Stephen E. Jones

Creation/Evolution Quotes: Unclassified quotes: March 2004

[Quotes] [Unposted quotes] [Unclassified quotes] [Classified quotes]

The following are unclassified quotes posted in my email messages of March 2004. These quotes will be
progressively removed as they are added to my quotes pages proper. The date format is dd/mm/yy.


1/3/04
"Theological Implications of Possible Ancient Life on Mars. Among the 
many interesting reactions to the news from ALH 84001, none stood out 
more than those of theologians of various denominations. The possibility of 
life on Mars-even ancient life one-millionth of an inch across raises once 
again the question of humanity's place and purpose in the universe. 
Astronomers, who had once dethroned the Earth as the core of creation by 
showing that the sun, not the Earth, forms the center of the solar system, 
now seemed to be at it again, this time with life from another planet. To be 
sure, tiny fossils hardly posed the question as strikingly as the discovery of 
alien intelligence would have. ... In its organized theology, the Judeo-
Christian tradition has more difficulty accepting the notion of 
extraterrestrial life than most other major religions. ... Though we risk 
oversimplification, we may divide the Judeo-Christian response to 
extraterrestrial life into two basic categories, the Earth-centered and the 
greater-glory camps. The latter group sees life elsewhere in the universe as 
just another jewel in the crown of creation. For theologians in this category, 
the story of Genesis simply omits what may have happened on other 
worlds. ... This brings us to the second category, the Earth-centered system 
of belief. At an intuitive level, everyone on Earth belongs to this group. 
Many of us, however, have learned, and have accepted at some level in our 
inner selves, that the sun is one star among several hundred billion in the 
Milky Way galaxy, and that our galaxy is one among hundreds of billions, 
or even more, in the visible universe. ... For some Catholics and Jews, and 
for larger numbers of fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants, this 
includes a so-called literal interpretation of the Bible .... For many 
fundamentalist Christians, the words in this book deserve no respect, since 
they contradict the word of God. Evolution is a hoax, they say, and Earth is 
the only planet with intelligent life. ... In that theology, God created the 
world in six days, and each of those days contained twenty-four hours." 
(Goldsmith D.A., "The Hunt for Life on Mars," Dutton: New York NY, 
1997, pp.233-236)#

29/2/04
"Conservatives are very `touchy' about the historicity of the fall of Adam, 
because of its importance to their soteriology and theodicy, and, therefore, 
about the status of the Genesis narratives on that event (Genesis 2-3). They 
are reluctant to admit that the literary genre in that case is figurative rather 
than strictly literal even though the hints are very strong that it is symbolic: 
Adam (which means `Mankind') marries Eve (which means `Life), and their 
son Cain (which means `Forger') becomes a wanderer in the land of Nod 
(which means `Wandering')!" (Pinnock C.H., "The Scripture Principle," 
Hodder & Staughton: London, 1985, pp.116-117) 

1/3/04
"From the outset, we note that at least some of the acrimony over the 
interpretation of the Genesis days arises from language differences. Turning 
biblical Hebrew into English prose and poetry presents some enormous 
difficulties. Whereas biblical Hebrew has a vocabulary of under 3,100 
words (not including proper nouns), English words number over 4,000,000. 
The disparity is even greater for nouns. Therefore, we should not be 
surprised that Hebrew nouns have multiple literal definitions. The English 
word day most often refers either to the daylight hours or to a period of 24 
hours. As in `the day of the Romans,' it is also used for a longer time 
period. English speakers and writers, however, have many words for an 
extended period-age, era, epoch, and eon, just to name a few. The Hebrew 
word yom similarly refers to daylight hours, 24 hours, and a long (but 
finite) time period. Unlike English, however, biblical Hebrew has no word 
other than yom to denote a long timespan. The word yom appears 
repeatedly in the Hebrew Scriptures with reference to a period longer than 
12 or 24 hours. The Hebrew terms yom (singular) and yamin (plural) often 
refer to an extended time frame. Perhaps the most familiar passages are 
those referring to God's `day of wrath.' Before English translations were 
available, animosity over the length of the Genesis days did not exist, at 
least not as far as anyone can tell from the extant theological literature. 
Prior to the Nicene Council, the early Church fathers wrote two thousand 
pages of commentary on the Genesis creation days, yet did not devote a 
word to disparaging each other's viewpoints on the creation time scale. All 
these early scholars accepted that yom could mean `a long time period.' The 
majority explicitly taught that the Genesis creation days were extended time 
periods (something like a thousand years per yom). Not one Ante-Nicene 
Father explicitly endorsed the 24-hour interpretation. Ambrose, who came 
the closest to doing so, apparently vacillated on the issue. We certainly 
cannot charge the Church fathers with `scientific bias' in their 
interpretations. They wrote long before astronomical, geological, and 
paleontological evidences for the antiquity of the universe, the earth, and 
life became available. Nor had biological evolution yet been proposed. 
Lamarck, Darwin, and Huxley came along some 1,400 years later." (Ross 
H.N.* & Archer G.L.*, "The Day-Age View," in Hagopian D.G., ed., "The 
Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation," Crux Press: 
Mission Viejo CA, 2001, pp.125-126) 

1/3/04
"Knowing the complexity of the processes involved, when we see a 
diagram showing how simple evolution is, how one organ can change into 
another merely by adding a feature here and there, we must realize that 
those demonstrations are a farce. As long as the intricate workings of the 
cell are disregarded, there's no problem for a Steven Pinker, or Stephen Jay 
Gould, or Richard Dawkins to talk of random reactions producing the 
goods of life. It is hard not to be fooled by the foolish arguments when they 
originate from intelligent foolers. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having 
said that while you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of 
the people some of the time, you cannot fool all of the people all of the 
time. The more knowledge one has, the harder it becomes to be fooled. 
Those diagrams that in ten steps evolve from a random spread of lines into 
people-like outlines, and in a few hundred steps simulate a light-sensitive 
patch on skin evolving into an eye, once had me fooled. They are so 
impressively convincing. Then I studied molecular biology." (Schroeder 
G.L.*, "The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth," 
The Free Press: New York NY, 2001, pp.103-104) 

2/3/04
"On October 22, John Paul II sent greetings to the Pontifical Academy of 
Sciences, `the Church's scientific senate.' His message was reported in the 
general press as `Pope accepts evolution' as if it were `Church finally 
accepts heliocentrism.' Phew. What a relief. The pope's message was no 
such thing. Papal teaching had previously accepted the idea of the descent 
of all life forms from common ancestry. John Paul II was largely reiterating 
in a much less formal manner Pius XII's understanding and reminding the 
scientists that if they were to be faithful Christians there were limits beyond 
which their science could not take them. Those limits were theological: no 
theory of evolution was acceptable that was purely materialistic and that did 
not recognize the direct divine origin of the human soul." (Neff D., "The 
Pope, the Press, and Evolution," Christianity Today, Vol. 41, No. 1, 
January 6, 1997, p.18. http://www.christianity.net/ct/7T1/7T1018.html) 

