The Problems Of Design

Whenever the subject of Intelligent Design turns up, it is always in the context of believers in ID attacking evolutionary biology. The ID’ers have a list of claims about “Darwinism” that they insist make evolution impossible. A popular one now, for example, is that there is not enough time for natural selection to produce enough gene mutations to explain the fossil record. A fair description of ID is that it is a list of arguments and assertions about evolution wrapped around a set of central claims.

One of those claims is that creation, as we observe it, must be the result of design and therefore a designer. They never describe the designer, as most people just assume they mean God, but the designer could be space aliens, in theory. A certain type of self-described Christian finds this appealing. They assume the designer is God, as they have an understanding of God that is much more personal. They believe God is highly involved in the granular details of human existence.

Now, it should be pointed out that this understanding of God is outside Christian tradition and perhaps even anti-Christian. Early Christians, like the Jews of the period, were highly influenced by the Greek understanding of the world. For them, the universe was an orderly place operating by fixed rules. You can’t have a covenant with God, after all, if the universe is a lawless place controlled by a fickle creator. That would make God’s covenant with man just another trick played by him on mankind.

Intelligent Design is occasionalism. While the natural world seems to operate along a set of knowable rules, God often intervenes to change results. He is always in that space between cause and effect, ready to alter the relationship according to his design. God created the platypus for reasons only known to God. If he chooses, he can make the Nile flow south or the sky turn pink. The proof of this, according to Intelligent Design, is the variety of species alive today, as well those no longer in existence.

In fairness to the ID’ers, occasionalism did creep into Christian theology in the Middle Ages, as the Christian West came into contact with Islam. Nicholas of Autrecourt was a 14th century French theologian, who was a critic of the orderly view of the natural world and a proto-occasionalist. David Hume dabbled in the ideas, but stopped short of claiming a creator or designer. Modern ID’ers can therefore claim they are not way outside Christian tradition, but they would have to defend against it.

Another central claim of Intelligent Design is that the natural world is either the result of chance or design. This is the keystone of their theory, as Intelligent Design is not an affirmative argument in favor of a designer. Instead, they frame the debate as between two competing theories. Therefore, if one is shown to be invalid, by default the other must be true. It is a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand to avoid the central problems of Intelligent Design, which of course is that it can never be proven.

This aspect of Intelligent Design relies on a characterization of natural selection as random chance, like rolling of dice. It’s the claim that a football game is either the result of random chance or the game is fixed by the officials, either in advance or as the game proceeds to its conclusion. Obviously, this is ridiculous. The result of a sports match is not random and it is not predetermined or fixed. The result of a sportsball game, is the result of the players acting and reacting to one another, within a known set of rules.

That’s the case with evolutionary biology. Random mutations in the genome are one aspect of the evolutionary process. Environment obviously plays a role here.  Sexual selection is another. Human intervention is another. After all, people have killed off whole species. People have killed off whole groups of people. Like the sportsball game, there are multiple actors, acting and reacting, within a set of rules that science does not fully understand. Evolution is not an argument in favor of chance.

The point here is Intelligent Design is built, in part, on a false dichotomy. Natural selection is not random chance, at least not how most people understand what random chance means. Further, even if natural selection is unable to explain everything, there are other forces, like sexual selection, that come into play. Even if everything about evolutionary biology is wrong, it does not make Intelligent Design true. It simply means we have no good answer understanding the natural world.

This again comes back to the question as to whether Intelligent Design is at odds with Christian theology. The Sphynx cat exists and we know why. The ID’ers would argue that it is an example of design, but that presupposes the breeders were either directed by God or compelled by God to create the breed. That means man has no agency and that sin cannot truly exist. This argument for Intelligent Design comes dangerously close to the argument that man has no free will, which is heretical on its face.

This is why ID’er focus all of their energy on the negative argument, making various claims about evolutionary science. That way, the discussion is always on the science, rather than the theology. This rhetorical sleight of hand is also dishonest, which raises another theological problem for ID’ers. How can something be in line with Biblical teaching if it is based on a falsehood? Maybe the ID’er have a way to explain this, but it is not something they choose to address in their books and articles.

The most serious issue with Intelligent Design is what it implies about God. A designer that is endlessly tinkering with his creation is not a designer with foresight. Alternatively, it is a designer that is a fickle trickster, tinkering with his creation for his own amusement, without regard for his creation. It is a designer that purposely makes flawed creations that harm his other creations. This is a designer burning army men with a magnifying glass and blowing up the model train trestle. That’s not God. That’s the Devil.

From a mainstream Christian perspective, Intelligent Design has some serious theological problems, with occasionalism being the main one. The one way to solve the theological problems is to move the designer back to the beginning, where the Bible writers preferred to place him. The classic watchmaker model, where God sets the universe in motion, according to a fixed set of rules, with evolution possibly being one of them. That leaves room to debate evolution, but does not make God a villain.

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284 thoughts on “The Problems Of Design

  1. When I was in High School, my biology teacher, an old-fashioned “hard shell” Baptist, very plainly told us that she considered the process of species adapting to changing environmental conditions (i.e. what is called “micro-evolution” 50+ years later) was established and verifiable fact. She went on to say that the process of single-celled organisms somehow evolving into complex organisms such as ourselves (i.e. what is called “macro-evolution”) was “bunk” (her exact word). I cannot accept an earth only 10,000 or so years old. Someone I knew and visited with and corresponded with told me he had once counted in excess of 250,000 layers of ice in (IIRC) the arctic and I believed (still do believe) him. The whole young earth/old argument seems trivial. To me the author here’s example of the sphinx breed of cat is an example of micro-evolution guided by intelligence where the individuals which bred were allowed to do so by a guiding intelligence – in this instance cat breeders. I have real problems with macro-evolution as it is promulgated today although I have problems with ID as it is promulgated as it is almost always always accompanied by a belief in a “young earth” and my “YE” problem is mentioned above.

    The problems I have with macro-evolution are these:
    1) While I do not recall in which grade it was, I do know that it was in grade school that I was taught that the belief in life spontaneously being generated from non-life – abiogenesis – – was utterly disproven long (centuries?) ago. I was not aware of evolution at that point but I’m quite certain that, when my teacher told us that life NEVER spontaneously arises from non-life, my little hand would have shot up (I have a direct link between the question flag in my head and either my hand or vocal apparatus) and I would have asked something like “But what about when life first came to be?”. To me there is no significant difference between the discredited belief that mice (or rats or bugs or whatever) can spontaneously arise from a pile of rags/straw/garbage/whatever and water with certain dissolved minerals/elements can spontaneously give rise to a procariote. If you can show me a fundamental difference, I am all ears/eyes. Oh, and don’t bother throwing out something like “panspermia” because that just moves abiogenesis to another planet nearer in time to the big bang.

    2) The problem of irreducible complexity. Biological systems are full of processes which cannot have been built up through successive generations/iterations because they do not function if so much as even a single step of the process is omitted. The human blood clotting comes to mind as an example. The process of our blood clotting (without doing so all over our bodies) is extremely complex. Leave out even a single step anywhere in the process and either the blood does not clot at all or the clotting reaction races throughout one’s entire circulatory system and turns into a single, quite lethal clot (“Andromeda Strain” anyone?). And there are myriads of processes in biological systems which are just as complex and just as fault INtolerant.

    3) Where did the information come from? There is an enormous difference between the number of base pairs in the genome of a procariote and a human being. Those base pairs are DATA – INFORMATION! Where did the data to build lungs and limbs and brains come from? Procariotes do not have such things because they do not NEED them hence they do not have or need all the superfluous (for them) base pairs. So far as we know, information ONLY comes from intelligence. PERIOD! You can scramble the nucleotide order of a given procariote all you wish and you will still end up with the same number of base pairs.

    It comes to me that it was a lot easier to believe that water, an atmosphere, minerals and trace elements properly stimulated by lighting or some other energetic phenomenon could give rise to simple life in Darwin’s time because life was considered to be fairly simple. In the decades since Darwin, the more we earned about living systems the more complex life appears. I suspect that life is fractal in nature. Hell! I am convinced that EXISTENCE is fractal in nature! The closer we look at pretty much ANYTHING the more complex we find out it is. Poor old Leucippus and Democritus thought that an atom (the word comes from the Greek prefix “α” (meaning “not”) and “τομοσ” (meaning “to cut or divide”) ) was the smallest unit into which anything could be cut. They had it right with respect to elements but then somebody discovered protons and neutrons and electrons and positrons and THOSE were the smallest pieces of matter. Nowadays even the fundamental particles are composed of yet smaller particles. I suspect science will keep finding things right down to the plank limit (or even beyond?). And you don’t even want to TRY to wrap your head around the quantum level.

    Somehow, while chaos seems to be everywhere possible, the universe appears to be ordered. I’ll leave it to other smarter people to figure it all out. Like the child in the Christmas song “Jolly old St Nicholas” “as for me, my little brain isn’t very bright” so I’ll leave the understanding to what “Doc” Smith called “HTT”s (High Tension Thinkers).


    (a) mutation rate != yardage (or any other linear measure)

    (b) some mutations (cortical scale) are profoundly differentiating – just one gene. (20% of neurons in the cortex are regulatory That number increases by region. The same is true for genes. It certainly appears that the vast majority are either dead (not expressed) or regulatory. We don’t know what percent are expressed. So all mutation rate tells us is time difference it does not tell us difference in genetic expression.

    (c) some are profoundly consequential (delay in maturity : neoteny – just hormonal development is largely what varies between human races)

    (d) Genes do not produce linear effects (machine parts) but are causally dense (program code) with anything from zero consequence (noise, or regulatory), some of tiny consequence (rates of expression), and some profound.
    (e) One Single Additional Protein (molecular machine) may cause billions of consequences.

    (f) Of our evolutionary history, regardless of the RATE of migration, it could be only .001% of those mutations that cause 99.999% of competitive evolutionary variations.

    (g) we make a big deal out of 3% difference from chimpanzees but we have no idea the scale of difference provided by each of those variations. intelligence appears to be affected by hundreds if not thousands (a concert problem). Neoteny appears not to be (a small number of hormonal channels). Yet together the effect of these two sets is profound with just small changes.

    (h) As far as I know almost all evolutionary change is driven by:
    – demand for success in the local environment (ie: black resistance to malaria).
    – failure in the local environment (loss of height in southeast islands, loss of fire making, tool making, by austronesians.)
    – utility (white consumption of milk adding 40% more calories to the diet)
    – social animal sortition (variations in demand for competitive traits)
    – age of the carriers (rate of mutation or degradation)
    – errors in replication (genes – which happen all the time – cancer etc )
    – conflicts in integration (male and female genes)
    – random mutations.
    – combinations of all of the above.

    On statistics:
    There isn’t much evidence that we are capable of using statistics on any causally dense phenomenon with any greater precision than a single regression. Period.

    YOU CAN’T AVERAGE AN AVERAGE, and STATISTICS MUST BE OPERATIONALLY EXPLICABLE OR THEY’RE MEANINGLESS. (correlation is not causation, and operations produce correlations)

    1 – I cannot falsify evolution and every single evidence from the fundamental structure of the universe to the imagination of man is a product of a very small number of possibilities in very great permutation, just as limited numbers of sounds, characters, and numbers can be arranged in infinitely complex permutations.

    2 – The five rules of christianity are,logically, rationally(incentives), scientifically(empirically) the optimum prisoner’s dilemma (trust building) strategy, and I cannot falsify either or their relation. There is a reason christians are wealthier than competing cults.

    3 – Information can only be stored in some memory or other, information stored must be abstracted (generalized) in order to consume less calories and volume that the original matter and its changes in state over time. I cannot falsify that statement – it’s a physical and logical impossibility.

    Truthful speech can only consist of what I can testify to.
    I can only testify to that which is:
    – categorically consistent
    – Logically consistent
    – empirically(observably) consistent
    – operationally consistent
    – rationally consistent
    – reciprocally consistent
    – parsimonious
    – scope consistent
    – and fully accounted
    – within stated limits
    and where
    – due diligence has been demonstrated,
    and where
    – one’s statements are warrantied by restitution if one errs.
    I cannot testify to anything other than.
    1. Realism,
    2. Naturalism,
    3. Operationalism

    *Nor can anyone else.*

    Curt Doolittle
    The Propertarian Institute

    • The problematic math of fixation is simply on SNPs, not on phenotype expressions where yes SNP can have non-linear effects.

  3. ID vs. TENS is a false dichotomy

    They are both wrong.

    More accurately, ID “isn’t even wrong”, since they don’t explain how to falsify a creator.

    TENS is rapidly proving untenable given the last 10-20 years of genetic sequencing capabilities and chemical engineering + microbiology knowledge.

    Our scientific establishment is utterly incapable of replacing TENS, since current science is indistinguishable from a religion. It’ll take something equivalent of Martin Luther to fix science in general.

  4. “The Sphynx cat exists and we know why. The ID’ers would argue that it is an example of design, but that presupposes the breeders were either directed by God or compelled by God to create the breed. That means man has no agency and that sin cannot truly exist.”

    What the actual. You literally just argued that in order for something designated by humans to be designed, humans would have to be unable to design. The “logic” of this argument is an incestuous oxymoronic ouroboros.

    Obviously the IDers arguing from an example of something designed by man as being designed aren’t arguing that it was directly and only designed by God. What kind of idiotic straw man supposition is this? I’m not even an IDer, this projection is just noxiously stupid.

  5. agreed with the article. perhaps ID would not be so popular if the full-on atheistic theory of evolution was not prevalent in the mainstream, and if there were not on the other hand some dazed Young and Flat Earthers as the loudest opponents. ID is a flawed, if endearing, attempt at a middle ground, perhaps too secularized for its own good. (relatedly, its proponents tend to be or really like (((specials)))).

    furthermore, in pro of the Watchmaker, the atheistic model still has to explain why evolution is limited “within a set of rules that science does not fully understand”.

  6. I’ve been reading for years but never posted until now. Z, this is quite thin gruel. ID is posing questions like “irreducible complexity” which is a compelling enough argument for me to start questioning Darwin.

    but the bigger deal with ID is how it is VERBOTEN. if you speak of it as a scientist, you are run out of town on a rail. the inherent unscientific nature of most of science these days dovetails nicely with the silencing of conservatives. and also, as with every other lefty catechism, it’s the shutting down of debate.

    but obviously, the ever expanding explosion from nothing doesn’t have anything to do with bashing religion. it just makes the math work. 😉

    • you’ve coerced me to buy Behe’s latest, “Darwin Devolves”! it’s off to a good start.

      enjoy the view from the other side of the divide…

    • Pythagoras was a genius, but he ended up living in a cave, convinced that beans were evil. Tycho Brahe was a brilliant astronomer. later in life he would hire a dwarf to sit silently under his dinner table. A little closer to home, Ted Kaczynski was a genius, but ended up in a shack, mailing bombs to people.

