[Home] [Site map] [Updates] [Quotes, Unclassified, Classified]
The following are unclassified quotes posted in my Internet messages of July 2005 (1).
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan-Feb; Mar; Apr; May-Jun; Jul (2); Aug-Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec]
1/07/2005 "And so it has gone, and goes, in field after field: ecology, psychology, public health, fill in your own favorite here. Over and over, scientists ignore, distort or suborn the truth for the sake of their personal, political and professional agendas. And now it's happening again, in the battle between Darwinian materialism and the burgeoning Intelligent Design (ID) movement. ... This new struggle has less to do with `Inherit the Wind' stereotypes and cliches -- crusading scientists and liberals vs. Bible- thumping buffoons -- than with the future of scientific inquiry, indeed the very nature of knowledge itself. Yes, many of the movement's researchers commit Christianity on a regular basis. Some are politically conservative. But ID's significance extends far beyond the preferences of its practitioners. To adapt a Clinton-era formulation, `It's the universe, stupid.' As science, ID holds that it's possible to seek and study evidence of intelligent design in the physical and biological worlds without positing either the identity or intent of the designer. So far, much of the work has centered on Darwinian materialism, which is not exactly the same thing as evolution. No serious scientist or informed layperson denies the fact of evolution, in the sense that species come, go and change over time. There's a fossil record of infuriating gaps, wondrous complexity and endless surprises to ponder. The problem with Darwinian materialism is that, as a matter of faith, it holds that all this happened at random...and that, as a matter of dogma, no other explanations may even be considered. ID considers other explanations. In `Darwin's Black Box,' Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe shows that the `irreducible complexity' of even a single cell argues against random evolution within the few billion years allotted by geology and cosmology. Baylor University mathematician William Dembski works on what he calls `specified complexity' -- discerning design via mathematical analysis. His first major work, `The Design Inference,' was published by Cambridge University Press, not exactly a bunch of creationist hooters. Last year, biologist Jonathan Wells published `Icons of Evolution,' showing that many of the standard textbook `proofs' were ambiguous, misleading and in at least one case, openly fraudulent. The movement has also received fair and serious Page One Sunday coverage in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, as well as in publications ranging from `First Things' to Seattle and San Francisco city papers. There was even a conference at Yale. The response of the Darwinian fundamentalists has been, to say the least, vicious. Leave aside Darwinian Richard Dawkins' generic sneer that anybody who questions the materialist gospel mu st be `ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).' Mr. Behe has been savaged by his peers. Mr. Dembski was removed from his position as director of Baylor's Polanyi Center -- an act described by Baylor President Robert B. Sloan as `related to matters of internal relationships and not to his academic work.' Mr. Wells has been virtually excommunicated from the scientific establishment, even though no one has refuted a single statement in his book and many Darwinians have admitted they knew about the fakery all along. Why the denials? Why the rage? Well, scientists are human. They don't like being told they might be wrong, or that their life's work can be questioned. Some can't get beyond viewing ID as back-door creationism; give in here today and the Inquisition will be stoking the fires tomorrow. But the most basic resistance, I suspect, involves a fear that dares not speak its name -- the foreboding that science itself may someday demonstrate that science is neither the sole nor final source of verifiable truth concerning the universe and that portion of it known as us. For scientists who cannot bear the thought, survival may indeed be more important than accuracy." (Gold, P., "Darwinism in denial?," The Washington Times, August 23, 2001. Discovery Institute: Seattle WA) 1/07/2005 "There is also a unique reason why scientists are particularly averse to developing an opinion that the theory of unintelligent evolution cannot explain all of the diversity of life on earth, and that an intelligent-designer theory may be necessary to explain at least some of the diversity of life. In litigation, even if a lawyer does develop an internal belief about the data that conflicts with the presentation he or she needs to make in court, the lawyer is expected to keep that belief private. The lawyer's obligation is not to be actually sincere but to appear sincere. Thus there is no danger to the lawyer's livelihood if the lawyer develops a private understanding of the data that conflicts with the understanding to be presented in court. But in science the rule is different. Scientists are supposed to be actually sincere. They are supposed to develop genuine, individual opinions about the data and then express those opinions. Thus it is vital to a scientist's career not to develop opinions which, if expressed, will end that career, because opinions once developed are supposed to be expressed, not hidden in favor of expressing opinions the scientist does not sincerely believe. For brevity's sake, we may call this the "sincerity rule." Because of the fear that to admit the presence of intelligent design would undermine the social predominance of science (and thus its funding and prestige), no leader of a major American scientific institution can publicly abandon the paradigm of unintelligent evolution and yet retain his position of leadership. As in any human organization, the people who most effectively advance the interests of the scientific establishment are the ones chosen to lead the establishment. Those who impede the achievement of the establishment's ends are rejected. Thus, there is simply no purpose for scientists to take the time to consider the challenges to the paradigm and develop an individual response, because if that response is a rejection of the paradigm, the scientist must either suppress it (and violate the rule that scientists should be sincere) or else express it (and likely end his career). Everyone below the top on the hierarchy ladder knows that to question unintelligent evolution will mean the end of career advancement; so for them, too, there is simply no incentive to consider that the challenges to unintelligent evolution might be valid. On the contrary, there are very strong incentives not to consider those challenges in any way that might lead to accepting them. The "sincerity rule" means that if scientists develop a disbelief in unintelligent evolution, they must express it. Thus, preservation of career advancement opportunities is predicated on the maintenance of belief in unintelligent evolution. That is why challenges to the theory of evolution at best will receive a condescending hearing in forums dominated or controlled by the science establishment." (Sisson, E.*, "Teaching the Flaws in Neo- Darwinism," in Dembski W.A., ed., "Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing," ISI Books: Wilmington DE, 2004, pp.87-88. Emphasis in original) 4/07/2005 "MATTHEW 16:28 ... Jesus concludes his remarks with the following solemn prediction: 28. I solemnly declare to you that there are some of those that are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of man coming in his royal dignity. As to `I solemnly declare' see on 5:18. It introduces a very important statement. The difficulty which many readers have experienced with this passage can be avoided by bearing in mind that Jesus did not say, `Some of those that are standing here shall not taste death until the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels,' but, `... until they see the Son of man coming in his royal dignity.' To `taste death' means to experience it, that is, to die. For the term `Son of man' see on 8:20. That the coming of the Son of man `in his royal dignity,' a coming whose date is so clearly fixed in the mind of Jesus that he is able to add that some of the men whom he addresses are going to see it before they die, cannot refer to the second coming is clear from 24:36 (cf. Mark 13:32), where Jesus specifically declares that the date of that coming is unknown to him. To be sure, the `coming to render to each according to his deeds' (verse 27) and the `coming in his royal dignity' or literally 'in his kingship' [In addition to `kingdom' the Greek word Basileia also has this abstract meaning `kingship,' `royal reign' or `royal dignity,' whichever of these suits the context best (cf. Matt. 6:10; Luke 17:21; I Cor. 15:24)] (verse 28) are closely related. They are not identical, however. Here in 16:27, 28, as well as in 10:23 (see pp. 0 467, 468, where this subject is discussed in greater detail) Jesus is making use of `prophetic foreshortening.' He regards the entire state of exaltation, from his resurrection to his second coming, as a unit. In verse 27 he describes its final consummation; here in verse 28 its beginning. Here, then, he is saying that some of those whom he is addressing are going to be witnesses of this beginning. They are going to see the Son of man coming `in his royal dignity,' that is, coming in majesty, to reign as king. Is not he the One who was destined to rule as `King of kings and Lord of lords' (Rev. 19:16)? Here in Matt. 16:28 the reference is in all probability to: a. his glorious resurrection, b. his return in the Spirit . on the day of Pentecost, and in close connection with that event, c. his reign from his position at the Father's right hand, a rulership that would become evident in ttecost church as described in the book of Acts. Again and again these great happenings (a, b., and c., just mentioned) are in Scripture associated with the ideas of power, kingship, exaltation, and coronation, as anyone can see for himself by studying such passages as Acts 1:6-8; 2:32-36; Eph. 1:19-23; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 2:9; I Peter 1:3; and Rev. 12:10. As a result of Jesus' resurrection and return in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost changes so vast would begin to take place that, as outsiders saw it, the world would be turned `upside down' (Acts 17:6). Momentous events were about to occur: the `becoming of age' of the church, with spiritual illumination, love, unity, and courage prevailing within its ranks as never before, the extension of the church among the Gentiles, the conversion of people by the thousands, the presence and exercise of many charismatic gifts (Acts 2:41; 4:4, 32-35; 5:12-16; 6:7; 19:10, 17-20; I Thess. 1:8-10). All of these things certainly justified the prediction that the Son of man would be coming `in his kingship,' that is `in his royal dignity.' Jesus predicts that this will take place during the lifetime of some of those whom he is now addressing. That too was literally fulfilled. B y no means all of those who heard the Lord make this prediction lived or were present to see its plenary fulfilment. Judas Iscariot never saw any of it. Thomas was not present with the other disciples on the Sunday evening of the day of the resurrection. James, the brother of John, saw only the beginning of the wonderful period described in the book of Acts (see Acts 12:1). Some of the apostles were absent when certain important events took place (John 21:2). The transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8), at which occasion `our Lord Jesus Christ ... received from God the Father honor and glory' (II Peter 1:17; `majesty' also, verse 16) is by some regarded as included in the prediction made in 16:28. It was witnessed by only three of the apostles. But whether it be included or not, sufficient other evidence has been mentioned to show that the prediction of Jesus was literally and gloriously fulfilled." (Hendriksen, W.*, "The Gospel of Matthew: New Testament Commentary:," , The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982, reprint, pp.659-660. Emphasis in original) 4/07/2005 "Inclusivism believes that, because God is present in the whole world (premise), God's grace is also at work in some way among all people, possibly even in the sphere of religious life (inference). It entertains the possibility that religion may play a role in the salvation of the human race, a role preparatory to the gospel of Christ, in whom alone fullness of salvation is found. The premise seems theologically well founded. God is present as the triune Creator and Redeemer everywhere-in the far reaches of space, in every culture, and in every human heart. Therefore, divine grace is also prevenient everywhere - since God has created the whole world, since Jesus Christ died for all humanity, and since the Spirit gives life to creation. Most specifically and crucially, inclusivists believe that the Spirit is everywhere at work in advance of the mission to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. We refuse to allow the disjunction between nature and grace or between common and saving grace, on the supposition that, if the triune God is present, grace must be present too. The inference is more controversial, though I think it only draws out what is inherent in the premise. Hitherto it has only seldom been proposed that the Spirit might be present in the religious sphere of human life. Theologians may have been willing to say that God's grace operates outside the church-but not to say that grace may be encountered in the context of the non- Christian religions. Inclusivism runs a risk of suspicion in suggesting that non-Christian religions may be not only the means of a natural knowledge of God, but also the locale of God's grace given to the world because of Christ." (Pinnock, C.H.*, "An Inclusivist View," in Okholm, D.L. & Phillips, T.R., ed., "Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World," , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1996, reprint, p.98) 4/07/2005 "Let me sketch the way in which I see inclusivism to be congruent with the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, Melchizedek is an important symbol (Gen. 14:17-24). The story of his encounter with Abram shows that God was at work in the religious sphere of Canaanite culture. Abram accepts the blessing of this pagan priest and pays tithes to him. He is satisfied that the king of Salem worships the true God under the name El Elyon. God seems to be teaching Abram that his election does not mean that he is in exclusive possession of God, but rather that God is calling him to be a means of grace to all nations among whom God is also and already at work.` Melchizedek represents for me the larger group of pagan saints in Scripture among whom God worked . For too long we have stared at the corrupt forms of religion mentioned in the Bible as if they represented the fullness of what religion can be according to the Scriptures, when there is more to it than that. In the New Testament, Cornelius is a key symbol (Acts 10:1-48). God used this godly Gentile to teach the apostle Peter that there is no partiality in God's dealings with humanity. Though a non-Christian and a Gentile, Cornelius was devout and God-fearing- evidently God was present in the religious sphere of his life. He represents the wider hope of the book of Acts and the New Testament generally that affirms that God never leaves himself without witness among all peoples (Acts 14:17). More exposition can be found in my book A Wideness in God's Mercy. I believe that the Bible supports inclusivism. It declares Jesus to be the fundamental way to salvation as God's eternal Son and sacrifice but does not confine the saving impact of God's saving work to one segment of history. God has been at work saving human beings before Jesus was born and does so where Jesus has not been named. The patriarch Abraham was justified by faith without knowing Jesus, and Paul holds him up as a model believer for us all, even though he never heard the gospel (Rom. 4:1-25). Faith in Jesus as the Savior of the world leaves room for us to be open and generous to other religious traditions. Scripture encourages us to see the church not so much as the ark, outside of which there is no hope of salvation, but as the vanguard of those who have experienced the fullness of God's grace made available to all people in Jesus Christ. The Spirit is universally present in the world as well as uniquely present in the fellowship of the church." (Pinnock, C.H.