The Skinny on the Creation/Evolution Debate

I must admit that one of the reasons I felt compelled to start a “Christian Apologetics” category on my blog was because I find the condescending and combative browbeating by anti-theists toward people of faith annoying and pretentious.

Those of us who earnestly desire to follow Christ and believe the Bible to be inspired should not accept the notion that the current findings of science are cut and dried, and we certainly should not accept that modern science is in any way endangering our Christian faith. Quite the contrary, I personally believe actual science and theism are converging more than diverging.

Let me repeat what I’ve shared before. Science cannot answer every question we have about our existence. It never will because it cannot do so. As Nobel Prize winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar said:

“these are questions that science cannot answer and that no conceivable advance of science would empower it to answer.” (“The Limits of Science,” p.66)

I’m not scholar nor a formal apologist, and I’m certainly not a scientist. On this particular subject, I consider myself more of a disseminator of information. So, in that regard, I would like to call your attention to a paper that gives what I think is a well-balanced survey of the current debate between creation and evolution, both within the Christian faith and outside the faith.

The title of the paper is: “Let There Be Light: Illuminating the Creation/Evolution Debate” by Paul Coulter. If you’re interested in this topic you can click on the title and read the whole thing. I will just list a few highlights here. Dr. Coulter starts out by stating the purpose of the paper:

‘Evolution versus creation’. That’s how many Christians are conditioned to think about the issues explored in this paper. It is certainly the way I remember the issues being framed when I was a child and teenager…. As I matured, studying sciences at A-level and then progressing to study medical genetics and medicine at university, I came to realize that the debate was not as straightforward as I had previously thought.

This paper has been prepared in response to a request from a Christian group for me to help them understand the main positions on creation and evolution held by Christians.

He goes on to say that there are, broadly speaking, four possible stances:

a) Science rules supreme in all realms
b) Science has nothing to offer to our understanding of God
c) Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA)
d) All truth is God’s truth – this view, which is the one I want to argue for, recognizes that truth is true irrespective of how it is discovered. Both nature and Scripture can reveal truth to us.

I would take Coulter’s position here. Both nature and Scripture can reveal truth to us. Coulter also shares the strengths and weaknesses of the three main positions of creationists and with modern (Neo-Darwinism) evolution.

It’s all very good and well worth the read if you’re interested.

One drawback of Dr. Coulter’s paper is that he really only addresses one theory of evolution—Neo-Darwinism. While Neo-Darwinism is, by far, the most popular theory among evolutionary biologists, it’s only one of many theories, and recently it’s being challenged by many scientists to be in need of adjustment. Here’s a partial list of other evolutionary theories, some are more compatible to the Biblical view of creation than others:

  • Lamarckian Evolution
  • Darwinian Natural Selection
  • Niche Construction
  • Evolution Through Symbiogenesis
  • Evo-Devo
  • Process Structuralism

The following video clip will help you understand this point better than I can explain it.

I will end by quoting Dr. Coulter’s conclusion from his paper. I believe this is wisdom.

Two Pitfalls To Avoid

Whatever position we hold to, we should do so lightly and without dogmatism. We must respect fellow Christians who don’t share our perspective and seek to grow together towards a greater understanding of the truth. We should aim to avoid two dangers:

a) Wedding ourselves to a particular interpretation of Scripture that is not required by the text with the result that we make our faith falsifiable if that interpretation becomes untenable in light of growing evidence from nature and/or that we deny the orthodoxy of other Christians who hold to an alternative interpretation.

b) Being so convinced of methodological naturalism in our approach to the evidence of nature that we become functionally atheist or at least functionally deist. We must not allow ourselves to accept the view that God is uninvolved in the natural world. We must recognize His hand sustaining the natural processes of the universe as well as in His extraordinary actions in the world that appear ‘supernatural’ to us. (Emphasis added)

Rather than becoming reactionary and combative about these important issues, let’s keep the trapdoor of our mind open and learn to be responsive and gracious to those we may disagree with. As James admonishes us:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  (James 1:19-20 NIV)

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 42 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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179 Responses to The Skinny on the Creation/Evolution Debate

  1. john zande says:

    Those are not “partial evolutionary theories.” Some are so outdated it’s not even funny, and Lamarckism is 200 year old nonsense, but they are all attempts to explain aspects of the SINGLE Theory of Evolution… Unguided.

    But, as I have repeatedly stated, you’re free to believe in Creationism, but if you wish to be taken seriously, you will have to demonstrate Creationism.

    Can you show me that Yhwh is responsible for, say, the GKPID mutation, but perhaps not responsible for the Hox and ParaHox gene clusters.

    Are you suggesting Yhwh is responsible for all the mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) in the evolutionary paradigm?

    From the 2012 paper: Mutation Induced Extinction in Finite Populations: Lethal Mutagenesis and Lethal Isolation

    “Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins. Thus, left unchecked, new mutations tend to erode fitness and endanger the long-term survival of any species. Fortunately, natural selection usually balances against mutational genetic decay by rewarding the fit and weeding out the unfit. However, when the genomic mutation rate (i.e. the expected number of mutations per genome duplication) exceeds a critical value (Ucrit), mutation outpaces selection, causing population extinction in a process known as “lethal mutagenesis””

    • Mel Wild says:

      Those are not “partial evolutionary theories.” Some are so outdated it’s not even funny, and Lamarckism is 200 year old nonsense, but they are all attempts to explain aspects of the SINGLE Theory of Evolution… Unguided.

      And your point is? Some of these theories are newer than Neo-Darwinian theory. And Neo-Darwinism is an adaptation. So what? The point is that there is scientific debate over just how “unguided” the process really is.

      But, as I have repeatedly stated, you’re free to believe in Creationism, but if you wish to be taken seriously, you will have to demonstrate Creationism.

      And you keep making an irrelevant statement. You cannot “demonstrate” the existence or non-existence of a creator in a lab, John. You cannot prove or disprove. So your statement is fallacious: a category mistake.

      And can YOU empirically prove in a lab that the evolutionary process is absolutely random and accidental? In other words, can you demonstrate that if the process were started over, we would not have humans or life similar to what we have now? And if you can’t prove it, why should I take you seriously? (According to your logic.)

      • john zande says:

        You are completely oblivious to the meaning of the word, Theory, Mel.

        It’s all unguided. That is the crux of the Theory of Evolution. Our understanding of the mechanisms by which evolution proceeds increases, but the Theory does not alter.

        You cannot “demonstrate” the existence or non-existence of a creator in a lab, John.

        According to you, we can. You are suggesting “tinkering,” so that tinkering will be evident somewhere, correct? If it’s not evident, then what is your point, Mel?

        So, the question remains:

        Are you suggesting all the mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) are part of Yhwh’s plan?

        Is that what you’re suggesting, Yes or No?

        • Mel Wild says:

          It’s all unguided. That is the crux of the Theory of Evolution.

          No, it’s not. All theories deal with degrees of randomness and the nature of the process. Process Structuralism, for instance, follows formalism; Neo-Darwinism follows functionalism. They are diametrically opposed to one another in theory.

          Regarding the fundamental nature of organic form, biologists have for two centuries adhered to two opposing conceptions. One is referred to as structuralism (or formalism), and the other as functionalism….
          It is hard to imagine two scientific frameworks as diametrically opposed as structuralism and functionalism. Where structuralism proposes an internalist model of causation, functionalism proposes an externalist causal model. It is extraordinary to think that leading biologists have seen exactly the same empirical facts as pointing in such very different directions.
          https://evolutionnews.org/2016/02/two_views_of_bi/

          John said:

          According to you, we can. You are suggesting “tinkering,” so that tinkering will be evident somewhere, correct?

          No, I’m not. I’m saying that IF the evolutionary process follows natural forms or laws, then it would be compatible with creationism. You are the one being dogmatic, saying that it’s all accidental and totally unguided.

          Are you suggesting all the mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) are part of Yhwh’s plan?

          No, I’m not suggesting that genetic mistakes are part of God’s plan at all, any more than He planned for you to be an atheist. I’m suggesting that it’s not an indisputable fact that the evolutionary process is accidental and totally unguided.

