Undermining Richard Norman on "Why Science Undermines Religion"


Peter S. Williams

On Humanism (Routledge, 2004), by Professor Richard Norman of the University of Kent[1], is described on its back cover as 'a timely and powerfully argued philosophical defence of humanism', and is lauded by atheist and editor of The Philosopher's Magazine, Dr. Julian Baggini (cf. 'Sorting the Chaff from the Wheat - A Review of Julian Baggini's Atheism: A Very Short Introduction' @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_chafffromwheat.htm), who writes: 'A lucid account of humanism which combines the virtues of fairly balanced discussion and a passionate polemic.  It deserves to become humanism's unofficial manifesto. . .'

In this paper I will review chapter two of Norman's polemic, 'Why Science Undermines Religion', which deals with belief in God.  Norman specifically defines religion as 'a view of the world based on a belief in the existence of a god or gods or supernatural beings' and writes that 'the starting point for secular humanism is the rejection of religious belief. . .'  Norman's basic thrust is that of the 'traditional arguments' for God -  which he lists as 'the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, and the teleological argument' - the first two are clearly duds, while the last was fatally undermined by Darwin: 'I subscribe to the widely held view that Darwin has, in fact, refuted the argument from design.'  Like Norman, I will have most to say about Darwin and design, but 'for the sake of completeness' I should mention his treatment of the other theistic arguments.[2]

Non-design arguments for God

Most obviously, Norman totally ignores a number of theistic arguments (in addition to the three listed, Norman mentions religious experience and, in another chapter, the moral argument[3], but this still leaves a lot of territory uncovered).  In an age where a leading philosopher like Alvin Plantinga can write a paper on 'Two dozen or so theistic arguments'[4] it is somewhat remiss of Norman to give the impression that there are only three (or five) theistic arguments the secular humanist needs to rebut.

Ontological Argument

Of the arguments Norman does consider, he is hardest on the ontological argument[5], saying that: 'The second and third of these [i.e. the cosmological and teleological arguments] are serious arguments, the first [the ontological argument] is bizarre.'  I do have some sympathy with Norman here, in that I have doubts about the evidential value (although not the logical validity or soundness) of the ontological argument in any of its various formulations (philosophers have seen at least two distinct types of ontological argument in the writings of Anselm alone, but one wouldn't know this from reading Norman).  Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that instead of searching out what is by general consent the best version of the ontological argument (Plantinga's logically valid modal version), Norman chooses to summarise the argument in his own words (and without references) in such a way as to open him up to the charge of having attacked a straw man.

Cosmological Argument

When it comes to the cosmological argument, Norman once again summarises the argument in his own words (again, without references):

Norman's first premise contains the unnecessary, and unhelpful, idea that everything in the natural world is caused by something else that is itself caused by something else.  This is not a premise I recall ever seeing defended by any cosmological argument actually advanced by a theist.  All the cosmological argument requires is a premise to the effect that if something is contingent then it is caused by something other than itself.

Norman's reply to his own formulation of the cosmological argument is to question its second premise, asking: 'Why could there not be an infinite series of causes with no beginning?'  Norman fails to interact with any of the arguments against the existence of an actual infinity advanced by the likes of William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland.[6] Instead, and despite admitting that we find the idea of an infinite causal sequence 'hard to grasp', Norman suggests that it is 'no less implausible than the idea of an entity which began the causal chain, was not itself caused by anything else, and therefore itself either came into existence uncaused, or had existed from all eternity.'  However, Norman's objection is a false dilemma that incorporates some ambiguous language.  While no theist suggests that God came into existence uncaused, theists hold to a number of different interpretations of what it means to say that God has existed from all eternity.  To interpret this as saying that God has existed temporally for an infinite amount of time, as Norman's critique requires, is only one possible interpretation of Norman's second option.  True, no-one advocating the cosmological argument that Norman provides could consistently advance this interpretation of the second option he gives them - but this fact does not vitiate the cosmological argument per se!  Norman fails to interact with the classical picture of God as atemporal, or William Lane Craig's picture of God as atemporal sans the universe[7], or with the 'Oxford' interpretation (held by the likes of Richard Swinburne) of God's temporality being without a metric[8], or with the possibility that God exists necessarily and temporarily, but has only existed for a finite length of time (having a beginning to his existence that is not a coming into being).

Now, if it is impossible for everything that exists to be a contingent thing, then it follows, from the fact that something exists, that there must exist a non-contingent thing upon which contingent things depend for their existence.  In which case, one of the alternative interpretations of what it means for this 'first cause' to have existed 'from all eternity', must be true. (Indeed, one of the alternative ways of existing 'from all eternity' must be true of the universe if there is no God; hence the contentious issue should not be whether there is a coherent way for a thing to exist 'from all eternity' in some sense or other, but whether the universe as a collection of contingent things can itself be such an eternal thing).  But how can everything be contingent?  What, outside of everything could there possibly be for contingent things to be contingent upon?[9]

Norman's critique of the ontological and cosmological arguments displays a disappointing willingness to ignore the primary literature (past and present) of these arguments, to create and knock down a man of straw, and to think an argument foiled with what turns out to be a false dilemma.  Despite the fact that Norman begins his chapter by warning us that his look at 'the traditional classic arguments' for the existence of a god will be brief, 'perfunctory', and 'will not add anything new', this is not an encouraging start.  And remember, Norman relies upon the failure of all theistic arguments besides the design argument to secure an atheistic interpretation of evolution once he has, to his own mind, both established evolution and used it to undermine any notion of teleology to be gleaned from nature; because as he admits: 'It is quite consistent to maintain both that the origins of the universe, of our earth and of living species can be explained by the established scientific theories and that these theories can be read as accounts of the workings of a divine creator.'  According to Norman, 'the religious component of such a hybrid position cannot be refuted, but there is no good reason why we should endorse it' once the other theistic arguments have been dismissed.  Personally, I'm not prepared to grant Norman even this much, but for the sake of argument, let us press on.

The teleological argument

Norman summarises the teleological argument as follows:

'Innumerable items in the universe give the appearance of being adapted to a purpose, and the best explanation for why they have the nature which they have is that their features all serve a purpose.  The universe, in other words, provides abundant evidence of intelligent design, and the ultimate explanation for such a universe must therefore be that it was created by an intelligent designer.'[10]

This argument, says Norman: 'seems to me to be by far the most plausible of the traditional arguments, and it is one which we must take seriously.'

