“Smooth Words” from Francisco Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala, biologist and former Dominican priest, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at $1.53 million, the prize has sought to reward serious thought, writing and research pointing the way to a reconciliation of science and faith. In Ayala’s case, for “science” read “Darwinism.” So a word or two is in order about the faith of Dr. Ayala. Advocates of a supposedly religion-friendly Darwinism have seized on the idea of God’s acting through secondary causes. In his book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, Ayala argues that since God acts through intermediate causation to create geological features (mountains, rivers), why may the same analysis not be applied to the evolution of life? In the latter context, he insists Read More ›

Manliness, Human Dignity, and All That Darwin Can’t Explain

The failure of Darwinism to account for our human experience is something many people know intuitively — but few can articulate it so well as Harvard philosopher Harvey Mansfield and novelist Tom Wolfe. Peter Lawler, who blogs over at First Thing’s Postmodern Conservative, wrote a wonderful essay detailing the ways “America’s two most astute social commentators… have weighed in on the debate over the neo-Darwinian view of evolution.” In “Real Men Prove Darwin Wrong (Again),” Lawler synthesizes how these two masters illustrate that there are more things in heaven and earth than can be explained by Darwin: They agree that the real controversy in our country is not between rationalists who preach evolutionism and fundamentalists who live in Darwin-denial, but Read More ›

Coming to Peace with Science by Appealing to the Consensus

In his book Coming to Peace with Science, Point Loma Nazarene University biology professor Darrel R. Falk makes many arguments for common descent and Darwinian evolution. Many of these arguments are evidence-based (some of this evidence is countered in a previous post), but some of his most forceful arguments are not based upon evidence. They are based upon appeals to authority. Consider the following: “We must not be fooled into thinking that minor fluctuations in the data that are accepted as valid by virtually all geologists are relevant to this question.” (p. 70) “Christian and non-Christian nuclear physicists are virtually in 100 percent agreement that the decay rates could not have been significantly influenced by anything throughout earth’s history.” (p. Read More ›

Does Darrel Falk’s Junk DNA Argument for Common Descent Commit “One of the Biggest Mistakes in the History of Molecular Biology”?

Recently I was e-mailed by an individual who had read the book Coming to Peace with Science, by Darrel Falk, president of the BioLogos Foundation. This person was interested in a response to the arguments for human/ape common ancestry in Dr. Falk’s book. Not having read Dr. Falk’s book before, I wrote back that I hadn’t yet read the book but had a strong suspicion that it would argue that shared non-functional (aka “junk”) DNA between humans, apes, and other species is evidence of their common ancestry. This is an extremely common argument from theistic evolutionists–Francis Collins made it in The Language of God (and Collins wrote the foreword to Dr. Falk’s book). Of course in 2010, we’re seeing more Read More ›

Michael Ruse, the Charming Darwinian Atheist

Unlike the reptilian Dawkins, sinister Dennett, or smug Coyne, Michael Ruse is a prominent Darwinian atheist by whom it’s hard not to feel charmed. I have never met him but his column in the Guardian could only be written by someone who is by nature very nice, very naïve, or probably both. Ruse considers the question of what impact belief in Darwinism should be expected to have on morality, and he answers with an “on the one, on the other hand.” Since God is dead (and Darwin killed him), there can be no objective moral ideas. Moses received nothing on Sinai. Yet, not to worry! This realization will not lead to bad behavior since our genes, inscribed by natural selection, Read More ›