Dr. Marvin Minsky pictured below:
On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:
…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975
and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.
Harry Kroto pictured below:
There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Marvin Lee Minsky (born August 9, 1927) is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.
Marvin Lee Minsky was born in New York City to an eye surgeon and a Jewish activist, where he attended The Fieldston School and the Bronx High School of Science. He later attended Phillips Academy inAndover, Massachusetts. He served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1945. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Harvard (1950) and a PhD in mathematics from Princeton (1954). He has been on the MITfaculty since 1958. In 1959 he and John McCarthy founded what is now known as the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He is currently the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
Dr. Minsky is found in the 69th clip in the second video below and his quote is found below in this post and my response is after that.
50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)
Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)
A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)
I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names included are Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-), Brian Charlesworth (1945-), Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010), Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-), Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-),Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson(1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), and Ray T. Cragun (1976-).
QUOTE FROM DR. Marvin Minsky taken from atheistic blogger:
My head says the former; my heart, the latter. Maybe my head needs some help—and I know where to find my potential helper: at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, my alma mater. Marvin Minsky, the legendary pioneer of artificial intelligence, is not known to be shy about entering the science-religion debate.
To get Minsky started (it doesn’t take much), I ask him whether it is efficacious for scientists to seek harmony between science and theology.
Minsky gives me a look and calls religion “an amazing phenomenon for thousands of years” that is a “psychologically wonderful device.” But he’s just warming up.
“Take all the questions you can’t answer and give them a name,” says Minsky. “So somebody says, ‘Well, God did that.’ And the right question to then ask is, ‘Well, how does God work?’ And [believers] regard that as rude. So there’s something strange about theology. It’s a system of thinking which teaches you not to ask questions. And so it’s incompatible with science.
“The trouble with religion,” Minsky continues, “is it picks particular things and says, ‘Don’t think about this.’ ‘Don’t change that.’ ‘Abide by this Book.’ And that’s very convenient. It saves a lot of time. At any period, if there are questions science can’t yet answer, why knock yourself out? I regard religion as a wonderful way to save people’s time.”
Minsky believes that if religion would not have impeded science for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, humanity would be far advanced, even in dramatically extending human life. “I think death will go away,” Minsky opines. “But we don’t need to pray for it. We need to work for it.” Not yet finished, Minsky adds, “If we look at religion as fossilized old beliefs, some of which may have been useful, that’s fine. But I can’t see serious discussions of theological ideas because they’re all nutty. Unless you say how God works, saying that God exists doesn’t explain anything.”
Minsky is fierce. Good for him. Religion as an excuse to avoid hard questions? Based on the history of religion, he makes a good argument.
But from the foibles or fallacies of human religion, does anything really follow about a Creator God?
Let’s break this down a little bit. Religion does not encourage science but discourages it by suggesting that we omit the hard work and just say God did it. Minsky is also asserting in this same discussion, “Unless you say how God works, saying that God exists doesn’t explain anything,” and he is implying that brilliant scientists are the ones who give us the answers that we can depend on.
My first response is to recount my correspondence with the famous evolutionist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) of Harvard. In his letter to me he basically said that there are many chemists and molecular biologists who find the story of gradual evolution of life totally convincing and that he is sticking with them. This is very similar to the approach by Dr. Minsky and it is an appeal to authority in that they are suggesting that we just accept the brilliant scientists’ point of view because they are brilliant scientists and they are smarter than the rest of us.THERE IS A SIMPLE ANSWER THAT I COULD GIVE to both Dr. Mayr and Dr. Minsky which is a quote from Adrian Rogers:
Did you know that all atheists are not atheists because of intellectual problems? They’re atheists because of moral problems. You say, “But I know some brilliant people who are atheists.” Well, that may be so, but I know some brilliant people who are not. You say, “I know some foolish people who believe in God.” Well, I know everyone who doesn’t believe in God is foolish.
In other words there are brilliant and stupid people on both sides of the fence and it is not an intellectual issue but a moral one. Let’s take a look at the history of science that was handled down to us from Western Europe and take a closer examination of those great men’s religious views and if their religious views were corrosive to their scientific pursuits? This is the accusation of many modern day evolutionists.
Ernst Mayr (pictured below with the beard)
Bill Gates, John Grisham, James Michener, E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, George Lucas…
Published on May 19, 2012
Bill Gates, John Grisham, James Michener, E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, George Lucas, James Cameron, Larry King, Ian Wilmut, Jane Goodall, Stephen Jay Gould, Tim D. White, Leon Lederman, Timothy Berners-Lee and Bill Gates. Complete and more interview go to websites “www.achievement.org”.
