Install a Panic Button in the Sales Models Office

            When the project sales office has a security system, it is a good practice for the builder to have a panic button connected to the security system on the land-line telephone so the salesperson can summon help quicker than dialing 911 on their smart phone.

            Some new housing projects are located out in the middle of uninhabited areas, and sales offices are open for business during weekends until 5 or 6 PM.

            When a lone female salesperson is working the sales office, the secluded conditions of the location place that person at risk.

            When a button on the telephone can set-off the security alarm and summon the police to the project, the salesperson can quickly call for help if a problem develops, using the panic button or their smart phone whichever is faster in terms of accessibility.

Foresight in Prior Fitness

            The foresight that is an integral component in the concept of prior fitness as applied to the natural living world, can be divided into three main realities.

            The first reality is the physical environment such as the African savanna plains.

            The second reality is the architectural body-plans and accompanying life-style habits of living organisms.

            The third main reality is the innate instinctual behaviors that specifically define for each living organism the essence of what they are, and equally important what they are not.

            The point of this essay is to suggest that the coordination of these three independent realities is far too complex to self-assemble through the mindless, accidental, unguided, and trial-and-error process of incremental progressive development.

            This concept of foresight integral within prior fitness applies to every phenomenon in the natural living and non-living world, and thereby makes an open-and-shut case for the need for an intelligent designing agent as the causal explanation for the physical universe and everything we study through scientific exploration.

            Let’s break this down into more detail.

            Lions hunt as a group on the African savanna plains.  They crouch low in the knee-high grass on the flat ground of the plains to hide themselves while large herds of zebras run past, searching for a particular zebra to chase, catch, kill, and eat.

            Other prey for lions is the water buffalo, wildebeest, old or sickly giraffe, and stray elephants separated from the herd. 

            Lions do not chase Thompson’s gazelles on the open plains because lions cannot run fast enough to catch them, and because gazelles are too small to provide lions with enough meat to feed the entire lion pride.

            Lions instinctively know the limits of their prospective prey within an uncanny coordination of the external environment and the broad assortment of other living creatures inhabiting the African savanna.

            We observe today as scientific, fact-based evidence that each of these three main realities are all at their mature, well-defined, end-point essences at the same point in time.

            None of these realities are in progressive development toward a fuller-defining, future iteration.

            We do observe oscillating weather patterns that produce temporary changes in the geography and plant-life, resulting in fluctuating population numbers for many living species, like the famous Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands.

But in the large mammals on the African savanna plains, we do not observe the appearance of innovative character traits for adaptation to changing geographies and weather patterns.

Looking briefly at the other two big cats on the African savanna plains, unlike lions the cheetah and the leopard hunt alone.

The cheetah can easily out-run and catch a zebra, but like the dog running after and catching the car driving down the street, once a cheetah catches-up with a zebra the cheetah knows instinctually that this prey is too large to bring down, kill, and eat.

The cheetah not only needs to know this reality of prior fitness upfront instinctually as a cheetah, but in order to survive the cheetah needs in place as prey the Thompson’s gazelle, but also needs a flat running surface to be able to run safely up to 70 mph at top-speed to catch the equally swift-running gazelle.

Move this coordinated, three-component reality of architectural body-plan, instinct, and physical environment instead into the Amazon rainforest, and it doesn’t work.

All three realities of prior fitness must be in-sync and intelligently coordinated for full function to be achieved.

The foresight in prior fitness needed to produce function, also precisely exists for the leopard.

The leopard could not survive on the open savanna like lions and cheetahs, without the presence of the occasional large tree, rock out-cropping, and small sections of trees and foliage interrupting the flat plains.

The leopard rests alone up in the shade of a large tree during the daytime, waiting for the unsuspecting gazelle to stop and feed below this tree, but mainly goes out in the cool of the night to stealthily do most of its hunting.

One point that is easily missed here is that it is not only that the positive pieces of the puzzle must be in-place, but that other things must be absent.