*, "An Inclusivist View," in Okholm, D.L. & Phillips, T.R., ed., "Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World," , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1996, reprint, pp.109-110) 5/07/2005 "Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: 'Have they discovered evolution yet?' Living organisms had existed on earth, without ever knowing why, for over three thousand million years before the truth finally dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin. To be fair, others had had inklings of the truth, but it was Darwin who first put together a coherent and tenable account of why we exist. Darwin made it possible for us to give a sensible answer to the curious child whose question heads this chapter. We no longer have to resort to superstition-when faced with the deep problems: Is there a meaning to life? What are we for? What is man? After posing the last of these questions, the eminent zoologist G.G. Simpson put it thus: `The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely.'" (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1989, New edition, p.1) 5/07/2005 "The most singular of these, perhaps immortal, fallacies, which live on, Tithonus-like, when sense and force have long deserted them, is that which charges Mr. Darwin with having attempted to reinstate the old pagan goddess, Chance. It is said that he supposes variations to come about `by chance,' and that the fittest survive the `chances' of the struggle for existence. and thus `chance' is substituted for providential design. It is not a little wonderful that such an accusation as this should be brought against a writer who has, over and over again, warned his readers that when he uses the word `spontaneous,' he merely means that he is ignorant of the cause of that which is so termed ; and whose whole theory crumbles to pieces if the uniformity and regularity of natural causation for illimitable past ages is denied." (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.553) 7/07/2005 "By now it is becoming evident that the story of the making of our planet is a remarkable one. A number of different circumstances seem to have combined together to make the earth a suitable abode for life. Whether or not, considered only from a physical point of view, the formation of our solar system came about as a result of some astronomically rare event we have no means of knowing. In view of what we have learned, it is not unlikely. At all events we can be certain that when we compare the earth with the other planets, all the favours of fortune seem to have gone into its making. Situated at the right distance from the sun, built to the right size, its radioactive elements concentrated in its crust, uniquely provided with a satellite large enough to brighten the night and control the rhythm of nature, rotating in such a way as to produce day and night and seasonal variations in temperature, largely covered with water which keeps the temperature more constant still, provided with continents and ocean basins and with just about the right amount of water to fill them, provided with an atmosphere of the right kind, and with an ocean containing salt which enables clouds and rain to form in the atmosphere but an ocean which, to preserve life over geological time, has never developed strong alkalinity or acidity and in which toxic metals have been removed by absorption on a suitable precipitate-what more can we ask? Such are the facts." (Clark, R.E.D.*, "The Universe: Plan or Accident?: The Religious Implications of Modern Science," , Paternoster: London, Third edition, 1961, pp.89-90) 8/07/2005 "The next chapter will show that Huxley is now seen more as a pseudo-Darwinian who had little real sympathy for natural selection or the Darwinian approach to the history of life. Huxley was an important figure not because he forced through the arguments for a Darwinian view of evolution but because his maneuvering behind the scenes ensured that the evolutionists who regarded Darwin as their figurehead were able to take over the British scientific community. It was through persuasion and through success in the politics of science that Darwinism came to dominate British biology. There are some scientists today who resent the claim that skills in the area of public relations help a theory to gain acceptance. They feel that objective evidence in favor of the theory must be the dominant factor. Yet sociologists who study the acceptance of new ideas within the modern scientific community have shown that it is to some extent a social process (Gilbert and Mulkay 1984). David Hull (1978) has suggested that the image presented to the world by the supporters of a new theory may be very important, especially when there are apparently valid arguments both for and against the theory. The advantage will be gained by the side that presents its case most effectively, stressing the positive aspects of its own position and undermining the influence of its opponents. The successful group will evade objections or deflect them by making concessions that do not threaten its basic principles. Its members will present a united front, never falling out in public even when they have disagreements over how the theory should be applied. Biologists loyal to the Darwinian symbol gained the day because they employed these tactics and thereby outmaneuvered both the anti-evolutionists and those who wanted to found rival schools of evolutionism. Their PR skills were helped by the ineptness of their opponents, who were in any case handicapped by the need to rethink their position in response to the Darwinian threat. To succeed in the game of scientific politics, Darwin had to play his cards very carefully. " (Bowler, P.J., "The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth," The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore MD, 1988, pp.68-69) 9/07/2005 "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or some thing worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (Lewis, C.S.*, "Mere Christianity,"  Fount: London, 1977, reprint, p.52) 9/07/2005 "Attitudes to the Evidence ... The extraction from the Gospels of evidence about the life and career of Jesus is a singularly difficult, delicate process. Students of the New Testament, it has been suggested, would be well advised to study other, pagan fields of ancient history first - because they are easier!' For the study of the highly idiosyncratic Gospels requires that all the normal techniques of the historian should be supplemented by a mass of other disciplines, though this is a counsel of perfection which few students, if any, can even begin to meet: People have been attempting to write lives of Jesus for a very long time. There have been more of them than of any other man or woman in history; 60,000 were written in the nineteenth century alone. Unable, like anyone else, to dissociate themselves from their own environment and age, these writers have all superimposed upon the history of the first century AD something which more properly belongs to their own time. As Gunther Bornkamm points out, We need only read Albert Schweitzer's famous book The Quest of the Historical Jesus to realize swiftly how the individual essays and pictures were determined by the typical dominant images of the Enlightenment, of German idealism, of incipient socialism, by the image of the rationalistic teacher of virtue, by the romantic concept of the religious genius, by the ideal of the champion of the abused proletariat and of a new, more just order of society, by the idea of Kantian ethics, and finally also by the bourgeois religiosity of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Of course we can say that every period, like history in general, sees Jesus' own history and figure with its own eyes. And we, he adds, are certainly no exception to this rule. But let us at least, in this post-Freudian epoch, be on our guard against introducing unconscious modernizations, so that we can then get on with our task of discovering and isolating the specific, and often to ourselves alien, features peculiar to the first, and not the twentieth, century AD. The task has often been declared impossible on the grounds that our information is too little and too late, and can do no more than create the picture of a picture, and can yield only the whisper of Jesus' voice. But nowadays more and more scholars appreciate that this conclusion is unduly pessimistic. T. W. Manson, for example, has declared: `I am increasingly convinced that in the Gospels we have the materials - reliable materials - for an outline account of the ministry as a whole. J. Knox, too, believed us to be `left with a very substantial residuum of historically trustworthy facts about Jesus, his teaching and his life'. And now Geza Vermes expresses `guarded optimism concerning a possible discovery of the genuine features of Jesus'. ... So the further attempt that has been made in the present book is surely in itself not unjustified, though the degree of its adequacy is, of course, a very different matter. There are three possible approaches to this task. One can write as a believer, or as an unbeliever, or (as I have attempted to do) as a student of history seeking, as far as one's background and conditions permit, to employ methods that make belief or unbelief irrelevant. There are many who maintain that no one except a believer in Jesus' divinity is entitled to write a single word about him. W. G. Kummel and Vincent Taylor expressed this view in uncompromising terms. ... Certainly, some partial measure of scepticism regarding the Gospel stories is inevitable, if historical standards are going to be applied. ... This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a myth. ... from the eighteenth century onwards, there have been attempts to insist that Jesus did not even `seem' to exist, and that all tales of his appearance upon the earth were pure fiction. In particular, his story was compared to the pagan mythologies inventing fictitious dying and rising gods. ... More convincing refutations of the Christ-myth hypothesis can be derived from an appeal to method. In the first place, Judaism was a milieu to which doctrines of the deaths and rebirths of mythical gods seems so entirely foreign that the emergence of such a fabrication from its midst is very hard to credit. But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings Jesus containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. Certainly, there are all those discrepancies between one Gospel and another. But we do not deny that an event ever took place just because pagan historians such as, for example, Livy and Polybius, happen to have described it in differing terms. That there was a growth of legend round Jesus cannot be denied, and it arose very quickly. But there had also been a rapid growth of legend round pagan figures like Alexander the Great; and yet nobody regards him as wholly mythical and fictitious. To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory. It has `again and again been answered and annihilated by first-rank scholars'. In recent years `no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus' - or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary. They have not, that is to say, been accepted as presenting an objective picture. True, the life of Jesus is a theme in which the notorious problem of achieving objectivity reaches its height. And in consequence certain critics have concluded, not merely that most writers, whether they admit it or not, approach the Gospels with preconceived ideas, but that in dealing with a subject such as this which stirs profound feelings, it is impossible to be objective; so that it is obligatory for everyone attempting to deal with the subject to commit himself, to stand up and be counted, to make `a personal response for or against the New Testament explanation' - as the evangelists demanded. et this attitude is the very negation of history and must be rejected by anyone who seeks to study it. Certainly, every such student will have his own preconceptions. But he must be vigilant to keep them within limits; as J. B. Bury remarked, it is essentially absurd for a historian to wish that any alleged fact should turn out to be true or false. Careful scrutiny does not presuppose either credulity or hostility. Neither the believers nor the unbelievers must be allowed to make him their slave .He must first try to decide, as far as he can, what Jesus said and did. And then he has to consider the significance of those words and deeds. He has to consider, also, what significance Jesus himself attached to them. It is not his job to determine whether Jesus was right or wrong in so doing. But he does have the function of deciding what that significance was. This is the critical approach he must adopt; and without it, as Peter de Rosa insists, `Jesus Christ will never be relevant to our time.' A short way back, exception was taken to the view that everything the evangelists say must be assumed correct until it is proved wrong. Should we, therefore, accept the opposite opinion, which has been locked in an agonizing struggle with it for two hundred years, that all the contents of the Gospels must be assumed fictitious until they are proved genuine? No, that also is too extreme a viewpoint and would not be applied in other fields. When, for example, one tries to build up facts from the accounts of pagan historians, judgment often has to be given not in the light of any external confirmation - which is sometimes, but by no means always, available - but on the basis of historical deductions and arguments which attain nothing better than probability. The same applies to the Gospels. Their contents need not be assumed fictitious until they are proved authentic. But they have to be subjected to the usual standards of historical persuasiveness. It is most important, therefore, when we are deciding which parts of the Gospels can be accepted or rejected, to be clear about the exact nature of the criteria likely to achieve this result. It is true that every critic is inclined to make his own rules. But he ought to be able to define what they are. Failure to do so was the besetting weakness of that most beguiling of all lives of Jesus, by Ernest Renan (1863): `He had not specified the objective criteria by which he could justify his acceptance of some items as historical and others as not.'" (Grant, M., "Jesus," , Rigel: London, 2004, reprint, pp.197-201) 9/07/2005 "If an omnipotent Creator exists He might have created things instantaneously in a single week or through gradual evolution over billions of years. He might have employed means wholly inaccessible to science, or mechanisms that are at least in part understandable through scientific investigation. The essential point of creation has nothing to do with the timing or the mechanism the Creator chose to employ, but with the element of design or purpose. In the broadest sense, a `creationist' is simply a person who believes that the world (and especially mankind) was designed, and exists for a purpose." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.115) 9/07/2005 "In a broader sense, however, a creationist is simply a person who believes in the existence of a Creator who brought about the existence of the world and its living inhabitants in furtherance of a purpose. Whether the process of creation took a single week or billions of years is relatively unimportant from a philosophical or theological standpoint. Creation by gradual processes over geological ages may create problems for biblical interpretation, but it creates none for the basic principle of theistic religion. And creation in this broad sense, according to a 1991 Gallup poll, is the creed of 87 percent of Americans." (Johnson, P.E.*, "What is Darwinism?," in "Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law & Culture," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL, 1998, p.22) 9/07/2005 "Omnipotence does not imply power to do that which is not an object of power; as, for example, that which is self-contradictory or contradictory to the nature of God. Self-contradictory things: `facere factum infectum `-the making of a past event to have not occurred (hence the uselessness of praying: `May it be that much good was done'); drawing a shorter than a straight line between two given points; putting two separate mountains together without a valley between them. Things contradictory to the nature of God: for God to lie, to sin, to die. To do such things would not imply power, but impotence. God has all the power that is consistent with infinite perfection-all power to do what is worthy of himself. So no greater thing can be said by man than this: `I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.' Even God cannot make wrong to be right, nor hatred of himself to be blessed. Some have held that the prevention of sin in a moral system is not an object of power, and therefore that God cannot prevent sin in a moral system. We hold the contrary; see this Compendium: Objections to the Doctrine of Decrees. Dryden, Imitation of Horace, 3:29:71 `Over the past not heaven itself has power; What has been has, and I have had my hour `-words applied by Lord John Russell to his own career. Emerson, The Past: `All is now secure and fast. Not the gods can shake the Past.' Sunday-school scholar: `Say, teacher, can God make a rock so big that he can't lift it?' Seminary Professor: `Can God tell a lie? ` Seminary student: `With God all things are possible.'" (Strong, A.H.*, "Systematic Theology", , Judson Press: Valley Forge PA, 1967, reprint, p.287) 9/07/2005 "Hume's philosophy, whether true or false, represents the bankruptcy of eighteenth-century reasonableness. He starts out, like Locke, with the intention of being sensible and empirical, taking nothing on trust, but seeking whatever instruction is to be obtained from experience and observation. But having a better intellect than Locke's, a greater acuteness in analysis, and a smaller capacity for accepting comfortable inconsistencies, he arrives at the disastrous conclusion that from experience and observation nothing is to be learnt. There is no such thing as a rational belief: 'If we believe that fire warms, or water refreshes, 'tis only because it costs us too much pains to think otherwise.' We cannot help believing, but no belief can be grounded in reason. Nor can one line of action be more rational than another, since all alike are based upon irrational convictions. This last conclusion, however, Hume seems not to have drawn. Even in his most sceptical chapter, in which he sums up the conclusions of Book I, he says: 'Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous: those in philosophy only ridiculous.' He has no right to say this. 