Re: Stereotypes and reputations

From: Cornelius Hunter <>
Date: Wed Aug 03 2005 - 05:05:26 EDT

Answering Pim, Michael, and Glenn:


You wrote: "CD is a fact ..." So I guess we should ignore the mountain of evidence against it.

Regarding the marsupial and placental wolves, you mentioned that their differences are quite extensive. Indeed, and another set of designs that sport even greater difference is the pentadactyl pattern across the various species. Yet they are used as evidence for evolution. Designs that can be used in support of common descent, as homologies, are said to be similar despite their significant differences; and designs that cannot be used to support common descent (but must be analogies) are said to be quite different, despite their similarities. One way or another, all evidence supports CD and evolution.


Your idea that Darwin did not argue against divine creation is going to be difficult to defend. Arguments falsifying divine creation run throughout *Origins.* My dog-eared copy is chocked full of highlighter marks and stickers (and I'm still finding more). I can't imagine what you are thinking, unless you are defining "divine creation" as creation strictly via secondary causes while God rests (as Darwin allowed for in the closing paragraphs). Darwin distinguished between different flavors of creation theories, and spared none of them. He used a variety of terms, including:

-independent creation
-separate creation
-ordinary view of independent creation
-the belief that the species have been created
-the belief of independent acts of creation
-separate and innumerable acts of creation
-the theory of creation
-utility or doctrine of final causes.

This is not an exhaustive list. In each case he argued it has been falsified by empirical evidence. These were, and are, the strong arguments for evolution. I use the term "divine creation" to represent all these versions of creation theories. Darwin argued against them all because he believed the empirical evidence revealed that God would not have created the species, regardless of the particulars of the creation theory. Thus, although the positive evidence for evolution was, and is, weak, Darwin and evolutionists today believe it is a fact because the alternative has been falsified. Christians accepted Darwin's theory (as opposed to many scientists) not because Darwin allowed for divine creation, but rather because he rejected it as Christians had been calling for long before Darwin. The Leibniz-Kant-etc. models of what we would now call theistic evolution had finally been fleshed out in Darwin's theory.

> I hadn't realised that Gould has passed on some revelation on the nature of
> God!!!

This is not limited to Gould. The strong arguments for evolution are theological, though often subtle (eg, "evolution is the only explanation for vestigial structures ...").


GRM: Come now. IF ID can't tell us anything about speciation, how can it be sure that the species were designed? I find this whole denial that ID has anything to do with speciation, entirely unbelieveable. If ID doesn't know how speciation took place, how on earth can they possibly be sure that evolution didn't do it?

CH: This is like saying if your doctor can't explain how bloodletting works then how can he know his prescription will make you well?

GRM:Besides, humans want explanation, not the lack of explanations. By this I note that the problem is that by avoiding explanations you give great power to the other guy who does offer explanations.

CH: Yes, agreed -- the intellectual necessity. As Hooker admitted, evolutionary theories may not be any better, but they do give us "room to reason," whereas the old creation theories are sticks in the mud, so "I hate them." Solomon said no one can find out the work God has done from beginning to end, but Descartes opted for explanations, regardless of whether they were true or not.

CH: What I said was that small-scale adaptive change is a problem for
evolution and common descent. You seem to read everything as coming from ID.
GRM: I can't actually believe what I a reading here. Are you that unknowledgeable about the science of biology? Is the only way to be an ID person is to deny observational evidence of small-scale adaptive change being beneficial?


CH: I think you missed my point. Small scale adaptive change counters the claims of CD and evolution for two reasons. First, evolution fails to explain the origin of the complex Mendelian machine of variation, which is so important to evolution. Biological change doesn't just "happen." Biological variation is not something that comes for free. So evolution must say that it created, somehow, this marvelous machine which in turn is the engine of evolution. This is circular. In recent decades this story has become even more strained as the finer details of adaptation are beginning to be understood. Hypermutators, mutational hotspots, and preplanned adaptive pathways are making evolution look increasingly silly. Are we really to believe that evolution created all this, because after all, those populations that can evolve will survive more often? Second, there is little evidence that adaptive change is unbounded, as evolution requires. Lerner coined the term genetic homeostasis, but recent studies have shown how remarkable this really is, such as the amazing reversion observed recently in arabidopsis. Evolutionists had seen this sort of thing amongst their many fly studies, but weren't sure what to make of it.

