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Continuing Conversations: Evolution and Intelligent Design

Evolution and Intelligent Design:

The Conversation Continues ...


From an earlier venue (September, 2005 - October, 2007)

Welcome to the on line forum for discussion of matters arising from and related to Intelligent Design and the Story of Evolution: No Need for Drawing Lines in the Sand. Like all Serendip forums, this is a place for informal conversation, for leaving thoughts of your own that you think might be helpful to other people and for finding thoughts of other people that might be helpful to your own thinking. Its not a place for final answers but rather a place for thoughts in progress, for letting ideas interact with one another to see what new perspectives and understandings might emerge. So join in, and let's see what sense we can make of the continuing contrast between evolutionary and intelligent design perspectives. Individually, and collectively?

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Your thoughts are welcome in the public on-line forum area below. Join in, and lets see what new ways of thinking about evolution and intelligent design we can create together. Postings will be reviewed to avoid spam, and so may be delayed in appearing.


Greg Stokley's picture

ID ingnorance

I have yet to see an ID advocate who has ever read and understood college textbooks on paleontology and archeology and biology regarding biological evolution. Their arguments are from total ignorance.

Butterworthd's picture

Subspace; tying Genesis to modern physics

I have a developed a different model of an elementary particle than the current quark particle model. This model is using spinning subspaces. I am giving away downloads of the two books I developed describing this model at . Subspaces are concentrated spaces that are larger on the inside than they are on the outside. Our space exists between and because of these subspaces. Gravity, ElectricMagnetic interactions exists through the subspaces. But there’s more. Life actually exists within the subspace. The awareness has to do with infinite speed light traveling an infinite distance within the subspace. We can't see this from our flatten view of space. We only see the speed of light.
There is more within these books. The ordering that is contained within our bodies is explained here. And if you want to see a case for life after death, that’s here too.
See how the 7 days of Genesis is an exact description on how the universe exists. See something entirely different. Write to me at

Robert Lockett's picture

Condemning God

I ask to discuss a tangent of the ID debate.

Like myself, most design advocates (but not all) believe in the Biblical God to one degree or another. I am of the more literal variety.

Somewhat recently, I was challenged by a very honest individual on a legitimate point surrounding the God of the Bible. He more or less said that he was disgusted at the conception of a God who would condemn us for the way He made us.

After some reflection I did respond to the person, but I wanted to see what others here think about the matter.

And please, call it like you see it. I am not going to deny God's responsibility at the heart of the issue or employ mystical theological maneuvering to make it go away.

What say you?

Serendip Visitor's picture

My point of view

Hello , i'm french so please forgive my english , but i find this forum and it's very interesting !.
So i want to reply about this sentence : "He more or less said that he was disgusted at the conception of a God who would condemn us for the way He made us" .

God made us with free will. god wants us to love him because he is god , our father not by forcing us.

So the real point is about the free will : God condemn our mistakes and bad choices not the way he made us.

Real love can't be forced, we would be like robots if god had not given us free will. So, because we have free will we can do very bad things, very terrible choices, acting like monsters too.

So, god condemns sins , and the basement of the sin is to choose to live without god. But if you are honest, you can't just take a part of the bible, you have to take all the bible so you can read that the forgiveness about sins is given by god in his son : Jesus Christ at the cross. read Isaiah chapter 53 and John chapter 3 verse 16.

What say you?

PS: how can i register to that forum and make some bold letters and html stuff ?

Sandor Szabados's picture

God also gave human beings

God also gave human beings 'free will', the ability to independently choose one's beliefs and actions. As a consequence, each of us is responsible for what we think and do and not God.

Rob Lockett's picture

For the record, my response

For the record, my response to the man was, "so are you saying that a 'real God' would take responsibility for the way he made you?

And that is the point... The man said He had a problem with a God who would condemn us for the way He had made us. But that is precisely not the kind of God Jesus is. He carries that cross for us.

Anonymous's picture

free will

So then, it follows that we have the individual freedom to let God take responsibility for us as he offers in the cross, or carry that cross ourselves. I do not deny that...

Is it not ultimately a matter of making a choice as to who God is?

It is interesting that according to the book of Genesis, when man sinned in the garden, it was the sin of wanting to be God. Afterall, when satan tempted the woman, the man was right there with her. And the temptation satan offered was, "for God knows on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God..."

Unfortunately man has never been able to bear the burden of godhood. Our attempts to control too much are our pride and our failure.

