Yes, I was surprised when Tiger Woods made his “Very similar to what Phil does,” comments about Rory McIlroy over the weekend at the British Open. I was not at all surprised that Woods feels that McIlroy’s game so far might resemble Phil Mickelson’s more than his own. That’s a fair observation. I was not surprised by the points he made about McIlroy’s inconsistency – the points seemed pretty sensible. No, the shocking part was this: Tiger Woods said it. In case you missed it, Woods was asked a little bit about Rory McIlroy as he blitzed the field and won the British Open. McIlroy became the third-youngest player to win three out of the four grand slam events behind Jack Nicklaus and, of course, Woods. There was a lot of history in the air. The actual question to Woods was: “What is it like to see Rory dominate in a way that only you have in a major like this?” The question was, as we say in the business, a bit loaded. I suspect it was just a kinder way of asking, “How does it feel to see, as the old king of golf, the new king?” Woods, I suspect, knew exactly what was being asked. And his answer was plain: “Well, as you can see, the way he plays is pretty aggressively. When he gets it going, he gets it going. When it gets going bad, it gets going real bad. It’s one or the other. If you look at his results, he’s kind of that way. Very similar to what Phil does. He has his hot weeks, and he has his weeks where he’s off. And that’s just the nature of how he plays the game – it’s no right way or wrong way.” The answer was, as we say in the business, a bit loaded. It sure seems like what Woods was saying was: Look, Rory can get hot. Good for him. But don’t go comparing him to me now. My game at its best was pure consistency. I won four major championships in a row. I won nine majors out of 30. His game is like Mickelson’s – brilliant some weeks, dreadful other weeks. That’s all well and good for him. But that’s NOT how I played golf. Like I say, it was a perfectly fair point. And it was refreshingly honest from a guy who doesn’t often say what’s on his mind. And it was also stunning because Tiger Woods in his prime NEVER talked honestly about other golfers. Not in public. It seems to me this answer says a little bit about Rory McIlroy. And it says a lot about Tiger Woods. Before we get into all that, let’s break down Rory and Tiger a little bit. When Woods was 21 years old, he won the Masters with a record score. When McIlroy was 22 years old, he won the U.S. Open with a record score. OK, similar. What happened next? Woods made the cut at his next 10 major championships but he did not win any of them. He was in the process of rebuilding his swing so that it could take him to the next level, which is one of the more remarkable decisions in sports history. At a time when almost every golfer would have just let it ride – after all, Woods was hitting it longer than anyone, higher than anyone, and he putted better than anyone – he decided that he needed to be more consistent if he wanted to achieve his huge goals. Woods did not intend to win three major championships or five or even eight like Tom Watson did. No, he wanted 19. He wanted Jack. In his 11th grand slam after the record-setting Masters, Woods finally won the PGA Championship. After that he contended at Augusta, then pulled off one of the most extraordinary feats in golf history by winning four grand slams in a row. Now, what about McIlroy? After the U.S. Open, he was basically dreadful in his next five grand slams. He missed one cut and did not finish better than 25th in any of them. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, he ran away with the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by eight shots. He followed that up with six more rather forgettable major tournaments (two back-ended top 10 finishes and one missed cut included) and then this past week he routed the field wire-to-wire to win the British Open. So, on the one hand, Woods is right: McIlroy has been all over the place. On the other hand, McIlroy has played 13 major championship since his breakthrough at the U.S. Open, and he won two of them. Woods, in the 13 major championships after his Masters breakthrough, won, yes, two of them. So, in the end, didn’t they really accomplish the same thing? Well, not exactly the same. What’s different is those tournaments they did not win. Woods was so much more present – he had six Top 10 finishes aside from his victories and McIlroy had two. Woods did not come close to missing a cut, and McIlroy missed two. This is the consistency piece that Woods is talking about. Even before he raised his game to previously unseen heights, Woods proved that he was going to be there time and again, that was the defining essence of his golf. He did not HAVE bad weeks. McIlroy’s game, like Woods said, is so much mercurial. There’s absolutely no way to know what will happen at the PGA Championship coming up. McIlroy might win by six shots. And he might miss the cut. Woods, not surprisingly, does not have much use for that kind of game. But that’s the easy part of all this – we know that McIlroy has not figured out how to harness his great talent tournament after tournament. Maybe he will become like Mickelson – not that’s there’s anything wrong with having a Hall of Fame career like Phil’s. But that’s also not a fair comparison, and Woods knows it. Mickelson did not win his first major championship until he was 34, and that age is still almost a decade away for McIlroy. Mickelson did not win the third leg of the grand slam until he was 43. McIlroy has more major championships at 25 than Tom Watson did, than Arnold Palmer did, more than Gary Player and Ben Hogan and Sam Snead combined. His inconsistency may be a lasting part of his game. Then again, it might not. He might just be figuring things out. I’d bet on his future. Meanwhile, there’s Tiger Woods, closing fast on his 39th birthday, coming off his worst weekend finish ever at a major. He barely made the cut and then played dreadfully over the weekend; 64-year-old Tom Watson not only beat him but beat him by five shots. Of course, this was just Woods’ second tournament back after a three-month layoff to recover from a pretty serious back injury. There were a few promising signs (like his solid first round) and so there are reasons to not put too much stock into the performance. Still, in golf, the scoreboard does not equivocate: Woods: 69th place. And his subtle jab at McIlroy (and his longtime nemesis Mickelson) does say something. According to those who have found themselves close to Woods, his disdain for Mickelson’s sporadic game and boisterous personality has always been there. But he would never have said anything about it publicly … because to say something publicly would be acknowledge that he actually THOUGHT about Phil Mickelson. And this was something Tiger Woods could not acknowledge. See, Tiger Woods at his peak was unreachable. He was untouchable. His only rival was himself. Whatever he did in the first or second round of a major, he always said: “I feel like I’m in good position.” No matter how many shots back he was, he always just wanted to “play my game.” The only thing that mattered to Woods about