[Home] [Updates] [Site map] [Quotes, Unclassified, Classified]
The following are unclassified quotes posted in my email messages in March, 2005.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan; Feb; Apr; May-Jun; Jul (1), (2); Aug-Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec]
1/03/2005 "Darwin seems to have given no experimental illustrations of the operation of this principle of natural selection. Indeed in his chapter on the subject, his examples are purely imaginary. Under the hands of man artificial selection has proved a strong force in producing new varieties of organisms. Darwin asks the question whether or not this principle of selection could operate in nature also. He finds that it can and does. A point which Darwin emphasizes, first made by Hooker and Asa Gray, is that man, even with the organisms under his control, does not cause the origin of the variations on which he works through selection. All he can do is to take the fortunate variations as they occur, select and accumulate them. The same applies to natural selection. "Some have even imagined that natural selection induces variability, whereas it implies only the preservations of such variations as occur and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life." [Darwin, C., "The Origin of Species," 1859, p.84] Herein, of course, lies the fundamental weakness of the whole theory." (Fothergill, P.G., "Historical Aspects of Organic Evolution," Hollis & Carter: London, 1952, p.114) 1/03/2005 "The theory of natural selection, as Dobzhansky points out, is essentially a theory of the origin of adaptations, and only secondarily a theory of evolutionary causation. The neo-Darwinians, however, equate the phenomena of adaptation and evolution, inasmuch as they consider that a demonstration of the way in which an organism has become adapted to its environment furnishes evidence of the way in which the organism has evolved. Most demonstrations of this kind are concerned with macroscopic differences of structure, such as differences of colour, size and so on. Yet in their theoretical discussions based on cytogenetics and mutation theory the same neo-Darwinians are led to consider the extremely small variations, with little, if any, visible effect, as the raw material of evolution on which natural selection works, whereas the large visible mutations are said to be of little use in evolution. But biological opinion is by no means unanimous about these matters, and probably the root of the difficulties involved in the idea of natural selection, considered in relation to the origin of adaptations and to evolution, lies in the fact that experimental investigations of the subject encounter unsurmountable obstacles due to the very complex circumstances in which living organisms live and have their being. Unlike the problems of physics and chemistry, the problems of biology, and particularly of evolutionary biology, can never be completely understood without reference to the environment, and this includes the whole of nature, with its almost infinite number of variables." (Fothergill P.G., "Historical Aspects of Organic Evolution," Hollis & Carter: London, 1952, p.320) 1/03/2005 "If natural selection is a causal agent in evolution, it becomes necessary to show that this agent has changed a variety or species, and to do this involves certain logical requirements, which have recently been listed by Pearl. [Pearl R., `Requirements of a Proof that Natural Selection has Altered a Race,' Scientia, Vol. 47, 1930, p.175] `1. Proof of somatic differences between survivors and eliminated This is the first logical step in the demonstration of the action of natural selection in a particular case. 2. Proof of genetic differences between survivors and eliminated No proof of the effectiveness of natural selection in altering a race can be logically complete until it has been demonstrated that there are genetic differences between survivors and eliminated as well as somatic differences. 3. Proof of effective time of elimination It may be said that to establish a logically complete demonstration of the effective action of natural selection it is necessary to have careful regard for the age of eliminated and surviving individuals in relation to their periods of reproduction, in order to be sure that otherwise selective deaths occurred at an age such that they could have affected the race. 4. Proof of somatic alteration of a race It must be shown by adequate biometrical investigation that the race in question is somatically different after the particular event of selection, or after the lapse of a reasonable secular period in the case of continuing selection from what it was before. 5. Proof of genetic alteration of a race it is still necessary to show that the race following a particular act of selection, or after a reasonable secular period in the case of continuing selection, is genetically different from what it was before the selection, if proof is to be complete.' As far as we know, no single investigation of a particular case of natural selection has fulfilled all of these requirements, and most of them have only satisfied one, or perhaps two, of them. A complete experimental demonstration that natural selection is a factor in evolution is therefore wanting. Thus, Robson and Richards [Robson G.C. & Richards O.W., "The Variation of Animals in Nature," Longmans, Green, and Co: London, 1936] can say: `We do not believe that natural selection can be disregarded as a possible factor in evolution. Nevertheless, there is so little positive evidence in its favour, so much that appears to tell against it, and so much that is as yet inconclusive, that we have no right to assign to it the main causative role in evolution.' ... Clearly the mere demonstration that selection acts in nature does not cover the requirements of a proof that natural selection is an evolutionary agent as demanded by Pearl. " (Fothergill P.G., "Historical Aspects of Organic Evolution," Hollis & Carter: London, 1952, pp.321-322) 1/03/2005 "The examples of protective coloration and the like given seem very convincing, but whether or not they show that a beneficial adaptation in a truly wild state has any positive evolutionary value is another matter. Our senses tell us that it is easier to see a white butterfly against a black background than a black one on the same background, but in a natural state extremes of colour in back ground are rarely met with over a wide area. In fact, the natural background is on the whole kaleidoscopic in colour and animals move from place to place. Again, it has been shown that the really important feature about mimics and protectively coloured animals is that they remain inconspicuous only as long as they keep still. As soon as they make even a slight movement the predator sees and seizes them. On the other hand, even in animals which are commonly thought to be protected due to their colour, dimorphic forms may exist. A handy summary of such forms has been given by Elton [Elton C., "Animal Ecology," London, 1927], an ecologist. The simplest example is that of the white arctic fox, which, as it lives among snow, would seem to be perfectly adapted to its surroundings. According to current Darwinian views this species of fox has been evolved by natural selection of those animals which possessed lighter coloured fur. In actual fact, as Elton points out, the arctic fox exists in two colour phases, one white in winter and brown in summer, and the other blue in winter and grey or black in summer. In many parts of the arctic regions the blue and white phases occur indiscriminately in a common population. Selectionists have then to face the question that if the one of these colours which is adaptive evolved by means of natural selection, how did the non-adaptive one evolve at the same time and in the same place, or why hasn't it long since been exterminated by selection ? There are many other cases of this kind and there are many other field naturalists who have come up against similar problems when studying animals in their natural surroundings." (Fothergill P.G., "Historical Aspects of Organic Evolution," Hollis & Carter: London, 1952, pp.338-339) 1/03/2005 "The few samples of the evidence for the occurrence of natural selection already given show that a cumulative argument may be advanced to the effect that under certain environmental conditions certain types of the same and of different species may be discriminated against in nature and exterminated quicker than other types. None of the examples given, however, satisfy all of Pearl's requirements ... [Pearl R., "Requirements of a Proof that Natural Selection has Altered a Race," Scientia, Vol. 47, 1930, p.175] of a proof that a race has been altered by selection. It is one thing to show that natural selection does actually operate, and another to show that it plays a part in changing one species into another; that is, that selection is a causal agent in bringing about the evolution of species." (Fothergill P.G., "Historical Aspects of Organic Evolution," Hollis & Carter: London, 1952, p.339) 2/03/2005 "DR. MAYR: I don't know who should answer that but I agree there, too. Somebody quoted Darwin yesterday and, as with the Bible, you can quote him for one thing or another. In one place he said that it completely horrified him to think of the eye and how to explain it; and at another place he said once you assume that any kind of protein has the ability to react to light, once you admit that, then it is no problem whatsoever to construct an eye." (Mayr E.W., "Summary Discussion," 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.97) 3/03/2005 "naturalism, the twofold view that (1) everything is composed of natural entities - those studied in the sciences (on some versions, the natural sciences)-whose properties determine all the properties of things, persons included, abstracta (abstract entities) like possibilia (possibilities) and mathematical objects, if they exist, being constructed of such abstracta as the sciences allow; and (2) acceptable methods of justification and explanation are commensurable, in some sense, with those in science" (Post J.F., "naturalism," in Audi R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Reprinted, 1996, p.517. Emphasis original) 3/03/2005 "You speak of finding a flaw in my hypothesis & this shows you do not understand its nature. It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw & holes as sound parts. ---- My question is whether the rag is worth anything?" (Darwin, C.R., Letter to T.H. Huxley, 2 June, 1859, Burkhardt F.H. & Smith S., eds., "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin,". Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1985; Vol. 7, p.301) 3/03/2005 "Huxley too was generous. He had only one cavil: that domestic races originating from a single stock (say bulldogs and greyhounds, descendants of the same wild dog) do not produce sterile offspring when crossed, as distinct wild species do. Until breeders achieved this degree of separation actually made new species from a single stock - the analogy with natural selection remained incomplete. 'You speak of finding a flaw in my hypothesis,' Darwin rallied him, '& this shows you do not understand its nature. It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw & holes as sound parts.' But 'I can carry in it my fruit to market for a short distance over a gentle road; not I fear that you will give the poor rag such a devil of a shake that it will fall all to atoms; & a poor rag is better than nothing to carry one's fruit to market in.' " (Darwin C.R., Letter to T.H. Huxley, 2 June, 1859, "Thomas Huxley Papers," Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in Desmond A.J. & Moore J.R., "Darwin," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1992, p.475) 3/03/2005 "True to form Huxley pointed out a `flaw' in Darwin's reasoning. The tumblers and runts interbreed; fanciers had yet to pull their pigeons so far apart as to form real species, with sterile hybrids. But Darwin called his `a mere rag of an hypothesis' with as many `holes as sound parts'. The point was that `I can carry in it my fruit to market'. Not that the naturalist, with his tortured `prostration of mind & body', could walk much at all. Seeing his `miserable' prose in proof, he had started rewriting until his health `quite failed'. And through it all he feared that Huxley would give the rag `such a devil of a shake that it will fall all to atoms'. (Burkhardt F.H. & Smith S., eds., "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1985-1994, Vol. 7, pp.255-262, 272, 279, 299,301-303, 308, 451, in Desmond A.J., "Huxley: From Devil's Disciples to Evolution's High Priest," , Perseus: Reading MA, 1999, reprint, pp.254-255) 3/03/2005 "From then until May 1859, when the manuscript was finished, he worked incessantly. He overhauled earlier chapters, completed remaining ones, and wrote a rousing conclusion. Again and again he murmured, "I fear I shall never be able to make it good enough." Again and again, his friends answered questions, read sections of the text, wrote letters, and encouraged him. "It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaws & holes as sound parts," he wrote to Huxley. "My question is whether the rag is worth anything?" [Burkhardt F.H. & Smith S., eds., "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1985-1994, Vol. 7, p.301, in Browne E.J., "Charles Darwin: The Power of Place: Volume II of a Biography," , Pimlico: London, 2003, p.53) 3/03/2005 "Darwin was well aware that most of the leading figures in the scientific community would not be sympathetic to his heterodox views. As he told the recipients of presentation copies, in no case did he expect full agreement with the book, for he freely admitted that there were many difficulties with his theory. He begged Huxley, whom he believed might respond favourably to his ideas, not to be too harsh, explaining that his book was "a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaws & holes as sound parts.---- My question is whether the rag is worth anything?" (letter to T. H. Huxley, 2 June ). But as critical letters began to arrive, Darwin could not conceal the discomfort he felt at the severity of some of the attacks." (Darwin Correspondence Project: Introduction to The correspondence of Charles Darwin Volume 1: 1858-1859," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1991. http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Departments/Darwin/intros/vol7.html) 3/03/2005 "To say that natural law was instituted by a Power and to deny that natural law may be suspended or changed is to accept the greater mystery and to deny a less. If God instituted the laws by which the solar system moves then I see no reason, so far as physics is concerned, why the sun may not have stood still at the command of God through Joshua. To say that it would have deranged the solar system is an argument which should have no more weight than to say that a man who had made a machine could not stop it and start it again without deranging its mechanism. The disbelief in such miracles comes from the conviction of so steadfast a reign of law that the purpose ascribed to the miracles is not commensurate with the infraction of the law. " (More L.T., "The Dogma of Evolution," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1925, Second Printing, p.357) 3/03/2005 "The wager is among the fragments that Pascal had not classified at the time of his death, but textual evidence shows that it would have been included in Section 12, entitled `Commencement,' after the demonstrations of the superior explanatory power of Christianity. The wager is a direct application of the principles developed in Pascal's earlier work on probability, where he discovered a calculus that could be used to determine the most rational action when faced with uncertainty about future events, or what is now known as decision theory. In this case the uncertainty is the truth of Christianity and its claims about afterlife; and the actions under consideration are whether to believe or not. The choice of the most rational action depends on what would now be called its `expected value.' The expected value of an action is determined by (1) assigning a value, s, to each possible outcome of the action, (2) subtracting the cost of the action, c, from this value, and (3) multiplying the difference by the probability of the respective outcomes and adding these products together. Pascal invites the reader to consider Christian faith and unbelief as if they were acts of wagering on the truth of Christianity. If one believes, then there are two possible outcomes - either God exists or not. If God does exist, the stake to be gained is infinite life. If God does not exist, there are no winnings. Because the potential winnings are infinite, religious belief is more rational than unbelief because of its greater expected value." (Fouke D., "Pascal, Blaise," in Audi R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1996, reprint, p.563) 3/03/2005 "The skeptic [of naturalism] can accept Sauer's and Yockey's results with equanimity because his world is not necessarily limited to those phenomena that can be explained by naturalism. Furthermore, the skeptic can happily concede that many biological phenomena are explained by natural laws. He can agree that beak shape and wing color can change under selective pressure, or that different proteins in the same structural class, such as the alpha and beta chains of hemoglobin, may have arisen through Darwinistic mechanisms. But the believer in the universal application of physical law is stuck. He must maintain, against the evidence, that different protein classes, like cytochromes and immunoglobulins, found their way by raw luck through the vast, dark sea of nonfunctional sequences to the tiny islands of function we observe experimentally. .... And why, we ask, must he maintain these positions against impossible odds and without supporting evidence? Because, he replies, I can measure only material phenomena, and therefore nothing else exists." (Behe, M.J.*, "Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to Be Highly Isolated from Each Other," in Buell, J. & Hearn, V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p.70. Emphasis original) 4/03/2005 "Promising though the RNA world scenario seems, it has many detractors. They point out that, however good the theory may be, test tube experiments are frequently dismal failures. Key reactions stubbornly refuse to proceed without carefully designed procedures and the help of special catalysts. Nucleic acid chains are notoriously fragile, and tend to snap long before they have acquired the 50 or so base pairs needed for them to act as enzymes. Water attacks and breaks up nucleic acid polymers as it does peptides, casting doubt on any soupy version of an RNA world. Even the synthesis of the four bases required as building blocks is not without serious problems. As far as biochemists can see, it is a long and difficult road to produce efficient RNA replicators from scratch. No doubt a way could eventually be found for each step in the chemical sequence to be carried out in the lab without too much drama, but only under highly artificial conditions, using specially prepared and purified chemicals in lust the right proportions. The trouble is, there are very many such steps involved, and each requires different special conditions. It is highly doubtful that all these steps would obligingly happen one after the other 'in the wild', where a chemical soup or scum would just have to take pot luck. The conclusion has to be that without a trained organic chemist on hand to supervise, nature would be struggling to make RNA from a dilute soup under any plausible prebiotic conditions. So whilst an RNA world could conceivably function and evolve towards life if handed to us on a plate (perhaps in a soup bowl would be a better metaphor), getting the RNA world going from a crude chemical mixture is another matter entirely." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, p.99) 4/03/2005 "Added to these diverse difficulties is the problem of chirality left versus right ... The fact that all life on Earth is based on molecules with the same handedness is not merely a curiosity: RNA replication would be menaced in an environment in which both left- and right-handed versions of the basic molecules are equally present. The crucial lock-and-key templating arrangements, whereby bases pair up with complementary bases according to their shapes, would be compromised as molecules with the 'wrong' handedness locked into the slots. The left hand would mess up what the right hand was doing. Unless a way can be found for nature to create a soup with molecules of only one handedness, spontaneous RNA synthesis would be a lost cause." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, pp.99-100) 4/03/2005 "Proponents of the RNA world scenario have received flak not just from chemists but from biologists too. If life began with RNA replication, you would expect the necessary replication machinery to be very ancient, and therefore common to all extant life. However, genetic analysis reveals that the genes coding for RNA replication differ markedly in the three domains of life, suggesting that RNA replication was refined some time after the common ancestor lived." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, p.100. Emphasis original) 4/03/2005 "There has also been criticism on theoretical grounds. The RNA world theory focuses exclusively on replication at the expense of metabolism. As I have stressed already, life is about more than raw reproduction: living organisms also do things, and must do them if they are to survive to reproduce. Doing things costs energy. There has to be a ready source of energy for organisms to metabolize. In test-tube experiments, RNA molecules are lovingly supplied with specialized energetic chemicals to power their activities, but in nature RNA would have to make do with whatever was lying around. No Miller-Urey type experiment has succeeded in fabricmicals used by extant life: they are all manufactured inside cells. Spoon-fed RNA may be a slick replicator, but without an energy-liberating metabolic cycle already in place, these fecund genetic strands would soon become molecular drop-outs." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, p.100) 4/03/2005 "An obvious escape route is to seek a self-replicating molecule far simpler than RNA to start the whole game going. The RNA world would then come only much later. It is conceivable that a relatively small molecule might be found that can replicate faithfully enough. The way would then lie open for molecular evolution to elaborate it, adding information step by step, until a level of complexity comparable to short strands of RNA was achieved. The system could then be 'taken over' by RNA. Is this how biogenesis really happened? Maybe. However, there are many obstacles to that theory, such as doubt over whether small a molecules can be accurate enough replicators to avoid the error catastrophe. In extant life, high-fidelity replication seems to he associated with large, complex systems. It is the larger genomes, with their and error- correcting procedures, that are the best copiers. So if the trend among nucleic acid replicators is followed down to smaller and smaller size, one expects only poor replication accuracy from simple molecules. Moreover, the smaller a molecule is, the more drastic will be the relative effect of any mutational change, and the greater the chance that the mutation won't inherit the property of itself being a replicator. In recent years, attempts have been made to build small and simple replicator molecules in the lab, and to subject them to environmental stresses to see if they evolve into better replicators. Modest success has been claimed. However, these experiments do not demonstrate molecular evolution in nature. They have yet to show that the sort of small replicators that have been painstakingly designed and fabricated in the laboratory will form spontaneously under plausible prebiotic conditions, and if they do, whether they will replicate well enough to evade the error catastrophe. In short, nobody has a clue whether naturally occurring mini-replicators are even possible, let alone whether they have got what it takes to evolve successfully." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, pp.100-101) 4/03/2005 "It is this last function, the ability to self-replicate, that Joyce and Orgel call `the molecular biologists' dream:' If a truly self-replicating molecule could be produced in the laboratory, a huge gap in our understanding of the origin of life would be closed. ... Remarkable as the results from test-tube-evolution experiments are, these evolved ribozymes are still a very long way from the full realization of the molecular biologists' dream. Even the cleverest ribozyme yet produced can only copy short stretches of itself. It is very unlikely, we suspect, that a molecule can be selected for that could polymerize a copy of itself along its entire length without some kind of help. ... Let us assume for a moment that Orgel is correct and that sometime in the near future a researcher will tease out, from the large array of random RNA sequences lurking in a test tube, the one that has the ability to catalyze its own replication from simple components of the type found in the primordial soup. At this point, many researchers would argue that life has been created in the laboratory. But would this be a reenactment of the origin of life as it might have taken place on the early Earth? Certainly not! A much larger problem will remain: Even if researchers eventually do create such an astonishing molecule in the laboratory, this is no guarantee that a similar molecule would ever have been synthesized in the primordial soup or on rock surfaces early in the history of our planet." (Wills, C.J. & Bada, J.L., "The Spark of Life: Darwin and the Primeval Soup," , Oxford University Press: New York NY, 2001, reprint, pp.129-130) 4/03/2005 "Now how difficult would it be to put together the replicator at random? The minimal published estimates of its size propose a single strand of RNA of perhaps 20 nucleotides. To build this structure, about 600 atoms would have to be connected in a specific way, much less than the many millions needed for a bacterium. ... But what are the odds? J.B.S. Haldane recognized that the chances of obtaining a self-replicating machine depended on the number of parts to it. If the number was small, there was no problem: `By mere shuffling you will get the letters ACEHIMN to spell 'machine' once in 5040 trials on an average.' [Haldane, J.B.S., "The Origins of Life," in Johnson, M.L., Abercrombie, M. & Fogg, G. E., eds, "The Origin of Life," New Biology, No. 16, Penguin Books: London, April 1954, p.14] If you could shuffle at the rate of once per second, it would require only 84 minutes to run that many tries. This analogy suggests that it should not be hard to put together a smallish replicator, so we must look more closely at it. We will stay with the metaphor of language, but set aside the letters on cards in favor of another much-used situation: the monkey at the typewriter. Let's call him Charlie the Chimp. Charlie is special. He never gets tired, and types out one line per second, completely at random. ... Now let us give Charlie a normal keyboard with, say, 45 keys. The odds suddenly escalate to 1 in 457, or 1 in 370 billion tries. It would take Charlie (or his descendants) 11,845 years to run that many attempts. The word `machine' does not arise as readily as Haldane's first analogy would suggest. Things get rapidly worse when we use longer messages. We will let Charlie try for a bit of Hamlet. The phrase `to be or not to be' has 18 characters, if we count the spaces as characters. The chances that our chimp will type this out are 1 in 4518, or 1 in 6 x 109. At one try per second, it will take poor Charlie more than 1022 years to do that number of tries. Should the open model for the universe be correct, Charlie will still be typing away long after the stars have ceased to shine and all the planets have been dispersed into space through stellar near- collisions. But now we have developed a real thirst for Shakespeare. We want our monkey to type out `to be or not to be: that is the question,' which has 40 characters. The chances then become 4540, or about 1066, to 1. This is a number 10 million times greater than the number of trials maximally available for the random generation of a replicator on the early earth. There we have it. If the chances of getting the replicator at random from a prebiotic soup are less than that of striking `to be or not to be: that is the question' by chance on a typewriter, we had best forget it. The replicator would have about 600 atoms. The chances of Charlie typing a 600-letter message (twice the size of this paragraph) correctly are 1 in 10992. There is a further irony. Even should the miracle occur and the replicator find itself awash in the seas of the prebiotic earth, its fate would be unkind. It would perish without further issue. For in this random sea, it would encounter only hosts of unrelated chemicals, and not the subunits it needs to reproduce itself. A second miracle would be needed to surround it with exactly the ingredients it needs for further progress." (Shapiro, R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth," Summit Books: New York NY, 1986, pp.168-170) 4/03/2005 "There is a further irony. Even should the miracle occur and the replicator find itself awash in the seas of the prebiotic earth, its fate would be unkind. It would perish without further issue. For in this random sea, it would encounter only hosts of unrelated chemicals, and not the subunits it needs to reproduce itself. A second miracle would be needed to surround it with exactly the ingredients it needs for further progress." (Shapiro, R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth," Summit Books: New York NY, 1986, p.170) 5/03/2005 "TO argue that a claim is true or false on the basis of its origin is to commit the genetic fallacy. For example: 'Jones's idea is the result of a mystical experience, so it must be false (or true).' Or: 'Jane got that message from a Ouija board, so it must be false (or true).' These arguments are fallacious because the origin of a claim is irrelevant to its truth or falsity. Some of our greatest advances have originated in unusual ways. For example, the chemist August Kekule discovered the benzene ring while staring at a fire and seeing the image of a serpent biting its tail. The theory of evolution came to British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace while in a delirium. Archimedes supposedly arrived at the principle of displacement while taking a bath, from which he leapt shouting, `Eureka!' The truth or falsity of an idea is determined not by where it came from, but by the evidence supporting it." (Schick T. & Vaughn L., "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, 1995, p.287) 5/03/2005 "Genetic Fallacy. This is a special type of reductive fallacy in which the single issue focused on is the source or origin of an idea. The argument demands, `Something (or someone) should be rejected because it (or he) comes from a bad source.' This is an attempt to belittle a position by pointing out its inauspicious beginnings. .... By this criterion, we should not believe our model for the benzene molecule because its founder based it on a dream of a snake biting its tail. One prominent use of this objection in recent years has been to criticize creationism as a scientific view because it comes from Genesis, a religious source. But that is completely irrelevant. Creation science is a theory that must be evaluated on its own merits and cannot be ruled out simply because it comes from a religious source." (Geisler N.L. & Brooks R.M., "Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking," Baker Book House: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, pp.107-108) 5/03/2005 "Fallacies of personal attack can take various forms, depending on the nature of the attack. ... One of the simplest is genetic fallacy, a type of argument in which an attempt is made to prove a conclusion false by condemning its source or genesis. Such arguments are fallacious because how an idea originated is irrelevant to its viability. Thus it would be fallacious to argue that, since chemical elements are involved in all life processes, life is therefore nothing more than a chemical process; or that, since the early forms of religion were matters of magic, religion is nothing but magic. Genetic accounts of an issue may be true, and they may be illuminating as to why the issue has assumed its present form, but they are irrelevant to its merits." (Engel S.M., "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, Fourth Edition, 1990, p.188. Emphasis original) 5/03/2005 "To argue that proposals are bad or assertions false because they are proposed or asserted by radicals (of the right or left) is to argue fallaciously and to be guilty of committing an argumentum ad hominem (abusive). This kind of argument is sometimes said to commit the Genetic Fallacy, because it attacks the source or genesis of the opposing position rather than that position itself. The way in which this irrelevant argument may sometimes persuade is through the psychological process of transference. Where an attitude of disapproval toward a person can be evoked, it may possibly tend to overflow the strictly emotional field and become disagreement with what that person says. But this connection is only psychological, not logical." (Copi, I.M., Introduction to Logic," , Macmillan: New York, Seventh Edition, 1986, p.92) 5/03/2005 "Damning the Origin: `consider the source' The opposite of regarding argument as established through an appeal to authority ..., is the so-called fallacy of origin, that is, rejecting an argument on account of its undesirable source. The force of an argument does not lie in the nature of the source which advances it. Plato makes this point in one of his dialogues, the Phaedrcrs. Here Plato depicts Socrates as illustrating an argument by inventing a little myth about ancient Egypt, whereupon Phaedrus replies by remarking that Socrates could, of course, invent tales about Egypt or any other place he chose. Socrates then answers the implied criticism by inventing still another myth. `There was a tradition in the temple of Dodona that oaks first gave prophetic utterances. The men of old, unlike in their simplicity to young philosophy, deemed that if they heard the truth even from `oak or rock,' it was enough for them; whereas you seem to consider not whether a thing is or is not true, but who the speaker is and from what country the tale comes.' Plato, The Phaedrus. Socrates' rebuke is justified. It is true that we want to take into account the reliability of a man before adopting some view of his or before believing without other warrant something he tells us. But even a notorious liar or a man strongly motivated by selfinterest can on occasion tell the truth. ... Socrates is reminding us that what we should want to know about a statement is whether or not it is true, and that it is irrelevant where the statement originates, whether in a tree or a rock-or a myth for that matter." (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Eleventh printing, p.97) 5/03/2005 "The genetic fallacy is the error of drawing an inappropriate conclusion about the goodness or badness of some property of a thing from the goodness or badness of some property of the origin of that thing. For example, `This medication was derived from a plant that is poisonous; therefore, even though my physician advises me to take it, I conclude that it would be very bad for me if I took it.' The error is inappropriately arguing from the origin of the medication to the conclusion that it must be poisonous in any form or situation. The genetic fallacy is often construed very broadly making it coextensive with the personal attack type of argument (see the description of argumentum ad hominem below) that condemns a prior argument by condemning its source or proponent." (Walton, D., "informal fallacy," in Audi, R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Reprinted, 1996, p.373) 5/03/2005 "Is creation in that broad sense consistent with evolution? ... The answer is absolutely not, when evolution is understood in the Darwinian sense. To Darwinists evolution means naturalistic evolution, because they insist that science must assume that the cosmos is a closed system of material causes and effects which can never be influenced by anything outside of material nature-by God, for example. In the beginning, an explosion of matter created the cosmos, and undirected, naturalistic evolution produced everything that followed. From this philosophical standpoint it follows deductively that from the beginning no intelligent purpose guided evolution. If intelligence exists today, that is only because it has itself evolved through purposeless material processes." (Johnson, P.E.*, "What is Darwinism?" in "Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law & Culture," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL, 1998, p.22. Emphasis original. http://www.origins.org/pjohnson/whatis.html) 5/03/2005 "The immense imaginative appeal of a unified theory stems entirely from the position it occupies in the naturalistic philosophy that scientists generally assume in their work. If nature is really a permanently closed system of physical causes and effects, then everything that has happened in the entire history of the cosmos must be determined (or at least permitted) by the conditions that existed at the beginning. If in the beginning nothing existed except the laws and the particles, and nothing fundamentally new has entered the universe subsequently, then a complete understanding of conditions at the beginning is in principle the key to a complete understanding of everything that followed. The unified theory is therefore what might be called the opening chapter in the grand metaphysical story of science, and the set of laws described by the unified theory is the scientific equivalent of a creator. That is why religious language permeates the books about the theory, and why Hawking thinks that to achieve a complete understanding of the theory would be to know the mind of God-in the sense of knowing all that there is to know." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.56) 5/03/2005 "I think the next great controversy was about the nature of the theory of evolution. Some physicists were saying it is not a real theory at all; either it doesn't explain any thing or it explains everything. This is something I think we want to try to clear up. I tried to make the point that my own view about this is that the theory of evolution is unfalsifiable, or at least very difficult to falsify, to the same degree that Newtonian physics is very difficult to falsify. The criticism was that if an animal evolves one way, biologists have a perfectly good explanation; but if it evolves some other way, they have an equally good explanation. So what is the good of all this explanation? If I find Jupiter has six moons, the physicists have a perfectly good Newtonian explanation; but if I find it has seven, this doesn't do anything to Newtonian physics which can easily produce a slightly different explanation which explains that just as well. This is exactly parallel to what is going on in evolution theory. This means that the theory is not, at this level, a predictive theory as to what must happen." (Waddington C.H., "Summary Discussion," 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.97-98) 5/03/2005 "`Creation-science' is not science. It cannot meet any of the criteria of science. Indeed, it fails to display the most basic characteristic of science: reliance upon naturalistic explanations. Instead, proponents of `creation-science' hold that the creation of the universe, the earth, living things, and man was accomplished through supernatural means inaccessible to human understanding." (National Academy of Sciences, Brief for Amicus Curiae, in Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 594 (1987). http://www.soc.umn.edu/~samaha/cases/edwards_v_aguillard_NAC.html) 6/03/2005 "Although at the beginning the paradigm was worth consideration, now the entire effort in the primeval soup paradigm is self-deception based on the ideology of its champions. ... The history of science shows that a paradigm, once it has achieved the status of acceptance (and is incorporated in textbooks) and regardless of its failures, is declared invalid only when a new paradigm is available to replace it. Nevertheless, in order to make progress in science, it is necessary to clear the decks, so to speak, of failed paradigms. This must be done even if this leaves the decks entirely clear and no paradigms survive. ... Belief i primeval soup on the grounds that no other paradigm is available is an example of the logical fallacy of the false alternative." (Yockey H.P., "Information Theory and Molecular Biology," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1992, p.336. Emphasis original) 6/03/2005 "materialism. In ONTOLOGY, the theory that everything that really exists is material in nature .... This denies substantial existence ... to minds and mental states, unless these are identified with states of the brain and nervous system ... Materialism excludes the possibility of disembodied minds, whether of God or of the dead. Materialists, from the time of Democritus to the present, have usually been NATURALISTS in ETHICS, but that does not commit them to materialism in the colloquial sense of an overriding interest in the acquisition of material goods and bodily satisfactions.". (Quinton A., "materialism," in Bullock A., Trombley S. & Lawrie A., eds., "The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought," , HarperCollinsPublishers: London, Third Edition, 1999, pp.508-509) 6/03/2005 "Thus the new view of nature, introduced first of all by the Romantics, spreading slowly through every domain of human thought until it became firmly entrenched within the precincts of science itself, finally undermined the old design argument for religion. ... Nature was as full of the appearance of design as Paley had said, but it was an appearance only: biology had no need of the hypothesis of a Designer. Today we are learning that this picture of nature is false, that the earlier scientists were right after all. And it is significant that, even in the heyday of Darwinian science, many of the arguments of the earlier naturalists remained unrefuted-and forgotten. The geophysical features of the earth and the properties of water and carbon dioxide were not less wonderful because, ostrich-like, Spencer and Haeckel refused to consider them seriously. And as for the attempt to explain away order in biology-even Darwin himself was never convinced that he had explained it all away. No wonder that multitudes of simple people continued to use the argument from design and to ignore what the professors chose to say about it-and they were right. ... the recognition of design in nature is no ephemeral scientific conclusion based upon the researches of a decade or two in the history of science-a conclusion which might at any time be reversed were a few new facts to come to light. Rather it is a conclusion which has stood the test of thousands of years: a conclusion so certain that if it should one day transpire that it is a gigantic mistake, man would have every ground for doubting whether valid conclusions of any kind can be reached by thinking. ... it is ... desirable to distinguish between scientific conclusions which are ephemeral and those which are likely to prove enduring. And the existence of design in nature must be placed in the second category." (Clark R.E.D., "The Universe: Plan or Accident?: The Religious Implications of Modern Science," , Paternoster: London, Third Edition, 1961, pp.161-162. Emphasis original) 6/03/2005 "Of course, there are many scientists whose work reinforces their religious faith. Francis Collins is a devout Christian and director of the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He is, therefore, at the very centre of modern genetics, and once told me: 'God isn't afraid of science. He knows this stuff. And the notion of not pursuing genetic research is unthinkable. It contains within it the seeds of the alleviation of much human suffering. It would be unethical to delay it. Christ was a healer.' On the other hand, James Watson, co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the structure of DNA and now president of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island in New York, made it clear to me that both he and Crick were interested in the ultimate molecular constituents of life precisely because such knowledge would represent a challenge to religion; it would show the strictly material basis of life. Clearly, this was not the only reason for their project, but it was the style of their thought. Collins is a Christian, Watson an atheist. Through his microscope, Collins sees the work of God; through his, Watson sees only the incredible intricacy generated by 3.5 billion years of blind evolution. As scientists speaking a common scientific language, they both see the same things - cells, chromosomes, the slender, double helical thread of DNA. As men, they see something utterly different - so different that it seems impossible that two people could have so much and yet so little in common. Somewhere in that gap between those two brilliant men who agree on everything and yet nothing, lies this book." (Appleyard B., "Brave New Worlds: Staying Human in the Genetic Future," HarperCollins: London, 1999, p.6) 7/03/2005 "Materialism `asserts that the real world consists of material things, varying in their states and relations, and nothing else.' [Campbell K., `Materialism,' in Edwards P., ed., `Encyclopedia of Philosophy,' 1967, Vol 5, p.179] Materialism, or its variety known as naturalism, is defined as follows in Encyclopaedia Britannica: This modified form of Materialism is perhaps better described as naturalism. Naturalism holds not that all things consist of matter or its modifications but that whatever exists can be satisfactorily explained in natural terms. To explain something in natural terms is to explain it on scientific lines; naturalism is in fact a proclamation of the omnicompetence, or final competence, of science.' [Wilshire B., `Metaphysics,' in `Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia,' 15th ed., 1974, Vol. 12, p.26]. ... Naturalism is described in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy in the following terms: `NATURALISM, in recent usage, is a species of philosophical monism according to which whatever exists or happens is natural in the sense of being susceptible to explanation through methods which, although paradigmatically exemplified in the natural sciences, are continuous from domain to domain of objects and events. Hence, naturalism is polemically defined as repudiating the view that there exists or could exist any entities or events which lie, in principle, beyond the scope of scientific explanation... .' [Danto A., `Naturalism,' in Edwards P., `Encyclopedia of Philosophy,' Vol. 5, 1967, p.448]" (Bird W.R., "The Origin of Species Revisited," Regency: Nashville TN, 1991, Vol. II, p.31) 8/03/2005 "Valid logical arguments are characterized by the fact that, if the premise of the argument is true, then the conclusion must be true. Deductive arguments possess that character. The principle of induction would certainly be justified if inductive arguments also possessed it. But they do not. Inductive arguments are not logically valid arguments. It is not the case that, if the premises of an inductive inference are true, then the conclusion must be true. It is possible for the conclusion of an inductive argument to be false and for the premises to be true and yet for no contradiction to be involved. Suppose, for example, that up until today I have observed a large number of ravens under a wide variety of circumstances and have observed all of them to have been black and that, on that basis, I conclude, `All ravens are black'. This is a perfectly legitimate inductive inference. The premises of the inference are a large number of statements of the kind, `Raven x was observed to be black at time t', and all these we take to be true. But there is no logical guarantee that the next raven I observe will not be pink. If this proved to be the case, then `All ravens are black' would be false. That is, the initial inductive inference, which was legitimate insofar as it satisfied the criteria specified by the principle of induction, would have led to a false conclusion, in spite of the fact that all premises of the inference were true. No logical contradiction is involved in claiming that all observed ravens have proved to be black and also that not all ravens are black. Induction cannot be justified purely on logical grounds. A more interesting if rather gruesome example of the point is an elaboration of Bertrand Russell's story of the inductivist turkey. This turkey found that, on his first morning at the turkey farm, he was fed at 9 a.m. However, being a good inductivist, he did not jump to conclusions. He waited until he had collected a large number of observations of the fact that he was fed at 9 a.m., and he made these observations under a wide variety of circumstances, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, on warm days and cold days, on rainy days and dry days. Each day, he added another observation statement to his list. Finally, his inductivist conscience was satisfied and he carried out an inductive inference to conclude, `I am always fed at 9 a.m.'. Alas, this conclusion was shown to be false in no uncertain manner when, on Christmas eve, instead of being fed, he had his throat cut. An inductive inference with true premises has led to a false conclusion. The principle of induction cannot be justified merely by an appeal to logic." (Chalmers A.F., "What is this thing called Science?: An Assessment of the Nature and Status of Science and its Method," , University of Queensland Press: St Lucia Qld, Australia, Second edition, 1994, reprint, pp.13-14) 9/03/2005 "Justice Scalia writes, in his key statement on scientific evidence: `The people of Louisiana, including those who are Christian fundamentalists, are quite entitled, as a secular matter, to have whatever scientific evidence there may be against evolution presented in their schools.' [Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 594 (1987)] I simply don't see the point of this statement. Of course they are so entitled, and absolutely nothing prevents such a presentation, if evidence there be. The equal time law forces teaching of creation science, but nothing prevented it before, and nothing prevents it now. Teachers were, and still are, free to teach creation science." (Gould, S.J., "Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding," in "Bully for Brontosaurus: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1992, p.457) 9/03/2005 "In sum, even if one concedes, for the sake of argument, that a majority of the Louisiana Legislature voted for the Balanced Treatment Act partly in order to foster (rather than merely eliminate discrimination against) Christian fundamentalist beliefs, our cases establish that that alone would not suffice to invalidate the Act, so long as there was a genuine secular purpose as well. We have, moreover, no adequate basis for disbelieving the secular purpose set forth in the Act itself, or for concluding that it is a sham enacted to conceal the legislators' violation of their oaths of office. I am astonished by the Court's unprecedented readiness to reach such a conclusion, which I can only attribute to an intellectual predisposition created by the facts and the legend of Scopes v. State, 154 Tenn. 105, 289 S. W. 363 (1927) -- an instinctive reaction that any governmentally imposed requirements bearing upon the teaching of evolution must be a manifestation of Christian fundamentalist repression. In this case, however, it seems to me the Court's position is the repressive one. The people of Louisiana, including those who are Christian fundamentalists, are quite entitled, as a secular matter, to have whatever scientific evidence there may be against evolution presented in their schools, just as Mr. Scopes was entitled to present whatever scientific evidence there was for it. Perhaps what the Louisiana Legislature has done is unconstitutional because there is no such evidence, and the scheme they have established will amount to no more than a presentation of the Book of Genesis. But we cannot say that on the evidence before us in this summary judgment context, which includes ample uncontradicted testimony that "creation science" is a body of scientific knowledge rather than revealed belief. Infinitely less can we say (or should we say) that the scientific evidence for evolution is so conclusive that no one could be gullible enough to believe that there is any real scientific evidence to the contrary, so that the legislation's stated purpose must be a lie. Yet that illiberal judgment, that Scopes-in-reverse, is ultimately the basis on which the Court's facile rejection of the Louisiana Legislature's purpose must rest." (Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 594 (1987). Dissenting Opinion by Justice Scalia joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist) 10/03/2005 "So far, I have been somewhat cavalier in the use of the term information. Computer scientists draw a distinction between syntax and semantics. Syntactic information is simply raw data, perhaps arranged according to rules of grammar, whereas semantic information has some sort of context or meaning. Information per se doesn't have to mean anything. Snowflakes contain syntactic information in the specific arrangement of their hexagonal shapes, but these patterns have no semantic content, no meaning for anything beyond the structure itself. By contrast, the distinctive feature of biological information is that it is replete with meaning. DNA stores the instructions needed to build a functioning organism; it is a blueprint or an algorithm for a specified, predetermined product. Snowflakes don't code for, or symbolize anything, whereas genes most definitely do. To fully explain life, it is not enough to simply identify a source of free energy, or negative entropy, to provide biological information. We also have to understand how semantic information comes into being. It is the quality, not the mere existence, of information that is the real mystery here. All that stuff about conflict with the second law of thermodynamics was mostly a red herring." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood Vic, Australia, 1998, p.32. Emphasis original 10/03/2005 "When C.S. Lewis presented the argument from reason in his revised third chapter of Miracles, he claimed that what he called `strict materialism' could be refuted by a one-sentence argument that he quoted from J.B.S. Haldane: `If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.' [Lewis C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," Macmillan: New York, 1978, revised, p.15; quoting Haldane J.B.S., "Possible Worlds," ; Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick NJ,: 2001, reprint). However, Lewis maintains that naturalism involves the same difficulty, but he goes on for nine pages explaining why. I suspect that in Lewis's time the idea of nonreductive materialism was not as prevalent as it has since become, and that what passed as `materialism' was identified with strong forms of reductionism. However, here I will be defining materialism broadly, such that it will be very difficult for someone to argue that some form of nonmaterialist naturalism will escape the difficulties I advance for materialism." (Reppert, V.E.