This podcast is extremely misleading and incredibly uninformed. Your understanding of evolution, the facts underlying it, and the recent state of research are completely lacking.
For anyone seeking an accurate account of research and evidence for the facts underlying evolutionary theory I urge you to do your own research. Do not let the misinterpretations and logical errors found in this podcast be your only guide.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to listen to the podcast and comment on it. I genuinely do appreciate that.
I do have a few questions for you, however, based on your comment.
First, what sorts of logical errors have I made in the podcast? I’m guessing that you’re not too familiar with logic, since there are basically 3 laws of logic: the law of non-contradiction, the law of identity, and the law of the excluded middle. Something is only a logical error if it violates one or more of these laws. Would you care to tell me which of the three I have violated?
Secondly, I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t directly refute any of my reasons for rejecting evolution. Would you please explain for me how my understanding of the PreCambrian Explosion is faulty? Or maybe you could give me just one scientifically documented instance in which an increase in genetic information has been observed?
If you can refute each of these reasons for rejecting evolution, I’ll be happy to swallow my pride and do a podcast on why I was wrong on each point. You encourage people to do their own research…well, that’s exactly what I did, and that’s how I arrived at the conclusions I’ve come to regarding evolution. Of course, I am still studying and coming up with even more reasons to reject evolution- such as the fact that man, despite his intelligence and technological/medical/scientific advancements, has yet to create life from nothing, yet we’re supposed to believe that NONintelligence (i.e. chance) caused our existence…
Further, I will publicly challenge you to refute my proof for God’s existence from the Romans 1:18-20 part 3 podcast. If you can sufficiently refute it, I’ll be happy to Paypal $10 to you. It’s been presented to hundreds of atheists, none of whom have been able to refute it. Can you? I think that if you try, you’ll discover that it takes more faith to be an atheist than it takes to be a theist.
Thanks again for listening. I hold no ill will toward you or anything…I simply enjoy a good, intellectual conversation.
Couldn’t help but notice that it’s been a couple days since I responded to you, but we haven’t heard anything back from you.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is dying of curiosity here…
Eagerly awaiting your evidence against my reasons for dismissing evolution as a viable option,
I sent Sam yet another followup email, since it’s been a while since we’ve heard from him.
I had emailed you last week regarding the comment that you left for the “Evolution: 5 Reasons I Reject It” podcast. However, I haven’t heard back from you. Do you have irrefutable evidence against these five points?
You can go to the page of the podcast where I’ve left some messages for you and we can discuss this in that forum. I have nothing to hide, and thus feel that this matter is probably best discussed publicly, since that’s where you originally posted your thoughts.
Anyway, I’m eager to hear back from you.
Best wishes and blessings,
I hope you had a good Labor Day weekend. I had hoped to respond to you sooner but last week was especially hectic for me. First of all, I’m sorry if my first comment was less than civil. I meant nothing by my comments other than to encourage your listeners to explore scientific sources for their information on the theory of evolution.
I am far from an expert on the specifics of current evolutionary theory, so please do not take any of this as the word of an expert. However, even with the limited amount of knowledge I possess on the subject it is clear that the evidence is overwhelming in support for the theory. As I understand your reasons I have quickly listed the scientific responses.
1. Punctuated equilibrium – anticipated by Darwin and fleshed out by Niles Eldredge and Steven Jay Gould, suggests that evolution proceeds in fits and bursts. I suggest reading their original work, which can be viewed at this link (http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ridley/classictexts/eldredge.pdf). (Also, as an aside, Gould was a major proponent of “nonoverlapping magisterial,” where religion and science could not conflict because they had nothing to do with each other.)
2. The “something” you refer to as coming from “nothing” is a value judgment and cannot be addressed in any objective way. Intelligence and life did not come from nowhere, and evolution does not state this. The “potential” you refer to comes from the infinite combinations of DNA and billions of years of selective pressures. And a “brainless primordial soup” could have immense amounts of potential, given the right environmental pressures, the right molecular makeup, and enough time.
3. Increases in genetic material are observed all the time. Insertion is a common error that occurs in genetic replication. Also, viral insertion of genetic material happens all the time as well. Given enough time this could easily produce different numbers of chromosomes. In addition, DNA is more complex that we currently know. I believe there is evidence indicating that the way in which DNA folds and twists allows for more information to be stored in a smaller number of chromosomes. So more genetic material does not necessarily equal more information, the arrangement of this material is equally necessary.
4. Irreducible complexity has been soundly refuted as a complete logical error and I address that below.
5. I don’t think I understand this reason. It seems to me that you believe science and religion cannot be reconciled despite many people’s belief that they can. I don’t see how this is a reason to reject scientific facts.
While that is a quick response based on my limited understanding of the evolutionary literature, I also noticed that there was an undercurrent of misunderstanding in your reasons that add up to severe logical problems.
Your first reason for denying evolution involves the logical fallacy generally referred to as a “straw man.” In essence, this is setting up a fallacious claim about an opponent and proceeding to tear this down. In this specific case, your first critique is based on the assumption that evolutionary theory predicts a smooth process that is perfectly recorded through the fossil record. Evolutionary theory does not make this claim. Also, it is a common misunderstanding to simplify the evolutionary process to simple chance, like flipping a coin. However, there are many more forces at work in the evolutionary process. To make your analogies of the tornado or the clothes dryer more accurate you would have to change two things: 1) introduce other factors into both (heat, water, availability of other resources, competition with other computer pieces, etc. 2) remove the idea that there is a goal in mind. It is clear that a dryer couldn’t assemble a computer on the first try, but given billions of years, unrelenting pressures from nature, and a little chance, it could spit out something else that has another use.
