MYTH: Human/Chimpanzee Similarities

(There are really two “apologetics” [streams of arguments] below. The first is a refutation of Chimp/Human similarities; the second is a dealing with the underlying presuppositions and the self-defeating aspects of them [Jump To This]. And this post spawned a “SISTER POST” of sorts. Enjoy.)

Here I want to offer a somewhat short refutation [NOT] of the perpetual myth about human and chimpanzee DNA being 99% similar. One friend included it in a comment to me:

  • A cat shares 85 percent of our dna Along with dogs. Plants 15-20 percent . We share 90% of the genome with a banana. Chimpanzees 99% nearly

Here is my short response:

Not only that, but your idea of 99% is not a real stat as well. Many things have changed since that 1975 claim.* One example is that junk DNA is roundly refuted, and 2001 and 2005 Nature and Science Journal articles make clear that we share from 81% to 87% of DNA with chimps. That shouldn’t be a surprise since we both have eyes to see, stomachs to digest food, etc. So again, when I see you make claims above, rarely are they rooted in anything either current or true. 

* (CREATION.COM) The original 1% claim goes back to 1975.2 This was a long time before a direct comparison of the individual ‘letters’ (base pairs) of human and chimp DNA was possible—the first draft of the human DNA was not published until 2001 and for the chimp it was 2005. The 1975 figure came from crude comparisons of very limited stretches of human and chimp DNA that had been pre-selected for similarity. The chimp and human DNA strands were then checked for how much they stuck to each other—a method called DNA hybridization. (2. Cohen, J., Relative differences: the myth of 1%, Science 316(5833):1836, 2007; doi: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1836)

Even a recent 2006 TIME article continues the mantra when they say, “Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.” So while science moves on and corrects itself, our culture is stuck in what was said to be a proof, and reject what ACTUALLY an evidence against the evolutionary proposition. Similar refutations of evolutionary positions that Richard Dawkins and “Junk DNA.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that if something is said to be evidence and is used to promote [FOR] the evolutionary paradigm… and then it is shown not to be the case… wouldn’t it then logically be an evidence AGAINST this said paradigm? I think so.

MOVING ON. . . SORTA

Before zeroing in on the Chimp issue, one other quick note regarding a recent discovery that undermines this “similarity” idea. That is this study:

PJ MEDIA notes:

study published in the journal Human Evolution is causing quite the stir. In the words of Phys.org, “The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.”

So startling, in fact, that according to David Thaler, one of the lead authors of the study, “This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could.”

The study’s very own author was so disturbed by how the conclusions challenged current scientific dogma that he “fought against it as hard as [he] could.” His “fight” gives credence to the study’s conclusions. His eventual acceptance, not to mention publication, of the conclusions speaks well of Thaler’s commitment to being a scientist first and an ideologue second.

[….]

This is no small matter for evolutionists because, as World Magazine helpfully summarizes:

According to traditional evolutionary thinking, all living things on Earth share common ancestry, with species evolving through a slow process of random mutation, natural selection, and adaptation over roughly 3.8 billion years. The idea that humans and most animals suddenly appeared at the same time a mere 200,000 years ago or less does not fit with that model.

(See more from my post, “Major DNA Study Undermines Evolution ‘In A Big Way’“) Obviously we differ on time-scalesbut it sure seems like they are getting closer to mine over said time. But if one wishes to keep it ecumenical, here is a quote I love: 

  • “While thoughtful investigators may disagree about the precise age of the universe, we can be confident about its finite nature”

>> J Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 37.

Okay, back to the refutation of the 99% similarity. Here, Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich refutes compelingly this outdated TIME magazine article… and my friend:

Most of you may have heard the statement that chimpanzees and humans are having 99% of their genes in common. However, what you are usually not told is that this result was not based on comparing the entire DNA of man and ape but only on comparing a very small fraction of it (ca. 3 %). The function of the other 97% of the genetic code was not understood. Therefore, it was concluded that this DNA had no function at all and it was considered “leftover junk from evolution” and not taken into consideration for the comparison between man and ape. Meanwhile, modern genetics has demonstrated for almost the entire DNA that there is functionality in every genetic letter. And this has led to the collapse of the claim that man and chimpanzee have 99% of their DNA in common.

In 2007, the leading scientific journal Science therefore called the suggested 1% difference “a myth.” And from a publication in Nature in 2010 comparing the genes of our so-called Y-chromosome with those of the chimpanzee Y-chromosome we know now that 60% of human Y-chromosome is not contained in that of the chimpanzee. This represents a difference of one billion genetic letters, known as nucleotides.

And modern genetics has recently made another important discovery which was very unexpected. Researchers found that all of the different groups of humans on earth, wherever they live and whatever they look like, have 99.9% of their genes in common. This leads to a problem for the hypothesis of evolution because if humans really were descended from the apes, then how could it be that we only have 40% of our Y-chromosome in common with the apes but at the same time there is almost a complete genetic identity among all humans? If there had been an evolution from ape to man then it should still go on among men and reveal significant genetic differences. These recent discoveries therefore drastically widen the gap between man and the animals. And they confirm that there are in reality no such things as human “races”. Asians, Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from America and Australia only have superficial differences like color of skin or shape of the nose but they are all extremely similar on the genetic level.

And these recent breakthrough discoveries even go further. Today, because of the extreme similarity of the human genome, it is considered a well-established fact among geneticists, that all humans living on earth now are descended from one single man and from one single woman. In order to convince yourself of this you only have to search in the internet for the terms “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y-chromosome Adam”. These names were given by evolutionists in an ironic sense but now many regret that choice of name because this discovery perfectly confirms the Catholic Doctrine of Creation which has taught for 2000 years that all humans are brothers and sisters descended from one single human couple, the real historical persons Adam and Eve, not from a multitude of subhuman primates….

(Via LIFE SITE NEWS)

Here is a visual of the varying studies (click to enlarge in another window):

This video evaluates the claim that humans and chimps have 98% to 99% DNA similarity.

