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  1. Elaine Nelson
    10 May 2012 @ 12:41 am

    It would be very hypocritical from someone who has become so successful because of medical scientific advances to deny the impact of evolution on the very profession for which he has been honored.

  2. cb25
    10 May 2012 @ 1:06 am

    Time we woke up and smelled the roses!

    I note the piece where the Post suggests Dr Carson could be the target of fundamentalist atheists. Evolution is not atheism and fundametalist creationism only fuels the ire of fundametalist atheists who by default lay claim that it is. It is time we Christians incorporated an evolutionary framework into our understanding and told the atheists to move over.

    This issue with Dr Carson illustrates how YEC and YLC positions will become more and more embarassing to Christianity in the future.

    I actually doubt he is the target of atheists. Evolution does not need atheists to defend it. It indeed stands on its own (well evolved) two legs!


  3. cb25
    10 May 2012 @ 2:35 am

    Seems there were over 200 staff in varying capacities signed the letter plus many graduate and undergraduate students. 500 in total. Pretty weighty.

    Other parts of the letter they signed had this to say:

    "Dr. Carson argues that there is no evidence for evolution, that there are no transitional fossils that provide evidence for the evolution of humans from a common ancestor with other apes, that evolution is a wholly random process, and that life is too complex to have originated by the natural process of evolution. All of these claims are incorrect. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming: ape-human transitional fossils are discovered at an ever increasing rate, and the processes by which organisms evolve new and more complex body plans are now known to be caused by relatively simple alterations of the expression of small numbers of developmental genes. Our understanding of the evolutionary process has advanced our ability to develop animal models for disease, our ability to combat the spread of infectious disease and, in point of fact, the work of Dr. Carson himself is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution. Finally, much of the research at this University is based on advances fostered by an understanding of evolution.

    ….Dismissing evolution disregards the importance of science and critical thinking to society. Stating that those who accept the underlying principle of biology and medicine are unethical not only encourages the insertion of unnecessary and destructive wedges between Americans but stands against many of the ideals of this University."

    Sounds like Dr Carson has been subscribing to AIG, Veith, or many of the other arguments too easily presented as evidence against evolution.

    I have always admired Dr Carson and his work and this is a sad event. I hope he can have the courage to try to see outside the framework and defense arguments that he, like many of us, has perhaps taken for granted.

    500 signatures from people who one must assume have immense respect for a great man must carry some weight.

  4. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 3:29 am

    The theory of evolution has contributed nothing to
    medical scientific advances. Please don’t speak to
    me about germ resistance and such. I am talking
    about real large scale evolution; the myth from molecules
    to metazoa (animals) contributes nothing to real science.

  5. Ervin Taylor
    10 May 2012 @ 3:45 am

    Mr. Lindensmith needs to read more widely in the scientific literature.  Evolutionary biology provides a scientific model of great explanatory power with the standing in biology that understandings based on Special and General Relativity does in physics and cosmology.   I'm sure that Dr. Canson is a fine physician.  It might be wise for him to keep his religious opinions to himself when addressing educated audiences.   

  6. David Read
    10 May 2012 @ 4:13 am

    The Emory U. Darwinists have done a good deed by bringing publicity to Dr. Carson's creationist beliefs.   Obviously, Dr. Carson shows that one doesn't need to subscribe to an atheistic origins myth to be a great scientist.  As Dr. Carson said in his interview with the Review, it takes much more faith to believe that an astonishing organ like the human brain was not designed than that it reflects the genius of the Creator.  Like Ben Carson, I don't have enough faith to believe that the human brain evolved by means of copying errors in the genetic code.

  7. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 4:20 am

    “Dr Tyler, really? “Evolutionary biology provides a scientific model of great explanatory power with the standing in biology that understandings based on Special and General Relativity does in physics.” Sir, are you joking??

  8. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 4:24 am

    This reminds me of this quote from Richard Lewontin’s 1997 review of Sagan’s “Demon Haunted World”: 
    “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    • Doctorf
      11 May 2012 @ 11:11 pm


      Lewontin's fallacy was written in the 1970's before the era of gene sequencing and the development of genetic knock out models. We now know that animal physiology and behavior can be modifed by knocking out particular genes. I think what Lewontin is saying is that the differences in human traits cannot be explained by "genetic" differences that he measured. Please remember the ability to measure "genetic" differences was very limited in the 70's. 

      Science does not entertain a "divine footprint." It is fine for a person to say that "there must be the divine" in nature. That profession of faith does not make science nor does it address the difficulty in empircally showing that there are "divine causes." Please render a few examples of "divine causes" that can be established by science. No red herring arguments please.

  9. Horace Butler
    10 May 2012 @ 10:14 am

    "the work of Dr. Carson is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution.” 

    Pure nonsense.  None of the advances of modern science were facilitated by "and understanding of evolution."  Evolution did not cure any disease, put a man on the moon, or give us computers, to name a few.

    And I could only wish that Dr. Taylor was joking.  But he's welcome to his delusions.  It's good to have this all out in the open.  Richard Lewontin was right on the money with that statement.

  10. Ervin Taylor
    10 May 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    May I venture the observation that the views of Mr. Butler, Mrt. Lindensmith, and Mr. Read illustrate why it is so difficult, perhaps impossible, for religious traditions, once they adopt some position which they tend to assume is God's position, to make adjustments in their interpreations of Scripture, even in the face of massive amounts of contrary information.  The defenses of the traditional views tend to become more and more bizarre as some of above statements illustrate.  It is probably one of the major reasons why religious communities tend to split as certain positions are considered so sacred that compromise is considered heresy.  Very sad.

    • Ella M
      12 May 2012 @ 6:16 pm

           I am not a bonified scientist, but smart enough to understand it works the other way around as well.

  11. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    Dr Taylor, are you sorry that we agree with Richard Lewontin’s statement above?  
    As to this point about evolution being  central to science, the closest I can get my mind around it is Dr Matthew’s stated a few years ago. 
    In the Introduction to the 1971 edition to Darwin’s, The Origin of Species, are these words: “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded in an unproven theory. Is it then a science or faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is exactly parallel to belief in special creation” (Dr. L. H. Harrison Matthews).
    Do you agree at all with these scientists? Or at least see why they would make such statements?

  12. Elaine Nelson
    10 May 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    It is inevitable that when religious traditions trump knowledge, even the search for knowledge, that eventually there will be a parting of the ways.  Or, like the largest Christian church where recital of the creed was the only thing  required with no forced affirmations, membership in name only.  To give up all search for more knowledge is the sentence of atrophy and eventual death of the mind–as demonstrated by these comments. 

  13. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    Dear Elaine, it would be better to address
    the above arguments.

  14. Darrel Lindensmith
    10 May 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    I think it is easier to wave the magic wand of  Ad Hominem than to discuss the application of an argument.

    This is actually what Dr Carson did; he shared his view of the application of the argument from materialism.  Then he had the audacity to forthwith rejected materialism itself as being absolute in science.  He will never be forgiven for his betrayal of the
    secular cause!!!!!

  15. Anonymous
    10 May 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    As I understand it, Dr. Carson is of the view that empirically and experimentally verifiable scientific conclusions of today may not have held true in different circumstances – different dimensions of time and space that existed in pre-history. Now how does that view prevent him from functioning at the highest level of intellectual honesty and credibility in his profession? And why does one have to believe that the laws which govern the world as we have known it since the beginning of recorded history are the same as the laws which governed it since "the beginning?" I ask these question as one who is not a literalist when it comes to reading Genesis 1.

    I take great issue with liberal fundamentalists whose chain-link scientism is qualitatively no different from the chain link theology of Adventist fundamentalists. Few things irritate me so much as attempted censorship by the high priests of liberalism who are the first to cry foul when the truth claims of others are used to exclude their (liberal's) free expression of opinion from any nook or cranny of even private activity. I am appalled by the comments here of those who are comfortable with a religious litmus test for contemporary heroes to address university students. Ahmadinejad can go to Columbia University, question the holocaust, claim there are no homosexuals in Iran, and assert that women enjoy the highest level of freedom in Iran, and there's at best muted clucking on the Left.

    Are Emory professors really concerned that Dr. Carson going to be talking about his views on creation? No. Are they concerned that he does not have intellectual credentials? Of course not! They would be delighted to have Sandra Fluke or Michael Moore deliver the commencement address. What the Left at Emory is really upset about is the likelihood that Dr. Carson will use the occasion to challenge and inspire students with values they despise. This is indeed an attack by fundamentalist atheism – not so much on Dr. Carson's beliefs about science – which he won't be discussing – as about his Judeo-Christian worldview, which will undoubtedly be at least implicit in his remarks. What the Left hates is that Dr. Carson is not a Kool-Aid drinking grievance merchant who believes that the road to happiness and fulfillment is paved by a benevolent, omnipotent Nanny State, whose laws and regulations promote dependency and destroy choice, liberty and personal responsibility.

    The comments on this news story are a sobering reminder of how little value is placed in freedom by the very folks who use it as license to attack and censor views with which they disagree. As we hurtle towards the end of time, it is distressing to see strong signs that many so-called Christians will be aligning themselves with the forces of tyranny – all in the name of truth and the greater good. Does anyone remember the words of Martin Niemoller?

    • Ella M
      12 May 2012 @ 6:21 pm

           Your statements on this subject are correct in my opinion.    From my reading of material on line and in newspapers, magazines, and books, I would say he is definitely a target of evolutionists. There is no leeway made for creationists out there and in fact the trend is to verbally berate them. Though I don't claim to have all the answers on the subject, this is outright discrimination.
      Was there no science before the introduction of evolution? I don't understand this argument about science being based on it. It could just as well have been otherwise. Science is all about discovering the mysteries of life made by a creator no matter how he/she/it made it.

  16. Elaine Nelson
    10 May 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    The persecuted minority have spoken.

