CREATIONIST CRITIQUE

 

 From time to time Humanists receive letters from students asking questions relating to Humanism often for the purpose of padding out their answer to a project. Most Humanists will respond with a letter designed to be as educational as possible.

The correspondence below is rather different, it is an article written by someone who believes in Creationism and those who claim that Evolution is impossible "because we are designed."

It is produced as a circular, so you may have received a copy. I think it is important to reply to these letters, remembering that these people desire to teach this nonsense in our schools and may already be doing this.

My reply may be considered by some to be rather curt, this is deliberate. It is designed to make people stop and think. Your criticisms and suggestions will be welcome.


The Origin of Sexual Reproduction

In Volume 18(1) 1 of TJ (2004), a creationist technical journal, there are three articles on the supposed evolutionary origin of sexual reproduction. The authors concluded that there is no evolutionary explanation for sexual reproduction. Of course this would come as no surprise to a scientist (or any educated person), who realizes that to explain the origin of sexual reproduction, i.e. the sperm and the egg, requires an explanation as to how the software encoded on the DNA for the male and female reproductive organs could have arisen naturally. This includes the reproductive organs listed below..

Male:

Penis, Testicle, Seminal Vesicles, Ductus Deferens, Prostate, Epididymides, Scrotum

Female:

Vagina, Labia Major and Minor Clitoris, Ovary, Uterus, Uterine Tube

No one who believes in a naturalistic origin of sexual reproduction can be taken seriously, it is the most absurd nonsense imaginable. Yet all naturalistic evolutionists must believe in this, there is no other option

An evolutionist suggested that I try the website www.talkorigins.org for an answer, so I emailed fifteen of the defenders of evolution at this website. Five responded, however none of these five even attempted to provide an answer as to how sexual reproduction, with the sperm and the egg, originated naturally, yet this website is the one that evolutionists recommend as one of the best. It seems that discussion of the origin of sexual reproduction strikes fear into evolutionists, and there is no one for evolutionists to cling to for an answer. Someone I know emailed the evolutionist Dr Paul Willis pmawillis@ozemail.com.au, former Australian Skeptic of the Year, challenging Dr Willis to explain how the sperm and the egg evolved, however Dr Willis admitted that he had no answer.

After more than 145 years since the theory of evolution was popularized, there is absolutely no explanation for the origin of sexual reproduction, and there never will be a naturalistic origin for sexual reproduction. Science denies that such an event could ever occur. Evolution is a fool's belief, who would argue with this?

There is no scientific support for the theory of evolution amongst computer scientists. Information cannot arise without an intelligent source. When random changes are made to software, errors accumulate at a rapid rate until the software stops functioning completely. In the book Evolution A Theory in Crisis by Dr Michael Denton (a molecular biologist), he describes on pages 266-267 how naturally occurring errors in the software encoded on the DNA increase at an exponential rate and lead to auto-destruction. What Dr Michael Denton describes in molecular biology is exactly what any computer scientist would expect to occur.

If the theory of evolution can be shown to be false, then as a logical consequence the humanist world view/religion collapses like a house of cards.

Mr Brian Irwin, Westmead, N.S.W Australia


reply

120 Goodman Road.
Elizabeth South,
South Australia. 5112
22 July, 2005

Dear Brian.

In reply to your undated letter headed "The Origin of Sexual Reproduction" in which you make many detrimental remarks about evolution without suggesting any alternative I make the following responses.

Charles Darwin published his "Origin of Species" in 1859. And soon received recognition from biologists and many others.. It is an extremely detailed work which commands respect. Developments since then, the evidence of the rocks, understanding of genetics, DNA research have all gone to support evolution and indeed it would be impossible to disprove evolution without undermining much scientific research in the many fields which have contributed to these developments, making evolution a most rock solid theory. So much for your statement "Evolution is a fool's belief"

What we have learned about evolution is remarkable, but it is to be expected that we can have little knowledge of the beginnings of life. The evidence has long since been wiped out by storm and tempest and the grinding of plates. We do know that there are single cell organisms that divide to increase their population. Possibly sex cells evolved from them but we will never know. Since we have shown that evolution works over millions of years there is no reason to suppose that evolution did not occur in the very early stages of life. To suggest that life was created is to beg the question - who created the creator? And where is he now? What evidence can there be for an "unnatural anything"?

Computer scientists will be sufficiently educated to approve of evolution. The DNA coding is capable of errors just as a computer is. The body ejects a fertilised egg which is incompatible. The body can cause an abortion midway through the term. You can be born with defects which we try to patch up. At any age you can die of a cancer. As we get old these problems multiply until we cant function, that is we die. All of these are due to some failure of the DNA coding. All this is natural, if we were designed by a creator, then his design work was unsatisfactory.

While it is fascinating to argue about these ideas we will never agree. There are more important and immediate problems to worry about. Please read my enclosed pamphlet "Reality Check"  and pass it on to anyone else. Also my Buduburam report about how I help Liberian Refugee children go to school. Perhaps you can pass this one on to some one who has money!

All the best from Dick Clifford


ROUND 2

 Westmead NSW  3!-Jul-2005

Dear Dick Clifford,

Thanks for your response to my letter where I mentioned some problems with evolution. Your response leaves me with the impression that you really do not know much about evolution at all. Contrary to what you claimed about me not suggesting any alternative, I did offer an alternative when I claimed that information can only originate from an intelligent source. The alternative belief is supernatural creation.

The book The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin only dealt with conservative changes in living things that resulted from shuffling of existing genetic information. No molecules-to-man type of evolution is described in Darwin's book.

We do know that there are single cell organisms that divide to increase their population. Possibly sex cells evolved from them but we will never know.

That is a big 'possibly'. As I mentioned in my previous letter, sexual reproduction with the sperm and the egg involves explaining how the male and female reproductive organs originated. This evolutionary belief is not science; it is like believing in magic.

Since we have shown that evolution works over millions of years there is no reason to suppose that evolution did not occur in the very early stages of life.

Actually no one has shown that evolution works over millions of years, because no one has observed life for millions of years.

To suggest that life was created is to beg the question - who created the creator? And where is he now? What evidence can there be for an "unnatural anything"?

The answer to this question is simple. No one created the Creator. God exists outside of the creation and the laws of physics and is eternal. Every belief about the origin of the universe has to deal with the difficult question of eternality. People know how to detect unnatural things, how do you think forensic science and archaeology work ?

Computer scientists will be sufficiently educated to approve of evolution. The DNA coding is capable of errors just as a computer is.

I have a degree in computer science, and I know that there is no scientific support (papers in refereed scientific journals) for evolution amongst computer scientists. Of course errors occur in the software encoded on DNA, just like in computer software, however the more errors generated, the faster this leads to auto-destruction (death) in cells. It is totally naive to believe random changes to software will result in anything other than the eventual failure of the software.

The body ejects a fertilised egg which is incompatible. The body can cause an abortion midway through the term. You can be born with defects which we try to patch up. At any age you can die of cancer. As we get old these problems multiply until we cannot function, that is we die. All of these are due to some failure of the DNA coding. All this is natural, if we were designed by a creator, then his design work was unsatisfactory.

The argument you have presented above is not a scientific one, but rather a pseudo-theological argument. What you have described above is entropy, the relentless tendency of matter organized in high energy, highly complex states to move towards low energy, less complex states. Actually, this is another unsolvable problem for evolutionary theory, however I won't get into that now. Perhaps you hadn’t realized that all man-made machines also break-down and decay, just as life does. So should we conclude that all man-made machines are unsatisfactory also? The Bible says that after the fall, all people are destined to die, so the process you described is merely the way death comes about. Perhaps this is a problem for some other religions, but is not a problem for Christianity.

