Sticks nix creationist pic


“Expelled!” producers gave away free tickets. They invited legislators personally. But only about 100 people showed up for an IMAX showing of the movie in Tallahassee, Florida.

benstein-expelled-no.jpg

Hey, I got 1,000 times that many people to click on an 8-frame .gif animation of an ancient goat. Real science trumps creationism again.

Real science is almost always more popular than faux-science and bad religion, but that will not stop creationists from creating trouble in any state agency in any state they can.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula.

[Yes, I’m aware of the historical implications of the headline.]

88 Responses to Sticks nix creationist pic

  1. […] for Creation Research: Still fraudulent after all these years Sometime in the spring I let a long-running discussion with pastor Joe Leavell taper off. I thought I’d be back to it more quickly. It’s that sort of […]

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  2. Ed Darrell says:

    RATE?

    Still fraudulent, after all these years. See my answer in this post, on August 13, 2008.

    I’ll move this up to the top, Joe — start a new thread. You still there? Still game?

    Also, I would like your opinion on another piece of creationist fraud, “Dr.” Carl Baugh’s newest hoax dinosaur + human print set: “Fred Flintstone waded here . . .

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  3. […] Pomposity squared: Ben Stein and R. C. Sproul Via Heart of Flesh, a half-hour conversation between Ben Stein and the often-pompous R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries. Sproul had Stein in the studio to promote the mockumentary film Stein stars in, “Expelled!” […]

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  4. lowerleavell says:

    I figured that would be your response. What did you think of the RATE project?

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Gish was pretty good. He didn’t talk about “Mr. Woodpecker” at all. What he talked about was the lack of valid transitional forms.

    That’s his “Mr. Woodpecker” argument. It’s silly. Clearly he doesn’t understand much about zoology, or physiology of any animal.

    He talked about how ludicrous it would be for a pterodactyl ancestor to have 30% wingspan, and for it to “evolve” wings over thousands and millions of years.

    There are lots of transitionals. Gish refuses to see them that way, as you have in our discussions here. For example, I noted Darwin’s arguments about armadilloes. You and Gish refuse to admit that an animal can take a form, then shrink or grow in that form. That’s how we get pygmy elephants, that’s how we get today’s giant horses. A pterodactyl never has a “30% wing,” nor does anything else (though, you must admit, a 50% eye is better than a 20% eye, and these things do exist in transitional form — you guys just refuse to admit it; I wonder if you are convinced these transitionals don’t exist, convinced by your own denials, or if you do the denying hoping no one knows that they really do exist).

    Pterodactyl wings probably developed in a much smaller creature; the entire creature scaled up, not just the wing.

    This actually is one of my biggest complaints against evolution as well, is that that with each new generation, you must have completed, non-transitional forms which would vary from their parents, because you can’t have ½ of a wing and half arm, or you wouldn’t be able to walk. It would be useless to form a half wing. Anyway, that was what his presentation was on.

    A half a wing, or no wing, works great for gliding. The top-down gliding evolution of wings, and evolution of flying, makes a lot of sense to me, and squares will with the transitional fossils we have. Incidentally, some of the best transitional flying critter fossils come out of Texas and there are a lot of them. One of the world’s best finders and describers of these things told me he is under constant assault in his work from local creationists, who do whatever they can to stop his funding, complain to his university president, and discourage kids from taking his courses. Dollars to doughnuts that Ben Stein won’t talk about that.

    Chickens do just fine with their “not 100%” wings. So do roadrunners. Ostriches and moas apparently don’t need wings to survive. I guess Gish has never been to a zoo, nor looked at the fossils that exist.

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  6. lowerleavell says:

    Hey Ed,

    I just wanted to let you know that I went to that conference last week. I only got to hear Gish speak once, but then I heard Dr. Larry Vardiman, (Ph.D. Atmospheric Science-Colorado State University), which I really enjoyed, concerning the Ice Age, and how improbable the evolutionist explanation is, and how the post-flood model is a great explanation to why the earth would have gone into an ice age.

    I did also get to sit in on some question and answer times with Gish and Vardiman (as well as two others who were there for the prophesy aspect to the conference).

    Gish was pretty good. He didn’t talk about “Mr. Woodpecker” at all. What he talked about was the lack of valid transitional forms. He talked about how ludicrous it would be for a pterodactyl ancestor to have 30% wingspan, and for it to “evolve” wings over thousands and millions of years. This actually is one of my biggest complaints against evolution as well, is that that with each new generation, you must have completed, non-transitional forms which would vary from their parents, because you can’t have ½ of a wing and half arm, or you wouldn’t be able to walk. It would be useless to form a half wing. Anyway, that was what his presentation was on.

    I got to ask him privately after his talk about the geologic column, if he had heard that they (you) were saying that they have discovered several places where the geologic column matches what the text book says. He said he hadn’t heard that and asked where I found that out. His rebuttal was agreeing with what I said, “it doesn’t sound like a norm to me, it sounds like they made the text books and then went out to find a place in the world that looked like what the textbooks taught.”

    I did get to ask one question, which has bugged me since you and I talked about it. I asked, “Some (you) have stated that creationists do not do primary research. Why are there no creationists in labs? Why aren’t there any creationist anthropologists, etc? How would you respond to the accusation?”

    The response was rather lengthy, but they talked about the research that they have been doing over the past 7-8 years or so and the difference accredited scientists that are working for them. They also claimed that creationists get criticized for not writing peer reviewed articles in journals, but they claimed that they had submitted countless articles over the years and they all get rejected. They simply can’t get printed, was the claim, so they print their own stuff. They also pointed me to the RATE project, which honestly, without knowing a ton about science (though I do know some), is very convincing to me.

    Here’s the link:
    https://www.icr.org/rate/

    The main argument that I found convincing was the presence of helium in the rocks which wouldn’t be there if the rocks were millions of years old. They said they’ve been working on this project about 8 years and have spent $1.5 million on it. They also submitted all of their research to top labs in the country to make sure they weren’t accused of “fudging” the evidence. Check it out (if you have time) and let me know what you come up with.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe said:

    Our study: “The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus really didn’t rise from the dead that we (Christians) 1) have a vain hope, 2) are found to be liars, 3) are to be pitied. If you read 1 Corinthians 15, you’ll notice that Paul very strongly emphasizes the historical, verifiable, objective, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Verifiable? Not really — Paul offers his own testimony, and he says that some who saw Jesus are still living. Note that Paul’s testimony is not really what we’re talking about with regard to the resurrection. Jesus did not appear to Paul as He did to the Disciples in the few days after the crucifixion. Paul had a vision — and if one reads the story of the vision, one notes that there was no physical resurrection demonstrated at that time; the others in the party did not see to whom Paul was talking.

    So Paul is offering eyewitness testimony at best. While that’s generally acceptable, it may certainly be rebutted, and we don’t have it now. That’s not verifiable as with physical evidence.

    Paul is making a case, and it’s a good one. He notes that he is risking his life daily, and he says he wouldn’t do that were he not convinced of the resurrection.

    But that’s not verifiable in any concrete way. Other, then-living witnesses could corroborate Paul’s story. None could verify it beyond that corroboration. So the story hangs on the credibility of those witnesses.

    While I put faith in their story, I wouldn’t dare make the claim that I have proof. This is exactly the problem Paul is addressing there, and it’s the same problem Jesus noted to Thomas. Proof is not available to the Christian faithful.

    While we are to accept the evidence by faith (we did not witness the resurrection nor have we ever physically met Christ), the evidence points to the fact that Jesus did indeed have a resurrection.

    Points to. For the faithful. Does not establish necessarily a prima facie case.

    The only issue for me here is whether one makes fantastic, unsupportable claims for what evidence is available.

    If there were no evidence? Say, for example, they found conclusively the body of Jesus of Nazareth, would you still be a Christian? Oh, you could still be a Christian “by faith”, but it would be ludicrous to put your hope for eternal life in the bony hands of a man whose been dead for 2,000 years and who lied about rising from the dead.

    I hope you get my analogy to this discussion. What you seem to be basically saying is that the evidence for God’s existence is practically “nil”, but we should have faith in Him anyway, even though all evidence points to the contrary. Am I mistaken?

    I’m saying the evidence does not rise to proof level. I’m saying that faith is required. I’m saying that those who say the evidence “demands a verdict” that God exists are badly deluded, and probably deluding others with the claim.

    You said: Disappointed that I have faith? Or are you disappointed that faith is not a rational exercise?
    No, I am thrilled that you have faith in God and Christ! That’s wonderful!

    “Plus, I think it’s important that we not get confused about what we take on faith, and what is convincing evidence. Christianity cannot be reached through a logical path. Faith is not reason. Faith and reason may work together, but we must not confuse the two. It looks to me as if you hope I will confuse them. I don’t.”

    There are many tangible things that require faith. Gravity, the location of my brain (if I have one; you may be in doubt), etc. are all things that I take on faith, because I’ve never seen them.

    This argument of yours leads me to understand that you do not know how evidence works, especially in science. We can safely infer that you have a brain, otherwise you’d not be functioning. We can safely infer it is in your head, because brains in other places also do not function. If you think that’s faith, you have an odd argument.

    And, I’ll wager, you’ve had enough x-rays of various organs that we can “prove” your brain is not in your chest, nor your abdomen. we can palpate the rest of your body to determine your brain is not there.

    So it’s not faith that places your brain, but solid inference from other scientific examples, and hard physical evidence.

    I have CAT scans, DEXXA scans, and MRIs that show my brain. Hard evidence once again. No miracles involved. Natural events, solid inference, hard, physical evidence.

    That’s not faith.

    I have never been to Washington D.C., but I take it on faith that it is there. Why? Because even though I’ve never had an encounter with any of my five senses with Washington D.C., I know that it exists. Perhaps this will be an area in which we must agree to disagree, but I believe God’s existence is similar. Even though you and I do not agree on the “how” of creation, we both agree that the “heaven’s declare the glory of God”, do we not? God put His “thumbprint” into creation. If there were no indication anywhere found in creation that it was the result of a divine being, then the implications would be just as great as if they found the body of Jesus.

    Washington, D.C., is contemporary with us. It’s easy to prove, with hard, physical evidence, even without traveling there. Property records (we have no property records of Jesus, though there are a few such records in existence from that time). Photographs. Soil samples. Rock samples. Satellite photos. Maps. Material published there. Newspapers. The existence of God is not analogous with the existence of Washington, D.C., with regard to evidence.

    Second, he existence of creation is not evidence of God. There is no literal thumbprint of God on creation, nothing we know of so far that points to an outside intelligence. There is evidence of astounding designs, but all those designs were executed by natural, unintelligent processes. If you’re looking for evidence of a magical wizard, then you’re right, the absence of that evidence is rather damaging to a claim of a magical wizard. A closer reading of scripture would suggest that God is more than a wizard working in a world created by an even higher power, however. Whatever proof of God may exist, creation itself is not it. God is not that petty.

    That being said, I totally agree with you that faith is not found merely by following a logical path. But study men such as John Calvin, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Simon Greenleaf, and more recently, men like Lee Strobel, and you will find atheists and agnostics who, because of the evidence, were drawn to the foot of the cross where they received Him by faith because to deny God’s existence and deny Christ would be to deny reality. So, while they are separate, I totally agree that they may work together, and beyond that, must work together!

    Do you regard Calvin, Lewis and Schaeffer as great charlatans of the level of Lee Strobel? How can anyone maintain faith in that case?

    Only slightly more serious, I regard Calvin with great suspicion. Roasting Servetus was not done in the service of God.

    Wait. I’ve gotta say it, Joe: Lee Strobel is little more than a carnival barker of faith, selling faith of about the same quality as the barker inviting us to view the incredible Stella, or the bearded lady, or the Human Frog Boy. I’m going to have to revisit your arguments. If you think Strobel makes a good case and is not a charlatan, we may have discovered how you can grant credence to creationism: No standards of evidence is about as low as it is possible to go.

    “The purpose of this blog is other than promoting my faith in God. You won’t find a defense of God here because that’s not my intent with this blog. I will defend the right to believe; I will defend the need for reason. My evangelizing for the church is done elsewhere.”

    That’s a valid point. My aim is not to “attack you.” I am merely doing my best to try and get into that brain of yours and find out where you’re coming from. I want to see things through your eyes and your perspective so that I can understand you better. I have a history of misunderstanding people and I now try to do my best to get a very clear picture of where they are coming from. From what I have read on your blog, it is very difficult to get a clear picture of where you are coming from in regards to God, other than the countless negative comments you have made to people of faith who come on you site.

    I think most of those people who got the negative comments were people of charlatanism, not people of faith. They were in the Lee Strobel mold, making grander claims for scripture than scripture will allow, insisting on God as just a bit more magical than Gandalf the Grey, insisting that we should lower standards of evidence because faith makes all ideas equally valid. Or worse, just spouting foolishness.

    If you want to know where I’m coming from on evidence, you’d do well to read Feynman’s autobiographies, Franklin’s autobiography, and maybe Dershowitz’s explanation of the origins of justice in Judaism, The Genesis of Justice. Toulmin on Argumentation is asking too much, and it might lead you astray, but there are a half-dozen other books on argumentation and evidence, and the use of evidence in pursuit of justice, that would give some insight. If you were to study the federal rules of evidence, especially those rules pertaining to hearsay exceptions, that might help, too. That’s not a clear or clean philosophy, but it is much more true and faithful than Lee Strobel.

    In light of the “evidence” that you rarely speak positively of believing in God, and those who do, I have boggled my mind to find the logic behind your approach, and it just hasn’t added up to me that you claim to be a Christian and then diametrically stand in opposition of those who believe that there is evidence for God’s existence (and I’m not saying that Creationists always get it right either, because they are human and flawed.) If you find me asking you a lot of questions about your faith, it is merely to get an understanding of where you are coming from.

    I oppose efforts to claim evidence that does not exist, or to claim evidence backs claims it does not. Such as that verse in Timothy that says scripture is inspired — in too many hands, that turns into “dictated by God.” But you know as one who has studied the writings of Paul and all the major and minor prophets, such a claim is directly contradicted many times in scripture.

    “You’re reading a lot into my posts that is not there. There is no post here that aims to “put God out of business.” I cannot imagine how any of these posts might be accurately interpreted to do that, unless one believes — and it would have to be faith — that reason, logic, history, economics and science are inherently opposed to God. There are a few idiots of that persuasion, but I didn’t take you for one of them.”

    I had thought that reason, logic, history, economics, and science all gave evidence to God’s existence. It is not my posts that are using these things to attempt to demonstrate God’s absence from each of these. If you believe like me that these areas are not opposed to God, it would sure be nice if you demonstrated from your own vantage point how they show the hand of God. How can you see God in logic? How can you see God in history? How can you see God in science, etc? The floor and this blog are yours my friend, not mine, so do what you will. I merely can’t get a grasp on your embracing two opposing world views into your bosom and trying to have the “best of both” as it were. A “God buffet” where you take what you life from the Bible and nature and then discard the points you disagree with. I can’t reconcile that logic.

    A virtuous life includes not misleading innocent children. Start there.

    Gotta run. More later.

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Have fun with Gish.

    If he talks about the “impossibility” of “Mr. Woodpecker” evolving, you might ask him about the problem of the sticky tongue of the woodpecker: Does Gish really think woodpeckers had to wait to evolve saliva? Why? Doesn’t he understand that birds come with saliva, or doesn’t he understand that saliva is sticky? About zagodactyly, does he know that a three-toed stance is better for pecking than the four-toed stance? And does he know that there are 217 or 218 species of woodpeckers on Earth, with various toe arrangements, indicating that “Mr. Woodpecker” didn’t have to wait for any particular toe arrangement?

    Have a good time listening to Gish, Joe. Pay attention, but don’t take anything he says seriously. Anything he says would set back one’s understanding of God’s creation by years, if one took any of it seriously.

    And then contemplate, this guy who doesn’t understand that saliva is sticky and talks about “Mr. Woodpecker” also claims to have graduate-level understanding of molecular science. Is this the best creationism has to offer? You should see clearly why creationism loses in court when it is presented as serious science.

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  9. lowerleavell says:

    OH! One more thing!!!!! In the next few days I am going to a creationist seminar where Dr. Duane Gish is the key speaker. Is there anything you want me to ask him while I’m there?

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  10. lowerleavell says:

    I’ll expect a reply by tomorrow! Just kidding. :-) You probably won’t hear from me for about another week or so.

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  11. lowerleavell says:

    Thanks Ed for your patience. You don’t have to reply to everything, as I know you are a busy man. (I understand completely.) If I can’t reply to everything, it is because of time, not because I don’t want to. Today though I have some extra time, and am able to furnish a reply. Your comments warrant a lot of thought. I really appreciate that.

    Ed said, “And that’s why I find creationists’ demand that scientists check their brains, data and reason at the door, bizarre, unreasonable, unscientific, and unChristian. If God exists the reality of evolution doesn’t dismiss Him from the heavens. If God doesn’t exist, evolution can’t create Him.”

    I don’t remember anyone saying that the scientific data that has been produced is not a good thing and that we need to stop scientific progress. Creationists aren’t advocating going back to the middle ages or anything. Creationists believe that science and the Bible can live in harmony and that what science says merely affirms what the Bible has been saying for ages. Again, it is not the data and the reason that bothers creationists; it is the leaps in logic, and the assumptions that are made from the data that bothers creationists. And yet when a creationists assumes to agree with the Bible from the exact same data (like that there was a universal flood), evolutionists cry “foul!” Each infers and makes assumptions and has presuppositions. Yet rarely do I find an evolutionist who admits it or says that they believe anything but what has been “proven.”

    “Particularly after 1900, there is a trend in Christianity, mostly in America, to seek evidence as good as evidence for things like the red-shift phenomenon, evolution, or double-blind. Many Christians grew embarrassed by their faith. They started to make claims that their faith was just as rational as science, as if faith alone was not enough for God. Since that time, this movement in Christianity has fuzzed the lines between the claims of the Latter-day Saints or Moslems about origins of scripture, for example. Mohammed and Joseph Smith claimed their scriptures were dictated to them with divine help, Mohammed directly, Joseph Smith through the use of divine devices for translation. Up until the 20th century, such claims were not heard for the Bible.”

