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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in December 2006. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
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1/12/2006 "Of course no mutationist would deny that a new type must be able to survive and perpetuate itself if it is to take part in evolution; but this might be said to be only a commonplace. A mutationist might well insist that the essential part of Darwin's theory of natural selection is not survival, but Darwin's postulate that the individual variations, everywhere present, furnish the raw materials for evolution. This the mutationist would deny. In what sense, then, have the catchwords `competition' and `the survival of the fittest' come to be generally regarded as the essential features of natural selection? Do these terms mean, for instance, that natural selection is an active agent in evolution, which in itself brings about progressive changes; or do they mean only that it acts as a sieve for the materials that present themselves as variations? If we think of evolution as an active process, is natural selection an agency capable of bringing about progressive changes, or does it not rather direct attention away from the real phenomenon, and offer at most only an explanation of the presence of certain types and the absence of others at any one period of geological history? The origin of these types-the real creative steps-not the preservation of certain of them after they have appeared, might rather be regarded as the essential phenomenon of evolution. If so, `the struggle for existence' and `the survival of the fittest' may express only a sort of truism or metaphor, and have nothing to do with the origination of new types out of antecedent ones. These contrasts may be brought out more clearly by a statement of the converse situations. Suppose evolution had come about as a series of direct adaptive responses to the environment. In such a case natural selection would become practically meaningless, although the statement that this would lead to the survival of the fittest would still hold." (Morgan, T.H., "The Scientific Basis of Evolution," , W.W. Norton: New York NY, Second Edition, 1935, pp.109-110) 1/12/2006 "There is a suspicion that morphologists, who have been the most ardent students of adaptation, have often appealed to imaginary rather than known agencies in accounting for the evolution of adaptations. For example, the geological record tells us that the horse started as a small five-toed animal little larger than a dog. As time went on, it changed by degrees into a larger animal with fewer and fewer toes, until today the horse is left standing on one toe on each foot. So far so good: but the transformation is sometimes described as due to an adaptation to harder ground through survival of individuals with fewer toes. The single-toed condition is assumed to be an improvement, enabling the horse to run faster on open ground. Now, as a statement of an historical series of events, this descriptive evolution of the horse may be approximately correct, but the implication that the changes occurred because they were better adapted to hard ground is purely imaginary. As fiction the account may be allowed to stand, but if this fiction is to take the place of a scientific explanation of the origin of the horse, then exception might well be taken to it. (Morgan, T.H., "The Scientific Basis of Evolution," , W.W. Norton: New York NY, Second Edition, 1935, pp.112-113. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Another attempt to solve the problems of diversification was Darwin's theory of natural selection. If natural selection is interpreted to mean that the innumerable individual differences found in all races, varieties, and species of animals and plants are inherited; and if through competition only those better adapted to the old or to a new environment survive; and if the survivors produce offspring that vary further in the direction of selection, a creative process appears to have been discovered capable of explaining the evolution of life in all of its ramifications. When, however, we attempt to go behind the assumptions in the last statement, we see that one of the basic ideas, namely, that this process of variation would go on indefinitely under the guidance of selection, is open to question. The implication in the theory of natural selection, that by selecting the more extreme individuals of the population, the next generation will be moved further in the same direction, is now known to be wrong. Neither the genetic factors responsible for a part of the initial variability, nor the environmental factors, can bring about such an advance. Without this postulate, natural selection is impotent to bring about evolution. On the other hand, if variations arise, owing to genetic factors (mutants) that transcend the original limits, they will supply natural selection with materials for actual progressive changes. There is here no implication that natural selection itself is responsible for the appearance of new types, some of which may have a survival value, except that owing to the destruction of the less well adapted types room is left for the better adapted. If all the new mutant types that have ever appeared had survived and left offspring like themselves, we should find living today all the kinds of animals and plants now present, and countless others. This consideration shows that even without natural selection evolution might have taken place. What the theory does account for is the absence of many kinds of living things that could not survive, partly because they could not meet the conditions of the inorganic world, partly because they found no new environment suitable to their needs, partly because they were destroyed by other animals or plants, and partly because they could not compete with the original type. Natural selection may then be invoked to explain the absence of a vast array of forms that have appeared, but this is saying no more than that most of them have not had a survival value. The argument shows that natural selection does not play the role of a creative principle in evolution." (Morgan, T.H., "The Scientific Basis of Evolution," , W.W. Norton: New York NY, Second Edition, 1935, pp.130-131. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "As has been explained, the kind of variability on which Darwin based his theory of natural selection can no longer be used in support of that theory, because, in the first place, in so far as fluctuating variations are due to environmental effect, these differences are now known not to be inherited, and because, in the second place, selection of the differences between individuals, due to the then existing genetic variants, while changing the number of individuals of a given kind, will not introduce anything new. ... Under the circumstances, it is a debatable question whether still to make use of the term `natural selection' as a part of the mutation theory, or to drop it because it does not have today the same meaning that Darwin's followers attached to his theory. ... we can no longer say that the individual variants, everywhere present, suffice to supply the materials for natural selection; but if it is true, as the mutation theory claims, that small and large variants do appear that are inherited, they would seem to furnish evolution with materials that fulfill its requirements." (Morgan, T.H., "The Scientific Basis of Evolution," , W.W. Norton: New York NY, Second Edition, 1935, pp.149-150. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "The mutationists face the same situation today when they attempt to account for the origin of new variations. They have made efforts to produce specific heritable variations with an adaptive relation to the external agents that called them forth; but so far without success. This raises the question whether the mutational changes are due to molecular events that are strictly causal, so far as the germ-cell change is concerned, and if so, what relation such changes have to the order of nature. If we assume that the kind of alterations taking place in the materials concerned with heredity (i.e., the genes) are chemical in nature, the mutational changes would be not chaotic events in the ordinary sense, but specific events that are at each step determined by the chemical constitution of the hereditary materials in the germ-cells. If we reject the assumption that some unknown agent, such as a directive principle, regulates all chemical changes, we are forced to assume that it is the rare combinations of events that bring into existence such new molecular configurations." (Morgan, T.H., "The Scientific Basis of Evolution," , W.W. Norton: New York NY, Second Edition, 1935, pp.227-228) 1/12/2006 "The cause of my banker friend's confusion was a pamphlet published in 1982 by the Creation Science Movement. ["Decrease in the Speed of Light," Pamphlet No. 230, Creation Science Movement, Worthing UK, 1982] It contained a summary of a lengthy paper by an Australian creationist, Barry Setterfield. [Setterfield, B., "The Velocity of Light and the Age of the Universe," Ex Nihilo, Creation Science Publishing, Brisbane, Preprint, 1981] The pamphlet reviews Setterfield's paper quite uncritically, and concludes, without any justification, `There is, therefore, clear scientific evidence for accepting that the speed of light has decreased.' What is this so-called `clear evidence'? Setterfield gathered together some (by no means all) of the determinations of the velocity of light made by various scientists, and plotted them against the dates they were made. Because the velocity of light is extremely high (about 300,000 kilometres per second) it is difficult to measure without modern instrumentation. So it is not surprising that it is only during the past quarter of a century that the measured values have agreed closely with each other. Before that the figures become more and more inaccurate, the further back they go in time." (Hayward, A., "Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the Evidence from Science and the Bible," , Bethany House: Minneapolis MN, Reprinted, 1995, pp.139-140) 1/12/2006 "Setterfield, however, concluded that the velocity kept changing until 1960, and then stopped! He fitted a curve to the somewhat erratic data before that date, and then extrapolated it back all the way to infinity - a procedure so unscientific as to be ludicrous. The curve reaches a value of infinite velocity at a value quoted as `4,040 BC ±20 years', which the pamphlet calls `the time of Creation/ Fall'. The full Setterfield paper is dressed with a great deal of theoretical analysis. Lest any reader should be overly impressed by this analysis perhaps I should mention that I asked two professors of modern physics to look at it. One said it was unsound, self-contradictory, and based on an antiquated and incorrect concept of the atom. The other used even stronger language. The incredible nature of Setterfield's extrapolation can be seen from ... his graph and shown how much (or rather, how little) of it is based upon data of any sort. And only about one- tenth of even that tiny portion is based upon modern, accurate data." (Hayward, A.*, "Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the Evidence from Science and the Bible," , Bethany House: Minneapolis MN, Reprinted, 1995, p.140) 1/12/2006 "Although Setterfield's data span three centuries, the first two centuries (1675-1870) are represented by only two measurements, made by Roemer in 1675 and by Bradley in 1728. Setterfield's conclusions largely depend upon the high values he attributes to these early workers (Roemer 301,300; Bradley 301,000 kilometres per second), as all results obtained after 1871 are below 300,000. But the figures in his table are incorrect. The true values are given in numerous scientific books and papers, and in the article, `Light, Velocity of' in the 1973 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica. They are: Roemer, 214,300 [192,500 mps = 309,925 km/s]; Bradley 295,000 [185,000 mps = 297,850 km/s]. If Setterfield had used these correct values he might have written an equally plausible paper arguing that the velocity of light has been increasing with time!" (Hayward, A.*, "Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the Evidence from Science and the Bible," , Bethany House: Minneapolis MN, Reprinted, 1995, p.140. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Finally, it must be said that Setterfield's graph is not correct, even in the very small area where there are some reliable figures. The authoritative paper on how the `generally accepted' value of the velocity of light has changed between 1927 and 1975 was produced by the Particle Data Group of the American Physical Society. [Trippe, T.G., et al., "Review of particle properties," Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 48, No. 2, Part II, April 1976, pp. S1-S20] (The `generally accepted' value at a given date is the value that experts at the time regarded as the best available, taking into account all the data produced up to that time. It is therefore much more reliable than the result of a measurement by any one experimenter.) This committee of thirteen leading experts showed that the value did not decrease steadily between 1927 and 1960, as Setterfield had mistakenly thought. Instead ... it decreased from 1927 to 1935, remained roughly constant from 1935 to 1950, then rose between 1950 and 1955 to almost the original value of 1927. And the reason for these small changes, which amounted to less than one part in ten thousand between the largest and the smallest values? Simple. It is just a matter of `a general progression toward better understanding' of the facts, explains this distinguished group of experts." (Hayward, A.*, "Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the Evidence from Science and the Bible," , Bethany House: Minneapolis MN, Reprinted, 1995, p.141. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Light Traveled Faster in the Past Than it Does Today Perhaps the best exposition of this idea has been done by Trevor Norman and Barry Setterfield. [Norman, T. & Setterfield, B., "The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time," Stanford Research Institute International: Menlo Park CA, 1987] Their explanation not only attempts to explain how distant stars can be seen, it also attempts to explain a few other supposedly related phenomena such as radioactive dating. ... In its outward appearance, this theory is supported by actual measurements which have been made of the speed of light over the past few hundred years. A curve has been fit reasonably well through these measurements-one which, when greatly extrapolated, indicates that the speed of light was extremely fast about 6,000 years ago-fast enough to allow for the most distant stars to be visible in a young universe. ... As can be seen from the graphical representation of this data... if light changed speed at all over the last 200 years, it certainly didn't change speed very much. The points make an almost perfectly level straight line. In order to see the small amount of difference between the various measurements, the same data has been plotted with a greatly exaggerated vertical scale. On the bottom graph on page 66, the full scale represents less than 1 percent variation, and the zero point would be about 25 feet below the bottom of the page." (Stoner, D.W.*, "A New Look at an Old Earth," , Harvest House Publishers: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 1997, pp.63,67. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Norman and Setterfield selected a complicated mathematical curve which not only fit the historic data reasonably well but which also indicated that light from the most distant stars took something on the order of 6,000 years to reach us. A parabola (the very simplest mathematical curved line) would have fit their data as well or better, but it would not have borne out their expectation that the speed of light was many millions of times greater 6,000 years ago. ... A parabola only triples light's speed for 6,000 years ago. The selected curve gives a factor which is millions of times greater." (Stoner, D.W.*, "A New Look at an Old Earth," , Harvest House Publishers: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 1997, pp.68-69, 221) 1/12/2006 "Norman and Setterfield also claim that the rate of radioactive decay must change as the speed of light changes. [Norman, T. & Setterfield, B., "The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time," Stanford Research Institute International: Menlo Park CA, 1987, p.83] They predict radiocarbon dates for 4,000-year-old wood will appear much older-by about 34 million years. As will be shown in the next chapter, carbon-14 dates for 4,000-year-old wood turn out to be about 500 years too young. This observed fact refutes the Norman- Setterfield theory of light speed decay." (Stoner, D.W., "A New Look at an Old Earth," , Harvest House Publishers: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 1997, pp.70-71. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Challenge 3: Light may have traveled faster a few thousand years ago. Reply: The work of two Australian creationists has been widely publicized among proponents of a young universe. Barry Setterfield and Trevor Norman teamed up to propose that the reason the universe appears old is that light used to travel much faster than it does today. [Norman, T. & Setterfield, B., "The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time," Stanford Research Institute International, Technical Report, August 1987] Given decay in light's velocity, the present value of the velocity of light would yield an inaccurate measure of the size and age for the universe. The basis for this claim is a misinterpretation of data from speed-of-light measurements made over many years. What the data actually show is the increasing refinement of measurements, not a change in velocity. (Ross, H.N.*, "Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 1994, pp.97-98. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "The first calculation of the speed of light was attempted in 1675 by Olaus Romer, a Danish astronomer. His figure was about 3 percent higher than the modern measurements show. But the uncertainty in his measurement exceeded 3 percent. Recently, three American physicists reworked Romer's calculations. They found that if Romer had had more precise data for one part of his calculation, his speed of-light figure would have agreed with the modern measurements to within 0.5 percent. [Goldstein, S. J.; Trasco, J. D.; and Ogburn III, T. J., "On the Velocity of Light Three Centuries Ago," Astronomical Journal, Vol. 78, 1973, pp.122-125] ... Actually, more than fifty measurements of the velocity of light have been made since Romer's, and when the uncertainties for each of the measurements are taken into account, the velocity shows itself constant through the more than 300 years since ground-based measurements began. Using other types of measurements, the speed of light proves constant over many more years. Studies on a particular spectral line of hydrogen from nearby galaxies shows its constancy over the last 18 million years. New measurements on that spectral line in very distant galaxies extend that confirmation to 14 billion years." (Ross, H.N.*, "Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 1994, p.98) 1/12/2006 "Let me add a practical consideration. The existence of life in the universe requires the constancy of the speed of light. A significant change in the velocity of light would so radically disturb such things as the luminosities of the stars and the relative abundances of the elements as to ruin the possibility for life anywhere, anytime in the universe. Since the c in Einstein's equation, E = mc2, stands for the speed of light, a change in that figure would necessarily mean changes in the m (matter) or E (energy) or both, an alteration contradicted by abundant observations. If Setterfield and Norman were right, either Adam and Eve would have been incinerated by the sun's heat or the elements essential for building their bodies would not exist." (Ross, H.N.