*, "C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: A Philosophical Defense of Lewis's Argument from Reason," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2003, pp.50-51) 10/03/2005 "Physicalism is self-refuting in much the same way that the example about knowledge is self-refuting. Assuming that theism is false and that a coherent notion of truth can be spelled out on physicalist assumptions (I have already argued against this latter assumption), physicalism could be true and the claim that it is true is not self- refuting. The world could have had nothing but matter in it. But if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence, then this claim is self-refuting. This is so because physicalism seems to deny the possibility of rationality. To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions. At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world. First, minds must have intentionality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world. Acts of inference are `insights into' or `knowings of' something other than themselves. Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people's minds and influencing their thought processes. This fact is hard to reconcile with physicalism. ... Third, it is not enough for there to be propositions or reasons which stand in logical and evidential relations with one another. One must be able to `see' or have rational insight into the flow of the argument and be influenced by this act of perception in forming one's beliefs. ... If physicalism is true, it is hard to make sense of this form of seeing. ... Fourth, in order for one to rationally think through a chain of reasoning such that one sees the inferential connections in the chain, one would have to be the same self present at the beginning of the thought process as the one present at the end. ... Physicalism has difficulty maintaining the existence of an enduring `I' and thus it has difficulty accounting for the need for such an `I' in the process of rational reflection. ... Finally, the activity of rational thought seems to require an agent view of the self ... If one is to be rational, one must be free to choose his beliefs based on reasons. One cannot be determined to react to stimuli by nonrational physical factors. If a belief is caused by entirely nonrational factors, it is not a belief that is embraced because it is reasonable. For a belief to be a rational one, I must be able to deliberate about whether or not I accept it, I must be free to choose it, and I must enter into the process as a genuine agent. ... In sum, it is self-refuting to argue that one ought to choose physicalism because he should see that the evidence is good for physicalism. Physicalism cannot be offered as a rational theory because physicalism does away with the necessary preconditions for there to be such a thing as rationality. Physicalism usually denies intentionality by reducing it to a physical relation of input/output, thereby denying that the mind is genuinely capable of having thoughts about the world. Physicalism denies the existence of propositions and nonphysical laws of logic and evidence which can be in minds and influence thinking. Physicalism denies the existence of a faculty capable of rational insight into these nonphysical laws and propositions, and it denies the existence of an enduring `I' which is present through the process of reflection. Finally, it denies the existence of a genuine agent who deliberates and chooses positions because they are rational, an act possible only if physical factors are not sufficient for determining future behavior." (Moreland, J. P.*, "Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, Ninth printing, pp.92-96. Emphasis original) 10/03/2005 "As mentioned earlier, scientists have often pictured their conflict with theology and philosophy as a steady advance, with field after field of knowledge brought under their sway, including in recent times much of human nature. On this view, morality is one of the few unconquered strongholds. Another is the capacity to apprehend truth, but Darwin's 'horrid doubt' as to whether the convictions of man's evolved mind could be trusted applies as much to abstract truth as to ethics; and 'evolutionary truth' is at least as suspect as evolutionary ethics. At this point, therefore, it would seem that the armies of science are in danger of destroying their own base. For the scientist must be able to trust the conclusions of his reasoning. Hence he cannot accept the theory that man's mind was evolved wholly by natural selection if this means, as it would appear to do, that the conclusions of the mind depend ultimately on their survival value and not their truth, thus making all scientific theories, including that of natural selection, untrustworthy. The appreciation of beauty, in both art and nature, raises similar, though less urgent, difficulties. From the scientific viewpoint, also, it is hard to see how free-will or individual responsibility for conduct could be other than illusory, and various scientists, including Freudians, have claimed that they are illusory. But while, formerly, the influence of hereditary, nurtural and economic factors on beliefs and conduct was underestimated, few if any people are prepared in practice to exclude the factor of individual responsibility, and nearly everyone regards it as the ultimate and decisive factor. Finally, there is the problem of man's self-awareness. It seems impossible to formulate this in scientific terms, and hence impossible to study its evolution. Yet it is not merely one part of human experience, but is central, and on it all the rest (including science). depends. These considerations suggest that an essential part of human experience and human nature lies outside the terms of reference of science." (Lack D., "Evolutionary Theory and Christian Belief: The Unresolved Conflict," Methuen & Co: London, 1957, pp.104-105) 10/03/2005 "Charles Darwin himself once said, `The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?' [Darwin, C., letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, in Darwin F., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters," 1892, Dover: New York., 1958] In other words, if my brain is no more than that of a superior monkey, I cannot even be sure that my own theory of my origin is to be trusted. Here is a curious case: If Darwin's naturalism is true, there is no way of even establishing its credibility let alone proving it. Confidence in logic is ruled out. Darwin's own theory of human origins must therefore be accepted by an act of faith. One must hold that a brain, a device that came to be through natural selection and chance- sponsored mutations, can actually know a proposition or set of propositions to be true. C.S. Lewis puts the case this way: `If all that exists is Nature, the great mindless interlocking event, if our own deepest convictions are merely the by-products of an irrational process, then clearly there is not the slightest ground for supposing that our sense of fitness and our consequent faith in uniformity tell us anything about a reality external to ourselves.Our convictions are simply a fact about us-like the colour of our hair. If Naturalism is true we have no reason to trust our conviction that Nature is uniform. [Lewis C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," , Fontana: London, 1960, Revised Edition, 1963, reprint, p.109] What we need for such certainty is the existence of some `Rational Spirit' outside both ourselves and nature from which our own rationality could derive. Theism assumes such a ground; naturalism does not." (Sire, J.W.*, "The Universe Next Door: A Basic World View Catalog," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1988, pp.94-95. Emphasis in original) 10/03/2005 "Needless to say, such a leap renders Singer's position hopelessly selfcontradictory. For the same Darwinian premise that undercuts morality by rendering all behavior merely survival strategies, also undercuts epistemology by rendering the ideas in our minds likewise merely survival strategies. As Richard Rorty has written, `keeping faith with Darwin' means understanding that the human species is not oriented `toward Truth,' but only `toward its own increased prosperity.' [Rorty R., "Untruth and Consequences." Review of "Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend," University of Chicago Press. The New Republic July 31,1995, pp.32-36, p.36] Truth claims are just tools to `help us get what we want.' Or as Patricia Churchland puts it, an improvement in an organism's cognitive faculties will be selected for only if it `enhances the organism's chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.' [Churchland P.S., "Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience," Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 84, October 1987, pp.544-553, p.549] Darwin himself wrestled repeatedly with the skeptical consequences of his theory. Just one example: `With me,' he wrote, `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.' [Darwin, C.R, letter to W. Graham, July 3rd, 1881, in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. I., 1959, reprint, p.285] (Significantly, Darwin always expressed this `horrid doubt' after admitting an insistent `inward conviction' that the universe is not the result of chance after all, but requires an intelligent Mind, a First Cause. In other words, he applied his skepticism selectively: when reason led to a theistic conclusion, he argued that evolution discredits reason. But since reason was also the means by which he constructed his own theory, he was cutting off the branch he was sitting on.)." (Pearcey N.R.*, "Singer in the Rain." Review of "A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation," by Peter Singer, Yale University Press, 2000. First Things, Vol. 106, October 2000, pp.57-63. http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0010/reviews/pearcey.html) 10/03/2005 "Materialist Theories of the Mind It is in the nature of explanation that one thing is explained in terms of something else that is assumed valid, and to explain the latter as nothing more than a product of the former is to create a logical circle. Yet naturalistic metaphysics is so seductive that eminent scientists and philosophers frequently do employ their own minds to attempt to prove that the mind is `nothing but' a product of physical forces and chemical reactions. One of these is Francis Crick, the biochemist who as codiscoverer of the structure of DNA is almost as famous as Hawking himself. In his later years Crick has been drawn to the problem of consciousness and he expressed his thoughts in the 1994 book The Astonishing Hypothesis. Here is how Crick states his own starting point: `The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules ... The hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people alive today that it can truly be called astonishing.' [Crick, F., "The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul," Scribner's, 1994, p.3]. Of course the hypothesis is not astonishing at all to anyone acquainted with the recent history of science, because neuroscientists in particular have long taken for granted that the mind is no more than a product of brain chemistry. As Crick says, what makes the hypothesis astonishing is that it conflicts with the commonsense picture of reality most people assume as they go about the business of making decisions, falling in love or even writing books advocating materialist reductionism. The conflict with common sense would become apparent if Crick had presented his hypothesis in the first-person singular. Imagine the reaction of his publisher if Crick had proposed to begin his book by announcing that `I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.' Few browsers would be likely to read further. The plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, pp.63-64. Emphasis original. Ellipses Johnson's) 10/03/2005 "The materialists are intimidating because they seem to have the logic of science on their side. The same materialists are frustrated, however, because so many people are perversely unwilling to accept conclusions that a reductionist science necessarily implies. As the famous Stanford biochemist Arthur Kornberg complained to a 1987 meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, it is astonishing `that otherwise intelligent and informed people, including physicians, are reluctant to believe that mind, as part of life, is matter and only matter.' [Kornberg A., "The Two Cultures: Chemistry and Biology," Annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Chicago, 1987. In Biochemistry, Vol. 26, 1987, pp.6888-6891] On Kornberg's own premises, however, his astonishment was unjustified. Presumably, one kind of chemical reaction in the brain causes Kornberg to accept materialist reductionism, while another kind of reaction causes those physicians to doubt it." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.65) 10/03/2005 "The contradiction between materialism and reality arises frequently in biology, but it is most inescapable when we consider the human mind. Are our thoughts "nothing but" the products of chemical reactions in the brain, and did our thinking abilities originate for no reason other than their utility in allowing our DNA to reproduce itself? Even scientific materialists have a hard time believing that. For one thing, materialism applied to the mind undermines the validity of all reasoning, including one's own. If our theories are the products of chemical reactions, how can we know whether our theories are true? Perhaps Richard Dawkins believes in Darwinism only because he has a certain chemical in his brain, and his belief could be changed by somehow inserting a different chemical." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1997, pp.81-82) 10/03/2005 "One final point about probabilistic resources is important here to note. In the observable universe, probabilistic resources come in very limited supplies. Within the known physical universe there are estimated around 10$80# elementary particles. Moreover, the properties of matter are such that transitions from one physical state to another cannot occur at a rate faster than 10$45# times per second. This frequency corresponds to the Planck time, which constitutes the smallest physically meaningful unit of time. Finally, the universe itself is about a billion times younger than 10$25# (assuming the universe is between ten and twenty billion years old). seconds assume that If we now any specification of an event within the known physical universe requires at least one elementary particle to specify it and cannot be generated any faster than the Planck time, then these cosmological constraints imply that the total number of specified events throughout cosmic history cannot exceed 10$80# x 10$45# x 10$25# = 10$150#. It follows that any specified event of probability less than 1 in 10$150# will remain improbable even after all conceivable probabilistic resources from the observable universe have been factored in. A probability of 1 in 10$150# is therefore a universal probability bound. A universal probability bound is impervious to all available probabilistic resources that may be brought against it. indeed, all the probabilistic resources in the known physical world cannot conspire to render remotely probable an event whose probability is less than this universal probability bound. The universal probability bound of 1 in 10$150# is the most conservative in the literature. The French mathematician Emile Borel proposed 1 in 10$50# as a universal probability bound below which chance could definitively be precluded (i.e., any specified event as improbable as this could never be attributed to chance). Cryptographers assess the security of cryptosystems in terms of a brute force attack that employs as many probabilistic resources as are available in the universe to break a cryptosystem by chance. In its report on the role of cryptography in securing the information society, the National Research Council set 1 in 10$94# as its universal probability bound to ensure the security of cryptosystems against chance-based attacks. As we shall see ... such levels of improbability are easily attained by real physical systems. It follows that if such systems are also specified, then they are designed." (Dembski W.A.*, "No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, 2002, pp.21-22. Emphasis original) 11/03/2005 "It seemed to me then (as it does now) that ` creation,' in the ordinary sense of the word, is perfectly conceivable: I find no difficulty in imagining that, at some former period, this universe was not in existence ; and that it made its appearance in six days (or instantaneously, if that is preferred), in consequence of the volition of some pre-existent Being. Then, as now, the so-called a priori arguments against Theism; and, given a Deity, against the possibility of creative acts, appeared to me to be devoid of reasonable foundation." (Huxley T.H., "On the Reception of the `Origin Of Species,'" in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. I., 1959, reprint, p.541) 13/03/2005 "Indeed, natural selection theory can be presented in the form of a deductive argument, for example: 1. All organisms must reproduce; 2. All organisms exhibit hereditary variations; 3. Hereditary variations differ in their effect on reproduction; 4. Therefore variations with favourable effects on reproduction will succeed, those with unfavourable effects will fail, and organisms will change. In this sense, natural selection is not a scientific theory, but a truism, something that is proven to be true, like one of Euclid's theorems: If statements 1-3 are true, so is statement 4. This argument shows that natural selection must occur, but it does not say that natural selection is the only cause of evolution, and when natural selection is generalized as the explanation of all evolutionary change, or of every feature of every organism, it becomes so all-embracing that it is in much the same class as Freudian psychology and astrology." (Patterson C., "Evolution," British Museum of Natural History: London, 1978, p.147) 13/03/2005 "To be sure, natural selection does not always eliminate. In some cases, it may act to increase or maintain genetic variation. The most common mode of maintenance is called `heterozygote advantage.' Suppose that a gene exists in two forms, a dominant A and a recessive a. In sexual species, each individual has two copies of the gene, one from each parent. Now suppose that the mixture, or socalled heterozygote Aa, has a selective advantage over either pure form, the double dominant AA, or the double recessive aa. In this case, selection will preserve both A and a by favoring the heterozygote Aa individuals. But even these modes of preservation have their limits, and many geneticists feel that populations still maintain too much variation for selective control. If they are right (and the issue remains under intense debate), then we must face the possibility that many genes remain in populations because selection cannot `see' them, and therefore cannot either mark them for elimination or remove other variants by favoring them. In other words, many genes may be neutral. They may be invisible to natural selection and their increase or decrease may be a result of chance alone. Since `change of gene frequencies in populations' is the `official' definition of evolution, randomness has transgressed Darwin's border and asserted itself as an agent of evolutionary change. (This process of random increase or decrease of frequency is called `genetic drift.' Contemporary Darwinism has always recognized drift, but has proclaimed it an infrequent and unimportant process, mostly confined to tiny populations with little chance of evolutionary persistence. The newer theory of neutralism suggests that many, if not most, genes in large populations owe their frequency primarily to random factors.)" (Gould S.J., "Chance Riches," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," , Penguin: London, 1984, reprint, p.335) 14/03/2005 "Naturalism is the view that the natural world is all there is and that there are no supernatural beings. Whatever takes place in the universe takes place through natural processes and not as the result of supernatural causation. The most popular kind of naturalism is known as materialism or physicalism. Materialism maintains that the basic substances of the physical world are pieces of matter, and physicalism maintains that those pieces of matter are properly understood by the discipline of physics. Some people have suggested that someone who believes in the existence of, say, propositions, which do not have any spatio-temporal location, would be a naturalist but not a materialist. For our purposes a worldview counts as naturalistic if it posits a causally closed `basic level of analysis,' and if all other levels have the characteristics they have in virtue of those the basic level has. " (Reppert V.E., "C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: A Philosophical Defense of Lewis's Argument from Reason," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2003, pp.46-47) 14/03/2005 "But although the logic seems inescapable, the importance of identifying the concept of relationship through descent from common ancestors as hypothesis is immediately obvious once one makes a statement like: `fish gave rise to amphibians.' How can one show that such a statement is correct or false, which is a scientifically reasonable thing to want to do? Although `finding ancestors' is the traditional paleontologists' `proof,' such `historical events' cannot be tested by assembling nice series of fossils without discontinuities, because the evolutionary hypothesis is superficially so powerful that any reasonably graded series of forms can be thought to have legitimacy. In fact, there is circularity in the approach that first assumes some sort of evolutionary relatedness and then assembles a pattern of relations from which to argue that relatedness must be true. This interplay of data and interpretation is the Achilles' heel of the second meaning of evolution. The weakness exists because one is attempting to combine two different sorts of hypothesis-one about pattern and one about process. In order to break the circularity, a technique first has to be found to study relationship in the sense of pattern only." (Thomson, K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, September-October 1982, pp.529-531, pp.529-530) 15/03/2005 "Of all planets beyond the Earth, Mars is by far the best known. It has been poked, prodded, examined, and measured by a variety of Earth- and space-borne instruments, including those many that have successfully and unsuccessfully either landed or crashed on its surface. A wealth of data now suggests that early in its history, while our Earth was still a chaotic and uninhabitable world, Mars may have been a benign world, of equable temperatures and almost planet-spanning oceans. It may as well have been a world with an atmosphere that included oxygen. All of these factors lead to an inescapable conclusion-that the early Martian conditions would have been favorable for the development of life. Some scientists have even suggested that life arose on Mars, and was then transported to Earth-indeed, that all life on our planet has a Martian origin, transported to Earth as microbial spores amid small meteors blasted off of the Martian surface and later impacting the Earth-just as the famous Allen Hills meteorite did. For several hundred million years or more these benign conditions may have lasted. ... Yet even if life did attain such a rapid rise in complexity on Mars, it did not last, for Mars as an environment for life died quickly. Even as bacteria on Earth were readying for the rush to higher grades of life, Mars was dying or was already long dead-if life ever originated there at all. On Mars, the oceans seeped back into the planet or were lost to space, the oxygen in the atmosphere bound itself to rocks, and life died out." (Ward, P.D. & Brownlee, D.C., "The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World," , Piatkus: London, 2003, pp.190-191) 15/03/2005 "The snake plays too large a part in the drama of Genesis 3 ...The curse that is specifically pronounced upon him, and the announcement of his future destruction by the woman's seed prove, on the contrary, that he is one of the principal protagonists in the story. It is impossible to refrain from asking oneself the question: Who is the snake? Everything concerning the serpent can be read in a `naive' manner. The story as a whole retains its coherence. He is an animal that is more cunning than the others, and that uses his animal cunning to deceive the woman. He speaks completely naturally. He will be punished by being made to crawl, whether he previously had legs of which he will be deprived, or whether the judgment confirms an original humiliation. Between the human race and the snake, enmity will be unwavering. Women do not like snakes, men crush their heads, but snakes give as good as they get. Such a reading, which is simply `literal', is possible, but it carries us into the world of legends and popular fables. In the style of folk stories, it is the snake with which we are concerned, just as in Jotham's fable the fig tree and the vine speak (Jdg. 9:8ff.). Does the writer share the naivety of this language, or does he adopt it for figurative purposes? What we have seen of the writer's approach and his treatment of the two trees make it almost certain that he does not speak literally. He makes several wordplays about the snake. We have already mentioned `arom`arum- 'arur ['naked,' 2:25; `cunning,' 3:1 & `cursed,' 3:14. See p.36].. To this we can add nahas (snake) and nasa (deceive), and undoubtedly nahas is intended to suggest the other use of the same root (nahas) for magic and divination.'" (Blocher, H.*, "In The Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis," , InterVarsity Press: Leicester UK, 1984, pp.150-151. Emphasis original). 15/03/2005 "The language of 3:15 also appears ambivalent. It attributes to the snake a length of life that is foreign to the animal kingdom, when it announces its final defeat - the snake's own personal defeat, not that of its descendants after many generations of the human race. The writer unquestionably has in mind another figure, behind that of the snake. The book of Revelation, which once again corresponds to Genesis, gives us the key. On two occasions it explains, `the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan' (Rev. 20:2; cf. 12:9). The apostle Paul had earlier made the same identification when he feared that the thoughts of the Corinthians might be corrupted by the snake (note yet again the definite article). The continuation of his exhortation shows that he is apprehensive of the wiles of Satan (2 Cor. 11:3,14; cf. 2:11). Jesus himself had pictured the defeat of Satan as treading upon snakes (Lk. 10:18f). This is probably an echo of Genesis, as is the reference to the devil as a murderer from the beginning and a liar Jn. 8:44). The Hellenistic book, the Wisdom of Solomon, prepares the way with its own interpretation: `through the devil's envy death entered the world' (Wisdom 2:24). In any case, Scripture itself leaves us in no doubt; the snake is the devil." (Blocher, H.*, "In The Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis," , InterVarsity Press: Leicester UK, 1984, p.151. Emphasis original). 