Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Mon Apr 27 2009 - 10:58:29 EDT


At the risk of having you accuse me of offering another personal "effront", I would like to point out that you have misrepresented my position on the problem of evil, despite that fact that I had already corrected your mispresentation in my previous post.

I did not say or imply "that good things happen in the progression of life and therefore God had to do it". I said that I saw design in nature. I did not speak of good things or bad things. I spoke of design. You are still imputing to me an objectionable doctrine of evil, i.e., a defective theodicy. I offered no theodicy.

Theodicy is logically posterior to the inference of design. One cannot ask why God designed the world with such and such an evil in it, until one first settles the question whether God did in fact design such and such an evil. TEs want to prevent the question of design from being answered until the theodicy question is first answered; but that is both logically and theologically putting the cart before the horse. Christianity must start from what God did in fact create, not from what God should have created if he is the kind of God that modern enlightened Christians (e.g., TEs) would prefer to believe in. The proper order of thinking, therefore, is: (1) examine the world; (2) determine whether it bears demonstrable marks of intelligent design; (3) if there is designed evil in it, try to reason out (with the aid of the Bible and the theological tradition) why God would have designed the evil things.

Dick, if you wish to argue natural selection and so on with me, go ahead. Tell me how the eye, the cardiovascular system, winged flight, etc. were achieved via stochastic processes and natural selection. And identify the books and articles where you found the answers to these questions. And if you can't identify any such books or articles where such explanations can be found, please relieve my curiosity and tell me why you accept as "science" a mechanism which cannot explain the things it purports to explain.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: 'Cameron Wybrow'
  Cc: ASA
  Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 10:27 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)


  The issue is not how many books and articles I've read or wrote or how much homework you think all those who disagree with you should do. The issue with ID is simply put that a theory or even a working hypothesis needs to have a little corroborating evidence which ID lacks. Therefore ID does not qualify as science.

  Your arguments that good things happen in the progression of life and therefore God had to do it is negated by bad things that happen too which you want to ignore.

  "Chance" may be appropriate as regards the genetic material available upon which selection can act. But natural selection is not purely a random or "chance" process.

  So keep your personal effronts to yourself, stick to facts, and you'll do better in this forum.

  Dick Fischer, author, lecturer

  Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

  -----Original Message-----
  From: [] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
  Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 12:00 AM
  Cc: ASA
  Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

  Creationist? Whitcomb? Morris? Gish?

  Dick, you've gone off the deep end. I have nothing to do with any of those people.

  Your statements about my motives are entirely bizarre. You are reading your own religious hangups about the problem of evil into my posts. I suggest you take your objections regarding the evil and suffering of the world to your priest or minister, or to a higher authority. I'm just reporting on what I see, not commenting theologically on it. And I see design. And if the design appears to include some evil in it, there's very little I or anyone else can do about it. Don't blame the messenger, blame the designer.

  In answer to my question about your publications of a biological nature, you refer me to a book you wrote on the interpretation of Genesis. And you call me a creationist?

  Of course, you completely missed the point of my mention of various authors. The point was that you do not understand how the word "chance" is used in the history of Western thought, and by classic neo-Darwinists, and therefore should not be debating with me or anyone else about it until you have done your homework.


    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Dick Fischer

    To: 'Cameron Wybrow'

    Cc: ASA

    Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2009 9:07 PM

    Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

    Dear Cameron:

    Typical creationist reaction. When your argument holds no water you demonize your opponent. I raise counter arguments, you insult my character. I've see it all before. You're no different than your predecessors, Morris, Whitcomb, Gish, Humphreys, Gentry, Ham, etc.

    Let's see, of your list I've read Bacon, Aquinas, Augustine, Darwin, and Gould. Interesting you'd include atheists Sagan, Dawkins and Russell. Strange list of notables. I can readily see you've read Behe, Dembski and Wells. That is apparent from your arguments. What happened to Johnson? Didn't read him or are you ashamed to admit it? My reading list runs more to archaeologists, Genesis commentary and a few others I'm sure you have read: Francis Collins, Miller (both Ken and Keith), J. P. Moreland, Richard Leakey, Donald Johanson, John Haught, Alister McGrath, Richard Colling, Ron Numbers, Holmes Rolston III, Davis Young, Bernard Ramm and Jon Entine. But my reading list or your reading list is not the issue here.

    Let's stick to the issue, shall we? Does God (let's just name the Creator and not hide behind ID propaganda to include aliens and spaghetti monsters) leave telltale signs of divine activity in the various life forms we have available for study? To date no one has found any. So the answer is we have no evidence that God manipulates DNA. A scientific theory requires data and evidence. ID has none. Will it come up with some? Maybe. If it does put it on the table. Until then keep ID arguments confined to philosophical discussions and out of science classrooms.

