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An Atheist Reads I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist: Chapter 5 
Thursday, April 11th, 2013 | 08:24 am [i don't have enough faith, video, vlog]
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An Atheist Reads I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
Chapter 5: The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?

  • In this chapter, Geisler and Turek continue to present the argument from design, focusing this time not on the universe, but on life. And they begin, as is their wont, with an anecdote.

Take Out the Garbage — Mom

  • Geisler and Turek share the touching story of Johnny, a 16-year-old who came down for breakfast to find the words “Take Out the Garbage — Mom” spelled out in letters from his Alpha-Bits cereal. Later, Johnny goes to the beach and finds Mary, the girl he likes, walking hand-in-hand with another boy, Scott. He finds a heart drawn in the sand, with the words “Mary loves Scott” traced inside. Because he has recently been taught about evolution in biology class, Johnny refuses to accept the obvious conclusions: that his mother wants him to take out the garbage, and that Mary will very shortly be having awesome, illicit teenage sex with Scott (I added that bit), instead telling himself that these messages were the results of natural processes.

  • Later, Johnny sees the message “Drink Coke” written in the clouds, and decides that this message must have been the work of a skywriter, not a natural formation, because he really wants a Coke. Confirmation bias!

    • I know what some of you are thinking — it’s a bogus analogy, comparing obviously written messages to the evolution of life. Hang on. I’m getting there.

Simple Life? There’s No Such Thing!

  • So we get the point Geisler and Turek are trying to make: it takes nothing short of willful ignorance to insist that messages like “Take out the garbage” or “Mary loves Scott” are the results of natural processes rather than human intelligence.

  • “Yet these conclusions are perfectly consistent with principles taught in most high school and college biology classes today. That’s where naturalistic biologists dogmatically assert that messages far more complicated are the mindless products of natural laws.” (Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST, p. 114)

    • For that to be true, there would have to be a lot of truly incompetent biology teachers, because the conclusions Geisler and Turek have Johnny coming to are not consistent at all with a proper understanding of biological evolution. But we’ll get much more into that as we move further into the chapter.

    • Also: biologists don’t assert evolutionary principles dogmatically. Evolutionary theory is based on evidence and observation. It was not just invented one day by Charles Darwin or anyone else. It’s an attempt to explain a natural phenomenon, and we have every reason to believe it’s a very, very good explanation.

  • Geisler and Turek insist that even the simplest forms of life are far too complex to have arisen without help from an intelligent designer.

  • “To show you what we mean, let’s consider so-called ‘simple’ life – a one-celled animal known as an amoeba. Naturalistic evolutionists claim that this one-celled amoeba (or something like it) came together by spontaneous generation (i.e., without intelligent intervention) . . . According to their theory, all biological life has evolved from that first amoeba without any intelligent guidance at all.” (p. 115)

    • Evolutionists make no such claims about amoebae. Amoebae are modern organisms, products of evolution just the same as we are. Geisler and Turek attempt a dishonest sleight of hand here, by referring to the first life form as an amoeba “or something like it” and then going on to refer to that first life form as though it were a modern amoeba.

    • Also, I should point out here that Geisler and Turek continually refer to Darwinism when they talk about naturalistic views of the origin of life. Technically, the origin of life is not something Darwinism is concerned with. The study of the origin of life is abiogenesis, which is related to but distinct from the study of evolution.

  • “Staunch Darwinist Richard Dawkins . . . admits that the message found in just the cell nucleus of a tiny amoeba is more than all thirty volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica combined, and the entire amoeba has as much information in its DNA as 1,000 complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica! . . . So here’s the key question for Darwinists like Dawkins: if simple messages such as ‘Take out the garbage — Mom,’ ‘Mary loves Scott,’ and ‘Drink Coke’ require an intelligent being, then why doesn’t a message 1,000 encyclopedias long require one?” (p. 116)

    • The simple answer is that amoebae were not the original forms of life, so the question is misleading and irrelevant. The “messages” in the genetic information of an amoeba didn’t spontaneously assemble all at once; they’re the result of a long, slow process of evolution.