15/03/2005 "Orthodox Christianity has never sought to cast doubt on the point. But in most cases, from Augustine to E. J. Young, it has defended a further proposition. According to this addition, the devil took possession of the body of a literal snake and used it in order to deceive the woman. In that case there are two creatures to distinguish in the account, the evil one and a snake that he used as his cover. Such a manifestation of Satanic possession would by no means be inconceivable to us. We must simply ask, does Scripture support the idea? In fact neither in Genesis nor anywhere else do we find the least suggestion in this direction. Nowhere is the role of the snake presented as that of a disguise or of an instrument; nowhere does the Bible indicate that the tempter was twofold. The silence of the texts is not the only difficulty in the theory. What they quite clearly state fits the theory badly. If the animal is only the devil's tool, why does the narrative insist on the animal cunning that it displays (3:1)? Why is the snake alone punished? Young himself recognizes: `the punishment which fell upon the serpent was really a symbol of the deeper punishment to strike the evil one '. Augustine had also detected a figure of speech, and Lagrange rightly responds: `But why not be consistent and recognize in the snake not the instrument, but a creature representing the devil?' He points out at the same time that it would be more in line with the book of Revelation, which does not say, `the ancient serpent, the instrument of the Devil'. By linking the dragon with `the ancient serpent', Revelation gives any confirmation that may be needed that it is showing how to interpret symbolic language. The dragon, that is to say Leviathan of Isaiah 27:1, the monstrous sea serpent, fleeing and twisting, better known to us today thanks to Ugaritic literature, was already in use as a symbol amongst the prophets. It represents the power of paganism rising up against the LORD and against his people. No-one imagines that the devil took possession of the body of a sea monster in order to deceive the nations! Revelation interprets the snake of Genesis 3 and the dragon from other passages in exactly the same way; thus it respects the laws of language which require a clear choice of the figurative meaning if it is necessary to depart from the literal. Learning from the approach of Revelation, we shall understand the information about the snake as a whole as extended symbolism; since the snake is the devil, we must transpose all that is said about the snake in terms that are suitable for the devil." (Blocher, H.*, "In The Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis," , InterVarsity Press: Leicester UK, 1984, pp.151-152. Emphasis original). 15/03/2005 "Bright granted that researchers had uncovered clear evidence of flooding in Mesopotamia, at Ur and Kish as well as Fara and Nineveh. Archeologists had produced unquestionable evidence that a deluge had interrupted occupation at Ur during the fourth millennium, for example - but that flood had not even disturbed the entire city, much less the whole region. Further analysis of deposits at Kish led to the conclusion that they were centuries younger than deposits at Ur. The sediments at Fara indicated an inundation earlier than the one at Kish but later than the one at Ur. Nineveh's flooding may have been temporally close to that of Ur. Bright concluded that none of these represented the flood of Genesis. Even at Ur the deposits before and after the flood indicated the same general civilization. Bright concluded that the Mesopotamian flood strata simply represented local inundations of the type that still occur from time to time. `Either Mesopotamian archeology has yielded no trace of Noah's Flood,' he wrote, `or else the Genesis narrative is but an exaggeration of a flood of purely local significance.' [Bright J., "Has Archaeology Found Evidence of the Flood?" Biblical Archeologist, Vol. 5, 1942, p58] The latter alternative was difficult for him to accept because he believed that the flood tradition had been widely diffused. On the other hand, any proposal to date the flood in the fourth millennium B.C. ruled out the possibility that it could have been dispersed globally in light of the developing consensus that early settlement of the Western Hemisphere via the Bering Strait probably took place over a long period of time prior to 5000 B.C. Since archeology had provided no traces of the flood that Bright found convincing, he felt safe in assigning it a date far back in the Stone Age; he was unwilling to view the flood narrative as pure myth." (Young D.A.*, "The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabiblical Evidence," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1995, p.220) 16/03/2005 "In 1857 Philip Henry Gosse published Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot. Gosse was a man learned in natural history and not a simpleton nor an arm-chair speculator. He argued that Nature is a circular process and therefore that creation must commence somewhere in the cycle. A building may be commenced from scratch at the foundation but buildings do not have a cyclical existence. You cannot create an organism from scratch. Because all organic life exists as a cycle, creation must start somewhere in the cycle, and hence the created life would appear as if it had already gone through the cycle up to the point where it was created. Gosse lists as his two fundamental theses that (i) all organic life moves in a cycle, and (ii) creation is a violent irruption into the cycle of Nature. He asks what creation is and answers his own question: '[Creation] is the sudden bursting into a circle. Since there is no one state in the course of existence, which more than any other affords natural commencing point, whatever stage selected by the arbitrary will of God, must be an unnatural, or rather a preter-natural, commencing point.' [Gosse P.H., "Omphalos: An attempt to Untie the Geological Knot," London, 1857, p.123] Omphalos is the Greek word for navel. Did Adam have a navel? Of course he did, argues Gosse. He was created at a given point of the circle of life and therefore was created as if he had gone through the entire cycle. If God created a tree, it would have rings in it. God could create a tree only at a point in its natural cycle. Every object of creation has two times. That which is before time or instantaneous in coming into existence is pro-chronic. That which consumes time is dia-chronic. All processes during the course of the world since its creation are dia- chronic. All things at the moment of creation were pro-chronic. Gosse also uses the terms real time and ideal time. At the moment of creation Adam's real time was zero- actually he did not exist till the moment of creation. His ideal time was, say for purposes of illustration, thirty years old. A tree in the garden of Eden would appear fifty years old (its ideal age) whereas it had just been created (its real time)." (Ramm B.L.*, "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," Paternoster: Exeter, Devon UK, 1955, p.133). 16/03/2005 "Two hundred years after Hooke's Micrographia, in an effort to plug the dyke before evolutionism flooded the intellectual landscape, Philip Henry Gosse produced the mother of all ad hoc reasoning in his book Omphalos (1857). Greek for `the navel,' the book's title was a reference to the old conundrum-did Adam have a navel? Gosse's answer was, yes; God created an Adam with a navel, and He created all the fossils of creatures that had never lived and the whole complex structure of the earth as we know it. He created trees with internal rings attesting to growth that had not occurred, rock strata that had never been laid down and streams with their sediment load from hills that had not been eroded. All the apparent evidence of a changing ancient earth was simply another part of God's bounteous creation. While this is almost an unbeatable argument-after all, how can you prove it to be false?-it is also nonsense: That which explains everything, explains nothing." (Thomson K.S., "Hooke, Fossils and the Anti-Evolutionists," American Scientist, May-June 2003. http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/18933) 16/03/2005 "One of the early antievolutionists, P.H. Gosse, published a book entitled Omphalos ('the Navel'). The gist of this amazing book is that Adam, though he had no mother, was created with a navel, and that fossils were placed by the Creator where we find them now-a deliberate act on His part, to give the appearance of great antiquity and geologic upheavals. It is easy to see the fatal flaw in all such notions. They are blasphemies, accusing God of absurd deceitfulness: This is as revolting as it is uncalled for." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution," in Zetterberg J.P., ed., "Evolution Versus Creationism: The Public Education Controversy," Oryx Press: Phoenix AZ, 1983, pp.19-20. http://www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml) 16/03/2005 "Before turning to the serious business of theistic evolution, we should take time out for something in a lighter vein. It is from the pen of one hilip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), an experimental zoologist who was a contemporary of Charles Darwin, with whom he was personally acquainted and exchanged correspondence during the 1850s (Morowitz, 1982, p. 20). As a lay preacher for a Protestant sect with extreme fundamentalist views (The Plymouth Brethren), Gosse was obsessed with the need to reinforce the biblical doctrine of special creation against the rising mountain of geologic evidence favoring transmutation and a continuous evolutionary tree of life. In a book bearing the title Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot (1857), Gosse successfully defended the Creator's entire Creation from all possible attack, rendering it completely invulnerable to any and every objection that might be brought against it. And how did he do this? Omphalos describes a stone of religious significance, shaped in the form of a navel; it was used in cultist rites in religious practices of the Greeks and Romans. The Greek word means "navel" or "umbilicus." The omphalos residing in the Temple of Delphi was the most famous of all: it represented the center of the earth. But it was another navel--Adam's navel in particular--that raised embarrassing questions for the fundamentalists from the first time it was seen--seen, that is, in the eyes of religious artists. As all of you know, Michelangelo's Creation-of-Adam scene on the Sistine Chapel ceiling shows a half-reclining Adam, in the buff and displaying a magnificent umbilicus, no doubt about it. If Adam was created from scratch, out of nothing, how come he had a navel? The longstanding argument of theologians was that Adam had a navel because God wanted him to look as if he had developed in utero, like all other humans (except Eve) to follow. Eve is also shown with a navel, as for example in the expulsion scene as rendered by Jacopo della Quercia (ca. 1425) and Masaccio (ca. 1427). In the navel-art competition, consider also Jan van Eyck's rendition of both Adam and Eve in the Ghent Altarpiece (ca. 1430). It was a good decade for navels! Martin Gardner develops this idea further: `This is not as ridiculous as it may seem at first. Consider, for example, the difficulties which face any believer in a six-day creation. Although it is possible to imagine Adam with a navel, it is difficult to imagine him without bones, hair, teeth, and fingernails. Yet all these features bear in them the evidence of past accretions of growth. In fact there is not an organ or tissue of the body which does not presuppose a previous growth history.' ([Gardner M., "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science," Dover: New York NY], 1957, p.125) The number of examples is as great as the objects in nature that reveal growth or change through time. A stately tree in the Garden of Eden must have shown numerous annual growth rings appropriate to its species and the prevailing climate, all emplaced in the trunk at the instant of its creation. We can suppose (as Gosse did) that Adam had partially digested food and its residue in his alimentary canal, food that he had never eaten. With impeccable logic, Gosse carried his principle to its logical conclusion: The Creator created everything in the universe to look as if it had an antecedent existence that flowed smoothly into the time stream of the new universe. Fossils, for example, were created in place in rock strata, designed to look as if they were once living forms, which they never were. The Creator thus built into the universe a complete line of things that never were." (Strahler A.N., "Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy," , Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1999, Second edition, pp.80-81) 16/03/2005 'THE AMPLE FIG LEAF served our artistic forefathers well as a botanical shield against indecent exposure for Adam and Eve, our naked parents in the primeval bliss and innocence of Eden. Yet, in many ancient paintings, foliage hides more than Adam's genitalia; a wandering vine covers his navel as well. If modesty enjoined the genital shroud, a very different motive mystery-placed a plant over his belly. In a theological debate more portentous than the old argument about angels on pinpoints, many earnest people of faith had wondered whether Adam had a navel. He was, after all, not born of a woman and required no remnant of his nonexistent umbilical cord. Yet, in creating a prototype, would not God make his first man like all the rest to follow? Would God, in other words, not create with the appearance of preexistence? In the absence of definite guidance to resolve this vexatious issue, and not wishing to incur anyone's wrath, many painters literally hedged and covered Adam's belly. A few centuries later, as the nascent science of geology gathered evidence for the earth's enormous antiquity, some advocates of biblical literalism revived this old argument for our entire planet. The strata and their entombed fossils surely seem to represent a sequential record of countless years, but wouldn't God create his earth with the appearance of preexistence? Why should we not believe that he created strata and fossils to give modern life a harmonious order by granting it a sensible (if illusory) past? As God provided Adam with a navel to stress continuity with future men, so too did he endow a pristine world with the appearance of an ordered history. Thus, the earth might be but a few thousand years old, as Genesis literally affirmed, and still record an apparent tale of untold eons. This argument, so often cited as a premier example of reason at its most perfectly and preciously ridiculous, was most seriously and comprehensively set forth by the British naturalist Philip Henry Gosse in 1857. Gosse paid proper homage to historical context in choosing a title for his volume. He named it Omphalos (Greek for navel), in Adam's honor, and added as a subtitle: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot. Since Omphalos is such spectacular nonsense, readers may rightly ask why I choose to discuss it at all. I do so, first of all, because its author was such a serious and fascinating man, not a hopeless crank or malcontent. Any honest passion merits our attention, if only for the oldest of stated reasons-Terence's celebrated Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am human, and am therefore indifferent to nothing done by humans). Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888) was the David Attenborough of his day, Britain's finest popular narrator of nature's fascination. He wrote a dozen books on plants and animals, lectured widely to popular audiences, and published several technical papers on marine invertebrates. He was also, in an age given to strong religious feeling as a mode for expressing human passions denied vent elsewhere, an extreme and committed fundamentalist of the Plymouth Brethren sect. Although his History of the British Sea-Anemones and other assorted ramblings in natural history are no longer read, Gosse retains some notoriety as the elder figure in that classical work of late Victorian self- analysis and personal expose, his son Edmund's wonderful account of a young boy's struggle against a crushing-religious extremism imposed by a caring and beloved parent- Father and Son. My second reason for considering Omphalos invokes the ese essays about nature's small oddities: Exceptions do prove rules (prove, that is, in the sense of probe or test, not affirm). If you want to understand what ordinary folks do, one thoughtful deviant will teach you more than ten thousand solid citizens. When we grasp why Omphalos is so unacceptable (and not, by the way, for the reason usually cited), we will understand better how science and useful logic proceed. In any case, as an exercise in the anthropology of knowledge, Omphalos has no parallel-for its surpassing strangeness arose in the mind of a stolid Englishman, whose general character and cultural setting we can grasp as akin to our own, while the exotic systems of alien cultures are terra incognita both for their content and their context. To understand Omphalos, we must begin with a paradox. The argument that strata and fossils were created all at once with the earth, and only present an illusion of elapsed time might be easier to appreciate if its author had been an urban armchair theologian with no feeling or affection for nature's works. But how could a keen naturalist, who had spent days nay months, on geological excursions, and who had studied fossils hour after hour, learning their distinctions and memorizing their names, possibly be content with the prospect that these objects of his devoted attention had never existed-were, indeed, a kind of grand joke perpetrated upon us by the Lord of All? Philip Henry Gosse was the finest descriptive naturalist of his day. His son wrote: `As a collector of facts and marshaller of observations, he had not a rival in that age.' The problem lies with the usual caricature of Omphalos as an argument that God, in fashioning the earth, had consciously and elaborately lied either to test our faith or simply to indulge in some inscrutable fit of arcane humor. Gosse, so fiercely committed both to his fossils and his God, advanced an opposing interpretation that commanded us to study geology with diligence and to respect all its facts even though they had no existence in real time. When we understand why a dedicated empiricist could embrace the argument of Omphalos ('creation with the appearance of preexistence'), only then can we understand its deeper fallacies. Gosse began his argument with a central, but dubious, premise: All natural processes, he declared, move endlessly round in a circle: egg to chicken to egg, oak to acorn to oak. ... When God creates, and Gosse entertained not the slightest doubt that all species arose by divine fiat with no subsequent evolution, he must break (or `erupt,' as Gosse wrote) somewhere into this ideal circle. Wherever God enters the circle (or `places his wafer of creation,' as Gosse stated in metaphor), his initial product must bear traces of previous stages in the circle, even if these stages had no existence in real time. If God chooses to create humans as adults, their hair and nails (not to mention their navels) testify to previous growth that never occurred. Even if he decides to create us as a simple fertilized ovum, this initial form implies a phantom mother's womb and two nonexistent parents to pass along the fruit of inheritance. .... Gosse then invented a terminology to contrast the two parts of a circle before and after an act of creation. He labeled as `prochronic,' or occurring outside of time, those appearances of preexistence actually fashioned by God at the moment of creation but seeming to mark earlier stages in the circle of life. Subsequent events occurring after creation, and unfolding in conventional time, he called `diachronic.' Adam's navel was prochronic, the 930 years of his earthly life diachronic. Gosse devoted more than 300 pages, some 90 percent of his text, to a simple list of examples for the following small part of his complete argument-if species arise by sudden creation at any point in their life cycle, their initial form must present illusory (prochronic) appearances of preexistence. Let me choose just one among his numerous illustrations, both to characterize his style of argument and to present his gloriously purple prose. If God created vertebrates as adults, Gosse claimed, their teeth imply a prochronic past in patterns of wear and replacement. ...I find this part of Gosse's argument quite satisfactory as a solution, within the boundaries of his assumptions, to that classical dilemma of reasoning (comparable in importance to angels on pinpoints and Adam's navel): `Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Gosse's answer: "Either, at God's pleasure, with prochronic traces of the other." But arguments are only as good as their premises, and Gosse's inspired nonsense fails because an alternative assumption now accepted as undoubtedly correct, renders the question irrelevant-namely, evolution itself. Gosse's circles do not spin around eternally; each life cycle traces an ancestry back to inorganic chemicals in a primeval ocean. If organisms arose by acts of creation ab nihilo, then Gosse's argument about prochronic traces must be respected. But if organisms evolved to their current state, Omphalos collapses to massive irrelevance. Gosse understood this threat perfectly well and chose to meet it by abrupt dismissal. Evolution, he allowed, discredited his system, but only a fool could accept such patent nonsense and idolatry (Gosse wrote Omphalos two years before Darwin published the Origin of Species). .... But Gosse then faced a second and larger difficulty: The prochronic argument may work for organisms and their life cycles, but how can it be applied to the entire earth and its fossil record-for Gosse intended Omphalos as a treatise to reconcile the earth with biblical chronology, `an attempt to untie the geological knot.' His statements about prochronic parts in organisms are only meant as collateral support for the primary geological argument. And Gosse's geological claim fails precisely because it rests upon such dubious analogy with what he recognized (since he gave it so much more space) as a much stronger argument about modern organisms. Gosse tried valiantly to advance for the entire earth the same two premises that made his prochronic argument work for organisms. But an unwilling world rebelled against such forced reasoning and Omphalos collapsed under its own weight of illogic. Gosse first tried to argue that all geological processes, like organic life cycles, move in circles: ... But Gosse could never document any inevitable geological cyclicity, and his argument drowned in a sea of rhetoric and biblical allusion from Ecclesiastes: `All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full. Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.' Secondly, to make fossils prochronic, Gosse had to establish an analogy so riddled with holes that it would make the most ardent mental tester shudder - embryo is to adult as fossil is to modern organism. One might admit that chickens require previous eggs, but why should a modern reptile (especially for an antievolutionist like Gosse) be necessarily linked to a previous dinosaur as part of a cosmic cycle? A python surely does not imply the ineluctable entombment of an illusory Triceratops into prochronic strata. With this epitome of Gosse's argument, we can resolve the paradox posed at the outset. Gosse could accept strata and fossils as illusory and still advocate their study because he did not regard the prochronic part of a cycle as any less `true' or informative than its conventional diachronic segment. God decreed two kinds of existence-one constructed all at once with the appearance of elapsed time, the other progressing sequentially. Both dovetail harmoniously to form uninterrupted circles that, in their order and majesty, give us insight into God's thoughts and plans. The prochronic part is neither a joke nor a test of faith; it represents God's obedience to his own logic, given his decision to order creation in circles. As thoughts in God's mind, solidified in stone by creation ab nihilo, strata and fossils are just as true as if they recorded the products of conventional time. A geologist should study them with as much care and zeal, for we learn God's ways from both his prochronic and his diachronic objects. The geological time scale is no more meaningful as a yardstick than as a map of God's thoughts. ... Thus, Gosse offered Omphalos to practicing scientists as a helpful resolution of potential religious conflicts, not a challenge to their procedures or the relevance of their information." (Gould, S.J., "Adam's Navel," in "The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.99-103, 106-109) 16/03/2005 "His son Edmund wrote of the great hopes that Gosse held for Omphalos: `Never was a book cast upon the waters with greater anticipations of success than was this curious, this obstinate, this fanatical volume. My father lived in a fever of suspense, waiting for the tremendous issue. This `Omphalos' of his, he thought, was to bring all the turmoil of scientific speculation to a close, fling geology into the arms of Scripture, and make the lion eat grass with the lamb.' Yet readers greeted Omphalos with disbelief, ridicule, or worse, stunned silence. Edmund Gosse continued: `He offered it, with a glowing gesture, to atheists and Christians alike. This was to be the universal panacea; this the system of intellectual therapeutics which could not but heal all the maladies of the age. But, alas! atheists and Christians alike looked at it and laughed, and threw it away.' [Gosse E., `Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments,' (1967), Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, 1984, reprint, p.105] Although Gosse reconciled himself to a God who would create such a minutely detailed, illusory past, this notion was anathema to most of his countrymen. The British are a practical, empirical people, `a nation of shopkeepers' in Adam Smith's famous phrase; they tend to respect the facts of nature at face value and rarely favor the complex systems of nonobvious interpretation so popular in much of continental thought. Prochronism was simply too much to swallow. The Reverend Charles Kingsley, an intellectual leader of unquestionable devotion to both God and science, spoke for a consensus in stating that he could not `give up the painful and slow conclusion of five and twenty years' study of geology, and believe that God has written on the rocks one enormous and superfluous lie.' And so it has gone for the argument of Omphalos ever since. Gosse did not invent it, and a few creationists ever since have revived it from time to time. But it has never been welcome or popular because it violates our intuitive notion of divine benevolence as free of devious behavior- for while Gosse saw divine brilliance in the idea of prochronism, most people cannot shuck their seat-of-the-pants feeling that it smacks of plain old unfairness. Our modern American creationists reject it vehemently as imputing a dubious moral character to God and opt instead for the even more ridiculous notion that our miles of fossiliferous strata are all products of Noah's flood and can therefore be telescoped into the literal time scale of Genesis." (Gould, S.J., "Adam's Navel," in "The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.110-111) 16/03/2005 "But what is so desperately wrong with Omphalos? Only this really (and perhaps paradoxically): that we can devise no way to find out whether it is wrong-or, for that matter, right. Omphalos is the classical example of an utterly untestable notion, for the world will look exactly the same in all its intricate detail whether fossils and strata are prochronic or products of an extended history. When we realize that Omphalos must be rejected for this methodological absurdity, not for any demonstrated factual inaccuracy, then we will understand science as a way of knowing, and Omphalos will serve its purpose as an intellectual foil or prod. Science is a procedure for testing and rejecting hypotheses, not a compendium of certain knowledge. Claims that can be proved incorrect lie within its domain (as false