A Stable Natural World Creates Consistency

The spiritual danger zone of the way of the cross that is the path to the discovery of the all-truth of John 16:13…using just the right blend of crisis, tension, and resolution, requires a stable natural world environment in order to function properly.

Scientific discovery of the correct workings of the larger universe never demoted mankind to a lesser or insignificant status.

The relative importance of mankind in the scheme of things is determined by the care the Intelligent Designer God took in creating our habitat.

The scientifically discovered fact that the earth orbits around the sun in a small solar system located in the outer third of our massive spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, amongst billions of other similar galaxies in a universe of unimaginable size and scope, merely tells us that to discover reality in the natural world we sometimes have to dig deeper than mere phenomenal observation at a glance.

That the earth fully rotates once every twenty-four hours, giving the phenomenal appearance that the sun orbits the earth, tells us that appearances at first-glance can be deceiving.

We now know that the earth’s position within our solar system is in what is referred to as the “Goldilocks zone” of being in just the right distance from the sun to support liquid water…one of the essential ingredients to allow for the existence of complex life.

This is but one of about twenty complex and extremely fine-tuned relationships regarding the unique positioning and physical aspects of our planet earth, which far surpasses in value the incorrect and archaic thinking 500 years ago that the earth is the center of the universe, initially based upon phenomenal observation alone.

It was the technical invention of the telescope, and some original thinking by the Polish astronomer Copernicus, that eventually led to correcting our wrong assumptions about the cosmos.

It is this unsurpassed quality of the arrangement of all of the intricate factors making complex life like ourselves possible that validates mankind’s high value, which we now understand much better today through the advances of scientific research.

From the Christian viewpoint, the same God who created the laws that govern the mass and motion of non-living objects like stars and planets in the cosmos…also created equally precise journeys of faith.

Both were in operation and brilliantly functioning thousands of years before we understood either one correctly.

The magnificent orderliness of complex information that goes into the workings of the material particles of our physical world, as large as spiral galaxies and as small as microscopic living cells, is a music-like variation upon a theme of the same precisely ordered, complex, intelligible information that explores the morals and values of life in God-composed journeys of faith as recorded in the Bible.

God creates journey of faith life-scripts without prior collaboration from humans, but He does not set them in motion then depart the scene.  The Holy Spirit is active in leading Spirit-born people into “all truth” according to precise game-plans.  Jesus invites us to take up our cross and to follow Him within the dynamic action of Holy Spirit led life-events and circumstances.

We have access to the mind of God through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts, both in the Bible and in our own walks of faith following Jesus.  This is supernatural and the direct opposite of the philosophy of naturalistic materialism. 

All the hairs of our heads are numbered, meaning that God knows everything about us (Lk. 12:7).  A sparrow will not fall to the ground without God’s knowledge, telling us that He cares about the seemingly smallest, inconsequential things (Mt. 10:30).

Science is a Human Investigative Enterprise

As I read through the science literature, an important point jumps out for today’s Christian…who rightly believes in the supernatural and in miracles.

Scientific investigation can be broken down into more easily understandable parts thusly: certain natural phenomenon occurs repeatedly and behaves uniformly…which can then be confidently assumed to be consistent enough to be classified as physical laws that we can rely upon day after day…for example, the unchanging force of gravity that supports our confidence in the aeronautical designs of aircraft, or the stable compressive strengths of different types of soils for supporting building structures.

But the entire edifice of science…the structure underlying the authority of science that encapsulates the mystery and beauty of science for the layman…is built upon two rock-solid concepts called inductive inference and the uniformity of nature…that are easy to understand.

Simply stated, inductive inference and the uniformity of nature say that we can infer from the observations made of repetitive occurrences and phenomenon in the natural world…that our scientific investigations will reveal repetitive physical behaviors that will reliably occur over and over again, and that these natural phenomenon follow uniform physical laws that we can recognize, categorize, and in many cases quantify in measurable units such as number, weight, length, and force.

But the critical point here in terms of a rational worldview that fully accepts the validity of the scientific method (recognizing its limitations) is that neither of these two fundamental concepts…inductive inference or the uniformity of nature…can be used by atheists as scientific grounds for excluding the supernatural or miracles…from reality.

Neither concept of inductive inference or the uniformity of nature is provable by the methodology of scientific investigation…because repeated observation of uniform occurrences over some finite, limited period of time can only assume this current reality will continue as before…which by the definition of the scientific method of observation and inference cannot be scientifically proved…for all future events.