other golfers was that if you put enough pressure on them, they would eventually crack. Of course, he did not say that. He did not have to say that or anything else. He knew. They knew. And, as the old line goes, he knew they knew. And they knew he knew they knew. I’m convinced the young Tiger Woods would have brushed off the Rory McIlroy question. He would have said something like, “He’s a great young player and he’s having a great week,” and left it at that. He would not have wanted to make any points about McIlroy’s inconsistency. He certainly would not have felt it necessary to drudge up Phil Mickelson’s inconsistency. So why did he do it? Two thoughts come to mine. One thought is simply that Woods, at age 38, is beginning to embrace his role as the face of golf. Arnold Palmer … Gary Player … Jack Nicklaus … Tom Watson … Nick Faldo … these guys were asked a million questions about every golf thing you could imagine. These included questions about the promise of every young player who came along and questions about every rival who was trying to take their place at the top of the world. Woods never cared much for those questions. More than that, he never seemed they were appropriate. This time, though, he answered the question. He gave an honest assessment of McIlroy’s erratic game. He was careful to say he wasn’t judging (“it’s no right way or wrong way”) but he was willing to say what he thought needed to be said: When McIlroy’s good, he’s good; but that’s not everything. The second thought is that Woods is beginning to understand what has become impossible to ignore: He’s not going to ever dominate the golf world again. He will win again, he will probably win a major again, but the Tiger Woods who separated himself from the world, who played in his own stratosphere, that golfer is not coming back. The injuries, the scars, the years will not let him come back. Rory McIlroy is a better golfer than Tiger Woods now. He hits the ball longer, he hits it higher, he hits it straighter. Woods has more experience and a magical short game, but the experience gap shrinks and the best pressure putting stroke since Nicklaus begins to shake slightly. Woods’ used to intimidate golfers who believed him to be unwavering … but they’ve seen waver. Woods used to take leads into Sundays and slam the door … but the Sunday leads are tougher to build. And all these things, I imagine, are difficult for a one-of-a-kind athlete to process. It has been more than six years since Tiger Woods won a major championship. Rory McIlroy was not there in 2008 when Woods won the U.S. Open on one leg. McIlroy was a 19-year-old kid just starting as a professional. He has lived a lot of life in those six years. And when someone asked Woods about Rory McIlroy dominating the way he dominated, Woods offered a stunningly personal response. Hey, Rory’s inconsistent. Hey Rory’s like Phil. I wasn’t like that. Here’s what I think he was saying: Don’t write me off yet.
NORTON, Mass. – Jordan Spieth didn’t like the way he was thinking. He didn’t like the way he was talking to himself, either. His ball striking? He was OK with that. But everything else? It added up to another missed cut Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. After a 2-over-par 73, Spieth went home early for the second week in a row. That’s back-to-back missed cuts to start these FedEx Cup playoffs, jarring setbacks considering he’s just a few short weeks removed from his marvelous major championship season. This marks the first time he has missed two cuts in a row since he turned pro three years ago. “This is something in my career I’ve never done,” Spieth said. “I’ve done a lot of things I’ve never done positively, this year. This is something I’ve never done that’s negative.” Rounds of 75-73 left him at 6 over, three shots above the cutline. He missed the cut at The Barclays last week with rounds of 74-73. “It’s almost like a bad dream,” Spieth said. The 22-year-old Texan won the Masters and U.S. Open with an unshakeable resolve and a red-hot putter. He was in the hunt to win the British Open until a birdie chance at the last hole veered away. He was also in the hunt late on Sunday at the PGA Championship. All of sudden, Spieth is mentally out of sorts and his putter has gone cold. “Normally, my mental game is my strength,” Spieth said. “And it’s something I feel like I have an advantage over other players. These past two weeks, it was a weakness for me. And I’ve just got to go back and reassess how to remain positive.” Deutsche Bank Championship: Articles, photos and videos Spieth is one of the most animated players in the game, and you could see how frustrated he was this week in his body language, more than he typically lets on. Whether it was thumping his golf bag with a wedge early in Friday’s round, or swiping the air with a club after a bad shot, or twisting his face in frustration, Spieth couldn’t hide his aggravation. “I had really bad self-talk this week, something I haven’t experienced in quite a while,” Spieth said. “Maybe heightened by just everything that’s happened this year, and just being so used to being in contention, that not only was I out of it, but I was also outside the cut line. And maybe it just heightened my self-talk. I need to walk with some cockiness in my step these next two tournaments.” Spieth, who has quickly established himself as one of the best putters in the game, struggled on the greens at TPC Boston. He took 33 putts in the first round and 33 again in the second round. “I’m hitting the ball as well as I was in the PGA, as well as I was at the Open,” Spieth said. “I have control of the golf ball just fine. For whatever reason, I’m not scoring. Today was my putter. Yesterday was my irons, my distance control from the fairways. Just not everything is exact and fine-tuned like it has been this whole year.” Spieth switched to a new set of irons at The Barclays last week and back to his old set this week. He wasn’t blaming his equipment. In his pre-tournament news conference, Spieth talked about how he and his caddie, Michael Greller, have learned to regroup when he’s frustrated, to control his “fuse.” Spieth said after Saturday’s round that he has worked through mental challenges like this before. “This one is lasting a little longer than normal,” he said. “Sometimes it happens over the course of five holes, sometimes it happens over nine holes. And the good news is that it can flip the other way very quickly. And that’s what I’m taking out of this.” With a break next week in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Spieth plans to take a mental and physical break. “It’s probably going to be good for me to take at least four days and not touch a club,” Spieth said. After a week off, the playoffs resume with the BMW Championship at Conway Farms outside Chicago. “I don’t feel it’s far off, even though my score is far off,” Spieth said. “I don’t think I have to fix much in my game other than really work hard on my putting [going] into Conway and then mentally I can control that. I can control walking with the cockiness, whether things are going good or bad, and that’s what you have to have inside the ropes. And I’ll bring it when we get to Chicago.”
