If you can’t beat them, ban them

The Council of Europe is contemplating a ban of creationism, because it “is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.” and “The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.

The whole report can be read here.

Of course, this is nothing more than the normal ad-hominem attacks that we have become used to, and is yet another institutionalized attack on Christianity.  For now, the council has decided not to vote on the topic, but it is bound to rear its head again.

It is indeed sad to see that the secularization of Europe is nearly complete, and even sadder to see that the only religion really fighting that is Islam. Christianity seems to have crawled under a politically correct “seen-but-not-heard” rock all over Europe. What happened to the continent which gave us the great European theologians, those who gave us our Christian heritage? Where are the Christians? Why are they not visibly proclaiming the gospel?

Where are the Christian leaders?

The leaders of Europe must stand warned. And should the leadership of any country try to follow suit, contemplate the following:
Psa 2:1  Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
Psa 2:2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
Psa 2:3  “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Psa 2:4  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
Psa 2:5  Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
Psa 2:6  “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
Psa 2:7  I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Psa 2:8  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
Psa 2:9  You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Psa 2:10  Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Psa 2:11  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Psa 2:12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

Not only will God withdraw His favor from those leaders and countries who deny Him, but He will destroy them.

Make no mistake, banning creationism is an attack on the Creator. It has little to do with science, or the teaching of intelligent design. This is pure and simple intellectual arrogance stemming from atheistic presuppositions, as can be seen from the statement that “science” is the only hope for human and civic rights. In trying to ban the Creator, these hypocrites are doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to be protecting. What about the human and civic rights of those who believe in the Creator? Of course, that does not matter, they can be marginalized without recourse.

I continue to fear for the future of Europe. Secular humanism has taken over, and is ruling socially. In the not too distant future, it seems the Creator will be outlawed, and the fall will be complete.

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71 responses to “If you can’t beat them, ban them

  1. Priceless! No doubt the Flat Earth community had similar delusions of persecution in their day too.

    Science teachers “ban” incorrect answers on tests all the time. Get over it.

  2. That is such a brilliant piece of thinking. Did you come up with that all by yourself? I mean, you have actually refuted everything I said in just 2 sentences of personal attack and assertion. You sure stand as a beacon of serious discussion and debate in the atheistic and scientific communities.

  3. What a backwards logic you have. No, it’s not a personal attack to call something incorrect, nor is it inscrutable assertion when you can learn to do the experiments and analysis yourself and see for your own two eyes.

    Silly Flat-Earthers…

  4. “delusions of persecution”, “What a backwards logic you have.”, “Silly Flat-Earthers…”

    Dan, nice going on the personal attacks. If that is all you want to do, then please refrain form posting here.

    But while you are at it, why don’t you give us your definition of what science is, maybe you can actually do something other than just insult.

    And also, is it your assertion that whatever you “see for your own two eyes.” is always reliable and correct?

  5. How is attacking the “scientific reasoning and […] contents” of creationism or bemoaning its “total rejection of science” an ad hominem? Where did this report attack creationists? The personal attacks I see are in your comments.

    Simply stated creationism no matter how disguised is not science, therefore does not belong in science classrooms. This is the right move for the EU.

  6. Joe, the same question applies to you, please give us your definition of science. If you are going to state it isn’t science, then you ought to be able to define it for us.

    Please show where I said the report was an ad-hominem. The personal attacks were pointed out quite clearly in my previous comment to Dan, where he referred to me as “silly”, using backward logic and delusional. This is his normal behavior, on his own blog he quite often refers to “creationist idiots”. It seems as if he can’t get past his bigotry and hate in order to have a substantial discussion, and argues by insult. That is his prerogative, but just succeeds in casting doubts on his own personality, not the arguments of those that he insults.

  7. John,
    Calling something silly, delusional or ignorant is not an ad hominem in this situation, because the notion that the world is 10,000 years or less old is silly, delusional and ignorant.

  8. So I see that you fail to answer the questions I put to you in order to defend your ad-hominems. Also, you seem to think that all creationists are young-earth creationists, sorely mistaken on your part.

    In addition, you keep asserting without justifying: “It’s silly because it is silly and because I say so”…remember for every observation there are multiple interpretations, and you must demonstrate why your interpretation is both necessary and sufficient based on the observations.

  9. Again, why would I have to answer questions about ad hominems that aren’t ad hominems?

    And no, I didn’t say that you’re silly “because I say so,” I say that you’re silly because, as any biologist (or any credible scientist, actually), you’re claims are contradicted by evidence that you can dig up or read about yourself.

    Also, you fail to answer my point, that you have it backwards. I’m arguing from evidence, you’re arguing from verse/assertion. I therefore call you a Flat-Earther, because that’s the same thing that they do: argue from verse/assertion. It takes an astounding amount of ignorance to confuse evidence and assertion.

  10. Dan,

    You mean to say that you actually have evidence that the universe wasn’t created? That would be monumental. Can you point us to this evidence?

    Thanks,

  11. Nice Dan, we can now add “astounding amount of ignorance” to the list of insults. You don’t know anything about me, yet you come to my blog and insult me. Nice going. You biologists sure know how to present a rational and reasoned case.

    You keep asserting that it is not ad hominems to call someone silly, delusional etc. Of course it is. You are attacking the person, not their argument.

    I asked before, and ask again, what is your definition of science, and is everything that “you see for your own two eyes” always correct? That has nothing to do with ad hominems, but it seems that the only way you can try to get any point across is by spouting off insults.

    I have seen the data, Dan. What are my “claims” anyway?

    You are NOT arguing from evidence, you are arguing from YOUR interpretation of data, which YOU equivocate with evidence. It is up to you to show that your interpretation is necessarily and sufficiently true. Also, “credible” scientists are just those that agree with you, right? If someone does not agree with you, they are not credible, they are “silly” and “delusional”.

    You can call me “flat-earther” or whatever you like, but that is still not an argument. Insulting people is not an argument, Dan. You have not shown that I have asserted anything, you just claim it as if you have some kind of authority to do so. But you don’t. So unless you have anything substantial to add, the conversation is over. I can trade insults all day long, but that just won’t get us anywhere.