2/3/04
"Gould's term `magisteria' was inspired by two popes who have issued 
dictates about evolution. In Humani Generis (1950), Pius XII ruled physical 
evolution to be compatible with orthodox faith but still unproven, and he 
warned against any supposition that the soul had emerged from natural 
processes. And in 1996 John Paul II took note of the convergent findings 
that by then had rendered evolution `more than a hypothesis'-a conclusion 
that Gould hails as his `favorite example of NOMA' emanating from an 
unexpected religious source. If this is really the Pope's considered view, 
says Gould, `we may rejoice in a pervasive and welcome consensus' 
between scientists and ecclesiastics. Regrettably, however, Gould barely 
hints at a crucial point that ought to have muted his hosanna. John Paul II's 
position on the supernatural origin of the soul is identical to that of every 
predecessor pope. `The Church's Magisterium,' he wrote in the very 
statement that Gould hails, is directly concerned with the question of 
evolution, for it involves the conception of man: Revelation teaches that he 
was created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:27-29). The 
conciliar Constitution Gaudium et spes has magnificently explained this 
doctrine, which...recalled that man is `the only creature on earth that God 
has wanted for its own sake.' ...Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the 
human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual 
soul is immediately created by God.... Consequently, theories of evolution 
which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the 
mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere 
epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. 
This passage shows that the Church, while conceding that evolutionary 
science can no longer be snubbed, remains intransigently creationist where 
its own interests are concerned. Nor has Gould been unmindful of that fact. 
When he broached the NOMA rule in his Natural History column of March 
1997, he voiced a suspicion that John Paul II's `insistence on divine 
infusion of the soul' was `a device for maintaining a belief in human 
superiority within an evolutionary world offering no privileged position to 
any creature.' But he backed down at once, pleading in his next sentence 
that `souls represent a subject outside the magisterium of science.' And now 
in Rocks of Ages, borrowing heavily from his Natural History piece, he has 
chosen to omit any mention of his misgivings." (Crews F.C., Saving Us 
from Darwin, Part II," The New York Review of Books, October 18, 2001. 
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14622) 

2/3/04
"atheism ... (Gr. a- (privative prefix) + theos god) n. the view that there is 
no divine being, no God. Sometimes a distinction is made between 
theoretical and practical atheism. A theoretical atheist believes that there is 
no divine being, no God. Practical atheism has been used in two entirely 
different senses. In one sense that occurs in Cudworth, it is the (Epicurean) 
view that the gods exist but do not do anything that has a bearing on human 
affairs. In the other, more usual sense, a practical atheist is one whose 
actions are not influenced by any belief in God and whose actions are 
accordingly presumed to be under no moral constraint. An early opponent 
of this presumption was Bayle." (Mautner T., "The Penguin Dictionary of 
Philosophy," [1996], Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.48) 

2/3/04
"What kind of God can one infer from the sort of phenomena epitomized by 
the species on Darwin's Galapagos Islands? The evolutionary process is rife 
with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste. death, pain and horror. 
Millions of sperm and ova are produced that never unite to form a zygote. 
Of the millions of zygotes that are produced, only a few ever reach 
maturity. On current estimates, 95 per cent of the DNA that an organism 
contains has no function. Certain organic systems are marvels of 
engineering; others are little more than contraptions. When the eggs that 
cuckoos lay in the nests of other birds hatch, the cuckoo chick proceeds to 
push the eggs of its foster parents out of the nest. The queens of a particular 
species of parasitic ant have only one remarkable adaptation, a serrated 
appendage which they use to saw off the head of the host queen. To quote 
Darwin, "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God 
would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express 
intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars." Whatever 
the God implied by evolutionary theory and the data of natural history may 
be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. He is also not a 
loving God who cares about His productions. He is not even the awful God 
portrayed in the book of Job. The God of the Galapagos is careless, 
wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God 
to whom anyone would be inclined to pray." (Hull D.L., "The God of the 
Galapagos." Review of "Darwin on Trial," by Phillip E. Johnson, Regnery 
Gateway: Washington DC, 1991. Nature Vol. 352, 8 August 1991, p.486)

4/3/04
"This book is intended for the reflective, open-minded reader who would 
appreciate a simplified discussion of recent evolutionary-genetic findings. 
Human beings, like all other species on earth, are biological products of 
evolutionary processes, and as such are physical expressions of genes, the 
"genetic gods." Genes and the mechanistic evolutionary forces that have 
sculpted them thus assume many of the roles in human affairs traditionally 
reserved for supernatural deities. Some may find this argument 
blasphemous or sacrilegious; others may find it prosaic. Such contradictory 
responses reflect the paradoxical state of philosophical affairs, in which 
religious revelation and scientific rationalism uncomfortably coexist as 
powerful but opposing means of knowing." (Avise J.C., "The Genetic 
Gods: Evolution and Belief in Human Affairs," [1998], Harvard University 
Press: Cambridge MA, Second printing, 2001, p.vi)

5/3/04
"DR. EDEN: I would like here to come to the defense of Dr. Popper. I
think we should make a clear distinction between falsifiability and use. I am
not denying and I don't know that anybody else is denying the use fulness
of evolutionary concepts as means for looking at problems; but it is a
theory of a different kind. We may contrast it with theories of physics.
Certainly Newtonian physics is falsifiable. Even in biology, I recall one
occasion on which I helped develop a very ingenious and very plausible
theory regarding the countercurrent mechanism in the kidney. It was not
only falsifiable, it was false. My point is that for such a theory one could
propose a crucial experiment and check as to whether or not the theory
was false or not. This cannot be done in evolution, taking it in its broad
sense, and this is really all I meant when I called it tautologous in the first
place. It can, indeed, explain anything. You may be ingenious or not in
proposing a mechanism which looks plausible to human beings and
mechanisms which are consistent with other mechanisms which you have
discovered, but it is still an unfalsifiable theory." (Eden M., "Discussion:
Paper by Dr. Wald," in Moorhead P.S. & Kaplan M.M., ed., "Mathematical
Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution: A
Symposium Held at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, April 25
and 26, 1966," The Wistar Institute Symposium Monograph Number 5,
The Wistar Institute Press: Philadelphia PA, 1967, p.71)

5/3/04
"MARCEL SCHUTZENBERGER: our thesis is that neo-Darwinism 
cannot explain the phenomena of evolution on the basis standard physico-
chemistry. ... I intend to restrict my argument to show the existence of a 
serious gap in the current theory of evolution. The next question (which I 
will not discuss here) would be to ask how much random mutation and 
selection would be needed once this gap is filled ... nowadays computers 
are operating within a range which is not entirely incommensurate with that 
dealt with in actual evolution theories. If a species breeds once a year, the 
number of cycles in a million years is about the same as that which one 
would obtain in a ten day computation which iterates a program whose 
duration is a hundredth of a second. Our ability to play with iteration of this 
magnitude is quite a new thing, and we can begin to develop some concrete 
experience with this type of process. ... According to the `dogma' of 
molecular biology the first level we start with is, ideally, something like a 
big book written in an alphabet of 20 odd letters. This is the blueprint of an 
individual, a genotype. Further we have a genic pool, i.e., a collection of 
such books which are variants of each other. ...I shall take those books as 
the elements of the first space ... According to molecular biology, we have a 
space of objects (genotypes) endowed with nothing more than typographic 
topology. These objects correspond (by individual development) with the 
members of a second space having another topology (that of concrete 
physico-chemical systems in the real world). Neo-Darwinism asserts that it 
is conceivable that without anything further, selection based upon the 
structure of the second space brings a statistically adapted drift when 
random changes are performed in the first space in accordance with its own 
structure. We believe that it is not conceivable. In fact if we try to simulate 
such a situation by making changes randomly at the typographic level (by 
letters or by blocks, the size of the unit does not really matter), on computer 
programs we find that we have no chance (i.e. less than 1/10^1000) even to 
see what the modified program would compute: it just jams. ... Thus, to 
conclude, we believe that there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian 
theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it 
cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology." 
(Schutzenberger M.-P., "Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of 
Evolution," in Moorhead P.S. & Kaplan M.M., ed., "Mathematical 
Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution: A 
Symposium Held at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, April 25 
and 26, 1966," The Wistar Institute Symposium Monograph Number 5, The 
Wistar Institute Press: Philadelphia PA, 1967, pp.73-75) 