The African savanna plains cannot accommodate the presence of the saber-toothed tiger as a competing predator hunting prey along with and beside the other three big cats.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur would create havoc within the fine-tuned ecological balance of the African savanna plains today.

The living cell that progresses from DNA to amino acid folds to proteins to cell-types to developmental gene regulatory networks to the growing embryo to birth, cannot have any deleterious chemicals, faulty molecular machines, or adverse reactions along the way.

Complete prior fitness at each successive step must be in-place and operative for function to cascade forward to reach its well-defined, end-point outcome in living cells.    

The existence of these three main realities involving prior fitness are not mysteries known only by professional zoologists, ecologists, and biologists.

The recognition of these realities is easily accessible today to the non-scientist layman through the plethora of nature documentaries as full-length movies or weekly programs on cable television.

What is also easily recognizable once a person sees it, is that this concept of prior fitness is universally applicable in every aspect of the natural living and non-living world.

The explosive nature of this realization is that this involves the coordination of three or more independent systems of information, each on its own comprising organized complexity on a scale that eliminates any materialistic explanation for how these realities could coalesce into a functioning whole at a same point in time.

Our natural world today exhibits no such progressive movement towards future end-point outcomes.

I am not a biologist or molecular biochemist. 

But the layman can easily recognize the mathematical improbability of 3.5-billion bytes of sequentially coded information, using the four-letter alphabet of the chemical parts adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine to formulate deoxyribonucleic acid…commonly known in its shortened form as DNA.

If my mathematics is correct, the probability of DNA reaching coherently integrated function is one chance in 4 to the 3.5-billionth power, or 4 multiplied by 4, 3.5-billion times.

This produces one chance out of a number inconceivably large, and unimaginatively beyond any system of self-organization or chance assemblage to reach function.

Again, in the living cell, layers upon layers of successive prior fitness are required to go from DNA genes to amino acid folds to proteins to different cell-types to the development gene regulatory networks that tell each cell where to go and what function to perform in the developing embryo, to eventually become an elephant and not a giraffe.

The philosophical conclusion here that points towards the need for intelligent design is not magic-based, or an illusion, or theological, or empirically non-scientific.

This is an inference to the best explanation based upon the evidence that has been the product of the scientific method of research, and is a valid conclusion to draw from empirical, fact-based evidence.

At the same time, the truth of the foresight needed to sustain the universality of the concept of prior fitness integral within the natural world, now excludes the falsehood of the worldview of naturalistic materialism that is no longer viable as a working hypothesis for reality.

From Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

Collect Samples for the Sales Office

            For multi-unit tract housing and condominiums, one of the things the builder should orchestrate during the construction of the sales models is the collection of finish materials to be featured on display within the sales office.

            Such items as door casing, detailed baseboard, bull-nose drywall cornerbead, bathroom sinks with the plumbing fixtures installed, doorknob hardware, and other featured materials are sometimes mounted on display boards by the interior designer and placed within the sales office as a sales tool.

            Consider this activity item with the sales department and the interior designer before the start of the construction, so these materials can be procured from the various vendors and subcontractors in a timely manner.

            Pre-planning is better than coming up with this idea as an afterthought, then rushing to get these materials to the interior designer in time for the sales office grand opening.

The Scientific Method

            The application of a formal method to investigate the workings in the natural world is correctly recognized and credited as the start of the modern Scientific Revolution.

This begins with the discovery and use of the scientific method of research, universally applied from that time going forward to today.

            Borrowing from a classic illustrative example, if someone in the late 1500’s wanted to investigate the behavior of various objects having different weights, sizes, and shapes free-falling through space, the scientific method might have that someone dropping these various objects off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, being an excellent research platform. 

This would be accompanied by another researcher positioned as an observer on the ground using a mechanical timing device that could determine elapsed time, preferably divided into fractions of a second (a sand hour-glass would not work).

            The new scientific method of doing formal research would record the physical description of the objects being dropped, the number of times each object was dropped, the measured distance from the top of the tower to the ground, and the elapsed time duration for each free-fall through space.  Secondary information might be the air temperature, time of day, wind speed, and wind direction.