Norman explicates the teleological argument by quoting from William Paley's analogical comparison of the eye with the telescope.[11] From here on in Norman focuses his attention wholly upon the analogical design argument, and to justifying his subscription to 'the widely held view that Darwin has, in effect, refuted the argument from design' because 'The scientific explanation has supplanted the theistic explanation' of the 'apparent design' in nature.  (The admission of 'apparent design' means that the burden of proof is on Norman to show that there is, despite appearances, no design.)

Of course, Norman is aware that 'Most intelligent religious believers now accept Darwinian evolutionary theory' (do I detect some subtle rhetoric here?), and that these believers 'would say that it is consistent with the argument from design, and that it complements explanations in terms of divine agency.'  Indeed, some intelligent religious believers - such as myself - who do not accept Darwinian evolutionary theory would nevertheless agree that it is consistent with the argument from design, and that it complements explanations in terms of divine agency! 

However, before considering the theistic evolutionary position, Norman decides to consider 'the simple opposition between Darwinism and the theory of "separate creation" - the idea that each species of living thing was directly created by divine agency.'  Norman says that:

'The extreme version of so-called "creationism" is the biblical fundamentalism which accepts the account of creation in the opening chapter of the Bible as literal truth - the universe was directly created by God, a few thousand years ago, over a period of six days, including the heavens and the earth and all the species of plants and animals which at present inhabit the earth.'

Norman does not define what he would count as a less 'extreme version of so-called "creationism"', nor does he consider any position between 'young-earth creationism' and 'theistic evolution' (and there are several).

In particular, despite having used the language of 'intelligent design', Norman pays no attention to the intelligent design (ID) movement.  Whether or not one decides to class ID as a form of 'creationism' (most atheists do, because it is rhetorically useful, but like 'evolution', the term can have a wide range of meanings), ID certainly represents an alternative to both young-earth creationism and theistic evolution that a) supports belief in intelligent design and b) can be philosophically interpreted as supporting belief in supernatural design.

By ignoring alternatives like ID, Professor Norman presents readers with a false dilemma: either each and every species was created separately, or all living species evolved as Darwin said; either young-earth creationism is right, or if not, theistic evolution is the theist's only remaining option.  This is a false dilemma because there are a number of intermediate positions to consider, including ID.  Unfortunately, Norman's comments seem to exemplify lawyer Edward Sisson's observation that: 'authors aligned with the scientific establishment always label sceptics of unintelligent evolution "creationists" in an attempt to box all doubters in with young-earth Christian fundamentalists, while adding sneering comments that denigrate their intellectual integrity.'[12] (The sneering comes later.)

ID is compatible with a range of answers to the question of how much biological reality can be accounted for by an evolutionary process of natural selection, and ID theorists have not yet reached any kind of official consensus on the answer to this question (for example, some ID theorists accept the theory of common ancestry while others do not).  Finding a consensus on issues like this constitutes part of the scientific research program of ID.

Norman's focus on the evolution of species verses the (direct) creation of species is ill-conceived.  For the ID theorist qua ID theorist (unlike the young-earth creationist or the Darwinian), the question of just how much biological reality is accounted for by natural processes is an open question to be answered purely on the basis of evidence.  Once we abandon the belief that nature must be, or is, able to do all of its own creating (whether or not nature is itself a creation, as the theistic evolutionist holds and the Darwinian denies), the only way to settle the matter of how much nature can accomplish without intelligent input is to see which answer constitutes the best explanation of the available evidence.  Whatever answer is achieved will, at the very least, be compatible with belief in God.

Darwin's Contribution

Norman correctly observes that 'Darwin's innovation was not the theory of evolution as such', for 'ideas of evolution were first explored by the ancient Greek philosophers.'  Evolution, in a general sense, follows deductively from the assumption of metaphysical naturalism (just as 'creation science' follows deductively from a certain understanding of biblical hermeneutics).  However, Darwin made a scientific theory of evolution plausible by offering 'a convincing account of the mechanism by which one species could have evolved into another.  This was Darwin's distinctive contribution - the mechanism of "natural selection".'

Darwin's theory of natural selection is undeniably a major contribution to our scientific understanding of biology, but just how much of that world is explicable by natural selection?  At one extreme, the answer for the Darwinian must be along the lines of: 'everything except that which is a necessary pre-requisite for the operation of the process of natural selection itself.'  (This is a slight caricature.  Some Darwinists would add the caveat that other natural processes might have some supplementary role to play.  Nevertheless, the Darwinian is committed a priori to the creative omni-competence of natural processes.)  At the other extreme, the answer for the young-earth creationist must be along the line of: 'Natural selection only accounts for minor variations within created kinds (where 'kinds' might be given a range of interpretations)'.  The answer for the ID theorist as such must be along the lines of: 'Let's look at the evidence and see.'[13]

Poisoning the Well

'most responses by Darwinists to critics begin with an ad hominem argument aimed at destroying the critic's credibility.' - William A. Dembski[14]

Norman asserts that: 'The theory of natural selection is now accepted by all reputable biologists.'  (Here is an example of the sneering observed by Sission.)  However, this pronouncement is either uninformative or simply incorrect.  Are biologists who doubt natural selection thereby automatically counted as disreputable?  Norman would have to class as disreputable biologists like Dr. Paul Chien.  Chien has a PhD in biology from the university of California, Irvine, and is a Professor (and ex-chair) in the Department of Biology at the University of San Francisco.  He is surely a 'reputable biologist'.  However, Chien is sceptical about evolution (cf. 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', co-authored with Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross and Paul Nelson, in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, Michigan State University Press, 2003).  Chien recently translated Phillip E. Johnson's Darwin on Trial into Chinese.  If biologists like Chien are disreputable because they doubt evolution, then the assertion that 'all reputable biologists' accept evolution is tautologically vacuous.