  12. Um, in your first paragraph you said: “Of course, this is nothing more than the normal ad-hominem attacks that we have become used to…”

    if you want to know the definition of science surely you can look it up.

  13. Joe

    You are right, I did say that. But it was not for the reasons that you quoted. Did you read the report? The report essentially calls creationists liars and a threat to human rights. That is ad hominem.

    As for the definition of science, you are the one saying that creationism is not scientific, so you need to provide your definition of science that provers that. Telling me to look it up does not advance your argument.

  14. I suppose you’ll point out the ad hominems in that report, because I can’t see them.

    From wikipedia: “Science […] is a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.”

    That’s not a bad definition. The reason creationism is not science is twofold: one, it begins with the assumption that there is a creator and that he did in fact create everything and then seeks confirming evidence. This makes it obvious that most believers are highly likely to be fooled by confirmation bias. Two, its only products are attacks on an alternative theory (evolution) it produces no testable predictions of its own.

  15. Joe, thanks for the comments. So if science is that which is gained from the scientific method, can you please define the scientific method. Is that the only requirement for something to be science, or are there others?

    I will answer your statements about creationism a bit later, because it follows on from where we are going with science.

    Did you read the report?

  16. Yes I read the report. I did see some lines referring to creationists. I didn’t see any of them as negative or false. Perhaps the word “bent” was a poor choice, but it is the desire of creationists to have creationism taught in science classes. If you pointed out the ad hominem maybe I would see it.

    Well the scientific method is not easy to define and is poorly understood by many. I suggest reading up on it. Nothing I can type out here can do it justice. Some key ideas are falsifiability and testable predictions, which are two points where creationism doesn’t stack up.

  17. Joe, in short, do you consider ghost-hunting and astrology to be scientific? Both of those claim to use the scientific method. Telling me to read up on things does not get us very far. I have read up on it, Popper, Kuhn, even Gould and I want to discuss it. Would you say that falsifiability and testable predictions are necessary conditions for something being scientific?

    So you think that calling creationists a threat to human rights, or saying that it is not based on facts, i.e. lying is not ad hominem?

  18. Puritan Lad,
    No, I wasn’t saying anything at all about how the Universe got here. But since you asked, no, I have no idea whether the Universe was created or developed from something else – and neither do you.

    John,
    Again, same issue. Is calling an astounding level of ignorance an astounding level of ignorance a personal attack? Is calling a deaf man deaf a personal attack too?

  19. The report calls creationISM a threat to human rights and not based on facts. That may be over the top, but it is not an ad hominem, and being factually incorrect is not the same as lying.

    I would say astrology and ghost-hunting could be pursued scientifically, but they usually aren’t. In the same way that SOME claim of creationism could be pursued scientifically, but aren’t. The reason of course is that the scientific evidence does not support the instant creation of species fully formed a few thousand years ago. If it did, evolution would never have been purposed.

  20. Dan, you claimed earlier that you argue your position from evidence, while we argue ours from assertion. I would like you to back up that statement. We could get into a discussion about how we can know anything outside of God, but I’m not sure you are capable of such a discussion without making unsubstantiated charges of “silly flat-earthers”. If you want to acknowledge that you simply “don’t know”, then we can leave it at that.

    Joe, not all creationists are young-earthers. I’ll admit that the Creation Museum does about as much good for creationists as the “Rational Response Squad” does for atheists. Scientific evidence does show us that…

    1.) Very complex life forms existed on earth very shortly after earth was able to support life.
    2.) All known phyla of animal appeared within a very short period of time (the Cambrian Explosion), and none have developed since then.
    3.) Life, in even it’s most basic form, is extremely complex.
    4.) The Universe appears to have been designed for human life (Strong Anthropic Principle).

    Of course, unbelievers will simply write these off as “we don’t know” and accuse believers of adopting a “god of the gaps” philosophy. Afterall, evidence is just that, evidence. It really doesn’t prove anything.

    The problem for the atheist, as I pointed out to Dan, is that without God, we cannot know anything. If atheism is true, than all of our knowledge is merely the by product of human neurons, the same neurons that you believe accidently formed from an ocean of biocarbons. What makes the product of your neurons more significant than those of a believer?

    An atheist cannot even account for man’s “belief” in any transcendent form. A consistent atheist cannot refer to flat-earthers as silly, for those who believe this must be genetically disposed to believe it, or else it is a product of their environment. Remember, nothing exists in a naturalist world outside of atoms, molecules, and that which can be explained by astrophysics and biochemistry. Therefore, you must account for the very laws of science before you can appeal to them. These laws only make sense in a theistic worldview.

  21. Puritan Lad,
    To repeat myself, again – why are you changing the subject? We’re discussing creationist pseudoscience, evolution and teaching – NOT cosmology or the anthropic principle.
    But if you are insisting on changing the subject, you appear to change it with a hollow argument. You claim that belief in a god (which god by the way? Zeus?) you know the ultimate answer to the meaning of life. You don’t know that. None of us knows that.
    Yes, memory and understanding are a product of neurons and the brain. You must have a functioning brain for those mental processes to manifest each other. Have you ever actually seen a mind without a brain?
    And, actually, atheists <em>can</em> account for man’s belief in counterfactual concepts as a personal god. Try reading these books on the anthropology and cognitive psychology of religion:
    Atran, Scott (2004) In Gods we trust: The evolutionary landscape of religion. Oxford University Press, paperback, 388 pages, ISBN #0195178033
    Boyer, Pascal (2002) Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religion. Vintage Books, paperback, 448 pages, ISBN #0099282763

  22. Dan, why won’t you answer my simple questions? We have not discussed anything, you have added nothing but ad homs here. So for you to say that we are discussing things, when you refuse to answer simple questions is simply not true.

    All you have done so far is raise red herrings and strawman arguments. We have read the books and articles. Telling us to go read something is not an argument. You just want to come here and puff up your chest without offering any arguments except to “go read this”. We have done the reading, now we want to discuss it. I will not approve any more comments from you unless they contain answers to my questions and some reasoned arguments.

