The Second Law (and Discovery Institute) Defeat Evolution Once Again


Reminds me of this infamous cartoon:


Math may not be science, but science relies heavily on math. While nothing in biology makes sense without evolution . . . nothing in science makes sense without math, and statistics in particular. Data points are useless without error bars, and hypothesis testing makes no sense without statistical tests.

(Chris Falter) #83

I’ll make you a deal, Ashwin.

You provide the mechanism that explains how Jesus healed the sick and raise the dead. Once you do that, I will provide the mechanism that allows us to discern God’s providential involvement in the evolution of life.


Grace and peace,

(Phil) #84

As an engineering friend of mine was fond of saying, “If you can’t put a number on it, it is just an opinion.”

(Mark D.) #85

At that point I’d be tempted to start numbering my opinions. :wink:


Of course, I’m not disdaining math. That is precisely the point, something can be reliable even without being science, like math, history and to some degree philosophy (although the quality control mechanisms on that are abismally less efficient than in math). The fact that so many ID proponents are so desperate to label it as science (instead of calling it philosophy, for instance, which I would agree, although bad philosophy) only show that they don’t think it can stand on its own without that label.

(Ashwin S) #87

In that case, MrT shouldn’t have any problem with ID…
Because that’s what it amounts to…

“Evolutionary” processes are unguided natural processes. Its the same as saying God created life by guiding unguided natural processes.Its a self contradiction.

I made an observation. I don’t think anyone will deny that a considerable part of evolutionary biology is story telling. Its a major part of any historical science. That’s why they use props like drawings using an artists imagination. When it comes to communication to the general public, the role of good story telling is even more prominent.
My observation is that sometimes they get carried away and get biased towards particular just so stories. like lightning striking ponds and creating life… or natural selection designing new features and so on. And forget the empirical evidence.

The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process. The commonly accepted alternative is Neo-Darwinism, which is clearly naturalistic science but ignores much contemporary molecular evidence and invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis. Many scientists today see the need for a deeper and more complete exploration of all aspects of the evolutionary process.

Below, you will find a list of researchers and authors who have, in one way or another, expressed their concerns regarding natural selection’s scope and who believe that other mechanisms are essential for a comprehensive understanding of evolutionary processes. Those listed below have consented for themselves and their work to be featured on this website. If you would like to join or if you would like to recommend someone, please use the Contact page to send us relevant information. Please include links to materials that show that you or the person you are recommending have made substantial contribution to empirical or conceptual work on alternative ideas of the evolutionary process, its history or philosophy.The site is open to established scholars in the sciences, philosophy, history and related humanities who have published work related to THE THIRD WAY.

The big names in the list are : JA Shapiro, D Noble, Eva Jablonka,Gerd B Muller,Eugene Koonin,Eviatar Nevo, Corrado Spadafora, Frantisek Baluska etc etc…

There is difference between being genetically related and related by descent. Tomorrow, if someone puts a human beings DNA in a tree, the tree and human would be genetically related. They definitely would not be related by descent. This is same as LGT, ERVs, Symbiosis etc. All these phenomenon undercut descent and point to something like Shapiro’s natural genetic engineering.
The main difference between a network and a tree is that a network is unrooted… i,e no part of it can be pointed out as the origin and there is no direction it is pointing to/moving towards. The more the tree disappears and is replaced by a network, the more impossible it becomes to point to any one species as a common ancestor.

Natural selection is supposed to be a part of the natural processes that regulates novelty. It does not produce any novelty. And that is why its scope is limited.

Right now, a scientific idea that fits the data better than random mutaion ,drift etc + natural selction is Sahpiro’s “natural genetic engineering proposal”. Another way to look at the same phenomenon is the common goods theory. The problem with both ideas is that though it describes the sequence of change well, it doesn’t really account for how genetic novelty ultimately came to be. However its in the right direction.
Of course these ideas are nascent and need further development. Atleast its closer to the data available.
I dont see NS playing a role beyond adaptation and a pruning of traits. Mutation is probably an overall negative in its contribution to change (i.e it destroys function rather than creating any new function).
As our genes show, we not only inherited traits… we also got them laterally… and even most of teh inherited traits were acquired laterally… A good example is Placenta in mammals, and photosynthesis in Plants.

I was an agnostic/athiest when i first came to this conclusion. So my theological leanings didnt support my conclusion.

Can you elaborate. I am not aware of any premises i borrowed from any theology…

yes… if they did not win all the time, no one would buy the lottery. Any successful lottery is designed in such a way that someone wins!.
Pls have a relook at the probability calculations.Here is an interesting article on the issue.

With the no: of tickets sold, its very likely someone will win!..
Let me make a prediction.
If the probability of atleast one person winning a lottery (per lot) is less that 20%, the lottery will fail as a business.
Lotteries are designed to be won. Are you suggesting the same for life? That the universe is rigged for life to emerge somewhere or the other?

