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A New Theory of Evolution

I invite you to consider…

What if evolution were true, but it wasn’t quite like Darwin said?charles_darwin_vegan_soldier_c

What if there were a new evolutionary model that could explain why fossils show almost no change for millions of years…. then suddenly the Cambrian Explosion: Thousands of new species emerge intact, virtually overnight.

What if this new theory pointed the way to new innovations in artificial intelligence and adaptive computer programs?

What if “Evolution vs. Design” wasn’t an either/or proposition – but both+and?

What if, instead of arguing endlessly about fossils, we could precisely track evolutionary history with the precision of 1’s and 0’s?

Read more »

Can Anybody Actually Win The Evolution 2.0 Prize?

evonne_crayonsCan Anybody Actually Win The Evolution 2.0 Prize?

Science, God, and

Happy Chemical Accidents

 

There’s a million codes out there. HTML, bar codes, zip codes, Java, English and Chinese.

Out of a million codes, 999,999 are designed by humans.

There’s one code we don’t know the origin of – and that’s DNA. We don’t know of any codes that are not designed. This implies design in DNA.

That’s an unsolved science mystery. So I and a group of Private Equity Investors have formed a company, Natural Code LLC, to offer a multi-million dollar technology prize for Origin Of Information.

Read more »

Evolution: The Untold Story, Part 1

There are two kinds of evolution:

1) There’s the version that you read about in the bookstore. It’s two-thirds science fiction.

2) Then there’s the version that PhD biologists, cancer researchers and genetic engineers use to do their jobs.

The two are entirely different.

Popular books tell you evolution works like this: Read more »

From “God Of The Gaps” to “Let’s Get This Thing Solved!”

Since giving my talk “If You Can Read This I Can Prove God Exists” in 2005, my thinking has evolved tremendously.

dunmore_coumeenole

This continues to be one of the most argued-about talks on Origin Of Life on the web.

It sparked a 7-year debate on Infidels. At the time, Infidels.org was the largest atheist website in the world. This went on to become the longest-running, most-viewed thread on the site.

No one overturned my argument. Eventually Infidels did their best to make the whole episode disappear.

“If you can read this” has been pounded hard by thousands of skeptics. Every scientific detail and technical fact still stands intact today, more than 10 years later.

However I must be clear: I did not prove God exists. What I proved is that there is a vast gap in our knowledge. A gap for which the only known solution is some form of intelligence.

A gap that an awful lot of people (especially atheists) prefer to sweep under the rug.

To the extent that science can prove anything (which is inference not proof), the genetic code proves there is a design principle in biology. Perhaps it’s woven into the very fabric of the universe itself.

But I have grown leery of “God of Gaps” arguments, because they have a long history of eventually failing.

Now what is seldom mentioned is that every time one of these gaps gets filled, the universe shows itself to be even more amazing and elegant than we thought it was before. More orderly. More precise. More capable of taking care of itself. More ingenious. More subtle. 

Have you noticed? Every answer science provides us only raises three more questions. The questions never end. And the demand for an ultimate explanation never goes away either. The quantity of “luck” skeptics must invoke to explain it all rises with each passing year.

In the years since I gave that famous talk, I have realized that science cannot deal in ultimate explanations. Science can only peel the onion one more layer.

Which is precisely what we pay scientists to do. No scientist ever gets to say “God did it, that settles it, let’s take a 3-martini lunch.”

To scientists, God-of-gaps arguments give them and their profession the finger.

Many religious people have a hard time understanding this. It doesn’t compute. Often they chalk it up to arrogance or hubris on the part of scientists. But the way most creationists approach the subject grates on scientists. It’s disrespectful to their paychecks and careers.

Theology should never give a scientist an excuse for being lazy.

Frankly, creationists AND atheist fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins, with his “Life is a happy chemical accident” pronouncements, BOTH give scientists an excuse to be lazy.

Which is to say Origin Of Life is a valid field of inquiry. It’s not been very successful thus far, mind you, but it is a necessary science.

To solve this, I have established a multi-million dollar technology prize. I organized a company, Natural Code LLC, a Private Equity Investment group. We seek a solution to Origin Of Information.