    I do not understand why you insist the early church fathers did not believe in a God-given Bible. Paul himself gives the claim that “all Scripture is given by inspiration from God.” Peter tells us that “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Your claims for accuracy on your site, and then your claim that no one held that the Bible was “dictated to them with divine help” before the 20th century is staggering! Where’s the accuracy in that when the writers themselves claimed it?! If you want to get into this discussion we can look at the church father’s beliefs; that’s not a problem! You won’t find many church fathers saying, “I think John was wrong here.”

    Josh McDowell’s silly and bizarre book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, for example, eviscerates all rational use of evidence. (Look at his claims for authority for the Bible, that there are more documents “supporting” it than any other publication. He counts among those documents every copy of the Bible, as if you could build credence and credibility for a document by putting it on a Xerox copying machine and hitting the “Print 100 copies” button 10,000 times.)”

    You read the book? That’s commendable that you would read something that you don’t agree with. That’s cool. Anyway, his evidence is in response to those who claim that the Bible is not a reliable document and that we don’t know what the originals would have looked like. I believe he says that there are 5,000 plus manuscripts of the New Testament, and from one end of the Roman world to the other, they are in over 90% agreement. That’s not a Xerox copy, that’s a hand-written copy. Within the families of texts there is about a 98% agreement. That’s huge! The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the same thing about the Old Testament. The age of them goes back very early! We know very well, that what we possess in our hands is an accurate reflection of what was originally penned. Do we know that about Homer? No! Documents of his works are only in about 50% agreement and at least 1,000 years removed from the originals. And yet, no one questions Homer. No New Testament scholar that I have read doubts the veracity of a wonderfully preserved ancient document, even if they don’t agree with its contents.

    That scrutiny you speak of is not scientific scrutiny. To be blunt and brief about it, Jesus specifically warns against testing faith in a scientific manner, when He resists the tempter at the summit of the temple. You’re talking about testing faith. That’s different that testing a scientific hypothesis. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that your faith is not reason, not something we can test in a lab. Consequently, I’m a bit put off by your demands that I justify my faith in a similar manner. You’re playing the tempter, and I choose not to hurl myself from the temple to please you. That’s not a fair test of God, Jesus tells us.”

    As far as scientific scrutiny, that’s one reason I’m on this blog talking to you.
    What? You get that from the temptations of Jesus? Where? He says, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Hmmm…You think I’m tempting you (your not God by the way) by asking you to share why you believe in God? Satan was asking Jesus for worship and promising a reward, I was only asking you why you believe in God. I think there’s a big difference there.

    Yes, definitely there is a difference between reason and faith. But there must be a reason for your faith. In opposition to what you say, Peter commands us to “be ready to give a defense (apologetics) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” I, as strange as it sounds, have a reason for believing that God created the heavens and the earth. There is a reason you don’t believe in Thor, or Zeus, or any other the other gods right? Or maybe you do…Then there must be reason behind your faith in God.

    So, I’m not asking some sort of a trick question to pin you in a corner. I’m not testing your faith, or merely asking you to “justify” your faith. I’m asking you to put your money where your mouth is. You say you believe in God. Are you merely one who gives lip service to a creator when it’s convenient (I doubt that very much about you), or do you indeed believe in God and why? When Paul was standing on Mars Hill in front of the Greeks, he didn’t say, “I refuse to tell you why I believe in Jesus, but I do! If you ask me why, I’ll get offended and think you’re playing the tempter! But you should believe in Him too, for no apparent reason!” Paul wasn’t afraid of any question but was ready “to give a defense.” Christ also confessed to who He was, and offered up His resurrection as proof to who He was/is. He gave verifiable evidence to those who questioned Him by saying, “I will be resurrected! That’s the sign I give you!”
    An atheist, in one discussion I had said, “If there is a God then He must appear to me in the next 30 seconds or he doesn’t exist.” That is tempting God! I asked him if he would serve God if He appeared to him, and he said, “Bleep no!” God will not be tested to prove a moot point. This is what Jesus refused when Satan demanded Jesus show him His power. This is not what I am asking of you. You don’t have to answer, that’s fine. I just find it a little weird that this is a problem to you.

    I find it ironic that the one you say has no evidence is requesting evidence and has a reason for his faith, and the one who claims to have all the evidence refuses to give any because he doesn’t need reason to have faith. It’s just bizarre. There must be reason to faith or it is unreasonable and no different than believing in the Easter Bunny.

    “I am painfully aware you don’t understand. You confuse intellectual honesty with atheism, and you confuse fideistic faith with refusing atheism, and therefore, refusing intellectual honesty. It’s a position you didn’t reach by reason, and there’s no way to reason you out of it.”

    Actually, I had an easier time talking to atheists because they believed the evidence mattered. Atheists believe they are being intellectually honest, but they aren’t. Faith doesn’t make God exist and a lack of faith doesn’t make Him go away. You don’t need evidence for God to exist and to believe in Him, I definitely agree! God exists whether we believe in Him or not. But there’s a reason why I don’t believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. It’s because there is no evidence and there is ample evidence to the contrary. The same cannot be said about God. There is plenty of evidence for God’s existence, though He does not require it to exist. I believe it exists to make it easier on those who like me, have a hard time basing their lives on anything without first knowing it’s true or not. I still had to “take that leap” as you put it, which was very difficult for me, but I did by His grace. I wouldn’t take it back in a billion years!

    “And yet you rush to creationism, a certifiable lie, even though crafted often (never well, in my opinion). You can’t explain that, either. Touche.”

    You have been “attempting” to show how creationism is a “lie” for about eight months now. The Bible holds its own my friend. But you can’t fault God for his follower’s shortcomings for not having all the answers. We’re fallible. That’s why we rely so heavily on God’s word to bail us out.

    “There is nothing in creationism that screams for the existence of God, nothing in creationism that is a necessary part of Christianity. As I’ve related before, I think Christianity requires a rejection of creationism, which posits a very limited God of only magical proportions, rather than a God of majesty who created and lives in the entire universe.”

    You have an interesting view of creationism then. It is creationists that believe in a God of majesty who created by His shear will, and is omnipresent in the entire universe. I had thought you had a rather Deistic view of God who merely started the big bang and then didn’t show himself again until Christ. Perhaps I was wrong. You see God’s hand and majesty all around us? Praise God, you see the evidence!
    “Studying science is not a rejection of God, never has been, never need be. You need to get over that mistaken belief, I think, and more of the issues will become clear.”
    I totally agree. I’m not sure where you got the idea that we should not be scientific. Science can’t demonstrate our origin, but it is an amazing part of learning about the majesty and glory of God’s creation. Science is very necessary, and has done much for our nation and culture. No problems there!

    “Scripture doesn’t tell us how God created. It was not intended to, and it doesn’t do so even accidentally.”

    It actually does. It says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
    And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”

    How all that works out, I’m not sure, I wasn’t there. But it says God spoke, and bang, it happened. God said it and bang, light came traveling at 2.88 trillion miles an hour! Wow! What an awesome God!

    “There is another testament of God (for Christians) that may relate that story, however: Creation. Scientists study creation. Scientists have learned much about the hows of modern creation, and much about the hows of ancient creation. All the evidence God has given us shows the hows are the same for ancient times as modern times.”

    Cool! I know we have learned so much and have a lot to thank our scientists for! Even the two of us using the internet is the work of geniuses. Not a problem there! It is not the data, is the assumptions about molecules forming into man. Science doesn’t demonstrate that point. My only other major hang up about evolution is reconciling death before Adam’s fall, because it would implicate God as the cause for death.

    “I’m no post-modernist. There are hard standards of right and wrong, and hard standards of true and false. Creationism doesn’t pass those standards. Christianity doesn’t pass many of them, either.”

    Many of our churches today have embraced post-modernism. I am glad that you agree that there are hard standards of true and false. If Christianity does not pass them, then wouldn’t Christianity be “false”? If something is false, don’t we have better things to place our faith in than a lie? Obviously, Christianity is not false, otherwise neither one of us would be Christians.

    “Much of the Bible is second- and third-hand hearsay. Creationist claims often don’t rise to even that level. Science is based on hard, physical evidence mostly, and never on hearsay.”

    What is this “much” that you speak of? Are you referring to the Gospels by Luke and Mark, because they were not eye witnesses? I really don’t care what you say about creationism, but I do care what you say about the Bible. The Bible does not claim to be just “hearsay” but says it is more reliable than eye witness accounts or to put it another way, “the prophetic word confirmed.” Look up 2 Peter 2:16-21 and you get a good view of how Peter looked at God’s Word and the Gospel of Christ. I don’t have the brazenness to call Peter wrong.

    “Creationism is severe tinnitus that prevents its victims from hearing those clear distinctions, it seems to me — and you’ve got it bad.”

    Ed, if you were to show me conclusively that Jesus is dead; I would renounce my faith in Christ. If you were to show me conclusively that God is a liar and that He didn’t write the Genesis account, (which is a discussion you left hanging on the other thread for one reason or another), then I wouldn’t be a creationist. If you could show me from science where I’m wrong, I will change. Through this discussion, I have changed, and will continue to change in areas I am wrong. I don’t have everything figured out! You didn’t drag me to your blog. I came here voluntarily, seeking answers and giving suggestions to life’s most challenging questions. My faith in God is stronger for it. You should be happy about that.

    “That’s not what you’re asking me. You’re not asking me to tell you why I have hope. You’re asking to explain why my hope contradicts your view of a good reason to believe in God. Not the same thing.”

    You are reading into my question what is not there. Again, I am merely asking you to affirm what you say you believe in. If you truly believe it, then it shouldn’t be something to shy away from.

    “But here’s part of it: The designs we see in nature, executed by nature without magic, without reliance on an intelligent gatekeeper, creates life at submicroscopic levels, and those same principles operate life in the biggest creature ever to have lived, the blue whale. At the same time, there are DNA signatures that the submicroscopic life and the blue whale are related in a grand and enormous continuum of life that unites every living thing on Earth. How can anyone not stand in awe of such things made manifest?

    And yet creationists deny it. It’s astounding.”

    I wasn’t aware that creationists deny it. Can you provide some quotes here?
    Thank you for answering the question, in part. What you have shown me is design and evidence for God’s existence. It is reasonable and verifiable evidence to God’s majesty. Even if Darwin’s theories about evolution are all true (which I don’t agree with you on), I would agree that it would take a mighty big God to accomplish it! Either way, He’s an amazing God! You get a pat on the back, not condemnation from me for your statement. For me, I’d love to see more of the same. Of course, what you are saying is “Intelligent Design” so…I doubt we’ll see more of the same from you on that front.

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  12. Ed Darrell says:

    I’ll see if I can clean the post up a bit. Who has time for long discussions? No problem if there’s a bunch of time between posts, you know?

    Like

  13. lowerleavell says:

    Yikes! It posted before I could separate the paragraphs! Sorry! Sorry it’s so long too! I just can’t post more than once or twice a week right now.

    Like

  14. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,
    You’ve given me quite a bit to reply to. I apologize for not getting back sooner and for the length of this post, but I pretty well through myself into preparing for Sunday. Our study: “The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus really didn’t rise from the dead that we (Christians) 1) have a vain hope, 2) are found to be liars, 3) are to be pitied. If you read 1 Corinthians 15, you’ll notice that Paul very strongly emphasizes the historical, verifiable, objective, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. While we are to accept the evidence by faith (we did not witness the resurrection nor have we ever physically met Christ), the evidence points to the fact that Jesus did indeed have a resurrection. If there were no evidence? Say, for example, they found conclusively the body of Jesus of Nazareth, would you still be a Christian? Oh, you could still be a Christian “by faith”, but it would be ludicrous to put your hope for eternal life in the bony hands of a man whose been dead for 2,000 years and who lied about rising from the dead.

    I hope you get my analogy to this discussion. What you seem to be basically saying is that the evidence for God’s existence is practically “nil”, but we should have faith in Him anyway, even though all evidence points to the contrary. Am I mistaken?

    You said: Disappointed that I have faith? Or are you disappointed that faith is not a rational exercise?
    No, I am thrilled that you have faith in God and Christ! That’s wonderful!

    “Plus, I think it’s important that we not get confused about what we take on faith, and what is convincing evidence. Christianity cannot be reached through a logical path. Faith is not reason. Faith and reason may work together, but we must not confuse the two. It looks to me as if you hope I will confuse them. I don’t.”

    There are many tangible things that require faith. Gravity, the location of my brain (if I have one; you may be in doubt), etc. are all things that I take on faith, because I’ve never seen them. I have never been to Washington D.C., but I take it on faith that it is there. Why? Because even though I’ve never had an encounter with any of my five senses with Washington D.C., I know that it exists. Perhaps this will be an area in which we must agree to disagree, but I believe God’s existence is similar. Even though you and I do not agree on the “how” of creation, we both agree that the “heaven’s declare the glory of God”, do we not? God put His “thumbprint” into creation. If there were no indication anywhere found in creation that it was the result of a divine being, then the implications would be just as great as if they found the body of Jesus.

    That being said, I totally agree with you that faith is not found merely by following a logical path. But study men such as John Calvin, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Simon Greenleaf, and more recently, men like Lee Strobel, and you will find atheists and agnostics who, because of the evidence, were drawn to the foot of the cross where they received Him by faith because to deny God’s existence and deny Christ would be to deny reality. So, while they are separate, I totally agree that they may work together, and beyond that, must work together!

    “The purpose of this blog is other than promoting my faith in God. You won’t find a defense of God here because that’s not my intent with this blog. I will defend the right to believe; I will defend the need for reason. My evangelizing for the church is done elsewhere.”

    That’s a valid point. My aim is not to “attack you.” I am merely doing my best to try and get into that brain of yours and find out where you’re coming from. I want to see things through your eyes and your perspective so that I can understand you better. I have a history of misunderstanding people and I now try to do my best to get a very clear picture of where they are coming from. From what I have read on your blog, it is very difficult to get a clear picture of where you are coming from in regards to God, other than the countless negative comments you have made to people of faith who come on you site. In light of the “evidence” that you rarely speak positively of believing in God, and those who do, I have boggled my mind to find the logic behind your approach, and it just hasn’t added up to me that you claim to be a Christian and then diametrically stand in opposition of those who believe that there is evidence for God’s existence (and I’m not saying that Creationists always get it right either, because they are human and flawed.) If you find me asking you a lot of questions about your faith, it is merely to get an understanding of where you are coming from.

    “You’re reading a lot into my posts that is not there. There is no post here that aims to “put God out of business.” I cannot imagine how any of these posts might be accurately interpreted to do that, unless one believes — and it would have to be faith — that reason, logic, history, economics and science are inherently opposed to God. There are a few idiots of that persuasion, but I didn’t take you for one of them.”

    I had thought that reason, logic, history, economics, and science all gave evidence to God’s existence. It is not my posts that are using these things to attempt to demonstrate God’s absence from each of these. If you believe like me that these areas are not opposed to God, it would sure be nice if you demonstrated from your own vantage point how they show the hand of God. How can you see God in logic? How can you see God in history? How can you see God in science, etc? The floor and this blog are yours my friend, not mine, so do what you will. I merely can’t get a grasp on your embracing two opposing world views into your bosom and trying to have the “best of both” as it were. A “God buffet” where you take what you life from the Bible and nature and then discard the points you disagree with. I can’t reconcile that logic.

    “…I’m looking at history, at how people act and why. You’ll find God in the striving for accuracy, among other things. Of course, if one thinks that striving for accuracy, especially in science, is contrary to God’s wishes, then one would think this an odd blog for a Christian. Do you fall into that category?”

    Accuracy is crucial, I agree. I commend you for how you seem to strive for that on this blog, which is great! That’s the reason why I keep looking at your posts and scratching my bald head. I don’t understand how you can purpose the importance of accuracy and not see very much evidence for God’s existence. You still haven’t my theological questions on the whale thread by the way, and I don’t think you ever will because you and the Bible don’t see eye to eye and it’s tough to come out and say it for all to read.

    “Oh, yeah, one can determine where the gaps in knowledge are. But of course, those posts also show that the earlier claims against evolution theory were simply ill-informed diatribes. There is much we don’t know. As a Christian, however, I don’t try to fit God only into the holes of ignorance. That’s not where God is, and it’s not a good way to make a case for God.”
    This is one of the many things that are good about you; that sets you apart from other theistic evolutionists I have met. You do not believe in a “God of the gaps,” which is commendable. The only thing I am trying to figure out, and excuse the grammar, but what is He the God of, in your opinion? The God who didn’t make anything including us? It does seem that this “God of the gaps” is getting smaller and smaller in the minds of theistic evolutionists. The God I serve is real, and alive, and still working and loving in this sin cursed world, willing to reconcile people to Himself.

    “I hope you didn’t call it “the law of biogenesis.” I don’t think that’s accurate. It is an observation that especially complex life usually arises by reproduction — but then, that is also a key point of evolution theory. We do not have evidence to suggest life never arises spontaneously, and much evidence that it might have done exactly that.”

    I always like the “might,” and the “usually” arguments that come from something that is unknown. The observable, scientific evidence is that life comes from life. This is a classic example of how scientists start with a presupposition and try to make the evidence fit their already formed conclusions. From the talkorigins site, it was obvious that the agenda was “we don’t need God” and here’s why: life can spontaneously arise…possibly. Do you know how big the universe is? Me neither! So therefore, your proposition: “we do not have the evidence to suggest life never arises spontaneously and much evidence that it might have done exactly that” is very logical and fitting because man hasn’t even traveled outside the moon’s orbit, let alone to another planet, galaxy, etc, to observe whether life “spontaneously” can arise. For this planet though, it has not been proven possible. Again I ask, even if it DID (and it’s a big “if”), where is God in this “spontaneous” life formation? If God had ANY part to play, life was in some way, the result of intelligence and did not start spontaneously.