    • We don’t know exactly what the original form of life on Earth was, but we can be fairly certain it was vastly simpler than an amoeba.

  • Amoebae are unicellular, but they’re eukaryotes, which means they have a defined nucleus. They have cytoplasm, they’re motile, they reproduce asexually through mitosis and cytokinesis — in other words, despite how small they are, and despite how simple they are compared to multicellular organisms, amoebae are extremely complex creatures. Which is why Geisler and Turek chose to talk about them, I’m sure, since they’re making an argument from incredulity — how could something as complex as an amoeba just spontaneously self-assemble?

  • But that’s what makes this argument so incredibly dishonest. The first life-forms weren’t amoebae. The first life-forms almost certainly weren’t even as complex as the simplest bacteria that exists today. Life may have evolved from something no more complex than strands of RNA enclosed in phospholipid bilayers — little molecular bubbles with a tiny amount of genetic material inside.

  • You can’t use that “Well, how did something so complex spontaneously assemble?” argument on any organism that exists today, because every modern organism is the product of evolution. Every single thing alive on this planet at this very moment is an offspring. “How did all those separate pieces just come together to form an amoeba?” That’s not what happened and nobody honest who knows what the fuck he’s talking about will tell you that’s what happened.

Investigating the Origin of First Life

  • And the audacious misrepresentation continues:

  • “Many evolutionists as well as many creationists speak as if they know, beyond any doubt, how the first life came into existence.” (p. 117)

    • They’re half right. Find me a single evolutionist who claims to know how life came into existence beyond any doubt. Find me one. You can’t piss in a circle without hitting a creationist who claims to know, on the basis of nothing, how life originated, but find me one evolutionist who claims that knowledge.

  • Geisler and Turek astutely point out that no humans witnessed the appearance of the first life. Therefore, we have to rely on forensics to learn about that first life. And the central principle of forensics, say Geisler and Turek, is the Principle of Uniformity, which states that causes in the past were the same as causes in the present.

  • “If ‘Take out the garbage — Mom’ requires an intelligent cause today, then any similar message from the past must also require an intelligent cause. Conversely, if natural laws can do the job today, then the Principle of Uniformity would lead us to conclude natural laws could do the job in the past.” (p. 117)

    • It’s not quite that simple. The problem with applying the Principle of Uniformity this way is that life first appeared on Earth billions of years ago, when conditions were very, very different from present-day Earth. And one of the things that makes conditions on Earth today so different from conditions on Earth billions of years ago is the existence of life, and the impact life has on its environment.

  • Geisler and Turek compare the Grand Canyon to Mount Rushmore. The Grand Canyon was formed by natural processes, we know, because we can observe processes doing similar work in nature today. Mount Rushmore, however, must have been the work of intelligent sculptors, because we don’t observe natural forces carving presidents’ heads out of stone today, which means it didn’t happen in the past, either.

  • This is such a stupid example that it’s almost not worth refuting, but here goes: We don’t need to rely on forensics to solve the mystery of where Mount Rushmore came from, because we know where it came from. Its creation is a matter of historical record.

  • There’s another, even better reason why this is a stupid argument, but I’ll come to that in a bit, when Geisler and Turek return to Mount Rushmore.

  • “In the same way, when we look at the first one-celled life, the Principle of Uniformity tells us that only an intelligent cause could assemble the equivalent of 1,000 encyclopedias.” (p. 118)

    • That’s another example of that sleight of hand I mentioned earlier, speaking about the first life as though it was a modern amoeba.

  • Geisler and Turek now attempt to take down Richard Dawkins:

  • “. . . Richard Dawkins named his book THE BLIND WATCHMAKER in response to William Paley’s design argument we cited in the last chapter. The appearance of design in life is admitted on the first page of THE BLIND WATCHMAKER. Dawkins writes, ‘Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.’ Two pages later, despite acknowledging ‘the intricate architecture and precision-engineering’ in human life . . . Dawkins flatly denies that human life or any other life has been designed. Apparently, Dawkins refuses to allow observation to interfere with his conclusions.” (p. 119)

    • That last line is another great example of the authors unwittingly describing themselves to perfection while attempting to describe someone who disagrees with them.