Then again, if it is not vacuous, Norman's assertion is clearly wrong.  In response to a recent American television series on evolution, 132 qualified scientists signed a joint statement saying: 'We are sceptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.'[15] (Around 300 scientists have now signed the statement.)  According to a press release from the organisers, the Discovery Institute:

'Signers of the statement questioning Darwinism came from throughout the US and from several other countries, representing biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, anthropology and other scientific fields.  Professors and researchers at such universities as Princeton, MIT, U Penn, and Yale, as well as smaller colleges and the National Laboratories at Livermore, CA and Los Alamos, N.M., are included.'[16]

Professor Norman's assertion that 'The theory of natural selection is now accepted by all reputable biologists' is not only either vacuous or incorrect (when taken in any substantive sense), but it constitutes an ad hominem 'poisoning of the well'.

Darwin's Core Argument

Fortunately, Norman is not content to 'simply appeal to the authority of science', and although he notes that 'those of us who are not experts [and that includes Norman] cannot appreciate the detailed evidence', he helpfully affirms that: 'the case for evolution through natural selection is a case which anyone can understand . . .' In which case, a non expert can certainly assess the case for Darwin's theory.

According to Norman, Darwin's core argument: 'takes the form of an analogy between the breeding of domesticated plants and animals and the process of natural selection.'  Darwin's core argument goes like this:

Variations exist within existing populations of domesticated plants and animals. Human breeders have intelligently selected which set of characteristics get to breed, such that 'small variations can be accumulated over many generations to produce, say, a new breed of sheep of a new variety of rose.'  Darwin argued that an analogous process of selection happens in nature: 'what he calls "the struggle for existence" functions as a mechanism of selection comparable to selection and breeding by human beings.'  (Darwin's analogy between intelligent and natural selection implies that a non-intelligent process is analogous to a process requiring the involvement of intelligent agents, that a process in which the offspring are exposed to harsh environmental conditions is analogous to a process in which offspring are protected from the environment, and that a process in which offspring can interbreed in the wild is analogous to a process where the breeding of offspring is carefully orchestrated.)  Since there is 'no clear divide' between varieties, and species, the gradual accumulation of modifications can produce changes which are not just new varieties but new species.  Hence, 'continued over vast periods of time', this process of natural selection: 'is sufficient to account for the gradual emergence of all the species of living things which have existed.'

And the lesson Norman draws from this argument is that while the analogical design argument 'does have some initial plausibility', science has provided us with an even more plausible naturalistic alternative that therefore usurps the teleological explanation offered by the God hypothesis:

'the Darwinian explanation works because it invokes familiar processes, of biological reproduction and inheritance, natural variation, and the struggle for survival, and it shows how, given a sufficient time-span, these mechanisms can account for the emergence of species adapted to their environment and possessing physical organs adapted to their functions.'

Darwin and Wider Teleology

Norman's critique of the design argument reminds me of a debate I recently had with a school science teacher in Southampton.  Having used one of her science lessons to extol the virtues of Richard Dawkins and to argue that science shows that there is no God, she was invited by the school's Christian Union to have a debate with me on God and science.[17] The teacher graciously agreed to the debate.  She went first, presenting evidence for Darwin's theory of speciation by natural selection and arguing that since evolution could explain the world there was no reason to believe in God.  I replied that even granting Darwin's theory of speciation by natural selection, a) this did not contradict belief in God, and b) this did nothing to explain either i) the fine-tuning of our universe that permitted the existence of biological life, or ii) the origin of anything capable of evolving (something that the theory of evolution per se clearly had nothing to say about).  The teacher's argument, whatever you made of it, only covered half of the waterfront (if that).  Likewise, Professor Norman relies upon Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection to trump the design argument, but whatever you make of the argument for evolution, the result only covers half of the waterfront (if that). 

Darwin's Origin of Species has nothing to say about the origin of life, or the origin of a life sustaining solar system, or a life sustaining cosmos.  Defending the argument of the Origin clearly does nothing to undermine design arguments based on the necessary pre-conditions of Darwin's argument!  Perhaps Norman has allowed his focus on Paley to obscure questions about what F.R. Tennent dubbed 'wider teleology', for Norman cannot appeal to evolution to explain the fine tuning of the cosmos[18], or the fine tuning of our local cosmic circumstances[19], or the origin of anything capable of undergoing evolution[20], or to explain away the fact that such a finely tuned evolutionary system is analogous to systems we know to be designed (e.g. computer design systems running evolutionary algorithms).

Assessing Darwin's Core Argument

'A good scientific theory . . . is one which is consistent with and can explain the empirical data. . .' - Richard Norman

'Darwinism has remained a philosophy still in search of convincing empirical data to back it up.' - Lee Strobel[21]

But what about the core Darwinian argument itself?  It's result may only cover part of the waterfront Norman assigns it to, but does it even do that more humble task convincingly?  To quote Norman's summary of Darwin's argument:

  1. 'We know that artificial [intelligent] selection of domesticated plants and animals can produce new varieties.'
  2. 'We know that an analogous process of natural selection takes place in nature to produce new varieties better adapted to their environment.'
  3. 'There is no reason why the process of natural selection which produces new varieties may not, over sufficiently long periods of time, also produce varieties so different as to constitute new species.'
  4. 'The mechanism of natural selection can therefore explain how new species have come into existence with features adapted to their environment.'

Premise one is above reproach; as is premise two, in that we know changing environmental conditions can alter the proportional representation of pre-existing variations within a population of organisms.  However, premise three (which really needs to go further than the level of species, and I will take this extension as read in order to avoid attacking a straw-man) is a very large, and therefore shaky extrapolation from premise two.  As David Berlinski writes:

'The most ardent creationist now accept micro-evolution as genuinely Darwinian events.  They had better: such are the facts.  But the grand evolutionary progressions, such as the transformation of a fish into a man, are examples of macro-evolution.  They remain out of reach, accessible only at the end of an inferential trail.'[22]