Yes we had a choice. God offers to undo that choice and be God again. That is, if we let Him. And it is an individual choice.

It is not that He is responsible for our sin. That was not the point. He has a choice too, and He chose to take responsibility for it. Responsibility does not require guilt. I can take responsibility for my children though I myself am not guilty.

Love on the other hand does require responsibility. Letting others take the responsibility means laying down our own pride.

 Zarko's picture

I think that the main

I think that the main problem is that the official science has gone beyond it's defined scope, toward the interpretation. Now when mainstreem scientists have gone too far, it is hard to abandon the red zone and say: "Sorry! Maybe, we were wrong in our interpretation. Maybe, there is an intelligent designer."
So the problem lays in the hearts of the mainstreem scientists. In this situation their reputation is at stake. They are not willing to jeoperdize that, even if that means not giving the chance to the real truth to come up from the scientific facts.
So, dear scientists, please, tell us what you see. Leave the interpretation to us.

Butterworth's picture

It's all life down to the subatomic particles

I am actually thinking that light is a form of life. Our definition of life is with the cells, animal and plant. I think it actually goes beyond this. How the cells react is life, how the chemicals react. I think the oxygen carbon-dioxide exchange between animals and plants is life. It may even be that the world as a whole is alive.

Robert Lockett's picture

Butterworth writes: "I am

Butterworth writes: "I am actually thinking that light is a form of life. Our definition of life is with the cells, animal and plant. I think it actually goes beyond this. How the cells react is life, how the chemicals react. I think the oxygen carbon-dioxide exchange between animals and plants is life. It may even be that the world as a whole is alive".

Though I do not understand all of the ins and outs of these things, I agree in principle. But these are matters of belief and intuition which I personally think are quite valid if in coherent combination with other disciplines.

This light, or life, should be who we are coming to know. Though in hindsight, this life may actually be finding and calling us.

Is that the way? I think it is...

Even if you can't believe it, consider the profundity of what is being claimed below. This is an astonishing claim.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 14:4 You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." 9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

As for the creation being alive... maybe in a sense of the term.

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Butterworth's picture

Distributive Intelligence

I would like to recommend a whole new direction to the Evolution and Intelligent Design debate. This is the concept of distributive intelligence. This is an update to Darwin's Theory based upon Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
It's based upon two details:
1) Time is in the forth dimension (Relativity)
2) Objects are blended together (Quantum Mechanics) and have a reality within.
So instead of life being randomly affected by outside forces (current theory) life can actually see what's coming down the time axis and can prepare for it. Life can even learn from it's mistakes. There is a design here but it came from the life.

Robert Lockett's picture

"So instead of life being

"So instead of life being randomly affected by outside forces (current theory) life can actually see what's coming down the time axis and can prepare for it. Life can even learn from it's mistakes. There is a design here but it came from the life."

After life evolved presumably?

Robert Lockett's picture

I encourage everyone to see

I encourage everyone to see the movie Expelled, if for no other reason, to understand the opposition.

A clip from the movie... Dawkins interview with Ben Stein is very revealing:

Richard Dawkins has indicated a willingness (after enormous intellectual pressure no doubt) to accept the rationality of arguing for a deistic God. Anthony Flew once took the logical step and evolution in thinking himself, in light of the overwhelming emperical evidence. ... ving.thtml

Food for thought...

Robert Lockett's picture

Questions for 'The office

Questions for 'The office alien':

So proof of a 'particular kind of alien life' would confirm truth to at least some tremendous degree otherwise left to speculation? And would simultaneously debunk cetain interpretations of reality as a whole?

Would such an alien be crucified as it were if He dared to reveal Himself and threaten the ambitions of humanity?

The office alien's picture

extra terrestrials

Quoting John

"Would proof of the existence of other worldly beings support intelligent design? It would diminish religion in some ways however it would support religion in other ways. The bible talks about "angels" in the sky and other references to aliens beings."

Im not sure that it would be promoting religion if aliens were to be proven. In fact, some religions around the world could possibly cease to exist overnight, with even the most stout of supporters having no choice but to 'let go'.

Leonid Ge's picture

Human-made things were created by Evolution, not Design.

Of course, it is impossible to trace how living things were created and to prove if it was by Darwinian evolution or not.

But it is very easy to trace how human-made things are created! And it really strikes me that nowhere in the Internet I see such a tracing! And if one just carefully inspects how one or other complex human-made thing appeared in our world, he (or she) will understand, that no complex artificial thing was created by Intelligent Design.