        • john zande says:

          Be awesome if Process Structuralists could demonstrate their ideas in concert with all of the evolutionary model. They can’t, which is why it’s not a very good explanatory model and broadly dismissed as a principle mechanism.

          And you are still only dealing with natural selection… the CORE of Evolutionary Theory.

          I’m saying that IF the evolutionary process follows natural forms or laws, then it would be compatible with creationism.

          And where does that “creationism” part fit in? Genetic tinkering? Climate changes? Bolide impacts? Extinctions?

          No, I’m not suggesting that genetic mistakes are part of God’s plan at all

          And yet most mutations are harmful to an organism’s fitness.

          So what you’re suggesting is all the bad stuff is not Yhwh… All the good stuff is Yhwh

          How convenient.

          I’m suggesting that it’s not an indisputable fact that the evolutionary process is accidental and totally unguided.

          Great. Demonstrate it.

          Show me something that you think Yhwh did.

          Was, for example, Yhwh responsible then for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event?

        • Mel Wild says:

          And where does that “creationism” part fit in?

          That’s easy. It would fit in by showing that these processes are following natural laws (with limited randomness). We could say that God is the one who put in place the natural laws for the creative process to work.

          And my question to you is, why do we have natural laws in the first place? A law infers that there is a law-giver.

          So what you’re suggesting is all the bad stuff is not Yhwh… All the good stuff is Yhwh
          How convenient.

          No, I’m suggesting that while God sustains life and put the natural laws into place, He is not a micro-manager. Just as He allowed you to be an combative atheist against His perfect will and allowed you to constantly demean His character and nature.

          Great. Demonstrate it.

          I did demonstrate it by showing that there are opposing theories of evolution, which means it’s not indisputable as you seem to suggest.

          And, John, why don’t YOU demonstrate that it is an indisputable fact (with empirical data) that the evolutionary process is completely accidental and totally unguided. I’ll wait for your proofs…

          Show me something that you think Yhwh did.

          Again, you miss the point. It is plausible that He could be the one who put the natural laws into place for the creative process to proceed.

          And why don’t you demonstrate your theory by proving that if the whole evolutionary process were to start over, we would not have humans or some basic form of life as we have today. And demonstrate empirically that there are no natural laws or forms that the evolutionary process is following.

        • john zande says:

          It would fit in by showing that these processes are following natural laws (with limited randomness).

          And what is limited randomness?

          I did demonstrate it by showing that there are opposing theories of evolution

          There are no opposing theories. Period.

          Knowledge of the mechanisms change, and the THEORY only gets stronger. Darwin, for example, didn’t understand sexual selection. It wasn’t even considered in his writings, hence his confusion as to the Peacock.

          So, Mel, was Yhwh responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event?

          Or what about the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago?

        • Mel Wild says:

          And what is limited randomness?

          John, did you even watch the video? That’s the reason I include these, so I don’t have to keep repeating and explaining these things. He gives several examples on the video.

          There are no opposing theories. Period.

          Not too dogmatic, are you. So, Process Structuralism is not opposed at all to Neo-Darwinism? Huh? Sure, they all fall under the generic category of “evolution,” but they differ widely in the details, John.

          Knowledge of the mechanisms change, and the THEORY only gets stronger.

          And I wasn’t arguing against evolution. Why do you keep missing this point? Formalism and functionalism in evolutionary theories are diametrically opposed to one another, so it’s not as harmonious as you suggest.

          So, Mel, was Yhwh responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event?
          Or what about the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago?

          Why do you keep asking me these INANE questions? Who knows? So what! And what do these kinds of singular event details have to do with a creator designing the natural laws for the general process? Was it God’s intent for you to be an atheist?

          I like how you keep asking questions and totally ignore my questions. Not too hypocritical. I suppose you’ll be accusing me of being “evasive” next.

        • john zande says:

          If you wish to demonstrate structuralism as it applies across the entire evolutionary paradigm, then do so. At its core, though, it is not in opposition to evolution through natural selection. I don’t you actually understand what you’re trying to argue here, Mel.

          Who knows? So what!

          Well, without the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event humans probably would never have evolved. That’s so what.

          Without the Great Oxygen Catastrophe, complex muscular life would never have evolved. That’s so what.

          So, if you believe human beings were intended, then you must equally believe Yhwh caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction, and the Great Oxygen Catastrophe.

          So, do you believe Yhwh caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction and the Great Oxygen Catastrophe?

          Yes, or No?

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, you can’t prove any of this. So, this whole notion of demonstrating is absurd. Are you a microbiologist? A paleontologist? Did you conclusively demonstrate that human life could not have happened otherwise?

          And you’ve still ignored all my questions, which can only mean you can’t answer them. I see.

        • john zande says:

          Ah, I see. When your ideas are presented against reality, you run away and hide, hurling insults as you flee to all who dared expose your nonsense. ”Reality is just too awkward, and those damn pieces just don’t fit! And you’re a FUNDAMENTALIST for pointing out historical facts!”

          Okay Mel, enjoy your pantomime.

          Just a word of advice: As an adult, you can’t posit a model trying to explain reality, then scream and holler like a petulant child when someone asks you to explain historical facts against your model.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ah, I see. When your ideas are presented against reality, you run away and hide, hurling insults as you flee to all who dared expose your nonsense. ”Reality is just too awkward, and those damn pieces just don’t fit! And you’re a FUNDAMENTALIST for pointing out historical facts!”

          Reality? Haha…right. John, here’s a word of advice for you. Look in the mirror when you give this tripe! This is EXACTLY what you do. You have avoided all my questions, then you make unsubstantiated dogmatic statements and run away when I ask for you to demonstrate empirical evidence that is indisputable. So YOU must be an extreme fundamentalist anti-theist. Enjoy your own hypocritical pantomime, John.

        • john zande says:

          Are you denying the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction and the Great Oxygen Catastrophe occured?

          Interesting…

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I don’t care one way or the other. I’m saying you cannot prove it with indisputable and empirical evidence.

          Your hypocritical dogmatism is what’s interesting.

        • john zande says:

          Of course you don’t care! You don’t give a damn about reality. Reality doesn’t fit your model, so you just ignore it, then hurl insults at people pointing it out.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I don’t care about the details. You still miss the point.

          So, again, where is your empirical and indisputable proof that the evolutionary process is completely accidental and absolutely random.

        • john zande says:

          You don’t care about the details?

          Ah.

          Yes, those “details” can be awkward, can’t they.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Whatever. How does that prove that the evolutionary process is absolutely random and totally unguided, John? That’s the only point that matters here.

          Believe whatever you want. This is a waste of time.

        • john zande says:

          A waste of time?

          Don’t blame me if you present nonsense, then can’t rationally defend that nonsense like an adult.

        • john zande says:

          And yes Mel, without the Great Oxygen Catastrophe, for example, humans would NEVER have evolved.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, I really don’t care one way or the other, John, And, of course, you can prove this with indisputable empirical evidence, right?

        • john zande says:

          Yes, I can.

          What does complex, muscular life require, Mel?

          Hint: Oxygen.

        • john zande says:

          I believe you said: “And, of course, you can prove this with indisputable empirical evidence, right?”

          Yes, I proved it with indisputable empirical evidence.

          Awkward… for you.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, but your question doesn’t even address the point in the first place.

          How does that prove that the evolutionary process is absolutely random and totally unguided?

        • john zande says:

          Yes, but your question doesn’t even address the point in the first place.

          Yes, it does. It’s right on the point… or don’t you want to talk about intent anymore?

          How does that prove that the evolutionary process is absolutely random and totally unguided?

          Over to you, show 99% of all evolutionary biologists it’s not. Their minds are open. My mind is open. I, like they, follow the evidence. Let’s see your evidence…

        • Mel Wild says:

          It doesn’t work that way, John. The burden of proof is on those who make the claim. Your claim is that the evolutionary process is completely accidental and unguided. Prove it.

        • john zande says:

          I believe the “positive claim” is being made by you, Mel…. Or are you suggesting all the terrible, terrible mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) are part of Yhwh’s plan?