Thanks for your information about the Liberian refugee children, however I already support the humanitarian organizations World Vision and Christian Blind Mission International, which do similar work. I have read the book The Party's Over by Richard Heinberg (2003), which describes the oil depletion problem facing the world. I also read recently how a scientist believes that once the amazing process of photosynthesis can be duplicated, then the world's energy problems may be solved. So the future may not be as bleak as you think,

Yours Sincerely,

Brian Irwin 


reply

120 Goodman Rd.
Elizabeth South
S.A. 5112

8255 9508

16/8/05

Dear Brian Irwin,

In reply to your letter dated 31st July while your previous letter did mention articles from a creationist technical journal, which made me realise that you were arguing for "Intelligent Design", the rest of your letter was entirely devoted to criticism of evolution. It seems odd to me that you should expect evolution scientists to have a ready explanation of everything and if there is no explanation available for one item then you insist on ditching the whole.

There is no explanation of how DNA first evolved, but we can chart the evolution of life from very early organisms to present day man, over many million years. One can only speculate as to how the double helix came about, certainly not by magic but your suggestion of supernatural creation is surely magic.

You say no one has shown that evolution works over millions of years because no one has observed life for millions of years. But this is precisely what we do: We examine the fossil record. Fossils are found in different strata according to their age. Their age can be cross checked using different methods. The more developed a species is, the more recent is the strata in which it is found. It never turns up in a lower strata. (There are cases when the strata has been turned upside down or where a specimen has fallen down to a lower strata, but these can usually be sorted out.) Any one who has the time may go and find fossils, work out their dates and check the methods used to ascertain these dates and build up a picture of the development of life as a whole and detailed development of individual species. The dates cover hundreds of millions of years. Every month more data is added to the records. These are the facts of evolution, not the theory. Anyone developing an evolutionary theory or a creationist theory must take these facts into account.

There are Christians who say what we have discovered is the way God has created life. In the same way as was argued in the Compass program on TV last Sunday night where it was revealed that the Vatican has an observatory where they investigate the evolution of stars, how they live and die, how it takes 3 generations of stars before sufficient higher atoms are built to make life possible. This is how God created the universe they say. It is not compatible with the bible story but you would hardly expect God to dictate or inspire a story to human scribes which they could not possibly understand.

You say: Every belief about the origin of the universe has to deal with the difficult question of eternality. People know how to detect unnatural things… Well no, we don’t. We analyse unusual things and discover ordinary explanations. We no longer believe in eternality, everything changes however slowly. Mountains are ground down till they are flat, religion evolves, Abraham found sacrifice was not required. The New Testament is much milder than the Old. Jesus was something of a lefty, but fundamentalist still have to learn this.

Your remarks as a computer scientist surprise me. There are computer programs which predict, given starting conditions, how x might evolve. Type into Google "evolution computer programs" or similar key words and you will soon find that computers and evolution are practically married. Type in http://evolve.zoo.ox.ac.uk/ which shows the University of Oxford’s projects in evolutionary biology. The last item entitled Population Genetics discuses the principle mechanisms of RNA virus evolution including AIDS and SARS making it possible to predict their long-term evolution. It does appear that progress in this field is completely dependant on the marriage of evolution and computer programming.

If you are saying that we die of entropy then I think you are wrong. The 2nd law of thermo dynamics is a long term effect predicting the heat death of the universe. Explanations of ageing and human death usually involve the cells of the body which include a copy of their DNA. They get replaced frequently so the whole body is changed in (6/12?) months but as the copying process is not 100% perfect we deteriorate and eventually we die. Man made machines suffer from wear and tear and have to be replaced frequently. So perhaps we agree on the process of ageing, but I don’t see that this is compatible with Dr. Michael Denton’s arguments in your 1st letter.

(Dr.) Doug Everingham makes the following contribution:

Dear Dick and all,

Sexual reproduction occurs with single celled organisms, even bacteria (so-called plus and minus strains exchanging genetic material). Individuals can be male, female, both, or neither, even with humans and other complex life forms. Some species, including vertebrates (at least some fish and reptiles) change sex with life stage and/or environmental influences. The essence of the division into sexes is that it enormously speeds up the shuffling of gene combinations that otherwise would only occur by mutations (apparently random shifts, sometimes triggered by external factors including climate change). Just as our genetic and cultural propensities for interpersonal competition and cooperation interact and evolve to improve the survival of social herd animals like humans, so do sexual and sex-linked genes improve our capacity to improve gene-combination capacities (intelligence, immunity to harmful mutations and external disease cases etc.). Evolution similarly selects differentiation of 'intersex' organs towards either male or female to improve efficient fertilization plumbing. This varies in efficiency in couples with low fertility, but the sexual plumbing listed by the creationist is not necessary for reproduction as we know from pregnancies in people raised as males because of ambiguous external sex organs, the successes of in vitro fertilization and the accidental pregnancy following accidental contamination of sexual secretions without copulation, caesarean delivery of a live child from an ectopic pregnancy in a woman with no uterus, etc. D.E.

It would seem that sex differentiation is far more complicated than can be understood by the bible scribe. All the more reason why religious people should take note of the importance of forgiving, as portrayed by Jesus.

I will check out artificial photosynthesis but fear that this is so far into the future that it will not be available in time to solve our energy problems.

All the best from Dick Clifford.


round 3

Westmead NSW 2145 

3rd September 2005

Dear Dick Clifford,

I noticed that you placed the first four letters of our correspondence on the web., I have no problem with this., and you can include my name if you wish, First of all I will respond to Doug Everingham's reply, which you included in your last letter. Dr Everingham's response does not even attempt to explain HOW sexual reproduction, with the sperm and the egg, originated naturally. instead, he attempts to explain WHY sexual reproduction evolved (which is nothing more than story-telling). Here is the problem for evolutionists, as mentioned in the TJ article I mentioned in the first letter.

'...there is not an evolutionist on the planet who has been able to come up with an adequate (much less believable) explanation as to how somatic cells reproduce by mitosis (thereby maintaining the species' standard chromosome number in each cell), while gametes are produced by meiosis - wherein that chromosome number is halved so that, at the union of the male and female gametes during reproduction, the standard number is reinstated' TJ Vol. 18(1) pg 103.

Dr Everingham's response does not even attempt to give an explanation for the problem described above. He mentions how sexual reproduction can occur without all of the reproductive organs (by vitro fertilization, caesarean delivery, etc) however this argument is logically flawed because these processes all use an intelligent source (people) to modify the process of sexual reproduction, which far from showing how this process could have originated naturally, merely confirms what I am saying about how sexual reproduction could only have originated from an intelligent source.

I am not saying that evolution is false because there is no naturalistic explanation for the sperm and the egg (and there is not). I have just highlighted one important process of life that simply cannot be explained by anything other than intelligent design. I have also shown that evolution is false from my own university studies (computer science). If the software encoded on the DNA cannot be accounted for in any other way than intelligence, then evolutionary theory is dead in the water. You, like many other evolutionists, don't seem to like people criticising evolution. I believe the reason for this is because evolutionism cannot stand up to criticism. Besides, you criticise creationism by using arguments such as 'God wouldn't have done it that way...' (which are nothing more than straw-man arguments), so what is the problem?

Your talk about fossils and rock strata showing evolution is nothing more than circular reasoning. You assume that evolution is true to begin with, then merely explain fossils according to this belief Fossils in rock strata merely show the remains of dead creatures, all of which are fully formed, The absurdity of the so-called geological column has been shown with the discovery of the coelacanth (supposedly extinct for 60 million years) and the Wollemi Pine (supposedly extinct for 200 million years) both of which were found alive in the 20th century.

