Beginnings Reporting on science and intelligent design

Time to ‘get over Darwin’

Science | A Yale scientist denounces belief in Darwinian evolution
by Julie Borg
Posted 8/22/19, 02:40 pm

Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter publicly turned his back on Darwin’s theory of evolution in a recent op-ed for the Claremont Review of Books. “Darwin has failed,” he declared.

Gelernter did not speak much of his Jewish religious ideology and fell short of wholeheartedly endorsing intelligent design, but he unequivocally stated that scientists should “get over Darwin and move on.”

Gelernter has believed in Darwinism since early childhood. But books like Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt and David Berlinski’s The Deniable Darwin made him realize the theory failed to explain the one thing Darwin set out to discover: the origin of species.

The Cambrian explosion and discoveries in molecular biology, a field that didn’t even exist in Darwin’s day, have dealt a death blow to Darwinian evolution, Gelernter wrote. The Cambrian explosion describes a period in the fossil record when a huge variety of animals suddenly appeared with no evidence of any predecessors. Darwin’s theory of evolution cannot explain those fossils. “Most species enter the evolutionary order fully formed and then depart unchanged,” Gelernter wrote. “The incremental development of new species is largely not there.”

Molecular biology presents an even greater conundrum for evolutionists, he noted. Any genetic mutation capable of creating a new life form would need to alter a gene that acts early in the organism’s development and controls the expression of other genes that come into play later on. But mutations on early, developmental genes kill an organism long before it can reproduce.

As an example, Gelernter cited the work of German geneticists and 1995 Nobel Prize winners Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus. The scientists attempted to induce macroevolution in fruit flies by introducing every genetic mutation they could think of. But every mutation they tried turned out to be a dead end, killing the fly long before it could mate.

Gelernter appeared on an episode of Uncommon Knowledge, the Hoover Institute’s current affairs program, in July with Meyer and Berlinski. The three discussed the inability of Darwinian evolution to explain the complexity of cells.

Evolutionists describe the origin of species as a bottom-up, undirected process in which life begins simply and then branches out into ever more complex forms.

“But, what we see in life—complex miniature machines, complex information processing systems, digital code—these are things that bear the hallmark of mind and they suggest a top-down rather than a bottom-up approach,” Meyer said. “I think we’re in a new day. … We are looking at life in light of our own high-tech digital computing technologies and realizing these systems bear all the hallmarks of design, so let’s start to look at life differently.”

Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Rafi Lewis Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Rafi Lewis A gold and silver earring uncovered in Jerusalem

Finding bling from Biblical times

Archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte recently unearthed clear evidence of the 587–586 B.C. Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem described in the Bible. The scientists working at the Mount Zion excavation site in Jerusalem found pottery and lamps typical of that time and an elegant gold and silver tassel or earring made in the shape of a cluster of grapes.

The objects suggest a wealthy Jewish family lived at the site. Side-by-side with those artifacts, the researchers also discovered ashes, burnt wood, and bronze and iron arrowheads typically used by Babylonian warriors of that period.

“The combination of an ashy layer full of artifacts, mixed with arrowheads, and a very special ornament indicates some kind of devastation and destruction,” Shimon Gibson, a UNC Charlotte professor of history, said. “Nobody abandons golden jewelry, and nobody has arrowheads in their domestic refuse.”

According to the Biblical description of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, the warriors looted and then burned King Solomon’s temple to the ground. Many people died, and Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar exiled most of those who survived.

Every year, Jews gather in synagogues around the world and at the remains of the temple’s Western Wall in Jerusalem to pray and fast in remembrance of the destruction of the temple, first by the Babylonians and then on the same day in A.D. 70 at the hands of Roman soldiers. The holy day, known as Tisha B’Av, falls on the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av, which coincided with Aug. 11 this year. —J.B.

Facebook/Iron Fire nutricion Facebook/Iron Fire nutricion MMS products

FDA: Please don’t drink bleach

Most of us know better than to drink bleach. But with new products on the market, the Food and Drug Administration decided to reiterate the warning.