statements to be sure, but as proposals that meet the primary methodological criterion of testability). But theories that cannot be tested in principle are not part of science. Science is doing, not clever cogitation; we reject Omphalos as useless, not wrong. Gosse's deep error lay in his failure to appreciate this essential character of scientific reasoning. He hammered his own coffin nails by continually emphasizing that Omphalos made no practical difference- that the world would look exactly the same with a prochronic or diachronic past. (Gosse thought that this admission would make his argument acceptable to conventional geologists; he never realized that it could only lead them to reject his entire scheme as irrelevant.) `I do not know,' he wrote, `that a single conclusion, now accepted, would need to be given up, except that of actual chronology.' Gosse emphasized that we cannot know where God placed his wafer of creation into the cosmic circle because prochronic objects, created ab nihilo, look exactly like diachronic products of actual time. To those who argued that coprolites (fossil excrement) prove the existence of active, feeding animals in a real geological past, Gosse replied that as God would create adults with feces in their intestines, so too would he place petrified turds into his created strata. (I am not making up this example for comic effect; you will find it on page 353 of Omphalos.) Thus, with these words, Gosse sealed his fate and placed himself outside the pale of science: `Now, again I repeat, there is no imaginable difference to sense between the prochronic and the diachronic development. Every argument by which the physiologist can prove to demonstration that yonder cow was once a foetus in the uterus of its dam, will apply with exactly the same power to show that the newly created cow was an embryo, some years before its creation... . There is, and can be, nothing in the phenomena to indicate a commencement there, any more than anywhere else, or indeed, anywhere at all. The commencement, as a fact, I must learn from testimony; I have no means whatever of inferring it from phenomena. Gosse was emotionally crushed by the failure of Omphalos. During the long winter evenings of his discontent, in the January cold of 1858, he sat by the fire with his eight-year- old son, trying to ward off bitter thoughts by discussing the grisly details of past and current murders. Young Edmund heard of Mrs. Manning, who buried her victim in quicklime and was hanged in black satin; of Burke and Hare, the Scottish ghouls; and of the `carpetbag mystery,' a sackful of neatly butchered human parts hung from a pier on Waterloo Bridge. This may not have been the most appropriate subject for an impressionable lad (Edmund was, by his own memory, `nearly frozen into stone with horror'), yet I take some comfort in the thought that Philip Henry Gosse, smitten with the pain of rejection for his untestable theory, could take refuge in something so unambiguously factual, so utterly concrete." (Gould, S.J., "Adam's Navel," in "The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991 reprint, pp.109-110) 16/03/2005 "Naturalism. Philosophical or metaphysical naturalism refers to the view that nature is the `whole show.' There is no supernatural realm and/or intervention in the world ... In the strict sense, all forms of nontheisms are naturalistic, including atheism, pantheism, deism, and agnosticism. However, some theists ... especially scientists, hold a form of methodological naturalism. That is, while acknowledging the existence of God and the possibility of miracles, they employ a method of approaching the natural world that does not admit of miracles .... This is true of many theistic evolutionists ... They insist that to admit miracles in nature to explain the unique or anomalous is to invoke `the God of the gaps.' In this sense they are bedfellows with the anti-supernaturalists, who deny miracles on the grounds that they are contrary to the scientific method. Forms of Metaphysical Naturalism. Metaphysical naturalists are of two basic kinds: materialists and pantheists. The materialist reduces all to matter ... and the pantheist reduces all to mind or spirit. Both deny that any supernatural realm intervenes in the natural world. They differ chiefly about whether the natural world is composed ultimately of matter or of mind (spirit). Those who hold the latter often admit the possibility of supernormal events by tapping into this invisible spiritual Force ... However, these are not supernatural events in the theistic sense of a supernatural being intervening in the natural world he created. Bases for Naturalism. Metaphysical naturalists reject miracles outright. They vary only in the basis for their criticism of the supernatural. Benedict Spinoza believed miracles are impossible because they are irrational. David Hume claimed that miracles are incredible. Rudolph Bultmann held that miracles are unhistorical and mythical ... Based on the unrepeatability of the miraculous, Antony Flew argued that miracles are unidentifiable. Emmanuel Kant contended that miracles are not essential to religion. All of these allegations have been carefully fully analyzed and found to be without foundation ..." (Geisler N.L.*, "Naturalism," in "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics", Baker Books: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, pp.521-522) 17/03/2005 "Theistic evolution is not easy to define, but it involves making an effort to maintain that the natural world is God-governed while avoiding disagreement with the Darwinist establishment on scientific matters. Because the Darwinists have become increasingly explicit about the religious and philosophical implications of their system, this strategy led the theism in the ASA's [American Scientific Affiliation's] evolution to come under ever greater pressure. Compatibilism has its limits, however, and some ASA leaders were prodded into action by the strong naturalistic bias of the National Academy's 1984 pamphlet, which tried to give the public the impression that science has all the major problems of evolution well in hand. With foundation support, the ASA produced its own 48- page illustrated booklet, titled Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy: A View from the American Scientific Affiliation, and mailed it to thousands of school teachers. The general tenor of the booklet was to encourage open-mindedness, especially on such `open questions' as whether life really arose by chance, how the first animals could have evolved in the Cambrian explosion, and how human intelligence and upright posture evolved. The ASA members who wrote Teaching Science naively expected that most scientists would welcome their contribution as a corrective to the overconfidence that evolutionary science tends to project when it is trying to persuade the public not to entertain any doubts. The official scientific organizations, however, are at war with creationism, and their policy is to demand unconditional surrender. Persons who claim to be scientists, but who try to convince school teachers that there are `open questions' about the naturalistic understanding of the world, are traitors in that war. Retribution quickly followed. A California `science consultant' named William Bennetta, who makes a career of pursuing creationists, organized a posse of scientific heavyweights to condemn the ASA's pamphlet as `an attempt to replace science with a system of pseudoscience devoted to confirming Biblical narratives.' A journal called The Science Teacher published a collection of essays edited by Bennetta, titled `Scientists Decry a Slick New Packaging of Creationism.' Nine prominent scientists, including Gould, Futuyma, Eldredge, and Sarich, contributed heavy-handed condemnations of Teaching Science. The pervasive message was that the ASA is a deceitful creationist front which disguises its Biblical literalist agenda under a pretence of scientific objectivity. The accusations bewildered the authors of Teaching Science, and were so far off the mark that persons familiar with the ASA might easily have mistaken them for intentional misrepresentations. It would be a mistake to infer any intent to deceive, however, because really zealous scientific naturalists do not recognize subtle distinctions among theists. To the zealots, people who say they believe in God are either harmless sentimentalists who add some vague God-talk to a basically naturalistic worldview, or they are creationists. In either case they are fools, but in the latter case they are a menace. From a zealot's viewpoint, the ASA writers had provided ample evidence of a creationist purpose. Why would they harp on `open questions' except to imply that God might have taken a hand in the appearance of new forms? That suggestion is creationism by definition, and the ASA admits to being an organization of Christians who accept the authority of the Bible. Their true reason for rejecting scientific evolution must therefore be that it contradicts the Biblical narrative. What other reason could they have?" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, pp.129-130) 17/03/2005 "Physicalism as a worldview holds that everything that exists is nothing but a single spatio-temporal system which can be completely described in terms of some ideal form of physics. Matter/energy is all that exists. God, souls, and nonphysical abstract entities do not exist. ... But is physicalism adequate as a worldview? Several factors indicate that it is not. ... a number of people have argued that numbers exist and that they are abstract, nonphysical entities (e.g., sets, substances, or properties). Several arguments can be offered for the existence of numbers, but two appear frequently. For one thing, mathematics claims to give us knowledge But if this is so, there must be something that mathematics is about. Just as the biologist discovers biological truths about biological objects (organisms), so the mathematician often discovers mathematical truths (he does not invent them all the time) and these truths are about mathematical objects If one denies the existence of numbers, then it is hard to rescue mathematics as a field which conveys knowledge about something. Without numbers, mathematics becomes merely an internally consistent game which is invented." (Moreland J.P.*, "Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, Ninth Printing, pp.80-81) 17/03/2005 "A second argument is often given for holding to the existence of numbers. Scientific laws and theories seem to assert their existence. For example, a calcium ion has a positive charge of two which is expressed in the formula Ca+2. The number two here seems to be more than a mere formula for calculating relative amounts of compounds in laboratory reactions. Two expresses a property of the calcium ion itself. The property of twoness is just as much a real property of the charge of the calcium as the property of positiveness If one denies that numbers exist, it is hard to continue to maintain that science gives us a real description of the world rather than a set of operations that work in the laboratory. In sum, without numbers, mathematical and scientific knowledge is hard to maintain. But if numbers exit, physicalism as a worldview is false because numbers are not physical entities." (Moreland J.P.*, "Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, Ninth Printing, p.81) 18/03/2005 "It has been felt, however, that this picture of God being squeezed out of the picture by natural science contained powerful warnings for the modern theist engaged in either science or apologetics. Does God act directly in the cosmos in detectable ways? As natural science gave more and more convincing explanations for all natural phenomena once viewed as the sole preserve of the deity, thinking people came to have their doubts. Finally many became convinced that science had either explained the great underlying laws of nature or was very close to doing so. Divine action was confined only to the gaps in scientific knowledge. ... Every time science advanced, one more potential area of divine action was removed. Given past success in disposing of these gaps in the natural sciences, why not remove the God hypothesis altogether? This sort of reasoning was convincing to many late Victorians such as Thomas H. Huxley (1894) and is still found in popular antitheistic writings such as the work of the late Isaac Asimov. Religious thinkers have responded in at least four major ways. ... Recently a fourth response has become popular. Phillip E. Johnson labeled it "theistic realism" in Reason in the Balance (Johnson 1995). A group of thinkers who may have little or nothing to say about the putative harmony of Genesis and biology have suggested that modern science, when it is not viewed through the lens of naturalistic metaphysics, supports the idea of God's direct intervention in the natural world. Nonetheless they deny that they are guilty of the God-of-the-gaps argument. One of the seminal works in this new response to the religion and science question, The Creation Hypothesis, explicitly denies that it falls into the God-of-the-gaps problem. Philosopher J.P. Moreland describes the gaps argument and argues that theistic realism does not fall prey to this objection (Moreland 1994, 41-66). Moreland claims this new theistic science is safe for three reasons. First, it allows for divine action outside the gaps. It is not a form of soft deism, since it postulates God's continued sustaining activity in the cosmos. Second, the theistic scientist has reasons independent of naturalistic ignorance for invoking divine intelligence and a Designer. These reasons are philosophic and theological. Finally Moreland suggests theistic science functions best in historical as opposed to empirical science. Most commonly cited examples of the failure of theistic science, such as Newton, are from the latter, not the former (Moreland 1994, 59-60)." (Reynolds, J.M.*, "God of the Gaps Intelligent Design & Bad Apologetic Advice," in Dembski W.A., ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, pp.315-316) 18/03/2005 "But continuing unhappiness, justified this time, focuses upon claims that speciation causes significant morphological change, for no validation of such a position has emerged (while the frequency and efficacy of our original supporting notion, Mayr's "genetic revolution" in peripheral isolates, has been questioned) Moreover, reasonable arguments for potential change throughout the history of lineages have been advanced although the empirics of stasis throws the efficacy of such processes into doubt. The pattern of punctuated equilibrium exists (at predominant relative frequency, we would argue) and is robust. Eppur non si muove; but why then? For the association of morphological change with speciation remains as a major pattern in the fossil record. We believe that the solution to this dilemma may be provided in a brilliant but neglected suggestion of Futuyma [Futuyma D.J., "On the role of species in anagenesis," American Naturalist, Vol. 130, 1987, pp.465-473)] He holds that morphological change may accumulate anywhere along the geological trajectory of a species. But unless that change be `locked up' by acquisition of reproductive isolation (that is speciation), it cannot persist or accumulate and must be washed out during the complexity of interdigitation through time among varying populations of a species. Thus, species are not special because their origin permits a unique moment for instigating change, but because they provide the only mechanism for protecting change. Futuyma writes: `In the absence of reproductive isolation, differentiation is broken down by recombination. Given reproductive isolation, however, a species can retain its distinctive complex of characters as its spatial distribution changes along with that of its habitat or niche...Although speciation does not accelerate evolution within populations, it provides morphological changes with enough permanence to be registered in the fossil record. Thus, it is plausible to expect many evolutionary changes in the fossil record to be associated with speciation.' By an extension of the same argument, sequences of speciation are then required for trends: `Each step has had a more than ephemeral existence only because reproductive isolation prevented the slippage consequent on interbreeding other populations...Speciation may facilitate anagenesis by retaining, stepwise, the advances made in any one direction.' Futuyma's simple yet profound insight may help to heal the remaining rifts and integrate punctuated equilibrium into an evolutionary theory hierarchically enriched in its light" (Gould, S.J. & Eldredge N., "Punctuated Equilibrium Comes of Age," Nature, 18 November 1993, Vol 366, pp.223-227, pp.226-227. Ellipses in original) 18/03/2005 "Richard Dawkins compares the emergence of biological complexity to climbing a mountain--Mount Improbable, as he calls it. According to him, Mount Improbable always has a gradual serpentine path leading to the top that can be traversed in baby-steps. But that's hardly an empirical claim. Indeed, the claim is entirely gratuitous. It might be a fact about nature that Mount Improbable is sheer on all sides and getting to the top from the bottom via baby-steps is effectively impossible. A gap like that would reside in nature herself and not in our knowledge of nature (it would not, in other words, constitute a god-of-the-gaps). The problem is worse yet. For the Darwinian selection mechanism to connect point A to point B in configuration space, it is not enough that there merely exist a sequence of baby-steps connecting the two. In addition, each baby-step needs in some sense to be `successful.' In biological terms, each step requires an increase in fitness as measured in terms of survival and reproduction. Natural selection, after all, is the motive force behind each baby-step, and selection only selects what is advantageous to the organism. Thus, for the Darwinian mechanism to connect two organisms, there must be a sequence of successful baby-steps connecting the two. Again, it is not enough merely to presuppose this--it must be demonstrated. For instance, it is not enough to point out that some genes for the bacterial flagellum are the same as those for a type III secretory system (a type of pump) and then handwave that one was co-opted from the other. Anybody can arrange complex systems in a series. But such series do nothing to establish whether the end evolved in a Darwinian fashion from the beginning unless the probability of each step in the series can be quantified, the probability at each step turns out to be reasonably large, and each step constitutes an advantage to the organism (in particular, viability of the whole organism must at all times be preserved). Convinced that the Darwinian mechanism must be capable of doing such evolutionary design work, evolutionary biologists rarely ask whether such a sequence of successful baby-steps even exists; much less do they attempt to quantify the probabilities involved. I attempt that in chapter 5 of my most recent book No Free Lunch. There I lay out techniques for assessing the probabilistic hurdles that the Darwinian mechanism faces in trying to account for complex biological structures like the bacterial flagellum. The probabilities I calculate--and I try to be conservative--are horrendous and render natural selection entirely implausible as a mechanism for generating the flagellum and structures like it. If I'm right and the probabilities really are horrendous, then the bacterial flagellum exhibits specified complexity. Furthermore, if specified complexity is a reliable marker of intelligent agency, then systems like the bacterial flagellum bespeak intelligent design and are not solely the effect of material mechanisms." (Dembski W.A.*, "Does Evolution Even Have A Mechanism?," Address to the American Museum of Natural History, April 23, 2002. http://www.designinference.com/documents/04.02.AMNH_debate.htm) 19/03/2005 "Question: `Isn't it unethical for creationists, in order to support their arguments, to quote evolutionists out of context?' Answer: The often-repeated charge that creationists deliberately use partial quotes or out-of- context quotes from evolutionists is, at best, an attempt to confuse the issue. Creationists do, indeed, frequently quote from evolutionary literature, finding that the data and interpretations used by evolutionists often provide very effective arguments for creation. With only rare exceptions, however, creationists always are meticulously careful to quote accurately and in context. Evolutionists have apparently searched creationist writings looking for such exceptions and, out of the hundreds or thousands of quotes which have been used, have been able to find only two or three which they have been able to interpret as misleading. Even these, if carefully studied, in full light of their own contexts, will be found to be quite fair and accurate in their representation of the situation under discussion. On the other hand, evolutionists frequently quote creationist writings badly out of context. The most disconcerting practice of this sort, one that could hardly be anything but deliberate, is to quote a creationist exposition of a Biblical passage, in a book or article dealing with Biblical creationism, and then to criticize this as an example of the scientific creationism which creationists propose for the public schools. Another frequent example is that of citing creationist expositions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and charging them with ignoring the `open system' question, when they are specifically dealing in context with that very question. In any case, evolutionists much more frequently and more flagrantly quote creationists out of context than creationists do evolutionists." (Morris H.M. & Parker G.E.*, "What is Creation Science?," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Revised edition, 1987, p.304) 19/03/2005 "FOUR months ago, when the Kansas Board of Education voted to cut evolution from the mandatory science curriculum, few people were more outraged than Stephen Jay Gould. Teaching biology without evolution is `like teaching English but making grammar optional,' Gould said. The Kansas decision reeked of `absurdity' and `ignorance' and was a national embarrassment. The question of whether to teach evolution `only comes up in this crazy country,' he told an audience at the University of Kansas after the decision. All of this is more or less true. But it's also true that, over the years, Gould himself has lent real strength to the creationist movement. Not intentionally, of course. Gould's politics are secular left, the opposite of creationist politics, and his outrage toward creationists is genuine. Yet, in spite of this stance-and, oddly, in some ways because of it-he has wound up aiding and abetting their cause. This indictment of Gould will no doubt surprise his large reading public. After all, in addition to being America's unofficial evolutionist laureate, Gould is a scientist of sterling credentials-a Harvard paleontologist and, currently, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In what more capable hands could the defense of science rest? This indictment will also surprise many evolutionary biologists, but for different reasons. It isn't that they necessarily consider Gould a great scientist; a number of insiders take a quite different view. But they do generally think of him as a valiant warrior against the creationist hordes. The eminent British biologist John Maynard Smith has observed, `Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by nonbiologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists.' In truth, though, Gould is not helping the evolutionists against the creationists, and the sooner the evolutionists realize that the better. For, as Maynard Smith has noted, Gould `is giving nonbiologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory.' Over the past three decades, in essays, books, and technical papers, Gould has advanced a distinctive view of evolution. He stresses its flukier aspects-freak environmental catastrophes and the like- and downplays natural selection's power to design complex life forms. In fact, if you really pay attention to what he is saying, and accept it, you might start to wonder how evolution could have created anything as intricate as a human being. As it happens, creationists have been wondering the very same thing, and they're delighted to have a Harvard paleontologist who will nourish their doubts. Gould is a particular godsend to the more intellectual anti-evolutionists, who mount the sustained (and ostensibly secular) critiques that give creationism a veneer of legitimacy. In attacking Darwinian theory, they don't have to build a straw man; Gould has built one for them. When Phillip E. Johnson, the most noted of these writers, begins a sentence, `As Stephen Jay Gould describes it, in his fine book,' this is not good cause for Gould to swell with pride. Gould also performs a more subtle service for creationists. Having bolstered their caricature of Darwinism as implausible, he bolsters their caricature of it as an atheist plot. He depicts evolution as something that can't possibly reflect a higher purpose, and thus can't provide the sort of spiritual consolation most people are after. Even Gould's recent book `Rocks of Ages,' which claims to reconcile science and religion, draws this moral from the story of evolution: we live in a universe that is `indifferent to our suffering.'" (Wright R., "The Accidental Creationist: Why Stephen Jay Gould Is Bad For Evolution," The New Yorker, Dec. 13, 1999. http://www.nonzero.org/newyorker.htm) 19/03/2005 "On the other hand, the "proofs" of the creationists consist not of testable observations, or analysis of the basic processes of creation, but of attacks on scientists and their methods. Dr. Duane Gish, a leading spokesman for the creationists, says: "We do not know how God created, what processes He used, for God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe" (Evolution-The Fossils Say No!, 1973). When creationists speak in this manner they are not thinking as scientists and their religious beliefs should not be labeled science. Creationism has not been revised or altered since the Book of Genesis was composed by primitive tribesmen more than 2,700 years ago. It served well for them because they had no scientific knowledge about natural causes, but it does not serve today as a reliable guide to the history or the nature of the universe." (Newell N.D., "Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality?", Columbia University Press: New York, 1982, p.xxxii) 19/03/2005 "Darwin himself was acutely aware of this evidence of creation and the problem it posed for his theory. In a chapter of Origin of Species called `Difficulties With the Theory,' he included traits that depend on separately meaningless parts. Consider the human eye with the different features required to focus at different distances, to accommodate different amounts of light, and to correct for the `rainbow effect.' Regarding the origin of the eye, Darwin wrote these words: To suppose that the eye, [with so many parts all working together]...could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. `Absurd in the highest degree.' That's Darwin's own opinion of using natural selection to explain the origin of traits that depend on many parts working together. working together." (Morris H.M. & Parker G.E.*, "What is Creation Science?," Master Books: El Cajon CA, 1987, pp.86,88) 20/03/2005 "All quotes are relatively brief, but I believe all are relevant to the creation/evolution question. We have tried to check the accuracy of them whenever possible, but with so many quotes (about 3,500), there may still be some inaccuracies. I hope-and believe-that these are few and inconsequential. I would appreciate it, of course, if anyone does find an error, if he would let me know, so it can be corrected in possible future printings. Although most quotes are from evolutionists, I have included a few from creationists when they were particularly relevant to the subject. I believe the context will alert readers whenever this is the case." (Morris H.M.