Contrary to what you claim, people DO know how to detect unnatural things. Do you have any idea of what archaeologists do? Archaeologists dig up the ground and when they discover items such as pottery, archaeologists know that the pottery was created by an external intelligence, not by the natural forces of nature. Likewise the information encoded on DNA indicates intelligence because information has never been shown to arise naturally.

Your claim that computer simulations exist showing how evolution could occur is simply naive, These programs are deterministic, which means they converge towards the same goal each time they are, run, If evolution is true, then life is nothing but an accident, whereas these computer 'simulations' of evolution always result in the same outcome each time they are run, which completely contradicts the theory of evolution. There are many other reasons why these computer simulations are nonsense. For instance, none of the unsuccessful outcomes damage the successful outcomes. In the real world, when errors are introduced to software, the errors accumulate until the software stops functioning altogether, and this, of course, applies to the information encoded on DNA. These claims of computer programs simulating evolution have been refuted numerous times. Here are some articles that I have read that refute such claims : TJ Vol. 12(3) pg 358, TJ Vol.14(3) pg13, TJ Vol.15(2) pg 55, TJ Vol. 15(2) pg 69.

These computer 'simulations' of evolution do not model anything real. How foolish it is to merely perform a search on the internet for something on computer simulations and evolution, and then think you have refuted my argument.

The 2nd Law of thermodynamics does not just apply to the universe as a whole, it also applies to all states of matter. If you understood chemical entropy you would realise that abiogenesis is nothing but a myth. Cells in the human body will only divide a certain number of times, so entropy eventually transforms life to non-life, You don't seem to realize it, but you have virtually conceded that what I am saying about information is true. You claim:

.. but as the copying process is not I00% percent perfect we deteriorate and eventually die.

Yes, when naturally occurring changes are introduced to software, errors are increased until it leads to auto-destruction, as Dr Michael Denton wrote in his book Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, and as any computer scientist knows.

Yours Sincerely,

Brian Irwin


reply

120 Goodman Road
Elizabeth South,
South Australia. 5112

(08) 8255 9508

8 October, 2005

Mr Brian Irwin
PO Box 136
Westmead NSW 2145

Dear Brian,

In my previous letters I have made it clear that we have little knowledge of the beginnings of life, the evidence has long since been wiped out. I might make speculations but a scientist must examine the evidence and since there is no evidence there can be no verdict.

But you are in exactly the same position, you have no evidence, only a belief which would not be acceptable to the Scientist. A scientist needs to measure, to probe, to analyse and compare not once but many times on different samples. He needs to publish and for other scientists to confirm his results before it becomes acceptable. Your dismissal of the evidence of the rocks as circular reasoning is not correct. All fossils are carefully measured, analysed, dated etc. before their place in the evolutionary chain is considered.

Your remark Fossils in rock strata merely show the remains of dead creatures, all of which are fully formed suggests that you have little interest in fossils. But you should because they do reveal the long history and development of life down the ages. This in spite of the fact that the record is fragmentary as the process of fossilisation is a rare occurrence, still the huge amount of fossil evidence builds up a convincing picture. The softer parts are often not fossilised which may account for you only seeing adult forms. Besides you use fossils everyday. Coal, which may generate your electricity, are the remains of plants that sank in swamps, and were then overlaid with rocks about 360 to 290 million years ago. Oil thought to be millions of dead plankton, which sank to the seabed, were overlaid by later deposits and compacted. In the absence of oxygen, bacteria plus pressure converted them to oil and gas, a process which takes millions of years. They say the process is still continuing today but this is no reassurance as we are using what took over a hundred million years to form in 100 years.

Your reference to the "Geological Column" refers to the realisation during the last 300 years or so that three quarters of the earths surface consists of strata, laid down by the action of wind and water. The resulting layers of sedimentary rocks represent a 'slice' of time as can be readily appreciated by examination of canyons, quarries and railway cuttings. It was found that groups of strata containing similar fossils could be dated and compared with similar strata even as far as the next continent. This in spite of the fact that strata sequences were often eroded, distorted, tilted, even turned upside down, at times covered by sea so the strata in any particular area represents only part of the history of the earth. Never the less it is possible to construct a geological column (or table) commencing with the age of the earth(4.570 million years ago approximately) to the present day. In the last 50 years radioactive dating has provided relatively firm dates for all geological periods.

This represents a problem for creationists because you want to fit it all into a period of less than 10,000 years. You attempt to do this by claiming that all the strata came down in the great flood. This is clearly impossible. The strata can be a total depth of several thousand feet if this was all to come down in one 12 month flood the result would be a huge pile of sludge whereas examination of the strata clearly shows distinct layers which would have settled out annually and hardened sufficiently for the next rains. To claim otherwise is to disregard the evidence and is not scientific.

Fossil succession, allowing relative dating, was recognised 20 to 40 years before Darwin. Thus Dinosaurs are found after (in higher strata) than the first occurrence of land plants. While many species become extinct in a few million years this is not always the case. The Wollemi Pine, well known as a fossil in many parts of the world, dating from 144 down to about 2 million years ago, was discovered in an extremely inaccessible spot in the Blue Mountains where it had been growing in conditions which suited it and without competition that had caused it to become extinct in all other parts of the world. The Coelacanth is a large fish, growing up to 2 meters in length - the last of its line. But they are not identical with the coelacanth fossils found in rocks 360 million years ago. These lacked some internal structures found in the modern fish which is very much larger than the fossil. The Geological Column only uses 'typical fossils' in each strata. It is backed up with carbon-14 dating. You are being devious when you use these fossils to down grade the geological column.

People do know how to detect unnatural things - perhaps I should have said "supernatural things"- well you had been talking about there never will be a naturalistic origin for sexual reproduction and in your 2nd letter you had been talking about eternality which led me to suppose you were not talking about something as mundane as a piece of pottery. I regard the universe and life as a part of nature, We are the result of the natural forces of nature, other animals do exhibit intelligence and there are times when we doubt our own.

DNA has four different nucleotides represented as A, T, C and G. - A computer uses 2 bases 0 and 1 There is little difference, in principle between a two-state binary information technology, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell. For this reason a computer program can be designed to imitate evolutionary processes and give us a better understanding of what goes on. You object that computer simulations always result in the same outcomes but the 'information encoded on DNA' must also be passed on with a high degree of accuracy. No doubt many programs are no better than computer games but I am still surprised that you can see no future value in the use of computers.

The whole universe is evolving. Our astronomers have been working out the evolution of the stars, how they are born and how they die. At their death they throw out higher elements which are incorporated into new stars. It has taken 3 generations of stars to raise the level of higher elements sufficiently to permit the development of life. We live because we are made of stardust. All this is based on measurement and analysis. The evidence is in the star light. Returning to earth, science has explained evolution, measured it, and checked it in various ways and the data is increasing every month. This is a much better and more satisfying explanation than that contained in Genesis.

But because science cannot explain how DNA evolved you say it is impossible and wish to throw out the whole of evolution. This is unreasonable and unscientific and you have no evidence to substantiate your point of view. In these circumstances no headmaster could accept the teaching of ID in a science curriculum. While it has been suggested to me that the teaching of ID would be possible in a Philosophy curriculum, many philosophers would object because of the way you disregard everything not favourable to your point of view.

It appears that your objective is to reinstate Bible teaching on the grounds that there must be an Intelligent Designer. So lets have a closer look at His creation.

A) All animal life must grow and develop by killing and eating some other life form.

B) The geological record shows various extinctions in which large numbers became extinct and new species developed. Did your Creator become dissatisfied with his creation and decide to start over?