*, "Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 1994, p.98. Emphasis original) 1/12/2006 "Calling Einstein's equation into question will not help Setterfield and Norman's case either. A recent experiment has confirmed the accuracy of Einstein's equation to at least twenty-one places of the decimal (within 0.0000000000000000001 percent!). [Lamoreaux, S.K., et al., "New Limits on Spatial Anisotropy from Optically Pumped 201Hg and 199Hg," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 57, 1986, pp.3125-3128]" (Ross, H.N.*, "Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 1994, pp.98-99) 2/12/2006 Evaluation can lead to rejection of knowledge. Rejection can occur for two reasons, either because the new statement runs counter to present beliefs, or because there are emotional reasons, such as feeling threatened by it, for not wanting to accept it. Both elements were involved in the nineteenth-century reaction to Darwin's Origin of the Species. The statement that man evolved from other animals could not be reconciled with biblical knowledge, and it was repugnant to many people to contemplate their descent from monkeys. Others, however, accepted it immediately because they saw it explained so much other knowledge. `Of course!' said Huxley `How very stupid not to have thought of that.' Both sets of reaction persist to this day. Bell (1984) found that some children did not want to accept scientists' classification of people as animals because of opinions about the behaviour of animals. `People aren't animals; you can't call people animals.' As well as emotional rejection, there were logical reasons given, stemming from a different definition of animal: `People don't go round on four legs'." (White, R.T., "Learning Science," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1988, p.144) 3/12/2006 "Post-Wion Prophecy Assessment Clearly the skeptics are right. There is a dramatic change in the focus of the last 36 mottoes forecast for beyond the publication date of 1595 ... A ghost writer under Malachy's name is almost certain. But is the term con artist or forger fair? If we review the last 36 mottoes in the list, I believe that there is enough evidence for the open-minded that this mystery author of the Papal Prophecy of St. Malachy made some remarkably accurate predictions that go beyond chance." (Hogue, J., "The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium," Element Books: Shaftesbury UK, 1998, p.373. Emphasis original) 4/12/2006 "THE PROPHECY OF ST. MALACHY Few private prophecies have captured the popular imagination like that prophecy on the popes ascribed to St. Malachy O'Morgair, Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, who died in 1148. Tradition has it that when Malachy visited Pope Innocent II in Rome in 1139, he was granted a vision of all the Holy Fathers of the future. He wrote down a description of each in two to four Latin words and gave the list to Innocent, who was deeply troubled at the time and who is said to have derived great comfort from the prophecy. Nothing more is heard of the list until 1590 when a Benedictine monk, Arnold de Wyon, discovered it in the Vatican archives. It was published, promoting a controversy that has continued to our day. Since Malachy was a good friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (in whose arms he died), it is asked why the latter did not mention the prophecy in his famous Life of St. Malachy. Why was the list lost for so many years? Of the 112 popes, described in the prophecy, 74 had already reigned when the list was discovered, and opponents of the prophecy claim that the descriptions of these are far more exact than those 74 subsequent pontiffs. Was not the list the work of a forger who simply used hindsight to describe the popes of the preceding 450 years, and clever ambiguity for the popes of the future? Proponents of the prophecy, however, stand on the fact that the prophetic utterances did fit all the popes after 1590 with uncanny aptness." (Connor, E., "Prophecy for Today," , Tan Books & Publishers: Rockford IL, Fourth Edition, 1984, pp.7-8. Emphasis original) 4/12/2006 "Only two more popes remain on Malachy's list: De Gloria Olivae ("From the Glory of the Olive") and Petrus Romanus ("Peter the Roman.") The prophecy concludes: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there shall reign Peter the Roman who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the terrible judge will judge the people." (Connor, E., "Prophecy for Today," , Tan Books & Publishers: Rockford IL, Fourth Edition, 1984, p.9) 4/12/2006 "110 DE LABORE SOLIS (From the Sun's Labor) John Paul II: 1978- ... THE FUTURE 110 DE LABORE SOLIS (From the Sun's Eclipse) John Paul II and His Future ... 111 DE GLORIA OLIVAE (From the Glory of the Olive) c.2000-2020?... THE LAST POPE: PETRUS ROMANUS c.2020?" (Hogue, J., "The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium," Element Books: Shaftesbury UK, 1998, p.xiii) 4/12/2006 "The Last Pope climaxes with a foretaste of the tribulation and apocalypse expected for the remaining two popes on St. Malachy's list, called Glory of the Olive and Peter of Rome. The final words to the prophecy of St. Malachy are hopelessly doom-laden ... Are We Two Popes Away from Judgment Day?" (Hogue, J., "The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium," Element Books: Shaftesbury UK, 1998, pp.xx, 1. Emphasis original) 4/12/2006 "The papal prophecy of St. Malachy ends with this Latin 25-word flourish containing some of the most frightening doomsday warnings written by any Catholic seer, be he a medieval saint or a prescient Renaissance forger. One thing is certain about the last pope in this prophecy: he will never be called by the name Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome). There is an ancient unwritten rule in the College of Cardinals that no successor to the first pope will dare use his name. Malachy prophecy watchers will have to seek other clues. Perhaps his Christian name will be Peter or his family or ecclesiastical armorial bearings will betray some evidence the Apostle whom Christ called `Rocky.' Maybe the last pope's escutcheon will display a stone (a `peter'), or the apostle's fisherman boat or net will be seen. Maybe he will have some important posting at one of a thousand towns or cathedrals named after St. Peter, or he will take on a key post in St. Peter's Basilica itself. The odds are better that his important deeds or the theme of his pontificate are the prophetic concern in this last of the post-Wion mottoes. Perhaps the name `Peter of Rome' signifies that the last pope's life will be similar to that of the first. He is the bishop of Rome at the birth of something new. He is also destined to die a martyr. One could expect the last man to sit upon St. Peter's chair to be a non-Italian just like the first perhaps even born a Jew. One could expect that he would be an apostolic wanderer like his namesake. As Peter, the first bishop of Rome, saw the city destroyed by fire and himself persecuted and martyred, so too could the last bishop of Rome meet his ultimate martyrdom during the final destruction of Rome foreseen by so many Catholic seers - expected around or after the closing second Christian millennium." (Hogue, J., "The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium," Element Books: Shaftesbury UK, 1998, pp.350-351) 4/12/2006 "What is crucial to any such interpretation of human behaviour based on artefacts is the assumption that the person who crafted the object would not have gone to such lengths to make these things if they didn't strongly believe that they worked. People have long valued nonfunctional decoration for its own sake, but if peot if people have devoted the bulk of their lives to making doodads (are they weapons? calculating devices? culinary tools?) or a single great thingumabob (a fort? a temple? a storehouse?), they presumably thought, rightly or wrongly, that there was a pressing requirement to make such a thing. So if one cannot show that the artefacts did perform some valuable function, one is left having to explain how their makers could have been so convinced of a falsehood. At this point I detect serious confusion on the part of at least some of the contributors to this volume. They have a tendency to reserve `cognition' for such elevated or `cultural' topics as religion, ritual and style of government, as opposed to such mundane practicalities as agriculture and self-defence-as if one could farm or hunt or build a shelter without cognition, but needed cognition to engage in ritual when bury. Allied with this is the surely anachronistic tendency to contrast religious practices with `functional' practices. To our eyes, the systematic placement of carefully conserved seeds into the ground in the spring is not a ritual, while the systematic placement of ancestors bones into the ground on some other occasion is. But this is only because we know the former `works' and the latter, presumably, does not. The people who engaged in both practices made no such distinction. For them a sacrificial altar and a dry storehouse were equally functional, equally essential protections against the vicissitudes of nature. Presumably these people really believed in the efficacy of what they were doing; they were not, like many of today's masters of ceremony, just `keeping a tradition alive'." (Dennett D.C., "Sifting the evidence for belief in the past." Review of "The Ancient Mind: Elements of Cognitive Archaeology," by Colin Renfrew & Ezra B.W. Zubrow, eds, Cambridge University Press. New Scientist, 6 August 1994, pp.41-43) 5/12/2006 "Can science corroborate the Apostle Paul? This might sound a little far-fetched. However, at the latest encounter between some of the world's most powerful minds of science and religion, reports of a remarkable discovery seemed to support this idea. Saint Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, `Ever since the creation of the world his (Gold's) invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made' (Romans1:20). During the second one-week conference on Science and the Spiritual Quest (SSQ II) that ended Tuesday in New York, Oxford University psychologist Olivera Petrovich revealed preliminary research data suggesting that the knowledge of a creator might be intrinsic to human existence. Prof. Petrovich tested the ability of British and Japanese children to distinguish between physical and metaphysical explanations for certain images. For example, she would show the four- to 14-year old children a picture of a book on a table and ask, `Who put this book there?' The kids replied, `Mom.' Then she put a picture of the sun in front of them and asked, `Who placed the sun in the sky?' The young Britons answered, `God,' and to Petrovich's surprise their Japanese contemporaries said `Kamisama (God)! He did it!' As Petrovich pointed out, `Japanese culture discourages speculation into the metaphysical because that's something we never know. But the Japanese children did speculate, quite willingly, and in the same way as British children.' In an interview with the journal, Science & Spirit, the British scientist gave another example. The European and the Asian children were to look at the photograph of a dog and then asked, `How did the first dog every come into being.' Again, both groups replied, `God did it.' `This was probably the most significant finding,' Petrovich reported. `But where did these Japanese kids get the idea that creation is in God's hands? This is absolutely extraordinary when you think that Shintoism (Japan's predominant religion) does not include creation as an aspect of God's activity at all. `My Japanese research assistants kept telling me that thinking about God as creator is just not part of Japanese philosophy." (Siemon-Netto, U., "Interface between science and faith," Science and the Spiritual Quest, 2 December 2000) 5/12/2006 "Young children see the world with fresh minds that embrace both scientific causality and metaphysical speculation, says Oxford psychologist Olivera Petrovich. And their conceptions show striking similarities across widely differing cultures, she tells Rebecca Bryant in this exclusive interview with Science & Spirit. Science & Spirit: What is your current role in the field? Olivera Petrovich: I am currently with the Experimental Psychology Department at Oxford University, where I research and tutor in developmental psychologist. I also lecture in psychology of religion at Oxford - my course is open to theology, philosophy, and psychology students. S&S: Your research interests lie in the psychology of religion, focusing especially on the development of spirituality in children. How do you go about it? Petrovich: My approach to this is very strictly empirical. It begins with children's accounts of the physical world - notably their causal explanations and the way they categorize objects and events around them. I'm interested in children's spirituality as it develops in their encounter with the physical world, not through the teaching they may receive in bible classes and so on. I'm not at all looking at the cultural transmission of spirituality. S&S: You recently conducted cross-cultural studies involving British and Japanese children. What were the aims - and the findings - of this research? Petrovich: I was really interested in children's ability to offer both scientific causal explanations and metaphysical explanations, which go beyond the scientific. Japanese culture is very different from Western culture with a very different history of science and religious tradition. So I thought I should be able to get some interesting comparisons between Japanese and Western children. I tested both the Japanese and British children on the same tasks, showing them very accurate, detailed photographs of selected natural and man-made objects and then asking them questions about the causal origins of the various natural objects at both the scientific level (e.g. how did this particular dog become a dog?) and at the metaphysical level (e.g. how did the first ever dog come into being?). With the Japanese children, it was important to establish whether they even distinguished the two levels of explanation because, as a culture, Japan discourages speculation into the metaphysical, simply because it's something we can never know, so we shouldn't attempt it. But the Japanese children did speculate, quite willingly, and in the same way as British children. On forced choice questions, consisting of three possible explanations of primary origin, they would predominantly go for the word `God,' instead of either an agnostic response (e.g., `nobody knows') or an incorrect response (e.g., `by people'). This is absolutely extraordinary when you think that Japanese religion - Shinto - doesn't include creation as an aspect of God's activity at all. So where do these children get the idea that creation is in God's hands? It's an example of a natural inference that they form on the basis of their own experience. My Japanese research assistants kept telling me, `We Japanese don't think about God as creator - it's just not part of Japanese philosophy.' So it was wonderful when these children said, `Kamisama! God! God made it!' That was probably the most significant finding." (Bryant, R., "In the Beginning: An Interview with Olivera Petrovich," Science & Spirit Magazine, Vol. 10, 1999) 5/12/2006 "The Problem of the Neolithic Elements in Genesis 4 If we accept the view that it is language which distinguishes man from other creatures and hence the first man appeared about 30,000 years ago, an additional problem, to which we have already alluded, still remains: the problem of the Neolithic elements in Genesis 4. If Adam was created 30,000 years ago, if Cain and Abel were his immediate descendants, if we find genuinely Neolithic practices (e.g., agriculture) in Genesis 4, and if the Neolithic period began about 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, then we have the problem of a gap of at least 20,000 years between generations, the ultimate in generation gaps. Several suggested solutions have been offered: 1. The pre-Adamite theory says that Adam was the first human in the full biblical sense, but was not the first human in the anthropological sense. There were genuine representatives of Homo sapiens before him. [Seeley, P.H. , "Adam and Anthropology: A Proposed solution," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 22, no. 3 September 1970, p.89] 2. Cain and Abel were not immediate descendants of Adam. They may have been several generations removed from him. It is ever conceivable that the narrative condenses the stories of several individuals into one-Cain the son of Adam, Cain the murderer, and Cain the city builder.[Farr, F.K. "Cain," in Orr, J., ed., "International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia," Howard-Severance: Chicago, 1937, Vol. 1, pp 538-539] 3. In the creation account (e.g., Gen. 1:26; 2:7) the Hebrew word ... 'adam ..., which is often used symbolically of the entire human race, refers to the first man, who is anonymous. In other passages (e.g., Gen. 4:1; 5:3) it is a proper noun pointing to a specific individual who came later. [Pearce, E.K.V., "Who Was Adam?," Paternoster: Exeter, 1970] 4. "Perhaps Cain and Abel were not really domesticators of plants and animals but rather in the language of Moses, and particularly of our translations, would only appear to be such. Their [Cain's and Abel's] respective concerns with vegetable and animal provisions might have been vastly more primitive." [Buswell, J.O., III, "Adam and Neolithic Man," Eternity, Vol. 18, No. 2, February 1967, p.39]. 5. The domestication of plants and animals may be much more remote in time than the Neolithic period. Thus, Adam and his descendants could have practiced agriculture 30,000 years ago. [Mitchell, T.C., "Archaeology and Genesis I-XI," Faith and Thought, Vol. 91, Summer 1959, p.42]" (Erickson, M.J.