Reasonable Faith, Pt. Five: Proving Evolution, How Much to Debate
The below is written under time pressure; I apologize if at times it seems rough or polemic
They’ve proven we can get a flagellum by chance.
First, the TTSS as a ‘precursor’ to the bacterial flagellum.
The thorough examination and refutation is at: http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html
TTSS is said by evolutionists to have arisen after the flagellum. In evolutionary terms, (not mine) it would appear to be stripped down, degenerate piece of a flagellum.
TTSS is a highly complex system in it’s own right, and apparently will not function without about ten other homologous (but not identical) proteins already in place.
Some of the ‘homologues’ are not very homologous: FliF “about 90 out of over 550 amino acid residues. What this means is that the TTSS system cannot rotate. Evolving the ability to rotate would involve the addition of a sizable number of specifically sequenced residues.”
Main evolutionary reply is to imagine / ‘predict’ there is something else (as yet unspecified!!) which will bridge the gap. The number of unspecified steps is legion—you said that was not a valid objection, but of course to one like me who stands outside the community of (evolutionary) faith, it’s completely valid—TTSS as we know it does NOT fill the bill.
Furthermore, that would still leave NO filament, hence NO rotation, hence NO function, hence NO selective advantage. It would just be gunk gumming up the works in the cell and therefore be selected against. (If you want to discuss Kimura’s ‘neutral theory’ of evolution later, we can, but the odds will instantly kill any flagellum evolution).
The flagellar motility system still requires at least 35-40 genes producing a structure with at least 21 different specifically arranged proteins each requiring a minimum of hundreds of specifically arranged amino acid residues in order for the function of flagellar motility to be realized at all – even a little bit. Just because one or more subsystems may be found within the overall requirements needed to build a flagellar motility system, such as a TTSS system, does not remove the fact that the flagellar system still has a minimum structural requirement that cannot be reduced beyond a high threshold point without complete loss of the flagellar motility function. System reduction may leave the TTSS system intact, since the TTSS system has a much lower minimum threshold structural requirement. However, having the TTSS function in place, does not mean that the flagellar function will also be in place.
Finally, to show experimentally how irreducibly complex it is, the Shigella bacteria, presumably degenerate from a former flagellated form, which do not have flagella. They have most of the genes needed, but are missing some. One strain is missing only one gene, the one that codes for the filament cap protein, FliD. As a result, it does not form a flagellum. This shows you can’t get one (not one as we know them in the real world, anyway) without it.
In short, without this highly specialized cap, the flagellin units cannot self-assemble to form such an orderly filament at all. And, neither the cap protein nor the flagellin monomers have any other cellular function. Beyond this, how is it that the cap gets placed in the right position at the tip of the filament and that no other cap monomers are sent down the tube once this is done? Again, a specific chaperone is required for cap assembly and prevention of untimely aggregation.
Pitman goes on to debunk the suggestion (which has not a shred of observational evidence) that flagella started from something without a filament cap.
One of my sons did a nice little paper on the odds of getting a filament cap gene by accident. It wouldn’t happen once in the real world in 5 billion years. Depending on the approach, you get a possibility of 1.82×10-89 or 3.5×10-75 , with only (an incredibly generous maximum of) 1×1046 tries in 5 billion years. That’s why the shigella hasn’t ‘re-evolved’ the missing protein!
Please remember that a non-functional part will not be selected and cannot be used as a stepping stone to the goal—that’s a blantant falsehood or at least willful misrepresentation on the part of evolutionists. Such non-functional structures tend to gum up the works and at a minimum waste the cell’s energy, so the selction coefficient works against them over time.
If you want to appeal to a Kimura type ‘neutral’ evolution by genetic drift, you face overwhelming odds, the kind listed above, but actually much worse.
