Ravi Zacharias: Nietzsche, Darwin, and Dawkins

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

You know, in America now, we’re discussing all these things now about gun laws and it’s very important to discuss it. Very important to discuss it. We need to understand these things. But you know what’s forgotten oftentimes, that it takes 3 components to do a killing: It takes a person, it takes a weapon, and it takes ammunition. And we think that ammunition is only in the form of a bullet.

Have you ever thought about the ammunition the comes across the air waves? That pours hate into a person’s mind? The ammunition that dehumanizes people? The ammunition that does not know how to treat your fellow human being with respect? The ammunition of sensuality, of depravity? Even in our elections, the words that are used are so aggressive and vitriolic and sometimes hostile? One candidate running for election in America, when he was running for office, told people to go vote- it was the best form of revenge. Wow! Is that something so noble as a vote is all about? Revenge? Not to make righteousness grow? This is the kind of ammunition we are pouring into young minds and some of this stuff goes on and on and on. And it is easier for us to point to an instrument rather than try to understand the depravity and the horror of the human heart. ….

VIDEO by love the cross

The Case against Scientism – leading scholars explore Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the abuse of science

„The new oligarchy must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists,

till in the end, the politicians become merely the scientists’ puppets”.

C. S. Lewis in „Willing Slaves of the Welfare State”.
oligarchy

More than a half century ago, famed writer C.S. Lewis warned about how science (a good thing) could be twisted in order to attack religion, undermine ethics, and limit human freedom. In this documentary „The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism,” leading scholars explore Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the abuse of science and how Lewis’s concerns are increasingly relevant for us today.

Some quotes, followed by notes from the documentary video:

  • lewis holy trinity churchDuring the first half of the 20th century, 3 prophetic writers warned about the dark side of scientific and technological progress: (1) G K Chesterton, ‘Eugenics and other evils‘ (2) George Orwell, ‘1984‘ and (3) C S Lewis ‘Abolition of Man‘. Best known for his Narnia story and his books of Christian theology, C S Lewis also had an intense interest in the growing power of scientism- the efforts to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life.
  • Lewis was opposed to an ideology, which in his view had been confused with science. It was a particular materialistic approach which  wanted to reduce everything we could learn scientifically to materialistic causes- blind, undirected causes. (Angus Menuge PhD) Lewis thought that science was a perfectly legitimate enterprise. He never denied it, he in fact studied it quite a bit. (Victor Reppert Phd). Just like in all human disciplines, Lewis thought that science could be corrupted, and that some people could pursue science because they wanted power over the world and power over other people, in particular. (John G West PhD) What he saw was that you had to avoid those extremes, not in the employment of science, but in the popularization of science. (Michael Aeschliman PhD)
  • You could not afford to ignore the finding of science, the importance of scientific method, you had to see that it’s one of the greatest applications and developments of the rational method perse, a subset of the rational method. But, that it was very dangerous, and then in the 20th century we had had very malignant consequences to deify it. Scientific socialism is credibly a scientific version of politics. The Marxists called their system scientific socialism. Well, no one in their right mind, in 2012, will say that Marxism was scientific. No one in his right mind, but people did for 170 years.
  • Social Darwinist racial science in Nazi Germany. Enormous prestige was given to racialist views by their apparent clothing people such as Heckel and Münchner popularizing reductive scientific ideas with immense success. In many ways, more success in Germany than in England.
  • Lewis saw these developments: 2 World Wars, in one he served and was badly wounded, had roots in barbaric and hysterical scientistic ideas of abuses of the scientific method, abuses of scientific terminology and language, abuses of scientific faith. When warning about the abuse of science, Lewis made an unusual comparison. Although most people think of science as something modern, Lewis compared it to something ancient: MAGIC. Lewis thought that science and magic are twins. If you think about this, it might sound very strange. But Lewis was very perceptive here. In fact, he highlighted 3 different ways that science and magic really are quite similar.

(1) Science as religion.

