Book Review: Traipsing Into Evolution

Traipsing Into Evolution is a succinct summarization and critique of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover court case on the teaching of intelligent design in the schools in Dover. This case is summarized and analyzed by multiple sources of incredible qualifications. Leading the charge is David Dewolf, Professor of Law at the Gonzaga Laws School in Washington. He is an accomplished author, focusing on law and legal practice, with one book on the topic of origins and free speech called Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, or Religion, or Speech.

Dewolf is joined by the associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, Dr. John West. Dr. West is also well versed in the legal system, with a Ph.D. in government. He is the chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, and an author or editor of many books, many focusing on Darwinian biology’s impact on public policy.

Casey Luskin also joins the author team for this manuscript. He has a strong combination of science and law under his belt with a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Sciences as well as a law degree From University of San Diego. He has published many articles in various scientific journals, including some focusing on intelligent design.

Last but not least is Dr. Jonathan Witt, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He holds his Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas. Besides his significant written contribution to the design movement, he was present at the Dover trial, covering the proceedings for Evolutionnews.org.

Even an amateur can see the legal and scientific qualifications this team brought into this manuscript. Their expertise on both law and the underlying concepts of science are crystal clear, and their obvious goal was to set the record straight on the multitude of erroneous and superfluous conclusions drawn by Judge Jones in this case.

  In the Kitzmiller vs Dover court case on the forced entry (even though minor in scope) of Intelligent Design into school curriculum, the presiding judge, John E. Jones III went beyond the necessary jurisdiction of his position. His decision did not simply stop the school from mandating Intelligent Design theory (ID), but went beyond his role as a judge to label ID as unscientific. This ruling legally defined ID as a religious belief and attempted to remove it from ever possibly being taught in a public school classroom.

         Traipsing Into Evolution is a succinct analysis of the legal overreaches, scientific flaws, and blatant biases found in Judge Jones’ rulings. Jones is shown to have had clearly preconceived notions on how he would conclude against ID. Traipsing Into Evolution also corrects definitions, reinforces the scientific legitimacy of ID, and cites clear examples that were presented in testimony that counter the judge’s bold claims. From the straw man arguments against ID that labels it “creationism,” to the false claims that no qualified scientists support the theory, this book sets the record straight. Judge Jones has very clearly stretched into territory he is nowhere near qualified to make verdicts on.

Traipsing into Evolution plays its part well. While short in length, the authors have poured in an incredible amount of concise data into the book. It takes accurate shots at Judge Jones’ conclusion on the Dover case, hitting some of the vital points and exposing the great weaknesses in the legal precedent set up by Jones. The authors are unmistakably specialists in law and science, making this text a juggernaut of power to knock down Judge Jones’ prejudiced judicial overreach into science.

While definitely on the short side, this book accomplishes its goal clearly. To the reader, it is clear where Judge Jones succeeded and where he went out of the boundaries of his position. Activist judges like him cannot be left alone with this power to define what is and isn’t science; instead, they must be restricted to the role they were designed to have, which is to make rulings on what the law says, not make laws based upon his biased opinions.

Often critics of Intelligent Design will claim that the rulings in cases like this one in Dover were proof of the less than scientific nature of ID. The authors of Traipsing into Evolution make it clear that scientific concepts cannot be decided in the courtroom, but rather must be decided by evidence. I would most definitely recommend this to such critics (as well as those needing an answer to such criticisms), since the legal prominence and scientific expertise poured into the book leave little room for doubt that science cannot be demarcated by the unqualified judicial system.

Bioethics of Euthanasia

A case study of AIDS and the end of life

I. Introduction

            Fatal diseases are dropping in numbers with modern medical technology, but mankind has yet to find a cure for AIDS. We have medicines that can slow the advancement of the viral disease, but none that can halt it altogether. This leaves the unfortunate persons infected with not only the disease, but also the knowledge that it will eventually lead to a difficult death. As such, many desire the ability to put an end to their suffering before it takes them too far down that road of agony. Many places have even legalized a patient’s right to die, but it often puts doctors in a morally difficult place: is ridding a patient of terrible pain more important than their life?

II. Definitions

            It is key to define terms before we delve into the rest of the issue. First term to define is euthanasia. Euthanasia, also known as “mercy killing,” is the intentional and direct efforts of a physician or medical professional to help a dying patient die. [1] This typically entails the injection or administering of some sort of lethal dose of drugs by the medical professional with the intention of ending the patient’s life.

            This is slightly different from physician-assisted suicide, in which the medical professional does not directly cause the death. That said, they are still participating in the death of the patient by providing and instructing the patient with the means to end their own life. While not directly responsible, the medical professional still remains culpable, even with only indirect causality; however, this is not seen as such under most right to die laws, since the final decision rests upon the patient in this circumstance.

III. AIDS Data

            In this instance, it is important to know what this disease is and why it is fatal. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is especially dangerous due to its abilities to not only avoid detection from the immune cells (specifically the T-cells), but because it uses that stealth to attack the immune system itself. The virus sneaks in and incapacitates the immune defenses of the body by taking over the functionality of its target cell. As a retrovirus, it contains RNA as its genetic carrier, but once the RNA is in the target cell, specialized enzymes translate that RNA into DNA, and other enzymes splice that new DNA strand into the host cell’s genome, officially taking over its functionality by forcing it to slowly build new viruses.

Once infected, the number of immune cells in the patient will slowly but inevitably decline in number. This leaves the person vulnerable, like a castle with no defenders. Normally weak pathogens like common fungi, weaker viruses, and even parasites find no resistance to their entry and begin infection their unresponsive host, spreading in the absence of strong immune response. When the immune cell’s defenders drop to a specific level, namely one sixth that of a healthy person’s level, that person is diagnosed with AIDS.

It is no wonder that many AIDS patients ask for physicians to provide life-ending treatment when their body becomes too overrun to recover. The fear of this painful end must be constantly on the minds of those infected. The psychological and emotional strain that builds up as time goes on could become debilitating, even just in dreaded anticipation of their fate.  To many doctors, such life-ending treatment is deemed merciful, while others see it as a breach of medical ethics. Who is right?

IV. Ethical Issues

            Key to this discussion is the morality of suicide. Is it morally acceptable for someone to decide to end his or her own life? From a naturalistic evolutionary perspective, death is an inevitable conclusion to every life. Not only that, the fundamental goal of all living things is to avoid death. That said, a naturalistic evolutionary origin does not give a person an actual reason to live in the first place. If we are here during life, but are gone when we die, then there is no reason to fight through pain. Suicide is very commonly used as an escape because of this.

            Without a belief in a higher power, it is nearly impossible to formulate a strong case against suicide. Even with time invested in searching, as this author has done, does not reveal any strong secular arguments against suicide. Some argue that suicide and euthanasia are a slippery slope, or that suicide effects others around the one that dies, yet even these have no real strength behind them if there is no ultimate meaning to life besides enjoying it while you can before you cease to exist.

            Of course, is this the only view on suicide? Of course not! Human exceptionalism can also stem back to worldviews such as the Judeo-Christian stance that mankind was created in the image of the creator. As such, our value does not stem from ourselves, but from our relationship to God who made us. As one could likely imagine, being made in the image of the perfect Creator instills an immeasurable value into each human life. To end it flippantly is in a way blaspheming against the maker himself.

V. Pain as a virtue

            One argument against life ending treatments is that pain produces endurance. While not all pain can or should be seen as a chance to grow by “toughing it out,” trials like injury and disease can indeed build character in tremendous ways. This author’s own experience with a badly broken leg, followed by surgery and years of therapy were not something ever desired, yet it was tremendous in shaping the character from that point on.

            As some may say, suicide is the “easy way out.” Instead of facing the pain and holding on to hope even in dark times, suicide is an escape. It is not even surrender to the disease; rather, it is giving up before the disease even runs its course. It is not difficult to see why such a course is so easily longed for by those inflicted with a fatal diagnosis, but to give up is to profess that life is not worth living. From a naturalistic view, it would not be worth living, yet from the view of those in the faith, every second is a gift from God and we are given our times for a purpose. From the view of a believer, such trials test our faith and refine us, like fire purifies gold.

VI. Alternatives

            When disease and despair set in, suicide is not the only answer. Current medical technologies may not be able to cure diseases like AIDS as of yet, but our pain management capabilities are getting much better.  Our knowledge on what pain is and how to block such neurological signals has improved, allowing us to keep people comfortable even as death approaches.

            Of course, death itself may be the real terror, not the pain. Instead of waiting for death to come naturally, the inflicted person often suffers psychologically from the anticipation and fear of what is to come. In such instances, a trained counselor can help the person to find peace and hope.  Even in such dire situations, hope can lead to opportunities to serve and be served even in those last days.

VII. Ultimate Consequences

            All of this deliberation leads up to a fork in the road. To one side, the patient is lead to their death at the hands of the physician, be it directly or simply through facilitation of the act; on the other side we see the glimmer of hope. On the side of self-inflicted death, we see despair and lack of hope at what remains of their lives. Often this stems from an atheistic or agnostic worldview where life after death is seen as little more than fantasy and wishful thinking. Death is the end to such a person, where they simply cease to exist; however, the other path holds out that hope for something greater.

            If we are indeed created by a loving God and what he has made known to us is true, then we are given much reason to hope for the future after our physical death. After that, we shall shed all pain and disease. When one sees such a future, the present darkness is but a shadow to be destroyed by the brilliant light coming on the other side. Truly, hope is a powerful thing. In some cases, hope was all that helped people survive. Despair easily leads to a person giving up, while hope gives them strength.

            If the first worldview is true, then both people of faith and those without it will cease to exist. The problem comes if the creator is real and his words are true, for then only those that find hope in him will find peace. Those that rejected him in life would find no solace in death. It is that fate that could give a physician pause in proceeding with life-ending treatments.

VIII. Conclusion

            In this case of an AIDS patient requesting life-ending treatment once the time comes, this author, in the shoes of the physician would have to decline. When one’s soul is on the line, ending their life before their natural time has come puts their eternity at risk. Legal or not, physician-assisted suicide, when seen in the light of the Christian faith, is wrong. We do the patient no good by hastening their death and robbing them of their last chances at eternity. Pain management and recommendations of good counselors would be advised, but as the physician, assisting in suicide simply cannot be acceptable. They Hippocratic oath should have held all physicians away from dealing in death, but when we cannot see the ultimate end of things, it seems merciful to put an end to a person’s sufferings. Mankind is not like an injured horse, however. We are created in the image of God, and as such, we should never have the right to take away what God has given.


[1] Rae, Scott B. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018.

The Bioethics of Stem Cells

Is it morally acceptable to use embryonic tissues to cure diseases?

I. Introduction

            The use of embryonic stem cells in medicine has quite often promised incredible breakthroughs and nearly miraculous cures of numerous diseases like diabetes, MS, and many others. The industry has drawn billions of dollars in support of this research with the hopes of one day solving a myriad of diseases. Such a tremendous flow of funding makes this avenue of research incredibly lucrative. It isn’t difficult to see why many companies would push for their staff to work with these lines of stem cells. The problem comes with the weight of significant moral baggage.

II. The data

            Stem cells were an incredible discovery. These cells are quite special due to their ability to differentiate into other types of cells. As is quite obvious from even such a basic description, the possibilities of healing injures or curing diseases seems without limit.

