The Giant Asian Hornet, revised Part 4

Scientists Speaking Outside of Their Specialty are Laymen

            Some scientists have been telling us for decades that God is dead, and that the only reliable route to obtain truth is by the empirical evidences acquired through hard, bench-top science.

            Some scientists have been saying for decades that the clear evidence of design that we see in the natural world is not real, but is an illusion.

            The term-of-art popularly used by scientific materialists here is to say that the appearance of design in nature is an artifact…an artificially produced appearance created through human imagination.

            I can look through an electron microscope and see the nanotechnology of the molecular machinery at work inside a living cell, and conclude that the organized complexity I see occurring in action before my eyes is design-produced.

            I am not sure our modern culture has recognized clearly how potentially dangerous viewpoint bias is if carried to an extreme.

            The anti-god, materialistic worldview of Darwinism is on the brink of destroying the credibility of all human analytical ability because Darwinism exposes our susceptibility to the intimidating force of imposed group-think consensus that can even exist in science.         

            Confidence in the reliability of the reasoning capacity of the human mind/brain to arrive at genuine truth in science and in life connects directly to a non-material Mind/Being.

            From the Christian viewpoint, the God of the Bible created human beings with the capacity to enter into highly specified and detailed life-scripts as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith from Abraham through Paul, based upon a dependable and reliable confidence in our innate intellectual and moral reasoning ability.

            Atheism extended to its logical end-point reduces the human mind/brain to a mere material entity produced through random and undirected processes, having no firm basis to rely upon its reasoning capacity.  

            One contention of this book is that modern scientific investigation was always going to arrive at a point in time when it reached the inescapable recognition of the need for a Designing Intelligent Agent.

            The organized complexity of the information content now reveals scientifically an architectural and engineering Artisan/God of incomparable precision at the highest standards of craftsmanship.

            This Artisan has complete mastery of the database of information to create everything material and non-material in existence in the universe, because He Himself created all of this information.

            Because the natural world was always this complex,starting at the Big Bang creation of the universe 13.7-billion years ago and the formation of our planet earth 4.5-billion years ago, this paradigm-changing epiphany was waiting all this time for human scientific discovery to catch-up. 

            The functional coherence of specified complexity now points to intelligent design as the only remaining plausible option, in contradiction to the reasonableness of scientific materialism thrust forward by Darwinian evolution in 1859 based upon the database of knowledge understood at that time. 

            One point that is easily overlooked in the evolution versus creation debate, is that by making the natural world orderly and intelligible, and by having human beings with the capacity to do science, God is taking the risk that we might discover that He was sloppy, slip-shod, and incompetent as an architect and engineer.

            A God who was not completely confident about the quality of His workmanship credentials, would never upon-up the first sentence in the Bible by saying: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” knowing full-well that a beginning point in time for the creation of the universe would not be validated by science, until at the relatively late point in time in 1929 in the discovery of an expanding universe.   

            In my career in building construction, I learned early the hard-way in the customer service phase of new housing construction as a jobsite superintendent, that if a particular condominium unit or house was not ready to be shown to the homebuyer during the formal walkthrough prior to occupancy, that the best approach was to ask the sales staff to reschedule the walkthrough a few days later.

            This gave myself and the customer service prep-crew time to fine-tune the unit, so that the walkthrough would produce from zero to two or three minor repairs at most, creating satisfied new homebuyers and general good-will throughout the remaining warranty period.

            There was no point in prematurely conducting the walkthrough with a unit that was not ready, producing two or three pages of needed repairs identified by the disappointed and dissatisfied new homebuyer.

            There is no reason in a purely matter and energy universe that the natural world would be orderly and intelligible to human beings having the capacity to do science.

            The God of the Bible has in essence invited us to do a walkthrough through the human scientific enterprise.

            One of the key observations coming from modern science today is that everywhere we look, as science digs deeper and deeper into the causations behind the phenomena in the natural world, the specified complexity exhibited in nature wins the awe and admiration of atheist and theist alike.

Scientific Information is Easily Accessible Today

            In doing the research for this book, I sense that the general populace in countries like the United States are two or three decades behind where science today actually is.

            I sense that the general populace is still somewhere back in the 1990’s, accepting the assertion by Carl Sagan promoting the idea of the Principle of Mediocrity that the earth is an insignificant, pale blue dot lost in a vast universe, and the assertion by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould that science and God cannot overlap, but belong in entirely different, competing categories of reality.

            A person needs to invest only about two hours to get caught-up with where science is today, in some of the key critical areas that influence our worldview philosophy for life.

            This can easily be achieved for those people who have access to the Internet (via smart phone, computer, or other electronic device), and are willing to watch in succession, with coffee or tea breaks in-between, the presentations by Edward Murphy discussing the standard theory of the origin of the elements of the Periodic Table[1], then Gunter Bechly describing the discontinuities in the fossil record[2], and Stephen C. Meyer explaining the quantum mechanics at the Big Bang[3], to see that the evidences for random and undirected processes still being put-forward by the philosophy of scientific materialism, are no longer reasonably plausible.

            But for a real jolt forward by several decades to reach the current science in the field of molecular biochemistry (what it takes to create life), watch Scientists Are Clueless on the Origin of Life, Lecture @ Andrews University (Sept. 11, 2020) featuring Dr. James Tour on YouTube.

Prior Fitness Coordinates Too Many Complex Systems of Information that are Independent from Each Other

               One of the themes of this book is that the materialistic explanations using random and undirected processes to achieve function and fit, through the method of gradual, incremental, small-step, progressive development, no longer makes sense.

            The information content underlying the natural world is too complex to support materialism.

            When we factor-in the concept of the prior fitness of the biodiversity and environmental ecosystems required to be in-place to support each new introduction of major innovations in the living and non-living world,[4] the worldview of naturalistic materialism can no longer be considered a viable candidate to explain the ultimate reality of existence.

            When I watch on the Internet the 2014 presentation by Aoife McLysaght[5] in defense of modern Darwinian evolution, I run into the same brick-wall I encountered reading Jerry A. Coyne’s book.

            About five minutes into this excellent presentation, I sense that Dr. McLysaght is unwittingly making a cumulative case argument for intelligent agency rather than historical Darwinian evolution, so brilliantly marvelous is the scope and breadth of the natural world she is describing.

            To a modern, discriminating audience using critical-thinking, merely exchanging the phrase “intelligent designing agency” with the substitute word “evolution” is a semantics slight-of-hand card-trick that is apparently undetectable to scientific materialists.

            If intelligent agency is disallowed according to the philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism, then the only word capable of expressing the secular version of agency is evolution.

            But merely saying something, does not make it so.

            The classic statement made in 1988 by Francis Crick to scientists that they must “constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved,”[6] in just a few short years has now become obsolete.

            Information about the natural world has exponentially exploded that fast.

            Whenever phenomena in nature are described thoroughly using their full informational content discovered through science, the more and more obvious becomes the design element requiring agency, that transcends above and pushes out a purely materialistic explanation through evolution.