C) A number of hominoids developed during the last 6 million years, including the Neanderthals who buried their dead and looked after their old people. They died out some 350,000 years ago. Why did the Creator create them? Was he perhaps experimenting?

D) Viruses like Measles, Mumps, Rabies, Smallpox, Yellow fever, AIDS etc. Bacteria like Diphtheria, Leprosy, Scarlet fever, Syphilis, Tuberculosis etc. and many other horrors too numerous to mention were presumably created by the creator. Why?

E) Any doctor will tell you about the parts of the human body which clearly came from an older species and should have been redesigned. Why not?

F) The Ichneumon, an insect, in the same class as bees and ants, (there are thousands of genera) mostly lay their eggs in young stages of other insects. The host insect gets paralysed and the grubs eat out the host being careful to avoid those parts that keep the host fresh. Christian apologists have said "Well, its only an insect."  I would not like to know this creator.

Just to ask these questions is to reveal that there can be no intelligent designer who could create such designs but that life, germs and all developed in the course of evolution.

 

Of course this still leaves us to work out solutions to the problems out lined above. Science has had considerable success in solving these problems but often religion has stood in the way. It is now very apparent that we are rushing towards the next great extinction. Our overuse of fossil fuels causing too much CO2, will change the climate, ruin agriculture and cause our death. Alternatively oil will run short, which may reduce the amount of CO2, but it will be difficult to supply towns with food, business will go bankrupt and millions will become unemployed and of course we will go to war over the limited supplies. So poverty and war will kill us off.

Solutions will have to include the long term reduction in population, unfortunately the church does not approve of Family Planning. The financial system needs to be reformed. It currently drives us to go for the maximum development insuring more CO2 in the atmosphere and less oil in the ground. It needs to provide a fairer distribution of money. But again the Church takes no interest in such reforms because they are too busy making money out of the system. I would appreciate any suggestions as to how to influence the Catholic Church.

A few more details are in my leaflet "Reality Check" but I want to bring to your attention a new book by Tim Flannery "The Weather Makers". Everything you wanted to know about Climate Change is there, as well as lots of information on energy systems and most importantly it contains many ideas on how we can all reduce our fossil fuel consumption by 70% and save the planet. Dr. Flannery's style is excellent and is easily understood by everyone. Indeed a book I can confidently recommend to all.

All the best from Dick Clifford.


Round 4: For the purposes of easier understanding this round has been reformatted so that Brian’s reply is in black and as usual the paragraphs in italics are quotes from round 3, and Dick’s reply are inset and are printed in red.

 

P.O. Box 136

Westmead NSW 2145

21st November, 2005

Dear Dick Clifford,

My first letter stated that it was only possible to account for the origin of the process of sexual reproduction. with the. sperm and the egg by supernatural creation, The challenge for you was to show that it possible to account for this process by naturalistic evolutionary processes. You have failed to do this and by not even mentioning sexual reproduction in your previous letter I assume. that you have conceded defeat on this point.

In my first letter I also stated that it is impossible to account for information without an intelligent source. In your previous letter you stated that it cannot be explained how DNA evolved, so here you have admitted that there is no evolutionary mechanism for evolution, because if you cannot account for the software encoded on DNA, you cannot explain life. You also did not attempt to answer my claim that the 2nd law of thermodynamics made abiogenesis impossible.

These three arguments together are absolutely devastating to evolutionary theory, so it is not really surprising that you evade these issues and prefer to tell evolutionary stories about what supposedly happened in the past. Your arguments don't really contain any scientific facts and are riddled with logical fallacies and poor reasoning, as shown below.

What we are discussing are two opposed viewpoints about the nature of the universe. You claim that the universe was created by a creator who has always existed, who created the universe in a short space of time, and whose latest creation, man, turned out to be rather stiff necked and has had to be chastised from time to time.

I support the scientific view that the universe has slowly evolved, there have been 3 generations of stars, starting with metal free stars which exploded at the end of their lives, throwing out higher elements that were incorporated in the next generation until sufficient higher elements formed to enable life to commence some 3500 million years ago on this earth. Since then life has slowly developed from the smallest possible forms through many varieties to the present day, leaving their traces as fossils in the many strata laid down during the ages.

You claim that the natural origin of DNA is impossible, I have only admitted that we have no evidence, so the case is unproven. But to my mind the concept of a Creator who does not age and who created the whole universe is far more complicated than the origin of DNA, is more difficult to believe and sounds more in the nature of a religious belief. In recent years the evidence for evolution is building up all the time, so called "missing links" are vanishing, We now have a detailed picture of the evolution of many animals from horses to man, even the germs change every year.

With regard to your comment about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics I note that a new born baby is just as virile today as they were 70 years ago so may be this is not as important as you suppose.

In my previous letters I have made it clear that we have little knowledge of the beginnings of life, the evidence has long since been wiped out. I might make speculations but a scientist must examine the evidence and since there is no evidence there can be no verdict.

There can be a verdict because scientists believe that the laws of science have not changed during the history of life. Why do you think scientists perform experiments to try and show that abiogenesis is feasible? (it is not) Here you claim that there can be no verdict, but you also claim that evolution is true (so you believe that abiogenesis is true), so you have contradicted yourself.

Now that scientists know a lot more about DNA there is a team at work trying to create life so you could be proved wrong any time. However it is a very difficult problem so you may be safe during our lifetime.

But you are in exactly the same position, you have no evidence, only a belief which would not be acceptable to the Scientist.

Here you are resorting to the same old circular logic of defining true scientists as only those who accept evolutionary theory. Contrary to what you claim, I do have scientific evidence from thermodynamics, computer science, molecular biology, the irreducible complexity of life, etc. to support my belief. At least we agree on something, namely, that evolutionists have no evidence,

You have to consider the facts of evolution, the rocks, the fossils, the dating, the DNA etc. as I have explained before. Yes there are gaps in the record, but the overall picture is clear to see, These are the facts which the theory must account for.

A scientist needs to measure, to probe, to analyse and compare not once but many times on different samples He needs to Publish and for other scientists to confirm his results before it becomes acceptable.

Design theorists do publish their work in peer-reviewed literature. For example, Fritz Schaefer, the inventor of computational quantum chemistry, has over nine hundred peer-reviewed papers and is the third most cited chemist in the world.

Having googled Fritz Schaefer I find that he is indeed a famous computational quantum chemist and a very religious person, however he does get criticism from Reed A Cartwright who works at the same University, as having no experience in evolutionary biology, he takes no part in the evolutionary seminars held on their campus, which involve major scientists and his objections to evolution are simply religiously motivated incredulity i.e. not scientifically based. Also if you look up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Design Under the section Peer review, it is claimed that there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred" It is also claimed that no established scientific journal has yet published an intelligent design article, but that intelligent design proponents have set up their own journals with "peer review" that consists entirely of intelligent design supporters that lack rigor.

Your dismissal of the evidence of the rocks as circular reasoning is not correct All fossils are carefully measured, analysed, dated etc. before their place in the evolutionary chain is considered.

The statement above of yours is circular reasoning, because you assume that there is an evolutionary chain to begin with. The dates assigned to fossils are based on where the fossils are supposed to appear in the hypothetical geological column, not by independent dating methods. Carbon-14 dating can only be used to date fossils thousands of years old, not millions of years old.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5568 years which enables dating up to 60,000 years, Radioisotope-dating of igneous rocks cannot date a fossil directly but igneous rock situated above and below the fossil can be dated giving an average for the fossil. Decay of U235 to lead-207, or of Potassium-40 to Argon-40 are amongst the methods used which covers the ages down to bed-rock. Other methods include measurements of the earth’s magnetic field which varies over time can be used as a check on rocks from different geological eras. All these methods cross check dating by stratification etc. and make the possibility of circular dating impossible.

