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Purpose & Desire by J. Scott Turner – Book Review

Purpose & Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It is yet another in a line of PRO-evolution books by highly credible, mainstream biologists who are stepping forward and insisting that The Emperor really does have No Clothes.J. Scott Turner

Turner is not in any way, shape or form opposed to the idea of evolution itself. He’s no creationist; he’s a professor at State University of New York. In fact he insists we are obligated to study and understand purpose, just to even make sense of evolution itself. And there are so many mechanisms we need to study.

I recently talked to a grad student who dares not advocate teleology in nature until his career is on safer footing. I have consulted in 300 industries and I have never encountered a field more choked with fear and political correctness than evolutionary biology.

Fortunately it seems more and more scientists are getting away with calling a spade a spade. It’s about time, because this nonsense has been going on far too long. Fodor’s “What Darwin Got Wrong” and James Shapiro’s “Evolution: A View from the 21st Century” were among the first to breach the wall. Read more »

Why Death and Disease?

If DNA is exquisitely programmed, why is there death and disease?

Brendan asks on my blog:

You say DNA is like a computer program or language. But if it is, surely its not a very good one? It has so many bugs! Diseases and cancer, mental problems, so many horrid things. If we can debug it as we are starting to, how come God didn’t?

The difference is that we can perfect languages. The error checking in DNA is rubbish, because there is cancer. there are diseases. Why would God build it like that?

We have about 150 years of medical science under our belt and we have almost cracked heaps of illnesses. So the all-knowing creator cant figure out how to build something better than primitive humans can in a few years? Why? I genuinely want to know. I want to believe but there has never been a useful argument.

Answer: Read more »

Do Epigenetic Changes Become Hard-Coded?

On April 22 2017, Jonathan McLatchie was kind enough to host me on his Apologetics Academy video livecast. We enjoyed a lively discussion about Evolution 2.0.

Generally, Jonathan and his audience were skeptical of macro-evolution and common descent. We discussed what Intelligent Design is, and what it is not; and how ID relates to evolution. I insisted that macro-evolution demands a higher view of God… a God that does not have to keep coming back and introducing new life forms on earth.

As I say in Evolution 2.0: “Darwinists underestimate nature. Creationists underestimate God.”

Midway through the show, a caller asked about epigenetics.

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Who is in control? YOU? Or your Genes?

A man is charged with first degree murder. His attorney agrees the man committed the crime… but argues that the killer is innocent because wasn’t in control of his own actions. That the killing was a result of him being, as Richard Dawkins argues in The Selfish Gene, a lumbering robot programmed by his genes.

Does this reasoning make sense?

Denis Noble of Oxford University, author of Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity and The Music of Life explores the consequences of reductionist philosophy at Oxford’s Rhodes House lecture.

What do YOU think? Post your comments below –

 

An Evolutionary Signpost is Needed – Guest Post by James MacAllister

The joint meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy of Science, New trends in evolutionary biology: biological, philosophical and social science perspectives was a rematch of sorts.

The two sides had already exchanged views in a 2014 Nature Comment, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Researchers are divided over what processes should be considered fundamental.”

The Nature Comment had been set up as point and counterpoint. Kevin Laland and colleagues, Tobias Uller, Marc Feldman, Kim Sterelny, Gerd B. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka argued the point, “Yes, urgently. Without an extended evolutionary framework, the theory neglects key processes.

Gregory A. Wray, Hopi E. Hoekstra, Douglas J. Futuyma, Richard E. Lenski, Trudy F. C. Mackay, Dolph Schluter, Joan E. Strassmann argued the counterpoint, “No, all is well. Theory [Modern Synthesis] accommodates evidence through relentless synthesis.

I had attended the joint meeting of the Royal Society and British Academy (RA-BA) before NASA researcher, Lynn Rothschild, brought the Nature Comment to my attention.

What struck me about both the meeting and the Comment was the fact that the proponents of a “constantly synthesizing” version of the Modern Synthesis had failed to present a statement of their theory. This was not a minor detail, but such a glaring omission. I wondered how the editors of Nature had allowed what was going to be debated to remain completely undefined.

Similarly, the organizers Read more »

Jerry Coyne Evades Evolution 2.0

I got this question from an inquisitive reader:

I’m wrestling with some essential Jerry Coyne here. I figure this is pretty fundamental and therefore worth my taking the time to understand better.

Coyne says:

What we mean by “random” is that mutations occur regardless of whether they would be good for the organism. That is, the chances of an adaptive mutation occurring is not increased if the environment changes in a way that would favor that mutation.  The word “random” does not, to evolutionists, mean that every gene has the same chance of mutating, nor that mutation rates can’t be affected by other things. What it means is that mutation is not somehow adjusted so that good mutations crop up just when they would be advantageous. My friend Paul Sniegowski, a professor at Penn, uses the term “indifferent” instead of “random,” and I think that’s a better way to describe the neo-Darwinian view of mutations.

– What Coyne says is actually consistent with how you and Denis Noble and others define “random,” yes? no?

No.
 
Coyne is saying: ‘OK, mutation patterns are not Read more »

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:

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