The Emperor Has No Clothes

 

Naturalism and The Theory of Evolution

 


 Sean D. Pitman, M.D.

 

© November 2006

 

 

 

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This website is a rough draft collection of my own notes and thoughts as well as the thoughts of many others concerning the theories of evolution and design. 

All feedback is certainly welcome and appreciated.  I hope that you find the ideas discussed here at least interesting and thought provoking.

Seanpit@gmail.com

 

 

New or Updated Topics

 

as of May 2008

as of February 2008

as of November 2007

 

 

Essays

 

 

 

Defining Evolution

 

 

 

 

Early Man

 

 

 

 

 

The Geologic Column

 

 

 

 

 

The Fossil Record

 

 

 

 

Ancient Ice

 

 

The Scabland Debate

 

Kenneth Miller's Best Arguments Against Intelligent Design

 

 

The Flagellum

 

 

 

 

 

The Steppingstone Problem

 

 

 

 

 

Meaningful Information and Artifact

 

 

 

 

 

The Human Eye

 

 

 

 

 

Limited Evolutionary Potential

 

 

 

 

 

Antibiotic Resistance

 

 

 

 

 

Abiogenesis

 

 

 

 

 

Maquiziliducks and The Evolution of Code

 

 

 

 

 

Evolving the Irreducible

 

 

 

 

 

Methinks it is Like a Weasel

 

 

 

The Cat and the Hat

 

 

 

 

 

Rube Goldberg Machines

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregor Mendel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Selection

 

 

 

 

 

Computer Evolution

 

 

 

 

 

The Immune System

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genetic Phylogeny

 

 

 

 

 

Fossils and DNA

 

 

 

 

 

DNA Mutation Rates

 

 

 

Pseudogenes

 

 

 

 

 

Donkeys, Horses, Mules, and Evolution

 

 

 

 

Carbon 14 and Tree Ring Dating

 

 

 

Milankovitch Cycles

 

 

 

 

Amino Acid Racemization Dating

 

 

 

 

 

Radiometric Dating

 

 

Truth, The Scientific Method, and Evolution

 

 

Quotes From Scientists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost everyone has heard the children's story by Hans Christian Andersen entitled, "The Emperor's New Clothes". It is a very interesting story about human nature.  When the Emperor parades around in clothes that are invisible no one says anything because everybody thinks that if they cannot see the clothes that they are stupid, ignorant, or insane. . . or at least others will think that they are.  The farce continues until a child exclaims, "The Emperor has no clothes!"  

This paper deals specifically with the theory of evolution and the hold that this theory has taken upon the scientific community as well as the popular imagination.  The theory of evolution has become so popular and so pervasive that it is difficult for anyone to question it without being branded as, "ignorant, stupid, or insane." 1 The passion of those who hold such views testifies to their firm belief in evolution as "more than a theory."  So why don't I get it?   What is wrong with me?

Some might suggest that I am too biased by my upbringing or religious background to see the truth of the theory of evolution.  Certainly it is true that I am human, prone to bias.  But, at least I am aware of this and really do desire to know the truth - wherever it may lead.  

I am a firm believer in the scientific method and in its power to increase human knowledge of all knowable truth concerning the world outside the mind - to include "religious" ideas when those ideas make some sort of claim about some force acting on physical things around or within us with intelligent or deliberate intent.  

Interestingly enough though, the scientific method does not detect truth directly. The power of the scientific method comes from its ability to detect error, thereby limiting the places where truth may be found.  Since no theory is ever fully proven by the scientific method, no one should ever consider any theory or even "fact" above all question. When a theory or interpretation can no longer be questioned, it leaves the realm of science and moves into the realm of holy, untouchable, religious dogma.  Often the thought crosses my mind that scientists are just as fervent and religious in their thinking as any other church-going community. The only difference is the object of worship. 