      That said, I corresponded with David Gelernter back in the 1990’s about file systems.

      • He isn’t preaching ID, he’s using mathematics to blast holes in Darwinism that you could drive a truck through.

  7. Microevolution happens, macroevolution has never been observed and consciousness can’t really be explained in an evolutionary framework.

    Darwinian evolution is a crackpot theory.

    • Right, because poodles are an optical illusion. They are the same wolves God created at the beginning.

      • Poodles ARE an example of micro-evolution. Poodles that can’t breed with wolves would be Macro.

          • Senator Brundlefly said: “A female Chihuahua cannot breed with a wolf.” That depends on how drunk she is.

          • Senator Brundlefly blithely opined, “A female Chihuahua cannot breed with a wolf. Mechanical species barrier.”

            I wouldn’t bet my junk on that, Senator. I once worked with a guy whose female pekingese set her cap for a great dane mix that liked to run the neighborhood. According to my buddy, she positioned herself on the top step of the back porch and the dog figured out the rest of the geometry problem. When the two were locked together (a mechanism to ensure a proper semen transfer facilitated by the large knob at the base of a dog’s penis) the peke’s back was at a >45 degree angle and her hind feet were several inches off the ground. BTW, Carryin and delivering the (IMS 4) pups liked to have killed her but the mating was successful.

  8. Mormon theology has an interesting perspective, where God is essentially a perfected man who organizes existing matter. All matter is composed of intelligence, and therefore has agency. God is able to organize it bc He possesses all intelligence, including a perfect understanding of chemistry, physics, etc, as well as perfect love toward the matter engendering it’s trust of Him.

    As far as I can tell Mormon theology agrees with St. Augustine in that time is a creation of God’s – He lives on a greater dimensional plane with our past, present, and future all being present to Him.
    (This could also explain how God, who has a perfected body, can travel instantly throughout the cosmos by leveraging his inter-dimensional existence and His extensive knowledge.)

    One thing that stands out to me is that if God is a higher power, why should He have to prove His existence to us? Am I required to price my existence to an ant in Malaysia, it’s an imperfect example, but i don’t think that a lack of evidence as we understand that to be precludes the existence of a higher power. The whole faith thing makes a certain sense in that the higher power could have an improvement process for us with a carrot/stick style of encouragement. If you “come into” him you get the carrot – greater understanding and fulfillment – whereas if you do not you get the stick – lack of fulfillment and understanding and perhaps some misery into the bargain.

    However, if we take that premise as true that God really is God because of His understanding of true laws, then it stands to reason that He would cease to be God if He flouted those laws. By this logic our improvement is regimented by God in accordance with the same laws that regimented His own improvement in some before-time. This opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, but is an interesting concept. In this light it is possible that God is a sort of spiritual paterfamilias – the smart, perfected, inter-dimensional traveling man who organized/created us, whereas He was created at some point by a different smart, perfected, inter-dimensional traveling man….our spiritual grandfather..?
    God says He has always existed but hasn’t a human father always existed in a way for his children as well? At what point are things best literally or symbolically understood.

  9. Don’t really care about ID or Darwinism as both are used by nerds to justify their agendas.

    All I do know that IQ is way over hyped and that a lot of bright people look like freaks and touched by sociopathy if not outright psychopathy. They definitely came from the shallow end of the gene pool. Look at Dorsey, Zucky, Gates, Brin, etc. Frail little men I could stuff in a suitcase without breaking a sweat. Yet by HBD standards they are apex whites.

    As a race, today’s white men are not of the same caliber as those in Athens Georgia, or those went toe to toe with murderous Pinkerton men at the mills and mines to get us the rights and benefits we have today. It was paid for in blood, something the current DR peeps don’t get. If we don’t do the heavy lifting no one else will.

    So maybe before we get all focused on what amounts to silly topics, we figure how to man the f**k up like our ancestors did because we’re gonna need it down the road. Or we will lose badly.

  10. “They assume the designer is God, as they have an understanding of God that is much more personal. They believe God is highly involved in the granular details of human existence.”

    Pardon my ignorance as I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, but in what way is this outside of the Christian tradition? Don’t Christians believe in a God who banished Adam, flooded the world, spoke to Moses through a bush, razed down Sodom and Gomorrah (salting a lady who looked at it), and sent Jesus as a personal emissary? Does it not sound like some pretty granular involvement in these instances? I’m a firm believer in natural selection and a naturalistic world which is why I have doubts about such stories. But if a Christian is to fault a fellow Christian for such views as being Biblically out of hand, I have difficulty seeing how one does it from purely Christian terms.

  11. It is simultaneously possible to doubt both ID AND macro evolution AT THE SAME TIME.

    Macro evolution fails the time span test for mutation probability, this is not in doubt. This is not to say that ID is automatically the alternative answer. The correct alternative answer is “this cannot be it, just like that can’t be it, so i don’t know, let’s keep looking for a hypothesis that fits the facts.”

  12. “A certain type of self-described Christian finds this appealing. They assume the designer is God, as they have an understanding of God that is much more personal. They believe God is highly involved in the granular details of human existence. Now, it should be pointed out that this understanding of God is outside Christian tradition and perhaps even anti-Christian”.

    Have you actually read the Bible Z?

    The whole thing is stuffed full of God boasting He made everything… and massive records of all His interventions into human affairs…. and claims to specifically track and punish everything done by any human no matter how insignificant.

    Why should I treat your claims any more seriously than a blue haired Xirl telling me Jesus came to tear down the patriarchy? You’re not even in the ball park of truth here.

  13. “Now, it should be pointed out that this understanding of God is outside Christian tradition and perhaps even anti-Christian.”

    This is breathtakingly false. Observably false. Is the ZMan drunk? Did his evil twin write this?

    “Intelligent Design is occasionalism.”

    Oh, puh-leeze. An “-ism,” ZMan? From YOU? Unworthy.

    “It simply means we have no good answer understanding the natural world.”

    You can’t say “good,” but the point is well taken nevertheless. A bit of common sense.

    “A designer that is endlessly tinkering with his creation is not a designer with foresight.”

    Well, as far as you know, which is not at all. You are guessing. That’s unavoidable in a pointless discussion such as this one, which I call “punching the Tar Baby.” What’s the point except to speculate about things utterly beyond your ken? Yesterday’s column was good, solid stuff. Today’s is — well — punching the Tar Baby.

    “Alternatively, it is a designer that is a fickle trickster, … ”

    Unknowable. Another conjecture. Another punch at the Tar Baby.

    ” … tinkering with his creation for his own amusement, …”

    More guessing. And OMG–did you just say “his”???

    ” … without regard for his creation.”

    Another guess at an unknowable.

    “It is a designer that purposely makes flawed creations that harm his other creations.”

    Ditto. More guesswork about an unknowable thing.

    Well, no need to continue with this punching the Tar Baby.

    St Augustine, for Roman Catholics and Lutherans a Doctor of the Church and a venerated saint taught that ALL Scripture is about Christ–from Genesis to Revelation. He taught that the Genesis creation story is about the birth of the Church, not about the mysterious origins of stuff.

    One problem is that people who are not smart enough even to think about these things insist on talking about them, often using big words, which is always a dead giveaway. Another problem is the problem of human language, ALL of which refer originally and exclusively to things in and of this world and which cannot, therefore, be used to talk literally about divine acts or about God, and so on. That’s why the Scriptures say that God is a rock and God is light.

    Stick to what you are good at, ZMan. Well, not just good, but the BEST on the internet. Yesterday’s article, for example.

    No doubt it has amused you to see your readers spend hours punching the Tar Baby, but is that really any way to treat loyal and intelligent readers? We don’t come here to read your speculations on things that neither you nor anybody else know(s) anything about. We come here to read intelligent articles that are well written and readable and that have practical value–stuff we can’t get elsewhere: not from Vox, not from Treehouse, not from Unz, not from Taki, and (Good Lord, deliver us!) certainly not from Breitbart.

    Come on! We can get jerked around by nitwits anywhere. We come here because we don’t want that. And that is not what you dish out, which is another reason we come here.

    Don’t do this punch-the-Tar-Baby stuff again, okay?

    • Above my pay grade and I don’t really care, but if I were concerned with the theological implications of Intelligent Design, I would explore this Thomist philosopher’s musings.
      Feser appears to lean towards Zman’s outlook of ID being outside Christian tradition.
      “The Thomist’s problem with the arguments of Paley and ID theory is not – NOT (See that? It says “not”) – that they are merely probabilistic, or that they don’t get you all the way to the God of classical theism. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem with these arguments is rather that they don’t get you even one millimeter toward the God of classical theism, and indeed they get you positively away from the God of classical theism.”
      It’s commendable that the blog host can come up with a topic everyday that appeals to at least some of his readership and inspires lively debate.

  14. The problem that both sides miss is that there aren’t nearly enough genes to do what they claim genes do. During the Human Genome Project the number kept getting reduced, and now sits at around 19,000. It’s small enough a number itself, then we are told that humans are all 99.8% similar or whatever, so then the entire spectrum of inherited human variance must come from a handful of genes. It’s not feasible.

    So you have both sides bickering about how the genes got there when the genes can’t possibly do what they assume. Something else is at play in biological inheritance, and that is the real mystery to solve.

    A plug to my own blog on the subject:

  15. “This is a designer burning army men with a magnifying glass and blowing up the model train trestle.”

    Well said Zman.

    I’ve not read the comments yet, but I’m sure you’ll be flamed for this piece.

  16. The core problem with ID is that it just moves the problem one step back. It says the universe is too complex to have just occurred, so it must have a Designer. “But then, who designed the Designer?” “Nobody designed Him, He just occurred.” Sorry, that’s not very convincing, for reasons that should be obvious.

    For insight into how evolution (and much more) works by a combination of simple rules and random chance, I recommend the book The Laws of the Game: How The Principles of Nature Govern Chance by Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler.

  17. Too big a bite, Zman; the comments show you choking on it. Too many ways to beat it about like a pixelated piñata and watch the innards dribble out. No claim of, “You all did not understand ME,” is going to cut it as the topics have been wrassled with by folk with bigger feet than you or I.

    As another poster wrote above, this sort of topic is best avoided until we have our enthostate or what-have-you. Plenty of time then to stab identitarian allies in the neck.


    As for the guts of the post, I am not an ID proponent, but ID is a useful instrument with which to prod the evolution proponents who want to sweep evolution’s inexplicable dirt under the rug. In the late 19th century, physics thought it was about a done deal, ‘Our work is done here,” except for a few niggling items. Well, those turned into quantum physics, relativistic physics, and more. If physicists had circled the wagons around Newton the way the evolutionists have done with Darwin, we’d never have gotten to the moon or have commo satellites, and suchlike.

    I would like to see more and better work done on this, but as with social science’s relation with HBD, initial assumptions prove a straight jacket–or perhaps a distorting burden.

    • The conversations come from watching the innards dribbling out of the pixilated piñata. A good blog host puts things out there that stir the pot. If there is one obvious correct answer, the discussion is not going to go anywhere. I like the mixing up of the topics, even though I don’t feel like I have much to add to the religious or JQ convos. They seem to quickly head on over to Monty Python skit territory.

    • evolution proponents are wwwaaaayyyyyy down on my list of things to worry about. oops, they just fell off entirely!

  18. I love it when political analysts inevitably wade into scientific waters and stir up the mud. That’s when when we find out if the gas bags really know anything or not. The Zman has stirred up the mud, and the amateurs are jumping in to get dirty with him.

    Ostensibly, the Zman’s perambulations on Intelligent Design are meant to expose the contradictions between ID and traditional Christianity, and to expose the misunderstandings of ID as they relate to the meaning of randomness and natural selection.

    I’ll leave the theology to others, but I will comment on the ideas of natural selection bouncing around this thread.

    The Zman makes the same mistake as most people do when discussing evolution and natural selection. Almost everyone jumps into the story in the middle, after DNA and RNA exist, and almost no one discusses the beginning, before DNA and RNA existed. If you start your discussion in the middle of the story, then the whole discussion centers on how mutations, randomness, natural selection, etc., do or do not account for what we observe in the natural world.

    The more profound question is, where does DNA come from? More specifically, where do carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids come from? For biologists, the standard hand waving answer is that there was a pre-biotic chemical soup billions of years ago, that lightning struck, and that the building blocks of life popped into existence.

    For synthetic chemists, the lightning strikes fantasy is preposterous. See this review:

    The basic argument is that synthetic chemists start with an endpoint, the molecule of interest, and then devise of pathway to get there. In contrast, nature cannot have an endpoint molecule in mind, and therefore random propagation of molecules has no way to know in which direction to go to get to DNA and proteins.

    Chemistry is unlike biology in the sense that the only fitness criteria for a chemical is whether or not it is stable enough to exist in its environment. How would nature know that some stable molecules will lead to DNA and that others would not, and how would nature now that DNA is the desired target molecule?

    To say that a few billion years of random chemistry magically gave us the desired DNA and proteins and lipids to make life is no different from holding a religious belief. From the chemist’s perspective, evolutionary biology is nothing more than a clever religion based on a limited set of observable outcomes than can be manipulated in a controlled environment.

    But the chemical critique is even more than a critique of randomness. It says that some chemical problems are unsolvable in a chemical soup. From the strictest chemical perspective, we have absolutely no idea how the building blocks of life came to be.

    Thus, the Zman’s discussion of ID, while clever from a sophist’s point of view, doesn’t offer us anything intelligent about the true nature of how we got here. It’s just another opportunistic blast at the ID people, because….. well, apparently because the Zman has a long list of people who annoy him.

    • @Homer Hinkley

      You’re talking about abiogenesis, something that’s separate from natural selection.

    • You have proved the main point of my post. Thank you. I said ID’ers have no affirmative claims, so they are reduced to shifting the focus to their claims about evolution. Yours is exactly the example I would have used. After a bunch of hand waving and arm flapping, you settle into repeating the familiar ID’er claims about science.

      In other words, you have to change the subject, because Intelligent Design is indefensible.