DR. JONATHAN SARFATI passed this on to me in conversation (click to enlarge):

Wow. Enough said? Or will this myth still infect the brains of people wishing something to be true that continue to lose evidences for? One other noteworthy exchange from that conversation I wish to note here.


Switching Gears


My friend said many things, which is convenient… many skeptics of young earth creationism or Christianity for that matter have paragraphs of bumper sticker [what they think are] facts strung together… like a lullaby to prove to themselves they are right. (What they ironically they call the GISH GALLOP [“it’s far easier to raise numerous unsubstantiated points than it is to refute them properly”] in referring to us.) Which is why I like to stop, and discuss one issue at a time. Which the above is.

When you do that, rarely does the position of the skeptic hold water.

Here is what my friend said:

  • I also see damage being done to children when you teach them things that are scientifically inaccurate. The earth is not 10000 years old…

To which Jonathan Sarfati responded (and reminded me of a larger quote I got from his commentary of Genesis I will post at the end):

ATHEOPATHS: in an evolutionary universe, concepts like “good” and “evil” are just illusions of our brains conditioned by millions of years of Darwinian evolution.

Also ATHEOPATHS: Christianity is evil child abuse.

While the main driver of the topic is a PSYCHOLOGY TODAY article that posits Christianity is harmful to children — just Christianity mind you…

It is a form a Christophobia – a fear of anything related to Christianity/Christ, A bias against one “particular” religious expression. A word I used in one of my first “conversation series” posts on my old blog (November of 2006): “theophobia” – a fear of “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe”.

… is telling. The point that Doc Sarfati makes is Yuuuge. That is,

  • skeptics of the Faith like to use moral positions to refute the absolute morality of Christianity, or a position they attribute truth to and expect others to grasp said truth as, well, true — is not in fact the case if their worldview is reality. They pay no attention to the underlying aspect of where these laws or stated facts are reasoned from — mind or matter.

While the whole conversation is a bit drawn out, a refuting principle I used in it which is the same principle Dr. Sarfati taps into (i.e., the Laws of Logic), is this quote by J.B.S. Haldane

  • “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

It is the same as this reflection by Stephen Hawkings noted by Ravi Zacharias:

One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate,” given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.”[1] In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms? Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological [a reason or explanation for something in function of its end, purpose, or goal] view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”[2]

[1] Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 118, 119.
[2] Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch, Meaning (Chicago, IL: Chicago university Press, 1977), 162.

John Cleese explains the above in a Monty Python view for the layman:

Here is Ravi again, but this time at a Q&A at Yale being challenged by a graduate student:

To be clear, my friend has no idea that what he has said is internally self-refuting. To show this working out with yet another skeptic of the Faith, here is apologist Frank Turek dispensing in similar fashion to Jonathan Sarfati (see below), Daniel Dennet:

Atheist Daniel Dennett, for example, asserts that consciousness is an illusion. (One wonders if Dennett was conscious when he said that!) His claim is not only superstitious, it’s logically indefensible. In order to detect an illusion, you’d have to be able to see what’s real. Just like you need to wake up to know that a dream is only a dream, Daniel Dennett would need to wake up with some kind of superconsciousness to know that the ordinary consciousness the rest of us mortals have is just an illusion. In other words, he’d have to be someone like God in order to know that.

Dennett’s assertion that consciousness is an illusion is not the result of an unbiased evaluation of the evidence. Indeed, there is no such thing as “unbiased evaluation” in a materialist world because the laws of physics determine everything anyone thinks, including everything Dennett thinks. Dennett is just assuming the ideology of materialism is true and applying its implications to consciousness. In doing so, he makes the same mistake we’ve seen so many other atheists make. He is exempting himself from his own theory. Dennett says consciousness is an illusion, but he treats his own consciousness as not an illusion. He certainly doesn’t think the ideas in his book are an illusion. He acts like he’s really telling the truth about reality.

When atheists have to call common sense “an illusion” and make self-defeating assertions to defend atheism, then no one should call the atheistic worldview “reasonable.” Superstitious is much more accurate.

Frank Turek, Stealing from God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 46-47.

Or when the same naturalistic position is used to make moral statements… it should be taken as illusory. Philosopher Roger Scruton drives this point home when he says, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely negative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” I agree.


QUOTE[s]


Here is the promised longer quote[s] by Jonathan Sarfati:

if evolution were true, then there would be selection only for survival advantage; and there would be no reason to suppose that this would necessarily include rationality. After a talk on the Christian roots of science in Canada, 2010, one atheopathic* philosophy professor argued that natural selection really would select for logic and rationality. I responded by pointing out that under his worldview, theistic religion is another thing that ‘evolved’, and this is something he regards as irrational. So under his own worldview he believes that natural selection can select powerfully for irrationality, after all. English doctor and insightful social commentator Theodore Dalrymple (who is a non-theist himself) shows up the problem in a refutation of New Atheist Daniel Dennett:

Dennett argues that religion is explicable in evolutionary terms—for example, by our inborn human propensity, at one time valuable for our survival on the African savannahs, to attribute animate agency to threatening events.

For Dennett, to prove the biological origin of belief in God is to show its irrationality, to break its spell. But of course it is a necessary part of the argument that all possible human beliefs, including belief in evolution, must be explicable in precisely the same way; or else why single out religion for this treatment? Either we test ideas according to arguments in their favour, independent of their origins, thus making the argument from evolution irrelevant, or all possible beliefs come under the same suspicion of being only evolutionary adaptations—and thus biologically contingent rather than true or false. We find ourselves facing a version of the paradox of the Cretan liar: all beliefs, including this one, are the products of evolution, and all beliefs that are products of evolution cannot be known to be true.

Jonathan D. Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, And Scientific Commentary On Genesis 1-11 (Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 2015), 259-259.