For Pittman’s conclusion:
A non-beneficial gap of just a couple dozen specific residues required at a specific position in the genome may not sound like much at first glance, but such a gap would literally take trillions upon trillions of years of average time for a population of all the bacteria on Earth (~1030 individuals) to cross (see calculation in appendix below). In fact, not a single evolutionary step proposed by Matzke or anyone else has ever been demonstrated to be “crossable” in any laboratory experiment – - not one. Without the ability to test such stories in the laboratory, they are simply not falsifiable and therefore are, by definition, not supported by scientific method. It may seems strange for many to even consider this, but such statements concerning the evolution of complex functions, on the order of flagellar system complexity, are not scientific at all – they aren’t even theory. At the very best they are untested and perhaps untestable propositions. Simply put, these “stories” about flagellar evolution are just that – - fairytale stories. And, when examined in closer detail, they don’t even look good on paper.
For the worked out math, see the appendix to the paper at http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html
Time forbids us to talk about the FliG protein, without which you also get no motion (or even no flagellum) as bacteria with deletion mutations show. Incidentally, it apparently has no appreciable homologues.
In short, no excuses, please, about how the evolutionists “aren’t obligated to show every step.” They can’t show ANY steps, and I can show (and have shown) that absolutely necessary components could never have arisen by chance in the real world, even if you had 5 billion years to play with.
In short, even starting from already highly complex systems like TTSS (and not, by the way, explaining how they could have evolved by chance) you still can’t get to a flagellum by chance. Behe has been completely vindicated, and Dawkins et al. lied to you.
Evolution of eyes I looked at a little years ago and found the evolutionists were even more grossly guilty of glossing over all the important points and major difficulties. My very slight background in neuroanatomy picked up when writing my dissertation (which touched in psycholinguistics and therefore neurolinguistics) was of some help there. The evolutionists (last time I checked, about ten years or more ago) had explained nothing of the actual complexity.
Echolocation I’ve never considered. Trust me, flagella are easier than eyes or echolocation, and you can’t even get flagella by chance.
If you aren’t willing to examine these numbers and arguments (‘too busy’, ‘don’t have infinite time’) then you aren’t interested in the truth. I spent several painful years on the issues surrounding evolution.
But that doesn’t get us to Christianity.
Of course not. It does, however, get us to a Creator.
After granting me ‘some points’ for origin of life and the universe, you said,
It does not get us to a God who thinks or cares about us. It
> does not get us to a God who thinks or cares at all! A cause alone
> fails to give us even the slightest nudge toward Christianity.
Actually, the obvious fact of design in the biological world – the fact that, under the laws of chemistry, physics, and statistics, no life should exist and no novel functional structures could evolve – this fact forces us logically (if we accept logic, cause and effect) to the conclusion that there is a Cause, that the Cause has an origin outside of the natural laws, the Cause contains within itself sufficient information to design the basic life forms and sufficient ability to execute this design on matter. (If you object to any of that, I’ll send the formal statement of the reasoning). (on second thought, here it is, roughly—drawn up just for my own reference 15 years ago):
2. Essential characteristics of a sufficient Cause for biological life.
2.1. Fundamentally dissimilar to all known biological life. All organisms are dependent on the pre-existence of other, similar organisms, at least as ancestors, and usually as food sources as well. The Cause must not in any way be dependent on the pre-existence of such life. Otherwise one is caught in a chicken-and-egg problem. Note that this is necessarily true of all de novo designers.
2.2. An information content vastly in excess of that contained in all biological life. No life form contains the information necessary to produce itself directly from non-living matter. All reproduction is carried out by some form of direct reduplication of pre-existing DNA within a cell. Thus the Cause would need to possess the information for all basic forms not derivable by microevolution, plus the information needed to produce such de novo. (Possibly also the information needed to produce Earth’s environment).
2.3. An ability to manipulate mass-energy toward specific ends, an ability vastly in excess of all present human technology. A designer must be able not only to conceive a pattern, but also to execute it on matter. (Possibly also the power needed to produce Earth’s environment).