Our knowledge of observed 'micro-evolutionary' changes does little to support belief in full-blown 'macro-evolution' (evolution beyond the level of species, and/or the evolution of new organs and body-plans).  For example, after a 1977 drought in the Galapagos islands, scientists found that the surviving finches had beaks that were 4% longer and 6% deeper than the average pre-drought beak.  Then, after a period of very wet conditions, scientists found that the average beak size of the surviving finches was about 1% narrower than before.  This is a good example of a 'micro-evolutionary' change: 'The change in average beak size is an example of minor variations being selected from genetic information already present in the gene pool.'[23]  However, to extrapolate from such examples of minor variations within a pre-existing gene pool to the belief that 'There is no reason why the process of natural selection which produces new varieties may not, over sufficiently long periods of time, also produce varieties so different as to constitute new species [and more]', is rather like arguing that since an Olympic runner can cover a mile in four minutes there is no reason that he may not cover sixteen miles in sixty-four minutes!  Obviously not.  There are limiting factors that mean this extrapolation is unrealistic:

Think of an archer shooting an arrow.  Let's say that the arrow travels at about 150 MPH.  So, in half an hour, it should be able to hit a target 75 miles away, right?  Obviously, that won't happen.  There are limiting forces like friction and gravity that dramatically slow the speed of the arrow after the first 50 yards or so.[24]

There may in fact be some evidence for evolutionary speciation[25] (for example, ID theorist Jonathan Well's argues that it is reasonable to think that all cats are related), but evidence for more extensive macro-evolutionary change, especially change involving the appearance of new organs and/or new body plans is lacking.  As David DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer and Mark E. DeForrest observe that: 'Evidence from developmental biology suggests clear limits to the amount of evolutionary change that organisms can undergo, casting doubt on the Darwinian theory of common descent and suggesting a reason for morphological stasis in the fossil record.'[26]

The Fossil Record

'As an illustration of the fossil record, the Tree of Life is a dismal failure.  But it is a good representation of Darwin's theory.' - Jonathan Wells[27]

Indeed, the fossil record does little to endorse Darwinian gradualism.[28] David B. Kitts writes:

'Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of seeing evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of "gaps" in the fossil record.  Evolutionist requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.'[29]

Dr. Robert F. Dehaan and John L. Wiester report that: 'each phylum is self-bounded.  Indeed, there are no transitional forms between them, as predicted by Darwinian theory.'[30] Kitts concludes that 'The gaps must therefore be a contingent feature of the record'[31], but this is to argue from the assumption of macroevolution to an ad hoc explanation for the poor fit between theory and evidence, and to accept that the fossil record fails to verify Darwin's theory.  (As Ralph O. Muncaster complains: 'the fossil record is often evaluated starting from the assumption of evolution'.[32]

Moreover, according to Luther Sunderland: 'The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing ever wider and more undeniable.  They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to the imperfection of the fossil record.'[33] With around 250 million catalogued fossils, representing some 250,000 species, 'the problem does certainly not appear to be an imperfect record.  Many scientists have conceded that the fossil record is sufficiently complete to provide an accurate portrait of the geologic record.'[34] For example, Niles Eldridge writes: 'The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life's history - not the artefact of a poor fossil record.'[35] University of Chicago Professor of geology David Raup says:

'we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil records has been greatly expanded.  We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much.  The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time.'[36]

A study published in the February 26th 1999 issue of Science indicates that 'the fossil record is virtually complete in what it has to reveal.'[37] The study combined data analysis of hundreds of mammal fossils with a mathematical model of evolutionary branching patterns in an attempt to determine the completeness of the fossil record prior to 65 million years ago:

'The researchers concluded that the fossil preservation rate is high - high enough that the probability that modern mammals existed more than 65 million years ago without leaving fossils is just .2 percent (two tenths of one percent).  Study author Christine Janis, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, proclaimed, "The fossil record for that period is good enough for us to say that those species would most likely have been preserved if they had been there."'[38]

Phillip E. Johnson summarises the fossil situation:

'The controversy over how macroevolution could have occurred has been caused largely by the increasing awareness in scientific circles that the fossil evidence is very difficult to reconcile with the Darwinist scenario.  If all living species descended from common ancestors by an accumulation of tiny steps, then there once must have existed a veritable universe of transitional intermediate forms linking the vastly different organisms of today, such as moths, trees, and humans, with their hypothetical common ancestors.  From Darwin's time to the present, palaeontologists have hoped to find the ancestors and transitional intermediates and trace the course of macroevolution.  Despite claims of success in some areas, however, the results have been on the whole disappointing.  That the fossil record is in important respects hostile to a Darwinist interpretation has long been known to insiders as the "trade secret of palaeontology."  The secret is now coming out into the open.'[39]

As Johnson's comments indicate, the evidence is not uniformly inimical to macro-evolution, but even in those cases where evolutionists claim to find evidence for macro-evolution things are not open-and-shut.  Consider Niles Eldridge's comments, made in the context of the famous 'horse sequence' of fossils, where it turns out that 'the species that were supposed to align in an evolutionary lineage actually persist unchanged and co-exist in the fossil record'[40]:

'There have been an awful lot of stories, some more imaginative than others, about what the nature of that history [of life] really is.  The most famous example . . . is the exhibition on horse evolution prepared perhaps fifty years ago.  That has been presented as the literal truth in text-book after text-book.  Now I think that this is lamentable, particularly when people who propose those kinds of stories may themselves be aware of the speculative nature of some of that stuff.'[41]

Hence, while some of the fossil evidence might be made to fit the assumption of macroevolution, the fossil evidence, when taken as a whole, can hardly be said to support turning that assumption into a conclusion.

Steve M. Stanley, professor of paleobiology at John Hopkins University, confirms: 'The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phylitic evolution accomplishing a major morphological transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.'[42] Gareth Nelson, a senior zoologist at the American Museum of Natural History, likewise admits: 'evidence, or proof, of origins . . . of all the major groups of life, of all the minor groups of life, indeed of all the species - is weak or nonexistent when measured on an absolute scale.'[43] Robert Carroll observes that as our knowledge of the fossil record has increased over the past century is has only emphasised: 'how wrong Darwin was in extrapolating the pattern of long-term evolution from that observed within populations and species.'[44]  Indeed, Mark Hartwig points out that:

'According to Darwinism, new phyla are produced by the gradual divergence of species.  As species split off from each other over time, they eventually become so dissimilar as to constitute a whole new body plan.  Therefore, we should see new species slowly appearing over time, followed by the much slower appearance of new phyla - what Harvard palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould called a "cone of increasing diversity."  Instead, the cone is upside down.'[45]

Not only is Darwin's extrapolation inherently risky given its small evidential base, it appears to be contradicted by the fossil record.

As Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien explain, this contradiction between Darwinian theory and fossil evidence is hardly surprising when one considers the fact that: 'empirically derived estimates of mutation rates in extant organisms suggest that the kind of large-scale morphological changes that occurred in the Cambrian would have required far more time than the duration of the explosion. . .'[46]

The Cambrian explosion and intelligent design

'Darwinism cannot explain the Cambrian explosion. . . we need a new theory.' - Dr. Jun-Yuan Chen, palaeontologist, Nanking Institute of Geology.[47]

As Francis J. Beckwith reports, some intelligent design theorists argue that the fossil record provide positive support for the theory of intelligent design[48]:

'evolutionists admit that the record does not reveal gradual development from simple to more complex species, as predicted by Darwin.  Rather, in what is called the "Cambrian explosion" the record reveals the sudden appearance at differing times of information-rich organisms within a hierarchical diversity of species with apparently no precursors.  Their body plans with their improbable arrangement of parts including the information content of their DNA and the irreducible complexity of their biological systems and subsystems exhibit the characteristics of specified complexity, intelligent design.  Hence, some design theorists employ the facts of the Cambrian explosion in their arguments for ID. . .'[49]

For example, in their paper 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang'[50], Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien conclude that:

'When we compare the pattern of fossilization in the actual fossil record to the expected pattern given the neo-Darwinian mechanism, we encounter significant dissonance.  Neither the pace nor the mode of evolutionary change match neo-Darwinian expectations.  Indeed, the neo-Darwinism mechanism cannot explain the geologically sudden origin or the major body plans to which the term "the Cambrian explosion' principally refers.  Further, the absence of plausible transitional organisms, the pattern of disparity preceding diversity, and the pattern of phyla first appearance all run counter to the neo-Darwinian expectations.  Although. . . the newer punctuationist model of evolutionary change appears more consonant with some aspects of the Cambrian/Precambrian fossil record, it too, fails to account for the extreme absence of transitional intermediaries, the top-down pattern of diversity, and the pattern of phylum first appearance. . .'[51]

They observe: 'These problems underscore a more significant theoretical difficulty for evolutionary theory generally, namely, the insufficiency of attempts to extrapolate microevolutionary mechanisms to explain macroevolutionary development'[52], and go on to argue that:

'we see in the fossil record several distinctive features or hallmarks of designed systems, including: (1) a quantum or discontinuous increase in specified complexity or information; (2) a top-down pattern of innovation in which large-scale morphological disparity arises before small-scale diversity; (3) the persistence of structural (or "morphological") disparities between separate organized systems; and (4) the discrete or simultaneous emergence of functionally integrated parts within novel organizational body plans. . .  in other words, intelligent design constitutes the best, most causally adequate, explanation of the specific features of the Cambrian explosion. . .' [53]

The extrapolation that won't fly

Phillip E. Johnson argues that none of the examples of microevolution:

'provides any persuasive reason for believing that natural selection can produce new species, new organs, or other major changes. . .  That larger birds have an advantage over smaller birds in high winds or droughts has no tendency whatever to prove that similar factors caused birds to come into existence in the first place.'[54]

Johnson quotes Pierre Grasse, who wrote that:

'The "evolution in action" of J. Huxley and other biologists is simply the observation of demographic facts, local fluctuations of genotypes, geographical distributions.  Often the species concerned have remained practically unchanged for hundreds of centuries!  Fluctuations as a result of circumstances, with prior modification of the genome, does not imply evolution . . .'[55]

Darwin's risky extrapolation from observed micro-evolutionary change to the story of macroevolution accounting for all organic variation simply assumes that there are no limiting factors analogous to the limiting factors that came into play in the story about the Olympic runner or the story about the archer; hence Professor Norman is building a house on sand when he asserts that: 'the Darwinian explanation shows how . . . these mechanisms can account for the emergence of species [and more]'

At best, the Darwinian explanation suggests how the observed mechanism of natural selection might account for the emergence of species (and more) if there are no limiting factors that invalidate what is at any rate a risky extrapolation from the available data.  As David L. Hull of the University of Wisconsin observes: 'The leading philosophers contemporary with Darwin, John Herchet, William Whewell, and John Stewart Mill, were equally adamant in their conviction that the Origin of Species was just one mass of conjecture.'[56] They were right.  As Nancy Pearcey and Charles Colson observe: 'It was a bold speculation, but no one should be misled into thinking it was more than that. . .  It is a conjecture, an extrapolation going far beyond any observed facts.'[57]

Darwin's 'risky' hypothesis (to borrow a term from falsificationist philosopher of science Karl Popper) was a good scientific hypothesis that was well worth checking out, but 150 years of checking have indicated that Darwin was at best only partly right: 'Yes, small-scale evolution is a fact', writes molecular biophysicist Cornelius G. Hunter, 'but there is no reason to think it is unbounded.  In fact, all our data suggests that small-scale evolution cannot produce the sort of large-scale change Darwinism requires.'[58]  On the basis of the fossil record, Dehaan and Wiester conclude:

'The Darwinian mechanism of selection and variation does provide a plausible explanation for minor variations among species, such as the variations of shapes in finches' beaks.  But this mechanism plays no discernable part in the formation of major innovations'[59]

As Roger Lewin stated in his summary of the Chicago 'Macroevolution' conference in 1980:

'The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution.  At risk of doing violence to the position of some people at this meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.'[60]

Today, Cornelius G. Hunter reports that:

'if one looks in the research journals, one finds that evolutionists are unsure whether small-scale evolution could possibly account for the needed large-scale change. . .  From genetics to palaeontology and other disciplines, the message is that evolution's necessary large-scale change does not appear to be a simple case of small-scale change extrapolated over time.'[61]

Moreover, premise three simply assumes that Michael J. Behe is wrong when he suggests that there are bio-molecular structures that cannot be explained by any process of gradual, direct evolution because they are irreducibly complex.[62]

ID can happily subsume natural selection into its explanatory schema.  However, unfettered by a philosophical commitment to the explanatory sufficiency of natural causes, ID finds itself free to follow the evidence wherever it leads.  At the moment, the evidence does not seem consonant with Darwin's risky extrapolation from observed 'microevolution' to a 'macroevolution' capable of explaining the full diversity of life given only (!) something capable of evolving and a life-sustaining environment to do it in.  Jonathan Well's argues that:

'as we go up. . . different levels in the taxonomic hierarchy - species, genus, family, order, class - common ancestry is certainly true at the species level, but is it true at higher levels?  It becomes an increasingly uncertain inference the higher we go in the taxonomic hierarchy.  When you get to the level of phyla, the major animal groups, it's a very, very shaky hypothesis.  In fact, I would say it's disconfirmed.  The evidence just doesn't support it.'[63]

Indeed, the evidence appears to support quite a different hypothesis: intelligent design.