How was watch created? By a long series of changes and improvements. Could an intelligent person like Aristotle create a mechanical watch? No! Could Leonardo da Vinchi create Boing 747 or Windowx Vista? No! And not because he was not intelligent enough.

When we create something, we need it to be good. Even God did it like that: he checked if what he has created is good or not. But who defines if a newly created thing is good or not? A world, an environment where this thing is going to exist (or just die after its birth).

Design is a way of creating things 'in mind' (or on paper) without actually creating them. It is the way that only humans can use to create things. When we design something, we try to predict if this 'something' will be bad or good, i.e. if it will get a high or a low score by the environment.

But as more complex thing you create, as more unpredictable the environment score will be.

So what we actually can design is a (small) change to already existing things, i.e. things that we know highly-scored by the environment.

You may never create something that never existed and not similar to something and no one has idea of it.

A watch or an airplane or a spaceship could never be created by a single human or by a group of humans 'from scratch', i.e. without having something that was before. A watch was invented by Peter Henlein from Nuremberg about the year 1500. Before that tower clocks driven by weights existed and also small mechanisms driven by mainsprings existed. Peter Henlein connected the two notions: weight-driven clock and mainspring-driven mechanism and created a watch. But could he do it without well knowing what a tower-clock is and what a mechanism is? Of course not!

Could 1,000,000 programmers close themselves for 10 years and create an operating system like Windows Vista? Of course not! It had to pass all the small steps of constant changes and exposure to the market, which would score the changes. And lots of other programs would have to concur for the market.

So, maybe the living organisms on earth were not created by the Genetic Evolution, but all artificial complex things on earth did appear by Evolution.

And any complex thing may appear only as a result of Evolution, which is a trial-and-error, step-by-step changes and after each change a scoring by the environment should be done.

If a thing can be designed, it means that this thing is simple.

Rob Lockett's picture


John, wouldn't it all depends upon what we mean when we say 'alien', and 'other worlds'? And without predefining 'how alien' the aliens are, ID is all about alien intervention as the scientific explanation for origins.

'If' another world, in the sense you mean was found, then it would really complicate matters. But the only credible and mysterious figure in history who claimed to be, 'Not of this world' was Jesus.

If you want to look at that angle, you can read more about my opinions by clicking my name.

john grant's picture


Would proof of the existence of other worldly beings support intelligent design? It would diminish religion in some ways however it would support religion in other ways. The bible talks about "angels" in the sky and other references to aliens beings. Does ID talk about alien intervention in human evolution?

Rob Lockett's picture

The real definition of science

I propose re-establishing the historical definition of science. Almost all of us have forgotten what that is.

Would you like to know?

The proponents of intelligent design have done a fair job in pointing to the fact that 'methodological naturalism' has some weaknesses. What they have failed to do (as far as I know) is to offer an alternative definition that clarifies the issue.

I have formulated a proposition that reveals the real power and authority of scientific thought.

Though many may not agree with the historical implications, I would love to see how someone might show this definition inaccurate.

Rather than post the whole thing, here is a link to the proposition:

Rob Lockett's picture

The best argument for design...

I wanted to share what, in my opinion, is the most compelling argument for design bar none, and the one I think must be thouroughly discussed and debated.

C.S. Lewis nails the point when he exhorts us that no science is true unless our thinking about it is first true. That puts philosophy (or logic) ahead of the emperical world in terms authority. Do not misunderstand, I am not a rationalist. The internal and external world must both cohere in order to have a trustworthy truth claim. We should place our faith in nothing less, and as Lewis said elsewhere, reason herself tells us to look beyond her for confirmation. The natural sciences provide quite nicely as confirmation or rebuke for our various 'theo'.

There is no such thing as ‘natural science’ apart from the thinking that founds it. That is it’s foundation. What we can say… is that nature is, from all we can tell, a neutral medium by which to test our philosophical constructs. If that were not so, then neither the naturalist or the theist could say that ’such and such doesn’t fit the evidence.’

We all seem to agree (putting aside the agregiously imaginative New-Agers anyway) that the material world is objective with regard to our theories about it. It is the objective test of our ideas.

We can say that science is the ‘inference to the best explaination’. That is the hallmark of scientific theory, and a founding philosophical principle of the possible accuracy of any science to begin with. There is no escaping philosophical coherence no matter how hard the naturalist tries.

We all know, there was a time when we could not say with any certainty that the universe is ordered in an intelligeable way. Some still hold to that, since we do not understand everything (ie. the quantum realm). But as has been noted by none other than Albert Einstein, ‘God doesn’t play dice’. And I understood he made that remark in the same context...