5/3/04
"The fossil record provides little information about the evolution of the 
human lineage during the late Miocene, from 10 to 5 mya, Around 10 mya, 
several species of large-bodied hominoids that bore some resemblance to 
modern orangutans lived in Africa and Asia. About this time, the world 
began to cool, grassland and savanna habitats spread, and forests began to 
shrink in much of the tropics. The creatures that occupied tropical forests 
declined in variety and abundance, while those that lived in the open 
grasslands thrived. Apes were among the forest species that suffered drastic 
declines, particularly in Asia. We know that at least one ape species 
survived the environmental changes that occurred during the late Miocene 
because molecular genetics tells us that humans, gorillas, bonobos, and 
chimpanzees are all descended from a common ancestor that lived 
sometime between 5 and 7 mya. Unfortunately, the fossil record for the late 
Miocene tells us little about the creature that linked the forest apes to 
modern hominids. Beginning about 5 mya, hominids begin to appear in the 
fossil record. These early hominids were different from any of the Miocene 
apes in one important way-they walked upright as we do." (Boyd R. & Silk 
J.B., "How Humans Evolved," [1997], W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 
Second Edition, 2000, pp.326-327) 

5/3/04
"But because there has never yet been hailed a new find that was not 
a human ancestor, and because there has never yet been announced 
a new find that was not bipedal, we may prefer to be extremely 
circumspect until the fossils are widely available for study by the 
entire range of methods and investigators of the present day." 
(Oxnard C.E., Homo, Vol. 30, 1981, p.243, in Gish D.T.*, 
"Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record," Master Book 
Publishers: El Cajon CA, 1986, p.163)] 

7/3/04
"Although Darwin did not invent the idea of evolution, he certainly was 
responsible for its widespread acceptance. On the Origin of Species not 
only precipitated the intense popular debate on evolution, but was in itself a 
convincing argument. Its persuasiveness arose only partly from the 
assemblage of evidence from natural history and paleontology that 
evolution had occurred, but largely from the construction of a plausible 
theory of how it occurred. When we speak of the "theory of evolution," a 
constant confusion arises between the fact of the historical transformation 
of organisms over the last three billion years and a detailed and coherent 
theory of the dynamics of that historical process. There is no disagreement 
in science about whether evolution has occurred. There is bloody warfare 
on the question of how it has occurred." (Lewontin R.C., "It Ain't 
Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions," 
[2000], Granta Books: London, 2001, reprint, pp.47-48)

7/3/04
"Since evolution is a change in the genetic composition of populations, the 
mechanisms of evolution constitute problems of population genetics."
(Dobzhansky T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," [1937], Columbia 
University Press: New York NY, 1982, reprint, pp.11-12)

8/3/04
"Where do our genes come from? Mostly from the distant evolutionary 
past. In fact, only 94 of 1,278 protein families in our genome appear to be 
specific to vertebrates. The most elementary of cellular functions basic 
metabolism, transcription of DNA into RNA, translation of RNA into 
protein, DNA replication and the like - evolved just once and have stayed 
pretty well fixed since the evolution of single-celled yeast and bacteria. The 
biggest difference between humans and worms or flies is the complexity of 
our proteins: more domains (modules) per protein and novel combinations 
of domains. ... In vertebrates, not surprisingly, we see elaboration and the 
de novo appearance of two types of genes: those for specific vertebrate 
abilities (such as neuronal complexity, bloodclotting and the acquired 
immune response), and those that provide increased general capabilities 
(such as genes for intra- and intercellular signalling, development, 
programmed cell death, and control of gene transcription)." (Baltimore D., 
"Our genome unveiled," Nature, Vol. 409, 15 February 2001, pp.814-816. 
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v409/n6822/full/409814a0_fs.html) 

9/3/04
"Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth 
can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are 
resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry." 
(Dobzhansky T.G., "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light 
of Evolution," The American Biology Teacher, March 1973, Vol. 35, 
pp.125-129. http://www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml)

10/3/04
"Many scientists have argued that life must be a ubiquitous phenomenon 
that pervades the universe, but they can offer precious little empirical 
evidence to support that assertion. After decades of searching, astronomers 
have found no signs of life elsewhere in the cosmos; a 1996 report of 
fossilized microbes in a meteorite from Mars turned out to be erroneous. 
Researchers still cannot make matter animate in the laboratory, even with 
all the tools of biotechnology. In fact, the more scientists ponder life's 
origin, the harder it is to imagine how it occurred. Francis Crick once 
stated that "the origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are 
the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going." 
(Horgan J., "Between Science and Spirituality," The Chronicle of Higher 
Education, Vol. 49, No. 14, Page B7, November 29, 2002. 
http://chronicle.com/free/v49/i14/14b00701.htm)#

10/3/04
"It is easy enough to set up a straw man, to point to the whale's vestigial 
pelvic bones, for example, and to say that if God had created the whale, 
directly and from nothing, he wouldn't have included these useless parts. 
Typically, neo-Darwinists then argue that it simply does not make sense to 
attribute the whale to divine creation-as if there were nothing in heaven and 
earth except an omnipotent deity acting as his own agent or natural 
selection of chance variations." (Fix W.R., "The Bone Peddlers: Selling 
Evolution," Macmillan: New York NY, 1984, p.195)

11/3/04
"In any case, what creationism is *not* is a valid intellectual argument 
between opposing points of view. That battle was fought-with evolution 
emerging triumphant-in the latter half of the nineteenth century. ... 
Intellectually, the debate has been dead since 1859-and evolution was 
triumphant!" (Eldredge N., "The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of 
Creationism," [2000], Henry Holt & Co: New York, 2001, reprint, pp.11-
12. Emphasis in original)

12/3/04
"Q: Dr. Ruse, do you have an opinion to a reasonable degree of 
professional certainty about whether creation science is science? A: Yes. Q: 
What is your opinion? A: In my opinion creation science is not science. Q: 
What do you think it is? A: As someone also trained in the philosophy of 
religion, in my opinion creation science is religion." (Ruse M.. "Witness 
Testimony Sheet," in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical 
Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: 
Amherst NY, 1996, p.306) 