From a logical standpoint irreducible complexity is just as problematic. Behe’s argument falls prey to a special case of the argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance, specifically “God of the Gaps”) which claims that an argument is false simply because one does not know or cannot imagine how it could be true. In this case, god is invoked to fill in gaps in scientific knowledge. There are two huge problems with this. 1) These gaps are getting smaller and smaller every day. 2) Invoking god is no different from invoking other gods or supernatural forces. One could use Behe’s logic to argue the gods of Olympus, the Norse gods, or the gods of Native Americans are responsible for the neck of a giraffe. If Behe was a Buddhist I’m sure his creator would have been different, but his argument would be the same.
Several times in your podcast you state that the reason individuals teach, believe, or argue for evolution is purely ideological. This is a mundane form of an ad hominem attack: the idea that discrediting the speaker will discredit his evidence. Unfortunately, this is not the way science works. The validity of any scientific finding is independent of an individual’s personal attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. If a scientist discovers a cure for cancer and then commits murder, the science behind the cure does not change.
Finally, it appears to me that it is our “human nature” to seek an understanding with the world around us. When we cannot, we must fill in the gaps in our knowledge with something, even if it is supernatural. This worked for humans as a species for thousands of years. And even the drawbacks (human sacrifice, persecution based on superstition, mistreatment of the mentally ill) were apparently not enough to outweigh any benefits. One problem with this facet of human nature is that once we have an objective finding that calls into question cherished supernatural beliefs; there are those who cannot let these beliefs go in the face of overwhelming evidence.
In response to your $10 Paypal challenge, it sounds like the serious flaw in your argument still comes back to “we know God exists because the Bible says so.” Many times in your argument the statement “we know God to be eternal and timeless” (or something to that effect) is used without qualification. However, I do not know this and would have no concept of this if I was not familiar with the bible. Relying on this as an argument adds a level of circularity to your argument and certainly relies on the bible as the ultimate authority. I know that many people believe these to be the characteristics of god, but this was not always so and this belief is inherently linked to the bible. I saw a couple other problems but I’ve probably written enough. I do not want to change your mind about the existence of god and I doubt that I could do so. It has been my experience that belief is more dependent on emotions than on rational arguments.
I enjoy these kinds of discussions immensely. Even if we cannot agree on evolution I would love to get your take on the separation of church and state in the United States. I am currently working on a paper on this topic and would like to get your take on the issue. Have you done a podcast on this topic? Or would you like to share your thoughts with me?
Thank you once again for this discussion and I hope to hear from you soon.
My Labor Day weekend was wonderful. I spent it at the beach…what could possibly be more relaxing than that? I hope yours was peaceful and restful as well.
In response to your counterpoints…
1. This is still a theory with no scientific evidence to support it. While it might seem more plausible than the theory that everything is constantly evolving gradually, it still does not answer the question as to how the offspring of a species would have more information/complexity than its parents. The potential of an effect has never been scientifically observed to have more potential than its cause. Otherwise, where would that difference come from? It would come from nothing, and thus it would be accurate to say that something DOES come from nothing. Yet we can know empirically that nothing comes from nothing.
2. If all it needs is the right environmental pressures, the right molecular makeup, and time…well, it had an infinite amount of time for that to happen, so any potential for that to have happened should have come to pass an infinite amount of time ago. So why only now, AFTER an infinite amount of time has elapsed, has everything come into existence? I don’t see how it’s possible for your theory to adequately respond to this.
3. Please give me one example in which mankind has scientifically observed an increase in genetic information.
4. You’ve got a few different problems with your argument. First of all, the fact that it could have been “any god” is irrelevant. Even if there were 50 gods or 5 million gods, science cannot explain the evolution of a mousetrap. Darwin realized that the complexity of the eye rendered his own theory doubtful, and science still has no explanation for how a multitude of necessary parts (of a giraffe, eyeball, or anything with irreducible complexity) which have no secondary function would all develop simultaneously to create something.
Secondly, I never said that a dryer would assemble the computer on its first try. Ah, is that a straw man argument I caught you in? 😉 But seriously…do you really believe that if the computer parts were put in a dryer for an indefinite amount of time that the pieces of the computer would eventually assemble into a working computer?
5. I don’t use the Bible as evidence for God’s existence. I think that God’s existence is revealed in nature. Only God’s PLAN is revealed in the Bible; but the Bible itself presupposes God’s existence, and thus I don’t view it as a means of proving His existence. The $10 challenge is to give a logical explanation for why we exist now, rather than an infinite amount of time into the past. I don’t know if you didn’t understand my argument, or perhaps you didn’t read through it, but I didn’t invoke Scripture into my argument a single time.
I actually have indeed done a podcast on the separation of church and State. It can be found here. Or if that doesn’t work, the link is http://biblestudypodcasts.org/index.php/archives/159.
I appreciate your response, as well as the time you took to listen to the podcast and write… and I look forward to hearing from you again.
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