2.4. An origin not subject to entropy. The ultimate origin of the Cause, whether within or without itself, cannot be subject to entropy, because we consistently observe that entropy precludes the spontaneous emergence of entities with the information content, directed power, and teleological tendency outlined in 2.2-2.4. [This part was covered earlier in the original paper]
2.5. THEREFORE the Cause cannot be a part of the mass-energy universe. To claim that it is, is to deny entropy, probably the best evidenced of all the natural laws. This is irrational, a crazed, blind faith leap flying in the face of reason and consistent observation, and enshrining a logical contradiction at the center of one’s “materialistic” philosophical system. IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD, SOMETHING DOES NOT COME FROM NOTHING.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
That last bit is Romans 1:20, of course. What you can know from nature is that there is a God, He’s not part of this universe (divine nature) and He’s got the intelligence and power to create life (eternal power). Clearly He can ‘think’—and then some! He was able to create your brain and it’s cognition, craving it on a blank template of molecules. Teleology is inescapable.
Following can only get brief replies.
Then why does everybody believe in evolution
1. Most believe it for the same reason you believe over 99% of what you believe—because they were taught it. At this point in history, it’s massively propagated everywhere, from elementary school on up and in all the media.
2. People (including scientists) don’t question things. See Karl Popper on scientific revolutions and the power of the paradigm.
3. Case in point: Michael Behe never questioned evolution until he read Michael Denton’s book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Then he started thinking, and became a leading intelligent design proponent.
4. Uniformity is enforced. You can’t get a biology degree at most universities unless you assert evolution is a fact. Behe hasn’t been able to get any graduate students, is shunned by most in his university, and has only been able to remain there because he already had tenure and they’re afraid to touch that sacred cow. Others without tenure in academia have lost their jobs for questioning evolution (see articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly)
5. For people like Dawkins, it’s their religion. Have you not realized he openly, constantly preaches atheism? Do you really not understand that he has a religious motive?
6. So did Darwin, an anti-Christian motive (see documentation in Reasonable Faith chapter 1 – which, sadly, you have not yet bothered to read.).
7. Evolution is historical science, not operational. That means you can never really test or prove anything. Even operational science frequently goes far astray. When I was young, every doctor ‘knew’ stomach ulcers were caused by stress. The guy who suggested they were caused by a microbe got a lot of flack at first and it was very hard for his (correct) findings to gain acceptance. That in an area where millions of people were actively concerned about it and available for experimentation, and there was even tons of money to be made! But for decades the baseless dogma ‘stress causes ulcers’ ruled. How much more in something like evolution, where many of the proponents are religiously motivated and actual (operational) experiments are usually impossible?
8. In essence, you’re making an appeal to human authority, which is not a valid move in a scientific argument. We all agree about the laws of chemistry and physics and statistics, so it’s from there that we have to argue.
1. Your point that most things don’t fossilize is known to everyone.
2. The gaps in the fossil record are SYSTEMATIC. They correspond to the original created kinds, within which variation is possible but not (evolutionary) change into a fundamentally different kind.
3. The fossil record is ABUNDANT. There are billions of them, and we have collected millions. Thus if gradual evolution were true, by the law of large numbers we should have some transitions which are very well documented by abundant intermediary forms, and some which are not. Instead, we get none (and I do mean ‘none.’)
4. Good estimate of expected number of transitional species is in Evolution: The Grand Experiment (creationist book). Don’t have a copy on hand, but I seem to remember a reasonable expectation of c.10,000 species between certain transitions. We find none. Law of Large numbers would have preserved and allowed us to find a least some.
5. There are no transitional fossils. If you want to discuss one, how about starting with the evolutionary poster child transition of reptilian to mammalian ear? It’s in all the books, and (to tell the truth) I’d have some fun talking about that particularly ridiculous example.
6. That few fossils are forming now should prompt us to look for a different process in the past which allowed so relatively many to form—that’s part of flood geology.