Their math was for origin of life … which is what i was talking about.

The problem is that these genes were not acquired by “descent through modification”.
If you equate evolution to “natural causes”, then its not a problem for evolution… But it will then become an unfalsifiable idea.

The discussion on probability with respect to thermodynamics starts with Origins of life… And hence it s relevant.
Panspermia is the materialistic equivalent of special creation and equally untestable… so why is it “science”… is the requirement testabiity or adherence to a philosophy of materialism?
I could ask the same about the multiverse… but that would be a different topic.

“ID proponents” do publish papers you know… their results are categorized as unreliable purely based on materialistic bias.
As to math.Its status is so high purely because the universe is inherently logical. Its a problem for materialism of you stop to think about it.

Read the bible… its called faith and the power of God…
Now if thats your reason for believing in Evolution… pls show me your source of revelation.

(Chris Falter) #88

Planetary motion as described by physics is not guided by God…unless you equate God with gravitational force.

Please consider that the orbits of Jupiter’s moons eventually become intrinsically unpredictable at a certain time distance because gravitational tensors cannot operate at distances lower than the Planck unit. So quantum uncertainty yields orbit predictions that are random and probabilistic, even though they are calculated using the macro force of gravity.

Rain as described by meteorology is not guided by God.

Radioactive decay as described by quantum physics is a random process that is not guided by God. But it can be described by a Poisson distribution.

The emission of a photon is described by quantum physics as a random, probabilistic phenomenon.

There is nothing special about evolution. Every scientific discipline relies on methodological naturalism, and many of them, not just biology, explicitly model “natural” processes in a random, probabilistic fashion.

Faith and the power of God. The Bible is my source of revelation that God is sovereign over the universe and providentially upholds all of its function. Those functions include rain, radioactive decay, gravity, DNA recombination, gene flow, and genetic mutation…even though they are not specifically enumerated in the Scripture.

You agree with me that radioactive decay, photon emission, genetic mutation and gene flow are subject to God’s sovereignty and providence, do you not?

Grace and peace,

(Ashwin S) #89

Planetary motion is not guided by God.God is not gravity.
Gravity is probably an emergent phenomenon related to quantum physics as you mention…
This is good science.
If Biology could procide a well defined scientific explanation for variety in life, i would be very happy with it. I just don’t see evolution as particularly well defined or having much explanatory value beyond tautologies and chance events… Its not a theological statement i am making.

Again… so what?

Whats special about evolution is that unlike other sciences it gives really lame excuse as an explanation.

I agree God is sovereign based on faith.
I will take each scientific explanation for natural phenomenon based on its scientific merit. Agreeing to one explanation does not mean i have to agree to all.
Is that hard to understand…
Scientific consensus need not be equal to truth.
Evolutionary explanations involving NS, random mutations etc do not make sense to me beyond a limit. I ma not the only guy saying that. its a number that’s increasing day by day even among secular scientists.

(Steve Schaffner) #90

Humans and trees are already genetically related, and specifically related by common descent. That’s my point: all of the DNA swapping in the world doesn’t change the fact that we share common ancestors with all living things. We may get our DNA from those ancestors by multiple routes, but we still descend from them. Whether the relationship is set in a tree or a bush, we’re still related.

No, they don’t undercut common descent in the slightest. As I said, if you think they do, you simply do not understand what’s being discussed. And no, they don’t point to something like Shapiro’s natural genetic engineering, and concept which seems to have persuaded no one but Shapiro. They point to LGT, ERVs, symbiosis, etc.

Sure, but rooted trees also don’t have a direction they’re moving toward. My main point, however, is that neither a rooted tree nor an unrooted network look anything at all like creationism. They look like the product of a more complicated evolutionary process.

No, natural selection is supposed to be part of the processes by which novelty comes into being.

(Ashwin S) #91

By that logic. Even if human beings create a life form in the future using existing genetic material… it would be related to all other living organisms…
This is true… but has nothing to do with common descent…

Even biologists will agree that LGT,ERVs,Gene duplication etc is different from common descent and points to a different pattern. Common descent implies genes are transmitted vertically… Horizontal transmission of genes definitely undercuts common descent.

Thats an assumption based on faith in evolution… not facts.

This is a misunderstanding. Natural selection comes into play only after novelty arises.
Natural selection works on existing variation in traits. It does not create new traits.

(Jay Johnson) #92

Maybe you should check out @glipsnort’s background before you start telling him what biologists think:

This seems to be the bottom line.

