Naturalism And Paganism in Modern Media

Let me start by saying that I REALLY like the Marvel Avengers story arc (from Iron Man to the Spider-Man: No Way Home). The production quality, the humor, the coherent story arc, the heroism, the casting, the writing, the defeat of the fictional evil that is manifest in reality as the radical environmentalists – ALL are of the highest order. The Marvel movies (if they are not already) will be the defining saga of this generation, in the same way that the original Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi) were the defining stories of the end of the 20th century.

Having said all of that, there are worldview assumptions buried in the midst of these movies. The worldviews are both naturalism and paganism. And with an unskeptical eye, viewers can adopt these worldviews as basic to the way one sees the universe rather than what God has revealed. My purpose in analyzing these movies for worldview implications is not to bash the stories. Instead, I want my readers to begin to watch movies with the recognition that media creators are NOT unbiased. They put out creative material, but there is always an underlying worldview through which they desire their consumers to see the world. It’s ok to enjoy modern fictional stories, but always be careful to recognize the “message” of the author. It’s not just the Marvel movies, the teaching of naturalism and paganism has become ubiquitous in modern media, but a short analysis of the stories with which most people are familiar should be a good start. As a bonus there are some extra movies/shows beyond the Marvel franchise from which I added a few thoughts.

NOTE to fathers: You are responsible for the content that enters your home. If you allow secular movies into your home, be sure to preview movies before your kids have access and make sure to point out the underlying motivations and worldviews expressed in these movies. There’s a great place for art and entertainment, but be sure that the message of the world is subjected to the revelation of God because of your influence on the messaging in your family.

Now on to the reviews. Any bold, underline or italics is not included in the original. These features are used to highlight what I recognize as the key elements in the worldview being promoted. The original quotes are in red with my thoughts in black immediately beneath the quote

The Amazing Spider-Man

  • Cross-species genetic integration. This is just a note that the authors simply assume that because humans and arachnids are related via a continuum along the “tree of life” that spider DNA can simply be added to humans to provide spider-like qualities. The assumption of a common ancestor drives the narrative
    • Tree of life – the assumption of common ancestry is now assumed by the media
    • Many of these wonderful creatures are so brilliantly ADAPTED that they can regenerate entire limbs at will.” – Osborn
    • It’s sad that rather than properly giving credit for the design of creatures to the Almighty, movies now are attributing the integrated systems that were designed by God to random mutation and the powers of evolution
    • This (scientific advancement) is no longer about curing ills, this is about finding perfection” – Osborn
    • This is both a pagan assumption and a naturalistic assumption. Humanity does rightly seek perfection. But because we are sinners, perfection can only be found by grace through faith in Christ alone. The modern academic paradigm (which some call science) cannot bring perfection to humanity.

Shang-Chi

  • The Great Protector deity is portrayed as a dragon. The is not JUST paganism, but Satanism and it is not an accident. The war between the Creator, Jesus, and the serpent/dragon in scripture is not just a benign allegory. For the writers of Shang-Chi to replace Yahweh with the dragon is disrespectful at best and blasphemy at worst
  • Names are sacred. They connect us not only to ourselves but to everyone who came before
  • There is an element of ancestor worship (paganism) in this quote
  • We have cities…rich with culture and history. Thousands of years ago, our people lived in peace and prosperity.
  • The assumption is that mankind lived for generations in a Utopia and that mankind is basically good. While this may sound like the Biblical story of the garden of Eden, the distinction would be that in reality the original couple (Adam/Eve) disobeyed God almost immediately. People did not live in peace and prosperity for generations. Adam’s sin brought corruption/death/suffering into the universe that God originally created as God (Romans 8), and since that time, humans have been born into sin. But thanks be to God that because of what Jesus has done (fulfilled scripture, perfectly kept the law, died for the sins of the repentant, rose again) there is hope for abundant life in Him.

Iron Man

  • There is glorification of rampant sexual immorality in the opening scene (12 for 12 with cover models) – the consistent conclusion of naturalism is either hedonism or nihilism. Tony Stark embodies both of these unholy worldviews. The soldiers in the Humvee think that Stark’s hedonism is worthy of praise
    • Glorification of gambling
    • Glorification of sexual immorality
  • Thank you for saving me” – Tony Stark to dying assistant. Only Jesus saves
    • I know in my heart that it’s right” – Tony Stark
    • The only way to know whether something is TRULY right is not how it feels in someone’s heart. Only by revelation from God, who is perfect and has revealed his expectations for humanity, can someone know what is TRULY right. Isaiah 45:19

Iron Man 2

  • Technology holds infinite possibilities for mankind, and will one day rid society of all its ills.” – Howard Stark
  • Transcendent power has been attributed to mankind through science/technology. As Romans 1 tells us, if we are not thankful to God, we will inevitably worship something lesser/created…in this case: technology
  • I will serve this great nation at the pleasure of myself. And there’s one thing that I’ve proven – it’s that you can count on me to pleasure myself.” – Tony Stark (to loud applause)
  • More glorification of hedonism
  • If people could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him” – Vanko
  • Because the Avengers story arc is at base naturalistic, there is no God and the superheroes stand in the place of the Almighty. So in this case, when the villain is able to make the little deities bleed, he feels he has displaced the “god” of the time
  • Everything is achievable through technology” – Howard Stark
  • More false attribution of omnipotence to human ingenuity. If the skeptical viewer extrapolates this thinking outward, Stark is deifying humans. That’s idolatry
  • In the movie, Tony Stark creates a new element with powerful lasers and some “elbow grease”. Creating a new element is portrayed as simply a “matter” of some effort and advanced technology. This is a minor point, but many people believe in naturalistic chemical evolution, and this is a just a continuation of that idea that matter/energy is all that is. And the cosmos was able to create itself in a process of continued chemical evolution
  • Secondly, Tony Stark was able to save himself from his degenerative condition. This is a common theme in today’s movies: that with enough focused effort, denial of desires (Buddhism), & extremely hard work a person can save themselves. The gospel of Jesus is that we are completely unable to pay our sin debt. But by grace through faith in Christ alone, there is forgiveness for sins and abundant life. Praise God that He does not rely on human effort to save us. If I was responsible for my own salvation, it would be an utter failure.
  • Was it a coincidence that Elon Musk, the prime advocate of uniting humanity with technology, appeared in this film that advocates the uniting of humanity with technology? While I appreciate Musk’s innovations in batteries, cars, and space travel, his goal is to achieve human consciousness immortality with technology rather than by grace through faith in Christ alone.
  • Making of Bonus Feature: “That we can imbue it (making of IronMan 2) with a sense of humanity and naturalism” – Robert Downey Jr.
  • Robert Downey admits the aim of the films is exactly what I am warning against. Watch with a skeptical eye

Thor

  • Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet…If there is an Einstein Rosen Bridge then advanced beings could have crossed it. A primitive culture like the Vikings may have worshiped them as deities
  • You’ll recognize this inherent push to naturalize everything. With enough time/discovery then everything will be seen to have a naturalistic explanation. The Bible identifies God as the Revealer of mysteries (Daniel 2:47), but the Marvel universe puts technology/discovery and ultimately humans in God’s rightful place.

Captain America

  • At the end end of the movie, Captain America is “flash frozen” in Artic waters. The assumption is that because humans are simply a collection of particles, life, mind, consciousness can simply be frozen and thawed in a continuum. Rather than recognizing that humans have spirits as we are told in the Bible, the writers would have us believe that like the monster of Frankenstein, technology can revive the aggregation of human particles from death

Avengers

  • Consciousness is simply a product of the correct aggregation of matter. When Loki is “transferred” through the portal from one end of the universe to earth, it is implied that he was reconstructed particle by particle (like Star Trek’s beaming process) to retain his consciousness/memories/behavior/powers after reconstruction. This is a very naturalistic idea: “humans are just a collection of particles”
    • The Tesseract has shown me so much. It’s MORE than knowledge. It’s truth
    • Whether accidentally or purposefully, Jesus has been dethroned from his rightful place in the Marvel movie franchises. Jesus said “I AM the way, the TRUTH, and the life”. Colossians 2:2-3 says “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ.” Neither knowledge nor truth can be known without revelation from the One, who knows everything: God Himself.
    • These guys are basically gods” -Agent R
    • There is only one God (Isaiah 45). On a positive note, Captain America responds: “There’s one 1 God maam, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that”
    • How much dark energy did the Allfather have to muster to conjure you here.” – Loki.
    • Is Loki referring to some dark energy from the Marvel Universe, or the mysterious dark energy floated around science communities as a significant component of the material cosmos? It is not clear, but it is humorous that they attempt to tie the concept of dark energy which is science fiction in the science world to science fiction in the science fiction world.
    • There are all kinds of alien life forms in the Avengers movie. The assumption is that life must have evolved all over the universe because of the assumption that life evolved on earth. As if evolution is ubiquitous even through there’s not 1 shred of evidence in favor of evolution.
    • I thought humans were more evolved than this.” – Thor
    • Again the assumption that humans simply evolved from lower forms of life. Thor’s assumption was that humans should be more empathetic, but evolution cannot explain empathy. Evolution has never been observed, but the Marvel franchise assumes it as basic throughout

Iron Man 3

  • Without direct quotes of naturalism, there was the continuation of assumptions that evolution throughout the universe (through aliens) persists. Also the idea that humans are just a collection of particles that can be manipulated rather than body/spirit created in the image of God is a strong theme throughout

Thor: Dark World

  • Long before the birth of light, there was darkness. And from that darkness came the dark elves. Millenia ago, the most ruthless of their kind sought to transform our universe into 1 of eternal night.
  • There are origins stories in all sagas. This origins story further dilutes the true origins story that God revealed in the Bible: In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth

Captain America: Winter Soldier

  • 1:16:11 The consciousness of the German scientist from CA was uploaded to a primitive computer as if consciousness is simply a function of the correct assemblance of ones and zeros. This is a very naturalistic assumption. Remember Elon Musk (and his desire to upload human consciousness to the internet) appearing the Iron Man 2? Interesting
  • I am not a recording, Fraulein. I may not be the man I once was. The captain took me prisoner in 1945. But I am alive. First correction, I am Swiss. Look around you. I have never been more alive. Science could not save my body. My mind, however, that was worth saving, on 200,000 feet of databanks. You are standing in my brain.
  • Given naturalism, brains are just an highly organized aggregation of particles, and the Marvel writers push this assumption as if it is just a lack of technology holding humanity back from experiencing eternal life through unity with technology.

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • This is not an identification of paganism, just a terrible plot hole: After 26 years of traveling around the universe, where did Star Lord find AA batteries for his walkman? And how did magnetic tapes on which the music was stored fight off the forces of friction and entropy to provide such excellent sound quality?
  • I’m going to be totally honest with you. I forgot you were here.” – StarLord
  • Pink-skinned female is dismissed as being just a sexual tool for StarLord. Hedonism
  • 14:00 blood sacrifice (pagan). There is something about blood which pagans recognize. While the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, pagans try to dilute the meaningfulness of Jesus’ sacrifice by showing it in the context of horror and ritual
  • From Wikipedia – “Taneleer Tivan (The Collector) is one of the Elders of the Universe and is close to his fellow Elder En Dwi Gast (the Grandmaster). He apparently came to self-awareness billions of years ago
  • Before creation itself there were 5 singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence. Then the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots. Infinity Stones.
  • Even naturalists recognize the need for an infinite root cause for the universe. Rather than accepting God’s revelation that He is the source of the universe, life, morality, consciousness, truth, goodness, justice, minds, beauty, information…they would rather assume an infinite universe, or self-aware stones. It’s a ridiculous origins story, but if you reject God’s word, one is left only with ridiculous origins stories and absurdity.
  • This bullet point is not so much about naturalism, but paganism: In the western world, it is not just rare but unheard of that someone be named after a villain in the Bible: Judas, Cain, Herod, Pilate, Satan…but the heroine of this story is Gamora, which sounds exactly like Gomorrah. They are de-stigmatizing the wickedness of Gomorrah by naming the heroine after that wicked place.
  • Speaking of de-stigmatizing abnormalities, we are seeing more and more abnormalities being accepted as normal. The Guardians of the Galaxy is filled with abnormal humanoid skin colors, abnormal attire, abnormal behaviors, feminization of men (Collector)…all in an effort to dilute God’s created or

Avengers: Age of Ultron

  • In the movie, one of the infinity stones combines with a computer program (Jarvis) to bring technology to life. The idea that artificial intelligence can be enveloped and/or created by the correct arrangement of atoms is naturalistic. Naturalists do not realize the abiogenesis is like a perpetual motion machine – impossible
  • The idea that consciousness could escape through the internet as if electricity defines minds is extremely naturalistic
  • The human race will have every opportunity to improve (evolve in the face of selection pressure)” – Ultron
  • Improve? By what transcendent standard does Ultron consider improvement? Towards what eternal goal defines said improvement? Ultron has made a claim for which his limited understanding cannot account
  • There were a dozen extinction level events before even the dinosaurs got theirs.” – Ultron
  • Assumptions abound here, but this is the worldview of the naturalist. From God’s eternal word, we know that there has been only 1 extinction-level event: The Worldwide flood of Noah’s day.
  • When the Earth starts to settle, God throws a stone at it” – Ultron
  • This is petty and sarcastic as though rather than God’s work being to restore his creation through Jesus, the naturalist views God as a mythical character of hate
    • We have to evolve. There’s no room for the weak.” – Ultron
    • While I know that evolution is false, THIS is a consistent understanding of evolution. Those atheists and naturalists, who want to be consistent, must think like Ultron. The weak and unfit should be euthanized to protect the overall gene pool if the theory of evolution is true. This is contradictory to the Christian worldview, which holds that humans have dignity because we are created in God’s image.
    • Who decides the weak?” – SpeedGuy
    • Life. Life always decides” – Ultron
    • Again, naturalism is the idea that everything came about without God. And Ultron declares this fable that natural selection determines what’s right. It is a baseless claim and essentially a tautology: “the survivors survive. Whoever/whatever survives is right”
  • I think a lot about meteors. The purity in them. Boom! The end! Start again. The world made clean for the new man to rebuild. I was meant to be new. I was meant to be beautiful. The world would have looked to the sky and seen hope. Seen mercy. Instead they’ll look up in horror because of you. You’ve wounded me and I give you full marks for that. But like the man said: What doesn’t kill you just makes me stronger (Neitzke)” – Ultron
  • Naturalists like to talk about asteroids a lot: “An asteroid collision with the earth created the moon…an asteroid collision with the earth killed the dinosaurs…” None of those things are valid, but believed on faith nonetheless.
  • I am” – Vision
  • Taking the words of the Almighty for himself, Vision’s character is blasphemous