KAPALUA, Hawaii – It seemed fitting that on Wild Card Weekend in the NFL, golf learned a valuable lesson about playing prevent defense. Anyone with basic arithmetic skills will tell you it’s better to play with a lead. Starting with the lead provides a built-in cushion. The math is simple, but the actual application is exceedingly difficult, as demonstrated by Sunday’s final round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Look no further than Xander Schauffele to prove the point. In all four of the 25-year-old’s victories on Tour, he started the final round needing to play catch-up. His most recent rally came Sunday on the Plantation Course, where he rocketed up the leaderboard from six shots back. Schauffele improved with each round after starting his week with a 1-under 72, which on the pincushion-soft Plantation layout is akin to running backwards. But he rallied on Friday (67), kept pace on Saturday (68) and, even when he bogeyed the first hole to start his final round, he never let up on his way to a closing 62 and a one-stroke victory over Gary Woodland. It’s become Schauffele’s calling card in his short career on Tour. He began the final round in 2017 at The Greenbrier three strokes off the lead and won by one. He charged from two back in ’17 at the Tour Championship and again won by one. He rallied from three behind last fall in China, where he took down Tony Finau in a playoff. But his six-stroke comeback on Sunday in Maui is by far his most impressive. “Today was six [back] after one. So that was probably the worst one yet, right?” he asked following a closing round that included two eagles and just a single bogey. Schauffele isn’t misguided enough to consider coming from behind the preferred path to the winner’s circle, but he has come to understand the benefits of freewheeling it. “I mean a day like today, after you bogey the first, you kind of look around and realize you have nothing to lose,” Schauffele said. “This was in sort of dramatic fashion, and it turned into a birdie-fest coming down the stretch.” Your browser does not support iframes. Full-field scores from the Sentry Tournament of Champions Sentry Tournament of Champions: Articles, photos and videos Well, it turned into a birdie-fest for Schauffele, who played a 13-hole stretch in 10 under par on Sunday. Much of the rest of the field didn’t find the Plantation Course so gettable, including the 54-hole leader, Woodland. If Schauffele has made Sundays on Tour seem impressively easy, closing out tournaments has become particularly difficult for Woodland, who is now 0-for-7 converting 54-hole leads in stroke-play events. Woodland cruised into the closing loop with a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy and was still three clear following a birdie at the ninth hole. But he wasn’t able to keep pace with Schauffele on his final nine and missed a 10-footer for birdie at the last that would have forced a playoff. It was another tough lesson for Woodland, who was treated to an up-close view of a similar performance at last year’s PGA Championship, when he was paired with Tiger Woods in the final round. “I learned a lot that day, and I’m trusting my game a lot more,” said Woodland, who closed with a 68 to finish alone in second place. “I played a little more conservatively, trusting the rest of my game, and I stayed patient today. I didn’t get a lot of putts to go in early in the round, and I kept fighting, and that’s something I take away from playing on Sunday with Tiger.” But then, Woodland knows as well as anyone how difficult it can be to play a final round with the lead. He ranked 107th last season on Tour in final-round performance, which is the percentage of time a player’s position improves or remains unchanged in the final round. The trend seemed to continue earlier this season when he began the final round of the CIMB Classic tied for the lead with Marc Leishman but closed with a 71 to tie for fifth place. Although it probably won’t quiet the inner competitor, Schauffele’s final-round performance will at least soften the blow for Woodland. “I knew what [Schauffele] was doing, and the competitor in me knew I needed to do one better, and unfortunately I didn’t get it done,” Woodland said. If Woodland needed solace following another near-miss, he needed to look no further than his playing partner, McIlroy, who explained on the eve of the final round that the key to Sunday was not to press too hard like he did last season, when he started Day 4 tied for second place and three strokes behind Woods at East Lake. “My attitude was much better today. I didn’t press at all. I was very patient, it’s just something I’m going to have to persist in, just keep putting myself in these positions and honestly, I don’t think anyone could have beaten Xander today,” said McIlroy, who tied for fourth place in his first start in Maui. It’s only a matter of time before Schauffele will again be tested by the unique pressure of playing from the front of the pack. Although he’s never held an outright 54-hole lead on Tour, he did begin Sunday at last year’s Open Championship tied for the lead, only to play his opening nine in 4 over par on his way to a tie for second place. “The next step in my career is to learn to be cool under the gun, having a lead and maintaining it,” Schauffele said. “I think end goal is for me to be able to go wire-to-wire and obviously a major would be nice, but go wire-to-wire and show myself that I got the nerve to do it.” Just don’t expect the player who has proven himself so adept at the 2-minute drill to have any interest in playing a prevent defense.