* Atheopath or Atheopathy: “Leading misotheist [“hatred of God” or “hatred of the gods”] Richard Dawkins [one can insert many names here] often calls theistic religion a ‘virus of the mind’, which would make it a kind of disease or pathology, and parents who teach it to their kids are, in Dawkins’ view, supposedly practising mental child abuse. But the sorts of criteria Dawkins applies makes one wonder whether his own fanatical antitheism itself could be a mental pathology—hence, ‘atheopath’.” (Taken from the Creation.com article, “The biblical roots of modern science,” by Jonathan Sarfati [published: 19 May 2012] ~ comments in the “[ ]” are mine.)

Where Do Ethics Come From? Atheist Convo (Bonus Material)

A chap in a Facebook group posted a few points in a post, of which I took this point up to respond to.

  • My moral values have a simple root…if an action causes harm to another person, that act is immoral. If my inaction causes harm to another person, that inaction is immoral

I first posted this as a response:

  • You would have to define and then implement this definition in a way that non-theistic governments would accept (like the many Eastern-block countries of our past for example). Some countries would view the disabled and farmers as harming society, and thus view the moral rout for said society as a whole to rid themselves of these persons/groups. They would say to NOT do so causes harm.

BUT, I didn’t have to really do any heavy lifting… this person did it for me. After reading through the discussion, the same person said this:

  • Morality actually derives from human self interest in preserving the group they needed to be part of to survive in a hostile world. It had to be a feature in the lives of the earliest human ancestor species

To which I replied:

Oh, this comment refutes you OP [original post]. “Morality actually derives from human self interest in preserving the group they needed to be part of to survive in a hostile world.”

So another group’s morality to survive in a hostile world (say, Pol-Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Caesars, etc) are just as “moral” then. Unless you are saying that there is a universal code you are tapping into to compare/contrast, and put on a higher plane? Not only that, but you would need to argue that another person would have to have that same ability…. At least if you are expecting your OP to carry any weight.

Otherwise you are merely here expressing your preference (emoting), like my children telling me they prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla.

Not only that, but the majority group, whether in a country or in the world, would decide this ethos (what it “means” to survive). And thus, to speak out against this consensus (whether is science or in morality) would be immoral.


BONUS!


A couple examples of this ethos at work:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition….  If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity….  From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.


“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature.  Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all….  If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy (New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942), pp. 161-162; found in: Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), 206.


“What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.” — Richard Dawkins

Stated during an interview with Larry Taunton, “Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist,” by Faith Magazine, Issue Number 18, December 2007.


Atheist Daniel Dennett, for example, asserts that consciousness is an illusion. (One wonders if Dennett was conscious when he said that!) His claim is not only superstitious, it’s logically indefensible. In order to detect an illusion, you’d have to be able to see what’s real. Just like you need to wake up to know that a dream is only a dream, Daniel Dennett would need to wake up with some kind of superconsciousness to know that the ordinary consciousness the rest of us mortals have is just an illusion. In other words, he’d have to be someone like God in order to know that.

Dennett’s assertion that consciousness is an illusion is not the result of an unbiased evaluation of the evidence. Indeed, there is no such thing as “unbiased evaluation” in a materialist world because the laws of physics determine everything anyone thinks, including everything Dennett thinks. Dennett is just assuming the ideology of materialism is true and applying its implications to consciousness. In doing so, he makes the same mistake we’ve seen so many other atheists make. He is exempting himself from his own theory. Dennett says consciousness is an illusion, but he treats his own consciousness as not an illusion. He certainly doesn’t think the ideas in his book are an illusion. He acts like he’s really telling the truth about reality.

When atheists have to call common sense “an illusion” and make self-defeating assertions to defend atheism, then no one should call the atheistic worldview “reasonable.” Superstitious is much more accurate.

Frank Turek, Stealing from God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 46-47.


….Darwin thought that, had the circumstances for reproductive fitness been different, then the deliverances of conscience might have been radically different. “If men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill  their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering” (Darwin, Descent, 82). As it happens, we weren’t “reared” after the manner of hive bees, and so we have widespread and strong beliefs about the sanctity of human life and its implications for how we should treat our siblings and our offspring.

But this strongly suggests that we would have had whatever beliefs were ultimately fitness producing given the circumstances of survival. Given the background belief of naturalism, there appears to be no plausible Darwinian reason for thinking that the fitness-producing predispositions that set the parameters for moral reflection have anything whatsoever to do with the truth of the resulting moral beliefs. One might be able to make a case for thinking that having true beliefs about, say, the predatory behaviors of tigers would, when combined with the understandable desire not to be eaten, be fitness producing. But the account would be far from straightforward in the case of moral beliefs.” And so the Darwinian explanation undercuts whatever reason the naturalist might have had for thinking that any of our moral beliefs is true. The result is moral skepticism.

If our pretheoretical moral convictions are largely the product of natural selection, as Darwin’s theory implies, then the moral theories we find plausible are an indirect result of that same evolutionary process. How, after all, do we come to settle upon a proposed moral theory and its principles as being true? What methodology is available to us?

Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, eds., Contending With Christianity’s Critics: Answering the New Atheists & Other Objections (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009), 70.

DAWKINS (44-Seconds):

PROVINE (43-Seconds):

BARKER (Almost 5-Minutes):

Wolpert (17+Minutes)


Rolling Rock Ethics


Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan, Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms with the Justice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014), fn.2, 319 [added linked reference from Evolution News for context]:

Dawkins spells out the contradiction: “As an academic scientist, I am a passionate Darwinian, believing that natural selection is, if not the only driving force in evolution, certainly the only known force capable of producing the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature. But at the same time as I support Darwinism as a scientist, I am a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to politics and how we should conduct our human affairs.” A Devils Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 10-11.

In another place, he admits to the logic of his own determinism (that people cannot be held responsible for their actions), but emotionally he cannot accept this. See the Dawkins interview by Logan Gage, Who Wrote Richard Dawkins’s New Book?,” Evolution News (website), October 28, 2006:

Manzari: Dr. Dawkins thank you for your comments. The thing I have appreciated most about your comments is your consistency in the things I’ve seen you’ve written. One of the areas that I wanted to ask you about, and the place where I think there is an inconsistency, and I hoped you would clarify, is that in what I’ve read you seem to take a position of a strong determinist who says that what we see around us is the product of physical laws playing themselves out; but on the other hand it would seem that you would do things like taking credit for writing this book and things like that. But it would seem, and this isn’t to be funny, that the consistent position would be that necessarily the authoring of this book, from the initial conditions of the big bang, it was set that this would be the product of what we see today. I would take it that that would be the consistent position but I wanted to know what you thought about that.