'Dangerous' is a causal word, and a sceptic as to causation cannot know that anything is 'dangerous'. In fact, in the later portions of the Treatise, Hume forgets all about his fundamental doubts, and writes much as any other enlightened moralist of his time might have written; he applies to his doubts the remedy that he recommends, namely 'carelessness and inattention'. In a sense, his scepticism is insincere, since he cannot maintain it in practice. It has, however, this awkward consequence, that it paralyses every effort to prove one line of action better than another." (Russell, B., "History of Western Philosophy," , George Allen & Unwin: London, Second edition, 1991, reprint, 1993, pp.645-646) 10/07/2005 "Oddly, this extensive comparison of genome sequences from widely divergent modern organisms has identified only about 60 genes that appear to be universal, and therefore probably date back to LUCA [Last Universal Common Ancestor]. That's nowhere near enough to sustain an organism, says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary genomics researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland. The majority of these genes are involved in translation, the process of converting the sequence of bases in DNA into the sequence of amino acids in protein. `On these genes alone, LUCA would go nowhere,' Koonin says. `There is nothing for a cell membrane, or for energy metabolism, or any synthetic capabilities. There should have been several times more genes.'" (Whitfield, J., "Origins of life: Born in a watery commune," Nature, Vol. 427, 19 February 2004) 11/07/2005 "The function of auxiliary hypotheses in scientific testing suggests that many scientific theories, including those in so-called hard sciences, may be very difficult, if not impossible, to falsify conclusively. Yet many theories that have been falsified in practice via the consensus judgment of the scientific community must qualify as scientific according to the falsifiability criterion. Since they have been falsified, they are obviously falsifiable, and since they are falsifiable, they would seem to be scientific. [Laudan L., `The Demise of the Demarcation problem'; Laudan, `Science at the Bar,' p.354]. And so it has gone generally with demarcation criteria. Many theories that have been repudiated on evidential grounds express the very epistemic and methodological virtues (testability, falsifiability, observability, etc.) that have been alleged to characterize true science. Many theories that are held in high esteem lack some of the allegedly necessary and sufficient features of proper science. As a result, with few exceptions most contemporary philosophers of science regard the question `What methods distinguish science from non-science?' as both intractable and uninteresting. What, after all, is in a name? Certainly not automatic epistemic warrant or authority. Thus philosophers of science have increasingly realized that the real issue is not whether a theory is scientific but whether it is true or warranted by the evidence. Thus, as Martin Eger has summarized, `demarcation arguments have collapsed. Philosophers of science don't hold them anymore. They may still enjoy acceptance in the popular world, but that's a different world.' [Eger M., quoted by J. Buell in `Broaden Science Curriculum,' Dallas Morning News, March 10, 1989]. The `demise of the demarcation problem,' as Laudan calls it, implies that the use of positivistic demarcationist arguments by evolutionists is, at least prima facie, on very slippery ground. Laudan's analysis suggests that such arguments are not likely to succeed in distinguishing the scientific status of descent vis-a-vis design or anything else for that matter. As Laudan puts it `If we could stand up on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like 'pseudo-science.'... They do only emotive work for us.' [Laudan L., `The Demise of the Demarcation problem', in `But Is It Science?', Ruse M., ed., Prometheus Books: Buffalo N.Y, 1988, pp.337-350] If philosophers of science such as Laudan are correct, a stalemate exists in our analysis of design and descent. Neither can automatically qualify as science; neither can be necessarily disqualified either. The a priori methodological merit of design and descent are indistinguishable if no agreed criteria exist by which to judge their merits." (Meyer, S.C.*, "The Methodological Equivalence of Design & Descent: Can There be a Scientific `Theory of Creation'?," in Moreland, J.P.*, ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1994, p.75) 11/07/2005 "A concept of the universal ancestor turns on more than phylogenetic trees, however. The Archaea and Bacteria share a large number of metabolic genes that are not found in eukaryotes. If these two `prokaryotic' groups span the primary phylogenetic divide and their genes are vertically (genealogically) inherited, then the universal ancestor must have had all of these genes, these many functions: This distribution of genes would make the ancestor a prototroph with a complete tricarboxylic acid cycle, polysaccharide metabolism, both sulfur oxidation and reduction, and nitrogen fixation; it was motile by means of flagella; it had a regulated cell cycle, and more. This is not the simple ancestor, limited in metabolic capabilities, that biologists originally intuited. That ancestor can explain neither this broad distribution of diverse metabolic functions nor the early origin of autotrophy implied by this distribution. The ancestor that this broad spread of metabolic genes demands is totipotent, a genetically rich and complex entity, as rich and complex as any modern cell-seemingly more so." (Woese, C., "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95, Issue 12, June 9, 1998, pp.6854-6859) 11/07/2005 "Yet the totipotent ancestor also fails: it cannot explain the manner of the ancestor's evolution, i.e., how it became so miraculously complex in so short a time and just as rapidly gave rise to the ancestors of the three primary lines of descent. All of this apparently happened in far less than 1 billion years, whereas evolution within each of the three primary lines of descent has been going on for over 3 billion years now with outcomes that don't even begin to compare with the spectacular ones associated with the ancestor and its original offspring yet experience teaches that complex, integrated structures change more slowly than do simple ones. Moreover, the totipotent ancestor associates physiologies that have not been observed together in any modern lineage and asks that all of this come about through vertical inheritance. Thus, we are left with no consistent and satisfactory picture of the universal ancestor. It is time to question underlying assumptions." (Woese, C., "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95, Issue 12, June 9, 1998, pp.6854-6859) 11/07/2005 "But the skies that gave now took away. Only 53 millimeters of rain fell the year after the flood, and only 53 millimeters fell the year after that. The plants did not set half enough seed to replace the bumper crop from the year of the Child [El Nino]. The finches had overshot the carrying capacity of their desert islands, and now Lisle Gibbs watched their populations crash. He went on observing the huge flocks of Darwin's finches on Daphne Major in 1983 and 1984, banding the newcomers and marking the deaths in his field notebooks with little crosses. Finches were dying right and left, as they had died in Boag's drought. Would evolution continue to shoot like an arrow in the same direction, or reverse? How were the birds evolving now? He could not tell until he had accumulated a long enough record and fed it into a computer. In September 1985 Lisle was back home at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where the Grants were teaching in those days. It had taken Lisle a year just to enter all of the data from his water proof notebooks into the computer. He had spent months and months checking and double-checking the data for errors and checking and rechecking the program with which he would analyze the data for evolutionary trends. Now he ran the program. "I cranked out the numbers, and I was praying," he says. "I remember the actual moment when I hit the return key. After all that work ..." What he saw on the screen was so dramatic that at first he refused to believe it. He checked and rechecked. It was true. Natural selection had swung around against the birds from the other side. Big birds with big beaks were dying. Small birds with small beaks were flourishing. Selection had flipped. Both big males and big females were dying, he noticed, but many more males than females-again, the reverse of the drought. Everything the drought had preferred in size large-weight, wingspan, tarsus length, bill length, bill depth, and bill width-the aftermath of the flood favored in size small. At first, Lisle Gibbs and the Grants were not sure why the flood year dragged the birds backward like that, although it did make intuitive sense that an epic flood would undo the work of an epic drought. But eventually they came to understand why the flood favored small finches over big ones. With ten times more small seeds lying around, the large finches had trouble finding large seeds. They could still eat small seeds, of course, but they had the tools for large seeds, and they had a lifetime of experience hunting and cracking large seeds; and of course being big birds they had to eat many more small seeds to stay alive. So as seed supplies ran lower and lower, the bigger birds had more and more trouble. They were in the same sort of predicament that big young finches experience in their first few months of life. They paid dearly for their large size, because it gave them a larger appetite, and they could not make it up to themselves with their large beaks. Some of the large-beaked birds made the shift, but slowly and not as well as those with the right equipment. The net result of natural selection during Gibbs's watch was as stark as during Boag's drought. The birds took a giant step backward, after their giant step forward. A terrible drought like the one in 1977 may come once or twice in a finch's lifetime, and an El Nino like the one that came in 1983 is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So having witnessed both the year of the drought and the year of the flood the finch watchers were now staring at an extraordinary picture. Clearly, selection pressures on a creature in the wild are far more intense in some years than others. But more than that, even the most intense selection pressures can actually reverse themselves during the creature's lifetime. Not only can evolution push a species fast in one direction. Evolution can reverse direction and push it back just as swiftly." This was not just a freak of Darwin's finches. Naturalists are now documenting similar reversals of fortune elsewhere in nature as well, including populations of Darwin's "imps of darkness," the marine iguanas of the Galapagos. (Weiner, J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York NY, 1994, pp.104-106) 11/07/2005 "The stutter-step quality of the action is yet another reason that natural selection has been missed in most studies of live populations in the wild. If you measure natural selection over the course of a whole generation you may miss the many slings and arrows that it has taken along the way, the conflicting pressures in the nest, in the first days out of the nest, and on the yearlings and the adults; or on the acorn, the green shoot, and the towering oak. Each stage of life may have experienced an intense episode of natural selection, and yet their effects may have obscured each other's traces by the time the very last of the generation has shuffled off the earth. Species of animals and plants look constant to us, but in reality each generation is a sort of palimpsest, a canvas that is painted over and over by the hand of natural selection, each time a little differently. When the finch watcher Jamie Smith left the Galapagos and began watching the sparrows on the island of Mandarte, in British Columbia, he did not know if he would find selection events there. .... There is a small resident population of sparrows. They are there year round. They do not migrate. .... A few years ago, Smith was working on a paper on natural selection in these song sparrows, looking at the same traits as in Darwin's finches. His major result was there was no evolution in the birds. .... Smith told [Dolph] Schluter that natural selection was not doing anything to his sparrows. .... Schluter was fresh from the Galapagos at the time, and he was full of the power of natural selection. ... Dolph took a look. He knew that Smith had checked for evolutionary trends by comparing a generation of sparrows at birth and the same generation at death. Dolph decided to look at the birds year by year instead. He also broke each year into three components, studying the young sparrows' survival rates in their first year of life, as they weathered their first Canadian winter; their survival as adult birds in each succeeding winter; and their success in rearing offspring in each breeding season. When Schluter put the sparrows under the microscope in this way he found that natural selection had been working quite ruthlessly among the sparrows. Among the males, selection had worked to eliminate the outliers-the birds that deviated most toward large or small. This is what is known as stabilizing selection. This kind of selection pressure helps to explain why the sparrows on the island are so much less variable than the finches on Daphne. Among the females, Schluter found oscillating selection, and the case was remarkably similar to the one on Daphne Major. There had been two tremendous population crashes in the course of the study, just as on Daphne. One crash was caused by bitter cold weather, high winds, and snowfall, during the winter of 1987-88. ... The second population crash was not caused by a hard winter-in fact, the sparrow watchers still do not know what was killing their birds. But the females were pushed one way by the first crash, and the other by the second, again much as on Daphne Major. `My result: lots of 'selection,' says Dolph merrily. `At least one event every year.' Yet when he summed all these changes over the lifetime of a generation of sparrows, he saw no selection at all, just as Smith had said. `So we were both right,' Dolph concludes. Summed over years, the effects of natural selection were invisible. But at each stage of their lives and each year of their lives the sparrows on that little island had been `daily and hourly scrutinized' by the hand of natural selection, much as Darwin imagined, only in fast motion. The population on Mandarte is still being pushed every year, first left, then right. Smith and his team have not progressed as far as the Grants in determining the causes behind those pushes. They have never tried to count the seeds and bugs on the island and match them with the numbers of the sparrows, for instance. (Mandarte is much more complicated than Daphne.) But year after year they are seeing fluctuating selection at different life stages- opposing selection, between young and old stages of life, just as in the finches. And they are seeing oscillating selection from one year to the next, also as in Darwin's finches. `You start to view species not as constant entities but as fluctuating things,' Dolph says. `A species looks steady when you look at it over years-but when you actually get out the magnifying glass you see that it's wobbling constantly. So I guess that's evolution in action." (Weiner, J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York NY, 1994, pp.106-108) 11/07/2005 [Luke 16:]27, 28 The rich man now realises that through his worldly, selfish and heartless life he has plunged himself irrevocably into everlasting pain, but entreats Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them that they must repent of their evil life in time so that they should not also after death enter into the abode of torment.  Abraham, however, answers that they have no excuse if they remain unrepentant. They have the Law and the Prophets to teach them the way to salvation. If they listen to these-and they have full opportunity for it-they will be saved. Abraham's reply serves at the same time as a clear reminder to the rich man that he has no excuse for having lost his chance to be saved, for he, too, had the Law and Prophets to show him the way if he had been willing to follow the divine guidance.  