    So is it your position then, Dan, based on the two books you quote above, that science has disproven the existence of God? If cognitive dissonance, cultural manipulation stemming from the fear of predators and a relief for emotional distress accounts for religion, then God does not exist?

  23. Dan,

    Cosmology isn’t science? On what basis are you defining Creationism as Pseudoscience? All Creationism? Native American Creationism? Old-earth Creationism? Tell us why your athiestic worldview is superior. You want an example of pseudoscience? How about abiogenesis? How about the universe coming into existence by itself from nothing?

    As far as your Zeus comment goes, you’ve been reading to much Rational Responder stuff. I’ve already dealt with that irrelevant argument on numerous occasions. The non-existence of Zeus (or Sasquatch for that matter) has no bearing whatsoever on the existence of the one true God. Of course, intelligent atheists already know this.

    In any case, I’m still waiting for you to provide the evidence that you claim to have. You keep telling us that “you’re claims are contradicted by evidence” and that “I’m arguing from evidence…” Come on Dan. Educate us “silly flat-earthers”. Don’t tell us to go and read it. Give it to us here. We’re waiting…

  24. Joe, what do you mean by “evolution would never have been purposed”?

    Here are two instances where astrologers and ghost hunters claim to use the scientific method.
    http://www.empyreanquest.com/esoteric/tnsa/astroonl.htm
    http://www.memphisghosthunters.com/mission_services.html

    The arguments, Joe, that science does not support the instant creation of species a few thousand years ago is not necessarily true. For the record, I am not a Young Earth Creationist, but that is not a result of what dating methods etc have shown, it is a result of the meaning of time in the context of an eternal Creator and the dualist nature of man.

    Anyhow, “science” does not “prove” anything. The scientific method is inductive, which postulates general conclusions from observed instances, but unless you can observe all the evidence, it can never reach a definitive truth. Also, scientists are also human, and like our friend Dan, apply their worldview to their interpretation of the data. That is true for both Christian and atheist.

    So when you say “In the same way that SOME claim of creationism could be pursued scientifically, but aren’t.” what are those areas that could be pursued scientifically? And if they can theoretically be pursued scientifically, why do you agree with the EC report? Surely science requires free inquiry into observed data without ruling out any possible hypothesis a-priori. Or is it, like Dan, you just don’t like what some of the conclusions potentially may be?

  25. John,
    “Dan, based on the two books you quote above, that science has disproven the existence of God?”

    Disproven? No, not quite. It has however found god to be unnecessary in everything that we do know about. That leaves the unknown that may harbor god’s existence, or a hands-off god that started the universe but took a vacation since then. Which god though? Why a god at all? What is a god? (can you describe god as a sentient entity?) Why not a fairy, or the flying spaghetti monster? Do you have an answer to any of those questions, or just passing on the assertions that you were taught from early childhood? No, god has not been disproven, any more than the flying spaghetti monster has been disproven.

    Puritan Lad,
    I’m here to comment. Not to teach you. Don’t be lazy by passing off your responsibility to teach yourself to myself or others.

  26. You have not yet given us your definition of science, nor tell us whether your senses are infallibly reliable, questions I have asked twice already.

    Dan, you are raising red herrings again. Fairies can hardly be considered the same as an almighty Creator. The FSM is known to be a hypothetical invention purely for the sake of parody, and therefore you are offering an argument by analogy without the argument. Furthermore, if you need to invent supernatural things to counter belief in a Christian God, you are refuting the very things that you purport to stand for, naturalism and atheism. In addition, the burden of proof for the existence of the FSM or fairies would be on you, not on anyone who dismisses those claims. If they don’t exist, then your argument is clearly fallacious since your analogy does not work. If they do exist, then please prove it.

    If you say that God is “unnecessary in everything we know about”, how do you know that? Do you know “everything we know about”? Who are “we”? How did you come to know the meaning of the word “be”? You said that you don’t know where the universe comes from. How does that remove the necessity for God? At the very least, it is equally as plausible an explanation as any other if you don’t know. So then God is not removed from everything we know about, since the universe had to come into existence in order to exist.

  27. “Joe, not all creationists are young-earthers. I’ll admit that the Creation Museum does about as much good for creationists as the “Rational Response Squad” does for atheists. Scientific evidence does show us that…”
    You may want to research some of those assertions. Not all are true. Not really interested in getting into an argument about that however. The evidence should change your mind not my words.

    The word creationism is used by different folks to mean different things. Young Earthers are the extreme. But they make the most claims which ARE testable. They have been shown to be inaccurate by the evidence, but they are in the falsifiable sense MORE scientific, though false.

    “Of course, unbelievers will simply write these off as “we don’t know” and accuse believers of adopting a “god of the gaps” philosophy.”
    Sometimes we don’t know. Are you saying an answer of hollow certainty is better than honest and humble admission of ignorance? There may be things we can never know.

    “The problem for the atheist, as I pointed out to Dan, is that without God, we cannot know anything.”
    I assume you have some evidence to back up this hollow assertion? “Knowing” is an arrangement and state of neurons in the brain and some arrangements are better because they accurately reflect the external world. This is not a problem for atheists.
    —-
    “Joe, what do you mean by “evolution would never have been purposed”?”
    I mean that it was evidence that lead a bunch of creationists to come up with common descent, old earth, and evolution by natural selection.

    I don’t really care enough about astrology or ghosts to visit your links. I don’t believe I said that science proves anything. It can disprove a ton and support the best theories with evidence. The best theory to explain the diversity of life on earth and the fossil record is evolution.

    “So when you say “In the same way that SOME claim of creationism could be pursued scientifically, but aren’t.” what are those areas that could be pursued scientifically?”
    I mean that you can test whether (for instance) man appeared fully formed in the fossil record, or whether we see similar form progress for years. But it is not tested that way by creationists, because they know that the theory has already been disproved in this way.

    Creationism is not new. It is an old discredited set of beliefs that was discarded by scientists because the evidence points another way. The evidence points to common descent and natural selection. The history and evidence of geology and evolution should make it obvious to anyone that creationism was debunked 200 years ago.

    “Surely science requires free inquiry into observed data without ruling out any possible hypothesis a-priori.”
    The hypothesis was not ruled out a priori, any more the theory that an imbalance of humors causing disease was dismissed. It has been shown to be in error. It is only folks that have hung their religion on the literal truth of a creation myth that cling to it.