Science has the ability to function as a religion. Certainly, a magical view of the world can give one a sense that there’s something more than just our every day lives. If you walk through a forest and think it’s enchanted it gives you a grand vision that there’s something out there that we don’t ordinarily experience.It can give you a sense of meaning. There’s a real reason why fantasy stories are so beloved… It gives people a sense of grandeur of the universe and something higher than ourselves. And in fact, for some people who aren’t religious, this magical view of the world can actually be more attractive, because it substitutes for that. In the same way, science can be an alternative religion. And during Lewis’s own time, there were people like H G Wells, who turned Darwins’ theory of evolution into this cosmic theory of life developing in this long struggle in the human universe, and then human life develops in this heroic character fighting against nature, and then, eventually, man evolves, and evolves himself through eugenics into a wave of demigods. This epic cosmic struggle of evolution was really an alternate religion for H G Wells, and you see that same thing today, whether it be Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins who says that „Darwin has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist„. Or, in 2012, we had 10-20,000 people converge on Washington DC for this Reason Rally, where a lot of people testified that they really offer science as a religion. Today, you see a lot of people speaking in the name of science, who offer science as a quasi religion. It’s what gives their life meaning. Another area where we see this today is in the celebration of Darwin’s birthday. Hundreds of colleges, community organizations, if not thousands around the world, on Feb. 12th, every year, hold Darwin day celebrations. It really takes on the trappings of a religion.

(2) Science as credulity

A second way science and magic are similar, according to C S Lewis, is their encouragement of a lack of skepticism. Again, this may seem just completely outlandish, because science, how does that promote gullibility? How? It’s supposed to be just the hard facts. Now, in magic, you can think there’s a witch doctor and the tribe believes whatever the witch doctor says. And so, magical thinking can promote a type of credulous thinking where you just trust what the authority figure says. But, how does science promote that type of credulous and gullible thinking? Lewis pointed out that in the modern world, people will believe almost anything if it’s dressed up in the name of science.

For Lewis, one of the leading examples of science fueling gullibility was Freudianism. Lewis had an interest in Sigmund Freud since his days an Oxford undergraduate. Lewis was intrigued by some of the claims of psychoanalysis, but he ultimately rejected the efforts by Freud’s followers to explain everything from religion to stealing cars as a result of our subconscious urges. Lewis pointed out that if you actually take Freud’s view to its eventual conclusion, that actually undermines even the belief in Freudianism. Lewis’s point is: Where does this end? If you really think that all reasoning, fundamentally, is based on sub rational urges and that we can’t analyze those urges, and there isn’t real reason we can judge, based on evidence, and that we can’t be self critical, then that destroys Freudianism, just like it destroys everything else.

Shortly after Lewis accepted Christianity, he satirized Freud in his allegory ‘The Pilgrim’s Regress’. In Lewis’s story, the main character, John, winds up thrown in jail by a character named Sigismund enlightened. Sigismund was actually SIgmund Freud’s real first name, so this was very much a parody about Freud. But, what is this jail he is thrown into? Well, it’s a jail governed by this giant, and this giant has a particular propensity, that anything that he looks at becomes transparent. And so, when this pilgrim character is thrown into this dungeon, into this jail, it’s a jail of horrors because whenever he looks at someone , he doesn’t see them, he sees their insides, he sees through them. It’s like a house of horrors. And that was Lewis’s picture of where Freudianism leads you: If you try to deconstruct everything, you’re left with nothing

Another example of science inspired credulity, according to Lewis, was what he called evolutionism- the popular idea that matter could magically transform itself into complex and conscious living things, through a blind and unguided  process. Lewis’s doubts about unguided evolution went back to his days as a soldier in World War I. While recovering from shrapnel wounds, a young Lewis read the book ‘Creative Revolution’ by french natural philosopher Henri Bergson. Bergson questioned the ability of Darwin’s theory to account for complex structures, like the human eye, through a blind process like natural selection. Lewis believed that evolutionism, like Freudianism, contained a fatal self contradiction regarding the human mind, according to the Darwinian view. Reason was simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of a mindless process based on survival of the fittest. Lewis pointed out the key difficulty with the Darwinian account of reason: „If my own mind is the product of the irrational,” he asked, „how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?” In his personal copy of Charles Darwin’s autobiography, Lewis underlined passages where Darwin had asked himself the same question. (16:00) The idea that a blind and purposeless process without a mind  can produce things like human beings that have minds, and produce moral beliefs in things that sometimes go against our need for physical survival, the idea that a mindless process of survival of the fittest could create such things, really was an outlandish one, according to Lewis. How could a mindless process produce minds? And, to think that it could really just shows how gullible people can be in the name of science.