Dawkins: The philosophical question of determinism is a very difficult question. It’s not one I discuss in this book, indeed in any other book that I’ve ever talked about. Now an extreme determinist, as the questioner says, might say that everything we do, everything we think, everything that we write has been determined from the beginning of time in which case the very idea of taking credit for anything doesn’t seem to make any sense. Now I don’t actually know what I actually think about that, I haven’t taken up a position about that, it’s not part of my remit to talk about the philosophical issue of determinism. What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do. None of us ever actually as a matter of fact says, “Oh well he couldn’t help doing it, he was determined by his molecules.” Maybe we should… I sometimes… Um… You probably remember many of you would have seen Fawlty Towers. The episode where Basil where his car won’t start and he gives it fair warning, counts up to three, and then gets out of the car and picks up a tree branch and thrashes it within an edge of his life. Maybe that’s what we all ought to… Maybe the way we laugh at Basil Fawlty, we ought to laugh in the same way at people who blame humans. I mean when we punish people for doing the most horrible murders, maybe the attitude we should take is “Oh they were just determined by their molecules.” It’s stupid to punish them. What we should do is say “This unit has a faulty motherboard which needs to be replaced.” I can’t bring myself to do that. I actually do respond in an emotional way and I blame people, I give people credit, or I might be more charitable and say this individual who has committed murders or child abuse of whatever it is was really abused in his own childhood. And so again I might take a…

Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?

Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable. But it has nothing to do with my views on religion it is an entirely separate issue.

Manzari: Thank you.

2 Peter 1:5-8:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In other words, there is no absolute moral ethic, Dawkins wants to have a consensus of people agreeing what is “right” and “wrong” — he says as much in the audio above. Which means that rape and murder are only taboo… not really wrong.

Secondly, there can be no concept of “ought”

What about human actions? They are of no more value or significance than the actions of any other material thing. Consider rocks rolling down a hill and coming to rest at the bottom. We don’t say that some particular arrangement of the rocks is right and another is wrong. Rocks don’t have a duty to roll in a particular way and land in a particular place. Their movement is just the product of the laws of physics. We don’t say that rocks “ought” to land in a certain pattern and that if they don’t then something needs to be done about it. We don’t strive for a better arrangement or motion of the rocks. In just the same way, there is no standard by which human actions can be judged. We are just another form of matter in motion, like the rocks rolling down the hill.

We tend to think that somewhere “out there” there are standards of behaviour that men ought to follow. But according to Dawkins there is only the “natural, physical world”. Nothing but particles and forces. These things cannot give rise to standards that men have a duty to follow. In fact they cannot even account for the concept of “ought”. There exist only particles of matter obeying the laws of physics. There is no sense in which anything ought to be like this or ought to be like that. There just is whatever there is, and there just happens whatever happens in accordance with the laws of physics.

Men’s actions are therefore merely the result of the laws of physics that govern the behaviour of the particles that make up the chemicals in the cells and fluids of their bodies and thus control how they behave. It is meaningless to say that the result of those physical reactions ought to be this or ought to be that. It is whatever it is. It is meaningless to say that people ought to act in a certain way. It is meaningless to say (to take a contemporary example) that the United States and its allies ought not to have invaded Iraq. The decision to invade was just the outworking of the laws of physics in the bodies of the people who governed those nations. And there is no sense in which the results of that invasion can be judged as good or bad because there are no standards to judge anything by. There are only particles reacting together; no standards, no morals, nothing but matter in motion.

Dawkins finds it very hard to be consistent to this system of belief. He thinks and acts as if there were somewhere, somehow standards that people ought to follow. For example in The God Delusion, referring particularly to the Christian doctrine of atonement, he says that there are “teachings in the New Testament that no good person should support”.(6) And he claims that religion favours an in-group/out-group approach to morality that makes it “a significant force for evil in the world”.(7)

According to Dawkins, then, there are such things as good and evil. We all know what good and evil mean. We know that if no good person should support the doctrine of atonement then we ought not to support that doctrine. We know that if religion is a force for evil then we are better off without religion and that, indeed, we ought to oppose religion. The concepts of good and evil are innate in us. The problem for Dawkins is that good and evil make no sense in his worldview. “There is nothing beyond the natural, physical world.” There are no standards out there that we ought to follow. There is only matter in motion reacting according to the laws of physics. Man is not of a different character to any other material thing. Men’s actions are not of a different type or level to that of rocks rolling down a hill. Rocks are not subject to laws that require them to do good and not evil; nor are men. Every time you hear Dawkins talking about good and evil as if the words actually meant something, it should strike you loud and clear as if he had announced to the world, “I am contradicting myself”.

Please note that I am not saying that Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in good and evil. On the contrary, my point is that he does believe in them but that his worldview renders such standards meaningless.

(Nothing Beyond the Natural Physical World)

We know Dawkins’ position is not science, so… what is it? Here begins the journey for the truly curious.

Meanderings on Atheism, Darwinism, and Science

I am posting this excerpt of Daniel Dennett’s response to William Lane Craig’s presentation (HERE). Dennett’s short follow up offers no defense of his atheism in light of Craig’s presentation. He basically mentions that his non-knowledge will some day be filled in (atheism-of-the-gaps). This will be followed up by a response in the comments section that made me think of this old upload on my Vimeo, and why I isolated it. The response is well thought out and will be an enjoyable read to those of us headed towards glory. I will also insert my response (mainly using Dr. Howe’s book, Vestigial Organs Are Fully Functional) to a Discover Magazine article when “Born Again 77” gets to the topic, as well as a couple other resources. Enjoy:

The original topic in which I pulled this response from can be found here at UNCOMMON DESCENT, Born Again 77 starts by quoting a previous statement by a skeptic, and then adding to his knowledge base:


Very Enjoyable Read


  • “Perhaps the gaps he is referring to are things like lightning (yep, gotta hand it to science; definitely not thrown by Zeus in piques of anger)”

Actually the ‘lightning gap’ remains un-closed:

We Don’t Actually Know What Triggers Lightning Strikes – Aug. 2013

Excerpt: Lightning is a natural electrical discharge—but scientists are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what triggers it.