    Do we have evidence that God does not manipulate DNA? Well, we humans have over 3,000 genetic diseases caused by genetic defects. If God was active in some way at the introduction of the flagellum, for example, what was he doing when Huntington's Disease entered the world, or Down's Syndrome, or any of the other thousands of genetic diseases we have plaguing mankind today? What you want to do is credit the great Designer for the successes while ignoring the failures. You want to tout the "camera eye" as evidence of design yet totally ignore that the human eye is wired backwards, that over 40 different "designs" are used in various creatures, and fish have been found in caves that have lost their eyes altogether.

    Simply put, ID like all other creationist arguments is dishonest. Another hallmark of all creationist arguments.

    Now, I don't doubt the sincerity of any of your kind. If you can prove the Creator exists maybe you can persuade some non-believers into accepting the faith and after they die and get to heaven if they then see the flaws in your arguments - who cares? You did him a service.

    On the other hand, Jesus said he was the "truth, the way and the light." So let's stick to that and speak the truth, don't act like you don't know it.

    For my publications, there is PSCF, Teachers of Vision, Cosmic Pursuit and The Washington Post. As for books, start with this one.

    Dick Fischer, author, lecturer

    Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
    Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2009 4:35 PM
    Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)


    You do not understand the meaning of "chance". I chalk this up to your
    apparent unfamiliarity with the history of philosophical discussions about
    nature. The "false dichotomy" I've set up between design and chance is
    agreed upon by Lucretius, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Hobbes, Bacon, Aquinas,
    Augustine, Darwin, Bergson, Lecomte du Nouy, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan,
    Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, etc. How many of these authors have you
    read, Dick?

    Your bulbous nose example is ridiculous. The contested part of Darwinism is
    not about bulbous noses. The contested part of Darwinism -- and by the way,
    I've read Darwin's *Origin of Species* from cover to cover (have you?) -- is
    about whole new body plans arising gradualistically, with each intermediate
    stage being functional. Clearly you have not read the scientific literature
    which challenges the likelihood of this. I think you ought to, before you
    speak glibly about the alleged powers of mutation and natural selection. If
    I may recommend six books by people with Ph.D.s in relevant areas of
    science, I suggest Behe's two books, Denton's two books, Dembski's *No Free
    Lunch*, and Dembski and Wells's *The Design of Life*. I have read all of
    these from cover to cover, in some cases taking extensive notes as I read.
    I would also recommend the articles of David Berlinski on evolution,
    published in the journal *Commentary*, and his books touching on the

    As for your implied charge of stubbornness on my part, let me say that I am
    willing to learn from anyone here who can teach me anything at all about
    theology or science. I've learned from Ted Davis about the theology of
    Boyle, for example, and I hope to learn something from Mike Gene about
    design theory in biology and from Gregory Arago about the philosophical
    foundations of social science and from George Murphy about Lutheran theology
    and from other people about things in their areas of expertise. I also hope
    to learn something about the mechanisms of evolution. For starters, I would
    like you to teach me the detailed genetic pathways by which the camera eye,
    the cardiovascular system, the fin-to-foot transition, winged flight in
    birds, the human brain, the nostril-to-blowhole transition, the gill-to-lung
    transition, etc. were achieved, or even could have been achieved. I would
    also like to know how the first living cell arose from non-living matter
    without intelligent intervention. When I have learned any of these things
    from you, or from anyone else here, I will gladly admit the awesome creative
    powers of chance combinations of atoms, random mutations, and natural

    Since you have been "engaged in these discussions for quite some time now",
    perhaps you have some scientific publications in this area which you could
    direct me to. Perhaps you have written a book providing the details of the
    evolution of the camera eye? Or perhaps one of your scientific colleagues
    on this list has done so?


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Dick Fischer" <>
    To: "'Cameron Wybrow'" <>
    Cc: "ASA" <>
    Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2009 2:58 PM
    Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)


    Please drop the "chance" rhetoric. Evolution comes about through random
    genetic mutations and natural selection which is not chance at all.

    A nucleotide substitution might result in a person with a large and bulbous
    nose, for example. A person sporting such a protrusion might find it
    difficult to attract a help mate. That person might remain single and pass
    from life's scene leaving no bulbous-nosed progeny - natural selection at
    work. But those prospective mates made rational choices based on upon a
    physical appearance they found objectionable. The same holds true for other
    physical characteristics that may be appealing or unappealing.

    So if we wish to make progress in these discussions, show some ability to
    learn from those of us who have been engaged in these discussions for quite
    some time now. You are trying to set up a false dichotomy and win debating
    points. Most of us, on the other hand, may be knowledgeable in this area,
    but still earnestly seek better, more refined answers.

    Dick Fischer, author, lecturer
    Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

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Received on Mon Apr 27 10:59:59 2009

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