As Peter Diamandis proved with his X-Prize for space flight, technology prizes are ideal for Big Problems that government grants have been unsuccessful in solving. Also problems like space flight, which government does solve, but at too much cost.

In creating this prize, I have given up my “god of gaps” argument in exchange for an opportunity to uncover more secrets of this amazing universe we live in.

“God did it, that settles it, let’s take a 3-martini lunch” is not science.

“Life emerged from a warm pond and lucky lightning strike” is also not science.

All we can do is speak the naked truth about what we know. And what we don’t know.

I’ve concluded that the only approach to Origin Of Life which is science, is a large prize. And plenty of of recognition for the person who can solve “Chemicals to Code.”

If somebody solves this, they haven’t eliminated God. What they have done is prove the thesis of my book Evolution 2.0: “Darwinists underestimate nature. Creationists underestimate God.”

May the best man or woman win. And may these silly wars between science and religion stop blinding us to mysteries that beg to be solved.

Details on the Evolution 2.0 Technology Prize, funded by Natural Code LLC

Explore existing submissions we’ve gotten for the Evolution 2.0 Prize.

Read “If You Can Read This, I Can Prove God Exists” (2005)

Photo by Perry Marshall: Dunmore Head overlooking the Blasket Islands in Coumeenole, Western Ireland.

Royal Society’s “New Trends in Biological Evolution” – A Bloodless Revolution

“Evolution is too important to leave to evolutionary biologists.”

-Ray Noble MD

“I don’t consider my ideas controversial. I consider them right.”

-Lynn Margulis

In London from 7-9 November 2016 I witnessed a groundbreaking summit at the British Royal Society. 300 scientists from around the world gathered to evaluate a sea change in evolutionary theory.royal_panel_s4

When recalled at the end of the 21st century, this gathering may prove as pivotal as the US election that occurred at the same time.

No one can say for sure until December 31, 2099 whether this meeting was that influential. But in a few minutes I’ll explain why I predict it was.

I’ll also explain why Charles Darwin himself – a thoughtful, tentative, ever-questioning man who eschewed dogma – would likely be horrified at Neo-Darwinism, the mutant progeny of his own theory, that emerged in the 1940s and held sway for 70 years.

Mr. Darwin would surely be relieved that someone finally shouldered the task of restoring experimental science to its rightful place. Such is the aim of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.

Can evolution’s woes be solved with stitches and Novocaine, or does it need full anesthesia and a heart transplant?

~

jsha

James Shapiro, author of “Evolution: A View from the 21st Century” (2011)

When James Shapiro released his landmark book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, you couldn’t help but wonder if he would actually get away with it.

Could an active scientist publicly announce that the Neo-Darwinian emperor has no clothes, and not get fitted with a pair of cement shoes?

Would his career at the University of Chicago be over?

Shapiro did not bring a knife to a gunfight. He brought a machine gun – and a bulletproof vest packed with munitions.

Backed by 1100 references and a sterling track record, including close association with Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock and his own discovery that bacteria engineer their own DNA, his book made it clear:

It’s time to turn evolutionary theory upside down and inside out.

Shapiro was arguing neither for creationism nor for Intelligent Design. Rather, he was arguing that Natural Genetic Engineering, and indeed the cell itself, are the stars of the evolution show.

Not Natural Selection.

His book was praised by Nobel Prize winners Sidney Altman and Werner Arber. The legendary Carl Woese called it “the best book on basic modern biology I have ever seen.” In the press it got mixed reviews. It was ignored by several of the major science outlets; however it was not dismissed. It made waves in the evolution community.

But perhaps most telling of all was the review by Larry Moran for the National Center for Science Education, a.k.a. the “Darwin Lobby” of the United States.

Moran panned it. And – believe it or not – Moran actually admitted in print that he skipped reading major portions of the book.

This signaled both Moran’s shoddy scholarship and NCSE’s true commitment. Not to science, but to scientism, reductionism, and tired 70-year-old dogma.

Despite scorn from Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, there is no counter-argument. Experiments by Lynn Margulis, Eva Jablonka, David Prescott and Mae-Won Ho definitively prove: Not only do cells perform adaptations of astonishing sophistication in real time, these events are emphatically non-random.*

Evolution has goals. Organisms have goals. And they actively evolve to achieve them.

