Basic Layout In studying atheism, and their cooption of Darwinian evolution, I have encountered twin logical fallacies so often that I have come to coin two terms to describe them: the fallacy of validation by projection and the fallacy of validation by regression.It is important to note that when someone believes in something that is not true they cannot live in the real world. That is to say that they must talk themselves into believing in things for which there is no evidence. They have to talk themselves into believing the stories about reality that they have concocted. Surely, atheists will claim that this is precisely true of theists. Yet, nevertheless, we will provide ample evidence that supports our assertion. In order to validate their beliefs atheists look both ways, up and down, the corridors of time-to the inaccessible past and future. When, for example, atheists appeal to quaint Victorian era concepts of abiogenesis in order to explain life’s conception they must deal with the fact that abiogenesis (abiotic synthesis) is not observed anywhere and is not producible in any experiments. What is their answer? They can imagine a time, long, long ago in the Earth’s past, when everything happened just so and abiogenesis was possible. What about filling the various gaps in our knowledge? They can imagine a time in the distant future when their beliefs will be proven true. Thus, atheism is validated by projection and regression. Herein lies the fallacies: they merely regress to an unknown past in which they can imagine thing occurring that do not occur today and they can project into an equally unknown future at which time we will discover that absolute materialism is true. As long as they can imagine it, it must be true.We have referred to atheism’s cooption of Darwinian evolution and they have actually co-opted the whole of science. Here we run into another of atheism’s logical fallacies: first they claim that science does not deal with the supernatural but then they claim that science has disproved the supernatural.
What atheists have done is to remove the supernatural from the realm of possibility. Granted, they are, after all, atheists-absolutely committed to materialism. But note the nature of their worldview: they have closed the door to any evidence to the contrary. They do this by appealing to atheism’s circular logic. Since there is no supernatural there can be no evidence for the supernatural and since there is no evidence for the supernatural we do not believe in the supernatural. Yet, peradventure any evidence of the supernatural is uncovered it is to be ignored because it does not fit the materialistic worldview and because that worldview promises that all things will, some day, be explained in accordance to materialism.
Some scientists, such as Scott C. Todd from Kansas State University’s Department of Biology, have taken their belief in materialism to such an extreme that they openly proclaim that they will purposefully deny any evidence that interferes with their beliefs, “Even if all the data pointed to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”1
One example of validation by regression is clear in hypothesis concocted by A.I. Oparin and J.B.S. Haldane (and many, many others) who “…envisioned an ancient world with the chemical conditions and energy resources needed for the abiotic synthesis of organic molecules.”2 They envisioned a time when something that is now impossible could actually occur (incidentally all experiments in this vein have failed).
In our essay Scientific Cenobites we provide many, many quotes such as the following regarding wishful speculations, storytelling, narratives, myths, ethos, and philosophizing in the name of, in the guise of, science.Franklin M. Harold, emeritus professor of biochemistry at Colorado State University, wrote:
“We should reject as a matter of principle the substitution of Intelligent Design for the dialog of chance and necessity…but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”3
Roger Lewin referencing John Durant, Oxford University:
“‘Could it be that, like ‘primitive’ myths, theories of human evolution reinforce the value-system of their creators by reflecting historically their image of themselves and of the society in which they live?’…’Time and again,’ observes Durant, ‘ideas about human origins turn out on closer examination to tell us as much about the present as about the past, as much about our own experiences as about those of our remote ancestors’…These peaceable theories of human origins, like the best-in-man idea, become ‘a mirror which reflected back only those aspects of human experience which its authors wanted to see….This is precisely what we would expect of a scientific myth.’”4
Glynn Isaac wrote:
