Naturalistic Materialism: an untenable world-view

I have recently been engaged in a number of online discussions with Atheist Darwinians, and most have been severely hindered as a result of them truly not seeing the full implications of their own world-view, not having a good philosophical understanding of logic, nor understanding that philosophical ‘modernism’ is long dead. The problem is this: if there is no God, and all you have is a modernist naturalistic understanding of ‘truth’, you can only use circular reasoning to justify your findings, while the whole time arguing against the use of circular reasoning within other world-views – which is pure hypocricy.

I agree wholeheartedly with Philosopher of Science, Karl Popper, when he says, “I reject the naturalistic view: It is uncritical. Its upholders fail to notice that whenever they believe to have discovered a fact, they have only proposed a convention. Hence the convention is liable to turn into a dogma. This criticism of the naturalistic view applies not only to its criterion of meaning, but also to its idea of science, and consequently to its idea of scientific method.” Though many self-proclaimed ‘skeptics’ adhere to naturalism, the problem with their skepticism is that they do not turn it to the foundations of their own worldview, which crumble under their own weight of being unprovable on it’s own terms.

Essentially, naturalism is like saying “I believe only in a, b, & c as truth, and will accept as fact only things that line up with a, b, & c”, and then being suprised, and overjoyed, when discovering that you so-called ‘facts’ – SURPRISE – support a, b, & c! The reasoning is circular – which isn’t , in itself bad (it’s often necessary, within a post-modern epistimology), yet the whole enterprise of naturalism rejects circular reasoning, leaving naturalism internally inconsistent, and thus untenable. Isn’t that at the heart of what we know as ‘logic’ – internal consistency?

Secondly, if naturalistic Darwinian evolution is assumed to be the ‘guiding force’ behind all that is, including our minds, chances are so slim as to be impossible – with a mind as such forces as chance & time would produce – that any ‘facts’ as they actually correspond to reality-as-it-is, let alone metaphysical, philosophical, and ‘ultimate’ answers, would be trustworthy.

Regarding this very issue, Charles Darwin himself wrote:
“With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind…?”
(Charles Darwin, Letter to William Graham, Down, July 3rd, 1881.)

Alvin Plantinga, one of the world’s leading philosophers and an expert on epistimology (the study of how we know what we know) and the philosophy of science, argues that there are no good reasons to suppose that natural selection (naturalistic Darwinian Evolution) is truth-conducive, that is, generally trustworthy or successful in producing ‘minds’ with the ability to reliably perceive and understand the external world let alone to mentally construct even semi-accurate worldviews. He quotes contemporary philosopher of mind and philosophical naturalist Patricia Churchland to buttress this claim, “She insists that the most important thing about the human brain is that it has evolved; this means, she says, that its principal function is to enable the organism to move appropriately: Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting and ‘reproducing’. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive…Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.” (Alvin Plantinga, from “Naturalism Defeated”)

Plantinga is basically pointing out that if philosophical naturalism denies the possibility that reality is guided or directed somehow (say, toward the creation of humans with reliable cognitive faculties) and if evolution selects only for survival value, it is highly unlikely that naturalistic evolution (unguided chance & time) would yield an evolved mind that accurately perceive reality, and therefore CAN know ‘facts’, apart from those most basic to survival – again, the four ‘F’s. If an individual is a pure Darwinian, they have no truly rational REASON to believe that they have reliable ‘cognitive faculties’, and therefore any theorizing from that point always stands upon a ‘leap of faith’ that their mind is properly engaging the world around them – with no real available evidence, apart from the fact that ‘it seems to work for me’ to ground that belief. As a result, “asserting that naturalistic evolution is true is also asserting that one has a low probability of being right in any of his assertions.” (Wikipedia) Quoting from another commenting on this same topic, “Ascribing truth to naturalism and evolution becomes self-referentially incoherent.”

That is why I do not trust naturalistic science’s approach to what is ‘fact’ – it’s incoherent, & self-contradictory – simply a ‘leap of faith’ within a system of thought/belief that discourages said ‘leaps of faith’ and is therefore internally inconsistent and proves itself not only untrue, but with no possiblity of being true.