    “You refer only to objects that cannot reproduce in any way. It’s good propaganda to use against young children who don’t know any better, if you don’t want them to think about things. Did you ask them about salt crystals? Can crystals have a “baby?” How about the cathode or anode in a charged solution of metal ions? There will be growth — will you call that “a baby?” How about viruses, can they have “a baby?” If you say no, then what do you call the viruses that do result from a viral infection? Is a virus alive? If not, then just how does it reproduce so well?”

    Does salt arise spontaneously? Do viruses arise spontaneously? Or do they follow the order and design that they were meant to follow? Can you be sitting at your desk typing and “poof” salt starts spontaneously growing on your monitor! What a nuisance if life would just be so spontaneous. Why doesn’t a giraffe just appear in the living room? Because life just doesn’t work that way, and its absurd to think of it in those terms! The universe is governed by laws and life simply “appearing” out of thin air (spontaneously) isn’t one of them.

    “Saying guitars don’t have babies is rather silly — but you forgot about the wood on the guitar.”
    Wow, you were taking an analogy a loooooonnng ways.

    “Many of the rocks we find are crystals. They grow, almost as if alive. Can they have “babies?” Sort of a silly question — but if you’re not careful to define “baby” then a kid that age might well mistake a growing crystal for a baby. Is your point to propagandize the kids, or to give them useful and interesting information?”

    “Are you so unsure of your position that you have to propagandize kids whose reasoning ken is not up to snuff?”

    There are some words I call “trigger” words. I never use the word “counseling” when I talk with people about their need to talk to me or needed changes in their marriage because it triggers something in their heads that is negative. There are other words I never use because of the connotations they bring to the mind. The word “propaganda” is one of those words. You can call CNN, Fox, liberals, conservatives, Christians, Muslims, even you “progandists.” Even Walt Disney had propaganda to let the imagination grow. I am glad that he did because my kids love those movies! So, in that sense, yes, I am attempting to give them an answer to the question “where did God come from” by pointing out that God has always been and that He is the answer to “cause and effect” which includes the origin of life. If you want to call that propaganda, then I’d call that a good thing. But using the trigger word “propaganda” is a rather lame attempt to make me look bad at trying to tackle a real, life changing question. What would you have said? There is no evidence God exists, but keep having faith in….whatever it is you believe as long as you have faith! Just be true to yourself. Kumba Ya, my Lord, Kumba Ya.

    Even with the example of salt; salt does not grow oil, gold, etc. It grows salt. Salt from salt, life from life, etc. You do not find it coming from something other than life. This is a basic proposition of creationism, which is being ignored, even though it is solid science. Therefore, because we only observe life coming from life, it must have an origin. You either have all life originating from the primordial soup, or from a loving, caring, all powerful, all knowing God. Since neither one has been proven, I’ll agree with you that it is a matter of faith. But which one requires more faith? Which one should a Christian follow?
    “So, you’re saying that all life needs God to propagate?”

    I think you and I would agree here, just the steps to get to the conclusion might be different. Are humans a cause or an effect? Well, we didn’t cause our own existence, so we are an effect. So, the answer to the question of all effects is God. You even have agreed to this by saying that God caused the Big Bang. Therefore, God is the cause, the universe, including life, is the effect. I think God was a little bit more “hands on” than you do, but in essence, I would think we would agree on this point. I’m not saying that every cell that comes into existence God is tirelessly creating it. I am saying that He put the laws in motion at creation which makes life propagate itself. In essence, the effect continues what the Cause started. That is all I am saying when I say that life finds its source in God. He is the cause, we are the effect. We are not simply the product of random spontaneity.

    “Pray tell: Why is anyone concerned about an out-of-wedlock child, in that case? Clearly that life could not occur if God Himself did not create it and make it grow. It is, therefore, blessed of God. And yet preachers knock themselves out damning women who bear those babies. It seems to me that those preachers are denying God, at least the God you’re selling to those kids. No?”

    You seem a little confused here. Life is always a gift, not to be taken lightly. Even in the cases of rape and out-of-wedlock children, it is never the child’s fault as to how they came into existence, nor should they bear on their shoulders the sins of their parents. They are innocent. Pastors who don’t recognize this are simply wrong. It would be an example of how God can take something that is sin, and use it for good. If I am wrong, then I guess men like Leonardo Da Vinci was a “mistake” because his mother wasn’t married. Nearly 70% of African American kids were born to unwed mothers and 48% of Hispanic children. Were the adults wrong to have premarital relations? Yes! Were the kids a mistake? You tell them, because I refuse! God set the standard for marriage because it is the best environment (ideally, with Christ at the center of the relationship) for raising children, but no child is a mistake.

    “And how about cancer? If God is necessary for life to propagate, then each cancer must be placed specifically by God. Same with parasites, like hookworm, tapeworm, and malaria.”

    This is where Genesis comes in. Genesis tells us that man sinned, and that it resulted in a curse and death. Cancer is a result of our own doing, not God’s doing. We’ve been down this road before: with your view of an evolutionistic God, cancer, death, and suffering are all part of God’s “creation.” With the Bible’s God, death, cancer, malaria, etc. are the result of Adam’s sin.
    “Be careful when you tell kids that God is a necessary condition for life. That’s the beginning of a spiral that takes us down a flight path to a malicious, uncaring God. Good and evil are not quite that simple, and I worry when people propagandize [TRIGGER WORD] children to convince them God is personally responsible for every bit of evil or bad fortune that strikes people.”

    Again, the cause would be our own sin and rebellion against God, not God Himself, and I told the children as such. They asked the tough question, “why is there suffering, and why is life so complicated?” I’m so proud of them that they are asking these great questions! Suffering and death are the result of sin! And yet God allows death, sin, etc. but overcame it on the cross so that we could have life with Him. Our hope for this life isn’t merely to prolong life into our 70’s and 80’s with as little pain as possible before we still die. And we all do die! Our hope is in Jesus Christ! Therefore we have hope, not simply for this life, but for the one to come. I thought you as a Christian would understand that!

    What you are talking about is fatalism. I do not subscribe to it. I believe in God’s sovereignty, yes! You can find it countless times in Scripture. But you also find man’s ability to choose or reject God. Where the two meet, I have no idea! Anyone who has that whole thing figured out is either selling a book or is lying.

    “If we disallow any possibility for chance in the universe, we make God the power behind the house in every gambling establishment. We disavow God’s command over the science of quantum mechanics. And we cannot fail but to blame God for every odd bolt of lightning, every tornado, every hurricane, and every slippery road that ever killed someone. In fact, if one watches the weather, it seems God is one angry dude who takes His vengeance out on many innocent victims.”
    The Bible says that God knows how many hairs you have on your head (I am trying to keep the number easy to count), He knows when a sparrow dies, and He is in control.

    I heard a story, only yesterday, from a guy called Louie Giglio, who told the story about a 20-22 year old girl who accepted Christ as her Savior, and then four months later, was tragically killed in a car crash. Her brother asked the question, “Why didn’t God save her?!” He had seen answers to many of his prayers for other people, but when it came to his own sister, God didn’t seem to even listen. Why? After struggling for some time, the Lord (he says) answered him. “I did save her. For months before she died, I saved her.” Christianity doesn’t guarantee the answers to why people die tragically, why hurricanes happen when they do, etc. What the Bible tells us is that God says, “I love you, and I want to save you. Not necessarily from your circumstances, but from sin and its consequences. I want to give you eternal life with me in heaven because I am the reward of heaven.” So, to answer your question-I don’t know if there is chance in the universe or not. It doesn’t really matter because God says He loves me and I trust Him.

    “Water on a rock? Do your kids believe water dripping on a rock can carve the rock? Have you now convinced them that water cannot form stalagmites and stalactites? Are your kids now convinced that magic rules, and nature can only drool? Good job, Joe.”

    What? I think if I remember right I was referring to the primordial soup that “caused” life.

    I have a big problem with you equating what God does with “magic.” I am merely saying that He is the one who gave us the natural laws of nature and that those laws show order and design.

    I said, “Hey, anything’s possible, right?”

    You said, “No. Generally things must stay within the bounds of chemical and physical laws and theories. We have no evidence to show that there is any regular bending of those rules by God or anyone else.”

    I am surprised you agreed with me and proved my point. Nature follows laws and therefore life “spontaneously” arriving on the scene is illogical, because as you said my point for me, “Generally things must stay within the bounds of chemical and physical laws and theories.” Thanks for saying it better than I could have.

    “It’s highly unlikely — but let me put this slightly differently. Can you stop hydrogen and oxygen from combusting to form H2O when you toss them up with a spark? No.”

    And how does that happen? Magic? No, it is the laws of nature set forth by God. Why doesn’t hydrogen and oxygen form rocks? I’m sure there’s a scientific reason, but it is the law of nature that it happens the way it does! Again, your plea for accuracy amazes me that you don’t see that it is reckless to claim that life “spontaneously” arose when all around us our universe is governed by laws which for one reason or another, have kept life coming from life, and matter coming from matter, etc. Yet the best we can do for theories that explain the origin of life, is a “perhaps, maybe, etc.” because it is not observable science! Surely you see it!

    “And you can’t stop that star from going nova in a few billion years, and making carbon in the process — carbon, the stuff that life is made from.

    Your kids will also tell you all of that is impossible. Common sense gets rather tested, and often fails, in the operation of the universe. God’s universe doesn’t operate on human scale, nor on human timelines. And so your kids will tell you that stars cannot form, and I suspect they’d tell you the basis of their knowledge that heavy elements like carbon can’t result from an explosion of helium and hydrogen.”

    Life is not MADE from carbon. Life is made POSSIBLE from carbon. A small but major difference. Carbon alone does not produce life. I’m really not sure what the kids would say about stars forming or anything like that. They probably aren’t too familiar with heavy elements and so forth, maybe they are. It’s been a while since I was in forth grade and don’t remember what was taught in science that year. I do remember learning about witchcraft and how to cast spells in English class (yes, public school), but that’s another topic…

    “And so it is with the formation of life. Creationists used to argue that complex chemicals of life cannot form spontaneously, anywhere. Now, after proving they form spontaneously almost everywhere, creationists are pushing God into the now-smaller areas of ignorance.”

    Maybe I’m slow and still didn’t get the memo. I don’t recall you proving or demonstrating this point at all. I thought you had said that there are a lot of holes and things that are being worked on, etc. Maybe it’s these proto-cells you’re talking about? This is life from non-life? The nail in the coffin? I just want to see if this is your “everywhere”?

    “I don’t like to limit God. If you’re convinced God can do things only the way you allow Him to work, well, you have a constitutional right to believe that. You can’t provide evidence, and one of those kids you’re propagandizing [TRIGGER WORD…AGAIN!] may be the kid who discovers the proof that you’re in error. What happens to her faith when she makes that discovery?”

    I agree that it is wrong to limit God. If He limits Himself, (like saying “God created the heavens and the earth”) than that is another matter. I do not believe it is wrong to hold God to His Word. If I make a claim about God, that’s one thing. If He makes a claim and it’s not true, that’s another. He makes the claim that He breathed out the stars. Either He did it, or He didn’t, objectively. One is right, the other is wrong, independent of my belief. I simply have chosen to trust Him at His Word.
    Hebrews 11:3 says this very well, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Verses like that tell me to have faith that it was God, and that He indeed made it by His word. If that limits God, it’s Him doing the limiting, not me.

    We’ve talked about the evidence. The biggest argument is cause and effect. While it’s still a system of belief (and rightly so), it is a reasonable belief. The universe is not eternal (2nd law of thermodynamics dictates that), and thus it must have come into existence at some point of time. The Big Bang (if you wish) must still have a cause! Matter, energy, everything, must have a source! Whether that argument stands up in a court of law (thought it should), I really don’t care what some opinionated judge thinks. A judge isn’t the final authority anyway. Cause and effect is a wonderful argument for the eternality and power of a mighty God!

    “Universe. Everywhere we point our telescopes, we find complex hydrocarbons, the precursors of life, and water. No corner of the universe we know of lacks the components of life.”

    And yet, to date, no discovered planet has had the astronomically impossible position in a galaxy that earth does to sustain life. We truly live on a privileged planet in our universe! With how primed our planet is for life, you’d think the evolution process would be reoccurring as it did with the first “life” everywhere, all the time and this debate should have ended when molecular biology first looked at the cell. We should be able to demonstrate how that first cell reproduced and how it carried with it all the DNA necessary for every life form this planet has ever seen. Yet, what we see on this planet is life from life. No new “original” life forms.

    “Well, you’ve imposed a need for an alien where neither I nor any scientist has proposed it. Once again, you’re trying to limit God to what you understand. I just don’t think that’s wise.”

    It is the logical next step that if life arose somewhere else than it must have evolved. And if life is older somewhere else, it may be more intelligent than ours. So, my imposing a “need” for an alien is merely me saying that if molecule to man evolution is true, why don’t we find “Star Wars quantity” life teeming the universe? Because perhaps life is a little bit more precious and delicate than George Lucas’ imagination?

    “Then there shouldn’t be any reason to tell your kids that life can’t form from a rock. Certainly that’s not a tenet of evolution theory, but neither can you provide any evidence that it cannot occur — especially in a world run by a magician. God caused the rock Moses struck to gush forth with water, after all.

    How do you decide when and where the magic works, and where it doesn’t?”

    As I’ve already said, I cannot make claims for God that are not found in the Bible. My time with the kids is short and I’m not going to go around just telling them what could “possibly happen” but what God says happened. If it is wrong, then I have no business being a pastor and “propagandizing” what the Bible says as true. Again, either it’s true or it’s not, and I want to base my life on what is true.

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  15. Ed Darrell says:

    And, if the Bible is second and third-hand hearsay, then we must question severely other ancient writings such as those of Herodotus and Thucydides.

    To be intellectually honest, sure, absolutely. Of course, merely proposing such an examination of the Bible is liable to gain you calls for excommunication from American fundamentalists, who seem to hold as a matter of faith that the sacred scriptures cannot withstand such questioning, and so should never be challenged. As Thomas Jefferson advised his nephew Peter Carr in a letter in 1787:

    “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first the religion of your own country. Read the bible then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facs which are within the ordinary course of nature you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor on one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature does not weigh against them. But those facts in the bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from god. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong as that it’s [sic] falshood [sic] would be more improbable than a change of the laws of nature in the case he relates. For example, in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still for several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of their statues, beasts, &c, but it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are Astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed it’s revolution, and that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth’s motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities?.”

    Magus said:

    I think though that Darwinism has some answering to do. It’s not nearly so cut and dry as some here are trying to portray it.

    Answering to do? For what? Evolution is much more cut and dried than critics wish to admit. Evolution is challenged daily by science, in hundreds of ways. So far, it survives all challenges.

    Evolution theory is more extensive than our knowledge of gravity. To propose that gravity theory “has some answering to do” would get one some odd looks; the same should occur for similar proposals for evolution theory.

    I suspect you’ve never had occasion to encounter evolution theory in practice, in philosophy, and so are not familiar with how it works in living populations.

    Again, that’s not the fault of evolution, and there is no question posed to evolution that can cure the problem, or that is required because of the problem.

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  16. magus71 says:

    Ed,

    Evolution was a theory long before Darwin wrote his book. For instance, the Greek philosopher, Animaxander proposed something similar to evolution around 600 BC. Like most of our science, logic and ethics, it was merely an extension of Pre-Socratic thought–the thought that built the West.

    There were throngs of atheists, socialists, anarchists and such in Western Europe, during Darwin’s time, as well as in Tsarist Russia. If we read Dostoyevsky, we see this over and over. They were looking for answers and Darwin gave them a possible one.

    And I understand that it doesn’t always come down to atheist vs Christian. I think though that Darwinism has some answering to do. It’s not nearly so cut and dry as some here are trying to portray it. I’ll admit that I’m no micro-biologist, but I am a philosopher. Philosophy is the general science, and so I think there are some serious general questions that I need answered before the minutiae really matters to me.

    And, if the Bible is second and third-hand hearsay, then we must question severely other ancient writings such as those of Herodotus and Thucydides.

    Like

  17. Ediacaran says:

    I asked: Magus71, what characteristics would constitute non-fully formed fauna, if that is what you think evolution requires in the fossil record? The more detailed example, the better.

    Majus71 replied: “So, here’s a description of what I meant by “fully formed fauna”: Creatures of have very complex organs, such as eyes.”

    So, per your example of “fully formed fauna” (oddly, the opposite of what was aked of you), did you really intend to imply that animals that don’t have eyes are not “fully formed”? As a former spelunker, I find such an assertion ill-informed. Did you even look at the links I provided regarding eyes earlier? (e.g. http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-74661/Steps-in-the-evolution-of-the-eye-as-reflected-in ) Do you consider any of the organisms listed at that site to be non-fully formed fauna?

    After we discuss this, we can go over the evidence for the evolution of eyes from the fossil record and from molecular biology (in addition to the links I already provided) in more detail.

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Evolution does NOT provide science against racism. It provides ammunition for it. Afterall, why would a Darwinist assume that Blacks, Caucasions, Asians etc. have the same mental capacities, since they are different physically?

    Any scientist would look at brains of differently colored humans and see quickly that there are no significant physical differences.

    I can’t think of any serious physical differences that would lead any serious scientist to conclude that there should be legal classifications to separate humans on the basis of skin color. They simply don’t exist.

    Hitler rejected Darwin’s view, and insisted that the Bible’s claim that heritage (race) is contained in blood was the norm. Consequently, Hitler feared the effect of a blood bank. He feared what would happen to his army if Jewish blood “tainted” the blood bank and injured soldiers were to get Jewish blood instead of Aryan blood.

    Ironically, Hitler rather arbitrarily designated one blood type as “more Aryan” than others, but he picked a blood type that was extremely common among Jews. Hitler’s denial of our basic brotherhood significantly hampered medical efforts to save the lives of injured German soldiers, and tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of German soldiers died from simple shock while Allied soldiers got blood transfusions, lived, and returned to fight.