Physicist finds mysterious anti-electron clouds inside thunderstorm – May 13, 2015

Excerpt: In August 2009, Dwyer and colleagues were aboard a National Center for Atmospheric Research Gulfstream V when it inadvertently flew into the extremely violent thunderstorm—and, it turned out, through a large cloud of positrons, the antimatter opposite of electrons, that should not have been there.

To encounter a cloud of positrons without other associated physical phenomena such as energetic gamma-ray emissions was completely unexpected, thoroughly perplexing and contrary to currently understood physics.

“The fact that, apparently out of nowhere, the number of positrons around us suddenly increased by more than a factor of 10 and formed a cloud around the aircraft is very hard to understand. We really have no good explanation for it,” says Dwyer…

…“We really don’t understand how lightning gets started very well because we don’t understand the electrical environment of thunderstorms. This positron phenomenon could be telling us something new about how thunderstorms charge up and make lightning, but our finding definitely complicates things because it doesn’t fit into the picture that was developing.”

Verse: “Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?” (Job 38:35)

Moreover, the ‘gap’ problem is far worse for Atheists than just not being able to explain lightning. Atheistic materialism cannot even explain how a single photon gets from point a to point b, nor even how a photon is emitted or absorbed, much less how lightning occurs:

“The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.” ~ Anton Zeilinger (Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – Video)

Quantum Electrodynamics

Excerpt: It is important not to over-interpret these diagrams. Nothing is implied about how a particle gets from one point to another. The diagrams do not imply that the particles are moving in straight or curved lines. They do not imply that the particles are moving with fixed speeds. The fact that the photon is often represented, by convention, by a wavy line and not a straight one does not imply that it is thought that it is more wavelike than is an electron. The images are just symbols to represent the actions above: photons and electrons do, somehow, move from point to point and electrons, somehow, emit and absorb photons. We do not know how these things happen, but the theory tells us about the probabilities of these things happening.

Verse: “For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (Acts 17:28)

And although Theists are often accused of making ‘God of the Gaps’ style arguments by atheists, the fact of the matter is that, as science has progressed, it is the Atheist himself who has had to retreat further and further into ‘Materialism/Naturalism of Gaps’ style arguments. i.e. into “Science will figure a materialistic answer out to that mystery some day” style argument.

To clearly illustrate the ‘materialism of the gaps’ style argument that atheists are forced to make, the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several major contradictory predictions about what type of scientific evidence we will find.

These major contradictory predictions, and the evidence now revealed by advances in modern science, can be tested against one another to see if either materialism or Theism is true.

See: Theism compared to Materialism/Naturalism – a comparative overview of the major predictions of each philosophy (Video)

As you can see from the preceding video, when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

See: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Death as the “Theory of Everything” (Video)

[See Also: The Argument from Reason (Video); The Metaphysical Assumptions of the “Scientific Method]

Moreover, let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science, every discipline within science, is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility….

The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate (Full audio of the debate at the bottom of the site)

Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.

The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight….

Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. sense of self. observation of reality, beliefs about reality, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self-refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy – Sept. 2016 (Google Doc)

As well, Darwinian evolution, the supposed pride and joy of Atheistic Materialism, is itself useless as a heuristic in science

  • “Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive – except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed – except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery. Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”

~ Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

  • “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.” 

~ Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

  • “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”

~ A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

Excerpt: Coincidentally, a correspondent today sends across my desk this from biologist Jerry Coyne, of Why Evolution Is True fame. Writing in Nature (“Selling Darwin”), Coyne has conceded:

“[T]ruth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”

~ Doctors and Evolution – May 19, 2015

In fact, to the extent that Darwinian evolution has influenced scientific research, it has sent science down blind alleys by making wrong predictions, such as the false predictions of vestigial organs and junk DNA. The following paper evaluates 23 fundamental false predictions of evolutionary theory from a wide range of different categories

Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?

Excerpt: The predictions examined in this paper were selected according to several criteria. They cover a wide spectrum of evolutionary theory and are fundamental to the theory, reflecting major tenets of evolutionary thought. They were widely held by the consensus rather than reflecting one viewpoint of several competing viewpoints. Each prediction was a natural and fundamental expectation of the theory of evolution, and constituted mainstream evolutionary science. Furthermore, the selected predictions are not vague but rather are specific and can be objectively evaluated. They have been tested and evaluated and the outcome is not controversial or in question. And finally the predictions have implications for evolution’s (in)capacity to explain phenomena, as discussed in the conclusions.

  • “The thyroid gland, pituitary gland, thymus, pineal gland, and coccyx, … once considered useless by evolutionists, are now known to have important functions. The list of 180 “vestigial” structures is practically down to zero. Unfortunately, earlier Darwinists assumed that if they were ignorant of an organ’s function, then it had no function.”

~ “Tornado in a Junkyard” – book – by former atheist James Perloff

Vestigial Organs: Comparing ID and Darwinian Approaches – July 20, 2012

Excerpt: A favorite criticisms of ID is that it is a science stopper. The opposite is true. The Live Science article shows that the “vestigial organs” argument has not changed for over a century, since Wiedersheim coined the term and listed over a hundred examples (in 1893). Evolutionary theory, in fact, has been worse than a science stopper: its predictions have been flat out wrong. Only a handful of alleged vestigial organs remains from Wiedersheim’s original list, and each of those is questionable.

In fact, the false prediction of vestigial organs by Darwinists led to much medical malpractice in the past:

Evolution’s “vestigial organ” argument debunked

Excerpt: “The appendix, like the once ‘vestigial’ tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body’s immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to be a useless evolutionary ‘left over,’ many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice”

~ David Menton, Ph.D., “The Human Tail, and Other Tales of Evolution,” St. Louis MetroVoice , January 1994, Vol. 4, No. 1.