Mais entrevistas e completas no site “www.achievement.org”.
In 1994 and 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with the famous evolutionist Dr. Ernst Mayr of Harvard. He stated in his letter of 10-3-94, “Owing to your ideological commitments, it is only natural that you cannot accept the cogency of the scientific evidence. However, to a person such as myself without such commitments, the story of the gradual evolution of life as reconstructed by chemists and molecular biologists is totally convincing.”
I responded by pointing out three points. First, Scientific Naturalism is atheistic by definition. Second, many great scientists of the past were Christians, and that did not disqualify their observations and discoveries. Third, the fact that evolution is true does not rule out God’s existence (Harvard’s own Owen Gingerich and many others such as Francis Collins hold to a Creator and evolution).
Let me just spend some time on my second point. Francis Schaeffer in his book “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?” stated that according to Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer, both renowned philosophers and scientists of our era (but not Christians themselves), modern science was born out of the Christian world view. Whitehead said that Christianity is the “mother of science” because of the insistence on the rationality of God. In the article, “Christianity and Technological Advance – The Astonishing Connection,” by T. V. Varughese, Ph.D, he observed:
Without question, “technology” has now become the new magic word in place of the word “science.” Since technology represents the practical applications of science, it is clearly consumer-oriented. Herein is bright economic promise to all who can provide technology.
In terms of technology, our present world can be divided into at least three groups: countries that are strong providers of technology, both original and improved; countries that are mass producers because of cheaper labor; and countries that are mostly consumers. Without a doubt, being in the position of “originating” superior technology should be a goal for any major country. The difficult question, however, is “how.”
An obvious place to start suggests itself. Why not begin with the countries that have established themselves as strong originators of technology and see if there is a common thread between them? The western nations, after the Renaissance and the Reformation of the 16th century, offer a ready example. Any book on the history of inventions, such as the Guinness Book of Answers, will reveal that the vast majority of scientific inventions have originated in Europe (including Britain) and the USA since the dawn of the 17th century. What led to the fast technological advances in the European countries and North America around that time?
The answer is that something happened which set the stage for science and technology to emerge with full force. Strange as it may seem, that event was the return to Biblical Christianity in these countries.
According to Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer, both renowned philosophers and scientists of our era (but not Christians themselves), modern science was born out of the Christian world view. Whitehead said that Christianity is the “mother of science” because of the insistence on the rationality of God. Entomologist Stanley Beck,though not a Christian himself, acknowledged the corner-stone premises of science which the Judeo-Christian world view offers: “The first of the unprovable premises on which science has been based is the belief that the world is real and the human mind is capable of knowing its real nature. The second and best-known postulate underlying the structure of scientific knowledge is that of cause and effect. The third basic scientific premise is that nature is unified.” In other words, the epistemological foundation of technology has been the Judeo-Christian world view presented in the Bible…
Perhaps the most obvious affirmation that Biblical Christianity and science are friends and not foes comes from the fact that most of the early scientists after the Renaissance were also strong believers in the Bible as the authoritative source of knowledge concerning the origin of the universe and man’s place in it. The book of Genesis, the opening book of the Bible, presents the distinctly Judeo-Christian world view of a personal Creator God behind the origin and sustenance of the universe (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:17; etc.).
Among the early scientists of note who held the Biblical creationist world view are Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), and Samuel Morse (1791-1872) – what motivated them was a confidence in the “rationality” behind the universe and the “goodness” of the material world. The creation account in Genesis presents an intelligent, purposeful Creator, who, after completing the creation work, declared it to be very good (Genesis 1:31). That assures us that the physical universe operates under reliable laws which may be discovered by the intelligent mind and used in practical applications. The confidence in the divinely pronounced goodness of the material world removed any reluctance concerning the development of material things for the betterment of life in this world. The spiritual world and the material world can work together in harmony.
- Francis A. Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live (Revell, 1976), p. 132.
- Henry M. Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Baker, 1991), p. 30.
- Schaeffer, p. 131.
- Henry M. Morris, Men of Science, Men of God (Master Books, CA, 1988), 107 pp.