            These “findings” could then be recorded in a written field journal that could be copied and read by other people in the growing body of natural scientists around the world, who could then repeat similar follow-up experiments at their local regions using different conditions from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to generally confirm or disconfirm these findings and to improve upon the accuracy of the research methodology.

            The precise recipe of the sequential steps the first pair of researchers followed at the Leaning Tower of Pisa can be repeated and improved-upon by each successive group of researchers investigating this particular phenomenon of free-falling objects in space.

            Both the sequential steps of the research protocol and the data produced in this example are entirely naturalistic, as long as we are talking about generating measurable, quantifiable, fact-based evidence alone.

            This is the feature of the Scientific Revolution that enabled mankind to replace “old-wives” tales, magic, witchcraft, mythology, superstition, first-glance appearances, and wild speculation with true explanations for the causations of the phenomena in the natural world.

Combined with the two modern Industrial Revolutions that introduced the new advancements of technological inventions, this produced over the past four to five centuries the modern world we inhabit and enjoy today.

Some real-world examples might be helpful here.

            When Edwin Hubble, working in the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California in 1929 peered through the massive new telescope into the vastness of outer space, he used the scientific method to observe and record the red-shift of the light generated from what he correctly identified as rapidly receding galaxies.

            This new scientific discovery was made possible by the improved technology of a larger and better telescope, placed atop a mountain that at that time provided a clear view into deep outer space without the light-pollution that would come later with the population growth of the cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles below. 

            The scientific method that Hubble followed, the equipment that he used, and the data he discovered, were all naturalistically empirical and fact-based.

            As Edwin Hubble viewed outer space through this telescope, he was in real-time observing the orderliness and intelligibility of the vast cosmos that was then translated into empirical, fact-based evidence.

            In 1953, the new technology and the scientific method enabled Francis Crick and James Watson to identify the double-helix structure of DNA and its information bearing capacity.

            In 1964, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered quite by accident the background radiation coming from the Big Bang creation of the universe, while working with communication satellites as scientists at Bell Laboratories.

            The recent, ten-year long Human Genome Project to map the DNA of human beings that was completed around the year 2000, combined the scientific method, computers, and data sharing from scientists working from all over the world, that revolutionized how science could operate in a collaborative way to solve a particular question, that seemed for many to be out of reach when this project first started.

Semantics Word-Games and Category Errors

            The god-of-the-gaps argument used to attack Christian theists over the past few centuries of the Scientific Revolution was never magic-of-the-gaps or “old-wives” tales-of-the-gaps.

            It was always referred to as the god-of-the-gaps because the criticism centered around appealing to a divine god as a temporary placeholder for ignorance regarding some particular aspect of the natural world, which could more conveniently be written-off by some people as divine causation, rather than doing the hard work of field or laboratory research using the scientific method.

            Using word substitution, the concept of the god-of-the-gaps explanation for the holes in our understanding of phenomena in the natural world could be renamed today as more accurately being design-of-the-gaps or intelligent design-of-the-gaps.

            When I see anything man-made like an automobile driving down the street, or the laptop computer I am using to compose this book, or a painting in an art museum, I can immediately recognize design.

            The more sophisticated way of saying this is that whenever I see something that exhibits specified complexity, that the immediate inference is upward-pointing towards design.

            How about when this observation is of something living, such as a dog chasing a tennis ball thrown by its owner, or a beautiful, well-dressed woman walking down the street in all of her glory?

            Does the fact of this physical object of a running dog or a walking woman, being a living thing, change the immediate perception of observing design?

            My body can be analyzed through the scientific method to determine my height, weight, the volume displaced while being submerged in a tank of water, my body temperature, and the roughly 215 different cell-types of my body and about 100 nerve cells in my brain.

            But my ability to immediately recognize the sophistication of my internal design tells me that I am not the product of a mindless and undirected process.

            The contour of my body shape, the symmetry of my arms and my legs to enable bilateral upright movement, the asymmetrical positioning of my various internal organs in my chest and stomach region irrespective of function, and the coordination of all of my varied body-parts is self-evident that I am not the product of an accidental, trial-and-error process no matter how long a period of time we want to give chance to accomplish this.