    Darwin had thought brain size might correlate to intelligence, but physiologists quickly determined brain size was more a function of body size than a correlate to intelligence – Neandertal Man (Homo Neanderthalensis) had larger brains than Homo sapiens, for example, but appears to have been unable to conceive of throwing things, like spears.

    Stick with science, and get the facts.

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  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, Magus,

    Don’t forget that creationism vs. evolution isn’t Christian vs. atheist. Creationism is not a Christian doctrine, not essential to any but the oddest fundamentalist sects; evolution has nothing whatever to do with atheism. Atheists existed long before evolution theory; evolution theory was discovered by faithful Christians. I detect an inherent misunderstanding of that issue in your posts, and you seem confused at responses that don’t respect your misunderstanding. The confusion is on your end, I think.

    Joe said:

    I simply want to address the issue of faith verses reason. I do not believe that reason is necessary for faith, but I am thankful with Christ and with the existence of God, it is (I believe it was Tertullian who put it this way) a reasonable faith. Christianity doesn’t mean you check your brain at the door to be a Christian. God’s existence is objective, regardless of our faith in Him. He either exists or He does not; who really cares what I believe about Him? If He truly doesn’t exist, then all the believing in the world doesn’t make it so. If He does exist, all the disbelief in the world won’t save you.

    And that’s why I find creationists’ demand that scientists check their brains, data and reason at the door, bizarre, unreasonable, unscientific, and unChristian. If God exists the reality of evolution doesn’t dismiss Him from the heavens. If God doesn’t exist, evolution can’t create Him.

    There is obviously a very vital and strong need for faith, which I am not denying by any stretch of the imagination. God says in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe thta He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Reasonable faith does not mean that you continue to believe even in the midst of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    Particularly after 1900, there is a trend in Christianity, mostly in America, to seek evidence as good as evidence for things like the red-shift phenomenon, evolution, or double-blind. Many Christians grew embarrassed by their faith. They started to make claims that their faith was just as rational as science, as if faith alone was not enough for God. Since that time, this movement in Christianity has fuzzed the lines between the claims of the Latter-day Saints or Moslems about origins of scripture, for example. Mohammed and Joseph Smith claimed their scriptures were dictated to them with divine help, Mohammed directly, Joseph Smith through the use of divine devices for translation. Up until the 20th century, such claims were not heard for the Bible.

    I think much of the pursuit of “reason” by Christians grows even more confused in the latter half of the 20th century. Josh McDowell’s silly and bizarre book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, for example, eviscerates all rational use of evidence. (Look at his claims for authority for the Bible, that there are more documents “supporting” it than any other publication. He counts among those documents every copy of the Bible, as if you could build credence and credibility for a document by putting it on a Xerox copying machine and hitting the “Print 100 copies” button 10,000 times.)

    There are reasons from scripture, from tradition and from experience that lead most faithful Christians to faith. These reasons often do not comprise the sort of evidence that would stand up in any kind of court fight, and certainly they should not be confused with the sorts of evidence science uses. You’re dancing on that fence right now.

    Let me explain: My grandfather used to tell my dad that his brains were in his feet. My dad went to school at the age of six telling all the kids that their brains were in their feet. My dad was crushed when he found out his dad was joking with him. He had put his reputation on the line for what his dad said. Believing in God is not like believing your brains are in your feet. I believe my brains are in my head, though I have never seen them, never touched them, smelled them, tasted them, etc. Yet I know they are there (no jokes please), because all the evidence shows that my brains are in my head. Without evidence, I simply have fideism (faith without reason). How then are my beliefs any different than the Mormon, Buddist, Muslim, atheist, or anything else? They are simply beliefs that have no basis in fact and I am simply believing my brains are in my feet.

    To answer you question, yes, I was something of an agnostic Christian as a teen. I didn’t want to simply believe what my parents believed, but I wanted to have my own relationship with God. I wanted to know for myself what was right and who God is. I began to study every religion and every philosophy I could ingest. The more I studied, the more my faith in the God of the Bible and in Christ was confirmed again and again and again! No other God stands up to the scrutiny that the God of the Bible does! I am so thankful that I can have faith, but it is not a faith devoid of reason.

    That scrutiny you speak of is not scientific scrutiny. To be blunt and brief about it, Jesus specifically warns against testing faith in a scientific manner, when He resists the tempter at the summit of the temple. You’re talking about testing faith. That’s different that testing a scientific hypothesis. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that your faith is not reason, not something we can test in a lab. Consequently, I’m a bit put off by your demands that I justify my faith in a similar manner. You’re playing the tempter, and I choose not to hurl myself from the temple to please you. That’s not a fair test of God, Jesus tells us.

    What I don’t understand is how you keep advocating intellectual honesty, verifying of facts, etc. and then have a fideistic faith.

    I am painfully aware you don’t understand. You confuse intellectual honesty with atheism, and you confuse fideistic faith with refusing atheism, and therefore, refusing intellectual honesty. It’s a position you didn’t reach by reason, and there’s no way to reason you out of it.

    You can believe whatever you want, “The Spaghetti Moster” or whatever, it’s your consitutional right. But I don’t want to base my life on a lie, even if it is a well crafted, believable lie.

    And yet you rush to creationism, a certifiable lie, even though crafted often (never well, in my opinion). You can’t explain that, either. Touche.

    This is why I am in this discussion. If I am wrong about creationism, I want to know so I can change. Why? Because my beliefs should not be based on me or what I’ve always thought, or what I want to be true, but rather where the evidence points to. From my understand, the evidence (to those who wish to be intellectually honest) overwhelmingly screams for the existence of God). I don’t understand someone who believes in God but has no need for Him. If you have no need for Him, then how are you subject to Him? If you are not subject to Him, how is He God?

    There is nothing in creationism that screams for the existence of God, nothing in creationism that is a necessary part of Christianity. As I’ve related before, I think Christianity requires a rejection of creationism, which posits a very limited God of only magical proportions, rather than a God of majesty who created and lives in the entire universe.

    Studying science is not a rejection of God, never has been, never need be. You need to get over that mistaken belief, I think, and more of the issues will become clear.

    Scripture doesn’t tell us how God created. It was not intended to, and it doesn’t do so even accidentally. There is another testament of God (for Christians) that may relate that story, however: Creation. Scientists study creation. Scientists have learned much about the hows of modern creation, and much about the hows of ancient creation. All the evidence God has given us shows the hows are the same for ancient times as modern times.

    Now, on what evidence does creationism deny that conclusion? Certainly not on God’s creation. What evidence can creationism possibly have that denies God’s creation and what that creation shows?

    And you claim to be searching for accuracy and honesty? What reason is there in creationism? And how does that support any part of Christianity?

    I’ll give one example, especially since it’s about Easter. The resurrection of Christ. Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to the fact that the tomb is empty, that the disciples died for a unanimous faith, that the Gospels are reliable, etc. If the evidence was no stronger than for Thor, why would I believe it? Why not believe in hobbits and dwarves, and elves instead? Sounds pretty cool to me! Because all the evidence points to the contrary.

    Do you think there is any strong evidence for Thor, for hobbits and dwarves? If one seriously does not understand what evidence is and how it works — and there are a lot of people in that category, which is why there are evidence courses in law school and logic courses in other academia — then one may indeed conflate such things. In that case, you’d be right — it’s a flip of the coin to determine between gods, or gods and science, and one is as good as another. There are a lot of post-modernist Christians who argue that should be the case, especially with regard to creationism.

    I’m no post-modernist. There are hard standards of right and wrong, and hard standards of true and false. Creationism doesn’t pass those standards. Christianity doesn’t pass many of them, either.

    Do you know what hearsay evidence is? In criminal and civil law, hearsay evidence may be admitted under certain conditions. But hearsay is inherently less reliable than other forms of evidence, especially hard, physical evidence, like DNA. Much of the Bible is second- and third-hand hearsay. Creationist claims often don’t rise to even that level. Science is based on hard, physical evidence mostly, and never on hearsay.

    These may be fine gradations to some, but to people who have to make serious decisions, these distinctions are clear as a bell.

    Creationism is severe tinnitus that prevents its victims from hearing those clear distinctions, it seems to me — and you’ve got it bad.

    Evidence is very important to having objective faith. Why do you think apologetics is in 1 Peter 3:15? “…be ready to give a defense (apology) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (two rarely used qualities from Christians, unfortunately).” If our defense is simply, faith apart from reason, do we have a reasonable faith? If Christ is still in the tomb, we are worthy of men’s pity.

    That’s not what you’re asking me. You’re not asking me to tell you why I have hope. You’re asking to explain why my hope contradicts your view of a good reason to believe in God. Not the same thing.

    But here’s part of it: The designs we see in nature, executed by nature without magic, without reliance on an intelligent gatekeeper, creates life at submicroscopic levels, and those same principles operate life in the biggest creature ever to have lived, the blue whale. At the same time, there are DNA signatures that the submicroscopic life and the blue whale are related in a grand and enormous continuum of life that unites every living thing on Earth. How can anyone not stand in awe of such things made manifest?

    And yet creationists deny it. It’s astounding.

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  20. magus71 says:

    Evolution does NOT provide science against racism. It provides ammunition for it. Afterall, why would a Darwinist assume that Blacks, Caucasions, Asians etc. have the same mental capacities, since they are different physically?

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  21. Ed Darrell says:

    Reaching back to make responses I’d lacked time for earlier.

    Magus said:

    I don’t think dogs turn into cats, and I fully understand natural selection. Still, we know that according to Darwin, eventually one species (though I believe Darwin himself had problems with the term, species) evolves to the point where it cannot mate with its ancestors. Where does it find a mate?

    “One species” means a population. Yes, one population, of a dozen, a few hundred, a few thousand, speciates. It finds mates with those in it population. Speciation generally does not include the gold standard of retrospectively determining whether speciation has occurred: One group can’t mate with the other. So after a speciation event, we should expect to see some mixing and hybridizing between the old and new species, if both species still exist in the same location. But this, too, ends over time. You can see this demonstrated in living populations today, such as the herring gull and lesser black-backed gull, which start out in one population in northern Europe; gradual changes in adjoining populations of the gulls occur as we follow their habitats around the Arctic Circle, until over Canada we realize that one species seems to have morphed into the other; and if we continue that circle, when we arrive back in northern Europe, we find we have two populations now, the original group (which did not move or migrate), and another group. At each stage, incidentally, some individuals from one group typically mate with individuals from the adjoining groups to the east and west; technically, the lesser black-backed gull could probably mate with the herring gull, but they don’t. It’s a true speciation just as Darwin described such a sympatric speciation, with geography doing the separation instead of time.

    The California salamanders are probably more interesting; there are no fewer than eight of these species circling the San Fernando Valley; any one can hybridize with those on either side, geographically, but skips of one population generally demonstrate the infertility that is usually expected from speciation events. I say eight, but some of my books show a dozen, I’ve seen charts showing up to 16, and I’ve heard herpetologists argue there are at least 20 of the species in the “ring” ranging well into Washington state. Among other reasons these are so interesting is that the color differences are sometimes quite spectacular.

    Every step of evolution has been documented? Please show me one example of, without labratory manipulation, a new species having formed from an old, a species which cannot mate with the previous, and then flourishing, finding a mate, and multiplying etc… And let me say, that any conclusion one wishes to find can indeed be found, if a certain premise is assumed.

    I just offered a couple dozen in birds and salamanders. Modern beef is descended from the aurochs, the last one of which was poached in the 11th century; interbreeding was impossible by then, I understand. The salt grass, Spartina townsendii arose spontaneously in the Thames River mudflats in about 1866 under the eyes of several botanists. They suspected it was a one-time cross-breeding of a European salt grass and an American salt grass introduced through ballasts from ships (an invasion of an exotic species, in other words); the flowers were dramatically different from either suspected parent, however, and cross-breeding was immediately impossible. Chromosome studies in the 20th century confirmed that the new grass had taken in the entire genome of both parents, more than doubling its chromosome count over one, and nearly doubling it over the other. In this case, I suppose, the offspring found plenty of siblings to breed with — we generally relax our taboos about incest when we discuss plants (and they seem to have no strong taboos about it, either).

    For documentation of every step of the way, check the work of Rosemary and Peter Grant. Starting in the early 1970s, they captured, measured, and tracked every member of at least three different species of bird on a small island in the Galapagos. Over the course of more than 35 generations in about 30 years they fully documented evolution to new species. Their measurements included body size, coloring, weight, beak size and shape, and song; they also recorded for each individual its mating habits, its mates, its nesting habits, its offspring, its ancestors, birth and death, and diet. Their work is wonderfully explained in Jonathan Weiner’s book, which will be in your local library if it’s worth three grains of salt, The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time. Papers on specific speciation events have been published in Nature, Science, and a variety of ornithological journals. Many of the publications are sourced in the bibliography and notes to Weiner’s book.

    Weiner also details work of commercial pesticide manufacturers who track the evolution of crop pests in a single season, hoping to keep their products effective against the pests farmers fear. This of course reminds me that the American apple maggot arose spontaneously about the time John Chapman started spreading apple trees across the Rust Belt. Its ancestry has been traced back to another native American insect (Hawthorn maggot? I forget which), some population of which made the leap to apples.

    And of course there are the “since Jesus” examples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radishes, Canola and cauliflower, all of which are descended from the same group of mustards, some of which we have detailed analysis of their evolution, none of which existed in Jesus’ time — and all of which were “created” with only artificial selection substituted for natural selection, using Darwinian mechanisms in all other facets (no genetic engineering, no intelligent design).

    If you want a wholly spontaneous agricultural example, look at corn. Modern maize is descended from teosinte. The mutation that swelled the kernals 100 times appears to have occurred about 5,000 years ago and is clearly trackable in DNA of the two plants.

    How many dozen examples does it take to make the point?

    There are different breeds of dogs, just like Armadillos. They are still dogs and Armadillos. Squirrels are still squirrels, regardless of breed, the can still mate with one another, just as there are several races of humans, which can all interbreed.

    There is only one race of humans. We have some color variations, but in the entire population of humans there is less genetic variation than there is in one troop of wild chimpanzees or bonobos. We are one race only among humans. Of course we can interbreed. Evolution confirms the brotherhood of Man, even though many Christians still use the Bible to deny it. Evolution has always provided science against racism, and humans have always sought other ways to justify it. Will we regard a new species that population of humans that finally eradicates what we call racism?

    My point about the armadilloes is just what you claim here — it’s foolish to think that God made separate creations of the giant armadillo and modern, smaller ones. But that is what creationists are forced to claim in order to deny evolution. And while you see the silliness now, in 1831 that was the general belief of anti-science Christians. The only way to explain fossils and the information of ancient species was a series of creations, each wiped out by floods or other disaster. Geologists searched in vain for evidence of such disasters; Lyell’s three-volume survey of geology was published beginning 1831, putting to bed the idea that there had been great disasters that wiped out all life, requiring new creations from God. Darwin took the first volume with him aboard the Beagle, and the others were sent to him as they were published. Darwin knew by the time he got to Australia that there had to be a biological explanation for diversity of species, and not a geological one. Still, Darwin didn’t understand the biological evidence until after the biological experts had studies his amazing body of samples; it was in 1837 that an ornithologist with the British Museum happened to note to Darwin that the 13 very different birds he had sent them from the Galapagos, from 13 different islands, were all finches despite their dramatic morphological differences.

    You’re putting words in my mouth concerning the species repeatedly being wiped out and new ones created in their place. Never said that. Don’t believe that. See no evidence of it. Don’t forget the 9th Commandment.

    I assumed, erroneously it appears, that you knew what creationism had posited as a scientific explanation. Don’t forget the 12th Commandment: “Don’t assume your debating opponent is ignorant, but instead give him a chance to prove he does understand what’s going on.”

    Where are all the people with the bumper sticker slogans, that began this line of comments? I suspect they’ve drown in the depths of this conversation….See, Creationists aren’t the only ones with shallow conceptions ofwhat they believe.

    Not much new going on. The action has shifted to Dr. Myers’ blog, since the producers of “Expelled!” tried to martyr his cause.

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  22. Ed Darrell says:

    Why did he need to simulate plausible natural conditions when he could have gone to a pond or puddle, which are not only plausible, but very natural? He should be able to see protocells forming everywhere.

    Because those conditions do not obtain anywhere on Earth today.

    Why don’t you sit on a dinosaur egg to prove that dinosaurs and humans lived together? You might as well ask.

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  23. magus71 says:

    “He basically simulated plausible natural conditions with amino acids, water and heat”

    Why did he need to simulate plausible natural conditions when he could have gone to a pond or puddle, which are not only plausible, but very natural? He should be able to see protocells forming everywhere.

    The scientist created the condition in which a protocell could spawn. He manipulated the reality inside a petry dish and stuff happened, because he made it possible. That’s ID. Granted, he didn’t make the innate laws biology and genetics that allowed for this, but he did change the environment using his directed mind to create an ordered reality, and through order, which seldom springs from disorder: Protocell.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this I guess.

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  24. Ediacaran says:

    Magus71 claims:
    “Creating protocells in the lab is ID.”

    No, it isn’t. The scientist who first reported it didn’t design the cells. He basically simulated plausible natural conditions with amino acids, water and heat, and the protocells formed spontaneously.

    The scientist was sure a smart Fox!

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  25. Ed Darrell says:

    Let me explain: My grandfather used to tell my dad that his brains were in his feet. My dad went to school at the age of six telling all the kids that their brains were in their feet. My dad was crushed when he found out his dad was joking with him. He had put his reputation on the line for what his dad said. Believing in God is not like believing your brains are in your feet. I believe my brains are in my head, though I have never seen them, never touched them, smelled them, tasted them, etc. Yet I know they are there (no jokes please), because all the evidence shows that my brains are in my head. Without evidence, I simply have fideism (faith without reason). How then are my beliefs any different than the Mormon, Buddist, Muslim, atheist, or anything else? They are simply beliefs that have no basis in fact and I am simply believing my brains are in my feet.

    Brains in feet, no transitional fossils, impossible for DNA to get “new information,” “missing links” never found, life can’t come from rocks — note any similarities in the arguments?