Henry Morris pointed out:
Many of these great scientists of the past were before Darwin, but not all of them. However, all of them were acquainted with secular philosophies and some were in fact opponents of Darwinism (Agassiz, Pasteur, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, Dawson, Virchow, Fabre, Fleming, etc). Many of them believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, as well as in the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. They believed that God had supernaturally created all things, each with its own complex structure for its own unique purpose. They believed that, as scientists, they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” learning to understand and control the laws and processes of nature for God’s glory and man’s good. They believed and practiced science in exactly the same way that modern creationist scientists do.
And somehow this attitude did not hinder them in their commitment to the “scientific method.” In fact one of them, Sir Francis Bacon, is credited with formulating and establishing the scientific method! They seem also to have been able to maintain a proper “scientific attitude,” for it was these men (Newton, Pasteur, Linnaeus, Faraday, Pascal, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, Kepler, etc.) whose researches and analyses led to the very laws and concepts of science which brought about our modern scientific age….
To illustrate the caliber and significance of these great scientists of the past, Tables I and II have been prepared. These tabulations are not complete lists, of course, but at least are representative and they do point up the absurdity of modern assertions that no true scientist can be a creationist and Bible-believing Christian.
Table I lists the creationist “fathers” of many significant branches of modern science. Table II lists the creationist scientists responsible for various vital inventions, discoveries, and other contributions to mankind. These identifications are to some degree oversimplified, of course, for even in the early days of science every new development involved a number of other scientists, before and after. Nevertheless, in each instance, a strong case can be made for attributing the chief responsibility to the creationist scientist indicated. At the very least, his contribution was critically important and thus supports our contention that belief in creation and the Bible helps, rather than hinders, scientific discovery.
My relatives live 3 miles from Spring Hill, Tennessee. When the new General Motors plant opened there I got to go see it. What if I had said, “The assembly line created a beautiful Saturn automobile!” Hopefully, some would have corected me by responding, “The assembly line did not create the automobile. It was first designed by the General Motors engineers in Detroit.” ASSUMING EVOLUTION IS TRUE, IT WOULD STILL ONLY BE THE MECHANISM. DOES EVOLUTION ACCOUNT FOR THE DESIGNER?
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES ESTABLISHED
|ANTISEPTIC SURGERY||JOSEPH LISTER (1827-1912)|
|BACTERIOLOGY||LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)|
|CALCULUS||ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)|
|CELESTIAL MECHANICS||JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)|
|CHEMISTRY||ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)|
|COMPARATIVE ANATOMY||GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)|
|COMPUTER SCIENCE||CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)|
|DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS||LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)|
|DYNAMICS||ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)|
|ELECTRONICS||JOHN AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)|
|ELECTRODYNAMICS||JAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)|
|ELECTRO-MAGNETICS||MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)|
|ENERGETICS||LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)|
|ENTOMOLOGY OF LIVING INSECTS||HENRI FABRE (1823-1915)|
|FIELD THEORY||MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)|
|FLUID MECHANICS||GEORGE STOKES (1819-1903)|
|GALACTIC ASTRONOMY||WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)|
|GAS DYNAMICS||ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)|
|GENETICS||GREGOR MENDEL (1822-1884)|
|GLACIAL GEOLOGY||LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)|
|GYNECOLOGY||JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)|
|HYDRAULICS||LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)|
|HYDROGRAPHY||MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)|
|HYDROSTATICS||BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)|
|ICHTHYOLOGY||LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)|
|ISOTOPIC CHEMISTRY||WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)|
|MODEL ANALYSIS||LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)|
|NATURAL HISTORY||JOHN RAY (1627-1705)|
|NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY||BERNHARD RIEMANN (1826- 1866)|
|OCEANOGRAPHY||MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)|
|OPTICAL MINERALOGY||DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)|
|PALEONTOLOGY||JOHN WOODWARD (1665-1728)|
|PATHOLOGY||RUDOLPH VIRCHOW (1821-1902)|
|PHYSICAL ASTRONOMY||JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)|
|REVERSIBLE THERMODYNAMICS||JAMES JOULE (1818-1889)|
|STATISTICAL THERMODYNAMICS||JAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)|
|STRATIGRAPHY||NICHOLAS STENO (1631-1686)|
|SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY||CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)|
|THERMODYNAMICS||LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)|
|THERMOKINETICS||HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)|
|VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY||GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)|
NOTABLE INVENTIONS, DISCOVERIES
|ABSOLUTE TEMPERATURE SCALE||LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)|
|ACTUARIAL TABLES||CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)|
|BAROMETER||BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)|
|BIOGENESIS LAW||LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)|
|CALCULATING MACHINE||CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)|
|CHLOROFORM||JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)|
|CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM||CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)|
|DOUBLE STARS||WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)|
|ELECTRIC GENERATOR||MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)|
|ELECTRIC MOTOR||JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)|
|EPHEMERIS TABLES||JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)|
|FERMENTATION CONTROL||LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)|
|GALVANOMETER||JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)|
|GLOBAL STAR CATALOG||JOHN HERSCHEL (1792-1871)|
|INERT GASES||WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)|
|KALEIDOSCOPE||DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)|
|LAW OF GRAVITY||ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)|
|MINE SAFETY LAMP||HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)|
|PASTEURIZATION||LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)|
|REFLECTING TELESCOPE||ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)|
|SCIENTIFIC METHOD||FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)|
|SELF-INDUCTION||JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)|
|TELEGRAPH||SAMUEL F.B. MORSE (1791-1872)|
|THERMIONIC VALVE||AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)|
|TRANS-ATLANTIC CABLE||LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)|
|VACCINATION & IMMUNIZATION||LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)|
2000 Interview with Ernst Mayr, Harvard University
Uploaded on Jul 13, 2008
Interviews conducted in March 2000 at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences on the topic of Challenges for the New Millennium. Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. See http://www.aibs.org/media-library/ for additional AIBS conference recordings.