Professor Norman's argument against non-embodied designers

Norman does not just argue in favour of macro-evolution.  He also argues against explanation in terms of a non-embodied intelligent designer because:

'we have no idea how to fill in the details of the explanation.  We cannot specify any of the physical processes, comparable to the carpenter's cutting and shaping of the wood. . .  However powerful we may suppose the divine creator to be, we have no idea what physical techniques he might use.'

It is important to remind ourselves here that talking about a divine creator involves us in a philosophical extension of the science of intelligent design.  ID is concerned only with discovering empirically detectable intelligent design.  ID is logically compatible with metaphysical naturalism (that is, a naturalist can accept the design detecting methods and results of ID but attempt to argue that a naturalistically explicable designer must be responsible), although ID clearly puts a severe explanatory strain on metaphysical naturalism (and although the question of whether any intelligent agent - embodied or not - is naturalistically explicable is of course something that is open to question).

Rejecting the philosophical extension of ID to the conclusion of divine design simply because the hypothesis of a divine creator does not allow us to specify what 'physical techniques' were used to bring about a given example of design, looks very much like faulting the theistic explanation for not being metaphysically naturalistic!

When it comes to explaining an object we know to have been made by another human being, we can specify the physical processes involved as they relate to the object (e.g. this log had a certain amount of its mass whittled away by a certain cutting edge in a certain pattern - in a way that we would not chalk up to natural forces) or as they relate to the embodied creator (e.g. the carpenter picked up a tool and applied that tool to the log, etc.).  When we are suggesting that something was designed by a non-embodied creator (e.g. God) we can specify the physical processes involved as they relate to the object (e.g. a given number of amino acids of a given type moved so as to be ordered in the specified sequence - in a way that we would not chalk up to natural forces) or as they relate to the non-embodied creator (e.g. God caused those amino acids to sequence by an act of his omnipotent will).  Note that specifying physical processes as they relate to the object of design does not differ according to the nature of the designer.  On the other hand, specifying physical processes as they relate to the designer (Norman's 'physical techniques') does differ according to the nature of the designer.  What is the nature of this difference?  In the case of the embodied designer, there are a greater number of tools or 'physical techniques' involved.  The embodied designer exerts their will through the tool of their body.  The carpenter moves his carpentry tools by moving his body.  But how does the carpenter move his own body?  One cannot simply reply that this is done by his causing some other physical process, at least not without opening up that physical process to the same question, ad infinitum.

Of course, metaphysical naturalists believe that the carpenter just is a physical object/process.  For the naturalist, everything must reduce to natural causes and the distinction between natural and intelligent causes is ultimately spurious.  However, if there are reliable methods of design detection (as ID claims), and if those methods as applied to nature indicate the presence of design (as ID claims), and if the best explanation of that design is the existence of a non-embodied designer (something ID leaves for the apologists, philosophers, theologians, etc. to debate), then one clearly has reason to accept the existence of a non-embodied designer (and to think that metaphysical naturalism is not true.)

We can get some purchase on how a non-embodied creator would go about creating, by analogy with our ability to move our own bodies without having to employ an infinite series of intermediary physical tools or processes, and by analogy with our ability to imagine things.  Supposing God wanted to move a carpentry tool, he would not be able to do so by moving his body, because he has no body to move - but presumably he could do it by moving someone else's body; indeed, presumably he could just as well move the tool directly, without moving any body at all.  God does not rely upon any intermediate physical processes or technique to accomplish his will.  The demand to know what physical processes was involved in God creating something as they relate to the non-embodied creator commits a 'category error', imposing a naturalistic form of explanation on a non-naturalistic form of explanation.

The real question is whether there is evidence of design and whether, if so, that design is best explained in terms of an embodied or a non-embodied designer.  Although the naturalist can try to refer design in nature to embodied designers that (they will reckon) can be described in physicalist terms (e.g. even the fine tuning of our universe could be due to embodied designers in another universe), such an explanation looks ad hoc and invites an infinite regress of explanations, in that embodied designers are likely to be dependent upon a physical reality that gives just as much indication of being designed as does our own (e.g. supposing our universe were fine tuned by aliens, wouldn't the alien's own universe have to be 'fine tuned', etc?).  In which case, isn't the better explanation the existence of a non-embodied designer?

Conclusion

Norman accepts that 'Darwinian theory does not refute religious belief', writing that 'we can indeed combine the scientific theory of evolution through natural selection.  It does not prove there is no god.' Ignoring the possibility that one might argue for God's existence from the processes of evolution itself, he therefore accepts that: 'If we have good independent reasons for believing in a god, we can indeed combine that belief with the acceptance of the scientific theory of evolution through natural selection.'  However, when he asserts that 'What the scientific theory does, however, is to undermine fatally the argument from design', Norman engages in an astonishing over-simplification that reduces all the evidence for design to 'the intricacies of living things and their apparent design.'  Norman's attack on the teleological argument fails to engage with the evidence for design revealed by cosmology and astrobiology.

Moreover, even if we grant Norman's assumption that a mechanistic explanation automatically eradicates evidence for design, Darwin's core argument - a risky extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution (based on the assumption that there are no limiting factors) - is not only inherently incapable of covering 'the waterfront' Norman assigns to it (i.e. all the evidence for design, including cosmic fine tuning and the origin of life), it appears to be incapable of bearing the full weight of the territory it assigns to itself (i.e. everything after the origin of life).  The Darwinian extrapolation from microevolution to an explanatory sufficient macroevolution is contradicted by evidence including evidence from the fossil record and for the irreducible complexity of bio-molecular machines.