      • No. In fact, you proved my point. You’ve exposed yourself as a layman who wants and needs to avoid science, while at the same time taking pot shots at science as if you know something about science Thank you for admitting your limitations.

        There are scientific problems that exist, whether you believe in ID, or evolution, or anything else. As soon as I pointed one out, you assumed that I was defending ID, because to you it sounded like something you’ve heard an ID person say, and ID bugs you.

        As a layman, you don’t want to acknowledge that scientists question things all the time without knowing all the answers. As a layman, you instinctively want to put these scientists in a political box that you can attack, because it is far more satisfying to you to attack them than to deal with the basic scientific question.

        In your reply, you try to flip the script back to your layman’s view that ID believers have no affirmative claims, and that they’re always trying to change the subject, and that anyone who in your view acts this way is an ID believer. Clearly, ID really bugs you, as I said in my conclusion, and which you prove in your reply.

        You’re stuck on this idea that because, according to you, believers in ID have “no affirmative claims,” that their questions are illegitimate. You’d still be living in the dirt if no scientist ever asked a question until he had an “affirmative claim” that explains everything.

        I once published a paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry where I demonstrated that another researcher’s claim could not be reproduced. The fall out from this was that an entire class of protein-cofactor molecules did not exist, as the other researcher claimed they did.

        The genesis of the work was that, based on everything I knew about the existing state of protein chemistry, I just didn’t believe the other guy. I had no “affirmative claim” about an alternate explanation to account for his observations. I just didn’t believe his claims. And it turns out that I was right and he was wrong.

        A few months later I was at a conference where someone recognized my name and told me they were happy to see my paper because they too had not been able to verify the claims of the third party in question. In fact, there were a number of labs around the world who couldn’t verify the claims of the third party.

        None of us had any “affirmative claims” to replace his explanation for what he observed. His claim was his. We weren’t responsible for it. We just investigated it because if it was true it would have consequences for our general understanding of protein chemistry. Since no one could reproduce his results, they were forgotten

        Same thing with cold fusion.

        Layman like you dismiss the ID people because you’re demanding some replacement for standard evolution, and until you’ve got one no questions are legitimate. As a scientist, I fully reject your sentiment that questioning a fundamental scientific concept is a dodge and a deflection from the truth.

    • The point is that ID doesn’t “offer us anything intelligent about the true nature of how we got here.” It’s anti-Darwinism dressed up in a cassock with gaudy pseudo-scientific costume jewelry. It doesn’t have any provable claims. It’s an anti-theory which relies on some legitimate questions about Darwin’s theory to bait-and-switch that flawed theory with that of an intelligent designer. Actual ID doesn’t even limit itself to claiming an inherent/emergent pattern rather than “intelligent” design.

      Claiming ID isn’t scientific is not the same thing as “proving X variant of Darwinian evolution” but that’s the tire you’re trying to necklace him with. Put it back in the dumpster before you further tar yourself.

      • Exile, as I explained in my response to Zman, you too have made the mistake of thinking that I’m defending ID. You’ve been conditioned to believe that anything remotely sounding like a legitimate question to Darwinism is actually an “anti-theory” used to “bait-and-switch that flawed theory with that of an intelligent designer.” That’s nonsense.

        The explicit point of my post was that before you can even talk about Darwinism, you have to explain the origins of abiotic chemistry that produce the building blocks of life. This is a legitimate area of scientific research, where the answers are unknown.

        In fact, the National Science Foundation has funded a center for chemical evolution to try to provide explanations for how abiotic chemistry could have created building the blocks of life and the polymers that we observe in living organisms today.

        The whole point of my post was that the general public conveniently divides evolution into two halves, before cells and after cells. This is a false division. All living organisms are just big bags of chemicals made up of smaller bags of chemicals made up of the chemicals themselves. Darwinism and evolution cannot exist independently of having to explain how random chemistry produced the building blocks of life.

        You and Zman seem to think that just asking how this works is a dodge and a deflection, an attempt to change the subject, an attempt avoid offering an alternative theory to replace evolution.

        You and Zman are hung up on this idea that ID doesn’t offer any “affirmative claims” or “provable claims,” and that no one is legitimate until they have a provable alternative to evolution.

        Pons and Fleischmann put some heavy water into a bottle, ran some current through it, and claimed they had created cold fusion. Some people believed them, but most did not, and no one has successfully reproduced their claims in any meaningful way.

        No one had to provide any “affirmative claims” or “provable claims” to say that cold fusion is questionable science. It is fully sufficient for rigorous scientists to say “You’re claims can’t be verified by the smartest scientists and the best technology available in the rest of the world, and therefore we’re not going to waste anymore time or money on it.”

        And this is the general case with the theory of evolution. Lots of people believe it because it conforms to many of things we can do in a controlled laboratory environment, and this makes a lot of people feel smart and comfortable.

        But lots of people don’t believe it because there is simply no experimental evidence for the major underpinnings of random chemical synthesis that are necessary to support the theory, and the theory of evolution makes no specific testable predictions on what will evolve in nature over the next year.

        I fully reject the notion that it’s unscientific to question fundamental ideas in the absence of any other provable claims. All science starts with questions and no answers. Furthermore, asking the questions leads to new knowledge in unexpected ways. Some theories will proved and some never will be proved, but it’s the people asking the questions that drive the process.

        I’m fairly certain that the theory of evolution never will be proved. No one ever will provide any experimental evidence to prove how the random synthesis of the building blocks of life occurred, and no one will ever provide a predictive algorithm for what new species will exist on earth in a thousand years.

        What actually will happen is something completely different. Instead of trying to prove what has happened in the past, scientists, like they always do, will simply bumble around manipulating the present. They will reject their failures and follow their successes. This will lead to surprising results.

        In one of the most spectacular failures in modern science, Craig Venter and coworkers attempted to create a living cell from purely synthesized chemicals, and they found that they could not do it. It was an impossibly gargantuan task to synthesize an artificial genome and to add all the lipids and proteins and everything else needed to create life.

        Typically, this massive failure was reported in the media as a stunning success and a turning point in human history. What Venter and coworkers actually did was to remove the DNA from an existing bacterium and add back to it their own chemically synthesized genome. Far from creating life, they just substituted one DNA genome for another.

        However, either way you look at it, now there is a new organism on the face of the earth. Your homework for today is to answer the following question:

        Is the new organism evolved or designed?

        For you and Zman who believe that ID makes no affirmative claims, have at it if that makes you feel smart.

        However, (since you like affirmative claims) I will make the following affirmative claim:

        We now have a living organism that was designed and not evolved.

        Did the theory of evolution predict that organism?

  19. The weakest part of Darwin’s argument (and those that follow him) is his claim about the origin of species through the process of natural selection.

    The problem is that natural selection can be observed and, in fact, performed by humans but, at no time, has natural selection resulted in a new species *unless you fudge the notion of ‘species’*.

    The entire current argument regarding ‘origin of species through the process of natural selection’ plus ‘random mutation’ (neo-evolutionary theory) doesn’t hinge on ‘random mutation’ or ‘natural selection’ *but what constitutes a species*.

    Since the notion ‘species’ itself is a human invention, what nature gives us are different life-forms that exhibit certain inheritable characteristics. Knowing which of these life-forms constitutes a unique *species* depends upon what humans think counts as a ‘species’, not what’s in nature.

    My view is that one species is distinguished from another species if they cannot produce offspring via some form of sexual reproduction (even if merely in vitro). If they can, then they’re not separate species but *something else* no matter how divergent the life-forms morphology or behavior.

    • One thing to keep in mind is that all organisms that share the same set of amino acid based DNA, are related. The concept of ‘species’ is arbitrary and fluid. Evolution occurs at the gene level, and genes can be spread by viruses and other mechanisms.

  20. I feel about ID the way an early Russian critic of Lenin’s felt about Marx: Marxists, he said, are like astronomers, who are mathematically certain that an eclipse will happen… but then form a Party and start murdering people, to make sure it does. I prefer the metaphor of billiard balls on a table (apologies to David Hume) — there’s no way of predicting where all the balls will come to rest after the break, even though we understand every aspect of the physics involved.

  21. Would someone fill in what appears to be a missing part of the syllogism, please?

    “The Sphynx cat exists and we know why. The ID’ers would argue that it is an example of design, but that presupposes the breeders were either directed by God or compelled by God to create the breed. ”

    It looks to me like it’s saying:

    A. Sphynx cat exists.
    B. Sphynx cats were designed.
    C. God intervened to, uh, convince people to design them?


  22. All of this stuff falls under the umbrella of we really don’t know for sure. We can logically look at data, review history, study the current state of our existence. We hopefully make conclusions that are anchored in the reality of what we see. Usually in conjunction with what makes sense and what doesn’t. Free will and the not knowing for sure works within the framework of our thinking, our existence. If we knew everything it would not be much of a life. Discovery becomes knowledge. Knowledge should then become wisdom. The best part of our existence are the discoveries we make along the way.

    It’s OK to be White.
    We are not the same.
    We are not equal.
    They are not like us.

    I do not fear these truths. I fear the idiots who refuse to see them.

    It’s OK not to know something for sure. It is also OK to know and acknowledge obvious truths when they are there for everyone to see.

  23. Wow Z, last week the “Jew thing,” this week God and the origin of life on earth. I’m not sure what the cause is, but you are like a boy with stick looking for another hornet’s nest poke!

    I’m going to mostly pass on this one, but I will take exception to one thing you said:

    “The Sphynx cat exists and we know why.”

    We know “how,” but I don’t think we know “why”…. 😉

  24. In the future, all right-wingers will be 7-day young earth creationists. I say this based on demographic trends. Rightly or wrongly, these debates won’t be occurring much longer.

    Here’s an exercise: everyone participating in this discussion starts his post with the number of children he has.

    • 8 children (6 boys, 2 girls, ages 18 to 8 months). 44 years old, my wife wants more children and seems to have the fertility and reproductive health to pull it off.

    • @Red Forman

      Based on present demographic trends, we will be Muslims… or members of some other religion that put women in their damned place in much the same way the Taliban does.

      • Don’t count the Mormons out – geographically they might control vast areas of the Western US – who knows?

        • Bingo! That’s why I’m coat-tailing on the Mormons. That’s why I moved to Utah. Back at EBMUD in the Bay Area, the best, kindest and Smartest IT guy who I’d call on graveyard shift to get the SCADA system up post crash/Mormon! Best Supervisor of Orinda Treatment Plant, fair, smart and knowledgeable and kind, a leader of men and women and I’d fight in a foxhole for that man/Mormon! Utah has an unemployment rate of 2.8% and people from out of state are filling up the Salt Lake Corridor to enjoy job growth and the hip urban lifestyle. Polygamy Porter anyone?

    • This is probably true. They will also probably live at a vastly lower level of technology since the highest fertility group is Amish and our tech base is eroding

      Also this doesn’t apply in Europe where even their Right, while it can be natal (FN’s Marine La Pen for example has three children) are seldom very religious even in places like France

      Ireland for example went from devout Catholic to secular in a generation or so.

      • People’s Square (Striker) at TRS had a recent (8/9) long (4hr+) podcast with Irish Nationalist Keith Wood – good guy, interesting takes. He lays heavy blame for the wreck of Irish culture on Woke Capital. The Irish gov’t let Google, Faceberg et al turn Ireland into a tax-haven Port Royale for global pirate ships far too big for Ireland to influence, much less police, and gave them a stranglehold on their national economy. They moved cheap labor in, Irish kids moved out, Dublin became the world’s 3rd highest-rent city and any attempt by the Irish to resist globoshlomo was met with threats by the pirates to take their business elsewhere, which would hollow out Ireland’s economy overnight. Many lessons to be found in that experience.

        • Very much so. If there is to be an organized future, capital will have rigid controls on every facet of it and the entire economic structure will have to be forced away from finance to a steady state or something similar

          Harkets? Yes. Private ownership and production? Yes. Financialization? Hell no.

          This will be brutally difficult to plan and implement though especially when dealing with the nature of modernity where out technology essentially destroys good wages for productive work forcing people into finance and service BS

          Mind you this is not entirely a new problem , Medieval Guilds existed in part to keep wage arbitration under control as do Unions but having this kind of scale is new.

          Of course the other option is collapse which a sane elite would realize will get them worse.

  25. “A popular one now, for example, is that there is not enough time for natural selection to produce enough gene mutations to explain the fossil record.”

    Geneticist JC Sanford of Cornell believes that mutations + selection cannot even maintain the genome (subject to “Genetic Entropy” the title of his book) let alone add more information to the genome to drive speciation. He believes we (and I assume other species) were created perfect by God and are decaying (I assume with some fortuitous mutations and “fine-tuning” built into the design).

  26. I’ve always considered myself to believe in intelligent design, but not in a God who’s always fine tuning things. All laws of nature were set in motion at the beginning of the universe. All life came from one cell, containing every permutation that life allows, that was placed in the ocean through divine will. At some point, half assed monkeys developed big enough brains to look at their reflections in the water and say “what the hell am I doing here?” – And that was Adam and Eve.

    People gravitate towards “free agency” because they want to be in control. However God can be just as much of a sadist with free agency as with predestination. With predestination, God creates you, and then subjects you to suffer under every pain and sorrow in the world. With Free will, God creates you, and not only do you suffer the world around you, and the declining body of your own mortality, but you also create your own suffering with a host of bad decisions.

    How do we reconcile a deity, who loves us, and cares about us with the filthy, corrupt, brutal world in which we live? Either with or without free agency? The only way is to see this situation as temporary. A very large, three dimensional hologram like in the Matrix, a classroom to grow for those who are capable of growing. A classroom where God intentionally allows his children to run with scissors and eat paste, with little to no intervention. That’s the point. Part of growing is pain and suffering. We grow and gain empathy and wisdom by going through hardships and suffering of different kinds. We learn through tears, and tears develop the soul.

    I find Christianity and stoicism to be complementary.

    • Christians, who feel hey need to reject evolution, are on solid ground if they view God as the first mover. They can doubt the certainty of evolution without embracing a heresy like Intelligent Design. It’s a bit of a cop-out, for sure, but avoiding eternity in Hell requires some corner cutting.