12/3/04
"Certainly, historically, that if you look at, say, evolutionary theory ... it's 
certainly been the case that evolution has functioned, if not as a religion as 
such, certainly with elements akin to a secular religion. Those of us who 
teach philosophy of religion always say there's no way of defining religion 
by a neat, necessary and sufficient condition. The best that you can do is list 
a number of characteristics, some of which all religions have, and none of 
which any religion, whatever or however you sort of put it. And certainly, 
there's no doubt about it, that in the past, and I think also in the present, for 
many evolutionists, evolution has functioned as something with elements 
which are, let us say, akin to being a secular religion. ... I think of Thomas 
Henry Huxley, the grandfather, and of Julian Huxley, the grandson. 
Certainly, if you read Thomas Henry Huxley, when he's in full flight, 
there's no question but that for Huxley at some very important level, 
evolution and science generally, but certainly evolution in particular, is 
functioning ... as a kind of secular religion. And there's no question 
whatsoever ... that for Julian Huxley evolution was functioning as a kind of 
secular religion." (Ruse M., "Transcript: Speech by Professor Michael 
Ruse," Symposium, "The New Antievolutionism," 1993 Annual Meeting of 
the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 13, 
1993. http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or151/mr93tran.htm)

12/3/04
"I allow - I insist - that, from its very birth, evolutionism has been used for 
more than mere science. In this wise, it is often appropriate to speak of 
evolution as a form of religion, meaning a faith system with a moral 
message that makes sense of life's ultimate meaning. You have only to look 
at the writings of a nineteenth-century figure like Herbert Spencer to see 
that this is true. Or a twentieth-century figure like Julian Huxley (brother of 
Aldous Huxley the novelist). This second evolutionist even went so far as 
to write a book entitle Religion without Revelation! There is all sorts of 
stuff about evolution being the key to the mysteries of existence and that 
kind of thing. Moreover, this brand of secular proselytizing is going on into 
the twenty-first century. Look at Harvard entomologist and sociobiologist 
Edward O. Wilson's recent best-seller Consilience." (Ruse M., "Letter: 
Evolution and religion," Pratt Tribune, September 6, 2000. 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/8517)

12/3/04
"The following science-fiction plot is feasible, given a technology that 
differs from today's only in being a little speeded up. Professor Jim 
Crickson has been kidnapped by an evil foreign power and forced to work 
in its biological-warfare labs. To save civilization it is vitally important that 
he should communicate some top-secret information to the outside world, 
but all normal channels of communication are denied him. Except one. The 
DNA code consists of sixty-four triplet `codons,' enough for a complete 
upper-and lower-case English alphabet plus ten numerals, a space character 
and a full stop. Professor Crickson takes a virulent influenza virus off the 
laboratory shelf and engineers into its genome the complete text of his 
message to the outside world, in perfectly formed English sentences. He 
repeats his message over and over again in the engineered genome, adding 
an easily recognizable `flag' sequence say, the first ten prime numbers. He 
then infects himself with the virus and sneezes in a room full of people. A 
wave of flu sweeps the world, and medical labs in distant lands set to work 
to sequence its genome in an attempt to design a vaccine. It soon becomes 
apparent that there is a strange repeated pattern in the genome. Alerted by 
the prime numbers-which cannot have arisen spontaneously-somebody 
tumbles to the idea of deploying code-breaking techniques. From there it 
would be short work to read the full English text of Professor Crickson's 
message, sneezed around the world." (Dawkins R., "River out of Eden: A 
Darwinian View of Life," Phoenix: London, 1996, pp.20-21) 

13/3/04
"Religion is one of the latest fields to which the method of science has been 
extended. The resultant sciences of comparative religion and religious 
psychology are already yielding deeply interesting results, which will 
certainly be of value in leading humanity out of the religious impasse in 
which it now finds itself. One of the major results has been the realisation 
that God is one among several hypotheses to account for the phenomena of 
human destiny, and that it is now proving to be an inadequate hypothesis. 
To a great many people, including myself, this realisation is a great relief, 
both intellectually and morally. ... What the world needs is an essentially 
religious idea-system ... scientific and spiritual. This is not merely desirable 
but urgent-urgent for individual men and women, urgent for the separate 
nations of the world, urgent for mankind as a whole." (Huxley J.S., 
"Religion Without Revelation," [1957], Mentor: New York NY, Revised, 
1958, p.9) 

14/3/04
"The Law of Conservation of Information. Since natural causes are 
precisely those characterized by chance, law or a combination of the two, 
the broad conclusion of the last section may be restated as follows: 
*Natural causes are incapable of generating CSI* [Complex Specified 
Information]. I call this result the Law of Conservation of Information, or 
LCI for short. The phrase Law of Conservation of Information" is not new. 
... LCI has profound implications for science. Among its immediate 
corollaries are the following: (1) The CSI in a closed system of natural 
causes remains constant or decreases. (2) CSI cannot be generated 
spontaneously, originate endogenously or organize itself (as these terms are 
used in origins-of-life research). (3) The CSI in a closed system of natural 
causes either has been in the system eternally or was at some point added 
exogenously (implying that the system, though now closed, was not always 
closed). (4) in particular any closed system of natural causes that is also of 
finite duration received whatever CSI it contains before it became a closed 
system." (Dembski W.A.*, "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science 
and Theology", InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, p.170. 
Emphasis in original) 

14/3/04
"Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the 
strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that 
whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter 
has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not 
annihilated; scotched, if not slain." (Huxley T.H., "The Origin of 
Species," in "Darwiniana: Essays by Thomas H. Huxley," [1896], AMS 
Press: New York NY, 1970, reprint, p.52) 

14/3/04
"Let it be borne in mind what the [Darwinian] theory is. It is not that all the 
species of any extant genus of plants or animals have been  derived from a 
common stock; that all genera and classes of  organized beings now living 
have been thus derived; but that all  organisms from the earliest geological 
periods have, by a process requiring some five hundred million years, been 
derived from one primordial germ. Nor is this all. It is not only that material 
organisms have thus been derived by a process of gradation, but also that 
instincts, mental and moral powers, have been derived and attained by the 
same process. Nor is even this all. We are called upon to believe that all 
this has been brought about by the action of unintelligent physical causes. 
To our apprehension, there is nothing in the Hindu mythology and 
cosmology more incredible than this." (Hodge C., "Systematic Theology," 
[1892], James Clark & Co: London, 1960, reprint, Vol. II, p.20) 