Don’t get me wrong, Science as historically practiced, is a field of study not necessariy grounded in naturalism/materialism – it can be very well argued that the scientific method not only grew out of a judea-christian-islamic (western religious) worldview, but that it wouldn’t have developed at all without it, and it is ultimately within this context that it’s findings make the most sense. In recent interviews all hands-on experimental scientists interviews said that the theory of Darwinism, and naturalistic evolution, has absolutely no effect – positively or negatively – on their work, and without it they’d still do the exact same work that they’ve been at all along. Trust me, I absolutely LOVE the Sciences, but the modern emphasis in some circles (mostly Biological Sciences) on Naturalism/Materialism I think we can ALL do without.

Note: I have not said that a naturalistic approach to scientific inquiry will never yield any true results – there may be cases in which the results of such inquiry may be true, even though it’s underlying philosophical assumptions are suspect.  Hence, there are Scientific theories of human origins I find helpful and partially convincing, whose proponents may not agree with the above article.


~ by heatlight on August 14, 2007.

12 Responses to “Naturalistic Materialism: an untenable world-view”

  1. First, I want to point out that I would not be responding to your post if I did not find it interesting. I enjoyed reading the post very much and it caused me to pause and think about your points. Your writing style is very good.

    I have a problem with the following and what it implies:

    “Essentially, naturalism is like saying “I believe only in a, b, & c as truth, and will accept as fact only things that line up with a, b, & c”, and then being suprised, and overjoyed, when discovering that you so-called ‘facts’ – SURPRISE – support a, b, & c! The reasoning is circular – which isn’t , in itself bad (it’s often necessary, within a post-modern epistimology), yet the whole enterprise of naturalism rejects circular reasoning, leaving naturalism internally inconsistent, and thus untenable. Isn’t that at the heart of what we know as ‘logic’ – internal consistency?”

    I think this exposes a lack of understanding of both the modern scientific method or what naturalism is (or your readers argued poorly with you and led you to believe the above statement _ I confess I did not read other posts on your blog, so I may be missing your key point or taking it out of context).

    In addition, you are confusing the layperson definition of “fact” with the technical definition of “fact” as it is used in science today.

    Further, Darwinian Evolution is a Scientific Theory that is completely consistent with all the observations (please provide an observation that falsifies it – or better yet present a paper and get it published in an established scientific journal and win the Nobel prize for your fantastic discovery):

    “Naturalism does not necessarily claim that phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural do not exist or are wrong, but insists that all phenomena and hypotheses can be studied by the same methods and therefore anything considered supernatural is either nonexistent, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses.”

    A scientific “fact” is simply an observation or a piece of data.
    A scientific “theory” is a model that is consistent with all of the observations (facts).
    Please remember that llike “mathematics”, “logic” is a very useful tool that we use to help us figure things out. It works really well, but science often make progress by insight, and not by using pure logic or pure mathematics.

    *One can falsify the Theory of Gravity by dropping an apple and observing it fall upward, away from the earth.
    *Another way is to show that the theory breaks down in unusual circumstances.

    For example, Newton’s law of Gravity breaks down when objects approach the speed of light. Einstein’s General Theory breaks down inside black holes and at the moment of the big bang because singularities occur (infinities and probabilities greater than one are two examples – probability greater than 1 does not make any sense).

    Why aren’t you arguing against the various theories of gravity, since they have already been falsified? My hypothesis (not theory and not fact) is that they (gravity theory and facts) do not threaten your world view (I will leave it up to the reader to look up and understand what a hypothesis is).

    “Fact” as used in science today does not mean absolute certainty. What is meant today when scientists state that “Evolution is a fact” really means that as of today, no evidence has been found to falsify it and all the evidence fits the model as predicted,and we have been examining mounds and mounds of evidence for well over 100 years now. All of the fossils are found in the same order – we find human fossils only at the top layers all over the world. No fossils are found at the very bottom layers – consistently all over the world. Progressively more complex plant and animal fossils are found in their expected sequence. If a single exception were found, the theory would be falsified — Just as we never see an apple fall upward…

    Karl Popper was criticizing “Naturalism” as it was understood by him in his time. Virtually all scientists today are aware of the pitfalls and all fully embrace his concept that a theory can never be proven with absolute certainty. They embrace Popper’s notion that a theory can only be can only be falsified.

    On the other hand, isn’t it a bit silly to overemphasize that nothing can be proven logically to be true in the absolute sense? If I bang a chair down hard on top of your head will you be worried whether or not you absolutely feel the pain? You will feel the pain with as much certainty that you have written the above post.

    It is the Creationists, not the Evolutionists who are often proclaiming they know the absolute truth.

  2. Thank you for the comment, David. You are clearly well-read and well reasoned.

    Just a note, however – all of what I will be posting here were primarily written for the ‘lay-person’: personal friends who’s questions I was answering.