This demolishes creationist / ID arguments that evolution is impossible. It’s not only possible, you can witness it in real time. Including complete speciation events in microbes and plants and animals. Building and re-building of entire systems.

Empirical data also demolishes the Neo-Darwinian doctrine that evolution is an aimless meander through random space.

Many times, radical innovations commence inside a single cell or organism, leaving Natural Selection little or no immediate role. Such was the case with Barbara McClintock’s surprise discovery of transposition: a single plant, faced with chromosome damage, repaired its DNA in real time and went on to reproduce.**

Discoveries of this type were the focus of the Royal Society’s “New Trends in Evolutionary Biology” conference. But as the old-school Neo-Darwinists hastened to point out, none of these are new. Much of this has been known for 10, 30, 50 years and more.

What was new at the world’s oldest scientific society was the fact that 1) A public quorum of 300 scientists acknowledged the centrality of these discoveries to evolution, and 2) there was no longer any room to downplay, discourage or demean these findings. All are legit.

This meeting had no mainstream precedent. Such a conference would NEVER have happened five years ago. It would have been too politically incorrect, too threatening to the Neo-Darwinian monopoly.

Eva Jablonka commented to me that findings flow from too many sources to deny. It isn’t just evolutionary biology. Nutrition, exercise, cancer treatments and gene therapies are all forcing this sea change.

Until November 7-9, though, Evolutionary theory was caught in the strangle hold of traditional evolutionary theorists. They have insisted for decades that chance and selection are the central driving forces of evolution.

Jerry Coyne has propounded for years that “natural selection is the only game in town” and that evolutionary mutations are “willy nilly.” As for Shapiro and McClintock’s work, he says, “Move along folks, nothing more to see here.”

Luminaries like Lynn Margulis were red-headed stepchildren for decades. Margulis proved evolution is far more cooperative than competitive. That high-speed merger-acquisitions are pivotal events in evolution history.

She received scant funding and dismissal by the male-dominated good ol’ boys club. Her seminal paper on symbiogenesis was rejected by 15 journals.

Upon her death, Jerry Coyne hurled scorn upon the woman who had declared his tribe of Neo-Darwinists to be “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology.”

the_royal_society

The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is the oldest professional scientific organization in the world.

“Neo-Darwinism has taken the life out of biology,” she lamented.

The Royal Society meeting commenced with nervous anticipation. In attendance, a number of highly regarded old-school Neo-Darwinists like Douglas Futuyma, author of a major undergrad evolution textbook, and Russell Lande.

Also present, Fellows of the Royal Society and the British Academy. Members of the Third Way of Evolution movement; along with representatives from a spectrum of fields from physics to zoology. As well as technologists, authors and journalists.

The audience was wonderfully interdisciplinary. I sat next to two economists who told me, “We were debating these exact same issues in economics 20 years ago.” In saying this, they were saying evolutionary biology had come to the party at least 20 years late.

Delegates arrived with one of two concerns:

1) Neo-Darwinism is going to get overturned, or

2) Neo-Darwinism is not going to get overturned.

Incumbents were anxious that the conference might pronounce that evolutionary theory is due for a complete overhaul. Rivals worried that the Society might smear new lipstick on the same old pig, continuing to plead “natural selection” as the be-all end-all of everything.

The tension in the room was palpable, sharpened by the history of this topic being fraught with politics, bitter feuds and bad blood.

There was considerable opposition to the meeting itself from the old guard. Rumor has it that influencers tried to either cancel the meeting altogether or strictly limit attendance. But the organizers prevailed.

The entire first day of the conference, the feeling was that of a funnel cloud trying to form but uncertain where to land. “Where is this thing going?”***

But like a band finding its groove on the second song, the rhythm snapped in place on day two with James Shapiro’s opening talk “Biological action in Read-Write genome evolution.” Paul Griffiths followed, exploring information cause-effect in biology.

Eva Jablonka reported learned trait inheritance via epigenetics; after lunch, Denis Noble, the luminary who figured out the cardiac rhythm 50 years ago making pacemakers possible, executed a line drive with “Evolution viewed from medicine and physiology.”