The FDA has received many reports that online distributors are marketing products containing sodium chlorite or chlorine dioxide as treatments for infections, autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, flu, and other illnesses. But the chemicals are not intended for human consumption and make up the active ingredients in many industrial disinfectants and bleaching agents.

Consuming the solutions can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe dehydration. Often, the more concentrated the product, the more severe the reactions. The FDA has received reports of consumers experiencing low blood pressure and acute liver failure after drinking them.

The products go by various names such as Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, and Water Purification Solution (WPS). The directions on these products instruct people to mix the solution with a citric acid, such as lemon or lime juice, but the acid causes the mixture to become chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach.

No research exists showing any effectiveness or safety of these products, the FDA noted. —J.B.

iStock/JHVEPhoto iStock/JHVEPhoto Monarch butterflies

Monarch migration aggravation

Soon the monarch butterflies of North America will begin their annual fall migration to the warmer climates of California or Mexico, where they will winter until their return next spring. Over the past two decades, the number of North American monarchs has dwindled by 90 percent. To boost their numbers, hobbyists raise large numbers of monarchs, and commercial breeders sell them for school children to release. But a study published July 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that captive breeding disrupts monarchs’ migratory instinct, keeping them from flying south to survive the cold winter.

In the study, conducted by scientists at the University of Chicago, monarchs purchased from a commercial breeder and those caught in the wild and raised in an indoor environment mimicking the outdoors failed to fly southward. Even monarchs that had completed an outdoor life cycle before the researchers brought them indoors lost their ability to migrate.

“Our results provide a window into the complexity—and remarkable fragility—of migration,” the researchers said. —J.B.

Julie Borg

Julie is a World Journalism Institute graduate. She covers science and intelligent design for WORLD and is a clinical psychologist. Julie resides in Dayton, Ohio.

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  • KF
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 11:40 am

    This year I've seen crazy numbers of monarchs, wondering what it was about the spring that caused this. I was in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. I don't recall ever seeing this many at once and have even seen comments on FB asking where all the monarchs are coming from. ☺

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 12:35 pm

    Re: "Getting Over Darwin"


  • RC
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 02:07 pm

    I am surprised Professor Gelemter has the courage to speak out. The Darwinian fundamentalist are going to have his head on a platter.  Logic, rational thinking and scientific evidence matter little to the Darwinian fundamentalist who will stop at nothing to shut down opposition, any way they can.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 12:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more! 

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 10:39 pm

    I know World is not the first to publish this article on Dr. David Gelernter but still trying to figure out why anyone cares about a Computer Science professor's opinion on evolution at all. Computer Science is many times not even in the school of science but in Engineering or Business and may not require much study of science curriculum at all.

    This is about like a house painter and a portrait painter commenting on each other's work. No offense to either but the skill sets are completely different. Each should be appreciative of critiques received from the other but would be wary of treating them as authoritative by any means.

    Look at his books and publications - his denial of Darwinianism is the only non-Computer Science publication he has made.

    I just don't see experts in Evolution getting too worked up by his comments. I don't think Creationists should put too much stock in them either.

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 01:48 pm

    Re Just Me 999: So basically what you're saying is that only "scientific experts" from narrowly defined fields may speak to a topic as broad as evolution? That means that most of us must shut our eyes, ears, and mouths and believe whatever we are told, that pure logic and common sense derived from a wide range of "having-lived-on-earth" experiences are of no value? The connection between computer science and evolution is the complexity of various symbolic languages. Biological systems--animals at the molecular level--use chemical/mechanical language no less than computers use electronic language. Both require software, i.e., information. A computer scientist studies information systems, and biology is all about information. That is why Dr. David Gelernter is qualified to speak about evolution. Further, most people with a college level degree of any type have learned to "think" for themselves, and thinking is mainly what gives the lie to evolution. Even more than this, common sense tells us that Darwinian evolution just isn't true, and even a five year old child can figure out that everything we see in the world didn't just create itself by chance.

