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Francis Collins on Faith vs. Science

FRANCIS COLLINS, U.S. DIRECTOR OF THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: “Will we turn our backs on science because it is perceived as a threat to God, abandoning all the promise of advancing our understanding of nature and applying that to the alleviation of suffering and the betterment of humankind?

“Alternatively, will we turn our backs on faith, concluding that science has rendered the spiritual life no longer necessary, and that traditional religious symbols can now be replaced by engravings of the double helix on our altars?

“Both of these choices are profoundly dangerous. Both deny truth. Both will diminish the nobility of humankind. Both will be devastating to our future. And both are unnecessary. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful—and it cannot be at war with itself. Only we imperfect humans can start such battles. And only we can end them.”

Photo by: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Synthetic Life

“At the time of this writing, the biologist Craig Venter is engaging in the creation of artificial life. He conducted experiments and stated them in a famous paper titled “Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome.”

“I have an immense respect for Craig Venter, whom I consider one of the smartest men who ever breathed, and a “doer” in the full sense of the word, but giving fallible humans such powers is similar to giving a small child a bunch of explosives.

“If I understand this well, to the creationists, this should be an insult to God; but further, to the evolutionist, this is certainly an insult to evolution. And to the probabilist, like myself and my peers, this is an insult to human prudence, the beginning of the mother of all exposures to Black Swans.”
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from his book “Antifragile.”

 

How Trees Talk To Each Other – Suzanne Simard

“A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.

Is Intelligent Design really just Old Earth Creationism?

I got this astute blog comment from Frank Morris:

“I was so impressed by your debate with Stephen Meyer that I finally bought your Evolution 2.0 book. I can’t wait to read it to see how it compares with my own journey getting kicked around by hostile Darwinians on blogs as I continued to question their seemingly crazy theory.

“Stephen Meyer, on the other hand, was profoundly disappointing. I rejected ID over 10 years ago, but I always thought that, in principle, the concept of ID accepted any form of intelligent cause, not just the God answer. The reality of cellular intelligence has forced the Discovery Institute to expose their bluff. Dr. Meyer seems to be trying to change it from ID to OD, a step up to Omniscient Design.

“He’s wrong. Omniscient means all-knowing. Cells, who are clearly rearranging their own genomes, are very intelligent, but not omniscient.

“Cells are not gods, as another responder suggested. They are intelligent little critters trying their best to survive, but they don’t simply know all things by omniscience. They use internal homeostatic systems, environmental monitoring systems and intercellular communication to establish their needs and responses to need. So they need to SEEK information about their external and internal status, which means they don’t just magically know all things. On top of that is the lack of the perfection one would expect of omniscience. Thanks for the article.”

I replied back to Frank:

Read more »

Richard Rohr on Evolution

“The universe really is “inspirational matter,” we now know, and is not merely inert. Now we might call it instinct, evolution, nuclear fusion, DNA, hardwiring, the motherboard, healing, growth, or just springtime, but nature clearly continues to renew itself from within.

“God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out. It is no longer God’s one-time creation or evolution; rather, God’s form of creation precisely is evolution.”

-Fr.Richard Rohr, from his book Falling Upward

Are Cells Intelligent?

I had a great exchange with a gentleman, Matthew Taylor, on the Unbelievable discussion board, following my debate with Stephen Meyer.

Matthew said:

I was intrigued by the suggestion by one of the guests that cells might have some form of intelligence.

I’d like to know what experiments and tests have been proposed so that evidence of this intelligence can be shown and measured. It’s all well and good coming up with far out ideas like that, but if they can’t be demonstrated there is little point is trying to build an idea based on the hypothesis. It would be far more honest to prove the claim before trying to build an idea on it.

I replied:
Read more »

Darwinism vs. ID vs. Evolution 2.0

Issue

Neo-Darwinism

Intelligent Design

Evolution 2.0 (a.k.a. Third Way, Extended Synthesis)

Origin of Life

Presumed to have emerged from random chemical processes

Created by an Intelligent Designer

Information theory says codes require a designer, or else an undiscovered emergent process that generates codes

Speed

Gradual

Instantaneous events of intervention

In real time

Sources of Novelty

Random copying errors; natural selection is the hero

Insertion of information by outside agent

Transposition, Horizontal Transfer, Epigenetics, Hybridization, Symbiogenesis, Niche Construction, Retroviruses

Scientific Status

Randomness impossible to prove; much of the evidence is anecdotal, not empirical; millions of years too long to test

Supported by inference; not possible to experimentally demonstrate; rejects methodological naturalism

Demonstrated in 70-plus years of documented live lab experiments

Implications for Humanity

Chance, luck, and “blind pitiless indifference” of an uncaring universe; social Darwinism

Man is a special creation

Profoundly directional, cooperative process that invites us to humble ourselves and study with care

Implications for Science & Technology

Humans are smarter than nature, so we must now begin to direct our own evolution

Scientists can study designs, but not the design process

Nature is far wiser than we are, suggesting caution; cell research promises tremendous breakthroughs in medicine and engineering

Causality

Bottom-up

Top-down

Systems biology: There is no privileged point of causation

Implications for Spirituality

Religion is a myth, a way for “holy men” to wield power over the masses

Most commonly associated with evangelical Christianity

Science points to something beyond itself, far greater than us or the universe

 

DNA, Fitness, Evolution: Perry Marshall flexes mental muscles on muscle head podcast

Why the heck would a bunch of muscle heads want to talk evolution? Simple: because it’s incredibly relevant to every area of our lives, including fitness.

I was just featured on the MindPump podcast, to talk about my work on Evolution 2.0, and the Evolution 2.0 Prize. If you’re not into fitness, you may never find this podcast (or my interview) on your own. So I wanted to make sure you saw it. Because even if you haven’t stepped a foot in a gym in the last decade, you’re still going to love this interview.

We covered a TON in the 1-hour discussion… Read more »

The Iron Curtain of Biology, Junk DNA, and the Protestant Reformation

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door in Wittenberg, Germany and started a revolution.

Seven years ago I wrote a piece called “The Iron Curtain of 2010”. There, I predicted that Darwinism would crack in ~2013. That there would be some Berlin Wall tipping-point event.

Well, I was a little early….but definitely in the ballpark.

In 2012, The ENCODE project reported that at least 80% of our DNA has at least some discernible function, in contrast to those before who insisted that 97% is junk.

ENCODE pounded a good solid nail into Read more »

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