          So, let’s see your evidence, Mel…

        • Mel Wild says:

          I believe the “positive claim” is being made by you, Mel….

          Wrong, John. I haven’t made any claim about evolution. I’m simply presenting the various views. You are the one that keeps saying that evolution is totally accidental and unguided. So prove it empirically with indisputable evidence.

          The point is, you can’t. If you could there would be no other variations of evolutionary theories. There would be no debate, would there. So, please stop with your “just so” dogmatism. It doesn’t work here. I’m getting off your merry-go-round now. Good-bye.

        • john zande says:

          I haven’t made any claim about evolution.

          Really? So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Is this your position, Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Entirely unguided? You are just giving one variation of evolution, Neo-Darwinism. I’ve asked you to prove your claim. Still waiting for your indisputable evidence….but I won’t hold my breath.

        • john zande says:

          I asked you a question, Mel.

          You claimed: I haven’t made any claim about evolution.

          I asked: So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Is this your position, Mel?

          Yes, or No.

        • john zande says:

          I’ve asked you to prove your claim. Still waiting for your indisputable evidence….but I won’t hold my breath.

          I’ve presented my evidence… The mistakes.

          Or are you suggesting all the terrible, terrible mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) are part of Yhwh’s plan?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’ve presented my evidence… The mistakes.

          How does this prove that everything is unguided? No one is arguing that there isn’t randomness and development. So, if you slipped off the side of cliff and hit the ground and died, that would be a mistake. But does that prove that it was unguided? That there is no law of gravity in action?

          No, you have answered nothing here.

        • john zande says:

          So, are you saying all the terrible, terrible mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, mass extinctions, etc.) are all part of Yhwh’s plan?

          Yes, or No…

        • Mel Wild says:

          Your question is loaded in an attempt to impugn God’s character. So, let me ask you, if you jumped off a cliff in spite of the law of gravity, and died, is that God’s fault? Is cancer God’s fault then, John? That’s a biological mutation. If someone has a high-sugar diet and gets diabetes, is that God’s fault? This is a ridiculous question.

        • john zande says:

          Do you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Is this your position, Mel?

          Yes, or No.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, absolutely not, And there’s no proof for it, so why should I?

        • john zande says:

          Oh, so you believe Yhwh does interfere. That’s not evolutionary theory, but do tell me more.

          Was Yhwh responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event?
          Or what about the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Process Structuralism, for instance, shows that the evolutionary process, while showing a latitude of randomness, follows forms or natural laws. I would say these laws were put in place by God, but it doesn’t mean that every violation or mutation of these laws is His fault.

          There can be a position between deism (no interaction) and God micro-managing everything that happens.

        • john zande says:

          Structualism is not taught in biology classes for a reason, Mel. It has NO supporting evidence.

          So Yhwh purposefully killed and mutilated and deformed and diseased billions upon billion upon billions of living things, all for his plan?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Right, Neo-Darwinism is taught exclusively. So what? We’ll see in 50 years what is taught. I’m sure it will change.

        • john zande says:

          Taught for a reason. It’s supported by the evidence. It can be tested. It can be proven time after time after time by anyone.

        • john zande says:

          You know those medicines you take Mel… They’re the result of Evolutionary Theory being correct.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, so what? When have I said I was against evolution? And how does that prove that everything is totally unguided and accidental? Why don’t you try not making a fallacious argument for once.

        • john zande says:

          When have I said I was against evolution?

          Do you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Is this your position, Mel?

          No, absolutely not, And there’s no proof for it, so why should I?

          You were saying?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Do you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          No, I don’t agree with your NEO-DARWINISM dogma. Your pigeon-holing “evolution into this one UNSUBSTANTIATED view is amateurish, to say the least.

          And I am still waiting for your indisputable proof that all processes are unplanned, unguided, and accidental. Sorry, I don’t subscribe to your RELIGION.

        • john zande says:

          No, I don’t agree with your NEO-DARWINISM dogma.

          You mean, you don’t agree with established scientific fact… a fact which produces the medicines you enjoy every day.

          And I am still waiting for your indisputable proof that all processes are unplanned, unguided, and accidental.

          OK, so you’re saying all the terrible, terrible mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, mass extinctions, etc.) are Yhwh’s work.

          Understood.

          Thanks for finally admitting it.

          From the 2012 paper: Mutation Induced Extinction in Finite Populations: Lethal Mutagenesis and Lethal Isolation

          “Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins.”

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is stupid. Whatever, John.

        • john zande says:

          Of course it’s “stupid.” To you, that is, because your pantomime world operates by The Mel Rule of Evolution:

          All the good stuff = Yhwh
          All the bad stuff = Not-Yhwh
          All the really bad stuff that led to some good stuff = Who cares about the details!

        • john zande says:

          Mel, are all the terrible, terrible mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, mass extinctions, etc.) part of Yhwh’s plan?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, the mistakes? Are they Yhwh’s work?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, was Yhwh responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event?

          Or what about the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago?

  2. Scott says:

    Thank you for this. Not only do I appreciate the line about not being dogmatic but also I lost my temper yesterday and needed to hear the James verse.

  3. tildeb says:

    Religion and evolution are so compatible, in fact, that about 4 in 5 Americans do not – NOT – accept nor understand why evolution is true. Yet the theory is a fundamental pillar of the science we call Biology. Nothing in biology makes sense without it. Everything in biology fits. Everything. No, in effect, it’s like denying mass has gravity and then claiming that 4 in 5 Americans don’t accept that but at heart are quite supportive of the science pf Physics. Yet In Religio-speak, 4 out of 5 who deny the science of Biology by doubting why evolution is true means that that’s compelling evidence of compatibility. Yup, no problem here. Just denialism by that fringe 80%.

    Good grief. The stupid, it burns.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Religion and evolution are so compatible, in fact, that about 4 in 5 Americans do not – NOT – accept nor understand why evolution is true.

      Yes, Tildeb, they mostly don’t understand why evolution is true. Yet, 89% of religious organizations in America are not anti-science, so your point is fallacious. And, obviously, the details of evolution are anything but settled. So, it’s not stupid to contest the various theories. Scientist themselves do the same thing, unless you want to call them stupid, too.

      Good grief. The stupid, it burns.

      Thanks for demonstrating, again, my point about your condescending arrogance. Tildeb. But it does get very old and predictable.

      • tildeb says:

        I can always rely on you to miss the point, Mel. There is one theory of evolution, that life changes over time by natural unguided mechanisms. One. This is what you don’t understand. This is what every creationist denies. Every. Single. One.

        Try to stay on point for a change, please.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I can always rely on you to miss the point, Mel. There is one theory of evolution, that life changes over time by natural unguided mechanisms.

          Thanks for another one of your dismissive “just so” comments. So I missed the point? That’s interesting because if there’s only one theory of evolution, then it contradicts itself. Process Structuralism, for instance, follows formalism; Neo-Darwinism follows functionalism. They are diametrically opposed to one another. Niche Construction is another variation at odds with a totally unguided process. Yes, all theories, or variations of “the theory” if you wish to call it that, have a degree of randomness, no one disagrees with the change over time. But they don’t all say the process is completely unguided.

          So, obviously, it’s not just creationists who deny a totally unguided process, Tildeb. I think I can figure out that much about it.

        • john zande says:

          Once again, Mel, you appear to have absolutely no understanding, whatsoever, of the subject you’re trying to discuss. I’m sure Tildeb will address this, but there is just ONE Theory of Evolution.

          Excluding contemporary ideas of process structuralism (which is Creationism), the things you keep trying to point to are mostly-outdated attempts to describe the MECHANISMS of evolution. None of them challenge the general Theory. None.

          Trying to claim these descriptive models oppose the Theory of Evolution simply makes you look like an absolute ignoramus.

          And you want to know why process structuralism doesn’t warrant a chapter in any biology textbooks today? Because it does not produce an explanatory model. It’s only modern day proponent (Denton) is a full blown Creationist working at The Discovery Institute.

        • tildeb says:

          Note faith-based beliefs in action by Mel. He introduces various proposed mechanisms by which evolution works and tries to cherry-pick whatever appears to support his point, that there really, really, really is no incompatibility between special creationism for humans and the unguided fact of heritable ancestry we call evolution.