    Regardless of faith, can you see the danger of teaching things that are not so?

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  26. Ediacaran says:

    Saintlewis writes:
    “… Intelligent Design (which doesn’t necessarily always implicate a God, as ‘Dog Breeding’ is an example of ID, as is genetic engineering).”

    Dog breeding is an example of artificial selection, Natural Selection’s city cousin. Breeders don’t “design” the dogs, they breed dogs with heritable traits – random mutation creates noticeable variations, and breeders breed the dogs with the traits they want to amplify. It’s very much an analogy for Natural Selection, but with breeders doing the selection instead of the natural environment. That is why Darwin studied pigeon breeding, to gather data to support his scientific explanation of how evolution occurs.

    If you can find a Genetic Engineer who supports Intelligent Design Creationism, please post their name and affiliation here. All the genetic engineering and analysis websites I’ve perused base their work on evolution. If ID Creationism were simply natural beings doing science, there should be no need to invoke supernatural causes or redefine science, as the leaders of ID Creationism do. If you can find scientific evidence of a genetic engineer who deliberately designed and created terrestrial lifeforms prior to the existence of humans, be sure to substantiate your claim for us. Good luck with that.

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  27. Ediacaran says:

    Saintlewis folds when pressed for substantiation of his claim about atheist and agnostic ID “Scientists”:
    “You’re right, I didn’t share examples – doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, but that if you really cared to find out you could do the research itself. Honestly, this isn’t too much of a big deal to me…”

    It was a big enough deal for you to make the claim to support your thesis that ID was real science that was being censored; now you refuse to substantiate your claim. As Ed already noted, the ICON-RIDS link you cited did not bolster your claim (the author of the blog isn’t a scientist).

    I have done the research, and have been unable to find any atheist or agnostic scientists who support Intelligent Design Creationism. That’s why I challenged your claim in the first place. But it seems you’ve been unable to find any either, despite your claim. The author of the blog you cited, William Brookfield, admits he has no degrees in science (or anything else): “I don’t hold any degrees from any university of any kind.” In spite of this he calls himself a “citizen scientist”, which is apparently enough to dupe you into making your unsubstantiated claim. The name of his coauthor, EJ Klone, sounds like a sock puppet.

    It doesn’t mean that those elusive atheist or agnostic ID “Scientists” don’t exist, but it doesn’t mean they do, either. You should refrain from making a claim that you can’t back up with facts. Surely you’re not one of those creationists who bears false witness and refuses to substantiate his claims when pressed, right? ;-)

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  28. Ediacaran says:

    Lowerleavell writes:
    “For that matter, what is hindering one cell into become a full human in just two or three generations?”

    Actually, there are cells that become a full human in just one generation – that’s how you and the rest of us humans got our start, from a single diploid cell, after a sperm from our biological father and an ovum from our biological mother fused. Recognize that it took roughly 4 billion years for a subset of descendants of the first cell to develop that ability.

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  29. magus71 says:

    Faith in the bible is not blindly accepting that God exists, regardless of evidence. In most instances in the bible, faith is used to mean that a person believes that God will “come through” in some way. For instance, Abraham saw the Angel of God. Surely we could not say that he needed faith to believe at that point. And yet, when he took Issac to the mountain to sacrifice him, and Isaac asked, “Where is the sacrifice?”, then Abraham needed faith, and he came through as gold: “God will provide.”

    So, God’s exitance has already been established in the believer’s mind. Not because of blind faith, but because of our very existance, because of the existance of matter and order. For without a beginning, we have infinite regress, which only leads to more questions. So we must conclude, as all ancient and most modern people have, that there is a God, a beginning, and for order to exist, it must spring from an ordered God. It is only the path to God and the hidden nature of Him that separates religions…

    I choose Christ’s way.

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  30. lowerleavell says:

    Ed, I can’t really write an adequate response tonight, so I’ll make this fairly brief.

    I simply want to address the issue of faith verses reason. I do not believe that reason is necessary for faith, but I am thankful with Christ and with the existence of God, it is(I believe it was Tertullian who put it this way) a reasonable faith. Christianity doesn’t mean you check your brain at the door to be a Christian. God’s existence is objective, regardless of our faith in Him. He either exists or He does not; who really cares what I believe about Him? If He truly doesn’t exist, then all the believing in the world doesn’t make it so. If He does exist, all the disbelief in the world won’t save you.

    There is obviously a very vital and strong need for faith, which I am not denying by any stretch of the imagination. God says in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe thta He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Reasonable faith does not mean that you continue to believe even in the midst of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    Let me explain: My grandfather used to tell my dad that his brains were in his feet. My dad went to school at the age of six telling all the kids that their brains were in their feet. My dad was crushed when he found out his dad was joking with him. He had put his reputation on the line for what his dad said. Believing in God is not like believing your brains are in your feet. I believe my brains are in my head, though I have never seen them, never touched them, smelled them, tasted them, etc. Yet I know they are there (no jokes please), because all the evidence shows that my brains are in my head. Without evidence, I simply have fideism (faith without reason). How then are my beliefs any different than the Mormon, Buddist, Muslim, atheist, or anything else? They are simply beliefs that have no basis in fact and I am simply believing my brains are in my feet.

    To answer you question, yes, I was something of an agnostic Christian as a teen. I didn’t want to simply believe what my parents believed, but I wanted to have my own relationship with God. I wanted to know for myself what was right and who God is. I began to study every religion and every philosophy I could ingest. The more I studied, the more my faith in the God of the Bible and in Christ was confirmed again and again and again! No other God stands up to the scrutiny that the God of the Bible does! I am so thankful that I can have faith, but it is not a faith devoid of reason.

    What I don’t understand is how you keep advocating intellectual honesty, verifying of facts, etc. and then have a fideistic faith. You can believe whatever you want, “The Spaghetti Moster” or whatever, it’s your consitutional right. But I don’t want to base my life on a lie, even if it is a well crafted, believable lie. This is why I am in this discussion. If I am wrong about creationism, I want to know so I can change. Why? Because my beliefs should not be based on me or what I’ve always thought, or what I want to be true, but rather where the evidence points to. From my understand, the evidence (to those who wish to be intellectually honest) overwhelmingly screams for the existence of God). I don’t understand someone who believes in God but has no need for Him. If you have no need for Him, then how are you subject to Him? If you are not subject to Him, how is He God?

    I’ll give one example, especially since it’s about Easter. The resurrection of Christ. Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to the fact that the tomb is empty, that the disciples died for a unanimous faith, that the Gospels are reliable, etc. If the evidence was no stronger than for Thor, why would I believe it? Why not believe in hobbits and dwarves, and elves instead? Sounds pretty cool to me! Because all the evidence points to the contrary. Evidence is very impotant to having objective faith. Why do you think apologetics is in 1 Peter 3:15? “…be ready to give a defense (apology) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (two rarely used qualities from Christians, unfortunately).” If our defense is simply, faith apart from reason, do we have a reasonable faith? If Christ is still in the tomb, we are worthy of men’s pitty.

    Like

  31. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe said:

    I guess I’m going to have to repeat my question: Why then do you believe in God? If scientist have no found that we don’t even need God for biogenesis, or for that matter, many scientists believe that we don’t even need God for the Big Bang, why on earth do you insist that there is a God?

    Disappointed that I have faith? Or are you disappointed that faith is not a rational exercise?

    Christians don’t get faith by looking at evidence. If there were evidence, faith would not be required. The classic definition of “agnostic” is someone who would believe in God, if the proof were presented and it held up to scrutiny. You seem disappointed I’m not agnostic. But now I wonder, Joe: Is your faith based on your understanding that there is proof of God? Because if so, that means you’re only a fulfilled agnostic. That’s not what the faith journey is all about.

    Christians make a leap of faith. As Jesus told Thomas, Thomas had the evidence — those who followed after would have to take it on faith. I do.

    Plus, I think it’s important that we not get confused about what we take on faith, and what is convincing evidence.

    Christianity cannot be reached through a logical path. Faith is not reason. Faith and reason may work together, but we must not confuse the two.

    It looks to me as if you hope I will confuse them. I don’t.

    Maybe I am a latecomer to your site, but I have seen absolutely nothing on your
    sight defending the existence of God. If it is on a previous post, perhaps
    you will remember, but I can’t find anything.

    The purpose of this blog is other than promoting my faith in God. You won’t find a defense of God here because that’s not my intent with this blog. I will defend the right to believe; I will defend the need for reason. My evangelizing for the church is done elsewhere.

    Your job here has seemingly been
    to systematically attempt to put God “out of business.”

    You’re reading a lot into my posts that is not there. There is no post here that aims to “put God out of business.” I cannot imagine how any of these posts might be accurately interpreted to do that, unless one believes — and it would have to be faith — that reason, logic, history, economics and science are inherently opposed to God. There are a few idiots of that persuasion, but I didn’t take you for one of them.

    So, in that mind of
    yours, where does the need for God’s existence fit? If it is nowhere, then is
    your beliefs a sort of “Pascall’s Wager” sort of thing? Do you have a “just in
    case” God? Frankly, I see nothing that you have written to warrent any sort of
    belief in God.

    That’s not the purpose of this blog. I’m looking at history, at how people act and why. You’ll find God in the striving for accuracy, among other things. Of course, if one thinks that striving for accuracy, especially in science, is contrary to God’s wishes, then one would think this an odd blog for a Christian. Do you fall into that category?

    Ok, in response to what you said. I am glad that you posted those links to
    talkorigins and the other professor dude. It really shows me just how far
    scientists are from understanding the origins of life as well as their shortcomings
    from really having the answers.

    Oh, yeah, one can determine where the gaps in knowledge are. But of course, those posts also show that the earlier claims against evolution theory were simply ill-informed diatribes. There is much we don’t know. As a Christian, however, I don’t try to fit God only into the holes of ignorance. That’s not where God is, and it’s not a good way to make a case for God.

    I teach 3rd-5th graders in our Awana kids program at church. I asked them to
    ask me questions that are important to them, and I have been very, very
    impressed with their questions. One of the questions was, “where did God come from?”
    Great question! My answer was that God is the cause, we are the effect (they
    understood it because it is what they are learning right now in science). I
    told them about the law of biogenesis (life from life) and asked them, “Can my
    guitar have a baby? Can a rock have a baby? Can a computer have a baby?” And I
    went down the line of absurd things that obviously cannot have babies (I know
    it’s more complicated than that, but even on a molecular level, the principles
    are still the same).

    I hope you didn’t call it “the law of biogenesis.” I don’t think that’s accurate. It is an observation that especially complex life usually arises by reproduction — but then, that is also a key point of evolution theory. We do not have evidence to suggest life never arises spontaneously, and much evidence that it might have done exactly that.

    You refer only to objects that cannot reproduce in any way. It’s good propaganda to use against young children who don’t know any better, if you don’t want them to think about things. Did you ask them about salt crystals? Can crystals have a “baby?” How about the cathode or anode in a charged solution of metal ions? There will be growth — will you call that “a baby?” How about viruses, can they have “a baby?” If you say no, then what do you call the viruses that do result from a viral infection? Is a virus alive? If not, then just how does it reproduce so well?

    Saying guitars don’t have babies is rather silly — but you forgot about the wood on the guitar. It was once living, and of course, you or someone else killed it. But when it was alive, could it have a baby? Yes, it could. And the steel in the strings — it comes from iron. Odds are that the iron was refined from ores that were deposited from microbial actions that fixed the iron into the form the miners found it. While it would be silly to say the strings could “have babies,” you wouldn’t have the strings but for the babies that fixed that iron and laid it down in the ground.

    Many of the rocks we find are crystals. They grow, almost as if alive. Can they have “babies?” Sort of a silly question — but if you’re not careful to define “baby” then a kid that age might well mistake a growing crystal for a baby. Is your point to propagandize the kids, or to give them useful and interesting information?

    Are you so unsure of your position that you have to propagandize kids whose reasoning ken is not up to snuff?

    Then I gave a scenario where it rains on rocks for
    millions of years and somewhere in the lightning and rain life appeared. I asked if
    it were possible. They looked at me as if I were the man in the moon. “That’s
    stupid!” one kid said, and another said, “that’s
    impossible!” Why? Because life comes from life, and these 3rd-5th graders are
    smart enough to know it, and they understand the need for God. My question to
    these brilliant scientists is, “are you smarter than a 5th grader?”
    Apparently not.

    So, you’re saying that all life needs God to propagate? Pray tell: Why is anyone concerned about an out-of-wedlock child, in that case? Clearly that life could not occur if God Himself did not create it and make it grow. It is, therefore, blessed of God. And yet preachers knock themselves out damning women who bear those babies. It seems to me that those preachers are denying God, at least the God you’re selling to those kids. No?

    And how about cancer? If God is necessary for life to propagate, then each cancer must be placed specifically by God. Same with parasites, like hookworm, tapeworm, and malaria.

    Be careful when you tell kids that God is a necessary condition for life. That’s the beginning of a spiral that takes us down a flight path to a malicious, uncaring God. Good and evil are not quite that simple, and I worry when people propagandize children to convince them God is personally responsible for every bit of evil or bad fortune that strikes people. I think that is dangerous thinking — when the cargo door falls off a jumbo jet, if it’s simply the will of God, who is the pilot to fight the crash? I have listened to the cockpit tapes of pilots convinced it was God’s will as 300 people plunged to their deaths; and I’ve been inspired by the cockpit tapes of pilots in the same type of plane, with the same problem, who called on God to damn the problem (and not as a religious exercise), and then used their skill, muscle and smarts to nurse the airplane to a safe landing.

    If we disallow any possibility for chance in the universe, we make God the power behind the house in every gambling establishment. We disavow God’s command over the science of quantum mechanics. And we cannot fail but to blame God for every odd bolt of lightning, every tornado, every hurricane, and every slippery road that ever killed someone. In fact, if one watches the weather, it seems God is one angry dude who takes His vengeance out on many innocent victims.

    Water on a rock? Do your kids believe water dripping on a rock can carve the rock? Have you now convinced them that water cannot form stalagmites and stalactites? Are your kids now convinced that magic rules, and nature can only drool? Good job, Joe.

    Better, I think, to stick with what we know, and confess what we don’t know. You do not know whether God started life, as Darwin stated, in one form or many, on a tangled bank. You cannot say whether or where God ever intervened in the diversity of life — you don’t have the evidence either way.

    So, to deny the majority of the evidence in favor of evidence that doesn’t exist is a wholly illogical exercise. And that’s what I feared: If you don’t understand that faith is not a logical exercise, perhaps you can’t distinguish what is logic, and what is not.

    You say there are no barriers to life forming spontaneously. For that matter,
    what is hindering one cell into become a full human in just two or three
    generations?

    Genes.

    Hey, anything’s possible, right?

    No. Generally things must stay within the bounds of chemical and physical laws and theories. We have no evidence to show that there is any regular bending of those rules by God or anyone else.

    What’s to stop my throwing all the
    parts necessary for a making a watch into the air and then them arranging
    themselves into a perfect, working watch by the time it comes back down?

    It’s highly unlikely — but let me put this slightly differently. Can you stop hydrogen and oxygen from combusting to form H2O when you toss them up with a spark? No.

    Can you stop a seed from germinating in the ground without disturbing it? Is God necessary for every seed to germinate? Is God that petty, or that incompetent?

    Can you stop hydrogen in space from forming a star?

    If you pose living things, or reactive things, you will get reactions.

    If you toss up the parts of a watch, you cannot stop it from falling to the ground. You have no way of interfering with the operation of gravity.

    That gravity, which makes the watch fall to the ground, also makes the stars form, and begin fusion. That’s the way the universe is designed. You can’t stop it; you can’t interfere in that process in any way (and we may never be able to interfere; we just can’t tell at this point that humans will develop those skills and knowledge). Once that star gets blazing, you can’t stop the formation of helium. And you can’t stop that star from going nova in a few billion years, and making carbon in the process — carbon, the stuff that life is made from.

    Your kids will also tell you all of that is impossible. Common sense gets rather tested, and often fails, in the operation of the universe. God’s universe doesn’t operate on human scale, nor on human timelines. And so your kids will tell you that stars cannot form, and I suspect they’d tell you the basis of their knowledge that heavy elements like carbon can’t result from an explosion of helium and hydrogen.

    It only means your kids don’t know physics. It does not mean the kids are correct that it can’t happen.

    And so it is with the formation of life. Creationists used to argue that complex chemicals of life cannot form spontaneously, anywhere. Now, after proving they form spontaneously almost everywhere, creationists are pushing God into the now-smaller areas of ignorance.

    When do we stop to realize that pushing God only into the areas of our ignorance is a limitation we put on God, and not a wise understanding of what happens?

    I guess
    nothing’s stopping them. Of course, you do need something intelligent to start the
    whole process….something called “cause and effect” I guess… This case may
    be a high probability/low probability case, rather than a possible/impossible
    case. I like what magus71 said in reply to that, so I’ll leave the rest alone.

    I don’t like to limit God. If you’re convinced God can do things only the way you allow Him to work, well, you have a constitutional right to believe that. You can’t provide evidence, and one of those kids you’re propagandizing may be the kid who discovers the proof that you’re in error. What happens to her faith when she makes that discovery?

    You also say that the conditions are right in many places of the galaxy.

    Universe. Everywhere we point our telescopes, we find complex hydrocarbons, the precursors of life, and water. No corner of the universe we know of lacks the components of life.

    When we have more than just conspiracy theories about aliens, then perhaps I’ll
    take your argument a little more seriously.

    Well, you’ve imposed a need for an alien where neither I nor any scientist has proposed it. Once again, you’re trying to limit God to what you understand. I just don’t think that’s wise.

    Keep searching out there. I for
    one wouldn’t be surprised if the universe was teaming with organic life in which
    we could harness and use, but finding “intelligent (with an intellect)” life is
    another matter. While the universe may seem too big for one little planet, it
    is not too big to demonstrate the glory and majesty of God. I’d say it is
    just about the right size.

