Attempts to Counter Stephen Meyer’s Book

Evolution is extremely flexible in its explanations because there is more imagination than hard scientific evidence. For this reason, it has opened the door for evolutionary scientists to create some of the most far-reaching scenarios ever imagined, and claiming it’s all in the name of ‘science’ which cannot be confirmed and yet claim its superiority (bluffing) to be factual or near factual.

Ever since Stephen Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt”  was published and has been a best seller on in science, various articles have been trying to counter it.

“Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer has to do with an explosion of complex life forms such as the Cambrian arthropod having a large complex brain that all of a sudden appears in the fossil record were expected ancestors of these animals have not been discovered. This is similar to what is being discovered in space where scientists are discovering abrupt appearances of diverse group of galaxies already in mature states near what they consider to be the beginning of the universe which is contrary to what evolutionary astronomers believed! They thought one type of galaxy evolved into another, this called the “Hubble Sequence.”

Popular Science writer and evolutionist, Carl Zimmer decided to write an article that attempts to counter Meyer’s book and others like it. His article appears in the New York Times which is not surprising because this publication is very pro-evolution.

Zimmer’s style in his rebuttal is quite classic for a militant defender of evolution, because he purposely avoids mentioning Meyer’s book for fear of giving it credit and that more people would buy the book as a result. He does refer to Meyer and the rest who don’t believe in neo-Darwinism as “opponents of evolution”.

When a theory gets increasingly more complicated as new data is discovered which falsifies it even more and old arguments are looked at with the new data, it means the theory is not valid. A totally new direction is required! The increasingly complicated theory, in this case “evolution” is only resting on man’s imagination to rescue it rather than facts. That is not to say inferences cannot be drawn in science nor advancing growing knowledge with new data, but when conjecture is considered growing knowledge and is so dominate among its explanations, this is not science but rather a cult following.

Zimmer endorses and uses conjecture over science quite often in his article, “Explaining Evolution’s Big Bang”

“Long before the Cambrian explosion, Dr. Smith and Dr. Harper argue, one lineage of animals had already evolved the genetic capacity for spectacular diversity. Known as the bilaterians, they probably looked at first like little crawling worms. They shared the Precambrian oceans with other animals, like sponges and jellyfish. During the Cambrian explosion, relatively modest changes to their genes gave rise to a spectacular range of bodies.”

“But those genes evolved in bilaterians tens of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion put them to the test, notes Dr. Smith. “They had the capacity,” he said, “but it hadn’t been expressed yet.”

Zimmer suggests that evolution created genetic capacity for a purpose of producing enormous diversity among animals but kept it dormant for millions of years till something triggered its use in a short period of time by evolutionary standards. Correct me if I’m wrong, but nature doesn’t go by future assumptions in order to survive, does it? Does anyone believe evolution relies on predictions of the future which affects what it does in the present? When I was taught about evolution in school, the theory said that evolution relies on what goes on in at the present moment in order to survive! A mindless process doesn’t go by selecting future goals for survival especially many million of years into the future. We humans with a brain can decide on goals that may enhance our lives in some way, this takes a thinking process to do this!

Also, many diverse life forms require massive amounts of specified information much like many forms of advanced technology requires massive amounts of specified information. So not only does this conjecture lack observable data, and lack the ability to be replicated, and lack the ability to consider and execute future goals, its explanation of “genetic capacity” lacks a realistic requirement of creating massive amounts of specified information in a short period of time in order to create a diverse group of animals.

Meyer puts it this way in his book, functional genes and proteins are not just rare but exceedingly rare within sequence space as science points out. As a result, a random mutational search for specified information would fail, than to succeed, in generating even a single new gene or new protein during the entire history of life on earth!

On the other hand, Zimmer fails to show how DNA can originate, and show how mutations are able to obtain new information to build another life form! All what Zimmer does is, assume that evolution just happen to build a “genetic capacity” to be used many millions of years later without explaining why that was required for survival of the fittest in the present.

Zimmer also makes a surprise case for evolution or should I say, shocking case for evolution by embracing a global flood! Evolutionists have always attacked the historical account from the Bible. Zimmer suggests that nature had to respond to the killing off of many species from a global flood by triggering the Cambrian explosion using the “genetic capacity” which was somehow prepared many millions of years in advance!

It took a global flood to tap that capacity, Dr. Smith and Dr. Harper propose.  They base their proposal on a study published last year by Shanan Peters of the University of Wisconsin and Robert Gaines of Pomona College. They offered evidence that the Cambrian Explosion was preceded by a rise in sea level that submerged vast swaths of land, eroding the drowned rocks.”   