    I do understand modern scientific method (well, a bit – I can’t say I have the whole enterprise under my thumb, however), and the majority of my scientist friends (many of whom are Christians, or theists of some sort, in fact) understand this, but on a popular level what most people know of science, how it’s done, and it’s implications come from the mouths of ‘materialist naturalist’ fundamentalists, like Richard Dawkins, for whom a ‘fact’ is no different that ‘absolute objective truth’ from within his modernist world-view.

    The problem with neo-darwinism (we can only credit so much of what passes as modern evolutionary theory to Darwin himself) is that it seems to be so all encompassing that no matter what the discovery it is spun to support it, even if Darwinism predicted something else entirely.

    For instance, the fact that Humans & Chimpanzees share somewhere between 97% and 99% of the same DNA is often used as irrefutable proof for the darwinian mechanism, where-as since DNA is simply information (‘assembly instructions’ in many ways) and Chimps and Humans are clearly in appearance and structure quite similar, it would only be common sense that their biological ‘assembly instructions’ would be very similar, and no more points towards the darwinian mechanism than the fledgling ID theorists developing ideas, or even simple creation accounts (Since most of the creation account relates to God ‘speaking’, and DNA are ‘instructions’ – a language of sorts – it could even fit that paradigm).

    Personally, I’m convinced that some combination of Punctuated Equilibrium and aspects of Intelligent Design Theory are far more consistent with what has been observed than the traditional neo-darwinism espoused by Dawkins and others.

    I agree – with your last statement, though: I am not a post-modernists (though I may be, in many ways, a post-postmodernist – that’s another post entirely). But it must be said that the absolute nature of getting hit by a chair is quite different that trying to figure out how a particular species came about millions of years ago. One is quite a bit more ‘immediate’ and observable, don’t you think?

    Thanks for the note – I’m sorry I haven’t time to respond in more detail or with references. I hope you understand.

  3. Thanks for responding to my lengthy post. I think I understand where you are coming from a little better now. Okay then …

    “‘materialist naturalist’ fundamentalists, like Richard Dawkins, for whom a ‘fact’ is no different that ‘absolute objective truth’ from within his modernist world-view.”

    I personally did not see that in any of his writings that I have read, although I have heard many statements similar to this about Dawkins. I think that is more of a popular myth about him. I have never seen an example where he said anything of the sort. I can understand why theists are a bit upset with him after writing “The God Delusion”,but I have not seen or heard a specific example.

    I believe Dawkins himself would be one of the first to admit that “The God Delusion” was more of a reaction to 9/11 and his concern over people in power in the US (i.e. George Bush). It is possible people are confused by a philosophical/politically motivated book that is penned by a scientist who usually sticks to his area of expertise. I remember hearing him state something like that and regretting having used the term “delusion” in the title. He feels that too many atheists/agnostics in the US are in the closet and is encouraging them to speak out. I am not sure if you realize that Bush senior was quoted saying something like “Atheists are not citizens”:

    Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: I guess I’m pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in god is important to me.

    Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

    Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.

    “Personally, I’m convinced that some combination of Punctuated Equilibrium and aspects of Intelligent Design Theory are far more consistent with what has been observed than the traditional neo-darwinism espoused by Dawkins and others.”

    Puctuated Equilibrium is a reasonable scientific hypothesis that can be tested and is potentially falsifiable with the evidence.

    ID is an appeal to “I give up on trying to figure out the incremental steps, so by default it must have been designed by an intelligent creator. Do not try to dig any deeper into this matter. I grew up in Western Culture, so by default the Christian God of Abraham is the designer” No?

    How would one go about falsifying this Intelligent Designer? Are you suggesting irreducible complexity argument supports the ID Hypothesis? If so, I can have fun with that one, especially if you bring up he eye, or the motor in a cell’s flagellum, because evolution scientists have already shown plausible simple steps that explain those examples. I am sure there are some examples that have not been explained *yet*, or that scientists will never figure out, but that is part of the excitement of science. Trying to figure out the unknown.

    Another approach is “the steps are too complex and improbable”. Or “the Universe is too Improbable”. Maybe, but that does not imply an Intelligent Designer. An Intelligent designer comes across as being even more improbable and more complex. Unless such a designer can be shown to be less complex and less improbable, or that the designer can be shown to have evolved by incremental steps, then this question is not really answered. Appealing to a Universe Creator (God) is simply moving the complexity back up to yet another layer of the onion.

