Greg On The Odds of Macroevolution and Vegas

(Greg) #1

First of all, science cannot determine the level that our Creator was involved in micro changes or any amt of change. God could have created a water dwelling creature who waded in the water with the means to adapt into a swimmer. And He could have directly intervened in any process as He saw fit.

Secondly science is having a really difficult time explaining is how chance genetic mistakes selected in sequence can result into complexity as neo darwinianism demands.

The book The Privileged Planet calculates the chance that all hundreds of ingredients needed for life to exist on this planet to be so astronomically thin that it points to a Creator. Likewise, macro change via chance mutations selected to grow bacterium w flagellum into squirrels w brains, eyes, kidneys, esophoguses, stomachs -all ingredients needed to be in place at once for its body plan to function is just as unlikely.

God created the kinds and graced them with the ability to adapt and change to an environment in which they were placed. Leaving His direct involvement out in this way is to suggest that the earth’s habitible nature and irreducibly complex bio machines which every organism contains were by random chance…If you are a gambler-feel free to take those odds and run w them. I m not in the business of forcing people to stay away from Vegas or from places where the odds are infinitely more against the player. But “For me and my house, we will serve the Lord”

Did We Have "Reptilian" Ancestors?
(John Harshman) #2

You should look at the various primitive chordates that lack all those particular ingredients, Amphioxus for example. Gradual evolution is the solution to your problem.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #3

It turns out that the pattern of each individual snowflake is exceedingly rare, so rare that we often hear the phrase no two snowflakes are ever alike. That is a remarkable statement considering that it is the exact same mechanisms that govern each snowflake yet the odds of getting each one is far lower than anything you’ve mentioned. So how are they difference? The difference in each is due to the fact that their initial conditions and histories of formation are never quite the same and the contingencies of its history produce a rather improbable snowflake that the world will likely never seen again - similar to the contingencies of history that led to us getting approximately spherical manatees or tall necked giraffes or your favorite, squirrels. The odds of making any of those remind me of this article:

(Timothy Horton) #4

Science doesn’t have any problem at all with the explanation for how natural evolutionary processes involving random genetic changes and feedback from selection create complexity. Scientists and mathematicians have know for almost a century simple processes involving feedback can produce amazingly complex outputs - see the Mandelbrot Set for an example.

No ID-Creationist anywhere has ever computed any actual probabilities for anything in biology. All the “it’s too improbable” arguments rely 100% on bullshit unknown and unknowable actual values based on numbers pulled straight out of the ID-Creationist nether regions.

Oh, and you dodged the question yet again Greg:

What prevents micro level changes from accumulating over time into macro level changes?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

Oh my, I agree with @greg on this one. :smile:

(Greg) #6

I read your article front first to last. Here is a segment:

“This does not mean, however, that the evolutionary path to the new function is blocked or that evolution runs into a “brick wall,” as Behe alleges. If the initial mutations have no negative effect on the ancestral function, they can arise and hang around in populations for substantial periods of time due to genetic drift, creating the background in which an additional mutation can then yield the new function and be subject to selection. This is precisely what we observed in our studies of the evolution of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR).”

If i had a nickle for how many times i have heard similar semantics, i’d be a…ok i might have 2 or 3 bucks.

So what this relays to me is that amidst all of the smart sounding semantics, evolutionist have truly succomb to the thought that an accumulation of mutations in our genetic code that are stored up can be selected by organisms to the point that the development of all of the intracacies in even an eyeball as it is attached to nerves and muscles as it safely is housed in an eye socket is possible without the hand of intelligence? And i would guess that you understand that there is much more complexity than that in the eye design which we have designed camera lenses from. For anyone to believe this tells me that the cause of naturalistic indoctrination by our education systems is quite effective. Give enough years of such and one will be willing to drink the coolaide. I believe God must be up there looking down at us-especially those of us who have placed our faith in Him, and is shaking His head and rolling His eyes. Those of us privy to the information about how God created kinds really buying into universal common decent via nature is a sad state of affairs. The ID folks are absolutely on the right path and you will do good to listen intently to guys like Behe. Of course folks are going to counterpunch with rebuttles because that is what we do. And there would be a lot of embarrassment in mainstream and those of us who have followed if Behe is on the right track, which i truly believe he is.

