Materialism

Taking apart a Steinway & Sons concert grand piano piece-by-piece to understand how it works, no matter how thorough and expert is the scientific methodology in dissecting and analyzing the function of its parts, will never on its own make the artistic leap to the creative invention of a Beethoven piano concerto or a Chopin etude.  The imaginative inspiration of a musical composition is on another level…in another domain of reality…informationally unconnected to the basic physical mechanics of the parts of the musical instrument.

This is a huge argument against the inadequacy of the atheistic naturalism of Darwinian macroevolution…because it subtly blends together two distinct yet related parts…focusing in great anatomical details on the architectural body-plans of living things…while ignoring as an unknowable mystery…not amenable to scientific study…the equally important connection between architectural body-plan designs…and lifestyle habits.

The artistic creative brilliance of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven or Ballade No. 2 by Chopin…cannot be measured quantitatively or qualitatively in terms of size, weight, length, or force.  Music is like romantic love…of human friendship…or courage in military battle.  These realities are not measureable…and are therefore not amenable to strict scientific analysis.

This same reality applied as an analogy to the biological world…leaves out half of the characteristics of lions, elephants, giraffes, falcons, sharks, whales, redwood trees, and rose bushes…their singularly unique and entirely discontinuous lifestyle habits…their behaviors for survival and reproduction that are tied to their architectural body-plan designs…yet too subjective…too creatively artistic…to fall within human scientific investigation.

The creative, artistic program of information that goes into the “why” component of the ingenuity of a Beethoven piano concerto is not at all the information package that makes up the mathematics, physics, and chemistry of “how” the concert grand piano produces beautiful sounding individual notes.

Dissecting the piano painstakingly piece-by-piece for scientific analysis will not uncover the secret of music or the purpose behind the creation of the body-plan of the musical instrument.  The secret of music composition will not be found in the physics and chemistry of the keys, the strings, the soundboard, or the distinctive shape of the wood box, raised lid, and three supporting legs.

The most skilled modern scientist, using the best techniques and finest equipment available, analyzing the acoustic features of the sound-board and the vibrating resonance of the various strings while clunking away at the piano keys, may or may not be artistically inspired to create a musical composition simultaneously as the investigative work progresses, based upon a positive reaction to the beauty of the sounds he or she is producing at the keyboard.

The beautiful tones of the concert grand piano tells the researcher there is the possibility of “music” inside, but if they fail to respond in an artistic way to experiment with the highly specified arrangement of the musical notes of the various piano keys to create a musical composition, they will remain in the purely materialistic zone of the physics and chemistry of the musical instrument alone.

The two potentially parallel, simultaneous efforts…first the scientific investigation of the workings of the piano and second the creative discovery that the sounds produced can be arranged into an interesting and satisfying musical composition…are intimately connected yet are very different, discrete programs of information.

This is one explanation for the dichotomy between the differing viewpoints of atheistic materialism and theistic creationism.

The Christian sees the order and intelligibility underlying the “body plans” of the varied phenomenon of the natural world as a confirmation for the experiencing of beautiful lives…like creating musical compositions.  The scientist working within the narrower worldview of naturalism sees no such transcendent reality above the ceiling line of the pure mathematics, physics, and chemistry of the functioning parts.

Taking this argument of the different levels of existing information a step further…the creative, directional, information program that assembles the cheek bones, nose, chin, lips, forehead, muscles, tendons, and skin of the face of a beautiful woman is likewise entirely different from the informational program that arranges the basic parts of the DNA, protein, and amino acid molecules…encased within the microscopic eukaryotic cells of the human body.

The information program that forms the intended limits and boundaries of the shape of the beautiful woman’s face is analogous to both the creative mechanical imagination that invents the functional body-plan arrangement of ascending and descending notes on the keyboard of the concert grand piano…combined with the artistic genius that composes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Chopin’s Ballade No. 2.

Some guiding informational program must tell each living cell precisely where to go in the human body and what function to perform, in exactly the right artistic arrangement to produce the sparkling eyes, radiant smile, beautiful hair, lovely shape of the face, and melodious voice having perfect pitch, tone, and resonance coming from the beautifully attractive human female.

Like the information contained within a musical composition that transcends the mechanics of the piano, the essence of what makes a beautiful woman enchantingly feminine is a mystery that transcends far above the hypothetical creative capacity of material particles…particles acting without the outside guidance of blueprint instructions according to the naturalistic scenario.

The artistic imagination contained within the creation of the body-plan form of the face of the beautiful human female cannot be reduced to the materialistic parts of proteins, amino acids, and DNA any more than the musical genius of a Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms can be explained merely by the inked musical notes drawn on the page of a musical score, or the engineering statics and mechanics composition of the parts of the concert grand piano.

Darwinists might complain here that the materialistic aspects of the anatomical parts of living things…is all that we have to go on…are the only facts available to scientific investigation and analysis.

But that is the point of this essay.  Darwinian macroevolutionary theory makes the grand claim that common descent is the explanation for the vast diversity of life…achieved through genetic accidents putting out variant traits…chosen by natural selection…without guidance or intelligent design.