7. The standard geological timeframe is grossly in error. There never was hundreds of millions of years. Fossils are not separated in time by millions or even billions of years.
8. Physical processes indicating are relatively young earth are far more numerous than those indicating an old (standard uniformitarian 5 byr age) earth. See Reasonable Faith chapter 3 for an overview. If you don’t have time for that brief outline, then we can’t discuss the issues. If you wish to try to refute any of the specific points in Reasonable Faith chapter 3, I’ll be glad to discuss it.
What has Tom Keenan read?
1. This smacks very much of a rhetorical move and an ad hominum argument: “You don’t believe in evolution because you haven’t really examined it, you’re just a well meaning but ignorant, sheltered fundamentalist!” Even if that were true, it would have no bearing on the validity of my arguments.
2. I don’t nearly remember all that I have read, and not much in the past five years. But I have read excerpts from, or portions of, or journal articles by: Lyell (a little) Darwin (fair bit) Steven Jay Gould (excerpts or maybe some articles) Harold Urey (of Miller/Urey experiment fame; he did good work on the longevity of biomolucles in a putative early ocean); articles by other people (presumably evolutionists) on biomolecule longevity; bits of Dawkins; parts of the most widely used college biology book in the U.S. (which fanatically emphasizes and preaches evolution, jamming it in where it doesn’t even make any sense at all, ending every chapter with an ‘evolution focus’) Jackendoff (psycholinguist), Barry Hall (some of the e. coli studies, which do not, in fact, show evolution, but the existence of a complex switching mechanism), Francis Collins (quotes; he claims to be an evangelical, but is an evolutionist) Daniel Wonderly (claims to be a Christian by excoriates Creationism); Chinese middle school and high school textbooks; countless other articles on PNAS or Dawkins’ website or other places
3. And, perhaps most importantly for you purposes, Ken Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God, in which he explicitly tried to refute Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box. Miller spent pages summarizing Behe’s work, then spend about one page giving three examples which he claimed refuted it—details were totally lacking! If I remember correctly, one of his examples was Barry Hall’s e. coli work, which does ABSOLUTELY nothing to refute intelligent design or demonstrate evolution. Another one of my sons did a nice paper on Barry Hall. Miller finds Darwin alright, in a series of half-truths and sloppy misrepresentations, but he doesn’t find any God worth finding.
4. What have you read, Ivan? Have you read any of the most important works, those by the (young earth / Biblical) creationists? In order of suggested importance:
- Ariel Roth (Ph.d. zoology) Origins: Linking Science and Scripture. [If you only have time for one, read this one]
- Jonathan Sarfati (Ph.d. physical chemistry) Refuting Evolution; The Greatest Hoax on Earth [second one directly refutes Dawkins]
- John Sanford (Ph.d. genetics) Genomic Entropy
- Russell Humphreys (Ph.d. physics) Starlight and Time
- Andrew Snelling (Ph.d. geology) Earth’s Catastrophic Past
- John (that’s John, not Henry) Morris (Ph.d. geology) The Young Earth
- Royal Truman (Ph.d. chemistry (?)) articles on proteins in the Journal of Creation
- John Woodmoreappe (two M.S.’s, I think biology and geology). The Mythology of Radiometric Dating; great work on fossil distribution in the CRSQ journal.
- Kurt Wise (Ph.D. in paleontology from Harvard under Steven Jay Gould (!!!) ) Faith, Form and Time, but perhaps a bit too simple for you; he has lots of journal articles
If Tom Keenan has not read enough evolutionists to satisfy you, I assure you the above authors have and list them in their bibliographies
Time fails me here.
In future, I will only be able to reply at the same level of detail that you do.
I would appreciate you’re beginning by dealing with the TTSS issue above. That’s the substantive issue on the boards. I assert the evolutionists are willfully misrepresenting, that they have not refuted irreducible complexity, and the flagellum is one good example of it.
