Creation Research Society Reviews “Evolution 2.0” by Perry Marshall

The Creation Research Society reviewed Evolution 2.0 shortly after it came out, then recently published a second, more extended review (11 pages, click to see the entire article). The editor adds: “This greatly extended review of an important book is warranted.”

Clearly they do not like the book, though they do indicate that had I trod a somewhat different path and come to conclusions more similar to their own, I would be warmly embraced. Thankfully their tone is very civil.

The review deserves a response. This video does so, while adding a great deal of very important back story which had never been told. Lengthy but worth the listen:

Watch the video and post your comments below!

You can listen to a highly abridged FREE audiobook of Evolution 2.0 by subscribing to the Evolution 2.0 Podcast; the featured chapters are in the podcast feed.

11 Responses

  1. Frank Visser says:

    I have added an Addendum to my review of Evolution 2.0:
    http://integralworld.net/visser97.html

    I do share some questions with Trumann. As I would phrase it: where do you stand in the Spirit-Matter slider going from Old Earth creationism to pure chance rules?

    • Several corrections to your article:

      I am NOT an old earth creationist. Creationists believe in a series of miraculous events introducing new species. I do not. I endorse the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. For example see http://extendedevolutionarysynthesis.com/

      The Creation Research Society is not old earth. They are dogmatically young earth, to the point of not even mentioning the speed of light in their review (which absolutely eviscerates any notion of a young universe, and the YECs have no good answer to the question).

      I don’t see this as a slider. The slider is a false dichotomy. It’s not either-or it’s both-and. (At least in the largest sense of where it all comes from and how it is ordered.) You cannot escape the fact that the universe has every appearance of being spectacularly fine-tuned. If you were going to simulate the universe in a video game like environment, the level of engineering it would require in order to “let it go and run” would be unfathomable to our current levels of technology.

      Now what I think you’re really asking is: Did God have to meddle and interfere and push the thing along the whole time?

      Well the real answer is I don’t know. But the vote I’m casting with my book Evolution 2.0, the prize and everything else is:

      No, God did not have to do that. God created a self-evolving universe that is capable of making itself into what it wants to be.

      Now the question you ask here in your blog post is not the same as the question you ask on your webpage. Your question here is:

      “where do you stand in the Spirit-Matter slider going from Old Earth creationism to pure chance rules?”

      I’m not an old earth creationist, as I said earlier. As Evolution 2.0 makes painstakingly clear, “pure chance” is not only not an answer to how evolution works, it’s ANTI-scientific. It stops scientific inquiry in its tracks. Evolution is a non-random, intentional process of cognition on the part of all living things. And it’s not based only on fixed physical laws, it’s also based on the evolving modular linguistic modifications of intentional organisms which possibly possess some level of consciousness.

      • By the way thanks for your book review. In your review you ask this question:

        Perry Marshall is a strongly pro-science creationist. But what would that actually mean for God’s real influence on the evolutionary process? Our planet Earth, nay our Solar System, can’t even be found in the galaxies of galaxies in the known universe. Would a Cosmic Spirit really take in interest in this speck of cosmic dust? I can’t resist the Flat Earth flavour of these conceptions. A comprehensive view of biology does not necessarily provide proof of Gods existence.

        Scientifically speaking I’m content with “Fine-tuned universe – God created the universe, fine-tuned it for life, stepped back and from then on, cosmic and biological evolution ran its course.” I think that’s the view you HAVE to take in order to maximize the discoveries of science. The positions to the left dishonor science by saying “God did it,” and the positions to the right dishonor science by saying “chance did it.” Frankly, true scientific minds should be even more opposed to erring on the right side than the left because randomness demonstrably only destroys information and the assumption of randomness in biology kills inquiry and discovery. (CRISPR came from DNA that was for a long time considered to be Junk DNA. There’s more discoveries waiting for us in “Junk DNA.”)