            Embryonic stem cells are considered pluripotent.[1] This means they have the capabilities to transform into any type of tissue. These types of cells quite literally have the capacity to become any tissue in the human body. The mystery that researchers are trying to crack is, of course, the methods of how to control the transformations. You wouldn’t want a stomach cell to form where you are trying to produce neurons or, even worse, accidentally causing a cell to keep dividing unchecked as a cancerous growth. Still, if such manipulations of these cells become feasible, there are indeed great possibilities for medical breakthroughs.

            Stem cells have also been discovered within the bodies of adults. These stem cells, however, lack the naturally occurring full pluripotency of the embryonic cells. These cells typically only differentiate into cells from the tissue it was found in. For example, stem cells found in the liver are limited to becoming part of the liver. This limited diversification is known as multipotency.[2] For this reason, many have passed over these stem cells as a viable option, choosing instead to chase after the possibilities in the pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

II. The Ethical Issues

            While there seems to be so much hope tied to embryonic stem cell research, it is bogged down with tremendous ethical baggage. Due to the cultural shift in the views on the value of a human zygote or fetus, few are even conflicted on taking embryonic stem cells even with the knowledge that it unavoidably destroys the zygote. This begs the question: is a zygote a human person?

            One must also wonder of the effectiveness of this treatment thus far. As we typically have seen in the research, there have been too many hurdles to the control of embryonic stem cells. To date, embryonic stem cells have not been able to cure anything.[3] With over 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars poured into research, we have little to show for it; however, adult stem cells have not only overcome many of these shortcomings, but have already successfully cured many people of an impressive range of disorders.[4]

            For now, a last ethical dilemma is the necessity of human cloning for the use of embryonic stem cells. While often called “somatic nuclear transfer,” the process is the same as cloning. It removes the nucleus of an ovum cell, replacing it with the nucleus of another cell, and causing it to begin embryonic development using DNA from some other original host.  This is exactly what human cloning is, which is banned around the world.

IV. Conclusions

            Biology makes it quite clear that a new, unique human person is created at the point of conception.  From that point onward, it has everything it needs to develop in a continuous fashion from zygote to embryo to newborn to child to teen to adult to senior, and eventually ending in death. Each stage is different than the last, yet nonetheless human at each stage. Of course, many modern arguments suggest that, while the embryo is indeed human, it is not a person. This distinction is shallow, since their answer to when personhood is imbibed cannot be set in stone. Some say birth grants personhood, while others go even further to claim that sentient though is necessary. Birth does not grant personhood. There is no magical process that the birth canal grants upon a person. The embryo is the same inside the womb and outside. The other argument has led us down dark paths, proving the slippery slope nature of this debate. If sentience or conscious thought is the measures for personhood, then anyone who lacks these things is not a person and thus not guaranteed a right to life. This includes the embryos, newborn children, those in comas, or even those that are mentally damaged or limited. If we move the goal posts of when a human is a person, we will never again find a firm place to set it. History shows us many examples of some people claiming another group of persons is less than human, which attempts to free them fro the moral constraints of doing as they please to those they deem sub human. Thus, the zygote used was a human person deserving of protection, not some “almost” human animal.

            The lack of effectiveness of embryonic stem cell treatments is drastically overshadowed by the successes of adult stem cells, which have been reprogramed to be pluripotent like embryonic cells. As such, we can have all the benefits of curing diseases using the patient’s own cells, which avoids rejection and the moral pitfalls of killing a human to attempt to cure another. The promises of embryonic stem cells are hollow compared to the success of adult stem cell therapies.

            Human cloning should be obviously wrong. It is even banned by the majority of the world’s governments. This is why modern researchers have had to use underhanded tactics like redefining human cloning. This “somatic nuclear transfer” is when an egg cell has its nucleus replaced by the nucleus of another cell, such as a skin cell. This triggers the growth of the egg just as a fertilized egg would. If left to grow, it will do so just like an embryo in the same situation. The genetic information used, like from a skin cell, would effectively cause this new zygote to develop as an exact genetic clone to the donor of the nucleus. This was the same exact method that cloned the first mammal, Dolly the sheep.  There is no functional difference between somatic nuclear transfer and human cloning besides the redefining of terms to hide the implications.

V. Consider the Consequences

            When we delve into this complex topic, we discover that the science is actually pointing in one clear direction; however, what would happen if we remained open to the possibilities of embryonic stem cells being even better than adult stem cells? Could these embryonic stem cells one day deliver the miraculous cures that were promised? It is indeed possible, but at what cost? To actively participate in the use of embryonic stem cells is to overlook the ethical issues of ending the life of an unborn human person, as well as opening up Pandora’s box of human cloning. Both issues are the result of the dehumanization of persons for the profit, be it monetarily or for the physical use of another person. We could even point out the ethical pitfalls of taking the life of one person to save another is dubious at best, but best saved for another day.

VI. Decision

            The science itself speaks volumes. When we seek out the scriptures for answers, they say the same thing. Psalm 139:13 and Galatians 1:15 both speak of God’s work on a person even within their mothers’ wombs. Even John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit well before he was born! The unborn are scientifically and scripturally as human and as valuable as each of us, so the destruction and use of their bodies is an action to avoid. I would advise any researcher to stick with adult stem cell research, which has moved beyond promises into real life cures, all the while avoiding all ethical issues.


[1] New York State Department of Health, https://stemcell.ny.gov/faqs/what-difference-between-totipotent-pluripotent-and-multipotent. Accessed on 3/9/19.

[2] New York State Department of Health, https://stemcell.ny.gov/faqs/what-difference-between-totipotent-pluripotent-and-multipotent. Accessed on 3/9/19.

[3] Boston Children’s Hospital, http://stemcell.childrenshospital.org/about-stem-cells/faqs/. Accessed 3/9/19.

[4] Charlotte Lozier Institute, https://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/stem-cell-treatments. Accessed on 3/9/19

Book Review: The Design Revolution

                  Dr. William “Bill” Dembski is a man of many credentials. He has earned quite a few degrees including a B.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in mathematics from the university of Chicago, which focused on chaos and uniform probability. He was even awarded an honorary doctorate from Southern Evangelical seminary, where he helped lead the Institute of Scientific Apologetics. He further received Texas A&M’s Trotter Prize, a prestigious award given to the likes of Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA’s double helical structure.

                  Dr. Dembski was a leading figure in the booming Intelligent Design movement. He headed the first intelligent design think-tank at a major university called the Michael Polanyi Center. His books Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology and this one being reviewed are both recipients of Christianity Today’s Book of the Year Award. Dembski has appeared on many television shows on major channels like the BBC, NPR, PBS, CNN, Fox News, ABC, and many others. He was also a full-time research fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and a Senior Research Scientist with the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. Clearly Dr. Dembski is one of the best possible candidates to summarize Intelligent Design clearly and accurately, which seems to be his main goal here in The Design Revolution.

                  The book’s main thesis is succinctly stated in the sub title: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design. Dr. Dembski has produced a large collection of miniature essays focused on clarifying the rampant confusion and incorrect assumptions that have bogged down the acceptance of Intelligent Design in what are sometimes antagonistic misunderstandings. Each individual chapter (of which there are an incredible forty four) touches on a key topic, question, or even challenge to the truthful understanding of what Intelligent Design is. To hear what each of those numerous miniature chapters has to say, one should pick up the book themselves, since there is only room to touch on a few in this review.

                  These forty four chapters are broken down into groups. Part one is called Basic Distinctions and includes key definitions that lay a foundation for Intelligent Design. An all too common accusation aimed at Intelligent Design is that it is undercover creationism. Creationism, with its biblical foundation, is far more religiously motivated. Such foundations are repugnant to most materialists and almost always rejected outright by evolutionists. The problem then is that Intelligent Design is all too frequently tied in with Creationism. One can understand some of the basic confusion, since both Creationism and Intelligent Design conclude that design is present and evident in nature; that said, there is very little else in common.

Creation asks for an ultimate resting place of explanation: the source of being of the world. Intelligent design, by contrast, inquires not into the ultimate source of matter and energy, but into the cause of their present arrangements, particularly those entities, large and small, that exhibit- specified complexity.[1]

Clearly, these ideas are starting from drastically different points. Intelligent Design is a purely scientific endeavor, starting and ending within the boundaries of modern science. Creationism, on the other hand, extends into theological territory from the starting gate. The theological implications of Intelligent Design do not negate the scientific foundation of the argument.

                  The next major section moves into the science of design detection. In this section, the basics of the inference of design, chance and necessity, and even specified complexity are explained. Much of evolutionary theory relies on the capabilities of chance or scientific law (aka necessity) to cause the changes needed to produce improvements in living organisms. Dembski fights against these assumptions by once again clarifying the scientific methods of design detection and the weaknesses of chance and necessity.

                  Part three zooms in on information theory. What is information? How is it different from matter? It may seem strange to some to be discussing such a thing in a biology field, but life is rife with information! DNA itself is the most efficient information storage method known to mankind! One of the most vital arguments presented in this section is on the Law of Conservation of Information. Simply put, “Deterministic processes cannot generate information.”[2] Where else then could specified complex information come from except an intelligent source?

                  The other sections are just as potent as those that came before. Part four tackles the issues arising from naturalism and challenges that come from within it. Part five collides head on with the theoretical challenges to Intelligent Design, including the claims that it is nothing but an argument from ignorance, and arguments from well known proponents of evolutionary theory, Hume and Reid. Section six, the grand finale of this book describes the benefits that could rise in modern science if Intelligent Design were pursued, the scientific nature of the argument along with its testability, and even the cliché argument which insinuates the inability of Intelligent Design theorists to publish in peer reviewed journals proves its inability to be “real” science. All around, this last section is the knockout punch that KO’s the remaining fighters in the naturalistic corner.

                  This book is an incredibly strong foundation for the furthering of Intelligent Design in the sciences. The succinct, yet powerful summarizations of Dr. Dembski help to clear up qualms any true skeptics will have, leaving only those that are closed minded to continue to bash against the theory.  While The Design Revolution may not be an exhaustive coverage of the entire theory, it is one of the best summaries I have seen. Dr. Dembski’s main thesis is clear and each chapter is part of a strong fortress that defends Intelligent Design against the underhanded sabotage of the naturalistic evolutionary dogmatism.

                  Any who seek understanding on this conflict-ridden topic of Intelligent Design should read this book. Much of it is simplified enough for the general interested layman, but specific enough to appease those of academic persuasions. All who are interested in this crucial topic of the origins of life should have The Design Revolution in their collection, because very few others have such power condensed into such a little package. Many other similar texts could range well over 700 pages, easily intimidating the laymen, so the concise nature of Dr. Dembski’s summarization is a boon to all.


[1] Dembski, 38-39

[2] Dembski, 159

Book Review: A Meaningful World

                  The authors of A Meaningful World are a powerful tag team, both bringing significant experience into their book. Dr. Benjamin Wiker has three degrees: a BA in political philosophy, an MA in Religion, and a PhD in Theological Ethics. He has taught a vast collection of university courses including philosophy, theology, history, mathematics, and most relevant to this book, the history and philosophy of science. He is currently a senior fellow at the Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life, as well as director of Human Life Studies. He is the author of twelve books.[1]

                  Dr. Jonathan Witt is a senior contributor and managing editor at The Stream and a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is a established author, both in academic journals and scripts for documentaries. He was the lead writer for the award winning film Poverty Inc.[2] Dr. Witt’s experience and writing skills are brilliantly melded with the experience and all around knowledge of Dr. Wiker to produce an amazing book. Their incentive is to defeat this poison of purposelessness that has welled up in our culture.