  17. Tapiwa Mushaninga
    11 May 2012 @ 7:21 am


    For someone that caims to be agnostic you seem so "gnostic"  that Dr Ben Carson is wrong

  18. Bryan Bissell
    11 May 2012 @ 11:52 am

    The propaganda machine is at full throttle in the Emory protest. As usual atheism and Darwinism (not the same things), have to suppress all dissent and make grotesquely false statements in order to keep those they've duped in the fold.


    Science has given us MANY advances for sure. And it was creationists who invented most of the foundations of modern science, as well as most of its branches. See:


    and (make sure to see the parts from Dr. James Hannam, who has a Ph.D. in the history of science from Cambridge and has much historical evidence showing how it was creationists and their philosophy that made modern science possible. Dr. Hannam is by the way an evolutionist at present…but lists the facts of  history.. See esp. the video link to a presentation he gave).


    Darwin's major unique claim that separate him from creation science is claiming that speciation can cause evolution PAST the family level up to the kingdom level. Those claims have done almost nothing for science. The vast majority of all published papers and all the innovations in germ theory, vaccinations, medicine, etc. are FULLY within creationist levels of evolution. Darwin has done nothing for real science. His theory has mostly harmed science, wasted astronomical amounts of money, made people stupid about the overwhelming evidence for God creating the earth, caused bodily harm (many people's organs were removed because they were considered vestigial) and more.

    The idea that all modern science rests on evolution and agrees with it is pure fiction. Dr Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School stated:
    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.” (he's lamenting this fact)

    Quite a few experts on both sides are coming to the view that science works perfectly well without Darwinian evolution and that it has not helped science, but actually hindered science.  Is a belief in molecules-to-man evolution necessary to understand genetics, germ theory or biological functions? Has any biological or medical research benefited from a belief in Darwinian evolution? No.   Dr. Philip Skell, Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University, wrote:

    “I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwins theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others.
    I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwins theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss…
    From my conversations with leading researchers it had became [sic] clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.” Skell, P., Why do we invoke Darwin? The Scientist 16:10.
    The Ph.D. cell biologist Dr. David Menton has stated,
    “The fact is that though widely believed, evolution contributes nothing to our understanding of empirical science and thus plays no essential role in biomedical research or education.”  Dr. David Menton


    See about 7,500+ articles on why creation science is scientific here: (esp. make sure to check the superconference videos)


    One VERY good presentation is this one:

    Dr. Silvestru, Ph.D in geology from ‘Babes-Bolyai’ University in Cluj, Romania (where he was associate professor),is a world authority on the geology of caves,published 41 scientific papers & 1 book (The Cave Book) & co-authored two books. He was for years the head scientist at the world’s first Speleological Institute. His seminar summarizes the vast evidence for a global flood (Start at 36:00.  ~54:00 deals with how catastrophic plate tectonics supports the global flood).

  19. Elaine Nelson
    11 May 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    All discoveries beginning during the Renaissance were developed by Creationists:  all were from a strongly Christian religious climate and they were seeking to understand the ways of God in their world around them.

    Whether the individual's personal faith is a believer or not has no bearing on a true scientist's findings.  Francis Collins is a believer, but he does not adopt the YEC principal.  We forget that for one to accept that God is the Creator says nothing about the time element–a belief held by the very fundamenalists. Nor does it try to describe and explain how Creation came about.  There is often more certitude expressed by the Fundamentalist than the professional scientist.  Fools rush in….

  20. Darrel Lindensmith
    11 May 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    Elaine, I think what you say is very true.

  21. Anonymous
    11 May 2012 @ 6:35 pm

    Thank you, Bryan, for some fascinating quotes.

    So, Elaine, perhaps you could elaborate on your first comment calling Dr. Carson a hypocrite. Just what statements of Dr. Carson's did you have in mind when you asserted that he has denied the impact of evolution on medical advances?….. And just what advances did you have in mind?….Do I hear crickets chirping? Or will an actual expert step in to try and bail you out? I would submit that Dr. Carson honors the medical profession, and the students he takes time out of his busy schedule to address, far more than they honor him.  

    Is it not ironic that Emory professors, who ostensibly serve in a research university, founded by Methodists, with a mission "to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity", seek to censor someone who has done far more than most of them to advance that mission? Elaine, what part of that mission statement does Dr. Carson fail to exemplify at the highest level?

    It is remarkable how the secular high priests, who attend the Asherah poles of "scientific" ideology and theory, turn into a pack of howling hyenas when Christians enter their high and holy places without offering sacrifices or buying amulets.

  22. Elaine Nelson
    11 May 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    From the article above:

    " He once told a National Science Teachers convention, “Evolution and creationism both require faith. It’s just a matter of where you choose to place that faith,” the newspaper reports. “We ask you to also consider the enormous positive impact of science on our lives,” the letter published in The Emory Wheel states, “and how that science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution.” It argues that “the theory of evolution is as strongly supported as the theory of gravity and the theory that infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms.”

    Either those are his personal statements or others.: "Science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution.l"?

    • Doctorf
      11 May 2012 @ 11:16 pm


      I find it interesting that Carson's achievements and the fact he is and SDA somehow validate his personal views on creation or evolution to the fundamentalists posting here. The same tactics were used on me by a Krishna adherent in an airport. He laid out a list of scientists who have become Krishna converts. I explained to him that people with impressive CV's converting to his religion does not validate the "truth"  of the religion anymore than a successful Catholic, SDA, Anglican etc validates anyone of those religions.

      • Anonymous
        12 May 2012 @ 4:37 am

        Elaine, please don't hide under the skirts of the Emory faculty letter signers. You said, "It would be hypocritical from someone who has become successful because of scientific advances to deny the impact of evolution on the very profession for which he has been honored." ( Sorry to make you wince by repeating verbatim your syntactically challenged statement.) I asked you specific questions challenging your statement – not the faculty letter. And true as ever to your Leftist calling, you changed the subject by offering the faculty letter as evidence to substantiate something you did not say, and I did not challenge. Then you conclude, having responded to none of my challenges, with the equivalent of  "So there…"

        But I must thank you for pointing out what I hadn't noticed, and what is surely the most vacuuous over-generalization in the whole letter – "Science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution." And these folks are faculty at a top ranked research university??? Their statement underscores how low the most brilliant people will stoop to score points. Obviously, what they should have said is the following: "Evolution rests squarely on the shoulders of science." But if they more accurately made that statement, it would not follow that all scientists would necessarily believe in evolution. Only by fallaciously putting Dr. Carson and medicine in the debt of evolution could they question whether a physician who didn't believe in evolutionary theory could be a respectable scientist, and therefore worthy to deliver a commencement address as a member of the medical profession.

  23. Doctorf
    11 May 2012 @ 11:01 pm

    Dr Carson is a skilled physician and he mastered the fundamental sciences that allowed him to enter medical school and eventually led to his training as a neurosurgeon. That said he is not a biomedical scientist nor does that distinction detract from his accomplishments. 

    A theory explains available data. A fundamental prediction of Darwinian theory is that of conserved traits. The prediction is that if a trait is necessary for life then it is conserved. We now know this to be the case at the genetic level.

    To address Nathan I don't hear howling hyenas. What they are saying is that professions of faith are not science. Science is a methodology and does not speak to faith. Saying a god created this or that in 6 days etc has no standing in science where knowledge is achieved by a systematic method assuming only natural causes. Science assumes only natural causes because supernatural causes cannot be empircally shown and bible stories and that of other individuals are nothing more than anecdotes. Thus, they hold no scientific or empircal value.

    • Anonymous
      12 May 2012 @ 4:02 am

      Doctorf –

      I haven't carefully read the fundamentalists' comments on this news item, but it is certainly not my opinion that Dr. Carson's views on creation are correct, much less that they are scientific. His accomplishments in no way validate his beliefs – at least not to my way of thinking. The problem here is that the censorious academic herd at Emory apparently believes that Dr. Carson's personal faith invalidates his accomplishments. Is Dr. Carson planning to use the commencement address to promote SDA creation science? If so, I can well understand the objections. But if he is not, why should his faith be a bar to him delivering what is traditionally an inspirational, congratulatory, and challenging commencement address having pretty much nothing to do with science or evolution? 

      Elaine, the faculty letter is just plain stupid and should be a source of embarrassment to its signatories! Most science does not rest squarely, or even partially, on the shoulders of evolutionary theory. Some –  not all – of evolution is scientifically verifiable. But much of it is theory. And the notion that the theory of evolution is equivalent as hard science to the theory of gravity and the germ theory, strikes me as patently absurd. 

      The faculty letter preposterously states that Dr. Carson's achievements in medicine create the danger that he will be perceived as someone who understands science. Are students at Emory so poorly educated as to think that a neurosurgeon, decades out of formal biological science classes is, or should be, an expert in evolutionary theory? Please! 

      I will say it again: Evolutionary theory is a red herring. Dr. Carson has been critical of Obama care, and has stated that government programs which promote dependency do more harm than good. It is these views, and the fact that he has the audacity, as a Black man, to venture off the liberal plantation, which make him persona non grata to the Emory elite.

      • cb25
        12 May 2012 @ 5:04 am

        Nathan, I have read up some on this event/report and I think you miss the mark totally.

        There's lots out there on it. Below is one that may be of value to you. Also a direct link to the review article.

        btw I think the Review person who interviewed Carson should be having second thoughts. Where are their morals in using a person who is held in such esteem as a vehicle to give credibility to their ID (Inteligence Departs theory)? The questions are leading, Carson falls right in line trotting out the staple fare of Creationism and ID's. No doubt he believes it, but as widely researched as he is, it suggests to me it is one area he has not tackled face on. (Yet)

        Dr Carson may try to distance himself from the ethics quotes (which are the main thing that got the attention), but he made the point more than once in the interview. And let's face it: It is diehard SDA  sync think. Ask any good, regular SDA and they will tell you exactly the same nonsense about the absence of cause or reason for ethics in evolution.