*, "Christian Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1988, Fifth Printing, pp.486-487. Error corrected of transposition of Seeley and Pearce references) 6/12/2006 "But for now let's consider the familiar example of photosynthesis. This is just one of the many truly remarkable life-supporting innovations that lie at the heart of the living world. The immensely sophisticated living machinery that is used to carry out photosynthesis in the plant world is the biological equivalent of `Russian nesting dolls.' This machinery is literally made up of systems within systems, starting at the level of the plant leaf ... and extending right down to the subatomic world of the electron. So let me try to explain it in a little more detail. Photosynthesis takes place in seemingly insignificant microscopic bodies called chloroplasts ... that are present in the cells within the interior of the leaf and that account for its green color. Within these chloroplasts there are special membranes stacked in parallel layers known as grana and visible only at very high magnification under the electron microscope .... Embedded within these membranes is the very heart of the photosynthetic machinery - complex clusters of pigmented molecules that are able to collect sunlight. These light-harvesting units consist of a special chlorophyll molecule termed the `reaction center,' surrounded by several hundred `antenna' pigment molecules that include both chlorophyll and carotenoid molecules. Collectively this combination of specialized light-reacting molecules is known as a `photosystem' .... The chlorophylls absorb the light of red and blue wavelengths while reflecting the green portion of the spectrum, whereas the carotenoid molecules absorb the blue and green wavelengths and reflect the yellow, orange and red. Sunlight is absorbed by the layer of antenna pigment This oxygen is released into the atmosphere while the hydrogen ions or protons pass into the fluid space enclosed by the tiny membrane surfaces ... Let us now follow the journey of an electron that has left the reaction center of photosystem II .... After its reception by an acceptor molecule, it is passed down a voltage `staircase,' or gradient of precisely arranged molecules called the electron transport system, ending up in the positively charged reaction center of photosystem I where it makes up for the electron deficit also created by the excitation process. The original electron that was excited from photosystem I is received by its own acceptor molecule and then passes down another electron transport system. The energy given up by the electron in its passage down this `staircase' is used to form an energy-transacting molecule biologists abbreviate as NADPH, which drives important energystoring reactions elsewhere in the cell. The action of both photosystems produces a buildup of protons with a higher concentration on one side of the special membranes in the grana than on the other. It is this proton gradient that is used to power the production of another important energy-transacting molecule called ATP .... Both molecules, NADPH and ATP, although they cannot be stored in the cell's energy bank, are used by the cell to produce energy-rich sugars that can be transported as required to different parts of the cellular factory, or stored as starch. ... This vastly incomplete description of just some of the principal mechanisms known to be involved in photosynthesis serves to illustrate just how successful modern science has been in providing a detailed understanding, at a molecular level, of the physical and chemical processes that are utilized in the living world. ... Continuing with our example of the plant's photosynthetic machinery, we find that modern mechanistic science is strangely silent on how this sophisticated biological system might have originated. Textbooks typically describe the chloroplast as having evolved from some simpler organism employing a metabolic system that might have been able to produce the first oxygen from an oxygenless early earth atmosphere. Apart from rather vague comments like these, there is little serious discussion of the chloroplast's origin. Photosynthesis is in fact the ultimate energy source of almost all living things known to us today, and its origin is just part of the much more fundamental question of how life began in the first place. ... I would suggest that any attempt to provide an explanation for the existence of a biological system such as the chloroplast based on the impersonal material laws of nature is doomed to failure." (Broom, N.D.*, "How Blind is the Watchmaker?: Nature's Design & the Limits of Naturalistic Science," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 2001, pp.35-39) 7/12/2006 "The human endogenous retrovirus type II (HERVII) family of HERV genomes has been found by Southern blot analysis to be characteristic of humans, apes, and Old World monkeys. New World monkeys and prosimians lack HERVII proviral genomes. Cellular DNAs of humans, common chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, but not lesser ape lar gibbons, appear to contain the HERVII-related HLM-2 proviral genome integrated at the same site (HLM-2 maps to human chromosome 1). This suggests that the ancestral HERVII retrovirus(es) entered the genomes of Old World anthropoids by infection after the divergence of New World monkeys (platyrrhines) but before the evolutionary radiation of large hominoids." (Mariani- Costantini, R., Horn, T.M. & Callahan, R., " Ancestry of a human endogenous retrovirus family," Journal of Virolology, Vol. 63, No. 11, November, 1989, pp.4982-4985). 7/12/2006 "He [Dawkins] argues that contemporary science gives us decisive reason to reject the argument from design, and to regard the existence of God as overwhelmingly improbable. ... Dawkins's reply to the argument has two parts, one positive and one negative. ... The negative part of the argument asserts that the hypothesis of design by God is useless as an alternative to the hypothesis of chance, because it just pushes the problem back one step. In other words: who made God? `A designer God cannot be used to explain organized complexity because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right.' [p.109] Let me first say something about this negative argument. It depends, I believe, on a misunderstanding of the conclusion of the argument from design, in its traditional sense as an argument for the existence of God. If the argument is supposed to show that a supremely adept and intelligent natural being, with a super-body and a super-brain, is responsible for the design and the creation of life on earth, then of course this `explanation' is no advance on the phenomenon to be explained: if the existence of plants, animals, and people requires explanation, then the existence of such a super-being would require explanation for exactly the same reason. ... But God, whatever he may be, is not a complex physical inhabitant of the natural world. The explanation of his existence as a chance concatenation of atoms is not a possibility for which we must find an alternative, because that is not what anybody means by God. If the God hypothesis makes sense at all, it offers a different kind of explanation from those of physical science: purpose or intention of a mind without a body, capable nevertheless of creating and forming the entire physical world. The point of the hypothesis is to claim that not all explanation is physical, and that there is a mental, purposive, or intentional explanation more fundamental than the basic laws of physics, because it explains even them. All explanations come to an end somewhere. The real opposition between Dawkins's physicalist naturalism and the God hypothesis is a disagreement over whether this end point is physical, extensional, and purposeless, or mental, intentional, and purposive. On either view, the ultimate explanation is not itself explained. The God hypothesis does not explain the existence of God, and naturalistic physicalism does not explain the laws of physics." (Nagel, T., "The Fear of Religion." Review of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, Houghton Mifflin, 2006. The New Republic, October 13, 2006) 8/12/2006 "There is a much more powerful argument, which does not depend upon subjective judgement, and it is the argument from improbability. It really does transport us dramatically away from 50 per cent agnosticism, far towards the extreme of theism in the view of many theists, far towards the extreme of atheism in my view. I have alluded to it several times already. The whole argument turns on the familiar question `Who made God?', which most thinking people discover for themselves. A designer God cannot be used to explain organized complexity because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right. God presents an infinite regress from which he cannot help us to escape. This argument, as I shall show in the next chapter, demonstrates that God, though not technically disprovable, is very very improbable indeed." (Dawkins, R., "The God Delusion," Bantam Press: London, 2006, p.109) 8/12/2006 "The argument from improbability is the big one. In the traditional guise of the argument from design, it is easily today's most popular argument offered in favour of the existence of God and it is seen, by an amazingly large number of theists, as completely and utterly convincing. It is indeed a very strong and, I suspect, unanswerable argument - but in precisely the opposite direction from the theist's intention. The argument from improbability, properly deployed, comes close to proving that God does not exist. My name for the statistical demonstration that God almost certainly does not exist is the Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit. The name comes from Fred Hoyle's amusing image of the Boeing 747 and the scrapyard. ... Hoyle said that the probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrapyard, would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747. ... . This, in a nutshell, is the creationist's favourite argument - an argument that could be made only by somebody who doesn't understand the first thing about natural selection: somebody who thinks natural selection is a theory of chance whereas - in the relevant sense of chance - it is the opposite." (Dawkins, R., "The God Delusion," Bantam Press: London, 2006, p.113. Emphasis original) 8/12/2006 "The creationist misappropriation of the argument from improbability always takes the same general form ... Some observed phenomenon - often a living creature or one of its more complex organs, but it could be anything from a molecule up to the universe itself - is correctly extolled as statistically improbable. .... It turns out to be the God Hypothesis that tries to get something for nothing. God tries to have his free lunch and be it too. However statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by invoking a designer, the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable. God is the Ultimate Boeing 747." (Dawkins, R., "The God Delusion," Bantam Press: London, 2006, pp.113-114) 8/12/2006 "The argument from improbability states that complex things could not have come about by chance. But many people define `come about by chance' as a synonym for `come about in the absence of deliberate design'. Not surprisingly, therefore, they think improbability is evidence of design. Darwinian natural selection shows how wrong this is with respect to biological improbability. And although Darwinism may not be directly relevant to the inanimate world - cosmology, for example - it raises our consciousness in areas outside its original territory of biology. A deep understanding of Darwinism teaches us to be wary of the easy assumption that design is the only alternative to chance, and teaches us to seek out graded ramps of slowly increasing complexity. Before Darwin, philosophers such as Hume understood that the improbability of life did not mean it had to be designed, but they couldn't imagine the alternative. After Darwin, we all should feel, deep in our bones, suspicious of the very idea of design. The illusion of design is a trap that has caught us before, and Darwin should have immunized us by raising our consciousness. Would that he had succeeded with all of us." (Dawkins, R., "The God Delusion," Bantam Press: London, 2006, p.114. Emphasis original) 9/12/2006 "In short, man is not only a unique animal, but the end product of a completely unique evolutionary pathway, the elements of which are traceable at least to the beginnings of the Cenozoic. We find, then, that the evolution of cognition is the product of a variety of influences and preadaptive capacities, the absence of any one of which would have completely negated the process, and most of which are unique attributes of primates and/or hominids. Specific dietary shifts, bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity, control of differentiated muscles of facial expression, vocalization, intense social and parenting behavior (of specific kinds), keen stereoscopic vision, and even specialized forms of sexual behavior, all qualify as irreplaceable elements. It is evident that the evolution of cognition is neither the result of an evolutionary trend nor an event of even the lowest calculable probability, but rather the consequence of a series of highly specific evolutionary events whose ultimate cause is traceable to selection for unrelated characters such as locomotion and diet. ... Thus I conclude that man is a highly specific, unique, and unduplicated species. ... From what we know of the human evolutionary pathway and of the critical elements that have directed it, the odds against its reexpression are indeed remote, if not astronomical. No other mammal even remotely shares the unique attribute complex that defines either man or his evolutionary pathway." (Lovejoy, C.O., "Evolution of Man and Its Implications for General Principles of the Evolution of Intelligent Life," in Billingham, J., ed., "Life in the Universe: Proceedings of the Conference on Life in the Universe, held at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, June 19-20, 1979," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Second Printing, 1982, pp.326-327) 9/12/2006 "Thus I conclude that man is a highly specific, unique, and unduplicated species. If we wish to make probability estimates of the likelihood that cognitive (not intelligent) life has evolved on other suitable planets, the simplest and most direct question we may pose is: What is the probability that cognitive life would evolve on this planet, were not man already a constituent of its biosphere? From what we know of the human evolutionary pathway and of the critical elements that have directed it, the odds against its reexpression are indeed remote, if not astronomical. No other mammal even remotely shares the unique attribute complex that defines either man or his evolutionary pathway. Since Homo sapiens is a unique species, we may ask this same question in a slightly different way that allows greater objectivity: What is the probability that any named species, be it mammal, reptile, or mollusk, would evolve again on this planet? That is, what is the probability that the Bornean long-tailed porcupine, for example, would appear again were the evolutionary process to be reinstated on some imaginary planet identical to ours in every way save the last half billion years? I think it quite reasonable to suppose that despite the immensity of the known Universe, the specificity in the physiostructure of any organism is so great and its immensely complex pathway of progression so ancient that such probabilities are simply infinitesimal." (Lovejoy, C.O., "Evolution of Man and Its Implications for General Principles of the Evolution of Intelligent Life," in Billingham, J., ed., "Life in the Universe: Proceedings of the Conference on Life in the Universe, held at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, June 19-20, 1979," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Second Printing, 1982, p.327. Emphasis original) 9/12/2006 "No single discovery in molecular anthropology has been invested with greater significance than the recognition that humans and chimpanzees are about 98 percent genetically identical. This remarkable proximity may have led many to imagine that the technologies of molecular genetics have delivered a deep understanding of humanity's place in nature. If so, then they have committed what Jonathan Marks, in What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee, terms `the central fallacy of molecular anthropology.' This error, according to Marks, turns on the belief that the dramatic expansion of genetic knowledge over the past 25 years has contributed greatly to our knowing what makes us differ in the most important ways from apes. Marks argues that the differences and congruencies identifiable at the genetic level have scarcely anything to do with observable patterns in morphology and behavior. As it happens, genetic data reveal little more than phylogenetic relationships, and no amount of DNA sequencing can tell us what makes us human and apes not. click for full image and caption The relative proportions ... This book, then, is a trenchant assault on genetic reductionism and a spirited call for a more critical science, one better informed by the perspectives of anthropology and the humanities. The author, himself an accomplished anthropological geneticist, seeks to frame the limits of what we can expect to learn about ourselves from molecular genetics, and the limits we ought to deploy in our search." (Korey, K., "Should Ideology Color Science?" Review of "What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes," by Jonathan Marks, University of California Press, 2002. American Scientist, July-August 2002) 10/12/2006 "The demonstration of the transition of discrete systems into living things has to include the answers to some very intricate problems. Coacervates and microspheres, in spite of various refinements which have already been introduced in each case, are still a long way from the living state. They are both static structures. Left alone, such systems come to an equilibrium in which the status quo is maintained with no exchange of energy or materials with the environment. Neither Oparin for his coacervates nor Fox for his microspheres maintains that the simulated cell structures represent the living state. Both look to further refinements toward the eventual attainment of living things by experimental techniques. The hurdles in this transition are formidable. Blum has stressed this point in his writings. [Blum, H.F., "On the origin and evolution of living machines," American Scientist, Vol. 49, 1961, pp.474-501; Blum, H.F., "Time's Arrow and Evolution," Harper & Row: New York, Second Edition, 1962] Even conceptually it is difficult to see how a system satisfying the minimum criteria for a living thing can arise by chance and, simultaneously, include a mechanism containing the suitable information for its own replication." (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second Printing, 1965, pp.69-70. Emphasis original) 10/12/2006 "Replication and mutation present even greater difficulties. The over-all process of replication is endergonic. [Blum, H.F., `On the origin and evolution of living machines,' American Scientist, Vol. 49, 1961, pp.474- 501] While replication proceeds, some other mechanism, coordinated in time and space with it, is needed to make available the requisite energy. If all these conditions are to be met at the time of the first origin of life, we must imagine that a DNA structure was built up by chance, containing a specific sequence of nucleotides and possessing a capacity to determine the composition of a supporting environment and the machinery for self-replication. This amounts to postulating the `all at once' origin of a cell with `cytoplasm' and `nucleus.'" (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second Printing, 1965, pp.69-70) 10/12/2006 "The proteinoid microspheres present an encouraging prospect, but at present they are structurally closer to killed and fixed cells than to their living counterparts. Membranes of many different kinds, as well as the membranes of microspheres, show simple osmotic and permeability phenomena which are only superficially like those of living cells." (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second Printing, 1965, pp.69-70) 11/12/2006 "Ultra-scepticism and the Improbability of Life The latter of these is the more difficult to refute. By applying the strict canons of scientific method to this subject, it is possible to demonstrate effectively at several places in the story, how life could not have arisen; the improbabilities are too great, the chances of the emergence of life too small. Regrettably from this point of view, life is here on Earth in all its multiplicity of forms and activities and the arguments have to be bent round to support its existence." (Bernal, J.D., "The Origin of Life," , Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, Third Impression, 1973, p.120. Emphasis original) 11/12/2006 "The origin of the cell factory, the origin of the cell's computer tapes and code; the origin of the copy- typists; the origin of the thousands of machine operatives and their 200 trades; the origin of the shop floor machinery and assembly line-the origin of the Ministry of Fuel and power; and the origin of the mechanism to reproduce further factories and firms. It is easier to take the first two points together - the factory and the code. Dr. Graham Chedd reporting said that the knowledge we have of life's mechanisms `begs one key question. How did the mechanism which allowed subsequent evolution itself evolve?" [Chedd, G., "Crick on the Origin of the Code," New Scientist, January 23, 1969] (Pearce, E.K.V., "Who Was