            How do you get multi-cellular green algae floating on top of the ancient oceans, having whatever small number of different cell-types biologists and paleontologists agree upon today, to make the leap from there to branch-off into becoming the next iteration of being a Precambrian jellyfish floating near the surface of the ancient oceans, considered by some scientists today to possess around 10 to 12 different cell-types[7] to support their architectural body-plans?  

            How do you get from there to the introduction of the new and different architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the creatures of the Cambrian Explosion, exhibiting the dynamic movement of predator/prey relationships within more complex biodiversity and ecosystems, that appear suddenly in the geological record around 535-million years ago?

            These new and novel creatures are estimated to have between 30-40 different cell-types in support of their new and active body-plans and lifestyle habits, without any lead-up, intermediate precursors found in the Precambrian rock/sediment strata, or in imaginative fictional contemplation.

            Imposing a skeletal explanatory framework over the fossil record, of gradually continuous biological development chopped-up into introducing one new cell-type at a time, is unsupported by the fact-based evidence we see all around us today in the natural world of well-defined living organisms having discontinuous gaps between them, that even children can recognize.

            In a learning game with young children, we point to various animals in a book as they answer that this picture is of an elephant and that picture is of a dog, cat, or horse.  They recognize the well-defined differences between each animal even before they stumble over correctly pronouncing the names hippopotamus or rhinoceros.

            As we look out at the natural living world today, we do not see a multitude of forms all blending together into continuous linkages, that would negate young children from being able at first-glance to separate them into their unique names.  

            This was the case in 1859 as it is today.

            An argument can be made that it was the atheism within naturalistic materialism that falsely interpreted the data at that time-period, and not the empirical, fact-based evidence itself.

            To suggest instead an alternative skeletal explanatory framework over the geological data and the fossil record of functional end-point outcomes in biology that are achieved by the input of blocks of information in clustered groups, this requires the existence of an Intelligent Designing Agent as the architect and builder of the natural living and non-living world.

            Again, this is unacceptable to the worldview of scientific materialism.

            In the final analysis, if possession of the facts does not lead to near-perfect conclusions clearly apparent to nearly everyone, this introduces a gray area of discretionary judgment into the equation of the search for truth in science and in human living, which is inexplicable in a purely material universe.

            If the final takeaway after five-hundred years of the Scientific Revolution is that after most of the evidence regarding the natural world is in…has been acquired…that as smart as we humans think humans are, if we still need a smarter God to lead and guide us into genuine truth in all of the realms of existence (Jn. 16:13), this would truly be a colossal discovery.   

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

[1] “The Origin of the Elements” by Jefferson Lab, Nov. 20, 2012 with Dr. Edward Murphy, University of Virginia, on You Tube.

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

[3] Watch the Internet interview on You Tube: The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer.  Streamed live on May 13, 2020, Dr. Sean McDowell.

[4] See “The Fine Tuning of Nature for the Major Innovations in the History of Life” by Dr. Michael Denton, published Oct. 16, 2019 on YouTube by Zefrum fur BioKomplexitat & Natur Teleologie.

[5] Copy number variation and the secret of life—with Aoife McLysaght, produced by The Royal Institution, May 27, 2014, on You Tube.

[6] Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery (New York: Basic Books, 1998), 138.

[7] On the Origin of Phyla—Interviews with Dr. James Valentine, by Access Research Network, published on Oct. 22, 20`4, on You Tube.

The Giant Asian Hornet, revised Part 3

Architectural Body-Plans and Lifestyle Habits Do Not Arise Out of DNA

            One of the key points in a modern, scientific understanding of the vast diversity of life in the natural world is that what defines the unique essence of what each living organism is, does not reside within its DNA.

            Architectural body-plans and lifestyle information exists somewhere else inside the cell.

            DNA contains the sequentially coded information that produces genes, that actualizes into amino acid folds to become proteins that are then built into individual cells.

            DNA is like the raw materials to make the concrete, 2×4 wood studs, structural steel, electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, drywall, stucco, and roofing to build a house.

            This area of building design and construction is called materials science, and is different from the field of architectural design.

            The size, shape, and distinctive design of a house comes from an entirely different database of information.

            The information database that tells the builder and tradespersons where in the house construction these various materials go is commonly called the blueprints.

            The information that builds living cells and tells them where to go to their assigned function in the developing embryo, to eventually become an elephant but not a giraffe, does not come from the DNA information needed to manufacture the raw materials to make each unique cell-type…analogous to the concrete, studs, wiring, and plumbing pipes to build a house.  

            The architectural body-plan and lifestyle-habit, blueprint- information resides inside each cell, just not in the DNA.

            This means that the distinctive lifestyle habits that are tied to architectural body-plans fall outside of the DNA genetic mutation and natural selection program.

            The architectural designs of New England Cape Cod, Southern Colonial, or Contemporary style houses are different, and the body-plans and lifestyle habits of an elephant, giraffe, and human being are different, but the housing construction materials and the DNA are the same in each case.

            Elephants, giraffes, and humans all have roughly the same DNA for making the raw materials of their cell-types of bones, muscles, tendons, blood, hair, and skin.

            But the essence of what they are in terms of unique architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits comes from their blueprint plans, and not from the DNA that creates the raw materials.

            Mutating DNA therefore cannot be the main causal agent to explain the vast diversity of life, because the design of an elephant, giraffe, or human comes from the blueprint plans inside living cells that is not a part of the DNA.

            There is a reason why there is zero evidence of incremental progressive development in an arms-race between the Asian honeybees and the giant Asian hornet, in the past or today.

This would involve the exceedingly complex combination of anatomical improvements with their accompanying lifestyle habits, all of which has to coordinate increasingly complex plateaus of informational inputs over time, coming from two or more places within the cell.

            There is a reason why there is zero empirical evidence of transitional intermediates completely filling-in the huge gaps between the informational programs we see in the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of mammals, amphibians, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects in the fossil record.

            The reason is that the ever-increasing complexity of life from single-cell bacteria 3.8-billion years ago to human beings today, did not come about by the process of incremental progressive development, one new and different cell-type added at a time.

            The branching tree-of-life simply did not happen that way.

            The skeletal explanatory framework regarding the discontinuities at the dividing nodes of the branches of the tree-of-life, resides within the analytical reasoning capacity of human beings, which can philosophically go in a number of theoretical directions.

            Skeletal explanatory frameworks are based upon the facts of empirical data, but are not themselves the empirical data.

            The observable continuity of similar features in the natural living world needs small-step gradualism only if we are committed to a materialistic worldview.

            This is where the scientific field of biology took a wrong turn in 1859.

            Since 1859, the cart has been driving the horse.  Since 1859, the philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism has been driving the field of biology based upon the hunch that variant traits are produced by random and undirected processes, one small step at a time through then unknown internal causes.