          Well, there is.

          Why this is so doesn’t matter s tinker’s damn to him. He doesn’t care to learn; in fact, he says he doesn’t care about any examples you bring up that demonstrates this incompatibility. He’s already rejected any and all science produced that disagrees with his a priori faith that special creationism is true. That’s the result of empowering faith with a confidence and trust it simply hasn’t earned but is awarded by the believer for no scientifically valid reason.

          The result is as we see: he will do whatever he can, say whatever he needs to say, obfuscate and misrepresent science to pretend his faith has scientific compatibility when it does not. That’s the fundamental dishonesty he supports and actively endorses.

          We can correctly classify Mel and his blog as just another pathetic attempt to be a Liar for Jesus. Reality plays second fiddle and is only allowed if it appears to support the faith-based belief; otherwise, it is rejected and then those who raise real world evidence contrary to the faith-based belief are systematically vilified.

        • john zande says:

          The Mel Rule of Evolution:

          All the good stuff = Yhwh
          All the bad stuff = Not-Yhwh

        • john zande says:

          *Addendum

          The Mel Rule of Evolution:

          All the good stuff = Yhwh
          All the bad stuff = Not-Yhwh
          All the really bad stuff that led to some good stuff = Who cares about the details!

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, anyone who even brings up something that disagrees with Tildeb’s “just so” version of reality is pathetic and a liar. What a well-reasoned argument! Whatever. But thanks for proving my point about you, again. And sorry I blasphemed your dogmatic “religion.”

        • tildeb says:

          I’m pointing out that there is only theory of evolution. What you’ve described are simply various hypotheses about different mechanisms. Mechanisms are not other theories, Mel, but you try to suggest that they are. You are wrong. Factually wrong. You being factually wrong has nothing to do with me, so criticizing me for pointing out that you are factually wrong is a diversionary and dishonest tactic to avoid taking responsibility for being factually wrong. Fix it! Learn something for a change. Implement the change so you don’t continue spouting factually wrong ‘science’ in order to continuing lying for Jesus and thinking yourself justified for doing so.

          As for the great synthesis and Darwin the man, do you really think the overwhelming fit between genetics and his theory would cause him to reconsider the theory? Seriously? That notion is beyond absurd. But it is a revelation about just how deluded some people become to try to support incompatible religious beliefs with reality.

          Genetics supports evolutionary theory 100%. That’s why it’s a theory, Mel… not that you can even grasp the concept of what constitutes a scientific theory that establishes its explanatory power not by bringing a religious faith to it – as you continually throw at those of us trying to correct your erroneous understanding – but by adducing the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that fits with the explanation that THEN is used to build the explanatory platform needed to organize applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time. These things that WORK is what empowers the trust and confidence in the theory because it tests it. Every day. Successfully.

          That’s exactly what religion doesn’t have in its method of inquiry: some means to test its ‘answers’, to test just how explanatory the faith-based belief is in reality. And this is where religious explanations reveal their complete methodological failure. Religious belief demonstrates its truth value in its causal claims in conflict with science by producing zero knowledge, and on that absence of knowledge for its explanatory value, religion then builds no therapies, no applications, no technologies that WORK. That’s why there is no religious belief that works for everyone everywhere all the time. This is the fact of the matter. There is no universal religion that has ‘arrived’ at its position to have trust and confidence in its causal claims about reality, about how it has come to be, about what it contains, what agencies are active, what forces are at play, and so on. And that brute fact is why your so-called equivalent ‘answers’ using the religious method for faith-based beliefs YOU favour are as significant in truth value as any other superstitious woo-laden belief. You have no means to demonstrate any differently.

          Again, that’s me simply stating facts you should be aware of but are deeply and badly confused (which you have to be to accept the absurd idea that religion and science – when explaining the same phenomena and suggesting causal effects – are compatible) when all the evidence points away from this claim you make that these two explanatory methods produce compatible results. They don’t. They are inherently at conflict because they utilize contrary methods… only one of which WORKS.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb, I already told you that I have no problem calling it an adaptation or variation of the theory. I was using “theories” because that’s what the video was calling them. I don’t care what you call it. But you cannot say that the Neo-Darwinist idea, that it’s totally unguided and accidental, is the only way to look at evolution, or that these other hypotheses don’t create internal conflict. It’s not as cut and dried as you make it out to be.

          I agree, Darwin would be open to new developments, including Process Structuralism and Niche Construction and other adaptations to the theory.

          Again, no one is arguing against evolution here. The argument is between formalism and functionalism.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Once again, Mel, you appear to have absolutely no understanding, whatsoever, of the subject you’re trying to discuss.

          John, as I said in the post, I’m simply showing what other people are saying and showing that evolution theory is not as cut and dried as you try to portray it. And it’s not necessarily against our faith in God. Your argument is with these people if you think they’re wrong. But I don’t think you know more than they do or are smarter than they are.

          Excluding contemporary ideas of process structuralism (which is Creationism), the things you keep trying to point to are mostly-outdated attempts to describe the MECHANISMS of evolution. None of them challenge the general Theory. None.

          Thank you for another dismissive response. So Process Structuralism is just contemporary creationism? The theory has only developed over the last 100 years. I guess that’s contemporary. And which preachers developed this theory, John? Or do you just make stuff up so you can dismiss whatever disagrees with your dogmatism? And I suppose Niche Construction is another Christian plot to undermine your Neo-Darwinist dogma.

          Trying to claim these descriptive models oppose the Theory of Evolution simply makes you look like an absolute ignoramus.

          Well, sorry, but you sound like an ignoramus when you totally miss the point and misrepresent what I’ve said. Where I have I said these theories oppose evolution? They oppose some of the doctrine of NEO-DARWINISM. And who is bringing these dissentions? Evangelicals? NO! They are scientists, John. We are simply point it out.

          And you want to know why process structuralism doesn’t warrant a chapter in any biology textbooks today? Because it does not produce an explanatory model. It’s only modern day proponent (Denton) is a full blown Creationist working at The Discovery Institute.

          Right, whatever. And textbook publications are never subject to any political agendas, right? Sorry, I’m not that gullible. And, yes, Denton is part of Discovery Institute. Should we also dismiss anyone who is an atheist now? But, again, Denton didn’t develop the theory, John. He is only pointing out the fact that the theory of evolution is not so cut and dried as people make it out to be.

          What’s amazing here is that YOU are the dogmatic one here. You are the one who’s close-minded to anything that might threaten your “just-so” version of Neo-Darwinist evolution. Very interesting. You just cannot be open to anything that disagrees with you. You would rather ridicule and dismiss it.

        • john zande says:

          There is no ‘doctrine’ in any scientific theory. Stop trying to pollute science with the stains of your worldview.

          The built-in mechanisms for self-correction are present in every scientific theory. One doesn’t get excommunicated for overturning established science. So, if you and your Creationist friends, like Denton, wish to present your evidence, then present it.

          That’s all we ask. That’s all we’ve ever asked… But of course, we’re rabid DOGMATIC FUNDAMENTALISTS for asking, right?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, John, when you dismiss anything that disagrees with your view of Neo-Darwinism, that is definitive dogmatism. And part of that self-correction IS exploring other adaptations of evolution like Process Structuralism or Niche Construction. You are the one being closed-minded here.

          And if we dismiss Denton, should I now dismiss any atheist author your bring up, since, according to you, if a Christian brings up a scientific position it must be wrong? Of course, people like Dawkins, Hitchens, or Harris weren’t biased with an agenda when they wrote their books.

          I think I’ve had enough absurdity for now, Believe whatever you want.

        • john zande says:

          Again, the built-in mechanisms for self-correction are present in every scientific theory. One doesn’t get excommunicated for overturning established science. So, if you and your Creationist friends, like Denton, wish to present your evidence, then present it.

          Show us the evidence, Mel.

          If you can convince me, I’ll change my position.

          Show me the evidence.

          Is that being unreasonable?