“If any of the rest of the scientific community is inclined to snigger at the embarrassment of paleoanthropologists over all this [the identification of theory as narrative], pause and reflect. I bet that the same basic findings would apply to the origin of mammals, or of flowering plants, or of life…or even the big bang and the cosmos.”5
David Pilbeam wrote:
“‘A major change is a growing realization that many evolutionary schemes are in fact dominated by theoretical assumptions that are largely divorced from data derived from fossils, and that many assumptions have remained implicit.’ Nevertheless, argument disguised-probably unconsciously-as objective description is still to be found in the literature.”6
Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall wrote:
“science is storytelling, albeit of a very special kind.”7
Richard Lewontin “does acknowledge that scientists inescapably rely on ‘rhetorical’ proofs (authority, tradition) for most of what they care about; they depend on theoretical assumptions unprovable by hard science, and their promises are often absurdly overblown.”8
Lewontin has written:
“Only the most simple-minded and philosophically naive scientist, of whom there are many, thinks that science is characterized entirely by hard inference and mathematical proofs based on indisputable data.”9
John Horgan, writing in Scientific America, makes an some interesting points about the artificiality of science as opposed to what actually occurs in nature:
“But as researchers continue to examine the RNA-world concept closely, more problems emerge. How did RNA arise initially? RNA and its components are difficult to synthesize in a laboratory under the best conditions, much less under plausible prebiotic ones…no one has yet come up with a satisfactory explanation of how phosphorous, which is a relatively rare substance in nature, became such a crucial ingredient in RNA (and DNA). Once RNA is synthesized, it can make new copies of itself only with a great deal of help from the scientist, says Joyce of the Scripps Clinic, and RNA specialist. ‘It is an inept molecule’…Rebek’s experiments [on synthetic organic molecules] have two drawbacks, according to Joyce: they only replicate in highly artificial, unnatural conditions, and, even more important, they reproduce too accurately. Without mutation, the molecules cannot evolve in the Darwinian sense. Orgel agrees. ‘What Rebek has done is very clever,’ he says, ‘but I don’t see its relevance to the origin of life.”10
Writing in the journal Nature, G.H. Curtis, Drake, T. Cerling & Hampel make the following statement in reference to the spread of dates yielded in attempts to date the KBS Tuff:
“Furthermore, the interpretation of the 40Ar/39Ar isochrons that yield multiple apparent ages from a single phase, such as Fitch and Miller have obtained on KBS sanidines, is uncertain. Their interpretations rely on oversimplified and unproved models of the diffusion of argon in solids, both in nature and in the laboratory procedure necessary to make an age determination. For this reason we feel that their results, even when they are reproducible to high precision, may be an artifact of experiential procedure, and thus not geologically meaningful.”11
Is it any wonder that Richard Lewontin (Harvard University Professor of zoology and biology) wrote?:
“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated” (see here and here)12
Is it also any wonder what happens when the scientific method concludes something against which one’s preferred theory? Well, “Skeptic of the Year” and evolutionary paleontologist Dr. Paul Willis besmirches experimentation that produces results that he did not like as he referred to “Simply going to laboratory setting, in a contrived laboratory setting.” To this his debate opponent, creationist Dr. Carl Wieland, responded:
“It’s valid in science, this is the best you can come to as far as experimental evidence is concerned. Surely, people should be commended for trying to emulate in a laboratory these sorts of things.”13
In my essay The Gap Filler we deal, in some detail, with the following statement from an interview of Richard Dawkins by Jonathan Miller.14“Um, there’s got to be a series of advantages all the way in the feather. If you can’t think of one then that’s your problem, not natural selection’s problem. Natural selection, um, well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith on my, on my part since the theory is so coherent and so powerful. You might mentioned feathers. I mean it’s perfectly possible that feathers began as fluffy, um, extensions of reptilian scales to act as heat insulators. And so the final perfection of the sort of, wing feathers that we see in flying birds might have come very much later. And the earliest feathers might have been a different approach to hairiness among reptiles keeping them warm.”Richard Dawkins fills the gaps in his knowledge with his faith. Since there is no evidence, we can appeal to our imagination (in the guise of respectable science). It is “perfectly possible” it “might have” and again, it “might have”-and that is proof enough.Richard Dawkins wrote:
“Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles – except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don’t yet understand. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural.”15
Note the presupposition: we know that absolute materialism is true and so the supernatural is disqualified a priori. If we ever encounter a miracle, if we are exposed to evidence of a miracle, we are do disregard it as being the outworking of some materialistic phenomena that “we don’t yet understand.” But we can project and so “we hope” to “eventually” be able to explain all things according to the worldview of materialism.Richard Dawkins wrote:
“Chance, luck, coincidence, miracle…events that we commonly call miracles are not supernatural, but are part of a spectrum of more-or-less improbable natural events. A miracle, in other words, if it occurs at all, is a tremendous stroke of luck.”16
But what of his own view of origins?:
“It is as though, in our theory of how we came to exist, we are allowed to postulate a certain ration of luck.”17
He also wrote:
“If I saw a man levitating himself, before rejecting the whole of physics I would suspect that I was the victim of a hallucination or a conjuring trick.”18
Certainly, it could be a trick and one ought to investigate but it is fascinating that his reaction to being an eyewitness to something that violates his worldview, that violates absolute materialism, would be to prefer the explanation of it being a hallucination (see our essay: What Would Atheists Do If God Appeared To Them?).Richard Dawkins wrote:
“My guess is that both bats and birds evolved flight by gliding downwards from the trees. Their ancestors might have looked a little like colugos. Birds could be another matter…. Here’s one guess as to how flying got started in birds….Perhaps birds began by leaping off the ground while bats began gliding out of trees. Or perhaps birds too began by gliding out of trees…The beauty of this theory is that the same nervous circuits that were used to control the centre of gravity in the jumping ancestor would, rather effortlessly, have lent themselves to controlling the flight surfaces later in the evolutionary story.”19
More of the same, “…guess…might have…could be…guess…Perhaps…perhaps…The beauty of this theory is…the evolutionary story.”
Richard Dawkins begins the third chapter of River Out of Eden – A Darwinian View of Life by referencing a letter that he received from a former atheist who is now a Minister. The Minister became a believer in God while reading an article regarding a particular Orchid whose flowers mimic a wasp. It does not merely mimic a wasp, but a particular kind of wasp. Not merely a particular kind but the female of that particular kind. Yet, this is not simple the case of someone who “found faith through a wasp,”20 as Dawkins puts it. The Minister was captivate by thought that “No incremental steps could account for it…”21 This is because the mimicry includes at least three aspects: morphology, chemistry and anatomy. The Minister’s reasoning went on to state “…if the orchid did not look like and smell like the female wasp, and have an opening suitable for copulation with the pollen within perfect reach of the male wasp’s reproductive organ, the strategy would have been a complete failure.” Richard Dawkins then proceeds to explain his indignation for the sort of argument that would state “that complicated contrivances have to be perfect if they are to work at all.”22 Prof. Richard Dawkins’ tactic is to claim that the Orchid does not actually have to look very much like a wasp (he does not actually assert that it does not, he merely claims that it does not have to).
Richard Dawkins writes:
“Perhaps a fleeting view of a female is all a fast-flying wasp can expect to get before attempting to copulate with her. Perhaps male wasps notice only a few key stimuli anyway. There is every reason to think that wasps might be even easier to fool than humans.”
Note the qualifying terms “Perhaps…Perhaps.”
He then expends six pages offering examples of apparently poor eyesight in certain birds and insects and points out:
“The world as seen through an insect’s eyes is so alien to us that to make statements based on our own experience when discussing how ‘perfectly’ an orchid needs to mimic a female wasp’s body is human presumption.”
Interesting point, although there seems to be a bit of logical conclusion missing here: he seems to be overlooking the fact that the reason we know that an Orchid produces a flower that mimics a wasp is that it is us human beings who observe that the flower looks like a wasp (not merely in basic shape but anatomically). Why would an Orchid produce a flower that looks, to a human being, like a wasp but not so much to a wasp?