            This is a valid inference to the best explanation that every human being is not only entitled to make, but amazingly has the intellectual and moral tools to make.

            We can spend an eternity trying to figure-out how the physics and chemistry of ink bonding to paper can explain the information content conveyed in the letters of the English language in the daily headlines of the New York Times newspaper…and never get there.

            The fundamental point here is that my recognition that the automobile I see driving down the street leads to an immediate inference to design, is an empirical fact-based conclusion that is not measurable or quantifiable through the scientific method.

            The explosive absurdity of the historical god-of-the-gaps attack against theism is that it unjustifiably assumes a material universe.

            In a natural world in which design is obvious all around us, the idea that a divine God would be a plausible explanatory causation in the interim until the scientific method of research can discover the complimentary naturalistic explanation, is not a rationally derogatory or demeaning reality at all.

            As Dr. John Lennox so clearly points-out in his interviews and debates online on the Internet, Henry Ford and the combustion engine are both complimentary explanations for the motor car, and are not competing explanations.

            When we look at the Big Bang moment of creation of the universe, the origin of life on earth, the enormous quantity of coded information in DNA, the coordination of the nanotechnology of molecular machines in the living cell, the abrupt discontinuities in the introduction of new features in living and non-living forms in the fossil record, the requirement of prior fitness in the environment independent of the gradual incline of increasing complexity in architectural body-plans over the expanse of the geological record, and the immergence of human intellectual and moral reasoning…the immediate inference is upward to intelligent design.

            But these inferences to design are not measurable and quantifiable through the scientific method, any more than my recognition of the design component in an automobile can be explained in terms of the measurements and quantities the scientific method is capable of producing.  

            Of course, the scientific method yields raw, naturalistic data.

It is an indisputable argument to make the case that the scientific method produces only natural data derived from naturalistic experiments, resulting in naturalistic explanatory causations.

Please forgive me here for offering too many following examples in making my case to close-out this essay, but this issue of the empiricism of the scientific method is central to the God and science debate.

In the making of Italian spaghetti sauce there are at least three main realities.

The first is the cookbook recipe of sequential steps.

The second is the taste-test reaction of the spaghetti eaters.

The third is the breaking-down of the various ingredients into their individual chemical components using the scientific method in a laboratory by trained scientists. 

Similarly, artistic oil painting, water-color painting, and ink drawing can be divided into at minimum three main realities.

The first is the sequential steps of mechanically producing a work of art.

The second is the opinionated viewing by the public of this artwork in a museum.

The third again is the breaking-down of the painting ingredients into their chemical components via the scientific method in the controlled environment of a laboratory by scientific researchers.

Another easily understood example might be the construction of a new house, which again can be divided into at least three main realities.

The first is the sequential steps of the assembly of the house from the ground up, following a well-established pattern common to all new housing construction.

The second might be the “curb-appeal” of the front elevation of the house as viewed from the street, or the utility of the floor plan for optimal living.

But the third reality once again can go into the highly technical aspects of what is called materials science, which studies the structural strengths of materials, resistance to fire, waterproofing qualities, insulating between heat and cold, and sound insulation.

In these examples, it would be the height of arrogant hubris or more charitably narrow-minded myopia to insist that the scientifically empirical perspective was the only one that mattered.

In each of the third realities given in the three examples above, it was the Scientific Revolution that added this new approach of discovering empirical, fact-based evidence at this level of detail.

But the scientific method is the new kid on the block.

Long before Newton’s equations describing gravity, people could throw a small rock four feet above themselves and observe the repetitive laws of physics that the rock always comes down to the ground, without being able to describe this reality mathematically.

Long before the scientific field of modern chemistry, a mother would explain the sequential steps of dressing the meat from an elk killed by the hunter/gatherer husband, to her daughter in preparation for cooking, before these steps were ever recorded in a cookbook or analyzed chemically in a laboratory for its nutritional value in terms of sodium, sugar, calories, and fat content.