Your remark Fossils in rock strata merely show the remains of dead creatures, all of which are fully formed suggests that you have little interest in fossils. But you should because they do reveal the long history and development of life down the ages. This in spite of the fact that the record is fragmentary as the Process of fossilisation is a rare occurrence, still the huge amount of fossil evidence builds, up a convincing picture. The softer parts are often not fossilised which may account for you only seeing adult forms.

Fossilization has not been a rare occurrence, as billions of invertebrate and fish fossils, and millions of fossil amphibians, reptiles and mammals are found in the fossil bearing strata. There are two huge gaps in the fossil record that are so large that they completely refute your claim that fossils support evolutionary theory. These are the gap between single-celled organisms and invertebrates, and the gap between the invertebrates and the vertebrates. Why do you think Stephen Gould and Niles Eldridge developed their punctuated equilibrium notion of evolution? It was a vain attempt to account for all of the 'gaps' in the fossil record. The fossil record contains the remains of creatures that appear abruptly and are fully formed, it does not show the development of life. This is merely the evolutionists interpretation of the data, and their interpretation is not correct.

Animals and plants get eaten when they die, those that die in dry places leave fewer fossils, some animals such as flying reptiles and birds were so frail that few left remains. Fossilisation, where water dissolves the original plant or animal and is replaced by minerals requires the right conditions. All these and more are reasons why fossils are a rare occurrence and why there are many gaps in the fossil record. But as we both say in the last two paras: there are a huge number of fossils quite sufficient for scientists to piece together a record of life. Gould and Eldridge wrote about punctuated equilibrium to account for the facts revealed in the fossil record unknown in Darwin’s time. In his most recent books Gould continued to support evolution. It is believed that speciation events will happen in the periphery of the population range where they can exist, often in a different habitat, but where fossilisation is unlikely to preserve the event until after the original population expires, then the "new" species will "appear" elsewhere. I understand this was "The standard evolutionary model" before Gould and Edridge wrote about it.

Besides you use fossils everyday. Coal, which may generate your electricity, are the remains of plants that sank in swamps, and were then overlaid with rocks about 360 to 290 million years ago.

Laboratory tests have found that heating lignin and clay in the absence of oxygen produced coal, in less than one year, not millions of years: 'Winans and his colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory have taken less than one year to prepare a thoroughly characterised synthetic coal. The material they produce is indistinguishable from the real thing by all the techniques so far applied to it and its synthesis raises many interesting questions in coal chemistry.' Nature March 28, 1985 pp 316.

While some coal is obtained from "open cut" mining, most comes from deep underground mines so however long it took to form it has been down there for millions of years. Nature Bulletin No 330-A says that 250 million years ago for some 35 million years the whole earth was covered by ferns and tree-ferns. The climate was then warm and humid with no seasonal changes. Eventually this 35 million year deposit of ferns was converted to bituminous and anthracite coal which if we continue to burn, may result in a warm humid world suitable for an entirely different vegetation to that which we now depend on..

Our chemists work at synthesizing anything. It seems pointless in view of the huge reserves of coal available, excessive pollution and the high costs..

Oil thought to be millions of dead plankton, which sank to the seabed were overlaid by later deposits and compacted In the absence of oxygen, bacteria plus pressure converting them to oil and gas a process which takes millions of years. They say the process is still continuing today but this is no reassurance as we are using what took over a hundred million years to form, in 100 Years.

Oil does not require millions of years to form. Oil can be formed very rapidly. Researchers at Exxon discovered water acted an essential part in the formation of oil. Efforts to synthesize oil met with failure until very hot water was added to the reactor vessel containing the source rock sample. When this was done a layer of oil was found on top of the water at the end of the experiment. This result proves that there is an alternate path to the production of oil in the earth with superheated water playing a major role. The article indicated that fins discovery could wreak havoc with established ideas about oil formation. This was reported in an article titled Water, Water Everywhere Science News, February 20, 1993. Present day oil formation has been reported in the Gulf of California. Below 6000 feet, organic sediments derived from marine algae and other organic sources has accumulated. Below this, superheated water is being pushed up by a deep heat source through these sediments. Oil is being formed by the interaction of organic sediments with superheated water. This hydrothermal oil is virtually indistinguishable from crude oil obtained from wells drilled in the earth.

Again many chemists have synthesised oil, Hitler synthesised it from coal, but the oil we have been using comes from deep wells and all require a heavy roof of impervious rock which prevents the oil leaking to the surface and evaporating away. Such structures require millions of years to form. There are also large quantities of Shale oil in America but they have been unable to extract it economically as the energy required is more than that contained in the oil released. In any case we need to reduce our consumption of both coal and oil and develop alternate energy systems which are sustainable and CO2 free.

Your reference to the "Geological Column" refers to the realisation during the law 300 years or so that three quarters of the earths surface consists of strata, laid down by the action of wind and water. The resulting layers of sedimentary rocks represent a ‘slice’ of time as can be readily appreciated by examination of canyons quarries and railway cuttings, It was found that groups of strata containing similar fossils could be dated and compared with similar strata even as far as the next continent. This in spite of the fact that strata sequences were often eroded, distorted, tilted, even turned upside down, at times covered by sea so the strata in any particular area represents only part of the history of the earth Never the less it is possible to construct a geological column (or table) commencing with the age of the earth (4.570 million years ago approximately) to the present day. In the last 50 years radioactive dating has provided relatively firm dates for all geological periods.

The truth about the supposed geological column is that nowhere in the world does the complete column exist. The global 'stack' of index fossils exists nowhere on earth and most index fossils do not usually overlie each other at the same location. For example, most locations with Devonian fishes are not overlain by rocks bearing Cretaceous ammonites, and most locations with Cretaceous ammonites do not overlie locations with Devonian fishes. The locations where it has been possible to assign all ten periods of the Phanerozoic geological column represent Iess than 0.4% of the earth's surface (1% if the ocean basins are excluded), and even in these locations only a small fraction (8 - 16% or less) of the total thickness of the supposed geological column exists.

The earths surface consists of six large plates and several small ones that move round the planet in all directions. These plates alter the shape of the continents and build mountains. The rains come and wear down the mountain causing strata to form in the plains, but since the mountain is a local affair, the strata is limited in extent and therefore there are many small geologic columns separated in space and time. But this does not mean that the idea of a geologic column has no value, We are still able to work out the history in any particular area and work out the relations between areas. There is no doubt that the tectonic plates did move slowly and the continents were one large land mass some 250 million years ago. This would be impossible in 10,000 years without producing excessive heat. And there are some mighty big columns, take for example the Grand Canyon of the Colorado Plateau. There are many web pages but you should look up "The Woolf’s Den - Creationism and the Grand Canyon" this stretches from 2 billion years ago up to about 1.5 million years ago. He gives the scientific explanation of how the geography evolved and the creationist, Steven A. Austin’s explanation who tries to prove it all happened in less than 10,000 years, mainly in the flood. He shows many pictures full of strata with fossils all in the right places. Indeed a mighty column!

Fossilised, upright tree-trunks (with no roots) have been found in sedimentary rocks that extend through layers that are supposed to represent millions of years. The tree-trunks obviously did not take millions of years to become fossilised, the tree-trunks must have been entombed in sedimentary layers quickly. A fossilised tree-trunk like this was found near Swansea, New South Wales, amongst other locations around the world.