            Today, we still do not know why particular genes have critical DNA units broken or damaged that beneficially produce a polar bear from a grizzly bear.[1]

            To assign this to chance mutations at the genetic level is pure speculation based upon the worldview of materialism.

            Charles Darwin at the time could just as easily have interpreted the variant traits being put-out by living organisms as a number of internally generated informational inputs coordinated as a group, rather than as what would later be identified as single-point mutations.

            Continuity in biology can be maintained just as easily by allowing an ever-increasing incline of the complexity of architectural body-plans and their accompanying lifestyle habits, through the process of genetic information being released in blocks of grouped clusters to produce mature function as each living organism comes into existence in their biodiverse and balanced ecological environments.

            But this requires the broad-minded introduction of non-random and personally directed intelligent agency at the theorizing and conceptualization level of skeletal explanatory frameworks, which is philosophically opposed to the atheism of naturalistic materialism.

            This requires the acknowledgment of an architect/engineer behind the origin of species.

            There is no factual evidence to compellingly support behavioral adaptation for how the Asian honeybees and the giant Asian hornet reached the equilibrium of their advanced lifestyle-habits, because this is a hypothetical, provisional explanation based upon the philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            Again, the fundamental question for modern biology is where does the genetic information in living cells come from that produces the incredibly varied, instinctual predator/prey relationships that actualize through architectural body-plans of mind-boggling specificity and function, that produce a mature fit within biodiversity and ecosystems, in the first-place?

            Once the “nature makes no sudden leaps” of Darwinism, one new and different cell-type at a time, is replaced with the concept of blocks of new cell-types coming into existence as a unit to produce new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits at the level of immediate function and ecological fit, then the difficulty of the program of attempting to fill-in the “missing-links” between fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and insects in small steps…disappears entirely.

            Once the database of information in the cell that crafts the defining essence of each living organism is differentiated from the database of information coming from DNA that forms the building-block materials of the different cell-types, then genetic mutations acted upon by natural selection can more correctly be defined as the smaller but still important role of being microevolutionary adaptation that changes a grizzly bear into a polar bear.

            The answer to the riddle that scientists have been searching for over the last 160-plus years since 1859 to explain biological development, may simply be that the innovation of ever-increasing complexity in the natural living world is produced through the introduction of new and different cell-types as groups rather than one new cell-type at a time.  

            Science is legitimately allowed to use “just-so” stories like Rudyard Kipling’s fanciful story of how the tiger acquired its stripes, to theoretically connect-the-dots between data-points in their initial working hypotheses, until further investigation fills-in more facts.

            This is simply a part of the scientific method that encompasses the human psyche, the methodology of constructing a skeletal explanatory framework upon which to hang the varied pieces of data.

            These “just-so” stories theorized by professional scientists are sometimes given an uncritical pass in their simple-to-complex explanations characteristic of scientific materialism.

            Just because Dr. Jerry Coyne explains the defense tactic of the native Asian honeybee colonies against the attack of the giant Asian hornet as the product of behavioral adaptation, as Christians or non-Christians we do not have to buy into this viewpoint based on the authority of a scientist’s word alone.

            We have the intellectual license to think this through and to arrive at a different conclusion regarding the skeletal explanatory framework that is being used.

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

[1] Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: Harper Collins, 2019), 9,17.

The Giant Asian Hornet, revised Part 2

Constrained Optimization

            Our modern Age of Information tells us that the only thing capable of the engineering concept of the constrained optimization of a sequential series of decisional yes/no choices aimed specifically at reaching targeted end-point outcomes in the future, using foresight…is intelligent agency.

            As argued here, this is not fact-based evidence that supports the loosely termed “behavior adaptation” used by Jerry B. Coyne to enlist the defense strategy of the native Asian honeybee into the doctrinal camp of Darwinian macroevolution.

            The concept of Asian honeybees immobilizing and taking-out the lone scout wasp mirrors the capture of an enemy spy in human warfare over the long course of human history.

            How would and could this intelligence-based military defense tactic of catching and taking-out a spy on reconnaissance for the enemy army, be functionally operative within the instinctual program of an insect like the Asian honeybee?

             The more plausible analysis of this remarkable reality in nature is that the balanced predator/prey relationship between the giant Asian hornet and their native honeybee counterpart cannot be explained through an incrementally escalating arms-race of competing features over time, using small-step improvements. 

            The trial-and-error approach of materialism produces an oscillating, back-and-forth battleground of colossal failure for one side or the other until they both reach the equally balanced, competing features we observe today between these two native, Asian insect combatants.

            To posit a purely materialistic explanation for this mature predator/prey relationship requires a conscious, lessons-learned quality of ever-improving informational plateaus, subtly importing the intelligent decision-making of thoughtful agency into the mindless mutation/selection methodology of Darwinian evolution.

            The intelligent foresight inherent in yes/no choice-making locking-in function in evermore complex plateaus, is not allowed in a purely materialistic universe of accidental trial-and-error.

Yet without this feature of thoughtfully discerning choice-making stealthily smuggled-in, natural selection could not coordinate the forward-moving trajectories of added information that could reach the functionally balanced strategies of this predator/prey relationship.     

            We do not have to uncritically swallow the idea that the European honeybees imported into the foreign environment of Japan will over time (thousands of years?) through the accidental method of trial-and-error likewise discover this singular, successful defensive strategy on their own in isolation, all the while suffering heavy losses in route to finding the very specific information that 115-117º F combined with CO² will defeat this otherwise unstoppable predator.

            This complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated information is intelligently designed upfront into the DNA and the gene regulatory networks of the native Asian honeybees, but is clearly absent in the European honeybees, evidenced when they are imported across the continent to Japan.

            This highlights an original intent found in the molecular biochemical information that must reside within the living cells of the Asian honeybee, being unnaturally overridden through the independent intervention of the agency of unknowing human beekeepers in Japan and Europe importing foreign, European honeybees into Asia.

            In this case of importing European honeybees into Asia, the playing-field of environment is not a factor.  The challenge for the European honeybees is not adaptation to a changed external environment, but adaptation to a lethally superior predator.

            The key question then in biology is how and when does the critical survival strategy get introduced at the genetic level, to produce in the living honeybees this distinctive lifestyle habit supported by their architectural body-plans, that can actualize into viable function a military defense strategy from abstract information to a winning outcome in the real world?

            Will the mutation/selection mechanism of Darwinian evolution in small-step, incremental gradualism be up to the job, or is it self-evident that upfront, instantaneous function and fit is the more plausible explanation?

            I would argue from the evidence that the input of this genetic information to produce function and fit occurs at the inception of the Asian honeybee.

I would argue that the materialistic program of an unbroken continuity of a small-step, incrementally progressive series of back-and-forth improvements in the arsenals of the Asian honeybees and the giant Asian hornet…is plausibly untenable.