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 04:21 pm

    West Coast Gramma: not what I'm saying at all. We are all free to think what we want. I happen to believe Evolution is completely wrong.

    My concern is that the average person will read that a "Scientist" at Yale refutes Evolution when in fact the "Scientist" is a Computer Science professor in the College of Engineering at Yale.

    When people read that he is a "scientist" at Yale there is some equivocation here about what the term Scientist means. The reader may be assuming that he is a trained Biologist, Anthropologist, etc in the fields of Science and therefore his repudiation of Darwinism is from someone deep in the field and tell others with that wrong understanding.

    I  am a Professor of Computer Science as well and although I totally agree with him, I wouldn't want someone to assume that my belief is from someone deep in the trained fields of Evolutionary Science. More from someone with strong beliefs but little scientific training, practice and expertise in the that field.

  •  Peter Allen's picture
    Peter Allen
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 08:24 pm

    Because computee scientists deal with math.  Mathmaticians and genetic scientists often agree that Evolution is not mathematically possible.  In other words evolution breaks with oh so many realities. 

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 10:52 pm

    Peter Allen: I have never heard a mathematician state that Evolution is not mathematically possible, as you claimed. I don't believe in Evolution, but if you're going to make a statement like that, with all due respect, please back up your facts. Please give an example of a mathematician who stated that Evolution is not mathematically possible.

  •  Peter Allen's picture
    Peter Allen
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 12:31 pm

    Realy??  Did you not take the time to do a simple internet search which comes up with multitudes of studies to show the math on evolution??   From an article amounst many others:

    "the successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires, at least, 200 successive, successful such "mutations," each of which is highly unlikely. Even evolutionists recognize that true mutations are very rare, and beneficial mutations are extremely rare—not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial, at the very most.

    But let us give the evolutionist the benefit of every consideration. Assume that, at each mutational step, there is equally as much chance for it to be good as bad. Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½)200, or one chance out of 1060. The number 1060, if written out, would be "one" followed by sixty "zeros." In other words, the chance that a 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is unreasonably complex, it should be noted that even a one-celled plant or animal may have millions of molecular "parts."

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 06:04 pm

    Thank you for the clarification Just Me 999. And if you made a thorough study of the written materials concerning evolution, and perhaps did some original research or thinking yourself from a computer science point of view, why would you discount your authority? What I'm saying is that the study of evolution is one of the most eclectic disciplines in all of science. It includes geology, paleontology, biology, microbiology, genetics, logic, philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, information science, and most likely others. I don't think there is a pure science that could be called Evolutionary Science. If there were, it would include all those disciplines I mentioned. I believe that any reasonably educated person can study the available written material and come to an authoritative conclusion. Philip Johnson is a philosopher/journalist, Michael Behe a biologist, Stephen Meyer a great thinker, tremendous observationist, and scientific historian, Demski a mathematician, and so on. What was Darwin? A world traveler, a naturalist good at detailed observation and record keeping, and a naturalistic philosopher. If a computer scientist can write a coherent, well-informed book about evolution, then so could you. There is no such thing as an "evolution scientist."

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Sun, 08/25/2019 09:19 am

    And that is exactly my point. We want to hear our story so much that we are willing to accept anyone who agrees with us, irrespective if they have the background to say what they are saying.

    I don't discount the message, but I am not willing to accept as a victory a convert who was never one of the first string players on the playing field. Now if he was a scientist from one of the primary areas of Evolutionay Science (geology, paleontology, biology, microbiology, genetics) then I too would declare that a victory. The "conversion" is overstated. Using Dr. David Gelernter as a reference in the Evolutionary discussion would be commiting a textbook example of a logical fallacy known as "Appeal to false authority."

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 01:37 am

    West Coast Gramma is exactly right! There have been several evolutionary books that relied heavily on computer algorithms- Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins is one. “Just Me 999” isn’t well informed about the “eclectic” nature of evolution! One of the challenges to evolution is that it encompasses so many fields that no one individual can master them all. Many scientists have doubts in their specific field, but given the many fields encompassed by evolution, they feel unqualified to speak out. 