(3) Science as power

The third similarity between science and magic, according to Lewis, is the quest for power. Magic was about the quest for power. Magicians wanted to have power over the world and over the universe. They wanted to harness the deeper powers of nature in order to control it, and Lewis said that much of modern science, not all, but much of modern science was actually developed fro power over the world. For many people in the 20th century, the power of modern science was its greatest virtue. They hoped science would usher in a new age of peace and prosperity- a scientific utopia. For the scientific utopians of Lewis’s era, science was the savior that would allow us to remake our world. And of course that can be good. Modern science can bring us good things. Many things: from the microwave oven to the computers, to life saving treatments of modern medicine, which Lewis certainly appreciated, But, on the other hand, that tendency to want to control things can bring us the Orwellian state of George Orwell’s 1984. And so, Lewis thought that modern science, in fact, was far more dangerous than magic, because magic failed. Magic doesn’t work at the end of the day. And so, it wasn’t so dangerous because people couldn’t use it to control the world. Modern science has the potential that you really can control  people, if you find the right drugs, or find the right treatments, you can manipulate them. And so, if you don’t have some other way of protecting to remedy what you do in the name of science, some ethical basis that isn’t dictated by science itself, that can control it, then you are facing a really bleak future.

1927 Supreme Court

Lewis’s critique of scientific utopianism was at the heart of his novel ‘That Hideous Strength’, which tells the story of a conspiracy to transform England into a Scientific dictatorship. The conspiracy is led by a government bureaucracy, with a deceptively innocuous name  of the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments or NICE. „That Hideous Strength’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ are the 2 greatest dystopias  in our language, in the 20th century. The agenda of NICE in ‘That Hideous Strength’ reads like a wish list drawn up by England’s leading scientific social reformers. It included sterilization of the unfit, selective breeding, biochemical conditioning, experimentation on both animals and criminals, and above all- truly scientific planning. A scientific planning that is pretending to provide a new humanity, that is doing away with traditional ethics, that is doing away with all traditional restraints. (United States 1927: Forced Sterilization Upheld. Supreme Court Rules: „Three generations of imbeciles are enough”. Alabama 1947: Blacks denied Penicillin as part of US Public Health Service study on effects of syphilis.) Lewis depicts a world in ‘That Hideous Strength’, in which nothing is sacred. Daniel Dennet has told us that the essence of modernity is that nothing is sacred.  Nothing is sacred, which includes the human person, and when that happens, there are no distinctions between individuals, or humans and animals, or humans and vegetables, and humans and minerals and we have the kind of things we had in the 20th century.

In the 2 decades before his death, Lewis became increasingly alarmed by the scientific authoritarianism. Lewis was very concerned by the dogmatic use of science, and that is why he wrote his novel ‘That Hideous Strength’, that is why he wrote his book ‘The Abolition of Man’, where he actually worries and somewhat predicts the rise of a new class of people, of experts, speaking in the name of science, who would dictate to everyone else. In fact, by the end of his life, Lewis was worrying about the rise of what he called scientocracy- government and society that claim to be based on the claims of modern science, but, in reality really is based on a scientific click of a few people who are speaking in the name of science. And maybe they’re adopting the majority view of science, but, they’re claiming the right to rule based on their scientific knowledge and expertise.

barcode at birthLewis’s concern for the authoritarian science seems eerily prophetic. (See photos of actual headlines form newspapers at the 23rd minute) In a world driven by science and technology, those who question the new order, like C S Lewis did, increasingly find themselves labeled anti-science. C S Lewis would have rejected the charge. Lewis did not accept the idea that science was a special form of knowledge, that was somehow immune to inspection, or somehow cordoned off from the nonspecialist assessing the deliverance of the sciences. Lewis was well aware, first of all, that there is no such thing as science, as such. There are sciences. And each science has its particular methods, and its particular area of study, and also, that the sciences to be good need to interact with one another, but they do so by means of the larger tools of good rational critical thinking. And so, the things that scientists say are subject to review by everyone who is able to think critically, to think rationally. Lewis did not deny that scientific expertise might be necessary for good public policy in many areas. But he insisted that science alone was not sufficient. Knowing how cells work, or knowing how ecosystems work doesn’t tell you what you ought to do for your society, because public policy is not just about technical expertise as to how things work. It’s about what good it’s worth having it in first place and as C  S Lewis pointed out, on these questions a scientific training gives you no added value. Scientists are not moral philosophers. Yet, political and social judgments involve, not just how do things work, and how can we make them work better? But, how should we act, and what’s worth spending money on, and what’s worth doing, and what freedoms are worth giving up or not?