  27. These arguments presuppose that we should have mandatory biology classes in public school and use those biology classes to attack the Christianity of the kids.
    There is absolutely no reason to do this. It is completely dishonest and the only reason 10th grade biology exists is to further weaken Christianity in America and Europe. You could teach a hell of a lot of biology without needing to harp on evolution. I am pretty sure this stuff just would not come up without this public school attack on Christianity. Christians use ID to defend against the harmful effects of secularism and widespread atheism.
    We are living with the fruits of atheism right now. The endless sexual degeneracy and the pervasiveness of it would not be possible in a strongly Christian society. It is only going to continue to get worse as Christianity continues to weaken. Not only do we have all this sexual degeneracy, but degeneracy has pushed into other areas of life including art, literature, pop culture and politics.

    • Agree. Just what I’ve said above on not driving conflict where it’s not needed and leaving the evo debate for the colleges of choice rather than public schools of compulsion. Anti-evo needs some space to either improve or die off, and the Darwinist crusade to pogrom all unbelievers reminds me far too much of the Yankee fanatics in the Civil War re: slavery.

  28. The Earth has a natural history, recorded in the rocks. Things which happened that are beyond the scale of pre-scientific human understanding. But you can see them in the rocks. Folded-thrusts. Magnetic reversals recorded in the spreading sea-floor. Hotspots and island chains (Hawai’i). Impact craters. Speaking of which, there’s one in the Yucatan peninsual, Chicxulub. 65 mya a meteor or comet, greater than 11km diameter, slammed into the earth at 62 times the speed of sound at a 45 degree angle. Bad day for the critters on planet earth. In killing all the dinosaurs, once things settled down, it opened a huge space for evolution, specifically the adaptive radiation of mammals. Rats, bats and antelopes, as the bean counters say. Prairie dogs, whales, horses, elephants, cats, primates and homo sapiens.

    What sort of diety shoots the equivalent of a spitball to allow the emergence of his crowning creation? Not a villain, but at best, a cosmic trickster. And the joke’s on you.

      • The size of the impact is not important. It could have been volcanoes. What’s important is that a random event opened the path to human evolution.

  29. The message of the Vedantists and the Buddhists is to look inward and stop getting tangled up in complicated theological arguments.–Epaminondas

    Then there are lots of folks like me who approach this subject by not…..and stay out of the deep weeds.
    “A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.” ― G. K. Chesterton. So my arguments are screwed to begin with.

    Due to lack of exposure to church Christian teachings except for Micro) a Presbyterian neighbor kid got an Attaboy Ribbon for bringing me, a heathen, to vacation Bible school, and Macro) mainstream culture. Christian culture capital was rumbling well above the surface in the 50’s here in the states and in Europe, the standards being mostly absorbed by osmosis. Now you see Chesterton’s maxim: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

    This a Koan, the unanwerable question. I’m not going to beat my head bloody.

    Yes, there have been innumerable Non-Christian societies/cultures that have staggered along, some long gone and some still staggering, throughout history. The standards of the Bible and yes, the first 5 books are Torah, gave us the success of Western Civilisation, for a while. No God….you see the result. And gave us the standards for improving our individual selves and thus society.

    Sometimes you have to walk backwards to God, like Heyoka, not looking at his face, holding onto the iron rod of standards “just because” this is how to be a “good” person and the macro society is improved by the micro moving toward perfection. It’s mighty important to reach/grow….but being human, perfection cannot be attained. It’s the journey, Bilbo Baggins. You don’t need to be a weatherman to get that concept.

    Do the action firsts; the feeling/ result will follow. Be grateful and quit whining.

    • They’re onto something – damn those Aryans are some awesome ancestors.

      Theology is the libertarianism of religion.

      Orthodoxy is superior to Roman Catholicism for its greater appreciation of mysticism and de-emphasis on temporal hierarchies and glass-faerie-castle theologies, and snake-handling hillbilly Prots are superior to Marxist Methodism and Prog Baptists because they live in their faith rather than intellectualize and LARP it.

  30. Attention Z People! As it turns out, I’m quite the amazing fellow. With one brilliant stroke I solved the whole problem forever. Because I just invented, faith!

    • Matthew 16:4:
      “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.”

      Creation Science and Archaeology that attempts to prove the Bible is historically accurate or that neo-darwinism and Christianity can be reconciled, are just make work projects for people who don’t really believe that God is a man of his word. Are these “miraculous signs” their looking for? No. But signs none the less. That’s just playing the worlds game. Are they sincere? No doubt. But sincerity and good intent have been the excuse for doing all kinds of silly crap. Like I said above, faith is the first key.
      Faith, Hope, and Love: 1 Corinthians 13:13.
      “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

      • I’m not sure this kind of belief satisfies modern thinkers in and of itself but it’s one way to declare a mutually honorable and lasting truce between religion and science. Trying to take science on in its own arena is bound to fail, just as futile and counterproductive as demanding belief in present day miracles.

        Love is the dangerous element in that scripture though – the primacy of love is what Pope Francis claims to lend scriptural authority to his Pozzed NuGospel. “Love over Justice” is what allowed Anthony Kennedy to kritarch us with gay marriage.

        Charlemagne’s Christianity was not one of “Love before all.” Love minded its subordinate place in his hierarchy of values, and in the actual practices of the pre-modern church in general. Our modern Aquarian interpretation of Love is being hijacked to destroy faith and hope for non-pozzed Christians. We have to push back against love.

        • Exile said: ” Our modern Aquarian interpretation of Love is being hijacked to destroy faith and hope for non-pozzed Christians. We have to push back against love.” Wow. If your talking about “The Aquarian Gospel” I haven’t thought about that kind of stuff since I was a teenager. The Fox sisters, Madem Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Aleister Crowley. Man, that takes me back. When “The Aquarian Gospel” talks about love, it always sounded more like maudlin sentimentality, rather than a deep commitment to compassion forbearance and forgiveness. Anyway, like I say. I haven’t read that kind of crap in 50 years.

  31. Mr Derbyshire is a proponent of ID, I believe.

    Clearly evolution exists, we just don’t know how it works. We know about some things, like inherited traits etc. But we don’t know how speciation occurs, or how life began. For me, Darwin is a distraction, would love to hear exactly what he contributed by way of new knowledge.

    What’s interesting to me, is how viruses act as a transport mechanism, moving genes from species to species.

    As a S/W engineer it is pretty clear to me that DNA is a ‘program, and the amino acid pairs are ‘code’. You see the same gene pattern that branches fingers from hands, as branches the arm from the torso (for example). God is the ultimate engineer.

  32. I have to be honest, I’m not at all clear what you’re talking about in “occasionalism”. I mean, I’ll look it up myself, but some sources you used for the day’s blogging could provide some context, too. Probably not your fault, I just don’t grasp it.

  33. To say that we can figure out the answer to the evolution/ID/??? question is a bit hubristic (by all means keep trying, I’ll hold your coat for you), but to give up and assume it is beyond our ken, that God knows and we don’t get to, is not what being human, asking the questions and looking for answers, is really all about. So here we are, stuck in the middle. Carry on.

    Be prepared. If you get a good answer, it may be wildly different than your expectations.

  34. Intelligent Design? LOL, unworthy target. Not worth the time or effort.

    But for a guy who produces high-quality content almost every day (more than every day if you count the podcast segments individually), we’ll give him a few mulligans.

  35. Intelligent design and predestination suffer from similar assumptions and flaws. Interventionist, revision-prone, high-controlling gods who determine the fate of every human effort and every breeze that blows arise from an Eastern/Orientalist mindset, not a Western/Occidental one. As skeptical as I am of deified “Progress” as we see it used today, I’m not a trad-fanatic or NRX LARPer. The Western mindset is the one that’s given us a vastly more detailed mechanical understanding of the universe, significant health and quality of life improvements and that points the way to living on other worlds in the future. This is transendence in a species sense – being the first Earth species to consciously and deliberately transcend natural environmental boundaries and limiting conditions. Even now eugenics allows us to examine and shape our own evolution. These are powers we must respect and use carefully – the environmentalists, bioethicists and AI/automation alarmists, to name a few, aren’t entirely wrong. But the fact we have these abilities has a metaphysical-level significance all its own and suggests that, to the extent there was an “intention” in our “design” by more advanced intelligence/awareness, these kinds of unique, highly complex achievements are more likely to be a part of that “plan” than an endless cyclic iteration of idyllic pre-scientific pastoralism.

    Simply put, if you’re a higher being, what’s the point of creating a terrarium and populating it with leggo-bots whose only activity is dictated by you with wholly predictable outcomes? What would you learn from that? How could it please or surprise you over time? A human child’s imagination runs dry after awhile with similar limits. Gamers can see this in the “replayability” dilemma. A complete “sandbox” game lacks depth and meaning – it’s the result of randomized events and the story-narrative-meaning element suffers, but it’s “never the same twice.” A completely scripted game is a one-time experience. You can only watch the same play put on by the same actors so many times. Game designers have to strike a balance to create a satisfying “world.” Dune readers will recognize the “prescience” dilemma – how Paul & Leto came to yearn for something new beyond limitless prediction. Prescience and the corollary ability to “design” complex outcomes took the joy of disovery and learning out of existence.

    Regardless of what theory you subscribe to on humanity’s “purpose,” as a race or each individual, it won’t be “provable” or even “falsifiable” under any presently conceivable extension of our knowledge or ability. Call me a positivist, but I think we have to dial down the scale of speculations which inform our worldly actions to what we can conceivably understand. We can’t let our worldly religious practice, science, culture or politics be driven by wholly unprovable assumptions. If we choose to let our unprovable unfalsifiable ideas of Christ, Jehovah or Allah’s Will “stand athwart technology yelling “stop,” (cringe – bear with me), atheistic Hans and other hard materialists will simply steamroll our transcendence project over a long enough time frame and we’ll be a transcendent footnote. I don’t see how being the metaphysical equivalent of National Review could fulfill any higher being’s purpose or what could otherwise recommend that strategy.

    If politics has taught Dissdent Rightists anything about deeper issues, it’s that mere opposition and reaction aren’t enough. You have to have something better to offer along with critiques. “New Reaction” and all the other trad-revivalist stuff boils down to negative identity. Everything they say isn’t wrong, but without a positive agenda that addresses modernity, they’re a dead-end and will ultimately be steamrolled by history.

    This is a long road back to the question of ID and predestination, but here goes. If we don’t update our mythology to make room for science and modernity, it becomes increasingly irrelevant. The correlation between modernity and the decline of religiosity is just as observable and underniable as the broad concept of evolution. I have quibbles over the mechanisms and details, but we can undeniably observe both processes at work and make fairly accurate predictions from the observations. It seems that as evolution waxes, religiosity wanes.

    Sportsball-wise, Evo’s on a three touchdown run and religion hasn’t scored since halftime. If we want to preserve transcendence and religiosity from the wholly materialistic hard positivism of guys like Dawkins and Hawking, which I do, we have to find some way to modify our strategy and get back in the game instead of crying that the Patriots are cheating. No one’s stopping Evo if it is “cheating.” No whistle has blown.

    Vatican II and Protestant NuWorship immorality is not the solution. We’ve tried that. The old playbooks have already failed. We need another angle to attack modernity or snarky, triumphalist pinch-souled nerds like Richard Dawkins, (((Sam Harris))) and the Han bugmen will inherit our Earth. Let’s get back in the game, goys.

    • That’s a really good post. I’m not a religious guy myself, but it sure seems to me that Christianity was a far more pro-civilizational religion than what has replaced it — cultural Marxism. I don’t see how it’s possible to reject the idea of natural selection and the survivorship principle, and remain a viable belief system — yet somehow the Left can make up all types of BS and the outer party never questions it. All the crazy stuff the left believes in now — are we sure it’s Darwin that stuck the knife in Christianity?

  36. The IDers should study biochemistry. It’s hard to find the best way to put this, but life, as in carbon based life mostly revolving around RNA, is an inevitable result of water, energy and the physical reality of how the elements interact with each other.

    A lot of scientists get this, and their usual go-to is the multiverse idea. Every conceivable set of laws of physics exists in its own universe, we by happenstance happen to live in one in which the laws of physics dictate that water+energy+chemicals equals life. IMHO God created the universe such that life would exist is a less kooky explanation.

    • A lot of scientists get this, and their usual go-to is the multiverse idea.

      It is one theory among many, and a very fringe one, borderline non-scientific because there’s no way to falsify it.

      IMHO God created the universe such that life would exist is a less kooky explanation.

      And how was God created?

        • Oh gee Felix, never contemplated that before.

          Glad to be of help. Would you have a suggestion?

          If you posit God as the Occam’s Razor of creation, you’ve just shifted the conundrum away from the real, scientifically observable world and into your hypothetical one, you have not made the problem itself less confounding.

          • Spot on. It’s theological can-kicking, and theologians have had to resort to some of their worst “logic” to account for it. The brutal truth is that even with our present quantum level understanding, we’re stuck with barely-informed speculations as to the “how,” and wholly uninformed guesses as to the “why,” of creation. The fallacy-ridden pretzel logic of the Scholastics on this is painful to try and wade through, worse than Marx, for all that I use them against “Prog Catholics” preaching kumbaya-Jesus when necessary.

          • Felix, God is not a hypothetical, but rather a logical necessity. The scientifically observable (i.e., empirical) world is not the sum total of reality. Science itself relies upon non-scientific meta-physical presumptions (e.g., the law of non-contradiction, law of identity, etc.).

            To ask how was God created is to demonstrate you do not understand the concept of metaphysical necessity. I would commend you to Ed Feser’s explanation of the argument from contingency, which is one of the most straight forward explanations I have encountered.

          • God is not a hypothetical, but rather a logical necessity.

            Not at all. If you feel that a creator is a “logical necessity”, I could propose that, rather than a god, the universe was created by a giant, universe-building robot, and my hypothesis wouldn’t require magic.

            “Logical necessity” doesn’t exculpate me from explaining where the robot came from.

          • We are asking/answering two different questions:

            (me) whether the g.u.b. robot exists, (you) how or why the robot is. If you want an answer to the second question, you are basically asking to be the mind of God. Good luck with that, even in the next life.

            Whether the g.u.b. robot or God exists is answered by the argument from contingency – God, a g.u.b. robot, or some non-contingent being (NCB) must exist:

            Contingent things exist: A contingent thing cannot be its own cause::A NCB must exist.

            While the how or why of the NCB is certainly interesting, it is a secondary consideration from recognizing its existence. Recognizing the existence of the 400 LB gorilla about to rip your arms off is primary to determining its origin.

    • you do realize that you are saying inanimate material can spontaneously become alive? now that is true faith! it is far more likely that a machine based “lifeform” would spontaneously arise, than what did come along (us).