                  A Meaningful World is a targeted attempt to prove that nature is overflowing with value and meaning. All too often, reductionism and materialism steal the depth of richness originally understood to exist. In an attempt to combat the desire for immediate, straightforward answers stemming from a reductionist mentality, the authors take their time and lay out each and every proof before hitting home with the punch line. Instead rushing through their proofs, they make sure the beauty and purpose shine through in each situation. This is clearly one of the books strengths, though it is sure to annoy those who desire instant gratification.

                  Wiker and Witt begin their adventure with the basic outline of what it means to have meaning and how our culture has wandered away from finding value or purpose in the things around us. Our culture has become so calloused to the meaning in things that even the brilliance of Shakespeare is undermined and taken for granted.  Even Richard Dawkins, with all his education and knowledge, takes a quote from Hamlet and fails to comprehend that its meaning far surpasses its immediate words, but instead is an integral part of the entire play.

                  After playing with Shakespearian brilliance, Wiker and Witt turn to the meaningful nature of mathematics. A quote from Einstein encapsulates the chapter incredibly well: “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”[3] Mathematics is an immaterial concept that humans can use to explain or describe mechanisms and processes or even probabilities in nature. Of all things, mathematical equations are some of the best descriptions for understanding the universe beyond all else. Why should such an immaterial concept be able to explain things so well? Why do we find pleasure in the harmony and orderly nature of math? It is because it shows meaning. A purposeless conglomeration of matter and energy need not be comprehensible like we see it, but we do see it in incredibly organized ways.

                  Once the reader finishes reading about the wonderful simplicity in geometry, Wiker and Witt turn to chemistry for one of the most underrated, yet most incredible descriptions of order and purpose in the world: the periodic table of elements. Students and adults alike may see it and glaze over it all the time, but it contains some of the most orderly collection of data about the physical world that has ever been discovered. Brilliant minds in history gained understanding of the atomic nature of matter, and men like Mendeleev took that and found the reoccurring patterns of atomic mass and atomic behavior. He understood this so much that he could predict the mass and nature of an undiscovered element! Why would the universe have such meaning and order without a purposeful existence?

                  A Meaningful Worldmoves on into the field of cosmology. In cosmology, they weigh similar arguments as Gonzales and Richards in their book Privileged Planet, where they conclude that the factors that make a planet habitable also make it perfect for discovery. From the perfect size and alignment of our moon to help us discover the composition of the sun via perfect solar eclipses, or the healthy positioning of the solar system in the galactic habitable zone, or even the clear atmosphere that allows for the perfect vantage point for discovery, the cosmos are overflowing with hints that we are  put here to be able to see the rest of the universe. Yet again, we see intention and order where so many claim there is only chaos and chance.

                  The authors wrap up by bringing their book home to us: life based upon cells. Reductionism has been attacking the incredible complexity and purpose in living things. DNA, Proteins, RNA, and life itself is threatened with being downgraded to being defined by its abiotic parts and chemical reactions instead of being shown to have incredible complexity and purpose all the way through.

                  I highly recommend this book to any who are tired of the nihilistic outcome of modern scientific reductionism. The writing is easy enough for a high school student to understand, yet rich enough for a literary expert to find artistic. We need more people to realize how the universe is overflowing with meaning and purpose. There is only so much that mankind can take of this mentality of worthlessness before we begin to treat, not only ourselves, but also others as being of little to no value. Dr. Wiker and Dr. Witt have turned on a bright light in the midst of such dreary darkness. This book, like life itself, is meaningful.


[1] http://www.benjaminwiker.com/benjamin-wiker.html

[2] https://stream.org/author/jonathanwittjayrichards/

[3] Albert Einstein, quoted by Wiker and Witt, A Meaningful World, page 83

Book Review: Darwin’s Doubt

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt, is a former geophysicist and college professor. His Ph.D. in the philosophy of science is from the prestigious Cambridge University. The prominent Times Literary Supplement named his previous book Signature in the Cell “Book of the Year” in 2009. This current book, Darwin’s Doubt, was a New York Times best seller. Currently, he is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.[1] Any open-minded reader can see and understand the clarity and thoroughness of Dr. Meyer’s research that leads to the inevitable conclusion that Darwinian evolution is in a fatal crisis.

            Darwin’s Doubt is named after what Charles Darwin himself admitted to be the weakest points of his argument for evolution by natural selection and the common descent of life: the fossil record. While modern evolutionists will tout the fossil record as one of their greatest strengths, even Darwin knew that his whole theory was shakily founded when it came to the evidence of the fossil record. One event in particular hidden down deep in the strata of the Earth’s crust holds the evidence of a sudden appearance of new an unique animal body plans. We call this event the Cambrian Explosion.

            During the Cambrian Explosion, we see a sudden appearance of fossilized animals not seen in previous layers. By Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms, we should see the gradual changes from a common ancestor, changing step by step up to other, more complex creatures. This gradual diversification was visualized as Darwin’s tree of life, a common illustration even in modern biology textbooks; however, this tree of life is being pulled up by its roots. Instead of finding that gradual increase in complexity, we go from small, soft-bodied organisms to a sudden burst of assortment. From the small Morella to the armored trilobite with its incredible compound eyes, to many others that represent most of the modern phyla. Could random mutation and natural selection account for such sudden change? Dr. Meyer doesn’t think so.

            Unbeknownst to Darwin, living organisms are built and run using blueprints found in a complex molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short. Many evolutionists rejoiced at the news, drafting the mutation of that molecule into their theory with gusto; yet, as Dr. Meyer argues, the amount of DNA required to build new structures and new animal forms is not something that can be done step by step over long periods of time. Like the uploading of a new application or operating system in a computer or smart phone, gaining new abilities like those found in the Cambrian strata require a large, organized input of brand new information. This information is clearly a bane for naturalistic evolution.

            As is logically seen in computer codes and other forms of written language, meaning is inevitably destroyed when put through a series of random changes. Evolutionists assume that the small, successive changes will help climb “Mount Improbable,” but they don’t realize that those small steps can go backwards down the mountain twice as fast as they go up. If the whole code is not suddenly inputted into the organismal DNA, then no new animal or new organ is ever feasibly going to appear. No current natural mechanism can explain the sudden appearance of this new upload of information in these unique Cambrian organisms.

            To explain where such information could have come from, one must know where these information rich molecules come from too. DNA, RNA, and proteins are all complex in size and shape, as well as specific in their organizational patterns. Where could they have come from? This line of questioning leads us into one of the biggest conundrums evolutionists will ever face: which came first? In true chicken and egg fashion, we see that DNA, RNA and proteins are all joined in indispensible interconnectivity. DNA is duplicated by complex protein machines. Similar proteins produce copies of that DNA into RNA, which in turn leaves the cell’s nucleus to code for the formation of the proteins. DNA needs both RNA and proteins to survive and reproduce. RNA needs DNA and proteins to do the same. Proteins need DNA, RNA and other functional proteins to come about. Which came first? If all are so vitally indispensible to the others, then no step-by-step process can be used to explain their origin. We only see such interdependence within engineered systems, drawing us to a conclusion of intelligent design.

            Dr. Stephen Meyer does a terrific job summarizing the case against Neo-Darwinism and naturalistic explanations for the sudden appearance of new Cambrian animals. His case-by-case rebuttal of the leading modern hypotheses is thorough and convincing. Meyer shows readers why he is a leading voice in the Intelligent Design debate with his thought provoking case against the evolutionary paradigm’s history of the Cambrian Explosion.

            Very little could be added to Dr. Meyer’s book. Not only did he invest significant effort in the rebuttals of a wide range of evolutionary hypotheses, but turned each on its head and pointed back to the core evidence. Richard Dawkins’ Mount Improbable no longer has a gradual slope at its back, but rather sheer cliffs on all sides. The conclusion of Intelligent Design is not only logical, but Meyer’s arguments make it seem inescapable.

            Darwin’s Doubt is an incredible book for any open to hearing evidence against the dogmatic theory of evolution. It does not take a trained scientist to comprehend Dr. Meyer’s entire book either. An interested layman—even a high school student—could sink their teeth into this text and come away with a significant case for Intelligent Design.


[1] Stephencmeyer.com/bibliography

The Speciation of the Word “Species.”

How the lack of a solid definition for “species” undermines evolution.

            The foundation of Darwinian evolution is constant change over eons of time. Change is the cornerstone of evolution. Evolution by natural selection requires the continual changes in organismal life to not only be possible, but common enough to lead in a net upward direction. From the first cellular life all the way up the branches of the tree of life to diversify into things as fascinating as monarchs, manatees and men, and as wonderful as worms, wombats and women, change must continue in that ascending trend. The diversity of life on Earth is absolutely astonishing. According to Live Science contributor Stephanie Pappas, there may be upwards of one trillion species on the Earth.[1] After centuries of study and exploration, mankind has just barely scratched the surface of such a huge number.

            According to Darwin’s theory, all of these species have diversified within the 3.8 billion years life is estimated to have been around. As the theory is commonly presented, organisms transition from one kind to another over time with slight changes caused by mutations and guided by environmental pressures. These change are deemed the norm, with a nearly limitless amount of physical transformation possible. All you need add is time and the right environment and voilà, a new species appears. But how does one know if a new species has appeared? What does the term “species” even mean exactly?

            As simple and elegant as this seems, the transition of species to species is actually quite difficult. Not only are such transitions unremittingly rare, but the whole process of speciation encounters significant trouble when one analyzes the modern evidence. The phenotypically selected traits prized by artificial selection have not once lead to the creation of a new body plan, and wild organisms show little signs of change outside of a limited range of changes. What holds organisms back? Why do some organisms appear unchanged over the eons while others are claimed to have transformed so drastically? What if this elegant theory of common descent was nothing but a façade? What if it is like the little man behind the curtain in Emerald City, deceiving a nation into granting him authority over it?

I. Defining Species

            Evolutionists claim that natural selection can work its wonders by changing an organism little by little. The first major hurdle is the species level, and many claim that we have clear evidence of it being breeched by evolutionary mechanisms. Such changes are then assumed to add up to larger changes over eons, which would clearly be impossible to study due to the limited time mankind has had to observe. The issue, however, lies in the moving goal post in this argument. Often, it is claimed that a new species has been formed via evolution, yet few seem to realize that we do not yet have a single, unified definition of a species. Most definitions focus closely on the ability of similar organisms to breed and reproduce fertile offspring, while others lean more towards geological isolation, but the emphases varies far more than some realize. One survey of the literature discovered a startling thirty-two definitions for biological species![2] For a term as freely used as “species,” one would think there would be some semblance of agreement on what it actually means in the life sciences.