Dr. Denis Noble of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society and organizer of the New Trends in Evolution conference

Dr. Denis Noble of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society, critic of Neo-Darwinism and organizer of the conference. He’s author of Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity. He also edits the cross-disciplinary journal Interface for the Royal Society.

No definitive pronouncement was made as to whether the Modern Synthesis can still be extended, or must be rubbished entirely. But this question is firmly on the table. The cat, as they say, is out of the bag.

There were two particularly memorable exchanges.****

University of St. Andrews scientist David Shuker challenged Denis Noble, who had described an experiment where scientists deleted flagella genes from bacteria.

These cells had re-generated their flagella genes in just four days and grown new tails. A mind-bending example of real-time, high-speed evolution.

“Clearly natural selection can rapidly steer regulatory networks. This is a beautiful example of high speed Neo-Darwinian evolution,” Shuker argued.

Shuker, like Jerry Coyne, was towing the standard Neo-Darwinian line, which insists that in the end, all comes down to “selection, selection, selection.”

Shuker somehow imagined that “selection” is re-wiring those genes. I don’t know how selection re-wires genes in four days. Selection after all is just survival of the fittest; “selection” doesn’t provide us a single detail about how those genes got rewired.

But in the Neo-Darwinian view, for any cell to evolve purposefully is unthinkable. So of course “natural selection” always ends up being the answer.

Noble shot back. Shuker tried to interrupt but Noble held his ground:

“No, YOU need to listen. I used to think exactly like you. I embraced the reductionist mindset for years. When I got out of school I was a card-carrying reductionist. Reductionism is powerful and it’s useful. I am not dissing it. Many times we need it. But it is not the whole story.”

Noble described how bacterial regulatory networks rebuilt those genes in four days by hyper-mutating, actively searching for a solution that would give them tails and enable them to find food. “Natural selection did not achieve that. Natural genetic engineering did.”

Noble continued: “I did not arrive at this conclusion from any one piece of data. It took many years, papers and experiments for me to come around to this perspective. But slowly I came to a different view.

“It’s not a question of the data. Everybody agrees on the data. It’s about your point of view. I have a view that you do not. This enables me to see things that you cannot see.”

Noble did not waver. “Biology is not just bottom-up. It is also top-down. There is no privileged point of causation in biology. The gene doesn’t hold some special causal role. There are feedback loops from every system to every other system. It’s hierarchical. It’s systems all the way down.”

Five years ago, such “heresy” would not be tolerated in a mainstream science conference. Much of this research has been reported in journals outside of standard evolutionary biology, like physics and medicine, because the evolution journals wouldn’t hear of it.

Few doctors or physiologists hold to traditional Neo-Darwinian theory anymore. And while no one can deny Shuker his right to frame the data from within his particular worldview, no longer can the active role of organisms in their own evolution be denied.

The other heated exchange was between Russell Lande and Sonia Sultan. The subject was real-time plasticity of plants.

Plants in low-light environments produce offspring with large, light-sensitive leaves, but identical plants in high-light environments birth offspring with small leaves. This is a learned trait that is directly passed to offspring. It transpires in a single generation. It’s so dramatic, the second generations appear to be different species.

Again, this bypasses selection altogether. The plants are empowering their offspring to anticipate natural selection.

“There is nothing new here! We have known this for years,” Lande complained, citing work from the 1950’s by Ledyard Stebbins. But Sonia Sultan graciously challenged him. She read aloud from one of Stebbins’ books, where he goes on to say that we should pay no attention to this, as it has no bearing on genetics or evolution.

“It pains me to read Stebbins,” she said, “because 70 years ago he observed the exact same things we’re discussing today. Yet not only did he consider them unimportant, he told the rest of us we should ignore them when thinking about evolution!”

This was the crux of the meeting: for most of a century evolutionary biology has ignored the profound sensitivity and responsiveness of organisms in real time. Lamarck was right 200 years ago… despite literally being laughed out of the academy for most of the 20th century.

Today he is vindicated: Learned characteristics are passed to offspring. Evolution proceeds very rapidly in some cases.