Antman

  • The laws of nature transcend the laws of man. And I have transcended the laws of nature” – YellowJacket
  • It is unusual for naturalists to speak of transcendence as transcendence makes no sense in their worldview where “matter is that is or was or ever will be (Carl Sagan)”.
  • Solenopsis mandibularis known for their bite, the fire ants have evolved into remarkable architects” – Pim
  • Again evolution is reified as if it is a creative force that can produce “remarkable architects”. In real life, evolution cannot even account for the software needed to produce anything, but the writers of the Marvel series embed their worldview into the franchise

Dr. Strange

  • This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life giving. Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark place where powers older than time lie ravenous and waiting. Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange?
  • The multiverse is an unscientific rescue device devised by those who have faith in naturalism. Because this universe exhibits obvious and irrefutable teleological fine-tuning, naturalists have postulated an infinite number of universes all with different laws and parameters. They think that we just happen to live in lucky universe where all of the laws/parameters are JUUUUUST right for life, mind, consciousness, justice, love, beauty, symbiosis, water cycles, sodium cycles, continental plate tectonics…It’s a completely unscientific proposal as it’s both unfalsifiable and unobservable. It’s a silly story
  • The language of the mystic arts is as old as civilization. The sorcerors of antiquity called the use of this language spells. But if that word offends your modern sensibilities, you can call it a program. The source code that shapes reality. We harness energy drawn from other dimensions of the multiverse to cast spells. To conjure shields and weapons. To make magic.
  • I realize that this is science fiction. But in an effort to push their naturalistic worldview, they pull from what they view as scientific and throw it into their story as basic. It can never be known if there were a multiverse. It is ridiculous to call it scientific
  • But the dark dimension it’s a place beyond time. This world doesn’t have to die. This world can take it’s place along side so many others as part of the One. The great and beautiful One. We can all live forever.
  • This is paganistic pantheism: Everything is just part of the unified deity of nature. Paganism
    • Really? What do you have to gain out of this New Age dimensional utopia?
    • The same as you. The same as everyone. Life. Eternal Life. People think in terms of good and evil when really time is the true enemy of us all. Time kills everything.
    • God defines good/evil. Naturalists do not want to recognize goodness or evil, so it’s not a surprise to see them vilify time. It’s also contradictory that although time is the hero for evolution, but here they recognize that time is an enemy for naturalists.
    • What about the people YOU killed?
    • Tiny. Momentary specks in the within an indifferent universe. You see what we are doing. The world is not what it ought to be. Humanity longs for the eternal. For a world beyond time because time is what enslaves us. Time is an insult. Death is an insult. Doctor. We do not seek to rule this world. We seek to save it to hand it over to Dormammu, who is the intent of all evolution the why of all existence.
    • To naturalists, humans are just “momentary speck” so there is no real injustice for humans to be unjustly killed. The speaker promptly switches from naturalism to paganism by honoring a false deity

Thor: Ragnarok

  • Thor praying to his ancestor: “Odin, I bid you take your palace in the halls of Valhalla. Where the brave shall live forever. Nor shall we mourn but rejoice for those who have died a glorious death.
  • Ancestor worship is pagan.

Guardians of the Galaxy II

  • I’m what you call a celestial, sweetheart. Like a God? Small ‘g’ god
  • There is only 1 God.
  • I don’t know where I came from exactly. The 1st thing I remember is flickering. Adrift in the cosmos…utterly and entirely alone. Over millions of years I learned to control the molecules around me. I grew smarter and stronger. And I continued building from there. Layer by layer the very planet you walk on now. But I wanted more. I desired meaning. There must be some life out there in the universe besides just me. I thought. And so I set myself to task to find it. I created what I imagined biological life to be like. Down to the most minute detail. I wanted to experience what it truly meant to be human. Until I found what I sought. I was not alone in the universe after all.
  • While science fiction, this character describes what many believe happened in reality: “over millions of years, molecules organized themselves into more and more complex arrangements, until finally, some collections of particles came to life. And some of those particles began to create movies and demand justice. It is taught in schools and universities that like this “divine” character, and despite evidence & universal laws, life has evolved smarter and stronger over time.
  • Over the millions and millions of years of my existence, I’ve made many mistakes Peter, but you’re not one of them.
  • Like almost every nature documentary, this science fiction show shouts the mantra: “over the millions and millions of years”. It’s part of the dogma of naturalism and it is being taught as though it were fact in almost all media.
  • Only we can remake the universe. Only we can take the bridle of the cosmos and lead it where it wants to go
  • Both pagans and naturalists think that humans can control the cosmos and give the purposeless cosmos some sort of subjective purpose

Black Panther

  • Millions of years ago a meteorite made of vibranium, the strongest substance in the universe struck the continent of Africa. When the time of man came, 5 tribes settled on it and called it Wakanda
  • Most every nature documentary begins exactly the same way: “millions of years ago”. Just like above when we talked about how naturalists love asteroids…again, they propose an asteroid as the source of “meaning”. It’s more hilarious than anything
  • Praise the ancestors” 21:50
  • Pagan ancestor worship
  • TChaka (dead king) we call on you to come to your son
  • More pagan ancestor worship
  • Not pagan but actual wisdom and an accidental recognition of reality: “If you let the refugees into Wakanda, they bring their problems with them, and then Wakanda is just like everywhere else.
  • Don’t scare me like that colonizer (to white man)
  • Wokeness has infected everything. As if all white people are racist and colonizers, the writers added that bit of poison to the movie.
  • Didn’t all life start right here on this continent (evolutionary Out of Africa theory), so aren’t all people your people?
  • The evolutionary story teaches that all humans emerged from the continent of Africa after a small group of homonids evolved enough traits to make them human. That story is in direct contradiction with the Bible, which reveals that humans are all related through both Adam and Noah after being created in God’s image.
  • Everybody dies. It’s just life around here
  • A consistent naturalist/atheist will be a nihilist as they declare that there is no purpose or meaning in the cosmos
  • We got spies embedded in every nation on earth. I know how colonizers think. So we’re gonna use their own strategy against them. We’re gonna send vibranium weapons out to our War Dogs. They’ll arm oppressed people all over the world, so they can finally rise up and kill those in power. And their children. And anyone else who takes their side. It’s time they know the truth about us. We’re warriors. The World’s gonna start over (Build Back Better), and this time, we’re on top. The sun will never set on the Wakandan empire (Marxism)
  • Again, we see the same seeds that the World Economic Forum are planting: critical theory. Sadly, there is a strong movement in today’s world to kill and destroy society, so that it can be rebuilt in the image of those, who feel “repressed”.
  • Soon it will be the conquerors or the conquered (Marxism)
  • I call upon the ancestors. I call upon the Bast. I am here with my son, TChalla. Heal him
  • Pagan ancestor worship
  • Praise the ancestors! Praise the ancestors!
  • More Paganism

Avengers: Infinity War

  • Allfathers, let the dark magic flow through me one last time
  • Paganism
  • At the dawn of the universe, there was nothing. Then Boom the Big Bang sent 6 elemental crystals hurtling across the virgin universe. These infinity stones each control an essential aspect of existence. Space. Reality. Power. Soul. Mind. Time
  • The story of naturalism is taught in this science fiction as being sparked by stones, but we recognize the same story (without the stones) being taught in universities, high schools, and media
  • He (Vision) is more than that. He’s evolving.
  • The assumption that matter and power can produce life and then evolve is simply religious in nature: the religion of naturalism
  • You might have a choice. Your mind is made up of a complex construct of overlays. Jarvis. Ultron. Tony. Me, the stone. All of them mixed together. All of them learning from one another. You’re saying that Vision is not just the stone? I’m saying that if we take out the stone, there’s a whole lot of Vision left. Perhaps the best parts.” 
  • These lines assume that mind/consciousness is simply an accidentally aggregated and complex arrangement of particles. It is a religious (naturalism) assumption that part of the blind, pitiless, indifferent cosmos came alive, but this is exactly what the writers of this epic saga believe
  • I’m only alive because fate wants me alive. Fate wills it so
  • Personification of fate as having purpose and foresight is the reification fallacy. It is an expression of both Paganism and naturalism
  • We all think that at first. We are all wrong
  • Essentially, they are saying that truth cannot be known. This is a post modern relativistic thinking. However Truth can be known in the person of Jesus
  • To ensure that whoever possesses it understands its power. The stone demands a sacrifice. In order to take the stone, you must lose that which you love. A soul for a soul.
  • Paganism
  • The universe judged you and you failed
  • Reification fallacy and deification of the cosmos. It’s both pagan and naturalistic
  • I’d watch the sun rise on a grateful universe
  • More reification of the particles of the cosmos

Antman 2

  • Molecular disequilibrium
  • As if mind & consciousness are determined by an arrangement of particles rather than God’s breathing of life into a person. It’s naturalistic
  • This place it changes you. Adaptation is part of it, but some of it is evolution

Captain Marvel

  • No one can look upon the Supreme Intelligence in its true form. Our subconscious chooses the way they appear to us. So it’s sacred. It’s personal.
  • Paganism
  • Supreme Intelligence: A. I. Leader of the Kree Civilization
  • This assumes that AI (or bits of matter) can become conscious
  • We must all be ready to join the Collective if that is our fate
  • The collective is implied to be a pantheist divineness, and fate (yet again in the Marvel universe) reified as purposeful.

Avengers: End Game

  • I know what I must do. I will shred this universe down to the last atom. Then with the stones you’ve collected for me, I create a new one – teeming with life. That knows not what it has lost, but only what it has been given. A grateful universe.
  • While this is not specifically naturalistic or pagan, it is an affront to the LORD of glory, who HAS given breath and life to this universe. Those, who suppress the knowledge of this Creator, are ungrateful. They love darkness rather than light. 

One final note on the Marvel franchise: The real life version of Thanos is the World Economic Forum. They are the enemy, so whatever they promote should be rejected!

Fantastic 4

  • My research suggests that exposure to high energy cosmic storm borne on solar winds might have triggered the evolution of early planetary life. In 6 weeks, another cloud with the same elemental profile will pass earth’s orbit. A study conducted in space could fundamentally advance our knowledge about the structure of the human genome, cure countless diseases, extend human life. Give kids a chance to live longer stronger healthier…
  • The origin of life, the origin of the human genome, the origin of ALL genomes remain a complete mystery, but superhero movies like to preach that if there were just more funding, more vision that scientism could come up with the answer even though they fail to understand that the problem is like the perpetual motion machine. The only solution is the one that God already solved: His life-giving breath
  • The whole idea of the Fantastic 4 is that intense selective pressure (radiation) drives new traits of evolution…in their case super powers

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

  • When the universe began, it was no bigger than a marble and then bam – It exploded. And in a trillionth of a second, it expanded exponentially to what became the universe we know today.
  • Naturalism. This quote is religious in nature as is cannot be known – only assumed
  • I’ve been cross referencing the Surfer’s radiation through every astronomical database, Altair 7, Rigel 3, Vega 6. And now they’re lifeless. Barren. Some even shattered. Everywhere the Surfer goes, eight days later, the planet dies.
  • As if there’s life out there in the universe somewhere. Astrobiology is a lonely fruitless search…lacking all evidence
  • The Silver Surfer appeared to have power over death to bring Storm back to life. – Paganism

Alive (History Channel show)

  • In show after show, participants feeling great emotions of gratitude, rather than thanking the Almighty Creator, thank:
    • The land
    • Dead animals
    • Rivers
    • Lakes
    • Rocks
    • Wood
    • Ancestors
  • They exhibit the exact actions one would expect since Romans 1 is true 
  • “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

Halo

  • S1 E9
    • We are born. We live and we die according to the rules of blind and unguided evolution. As a result our species are simply not equipped to survive what comes next. It is time for us to take control of our evolution, to push past our narrow ignorance and venture out into the wide unknown, where we will discover our true potential.” – Dr. Halsey
    • This is the definitive FAITH of naturalism: evolution is blind faith, but humans want to control an unguided blind process.
    • Much has been lost and there will surely be more sacrifices to come. But I believe our species will soon spread its wings and soar to new heights, that we will rewrite what it means to be human. That we will achieve transcendence.” – Dr. Halsey
    • Do you now recognize the blending of paganism that is built upon naturalism which is being taught a fact?

The Sixth Day

  • If you believe that God created man in his own image, then you also believe that God gave man the power to understand evolution. To exploit science. To manipulate the genetic code. To do exactly what I’m doing. I’m just taking over where God left off.
  • The entire idea that memories and feelings can be saved to memory is materialistic. And then the assumption that memories can then be “written” to the brain of a cloned human as some sort of duplicate is materialistic as if memories and feelings are reproducible.
  • This movie promotes the idea that eternal life is achievable to the never-ending reproduction of clones
  • We don’t have to die. I’m offering you the chance to live forever. Never aging. Perfect in every way.
  • The faith of naturalistic paganism

John Wick

  • There’s no rhyme or reason to this life. It’s days like today scattered among the rest
  • The consistent naturalist is bound to see life like John Wick: through the eyes of the nihilist.