Fossilised tree have been known for many years and are often listed under the name Petrified Forests. They are found in many parts of the world in places where volcanic activity is prominent. Volcanic eruptions produce lavas, pyroclastic materials and volcanic ash which cover the vegetation, tree trunks branches and leafs very quickly and isolates the tree from atmospheric conditions. Along with the volcanic activity hot solutions of silicon dioxide penetrate the volcanic materials and fossilisation commences immediately over the whole tree. Multiple eruptions may help the process. Under good conditions the annual rings, leaves etc are preserved in excellent condition. All this has been well known and understood for many years, there is no problem.

This represents a problem for creationists because you want to fit it all into a period of less than 10,000 years. You attempt to do this by claiming that all the strata came down in the great flood, This is clearly impossible. The strata can be a total depth of several thousand feet if this was all to come down in one 12 month flood the result would he a huge pile of sludge whereas examination of the strata clearly shows distinct layers which would have settled out annually and hardened sufficiently for the next rains. To claim otherwise is to disregard the evidence and is not scientific.

You have provided no scientific evidence to support your claim. Contrary to what you claim, creationists do not claim that all fossils are the result of the flood. Dr Henry Morris, the scientist who started the modern creationist revolution wrote a widely used university textbook on hydraulics and hydrology-the action of moving water, etc. There was a report on experiments on stratification in TJ Vol. 8(1) where it was shown that lamination results from the mechanical segregation of different particles in a moving layer (air or water), meaning that lamination results when particles of different sizes and densities are deposited by moving water. The report also concluded that superposed strata do not necessarily represent successive sedimentary layers.

The scientific evidence is the strata in the rocks visible to all in canyons and cuttings which show sedimentary layers being laid down annually over time with only limited disruption due to volcanoes, earthquakes and floods. You and Dr Henry Morris interpret this evidence differently claiming that (most) of the strata came down in the flood. But as you well know this view has been severely criticised particularly in pages like Problems with a Global Flood Do you really suppose that there was a world wide flood covering the highest mountain for a year? If so where did the water come from and where did it go? It has also been pointed out that sediments are not hydrologically sorted. Coarse sediments are often found above fine sediments. Nor are the fossils sorted. Large fossils are commonly found in fine sediments.

Possibly the best scientific evidence is the record from the long cores taken from the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica. They show summer and winter bands that have been counted back, year by year, to at least 30,000 years, used to measure CO2 levels and world temperatures, and have been correlated with C-14 dates from tree rings dating back 12,000 years and more. A veritable time clock, proving the complete inaccuracy of the creation time-scale with no sign of the flood which should have registered as a change in CO2 level which would have occurred if the earth was covered with water.

Fossil succession, allowing relative dating, was recognised 20 to 40 years before Darwin. Thus Dinosaurs are found after (in higher, strata) than the first occurrence of land plants. While many species become extinct in a few million years this is not always the case. The Wollemi Pine, well known as a fossil in many parts of the world, dating from 144 down to about 2 million years ago, was discovered in an extremely inaccessible spot in the Blue Mountains where it had been growing in conditions which suited it and without competition that had caused it to become extinct in all other parts of the world. The Coelacanth is a large fish, growing up to 2 meters in length - the last of its line. But they are not identical with the coelacanth fossils found in rocks 360 million years ago These lacked some internal structures found in the modern fish which is very much larger than the fossil.

The Geological Column only uses 'typical fossils' in each strata. It is backed up with carbon-14 dating.

The claims made for the Wollemi Pine and the coelacanth, based on the geological column, were completely wrong. The most recent coelacanth known prior to the 1938 discovery is the genus Macropoma, which was supposed to become extinct 80 million years ago, according to evolutionary theory. There is hardly any change from coelacanths supposedly 400 million years old to the coelacanths alive today, according to evolutionists themselves. So when the coelacanth was discovered in 1938, 80 million years of evolutionary geological time vanished in an instant. There is no reason to believe that the Wollemi Pine has only been growing in its current location for millions of years. What you claim about carbon-14 dating is incorrect. Carbon-14 dating can only be used to date objects that are thousands of years old, not millions of years old,

If you go to The Talk Origins Index, to fish, to coelacanth, or to G. R. Morton’s http://home.entouch.net/dmd/livfos.htm You will find the differences between the present day coelacanth and the 80 million year fossils and the 360 million year fossils are as stated in my previous paragraph above. 80 million years of evolutionary time vanishing? I am not sure what you mean but it is possible for the most recent branch of the evolving specie to become extinct and the older branch to survive. In the case of the Wollemi Pine, I understand that the 40 trees found in NSW were linked by root runners which may explain them being tied to the one spot. The measurements made on the pollen of the Wollemi were for the purpose of identification and it would be surprising if they were truly identical with the fossil. Morton’s Living Fossils - There are None makes the point that IF the data from the fossil record completely matches the modern form then this would disprove evolution. The fact is that this data to kill evolution just is not there meaning that evolution is still alive and kicking.

You are being devious when you use these fossils to down grade the geological column.

Nothing could be further from the truth, I have merely used scientific facts to show how nonsensical the supposed geological column is. How could any informed person have. confidence in the reality of the supposed geological column when it is missing 99% of the time?

You are being more than devious if you claim that current day species are identical to those living hundreds of million years ago.

"People do know how to detect unnatural things" - perhaps I should have said supernatural things, well you had been talking about there never will be a naturalistic origin for sexual reproduction and in your 2nd letter you had been talking about eternality which led me to suppose you were not talking about something as mundane as apiece of pottery.

The point is that people know how to detect design. Many evolutionists hope that the SETI project will detect encoded messages in radio signals originating from an intelligent source within the universe. Evolutionists will then conclude that alien beings are responsible for the signals. Even though the source of the signals cannot be scientifically tested, the conclusion that an intelligent source created the signals would be logically made. Likewise, there is no scientific reason to reject the supernatural simply because God cannot be examined in the laboratory.

But of course Creationists will seize on any output from SETI to make sure that it does not emanate from God. Science has to reject the supernatural because it is not measurable, leaves no evidence and is not subject to reason.

I regard the universe and life as a part of nature, We are the result of the natural forces of nature, other animals do exhibit intelligence and there are times when we doubt our own DNA has four different nucleotides represented as A, T C and G

You are confused between Origins Science and Operations Science. A man-made machine operates according to the natural laws of science, however the natural laws of science cannot account for its origin. Likewise life operates according to the natural laws of science, however the natural laws of science cannot account for the origin of life, or the origin of any of the functional complexity associated with multi-celled creatures.

Science does not do any accounting, it is we who try to account for life with incomplete data. Every week the data improves. Your explanation becomes more untenable and the record of the Ice cores proves it cannot all happen in 10,000 years.

DNA has four different nucleotides represented as A, TC and G. - A computer uses 2 bases 0 and 1 There is little difference, in principle between a two-state binary information technology, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell For this reason a computer program can be designed to imitate evolutionary processes and give us a better understanding of what goes on.

Computer programs can only generate software that they have been programmed to generate (ie a language compiler), they cannot generate, new, novel information. Therefore, computers am useless in trying to simulate so-called molecules-to-man macro-evolution because computer programs are deterministic.

You object that computer simulations always result in the same outcomes but the 'information encoded on DNA' must also be passed on with a high degree of accuracy. (IE determined) No doubt many programs are no better than computer games but I am still surprised that you can see no future value in the use of computers.

Computer science has been very useful in refuting the evolutionist's claim that information can be generated without an intelligent source.

The whole universe is evolving. Our astronomers have been working out the evolution of the stars, how, they are born and how they die. At their death they throw out higher elements which are incorporated into new stars. It has taken 3 generations of stars to raise the level of higher elements sufficiently to permit the development of life.