        • Anonymous
          12 May 2012 @ 5:59 am

          I'm not sure I follow, Chris. How am I missing the point? I'm not defending Dr. Carson's opinions on evolution or science. I'm sure I disagree with him. But so what. Can you imagine how many people with really kooky ideas and perverse morals give unremarked and unprotested commencement addresses across the country each year? How many faculty members at Emory would be protesting if the commencement address was going to be delivered by a former president who disgraced the office by engaging in immoral behavior with an intern in the oval office; lied about it repeatedly; enlisted his entire cabinet and media infantry to perpetuate the lie; was a serial sexual harrasser and possible rapist; was disbarred for perjury; was held in contempt of court by a federal judge; and impeached by the House of Representatives? Doesn't it strike you you as a sorry state of affairs when Bill Clinton is a hero of the left, and the greatest moral flaw the Left can see – the unpardonable sin – is holding and expressing conservative Christian views? 

          So yes, by all means, please tell me what I'm missing. Explain how Carson's beliefs should disqualify him from delivering the commencement address at Emory. And what other beliefs might disqualify him as well? What if he is against gay marriage? What if he is opposed to women's ordination? There's no religious litmus test to be president, but if you want to enter the most holy places of academia…

          • cb25
            12 May 2012 @ 7:13 am


            Nobody said his beliefs should disqualify him from speaking. I don't read anybody here, at Emory, in print or the like that says he should not speak. Where did you find that?

            That first link I pasted had a rather long list of people who had aroused opposition to their speaking appointment/s. Obama included.

            Again.. who says he should be disqualified? I missed it.

            The signed letter included this: "Accepting evolution, and the scientific method in general, are not at odds with being moral or religious,.." I don't read that as identifying any "unpardonable sin". 

            Their issue is the one about ethics being absent from evolution. Full stop. If that is the "conservative Christian view" you speak of then, yes, they don't appreciate it. Neither do I.

            Did you even read that link I posted?

          • Anonymous
            13 May 2012 @ 12:11 am

            Did Dr. Carson say that accepting evolution, and the scientific method in general, are at odds with being moral or religious? If so, I disagree with him. I still think it is ridiculous Alinskyite bullying for the faculty at Emory to target him for something that 99% of Emory faculty and students were unaware of before some activist chose to make it an issue. To diminish what should be the focus of attention – that Dr. Carson is a gifted neurosurgeon who has done much to advance the mission of Emory, and is worthy of emulation – is really petty and reprehensible.

            I believe that the very rude and inappropriate attempt by the faculty to "pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and poalrize it" (Alinsky Rule 12), over something which has no relationship to the accomplishments which led to the commencement address invitation, has nothing to do with science being threatened, and everything to do with the fact the Dr Carson's Biblical worldview rejects the totalitarian worldview of the Left.

            I seriously doubt that Carson would argue that folks who believe in evolution are lacking in moral or religious convictions. This is a straw man argument. He simply believes that the evolutionary hypothesis is unable to account for ethics or the moral impulse. That is quite a different matter, and I fully agree with him. The contention that ethics is absent from classical deterministic evolutionary models is quite respectable, and in fact has been the driving force behind the disparaging epithet coined by liberals – Social Darwinism. Doesn't that epithet imply that progressives themselves believe that morals and ethics are absent from the Darwinian hypothesis? What evidence from evolutionary science do you know of that accounts for morals and ethics?

      • Stephen Foster
        12 May 2012 @ 7:44 am

        Nathan, is every single topic of conversation and/or event political with you, or what?
        As well as you are capable of expressing yourself, it is nonetheless occasionally difficult to follow your reasoning because nearly every comment ends up being a political diatribe/manifesto.
        This is regrettable because larger points you may be intending to make often get lost in the weeds of politics, when these points are often quite good ones.
        Although he has opinions on public policy, Ben Carson is not a political guy. Some of his opinions might be anathema to you; with others you may agree.
        To suggest that he does not see things as most of his fellow Americans of African descent do is actually insulting. Black people, including Carson, are as multi-dimensional in their thinking processes as are others.
        There is no more (or less) a plantation for African American thought then there is for Southern white males, for instance.

        Carson, unlike some prominent (unnamed for now) political types, is actually very proud of his African American heritage (and SDA background); and doesn’t live and breathe for the approval of others, including certain Emory faculty.
        (I have not met Carson in person but am nonetheless comfortable with this characterization.)

        • Anonymous
          13 May 2012 @ 12:42 am

          Stephen, as you can see from my recent post to Chris, I do not presume to know Dr. Carson's politics, but I do have a pretty good idea of his world view. It is Judeo-Christian and Biblical. Furthermore, the criticisms he has offered of Obamacare – increased dependency; decreased personal responsibility – place him at odds with 80-90% of Black Americans and 80-90% of the academic and political elite in this country. I'm sorry if you find this reality insulting. Ella has it right! 

          I could be wrong in my opinion that the protest letter has more to do with politics than with science. But I don't think it is a far-fetched or unreasonable suspicion. And I don't think you can reasonably deny that White liberals and Black liberals believe that the members of the identity groups they patronize (gays, women, ethnic/racial minorities, unions) should tow the Leftist line, or expect to be on the receiving end of ostracism and bullying.

      • Ella M
        12 May 2012 @ 6:41 pm

              Stephen,  I would have to say here that Nathan has a point.  I don't like to stereotype, but the fact is the news reports that 90% of African Americans plan or have voted for Obama.  We also know that most academicians  fall into this Democratic category.  I am not a political person, but we can't pretend this doesn't exist.  It doesn't have anything to do with one's pride of heritage, nor is it an insult.  It has to do with stereotypical political leanings of various groups, including religious fundamentalists.  I tend to admire those who step out of their perceived stereotypes from either direction.  It means they are thinking for themselves.

        • Stephen Foster
          13 May 2012 @ 12:09 am

          For people such as myself, who should lose 25 pounds, what I should do is not consume so many calories. For people who don’t like to stereotype, the solution is not to do it.
          Blacks vote in their perceived self-interests, as do white Southern men. The percentage of whom who voted for Barack Obama in Alabama and Mississippi was less than 10% in 2008 incidentally. Are they not thinking for themselves? Are they on a plantation?
          As was previously stated, Ben Carson has views with which some agree, and views with which the very same individuals would strenuously disagree; not unlike most other Americans. If African Americans engage in group think because most vote liberal, in what type of thought do southern White men engage?

          • Anonymous
            13 May 2012 @ 7:08 am

            In order to understand the plantation reference, Stephen, you need to read Star Parker's book – Uncle Sam's Plantation. At least I think that was the title. The plantation syndrome isn't gauged by group think. You are correct to note that group think is not confined to American Blacks. But applying the plantation metaphor to white southern men who vote the same makes no sense.

          • Stephen Foster
            13 May 2012 @ 11:00 am

            …Stephen, you need to read Star Parker's bookThe plantation syndrome isn't gauged by group think.
            I have seen Star Parker on television and am already more familiar with her ilk than you might think, let’s say. Of course, you may be more familiar with Malcolm X than I might think. Parker and Malcolm X represent two sides of the same coin in my view. That said you might listen to:  
            When someone like Parker opines that others relegate themselves to the “plantation,” those to whom she refers consider it a compliment.
            Unfortunately, regarding syndromes, Ms. Parker (among others) is inflicted with the Stockholm syndrome.
            You are correct to note that group think is not confined to American Blacks. But applying the plantation metaphor to white southern men who vote the same makes no sense.
            Does it not make sense to apply the plantation metaphor to white Southern men because they weren’t slaves, or because they don’t engage in group think? (If you answer the latter, white men who vote the same are different than black people who vote the same, how?)
            Really Nathan, if I were you, I wouldn’t read too much into a world renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon being against Obamacare. You may know some politically conservative civil litigators who are opposed to tort reform.

          • Anonymous
            14 May 2012 @ 5:53 am

            You offer a false choice, Stephen. I tend to think that the plantation metaphor doesn't apply to Southern White males because the candidates they vote for support personal liberty and presonal responsibility, with smaller government, and less burdensome regulations. The parallel between government and the plantation only works for those who favor a big government that keeps people dependent on, and the individual subservient to, the state.

            I don't need to read anything into Dr. Carson's opposition to Obamacare. It is a hot button issue that is a reliable, though not infallible, predictor of one's political philosophy. I quite frankly don't know anyone on the political Left who is opposed to Obamacare, and I don't know any political conservatives who support it. Of course there may be some. But it would be highly anomalous. Any liberal who opposes Obamacare would be perceived as a betrayer of the cause. And no, I don't know any conservative civil litigators who are opposed to tort reform.

          • Stephen Foster
            14 May 2012 @ 7:51 am

            Oh, I get it now, when blacks in the U.S. vote in a bloc they are on a plantation, but when white Southern men do so, it doesn’t make sense to apply this metaphor to them  because they are supporters of personal liberty and responsibility, smaller government, less burdensome regulations, and motherhood; and thus I present a false choice. Whatever you say, Nathan. 
            There is clearly little use discussing this if you are convinced that an individual’s stance on what you consider to be a “hot button” issue tells you everything. (Like what I think of people who oppose hate crime legislation, I would imagine.)
            You certainly may consider partisan ideology to be the answer to everything under the sun; but sometimes, believe it or not, it is totally irrelevant to the issue.