I'm not saying that a little religious zeal is a bad thing - even for scientists.  Many truths are very important and should be defended.  However, human ideas of "truth" are not or at least should not be above all question.  In fact, truth is made all the more clear when it is challenged.  Why then does it seem like many scientists defend their ideas of naturalism and the theory of evolution as if their lives and very souls depended on it? The dedication of the scientific community at large to these ideas is generally no less dogmatic and passionate than the religious fervor of the most hardened sectarian fundamentalist.  And yet, the scientific method really does not support the use of any "a priori" assumptions when evaluating the potential truthfulness of any hypothesis or theory.  The position that the mindless non-deliberate processes of nature are the only types of potentially "natural" forces that can possibly be considered when it comes to explaining the origin and diversity of life on this planet is not a requirement of the scientific method, but is rather a philosophical position.  

It all boils down to what scientists define as "natural" verses "supernatural".  The funny thing is, scientists do theorize the involvement of intelligent minds all the time when it comes to forensic investigations or searches for extraterrestrial intelligence - since these intelligences would be "natural".  Why then is the origin of life any different?  Upon what basis are all considerations of the workings of an intelligent mind excluded, without any consideration whatsoever, when it comes to determining the origin and diversity of life on this planet? Isn't it at least theoretically possible that some very intelligent yet "natural" mind might have been behind the origin of life on this planet?  How is this possibility beyond the realm of scientific investigation?   

Consider the form of a humble amorphous rock.  Does its form give evidence of deliberate design over a mindless cause? Humans are in fact capable of designing amorphous rocks, but so are very lowly mindless randomly acting natural processes. The same is true if I were to walk by a house in the morning and see that it had a broken window. In this case I could quite rationally hypothesize either a mindless non-deliberate cause (i.e., a tree limb, strong gust of wind, hail from a storm, etc) or a deliberate intelligent cause (i.e., a robber, a kid with rock or pellet gun, etc).  However, if I were to walk by that same house later in the day and find that this same window had been repaired, how easy would it be for me to hypothesize a random mindless process as a cause? The same thing could be said for analyzing symmetrically intricate crop circles in England or a box of otherwise identical red and white marbles where all the red marbles are on the same side of the box.

This line of reasoning might seem fairly convincing if not for the fact that many scientists take on an, "a priori commitment to materialism."2 -  or at least what they define as materialism. What they really do is take on a commitment to an ultimately non-intelligent non-deliberate cause for everything that exists.  This is what is meant by the word "materialism".  The problem with this notion is that high level information systems, to include those that reach the level of "intelligent minds" do in fact exist and these systems are indeed capable of creative abilities that far exceed those of low-level randomly acting mindless forces of nature.  Why then do scientists assume, from the very start, that the ultimate cause of the phenomenon of "life" was, without question, non-deliberate?

Certainly one might conclude that the facts are overwhelmingly in favor of one position over another after extensive testing is done, but the scientific method necessitates no prior commitment to outcome of an intelligent vs. a non-intelligent cause, even an ultimate cause, before the outcome is actually tested.   Scientists do seem to agree on this point, and yet many of them still feel "forced by an a priori adherence to material [i.e., mindless or randomly acting] 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."  Many go on to explain that "materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."2 

And there it is - - Ultimately it is all about the concept of "God".   No answer can be "God probably did it" for a scientist, by definition, because God is defined as being non-materialistic or outside of Nature.  Therefore, scientists commonly argue that God, if he even exists, is beyond the detection of science - that he cannot be ruled in or out of any equation.  

Does this make any sense?  Certainly, scientists are correct in one respect. If an all-powerful God wished to hide from us, he most certainly could do that - no doubt.  However, what if God wished to reveal himself through the physical world?  Would it then be impossible to detect him simply because he is God and God is defined as undetectable?  Would a God who is actually trying to be recognized as enormously powerful and intelligent actually be harder to identify than an intelligent and powerful "alien" civilization sending radiosignals to our planet?