The working concept of the uniformity of nature can never absolutely account for the rare exception.

Scientific investigation thusly defined…using inductive inference based upon the uniformity of nature…cannot logically be used to make a pronouncement about the existence of the supernatural or of miracles.

The misunderstanding here is fundamental.  All science can say with confidence is that the supernatural and miracles fall outside of the physically measurable and the uniformly repeatable…which are the standard, everyday definitions of miracles and the supernatural in the first place.

Without recognizably uniform physical laws and repetitive occurrence, a miracle would not stand out as a singularly unique event in history.

When Christians today affirm the miraculous and the supernatural in the Bible, they are not questioning the uniformity of nature or the power of physical laws.  Christians are merely saying that the natural system is open to its Creator to temporarily suspend or alter these laws on occasion.

The Creator of life can raise Jesus Christ from the dead.

This in no way threatens the normal, repetitive natural reality that people do not come back to life from the dead.  God had and still has this same capacity to raise people from the dead (1 Cor. 15:52; Acts 9:40).

When scientific investigation (and normal everyday observation) tells us that miracles do not normally occur…there is no disagreement here.

Christians agree in accordance with the uniformity of the natural world that God has supernaturally created.

Christians today must understand that when world-famous scientists who are atheists criticize the Bible because it contains numerous supernatural events…they do so not based on the solid authority of scientific investigation itself, but rather on an unwarranted extension of the assumptions underlying science…inductive inference and the uniformity of nature…that cannot bar a legitimate and rational worldview of an open system of nature allowing a Creator God to freely act outside of the physical laws He created…physical laws that allow for the human enterprise of scientific investigation and rational inductive inference.

There are many excellent books on this subject.  One in particular I would recommend is Chapter 5—Science and rationality, from God and Stephen Hawking, by John C. Lennox.

For an excellent discussion on how intelligent design has equal or better scientific standing in relation to common descent in evolution…both being historical sciences with essentially equivalent scientific methodologies…see Chapter 2—The Methodological Equivalence of Design & Descent, by Stephen C. Meyer, in the book The Creation Hypothesis, edited by J. P. Moreland.

For a brilliantly original and entertaining expose on why an understanding of science is accessible to everyday people…in our ability to easily recognize design…see Chapter 2—The Conflict Within, in the book Undeniable, by Douglas Axe.

An Originally Unique Idea

I believe that one of the great ideas in all of human history is the concept of a God-composed journey of faith life-script, beginning around 4,200 years ago with Abraham.

This is the “narrow gate” spoken of by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 7:13-14) that few people find.  A liberated journey of faith following Jesus Christ, wherein our ways are displaced by God’s higher plans through the way of the cross, is central to Christian discipleship, but anathema to worldly conventional thinking.

This is the truth that no one wants to hear (Isa. 53:6), because it runs contrary to our human nature.  Taking up our cross, for the sake of Jesus and the gospel (Mk. 8:34-35) is in direct conflict with worldly conventional normalcy.

But the way of the cross uniquely defines the originality of a biblical-styled journey of faith, producing priceless spiritual life through God-guided experience.  This makes it one of the singularly great ideas in human history, yet by its divine origin also falling outside of the pride-filled hubris of humanistic invention.

It should therefore come as no surprise to Christendom that philosophical naturalism, fueled by Darwinian evolution… accelerating as a worldview, steamroller change-agent in 1859 with the publication of The Origin of Species…should attack the great idea of a God-composed journey of faith life-script at its very source…the  existence of God.

A journey of faith composed by God is the centerpiece, the signature vehicle invented by God to establish a personal relationship today with each new covenant believer (Jer. 31:31-34).  The rational legitimacy of a God-composed, biblical-quality journey of faith life-script available to all Spirit-born Christians today, as argued back-and-forth within the world court of opinion, is what is at stake in the contemporary warfare of ideas between intelligent design and common descent…going on within the modern field of science.

After over 160 years of Darwinian evolution pulling the culture over toward atheistic naturalism, a more powerfully compelling argument for divine intelligent agency is now presenting itself through the empirical facts of complex information systems coherently integrated in the natural world…being observable and testable evidence…is totally inexplicable in a naturalistic program.