      • I’ve never understood the metaphysical distinction between machines made out of atoms with lots of protons and machines made out of atoms without many protons. Study biochemistry, life is machinery.

    • “RNA, is an inevitable result of water, energy and the physical reality of how the elements interact with each other“

      This is not my understanding, where are you getting this from?

      • At a baseline the experiments whereby you mix water energy and basic chemicals and the result is the more complex molecules that are the building blocks of macro molecules like RNA. At a more complex level the fact of how SN1 and SN2 reactions work, how the nature and structure of water perfectly facilitates them.

  37. Science is a never-ending process that seeks a better understanding of the world in which we live. Nothing is ever “settled.” Some aspects of our understanding are quite useful because we have a very high probability that our knowledge corresponds accurately with reality. We like to call this kind of knowledge “laws of nature” simply as a shortcut for saying high probability of being an accurate perception or conception of reality.

    Religion is now, and always has been, a social institution that aids in passing down wisdom from one generation to the next. That is not a trivial thing, and losing it has be an awful development in our current culture.

    • what muddies the water is that religion *was* science in olde days. and now, science has become religion (for some)!

  38. Perhaps it would be helpful to think of evolution as we think of Newtonian physics. Newton answers 99% of the questions. But we needed relativity to complete the picture.

    • Micro evolution versus Macro.
      Micro = breeding faster-growing corn and bigger cows.
      Macro = Entirely new species quickly evolving. Primates to humans / dinosaurs to birds.

      Micro is easy and has been proven for centuries. Macro is impossible to explain and has never been witnessed.

    • Perhaps that would be useful but from what I’ve seen evolutionary biologists and their followers are incredibly sensitive to any criticism. So any indication that you find their explanation incomplete will likely be met with an accusation that you’re an anti science medieval Jesus-fag.

      It’s one of the more off putting aspects, a theory that’s adherents find perfect and settled. Sort of like the global warming crowd. I don’t know, maybe evolution explains the mechanisms for the creation of all life. It’s not very important to my daily life.

    • Except that relativity did not complete the picture either. A box in a box in a box. Science and religion may be the same quest but with dishonest practitioners everywhere to muddy it.

  39. I am not here to convert anyone or refute anyone. What our esteemed blog host says is doubtlessly true. As a new convert to the faith I struggle with classical Bible doctrine and mythology every single day. Often without success. All I know at this point is that there IS a God. I can feel it. You can too – but for many, they have been cultured, conditioned and indoctrinated not to. Much the same way that girls are growing up thinking they are boys and vice versa. We will see what happens when those trains derail.

    Despite its complexities and contradictions, the Old Testament is, at the very least, the voice of our ancestors. They lived in much different times than we do. If metaphysics frighten you, and you wish to take refuge in science – you can say that if nothing else, early Christianity took hold and exerted the power it did because it was superior to all competing faiths. It made a giant evolutionary leap when the New Testament arrived. It spread and devoured Rome in a single gulp because – when properly proscribed and adhered to… it was superior to all competing faiths. If you have room in your intellect and you are an agnostic – a proper study of the bible would be rewarding and well worth your time. Biblical archeology is a fascinating subject all on its own and could devour a life time of fascinating study whether you are a believer or an agnostic.

    True Christianity remains the superior ideology today. Socialism kills people by the millions. Feminism has produced miserable homosexuals, raging cat ladies, and legions of lonely women. Liberalism is devouring itself as we speak; the angry womyn and illiterate vibrants of the democrat party are the clowns of high comedy.

    Honest Christianity, I believe, has a place in dissident politics. We believe in strong families, strong communities and strong nations. If you actually read the Bible, it tells you to judge people, rebuke poor conduct, and to lift up and strengthen your brother. It admonishes us to respect those that have earned it, and accept those that wish to join us and adopt our ways. The people of my church differentiate between this world and the next, and reconcile the conflicts between them.

    There are two worlds, fellas. This one, and the next one. Where and how they intersect may be up for debate. For me at least, a belief in God offers better ways of dealing with those intersections than competing faiths and ideologies, and better ways of dealing with the snares and pitfalls of this world.

    • Sincere question: When you say “All I know at this point is that there IS a God,” do you mean:

      1. Creator of all things
      2. Moral lawgiver and ultimate judge
      3. Universal comforter

      All of these roles are logically distinct. I am curious.

      • I can’t answer that, LITS. I am a new convert and believe me – as a former atheist/agnostic… the idea of a creator leaves me uncomfortable. I know He’s there, and that’s it. I know we are here for a purpose… and that’s it.

        I was raised by pozzed proggies and hurled into the void when I refused to accept their stances on stuff like socialism, homosexuality, feminism and all the BS that goes along with that As you can imagine our families all started to implode as reality met ideologies. I looked around and committed another crime by noticing that the families that fall apart – almost all of them embrace some or several elements of liberalism. I started questioning all of my conditioning and then I sinned again, by noticing this time that Christians – honest ones, not fakes – the guys that walk the walk AND talk the talk – their families were rock solid.

        One day my wife dragged me kicking and screaming into a little country chapel outside town and I was just shocked. I met young, strapping men with pretty wives and cute, rambunctious kids. I met elderly ladies and gentlemen that could take care of themselves and took pains to take care of others. I saw them band together to help trainwrecked street kids out before they hurt themselves – at their own expense. These were the kind of people that my people had sneered at. They were not the purple faced cat ladies and rage heads, they weren’t the black pilled cynics or lunatic homosexuals – just good honest people that used to be a dime a dozen when I was a kid.

        I can’t define God’s role in our existence with any authority… but I think the faith helped me define my role in the scheme of things, and I would like to think my Maker approves.

        • John Smith: Beautifully said. I, too, was raised a liberal and was an atheist agnostic, and I, too, noticed that the best people I knew or met – the ones who could truly be relied upon in hard times, the ones who always conducted themselves with dignity (which is not to imply they were always serious, but had an inherent respect for themselves as made in God’s image) were Christians. Over the years things percolated in my head and my heart, and then I turned to an old college friend who sent me books and tracts. It was while reading one book, alone (and completely of sound mind) in my VA apartment on a sunny afternoon, that I actually admitted that maybe, just perhaps, it was all true. God then blew my mind in the following millisecond, and that was it. I was and am a believer. I am neither a theologian nor a scientist. I cannot explain every contradiction or answer every argument, but I believe. I have faith that is rock solid, and not knowing precisely how the world got to be the way it is doesn’t bother me – it’s both beyond my control and my understanding. I suppose that’s why I find the constant arguments useless – I know there’s a God. I know that, totally undeserving, He has been there for me. I know that, for the life of me, I cannot see why He bothers with humanity (which, on the whole, I’m not fond of) but He does and that’s His business.

          • Yep. I can see how Christians get frustrated with guys like these. Our Maker is in plain sight, right under our noses… and yet they can’t see. Or maybe it’s not that they can’t… but that they won’t. They get caught up in the minutiae and details and miss the forest for all the trees.

            Most will never be able to shed the blinders and chains that they put upon themselves. They see Christianity as limiting and constricting and fail to grasp the incredible power and freedom it gives. It’s like watching blacks blame Whitey for all their own failings – when the way out of their troubles are blindingly obvious to everyone but themselves.

            It’s the way of this world, I guess.

    • The question I would pose to our illustrious host and fellow commenters here is, “How does the ID argument figure in to our current discussions centering about White survival in an increasingly non-White world?”.

      Are we being diverted by delving into this matter? Perhaps I’m slow on the uptake, but heretofore I have found postings and comments from (I assume) atheists, agnostics, and devote Christians which seemingly put aside such fundamental differences and agree on the above matter. I found this quite refreshing, since the history of man is often described as one of strife based on religious division. Hate to see that happen as it is tangential (?) to my purposes for being here.

      • Whenever a missionary comes in to raise funds for the African mission, I tell them I believe in the Curse of Ham, so it’s pointless to raise funds for this. I really don’t, but I like watching them turn purple.

      • It is tangential, and it is not.

        Have you ever seen Force Ten from Navarrone? Great flick. Spoliers:

        There is a scene where the heroes go to blow up a dam to take out an enemy bridge downstream. Two of the heroes set the charges deep within the bowels of the dam, thinking they will not survive the blast and ensuing wreckage. The charges go off, and although knocked down, the two heroes survive noticing no damage to the dam. They curse the engineer who designed the charges and where to place them. On the hillside, the engineer and another of the heroes are waiting, the engineer calmly smoking his pipe. The guy waiting with him hears the charges, and nothing happens. He too starts cursing the engineer for his incompetence. The engineer calmly turns to his comrade and tells him to watch.

        The charges had caused a weakening of the dam, and within minutes, the force of the water behind it starts to crack the dam open.

        At some point, once Whitopia is restored, these theological charges will go off if they are not dealt with.

    • IMO, the Bible, a book of faith and morals, not science and history, is like an inkblot Rorschach test. It can be interpreted many different ways. There are Christian warriors and Christian pacifists, Christian Communists and Christian Capitalists, Christian feminists and Christian anti-feminists, etc.

      Albert Schweitzer published “The Quest for the Historical Jesus” in 1906 where he pointed out that previous quests for the historical Jesus dating back to the late 18th Century changed with the times and reflected the personal proclivities of the authors. Schweitzer was also the first to propose that Jesus was an end-of the-world prophet who expected the history to end very soon. This was a common attitude among 1st First Century Hebrews and was shared by John the Baptist and Paul.

    • I know what you’re saying. I tried so hard to be an atheist at one point, but the truth is right there, staring us in the face. The way I look at the bible, God knows that we’re creatures of myth and stories. This is why Jesus spoke in parables. He took mostly Jewish myth, which contained a historical sketch of the Jewish people, and built on all of that, completing all of the signs. It was the only way. So in a way, he allowed the myth to be created by humans, and then completed the promises of the myth.

  40. Isn’t “occasionalism” another term for “miracles”? Christians believe that those happen, and that God does intervene in response to prayers. I don’t see why the idea that God might step back into the story after he’s set it going is so contrary to Christianity. Christians are not Greek pagans, no matter how influential those earlier ideas were.

    • Well, a miracle can simply be a long shot coming in. The 100-1 horse winning a race is not the same as the 100-1 horse transforming in an eagle and flying into the heavens. That said, that’s where Nicholas of Autrecourt comes into my post. IIRC, he was heavily influenced by an Islamic cleric, whose name escapes me. Ibn something or other.

      • Christian miracles have a certain “style”, especially the New Testament ones. They’re not just “anything goes”, they seem to follow a pattern of conforming to the rules of nature. It’s like Nature on steroids. When Jesus heals a leper, he doesn’t also give him wings, he returns him to his natural, healthy state. When he multiplies the loaves and fish, he doesn’t turn it into a multi-course banquet, he makes an abundance of the food that was there, like producing an extra-great harvest. But this is still in line with the same reality we all experience.

        Now, if you go to a religion like Hinduism, you DO find wild, fantasy-like miracles. Hanuman can leap across the length of India, pick up a mountain and carry it back. Ram’s army of monkeys write his name on rocks which then float, creating a bridge from the mainland to Lanka so he can march over it. Baby Krishna can toss aside a runaway cart before it crushes him. The whole thing is full of stories like these. But Christianity is not like that. There are a few cases of people rising up into the sky, and Jesus (after his Resurrection) can appear and disappear, but most of them are really not like that.

        • There’s also the strong possibility that the writers of the Scripture were mature, well educated adults writing for intelligent readers. They used clever analogies, allegories and exaggeration to make subtle, complex theological points. Literal reading of the Bible turns the writers into robots and the intended audience into simpletons.

          • there’s an even greater chance that whatever the original text was, it has been edited for effect over the centuries. but yes, your take is most likely correct.

          • Agree. We need to appreciate that ancient Christians were just as capable of ancient Greeks of appreciating deeper meanings, subtleties and other literary devices. Homeric epics and Greek dramas were no less sophisticated than modern writings. You’re correct in stating that a literalistic reading is a dumbed-down reading that’s often going to miss the real point. The Catholics and “high church” Prots have been better about this than fundamentalist denominations of Protestantism, and it’s one legitimate reason why the Catholic Church was against letting laymen read and interpret scripture for themselves.

          • No doubt some passages are meant allegorically (the entire book of Revelations, for example). But no doubt others are not . Even Paul, the most scholarly of the bunch, admits that if Christ did not in fact for reelz rise from the dead, Christianity is in vain. Hard to allegorize that.

            The problem with “allegorizing” every miracle is that it makes the entire central claim of Christianity – the divinity of Christ – pointless. I know the Jesuits would love that. What the miracles show is that God, in the person of Christ, is in complete control of existence, confirming His divine nature, through Whom all things were made (theological points that were hashed out by well educated adults writing for intelligent readers).

          • “Being divine is being able to miracle. God miracles, therefore he’s divine.”

            “Well educated adults writing for intelligent readers” are perfectly capable of and willing to make circular arguments. Every NYT is full of such (((Jesuitical))) stuff.

            Yes, the central idea of Christianity is that Christ rose from the dead. But it’s begging a lot of questions to go from that to demanding that every miracle in the New and Old Testaments are historic facts or that modern Christians must expect them in their daily lives.

            Believing that Christ was either divine or divinely inspired can mean a lot of different things. I’m more concerned with whether someone believes that White people deserve homelands governed by themselves in their ways, free of degeneracy. Asking for miracles, or the belief in them, shouldn’t be required to stand with us, and theology should never be allowed to divide us.

          • “Being divine is being able to miracle. God miracles, therefore he’s divine.”

            That is not the argument wrt Christianity’s claim of divinity for Christ.

            The argument, which is not circular, is:

            Divine Being(s) can miracle
            Christ miracles
            Therefore Christ is a Divine Being

            If you want to dispute that divine beings exist or can miracle, that is a different issue.

            For a large segment of White people, believing Christ is divine is a big part of being governed in their ways. Whites should have our own “homeland” but part of being White includes religious beliefs. The Whites who settled here were largely Christian, not pagan or atheist, and that factored into governing (for better or worse).

          • If you can’t work with people who don’t subscribe to your particular interpretation of Christianity for the good of your people, in good faith, without conflicting loyalties, anti-Whites will find a way to use your religion to separate you from us and possibly betray us. The people have to come before the religious beliefs. The kind of Christianity you want can only exist in a White nation. Make that happen first.

        • Christian miracles exist primarily to showcase the divinity of God, and with Jesus, the divinity of God in Christ. The healing is secondary. Lazarus had to die all over again months or years later. If you can multiply fish and bread, does a banquet really matter?