Darwin accepted Lamarck’s ideas. He acknowledged that other forces besides selection must surely be in play. One realizes that Charles Darwin’s Origin Of Species is more accurate in its initial version of evolution than the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis. An inferior model has ruled biology with an iron fist ever since.

This is all the more ironic because in contrast to the certitudes of those who transformed Neo-Darwinism into a kind of pop religion, Darwin acknowledged the soft spots in his theory. He was unafraid to question his own assumptions.

Noble’s point was that, because of Systems Biology, all medical and biological disciplines have vital things to say to evolution. Evolutionary biology can no longer afford to shield its turf from outsiders. Outsiders more than ever are called for, in the self-correcting enterprise of science.

In another exchange, Fellow of the Royal Society Patrick Bateson of Cambridge replied to a questioner in no uncertain terms: “Natural Selection is not an agent.”

(Translation: Blind Watchmaker must be stripped down to the engine blocks and rebuilt from the ground up.)

Neo-Darwinists permit no place for purposeful adaptations in their materialist view. But now reductionism for the first time has been formally challenged. The toothpaste is out of the tube and it is not going back. There will be many more meetings like this. This was only the first.

A less obvious triumph of this meeting was that it was civil. Yes, I heard stories of harsh exchanges backstage; there were occasional outbursts of partisan clapping from the audience. From time to time, the meeting took on dimensions of a pep rally.

However the organizers actively discouraged all divisive behavior, and in the end it was very British: polite, civil, diplomatic. A bloodless revolution.

Evolution going forward will not follow in the footsteps of its mannerless evangelists like Dawkins and Coyne. Conduct will be gentlemanly and respectful from now on.

It was a privilege to be present at this historic summit. Compared to the fury of the US election, this courteous British conference might seem a minor academic exercise, noted by only a few.

But seen from the wider view of the entire 21st century, it was a watershed event.

Why? Because the trajectory of science itself just tilted 15 degrees. Scientism and reductionism have been punched in the face. Empiricism is making a comeback.

Looking across the remaining years of the 21st century, the impact is difficult to estimate. But it will be great.

“An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted”

-Arthur Miller

*Margulis & Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species, and Jablonka & Lamb, Evolution in Four Dimensions, are serious books providing detailed accounts of well-documented evolutionary processes (symbiogenesis, epigenetic inheritance and genetic assimiliation) that fall outside the neo-Darwinist conventional wisdom. I credit Denis Noble and Eva Jablonka for emphasizing the importance of Lamarck’s contribution. It was the very first extended description of evolution as the basis for biological diversity.

**A single maize plant, faced with irreparable cycles of chromosome breakage, was finally able to repair its DNA in real time and reproduce normally by a damage response process that involved activating previously silent agents of chromosome restructuring in its genome.

***On the first day, John Dupre introduced the important idea of evolution as “process” rather than a series of discrete accidents. This came up in the final panel when a “process ontology” was proposed as an intellectual basis for analyzing evolution.

****I have recounted these conversations from memory. They are not word for word but hopefully reflect the intended meaning. Corrections or suggestions are welcome. Amendments will be made as soon as recordings become available.

 

 

 

Conversations Beyond Science and Religion: Evolution 2.0 interview with Philip Comella

philipcomellaThere’s more to life than just atoms and molecules. And it’s the biggest untold story in the history of science.

Philip Comella is an attorney with a philosophy background and author of the book “The End of Materialism.” On his podcast “Conversations Beyond Science and Religion” Philip and Perry discuss the untold evolution story – the one that bridges the gap between scientific evolution and common sense. Read more »

Geeking on code, DNA and Starbucks with author John Somnez

John Sonmez is a code geek if there ever was one.

He is the founder of SimpleProgrammer.com and author of Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual. John focuses on helping software developers, programmers and other IT professionals improve their careers and live better lives through coaching, podcasting and teaching.

John recently interviewed me after reviewing my Evolution 2.0 book. We cut right to the chase and got into Read more »

Wanted: “I was a Young Earth Creationist” Stories

adam_eve_anderson_03_s

I was raised a Young Earth Creationist.

Were you?