  4. Nan says:

    Mel, it’s difficult for non-believers to take your references seriously — especially when one reads the very first sentence on Paul Coulter’s “About” page (the link you gave) … The Christian faith – the gospel of Jesus Christ – is the foundation for my life

    I think you would have to agree he’s just a wee bit partial in his outlook on life.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I think you would have to agree he’s just a wee bit partial in his outlook on life.

      Yes, Nan, he is partial. This article was written to Christians, not atheists. The purpose was to help clarify the debate and assess strengths and weaknesses. You could say my blog is primarily written to Christians.

      But I’ve also quoted a lot of agnostics and atheists, too. Should we also not take them seriously? It’s a myth to think anyone is impartial. As soon as you use language you are giving a bias, a spin, an agenda. And there’s no one more prejudicial and partial than the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and their ilk. So, should theists take them seriously?

      So, yes, everyone is partial. We just need to take their position into consideration, but it doesn’t mean we should dismiss what they have to say, whether they are a theist or an atheist.

      • Nan says:

        I realize your blog is primarily directed to Christians. But you must admit that some of your recent posts have been on topics that tend to attract (some) atheists. And since you seem to enjoy debating with them, I was just pointing out that referencing someone like Coulter, who is so obviously prejudiced, is like waving a red flag.

        And yes, I’ve noticed you’ve referenced some atheists … but the ones you mentioned are some of the most hard-core. Even some atheists think they go too far.

        But hey … it’s your blog. I’m just making an observation.

  5. Love this Mel! I guess I’m kind of radical because I never felt evolution and creationism were contradictory. A “day” in God’s time may very well be more than 24 hours as we view it. I don’t agree with ALL aspects of evolution but I think there may very well be some merit in it as to revealing just how God created man. I think science actually illuminates just how much detail God places in each one of us, our development, our genetics! God is in the minutiae! Life is too complex to have just “happened.” I see the dialogue on your site continues… 😉

    • john zande says:

      Cowden syndrome is Yhwh’s genetic work?

      • Mel Wild says:

        Is the fact that you’re combative atheist Yhwh’s direct genetic work?

      • My guess it is MAN’s effect on God’s genetic work via one vehicle or another. We destroy the earth and consequently harm ourselves.

        I don’t have all the answers and am not even looking for them. I have my own family genetic “issues” to boggle my mind if I were so inclined, but I am not. As a believer and a healthcare professional my belief is my belief and I have no interest of debating or defending it. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Lilka. Much appreciated. You know, some of the first defenders of Darwin were Christians and the initial pushback came from scientists. I agree that science will ultimately show God’s handiwork.

      And, yes, the comment merry-go-round continues here…. 😉

  6. This was well done, Mel. I’m a bit like Lilka, one of those who has never really felt like evolution and faith were contradictory.

    I kind of enjoy studies involving Niche evolution and biology. It tends to remind me of the Lord’s prayer, “thy kingdom come,thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In a spiritual sense, we are envisioning His kingdom and shaping it into existence here on earth. Biology often reveals design to me and Niche evolution often suggests a Designer.

    I feel bad for Darwin sometimes, he’s been much maligned and mis-represented. One moment he’s growing orchids and the next moment people are trying to draw cartoons about humans descending from apes. I often take note of the fact that what Darwin was actually trying to say and the dogmatism of Neo Darwinism are two very different things.

    • john zande says:

      I often take note of the fact that what Darwin was actually trying to say and the dogmatism of Neo Darwinism are two very different things

      Do please elaborate. What was Darwin trying to say?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks IB. Good points here.

      I feel bad for Darwin sometimes, he’s been much maligned and mis-represented.

      That’s true. I doubt Darwin would’ve ever agreed with how far the Neo-Darwinists have taken his theory. They’ve turned it into their own creation myth without a creator.

      I often take note of the fact that what Darwin was actually trying to say and the dogmatism of Neo Darwinism are two very different things.

      Yup, that is true. And we can certainly see the cult-like dogmatism of Neo-Darwinism at work in the comments from our anti-theist zealots here. I think I blasphemed their gods (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett…). 🙂

      • john zande says:

        You don’t think Darwin would be interested (thrilled) in hearing about genes and how geneticists have not only confirmed his general theory 100%, but have expanded it to be even more robust… and applicable?

        That’s an interesting, albeit absurd, suggestion…

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, Darwin probably would be thrilled. And he would also be thrilled about thoughts on Process Structuralism and Niche Construction or other adaptations to his theory.

          Again, I’m not against evolution theory. I’m pointing out your narrow-minded dogmatism on the subject.

        • john zande says:

          Of course, but, being a good scientist, he’d want to see the evidence supporting each, hear their predictions, and he would, no doubt, dismiss those that could not be supported.

          But why are you focusing on Darwin? The man is not the Theory.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, including indisputable empirical evidence for a totally unguided process, which there is none. That’s why there’s a debate in the first place.

          And I’m not focusing on Darwin, I was simply commenting on IB’s point. My focus was on Neo-Darwinism.

        • john zande says:

          None?

          So you believe all the terrible mistakes are Yhwh’s work.

          Is that correct?

        • Mel Wild says:

          What does that have to do with a totally unguided process?

          Again, if you jumped off a cliff is that God’s fault?

        • john zande says:

          So Yhwh is responsible for all the mistakes?

          From the 2012 paper: Mutation Induced Extinction in Finite Populations: Lethal Mutagenesis and Lethal Isolation

          “Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So Yhwh is responsible for all the mistakes?

          Not necessarily. A mutation or violation of a law of nature does not place blame on the law-giver. If you listened to me the first time, you wouldn’t keep repeating this inane question.

        • john zande says:

          The Mel Rule of Evolution:

          All the good stuff = Yhwh
          All the bad stuff = Not-Yhwh
          All the really bad stuff that led to some good stuff = Who cares about the details!

        • john zande says:

          That’s rich, coming from an anti-science Creationist.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And that’s a lie. I am not anti-science. I’m just disagreeing with your scientistic version of it.

        • john zande says:

          Hence, The Mel Rule of Evolution:

          All the good stuff = Yhwh
          All the bad stuff = Not-Yhwh
          All the really bad stuff that led to some good stuff = Who cares about the details!

        • tildeb says:

          “totally unguided process, which there is none.”

          *sigh*

          Mel, note you are focusing on the word ‘unguided’. This is key. It is a negative term, meaning without guidance. The negative sense is very important because that means it’s not a claim. This is also key, yet you get it wrong time after time after time. A negative claim is overturned simply by demonstrating evidence for the positive claim. In this case, the positive claim is for the opposite of the negative. So the opposite of unguided is guided. If you’re going to disagree that a process is unguided, then you have to supply evidence (remember what ‘evidence’ means? hint: what connects a selected effect to its proposed cause).

          Now, theists like you question this unguided part of the theory, which is fine. Introduce your contrary evidence. Demonstrate how you connect evolution to being guided by some god.

          You see the problem? Your cause has no means to identify in reality! You’re simply assigning a positive claim to an undefined cause and then trying to claim you don’t need any evidence. Well, of course you’re going to claim this because you you have no evidence for this cause to even exist and then no means to connect its guidance to a natural process we know occurs! And it appears to occur without any intervention; it’s simply a bunch of physical and chemical processes that cause changes over time that seem to be random and then arbitrated for usefulness by whatever environment the process is subject to. Hence, it’s perfectly reasonable to say ‘unguided’.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Now, theists like you question this unguided part of the theory, which is fine. Introduce your contrary evidence. Demonstrate how you connect evolution to being guided by some god.

          Of course, we question the unguided part. You can only speculate that it SEEMS to be unguided, but to say dogmatically that everything is unguided is unsubstantiated. And contrary views to the totally unguided hypothesis would be Process Structuralism and Niche Construction, which have their own evidences as was laid out in the video and the paper I linked.

          Being guided by some god? Well, if there is a process in the first place, or a law, why is it so, Tildeb? Why is there such a thing as a law? Of course, it’s not proof of God. I never said it was. These are hypotheses that are compatible with a designer/creator. What’s irrational is saying that something came from absolutely nothing.