    • If you’ve ever read or heard Dawkins himself talk about the things Geisler and Turek are referencing, you know that he means to point out the distinction between the appearance of design in the natural world, and things which we know to be actually designed. He doesn’t just say “life looks like it’s designed, but it’s not” and leave it at that. He explains how we can tell the difference between objects which appear designed (which he labels designoid) and objects which actually are designed.

    • If Geisler and Turek are going to quote Dawkins, or anyone else, they ought to at least make an effort to appear as though they’ve actually read the book.

Good Science vs. Bad Science

  • Geisler and Turek cast the creationism vs. evolution debate (which exists mostly in the minds of creationists) not in terms of religion vs. science, but good science vs. bad science.

  • “The evidence is so strong for intelligence and against naturalism that prominent evolutionists have actually suggested aliens deposited the first life here. . . . As crazy as the theory sounds, at least panspermia advocates recognize that some kind of intelligence must be behind the amazing wonder we call life.” (p. 121)

    • This is a straw-man. Panspermia is discussed hypothetically, but it isn’t considered a serious explanation for the origin of life by very many people. Not that it’s that preposterous, hypothetically — broadly speaking, it’s far, far, far more plausible than any theory of divine design. There’s just no evidence that life on Earth actually came from an extraterrestrial source, much less was deposited here by aliens. The significance of panspermia where creationism is concerned is two-fold, it seems to me. First, panspermia holds, necessarily, that life is not something unique to Earth, that it may be found throughout our galaxy and throughout the universe. Second, and Geisler and Turek totally miss this, panspermia demonstrates that evidence for intelligent design is not evidence for any god or anything supernatural.

  • “For Darwinists like Dawkins or [Francis] Crick who must believe that only the material (and not the immaterial) exists, then life can be nothing more than chemicals. But life is clearly more than chemicals. Life contains a message — DNA — that is expressed in chemicals . . . A message points to something beyond chemicals.” (p. 122)

    • DNA isn’t a message. DNA is a molecule. When we use phrases like genetic information or the language of DNA, these are just rhetorical devices we must resort to in order to talk about what DNA does in a way that is descriptive and meaningful. Creationists like to play games with these rhetorical devices — they say things like “if DNA is a code, who encoded it?” Or they ask, “how can random mutations introduce new information into the genetic code?” But this is just boxing with shadows. Yes, DNA is the way living things store and pass on what we call genetic information. Yes, we have assigned letters to the nucleotides that comprise DNA. Yes, we describe the way particular sequences of nucleotides result in particular proteins the genetic code. But none of that changes the fact that fundamentally DNA is a molecule. It’s not a note we found written in the sand. It’s a molecule that interacts with other certain other molecules in very specific ways. Message, language, code, information — these are just ways of talking about what DNA does.

  • Geisler and Turek continue to assert that evolutionists are dogmatic materialists, including Dawkins and Harvard professor Richard Lewontin, whom they quote from his review of Carl Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World (my favorite Carl Sagan book, incidentally) describing the scientific commitment to a materialist explanation as a priori.

  • “Now the real truth comes out. It’s not that the evidence supports Darwinism — in fact, according to Lewontin and our own common sense, Darwinist explanations are ‘counterintuitive.’ The real truth is that the Darwinists have defined science in such a way that the only possible answer is Darwinism. Any other definition would, God forbid, allow God to get his ‘foot in the door’!” (p. 123)

    • The “foot in the door” there is a reference to that aforementioned quote from Lewontin, where Lewontin refers to scientific explanations being counterintuitive and “just so,” and describes materialism as being absolute and not allowing a divine foot in the door. Geisler and Turek treat this quote as a confession.