  28. Wow John, calm down. I’m not dodging your questions, I’m just not taking the time from my work day to deal with those questions of yours that I find less interesting.

    1. Definition of science: I think Pharyngula has a good answer, for reference.
    2. My senses as infalliable? Of course not. That’s why scientists constantly scrutinize their assumptions and perceptions. Very boring question.

    Yes, my fairy and FSM references were parody, and for good reason – I and others invent satirical gods to contrast your hypothetical god. If you can’t counter it by anything other than “but that’s a joke,” then I would say that your alternative is an equal joke. In other words, my FSM exists with just as much certainty as your god. I imagine that you’d find the assertion of the Hindu God Vishnu as a joke too. I know I do – it’s just all very silly.

    “If you say that God is “unnecessary in everything we know about”, how do you know that?”

    Okay, then name something that we know a lot about but requires god. How about medicine? Rocket science? Computers? Anything? No, such ideas are a farce, a joke, and just plain silly.

  29. Dan, thanks for your comments. I am perfectly calm, thank you. You are the one that came here all huffed up. Glad to see that we can finally have a civil conversation.

    This is not going anywhere if you are going to ignore what I already wrote. I already pointed out to you that your proposed argument by analogy is not an argument at all. I also pointed out the origin of the universe as an example of something that we know about that could theoretically require God. Your qualification of “know a lot about” is subjective and comes back to my earlier point, the only topics “we” know a lot about are the ones that you agree with.

    The real question around your parodies is whether we can make a reasoned case for the existence of God. You cannot make a reasoned case for the existence of those parodies, other than to say it is to mock God. But as I already showed, that analogy does not work unless you can demonstrate that your parody is congruent with the Christian God. Not one of the instances you quoted comes close. In conclusion, whether you personally find it compelling or not, we can and do make a reasoned case for the existence of God, while you cannot do that for any of your parodies.

    Hinduism fails an internal critique, and is therefore not tenable. It has nothing to do with whether I find it silly or not.

    If your senses are not infallible, on what basis do you tell anyone to “see with your own two eyes?” How do you come to know anything that you observe? If your subsequent scrutiny is dependent on the same fallible senses, how does repeating the process improve it? On what basis do you review your assumptions? Also, what are your axioms for this process, and where do they come from?

    I interacted with the definition of science elsewhere. I will note that according to the definition you provided, creationism is not necessarily excluded. Only in the last paragraph where materialism is briefly mentioned does it allude to an exclusion, but again not necessarily so.

  30. Joe, we were making such good progress. You keep referring to evidence. But evidence, as I pointed out already, numerous times, is an interpretation of data that people find acceptable. So “evidence” that one person finds convincing is not convincing at all for the next. Your appeals to evidence, therefore, are meaningless unless you demonstrate that the evidence is either objectively true, or is underwritten an objectively true worldview.

    The rest of your message is pure assertion. Saying that the evidence points to evolution by natural selection is debatable. It only does so when you are a-priori committed to a naturalistic worldview. I may equally as passionately argue that it points to common design.

    If creationism was debunked 200 years ago, does that mean that the Creator has been debunked? That is the logical conclusion, is it not?

    Can you give us the tenets of creationism that has been shown to be in error?

  31. “This is not going anywhere if you are going to ignore what I already wrote.”
    Actually, I would say the same thing about you – so maybe we’re talking past each other.

    “I also pointed out the origin of the universe as an example of something that we know about that could theoretically require God.”

    Could theoretically – In other words, it’s something that we don’t know much about, nicely avoiding the qualification that I gave, and what I said about god existing in the realm of the unknown.

    “The real question around your parodies is whether we can make a reasoned case for the existence of God.”

    Yes! Exactly. And the answer is that no, you cannot make a reasoned case for the existence of god, anymore than the parodies that I gave. And you’re the one that is making the assertions here, not me (I’m making the negation), and therefore it is you who bear the burden of proof, not I. (it’s the ol’ skepticism versus credulity debate)

    “How do you come to know anything that you observe?”

    Deep philosophy there. How can you come to know that gravity exists, or that medicine works, or anything else. Is all of that an illusion?

    “I will note that according to the definition you provided, creationism is not necessarily excluded”

    Sure, the exclusion comes in the practice of science, due to the lack of evidence supporting special creation, catastrophic floods, etc. Science requires empirical support, and creationism provides none. Similarly with astrology, alchemy, and homeopathy.

  32. Dan,

    I get what you are saying. But what you don’t seems to get is that your conclusions (god is silly etc), does not necessarily follow from your arguments, because you are arguing from ignorance. If we cannot show that God exists because He is not empirically detectable is a fallacious statement. God is not an isolated and separate thing, He is the cause of the existence of every contingent being. As I said, you may not find them compelling but we can definitely make a reasoned case for God’s existence. For example, see here: http://www.homestead.com/philofreligion/files/Theisticarguments.html

    Yes, epistemology is an important topic. You ask whether specific instance are illusionary. They may very well be. How do you know they are not? For the Christian, the answer is that by common grace and the testimony of the Spirit we know that it is not. But how do you, as a materialist, know that it is not? You already said that your senses are fallible. In addition, while your senses may lead you to believe that gravity exists, for example, how do you know that logic exists?

    Ok then, if the exclusion comes from the practice of science and not by definition, then you have no right to call it pseudoscience. It may be bad science, but it still is science. However, you keep on talking about evidence, and as I pointed out to Joe, we all look at the same data, it’s just that we come to different conclusions. Also, if you hold that all sciences require empirical support, we are back to your fallible senses. But not all science requires empiricism, unless you hold to a definition of science that excludes higher order mathematics and quantum physics.

  33. Puritan Lad,
    I assume you realize how inept that last comment of yours was (I hope you do, in any case)…

    John,
    “God is not an isolated and separate thing, He is the cause of the existence of every contingent being.”

    That has the benefit of no being remotely confirmable or falsifiable. As such, it’s a completely worthless description, and completely fails to refute the undetectability of god.