            Here we have a hidden conundrum in the field of biology: what is a species? Evolutionists shout from the rooftops every time they discover another example of speciation, yet what does speciation even mean when the meaning of “species” lacks a firm foundation? Are the goal posts of what is considered a species changing each time they argue for evolutionary speciation? How can such large claims of evolutionary change be substantiated when we don’t even know what separates organisms at this level? It seems that the evolutionary tree of life is planted in loose sand rather than fertile soil.

II. Speciation and Evolutionary Theory

            To unravel this mystery, one must first understand the evolutionary concepts of how new creatures arise through a process called speciation. According to National Geographic, there are five types of speciation: allopatric, peripatric, parapatric, sympatric, and artificial.[3] Four of these are said to occur naturally, while artificial speciation is done with the guidance of human breeders.

            “Allopatric speciation occurs when a species separates into two separate groups which are isolated from one another.”[4] For example, if a canyon, river, or mountain range comes between two sections of a population, it becomes impossible for them to interbreed, allowing them to diversify in different ways depending on the common environmental stresses of their particular habitats. Over time, these populations diversify to the point that they would not interbreed with their parent community on the other side.

            Peripatric speciation is very much like allopatric in that a section of the population becomes isolated.  “The main difference between allopatric speciation and peripatric speciation is that in peripatric speciation, one group is much smaller than the other.”[5] When left with a smaller population, the direction of change is much more pointed depending on the genes available in the limited gene pool.  Any recessive traits present will become more pronounced in the little population.

            Parapatric speciation is said to occur when a species is spread out over a large geographic area. “Instead of being separated by a physical barrier, the species are separated by differences in the same environment.”[6] While each individual could possibly mate with all the others, they are far more likely to mate with those in their own geographic region or specific habitat niche, giving a form of isolation in geographic pockets.

            The last of the natural speciation types is a bit more controversial, owing to the fact that some scientists doubt its existence in nature. Sympatric speciation is the model that supposes that new characteristics could develop spontaneously in a population without any barriers. Such a drastic leap is difficult to argue. Such spontaneous changes are counter-intuitive to the slow, step-by-step process of evolution by natural selection.

            The last method of speciation is one often used to argue that speciation is possible in the first place. Artificial speciation is that breeding of organisms guided by humans. Darwin himself was an avid breeder of pigeons, producing all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes in his flocks, which helped trigger his interest in the variability of organisms. We also know that we can breed chickens to be fatter, cows to produce better milk, and even plants to produce everything from brussel sprouts to broccoli. It is quite clear that organisms have the capability to change—some to very drastic lengths—but are we truly seeing enough change to conclude that organisms can change past the species—let alone genus—levels? Can life really start as a single cellular organism and change within 4-5 billion years into the trillion organisms we see today? All these modes of speciation seem great in theory and feasible on paper, but can they explain the arrival of every organism that has ever existed? Can we even see such changes occurring today?

III. Examples of Speciation: Finches

            One of the most famous examples are Darwin’s Finches, found on the Galapagos Islands where the young Charles landed during his voyage on the Beagle. As the story goes, each Island had finches of similar stature, but each had a different beak variation, giving them specializations in different food sources. The large beaked finches sought the hard seeds and nuts, while the pointy, narrow beaked finches hunted insects. As the story goes, Darwin noted the similarities and was inspired towards his theory of natural selection.

            Sadly, this story holds little truth. Darwin did not use the finches in his books. In reality, the legend of “Darwin’s finches” was actually contrived a century later. Some textbooks also tell students that a slight increase in the average size of finch beaks, observed after a severe drought in the 1970s, shows how natural selection could produce a new species in only two hundred years. What these textbooks fail to mention is that the change was reversed when the rains returned, and no net evolution occurred.[7]

The real picture of these finches shows a constant oscillation during the wet and dry years, with no net gain on either side of the adaptations. We even note that hybrids between the finch varieties are evolutionarily more fit, showing a likely merging of the different species.[8] True speciation has not occurred with these iconic finches.

            In a recent study, it was claimed that these very finches had yet again produced a new species. In an article published by Audubon, “an Española Cactus-Finch… had crossed miles of ocean to mingle with the local Medium Ground-Finches.”[9] This finch from a different Island with a different sized beak not only got to this other Island, but proceeded to breed with the native female finches. Their offspring were nicknamed the “Big Bird” lineage, and in three generations, the hybrids were breeding exclusively with other hybrids. Evolutionary biologists, of course, herald this, as clear evidence of speciation and evolution at work; yet some problems arise when one digs deeper.

            What makes one species of finch different than another? When a horse and a donkey breed, their offspring, the mule, is infertile. The mule is considered a hybrid between these two separate species due to that infertility. With these finches, the researchers clearly identify the finches on each Island as different species. If we define species—as many do—to refer to the ability of species to produce fertile offspring, where does that take this “new species?” If this Española Cactus-Finch was a different species, formed over time by allopatric speciation, wouldn’t that mean it could no longer breed with the Medium Ground-Finches of this other Island? Not only did they breed successfully, but also their offspring were clearly fertile! If many of the definitions are considered accurate, then their offspring—being fertile—wouldn’t be hybrids of two different species, but instead their parents would be considered the same species!  As we clearly see with the mule, even their definition of hybrid is flawed here, since they identify the offspring of the two finches as hybrids, yet the hybrids clearly could breed. The finish line of speciation has changed multiple times, constantly getting closer to the runners to make the race easier to win. Clearly, if we do not have solid definitions for species or hybrids, the words can mean whatever they want one to mean as long as it supports evolution.

IV. Contradiction of Speciation: Dogs

            In a sneaky contradiction of definitions, scientists will deem two interbreeding finches of similar makeup as separate species, yet when we look much closer to home, the vast array of canine variation is shrugged off as different breeds of the same species. Throughout thousands of generations, dogs have supposedly stemmed from the majestic wolf into every breed of dog we see (though the wolf is easily insulted when relationship is implied to Chihuahuas and the Shih Tzu). The issue here is that we have once again used the term species in whatever way we desire, not a universally applicable one.

            If we once again attempt to define a species as similar organisms that breed and reproduce fertile offspring, then what of the dog breeds that cannot reproduce? No miniature Dachshund could ever carry the offspring of a Great Dane, nor could a small spaniel bring the offspring of a large Labrador to term. Even though the puppies could themselves be viable, it takes artificial interference for them to survive; after all, the puppies would be so large, their mothers couldn’t hold them to term. Why is this not considered a separate species by the conventional definitions?

            What of the drastic physical differences we see so clearly in dogs? How much change to an organism is necessary before it becomes a completely different species? According to a study in The American Naturalist,

The amount of shape variation among domestic dogs far exceeds that in wild species, and it is comparable to the disparity throughout the Carnivora. The greatest shape distances between dog breeds clearly surpass the maximum divergence between species in the Carnivora. [10]

The realization of this is astounding! There is far more diversity in the physical structures of all dog breeds—all of which are classified as the same species—than the entire Order [Order is three levels of classification broader than species] of Carnivora! Dogs have more differences than bears and weasels, cats and raccoons. Every carnivorous mammal we know of, the amount of change between them is smaller than those changes seen in this one species known as the domestic dog. Once again, we see an overly flexible definition for species, this time in man’s best friend.

V. Adaptation within the Genome verses Macroevolution

            Why is this whole argument something to fuss over? Why does the definition of species have to be so important to the origins of life debate? If one surveys the examples of evolution in the literature, one will notice that the clearest examples of evolutionary change are actually small-scale adaptations. Since evolution works in small successive, slight steps, then this act of speciation is critical in the proof of the macroevolutionary steps. If one cannot even prove that these small changes can cause true speciation, then the figurative rug is pulled out from under macroevolution. Evolutionists often claim that macroevolution is far too long a process to observe by us “new on the block” humans, so they must insist that speciation can eventually lead to larger changes.

            What if this speciation concept not only fails to define its terms properly, but also fails to feasibly extrapolate to these major macroevolutionary changes? What if the changes we see in organisms like dogs and finches can simply be explained as adaptations within the organismal genome rather than macroevolutionary change? Such a revelation would undermine the entirety of the evolutionary paradigm!

            As has already been cited earlier, the finch populations in the Galapagos naturally fluctuate. During droughts, the finches tend to gravitate towards larger beaked individuals that can crack open the thick seeds that still remain; however, once the drought ends, we see a clear return from a thick beaked majority back to a “happy medium.” No net evolution had occurred, since the changes were one step forward followed by one step back. Such changes are not viable moves toward macroevolutionary diversification, but instead, are changes that occurred within the existing genome. The finches already had the capacity for beak variation within their genome, making these changes only adaptations within boundaries, not change without boundaries. Yet, even that isn’t the whole picture. What if we said that evolution didn’t bring just changes within the genome, but actually caused degradation? What if many adaptations are losses of information? Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe describes the adaptive mutation in the Galapagos finch populations as ones that are more likely to degrade or disable genes. “For instance, the gene most strongly associated with the difference in blunt-beak verses pointed-beak finches is called ALX1. The only variation in it throughout all finch species is two mutations that both impair function.”[11] With the outward, phenotypic changes that we see come internal genotypic disruptions of existing genes. In other words, to gain these outward benefits, the organism must sacrifice other internal functions. This is clearly not evolution, but devolution.

            Within canine populations, we see an interesting occurrence: when artificially selected, we can produce the incredibly drastic levels of change we have already mentioned, but when left to their own devices, packs of wild dogs tend to blend together into a more standard, long snouted, longer legged dog.

Left to their own devices, dogs will be dogs—and will eventually intermingle enough to level out extreme differences within the species. Natural selection ensues and hybrid vigor results: Witness the similar color and size of mutts in Mexico and other countries where they’re allowed to roam. To protect particular characteristics, though, breed enthusiasts have long guarded a highly controlled process, regulating genetic lines and creating registries that stipulate which animals can be bred to produce more of the same type.[12]

What we see here with dogs is a failure of natural selection. Darwin was an avid pigeon breeder and noticed the variations he could produce with artificial selection, and thus he assumed natural selection could do something similar with enough time. Our conundrum, however, is that such drastic changes are only seen in artificially guided breeding, not in natural ones. Natural selection has not shown us any ability to alter an organism outside a range of adaptations, and it almost definitely brings populations to equilibrium within the bounds of the genome or to degradation via the neutralization or destruction of previously functional genetic code, not to true diversification and advancement.

VI. Evolution’s [not so Great] Achievements

            The claims of evolutionists aren’t limited to finches and dogs. Other examples of supposed evolutionary speciation are prevalent, but few can hold water when compared to the sheer weight of change necessary for macroevolution to occur. Many of these greatly touted examples of evolutionary change might be benefits, but they get there by moving backwards. Rarely do we ever see a forward moving beneficial mutation.

            Mutations, a key ingredient in evolution, are far more likely to destroy genetic information than add to it. For example, Dr. Richard Lenski’s long-term E. coli bacterial evolution project, which has produced over 50,000 generations of bacteria,[13] celebrated the arrival of bacteria that seemingly gained the ability to eat citrate; however, Dr. Behe swoops in for the kill.

… the most widely publicized result from Lenski’s lab was the appearance of strains of E. coli that were able to eat citrate. However, the bacteria already have this ability. It is normally switched off in the presence of oxygen. The fortunate bacteria obtained an alteration that allowed them to access citrate in all conditions.[14]

So evolution to these bacteria didn’t produce a brand new function; instead, they change existing information. This example doesn’t stop there, however. These citrate-munching bacteria developed additional mutations, which were more losses of information. The changes that allowed it to adapt to a new environment resulted from a loss in function, not a gain.