    Then there shouldn’t be any reason to tell your kids that life can’t form from a rock. Certainly that’s not a tenet of evolution theory, but neither can you provide any evidence that it cannot occur — especially in a world run by a magician. God caused the rock Moses struck to gush forth with water, after all.

    How do you decide when and where the magic works, and where it doesn’t?

    Like

  32. lowerleavell says:

    I guess I’m going to have to repeat my question: Why then do you believe in God? If scientist have no found that we don’t even need God for biogenesis, or for that matter, many scientists believe that we don’t even need God for the Big Bang, why on earth do you insist that there is a God?

    Maybe I am a latecomer to your site, but I have seen absolutely nothing on your sight defending the existence of God. If it is on a previous post, perhaps you will remember, but I can’t find anything. Your job here has seemingly been to systematically attempt to put God “out of business.” So, in that mind of yours, where does the need for God’s existence fit? If it is nowhere, then is your beliefs a sort of “Pascall’s Wager” sort of thing? Do you have a “just in case” God? Frankly, I see nothing that you have written to warrent any sort of belief in God.

    Ok, in response to what you said. I am glad that you posted those links to talkorigins and the other professor dude. It really shows me just how far scientists are from understanding the origins of life as well as their shortcomings from really having the answers.

    I teach 3rd-5th graders in our Awana kids program at church. I asked them to ask me questions that are important to them, and I have been very, very impressed with their questions. One of the questions was, “where did God come from?” Great question! My answer was that God is the cause, we are the effect (they understood it because it is what they are learning right now in science). I told them about the law of biogenesis (life from life) and asked them, “Can my guitar have a baby? Can a rock have a baby? Can a computer have a baby?” And I went down the line of absurd things that obviously cannot have babies (I know it’s more complicated than that, but even on a molecular level, the principles are still the same). Then I gave a scenario where it rains on rocks for millions of years and somewhere in the lightning and rain life appeared. I asked if it were possible. They looked at me as if I were the man in the moon. “That’s stupid!” one kid said, and another said, “that’s impossible!” Why? Because life comes from life, and these 3rd-5th graders are smart enough to know it, and they understand the need for God. My question to these brilliant scientists is, “are you smarter than a 5th grader?” Apparently not.

    You say there are no barriers to life forming spontaneously. For that matter, what is hindering one cell into become a full human in just two or three generations? Hey, anything’s possible, right? What’s to stop my throwing all the parts necessary for a making a watch into the air and then them arranging themselves into a perfect, working watch by the time it comes back down? I guess nothing’s stopping them. Of course, you do need something intelligent to start the whole process….something called “cause and effect” I guess… This case may be a high probability/low probability case, rather than a possible/impossible case. I like what magus71 said in reply to that, so I’ll leave the rest alone.

    You also say that the conditions are right in many places of the galaxy. When we have more than just conspiracy theories about aliens, then perhaps I’ll take your argument a little more seriously. Keep searching out there. I for one wouldn’t be surprised if the universe was teaming with organic life in which we could harness and use, but finding “intelligent (with an intellect)” life is another matter. While the universe may seem too big for one little planet, it is not too big to demonstrate the glory and majesty of God. I’d say it is just about the right size.

    Like

  33. magus71 says:

    Creating protocells in the lab is ID.

    Like

  34. Ed Darrell says:

    Gene frequencies in the population.

    Like

  35. mpb says:

    Genetic mutation in individual creatures must be passed on for evolution to take place.

    Evolution only acts upon genetic variability, which is a population characteristic. Entirely new genetic variation can only come from mutations within individuals which are capable of being inherited. Evolution happens even without mutations. Remember, evolution is the change in gene frequencies, not the change in genes.

    Like

  36. magus71 says:

    mbp,

    Genetic mutation in individual creatures must be passed on for evolution to take place. There is no beach without grains of sand.

    Ed Darrell.

    Because we have found no barriers, doesn’t mean it’s possible for life to spontaneously bloom. Of course, it’s difficult to prove a negative, so we can always surmise what could be. Actually, quantum physics revealing what it does, are there any barriers to anything occurring? With David Hume’s Problem of Induction, can one event ever be established as causative to another?

    Maybe not.

    Like

  37. Ed Darrell says:

    One of my favorite scenes in all the movies is when Col. Renault asks Rick why he ever came to Casablanca. “I came to Casablanca for the waters,” Rick drily repies. “Waters? But we’re in the middle of the desert.” Renault says, rather confusedly.

    Rick says: “I was misinformed.”

    Now that we’re looking on molecular levels, and DNA levels, and so forth, it is showing the impossibilities of life beginning the way that evolution casually postulates (raining on the rocks and mud and lightning striking, or something like that).

    You’ve been misinformed. Since we’re looking on molecular levels, the possibilities of life beginning spontaneously are much higher. We’ve found no barriers whatever, to life forming spontaneously. The key building blocks of life arise spontaneously where conditions are right — and conditions are rights in many, many places in the universe. When we point our telescopes to the farthest reaches of the universe, the spectrographs show the chemicals of life to be in abundance, relatively, everywhere. Cells arise spontaneously, and the protocells created in the lab 50 years ago move about, consume nutrients from their environment, grow, bud off (a lot like yeasts do), and reproduce.

    In fact, we’ve had to redefine what life is to keep from calling protocells living things.

    A goodly number of scientists are looking at the origins of life issue, working on the rich issues of abiogenesis. NASA is particularly interested as they explore the solar system. You should check out Dr. Andrew Ellington’s work (here’s one place it’s explained), and check out Astrobiology Magazine. There is so much stuff being done that they fill journals with the research and do a monthly magazine for laypeople.

    Like

  38. mpb says:

    Magus71–
    evolution by definition is a change in gene frequency (over time). Gene frequency can only be measured in populations. yes, individuals (the organism known as the gene carrier) make up populations but individuals do not evolve, only populations. In fact, it is only populations of genes which evolve. No one cares about the individuals or the individual set of genes in evolution, only the frequencies of genes.

    Truly heartless, but that is why so many scientists and lay people, as persons not as a gene collection, who accept the fact of evolution also accept religious beliefs or spirituality (that’s also NOT in place of)

    Like

  39. lowerleavell says:

    sorry for the duplicate post. I think I pressed “submit comment” twice.

    Like

  40. lowerleavell says:

    Short reply:

    Intelligent design and even more so, creationism, seek to answer the questions that Evolution can never explain, i.e. where did we come from, how did life begin, who started the Big Bang (if there was one as evolutionists describe it to be, at all) etc.?

    In previewing clips from Ben’s Stein’s movie, he made the point that evolutionists can’t answer those questions, but then get angry when ID proponents and Christians say, “perhaps it was God?” That, to me, is the crux of the matter. A young earth, and all those things are secondary to these things.

    I was going to leave the Iraq this alone, but it’s too good too good to let go, because it was acting on the apparent evidence that got us in there to begin with. The analogy is very similar and I think you’ll understand. Since the 19th century we’ve been told that Darwinian evolution was true because of the evidence. Now that we’re looking on molecular levels, and DNA levels, and so forth, it is showing the impossibilities of life beginning the way that evolution casually postulates (raining on the rocks and mud and lightning striking, or something like that). So, instead of admitting their mistakes (as in Iraq), evolutionists have decided to “stay the course” and make it work. They’re going to spin, and twist, and fit it just so, so that it will appear as much as possible, that this brilliant, but ultimately failed theory is correct and justifiable. And, just as in Iraq, it’s an either “you’re with us or you’re against us” scenario! Ok, I’ll calm down. :-) (By the way, I still think it’ll eventually come together over there, but that’s where the analogy breaks down) :-)

    Here’s my question for you then: If there is no evidence for God, then are you not being irrational in being a Christian? There must be something…something in that mind of yours that rationalizes your beliefs in God. If there is no evidence whatsoever than perhaps you and I are wasting our faith on fidiesm and are no better of then believing in the “Spaghetti Monster” as I believe the frog dude atheist talked about. If it is a “put up or shut up” sort of a thing, and since as you say, “every creationist ever put under oath to testify about it has admitted” that there is no evidence for a God, then I would think atheism would be the order of the day. And yet I don’t see you denying your beliefs. Ahh…but of course, there ARE holes in evolution that necessitate a belief in God!

    Like

  41. lowerleavell says:

    Short reply:

    Intelligent design and even more so, creationism, seek to answer the questions that Evolution can never explain, i.e. where did we come from, how did life begin, who started the Big Bang (if there was one as evolutionists describe it to be, at all) etc.?

    In previewing clips from Ben’s Stein’s movie, he made the point that evolutionists can’t answer those questions, but then get angry when ID proponents and Christians say, “perhaps it was God?” That, to me, is the crux of the matter. A young earth, and all those things are secondary to these things.

    I was going to leave the Iraq this alone, but it’s too good too good to let go, because it was acting on the apparent evidence that got us in there to begin with. The analogy is very similar and I think you’ll understand. Since the 19th century we’ve been told that Darwinian evolution was true because of the evidence. Now that we’re looking on molecular levels, and DNA levels, and so forth, it is showing the impossibilities of life beginning the way that evolution casually postulates (raining on the rocks and mud and lightning striking, or something like that). So, instead of admitting their mistakes (as in Iraq), evolutionists have decided to “stay the course” and make it work. They’re going to spin, and twist, and fit it just so, so that it will appear as much as possible, that this brilliant, but ultimately failed theory is correct and justifiable. And, just as in Iraq, it’s an either “you’re with us or you’re against us” scenario! Ok, I’ll calm down. :-) (By the way, I still think it’ll eventually come together over there, but that’s where the analogy breaks down) :-)

    Here’s my question for you then: If there is no evidence for God, then are you not being irrational in being a Christian? There must be something…something in that mind of yours that rationalizes your beliefs in God. If there is no evidence whatsoever than perhaps you and I are wasting our faith on fidiesm and are no better of then believing in the “Spaghetti Monster” as I believe the frog dude atheist talked about. If it is a “put up or shut up” sort of a thing, and since as you say, “every creationist ever put under oath to testify about it has admitted” that there is no evidence for a God, then I would think atheism would be the order of the day. And yet I don’t see you denying your beliefs. Ahh…but of course, there ARE wholes in evolution that necessitate a belief in God!

    Like

  42. magus71 says:

    No. It happens to individuals. They make up populations…One species could evolve to many different species, right?

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think dogs turn into cats, and I fully understand natural selection. Still, we know that according to Darwin, eventually one species (though I believe Darwin himself had problems with the term, species) evolves to the point where it cannot mate with its ancestors. Where does it find a mate?

    Evolution happens to populations, not to individuals. Any individual finds a mate within that population.

    Like

  44. Ed Darrell says:

    So, why Ed, when you have told me several times that you believe in God, do you seek to be among those who “oppose” those who believe something similar as you, but are more vocal about it and believe it should be allowed to be given as an option in school? You believe in God, you believe in Jesus, etc. and yet you are the one who is one of the most vocal critics against ID that I have ever seen in my life. It boggles my mind!

    Short answer: Evolution is not a belief. Evolution is what the evidence shows. There is no evidence for a counter theory that stands up to serious scientific scrutiny, as every creationist ever put under oath to testify about it has admitted.

    God calls us to justice, to accuracy, to tell the truth. It’s not the wrong side at all to be Christian and advocate for science as the evidence presents. Christians believe God doesn’t lie in nature, and so the evidence presented must be true.

    Do you really think that Christians should be on the side of arguing for a “belief” contrary to all the physical evidence? I suppose a lynch mob to administer justice against O. J. Simpson wouldn’t bother you, since many people believe him to be guilty. Intervention in Iraq is justified as well, since many people believe against all the evidence that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, never mind Osama bin Laden’s claims.

    Once we open the field up to acting on belief contrary to all evidence, where in your moral scheme is there any room for fact and truth? The Old Testament is about nothing if not about justice; there can be no room for justice in a creationist world where the facts count for nothing, and can be countermanded by pulpit whim.

    Quite the opposite of your concerns, Joe, I think creationism is counter to the fabric and soul of Christianity, advocating belief in things that are not true, contrary to the evidence God sees fit to give.

    Like

  45. lowerleavell says:

    Hey Ed, it’s me. :-) I just wanted to check in and say, “howdy” and say, “thank you” because I didn’t know that this movie was coming out. Now that I’ve done some research on it, I’m looking forward to going and bringing my friends with me as well.

    Regarding this being “propoganda” and so forth, I am learning that anything that is from one side of the equation is labeled “propoganda.” For that matter, I could call you a “propogandist” Ed. I am learning the more I read from you, that you certainly a “company man” who is very loyal to Darwinism in it’s most atheistic terms.

    To clarify, I would merely desire (and this probably won’t get accomplished, but I’ll put forth the effort anyway) to throw a monkey wrench in this discussion by asking you to reconcile your beliefs that God started the Big Bang, that God may have intervened along the evolutionary way to give Homo Sapiens an “Adam,” and even that God intervened on our behalf by dying on the cross and supernaturally rising from the dead, with your views on Darwinism. You even believe that God may be behind natural selection, if I remember right. I believe that since you are a Christian who believes in God, you are on the wrong side of this discussion, if I’m not mistaken. Shouldn’t you be the one defending people who desire to say “maybe there’s a God” in any context outside of a church building? I just can’t figure out why you so forcefully go against those who seek to have the censorship dropped on the fact that the evidence shows design and order, not random chance.

    Is it so unscientific to study Canis Majoris (7 quadrillion earths could fit inside this one star!) or the millions of galaxies and countless billions of stars within each galaxy, and wonder “could some intelligent hand have designed this?”

    Is it so unscientifc to see the amazing structure of cells and DNA strands, and so forth, and wonder, “could an intelligent being have formed this amazing complexity when it is virtually impossible for it to happen without it?”

    So, why Ed, when you have told me several times that you believe in God, do you seek to be among those who “oppose” those who believe something similar as you, but are more vocal about it and believe it should be allowed to be given as an option in school? You believe in God, you believe in Jesus, etc. and yet you are the one who is one of the most vocal critics against ID that I have ever seen in my life. It boggles my mind!

    In you I see a (self proclaimed) Christian, a “believer” in God, holding hands with…not his fellow Christians, not even those who believe in freedom of speech, but rather atheists who seek to silence and ridicule those who oppose their views, and are participating and advocating (figuratively) stabbing other Christians, Jews, and Muslims, etc. who believe that Darwinian evolution may not have all the answers. It boggles my mind.

    Like

  46. magus71 says:

    I don’t think dogs turn into cats, and I fully understand natural selection. Still, we know that according to Darwin, eventually one species (though I believe Darwin himself had problems with the term, species) evolves to the point where it cannot mate with its ancestors. Where does it find a mate?

    Every step of evolution has been documented? Please show me one example of, without labratory manipulation, a new species having formed from an old, a species which cannot mate with the previous, and then flourishing, finding a mate, and multiplying etc… And let me say, that any conclusion one wishes to find can indeed be found, if a certain premise is assumed.

    There are different breeds of dogs, just like Armadillos. They are still dogs and Armadillos. Squirrels are still squirrels, regardless of breed, the can still mate with one another, just as there are several races of humans, which can all interbreed.

    You’re putting words in my mouth concerning the species repeatedly being wiped out and new ones created in their place. Never said that. Don’t believe that. See no evidence of it. Don’t forget the 9th Commandment.

    Where are all the people with the bumper sticker slogans, that began this line of comments? I suspect they’ve drown in the depths of this conversation….See, Creationists aren’t the only ones with shallow conceptions ofwhat they believe.

    Like

  47. Ed Darrell says:

    I think most arguments against Darwin’s theory are grounded in serious misunderstanding of what the theory is, or in general distaste for a study of science.

    To me, the best arguments against Darwin’s theory are the simplest:

    1) Lack of observed phenomena.

    Certainly you didn’t intend this as a problem for evolution, since every step of evolution has been observed to occur in real time, in the wild, and in the lab. Evolution is observed phenomena, not a lack of it, except for those few holdouts who avert their eyes. Especially after the Grants observed evolution in action, and documented it with photographs, DNA, morphology, and the actual family trees of several entire species tracked over 30 years, we can’t say that anything in evolution is not observed. The Grants’ data have been published in part in more than two dozen papers over the years, none of which has ever been significantly challenged. The Grants’ data are available for others to peruse, and the blood samples and other physical data collected are available for other researchers to replicate the studies or do others. No one has ever found any problem with any of their data. Empirical evidence shows evolution in this most carefully done case; this evidence is corroborated by evidence from a thousand other studies of living creatures, and by 200 years of fossil finds. The Grants’ research is well written up for us laypeople in Jonathan Weiner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time.

    It seems to me, that in many cases where science has postulated based merely on figures, and not observed happenings, it’s been wrong. Optimum human diet comes first to mind. (Fat makes you fat, fat is bad for you, dietary cholesterol increases chances for heart disease etc…)

    Is it safe to assume you’re not talking about the evolutionary science behind why an excess of fat is bad for humans? Certainly the observations about cholesterol are wholly unrelated to Darwin’s theory.

    2) Simple thought experiments like: Where do the first examples of a newly-evolved species find mates? After all, they’re the first and presumably the only one of their kind. If there are others that evolved exactly as they did, how the heck do they find one another? And even if this happened in one case, how can it happen in every case? Some may say, that the evolution caused changes so minute that they can still mate with the species of their parents, but in that case, how is this a different species? And, at some point, according to Darwinism, the species would not be able to mate with the species it evolved from. What is a species in the first place?

    Yes, those are questions Darwin asked and answered. Mates are found in the family next door. mutations that prevent breeding are rare, generally occurring long after a speciation event in any case. If one assumes that speciation must involve cats turning into dogs, one doesn’t understand how the theory works; and so speculation about how mates can be found simply show a lack of understanding about how fine are the gradations that may mark one species from another. You might do well to read up on ring species, such as the California or San Fernando Valley salamander groups, and how species are difficult to determine in moving from one acre to the next, but are quite clear when looking back at a plot 15 or 20 miles away from where one is standing. Look also at the issues involving the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull, and the green warblers of the Himalayas. There are probably another dozen classic ring species that demonstrate exactly how this issue works, for contemporary, sympatric speciation.