healthcare mandate

On these sort of moral and ethical questions, someone in science training, it doesn’t give them the right to dictate to the rest of society. C S Lewis: „I dread government in the name of science, that is how tyrannies come in”. C S Lewis thought that science was a good thing, but he also thought that it held some really strong dangers. The biggest danger, really, was the penchant to control. In a scientific view, that is the only way that we have knowledge of the world. And so, if you think that I have the scientific truth about something, that’s end of story. I know everything. That really tends to feed a power trip, whether you’re a scientist or a politician who is trying to latch on to the prestige of science, you really have people who are going to abuse their power because they thing, „Look, we’re the only ones who know what should happen, because we know how the universe really works. Therefore, we should be able to dictate what our cultural beliefs are, we should dictate what our government should do, how we should design governmental programs, we should dictate all manner of public policy and anyone who doesn’t have a scientific training or isn’t part of the consensus view of science is basically stupid or against progress, or against science, and so should be swept by the wayside and shouldn’t be listened to. And Lewis thought that that almost totalitarian impulse was really a dangerous thing.

Lewis was properly so, frightened by that potential within science. That’s why he stressed, „We really need limits on science and that there is something behind science, a larger, transcendent ethical sphere behind science and that we aren’t just blind matter  in motion, that we’re part of a designed universe that actually sets limits on what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s an age old problem: How do we prevent something good to being twisted for evil ends? C S Lewis hoped that scientists themselves would find a way to rescue science from scientists, creating a regenerate science that respected human rights and honored human dignity. A science that would no longer be the magician’s twin.

The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism

Greselile lui Darwin din calatoria care a schimbat lumea

În 1831, un tânăr om de știință amator, Charles Darwin, s-a îmbarcat pe nava HMS Beagle pentru a porni într-o călătorie de cinci ani.

Realizat în 2009, la 200 de ani de la nașterea lui Darwin și la 150 de ani de la publicarea cărții „Originea speciilor”, acest film documentar reface călătoria lui Darwin, explorând locurile pe unde a fost acesta și descoperirile cruciale pentru formularea teoriei evoluției.

Filmat în America de Sud, Marea Britanie, America de Nord, Australia și Europa, filmul recrează atmosfera acelei perioade și ne arată imagini surprinzătoare din natură, beneficiind, de asemenea, de prezența și opiniile unor oameni de știință, care-și împărtășesc punctul de vedere asupra lui Charles Darwin și a descoperirilor sale.

Darwin’s Doubt: Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (Kenneth Samples)

  • God created the universe with laws and logical principles
  • But, what if there is no God and the human mind is the product of a mechanistic, non rational process? Why should them, the human mind be able to correspond with the universe? These questions led me to the talk I am about to give here:
  • Some of you may not be aware that Darwin had doubts about his proposed theory of evolution. Darwin was a reflective individual by nature and he worried about the philosophical implications of his biological theory.
  • One of his genuine concerns was whether man’s cognitive  (or belief-producing) faculties which he believed had evolved from the lower animals, could be trusted to produce reliable, true beliefs about reality itself.
  • So then our question is: DO OUR COGNITIVE FACULTIES PROVIDE US WITH RELIABLE TRUE BELIEFS ABOUT THE COSMOS (THE WORLD, ABOUT REALITY)? If the Christian worldview is true and God created the universe and He created us in His image and He networked us together, then it makes sense that mathematics works, that the human mind has true beliefs about reality. And so, what if God doesn’t exist?
  • Self defeating. Several thinkers have argued that the worldview of naturalism (the view that nature is the sole reality and that no supernatural realities or entities exist) involves a fundamental state of epistemological incoherence or is self-defeating in nature. Why would an increasing number of theists think that evolutionary naturalism is potentially incoherent? Because it seems to fail to provide a viable pathway to ensure that humans develop reliable, true beliefs about reality. And the deliverances of science depend upon humans having reliable and true beliefs about the natural world. A physicist (not Christian and not a theist) at MIT recently raised a question, he said, „For creatures that were engineered by evolution to be able to pick bananas and throw rocks is to survive. Human beings seem far too intellectually endowed for naturalistic evolution to be an adequate explanation. I think, if we were engineered by evolution simply to survive, we seem to be incredibly, overly endowed.
  • The idea that atheistic evolutionary naturalism can reliably account for man’s rational faculties and explain how human beings can discover truth faces three potential defeaters. I think these are