Adam?," Paternoster: Exeter UK, 1969, pp.105-106) 11/12/2006 "Finally, in some cases the gaps may be getting worse rather than better with the advance of science. This seems to be the case in research about the origin of life. The more we learn about the complexity of the organic materials necessary for life and their complex interdependence, and the more we learn about conditions on the early earth, the more implausible a strictly naturalistic account becomes. Scientists one hundred years ago were not aware of the immensity of the problems in the spontaneous generation of life from some primordial soup. But today some scientists feel these problems are overwhelming. In this regard, the following statement ... makes the point well: `One characteristic feature of the ...critique needs to be emphasized. We have not simply picked out a number of details within chemical evolution theory that are weak, or without adequate explanation for the moment. For the most part this critique is based on crucial weaknesses intrinsic to the theory itself. Often it is contended that criticism focuses on present ignorance. "Give us more time to solve the problems," is the plea. After all, the pursuit of abiogenesis [the origin of life from nonlife] is young as a scientific enterprise. It will be claimed that many of these problems are mere state-of-the-art gaps. And, surely, some of them are. Notice, however, that the sharp edge of this critique is not what we do not know, but what we do know. Many facts have come to light in the past three decades of experimental inquiry into life's beginning. With each passing year the criticism has gotten stronger. The advance of science itself is what is challenging the notion that life arose on earth by spontaneous (in a thermodynamic sense) chemical reactions. [Thaxton, C.B., Bradley, W.L. & Olsen, R. L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," Philosophical Library: New York, 1984, p.125]" (Moreland, J. P., "Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Ninth Printing, 1994, p.207) 11/12/2006 Objection 1. The theistic science model utilizes an epistemically inappropriate `God-of-the-gaps' strategy in which God only acts when there are gaps in nature; one appeals to God merely to fill gaps in our scientific knowledge of naturalistic mechanisms. These gaps are used in apologetic, natural-theology arguments to support Christian theism. Scientific progress is making these gaps increasingly rare, and thus this strategy is not a good one. Reply. First, the model does not limit God's causal activity to gaps. God is constantly active in sustaining and governing the universe. Nature is not autonomous. Moreover, theistic science need not have any apologetical aim at all. A Christian theist may simply believe that he or she should consult all we know or have reason to believe is true-including theological beliefs-in forming, evaluating and testing scientific hypotheses and in solving scientific problems. And even if someone uses theistic science with apologetical intentions, that person would not need to limit his or her apologetical case to gaps. Among other things, the model merely recognizes a distinction between primary and secondary causes (however much this needs further refinement) and goes on to assert that (at least) the former could have scientifically testable implications, irrespective of the apologetic intentions of such a recognition. Second, the model does not appeal to or attempt to explain in light of God and his activities to cover our ignorance, but only when good theological or philosophical reasons are present, such as when certain theological or philosophical reasons would cause us to expect a discontinuity in nature where God acted via primary causation (e.g., the origin of the universe, first life, basic `kinds' of life). Third, even if the gaps in naturalistic scientific explanations are getting smaller, this does not prove that there are no gaps at all. It begs the question to argue that just because most alleged gaps turn out to be explainable in naturalistic terms without gaps at that level of explanation, all alleged gaps will turn out this way. After all, it is to be expected that gaps will be few. Gaps due to primary divine agency are miracles, and they are in the minority for two reasons: (1) God's usual way of operating (though I acknowledge the need for further clarity regarding this notion) is through secondary causes. Primary causal gaps are God's extraordinary, unusual way of operating; by definition, these will be few and far between. (2) The evidential or sign value of a miraculous gap arises most naturally against a backdrop where the gaps are rare, unexpected and have a religious context (there are positive theological reasons to expect their presence)." (Moreland, J.P., "Theistic Science & Methodological Naturalism," in Moreland, J.P., ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1994, pp.59-60. My emphasis) 11/12/2006 "This brings the argument back to its first stage: the origin of organic compounds. Until a century and a quarter ago the only known source of these substances was the stuff of living organisms. Students of chemistry are usually told that when, in 1828, Friedrich Wohler synthesized the first organic compound, urea, he proved that organic compounds do not require living organisms to make them. Of course it showed nothing of the kind. Organic chemists are alive; Wohler merely showed that they can make organic compounds externally as well as internally." (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.48) 11/12/2006 "It is still true that with almost negligible exceptions all the organic matter we know is the product of living organisms. The almost negligible exceptions, however, are very important for our argument. It is now recognized that a constant, slow production of organic molecules occurs without the agency of living things. Certain geological phenomena yield simple organic compounds. So, for example, volcanic eruptions bring metal carbides to the surface of the earth, where they react with water vapor to yield simple compounds of carbon and hydrogen. The familiar type of such a reaction is the process used in old-style bicycle lamps in which acetylene is made by .mixing iron carbide with water. Recently Harold Urey, Nobel laureate in chemistry, has become interested in the degree to which electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere may promote the formation of organic compounds. One of his students, S. L. Miller, performed the simple experiment of circulating a mixture of water vapor, methane (CH4), ammonia (CH3) and hydrogen- all gases believed to have been present in the early atmosphere of the earth-continuously-for a week over an electric spark. The circulation was maintained by boiling the water in one limb of the apparatus and condensing it in the other. At the end of the week the water was analysed by the delicate method of paper chromatography. It was found to have acquired a mixture of amino acids! Glycine and alanine, the simplest amino acids and the most prevalent in proteins, were definitely identified in the solution, and there were indications it contained aspartic acid and two others. The yield was surprisingly high. This amazing result changes at a stroke our ideas of the probability of the spontaneous formation of amino acids." (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.48) 11/12/2006 "A final consideration, however, seems to me more important than all the special processes to which one might appeal for organic syntheses in inanimate nature. It has already been said that to have organic molecules one ordinarily needs organisms. The synthesis of organic substances, like almost everything else that happens in organisms, is governed by the special class of proteins called enzymes-the organic catalysts which greatly accelerate chemical reactions in the body. Since an enzyme is not used up but is returned at the end of the process, a small amount of enzyme can promote an enormous transformation of material. Enzymes play such a dominant role in the chemistry of life that it is exceedingly difficult to imagine the synthesis of living material without their help. This poses a dilemma, for enzymes themselves are proteins, and hence among the most complex organic components of the cell. One is asking, in effect, for an apparatus which is the unique property of cells in order to form the first cell. This is not, however, an insuperable difficulty. An enzyme, after all, is only a catalyst; it can do no more than change the rate of a chemical reaction. It cannot make anything happen that would not have happened, though more slowly' in its absence. Every process that is catalyzed by an enzyme, and every product of such. a process, would occur without the enzyme. The only difference is one of rate. Once again the essence of the argument is time. What takes only a few' moments in the presence of an enzyme or other catalyst may take days, months or years in its absence; but given time, the end result is the same." (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.48. Emphasis original) 12/12/2006 "Dr. Schramm's introduction gives me an opening for making a few remarks on my own. Natural selection is sometimes described as a mechanism capable of realizing the highest degree of improbability, as Dr. Schramm has quite correctly pointed out. I would like, however, to express the belief that the words `natural selection' must be used carefully. Dr. Schramm has so used them. In reading some other literature on the origin of life, I am afraid that not all authors have used the term carefully. Natural selection is differential reproduction, organism perpetuation. In order to have natural selection, you have to have self-reproduction or self-replication and at least two distinct self-replicating units or entities. Now, I realize that when you speak of origin of life, you wish to discuss the probable embryonic stages, so to speak, of natural selection. What these embryonic stages will be is for you to decide. I would like to plead with you, simply, please realize you cannot use the words `natural selection' loosely. Prebiological natural selection is a contradiction of terms." (Dobzhansky, T.G., Discussion of "Synthesis of Nucleosides and Polynucleotides with Metaphoric Esters," by George Schramm, in Fox, S.W., ed., "The Origins of Prebiological Systems and of Their Molecular Matrices," Proceedings of a Conference Conducted at Wakulla Springs, Florida, Oct. 27-30, 1963, Academic Press: New York NY, 1965, pp.309-310) 12/12/2006 "Since both New World and Old World monkeys are deficient in GLO, whereas prosimians possess this enzyme, the loss of GLO in primates is thought to have occurred before the divergence of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys (35-45 million years ago) and after the divergence time of the prosimian and simian lineages (50-65 million years ago)." (Nishikimi, M., et al., "Cloning and chromosomal mapping of the human nonfunctional gene for L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase, the enzyme for L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis missing in man," J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 269, 1994, pp.13685-13688) 13/12/2006 Forces of Dissolution In the early history of our planet, when there were no organisms or any free oxygen, organic compounds should have been stable over very long periods. This is the crucial difference between the period before life existed and our own. If one were to specify a single reason why the spontaneous generation of living organisms was possible once and is so no longer, this is the reason. We must still reckon, however, with another destructive force which is disposed of less easily. This can be called spontaneous dissolution-the counterpart of spontaneous generation. We have noted that any process catalyzed by an enzyme can occur in time without the enzyme. The trouble is that the processes which synthesize an organic substance are reversible: any chemical reaction which an enzyme may catalyze will go backward as well as forward. We have spoken as though one has only to wait to achieve syntheses of all kinds; it is truer to say that what one achieves by waiting is equilibria of all kinds-equilibria in which the synthesis and dissolution of substances come into balance. In the vast majority of the processes in which we are interested the point of equilibrium lies far over toward the side of dissolution. That is to say, spontaneous dissolution is much more probable, and hence proceeds much more rapidly, than spontaneous synthesis. For example, the spontaneous union, step by step, of amino acid units to form a protein has a certain small probability, and hence might occur over a long stretch of time. But the dissolution of the protein or of an intermediate product into its component amino acids is much more probable, and hence will go ever so much more rapidly. The situation we must face is that of patient Penelope waiting for Odysseus, yet much worse: each night she undid the weaving of the preceding day, but here a night could readily undo the work of a year or a century. How do present-day organisms manage to synthesize organic compounds against the forces of dissolution? They do so by a continuous expenditure of energy. Indeed, living organisms commonly do better than oppose the forces of dissolution; they grow in spite of them. They do so, however, only at enormous expense to their surroundings. They need a constant supply of material and energy merely to maintain themselves, and much more of both to grow and reproduce. A living organism is an intricate machine for performing exactly this function. When, for want of fuel or through some internal failure in its mechanism, an organism stops actively synthesizing itself in opposition to the processes which continuously decompose it, it dies and rapidly disintegrates. What we ask here is to synthesize organic molecules without such a machine. I believe this to be the most stubborn problem that confronts us-the weakest link at present in our argument. I do not think it by any means disastrous, but it calls for phenomena and forces some of which are as yet only partly understood and some probably still to be discovered." (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.49. Emphasis original) 14/12/2006 Spontaneous Generation The more rational elements of society, however, tended to take a more naturalistic view of the matter. One had only to accept the evidence of one's senses to know that life arises regularly from the nonliving: worms from mud, maggots from decaying meat, mice from refuse of various kinds. This is the view that came to be called spontaneous generation. Few scientists doubted it. Aristotle, Newton, William Harvey, Descartes, van Helmont, all accepted spontaneous generation without serious question. Indeed, even the theologians- witness the English Jesuit John Turberville Needham-could subscribe to this view, for Genesis tells us, not that God created plants and most animals directly, but that He bade the earth and waters to bring them forth; since this directive was never rescinded, there is nothing heretical in believing that the process has continued. But step by step, in a great controversy that spread over two centuries, this belief was whittled away until nothing remained of it. " (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.45. Emphasis original) 14/12/2006 Pascal's wager The ancient and popular (or vulgar) view that belief in God is the `best bet', given its classic formulation in the Pensées of Pascal. Suppose that metaphysical argument leaves us knowing nothing about divine matters. Nevertheless, we can ask if it is better for us to believe in God. If God exists then it is clearly better: infinitely better, given the prospect of eternal bliss for believers, and eternal damnation for non-believers. If God does not exist, then we lose nothing, and may even gain in this life by losing `poisonous pleasures'. So belief is the dominant strategy. It can win, and cannot lose. The wager is `infmi-rien': infinity to nothing. Pascal knew that you could not just choose to believe because of this kind of consideration, but thought, perceptively, that beliefs are contagious, and you could deliberately deaden your intelligence by choosing to associate with people who would pass their belief to you. You would thus end up believing, and the argument has shown that this is the most desirable strategy. Critics of the argument point out that Pascal has not considered enough possibilities. It may be that the kind of Christian God he was interested in does not exist, but that another does who reserves bliss for those strong enough not to believe in a Christian kind of God, and damnation for those superstitious enough to do so." (Blackburn, S., "Pascal's wager," in "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, reprint, pp.278-279. Emphasis original) 15/12/2006 "One of the most popular stories from Greek mythology is the myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was condemned by the gods for having betrayed the celestial ranks by revealing divine secrets to mortals. They sentenced him to roll a massive stone to the top of a hill, watch it roll down again, and repeat the exercise endlessly. His hell was in having to execute a pointless act from which nothing ever came, except a vain repetition compounding the emptiness. Not by one step, nor by a thousand, nor by ten thousand, was he able to expiate the sin against the gods that brought on this cursed fate. He, could do nothing to rescue himself from futility. ... Poor Sisyphus couldn't even reverse it for a temporary relief. All kinds of intriguing suggestions have been made, ranging from changing his internal outlook ('If only Sisyphus could have changed on the inside so that he enjoyed rolling stones') to altering his external viewpoint ('If he rolled up a different stone each time, a beautiful building could be built'). Most of humanity understands Sisyphus's plight and has felt his struggle." (Zacharias, R.K.*, "Sisyphus on a Roll," in "A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Third Printing, 1994, pp.74-75) 15/12/2006 "Every physicist knows that there is a very small probability, which is easily computed, that the table upon which I am writing will suddenly and spontaneously rise into the air. The event requires no more than that the molecules of which the table is composed, ordinarily in random motion in all directions, should happen by chance to move in the same direction. Every physicist concedes this possibility; but try telling one that you have seen it happen. Recently I asked a friend, a Nobel laureate in physics, what he would say if I told him that. He laughed and said that he would regard it as more probable that I was mistaken than that the event had actually occurred." (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.47) 15/12/2006 "IN the current enthusiasm to put forward theories that provide a milieu rich in organic compounds for the spontaneous generation of life, little attention has been given to the quantitative aspect of the problem. One might estimate the rates of reactions producing such compounds, on one hand, from pertinent kinetic data; or one might use thermodynamics as a guide to the quantities of compounds expected, particularly in view of the long times available for approach to equilibrium. In a recent paper [Miller, S.L. & Urey, H.C., Science, Vol. 130, 1959, p.245], however, Miller and Urey apply thermodynamic formulae only to the equilibrium concentrations of inorganic raw materials in the primitive atmosphere; but they do not apply thermodynamics to the synthesis of organic compounds. ... Now, of course, it is possible that, in an energy-rich medium, steady-rate concentrations can be maintained far from equilibrium. In such case the expected concentrations depend on the available mechanisms for synthesis and decomposition. Ultraviolet light is the most important source of energy to consider, being hundreds to thousands of times more abundant than electrical discharges or ionizing radiation. The atmosphere postulated is transparent to ultra-violet .... A glycine molecule formed in such an atmosphere is immediately vulnerable to radiation ... Decarboxylation of activated glycine would presumably occur with a quantum efficiency of the order of unity. Thus, any glycine formed would be rapidly decomposed. Its absorption coefficient ...and the intensity of ultra-violet ... give it a half-life of about 30 days. This is much shorter than the half-time of transport from the stratosphere to the surface, now estimated from fall-out data as three years. Thus, 97 per cent of the glycine would be decomposed before it could reach the surface." (Hull, D.E., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.693-694, pp.693-694) 15/12/2006 "Miller and Urey hope to save the synthesized products by removing them from the reaction zone in the atmosphere to the ocean. But even after the glycine reaches the ocean, the victory is not won. ... the important effect, however, is not thermal, but decomposition by ultra-violet radiation. The ultra-violet reaching the surface would penetrate to a considerable depth. .. about 100 metres deep, glycine would have a half-life to ultra-violet destruction of about twenty years. Even assuming it to be mixed to the bottom of the ocean, with an average depth of 4 km., the half-life is only 1,000 years. These short lives for decomposition in the atmosphere or ocean clearly preclude the possibility of accumulating useful concentrations of organic compounds over eons of time." (Hull, D.E., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.693-694, p.694). 