- – - – - – - – - -
Thank you for your arguments around evolution and the bacterial flagellum. I want to respond to just one point right now. You wrote: “no excuses, please, about how the evolutionists ‘aren’t obligated to show every step.’ They can’t show ANY steps, and I can show (and have shown) that absolutely necessary components could never have arisen by chance in the real world, even if you had 5 billion years to play with.” I understand that there may be legitimate points to be made along these lines. If it can be precisely established what the probability of a certain evolutionary event is, and this established probability is vanishingly unlikely to within the time available, then this might be quite a consequential fact. Adequate answers might be offered, perhaps along the lines of the anthropic principle, or perhaps invoking the intelligible—but admittedly purely theoretical!—possibility of universes beyond our own. Nonetheless, the initial point is important—if indeed it can be established.
That being said, it still seems like you may be holding unjustifiably high standards. At times it sounds almost as if you’re implicitly holding the standards of debate, or of deductive validity. Well, sorry, but anyone conversant both with such standards and with the evidence for evolution will acknowledge that those standards are not met! Evolution is not an absolute, objective certainty! But neither is anything else. If I start absolutely from scratch, I cannot disprove the possibility that I am a brain in a vat. Subsequently, no observational science whatsoever has the absolute deductive validity that might compel belief, and enable certainty.
With the sort of honest perspective that such a realization begins to intimate, then it begins to seem more respectable that the theory of evolution is able in principle to explain life by drawing only upon what we observe and upon nothing that we don’t; can explain and unite phenomena as disparate as vestigial structures, limb homology, convergent evolution, and antibiotic resistance; can trace many progressions and intermediaries through the sparse fossil record; can offer possible accounts of the steady, progressive evolution of structures as complex as the eye or ear; etc.—albeit without bludgeoning all competing logical possibilities out of existence.
Beyond this, if I ever begin studying the nitty-gritty details of evolution, and especially the sorts of creationist arguments and calculations that you are offering and citing, I will most certainly be in touch. Until then, it might be most productive to set such things aside for the time being. I’m much more able to engage with, and much more amenable to being convinced by, the other sorts of arguments you’re making. (And by that I don’t mean to indicate a particular personal bias against your evolutionary arguments, but rather to remind you that as a believer I was agnostic about evolution, and I’ve only recently done a bit of reading and thinking on the subject. It played no role in overturning my faith, and subsequently, couldn’t play a huge role in rehabilitating it, given my overall intellectual outlook.)
Moving on, you wrote, “If you aren’t willing to examine these numbers and arguments (‘too busy’, ‘don’t have infinite time’) then you aren’t interested in the truth.” Wow, Tom, I’d sure like to see the formal reasoning on that one. Perhaps an appropriate response on my part would be to simply say “fuck you”—but instead I’ll offer some further explanation.
I have finite time. All of us do. Therefore any way that we spend our finite time has the opportunity cost of what else we forgo doing with that bit of time.
If there really is a God, I most certainly want to come back around to believing in Him, and pronto. As for my wishes on the matter, I wish that there were a God—but I just don’t think that there is. I put up a concerted effort for fifteen months to remain a Christian. (This standing on the shoulders of years of studying the Bible, theology, philosophy, and a bit of apologetics; e.g. I didn’t have to acquaint myself with Pascal’s Wager, but to reexamine it.) It was only once I’d come to see it as very unlikely that there is a God, and had further concluded that I couldn’t remain a Christian with that view—only then did I abandon belief. Subsequently, though, I was, and remain, convinced that it is very unlikely that there is a God.
With these as some of the considerations in play, the question arises of how much time I should devote to reconsidering this conclusion. How certain do I have to be of my unbelief? How charitable do I have to be in hearing out those who disagree with me? How much must a new argument or claim vary from one that I’ve already attended to in order to merit new attention?
