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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Intelligent design and popular culture: Art critic in the NY Times?

A friend who receives the dead tree edition of the New York Times writes to comment on Ken Johnson’s thoughts about Vermeer's “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher”, on view at the Met
...Vermeer's young woman is bathed in the light of the Holy Spirit...All is painted with excruciating, reverential tenderness. To be sure, everything in the picture can be explained without invoking supernatural agency. In its slightly blurry, photographic realism, the painting presents an implacably empirical view of the world. The image looks almost as if it had been photo-chemically imprinted on the canvas without manual intervention, and the picture in turns stamps itself on our retinas. Optical nerves fire, neurotransmitters swarm and the image somehow appears in our minds. Whether you believe in intelligent design or Darwinian happenstance, it is pretty miraculous.(12/31/10)
Friend notes,
When ID wanders into the analysis of a NY Times art critic, the idea is making cultural inroads.
Yes, I think so.

I can remember googling “intelligent design” a decade ago and coming up with the Web sites of firms selling non-walloping window blinds.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


Darrel Falk: You’re nothing but a pack of neurons and you must accept that

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, responds to BioLogos (= Dawkins’s scissors, applied to Bible in Jesus’ name):
Then, after chiding the church for paying too much attention to anti-evolutionary voices, he offers a sentence which, taken seriously, represents a breathtaking intellectual commitment:

Scientific knowledge is not seriously flawed and we cannot allow ourselves to be led down this pathway any longer.

That is nothing less than a manifesto for scientism. Science, as a form of knowledge, is here granted a status that can only be described as infallible. The dangers of this proposal are only intensified when we recognize that “scientific knowledge” is not even a stable intellectual construct. Nevertheless, these words do reveal why BioLogos pushes its agenda with such intensity.

[ ... ]

Dr. Falk ends his essay with a paragraph that includes this key sentence: “If God really has created through an evolutionary mechanism and if God chooses to use BioLogos and other groups to help the Church come to terms with this issue, then three three huge challenges will begin to melt away as God’s Spirit enables us to look to him and not to ourselves.” I will simply let that sentence speak for itself.
Yes indeed. Let all mortal flesh keep silence.

Especially wise to keep silent when we consider that only a flawed understanding, not corrected by the truth of science, leads us to believe that there is a Holy Spirit. Just as the overwhelming majority of evolutionary biologists are pure naturalists (no God and no free will) and really believe in their rag and bone shop, the overwhelming majority of neuroscientists believe that the sacred calling identified for BioLogos is simply a meaningless dance of neurons in Darrel Falk’s brain. So why hasn’t he accepted the verdict of science yet?

Scientific knowledge is not, remember, seriously flawed.

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From Science Daily: New genes as essential as old ones

Evolutionary biologists have long proposed that the genes most important to life are ancient and conserved, handed down from species to species as the "bread and butter" of biology. New genes that arise as species split off from their ancestors were thought to serve less critical roles -- the "vinegar" that adds flavor to the core genes.

But when nearly 200 new genes in the fruit fly species Drosophila melanogaster were individually silenced in laboratory experiments at the University of Chicago, more than 30 percent of the knockdowns were found to kill the fly. The study, published December 17 in Science, suggests that new genes are equally important for the successful development and survival of an organism as older genes. (Dec. 16, 2010)
For more, go here.

This snippet underlines a key problem with Darwinism: When Darwinists make predictions that don’t pan out, their theory is by no means considered a less certain central dogma; rather, it elasticizes and expands to retrodict what happened. Each instance creates information loss for the theory.

Thus, the Darwinist can tell the public, in apparent good faith, that “overwhelming evidence” supports the theory. By “evidence” is meant only the decades-long series of special pleadings and patches, and occasional purgings of dissent.

Fruit fly: The fruit fly image was taken by Muhammad Mahdi Karim in Dar es Salaam and is offered here under the Gnu Free Documentation License.

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