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Evolution versus Intelligent Design: The God of the Gaps
Stingray: a blog for salty Christians ^ | March 11, 2006 | Michael McCullough

Posted on 03/11/2006 10:35:26 PM PST by DallasMike

Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost has an outstanding article on the "God of the Gaps." Joe explains in easily understandable terms that the notion "actually encompasses four different views based on distinctions between a “science gap” (a gap in our current scientific knowledge) and a “nature gap” (a break in the continuous cause-effect chain of natural process) that may or may not be bridged by miraculous-appearing theistic action."

As technology advances, our science gaps close, but more science gaps often rise up to take their place. For example, we once thought that an electron was a sub-atomic particle that had no components. Now we know that electrons are made up of quarks and that quarks are made up of vibrating strings. Furthermore, for those strings to have the properties that they do, it is required that the universe have somewhere from 9 to 11 dimensions instead of the 3 dimensions that we operate with on an everyday basis. The other dimensions are very, very tiny and apparently curl back on themselves, but they exist nevertheless.

I'm going to upset some people here but I have no theological problem with evolution just as I don't have any theological problelm with gravity. In fact, I believe that evolution exists to some degree though I don't know how large a role it has played in the history of life here on earth. A good example is the fact of natural selection. Scientists routinely breed mice with certain characteristics by tossing out any mice that don't fit those characteristics. That's human action interfering with something, of course, but we see it in nature, too. When we have another ice age (and we will), species who aren't able to adapt will disappear. Whatever role evolution may or may not play, it is an invention of God because all truth is God's truth.

However, as a Christian, I also firmly believe that "God created the heavens and the earth." Moreover, as one with degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering and a lifelike career in science in one form or the other, I just cannot accept the claims of the hardcore Darwinists who believe that God, if he exists, had nothing to do with the growth of life here on earth. The numbers just don't match up -- the universe would have to be much, much older than it is for random mutations to have produced that variety of life that  we see on earth. I have no doubts that God set things in motion and prods the development of new species. I just don't have any idea how often interferes miraculously with the laws that he set in place at the beginning of time. God is the creator and sustainer of all things and "in him we live and move and have our being."

So what does all this bring me to? Well, Joe made a brilliant comment to his own post:

Neo-Darwinism sets such a low bar that it is almost impossible to falsify its claims.

...

ID advocates have long proposed an experiment that would shut them up: the bacterial flagellum. As Michael Behe says, to falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum--or any equally complex system--was produced. If that happened, he admits his claims would be neatly disproven.

Now why haven’t scientists tested this to prove Behe wrong? Because, when all is said and done, neo-Darwinism can’t stand up under experimental scrutiny.

I have to agree with Joe. Behe's idea of irreducible complexity is a tremendous challenge to the hardcore Darwinists and the evolution controversy will not disappear. Too many scientists have problem with the explanations offered by the hardcore evolutionists. Some of those problems may disappear as we learn more but I have a feeling that we will still be debating this issue in 50 years.


TOPICS: Current Events; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science; Theology
KEYWORDS: bacteria; behe; complexity; creationism; darwin; design; electron; evolution; flagellum; gap; god; intelligent; irreducible; quarks; strings
Stingray: Conservative blog

StingrayConservative Christian News and Commentary

1 posted on 03/11/2006 10:35:31 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
Most people adapt the creation myths of their aspirational social group. "Darwinism" is just another creation myth.

"Random variation" is batted around by individuals who have no idea whatever of what "randomness" means. I have argued with a fellow who said that random numbers are solidly packed with information - and that he had learned that in college. Amazing if true.

Do a very little biochemistry and ask yourself what "random variations" at that level of reality entail. "Random variations" in biochemistry look about like changing bits in compiled computer code. The program would eventually suffer a critical failure. The odds of prolonged survival become not astronomical but more like "astronomical" to the "astronomical" power. One is talking about ten raised to the one hundred thousand power at the very least.

Before flaming please realize that obviously Science must deal with repeatable phenomena and act as if "supernatural" is a meaningless noise. Of course. I am sure a "natural" explanation exists and speculate that one may be found at the quantum level.