        • tildeb says:

          No, Mel. The contrary view is not scientific but purely religious! There is NO evidence of guidance. The only processes involved are local units obeying local rules without any hint or indication of any external tinkering whatsoever, at any point, ever. That’s why we can say with nothing but supporting evidence of local units obeying local rules that there is no guidance. It’s not a faith-based belief but an arbitrated belief by reality. This is what reality shows us to be the case: no guidance.

          We use the same reasoning for the Tooth Fairy: we can safely say that because there is no evidence in its favour, the positive claim is not reasonable. It is not reasonable to suggest guidance where no evidence in its favour exists. Hence, it is the reasonable position and not a claim to assume the negative. Evolution is unguided because it is purely natural mechanisms at play. That’s why it’s nothing like a religious claim. The negative is a reasonable conclusion and not an imported belief contrary to what reality shows us to be the case.

          Again, all you have to do is bring forth compelling evidence of guidance. Neither of your suggestions do this. Altering the environment is not evidence of guidance; it is fully a natural process. You’re trying to use this to slip in the idea that several natural mechanisms give you wiggle room to insert a supernatural tinkering designer. No. Swing and a miss. There is no evidence of such external tinkering. To remain consistent, you would have us think it requires a Designer for you to take cover in a rainstorm, to erect protection that does a better job than, say, a tree. You can do this without requiring an external Engineer; trial and error works just fine. Let reality be your guide. It really does work. Honest.

  7. Arkenaten says:

    These are hypotheses that are compatible with a designer/creator.

    What sort of designer did you have in mind , Mel?

    • Mel Wild says:

      The only point I’m making here is that it’s plausible that there is a designer.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Fair enough, but what sort of designer?

        • Mel Wild says:

          One who put the laws of nature, forms, and processes in place for creation to evolve the way it did.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Describe this designer for me Mel….

        • Mel Wild says:

          Why, Ark? Describing the designer has nothing to do with the point of this post. Of course, I personally believe He’s the one described by Jesus. But that was not the point of this post.

          Biologically, I would speculate that He put the processes in place and allows latitude for randomness or natural changes within the forms. My only argument was that it isn’t necessarily totally unguided and without form. But I have no dogmatic opinion about how He does it.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Aaah .. .Jesus . And what evidence do you have to put forward to support this claim?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I knew this is what you were up to. I think we already had that discussion. Believe or don’t believe whatever you want.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Up to, Mel?
          You are making a claim. You are accusing John and Tildeb of ”scientism,” and yet all along you are asserting that your god, the character Jesus the Nazarene is the one responsible for creation.
          And yet when asked for evidence you refuse point blank to even name the source from whence you derive your belief.

          Don’t you feel the least bit of shame for the way you continually lead the conversation?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Lead the conversation? We were talking about variations in evolution, Ark. You totally took this in a different direction.

          So, Ark, since you seem to know all things, you can explain to me how come there is something instead of absolutely nothing. Then you can join in that conversation. And I don’t mean quantum gravity fields or inflation “nothing,” that’s still something. I mean something from absolutely nothing. You tell me, why are we here? I’ll wait for your coherent answer.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I have no idea how there is something rather than nothing and am not so full of hubris to suggest otherwise.

          Maybe there is a designer of some kind?
          How the Gehenna would i know?
          You sure as Hades don’t either!

          I reject claims put forward so far because no evidence has been produced and no valid description of this designer either.
          Everything is maybe, perhaps what if etc etc.
          So I simply think …. it will get sorted out eventually.

          But your view has little if anything to do with this designer but everything to do with the reason /em> why you consider it is your god, Yahweh/Jesus the Nazarene – and that is the belief that you are a sinner and require redemption through worship of a blood sacrifice this earmarking you for eternal life in some place called Heaven! .
          That is a sick belief and a sick deity.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I have no idea how there is something rather than nothing and am not so full of hubris to suggest otherwise.

          Then you have no place of that conversation. Ark. You can only say “I don’t know.” (Which is quite okay to do). It’s not hubris to infer a designer and have a philosophical worldview. People have been doing that since the beginning of time. We’re not saying it’s a scientific fact. Science cannot and never will answer that question. But it IS hubris to say, “I don’t know…but you’re wrong!” That’s actually incoherent. To say we’re wrong means you do have a position (you’re just not willing to admit to it).

          So I simply think …. it will get sorted out eventually.

          We’ll just call this your “science of the gaps,” which is a FAITH statement. Well, don’t hold your breath.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I do say I Don’t Know. Always. This is because my basic nature is honest.
          No, it is not hubris to infer a designer, but ignorance if you cannot at least demonstrate your claim with evidence.
          Can you?
          I never say you are wrong, as I have no evidence to refute design anymore than you have evidence to insist there is.
          All I ask is for you produce evidence to back you assertion that this creator is your god the character Yahweh/Jesus the Nazarene.

          If you can do this, then we are hunky dory. If not then you should have the humility to say : ”I Don’t Know”.
          and make sure you pass this on to those you preach to.

          We’ll just call this your “science of the gaps,” which is a FAITH statement. Well, don’t hold your breath.

          There is no science of the gaps as I am not asserting anything beyond what science has established.

          And I note you did not tackle the sinner and worship of human blood sacrifice. Why not?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I do say I Don’t Know. Always. This is because my basic nature is honest.

          No, Ark, that’s called denial. That fact is, you have faith in a lot of things that science can’t prove, like your basic nature. For instance, science cannot prove that your basic nature is honest. We could look at your history and make a guess, but you could be a very effective narcissist who projects an image of honesty. No, believing what only science can prove is a myopic worldview of denial, not even true.

          No, it is not hubris to infer a designer, but ignorance if you cannot at least demonstrate your claim with evidence.

          What KIND of evidence, Ark? You keep saying this but you never define it. We cannot use scientific evidence because science can only observe the natural world. It’s a fallacious question because it’s a CATEGORY mistake. God, by definition, would not be part of the natural world and, therefore, science has no means whatsoever to obverse or test whether He exists or not.

          So, what kind of evidence do you suggest? To use my analogy, how is Hamlet going to demonstrate Shakespeare?

          And this is the SAME problem you have with your “I don’t know” origin of the universe. The fact is, you will NEVER know because your head’s stuck in the sand of your scientism. It’s not an answer, it’s a total cop-out.

          The ONLY thing we can do is infer with regard to a designer. And, besides, do you really think you would believe with evidence if you won’t believe the inferences to history, nature, the world around us? No, this “give me evidence” question is a totally bogus.

          This is why it’s totally pointless to keep going around this merry-go-round with you. Again, believe whatever you want. You will anyway.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, Ark, that’s called denial.

          Denial of what exactly?

          What KIND of evidence, Ark? You keep saying this but you never define it.

          You are making the claim that Yahweh/Jesus the Nazarene is this creator deity therefore produce the evidence to convince me. And not just any old deity … the one you worship.
          Tell you what…. produce the evidence that convinced you.

          And I am still waiting for you to explain the real reason why you worship a human blood sacrifice, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          We’ve already been on this merry-go-round before, Ark. Hundreds of comments on other posts. I don’t care to keep repeating the same things over and over again. You are anything but honest. You have already proven to me, over and over again, that you are not open at all to anything I might show you and you have no interest in actual conversation. The only thing you want to do is waste my time. And I really don’t care if you agree with me or not. It won’t make any difference anyway.
          I’m done here.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So, you have no evidence.

          And I do not lie and I try to be honest as much as I possibly can.

          Why don’t you simply admit you have only faith, because you have to because you beleive you are a sinner and are part of a death cult that claims eternal life.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Whatever. Thanks again for proving my point about you. Good-bye.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You keep putting up post confident that you have Slayed The Dragon but the basics of your belief and the reasons you hold them have nothing to do with creation or a designer.
          One could acknowledge there just might be a designer and have no need to believe in your god.

          And just suppose I said , ”Okay Mel, your evidence is good enough for me, Yahweh did it”.
          Then what?
          If I don’t acknowledge the biblical character Jesus the Nazarene you fully expect me to receive some sort of punishment upon my death, don’t you?

          This is why your religion and science have no common ground as they are grounded in two totally different magesteria.

          However, I really don’t have a problem with what you believe, even if i think it is absurd, providing you allow others to arrive at the same conclusion under their own steam.
          I DO have a problem with the nonsensical claims that you add to this Designer-Did- It theory that judges I am a sinner etc etc.