          This is why I’m a minority of one in my church as I don’t see the value in praying for someone’s oncology appointment to go well. Our only prayer should be thank you and let your will be done.

          • “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

        • Doc;
          Important point re Christian miracles. And, the more you know about biochemistry, euro-anatomy, etc., the more amazing they are. To restore sight one must literally rewire the entire brain, for example.

      • Well, you know the old saying, “If it’s Ibn, it’s gotta be Khaldun.”

        Just don’t get the energy around these theology discussions. I agree that Intelligent Design is not compatible with Christianity, but that’s not the point. The point is to create a space to debate Evolution on behalf of some version of Christian theology without an appeal to religion, and without providing a better scientific alternative. I have no doubt that there will be refinements, perhaps revolutionary refinements, to Evolution, but in the meantime it’s where we are.

        Whenever anyone tells me Evolution is “only a theory”, my response is, “so’s Gravity.”

    • I don’ think Occasionalism means “miracles.” It’s not a term I was familiar with (philosophy is not my bag), but I looked it up, and the idea doesn’t seem to be that “God ‘occasionally’ makes things happen.” I read other references, but I think this is a good place to start:

      A quote from it:

      “A full-blown occasionalist, then, might be described as one who subscribes to the following two tenets: (1) the positive thesis that God is the only genuine cause; (2) the negative thesis that no creaturely cause is a genuine cause but at most an occasional cause.”

      In this context “occasional” means “contributing cause” rather than every once and a while. In other words, Occasionalism argues against free will. We do what we do because it part of God’s plan, not because with free will we choose to do it.


  41. The biggest issue with evolution as currently taught in school is the species problem. We can take a bunch of wolves and selectively breed them for speed and end up with Greyhounds in a few hundred generations. Same way we can turn wild horses into Clydesdales and buffalo into heifers. But they are still genetically wolves, horses, and buffalo. They still have the same number of chromosomes and can still breed viable offspring with their wild ancestors.

    We’ve never created a new species and have no idea how it’s done. Maybe DNA and RNA runs like an actual computer through retro-viruses and sends a signal when it’s time to evolve a new species with new traits and new number of chromosomes – triggered by environmental pressure or opportunity. That’s almost a compromise between the ID and Darwin crowd. I’ve found that the truth is often in the middle.

    • they used to say separate species could not produce viable offspring, then we get Ligers and so forth (and mules). Guess what, some mules are not infertile!

      • Something on the order of 1 in a million mules and hinnies are fertile. Lions and tigers are more closely related than horses and donkeys as they both have 38 chromosomes.

        • they have pictures of monkeys — in the wild — copulating with deer! so i think maybe what is possible through random boinking is a non-negligible part of speciation. and you know africans will fukk anything moving slow enough. evidently asians will fukk a shaved orangutan, too.

    • A Dachshund to a Great Dane in few dozen generations, at most. Dog to a cat, theoretically possible in a few tens of million generations. But only theoretically. Extinction events of all sizes put a crimp in such possibilities. Strangely enough, wiping the slate clean appears to open the gate for new designs, appearing out of a mysterious soup. That soup is so not understood that we can’t say the truth is between two things we do not know to be true.

  42. In Humani Generis (1950), Pope Pius XII had a good take on faith and evolution: “The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”

    • Having spent my school years in Catholic schools, I’ve never had a problem with the material domain operating by its own rules, either along side, in concert with or within the domain of theology. We can understand the rules of the natural world through science. We cannot understand why those rules exist through science.

      • That’s how I try to approach this. Religion is “a-rational” and “a-logical,” but doesn’t need to be “anti” either one. They’re separate spheres, not conflicting world-views.

        This view of science and religion reminds me of the Civil War. Science and religion don’t have to fight, they could co-exist, just like the North and South had for decades, but a band of fanatics is determined to negate all dissent to its own values. In the science-religion case, the determined fanatics seem to be on the atheist side. Slavery is ID. ID will fade in its own time as fewer and fewer people hold the world-view required to support it (fundamentalist and purely faith-based). Atheists are causing a lot of unnecessary cultural bloodshed trying to hasten its demise. I’d be happy with leaving evolution-level biology to colleges and keeping public school biology focused on more ground-level issues. The kids who can make noise on the theoretical level will find their way to the theories they support without being led by the nose by other camp at taxpayer expense.

        • Religion is “a-rational” and “a-logical

          NO no no! It is logical/rational (or at least should be). What it is not is empirical. It is meta-physics, not physics. It still has to comply with logical laws such as the law of non-contradiction.

          • God is not necessarily incompatible with and might ultimately be part of a metaphysics governed by logic, but based on what we can presently know or empirically prove, that’s a faith-based opinion. Arational, alogical.

          • presently know or empirically prove

            Again, that conflates empirical proof with all knowledge. Forget empirical claims (we mixed these four chemicals together on 10 different occasions and got this compound with these characteristics, therefore on the 11th mixing we expect to get the same compound with the same characteristics). I am referring to logical proofs only – basically the Thomistic 5 ways. Those are not “faith-based” any more than logic itself is “faith-based.”

            Faith comes in AFTER God’s existence is logically demonstrated – e.g., whether God is the god of Islam, the Jews or the God of Christianity, some pagan thing, the Watchmaker, etc.

          • You are logically and empirically demonstrating that Scholasticism is the Objectivism of religion.

            Useful example for why Trad-Cath is a dead end for the Dissident Right, though.

            People professing to believe that Our Guys should put Thomism over their people helped the Daily Beast dox dozens of Alt-Righters with the First-Thingers and Chronicles-clutchers of Con, Inc. cheering them on.

      • I just downloaded to my Kindle a copy of the Baltimore Catechism. Just to see how I have been doing.
        (Hey Baltimore, you can probably pick up a copy anywhere near you )

  43. Honestly haven’t looked at ID for quite a few years, but I believe that those who research ID at various institutes do put the creator at the beginning and do not posit that the creator intervenes after creation. If I remember correctly, they don’t claim that the creator is the Christian God or any god. And they do raise interesting and important problems with evolution. For example, how does evolution account for the creation of a complex system such as sight that relies on multiple types of cells that all need to be present and working together at just the right time for seeing to begin.

    • If I remember correctly, they don’t claim that the creator is the Christian God or any god.

      Would they all happen, by chance, to be religious and, again by chance, happen to actually, on a personal level, believe that God is the designer? I am genuinely curious. Apart from one or two alien-proponents, I’ve never met an ID’er who was not religious, but then, I haven’t met many ID’ers.

      For example, how does evolution account for the creation of a complex system such as sight that relies on multiple types of cells that all need to be present and working together at just the right time for seeing to begin.

      They evolution of the eye can be satisfactorily explained by incremental, functional steps. I apologize (a little) for posting a Richard Dawkins-video, but this is an exemplary science lecture, and without the slightest whiff of the assholery that became the trademark of his dotage. (14:09)

      He doesn’t say so in the video, AFAICR, but eyes have evolved independently several times in natural history.

    • I give some credence to the problem of natural selection accounting for structures like the eye that would require mutually supportive successive mutations which in and of themselves, step-by-step, would have no inherent survival, sexual selection or other adaptive value. We’re missing some very important subtle mechanisms in the process of evolution. But that doesn’t change the fact that ID relies just as much on non-falsification as pure deism does for “proof” – that is, solely.

      • One thing I find interesting is the idea (I think I read Michael Crichton talking about this) that maybe life is kind of like crystal – it organizes itself because of its nature…

        • I read a little bit of “convergent evolution” stuff years ago, I think that’s in his line of thinking – always liked that guy. I think there are deeper patterns, and that our present understanding of evo-biology is more on the Newtonian level than quantum. Lotta room for debate over the underlying mechanisms, but the overall effects are observable and verifiable.

    • @G P

      Have you ever heard of light sensitive eyespots, directional cup eyes, pinhole camera eye?

      The Creationist Eye argument was debunked decades ago.

      • It’s not a “creationist” argument, it’s a legitimate question about one part of Darwin’s theory. If the eye argument is right, it shows natural selection is an incomplete explanation for evolution – it says nothing about other theories. This is New Atheist-tier dualism and illustrates what Z says repeatedly here – he’s questioning ID, not “proving Darwin.” Attacking creationism is attacking the weakest critical basis for “anti-Darwinism,” which is itself an overstatement of legitimate critics’ intentions in raising these questions.

        As for “debunked decades ago,” that’s in the eye of the debunker. Plenty of recent credible academic-grade science disagrees.

    • The sense I get from ID is that it is a criticism of certain assumptions of MACRO-evolutionary theory, not so much a theory in itself. But it is difficult, particularly for scientists, to say “I don’t know.”

  44. “No true Darwinist” indeed. Your talk about what ‘random’ “really” means would be more plausible if the Darwinists didn’t revel and gloat so much about chaos being so wonderful and how “brave” and “mature” they are to “face up to meaninglessness.” It’s just like SJW’s saying “of course, there’s no White replacement or genocide,” while simultaneously rejoicing in “our inevitable brown future.”

    • That’s not an argument in favor of ID or anything, for that matter. If we assume that evolutionary biology is nonsense and the practitioners are evil dickheads, Intelligent Design remains contrary to Christian theology in important ways.

      • I’m going to assume all this was finally brought to our general attention by Berlinski, Gelerenter, and Meyer, separately or together,
        Between them, they do make an impressive case that evolutionary biology between species is nonsense and it’s practitioners are religious fanatics. Like Puritans to Progressives, Darwinist only traded the old fanatical suit for a new one. Between them, the three amigos demonstrate Darwin’s old brainstorm is quite impossible, mathematically, biologically, and otherwise. Meyer has ID on his mind, the other two do not. Berlinski is an unparalleled skeptic, and completely at home not knowing a thing. Man is not comfortable with not having an opinion, and given any choice, he is going to have one–for others to manipulate.

        The theme of your essay seems to be Darwinism vs ID, but IMO it shouldn’t be. Darwinism is and always has been a creative tool in destroying society in general and warping the Academy in particular. ID has and can have no such ambitions.

        • No, my post is about the irrationality of ID and it’s conflict with Christian belief. I’ll conceded that evolution is a giant hoax perpetrated by evil monsters. Intelligent Design is still anti-Christian nonsense.

    • “Random” in the truest sense means “Unknown”. If we were to know all of the causes imparted to a die roll (*all* as in *all* of the initial physical conditions), it wouldn’t be a random roll. We talk far too much about ‘random’ things as if they are somehow ‘uncaused’.

      • at least in statistics, random refers to selection without bias (each value in the event has an equal opportunity of being selected, to use pozzed terminology).

        • This idea that events can be ‘random’ is one of the reasons that stats has so many problems right now. Statistician WM Briggs wrote an excellent book on the subject called Uncertainty. There is *no such thing* as ‘selection without bias’ – essentially events that are treated as having ‘no cause’. Causality is real. All frequentists (and lots of Bayesians) forget this. In some constrained cases (e.g. gambling), the relative frequency of an event sometimes is close to the probability of an event. But there is nothing such as ‘randomness’ *except* in the sense that ‘we don’t know the cause, but it appears that the results of similar events follow this mathematical distribution’

  45. Do you recall that time when your five-ish year old child punctuated every interaction with “but why?”. Just sayin’ 🙂

  46. This was very good, Zman. It tracks with what I’ve tried to explain to people about the god they worship. I have always refused to believe in a sadistic god who places humans in compromising positions or puts them under intense pressure in order to test them. To their credit, the Calvinists saw right through that and came up with the idea of predestination. But that makes their god even more sadistic, as he has purposefully placed defective humans on the world stage to interact with the “saved” ones. I think the 18th century Deists had it right: God created the universe…and that’s all they were prepared to believe. In point of fact, the Eastern mystics figured this out long ago. The message of the Vedantists and the Buddhists is to look inward and stop getting tangled up in complicated theological arguments. However, the Desert Dogmas love nothing so much as arguing about the nature and laws of God. And they can have it.

    • The traditional Church generally operates along similar lines – Orthodoxy and Catholicism both have a much more nuanced view of God than the fundamentalists and evangelicals. To the evangelical, God is constantly either ‘testing’ them himself, or allowing the devil to ‘test’ them. The problem of evil is a *huge* problem for the Evangelicals’ God “who has a plan for YOU”. Yes, there are strains of this in Orthodox Christianity, but I don’t think it’s nearly as pronounced as the some of the ridiculous things that show up in Protestantism.

      Like most other modern things, the problem of modern Christianity is a problem of radical Individualism. Rather than God working across vast eons and universal design, God makes the traffic lights all red on your way to church to test your faith. It’s really quite a *small* conception of God.

      • Pre-Protestant faiths have the advantage of not overly “personalizing” God in the bespoke, just-for-me sense. They have the disadvantage that when the hierarchy loses legitimacy, God loses legitimacy with them, thus Protestantism and its eventual logical end-point, loss of faith entirely. I worship as a Catholic but rage against the hierarchy like a Protestant and approach theology like a pagan. We need a new syncretism if Christianity is to survive.

      • It is FAR worse with the Orthodox, especially their embrace of the gnostic Theology of Gregory Palamas who teaches that God is not a simple spiritual being (no parts) but a collection of various energies and it is those energies which we are called upon to worship.

        But it gets worse, far worse..

        In Orthodoxy there is no such event as the eternal Beatific Vision as a reward for a life of Faith.

        In eastern orthodoxy, there is only darkness for God, according to Palamas, God its not to be identified with His will, His Intellect, His Love, His truth etc etc

        As a reward for a life of Faith, the eastern orthodox acolyte will be forever in the “divine darkness”

    • This is my position; the universe exists, and something (outside of the universe) created it. More than that is still unknown.

    • I have always refused to believe in a sadistic god

      That’s a pretty emotionalistic way to reach a conclusion. Why would you think that of all the ways reality might be organized, the true one would be one you would like?

      • I have no idea what the “true one” might be. I suspect there are many paths. And they all lead to the same destination. Excuse me if I don’t take that rocky path strewn with booby traps.

    • People think God is “testing” is. We’re not lab equipment. He’s developing us. No pain no gain.

    • Free will . We make hell on Earth. We white males made it so our women and soyboys dominate us. No one else did. And all our side does is prey for a Pinochet to rescue our cowardly asses.

      Talk about being children and helpless. This wish for a a Pinochet encapsulates it nicely.

      BTW no one takes Calvinism seriously except atheists who use them as a club against Christianity.