15/12/2006 "The limiting concentrations to be hoped for can be estimated from the steady state between production and decomposition. The rate of formation of glycine by ultra-violet irradiation... from a mixture of methane, ammonia and water vapour may be estimated ... even the highest admissible value seems hopelessly low as starting material for the spontaneous generation of life. Consideration of other sources of energy, although they are very much weaker than the ultra-violet radiation, leads to similar conclusions. Thus, ionizing radiation may form complex products from simple reactants, but the more complex and highly organized compounds are more vulnerable to the same agent than their simple precursors." (Hull, D.E., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.693-694, p.694). 15/12/2006 "The conclusion from these arguments presents the most serious obstacle, if indeed it is not fatal, to the theory of spontaneous generation. First, thermodynamic calculations predict vanishingly small concentrations of even the simplest organic compounds. Secondly, the reactions that are invoked to synthesize such compounds are seen to be much more effective in decomposing them. Further, it must be remembered that both lines of argument become quantitatively of an overwhelmingly greater magnitude when organic compounds other than the very simplest are considered. .... The values for the simplest proteins must be unimaginably small. Also, in agreement with the thermodynamic prediction, the kinetic steady-state concentration falls rapidly with increasing complexity of organic compounds, because (1) the quantum yield for their formation decreases ; (2) at the same time their stability against thermal decomposition decreases ; and (3) their opacity to ultra-violet radiation and decomposition by this means increases. The physical chemist, guided by the proved principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics, cannot offer any encouragement to the biochemist, who needs an ocean full of organic compounds to form even lifeless coacervates. These estimates are not in conflict with the experimental results of Miller and others who have synthesized organic compounds with electrical discharges or ultra-violet light in the laboratory. They have merely used the well-known principle of increasing the yield of a reaction by selectively removing the product from the reacting mixture. But the fact that a chemist can carry out an organic synthesis in the laboratory does not prove that the same synthesis will occur in the atmosphere or open sea without the chemist. The second law of thermodynamics applies not only to inorganic gases in the atmosphere, but also to organic compounds in the ocean. Living cells may reverse the process, but in the absence of life, `die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu' [the entropy of the world tends to a maximum-Clausius]." (Hull, D.E., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.693-694, p.694) 17/12/2006 "Even if we accept that small organic molecules; a fortiori larger organic molecules, are likely to exist in an atmosphere and open ocean only in very small equilibrium concentrations, it does not necessarily follow that the way of photosynthesis for the origin of even more complex compounds, or of life itself, is effectively barred. The fact that Miller and others have produced such compounds by radiation is, as Dr. Hull quite rightly points out, because these products are selectively removed from their zone of formation. It would seem to follow that if complex organic molecules were ever produced on a lifeless Earth, something similar must have occurred there. There must have been a process which. removed a certain proportion of these molecules from their zone of reaction. Further, the same or another process must have concentrated them to the extent where they could enter into still more complex reactions. Such reactions did not necessarily require further energy sources to promote them. In other words, the original concept of the primitive soup must be rejected only in so far as it applies to oceans or large volumes of water, and interest must be transferred to reactions in more limited zones." (Bernal, J. D., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.694-695, p.694) 17/12/2006 "By such a two-stage process, a relatively very small bulk concentration of synthetic molecules can be turned into a large concentration in specified areas. Further, once involved in clay, which absorbs such molecules readily, they will be completely shielded from ultra-violet radiation. A further mechanism of concentration of the smaller groups, particularly those containing nitrogen, will be provided by the presence of transition metal ions, notably those of iron, which may also play a part in primitive photosynthesis, as N. W. Pirie has pointed out 5. One way of verifying or negating these hypotheses would be by extensive experimentation using large volumes of very dilute organic solutions and absorbing them on clay under controlled conditions. Until this is done, it is premature to accept any arguments, quantitative or qualitative, against the spontaneous formation of organisms, indirectly if not directly, from the primitive ocean." (Bernal, J. D., "Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Spontaneous Generation," Nature, Vol. 186, May 28, 1960, pp.694-695, p.695) 17/12/2006 "Natural selection argues against cooperation. If all organisms, including humans, are pitted in a ceaseless struggle for survival and sex, those who help others would quickly find themselves swamped in a rising tide of selfishness, especially if those they helped bore no relation to them. Yet, most humans reflexively help another person in need even if there are no family ties or a direct benefit to be gained. This conundrum has puzzled evolutionary biologists since the time of Darwin, but a new study shows how internecine warfare among early humans might have allowed for the spread of a dominant group of altruistic tribes. Economist Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute examines the evolutionary forces at work on early human populations. He posits two distinct groups: the altruistic and the selfish, divided into many different tribes, which Bowles refers to as demes. Altruists are disposed to take an action helping others, but such actions have a specific cost. For example, an altruist might jump into the river to save a drowning child at the cost of her own life but to the overall benefit of the tribe. Reducing these sets of conditions to a mathematical equation reveals that altruists can only prosper if their altruism enables their group to acquire more territory. One of the primary ways that humans--indeed all primates--acquire territory is through `contests,' or war. By sharing the costs of war, as well as its benefits, a group of altruists typically outnumbers and therefore defeats a less cohesive band of individuals. Thus, whereas individual natural selection would argue for the rise of the selfish, larger group dynamics showcase the triumph of the altruists. This latter type of selection also relies on that group sharing a large proportion of similar genes, because, in that case, altruists' genetic material persists in some form if they sacrifice themselves for others in war. This is the solution offered by Darwin in The Descent of Man and Bowles in a paper published in the December 8 Science [Bowles, S., "Group Competition, Reproductive Leveling, and the Evolution of Human Altruism," Science,Vol. 314, 8 December 2006, pp. 1569-1572]. Bowles examines the genetic interrelatedness of hunter-gatherer groups that persist to this day, assuming that they are at least somewhat indicative of the behaviors of our remote ancestors. Many of them show high degrees of interrelatedness--a bit less than cousins. In addition, Bowles points out that abrupt climate change happened several times during recent geologic history, subjecting our ancestors to even more rigorous competition--and potential population extinctions for those who couldn't band together to survive. Indeed evidence of warfare in archaeological remains increases in times of environmental stress. Plus, the proclivity to wipe out subjected populations continued to reinforce our newly developing altruistic ways. None of this evidence, of course, proves that altruism evolved in this manner, but it does provide an intriguing argument and some nice mathematical equations for describing human behavior. Plus, Bowles demonstrates how the effect of leveling mechanisms such as shared access to scarce resources, enables altruism to become a very persistent way of life when coupled with territorial expansion. History isn't just written by the winners, the people reading that history are probably their descendants. `Language or culture may have led to the evolution of leveling mechanisms, which then potentiated the spread of prosocial genes because those mechanisms reduced the costs of cooperation,' writes anthropologist Robert Boyd of the University of California, Los Angeles, in a commentary on the research. [Boyd, R., "The Puzzle of Human Sociality," Science: Vol. 314, 8 December 2006, pp.1555-1556] `It is certainly fair to invoke reproductive leveling to explain the stability of extended altruism among humans, but whether it is sufficient to explain its origin is not yet clear." (Biello, D., "Love Thy Neighbor Evolved Out of Vicious Competition," Scientific American, December 07, 2006) 18/12/2006 "Just 40 years after a famous TIME magazine cover asked `Is God Dead?' the answer appears to be a resounding `No!' According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, `God is Winning'. Religions are increasingly a geopolitical force to be reckoned with. Fundamentalist movements - some violent in the extreme - are growing. Science and religion are at odds in the classrooms and courtrooms. And a return to religious values is widely touted as an antidote to the alleged decline in public morality. After two centuries, could this be twilight for the Enlightenment project and the beginning of a new age of unreason? Will faith and dogma trump rational inquiry, or will it be possible to reconcile religious and scientific worldviews? Can evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience help us to better understand how we construct beliefs, and experience empathy, fear and awe? Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies? Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon? Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what? This is a critical moment in the human situation, and The Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center brought together an extraordinary group of scientists and philosophers to explore answers to these questions. The conversation took place at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA from November 5-7, 2006." (Sejnowski,T. & Bingham, R., "Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason, and Survival," The Science Network). 18/12/2006 "This overview of the literature shows that individuals who suffer abuse, neglect, or serious family dysfunction as children are more likely to be depressed, to experience other types of psychiatric illness, to have more physical symptoms (both medically explained and unexplained), and to engage in more health-risk behaviors than their nonabused counterparts. The more severe the abuse, the stronger the association with poor outcomes in adulthood. Childhood sexual abuse in particular has been repeatedly associated, in adulthood, with physical complaints such as chronic pain that are likewise associated with depression. Individuals with a history of childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse, are more likely than individuals with no history of abuse to become high utilizers of medical care and emergency services. Childhood maltreatment is highly prevalent among both men and women, especially in specialty settings such as emergency psychiatric care." (Arnow, B.A., "Childhood maltreatment strongly predicts poor psychiatric and physical health outcomes in adulthood," J. Clin. Psychiatry, Vol. 65, No. 12, 2004, pp. 10-15) 18/12/2006 "This study assessed the impact of religiosity on the socioemotional and behavioral outcomes of 91 adolescent mothers and their offspring over 10 years. Religiosity was defined as involvement in church and contact with and dependence on church officials and members. Mothers classified as high in religious involvement had significantly higher self-esteem and lower depression scores, exhibited less child abuse potential, and had higher occupational and educational attainment than mothers classified as low in religious involvement; differences remained when multiple factors, such as stress and grandmother support, were held constant. Children with more religious mothers had fewer internalizing and externalizing problems at 10 years of age, with maternal adjustment mediating this relationship. Religiosity, through increased social support, served as a protective factor for teenaged mothers and their children. " (Carothers, S.S., et al., "Religiosity and the socioemotional adjustment of adolescent mothers and their children," J. Fam. Psychol.; Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2005, pp.263-275) 18/12/2006 "Large discrepancies have been found in dates of evolutionary events obtained using the molecular clock. Twofold differences have been reported between the dates estimated from molecular data and those from the fossil record; furthermore, different molecular methods can give dates that differ 20-fold. New software attempts to incorporate appropriate allowances for this uncertainty into the calculation of the accuracy of date estimates. Here, we propose that these innovations represent welcome progress towards obtaining reliable dates from the molecular clock, but warn that they are currently unproven, given that the causes and pattern of the discrepancies are the subject of ongoing research. This research implies that many previous studies, even some of those using recently developed methods, might have placed too much confidence in their date estimates, and their conclusions might need to be revised." (Pulquério, M.J.F. & Nichols, R.A., "Dates from the molecular clock: how wrong can we be?," Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 8 December 2006) 19/12/2006 "The second event to recall was the 1960 Stanley Kramer movie of `Inherit the Wind,' starring Spencer Tracy as the agnostic lawyer patterned after Clarence Darrow. It was one of the great propaganda masterpieces of all time. In the context of presenting a very distorted account of the notorious Scopes trial, the film portrayed the moral side of the Darwinian triumph over Christianity. `Inherit the Wind' is a simple morality play in which the Christian ministers are evil manipulators and their followers are bumpkins who sing mindlessly in praise of `that old time religion.' In the movie, it appears that the theological content of Christianity amounts to threatening people with damnation if they dare to think for themselves. The overthrow of this caricature provides a liberation myth, which goes with the triumphalism of the Chicago celebration. The movie teaches that the truth shall make us free, and the truth, according to science and Hollywood, is that Biblical religion is an oppressor to be overthrown. The film embodied a stereotype that has dominated public debate over evolution ever since the Scopes trial. As far as the media are concerned, all critics of Darwinism fit into what I call the `Inherit the Wind stereotype.' No matter how well qualified the critics are, and no matter how well grounded their criticisms, the reporters assume that they are Bible- thumping fanatics challenging scientific fact in order to impose political oppression. The review in Nature of Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box [Free Press, 1996] fits squarely in that tradition. Behe made solid scientific arguments demonstrating the existence of irreducible complexity in biochemical systems, arguments that the reviewer did not dispute on scientific grounds. Instead, the review began and ended with irrelevant attacks on fundamentalists who want to substitute the book of Genesis for science. Like Marxism, Darwinism is a liberation myth that has become a new justification for ordering people not to think for themselves." (Johnson, P.E., "How to Sink a Battleship: A call to separate materialist philosophy from empirical science," Final address at the 1996 Mere Creation conference, Leadership U., 14 December 2002) 19/12/2006 "We do not know what chemical raw materials were abundant on earth before the coming of life, but among the plausible possibilities are water, carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia: all simple compounds known to be present on at least some of the other planets in our solar system. Chemists have tried to imitate the chemical conditions of the young earth. They have put these simple substances in a flask and supplied a source of energy such as ultraviolet light or electric sparks-artificial simulation of primordial lightning. After a few weeks of this, something interesting is usually found inside the flask: a weak brown soup containing a large number of molecules more complex than the ones originally put in. In particular, amino acids have been found-the building blocks of proteins, one of the two great classes of biological molecules. ... More recently, laboratory simulations of the chemical conditions of earth before the coming of life have yielded organic substances called purines and pyrimidines. These are building blocks of the genetic molecule, DNA itself. Processes analogous to these must have given rise to the 'primeval soup' which biologists and chemists believe constituted the seas some three to four thousand million years ago. The organic substances became locally concentrated, perhaps in drying scum round the shores, or in tiny suspended droplets. Under the further influence of energy such as ultraviolet light from the sun, they combined into larger molecules. ... At some point a particularly remarkable molecule was formed by accident. We will call it the Replicator. It may not necessarily have been the biggest or the most complex molecule around, but it had the extraordinary property of being