    • There are quite a few problems with the argument Geisler and Turek are making here, and with how they’re using this quote from Lewontin. For a start, when Lewontin refers to scientific explanations as being “just so” and “counterintuitive,” he’s talking about the challenge of getting people who aren’t scientifically literate to accept scientific explanations that, while well-established as true, defy their common sense. He’s not admitting that scientists all know science doesn’t make sense but they pretend it does because they’re all just god-hating assholes.

    • That’s also the context when Lewontin talks about not letting a divine foot through the door. If people are conditioned to accept a supernatural explanation for something, it’s all the more difficult to convince them of the natural, scientific explanation, no matter how well-established and reliable that explanation is. He’s talking about the difficulties of communicating scientific principles to an audience of people who aren’t trained scientists, in a review he wrote of a Carl Sagan book on that very subject. Context — it’s important.

    • Here’s Lewontin himself, from a response to a response to his Demon-Haunted World review, printed in the New York Review of Books later that year:

      “By ‘materialism’ we mean the claim that all the motions and states of the physical (including the biological) universe form a closed world of causation, solely under the influence of a small number of known measurable forces. As I pointed out, this claim requires us to accept that these forces have some counterintuitive properties, our intuitions having been formed by the experience of our gross senses.” (Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, March 6, 1997)

    • Finally, let’s talk about this a priori materialism. This charge of Geisler and Turek, that evolutionists are dogmatic materialists, that they refuse to go where the evidence takes them because they are too committed to only considering natural explanations for things, is the sneakiest and most dishonest attack in the book so far. I say it’s sneaky and dishonest because, if you subtract the presumption of divine involvement, Geisler and Turek are just as materialistic as any of the evolutionists they’re working up such a sweat trying to discredit. The divinely guided creation event they’re insisting had to have taken place would still have been a physical, material event. This is not the light-on-his-feet, leaves-no-fingerprints-behind god believed in by many more progressive, liberal Christians — the god whose spirit moves people’s hearts and acts in other conveniently undetectable ways. This is a god who sticks his hand into the workings of the world and makes things happen.

    • But Geisler and Turek want to have it both ways — they want us to believe this divinely initiated physical creation event took place, but without any physical evidence to support that belief. The only evidence they’ve presented to this point are attacks on the science of evolutionary biology and arguments from incredulity that only demonstrate their own ignorance of the subjects they’re addressing. And not only is there no physical evidence presented to support this divine creation — there’s no evidence presented to support the existence of this divine creator (unless we pretend that the arguments in the previous chapters settled that question). So essentially, Geisler and Turek are arguing against the possibility of a natural explanation for the origin of life (even though every phenomenon ever explained has had a natural explanation, which I would suggest establishes naturalism as a plausible framework within which to explain how things work, at the very least), and for a supernatural explanation (even though there has never been an established supernatural explanation for anything, ever).

    • Speaking of arguments from incredulity . . .

Give Time and Chance a Chance!

  • Geisler and Turek address the two factors evolutionists cite to counter doubts about life arising and evolving through purely natural means: time and chance.

  • Give Time More Time! Now we return to Mount Rushmore.

  • “Darwinists assert that science is built on observation and repetition. Okay, suppose we observe and repeat an experiment where we allow natural laws to work on rock for the next ten years. Will we ever get the faces on Mount Rushmore? Never.” (Geisler and Turek, p. 124)

    • Ten years? Geological forces don’t work that fast, fellas, especially when you’re talking erosion and granite. What a pointless proposal for an experiment.

    • This is a fatally flawed experiment for another reason: it demands too specific of an outcome. If the natural forces don’t carve the presidential busts of Mount Rushmore out of the rock, then the result is a failure, according to Geisler and Turek. But natural forces, including those that guide evolution, don’t operate with specific goals in mind. The argument isn’t that natural forces can replicate any given man-made design given enough time. That was never the argument. The argument is, natural forces can result in objects that have the appearance of being designed. Do you see the distinction? If you do, congratulations, you’re smarter than the people who wrote this book.