The three defeaters when it comes to evolutionary naturalism:

  1. Naturalism postulates a non rational source for man’s rationality. If a person accepts the evolutionary naturalistic worldview, then he must also accept that the ultimate source of people’s reasoning faculties was not itself rational (endowed with reason), nor was it personal (self-aware, intelligent), and it was not teleological (purposive) in nature. Rather, the source was a non rational, impersonal, purposeless process consisting of a combination of genetic mutations, variation, and environmental factors (natural selection). Naturalism therefore postulates that a combination of random chance and blind impersonal natural processes (physical and chemical in nature) produced humanity’s rational faculties. However, presuming that a non rational, chance origin explains human intelligence raises legitimate questions about whether human reason can be trusted. According to the presumptions of science, an effect requires an adequate and sufficient cause, and indeed that effect cannot be greater than the cause. (The principle of causality)
  2. Evolution promotes a Species’ survivability, not its true beliefs. Evolution by natural selection is said to have taken billions of years to produce intellectual and sensory capacities in people. But that process operated solely in light of survival value and reproductive advantage. In other words, evolution functioned only to enhance a particular organism’s adaptation to its environment– thus promoting that species’ continued existence. What a particular species believes about its environment is nonessential to the process. Also, whether the organism’s convictions about reality are indeed true is highly questionable. In some cases reliably true beliefs might contribute to survivability, but in others the truths of the beliefs would be irrelevant.
  3. False beliefs illustrate evolutionary naturalism’s epistemological unreliability. Some naturalistic scientists and philosophers today have only served to heighten Darwin’s original doubt by suggesting that man’s inherent religious impulse is itself driven by evolution. In other words, beliefs in God, objective morality, and life after death are evolutionary generated beliefs that must have served some survival purpose in the distant past. (also the God gene). Richard Dawkins has gone further, arguing that belief in God is a mental delusion caused by a malfunction in the evolutionary process of the human brain. However, attributing man’s false religious beliefs (from the naturalist perspective) to the evolutionary process only adds suspicion to Darwin’s original doubt. If evolution is responsible for humankind’s virtually universal religious impulse, which from a naturalistic point of view is patently false ( and even pernicious according to Dawkins), then human history shows that false beliefs about reality have promoted human survivability more than true beliefs. Ex. If I have false beliefs, but those beliefs were generated by evolution to help me survive, why can’t I have serious doubt about evolution and the naturalist worldview? If evolutionary naturalism can cause a person to believe that which is false (such as religious oriented beliefs) in order to promote survivability, then what confidence can evolutionists muster that their convictions are reliable, true beliefs? And if evolution cannot guarantee true beliefs in a person’s mind, then how does one know that belief in evolutionary naturalism itself is a true belief  about the world?

This is a PowerPoint video of the lecture. The PowerPoint slides begin to change 3 minutes into the lecture.

Published on Jun 7, 2012 by 

How Darwinian evolution refutes naturalism and atheism. Titled: „Darwin’s Doubt: Can Naturalistically Evolved Human Minds Be Trusted to Yield True Beliefs About Reality?” Presented to CNS on November 15, 2010 by: Dr. Ken Samples, MA. Reasons to Believe, Glendora, CA 91740

A reflective person by nature, Charles Darwin initially had doubts about his proposed theory of evolution. Darwin worried about the philosophical implications of his biological theory. One of the areas in particular that bothered Darwin was whether an evolved human mind could be trusted to produce reliable truth about reality. This lecture by professor Kenneth Samples proposes that atheistic, evolutionary naturalism faces three potential defeaters in its attempt to explain humankind’s rational faculties in general and truth about reality in particular.