Logic is the law. We must assume that that is so irrespective of God’s nature (be He/it, an eternal and impersonal material force, or a personal and loving creator). If we do not, then there is no such thing as knowledge since none of us is prepaired to accept incoherence as a legitiamte argument.

Quoting C.S. Lewis again, “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

No logic = no comprehensibility = no science.

All of this being considered, it is logic that is the foundation of all ‘knowledge’. All meanignful language uses logic, be it mathematics, English, Swahili, or ancient Hebrew.

So language itself is really just logic. We can express it with whatever digital components we like; from whistles, pops, and clicks, to the quaternary digital code of DNA, information is being expressed and delivered from one entity to another in an orderly fashion. And logic comes from intelligence as a matter of empirical observation.

If our thinking is true, then and only then, is empericism true. It then follows that when the two are in agreement, we have the only thing that can be considered scientific. Yet again, the philsophical presupposition is always the dominant force.

This trumpet must be sounded as we march around the city until the walls of honest individuals come down. It is simple… It is irrefutable… And puts us in the ‘actual’ scientific seat.

Internal philosophical coherence + external material coherence = systemic coherence = empirical fact. Call it a triune harmony of two dimensions, creating a third and indivisible spirit of truth between the two...

There is no emperical evidence that methodological naturalism should be the definition of science because it is itself, not an emperical or scientific fact but a philosophical proposition. And it is in this sense self defeating. If, as the current definition goes, the only thing that is scientific, is that which has a material explanation, then by what material explanation is there for that assertion being true?

As I have noted, it is a philosophical belief as is any religion be it theistic, atheistic, polytheistic pantheistic or what have you... All science is philsophical, because all science is assumed to be logical.

Am I beating a dead horse?


It should therefore be absolutely remarkable to any honest thinker that in the first lines of His gospel, John says, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. Without Him, nothing that has been made was made… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

It is the Logos (Word or logic) that ordered the universe.

The only thing that is ultimately even definable as ’scientific’ is ‘The Word’ (which is ultimately just logic). As Lewis so simply and clearly reminds us, if our thoughts (expressed by words) are not valid, then no scientific observation is either.

I am one who agrees that the battle will ultimately be won or lost by the ability for people to communicate this message of philosophical coherence as the ‘real definition of science’. But that assumes people will want to hear it. Many do not, and the political pressures upon those considering it must be emmense.

I firmly believe the proponents of naturalism will pull the rug out from all of us before they allow a design paradigm to once again rule the day. That is a prophecy that I do not personally like, but it has authority greater than my own will to support it. Individual walls will fall… converts will be made. Just not all.

The materialists will, in the end, exalt themselves if the Bible is true.

Science is simply logic (philosophy). The material world can only confirm it’s authority. The material dimension cannot speak… I repeat… it cannot speak… for itself. It needs ‘logic’ (Logos / The Word) to speak for it. It is therefore doomed in any attempt to exalt itself coherently. It will need magicians and mystics to perform such a ritual. As I hinted in the last post, this will not stop many from 'giving appearent life and breath to it’s image' as John wrote in Revelation.

To really overstate my case, the material universe did not create the laws of physics. The laws of physics enable the material universe to be. And the laws themselves are not material entities. The material universe simply obeys them and gives them material legitimacy.

Sir Isaac Newton understood this when he said, “Though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular positions of the orbits themselves from those laws….
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the council and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.” (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy)

Let’s face it… from a childlike sheppard boy named David observing the glory of the heavens, to John polkinhorne the quantum physicist at Cambridge, the appearence of design is base, simple, and logical and yet marvelously complex.

I used to believe the naturalists. And though for me the walls came down slowly, their continued audacity and imposition compels me to vehemently contend for the truth. How can we be so resistent to understand this?

Rob Lockett's picture

What is a conversation?

The Title of this forum is called Continuing Conversations...
I am curious as to the definition of 'conversation' that
is being imposed here.
It seems that the definition (at least in practice) is something like this; the exchange of individual opinion without formal testing or critical analysis.
Websters defines 'Conversation' as; an informal talking together
Yep... that must be it...
Just about any chatroom contains 3rd level propositions such as the ones advocated here. I thought that this forum (being the product of an 'institution of higher learning') might promote discussions more... 'serious' in nature.
I was appearently mistaken...
I think this... you think that... so and so thinks another...
All opinions are equal under the rule of the popular philosophy of pluralism.
If all views are equal... then what about the view... that all views are equal?
Why is that view imposed and elevated above all others?
Will someone at this fine institution explain the answer to these questions to me with sophisticated posturing, or am I to be left in my ignorant and simple ways unenlightened and lost forever?