One other encouragement: listen more intently to those who are the few and who stand more in line w Scripture instead of the mainstream. Pay close attention to doors opening sometimes in mysterious or unusual ways because sometimes God chooses such to relay His truth and purposes. I believe He is opening a door that is exposing the farce in neo darwinianism. Behe and creationists like him on staff w creationists groups around the globe are doing great work. They may only be 1% of scientists, but they are allowing the idea of intelligence into the equation of our existence and are extremely wise for it.

Is40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

(Timothy Horton) #7

You don’t have any idea how little your ignorance based personal incredulity is worth, do you?


Mockery doesn’t really convince scientists. You might try some actual science.


If God did do this, he did it in such a way that it is indistinguishable from the ongoing processes we see in living organisms today. We tend to call these natural processes because they appear to happen through known natural processes and happen spontaneously. I started a thread on how the differences between the genomes of different species are consistent with known biochemical pathways, if you are interested:

(Greg) #10

I believe it to be an impossible task of knowing how to reply to you because sometimes your language indicates you to be more of the unbelieving type who doesnt seem in the least interested to learn how people of science who believe that God created think and process where other times you seem accomodating. Is this a stage name and persona for gaging a reaction? Are you a true person with a true set of values? Would you mind sharing?

I am obviously a Christian. I believe that Jesus is God incarnate. He spoke exacting language to this effect regarding judging or accessing in His sermon on the mount. In that section, He clarifies that for a resolution to disagreement over variations of our accessments, if both parties are on opposite ends of the isle in thinking, then dont bother trying to resolve.

If you dont mind sharing w me your thinking on faith in God matters, this will help me to know how to reply to you, if at all.

I really believe you to be brilliant in your IQ. I believe you are many times smarter than I…i mean this and i have no doubt about it. However in lifes economy where i know there to be a real Creator God, He offers more challenges to those rich and wise in their own eyes to humble themselves, repent of reliance on IQ, and grab hold of wisdom- and wisdom personified in the Living Christ. His final declaration is that with Him involved, anything is possible.

Anyway, just wanted to respond over lunch. Will catch up on any reply later.


The problem is that you are framing your arguments around an argument from incredulity. What you will or won’t believe has little to do with how the universe actually works. I can say that I find it impossible that all those pin pricks of light in the night sky are distant suns, but those are distant suns even though I am incredulous of the idea.

(Timothy Horton) #12

It’s pretty easy actually. If you want to have a scientific discussion you need to bring some actual scientific knowledge to the party. All you have offered to date is your untrained layman’s personal disbelief. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant per se. As Will Rogers once correctly noted, “everyone is ignorant, just in different subjects”. Ignorance can be easily cured by reading and learning but first you have to want to learn.

(John Mercer) #13

Greg, you don’t really reply to anyone about anything pertaining to evolution.

(Greg) #14

But the naturalist is equally framing his argument from incredulity. In his case, nature is the miracle maker. I mentioned this analogy on several occasions-most recently to mercer: if we pretend that it is absolutely true that God created kinds and designed them in a fallen world to adapt to difficult environmental circumstances, the naturalist in the name of naturalistic objectivism will miss this fact every time-especially considering the limited fossil record, and that we prob have only touched the iceberg about understanding all components of genetics. So the scientist who is trying to put the pieces together is highly subject to misinterpret the data based on the presumptions they bring to the table. ID does a much better job in weighing the philosophical base that goes into determinations of our past. They are not afraid of admitting that nature can accomplish items and they are not afraid to admit when something looks like it is outside of the natural. I think the reason ID is hated so much has to do with human nature tending towards diefying self determination and human reasoning.


How is that an argument from incredulity?

Why would God creating kinds for a fallen world produce a nested hierarchy for both living and fossil species? Also, what scientific methods are you using to reach these conclusions?

Can you point to a specific set of data and show us how it has been misinterpreted, and why?