Spirit-born Christians know experientially that Jesus Christ is both raised from the dead and is alive today.  This is supernatural.  The aim here is to rebut some portions of the chief modern rival and critic of the reality of a God-composed journey of faith…the atheistic philosophy of naturalism that has unjustifiably attached itself to the scientific pursuit of an understanding of our natural world.

The question in this new Age of Information in the field of science is not whether purely naturalistic explanations for phenomenon are the surest reliable knowledge, thereby unreasonably consigning “religion” like Christianity to the second-rate world of the subjective and the relative…but rather does modern scientific investigation reveal programs of complex, ordered, highly specified information in the historical sciences, which cannot be satisfactorily explained by a reduction to material particles…a reduction to philosophical naturalism…alone.

The two main questions to be answered in this new Age of Information are…where did all of these incredibly vast programs of complex information come from…and how does this fit into a new, broader, and more accurate view of reality and reason?

The Heart of the Debate

Darwin did not propose an explanation for the origin of life.

Darwinism requires first the existence of life for evolution to then take over and apply accidental genetic variation to produce variant traits, chosen by natural selection to create further development and diversity.

Not having an explanation for the origin of life, the theory of evolution must then build upon the starting point of already existing, functional life…in the reactive mode.

One aspect that lies at the heart of the creation/evolution debate is the question whether creative innovation is an all-encompassing evolutionary process working in the life-form from the core center outwards through genetic variation and natural selection, or instead do life-forms start with a body-plan of complex and integrated information produced by fiat creation by an intelligent designer God, with the subsequent adaptive variations occurring only at the outer peripheral margins for survivability in differing ecologies?

I think the factual evidence supports the latter viewpoint…not just because as a Christian this supports the theistic worldview…but because the facts themselves cry-out for intelligent design.

The theory of evolution today is under threat, not by religious faith, but by its own inadequacy as an explanatory paradigm to cover all of the new evidence being unearthed by modern scientific discovery over the last three to four decades.

For people who have looked at both sides of the evidence in the debate between intelligent design and common descent, many recognize that after over 160 years of intense research, common descent is still merely a thinly veneered, philosophical glue…rather than hard supportive evidence… that holds the framework of Darwinian macroevolution together.

I sense that the evidence and the arguments are steadily building in favor of intelligent design and falling away from Darwinian macroevolution.

Why should the general populace be compelled to accept a mere theoretical construction superimposed upon the facts of nature, simply to support the atheistic philosophy of naturalism…when the exact same facts of nature can be better explained through the activities of intelligent agency…God?

The exuberance and enthusiasm of the Enlightenment Period “doctrine of progress” fueled by the rapid advancements in science and technology during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, produced the heady confidence and humanistic pride that we could reduce and explain the marvels of the living world down to natural causations alone.

But this humanistic enthusiasm has not produced the empirical scientific facts to back up this enthusiasm for materialistic explanations in biology, before or after 1859.

Mountain of Evidence is Theoretically Driven 2

An analogy to an Olympics track meet might be helpful.

In the Olympics track meet competition, one event…the mile-relay…has four runners per team each running one lap around the track…receiving the baton from the previous runner and passing the baton to the succeeding runner…to complete a continuous and unbroken four-lap circuit around the track.

But this relay baton is not passed off to the other distinct and unconnected events outside of the mile-relay.  The baton is not passed to the high-jumpers, pole-vaulters, high-hurdlers, 100-meter sprinters, or the competitors in the shot-put or javelin throw…thereby creating an unnatural, artificial, and unwanted connection between these disparate events.

These other events are discontinuous and unconnected to each other and to the mile-relay, even though they are all a common part of the Olympics track meet.

A network schedule of logic-lines connecting the start-times for each track and field event…simplified into printed program schedules for the spectators…would have to be created ahead of time to organize the track meet.

But these organizational lines connecting the start and finish times head-to-tail would never be confused with the fundamental differences between pole-vaulting, high-jumping, the long-jump, the triple-jump, and the 5,000-meter run.

The essential characteristic of each distinct event creates a discontinuous gap between each event that is unbridgeable in terms of mixing and blending…other than their logical sequencing for time and spacing within the overall management of the track-meet competition.

The passing of the baton between all of the track and field events to create an artificial connection…a connection that does not logically exist…simply because at a general level all these events belong to the same track-meet…would be nonsensical.