ATZENBRUGG, Austria — John Catlin beat Maximilian Kieffer at the fifth playoff hole on Sunday to win the Austrian Open for his third European Tour title. The American easily wrapped up the victory after three shots from Kieffer landed in the water. The German earlier had a promising chance for his first tour victory, but narrowly missed a birdie putt at the first playoff hole. “It’s kind of relief. Kind of thought that playoff was never going to end and that we kept going back and forth,” Catlin, who finished on 14-under 274, told Austrian TV. “It’s obviously nice to win but you never want to see your opponent finish like that. That’s difficult.” It was Catlin’s third win in 45 appearances, and the 246th win by an American golfer on the European Tour. Catlin has 10 wins worldwide, including four on the Asian Tour. “Winning is never easy, it doesn’t matter what tour you are playing on. So, to get this one is definitely special,” the American said. “I’d like to crack that top 15 in the world, just to get a chance to play in some more major championships. I never actually played in a major but I think this gives me a very good chance to play in the PGA Championship.” Catlin started the final day two strokes off the lead, but his second bogey-free round of the tournament lifted him to the top of the leaderboard. Kieffer trailed the leading duo of Martin Kaymer and Alejandro Canizares by one shot going into the final round, but won six shots in his first seven holes, which included an eagle on the par-5 fourth. Kieffer and Catlin both birdied the third playoff hole. It was the second time Kieffer was beaten in a playoff. At the 2013 Open de Espana, he lost to Raphael Jacquelin after nine extra holes. Full-field scores from the Austrian Golf Open Kaymer and Alejandro Canizares shared the lead and teed off the final day with a one-stroke advantage, but Catlin and Kieffer pulled ahead. Former top-ranked Kaymer, chasing his first win since his 2014 U.S. Open triumph, opened with a bogey, added a double on the par-4 third and dropped another stroke on the ninth. He recovered with four birdies in his last six holes to finish third, three strokes behind. Canizares, who had led since the opening day, lost three strokes on the front nine. He got the first of his two birdies on No. 14 and finished in a tie for seventh at 7-under 281. The event at the Diamond Country club marked the start of a European swing in the tour, with an event in Gran Canaria and two in Tenerife coming up next.
Evolution A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Life Sciences Upsetting Another Evolutionary Icon — Blindness in Cave Fish Is Due to EpigeneticsCornelius HunterNovember 6, 2017, 1:48 PM “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man A recent paper out of Brant Weinstein’s and William Jeffery’s laboratories on eye development, or the lack thereof, in blind cave fish has important implications for evolutionary theory (the paper is discussed here). The study finds that the loss of eyes in fish living in dark Mexican caves is not due to genetic mutations, as evolutionists have vigorously argued for many years, but due to genetic regulation. Specifically, methylation of key development genes represses their expression and with it eye development in this venerable icon of evolution. But the finding is causing yet more problems for evolutionary theory.Darwin appealed to the blind cave fish in his one long argument for evolution. It is a curious argument in many ways, and the first sign of problems was in Darwin’s presentation where he flipped between two different explanations. At one point he explained the loss of vision in the cave fish as an example of evolutionary change not due to his key mechanism, natural selection. Instead, the Sage of Kent resorted to using the Lamarckian mechanism or law of “use and disuse.” Privately, Darwin despised and harshly criticized Lamarck, but when needed he occasionally employed his French forerunner’s ideas.Elsewhere Darwin hit upon a natural selection-based mechanism for the blind cave fish, explaining that elimination of the costly and unneeded vision system would surely raise the fitness of the hapless creatures.This latter explanation would become a staple amongst latter-day evolutionary apologists, convinced that it mandates the fact of evolution. Anyone who has discussed or debated evolutionary theory with today’s Epicureans has likely encountered this curious argument that because blind cave fish lost their eyes, therefore the world must have arisen by itself.Huh?To understand the evolutionary logic, or lack thereof, one must understand the history of ideas, and in particular the idea of fixity, or immutability, of species. According to evolutionists, species are either absolutely fixed in their designs, or otherwise there are no limits to their evolutionary changes and the biological world, and everything else for that matter, spontaneously originated.Any evidence, for any kind of change, no matter how minor, is immediately yet another proof text for evolution, with all that the word implies.Of course, from a scientific perspective, the evidence provides precisely zero evidence for evolution. Evolution requires the spontaneous (i.e., by natural processes without external input) creation of an unending parade of profound designs. The cave fish evidence shows the removal, not creation, of such a design.The celebration of such evidence and argument by Darwin and his disciples reveals more about evolutionists than evolution. That they would find this argument persuasive reveals their underlying metaphysics and the heavy lifting it performs.We are reminded of all this with the news of Weinstein’s new study. But we also see something new: The insertion, yet again, of Lamarck into the story. The irony is that the epigenetics, now revealed as the cause of repressed eye development in the cave fish, hearkens back to Lamarck.Darwin despised Lamarck and later evolutionists made him the third rail in biology. Likewise they have pushed back hard against the scientific findings of epigenetics and their implications.The environment must not drive biological change.False.Well then, such biological change must not be transgenerational.False.Well, such inheritance must not be long lasting, or otherwise robust.False again.This last failure is revealed yet again in the new blind cave fish findings.False predictions count. A theory that is repeatedly wrong, over and