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
With the passing in recent years of the three most revered scientific spokesmen for evolution—Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and now Stephen Jay Gould—Professor Ernst Mayr is left as the unquestioned dean of the modern evolutionary establishment.
Gould, Asimov, and Sagan were all three extremely prolific and brilliant writers. All three were atheistic professors at prestigious eastern universities (Gould at Harvard, Asimov at Boston University, Sagan at Cornell), and all three were effusive and vigorous anti-creationists. They were formidable opponents (but eminently quotable), and we miss them. All three died at relatively young ages.
But that leaves Ernst Mayr, long-time professor of biology at Harvard. Dr. Mayr was born in 1904 and is (at this writing) still very much alive, and nearing the century mark. Dr. Gould recently called him “the greatest living evolutionary biologist and a writer of extraordinary insight and clarity” (in a jacket blurb on Mayr’s latest book).
Mayr’s New Book
And that book is the subject of this article. Its title is intriguing—What Evolution Is (Basic Books, 2001, 318 pages),—for if anyone could speak authoritatively on such a subject, it should be Professor Mayr. In his adulatory foreword, Jared Diamond, another leading modern evolutionist, concludes: “There is no better book on evolution. There will never be another book like it” (p. xii).
That evaluation should give any reader very high expectations. Unfortunately, however, Dr. Mayr first shows his disdain for creationism, not even considering its arguments. He simply says:
It is now actually misleading to refer to evolution as a theory, considering the massive evidence that has been discovered over the last 140 years documenting its existence. Evolution is no longer a theory, it is simply a fact (p. 275).
He dismissed the evidence for creation as unworthy of further discussion. “The claims of the creationists” he says, “have been refuted so frequently and so thoroughly that there is no need to cover this subject once more” (p. 269).
Ignoring Creation Evidence
He himself, however, has apparently not bothered to read any creationist or secular anti-evolutionist scientific books or articles. Or at least that is what one would infer from the fact that none of them or their arguments and evidence are even mentioned in his book.
No mention is made by Mayr, for example, of creationist expositions of the amazing created designs in living systems, nor of the effects of God’s curse on the creation, or of the significance of the great flood in understanding the geologic record. He does not even acknowledge the significance of naturalistic catastrophism or of such scientific concepts as complexity or probability. Current ideas about “intelligent design” are never mentioned. The origins of all things are due to time, chance, and natural selection, no matter how complex and interdependent they may be, according to Professor Mayr, who had been (along with Julian Huxley, George Simpson, and a few others) primarily responsible for the so-called modern evolutionary synthesis (or neo-Darwinism) back in the 1930s and 1940s.
Neither does Mayr seem aware that there are now thousands of credentialed and knowledgeable scientists (including a great many biologists) who reject evolution, giving not even a nod to the Creation Research Society, or to ICR, or any other creationist organization. He does occasionally refer to God or to Christianity, but only in passing, and always in a context that indicates that he does not believe in either one. He, like his three younger colleagues, is an atheist, and this naturally constrains him to ignore any possible theological implications of the origins issues.
