The Religion of Evolution

Cornelius Hunter, author of book Darwin’s God and DarwinsPredictions.com writes at his blog Darwin’s God:

Religion in disguise can be the most dangerous kind. Sometimes religious movements veil their true convictions and instead present an appealing false front to searching souls. Even long-time members may not be aware of the true inner core of the movement where they place their faith. By the time they do become exposed to the truth of their movement, they are too ensconced to raise any doubts. And likewise outsiders have difficulty understanding the movement. While this may sound like a cult, it also describes evolution. It is a religious theory disguised as science, and adherents and opponents alike often fail to appreciate this. The latest example of evolution’s disguised religion comes in the form of this YouTube video that challenges viewers to find a gene that did not evolve.

Of course the challenge in the video is a false one. Here’s basically how it goes: find a gene that is unequivocally designed. Then they’ll run it through their database to see how similar it is to other genes. If it’s less than 20% similar then it’s designed (oh, and don’t forget, it can’t be a gene that’s part of an irreducibly complex system).

This is like saying find a motorized vehicle with wheels that has less than 20% of the components of other known wheeled vehicles. If you do so, we’ll agree that it’s designed. Otherwise, the vehicle was not designed.


The Outsider (DB) discusses similar issues today.
The “Gospel” of Darwin: By Another Darwinian Apostle, Richard Lewontin

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24 Responses

  1. […] The Religion of Evolution | Intelligent Design and More. Share and […]

  2. god = Nature

    revelation = Science

    theology = Evolution

    prophet = Darwin

    mitzvah = Nihilism, Relativism, Physicalism, Atheism etc..

    messiah = the dude who will proove it all (or the one who will eliminate the non-believers, and put his enemies under his feet, I suppose)

  3. bobxxxx’s reaction practically proves Shrink’s point, doesn’t it? Those are the words of a man whose beloved god has been blasphemed!

  4. Poor bob!

  5. Well, if you don’t like this test, what would you suggest as the experimentum crucis which would give us good reasons for deciding between “evolution” and “intelligent design”? Do you think there could be any such test?

  6. Sorry folks. Bob is no longer with us. He’s an angry fellow, which is sad.

  7. Carl, I think there would have to be many tests. The problem with the Darwinists is that they do not actually test their theory against a valid null or alternative hypothesis (e.g., ID). This is because they consider common descent molecules to man evolution as being a fact. The only question they ask is “How did evolution do this?”

  8. Perhaps you’re right, Country Shrink. But what they do do is that they think along Bayseian lines: given some hypothesis, and some observation, does the observation increase or decrease the probability that the hypothesis is true?

    Thus, to go back to gene homology: it’s true that gene homology does not by itself entail common descent, and it’s also true that gene homology is consistent with common design. But both objections are besides the point — the point is that if common descent is true, then gene homologies are exactly what one would expect — whereas if intelligent design is true, there’s no reason to expect that there will be any interesting homologies.

    Now, one could of course attempt to get around this by saying that we observe homologies in the case of artifacts and technologies, so why not in the biological realm as well? To which I respond that one can only expect homologies, on the basis of shared design, if one already has good reasons for believing that the designer shares with us human beings a set of constraints on its capacities to imagine and produce. But I do not see how we can know what the relevant constraints are.

    I should also hasten to point out that the more we try to specify the nature of the designer in order to yield hypotheses rich enough to specify predictions, the less useful intelligent design is for contributing to important theological considerations.

  9. Shrink,

    It seems to me, from what I read, that intelligent design, in stressing an original designer/creator, is standing more against junk science (Darwinism) than it is embracing theology or Christianity (it also seems that Darwinians and atheists willfully ignore this). This is much the same thing as Darwinians/atheists clinging to evolution, at all cost, because they must do away with religion (which I have no problem with) and God (which I do have a problem with), in order to have the world according to their own metaphysical beliefs and human will. This is what I get from reading posts at ID sites anyway, but I could be mistaken.

    When it comes down to it, I write on my site, as I’m sure you do on yours, for the benefit of those who are not spiritually dead and enslaved to man and his infantile fantasies, wanderings and beating around the bush (“denial” and “intellectualizing”). I write for those who are seeking the truth of God. People who can see past their own temporal shortsightedness: without relying on the so called “enlightened” intellect and “reasonings” of atheistic (arrogant) man.

    As you know all too well, to spend time trying to convince those who are blind to the truth, is an utter waste of precious time and energy!

  10. if common descent is true, then gene homologies are exactly what one would expect

    Because genetic inheritance is designed that way, maybe? See, I can play that game too. I can commandeer the data to support my own baseless conclusions too. Bias is blind, no?

    whereas if intelligent design is true, there’s no reason to expect that there will be any interesting homologies

    You then go on to completely refute your statement:

    …one can only expect homologies, on the basis of shared design, if one already has good reasons for believing that the designer shares with us human beings a set of constraints on its capacities to imagine and produce. But I do not see how we can know what the relevant constraints are.