What scientific methods did they use to determine that something is outside of nature? What are the tests?

At least from what I can see, ID tends towards a lack of reasoning, such as the argument from incredulity that you have been using.

(Greg) #16

I love to read all subjects and point to brilliant phd scientists like Behe, Wise, Jeansen, others for answering men like yourself. On another catagory, i noticed your vein popping declarations that Behe is a liar and is a terrible scientist who misses the scientific reality you are privy to. Who in the world are you that your feathers are so ruffled. I am a layperson who loves his Creator and who loves people enough to vocalize how i believe the stance you take helps to implode the Christian worldview. What is your motive in such strong vocalizations? Are you in the middle of writting a book you are hoping will sell or something?

(Timothy Horton) #17

I’m a science professional who sees the DI’s anti-science propaganda campaign as a direct threat to the scientific future of this country. Dumbing down science standards, lying about existing scientific knowledge and producing students who don’t know the science basics just so the DI can push its religious agenda will do immense harm to the country’s technical leadership in the future. Not on my watch.

That’s who.

(Herculean Skeptic) #18

@Greg You’ve been participating here at PS for nearly four months now. You’ve had the opportunity to interact with dozens of brilliant science minds over hundreds of posts concerning the topic of evolution. Please, share one thing that you’ve learned about this subject in this amount of time.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #19

Greg, if that were true, there wouldn’t be so many (most, in fact) Christ-followers in the science academy who reject ID.

As often happens in these discussions, you are failing to recognize the differences between ID as a philosophy and ID as science. The Intelligent Design movement asserts that “ID theory” is an actual scientific theory, that the Scientific Method can be used to examine and quantify the evidence and make a compelling case that an intelligent designer was involved in bringing about particular phenomena, such as biological life. As a born-again Christ-follower, I most certainly affirm that God designed everything and did so intelligently—but that is my philosophical and theological position, not a scientific one. I’ve been intently watching the Intelligent Design movement for many years now and I would be delighted if I were to find a convincing scientific paper which survived peer review and convinced the science academy that “ID theory” is sound science. Instead, despite reading many intelligent design books and articles, I’ve yet to see “ID theory” rigorously defined and demonstrated to be an actual scientific theory subject to compelling quantitative analysis and falsification testing.

As to my Christian brethren involved in pursuing such a theory, I wish them well. But I’ve lost optimism about their prospects. Despite decades, the results have been a lot of science-related philosophy and journalism (and far too much very poorly written propaganda) that convinces mostly Christian non-scientists who hope and assume that “ID theory” will become some sort of convincing “proof of God” argument. I don’t doubt that the motives of most such non-scientist ID enthusiasts are honorable but most share your misunderstanding of the difference between ID philosophy and ID as science.

Yes, authors like Stephen Meyer (a philosopher) happen to write a great deal of material about science-related topics—but that doesn’t make those arguments scientific arguments. They remain philosophical arguments. (In my humble opinion, I don’t even find most of them particularly compelling philosophical arguments, despite my probably agreeing with much of Meyer’s theology and personal faith.)

Do you also love to read the many brilliant PhD scientists who are Christ-followers who find the claims of Behe, Wise, and Jeansen less than compelling and reject much of their published scholarship?

Readers here could ask the same question of you. And why do you insist on asserting that those who reject “ID theory” and the publications of Behe, Wise, and Jeansen are doing so for reasons of spiritual shortcomings or worse?

(Greg) #20

ID has absolutely no single shred of ability to disolve science capability. How can anyone trust you by suggesting such a far fetched idea. I read about a number of models how evolution occurs at Biologos and talk about carnival science. Venema said something like we know the earth is old and we see examples of adaptation in species so this equates to universal naturalistic common decent. I thought to myself, “Wow, now there’s a scientist.”

If anything the theory of evolution has resulted in what i consider major human ill like racism and dimishing the sanctity of life of the most vulnerable…there has even been suggestions out fr this camp of infanticide-are you familiar? Human life a result of chance selection of mistakes and human life can be subtly interpreted as chance mistake in our rather fickle minds- all the absolute antithesis from the Christian worldview.