able to create copies of itself. This may seem a very unlikely sort of accident to happen. So it was. It was exceedingly improbable. ... Actually a molecule that makes copies of itself is not as difficult to imagine as it seems at first, and it only had to arise once. " (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, New Edition, 1989, pp.14-15. Emphasis original) 19/12/2006 "The DNA of an organism is not self-replicating; it is not an independent 'replicator'. The only way in which the DNA can be accurately and completely replicated is within the context of a dividing cell; that is to say, it is the cell that reproduces. In a classic experiment, Spiegelman in 1967 [Spiegelman, S. "An in vitro analysis of a replicating molecule," American Scientist, Vol. 55, 1967, pp.221-64] showed what happens to a molecular replicating system in a test-tube, without any cellular organization around it. The replicating molecules (the nucleic acid templates) require an energy source, building-blocks (i.e. nucleotide bases), and an enzyme to help the polymerization process that is involved in self-copying of the templates. Then away it goes, making more copies of the specific nucleotide sequences that define the initial templates. But the interesting result was that these initial templates did not stay the same; they were not accurately copied. They got shorter and shorter until they reached the minimal size compatible with the sequence retaining self- copying properties. And as they got shorter, the copying process went faster. So what happened was natural selection in a test-tube: the shorter templates that copied themselves faster become more numerous than the slower, while the larger ones were gradually eliminated. This looks like Darwinian evolution in a test-tube. But the interesting result was that this evolution went one way: towards greater simplicity. Actual evolution tends to go towards greater complexity, species becoming more elaborate in their structure and behaviour, though the process can also go in reverse, towards simplicity. But DNA on its own can go nowhere but towards greater simplicity. In order for evolution of complexity to occur DNA has to be within a cellular context; the whole system evolves as a reproducing unit. So the notion of an autonomous replicator is another spot on the leopard that turns out to be an incorrect abstraction and it fades out." (Goodwin, B., "How The Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity," , Phoenix: London, Reprint, 1995, pp.34-35) 19/12/2006 "We think we learn from teachers, and we sometimes do. But the teachers are not always to be found in school or in great laboratories. ... For example, I once received an unexpected lesson from a spider. It happened far away on a rainy morning in the West. I had come up a long gulch looking for fossils, and there, just at eye level, lurked a huge yellow-and-black orb spider, whose web was moored to the tall spears of buffalo grass at the edge of the arroyo. It was her universe, and her senses did not extend beyond the lines and spokes of the great wheel she inhabited. Her extended claws could feel every vibration throughout that delicate structure. She knew the tug of wind, the fall of a raindrop, the flutter of a trapped moth's wing. Down one spoke of the web ran a stout ribbon of gossamer on which she could hurry out to investigate her prey. Curious, I took a pencil from my pocket and touched a strand of the web. Immediately there was a response. The web, plucked by its menacing occupant, began to vibrate until it was a blur. Anything that had brushed claw or wing against that amazing snare would be thoroughly entrapped. As the vibrations slowed, I could see the owner fingering her guidelines for signs of struggle. A pencil point was an intrusion into this universe for which no precedent existed. Spider was circumscribed by spider ideas; its universe was spider universe. All outside was irrational, extraneous, at best raw material for spider. As I proceeded on my way along the gully, like a vast impossible shadow, I realized that in the world of spider I did not exist. ... I began to see that, among the many universes in which the work of living creatures existed, some were large, some small, but that all including man's, were in some way limited or finite. We were creatures of many different dimensions passing through each other's live; like ghosts through doors. In the years since, my mind has many times returned to that far moment of my encounter with the orb spider. A message has arisen only now from the misty shreds of that webbed universe. What was it that had so troubled me about the incident? Was it that spidery indifference to the human triumph? ...Was it this that troubled me and brought my mind back to a tiny universe among the grass blades, a spider's universe concerned with spider thought? Perhaps. ... I saw, at last, the reason for my recollection of that great spider on the arroyo's rim, fingering its universe against the sky. The spider was a symbol of man in miniature. The wheel of the web brought the analogy home clearly. Man, too, lies at the heart of a web, a web extending through the starry reaches of sidereal space, as well as backward into the dark realm of prehistory. His great eye upon Mount Palomar looks into a distance of millions of light-years, his radio ear hears the whisper of even more remote galaxies, he peers through the electron microscope upon the minute particles of his own being. It is a web no creature of earth has ever spun before. Like the orb spider, man lies at the heart of it, listening. Knowledge has given him the memory of earth's history beyond the time of his emergence. Like the spider's claw, a part of him touches a world he will never enter in the flesh. Even now, one can see him reaching forward into time with new machines, computing, analyzing, until elements of the shadowy future will also compose part of the invisible web he fingers. Yet still my spider lingers in memory against the sunset sky. Spider thoughts in a spider universe-sensitive to raindrop and moth flutter, nothing beyond, nothing allowed for the unexpected, the inserted pencil from the world outside. Is man at heart any different from the spider, I wonder: man thoughts, as limited as spider thoughts, contemplating now the nearest star ... Let man spin his web, I thought further; it is his nature. ... What is it we are a part of that we do not see, as the spider was not gifted to discern my face, or my little probe into her world? ... It is not sufficient any longer to listen at the end of a wire to the rustlings of galaxies; it is not enough even to examine the great coil of DNA in which is coded the very alphabet of life. These are our extended perceptions. But beyond lies the great darkness of the ultimate Dreamer, who dreamed the light and the galaxies." (Eiseley, L.C., "The Hidden Teacher," in "The Star Thrower," , Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: New York NY, Reprinted, 1979, pp.116-120) 20/12/2006 "Maybe the pivotal moment came when Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in physics, warned that `the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief,' or when a Nobelist in chemistry, Sir Harold Kroto, called for the John Templeton Foundation to give its next $1.5 million prize for `progress in spiritual discoveries' to an atheist - Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist whose book `The God Delusion' is a national best-seller. ... Sponsored instead by the Science Network, an educational organization based in California, and underwritten by a San Diego investor, Robert Zeps (who acknowledged his role as a kind of `anti-Templeton'), the La Jolla meeting, `Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival,' rapidly escalated into an invigorating intellectual free-for-all. (Unedited video of the proceedings will be posted on the Web at tsntv.org.) A presentation by Joan Roughgarden, a Stanford University biologist, on using biblical metaphor to ease her fellow Christians into accepting evolution (a mutation is `a mustard seed of DNA') was dismissed by Dr. Dawkins as `bad poetry,' while his own take-no- prisoners approach (religious education is `brainwashing' and `child abuse') was condemned by the anthropologist Melvin J. Konner, who said he had `not a flicker' of religious faith, as simplistic and uninformed. After enduring two days of talks in which the Templeton Foundation came under the gun as smudging the line between science and faith, Charles L. Harper Jr., its senior vice president, lashed back, denouncing what he called `pop conflict books' like Dr. Dawkins's `God Delusion,' as `commercialized ideological scientism' - promoting for profit the philosophy that science has a monopoly on truth. ... With atheists and agnostics outnumbering the faithful ... one speaker after another called on their colleagues to be less timid in challenging teachings about nature based only on scripture and belief. `The core of science is not a mathematical model; it is intellectual honesty,' said Sam Harris, a doctoral student in neuroscience and the author of `The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason' and `Letter to a Christian Nation.' `Every religion is making claims about the way the world is,' he said. `These are claims about the divine origin of certain books, about the virgin birth of certain people, about the survival of the human personality after death. These claims purport to be about reality.' By shying away from questioning people's deeply felt beliefs, even the skeptics, Mr. Harris said, are providing safe harbor for ideas that are at best mistaken and at worst dangerous. .... Dr. Weinberg, who famously wrote toward the end of his 1977 book on cosmology, `The First Three Minutes,' that `the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless,' went a step further: `Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest c Dr. Krauss said he was a nonbeliever - is a question unanswerable by theology, philosophy or even science. `Science does not make it impossible to believe in God,' Dr. Krauss insisted. `We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop being so pompous about it.' That was just the kind of accommodating attitude that drove Dr. Dawkins up the wall. `I am utterly fed up with the respect that we - all of us, including the secular among us - are brainwashed into bestowing on religion,' he said. `Children are systematically taught that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith, which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior of knowledge that comes from real evidence.' " (Johnson, G., "A Free-for-All on Science and Religion," The New York Times, November 21, 2006) 20/12/2006 "By the third day, the arguments had become so heated that Dr. Konner was reminded of `a den of vipers.' `With a few notable exceptions,' he said, `the viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?' His response to Mr. Harris and Dr. Dawkins was scathing. `I think that you and Richard are remarkably apt mirror images of the extremists on the other side,' he said, `and that you generate more fear and hatred of science.' Dr. Tyson put it more gently. `Persuasion isn't always `Here are the facts - you're an idiot or you are not,' ` he said. `I worry that your methods' - he turned toward Dr. Dawkins - `how articulately barbed you can be, end up simply being ineffective, when you have much more power of influence.' Chastened for a millisecond, Dr. Dawkins replied, `I gratefully accept the rebuke.'... Before he left to fly back home to Austin, Dr. Weinberg seemed to soften for a moment, describing religion a bit fondly as a crazy old aunt. `She tells lies, and she stirs up all sorts of mischief and she's getting on, and she may not have that much life left in her, but she was beautiful once,' he lamented. `When she's gone, we may miss her.' Dr. Dawkins wasn't buying it. `I won't miss her at all,' he said. `Not a scrap. Not a smidgen.'" (Johnson, G., "A Free-for-All on Science and Religion," The New York Times, November 21, 2006) 20/12/2006 "If God did not in six days, six thousand years ago, create the different species we see about us, how did this wonderful variety come about? If all plants and animals, including man, are part of a single system, how did they arise one from another-difference out of sameness? Roses beget roses; termites beget termites; men beget men. Common sense sees this continuity, yet denies the relationship. It requires great imagination, as well as logic and evidence, to see that roses, termites, and men are cousins. It requires a change in habits of thought from seeing things as fixed and static to seeing things as always changing. Europe in the mid- nineteenth century was doubtless ready for a revolution in human thought. Darwin's book provided at once the call to arms and a full arsenal to bring it off-an arsenal of concepts and of facts impossible to explain away. This week at the University of Chicago we are not examining the notion of evolution itself, which all of us now take for granted as much as we do the fact that the earth is a sphere revolving around the sun. We are looking at the particulars. After one hundred years of Darwinian theory, where do we stand?" (Tax, S., "Introduction to the Panel Discussions," in Tax, S. & Callender, C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.67) 20/12/2006 "SHAPLEY: The Stanley Miller experiments in Harold Urey's laboratory in 1953 and 1954 were remarkable. They radiated in this laboratory the gases Gaffron mentioned as constituting the main part of the atmosphere of the earth a few thousand million years ago. Harold Urey was in Boston at a meeting on the climatic conditions necessary for the origin of life on this and other planets. We had quite a conference; and I remember George Wald asked me as an astronomer how much time separated the forming of the earth's crust and the beginning of life here. I asked him when life began; he gave it a billion and a half years (I think it would be a bit more than that now). Being generous, I said, "I will give you two billion years," and he got off a nice phrase: "Two billion years. That is just wonderful for the problem of the origin of life. In two billion years the impossible becomes inevitable."" (Shapley, H., "Panel One: The Origin Of Life ," in Tax, S. & Callender, C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.77) 20/12/2006 "Hawking ... told the BBC: `We are such insignificant creatures on a minor planet of a very average star in the outer suburbs of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies. So it is difficult to believe in a God that would care about us or even notice our existence.' ["Master of the Universe," BBC TV, 1989]" (Strobel, L.P., "The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Toward God." Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 2004, p.118) 20/12/2006 "Ann Druyan suggests an experiment: Look back again at the pale blue dot of the preceding chapter. Take a good long look at it. Stare at the dot for any length of time and then try to convince yourself that God created the whole Universe for one of the 10 million or so species of life that inhabit that speck of dust. Now take it a step further: Imagine that everything was made just for a single shade of that species, or gender, or ethnic or religious subdivision. If this doesn't strike you as unlikely, pick another dot. Imagine it to be inhabited by a different form of intelligent life. They, too, cherish the notion of a God who has created everything for their benefit. How seriously do you take their claim?" (Sagan, C.E., "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space," Random House: New York NY, 1994, p.11. Emphasis original) 20/12/2006 "You might imagine an uncharitable extraterrestrial observer looking down on our species over all that time- with us excitedly chattering, "The Universe created for us! We're at the center! Everything pays homage to us!"-and concluding that our pretensions are amusing, our aspirations pathetic, that this must be the planet of the idiots." (Sagan, C.E., "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space," Random House: New York NY, 1994, p.17) 20/12/2006 "In muted counterpoint, a few dissenting voices, counseling humility and perspective, could be heard down through the centuries. At the dawn of science, the atomist philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome-those who first suggested that matter is made of atoms-Democritus, Epicurus, and their followers (and Lucretius, the first popularizer of science) scandalously proposed many worlds and many alien life forms, all made of the same kinds of atoms as we. They offered for our consideration infinities in space and time. But in the prevailing canons of the West, secular and sacerdotal, pagan and Christian, atomist ideas were reviled." (Sagan, C.E., "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space," Random House: New York NY, 1994, p.18) 21/12/2006 "I was shocked to have to admit to myself that not only had I accepted a complex theory somewhat uncritically, but that I had also actually noticed quite a bit of what was wrong, in the theory as well as in the practice of communism. But I had repressed this-partly out of loyalty to my friends, partly out of loyalty to "the cause", and partly because there is a mechanism of getting oneself more and more deeply involved: once one has sacrificed one's intellectual conscience over a minor point one does not wish to give in too easily; one wishes to justify the self-sacrifice by convincing oneself of the fundamental goodness of the cause, which is seen to outweigh any little moral or intellectual compromise that may be required. With every such moral or intellectual sacrifice one gets more deeply involved. One becomes ready to back one's moral or intellectual investments in the cause with further investments. It is like being eager to throw good money after bad." (Popper K.R., "Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography," , Open Court: La Salle IL, Revised Edition, 1982, p.34) 21/12/2006 "Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas? I think it's very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there's no evolution, no changes. It's totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it's remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren't just the way they are, we couldn't be here at all. The sun couldn't be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that `well, there's an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.' Well, that's a postulate, and it's a pretty fantastic postulate - it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that's why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It's very clear that there is evolution, and it's important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they're both consistent.' (Powell, B.A., "'Explore as much as we can': Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes on evolution, intelligent design, and the meaning of life," UC Berkeley News, 17 June 2005. Emphasis original) 21/12/2006 "Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear that [biological] evolution could not have occurred." - Richard Smalley, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate-Chemistry, 1996." (Ross, H.N.