It seems as though most scientists are uneasy with any theory that does not have its basis in the workings of a mindless nature for fear that the only alternative to this position, intelligent design, might bring back the darkness of superstition. However, many of these same scientists hope to find evidence, even historically based evidence, of intelligent life in the universe beyond our own world.  Even within our own world, entire scientific disciplines, such as forensic science, are based on discovering the workings of purpose and intelligence.  Clearly then, scientists seem quite confident in their abilities to detect intelligent activity as long as it has nothing to do with the origin of life or the fundamental workings of the universe and it isn't given the label of "God".  

It seems then that, "Design is ruled out not because it has been shown to be false but because science itself has been defined as applied materialistic [or mindless cause] philosophy."3  While it is true that science can only work with material phenomena, it is not true that only mindless, non-deliberate, or random forces must be considered as causes, a priori, for all material phenomena.  That notion just isn't part of the scientific method.  This is a philosophical notion, not scientific one.

Yet, this disguised religious philosophy has taken the scientific community by storm. The vanguard theory of evolution has taken on an almost sacred status.  Who dares question it or openly admit that they do not see the emperor's clothes without putting their reputations and, on occasion, even their careers in jeopardy? I for one have been honestly looking for the emperor's clothes for some time now.  But, the more I look the more naked he gets. 

Surprisingly, I am not alone in my blindness. A number of very highly educated men and women of science have and are openly questioning the sacred status of the theory of evolution.  Of course, we may be too ignorant, stupid, or insane to see the rich clothes that are right there before our very eyes. However, never underestimate the "crazy" or the "blind". History has often shown that those who were crazy and blind in their own day turned out to be right after all.

 

1.    Dawkins, Richard [Zoologist and Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University], "Put Your Money on Evolution", Review of Johanson D. & Edey M.A., "Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution", in New York Times, April 9, 1989, sec. 7, p34.

 

2.    Lewontin, Richard C. [Professor of Zoology and Biology, Harvard University], "Billions and Billions of Demons", Review of "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," by Carl Sagan, New York Review, January 9, 1997. 

 

3.   Nany Pearcey, "We're Not in Kansas Anymore - Why secular scientists and media can't admit that Darwinism might be wrong", Christianity Today, May 22, 2000 ( http://www.arn.org/docs/pearcey/np_ctoday052200.htm )

 

SDP

 

Sean DeVere Pitman, M.D.

 

Loma Linda University School of Medicine, 1993 - 1997

Major, United States Army, active duty 1997 - 2001

 Residency: Pathology, Loma Linda University Medical Center, 2001 - 2005

Fellowship: Hematology, City of Hope National Medical Center, 2005 - 2006

Email: Seanpit@gmail.com

 

 

 

The Gallup Organizations periodically asks the American public about their beliefs on evolution and creation. They have conducted a poll of U.S. adults in 1982, 1991, 1993 and 1997.

1997-NOV data is little changed. Note the massive differences between the beliefs of the general population and of scientists:

Belief system Creationist view Theistic evolution Naturalistic Evolution
Group of adults God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation. Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process.
Everyone 44% 39% 10%
Scientists 5% 40% 55%

The "scientist" group would presumably include persons with professional degrees in fields such as computer science, chemical engineering, physics, etc. According to Newsweek in 1987, "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science..." That would make the support for creation science among those branches of science at about 0.14%. (Ref.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Emperor's New Clothes

By:  Hans Christian Anderson

 

     Once upon a time there lived a vain emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people.

     Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind.

     "We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."

     The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel's strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.

     "Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.

     "Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you." The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well; in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.

     "Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."

     The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.

"We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead.

     "I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't see anything, he would be discharged from his office.

"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.

     Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.

     "Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding a large roll of fabric.

     "Here it is your Highness, the result of our labor," the scoundrels said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.

     The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.

     "Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.

     "Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."

     "Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful about showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.

     "All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.

     Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"

     "What a marvelous train!"

     "And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life." They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

     A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

     "The Emperor is naked," he said.

     "Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

     "The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"

     The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Point Presentations 

 

 

Newer Presentations

 

Darwin vs. God

 

The Best Arguments Against Intelligent Design

 

The Geologic Column

 

The Fossil Record

 

Early Man

 

 

 

Older Presentations

 

Is Intelligent Design Theory A True Science?