        • Mel Wild says:

          However, I really don’t have a problem with what you believe, even if i think it is absurd, providing you allow others to arrive at the same conclusion under their own steam.

          Fair enough. I think your position is irrational and absurd. So, of course, people can make up their own minds.

          I DO have a problem with the nonsensical claims that you add to this Designer-Did- It theory that judges I am a sinner etc etc.

          First, when have I made that argument with you, Ark? You are the one who keeps bringing it up. And, second, apart from religion but, based on the overwhelming evidence, I think it’s safe to conclude that man’s nature is anything but perfect or even good. Don’t get me wrong, there is goodness, but we have proven, time and time again, that we cannot stop ourselves from “sinning” against one another.

          As Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, “With respect to original sin, the inquiry is not necessary, for whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt, that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes””

          As far as what the Bible actually says, Paul said we’re sinners BECAUSE we sin (Rom.5:12). That should be self-evident in our experience and human history.

        • Arkenaten says:

          First, when have I made that argument with you, Ark?

          Your religion makes it, Mel. It is the primary tenet of your faith.

          It is what makes you a Christian; your belief that you need redemption and salvation through a human blood sacrifice called Jesus the Nazarene … who, incidentally, you also believe just happens to be the creator of the universe.

          This is why your claims are somewhat disingenuous as you are not JUST inferring a designer, but the designer you worship, the human blood sacrifice, Jesus the Nazarene.
          And failure to acknowledge one’s supposed shortcomings in this regard means eternal damnation in one form or another.

          Now, if you want to stick solely with.
          ”I believe there is a designer.” then we are good.
          ANYTHING beyond that you have to back it up with evidence .
          And this includes all the details pertaining to the relevance of a human blood sacrifice and the consequences of failing to acknowledge this.

        • Mel Wild says:

          It is what makes you a Christian; your belief that you need redemption and salvation through a human blood sacrifice called Jesus the Nazarene … who, incidentally, you also believe just happens to be the creator of the universe.

          Ark, we’ve been through the whole blood sacrifice thing. You are propping up a straw man argument by insisting on a particular interpretation of the atonement (Called Penal Substitutionary Atonement, or PSA), which is only one of many atonement positions in Church history. And one I do not agree with. You are implying that God demanded killing His Son and shedding His blood for forgiveness. I have already shown you that this is not necessarily true. You refused to see it, so I’m not going to go over this again with you. You can read what I said about it before. You are free to disagree but I reject your premise.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Not necessarily true, yes, but one option that is believed and accepted by hundreds of millions.

          But it is still the primnary tenet of your religion.

          So why can’t you simply stick with :
          ”I believe in a designer of the universe.” Period.
          If you can’t show how the character Jesus the Nazarene is the one you consider to be responsible then your claims are simply vacuous, are they not?

        • Mel Wild says:

          If you can’t show how the character Jesus the Nazarene is the one you consider to be responsible then your claims are simply vacuous, are they not?

          No, Ark. It’s a matter of being open to it, which you are clearly not.

          As C.S. Lewis said in his article, “The Seeing Eye,” to some God is discoverable everywhere, to others nowhere. And that’s because believing is a matter of the heart.

          What’s utterly vacuous is not having a position for why we exist, why is there something instead of absolutely nothing.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, it is simply the position of the religiously indoctrinated who are not open, which most definitely includes you.

          You do not have a position for why we exist either, so stop asserting that you do!

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, it is simply the position of the religiously indoctrinated who are not open, which most definitely includes you.

          More antitheist propaganda. I am not open to absurdities and irrationality, that there is no cause for the universe or purpose for why we’re here.

          You do not have a position for why we exist either, so stop asserting that you do!

          I don’t? Haha! That’s rich. Thanks for pointing out another reason why I’m wasting my time here.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I am not open to absurdities and irrationality, that there is no cause for the universe or purpose for why we’re here

          So why do you believe we are here then Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Why are you asking me this when I’ve already answered it several times?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Refresh my memory …

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I won’t waste my time. Look them up yourself.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I am flipping windows watching Red, just one sentence. It can’t be more than that can it?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Why? You know you’re only asking so you can start another argument. So, no.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, I really can’t remember what you said was the reason for our existence.
          Just one sentence then I can stop pausing my movie and watch it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Just watch your movie. Have a good weekend.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Oh, come, on, Mel.
          What IS the reason for our existence?
          Is it that Christian one about us knowing Yahweh?
          Tell me Mel.

        • Nan says:

          Mel, as an observer (rather than the participant), I feel you’re really “reaching” in the first paragraph of your response to Ark.

          Further, one of the points Ark has made several times is this — OK. So you claim a designer. Well and good. But where is your evidence that this “designer” is the god of the bible? IOW, there may well be a “designer,” but no one can claim indisputable evidence/proof/validation of its identity.

          You are totally correct when you write, The ONLY thing we can do is infer with regard to a designer. The problems arises when you and thousands of others “infer” that the “Bible God” is the only entity that could possibly have created this universe.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Further, one of the points Ark has made several times is this — OK. So you claim a designer. Well and good. But where is your evidence that this “designer” is the god of the bible? IOW, there may well be a “designer,” but no one can claim indisputable evidence/proof/validation of its identity.

          Nan, I understand the disagreement. But this is about the 100th time we’ve been through this. I’ve wasted hours and hours with Ark. I have shown evidence for Jesus and the resurrection, etc. Ark has proven that no amount of “evidence” will change his mind (or any mind that’s closed). He will just find people who deny the claims because that’s what he believes. Even if this is not true, it’s pointless to go over it all again. I don’t have time for this. It truly is a merry-go-round that I don’t wish to keep riding.

          You are totally correct when you write, The ONLY thing we can do is infer with regard to a designer. The problems arises when you and thousands of others “infer” that the “Bible God” is the only entity that could possibly have created this universe.

          Yes, that’s a fair point. I have no problem with people questioning the Christian claim for God and comparing it with other theistic positions. People can make up their own minds on what to believe because, in the end, it’s a heart issue anyway. I just think it’s irrational to be an atheist. But, again, people can believe or disbelieve what they want. I’m just not going to waste my time stating and re-stating the same things to someone who has absolutely no interest in being open to it. He will just ridicule whatever I say. There’s no honesty there.

        • john zande says:

          One who put the laws of nature, forms, and processes in place for creation to evolve the way it did.

          So the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, mass extinctions, etc. were all intended by Yhwh?

          Let’s not forget,

          “Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins.”

          Most mutations HURT an organism’s fitness.

          So, that’s intended, right?

        • john zande says:

          Mel,

          “Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins.”

          Did Yhwh intend for most mutations to HURT an organism’s fitness?

          Are you saying, Mel, that this hard fact of the evolutionary paradigm is a deliberate, calculated, and intentional part of the “design”?

  8. Arkenaten says:

    I have shown evidence (for Jesus and) (for) the resurrection ,

    You have done no such thing!

    He will just ridicule whatever I say. There’s no honesty there.

    Because you insist that it is truth yet have no evidence to substantiate your claims and then you try to pass such unsubstantiated beliefs on to others, and especially the vulnerable and children.
    You should pop over and read the blog about the reason for deconversion over at my spot.

    Some of the stories are eyeopeners.
    https://attaleuntold.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/deconversion-the-point-of-no-return/comment-page-1/

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, enough of your propaganda-speak. Again, believe whatever you want. You will anyway.

      • Arkenaten says:

        What propaganda?
        You have never shown evidence for the resurrection of the character Jesus the Nazarene.

        And my post is a collection of testimonials from former Christians who de-converted and the reasons why.

        Are you so unsure in your faith that you cannot handle such stories?

        • Mel Wild says:

          What propaganda?

          What propaganda? Ark? Really? You parrot the antitheist party line of the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and their ilk perfectly, including the accusation that religion is abusive to children. Sure, we can find cases to prove whatever we want. As, Greg Epstein, who’s not a Christian but the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, defined your antitheism perfectly:

          “Anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion. Anti-theism seeks to shame and embarrass people away from religion, browbeating them about the stupidity of belief in a bellicose god.” (Less Antitheism, More Humanism,” Huffington Post, October 1, 2007).