*, "What Others Are Saying," Staying Connected, May 2005) 22/12/2006 "Gene families are groups of homologous genes that are likely to have highly similar functions. Differences in family size due to lineage-specific gene duplication and gene loss may provide clues to the evolutionary forces that have shaped mammalian genomes. Here we analyze the gene families contained within the whole genomes of human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, and dog. In total we find that more than half of the 9,990 families present in the mammalian common ancestor have either expanded or contracted along at least one lineage. Additionally, we find that a large number of families are completely lost from one or more mammalian genomes, and a similar number of gene families have arisen subsequent to the mammalian common ancestor. Along the lineage leading to modern humans we infer the gain of 689 genes and the loss of 86 genes since the split from chimpanzees, including changes likely driven by adaptive natural selection. Our results imply that humans and chimpanzees differ by at least 6% (1,418 of 22,000 genes) in their complement of genes, which stands in stark contrast to the oft-cited 1.5% difference between orthologous nucleotide sequences. This genomic `revolving door' of gene gain and loss represents a large number of genetic differences separating humans from our closest relatives." (Demuth, J.P., Bie, T.D., Stajich, J.E., Cristianini, N., Hahn, M.W., The Evolution of Mammalian Gene Families," PLoS ONE, Vol. 1, No. 1, December 20, 2006) 22/12/2006 "The following series of papers deal with proposals that Mills initially referred to as `Theistic Evolution' (PSCF 47 (1995)112-122, Christian Scholars Review XXIV (1995) 444-458). At present, these views are no longer in accord with what others are calling `Theistic Evolution', and appear to be more appropriately described as a `Design Theory of Progressive Creation'. In these papers, Mills considers the necessity of proposing an intelligent cause as the source of the genetic information that is found in living organisms. In other words, the need for an Intelligent Designer who acts within time; time in this case including not only the initial creative acts of the Deity, but also the last six or seven hundred million years when multicellular life on this planet has appeared and developed. This is a creation theory, since in the words of biblical scholar John Stek, `In biblical language, bara (create) affirms of some existent reality only that God conceived, willed and effected it'. This view is fully consistent with the scientific evidence. After outlining the main components of the theory in the initial two papers, Mills has considered how this design theory might have utilized protein modules to form functional proteins (PSCF 50 (1998) 136-139); how changes in the genetic code of mitochondrial DNA are more readily explained by a design theory (PSCF 50 (1998) 286-291); and how the formation of antibodies might illustrate the initial modular formation of different proteins (PSCF 51 (1999) 254- 256). Throughout, these papers have emphasized the difficulties of accounting for new and modified protein structures by chance alone. Although some changes may be accounted for by chance mutations in codons of DNA, and hence in the structure of proteins, ultimately the complexity of life processes demands consideration of a Designer as the ultimate source of genetic information." (Mills, G.C.*, "A Design Theory of Progressive Creation," American Scientific Affiliation, 17 April 2002) 22/12/2006 "Life's Origin-Molecular Theories In answer to the vitalists, TROLAND (1914, 1916, 1917) proposed a mechanistic explanation of the origin of life. He attempted to simplify the problem of the origin of life by making the assumption that the simplest possible form of life was a single molecule-an autocatalytic (self- replicating) enzyme which also had the properties in common with enzymes in general, of metabolic regulation (heterocatalysis) and mutation. He reasoned that, given enough time, the random interactions among atoms and molecules in the warm primordial seas would eventually bring forth such a molecule (TROLAND, 1914). Troland dismissed the objection of improbability of such an occurrence since the theory required the spontaneous formation of only a single molecule. MULLER (1929) adopted Troland's ideas, substituting the `naked gene' for Troland's `enzyme bare of all body.' ... Both the enzymic and `naked gene' theories of the origin of life have the fatal fault of depending on the accidental formation of a highly complex molecule through the random collisions of atoms and inorganic molecules. Such an event, as the basis for the origin of life, is an event of zero probability. An autocatalytic enzyme or a naked gene is alive only by the author's proclamation, and in the absence of organic compounds, has not even a theoretical future." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.569-. Emphasis original) 22/12/2006 "MULLER's more recent theory (1966), and the present derivative nucleic acid theory, both lead to a dead- end. Staying within the confines of the properties of genes or self-replicating nucleic acids, the postulated primordial `living thing' would replicate at an exponential rate. It would give rise to mutants which would likewise increase in amount. Each gene and each mutant would serve as a code for its corresponding protein. In an otherwise sterile medium they would consume the requisite raw materials in a short time, perhaps in a few days, giving rise to oceansful of genes (or nucleic acids), their mutants, and the corresponding proteins. Even this limited effect is dependent on enzymes and a fairly complex apparatus which could not conceivably have been a part of the primordial soup. Genes or self-replicating nucleic acids could not have served as the original ancestors of living things. At best, had they formed, they would have been viruses in search of a host. But there were no hosts in the beginning." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, pp.569-570. Emphasis original) 22/12/2006 "The origin of life was the origin of true heredity; we might even say the origin of the first gene. By first gene, I hasten to insist, I don't mean first DNA molecule. Nobody knows whether the first gene was made of DNA, and I bet it wasn't. By first gene I mean first replicator. A replicator is an entity, for example a molecule, that forms lineages of copies of itself. There will always be errors in copying, so the population will acquire variety. The key to true heredity is that each replicator resembles the one from which it was copied more than it resembles a random member of the population. The origin of the first such replicator was not a probable event, but it only had to happen once. Thereafter, its consequences were automatically self sustaining and they eventually gave rise, by Darwinian evolution, to all of life. A length of DNA or, under certain conditions, the related molecule RNA is a true replicator. So is a computer virus. So is a chain letter. But all these replicators need a complicated apparatus to assist them. DNA needs a cell richly equipped with pre-existing biochemical machinery highly adapted to read and copy the DNA code. A computer virus needs a computer with some sort of data link to other computers, all designed by human engineers to obey coded instructions. A chain letter needs a good supply of idiots, with evolved brains educated at least enough to read. What is unique about the first replicator, the one that sparked life, is that it had no ready supply of anything evolved, designed or educated. The first replicator worked de novo, ab initio, without precedent, and without help other than from the ordinary laws of chemistry." (Dawkins, R., "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 2004, p.563) 22/12/2006 "A powerful source of help to a chemical reaction is a catalyst, and-catalysis in some form was surely involved in the origin of replication. A catalyst is an agent that speeds up a chemical reaction while not being consumed by it. All biological chemistry consists of catalysed reactions, the catalysts usually being the large protein molecules called enzymes. A typical enzyme offers the shaped cavities of its three dimensional form as receptacles for the ingredients of one chemical reaction. It lines them up for each other, enters into temporary chemical liaison with them, matchmakes with an aimed precision that they would be unlikely to discover in open diffusion. Catalysts, by definition, are not consumed in the chemical reaction they boost, but they may be produced. An autocatalytic reaction is a reaction that manufactures its own catalyst. As you can imagine, an autocatalytic reaction is reluctant to start but, once started, it takes off on its own - like wild fire indeed, for fire has some of the properties of an autocatalytic reaction. Fire is not strictly a catalyst but it is self-generating. Chemically, it is an oxidation process that gives off heat, and needs heat to push it over a threshold to start. Once started, it continues and spreads as a chain reaction because it generates the heat needed to restart itself. Another famous chain reaction is an atomic explosion, in this case not a chemical reaction but a nuclear one. Heredity began as a lucky initiation of an autocatalytic, or otherwise self-regenerating, process. It immediately took off and spread like a fire, eventually leading to natural selection - and all that was to follow." (Dawkins, R., "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 2004, pp.563-564) 23/12/2006 "DID LIFE START AS A GENE? A different approach to the origin of life is given by the gene concept. This theory was proposed by Muller in 1926 in an address before the International Congress of Plant Sciences, but was first published in 1929. He has restated it on many occasions, the latest in 1966. The essence of the theory is that life originated as a gene by the accidental combination of its constituent atoms in the proper order and that the gene is the basis of all life past and present. This theory has its origin in the `living molecule' or `moleculobiont' theory of the origin of life proposed by Troland [Troland, L.T., "The Chemical Origin and Regulation of Life," The Monist, Vol. 24, 1914, p.92] in 1914. Troland wrote: `Let us suppose that at a certain moment in earth-history, when the ocean waters are yet warm, there suddenly appears at a definite point within the oceanic body a small amount of a certain catalyzer or enzyme.' And further, `The original enzyme was the outcome of a chemical reaction, that is to say, it must have depended upon the collision and combination of separate atoms or molecules, and it is a fact well known among physicists and chemists that the occurrence and specific nature of such collisions can be predicted only by use of the so-called laws of chance.' ... `Consequently we are forced to say that the production of the original life enzyme was a chance event.' And again, `The striking fact that the enzymic theory of life's origin, as we have outlined it, necessitates the spontaneous production of only a single molecule of the original catalyst, renders the objection of improbability almost absurd ... and when one of these enzymes first appeared, bare of all body, in the aboriginal seas it followed as a consequence of its characteristic regulative nature that the phenomenon of life came too. ...It is the purpose of the present paper to combat the thesis of the new vitalism by showing how a single physicochemical conception may be employed in the rational explanation of the very life-phenomena which the neo-vitalists regard as inexplicable on any but mystical grounds.' Troland's ideas are the basis of the `naked gene' theory of the origin of life." (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second Edition, 1968, pp.85-86. Emphasis original) 24/12/2006 "THE Virgin Birth of Jesus has become more miraculous than ever, thanks to the advances in our understanding of what turns a fertilised egg into a baby. ... Recent research reveals that babies need the co-operation of both maternal and paternal genes to produce offspring . Remove one set, however, and the pregnancy halts or leads to an abnormal birth: women need men to reproduce, and vice versa. We inherit two copies of each gene, one from each parent, but for some genes we use the copy from only one parent. Scientists now realise that one reason for this is imprinting, a mechanism that can switch genes on and off, depending on whether they come from the mother or father. imprinting turns on certain genes in sperm but not in eggs, and vice versa. "Imprinting is a very severe block," commented one pioneer in the field, Prof Azim Surani of Cambridge. .... Among vertebrates, imprinting is exclusive to mammals such as humans and occurs when a gene is chemically modified by a process called methylation. Once methylated, the gene is silent. At least 40 genes with diverse functions during development are thought to be regulated this way. When imprinting goes awry the effects are serious. .... This same genetic division of labour almost certainly thwarts virgin births." (Highfield R., "An immaculate misconception," Daily Telegraph, 21 November 2001) 26/12/2006 "intelligent design ... Argument intended to demonstrate that living organisms were created in more or less their present forms by an `intelligent designer.' Intelligent design was formulated in the 1990s, primarily in the United States, as an explicit refutation of the Darwinian theory of biological evolution. Building on a version of the argument from design for the existence of God, proponents of intelligent design observed that the functional parts and systems of living organisms are `irreducibly complex' in the sense that none of their component parts can be removed without causing the whole system to cease functioning. From this premise they inferred that no such system could have come about through the gradual alteration of functioning precursor systems by means of random mutation and natural selection, as the standard evolutionary account maintains; therefore, living organisms must have been created all at once by an intelligent designer. Proponents of intelligent design generally avoided identifying the designer with the God of Christianity or other monotheistic religions, in part because they wished the doctrine to be taught as a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution in public schools in the United States, where the government is constitutionally prohibited from promoting religion. Critics of intelligent design argued that it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection, that it ignores the existence of precursor systems in the evolutionary history of numerous organisms, and that it is ultimately untestable and therefore not scientific." ("intelligent design." Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, 2006) 26/12/2006 "Archaeological investigation of Nazareth suggests that it was uninhabited from the eighth to the second centuries B.C. since no ceramic remains have been found from the Assyrian, Persian and early Hellenistic periods. This is consistent with two known events. One is the invasion by the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 B.C., when the people of Galilee were taken in captivity to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). Galilee became a Gentile region. Isaiah the prophet refers to this crisis: `In the past [God] humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.' Yet, Isaiah promises, `[God] will honor Galilee of the Gentiles.... The people walking in darkness / have seen a great light' (Is 9:1-2 NIV). Nazareth was resettled at the time of a second known event. During the rule of the Hasmonaean John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.), Galilee was reconquered by the Jews. In the years following, many Jews settled in Galilee, including, I suggest, the Davidic forebears of Joseph. We do not know where they lived before migrating to Nazareth. Perhaps they came from the Jewish dispersion in Mesopotamia, descendants of exiles from earlier deportations. Whatever the case, by Jesus' time the small village of Nazareth was to a significant degree composed of a Davidic clan. Jesus, along with most of the inhabitants of Nazareth, belonged to the same extended family, descended from David the king of Israel." (Barnett, P.W.*, "Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, p.92) 26/12/2006 "This may explain the much discussed statement of Matthew: `[Jesus] went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, `He shall be called a Nazarene [Nazo raios]' ` (Mt 2:23). There is no such oracle to be found in the writings of the prophets. However, attention has been drawn to Isaiah 11:1 (NIV): A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse [the father of David], from his roots a Branch [Heb netzer] will bear fruit. Is Matthew's appeal to `the prophets' a broad reference to the many Old Testament promises of a messiah descended from David, but with a particular play on the word netzer, `branch,' from Isaiah 11:1? Though the royal line was hacked down to a stump, from that stump a shoot or branch would one day spring up. Matthew may be saying of Jesus, `He shall be called that `branch' of David,' that is, his long awaited son, the Messiah of Israel. This understanding is entirely in line with Matthew's opening words, `The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David,' and with the entire Davidic tenor of the genealogy (see Mt 1:5-6, 17). The genealogy is followed by the words of an angel addressed to `Joseph, son of David' (Mt 1:20). Matthew's account, which immediately moves to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, David's birthplace, could not be more pointed. In Matthew's mind Jesus was the royal son of David, born in Bethlehem, David's ancestral home. The writer of the Apocalypse, too, is aware of Jesus as the `branch' of David in the words, `I am the root and the offspring of David' (Rev 22:16; cf. Rev 5:5). The believers in Jerusalem led by James, the brother of Jesus, were later derisively spoken of as `the sect of the Nazarenes [Natzo raeans]' (Acts 24:5). They took their name from Nazareth, the village so named as an enclave of Davidic descendants. James's people were followers of a netzer, a `branch' of David, that had its origin in Nazareth. We may surmise that the long uninhabited village, which found no mention in the Old Testament, came to take its name from the Davidides who settled there during the Maccabean era. The similarity between netzer and Nazareth is apparent. It was quite common for places to take their names from the tribe or clan who settled there, for example, Danites from Dan to the north of the Sea of Galilee. An association between Nazareth, the home of a natzoraios, a descendant of David, may be discerned in the words of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar from Jericho. When he heard that Jesus the Natzo raios was passing by, he cried out, `Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' (Mk 10:47; Lk 18:37- 38)." (Barnett, P.W.*, "Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, pp.92-93) 27/12/2006 "IT IS language, more obviously than anything else, that distinguishes man from the rest of the animal world. At one time it was common to define man as a thinking animal, but we can hardly imagine thought without words - not thought that is at all precise, anyway. More recently, man has often been described as a tool- making animal; but language itself is the most remarkable tool that man has invented, and is the one that makes all the others possible. The most primitive tools, admittedly, may have come earlier than language: the higher apes sometimes use sticks for digging, and have even been observed to break sticks for this purpose. But tools of any greater sophistication demand the kind of human co-operation and division of labour which is hardly possible without language. Language, in fact, is the great machine tool which makes human culture possible. Other animals, it is true, communicate with one another, or at any rate stimulate one another to action, by means of cries. Many birds utter warning calls at the approach of danger; same animals have mating calls; apes utter different cries expressive of anger, fear, pleasure. But these various means of communication differ in important ways from human language. Animals' cries are not articulate. This means, basically, that they lack structure. They lack, for example, the kind of structure given by the contrast between vowels and consonants. They also lack the kind of structure that enables us to divide a human utterance into words. We can change an utterance by replacing one word in it by another: a sentry can say `Tanks approaching from the north', or he can change one word and say 'Aircraft approaching from the north' or 'Tanks approaching from the west'; but a bird has a single indivisible alarm cry, which means `Danger!' This is why the number of signals that an animal can make is very limited: the Great Tit has about twenty different calls, whereas in human language the number of possible utterances is infinite. It also explains why animal cries are very general in meaning."