Paul Grobstein's picture

on conversation

No one is imposing a view here, on conversations or anything else. And certainly not the view that "all views are equal." Anyone who finds useful the thoughts left here is welcome, as is anyone who finds this a useful place to leave their own thoughts. For some thoughts of my own about "conversation" and its usefulness, see "conversations past and future" and links from there.
Mike Gene's picture

The Design Matrix

I have written a book entitled, The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues. Writing in the journal Science in 1977, Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob once offered some truly profound words that have been the inspiration of this book:

"To produce a valuable observation, one has first to have an idea of what to observe, a preconception of what is possible. Scientific advances often come from uncovering a hitherto unseen aspect of things as a result, not so much of using new instruments, but rather of looking at objects from a different angle. This look is necessarily guided by a certain idea of what this so-called reality might be. It always involves a certain conception about the unknown, that is, about what lies beyond that which one has logical or experimental reasons to believe."

The book is not premised on a single argument, but instead represents a perspective that seeks to investigate, employing multiple arguments. It is my opinion that the only true fulcrum of this debate is the dual perspectives of teleology and nonteleology. There are certain data that cause *me* to suspect the original life forms were designed. But because I am an evolutionist, I think we must acknowledge the existence of a designer-mimic. My book thus explores how we might think about, and explore, biotic reality where both intelligent design and evolution are in play. However, the book is not written to convince hardcore skeptics and/or fuel anyone's culture wars. It will appeal mostly to those share in the suspicion that life was designed (or the middle ground that tires of the polarization). "It is the question that drives us, Neo."

You can watch the trailer for the book here:

Fashion Directory's picture

I finished

I finished reading 'The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues' and in my opinion it's a B book, still has many parts with an A.

Rob Lockett's picture

Design and evolution...

Hi Mike, I agree that there is a need for a design paradigm to include natural selection. And I think that most people miss the fact that it does. Mostly because the evolutionary establishment unfairly characterizes the argument.

This is the beauty of design over it's competitor as a scientific explanation for the appearence of life.

Natural selection is a fact. It has not only been tested, but observed. The question is whether 'natural selection' is equivalent to 'evolution'. The answer is an emphatic 'no'!

Evolution has recently been redefined (because of the ID debate) to mean simple change (or mutation)without regard for direction. And that is a definition I can somewhat agree with. My only problem with it, is that the proper term is actually 'natural selection'.

As we all know, evolution is the idea that relatively simple non-living elements 'evolved' (by as yet unknown processes) into more and more complex living forms. But as we also know, our material universe is bound by the laws of physics. And as such, it is also a fact that without intelligent guidance, our universe will continue on it's present couse of entropy as per the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

I know there is a lot of confusion over the 2nd Law, and that some horrible arguments for crystal formation and such have been used against it's limitations on the evolution of complex systems. However, crystal formation (and the temperatures involved) is utterly irrelevant to the chemical processes of living machinery. If anything, some living organisms have been front loaded to endure the otherwise life extinguishing conditions that produce crystalization.

Putting that aside for now, what the ID argument has done, is to distinguish selection by natural forces in it's proper boundaries within physical laws, from the explanation for life's existence to begin with. Gravity can tell us the behavior of a body, but it cannot tell us how the body came to be. Nor can it tell us how gravity itself came to be.

The idea of 'Front Loading' in your book makes that point. The information in biological systems which can be emperically tested and observed to originate from intelligence (keeping in mind there is no alternative natural explanation to infer) is now in the process of being guided by natural forces, at least in part.

So with design, we do not have to throw 'natural selection' out the window.

I think Jonathan Wells makes the point as well as anyone:

“Before Darwinsim took over in the late nineteenth century, virtually every Western Biologist believed in intelligent design. The founders of all the modern biological disciplines; Mendel, who founded genetics, Leneaus, who founded Taxonomy where we name organisms; the early Embyologists, the early Paleontologists… All of these people believed in design, and they founded modern biology.

Darwinism came along and said, ‘no… design is an illusion’, but yet it kept all these disciplines… of course that’s what we now work in. And I see the current revolution as a return to our roots; our scientific roots, which were design roots. And so I see science once again returning to a design paradigm.