Darwin’s voyage

Does Biology Make Sense Without Darwin? Dr. David Menton

Dr. David Menton brings a wealth of knowledge from a long career to answer the important question, „Does biology make sense without Darwin?” It is often claimed that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, but this is simply not the case. Examining evolutionist claims about the eye, the origin of feathers, and human hair, Dr. Menton shows that the answer to the question is an emphatic YES!

When we start from a biblical perspective, we can make sense of the world around us—no Darwin required.

Buy the DVD of this video here:http://www.answersingenesis.org/PublicStore/product/Does-Biology-Make-Sense-W…

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The Evolutionary Paradigm – „Our present knowledge indeed forces us to view that the whole of reality is evolution – a single process of self transformation. – Julian Huxley, What is Science, 1955 p.278

Everyone in this box  is quite sure that there is nothing outside this box. That’s a paradigm: thinking outside of this box is simply unthinkable. Now, when someone believes that the whole of reality is evolution, that there is nothing else, that everything is just spontaneously self transforming through natural processes, their best argument for evolution is 2 words: How else? There isn’t any other way.

They cannot think of any other possibility that does not include random chance processes. Because of this we have what is called Dobzhansky’s Dictum: Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. (Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) was a leading 20th century evolutionist.

Evolution would appear to be „highly superfluous”

Some evolutionists have come to the same conclusion (as non evolutionists), that evolution is not essential. In the years that I taught at the medical I school, I didn’t bother to teach anything about evolution.  Adam S. Wilkins: „Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous (unnecessary) one”.(From his introduction to Evolutionary processes).

Mark Kirschner, Boston Globe, October 23, 2005: „In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all”. He is Chairman os Systems Biology at Harvard’s Medical School and very distinguished, well known evolutionist.

Isn’t it incredible that over the last 100 years we have had the most incredible breakthroughs all over biology. Think of just molecular genetics, DNA all by itself and in many other fields.

What kinds of questions have they answered with evolution?

What about the origin of life?

P. Davies (Director of the Astro Biological Research Center at Arizona State University)in the New Scientist vol 163-2204  (1999) p 27-30: „How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software, and where did the very peculiar form of information needed to get the first living cell up and running come from? Nobody knows. 

The only new source of genetic information is mutation. Normally cells divide only 15-20 times, maybe that is why we only live to be so old. But in cancer  (An example of mutation) cells can divide forever.

What do we know about mutations? 

Dr. James Crow (Chairman of Genetics at U. Wisconsin Medical School 1997) : The typical mutation is very mild. It usually has no effect, but shows up as a small decrease in viability or fertility„. This is interesting because natural selection, which we hear as being the explanation for everything, „It’s not chance,” the evolutionist will tell you, „It’s natural selection”. It takes it out of the realm of chance in order to make it inevitable.  How do we define natural selection?  We can define it in 2 words: Differential reproduction. Basically do you leave more offspring or don’t you? It has nothing to do with you being the meanest, baddest animal in the forest. You don’t go around kicking the other animals and taking their food away. If you don’t leave any offspring, what’s the difference? It’s differential reproduction. Yet, Dr. Crow tells us that the typical mutation shows up only as a small decrease in viability or fertility. Precisely the opposite of what we want for natural selection, where we want to have a progressive increase in the number of offspring.

One gentleman who studied this whole business of mutations and natural selection a great deal is Motoo Kimura PhD, Evolutionary Geneticist and he came up with what’s known as Kimura Distribution, it shows the effects of mutation on the population. In it, Kimura says he doesn’t even know of any natural mutations. Kimura came up with this: He said we have a no selection zone. Most mutations fall below the radar and you know what this means? It means we are collecting them. It’s called a genetic load.

Did evolutionists have the answer or did creationists have a better read on things?