      Also those Eastern religions you find so attractive have always been the watering hole of sexual deviant upper class whites with nothing better to do. Worse many are outright cults that will strip you of your will, money and mental health. And many are also populated by SJW’s.

      One other thing, they are very,very hierarchical. When Guru says do x you do x even if it means giving Guru you checking account and your wife.

  47. I am increasing skeptical of natural selection, while having no interest in ID. Fred Reed is strident on this, without the God element. David Berlinski’s remarks seem reasonable: evolution is both great science and incomplete on random mutation. I happened to see the wiki on the Cambrian explosion says it lasted 13–25 million years.

  48. There is a pretty wide spectrum of theories around intelligent design, from the watchmaker to the every aspect under His control, 6000 year old young earth creationism. I am not sure that a brief treatment like this does anything to shed any light on a very complex topic.

    • The Z-Man is really talking through his hat on this one. If you folks are interested in the origin of life the very best source I have found is a book that just happens to be written by Stephen Meyer, the real brains behind ID. It’s a bit of a slog at 628 pages but you’ll end up knowing more about microbiology and combinatorial mathematics than 99% of the kids at the malt shop. This link is to the Amazon Kindle page:
      You can click on the picture of the book for a look at the introduction and chapter 1.

      It’s a really, really good book.

  49. Z, I think this is the most wrong you’ve ever been.
    Not taking position for or against ID, where you are wrong is to think this is may be heretical. Also you are wrong that God does not affect outcome of football games or other events of the world.
    The Bible is littered with God’s interventions from small personal interventions, such as Sara being barren (Genesis 11:20)) and then God told Abraham that Sara would have a child (Genesis 17:15, 17:16). To more cataclysmic such as God destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24, 19:25), and of course the floods during Noah’s time (I trust I do not need to site verse for anyone’s benefit).
    I can site maybe a hundred more examples of God “changing the outcome of the football game” of man. I agree with the fact that that early Christain’s consider that God is orderly and will concede that they would have likely consider ID heretical, as they did so for non earth-centric universe. But either are not core tennant beliefs in Christianity, but instead an adjunct outcome of philosophy and attempts to square present observations and realities with faith. Some such adjunct outcomes have been accepted as being wrong and dispelled, such as the university not revolving around earth, and others not, such as demonic possessions of man.
    So modern day ID isn’t yet proven inconsistent with the core Christianity but it is also not part of the core belief, it may or may not be proven consistent with faith and time may or may not weed this out.
    It is the core belief in Christianity that God has and will intercede in man’s course through history to a predetermined finality. Where chance comes into Christain faith is free will given to man by God of choice to love hm or not.
    The Jesuit modernist corrupted teachings of the faith has fundamentally damaged the Church and many people’s love for God. I fear the Jesuits modernists (which is a core root of the Freemason infiltration of the Church) got to you…

      • Karl McHungus said: ” what does the bible have to do with evolution?”
        What does evolution have to do with moral instruction?

        • TuNes’ citing the Bible to establish real world events/miracles, not as allegory or parable, etc… Relying on belief in miracles is a huge part of what’s killing Christianity today. When people don’t see miracles, they conclude that either a) God doesn’t exist or b) God doesn’t care enough about them to intervene with “small daily miracles” for them. It’s why preachers rightfully condemned Lou Holtz and others back in the day for “coaching God” in football games.

          • Let me ask you this then: If the miracles are only to be taken as allegory or parable rather than real world events, why bother? Why not just read Freud or Jung? Why not just skip the allegory and parable bs, and just get on with it?

            By the way what are the allegories/parables the miracles supposedly represent? Sara having a kid late in life means what, allegorically?

      • Karl McH;
        Your point is more subtle than maybe you intend. You’re very right that The Bible does not speak of evolution at all, much less either positively or negatively.

        The man behind the curtain is that *evolution* has been used for a 150+ years to speak negatively about The Bible. The materialists brag that since Darwin they have no need for God to account for the variability of natural world as though this is dispositive.

        For some reason, it is assumed that God could not work through evolution as well as through creation ‘ex nihilo’ (i.e. from nothing) if He chose to do so. The Bible *does* state that God created the universe ‘ex nihilo’. The question about evolution after creation is open, IMHO.

        My personal view is that since God is just and yet gives man free will, He must therefore give everybody *enough* information so that their acceptance or rejection is, eventually, justly dispositive. So the materialist’s rejection *is* eventually dispositive. And I say this with no pleasure.

      • Juxtapose the current state of scientific knowledge about the creation and evolution of the universe, and more specifically earth, with the Genesis account of creation. Genesis identifies the exact correct sequence from the big bang, to the dark earth covered in water, surrounded by dense clouds, to the creation of the atmosphere, to plate tectonics, and finally to the evolution of life – from plant life and sea based creatures, to birds, to land based animals, to humans. How did the writer of Genesis get the exact sequencing correct 3000 years ago? It was not until the big bang was proposed in 1927 that science caught up with the biblical account written down 3 millennia ago.

    • This is exactly the kind of argument that’s been progressively emptying churches of modrens since the 19th century. This is what we have to get past if Christianity is to live to the 22nd century and beyond. Love Christ enough to put the Jewish Torah down, please.

      Do you see the Jews running around doing this? When’s the last time you saw a Jew argue in a public forum using their supposedly holy Torah? It’s Talmudism, all the way down, and they laugh all the way to the bank and the other corridors of power when Christians do this.

      • One early Christian section was Marcionism, which rejected the Old Testament and only used the Book of Luke and 10 books attributed to Paul. Marcion of Sinope’s argument was that wrathful god of the OT was not the same god as the all-loving and forgiving god of the NT.

        • I do some digging into NT-only/ascendant contra-Semitic Christian heresies when I can. All information appreciated, keep it coming. I think that’s one area we need to work on in the Dissident Right. We need to offer Christians a third way between going Odin and following noxious doxing XtiCucks like Katie McHugh right back into the (((fold))).

          • Muscular Old Testament Christianity would work if you can keep it from being infiltrated but it might not work on people who are lapsed and worse it still ties us to the Middle East.

            Personally I think a society full of Heathens, Asatru, followers of the Dodeca or any of the other Pagan pathways even more Conservative forms of Wicca would be perfectly workable.

            It would also have the advantage of greatly lowering the connection to the Semitic world which should reduce the amount of troubles our society has with that region and its peoples.

            Why would my Godi care what say Ben Shapiro thinks? He’s not our tribe and while looking out for one’s tribes interfest is laudable, we don’t share a common interest

            The concern that it might not scale to larger societies is kind of valid but there have been plenty of Pagan societies that were quite advanced in many areas and large,

            As for the philosophical question, its a product of monotheism not of religion

            As I was taught, we are born to our fate but with great efforts of will we can change it but so can powerful beings , Gods, Spirits and so on.

            Only the Fates, Norns if you prefer probably know the whole outcome and they tell no one

            With more than one God, no worries about immovable rocks either. Even the God of Might has limits

          • “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Steven McNallen, founder and former head of the Asatru Folk Assembly, has spoke out in favor of this statement and been called a racist for it.

          • James Russell wrote “The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity” about how the Catholic Church reinterpreted Jesus and the Bible to make it appealing to the Germanic people. Jesus as a warrior chieftain instead of a meek lamb dying for the sins of the world.

            You put your finger on one of the issues that I have with both Christianity and Islam – a believer is expected to identify with an alien people. Even as a child, I wasn’t interested in the history of a bunch of middle eastern nomads. On the other hand, I loved the stories of the old gods and goddesses. Read the Illiad at age 9. The Illiad, the Eddas, etc., might just be stories, but they’re the stories of my people.

    • If it is true that Z-man attended Jesuit high schools in the early to mid 80s, then this corruption by the Jebbies is a given. Went through the same experience myself, and it has taken years of patient self-study to undo the damage. Rediscovering the scholastics whom the Jesuits revile is the ultimate redpill.

      • I’m not losing much sleep over Z’s “corruption” by the Jesuits. The Scholastics have their moments, but it’s mostly a similar mountain of sophistry to that produced by the dual-Loyolists.

        • The Scholastics are not easy reading. But then anything worthwhile rarely is. We are working off translations written in languages used 1000 years or more ago. Not an easy task. I like Ed Feser’s work on it – makes it accessible to even idiots like me.

  50. I’m trying to think of anything in this long running debate you failed to misstate. You do say ID doesn’t mention God which is accurate, then go on a bit about how it would be a bad God that would do occasionalism. And somehow Men were able to guide the Cambrian explosion a billion years before they existed. Have you read in depth either, much less both sides of the debate? And there are more sides! It is hard to find something to specifically criticize because nearly everything is simply wrong – strawmen made of strawmen.

    I would say you honestly don’t understand either what the Evolutionists believe or what proponents of ID belive or what their best arguments are.

    If you want what is probably the best current take on the Evolution v.s not, see: – first few chapters free there and on Kindle.

    Author interviewed in this podcast:

    Which starts with an explanation why every layman’s understanding of what is taught in Biology is wrong, how there are many mechanisms, and the single thing that cannot be created by “chance” with a prize if you can find a way to do it.

    This would be the fastest way (he takes on both Darwinists and ID advocates) to not sound ignorant when discussing the subject.

    • You wrote: “You do say ID doesn’t mention God which is accurate, then go on a bit about how it would be a bad God that would do occasionalism. And somehow Men were able to guide the Cambrian explosion a billion years before they existed.”

      I never said such a thing, but thank you for reinforcing a point I made in the post. ID’ers relying on deception to frame their arguments.

    • When you find yourself in a tiny minority asserting a theory whose only refuge is “you can’t prove me wrong,” the burden’s on you. The “climate deniers” who oppose the modern AGW scam maintained by sham consensus can point to very strong evidence in their favor. AGW’s a strawman built on strawmen because evidence shows it. I can’t prove you’re not wrong, but that’s all you have to defend yourself on a shrinking island of non-evidence. The window of plausibility for your theory keep shrinking, and unlike climate realists, you have nothing to push back with except sophism & theology. I’m a skeptic on some of the mechanisms of evo and agree with criticisms like those in “Darwin’s Black Box” and some of what Coulter cited in “Godless,” but the broad concept holds, and there’s no credible competition on the positive, evidence-based side of the field.

    • @tz1
      The Bible writers wrote a lot more about men and women than they did on the Beginning. They and the Church Fathers would’ve easily passed the RedPill on women test. Let’s see if you can pass it. I’ve made it easier by making it multiple choice:

      “Complete the following the sentence: Women misbehave because ——————“

      [A] Capitalism makes them misbehave, by economically incentivizing reckless high time-reference behavior over long-term planning. The capitalist class benefits from one night stands and sterility, as it benefits from third world immigration of spendthrift cheap labor to replace frugal whites.

      [B] The Jews make them misbehave, since the Jews own the media and the entire entertainment industry from Hollywood down to the tiniest pornography studio, and use them to direct propaganda at women, telling them to fuck blacks and lowlifes. The Jews deliberately intend for dysgenesis to occur, as part of their long-term White Genocide plan.

      [C] Sorry, but this is a misleading question. Women don’t misbehave at all. All misbehavior is done by men, who are vile pigs.

      [D] Lecherous men make them misbehave, since men are ultimately responsible for all female behavior (including misbehavior), and unlike women, men have self-control and moral agency. Thus it logically follows that any female misbehavior would merely reflect bad decisions taken by irresponsible and lustful men.

      [E] They are feral, blindly following ancient instincts from the time we were apes in the jungle, which instincts tell them to cruise for rape by alpha male Chads, and to resist kicking-and-screaming all attempts to restrain them from pursuing alpha male Chads. Stable monogamy has always been a conspiracy by men against women.

    • You’ve got to do better than that. C’mon, try harder (unless predestination implies that you can not try harder).

  51. Z: “A designer that is endlessly tinkering with his creation is not a designer with foresight.”

    This is a mistaken perception of the nature of God. You are speaking from the perspective of a character in a movie, who does not know how the story will end, rather than from the perspective of the director, who has already finished the film and sent it off to Cannes.

    God is omniscient, and presumably sees the universe from an outside perspective. From God’s perspective, the whole history of the universe is already a done deal. God knows how the universe begins and how it ends — mind you, NOT how it “will” end, but how it has already ended. A human person cannot see that the movie is already in the can, because that person is IN the movie. What the movie is about, and what it’s for, we don’t fully know.

    So goofing around with human-scale logic is not likely to yield useful results for questions so large, that they flow outside of logic. You just wind up with the old George Carlin joke paradox “Hey Faddah, if God can do anything, can He make a rock so big even He can’t lift it? Heh, we got him now!”

    • The obvious implication of this is that the future is written. Therefore, man has no free will. Without free will, there can be no sin. For a thousand years they burned people at the stake for making such claims.

      • This doesn’t seem right. If God has seen the whole movie, that doesn’t mean he decided what all the characters would do. Create man, give him free will, watch and see how that works out. From our perspective it’s all still in the process of working out. From God’s perspective he’s seen all the choices we’ve made.

        Not saying I’m a believer or anything, just a stickler for logic.

        • If the end of the movie has you winning the race, but my free will allows me to shoot you in the head before the race, how can there be a known end to the movie? The choices are a) my free will is in an allusion, b) something causes me to choose not to shoot you in the head or c) some actor intervenes to counter the exercise of my free will, in order to arrive at the predetermined ending.

          All of that sounds like hairsplitting to get around the fact that knowing how the movie ends, means the actors have no free will. They must play their parts as written.

          • how can there be a known end to the movie?

            It can be known – just not by you and the other actors. If time is a dimension, and there are other dimensions above and outside time, then the ending can be known by someone outside of it, even though others inside of it act freely. Assume you are nothing but a two dimensional square, doing square things to your heart’s content in two dimensional space. A three dimensional cube can see that, in his dimension, you are really a cube, but because you exist (or only perceive) your two dimensions, you will never know that. But you continue doing your two dimensional things unimpeded. No one is preventing your squareness from continuing on in the second dimension existence.

            Being stuck in time, it is difficult (if not impossible) for us to understand completely how omniscience for a being outside of time does not conflict with free will, but because the omniscience exists beyond time, it does not logically conflict with free will (i.e., two things cannot both be and not be at the same time in the same manner – or in other words in the same dimension). In 2-D, we would see the cube as a square, even though it is a cube when perceived in 3-D. Its being perceived as a square in 2-D does not conflict with its being a cube in 3-D. Similarly, in the 4-D (3-D+time), we can exercise our free will, and the 5-D being who perceives all the lower dimensions at once (including time) would know the results of those choices at once, rather than as we experience it sequentially stuck in 4-D.