The Alleged Evidence for Evolution
Mayr’s new book is beautifully written and does contain much good material, but it will not convert many to evolutionism, even though he does devote a chapter to what he thinks are the evidences for evolution. These evidences are essentially the same as those used 140 years ago by Darwin in the Origin (fossils, comparative morphology, embryological similarities and recapitulation, vestigial structures, and geographical distribution). Mayr adds nothing new to these arguments, ignoring the fact that creationists (and even a number of evolutionists) have long since refuted all of them. He does devote a brief section to the more recent “evidence” from molecular biology. But that also has been vigorously disputed by a number of specialists in this field, especially the supposed evolutionary relationships implied by the molecules. Even Mayr admits that “molecular clocks are not nearly as constant as often believed” (p. 37), but he does not mention any of the numerous contradictory relationships implied by these biochemical studies (e.g., the well-known genomic similarities of humans and bananas).
As do most evolutionists, Mayr spends much time in discussing micro-evolution, whereas modern creationists only reject macroevolution. He devotes five chapters to microevolution and only one to macroevolution. This particular chapter is quite long, discussing many speculative theories about how macroevolutionary changes might be produced, but there is one vital deficiency. He gives no example of any macroevolutionary change known to have happened. In other words, macroevolution seems never to have occurred within the several thousand years of recorded history. Thus, real evolution (as distinct from variation, recombination, hybridization, and other such “horizontal” changes) does not happen at present. Where, we would ask Professor Mayr, are there any living forms in the process of evolutionary change? He gives no examples, of course, because there are none.
As far as pre-human history is concerned, Dr. Mayr does insist that the fossil record documents past evolution. He cites the usual claims—horses, Archaeopteryx, mammal-like reptiles, walking whales, etc.—which are very equivocal, at best, and have all been shown by creationists to be invalid as transitional forms. Instead of a handful of highly doubtful examples, there ought to be thousands of obvious transitional forms in the fossils if evolution had really been occurring. Yet Mayr admits,
Wherever we look at the living biota, . . . discontinuities are overwhelmingly frequent. . . . The discontinuities are even more striking in the fossil record. New species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates (p. 189).
Professor Mayr still says that the fossils are “the most convincing evidence for the occurrence of evolution” (p. 13). Yet he also says that “the fossil record remains woefully inadequate” (p. 69). Thus, as creationists have often pointed out, there is no real evidence of either present or past evolution.
We have repeatedly noted also that the scientific reason why this is so is because real evolution to any higher level of complexity is impossible by the law of entropy, which states the proven fact that every system of any kind “tends” to go toward lower complexity, unless constrained otherwise by some pre-designed external program and mechanism.
Yet Ernst Mayr seems either to ignore or misunderstand this key argument of the creationists. Here is what he says:
Actually there is no conflict, because the law of entropy is valid only for closed systems, whereas the evolution of a species of organisms takes place in an open system in which organisms can reduce entropy at the expense of the environment and the sun supplies a continuing input of energy (p. 8).
And that’s all he says about one of the key arguments against evolution. This ubiquitous dodge of the evolutionists has been discredited again and again by creationists, and one would think that this “greatest living evolutionary biologist” in this “best book on evolution” would at least take notice of our arguments! At least half of America’s population, according to many polls, are creationists, apparently agreeing more with us than with Mayr.
An open system and external energy are, indeed, necessary conditions for a system to grow in complexity, but most definitely are not sufficient conditions. The question is just how does the sun’s energy produce complexity in an open system? The fact is that the application of external heat energy to an open system (such as from the sun to the earth) will increase the entropy (that is, decrease the organized complexity) in any open system, if that’s all there is. This is a basic principle of thermodynamics, and neither Mayr nor any other evolutionist has answered this problem. Evolution seems to be impossible by the known laws of science.
Professor Mayr does not deal with the theological or Biblical evidences, of course. For those who believe in God and the Bible, on the other hand, creation—not evolution—is, to appropriate Mayr’s words, “simply a fact.” Evolution is merely a belief held by many who “willingly are ignorant” (II Peter 3:5) of the strong evidences and arguments for creation, and who don’t even bother to consider them. In the words of the apostle Paul: “Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (I Corinthians 1:20).
Cite this article: Henry Morris, Ph.D. 2002. The Dean of Evolution – A Review of Ernst Mayr’s Latest Book. Acts & Facts. 31 (8).
Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR
Dr. Minsky says he is open to evidence. There is lots of evidence points to the Bible being historically accurate, for instance, King David existed!!