over, in its fundamental expectations, will eventually be seen for what it is.The rise of epigenetics is yet another such major failure. Evolutionists pushed back against it because it makes no sense on the theory, and that means it cannot now be easily accommodated.One problem is that epigenetics is complex. The levels of coordination and intricacy of mechanism are far beyond evolution’s meager resources.Another problem is the implied serendipity. For instance, one epigenetic mechanism involves the molecular tags placed on the tails of the DNA packing proteins called histones. While barcoding often seems to be an apt metaphor for epigenetics, the tagging of histone tails can influence the histone three-dimensional structures. It is not merely an information-bearing barcode. Like the tiny rudder causing the huge ship to change course, the tiny molecular tag can cause the much larger packing proteins to undergo conformational change, resulting in important changes in gene accessibility and expression.This is all possible because of the special, peculiar structure and properties of the histone protein and its interaction with DNA. With evolution we must believe this just happened to evolve for no reason, and thus fortuitously enabled the rise of epigenetics.Another problem with epigenetics is that it is worthless, in evolutionary terms that is. The various mechanisms that sense environmental shifts and challenges, attach or remove one of the many different molecular tags to one of the many different DNA or histone locations, propagate these messages across generations, and so forth, do not produce the much needed fitness gain upon which natural selection operates.The incredible epigenetics mechanisms are helpful only at some yet to be announced future epoch when the associated environmental challenge presents itself. In the meantime, selection is powerless and according to evolution the incredible system of epigenetics, that somehow just happened to arise from a long, long series of random mutations, would wither away with evolution none the wiser.These are the general problems with epigenetics. In the case of the blind cave fish, however, there is a possible explanation. It is a longshot, but since this case specifically involves the loss of a stage of embryonic development, evolutionists can say that genetic mutations caused changes in the methylating proteins, causing them to be overactive.This explanation relies on the preexistence of the various epigenetic mechanisms, so does not help to resolve the question of how they could have evolved. What the explanation does provide is a way for evolutionists to dodge the bullet presented by the specter of the cave fish intelligently responding to an environmental shift.Such teleology in the natural world is not allowed. So the evolutionary prediction is that these proteins will be found to have particular random changes causing an increase in their methylation function, in particular at key locations in key genes (i.e., the genes associated with eye development).That’s a long shot, and an incredible violation of Occam’s razor. My predictions are that (i) this evolutionary prediction will fail just as the hundreds that came before, and (ii) as with those earlier failures, this failure will do nothing to open the evolutionist’s eyes.Photo: Mexican blind cave fish, by James St. John, via Flickr.Cross-posted at Darwin’s God. Recommended TagsbarcodingbiologyBrant Weinsteincave fishCharles Darwinembryonic developmentEpicureansepigeneticsevolutionhistoneIcons of EvolutionJean-Baptiste LamarckLamarckismmethylationmolecular tagsmutationsOccam’s RazorproteinsWilliam Jeffery,Trending Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Cornelius G. HunterFellow, Center for Science and CultureCornelius G. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology. He is Adjunct Professor at Biola University and author of the award-winning Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil. Hunter’s other books include Darwin’s Proof, and his newest book Science’s Blind Spot (Baker/Brazos Press). Dr. Hunter’s interest in the theory of evolution involves the historical and theological, as well as scientific, aspects of the theory. His blog is Darwin’s God. Share
Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Recommended Editor’s note: This essay is adapted from an article by Michael Flannery, “Toward a New Evolutionary Synthesis,” in the journal Theoretical Biology Forum. Professor Flannery’s new book is Nature’s Prophet: Alfred Russel Wallace and His Evolution from Natural Selection to Natural Theology.Like Ludwig von Bertalannffy whom I wrote about here yesterday, John Elof Boodin (1869-1950) never got the recognition he deserved. Although Boodin’s view that science and metaphysics could mutually inform one another was full of promise, his was an unfortunate era marked by increasing reductionism in science and philosophy, a story rather poignantly told in Charles H. Nelson’s John Elof Boodin: Philosopher Poet (1987). But he does have something important to offer in developing a more meaningful and useful approach to the life sciences. Although the late Stephen Hawking tells us that “philosophy is dead,” the error of attempting to exclude all metaphysics from science exposed itself decades ago in the failed assertions of positivism (see “The Neo-Darwinian Synthesis: A Fable Told by Ernst Mayr”). As Bernard Phillips noted in 1948, “one of the lessons to be derived from the study of the history of philosophy is that metaphysics always buries its undertakers.” Here the rich thought of John Elof Boodin rises from its premature burial.