One important ingredient is the fact that I do like to read, and to learn, and to engage in dialog. Those aren’t the only things I like, though. I like things like eating, and laughing, and spending time with friends. (I also like some things that the Bible forbids, but we needn’t go into that.)
At one extreme, I could quit my job, not enroll at law school, spend as little time as possible sleeping, eating, performing personal hygiene, etc.—and just study every case that anyone has ever made for a religion. At the opposite extreme, I could rest completely on my laurels, and decline to hear out any of those cases at all. Obviously, I’m currently choosing a path somewhere in the middle. I’m not going to quit my job. I’m not going to forgo law school, or the legal reading that I plan to do in preparation. (I’m also not going to completely abandon other things I’d like to read, such as E. O. Wilson and Stephen Jay Gould clashing over the relation between the sciences and the humanities, or the mass of classic literature I’ve never touched.) I’m not going to lose sleep or skimp on hygiene. And I’m not going to stop spending time with friends, and trying to enjoy life. If you want to craft an argument that I, by my own lights, should choose differently, and devote more time to religious claims in general or to your claims in particular, then please do. If you want to insult me with the unjustified assertion that I’m not interested in the truth, then please don’t.
To flesh out the reality of my situation, and compliment the finitude of available time with the expansiveness of potential religious demands on that time, I will give you four examples of religious claims that currently compete with your own. And I hope you’ll appreciate how quickly these could increase, if I simply contacted the right old friends, or visited the right houses of worship. My Dad is convinced that a class called Power for Abundant Living, which was taught by a late Christian heretic named Victor Wierwille, might help me believe in God. He pushed and pushed for me to watch the thirty-some hours of this class on DVD, but has reluctantly accepted my offer to read the book of the same title. One friend of mine is very into meditation, and has highly recommended a ten-day meditation retreat to me. In a few weeks I’ll be reconvening with two pastors I’m friends with here in town, to continue a conversation about the existence of God that we kicked off while I was trying to work through my doubts. And lastly, coming nearest to your own project, my Mom has sent me a book that seeks to cast doubt on evolution by poking holes in some of the ways it’s presented in text books. (This book may be interesting, and may even be true on every one of its facts. But overturning a few pieces of evidence is obviously not the same thing as overturning the theory for which those pieces of evidence were just a few among many.) Eventually, the extreme I articulated about quitting my job and such begins to seem less remote!
I had asked about how you account for the belief of the vast majority of experts in evolution. I actually didn’t mean this as an appeal to authority. I was simply asking how, within your whole world view, you account for this one particular feature of the world. You took steps toward answering that. Let me offer a possible synthesis, explicitly biting all relevant bullets, and see if you agree, or would amend it. Would you say that the vast majority of scientists mistakenly believe in evolution because: evolution is a historical science which is bound to afford less certainty than operational sciences, and therefore to less clearly and less forcefully contradict mistakes (which I certainly acknowledge, by the way); and these scientists in the vast majority are influenced by various cocktails of inertia, conformity, dogmatism, and philosophical biases; while you, rather than being improperly influenced by your religious beliefs, and all their attendant commitments and emotions, have in sharp contrast succeeded in attaining superior objectivity and intellectual rigor? Do you think this is a tenable explanation for the entire divide between creationists and evolutionists? All the evolutionists, even the very most brilliant, are blindly following tradition, and failing to ask questions; while all the creationists are not being influenced by their religious commitments, but precisely to the contrary, are the few people who are rising above any prior commitments, and taking an honest look at the evidence?
I’m a little confused by what you wrote about fossils. You acknowledged my point about most things not fossilizing as “known to everyone” (sort of like the fact that Richard Dawkins preaches atheism?), but then went on to assert that the “fossil record is ABUNDANT.” And correct me if I’m wrong, but the law of large numbers doesn’t seem to be at all applicable here. Most things do not fossilize. And why would we expect the exceedingly small subset of things that do to be spread evenly throughout the history of life, or to be a representative sample? That implicit claim certainly needs justifying.