  24. Darrel Lindensmith
    11 May 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    Let me just touch on another issue raised by Dr. Carson, that
    is that materialism/evolution makes, logically speaking, all ethics
    completely relative. A famous philosopher of science, Michael Ruse, stated in a 1985 article co-authored with Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson: “Ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to co-operate.” Why do biologists at Emory try to make Carson appear foolish for asserting that evolution undermines ethics, while one of the leading evolutionary biologists and one of the leading philosophers of science admit that evolution destroys any objective morality? Wilson in his book Consilience (1998) argued: “Either ethical precepts, such as justice and human rights, are independent of human experience or else they are human inventions.” He rejected the former explanation, which he called transcendentalist ethics, in favor of the latter, which he named empiricist ethics.
    The whole field of sociobiology, which is a vigorous field of biology founded by Wilson in the 1970s, presupposes that morality is the product of evolutionary processes and tries to explain most human behaviors by discovering their alleged reproductive advantage in the evolutionary struggle for existence. (Even some evolutionists consider some of their “just-so” stories either speculative or downright ridiculous.) Sociobiologists, and their colleagues in the related field of evolutionary psychology, have explained that behaviors ranging from adultery to infanticide to abortion to warfare — and many, many more — evolved because they conferred reproductive advantages to those engaging in these behaviors. On the flip side, they have also argued that altruistic behaviors — such as helping the poor, healing the sick, taking care of the disabled — simply helped our forebears get their genes into the next generation.
    The idea that evolution undermines objective moral standards is hardly a recent discovery of sociobiology, however. In the Descent of Man, Charles Darwin devoted many pages to discussing the evolutionary origin of morality, and he recognized what this meant: morality is not objective, is not universal, and can change over time. Darwin certainly believed that evolution had ethical implications.

    Ben Carson, then, should hardly be pilloried for arguing that evolution has ethical implications and that it undermines morality. If Emory University professors want to argue that evolution has no ethical implications, they are free to make that argument (I wonder how many of them actually believe this). However, if they do, they need to recognize that they are not just arguing against “benighted” anti-evolutionists, but against many of their cherished colleagues in evolutionary biology, including Darwin himself.

  25. Darrel Lindensmith
    11 May 2012 @ 11:20 pm

    I am indebted to Dr. Ben Waikart for the above information.

    • Anonymous
      12 May 2012 @ 4:43 am

      Very insightful, Darrel.  Thank you!

  26. cb25
    12 May 2012 @ 5:46 am


    May I suggest you do some wider reading in current sources about ethics within evolution from a scientific perspective, and to a lesser degree philosophical perspective?

    May I also make a point (perhaps more relevant to my blog than here, but does fit) that the social and community context out of which the 10 commandments came was not an ethical/moral vacuum. Just as EGW was able to "copy" many of her "wise" insights, and even use material already publicly available to describe some of her "visions", so to were the precursors of the framework of Israel's moral laws present.

    From long before Moses there was understandings of moral values ethics and the like. From Moses forward there is an evolution of understanding of morality and ethics even within the Bible, just as there is a growing understanding of Satan, and good and evil. There is also a growing of such external to the Bible. Perhaps I could point out that places like China were inhabited for thousands of years with no comprhension of what was going on at Mt Sinai and the exodus. If one needs the bible to get morals and ethids, how did these civilizations get theirs? And if I'm not mistaken they did have them, and they did not have Israel's God. Point? They can be the product of human culture. 

    What I am saying is that the Bible's morality fits within a context and time frame. Inspiriation may have guided it, and community certainly shaped it, but in reality it fits precisely within the framework of the evolution of humanity. In other words, I would submit to you that whether from inspirational sources or wider social context of human culture it is an outgrowth of what it means to be human. Therefore: evolution has just as much ability to build and foster ethics/rules/guidlines as inspiration because they both grow through the human experience and what it means to be human.

    So, in spite of what some evolutionists may say about ethics etc, there are many who do not support what you selected out. There is every reason based on history to believe that ethics and morality can indeed exist in the absence of either the bible or evolutionary theory. The former through whatever cause you choose, gathered it and polished it, the latter (evolutionary theory) can very well explain the presence and need for ethics based on history and science.

    We do not need Dr Carson to (be used by the Review to) drive a wedge between people over what is a red herring of Christianity. 

  27. cb25
    12 May 2012 @ 7:36 am

    Some may wonder about the statement that the social and community context out of which the 10 C came not being an ethical/moral vacuum.

    Here's an example. Genesis 20. Abraham and Sarah – long before Moses.

    Abraham, the fledgling Bible character who is to become a hero of faith,  lies to Abimelech about Sarah and God comes Abimelech in a dream. Notice what Abilmelech says to God when he is told he is a dead man. I will italicize and add a point or two: 

    "…Lord, will You slay a righteous nation (What? on what ethical and moral basis dare he say that the nation is righteous?) also? (hang on, in addition to whom? Yes, himself. Sound a bit like Moses some time later when God is angry over Israel's rebellion?)  Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.”

    Wow, remember this is a long time before the moral law. Here's a man presenting his case based on ethics and morals that not only is his nation, but so is he himself innocent. He has acted with integrity and innoncence.

    It is interesting to note that Hummarabi (google laws of hummarabi)  was probably contemporary to Abraham. While there were many and varied laws within hummarabi's laws, what Moses wrote a long time later had strong similarities in certain points. There is no vacuum here. Morals and ethics are alive and well in the absence of "direct" information from God.

    For us SDA's to say that there are no ethics or morals if one accepts evolution is to deny the reality of human culture and community.

    • Kevin Riley
      12 May 2012 @ 9:34 am

      There is the valid point that most, if not all, codes of ethics are derived from a theistic/trenscendent point of view – they are based on belief in a 'higher power' which gives basic rules on which ethics can be based.  It is the belief that ethics are entirely internal to humans that is different about ethics based on evolution.  There are atheists who wonder if that is a sound base from which to build an ethical system.

      • cb25
        12 May 2012 @ 10:51 am


        Yes, I did expect that the concept of ethics etc being derived from a  theistic pov may come up. It is a logical point in context of what I wrote. There are two issues with this as I see it.

        First many or most of those theistic contexts, especially in the distant past, were a long way from the Biblical theism we think of. ie they were polytheistic, paganistic etc. I wonder that we should place this too far into the domain of being "caused" by "god/God" as to remove it from being also very much an expression of what it means to be human and within community. (of course there is the positive angle that it may demonstrate that god/God speaks in a wider context than we imagine, but if we allow this it opens, as maybe we should, the door to allowing the very "sacred writings" that some here are objecting to)

        Secondly, to follow on from that point, I'm not sure I am explaining that ethics are based so much ON the theory of evolution as ON the nature of what it means to be human, but seen through the lens of evolution for sure. An evolutionary process explains human nature extremely well as I see it, and any input (on ethics/morality) from theism and inspiration from any source seems to be on the basic level of  "expression" of humanity within community. (is it from "outside" or "inside"? Does it reallly matter? I think it is still there either way)

        At the end of the day values/ethics/morals that come from internal convicion rather from an imposed "outside" source/authority are the better ones anyway I suspect.

    • Horace Butler
      12 May 2012 @ 11:34 am

      cb25:  "For us SDA's to say that there are no ethics or morals if one accepts evolution is to deny the reality of human culture and community."

      How many evolutionsts were there at the time of Abraham?  Obviously Abraham knew God's law because God commended him for keeping His law.  It is just as easy to attribute the code of Hammurabi as stemming from the orginal beneficent laws given to Adam and Eve, and handed down through the patriarchs.  God would not have had to speak the 10 Commandments from Sinai, they His professed people had not forgotten them for the most part.

      But, if, as evolutionists say, all is the product of random chance, then ethics and morality are at the whim of whatever society we happen to live in.  So we dare not condemn the cannibal or the polygamist.

  28. cb25
    12 May 2012 @ 1:01 pm


    No evolutionists at the time of Abraham.

    I personally see some value in the theistic/transcendent background Kevin alluded to,  because I am a theist, but I don't believe evolution per se removes ethics and morality.

    Here's a couple of stories to ponder:

    "In 1964 Jules Masserman and his colleagues studied whether rhesus monkeys would forego food if they knew that by securing the food another monkey would suffer an electric shock. In many cases monkeys prolonged their hunger rather than administer the painful stimulus. One monkey refrained from eating under such circumstances for twelve days. Extended investigation showed that: (a) self-starvation was more likely in animals that themselves had experienced electroshock as a subject; (b) sacrificial behavior was not biased towards members of higher dominance rank; (c) "altruistic" behavior was stronger for cagemates (though not statistically significant); and (d) visual contact even without auditory cues was apparently sufficient to induce the response….


    …An engaging case of sanctions in a non-human society was discovered recently in a group of rhesus monkeys on Cayo Santiago, a small island off Puerto Rico. The monkeys forage as a group and individuals often call to others when they find food, leading others to share the food. The motivation and selective context for cheating by remaining silent is clear. Cheaters are occasionally caught, however. Hauser (1992) reported that the cheaters that are detected receive more aggression (biting, hitting, chasing, rolling) than other members of the group. Silent females also eat significantly less food. "There are significant costs to withholding information," Hauser noted. "Such costs may constrain the frequency with which deception occurs in this and other populations."

    These rhesus monkeys display a modest ethical system for maintaining honesty by keeping dishonesty in check. No one individual created the rule of cooperation. Nor, given the sporadic cheating attempts, would we expect an individual cooperate freely without constraint. Nor can we suppose that the group reached their "consensus" through conscious deliberation ("mutual coercion, mutally agreed upon"). Nevertheless, the concerted action of many members of the group, each acting in their own self-interest, seems to have generated a system that dictates appropriate acts that each (other) individual monkey is "obliged" to follow. Reciprocal interaction means that all but the highest ranking members are held accountable."

    Empathy? Morals? Values? Ethics? I don't know what you would call it, but whatever it is it comes from within and in the context of their "community". Of course, you could say that because these animals were created by God this "good" behaviour is innate in them. Sure, but if so that should hold true for humans too, and that may be so, but if so we should not really need the bible for morality and ethics, it should be innate. (let's leave "fallen" human nature out of it) That puts it back on a similar locus as that suggested by evolution.