    So, if you don’t know what the design constraints are, then how in the world can you say that designed homologies wouldn’t be interesting?

  11. My thought, Mike, was that if one doesn’t know what the design constraints are, then one cannot know what homologies to expect. But without that, one cannot specify what observations would increase (or decrease) the probability of the design hypothesis.

    Of course, the line of thought I’m urging here is only relevant to considering design as a scientific hypothesis worthy of comparison with evolutionary hypotheses. I have nothing to say for or against those who see design as a self-evident truth and/or as a sign-post that points towards transcendence.

    As you know all too well, to spend time trying to convince those who are blind to the truth, is an utter waste of precious time and energy!

    I’m sure that Country Shrink and the others here are quite well aware that I’m deeply set in my ways. Attempting to convince me about anything they regard as true about the existence and nature of God certainly would be “an utter waste of precious time and energy.” In any event, I very much hope that no one here is engaging with me in an attempt to convince me of such things. Whether you have other reasons for continuing our conversations is, of course, something that each of you will have to decide for him or herself.

  12. I don’t know how one scientifically tests for design or evolution without building a time machine!

    But evolution is a man-made concept – which means we can define it to be exactly what we like (and this is what we do). It can never be false unless it is absolutely, parsimoniously defined. I am convinced that in years to come we will see principals of intelligent design seep into the evolutionary dogma of the day (scientists won’t call it “intelligent design”, of course). The site Shrink sites in the original post clearly illustrates this tendency and direction. The door is subconsciosly left open, and scientists are blindly back-stepping their way towards it.

    And to me, scientifically testing for ID is like testing for “Good”, or “Love”. If you can’t make the call upon inspection, then the only way to know is to consult the Rule Book.

  13. I don’t know how one scientifically tests for design or evolution without building a time machine!

    This suggests that on your view, we can only know that some event has occurred if we can directly observe the event. I think that view is quite mistaken; it sets the bar for ‘know’ so high that not only would paleontology fail to meet the standard, but so would archeology, cosmology, history. It would in effect mean that one cannot have any knowledge of the past whatsoever.

    The alternative, as I see it, is to allow for inferences to the best explanation count as knowledge of the past, if the inferences are supported by the preponderance of available evidence at a given time. Now, of course, there cannot be any indefeasible or infallible knowledge of the past — on this conception — since new evidence can always come to light. But since I have no interest in setting the bar for knowledge as high as indefeasibility or infallibility, I have no problem with that.

  14. This suggests that on your view, we can only know that some event has occurred if we can directly observe the event

    First off, I was being facetious. My view being that no matter how much we think we know, we haven’t scientifically proven evolution from abiogenesis. All we ever do is debate what can and can not be admitted as evidence.

    Secondly, that statement rings true to the extent that it’s important that we know whether or not evolution is true. I think it’s very important. So, yes, bring on the eyewitness testimony!

    For things like: did dinosaurs really exist, or was there an ice age, or did a comet impact Siberia, then the evidence left behind is good enough. Those things don’t lead to the kind of hatred spewed by bobxxx!

  15. To whom this may concern,

    First of all, I believe I began my comment with, “Shrink,” so why I’m being quoted here by someone other than him makes me curious, but not too much. You know us inbred believers, we aren’t too curious about nuthin’!

    In any event, I very much hope that no one here is engaging with me in an attempt to convince me of such things. Whether you have other reasons for continuing our conversations is, of course, something that each of you will have to decide for him or herself.

    I am not my brother’s keeper, even if he is a believer. If he is not a believer, as I’ve stated in a past comment above, and refuses to believe, then I know, as I said in comment above, that he has not been called to discern the ABSOLUTE truth of God in this age. Therefore, if I discern, or know, this to be true, then why would I continue to proselytize (which has never been my goal with the dead (spiritually) or anyone else here) when I know, through my spirit’s leading, that it AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN? That would be like the old Einstein ditty: “Doing the same thing over and over and… You know the rest! Therefore, your point here is moot! I’m also sure that I’m not alone in this realization.

    My point was that wasting time with aimless and endless (self absorbed and “intellectual”) wanderings, on this or any other subject, with many who visit this site, is merely a “waste of precious time and energy.” Get it? Got it? GOOD!

    For instance, a quote from a recent commenter:

    All we ever do is debate what can and can not be admitted as evidence.

    Or to quote Einstein’s ditty again: “Doing the same thing over and over and… etc etc

    Not everyone lives and “functions” in the non-productive world of academia. Most of us who live and function in the real world have to come to conclusions on an issue (in less than 3. something billion years) and produce results. But I know this is a foreign concept to an ivy-covered atheistic/Darwinian.

    Anyway, as I was instructed a few comments ago, this wasn’t about you, Carl! Nor is this……………………..

  16. if one doesn’t know what the design constraints are, then one cannot know what homologies to expect.

    Likewise:

    if one doesn’t know what the constraints of natural selection are, then one cannot know what homologies to expect.