The current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has an article entitled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible,” by Lawrence Mykytiuk. The first in his list is King David, whose name was found in the Tel Dan Stela, found in Tel Dan in July, 1993. Mykytiuk writes:
According to the Bible, David ruled in the tenth century B.C.E., using the traditional chronology. Until 1993, however, the personal name David had never appeared in the archaeological record, let alone a reference to King David. That led some scholars to doubt his very existence. According to this speculation David was either a shadowy, perhaps mythical, ancestor or a literary creation of later Biblical authors and editors. In 1993, however, the now-famous Tel Dan inscription was found in an excavation led by Avraham Biran. Actually, it was the team’s surveyor, Gila Cook, who noticed the inscription on a basalt stone in secondary use in the lower part of a wall. Written in ninth-century B.C.E. Aramaic, it was part of a victory stele commissioned by a non-Israelite king mentioning his victory over “the king of Israel” and the “House of David.” [See BAR 20:02, Mar-Apr 1994] Whether or not the foreign king’s claim to victory was true, it is clear that a century after he had died, David was still remembered as the founder of a dynasty.
Gary Byers suggests that the stela “most likely memorializes the victory of Hazael, king of Aram, over Joram, king of Israel, and Ahaziah, king of Judah, at Ramoth Gilead recorded in 2 Kings 8:28–29″ (Bible and Spade 16:4, p. 121).
For more information on the House of David see Ferrell Jenkins’ post illustrating Isaiah 7 here.
The Bible and Archaeology (1/5)
The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy and Kyle Butt does a great job of showing that in this film series he did on “The Bible and Archaeology.”
Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject:
This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events: 1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharoah Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.), 2. The accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and 3. The capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC.
King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment.
It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up “Hezekiah the Judahite” within Jerusalem his own royal city “like a caged bird.” This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah.
In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives;
Most doubting scholars back then said that the Hittites were just a “mythical people that are only mentioned in the Bible.” Some skeptics pointed to the fact that the Bible pictures the Hittites as a very big nation that was worthy of being coalition partners with Egypt (II Kings 7:6), and these bible critics would assert that surely we would have found records of this great nation of Hittites. The ironic thing is that when the Hittite nation was discovered, a vast amount of Hittite documents were found. Among those documents was the treaty between Ramesses II and the Hittite King.
The Bible mentions that Shishak marched his troops into the land of Judah and plundered a host of cities including Jerusalem, this has been confirmed by archaeologists. Shishak’s own record of his campaign is inscribed on the south wall of the Great Temple of Amon at Karnak in Egypt. In his campaign he presents 156 cities of Judea to his god Amon.
The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kings 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered.
The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls of gold, chalices of gold, cups of gold, vases of gold, lead, a sceptre for the king, and spear-shafts, I have received.”
The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)
Sir William Ramsay, famed archaeologist, began a study of Asia Minor with little regard for the book of Acts. He later wrote:
I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.
9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets. When I think of discoveries like the Ebla Tablets that verify names like Adam, Eve, Ishmael, David and Saul were in common usage when the Bible said they were, it makes me think of what amazing confirmation that is of the historical accuracy of the Bible.
There is a well preserved cylinder seal in the Yale University Library from Cyrus which contains his commands to resettle the captive nations.
This cube is inscribed with the name and titles of Yahali and a prayer: “In his year assigned to him by lot (puru) may the harvest of the land of Assyria prosper and thrive, in front of the gods Assur and Adad may his lot (puru) fall.” It provides a prototype (the only one ever recovered) for the lots (purim) cast by Haman to fix a date for the destruction of the Jews of the Persian Empire, ostensibly in the fifth century B.C.E. (Esther 3:7; cf. 9:26).
The Bible mentions Uzziah or Azariah as the king of the southern kingdom of Judah in 2 Kings 15. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription is a stone tablet (35 cm high x 34 cm wide x 6 cm deep) with letters inscribed in ancient Hebrew text with an Aramaic style of writing, which dates to around 30-70 AD. The text reveals the burial site of Uzziah of Judah, who died in 747 BC.
The Pilate Inscription is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to the Caesarea theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. There have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate
This beautifully decorated ossuary found in the ruins of Jerusalem, contained the bones of Caiaphas, the first century AD. high priest during the time of Jesus.
In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”
Despite their liberal training, it was archaeological research that bolstered their confidence in the biblical text:Albright said of himself, “I must admit that I tried to be rational and empirical in my approach [but] we all have presuppositions of a philosophical order.” The same statement could be applied as easily to Gleuck and Wright, for all three were deeply imbued with the theological perceptions which infused their work.
The Bible and Archaeology (3/5)