14/3/04
"Skepticism, to be true to its principles, must be willing to turn the light of 
scrutiny on anything. And yet that is precisely what it cannot afford to do in 
the controversy over evolution and intelligent design. The problem with 
skepticism is that it is not a pure skepticism. Rather, it is a selective 
skepticism that desires a neat and sanitized world which science can in 
principle fully characterize in terms of unbroken natural laws. ... No other 
conception of science will do for skepticism. The normal is what is 
describable by a materialistic science. The paranormal is what's not. ... And 
since intelligent design claims that an intelligence not ultimately reducible 
to material mechanisms might be responsible for the world and various 
things we find in the world (not least ourselves), it too is guilty of 
transgressing the normal and must be relegated to the paranormal. ... To 
allow an unevolved intelligence a place in the world is, according to 
skepticism, to send the world into a tailspin. It is to exchange unbroken 
natural law for caprice and thereby destroy science. And yet it is only by 
means of our intelligence that science is possible and that we understand 
the world. Thus, for the skeptic, the world is intelligible only if it starts off 
without intelligence and then evolves intelligence. If it starts out with 
intelligence and evolves intelligence because of a prior intelligence, then 
the world becomes unintelligible. The logic here is flawed, but once in its 
grip, there is no way to escape its momentum. That is why evolution is a 
nonnegotiable for skepticism. For instance, on two occasions I offered to 
join the editorial advisory board of Michael Shermer's Skeptic Magazine to 
be its resident skeptic regarding evolution. Though Michael and I are quite 
friendly, he never took me up on my offer. Indeed, he can't afford to. To do 
so is to allow that an intelligence outside the world might have influence in 
the world. That would destroy the world's autonomy and render effectively 
impossible the global rejection of the paranormal that skepticism requires. 
Skepticism therefore faces a curious tension. On the one hand, to maintain 
credibility it must be willing to shine the light of scrutiny everywhere, and 
thus in principle even on evolution. On the other hand, to be the scourge 
with which to destroy superstition and whip a gullible public into line, it 
must commit itself to a materialistic conception of science and thus cannot 
afford to question evolution. Intelligent design exploits this tension and 
thereby turns the tables on skepticism." (Dembski W.A.*, "Skepticism’s 
Prospects for Unseating Intelligent Design," Fourth World Skeptics 
Conference of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of 
the Paranormal (CSICOP), Burbank, California, 21 June 2002. Breakpoint. 
http://makeashorterlink.com/?X275317B7)

16/3/04
"In parentheses I should say that I do not mean only our present knowledge 
in the field of natural science, but also our knowledge in the fields of 
history, prehistory, and cultural anthropology, of human psychology and of 
comparative religion. This general statement on the nature of gods can be 
profitably reformulated and spelled out somewhat as follows. History 
shows an increasingly successful extension of the naturalistic approach to 
more and more fields of experience, coupled with a progressive failure and 
restriction of supernaturalist interpretation. The time has now come for a 
naturalistic approach to theology. In the light of this approach, gods appear 
as interpretative concepts or hypotheses. They are hypotheses aiming at 
fuller comprehension of the facts of human destiny, in the same way that 
scientific hypotheses aim at fuller comprehension of the facts of nature.' 
They are theoretical constructions of the human mind, in the same way as 
are scientific theories and concepts: and, like scientific theories and laws, 
they are based on experience and observable facts." (Huxley J.S., "Religion 
Without Revelation," [1957], Mentor: New York NY, Revised, 1958, pp.51-52)

16/3/04
"The way nature acts right now does not agree with Darwin's premises, but 
does the history of life, perhaps? Darwin himself recognized that the fossil 
record does not support gradualism. But instead of changing his theory, he 
argued that the geological record was incomplete and unrepresentative 
Paleontologist Eldredge puts it bluntly: Darwin's discussion of the 
`imperfections of the geological record is one long ad hoc, special-pleading 
argument designed to rationalize, to flat-out explain away, the differences 
between what he saw as logical predictions derived from his theory and the 
facts of the fossil record.' [Eldredge N., `Time Frames: The Rethinking of 
Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria,' Simon & 
Schuster: New York, 1985, p.28] Darwin had no reason independent of his 
theory for claiming the fossil evidence to be unrepresentative. Today, more 
than one hundred years later, the fossil record, much more complete and 
much better understood, still contradicts gradualism. It shows virtually 
none of the intermediary species between major groups required by natural 
selection. Paleontologist David Raup: `Different species usually appear and 
disappear from the [fossil] record without showing the transitions that 
Darwin postulated.' [Raup D.M., `Conflicts between Darwin and 
Paleontology,' Bulletin Field Museum of Natural History 50, January 1979, 
p.24] Paleontologist Steven Stanley agrees: `The known fossil record is not, 
and never has been in accord with gradualism." [Stanley S.M., "The New 
Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species," Basic 
Books: New York, 1981, p.71]" (Augros R.M.* & Stanciu G.N.*, "The New 
Biology: Discovering the Wisdom in Nature", New Science Library, 
Shambhala: Boston, MA, 1987, pp.160-161)#

17/3/04
"In the popular idea of evolution, which has little to do with scientific 
theory, the primal man of mythological thought is reborn as the creature 
who rises against tremendous odds from the primeval swamps and 
progresses steadily upwards towards a day in which he will rule the cosmos 
by his technological prowess. As with all myths it is produced mostly by 
imaginative selection of data and is designed to satisfy the emotional needs 
of man rather than his intellect. It constitutes an impressive unity and has 
sufficient connection with the facts to be confused with them. It can, 
therefore, be taught as fact to children and constitute their initiation into 
modern society. But it speaks with an authority which is independent of 
research, for in essence it is a recovery of an ancient mythological idea." 
(Fawcett T., "The Symbolic Language of Religion: An Introductory Study," 
SCM: London, 1970, p.276) 

18/3/04
"Darwin could not point to impressive examples of natural selection in 
action, and so he had to rely heavily on an argument by analogy. In the 
words of Douglas Futuyma: `When Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, he 
could offer no good cases of natural selection because no one had looked 
for them- He drew instead an analogy with the artificial selection that 
animal and plant breeders use to improve domesticated varieties of animals 
and plants. By breeding only from the woolliest sheep, the most fertile 
chickens, and so on, breeders have been spectacularly successful in altering 
almost every imaginable characteristic of our domesticated animals and 
plants to the point where most of them differ from their wild ancestors far 
more than related species differ from them.' [Futuyma D.J., "Science on 
Trial: The Case for Evolution," Pantheon: New York, 1982, p.117] The 
analogy to artificial selection is misleading. Plant and animal breeders 
employ intelligence and specialized knowledge to select breeding stock and 
to protect their charges from natural dangers The point of Darwin's theory, 
however, was to establish that purposeless natural processes can substitute 
for intelligent design. Darwinists ... point with pride to experiments with 
laboratory fruitflies. These have not produced anything but fruitflies, but 
they have produced changes in a multitude of characteristics. Plant hybrids 
have been developed which can breed with each other, but not with the 
parent species, and which therefore meet the accepted standard for new 
species. With respect to animals, Darwinists attribute the inability to 
produce new species to a lack of sufficient time. Humans have been 
breeding dogs for only a few thousand years, but nature has millions and 
even hundreds of millions of years at her disposal. ... The time available 
unquestionably has to be taken into account in evaluating the results of 
breeding experiments, but it is also possible that the greater time available 
to nature may be more than counterbalanced by the power of intelligent 
purpose which is brought to bear in artificial selection. ... Lack of time 
would be a reasonable excuse if there were no other known factor limiting 
the change that can be produced by selection, but in fact selective change is 
limited by the inherent variability in the gene pool. After a number of 
generations the capacity for variation runs out. It might conceivably be 
renewed by mutation, but whether (and how often) this happens is not 
known." (Johnson P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," [1991], InterVarsity Press: 
Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.17-20)