GRM: Please list these [nested hierarchy] violations. BAld, evidentiaryless
assertions are worthless. YOu seem to think that if you say somethign we
must automatically believe that you know what you are talking about.

CH: Here are some places for you to start. There's much more where these
came from.

GRM: I looked at a couple of these. The problem you still have is that you have never answered my question. Why does the entire ecosystem turn over every few million years? Why would the designer do that? You also haven't answered why there is this nested hierarchy of animals in the fossil record. Until you answer those two questions, I see no reason to take your drivel seriously. YOu can list as many articles which discuss different techniques to find out how it happened as you want. But until you actually explain why this non-god from Betelgeuse makes the entire ecosystem change every few million years and change in a nested hierarchical sense, you are just spitting into the wind. Are you ever going to actually address that issue or are you going to bey cryogenic Cornelius again?

CH: So far I have been responding to the claim that CD and evolution enjoy overwhelming supporting evidence. There really is no such strength in the evidence, and in fact, on the contrary, there is quite a bit of evidence against these theories. Many Christians have long sought, however, evolutionary theories over concerns regarding divine action. And so the question always comes up, if evolution is wrong, then why would God create "X," where X can be parasites, hundreds of thousands of species of beetles, and interestingly, patterns in nature. I get these questions often. There are several Christian and unorthodox traditions that fuel these concerns, so categorization can be tricky. But the concerns deal with a range of phenomena, including those we suppose to be evil (parasites), dysteleology (my back hurts), too much divine action (too many beetle species), and even just patterns. The problem with patterns, as Kant argued, is they are suggestive of law-like processes, but God ought to create randomly. Or (covering himself), Kant argued that if a pattern *was* God's preferred design, then it ought to be implemented perfectly.

Hence the eccliptic of the solar system provided clear evidence that the solar system was not created directly, but by secondary causes. It was a pattern, but not a perfect pattern. The argument actually traces back to the great scientist - mathematician Daniel Bernoulli, twenty years before. Theories of the solar system evolution were promoted in the 18th c not because they were compelling or obviously correct, but because there was a mandate for naturalistic explanations. Indeed, Leibniz argued that Newton's explanation involving divine intervention was heretical, making a mockery of God (an argument that would find its way into Darwin's *Origin* and with today's TEs, such as F. Ayala).

The nested hierarchy is another such pattern that Darwin proclaimed would not have been created. Contrary to today's wisdom, evolution does not predict this pattern and, it is not clear how well this model actually fits the data. This is a pretty complicated, multi dimensional problem. I don't mind using the nested hierarchy model as a point of reference for discussion and approximation of the pattern of the species, so long as it is recognized that we are speaking in partial ignorance. There are so many violations to this model in the data, and so much massive convergence, that we need to keep an open mind about what the best model is.

But even if evolution does not predict this pattern, the real concern is: why would God use this pattern (or some other pattern for that matter)? Here, the evolutionist asks the scientist to join him in his theological naturalism. Theological arguments about God prepared the way for evolution, and if one claims that evolution is false, then evolutionists are left with their original concerns now unresolved. They want answers. They were driven to evolution by these concerns, not by positive explanations for how obvious it is that evolution occurred. Evolution provided their cover, so to speak, and they will not let you remove it without providing some alternative resolution. The answer "It was according to God's pleasure" doesn't cut it. An unspoken premise of the theological naturalist is that God must not act arbitrarily, or create evil, or intervene to much (or at all), or use miracles, etc. Premise: God wouldn't create evil. Fact: Evil exists. Conclusion: There has to be some rationalization that we can come up with. So the evolutionist demands answers to his concerns, as though everyone else shares his theological premises about God. Is explaining why God would use the eccliptic for the solar system, or some sort of pattern for the species, really a burden that the skeptic of evolutionary theories must bear? And if so, must he answer it according to the theological premises of the evolutionist?

Received on Wed Aug 3 05:08:24 2005

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