“Resoluteness and Beauty”Boodin was a philosopher of uncommon abilities. A former student of famed pragmatist William James and idealist Josiah Royce (both at Harvard), he was a scholar whose “resoluteness and beauty” shines through all of his work. Boodin’s great skill was as a synthesizer who combined various portions of pragmatism, realism, idealism, and Christian panentheism with a close reading of the science of his day. What emerges is an intellectual framework that is in many ways consilient with Bertalanffy’s — giving special importance to organization, embracing science but not scientism, recognizing the significance of matter without succumbing to materialism, all presented in a holistic context unafraid of the teleological implications, whether immediate or transcendent. In reading Boodin one always gets a tutorial (usually in equal measures) on history, philosophy, and science, all presented in richly textured, often poetic, prose.It should be pointed out that because Boodin sees biological life as part of a universal whole, what he has to say about biology largely applies to the cosmos as well and visa-versa. Thus his Cosmic Evolution (1925) is precisely that, a view of life that is inextricably intertwined with the micro- and macro-cosmic orders in which it was born and continues to develop. Boodin opposed what he regarded as the magic of special creation, preferring a more nuanced version. But he didn’t support what he considered other forms of magic either, particularly the “magic” of chance as the fundamental cause of biological life and its diversity.Still Awaiting a Satisfactory ExplanationThe problem of newly created forms in biology has yet to receive a satisfactory explanation, especially since most effects of natural selection are negative, involving not the addition of features but their subtraction. This has been confirmed in Michael Behe’s loss-of-function mutations as the “first rule” of adaptive evolution. Furthermore, Boodin argued that the progressive order witnessed in paleontology shows a much more orderly process than chance could explain. This steady direction toward useful adaptation (what Bertalanffy called anamorphosis, the tendency in evolution from lower to higher forms not identical but similar to orthogenesis) cannot be seen or explained stochastically. That is because the process has fewer blind alleys than chance would normally produce.Boodin is clear: under any Darwinian scenario “mechanical causes” are emphasized: “Chance rules supreme. It despises final causes.” Darwinism simply “runs on like some old man’s tale without beginning, middle, or end, without any guiding plot.” But the avenue of vitalism is a cul-de-sac of speculative mysticism, no better. Bergson’s élan vital, for example, contains mysteriously within it all of evolution’s potencies, the environment furnishing “merely the resistance which makes the vital impulse split up, like a sky rocket shot in the air, into its inherent tendencies,” and, therefore, “is scarcely less mechanical” than the Darwinian theory it seeks to criticize. Although there is no evidence that Bertalanffy knew Boodin or vise versa, the many connections between their teleological, holistic, synergistic, and systematic views of nature remains one of those fascinating synchronicities of science (not unlike Alfred Russel Wallace’s independent discovery, along with Charles Darwin, of the theory of natural selection). They clearly point the way to an evolutionary theory freed from Darwinian positivistic and methodological constraints. For the full story, see “Toward a New Evolutionary Synthesis.”Image: The Waltz (sculpture), by Camille Claudel [GFDL, CC BY-SA 4.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Michael FlanneryFellow, Center for Science and CultureMichael A. Flannery is professor emeritus of UAB Libraries, University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds degrees in library science from the University of Kentucky and history from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written and taught extensively on the history of medicine and science. His most recent research interest has been on the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). He has edited Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism (Erasmus Press, 2008) and authored Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life (Discovery Institute Press, 2011). His research and work on Wallace continues. Share TagsAlfred Russel WallaceanamorphosisBernard PhillipsCharles DarwinCharles H. NelsonChristianityCosmic Evolutionélan vitalErnst MayrevolutionHarvard UniversityHenri BergsonidealismJohn Elof BoodinJosiah Royceloss-of-function mutationsLudwig von BertalannffymetaphysicsMichael BeheorthogenesispaleontologypantheismphilosophypositivismpragmatismrealismStephen HawkingWilliam James,Trending Evolution Who Was John Elof Boodin and Why Does He Matter?Michael FlanneryJuly 27, 2018, 1:14 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All
Education 2019 Summer Seminars in Seattle: Study with Michael Behe and Other ID SuperstarsDavid [email protected]_klinghofferFebruary 8, 2019, 11:55 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Our Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design are a high point of each year. Undergraduate and graduate students gather here in Seattle from around the globe to learn with the top scientists and scholars in the world of intelligent design. There’s a track focused on the natural sciences, and another with a focus on science and culture. This year the Seminars will be held from July 5 to 13, 2019. I am assured that our current snow dump will have been cleared away by then.Populating the UndergroundA highlight will be studying with biochemist Michael Behe. Professor Behe’s new book, Darwin Devolves, out in a couple of weeks, is already shaping up to be the ID event of the year as evolutionists struggle to find an apt reply. (See here, here, and here.) Other teachers are drawn from the ranks of those 1000+ Darwin-doubting scientists who have publicly identified themselves. The Summer Seminars are one of the top ways that we have populated the growing ID “underground” among young scientists who are still keeping their own skepticism about evolution prudently private. Oh, if the walls of those Seminar classrooms could speak!Past teachers have included Steve Meyer, Robert Marks, Paul Nelson, Jay Richards, Doug Axe, Bruce Gordon, Brian Miller, Scott Minnich, Ann Gauger, John West, Richard Sternberg, and more. Often we’ve included instructors from the underground whose identity is not released except to students once you get to Seattle.How to ApplyIf you’d like to be part of this great experience, it’s time to start getting your application materials together. We cover the costs of your week in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Applying is not hard, but it is selective. On a case-by-case basis, we are able to provide travel scholarships. We also reserve a few spots for professors and other professionals. The deadline is April 2, 2019. More information and links to an online application are here.If you’re not a student, but know someone who is who would be interested, please share this post and help us get out the word! Oh, and If you care about the future of science, and of our culture, that the Summer Seminars are helping to shape by training a new generation, please consider donating to join us in making this important opportunity possible. Photo: Michael Behe teaching at the Summer Seminars, Seattle, by Janine Solfelt. Recommended Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man TagsAnn GaugerBruce GordonDouglas AxeeducationID undergroundintelligent designJay RichardsJohn WestMichael BehePacific NorthwestPaul NelsonprofessionalsprofessorsRichard SternbergRobert MarksScott MinnichSeattleStephen MeyerSummer Seminars,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos
Cross-posted at The Corner. New Jersey recently became one of the seven states (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize assisted suicide by statute. In effect, New Jersey sanctions suicide for some residents through its public policy. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide So, let me get this straight. If someone is in despair because he lost everything when his business collapsed or had a loved one die from COVID-19, he shouldn’t be able to commit facilitated suicide. Culture & Ethics New Jersey’s Suicide ConfusionWesley J. SmithMay 12, 2020, 1:28 PM Tagsassisted suicidecoronavirusCOVID-19despairDistrict of ColumbiadoctorsNew JerseyPhil Murphypublic policysuicide preventionWell Being Trust,Trending Now, with COVID-19, New Jersey officials are worried about a spike in suicide caused by the shutdown, so for them, suicide is bad. From the NJ.Com story: Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Wesley J. SmithChair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human ExceptionalismWesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.Follow WesleyProfileTwitterFacebook Share But if he is in despair because he has been diagnosed as terminally ill with COVID-19, he should not only be able to self-terminate, but also, have his suicide facilitated by a doctor, under the law. Photo: New Jersey State House, Trenton, NJ, by Lowlova / CC BY-SA. No! That’s nonsensical. We should be concerned about preventing all suicides, not just some. Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Suicidal ideation is suicidal ideation — regardless of the reason for wanting to die. Everyone who becomes suicidal because of a COVID-19 impact — or for any other reason — should receive prevention services. Everyone. It is illogical and destructive to the value of human life for New Jersey (and other pro–assisted suicide states) to have such a lethally dichotomous public policy. Let’s Prevent All Suicides Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share On top of the more than 78,000 Americans who have already died from the fast-spreading virus, a new study from the Well Being Trust found conditions from the pandemic — including lost jobs, isolation, and fear over the future — could lead to 75,000 deaths in the nation from drug or alcohol abuse and suicide over the next decade.This comes as a number of critics say they’re worried lockdowns designed to save lives from COVID-19 could have an even greater toll due to economic and mental despair.[NJ Governor] Murphy was asked Saturday during his daily coronavirus briefing in Trenton if the state will track suicides and consider this when determining how to reopen the state. “I don’t know specifics in terms of tracking suicides, but we have said this: The combination of isolation and now other factors like job losses are having big impacts on folks, there’s no question about it,” the governor said. Recommended Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All
Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. MOIESE – Authorities found four bodies inside the wreckage of a small plane Wednesday on a rugged hillside in northwestern Montana, bringing a tragic end to a 2½-day search for a group of friends who went out for an afternoon sightseeing trip and never returned.Family members awaiting word in Moiese, headquarters of the National Bison Range, broke down upon hearing of the deaths of pilot and recent University of Montana graduate Sonny Kless, law student Brian Williams and newspaper reporters Erika Hoefer and Melissa Weaver.“It’s a terrible, terrible loss for all the families,” said Michelle Gentry, Kless’ aunt. “It’s just a tragedy. I think (Kless) was out doing something he loved to do.”A U.S. Department of Homeland Security helicopter discovered a plane matching the description of the missing 1968 Piper Arrow on Wednesday afternoon in the steep, densely wooded hillside about 80 miles south of Kalispell, just inside the Sanders County line. It was not far from the plane’s last known location.An Air Force helicopter flew to the crash site near Revais Creek a couple of miles south of the Flathead River outside the bison range. Sanders County Undersheriff Rube Wrightsman rappelled from the helicopter down to the rocky terrain to verify what the searchers already suspected.“We did confirm it was the plane that we were looking for, and we also confirmed there were four deceased people in the plane,” Wrightsman said. “Because of the ruggedness of the area, you almost had be right over top to see it.”The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be taking over the investigation, and the Federal Aviation Administration also has been contacted, Wrightsman said.Authorities were trying to come up with a plan to remove the bodies from the crash site, said Lake County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carey Cooley.Officials didn’t believe they would be able to use a helicopter basket to aid in the recovery because of the terrain, so they plan to hike in Thursday, Cooley said.The four sightseers took off Sunday from Kalispell, flew through Glacier National Park airspace and then headed south across Flathead Lake. Radar data last tracked them close to where the wreckage was found.Kless’ mother, Janelle Gentry of Kalispell, said her 25-year-old son got his pilot’s license about a year ago and had flown the Glacier National Park-Flathead Lake-Flathead River loop several times.Thirty of Kless’ 100 hours of flight time were in the Piper Arrow, which he had rented Sunday, said Joel Woodruff, general manager of Northstar Jet Inc. in Missoula and owner of the plane.A roommate notified authorities when Weaver didn’t return or call. The search got under way Monday, at first concentrating in the Flathead Valley, then shifting south after officials analyzed data from radar and cell phone towers.The search involved more than 100 people using aircraft, boats, horses and all-terrain vehicles. Several relatives and friends of the missing joined the effort.Weaver, 23, was from Billings. Hoefer, 27, was from Beloit, Wis. Both started reporting for the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell at the end of last year.