            A similar case study on the bacteria responsible for the Black Death in the 14th century shows eventual loss of complexity, not a gain. Bacteria have the ability to pick up or exchange DNA with other bacteria, and the plague bacteria was once harmful before doing such a pickup. Problem is that in doing so, the bacteria lost abilities and became limited to a parasitic lifestyle.[15]

            One of the best cases of evolutionary advancement has been the mutation of rhodopsin production in certain species of cichlid fish. Rhodopsin is a protein that helps with light absorption in the eye. This mutation gave greater light sensitivity at greater depths and does indeed convey a positive advantage to the fish. Does this beneficial mutation undermine the claim that has been presented in this essay? Not at all! Not only are such beneficial mutations so exceedingly rare, we find that such a change was just the mutation of a single amino acid. When one plots out the hundreds or thousands of coordinated mutations needed simply to form the eye in which this rhodopsin molecule resides, we realize that there is not enough time in which such changes could occur even at faster rates. With the odds of mutation, all beneficial mutations would rapidly be overwhelmed by the exceedingly more common information-degrading mutations. With every one step forward, there would be ten steps back. This is in no way a feasible mechanism for macroevolution.

VII. Conclusion

            Darwinian evolution is inescapably founded upon the long-term macroevolutionary changes that are supposedly proven by speciation events. Over long periods of time, making use of random mutations that cause phenotypic changes, evolutionists claim we can change from one type of organism to another from single cellular organisms to humans; yet this whole concept is build upon a farce. Speciation, the change of one species to another is not just a gray area, but also an undercover attempt to prop up a failing theory. Without a solid definition of what a species is to start with, evolutionists can claim that speciation has occurred any time they desire. With such a misleading and weak definition of species, speciation cannot be confirmed. If speciation cannot be confirmed, then macroevolutionary change crumbles.

            Even if we accept particular cases of beneficial mutations and natural selection, we still cannot use such examples to make a case for macroevolution. We can see, based upon known mutation rates that deleterious mutations are far more common than beneficial, so even in the extremely rare cases of positive changes, such changes will eventually be overwhelmed with the negative. Instead of increasing complexity over time, we observe dilapidation of existing functions, causing more devolution genetically than evolution.

            If we continue to let evolutionists have this much freedom to define a species as they like, they will continue to pull the wool over our eyes with new examples of phenotypical changes. Such external changes do not necessarily show an increase of ability, but more likely is evidence of a negative internal change. If this analysis is accurate, then evolution is already dead. If science can once and for all define what divides organisms at a species level, maybe then they can start to prove speciation events. It is doubtful, however, that such a definition will ever arise. As it currently stands, without a proper definition of species, there can be no proof of speciation.


[1]Pappas, Stephanie. “There Might Be 1 Trillion Species on Earth.” LiveScience. May 05, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.livescience.com/54660-1-trillion-species-on-earth.html.

[2] Zachos, Frank E. Species Concepts in Biology Historical Development, Theoretical Foundations and Practical Relevance. Cham CH: Springer, 2016.

[3] National Geographic Society. “Speciation.” National Geographic Society. October 09, 2012. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/speciation/.

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Luskin, Casey. “Not Making the Grade: An Evaluation of 22 Recent Biology Textbooks And Their Use of Selected Icons of Evolution.” September 26, 2011, 12.

[8] Ibid

[9] Purbita Saha, Galapagos Finches Are Proving to Be the Poster Birds of Evolution Again. Audubon, December 12, 2017. https://www.audubon.org/news/galapagos-finches-are-proving-be-poster-birds-evolution-again.

[10] Drake, Abby Grace, and Christian Peter Klingenberg. “Large‐Scale Diversification of Skull Shape in Domestic Dogs: Disparity and Modularity.” The American Naturalist 175, no. 3 (2010): 289-301. doi:10.1086/650372.

[11] Behe, Michael J. Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2019, quoted in “Michael Behe’s Darwin Devolves Topples Foundational Claim of Evolutionary Theory.” Evolution News. November 23, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/11/michael-behes-darwin-devolves-topples-foundational-claim-of-evolutionary-theory/.

[12] “The Purebred Paradox.“ Animal Studio Repository. Accessed October 25, 2018. https://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1088&context=allanimals

[13] Richard Lenski. E. coli Long-term Experimental Evolution Project Site. Edited by . Vers. . Michigan State University . November 29. Accessed November. http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/.

[14] “Michael Behe’s Darwin Devolves Topples Foundational Claim of Evolutionary Theory.” Evolution News. November 23, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/11/michael-behes-darwin-devolves-topples-foundational-claim-of-evolutionary-theory/.

[15] Ibid

Book Review: Debating Design

                  The book Debating Design is a conglomeration of essays by various authors on the topic of the origins of life debate, specifically design in nature. The two editors are highly distinguished in this field of research. Adding to the quality of the debate, the editors are from the opposite side of the debate from the other.

                  The first of the editors is Dr. William A. Dembski. Dr. “Bill” Dembski has a rich history in the Intelligent Design movement. He was a great boon to the field, acting as a leader in laying the groundwork for the modern resurgence of the theory by clearly defining and explaining clearly what Intelligent Design is and is not. He previously acted as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His educational pedigree is incredibly lengthy. He started with a B.A. in psychology in 1981, and from then through 1996, he accumulated three masters’ degrees, two Ph.D.’s and an M.Div. The focus of these degrees ranges from philosophy, to mathematics, to statistics. There are few who can rival his educational foundation.

                  Our second editor is Dr. Michael Ruse. Coming from the side of Darwinian evolution, Dr. Ruse has a long list of honors and authorships. The vast majority of his works span between the philosophy of science and Darwinian evolution. He is a frequent debater on the topic and is respected by supporters and opponents alike. While Dembski has an incredible education, Dr. Ruse has—along with bachelors, Masters’ and Ph.D. degrees—far more experience in the field of evolution and the origins of life. He has been writing, lecturing and debating for decades and is considered an expert in evolution and the philosophy of science.

                  With these two renowned editors, we can see that Debating Design will be stacked full of some of the best arguments from each side. There is no doubt that they have compiled a qualified group of scientists, historians and philosophers to help them compile this book. The qualifications of each author are not in doubt. Neither are the reasons behind the book itself. After all, what better way to get the measure of such a grand debate except to gather all the best experts from each side that one can? In the pursuit of truth, as all science should be, this book brings forth the arguments from both sides.

                  As clearly state in the introduction to their book, the editors share their belief that Intelligent Design is a significant factor on the contemporary landscape and should not be ignored. Supporters of Intelligent Design see it as an incredible breakthrough in how we can look at the nature of reality, but the opponents of Design see it as a threat to the status quo, long held in sway by Darwinian evolution, both in the scientific field and the educational classrooms. While both editors find this debate important for different reasons, both agree resolutely that both sides need to clearly grasp the views of the other. Ignorance is not the way to combat conflicting views.

                  Debating Design is different than many other evolution or design books in that it presents more than just one side at a time. Most authors tend to stick to making their case as strong as possible to convince their readers that they can explain that particular phenomena best, yet here, the editors have opened up their own sides to criticism from the other, putting their faith in the wisdom of the reader to decide which argument seems most logical in explaining the origins of life. This approach is very useful to the professional and the laymen alike as they traipse the complex arguments of the origins of life debate.

                  Clearly, this book format is one of its great strengths.  Instead of leaving it up to the reader to seek out other experts and different perspectives, Dembski and Ruse have compiled a valuable source of expert commentary on the debate from both sides. While the readers should not draw their conclusions based off of this text alone, it is a terrific place to start an analysis of this vitally important and incredibly complex debate. The writers approach the debate from all different angles too. Some bring in a scientific argument, while others focus on the history of the debate. Others still remain focused on the philosophy aspect, combining the science with other avenues of though, as scientific arguments should; after all, science cannot stand-alone. Science, history, and philosophy are all intertwined closely, especially in a debate that has lasted for centuries like this one. Dembski and Ruse should be applauded for working together to produce such a valuable resource.

                  This book is an easy recommendation to all who desire to understand the evolution and design debate; however, I would caution readers new to the debate to take their time in such a book. Since this text is written by the experts specifically for comparison with specialist opinions from the other side, many of the essays, while useful, are very deep and likely confusing to the uninitiated reader of this debate. Some of the authors explain their views at a level the layman could understand while others might venture into territory that might confuse them.  Without a decent foundation in the basics of the origins science and the philosophy of the arguments, it might be a bit difficult for some; therefore, I would tend to recommend this text to the veteran reader, but not to the greenhorn enthusiast. Once a basic understanding of the common terms and logical arguments is attained, then the reader would be ready for this content rich volume.

                  Over all, Debating Design is a must have for the origins of life debater. Dr. Dembski and Dr. Ruse have done us all a great service by working together cooperatively to present these arguments side by side. Few other books lay out both sides of an argument and let the reader decide their strengths and weaknesses. In a way, this makes Debating Design just like an actual debate!

Because Science!

The Flaws of Viewing Science as a Source of Truth

            The very existence of science is founded on the presupposition of rationality in nature. Before modern science, such a rational worldview was not easily attainable due to the insertion of spiritual or philosophical views that often countered such rational pursuits. Astrology and the actions of a pantheon of deities were often the regular explanations for phenomena, but that eventually changed. With the rise of Christianity in Europe came a changing of the tide. Mankind no longer used such outlandish explanations to explain things in the natural world; instead, we see a shift towards rational thought. The foundations of Christian faith laid the groundwork for the assumption that the cosmos was indeed functioning logically and that our ability to rationally think was further evidence towards the conclusion that nature could be known and understood through rational means, not appeals to the unseen whims of the gods or spiritual feelings of the objects in question. The rise of rational thought has laid the foundations for the philosophical view of realism, upon which most of modern science now stands. The following essay intends to show why realism is so closely tied to scientific thought and how it should be properly used.

I. The Rise of Rational Science

            Contrary to the common misconception found permeating our modern culture, modern science and religion are not at war with each other; rather, what we call science today is necessarily the child of a particular religious foundation in Christianity. Instead of opposites, science and religion have marched hand and hand from the start until modern times, when naturalists have done their best to force a rift between the two.

            While many assume that modern science is the offspring of the classical Greek and Roman philosophies, we find that it actually was a seed planted and watered by the Christian worldview. Historian of science Rodney Stark investigated these origins in his book For the Glory of God.

…The rise of science was not an extension of classical learning. It was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine: Nature exists because it was created by God. To love and honor God, one must fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Moreover, because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, we ought to be able to discover these principles.[1]

The nature of God is as revealed in Christianity laid the foundations for scientific thought. Unlike some of the previously followed deities, the great I Am was not one to change based upon emotional mood or whimsical want; no, the God revealed in the Bible was unchanging. His actions therefore could not be attributed to random acts of passion, anger, lust, or any typical human emotional response. This leads us directly to the assumption that anything done by such a creator would have a reason behind it. The believers in Christianity logically took this to mean that our powers of rational thought were placed in us by our maker so that we would be able to investigate creation with the ability to understand it and be amazed at the works of God. It was on this foundation that modern science bloomed into the rationally comprehensive tool we use today.