        The real answer to this question takes us into some very different departments of my life. This would be a good place to start:

        http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles/

        Referring to the link just above, I have had so many personal experiences of a spiritual nature, that I simply don’t know how it would even be possible for me to be an atheist. I have witnessed way too many miraculous events in my life, with my own two eyes. The article above is nearly 10 years old and only scratches the surface of my personal experience – here’s another story that is also told in my book “80/20 Sales & Marketing” which has sold well over 50,000 copies – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TcrHhhs-A4 – The event I describe in this video utterly changed my life and career.

        The video you kindly linked to in the extension to your review adds many more details to my story. Thanks for watching and linking.

      • Thomas De Simone says:

        Perry, I bought and read your book. Excellent and reinforces what I believe. However, your answer above “God created a self-evolving Universe, etc.” really makes you a classic Deist not a Christian. I came back to faith because of science both in the creation of the Universe and the creation of life. In my view, having read Spinoza’s “Ethics” and taking it one step further, I believe the nature of God is Panentheistic. God is the creator and the all of existence. Both the garden and the gardener as Einstein said. Be interested in knowing your thoughts.

        • Thomas,

          I believe the statement in Genesis 2, “God breathed the breath of life into the man and he became a living being.” (Breath not being oxygen but spirit.) I believe in the incarnation. So I am not a deist.

          Nonetheless I believe that an interpretation of earth’s history which resembles deism is a much higher view of God than a God that shows up repeatedly to build new creatures. If DOS from 1981 evolved into Windows 10 of 2018 all by itself, with no injections of new lines of code by employees in Redmond Washington, you’d be pretty impressed. Similarly, an evolutionary view doesn’t take anything away from God. On the contrary it demands a much higher view of God.

          Also I find it ironic that most evangelical Christians who embrace creationism reject modern miracles and the notion that some people today have gifts of healing.

          Read my reply to Frank Visser in earlier comments above for this same article for some examples of modern miracles that I’ve seen with my own two eyes.

          I don’t embrace pantheism, but there is a scripture that says “The whole earth is full of His glory” and I take that statement more literally than most Christians. The celts saw divinity not merely reflected but in some sense embodied in nature and I see the world in a similar way.

        • Thomas,

          I articulate my reasons for being a Christian instead of a Deist, in detail, at http://www.evo2.org/faq

  2. Ekim VANDERMAN says:

    The “enmity” part of the Bible did that happen before or after the “Serpent” beguiled Eve? Did the Satan start the line of Caine?

  3. Tom Godfrey says:

    Perry,

    You may have spent hours reading comments I have posted on your blog. I have read your responses, usually much briefer than mine, purchased your book, read it carefully, taken pages of notes on it, read reviews of it in the CRSQ, and now I have even watched the entire video posted here to see how you responded to the longer Truman review in particular. I have certainly not ignored or simply dismissed your ideas. Can you extend the favor of considering even mine?

    To provide a reasonable response to the Truman review, I suggest that you write one out and submit it as a letter to the CRSQ editor. If it is rejected for publication, then you can at least post one it here. You ought to realize that the video idea was an egregious approach to presenting a serious response. I think I counted only three places where you briefly addressed something in the review, the first of which came over two hours into the video. The rest of the video was devoted to “background” of questionable relevance to points made in the review.

    Your first comment directly addressing the review came at 2:08:07 – 31, which I transcribe here:

    “So Creation Research Science Quarterly chastises me for not knowing that all of their guys have been talking about this at their conferences for years. Well, I’m not the only one that doesn’t know. Like, how come you guys are keeping this stuff a secret? And how come you’re not explaining how evolution works?”

    You got the name of the journal wrong—it’s the Creation Research Society Quarterly—but listeners can excuse this as a slip of the tongue. Saying “all of their guys” was simply a careless exaggeration, surely. The chastisement you allege here is evidently a reference to the following paragraph on p. 61 of the review by Truman:

    “Marshall offers five drivers to produce rapid evolutionary change. Once again, Marshall is apparently unaware that for many YECs with advanced degrees in science or medicine, what follows in his book is well known, has been often discussed, and is frequently published.”

    At issue is the question of whether you have kept abreast of the latest work being published by creationists. Truman says you are “apparently unaware” of it without documenting his claim. You protest that creationists “are keeping this stuff secret.” Which claim is closer to the truth? Personally, I am more inclined to side with Truman on this point in view of the rarity of references to creationist books and other publications in your book, not to mention in this long interview.