    Regarding the “reasoned case for god’s existence,” have you actually read those arguments??? They amount to various interpretations of the ontological argument, which is really really silly. Do you really think that Medieval logic is so persuasive? Please, please, please try to wake up, the Dark Ages are over.

  34. John,
    Actualy, I take that back. You MUST be joking, or parodying the religious point of view – I simply have such a hard time believing that anyone in this day and age, who is well-read and not ignorant, could say that the ontological argument is an intelligently reasoned argument with a straight face.

    That being the case, keep up the good work! This was a convincing satire of religion, that had me thinking it was the real thing there for a bit! 😉

  35. “But evidence, as I pointed out already, numerous times, is an interpretation of data that people find acceptable.”
    No, evidence is not the interpretation it is the data itself. The interpretation is the theory. There is no point in talking about evidence though. It is easy to pretend it is all on ones side. Go out and research it. If you are not willing to, then this conversation is moot. I hope some readers may be willing to though.

    “The rest of your message is pure assertion.”
    I’m not sure how a message can be much more than that. That is why you should look at the actual evidence. I can’t send a fossil through this box.

    “If creationism was debunked 200 years ago, does that mean that the Creator has been debunked? That is the logical conclusion, is it not?

    Can you give us the tenets of creationism that has been shown to be in error?”
    Ah wishy-washy definition of creationism we meet again. Was a creator debunked? not completely no. A creator that created the earth, the sun, the universe and modern species fully formed in a matter of seven days was though. That guy doesn’t exist. Unless you believe that he created it all to look like it was billions of years old even though it wasn’t, but then “last-Tuesday-ism” is just as solidly supported by the evidence. I find such solipsism useless.

    So, since I don’t know which version of creationism you support I can’t tell you which tenants are in error, and as soon as I list some you can disavow them. Fine what a fun game. The fact stands that if your creationism doesn’t agree with the idea that all species descended from a common ancestor that lived around 4 billion years ago, than your creationism is in error.

  36. Further debate comments on this thread are now closed.
    I wanted to continue for a bit, but both Dan and Joe reverted back to form. Joe wants us to accept his position as default through assertion and not argument, while Dan is back to calling arguments silly without answering the actual argument. It seems as if we cannot progress past their assertions and see some some real argumentation. I presented Dan with arguments for theism, and his response was to say that it was silly and out of the dark ages without stating why it was so. We’ve been down that road before and it does not make for constructive discussion. For the record, Dan, the ontological argument was one part of the 24 presented there, and saying it is silly is not a rebuttal, just a demonstration that either you don’t understand the arguments real well, or you don’t have an answer.
    Dan also did not answer PL’s question other than to say it was “inept”. The questions we asked remain unanswered, and so it will stand that they both had the opportunity to respond and chose not to do so in a reasoned fashion.
    Having said that, I want to thank both of them for their contribution here, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

  37. Fascinating Discussion!
    John states: “Anyhow, ‘science’ does not ‘prove’ anything. The scientific method is inductive, which postulates general conclusions from observed instances, but unless you can observe all the evidence, it can never reach a definitive truth. Also, scientists are also human, and like our friend Dan, apply their worldview to their interpretation of the data. That is true for both Christian and atheist.”
    How TRUE this is! Not only that but, if “evidence equalled evolution”, then there would not be the need for both. Evidence is simply that, evidence. To go beyond, one must include interpretation, be it from an evolution or creationism perspective.
    Most interesting is that with all the holes and lack of answers associated with evolution, that there would be such a adamant fight to teach evolution and only evolution as not only the only answer, but the only game in town, … but that’s typical of those who have something to fear by people’s greater exposure to knowledge. It’s the ol’ “It’s my bat and ball and if you don’t like it, I’ll not let you play” attitude.
    (Note: Why is it that Atheists who put forth the argument of “science only” never suggest presenting just the evidence alone? [and leaving it at that.] Or, presenting the evidence, and then presenting information under “interpretation of the evidence” and including evolution and creationism? [… and letting people decide for themselves] Or, simply in the area of science presenting only the evidence, but under philosophy (etc.) presenting popular or competing arguments? The truth is that those seeking to ban creationism have more at stake than just science – as was put forth in the original post, this battle goes beyond the battle of science even to the battle of religion. (It’s funny – the root of the argument for those who accuse creationists of possessing religious motives, fail to either see, OR ADMIT their own religious motives.)
    If only unbelieving proponents knew, how they, even in their opposition, serve as the fulfillment of God’s prophetic word, and thus play into the hand of God’s eternal plan! [Regardless of how the legislation plays out in any particular area or school system, God’s will WILL be accomplished!]

  38. Sorry I’m late on this… Speaking of medieval logic, the ideas for Darwinian evolution such as common descent and the transmutation of species have existed since at least the 6th century BC, when they were expounded by the Greek philosopher Anaximander, and were developed by other early thinkers, including the Greek philosopher Empedocles, the Roman philosopher Lucretius, and the Arab biologist Al-Jahiz.

    So Dan please try to wake up, the Axis age is over!

  39. I thought the debate was closed? Or has it just entered the theists get the last word phase? Have fun atheist bashing while we are not allowed to respond.

  40. Pingback: It’s the evidence! « Yet Another Blog

  41. Joe, welcome back. I apologize if you feel that the discussion was terminated prematurely. I’ve certainly no desire to carry on with Dan, who seems to have run out of arguments and resorts to calling everything “silly”. But if you wish to continue the discussion, please feel free. Also, let me explain why I stopped debate comments. If you disagree, then please carry on.

    If you read carefully, I said that further debate comments were closed, not all comments. The reason I said that is because I have been down this road before. At some point in every debate we come to a point where repetition sets in, and I believe that is the point we arrived at. You posted your initial arguments, which I responded to, and we had a small discussion, and then it started repeating itself.

    You maintain that the evidence is indisputable, whereas I pointed out that “evidence” contains a certain amount of bias. The data can be construed to be indisputable, but evidence cannot. The reason is that we all look at the same data, but arrive at different conclusions. I look at the data and see common design, you look at the data and see common descent. We both believe that the data represents evidence for our positions, but it obviously cannot, it is logically impossible.