    Computer science has many applications to evolution.  One is genetic algorithms which are programmed by computer scientists. The problem with this tool is that oftentimes they fail to program all the physics giving a totally false probability showing evolution is possible. Another area is molecular dynamics where they can investigate mutations and the probability of early biological molecules developing. Another area are Monte Carlo methods, which can investigate many areas of evolution, where different scenarios can be investigated. Probability calculations are another tool where computer scientists are heavily involved. This is very important for intelligent design where computer scientists are needed to capture all the physics to show if an artifact or process shows itself to be complex specified Information (CSI). 

    I would challenge “Just me 999” to question the logical fallacies put forward by evolutionists! We could define a boatload of logical fallacies that evolutionists violate. It is interesting that evolutionists will put forward "Appeal to false authority” as a logical fallacy when computer scientists speak out against evolution but they use the same computer scientists in the study of evolution! How come in one instance it is a logical fallacy and another it isn’t? You cannot have it both ways!

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 08:19 am

    Cyborg3: as a Computer Science professor I am very familiar with genetic algorithms.

    With all due respect, your understanding of genetic algorithms is not correct. Sorry, but no one has "failed [SIC] to program all the physics giving a totally false probability showing evolution is possible" with genetic algorithms. What you're talking about is a specialization of genetic programming known as evolutionary programming which uses mechanisms motivated from biological evolution, such as reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection. Evolutionary programming does not prove or disprove evolution in any way. It simply mimics the reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection functions that cells perform all the time. It says nothing about the past and it has no relation to physics as you state.

    Further, all of these methods that you mention are simulation tools - you need a detailed background in biology or related fields to determine what you are simulating. In a good scenario, without that background you are simply a hammer looking for a nail. In a bad scenario, you can become a false authority, because people reference your work without understanding that you don't have the deep deep expertise the field that you are simulating and are easily turned aside by someone who does have that expertise. Again, this is a textbook definition of the logical fallacy of "Appeal to False Authority."

    The question is not the correctness of the message it is the legitimacy of the claim. I deeply respect Dr. David Gelernter, however I must use caution when referring to his work on evolution because he isn't a published expert in the field of geology, paleontology, biology, microbiology, or genetics.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Tue, 08/27/2019 12:15 am

    Just Me 999, if you read “Climbing Mount Improbable” by Richard Dawkins then you would see the absurd logic put forward claiming that evolution is possible. The whole point of the book is to show there is no probability problem and a fundamental point is that evolutionary algorithms produce complexity in support of evolution. The irony is that these evolutionary algorithms really say nothing about the probability of evolution because IT DOES LEAVE OUT ALL THE RELEVANT PHYSICS! It is similar to stating that I go up in the air when I bounce on a trampoline and theorize that you should be able to jump to the moon! 

    I understand well genetic algorithms and understand how evolutionist dishonestly use them to advance evolution. You seem to not understand Richard Dawkins book and the points he was advancing for he was claiming that genetic algorithms do tell us that evolution is probable.

    You greatly exaggerate the biological evolutionists value in developing an algorithm where there is no biological DNA and everything is technically mental gymnastics!  You tell me how a computer scientist with understanding of evolution is any less qualified than the evolutionary biologist? Both are making up a story not grounded in biology or physics! 

    I don’t believe that you have to be published in the fields of geology, paleontology, biology, microbiology, or genetics to be qualified to speak out against evolution! A mathematician with expertise in probability, an engineer with expertise in systems engineering, a thermodynamics expert, or a computer scientist with expertise in evolutionary algorithms all have expertise that is relevant to the evolution debate!  The attempt to keep them out of the debate is done by people who don’t want evolution debated!