    • Now, here’s the even more stupid thing I mentioned a few minutes ago, the last time they brought up Mount Rushmore and how it couldn’t possibly have been carved by natural forces. There is no duplicate Mount Rushmore carved by natural erosion, but there is this: [pic of the Badlands Guardian] This is the Badlands Guardian, near Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada. It was discovered a little over six years ago using Google Earth. When viewed overhead, it looks uncannily like a person, seen in profile, wearing an American Indian headdress. But except for the road you can see running into the middle of it, the Guardian is a completely natural product of wind and water erosion. Given enough time, and a bit of pareidolia, natural forces can result in objects that look like they must have been sculpted by human hands. Geisler and Turek’s Mount Rushmore experiment fails, utterly.

  • Geisler and Turek then appeal to the Second Law of Thermodynamics to argue that life couldn’t have originated from non-living matter.

  • “How did life arise from nonliving chemicals, without intelligent intervention, when nonliving chemicals are susceptible to the Second Law?” (p. 125)

    • Going by that logic, intelligent intervention must be necessary anytime something simple yields something more complex — when elementary particles bond together to form atoms, when atoms bond together to form molecules, when molecules form chemical compounds, and on up the chain of complexity. Either all of those are irrefutable evidence for divine intervention, or Geisler and Turek don’t actually know shit about how the Second Law of Thermodynamics works.

  • Give Chance a Chance! Geisler and Turek cite the calculation by Michael Behe that places the probability of a single protein molecule (consisting of around 100 amino acids) assembling by chance as equal to that of a blind man finding one particular grain of sand in the Sahara Desert three times in a row.

  • “That probability is virtually zero. But we believe the probability is actually zero. Why? Because ‘chance’ is not a cause. Chance is a word that we use to describe the mathematical possibilities.” (p. 125)

    • Oh, now we’re recognizing distinctions between the words we use to describe a thing and the thing itself, are we?

    • That calculation (credited here to Michael Behe, but I don’t think it originates with him) is just as meaningless as the calculations that yielded incredible odds for the appearance of our particular universe that we talked about in the last video, and for similar reasons. For one thing, the calculation determines the odds of one particular protein assembling. But there are many proteins that perform various functions in organisms, not just one. What are the odds that any one of those many possibilities would form?

    • But this calculation is flawed in a much more fundamental way. It claims to show the probability of a protein assembling by chance — a probability Geisler and Turek reduce even further by arguing that chance isn’t even a cause. But no one other than them is even suggesting that chance might be a cause. Chance doesn’t force things to happen. Chance, as they point out, is a way of describing how things happen. Evolutionists know that proteins don’t assemble randomly — they don’t now, and they didn’t billions of years ago when the first life-forms were appearing. Proteins, like all the other elements of living things, are the result of complex chemical processes. And these processes are not random. They proceed according to observable and predictable laws.

Science Is a Slave to Philosophy

  • Geisler and Turek refer to a debate between Peter Atkins and William Lane Craig to argue that there are things which science cannot account for. When challenged by Atkins during the debate, Craig recited five things which he called rational beliefs that cannot be proven by science:

  1. Mathematics and logic

  2. Metaphysical truths

  3. Ethical judgments

  4. Aesthetic judgments

  5. Science itself (pp. 126-127)

  • Mathematics and logic, and metaphysical truths (the example for this cited by Geisler and Turek is the belief that minds other than our own exist) are concepts we have observed that allow us to make sense of the universe, and even though they are abstract, we still verify that we can trust them the same way we verify things in physical science: by checking them for consistency and checking that they work.

  • Ethical judgments and aesthetic judgments don’t belong on the list at all because these aren’t things that can be proven. They aren’t objective, they vary from person to person, and culture to culture.

  • And “science itself” is on the list because Craig argues that it is circular to use science to validate science. But science isn’t a source — it’s a method, it’s a way of finding things out. And if Geisler and Turek have another way of finding things out, of determining truth from falsehood — not even a better way necessarily, just another way — they’ve yet to demonstrate it.