  4. I actually enjoyed much of Dawkins’ earlier writings, even though I’ve long been skeptical of his ‘meme’ theory (it seems to me that if ‘memes’ exist, then there’s no reason to believe that even the concept of a meme itself is not necessarily a meme, which sorta throws the whole thing to the wind – as I’ve heard it said, ‘it proves too much’).
    I do think, however, that you greatly misunderstand ID Theory, which is far more complex than how you – and many others – present it. To properly understand ID, I’d really stick to the academic work (don’t even bother with the lay level junk) of Michael Behe & William Dembski. If you haven’t yet read “The Design Inference” by Dembski, or if you don’t understand it yet (which is believable – it’s a hard book to wrap one’s brain around), that’s really where the core of their scientific program lies. You must admit: the fact that the ‘grand-father’ of ID theory is an agnostic, and that – though many are theists of some sort – the fact that there are a great many ID Theorist that are deists, agnostics, panentheists, and even a very few atheists, shows that the theory is far from ‘creation science’, and is most definitely not a ‘theological enterprise’. It IS Science.

    Try reading the following:
    “Darwin’s Black Box” & “The Edge of Evolution” – Michael Behe
    “The Design Inference” – William Dembski

    otherwise, I’d stick with their actual research – if you have the time, I’d suggest you track these down…

    Meyer, S. C. DNA and the origin of life: Information, specification and explanation, in Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), Pp. 223-285. (PDF, 1.13MB)
    Behe, M. J., Design in the details: The origin of biomolecular machines, in Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), Pp. 287-302
    Dembski, W.A., Reinstating design within science, in Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), Pp. 403-418.
    Stephen Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117 (2004): 213-239.
    Lönnig, W.-E. Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity, Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119. (PDF, 2.95MB; HTML)
    Jonathan Wells, “Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?,” Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 37-62.
    Scott Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer, “Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits,” Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece, edited by M.W. Collins and C.A. Brebbia (WIT Press, 2004). (PDF, 620KB)
    Ø. A. Voie, “Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent,” Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Vol 28(4) (2006): 1000-1004.
    John A. Davison, “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis,” Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 155-166.
    S.C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (2004): 213-239.
    M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, “Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004): 2651-2664.
    D. A. Axe, “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 341 (2004): 1295–1315.
    W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements,” Annual Review of Genetics, 36 (2002): 389-410.
    D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, “Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis,” International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775.
    M.J. Denton, J.C. Marshall & M. Legge, (2002) “The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 219 (2002): 325-342.
    D. A. Axe, “Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 301 (2000): 585-595.
    Lönnig, W.-E. Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity, Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119. In Dynamical Genetics by V. Parisi, V. de Fonzo & F. Aluffi-Pentini, eds.,(Research Signpost, 2004)

  5. Behe’s concept of “irreducible complexity” has already been debunked, as has Dembsky’s “design inference”.

    ID “research” is largely funded by The Discovery Institute with their infamous “Wedge Document” that reveals there true anti-science motives.

    The total number of peer-reviewed scientific papers between the two (on ID) is zero. ID is not a scientific theory. It is not scientific. It is not falsifiable. It is a sophisticated version of the old discredited God of the Gaps argument.

    The Seattle-based Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC) serves as an institutional home for virtually all of the prominent ID proponents, including Dembski, Behe, and Wells. The goals of the CRSC, as stated by the Discovery Institute’s director Bruce Chapman, are explicitly religious: to promote Christian theism and to defeat philosophical materialism.

  6. So, does that mean you’ve read Behe and Dembski? Be honest, please. I’ve read Dawkins (nearly EVERYTHING) and Gould.

    Secondly, have you read Kuhn (Structure of Scientific Revolutions)? If so, you’d understand that there’s a great deal more to getting into ‘peer reviewed’ publications that simply having an Scientific theory. In fact, it leads one to be very suspicious of the whole enterprise, honestly.

    I don’t agree with everything the ID theorists write, however the critique you lob at them can equally be directed (and has, particularly by Karl Popper) at Darwinists: the Darwinian mechanism of Evolution is utterly unfalsifiable – it claims to explain every condition and it’s opposite, so no matter what the discovery – whether it fits what was ‘expected’ or not – it is interpreted as ‘the results of Darwinian mechanisms’. Something is very wrong, there.

    And, in fact, ID theory IS FALSIFIABLE – that you think it is not means that you are confusing it, again, with creationism, suggesting that you truly haven’t read any of what I’ve posted above.