    Just something to think about….


  29. Ella M
    12 May 2012 @ 6:55 pm

           Religion should make people more ethical, but I am not sure it always does.  Consider slavery and its promotion by the religious south.  Members of the mafia who never miss church, and we could go on.  Many agnostics and atheists and nomimal Christians, etc. are honest and ethical.  However, I believe ethics had its roots in religion with a social/spiritual evolution over time.  Ours is in the Judeo-Christian heritage. From the original  humans I believe ethics/love spread out to wherever people settled. But I also believe there is a bit of faith/love in all that are born, and animals, too, show attachments and love (even EGW said this) and some reasoning.

  30. Ella M
    12 May 2012 @ 7:11 pm

            "Carson has told the Washington Post that 'he does not think evolutionists are unethical' and the Review did not publish his complete quote."
            A very sad misquote that seems to be the crux of the problem; it appears this is the statement that the university objected to.

  31. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 May 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    Hi there Chris, thanks of your point.   I really didn’t see my point about ethics being so much “philosophical,” as just plain logical.   There exists no logical ground for ethics itself in naturalism.  As you know I could list a string of Scientists as long as my arm who say so.    Of course you are right about the application of ethics.  This is ‘relative,’ to each culture.  I believe you are correct, regarding the ‘application’  of ethics.   I am speaking to the existence of the thing itself; this is not relative.  There is an absolute thing that all religions (most) and all cultures (most) agree on.   The thing itself, “ The TAO,”  according to CS Lewis exists apart from culture.   The Abolition of Man .  The Moral Law is expressed in its application in somewhat different ways from culture to culture, and like math, some answers are closer to right than others.
    E.O. Wilson in his book Socioboilogy  (pp. 16 and 222)  said,  "If humankind evolved by Darwinian natural selection, genetic chance and environmental necessity, not God, made the species."   "The brain [and the mind] exists because it promotes the survival and multiplication of the genes that direct its assembly."   So, we lack any goal external to our biological nature (religion or culture or whatever).     Morality evolved as instinct. "Which of the censors and motivators should be obeyed and which ones might better be curtailed or sublimated?"    I find it interesting that recently,  Dr Wilson has jumped ship.  He now admits that there is no scientific evidence for the above theory, which was his life’s work.  Honest Man!
    His reasons for rejecting kin selection are described in The Globe as follows:
    But over the course of subsequent decades, Wilson came across evidence that made him doubt the connection between genetic relatedness and altruism. Researchers were finding species of insects that shared a lot of genetic material with each other but didn't behave altruistically, and other species that shared little and did. "Nothing we were finding connected with kin selection," Wilson said. "I knew that something was going wrong — there was a smell to it."

    Wilson said he first gave voice to his doubts in 2004, by which point kin selection theory had been widely accepted as the explanation for the evolution of altruism. "I pointed out that there were a lot of problems with the kin selection hypothesis, with the original Hamilton formulation, and with the way it had been elaborated mathematically by a very visible group of enthusiasts," Wilson said. "So I suggested an alternative theory."

    The alternative theory holds that the origins of altruism and teamwork have nothing to do with kinship or the degree of relatedness between individuals. The key, Wilson said, is the group: Under certain circumstances, groups of cooperators can out-compete groups of non-cooperators, thereby ensuring that their genes — including the ones that predispose them to cooperation — are handed down to future generations. This so-called group selection, Wilson insists, is what forms the evolutionary basis for a variety of advanced social behaviors linked to altruism, teamwork, and tribalism — a position that other scientists have taken over the years, but which historically has been considered, in Wilson's own word, "heresy."

  32. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 May 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    I see the last half of my post didn't post.   Dr Wilson and his colleagues have been hit by a barrage of opposition to his opposition to kin selection:

    Online in Nature, nearly 150 evolutionary biologists challenged  Wilson about the usefulness of a 50-year-old theory about the role of relatedness in the evolution of complex social systems like those of ants, bees, and humans.  Wilson, along with Harvard mathematicians Martin Nowak and Corina Tarnita argue that the theory, called inclusive fitness, does not explain how these complex societies arose; in a rebuttal in Nature and in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, their critics say that the Harvard trio have misrepresented the literature and are simply wrong.

    (See Elizabeth Pennisi, "Researchers Challenge E. O. Wilson Over Evolutionary Theory," Science Insider (March 23, 2011).)

    Wilson's theory (the only game in town) of finding a naturalistic origin of ethics, has been rejected by its author due to the weight of emperical science against it.   I have taken up too much space for this;  Sorry!

  33. Truth Seeker
    13 May 2012 @ 1:50 am

    "Evolution did not cure any disease, put a man on the moon, or give us computers, to name a few."

    Horace, that is one of the most potent statements I have seen with respect Carson's stand. Carson is honorable for standing for his faith. Those who attempt to demean his stand merely demonstrate to what an extent political correctness has trumpted personal freedom.

  34. Kevin Riley
    14 May 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    Are you sure we don't look silly even to ourselves in our better moments?  I like to believe we do, as it gives me some hope for the future.

  35. Anonymous
    14 May 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    It would be interesting to know just how many of the 150 faculty members who signed the letter in question are experts in evolutionary science. Given the presumably considered, but absurd, statement that "Science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution," one might guess that many of the signatories were from the Humanities Center at Emory rather than the biology department. Of course, any reasonably intelligent high school student will recognize with a moment's reflection, that science as a discipline does not rest squarely, or even partially, on the shoulders of evolutionary theory.

    So why did the Emory faculty members make such a patently false assertion? Could it be that they are really saying that the entire enterprise of philosophical materialism, which they conflate with science, rests upon evolutionary theory? If so, the world view of Dr. Carson, whether or not his positions were accurately reflected in an obscure publication that no one at Emory is even aware of, would certainly threaten the prevalent "scientific" dogmas at Emory and potentially "poison" the minds of their students. I can well understand why the faculty herd would spin his views to justify their collective moo of protest.

  36. Elaine Nelson
    15 May 2012 @ 12:01 am

    "Evolution did not cure any disease, put a man on the moon, or give us computers, to name a few."

    Nor have computers cured any disease.  Why not compare death to machines?
    Absurd comment.  Knowledge of the EVOLVING state of bacteria is essential in developing antibiotics to fight them.

    • Horace Butler
      15 May 2012 @ 12:42 am

      "Absurd comment."  Hmm, sort of like the pot calling the kettle black.

      Bacteria are not "evolving."  They are adapting, but they are still bacteria.  That doesn't prove evolution.  Knowlege of how bacteria adapt and change is "essential in developing antibiotics to fight them," but change and adaptability are not the same thing as evolution.

      And you missed the whole point, Elaine.  The statement was made that "the work of Dr. Carson is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution."  Talk about an aburd statement!  None of the advances in science that have enabled Dr. Carson to carry on his work were dependent on an understanding of evolution.  They were based on observational and experimental science, which are independent of evolutionary fairy tales.

  37. cb25
    15 May 2012 @ 1:12 am

    The "…letter was signed by 494 signatories, including 90 faculty from the Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Oxford College, 72 faculty from the Emory Schools of Public Health, Medicine and Nursing, 55 staff and postdoctoral researchers from across the University, 154 graduate and medical school students, 121 undergraduate students, and two Emory alumni. "

  38. Joe Erwin
    16 May 2012 @ 1:49 am

    Bacteria change. Viruses change. Some changes are adaptive, others are not. The changes that survive persist. It is evolution in action. Host organisms and pathogens are in an evolutionary arms race. Too bad your hostility and defensiveness blinds you, Horace.  

    • Philip Law
      20 May 2012 @ 6:28 am

      ""Bacteria change. Viruses change. Some changes are adaptive, others are not. The changes that survive persist. It is evolution in action." Statement like this is as unfalsifiable as the statement, "It is created that way."  

      Both are statements of faith.

  39. Darrel Lindensmith
    16 May 2012 @ 2:08 am

    Evolution = “change.”. “Change happens, therefore
    Evolution happens. From nothing to everything is true.
    Nobody took nothing from nowhere and made everything.

  40. Darrel Lindensmith
    16 May 2012 @ 3:18 am

    We observe a fish tad pole slowly develop
    legs as the fins deminish and it transitions
    from water to a terrestrial life as a frog.
    Is this “change” explained by evolution or

  41. Darrel Lindensmith
    16 May 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    Yes Darrel, that is a great question!  I see where you are going with it; very logical.  I discovered an interesting study that relates to your question.  It is comment by  Dr. Eugene Koonin,  He is  author of a new study,  “The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution,”    phyyogenetic studies  –phlyogenetic  from(φῦλον), meaning “group” and (γένεσις) meaning “origin” or “birth.”   I rebelled taking Greek, now I see it everywhere.   Anyway, He states that biological innovations happen abruptly in life’s history “without any trace of intermediate forms.”   Examples include:  “1) the origin of protein folds; 2) the origin of cells; 3) origin of bacteria and archaea and major divisions within these domains; 4) origin of eukaryotes and major eukaryotic divisions; and 5) the origin of animal phyla. These major transitions appear to occur rapidly. Once completed, diversification takes place in a slow tree-like manner.”
    Now Koonin’s theory of how this “sudden appearance” happened is desperate.   He suggests that at certain periods in life’s history extensive genetic “scrambling” (horizontal gene transfer, recombination, fusion, fission, transposition) took place. Most of this genetic chaos proved nonproductive, but on rare occasions—by chance—a stable genetic combination emerged. These robust islands of genetic novelty represent a transition to a new phyla that morphologically suddenly appears as new biological complexity.
    Koonin points out that his idea merely extends the speculations—(“speculations” is his word) made by other biologists such as the late Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, Carl Woese, and Thomas Cavalier Smith, who have all suggested the identical pattern for aspects of the history of the biosphere.
    The primary implication of Koonin’s proposal is that no evolutionary tree of life exists.
    Koonin’s proposal is intriguing, but upon more careful reflection raises a number of questions. Why is this pattern of explosive innovation repeated throughout life’s history and  Why doesn’t this process happen continuously throughout the history of life?  In other words why don’t we observe this anywhere in real time?   
    As a Creationist,  and an Occam’s Razorist, I feel it’s better to just go with what we actually observe:
    “1) the origin of protein folds; 2) the origin of cells; 3) origin of bacteria and archaea and major divisions within these domains; 4) origin of eukaryotes and major eukaryotic divisions; and 5) the origin of animal phyla. These major transitions appear to occur rapidly. Once completed, diversification takes place in a slow tree-like manner.”