The sequential steps for doing all manner of things, and the theorizing and conceptualization of the good or bad, right or wrong, and best practices compared to poor practices, were a part of the human experience long before the scientific method of research was invented.

Scientific materialists cannot be allowed to be the “skunk at the garden party” by insisting that we have been entirely wrong all this time by placing faith and value in the first two realities in each of the three simple examples given above, and in countless other examples commonly observed and perceived in ordinary life.

When I listen to the debate over whether the methodological materialism[1] inherent in the scientific method excludes agency, I sense however that people are simply talking past one another, not recognizing that the scientific method is only one-third of reality.

Most people can detect the intelligence of design in good Italian spaghetti, world-class paintings in a museum, and pleasing architecture in buildings.

This recognition of intelligence underlying design occurs in the middle, second reality of the examples given above.

It is not up to scientific materialists to tell us that methodological materialism defines the entirely of reality.

It is not the job of scientists to tell us about the limits of reality.

We are capable of making that determination ourselves.

It seems to me that the arguments made by scientific materialists that only natural causations and explanations are allowed in science, makes reasonable sense only until we reach the near end-point of the investigation of a particular area of research…when most or enough of the data is in.

Once we confidently reach the nearly complete, end-points of research projects that generate sufficient data to begin drawing final conclusions, then broader interpretations and the consequences of the evidence must be allowed that fall outside of the domain of materialistic explanations.

This is like eating fully cooked spaghetti, viewing completed artwork hanging in a museum, or walking through a recently constructed new house.

This is what happened in the example of the discovery by Edwin Hubble of an expanding universe that led to the theory of the Big Bang, which has definite theistic implications.

            When and if the brilliant scientific method of research discovers in the future a complete matter-and-energy explanation of precisely how the creation of the universe occurred in terms of purely naturalistic causations, the complexity, specificity, and coherently integrated systems of this information would be so magnificent in its scope and breadth as to be fantastically beyond any atheistic explanation.

            This is the dilemma for modern science today, in that the atheism of scientific materialism is incapable of recognizing the fundamental dichotomy of perception in the scientific method that when most of the factual data is in, this leads to valid inferences to the best explanations that go beyond the limited domain of materialism.

The more we learn about the information required to produce function and fit within living and non-living systems, the more difficult it is to make a plausible argument that the empirical, fact-based evidence derived through the scientific method can exclude agency from the theorizing and conceptualization drawn from this evidence.

From Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

[1] The research methodology in science limited to only naturalistic processes and conclusions.

Sell the Sales Models As-Is

            Sales model units receive thousands of prospective buyers throughout the course of a large multi-unit project.

            This amount of traffic creates wear-and-tear in these units in a variety of ways. 

            The builder should sell the sales models on an as-is basis.  Most sales models are decorated with wallpaper, wall treatments, optional decorator features, and upgraded flooring.  Sometimes sales models are purchased with all of the furniture.

            For these reasons the sales model prices are often negotiated with the homebuyer.  Like a demonstration automobile with low mileage at a car dealership, the homebuyer must understand that the sales models are slightly used. 

            The builder wants to avoid a purchaser demanding that entire areas of vinyl flooring be replaced in the kitchen, for example, because of a small cigarette burn discovered after move-in and occupancy.

            The builder should not intimate to the buyers that the sales models will be brought up to the standard of quality of the new, untouched by sales traffic, production units.

            For the negotiated sale of a model-unit to have any meaning, the words as-is in the sales agreement must mean as-is. 

            This should be the arms-length understanding, even when the builder engages in some final prep-repair work in converting the models into livable units.

Inference to the Best Explanation

            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.”[1]

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.”[2] 

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.[3]

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.

[1] Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 426.

[2] Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 426.

[3] John Lennox: Socrates in the City in Labastide, France, parts 1 and 2, Jan. 12 and 23, 2018, on YouTube.

Carpet Maintenance for the Sales Office

            Several things can be done to prolong the new look of carpeting in the sales models in spite of the wear-and-tear from sales traffic. 

