The New Atheism, Genesis 2 & Symbiogenesis

The New Atheism

“The New Atheism” has become especially loud and strident since September 11, 2001. Bestselling books like Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and battles over evolution vs. design in school boards are front page news. It might even appear that 21st century atheism is an unstoppable force.

But there’s another side to the story. The #1 atheist philosopher of the last 50 years, Antony Flew (who died in April 2010 at age 87), announced that he believed in God and wrote a book about his change of views.

There’s huge new information from the Human Genome project that neither the atheists nor intelligent design advocates have ever told you. Even evolution itself screams design as you begin to understand the sophisticated adaptation mechanisms behind it.

Perry Marshall’s presentation features “10 Hard Questions No Atheist Can Answer.” It’s based on his experience on the front lines of these debates for 5+ years. He shares a unique perspective on history, science and the universe. His websites www.cosmicfingerprints.com and www.coffeehousetheology.com get 1 million visitors per year and his famous MP3 “If you can believe this I can prove God exists” is the most controversial talk on the origin of life on the entire Internet.

Perry has applied digital communications theory and Information Technology to build a bulletproof case for design in DNA. His challenge to atheists, “Show me a message that doesn’t come from a mind,” remains unmet for 4 years and counting. His DNA argument is referenced on more than 1,000 websites on the Internet.

The presentation will be recorded and the video will be posted here on this web page. [PENDING]

Symbiogenesis and a Closer Look at Genesis 1 & 2

Presented at the Chicago Chapter of Reasons to Believe in Wheaton, Illinois

Perry Marshall discusses a controversial scientific theory which some say has already replaced Neo-Darwinism. It’s called Symbiogenesis and it’s #1 champion is the late Carl Sagan’s wife, Lynn Margulis, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts.

It was first proposed by a brilliant Russian scientist in 1924; the fact that it was entirely ignored for 50 years in the English speaking world is considered by some to be a major oversight.

In Symbiogenesis, cooperation, rather than competition, is seen as the primary driver of evolution.

Perry will discuss its place among other evolutionary mechanisms and evolution as an engineered process.

Perry Marshall also gives part 2 of a “Biblical Case for Evolution.” He discusses:

  • The Hebrew in Genesis 1 & 2
  • New questions about the traditional English interpretations of Genesis
  • A new meta structure for making interpretive decisions
  • Exploring of a range of translation options for the pivotal words in the ancient text
  • Stimulating questions about the relationship between science and Bible interpretation

Symbiogenesis Power Point in PDF

Symbiogenesis MP3 audio (35 minutes)

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Genesis 2: A Biblical Case for Evolution Power Point in PDF

Genesis 2: A Biblical Case for Evolution Mp3 audio (49 minutes)

(This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Here’s part 1: “Genesis 1 & A Christian Case for Evolution” Power Point in PDF

“Genesis 1 & A Christian Case for Evolution” MP3 audio)

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10 Comments

galaxycoff says:

The reason I chose to comment on your webpage is because it has been advertised on my page by Ad Sense. There is little to nothing I can do about that without getting rid of the widget/until Google changes their “preference” setting. So until then, the best thing I can do is go to the source and tell you that I have a problem with your argument about codes. Your argument regarding DNA is as follows: P1. coded information requires thought to be created P2. our DNA is a type of code C. our DNA required thought. You can’t prove that all code is only created, because there is a very important possible intervening variable in the origin of the codes you describe. You apply the nature of human created code to non-human created code. For this reason, you risk a composition fallacy, and are using a biased sample (arguably a sample from a population other than the one you are making an inference about). You say that no one has discovered a code humans/a mind didn’t create, but what if DNA is that code? Your option 3 of a code being created by chance is not at all addressed by your anecdotes(?). My point is that you did not make a logical argument as you claim to have done. Also, I want to mention that you say you debated this on an atheist website and seemingly brag about the commotion caused, while you start the talk saying that the fighting is unproductive? You make a remark about a Christian and an atheist going to the zoo, and by the humor I can infer that you and the audience have made the assumption that these 2 camps have vastly different understandings of biology. I am both a Christian, and I also accept evolutionary biology. I will leave explanations to “The Language of God” – Francis S Collins, head of the human genome project and devout Catholic; among others well-qualified. I think you should seriously consider the work of those far more skilled in the subject of evolutionary biology than you are. My hope is, as a fellow Christian, that you can look to your work with humility and maybe see that some changes need to be made.

DNA could be the only naturally occurring code. But until some kind of physical nonintelligent process is discovered that makes codes, it’s an anti-scientific assumption. Science is about empiricism and inference, not wild speculation.

galaxycoff says:

Thanks for taking the time to reply! Obviously you get many comments here, so I do genuinely appreciate that you read them. And rereading my comment, I realize it probably sounds harsher than intended, I just aim to be perfectly clear about what I’m trying to say. I’m a MS student in biology right now, and I plan to continue on the academic track into PhD and beyond, so I’m well versed on what science is and is not. I didn’t make any wild speculation in my post, in fact I made no speculation at all into the origin of DNA. Perhaps it was physically written by a pen out of the hand of God, I don’t know. (Here it is applicable to point out that science is about disproving, not proving.) All I showed was that you cannot arrive at the claim you made and call it “sound logic.” I made no assumptions, only pointed out that there are 2 hypotheses, and you haven’t sufficiently disproved the other. And it’s funny you should ask about a non-intelligent mechanism creating DNA. This is a currently emerging field (abiogenesis) as we look deeper into the “primordial soup” model. Again, I don’t know what the results will be, but you are making what Collins termed a “God in the gaps” hypothesis, and in doing so you’re once again setting science against religion, where they do not need to be opposed. You’re saying that since we have no other explanation for DNA, it must be the hand of God. If a good explanation for the steps of “random” life generation do come out (and it kind of looks like it’s on it’s way, see article citation at bottom) then the atheists or whomever will rejoice, and the Christians who have adopted your explanation of life as a pillar of their faith will feel like a leg of their table has been knocked out. It is good for neither side. I really hope you’ll consider this, I understand a lot of your life has been (successfully) built around this, but I fear you are misleading the people in your reasoning and methodology.

