An Example of Why I'm Not Impressed with The Ivory Tower-Part II

Why is it that I have hostility toward the Ivory Tower1? In fact, I spent enough time there to obtain a Ph.D., you’d think I’d pay homage. While I do appreciate that I had the opportunity, and a few things that I learned, I did not disengage my independent mind during the process (I seem to be incapable of doing so). It really would have been easier to get caught up in the pursuit of the intellectual. All my professors were pushing my toward academia (“You’re too intelligent to go into private practice. You should be in academia.” WTF? I took it as one of the worst insults I’ve had. In retrospect, I realize this was the best compliment the professor could possibly give. But it was from the perspective of one ensconced in the Ivory Tower. So, now with a bit more maturity and perspective, I can appreciate the compliment).

I don’t come from a background of intellectuals. My family was blue-collar, working class, middle-class folks, living out in rural America. A lot of my friends were farmers. We didn’t have any wealthy friends (they didn’t exist here), and there were no intellectual elite. The closest university is 65 miles away. So, I think it is a bit more clear to me when someone is detached from the basic reality of humanity and life, than it is for others with a different background.

So, this is a lot of lead up, and a lot of (possibly unnecessary), information about me. What’s this post all about? I’ll get to the point.

In Part I2, of this series I wrote about an example of why I’m not impressed with the Ivory Tower. I cited specifically, the work of Dr. James McGrath, a professor of theology at Butler University in Indiana. Dr. McGrath was kind enough to express his willingness to engage the discussion further, but only did so obliquely on his blog.

He wrote in a comment here:

Thank you for engaging my posts. I must confess, however, that I’m not sure what exactly you find lacking in my theological credibility. If you could be more specific, it would better enable me to respond and continue the conversation!

I responded, my coauthor, DB responded, and others responded. James, did not respond. Or did he?

My coauthor DB wrote in a comment:

This is a similar argument to that which Judas used to scold Mary M. for wasting money, “that could have been used to feed the poor,” on perfume to wash Jesus’ feet. It’s legalistic, and, as with Judas, manipulative in its intent, since he wanted that money for himself! “…by opposing science…” I don’t oppose true science, nor do most rational believers! What I do oppose, as others, is billions of dollars spent on science experiments like the LHC, which serves only the egos and desires of naturalist/materialist and atheistic scientists whose only goal is to disprove God. How could those billions have been used for humanity? How many people could have been fed, housed and clothed with 8 billion dollars? Also, unlike material science, the Creation Museum is funded by believers, not the government, which uses tax payer’s hard earned cash! I’m sorry, but your arguments seem to be manipulative and political in nature, which tells me something about what you do believe.

Dr. McGrath subsequently followed up on his blog with two posts.

Judas and the Field of Blood
30 Pieces of Silver

So, while I find obliqueness to be interesting, I find it to be a bit of a cop-out to direct communication. If you believe in your ideas enough to present them to the public, then why not defend them in a direct way instead of challenging the story of Judas. Perhaps the comments of DB hit home a bit?

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_tower
2 http://www.intelldesign.com/?p=251

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Evolution and Modern Eugenics (Follow-up)

My coauthor, DB has written a follow-up on his blog to an excellent post he wrote here previously.  He notes a recent example where a politician has been promoting modern eugenics.  This stood out to me in what he wrote:

The theories of evolution and eugenics have had a dehumanizing affect on the world, which has been evidenced by the last one hundred and fifty years of history. The seeds of these despotic theories are being used to indoctrinate our children in public and even private schools, just as my generation was indoctrinated in the fifties and sixties!

Evolution + “Modern” Eugenics = Dehumanization!

Recent Harvard Cellular Animation

I can’t help but consult homology on this one with respect to bipedalism. I’m mean seriously. Look at that little bugger walking the tightrope. Perhaps humans evolved from that molecule. In all seriousness, this video is great, and furthers my appreciation of Creation. I realize that is probably not the intent of the folks at Harvard, but it’s a great video nonetheless. For those without broadband, you can see a few stills.1

I can’t help but see the sentience expressed in these “nano-machines.” Although they are not sentient themselves, they appear to be an expression of sentience in my opinion (a sentience far beyond that of our own). I think this really goes to the point my coauthor DB has made a number of times in the past about appreciating the beauty in science.


