Note: since I've setup this withknown.com blog, I am going to be posting some of the best Facebook posts I've made over time. Originally posted 9/16/2014 on my Facebook page.
A friend of mine posted about this facebook page:
I took offense about the sentence: “If you want to deny
evolution and live in a world that is completely inconsistent with everything
we observe in the universe”… and also included the request for “critical
thinking and skepticism”.
I agree, we've observed micro-evolution (evolution within a
species). Pray tell me, where is the
proof that anyone has observed macro-evolution (evolution to a totally new
species from a prior species or from non-living entities).
Dr. Michael Behe, Ph.D., a micro-biologist and author of two
challenging books, such as Darwin's Black Box, agrees that it's a given there
is micro-evolution going on. But I don't
see the proof for macro-evolution, only the theory for macro-evolution. Interesting, the subtitle above is
"critical thinking and skepticism".
Seems to me much of that is lacking among those who advocate
macro-evolution. Don't tell me that it's
either religion or acceptance of macro-evolution. There are interesting hypotheses for
something else. The Greg Bear novels
Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children explore a fascinating middle-ground (one
compatible with Evolution and Intelligent Design). I.D. does not require or pre-suppose God,
contrary to what many critics believe (who have not read I.D. books). Great reads and much fun too.
Some links for the above:
This web page explains why interest in Intelligent Design
does not require one to believe there is a God behind that design.
Recently a major scientific conference was held on the
challenges discovered by scientists who embrace orthodox evolutionary
ideas. While the book is about $150, a
free 50 page synopses of the presentations are available here:
The Kindle format of the above is here but costs $7:
The bios of the authors and info about their papers is here:
The full book costing $91 used and 584 pages long is here:
The bios continue for 2 pages. I like this part of an abstract by Dr. Bruce
Weber: "The current Darwinian research program is the genetical theory of
natural selection, or the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. Presently, however,
there is ferment in the Darwinian Research Tradition as new knowledge from
molecular and developmental biology, together with the deployment of complex
systems dynamics, suggests that an expanded and extended evolutionary synthesis
is possible, one that could be particularly robust in explaining the emergence
of evolutionary novelties and even of life itself. Critics of Darwinism need to
address such theoretical advances and not just respond to earlier versions of
the research tradition."
I also like this paragraph by one of the editors of the
above book, Dr. J.C. Sanford (page 35 of the synopses download): "Many
scientists who are committed to the standard neo-Darwinian model of life may
find these proceedings disturbing – which is unfortunate. I do not think any of
the contributing authors to the proceedings had any intention to offend anyone.
It is just that it is increasingly clear that the long-reigning neo-Darwinian
paradigm is collapsing – and despite many efforts to deny what is obvious –
clearly “the emperor has no clothes.” The extremely sophisticated hardware and
software systems that enable life simply cannot be built by any trial and error
system. In particular – it is very clear that software can never be developed one
binary bit at a time. Apart from a fully functional pre-existing
hardware/software system, a single bit has absolutely no meaning. I feel that
if we are to preserve our scientific integrity, we must acknowledge that we
have a major explanatory problem, and we need to go back to the drawing board
in terms of understanding the origin of biological information."
Some of the authors in the above book-- their works, are
introduced in the 3 DVD collection:
The Intelligent Design Collection - Darwin's Dilemma, The
Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life
In the book reviews at Amazon for the kindle version of the
synopsis book, is this review by one of the attendees of the conference, Bruce
Malone, who writes: “The most common chemical in biological systems are
proteins and these proteins are made only via coding contained within the DNA
structure. Yet to get the information off of DNA requires a specially designed
protein structure needed to "unzip" the DNA, remove the information,
and encode the required protein. Yet the protein needed to unzip the DNA can
only be made once the DNA is unzipped by the protein. A classic chicken/egg
(which came first) conundrum… everything had to be there at once scenario!”
Malone continues: “We now know that the same overlapping
parts of the DNA code are read and used to make multiple different protein
structures. An excellent analogy would be a book written in English which could
also be read and make perfect sense in French, German, Spanish, and Italian all
at the same time using the same linear sequence of letters. Now imagine randomly
changing the letters without destroying the book’s meaning in ANY of the
languages. As we really start to comprehend the information content of DNA and
cellular structures, it becomes absolutely obvious that the belief in evolution
is the belief in the impossible and the mechanisms of evolution cannot possibly
explain the complex information content of living systems.”
After posting the above, someone asked me to elaborate in my
own words what my own thoughts are, as the poster did not want to follow all of
the links above and still not know what I personally believe. I replied:
I am a prodigious reader for most of my life.
