Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Evolution 2.0


  1. Steve, while this idea of Evolution 2.0 may have the benefit of bringing some scientists to believe in a god, but if true, it seems to me, it would demonstrate that this god was not the God of the Bible.

    1. For many people, it already comes down to a choice between atheism and Christianity. If you knock atheism out of the running, there's not much else for them to consider. For instance, most Hindus are Indian by birth. Even though Hinduism may be theistic, it's not a live religious option for many people outside that culture.

      Likewise, it's not as if demonstrating the God of the Bible is a one-step argument.

      Demonstrating that life on earth had to be the product of supernatural intelligence is true so far as it goes.

  2. Steve, indeed demonstrating life on earth proven to be of supernatural intelligence is a good thing, but it would appear his argument, if I am understanding it correctly, is that we all came from single celled creatures and that anagenesis can be demonstrated in the lab. He did not use that word but said "new species" are being created in a lab. I assume by species he means that the new parent species is a whole new animal and can no longer reproduce with the previous species. While we have always believes in micro-evolution but "new species" is an argument for macro-evolution. Such a view would seemingly deny that death came into the world through Adam and this has direct bearing on the gospel since Jesus paid for the sin that brought death into the world.

    My problem is that if what he says is true, then it really is, at the same time, demonstrating Christianity to be false. At least for those of us who believe in consistency. No doubt some who are inconsistent will be able to embrace both.

    1. But Bnonn responded to that question. He has a lengthy comment.

      You can take the author's evidence and point it in a different direction than the author did.

  3. Steve,

    "But Bnonn responded to that question. He has a lengthy comment."

    I read the article twice. I must be missing something. I saw nothing "lengthy" about this. I do see one short comment at the end where he simply says he disagrees with the author about tracing back to a single celled organism but do not see anything beyond that. At least that part of the article does not show up on my browser.

    So essentially, tell me if I am wrong, you are saying that we can turn what the author calls "new species" and argue that this is really just micro-evolution, (change within species) and that anagenesis has yet to be demonstrated scientifically ... and by this argue retain the part of the author's argument where he demonstrates that it is all the work of a designer? .

    1. This is Bnonn's comment:

      Let me answer that by cross-posting a comment I made on Facebook in response to a similar question:
      The argument Perry makes is really geared to anyone who is interested in evolution and design; it isn’t really about creation. I believe Perry is a theistic evolutionist himself, but he did not persuade me of theistic evolution. Rather, he persuaded me that DNA is a code which functions like a highly sophisticated computer program and is very obviously designed by someone vastly smarter and more knowledgeable than any human.

      I wouldn’t think that any informed young earth creationist would find his conclusions problematic. On the contrary, as someone who leans toward YEC myself, his conclusions supported the view that there must have been a rapid explosion of species from the created kinds in Genesis 1—an explosion that couldn’t occur using a slow, “buggy” mechanism like random mutations. A YEC would go into this book expecting that DNA works quite differently than an atheist believes—and he would find corroborating evidence in spades.

      The difference in opinion between Perry and me, or theistic evolutionists and YEC in general, is in how you combine the nature of DNA with beliefs about the age of the earth and how the fossil record should be interpreted. “Smart” DNA + ancient earth + traditional fossil record tends to lead quite naturally into theistic evolution. “Smart” DNA + young earth tends to lead naturally into a robust creationism.

      I don’t have a settled opinion on the age of the earth, mostly because I don’t know what “age” is supposed to mean. I don’t understand the argument that says God cannot create a mature creation 6,000 years ago, for example—and I don’t know how to measure the age of such a creation if he did. If he created a 4.3 billion year old earth 6,000 years ago, does that make the earth 4.3 billion years old, 6,000 years old, or 4,300,006,000 years old? Seems like a case of asking the wrong question.

      I actually think one of the key strengths of Perry’s book is that, while he states his view on the age of the earth, and argues from starlight that the universe must be ancient (which is a good argument), he doesn’t get sidetracked in speculative reconstructions of past events. He doesn’t say, “This is what it looks like happened X million years ago.” Rather, he focuses very strongly on what does currently happen. What does DNA do now? What can we conclude from that about its origin? And then, with that foundation of hard science—nothing like the just-so stories of the evolutionary narrative—he says, “How would this apply to things like the Cambrian explosion?” And he gives a realistic, plausible mechanism for that.

      But of course, you don’t have to interpret the fossil evidence to point to the Cambrian explosion to benefit from the hard science that comprises the real point of the book. So a YEC can accept and use all of his DNA evidence to crush the secular view of evolution, even if he has to also defend his view on the age of the earth while doing it. Or he can just grant the age of the earth for the sake of argument, and show that DNA needs a designer and couldn’t possibly be a product of natural processes acting mindlessly and mechanistically.

  4. Thanks for your patience with me Steve... Now I see it in the comments below the essay. I was looking at the post itself which someone could easily mistake for an almost outright endorsement of a book. Especially if someone does not read the comments. And for someone with a mind so organized as the authors', I don't know how he could embrace Christianity and consistently hold to the views he does. It seems incoherent to me. But I do see how Bnonn might re-arrange the argument as per his quote.