19/3/04
"These most primitive of bacteria are known by the most wondrous jargon, 
mastery of which is guaranteed to cause jaws to drop at social functions, for 
the correct designation of many of them is 'chemolithoautotrophic 
hyperthermophiles'. ... But the second part of the name reveals the most 
astonishing fact about these most primitive of living entities: they are heat 
lovers. This does not mean that they bask in the kind of temperatures that 
we might just tolerate on a warm day in the Sahara Desert. These organisms 
are *hyper*thermophiles - they need extreme heat, and die if they are 
deprived of it. Many species cannot reproduce if the temperature drops 
below 80 degrees Centigrade - and many of them thrive under virtually 
boiling conditions. They are found today around volcanic vents, mud holes 
and hot seeps on the ocean floor, and at depth in the very body of the Earth. 
Their names - Thermoproteus, Thermofilium, Pyrobaculum - accurately 
reveal their tastes. Pyrodictyum grows best at 105 degrees Centigrade. 
These are the creatures of Hades itself, happy in hot vats that are torture for 
all other life. By the mud holes in Yellowstone Nationa Park, or the geysers 
in New Zealand, or the fuming vents at Mount Etna, where acid, volcanic 
waters break through from plutonic depths, they thrive in their billions. But 
they reveal themselves only as coloured smears - red, orange; even blue - 
on the surface of the rocks, or as a subtle mistiness in a smoking pool. ... 
The next, but probably not the final twist in this tale of microbes is that the 
heat-loving species, among them the sulphur-eating and methane-brewing 
bacteria, proved to be near the root of all life. Their place in the story was 
revealed by the branching pattern of the tree of descent, a tree drawn out 
from gauging the relative similarities of ribosomal RNA molecules, and the 
genes which provide a code for certain enzymes common to all life. The 
basic truth of genealogy is that all life as we know it descended from living 
things that could only be content in extremely hot environments. 
Furthermore, most of them are anaerobes - which means that their 
biochemistry works only in the absence of oxygen. In fact, oxygen the very 
element which has become known as one of the essentials of life and 
nourishment - is lethally poisonous to many of these bacteria. Now it is 
time to reflect on an extraordinary picture which has been sketched for the 
origin of life. Far from Darwin's benign, almost cosy, 'small pond', we have 
a torrid cauldron, acidic, emitting the sharp whiff of sulphur; and we have 
an atmosphere almost lacking oxygen. Almost everything in this biological 
Eden would have been damaging to most of the animals and plants alive 
today. In the beginning, there was dust and chaos and the relentless 
bombardment of meteorites. These also brought the seeds of life, no doubt, 
but then the important stuff of enzymes and energetics and nucleic acids 
and proteins and cell membranes was most likely cooked terrestrially; and 
all this between about 4,500 and 3,800 million years ago. ... Where the 
memory of this distant world lingers on it is in the most inhospitable places 
on Earth, in hot springs and volcanic vents - in emanations from the 
Underworld, a sulphurous surrogate for Hades - and there, too, the 
descendants of the most primitive organisms still cook with hydrogen 
sulphide and methane, and many an arcane recipe besides. ... Some of 
Darwin's ingredients were correct, but how different the cookery!" (Fortey 
R.A., "Life, An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First 
Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth," HarperCollinsPublishers: 
London, 1997, pp.45-48. Emphasis in original)

23/3/04
"Scott refers to me as an intelligent design `creationist,' even though I 
clearly write in my book `Darwin's Black Box' (which Scott cites) that I 
am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In 
fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that 
Scott acknowledges think `evolution occurred, but was guided by God.' 
Where I and others run afoul of Scott and the National Center for 
Science Education (NCSE) is simply in arguing that intelligent design 
in biology is not invisible, it is empirically detectable. The biological 
literature is replete with statements like David DeRosier's in the journal 
`Cell': `More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine 
designed by a human' (1). Exactly why is it a thought-crime to make the 
case that such observations may be on to something objectively 
correct?" (Behe M.J.*, "Intelligent Design Is Not Creationism," Science, 
dEbate, 7 July 2000. 
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/288/5467/813?ck=nck#165)

23/3/04
"This post ... represents a shift in my position to a more consistent 
Progressive Creationist position. I discuss important evidence supporting 
the reptilian jawbones-mammalian earbones transition from Gould's "Eight 
Little Piggies". I now accept this transition as fact, although I do not accept 
it happened by a 100% natural process. ... I still think evolution is weak 
when proposing a purely naturalistic *mechanism* for the development of 
new features. For example, how did the feather *really* develop? How did 
the eye *really* develop? The whale may have developed from a 
mesonychid, but what 100% naturalistic mechanism made it do so, 
especially considering the specialised features of whales and the relatively 
short time-frame. I now think it is a wrong approach to deny transitional 
forms and features. This however does not mean that every claimed 
transitional form should be uncritically accepted.... all primates (including 
man) have the same switched-off gene that prevents them from synthesing 
vitamin C. This is good evidence of common ancestry and I provisionally 
accept it, pending more information. ... From a YEC viewpoint, even one 
proven major transitional fossil would be fatal to their view. But it is not 
fatal to a PC, indeed transitional fossils should be expected (albeit rare). It 
is the claimed 100% naturalistic mechanism that PC should focus on and 
challenge. ... As a progressive creationist, I believe the ultimate explanation 
to Gould's "why" is that God designed the mammalian ear, and brought it 
into actuality by a process that involved much natural process, but the 
decisive factor was God's direct and supernatural intervention at strategic 
points. ... I believe that it is a sub-theory which fits all the known facts 
within a wider Progressive Creation model which endeavours to integrate 
the scientific facts within a fully Biblical model of reality. My future posts 
will endeavour to build this Progressive Creation model of reality. I will 
accept the *proven* facts that evolutionists unearth, including transitional 
fossils, but I will challenge their 100% naturalistic explanations." (Jones 
S.E.*, "Clarification of my Progressive Creationist position," Calvin 
Evolution Reflector, 28 June 1995. 
http://www.asa3.org/archive/evolution/199505-10/0391.html)

24/3/04
"In 1864, Pasteur announced his results before the French Academy with 
the words, 'Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation arise from 
this mortal blow.' It is, perhaps, ironic that we tell beginning students in 
biology about Pasteur's experiments as the triumph of reason over 
mysticism yet we are coming back to spontaneous generation, albeit in a 
more refined and scientific sense, namely, to chemical evolution." 
(Ponnamperuma C.A., "The Origins of Life," Thames and Hudson: 
London, 1972, pp.20-21) 