WANTED: Stories of people who lost or almost lost faith – and only came back because they realized…

There’s more than one way to read Genesis!

I’d love to feature your story here on my blog.

Post a short version in the comments below and if it’s a fit we’ll be in touch with you directly.

 

Anti-Evolution is Anti-Bible

Genesis 1:24-25 (NASB):bible-preacher-elvert-barnes

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

You may ask, “Where is evolution in this passage?”

Right here:

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures…

God did not create them directly. He commanded the earth to bring them forth. It was a process.

That’s an important distinction. Everybody knows animals come from animals, not the earth. Note the word for earth is “erets” which can mean soil, or land, or the whole world.

OK, so what is a “kind”?

The Hebrew word “miyn” seems to be used much as we use the word “species” today.

So how do you get a new species? As in a significant change?

If you breed dogs, all you’ll ever get is dogs.

You can separate two populations of dogs. Because of genetic drift, you’ll eventually get dogs that can’t breed together wit the original dogs.

But you still won’t get anything significantly different from a dog.

UNLESS…

There are two ways to get a brand new species:

1) Symbiogenesis, which is nature’s version of a merger-acquisition. I symbiogenesis discuss here and here

2) Genome Duplication through Hybridization –  where Species 1 crossed with Species 2 gives you Species 3.

Example:

Emmer wheats + goat grass = modern wheat.

This doubles the number of chromosomes. After this merger, “hybrid dysgenesis” kicks in. Extensive genome editing re-arranges and deletes parts of the new DNA.

Whatever “kind” means in Genesis, it surely must allow for Hybridization (at least if the Bible can be trusted to be true) because botanists produce new species through hybrids every day.liger-flickr-james-ball

Hybrids are typically sterile… but not always. When you get a fertile hybrid you can get a brand new species that never existed before.

A liger, for example, is a hybrid of lion and tiger. It has twice the chromosomes of either of its parents.

This fascinating article details many new kinds of plants and animals that have been bred through hybridization:

http://messybeast.com/genetics/new-species.htm

Genome studies suggest that a hybridization event got us from invertebrates to vertebrates, when two tunicates merged to create a hagfish.

Then a second merger got us from vertebrates to jawed vertebrates.

This is called “Ohno’s 2R hypothesis,” where the “2R” stands for “2 Rounds of doubling” of chromosomes.

We are not able to go back and observe tunicate 1 + tunicate 2 = hagfish, of course. But the genetic data is greatly consistent with such a hypothesis.

We also know from plant and animal breeding that in a small minority of cases, a hybrid merger produces a very successful new species. (Like wheat.) The new species may have significantly different features than its ancestors.

So unless we assume that observable symbiotic and hybrid mergers somehow prove the Bible wrong – and I seriously doubt “kind” was ever meant to exclude such things – then there is no conflict between the Bible and an evolutionary view.

Does not scripture say God commanded the earth to produce animals? And plants?

Also… does not scripture say that the earth sprouted vegetation, plants yielded seed, and fruit trees bore fruit with seeds in them? And that all of this took place before the end of “day” 3?

Genesis 1:9-13 (New American Standard Bible):

Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Scriptures say the earth sprouted vegetation, plants yielded seed, and fruit trees bore fruit… all on the third “day.”

We have two choices:

1) The earth brought forth vegetation and trees grew at thousands of times normal speed, or

2) Perhaps a day is not 24 hours.

The word “yom” clearly means something other than 24 hours in Genesis 2:4, where all the “days” are described as one “day.” Yom has even more meanings across the Old Testament.

So I cast my vote with option #2.

Seeing that the earth produced animals – scripture indicates God did not directly make them, but commanded the earth to make them – I see no conflict between Genesis 1 and an evolutionary progression.

Not only that – but to assert that God created animals and plants intact, fully grown, clearly contradicts scripture. Genesis 1 is not describing instantaneous miracles; it’s describing a process.

Post your comments below.

Witness Bacteria Evolve in Real Time

When you confront bacteria with antibiotics, they actively seek to adapt and survive. They begin editing their DNA, causing mutation rates to skyrocket. The rate of DNA changes suddenly ramps up to 100,000X normal speed.

