Posts tagged ‘darwinism’

May 17th, 2013

Objecting to Intelligent Design because of Bad Design

by Max Andrews

The following objection to intelligent design is from observing the natural data and claiming that it could not have been designed because there are some things that lack proper function or there could have been a better way for a certain [i.e. organ] to function.  This objection is often made by many theistic evolutionists, though, still non-theists object as well, is based on an inappropriate and misconceived understanding of design.[1] The design hypothesis merely states that there is intelligent causation that permits the existence of life (a probability factor).  Optimality of what has been designed is not a criterion for design.  Motor vehicles break down and computers crash.  With comparing motor vehicles to design, there is a natural decay and effects of heat, friction, and weather decay.  What is interesting about the comparison to malfunctioning software is that a frequently known cause of malfunction is an intentionally designed malware or virus, which has been designed for the primary purpose of malfunction, it is designed to break down or decompose a previous design. 

May 13th, 2013

Q&A 22: Rapid Fire Round–Divine Freedom, the Bible, and Creationism

by Max Andrews



I have come to conclusions that I am certain that you do not accept about the existence of God. My conclusions are theological and philosophical based and I can offer full discourse in defense. What I would like to know is how far away are we from each other once we realize that what we believe about the one true living God is different.

Do you believe that God has free will?

Can The Lord go back in time and change Judas for John?

I accept the partially-openview as a characteristic of existence for both God and man.

How would you interpret 1 Samuel 13:13?

The other is that I believe that those that are fearful of creation science need to consider their motivation and assure that they are not being deceived by methodological naturalism and unnecessarily extended ages of the earth and the universe.

I am a fan of ID but what I deplore is that there is an anti-creation bias associated with most proponents of ID. I understand the neutral conclusion of ID, but there is no reason to avoid young earth creationism from dialogue.

1 Cor 15:47

Do you believe in a literal global catastrophic flood?


April 27th, 2013

Life Before Earth

by Max Andrews

The following is the abstract from a recent paper (“Life Before Earth,” 28 March 2013) published in arXiv by Alexei A. Sharov, Ph.D. (Staff Scientist, Laboratory of Genetics) and Richard Gordon, Ph.D. (Theoretical Biologist, Embryogenesis Center). What’s quite startling and significant about this paper is that it compares to the complexity found in biology and compares it to Moore’s Law, which is a computer/computational complexity. What’s important is not the mere issue of complexity but the specific coding elements required for specific function in conjunction with complexity. Thus, the information content is very complex, robust, and specified.


An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several positive feedback factors: (1) gene cooperation, (2) duplication of genes with their subsequent specialization (e.g., via expanding differentiation trees in multicellular organisms), and (3) emergence of novel functional niches associated with existing genes. Linear regression of genetic complexity (on a log scale) extrapolated back to just one base pair suggests the time of the origin of life = 9.7 ± 2.5 billion years ago.

April 26th, 2013

Science and Efficient Causality

by Max Andrews

Any type of efficient causality is typically associated with being an unscientific explanation—explanations nonetheless but unscientific.  It is believed that if biology, chemistry, physics, etc. rested explanations in final causation then it would be a science stopper.  This is where the distinction between Duhemian science and Augustinian science must be made. I would deny the use of Duhemian science.  This method, or philosophy, has a goal of stripping science from all metaphysical imports.  Augustinian science is open to metaphysical presuppositions with science.  Francis Bacon and Descartes used and allowed for formal and final causation in scientific explanation.  Newton entered science and postulated that the universe was entirely mechanistic, which was a denial of Baconian and Cartesian science (at least their versions of scientific explanation) but offered no explanation for the appearance of final causation and efficient causation.  Darwin came along and provided a plausible material mechanism for the appearance of final and efficient causation (at least for the special science of biology).

March 20th, 2013

The Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design

by Max Andrews

I attended the Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design (Social Science) in 2010.  My thoughts and comments will be general since we were asked not release specifics concerning information being shared (some of it was yet-to-be published and I don’t know if it has been published yet so I’ll remain silent) and I do not want to “out” any other attendees in their academic endeavors.  Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted.  I’ve already outed myself and I’m pretty vocal about my advocacy of design (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).

I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar.  In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows.  There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.  I participated in the social science seminar and being philosophy graduate student I’m not as adept in biology, chemistry, and physics as many others are.  I certainly received a welcoming abundance of science in presentations, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Some of the lecturers included Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Jay Richards, Jonathan Wells, Richard Sternberg, Ann Gauger, Bruce Gordon, Jonathan Witt, John West, and Casey Luskin.

March 16th, 2013

Two Leading Experts on Bacterial Flagellar Assembly Take on Michael Behe

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from Jonathan M. at Evolution News and Views…

I’ve been reading the recently published book Microbes and Evolution: The World that Darwin Never Saw, which combines my two primary areas of interest: microbiology and evolution. Chapter 38 of the book is written by Kelly Hughes and David Blair of the University of Utah, two of the world’s leading experts on bacterial flagellar assembly. Having followed the work of Kelly Hughes and his colleagues for a few years, I hold their work in the highest regard. I myself have a deep fascination with the subject of bacterial gene expression. I was intrigued, therefore, when I discovered the title of Hughes and Blair’s chapter: “Irreducible Complexity? Not!”

