In the essays The Giant Asian Hornet and Human Development and Evolution, I contend that the highly sophisticated defense strategy of the Asian honeybee against the giant Asian hornet could not plausibly be explained as being the product of an escalating arms-race of competing features incrementally achieved through small-steps over time.
I also contend that if human development occurred in small, gradually incremental steps beginning roughly four-million years ago, that we should then see milestone examples of intellectual progress to match physical development, leaving signs in history going back in time for hundreds of thousands of years.
These arguments are called inferences to the best explanation.
These arguments are conceptual ideas that fall within what I call in this book skeletal explanatory frameworks, otherwise known as theoretical hypotheses.
These are intellectually philosophical ideas that are not themselves amenable to hard, bench-top verification through research methodologies that produce measurable quantities such as size, length, or mass.
Skeletal explanatory frameworks cannot be measured using calipers, or weighed on a scale, or placed on a glass slide to be viewed under a microscope.
Ideas cannot be placed in a test tube or a glass beaker, with measured quantities of truth, integrity, and wisdom added to see if this mixture will produce a colored liquid, or generate solid precipitate particles that sink to the bottom of the test tube, or bubble-up to the top of the test tube or glass beaker and spill-out onto the laboratory table-top.
Inferences to the best explanation are not the same thing as the sequential steps in a science research program, or even the raw data this research generates.
The sequential steps in any scientific investigation produces empirical facts that can then be arranged into skeletal explanatory frameworks using inferences to the best explanation.
The part of the scientific investigation that produces empirical facts is the series of sequential steps in the research protocol.
The part of the scientific investigation that produces an interim, provisional conclusion based upon a current understanding of these empirical facts is 100% intellectually philosophical.
The idea that the atheistic, philosophical worldview of scientific materialism is somehow organically connected to the methodology of sequential steps in scientific research programs, has to be one of the most categorical misconceptions in human history.
Skeletal explanatory frameworks can be spun into differing narratives using the same set of facts, because this is the intrinsic nature of storytelling, whether in a court of law, in a political campaign, in a historical biography book, or for a teenager trying to come up with a plausible excuse for why they stayed-out later than their 10 P.M. curfew.
But storylines that are variable explanations cannot themselves be considered the fixed, empirical data.
Facts based upon empirical data can be interpreted, but cannot easily be spun into alternate facts. Facts are facts, and remain so despite our interpretations of them.
Darwin’s theory of extrapolating microevolution to macroevolution is a spin.
It is based upon empirical facts, but it is not itself an empirical fact.
It is a skeletal explanatory framework, a narrative story that is a spin superimposed over the evidence.
Fiat creation by the God of the Bible is also a skeletal explanatory framework, a narrative story that is a spin, but which today increasingly has more explanatory power than the atheism of naturalistic materialism.
Sequential Steps and Raw Data are Worldview-Free
The recipes…the sequential steps…in the classic Betty Crocker Cookbook are entirely neutral as to the theistic or atheistic worldview of the chef in the kitchen.
The mother or grandmother working all day in the kitchen preparing homemade Italian spaghetti sauce for a large family dinner gathering later that day, has absolutely zero connection to the quality of the spaghetti sauce based upon whether this mother or grandmother is a devoted Christian theist or a hard-core skeptical atheist.
The misrepresentation here is to lump all religions together on one side of the ledger as being subjective nonsense, and place the atheist all alone on the other side as being the clear-thinking, independent, superstition-free arbiter of empirical reality.
The truth is that theism and atheism are both philosophically intellectual constructions…are belief systems exercising faith in their particular viewpoints…and belong on the same side as equal competitors in the open marketplace of ideas.
Theism and atheism have nothing to do with the sequential steps of scientific investigations that generate empirical, factual evidence.
Introducing theism or atheism into the scientific conversation occurs in the upper-level realm of theorizing and conceptualization, which admits spinning of the narrative because this is the variable, non-empirical nature of storytelling.
The modern Scientific Revolution is justifiably credited with dispelling “old-wives” tales, superstition, witchcraft, soothsaying, and black magic as bogus explanations for the phenomena we see in the natural world.
But it is the sequential steps of the scientific research program that is responsible for producing empirical evidence, and not any particular worldview that by definition must be limited to the category of being skeletal explanatory frameworks that fall outside of hard, bench-top research methodology.
The distinction between the sequential steps of scientific research programs and the skeletal explanatory frameworks that attempt to describe temporarily provisional conclusions, emphatically requires that the atheism of scientific materialism be placed alongside Christian theism as both being unrelated issues in the sequential steps of the making of Italian spaghetti sauce or exploring the cosmos.
The real truth here is that the philosophical worldview of scientific materialism can be jettisoned along with “old-wives” tales and superstitions today, without threatening at all the empirical quality of the sequential steps of scientific research or the raw data this generates.
Philosophical worldviews do not overlap with the specified steps in scientific research any more than the specified steps in following a cookbook recipe requires either a theistic or atheistic viewpoint in order to be successful.
The modern, nonsensical culture-war issue of whether the conclusions drawn from scientific research must exclude the existence of God is illustrated in the now classic 2005 court case Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District.