But Darwinism makes this grand claim with only half the data…the materialistic data analogous to understanding the physics, chemistry, and mathematics of the concert grand piano…while skipping altogether the artistic body of data…which requires a Bach, a Beethoven, or a Chopin…an intelligent designer…to create and bring into existence.

This is not to say that Darwinism understands the mechanism that might produce evolutionary change on a macro level in the biological world…in the same way that we do actually understand how the components of a concert grand piano produces its beautiful sounds.

Simply giving the benefit-of-the-doubt to Darwinism in this area of focusing upon the precise details of the anatomies of living things…which we can study, measure, and categorize into groups…as if the similarities we find…homology…equates to common descent…still leaves out the huge considerations of lifestyle habits…as vastly different and distinct as the number of animals and plants in the natural world.

One of the reasons why Darwinian evolution has never caught on with the majority of people, at least in America, is that people sense that the atheists and agnostics who preach the philosophy of naturalism intermixed with evolution, are proposing a simplistic explanation entailing only the mechanistic side of the equation…that is inadequate to encompass the fullness of reality that includes innovative lifestyle-habit programs as well.

Scientific investigation is incapable of answering the larger, fundamental question as to why the concert grand piano was created in the first place.  Analyzing the various parts of the piano…no matter how thorough and complete…will not answer the fundamental “why” question as to the piano’s origin or its functional integration within the world of music.  This basic limitation of the explanatory reach of the scientific method is profound.

The empirical evidence for an extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution, including the all-important, essential lifestyle changes required…is simply not there.  People look at the complexity of the outside natural world and the intricate coordination internally in the functioning of their own bodies and conclude by mere commonsense that all of this is beyond a complexity…that random chance could possibly assemble into functionally coordinated realities.

To fill-in the gaps of our understanding with the speculative philosophy of atheistic naturalism and materialism is not the automatic, default option of reason.  The atheistic philosophy of naturalism has enormous philosophical problems, leaving humanity at the extreme end-point of a cold and purposeless existence having no meaning, no compass, no anchor, and no sure confidence in our own mental reasoning capacity when reduced to mere materialistic particles…in other words…only the materialistic understanding of the mechanics of the concert grand piano…but without the beauty of musical compositions.

God created the precision of the natural world so that God-composed journeys of faith could be experienced by people of faith…like playing Debussy’s beautiful Claire de Lune on a piano.

The idea that living things of incredible functionality, adaptability, fearsome power, and breathtaking beauty merely self-assembled themselves, according to the naturalistic philosophy that nature can create itself through a random-chance search strategy, without any guidance from outside intelligence, requires the clearest scientific explanation in detailed and specific terms of the method of how Darwinian macroevolution might occur.

Fill-in speculative philosophy will not suffice in this incredibly important area of scientific investigation and worldview formulation.

Deism

The natural world appears commendably mechanical in its mathematical precision by God’s intentional and purposeful design.  A natural world filled with the insecurity of constant miracles divinely produced to keep it functioning properly is not conducive to a biblical-quality journey of faith, or even conducive to a worldly journey of self-direction lived in unbelief totally apart from God.

Orderliness and intelligibility in the natural world are an inbuilt part of the expert craftsmanship of God that provides the consistent stability to be able to understand and put into practice something of God’s own character and personality traits, intelligible to Spirit-led people of faith through life lesson-plans “down-loaded” by God within biblical-quality walks of faith.

The lesson-plans of God require a stable natural environment for undistracted, learned experiences focusing on the issues at hand.  Trial-and-error, trial-run iterations and adjustments of an imprecise natural world, through intermittent divine miracles bordering on the edge of just-in-time remedies, would indeed prove the existence of God to skeptics, but reveal Him to be the author of a natural order having confusion, ambiguity, insecurity, and chaos.

Instability in the natural world, defining God as a maintenance handyman forever engaged in the fixer-up mode of re-adjusting His imprecise universe, would be a discordant contrast to an ordered and intelligible journey of faith designed by God to instill stable confidence, self-worth, and validation into the people of faith developed through divinely crafted life events.

The purpose behind the reality of the appearance of near-perfect craftsmanship in the natural world is just the opposite of the conclusions of atheistic naturalism of an absentee or non-existent clockmaker.

An orderly and intelligible natural world that runs self-sufficiently with the precision of a well-made clock creates the optimum environment for a God-composed journey of faith to functionally operate, but equally necessary for radical skeptical unbelief to functionally operate as well.

Too much “miracle” in either our natural world or our spiritual-moral world would contaminate the orderliness and intelligibility of a journey of faith.  Too much answered prayer in the form of miraculous solutions to every problem…like our high school math teacher doing our algebra homework problems for us…would limit our participation in the lessons contained in each individual scenario in a walk of faith, divinely crafted for our instructive benefit.

If God solved every problem through miracles, we could never learn anything ourselves through first-hand experience.  Scientific investigation…one aspect of human discovery…could not occur in a miracle-rich environment because miracles are unique, one-time events not amenable to experimental study and thus not reducible to repetitive natural laws.