When these failures are combined with the argumentative poverty of Professor Norman's dismissive treatment of the other theistic arguments, it becomes apparent that he has singularly failed in his project to establish 'the starting point for secular humanism', namely, the falsity of 'a view of the world based on a belief in the existence of a god or gods or supernatural beings'. If this is what counts as a 'powerfully argued philosophical defence of humanism' that 'deserves to become humanism's unofficial manifesto', then secular humanism is in a bad way.

Recommended Resources

Alvin Plantinga, 'Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments' @ www.homestead.com/philofreligion/files/Theisticarguments.html

Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003) & @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29

Richard Norman, On Humanism, (Routledge, 2004)

Peter S. Williams, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, (Damaris, 2004)


[1] cf. www.kent.ac.uk/secl/philosophy/norman.html

[2] Norman's list of theistic arguments in chapter two is, of course, far from complete.

[3] cf. Francis J. Beckwith, 'Moral Law, the Mormon Universe and the Nature of the Right we Choose' @ http://homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/tnmc.pdf; Francis J. Beckwith, 'Why I Am Not A Relativist' @ http://homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/RELATIVISM.pdf; Paul Copan, 'Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist?' @ www.gospelcom.net/rzim/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=4; William Lane Craig, 'The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality' @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html; J.P Moreland, 'The Ethical Inadequacy of Naturalism' @ www.afterall.net/citizens/moreland/papers/jp-naturalism2.html; Francis J. Beckwith & Koukl, Gregory, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air, (Baker, 2001); William Lane Craig (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: A Reader and Guide, (Edinburgh University Press, 2002); Brian Davies, Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology, (Oxford University Press, 2000).

[4] Alvin Plantinga, 'Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments' @

www.homestead.com/philofreligion/files/Theisticarguments.html

[5] cf. John DePoe, 'The Ontological Argument' @ http://apologetics.johndepoe.com/onto.html

[6] cf. William Lane Craig, 'The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe' @ www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html; William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Crossway); J.P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987).

[7] cf. William Lane Craig, 'God, Time and Eternity' @

www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/eternity.html

[8] cf. Richard Swinburne, The Christian God, (Oxford, 1994)

[9] For more on the cosmological argument, cf. F.C. Copleston, & Bertrand Russell, 'A Debate on the Argument from Contingency' @ www.ditext.com/russell/debate.html; Douglas Groothuis, 'Leo and the Mechanic: A Cosmological Narrative' @ www.gospelcom.net/ivpress/groothuis/leocosmo.htm; Peter Kreeft, 'The First Cause Argument' @ www.peterkreeft.com/topics/first-cause.htm

[10] Note that the terminology of 'intelligent design' has now become the standard language of discourse in this area (rather than simply 'design', as would have been the case a decade ago).

[11] There is, I think, more to Paley's argument than this, but the analogical argument is there, and Norman does at least quote from a historically important proponent of the teleological argument.  Nevertheless, Norman fails to engage with contemporary design arguments.  cf. Peter S. Williams, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, (Damaris, 2004)

[12] Edward Sission, 'Teaching the flaws in Neo-Darwinism', Uncommon Dissent, , (ISI Books, 2004), p. 91.

[13] cf. Jonathan Well's, 'Should We Stop Criticizing the Doctrine of Universal Common Ancestry?' @ www.arn.org/docs/wells/jw_criticizingcommonancestry1103.htm

[14] William A. Dembski, Uncommon Dissent, op cit, p. xxxiii.

[15] cf. www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf,

www.arn.org/docs2/news/100scientists0929.htm

[16] www.reviewevolution.com/press/pressRelease_100Scientists.php, my italics.

[17] Thank-you to Luke Pollard for organising this debate, and to the teacher concerned for her participation.

[18]cf. William Lane Craig, 'The Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle'

www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/teleo.html; William Lane Craig, 'Review: The Design Inference - Eliminating chance through small possibilities' @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/design.html; Peter S. Williams, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, (Damaris, 2004).

[19] cf. Guillermo Gonzalez & Jay W. Richards, The Privileged Planet, (Regnery Publishing, 2004); Jimmy H. Davies & Harry L. Poe, Designer Universe: Intelligent Design and the Existence of God, (Broadman & Holman, 2002).

[20]cf. Stephen C. Meyer, 'DNA and Other Designs' @

www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_dnaotherdesigns.htm; Peter S. Williams, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, (Damaris, 2004).

[21] Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, (Zondervan, 2004), p. 65.

[22] David Berlinksi, 'Berlinksi replies to H. Allen Orr', in Uncommon Dissent, op cit, p. 286.

[23] Robert C. Newman et al, What's Darwin Got to Do With It?, (IVP), p. 39.

[24] ibid, p. 23.

[25] cf. Anjana Ahuja, 'A Species is Born: Scientists believe that they may be witnessing evolution in action on our northern coastline', The Times, T2, 22 July 2004, p. 14.  This report concerns two varieties or morphs of Yorkshire periwinkles (mid-shore and high-shore) that may be in the process of becoming separate species, in that they are currently not keen on breeding with each other: 'The problem with watching just one freeze-frame [of a presumed evolutionary history]. . . is not knowing what came before or what will happen in the future.  For example, it is possible, though unlikely, that the reverse is happening, and that two species are merging into one.'

[26] David DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer and Mark E. DeForrest, 'Teaching the Controversy: Is it Science, Religion, or Speech?', in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003), p. 66.

[27] Jonathan Wells, in Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, (Zondervan, 2004), p. 43.

[28] cf. Mark Hartwig, 'Doesn't the fossil record support naturalistic evolution?' @ www.arn.org/idfaq/Doesn%27t%20the%20fossil%20evidence%20support%20naturalistic%20evolution.htm 

[29] David B. Kitts, 'Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory', Evolution, vol. 28, 1974, p. 467.

[30] Robert F. Dehaan and John L. Wiester, 'The Cambrian Explosion: The Fossil Record and Intelligent Design', in William A. Dembski & James M. Kushiner (ed.s'), Signs of Intelligence, (Brazos Press, 2001), p. 150.

[31] Kitts, op cit.