    Furthermore, an argument is a logical structure which contains premises and conclusions. So far, you have not presented any arguments, but just tried to assert brute fact. If we are to consider arguments, then at the very least the premises should be considered axiomatic or close to. You’ve just repeated your position that creationism is in error because it does not agree with the evidence. That’s ok, but it does not constitute an argument. You have to justify why your evidence is necessarily correct, seeing as science is an inductive process.

    In general, Joe, you have stated a lot of things, which is a good starting point, but if we are to continue, you will need to start presenting some arguments and not just assert. Your general positions are well-known and as such do not present any unique or new challenges, and have been addressed numerous times.

    Since you already admitted that science may include things such as astrology and ghost-hunting, both of which involve the metaphysical, on what basis do you exclude creationism from science?

    I will issue the same challenge to you that I issue to every evolutionist: Please select any two examples from the fossil lineage that you consider as evidence for evolution, and show the biochemical pathways by which the one descended from the other. We have mapped many genomes, we increasingly know which genes cause which traits and we know how genes cause proteins to combine. That should be sufficient information to show how one species turned into the other, since you should be able to show how each gene had to mutate to change certain traits, and be selected in the right order to maintain the developmental path.

    Thanks again for dropping by, and your contribution here. It sure livens things up.

  42. Oh yes, I understand the repetition bit. It does tend to get that way and I can see this discussion getting there. I know you didn’t say that comments were closed, but the idea that they were closed to “debate” sounds very much like any dissenting opinion would be frowned upon.

    This is one of the reasons why I would rather not go on too much, because it no doubt will get repetitive. But I will come up with a response since you seem to have put a lot into yours.

    You wrote: “The data can be construed to be indisputable, but evidence cannot.” I think we are using the word evidence differently. By evidence I mean what you are refering to as data. The evidence is the physical stuff or the numbers measuring a particular value. The evidence can either support or disprove a theory. In a sense, evidence is the input to science and theories are the output. Always tentative and subject to revision when new evidence comes to light, or new ideas better explain the existing evidence.

    You asked: “Since you already admitted that science may include things such as astrology and ghost-hunting, both of which involve the metaphysical, on what basis do you exclude creationism from science?”

    I thought I explained my basis. Astrology can be tested because it makes a falsifiable prediction: “You can foretell personality or future events by someones date, time and place of birth.” This can be tested and fails. Where creationism makes a testable prediction we also so failure, so the modern trend is for creationism to make fewer and fewer testable predictions. Creationism used to be a single day of creation of all species fully formed, as the evidence piles up we get “micro-evolution” allowed in, as more evidence piles up we get “irreducable complexity” to allow evolution, but protest that it can’t do everything without at least a little divine intervention.

    Since irreducable complexity is essentially an argument from incredulity it is completely unfalsifiable, thus not science. Whatever mechanism science can devise or discover that explains something cannot stop you from plugging god into it somewhere and then insisting that he is needed for it to work. This is the crux of its nonfalsifiability.

    I have not presented any logical arguments. I believe I explained why. You cannot learn about the world from pure reason. I can only give you words and words should be unconvincing. Only the evidence should convince you. I am not asking you to believe my assertions, quite the opposite. I am imploring you to research the scientific evidence and the history of the development of biological evolution and modern geology. (You have said that you have already read these things, ok I believe you. Some of your readers may not have.)

    I am not really interesting in arguing for evolution. It stands on its own. If you want to see some convincing evidence you could start by researching the evolution of the whale, or the horse which are very well understood, or look into trilobite fossils.

    If you want to see some genetic evidence for one species evolving into another you should definitely check out the chromosome fusion that appears to have occurred when chimps and humans went their separate ways. But certainly nothing can stop you from deciding that god must have performed the fusion, such a supposition is not falsifiable.

  43. NOt to further entangle the debate, If I may presume to offer that we still don’t understand a lot of the evidence. For instance, on the evolution of the horse see http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1159167

    Again, we make certain preseumptions on the evidence and yet we now suspect that the historical idea of the evolution of the horse is much more limited than previously thought. Now I know this doesn’ rock the foundation of historical evolution in your opinion nor would it change your mind. My point is simply that the classical evidence for evolution, the horse (which can be found in virtually all textbooks as the stunningly irrefutable evidence for evolution), is not so stunning.

    And perhaps more importantly, the conclusions based on fossil evidence does not match with the genetic evidence. Therefore, we should at least be less arrogant and presumptious. What we thought about speciation based on fossil evidence does not match with the genetic evdence (at least here).

  44. Thanks, zoe. mtDNA is great for discerning evolutionary relationships, because t is so stable over many generations. It is no surprise that it helped refine the equine “family tree” that was primarily arranged by morphology.

    I am confused by what you mean by “historical idea of the evolution of the horse is much more limited than previously thought”. In what way does revising the relationships between different horse species make it “more limited”? It just seems like a refinement based on additional data to me.

  45. Again, I know that you will not see this a earthshaking, but consider the fact that we have based historical speciation events on morphological differences. Those lovely pictures of the early horse evolution have been shown indicating many, many separate speciation events over time. Textbooks love to use these to illustrate how flexible and easy speciation is and how many events took place in the past, again using this to show that, “of course, evolution is true, see how many times it happened inthe past? It would be silly to oppose all of these lovely branches in the tree” (sorry, cynicism showing 🙂 But we have based such diagrams assuming that the differences in morphology indicate reproductive isolation. (and those solid arrows in the diagrams that make it oh so seductive to belieiving that we *know* this is what happened, instead of supposing it happened). And yet we now see that, for this example at least, the genetic evidence points to fewer speciation events than previously thought. In other words, morphological interpretation alone can’t be trusted to lead us to any conclusions about historial speciation events.

    Now I know that you won’t think this is anything huge, but I think it is significant, if only to prompt more investigation (and yet, if this seems to point to fewer speciation events and erroneous conclusions from fossil morphology, then scientists must fight a bias for possibly discovering more limitations). And it also shows a new avenue of investigation. (I also wonder how long it will take to remove the classic illustration from the textbooks? I noticed that finally the books have removed the pepper moth example)

    HAve I clarified things more?