    The next section that is clearly relevant to the review begins at 2:20:50, and here is my transcription for the convenience of visitors here who cannot spare the time to watch your whole video:

    “There’s a part of the CRS review where Royal Truman talks about symbiogenesis, and he goes, he goes, basically he says, ‘Common parts do not imply common ancestry.’ So he’s …, what he’s saying more or less is, ‘Okay, I realize that a chloroplast looks an awful, awful lot like an algae, but that just means God used the same parts, that he made them both from scratch.’ Okay. Let’s understand. There’s a very good reason why you would want a common ancestry view, and it’s the same reason that you want one equation for comets, and asteroids, and apples. It’s because it unifies everything. Okay?”

    You did not really dispute the claim that common parts do not imply common ancestry, but are you claiming here that your theory is better because it provides a better unified explanation? If so, how is common descent a better unified theory than the common designer theory is? You may protest that even creationists appeal to common descent too, only in a much more limited way, thereby complicating matters. However, common descent does not quite cover all common parts either. Consider, for example, the homology involving your arm and your leg. I don’t think this can be explained by common descent from an ancestor with just arms or just legs, so I think your theory needs to be complicated a bit as well. The common designer theory handles this kind of homology without any further complication.

    Just a little over a minute more is spared to address the review directly. It runs from 3:08:55 – 10:00, a section I also transcribe here as follows:

    “In fact, one of the best books I have ever read is In the Beginning Was Information, by Werner Gitt. He is a six-day, young-earth creationist, but he’s also an engineering professor in Germany, and it’s a superb discourse on the information problem in biology. Okay. Now the Creation Research Quarterly guys, they kind of chastised me. They said, ‘You know, Mr. Gitt’s been out there for twenty years, and he hasn’t gotten anywhere, and I think Perry’s prize is a fool’s errand.’ Well, I’ve gotten somewhere with this prize. I’ve got people taking me seriously. I’m speaking at universities. I mean, I gave a talk at Notre Dame a few months ago. I announced the prize at ASU. I’ve got the leading geneticist at Harvard, I’ve got the leading physiologist at Oxford. I’ve got people taking this seriously. I’ve got millions of dollars in investment. I think we have a shark tank for biological ideas is actually what I think we have here. So I’m actually making some progress, …”

    Your claim that the “Creation Research [Society] Quarterly guys” said, “Mr. Gitt’s been out there for twenty years, and he hasn’t gotten anywhere,” strikes me as misleading.

    This claim is evidently a reference to a part of the review on p. 65, where Truman wrote, “On page 150 we read, ‘A frequent Creationist and ID claim is that there is no known observable process by which new information can be added to the genetic code of an organism.’ The reference is to a book written in 1997 by an engineer, but nothing is mentioned about the current literature available on this topic. During the 1990s, not much was known about information processing involving DNA beyond the ability to specify protein sequences.”

    Truman said nothing about where the unnamed engineer did or did not get since the cited book was written, but if what Truman pointed out is true—you did not dispute it—then your understanding of creationist ideas may indeed be seriously out of date. Have you considered doing something to remedy this?

    Truman’s opinion that your prize is a fool’s errand is one that I think you ought to take seriously. None of the progress you have made to establish and advertise it suggests that it cannot be a fool’s errand. I think all you can claim here is that Truman’s opinion is one that you and certain other people do not share.

    At 3:02:55 – 04:12 in the video, we come to an exchange that touches on this same issue.

    Interviewer (who was not well identified): “So is your primary goal to basically, eventually get to the end of this problem and say, ‘I told you God existed!’ or is to more, as you said earlier, to heal the rift?”

