Monday, January 28, 2013

More Complexity Doesn't Mean Evolution is Wrong

In recent arguments in ID blogs, ID proponents have used the immense complexity that is being discovered in the control and expression of the genome (epigenetics) as proof that evolution is wrong and that all of this complexity could not have happened without a designer.

Darwin's God: Evolution is Getting Slammed Again in This Transcription Factor Research

My comment posted on that blog speaks for itself and I will add it here.

"It is amazing to me that in the 21st century some are still using the ancient mechanism of deus ex machina. For those ignorant of Greek drama, deus ex machina was literally a mechanism made of pulleys by which a god was brought down on stage in order to solve a particularly difficult plot issue. If you didn't know how to fix a plot problem, you just brought down Ares or Zeus who decreed what would happen next and that was that.

"The same mentality is unfortunately being used in ID. We don't yet have the full understanding of evolution, I grant you, but that doesn't mean we have to immediately jump to God or a designer for the answer. And for those hypocrites out there who insist that the designer isn't God, well, who is it then? An alien? Then who designed him? In the end it is a deceptive argument to make that we aren't talking about God. We are, and ID people should simply admit it. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

"The problem with ID is that it has only one answer for everything. If you can't explain it, you just say "the designer did it." That's the answer. But there are other less supernatural answers that are possible. The fact that Cornelius makes fun of quantum physics and multiple universes is emblematic of the narrow focus of both ID and pure Neo-Darwinism proponents. Quantum mechanics, fractals and chaos theory, information theory, all are converging toward a more complex vision of evolution. (See Bill Maz Blog). I believe we will find that evolution is not purely "random" in the sense we now understand it, but it is also not "directed" by constant adjustments by a designer that ID proponents envision. The answer will turn out to be a grander vision of how the universe works. The universe will, I believe, be seen to be an unfolding, self-assembly mechanism that provides not only the possibility of life but the active physical laws to create intelligent life.

"Now, ID proponents and Creationists should be satisfied with that. After all, God would still have to exist in order for that universe to have been created. Even if you believe what quantum physicists say that the universe could have arisen out of nothing through quantum fluctuations, they all agree that those mathematical equations of quantum physics had to exist before the universe could arise. So who created those math equations?

"Instead of getting bogged down in losing arguments over details of evolution, most of which will be resolved at some point in the future, ID/Creationists should simply say "God created the universe with all its laws, including the laws governing evolution," and call it a day.

"After all, most scientists believe in God. Certainly Einstein did. The two are not contradictory. In fact, the most a true scientist can say is that he doesn't have evidence to prove either that God exists or not. So Dawkins is being very unscientific when he lists himself as an atheist. He can't prove there is no God. He can only shrug his shoulders and say he has no proof either way. "


  1. The will to not see is very powerful, especially if what one might see conflicts with the absolute truths as one might know them. Your blog here is well-presented and well-argued. My compliments,

  2. Truth: sorry, I deleted your comment by accident. You asked about documentation regarding my statement that most scientists believe in God and with regards to Einstein.

    By God I do not mean the god of the bible, or a personal god, but God as a supreme force or ultimate consciousness. I agree with you that Einstein did not believe in a personal god or a god that interfered into the lives of humans. But he did believe in God as an intelligence. I give you several quotes:

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings." (1)

    "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views." (2)

    "I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God." (3)

    With regard to scientists in general, I refer you to a Pew survey of 2009 usnews. I will reproduce part of the findings here:

    Religious Belief of Scientists

    Believe in God 33%
    Believe in higher power 18%
    Don’t believe in either 41%

    As the numbers show, if you add those scientists who believe in God (33%) to those who believe in a higher power (18%) you get 51%, a slight majority. Or if you just take the total percent of scientists who don’t believe in either it is 41% (taking into account, I assume, those who had no opinion).

    In another study (4) they broke down academic scientists by “hard” disciplines and “soft” disciplines:

    Disbelief in God by Academics

    Discipline %
    Physics 40.8
    Chemistry 26.6
    Biology 41.0
    Overall 37.6

    Sociology 34.0
    Economics 31.7
    Political Science 27.0
    Psychology 33.0
    Overall 31.2

    The numbers show that overall disbelief in God among “hard” scientists is 37.6%, a minority. Disbelief in God among “soft” scientists is 31.2%. So both studies show a belief in God, on some level, by a majority of scientists.

    1. Cable reply to Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein's (Institutional Synagogue in New York) question to Einstein, "Do you believe in God?"
    2. Prinz Hubertus zu Lowenstein, Towards the Further Shore: An Autobiography (Victor Gollancz, London, 1968), p. 156.
    3. G. S. Viereck, Glimpses of the Great (Macauley, New York, 1930), quoted by D. Brian, Einstein: A Life , p. 186.
    4. Ecklund, E. H. and C. P. Scheitle. 2007. Religion among Academic Scientists: Distinctions, Disciplines, and Demographics. Social Problems 54: 289–307.

  3. Bill, Einstein did not believe in a "God" as depicted in the bible, and some of his statements indicate that he didn't believe in any so-called "God" at all.

    Proving or disproving that "God" (I'll assume that you mean yhwh-jesus-holy-ghost) or any other imaginary "God" exists has nothing to do with being an atheist, and it is certainly scientific and rational to not believe in imaginary, so-called 'Gods'.

    Do you have any evidence to support your claim that:

    "After all, most scientists believe in God."?


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