  46. DNA is a much more accurate way to discern evolutionary relationships than morphology. That casts no doubt that those relationships exist.

    The peppered moth is a great example of natural selection at work, though it it not an example of speciation. I’m not sure why you believe that it shouldn’t be in textbooks. either way the rate that textbooks are updated with the latest science will always be too slow.

  47. Umm, the peppered moth experiment has been shown to have used incorrect data collection and incorrect reporting. I will find you the link but can’t do so right now.

    (For the record, though, I have no problem with the idea behind the pepper moth….I have no objection at all to the idea of natural selection as it pertains to population changes. I simply don’t find the evidence compelling that microevultion leads to macroevolution. Wanted to point that out. I have no objection to the idea of the pepper moth changes as population changes, simply that the experiment historically was found to have errors. The AP Biology book as well as the introductory biology book does not use it as an example any more, but it took three editions after the errors were found for that error to trickle down to the textbooks. That’s where my cynicism comes in)

    Do you deny that the DNA evidence has negated the conclusions they made previously regarding what horse ancestors were separate species? The found that what they had previously regarded as separate species were really still the same species.

  48. “A final analysis of horse specimens from the Pleistocene, historic, and recent caballines—which have been grouped as separate species based on their diverse size—suggests that all North American caballines may belong to the same species. Altogether, the results suggest that just two horse lineages—caballine and stilt-legged—may have lived in North America during the Late Pleistocene. Both lineages showed regional and temporal variations in size and form. Though these variations have been taken to represent many different species, the authors propose that the two lineages are more likely just two species whose variations reflect adaptations to different environments.”

    Sorry, meant to include this in the previous message

  49. I am not denying that it appears the DNA evidence required a reduction in the number of identifiable horse lineages. As I stated DNA evidence should be much more accurate than morphological evidence.

    This is the reason I brought up the chimp/human DNA evidence of chromosomal fusion. Very powerful evidence that humans and chimps recently diverged from a common ancestor.

  50. As for the DNA evidence between humans and chimps, the more we understand about DNA, the more we are seeing the differences between the two. I believe the evidence is dropping more and more each day.

    http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/622

    Let’s get something straight here… Darwinian evolution CANNOT stand it’s own. To say that it could you would have to start life from scratch from non-living chemicals which no scientist has ever done or proven to this very day. While its nice to talk about complex things such as DNA molecules, evolution has no history or proof of how it was originally formed (only theories).

    If evolution were true, devoid of any God, what you are implying is that “chance” is the real catalyst for creation. This to me this is simply blind ignorance…

  51. Gman,
    You give away your ignorance of biology by conflating evolution/selection with chance. Selection is the opposite of chance; it is a non-random process, just as surely as chemical reactions have non-random products.

  52. Dan, it is you that is putting up a smokescreen by pretending that evolution is not random. You of all people should know that genetic drift is viewed as totally random, and that there is no way to establish whether a specific outcome was due to gene drift or RM + selection.

    Furthermore, even if selection is granted, it is still selecting based on the outcome of a random mutation. So the equation you propose is random determination of availability+selection=non random? But if you include randomness in any equation, the outcome is necessarily random. Mathematically, it would look like this: (Any number) + selection of (any number) = any number. The determinant is what is being selected, not the selection.

  53. So if you roll a dice and select only the sixes the outcome is random?

    Selection is nonrandom so the outcome is not random.

  54. But I do note that you and Dan both immediately point out that selection is non-random, while ignoring your own scholars on whether evolution overall is random or not. Even granting that selection is a-random, the overall process is still random.

    If you deny that, then you are smuggling some sort of teleology in, which of course, is a big no-no. And you still have not answered about the difference between gene drift and natural selection. How do you know whether the outcome was due to gene drift or selection?

    “Evolution certainly does involve randomness; it does involve unpredictable chance.” – Douglas Futuyma.

  55. Dan left two further comments on the topic, but I should have known that it is too good to be true that he will stay civil.

    Dan, please refrain from posting any further comments here. You will be wasting your time, since I will ignore them. Go boast to your infantile atheist friends wherever you hang out how you kick the butt of Christians and let the adults get on with discussion.

    Calling me stupid or ignorant seems to be your standard method of argumentation. Good for you. That seems to be the standard of discourse consistent with atheists, with rare exceptions. You sure raise the bar in insults and talking smack. Unfortunately for you, those only exposes you as what you really are, an intellectually dishonest bigot.

    You have not mentioned anything not said or addressed before. All you are doing is jumping up and down stomping your feet like a three-year old and insisting that things are so because you say so. You clearly have not the inclination nor the knowledge to participate or even follow any rational discussion so blinded are you by your hatred for Christianity.

    Good bye.

  56. Dan,

    If you reject creationism by default you AUTOMATICALLY accept random “chance” as being your catalyst for evolution. There are no other alternatives.. Also, by default, natural selection can only “select” matter already in existence. You are way ahead of the game here.. First, what you have to start with is nothing and then turn it into something. If someday by chance you get something, then we will seriously talk about the validity of Darwinian evolution. But for now, all you have is nothing, only a dream…

  57. Joe,

    ““You wrote: “The data can be construed to be indisputable, but evidence cannot.” I think we are using the word evidence differently. “By evidence I mean what you are refering to as data. The evidence is the physical stuff or the numbers measuring a particular value. The evidence can either support or disprove a theory. In a sense, evidence is the input to science and theories are the output. Always tentative and subject to revision when new evidence comes to light, or new ideas better explain the existing evidence.”

    Evidence is what justifies belief, not creates belief. It is, as you mentioned above, data or observations interpreted in the context of a theory, and that are then considered evidence or not.

    “I thought I explained my basis. Astrology can be tested because it makes a falsifiable prediction: “You can foretell personality or future events by someones date, time and place of birth.” This can be tested and fails. Where creationism makes a testable prediction we also so failure, so the modern trend is for creationism to make fewer and fewer testable predictions. Creationism used to be a single day of creation of all species fully formed, as the evidence piles up we get “micro-evolution” allowed in, as more evidence piles up we get “irreducable complexity” to allow evolution, but protest that it can’t do everything without at least a little divine intervention.”