Blocks of New Cell-Types in Clustered Groups

            I would argue from the evidence that the introduction of the genetic information and the new and different cell-types to create a functional Asian honeybee, to survive in an environment that contains the giant Asian hornet, must occur through the addition of a block of new cell-types in a clustered group, and not doled-out one at a time in a blind search for function through the trial-and-error processes of materialism.

            This I would also argue is factual evidence for designing agency that is not illusory.

            How exactly would a naturalistic Mother Nature provide the intentional foresight and directional determination to persist through the enumerable lethal failures of a hypothetical trial-and-error process, to reach a successful outcome for the honeybees defending themselves? 

            To do this Mother Nature would have to rise to the level of being a conscious, deliberative deity herself.

            This information-based defensive strategy by the native Asian honeybee colonies is successfully functional and universally operative today in Japan. 

            The question can be asked, do we currently see a positive move forward by the European honeybee colonies imported into Japan, exhibiting a trial-and-error start of clustering around the intruder scout wasp and in unison flapping their wings, exhibiting the first signs of a developing defense in support of the behavioral adaptation theory?

            Can we identify an experiential transition part-way in development within the imported European honeybee colonies pointing towards the future perfected use of this successful defense tactic commonly utilized by their Asian cousins?

            Has word begun to spread through the natural, molecular language of inter-breeding and genetic drift from the successfully armed Asian honeybees to the unsuccessfully unarmed, newcomer European honeybees imported into Japan (if this is even possible)? 

            This vital genetic information for survival would then be actualized through the mechanisms of molecular biochemistry within the cell.

            But behavioral adaptation, inter-breeding, and genetic drift do not take us back the necessary one-step to explain the introduction of this information-based, novel defense strategy of the Asian honeybee in the first-place.

            Long before a back-and-forth, escalating arms-race campaign can commence towards achieving these two incredible military-quality strategies of attack and counterattack, the fundamental question must be asked-and-answered as to the original source of this complex information.

            How could a purpose-free and meaningless material universe produce such a complex, fine-tuned, and coordinated relationship, exclusive to these two species of insects alone, falling-short of an all-hands-on-deck, all-out warfare but instead focuses and stops at the predetermined sweet-spot of the limited goal of taking-out the lone scout only?

            This has the constrained optimization of ecological balance written all over it, which chooses between multiple competing objectives to reach the optimum sweet-spot in the Asian insect-world, of neither the giant Asian hornet nor the Asian honeybees being able to completely wipe-out the other in all-out, major combat.  

            No other living insect species that I know of clusters around a captured lone spy and flaps their wings to raise the temperature and create CO² gas to kill this roving scout on reconnaissance, before the scout can communicate back the whereabouts of the honeybee beehive.

Skeletal Explanatory Frameworks Enable Spinning the Narrative of Facts into Differing Hypotheses

            At this point someone will logically suggest the Darwinian mindset that given millions of years for development, would not a series of trial-and-error failures and successes eventually lead to the perfected defense strategy of the Asian honeybee?

            This assumes that length of time is the beneficially determining factor.

            The skeletal explanatory framework upon which to connect the various factual data-points used in the standard methodology for all scientific research, is in scientific jargon called a theoretical hypothesis, but is always based upon the known factual evidence available at that time-period in human history.

            In defense of Charles Darwin in 1859, he was basing his theoretical hypothesis upon the idea that the physical universe was eternal, that he had unlimited time to work with to extrapolate microevolution into macroevolution.

            Darwin did not know that in 1929, an expanding universe would be discovered by Edwin Hubble peering through the massive telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, that looking backwards in time would pinpoint a beginning of the physical universe that now limits the length of time for progressive development down to a finite amount. 

            But the issue isn’t length of time, but instead philosophical interpretations as selected by humans to create skeletal explanatory frameworks…being theoretical hypotheses.  

            One of the themes of this book is to say that the theorizing and conceptualization that is an essential part of science, is related to, but categorically disconnected from the empiricism of the scientific method of research that follows sequential step-by-step protocols that produce fact-based evidence.

            The theorizing and conceptualization part of the scientific enterprise is philosophically analytical, and produces provisional conclusions that are not themselves scientific, fact-based, raw data.  

The theoretical hypothesis from a philosophically naturalistic viewpoint says that the only acceptable route for the Asian honeybee to achieve defensive survivability against the giant Asian hornet, over a long time-period is through the small steps of gradual, continuous development.

            But length of time as the controlling factor in the equation unjustifiably assumes that change will always go in a positive direction, leading eventually to function, which is a philosophical projection based upon the factual evidence that change does go in a positive direction over time.

            But time cannot be the explanatory causation here, because change in a random and undirected process could go forwards, backwards, or in endlessly repetitive circles.

            The obvious problem that should shout-out to us here in this example is that given millions of years to work with, the Asian honeybees in route towards a functional defense strategy this brilliantly original and well-conceived, would be annihilated in the naturalistic process of gradual, incrementally progressive steps before ever reaching successful function.

            Time plus chance does not lead to function when the systems of information for survival are as complex as the defense strategy of the Asian honeybee.

            Time plus chance cannot reach a successful outcome when there are too many complex steps to get there.

            The fundamental problem in looking at the myriad of diverse instinctual lifestyle habits prolific in the natural living world, is that from a materialist worldview it presumes on philosophical grounds that these end-point maturities must be arrived at through the gradual process of small incremental steps…as long as time plus chance equates to unbroken continuity in a positive direction to reach function.

            The skeletal explanatory framework connecting the factual data-points is what is wrong here, when the philosophical worldview of scientific materialism is utilized.

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

The Giant Asian Hornet, revised Part 1

            The 2009 book Why Evolution Is True by Dr. Jerry A. Coyne…an emeritus professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, is a well-written, interesting, and up-to-date expose in support of Darwinian macroevolution.

            But one of the head-scratching, colossal ironies of our modern times is that when I read this book, by around page 80 and thereafter, his descriptions of the wonders of nature have put forth so much brilliant detail that I begin to sense that he is unwittingly making a cumulative case argument[1]in favor of intelligent agency. 

            Yet as a career-long Darwinian evolutionist, intelligent design through agency acting in the natural world is the very thing he is trying to marshal the facts to disprove.[2]

            So coordinated and integrated are the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of living organisms, so well “thought-out” are their instinctual programs for fitness that as our modern understanding of them increases, then the more implausible becomes the purely naturalistic explanations for their conceptual origin and design.

            In other words, the more we learn factually about the natural world through science, the less plausible becomes the gradual, trial-and-error, self-organizing, secular story for the creation of the universe and all of its natural phenomena.

            In this new Age of Information, increasing knowledge is narrowing the worldview choices down to intelligent agency as the only plausible explanation for the origin of the complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated[3] systems of information we now recognize and study, operating everywhere in the natural living and non-living world.