I use Feedly Pro to follow about 300 sources a day in only about 1/2
hour reading time. I only post the most
interesting things that catch my eye. I
have many web followers who enjoy the editorial eye I have. From my repostings one can typically guess at
my world view.
Regarding the debate between traditional Darwinian
explanations and the arguments made by Intelligent Design scientists, I think
the merits fall on the side of the I.D. scientists. The conventional scientists result to smear
tactics rather than face their arguments head on. I find that when smear jobs are resorted to,
that means that intelligent recourse is not readily at hand. Do I believe in God and an afterlife. My response is that like St. Thomas Aquinas,
I believe in a God who is not a puppet master.
He/She/Whatever gave the universe free agency which means when it comes
to sentient beings, they have free will.
But with free agency, "shXX happens".
The classic definition of God (from memory, not from quotes)
is a source of power who has no cause or source and whose power is (simplified)
incredible. I refuse to use the word
"perfect" as I consider that term anthropomorphic. My dad was a mathematician by education and
he reminded me that you can have an infinite straight line, but 2 infinite
straight lines are twice that infinity.
He considered God to be of infinite dimensionality but that does not
mean perfection, because an infinite line does not mean 2 infinite lines. Meaning that even with infinity growth or
expansion is possible.
Maybe our reality is like Voltaire feared. An old joke.
What is the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. An optimist says we live in the best of all
possible worlds. A pessimist is afraid
the optimist is correct. Well, perhaps
the Universe could be no different than it is now if it was to have Free
Agency. Maybe this is the best of all
possible worlds. Who are we to
I feel the prime ethical mandate is to be a good sport. Deal with the cards dealt you, make the most
of them, and be a good sport. I
certainly believe in a here-after. The
evidence, if one investigates near-death and after-death experiences makes it
far more difficult to explain what is found via any other explanation than that
there is an afterlife.
The international society for near death studies have spent
decades studying this from a scientific methodological viewpoint. Most fascinating. Most compelling are cases where new knowledge
is gained via a near-death experience that is impossible to have obtained via
any other way than that the experience truly involved high dimensional
realms. I find the evidence of
Christianity so compelling that I can strongly attest that I am a believing
Catholic and believe that among all humans who have walked this Earth that
Jesus demonstrated the closest attunement to the highest dimensions.
Do I think that any written document conveys absolute
persistent truth understandable to all times and all cultures. No, I believe the revelations of higher
dimensions conveyed through written words diminish the incredibleness of such
higher dimensions. They're at most
"most suitable" expressions for the audiences existing at the time of
publication but still suitable for future generations.
I believe that life is stranger than fiction. I believe that anyone who thinks we're the
result of thrown dice that appeared out of nowhere themselves is the thinking
of extreme simplicity but not that of real truth or anywhere approaching real
I think Ben Franklin was most wise when he responded to a
peer that he did not intellectually agree with what was taught in church but
felt that there is no better way to raise children (and society hence) than to
believe in God and judgement that follows an evil life. I believe that much of human evil is caused
by humans who do not believe in God and a judgement that follows an evil
life. I believe that being faithful
means living a good and honorable life and to play the role of God and harm
others (aside from cases of self defense) is evil too, as it is extreme
presumption, so I highly disagree with those whose religion have them kill
those who disagree with their beliefs.
Some good things to read going into the above in more detail
is Dinesh D'souza's book, http://www.amazon.com/Godforsaken-Things-Happen-there-proof/dp/1414324855/
If you see that I post too much, that means you are reading
all of your daily feeds. I don't read
all of my daily feeds. I scan the titles
and read the abstracts of those titles that catch my eye, then click on the web
page of those abstracts I find interesting that are super interesting. You can click "unfollow" under my
page, and follow my postings via perhaps a once a week visit to my page.
But I confess, I am addicted to following what is most
interesting in life. It's probably one
of the reasons I walk away from everything and hike for a month-straight each
year. One can only take so much
intellectual activity. One has to
balance it with physical activity which I do via 3 gym visits a week (2 hours
apiece), and 2-4 daily hikes a week
(after work) and a month-long hike each year.
I also love intelligent debates. What is great about Intelligent Design is how
their arguments and observations shake the foundation of conventional thought
which to me is full of simplistic hypotheses.
To me, my idea of the Universe can accept an incredibly strange form of
evolution that has embedded in it an "intelligent design" process
that can account for spawned-off totally new species (such as shown in the
novel, Darwin's Child). But I'm also
open to a universe that has alternative intelligent design explanations.
But to seriously consider that randomness operating with
nothing as input can cause everything as output. Randomness presupposes a set of entities that
are random, but what is the cause of those entities? The idea that everything randomly evolves
from nothing via random chance and survival of the fittest explains everything
-- to me that is naiveness supreme.