The rich man reveals the typical attitude of the Jews who repeatedly ask for signs-signs so astounding as to compel them to believe in Jesus. He says that if Lazarus were to go back to them from the dead his brothers will be converted. Abraham, however, answers that, if they are so full of unbelief and worldly-mindedness that they do not listen to the Word of God (the Old Testament at that time), they will persist in 'their unbelief even if someone were to arise from the dead. These last words of the parable were undoubtedly uttered by the Saviour with a view to His own resurrection. The sign for which the Jews had so often asked would be given by His resurrection, but He knew that even this would not move the worldly- minded to a saving faith in Him. And this was abundantly proved by the actual course of events. The Saviour related this parable not in order to satisfy our curiosity about life after death but to emphasise vividly the tremendous seriousness of life on this side of the grave-on the choice made here by us depends our eternal weal or woe. And however rich and honoured a man may outwardly be and however much his life may be filled with worldly pleasure, this will not in eternity be able to effect the slightest change in his condition if he has departed this life without the salvation of God. On the other hand, even if a man was a sick beggar on earth, but is really a child of God at heart and does not try to hide behind his poverty and misery in a life of embitterment and unbelief, he will inherit the richest blessedness. The parable, however, does not teach that the possession of worldly goods as such will cause a man to land in everlasting perdition, and that a life of poverty and want will of itself bring to a man eternal bliss. Everything depends on the attitude which a person reveals towards his wealth or towards his poverty-whether he believes in God with a repentant heart and serves Him, whatever his external circumstances may be, or whether he rejects Him-a thing which may be done in poverty as well as in wealth." (Geldenhuys, J.N.*, "Commentary on the Gospel of Luke," Marshall, Morgan & Scott: London, 1950, Reprinted, 1961, pp.426-427) 11/07/2005 "There are, however, certain qualifications of this all-powerful character of God. He cannot arbitrarily do anything whatsoever that we may conceive of. He can do only those things which are proper objects of his power. Thus, he cannot do the logically absurd or contradictory. He cannot make square circles or triangles with four corners. He cannot undo what happened in the past, although he may wipe out its effects or even the memory of it. He cannot act contrary to his nature-he cannot be cruel or unconcerned. He cannot fail to do what he has promised. In reference to God's having made a promise and having confirmed it with an oath, the writer to the Hebrews says: `So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we ... might have strong encouragement' (Heb. 6:18). All of these `inabilities,' however, are not weaknesses, but strengths. The inability to do evil or to lie or to fail is a mark of positive strength rather than of failure." (Erickson, M.J.*, "Christian Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1988, Fifth printing, pp.277-278. Ellipses in original) 13/07/2005 "But in our assertion of the absolute power of God it is necessary to guard against misconceptions. The Bible teaches us on the one hand that the power of God extends beyond that which is actually realized, Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:27; Zech. 8:6; Matt. 3:9; 26:53. We cannot say, therefore, that what God does not bring to realization, is not possible for Him. But on the other hand it also indicates that there are many things which God cannot do. He call neither lie, sin, change, nor deny Himself, Num. 23:19; I Sam. 15:29; II Tim. 2:13; Heb. 6:18; Jas. 1:13,17. There is no absolute power in Him that is divorced from His perfections, and in virtue of which He can do all kinds of things which are inherently contradictory." Berkhof, L.*, "Systematic Theology," , Banner of Truth: London, British Edition, 1958, Third printing, 1966, p.80) 13/07/2005 "Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. `Rum thing,' he went on. `All that stuff of Frazer's about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.' To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man (who has certainly never since shown any interest in Christianity). If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not-as I would still have put it-'safe,' where could I turn? Was there then no escape?"(Lewis, C.S.*, "Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life," Harvest: New York NY, 1955, pp.223-224) 13/07/2005 "The most potent figure, not only in the history of religion, but in world history as a whole, is Jesus Christ: the maker of one of the few revolutions which have lasted. Millions of men and women for century after century have found his life and teaching overwhelmingly significant and moving. And there is ample reason, as this book will endeavour to show, in this later twentieth century why this should still be so. " (Grant, M., "Jesus," , Rigel: London, 2004, reprint, p.1) 13/07/2005 "Of the five points of Darwin's theory, the most controversial today are gradualism, with Niles Eldredge (1971, 1985; Eldredge and Gould 1972) and Stephen Jay Gould (1985, 1989, 1991) and their supporters pushing for a theory called punctuated equilibrium, which involves rapid change and stasis, to replace gradualism; and the exclusivity of natural selection, with Eldredge, Gould, and others arguing for change at the level of genes, groups, and populations in addition to individual natural selection (Somit and Peterson 1992). Ranged against Eldredge, Gould, and their supporters are Daniel Dennett (1995), Richard Dawkins (1995), and those who opt for a strict Darwinian model of gradualism and natural selection. The debate rages, while creationists sit on the sidelines hoping for a double knockout. They will not get it. These scientists are not arguing about whether evolution happened; they are debating the rate and mechanism of evolutionary change. When it all shakes down, the theory of evolution will be stronger than ever. ." (Shermer, M.B., "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1997, p.141. Emphasis in original) 13/07/2005 "In his biology textbook Miller makes the preposterous claim that Darwin `remained a devout Christian all his life' [Miller, K.R. & Levine, J., "Biology," Prentice Hall: Columbus OH, 5th teachers edition, 2000, p. 270]. On the contrary, Darwin was never more than a lukewarm believer, and by the time of his death described himself as an agnostic." (Johnson, P.E.*, "The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 2000, p.182) 13/07/2005 "The doctrine of the Trinity is a crucial ingredient of our faith. Each of the three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is to be worshiped, as is the Triune God. And, keeping in mind their distinctive work, it is appropriate to direct prayers of thanks and of petition to each of the members of the Trinity, as well as to all of them collectively. Furthermore, the perfect love and unity within the Godhead model for us the oneness and affection that should characterize our relationships within the body of Christ. It appears that Tertullian was right in affirming that the doctrine of the Trinity must be divinely revealed, not humanly constructed. It is so absurd from a human standpoint that no one would have invented it. We do not hold the doctrine of the Trinity because it is self- evident or logically cogent. We hold it because God has revealed that this is what he is like." (Erickson, M.J.*, "Christian Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1988, Fifth Printing, p.342) 14/07/2005 "The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things. Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science." (Schönborn, C., "Finding Design in Nature," The New York Times July 7, 2005) 16/07/2005 "An ostrich has callouses on its legs where it kneels on the ground. To an extent, these develop during its lifetime, in much the same way as a sailor's palms grow tough if he continually wrestles with ropes. Similarly, if we walk barefoot for long enough, our soles become hard and leathery. But in both cases, the thickening begins before birth- inside an ostrich's egg and inside a human womb. We are born with the job already half done. The thickening process is dictated by our genes. So how could this have come about? Lamarck would have had no difficulty in replying that it was an obviously useful attribute acquired gradually over many generations, and passed on to our children. But so long as Weismann's barrier was sacrosanct, such an explanation was not allowed. Now that the barrier has apparently been penetrated, the easy answer may yet turn out to be the right one, even if the detail is not immediately understood. (The neo-Darwinist explanation ... is tortuous in the extreme.)." (Hitching F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, p.152) 16/07/2005 "At The Institute for Genomic Research [TIGR], a sandy-haired biologist named Scott Peterson and his team are trying to create something nature has not: a single-celled creature with the smallest number of genes necessary to stay alive. ... Predictably, he has chosen to study nature's simplest bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium. Found in the comfy environs of the human urogenital tract, the needs of this mycoplasma are easily fulfilled, and so, over its long evolutionary history, it has shed thousands of unnecessary genes, becoming the very model of austerity. (The genome of food- poisoning culprit E. coli, considered a basic life-form, is nine times bigger.) By tinkering with mycoplasma's slender set of genes, Peterson is in search of answers to two fundamental questions: How many genes, exactly, does a cell need to live? And which genes are they? ... The search for the smallest genome stretches back to 1955, when biophysicist Harold Morowitz began collecting a Noah's ark of microbes in his lab at Yale and inspecting each organism's simple circular chromosome. One day he found an impressively runty germ, a species of Mycoplasma, and decided to study it. NASA funded the research, figuring that alien life might resemble something as seemingly primitive and genetically streamlined as mycoplasma. ... Peterson's office has ... a diagram taped to his filing cabinet. .... It represents the more than 1,700 genes of Haemophilus influenzae- -the first complete sequence of a bacterial genome. ... Determined to crack a simpler, more manageable genome, Venter's team set their sights on M. genitalium. Three months later, Claire Fraser, now president of the institute, had nailed the 470-gene sequence. ... Peterson's first step was to disrupt mycoplasma's genes in various places to figure out which were crucial. To do this, he attacked the mycoplasma genome with bits of DNA called transposons that sneak their way into chromosomes. The invading transposons landed at random within the mycoplasma gene sequence, wreaking havoc. By looking at the cells that died from the attack, Peterson could see where the invading transposon had landed and thereby pinpoint genes essential for the bacterium's life. After this meticulous screening, he and Clyde Hutchison, a colleague from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, identified a list of 300 or so essential genes. Without any one of these genes, mycoplasma would die. Yet that turned out not to be the sought-after minimal set. If the roughly 300 genes were strung together and slipped into a mycoplasma cell, the most likely result was one pathetically dependent bacterium, if it survived at all. .... The transposon research showed who the team's best players were, but the analysis missed bit players whose teamwork was crucial. In order to approach a real minimal set of genes, Peterson says, you'd have to take genes out a few at a time, a technically challenging proposition. Therefore, `the way to prove that you've got a minimal cell is to make it,' he says. But that approach means creating an organism that is utterly new to the face of the Earth. ... The team believes they have properly identified more than 200 crucial genes, including ones for eating, metabolism, and structure. But they have no clue what another 100 of mycoplasma's most essential genes do. `One bad choice could kill the whole thing,' Peterson says. Attempts at computer-modeling life haven't shed much light on the problem. A Japanese group called E-Cell tried in 1997 to create a digital minimal cell. Their 127- gene, less-than-minimal model of a mycoplasma cell was able to simulate life, but not replicate it. The barrier was science's murky sense of how, among other things, mycoplasma divides. `In this particular area,' says E-Cell leader Masaru Tomita, `we have to wait for the science to catch up.' ... Mix-and-match chromosome construction could also prove a powerful weapon for tackling questions of evolution. M. genitalium's closest relative is M. pneumoniae, which can cause a bad cough. By comparing the siblings' sequences, it appears that M. genitalium evolved directly from its older brother by discarding 210 genes. Imaginative chromosome reengineering could allow a researcher to replay the divergence of the two species in a frame-by-frame reverse slow motion. `One could start to add the 210 genes back sequentially to M. genitalium,' says Peterson, `and ask questions about the evolution.'bIronically, the one question genomic engineering may not be able to answer is which genes are absolutely essential for life. One issue is how to define life--the life-support-machine dilemma, on the most basic level. Normally, says Peterson, M. genitalium replicates itself in about 12 hours. A minimal creature, enfeebled by a bare-bones set of genes, could take much longer, perhaps a month. `And it's so sick that I have to feed it and nurture it. Is that life?' Peterson asks. Even genes designated dispensable may be long- term evolutionary investments. During the first round of experiments, researchers found that the bacteria could live without the gene they believe encodes RecA, a protein that can repair genetic errors. Does that make RecA dispensable? Without the recA gene, mycoplasma cells may survive in the lab, says Peterson, but `in a million years you might suspect they won't be around anymore.' Experiments have also shown that the amount of sugar available determines which bacterial genes are crucial for metabolism. So which would be crucial for a minimal cell? ... `There's a constant debate over nature or nurture--they're inseparable,' says Craig Venter. `I naively thought that we could have a molecular definition for life, come up with a set of genes that would minimally define life. Nature just refuses,' he says softly, `to be so easily quantified.' ... Losing genes is old hat for Mycoplasma, but the losses over the eons have made its members pathetically reliant. They cannot make raw materials for proteins, DNA, or their cell membranes. So in a lab they demand a diet of ground-up cow hearts, blood serum, and other delicacies. `They're high maintenance,' says one assistant. ... Peterson's project--like so many in biotech research- -will further our understanding of how genes work together. And it could someday lead to the creation of an entirely artificial single-celled organism, assembled from off-the-shelf components like DNA, proteins, lipids, and sugars. `I think someday science will be in that position,' says Peterson, `where we will have to ask: Should we or shouldn't we?' ...Venter, who maintains informal ties with the institute, says he has no interest in that project. `Right now, the only way you can get life is from life itself,' Venter says. `We're working in that direction, but we're a long way away from making the decision to go ahead and do that experiment.'" (Kintisch, E., "Is Life That Simple?," Discover, Vol. 22, No. 4, April, 2001) 16/07/2005 "All theories which profess to explain the origin of species may be divided into four main groups. 1. Atheistic evolution. There is no God and therefore no supernatural creative activity. The origin of life and the origin of species are explicable as the result of natural agencies and natural law. 2. Deistic evolution. God exists and created the world, but does not interfere in the process of creation. There is nothing miraculous in the origin of life or in the origin of species. Both can be explained as the result of natural agencies without invoking supernatural intervention. For controversial purposes, atheistic and Deistic evolution are indistinguishable, but a man need not be a Deist in theology to be a deistic evolutionist. Many Catholic biologists are Deistic evolutionists, so far at least as the evolution of man's body is concerned. 3. Special creation. There is nothing in this theory repugnant, as Philip Gosse's theory is repugnant, to an exalted conception of God. Neither the philosopher nor the scientist can adduce a single valid reason against the possibility of special creation. The principal obstacle to the acceptance of special creation is neither science nor philosophy, but fashion. The mental climate of the day renders it difficult for us to accept special creation. Phrases such as `fundamentalism,' `the Bible belt,' etc., handicap the special creationist by importing emotional prejudices into what should be a purely scientific discussion, but our attitude. to this hypothesis should be determined by the evidence. If, for instance, the evolutionist could produce true lineage series of fossils linking family with family, and class with class, and order with order, and phylum with phylum, I for one would have no hesitation in rejecting special creation. If, on the other hand, the special creationist had a completely satisfactory answer to the horse series, to vestigial remains, and to the embryological evidence, I should regard the suddenness with which new types appear as conclusive in favour of special creation. 