Following a very basic overview of flagellar structure and function (also described in my own detailed review of the subject), Hughes and Blair ask, “Is the flagellum irreducibly complex, or just complex?” They write,

It is clear that the flagellum is a complex structure and that its assembly and operation depend upon many interdependent components and processes. This complexity has been suggested to pose problems for the theory of evolution; specifically, it has been suggested that the ancestral flagellum could not have provided a significant advantage unless all of the parts were generated simultaneously. Hence, the flagellum has been described as “irreducibly complex,” implying that it is impossible or at least very difficult to envision a much simpler, but still useful, ancestral form that would have been the raw material for evolution.

February 27th, 2013

And the Award for the Most Despised Science Book Goes To…

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from David Klinghoffer.

Congratulations are in order. Columnist Mark Vernon in The Guardian has honored Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False with his annual Most Despised Science Book award. By that, Vernon means the book that most attracted the ire of the scientifically orthodox by violating cherished taboos — a good thing, in other words:

Steven Pinker damned it with faint praise when he described it in a tweet as “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.” Jerry Coyne blogged: “Nagel goes the way of Alvin Plantinga,” which is like being compared to Nick Clegg. All in all, Nagel’s gadfly stung and whipped them into a fury.Disparagement is particularly unfair, though, because the book is a model of carefulness, sobriety and reason. If reading Sheldrake feels daring, Tallis thrilling and Fodor worthwhile but hard work, reading Nagel feels like opening the door on to a tidy, sunny room that you didn’t know existed.

February 21st, 2013

Westminster Conference: “How Did it All Begin?”

by Max Andrews

Reblogged  from Jonathan M. and the Discovery Institute.

Join Discovery Institute staff and associates in Greater Philadelphia on April 5 and 6 for the 2013 Westminster Conference on Science & Faith. The event will be held at Covenant Fellowship Church, and is headlined by Oxford mathematician and philosopher Professor John Lennox, and leading intelligent design theorist and philosopher of science Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author ofSignature in the Cell.

The theme is origins: of the cosmos, of increasingly complex life, and of life itself.

Other speakers include molecular biologist Dr. Douglas Axe, political scientist Dr. John G. West, theologian Dr. Vern Poythress, bioethicist Dr. Megan Best, and theologian Dr. Scott Oliphint. To whet your appetite for this year’s conference, here’s a short trailer featuring clips from last year:

Continue reading…

February 11th, 2013

Q&A 10: The Problem of Defining Science

by Max Andrews


I’m not grasping the foundations of some claims in your paper “What’s Science…..”  I realize, or think I realize, that you are expanding on concepts relating to the subject matter as introduced by other philosophers.  Choosing to accept Augustinian Science as inclusive of metaphysical presuppositions is in and of itself not scientific, as there is no way to reliably ascertain a metaphysical construct relative to a physical construct.  How can you demonstrate any kind of cause and effect?  In addition, some things that were assumed to be metaphysical are now known to be physical as a result of rigorous scientific analysis.  I’m referring to our ability to artificially manipulate cognition during neurosurgery in coordination with fMRI and other scanning resources. If I’m misreading please let me know. Can you provide examples of scientific theories that are not founded in empiricism? How can metaphysical evidence be reliable when it is not falsifiable? But is there an example of scientific theories that are not falsifiable?  I can’t think of any. I’m not suggesting that a pseudoscientific claim cannot be falsifiable, but I don’t see how a theory that is based on data accumulation, investigation, analysis, review and verification can be defined as unfalsifiable.  It would render the review process inconsequential. Theories that are falsifiable promote and require continued investigation as no theories are an end in themselves.  The reason I bring this is because your article says that falsifiability is not required…and I don’t see how that is in fact conclusive. Is there a specific definition of science that you are basing your views on?
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February 11th, 2013

“Evolution Will Come to Seem Laughable in a Generation or Two”

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 12.18.13 AMThe following originally appeared in The New York Times by Jennifer Schuessler.


In 1974 Thomas Nagel published “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?,” a short essay arguing that the subjective experience of consciousness — what philosophers call the “qualia” — could not be fully reduced to the physical aspects of the brain.

That essay framed a landmark challenge to the materialist view of the mind that was then prevailing and helped cement Mr. Nagel’s reputation as one of the most incisive and imaginative of contemporary philosophers.

But since the late October release of his latest book, “Mind and Cosmos,” reviewers have given Mr. Nagel ample cause to ponder another question: What is it like to be an eminent (and avowedly atheist) philosopher accused of giving aid and comfort to creationist enemies of science?

Advocates of intelligent design have certainly been enthusiastic, with the Discovery Institute crowing about Mr. Nagel’s supposed “deconversion” from Darwinism. The book, subtitled “Why the Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False,” has also drawn appreciative notice from conservative publications that might normally disdainMr. Nagel’s liberal writings in moral and political philosophy.

The response from scientists and most of his fellow philosophers, however, has ranged from deeply skeptical to scorching.