A major secular conference titled Crisis in Cosmology was held in Portugal earlier this year. Perhaps you should educate yourself better on such matters, then you might realize how meaningless it is to make such ill-informed statements such as yours above.

The Crises in Cosmology conference in Portugal brought forward many objections to the Big Bang Theory declaring it to be scientifically untenable, patently illogical and without any observational support. While many of the objections appear to be well founded it is not yet clear what should take its place. I am not surprised, My Physics master always said never extrapolate beyond your data. Theories which get within microseconds of the beginning of time must therefore be suspect. My remarks about the life of a star and the level of higher elements will be found in most standard Astronomy text books and is based on measurements of stars in our galaxy. http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2004/22... Shows how the Hubble Space Telescope is now measuring the same thing for stars in the neighbouring galaxy. They will not be affected by the demise of the Big Bang Theory.

We live because we are made of stardust

This statement is nothing but philosophy, it is not science. It is not even good philosophy and I don't think any biologist would believe that humans live because we are made of stardust

I am sure that at least one famous Astronomer has used this idea. The point is that most life needs some of the higher elements to function. They are manufactured in the end point when a star explodes and the resulting dust eventually condenses to form a new star. Biologists will confirm that life needs a small amount of higher elements.

All this is based on measurement and analysis. The evidence is in the star light. Returning to earth, science has explained evolution, measured it, and checked it in various ways and the data is increasing every month. This is a much better and more satisfying explanation than that contained in Genesis.

Here is what James Shapiro, who is not a design theorist, writes: 'There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations' (quoted from his 1996 book review of Darwin's Black Box that appeared in the National Review). Creationists claim there are no evolutionary explanations for biochemical systems and, as shown, some evolutionists admit this also. Evolutionists who claim that such explanations exist have failed totally in providing them. So how can evolutionary theory be a satisfying explanation of life's origin, when it has failed completely in providing an explanation of life? You have not even provided a single example of observed evolution to support your claim.

Man has been breeding dogs, horses, farm animals for centuries, new breeds of plants are being made in our laboratories, while these may not amount to a species change this is only a matter of time. All life, animals and plants use the same DNA and the same groups of protein. As life shows a development over time, 3000 million years, it follows that the DNA must also develop concurrently.

But because science cannot explain how DNA evolved you say it is impossible and wish to throw out the whole of evolution. This is unreasonable and unscientific and you have no evidence to substantiate your point of view.

This claim is nonsense of the highest order. I have shown that evolution is scientifically impossible because information only originates from an intelligent source. When random changes are introduced to software, errors accumulate until the software stops functioning altogether. I documented that this is what Dr Michael Denton (a scientist with two doctorates in molecular biology) also confirmed in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Computer Science and Molecular Biology confirm what I am saying with countless, repeatable scientific experiments. Far from being an unreasonable and unscientific conclusion, it is the only reasonable, scientific conclusion one can make. It begs the question: what evidence do you think is required to show that the information encoded on DNA cannot arise naturally? If the theory of evolution cannot be falsified, then it is not science.

Dr Michael Denton has of course been criticised, thus Mark I Vuletic in www.talkorigins.org/faqs/denton.html says "At the molecular level Denton discredits himself by quoting Emille Zuckerkandi to show that.....(the) quote seems quite damning to the casual reader, but when one reads the entire article, one finds out that Zuckerkandi largely contradicts Denton". But more importantly you should take a look at Evidences for Macroevolution This gives information about intermediate and transitional fossils, the fundamental unity of life, the common descent of all organisms, the similarities, life uses the same polymers, the same DNA or RNA and the same genetic coding even though there are many other biological possibilities. Thousands of new species are discovered yearly and their DNA and protein sequences are determined daily. Every examination tests the theory of common descent, so the theory is falsifiable in many different ways. Transitional Fossils includes a collection of fossil hominids, 13 of them from the current day back to Austalopithecus africanus, 2.6 million years ago. It answers many of your questions far better than I can.

In these circumstances no headmaster could accept the teaching of ID in a science curriculum. While it has been suggested to me that the teaching of ID would be possible in a Philosophy curriculum, many philosophers would object because of the way you disregard everything not favourable to your point of view.

Such comments mean very little. The fact of the matter is that evolutionists have failed totally in refuting the claims of the intelligent design movement.. 'Opponents of intelligent design are fond of equivocating. staging ad hominem attacks., slaying strawmen, making simplistic theological claims in the guise of science or simply stonewalling. 'What they are not fond of is squarely facing the astonishing design and seeking to refute it point by logical point.' William A. Dembski, 2004. The Design Revolution, pp 63. So how many books on intelligent design have you actually read?

Not a single book, but I have read numerous articles on the web, many thanks to your mention of their names. My interest in evolution started back in 1936 when with my grandmother I visited Horniman’s Museum, SE London. They had a great 3/4 circle display of glass cabinets showing skeletons of mammals with man at one end and the smallest mammal at the other. The ordinary viewer had difficulty in seeing the difference between adjacent skeletons. I am told that after the war a local church complained of this exhibit on the grounds that it promoted evolution. (It could have been said that it promoted the unity of life) The Museum agreed to remove the display because they were afraid that the exhibition would have been damaged. Since then I have bought books by Darwin, Dawkins, Gould, Leaky, Walker and Shipman when they were out cheap.

I find your quote from William Dembski above quite inaccurate, there is an enormous amount of detailed information on the web, argued point by point with detailed descriptions, Then there is the site that sits squarely in the middle - The Religious Tolerance.org which has several pages such as "19 indicators of an "Old Earth" with rebuttals based on creation science". And also "17 indicators that evolution didn’t happen (with Rebuttals)." They make it clear that for every statement made by one side there is a very adequate rebuttal which will be believed or disbelieved depending on which side you are on. So we will not reach a decision until either the 2nd coming occurs or someone is able to create life from inanimate chemicals.

It appears that your objective is to reinstate Bible teaching on the grounds that there must be an Intelligent Designer So lets have a closer look at His creation

A) All animal life must grow and develop by killing and eating some other life form.

Death and bloodshed came into the world after sin. God is not responsible for such things, people are. You have provided no evidence against creation and no evidence for evolution in the above statement.

Carnivorous animals all come with teeth, claws and stomachs, you would say "designed" to kill, eat and consume their prey both before and after the advent of man. The garden of Eden story is a myth! There never was a time when these animals were vegetarians.

B) The geological record shows various extinctions in which large numbers became extinct and new species developed. Did your Creator become dissatisfied with his creation and decide to start over?

The geological record contains the remains of fossilized life forms which have been buried rapidly in sedimentary rock layers. Some of these creatures are now extinct. The geological does not show the development of any creature, as explained before, this is merely circular reasoning to fit in with evolutionary theory. Your argument about the Creator is not science, it is a pseudo-theological, strawman type of argument.

What I am pointing out here is that regardless of whether you believe in the extinctions, or whether you believe in the flood which eliminated all but a few people and animals, your God seems to have the nature of a Ghengis Khan.

C) A number of hominoids developed during the last 6 million years, including the Neanderthals who buried their dead and looked after their old people They died out some 350,000 years ago why did the Creator create them? Was he perhaps experimenting?

Neanderthals are merely humans, and the age you mentioned for the Neanderthals has been made on the assumption that evolution is true. No independent method has been used to confirm the alleged age of these creatures, This is nothing but circular reasoning. You are using the theory of evolution to prove the theory of evolution; this is a logical fallacy.

There are many independent dating methods used such as thermoluminescence and electron spin resonance but that is not the point of the question. The fact is that there were at least 8 different hominoids, a succession leading up to Homo sapiens, all perfectly explainable by the evolution theory. So why did the creator produce a new model every so often like a car manufacturer?