4. Theistic evolution, differs from special creation in that it postulates the evolution of man's body from that of the simplest forms of life, and differs from Deistic evolution in that it invokes supernatural activity to bring about the more radical changes in the human pedigree. Natural agencies, according to this view, are adequate for minor evolution but require to be supplemented by supernatural agencies to provoke major evolution." (Lunn, A., ed., "Is Evolution Proved?: A Debate Between Douglas Dewar and H.S. Shelton," Hollis & Carter: London, 1947, pp.14-15. Emphasis in original) 16/07/2005 "Fiat Creationism. At the opposite end of the spectrum is what is sometimes termed fiat creationism. This is the idea that God, by a direct act, brought into being virtually instantaneously everything that is. Note two features of this view. One is the brevity of time involved, and hence the relative recency of what occurred at creation. While there were various stages of creation, one occurring after another, no substantial amount of time elapsed from the beginning to the end of the process. Perhaps a calendar week or so was involved. Another tenet of this view is the idea of direct divine working. God produced the world and everything in it, not by the use of any indirect means or biological mechanisms, but by direct action and contact. In each case, or at each stage, God did not employ previously existing material. New species did not arise as modifications of existing species, but they were fresh starts, so to speak, specially created by God. Each species was totally distinct from the others. Specifically, God made man in his entirety by a unique, direct creative act; man did not come from any previously existing organism. It should be apparent that there is no difficulty in reconciling fiat creationism with the biblical account. Indeed, this view reflects a strictly literal reading of the text, which is the way the account was understood for a long time in the history of the church. The statement that God brought forth each animal and plant after its kind has traditionally been interpreted as meaning that he created each species individually. It must be pointed out, however, that the Hebrew noun min, which is rendered "kind" in most translations, is simply a general term of division. It may mean species, but there is not enough specificity about the word to conclude that it does. Therefore, we cannot claim that the Bible requires fiat creationism; nevertheless, it is clear that it most certainly permits it. It is at the point of the scientific data that fiat creationism encounters difficulty. For when those data are taken seriously, they appear to indicate a considerable amount of development, including what seem to be transitional forms between species. There are even some forms which appear to be ancestors of the human species." (Erickson, M.J.*, "Christian Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1988, Fifth Printing, pp.479-480) 16/07/2005 "The endeavor to understand the universe has marked human culture in every period and in nearly every society. In the perspective of the Christian faith, this endeavor is precisely an instance of the stewardship which human beings exercise in accordance with God's plan. Without embracing a discredited concordism, Christians have the responsibility to locate the modern scientific understanding of the universe within the context of the theology of creation. The place of human beings in the history of this evolving universe, as it has been charted by modern sciences, can only be seen in its complete reality in the light of faith, as a personal history of the engagement of the triune God with creaturely persons. ... According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the `Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.54 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of Homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution." (International Theological Commission Communion and Stewardship, "Human Persons Created in the Image of God," The Roman Curia, 2000) 17/07/2005 "Those who believe in the principle of gradual evolution, will not readily admit that the sense of smell in its present state was originally acquired by man, as he now exists. He inherits the power in an enfeebled and so fdimentary condition, from some early progenitor, to whom it was highly serviceable, and by whom it was continually used." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.25) 17/07/2005 "The Rev. Dr. Haughton, after giving (Proc. R. Irish Academy, June 27, 1864, p. 715) a remarkable case of variation in the human flexor pollicis longus, adds, `This remarkable example shows that man may sometimes possess the arrangement of tendons of thumb and fingers characteristic of the macaque; but whether such a case should be regarded as a macaque passing upwards into a man, or a man passing downwards into a macaque, or as a congenital freak of nature, I cannot undertake to say.' It is satisfactory to hear so capable an anatomist, and so embittered an opponent of evolutionism, admitting even the possibility of either of his first propositions." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.63) 17/07/2005 "Man in the rudest state in which he now exists is the most dominant animal that has ever appeared on this earth. He has spread more widely than any other highly organised form: and all others have yielded before him. He manifestly owes this immense superiority to his intellectual faculties, to his social habits, which lead him to aid and defend his fellows, and to his corporeal structure. The supreme importance of these characters has been proved by the final arbitrament of the battle for life. Through his powers of intellect, articulate language has been evolved; and on this his wonderful advancement has mainly depended. As Mr. Chauncey Wright remarks: `A psychological analysis of the faculty of language shews, that even the smallest proficiency in it might require more brain power than the greatest proficiency in any other direction.' He has invented and is able to use various weapons, tools, traps, &c., with which he defends himself, kills or catches prey, and otherwise obtains food. He has made rafts or canoes for fishing or crossing over to neighbouring fertile islands. He has discovered the art of making fire, by which hard and stringy roots can be rendered digestible, and poisonous roots or herbs innocuous. This discovery of fire, probably the greatest ever made by man, excepting language, dates from before the dawn of history. These several inventions, by which man in the rudest state has become so pre- eminent, are the direct results of the development of his powers of observation, memory, curiosity, imagination, and reason. I cannot, therefore, understand how it is that Mr. Wallace [Quarterly Review, April 1869, p.392] maintains, that `natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, pp.72-73) 17/07/2005 "Nevertheless, I did not formerly consider sufficiently the existence of structures, which, as far as we can at present judge, are neither beneficial nor injurious; and this I believe to be one of the greatest oversights as yet detected in my work. I may be permitted to say, as some excuse, that I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to shew that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change, though largely aided by the inherited effects of habit, and slightly by the direct action of the surrounding conditions. ... Some of those who admit the principle of evolution, but reject natural selection, seem to forget, when criticizing my book, that I had the above two objects in view; hence if I have erred in giving to natural selection great power, which I am very far from admitting, or in having exaggerated its power, which is in itself probable, I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.92) 17/07/2005 "Our domestic dogs are descended from wolves and jackals, and though they may not have gained in cunning, and may have lost in wariness and suspicion, yet they have progressed in certain moral qualities, such as in affection, trust-worthiness, temper, and probably in general intelligence. The common rat has conquered and beaten several other species throughout Europe, in parts of North America, New Zealand, and recently in Formosa, as well as on the mainland of China. Mr. Swinhoe, who describes these two latter cases, attributes the victory of the common rat over the large Mus coninga to its superior cunning; and this latter quality may probably be attributed to the habitual exercise of all its faculties in avoiding extirpation by man, as well as to nearly all the less cunning or weak-minded rats having been continuously destroyed by him. It is, however, possible that the success of the common rat may be due to its having possessed greater cunning than its fellow- species, before it became associated with man. To maintain, independently of any direct evidence, that no animal during, the course of ages has progressed in intellect or other mental faculties, is to beg the question of the evolution of species." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, pp.122-123) 17/07/2005 "The Duke of Argyll remarks, that the fashioning of an implement for a special purpose is absolutely peculiar to man; and he considers that this forms an immeasurable gulf between him and the brutes. This is no doubt a very important distinction ; but there appears to me much truth in Sir J. Lubbock's suggestion, that when primeval man first used flintstones for any purpose, he would have accidentally splintered them, and would then have used the sharp fragments. From this step it would be a small one to break the flints on purpose, and not a very wide step to fashion them rudely. This latter advance, however, may have taken long ages, if we may judge by the immense interval of time which elapsed before the men of the neolithic period took to grinding and polishing their stone tools. In breaking the flints, as Sir J. Lubbock likewise remarks, sparks would have been emitted, and in grinding them heat would have been evolved: thus the two usual methods of `obtaining fire may have originated.'" (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, pp.125-126) 17/07/2005 "In 1880 I published, with Frank's assistance, our Power of Movement in Plants. This was a tough piece of work. The book bears somewhat the same relation to my little book on Climbing Plants, which Cross-Fertilisation did to the Fertilisation of Orchids ; for in accordance with the principles of evolution it was impossible to account for climbing plants having been developed in so many widely different groups, unless all kinds of plants possess some slight power of movement of an analogous kind." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York, 1969, reprint, p.135) 17/07/2005 "Every naturalist, who believes in the principle of evolution, will grant that the two main divisions of the Simiada?, namely the Catarhine and Platyrhine monkeys, with their sub-groups, have all proceeded from some one extremely ancient progenitor. " (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.238) 17/07/2005 "The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies--between the Tarsius and the other Lemaridae-between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922 p.241) 17/07/2005 "The question whether mankind consists of one or several species has of late years been much discussed by anthropologists, who are divided into the two schools of monogenists and polygenists. Those who do not admit the principle of evolution, must look at species as separate creations, or in some manner as distinct entities; and they must decide what forms of man they will consider as species by the analogy of the method commonly pursued in ranking other organic beings as species." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.272) 17/07/2005 "To begin with a paradox: Darwin, Lamarck, and Haeckel-the greatest nineteenth-century evolutionists of England, France, and Germany, respectively-did not use the word evolution in the original editions of their great works. Darwin spoke of `descent with modification,' Lamarck of `transformisme.' Haeckel preferred `Transmutations-Theorie' or `Descendenz-Theorie.' Why did they not use `evolution' and how did their story of organic change acquire its present name? Darwin shunned evolution as a description of his theory for two reasons. In his day, first of all, evolution already had a technical meaning in biology. In fact, it described a theory of embryology that could not be reconciled with Darwin's views of organic development. In 1744, the German biologist Albrecht von Haller had coined the term evolution to describe the theory that embryos grew from preformed homunculi enclosed in the egg or sperm (and that, fantastic as it may seem today, all future generations had been created in the ovaries of Eve or testes of Adam, enclosed like Russian dolls, one within the next- a homunculus in each of Eve's ova, a tinier homunculus in each ovum of the homunculus, and so on). ... Haller chose his term carefully, for the Latin evolvere means `to unroll'; indeed, the tiny homunculus unfolded from its originally cramped quarters and simply increased in size during its embryonic development. ... `Evolution' as a description of Darwin's `descent with modification' was not borrowed from a previous technical meaning; it was, rather, expropriated from the vernacular. Evolution, in Darwin's day, had become a common English word with a meaning quite different from Haller's technical sense. The Oxford English Dictionary traces it to a 1647 poem of H. More: `Evolution of outward forms spread in the world's vast spright [spirit].' But this was `unrolling' in a sense very different from Haller's. It implied `the appearance in orderly succession of a long train of events,' and more important, it embodied a concept of progressive development -an orderly unfolding from simple to complex. The O.E.D. continues, `The process of developing from a rudimentary to a mature or complete state.' Thus evolution, in the vernacular, was firmly tied to a concept of progress. Darwin did use evolve in this vernacular sense-in fact it is the very last word of his book. `There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.' Darwin chose it for this passage because he wanted to contrast the flux of organic development with the fixity of such physical laws as gravitation. But it was a word he used very rarely indeed, for Darwin explicitly rejected the common equation of what we now call evolution with any notion of progress. In a famous epigram, Darwin reminded himself never to say `higher' or `lower' in describing the structure of organisms-for if an amoeba is as well adapted to its environment as we are to ours, who is to say that we are higher creatures? Thus Darwin shunned evolution as a description for his descent with modification, both because its technical meaning contrasted with his beliefs and because he was uncomfortable with the notion of inevitable progress inherent in its vernacular meaning.... Evolution entered the English language as a synonym for `descent with modification' through the propaganda of Herbert Spencer, that indefatigable Victorian pundit of nearly everything. Evolution, to Spencer, was the overarching law of all development. And, to a smug Victorian, what principle other than progress could rule the developmental processes of the universe? Thus, Spencer defined the universal law in his First Principles of 1862: `Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity.' Two other aspects of Spencer's work contributed to the establishment of evolution in its present meaning: First, in writing his very popular Principles of Biology (1864-67), Spencer constantly used `evolution' as a description of organic change. Second, he did not view progress as an intrinsic capacity of matter, but as a result of `cooperation' between internal and external (environmental) forces. This view fit nicely with most nineteenth-century concepts of organic evolution, for Victorian scientists easily equated organic change with organic progress. Thus evolution was available when many scientists felt a need for a term more succinct than Darwin's descent with modification." (Gould S.J., "Darwin's Dilemma," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.34-37) 17/07/2005 "But Lynn Margulis took the idea further, proposing that at least two other features of the eukaryotic cell had been acquired by endosymbiotic means. One was the flagellum, the whip-like structure which propels some eukaryotic cells. (Structurally, it is different from and more complex than the cilia of simple cells.) Noting that the Protist Myxotricha is propelled by spirochaetes attached to its surface, she proposed that flagella are incorporated spirochaetes. Finally in 1970 she completed the picture by suggesting that the centriole- the device which separates the chromosomes at cell division - was also of endosymbiotic origin. The eukaryotic cell, it seems, is an ogre who has enslaved no fewer than four other organisms to work for it. Of course, this daring hypothesis leaves us with numerous problems. How, for instance, did the cell manage before it acquired mitochondria? Why is some of the old circular DNA left over in the cytoplasm? Do the plastids of plants and the mitochondria of animals have a common origin? And so on. However, we need not pursue these technical points. All we need do is register the fact that Darwinian theory scarcely explains such an astonishing development. To be sure, to postulate endosymbiosis is not an explanation; it is simply a description. It offers no explanation of how meiosis appeared. It does not account for the appearance of novel structures such as the nucleolus, the Golgi apparatus, or the microtubules which distinguish the eukaryotic cell. Above all, it does not explain how DNA came to be organised into chromosomes and enveloped in a nuclear membrane. In short, far too many things seem to have been happening at once for chance to be an adequate explanation, and we are left with an enigma." (Taylor G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," , Abacus: London, 1984, reprint, pp.212-213) 18/07/2005 "David Hull, who reviewed my book Darwin on Trial for Nature ... did not present any scientific evidence on the crucial point at issue, which is whether the blind watchmaker really has the power to do all the necessary creating. Such evidence is unnecessary, according to Hull's implicit logic, because an explanation of the blind watchmaker type is the only possibility acceptable to science. Even if the Darwinian theory of today is imperfect, as Hull concedes it to be, it is nonetheless the best naturalistic theory currently available and therefore, by definition, the closest approximation to truth which is available to us. Criticism of the kind provided in Darwin on Trial is thus inherently beside the point, and need not be taken seriously. .... Because there is no positive evidence that the blind watchmaker can create complex biological systems, the defenders of Darwinism must establish that no other possibility needs to be considered. And so David Hull like all the others dives straight into theology, and comes up with some well known arguments against the existence of God. ... Faced with answering a critique of the scientific evidence for Darwinism, the reviewer for Nature , the most prestigious organ of the scientific establishment, changes the subject and brings God directly into the argument. The blind watchmaker must be responsible for creation because the world looks cruel and wasteful to the selective vision of a Darwinist. The essential premise of this utterly unscientific argument is that a world created by God would have to be a world in which waste and cruelty are totally absent. Why should those of us who dispute that premise permit biologists and atheistic historians of science to shield it from criticism by pretending to have expert knowledge about what God would have done?" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Disestablishing Naturalism," 1992 Founder's Lectures, Part 3, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. February 17, 1992) 18/07/2005 "Popper proposed the falsifiability criterion as a test for distinguishing science from other intellectual pursuits, among which he included pseudoscience and metaphysics. These terms have caused some confusion, because in ordinary language we identify "science" as the study of a particular kind of subject matter, such as physics or biology, as opposed to (say) history or literature. Popper's logic implies that a theory's scientific status depends less upon its subject matter than upon the attitude of its adherents towards criticism. A physicist or a biologist may be dogmatic or evasive, and therefore unscientific in method, while a historian or literary critic may state the implications of a thesis so plainly that refuting examples are invited. Scientific methodology exists wherever theories are subjected to rigorous empirical testing, and it is absent wherever the practice is to protect a theory rather than to test it." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.149-150) 18/07/2005 "How does Darwinism fare if we judge the practices of Darwinists by Popper's maxims? Darwin was relatively candid in acknowledging that the evidence was in important respects not easy to reconcile with his theory, but in the end he met every difficulty with a rhetorical solution. He described The Origin of Species as `one long argument,' and the point of the argument was that the common ancestry thesis was so logically appealing that rigorous empirical testing was not required. He proposed no daring experimental tests, and thereby started his science on the wrong road. Darwin himself established the tradition of explaining away the fossil record, of citing selective breeding as verification without acknowledging its limitations, and of blurring the critical distinction between minor variations and major innovations. The central Darwinist concept that later came to be called the `fact of evolution'-descent with modification-was thus from the start protected from empirical testing." (Johnson P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial", InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.151) 18/07/2005 "As we have seen, the doctrine that only purposeless forces played a role in biological history is not an empirical finding but a metaphysical assumption built into the definition of science. This foundational assumption is protected from criticism by the "two subjects" doctrine, which identifies naturalism with science and objections to naturalism with religion. If the NAS were to declare explicitly that science favors atheism over theism, the pretense that science and religion are separate subjects would have to be abandoned. It would follow that creationists should have a fair opportunity to argue that the naturalistic conclusions presented to the public in the name of science are philosophical assumptions rather empirical findings and that there is nothing in the nature of science that requires legitimate empirical research to be based on a dogmatic adherence to metaphysical naturalism." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance", InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.190) 18/07/2005 "Yet if the design hypothesis must be denied consideration from the outset, and if, as the NAS also asserts, exclusively negative argumentation against neo-Darwinism is "unscientific," then, Johnson asserts, "the rules of argument ... make it impossible to question whether what we are being told about evolution is really true." Defining opposing positions out of existence "may be one way to win an argument," but, says Johnson, it scarcely suffices to demonstrate the superiority of a protected theory." (Meyer S.C.*, "Darwin in the Dock: A History of Johnson's Wedge," Touchstone, Vol. 14, No. 3, April, 2001) 18/07/2005 "Public understanding of the defects of Darwinism is limited because the educators think it their duty to indoctrinate, and prestigious propagandists like Richard Dawkins protect the theory effectively with ridicule and bullying. (This method of dealing with criticism is itself a hallmark of bad science.) Readers who are not intimidated should be sure to read Michael J. Behe's Darwin's Black Box, which shows why the mutation/selection mechanism has been all but abandoned as an explanation for the irreducible complexity found in the biochemistry of organisms." (Johnson, P.E.*, in "Denying Darwin: David Berlinski and Critics," Commentary, September 1996, p.22) 18/07/2005 "Darwin pressed ahead with Origin, working continuously for a year to expand his 1844 sketch into publishable form. ... His determination to forge ahead despite the rough going, spurred on by the knowledge that competition was in the wind had a certain ruthlessness about it. Wallace, far away on the other side of the world, was ignored. Finally, on 24 November 1859, the book was published, all 1,250 copies of the first edition having been pre-sold to booksellers. Wallace has a brief mention in the introduction. So does Darwin's friend Joseph Hooker. None of his evolutionist contemporaries or predecessors is referred to, apart from a sly unfavourable comment on the anonymous author of Vestiges of Creation. Darwin had become extremely protective of his brainchild. He used the words 'my theory' no less than forty-five times." (Hitching F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, pp.247-249l) 18/07/2005 "As Darwin put it: `If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.' But this was hardly a concession. Darwin may sound generous here, allowing that his theory would `absolutely break down,' but his requirement for such a failure is no less than impossible. For no one can show that an organ `could not possibly' have been formed in such a way. So in short order Darwin reduced what seemed to be a dilemma for his theory into a logical truism. Evolution was protected from criticism, and all that was needed to explain complexity was a clever thought experiment." (Hunter, C.G.*, "Darwin's God Evolution and the Problem of Evil," Brazos Press: Grand Rapids MI, 2001, p.75. Emphasis in original) 18/07/2005 "The question, however, is whether the strictly materialistic Darwinian theory provides a correct description of the history of those relationships, and whether it is consistent with the evidence. Science, like religion, can take a wrong turn if it disregards important parts of reality in order to protect a cherished dogma. The question I am raising is whether this has happened in the case of Darwinism." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution and Theistic Naturalism," Founder's Lectures, Part 1, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1992) 18/07/2005 "I think that Michael Ruse and Henry Morris are both right to insist that cultural acceptance of Darwinism has important consequences for politics and morality. Recognition of this factor, however, also has important implications for how we should regard Darwinism's rules of reasoning. Are those rules designed to protect a charter of liberty from scientific criticism-criticism that might, wittingly or unwittingly, give aid and comfort to persons who want to deprive the Darwinist establishment of its cultural authority? ... Darwinism's rules of reasoning not only protect the cultural authority of Darwinists. They also permit Darwinist writers to take the mutation/selection paradigm for granted even when they are describing evidence that directly contradicts it." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwinism's Rules of Reasoning," in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?" Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, pp.11-12) 18/07/2005 "Metaphysical naturalists understandably don't require much confirming evidence for a thesis that is so congenial to their philosophy. They also see no point in criticisms that point out the inadequacy of the supporting evidence. If this particular version of the Blind Watchmaker thesis is faulty, then something else very much like it must be true anyway. What else could have happened? If one believes in the existence of an omnipotent creator, a lot else could have happened. Nonetheless, many of the most influential voices in Christian academia are as protective of Darwinian "scientific theory" as the metaphysical naturalists. Even though they acknowledge that practically all the leading Darwinists of the twentieth century have employed their theory in popular presentations and textbooks to discredit the idea that God had anything to do with our creation, these Christian intellectuals insist that the theory itself is entirely benign, and even conducive to a theistic interpretation." (Johnson, P.E.*, "God and Evolution: An Exchange," First Things, 34, June/July 1993, pp.38-41) 18/07/2005 "Save the Baptists! Yes, of course, but not by all means. Not if it means tolerating the deliberate misinforming of children about the natural world. According to a recent poll, 48 percent of the people in the United States today believe that the book of Genesis is literally true. And 70 percent believe that "creation science" should be taught in school alongside evolution. Some recent writers recommend a policy in which parents would be able to "opt out" of materials they didn't want their children taught. Should evolution be taught in the schools? Should arithmetic be taught? Should history? Misinforming a child is a terrible offense. A faith, like a species, must evolve or go extinct when the environment changes. It is not a gentle process in either case. ... This is already accepted practice, but we tend to avert our attention from its implications. We preach freedom of religion, but only so far. ... It is nice to have grizzly bears and wolves living in the wild. They are no longer a menace; we can peacefully coexist, with a little wisdom. The same policy can be discerned in our political tolerance, in religious freedom. You are free to preserve or create any religious creed you wish, so long as it does not become a public menace. .... The message is clear: those who will not accommodate, who will not temper, who insist on keeping only the purest and wildest strain of their heritage alive, we will be obliged, reluctantly, to cage or disarm, and we will do our best to disable the memes they fight for. ... If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods-that the Earth is flat, that "Man" is not a product of evolution by natural selection-then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teaching as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity. Our future well-being-the well-being of all of us on the planet-depends on the education of our descendants." (Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," Penguin: London, 1995, pp.516,519. Emphasis in original) 18/07/2005 "The fallacy of begging the question is committed when, instead of offering proof for its conclusion, an argument simply reasserts the conclusion in another form. Such arguments invite us to assume that something has been confirmed when in fact it has only been affirmed or reaffirmed. ... Arguments that beg the question are circular arguments. They make use of the capacity of our language to say a thing in many different ways, ending where they began and beginning where they end. They are like the proverbial three morons, each of whom tied his horse to another's horse, thinking that he had in this way secured his own horse. Naturally, all three horses wandered away because they were anchored to nothing but each other." (Engel S.M., "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies," St. Martin's Press: New York, Fourth Edition, 1990, pp.134-135. Emphasis in original) 18/07/2005 "The one thing that Darwin could not admit was that God somehow played an active role in controlling the direction of evolution. This emerges clearly in the interaction with his leading American supporter, the botanist Asa Gray. .. Gray ... was a deeply religious man who felt that he could only accept evolution if it could be seen as the unfolding of a divine purpose. ... Gray found the element of random variation in Darwin's theory unacceptable. If God was to have any influence over the direction of evolution He must surely exert more positive control than this. Gray argued that ... variation has been led along certain beneficial lines." ... Here, from one of Darwin's own supporters, was one of the most basic arguments against natural selection. ... Darwin realized that this line of thinking would ultimately lead to natural selection being rejected as superfluous and he responded to Gray ... "However much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief "That variation has been led along certain beneficial lines" ... For Darwin's opponents, however, the possibility that variation might be directed along purposeful channels became the foundation upon which they hoped to construct an alternative theory of evolution. ... The exponents of what has sometimes been called 'theistic evolutionism' believed that variation was an active force driving the species in a predetermined direction." (Bowler P.J., "Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 2000, reprint, pp.158-161) 18/07/2005 "DURING THESE two years [1837-1839] I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1969, reprint, p.85l) 18/07/2005 "By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported,that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,-that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,-that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,-that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye witnesses;-by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1969, reprint, p.86l) 18/07/2005 "But I was very unwilling to give up my belief ;- I feel sure of this for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels. But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1969, reprint, pp.86-87l) 18/07/2005 "Moreover though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follow[s] from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to Edward Aveling, 13 October 1880, in Desmond, A.J. & Moore, J.R., "Darwin," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1992, p.645) 18/07/2005 "One of the radical differences between physical and biological phenomena lies in the fact that the former must necessarily and absolutely obey the laws of matter. Gravity exerts its action on all material bodies; nothing in the gravitational field escapes its universal influence. The living being reacts to physical law, escaping from it to a greater or lesser extent. For instance, the wings of birds and insects allow them to defy the law of gravity without violating it. Necessity does not imperatively impose its laws on the living world. Proof of this is seen in the morphological and functional variety of plants and animals that succeed in overcoming the greatest physical difficulties, living in polar or torrid zones; they manifest, within the same environment, a great diversity in form and behavior. Therefore, the living being, because of its structural complexity, its mechanisms, and its `inventions' partly escapes physical laws or eludes them. one of its constant victories is indeed to avoid the law of entropy and to become a `machine' which permanently opposes it. ... The living world is thus governed by rules to which the Universe of inert matter is not subject. We rarely discover these rules because they are highly complex; they are not easily expressed in mathematical terms because the number of parameters they involve is so great." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, pp.1-2) 19/07/2005 "The linguistic evidence has not always been given its proper weight in dating the book [of Daniel]. Scholars have long been aware that the language of Daniel is earlier than the second century. The consensus was that the Hebrew resembled that of the Chronicler and was earlier than that of the Mishnah; it is noticeably closer to Chronicles than to Qumran [site of Dead Sea Scrolls] (second-first centuries). Similarly the Aramaic (2:4b- 7:28) is closer to that of Ezra and the fifth-century papyri than to that from Qumran. ... All evidence (except the inference that Antiochus Epiphanes and other historical data are in the author's view) points to a date earlier than the second century. The historical data of all chapters, from Babylonian to Ptolemaic and Seleucid, indicate an earlier date. The linguistic evidence, both Hebrew and Aramaic, suggests a date possibly in the fourth or even fifth century. The evidence of the LXX and Qumran indicates that Daniel was in existence in its full form, and had been distributed over a relatively wide area, prior to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes [215-164 BC]." (La Sor W.S.*, Hubbard D.A.* & Bush F.W.*, "Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament," , Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1987, reprint, pp.666-667) 19/07/2005 "Omnipotence. God is all-powerful and able to do whatever he wills. Since his will is limited by his nature, God can do everything that is in harmony with his perfections. There are some things which God cannot do because they are contrary to his nature as God. He cannot look with favor on iniquity (Hab. 1:13), deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13), lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18), or tempt or be tempted to sin (James 1:13). Further, he cannot do things which are absurd or self-contradictory, such as make a material spirit, a sensitive stone, a square circle, or a wrong to be right. These are not objects of power and so denote no limitation of God's omnipotence." (Thiessen H.C*. & Doerksen V.D.*, "Lectures in Systematic Theology," , Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Revised, 1977, p.82) 19/07/2005 "Present-day ultra-Darwinism, which is so sure of itself, impresses incompletely informed biologists, misleads them, and inspires fallacious interpretations. The following is one of the numerous examples found in books today: "In microorganisms, the generation time is rather short and the size of the population can be enormous. Therefore, mutation acts as a very powerful evolutionary process during a shorter lapse of time than in populations of higher organisms" (Levine, 1969, p. 196, the italics are mine). This text suggests that modern bacteria are evolving very quickly, thanks to their innumerable mutations. Now, this is not true. For millions or even billions of years, bacteria have not transgressed the structural frame within which they have always fluctuated and still do. It is a fact that microbiologists can see in their cultures species of bacteria oscillating around an intermediate form, but this does not mean that two phenomena, which are quite distinct, should be confused; the variation of the genetic code because of a DNA copy error, and evolution. To vary and to evolve are two different things; this can never be sufficiently emphasized ... Bacteria, which are both the first and the most simple living beings to have appeared, are excellent subject material for genetic and biochemical study, but they are of little evolutionary value.".(Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.6. Emphasis in original) 19/07/2005 "As the late John von Neumann pointed out, a machine that replicates itself can, with some difficulty be imagined; but such a machine that could originate itself offers a baffling problem which no one has as yet solved. In the present case, we are trying to understand how a self-replicating machine came into existence; this poses problems that are indeed difficult to formulate in our imagination, and should not be passed over too lightly." (Blum H.F., "Time's Arrow and Evolution," , Harper Torchbooks: New York NY, Second edition, 1955, Revised, 1962, pp.178G-178H) 19/07/2005 "Despite the numerous objections which have been advanced by scholars who regard this as a vaticinium ex eventu (or prophecy written after the event), there is no good reason for denying to the sixth century Daniel the composition of the entire work. This represents a collection of his memoirs made at the end of a long and eventful career which included government service from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in the 590's to the reign of Cyrus the Great in the 530's. The appearance of Persian technical terms indicates a final recension of these memoirs at a time when Persian terminology had already infiltrated into the vocabulary of Aramaic. The most likely date for the final edition of the book, therefore, would be about 530 B.C." (Archer, G.L.*, "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction," , Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1966, Third printing, p.367) 19/07/2005 "The date of Daniel, whether Maccabean or not, is to be decided on other grounds. Much effort has been expended on studying its language and history with a view to determining its date. ... There are, it is true, three or four Greek words in Daniel - the names of musical instruments. These by no means prove an authorship during the period of Greek supremacy - 333 B.C. and following. The Greek language was spread by Greek merchants and colonists long before this. A Greek coin, the drachma, is mentioned in Ezra 2:69 and Nehemiah 7:70,72 as used in Persian times. ... Dr. Albright, in excavations at Beth-Zur, had discovered a Greek drachma in the Persian layer, fully confirming the references in Ezra and Nehemiah and showing the early spread of Greek influences. Furthermore, Greek inscriptions have been found in the Persian palaces at Persepolis, so there is no longer any need to be troubled about three Greek words in Daniel. They do not prove a late date." (Harris R.L., "Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible: An Historical and Exegetical Study," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1957, pp.148-149) 19/07/2005 "One of your books, The Blind Watchmaker, argues the case for the cumulative power of natural selection in the adaptation of organisms. Tell us about the metaphorical title of that book. The "watchmaker" comes from William Paley, the eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century theologian who was one of the most famous exponents of the argument of design. Paley the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century theologian who was one of the most famous exponents of the argument of design. Paley famously said that if you are wandering along and stumble upon a watch and you pick it up and open it, you realize that the internal mechanism-the way in which it's all meshed together-is detailed perfection. Add this to the fact that the watch mechanism has a purpose-namely, telling the time-then this compels you to conclude that the watch had to have a designer. Paley then went on throughout his book giving example after example of detailed structure of living organisms-eyes, heart, bowels, joints, and everything about animals-showing how beautifully designed they apparently are, how well they work, how intricately the parts mesh together, just like the cog wheels of a watch. And if the watch had to have a watchmaker, then of course these biological structures also had to have a designer. My reason for beginning The Blind Watchmaker was Paley. He really saw the magnitude of the problem of adaptation when most people just didn't see how elegant, how beautiful, apparent design in life is. Paley saw that, and Darwin saw that. And Darwin was introduced to it at least partly by Paley. All undergraduates at Cambridge had to read William Paley. He at least put the question right. So the only thing Paley got wrong, which is quite a big thing, was the answer to the question. And nobody got the right answer until Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century." (Dawkins, R., "Interview," in Campbell N.A., Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.412) 19/07/2005 "In another of your books, The Selfish Gene, you argue that genes are the units upon which natural selection acts and that organisms are `survival machines' for genes. To what extent are humans exceptions to this mechanistic view of life? Humans are fundamentally not exceptional because we came from the same evolutionary source as every other species. It is natural selection of selfish genes that has given us our bodies and our brains. However, the brains that natural selection gave us are exceptionally big brains, so big that they have done a rather unusual thing. Using language and culture, humans have formed societies in which there is something like Darwinian evolution going on, though it is not really Darwinian. We live in a highly domestic environment, largely governed by technology, largely divorced from the environment in which our genes were originally naturally selected. So what is different about us is that it is no longer possible to look at a human the way one might look at a wildebeest or a kangaroo and ask, `Why is that? What's that kangaroo doing that increases its gene survival?' If you see a wild animal doing something in the wild, then it's sensible to ask the question, `What is it about that behavior, or what is it about that morphological structure, which improves its survival, or more particularly the survival of its genes?' And you can't do that for humans? No, you can't look at humans playing the violin, or trying to run a company, or writing a book or writing a symphony, and ask, `In what way does writing this symphony benefit survival and replication of that human's genes?' because it doesn't. You have to be more sophisticated and ask, `In what way does the behavior of a brain which was originally built by natural selection for surviving in Africa in the Pleistocene and Pliocene translate into the behavior of this brain, now that it finds itself in this very different, artificial environment?" (Dawkins, R., "Interview," in Campbell N.A., Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, pp.412-413) 19/07/2005 "Earlier, you mentioned that in human culture, there may be something like Darwinian evolution. Tell us more about that. There's no doubt, of course, that cultural evolution happened, and it has some analogy to evolution, perhaps even Darwinian evolution. In The Selfish Gene I constantly emphasized the importance of genes as the central units of natural selection. Genes are the only things that pass down through generations. But what's special about genes is that they are replicated, they function as what I called `replicators' in The Selfish Gene. So, it's replicators that matter, not specifically genes. Anything that is selfreplicating anywhere in the universe is fair game for natural selection. There probably is life on other planets, and if there is, then I absolutely bet my shirt that it's based upon natural selection. That would require a replicator. It doesn't have to be DNA, but it would have the fundamental property of self-replication. In making this point in The Selfish Gene that replicators are the units of selection, I also gave the example of what I called the `meme,' the unit of cultural evolution. You can look at human culture and ask yourself, `Is there something which is passing from brain to brain and perhaps from generation to generation by nongenetic means?' I think there is. For example, when we were at school, I think we all had the experience of some craze that spreads through a school like a measles epidemic-a new kind of toy or a new style of wearing a hat. It literally does spread from person to person and then it may die away, or it may perhaps leap to another school. Well, that's a trivial example, but it's enough to show that there is some replicator which is analogous to a virus but does not consist of DNA. The phenotypes of most memes are behavioral, such as religious traditions. So there we have memes that pass longitudinally down the generations. The school craze is a meme that passes horizontally across one generation. And we live in an environment that is saturated by both kinds of memes. You then have to ask, `Do some memes survive better than others because they have what it takes to survive?' If they do, that is all that you need to establish that there is a Darwinian-like component to cultural evolution." (Dawkins, R., "Interview," in Campbell N.A., Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.413) 19/07/2005 "From the reductive, mechanistic point of view, however, from the point of view of the faith of Darwinism, all these arguments, biological as well as historical and philosophical, are muddled and mystical, unscientific, and therefore incompetent objections, lying, even when they come from competent scientists rather; than historians or philosophers beyond the bounds of rational discourse." (Grene M., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.56) 19/07/2005 "The fact that fossilized life of the simplest bacterial grade appears in some of the most ancient rocks on Earth suggests that an origin of life in these conditions may be nearly inevitable, since incredibly improbable events should not occur so quickly. But my skeptical side retorts that good luck in one try proves nothing. I may win the lottery the first time I buy a ticket, and I might flip 10 heads in a row on my first sequence of tosses. I might also argue that since our immense universe contains gazillions of galaxies filled with appropriate stars and planets, and since life did emerge on the one and only planet we really know, how can we deny that a sizable proportion of these other planets must also contain life? Yet a logical fallacy dooms this common argument because either alternative can be reconciled with the positive result that I must obtain for the only place I can sample--our Earth. For if all appropriate planets generate some form of life, then I should not be surprised that I have found living things on my own world. But if life really exists on my planet alone, then I must still record a positive result from this only possible sample. After all, I knew the answer for the earth before I ever formulated my scheme for sampling." (Gould S.J., "Will We Figure Out How Life Began? ," Time Magazine, April 9, 2000. [June 26, 2000, pp.132-133].) 19/07/2005 "Whether RNA arose spontaneously or replaced some earlier genetic system, its development was probably the watershed event in the development of life. It very likely led to the synthesis of proteins, the formation of DNA and the emergence of a cell that became life's last common ancestor. The precise events giving rise to the RNA world remain unclear. As we have seen, investigators have proposed many hypotheses, but evidence in favor of each of them is fragmentary at best. The full details of how the RNA world, and life, emerged may not be revealed in the near future." (Orgel, L.E., "The Origin of Life on the Earth," Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 4, October 1994, p.61). p.83) 19/07/2005 "In any case, this initial period of both internal and external flexibility yielded a range of invertebrate anatomies that may have exceeded (in just a few million years of production) the full scope of animal form in all the earth's environments today (after more than 500 million years of additional time for further expansion). Scientists are divided on this question. Some claim that the anatomical range of this initial explosion exceeded that of modern life, as many early experiments died out and no new phyla have ever arisen. But scientists most strongly opposed to this view allow that Cambrian diversity at least equaled the modern range-so even the most cautious opinion holds that 500 million subsequent years of opportunity have not expanded the Cambrian range, achieved in just five million years. The Cambrian explosion was the most remarkable and puzzling event in the history of life." (Gould S.J., "The Evolution of Life on the Earth," Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 4, October 1994, pp.63-69, p.67) 19/07/2005 "Yet the transition from spineless invertebrates to the first backboned fishes is still shrouded in mystery, and many theories abound." (Long J.O., "The Rise of Fishes," John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore MD, 1995, p.30). 19/07/2005 "It is a simple ineluctable truth that virtually all members of a biota remain basically stable, with minor fluctuations, throughout their durations ...." (Eldredge N., "The Pattern of Evolution," W. H. Freeman & Co: New York., 1998, p.157). 