            One example of the paradoxical dilemma for scientific materialists[4] in having to harmonize the marvels of the living world with purely naturalistic causations, absent designing agency, is found in Dr. Coyne’s book of the description of the havoc that is created when the giant Asian hornet (wasp) on its home turf attacks a colony of European honeybees imported by humans into Japan.[5]  

            The giant Asian hornet is the world’s largest wasp…about two inches long, having a three-inch wing-span that can fly 25 miles per hour and travel up to 60 miles a day, and is a predatory wasp especially common in Japan.

            When a lone hornet scout finds a honeybee colony, it marks the beehive with a drop of liquid pheromone scent which then guides a group of 20 to 30 attacking hornets which can decimate in a couple of hours honeybees numbering up to 30,000.

            The giant Asian hornet has large jaws that can bite the heads off the smaller honeybees at the rate of 40 per minute.

            But the native honeybees in Japan have an incredible defense tactic that defies naturalistic explanation.

            These native honeybees send-out an internal alarm within the beehive when they first detect the hornet intruder.  They then quickly form a group of around 100 honeybees at the entrance into the beehive, and when the lone scout first enters through the beehive opening to begin its investigation, these 100 honeybees form a tight cluster around the now immobilized giant Asian hornet. 

            In coordinated unison the honeybees in this cluster all flap their wings, before the giant Asian hornet can mark the beehive with the scented pheromone. 

            This raises the temperature to around 115º F within this cluster, but also produces carbon dioxide (CO²) that further raises the temperature up to as high as 122º F[6]…which is not lethal to the honeybees but kills the giant Asian hornet scout. 

            If the Asian honeybees can immobilize and kill the intruder scout before the beehive is marked with this pheromone, then the chance that the marauding group of attack wasps will stumble by accident upon the beehive is greatly reduced.

            The question can reasonably be asked if the Asian honeybees in and around the beehive out-number the attacking group of wasps 30,000 to 30, why do not small groups of 100 bees break-off and cluster around each wasp for 20 minutes to kill the entire attack-group of wasps using this successful strategy?

            The answer is that we do not know.

            The defense tactic of the Asian honeybees is limited to successfully neutralizing this scout early, before it can mark the beehive, but does not go further to expand this brilliant military defense tactic into a larger theater of warfare.  

            But the recently imported European honeybee colonies lack even this initial defense strategy to kill the roving scout, and are quickly and completely overwhelmed by the marauding band of attacking giant Asian hornets, guided by the pheromone placed at the opening of the beehive by the hornet scout as the result of a successful reconnaissance.

            Leaving aside a narrow or a broad application of this defense strategy, the basic underlying question arises of how the native Asian honeybees could acquire this novel, instinctual defense tactic of a brilliantly functional, coordinated approach of just the right high-temperature of 117-122º F and the accumulation of CO² gas that would kill this insect enemy, but not harm themselves in the process…in the first-place? 

            Using the materialistic mechanism of blind, mindless, accidental, and undirected trial-and-error, this would produce catastrophic honeybee failures along the small-step transitional route of gradual, successive rises in temperature.

            For argument’s sake, if we start with an ambient temperature inside the honeybee’s nest at 100º F, and go upward at 2º F increments over the 16-20 minutes needed to kill the giant Asian hornet scout, this results in 8 failed trials…catastrophic defeats…if the effort at some point of time stops short of the successful goal of 115-117º F (100º, 102º, 104º, 106º, 108º, 110º, 112º, 114º, 115º F).

            This defense mechanism of the Asian honeybee is an all or nothing affair.  Intermediate stages in transition will not work.  Partial function is dysfunction in terms of survival.

            The Asian honeybees do not immediately produce the required lethal temperature to cook the lone scout to death, but time is needed to build-up the temperature within this ball of honeybees flapping their wings to 115-117º F.

            At the trial-and-error test phases thousands or millions of years ago, the Asian honeybees upon reaching the pre-lethal, mid-point of 108º F in their group clustering, would somehow have to “know” through foresight to keep going until they reached the deadly temperature of 115º F. 

            The Asian honeybees would have to know at the very start that this particular defense tactic had a successful end-point outcome to aim for, otherwise they would be going down a fruitless path, amongst a multitude of other possible fruitless paths, to oblivion and extinction.

            Modern information theory tells us that if there are more chances that something can go in the wrong direction than in the right direction, then a positive end-point outcome is more difficult to arrive at.[7]

            My hypothetical example above is divided up into increments of 2º F, but using the measurement of time instead of temperature, 20 minutes x 60 seconds each minute = 1,200 seconds of total time to kill the giant Asian hornet.

            This equates to 1,200 possible wrong choices for the honeybees to quit, to give-up short of killing the lone scout intruder, compared to only one right choice to arrive at the positive outcome of the successful defense of the beehive colony…to persist for the full 20 minutes from start to finish to reach 115-117º F.

            The Asian honeybees could easily have quit after attempting this narrowly specified, defense tactic their first try after 20 seconds, seeing no immediate positive result, the successful outcome being at the end-point of a full 20 minutes of flapping their wings.

            How would honeybees acquire this sensible, life-saving foreknowledge of a positive outcome to aim for?

            Not by accident, and not by random and undirected trial-and-error.

            In this life and death struggle the Asian honeybees only get one crack at pursuing a particular strategy all the way to success.  Quitting early or choosing another strategy through trial-and-error ends in extinction. 

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

[1] Drawing upon facts from several areas to make a convincing argument.

[2] Jerry A. Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

[3] A phrase coined by William A. Dembski in Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999).

[4] The philosophical worldview that physical matter and energy in the universe are the only realities.

[5] Jerry A. Coyne, Why Evolution Is True (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 111-113.

[6], Asian giant hornet, updated May 20, 2021.

[7] Canceled Science: Scientific Discoveries Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, with Eric Hedin, published by Discovery Science on You Tube, April 26, 2022.

Science Does Not Falsify Biblical Miracles

            The best refutation of the famous David Hume argument that biblical miracles violate natural laws, that I have heard, is given by John Lennox. 

This is presented as an illustration in an interview entitled “Can science explain everything?” on YouTube[1], which I will paraphrase here and change into American dollars instead of British pounds.

            While vacationing in California, I place in the top drawer of the dresser cabinet in my hotel room $100, and the next day I place another $100 in this same drawer for safe-keeping.

The third day after returning from sight-seeing, I come back and open this dresser drawer and find that $150 is missing.

Dr. Lennox then asks have the laws of nature been broken, or the laws of California?

            We would immediately conclude that the laws of California have been broken. 

This tells us that the laws of nature and the laws of the state of California are different.

            But how are they different?  

            For starters, my vacation hotel room is not an absolutely closed-system. 

Even though I lock the door when I leave, an outside agent can gain entrance into this room (pick the lock, climb through a window, have a master key, etc.), open the top drawer of the dresser, reach-in and take out $150.

            The other explanation for the disappearance of the $150, absent human action as the cause, would indeed be a miraculous event that does violate the laws of nature as articulated by Hume.

Of course, paper dollar bills do not by themselves dematerialize into thin-air in a puff of smoke. 