Edge of Tomorrow

  • The thing you gotta understand is that perfectly evolved world-conquering organism. For all we know there are thousands or millions of those asteroids floating around in the cosmos like a virus. And they’re just waiting to crash land into a world with just the right conditions. All they need is for the dominant life form to attack.
  • “eVoLutiOn!!!! eVoLutiOn EVERYWHERE! eVoLutiOn dUn iT!!!”

Robocop 2014

Jurassic Park: World Dominion

  • Human beings have no more right to safety or liberty than any other creature on this planet. We not only lack dominion over nature, we are subordinate to it. And now here we are with the opportunity to rewrite life at our fingertips. And just like nuclear power, nobody knew what to expect with genetic engineering, but they pressed the button and hoped for the best. Just like you are doing now. Yep. You. You control the future of our survival on planet earth. According to you, the solution is genetic power. But that same power could devastate the food supply, create new diseases, alter the climate even further…In order to instigate revolutionary change, we must transform human consciousness” -Ian Malcolm
  • If ever there was a perfect ending to the teachings of paganism resulting from an assumption of naturalism, this is it. Malcolm’s character assumes that humanity is no more than a collection of particles rather than image bearers of the Almighty. And the consistent result of this irrational thinking is that nature is worthy of praise. In direct opposition to what God tells mankind to accomplish (“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” – Genesis 1:26) Malcolm’s character tells his class that humans are subordinate to nature. It is both blasphemous and irrational. The writers of the Jurassic Park franchise couldn’t help but add their mantra of “gLobaL wArmiNg” into the Malcolm’s little diatribe. They believe that the planet (Gaia) is in danger of destruction by the activities of mankind, so the best solution (for them) is reducing the global population
  • The Jurassic Park franchise is full of naturalist teachings regarding evolution and other fanciful origins stories

What are some examples of naturalism and paganism in modern media that you’ve seen?

Can Evolution Explain Morality?

I’ve been told that natural selection acting on random mutations has enough power to produce everything in biology. I’ve put these claims to the test several times

Well, I got a new challenge from a God-denier, who made the claim that evolution can even explain the origin of morality. They provided a link to a “scientific” paper , which has been cited 6 times, thinking they could bluster their way through a conversation without being skeptical. But I don’t surrender to bluster so easily. Let’s analyze her claim to see if the professor, who wrote the article, is relying on evidence or assumptions

Here’s how this works: I will post the quotes from the article in red and then just below the quote, I’ll post my analysis in the default black font. I have bolded key words throughout, so the bold does not appear in the original work. Throughout, you’ll notice that instead of actual evidence, the author of the article relies on assumptions. Let’s get started:

The author of this article, Professor Douglas Allchin, begins at a good place, with definitions. First we must start with “What is Morality?” Merriam Webster defines morality as ‘Conformity to ideals of right human conduct’.

How did this peer-reviewed paper define morality?

The first challenge for biologists is characterizing morality in terms amenable to science. Abstract concepts of “right” and “wrong” or virtuous motives and good intentions must be expressed in terms of what can be observed or measured. First, then, biologists address morality concretely as a form of behavior. As such, it fits in a context of other behaviors: foraging, mating and nesting, securing territory, play, grooming, and other social interactions

Bold text is not in the original. Notice how they immediately change the definition from “ideals of right conduct” to a “form of behavior that fits a context”. What context? EVOLUTION. While the actual word is not used, the context of evolution (foraging, mating, nesting, grooming…) is exactly the concepts that evolution is supposed to have solved. Right from the start, they’ve smuggled evolution into the definition. So right from the start, rather than actually showing that evolution can explain the origins of “ideals of right conduct”, professor Allchin imbeds the solution right into the definition.

Conceptualizing morality as a form of behavior opens the possibility of observing it in other species. Indeed, if complex features evolve gradually, one might well expect to find stages of protomorality, incipient morality, or various precursors in organisms besides humans.

Two things with this paragraph:

  • Remember they defined morality as forging, mating, nesting, grooming & social interacting behaviors. So OF COURSE other species forage, mate, nest, groom and interact. When they define their terms in such a way as it’s just living, then they can claim victory that evolution can explain eating but say “tHat’s mOraLity”
  • Secondly, humans did not evolve from any modern species. So, you cannot test any modern species for “protomorality” or “incipient morality” at least in relation to human morality. If you want to test other species for human morality, why not celebrate the morality of male lions cleaning house: the new head of the pride, methodically killing the offspring of other males in the pride. Should the evolutionists want to involve other species as tests for morality, they have no objective reason not the start there. Why don’t the atheists want to uphold the thieving, raping, bullying, and exclusion of both intra and inter species interactions in their assertions of evolution’s great power to produce morality? Why would God-deniers NOT consider male lions killing the offspring of other lions as moral?

But which behaviors are “moral”? Here, biologists must proceed cautiously. One cannot even identify the relevant behaviors without a working concept of “right” and “wrong” or of “morality.” Invoking a value judgment threatens to prejudice the whole endeavor. The biologist’s proper approach is thereby indifferent and fluid, contingent on definitions of ethics identified by others. Biologists may encounter multiple conceptions of what is to be explained. Different benchmark definitions may yield separate complementary explanations. Of course, biologists are accustomed to addressing the “same” phenomenon on multiple levels of organization: molecular and cellular, physiological, populational, ecological, and evolutionary. Biologists have, thus, developed a suite of explanations which apply to different aspects of moral behavior.

Indeed. How can they identity behaviors as right or wrong? Notice in the closing sentence, professor Allchin talks about tools: “a suite of explanations” which they will apply preferentially and arbitrarily to different behaviors. We’ll watch this as more and more of the paper is analyzed.

For guidance, then, a biologist turns to moral philosophers. Yet, even after centuries of reflection and debate, philosophers themselves do not agree on core ethical principles for defining “good.” They generally recognize, however, three basic approaches. One approach, consequentialism, focuses on the outcomes themselves. For example, morality is assessed as the greatest good for the greatest number. Good may be defined variously as benefit, happiness, or pleasure.

Didn’t these “moral philosophers” also evolve from ancestral simians with supposedly less-evolved morality. Why trust what evolved apes have to say about morality? Charles Darwin recognized this philosophical problem in the 19th century when in his autobiography, he wrote “But then arises the doubt-can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?” Why should we trust the foundations of their philosophy?

Notice also how the consequentialists define good: Good is whatever is the greatest good for the greatest number. You’ll notice the clear obfuscation of their claim about “good”. How do they know what is truly good? Based on what metric? Over which time period? I wrote about the irrationality of claiming goodness without an objective standard in my article, Empathy is Arbitrary, Inconsistent, and Irrational for Atheists. It applies equally as well for these lab-coats, who want to talk about pragmatism.

Evolution itself does not express or yield values

Nature may seem to exhibit its own values. For example, natural selection may seem to “favor” adaptive traits. Survival and reproduction may seem inherent values because they lead to continuity of the lineage. However, historical facts are distinct from values. Effects do not indicate intentions

This is a good paragraph and I agree with it – because it definitively declares that evolution cannot explain the origins of morality – ideals of right conduct. The title of their article is misleading, but they rationalize their deception with remarkable openness about the inability of evolution to explain ideals/values like that paragraph above. After all, since morality is not objective to them, why should they be honest about their hopelessness from the beginning?

Biological analysis may enrich our understanding of morality, but it is also limited. Science is not able to discover ethical principles in nature, nor to justify them, nor to evaluate them, say, based on evolutionary history, nor even to develop them based on some presumed universal or “objective” principle of “human nature.” Many have tried. All have failed

EXACTLY! Case closed. I appreciate everyone for reading this article which exposes this admission by professor Allchin that evolution is unable to explain ethical principles, justifications, or objective ideals of morality. Should I even continue to evaluate the remaining 7000 words of their article when it is clear up to this point that they have admitted defeat? They do try as this next sentence declares:

Having introduced these caveats, then, let us consider what biologists have discovered about morality as an evolved form of behavior

Caveats indeed. Caveats of the corpse of their case

They continue anyway, although their case is beyond hope:

Behavior that benefits other organisms may sometimes also benefit the individual

Like symbiosis? Symbiosis is a definite falsification of evolution. It’s a strange tact indeed for professor Allchin to highlight one of the most damning observations to evolutionary theory. Perhaps though he meant that cooperation within your own species could help with the evolutionary fitness of the overall species. It stretches credulity that selflessness could be explained by natural selection acting on unguided mutations, but that is the claim they are making. They tried to suggest the kin selection could account for morality in the subsequent paragraphs, but I covered this failed hypothesis in my article, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? When evaluating the “scientific” articles for that post, they proposed a mysterious force called “strong reciprocity”, which had no origin or mechanism. Another failure for the theory of evolution. Professor Allchin tries later in his article to postulate strong reciprocity as a solution. Too bad.

But notice too that he’s done something sneaky here. He just assumed that cooperation (or mutually beneficial behavior) just appeared. He provided no mechanism or origin story for this behavior. Without explanation, he just assumed it was there. In an article that supposedly explains the origin, professor Allchin is short on actual explanations and long on assumptions

In describing the evolution of humans in Descent of Man, Darwin (1871) prominently addressed mental and moral abilities. Following cultural discourse at the time, he focused on what he called the moral sense, or conscience, notably reflected in the emotion of remorse. “Why do we feel moral duty?” Darwin wondered. First, Darwin observed that animals could evolve societies, structured (he assumed) by a social instinct. Second, with multiple instincts, behavior might not always accord with social benefit. But memory, Darwin thought, would help resolve such conflicts as the organism learned to regulate its instincts, making the social instinct primary. Third, the use of language would allow organisms to communicate their needs clearly to one another. Fourth, repetition would lead to habit and a spontaneous sense of what one “ought” to do.

Notice the saturated assumptions in the paragraph. Everything proposed by Darwin was an assumption. None of what he observed was an origin of the creatures, their behavior, or their “structured society”. All of those things were already in existence – so like the modern lab coats, Darwin simply assumed that they evolved. I’ve been told that “extraordinary claims (like evolution can explain morality) requires extraordinary evidence”. There’s no evidence – let alone extraordinary evidence in that paragraph. It (like the rest of the paper) can be summarily dismissed.

In the next 5 paragraphs professor Allchin describes stories of various mammals caring for others of their species as if that is an explanation of evolution’s great power to produce moral behavior. Two things he failed to realize:

  1. Humans did not evolve from any creatures that are currently alive. The best he could assume is that humans and any other mammals share a common ancestor. Professor Allchin, rather than demonstrating common ancestry, simply assumed common ancestry. The very best that professor Allchin could speculate is that both apes and humans experienced an even more impossible assertion: convergent evolution since the hypothetical common ancestor cannot be evaluated for the presence of moral behavior.
  2. The caring/moral behavior already exists in the creatures being described. There’s no step-by-step explanation of the caring/moral behavior being produced by some evolutionary mechanism. Saying that something (moral behavior) exists does NOT explain HOW evolution produced it. It is very common among internet pop apologists for evolution to assert: “x trait exists and evolution did it.” We see from this article where they get it. They are taught to think that way by their deluded lab-coat-wearing priests.

One way to assess foundational human motivation is to observe behavior before possible learning or training. Human infants (age 18 months), for example, frequently help adults in simple problematic tasks in a lab setting—without being asked and without reward…The question remains how such feelings evolved and whether the social environment was relevant historically

The question remains indeed. Everything that professor Allchin has speculated about already exists. Not one word has been dedicated to explaining how evolution was able to produce moral behavior where moral behavior did not exist before. Those reading Allchin’s article with a skeptical mind could just as easily be convinced that since this behavior already exists in “human infants” that these young humans were created in God’s image as moral agents from the beginning. The authors have done NOTHING to persuade a skeptical reader of their stated motive (evolution can explain morality). They just assume it

Neuroimaging studies show significantly that actual moral reasoning involves both emotion and logic

The naturalist author of this paper has complicated his task. Not only has he convinced me that that evolution cannot explain morality, evolution definitely cannot explain reasoning or logic. Rather than trying to just come up with an evolutionary mechanism that can produce moral behavior, now professor Allchin has inadvertently jumped into a philosophical canyon from which he could never hope to explain. Rather the unchanging, abstract, absolute laws of logic and its correct application (reasoning) is explained only in a Christian worldview.

The flexibility afforded by learned behavior allows organisms to respond to local environments, which may change during an organism’s lifetime or vary from organism to organism within the same species. Evolution may thus favor the brain’s potential for behavioral plasticity and for placing “values” on certain responses

Again – no explanation or evolutionary mechanism…but “evolution may…” as if evolution is a concrete entity that actually DOES something. That’s the reification fallacy by professor Allchin. No-no professor!

In addition, learning has the potential to modify, or regulate, innate behavior or dispositions. The psychological level thereby becomes emergent, exhibiting new interactions and properties relatively independent of lower level functions (genetic and physiological) and able in part to influence them

Emergent? This is a common assertion by naturalists when they are unable to actually explain origins. Following is a conglomeration of real/hypothetical conversations with God-deniers:

  • Christian: “From where did the laws of logic arise in a cosmos made only of particles?”
  • God-denier: “They are emergent properties
  • Christian: “From where did the laws of gravity and physics and chemistry arise?”
  • God-denier: “They are emergent properties
  • Christian: “Can you explain how evolution produced moral behavior?”
  • God-denier: “They are emergent properties

Emergent properties offer no explanatory power. It’s just a sciency-sounding moniker for the naturalist, who recognizes that from within his framework, the topic is unexplainable.

Professor Allchin goes on to complain about “cheaters” as obstacles to “sharing behavior” and common good, but in all of the complaining, he never explains how evolution produced moral behavior. Why’s that Professor Allchin?

Organisms may cooperate selectively with reciprocators

I’ve already answered the proposal of reciprocity above and in my article on, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? Giving only to get back (reciprocity) is selfish – not moral or altruistic.