II. Realism Defined

            What is realism and how does it relate to our view of scientific progress? Scientific Realism, roughly defined in terms of science, “holds that science progressively secures true, or approximately true, theories about the real, theory-independent world “out there” and does so in a rationally justifiable way.”[2] The basic assumption of realism in science is that science can indeed be an accurate way to understand truths in the world. Science, in this view, is typically the literal pursuit of truth or approximate truths.

            Rational realism is by far the majority view among scientists. Even those that point to a relationship between science and Christianity typically hold to such views. The problem with the second stance is when faith and science disagree. Which is the truth in such a situation? Should we be claiming that science is wrong when clashing with religion, or should religious concepts be the ones that need to change? It all gets down to the proper understanding of the relationships of science, religion and truth.

III. What is Truth?

            Our postmodern culture has tarnished Truth’s sparkling reputation. It has become the “cuttlefish” of concepts, constantly changing its colors and textures to adapt to the environment around it. It is all too frequently heard referred to as “my truth” or “your truth.” Such statements assume that our personal experiences and personal feelings can decide the truthfulness of something. For example, one moral truth could supposedly be right for me, but I cannot assume it is right for others in the same way. Such naiveté is palpable.

            The truth simply cannot be relative like the postmodernists claim. Logically, such an interpretation is a blatant contradiction. The Oxford Dictionary defines truth as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”[3] The claim that truth is relative is in itself a contradiction, owing to the fact that such a statement is an assertion of absolute truth.

            This becomes a problem for realism in science. Can science be considered truth? Science, by nature, is limited in scope. It is constantly discovering new things and building our knowledge of the universe, but we cannot call its discoveries truths since truth is absolute. Scientific discoveries do indeed point us towards the best possible explanations, but claiming that those explanations are truth means that it is absolute and unchallengeable. If any aspect of scientific discovery is not open to challenge or refutation, then it is, by definition, no longer science. Science by design must be open to critique and the addition of new knowledge. Until we have gleaned all knowledge from the universe, we cannot make absolute truth statements about things discovered empirically.

            Realism often employs another form of truth (be it actually different or simply semantic gymnastics) known as the approximate truth, or verisimilitude. Instead of making absolute truth claims, those suggesting approximate truth would be comparing theories for relative truthfulness. Moreland was helpful in clarifying this.

Theory A has greater verisimilitude than theory B if and only if A is more approximately true than B. Theories can increase in verisimilitude; that is, they can increase in the degree that they are approximately true. If the notion of verisimilitude can be adequately spelled out, then rational realists are claiming not that our current theories are the final truth of the matter but only that scientific progress is measured in growth in verisimilitude.[4]

Based upon the concept of verisimilitude, we can supposedly avoid the snare of calling scientific discoveries absolute truth by simply measuring competing hypotheses against each other to find which is approximately closer to the truth.

            The real problem here is that anything with the title of “truth,” including approximate truth, must be absolute. Truth does not travel in degrees, but either is or is not true. This seems a bit problematic to say the least for this concept of verisimilitude.

IV. Will the Real Truth Please Stand Up?

             Even when we trip up on our abilities to accurately discern the truths of reality, we cannot logically deny the existence of truth. Just like the contradicting paradoxical statement “truth is relative,” the similar claim that “there is no truth” is equally self-defeating due to the fundamental truth assertions in the statement. With this alone, we must conclude that truth does actually exist. The million-dollar question would then be “where can we find truth?” If only that was indeed a million dollar question, since I could seriously use the cash.

            The postmodernist would again say that truth comes from inside us. Our experiences and our feelings decide what is true to us. Shallow as this seems, it is a far too commonly held view; however, it simply cannot be so. For example, take two different individuals form different walks of life with dissimilar experiences. If one claims that his experience tells him that A is true, not B, what can we say when the second person says that B is true, not A? What happens when the personal truths contradict each other? If one person claims that they are a woman trapped in a man’s body, while the other asserts that such a thing is not biologically possible and instead a mental disorder, which do we assume has the truth? If they are exact opposites, it is impossible for them to both be true. Truth cannot be both true and false simultaneously. Clearly, we cannot rely on our own personal perspectives to be the measuring rod for truth. Truth must come from something external to our temperamental feelings.

            As mentioned before, modern science stems from the rise of Christian thought in Europe. What did such a worldview have to say on the topic of truth? From the Christian perspective, God must be the source of all truths. He created the cosmos, so reality is literally molded by his will and wisdom. Moral laws and physical laws alike share their origins in God. He is unchanging; therefore his creation is not the haphazard makings of an emotional being out of anger, spite or some other human emotion. Is creation is the outpouring of his of order, logic, and wisdom. Since mankind has been given an almost unquenchable thirst for knowledge and rational thought, we can assume, based upon this understanding of a rational creator making both us and creation, that the cosmos is designed to be known by rational means.

            If creation is full of order and design and we are endowed with the capacity to rational thought, it takes no genius to conclude that the quest after knowledge about the cosmos and how it works—aka science—must also be a rational pursuit. If reality is designed to be knowable, then realism is a logical means with which to explore it.

V. Return to an Approximation of Approximate Truth

            Thus far, a few things have been established:

  1. Truth exists.
  2. Truth is absolute.
  3. As fallible humans, our sciences cannot be considered truth.
  4. The unchanging creator is the most logical source of truth.
  5. Creation is rational, so the pursuit of comprehension of its inner workings must also be rational.
  6. Therefore, science is rational, but cannot be considered truth.

This might seem to be a stalemate to some. Antirealists definitely think so. After all, science cannot be truth, so how can it really be a useful pursuit of the nature of reality?

            Instead of pushing the view of science as source of truth, what if we simply considered it a tool that helps us discover the most likely nature of the universe? In many ways, this is similar to verisimilitude, but without automatically assuming any truth claims. With the separation from truth, we can get as far as claiming, “this is the best we can do with the data we have right now.”

Geocentrism was once the dominant view in the civilized world. All the data did indeed seem to show the Sun moving around the Earth. Even when Copernicus presented his radical concept of heliocentrism, the data was not there to prove it above and beyond that of geocentrism. For a span of time, there was data that could back both models, yet not negate either. Both could not be true, so more data was required. With the improvement of the telescope by Galileo, new phenomena were finally confirmed, such as the phases of Venus and moons orbiting other planets, and the geocentric view gave way to the heliocentric model. Is the heliocentric model 100% accurate? We have no idea. If we were to find new data from new phenomena, we could at least alter the current models. That is the nature of science: it must remain open to debate and open to change.

This view of science is similar to the nature of a graphed asymptote. As seen in the figure below, asymptotes are always getting closer to the x and y axis without ever touching it.

Graphed on Cartesian coordinates. The x and y-axes are the asymptotes.[5]

What if science was acting like an asymptote as it approaches the x or y? What if we treat truth as the axis? We constantly desire to get closer, yet know that we cannot actually touch it with our current trajectory. Should not this model of science still give us a model of reality that gives a “more likely than not” scenario? With this mentality, we can still maintain science as a useful tool, yet still be able to avoid the philosophical pitfalls of making truth claims about the conclusions we draw.

VI. Inference to the Best Explanation

            A real life example of this “asymptotic” rational science can be found as a fundamental methodology for the historical sciences. Geology, paleontology, archaeology, and even forensic investigation all use a method of extrapolation that philosopher of science Dr. Stephen C. Meyer calls the “inference to the best explanation.”

Recent work on the method of “inference to the best explanation” suggests that determining which among a set of competing possible explanations constitutes the best depends upon assessments of the causal powers of competing explanatory entities.[6]

Unlike in laboratory sciences like chemistry and physics, the historical sciences cannot be easily replicated, if it is even possible at all. The Big Bang event is an obvious example. It is doubtful a scientist would even want to trigger such an event even if they could! Yet, how then can we draw conclusions about the legitimacy of such models without being able to duplicate them? Clearly, this inference to the best explanation is used to compare hypotheses that attempt to answer the same phenomenon and decide which has the best explanatory power. Some used to theorize that the universe was eternal, and others suggested that it fluctuated in a rubber banding type back and forth movement. Our best explanations through physics, using the data we have before us pushes towards the conclusion that the universe indeed had a beginning and it started from a central point. Is this conclusion of how the universe began truth? We are simply unable to know except that it is a logical and rational conclusion on the nature of phenomena in reality. This form of realism is likely the best means of understanding the universe science will ever be able to achieve.

VII. Realism Concluded

            For science to remain as the perceptibly useful methodology for comprehending the nature of phenomena, realism is the best possible philosophy. Science must be founded upon the ability to rationally understand nature, and we as intricately rational beings have been instilled with a hunger for knowledge. Our studies in science, however, must be tempered with the humility of seeing such pursuits the way they should: likely explanations, but not absolute truths. Our conclusions must remain like the asymptote line: always getting closer to the true goal, but never assuming we have reached that goal already. This way, science can still maintain its usefulness while avoiding falling into a dogmatic nature.

Work Cited

  • Stark, Rodney. For the glory of God: How monotheism led to reformations, science, witch-hunts, and the end of slavery. Princeton University Press, 2015.
  • Moreland, J.P. Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation. Baker Books, 1989.
  • Meyer, Stephen C.  DNA by Design: An Inference to the Best Explanation for the Origin of Biological Information. Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 4, Special Issue on the Intelligent Design Argument (Winter 1998), pp. 519-556 Published by: Michigan State University Press.

[1] Stark, Rodney. For the glory of God: How monotheism led to reformations, science, witch-hunts, and the end of slavery. Princeton University Press, 2015, 157.

[2] Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science, 139.

[3] Oxford Dictionary, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/truth

[4] Moreland, 149

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymptote

[6] Meyer, Stephen C.  DNA by Design: An Inference to the Best Explanation for the Origin of Biological Information. Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 4, Special Issue on the Intelligent Design Argument (Winter 1998), pp. 519-556 Published by: Michigan State University Press. 546

Attack on Humanity

The Dehumanization of the Unborn

Just a few generations ago, a child in the womb was correctly assumed to be fully human; however, within the last few decades, this has been brought into question. Doubts have come from all over the place, be it from evolutionary science or personal assumptions, and it has lead to the dehumanization of the unborn. Instead of being seen as beautiful persons created in the image of their creator, terms like “embryo” and “fetus” are used to distance us from the humanity of the child in the womb. These practices are not just ignoring the humanity of the child for convenience sake, but also to profit from the use of the aborted child’s body. In this, we see blatant human trafficking disguised as a mission of mercy, sacrificing the most innocent of us to benefit others. The terrible practices of abortion, the sale of fetal tissue, and the use of fetal cells in medicine is an abomination, leaving our culture seeped in the blood of billions of human sacrifices, all the while blinded to the tragedy of their actions.

I. The “Choicest” of arguments

            The pro-abortion advocates, self identifying as “pro-choice,” have made numerous claims over the last few decades in their attempt to drive a wedge between the unborn and all other humans. While laden with scientific and illogical inaccuracies, their methods have been successful within a culture that has slipped into postmodernism and a post-absolute truth worldview. The following are some of the most common arguments and the counterarguments against them.