Watch this time-lapse video by Harvard Medical School. It only takes two weeks for these bacteria to develop 1000X resistance!

Source: Harvard Gazette

What Is Evolution 2.0?

Evolution 2.0 is the cell’s capacity to adapt and to generate new features and new species – by engineering its own DNA in real time. This is based on 100 years of experiments which the public has heard little about.2.0_nautilus

Evolution 2.0 recognizes that neither “side” is telling you the truth.

Traditional creationists, denying and demonizing evolution, have missed the amazing adaptive capacities of nature.

Old-school Neo-Darwinists, in their insistence on “chance and selection” have failed to produce a testable model that qualifies as science.

Instead they’ve squandered decades patching up the most troubled theory in the history of science.

Evolution 2.0 recognizes that in the 1940s, biology took a wrong turn. Barbara McClintock, who won the Nobel Prize in 1983, was ignored for years. Instead we got the Neo-Darwinian synthesis which crammed Mendelian genetics into a “chance and selection” corset. Lamarck was scorned – but is now vindicated 200 years later by Epigenetics.

Neo-Darwinists took no notice of Russian discoveries about Symbiogenesis; then in the 1960s they fought Lynn Margulis tooth and nail when she re-introduced it to the West.

The truth was what McClintock said all along: The cell re-organizes the genome dynamically in response to stress – with a sophistication that challenges our finest minds.

Evolution 2.0 echoes what Denis Noble of Oxford said: “All the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis have been disproved. Moreover, they have been disproved in ways that raise the tantalizing prospect of a totally new synthesis.”

We are finding superior answers in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and in Systems Biology.

#Evolution in 140 characters or less: Genes switch on, switch off, rearrange, and exchange. Hybrids double; viruses hijack; cells merge; winners emerge.

Evolution 2.0 points out the symmetry between opposing viewpoints, neither of which told you more than a third of the story. The truth is in the experimental middle, where the most interesting questions lie…. where scientists produce evolutionary events and new species in the lab and in the wild, in real time.

Evolution 2.0 calls out extremists for promoting an agenda that is not science. Both sides are more interested in ideology than empirical truth. This has led to a false war between science and religion.

Evolution 2.0 believes there is no conflict between science and faith; and in fact unanswered questions raised by religion become fuel for new scientific inquiries.

Just-so stories about warm ponds and lucky lightning strikes are not worthy of the questions mother nature presents to us.

Evolution 2.0 recognizes that science is empirical. Scientists should be be paid to do their jobs, which is to peel the onion of nature’s mysteries.

If you cannot test it, reproduce it, falsify it, observe it, validate it from first principles, model it, simulate it, or validate it mathematically, then it’s not science.

Evolution 2.0 also acknowledges that science cannot explain itself. All worldviews make metaphysical assumptions. Science is always practiced within a wider framework of philosophy, mathematics, and axioms which may be disproved but cannot be proven. Everybody has faith in something.

Evolution 2.0 believes our greatest technological questions have already been solved in the cell. All we need to do is look.

Evolution 2.0 posits that Origin of Information is one of the central questions in all of biology and offers a technology prize for the answer.

Evolution 2.0 believes God granted the cosmos freedom to make itself in its own way, much as parents release their children into the world to be free adults. At every step, we serve science by assuming nature is rational, discoverable, measurable, orderly, and yes, volitional.

Evolution 2.0 recognizes that many disciplines have something to bring to the table – biology, physics, engineering, history, mathematics and philosophy. And yes, even business, art and music. All are manifestations of life and teach us about life itself.

Young Earth Creation vs. Old Earth Creation

I got a provocative blog comment from Young Earth Creationist B. A. Christian:Fish Fossil

Question: Do we need “Special Knowledge” in this case brought in from something called science to rightly interpret the passages? Or does it mean what it says? Is death the hero of the plot or the last enemy? Does consensus of geologists, biologists and astronomers determine truth?

Answer: It IS necessary to incorporate what we know about nature to properly interpret Genesis.
 
It is not possible to understand the Bible – not even Jesus’ parables about seeds – without accurate knowledge of the physical world.

I need to point out the presumptuousness of the statement “Does consensus of geologists, biologists and astronomers determine truth?”