            But the laws of nature only tell us in this illustration what normally occurs within the strictly material realm.

            Nothing in the laws of nature tell us scientifically that these laws produce a closed-system that excludes an outside agent.

            An outside agent has the choice to exercise free-will.  The laws of nature do not.

            The argument that the laws of nature produce an absolutely closed system that bars agency is based upon a philosophical error that attempts to combine apples with oranges.

            An intelligent designing God having free-will agency is not in the same category as a law of nature.

            Asserting that God does not exist by appealing to the laws of nature is a philosophically fallacious argument.

            The free-will agent God of the Bible created and transcends above the laws of nature, and these laws therefore cannot tell us what God can and cannot do in the natural world.

            In another interview on the Internet, John Lennox says that he disagrees with almost everything David Hume wrote, except where Hume stated that we cannot seamlessly go from an “is” to an “ought”[2] in our pursuit of understanding the natural world.

            There is a logical gap, a discontinuity between an “is” and an “ought.”

            For example, it is easy to say as a factual statistic that a professional baseball player on our local team “is” in the hitting slump of having only one base-hit for the last twenty at-bats, but it is something else entirely to say how this same player “ought” to get out of this hitting slump.

            Anytime anyone discussing anything, describes the factual “is” of a particular subject, then unnoticeably shifts over into the “ought” of that subject, they have thereby introduced an entirely different discussion.

            The status quo of a factually established “is” in the moment is worlds apart from the ideal “ought” of how something might be better now or in the future.

            In science, what something “is” can be defined in terms of descriptions such as its physical size, length, speed, location, color, or mass. 

What something “is” can also be described by its action, such as the force of gravity, the speed of light, the beneficial characteristics of carbon to enable numerous chemical bonds to form into compounds, or the expansion rate of the universe.

            But these “is” descriptions in the natural world fall short of the mark when they attempt to perform the double-duty of telling us also what something “ought” to be.

            “Is” on one end of the horizontal spectrum-line won’t always get us all the way across to an obviously apparent “ought” on the other end of the spectrum-line.

This is analogous to the “is” of a stack of lumber and other building materials on a jobsite that cannot make the jump on their own to the “ought” of assembling into a New England Cape Cod architectural style design of a new house…without introducing the highly specified information content that comes from the intelligent agency of a designing architect.

The specificity in the “details” pages of the architectural plans tells the crafts-persons to assemble particular parts of the house under construction this way and not that way, providing exact dimensions for the sizes of building elements and spaces between them to obtain the results the architect intended.

The intelligent designing architect adds the thought-filled, specified information into the housing construction system, that the raw stacks of various materials are incapable of providing.   

            The key point here is that the creative actions of an intelligent designing agent such as the God of the Bible, proceeds in the direction of the conceptually theoretical “ought” of something in the design phase before it even exists, towards the concrete “is” of that something in a material form, like our physical universe coming into being in a split-second of time at the Big Bang.

            This identifies and defines the creative thought-process that inputs new information into a system that goes from the conceptual “ought” to the physically material “is.”

            This is going in the opposite direction of the everyday conversation that starts with describing the “is” of the professional baseball player in a hitting slump, but hits a wall when it gets to the “ought” of our opinion of what we think this player should do to get out of this slump. 

As humans, we proceed in the normally creative, conceptual direction of ought-to-is all the time.

But this creatively conceptual trajectory requires knowledge, information, and expertise that transcends above what is typically required to merely describe the factual “is” of some particular reality.

A structural engineer stands on one side of a ravine, and contemplates the “ought” of the various steel members, connections, and forces that will build the future “is” of a suspension bridge. 

The open ravine is the starting-point, factual “is” that anyone can describe.  Adding the information that could produce the suspension bridge requires the structural engineer. 

Likewise, a politician contemplates a new piece of legislation to solve a particular, unaddressed problem in society, thereby first identifying the “ought” that can then materialize into the concrete “is” of a beneficial social reform.

A medical doctor in a hospital examines an MRI for a particular patient in order to diagnose the problem, then contemplates the conceptual “ought” of an upcoming surgery to produce the positive outcome of an “is” in a full recovery for this patient.

In these everyday examples common in human experience, the status quo of an existing “is” translates into a conceptual “ought” to be, which then through action becomes again a different and better new “is.” 

The easily identifiable, intervening element of dynamic change here is the input of conceptually creative information through intelligent agency.

            Going back in history, the how and the why of the “ought” of purposeful, targeted outcomes being removed from research into the workings of the natural world, early in the modern Scientific Revolution is given by Michael J. Behe from his 2019 book Darwin Devolves:

“How did science—the very discipline we use to understand the physical world—get to the bizarre point where some otherwise very smart people use it to deny the existence of mind?  Arguably it started innocently enough.  At the urging of the philosopher Francis Bacon, a contemporary of Shakespeare, four centuries ago science made a critical decision.  It would abandon the old idea of “final causes”—that is, the notion of the purpose of an object—which it had inherited from Aristotle.  Whether the true role of, say, a waterfall or a forest is to exhibit the glory of God, supply beauty to the world, or something else couldn’t be decided by an investigation of nature alone.  Henceforth science would leave all such questions to philosophy and theology, restricting itself to investigating just the mechanics of nature.  What a cow or mountain or star is “for” would trouble science no longer.”[3]    

            It is easy to see here, that by removing the underlying purpose contained within the “ought” of an object…a waterfall, forest, cow, or mountain…in order to simplify the new scientific method going forward in the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s to more easily identify the factual “is” of a particular phenomenon, carries the danger to morph over time into the exceedingly damaging cultural worldview of a similarly purpose-free human life.

            Should we therefore be offended that the methodological materialism of the scientific enterprise is not able to break through the “and God said, Let there be…” of Genesis chapter one?

            Massive amounts of conceptually creative information can be downloaded in a split-second of time, as we now know in the use of humanly created digital devices.

            In my opinion, mankind cannot morally handle the information content that the God of the Bible uses in creating physically material things.

            Taking advantage of the orderliness and intelligibility of the natural world, mankind has created atomic bombs that can destroy the planet several times over.

            What would we do with the information of how to create life, or how to alter the force of gravity, or what is light and how to change it.  What would mankind do with energy if we understood what it was and how to change its cause-and-effect performance.

            Certainly, we could come-up with many beneficial usages for this knowledge, but our imperfect moral nature would also come-up with some destructive usages as well.

            The creatively conceptual information that God infers and implies to exist within the instantaneous accounts of creation and in the miracle events, is proprietary information that God wisely has chosen to keep to Himself.

            This brings us to a profound question that is at the heart of the science and God debate.

            How would we identify the cause of any occurrence in the natural world as being supernaturally miraculous…having only natural tools and methods to work with?

            The answer is that after bringing matter, energy, and time into existence at the creation of the universe, God is not hiding the existence of Himself as a Spirit-Being, behind the physically material empiricism of the natural world that He created.