    In the long-run we may not find their ideas confirmed entirely, but their area of research will indeed prove fruitful – I think you will be surprised.

  7. “the Darwinian mechanism of Evolution is utterly unfalsifiable – it claims to explain every condition and it’s opposite, so no matter what the discovery – whether it fits what was ‘expected’ or not – it is interpreted as ‘the results of Darwinian mechanisms’.
    The above statement is false.

    The mechanism is Natural Selection (plus sexual selection) and it implies that there are gradual steps, and that each step that improved the chances for survival would have to have some advantage to the species in that single step (no planning allowed). Further, it implies that the fossils found in the lower strata will be relatively simple when we compare the fossils to those found at the higher levels.

    0. Any large change like a monkey giving birth to a human in one generation would falsify the mechanism.
    1. A fossil rabbit in precambrian strata would falsify Darwinian evolution.
    2. An inconsistent fossil record would falisify Darwinian evolution
    3. Human footprint and dinosour footprints together and not faked would falsify evolution.

    4. Darwin’s theory predicted that the earth must be substatially older than was believed at his time. At the time, chemical burning was believed to be the way the sun generated its light and heat. This would have meant that the age of the sun would only be a few million years old at most – not enought time for evolution. Darwinian evolution would have been falsified were it not for discovery of nuclear fission and all of the evidense that shows the earth to be well over 4 billion years old.
    5. Darwin’s theory predicted that there must a means for his mechanism to work (at the time, he did not know that means). Further, the means must be very gradual and mindless. DNA and genes were discovered. Note that genes mutate in random mindless ways, but the changes are slow, because of the robustness and high-fidelity of the digital nature of DNA.
    6. Darwin’s theory predicts that all species decended from a single ancester. If there were varations found in the DNA alphabet discovered, then the theory would have to be revised to fit the new findings. This is analagous to how all science works. For example: Newton –> Einstein –> Big Bang –> Inflation –> String Theory show a progression of revisions on previous theories. None of them entirely wipe out or invalidate the theories they replaced. We still use Newton’s laws to fly to the moon.

    In 1976, Popper himself said that “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research programme. However, Popper later “recanted”, conceding that evolution is falsifiable and offering a more nuanced view of its status:

    However, Darwin’s own most important contribution to the theory of evolution, his theory of natural selection, is difficult to test. There are some tests, even some experimental tests; and in some cases, such as the famous phenomenon known as ‘industrial melanism’, we can observe natural selection happening under our very eyes, as it were. Nevertheless, really severe tests of the theory of natural selection are hard to come by, much more so than tests of otherwise comparable theories in physics or chemistry.

  8. My remark could possibly be false, but I’m afraid that your understanding of my remark is false – I’m not at all questioning ‘evolution’, and your points of how to falsify ‘Darwinian Evolution’ are simply methods of falsifying ‘evolution’ itself – my skepticism is with the mechanism labeled ‘Darwinism’. For instance, I have far less skepticism in regards to ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’, by which change happen rapidly during period of great distress, and I even find myself at least fascinated by the possibility of ‘Front Loaded’ evolution (which Michael Denton seems to play with, somewhat – just recently discovered D’arcy Thompsons who’s concept was that evolving biological forms are constrained by similar mathematics that are found in classical physics – sadly, few scientists have yet explored this option, apart from some ‘Evo-Devo’ folks), and very interested in still developing ideas of the ID theorists, as I find that at least their definition of ‘science’ to be more fair, which I’m sure you’ll take issue with.

    It should be pointed out that Popper never entirely ‘recanted’ – he merely offered, as you said, “a more nuanced view”, which he did out of necessity due to the ferocious backlash he received because of his remarks.

    “I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme – a possible framework for testable theories.” This is Popper from 1976…I tend to agree with him here.

    In 1978, however he wrote, “I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. …The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological.”

    The key words there are ‘MAY BE SO FORMULATED‘ – as others have pointed out, being far more familiar with Popper than I am (I’ve only read excerpts in other philosophy of science texts), he ‘recanted’ only so much as to get the Darwinists off his back, but when read in context it’s pretty clear that much of what still passes as Darwinian Evolutionary theory most definitely isn’t ‘SO FORMULATED‘ as to pass through his grid.

    I appreciate the honesty of the last paragraph of that response, though. One of the things I’ve always liked about Gould, as opposed to Dawkins, is the humility he recognized intrinsic to true Scientific inquiry, which I see in that paragraph of your post. Take care.