D) Viruses like Measles, Mumps, Rabies, Smallpox, Yellow fever, AIDS etc. Bacteria like Diphtheria, Leprosy, Scarlet fever, Syphilis, Tuberculosis etc. and many other horrors too numerous to mention were presumably created by the creator. Why?

As explained earlier, death, disease and suffering were brought into the world for punishment for rebellion against God. They were not part of the original creation.

I would expect that we will find a fossil of an animal that predates Adam chock full of disease. But again that is not the point of the question. Your answer reveals God as a vicious, jealous God as admitted in the bible. Why should a creator create a man with an enquiring mind and command him not to use it?

E) Any doctor will tell you about the parts of the human body which clearly came from an older species and should have been redesigned. Why not?

Statements such as these are vague and meaningless. If the human body was designed, then because the objectives of the designer are not known, it pointless in saying that parts of the human body needs to be redesigned. Just because someone can imagine some improvement in design doesn't mean that the structure was not designed, or that the improvement proposed would not result in defects elsewhere. It is not even possible to test such claims because the technology of life is so complex that scientists cannot even understand how life functions fully at present. Henry Petroski, an engineer and historian at Duke University, says in Invention by Design: 'All design involves conflicting objectives and hence compromises, and the best designs will always be those that come up with the best compromise.' Constrained optimization is the art of compromise among conflicting objectives.

Ah the poor fellow must have had a hard time of it! But the point of my question is to show that the design of the human body shows many sign of being the result of evolution. Certainly not an original creation. Our Doctors have to set to and find methods to overcome these problems. They are often quite successful, Are we then better than the creator?

No doubt most humanists are (willingly) ignorant of the amazing design in the human body. Here is what Dr David Mention said in a lecture titled Wonderfully Made: Design in Creation-.

'There is a fellow, John K. Stevens, [who] did an experiment here several years ago in 1985. He was using a Cray supercomputer, these are so expensive that the Cray company in Minneapolis didn't even own one of their own computers ... this computer was available to Dr Stevens and he was trying to simulate what's going on in the retina ... what Dr Stevens said, is, to simulate ten milliseconds (ten-thousandths of a second) of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the retina would require the solution of about 500 simultaneous non-linear differential equations 100 times and would take at least several minutes of processing time on the Cray supercomputer. Now this, keeping in mind there are 10 million or more such cells interacting with each other in complex ways it would take a minimum of 100 years of Cray time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second. You get the idea we have quite a Creator here. You get the idea this system doesn't fall together by chance. I mean, I don't even like to argue the creation/evolution issue, it is hardly worth your time. It is like arguing about the tooth-fairy ... to say that this system requires intelligent design has to he one of the major understatements that one can engage in. And to argue with somebody that says -no it doesn't there is no evidence for design there at all", where do you begin, do you show them something complicated? No, they are suppressing the truth, simple as that.'

Evolution and life do not require either intelligence or a computer. They simply produce millions of eggs and sperms, most of them die, only the viable will live, only the best will procreate. It is this simple filter which insures that life progresses. To say that you will solve the problem of creation by saying there must be a creator merely puts the solution one step backwards. What is the evidence for a Creator? Only the evidence of his creation. There is positively no other evidence. This sounds like circular reasoning to me.

A standard response by evolutionists to design arguments (which evolutionists cannot answer) is to say that they are 'arguments from incredulity', meaning these arguments of creationists are arguments from ignorance. This feeble response by evolutionists is nothing but a copout, the kind of response a person makes when they have no answer. It is also circular reasoning, because it is based on the assumption that evolution is true to start with, a pre-existing belief that there is a naturalistic explanation for the complexity of life (science has shown that there is not).

When the arguments of creationists seems to be based on the bible, that is, 2000 year old thinking, and when their arguments is limited to rubbishing scientific thinking that is based on years of research, it is not surprising that the word Incredulity is used. Of course we believe in a naturalistic explanation as contained in text books and science magazines for many years. We have great difficulty in understanding your view of history and what dates you would apply to fossils.

F) The Ichneumon, an insect, in the same class as bees and ants (there are thousands of genera) mostly lay their eggs in young stages of other insects The host insect gets paralysed and the grubs eat out the host being careful to avoid those parts that keep the host fresh. Christian apologists have said 'Well, its only an insect." I would not like to know this creator.

Whether you would like to know the Creator or not is not really relevant. My response to this is the same as my response to your points A and D above.

The point here is that if your Creator created the Ichneumon, the result is no better than what happened under evolution, which we find morally reprehensible.

Just to ask these questions is to reveal that there can be no intelligent designer who could create such designs but that life. germs and all developed in the course of evolution.

This logically flawed argument goes like this:

1. If God created life, then there would be no death suffering or disease.

2. There is death, suffering and disease in the world, therefore God did not create fife.

3. Therefore, evolution is true.

NO, NO, this is not what I am arguing at all! I am just asking you to consider the nature of the God you have created. "By their fruits you will know them" says the bible, so you may examine his creation which will give you some clues about his nature. He does seem to have the nature of a Biblical Tyrant and this makes your whole philosophy questionable.

It is not very difficult to determine the error in your reasoning. The first assumption is baseless, so the whole argument collapses like a house of cards. Perhaps you should be reminded that the theory of evolution is an attempt to explain life without the supernatural. When evolutionists still have to resort to 'God wouldn't have done it that way' type of arguments after Darwin published his theory over 140 years ago, it merely shows how bankrupt the theory of evolution really is.

I am sorry that the above paragraph is based on a misreading of my points A to F, which was an attack on your ideas not a defence of mine.

The fact is that world opinion prior to Darwin was solidly in favour of the biblical interpretation, but even before Darwin, scientists were beginning to discover facts which put question marks on the bible story. It should be realised that Scientists are genuine people who’s main objective is to discover the truth. Occasionally a fraud or an error is committed but the nature of scientific investigation and testing ensures that these are uncovered and corrected.

Today, thanks to the advance of scientific knowledge, our thinking is very different to thinking in biblical times. We no longer think that sickness results from sin for which we are being punished. Nor does a cure result from our prayers to God, rather we go to a Doctor who uses drugs and surgery to fix viruses, germs, and tumors etc.. Epilepsy and mental illness are no longer thought of as the result of demon possession. In the case of hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and droughts etc. we predict and chart them with no reference to a God as they all seem to follow natural patterns. Some may still pray for rain but with less certainty that this has any effect. We no longer believe in the miracles told in the bible, the Virgin Birth, the closing of the Red Sea in time to drown the hated Egyptians, the raising from the dead and the ascension into Heaven. The idea of a heaven just a short distance above us has been destroyed by the immense size of the universe as revealed by our Astronomers and various methods of dating have revealed the true age of the earth but I suspect the age of the universe may have to be revised. (All this and much more can be read in the pages of Archbishop Spong’s book "Why Christianity must Change or Die".)

Of course there are gaps in the record, there may be no evidence of the commencement of life and it may well be difficult to figure out how it could have happened but the idea of a creator is far more difficult and impossible to believe.

If you require further evidence that evolution is scientifically bankrupt, then you can look at a recent origins debate at:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0615debate.asp

where the Australian Skeptics suffered another humiliating defeat at the hands of AIG-Australia.

Yours Sincerely,

Brian Irwin

I have read this debate and I think that this is far more evenly balanced than you suggest. Again you should read the religioustolerance.org I mentioned earlier. Where it clearly shows that for every argument there is a rebuttal.

Science has achieved much and will achieve much more. You are basically making only one point which can not be proved. You are also taking us back to the biblical days of ignorance, whereas we need science to overcome the many problems in front of us.

Yours Sincerely

Dick Clifford


 

 

 

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