Getting to the end of his rope, Professor Allchin jumps from moral behavior to Might-Makes-Right:

Social organisms may enforce cooperation through rewards and punishment

And AGAIN, professor Allchin simply observes EXISTING behavior – not how evolutionary mechanisms produced it. This article was supposed to explain how evolution could explain morality rather than just pointing to it as he does throughout. It would be like asking: “How did Honda produce that Odyssey minivan?” and having a professor respond: “There’s one over there!!!” All the while, the professor thinks he’s answered the question. Lazy and smug.

Organisms may benefit from social information

May?!?! Isn’t this supposed to be a scientific article? Something that explains the origins of morality by means of evolution?? May indeed!!! And “benefit” – how does one determine what is truly beneficial? By what metric?

Add morality to the ever-growing list of things that evolution fails to explain. I’m with Dr. Greg Bahnsen – evolution cannot adequately explain anything, and the science clearly bears this out

I’m not the only one or even the first one or even the best at analyzing the outlandish claims of the Darwinists that evolution can explain morality. Here are some articles from crev.info that show the impotent claims that “eVoLutioN cAn expLaiN moRaLity” to be nothing more than empty bluster:

Review: Good Night Oppy

This isn’t a typical full review of the new content by Amazon, but I’ll include my overall thoughts about the movie

It really is stunning to me to hear God-deniers say. “The worldwide flood recorded in Genesis is impossible.” or “there’s no way the entire globe could have been flooded as recorded in Genesis” or “Noah’s flood? That’s just a fairy tale”. What does that have to do with the movie, Oppy?

At near the 9 minute mark one of the lab coats says: “The two Viking orbiters as they looked down on Mars, they saw…that’s strange. There could be signs of past water flowing. Was Mars once a green world with living things and blue oceans?

At about 39:45 “We picked the Spirit landing site, Gusev Crater, that looked like it had a huge dried-up riverbed flowing through into it, and we went there hoping to find evidence of past water and past habitability. I mean there has to have been a lake in Gusev Crater at one time. But all Spirit found was this prison of lava rocks.”

“And it turns out that the composition of these little blueberries, was a mineral called hematite, which is a mineral that often forms in the presence of water.”

“From the minerology, from the geochemistry, everything that we needed to come to a reasonable conclusion that there was once water on Mars. It was right there in the walls of Eagle Crater. But this is a very acidic environment. Not a place where life could have developed.”

“So, yes there had been liquid water, but this wasn’t water that you or I would want to drink. It was basically like battery acid.”

“What you really want is nice, flowing, neutral-pH groundwater. And so to go and find a story of habitability, you’ve got to go on a bit of a roadtrip”

“This is a clay that has been intensely altered by relatively neutral pH water, representing the most favorable conditions for biology that Opportunity has encountered”

“Water. Drinkable neutral water once existed on the surface of Mars. And not only was there water, but it could possible sustain ancient microbial life. So that is just revolutionary.”

“It showed us that the ancient Mars was much more suitable to the origin of life.

This was the Holy Grail. This is the reason we had gone to Mars. Oppy discovered Mars was a wet world very much like Earth. There were oceans. Water played a huge role in its early history. It completely altered the planet.”

“And Opportunity spent years exploring Endeavor Crater, making incredible discoveries that tell that story of water. So we could go back in time to a planet that might actually have had life.

“Mars had water. What happened to that water? And can we take the information and understand how that could happen here on Earth? And can we understand our part in that. Are we doing something that can accelerate that here on Earth. Because that’s something that you don’t recover from.”

Are you kidding me? They were able to turn this documentary about a planet with no water, no life, no humans, no fossil fuels into a global warming fear-mongering documentary…like most of the rest of them.

Their motivation was religious in nature (“This was the Holy Grail”), and it’s clear that their research was interested only in finding naturalistic origins of life.

Don’t misinterpret my critiques as a dislike for discovery or research. But what did you notice about their motivation for exploration? Extra terrestrial life. This blind search for life in lifeless places reveals their faith in naturalism. In their search for life, they recognize the need for water. So, in this video, we see over and over these lab-coats share their desire to find water. There’s not a drop of water on Mars.

But a planet (Earth) that is more than 70% covered by water could NOT have had a worldwide flood according to naturalists, and a planet (Mars) with not a single drop of liquid water is assumed to have been flooded in the distant past. The inconsistency and hypocrisy is astounding

Another level of hypocrisy among the God-deniers, is their denouncement of God’s amazing designs in biology. It was clear that the design of the robots was mimicry of the design of the human body. Same height. Same use of binocular vision. Same use of limbs and joints found in human arms. Yet I hear from God-deniers all the time, “humans are designed badly”. It’s a ridiculous claim for God-deniers to say humans are designed poorly when scientists literally mimic the incredible designs by the Almighty to achieve discoveries on other planets.

Overall, the documentary was positive and encouraged people to be involved in engineering solutions and discovery. I support finding engineering solutions and discovery, but motivations and intentions matter. There’s much better motivations for discovery and engineering solutions than the most unsuccessful career path of all time: astrobiology!

eVideNce fOr eVoLutiOn!!!!

Well, Christians, after 2000 years it’s time to pack it up. It was a good run for Christianity, but it’s over. A modern day Chuck confirmed the 19th century Chuck’s theory of evolution with a link to an article that holds the smoking gun for naturalism. “Evidence for evolution is uNdeNiabLe!!!!”.

At least that’s the claim they are making.

Before we discard the only valid worldview that can justify the preconditions for intelligibility, let’s take a closer look at the claim of the evolutionists and cross-examine their assertions

Here’s the conversation on Twitter that led to the analysis of this peer-reviewed article. I challenged this particular God-denier to produce undeniable proof that creatures lacking a particular trait gained a new trait in an immediately subsequent generation via natural selection acting on random mutations. He posted this link to a peer-reviewed article on ScienceDaily from 2008.

Here are the 3 claims from that article that they assert is a demonstration of new traits that produced by natural selection acting on random mutations that previous generations did not possess:

  1. “Striking differences in head size and shape”
  2. “increased bite strength”
  3. “development of new structures in the lizard’s digestive tracts”

Let’s take their claims one by one to see if it is indeed an undeniable example of natural selection acting on random mutations to produce novel traits

Head Shape and Size

Just from the initial reading of the text, we see that a different size head is not a new trait. Variable sizes in existing structures (head, arms, legs, noses…) is not an example of evolution. In that same way that we see different domestic dogs breeds with different size heads (poodle, St. Bernard) but they are the same species, there is variability in the genes. There are people that are tall and short, big heads and small heads, long arms and short arms…but to claim that this variability within the same species is “evoLuTioN” is ridiculous. They might have helped their case if they had given some measurements before/after, but this vital piece of evidence is missing. The claim that “changes in head size” is an example of evolution is inconsistent, impotent, and unconvincing.

Increased Bite Strength

Again, just reading the text, we see that there is no new trait. I would have liked to go deeper into this radical claim from the authors, but apparently they recognize that their claim of “increased bite strength” as evidence for evolution is extremely weak because they gave no further validation of their assertions. No measurements. No differences. Just a claim. As with the head size claim, there’s no need to speak of this anymore as if it’s part of the “mountain of evidence” in support of evolution, because it’s just empty

New Structures in the Digestive Tract

That leaves the crushing weight of their claim firmly on the shoulders of this last “example of evolution”. Can it support the weight? Let’s see.

Tail clips taken for DNA analysis confirmed that the Pod Mrcaru lizards were genetically identical to the source population on Pod Kopiste

Genetically identical?!??! This is the 1st reason why their claim of “evoLuTioN” holds no water. If the DNA is identical, then there were no random mutations to produce a new trait. This is the fundamental assumption of evolution: At one time, the DNA instructions for traits (arms, lungs, wings, cecal valves…) DID NOT EXIST, but over time, the accumulation of mutations produced functional code that improved a creature’s reproductive fitness in a particular environment. Since there are no genetic differences, there’s no evolution. It is the same species. There are no DNA changes. By itself, this is enough to dismiss this article as “an example of evolution”.

These structures actually occur in less than 1 percent of all known species of scaled reptiles

These structures ALREADY exist in this species of reptiles. The new environment did not PRODUCE these structures. The new environment of the lizards was selection pressure on the lizards such that the existing DNA information for the production of these structures (cecal valves) was made manifest. Since the lizards already carried the instructions in their DNA to produce these structures, then there was no evolution that created these structures. It was the environmental stresses that caused these existing structures to be expressed. See epigenetics for more information. This second nail in the coffin simply ensures that the corpse of their claim cannot be revived

Lastly, I’ve been told by evolutionists that fitness is measured on populations and it must abide by the mutation rates. Now I have reason to doubt the mutation rates that have been published by evolutionists because of bad assumptions, but even if we accept the mutation rates that they propose, the formation of new digestion structures and the creatures ability to make use of the new digestive structures is impossible. From The National Center for Biological Information:

Simple calculations then show that the waiting time to improve one of these six of eight matches to seven of eight has a mean of 60,000 years. This shows that new regulatory sequences can come from small modifications of existing sequence

We have already shown that there were no mutations, BASED ON THEIR OWN ADMISSIONS, but even if we grant the possibility of mutations, the mutation rate is far too slow to have produced that necessary changes that they have proposed. They claim that the new structures appeared in 36 years, but the minimum time for even the smallest beneficial mutation to occur is sixty thousand years. By their own metrics, their claim is refuted.

It looks like the wild claim from the evolutionists was (again) long on assertions and short on evidence. There’s no reason after all to close down Christianity in favor of evolutionism. The claims by these evolutionists is not new or rare. You can see here other claims that evolutionists have made about the amazing powers of evolution are shown to be impotent when analyzed.

Can Evolution Explain the Eye?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The world is filled with magnificent biological designs and interrelated interdependent systems. I’ve been told that natural selection acting on random mutations has enough power to produce everything in biology. I’ve put these claims to the test several times

Well, I got a new challenge from a God-denier, who made the claim that evolution can even account for eyes. They provided a link to a “scientific” paper thinking they could bluster their way through a conversation without being skeptical. But I don’t fall to bluster so easily. Let’s analyze the claim to see if the scientists, who made the claim are asserting based on evidence or assumptions

Here’s how this works: I will post the quotes from the article in red and then just below the quote, I’ll post my analysis in the default black font preceded by a dash. I have bolded key words throughout, so the bold does not appear in the original work. Throughout, you’ll notice that instead of actual evidence, the authors of the article rely on assumptions. And those who are particularly intrepid and can work through this analysis to the end will be gifted with a unique surprise at the end

“Sight is an evolutionary gift

– Odd choice of words from a scientific journal. Notice how evolution is reified as a magnificent gift-giver. Sounds more like paganism than science

“Life probably first appeared ~3.7 billion years ago”

– Probably?!?!? Indeed

“more likely

– Aren’t we supposed to be talking about evidence rather than making assumptions?

“The opsin in rhodopsin probably evolved

Probably?!?!? Notice the use of the magic word: “evolved”. Do you care to go into the details? It seems like they missed a step in the explanation and tried to sweep the actual explanation under the “it evolved” rug. Pathetic!

“The passage of such molecules from microbial opsins to metazoan opsins probably came from a common ancestor as these are related, albeit distantly”

– Probably?!?!? Probably is used TWELVE times in the article. It sounds like a collection of assumptions rather than the actual evidence that we were told to expect

“Once an opsin (or the predecessor of the opsins) covalently bonded with retinal, perhaps in a cell with a cilium or two, the slow crawl to an eye began”

– Perhaps?!?! It’s a fine yarn, but the science-sounding veneer is wearing thin

Perhaps after 35 000 generations, an organism discovered that developing a concave cup instead of a spot produced a more successful and competitive organ for sight”

– I really thought this was going to be a peer-reviewed scientific paper, but it’s just probably after probably followed by reification fallacy. How exactly did the unguided, sightless process of evolution look ahead to discover anything? They don’t know

“As Nilsson and Pelger suggested, from an eyespot to an eyecup to a fully formed camera-style eye could take as few as 364 000 generations, and the production of such an eye in perhaps as short a period as half a million years”

– This is called hedging. Suggested. Could. Perhaps. It’s not even distantly evidence, just speculation

“If one assumes that the eye must provide spatial information to be defined as an eye, then the curvature of a cup would create the first eye, as primitive spatial information would be provided

– Notice how they just assumed that a critical component of the eye just popped into existence. It was needed, so nature provided. No explanation, just that it would be magically provided

“A cornea, lens, extraocular muscles (EOMs), and ocular adnexa were added as necessary

– In a cosmos with no design, no purpose, just blind pitiless indifference, what is necessary? How does the naturalist suddenly assume purpose and necessity? Even worse, the explanation is never given, just “it was necessary – so evolution provided” as if there’s design inevitabilities just waiting out in the ether to be added to biological organisms. It’s a ridiculous assumption by evolutionists

“Multiple such ommatidia would likely have been produced by gene duplication”

– That’s not science. It’s just an assumption wrapped in a façade of scientism

“The morphology of the compound eye would itself evolve

– Why do they continue to use the magic word: evolve, rather than explaining what happened? Maybe they don’t know so they just say “it evolved”

“Although little is known about its genetics”

– That’s actually optimistic. What exactly do you know AT ALL about its genetics?

“How this organism interprets the image it receives remains a mystery

– Indeed! Mysteries abound within this “scientific” paper

“These organelles are believed to have originated through ancient symbiosis with a red alga23 or perhaps other protists”

– Believed?!?!? Perhaps?!?!? Yawn. I was hoping to find some evidence in this scientific paper, but they keep giving me their beliefs. In addition to that, symbiosis is a paradox for evolutionists. Symbiosis is an unimaginable coincidence built on another unimaginable coincidence, but since symbiosis is observed, the evolutionist just says: “LooK wHaT nAtuRe diD!”

