Series reviewing Douglas Axe's Undeniable

(Phil) #22

Without a slippery slope, the Winter Olympics would be pretty boring.

(Jay Johnson) #23

Down the slippery slope, where atheism waits at the bottom!

(Curtis Henderson) #24

I found it rather interesting that he apparently didn’t know a single detail of who would be writing and when he would be able to respond. These are the kinds of details I would insist upon before participating.

I had a moment of incredulity myself when reading Axe’s response. I found this quote telling:

“My claim is that you don’t need to be able to follow technical arguments about genes and proteins and mutations in order to understand why Darwin’s explanation of life can’t possibly be correct.”

  1. Actually, I think it would be necessary to understand an argument before effectively refuting it.
  2. As other’s have mentioned, he calls it “Darwin’s explanation” as though the scientific evidence compiled in the last 150 years is meaningless. I have never heard anyone suggest that genetics “can’t possibly be correct” because of the insufficiency of “Mendel’s explanation”.

Axe is flat-out damaging the credibility of Christians in science.

(Stephen Matheson) #25

I feel your pain, and I used to worry about damage done to Christian credibility by the Discovery Institute. It’s certainly true that the DI makes Christianity look bad. But I’m not sure that Axe’s disavowal of scientific thought, or his consistently misleading statements about science and his critics, will affect the specific credibility of “Christians in science.”

I say this because I just don’t see any attention being paid to Axe or the DI in the scientific community. He’s publishing silly papers in a vanity journal that isn’t indexed in PubMed or Scopus. Neither he nor any other DI scholar seems to attend scientific conferences or engage in even the most rudimentary interaction with the scientific community. It really does seem that the DI is solely a small group of political apologists with a platform that just doesn’t reach science. Unlike Ken Ham and his apparatus, which can make the news by virtue of bizarre spectacle, Axe and the DI are irrelevant.

They can do damage by keeping lots of people in the dark, and Christians should worry about that. But in my opinion and in my not-so-limited experience, mainstream scientists know that Christians can do good work. Axe is long gone, and so is Ken Ham, but [content removed by moderators]. Again, just my opinion.

(T J Runyon) #26

I’m very happy to see this book finally getting attention. I’ve come across it at the library and have considered picking it up but with my own priorities and I hate to say, a low of opinion of Axe, I haven’t picked it up. Glad I came across this

(T J Runyon) #27

Does anyone have the link to the intro of this series? Can’t track it down. And after reading Axe’s definition of functional coherence, it seems a lot like irreducible complexity. Did anyone else get that feeling?

(Brad Kramer) #28

Just FYI, it’s virtually certain that Axe himself is reading this thread, so posts should be written as if he’s in the room. In other words, focus on the ideas, not the person.

(Curtis Henderson) #29

Thanks, Brad, I certainly hope he is.

(T J Runyon) #30

Just to be clear, when I said I have a low opinion of Axe I meant of his previous work not of him as a person.


In calculus terms, approaching but not completely ‘zero’ attention. At least from a poll of biological and chemical science colleagues where I work. It mainly holds a tiny niche comprised of those who follow the evolution / creation debate as a hobby.


Exactly. The group of people least likely to dismiss Christians because of Axe are scientists because they have interacted with Christian scientists and know that they are good scientists (or at least no better or worse than non-Christian scientists). I would suspect that the vast majority of scientists don’t even really consider the religious faith of their peers when they are interacting on a professional level. The focus is on the science.

(Stephen Matheson) #33

This is such an important point, and I hope that it sinks in. I am not saying that the scientific community includes no bigots or thoughtless jerks, nor am I claiming that no Christian has ever been unfairly tainted by association with other believers who have attacked or rejected science. But it is hard to overstate the magnitude of irrelevance of religious belief in the assessment of scientific merit. This irrelevance seems, in my experience, to mirror the irrelevance of the DI.

So, my advice to discouraged Christians reading Axe’s words with alarm: yes, it’s a problem that so many Christians reject science. Work on that problem. But don’t worry about whether you, as a Christian scientist, will be marginalized by non-Christian scientists because you share a faith with apologists who work to undermine science. As we say in biology, “That’s not how that works.”


And as noted in an earlier thread, it’s really not about the science. It’s about the interpretation of Scripture.

(Curtis Henderson) #35

Thanks for your input, gentlemen, I just may feel comfortable enough to dismount from my high horse now.

(T J Runyon) #36

Dennis, I’m glad you linked Torley’s review. I have never encountered it. As I was reading it something stood out. James Tour answered his wasn’t qualified to answer the origin of life questions. Which is fine. No big deal. But I’ve recentley read a post on evolution news that refers to Tour as a leading origin of life researcher. As far as I know he doesn’t do OOL research. If i remember correctly he is a synthetic chemist who does work with nanotechnology. But for the sake of the arguments let grant he does do OOL research. What kind of leading researcher is unqualified to answer questions about the OOL? More misleading statements by ID proponents?

(T J Runyon) #37

I’d like to see you address his point about IDPs. This is something I’ve only recently started paying attention to so I’m not able to judge his arguments on my own

(Matthew Pevarnik) #38

Maybe start here: or just his wikipedia page: I think that James Tour, and perhaps he might appear his himself which would be lovely is a dream come true for the ID movement. He is a well published scientist who is on the list of those who dissent from Darwinism, as if a few dissenting scientists somehow really defines what science is and is not.

In general, a scientific theory is not judged based upon what Bob or Jill (or Steve) think is true, but rather what unifying ideas and principles actually work and describe reality. There are scientists who disagree with every idea and that’s certainly fine (a neat example is Emergent Gravity which is an attempt to explain the cosmos without dark matter). It is a clever solution to an unknown of science but his idea will be judged vs. reality. Over time, if it is a good idea, it will begin to win over other scientists and eventually become part of the established body of scientific knowledge.

A movement that claims “neener-neener, you can’t explain something about the natural world and I know what really happened…” and by what really happened this movement really means is “there is an invisible being that interacts via unknown mechanisms that cannot be explained or used to make any other predictions that has exactly the attributes of the deity I think is the right one and this is a better explanation than the ridiculous faith required to think science can explain stuff.”

(Bill Wald) #39

Darwin’s theory was not about a-biogenesis. It was about living things already in existence.

(Peaceful Science) #40

As long as we are discussing Doug Axe. Don’t forget @vjtorley’s contribution to the conversation…

(Peaceful Science) #41

Totally agree.