"Buckyballs" are much larger than biochemical level machines, generally, (biochemical structures show critical detail at the level of single atoms) and buckyballs show quantum behavior in the two slit experiment. Chemistry works on the quantum level, period. Linus Pauling got his Nobel on that one.
2 posted on 03/11/2006 11:36:06 PM PST by Iris7 (Dare to be pigheaded! Stubborn! "Tolerance" is not a virtue!)
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To: DallasMike
"Now we know that electrons are made up of quarks and that quarks are made up of vibrating strings

The string theory is the product of a diseased raging cross-dressers mind

3 posted on 03/12/2006 12:08:28 AM PST by freedom9 (Squish the gecko!)
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To: DallasMike

Unfortunately we might still be debating this issue in 50 years because people who refuse to believe in evolution will never be convinced by any amount of evidence provided by scientists. And regardless of what Behe and the rest may argue about and criticize, the onus is on THEM to provide evidence supporting intelligent design, not the scientific community. Attacking aspects of another concept is not the same as providing empirical evidence for your own.


4 posted on 03/12/2006 9:53:02 AM PST by freerepublic007
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To: DallasMike
Reproduction. No evolution there. Nor of the eye in any phylum.

"In the beginning God...."

5 posted on 03/12/2006 10:19:32 AM PST by onedoug
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To: DallasMike
Now why haven’t scientists tested this to prove Behe wrong? Because, when all is said and done, neo-Darwinism can’t stand up under experimental scrutiny.

It is because noone seriously thinks that something like the flagellum should readily evolve in a small lab colony in just 10,000 generations (about a year). It could very well take hundreds of trillions of generations amongst the trillions upon trillions of bateria covering the earth. Noone suggesting it evolved is claiming it did so easily. It's all about number of trials and 10,000 x small lab colony is definitely not enough to test it.

6 posted on 03/12/2006 10:46:09 AM PST by bobdsmith
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To: Iris7

Randomly generates strings have the maximal amount of information. See any elementary text on "information theory" or the like. WTP?


7 posted on 03/12/2006 11:37:24 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: bobdsmith
Noone suggesting it evolved is claiming it did so easily.
Are you kidding? The hardcore evolutionists say that everthing is easy given enough time. If it would take trillions of generations to produce a simple flagellum amongst all the trillions of bacteria in the world then how long do you think it would take for a few thousand apes to evolve into a human? Consider how many exceedlingly complex systems exists amongst the various forms of life in this world. There's no way those things happened over trillions of generations amongst trillions of beings. You've invalidated your own argument.

8 posted on 03/12/2006 1:20:47 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
There are 10 to 200 trillion cells in the human body depending on size and age. With several mutations a year and life not being on the scene by evolutionary standards until around 3 billion years ago the math does not work out.

The complexity of our body is amazing. The cells in our body are more complex than the computer you are looking at. The cells in our body perform complex functions every second knowing where to go what to do what is enemy what is food. Some cells produce for other cells to use, how did this symbiotic relationship come by chance?

It is amazing that the frevolutionist can believe that 4.6 billion years have created us today. It is amazing that those who believe in God believe that evolution at a macro scale (fish to reptile, reptile to mammal) (variation within a kind is not evolution a German Shepard and a Bull Mastiff are still dogs) has taken place and that the Bible is not 100% true. To those who believe in God of the Bible but do not have the Faith to believe that it is 100% true, that it is not fiction that those men were inspired by God to write the correct interpretation, are trying to serve God and stay conformed with their secular friends or the world.
9 posted on 03/12/2006 3:43:21 PM PST by Creationist (If the earth is old show me your proof. Salvation from the judgment of your sins is free.)
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To: Creationist

Yeah, a billion years pass in the blink of an eye... /sarcasm

What amazes me is how people can disregard piles and piles of evidence by deliberately narrowing their focus to logical fallacies and yet actually feel secure in their beliefs. So what if something is improbable? So what if something is complex? So what if something happened by chance? So what if not every individual detail is known about specific processes? Until creationists present empirical data instead of hollow attacks and theology they will continue to be sidelined in academia.


10 posted on 03/12/2006 4:58:33 PM PST by freerepublic007
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To: freerepublic007
What is the emprical evidence for evolution. Dating of rocks? Fossils? The fact that stars are light years away so it has to be billions of years old because of light travel.

All the dating methods for rocks are a flawed system. They all assume that radio active decay has been constant. Our study of these systems has been only about one hundred years or about .2% of the half life. You put your faith on that. The earths magnetic field has been measured for about 150 years. The intensity's half life is about 1400 years and the energy's half life is about 700 years. So looking at that we have a better understanding of the magnetic fields energy half life at almost 25% and the intensity's half life of 10%.