“convergent evolution”

This is a term that simply means: “We Darwinists don’t know how/why the same structures emerged in disparate species, but here they are, so nature must have done it twice”. It has no explanatory power…just a sciency-sounding term

“This ancient arthropod probably lived between 600 and 550 mya before the Cambrian explosion”

– Again, we’ll note that we’re dealing with assumptions and not science. The giant pink elephant in the room with which these authors fail to deal, is how did the extremely complicated eyes of the trilobite emerge via natural processes. They have no explanations just the assumption that nature was able to produce these complex eyes. Do you doubt my analysis of this sentence? Check out the very next sentence in the peer-reviewed scientific paper

“This would suggest that eyes were forming well before the Cambrian period but no record of such pre-Cambrian trilobites, or other animals with eyes, exists, at least to date”

– THERE IS NO RECORD (NO EVIDENCE) OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE EYE…just more assumptions. The key to those who claim that there’s a mountain of evidence for evolution is the hope that no one will actually read their peer-reviewed papers. They didn’t count on ApoloJedi skeptically analyzing their claims of evidence…only to expose that this “mountain” is a bottomless crater covered by assumptions

“As discussed earlier, the compound eye began, possibly in a worm-like creature, preceding the trilobites or contemporary to them”

– This sentence is further proof that anonymous internet God-denying keyboard warriors  have never read these peer-reviewed scientific papers. They Google search ‘the evolution of the eye’ and post the 1st link in the list. Little do they know that I’m not intimidated by their bluster. I’m literally taking these papers line by line and exposing the sheer blatant assumptions and complete lack of evidence. Because there is no evidence of the evolution of the compound eye of the trilobite, they have to say “the compound eye began”. It just began according to their assumption. No explanation. No evidence. It just began. When did the compound eye begin, evolutionists? “Possibly preceding trilobites or contemporary. We’re not sure” because THERE’S NO EVIDENCE

“There are at least six different models of compound eyes and it would appear that the most likely explanation is that the apposition-style eye came first and radiated into the other forms although this explanation is not completely satisfactory

– No doubt. There’s at least 6 options, but none of them are satisfactory.

“The octopus evolved later and exhibits a more derived eye that includes a lens, a horizontally oval pupil, and a highly sophisticated system of EOMs”

– Hey evolutionists, how did the compound eye of the octopus come about…the steps…the processes? “It evolved”. Ohhhhhh, that’s not a very compelling explanation for us skeptics of evolution.

“The agnathans are the closest extant relative to the first cephalochordates alive today, so we must rely upon them to help us understand the development of eyes in the early vertebrate lineage”

– Notice the assumption of common decent and since there is no evidence of a step-by-step progression from agnathans to humans, the Darwinists “MUST RELY” on these assumptions in their artwork to show the fabled evolution of the vertebrate eye. Highly suspicious

“The Devonian was an important period”

– To the accidental aggregation of stardust in an amoral purposeless blind pitiless indifferent cosmos, how do you justify what is “important”?

“Some spiders developed excellent eyesight and clever adaptations to squeeze the optics and neurologic equipment into very small spaces”

– Sounds very much like purposeful design rather than natural selection throwing together random mutations into “clever equipment” with efficiency and effectiveness.

“Shubin and his team discovered the fossil of Tiktaalik, which probably represents the transitional form from an aquatic animal to a terrestrial one”

– Probably?!?!? The contrary analysis of Tiktaalik exposes the evolutionary assumptions as impotent

“external eyelids appeared

– They just appeared! The explanation missed a step or 10,000

“Although our knowledge of dinosaurian vision is limited, we can make some assumptions based on the last common ancestor, indirectly related creatures and extant progeny including direct descendants”

– At least they admitted to making assumptions in this part, but they do fail to admit their assumptions about the ancestors and descendants of dinosaurs. There are no fossils of dinosaur ancestors. The evidence for dinosaur ancestors is completely missing

“We can conclude much of this from the avian lineage as birds are living dinosaurs”

– Not recognizing their own assumptions that birds are the direct descendent of dinosaurs, they try to make their assumptions count as direct evidence. It’s just an assumption, and their conclusions is based on the assumption – not evidence

“It is not known for certain”

– Clearly, but that doesn’t stop the authors from crafting a story filled with assumptions

“The Old World monkeys were separated from the New World monkeys and evolved a third visual pigment”

– There’s that magic “evolved” word again. No details. Just “nature-dun-it” I’ve been told that evolution simply means ‘change’. If indeed evolution just means change, can we substitute ‘changed’ in for ‘evolved’? Here’s what it would look like: “The Old World monkeys were separated from the New World monkeys and CHANGED a third visual pigment”. Maybe not. ‘Evolved’ doesn’t just mean changed. There’s way more magic built into the usage of the term

“This third visual pigment is not the same one as found in fish, reptiles, or birds, and likely represents an error in duplication of the LWL visual pigment”

Likely. More assumptions. Evolutionists assume that an accumulation of errors (mutations) produced all of life. It’s all they have to work with. But it strains the very limited of common sense to assert that you can gain function from an accumulation of brokenness

“they illustrate visual photopigment evolution in progress

– Isn’t evolution ALWAYS supposed to be in progress? I guess they have to assert this because observations of fossils show that “abrupt appearance” and “stasis” are the norm. No progress

In their conclusion (for those intrepid readers, here’s your gift from the scientists who authored their paper!):

“We know from computer models, and deductive reasoning, that eyes can evolve quickly”

No evidence? Just assumptions and intelligently designed (biased) algorithms that assert an evolution of the eye. This can’t be repeated enough: if there were evidence, they would have produced it in this article. But they didn’t. In their concluding paragraph they admit that the evolution of the eye is speculated based on a computer model. And it’s not just that they claimed eyes evolved – but that they evolved QUICKLY. The Grand Theory of Evolution has been taught that it takes lots of time to change creatures from one to another. It’s likely these authors are not familiar with the waiting time problem…although they should be.

As Christians we know that evolution cannot explain the emergence of the eye because it is contrary to what God has revealed in the Bible. But the analysis of the claims of the evolutionists has a purpose beyond just saying (from the Christian worldview) that evolution is in conflict with God’s Word, so evolution isn’t true. This purpose is to see if their claims (from their perspective) is legitimate. Do they indeed have evidence to support their claims? After reading through this article, you can see that their claims are impotent and the definitive answer is NO. There’s no need to be bullied when an evolutionist claims: “There’s a mountain of overwhelming evidence for evolution.” As I’ve done in this series of articles, I say “SHOW ME!” And when we peek behind the curtain, it’s one assumption built on another.

We can trust What God has revealed in his Word about the past, so we can trust Him about the future too

UPDATE: Even the simplest vision is far beyond the capabilities of the BLIND forces of natural selection acting on random mutations

Can Evolution Explain Empathy?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

If you’re not familiar with my series of posts, which analyze the claims of evolutionists, who claim that “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” feel free to browse the articles below

In these articles, we as Christians understand that evolution truly lacks explanatory power for anything that is in conflict with God’s eternal word, but for purposes of exposing the deficiency of the God-denier’s worldview, we have taken the claims of the evolutionists and put them to the test. Can they actually justify what they are trying to explain, or are their claims filled with assumptions and artwork? Today we’ll answer a God-denier, who feels that evolution can explain empathy.

You can read the entire article here. Let’s see what this author, Frans De Waal, thinks is indisputable proof that the evolutionary processes of natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle for survival in an environment of limited resources – can in fact produce empathy

We tend to think of empathy as a uniquely human trait. But it’s something apes and other animals demonstrate

Right off the bat, we see that the author assumes that humans have evolved from either/both modern apes or other animals. But this is contrary to common evolutionary textbooks which teach that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. The BEST this author could claim would be to say either that there is evidence that the human/ape common ancestor already possessed the trait of empathy OR that empathy is a trait produced by the ambiguous and magical term “convergent evolution”

It’s good to have definitions and the author uses this definition of empathy

The act of perspective-taking is summed up by one of the most enduring definitions of empathy that we have, formulated by Adam Smith as “changing places in fancy with the sufferer.”

We’ll go with that definition

This capacity likely evolved because it served our ancestors’ survival in two ways. First, like every mammal, we need to be sensitive to the needs of our offspring. Second, our species depends on cooperation, which means that we do better if we are surrounded by healthy, capable group mates. Taking care of them is just a matter of enlightened self-interest.

Notice the unscientific and hopeful word “likely”. If this article were actual evidence of the ability of evolution to produce empathy, the author would have said “Here we see a population of organisms that had no empathy, but in order to survive the selection pressure, its direct descendants have empathy because of these XYZ mutations”. So, no science or evidence here

Let’s test the claim about mammals needing to be sensitive to the needs of our offspring…specifically the word “need”. Evolutionary processes (natural selection acting on random mutation) do not function based on a specific direction of “need”. This is a Post Hoc fallacy for the author to see that mammals care for their young THEREFORE evolution must have produced behavior that parents are “sensitive to the needs of our offspring”. If this were a scientific explanation, the author would have said “Mutations XYZ produced in parents of population group ABC the ability to be sensitive to the needs of offspring to account for selective pressure 123.” But that’s not what the author said. This author made the unwarranted claim that “since we see empathy today in mammals, then evolution MUST HAVE done it….somehow because we NEEEEEEEEED it”

In the second half of that claim, the author says that our species depends on cooperation because of enlightened self-interest. Now, the author has not yet defined “enlightened” or what evolutionary process produced “enlightenment”. For now, we’ll put this in the bucket of magic from which evolutionists invariably pull to “explain” some part of biology for which mutations don’t really fit.

It is hard to imagine that empathy…came into existence only when our lineage split off from that of the apes. It must be far older than that. Examples of empathy in other animals would suggest a long evolutionary history to this capacity in humans.

Again, the author fails to provide evidence of his claims and again, humans have not evolved from creatures, which exist today. Do you remember the definition the author used for empathy: the ability to “change place in fancy with the sufferer”? Yet no examples of mice or hippos explaining why they gave up a meal so that bats and ospreys could eat healthier. How many camels did the author interview to show that she (the camel) could change places in fancy with a sufferer?

But perhaps the most compelling evidence for the strength of animal empathy…

The goalposts have been subtly moved from: Empathy can be explained by evolution to Empathy exists. The next three paragraphs in the article bring emotional language like (“escape, reward, threat, arousing sympathy, crying, weep, tenderly, lightly touches, emotional connectedness, striking, carefully unfolded, notion of what would be good, screaming, yelping, distress…”) Emotional language isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t fit well in a paper, which is supposed to explain the ORIGIN of empathy rather than just its existence. The next paragraph begins with a comment that needs no comment

This is not to say that all we have are anecdotes

But a comment on the insufficiency of the article in explaining evolution’s tremendous power impotence is warranted. Why would he spend 3 paragraphs on impassioned anecdotes if the evidence from clinical studies on the origin of empathy were so very compelling? But let’s see what they have to say about the actual studies

it is a demonstrable tendency that probably reflects empathy, since the objective of the consoler seems to be to alleviate the distress of the other

“Probably”? “seems to”? I suppose I was expecting more conclusive answers than “probably” from a theory that flaunts bravado like “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution”. Pretty tame

In fact, recent neuroscience research suggests that very basic processes do underlie empathy. Researchers at the University of Parma, in Italy, were the first to report that monkeys have special brain cells

Notice two things from this paragraph:

  • Humans did not evolve from monkeys. At BEST, an evolutionist could only say that humans and monkeys share a common ancestor or that convergent evolution produced the same mutation in both humans and monkeys. Strangely, evolutionists tend to like the convergent evolution fable that complicates their overwhelming math problems
  • The monkeys ALREADY had the “special brain cells. Their argument hinges on these “special brain cells” learning the ability to perform a function. No talk about how nature was able to PRODUCE these “special brain cells”. For their argument to work, they must show step by step via numerous successive slight modifications how random mutation produced these “special brain cells”. Just assuming they already exist and that “turning them on” will produce empathy in creatures that formerly did not have “special brain cells” is the post hoc fallacy

Biologists prefer such bottom-up accounts. They always assume continuity between past and present, child and adult, human and animal, even between humans and the most primitive mammals.

“prefer” ?!?!?? “always assume”?!?!? To prove evolution, evolutionists rely on their preferences and assumptions. Rather than giving us observations on the leaf nodes (humans and chimps alive today), a compelling argument for evolutionists would be to show evidence from their assumed common ancestor how empathy evolved by evolutionary mechanisms. This type of argumentation is completely lacking. Instead they give us “preferences” and “assumptions”…mixed in with some fine artwork from time to time

Empathy probably evolved in the context of the parental care that characterizes all mammals

“probably”?!?? I prefer evidence to probably. And why use the ambiguous term “evolved” rather than describing in great detail the process of the construction of genes/cells/organs that produce empathy, evolutionists sweep the details away with “it probably evolved”. When an evolutionist doesn’t know the process, they can conveniently hide it in the sciency-sounding phrase: “it evolved” or in this case “probably evolved”.

https://crev.info/2021/03/it-evolved-is-not-science/

Signaling their state through smiling and crying, human infants urge their caregiver to take action

Like many other evolutionists, the term “signaling” is just assumed to be part of nature. For them, no explanation is needed – just that signaling exists. But signaling is amazingly complex and requires at least:

  • Ability by signaler to signal
  • Need by signaler to signal
  • Medium for signaler to be able to transmit signal in a way that it can be perceived by recipient
  • Meaning in a signal (information)
  • Ability by receiver to interpret signal correctly
  • Ability by receiver to provide a survival advantage to signaler

These signals, which evolutionists just assume have remarkable parallels to information theory. Dr. Werner Gitt explains the complexity involved with sender/signaler and recipient/receiver in his book In The Beginning Was Information. It’s not just unlikely that evolution (natural selection acting on the single successive slight modifications of random mutations) could construct complex coding communication as shown below, it’s impossible

p60 In the Beginning Was Information – Gitt

During the 180 million years of mammalian evolution, females who responded to their offspring’s needs out-reproduced those who were cold and distant

How could the author possibly know the results of every single mammalian parent/offspring interaction for almost 67 billion days such that he could claim the warm ones were better than the cold ones? It’s a ridiculous claim that is both totally lacking in evidence and entirely unverifiable.