Also, the language we’ve been using around intermediary or transitional fossils or forms implicitly refers to the two forms between which an intermediary or transition might occur. This makes the claim that there are no transitional fossils either tautological, or else absurd. If by “transitional fossils” we mean fossils that exhibit a form of transition between two other forms that we already know of, well then of course we don’t have any! Because as soon as we find one, we can engage in the appropriate hand-waving, and end up asking for two new transitional forms instead of the old one: the transition to that fossil we just found, as well as the transition from it. Some might argue that that’s what you’ve tried to do with the TTSS.
If, instead of signifying a new transitional form, we mean only to signify simply any form that is transitional, well then all forms are transitional forms! All fossils are transitional fossils! I am the most intelligent animal that has yet evolved here, and there are countless bacteria on my skin and archaea in my gut. How many transitional forms have there been between things like them and a thing like me? We have more than enough fossil stromatolites and worms and fish and reptiles to go around.
You wrote in this same section: “That few fossils are forming now should prompt us to look for a different process in the past which allowed so relatively many to form—that’s part of flood geology.” Isn’t this just making one error to balance another? Few fossils are forming now. Mainstream science says that few fossils have been forming for a very, very long time. You reject that long time frame for religious reasons, but still see the fossils that slowly accumulated over such a long time—and are thereby pushed toward postulating a different process that could have made those fossils within the time frame you’re willing to accept.
On to what you’ve read. I did not intend my questions about this as ad hominem attacks. Rather, as I’ve said, I have in my limited reading found some major creationist points addressed by evolutionists in ways that I did not see the creationists reckoning with. I’m not prematurely concluding from this fact alone that the evolutionists’ statements prevail. I’m just noticing how at least some creationist literature apparently fails to honestly tackle the full evolutionist case. Then, upon seeing some signs of that same fault in what you’ve said and cited, I wanted to know how familiar you are with the evolutionist case, with an eye toward sparing us any fruitless rehashing of simplistic creationist rhetoric. Because while I’ve quite openly deferred to your scientific knowledge, I’m still perfectly able to grasp when a popular level creationist book like Behe’s fails to address the points of a popular level evolutionist book like Dawkins’s.
Thank you for listing what you’ve read by evolutionists. It confirms my acknowledgement that you can get more technical than I currently can. It also confirms my worry that you may not have fully and directly engaged with the case for evolution, as it is made by those who accept it. The broad overview, and the way the logic of the whole works, is especially relevant. As one relatively quick, popular level, and probably not ideal, move to remedy this, how would you feel about reading The Blind Watchmaker? I acknowledge the same finitude and opportunity costs on your end that I defended on mine, so I won’t try too hard to force your hand. But I think that it would really serve you well, and that I would not be the only person interested in reading your response to it.
As I keep saying, I haven’t read much. I’ve had general science classes in high school and college; read lots of Wikipedia; read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins; read part of On the Origin of Species by Monsieur Darwin; and by Stephen Jay Gould, I’ve read Wonderful Life and The Individual in Darwin’s World (simply an address that he gave), and am in the middle of The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox (not focused on evolution), with The Flamingo’s Smile and The Structure of Evolutionary Theory sitting on my shelf. In the opposing corner, I’ve read Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, and have started, without committing to finishing, Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells (that’s the book my Mom sent me). Thank you for the list of suggestions for going further.
I would still greatly appreciate a response to this question, when you get the chance: What particular biblical prophecies avoid all of the following: “it could be reasonably explained by simple chance, luck, or guessing… it was vague, cryptic, or metaphorical, rather than clear and perspicuous… it was one among many, and some sort of selective interpretation were used to see the one statement as true without seeing the many as false… it could be a forgery, which was actually produced after the occurrence it seems to predict, or the discovery it seems to predate… it could have itself motivated or guided people to fulfill it”?