19/07/2005 "Fossil discoveries can muddle over attempts to construct simple evolutionary trees-fossils from key periods are often not intermediates, but rather hodge podges of defining features of many different groups ... Generally, it seems that major groups are not assembled in a simple linear or progressive manner-new features are often "cut and pasted" on different groups at different times." (Shubin N., "Evolutionary Cut and Paste," Nature, Vol. 349, July 2, 1998, p.12) 19/07/2005 "Even with DNA sequence data, we have no direct access to the processes of evolution, so objective reconstruction of the vanished past can be achieved only by creative imagination." (Takahata N.A., "Genetic Perspective on the Origin and History of Humans," Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 26, 1995, p.343). 19/07/2005 "`This is all very well,' I can almost hear a critic saying `but it's just tinkering. No one has ever seen the formation of a new species.' The answer to this depends on the critic's concept of species ... Hundreds of new plant species have been experimentally manufactured. I will use the most famous example, the (flowerpot) primrose Primula kewensis, to explain the method. Two species, P. verticillata and P. floribunda are hybridised. The hybrid offspring, as expected, are sterile. However, if the hybrids double their number of chromosomes (and this can be encouraged by the chemical colchicine) they are fertile among themselves though not with either of the parent species. P. kewensis, in other words,-is a new reproductive species. Many strains of common garden flowers, such as tulips, crocuses and irises, are artificial hybrids. Furthermore, this method of speciation is no mere bizarre horticultural or experimental curiosity but has been a major mode of speciation in natural plants. In many genera of flowers, the different species have different simple multiples (2n, 4n, etc) of a `basic' (n) number of chromosomes. If, as seems likely, these species were formed by interspecific hybridisation followed by chromosomal multiplication then about a third to a half of plant species must have originated in this way. ... We will leave our critic, walking among the many- coloured hybrids in a horticultural garden, his senses being pleased while his mind, we hope, is disabused of one of the commoner fallacies of the evolutionary controversy, that no one has ever made a new species." (Ridley, Mark, "Who doubts evolution?," New Scientist, Vol. 90, pp.830832, 25 June 1981, pp.831-832) 19/07/2005 "Darwin's theory is now supported by all the available relevant evidence, and its truth is not doubted by any serious modern biologist. But, important as evidence is, in this article I want to explore the possibility of developing a different kind of argument. I suspect that it may be possible to show that, regardless of evidence, Darwinian natural selection is the only force we know that could, in principle, do the job of explaining the existence of organised and adaptive complexity." (Dawkins, R., "The Necessity of Darwinism," New Scientist, Vol. 94, 15 April 1982, p.130) 19/07/2005 "The first and most obviously unique characteristic of man is his capacity for conceptual thought; if you prefer objective terms, you will say his employment of true speech, but that is only another way of saying the same thing. True speech involves the use of verbal signs for objects, not merely for feelings. Plenty of animals can express the fact that they are hungry; but none except man can ask for an egg or a banana." (Huxley J.S., "The Uniqueness of Man," Chatto & Windus: London, 1941, Third Imondon, 1941, Third Impression, p.3) 19/07/2005 "What is life, anyway? Is it nothing more than a particularly complicated kind of carbon chemistry? Or is it something more subtle? And what are we to make of creations such as computer viruses? Are they just pesky imitations of life-or in some fundamental sense are they really alive?" (Waldrop M.M., "Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos," Penguin: London, , 1994, reprint, p.10) 19/07/2005 "Louis Agassiz was, without doubt, the greatest and most influential naturalist of nineteenth-century America. ... He ... virtually established natural history as a professional discipline in America ... He was Darwin's contemporary (two years older), but his mind was indentured to the creationist world view and the idealist philosophy that he had learned from Europe's great scientists. ... Agassiz died in 1873, sad and intellectually isolated but still arguing that the history of life reflects a preordained, divine plan and that species are the created incarnations of ideas in God's mind." (Gould S.J., "Agassiz in the Galapagos" in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, p.108) 19/07/2005 "This notion of species as `natural kinds' fits splendidly with creationist tenets of a pre-Darwinian age. Louis Agassiz even argued that species are God's individual thoughts, made incarnate so that we might perceive both His majesty and His message. Species, Agassiz wrote, are `instituted by the Divine Intelligence as the categories of his mode of thinking.' But how could a division of the organic world into discrete entities be justified by an evolutionary theory that proclaimed ceaseless change as the fundamental fact of nature? Both Darwin and Lamarck struggled with this question and did not resolve it to their satisfaction. Both denied to the species any status as a natural kind." (Gould S.J., "A Quahog is a Quahog," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, pp.170-171) 19/07/2005 "Woese totted up the genetic differences between the two kinds of prokaryotes and concluded that the trifurcation of life into eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea-must have occurred more than 3 billion years ago. But which of the three groups appeared first? Are we eukaryotes more closely related to bacteria or to archaea? To find out, researchers in the mid-1980s turned to the enzyme RNA polymerase and other factors involved in the synthesis of proteins, some of the most ancient and universal pieces of machinery in the cell. After comparing these proteins in species from the three groups of organisms, the scientists concluded that plants, animals, and fungi are more closely related to archaea than to bacteria. Comparisons of other proteins, however, contradicted this conclusion: some suggested that eukaryotes and bacteria were closer kin, while still others suggested that archaea and bacteria were. By the mid1990s, the situation had become a mess. The only explanation for these contradictory patterns, according to W. Ford Doolittle, of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, is to assume that at some point in the early history of life, there was promiscuous sharing of genes among species-or even mergers of whole organisms. Woese agrees. He now thinks that `the Last Universal Common Ancestor was not a discrete entity but rather a diverse community of cells that evolved as a biological unit.'" (Ridley M., "The Search for LUCA," Natural History, Vol. 109 No. 9, November 2000, pp.82-85, p.83) 19/07/2005 "Forterre had a heretical view. He challenged the generally accepted idea that bacteria (or archaea) predated all other creatures on Earth. He even doubted that they were primitive. The long-standing `prokaryote dogma,' he claimed, was based on the prejudice that the simple must precede the complex. His own work on a bacterial enzyme called DNA gyrase had convinced him that bacteria are actually quite advanced. Gyrase is a powerful and sophisticated tool-and it's a tool eukaryotes do not possess. The more Forterre considered the streamlined simplicity and effectiveness of a bacterial cell, the more he was convinced that the flunky machinery in eukaryotic cells represented an older, more primitive technology. Forterre and his colleague Herve Philippe have now gathered many examples that support their case. Take RNA polymerase. This enzyme creates working copies of DNA (called messengers) used in gene translation. The version we eukaryotes use has up to thirteen components, each made by a separate gene. In addition, it is assisted by twenty or so "transcription factors," by a ten-part "spliceosome" (a machine whose job it is to cut out the pieces of nonmessage text, called introns, that interrupt eukaryotic genes), and by a six-part "polyadenylation device." The RNA polymerase used by archaea also has a large number of components (eight to twelve) and is assisted by only two or three other genes. The truly striking contrast, however, appears in the version used by bacteria, which has just three components and a single assistant. The traditional view would be that the complications found in eukaryotic RNA polymerase were added over the eons. But it could just as easily have happened the other way round, with bacteria slimming down the RNA polymerase machinery to its most efficient form. In plants, animals, and fungi, the synthesizing, capping, splicing, polyadenylating, and transporting of a DNA messenger takes about thirty minutes. In bacteria, the process is completed in a matter of seconds. Forterre argues that his scenario of moving from a complex eukaryote-like common ancestor to a simpler but more efficient prokaryotic system is more appealing than the classical hypothesis that views prokaryotes as the more primitive organisms. ... There is no question that simplification does occur during evolution. Over time, parasitic lineages lose sense organs and brains they do not need. ... If viruses are reduced organisms, then why couldn't bacteria be as well? The eukaryotic cell is stuffed full of features that have no counterpart in bacteria or archaea and that, Forterre argues, no self- respecting life-form would invent unless it absolutely had to." (Ridley M., "The Search for LUCA," Natural History, Vol. 109 No. 9, November 2000, pp.82-85, p.83) 19/07/2005 "The universal phylogenetic tree, therefore, is not an organismal tree at its base but gradually becomes one as its peripheral branchings emerge. The universal ancestor is not a discrete entity. It is, rather, a diverse community of cells that survives and evolves as a biological unit. This communal ancestor has a physical history but not a genealogical one. Over time, this ancestor refined into a smaller number of increasingly complex cell types with the ancestors of the three primary groupings of organisms arising as a result." (Woese, C., "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95, Issue 12, June 9, 1998, pp.68546859, p.6854) 19/07/2005 "By now, it is obvious that what we have come to call the universal phylogenetic tree is no conventional organismal tree. Its primary branchings reflect the common history of central components of the ribosome, components of the transcription apparatus, and a few other genes. But that is all. In its deep branches, this tree is merely a gene tree. Genuine organisms (self-replicating entities that have true individuality and a history of their own) did not exist at the time the tree started to form. The tree arose in a communal universal ancestor, an "entity" that had a physical history but not a genealogical one. This tree became an organismal tree only as it grew, only as its more superficial branches emerged. By the time these formed, many more functions had crystallized and so, had come to have discernible histories; and these histories coincided with those of the ribosomal components and the like-but only after the point of their crystallization. An interesting question is whether the universal tree had become an organismal tree by the time the three primary lines of descent began to form and branch. I think not." (Woese, C., "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95, Issue 12, June 9, 1998, pp.6854-6859, p.6857) 19/07/2005 "No exception to the second law of thermodynamics has ever been found not even a tiny one. Like conservation of energy (the `first law'), the existence of a law so precise and so independent of details of models must have a logical foundation that is independent of the fact that matter is composed of interacting particles." (Lieb, E.H. & Yngvason, J., "A Fresh Look at Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics," Physics Today, Vol. 53, April 2000, pp.32-37, p.32). 19/07/2005 Since the text indicates that Daniel himself lived to serve, for several years at least, under Persian rule, there is no particular reason why he should not have employed in his language those Persian terms (largely referring to government and administration) which had found currency in the Aramaic spoken in Babylon by 530 B.C. But it is alleged that the presence of at least three Greek words in Daniel 3 indicates that the work must have been composed after the conquest of the Near East by Alexander the Great. These three words (in 3:5) are qayteros (Gr. kitharis), psanterin (Gr. psaltirion), and sumponyah (Gr. symphonia). ... It should be carefully observed that these three words are names of musical instruments and that such names have always circulated beyond national boundaries as the instruments themselves have become available to the foreign market. These three were undoubtedly of Greek origin and circulated with their Greek names across national boundaries, just as foreign musical terms have made their way into our own language, like the Italian piano and viola. ... Greek mercenaries, Greek slaves and Greek musical instruments were current in the Semitic Near East long before the time of Daniel. ... Two or three other words have been mistakingly assigned by some authors to a Greek origin, but these have now been thoroughly discredited." (Archer, G.L.*, "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction," , Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1966, Third printing, p.375) 19/07/2005 "By putting a large pool of random RNA sequences through a process of directed mutation, choosing and enriching those sequences that best perform some predefined function, researchers are now creating artificial ribozymes. They start with an initial pool of around 1015 different RNA fragments, each able to occupy hundreds of random positions on a strand. Then the researchers link these random-sequence pool molecules to a specific substrate and select those that convert the substrate to a desired product. The selected molecules are then amplified using protein replicases, and this selection-amplification procedure is repeated until sequences with the desired activity dominate the pool. By using this method, researchers have created a whole host of new ribozymes that catalyse a variety of reactions .... However, the development of this method has been a decidedly mixed blessing for the RNA world hypothesis. As Bartel and Unrau explain: 'Before the technology of in vitro selection existed, it was easy to proclaim boldly that RNA could catalyse the reactions required in the RNA world - no one expected experimental verification. However, now the onus is not merely to propose a key reaction of the RNA world, but also to propose an RNA molecule that can perform such a reaction'." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.45) 19/07/2005 "More disconcerting still for proponents of the RNA world hypothesis is the fact that even if one of these is eventually created it will not necessarily mean that an RNA strand with that particular sequence performed the same function on the early Earth. Indeed, it wouldn't even prove the validity of the RNA world hypothesis. 'Even if ribozymes for all the essential activities of an RNA world were generated and assembled into RNA-based life, this would only show that the fundamental properties of RNA are compatible with the "RNA world" scenario', say Bartel and Unrau." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.45) 19/07/2005 "As well as being hard to prove, the RNA world hypothesis will also be hard to disprove. Only a minute fraction of RNA sequences can be sampled in an experiment, so just because a sequence that performs a certain catalytic function can't be found, doesn't mean that there isn't one available." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.45) 19/07/2005 "Other evidence can come from 'molecular fossils', putative remnants of the RNA world that are still active in modern-day cells. The seven ribozymes that have been discovered so far are examples of these 'fossils'; another has turned up from recent studies of the structure of the ribosome, the cellular component where proteins are manufactured. These studies have shown that a large proportion of the ribosome is constructed from RNA, meaning that the component's structure may have remained largely unchanged from the RNA world. Even so, hard proof of the RNA world hypothesis is probably not going to be immediately forthcoming. What may turn out to be easier to prove or disprove are the underlying assumptions on which the hypothesis is based." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?" Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, pp.45-46) 19/07/2005 "The idea of clay having a major role in the origin of life was first popularised by the British chemist Graham Cairns-Smith, who suggested that clay may have been the first genetic system. His theory was that irregularities in clay sheets could have acted as catalytic surfaces, as well as providing a template on which new clay could be added. The clay would 'reproduce' by splitting in two, with the new sheet retaining many of the old sheet's irregularities. At some stage, however, carbon compounds would have become involved, and eventually RNA strands capable of self-catalysis would have been produced, as James Ferris is currently showing experimentally ..." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.46) 19/07/2005 "The description of the appearance rance