(Ashwin S) #93

I was referring to biology papers i read and opinions of other biologists.And what i said is true

Even biologists will agree that LGT,ERVs,Gene duplication etc is different from common descent and points to a different pattern

If Mr Stephen Schaffner actually believes that HGTs,ERVs etc are the same as common descent, then it would be a very novel view.
I am surprised that inspite of being a biologists he claims Natural selection creates novelties as opposed to selecting from existing traits.
Thats biology 101.
@glipsnort: Or did you want to say something else and i misunderstood?
Edit: While you are at it, perhaps you can explain how Natural selection creates genetic novelty.

(Jay Johnson) #94

There you go. When you have an actual expert on the line, maybe it’s a good idea to ask some questions and learn something, rather than telling him he doesn’t understand his own field of study.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #95

Regarding @Chris_Falter’s assertion that planets or rain are just as apparently lacking in God’s guidance as evolution would be. You responded …

So I’m curious about your theology of nature, Ashwin. Were the psalmists and prophets just fibbing then, when they describe God as sending the sun and the rain?

Or do you see it rather as God letting things follow their own courses mostly but then stepping in every now and then to nudge a cloud or two because Tobias prayed for rain in western Nebraska? This would be an ‘almost Deistic’ God who isn’t absent all the time but just most of the time. Where would you put yourself on the Deism-to-fully involved theism scale, then?

(GJDS) #96

I have read a few comments and from these I get the impression that arguments are made regarding molecular chemical reactions and entropy. I add just a couple of points - a chemical reaction inevitably faces a barrier (energy) to reaction that must be overcome (external energy, temp and such would supply this), and the final products would be (generally) more stable than the reactants (energy is given out). But Gibbs has shown that both enthalpy and entropy terms are applicable - for any reaction. To give an example, there are systems such as hydrophilic solid/liquid interphases where water molecules are displaced, given and increase in entropy, and this may be sufficient ot drive a reaction in the solid phase, when otherwise it may not be energetically favourable.

(GJDS) #97

This is a deep theological subject and I think Aquinas is probably the best reference - God is the one who gives existence and ultimately He determines all activity, but this is not simple “stepping in to give a nudge”.

(George Brooks) #98


So who in I.D. would you recommend I contact to discuss our shared ideas of
Speciation by means of Mutation + Natural Selection + Comment Descent with Modification?

You have come to the end of the road with this particular assertion. You reject the Scientific model for Evolutionary (because it is random) and you reject any attempt to provide a Theological Interpretation of Evolution [ by adding God’s teleology ] because it doesn’t agree with the Scientific interpretation.

You are playing both ends against the middle so that you can be right - - which just makes you wrong twice over.

(Ashwin S) #99

I did ask a question on what he meant.

I didn’t tell him he doesn’t understand his field of study. Just pointed to how the university of Berkeley defined natural selection.
He might be referring to how natural selection cause new traits to add up in a particular direction. However, whether this actually creates novelty is a question which different biologists answer differently.

I see the laws of nature as laws that are sustained by God at a very basic level (perhaps at a quantum level). I don’t know enough how to explain it… and don’t try.
However I see the laws themselves as consistent except for rare incidents in history.
This is not a contradiction as the laws themselves are emergent phenomenon of how molecules behave at a quantum level… And I believe God’s consciousness interacts with matter to maintain reality.

As I have mentioned before, its not theology that excludes random natural processes in creation. It’s evolution as a science which excludes interruption from God and yet is not sufficient in itself to explain how diversity arose.
When a theory makes a claim… I take it seriously. Evolution claims to be unguided by an intelligent agency.
I wouldn’t call any guided process evolution, or even evolutionary.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #100

I actually follow and more-or-less agree with all this, although, like you I’m not dogmatic about it, and certainly agree that quantum level stuff is “over the horizon” from my comprehension anyway.

And even though I begin to disagree with the next words, I certainly understand why you think so:

Certainly there have been popular purveyors of evolution (often anti-religious types) who are happy to sing the “God is not here” song for this or that scientific theory, it is beyond me why you recognize only their narrow, provincial “authority” to make such pronouncements. I simply won’t follow you into that imaginary world.

That said, though, you are technically correct that not everything is explained (if that is how I may interpret your “…is not sufficient in itself to explain how diversity arose.”) Of course if “explaining everything” is how high the bar must be, then gravity and everything else must fail the same test too, and pretty much all science written off as unsettled.

(Mark D.) #101

Natural selection describes the manner in which the new genetic combinations (some with mutated novelty) are voted up or down in terms of fitting the local conditions. I’m no scientist but I wouldn’t expect the feedback of the environment to initiate any novelty. It would simply select for any new ideas that were advantageous.

But don’t forget that another key ingredient in getting all the fabulous variability of form we find in nature is (literally) eons and eons of time. I’m sure you are aware of the manner in which a small change in the right DNA can result in dramatic change in number or scale of the parts assembled in a developing embryo (the devo half of evodevo). Baby steps given lots of time can result in plenty of novelty. Here for your amusement is a simulation greatly accelerated.