1 http://www.studiodaily.com/main/searchlist/6850.html

For a longer excerpt of the video without the lecture, go here:
http://aimediaserver4.com/studiodaily/videoplayer/?src=ai4/harvard/harvard.swf&width=640&height=520

Revising History?

An interesting post over on Evolution Exposé1, asserts that evolutionists have a pattern of retroactively admitting that their previously-claimed, and much touted, transitional fossils, were not all that they claimed before (only after something that they think is better is found). The author uses the recent example of the Tiktaalik and Panderichthys. Evolutionists had claimed Tiktaalik as “proof” of how we evolved digits, only later to admit that the Tiktaalik was a poor example (after finding Panderichthys). This despite the fact that the “evidence” shown for Panderichthys is questionable at best. The author calls this “retroactive confessions of ignorance.” I’m somewhat inclined to call it revising history.

What I think is somewhat interesting, is that the study of homology2 has a great deal in common with Intelligent Design. In other words, it relies on human observational powers and inference to arrive at a conclusion. With homology, the Darwinist looks at a feature and says, “Hey this looks like that, but doesn’t look like that (or functions like this but not like that). Therefore, this evolved from that, but not from that.” Whereas, the IDist looks at features and says, “Hey, this bears the hallmarks of design. It has complex, specified, and functional information. Or, it’s irreducibly complex; therefore, it is designed. Or, that clearly appears to be designed.”

The Young Earth Creationists also weighed in on the subject last year, and I think history has shown them to be correct.3 They somewhat humorously reference the Darwin fish, as I have done in the past.4 AiG of course gives the topic an extensive examination.

This quote seems prescient to me:

However, few reporters, teachers, or laymen have ever read the original scientific reports upon which grandiose evolutionary claims are based. Moreover, these reports are often convoluted, conflicting, and couched in unprovable assumptions that make evolutionary claims difficult to evaluate even for those who do examine the original scientific papers.

I’ve quoted one of their less technical and more philosophical arguments from the article, because I think this goes more to the heart of the matter. And to me, it comes down to matters of faith. Do you put faith in the ideas of man, or in God?

1 Evolution Exposé-The Rise and Fall of Tiktaalik? Darwinists Admit “Quality” of Evolutionary Icon is “Poor” in Retroactive Confession of Ignorance
2 Homology on Wikipedia
3 Tiktaalik and the Fishy Story of Walking Fish, Part 2; Answers in Genesis. (May 23, 2007)
4 A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XI (September 18, 2008)

Dark Neurons Explain Consciousness (Satire)

Psychology researchers have finally discovered the missing explanation for consciousness. The explanation is Dark Neurons. They can’t be detected directly, but we do know that this helps to explain how consciousness can affect corporeal neurons and the body.

World renowned researcher Dr. BF Mindlessness remarked, “We know dark neurons don’t exist in this universe, but there are compelling signs that they evolved independently, and perhaps partially interdependently, in an alternate universe. While this is still somewhat speculative, we have, I think, compelling evidence that shows that dark neurons are the glue that binds disparate brain functions together into a coherent whole that we now call consciousness. Indirect measurements show that Dark Neurons are able to exceed the speed of light, because, in the alternate universe c is actually more like 100 billion c in our universe, just as a rough guesstimate.” BF noted that his ideas were highly speculative, and that further research is needed to confirm his ideas.

Interestingly, his ideas are not completely new. A team of psychiatric researchers from the Ukraine reported in a classified research study in the 1960’s that the mind, often then referred to as “The Black Box,” was really a Dark Box perhaps populated by undetectable physical properties. While they danced around the edges of the notion, modern evolutionary theory and thought have allowed contemporary researchers to move far beyond previous antiquated notions.