*, "That Their Words May Be Used Against Them: Quotes from Evolutionists Useful for Creationists," Master Books: Green Forest AR, 1997, p.iv) 20/03/2005 "Whenever we recognize a sequence as meaningful symbols we assume it is the handiwork of some intelligent cause. We make that assumption even if we cannot decipher the symbols, as when an archaeologist discovers some ancient inscription on stone. If science is based upon experience, then science tells us the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. What kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist. This is no different really than if we discovered life did result from natural causes. We still would not know from science, if the natural cause was all that was involved, or if the ultimate explanation was beyond nature, and using the natural cause." (Davis P. & Kenyon D.H.*, "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, Second Edition, 1993, p.7) 20/03/2005 "It is clear that the belief that a molecule of iso-1-cytochrome c or any other protein could appear by chance is based on faith. And so we see that even if we believe that the 'building blocks' are available, they do not spontaneously make proteins, at least not by chance. The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability in the same way that a perpetual motion machine is impossible in probability. The extremely small probabilities calculated in this chapter are not discouraging to true believers (Hoffer, 1951) or to people who live in a universe of infinite extension that has no beginning or end in time. In such a universe all things not streng verboten will happen. In fact we live in a small, young universe generated by an enormous hydrogen bomb explosion some time between 10 x 109 and 20 x 109 years ago. A practical person must conclude that life didn't happen by chance (de Duve, 1991)." (Yockey H.P., "Information Theory and Molecular Biology," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1992, p.257) 21/03/2005 "Before we tackle the topic of its `unreasonable effectiveness,' it is important to have some understanding of what mathematics is. There are two broadly opposed schools of thought concerning its character. The first of these holds that mathematics is purely a human invention, the second that it has an independent existence. We have already met one version of the `invention,' or formalist, interpretation in chapter 4, in the discussion of Hilbert's program for the mechanization of theorem-proving. Before the work of Godel it was possible to believe that mathematics is an entirely formal exercise, consisting of nothing more than a vast collection of logical rules that link one set of symbols to another. This edifice was regarded as a completely self-contained structure. Any connection with the natural world was considered to be coincidental and of no relevance whatever to the mathematical enterprise itself, this being concerned only with the elaboration and exploration of the consequences of the formal rules. As explained in the previous chapters, Godel's incompleteness theorem put paid to this strictly formalist position. Nevertheless, many mathematicians retain the belief that mathematics is only an invention of the human mind, having no meaning beyond that attributed to it by mathematicians. The opposing school is known as Platonism. Plato, it will be recalled, had a dualistic vision of reality. On the one hand stood the physical world, created by the Demiurge, fleeting and impermanent. On the other stood the realm of Ideas, eternal and unchanging, acting as a sort of abstract template for the physical world. Mathematical objects he considered to belong to this Ideal realm. According to Platonists, we do not invent mathematics, we discover it. Mathematical objects and rules enjoy an independent existence: they transcend the physical reality that confronts our senses. To sharpen the focus of this dichotomy, let us look at a specific example. Consider the statement `Twenty-three is the smallest prime number greater than twenty.' The statement is either true or false. In fact, it is true. The question before us is whether the statement is true in a timeless, absolute sense. Was the statement true before the invention/discovery of prime numbers? The Platonist would answer yes, because prime numbers exist, abstractly, whether human beings know about them or not. The formalist would dismiss the question as meaningless." (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning," , Penguin: London, 1993, reprint, p.141) 21/03/2005 "What do professional mathematicians think? It is often said that mathematicians are Platonists on weekdays and formalists at weekends. While actually working on mathematics, it is hard to resist the impression that one is actually engaged in the process of discovery, much as in an experimental science. The mathematical objects take on a life of their own, and often display totally unexpected properties. On the other hand, the idea of a transcendent realm of mathematical Ideas seems too mystical for many mathematicians to admit, and if challenged they will usually claim that when engaging in mathematical research they are only playing games with symbols and rules. Nevertheless, some distinguished mathematicians have been self- confessed Platonists. One of these was Kurt Godel. As might be expected, Godel based his philosophy of mathematics on his work on undecidability. He reasoned that there will always be mathematical statements that are true but can never be proved to be true from existing axioms. He envisaged these true statements as therefore already existing `out there' in a Platonic domain, beyond our ken. Another Platonist is the Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose. `Mathematical truth is something that goes beyond mere formalism,' he writes. [Penrose R., `The Emperor's New Mind,' Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1989, p.145] `There often does appear to be some profound reality about these mathematical concepts, going quite beyond the deliberations of any particular mathematician. It is as though human thought is, instead, being guided towards some eternal external truth-a truth which has a reality of its own, and which is revealed only partially to any one of us.' Taking as an example the system of complex numbers, Penrose feels that it has `a profound and timeless reality' [Penrose, 1989, p.124]." (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning," , Penguin: London, 1993, reprint, p.142) 21/03/2005 "Mathematical objects are just concepts; they are the mental idealizations that mathematicians make, often stimulated by the appearance and seeming order of aspects of the world about us, but mental idealizations nevertheless. Can they be other than mere arbitrary constructions of the human mind? At the same time there often does appear to be some profound reality about these mathematical concepts, going quite beyond the mental deliberations of any particular mathematician. It is as though human thought is, instead, being guided towards some external truth -a truth which has a reality of its own, and which is revealed only partially to any one of us." (Penrose R., "The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics", , Vintage: London, 1990, pp.124-125. Emphasis original) 21/03/2005 "The Mandelbrot set is not an invention ofthe human mind: it was a discovery. Like Mount Everest, the Mandelbrot set is just there! Likewise, the very system of complex numbers has a profound and timeless reality which goes quite beyond the mental constructions of any particular mathematician. " (Penrose R., "The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics," , Vintage: London, 1990, pp.124-125. Emphasis original) 21/03/2005 "Be that as it may, it seems to me that it is a clear consequence of the Godel argument that the concept of mathematical truth cannot be encapsulated in any formalistic scheme. Mathematical truth is something that goes beyond mere formalism. This is perhaps clear even without Godel's theorem. For how are we to decide what axioms or rules of procedure to adopt in any case when trying to set up a formal system? Our guide in deciding on the rules to adopt must always be our intuitive understanding of what is 'self- evidently true', given the `meanings' of the symbols of the system. ... The notion of mathematical truth goes beyond the whole concept of formalism. There is something absolute and `God-given' about mathematical truth. This is what mathematical Platonism, as discussed at the end of the last chapter, is about. Any particular formal system has a provisional and `man-made' quality about it. Such systems indeed have very valuable roles to play in mathematical discussions, but they can supply only a partial (or approximate) guide to truth. Real mathematical truth goes beyond mere man-made constructions." (Penrose R., "The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics", , Vintage: London, 1990, pp.145-146) 21/03/2005 "Another example that has inspired Penrose to adopt Platonism is something called `the Mandelbrot set' after the IBM computer scientist Benoit Mandelbrot. The set is actually a geometrical form known as a "fractal," which is closely related to the theory of chaos, and provides another magnificent example of how a simple recursive operation can produce an object of fabulously rich diversity and complexity. The set is generated by successive applications of the rule (or mapping) z -> z2 + c, where z is a complex number and c is a certain fixed complex number. The rule simply means: pick a complex number z and replace it with z2 + c, then take this number to be z and make the same replacement, and so on, again and again. The successive complex numbers can be plotted on a sheet of paper (or a computer screen) as the rule is applied, each number represented as a dot. What is found is that for some choices of c the dot soon leaves the screen. For other choices, however, the dot wanders about forever within a bounded region. Now, each choice of c itself corresponds to a dot on the screen. The collection of all such c-dots forms the Mandelbrot set. This set has such an extraordinarily complicated structure that it is impossible to convey in words its awesome beauty. Many examples of portions of the set have been used for artistic displays. A distinctive feature of the Mandelbrot set is that any portion of it may be magnified again and again without limit, and each new layer of resolution brings forth new riches and delights. Penrose remarks that, when Mandelbrot embarked on his study of the set, he had no real prior conception of the fantastic elaboration inherent in it: `The complete details of the complication of the structure of Mandelbrot's set cannot really be fully comprehended by any one of us, nor can it be fully revealed by any computer. It would seem that this structure is not just part of our minds, but it has a reality of its own... . The computer is being used in essentially the same way that the experimental physicist uses a piece of experimental apparatus to explore the structure of the physical world. The Mandelbrot set is not an invention of the human mind: it was a discovery. Like Mount Everest, the Mandelbrot set is just there!' [Penrose, 1989, pp.124-125] Mathematician and well-known popularizer Martin Gardner concurs with this conclusion: "Penrose finds it incomprehensible (as do I) that anyone could suppose that this exotic structure is not as much `out there' as Mount Everest is, subject to exploration in the way a jungle is explored." [Gardner M., "Foreword," in Penrose, 1989, p.xv] (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, pp.142-143) 21/03/2005 "Is mathematics invention or discovery?' asks Penrose. Do mathematicians get so carried away with their inventions that they imbue them with a spurious reality? `Or are mathematicians really uncovering truths which are, in fact, already 'there'-truths whose existence is quite independent of the mathematicians' activities?' In proclaiming his adherence to the latter point of view, Penrose points out that in cases such as the Mandelbrot set `much more comes out of the structure than is put in in the first place. One may take the view that in such cases the mathematicians have stumbled upon `works of God.' ` Indeed, he sees an analogy in this respect between mathematics and inspired works of art: `It is a feeling not uncommon amongst artists, that in their greatest works they are revealing eternal truths which have some kind of prior etherial existence... . I cannot help feeling that, with mathematics, the case for believing in some kind of etherial, eternal existence ... is a good deal stronger.'" [Penrose R., `The Emperor's New Mind,' Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1989, pp.126-127] (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, pp.143-144) 21/03/2005 "Penrose conjectures that the way mathematicians make discoveries and communicate mathematical results to each other offers evidence of a Platonic realm, or Mindscape: `I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea it makes contact with Plato's world of mathematical concepts.... When one `sees' a mathematical truth, one's consciousness breaks through into this world of ideas, and makes direct contact with it... . When mathematicians communicate, this is made possible by each one having a direct route to truth, the consciousness of each being in a position to perceive mathematical truths directly, through this process of `seeing.' Since each can make contact with Plato's world directly, they can more readily communicate with each other than one might have expected. The mental images that each one has, when making this Platonic contact, might be rather different in each case, but communication is possible because each is directly in contact with the same eternally existing Platonic world!'" [Penrose R., `The Emperor's New Mind,' Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1989, pp.554-] (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, p.144) 21/03/2005 "I once asked Richard Feynman whether he thought of mathematics and, by extension, the laws of physics as having an independent existence. He replied: The problem of existence is a very interesting and difficult one. If you do mathematics, which is simply working out the consequences of assumptions, you'll discover for instance a curious thing if you add the cubes of integers. One cubed is one, two cubed is two times two times two, that's eight, and three cubed is three times three times three, that's twenty-seven. If you add the cubes of these, one plus eight plus twenty- seven-let's stop here-that would be thirty-six. And that's the square of another number, six, and that number is the sum of those same integers, one plus two plus three... . Now, that fact which I've just told you about might not have been known to you before. You might say: "Where is it, what is it, where is it located, what kind of reality does it have?" And yet you came upon it. When you discover these things, you get the feeling that they were true before you found them. So you get the idea that somehow they existed somewhere, but there's nowhere for such things. It's just a feeling... . Well, in the case of physics we have double trouble. We come upon these mathematical interrelationships but they apply to the universe, so the problem of where they are is doubly confusing... . Those are philosophical questions that I don't know how to answer." [Feynman R.P., in Davies P.C.W. & Brown J.R., "Superstrings: A Theory of Everything?," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1988, pp.207- 208] (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, pp.145-146) 21/03/2005 "The problem of existence is a very interesting and difficult one. If you do mathematics, which is simply working out the consequences of assumptions, you'll discover for instance - of course, this is a minor proposition - a curious thing if you add the cubes of the integers. One cubed is one, two cubed is two times two times two, that's eight, and three cubed is three times three times three, that's twenty-seven. If you add the cubes of these, one plus eight plus twenty-seven and so on, and stop somewhere - let's stop here - that would be thirty-six. And that's the square of another number, six, and that number is the sum of those same integers one plus two plus three. We can try another number like five. One plus two plus three plus four plus five and then you square that; you'd get the same answer as if you'd cubed one, two, three and so on, up to five and added them. Alright? Now that fact, which I've just told you about, might not have been known to you before. You might say where is it, what is it, where is it located, what kind of reality does it have? And yet you came upon it. When you discover these things, you get the feeling that they were true before you found them. So you get the idea that somehow they existed somewhere, but there's nowhere for such things. It's just a feeling. This is human, we're psychologically struggling to understand. We find all these wonderful things, Bessel functions and their inter-relations, Fourier transforms, for example, they're really all there, and we just came upon them. Well, in the case of physics we have double trouble. We come upon these mathematical inter-relationships but they apply to the universe, so the problem of where they are is doubly confusing. In the case of mathematics there's little doubt that these Bessel functions and so forth aren't anywhere, they had to be discovered, but somehow those relations existed before we discovered them. In the case of physics, because the laws are applied to the physical world and work, it gets even harder to say where they are. But they may be closer to reality than mathematical laws. Those are philosophical questions that I don't know how to answer. You can do a lot of physics without having to answer all that stuff. But it's fun to think about them." (Davies P.C.W. & Brown J.R., eds., "Superstrings: A Theory of Everything?," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1989, reprint, pp.207-208) 21/03/2005 "A careful analysis of naturalism reveals a problem so serious that it fails one of the major tests that rational men and women will expect any worldview to pass. In order to see how this is so, it is necessary first to recall that naturalism regards the universe as a self-contained and self- explanatory system. There is nothing outside the box we call nature that can explain or that is necessary to explain anything inside the box. Naturalism claims that everything can be explained in terms of something else within the natural order. This dogma is not an accidental or nonessential feature of the naturalistic position. All that is required for naturalism to be false is the discovery of one thing that cannot be explained in the naturalistic way. C.S. Lewis set up this line of argument: `If necessities of thought force us to allow to any one thing any degree of independence from the Total System-if any one thing makes good a claim to be on its own, to be something more than an expression of the character of Nature as a whole-then we have abandoned Naturalism. For by Naturalism we mean the doctrine that only Nature-the whole interlocked system-exists. And if that were true, every thing and event would, if we knew enough, be explicable without remainder ... as a necessary product of the system.' [(Lewis C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," , Fontana: London, 1960, Revised edition, 1963, reprint, p.16] With a little effort, we can quickly see that no thoughtful naturalist can ignore. at least one thing. Lewis explains: `All possible knowledge ... depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our own minds really `must' be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them-if it merely represents the ways our minds happen to work-then we have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.' [Lewis, 1960, p.18] The human mind, as we know, has the power to grasp contingent truth, that is, whatever is the case. But the human mind also has the power to grasp necessary connections, that is, what must be the case. This latter power, the ability to grasp necessary connections, is the essential feature of human reasoning. If it is true that all men are mortal and if it is true that Socrates is a man, then it must be true that Socrates is mortal. Naturalists must appeal to this kind of necessary connection in their arguments for naturalism; indeed, in their reasoning about everything. But can naturalists account for this essential element of the reasoning process that they utilize in their arguments for their own position? Lewis thinks not. As Lewis sees it, naturalism `discredits our processes of reasoning or at least reduces their credit to such a humble level that it can no longer support Naturalism itself.' [Lewis, 1960, p.19] Lewis argues: `It follows that no account of the universe [including naturalism] can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound-a proof that there are no such things as proofs-which is nonsense.' [Lewis, 1960, p.19] Lewis is careful to point out that his argument is not grounded on the claim that naturalism affirms every human judgment (like every event in the universe) has a cause. He knows that even though my belief about a matter may be caused by nonrational factors, my belief may still be true. In the argument before us, Lewis is talking about something else, namely, the logical connection between a belief and the ground of that belief. It is one thing for a belief to have a nonrational cause; it is something else for a belief to have a reason or ground. The ravings of a madman may have a cause but lack any justifying ground. The reasoning of a philosopher may also have a cause but possess a justifying ground. What naturalism does, according to Lewis, is sever what should be unseverable, the link between conclusions and the grounds or reasons for those conclusions. As Lewis says, `Unless our conclusion is the logical consequent from a ground it will be worthless [as an example of a reasoned conclusion] and could be true only by a fluke.' [Lewis, 1960, p.20] Therefore, naturalism `offers what professes to be a full account of our mental behaviour; but this account on inspection, leaves no room for the acts of knowing or insight on which the whole value of our thinking, as a means to truth, depends.' [Lewis, 1960, p.22] In naturalism, Lewis continues, `acts of reasoning are not interlocked with the total interlocking system of Nature as all its other items are interlocked with one another. They are connected with it in a different way; as the understanding of a machine is certainly connected with the machine but not in the way the parts of the machine are connected with each other. The knowledge of a thing is not one of the thing's parts. In this sense something beyond Nature operates whenever we reason.' [Lewis, 1960, p.29] In this last paragraph, the thrust of Lewis's argument against naturalism becomes clear. By definition, naturalism excludes the possible existence of anything beyond nature, outside the box. But the process of reasoning requires something that exceeds the bounds of nature. Of course, the same situation applies in the case of moral reasoning; the laws that govern morality must also exist outside the box. One of naturalism's major problems is explaining how mindless forces give rise to minds,, knowledge, sound reasoning, and moral principles that really do report how human beings ought to behave. Not surprisingly, every naturalist wants the rest of us to think that his worldview, his naturalism, is a product of his sound reasoning. All things considered, it's hard to see why naturalism is not self- referentially absurd. Before any person can justify his or her acceptance of naturalism on rational grounds, it is first necessary for that person to reject a cardinal tenet of the naturalist position. In other words, the only way a person can provide rational grounds for believing in naturalism is first to cease being a naturalist. So naturalism has major problems with the first test every worldview must pass, the test of reason. It has additional difficulties with the test of experience. I will pass over the question of whether naturalism can justify the inferences its adherents so readily draw from our experiences of the outer world; their problems with the laws of logic continue in this case as well. ": (Nash R.H.*, "Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas," , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, reprint, pp.122-126. Emphasis original) 21/03/2005 "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of "Vox populi, vox Dei." as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if, further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.167) 21/03/2005 "Transformism [evolution] is a fairy tale for adults," Age Nouveau, February 1959, p.12 (Rostand, Jean. [French biologist and member of the French Academy of Sciences, and atheist evolutionist]. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part12.html 21/03/2005 "That, by this, evolutionism would appear as a theory without value, is confirmed also pragmatically. A theory must not be required to be true, said Mr. H. Poincare, more or less, it must be required to be useable. Indeed, none of the progress made in biology depends even slightly on a theory, the principles of which are nevertheless filling every year volumes of books, periodicals, and congresses with their discussions and their disagreements." (Bounoure, Louis [Professor of Biology, University of Strasbourg], "Determinism and Finality," Flammarion: Paris, 1957, p.79. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part12.html). 21/03/2005 "Projection. Historically, in the older psychology, the objective reference of sensations, that is, their reference to an object, as the origin or source of the stimuli, or their localization within or with out the body; more recently the interpretation of situations and events, by reading into them our own experiences and feelings (see projection tests); also recently, by the psychoanalysts, the attributing unconsciously to other people, usually as a defence against unpleasant feelings in ourselves, such as a feeling of guilt, or inferiority feeling, of thoughts, feelings, and acts towards us, by means of which we justify ourselves in our own eyes.." (Drever J., "The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Revised edition, 1981, reprint, p.225) 22/03/2005 "But many scientists and mathematicians still doubt that evolution biological or cultural -- can adequately explain why mathematics works so well in describing the fundamental laws of the universe. "Our ability to discover, and describe mathematically, Newton's equations has no immediate survival value,' said Dr. Paul Davies, professor of mathematical physics at the University of Adelaide in Australia. `This point has even greater force when it comes to, say, quantum mechanics. The reason people find it hard to understand quantum physics is precisely because there is no survival value in being able to do so.' The reason mathematics is so effective, he says, remains a deep mystery. `No feature of this uncanny 'tuning' of the human mind to the workings of nature is more striking than mathematics,' he wrote in `The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World' (Simon & Schuster, 1992)." (Johnson G., "Useful Invention or Absolute Truth: What Is Math?," The New York Times, February 10, 1998. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/7455) 22/03/2005 "Another of Einstein's famous remarks is that the only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. The success of the scientific enterprise can often blind us to the astonishing fact that science works. Though it is usually taken for granted, it is both incredibly fortunate and deeply mysterious that we are able to fathom the workings of nature by use of the scientific method. The purpose of science is to uncover patterns and regularities in nature, but the raw data of observation rarely exhibit explicit regularities. Nature's order is hidden from us: the book of nature is written in a sort of code. To make progress in science we need to crack the cosmic code, to dig beneath the raw data, and uncover the hidden order. To return to the crossword analogy, the clues are highly cryptic, and require some considerable ingenuity to solve. What is so remarkable is that human beings can actually perform this code-breaking operation. Why has the human mind the capacity to `unlock the secrets of nature' and make a reasonable success at completing nature's cryptic crossword'? It is easy to imagine worlds in which the regularities of nature are transparent at a glance or impenetrably complicated or subtle, requiring far more brainpower than humans possess to decode them. In fact, the cosmic code seems almost attuned to human capabilities. This is all the more mysterious on account of the fact that human intellectual powers are presumably determined by biological evolution, and have absolutely no connection with doing science. Our brains have evolved to cope with survival in the jungle,' a far cry from describing the laws of electromagnetism or the structure of the atom." (Davies P.C.W., "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Science," in Templeton J.M., ed., "Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover the Creator," Continuum: New York NY, 1994, p.54) 22/03/2005 "THE ASTRONOMER JAMES JEANS once proclaimed that God is a mathematician. His pithy phrase expresses in metaphorical terms an article of faith adopted by almost all scientists today. The belief that the underlying order of the world can be expressed in mathematical form lies at the very heart of science, and is rarely questioned. So deep does this belief run that a branch of science is considered not to be properly understood until it can be cast in the impersonal language of mathematics. As we have seen, the idea that the physical world is the manifestation of mathematical order and harmony can be traced back to ancient Greece. It came of age in Renaissance Europe with the work of Galileo, Newton, Descartes, and their contemporaries. `The book of nature,' opined Galileo, `is written in mathematical language.' Why this should be so is one of the great mysteries of the universe. The physicist Eugene Wigner has written of the `unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences,' quoting C. S. Pierce that `it is probable that there is some secret here which remains to be discovered.' [Wigner E.P., "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," Communications in Applied Mathematics, Vol. 13, 1960, p.1]" (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, p.140) 22/03/2005 "Our success as a biological species has depended on many factors: on our being smart, on our being terrestrial, on our possessing a body of a dimension and design appropriate to handle fire and explore the environment, on the fitness of the earth's atmosphere to support fire and technological advance. However, there is another intriguing aspect to our success-the mutual fitness of the human mind and particularly its propensity for and love of mathematics and abstract thought and the deep structure of reality, which can be so beautifully represented in mathematical forms. In other words, the logic of our mind and the logic of the cosmos would appear to correspond in a profound way. And it is only because of this unique correspondence that it is possible for us to comprehend the world. If the laws of nature could not be formulated in simple mathematical terms, it is unlikely that science would have advanced so quickly. It might in fact, never have advanced at all. The physicist Eugene Wigner, who was much struck by the correspondence between mathematics and the physical world, spoke for many mathematicians and scientists when he remarked: `It is hard to avoid the impression that a miracle is at work here.... The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.' [Wigner E. P:, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 13, 1960, pp.1-14] Of course, the fact that nature's laws can be described in mathematical terms is only helpful to minds already fine-tuned for mathematical abstraction. If humans had not had the love and capacity for mathematics and abstract thought, then again no scientific advance would have been possible. And there are other aspects of the structure of reality which give the impression of having been tailored to facilitate our understanding of nature and ultimately the scientific enterprise itself. On this point Paul Davies comments: `It is easy to imagine a world in which phenomena occurring at one location in the universe or on one scale of size or energy, were intimately entangled with all the rest in a way that would forbid resolution into simple sets of laws. Or, to use the crossword analogy, instead of dealing with a connected mesh of separately identifiable words; we would have a single extremely complicated word answer. Our knowledge of the universe would then be an "all or nothing" affair.' [Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God," Penguin: London, 1992; p.157] That the structure of the world appears to be curiously fit for human comprehension also struck Aristotle. Jonathan Lear comments that for Aristotle "the inquiry into nature revealed the world as meant to be known; the inquiry into man's soul revealed him as a being who is meant to be a knower. Man and the world are, as it were, made for each other.' [Lear J., "Aristotle: The Desire to Understand," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1988, p.230]. The stupendous success of science since 1600 is testimony enough to the remarkable fitness of our mind to comprehend the world." (Denton M.J., "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe," The Free Press: New York NY, 1998, pp.259-260) 22/03/2005 "Few scientists stop to wonder why the fundamental laws of the universe are mathematical; they just take it for granted. Yet the fact that `mathematics works' when applied to the physical world-and works so stunningly well-demands explanation, for it is not clear we have any absolute right to expect that the world should be well described by mathematics. Although most scientists assume the world must be that way, the history of science cautions against this. Many aspects of our world have been taken for granted, only to be revealed as the result of special conditions or circumstances. Newton's concept of absolute, universal time is a classic example. In daily life this picture of time serves us well, but it turns out to work well only because we move about much slower than light. Might mathematics work well because of some other special circumstances? One approach to this conundrum is to regard the `unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics-to use Wigner's phrase-as a purely cultural phenomenon, a result of the way in which human beings have chosen to think about the world. ... So is the success of mathematics in science just a cultural quirks an accident of our evolutionary and social history? Some scientists and philosophers have claimed that it is, but I confess I find this claim altogether too glib, for a number of reasons. First, much of the mathematics that is so spectacularly effective in physical theory was worked out as an abstract exercise by pure mathematicians long before it was applied to the real world. The original investigations were entirely unconnected with their eventual application. This `independent world created out of pure intelligence,' as James Jeans expressed it, was later found to have use in describing nature. ... Why should the mathematical approach prove so fruitful if it does not uncover some real property of nature? Penrose has also considered this topic, and rejects the cultural viewpoint. Referring to the astonishing success of theories such as the general theory of relativity, he writes: `It is hard for me to believe, as some have tried to maintain, that such SUPERB theories could have arisen merely by some random natural selection of ideas leaving only the good ones as survivors. The good ones are simply much too good to be the survivors of ideas that have arisen in that random way. There must, instead, be some deep underlying reason for the accord between mathematics and physics, i.e. between Plato's world and the physical world.' [Penrose R., `The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics,' Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1989, p.430] Penrose endorses the belief, which I have found to be held by most scientists, that major advances in mathematical physics really do represent discoveries of some genuine aspect of reality, and not just the reorganization of data in a form more suitable for human intellectual digestion." (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning," , Penguin: London, 1993, reprint, pp.150-152) 22/03/2005 "Instantly, it seems, everything began unfolding according to a mathematical plan. But where did the mathematics come from? What are the origins of numbers and the relationships they obey? The ancient followers of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras declared that numbers were the basic elements of the universe. Ever since, scientists have embraced a kind of mathematical creationism: God is a great mathematician, who declared, `Let there be numbers!' before getting around to `let there be light!' Scientists usually use the notion of God metaphorically. But ultimately, most of them at least tacitly embrace the philosophy of Plato, who proposed, rather unscientifically, that numbers and mathematical laws are ethereal ideals, existing outside of space and time in a realm beyond the reach of humankind. Because the whole point of science is to describe the universe without invoking the supernatural, the failure to explain rationally the `unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics,' as the physicist Eugene Wigner once put it, is something of a scandal, an enormous gap in human understanding." (Johnson G., "Useful Invention or Absolute Truth: What Is Math?," The New York Times, February 10, 1998. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/7455) 22/03/2005 "If mathematics is about finding solutions to well-defined problems, then philosophy is about finding problems in what previously we thought were well-settled solutions. Mark Steiner's The Applicability of Mathematics As a Philosophical Problem mirrors both sides of this statement, admitting that mathematics is the key to solving problems in the physical sciences, but also asserting that this very applicability of mathematics to physics constitutes a problem. What sort of problem? According to Steiner, the reigning `ideology' or `background belief' for the natural sciences is naturalism. Typically naturalism is identified with the view that nature constitutes a closed system of causes that is devoid of miracle, teleology, or any mindlike superintendence. An immediate consequence of naturalism is that it leaves humanity with no privileged place in the scheme of things. It's this aspect of naturalism that Steiner stresses. Naturalism gives us no reason to think that investigations into nature should be, as Steiner puts it, `user-friendly' to human idiosyncrasies. And yet they are. Steiner's point of departure is Eugene Wigner's often reprinted article `The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.' Wigner concludes that article with a striking aphorism: `The appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.' Throughout the article Wigner refers to the `miracle' and `mystery' of mathematics in solving the problems of physics. Yet although Wigner leaves the reader with a sense of wonder, he does not indicate how this sense of wonder translates into a problem that demands resolution. Enter the philosopher Mark Steiner. Steiner's project is to take Wigner's pretheoretic wonder at the applicability of mathematics to physics and translate it into a philosophical problem for naturalism. The applicability of mathematics to physics is not a problem for a mind-first Platonic world-view or a math-first Pythagorean world- view or a Logos-first theistic world-view. It is, however, a problem for a nature-first impersonal world-view. According to Steiner, naturalists are in no position to expect that, much less act as though, mathematics should assist in the discovery of physical insights. That naturalists do counts against their naturalism." (Dembski W.A., "The Last Magic," Books & Culture, Vol. 5, No. 4, July/August 1999, p.45. http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/9b4/9b4045.html) 22/03/2005 "It has also been argued that the structure of our brains has evolved to reflect the properties of the physical world, including its mathematical content, so that it is no surprise that we discover mathematics in nature. As already remarked, it is certainly a surprise, and a deep mystery, that the human brain has evolved its extraordinary mathematical ability. It is very hard to see how abstract mathematics has any survival value. Similar comments apply to musical ability. We come to know about the world in two quite distinct ways. The first is by direct perception, the second by application of rational reasoning and higher intellectual functions. Consider observing the fall of a stone. The physical phenomenon taking place in the external world is mirrored in our minds because our brains construct an internal mental model of the world in which an entity corresponding to the physical object `stone' is perceived to move through three-dimensional space: we see the stone fall. On the other hand, one can know about the fall of the stone in an entirely different and altogether more profound way. From a knowledge of Newton's laws plus some appropriate mathematics one could produce another sort of model of the fall of the stone. This is not a mental model in the sense of perception; nevertheless it is still a mental construct, and one which links the specific phenomenon of the fall of the stone to a wider body of physical processes. The mathematical model using the laws of physics is not something we actually see, but it is, in its own abstract way, a type of knowledge of the world, and, moreover, knowledge of a higher order. It seems to me that Darwinian evolution has equipped us to know the world by direct perception. There are clear evolutionary advantages in this, but there is no obvious connection at all between this sort of sensorial knowledge and intellectual knowledge. ... quantum and relativity physics are not especially relevant to daily life, and there is no selective advantage in our having brains able to incorporate quantum and relativistic systems in our mental model of the world. In spite of this, however, physicists are able to reach an understanding of the worlds of quantum physics and relativity by the use of mathematics, selected experimentation, abstract reasoning, and other rational procedures. The mystery is, why do we have this dual capability for knowing the world? There is no reason to believe that the second method springs from a refinement of the first. They are entirely independent ways of coming to know about things. The first serves an obvious biological need, the latter is of no apparent biological significance at all. The mystery becomes even deeper when we take account of the existence of mathematical and musical geniuses, whose prowess in these fields is orders of magnitude better than that of the rest of the population. ... Scarcely less mysterious are the weird cases of so-called lightning calculators- people who can perform fantastic feats of mental arithmetic almost instantly, without the slightest idea of how they arrive at the answer. ... Even more peculiar, perhaps, are the cases of "autistic savants," people who are mentally handicapped and may have difficulty performing even the most elementary formal arithmetic manipulations, but who nevertheless possess the uncanny ability to produce correct answers to mathematical problems that appear to ordinary people to be impossibly hard. ... We are, of course, used to the fact that all human abilities, physical and mental, show wide variations. Some people can jump six feet off the ground, whereas most of us can manage barely three. But imagine someone coming along and jumping sixty feet, or six hundred feet! Yet the intellectual leap represented by mathematical genius is far in excess of these physical differences. ... . If this factor has evolved by accident rather than in response to environmental pressure, then it is a truly astonishing coincidence that mathematics finds such ready application to the physical universe. If, on the other hand, mathematical ability does have some obscure survival value and has evolved by natural selection, we are still faced with the mystery of why the laws of nature are mathematical. After all, surviving "in the jungle" doesn't require knowledge of the laws of nature, only of their manifestations. We have seen how the laws themselves are in code, and not connected in a simple way at all to the actual physical phenomena subject to those laws. Survival depends on an appreciation of how the world is, not of any hidden underlying order. ... It might be supposed that when we duck to avoid a missile, or judge how fast to run to jump a stream, we are making use of a knowledge of the laws of mechanics, but this is quite wrong. What we use are previous experiences with similar situations. Our brains respond automatically when presented with such challenges; they don't integrate the Newtonian equations of motion in the way the physicist does when analyzing these situations scientifically. To make judgments about motion in three-dimensional space, the brain needs certain special properties. To do mathematics (such as the calculus needed to describe this motion) also requires special properties. I see no evidence for the claim that these two apparently very different sets of properties are actually the same, or that one follows as a (possibly accidental) byproduct of the other. In fact, all the evidence is to the contrary. Most animals share our ability to avoid missiles and jump effectively, yet they display no significant mathematical ability. .... Awareness of the regularities of nature, such as those manifested in mechanics, has good survival value, and is wired into animal and human brains at a very primitive level. By contrast, mathematics as such is a higher mental function, apparently unique to humans .... It is a product of the most complex system known in nature. And yet the mathematics it produces finds its most spectacularly successful applications in the most basic processes in nature, processes that occur at the subatomic level. Why should the most complex system be linked in this way to the most primitive processes of nature? It might be argued that, as the brain is a product of physical processes it should reflect the nature of those processes, including their mathematical character. But there is, in fact, no direct connection between the laws of physics and the structure of the brain. The thing which distinguishes the brain from a kilogram of ordinary matter is its complex organized form, in particular the elaborate interconnections between neurons. This wiring pattern cannot be explained by the laws of physics alone. It depends on many other factors, including a host of chance events that must have occurred during evolutionary history. Whatever laws may have helped shape the structure of the human brain (such as Mendel's laws of genetics), they bear no simple relationship to the laws of physics." (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, reprint, pp.152-156. Emphasis original) 22/03/2005 "Instantly, it seems, everything began unfolding according to a mathematical plan. But where did the mathematics come from? What are the origins of numbers and the relationships they obey? The ancient followers of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras declared that numbers were the basic elements of the universe. Ever since, scientists have embraced a kind of mathematical creationism: God is a great mathematician, who declared, `Let there be numbers!' before getting around to `let there be light!' Scientists usually use the notion of God metaphorically. But ultimately, most of them at least tacitly embrace the philosophy of Plato, who proposed, rather unscientifically, that numbers and mathematical laws are ethereal ideals, existing outside of space and time in a realm beyond the reach of humankind. Because the whole point of science is to describe the universe without invoking the supernatural, the failure to explain rationally the `unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics,' as the physicist Eugene Wigner once put it, is something of a scandal, an enormous gap in human understanding." (Johnson G., "Useful Invention or Absolute Truth: What Is Math?," The New York Times, February 10, 1998. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/7455) 22/03/2005 "If mathematics is about finding solutions to well-defined problems, then philosophy is about finding problems in what previously we thought were well-settled solutions. Mark Steiner's The Applicability of Mathematics As a Philosophical Problem mirrors both sides of this statement, admitting that mathematics is the key to solving problems in the physical sciences, but also asserting that this very applicability of mathematics to physics constitutes a problem. What sort of problem? According to Steiner, the reigning `ideology' or `background belief' for the natural sciences is naturalism. Typically naturalism is identified with the view that nature constitutes a closed system of causes that is devoid of miracle, teleology, or any mindlike superintendence. An immediate consequence of naturalism is that it leaves humanity with no privileged place in the scheme of things. It's this aspect of naturalism that Steiner stresses. Naturalism gives us no reason to think that investigations into nature should be, as Steiner puts it, `user-friendly' to human idiosyncrasies. And yet they are. Steiner's point of departure is Eugene Wigner's often reprinted article `The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.' Wigner concludes that article with a striking aphorism: `The appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.' Throughout the article Wigner refers to the `miracle' and `mystery' of mathematics in solving the problems of physics. Yet although Wigner leaves the reader with a sense of wonder, he does not indicate how this sense of wonder translates into a problem that demands resolution. Enter the philosopher Mark Steiner. Steiner's project is to take Wigner's pretheoretic wonder at the applicability of mathematics to physics and translate it into a philosophical problem for naturalism. The applicability of mathematics to physics is not a problem for a mind-first Platonic world-view or a math-first Pythagorean world- view or a Logos-first theistic world-view. It is, however, a problem for a nature-first impersonal world-view. According to Steiner, naturalists are in no position to expect that, much less act as though, mathematics should assist in the discovery of physical insights. That naturalists do counts against their naturalism." (Dembski W.A., "The Last Magic," Books & Culture, Vol. 5, No. 4, July/August 1999, p.45. http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/9b4/9b4045.html) 22/03/2005 "It has also been argued that the structure of our brains has evolved to reflect the properties of the physical world, including its mathematical content, so that it is no surprise that we discover mathematics in nature. As already remarked, it is certainly a surprise, and a deep mystery, that the human brain has evolved its extraordinary mathematical ability. It is very hard to see how abstract mathematics has any survival value. Similar comments apply to musical ability. We come to know about the world in two quite distinct ways. The first is by direct perception, the second by application of rational reasoning and higher intellectual functions. Consider observing the fall of a stone. The physical phenomenon taking place in the external world is mirrored in our minds because our brains construct an internal mental model of the world in which an entity corresponding to the physical object `stone' is perceived to move through three-dimensional space: we see the stone fall. On the other hand, one can know about the fall of the stone in an entirely different and altogether more profound way. From a knowledge of Newton's laws plus some appropriate mathematics one could produce another sort of model of the fall of the stone. This is not a mental model in the sense of perception; nevertheless it is still a mental construct, and one which links the specific phenomenon of the fall of the stone to a wider body of physical processes. The mathematical model using the laws of physics is not something we actually see, but it is, in its own abstract way, a type of knowledge of the world, and, moreover, knowledge of a higher order. It seems to me that Darwinian evolution has equipped us to know the world by direct perception. There are clear evolutionary advantages in this, but there is no obvious connection at all between this sort of sensorial knowledge and intellectual knowledge. ... quantum and relativity physics are not especially relevant to daily life, and there is no selective advantage in our having brains able to incorporate quantum and relativistic systems in our mental model of the world. In spite of this, however, physicists are able to reach an understanding of the worlds of quantum physics and relativity by the use of mathematics, selected experimentation, abstract reasoning, and other rational procedures. The mystery is, why do we have this dual capability for knowing the world? There is no reason to believe that the second method springs from a refinement of the first. They are entirely independent ways of coming to know about things. The first serves an obvious biological need, the latter is of no apparent biological significance at all. The mystery becomes even deeper when we take account of the existence of mathematical and musical geniuses, whose prowess in these fields is orders of magnitude better than that of the rest of the population. ... Scarcely less mysterious are the weird cases of so-called lightning calculators- people who can perform fantastic feats of mental arithmetic almost instantly, without the slightest idea of how they arrive at the answer. ... Even more peculiar, perhaps, are the cases of "autistic savants," people who are mentally handicapped and may have difficulty performing even the most elementary formal arithmetic manipulations, but who nevertheless possess the uncanny ability to produce correct answers to mathematical problems that appear to ordinary people to be impossibly hard. ... We are, of course, used to the fact that all human abilities, physical and mental, show wide variations. Some people can jump six feet off the ground, whereas most of us can manage barely three. But imagine someone coming along and jumping sixty feet, or six hundred feet! Yet the intellectual leap represented by mathematical genius is far in excess of these physical differences. ... . If this factor has evolved by accident rather than in response to environmental pressure, then it is a truly astonishing coincidence that mathematics finds such ready application to the physical universe. If, on the other hand, mathematical ability does have some obscure survival value and has evolved by natural selection, we are still faced with the mystery of why the laws of