What is so very interesting about Zimmer and the authors whom he sights, they use the “Great Unconformity” as evidence for a global flood!  Creation scientists have for a long time now, been using the Great Unconformity as evidence for a global flood. Evolutionists however, have rejected using that method for evidence for a global flood, calling it a myth rather than science so why are these guys using the same evidence as creationists treated so differently? We certainly don’t see rebuttals coming from evolutionists on Zimmer’s endorsement of a global flood. So how did Zimmer get acceptance from his peers who previously opposed flood geology? Is it because Zimmer embraced a particular story for his conclusion, that life came from poison which has never been observed in nature nor even replicated in a lab rather than coming from God and that minerals were able somehow to miraculously produce advanced and complex animal body parts in a short period of time. Talk about mythology in trying to explain a major falsification of evolution!

Listen, if these evolutionists like Zimmer who now embraced a global flood with the same evidence creationists use through the years demonstrates that not only are creation scientists using the scientific method, but it also shows the lie evolutionists have created on what is and is not science for the purpose of keeping other views out of the science realm. The scientific method is not based on who the person is nor what they may believe in, rather it’s based on a procedure!

For example, two mechanics from two different backgrounds, one is a Christian who fixes your car by replacing the spark plugs and the wires, and then an atheist replaces those same parts years later. Some supposed expert writes a review in your local newspaper of the car shop saying the christian’s method wasn’t mechanical because he believes those spark plugs and wires came from God and then say, the atheist used the mechanical method in changing your spark plugs and wires because he rejects the existence of God. This folks is loony logic that most Americans do not believe in!

So the likes of Zimmer and other evolutionists have been lying to the public on what science is and is not, all in the name of defending evolution because they are merely basing their bias on who the person is and what he or she believes in when drawing conclusions from the data!

But the good news is, nature is astounding, we learn from it each day. God is highly intelligent, way beyond our understanding which is why continuing to study nature on how it works is so fun and important to learn about!

Darwin Apologist Writes Another Story About Nature

For those of you who are not aware, one of the leading proponents and advocate of evolution, who also attempts to use evolution as a tool against the Bible in order to try and sway people in another direction, his name of course is none other than Richard Dawkins.

He has written such books as “The God Delusion” and “The Blind Watchmaker” and his latest, “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.” Dawkins was asked if he would debate another author who wrote a book “Signature of the Cell” by Stephen Meyer which is a book that proposes evidence for intelligent design. Dawkins a guest on Fox News who has debated O’Reily a few times on a show called; “The Factor” refused to debate Stephen Meyer’s book. He claimed it held “no water.” A shallow response, did that mean he really believed O’Reily held a stronger argument with water? Nope!  In reality, Fox News has huge ratings, so much so, Dawkins couldn’t resist the publicity it would bring to his books so he goes on there.

What about this new book? It holds too many straw-man arguments while missing some points about creationism. For example, Dawkin attempts to prove a “bad design” in nature as evidence for evolution. …He points out this so-called; example…

“But all flightless birds including ostriches and their kind, which lost their wings a very long time ago, are clearly descended from ancestors that used them to fly. No reasonable observer should doubt the truth of that, which means that anyone who thinks about it should find it very hard — why not impossible — to doubt the fact of evolution.” (p. 345)

How can anyone doubt evolution by observing flightless birds? Wow, pretty weak evidence! For one thing, Dawkins is pointing out an example of an animal loosing information (wings). What Dawkins fails to prove is an animal gaining brand new information which is at the core of the evolutionary debate! Flightless birds isn’t contrary to the creationist model! In fact, it’s still a bird! The creationist model disagrees with one animal mutating into a totally different animal, not loosing an ability or part. This might impress Dawkins’ gullible choir but it’s not really indisputable evidence for evolution as he claims it is.

Dawkins once again points out a bad example which turned out to be more of a problem with new evidence after he wrote the book, the early pterosaur, Rhamphorhynchus, with a long tail “with the ping-pong bat at the end.” A new pterosaur fossil  does damage to the Maynard Smith hypothesis as well as Dawkin’s claims in the book. The pterosaur fossils, Darwinopterus modularis being the latest discovery with a claim of being 160 million years old which is on the young side of Rhamphorhynchus, both of these fossils have a long tail with “advanced” features in the head and neck. The evolution story now looks like the latter features arose without being driven by selection for compensation for loss of stability.

This has puzzled evolutionists as the evidence is not matching up with their story as it was reported in the BBC,  McGrath states;“But the strange thing about Darwinopterus is that it has a head and neck just like that of advanced pterosaurs, while the rest of the skeleton, including a very long tail, is identical to that of primitive forms.” So now Darwinian gradualism which Dawkins proposes in his book as evidence is replaced by a new slant to the story.

“This pattern supports the idea that modules, tightly integrated complexes of characters with discrete, semi-independent and temporally persistent histories, were the principal focus of natural selection and played a leading role in evolutionary transitions.”

The pattern points to an intelligent designer, namely God not to this “idea” which is nothing more than a story based on evidence that doesn’t hold to any pattern in evolution whether it be with Darwinian gradualism or this new line of story telling. More on this particular subject matter located in the biotic message theory, as proposed by Walter ReMine who wrote The Biotic Message.