“Doctors once thought tonsils were simply useless evolutionary leftovers and took them out thinking that it could do no harm. Today there is considerable evidence that there are more troubles in the upper respiratory tract after tonsil removal than before, and doctors generally agree that simple enlargement of tonsils is hardly an indication for surgery”

~ J.D. Ratcliff, Your Body and How it Works, 1975, p. 137.

The tailbone, properly known as the coccyx, is another supposed example of a vestigial structure that has been found to have a valuable function—especially regarding the ability to sit comfortably. Many people who have had this bone removed have great difficulty sitting.

~ God, Science And The Bible: Evolution’S “Vestigial Organ” Argument Debunked

SEE ALSO MY PAPER:

Vestigial Discover Magazine Article Critiqued by Papa Giorgio on Scribd

Moreover, in so far as science has been able to advance in spite of Atheistic materialism, it can be argued that Intelligent Design was and is central to the advancement of science itself since almost all, if not all, of science has advanced by technological advancement in the instruments of science. That is to say, almost all, if not all, of science has advanced by humans infusing new information into material substrates, in a ‘top down’ fashion, in better and better, i.e. more sophisticated, ways:

Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011

Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.

Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.

“When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”

Excerpt: page 5: A:

Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:

Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.

The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.

Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics….

The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.

Verse: “…but test all things. Hold fast to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

 

Divine Feet ~ Philosophical Demarcations

Atheists reject evidence as illusory…

Why?

Because they “have to.”

I put these two ideas from separate fields of study together. Why I didn’t before is a mystery… but like with any field of study, you can go over the same topic again-and-again — you continue to learn. The first example come from biology and the natural sciences. Here are three examples of the beginning of my thinking:

  • “The illusion of design is so successful that to this day most Americans (including, significantly, many influential and rich Americans) stubbornly refuse to believe it is an illusion. To such people, if a heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed, that’s proof enough that it is designed.” ~ Richard Dawkins in the Natural History Magazine;
  • “So powerful is the illusion of design, it took humanity until the mid-19th century to realize that it is an illusion.” ~ New Scientist Magazine (h/t, Uncommon Dissent)
  • “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Richard Dawkins enlarges on this thought: “We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose… any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed, even poorly designed, for a purpose, and he can usually work out what that purpose is just by looking at the structure of the object.” ~ Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, pp. 1, and 21.
  • “We can’t make sense of an organ like the eye without considering it to have a function, or a purpose – not in a mystical, teleological sense, but in the sense of an illusion of engineering. That illusion, we now know, is a consequence of Darwin’s process of natural selection. Everyone agrees that the eye is a remarkable bit of natural “engineering,” and that may now be explained as a product of natural selection rather than as the handiwork of a cosmic eye-designer or as a massive coincidence in tissue formation.” ~ Steven Pinker, via Edge’s “Is Science Killing the Soul.”

The important point here is that the Judeo-Christian [theistic] view would posit that we (and nature) is designed, and would notice it in ourselves and in nature. The atheist MUST reject design as an illusion because their worldview demands that chance cobbled together what we see… so dumb luck needs to be seen as opposed to design.

Steven Pinker summation:

Pinker’s newer book, The Blank Slate, revised his views on free will, in that he no longer thinks it’s a necessary fiction. The chapter on “The Fear of Determinism” takes an explicitly deterministic stance, and usefully demonstrates the absurdity of contra-causal free will and why we shouldn’t worry about being fully caused creatures. However, Pinker remains conservative in not drawing any conclusions about how not having free will might affect our attitudes towards punishment, credit, and blame,; that is, he doesn’t explore the implications of determinism for ethical theory. This, despite the fact that in How the Mind Works he claimed that “ethical theory requires idealizations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behavior is uncaused” … We await further progress by Pinker. (Via Naturlism)

Daniel Dennett:

Dennett worries that there is good evidence that promulgating the idea that free will is an illusion undermines just that sense of responsibility many scientists and philosophers are worried about losing. Critics maintain that Dennett’s kind of free will, with its modest idea of “enough” responsibility, autonomy and control, is not really enough after all.

[….]

“It’s important because of the longstanding tradition that free will is a prerequisite for moral responsibility,” he says. “Our system of law and order, of punishment, and praise and blame, promise keeping, promise making, the law of contracts, criminal law – all of this depends on one notion or another of free will. And then you have neuroscientists, physicists and philosophers saying that ‘science has shown us that free will is an illusion’ and then not shrinking from the implication that our systems of law are built on foundations of sand.” (Via The Guardian)

Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Kruass, Christopher Hitchens:

Sam Harris:

Stephen Hawkings:

One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate,” given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.”[1] In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms? Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”[2]

[1] Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 118, 119.

[2] Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch, Meaning (Chicago, IL: Chicago university Press, 1977), 162.

The bottom line is that free-will, self, freedom to be above and distinguish between actions, is all an illusion.

Why?

BECUASE if free-will existed… then this would be an argument f-o-r theism. F-o-r God’s existence. Like the founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institutes, Robert Jastrow’s description in his book of a disturbing reaction among his colleagues to the big-bang theory—irritation and anger.

Why, he asked, would scientists, who are supposed to pursue truth and not have an emotional investment in any evidence, be angered by the big-bang theory?

They had an aversion to the Big-Bang.

Because it argued F-O-R theism. F-O-R God’s existence.

Jastrow noted that many scientists do not want to acknowledge anything that may even suggest the existence of God. The big-bang theory, by positing a beginning of the universe, suggests a creator and therefore annoys many astronomers.

This anti-religious bias is hardly confined to astronomers.