    PM: “It’s more about healing the rift. I mean, I’m sure some Christians will be disturbed that, you know, Perry’s not out trying to prove that God exists. Here’s what I think. You know, I can do a God-of-the-gaps argument as good as anybody, and I’ve got as good of a God-of-the-gaps argument as anybody has got. Okay. DNA is a code. All the code is designed, and therefore DNA is designed, and yeah, and I’ve got five million dollars to prove that I’m right. Well, the five million dollars is no longer to prove that I’m right. The five million dollars is to pursue the truth. The fact is we don’t know where the genetic code came from. Maybe it’s a divine miracle. Maybe it’s an act of God. I’m fine with that, but maybe it’s an undiscovered law of physics, and maybe it’s something absolutely incredible, and maybe if we solve this, we’ll solve consciousness, and we’ll solve AI, and we’ll understand biology so much better, and maybe it’d be this huge breakthrough. I don’t know.”

    I think a better answer to the question would be that there might not be an end to the problem. The prize could remain unearned indefinitely, maybe because no one tries hard enough to solve it, or maybe because no qualifying solution can exist. In this case, no theist can claim this situation as proof that God exists or that an intelligent designer must have been required for life to arise in a previously lifeless world. This would be a fallacious argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    On the other hand, the prize might eventually be earned, in which case, I think atheists would feel triumphant and hardened in their conviction that no God is needed to explain the origin of life. They could reasonably conclude that this could have happened naturally, without a designer. Nevertheless, this outcome would be no proof that a modern experiment reflected what happened in the past, regardless of confidence in the new speculation.

  4. Tom Godfrey says:

    Perry,

    Let’s think about your belief that “God created a self-evolving universe that is capable of making itself into what it wants to be” without having “to meddle and interfere and push the thing along the whole time,” along with your claim that this “demands a higher view of God” than belief in creation of the heavens and the earth “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1) in a series of miracles lasting only six ordinary days (Ex. 20:11).

    You may have confused yourself through the DOS analogy you gave Thomas De Simone and also mentioned in the interview video. Your analogy reasonably represents only one side of the necessary comparison, inviting us to ignore the other side. To extend your analogy to include both sides fairly, we need to consider a scenario where Bill Gates does not release DOS in 1981 but rather releases Windows 10 of 2018 back in 1981 instead—without having to put it through any normal process of software development. He just sat down and coded the whole thing from scratch in one go, bug free, no testing required. Boom! Done! No series of annoying beta releases ever!

    Maybe it is difficult to compare those two scenarios fairly, given how foreign they both are to our human experience. This is like comparing two miracles performed by God, for whom nothing is too hard (Jer. 32:17). Which miracle was harder for Jesus to perform, changing water into wine or healing a man of his blindness? How can we possibly know? What difference would it make if we did know? I think our goal should be to find the truth, not blindly pick a scenario that we imagine might be “a higher view of God.”

    To find the truth, we ought to examine our epistemology carefully. In the case of origins, we have at least two dramatically different alternative approaches. One is to believe what God has revealed. Even a child can do this. No advanced degree in science is required. Neither is any government-funded research project. All that is required is simple faith, practically identical to the faith that many ordinary people have in the tentative conclusions of modern experts.

    The other alternative is to trust those experts to get it right, based on their interpretation of currently available physical evidence under the no-miracle presupposition, the idea that God had nothing to do with what happened in the beginning. You may protest that you believe God triggered the Big Bang, but you agree with the history accepted by atheists from the Big Bang until the time of Adam, right? Aren’t we talking about over 13.7 billion years of alleged history? Well, your proposal seems to me to be nearly indistinguishable from the physical evidence approach.

    There is a big difference between the first approach I described above and the “God-did-it” or “God-of-the-gaps” approach that you discussed in the video (3:02:55 – 04:12). This latter approach is simply a variation of the second (physical evidence) approach in which anything that cannot be explained by appeal to natural processes currently known to scientists is attributed to God to solve the mystery. This is ridiculed by atheists, and as you pointed out, if a naturalistic explanation is later found, you have to retreat. You might say you keep painting yourself into a smaller and smaller corner of what ought to be considered just unsolved mysteries. Saying that God triggered the Big Bang may be a good example of the “God-did-it” idea. When we simply believe what God has revealed, this has nothing to do with a gap or unsolved mystery related to speculation about the proper interpretation of physical evidence.

    You offered your DOS analogy. Here’s another analogy for you to consider, one presented as a parable.
    https://creation.com/the-parable-of-the-candle

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