  9. …but I showed you 6 explicit ways of falsifying Darwin and one way to force a change in the theory – a modification. Undoubtedly , Popper was aware of at least a few of these. How is Popper relevant since we have shown how to falsify. The problem is that the world view of the creationists cannot bare to see his/her world crumble. It is not that the theory is not falsifiable, but that the theory has overwhelming on its side and is more secure scientifically than Einstein’s gravity (which is know to be false under certain conditions).

    On the other hand:

    1) Behe’s mousetrap has been shown be reducible. (go to youtube – search for “Behe Mousetrap”

    2) Behe ignores the Darwinian explanation on immune system – there are 56 peer reviewed papers. Whereas Behe claims that science would never find an explanation for evolution of the immune system. “not good enough for me”

    [search YouTube “Behe ignores”]

    3) The Panda’s Thumb: Reality 1, Behe 0 – An IC System from scratch. Behe’s flawed math. Examples of double and triple mutations.

    4) Behe’s claim about bacterial flagellum not being reducible is also been shown to be false.

    5) Read the Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins to see why the eye is not ID (see how the eye has evolved).

    6) Discovery Institutes Wedge document which explains there 3-stage political agenda to undermine “materialism”. These guys fund Behe et all.

    ID is pseudoscience with a bias toward theism, ignores evidence, uses flawed mathematics, and is not used by any scientist in any lab to develop anything new.
    Darwinian Theory is a sound scientific theory that is falsifiable, has lead to many discoveries in biology and organic chemistry.

  10. ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’ is scientific. It is really a offshoot of Darwin and advocated by SJ Gould. It is a variation part of Gould’s “naturalistic view.” that you were talking about in your post. Gould was an advocate for Darwinian Evolution.

    EvoDevo – Evolutionary developmental biology is another “naturalistic view” and is yet another Darwinian offshoot.

  11. Sigh.

    Behe has responded to his critics adequately. Apparently you don’t like his response, or haven’t read it – or read his original argument as well (the responses have clearly fallen short – I wasn’t convinced BEFORE reading his excellent responses). I, who’ve read him at length, find him quite challenging, if not convincing. You, who’ve apparently read summaries of his critics, but not him, don’t. I don’t see why I should continue to pursue this thread, honesty, if you are so uninterested in exploring options other than what you’re already convinced of. Our ideas are on the table. Let them sit.

    All of the other critiques of ID are either untrue, and if you cared to do your research you could easily figure that our, or simply fall flat as well. ID theories are being used in hard science – though carefully, since the current bias of the academy tends towards firing anyone who is not tenured that so much as mentions ID in a non-condemning way. Also, everyone find funding somewhere. Most (all?) funders have an agenda. That’s life. I only give money to people who in some way forward my personal agenda. Who cares, honestly? That in no one proves or disproves a theory, just like the fact that Darwins early supporters were mostly atheists and liked his ideas for philosophical reasons – doesn’t influence whether his theory is true/false in the slightest.

    Read Blind Watchmaker years ago. Dawkins ideas work fine, as long as you have information front-loaded – but, of course, that then makes it ID theory, and in your opinion, false, so what’s the point?

    Re:Gould’s view – though owing something to Darwin’s, so in some sense being still ‘neo-darwinism’ (as far as it is neo-darwinism, so is ID, but that’s another point), it is so very different from the rest of neo-darwinian theory as to essentially stand on it’s own.

    EvoDevo – duh, it’s another naturalistic view! Can some aspect of it not be seen as true by someone considering it from a non-naturalistic starting point? I mean, ID doesn’t throw out all of Darwinian theory, but build on it.

    So, honestly,are you wiling to become at all familiar – with the info I cite? If not, we’re just talking past one another. I’ve already read all of yours, and heard the arguments years ago, and don’t find them convincing. You surely think me close minded, but I’ve changed my mind often, and on many things, but your line of reasoning does not convince me of anything, if that’s your point.


  12. As a note: any blogger that chooses to send me links to a YouTube file about “MOUSETRAP: REDUCED!”, the response will not be ‘approved’. Why – you’ve obviously not read Behe, and the video would be best renamed ‘Adventures in Missing the Point’. Behe has already responded to those sorts of methods of ‘reducing’ the complexity of a system within his own work, and they are faulty beyond reason. So, here’s a suggestion: READ, THINK, then RESPOND – do not, I REPEAT – DO NOT simply ‘vomit’ your own beliefs without engaging the real issues. Thanks.

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