The earths magnetic field has been measured and is dying at a measurable rate, if you were to go backward the earth would be a magnetic star at 20000 years ago and could not sustain life. It will be said that the field fluctuates over time, where does the energy come from to recharge this system. And if the magnetic field fluctuates over time then so must the radioactive decay become recharged to and so then this dating method can not be accurate at all.
11 posted on 03/12/2006 5:14:44 PM PST by Creationist (If the earth is old show me your proof. Salvation from the judgment of your sins is free.)
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To: Creationist; DallasMike; All
I think its time to post a somewhat long article on this general topic. I don't agree with it 100%. But I agree with enough of it that I think its worth a quick post. I will set it up as a separate thread in the religion forum.
12 posted on 03/12/2006 5:22:07 PM PST by jecIIny (You faithful, let us pray for the Catechumens! Lord Have Mercy)
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To: jecIIny

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1595229/posts


13 posted on 03/12/2006 5:30:11 PM PST by jecIIny (You faithful, let us pray for the Catechumens! Lord Have Mercy)
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To: Creationist

ah, yet another example of creationists twisting disagreements among scientists to confuse people into believing in their cause. In fact, your arguments could be taken from just about any old "creation science" website. Yes, the mechanisms of geomagnetic reversal are not 100% agreed upon by scientists but the evidence of these reversals is literally recorded in the rocks, specifically in the basalt that has spread out from mid-ocean ridges over millions of years. Also, your suggestion that the half-lives of isotopes are not accurately measured is also bogus. What does magnetic field reversal have to do with radioactive decay? A radioactive rock in the ground is not going to decay at a different rate because of fluctuations in the magnetic field. Case in point: the predictable age of the moon rocks brought back from the old lunar highlands and the younger volcanic lowlands. (the moon has not had a magnetic field for a very long time...ie no "recharging" as you put it) Creationists seem to forget that all of these different areas of science converge. For example, the age of the rocks near the continents is dated to be older than the age of the recently molten rock near the sea floor ridges. This dating system fits in nicely with the theory of plate tectonics, which fits in nicely with the geological history of the land, which fits in nicely with the similar types of fossils found in similar types of rock on continents that were formerly joined, which fits in nicely with the theory of evolution taking place over long periods of time, etc, etc, etc. There is rarely such a thing a single fact of science that does not have itself invested in many seemingly distinct areas of study.


14 posted on 03/12/2006 6:16:54 PM PST by freerepublic007
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To: freerepublic007
If there is an unseen energy force that can recharge the magnetic field then it must also recharge the radio active elements also. The magnetic field is part of our Eco system, it effects everything. For you to say that rocks are not effected by the magnetic field is very presumptive of you are you a scientist? Where are your papers on the subject? Man does not know enough in the last one hundred years of study on the magnetic field and radio active decay to make such a bold statement.

We live in a closed system. There are no outside energy sources adding energy to the earth or the sun or any of the planets. Everything is dying and decaying. It is not getting better as evolutionist would make you to believe. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is in place and nothing is going to change it.

I read books on the subjects more than the Internet.

You assume that when these rocks were formed that they were perfect in their composition and that there was not any daughter elements in their formation.

The magnetic reversals are recorded not strength.

You must not read much about the dating methods and how if the date does not fit the expected outcome they assume the rock was corrupted by leaching.
If leaching can corrupt the date of rocks that they want to be a certain age then how can you say that leaching did not corrupt the outcome of the date on the rocks that met their criteria.

They also have dated rocks at the Grand Canyon that have different ages that what they should be. There are lave flows at the rim that are known to be young that Indians have tales about the flow, yet mysteriously they date older than what they should.

How in the world can anyone even claim that the moon has not had a magnetic field is beyond me. Were you there to measure this phenomena. History is made upon interpretation of visible evidence, that does not mean the interpretation is correct.

I do not discount any form of science, I just understand that if it does not fit with scripture it is not interpreted correctly. All areas of science have two or more interpretations and one of everyone of those is backed by scripture the others are incorrect.