  • Geisler and Turek list three reasons why science is a slave to philosophy:

  1. Science cannot be done without philosophy. Science relies on philosophical assumptions. You can’t use science to prove the laws of logic, or the Law of Causality, etc., because you have to assume those laws are true in order for science to work.

  2. Philosophical assumptions dramatically impact scientific conclusions. Assuming that only natural causes are possible means scientists will refuse to accept any evidence that points to a supernatural cause.

  3. Science doesn’t really say anything — scientists do. And scientists interpret their data according to their philosophies. (pp. 127-128)

  • First, scientific principles and laws aren’t philosophical assumptions — they’re descriptions of how things work. Second, scientists don’t assume only natural causes are possible because of some dogmatic naturalist philosophy. Most scientists are naturalists because that is where the data has led them. As I said earlier, every single thing ever explained by science has been explained naturally. That’s not a dogma; that’s a reasonable expectation. If you have real evidence that points toward a supernatural explanation for something, I imagine most scientists would be very interested to see it. Finally, scientists design experiments to minimize their personal biases, and good science involves repetition by many independent scientists, which means that the impact of any one scientist’s personal philosophy on the interpretation of the data is minimized.

Materialism Makes Reason Impossible

  • Why isn’t materialism reasonable? Geisler and Turek offer five reasons:

  1. There is a message in life that can’t be explained naturally.

    • We’ve been over this already. No, there isn’t.

  2. Human thoughts aren’t purely chemical. The theory of materialism isn’t made of material. “How much does love weigh?” they stupidly ask.

    • The problem here is with a definition of materialism that is too narrow. Remember Lewontin’s definition I quoted earlier: “. . . the claim that all the motions and states of the physical (including the biological) universe form a closed world of causation, solely under the influence of a small number of known measurable forces.” (Lewontin) Abstract concepts might not be made of material, but they are the products of material brains and we use them to help us understand the workings of our material world.

  3. If life were nothing but materials, we would be able to take all the materials of life and make a living being. Geisler and Turek also ask, “What materialist can explain why one body is alive and another body is dead? Both contain the same chemicals.”

    • Who says we can’t combine the materials of life to create a living being? The fact that it hasn’t been done yet doesn’t make it impossible. Life is not a mixture of chemicals. Life is a process — an ongoing series of related and highly complex processes. Which answers the idiotic question of what the difference is between a living body and a dead body, if they both contain the same chemicals. In a dead body, the processes that aren’t just necessary for life but are life have stopped. We aren’t just chemicals; we’re chemicals doing particular things.

  4. If materialism is true, everyone who has ever had a spiritual experience has been completely mistaken.

    • So? Appeal to consequences. Appeal to emotion. Geisler and Turek claim that if even one spiritual experience ever had by anyone was genuine, then materialism is false. I’ll take that challenge. Where’s the evidence that even one spiritual experience ever had by anyone was genuine?

  5. If materialism is true, then reason itself is impossible. Chemicals don’t reason; they react. Plus, you can’t rely on reason alone because you need faith in order to trust reason. Using reason to defend reason is circular. (pp. 128-129)

  • “Our only guarantee that human reason works is God who made it.” (p. 130)

    • God, who made it, who you’ve determined is real and trustworthy . . . how, exactly? If you didn’t use reason to reach the conclusion that God made reason and therefore it works, how’d you get there?

    • I had to deal with this argument in person recently when I debated the apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate, who makes this argument the centerpiece of his apologetic. It fails not only because it is just as circular as it accuses the materialist view of being, but also because it assumes we need to appeal to God in order to validate reason. We don’t. We validate reason the same way we validate science, the same way we validate everything — by checking for consistency and to see if it works. Reason, like science — a form of reason — is not a source, but a process, a way of knowing. No religious faith is necessary.

The Atheist vs. The Critical Thinking Consultant

  • Geisler and Turek here insist that the atheist worldview presupposes the existence of God. Why?

  • “Because reasons require that this universe be a reasonable one that presupposes there is order, logic, design, and truth. But order, logic, design, and truth can only exist and be known if there is an unchangeable objective source and standard of such things.” (p. 130)

    • But Geisler and Turek have already agreed with atheists on such a source and standard, all the way back in Chapter 1 of this book. Remember?