“Melissa and Erika were both very important parts of our newsroom,” said Rick Weaver, publisher of the Daily Inter Lake. “A newsroom is often like a big family, and they were part of that. They are going to be missed.”Kless had been planning to teach English in Asia this year. Williams attended law school at the University of Montana.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. How frightening it must be when Connor Thomas discovers that you are carrying the football and lowers his head. He’s 6-5, 265 pounds and remarkably agile. He will run you down. And now, you don’t know where he’s lining up. He could be coming from anywhere. “I’m going to play a little linebacker this year,” Thomas, a Flathead High School senior, said. “I’ve never done it before, but I’m excited. I finally get a running start at the O-line.” Thomas is one of the Braves’ senior leaders on the gridiron this year. When he’s not moonlighting as a middle linebacker, he will play his traditional position of nose guard. On offense, he’ll anchor the line at left tackle. Head coach Russell McCarvel is looking to his class of 19 seniors for leadership as the Braves try to improve upon last year’s 2-8 record. This season’s team, McCarvel and Thomas say, is deeper, faster and more experienced. The Braves open at home against Butte on Aug. 27, who they defeated last year.“I think we’re going to be a lot better this year,” Thomas, a 2009 Class AA first-team all-state selection, said.On offense, senior Mike VanArendonk will have the opportunity to truly show off his skills after a broken thumb impeded his 2009 season. VanArendonk, 6-1 and nimble, can run the option, scramble away from defenders and put the ball in the air. McCarvel said he has improved his footwork and throwing mechanics. “We’re looking for big things out of him,” McCarvel said.VanArendonk has some good targets to throw to, including junior George Sherwood, the backup quarterback who filled in for VanArendonk when he was hurt last season. Sherwood, who VanArendonk says is “6-5 and super quick,” will also start at defensive back.Other top receivers include Ian Gillespie, Matt McLean, Gaige Mower, Drew Cosby and 6-3 Jeff Markavage. Senior Braxton Nimmick, at 6-4 and 215 pounds, returns as starting tight end. Left: Wolfpack quarterback Colter Hanson, left, scrambles with the football during an afternoon practice at Glacier High School. Right: Flathead quarterback Mike VanArendonk eyes down field during a morning football practice at Legends Field. The Wolfpack have good speed on the outside, led by Bryan Chery, a second-team all-conference selection last year. First-year football player Trey Griffith, a senior, brings additional speed to the receiver position. Senior Brendan Hagan is establishing himself as the top running back, though fellow seniors Stormy Day and Jake Konen should get snaps as well. Much of what Glacier is able to do offensively will depend on the line. Bennett calls the offensive line “our greenest area.” Four starters left last year. But the Wolfpack still have senior Joel Horn, who has committed to Montana State University. Horn will also play a key role on the defensive line, which Bennett said has looked good in practice. “Joel’s back as the anchor,” Bennett said. That same speed from the offense should translate to the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the defensive back and safety positions. And Bennett said his linebacking crew is solid, with speed and depth. Glacier kicks off the 2010 season on Aug. 27 on the road against Billings Senior. McCarvel said the Braves will use a one-running back offense and “try to get the ball to our playmakers,” including Sherwood and senior Travis Ozegovich in the backfield. Last year, Ozegovich ran for a team-high 665 yards and five touchdowns. Those same playmakers will have important roles on defense as well.“The kids are working hard on the little things that make you better,” McCarvel said. “I’m a big believer that the little things will help you get to the big things.”Glacier High School Last year, in only the third year of the school’s existence, Glacier finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and made it to the Class AA playoffs where it lost to Billings Skyview 28-14.Although key seniors graduated, including University of Montana recruit Shay Smithwick-Hann and running back Taylor Hart, head coach Grady Bennett says he has an eager bunch of players who have been waiting for their time to shine. Unlike last year, when he had a core of three-year starters, Bennett doesn’t know what to fully expect from his team until the games start. In many ways, that’s exhilarating, he said.“Definitely a lot of new guys are going to be hitting the field for the first time,” Bennett said. “It’s really going to be a matter of seeing who steps up in games. But it’s exciting – we have a lot of different possible looks we can throw at people.”He added: “Last year we knew exactly what we had coming into the season.” Filling the sizable shoes of Smithwick-Hann is senior Colter Hanson, while junior Karl Hellwig could take some snaps as well. Bennett expects Hanson to ably run the Wolfpack’s complicated offense, which runs a balanced attack of passing and rushing, incorporating frequent misdirection tactics and trickery. Hanson is 6-3 and athletic. “He looks good,” Bennett said of his quarterback. “He’s had a good fall camp. He’s gained a lot of confidence. I’m excited.” With a new quarterback and a largely new crew across the board, Bennett said he can experiment with different formations to see what works. Glacier could bounce from a five-receiver look to a two-tight end set, which has the potential to throw off defenses. Left: Wolfpack head football coach Grady Bennett calls plays during an afternoon practice at Glacier High School. Right: Flathead Braves head football coach Russell McCarvel organizes his players on the field at Legends Stadium during a morning football practice. Email The Flathead Braves football team takes to the practice field at Legends Stadium to start a morning practice.