  •  Peter Allen's picture
    Peter Allen
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 12:37 pm

    Oh how many of us with a college education have had to suffer through required classes on Biology, Geology, Archeology, (in my case) even with my undergrad & grad degrees in business) and other sciences taught from an evolutionary context.  Then in parallel or later have read the vastly superior research done by ICR, etc. etc. that totally blows that indoctrination all out of the water.  Don't trust the proff who will not compared the evidence in the classroom as no evolutionist teacher will.  

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 12:52 pm

    Peter Allen: you don't need to resort to ad hominem attacks - yes I can do internet searches.

    First, your statement was " ...that Evolution is not mathematically possible." You are now arguing that it is improbable not impossible. There is a significant difference and that it the real problem here. Just because something is improbable does not mean it will not happen so this cannot be a proof. We need to be very precise here since we may be dealing with an Evolutionist.

    "Even evolutionists recognize that true mutations are very rare, and beneficial mutations are extremely rare —not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial, at the very most." Your argument is nothing new - people have had to grapple with this since Darwin. If that was conclusive proof there would be no Evolutionists.

    What the argument misses is that perhaps there is an uderlying system that better supports these successive mutations thus making something that would appear to be improbable actually probable. I don't believe so but there is no way to conclusively argue this. Some one could say that we are a committing an ignoring a common cause fallacy and we would have no way to argue it but repeat the same statements.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Tue, 08/27/2019 12:30 am

    “Just because something is improbable does not mean it will not happen so this cannot be a proof.”

    I can see it now. “Your honor! The knife just happened to jump up from the ground and stab the victim to death!  Just because something is Improbable doesn’t mean it will not happen, so the jury has no right to convict me!”

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Tue, 08/27/2019 09:37 am

    Cyborg3: obviously we shouldn't believe that we'll get hit by lightning since it is improbable, not to be confused with impossible. In all jest since there is still confusion between improbable and impossible - I think you should prove you can't get hit by lightning! Not really, but you get my point...

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Thu, 08/29/2019 03:23 am

    The real question is how improbable is it? If it approaches the universal probability bound, then it is just too improbable! Probabilities mean something!

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 09/04/2019 11:07 am

    First of all, I think it's great that we as Christians can have this kind of debate-even if it seems uncomfortable at times.  Since I frequently debate atheists online, I have seen that what we accept as Christians often seems ridiculous to an atheist.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (ESV): "To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it for the sake of the gospel, that I might share with them in its blessings."

    You can see an example of this in Acts 17:22-23 (ESV).   "So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.  For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I foudn also an altar with this inscription: 'To the unknown god.'  What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you."  He tells them that there is a God they do not know who made everything but that he does not live in temples made by human beings and appeals to the common desire to know God.  To do so, he quotes from his own scriptures and also from THEIR poetry: "Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have out being,' as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we indeed are his offspring.'" (Acts 17:27-28 ESV)

    If we are going to debate in the scientific community, we will be far more effective if we speak THEIR language and appeal to them in the place where they need God.  To do that, we must be wise and loving and sensitive to God's leading.  A Christian may find it easy to accept the words of any scientist as proof against Darwinian evolution, but a scientist who has built his or her entire worldview on a belief in evolution will probably not be very open to why a Christian feels they are wrong-particularly someone outside their field of expertise.   

    It is important to present scientific evidence, and true science is not CONTRARY to faith; but I doubt many people come to faith because science convinced them.  Faith comes through the Holy Spirit.  The reason I engage in scientific debates is to demonstrate that it is not necessary to close your mind to logic or science or turn off your brain to believe in Jesus (and also to correct the myriad of misconceptions about history and the Bible that are being promoted now).  Since non-believers sometimes hide behind a belief that science disproves faith and use that belief to block any attempts to present the gospel, undercutting that belief will sometimes provide an opening for God to work.  At those times, it often comes out that the real reason the atheist has rejected God is emotional rather than logical-usually because they have been hurt by someone or they felt betrayed in some way. I must look to God to guide me in what to say and how to say it and keep in mind that my main goal is for them to come to Christ-not to get them to agree with me about scientific details.  God can use science and logic, but he must go beyond those things to touch a person's heart.