Effective cooperation requires being exquisitely in tune with the emotional states and goals of others

This is a post hoc pragmatic “argument” rather than the detailed step by step explanation of construction of genes/cells/organs that produce empathy. Again, rather than giving us evidence, the author tells us a fantastic story. Evolution does not require anything but the effective propagation of genes. Bacteria, mosquitos, mice and fish are far more measurably fit than humans but they didn’t require empathy. Pragmatism fails as an argument and evolution (survival of the fittest by natural selection) is completely at odds with empathy (preventing natural selection without a fitness gain).

The way a chimpanzee bashes in the skull of a live monkey by hitting it against a tree trunk is no advertisement for ape empathy

THAT sounds more like evolution than empathy. Darwin described nature as “red in tooth and claw”. It’s a reversal by evolutionists to say now rather than the survival of the fittest to now say that evolution produced creatures that purposefully prevent natural selection.

Lions kill cubs from other males – not empathy

The possibility that empathy is part of our primate heritage

“possibility”?!!?!? Again with the utter lack of evidence

What we need, therefore, is a vision of human nature that encompasses all of our tendencies: the good, the bad, and the ugly

More pragmatism. The author wants to “envision” an explanation, so he wishes very hard for evolution to be that explanation. Wishing it, doesn’t make it so

Emotions trump rules. This is why, when speaking of moral role models, we talk of their hearts, not their brains…Moral rules tell us when and how to apply our empathic tendencies, but the tendencies themselves have been in existence since time immemorial

“Emotions trump rules, but rules trump emotions.” Didn’t the author of the article proofread his article before publishing it? Within two paragraphs he completely contradicts himself, but within an evolutionary framework, what’s wrong with contradictions? Maybe being contradictory improves his fitness somehow.

Go back and read his last sentence…is he closing off a scientific paper that is full of overwhelming evidence or is he writing a conclusion to a fanciful epic? Sounds fanciful to me

Another analysis of the impotent claims of evolution in the books…blog. Don’t be intimidated by those who boast, “The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.” EVERY time one of these evolutionists has put up a link to an article that they think explains the theory of evolution, once analyzed, the claims fall far short of evidence

Conversely, we can trust the revelation of the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful. God revealed in the Bible that He created the plants, animals, and people to reproduce according to their kinds, so evolution’s story is incompatible.

Can Evolution Explain The Indonesian Mimicry Octopus?

In an online exchange, I asked a God-denier to provide evidence that evolution could explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. This exchange happened after after the person with the Twitter profile name, @AmputeeAtheist, called a Christian brother “stupid” for showing in an article how evolutionists have bad assumptions rather than evidence for their theory

In the link that @AmputeeAtheist provided which supposedly provided proof that evolution can explain the origins of any octopus…let alone the Indonesian Mimic Octopus, we are given several options to choose from to verify his claims.

Unbeknownst to @AmputeeAtheist, since he failed to read his own link, the second article in his list was written by Dr. Brian Thomas, who works for The Institute For Creation Research. How embarrassing for him

Embarrassing Link for God-Deniers

If you haven’t had a chance, stop now and watch the video in @Rational_faith_ ‘s article about the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. God’s design is indeed wondrous!

As I have done in my series of articles exposing evolution’s inability to explain anything, I’ll take a couple of the “scientific” articles in @AmputeeAtheist ‘s link and expose how there’s no actual evidence in them, but they are littered with assumptions and ambiguity:

Here’s the first article in the list – https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/60/11/962/329655?login=true

Most of the article is behind a paywall, but the article reveals how little these highly-trained lab coats know about the evolution of octopi.

“remarkable”
“astonishing”
“unusual”
“There is also conflicting research about whether its defense mechanisms are learned or inherited”
“The researchers had predicted…Instead, they discovered…”
“evolved”

“the traits evolved”

You’ll notice the deafening lack of details and the monumental surprise of the researchers that an octopus could have evolved

The second article in @AmputeeAtheist’s link, as was pointed out earlier, was written by a Christian, who trusts God’s revelation in scripture that animals were created rather than evolved, so there’s no need to expose the evolutionary deceit there. But you can read this magnificent article here. So, we’ll move on to the next article

This article is FULL of assumptions and ambiguity but is however lacking evidence that evolution can explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus (IMO). Let’s review what it would take to show evidence

  • DNA of direct ancestor species of IMO without mimic traits
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (X) that creates the information that builds phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (Y) that creates the information that controls (software) the phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Both mechanisms (X) and (Y) must be unguided and shown to be mechanisms that transform DNA base pairs in single, successive, slight modifications

Let’s see if this article contains any evidence like that or if it’s filled with assumptions

Before you shriek “Quote-mining!!!!”, you can read the whole article here and if you can show that instead of assumptions and ambiguity, there is actual evidence, be my guest. But on to the analysis. NOTES: Quotes from the article are in italics, and my comments of each quote are directly below:

flatfish swimming appears to have evolved concurrently with extremely long arms

Notice that the details are missing. And asserting (completely without evidence) that anything evolved concurrently is incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

the subsequent diversification of their descendents into lineages with successful conspicuous defence behaviours, remains a puzzling topic in evolutionary biology

Puzzling? Clearly!

have evolved

Details missing!

Maybe we’ll find the answer in the section titled: TOWARDS AN EVOLUTIONARY UNDERSTANDING OF A CONSPICUOUS PRIMARY DEFENCE IN T. MIMICUS

explore possible scenarios for the evolution

Possible scenarios? You mean there’s no ACTUAL evidence, just possible scenarios? That’s what I’ve been saying all along

Central to this investigation is the well-documented fact that many behaviours, including visual defences and their associated body colour patterns (e.g. Brodie III, 1989), are heritable traits

The link supposedly pointing to Brodie’s article is broken and subsequent search for the CENTRAL PILLAR TO THIS INVESTIGATION was fruitless. An article written by Brodie, on which their whole research relies, is missing in action

we assume

Obviously!

possible social mimicry…may also influence

More assumptions

evolve at the same time

Details missing!

Exaptations, by contrast, are traits that ‘are fit for their current role … but were not designed for it’

There is by definition NO DESIGN in evolution.

evolved originally either as adaptations for other uses

Details missing!

is likely to have evolved early in this lineage

Details missing! Assumptions abound!

we estimated genealogical relationships

Estimated? Estimated? I thought this was supposed to be about evidence

In the event of discrepancies between our observations and published accounts we followed our own observations

There was a fine chart (Figure 2) that presumed to show evolutionary relationships. However, they brought their own argument into question that they relied on evidence rather than subjective opinion in their admission above

appears most closely related

Ambiguity persists in that quote

may have evolved

Lots of assumptions and the details missing!

it appears that

Ambiguity persists

behavioural and morphological traits emerge concurrently

Incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

may have yielded

More ambiguity

may have evolved

Details missing!

may enable

More ambiguity

may evolve imperfect mimicry of an intermediate form

More ambiguity and where’s this intermediate form? ANOTHER missing link?

Although the lack of a conclusive flatfish model has generally been identified as a weakness in the cephalopod mimicry literature (Hanlon et al., 2008), we feel it reflects imperfect mimicry of multiple models in regions of high biodiversity

Feelings and weaknesses saturate this article

We do not know how potential unpalatability…may further contribute to predator confusion, learning, and/or future avoidance

They DO NOT KNOW…no doubt

The pattern is emerging that evolution, while presented as a theory with oVerWheLmiNg evidence, is instead supported by massive assumptions behind a venire of white lab coats

The Altruism Exchange – Part 4

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Tall Friendly Atheist Dad (TFAD) didn’t care much for my questioning of the ‘one true religion of Darwinism’. Last year, I wrote a post asking the question “Can Evolution Explain Altruism?” and after exposing the claims of those, who answered affirmatively, as impotent – TFAD put quite a bit of time and effort into a 4 part rebuttal. I answered his first 2 submissions in Part 1 and Part 2 of my replies, and for the most part TFAD wasted his “shots” on nit picking and majoring on the minors. In his third objection, TFAD did address the substance of my arguments, but my rebuttal of his objections showed that my original contention is escaped his objections without damage. Let’s see if his final objection can make him a champion for Darwin by slaying anyone, who would dare question the narrative or if his best quality is his friendliness.

Right from the start TFAD attacks the argument messenger

TFAD: “…you’re trying to counter scientific ignorance writ-large in the form of Fundamental Evangelicalism combined with Presuppositional Apologetics…After much consternation, I’ve decided to release the 4th and final part, but with most of the links removed. Not that Creationists care much for them”

So, TFAD postures his stance in his final response with the assertion that his opponent is “scientifically ignorant” and never checks sources. TFAD quickly forgets that checking sources is what started this discussion. Way back in the original post TFAD posted the link that would birth this discussion shown in the picture below (TFAD comments in red)

He’s not off to a good start, since while some creationists or presuppositionalists that he’s encountered in the past might have ignored a link or been ignorant of the teachings of evolution, The ApoloJedi guild is not so easily dismissed. TFAD now moves to object to the use of presuppositional apologetics and defines it as special pleading

TFAD: “they need this out BECAUSE the evidence from philosophy, morality and especially the natural sciences all defeat the case for God’s existence and his superior qualities when considered strictly on their merits”

This is tone deaf bluster as each of these categories is the “home field” of the Christian. In matters of philosophy, only Christianity can justify logic, reasoning, and knowledge. In fact, I recently asked the question of the naturalist “Can Evolution Explain Reason?” and similarly showed naturalism to be devoid of explanatory power. His bluster gets insanely absurd when he claims that evidence for morality defeats the case for God’s existence. The most famous of God-deniers, Richard Dawkins, proclaims of atheism

RD: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

Any morality that a God-denier might propose is subjective, self-defeating, and irrational as shown

His final claim that the evidence from the natural sciences is one that we can debate only because Christianity is true as was shown earlier in the link regarding logic, reasoning, and knowledge. Should an atheist want to discuss evidence, they would need to demonstrate that their worldview can consistently and sufficiently provide a foundation for the very things on which evidence relies (logic, induction, truth, and morality), and because of their epistemic assumptions, none can possibly be forthcoming.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi has only used a social definition of altruism, ‘good done for no thought of reward’, not an academic one. If ApoloJedi is trying to convince like-minded believers of his position, mission accomplished, but has he done enough to convince rational skeptics like me? No.”

OK. Can we observe behaviors in creatures today that one would define as the social definition of altruism? YES! Those observations are seen without question. I asked the question whether evolution can explain those behaviors, and it cannot. TFAD wanting to protect his strongly held faith commitment to the religion of survival of the fittest would rather redefine altruism to mean something that involves a reward, so that the dogma of ‘natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle to produce the most fit offspring’ might have a minute chance of partial explanation. But it’s just like when the staunch evolutionists vainly and incorrectly claimed to have defeated Behe’s mousetrap analogy by saying “But HERE’S a different mousetrap that doesn’t look like your analogy”, TFAD says “But HERE’S a different kind of rewarding altruism (not true altruism) that isn’t defeated by your scandalous questions.”

In a response to my quote that reads “it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters”, TFAD has this to say with incredulity

TFAD: “In all matters, especially scientific? But why? Why would anyone hold as a scientific authority a person who – despite being the one who created the universe (Colossians 1:16) – didn’t know or care to teach about bacteria or atoms or DNA? What was Jesus’ knowledge about electricity or vaccines or neurochemistry?”

Yes. All matters. Hold on for some scriptural support of my original claim and then some comments

  • 2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
  • Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me
  • Eph 1:20-21 when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come

From Abraham Kuyper “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” So, Yes TFAD, Jesus is authoritative over scientific matters, electricity, vaccines and neurochemistry. And while Jesus has an eternal dominion over these fields of science, the things you currently believe about science will be mocked as archaic by natural philosophers a few hundred years into the future. Your own epistemology of provisionalism gives you no certainty that your temporal faith commitments are anything other than your opinion.

In critiquing this line in my post: “and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality” TFAD had this to say:

TFAD: “This is a common line from Pre-Suppositionalists that I believe actually betrays why they’re reluctant to apply the same standard to God as what they happily do every day to everybody and everything else. It’s funny – Pre-Suppositionalists, and even most Protestant Evangelicals, will happily sit in judgement over other people’s behaviour, over the morality other religions, the existence of their associated deities, and over the morality and judgement of certain presidential candidates and their families – yet when it comes to their deity, suddenly being in the judge’s seat is wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Either judge nothing on its merits, or judge everything on its merits”

Unknowingly TFAD has stepped beyond the perceived safety of the modern academic paradigm, and has jumped into the presupp-infested waters of metaphysics. STANDARDS. Oh yes, God has his standard of righteousness on which everyone will be judged. Those, who are in a right relationship with Jesus by grace through faith will not be punished for their wickedness, but those who are dead in their trespasses will face righteous judgment from the Eternal Judge. Regarding his lament that God sits in the judgment seat but denies that seat to the God-denier as special pleading – it’s only special pleading if God is not the eternal Judge. In the same way that it’s not special pleading for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to sit in his judges chair and pass judgments (along with the other SCOTUS judges) and deny Neil Young a place at the judge’s seat. Because Neil Young is a has-been musician not a judge. It’s idolatry for the creation (mankind) to think of itself as the Creator or in any way worthy to be sitting in the holy judgment seat. If you want to “judge everything on its merits”, what is your merit (standard)? When the standard is God’s Holy Word, the God-denier will quickly withdraw his desire to be judged on that merit

TFAD: “Now, let’s ask the question: from the Bible’s perspective, how accurate does God perceive reality? Badly is the answer. For example, Genesis 1:6 describes a firmament, a crystalline dome that divides the sky from outer space and has windows to let the rain in (Genesis 7:11) and covers the earth. And let’s be clear: the Hebrew word for firmament, “raqiya”, means a solid dome, not simply the atmosphere”

While I could remind TFAD that his own epistemology is provisional, and he himself does not and cannot truly perceive reality with perfect accuracy, we’ll analyze his misunderstanding of the biblical text that he notes. He claims that God believes that the firmament or expanse from Genesis 1 is a crystalline solid dome. Not unsurprisingly TFAD did not quote Genesis 1:20 that says the birds fly in the expanse, so it could not be solid.