    Allopatric speciation should be more clear; two populations of the same species, stopped from interbreeding by some physical barrier, eventually become two species. The tassel-eared squirrels on the north rim of the Grand Canyon probably were once the same species as those on the south rim, but tens of thousands, or millions, of years of separation have allowed them to drift into being completely different species.

    3) To me, the fossil record merely shows that certain creatures used to exist, and they no longer do. To infer much more than that, seems to stretch the term empiricism to a near breaking point.

    And yet, it does seem quite pedantic and arbitrary to claim that modern nine-banded armadilloes are not descended or related in some way tot he ancient, giant, nine-banded armadillo. It well may be that God simply wiped out the giants, and then created, in the same geographical region, what appears to be an exact copy, though smaller. Darwin had a very high standard on the issue: We know that little horses can be bred from large horses; we know that fancy pigeons can be bred from non-fancy pigeons. But no one has ever seen God create new species wholesale.

    It seems to me that you’re looking at empiricism from the wrong end of the telescope. All the evidence points towards Darwin’s conclusion, and not to a conclusion that species were repeatedly wiped out, and new ones just like them or extremely similar, created in their places. It’s not empiricism I see you exercising here, but hard-headed “I just won’t ‘believe’ it” stubbornness.

    Did you have some problems with Darwinian theory you wished to discuss?

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  48. magus71 says:

    As Neo-Darwinism (No I didn’t copy the term from a some website) now stands, it is impossible to disprove. The Darwinists have usurped the scientific method, and made theory “good enough”. It ain’t good enough for me. Would you jump on a rocket bound for Mars based solely on theory, or would you want to know that tons of empirical evidence exists that shows the trip is possible? Accusing me of stating the same things that Creationists do begs the question: Are the Creationists correct?

    To me, the best arguments against Darwin’s theory are the simplest:

    1) Lack of observed phenomena. It seems to me, that in many cases where science has postulated based merely on figures, and not observed happenings, it’s been wrong. Optimum human diet comes first to mind. (Fat makes you fat, fat is bad for you, dietary cholesterol increases chances for heart disease etc…) Also, Global warming, but I don’t want to open another can of worms… For me, I must place a prime importance on empiricism, as the universe does not seem very intuitive at many points. I will grant that there may be infinite gradations of empiricism, but Darwinism hasn’t crossed the threshold of proof to me.

    2) Simple thought experiments like: Where do the first examples of a newly-evolved species find mates? After all, they’re the first and presumably the only one of their kind. If there are others that evolved exactly as they did, how the heck do they find one another? And even if this happened in one case, how can it happen in every case? Some may say, that the evolution caused changes so minute that they can still mate with the species of their parents, but in that case, how is this a different species? And, at some point, according to Darwinism, the species would not be able to mate with the species it evolved from. What is a species in the first place?

    3) To me, the fossil record merely shows that certain creatures used to exist, and they no longer do. To infer much more than that, seems to stretch the term empiricism to a near breaking point.

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  49. Ed Darrell says:

    You’re more concerned about picking at the language used by those commenting here, as you’ve done to myself and Dr. LaBossierre, then discussing real problems with the theory.

    I’d love to discuss problems with the theory. You haven’t cited any yet. When I ask you questions, you complain that I’m too stupid to understand.

    For example, I wondered what anyone could mean by a problem of “fully formed fauna.” Ediacaran noted that it was not a term from Darwin, as you had appeared to claim, but instead was a fuzzy, ill-defined or undefined term from creationist sites. Here you offer no definition or clarification, but mention eyes.

    As Ediacaran noted, there is no problem with “fully formed eyes” in evolution. There are plenty of creatures that lack fully formed eyes, and as Darwin noted in 1859, those creatures point the way to evolutionary paths for the formation of eyes without divine teleology and without any interference from any intelligence.

    Do you have a problem with evolution theory you’d like to discuss? What?

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  50. Ed Darrell says:

    Dear Saintlewis,

    Icon-rids seems to be written by two people, one a pseudonym (“Klone.” Really!). The other, perhaps a real human, perhaps not faithful to any religion, but it’s difficult to tell.

    The people they cite, however, are not people who make arguments for ID either from a scientific background, nor from a background of something other than religion.

    So, we’re still wondering where there are serious people proposing ID hypotheses other than in churches.

    Berlinsky would count if he weren’t such a whiney nincompoop.

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  51. mpb says:

    ediacaran “I’ve often wondered what misconception the creationists hold”

    I suspect the problem is that natural selection is amoral, the purpose is only to maximize the genes. For people with shaky religious beliefs, perhaps they are afraid that “science” will disprove faith, which is a silly concept (faith shouldn’t be a hypothesis to be disproven nor a a theory, such as gravity, with facts that don’t disprove it.)

    Basically, natural selection is meaningless, heartless but this has no relationship to whether one’s life has meaning. Separating these two out is very difficult and ye of little faith with have the greatest trouble doing so.

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  52. magus71 says:

    I didn’t copy it from a Creationist Website, Ed. You’re more concerned about picking at the language used by those commenting here, as you’ve done to myself and Dr. LaBossierre, then discussing real problems with the theory. If I weren’t merely leaving paragraph long comments and hurriedly typing them between intervals of work, I’d be sure to have a Thesaurus by my side and ponder over each word before typing it down. But that wouldn’t prevent Ed from typing Creationist in front of magus71, as if it were a surname.

    Yes, I have heard the term before, and I’m glad that it raised your hackles, quite frankly, because you know the term’s implications. So, here’s a description of what I meant by “fully formed fauna”: Creatures of have very complex organs, such as eyes.

    Like

  53. saintlewis says:

    Ediacaran…
    don’t have much time today, but you will likely find many examples on this website:
    http://icon-rids.blogspot.com/

    You’re right, I didn’t share examples – doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, but that if you really cared to find out you could do the research itself. Honestly, this isn’t too much of a big deal to me…I don’t have a lot of time to argue about it. Good thing is, I don’t have to – one of the great things about science is that EVENTUALLY (may even take a few centuries) good theories come to the forefront.

    That’s just to say, I’m not really too worried about it.

    Like

  54. Ediacaran says:

    Ed asks a great question of Magus71:
    “Problems of “fully formed fauna?” What other kind could there be?”

    If Magus71 would answer, this would likely expose one of his major misconceptions regarding evolution. Thinking Magus71 might have copied the phrase “fully formed fauna” from a creationist apologetics website, I searched and found the following(ellipses, typos, and wingnuttery in the original):

    “Q:What about EVOLUTION?
    A: Evidence suggests, evolution was invented by members of parliment to take power away from the king –
    …it is a dead theory because over 100 years…The fossil and geological records show, short periods of world-wide cataclysm, followed immediately by the appearance of complete sets of fully formed fauna and flora, with NO intermediaries – NO missing links. Plants and animals appear, fully formed – static, from the time they show up until they fall into extinction. See – Darwin on trial, Intervarsity Press… ”

    That is some highly concentrated BS, with conspiracy theory glaze on top. And he graciously points to a solid source of more BS for the reader.

    I’ve often wondered what misconception the creationists hold to make such a claim as Magus71 did, but I’m beginning to suspect they believe that if evolution were true, we should find a fossil of, say, a lizard with one bird wing – as if a lizard was going about his day, then all of a sudden one limb changed into a fully formed wing, but before he was able to turn another limb into a wing, a landslide trapped him and he became a fossil. And – voila! – they apparently expect to see an individual caught in the process of changing limbs to wings, one limb at a time. Of course, that’s not how evolution works. You can show them a long series of transitional fossils, and the response seems to be the same. However, t is funny to see different creationists pointing to the same transitional hominid and have one claim it is an ape (non-human) and the other claim it is “fully human”.

    Creationists invoking the “fully formed” claim don’t seem to understand that the relevant mutations occur in the germ cells, and that non-random selection tends to weed out the bad mutations that hamper reproductive success, and amplify those that improve reproductive success over the generations. Even for those observed cases of macroevolution that occur in the span of one generation (as in polyploidy), basically the relevant mutations are there from the start of the organism’s life (things can get more tricky for microbes and there are other tangents I’ll omit for brevity).

    Maybe one of the creationists here can clarify their misunderstanding of evolution for us. Magus71, what characteristics would constitute non-fully formed fauna, if that is what you think evolution requires in the fossil record? The more detailed example, the better.

    This should give us something to talk about while we wait for Saintlewis’ detailed list of atheist and agnostic ID “Scientists”.

    Like

  55. Ediacaran says:

    Michael LaBossiere wrote: “The teleological account is (properly presented) a scientific hypothesis because it can be argued against via the scientific method. Put crudely, to the degree that natural selection is supported by evidence and argument, the teleological theories are undermined.”

    Thank you for your response. Perhaps your summary was more crude than you intended, but what you describe here is effectively the “God of the Gaps” argument. A “proper hypothesis” should be testable (at least in principle) on its own merits and potentially falsifiable. But you propose no tests for the claims of ID/Teleology (nor do the leaders of the ID Creationist movement). Instead, you’ve proposed that only Natural Selection be tested, and whatever scraps are left untested (or that NS does not explain adequately) are curiously counted as support for ID/Teleology, without any basis for doing so. This false dichotomy in your proposal gives ID/Teleology a free ride as the default answer, and puts all the burden of testing on Natural Selection. But even if some particular facet of Natural Selection were somehow falsified, that doesn’t automagically mean that ID/Teleology is the answer. This is exactly the same sleight of hand Bill Dembski incorporated into his useless “Explanatory Filter”, and the same false dichotomy employed by Michael Behe, who neither proposes nor performs tests of his brand of Intelligent Design Creationism.

    Maybe this will help clarify – I’ll give you the same raw deal you propose for scientists. We’ll say that Natural Selection is the default answer, and the ID/Teleologists can perform the all the tests to demonstrate that an Invisible Magical Sky Fairy/Mindless Purposeful Force/Space Alien/Flying Spaghetti Monster is responsible for terrestrial biology. And whatever the ID/Teleology crowd can’t demonstrate will automatically count as evidence for Natural Selection.

    Do you see the problem? A failure of one explanation does not automatically constitute support for the other. If nothing else, it only gets one to the true default of “we don’t know”. There may be more than two explanations (indeed, when pressed you recognized that Intelligent Design and “Mindless” Teleology should be regarded as separate arguments – and there may be more still – or even a spectrum of overlap in potential explanations.

    I look forward to reading your book when it is out, thanks for letting us know about it.

    Like

  56. Ed Darrell says:

    Well, Magus, I’m not sure what your argument is. You keep saying that Darwin was skeptical, which is true; but he was not skeptical of evolution after he’d spent 20 years trying to disprove it, unsuccessfully.

    You’re right that his book presents a theory. But I believe you’re using the colloquial definition of “theory,” as some wild guess; Darwin used it in its more scientific meaning, which is “theory is the framework that explains why all these facts stick together,” superior to fact and law, as the National Academy of Sciences explains it. “Theory” is the title granted something that is so well established that we use it to make predictions about future events. Is that the way you meant it?

    On page 11 of their newest version of the book, the NAS asks “Is Evolution Theory or Fact,” and answers the question with this:

    It is both. But that answer requires looking more
    deeply at the meanings of the words “theory”
    and “fact.”
    In everyday usage, “theory” often refers to
    a hunch or a speculation. When people say, “I
    have a theory about why that happened,” they
    are often drawing a conclusion based on fragmentary
    or inconclusive evidence.
    The formal scientific definition of theory is
    quite different from the everyday meaning of
    the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation
    of some aspect of nature that is supported
    by a vast body of evidence.
    Many scientific theories are so well established
    that no new evidence is likely to alter
    them substantially. For example, no new evidence
    will demonstrate that the Earth does
    not orbit around the Sun (heliocentric theory),
    or that living things are not made of cells (cell
    theory), that matter is not composed of atoms,
    or that the surface of the Earth is not divided
    into solid plates that have moved over geological
    timescales (the theory of plate tectonics).
    Like these other foundational scientific theories,
    the theory of evolution is supported by so
    many observations and confirming experiments
    that scientists are confident that the basic components
    of the theory will not be overturned
    by new evidence. However, like all scientific
    theories, the theory of evolution is subject to
    continuing refinement as new areas of science
    emerge or as new technologies enable observations
    and experiments that were not possible
    previously.
    One of the most useful properties of scientific
    theories is that they can be used to make predictions
    about natural events or phenomena that have
    not yet been observed. For example, the theory of
    gravitation predicted the behavior of objects on the
    Moon and other planets long before the activities
    of spacecraft and astronauts confirmed them. The
    evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik
    (see page 2) predicted that they would find fossils
    intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial
    animals in sediments that were about 375 million
    years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction
    made on the basis of evolutionary theory. In turn,
    confirmation of a prediction increases confidence in
    that theory.
    In science, a “fact” typically refers to an observation,
    measurement, or other form of evidence
    that can be expected to occur the same way under
    similar circumstances. However, scientists also use
    the term “fact” to refer to a scientific explanation
    that has been tested and confirmed so many times
    that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep
    testing it or looking for additional examples. In
    that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of
    evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence
    supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question
    whether biological evolution has occurred and
    is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the
    mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can
    take place, and related questions.

    If you really think I’ve misunderstood your argument, by all means explain it. But please don’t assume I can divine what you mean from tone or anything else. I’m a Missourian on the issue: You’ll have to show me.

    I’d appreciate a citation to what it is you claim Dariwn said, but obviously you’re too important to bother with little people like me. Yes, I have the entire text of Darwin’s book, and I don’t recognize your claims as squaring with what he said there, in the chapter on the difficulties with the theory (he made no reference to “Cambrian Explosion” since the term was more than 100 years in the future), nor on the imperfection of the geological record, in which he argued that the record was grossly imperfect, but unlikely to get much better. On that point, of course, he was wrong. We know a lot more aobut the geology, and the “geological record” is several orders of magnitude better than Darwin could possibly have imagined.

    Oodles of toodles, indeed.

    Like

  57. magus71 says:

    So as not to be accused of intentionally removing Darwin’s statements from their context, I’ve provided the readers with a link to The Origin of Species, located on Project Gutenburgh. The Origin of Species was written by Darwin, right? Just making sure…

    http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/otoos11.txt

    I urge people to pay attention to Chapters 6 (Difficulties of Theory) and 9 (On the Imperfection of the Geological Record).

    You seem to believe that I think Darwin didn’t believe his own theory which is not the case. I maintain, and have all along, that Darwin was a model of scientific scepticism, both of commonly-held beliefs and his own suppositions, and that he had the courage to maintain the scientific model during his investigation as well as the strength to point out his own difficulties, and admit that The Origin of Species presented a THEORY, and could not be called anything but that, given the empircal evidence available.

    That’s that. No more quotes from me. Just Darwin’s book, if anyone (besides Ed Darrell, who probably sleeps with the book under his pillow and whose mind is made up, and will never change, even should God himself appear and convince everyone that Darwin was a genius, but that his theory was incorrect) should care to look.

    Toodles….

    Like

  58. Ed Darrell says:

    Problems of “fully formed fauna?” What other kind could there be?

    Are you sure you’re reading Darwin at all, Magus?

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  59. magus71 says:

    Ediacaran,

    You’re worried about the Commandments now? Next, you’ll be referfing to the Sermon on the Mount. Your friends here won’t be at all happy with that development. Or am I supposed to read beyond the words that you type? Please do the same for me.

    Lady Hope’s agenda seemed to be to make Darwin out to be a Christian believer; mine is not. The statement I gave with quotations stands true in this though–People did make a religion out of Darwin’s theory, and it’s the dogmatism displayed by the acolytes of that religion that make me cautious about adopting all of it’s beliefs.

    You know that Darwin devoted a whole chapter regarding the problems of fully formed fauna in ancient strata; I doubt most modern-day Darwinists would be so bold as to discuss their systemweaknesses and admit they don’t have answers for them.

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  60. Ediacaran says:

    Saintlewis, I see you didn’t provide confirming details (names, sources) to back up your earlier claims about atheist and agnostic ID “Scientists”. Surely you’re not one of those creationists who bears false witness and refuses to substantiate his claims when pressed, right? ;-)

    Saintlewis wrote:

    Ediacaran, if you let your ’science’ be decided by court justices, you clearly are missing the point even worse than they were.

    The court ruling was regarding “Intelligent Design” Creationism, which isn’t science. Astrology isn’t science, either, and as ID Creationist Michael Behe admitted under oath in Kitzmiller v. Dover, revising the definition of science to include “Intelligent Design” would also allow in astrology.

    Saintlewis again:
    Intelligent Design can make no statement as to what/who the designer was/is – it is MERELY an approach to scientific inquiry which can be used to discover if, and where, certain traits in biological organisms do not show signs of having developed by naturalistic means.

    You ID Creationists (a.k.a. “cdesign proponentsists”) really need to get your stories straight:

    “The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” — Bill Dembski

    “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” — Philip Johnson

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  61. Ediacaran says:

    There seems to have been a link problem. Here’s another attempt to link to the post in which I addressed the second “quote” from Magus71:

    https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/sticks-nix-creationist-pic/#comment-58261

    Like

  62. Ediacaran says:

    Magus71 continues to violate the 9th Commandment:

    All I did, was give two quotes from Darwin. Again, my point in the first quote, was that Darwin fully knew that some parts of his theory seemed absurd. My second quote was never addressed, I suspect because it’s difficult to refute.

    I already addressed the second (bogus) quote you posted, right after I addressed the first (see https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/sticks-nix-creationist-pic/#comment-58280). Your alleged quote wasn’t really a quote from Darwin, but a bogus quote fabricated by evangelist Lady Hope.

    To summarize:

    Your first quote was out-of-context and thereby misleading.

    Your second quote was bogus.

    You can stop bearing false witness now.