[32] Ralph O. Muncaster, Dismantling Evolution, (Harvest House, 2003), p. 78.

[33] Luther Sunderland, Darwin's Enigma, (Master Books, 1998), p. 11.

[34] John Ankerberg & John Weldon, 'Rational Inquiry & the Force of Scientific Data: Are New Horizons Emerging?, in J.P. Moreland (ed), The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994), p. 278.

[35] Niles Eldridge, The Myths of Human Evolution, (Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 59.  The theory of 'punctuated equilibrium', with which Eldridge is associated, 'is really more of an observation - based on the fossil record, which shows appearance of new species (for example, in the Cambrian explosion) than it is a theory in the usual sense', and while 'there has been a major ongoing debate among evolutionists themselves on the likelihood of the punctuated equilibrium model verses the traditional gradualistic one' it seems that 'the traditional gradualism model still has strong support'; and in any case 'Whichever model evolutionists choose to suggest. . . the lack of a single example of a real transition is evidence enough that the fossil record does not support evolution.' (Ralph O. Muncaster, Dismantling Evolution, p. 86-87.)  Phillip E. Johnson writes: 'Most evolutionary biologists do not accept Eldridge and Gould's hypothesis that evolutionary change is closely associated with speciation. . .  Speciation and change in form. . . seem to be different phenomena. . .  For these and other reasons, orthodox neo-Darwinists prefer to explain sudden appearance on the traditional basis of gaps in the fossil record. . .' (Darwin on Trial, p. 52-53.)  For a critique of both Darwinian gradualism and punctuated equilibrium in relation to the fossil record cf. Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29 and in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003), p. 338.

[36] David Raup, 'Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology', Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, January, 1979.

[37] Muncaster, op cit, p. 81.

[38] The Brown University News Bureau, February 25, 1999; http://brown.edu/Administration/News Bureau/1998-99/98-077.html

[39] Phillip E. Johnson, 'Evolution as Dogma', in Uncommon Dissent, op cit, p. 26.

[40] Cornelius G. Hunter, 'Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science', in Uncommon Dissent, op cit, p. 206.

[41] Niles Eldridge, Harper's Magazine (February, 1985), p. 60.

[42] Steve M. Stanley, Macroevolution, p. 59, quoted by Ankerberg & Weldon, op cit.

[43] Gareth Nelson, quoted by Johnson, 'Evolution as Dogma', op cit.

[44] Robert Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, (Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 8.

[45] Mark Hartwig, 'Challenging Darwin's Myths', in James P. Gills & Tom Woodward (ed.'s), Darwinism under the Microscope , p. 26.

[46] Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29 and in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003), p. 338.

[47] Quoted by Tom Woodward, 'Of Canadian Oddballs and Chinese Monsters', in James P. Gills & Tom Woodward (ed.'s), Darwinism under the Microscope, (Charisma House, 2002), p. 105.

[48] cf. Kurt P. Wise, 'The Origin of Life's Major Groups', in J.P. Moreland (ed.), The Creation Hypothesis, (IVP, 1994); Robert F. Dehaan and John L. Wiester, 'The Cambrian Explosion: The Fossil Record and Intelligent Design', in William A. Dembski & James M. Kushiner (ed.s'), Signs of Intelligence, (Brazos Press, 2001); & Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003) & @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29

[49] Francis J. Beckwith, Law, Darwinism, And Public Education, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), p. 118.

[50] Meyer et al, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29 and in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003), p. 323-402.

[51] ibid.

[52] ibid.

[53] ibid.

[54] Johnson, Darwin on Trial, op cit, p. 27.

[55] Quoted by Johnson, ibid.

[56] David L. Hull, Darwin and his Critics, p. 7, quoted by Ankerberg & Weldon, op cit.

[57] Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, Developing a Christian Worldview of Science And Evolution, (Tyndale House, 2001), p. 73.

[58] Cornelius G. Hunter, Darwin's Proof, (Brazos Press, 2003), p. 60.

[59] Dehaan and Wiester, op cit, p. 150.

[60] Meyer et al, 'The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang', @ www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=29 and in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (ed.'s), Darwinism, Design, And Public Education, op cit, p. 354.

[61] Hunter, 'Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science', in Uncommon Dissent, op cit, p. 203.

[62] cf. Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box (Free Press, 1998); William A. Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased without Intelligence (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001); Peter S. Williams, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, (Damaris, 2004); ARN featured author, Michael J. Behe @ www.arn.org/behe/behehome.htm; Michael J. Behe, 'A Response to Critics of Darwin's Black Box' @ www.iscid.org/papers/Behe_ReplyToCritics_121201.pdf; John Bracht, 'The Bacterial Flagellum: A Response to Ursula Goodenough' @ www.iscid.org/papers/Bracht_GoodenoughResponse_021203.pdf; William A. Dembski, 'Irreducible Complexity Revisited' @ www.designinference.com/documents/2004.01.Irred_Compl_Revisited.pdf; William A. Dembski, 'Still Spinning Just Fine: A Response to Ken Miller' @ www.designinference.com/documents/2003.02.Miller_Response.htm; William A. Dembski, 'Evolution's Logic of Credulity' @ www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_logic_credulity.htm; William A. Dembski, 'Biology in the Subjunctive Mood: A Response to Nicholas Matzke' @ www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_biologusubjunctive.htm; Mike Gene, 'Irreducible Complexity and Darwinian Pathways' @ www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_mg1darwinianpathways.htm; Mike Gene, 'Evolving the Bacterial Flagellum Through Mutation and Cooption' @ www.idthink.net/biot/flag1/index.html; & 'Irreducible Complexity ReVisited' @ www.idthink.net/back/ic/index.html; See E. Coli swimming using flagella @ www.mtmi.vu.lt/pfk/funkc_dariniai/nanostructures/bacteria.htm; On Video or DVD: Michael Behe, Irreducible Complexity: The Biochemical Challenge to Darwinian Theory (ARN); Michael Behe, Opening Darwin's Black Box: An Interview with Dr. Michael Behe (ARN); Unlocking the Mysteries of Life (Illustrated Media); Scott Minnich, Bacterial Flagella: Paradigm for Design (ARN).

[63] Wells, in Strobel, op cit, p. 46.