Let’s start with the human eye. Bad design or bad science? Some people say the human eye is very badly designed. For example, Frank Zindler, a retired biologist says, „Although the human eye would be a scandal if it were the result of divine deliberation, a plausible evolutionary explanation of its absurd construction can be obtained quite easily…” He is saying that the eye is so badly designed that if a god of any kind were to lay any claim to it, it would be a scandal. Then he goes on to say, „However, you expect junk from evolution”. After all, you take a process that is mindless, purposeless, goalless, random chance processes… try going on a fishing trip that way, with no planning, no goal, no objective. That is why he says that is the plausible explanation (evolution) for its port construction.

The construction of the human eye – good or bad?

Why does he say the eye is absurd? In fact a lot of biology textbooks make this same point. Dr. Menton shows a view of the retina. Did you know the retina is part of the brain? The whole eye with the exception of the cornea and the lens is part of the brain. Because it’s part of the brain, you do not have nerves in there, there’s fiber tracts and you have ganglia cells and what have you and you see the layers. It’s like a layer cake. On the more superficial aspect, we have the optic nerve fibers, then we have the ganglia, bipolar neurons, and other cells and nuclei in there and then way down in the bottom, that’s where the photoreceptor cells are. These are those cells that you may have heard of that have the rods in the cones. Cones, sensitive to color light and rods to just black and white. At the very bottom you get the pigment layer. This layer is just full of pigment. It is pitch black down there and it has a virtual lake of blood. Not just blood vessels, but big, huge channels full of blood and the reason for that is these photo receptors at the bottom are among the most highly metabolicly active cells in our body. They require a lake of blood.

What the evolutionists are saying is this: Where’s your God? He got the film in the camera upside down. Years ago I used to do photography and when loading the film in the dark, if you weren’t careful you would load it backwards and when you’d take a picture you’d get nothing. So the evolutionists say: Your God got the film upside down. You see the light coming from the top down and at the very bottom are the rods and cones. So, a photon of light has to come down from the top, going through all those layers, until it finally gets down to the bottom and the evolutionist proposes, „Wel, there goes your resolution. The retina’s going to have really lousy resolution because the photon’s been bumped around through all that stuff (the other layers)  and then of course it’s going to interfere with light sensitivity”. We have 2 problems just for starters.

What they say is true enough. It would appear that it would interfere with resolution and light sensitivity. And yet, neurophysiologists have demonstrated that those rods and cones are sensitive to single photons of light. And as far as resolution is concerned, the retina is better than the lens in the cornea. Our eyes are what we call refraction limited. They’re limited by the optics, not by the retina. The retina is way ahead of the optics. There are very good reasons why you want the retina upside down: you want to keep these very demanding cells right there in that lake of blood. Another reason is, when a photon comes down to that retina, when it finally gets to the bottom it fires a photoreceptor cell and then the next thing that must happen to it is that it must be trapped in that retinal pigment layer, because if it refracted off things and came back and hit the receptor a second time on a bounce you would burn out the receptors faster than you do now. Do you have an idea how fast you burn out your rods and cones right now? They’re to be turned over about every two weeks. So there are good reasons for having it down there and I could give you a lot of others.

The New Atheism and the dogma of Darwinism by Albert Mohler

From Albert Mohler’s blog. This article was also featured in the current issue of  EX NIHILO Magazine.

We can draw a straight line from the emergence of evolutionary theory to the resurgence of atheism in our times. Never underestimate the power of a bad idea.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The New Atheism is now an established feature of the intellectual landscape of our age. Thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris are among the figures who most regularly appear on the front tables of America’s bookstores and the front pages of our newspapers. And, along with their vigorous defense of atheism, we most often find an equally vigorous defense of evolutionary theory. This is no accident.

Atheism has appeared in some form in Western cultures since the midpoint of the last millennium. The word “atheist” did not even exist within the English language until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The earliest atheists were most often philosophical and theological skeptics who denied the existence of any personal God. Nevertheless, the God they almost always rejected is the God of the Bible – in other words, a specific rejection of Christianity.

The early atheists were usually notorious, as were well-known heretics. Their denials of God and the Christian faith were well-documented and understood. But the early atheists had a huge problem –- how could they explain the existence of the Cosmos? Without a clear answer to that question, their arguments for atheism failed to gain much traction.

