Idiot, Liar, or Lunatic?
Paul Manata has made a bold claim at his Press the Antithesis blog. Observe:
First and foremost, it must be remembered that evolution is not a scientific theory.
WTF? Where did he get that piece of information? The Bible? I would love to see him give a source for this one. I think Paul made this up. I think Paul illegitimately granted himself the authority to determine what is and is not a scientific theory. Paul made a rather bold and ridiculous judgment in a too-big-for-his-britches moment.
Paul also likes to call evolution "evolutionism." Never heard that one before. Seems a bit redundant to add an "ism" at the end of an "ion" doesn't it? Two can play at this game! Lets start calling Christianity "superstitionism."
If evolution isn't a scientific theory, then Christianity (excuse me, superstitionism) isn't a religion. I have typed it, and it is so. I mean, I got just as much authority to make these judgments about "superstitionism" as Paul has to make about "evolution."
Manata tries to frame evolution as a religion by claiming that evolutionists want to worship the "God" of "Mother Nature." Where does Manata get this? From Van Til and Bahnsen quotes, of course! Think about it: To judge evolution as a religion and not a scientific theory, he does not look at anything from the scientific community, but instead he get his information about evolution from two religious zealots who had no direct involvement in the scientific study of life and biology. Let me put it this way: When I want to learn about Mustang repair, I don't consult the Quran. And when I want to learn about the words of Allah, I don't consult my Ford Mustang repair manual.
But Manata, being the hardcore presup-superstitionist that he is, probably couldn't tie his shoes without consulting the works of Van Til or Bahnsen.
Manata keeps trying to drive the point home that evolution isn't a scientific theory but a "religious presupposition." By equating evolution with a religious presupposition, whom is he trying to insult? Evolution or his own beliefs? Maybe both? It’s possible that he's secretly trying to insult his own intellect. After all, the central tenet of Christianity is that we are all worthless scum deserving eternal suffering due to the actions of our ancient ancestors. Maybe that self-esteem issue is manifesting itself here. If Manata really thought that his religious presuppositional view was all that glorious, then equating evolution with it would be a compliment to evolution, not an insult, I think.
But at any rate, Manata is wrong. Evolution is not a religious presupposition, nor does modern day evolution owe any of its origins to the Greek philosophical ideas that Manata mentioned. Darwin didn't have any Greek philosophical ideas in his head when he observed the differences between Finches in the Galapagos. But you wouldn't know that by reading Van Til and Bahnsen all day. Earth to Manata: don't read the Quran when you need to learn about Mustang repair, and don't read superstitionist literature when you need to learn about scientific theories.
A superstitionist presupposition comes from divine revelation via a supernatural, immaterial entity. A scientific theory comes from carefully measured observations of natural, material entities. Was evolution handed down by a supernatural entity? No.
Manata introduces a funny little list at one point, saying that we need to believe in this list to believe in evolution. Look at the list carefully and tell me if anything in it relates to evolution:
What does evolution require us to believe, upon analysis?
1) Everything came from nothing
2) Order came from chaos
3) Life came from non-life
4) Intelligence came from non-intelligence
5) Moral nature came from amoral things
6) Personality came from non-personality.
7) The copulating came from the cell dividing
8) Taste from the tasteless...etc!
This list is a strawman, no, a scarecrow, straight from the Wizard of Oz. Look at the first item. Everything came from nothing? Evolution has nothing to do with the origins of the universe. Already, Paul's list exposes his total lack of understanding of evolution; he's crossing it with cosmology. Maybe he's been reading too much Kent Hovind material.
If you want to talk about cosmology and the origins of the universe (Which Manata seems to want to do) then you have to look at physics. The first law of thermodynamics is often referred to as the conservation of matter/energy. It states that all the matter and energy in the universe is constant; it can never be created nor destroyed, and it merely changes forms. Science quite specifically does not say that the universe came from nothing. It instead says that the universe was always here. Keep in mind, that the only thing that proposes a universe coming from nothing is superstitionism (Christianity).
Look at the second item: order came from chaos. Manata again has no idea what he's talking about. Can Manata provide an example of chaos? Can Manata take a handful of different colored marbles and arrange them in a chaotic way? I bet $500 that he can't. Instead, what Manata will only be able to accomplish, is an arrangement of marbles in different types of order. Any arrangement of any amount and variation of entities will be in a combination of sequential or grouping order, and I can prove it given any visual representation in a quantifiable and measured way. See, in reality there is only order; chaos is a figment of our imagination brought about by our perception of two types of order being blended. This whole idea is explained quite eloquently at Everything Forever.
The rest of Manata's list follows from the first two items on it, which I just blasted back into the land of make-believe superstitionism. Manata then continues to equate violent acts between humans with evolution. He then claims that the presup-superstitionist can use "evidences" against evolution. What evidences these are? I don't know, for I only saw scarecrows in his arguments. Maybe Manata counts Van Til and Bahnsen writings as "evidences"?
Finally, Manata tries to rip logic away from naturalism:
If naturalistic processes are at bottom of all things then laws of logic (indeed any laws) don't exist. Laws are not "natural" in character. Natural things have location and particularity. Laws of logic do not. Debate assumes that the laws of logic are real. Thus by debating, they loose.
Did Manata just change his mind? In his debate with Derek Sansone, Manata said that logic is a part of God's nature. In Manata's world, God's nature is whatever he wants it to be, because everything that exists, including logic, is set by the mind of God (nihilism anyone?). So in Manata's world, the laws of logic are arbitrary. If they aren't then God doesn't have supreme power and is therefore not God, because the laws of logic would have been set outside of God's will. So Manata loses the debate by assuming his self-defeating superstitionist stance.
But in a godless universe, things aren't so nihilistic. Matter and energy simply have characteristics about them that cause them to behave and interact with other matter and energy in certain ways. The laws weren't set by any conscious entity, but they are a part of matter and energy's nature. If laws can be a part of God's nature, why not a part of matter and energy's nature? After all, matter and energy are everywhere too; even empty space isn't really empty. The only difference here is that without God, laws are really LAWS; they are naturally inherent to matter and energy (which is everywhere and everything). But in Manata's superstitionist world, these laws are part of a nihilistic supernatural being's nature (if that's even possible) and they aren't set in stone; they are arbitrarily set by the supernatural being's whims. How illogical.
Manata is clearly confused. The best he can do is make strawmen, and he does so in such a way as to hint that he's genuinely unaware of these strawmen. He seriously thinks that evolution has something to say about cosmology(!) and the origins of the universe, for example. He thinks that equating evolution with religion is an insult to evolution, but he conveniently forgets that he is the one who believes in a religion. It's like saying "see, you're beliefs are just as dumb as mine!" And that would be true except for the fact that his portrayal of evolution is a total strawman. Well Manata, you're not in Kansas anymore. You're in the real world, and you got to drop your nihilistic arbitrary, illogical superstitionist concepts if you want to make any sense of this world. In other words, don't use a Quran to diagnose your car, and don't go reaching for Van Til and Bahnsen literature if you want to learn anything about evolution.