Yet, Richard Dawkins then does a 180 degree turn in stating:
“I may have done my work too well in persuading you that wasps are likely to be easy to fool_If insect eyesight is so poor, and if wasps are so easy to fool, why does the orchid bother to make its flower as wasp-like as it is? Well, wasp eyesight is not always so poor. There are situations in which wasps seem to see quite well.”23 He then provides two pages worth of examples and then concludes be regressing to his earlier point:
“a crude resemblance between orchid and female might well be sufficient. The general lesson we should learn is never to use human judgment in assessing such matters.”24
Please note that in his six pages of poor, and two of good, eyesight he never once discussed the Orchid, its flower, the wasp, or the mating/pollination. He merely made assertions based on long-shot circuitous assertions.
He most certainly did not touch upon another aspect of the issue:Somehow, a plant knows what a particular kind of wasp looks like.It knows the wasp’s mating habits.It knows that it needs to attract males.It somehow wills itself to produce a flower that looks like the female so that the male will land on the flower and assist in pollination.It produces pheromones that attract the particular kind of male wasp.It mimics the female wasps’ anatomy.
It places its pollen in the right place.
Nevertheless, Richard Dawkins states:
“Never say, and never take seriously anybody who says, ‘I cannot believe that so-and-so could have evolved by gradual selection.’”25
He does not offer one single example of how the process actually took place.
Just how does a plant have such a detailed understanding of the world that exists around it-the creatures, their anatomy, their mating habits, etc.? How does a plant conceive of, and carry out, a plan to produce a mimic of such a creature?
Not to worry, knowing something about the atheistic/materialistic cooption of science, all that is necessary is to concoct a story about how it could have happened and that is good enough. In the same chapter we have been discussing, Richard Dawkins tackles how the honeybee’s dance evolved. The dance in question is performed by a bee that has found food. Upon returning to the nest it performs a dance that is, in fact, a coded message that informs other bees in which direction and to what distance they are to travel in order to retrieve the food. We will provide the qualifying terms that are peppered throughout his story:
“plausible…suggests…would have…Perhaps…plausible…plausibility…plausible…might have…would have…It is not difficult to imagine…probably…plausible… plausible… plausible.”26 He finally states:
“The story as I have told it…may not actually be the right one. But something a bit like it surely did happen.”27
Before continuing, please take a moment to contemplate the following illustrations.
Chapter 3 of Prof. Richard Dawkins’ book The Blind Watchmaker-Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design is entitled Accumulating Small Changes. In this chapter he, unwittingly, proves that a creator, an intelligent designer, is required to even merely conceive of biological entities reproducing/evolving.He begins by stating:
“We have seen that living things are too improbable and too beautifully ‘designed’ to have come into existence by chance. How, then, did they come into existence? The answer, Darwin’s answer, is by gradual, step-by-step transformation from simple beginnings, from primordial entities sufficiently simple to have come into existence by chance.”28
Prof. Richard Dawkins’ view is that life began by pure chance and then evolved but not by chance because natural selection selects in a nonrandom manner, even though it has no foresight, no goal to which it is aiming its selections.
Richard Dawkins set out to create a world with which to test his theory of evolution. His intelligent design came in the form of a computer program that, instead of letters, would “draw pictures instead” to the end that, “Maybe we shall even see animal-like shapes evolving in the computer, by cumulative selection of mutant forms.”29 Keep in mind this prediction of seeing animal-like shapes. Richard Dawkins begins his experiment by relying on a tremendous amount of intelligence, not just his own personal education but by relying on a computer-a machine that was specifically designed by intelligent beings. Consider the millennia that was required for humanity to compile enough knowledge to build a computer, from the manipulation of the substances that make up its hardware to the foresight that makes up its software. Richard Dawkins comes to the task with “20 years’ experience of programming computers”30 under his belt.
Let us quickly survey the experiment, the intelligently designed world that Richard Dawkins calls Biomorph Land.
