Evolution for a Few or Evolution for Everyone? A Survey of Hypotheses about the Evolutionary Origin of Religion

Why did religion arise in the human species? Stanley Fish has a blog post at the New York Times observing that Richard Dawkins, “finds that the manufacturing and growth of religion is best described in evolutionary terms: ‘[R]eligions, like languages, evolve with sufficient randomness, from beginnings that are sufficiently arbitrary, to generate the bewildering — and sometimes dangerous — richness of diversity.’” Dawkins isn’t the only scientist who takes this kind of approach. David Sloan Wilson is getting a lot of attention these days regarding his views on the evolutionary origin of religion. Wilson is much more serious in his approach than Dawkins, but Wilson has been frank regarding how many academics view religion through an evolutionary perspective. In his Read More ›

Sean Carroll Fails to Scale The Edge of Evolution (Part III): Is Carroll Scared of Approaching the Edge of Evolution?

[Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 4-part response. The full response can be read here.] In Part I of this series, I discussed how Sean Carroll’s review of Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, misrepresents and oversimplifies Behe’s arguments. In Part II, I discussed the fact that one of Carroll’s citations actually confirms Behe’s argument that there is an edge to evolution, and that evolution tends to not proceed forward when additional mutations decrease functionality. In this installment, I will discuss how many of Carroll’s cited papers report types of evolution that Behe readily concedes can occur, and are unimpressive examples within the “edge” of evolution. It’s Easier to Read More ›

Baron Münchhausen and the Self-Creating Universe

Poor Baron Münchhausen, drowning in a swamp without hope of rescue, had no choice but to lift himself from the predicament by a concentrated pulling on his own hair. The prolific theoretical physicist Paul Davies has recently attempted a similar solution in respect of cosmological fine-tuning, but alas, mostly to depilatory effect. It’s a safe bet that the emperor has no hair! In an op-ed published in The Guardian on Tuesday, Paul Davies eschewed both intelligent design and the meta-laws of the multiverse as explanations of the exquisite fine-tuning of the physical laws and constants of our universe, claiming that both are explanatorily vacuous (see here). We can in good conscience proclaim him half right in this judgment, which places Read More ›

Sean Carroll Fails to Scale The Edge of Evolution (Part II): Carroll’s Citations Actually Confirm Michael Behe’s Arguments

[Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a 4-part response. The full response can be read here.] In my previous post, I explained how Sean Carroll’s review of Michael Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution badly misrepresented Behe’s arguments. Behe has responded to many of Carroll’s arguments here, but unfortunately for Carroll, it gets much worse. One paper Carroll cites in an attempt to refute Behe actually explicitly confirms Behe’s position that there are limits to the creative power of Darwinian processes. Carroll argues that Behe claims that “multiple-amino acid replacements therefore can’t happen.” In contrast to Carroll’s misrepresentation, Behe’s actual position contends evolution can proceed forward where there is a stepwise advantage gained with each mutation, but Behe also Read More ›

Behe Talks Back: Taking on Critics of The Edge of Evolution

The first major reviews of Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution are now up in magazines like Science, The New Republic, and The Globe and Mail. As Bruce Chapman noted here, certain Darwinists appear to be mounting a campaign to try to discredit Behe’s argument — without, of course, ever directly addressing it. While the Darwinists unfairly malign Edge, Dr. Behe has now responded to their criticisms over at his Amazon blog, a dynamic new forum where authors are able to reach their readers directly. Want to know what Behe has to say about Jerry Coyne, Michael Ruse, and Sean Carroll? Sure you do. Go check it out. You’ll get a healthy dose of clear thinking and good humor from Read More ›