As we see, the above persons in rejecting evidence of design in nature and consciousness, are doing so based on an aversion to “God evidence.” Another well-known philosopher John Searle notes this illusion as well:

All these people are misusing science and remaking it into “scientism.” AND, they are “not allowing a divine foot in the door,” as Dinesh D’Souza notes:

Scientism, materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you want to call it… it is still a metaphysical position as it assumes or presumes certain things about the entire universe.  D’Souza points this a priori commitment out:

Naturalism and materialism are not scientific conclusions; rather, they are scientific premises. They are not discovered in nature but imposed upon nature. In short, they are articles of faith. Here is Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have [an] a priori commitment… a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2007), 161 (emphasis added).

“Minds fit into an theistic world, not an atheistic one”

What are intentional states of consciousness? Are states of consciousness plausible on either a theistic or atheistic worldview? This clip shows the exchange between Dr William Lane Craig and Dr Alex Rosenberg on intentional states of consciousness in the world. On February 1st, 2013 at Purdue University, Dr Craig participated in a debate with Dr Rosenberg on the topic, “Is Faith In God Reasonable?” Over 5,000 people watched the event on the Purdue University campus along with tens of thousands streaming it live online from around the world.

For more on this, see my “quotefest” here: Evolution Cannot Account for: Logic, Reasoning, Love, Truth, or Justice

Are Atheists “Free Thinkers”? Atheists AND Theists Say No

Ever hear an atheist say he’s a freethinker? Well, if atheism is true, an atheist, cannot be free nor would his thinking make any real sense. Frank Turek explains.

Evolutionary Illusions: Obfuscating Terms To Transform Perceptions


Quote


Evolutionary Illusions

...Reference for Excerpt

Biotic-Message 300

Walter James ReMine, The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory (Saint Paul, MN: St. Paul Science Publishers, 1993), 277, 297-300, 301

[p. 277>] The origins debate is beclouded with many illusions that use words and imagery to distort our perception in favor of evolution. Those illusions must be identified and removed, so we can see clearly. The present chapter focuses on the illusion that large-scale phylogeny actually exists. Three devices have been used to create this illusion of ancestry [the excerpt focuses on the third bullet point]:

  • Illusion is created by deleting diversity. By artificially concealing or obscuring diversity, evolutionists create the impression that they have identified a lineage. This effective technique is virtually undetectable to the non-specialist.
  • Illusion is created with tree-structured imagery, such as cladograms and phenograms. These are said to be evidence for evolution, but they do not identify a single ancestor-descendant relationship.
  • Illusion is created with misleading terminology. The terminology is loaded with evolutionary imagery that the public interprets as stating direct ancestry. Evolutionists have given the terminology new technical definitions that mean something else entirely. There is disparity between the evolutionists’ technical definitions and public perception, and that disparity is ideal for creating illusion….

Lineage and Phylogeny

[p. 297>] In recent years, evolutionists have redefined lineage and phylogeny to mean cladogram (or sometimes phenogram). The motive is twofold.

  • Darwinism predicts that lineage and phylogeny exist, yet identifying these has proven frustrating. Evolutionists want to continue using the words, so they redefine the words away from the frustrating meanings.
  • Evolutionists want to amplify the evidence for evolution. They believe the major evidence for evolution is life’s pattern of nested hierarchy —as displayed in cladograms. Therefore, they seek to equate phylogeny with cladograms, so the two are viewed as synonymous.

Evolutionists meet both these goals by redefining lineage and phylogeny in terms of cladograms. This shift in meaning is a major change in strategy.

If phylogenies of one sort are to pass away, is the notion of phylogeny doomed also? We judge not, for there is an alternative notion, here simply termed classification. Notions of this kind can be looked upon as phylogenies — as historical statements of ancestry and descent. But they are differ­ent in character. They include no ancestral taxa. They deny the postulates of darwinian systematics: that ancestral taxa have an objective identity independent of their descendants; that ancestral taxa can be discovered and identified as such; that ancestral taxa are under the constraints of empirical investigation. This shift in meaning of the term phylogeny from a Darwinian to a cladistic sense marks a revolution in biological systematics. (Nelson and Platnick, 1984, p 153-154)

The shift in meaning is virtually undetectable by the public. Here is an example.

It is possible, then, to deduce phylogeny, that is, genealogical history, by a careful, logical analysis of which organisms share which characteristics. A genealogy derived in this way may be considered a hypothesis, always subject to possible revision. If the hypothesis makes predictions that are borne out, we gain more confidence that it is correct. (Futuyma, 1983, p 55)

Futuyma explains how we can identify phylogeny and genealogy in a testable scientific manner. His discussion is misleading, since he is referring to cladistic analysis, where no ancestors are ever identified.

Other evolutionists subtly build the new meanings into their definitions. For example, Berra defines lineage like this:

Lineage — The line of descent from a particular ancestor; a major group of plants or animals across a span of time, all members of which derive from a common ancestor. (Berra, 1990, p 171, my italics)

His definition would allow evolutionists to use a cladogram or phenogram as a “lineage.”

Evolution

[p. 298>] Evolutionists commonly define evolution as biological change or a change in gene frequencies. Such definitions allow illusion to thrive by equivocation. Evolutionists argue that if you accept change in gene frequencies, then you must also accept evolution since these are the same thing. Mayr provides an example:

[Evolutionary change is also simply a fact owing to the changes in the content of gene pools from generation to generation. It is as much a fact as the observation that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the reverse. (Mayr, 1991, p 162-163)

In a similar way, Fox argues that the difference between human offspring and their parents proves evolution:

The fact of evolution … can no more be denied than one can deny his own senses. Each of us need only examine human offspring and their parents to attain this inference. (Fox, 1984, p 209)

In a similar way, Saladin misused the word evolution for rhetorical force during an oral debate:

Now, maybe the funniest thing about tonight’s debate is … that the evidence for evolution is so convincing even Dr. Gish [a creationist] accepts almost all evolution! He’s a closet evolutionist! (Saladin, 1984, p 17)

Along the same lines, Kitcher mistakenly claims:

The main thesis of evolution is that species are not fixed and immutable. (Kitcher, 1982, p 7)

The disparity between public interpretation and the evolutionists’ technical definition is ideal for creating illusion.21 As long as people are fooled by that illusion, we must protest its source. We cannot allow the origins debate to be decided based on confusing language.