To attempt to blend and mix all of these disparate track and field events together into a connected whole through small, incremental, transitional phases using the relay baton as the connecting link…would be a forced arrangement falling so far outside of the intentionally designed, fundamentally discontinuous gaps between each of the individual events of an athletic track meet…as to render the entire competition gradualistically intermixed…hopelessly indecipherable…and thus incomprehensible.

If all of the track meet events were blended together in infinitesimally small incremental steps…it would be difficult to determine when and where one event finished and another started.

Each track and field event also has a predetermined goal…an outcome…that entails a different “lifestyle habit” program of training and technique.

Even though running hurdles, the pure sprints, and the long-distance running events share similarities, they are vastly different in their “lifestyle habits” of length of distance, agility requirements, pure speed, endurance, time-span, and the physical characteristics of the competitors.  Specified function…running fast, leaping high, jumping far…are inseparably connected to the lifestyle habits unique to each athletic event.

Darwinian common descent must, by definition, have the relay batons at each branching node of the ever-expanding tree of life…passed safely from one species to the next without falling to the ground (becoming extinct).

But fitness in “lifestyle habits” in each track-meet event does not carry over into fitness in lifestyle habits in another event.  The Olympic gold medalist in the high-jump cannot pass along gold metal technical proficiency to the pole-vaulter simply by handing off a relay baton.

The relay baton in this instance would be a nonsensical addition…inapplicable to both high-jumper and pole-vaulter.

The gold metal “lifestyle habit” proficiencies in each event are too different and discontinuous to be connected by the unrelated, unhelpful element of a relay baton.

The tautological statement that the fittest organisms will produce the most offspring…the fittest organism being defined by circular reasoning as being the one that produces the most offspring…stays entirely within the boundary lines of a single, track- meet event like high-jumping.

It describes the proficiency level attained through the microevolution of that single track meet event of high-jumping.

Macroevolution…hypothetically producing diversity (in our track-meet analogy) has absolutely nothing to do with the gold metal high-jumper passing the relay baton to the pole-vaulter.

How the high-jumper reaches gold metal proficiency…fitness in lifestyle habits…has no correlation to reaching an equivalent level of technical proficiency in the entirely different track meet event of pole-vaulting…although they each share the similar goal of going as vertically high as they can.

Identifying fictional nodes in Darwin’s tree of life…in the physical characteristics side of the equation alone…using creative imagination, would not explain the diversity of lifestyle habits for the hundreds of billions of living organisms on earth.

This would only get us half-way there.  Simply identifying where and when during the track-meet the high-jumper passed the relay baton to the pole-vaulter…would not explain the vast differences in gold metal “lifestyle habit” techniques between these two events.

This is a part of the illogic of the tree-of-life of Darwinian common descent.  The empirical relay baton of explanatory mechanism must connect each discontinuity gap between the dots being birds, fish, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants, trees, bacteria, and fungi…which are analogous to discontinuous track and field events like pole-vaulting, discus throwing, high-jumping, and the mile-relay.

These connections between hundreds of billions of distinct (and thus classifiable by human taxonomists) life-forms must account for both physical and lifestyle characteristics.

The discontinuous lifestyle habits of the multitudes of living creatures renders the hypothetical “relay baton” connection through common descent to be implausibly forced, stretched, and logically unbridgeable.

Naturalistic materialism is the philosophy that superimposes an unnatural “relay baton” to connect all of the track meet events.

Naturalism creates the evidence that supports naturalism.  This is circular.  Take away the common descent interpretational framework and we are back in time to the neutral facts of pre-1859…the “standard Olympics track meet” of typological and discontinuous life-forms…which did not point toward macroevolution at all, prior to Darwin’s book The Origin of Species.

Mountain of Evidence is Theoretically Driven 1

What is critical to understand is that the contention by Darwinists that macroevolution has a “mountain of evidence”…thereby establishing the “fact of evolution”…proceeds not from the facts themselves but only materializes (no pun intended) after applying the philosophical framework of naturalistic materialism over the biological facts in nature.

The common descent viewpoint when stretched to fit over all living things can produce a tentative, provisional mountain of evidence in support of macroevolution…but only if common descent is first assumed to be true.  Common descent will explain the fossil progression from the simple to the more complex over time, the homology (similarities) in design between creatures, and the biological distribution of similar creatures split apart by continents.

But intelligent design, based upon the empirical evidence of highly specified information and integrated complexity explains this natural phenomenon better.  Intelligent design is a more persuasive and plausible interpretation of the evidence…than is common descent.