nature are mathematical. After all, surviving "in the jungle" doesn't require knowledge of the laws of nature, only of their manifestations. We have seen how the laws themselves are in code, and not connected in a simple way at all to the actual physical phenomena subject to those laws. Survival depends on an appreciation of how the world is, not of any hidden underlying order. ... It might be supposed that when we duck to avoid a missile, or judge how fast to run to jump a stream, we are making use of a knowledge of the laws of mechanics, but this is quite wrong. What we use are previous experiences with similar situations. Our brains respond automatically when presented with such challenges; they don't integrate the Newtonian equations of motion in the way the physicist does when analyzing these situations scientifically. To make judgments about motion in three-dimensional space, the brain needs certain special properties. To do mathematics (such as the calculus needed to describe this motion) also requires special properties. I see no evidence for the claim that these two apparently very different sets of properties are actually the same, or that one follows as a (possibly accidental) byproduct of the other. In fact, all the evidence is to the contrary. Most animals share our ability to avoid missiles and jump effectively, yet they display no significant mathematical ability. .... Awareness of the regularities of nature, such as those manifested in mechanics, has good survival value, and is wired into animal and human brains at a very primitive level. By contrast, mathematics as such is a higher mental function, apparently unique to humans .... It is a product of the most complex system known in nature. And yet the mathematics it produces finds its most spectacularly successful applications in the most basic processes in nature, processes that occur at the subatomic level. Why should the most complex system be linked in this way to the most primitive processes of nature? It might be argued that, as the brain is a product of physical processes it should reflect the nature of those processes, including their mathematical character. But there is, in fact, no direct connection between the laws of physics and the structure of the brain. The thing which distinguishes the brain from a kilogram of ordinary matter is its complex organized form, in particular the elaborate interconnections between neurons. This wiring pattern cannot be explained by the laws of physics alone. It depends on many other factors, including a host of chance events that must have occurred during evolutionary history. Whatever laws may have helped shape the structure of the human brain (such as Mendel's laws of genetics), they bear no simple relationship to the laws of physics." (Davies P.C.W., "The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning,"  Penguin: London, 1993, reprint, pp.152-156. Emphasis original) 23/03/2005 "In the American vernacular, `theory' often means `imperfect fact'-part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus, creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is `only' a theory, and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): `Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science-that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was.'" (Gould, S.J., "Evolution as Fact and Theory," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes", , Penguin: London, 1984 reprint, p.254) 23/03/2005 "So far, this is a fine summary of the orthodox neo-Darwinian view. Now. in a bizarre passage, Kauffman goes on: `But this appears to be false. One of the wonderful and puzzling features of the Cambrian explosion is that the chart was filled up from the top down. Nature suddenly sprang forth with many wildly different body plans-the phyla - elaborating on these basic designs to form the classes, orders, families, and genera ... In his book about the Cambrian explosion, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, Stephen Jay Gould remarks on this top-down quality of the Cambrian with wonder.' [Kauffman S.A., "At Home in the Universe," 1996, p.13] As well he might! You only have to think for one moment about what `top down' filling in would have to mean for the animals on the ground and you immediately see how preposterous it is. 'Body plans' like the mollusc body plan, or the echinoderm body plan, are not ideal essences hanging in the sky, waiting, like designer dresses, to be adopted by real animals. Real animals is all there ever was: living, breathing, walking, eating, excreting, fighting, copulating real animals, who had to survive and who can't have been dramatically different from their real parents and grandparents. For a new body plan-a new phylum-to spring into existence, what actually has to happen on the ground is that a child is born which suddenly, out of the blue, is as different from its parents as a snail is from an earthworm. No zoologist who thinks through the implications, not even the most ardent saltationist, has ever supported any such notion. Ardent saltationists have been content to postulate the sudden bursting into existence of new species, and even that relatively modest idea has been highly controversial. When you spell out the Gouldian rhetoric into real-life practicalities, it stands revealed as the purest of bad poetic science." (Dawkins R., "Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder," , Penguin: London, 1999, reprint, p.203. Emphasis original) 24/03/2005 "A final misconception you may encounter is that intelligent design is simply sectarian religion. According to this view, intelligent design is merely fundamentalism with a new twist; teaching it in public schools allegedly violates the separation of church and state. This view is wide of the mark. The idea that life had an intelligent source is hardly unique to Christian fundamentalism. Advocates of design have included not only Christians and other religious theists, but pantheists, Greek and Enlightenment philosophers and now include many modern scientists who describe themselves as religiously agnostic. Moreover, the concept of design implies absolutely nothing about beliefs normally associated with Christian fundamentalism, such as a young earth, a global flood, or even the existence of the Christian God. All it implies is that life had an intelligent source." (Davis P. & Kenyon D.H.*, "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, Second Edition, 1993, pp.160-161) 24/03/2005 "RNA is very similar to DNA. Instead of the sugar deoxyribose, it has just plain ribose (hence the name RiboNucleic Acid), which has an -OH group whose deoxyribose has an -H one. Three of the four bases (A, G and C) are identical to those in DNA. The fourth, Uracil (U), is a close relative of Thymine (T), since thymine is just uracil with a -CH3 group replacing an -H group. This has little effect on the base-pairing. U can pair with A, just as, in DNA, T pairs with A. RNA might be described as using the same language as DNA but with a different accent. RNA can form a double helix, similar but not quite identical to the DNA double helix. It is also possible to form a hybrid double helix which has one chain of RNA and one of DNA. By and large, long RNA double helices are rare, RNA molecules being typically single-stranded, though often folded back on themselves to form short stretches of double helix. In modern organisms we find RNA used for three purposes. For a few small viruses, such as the polio virus, it is used instead of DNA as the genetic material. Some viruses employ single-stranded RNA; a few use it double-stranded. RNA is also used for structural purposes. The ribosomes, the complex assembly of macromolecules which are the actual site of protein synthesis, are made of several structural RNA molecules, assisted by several tens of distinct protein molecules. The molecules which act as the interface between the amino acid and the triplet of bases associated with it are also made of RNA. This family of RNA molecules, called tRNA (for transfer RNA), are used to carry each amino acid to a ribosome, where it will be added to a growing polypeptide chain which will, when complete, become a folded protein. The third and perhaps the most important use the cell makes of RNA is as messenger RNA. The cell does not use the DNA itself for everyday work but instead keeps it as the file copy. For working purposes it makes many RNA copies of selected parts of the DNA. It is these tapes of messenger RNA which direct the process of protein synthesis on the ribosomes, using the genetic code outlined in the Appendix." (Crick F.H.C., "Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature", Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1981, pp.174-175) 24/03/2005 "Sometime in the twentieth century, however, Einstein's cosmological principle came to be identified with a subtly different idea, the Copernican Principle, also known as the Principle of Mediocrity or Principle of Indifference. In its modest form, the Copernican Principle states that we should assume that there's nothing special or exceptional about the time or place of Earth in the cosmos. This assertion has a certain plausibility, since without any other information, it's reasonable to suppose that our location is a random sample of the universe as a whole. And there will obviously be more ordinary than extraordinary places to be. Besides, it need not be merely an assumption, since one can formulate it as a scientific hypothesis, make predictions, and compare those predictions with the evidence. It has a closely related but more expansive philosophical or metaphysical expression, however, which says, `We're not here for a purpose, and the cosmos isn't arranged with us in mind. Our metaphysical status is as insignificant as our astronomical location.' Metaphysically, this denial of purpose is usually accompanied by naturalism, the view that the (impersonal) material world is all there is and that it exists for no purpose. Although a minority opinion throughout most of Western history, this view has had adherents from the very beginning. In its early pre- Socratic form among Epicureans and others, it amounted to a conviction that the apparent order of the universe emerged from an infinite and eternal chaos, without purpose or design. Given enough time, space, and matter, these thinkers supposed, anything that can happen, will. ... Still, only in the modern age has such a denial of design and purpose in nature enjoyed official majority status among the cultural elite. ... What makes natural science admirable is that, at its best, it provides us with a way to publicly test what we believe against the natural world, while allowing us to overlook our individual motives and opinions. One way to do this is to consider the empirical consequences of our assumptions. What, for instance, would count against the Copernican Principle? .... It's fairly easy to imagine what observations would count against it: If human beings, Earth, or our immediate environment were highly unusual or unique in some important ways, then we would have reason to doubt it. If the cosmos seemed specially fitted for our existence, or the existence of life, then that would also count against it. Conversely, evidence that confirmed the mediocrity of our surroundings, or the cosmos itself, would count in its favor. ... Once considered, it's fairly easy to produce some general predictions of the Copernican Principle. In practice, these are usually unstated expectations rather than actual predictions. This has the effect of protecting them from critical scrutiny-all the more reason, then, to make them explicit. We all take some of its implicit predictions for granted. For instance, we think that the same laws of physics and chemistry govern both the heavens and the Earth. We're reasonable in concluding that nature's laws are uniform, so that the law of gravity doesn't differ on Earth and the Moon, or on Mondays. Moreover, there are lots of stars and galaxies, and we can expect that many of those stars will have planets circling them. In at least these ways, then, Earth is not unique. This is the firm legacy of the Copernican Revolution. If we stopped here, the Copernican Principle might appear to be well founded. But on closer examination, many of the important predictions turn out to be false or at least questionable. Here let's consider the Copernican Principle in its natural jurisdiction: astronomy. It manifests itself in cosmology, physics, and biology as well. But we'll hold those issues for the following chapters. Because astronomy considers objects as small as meteorites and individual planets, and as large as clusters of galaxies, the Copernican Principle has generated the most predictions in this field. Let's scrutinize the major ones in turn. Appropriately, we'll begin with one of the earliest: Prediction 1: Earth, while it has a number of life-permitting properties, isn't exceptionally suited for life in our Solar System. Other planets in the Solar System probably harbor life as well. This was one of the earliest expectations of modern astronomers. When only scant evidence was available, many respected scientists expected to find intelligent life on other planets in our Solar System. Kepler famously conjectured that the structures on the Moon were built by intelligent beings. More recently, Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) described Martian `channels,' which to Percival Lowell (1855-1916) suggested the existence of a Martian civilization. Translating, or mistranslating, Schiaparelli's `channels' as `canals,' Lowell founded his own observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and dedicated his time to gathering evidence to support his belief. Lowell is important because of his influence and because he explicitly linked the idea of Martian life to his opposition to anthropocentrism, thus embodying the spirit of the Copernican Principle: `That we are the sum and substance of the capabilities of the cosmos is something so preposterous as to be exquisitely comic.... [Man] merely typifies in an imperfect way what is going on elsewhere, and what, to a mathematical certainty, is in some corners of the cosmos indefinitely excelled.' According to Carl Sagan, Lowell's enthusiasm `turned on all the eight- year-olds who came after him, and who eventually turned into the present generation of astronomers.'' But the Mariner, Viking, and Sojourner missions to Mars revealed a barren and inhospitable environment, and dampened enthusiasm for Martian civilizations. Yet the belief that Mars once harbored life lives on, most recently in the excited announcement of the discovery of microscopic magnetite crystals in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 and the discovery of vast water-ice fields under the Martian surface. Most now recognize that the other planets in the Solar System are not good candidates for life. ... however, the expectation that extraterrestrial life exists in our Solar System has not disappeared; it has shifted to a few outlying moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, such as Europa, where liquid water may exist below the surface. Although we have no evidence for life of any sort in the outer reaches of the Solar System and virtually no one expects to find intelligent life there, speculations abound for the type of exotic creatures that may dwell in the deep, icy crevices of Europa. Much of this optimism ignores the myriad ways in which Earth is exceptionally well suited for the existence, and persistence, of life .... No other place in our Solar System comes close to providing the astronomical and geophysical properties that make Earth habitable. If anything, the other planets show how narrow the conditions for habitability are, even for planets in an inhabited Solar System. The basic pattern is worth repeating, because it's so often forgotten or ignored. From the seventeenth to the twentieth century, many expected to find intelligent, even superior life on the Moon, Mars, and other planets in the Solar System. This expectation required direct contrary evidence to suppress it. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, despite PR blitzes from Martian-life enthusiasts, the search has moved from the planets to a few obscure outlying moons. At the same time, the aspirations have been substantially downgraded. No one today expects to find advanced or intelligent life elsewhere in the Solar System. ET advocates now argue that finding the Europan equivalent of slime mold would be just as significant as finding intelligent Martians. Add to this pattern the evidence of ... some of the planets once said to diminish Earth's status now seem to be the guardians of her habitability. Finally, recall that these rare properties ... have been crucial in a diverse array of scientific discoveries here on Earth, from the nature of gravity to the internal structure of our planet revealed by seismic activity. Surely these facts about Earth's superiority both for living and observing should count as a sobering contradiction of the Copernican Principle." (Gonzalez G. & Richards J.W.*, "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed For Discovery," Regnery: Washington DC, 2004, pp.248-253. Emphasis original) 25/03/2005 "Darwin founded a new branch of life science, evolutionary biology. ... Darwin introduced historicity into science. Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science-the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain." (Mayr E.W., "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," Scientific American, Vol. 283, No. 1, July 2000, pp.67-71, p.68) 25/03/2005 "To answer how many genes are enough for the most stripped-down form of life, Fraser and her team set to work on a parasite called Mycoplasma genitalium. With 470 genes, it was the smallest genome known (humans have an estimated 80,000 genes). The TIGR scientists started knocking out Mycoplasma's genes: the researchers slipped into the parasite bits of DNA that act like a toddler sneaking onto your word processor. The rogue DNA messes up a gene so badly - inserting `gaga' into `ta-ta' to produce the incomprehensible `tagagata,' for instance-that the gene, like the document after the tot gets a hold of it, is destroyed. Then the scientists observed which knockouts mycoplasma survived. Under ideal lab conditions, in which mycoplasma is kept warm and well fed, TIGR discovered that about 170 of the bug's genes are superfluous. Knock'em out, and the little guy lives on. But just because the bug can survive without one gene doesn't mean it can live without all 170. To discover a truly `minimal gene set' for life, the researchers would have to string genes together, one by one. Eventually, they would reach a tipping point, where adding one more gene would turn nonliving chemicals into life itself. ... One day a TIGR scientist will drop gene number 297 into a test tube, then number 298, then 299...and presto: what was not alive a moment ago will be alive now. The creature will be as simple as life can be. But it will still be life. And humans will have made it, in an ordinary glass tube, from off-the-shelf chemicals." (Begley S., "How Low Can You Go?: Seeking the Fewest Genes Necessary for Life," Newsweek, February 22, 1999, p.50) 25/03/2005 "In the 1980s a scientist named Thomas Cech showed that some RNA has modest catalytic abilities. Because RNA, unlike proteins, can act as a template and so potentially can catalyze its own replication, it was proposed that RNA-not protein-started earth on the road to life. Since Cech's work was reported, enthusiasts have been visualizing a time when the world was soaked with RNA on its way to life; this model has been dubbed `the RNA world.' Unfortunately, the optimism surrounding the RNA world ignores known chemistry. In many ways the RNA-world fad of the 1990s is reminiscent of the Stanley Miller phenomenon during the 1960s: hope struggling valiantly against experimental data. Imagining a realistic scenario whereby natural processes may have made proteins on a prebiotic earth-although extremely difficult-is a walk in the park compared to imagining the formation of nucleic acids such as RNA. The big problem is that each nucleotide `building block' is itself built up from several components, and the processes that form the components are chemically incompatible. Although a chemist can make nucleotides with ease in a laboratory by synthesizing the components separately, purifying them, and then recombining the components to react with each other, undirected chemical reactions overwhelmingly produce undesired products and shapeless goop on the bottom of the test tube. Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel-two scientists who have worked long and hard on the origin of life problem-call RNA `the prebiotic chemist's nightmare.' They are brutally frank: `Scientists interested in the origins of life seem to divide neatly into two classes. The first, usually but not always molecular biologists, believe that RNA must have been the first replicating molecule and that chemists are exaggerating the difficulties of nucleotide synthesis.... The second group of scientists are much more pessimistic. They believe that the de novo appearance of oligonucleotides on the primitive earth would have been a near miracle. (The authors subscribe to this latter view). Time will tell which is correct. [Joyce G.F. & Orgel L.E., "Prospects for Understanding the Origin of the RNA World," in "The RNA World," Gesteland R.F. & Atkins J.F., eds. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor NY, 1993, p.19] Even if the miracle-like coincidence should occur and RNA be produced, however, Joyce and Orgel see nothing but obstacles ahead. In an article section entitled "Another Chicken-and-Egg Paradox" they write the following: `This discussion ... has, in a sense, focused on a straw man: the myth of a self-replicating RNA molecule that arose de novo from a soup of random polynucleotides. Not only is such a notion unrealistic in light of our current understanding of prebiotic chemistry, but it should strain the credulity of even an optimist's view of RNA s catalytic potential.... Without evolution it appears unlikely that a self- replicating ribozyme could arise, but without some form of self-replication there is no way to conduct an evolutionary search for the first, primitive self-replicating ribozyme.' [Joyce & Orgel, 1993, p.13] In other words, the miracle that produced chemically intact RNA would not be enough. Since the vast majority of RNAs do not have useful catalytic properties, a second miraculous coincidence would be needed to get just the right chemically intact RNA." (Behe M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," Free Press: New York NY, 1996, pp.171-172) 25/03/2005 "Origin-of-life chemistry suffers heavily from the problem of road kill ... Just as there is no absolute barrier to a groundhog crossing a thousand-lane highway during rush hour, so there is no absolute barrier to the production of proteins, nucleic acids, or any other biochemical by imaginable, natural chemical processes; however, the slaughter on the highway is unbearable. The solution of some prebiotic chemists is a simple one. They release a thousand groundhogs by the side of the road, and note that one makes it across the first lane. They then put a thousand fresh groundhogs in a helicopter, fly them to the beginning of lane two, and lower them onto the highway. When one survives the crossing from lane two to lane three, they helicopter another thousand to the edge of lane three. Proponents of the RNA world, who start their experiments with long, purified, investigator-synthesized RNA, fly the groundhogs out to lane 700 and watch as one crosses to lane 701. It is a valiant effort, but if they ever reach the other side, the victory will be quite hollow." (Behe M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," Free Press: New York NY, 1996, p.172) 26/03/2005 "The creation of a newspaper involves much more information, since the letters on the page have to be properly sequenced to produce coherent words, sentences, paragraphs and articles. The production of biologically functioning proteins is analogous to the production of a newspaper. Let us illustrate. Consider the problem of trying to write the sentence `HOW DID LIFE BEGIN?' First, we consider the problem of having a mixture of L, and D- amino acids rather than all L-amino acids- This would be equivalent to rotating some of the letters 180 degrees about an axis that runs horizontally through the sentence. These upside- down letters would represent D-amino acids in the sentence mixed with L-amino acids. HO@ DID #ID $I%E BEGI*? The problem that occurs when nonpeptide bonds occur in our assembly of amino acid building blocks is illustrated next .... The proper placement of letters adjacent to one another has been altered so that some letters have irregular proximity to each other. The information in the sentence is further compromised. HO~ ^I^ (I)- _+I=|+. Finally, the problem of improper sequence is illustrated by taking our original statement and rearranging some of the letters, totally obscuring the original message. DIF HEG INBW ODIEL? If all three of these problems were superimposed, the original message would be impossible to decipher-there would be a total loss of function. The same degradation of biological function results when a polymer does not have all L-amino acids, all peptide bonds, and proper sequencing of the amino acids in the polymer chain which is the protein molecule. The greatest problem, however, is how to draw only English alphabet letters from an `alphabet soup' including many English letters (representing amino acids) but also Chinese, Greek and Hebrew symbols (representing otherkinds of organic molecules in the prebiotic soup) and get one each of H, O, W, L, F, B, G, N; two D's and E's; and three L's." (Bradley, W.L. & Thaxton, C.B., "Information & the Origin of Life," in Moreland, J.P., ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1994, p.189. My substitution of displayable for non- displayable characters in original) 26/03/2005 "Biology is the study of the complex things in the Universe. Physics is the study of the simple ones. It is the complexity of life, coupled with the precision of its adaptation, that cries out for a special kind of explanation, and the hunger for such explanation has frequently driven people to believe in a supernatural Creator. Complexity means statistical improbability. The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less can we believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer. But Charles Darwin showed how it is possible for blind physical forces to mimic the effects of conscious design, and, by operating as a cumulative filter of chance variations, to lead eventually to organised and adaptive complexity, to mosquitoes and mammoths, to humans and therefore, indirectly, to books and computers." (Dawkins R., "The Necessity of Darwinism," New Scientist, Vol. 94, 15 April 1982, pp.130-132, p.130) 26/03/2005 "A.G. Cairns-Smith, a biochemist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, hypothesizes that clays may have formed the first self-replicating structures. Cairns-Smith devised an elaborate theory which proposed that amino acids were concentrated by adsorption on clay. Cairns-Smith reasoned that because clay acts as an industrial catalyst, it served as a primitive catalyst in encouraging flawed crystals to form information content in carbon-chained molecules. He rejected the concept of a prebiotic soup and proposed that the first living organism resulted from the growth of one crystal on the surface of the lattice of another crystal. He called his theory of replicating clays the genetic takeover and proposed RNA as the takeover molecule. [Cairns-Smith A. G., "Genetic Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1982] Cairns-Smith noted that the microcrystals of clay consist of a regular silicate lattice with a routine