Monday, September 20, 2010

Six Enemies of Apologetics Refuted

Six Enemies of Apologetics by Doug Groothuis


Danny Wright said...

3,4 and 6, guilty.

The Atheist Missionary said...

You cite Phillip Johnson as authority to support the proposition that: "Yes, macro-evolution is false, and good arguments have been raised against it from both nature and Scripture .." I will have to defer to your expertise on the Scripture but are you serious about citing a lawyer with no expertise in biology for that assertion?

The term "macroevolution" frequently arises within the context of the evolution/creation debate, usually used by creationists alleging a significant difference between the evolutionary changes observed in field and laboratory studies and the larger scale macroevolutionary changes that scientists believe to have taken thousands or millions of years to occur. They may accept that evolutionary change is possible within species ("microevolution"), but deny that one species can evolve into another ("macroevolution"). Contrary to this belief among the anti-evolution movement proponents, evolution of life forms beyond the species level ("macroevolution", i.e. speciation in a specific case) has indeed been observed multiple times under both controlled laboratory conditions and in nature. Cites: Rice, W.R.; Hostert(1993). "Laboratory experiments on speciation: what have we learned in 40 years". Evolution 47 (6): 1637–1653. Jiggins CD, Bridle JR (2004). "Speciation in the apple maggot fly: a blend of vintages?". Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.) 19 (3): 111–4. Boxhorn, J (1995). "Observed Instances of Speciation". Weinberg JR, Starczak VR, Jorg, D (1992). "Evidence for Rapid Speciation Following a Founder Event in the Laboratory". Evolution 46 (4): 1214–20. Kirkpatrick, Mark; Virginie Ravigné (2002-03). "Speciation by Natural and Sexual Selection: Models and Experiments". The American Naturalist 159 (3): S22–S35.

The claim that macroevolution does not occur, or is impossible, is thus demonstrably false and without support in the scientific community. Such claims are rejected on the basis of ample evidence that macroevolution is an active process both presently and in the past. The terms macroevolution and microevolution relate to the same processes operating at different scales, but creationist claims misuse the terms in a vaguely defined way which does not accurately reflect scientific usage, acknowledging well observed evolution as "microevolution" and denying that "macroevolution" takes place. Evolutionary theory (including macroevolutionary change) remains the dominant scientific paradigm for explaining the origins of Earth's biodiversity. Its occurrence is not disputed within the scientific community. While details of macroevolution are continuously studied by the scientific community, the overall theory behind macroevolution (i.e. common descent) has been overwhelmingly consistent with empirical data. Predictions of empirical data from the theory of common descent have been so consistent that biologists often refer to it as the "fact of evolution".

As a postscript, I thought you and your readers might be interested in philosopher Michael Ruse's article "A Darwinian Can Be a Christian, Too":

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Atheist Missionary's post is little more than affirming the naturalistic orthodoxy and ridiculing the alternative. Further, my piece is not meant to be a definitive refutation of Darwinism!

More, I never said macro-evolution was impossible; it is simply not well supported in the fossil record or by genetics. Of course, macro-evolution it MUST be true if naturalism is true, so the alternative, Intelligent Design, is denied in principles. This is the driving assumption behind Darwinism, not the overwhelming evidence. Darwinists themselves, such as Richard Lewontin, sometimes let this slip.

For more on these ideas, see Jon Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design or from an entirely non-religious author, Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. And there is much, much more.

I will address these kinds of charges in several chapters of my forthcoming book, What Matters Most. Cannot do all of that here.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Ridicule was certainly not my intention and I apologize if anything I wrote gave that impression.

I look forward to reading your new book and trust you will announce when it becomes available on this site. Just received my signed copy of In Defence of Natural Theology - thanks for sending it out so promptly. Best. TAM.