The dating system fits nicely because those who do not wish to follow the word of God need an old earth interpretation to discount the Bible.
15 posted on 03/12/2006 9:04:57 PM PST by Creationist (If the earth is old show me your proof. Salvation from the judgment of your sins is free.)
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To: Creationist

"I just understand that if it does not fit with scripture it is not interpreted correctly."

I think this quote says it all! What is the point of answering someone's questions about the facts of science when they will deliberately ignore or twist anything that contradicts something that they believe is absolute and infallible? You are basically admitting to willful ignorance... not the type of person who is going to come around no matter how many of his bogus criticisms are answered.


16 posted on 03/12/2006 9:25:49 PM PST by freerepublic007
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To: DallasMike
From the article:
I just don't have any idea how often interferes miraculously with the laws that he set in place at the beginning of time.
13bn years and still not finished tinkering. He's flunking Cosmoconstruction 101.
17 posted on 03/13/2006 3:45:28 AM PST by planetesimal (All is flux)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
I respect your talent and erudition. My training is autodidactic.

It seems to me that as redundant information is removed from a string that each bit would become less correlated, dependent, to/on other bits and the function generating the string would become increasingly discontinuous. As a limit the string would be packed with information to the maximum possible extent. Am I way off?

This is like crypto (crypto history buff) where information to one is noise to another. Possessing the crypto key makes the difference. Biochemical automata (I am not interested in miracles but only in reproducible phenomena) would require the "key" to the data string so as to "read" it.

If we deduce and calculate some of this "key", and show by rigorous numerical forward time fitting that we have done so, then we will have a real theory.

A string produced by a quantum process time series contains no information that we can understand as we lack the "key". (What if the key is the same length as the "random string"?) The same limitation is true of automata. If the biological world is machine like, is a "computable number", shall we say (and I think it must be), we have a long way to go to prove it.

Comments?

18 posted on 03/13/2006 1:51:06 PM PST by Iris7 (Dare to be pigheaded! Stubborn! "Tolerance" is not a virtue!)
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To: Iris7

A string produced by quantum processes does contain the maximal amount of information. Do not confuse Shannon (and Kolmogorov, etc.) information with what Number Two was trying to beat out of Number Six.


19 posted on 03/13/2006 2:12:25 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: DallasMike
From the article: and a lifelike career in science in one form or the other

A "lifelike" career in science?!?

20 posted on 03/14/2006 1:19:40 PM PST by Bingo Jerry (Bing-freaking-go!)
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To: Bingo Jerry
A "lifelike" career in science?!?
Hmmm, it should have read "lifelong" but there are times when it's seemed rather "lifelike."

21 posted on 03/14/2006 1:36:18 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
Now why haven’t scientists tested this to prove Behe wrong? Because, when all is said and done, neo-Darwinism can’t stand up under experimental scrutiny.

(I realize this is long but sometimes the quick soundbytes of the Behe's of the world are misleading and the truth takes a little time. Sorry for the effort required)

Behe, as so often is the downfall of those without the critical thinking skills necessary to appropriately evaluate evolution, falls into the trap of drastic assumption. This is easy to do when you investigate an area of science with a preconceived agenda to instead of with an open, subjective mind.

He assumes flagella have and always have existed for the sole purpose of locomotion. (Which is to say, he is assuming it was "added" as he would add it to an organism. Which is to say, he is assuming "intelligent design" and working backward).

But in reality, the flagella has a multitude of purposes on an individual bacteria and in across all bacteria has almost countless purposes.

So his "experiment" idea is misleading in that it assumes that bacteria went directly from zero protrusion to a single purpose locomotion flagellum. In real life a scientist would need to be able to correctly identify all of the other possible functions (which may have led to the intermediary forms) and somehow recreate the exact environmental situations (without a "reverse" crystal ball that allows him to look back several million or billion years) in order for that experiment to work.

So once again, we have an example of an

1) ID proponent who
2) over simplifies the situation to
3) make it more appealing to lay readers while still
4) laughably ignorable by scientists in order to
5) create the impression of a victory when scientists don't respond.

22 posted on 03/14/2006 1:36:27 PM PST by Bingo Jerry (Bing-freaking-go!)
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To: DallasMike
Hmmm, it should have read "lifelong" but there are times when it's seemed rather "lifelike."

I'm to take it that you are the author of the blog?

23 posted on 03/14/2006 1:39:53 PM PST by Bingo Jerry (Bing-freaking-go!)
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