(Barber, C.L., "The Story of Language," Pan: London, 1964, pp.8-9. Emphasis original) 27/12/2006 "The label homo sapiens was first attached to man by Linnaeus in his classification of the animal kingdom over two hundred years ago. That kingdom is now thought to include over three-quarters of a million species, but no matter how many more may yet be discovered, it is unlikely that anything will ever seriously shake our conviction that we belong to a very special class, separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the rest of the animals, a conviction no less strong today than it was in the eighteenth century. The criteria on which Linnaeus's system was built were naturally physical in character but it is in the sphere of intelligence that man's superiority is generally reckoned to lie ... man remains marked off from all the types of organism by which he is surrounded, mainly through the capacity which his brain provides for conceptualizing the world about him. Because man can think about and recall experiences which are not present in the here and now, because he can operate upon the concepts that result from these processes and can act upon his thinking, his relation with his environment is, as far as we know, unique. ... Man's particular position in organic life on earth must be attributed largely to his use of speech and language and to his capacity for both concrete and abstract thought. ... But it is of course in the life of the human community rather than in that of the individual that speech and language play their major role. We can scarcely now imagine the condition of a human group totally lacking in any possibility of talk between its members. Talk means very much more than communication, for this we can observe going on among the birds and the bees; translated into human terms this would mean no more than the passing of information about a plentiful supply of nuts or the whereabouts of the next prey, the assertion of territorial rights or warning of the approach of the tribal enemy. A universe away from such matters is the variety of exchange represented by talk among people, with its myriad planes of intellectual, emotional and factual interchange which make up the infinitely complex web of social life. Without it human existence would be unrecognizably different. Man is above everything else the talking animal - homo loquens. The overwhelming majority of human beings spend a great deal of their time talking and listening to each other. They learned to do so during the first few years of life - and without paying the process much overt attention - and in consequence the whole activity of speech communication is carried on at a level where neither speaker nor listener is very much aware of the mechanics of the business. " (Fry, D.B., "Homo Loquens: Man as a Talking Animal," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1977, pp.1-3) 27/12/2006 "I Talk, Therefore I Am Put less cryptically, this book is about how we came to be; part of the answer is that speech and language shaped the evolution of our immediate ancestors, the first modern human beings. About 150,000 years ago, `modern' human beings appeared in Africa and the Mideast. These were people who had the tongues and mouths and, most important, the brain mechanisms that allow us to produce articulate speech and express complex thoughts. The superior brains of our ancestors, not their brawn, allowed them to displace the archaic human beings, the Neanderthal and Homo erectus populations, whom they encountered as they moved across Europe and Asia and to Australia. In short, Eve and Adam and their progeny prevailed because they talked. ... Human speech in itself is a distinct human attribute. It's clear that human beings are not stronger or more adaptable than other, competing species. Horses run faster, gorillas are stronger, bacteria adapt faster to different environments. Speech, language, and thought differentiate humans from other species. ... We humans seem to have evolved a special-purpose `language- thinking system' that allows us to think in abstract terms and rapidly communicate our thoughts to other people. The evolution of this system ... entailed the restructuring of anatomy originally adapted for eating, breathing, and making a limited number of sounds and modifications to the brain ... the end result of our particular distinctive evolutionary process was a capacity for thinking that had never existed before and that has changed the world to a form that also had never existed before. ... Producing human speech likewise involves our ability to perform acrobatic maneuvers with our tongues, lips, and larynx, controlled by brain mechanisms that don't exist in any other living species. .... . The `multiregional' theory of human evolution claims that modern humans evolved locally in different places and times from resident archaic populations. ... exponents of this theory often claim that there is no real functional distinction between modern human beings and Neanderthals, and that Neanderthals spoke as we do. Being at the center of the Neanderthal speech storm, I won't be taking a neutral position; I think the evidence shows that Neanderthals were very, very different from any living human beings. The Eve hypothesis is most likely correct; we are the descendants of an Eve and an Adam, who most likely spoke and thought as we do." (Lieberman, P, "Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution," Picador: London, 1998, pp.xiii-xv. Emphasis original) 29/12/2006 Anticipation of the Virgin Birth. Genesis 3:15. Long before the New Testament recorded the virgin birth, the Old Testament anticipated it. In fact, the earliest messianic prediction in the Bible ... implies the virgin birth. Speaking to the Tempter (Serpent), `God said "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."' (Gen. 3:15). That the coming Redeemer was to be the `offspring' or `seed' of the woman is important in a patriarchal culture. Why of a woman? Normally, descendants were traced through their father (cf. Gen. 5, 11). Even the official genealogy of the Messiah in Matthew 1 is traced through Jesus' legal father Joseph. In the unique term, seed of the woman, there is implied that the messiah would come by a woman but not a natural father. Jeremiah 22 (cf: 2 Samuel 7). Another possible intimation of the virgin birth in the Old Testament is found in the curse placed on Jeconiah which said: `Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule any more in Judah' (Jer. 22:30). The problem with this prediction is that Jesus was the descendant of the throne of David through Jeconiah (cf. Matt. 1:12). However, since Joseph was only Jesus' legal father (by virtue of being engaged to Mary when she became pregnant), Jesus did not inherit the curse on Jeconiah's actual descendants. And since Jesus was the actual son of David through Mary according to Luke's matriarchal genealogy (Luke 3), he fulfilled the conditions of coming `from the loins of David' (2 Sam. 7:12-16) without losing legal rights to the throne of David by falling under the curse on Jeconiah. Thus, the virgin birth is implied in the consistent understanding of these Old Testament passages. Isaiah 7:14. Both the New Testament (Matt. 1:23) and many Christian apologists use Isaiah 7:14 as a predictive prophecy to prove the Bible ... makes specific supernatural predictions centuries in advance. " (Geisler, N.L., "Virgin Birth of Christ," in "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, pp.759-760. Emphasis original) 29/12/2006 "Much has been said concerning the `silence' of Scripture about the virgin birth outside of the passages mentioned. This silence is real, but it need not be explained by any ignorance or denial of the virgin birth by other NT writers. It is significant that even the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are `silent' about the virgin birth through fifty of their combined fifty-two chapters. The silence of the rest of the NT can be explained in essentially the same ways as one would explain the partial silence of Matthew and Luke. The NT deals chiefly with (1) Jesus' preaching, life, death, resurrection (the Gospels and to some extent the epistles); (2) the preaching and missionary work in the early church (Acts especially); (3) teaching concerning the theological and practical problems of the church (Acts, epistles); (4) assurances of the triumph of God's purposes and visions of the end times (Revelation, other NT books). The virgin birth was not part of Jesus' preaching or that of the early church. It was not a controversial matter such as might have been addressed in the epistles ... The main function of the virgin birth in the NT, to show the fulfillment of prophecy and to describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth, is appropriate only to birth narratives, and only two birth narratives have been preserved in the canon. We must also assume that the early church maintained a certain reserve about public discussion of these matters out of respect for the privacy of Jesus' family, especially Mary. ... Belief in the virgin birth is widely attested in literature from the second century. Ignatius defended the doctrine strongly against the docetists, who held that Jesus only `appeared' to have become man. Some have thought that Ignatius shows acquaintance with a tradition independent of the Gospels affirming the virgin birth. The virgin birth was denied only by Gnostic docetists and by Ebionites, who held Jesus to be a mere human prophet. The silence of some church fathers, like the silence of Scripture, has been cited as evidence of a tradition contrary to this doctrine, but there is no clear evidence of any such things, and the argument from silence can easily be countered as above." (Frame, J.M., "Virgin Birth of Jesus," in Elwell, W.A., ed., "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, Seventh Printing, pp.1144-1145) 29/12/2006 "In fact genetic considerations may with caution be used to show that the incarnation necessitated the virgin birth. If a child had first been conceived through the act of Joseph and Mary, there would have been a potential and complete man from the beginning. God could not then become this man, but would either have to attach himself in some way as an extra (Nestorianism), or be content to fill him spiritually as the Holy Spirit filled holy men of old. Neither of these concepts fits the biblical picture. It is since the rejection of the incarnation and of the virgin birth that all sorts of new theories have emerged as to how Jesus Christ was God. We now know that the female ovum contains half the forty-six chromosomes that are in every other cell of the human body. The male sex cell adds the other twenty-three, and immediately the two cells, now one, begin to divide, and build up a complete body, mind and spirit. If without irreverence we ask how the ultimate mystery of the incarnation can be linked to the physical, it would seem that, in order that the Second Person of Trinity might become man, the Holy Spirit fashioned the necessary genes and chromosomes that could be the vehicle of Christ's person in uniting with those in the body of the virgin. We can begin to see how the Christian definitions rightly describe him as one person, since he was conceived by the union of cells by which a single person is produced, and of two natures, since the cell which united with the human ovum was of divine, and not human, origin." (Wright, J.S., "Virgin Birth," in Douglas J.D., et al., eds., "New Bible Dictionary," , Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, Second Edition, 1982, Reprinted, 1988, p.1238. Emphasis original) 29/12/2006 "Matthew 1:1-16 gives the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph, who was himself a descendant of King David. As Joseph's adopted Son, Jesus became his legal heir, so far as his inheritance was concerned. Notice carefully the wording of' v.16: `And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ' (NASB). This stands in contrast to the format followed in the preceding verses of the succession of Joseph's ancestors: `Abraham begat [egennesen] Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, etc.' Joseph is not said to have begotten Jesus; rather he is referred to as `the husband of Mary, of whom [feminine genitive] Jesus was born.' Luke 3:23-38, on the other hand, seems to record the genealogical line of Mary herself, carried all the way back beyond the time of Abraham to Adam and the commencement of the human race. This seems to be implied by the wording of v.23: `Jesus ... being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.' This `as was supposed' indicates that Jesus was not really the biological son of Joseph, even though this was commonly assumed by the public. It further calls attention to the mother, Mary, who must of necessity have been the sole human parent through whom Jesus could have descended from a line of ancestors. Her genealogy is thereupon listed, starting with Heli, who was actually Joseph's father-in-law, in contradistinction to Joseph's own father, Jacob (Matt. 1:16). Mary's line of descent came through Nathan, a son of Bathsheba (or `Bathshua,' according to 1 Chron. 3:5), the wife of David. Therefore, Jesus was descended from David naturally through Nathan and legally through Solomon." (Archer, G.L., "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1982, p.316) 30/12/2006 "In recent years there has been a spate of speculation about the possible origin of living matter from nonliving. Many ingenious and not unreasonable hypotheses have been proposed to explain how the proteins and amino-acids, which are the main building blocks of living organisms, might have been formed on earth during its early history when water was condensing to make rivers and oceans, and when we might suppose that here and there rich solutions and suspensions of a variety of chemicals might have enabled interaction with sunlight to set in train, by lucky accident, the first steps leading to the birth of life. Many of these suggestions are plausible and indeed attractive; but even supposing them to be true, the `life' that we can conceive of as being formed in this way could, it seems, have been only something of the general type which we can loosely call viruses. Now, important though this could have been, it is of limited help in envisaging the origin of life as we now know it. The `life' which might have been formed in this so-called `primeval soup' has yet to be linked to life which reduplicates itself, leaving offspring to carry on the race. The crux of the whole problem, as we understand it, is to envisage the origin of the cell; for all the life which we now study, from bacteria to man, is cellular in almost all its stages. As we have already seen, the cell is a chemical `laboratory' of immense complexity. The cell itself could not possibly function without the cell membranes which contain and selectively isolate the working parts of this laboratory. Biologists have long hoped to find a really `primitive' cell illustrative of the stages between the supposed primitive acellular life and life as we know it now. But there seems little doubt today that there are no primitive cells living on the earth. All the cells that we know are of fantastic complexity. I believe that no biologist or physicist has yet been able to propose even the outlines of a theory as to how such a cell might have been `evolved'. Monod himself sees that the evolution of even the simplest cell `presents herculean problems' [Monod, J., "Chance and Necessity," Penguin: London, 1997, p.143]. " (Thorpe, W. H., "Purpose in a World of Chance: A Biologist's View," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1978, p.20) 30/12/2006 "Here in Kansas, where the fight has raged for six years, the evolution forces won a round this year when a 26-member science standards committee refused to open the teaching of evolution to contrary views, which the majority considered unscientific. Steve Abrams, leader of the state board's conservative majority, then said the board intended to change the standards anyway, as the law allows. He scheduled four days of courtroom-style hearings that will be boycotted by Kansas scientists, along with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general science organization and publisher of the journal Science. The AAAS said the hearings `will most likely serve to confuse the public.' Scientists tested several arguments at an April 21 meeting in Lawrence, playing off the state decision to spend at least $500 million to develop the bioscience industry. They predicted that a change in the curriculum would cripple state firms in the exceedingly competitive bioscience field, holding back the Kansas economy. Paleontologist Leonard Krishtalka called intelligent design `nothing more than creationism in a cheap tuxedo.' He said the adoption of new standards would hurt the University of Kansas's ability to recruit faculty and students. `There's a great deal of hesitancy. They don't see this as a nurturing academic environment for themselves or their kids,' said Krishtalka, director of the university's Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center. `It is ridiculous to backtrack to the 1700s and subvert our education to superstition and religion.'" (Slevin, P., "Teachers, Scientists Vow to Fight Challenge to Evolution," Washington Post , May 5, 2005, p.A03) 31/12/2006 "My colleague the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey used the `sticks and stones' proverb in introducing his Amnesty Lecture in Oxford in 1997. [Humphrey, N., "What Shall We Tell The Children?," Amnesty Lecture, Oxford, 21st February 1997. ] Humphrey began his lecture by arguing that the proverb is not always true, citing the case of Haitian Voodoo believers who die, apparently from some psychosomatic effect of terror, within days of having a malign `spell' cast upon them. He then asked whether Amnesty International, the beneficiary of the lecture series to which he was contributing, should campaign against hurtful or damaging speeches or publications. His answer was a resounding no to such censorship in general: `Freedom of speech is too precious a freedom to be meddled with.' But he then went on to shock his liberal self by advocating one important exception: to argue in favour of censorship for the special case of children ... `... moral and religious education, and especially the education a child receives at home, where parents are allowed - even expected - to determine for their children what counts as truth and falsehood, right and wrong. Children, I'll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people's bad ideas - no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no God-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children's knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.' In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense, and we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children's teeth out or lock them in a dungeon." (Dawkins, R., "The God Delusion," Bantam Press: London, 2006, pp.325-326)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
Copyright © 2006-2010, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. These my quotes may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be used in a
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Created: 30 March, 2006. Updated: 10 April, 2010.