BF Mindlessness continued, “I think that when you think about the universe, there’s a lot of darkness. There’s a lot more darkness than light. There are a lot of dark things that lie only slightly beyond our universe. Who’s to say that the brain doesn’t make use of these dark forces. It may be that Dark Neurons are made entirely from Dark Matter, and use Dark Energy to transmit dark impulses.” He went on to note that, “We know Dark Energy will eventually, if not already, cause the universe to expand at faster than the speed of light. I think it’s ridiculous not to consider the implications for consciousness. Why wouldn’t evolution make use of this as it already makes use of many other aspects of chemistry and physics? The answer is, and we know this to be true, that evolution has already made use of, as far as I know, every physical aspect of the universe. Just think about what evolution has achieved with chemistry and aspects of physics in the last several billion years. Imagine what it has achieved with those things that are undetectable, but exist!”

Dr. Mindlessness reported that his research lab, together with a multinational study group, are planning a special series of research studies that they hope eventually, will indirectly measure the affects of dark neurons on consciousness. His equations show that by passing a large number of neutrinos and gluons through the brain simultaneously, may cause an emission of strange quarks, and this may be detectable in the behavior of research subjects. For now, his team has secured an initial grant of $100 million dollars to conduct additional basic research that may eventually lead to ideas about how Dark Neurons may have co-evolved in an alternate universe.

More Dark Just-So Stories

I like Dark movies and Dark stories. This one wasn’t half-bad either. So, we have to add to the list of dark stuff, Dark Flow. Sometimes I wonder if this is not the new paradigm of cosmology. If it doesn’t fit your model, invent dark something, that can’t be detected, that will fill in the gaps. Apparently, scientists were studying galaxy clusters and found an unusual motion and velocity. They speculated that they were “being pulled” by some mysterious something outside of the “bubble” of our universe.

They discovered that the clusters were moving nearly 2 million mph (3.2 million kph) toward a region in the sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela. This motion is different from the outward expansion of the universe (which is accelerated by the force called dark energy).

….

“The structures responsible for this motion have been pushed so far away by inflation, I would guesstimate they may be hundreds of billions of light years away, that we cannot see even with the deepest telescopes because the light emitted there could not have reached us in the age of the universe,” Kashlinsky said in a telephone interview. “Most likely to create such a coherent flow they would have to be some very strange structures, maybe some warped space time. But this is just pure speculation.”

(1)

Maybe some warped space time….maybe indeed.

(1). Dark flow discovered in space.

Design Features

Applied science has to do with science that is bent on real-world applications of the research. For example, researchers can attempt to understand the “design features” of the human brain in order to advance computer technology.

So, consider for a moment, the techniques of reverse engineering. A scientist attempting to develop an artificial limb may consider how a human’s limb functions and its design characteristics. Darwinian evolution has nothing to contribute here, and basically almost nowhere in the realm of applied science (apart from simple natural selection algorithms).

I recently ran across an interesting article comparing computer technology to the human brain. (1) There are those who are doubtful that we will ever be able to match the engineering feat that is the human brain. I am one of those people. At every point along the way there have been different prevailing analogies for the functioning of the human brain. All have proved insufficient, just as the computer analogy also proves insufficient. However, this reductionistic framework is not without implications. It is a viewpoint that leads to further reductionistic and materialistic ways of viewing the world.

A comment attached to the bottom of the article was also amusing:

Get real. Think. If design principles were active in our creation, then there was a Designer who employed those principles. This includes the hardware and the software. You would not be able to consciously think about anything without an embedded BiOS (Bible Input-Output System) that the Designer built in, which gives you the preconditions for intelligibility of the world. Everyone has it. You couldn’t run the thinking application without it. But just as a good computer can be tricked into running malware (malicious software), a created being can be tricked into thinking its brain is a product of evolution. That is necessarily false. The brain could not even run that malware without the BiOS.
When you’re infected with this deep-seated, entrenched virus, or any of the other malware that information terrorists inserted into the global shipment, the only solution is to recognize that fact, then wipe, reinstall, and patch. Fortunately, outstanding technical support is just a call away (Isaiah 55:6-9) – and it’s free, straight from the Designer himself. Operations Manuals are also freely available by request (see BlueLetterBible and Bible Gateway, or that book in your hotel room drawer).

(1). http://creationsafaris.com/crev200809.htm#20080914a