    It seems to me that natural selection has been redefined often – always to suit the genetic observations!

    As Shrink said above: “they know evolution happened” – they just redefine the constraints of natural selection to explain it.

    One can do the same with Creationism, by redefining intelligent design as one sees fit.

    Bring on the time machine, or just be willing to say “we don’t know”.

  17. if one doesn’t know what the constraints of natural selection are, then one cannot know what homologies to expect.

    True, one cannot know exactly which homologies to expect. But we do know that there are some homologies which are expected, given what we’ve observed about natural selection in the lab and in the wild, and given the mathematical models we have of natural selection. So we have a fairly good sense of the parameters, I think.

    By contrast, intelligent design can only yield testable parameters if we know a good deal about what the designer would or would not have done. This is why it’s a terrible idea for evolutionists to say “No intelligent designer would have done it this way.” That idea really is crypto-theology, and it deserves the criticisms it’s gotten from the ID crowd.

    As I see it, the question isn’t “do we know that evolution happened?” but rather “do we have good reasons — reasons backed up by the preponderance of available evidence — for believing that evolution happened?” In other words, make the question about probability rather than certainty. But those who want (or need?) certainty will have to look elsewhere than to science.

  18. @Carl Sachs

    As I see it, the question isn’t “do we know that evolution happened?” but rather “do we have good reasons — reasons backed up by the preponderance of available evidence — for believing that evolution happened?” In other words, make the question about probability rather than certainty. But those who want (or need?) certainty will have to look elsewhere than to science.

    That would be better if it were true. Unfortunately, that is not a question that is asked. I think a better question is “does the evidence support evolution to the exclusion of alternative explanations?”

    But we do know that there are some homologies which are expected, given what we’ve observed about natural selection in the lab and in the wild, and given the mathematical models we have of natural selection. So we have a fairly good sense of the parameters, I think.

    That’s debatable since phylogentic reconstructions of experimental data (i.e., genetic code of bacteria) do not accurately reconstruct the known phylogeny. The parameters are said to be what is observed.

    By contrast, intelligent design can only yield testable parameters if we know a good deal about what the designer would or would not have done. This is why it’s a terrible idea for evolutionists to say “No intelligent designer would have done it this way.” That idea really is crypto-theology, and it deserves the criticisms it’s gotten from the ID crowd.

    That’s not the case at all. ID often looks at what can be achieved by blind processes in terms of building new features and generating new information, whereas Darwnists have already foreclosed on the notion that there is no design and no limits to what evolution can achieve (it is said to have achieved everything we see in terms of life).

  19. Originally Posted By The Country Shrink…. whereas Darwnists [claim there are] no limits to what evolution can achieve (it is said to have achieved everything we see in terms of life).

    There are indeed limits on what evolution can achieve. Mainstream evolutionary biology would predict that no large mammal using wheels that are part of its body to get around will appear in the next hundred years, because that would require too many changes in genes and developmental processes to occur in such a short period. What do the substantive contents of ID theory tell us to expect regarding the appearance of wheel bearing mammals?

  20. Possible answers I can think of:

    (A) ID makes no predictions regarding this issue.
    (B) It may happen. The designers we have direct experience of have made a wide variety of wheeled objects, both self-propelled and not, so obviously a designer who can create a bacterial flagellum could create self-propelled wheeled mammals at any time.
    (C) It won’t happen. The intelligent designer of life has not made any significant changes to any mammals in the last 40,000 years. Therefore the best inference is that no significant changes will occur in the next one hundred either.

  21. Originally Posted By Carl Sachs
    I’m sure that Country Shrink and the others here are quite well aware that I’m deeply set in my ways. Attempting to convince me about anything they regard as true about the existence and nature of God certainly would be “an utter waste of precious time and energy.” In any event, I very much hope that no one here is engaging with me in an attempt to convince me of such things. Whether you have other reasons for continuing our conversations is, of course, something that each of you will have to decide for him or herself.

    I think you’d make a great fellow believer Carl. Perhaps it’s not to be. I have hope that you will open your heart and mind to God.

  22. Mainstream evolutionary biology would predict that no large mammal using wheels that are part of its body to get around will appear in the next hundred years, because that would require too many changes in genes and developmental processes to occur in such a short period.

    Of course, if we were to see that, it’s seems obvious that if the wheels were intelligently designed, they would serve a useful function, like movement. With evolution, the wheels could literally pop up anywhere like on top of the organism’s head or inside it’s stomach or myriad other places. Probably causing the species to either die off eventually or evolve into something completely different while leaving thousands of transitional fossils in different stages of evolution (that no one will ever find) with semi-developed wheels in their stomachs or growing out their heads.

  23. I think you’d make a great fellow believer Carl. Perhaps it’s not to be. I have hope that you will open your heart and mind to God.

    I shall take that in the spirit with which it was intended! Thank you, Country Shrink!

  24. I shall take that in the spirit with which it was intended! Thank you, Country Shrink!

    You’re welcome Carl, and I meant it!

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