    • Kevin Riley
      17 May 2012 @ 12:11 am

      So have we completely dismissed the 'aliens from another universe did it' theory?  I tend to have an aversion to random events making these huge differences.  Besides, it would be nice to discover there really are benevolent aliens out there who are in control.  It makes it easier to live with the fact that no one here seems to be.

  42. Darrel Lindensmith
    16 May 2012 @ 10:22 pm

    Dr Ben Carson was able to speak at Emory University.
     His speech was absolutely great.  Watch and listen to it at

  43. Philip Law
    18 May 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    Dr. Ben Carson certainly is not timid about expressing his faith in God in front of academia. In one lecture he gave at Stanford U. he lamented that many threw God out of the window just because they had a few letters attached to the end of their names. It was quite inspirational listening to him.

  44. Elaine Nelson
    18 May 2012 @ 7:26 pm

    I find that very insulting to education from someone who has several letters after his name.  What a simplistic statement!  If advanced education caused people to "throw God out the window" what assumption that God was ever there?  Believers make such false assumptions of unbelievers that become arrogant and self-promoting.  When did humility cease to be a Christian demeanor?

    • Anonymous
      19 May 2012 @ 2:17 pm

      Yes, Elaine. When indeed! Of course we know how circumspect the Left is when it comes to making arrogant, false assumptions about believers. The nice thing about being a non-believer is that you never have to worry about being held to the standards you apply to others. 

      • Elaine Nelson
        19 May 2012 @ 4:58 pm

        The Christian way to win friends and influence people:  make fun of them.

  45. Darrel Lindensmith
    18 May 2012 @ 9:37 pm

    The truth is that belief in God is not in vogue in academia; it is viewed beneath the demeanor of the educated class.  Just a litttle snobbery involved here also!

  46. Elaine Nelson
    18 May 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    So Carson could not rise above the academic snobbery?  How is the statement that "many threw God out of the window just because they had a few letters attached to the end of their names," followed by this comment:  "It was quite inspirational listening to him." This last was a subjective opinion; Carson's was a generalization that in no way expresses faith in God, but a low standing of academics–of which he is one.  Insulting one's audience is not a good platform for demonstrating one's faith in God but one's faith in his own omniscient judgment.

  47. Darrel Lindensmith
    19 May 2012 @ 12:43 am

    You have lost me Elaine

  48. Elaine Nelson
    19 May 2012 @ 12:58 am

    Sorry, it may not be the first or last time.

  49. David Geelan
    19 May 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    Nathan Schilt:


    "It would be interesting to know just how many of the 150 faculty members who signed the letter in question are experts in evolutionary science. Given the presumably considered, but absurd, statement that "Science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution," one might guess that many of the signatories were from the Humanities Center at Emory rather than the biology department."




    The "…letter was signed by 494 signatories, including 90 faculty from the Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Oxford College, 72 faculty from the Emory Schools of Public Health, Medicine and Nursing, 55 staff and postdoctoral researchers from across the University, 154 graduate and medical school students, 121 undergraduate students, and two Emory alumni. "


    So, will there be a retraction and apology from Nathan?


    Does the truth matter?



    • Anonymous
      20 May 2012 @ 7:36 am

      Not sure I follow you here, David. What's to apologize for? I raised a question, and I'm glad cb25 answered it. His response seemed to confirm my suspicion that many of the signers were non-scientists. Of course I was simply presuming – erroneously it turns out – that respectable scientists would not have made the preposterous assertion that science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution. Perhaps you would like to defend that statement for them, since no one else seems interested in taking on that Herculean task. 

      Can you imagine Dr. Carson making what would be an opposite – and equally absurd assertion – that science rests squarely on the shoulders of a literal 7-day creation? I can't. So now who is really being unscientific here – and who is twisting and manipulating "science" to advance a non-science agenda?

  50. cb25
    20 May 2012 @ 8:15 am


    Your post several days ago, in response to which I pasted the link had many errors in it. Note:

    1. You stated: "…an obscure publication that no one at Emory is even aware of.." Fact: the article had been brought to their attention during a class/lecture discussion, so an entire class or lecture group were definately aware of it. That is not "no one". I had posted information to this much ealier. You missed it.

    2. I had also alluded to and placed information re how many signatories etc. Again, did you miss it?

    3. You rubbish the view that science rests on the shoulders of evolution. Have you actually read the entire letter?

    Here's a link below. When you have really (really again) read it, I am more than happy to suggest reasons why, in the context of the letter, their statement makes good sense. If in fact you have read it, it seems to me you are doing so with a predjucial mindset and are failing to grasp the intent correctly. 

    So, let me know when you have read it.

  51. Philip Law
    20 May 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    Signatures from more than a hundred faculty, staff and students only reflect the prevailing views of some; it may even reflect their perception of ‘Emory Values’. Fortunately science does not depend on popular opinions. Great credit must be given to the seniors and faculty who has the courage and value to invite Dr. Carson as commencement speaker. The signed statement was not against Dr. Carson as a person, nevertheless it demonstrates that view point prejudice and herd mentality is not absent in academia.

  52. Darrel Lindensmith
    20 May 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    Thank you Chris, I did read the whole document at Emory wheel. What were we to see there? Exploring a little how hard evolution touches ethics. The fact that it does says nothing for or against the theory. I am reading Sam Harris's little book, "Free Will." He explains what many see, that hard evolution implies no free will. Jerry Coyne in an introduction has the following: "Free will is an illusion so convincing that people refuse to believe that we don't have it." This sentence illustrates perfectly an internally self-defeating argument.  Look at it carefully and you will see how the statement counterdicts itself.

    As Ethics and Free Will are connected, hard evolution implies the “illusion” of both.   But as you see above, the way the theory is formulated, you can have it both ways , so long as you don’t think about it too carefully.   Because of this unusual fact I am sure Dr. Carson know evolutionist can be moral people.    And besides,  regardless of what we think, the Moral Software of God is still written into the soul of man, and it takes a lot of “Education” to override those programs.

  53. cb25
    20 May 2012 @ 11:43 pm

    Darrel, I put my comment in response to this point of Nathan's when he responded to David G, who was picking up a post I made:

    ".. I was simply presuming … that respectable scientists would not have made the preposterous assertion that science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution. Perhaps you would like to defend that statement for them, since no one else seems interested in taking on that Herculean task."

    Re Dr Carson knowing evolutionists can be moral people. Yes, he has used that "fact" "observation" as his escape hatch for his repeated statement that ultimately if you believe in evolution you have no basis for moral behaviour. It is this underlying "belief"/"assumption" with which I disagree.

    I also think that evolution resting on the shoulders of science, as elaborated in the letter, is a defensible way of expressing their point. Only someone who wants to nit pick (as Nathan seems to be prone to doing) is going to get so hung up on it. I happen to think if Nathan was not so blinded by his own assumptions and things he considers essential to defend, he would not make some of his preposterous assertions.

  54. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 May 2012 @ 2:37 am

    I see. Well, I completely disagree with your
    view, but I respect your opinion.

  55. Anonymous
    22 May 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    Okay, cb25, I went to the link, and did read the letter, including the responses. I have no assumptions to defend here. Rather, I am asking someone to defend the fundamentalist assertions in the letter by Emory biology professors that amount to a claim that one cannot believe in science unless one also accepts the evolutionary hypothesis. They sound very much like creationists who defend their hypotheses with domino theory logic.

    The letter said that science rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution – not that evolution rests on the shoulders of science, as you indicated a day ago in your last paragraph. Having read the letter, I do indeed have a better understanding of what the authors of the letter were trying to do. They were making an obviously tortured attempt to equate rejection of mainstream evolutionary thinking with rejection of science, thereby concluding that Dr. Carson's rejection of the evolutionary paradigm was a rejection of the very science upon which his life accomplishments in medicine rested. Sometimes one has to nitpick to get to the truth that is buried beneath sententious non sequiturs.

    Contrary to what the letter says, most of evolutionary theory is neither predictive nor falsifiable; acceptance of the scientific method is not, as the letter suggests, interchangeable with acceptance of evolutionary theory; the "theory of evolution" is not as strongly supported as the theory of gravity and the theory that infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms; rejecting evolution is not tantamount to disregarding the importance of science and critical thinking to society. The plethora of patent falsehoods contained in the letter, as pointed out by most of the comments which follow on the website, simply underscores how evolutionary theory has become an Asherah pole for the druids of science.

    Of course, evolutionists can be, and usually are, moral. But there is nothing in the deterministic outlook of atheistic evolutionary theory which allows for the kind of moral freedom upon which traditional notions of moral responsibility rest, much less any moral principles that stand separate and apart from the naturalistic "progress" of evolution. Fortunately, the moral convictions of most evolutionists belie their claimed belief in natural selection, random mutation and determinism. Like Christians, few atheistic evolutionists have the courage of their convictions.

  56. David Geelan
    22 May 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    No. Morality does not derive from evolutionary theory. Cannot, and does not need to. Morality is a human attribute and arises from humanism.