            We are 2-D squares trying to grasp a 3-D cube.

          • What if this world is so awful that shooting someone in the head brings them to a Nirvana in another dimension? Wouldn’t that be an act of mercy? Look at all of the terrible things we have to do every day just to survive?

            Look at the act of defecation alone. Having to sit on a toilet, if you have one, over two billion of us (soon to be in this country) don’t, and have to stand above a trench. Having to expel dead cells and rotten food, then having to wipe that, and doing it all over sometimes two more times in a day. The act of defecation alone would make eternal life in this world a living hell.

            If someone is shot in the head mid-life, it means that they exit stage right to the next life. They had a shorter script than the centenarian in a wheel chair (some of whom would want to be shot in the head).

            The old-country Irish had it right with the traditional Irish wake.

          • A movie is a poor analogy because it implies a script.

            If I watch a football game on Sunday and you don’t but then we get together on Monday and watch a recording. I know what’s going to happen, but I’m not making it happen.

          • Not necessarily. If God is an infinite being in size and computational capacity, this means God exists outside of time, has no time and can see every possible outcome. It could be that there are multiple outcomes and when someone makes choices, many of the outcomes or in some cases all other outcomes collapse into one outcome.

            Think Schrodinger’s cat where one outside observer with x-ray vision can see into the box without affecting the uncertainty principle. He would see both the dead and alive cats and all the future events from both cases and the waveforms of the dead and alive cat would collapse into one when the experimenter opens the box. An outcome in which the outside observer may not know which it will be until it happens although he may have the capability of predicting the most likely outcome but with a non-zero probability of being wrong.

            It would be like watching a mind-boggling number of movies at once where some screens disappear and others appear. There are many ends which free will allows us to choose one.

          • The Bible teaches that predestination is a mystery but that truth irks you but the bible also teaches free will and you reject that.

            It’s all a bit humbling, isn’t it?

      • You are of course, correct. This is only one of the dozens and dozens of contradictions I am going nuts trying to get my head around the Old Testament. Others have too: “If God is all powerful – would it be possible for Him to create a boulder that was to big and heavy for Him to lift?” I will put a pin on them, but generally leave such things to biblical scholars to sort out.

        The people that wrote the original scriptures didn’t have science, and we cannot accurately transcribe all the ancient Hebrew texts. We don’t even know who the authors are in some of the passages. Often passages were written in metaphors that won’t make sense to 21st century men. Finally, it revolves around spiritual metaphysics as perceived by the people of the time as it pertains to philosophy. Given all that, you have to expect a massive noise to signal ratio. The fact that it actually held up as a successful faith for over 2000 years should tell you something. The fact that it’s abandonment by the mainstream is coinciding with the decline and fall of our civilization is another.

        These paradoxes and contradictions often blind the agnostics and atheists who do not have the time and inclination to actually study the scriptures for the bigger underlying truths, and the morals and ethics that arise from them.

        • “If God is all powerful – would it be possible for Him to create a boulder that was to big and heavy for Him to lift?”

          They may not have modern science, but they had most logical laws worked out (or at least the Greeks did).

          First start with the characteristics of God – the first and most fundamental that God is pure Being. What is the fundamental characteristic of being? Existence. If something does not exist, then something has no being. So what would omnipotence entail? The power (potence) to create all things that have existence/being. A logical contradiction (e.g., square circle) has no being. Therefore, being unable to create a contradiction does not diminish omnipotence. The boulder question is simply asking God to create a contradiction.

        • Well, of course, when the people you mention are smarter than anybody who has ever lived, then there is no need for them to study anything. They know that they are smarter than people like Augustine and Jerome and Aquinas because those guys are dead and didn’t even have smart phones. They didn’t even live in 20th- or 21st-century America, so how can they have known anything or have been as smart as people living now? The whole purpose of Darwin’s ramblings was to explain the astonishing existence of the glorious Victorian Englishman.

      • This comes from the false teaching that “God loves everyone.” Does he? I don’t think so. The “future” is a man made perception. Time only exists from the motion of matter through the curvature of space (God being spirit, and above and beyond this). It’s the music created at a precise point where the needle hits the spinning record. Move the record backward or forward with your hand and you’ll find the note to be embedded in that tiny groove.

        People are horrified to think that they’re automatons of a larger cosmic force, like something out of Blade Runner. I’m perfectly content with it.

      • A great deal of needless human misery has been caused by careless use of the word “therefore.” It’s one of the most dangerous words known to man.

      • That man has no free will is not implied by the fact that there shall be just one future, which we know is true. What will be will be, a vast amalgam of nature and history and billions of individual choices made daily by people. Our exercise of free will now is all part off the process leading to that certain future. We don’t know what that future looks like, but it’s there, waiting to greet us, with all its admixture of human decisions made (I believe) freely.

        A Creator would know the outcome; would know, indeed, the choices made by people. It explains why there is a core genre in the Bible – prophecy – that lays out in broad terms the fate of human society and its sorry inhabitants, without denying human agency.

      • This is a good objection. I see it along the lines of a parent anticipating what their child will do, all the while with the child exercising their agency — similarly a higher power with great intelligence, perspective, and knowledge of us could possess a certain foresight of what choices we will make, without mitigating our making them.

      • No, that is not what predestination means but rather than address that here, I want see your reaction to Tom Wolfe’s “The KIngdom of Speech” in which he shows that language is not any part of evolution.

        On could say his argument against that claim language did develop is an argument that serves as a synecdoche of the entirety of arguments against Evolution.

        In Wolfe’s book he addresses the five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis (p 27) and he observes that Darwin failed all five tests.

        To get back to free will for just a moment. Darwinism can not account for free will or universal objective morality and so why do you strive to make so many useful arguments against the immoral actions of those you oppose?

        They are just products of evolution and they exist outside a moral universe.

    • I’m pro-Christianity but…

      “God is omniscient, and presumably sees the universe from an outside perspective. From God’s perspective, the whole history of the universe is already a done deal.”

      Then why the whole original sin testing of each man, the Judas betrayal and Christ crucifixion, and the micro-managing of ID? Why did He have to watch the whole bloody drama unfold if He knows how it will end?

      If a man is eventually going to prove unworthy of God, why not just immediately consign him to Hell, instead of going through the whole drama?

      • Apparently, He enjoys the bloody struggle. The devastating diseases are quite a nice touch to the stage scenery.

        • Maybe God stepped outside for a quick smoke, and things got completely out of hand very quickly. 🙂

          • That’s why he provided us with rules in regards to sexual conduct which don’t follow and get a diseased pecker because of it.

        • He enjoys our spiritual growth as humans as we endure the bloody struggles. Otherwise we would be born in Heaven as very shallow, sheltered people, who turn to doing lines of coke by a crystal clear brook, dabble in Satanism, and crash new Acuras into trees up there because we wouldn’t know how good we have it, being totally unappreciative of our good fortune. In other words, my former prep-school.

          • Different beings all together. No human nature there. Although we know of at least one that didn’t make the cut.

          • There is a section in Milton’s Paradise Lost where God sees Satan making his way up from hell toward earth. Basically The Son asks, “Aren’t you going to stop him?” But God is in one of his “moods” and decides to let Satan proceed. Just to see what will happen. I guess God gets bored, too.

          • Epa;
            Milton is (I guess) great literature, but not scripture. Now, I ‘know’ you are joking…

      • If you are making sausage, the process may be unpleasant, and you know exactly what will happen and how it will end, but if you want sausage, you still have to make the sausage.

      • Because it is all in the eternal present from God’s perspective – the perspective of past, present, future represents our limited perspective. We make every free willed decision affecting our destiny all at once from God’s perspective.

      • Because, as explained above, He is outside time and it is His nature to perceive all time at once. Even those things which to us can only be perceived sequentially.

        If you are asking in the sense of what’s the point of it all, why not just save us all, bypass this sin testing thingy, etc., it is because if God is true Charity, and seeks true charity in return, then Charity demands the option of rejection. For Judas to truly love God, Judas has to have the freedom to reject God, otherwise his “love” is simply programming, not agency. It is the difference between rape and true marital relations.

      • Your questions assume that you know what is going on. But do you? If so, how? What if we are only stage props in a drama for observers that we know nothing of? Why do we have to be the center of the whole thing?

      • Isn’t that the point of creating something? To watch it work and unfold? I know I would personally love to set something in motion knowing how it all winds up, but get to enjoy all the twists and turns along the way that lead to that conclusion. I mean, I’ve done things in my life that I’ve known from the start were going to turn out a certain way (sometimes good, sometimes not), but that didn’t mean I stopped enjoying the journey. I mean at a real simple level, I drove my daughter to college last weekend for the first time. I knew when we were leaving, when we were coming back, and the basics of what we had to do there. But the actual 1,600 miles of driving, all the choices and things we made along the way, all the stuff that went right and wrong and sideways over 3 days…that was all just happenstance. I was still sad when we left, it’s never fun to get to the end of that chapter with your kids, but the trip was just fantastic.

        And then not just doing it once, but doing it an infinite number of times to see how those infinite number of stories play out. I think that would be pretty cool, and quite fitting of a proper big-G God.

      • God created everything for His Glory and He created man to know Him, Love Him, serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next world.

        Man is created for Happiness but many men (apparently TheZ Man too) prefers the fiction of darwinism because it, supposedly, releases him for his culpability of sin.

        If one is a product of evolution, then a man has no choice. That includes the Z Man.

        He is what he is and believes what he does because he is just the product an outrageously long succession of mutations and adaptations.

    • When theology descends to this level of debate, which you see in both Catholic church fathers like Augustine and Aquinas and Prots like Calvin, it ceases to have any real meaning to those of us operating in “human scale logic.”

      It’s effectively saying “shutup, this is above your head, just do what we say.” It won’t work with modrens. Look at church attendance and belief.

      Those who can be satisfied with this mindset are a dwindling minority. It’s a reactionary mindset and negative identity that only serves to illuminate what you stand against rather than what you stand for – because no one can understand what you stand for. We need to do better in articulating the positive meaning of Christianity rather than retreating into obscurantism, sham profundity and blind faith.

      • @Exile

        “It’s effectively saying “shutup, this is above your head, just do what we say.” It won’t work with modrens. Look at church attendance and belief.”

        “Those who can be satisfied with this mindset are a dwindling minority.”

        LMAO. Have you observed any of the SJWs? The Climate Change True believers? Those who preach that “systematic racism” and “white privilege” mantras?

        • That nonsense, what Chesterton called “believing in anything,” has filled the void left by Christian theologians who had nothing better to say than “argle-bargle so STFU and do what we tell you.” We need to have better answers. If your strategy for beating globshlomo relies on SJW-AGW-grade propaganda, you’re going to need the Megaphone to make your nonsense more popular than theirs. And Shlomo’s not handing you the Megaphone. We have to think deeper than simply saying “the stupid public will believe anything.” They’re obviously not believing in Christ or any established Church, they’re making the churches believe in poz instead. To reverse that, we need better ideas and better delivery.

          • @Exile
            The Churches of Poz (the Universities) are quite full because they have power and the dumb bovine masses will believe anything power tells them (as long as those in power avoid too many mistakes).

      • Hence why the first goal of public education is to dumb down the populace. It is not above the intelligence of the average human unless said human being has had the intelligence ground out of him.

      • Most denominations committed suicide by adopting modern progressive values that people like you advocate. It drove out many faithful and left people like yourself, nice progressives who embrace post Vatican-II values of anything goes. Then they watch their church curl up and die.

        The faithful don’t want your gumbo of nihilism and scientism that so many moderns peddle, especially SJWs. If that stuff was attractive,Christians would embrace it. They don’t.

        It’s not life affirming, it respects nothing , It’s the culture of death in a post-modern package.

      • Hard questions require hard answers. If you want to talk about the meaning of life, the universe and everything, it’s going to defy human scale logic. The first cause of time and space has to exist beyond time and space. Some Christians will not be interested in such things, but those who are find such explanations worth debating.

    • anyone who claims to know “god’s” intent can safely be ignored. All religious texts are the work of man, not god.

  52. When creation is taken as God simply conjuring things from nothing then the idea of a process unfolding over time becomes anathema. When creation is seen as an act of organizing toward an ideal with God using the elemental building materials which are themselves eternal then the idea of “evolution” makes sense. The use of the word “day” in Genesis has led to all kinds of difficulties. If the translators had used “time” or “period” it could have led to a lot less pointless argument and contention.

    • We have to ditch the literalist interpretation of Jewish-plagiarized Mesopotamian creation myths and reassert a Christian, not Torah/OT-by-proxy concept. You’re using a good example of the rethinking process. If Christianity is going to survive modernity, and I hope it does, it has to break with the black-letter-Book (and much of the Chosen OT in general*) and take those ideas as what the understanding of that day permitted.

      *Judaic identity is almost entirely atheistic now but it’s chugging along pretty well compared to Christianity. Judaism by design is materialistic and can much better withstand the death of transcendent belief. Judaism can withstand the heat of the Sun of modernity that it’s dragging us into, and we can’t (yet). We need to de-couple before they melting-pot us.

    • The problem is not the use of the term “day” but the literal acceptance/interpretation of figurative expressions. The Bible is replete with such. Do folks really think that “7 x’s 70” or “40 days and 40 nights” just keeps cropping up? Look, the Bible was written (actually compiled) over the years by men inspired by God (at least that’s one interpretation/explanation). These folk had an ancient’s understanding of time and numbers—much less an ability to express such in writing. Look to the moral teachings, take the rest with a grain of salt.

    • Don’t biologists propose spontaneous generation themselves with life somehow appearing about 4 billion years ago out of molecules called organic that have some special property of becoming alive unlike the other atoms and molecules?

      When you think about it, what is a cell other than a machine, a computer with a self replication program? An extremely complex machine created by a chance series of chemical reactions in the right environment that take place just in the right sequence to make the machine come into existence and function.
      What are the odds of that? And this doesn’t even take into account sentience.

      If this were just a fluke, Earth hit the life formed here by random chance lottery then I wouldn’t expect there be any other life in the universe.

      But then again, if random chance arrangement of molecules can form an organic machine, what are the odds that there is a wafer of silicon somewhere out there with just the right amounts of gallium and arsenic in the right spots to make a functional microprocessor chip.

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