            The gap between the natural and the supernatural begins to fade as the organized complexity of the information systems at work in the natural world, unearthed through human scientific investigation, reveals the unmistakable presence of conceptually creative forethought in their designs.

            The simple truth in this 21st-century is that modern scientific investigation has revealed the complex, specified, and coherent integration of interrelated parts that are so thoughtfully coordinated everywhere we look in the natural world, that the requirement of the existence of a transcendent Spirit-Being God is now undeniable.

            The question itself contains the subtle, built-in assumption that there must be a dichotomy between the recognition of the natural occurrences of matter and energy observably at work, and the unseen actions of a Spirit-Being God which correctly would be described as being super-natural.

            This dichotomy dissolves as human beings discover just how complex our world is in terms of information and its specificity, that we know from our own experience requires agency.

Biblical Miracles Have Realities Before and After that are Consistently Materialistic, having Zero-Time Durations In-Between for the Download Input of New Information

            One important observation about the miracles in the Bible, is that the two before and after halves of the situation, pre-miracle and post-miracle, start and end with normal, physically material realities.

            The one exception is Genesis 1:1, where God creates the universe out of nothing previously physical.

            I have never heard anyone discussing the biblical miracles in this way, using a theistic viewpoint while looking through a matter-and-energy universe.

            Once God created matter, energy, and time at the Big Bang, why would He use anything else for a starting-point reality plus a different final outcome, when intervening through a miracle in the natural world He created?

            In the miracles in the Bible, God simply goes from one material reality to the next material reality within a zero-elapsed time-frame.

            This is a better understanding afforded us now through the viewpoint of modern science, highlighted by this question of how would we identify occurrences in the natural world as being either natural or supernatural.

            The modern understanding of information tells us that it is both together, and that this seeming dichotomy cannot plausibly exist in reality.

            The specificity of design cannot occur in a purely materialistic universe.

            Conceptually creative information and agency cannot be divided into the mutually exclusive categories of the material and the non-material.

            The Spirit-Being God of the Bible is not hidden behind the empirical, fact-based evidence obtained through the modern scientific method, because the inference to the best explanation at the conceptualization and theorizing level of the scientific enterprise clearly identifies the existence of intelligent designing agency.

            I think this will turn out to be much like our discovery by Copernicus in the 1500’s that the sun does not go around the earth, although according to phenomenal observation this is what the sun appears to do.

            When viewed within the context of modern science and God, the miracles in the Bible proceed from one physically material reality to another physically material reality, the actual miracle occurring in-between within the duration of zero-elapsed time.

            For example, when Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana, the water is a non-miraculous physical substance, and the wine in the same clay jars is also a non-miraculous substance.

            The miracle occurs within the intervening instant of time during the transformation of the water into wine, being an imperceptible transition.

            This is not a wildly bizarre event where Jesus calls-up containers of wine to float in through the air from a nearby market, the miracle then being the transport of the wine over some short period of time by a visually supernatural causation.

            When Jesus calms the storm while in a boat on the lake with His disciples, the beginning of this miracle has the seas and the winds in the normal, non-miraculous state of being a severe storm, and afterward the waves on the lake disappear and the winds instantly become dead-calm, the before and the after being otherwise normal conditions.

            The miracle here again occurs within the duration of time t=0, with materially normal but different conditions existing before and after this miracle.

            If we take this same principle and apply it to every divine miracle in the Bible other than Genesis 1:1, we see this insightful realization that biblical miracles go from one normal material reality to another normal material reality.

            Whether it is the ten miracles performed through Moses in Egypt to procure the release of the Israelites, or God parting the Red Sea, or Jesus restoring sight to a blind man, the miracles in the Bible never depart from what is normal material reality, except within the instantaneous, zero time-frame of t=0.

            That God performs miracles within zero-time durations should not be a surprise. 

            This goes back to the extent and the reach of the orderliness and intelligibility of the natural world for human scientific investigation.

            Aside from our moral imperfection and the design information of creation and of miracles being divinely proprietary, if the God of the Bible did explain everything to us in terms of absolute physics, chemistry, and mathematics, could we even understand it.

            But one final question surfaces in this critical issue of the validity of biblical miracles, which in part establishes the divine origin of the Bible.

            How do you get a perfect person, being the blemish-free Passover Lamb of God substitutionary sacrifice for sin, all the way to the cross of Calvary, if the miracles in the New Testament gospels performed by Jesus are fantastically supernatural?

            If Jesus is flying around the city of Jerusalem thirty feet above the ground like the actress Sally Field in the television series The Flying Nun (1967-70), or using His miraculous access to heavenly means to be able to expel the Roman occupiers out of the land of Israel, how does redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ become a reality?

            Such a person would never be rejected, condemned, and crucified.

            The man with the withered hand has it restored instantly in zero-time as he extends is arm outward as instructed by Jesus (Mt. 12:10-13).

            A slow progression over 30 seconds from withered to non-withered hand would have elicited a much stronger reaction from the people observing this miracle in the synagogue. 

This would change the magnitude of the barely perceptible transition from one material reality to the next material reality, instead to a fantastically supernatural occurrence over the projected-out 30 seconds duration.

 The instantaneous nature of this miracle allows skeptical unbelief to interpret this as some kind of a slight-of-hand magic trick like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, which could not be the case if the transformation occurred slowly right before their eyes.

            The old woman bowed-over with arthritis in her back is instantly straightened to uprightness through the spoken words of Jesus (Lk. 13:10-17) within a zero-time duration, the suddenness of the miracle masking and partially softening the fantastic impact it might otherwise have had if the straightening-up of this woman occurred in slow-motion over 30 seconds…giving it a fantastic quality. 

            This formula of the miraculous in the Bible of a starting normal, physically material reality interrupted by a zero-elapsed time for God to input new creative information in a way totally inaccessible to human analysis or investigation as to causation, followed by a new physically material reality, says something about the brilliance of the God of the Bible that could not plausibly be the invention of human literary imagination or mythology.

            Instead of Jesus riding a humble donkey into Jerusalem during Passover week, Jesus could have walked into the city while floating three feet above the ground, with the crowd of people running in front, alongside, and behind Him, shouting “Hosanna.” 

            If the actions of Jesus Christ during His ministry had even slightly more of the fantastic element of visual impact in the performance of miracles, He would never have made it all the way to the cross.

            This recognition of the miraculous actions of the God of the Bible occurring within zero-time durations separating two normally material realities, not only dissolves the dichotomy between the natural and the supernatural, but it reveals a genius that can craft miraculous events that are sandwiched between the physically material realities that He created.

            This is how Jesus can be the supernatural Son of God, satisfying all of the ancient Jewish biblical prophecies regarding who He will be and what He will do, while still being able to make it humbly to the rejection of the cross of Calvary for our benefit.  

