reason for not replying to anyone’s comment I will say—a real class act!

I just noticed @Patrick already posted on this subject. Perhaps some discourse can be had here as well.

I wish everyone the best for the new year and beyond. Happy New Year to all.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2


Thank you for bringing this study to our attention again.

You are right. It points not to genetic changes for the explosion of life, but to an ecological change which caused the explosion of life. Before I was wondering about the cause of the oxygenation of the oceans, but then I noticed that it was plankton which caused this change.

Here is a great example of how one kind of life makes living possible for other kinds of life. Indeed this is God’s ecological design which drives evolution. People support the old genetic Darwinian model at the risk of standing in the way of increasing our ecological understanding of how God’s Creation works. This applies to ID as well as neoDarwinians.



Hi Roger,

We’ve already discussed in many other threads how ecological (environmental) change drives genetic change (neo Darwinism) through imposed pressures on organisms to adapt to the changing circumstances. In the process some organisms don’t adapt to these changes and are not selected for survival (natural selection). Nature selects for fitness (survival of the fittest) to adapt to the ecological changes. In many circumstances competition is a fact that is readily observable as organisms struggle for scarce resources and preferred niches.

The facts of the new study; “Life exploded on earth after slow rise of oxygen,” doesn’t change anything concerning the mechanisms regarding ecological changes, neo Darwinism, and natural selection. The new understanding of oxygen levels and consequent explosion of life is but conclusive evidence for the cause of the Cambrian Explosion. The evidence spells out the overthrow of Steven Meyer’s theory of intelligent agency for the same Cambrian Explosion. This is a very dark day for the Intelligent Design movement. It’s as simple as that. This reminds me of the song from Abba—[The Winner Takes it all][1]. Agnetha Fältskog is superbly beautiful and fascinating here.

Happy New Year, Roger.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4


First of all to view science and theology as a competition with winners and losers is the point of view which caused this whole pointless debate in the first place.

Yes, it is true that ecological evolution means that God does not guide evolution in the way ID says God did. However it does say that God guides evolution because God created and guides theology. Therefore the victory for ID is not a scientific victory, but a theological one. They are correct, God does guide evolution in a scientifically detectable manner, through ecology. This is what @Eddie is looking for, but not the way he expected to find it.

Yes, it is true that Darwin was correct in that Nature guides evolution through Natural Selection, but that kind of Natural Selection is very different from the survival of the fittest that he and others envisioned. Darwin did not get the science right, and neoDarwinism in the form of Dawkins & Dennett have pounced on that problem to say that evolution is unguided. Please so not overlook and underestimate the power of the Selfish Gene.

Please do not use ecological evolution as a club to beat up on ID. That is wrong and it gives comfort to those who claim that evolution is unguided and without purpose, which is false.

Science and theology have no winners or losers, Everyone wins when we better understand how nature works and everyone wins when we better understand Who God is and how God creates in this universe.

Also we do not have the time and energy to argue about who is a winner or loser… We need to apply our understanding of the ecology right now to prevent our abuse of God’s world from causing our doom, to save us from our sinful selves.

Happy New Year, Tony and All.



Hi Roger… thank you for your response.