            The assertion that is most frequently shouted at every available opportunity by the pro-choice group is the “my body my choice” argument. By this, they claim that the choice to end the life of the embryo rests solely on the decision of the mother because the embryo is within her, attached to her, and therefore simply another part of her. To take away the woman’s right to abortion is seen as the equivalent of removing the woman’s rights to her own body.

            This argument is fundamentally flawed based upon two points: first, it assumes that the embryo is not a unique individual nor human; second, it alleges that the embryo is actually part of the mother’s body, giving her sole ownership of it. The humanity of the unborn cannot be scientifically nor logically denied. A simple DNA test would prove that the growing life within her is not part of her, but rather a unique combination of her and the father’s genomes. We can also point out that women do not naturally have two heads, four eyes, and eight limbs. That second set of parts is not part of the mother, but rather part of a completely unique individual that is hosted within the mother temporarily. Unless the pro-choice proponents can prove that the embryo is simply another part of the mother scientifically, they cannot assert a right to discard it. Even that, however, is dubious, since when someone wants to surgically remove one of their body parts simply because they do not want it, we question their sanity.

            Another common argument is that abortion is necessary to protect women in dangerous medical situations. If the mother is at risk, they claim, she should have the priority over the child and be allowed to abort. The flaw is that the vast majority of abortions done today are not because the mother’s life is in danger. The overwhelming reasons behind the majority of abortions are either inadequate finances to raise a child or that the mother is not ready for the responsibility of that role. Abortions due to the life of the mother being seriously threatened are less than one percent of all abortions.[1] In cases of ectopic pregnancy, where the zygote implants in the fallopian tube of the mother (which is not sustainable), we see that growth there would not only kill the embryo, but the mother as well.  Other than this, there are practically no actual situations in which the mother actually needs to abort to save her life.

Yet, despite such statistics, no pro-choice person would claim that we should limit abortions to medical necessity alone. The opposite is actually the case we see with the legal system pushing further and further away from any sort of limitations on abortion. Recent legislation in places like New York have stripped an unborn fetus of all rights, even going as far as reducing the charges of murder to a lesser offense. Soon after the bill was enacted, a man murdered both his girlfriend and the five-month child in her womb. While he was charged with murder for the woman’s death, the new law significantly reduces the sentence for the purposeful killing of the unborn child.[2] In such an instance, the true colors of the pro-choice movement are revealed. Instead of focusing on the health of the mother like they claimed, they passed legislation that removed the human rights of the unborn, doing so to thunderous applause.[3] Abortion is not about the health of the mother; it is about the dehumanization of the unborn children.

            One of the most common arguments for abortion, however, tends to be some form of an argument of financial inability on the mother’s part. As the argument typically goes, abortion is needed because the mother is financially unable to provide for the child. It is assumed that poverty is one of the worst situations to bring a child into. Yes, it is a big worry, and yes, such situations are indeed difficult, but does that necessitate the death of the child? There is nothing but hypocrisy in the argument that claims poverty is bad for a child, yet is willing to kill the child. How can killing a child be better than a chance at life?

It is truly ignorant to assume that a child can never be happy if born into poverty. Being poor is in no way a guarantee of a terrible life. In fact, one could say that the poor children are most likely to strive for better. This can be seen when we survey some of the richest people in the world. Many of the top billionaires came from very humble beginnings. One in particular undermines this argument for abortion tremendously. Leonardo Del Vacchio was sent to an orphanage when his widowed mother couldn’t care for him anymore. After working in a factory for a few years, he eventually opened his own shop where he made glasses. He is now the owner of companies like Ray-Ban and Oakley, and has a net worth of 23.5 billion dollars.[4] Clearly poverty and the inability of a mother to care for her child financially do not guarantee a dead end life unworthy of living. With life, there is hope for the child. With abortion, there is absolutely no chance of hope.

            While “pro-choice” arguments are far more numerous than these presented, some of the most commonly used ones are revealed as shallow and unfounded. The child has been reduced to nothing but an inconvenience to be done away with on a whim, instead of the biological human with personhood and rights that it is. As we will see in the following sections, this practice is not only dehumanizing, but also quite barbaric in nature and practice.

II. Abortion Practices

            Few people actually realize the horrors of the abortion procedures. An undisputable expert on these methods is Dr. Anthony Levatino, a board-certified OB-GYN with 40 years of experience, including over 1000 abortions that he personally performed. [5] He regrets his actions and has invested his efforts to showing people what abortion really is.

            First trimester medical abortions are chemical abortions. The chemicals Mifepristone and Misoprostol are used to destabilize the lining of the uterus, which the fetus is attached to. This cuts off nourishment to the child, starving them to death. The other chemical causes heavy contractions and heavy bleeding to force the baby out. If this method does not work, suction is used to forcibly rip them out of the womb.6

This suction method, known as Suction D & C, is the most prevalent abortion method, and is most commonly done during the first trimester. The suction is so strong that it literally rips the embryo limb from limb, often ending in the crushing of the skull by the abortionist. Absolutely no method of torture ever created is as barbaric and effective at killing as this.[6]

Second trimester abortions are no less barbaric. Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) abortions are one of the main methods. It is typically done as late as 24 weeks, even though our current medical technology has been able to save premature babies as early as 21 weeks.[7] Suction machines are not strong enough to pull the embryo apart, so in its place, a sopher clamp is used to grab limbs of the baby and, piece by piece, dismember it while it is still alive. By this stage, the baby can obviously feel tremendous pain.

Third trimester abortions occur when the child is already within the window of viability with our current medical technology. Being fully formed and large, the baby cannot be easily removed by force. Instead, they are injected with digoxin, which can cause fatal cardiac arrest.  They are injected in the heart or head, and the toxin kills the child. A few days later, the mother is induced into labor to deliver her dead child. If this does not work, it becomes another D & E abortion, removing the child piece by piece.[8]

Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah has suggested, contrary to the claims of the pro-abortion advocates, that the earliest stages of the fetal nervous system forms by 28 days. “The neural circuitry responsible for the most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex, is in place by 8 weeks of development… This is the earliest point at which the fetus experiences pain in any capacity.”[9] With this knowledge in mind, how can we say that abortion is anything but cruel? Far from being a clump of cells in the mother, we can clearly see a unique individual that is being killed in the most tortuous of ways. The only way that this can be seen as even remotely moral is if this fetus is not a human person. That said, such treatment of puppies and kittens would draw outrage, so the argument is hypocritical coming from pro-abortion advocates.  

III. Sale of Human Fetal Tissues

            If the practice of abortion is not terrible enough, evidence has come to light that abortion provider Planned Parenthood has been profiting from the sales of human fetal tissues. An organization called the Center for Medical Progress began an undercover investigation onto this suspected tissue sales. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt went undercover starting in 2013, running through the release of the first of their incriminating videos in 2015. Planned Parenthood’s top executives were caught discussing their sales of these fetal tissues, such as baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains, but their legal teams are incredibly influential and many lawmakers, including the California judge who presided over the case against the journalists are financially supported by the abortion giant.[10]

            The first round of lawsuits fell in Planned Parenthoods favor, as the journalists were the ones punished. Planned Parenthood was found innocent of charges; however, the legal battles are not over yet.

           Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners, DaVinci biosciences and DV Biologics have admitted guilt in a $7.8 million settlement with the Orange County District Attorney for selling aborted baby body parts from Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties for profit in violation of federal and California law.[11]

           On top of that bombshell, Texas fifth circuit court vindicated the journalists against the most common arguments against them. Instead of the footage being edited to make them look bad, the video footage that had been used to uncover the Planned Parenthood scandal was not heavily edited or doctored. This means that what was said on the videos was not taken out of context. The Texas court ruled that Texas may strip Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies.[12]

            At this point, it can be said with confidence that the evidence points towards the abortion industry profiting from the deaths of human babies. The legal system is slowly catching up, but abortion is still a heated battle with one side fighting to save the unborn, and the other fighting to further dehumanize them.

IV. Stem Cell Research

            Unbeknownst to many, abortion is not the only field that takes advantage of the helpless human embryo. The use of embryonic stem cells in medicine has quite often promised incredible breakthroughs and nearly miraculous cures of numerous diseases like diabetes, MS, and many others. The industry has drawn billions of dollars in support of this research with the hopes of one day solving a myriad of diseases. Such a tremendous flow of funding makes this avenue of research incredibly lucrative. It isn’t difficult to see why many companies would push for their staff to work with these lines of stem cells. The problem comes with the weight of significant moral baggage.

           Stem cells were an incredible discovery. These cells are quite special due to their ability to differentiate into other types of cells. As is quite obvious from even such a basic description, the possibilities of healing injures or curing diseases seems without limit.

            Embryonic stem cells are considered pluripotent.[13] This means they have the capabilities to transform into any type of tissue. These types of cells quite literally have the capacity to become any tissue in the human body. The mystery that researchers are trying to crack is, of course, the methods of how to control the transformations. You wouldn’t want a stomach cell to form where you are trying to produce neurons or, even worse, accidentally causing a cell to keep dividing unchecked as a cancerous growth. Still, if such manipulations of these cells become feasible, there are indeed great possibilities for medical breakthroughs.

            Stem cells have also been discovered within the bodies of adults. These stem cells, however, lack the naturally occurring full pluripotency of the embryonic cells. These cells typically only differentiate into cells from the tissue it was found in. For example, stem cells found in the liver are limited to becoming part of the liver. This limited diversification is known as multipotency.[14] For this reason, many have passed over these stem cells as a viable option, choosing instead to chase after the possibilities in the pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

           While there seems to be so much hope tied to embryonic stem cell research, it is bogged down with tremendous ethical baggage. Due to the cultural shift in the views on the value of a human zygote or fetus, few are conflicted on taking embryonic stem cells even with the knowledge that it unavoidably destroys the zygote. This begs the question: is a zygote a human person?

            One must also wonder of the effectiveness of this treatment thus far. As we typically have seen in the research, there have been too many hurdles to the control of embryonic stem cells. To date, embryonic stem cells have not been able to cure anything.[15] With over 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars poured into research, we have little to show for it; however, adult stem cells have not only overcome many of these shortcomings, but have already successfully cured many people of an impressive range of disorders.[16]

            For now, a last ethical dilemma is the necessity of human cloning for the use of embryonic stem cells. While often called “somatic nuclear transfer,” the process is quite literally the same as cloning. It removes the nucleus of an ovum cell, replacing it with the nucleus of another cell, and causing it to begin embryonic development using DNA from some other original host.  This is quite bluntly human cloning, which is banned around the world. Not only are researchers destroying fully functional and developing embryos, they are crossing the line with cloning, which in itself has its own debate on how such individuals would be seen as lesser humans.

V. Other Medical Uses

            Stem cell research is not the end of the use of the fetus in medical research. Some find it shocking to hear that tissues from aborted fetuses are regularly used in the production of vaccinations. “Human cells from the tissue of aborted fetuses have been used in vaccines since the 1960s, and currently they are used in 11 vaccines. Aborted human fetal cell cultures are used for growing viruses, which are then used in the preparation of inactivated and live virus vaccines.“[17] Why is this necessary? Viruses require host cells to multiply, and vaccines need to be grown for use in both live and inactivated viral vaccinations.