24/3/04
"WHEN THE SUPREME COURT struck down the Louisiana law 
requiring balanced treatment for creation-science, Justice Antonin Scalia 
dissented from the decision because he thought that `The people of 
Louisiana, including those who are Christian fundamentalists, are quite 
entitled ... to have whatever scientific evidence there may be against 
evolution presented in their schools.' Stephen Jay Gould was baffled that a 
jurist of Scalia's erudition (he had held professorships at several major 
universities) would entertain the absurd notion that fundamentalists could 
have scientific evidence against evolution. Gould went looking in Scalia's 
opinion for an explanation, and found it in various sentences implying that 
evolution is a theory about the origin of life. In an article correcting `Justice 
Scalia's Misunderstanding,' Gould tried to set the matter straight. Evolution, 
he wrote, `is not the study of life's ultimate origin, as a path toward 
discerning its deepest meaning.' Even the purely scientific aspects of life's 
first appearance on earth belong to other divisions of science, because 
'evolution' is merely the study of how life changes once it is already in 
existence. In fact, Justice Scalia used the general term `evolution' exactly as 
scientists use it-to include not only biological evolution but also 
prebiological or chemical evolution, which seeks to explain how life first 
evolved from nonliving chemicals. Biological evolution is just one major 
part of a grand naturalistic project, which seeks to explain the origin of 
everything from the Big Bang to the present without allowing any role to a 
Creator. If Darwinists are to keep the Creator out of the picture, they have 
to provide a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life.' (Johnson P.E.*, 
"Darwin on Trial," [1991], InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second 
Edition, 1993, pp.102-103) 

25/3/04
"The search for extraterrestrial life has been defined as the prime goal of 
space biology. Such a discovery may influence human thinking far more 
profoundly than the Darwinian or Copernican revolutions. If our sallies into 
space establish that Martian life is a reality and its origin independent of 
life on earth, we cannot then escape the conclusion that there is nothing 
unique about the origin of life on earth and that the interplay of cosmic 
forces would have given rise to a similar sequence of events in the 
countless number of planetary systems in the universe. ... The information 
that we can obtain from the study of Martian organisms, if they exist, will 
be of momentous consequence. On earth, living organisms, while 
exhibiting a vast variety and diversity in size and form, are fundamentally 
alike. Their chemical composition is very similar. It is a basic premise of 
the hypothesis of chemical evolution that all terrestrial types may have been 
derived from a single ancestor. However, the question that is completely 
obscure and that may never be solved by our earthbound studies, is whether 
this similarity is a result of some fortuitous biological accident occurring 
early in the course of evolution, or whether it is dictated by the intrinsic 
properties of the elements and molecules of living matter. If organisms are 
found on some other planet, and if they have properties uniquely different 
from those we know on earth, the horizons of biology would be 
immeasurably broadened. ... If, on the other hand, the life we discover on 
Mars is very similar to life on the earth, we will be faced once again with 
the question of whether life arose on the earth or whether it was brought to 
earth from another source. ... The planet Mars has physical characteristics 
which do not exclude life. However, if life, even in its most rudimentary 
form, is not detected there, we might be compelled to modify some of our 
concepts of chemical evolution." (Ponnamperuma C.A., "The Origins of 
Life," Thames and Hudson: London, 1972, pp.169, 185) 

25/3/04
"What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, 
blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature" (Charles Darwin, 1856). 
A process of trial and error, completely unplanned and on the massive scale 
of natural selection, can be expected to be clumsy, wasteful and blundering. 
The racing elegance of cheetahs and gazelles is bought at huge cost in 
blood and the suffering of countless antecedents on both sides. Clumsy and 
blundering though the process undoubtedly is, its results are opposite. 
There is nothing clumsy about a swallow; nothing blundering about a shark. 
What is clumsy and blundering is the Darwinian algorithm that led to their 
evolution. As an academic scientist I am a passionate Darwinian. But I am 
a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to politics and how we should 
conduct our human affairs. It is as though the Chaplain matured and offered 
a second half to the sermon. Yes, says the matured Chaplain, the historic 
process that caused you to exist is wasteful, cruel and low. But exult in your 
existence, because that very process has blundered unwittingly on its own 
negation. Only a small, local negation, to be sure: only one species, and 
only a minority of that species; but there lies hope. So, the Devil's Chaplain 
might conclude, Stand tall, Bipedal Ape. The shark may outswim you, the 
cheetah outrun you, the swift outfly you, the capuchin outclimb you, the 
elephant outpower you, the redwood outlast you. But you have the biggest 
gifts of all: the gift of understanding the ruthlessly cruel process that gave 
us all existence; the gift of revulsion against its implications; the gift of 
foresight-something utterly foreign to the blundering short-term ways of 
natural selection-and the gift of internalising the very cosmos." (Dawkins 
R., "A Devil's Chaplain." New Edge Books Page, May 28, 2003. 
http://www.edge.org/books/books_index.html)

26/3/04
"We are now in a position to answer the question with which this lecture 
began. What is Darwinism? Darwinism is a theory of empirical science 
only at the level of microevolution, where it provides a framework for 
explaining such things as the diversity that arises when small populations 
become reproductively isolated from the main body of the species. As a 
general theory of biological creation Darwinism is not empirical at all. 
Rather, it is a necessary implication of a philosophical doctrine called 
scientific naturalism, which is based on the a priori assumption that God 
was always absent from the realm of nature. As such evolution in the 
Darwinian sense is inherently antithetical to theism, although evolution in 
some entirely different and non-naturalistic sense could conceivably have 
been God's chosen method of creation." (Johnson P.E.*, "What is 
Darwinism?" Lecture at Hillsdale College, Michigan, November 1992. 
Leadership U, 19 April 2003. 
http://www.origins.org/pjohnson/whatis.html)

27/3/04
"The question of the origin of life is not simple. It is not possible to go back 
in time and watch how life originated; nor are there any witnesses. There is 
testimony, in the rocks of the earth, but it is not easily read, and often this 
record is silent on issues crying out for answers. Perhaps the most 
fundamental of these issues is the nature of the agency or force that led to 
the appearance of the first living organisms on earth-the creation of life. 
There are, in principle, at least three possibilities: 1. Extraterrestrial origin. 
Life may not have originated on earth at all but instead may have been 
carried to it, perhaps as an extraterrestrial infection of spores originating on 
a planet of a distant star. How life came to exist on that planet is a question 
we cannot hope to answer soon. 2. Special creation. Life-forms may have 
been put on earth by supernatural or divine forces. This viewpoint, common 
to most Western religions, is the oldest hypothesis and is widely accepted 
by non-scientists. It forms the basis of the very unscientific "scientific 
creationism" viewpoint ... 3. Evolution. Life may have evolved from 
inanimate matter, with associations among molecules becoming more and 
more complex. In this view, the force leading to life was selection; changes 
in molecules that increased their stability caused the molecules to persist 
longer. In this book we deal only with the third possibility, attempting to 
understand whether the forces of evolution could have led to the origin of 
life and, if so, how the process might have occurred. This is not to say that 
the third possibility is definitely the correct one. Any one of the three 
possibilities might be true. Nor does the third possibility preclude religion: 
a divine agency might have acted via evolution. Rather, we are limiting the 
scope of our inquiry to scientific matters. Of the three possibilities, only the 
third permits testable hypotheses to be constructed and so provides the only 
scientific explanation, that is, one that could potentially be disproven by 
experiment, by obtaining and analyzing actual information." (Raven P.H. & 
Johnson G.B., "Biology," [1986], Wm. C. Brown: Dubuque IA, Third 
Edition, 1995, p.62) 