Tracey A. Lincoln and Gerald F. Joyce. 2009. “Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme.” Science 323(5918) 1229 – 1232. DOI: 10.1126/science.1167856

I truly appreciate your position about god of the gaps arguments, and thanks for including this link.

But there’s more to this than just a God argument. I am pointing out a gaping hole in science that is being glossed over, which is the origin of information. I have said many times that I can perfectly well respect a person who takes option #4, which is “there’s an unknown law of physics that generates codes.” The article you mention does not describe an experiment that involved any kind of code at all.

Strangely, hardly anyone takes the “undiscovered law of physics” option. They argue for randomness, mostly.

And as an information technology person I’m puzzled that they think randomness is an adequate explanation. I think the least one should do is search for levels of order that are thus far undiscovered.

Meanwhile, the assumption of randomness has introduced all kinds of sloppy thinking to biology, the most egregious being the “junk dna” hypothesis.

tmclagan says:

Thanks for this, Perry.

What’s interesting to me is to put this in the context of biodiversity and specifically the importance of genetic diversity. We know that inbreeding produces genetic malformations, which animal breeders know all to much about. This is also true among humans, of course.

So, genetic diversity within a species is very important to its vitality. It seems just a logical extension of this that inter-species diversity is also important, if one species can evolve symbiotically and absorb some of the traits of another species, as science is now discovering more and more.

Here’s an interesting tangent (at least to me): There is theological significance behind the fact that genetic diversity among humans is important to our overall health as a species. It tells us that our evil prejudices against the ‘other’ will in fact make us weaker as we refuse to mingle with him. That’s from the Bible of Nature, as Augustine would maybe call it…not to be too presumptuous.

aaamiri says:

Hello,

Science is a means of knowing, understanding, and fulfilling our needs. Without faith no science is possible. Humbly speaking, i want to know if there are any remarkable scientists in the history of humanity that were atheist ? We know that Newton, Galileo, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and many more scientists believed in God. Science was a path for them, a path which enabled them knowing their Creator by knowing His Creation, the Universe. And many scientists of today look upon science as a means of knowing their Creator.

Thanks :-)

Howie47 says:

Even if God did put all life together from Lego like building blocks, over millions of years. That wouldn’t necessarily mean it evolved. Or that He used the evolution process. Are you implying God couldn’t see the finished product from the beginning of the process? Do you think He had to “test” different models until he found the right solution? Well that would have to be true to be evolution.
Maybe because of efficiency and for making an interdependent and interrelated bio-sphere. That works as a united symphony. He choose to use the same building blocks to form all life! My intuition tells me that is closer to the truth. Then any kind of evolution.

“Even if God did put all life together from Lego like building blocks, over millions of years. That wouldn’t necessarily mean it evolved.”

I agree. But I think we have a lot of strong evidence that it did evolve.

I’m not implying that God couldn’t see the finished product. But I am saying that God gave creation freedom to unfold in its own chaotic way. I see evolution itself as a biological example of of individual autonomy.

Carbon-based Machine says:

I’ve been a member here for I while, and I’m intrigued by Perry Marshall’s intelligent design theory. I’m a science teacher, and I’d never teach ID in class. However, I personally see some merit to ID theories, especially the ones that discuss the fine-tuning of the Universe. I also privately believe in God. I have a few questions for Perry:

1. How would genetically-based diseases and inherited disorders fit into your theory? Were they created by God?
2. Are you saying that random mutations can never produce beneficial results? Many bacteria become resistant to antibiotics over time due to random mutations – those with the mutation, survive.
Source: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIC1aRandom.shtml
3. DNA probably evolved from RNA originally, and the first life forms on Earth were much simpler than those today. When you say that “DNA is a code”, don’t you really mean that “genetics is a code”? With lots of RNA present in a pre-biotic environment, don’t you think that a workable code would arise over time?
4. How would discovering life on another planet or moon affect your theory?
Many scientists believe that life may have once existed on Mars.
5. Why Christianity? The Biblical story of creation is incorrect. The Bible has light existing before stars (including the Sun), and it has pre-human life on Earth existing before the Sun, Moon, and stars.

1. All that’s necessary for genetic diseases to exist is copying errors and entropy.
2. I’m not saying they can NEVER produce beneficial results but the percentage of beneficial random mutations is vanishingly small and engineering communication theory makes no proviso for a “percentage of time when copying errors are beneficial instead of harmful.” 0.0000000001% with just about as many zeros as you care to throw in. It is not possible to formulate a systematic functional model of evolution based on purely random errors.
3. The pattern of DNA is a code and genetics is a code. We have no good scientific, mathematical or statistical reason to believe that a code would eventually emerge from the chemicals. There are no known examples of that happening anywhere.
4. Life on other planets would double the import of all the questions that are being raised by my site.
5. The Judeo-Christian creation story fits modern science exactly with some very simple assumptions re: interpretation. It is the only religious tradition for which that can be said to be true. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/genesis1 for a detailed explanation.

Thanks for stopping by, sorry for the sluggish response!

Finally I agree with you that ID raises some very valid questions that deserve to be discussed.

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