    Like

  63. saintlewis says:

    Ediacaran, if you let your ‘science’ be decided by court justices, you clearly are missing the point even worse than they were. Intelligent Design can make no statement as to what/who the designer was/is – it is MERELY an approach to scientific inquiry which can be used to discover if, and where, certain traits in biological organisms do not show signs of having developed by naturalistic means. Even Dog breeding is design, and ID theory would be a means of discovering whether a certain breed came about by standard darwinistic mechanisms, or more ‘controlled’ means, even if – it may be – that sometimes we may not know what has controlled somethings development. What people may want to punt to is their own deal, and is a philosophical or religious matter, but true, raw ID science is FAR from ‘creationism’, even if some ‘creationists’ have latched onto it to use it to further their cause. I think the reason so many dislike ID is that it doesn’t come with the same built-in biases that darwinism does, and there are many who like darwinism simply because it makes it possible for them to be “an intellectually fulfilled atheist”, while ID – as ‘better science’ – doesn’t comment on such things, or hold the same dogmatic biases.

    et me ask this: is it not POSSIBLE that different mechanisms are responsible for the apparent ‘evolution’ we observe in various species? Some minor long-term changes may be a result of a basic Darwinian mechanism, some more radical changes observed may be the result of neo-darwinistic mechanisms, such as Punctuated Equalibrium, some changes from Intelligent Design (which doesn’t necessarily always implicate a God, as ‘Dog Breeding’ is an example of ID, as is genetic engineering). Many ID theorist believe this: Darwinism is true, in part, but only can account for certain types of changes – this is the power of Behe’s new book, as he attempts to layout the limits of the Darwinian mechanism. Disagree with him on whom is responsible for the design (the information), some do, but I think such work is a huge step forward, instead of clinging to a dogmatic assertion that Darwin’s mechanism has to be the end-all be-all of all theories.

    Like

  64. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, Ed, Ed…You says it’s absurd to maintain a position that Darwin cited in 1859–and yet you maintain the position that evolution is true–BASED ON EVIDENCE THAT DARWIN CITED IN 1859!

    Please reread what I wrote. I said you misquoted Darwin, by omission. I said that you failed to complete his quote, in which he cited the evidence you implied doesn’t exist. I said you need to read Darwin to see what he said, since Darwin had the evidence in 1859 that you claimed doesn’t exist now.

    What you claimed as Darwin’s position in 1859 was not his position at all.

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  65. Ed Darrell says:

    Don’t be so dishonest Ed. You know exactly what I was referring to, and your reaction to my statement shows that you know.

    I’m no seer. I have no supernatural ability to read your mind. You said “Cambrian explosion,” and that’s what I had to assume you meant. If you mean something else, tell us what. I can’t divine what you’re trying to say if you don’t say it.

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  66. Ed Darrell says:

    I should have been more careful in my presentation. I put Teleology and ID in the same “block” because they both share a denial of the theory of natural selection (random chance + natural selection, etc.).

    I’ll look forward to your book, Michael, but it appears to me you’re missing a key part of Darwin’s work. His starting assumption was divine design. What he discovered instead was appearance of divine design by natural and sexual selection. If we’re looking for mere appearance of design, that’s no problem; science has demonstrated conclusively how so very much of what looks like design by an intelligent source is simple genetics. We’ve observed, in real time, how these processes sculpt populations over time.

    Science has moved on to find the cause of design in nature. On that score, there isn’t an iota of evidence of outside interference. It’s all natural. Creationists keep telling us to ignore the man behind the curtain, especially if that “man” is genetic variation and natural forces of selection; refusal to look is often equivalent to inability to see.

    We don’t even need to get to the old “absence of evidence” argument. There’s ample evidence — of evolution.

    Like

  67. magus71 says:

    Ed Darrell Says:

    “How absurd, to maintain a position against the evidence that Darwin cited in 1859! And yet, creationists still do it.”

    Ed, Ed, Ed…You says it’s absurd to maintain a position that Darwin cited in 1859–and yet you maintain the position that evolution is true–BASED ON EVIDENCE THAT DARWIN CITED IN 1859!

    Like

  68. magus71 says:

    Ediacaran Says: I’ll alert the media.

    Oprah, I hope….

    Awwwww…..I just can’t take the Darwinists’ hatred. It breaks me up inside.

    Ed Darrell,

    Darwin did not refer to it as the Cambrian Explosion. I used the term because it’s we we refer to the phenomena of rapidly appearing complex fauna in ancient strata, fully formed and without evolutionary precedent. Darwin did refer to this phenomena, and he did say it was the best argument against his theory.

    Don’t be so dishonest Ed. You know exactly what I was referring to, and your reaction to my statement shows that you know. And sorry, but to my knowledge, scientists don’t “pretty much have it figured out.”

    You have a reason, beyond wanting the raw truth, for believing in Darwinism. You may have noticed, that nowhere have I actually stated what my views are, and yet, if I mention any possibility that other theories may be valid, some people, whose entire ethos would crumble were Darwinism proven untrue (how could one prove it untrue, to all of you believers, for that matter?), are stirred into a hateful frenzy. I see this reaction all the time with regards to this subject.

    All I did, was give two quotes from Darwin. Again, my point in the first quote, was that Darwin fully knew that some parts of his theory seemed absurd. My second quote was never addressed, I suspect because it’s difficult to refute.

    Like

  69. Which do you consider the most absurd form of creationism, and why?<

    The most absurd form I’m aware of as actually being defended is the claim that the earth was created thousands of years ago, that everything that exists now was what was originally created, and such. I’m sure there are more absurd forms. I probably should not have used the term “absurd”-I’m usually more polite. I should have said “most implausible.”

    What reliably distinguishes the “cdesign proponentsists” from the other varieties of creationists?Since you’ve lumped together Intelligent Design/Teleology into the same main view, but state that the latter “need not involve a mind (like God) guiding the process”, I’m curious as to how this chimera of a mindless mind (or should that be mindless intelligence) constitutes a proper hypothesis.<

    I should have been more careful in my presentation. I put Teleology and ID in the same “block” because they both share a denial of the theory of natural selection (random chance + natural selection, etc.).

    In both Plato and Aristotle, purpose need not involve intelligence or a mind in the sense of an intelligent, conscious mind. For example, Aristotle’s first mover is not intelligent or conscious.

    So, the distinction could be further broken down into this:

    1) Natural Selection (various forms)

    2) Teleological theories (mind)

    3) Teleological theories (mindless)

    “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” — Philip Johnson<

    That’s not my purpose at all. Obviously, some people do try to bring religion into school under the guise of ID (which they claim is scientific).

    The teleological account is (properly presented) a scientific hypothesis because it can be argued against via the scientific method. Put crudely, to the degree that natural selection is supported by evidence and argument, the teleological theories are undermined.

    The theological view of creationism is, as it is most often presented, a religious view and seems to be (in most forms) incompatible with the best available evidence. However, it is still an option worth considering in the context of a class on religion or a discussion about metaphysics.

    The clash between teleology and natural selection is actually part of the history of science. In the Renaissance the world saw the “New Science” emerging and the Aristotelian science waning. As such, Aristotle’s teleology was once the foundation of much of Western science.

    Like

  70. Ed Darrell says:

    My intent was not to quote out of context. The point was, that Darwin was much less hard-headed than you are. He knew there were things that needed explaining. I wish he were here, so we’d at least have an intelligent person working to find truth, instead of merely proving a theory that can’t be proven or disproved. Well, it can be disproved, in that we don’t see it actually occurring, have never seen it actually occurring, and probably never will. But, science changed its own rules to make up for that nuisance called scientific method.

    Then you failed to quote the part that made Darwin “less hard headed.” Darwin proceeded to explain how the idea was not absurd, but instead was what the evidence shows. As Ediacaran pointed out, Darwin didn’t back away at all from the idea that eyes evolved, instead explaining how continuing to claim it as absurd goes against the evidence.

    How absurd, to maintain a position against the evidence that Darwin cited in 1859! And yet, creationists still do it.

    I cannot imagine a noble purpose for cutting Darwin’s quote where it was cut. Ediacaran was polite to provide much of the significant part following, which gives us the context and information to understand what Darwin was really saying. If your intent was not to quote out of context, you may thank Ediacaran for providing the context you failed to note.

    Darwin, for instance, provided his rivals ammunition by telling them the weakest point of his theory: The Cambrian Explosion. But I’m sure you guys have figured that out too. Hey! I have an idea! You guys should write a classic like Darwin!

    Darwin was absolutely silent on “the Cambrian explosion.” I suspect that you, Magus, have not read Darwin’s book at all, but instead rely on creationist mistranslations of it. Read Darwin in his original language. You may be surprised to see what Darwin wrote.

    The Cambrian “explosion” occurred over some 40 million years. You failed to note that context, too. There is no animal found in fossil form in the Cambrian for which there is not a precursor relative found in earlier fossils, now. Instead of throwing up their hands and announcing defeat when they discovered that there was a burst of differentiation of life that appeared with hard shells in the Cambrian, paleontologists kept digging, literally, for information. Yeah, they pretty well have the “Cambrian explosion” figured out, and have had for at least two decades. Do you have some claim about it — not a straw man claim — you’d like to make, Magus? Or would you be better served by spending some time reading up on what is known about the fossils?

    Here’s a great place to start:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/4/l_034_02.html

    Like

  71. Ediacaran says:

    Magus71 writes: “Hey! I have an idea!”

    I’ll alert the media.

    Like

  72. Ediacaran says:

    Michael LaBossiere writes: “The debate is often muddled by the fact that people (on various sides) lump together all the forms of intelligent design with creationism (and often the most absurd form of creationism).”

    Which do you consider the most absurd form of creationism, and why?

    What reliably distinguishes the “cdesign proponentsists” from the other varieties of creationists?

    Since you’ve lumped together Intelligent Design/Teleology into the same main view, but state that the latter “need not involve a mind (like God) guiding the process”, I’m curious as to how this chimera of a mindless mind (or should that be mindless intelligence) constitutes a proper hypothesis.

    “The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” – Bill Dembski

    “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” — Philip Johnson

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  73. The debate is often muddled by the fact that people (on various sides) lump together all the forms of intelligent design with creationism (and often the most absurd form of creationism).

    The more interesting conflict is between the foundation of the two main views. To be specific:

    Natural selection: there is no intelligent or purposeful guide to the universe. Complex organisms arise from a process in which those that survive reproduce and pass on traits. Organisms that do not survive to breed do not (obviously enough) pass on traits. This selection process results in the evolution of complex organisms that seem designed but are, in fact, the result of a random process and a selection mechanism. This idea actually originated with the Ionian philosopher Anaximander but was best presented by Darwin.

    Intelligent Design/Teleological Approach: There is an intelligent guide or purpose to the universe. The ID view is that an actual mind (or minds) guided the development of organisms. Naturally enough, this view is most often put forth by religious thinkers. However, it can also be presented without a religious angle. Aquinas, Locke, Leibniz and others present excellent arguments in favor of this view. The teleological view is that the universe has a purpose or goal and that living creatures also have an end or purpose that guides them. On this view the process of evolution would not be due to random factors and a natural selection process. Rather, the process would be goal oriented. This need not involve a mind (like God) guiding the process. For example, Aristotle took this view and some take Taoism to also include this approach.

    In the public battles, people tend to stab vigorously at straw men-they attack the worst, simplest and most absurd version they can find or create. While this affords a certain degree of amusement, it is intellectually dishonest.

    I have argued elsewhere (my book will be out in May) that a teleological account fits a non-question begging definition of science. At this point, the teleological approach seems to be behind the natural selection approach based on the empirical evidence, theoretical economy and such. But it can be considered a proper hypothesis. Buy my book if you want to see the full argument.

    To forestall some attacks-I don’t defend simplistic creationism. I don’t defend the pop view of evolution. I consider the matter of the nature of the universe to still be an open matter. One thing that science and philosophy teach us is to be wary of dogmatism. That is one of the most savage enemies of truth and wisdom.

    http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com

    Like

  74. magus71 says:

    I do love stirring the Darwinist pot! Not so much because I feel I have nothing to learn and that I know it all, (that seems to be the way they march, so I’ll stand clear) but because of the way they reply with a fundamentalist’s vitriol…it’s rather entertaining.

    My intent was not to quote out of context. The point was, that Darwin was much less hard-headed than you are. He knew there were things that needed explaining. I wish he were here, so we’d at least have an intelligent person working to find truth, instead of merely proving a theory that can’t be proven or disproved. Well, it can be disproved, in that we don’t see it actually occurring, have never seen it actually occurring, and probably never will. But, science changed its own rules to make up for that nuisance called scientific method.

    Darwin, for instance, provided his rivals ammunition by telling them the weakest point of his theory: The Cambrian Explosion. But I’m sure you guys have figured that out too. Hey! I have an idea! You guys should write a classic like Darwin!

    Like

  75. Ediacaran says:

    Saintlewis wrote: “The issues seems to be less about ‘real science’ and ‘fa[k]e science’ (since only a few of the ID Scientists are in any sense ‘creationists’, and those ones are an embarrassment to the rest of the movement – in fact, some are even atheists, and many are agnostics…as a good scientist should be on most things), and more about ‘censorship’. Sadly, few get this.”

    Are you serious, or simply joking? Since “Intelligent Design” is creationism (as determined in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial) – or more precisely, a subset of creationism, your claim rings hollow. If you had said that only a few of the ID “Scientists” are in any sense scientists, you’d have a stronger case.

    I would like to see some substantiation of your claim that some of what you call “ID Scientists” are atheist or agnostic. I know that ID Creationist David Berlinski sometimes makes a pretense of non-belief (contrary to what is written about him in a book edited by ID Creationist Bill Dembski), but Berlinski isn’t a scientist.

    So, what are the names of these ID “Scientists” who are atheists or agnostics? Please share their names, science degrees, indicate whether they are atheist or otherwise agnostic, and cite your source in which they identified themselves as either atheist or agnostic, so that readers here can confirm your claims.

    I eagerly await your reply with confirming details. Surely you’re not one of those creationists who bears false witness and refuses to substantiate his claims when pressed, right?

    Like

  76. Ediacaran says:

    Creationist Magus71 wrote “Charles Darwin wanted me to remind you of one more thing he said”, then posted an alleged quote by Darwin. But the alleged quote is bogus.

    Magus71 is repeating a creationist whopper started shortly after Darwin’s death by an evangelist known as Lady Hope. This creationist urban legend is known as the Lady Hope Myth, and you can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Hope

    Bearing false witness seems to be a major pastime for creationists.

    Like

  77. Ediacaran says:

    The creationist Magus71 uses the dishonest tactic of quoting Darwin out of context. Darwin’s intended meaning is clear when enough of the passage is included to provide the full context:

    “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei [“the voice of the people = the voice of God “], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.”

    To summarize, Darwin is basically saying that appearances can be deceiving. While the process of eye evolution by natural selection may *seem* absurd to a layman at first glance (particularly those who are scientifically illiterate) , more detailed scientific analysis reveals the evidence to show that the eye indeed evolved. If you read the rest of the passage in Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”, he further bolsters the case for the evolution of the eye by natural selection.

    All the data on eyes in the 150 odd years since Darwin wrote that confirms that Darwin was right. For example, bioinformatics reveals that the visual opsins in the cones of the retina evolved by gene duplication and subsequent point mutation. Studies of Pax-6 show more details of eye evolution from a very ancient ancestor shared by such diverse organisms as people and insects, as have studies of the visual systems of the ragworm (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15514158 )

    Carl Zimmer does his usual great job of distilling the science into something a general audience can understand in this article on the science confirming the evolution of the eye, at http://www.corante.com/loom/archives/2005/02/15/eyes_part_one_opening_up_the_russian_doll.php

    If you don’t want to read about the evolution of the eye, then at least look at this diagram that shows a spectrum of visual systems in existing animals – it should give you some idea of the useful variations that were acted upon by natural selection during the evolution of the eye:
    http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-74661/Steps-in-the-evolution-of-the-eye-as-reflected-in

    Like

  78. saintlewis says:

    “face” = “fake”, but whatever…

    Like

  79. saintlewis says:

    The issues seems to be less about ‘real science’ and ‘fake science’ (since only a few of the ID Scientists are in any sense ‘creationists’, and those ones are an embarrassment to the rest of the movement – in fact, some are even atheists, and many are agnostics…as a good scientist should be on most things), and more about ‘censorship’. Sadly, few get this.

    Like

  80. magus71 says:

    Charles Darwin wanted me to remind you of one more thing he said:

    “I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.”

    Like

  81. magus71 says:

    Ah yes, normal Darwinist hatred…

    “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”~ Charles Darwin

    Darwin was far less dogmatic then most of the psuedo-scientists posting here–as you can plainly see from the quote above. Keep up the good job with the bumper-sticker slogans though, you’re doing awesome!

    Like

  82. ilegirl says:

    Scary – Ben Stein in micro-shorts …

    I am so encouraged that archaeology triumphed over the tremendous misinformation the Stein film is attempting to spread!

    Like

  83. Kate says:

    O.K., laughed so hard that I sprayed my sparkling spring water all over my screen. I think Ben Stein IS an ancient goat… but that’s MHO.

    But you’re right. I think that they have made this film for the wrong audience. They tried to make it the reverse of Flock of Dodos, and tried to do it in a way that creationists could rationalize their beliefs and actions… and there’s the rub: I don’t think that demographic goes to movies to rationalize anything. Stein would have had to be driving the General Lee and wearing micro-shorts to catch the attention of his intended audience.

    Like

  84. Ed Darrell says:

    Only creationists regard a straight reporting of the facts as “making fun.” Each of my statements above is factual. You find that funny? Maybe there’s a moral in that.

    Like

  85. HannahJ says:

    Making fun won’t get creationists to listen to you any more than they’re already doing. (Granted, that same statement could be taken the other way…)

    Like

  86. tan crayon says:

    creationism is a fun story just like harry potter, nothing more, although sometimes I really wish harry potter was real, that must be how creationists feel, although their convictions are slightly more frightening (I’ve never tried to get people to board the hogwarts express, at any rate).

    Like

  87. Micheal Wynn says:

    Well not just is real science more interesting, history is too. like someone somewhere said, that fact is stranger than fiction, so it is.

    Like

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