As even the ancient Greeks understood, one of the most fundamental philosophical questions is this: Why is there something, rather than nothing? Every worldview is accountable to that question. In other words, every philosophy of life must offer some account of how we and the world around us came to be. The creation myths of ancient cultures and the philosophical speculations of the Greeks serve as evidence of the hunger in the human intellect that takes form as what we now call the question of origins.

For some time, atheists were hard-pressed to offer any coherent answer to that question. Once they ruled God out of the picture, they had virtually no account of creation to offer.

Of course, all that changed with Charles Darwin.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection and the larger dogma of evolution emerged in the nineteenth century as the first coherent alternative to the Bible’s doctrine of Creation. This revolution in human thinking is well-summarized by Richard Dawkins, who conceded that an atheist prior to Darwin would have to offer an explanation of the Cosmos and the existence of life that would look something like this: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.”

Dawkins, who is perhaps the world’s best-known evolutionary scientist, argues that the explanation offered by a frustrated atheist before Darwin “would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied.”

But then came Darwin. In a single sentence, Dawkins gets to the heart of the matter: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

His point is clear and compelling. Prior to the development of the theory of evolution, there was no way for an atheist to settle on any clear argument for why the cosmos exists or why life forms appeared. Darwin changed all that. The development of Darwinian evolution offered atheism an invaluable intellectual tool – an account of beginnings.

The New Atheists have emerged as potent public voices. They write best-selling books, appear on major college and university campuses, and extend their voices through institutional and cultural influence. The movement is new in the sense that it differs from the older atheism in several respects, and one of these is the use of science in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, as intellectual leverage against belief in God.

Dawkins, for example, not only believes that Darwinism made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, but he also argues that religious belief is actually dangerous and devoid of credibility. So, he argues not only that Darwinism made it possible for an atheist to be intellectually fulfilled, he also argues that the theory of evolution undermines belief in God.

In other words, Dawkins asserts that Darwinism makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.

Daniel Dennett, another of the “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism, has argued that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a “universal acid” that will burn away all claims of the existence of God. His confidence in Darwinism is total. He looks back longingly at his own childhood belief in a divinely-created world and argues that, eventually, his experience of moving from belief in creation to confidence in evolution will be shared by a humanity that grows into intellectual adulthood.

Dennett is honest enough to recognize that if evolutionary theory is true, it must eventually offer an account of everything related to the question of life. Thus, evolution will have to explain every aspect of life, from how a species appeared to why a mother loves her child. Interestingly, he offers an argument for why humans have believed in the existence of God.

As we might expect, the theory of evolution is used to explain that there must have been a time when belief in God was necessary in order for humans to have adequate confidence to reproduce. Clearly, Dennett believes that we should now have adequate confidence to reproduce without belief in God.

Sam Harris, also a scientist by training, is another ardent defender of evolutionary theory. Pushing the argument even further than Dawkins and Dennett, Harris has argued that belief in God is such a danger to human civilization that religious liberty should be denied in order that science might reign supreme as the intellectual foundation of human society.

The last of the “Four Horsemen,” author Christopher Hitchens uses his considerable wit to ridicule belief in God, which he, like Dawkins and Harris, considers downright dangerous to humanity. Though Hitchens is not a scientist, his atheism leaves no room for any theory other than evolution.

The Dogma of Darwinism is among the first principles of the worldview offered by the New Atheists. Darwin replaces the Bible as the great explainer of the existence of life in all of its forms. The New Atheists are not merely dependent upon science for their worldview; their worldview amounts to scientism – the belief that modern naturalistic science is the great unifying answer to the most basic questions of human life.

As Richard Dawkins has recently argued, they believe that disbelief in evolution should be considered as intellectually disrespectable and reprehensible as denial of the Holocaust. Thus, their strategy is to use the theory of evolution as a central weapon in today’s context of intellectual combat.

The New Atheists would have no coherent worldview without the Dogma of Darwinism. With it, they intend to malign belief in God and to marginalize Christians and Christian arguments. Thus, we can draw a straight line from the emergence of evolutionary theory to the resurgence of atheism in our times. Never underestimate the power of a bad idea.


This article appears in EX NIHILO, the current issue of The Southern Seminary Magazine. Read the entire issue here.

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