Actually, what caused this whole debate in the first place (which is not pointless in the very least) is the initial biblical act of murder—Cain’s crime (sin) in the murder of his brother Abel. Whether we take this account as a true historical event, or, as symbolically representing violent crime (sin) in general, the fact remains—this is the central point of debate. The competition between winners and losers begins here. Why? Because understanding everything else in the biblical narrative is bound up and associated with this one event: the question of who, or what, God is, the question of freewill and determinism, the responsibility of Adam and Eve, the reason for sacrificial atonement, the teaching and preparation of God’s kingdom, and the foresight of a final judgment. Genesis 3:15 states, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Scripture is clearly referring to the serpent and to Eve here, however, the meaning must be correctly interpreted—there is no enmity between snakes and women (nor do spirit beings exist or speak through serpents—except in dreams and the like!) A more plausible interpretation of the text may be that the enmity expressed here is between Cain and his seed, and Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son) and his seed. This would make sense because scripture tells us that God set a mark upon Cain [the mark of the beast]—the character profile of the psychopath (Genesis 4:11-15, Revelation 13:15-18). With this argument we could consider the possibility that Cain’s family is still among us today, as would be confirmed by new insights about the global flood story being a myth—the flood story that only Noah’s family survived would be taken as an attempt to fabricate the idea that Cain’s family was exterminated. Of course through insertion and inclusion over millennia certain family lines would become accepted and part of other peoples and nations. Therefore, in my humblest and honest opinion the competition between winners and losers is not between science and theology neither, but between the truth and fallacy that exist in both science and theology—because those with [the mark of the beast] exist in both camps. As scripture tells us, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” This passage reveals that there is no racial or social divide where the psychopath is found. As such, no biased judgment on any race or social group should be incurred. Appropriately, then, by “the winner takes it all,” I am referring to truth, honesty, and justice—in my opinion the Intelligent Design movement is preventing this truth, honesty, and justice from being revealed and accomplished, as is readily visible (through their nakedness) by how diligently and persistently they attempt to circumvent this revelation, and escape, elude, evade, and outwit any and all attempts to answer questions in relation to their philosophical and theological position. And please… don’t get me wrong. I don’t like to, or find any pleasure whatsoever in judging anyone. I live by Jesus Christ’s two commandments myself. We all have the responsibility to abide by the specific laws of the societies we come from. And ultimately, we are all accountable to the Higher Self (the Inner Voice) that exists within each and every one of us.

I am glad to see that we are in agreement that God does not guide evolution in the way ID says. However, it is wrong to say, “God guides evolution because God created and guides theology,” since evolution was at work for eons before God created theology.

Per se, I don’t believe ID has had any victory whatsoever, scientifically or theologically, except for setting the stage for debate between the scientific community, itself, and other creationist groups. So there definitely is a victory there for sure. And yes, they are correct, God does guide evolution in a scientifically detectable manner, through ecology, however, this factor was already scientifically understood (the nature vs. nurture debate). Concerning victory John states, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Revelation 15:2) [Emphasis Mine]. As for Eddie… it would seem he will have to update his worldview.

The phrase “survival of the fittest” was invented by Herbert Spencer in Principles of Biology (1864) to describe Darwin’s theory of natural selection of living species. It was by the early 1900s that it was being transferred to other areas. Therefore, I’m not certain why you say that Darwin did not get the science right?

Terms like, “the environment drives,” and, “nature guides,” can be deceptive in meaning and interpretation. Therefore, to be more precise, terms such as, “the environment influences,” and “nature causes,” would better express the specific intended meaning—although, we do like the anthropomorphization. Drive suggests; to cause and guide the movement of (a vehicle, an animal, etc.): “to drive a car; to drive a mule.” Guide implies continuous presence or agency in showing or indicating a course: “to guide a traveler.” This is why certain philosophers and biologists don’t use the term “guided” for evolution.

Moreover, many make the accusation that Dawkins and Dennett do not subscribe to the idea of meaning, purpose and goals in evolution. Well… contrarily to these accusations the very beginning of this discussion between Dawkins and Dennett prove the accusations wrong. The full discussion is very interesting, but at the end, on the deck, it is quite telling indeed as Dawkins and Dennett both praise Yahuwah and experience spiritual gratitude. At the very end Dennett says, “The universe is so wonderful on its own it doesn’t need a boss, it doesn’t need a creator, the fact that it can in effect create itself is wonderful enough.” I hear echoes of panentheism… don’t you hear it? The Judeo-Christian tradition begins once man develops consciousness.

Here is a link where Richard Dawkins admits that he should have called his book, “The Immortal Gene” instead of “The Selfish Gene.” In brief Dawkins explains the meaning of the selfish gene—how successful and unsuccessful genes are dependent upon how successful they are at reproducing themselves and building bodies that will pass on those genes. I for one am content, appreciate my genes, and consider myself “blessed by God” that my genes were good at this process. How about you Roger? You can’t tell us that you are not content, that you appreciate your genes, and consider yourself “blessed by God” that your genes were good at this process? Or can you? In any case, this is a very short clip, but there is a link at the end for the full event.

Roger, you are overlooking something very fundamental regarding this issue. To correctly apply our understanding of the ecology to reverse the damage that we (as a species) have caused our beautiful planet we need to argue about who is a winner and who is a loser. Those who do not get victory over the beast will consequently continue to damage the environment, society at large, and the close ones they associate with. To repeat again, all biblical revelation, including the issue of origins, is bound up and associated with the central point concerning the psychological state of the first human family.


(system) #6

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