TFAD: “Genesis also describes the moon as a “lesser light” in contrast to the sun being the “greater light”. The problem? The moon has no capacity to generate light”

Looks like TFAD has revived his classic picking-at-nits argument. God clearly defined his purpose for the moon and as a reflector, it functions quite well. But if the moon were a fusion reactor like Solar, the earth would be completely sterile from a star so close. What else might happen is a tiny star were so close to Earth? When the fusion materials were depleted, it would go supernova, and that would end poorly for the biological creatures God had designed for his glory. TFAD although wanting to be the Judge and the Creator didn’t think that one through very well.

TFAD: “But let’s continue to evaluate God’s perception of the reality he supposedly created. Isaiah 11:12 refers to the four quarters of the earth, which is a reflection of a classic belief that the earth was a circular disk, not a globe. Job 38:19 asks “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?”. Light doesn’t live anywhere – light is an electromagnetic wave in certain bands of wavelengths, and darkness is not a thing, it’s merely the absence of light.”

This is a common tactic from God-deniers – force wooden literalism onto poetic passages. We’ll chalk this up as continued nit-picking as these lazy objections have been addressed even before Al Gore invented the internet

TFAD: “And the Bible is without any description of our local solar system. God, not once, mentions any other planets”

That’s like saying, “My toothbrush, although it can float, cannot launch F-18 Hornets into the sky therefore the inventor of toothbrushes is an idiot!” God’s purpose in the Bible is to teach us how to be in a right relationship with Him. He left many things for people to discover for His glory, so it is absurd to declare that God does not have a correct perception of reality because He didn’t catalogue all knowledge.

To my valid claim that “God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty” TFAD responded:

TFAD: “Only if we are willing to cede our intellect (as well as our humanity) to a book written by men who wondered where the sun went at night.”

It’s likely that many of you have heard this little jab that the authors of the Bible (kings, doctors, philosophers, warriors, judges, lawyers) were dimwits. Secondly, as has been pointed out many times, “intellect” is only possible because Christianity is true. Were humans simply the accidental aggregation of stardust, intellect would not be possible, knowable, or trustworthy

TFAD: “Does God command altrusim (sp) ? Only when he’s not commanding genocide (1 Samuel 15), endorsing slavery (Exodus 21), literally de-valuing women (Leviticus 27), having his people kidnap little girls after their parents and brothers have been murdered (Numbers 31), and much, much more.”

God-deniers seem not to comprehend the difference between judgment and genocide as they irrationally judge God without warrant. To the God-denier, what’s wrong with disintegrating aggregations of particles in an amoral cosmos? They have no consistent/justified moral foundation on which to stand. Slavery? Again, to the God-denier, why is slavery wrong? On what basis do you declare ANYTHING that God commands as immoral? The best they can say is that they don’t personally like it at this time since they have no absolute standard by which to judge others. Would it be too much to duplicate the meme of the boyfriend looker from above to highlight the inherent problems of those, who outwardly deny God, recognize the need for moral absolutes? Why not – as it’s my new favorite meme

Now we get into the part of TFAD’s objection where he exposes his ignorance of the concept of an “internal critique”. An internal critique is taking on the perspective of your interlocutor and showing how (within his own viewpoint) his perspective leads to a contraction, an absurdity, and/or inconsistency. An external critique, which is far less persuasive in terms of argumentation, is showing an interlocutor why they are wrong according to one’s own view.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi isn’t saying the theory of evolution is unscientific because he has conferred with those with professional qualifications and done a comparative study of numerous genomes to come up with a competing data set that has withstood scientific scrutiny to the point that it attracts academic attention. No. He is saying evolution is false because it is discordant with his theology”

He said this in response to my brief explanation that evolution is incorrect according to the truth that God revealed in both the Bible and in nature from the Christian perspective (external critique). But I immediately continued with the summation of the blog post which showed from the internal critique (analyzing the teachings/writings of evolutionists in their failed attempt to explain altruism via evolution) that the theory of evolution is impotent in accounting for anything altruism. This was a very brief recognition that evolution is not just wrong from my own perspective, but also from theirs

TFAD: “The article didn’t enter the worldview of the God-denier, for the simple reason that ApoloJedi’s article was a theological hatchet job, and evolution is a science issue – not a theological one. Christians such as Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky and Pope Francis see no threat to their faith when looking at the theory of evolution, so why does ApoloJedi?”

If I had not been doing an internal critique, I would have filled my blog post with links to ICR.org, Creation.com, and AnswersInGenesis.org (because they are awesome websites). But that would have been an external critique of evolutionism. But I didn’t. I asked evolutionists to account for their claims, and they could not. Regarding Francis and Francis: I do not share the same faith (also named the same and share some elements) as Francis Collins and Pope Francis, so the critique was warranted

At the end of his blog, TFAD falls right back into the very same thinking that my original post exposed as impotent. I showed that the only way that “altruism” can possibly be explained by evolution is by redefining altruism to mean something that it does not mean

TFAD: “cooperative tendencies…natural selection and social selection have worked and do work against individuals who do not help and share with others…reciprocal altruism, ‘strong reciprocity’…Kin‐based altruism benefits biological relatives”

As though he had not read the original post that showed these terms clearly as redefining the word – altruism, TFAD tries to throw “strong reciprocity” at the evolutionary paradox again thinking maybe no one would notice this time.

Hopefully, this discussion will help those, who feel like they must bow obediently to whatever those in white lab coats tell you to believe without any critical thinking. Because, with some skeptical analysis, we can see that bias drives a lot of research and just because evolution is popular doesn’t mean it’s true.

The Altruism Exchange – Part 3

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In part 1 and part 2 of the rebuttal to the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad’s objections to my original article: “Can Evolution Explain Altruism” we saw that he objected from the margins and never really addressed the meat of the article. He has shown himself to be verbose and persistent…and friendly. Let’s see if Part 3 of his objection will produce some positive criticism. As before, the tall friendly one will be referred to as TFAD, TFAD’s comments will be in red.

My original post included the line “So, scientists have recognized that it is counter-intuitive to assume that altruism fits within the evolutionary explanations”. And it’s not just scientists. There’s an inherent understanding that a mechanism (evolution) that’s taught as “survival of the fittest”, “red in tooth and claw”, and “culls the weak” has basic problems also explaining sacrificial giving to help the weak survive, empathy, and protecting the weak (even of other species) at the expense of one’s own reproductive success. But TFAD declares:

“This is wrong, as well as completely missing the point. No expert on the subject says that altruism is on the whole incompatible with evolution as a mechanism for human development or advancement. Nay, a cursory Google Scholar search for “evolutionary origins human altruism” brings up over 80’000 results which actually tie human altruism to evolution”

There are so many things with TFAD’s objection to dissect. Best start at the top:

  • For him to declare someone to be wrong, he would have to have absolute knowledge, but an epistemology which assumes naturalism has no such foundation for the preconditions of intelligibility. This is not just me lazily saying “I’m right and you’re wrong!” He has recognized the deficiency in his own worldview
  • AND, I am NOT wrong. People that TFAD would recognize as experts (no creationist links below) DO recognize the inherent contradiction of the mechanisms of evolution with altruism. While researchers think they may have answers, the point remains – Altruism is in conflict with evolutionary thought.
  • “No expert” – While TFAD did not specifically define expert, it would not take long to infer what he means by expert. Are experts only those who have PhDs? What about PhDs who are Christians? What about PhDs who have different ideological assumptions than you? What about PhDs who are employed by companies that you consider biased? If a person does not have a PhD can they object or point out inconsistencies in a claim/idea? Since TFAD does not have a PhD (or recognized expertise beyond height/friendliness) why is his objection to my exposure of evolutionary deficiency worth considering? This is not to say that education is bad or that there are not people who are highly trained in specific fields. There are. And I am questioning the assumptions, processes, and conclusions of some of those experts because their reasoning (as I have shown) is questionable. People mustn’t be silenced because they do not have fancy letters after their name. No one would consider me an expert in biology, which exposes the inadequacy of the explanations of evolutionists for altruism, since a non-expert (me) has easily shown the flaws in their thinking
  • TFAD found more than 80,000 results when searching for “evolutionary origins human altruism”, and he interpreted this as “See, evolution explains altruism”. This is what is called prejudicial conjecture. Rather than reading the 80,000 results or even a few of them, he just assumed (with his bias) that all of them are the answer. If we were to use the methodology of TFAD to try to answer the question “Is inflation good for the economy?” Google returns about 269,000,000 results. And following his progression of thought, I could claim “no, it is not! See, there are 269,000,000 articles telling me why.” I’m sure you all see the flaw TFAD’s argument, and it hath a name: prejudicial conjecture.

TFAD proceeds next down the well-worn “rabbit trail” of criticizing presuppositional apologetics again for a few paragraphs. It’s not really part of the discussion, but it gives TFAD warm fuzzies to be critical of philosophies with which he disagrees. But back to the real substance of the ongoing debate

I wrote “Essentially, he told me that science DOES have answers, and I’m ignorant of those answers because I’ve never read them” and TFAD countered:

“Not quite. I never said he was ignorant of the answers because he’s never read them. What I will say is that lousy epistomology (sp) utilising intellectually treasonous theology prevents people with theological blinders on from accepting the fact they could ever be wrong about something, particularly when that something challenges their deeply-held religious convictions. So ApoloJedi is not ignorant because he hasn’t read the answers – he’s ignorant (to use his word) because his chain of logic prevents him from ever being corrected on any topic he sees as contradictory to his theology.”

TFAD again has fallen into the trap of misunderstanding the entire purpose of the original blog post. I used the definitions of the evolutionists. I used the papers and books of the evolutionists. I used the links and assumptions of the evolutionists…all as an internal critique of their explanations of things (altruism) clearly seen. What remains unseen are their assumptions that natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle for survival can produce behavior that is sacrificial to the reproductive fitness of the giver. TFAD says that I am opposed to “ever being corrected on any topic he sees as contradictory to his theology”. Should TFAD desire to take this path of argumentation, he needs to establish an epistemology with transcendent justification whereby his philosophical foundation is sufficient to correct others. As already shown and as he has already admitted, his philosophical foundation is unable to do so. Even if he does not want to go so deep as to engage in metaphysical foundations (as he really hates presuppositional apologetics), he could at the very least demonstrate (from his own perspective) the necessary evidence that evolutionary mechanisms can produce altruistic behavior in creatures where their direct ancestor did not behave altruistically. This glaring deficiency is what precipitated the original blog post in the 1st place, and TFAD would rather distract and pick at nits than demonstrate actual evidence that would put the whole issue to bed.

Fehr/Fischbacher

When, in my original post, I said “They (Fehr/Fischbacher) clearly recognize the counter-intuitive nature of the claim that evolution can sufficiently account for altruism”, TFAD almost shouted:

“No they don’t! ApoloJedi can quote an abstract, but not read it properly – it said “current gene-based theories” cannot explain, but it did not say evolution on the whole can’t account for it…All they said was that according to current gene-only evolutionary models, no theory sufficiently explains human altruism – hence why they believe the need for a co-evolutionary model that incorporates both genes and culture”

Gene-based theory IS the theory of evolution. Remember bullet points 2, 3, and 4 from the original post

There was nothing about culture, which TFAD now suddenly adds to the mix. TFAD never defines culture, but we can infer that he’s jumped down the Lamarkian rabbit hole of thinking that acquired characteristics can be passed on genetically. Lamarkism, the idea that a weightlifter will produce offspring with higher percentages of muscle or someone who pierces their ears will have offspring with pierced ears, is now generally dismissed, but there are rare exceptions. The theory of evolution is taught that beneficial heritable genetic traits persist while natural selection “weeds out” phenotypes that are unfit.

Moving on -> Many of you are familiar with the term “gaslighting“. TFAD attempts to gaslight the audience by questioning the reader’s understanding of reality. In the original post, I pointed out the redefinition of altruism made by Fehr/Fischbacher when in their definition of a new mysterious force they have defined as “Strong Reciprocity”, they talk about being rewarded for altruistic behavior “Reward? If there is a reward, it’s not altruism. Right from the beginning, they change the definition of altruism from something that is unselfish to appeal to the inherent selfishness”. But TFAD gaslights the reader by saying

“At no point do either of these definitons (sp) nor the SEP definition consider altruism as “doing something beneficial for no thought of reward””

When the very definition of altruism IS “Behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species”. When Fehr/Fischbacher introduce “reward”, they are not longer talking about altruism. But TFAD continues to say that selfish rewards and expecting “fair outcomes” are part of altruism, when we know in reality that altruism has nothing to do with selfishness or expecting fair outcomes. TFAD again tries to distract when he says

“I really don’t care about Merrian-Webster’s definition – I’d much rather use Stanford’s version because it is more academcially (sp) rigorous”

This reminds me of the objection from evolutionists that they have successfully refuted Michael Behe’s example of irreducible complexity in the standard mousetrap. In an analogy, Behe described the necessary components of the standard mousetrap (Model SM) as needing a base, spring, hammer, catch, and trigger all arranged in a very specific ingenious way that these pieces interact to kill mice. The analogy is that a blind/purposeless/atomic process (evolution) cannot produce the standard mousetrap (SM) that we see today, because it requires multiple interacting parts to be assembled in place with all proper tolerances, dimensions, materials, and initial conditions lest it not be preserved for lack of functionality. The evolutionists have said that there are mousetraps (not model SM, but model FF) that do not require the 5 interacting pieces. But that’s not Behe’s claim. Evolutionists have to account for what is seen, which is Model SM. Sure an intelligent objector can theorize Model FF that is designed to catch mice a different way, but Model SM (which is analogously seen today in complex interacting biological systems) is irreducibly complex. So, what TFAD has subtly done is propose a different definition of altruism (like Model FF) in an attempt to distract from evolution’s inability to explain real altruism (Model SM). And just like the evolutionist’s failed attempt to explain away irreducible complexity, TFAD’s attempt similarly fails.