            For decades, tissues have been used that originated from a cell line created long ago. Many argue that the passing of time that distances us from the original abortions makes this acceptable due to it going to a supposedly good cause; however, does time make the destruction of human life any less immoral? Clearly it does not. These cell lines are tissues stolen by deadly force from the bodies of innocent humans. Just like with embryonic stem cell research, people have dehumanized the fetus, yet this time it is far later than the first few days of development. Here, they are taking tissues from livers, skin, heart, lungs and brains and other organs.[18] It only takes one look and knowledge of scientific terminology to see this on the Center for Disease Control’s own database. We see “human-diploid fibroblast cells,”[19] known as strain WI-38; Strain MRC-5 was derived from lung tissues from a 14 week old aborted caucasian male fetus that was aborted from a 27 year old woman who’s life was not in any physical danger.[20] In this, we see a new branch of human trafficking.

            According to Dr. Stanley Plotkin, a vaccine developer considered to be the leader in the field, numerous aborted fetuses are used in many studies. One study alone used seventy-six fetuses, all aborted at three months or older and developing normally, which were later used in his experiments to create the strains that could be used in vaccine production. [21] Dr. Plotkin was well aware of the religious objections to the use of aborted fetuses, but in his atheism, he saw no issues. Of course, this man also admits in the same testimony to experimenting new vaccines on orphan children and that it was not unusual to do the same on the mentally handicapped, having done so on mentally retarded children himself.20 The human rights abuses are clear, yet to Dr. Plotkin and many of his colleagues, these acts of dehumanization are normal procedures. They use the tissues of aborted children to make vaccines, and then further dehumanize those they deem less valuable, like orphans and the handicapped. What greater example of dehumanization is there? This is a giant leap closer to the dehumanization on the level of Josef Mengele in Nazi Germany.

VI. Humanity of the Unborn

            When all is said and done, all arguments for abortion and the exploitation of the fetus must assume one thing: the fetus is not a human person. If the fetus is not equal to all other humans, we can abort them for nearly any reason, be it physical, emotional, psychological health, or even just because they don’t want it. Such flippant destruction of life would cause uproar if it were done to puppies or kittens, but not to the human fetus. As previously noted in the “my body my choice” argument, it must be assumed that the fetus is not human. This point is not only illogical, but also unscientific.

            Biologically, it is untenable to argue that the fetus is simply another part of the mother simply because it is inside her and gleaning resources from her. By that logic, the bacterial fauna of the intestines would also be a part of the mother, not separate organisms living in mutualistic symbiosis. On top of that, from the moment of conception, the fetus has a unique genome created by a recombination of both the mother and father’s DNA. Its blood type and gender are frequently different from the mother, both of which are also decided at conception. Within mere days, the embryo has its own heartbeat, its own nervous system, and long before the mother can feel it, the embryo is capable of moving arms and legs. Nobody could ever scientifically show that a woman has two heads, two pairs of arms and legs, and two blood types at once. No, physically, this embryo is fully human.

            Of course, some abortion advocates would grant the humanity of the fetus, but they attack its personhood. Arguments range all over the place, but frequently it is claimed that they are not a person at conception, so even though they are human, they are not of equal value to human persons, making abortion acceptable. The problem is their utter failure to accurately define when an embryo becomes that person.

            Some say that it is only a person after birth, yet how can this be logically defended? The timing of birth varies tremendously. While nine months is the average time for fetal development in humans, we often see children born at many different times. Some are born later than average, while many could come prematurely. As previously mentioned, our medical technology makes it feasible to keep babies alive if born even at 21 weeks! Is this child more or less a human person due to its early arrival? Clearly there is no way to suggest that.

            Is the child then magically granted personhood upon exiting the birth canal? Does the birthing process instill it with special value? If so, are children born by cesarean section less human than those birthed vaginally? It is ludicrous to even claim such things since they have no basis in observation nor rationality.

            One of the more prevalent arguments however, is not the timing of the birth, but the mental capacity of the baby. Some say that self-awareness or self-sufficiency is needed for personhood. Logically, this must also apply to all other humans equally. Are comatose hospital patients any less a person due to their lack of consciousness? What about self-sufficiency? Is a physically feeble 90 year-old less human due to their inability to cook, clean, work, and sometimes even feed themselves? What about when a healthy adult is asleep? Are they truly conscious or self-aware then? We get into dangerous eugenic territory when we take this argument to its logical conclusions. There is no place that the abortion advocate can point to as being logically better than conception as the point of personhood’s origin. As ethicist Scott Rae says,

…if I am hunting with a friend who enters the woods and I then hear what sounds like the rustling of a deer at the same spot where my friend entered, I had better not shoot. After all, I cannot be sure whether the rustling sound was made by my friend or the deer. If in doubt, I should not shoot into the trees. Likewise, if in doubt about the personhood of the fetus, one should not risk the life of the fetus, since it may be a person whose life is being ended by abortion. Uncertainty about the status of the fetus justifies caution, not abortion.[22]

Rae hits the issue very clearly: if there is any doubt on when the fetus is human, it is only logical to err to the side of caution in case one ends up killing a human person. If you do not know when the embryo is a human person, it is unethical to assume that gives the rights to kill it at any point. The only defensible origin of the human person is at conception.

VII. Conclusion

            Society has become calloused to the flippant destruction of innocent human life. Excuses are a dime a dozen, yet logical arguments are few and far between. Using logic and science alone, one can fairly succinctly dismantle pro-abortion arguments; but is that enough to change hearts and minds? Sometimes, but the heart issue goes much deeper. We base our conclusions to such arguments as this on our underlying worldviews.

            Evolutionary worldviews tend to bring humanity down to the level of the animals. If we have come from animals through a process of errors, death and struggle, something like abortion could make sense. Yet the evolutionary argument is falling on hard times today with the rise of Intelligent Design. Such arguments not only dismantle the capabilities of natural mechanisms, but also point positively towards a designer. The Christian could easily combine such research with the historical evidence of their faith to show that humans are quite exceptional.

           The scriptures tell us that humans are not mere animals. Mankind was created in the image of God. As such, we are the image bearers of the divine, and an attack like abortion desecrates the image of God.[23] We have traded in our reality as sons and daughters of the creator of the universe for the convenience and selfishness of abortion.  As the Psalmist said in praise to God, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”[24] Who are we to tear down what God has made so wonderfully?

           How can be so brash as to claim superior value to that of our children? The dehumanization of the unborn must stop, but laws and arguments rarely sway hearts. Instead of putting legal Band-Aids on the surface, we must seek to change the hearts of our culture from the ground up. Abortion has grown to such epidemic proportions due to the failure to build up the current generations with knowledge of human exceptionalism and immense value. As is this author’s goal, education both in school and church must not ever waver in its defense of scientific, logical, and scriptural defenses of human value, especially for those that cannot speak for themselves like the unborn.


[1] “AbortionFacts.com.” Fact #8: Less than 1% of All Abortions Are Performed to save the Life of the Mother. – AbortionFacts.com. Accessed April 08, 2019. https://www.abortionfacts.com/facts/8#2.

[2] Jones, Emily. “Man Stabs Pregnant Woman and Baby to Death – No Charges for Killing Child Thanks to NY Abortion Law.” CBN News. February 11, 2019. Accessed April 08, 2019. https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/february/man-stabs-pregnant-woman-and-baby-to-death-no-charges-for-killing-child-thanks-to-ny-abortion-law.

[3] McGuire, Ashley. “Most Americans Don’t Want a Standing Ovation for Abortions until Birth. But Democrats Do.” USA Today. January 30, 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/01/30/new-york-abortion-law-liberal-leaders-celebration-death-life-column/2670049002/.

[4]Cain, Áine. “21 Billionaires Who Grew up Poor.” Business Insider. August 28, 2018. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/billionaires-who-came-from-nothing-2013-12/.

[5] “About Dr. Levatino.” AbortionProcedures.com. Accessed April 08, 2019. https://www.abortionprocedures.com/about-dr-levatino/.

[6] Levatino, Anthony. “Abortion Procedures: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimesters.” YouTube. February 24, 2016. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZDhM5Gwhk&t=10s.

[7] “Born at 21 Weeks, This May Be the Most Premature Surviving Baby.” TODAY.com. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.today.com/health/born-21-weeks-she-may-be-most-premature-surviving-baby-t118610.

[8] Levatino, Anthony. “Abortion Procedures: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimesters.” YouTube. February 24, 2016. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZDhM5Gwhk&t=10s.

[9] “Expert Tells Congress Unborn Babies Can Feel Pain Starting at 8 Weeks.” ONEOFUS. September 28, 2017. Accessed April 10, 2019. https://oneofus.eu/2013/05/expert-tells-congress-unborn-babies-can-feel-pain-starting-at-8-weeks/.

[10] “California Judge with Connections to Planned Parenthood Fines Pro-Life Journalist David Daleiden $137,000.” Texas Right to Life. July 20, 2017. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/california-judge-with-connections-to-planned-parenthood-fines-pro-life-journalist-david-daleiden-137000/.

[11] Daleiden, David. “Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Business Partners Admit Guilt in $7.8 Million Settlement.” The Center for Medical Progress. December 12, 2017. Accessed April 09, 2019. http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2017/12/planned-parenthood-baby-parts-business-partners-admit-guilt-in-7-8-million-settlement/.

[12] David, Daleiden. “Fifth Circuit Vindicates CMP’s Undercover Videos.” The Center for Medical Progress. January 18, 2019. Accessed April 09, 2019. http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2019/01/fifth-circuit-vindicates-cmps-undercover-videos/.

[13] “What Is the Difference between Totipotent, Pluripotent, and Multipotent?” What Is the Difference between Totipotent, Pluripotent, and Multipotent? | NYSTEM. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://stemcell.ny.gov/faqs/what-difference-between-totipotent-pluipotent-and-multipotent.

[14] Ibid

[15]“Boston Children’s Hospital.” Boston Children’s Hospital. Accessed April 10, 2019. http://stemcell.childrenshospital.org/about-stem-cells/faqs/.

[16] “Medical Diseases & Conditions | Adult Stem Cell Treatment.” Stem Cell Research Facts. Accessed March 9, 2019. https://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/stem-cell-treatments.

[17] “New Human Fetal Cell Lines Available for Vaccine Production – NVIC Newsletter.” National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). January 15, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019. https://www.nvic.org/nvic-vaccine-news/january-2018/new-human-fetal-cell-lines-for-vaccine-production.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0lMzvhUdRaBGK2-i9bpm1LO0Jw5ntT0nVMKb2bTvPcfRxfL1dHAZHflnk.

[18]P, Lars. “Stanley Plotkin, Godfather of Vaccines, UNDER OATH Part 8.” YouTube. October 08, 2018. Accessed April 11, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o06qJA0kjww.

[19] “Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary.” Center for Disease Control. October 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf.

[20] Jacobs, J. P., C. M. Jones, and J. P. Baille. “Characteristics of a Human Diploid Cell Designated MRC-5.” Nature News. July 11, 1970. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/227168a0.

[21] P, Lars. “Stanley Plotkin, Godfather of Vaccines, UNDER OATH Part 8.” YouTube. October 08, 2018. Accessed April 11, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o06qJA0kjww.

[22] Rae, Scott B. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018, page 138.

[23] Genesis 9:8, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

[24] Psalm 139:13, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

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