27/3/04
"The attempts to escape from Darwinism's dilemma all fall into one or ether 
of three types. These can be usefully labelled 'the Cave Man way out', 'the 
Hard Man', and 'the Soft Man'. All three types are hardy perennials, and 
have been with us, in one version or another, ever since Darwin published 
the Origin of Species in 1859. What I call the Cave Man way out is this: 
you admit that human life is not now what it would be if Darwin's theory 
were true, but also insist that *it used to be* like that. In the olden days, 
(this story goes), human populations always did press relentlessly on their 
supply of food, and thereby brought about constant competition for 
survival among the too-numerous competitors, and hence natural selection 
of those organisms which were best fitted to succeed in the struggle for 
life. That is, human life was exactly as Darwin's book had said that all life 
is. But our species, (the story goes on), escaped long ago from the brutal 
regime of natural selection. We developed a thousand forms of attachment, 
loyalty, cooperation and unforced subordination, every one of them quite 
incompatible with a constant and merciless competition to survive. We 
have now had for a very long time, at least locally, religions, moralities, 
laws or customs, respect for life and property, rules of inheritance, 
specialised social orders, distinctions of rank, and standing provisions for 
external defence, internal police, education and health. Even at our lowest 
ebb we still have ties of blood, and ties of marriage: two things which are 
quite as incompatible with a universal competition to survive as are, for 
example, a medical profession, a priesthood, or a state. This Cave Man 
story, however implausible, is at any rate not inconsistent with itself. But 
the combination of it with Darwin's theory of evolution *is* inconsistent. 
That theory is a universal generalisation about all terrestrial species at any 
time. Hence if the theory says something which is not true *now* of our 
species (or another), then it is not true of our species (or that other); and if 
it is not true of our species (or another), then it is not true finish. In short, 
the Cave Man way out of Darwinism's dilemma is in reality no way out at 
all: it is self-contradictory." (Stove D.C., "Darwinian Fairytales," Avebury: 
Aldershot UK, 1995, pp.1-2. Emphasis in original)

28/3/04
"The cost of sequencing the human genome is estimated optimistically at 
300 million dollars (ten cents a nucleotide for the three billion nucleotides 
of the entire genome), but if development costs are included it surely 
cannot be less than a half-billion in current dollars. ... Yet more hundreds of 
millions must be spent on chasing down the elusive differences in DNA for 
each specific genetic disease, of which some 3,000 are now known, and 
some considerable fraction of that money will stick to entrepreneurial 
molecular geneticists. None of our authors has the bad taste to mention that 
many molecular geneticists of repute, including several of the essayists in 
The Code of Codes, are founders, directors, officers, and stockholders in 
commercial biotechnology firms, including the manufacturers of the 
supplies and equipment used in sequencing research. Not all authors have 
Norman Mailer's openness when they write advertisements for themselves. 
It has been clear since the first discoveries in molecular biology that 
"genetic engineering," the creation to order of genetically altered 
organisms, has an immense possibility for producing private profit. ... Some 
have become very rich when a successful public offering of their stock has 
made them suddenly the holders of a lot of valuable paper. Others find 
themselves with large blocks of stock in international pharmaceutical 
companies who have bought out the biologist's mom-and-pop enterprise 
and acquired their expertise in the bargain. No prominent molecular 
biologist of my acquaintance is without a financial stake in the 
biotechnology business. As a result, serious conflicts of interest have 
emerged in universities and in government service. In some cases graduate 
students working under entrepreneurial professors are restricted in their 
scientific interchanges, in case they may give away potential trade secrets. 
Research biologists have attempted, sometimes with success, to get special 
dispensations of space and other resources from their universities in 
exchange for a piece of the action. Biotechnology joins basketball as an 
important source of educational cash." (Lewontin R.C., "It Ain't 
Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions," 
[2000], Granta Books: London, 2001, reprint, pp.161-163) 

28/3/04
"If Darwin's theory of evolution is true, no species can *ever* escape from 
the process of natural selection. His theory is that two universal and 
permanent tendencies of all species of organisms - the tendency to increase 
in numbers up to the limit that die food supply allows, and the tendency to 
vary in a heritable way are together sufficient to bring about in any species 
universal and permanent competition for survival, and therefore universal 
and permanent natural selection among the competitors. So the 'modern' 
part of this way out of Darwin's dilemma is inconsistent with Darwinism. 
But the Cave Man part of it is also utterly incredible in itself. It may be 
possible, for all I know, that a population of pines or cod should exist with 
no cooperative as distinct from competitive relations among its members. 
But no tribe of humans could possibly exist on those terms. Such a tribe 
could not even raise a second generation: the helplessness of the human 
young is too extreme and prolonged. So if you ever read a report, (as one 
sometimes does), of the existence of an ongoing tribe of just this kind, you 
should confidently conclude that the reporter is mistaken or lying or both. 
Even if such a tribe *could* somehow continue in existence, it is extremely 
difficult to imagine how our species, as we now know it to be, could ever 
have graduated from so very hard a school. We need to remember how 
severe the rule of natural selection is, and what it means to say that a 
species is subject to it. It means, among other things, that of all the rabbits, 
flies, cod, pines, etc., that are born, the enormous majority *must* suffer 
early death; and it means no less of our species. How *could* we have 
escaped from this set up, supposing we once were in it?" (Stove D.C., 
"Darwinian Fairytales," Avebury: Aldershot UK, 1995, p.2. Emphasis in 
original) 

30/3/04
"Theists who accommodate with scientific naturalism therefore may never 
affirm that their God is real in the same sense that evolution is real. This 
rule is essential to the entire mindset that produced Darwinism in the first 
place. If God exists He could certainly work through mutation and selection 
if that is what He wanted to do, but He could also create by some means 
totally outside the ken of our science. Once we put God into the picture, 
however, there is no good reason to attribute the creation of biological 
complexity to random mutation and natural selection. Direct evidence that 
these mechanisms have substantial creative power is not to be found in 
nature, the laboratory, or the fossil record. An essential step in the 
reasoning that establishes that Darwinian selection created the wonders of 
biology, therefore, is that nothing else was available. Theism is by 
definition the doctrine that something else was available." (Johnson P.E., 
"What is Darwinism?" Lecture at a symposium at Hillsdale College, 
November 1992. http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/wid.htm)

30/3/04
"The other and more general departments of natural history will rise greatly 
in interest. The terms used by naturalists, of affinity, relationship, 
community of type, paternity, morphology, adaptive characters, 
rudimentary and aborted organs, etc., will cease to be metaphorical, and 
will have a plain signification. When we no longer look at an organic being 
as a savage looks at a ship, as something wholly beyond his 
comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which 
has had a long history; when we contemplate every complex structure and 
instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the 
possessor, in the same way as any great mechanical invention is the 
summing up of the labour, the experience, the reason, and even the 
blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, 
how far more interesting,-I speak from experience,-does the study of 
natural history become!" (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means 
of Natural Selection," [1872], Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: 
London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.460) 
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.

[top]


Copyright © 2004, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. This page and its contents may be used for non-commercial purposes only.
If used on the Internet, a link back to my home page at http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones would be appreciated.
Created: 29 February, 2004. Updated: 31 March, 2004.