In a last ditch effort to object to my questioning of evolution’s claimed abilities, TFAD distances himself from the very sources that he recommended. He posted a link from Google Scholar that he recommended I should analyze before questioning whether evolution could explain altruism, and Fehr/Fischbacher were 1st in the list.

“And you know why? Because Fehr & Fischbacher are economists with specialisations in human behaviour – not geneticists.”

Now that I’ve pressed back on his claims that evolution can explain altruism, it’s likely that he would not call Fehr/Fischbacher “experts” since they are just economists, even though he recommended them in the 1st place

While TFAD has been less than complimentary about creationist’s understanding of the theory of evolution, we now have to point out the TFAD does not understand the finer points of evolution

“Convergent evolution ain’t no mere assertion – it’s a demonstrable fact. Let’s think about it – if two separate primate species have overlapping characteristics and genetics, where do you think it’s pointing to?”

I had pointed out that the best that modern experiments can do when comparing common traits between widely disparate species would be to speculate that that it was the result of convergent evolution. Now convergent evolution is the description of the observation that two (or more) species that are not evolutionarily closely related have similar structures. An example would be wings. Birds, insects and bats have wings, but they are not closely related according to evolutionists, so evolutionists describe this marvel as convergent evolution. So, when TFAD says it’s demonstrable fact, it’s true that evolutionists have named an inexplicable observation as convergent evolution, but it doesn’t EXPLAIN anything. They could just have easily called it sorcery because those 2 terms have the same level of explanatory power – ZERO. TFAD thinks convergent evolution means “overlapping characteristics”, but as shown, it’s not overlapping traits from evolutionarily closely-related species. And it’s not a mechanism or a process. It’s just the assigned label of a mystery that’s devoid of explanation

Dawkins

Next TFAD takes aim at my analysis of Richard Dawkin’s book, The Selfish Gene. TFAD states:

“I’m curious as to why ApoloJedi chose The Selfish Gene instead of something like much more recent”

The Selfish Gene by RD is, according to the Royal Society, the most influential science book of all time. It has 4 editions, it’s written by the most well-known living evolutionist, and it’s sold over one million copies. The Guardian ranks it as the 10th best non-fiction book of all time. Why would I NOT choose to use one of the most popular science books written by one of the most popular science writers of all time in my article? If I had not, TFAD would have questioned why I DIDN’T use this popular and influential book. As noted in Part 1 of the Altruism Exchange, TFAD will have no end to the number of resources and books that I could have used. “Why not this one? Why not that one? Why not THOSE or THESE?!?!?” Ad infinitum

“Go tell Richard Dawkins that. He’ll be pleased a Creationist has been reading his books. But Dawkins is an expert in biology, not human psychology.”

Again with the “you’re not an expert” accusation. If nothing else, TFAD has shown that he’s the expert on who is NOT an expert. Well, maybe TFAD should go tell Richard Dawkins that despite all of the hours spent researching, writing, and publishing a book that attempts (and fails) to elucidate evolution’s ability to account for evolution, that he’s not an expert. Dawkins’ own words from the opening of his book tell us that he intended to write an account that explains clear examples of altruism via evolutionary mechanisms

Openstax Biology 2e

In his objection to the portion of my post that cited Openstax (the College Biology book), TFAD missed the whole point. In their chapter titled “Altruistic Behavior”, they gave examples and definitions of strong reciprocity and (like me) criticized the notion of a selfish gene being able to explain altruism. With the end of their examples, they proclaimed “Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition (of altruism).” So they spent all that time trying to compose examples of why altruism is explained by evolution and then admitted, “but those aren’t TRULY altruistic”. And I agree. They were unable to give an accounting of observed altruism via evolutionary mechanisms. TFAD focuses instead on pulling the reader back to his preferred definition of altruism and opining that evolution is true.

TFAD: “Heritable traits that enhance one’s odds of survival – that sounds a heckuva lot like evolution to me”

Yes – heritable traits. But TFAD said that just after he quoted Openstax as saying “These instinctual behaviors may then be applied, in special circumstances, to other species, as long as it doesn’t lower the animal’s fitness.” But remember the definition of altruism? “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.” Astute readers will again see the raw contradiction…as I have been contending all along.

In the original article I said “In their first paragraph they invoke a sciency-sounding phrase, kin selection, as if merely naming an observation actually explains it…Kin selection like convergent evolution like strong reciprocity are terms that hide the explanation under the guise of science. People hear “kin selection” and assume, “well, it’s got a fancy name, so someone must have demonstrated that evolution is the only explanation for it.”” TFAD replies

“Got bad news for you, good sir – kin selection is an observed and documented scientific fact…Kin selection, strong reciprocity and convergent evolution are ALL documented phenomena in the scientific literature. Ignore it at your intellectual peril”

I never said kin selection wasn’t observed. I said kin selection doesn’t EXPLAIN altruism…or anything else. Like convergent evolution, kin selection is simply a label. It’s not an explanation. TFAD thinks that because the WhiteLabCoats have placed a label on something, that it has explanatory power, but AS I SAID in the original post, the label gives it no explanatory power.

TFAD put a lot of effort into his objections, and I appreciate the sharpening of thought and communication. But as shown, his objections never quite hit the core of the argument. His strong faith commitment to the theory of evolution prevented him from seeing the contradictions based on my internal critique of evolutionism, and his bias left my original contention completely intact that the theory of evolution cannot explain altruism.

The Altruism Exchange – Part 2

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Last week, in Part 1 we looked at the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad’s (TFAD) 1st response to my blog post of whether evolution can explain altruism or not. If you’ve not had a chance, I encourage you to read the original blog post in question, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? It defines evolution, altruism, and then analyzes the arguments of 3 evolutionary authorities, who claim to have explained why they think that the theory of evolution can indeed account for altruism. I’ll continue the pattern of referring to the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad as TFAD and his nitpicking as *NP* when he doesn’t actually address the arguments I’ve presented but just wants to be argumentative

Let’s see if Part 2 of TFAD’s objections have more teeth than Part 1. TFAD did not really appreciate the definition of evolution from the college biology textbook, Biology 2e, from OpenStax because he says

TFAD: “What piqued my interest here was that when I studied up on evolution, no-one ever mentioned anything to me about competition for limited resources”

To be clear, I never claimed to be analyzing what TFAD might or might not have been taught about evolution. It’s not my problem that he’s unfamiliar with the material, but I’m being very open as to what I am analyzing, and it’s NOT TFAD’s (lack of) understanding of evolution

But he’s focusing on the wrong details here. I’m clarifying the definition of the theory of evolution, not to disagree with those who teach it but to expose the inherent contradiction of saying that this theory can account for altruism. TFAD has fears that maybe I’m trying to sneak in some creationism when he says “or that you’re listening to the wrong people on the topic (evolution)”. Rather than critiquing what I wrote, he’s critiquing creationism in general, of which there is none in this article to critique. In American baseball terms, that’s a swing and a miss for TFAD.

TFAD did not approve of the amount of quoting that I did from the college textbook, because he opines:

TFAD: “I would have preferred if ApoloJedi quoted the whole text, including the first principle of natural selection, because to me, if you’re going to discuss a scientific principle – especially critically – you need to make sure you portray an accurate a picture as reasonable of what it is you’re criticising, including any representations from the source text.”

It might have been a fair objection, but those who read the original post see that I outlined the mechanism that TFAD thought I was missing (random mutations) several times. From my original post

For evolution to have explanatory power, there must be uncountable sequential individual heritable changes that are preserved solely by natural selection. Now Darwin had no idea about DNA or the unimaginable complexity of genetic code that is stored on DNA, but scientists after Darwin discovered the code of DNA which serves as the source of inheritance, the mutation of which supposedly provides for novel traits.

The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations

I even highlighted the pertinent text in bold IN THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE. But we know he didn’t miss it, because he literally critiqued this paragraph in part 1 of his objections. So I can’t mark down this objections to nit picking as he ignored his previous objections and ignored the actual text that was included. It’s less than nit picking – it’s misleading

In my original post, I take 7 bullet points to summarize what is being taught as the grand theory of evolution when I write “Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes.”

TFAD again tries to distract from the original effort by simply being argumentative for argument’s sake when he tries to critique point 1 in my summary of evolution that “Evolution is unguided”:

TFAD: “However, without a higher purpose is a more suitable term than unguided

Again, this is a distinction without a difference – *NP*

TFAD: “However, if you wish to accept the Theistic Evolution hypothesis”

No, I have been very clear what I am critiquing. While I disagree with the theistic evolution hypothesis, I never claimed to be incorporating or critiquing any such rubbish. Why even bring it up? TFAD is again distracting from the target argument. Stay on target!

In point 2 of my summary I said “Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes.” And TFAD waxes eloquent in the next 6 paragraphs that I described the theory of evolution correctly

TFAD: “But we can, and have, demonstrated the overall sequence of gradual processes acting upon heritable changes…fossil record…phylogenetics…So yes, not only can evolution be verified by uncountable, sequential, individual and heritable changes – evolution HAS been verified by analysing the uncountable, sequential, individual heritable changes”

Yes, this is what evolutionists teach. What we will NOT see from the 3 sources that I critique in the original post is a “sequence of gradual processes acting upon heritable changes…fossil record…phylogenetics” that produces altruism, where before it did not exist. What I showed in my exposure of the sources is that they DID NOT reference the fossil record or phylogenetics to support their case that evolution can explain altruism. So, while TFAD blindly believes the theory of evolution to be true because of his great faith in the powers of nature and the sermons of the white lab coats, when skeptically analyzed, his faith and those of his fellow God-deniers is unwarranted

Again from my summary of evolution, “The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations“, TFAD has a critique:

TFAD: “Firstly, while there is an element of randomness to evolution, but it is more of a feedback loop rather than something like lottery balls or coin tosses”

Random mutations are not feedback loops or lottery balls or coin tosses. Random mutations as have been shown by research are truly random, and trying to define them as feedback loops tries to dilute the enormous problem of constructing complex irreducible systems 1 step at a time with no foresight or purpose. My statement is a SUMMARY of what evolutionists teach. The neo-darwinian synthesis embraces the notion that evolution’s mechanisms are natural selection acting on random mutations. This is not disputed. TFAD is nitpicking *NP*

TFAD: “Secondly, it could be argued that natural selection doesn’t drive the changes.”

“Drive” is his word…not mine. Nobody (except TFAD) disagrees that the neo-darwinian synthesis is a combination of natural selection acting on random mutations. Again, TFAD mistakes this bullet point summary for a graduate level course on natural selection. More *NP*

TFAD: “Thirdly, those ‘random mutations’ could be one of a handful of observed mechanisms for genetic variation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, polyploidy, genomic duplication, frameshift mutations, endogenous retroviruses and more.”

All of these supplemental mechanisms rely originally upon random mutations to have constructed genetic code for there to have even been something to polymorphize, insert, delete, duplicate or frameshift. So, while these minor mechanisms have been observed, they have not been observed to create any new information. But again, this is not the focus of the analysis. While I do understand the lure for TFAD to attack my perceived lack of knowledge, he again fails to stay on target with his response.

Another bullet-point from my summary of evolution was “Genetics determines traits, behaviors, and reproduction”

In response TFAD had this to say: “But again, it’s not the whole story…So the most reasonable way of putting it is to say that genetics has an INFLUENCE on traits”

Again, this is the very definition of nit-picking. He says it’s not the whole story, but a summary is not expected to be the whole story. Might TFAD be more assuaged had I said “primary influence” rather than determines? How large a change is it to say primary influence rather than determines? Maybe a nit and a half? *NP*

In summary point 5, I said “Organisms that are the most fit (greatest fitness) in their environment persist to pass their genes to subsequent generations”. TFAD inadvertently confirmed that he too believes my original skepticism of a theory of fitness being able to explain altruism

TFAD: “You don’t have to be the most fit – you just need to be somewhat fit to the point that the environment doesn’t actively work against your existence…So it’s not the case that you need to be so strong that you’re selected for – you just need to not be so weak as to be selected against”

Oooops. Altruism is by definition “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.” Yet Christians have been building hospitals and caring for those, who would otherwise be selected against for millennia. Many people build kennels and nature centers and nature preserves…not because they consistently believe in evolution’s culling of the weak but because they know there is beauty in caring for the weak as God has done for us

In point 6 of my summary TFAD proclaims that I am correct in my definition of fitness, so we’ll move on to his critique of bullet point 7, in which I said “Evolution’s sole drive is to reproduce genetic material in a competition for limited resources”. This is a KEY point in the question of whether evolution can explain altruism. Astute readers will see the incompatibility between forces that are driven by the need to reproduce and a behavior (altruism) that has zero or negative benefits in helping one to reproduce. In his critique, TFAD declares

“Half-right. Evolution’s driving factor is reproduction and survival, but there doesn’t need to be competition for limited resources for evolution to work. Evolution also works when plenty of resources are available as well.”

We’ll chalk this up to more nit-picking because he’s majoring on the minors again. TFAD admitted to the key element of the summary (reproduction), but based on his own personal definition of evolution, he had to jab that he feels the creationist doesn’t understand (resources). As in Part 1 of the rebuttal, I’ll remind everyone again that I’m not using TFAD’s personal definition of evolution, as I have been very clear about which definition I am using (the one from a University-level text book) to write the blog post

The remainder of TFAD’s Part 2 response consists of his dislike of my use of the terms evolutionist and evolutionism. Being aware of the dominant paradigm and nearly complete immersion by academic elites into the cult of Darwinism is good for readers to have knowledge. However, I’m content to let him have his say on those items without rebuttal since, while they are related to the discussion, they are not critically necessary to determine whether or not the theory of evolution can explain altruism…which we have all seen that it cannot

You can look forward to my rebuttal of Part 3 of TFAD’s objections soon.