Now, the Darwinists claim that this will restrict scientific inquiry. I see it just the opposite… What I see now, is that the Darwinists cannot allow any hint of design in living things. They have to exclude every possible aspect of design. And this narrows the range of explanations tremendously. And it forces them to cram the data into these boxes that end up distorting the truth.

In a design paradigm however, the whole range of explanations is wide open! It doesn’t mean everything is designed… So some things can still be a product of random variations and natural selection as Darwin said they were. But it greatly expands the range of explanations that we have, and liberates science to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

So I see a tremendous invigoration… a reinvigoration of scientific research opening up areas that are now closed.”

Mike, though we may disagree on some things, I wanted to thank you for your honesty and critical analysis of the facts. Mainly that there is excellent and compelling evidence for design. And also, that we must find a way of bringing into a coherent picture, all of the facts that we know as of this date.

The fact is... that ID offers the middle ground that almost everyone claims to want.

I only wish more people were brutally honest with themselves about what it is they want to be true. I firmly believe that it is only when one's own motives are moved from the subconscious to the conscious mind, that they can begin to examine the evidence 'objectively'.

So let us ask ourselves, 'What do I want to believe'?

And let us remind ourselves that the answer to that question is totally irrelevant to 'science'. We should not be seeking to fulfill our wishes, but finding the truth. Or put another way, 'not my will be done, but yours'. Truth that is...

Bertvan's picture

non-theistic skepticism of RM&NS

I am an agnostic who does not believe in a personal God, but I do not believe evolution is driven by “natural selection” doing something to a collection of genetic accidents. Why should I have to state that disclaimer? If I am allowed to voice skeptical of RM&NS, shouldn’t religious people enjoy the same privilege?

The only alternative to accidental assembly would be some sort of intelligent, purposeful organization. I, personally, view the organizing intelligence of living systems as perfectly natural force of nature. Other people believe in multiple universes, but I believe in the reality free will and intelligent choice right here in this universe. I see evidence of the ability to make purposeful choices in myself and in other mammals. In fact I see evidence that even single cultured cells have some limited ability to make simple choices and respond creatively. Since I don’t believe in miraculous appearance anything, including intelligence, I believe that organizing intelligence of living systems has always been an aspect of reality. As Shelldrake suggests, the laws of nature are entrenched habits, and universe is in the process of designing itself. The laws that apply to inert matter are so entrenched that deviation is undetectable by our present measuring methods – except perhaps at the quantum level. However living systems are still an observable design in process.

Applying this to evolutionary theory, biological innovations would originate in individual living systems, not their genomes. The genome would be the record of past adaptations; not the origin of new ones. Used organs develop and unused ones atrophy. Individual organisms make limited adaptations to changes in temperature and altitude, learn to utilize new food sources and invent new behaviors during growth and development. Such adaptations are inherited epigenetically, as they develop, and are only incorporated into the genome if persistent over generations. Please don’t tell me Lamarckism was disproved by cutting the tails off of a few generations of mice. No one ever suggested that mutilations might be heritable. (Questions about materialism)

Rob Lockett's picture

Interesting Idea...

Bertvan writes: "Applying this to evolutionary theory, biological innovations would originate in individual living systems, not their genomes. The genome would be the record of past adaptations; not the origin of new ones. Used organs develop and unused ones atrophy"

I'm sorry Bertvan, no offense, but this idea is totally contrary to emperically known biology. Biological innovations do not appear de novo. Every protein is constructed by a precise sequence of assembly and gene expression. And an innovation (or an organ, to use your example) is made of many thousands and sometimes millions of individual proteins manufactured in for a specific and timely purpose within the organism. The levels of complexity are utterly alien if we put it in terms of technology.

Your proposal is a strict reversal of known nature. It's an innovative concept, but check the following YouTube link for details. It will take you to part 5 of 7 of a terrific documentary. I reccommend also watching part 6 as well for this subject (the whole thing really). Each is approximately 10 minutes.

Rob Lockett's picture


I have to make a correction to my previous post.

The 'the Game of Life', doesn't prove that without intelligent guidance, such a system cannot come into being.

All it does it prove (emperically) that it can come into being with intelligent guidance.

Rob Lockett's picture

Back to Intelligent Design vs. Evolution...

In the 'Biology' section of your site there is a window dedicated to Complexity. Within that window is a fascinating illustration called 'The Game of Life'.

The summation of the game reads primarily as follows:

"The bottom line? Clearly, organized forms can arise in the absence of a planner, or an architect, or a blueprint ... even from random starting points."