            The first thing is to place wipe-off mats at the entry doors to each model.  These mats should be washable, and they should be cleaned often.  Mats at the entry doors intercept dirt before people can track it into the models and onto the carpeting.

            The second thing is to schedule cleaning of the sales models on Fridays and Mondays of each week.  Models are cleaned in anticipation of increased weekend sales traffic, and the weekend wear-and-tear to the flooring is then followed up with a Monday cleaning.  This benefits the lighter sales traffic generated during the upcoming week.

            Carpet manufacturers recommend frequent vacuuming as one method to help maintain carpeting.  Not only does the Friday/Monday cleaning schedule get the sales models looking their best for the busiest sales period of the week, but it also gets the carpets vacuumed before and after the heaviest foot traffic period.

            Carpet manufacturers also recommend having the carpets professionally cleaned periodically.  Because of the abuse that sales models carpeting takes from all of the foot traffic, the builder should consult with the interior design center (or the flooring contractor) and the carpet manufacturer directly to determine how often the carpet can be safely cleaned to keep it looking new. 

Answering Some Old Questions Part 3

Extinction Does Not Signify a Poor Designer

            In the 2006 discussion/debate between Peter Ward and Stephen Meyer, Dr. Ward introduces the old argument that extinction points towards an intelligent designing agent that is a poor engineer, creating living organisms that degrade over time.

            This is my opinion is another example of lazy thinking.

            If the living world is to progress from the single-cell bacteria 3.8-billion years ago, to human beings today having roughly 215 different cell-types, on an ever-increasing, upward sloping incline of complexity, we should recognize extinction as a necessary component in this progression.

            Where and how would all of the previous life-forms co-exist on the planet earth having limited terrain?

            This is like suggesting that the 405 freeway in Los Angeles could have all of the previous automobiles from the Ford Model-T until today, all competing for a limited number of lanes that does not adequately accommodate even today’s rush-hour traffic of modern automobiles.

            As long as the genetic information content is maintained and passed-along, and the prior fitness of the external environment keeps pace with the introduction of new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits over the long expanse of geological history, then extinction is not a validly negative criticism of designing agency, but instead is a brilliant management of integrated and coordinated realities.

Darwinian Evolution Today Has Withstood the Test of 160-plus Years of Research

            In this 2006 debate, Dr. Peter Ward also makes the old argument that Darwin’s theory of macroevolution has withstood the test-of- time for what in 2006 was about 147 years, compared to only about 10 years at that time for the relatively new and barely tested concept of Intelligent Design.

            This again is lazy thinking.

            Historically, the truth-value of a new scientific hypothesis is not judged by its length of time in existence or by a majority consensus of its adherents…although these things are important factors.

            Enumerable examples over the course of the modern Scientific Revolution can be cited of new hypotheses that were unpopular and vigorously disputed by its contemporaries, only to be exonerated by confirming evidence uncovered through continued research and analysis.

            The statement that historical Darwinism has withstood the test-of-time is simply not true.

            Disconfirming difficulties have been around since the time of the introduction of the concept of macroevolution, starting with Darwin himself in recognizing the absence of transitional intermediate precursors in the fossil record at the Precambrian geological rock strata, that he believed with further digging would be unearthed to support his theory.

            It is a fact of history that paleontologists were the first scientists to be skeptical of Darwin’s theory, because they already knew that the fossil record did not support an unbroken chain of ever-increasing complexity through the small-step, incremental progression of “nature makes no sudden leaps.”

            160-plus years of continued search for the enumerable transitional intermediates needed to support the concept of macroevolutionary development, have not only turned-up empty, but have instead identified clear discontinuities in the fossil record that support the contrary notions of explosions of new innovative life-forms without lead-up, connecting intermediates.

A discontinuity in the fossil record is a gap between the introduction of a new life-form into existence that has no connection to a preceding precursor, no lead-up of transitional intermediates that would provide a seamless connection to past life-forms.

Here I am borrowing from an Internet presentation by Gunter Bechly on discontinuities in the fossil record.[1]

Some examples of discontinuities in the fossil record are as follows.