Without the hard empirical evidence for the methodology and mechanism of how macroevolution changes a fish into a land reptile into a bird over time…having wings, feathers, and a totally unique breathing capacity to enable sustained flight…the philosophical overlay of Darwinian naturalism does not produce “overwhelming, mutually supportive evidence.”

The Darwinian model produces nothing more than the hypothetically connected structure of common descent…supported by circumstantial arguments alone…whose artificially connected structure falls apart when the concept of the discontinuities between the varied body-plan architectures and lifestyle habits of hundreds of billions of life-forms on the planet…is introduced.

The theoretically unimaginable jump across the gap of running and leaping along the ground or in the branches of trees, then “evolving” into winged flight through small, incremental, progressive steps, without any detailed supporting explanation as to the massive anatomical changes that would have to occur, is alleged by Darwinists to have happened simply because this is what is required to have happened according to the philosophical paradigm of naturalism.

The theoretically unimaginable jump from the functioning respiratory system of the gills of fish extracting oxygen from water under the surface of oceans, lakes, and rivers, to the fully functioning system of lungs in amphibians, reptiles, and mammals breathing air above the water, must take place in a matter of seconds or immediate death follows.

This is an enormous gap of discontinuity.  Small incremental change here is unimaginable…in terms of function…in terms of survival and reproduction.

Yet for macroevolution to be valid, this discontinuity must be plausibly explainable within the unifying theory of common descent taken from Darwin’s hypothetical “tree of life”…connecting all living things.

Darwinists allege that this type of jump in development and diversity from living underwater to living above water…had to have occurred in small, incremental, progressive steps because it simply had to happen this way according to the paradigm philosophy of naturalism.

This type of secularly skewed argumentation is then stretched to apply to the enumerable discontinuities large and small of the billions of different life-forms on the planet, mixing together the dissimilar ingredients of diversity and likeness into the theory of common descent…based in large part upon its appeal to scientists of being a unifying theory of biology, and at the same time offering a non-theistic explanation for the origin and diversity of life.

But from the start Darwinian macroevolution could not explain the Cambrian Explosion…the sudden appearance of a diversity of complex life-forms in an instant of geological time…which should also have had an accompanying and complimentary backstory of transitional intermediate life-forms appearing in the Precambrian rock strata.

Darwinists have also been unable to explain the sudden appearance during the geological era known as the Cretaceous…of the angiosperms…the flowering plants having their seeds enclosed in an ovary…without transitional precursors in the rock strata leading up to this time-period.

Over time, the many difficulties with the theory of macroevolution should have resolved themselves.

Instead, the idea of common descent has not bridged the enormous gaps of discontinuity in the living world between the major groups like amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, insects, or mammals, or the discontinuities in the subdivided lower levels of each of the major groups…like the large African mammals separated by the unbridgeable lifestyle gaps between elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, rhinoceros, zebras, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and Thompson’s gazelles.

One major factual problem for Darwinism is that there is no evidence for the actual existence of the transitional “nodes” at the apex junctures of Darwin’s branching “tree of life” between the major groups and their subdivisions, which must be there for common descent to occur.

These nodes do not exist now and they do not exist in the fossil record…unless artificially created through a fictional, philosophical overlay of common descent crafted through human imagination.

Darwinian evolution is a classic example of being a half-truth.  It explains microevolution which occurs within a species.  It explains variation over time within a species.  But the extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution…the origination of new species using genetic variation and natural selection…is an over-reach…an extension of philosophy rather than an empirical product of science.

This is why Darwinian macroevolution is subtly persuasive but vacuous.  The “mountain of evidence” is artificially produced through circular reasoning…the philosophy must first be superimposed on the evidence to rescue the philosophy…rather than the evidence itself independently standing on its own to formulate the philosophy.

It is the theory of common descent that connects the dots into the forced linear arrangement of an ascending “tree of life”…the dots do not logically align themselves to connect that way on their own.  The connections between dots are by philosophy…not by explanatory, scientific fact-based evidence.

Information Has Surpassed Darwinian Explanations

One problem for modern atheism is that as our appreciation of the vast amounts of information contained within highly complex systems in the natural world grows…all integrated and coordinated toward distinct functions that have the definite and unmistakable appearance of purposeful design…the plausibility of the naturalistic explanation as time marches forward…no longer makes sense.