          This is you to a tee. This is a central tenet to your antitheist evangelism. That’s why this is a waste of time. If you didn’t believe me the first time, you won’t believe me if I repeat it all over again.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Religion IS abusive to children.It is vile.,
          Come to my spot and read some of the testimonies, especially of Charity.

          “Anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion.

          But there are NO good aspects of your religion as it is all built upon unsubstantiated presupposition, all of which has been shown to be simply false.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Again, you are proving my point. Thank you.

        • Arkenaten says:

          What point?
          I didn’t write the testimonials. They are all form former bona fide Christians who loved Jesus right down to his sandals and rusty nails.
          Come over and read them.
          And why not leave a comment and explain why all those folk got it wrong?
          Truly I’d be flattered if you were to drop by my blog.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I read theme before. I don’t deny there has been abuse. I’ve said it’s a straw man to say that religion itself is inherently abusive.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But it is inherently abusive. it asserts that your god made us basically bad and that he is the cure.
          It’s doctrine is wide open to interpretation,and it is full of lies, and demands the worship of an egotistical capricious megalomaniacal genocidal monster.
          That is no straw man, this is fact.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your opinion, Richard Dawkins.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Not opinion. Fact. It’s right there in the doctrine.
          Are you asserting that Yahweh is not a genocidal monster?

  9. Nan says:

    Mel, above you wrote, “I’ve wasted hours and hours with Ark.”

    HA! I can’t help but ask … was someone holding a gun to your head? Seriously, if you consider it a “waste,” why do you continue to respond? Perhaps you’re hoping your blog followers will learn something?

    In any event, I personally find it rather fascinating to read along. 🙂 Have a nice weekend.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You’re right, Nan. That was my fault. And that’s my point here. I actually thought I could have a reasoned conversation with people like Ark. But I pretty know what my blog followers found out. That believing or not believing is a faith issue of the heart. And it’s pointless to talk to someone who’s not open.

      But, in the course of the conversation, I did make my points and people can judge for themselves. But I’m not going to be foolish enough to waste my time going through it all again with someone who denies every single thing you bring up.

      You have a good weekend, too.

  10. Arkenaten says:

    Something like this?

    God created human beings in order for them to share in his own existence. Human beings and all of creation, exist to show God’s glory.

    • john zande says:

      God created human beings in order for them to share in his own existence.

      Are those Mel’s words? Isn’t he always at pains to say Yhwh isn’t even in this world, never was, can’t even be, which would, naturally, mean nothing here can “share” that existence.

  11. Arkenaten says:

    Mel:
    As you believe in guided evolution may I ask:

    1. Do you believe Yahweh put into place all the mechanisms at the outset, which He considered crucial (even the ones which seem troublesome to us) and is allowing His plan (nature?) to run its course?
    or …
    2. Do you believe Yahweh is still guiding it ( hand continually on the tiller?) with a goal in mind?

    And finally, do you have an idea ( a guess is fine) of what that goal might be?

    • Mel Wild says:

      You see, this is what’s frustrating talking to you, Ark. You’re only showing me that you don’t care to listen to what I say at all. And you show that you really don’t want to know, you just want something you can attack about what I believe.

      As I’ve said several times now, I have no dogmatic position on evolution. I personally don’t care one way or the other. I’m not a biologist, so who cares what I think about it. It doesn’t threaten my faith in the least bit. I’m only posting on evolution to show other Christians that it’s not anti-Christian to embrace it. I would think it’s guided in some way. which is why I wrote this post, showing the various hypotheses (formalism).

      Whatever it is, I believe that God put the process in place (laws of nature) and He’s also involved in human history. He does this because He wants a relationship with us as a family (Father to a son). He made it so we would seek Him and find Him, although He is not a physical being so we must find Him in a spiritual sense. He made us creative, inquisitive, able to love and be loved, to enjoy life, have families, and take care of the earth.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Well this was what I asked: what you believe?

        Could one say that based on your response you believe the second option?
        Namely that he still has his ”hand on the tiller?”
        Would this be a fair presumption?

      • john zande says:

        I have no dogmatic position on evolution.

        Well, I think claiming an invisible, all-powerful magical being is tampering with the mechanisms of evolution so to “produce” something (what, you don’t actually know), yet masking this action behind a wall of impenetrable naturalism (why, you don’t actually know) is a somewhat dogmatic position to hold.

        • tildeb says:

          Well, I think claiming an invisible, all-powerful magical being is tampering with the mechanisms of evolution so to “produce” something (what, you don’t actually know), yet masking this action behind a wall of impenetrable naturalism (why, you don’t actually know) is a somewhat dogmatic position to hold.

          Ya think?!

          Mel insists he has no dogmatism at play here.

          Dogma: “Dogma means the doctrine of belief in a religion or a political system. The literal meaning of dogma in ancient Greek was something that seems true.”

          So let’s look at his claim that he exercises no dogma.

          The theory of evolution scientifically understood is an explanation for unguided change by various natural mechanisms, which Mel continues to insist is perfectly compatible with guided change, a belief he maintains for no scientific reason but religious necessity alone. Take away the religion, take away the need for guidance. Evolution operates independent of any external tinkering. Take away the need for guidance, welcome to the scientific conclusion we call the theory of evolution. Religious dogma is necessary to claim guidance because there is zero evidence for this claim and overwhelming evidence against it. The only way to believe in guidance is to insert this dogmatic religious belief. So on the one hand from science we have no guidance (and an explanation that has nothing but evidence from reality in its support) and on the other, guidance (and an explanation that has no evidence from reality in its support) for which Mel believes something that seems to be true not from evidence but as a central part of religious beliefs.

          So, we’re left with this unguided – guided problem. These are opposite in meaning. Both states of a single process cannot exist simultaneously as both guided and unguided. Evolution is either guided or not guided. It cannot be both.

          So what?

          Well, at the risk of beating this dead horse even more, the definition of incompatibility is “(of two things) so opposed in character as to be incapable of existing together.”

          The process of change to life over time by unguided mechanisms defines evolution scientifically understood. Including or inserting guidance into this explanation is to insert an opposite claim. to then claim theistic evolution are compatible is to pretend these two fundamental are capable of existing together, that a process can be both guided and unguided. This is what theistic evolution means, that two contrary ideas can coexist. What I see is an oxymoron whenever I encounter this very silly ideas of theistic evolution:

          Oxymoron: “a contradiction in terms”.

          FGaitheists, accommodationists, and apologists have to work very hard to try to make the incompatible compatible… not for good reasons but to try to obscure, obfuscate, and misrepresent the incompatibility that is inherent between contrary claims made by religion versus science. And the best way to do this is rely on word play.

          Don’t be fooled. It’s dogmatic to the core. This is religion in action.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb, I get real tired of your twisting my words to what you want them to mean so that you can make me totally wrong about everything. This is why you have no credibility with me.

          First, dogmatic means “inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true.” If someone is dogmatic, they are convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong about a thing…like you. Yet, you cannot prove that evolution is absolutely unguided, so yours is a faith statement. Yes, it’s a majority held view…now…but it’s not a proven fact. The fact is, there are alternative views to this totally unguided view (and it’s not religious) such a Process Structuralism and Niche Constructions, among others.

          You are the one being dogmatic, not me. Frankly, I don’t really care which one is true.

          Second, evolution is a biological process. God is not biological, so your whole long-winded argument about incompatibility is fallacious. It’s a category mistake. Guided or unguided says nothing about whether God is behind it or not.

  12. Arkenaten says:

    Still waiting for a response to this statement:

    Theologically speaking. all things are in Christ. You are in Him. He sustains your life. He is desiring for you to know Him. He is speaking to your heart, conscience, intuitions, etc. There are probably other ways, too, but that’s the gist of it.

    How exactly do you know this?

  13. Pingback: Is Evolution compatible with the Bible? | In My Father's House

  14. Good thoughts. Especially when it comes to dogmatism. A little humility in how much we don’t know – and how limited our creativity is in trying to bring all “known” information together in cohesive theories – goes a long way.

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