Evolution refers to large-scale biological change, effectively from atoms to accountants. Anything failing to make that ultimate claim is not evolution (and is open to acceptance by creationists). Evolution is either all the way — or it is creation. This is already its de facto meaning within the origins debate, at least among the thoughtful public.

Macroevolution is the evolutionists’ term for large-scale biological change. Microevolution is their term for the biological change that we can confidently demonstrate, usually this is change within a species.

[p. 299>] Evolutionists needed the terminology for an internal debate they are having. The Darwinians argue that large-scale evolution is just the long-term accrual of small-scale biological change.22 Their opponents, the punctuationists, refute that notion. They point out that the small-scale changes visible in the living and fossil world cannot account for the overall evolution of life. The punctuationists are making a potent anti-evolutionary argument. Evolutionists needed to debate each other, but they wanted to reassure the world that they are not questioning the “fact” of evolution. The words macro- and micro-evolution served that purpose.23 When the debate is conveyed in that language, its real significance is imperceptible to the public. Evolutionists said they were merely debating the detailed relationship between macro- and microevolution, not doubting the fact of evolution.

Yet in the origins debate we are doubting evolution, it is the very issue under discussion. The evolutionists’ terminology serves to obscure evolutionary diffi­culties and create illusion in the public mind.

Evolutionists often use the term microevolution as a weapon in the origins debate. According to their argument, if you believe in microevolution, then you are an evolutionist.24 Such arguments fool the ear, but have no logical basis.

Some creationists tried to clarify the debate by saying, “Microevolution is not real evolution.” Though the argument is legitimate, it sounds nonsensical on its face. Again, the sound of the words placed creationists in an awkward position.

So, we must clarify terminology for the origins debate. The term macro-evolution is self-redundant and unnecessary. Macroevolution is evolution. The term is needlessly repetitive. The term microevolution is an oxymoron — it is self-contradictory. There can be no “micro” evolution. Evolution is either thorough-going and complete — or it is creation. The term microevolution lends itself to misleading arguments and ought to be abandoned. There are other words (such as biological change, genetic change, or variation) that convey the needed meaning without confusion or illusion.

In summary, evolutionists often misuse the word evolution and create illusion by equivocating this simple word. The origins debate must clarify the matter. Evolution refers to large-scale transformation, from molecules to man.

Strategic Motives

[p. 300>] There are strategic motives for evolutionists to redefine terminology in peculiar ways. By redefining the key terms, evolutionists effectively silence opponents. Opponents are placed in an awkward position where they cannot communicate effectively.

Let me describe how this happened to me. I claimed that, “Large-scale phylogeny is systematically missing from the record of life.” That is a serious statement about the empirical world. It deserves to be said. An evolutionist responded, “That is not true, we have identified many large-scale phylogenies” and he offered a cladogram as an example. Our debate soon degenerated into an argu­ment over the definition of phylogeny. An important point about the empirical world was sidetracked into a seemingly dry debate about the definition of words. After further discussion the evolutionist dug in his heels. “I do not accept your definition of phylogeny,” he declared. That move would leave me without the key term necessary to communicate my claim about nature.

The evolutionists’ redefinition of the term phylogeny is a strategic move that turns their opponent into a mute: unable to communicate serious objections to evolution. This applies to all the terminology of the origins debate. By redefining the key words, evolutionists effectively silence or sidetrack opponents.25 The opponent can no longer communicate effectively, because all the key words have been taken away.

[….]

Summary

[p. 301>] ….Illusion is created by misusing the key words of the origins debate: ancestral, primitive, advanced, derived, intermediate, transitional, lineage, and phylogeny. Evolutionists have redefined all these terms so that no ancestors ever need be identified. These words are used to convey the sound and imagery of direct ancestry, without supplying the evidence.

The evolutionists’ peculiar definitions of terminology also served a strategic purpose. The definitions made it awkward for an anti-evolutionist to communicate. By taking away all the key words, evolutionists effectively silenced opponents.

The evolutionary definitions are illegitimate because: (1) They function to create illusion. (2) They protect the illusion by inhibiting an opponent’s ability to communicate. (3) Other terminology exists that conveys, without illusion, the evolutionists’ intended meaning.


21 Here is an example of the illusion. Saladin writes, “Gish [a creationist] distorts the meaning of evolution as a ploy to make it more assailable (the straw man tactic)….. Correctly stated, evolution simply says this: Populations of organisms exhibit genetic change over a period of time, and this enables them to adapt to changes in their environment. If Gish had defined evolution correctly, he would have found it difficult or impossible to refute in this debate. It is clear from [Gish’s book] Evolution? The Fossils Say No! that even he accepts evolution on these terms.” (Saladin, 1988, p 36)

22 “Most of modern evolutionary theory (as judged, for example, from the issues of the bimonthly journal Evolution) lies squarely within the realm of microevolution….. Little work is geared to bridging the conceptual gap between microevolution and macroevo-lution, the latter taken simply as large-scale, long-term accrual of adaptive change.” (Eldredge, 1989, p 58, 59)

23 “We understand very little about evolution, particularly the type of evolution involved in the creation of the major taxa, the kingdoms, the phyla and so on. We call this `macroevolution’, to distinguish it from a seemingly different process, ‘micro-evolution’, which is characteristic of evolution in the lower taxa. However, the term ‘macroevolution’ serves more to hide our ignorance than symbolize our understanding.” (Woese, 1987, p 177, my italics)

24 Evolutionists often argue that if you accept microevolution then you must accept evolution, and conversely, that if you reject evolution then you are also forced to reject microevolution. (For example see Wills, 1989, p 110-111)

25 When creationists use the terminology in legitimate commonsense ways, then evolu­tionists have typically argued that the creationist misunderstands or misrepresents science

The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists ~ Ravi Zacharias (Serious Saturday)

September 29, 2012 – Ravi Zacharias speaks on the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopoher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett) and their inability to use reason and logic. Instead, they use ridicule and mocking as a tactic against religion.