“…we must have…I chose one and wrote a program…what drawing rule shall we choose…are allowed to grow…when you tell the computer…rule for drawing…we wrap it up in a little computer procedure…first step towards writing this larger program…we shall modestly limit our computer model…How shall we make these genes influence development…I made…a constraint that I imposed on the DEVELOPMENT procedure. I did it partly for aesthetic reasons, partly to economize…I was hoping to evolve animal-like shapes…my mutations are all constrained…These are arbitrary conventions…two procedures called DEVELOPMENT and REPRODUCTION are written as two watertight compartments…We have assembled our two programs…bring the two modules together in the big program called EVOLUTION…This very high mutation rate is a distinctly unbiological feature of the computer model…The human eye has an active role to play in the story. It is the selecting agent…The human tells the computer which one of the current litter of progeny to breed from…I began to breed, generation after generation, form whichever child looked most like an insect…the monsters that one encounters are undersigned and unpredictable…”31
Apparently, at some point Richard Dawkins became aware of his creative actions as an intelligent designer. These include unbiological input and purposeful selection of shapes that he thought looked like what he wanted to see due to his foresight-planning and executing of a strategy in order to reach a desired goal. Thus, he attempts to deny doing what he has been admitting all along:
“I programmed EVOLUTION into the computer, but I did not plan ‘my’ insects…Yes I am piling on the drama a bit, but there is a serious point being made. The point of the story is that even though it was I that programmed the computer, telling it in great detail what to do, nevertheless I didn’t plan the animals that evolved.”32
Even so, he concludes:
“Does the powerlessness of the programmer to control or predict the course of evolution in the computer seem paradoxical? Does it mean that something mysterious, even mystical was going on inside the computer? Of course not. Nor is there anything mystical going on in the evolution of real animals and plants.”33
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain: Richard Dawkins is indeed the creator god of his biomorphs, “my” he calls them, he created a world, its laws/rules, and its life. His chosen ones were selected for further evolution, a process that the creator manipulated towards his ends since he knows the beginning and the end. He even admits that the biomorphs were predestined, “There is a definite set of biomorphs, each permanently sitting in its own unique place in a mathematical space.”34
But what is it exactly that Richard Dawkins created? Animals? Insects? No. He created Rorschachs. He created several intersecting lines that then became more intersecting lines. Then he, the selector, the intelligent agent, interpreted what these lines look like to him. Recall that he stated, “I was hoping to evolve animal-like shapes” and that “The human eye…is the selecting agent.” Thus, he created and manipulated a world that produced Rorschachs-perhaps a psychiatrist would have more to say about the outcome than a biologist. But Richard Dawkins did not merely “see” insects and animals in his biomorphic Rorschachs, he also saw a Lunar Lander, a man in a hat, an upside-down menorah, a precision balance, crossed sabers, a lamp, etc. He does not bother explaining how a biological entity evolves into a saber or the Lunar Lander-he miraculously intervened upon biomorph land.
Example of Prof. Richard Dawkins’ creations with his subjective descriptions: fig 5 p. 61Richard Dawkins concludes the chapter by writing:
“…when we are prevented from making a journey in reality, the imagination is not a bad substitute. For those, like me, who are not mathematicians, the computer can be a powerful friend to the imagination. Like mathematics, it doesn’t only stretch the imagination. It also disciplines and controls it.”35
This has been our point all along-escape reality and invent advantageous fictions: when the real world will not accommodate our world-view we can invent one that will. Why can we know that there is nothing mystical going on? Because nothing mystical is going on in our imaginary world.
Ultimately, the only thing that Richard Dawkins has accomplished engaging in tautology: he proposed a theory and then concocted an experiment that allowed him to manipulate the process from beginning to end so that in the end his theory was proven true.
Sam Harris Sam Harris wrote:
“There will probably come a time when we achieve a detailed understanding of human happiness, and of ethical judgments themselves, at the level of the brain…There is every reason to believe that sustained inquiry in the moral sphere will force convergence of our various belief systems in the way that it has in every other science.”36
Again, since “There will probably come a time when_” we can project that through cumulative knowledge (“sustained inquiry”) materialistic causes for moral absolutes will be uncovered. Moreover, there is not only “every reason to believe” this but the projected event “will force convergence” to absolute materialism.Sam Harris has also written:
“If we better understood the workings of the human brain, we would undoubtedly discover lawful connections between our states of consciousness, our modes of conduct, and the various ways we use our attention. If we ever develop such a science, most of our religious texts will be no more useful to mystics than they now are to astronomers”37