The irony here is that the combination of orderliness and intelligibility…hallmarks of the scientific method…argue for the existence of an ultra-precise, supernatural, Intelligent Designer God…and not the trial-and-error, random-chance serendipity of Darwinian macroevolution.

If God solved every problem through miracles, reality would be reduced to everyone becoming idle spectators, with clapping hands applauding God in the “see God go” mindset of the small business, autocratic owner insisting upon doing everything themselves and never delegating responsibilities or placing confidence in others.

This is a reason why the information-rich, sophisticated, biblical journey of faith is so remarkable in terms of leadership and management theory, and thus parallels the major discoveries in science like the Cambrian Explosion in the fossil record, the Big Bang, and DNA in living cells.

Biblical journeys of faith are complete and ready to adventure through, yet they contain the very modern and highly sophisticated element of delegation through a joint-venture walk of faith framework, with God acting as knowledgeable guide rather than know-it-all and do-it-all autocrat…through the amazing environment of an orderly and intelligible world.

There must be a divinely crafted balance between the supernatural and the natural for a biblical-quality adventure of faith to operate correctly. 

This is one reason why there is no initial human collaboration in our God-composed journey of faith life-scripts.  We could not possibly have the wisdom and the foresight to produce the right mix of divine and human.  Only God has the divine perspective to get journey of faith life-scripts complete, correct, and properly balanced from the first moment we step into them.

An uncertain natural world needing supernatural corrections constantly would not allow enough stable security to mount high-quality, proactively envisioned, long-term expeditions of faith.

For example, there would be too much uncertainty if the rotational speed of the earth fluctuated daily causing the sun to rise and set at widely differing times.

If the strength of gravity changed radically from its current value to near-zero then back to full-strength on an hourly basis, our dexterity in performing everyday tasks like washing the dishes or driving to work would be a central, all-consuming challenge.

Life would be chaotic in a world where wind speeds exceeded 100 miles per hour once or twice a month as the norm.

If it typically snowed once during summer, or if large hailstones were the norm instead of rainfall, or if we had two weeks straight of totally dark skies that shut down all travel or work, once or twice a year, these occurrences would dominate our attention and our lives.

Imagine life on our earth where every 100 square-foot patch of ground raised or lowered several inches constantly, creating a teeter-totter effect making it difficult to stand or walk safely…much less construct stable building structures, railroads, highways, or play sports like golf or baseball.  These unstable conditions in the natural world would dominate human existence and would be the chief, central issues in our reality.

God is both First Cause and Continuing Cause in every aspect of physical reality and moral reasoning, whether or not we can visually see, measure, and quantify His presence.  The brilliant arrangement of the complex and ordered information that is found in every aspect of the non-living and living world, plus the beneficial moral transformation that occurs in the lives of new Christian converts, is the signature autograph of the one, true, living God.

Deism…the idea that God created our precise world then removed Himself to a safe distance offsite…has never been the reality for people accepting the New Testament and personally experiencing the words of Jesus that He will be with us always, even to the end of the world.

A person cannot personally know the intimacy of God’s participation in a biblical-quality journey of faith and at the same time countenance the philosophy of deism.

God active in the lives of believers is central to Christianity, is central to the biblical record, and is central to contemporary Christian experience.  By definition God’s interaction and personal relationship with us is supernatural.  Immanuel (Isa. 7:14)…meaning “God with us” in the person of Jesus Christ…is as supernatural and as personal as it gets, and is far removed from the notion of deism.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible portray this theme all along, from Abraham through Paul.  Relationships with God are by definition supernatural, in addition to the more spectacular things like Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands of people gathered on a hillside.

Yet portions of the changing philosophical outlook even among some “believers” at the end of the Scientific Revolution (1300-1700) sadly degenerated into “deism” (the idea that God created the natural world but is not an active participant in its day-to-day operations), as if scientifically discovering a smooth-running, machine-like creation is now somehow revelatory evidence that God might be far-removed and hands-off in both the operation of the natural world and the affairs of mankind.  But an intelligently designed functional system, on autopilot, is still evidence for an intelligently designed functional system…designed that way for a greater purpose.

From a Christian viewpoint encompassing the cross of Christ, integral and active in the biblical adventures of faith, God was never merely the absentee Divine Clockmaker.  But even if God did design the natural world in such a precise way to function independently and what might outwardly appear to be deterministic in its perfection, this would have nothing to do with His active participation in the lives and affairs of mankind other than to provide a consistently stable environment.

If God as maintenance handyman appears to be absent because the machinery of the universe is designed so well it runs smoothly for its current 14-billion year history, without the need for a scheduled service tune-up and oil change, this does not logically have to extrapolate to an absent, non-participant Manufacturer God inaccessible to our lives.

The concept of deism, that a precise clockmaker means an absent clockmaker, is a faulty inference of men who did not and do not have the starting perspective of a personal relationship with the living God of the Bible, and who were and presently are ignorant of the divinely unique, novel qualities of the way of the cross of Christ inherent within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…recorded in the Bible.

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.