In this court case, as an expert witness testifying against Intelligent Design, the philosopher Dr. Robert Pennock of Michigan State University argued: “science operates by empirical principles of observational testing; hypotheses must be confirmed or disconfirmed by reference to…accessible empirical data.”
This statement says that hypotheses can be confirmed or disconfirmed by reference to accessible empirical data.
Scientific materialists assume upfront that hypotheses (conclusions) confirmed or disconfirmed by reference to accessible empirical data must be done solely within the skeletal explanatory framework of naturalistic materialism to be valid.
What is subtly being represented here is that the definition of what is science and what is non-science is determined by the modern scientific method that only generates accessible empirical data.
By definition this excludes intelligent agency from the theorizing and conceptualization phase of the scientific enterprise, of drawing overall conclusions based upon the facts that necessarily can fall outside of the domain of empiricism.
This is a setting-up of the rules, a prior “rigging of the system” in favor of the atheism of scientific materialism which is incredibly misleading and untrue.
Scientific materialists are not allowed to set-up the rules that define what is science and what is non-science.
Mankind as a whole can and does make that determination, in the same way that the inference to design is commonly made every time we see the organized complexity in an automobile driving down the road, in a best-selling spy novel, or in the coded arrangement of information in DNA.
There is no logical argument that connects the philosophical atheism of naturalistic materialism to the neutral, sequential steps of scientific research programs.
Atheism and research programs belong in two entirely different categories.
As discussed elsewhere in this book, atheism extended to its logical end-point dissolves all confidence in rational thought, including science and atheism itself.
A worldview based upon pure materialism that destroys sure confidence in the findings of science, cannot be an integral part of science.
A human mind/brain that is reduced to the materialistic components of the electrical circuitry of matter and energy alone is undependable as to its sure ability to rise to the level of reliable truth-seeking.
For a human mind/brain to transcend above the unreliable relativity logically generated by the random and undirected developmental processes of materialism, the only option to restore reliability is to recognize a correspondence of the human mind/brain to the divine Mind/Being of an intelligent designing agent.
In the Dover case, also arguing as an expert witness against Intelligent Design, Dr. Eugenie Scott, an anthropologist who then headed the National Center for Science Education, stated: “You can’t put an omnipotent deity in a test tube,” and “As soon as creationists invent a ‘theo-meter,’ maybe then we can test for miraculous intervention. You can’t (scientifically) study variables you can’t test, directly or indirectly.”
It is hard to understand how otherwise brilliant people can be so influenced by viewpoint bias as to be unable to see the weakness of their own arguments.
The philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism argued for here by Eugenie Scott cannot similarly be placed in a test tube for hard, bench-top validation any more than an omnipotent deity can be placed in a test tube.
Historians and philosophers of science generally agree that the reason behind the rise of the Scientific Revolution in western Europe and not in eastern Asia can be attributed to the “theo-meter” exhibited in the God of the Bible that did not exist in the eastern religions.
Scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Maxwell, and Boyle to name a few, saw in the orderliness and intelligibility of the natural world an open door to conduct scientific research, based upon the nature of an organized and rational Creator God as depicted in the Bible.
These early pioneers of the Scientific Revolution recognized the existence of laws in nature worth researching because they saw in the God of the Bible a law-giver.
The assertion that these early scientists were all Christians because everyone in the west were Christian believers during those centuries, is an example of lazy thinking and shallow research.
During the last two thousand years, there has never been a time when there was a majority of people picking-up their crosses as disciples to follow Jesus into an adventure of faith.
The vast majority of people in every past century have chosen worldly conventional life-scripts that primarily look after “number one,” of the self-sovereignty of first taking care of me, myself, and I (Mt. 7:13-14).
The giants of the Scientific Revolution that were professing Christians were part of a group of people who have always been a small percentage of the overall population, even as it is today.
One theme of this essay is that the theo-meter articulated by Eugenie Scott is part of the larger skeletal explanatory framework we either see or don’t see in the natural world, but it is in no way found within the sequential steps of scientific research itself.
The sequential steps in human scientific research programs will not pinpoint the precise zip-code address where a physical God of the Bible can be found in the universe.
This is the very point that scientific materialists are trying to make, that true science can only be done within the limited definition of the scientific method that produces accessible empirical data.
This is a massive confusion that erroneously conflates the pinpoint accuracy of scientific investigations with the universal capacity of every human being to recognize the existence of design everywhere we look in the living and non-living world.
If Dr. Scott is implying here that we should be able to empirically find the physical identification of God through hard, bench-top science in a laboratory, then we are looking here at a “straw man” argument that misses the basic dichotomy between the hard-boiled, fact-based evidence produced through the scientific method, and conceptually theoretical hypotheses that conclude the presence of easily recognizable design in the natural world.
We then need to clearly differentiate between the sequential steps of a research program, contrasted with skeletal explanatory frameworks that can rationally include theo-meters in our attempts to formulate reasonable, big-picture conclusions.
From Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.
 Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 426.
 Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 426.
 John Lennox: Socrates in the City in Labastide, France, parts 1 and 2, Jan. 12 and 23, 2018, on YouTube.