The origin of life dated at 4.1 billion years ago (bya).

The Late Heavy Bombardment (4.1-3.8 bya), during which the earth was hit with large meteors that evaporated the oceans several times.  Yet evidence for primitive life starting and stopping during these ocean evaporations exists at this time, arguing against the notion that primitive life developed over a much longer, continuous period of time.

The Origin of Photosynthesis (3.8 bya), with marine algae forming just after the oceans stop evaporating due to meteor strikes.

The Avalon Explosion (575-564 mya) having the appearance of the Ediacaran assemblages, exhibiting the “glide symmetry” of non-symmetrical body-plans (not bilateral) being exclusively unique to this time-period, becoming extinct and never appearing again.

The Cambrian Explosion (535-515 mya) during which 21 of the 28 known bilaterian animal phyla appear suddenly without transitional precursors.

The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (485-460 mya) being a massive increase in the biodiversity of marine invertebrates such as corals, mollusks, and brachiopods, referred to as life’s second Big Bang, having no preceding precursors.

The Silurian-Devonian Radiation of Terrestrial Biotas (427-393 mya) of land plants, necessary for animal life to develop on land.  This is considered to be equivalent to the Cambrian Explosion of marine faunas in terms of the sudden appearance of new innovative structures.

The Devonian Nekton Revolution (410-400 mya) introduced active swimmers in the oceans, jawed fish, and reversed the ocean ecosystems from predominantly plankton to predominantly fish.

The Odontode Explosion (425-415 mya) introduced teeth in jawed fish, along with vertebrates and sharks.

The Carboniferous Insect Explosion (325-314/307 mya) introduced all of the groups of flying insets appearing suddenly without precursors including beetles, flies, and cockroaches. 

The Triassic Explosions, after the Permian mass extinction (252 mya).  This period also includes the Tetrapod Radiation (251-240 mya), the Marine Reptile Radiation (248-240 mya), the Gliding/Flying Reptile Radiation (230-228 mya), and the sudden appearance of dinosaurs in the Upper Triassic.

The Origin of Flowering Plants (130-115 mya) during the Cretaceous period of complex structures abruptly appearing fully formed, which Darwin called the “abominable mystery.”

The Radiation of Placental Mammals (62-49 mya) after the K-Pg-Impact.  During this time bats appear in the Eocene around 52.5 mya, along with carnivores and whales.

The Radiation of Modern Birds (65-55 mya) after the K-Pg-Impact, consisting of all of the major groups of birds.

Finally, the Upper Paleolithic Human Revolution (65,000-35,000 years ago) is also called a Big Bang because there is no gradual transition between Australopithecus to Homo sapiens.

All of these discontinuities in the fossil record are examples of sudden leaps forward in terms of new life-forms having no lead-up transitional precursors, that would be required to support a model based entirely upon the unbroken chain of common descent through small-step gradualism.

The empirical evidence requires both common descent and the addition of an intelligent designing agent to invent the information content in DNA, to turn genetic regulatory network circuits on and off to produce a lion or an elephant, and to break specified genes at the exact geological time to produce a polar bear from a grizzly bear.

The amazing fact that was missed by Darwin in formulating his theory based in part by observing the variant traits of the finches on Galapagos, naturally selected for fit and function in the varied ecosystems of each of these islands, is that none of these finch birds exhibited a large number of variant traits that resulted in numerous failed trials.

The idea that the variety exhibited in these finches was analogous to the trial-and-error concept of throwing something against a wall to see what sticks, is a factual observation that Darwin missed in the hypothetical extrapolation from microevolutionary change to innovatively creative macroevolution.

We can have common descent and divine creative input to explain the vast diversity of life, but not though the worldview of naturalistic materialism.

The incredibly tight tolerances required to integrate and coordinate all of the factors needed to support life on earth, are too complex for the worldview of naturalistic materialism.

[1] Fossil Discontinuities: Refutation of Darwinism & Confirmation of Intelligent Design—Gunter Bechly, published Oct. 11, 2018 on You Tube by FOCLOnline.

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