Now I have some comments and questions. Please consider my point of view...

In this 'game' (or illustration of evolution), an external entity is needed to impose the albeit random imputs, and the system within which it sits is very orderly as it was 'designed' by an intelligent mathematician to produce a certain outcome.

So juxtaposing 'The Game of Life' with our supposedly analogous material universe, how do we account for the orderly system itself? And where would the imputs to that system come from in a world with no one to play the game other than that which would have to originate from within the unexplained system itself?

I cannot help but point out that this illustration called 'the Game of Life', really only proves (emperically) that without intelligent guidance, such a system cannot come into being.

I don't agree with all of Newton's thinking, and am not familliar with much of it. From what little work of his I am versed, his theology was appearently very lacking. Nonetheless, he certainly had a great deal to offer in this case and I agree fully with him.

"Though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular positions of the orbits themselves from those laws....

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the council and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being."

Sir Isaac Newton,
"Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"

ithout the laws

Rob Lockett's picture

Bias vs. Misunderstanding

Very good Anne, I did run a risk in making that assumption. And now the misunderstanding is corrected. I repent of my error.

Please do notice that this was possible between us because of the fact that the words we are using have an objective meaning that we have both conformed to.

However if I were to reject the authority of the word and general authorship, I could interpret your words just as easily to have meant that "you are Paul, and I am you, and we are altogether... Koo-coo-kachoo"!

I firmly believe that most misunderstandings arise not from misunderstandings per se, but from concealed personal bias (concsiously or unconsciously). 'Lucy, or pie in the Sky' declarations of ignorance are not nearly as powerful a debating tool as some believe. Often, it's not that we 'don't know', it's that we don't 'want' to know.

Many people intentionally supress the truth so as to keep the implications as far from the conscious mind as possible. But deep down we know. The gospel of John and Pauls letter to the Romans makes it clear that God has given all men lihgt, and that we supress the truth. It is our nature...

If we let it out, it will grow, and try to lead us further down a road we don't want to go.

There are some conclusions that if we accept them as true, will lead us elsewhere in our lives that we stongly reject regardless of the kind face we may wear on the surface.

Misunderstandings also arise from disagreements as to the definition of the words and concepts we are using. The definition of science is a good example. Again, they are not true misunderstandings in this instance either. It is bias once again.

Our current definition of science (the accepted convention) is called 'Methodological Naturaism'. It says simply that if evidence and theory is to be considered 'scientific', then it must deal exclusively with material (or natural) cause and effect.

The interesting thing, is that MN does not explicitely exclude God or the supernatural as an explanation like 'Ontological Naturalism would'; but; it effectively does so, by presupposing (philosophically) that only material cause and effect is valid.

I mention that it does so 'philosophically', because that definition itself is arrived at, not by emperical or material observation and testing, but by a philosophical bias known as materialism.

Therefore, our current convention of science (methodological naturalism) is not 'scientific' within it's own definition. It is a philosophical worldview; ie. a religious or theological system of metaphysics attempting to impose acceptable parameters for defining reality.

Do you understand what I am saying?

If so, perhaps you disagree?

If not, perhaps you can formulate some questions for me so that, whether we agree or disagree, you will at least understand my position.

Rob Lockett's picture

Roland Barthes

I noticed the reference to Roland Barthes at the top of the page Paul. That is very interesting that you would invoke him as a source of higher thinking and perspective.

Barthes and thinkers like him have had a tremendous influence on our cultural thinking in the last century.

The most telling of his comments to me, came in his essay 'The Death of the Author'.

In it he says, “Refusing to assign a ‘secret,’ ultimate meaning” to text “liberates what may be called an anti-theological activity, an activity that is truly revolutionary since to refuse meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and his hypostases—reason, science, law.”

Now when you couple that with Nietzche's remark, "I'm afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar."

What amazes me to no end... I find myself marvelling at their sophist rhetoric... is that these men author papers, and use words, to tell us that authorship and words have no objective or original meaning.

If words do not have any meaning, then what in the world are they expecting us to understand?

If an author or speaker cannot get across his intended concepts to the listener trapped in their own perspective, then what is the point in telling them anything, if in the end they refuse to come out of their tomb?

Personally I have great faith in grammar. I believe that you fully understand what it is I am saying. I believe that the fundamental laws of reason demand conscious and ordered analysis of all truth claims.

Those truth claims that deny thier own power and reason, are the most rediculous and desperate of all intellectual endeavors. They convey or project the power to liberate the mind, while denying that such power exists or is meaningful.