    If we're making subsumption plays, rather than saying 'humanists get their morality from a Christian background', we could say 'all religious morality frameworks are drawn from our shared humanity'.

    Neither claims is especially watertight… which is why all should show some humility.

    • David Geelan
      22 May 2012 @ 10:26 pm

      Should probably have said 'arises from humanity' – specifically, from our capacity for empathy, which arises from (self)consciousness and a sense of time.


      It's a bit off topic for this discussion, so I won't go into a lot more detail here, but there's an immense quantity of nonsense talked about evolution and morality… not least by *some* 'evolutionary psychologists'.

      • Anonymous
        23 May 2012 @ 12:43 am

        Yes, David, there is probably consensus here that the moral sense is not well accounted for by evolutionary hypotheses, though human ethologists might disagree. It's probably too long a discussion for this format, particularly in the comments section. But experts in human ethology and behvioral psychologists generally uproot morality from its traditional rooting in the soil of freedom and choice, and reduce it to a conditioned biological response. Thus morality (at least in its traditional sense) becomes an oxymoron. So is it entirely unfair of Dr. Carson to observe that the evolutionary hypothesis rejects the possibility of personal morality?

  57. David Geelan
    23 May 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    "So is it entirely unfair of Dr. Carson to observe that the evolutionary hypothesis rejects the possibility of personal morality?"


    Yes, it is. A few evolutionists over-reach. *Most* evolutionists recognise that evolutionary theory explains the origin of species, and is unrelated to morality. It does not offer an explanation for morality, but that is something completely different from 'reject[ing] the possibility of personal morality'.

    Gravitational theory does not explain the power and appeal of Shakespeare's sonnet 'Nothing Like The Sun', but it does not reject the possibility of poetry. 😉 The two things are simply in different domains.

  58. Stephen Foster
    24 May 2012 @ 8:30 am

    “Morality arises from humanity.” This is saying that morality is a human attribute, right?
    Self consciousness and a sense of time (?) are also human attributes or derivatives of humanity; and are prerequisites of morality.
    This is why humans are either made in God’s image or He is/was “made” in our image, and after our likeness.
    If it is the latter, then we are God. Correct me if I misunderstand.

    • David Geelan
      28 May 2012 @ 2:47 am

      We (or one among us) made Mickey Mouse and Hannibal Lector, but that does not mean we *are* those things. If indeed humanity did make God in its own image, it does not follow that we are God(s).

      Personally I do not think that we made God in our image – I see God as immortal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and so on, predating and including both us and this universe.


      What we very much have done, however, is make our own images of God in our own images. The prescriptions and proscriptions of the various Gods described in the various human traditions and wisdom literatures follow human attributes and prejudices and blind spots quite closely.


      The claim that we have exclusive, unmediated access to an infinite God is where we fall down… and mistaking our own finite images of God for His infinite reality is part of our hubris.

  59. Elaine Nelson
    24 May 2012 @ 7:28 pm

    Most people in the public eye become very wary, as they should, of making public statements.  They will be misquoted, out of context, and there is almost always a guarantee that what is reported in the media, is NOT what they intended to say.  A hazard that public figures usually discover.

  60. Anonymous
    27 May 2012 @ 2:31 am

    As a non-scientist, my fundamental beef with the evolutionary hypothesis is that, as I understand its naturalistic, deterministic premises and implications, human freedom and sinful human nature are scientifically false myths. I suppose you can rationally deduce from evolution a concept of the good, though I have my doubts about how compelling or enduring that definition would be. But since, to my way of thinking, morality presupposes free choice, it seems to me that an evolutionist must suspend disbelief in order to entertain the possibility of a morality based on freedom of choice.

    Anyone care to help me understand if and how free moral choice is compatible with evolutionary theory? Maybe I need to reframe my questions? I just don't see how, as David Geelan states, the evolutionary hypothesis, in its classic formulation, is unrelated to morality. 

    • Kevin Riley
      27 May 2012 @ 3:03 am

      Many Christians would argue that free will is incompatible with classic Chrsitianity.  You cannot have an omnipotent, omniscient God and have people making choices against the will of God.

      • Anonymous
        27 May 2012 @ 3:22 am

        I'm not aware of who those Christians might be. I understand the philosophical argument. But the Bible certainly seems to teach free will. And the story of The Fall requires a belief in free will. Are you suggesting that the one thing an omnipotent, omniscient God could not do is create a being with free will? We will shortly descend into sophistry with these kinds of questions. What I would like to focus on is whether free moral choice is compatible with evolutionary theory.

  61. Darrel Lindensmith
    27 May 2012 @ 4:26 am

    I think in the mind of some evolutionists free will
    is compatible with evolution, while many more would
    say it is not. We all know evolutionists who are
    very moral people and we know religious people
    who are not moral, and vice versa. No matter
    what side of the evolution issue, I think we all
    agree on this. in other words both side agree
    the ‘morality’ exists. Isn’t that interesting!

  62. cb25
    27 May 2012 @ 9:02 am


    In extension to Kevin's point earlier, I would suggest there is less free will within Christianity than without it.

    Let me illustrate. A basic tenet of belief in God is that if you do the right thing/choose Jesus etc, you will be saved. If you choose not to you will be damned. Now, many of the things considered the "right thing" are actually less atractive to human nature. (not talking about sinfull nature atm) Just Human nature. So the "choice" becomes doing or not doing what human nature would often prefer. 

    If I took a gun to your head and told you to perform some action or be shot – is that really free will? I could keep you at the end of my gun your entire life and keep you exercising free will to do my bidding (or die.)! At the end of the day, is there much difference to what we teach about God?

    As has been noted by others, if God really wanted to give free choice/free will he would have to remain completely hidden; keep all rewards and punishments hidden and avoid any interferences that might force or influence choice.

    BUT: He supposedly does not do this. He states the outcomes and then judges us on "how well" we have suppressed human nature. Literally how well we have suppressed free choice – doing only those things which will pass the judgement – ie keep the gun from our heads.

    Remove God (the gun) from the equation and you can bring the debate back to determism, fatalism, causality, human nature etc. Some of those are a whole new area, too much for here, but on face value within the shape of what it means to be human we have free will. We can and do choose on the daily running of our lives. Within the shape of what it means to be human, with its intrinsic innate values, instincts, ethics, loves and hates – we make choices. We indeed have free will. More so than if you impose a God who says you are free to choose as long as it is the choice I dictate – or suffer the gun to your head.

    Naturalistic and deterministic premises may have more to offer on free will than does the gun/God scenario!

  63. Elaine Nelson
    27 May 2012 @ 7:32 pm

    The entire discussion of man's free will assumes the impossibility:  no one has complete free will, to wit:

    1.  You did not choose your parents and genetic heritage.
    2.  You did not choose the educational level of your parents.
    3.  You did not choose the religion (or non-religion) of your parents.
    4.  You did not choose the place of  your birth.

    There are more, but those are basic.  All of those are the most deterministic of one's future than all the years of her life afterward.  They have the greatest influence which prevents free will.  Our parentage and place of birth and environment control what we do for the rest of our lives.  We may change religion, place of birth, and the others, but they will still be the controlling factors in all our future choices, leaving us with very little  we can truly call "Free will."

  64. Darrel Lindensmith
    27 May 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    I agree Timo; well put!

  65. Darrel Lindensmith
    27 May 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    Addressing morality and free will, the consistent
    Evolutionist will share logically that there exists no
    free will. Back in grad school I remember reading “Made from Animals” by James Rachels, “Man is a moral (altruistic) being not because he intuits the rightness of loving his neighbor, or because he responds
    to some noble idea, but because his behavior is conspired of tendencies which natural selection has favored.”  Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism. Pg. 77

    Or, the more famous Michael Ruse puts it, “Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction  . . . and deeper meaning is illusory.” “Evolutionary theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwin Paradigm. Pg 269. 

    Some will say, ‘these ideas (above) are held by few Evolutionists’ but I can only point out the  baleful influence this view of morality has had on Counseling Psychology (one of my fields).  Sigmund and Anna Freud, Carl Rogers, Rollo May and so many other existential therapies 
    have harmed so many individuals through their reductionist clap trap.

  66. cb25
    27 May 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    I'm not sure you are reading your own quotes carefully. I'll highlight a word or two to illustrate:

    "Man is a moral (altruistic) being…. because his behavior is conspired of tendencies which natural selection has favored."

    "Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction  . . . and deeper meaning is illusory."

    What is the "deeper meaning…" to which he allludes? Probably that morality points to a God! But, and this is the point, neither quote is saying there IS NO morality.

    Re free will. I agree with Ellaine that on the deeper level we are all such products of our context that our free choices are shaped. That is why I mentioned determinism, fatalism, etc. None of use has "complete" free will. I just suggest that removing God/Gun from equation leaves one more free to exercise the choices that we do seem to make from day to day in the context of human nature.

  67. Darrel Lindensmith
    27 May 2012 @ 11:34 pm

    So what do my quotes mean to you Chris?

  68. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 12:10 am


    They are just one persons point of view on the subject. But as for what they mean to me? They tell me that whoever this guy is and whatever he does or does not believe about God he sees that morality and ethics do exist within humans. I take it he sees such as the result of evolution.

    You say the consistent evolutionist will say there is no free will. I do have trouble getting clearly what you are pointing out in the quote, but took it that you were using those quotes to demonstrate that. If not what exactlly are you using them for?

    I quite like David Geelan's point above about morality being separate from evolution as such. Though I think it needs more work to fill that out.

    Lest we get hung up on semantics, because I can be wrong. Let me make again my point. Whatever it means to be human and to make "choices" about my daily life in areas that I at least appear to have autonomy, imposing "restrictions" by God REDUCES free will because it provides dictates, incentives and diss-incentives. The net result is suppression of human nature, and we have not even begun to talk about "sin" and how our SDA comprehensive list of things that are "sin" holds a gun to our head and limits expression of choices that we would quite happily make if we were not so hung up on sin.