            If the scientific materialists had their way, and God wrote across the sky with fiery red letters one day every year starting in the time of Abraham, that He is God and to worship only Him, then the entire concept of redemptive salvation by grace through faith, that enables the program of inhabiting the research vehicle of a fallen yet redeemed moral nature to explore the knowledge of good and evil, and to therein develop a personal relationship with God, would change into the bland and unremarkable acknowledgement of the obvious, like the rising of the sun every morning in the east. 

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

[1] Can science explain everything?  An interview with John Lennox.  RZIM, Jan. 31, 2019.

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

[3] Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: Harper Collins, 2019), 258-259.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Answering Some Old Questions Part 2

Comparative Anatomy

            Comparative anatomy also becomes a non-issue today as an argument in favor of Darwinian evolution.

            This issue only has relevance if we start with the materialistic program of small-step, continuous biological development, one new and different cell-type at a time.

            Once we admit into the discussion the evidence of forward leaps in nature that produce end-point fit and function at the first introduction of new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits, this requires blocks of new and different cell-types in grouped clusters that in practical terms transcends above materialistic causations.

            That Darwin would propose the comparative anatomy of similar features as an argument for gradual continuity reveals a mindset limited to the factors of distance traveled in terms of beneficial features, divided by measurable time within our four-dimensional reality.

            This approach will not allow for the possibility of blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters as the explanation for the vast diversity of life, because this entertains the input of information by a timeless Mind/Being who can only be identified through circumstantial evidence, curiously being the same type of evidence introduced by Darwin to make his case for macroevolution.

            Adding blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters still maintains true relationships, just not according to the worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            As has been said elsewhere in this book, adding new genetic information in blocks of grouped clusters to effectuate fit and function, is entirely consistent with common descent, just not in the universally connected sense required by naturalistic materialism.

            The accurately generous thing to say about Darwin’s use of comparative anatomy as an argument in favor of macroevolution is that it was close but still off-target.

            The same can be said for many scientific hypotheses at their inception.

            Today we can save ourselves a lot of time by side-stepping all of the arguments put forward in the last 160-plus years of Darwinism regarding the importance of comparative anatomy…either confirming or not confirming the small-step, gradual continuity of common descent.

            Agatha Christie may type her book Murder on the Orient Express one letter at a time, but her daily writing output of 500-1,000 words or more is created as a block of grouped story-telling information.

            In tract housing construction, the first-floor wall framing proceeds one 2×4 stud at a time, but daily progress is evaluated on the number of houses having the first-floor wall framing completed as a grouped output.

            When we look at the natural living world, why would we not recognize the same presence of intelligent designing agency in a functioning elephant that we acknowledge to exist within an automobile driving past us down the road?

            The comparative anatomy of similar common features has nothing to say whether common descent was achieved one new cell-type at a time, or by blocks of new and different cell-types introduced in grouped clusters.

            The similarities in DNA that show commonality between living organisms does not explain the organized complexity of DNA or the origin of this information content.

            Similarity does not arbitrate between Darwin or God.

            Darwinists still today confuse the evidence of similarity as an explanation that supports macroevolution, when similarity can just as easily be spun into an equally compelling case for intelligent designing agency.

            These are competing inferences to the best explanation, and cannot be hijacked by scientific materialists into the camp of Darwinian evolution without facing the push-back of critical cross-examination.

The Principle of Mediocrity

            Another old question that can be clarified through the critical analysis of equally competing skeletal explanatory frameworks, is the notion popularized by Carl Sagan in his book The Pale Blue Dot, coined as the Copernican Principle or the Principle of Mediocrity.

            The Principle of Mediocrity says that because the earth is smaller in size compared to the vastness of the cosmos, that simply because our earth is inhabited by humans, it nonetheless merits no special significance in the universe.

            To paraphrase, Carl Sagan said that our earth was a small speck in the great cosmic dark, enjoying no special or preferred place in the universe, the essence of the concept of the Principle of Mediocrity.

            The arguments unwinding this concept begin by saying that the universe has to reach its current size in order to have a large enough sample-size of rapidly receding galaxies to mathematically calculate in reverse-time going backwards, to precisely pinpoint an accurate average of 13.7-billion years ago for the Big Bang beginning of the universe.

            The relative ratio between a hypothetically smaller universe and a larger earth would not improve the accuracy of these calculations, and are therefore seen as being irrelevant in determining the importance of the pale-blue dot of earth in terms of its relative size.

            The vast size of the universe appears not to be an impediment in calculating a beginning point in time for the universe…the Big Bang being an extremely important scientific discovery.

            This line of reasoning would be easily recognized by a cosmologist or astrophysicist.

            Having this starting point in time established, we can ask some hypothetical questions relating to this supposed issue of mediocrity.

            After the first billion years of the existence of the universe at 12.7 billion years ago, would our Milky Way galaxy exist and how far along would its development be in terms of going from chaos to order?

            Could an early universe that had expanded to roughly 7% of its current size (using a linear expansion of 13.7/100 = 7%) be able to produce our Milky Way galaxy to the point where our galaxy would then be able to produce and sustain our solar system and planet earth?

            The beginning of the universe at 13.7-billion years ago minus the beginning of the earth at 4.5-billion years ago, equals roughly 9.2-billion years of the expanding universe before our local solar system and earth are formed. 

            The time-period of another 4.5-billion years of expansion occurs before humans come along and begin to investigate the natural world through science.

            If time and space were compressed to make the earth “more significant” in terms of relative size compared to the universe at large, would we still have an earth located within the dark space between two spiral arms within the comparatively safe “goldilocks zone,” a little more than half-way out between the center and the outside edge of the Milky Way galaxy?

            Would we have the clear atmosphere of the earth to explore the cosmos through telescopes and outer-space probing satellites?

            Would an initial expansion rate of the universe that was less than it was at the Hot Big Bang produce the enormous universe compared to the seemingly insignificant planet earth, having all of the right proportions, sizes, and fine-tuned constants in the laws of physics? 

            The precisely accurate mathematical calculations fit together like a Swiss watch, including a definitive starting point in time for the beginning of the universe.

            Carl Sagan saying that our earth is mediocre within the grand scheme of things, because the worldview of scientific materialism has no place for intelligent agency and thus no purpose or meaning in the universe, is a totally philosophical assumption. 

            It is an expression of his opinion.

            It has no empirical support coming from the fact-based evidence of science itself.

            We could ask what alternative size and scope for the universe would provide an equal quantitative and qualitative sample-size to produce the current accuracy of our determinations of the laws of physics, and the characteristics of the fundamental elements of the Periodic Table.

            There is a host of reasons why the Principle of Mediocrity is no longer valid, beyond the scope of this book (see the book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, by Hugh Ross, 2008).

            Finally, the recent scientific understanding of how the earth and its moon came into existence, of a Mars sized planet colliding with an originally smaller size earth, creating a larger size earth and its orbiting moon, is anything but mediocre.[1]

[1] Is Atheism Dead?  A Conversation with Eric Metaxas.  Premiered Oct. 6, 2021 on You Tube, Dr. Sean McDowell.

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