As Roland says, it is truely anti-theological, or anti intellectual.

2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Romans 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Ann Dixon's picture

fully understanding what it is

If one "fully understand[s] what it is [another is] saying" as you believe, there would never be any misunderstandings. Unfortunately, there are a huge number of misunderstandings every day.

Just for example, you have a misunderstanding that it was Paul who has 
invoked Roland Barthes, when in fact it was Anne Dalke and I who put up the quote.

When misunderstandings arise, it is useful when they can be clarified to make communication less wrong. 

Anne Dalke's picture

fortunate misunderstandings?

Unfortunately, there are a huge number of misunderstandings every day.

or...maybe those "misunderstandings" are fortunate ones?

(I'm thinking here of an analogy to the Christian concept of the "fortunate fall")--> that those misunderstandings are good things, because they are  the gaps wherein we can go exploring, wherein we can learn what it is we don't already know...

Rob Lockett's picture

What more could we learn?

Anne, after reading your link to 'The Fortunate Fall' in more detail, I must maintain my position with even more gusto.

What more exploration do we need and what would it accomplish?

Look what we have already done... in the words of Malcombe Muggeridge:

"“It is difficult to resist the conclusion that twentieth-century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary, battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.” ( )

What more could we do to explore the unlimited possibilities?

Imagine the unlimited possibilities, unlimited by 'conscience', which is nothing more than that lingering sense that this isn't right. A perfectly natural part of the human psyche (heart), given to us naturally (by God). Let's free ourselves from that bias. Just let it go and, "Imagine there's no heaven". Think of all the possibilities of human endeavor that we could experience without those restrictions and that nagging voice bogging us down. No more conflict in your own head. No more bias. "No more hang-ups man!”

No more of those restrictions that have kept humanity from doing such great things as indiscriminately raping, torturing, and slowly murdering each other in manners that have yet to be explored and enjoyed piece by piece. They're limitless. Most have only flirted in their youth, with the real freedom that waits for all, over the hill of true open-mindedness. By the way, ask me to show you a person with an open mind, and I'll show you a person in a maximum security penitentiary enjoying solitary confinement! Imagine the glory! That unseen potential we've never allowed ourselves to experience. What could be calling us? What have we been restricted from learning because of that dog-gone little voice?

"Have another hit man, and be free from that prison".

I know what's calling us, and these questions make it pretty clear in my mind. Pure adulterated Evil! Why this step by step approach, how about just taking this all to a point in its logical extension. How about participating in an open-minded concoction of Ecstasy, and LSD while engaged in a necro-beastial orgy, on a judges bench, during court proceedings that will argue the irrelevance of the U.S. constitution, on the basis that it is discriminatory because of it's foundations in the teachings of Christ, and it's condemnation of the desires of the 'free spirit'. "Whoa man, now that’s exploration!"

Rob Lockett's picture

What we don't already know...

Anne Dalke writes: "(I'm thinking here of an analogy to the Christian concept of the "fortunate fall")--> that those misunderstandings are good things, because they are the gaps wherein we can go exploring, wherein we can learn what it is we don't already know..."


Hi Anne, I am not specifically aquainted with the 'fortunate fall' doctrine as you call it. However, it sounds familliar...

I believe Paul addressed these same issues in his letter to the Roman church.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means!...

...14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

From what little I can gather from the concept Anne, I have to question what it is we think we know...

From the Biblical perspective, we have yet to learn or explore what the world would have been like had we obeyed God from the beginning. The fact is, that according to God's Word, we very quickly moved into exploring other options for ourselves rather than trusting God, and having faith in Him to lead us into greater and greater dimensions of paradise.

The irony is... there was only one rule to trust Him with in the beginning. Appearently, knowledge of 'good only' wasn't enough for us. We wanted to become god right out of the box:
Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

And of course Satan comes to our minds with the seed of doubt, and tempts us to believe that we can be God:
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Did you notice that the serpent is not one of the wild animals? It doesn't say that he was craftier than 'the other' wild animals, but craftier than 'any of the' wild animals (just an aside).

I think the only thing we actually know, is that we, our world, and our thinking is corrupted and dying because we (the collective beast) have rejected and crucified God.

The only exploration and unknown is what the world would be like without our pride that results in all sin.

Assuming such a transaction can be made, what would you give in exchange for actually knowing God and not having to guess at what reality is (who God is), and who you are, and what life is meant to be?

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