    That is another place Ellaine is so right – cultural norms inhibit free choices we may have no problem with if we were born in a different context. My poem alluded to this.

  69. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 1:50 am

    Back in grad school I remember reading “Made from Animals” by James Rachels, “Man is a moral (altruistic) being not because he intuits the rightness of loving his neighbor, or because he responds
    to some noble idea, but because his behavior is conspired of tendencies which natural selection has favored.”  Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism. Pg. 77

    Or, the more famous Michael Ruse puts it, “Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction  . . . and deeper meaning is illusory.” “Evolutionary theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwin Paradigm. Pg 269. 

    Some will say, ‘these ideas (above) are held by few Evolutionists’ but I can only point out the  baleful influence this view of morality has had on Counseling Psychology (one of my fields).  Sigmund and Anna Freud, Carl Rogers, Rollo May and so many other existential therapies 
    have harmed so many individuals through their reductionist clap trap.

    Of course ‘absolute free will’ is not what we are talking about right?  I can freely choose to jump 40 feet, but not really!   The question is do we have free will where it matters?
    Dawkins claims that we “observe a 
    Universe that has precisely the properties we should expect if there was no design, no purpose, no evil and no good.”  Now, how could we ‘know’ this if those things were true?   

    The logic of my question is insurmountable and the answer is self-evident.  Philosophically, THIS is the problem with naturalism.   Using reason to distroy reason is un-reasonable!

  70. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 2:24 am

    I am typing this on my iPhone using my notepad
    to compose and evidently copied and pasted
    the first paragraph and the new one to the blog.
    No confusion intended.

  71. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 2:31 am

    If the reductionism that so many evolutionists preach
    is true, how could we have the tools to really ‘know’ anything?

  72. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 3:45 am


    Help me out a little so my response can be more to your point.

    "The question is do we have free will where it matters?"

    Where does it matter?

  73. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 3:56 am

    Hi Chris,
    I feel where it matters 1) to allow rationality and epistemology.
    2) to allow the seeking of objective goodness.

  74. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 10:55 am


    I'll suggest a few responses to your points I've pulled together.


    1, “The consistent Evolutionist will share logically that there exists no free will.”


    No. The consistent evolutionist will tell you that logically there is no free will if I attempt/choose to contradict natural cause-effect (contra-causal). Your jumping upwards 40 ft is an example of contra-causal free will. You don't have that ability etc to go contra nature. BUT, you do have causal free will. You can choose to jump down 40 ft. Or, you can choose not to. I believe you are confusing contra causal and causal free will. (Maybe you had this distinction in mind when you spoke of absolute free will. But we may then disagree on what you would include and exclude too.)


    This comes back to my point about there being less free will for someone who allows God to hold a gun to his/her head and believes they have true or greater free will!


    As a human I can make causal choices. Many of which are desirable to my human experience. Many of those same choices God demands I suppress if I am to “choose” him. He holds the gun. Therefore, there I am less free to exercise causal free will if I accept His dictates.


    As noted earlier true (causal) free will would only be possible if God kept his presence, dictates and rewards/punishments hidden, so that within (causal) free will I was left to use it as I chose.


    2. “The question is do we have free will where it matters – allowing rationality; the ability to know and to seek objective goodness” paraphrase.


    Yes. (we could spend a week in philosophical debate on that point and not solve it but.)


    For starters: Dawkins is not the gospel on the issue. Even many of his peers think he goes too far. You guys who have neither time nor respect for people like Dawkins are quite willing to use him as the “authority” when it suits. Strange.


    The claim that we "observe a  Universe that has precisely the properties we should expect if there was no design, no purpose, no evil and no good." proves nothing. You are correct he is using “logic” which should not exist if his statement was the end of the story. It is not the whole story. It is Dawkin's opinion, and is not a good explanation of naturalism and causality within evolution which can arguably lead to intentionality, reason, and objective goodness.


    It is possible in computer programming to simulate “evolutionary processes”? The results can produce outcomes that for all intents and purposes one would think were designed with purpose.


    So…back to my point I think there is less free will within Christainity than without it. One does not have to see God behind it. Reason, meaning, value and purpose in being human can be the result of a causal process.


  75. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Now… please remember – I am not saying these things to say there is no God. I am pointing them out because we so often imho use arguments for ID, Creation and the like which are nothing more than attempts to draw from science what suits us to further our "God cause". We create straw men on the evolution side of the debate, and are selective in our use of science.

    Darrel, how is that salt research going?

  76. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Hey Chris, well, if I quote the most respected
    Men in evolutionary field past and present, how
    is that using ‘straw men?’ I am using ‘their’
    explanations and conclusions, which I happen to
    agree with given their view. And they have the
    right to their view but please don’t call it science.

  77. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 11:40 am

    Chris, you are the salt of the earth! 🙂

  78. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 11:51 am

    I am saying the way you posit his argument it constitutes a straw man because it is not the full story.

    What about this: "Living complexity is indeed orders of magnitude too improbable to have come about by chance. But only if we assume that all the luck has to come in one fell swoop. When cascades of small chance steps accumulate, you can reach prodigious heights of adaptive complexity. That cumulative build-up is evolution. Its guiding force is natural selection

    …Natural selection is quintessentially non-random, yet it is lamentably often miscalled random. This one mistake underlies much of the skeptical backlash against evolution. Chance cannot explain life. Design is as bad an explanation as chance because it raises bigger questions than it answers. Evolution by natural selection is the only workable theory ever proposed that is capable of explaining life, and it does so brilliantly."

  79. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Climbing Mount Improbable!  Dawkin's argument is illogical, failed as an imperical observation and  certainly not science. 

  80. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    Science and logic has always "raised bigger questions than it answers."  It is a faulty Paradigm who's expectation is to find simpler and simpler levels as questions are answered.  Look at quantum physics!

  81. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    Hi again Chris, (and anyone else who wants to jump in here) I am still wondering about your view of "evolution."   In 2009, Dr. Conway Morris wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian, I don't agree with everything he has to say, but I am wondering if your thinking is close to what he expresses below?  I am wondering if his approach to ID and evolution might be close to your thoughts or not?
    "How to explain mind? Darwin fumbled it. Could he trust his thoughts any more than those of a dog? [. . .] After all, being a product of evolution gives no warrant at all that what we perceive as rationality, and indeed one that science and mathematics employ with almost dizzying success, has as its basis anything more than sheer whimsy. If, however, the universe is actually the product of a rational Mind and evolution is simply the search engine that in leading to sentience and consciousness allows us to discover the fundamental architecture of the universe – a point many mathematicians intuitively sense when they speak of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics – then things not only start to make much better sense, but they are also much more interesting. Farewell bleak nihilism; the cold assurances that all is meaningless."

  82. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 9:21 pm


    Who designed your designer?

    One person has "faith" (belief is better here) that "design" can come by multiple, incremental causal events. There is fossil, paleological and scientific evidence pointing strongly to the occurence of this very thing.

    Another has faith (blind belief better here) that his designer does not need a designer because He is big enough to never have needed one! Waiting for the evidence here? Please?

    If we Christians are going to defend God, let it be in ways that don't make a mockery of the very intelligence we seek to defend.

    I have to say, you are harder to discuss things with than a JW. You slip away from salient points and questions I make and ask and sneak back to hide in the philosophical realms of ID and things which in many instances cannot be "proven" nor argued defninitavely.

    Again, you are chasing leaves and a whole forrest of evidence for an evolutionary process is there to deal with.

    I won't bother asking about the salt again. It seems to be just another example of how hard data is avoided.


  83. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Chris Chris, my dear friend, a sequence does
    not explain HOW the sequence came about. You
    know this.

  84. cb25
    28 May 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    So…suggesting an Intelligent Designer who in turn needs no designer explains the How? An explanation which is SO critical to you because there just has to be a designer – yet you need no explanation of How the designer came to be, when He himself is being invoked because you cannot have design without designer?

    There we go again. You completelly ignore my question about whe designed your designer and throw in a point which has less validity than my question. Less because I am saying the "lesser" (than God) does not "need" a designer – you are saying the greater does not need a designer.

  85. Darrel Lindensmith
    28 May 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    I believe scientifically one can’t discover the identity of The Creator. But it is not correct to think that we need to know ‘identity’ in order to know ontology. If we came upon written script on stone on an uninhabited island, we would not need to know who wrote the script in order to know that the language was the product of design and mind. Neither does one need to know where the designer came from to the evidences of existence. These are more properly theological questions. The genetic evidence I believe provides positive evidence of The Creator more than any other line possibly. The completely interdependent systems of code, polymerizes and larger foreword thinking organizing feed back loops–the whole system must be up and running from the get-go before NS can do anything at all. The Scientific evidence is overwhelming. Who created God then? is to fall into the error of infinite regress. The buck stops somewhere, and that would when you hit eternity. Modern cosmology confirms this as well. Whatever caused the universe is more like a mind, eternal, because before the big bang there was no time. Non-physical because matter and space did not exist before the big bang. Intelligent because the fine-tuning of physics is an arbitrary mathematical work of art that had the idea of “life” in mind. Besides these we know nothing of God except what is revealed to us through Jesus Christ – the Word of God!

  86. cb25
    29 May 2012 @ 12:37 am

    That theory of the big bang is changing.

    Anyway. I think we will leave it there for now.

    All the best.


  87. Darrel Lindensmith
    29 May 2012 @ 12:45 am

    God bless you Chris, always enjoy talking with you.

  88. Elaine Nelson
    30 May 2012 @ 2:23 am

    They were not listed as moral choices, but the hindrances to free will.

    It's always fun to play "what if" which has endless possibilities.  Humans do not have endless possibilities but are limited by many variables as I listed.