 

Overview of Geology, Fossils, and Genetics

 

The Best Arguments Against Intelligent Design

 

The Geologic Column

 

The Geologic Column 2 (Large File)

 

All I Need is Time

 

Ancient Ice

 

Mutations

 

Tree Ring Dating and Radiocarbon

 

 

 

Articles and Essays

 

Nobel Laureates Who Favor Intelligent Design

 

The Potential Unity of Science and Religion

 

Problems with Dendrochronology

 

Untrustworthy Tree-ring Studies - Keenan

 

Downwind Radiocarbon Dates - Keenan

 

Amino Acid Racemization - Collins

 

Amino Acid Racemization 2

 

Tephra from GRIP not from Thera

 

Mt. Mazama Dating - INQUA

 

Early Hominid Semicircular Canals - Spoor

 

Compensatory Mutations

 

Antibody Lactase Enzymes

 

Chloroquine Resistance

 

Cytochrome C Variability

 

Sequence Space Ratios - Sauer and Olson

 

Ratio of Functional Proteins

 

Determining Evolutionary Potential - Hall, 1998

 

Understanding Evolutionary Potential - Hall, 1999

 

Phage Evolution Experiment - Hayashi

 

Mutation Rates in Humans - Nachman and Crowell

 

Pseudogenes in Ribonuclease Evolution

 

Tsunami Kills Gulf Dinosaurs

 

Rapid Lava Dam Failure in Grand Canyon

 

Rapid Lava Dam Failure in Grand Canyon 2

 

Rapid Lava Dam Failure in Grand Canyon 3

 

Rapid Lava Dam Failure in Grand Canyon 4

 

Rapid Lithification Rates

 

Chemical Signatures in Stacked Forest Layers

 

Coalified Wood and U-Pb Ratios - Gentry

 

Colorado River Erosion Rates

 

Erosion Rates of Granite

 

Stromatolites

 

Stromatolites 2

 

Dembski - Searching Large Spaces

 

Entropy, Chaos, Complexity - Baranger

 

Kolmogorov Complexity

 

Science and Religion

 

No Such Thing as True Randomness

 

Richard E. Smalley (Nobel Laureate) Endorses Intelligent Design

 

 

 

 

 

Debates

 

 

Most Recent

 

 

God of the Gaps

 

Ladder of Complexity

 

Chaos and Complexity

 

Confusing Chaos with Complexity

 

Irreducible Complexity

 

All Functions are Irreducibly Complex

 

Stacking the Deck

 

The Density of Beneficial Functions

 

Function Flexibility

 

The Limits of Functional Flexibility

 

Functions based on Deregulation

 

Single Protein Functions

 

BCR/ABL Chimeric Protein

 

Evolving Bacteria

 

Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design

 

A Circle Within a Circle

 

Crop Circles

 

Mindless vs. Mindful

 

Neandertal DNA

 

Human/Chimp phylogenies

 

Geology

 

The Geologic Column

 

Fish Fossils

 

Matters of Faith

 

Evidence of Things Unseen

 

The Two Impossible Options

 

Warren H. Johns' Local Flood Arguments

 

 

 

Just a Few Links:

 

 

Creation-Evolution Headlines

 

Geoscience Research Institute

 

Talk.Origins (excellent site favoring evolution)

 

Professional Scientists and other Intellectuals who Doubt Evolution

 

Former Evolutionists who Support Intelligent Design and/or Creation

 

True.Origins

 

Science Against Evolution

 

Institute for Creation Research

 

Mere Creation

 

Reasons to Believe

 

The Revolution Against Evolution

 

Behe and "Darwin's Black Box"

 

Amazing Discoveries

 

Google Groups (Talk.Origins)

Interesting List of Online Articles

 

 

Older Topic Updates:

 

as of March 2007

as of May 2007

as of October 2007

as of September 2007

as of August 2007

         as of July 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since June 1, 2002

 

 

 

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