Well, strictly speaking, the consensus of scientists does not itself determine truth.

Any honest philosopher of science will freely admit that.

However in science we do have many things that any person can reasonably verify as fact. Like the phenomenon that gravity operates very consistently.

Any reasonably educated person can follow the logic and confirm the process that is used to determine that a star is 100 million light years away.

Any reasonable application of logic and knowledge of the speed of light (which you can measure and which in measurements is not changing) verifies that yes, that star is in fact more than 100 million years old.

It was not clear 1,000 years ago that the earth is old. But it is very clear now, except to a very small pocket of people who follow Answers In Genesis and Institute for Creation Research.

Nobody else believes the earth is young on empirical grounds – at all – unless they are married to a very particular and peculiar Biblical exegesis.

Contrast this with old-school Neo-Darwinism. It is the most troubled theory in the history of science. Why? Because it is challenged on empirical grounds by people in MANY MANY fields, many times having no religious dog in the fight whatsoever.

See my article about the “Salem hypothesis” for example http://cosmicfingerprints.com/salem-hypothesis/.

Now I certainly can respect people for holding to unpopular views because of their faith convictions. I can observe Mormons believing, in faith, that the American Indians are actually a lost tribe of Jews; and to an extent I can respect them for enduring ridicule for that.

But this belief is not supported by genetics. We have tools for proving or disproving this that Joseph Smith never had, and science proves the book of Mormon wrong.

And I believe we should incorporate such knowledge. I believe an honest Mormon should question his or her confidence in the Book of Mormon by the use of empirical evidence.

Young Earth Creation is equally without support from empirical science.

The same Christian who argues against the Mormon position on American Indians with modern science – or defends Biblical history with archaeology – is being hypocritical when he insists modern science is wrong about the age of the earth.

That is especially sad since 1) The Bible generally is a very reliable historical document and every Christian ought to know that, and 2) an Old Earth concordist interpretation of scripture works quite well.

What YEC commonly defends itself with is a pharisaical attitude that says, “We have the truth, we are the righteous ones, and those ignorant secularists are walking in darkness.”

It smacks of religiosity and it reminds me of the pharisees we read about in scripture. They hold to the letter of the law but miss the spirit.

In this case it is the religious people who are walking in darkness – because they cannot even see something that is right in front of their face – evidence from a dozen scientific disciplines that the earth is very old.

You will see the speed of light coming up again and again in comments on my site. Nowhere has any YEC person adequately addressed this problem. Not in any book or blog or website or anywhere.

Speed of light all by itself invalidates YEC. The universe is old, plain and simple.

Does that make death the hero? No it does not, and if you study my model of evolution, even death itself cannot exist without life being here first. Life is the prevailing driving force.

But make no mistake. This one fact – earth is old and not young – does force the YEC to re-evaluate LOTS of components of their theology.

This is not an indication that science is wrong. This is an indication that portions of YEC theology may also be wrong.

So yes, that means the YEC person may have to re-think a lot of things. That is scary and painful. It is inconvenient. It alters your theodicy. It challenges large assumptions about God and how He made the world.

If you have a significant Biblical education, you will have to relax your grip on any number of assumptions and re-evaluate them.

I never said this was going to be easy. I grew up YEC and it wasn’t easy for me.

But the process is necessary. And frankly for the thinking Christian it never really ends. Theology is always a work in progress.

Some folks are simply unwilling to do this.

But if you’re not willing, your faith is old wineskins. And it is being held in place by religious pride which is actually sin.

So I respectfully submit to you that none of us can afford to cling to provably false beliefs.

The arrogance of YEC and its contempt for scientists… as well as its presumption that they believe what they believe because they’re all sinful and depraved and lying to us etc etc… is giving Christianity a black eye.

This is no minor problem. This is a major issue. Many Christians are on the wrong side of this one.

It’s one of the many reasons why young people leave the church. It’s a major reason why my brother went from being a missionary to almost an atheist.

YEC and its champion ministries are unwittingly and systematically turning a percentage of Christians into agnostics and atheists because they’re forcing people to choose between science and the Bible.

Which is totally unnecessary, because there is no conflict between the Bible and science.

 

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