    • “Very simply, truth is ‘telling it like it is’ . . . Truth can also be defined as ‘that which corresponds to its object’ or ‘that which describes an actual state of affairs.’” (pp. 36-37)

    • The only thing we need for things like order, logic, design and truth to exist is reality. Reality is our objective standard, whether Geisler and Turek’s god is a part of it or not.

  • “Intellect, free will, objective morality, and human rights as well as reason, logic, design, and truth can exist only if God exists. Yet Darwinists assume some or all of these realities when they defend their atheistic worldview. They can’t have it both ways.” (p. 132)

    • Morality and human rights are human concepts; they only exist because we think about them, and talk about them, and practice them. And intellect and free will are things that — arguably — are a part of our natures. Either way, we assume these things exist for the same reason we assume the existence of reason, logic, design, or truth — because we observe them and experience them.

Darwinists Have the Wrong Box Top

  • Geisler and Turek return to their jigsaw puzzle box top metaphor from the introduction. They suggest that if you continually discover pieces that don’t fit the image on your box top, the sensible thing to do would be to recognize that you’ve got the wrong box top.

  • “Unfortunately, the Darwinists won’t do this. The evidence strongly indicates that they have the wrong box top, but they refuse to consider that’s even possible . . . Their preconceived box top shows a picture without intelligent causes. Yet, as they themselves acknowledge, they’ve discovered many pieces to the puzzle that have the clear appearance of being intelligently designed.” (p. 133)

    • Again, having “the appearance of being intelligently designed” does not mean something was intelligently designed. Richard Dawkins, who they referenced earlier in this chapter, writes about how we can differentiate between natural objects that look designed and objects we know to be intelligently designed.

    • Also, where is this evidence for Geisler and Turek’s “box top”? Because we’ve reached the end of this chapter, and they’ve referred to the slam-dunk evidence for intelligent design several times, but all they’ve actually done is attack evolution and naturalism on philosophical and mostly blatantly fallacious grounds. Where’s the evidence? What can they show me that is predicted by their intelligent design theory that can’t be explained by evolution? Actually, let me back up a bit: what is their intelligent design theory? Because “God must have done it” is hardly a scientific theory. It has no evidence supporting it, it explains nothing, there’s no reason for anyone, especially scientists, to take it seriously.

    • Even if Geisler and Turek did have positive evidence to present, they’d have a good bit of work ahead of them to persuade me, or anyone else with at least a solid layman’s understanding of evolution, to accept their interpretation of that evidence, for the simple reason that they obviously have no idea what they’re talking about. Throughout this chapter, they demonstrate emphatically that their understanding of evolution is based on ignorance and misconceptions, and so deeply flawed as to be useless. I realize that neither Norman Geisler nor Frank Turek is a professional scientist. Like me, they’re laymen struggling to understand a complex subject the best they can. But if they cared about things like accuracy (and I suspect that assumption would be a bit too generous), they should have asked someone who does have a solid scientific knowledge and understanding of evolution to proofread their manuscript to make sure they had it right. And I’m not talking about Kent Hovind.

    • (I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t have sent their manuscript to Kent Hovind, as well. That would have been a nice thing. I’m sure he could use something to read.)

Next: Chapter 6: New Life Forms: From the Goo to You via the Zoo?
Thursday, April 11th, 2013 | 01:33 pm (UTC)
I read a paper years ago suggesting that the very first form of 'life' (in quotes as there is debate about whether it counts as life or not) was a primitive virus, which to my mind makes a lot of sense.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013 | 08:21 pm (UTC) - an atheist reads i don't have enough faith to be an atheist chapter 5
you're very welcome steve and thank you very much for these videos that exposes the lies that people like frank turek and norman geisler try to pass off as the truth as i watched your latest video about an atheist reads i don't have enough faith to be an atheist i realize how arrogant frank turek and norman geisler come across.corey donaldson
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