So we see the example of flightless birds is just one of many examples which doesn’t really prove evolution at all, Dawkins was right, it’s a show but not the greatest one and it’s without the substance!

Review of Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell

Many topics are covered in this book that provide evidence for intelligent design so  I’m going to break the review down in parts. One of the very first things  I noticed about Meyer is the fact that he’s not an in your face writer, but rather he’s very polite, and smart while his commentary gives positives and negatives to the opposition namely the defenders of evolution.

Keep in mind, what Meyer is advocating in this book is not creationism. Although there are points of agreement between the two, but not enough to be the same thing. It’s like saying, the new agers believe in Christ and many other gods, this in fact doesn’t mean these theists are Christians or their doctrine is part of Christianity. It’s not a water down version either of Christianity, but very much different.

Now back to Meyer’s book. I like the way he writes about his life and his curiously in particular about the origin of life. In 1986, Meyers was very inspired by Charles Thaxton who happened to be his mentor at the time. After the conversations with Thaxton, Meyer began to formulate his own questions about the inference of intelligent design and could it pass rigorous scientific arguments. Thaxton believed the very reason why secular scientists rejected design was because they failed to see there are different types of scientific inquiry concerning the past.

Thaxton like Meyer believes in “intelligent agents” as the cause for design which might provide a better answer for causing an event to happen. Meyers then went on to “abductive reasoning” which was first describe by Charles Sanders Peirce. Now abductive reasoning refers to unseen facts, events or causes using clues from the present. Meyers then goes on with more data on historical science.

Meyers writes on page 193…

“So what about the origin of life? Could the chance hypothesis explain the origin of the specified information necessary to produce life in the first place?”

It’s an interesting question, today there is no observation in nature where we see it producing specified information by itself which is needed for life. Meyer then goes into speculating situations needed for life and how naturalism could or could not produce them. There has been much lab work over the past 50 years trying to reproduce life in context to their beliefs on how evolution would accomplish it.

Next, I’ll deal with the signature in the cell that tells us it was designed rather than accidently put together through natural processes.

Second Draft Made Public: Science Standards in Texas

A new proposal drafted November 12, 2008 was finally made public just recently. Texas has been the center of attention for many special interests when it comes to revising their school standards in science. There is quite a lot of information to sort through and most likely I will not get to it all in this post.

I agree to a certain degree with David M. Hills, Professor of the University of Texas. Some of the draft standards are confusing to the concepts of scientific theories and scientific hypotheses. But there is confusion about scientific law too…

Here are the big three in science studies…

1) Hypothesis

2) Scientific Theory

3) Scientific Law

These three items even confuse future teachers of science who have embraced evolution. In a post I presented awhile back called; Educator Alarmed Over Trainees Understanding of Science. It revealed some interesting facts about what future science teachers knew about the “big 3.”

Of course David M. Hillis who is on the expert panel as he contributes to the new proposal. His interest of course is more in trying to strengthen the belief in evolution to even a more dogmatic standard…He states…

“YYThe standards for the grade 9-12 Physics course —112.47 (a) (2) — get it right: “A hypothesis is a tentative and testable statement that is based on observation. Students should know that scientific theories, unlike hypotheses, are well established and highly reliable, but they will still be subject to changes as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.”LL

This is good, but additional explanation may be needed here, given the common misunderstanding of the meaning of scientific theory. Students should know that scientific theories are based on a huge body of scientific investigations, and that scientific theories represent scientific consensus based on an evaluation of the sum of scientific evidence (typically from hundreds of thousands of scientific investigations across many decades or even centuries)…”

The concept of theories being considered factual for a period of time, then some changed due to obvious new evidence which doesn’t fit the theory, has been around a long time. Some claim that only means the theory pertaining to naturalism is incomplete.

More about the science standards in Texas…

“Scientific explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena, and must be cable of testing by multiple independent researchers. If scientific explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientist have no way of testing those explanations. Unless a proposed scientific explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially refute it, that explanation cannot be subject to scientific testing.”

The word used “purported forces” sounds pagan. God is not a “force” to Christians. The term does suggest indirectly that science has disproved the supernatural. Purported means; reputed or claimed; alleged: We saw no evidence of his purported wealth. This term should not be used in the science standards.

Anyway, Stephen Meyers who is another expert on the panel in Texas, points out, scientists often provide evidence which gives a preference to a theory over another without totally falsifying the less favored theory. Having a scientific theory based on falsifiability and reputability as a requirement for scientific status would remove other theories from their scientific status, Meyers argues.

Clearly there is bad things contained in the current status of the proposal. Each side is not quite happy with all of it’s form. There is however some good teaching methods for science in the proposal which I might go through in future posts.

As for right now, I suggest people display their viewpoints by emailing:

You must specify…

• the course or grade level
• specific numbered Knowledge and Skill (KS) statement
• specific lettered Student Expectation (SE).

Christians are especially encouraged to give their viewpoints about the science standards in Texas. So go ahead, write what you think, make your voices known!