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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in February 2008.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
13/02/2008 "When the naturalistic project itself is called into question, however, a different kind of reasoning is called for. Darwinists tell us that there is no need to consider the possibility that plants and animals owe their existence to a supernatural Creator, because natural mechanisms like mutation and selection were adequate to perform the job of creation. I want to know whether that claim is true, not just whether it is the best naturalistic speculation available. No doubt evolutionary biologists are devoted to the theory that defines their field, and no doubt scientific naturalists regard the project of naturalistic explanation as overwhelmingly successful. Persons who do not share their a priori commitment to naturalism may nonetheless be correct in thinking that the reigning theory is not merely incomplete, but quite inconsistent with the evidence. These questions cannot be left to the sole determination of a class of experts, because important questions of religion, philosophy, and cultural power are at stake. Naturalistic evolution is not merely a scientific theory; it is the official creation story of modern culture. The scientific priesthood that has authority to interpret the official creation story gains immense cultural influence thereby, which it might lose if the story were called into question. The experts therefore have a vested interest in protecting the story, and in imposing rules of reasoning that make it invulnerable. When critics ask, `Is your theory really true?' we should not be satisfied to be answered that `it is good science, as we define science.'" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.159) 14/02/2008 "IN 1981 THE STATE legislature of Louisiana passed a law requiring that if `evolution-science' is taught in the public schools, the school must also provide balanced treatment for something called `creation- science.' The statute was a direct challenge to the scientific orthodoxy of today, which is that all living things evolved by a gradual, natural process-from nonliving matter to simple microorganisms, leading eventually to man. Evolution is taught in the public schools (and presented in the media) not as a theory but as a fact, the `fact of evolution.' There are nonetheless many dissidents, some with advanced scientific degrees, who deny that evolution is a fact and who insist that an intelligent Creator caused all living things to come into being in furtherance of a purpose." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Secondon, 1993, p.3. Emphasis original) 15/02/2008 "DNA, RNA, and proteins are mutually interdependent, with DNA storing the genetic information and copying it to RNA, RNA directing the synthesis of proteins, and proteins carrying on the essential chemical work of the cell. An evolutionary scenario must assume that this complex system evolved from a much simpler predecessor, probably employing at first only one of the three major constituents. Which came first, the nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) or the proteins? And how did the first living molecule function and evolve in the absence of the others? Those questions define the agenda for the field of chemical evolution, where several scenarios are competing for attention. ... there is widespread agreement that no theory has obtained any substantial experimental confirmation." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.107) 15/02/2008 "For some time the most popular contender has been the `naked gene' or `RNA first' hypothesis, based on the premise that life began when an RNA molecule somehow managed to synthesize itself from the organic compounds of the prebiotic soup. RNA is the most likely candidate for the first component of the genetic system because it not only acts as the carrier of genetic information in its `messenger' role, but it also is capable of catalyzing some chemical reactions in the manner of proteins. With this versatility it is conceivable that RNA might have carried on the essential functions of life in a primitive manner until true DNA and proteins could evolve. Conceivable is a long way from probable or experimentally verifiable, of course. In previous chapters we saw that there is no evidence that Darwinian selection is a sufficiently powerful designing force to transform a molecule or a cell into an abundance of complex plants and animals, even given a few billion years. Origin of life chemists take universal biological Darwinism for granted, but they can identify plenty of problems with the proposition that a self-replicating RNA molecule could have evolved from organic compounds on the early earth. The obstacles to prebiotic RNA synthesis were reviewed in 1989 in a lengthy article by G. F. Joyce in Nature [Joyce, G.F., "RNA Evolution and the Origins of Life," Nature, Vol. 338, March 16, 1989, pp.217-224]. Joyce concluded that RNA is `not a plausible prebiotic molecule, because it is unlikely to have been produced in significant quantities on the primitive earth.' As with other once-promising models of prebiological evolution, the `RNA-first' theory cannot survive detailed examination. Joyce surmised that RNA itself would have had to have evolved from some simpler genetic system which is no longer in existence." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, pp.107-108) 15/02/2008 "There are other possibilities, including a `protein first' scenario that had appeared to be going out of fashion, but which may make a comeback due to the devastating criticism the RNA rival has recently suffered. In fact, the absence of experimental support for any one theory leaves the door open for just about any speculation other than creationism. A general review of prebiological evolutionary theories in 1988 by Klaus Dose concluded that `At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.' [Joyce, G.F., "RNA Evolution and the Origins of Life," Nature, Vol. 338, March 16, 1989, pp.217-224]. Gerald Joyce's 1989 review article ended with the somber observation that origin of life researchers have grown accustomed to a `lack of relevant experimental data' and a high level of frustration." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.109) 15/02/2008 "Prospects for experimental success are so discouraging that the more enterprising researchers have turned to computer simulations that bypass the experimental roadblocks by employing convenient assumptions. An article in Science in 1990 summarized the state of computer research into `spontaneous self- organization,' a concept based upon the premise that complex dynamical systems tend to fall into a highly ordered state even in the absence of selection pressures. This premise may seem to contradict the famous Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that ordered energy inevitably collapses into disorder or maximum `entropy.' There is reason to believe, however, that in a local system (the earth) which takes in energy from outside (the sun), the second law permits some kinds of spontaneous self-organization to occur. For example, ordered structures like snowflakes and crystals are common. More to the point, most scientists assume that life originated spontaneously and thereafter evolved to its present state of complexity. This could not have happened unless powerful self-organizing tendencies were present in nature. Starting from assumptions like that, scientists can design computer models that mimic the origin of life and its subsequent evolution. Whether the models have any connection to reality is another question. According to Science, `Advocates of spontaneous organization are quick to admit that they aren't basing their advocacy on empirical data and laboratory experiments, but on abstract mathematics and novel computer models.' The biochemist G. F. Joyce commented: `They have a long way to go to persuade mainstream biologists of the relevance [of this work].' [Joyce, G.F., in "Spontaneous Order, Evolution, and Life," Science, 30 March 1990, p.1543]." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, pp.109-110) 18/02/2008 "Learn to use terms precisely and consistently. Evolution is a term of many meanings, and the meanings have a way of changing without notice dog breeding and finch-beak variations are frequently cited as typical examples of evolution. So is the fact that all the differing races of humans descend from a single parent, or even that Americans today are larger on average than they were a century ago (due to better nutrition). If relatively minor variations like that were all evolution were about, there would be no controversy, and even the strictest biblical fundamentalists would be evolutionists. Of course evolution is about a lot more than in-species variation. The important issue is whether the dog breeding and finch-beak examples fairly illustrate the process that created animals in the first place. Using the single term evolution to cover both the controversial and the uncontroversial aspects of evolution is a recipe for misunderstanding." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1997, p.57. Emphasis original) 18/02/2008 "Of course the official caricature utterly misrepresents the scope of the controversy. Creationists are not necessarily Genesis literalists or believers in a young earth, nor do they necessarily reject `evolution' in all senses of that highly manipulable term. A creationist is simply a person who believes that God creates- meaning that the living world is the product of an intelligent and purposeful Creator rather than merely a combination of chance events and impersonal natural laws. Critics of evolutionary theory are well aware of the standard examples of microevolution, including dog breeding and the cyclical variations that have been seen in things like finch beaks and moth populations. The difference is that we interpret these observations as examples of the capacity of dogs and finches to vary within limits, not of a process capable of creating dogs and finches, much less the main groups of plants and animals, in the first place. This skepticism about the extrapolationist view of evolution is hardly unreasonable, because many distinguished evolutionary biologists have also written that large-scale evolutionary change cannot be explained as a product of merely the accumulation of generation-to-generation variations. As any creationist (and many evolutionists) would see the matter, making the case for "evolution" as a general theory of life's history requires a lot more than merely citing examples of small-scale variation. It requires showing how extremely complex biological structures can be built up from simple beginnings by natural processes, without the need for input or guidance from a supernatural Creator." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.74)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of
an asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
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Created: 30 January, 2008. Updated: 20 March, 2010.