It is as if the foot-size of our expanding knowledge of the natural world has grown to shoe-size 15 since 1859, yet the philosophical naturalist shoemaker, limited by the now obsolete worldview shaped by Darwinian evolution, has no shoe-size pattern beyond foot-size 8.

As I read through the evolution literature, some books attempt to explain away the intelligently designed brilliance of eyesight by looking at the architecture of the eye in isolation.

An appeal to the plausibility of the argument for common descent is given by identifying many creatures in nature that have varying yet functional qualities of eyesight…the thread of thought being that partial qualities of eyesight are beneficially functional even when evolved through intermediate, transitional increments of quality over time.

These book sections on the hypothetical evolution of the eye are usually well-written, illuminating, and factually instructive, yet not compelling as evidence in an argument in support of Darwinian macroevolution.

Because the same factual evidence could also be used to make a more plausible argument for intelligent agency in the design of the eye and functional eyesight, Darwinian evolution falls short of making a clear demarcation from intelligent design in the all-important area of independently explaining causation through scientific fact-based evidence.

From a big-picture, wide-angle viewpoint, Darwinian macroevolution can be seen as little more than a philosophical overlay…a human interpretational veneer applied to otherwise neutral and unbiased scientific evidence.

One of the problems of looking at the eye in isolation is that eyesight…that enables survivability…integrates every other characteristic of the physical makeup of the functionally mature creature…central nervous system, bone structure, muscles and nerves, internal organs, the five senses, instinct, and such unique features as leaping, running, swimming, burrowing, and flight.

But maybe most important of all are the uniquely different informational programs…lifestyle habits…defining and supporting the existence of each and every species that has eyesight.

Eyesight must be evaluated within the integrated whole of the living creature, in order to give the overall conceptual brilliance of the design of eyesight its full context.

When the unimaginable complexity of this is carried-out down to the last minutest detail of matter, energy, and information, the notion of making this argument for common descent (macroevolution) by reference to the varying qualities of functional eyesight in different species alive today…appears to this student of the creation/evolution debate to be inadequate and too simplistic to pass the rational test of reality.

Appealing to the varying qualities of functional eyesight in living organisms as an argument for incrementally gradualistic eye development fails to account for the big-picture totality of eyesight coherently integrated into the whole program of the lifestyle habits of each individual creature having eyesight.

Again, the size-15 foot of the massive amount of ordered and highly-specified information, plus our new understanding of intelligent agency required in the arrangement and integration of information in complex systems such as computer software code, will no longer fit in the archaic shoe-size 8 of philosophical naturalism.

When we watch DVD documentaries supporting Darwinian evolution, in explaining the hypothetical development of early life just before and just after the Cambrian geologic period according to the naturalistic scenario, we repeatedly hear the vague phrase “and they developed” such features as skin, fins, skeletons, eyesight, wings, et cetera, without any empirical explanation as to how.

“And some crawled up out of the water on to land” requires the precise scientific mechanism to explain this massive change in anatomical characteristics…if Darwinian macroevolution is to rise above the level of a mere philosophical construction overlaid on top of the otherwise neutral facts.

For Darwinian macroevolution to validly connect the dots…to provide a plausible framework…it needs to explain the mechanism that closes the gaps of discontinuity in characteristics that separate creatures in the fossil record, and that separate the vast diversity of current life into the modern taxonomy classifications of today.

Christians should know and understand that Charles Darwin did not produce the methodological and mechanistic evidence for precisely how evolution actually worked on a macro level.  This methodological and mechanistic evidence for one species changing into another different species did not exist then, nor does it exist today.

If the incontrovertible evidence for the method of how macroevolution works was discovered anytime between 1859 and today, the debate would be over.

Instead, Darwin proposed a persuasive and well-documented philosophical argument based on circumstantial evidence, connecting the facts of the current living world, and then applying them backwards in time into a hypothetical framework that would support a theory of common descent…a process categorized today as a historical science…like archaeology, historical geology, and modern forensic science reconstructing a past crime scene.

Is it allowed for philosophical naturalism to provide a theoretical hypothesis for a secular interpretation of biological phenomenon, in advance of producing empirical evidence for the connecting mechanism of how Darwinian macroevolution actually works?  The answer is…of course.

This is one way in which science works.  A new theoretical hypothesis is presented…then tested or argued against the known facts…then either confirmed, refuted, or replaced by a new hypothesis as new incoming evidence grows and is evaluated.