    But you are contradicting yourself. If creationism is making predictions, whether they are true or not, then by your reckoning it should be scientific, the same as astrology. It may be bad science, but it is still science.

    I don’t follow the rest of your argument. Traditional creationists hold to a radical theory of evolution. They hold that the vast majority of the diverse oxygen-breathing life is descended from whatever fit on Noah’s ark. Obviously there was not all subspecies of mammals etc that could fit in there along with 40 days of food etc, so after the end of the flood, those animals had to spread all over the earth, and evolve into the approximately 4000 species of mammals, 7000 species of reptiles and 9000 species of birds, all within 6000 years.

    “Since irreducable complexity is essentially an argument from incredulity it is completely unfalsifiable, thus not science. Whatever mechanism science can devise or discover that explains something cannot stop you from plugging god into it somewhere and then insisting that he is needed for it to work. This is the crux of its nonfalsifiability.”

    Of course it is falsifiable. Just show the way in which any of the posited IC systems evolved by using the mechanisms of evolution. I believe that some of those, such as the blood-clotting cascade may have been addressed to some extent, while the flagellum is still unexplained. I know some have posited that the type 3 secretory system may account for some of the elements, but not all. But that is the way to falsify it.

    “I have not presented any logical arguments. I believe I explained why. You cannot learn about the world from pure reason.”

    Ok, but that is just assertion, or else you must demonstrate the truth of that statement from the world, i.e. by experiment etc.

    “I can only give you words and words should be unconvincing. Only the evidence should convince you.”

    Same question. Where is the evidence for that statement?

    “I am not asking you to believe my assertions, quite the opposite. I am imploring you to research the scientific evidence and the history of the development of biological evolution and modern geology. (You have said that you have already read these things, ok I believe you. Some of your readers may not have.)”

    Indeed I have. But the point remains that one interprets the evidence (your version) in terms of your presuppositions.

    “I am not really interesting in arguing for evolution. It stands on its own. If you want to see some convincing evidence you could start by researching the evolution of the whale, or the horse which are very well understood, or look into trilobite fossils.”

    Again, if evolution stands on its own, why does it need defending? I would, as would many others more clever than me, that it is not that blindingly self-evident. The arrangement of fossil evidence in a lineage is not falsifiable. But the real mechanisms for evolutionary change are at the molecular level, since that is where the mechanisms function. At that level you should be able to show what mutated into what and was subsequently selected to go from ancestor to descendant.

    “If you want to see some genetic evidence for one species evolving into another you should definitely check out the chromosome fusion that appears to have occurred when chimps and humans went their separate ways.”

    I don’t hesitate to grant that chromosomal fusion seems to present a strong case for common descent. But it does not prove that the mechanisms proposed by the theory of evolution were responsible. It also does not account for other explanations, such as a chromosome split, since the genome of the common ancestor is not known. I am not even sure that the last common ancestor has been identified.

    Also, that did not answer my question at all. I asked for a demonstration of biochemical pathways from ancestor to descendant taken from any example in the fossil record.

    “But certainly nothing can stop you from deciding that god must have performed the fusion, such a supposition is not falsifiable.”

    Well, can you falsify the proposition that it happen via random mutation followed by natural selection?

  58. “I think the mistake that many people make about natural selection is thinking that since it’s inexorable without exception, that it leaves no room for randomness, for chaos to come in and upset the directions that it’s taken so far.
    In fact, the process of natural selection feeds on randomness. It feeds on accident and contingency, and exploits that in ways that couldn’t be predicted. It’s still an inexorable process. It’s still always gradually improves the fit between whatever organisms there are and the environment in which they’re being selected.
    But there’s no predictability about what particular accidents are going to be exploited in this process”.- Daniel Dennett

  59. According to Stephen Meyer, PHD..

    “Whether natural selection really works at the level of biological evolution is open to debate, but it most certainly does NOT work at the level of chemical evolution, which tries to explain the origin of the
    first life from simpler chemicals. Theodosius Dobzhansky said, Prebiological natural selection is a contradiction in terms.”

    To have reproduction, there has to be cell division. And that presupposes the existence of information-rich DNA and proteins. But that’s the problem-those are the very things they’re trying to explain. In other words, you’ve got to have a self-replicating organism for Darwinian evolution to take place, but you can’t have a self-replicating organism until you have the information necessary in DNA, which is what you’re trying to explain in the first place. It’s like the guy who falls into a deep hole and realizes he needs a ladder to get out. So climbs out, goes home, gets a ladder, jumps back into the hole, and climbs out. It begs the question.

  60. “Evidence is what justifies belief, not creates belief. It is, as you mentioned above, data or observations interpreted in the context of a theory, and that are then considered evidence or not.”
    No no. That’s backwards. If you start with a belief and then go look for evidence to support it you are setting yourself up for confirmation bias. The revolution of science is that the evidence should drive the belief. If you have an existing theory any observation or experiment should be an attempt to disprove the theory (or at least a part of the theory) and not support it! If you count the hits and ignore the misses you set yourself up for believing just about anything you wish.

    “But you are contradicting yourself. If creationism is making predictions, whether they are true or not, then by your reckoning it should be scientific, the same as astrology. It may be bad science, but it is still science.”
    This is a good point. But I am actually discussing different types of creationism all wrapped up in a single word. Lets call strict young earth, six days, no adaptation at all creationism(1). That version can and has been studied scientifically and was found to not fit the evidence. It was modified and then later abandoned for evolution.

    Then we have creationism(2) a somewhat modern invention that removes the falsifiability from c(1) and renders it non-science. This neutered version of c(1) seems intentionally designed to make as few testable predictions as possible. c(2) is essentially ID and its ilk. This is a vast simplification of course. There are nearly as many versions of creationism as there are creationists.

    “Of course it is falsifiable. Just show the way in which any of the posited IC systems evolved by using the mechanisms of evolution.”
    And then the believing creationist(2) simply ignores it or denies it. Take the eye. The IDists claimed it as IC even though Darwin explained a possible natural explanation in his bloody book! There are explanations for most “IC” notions and the other systems are being studied. What you are arguing for is a sort of IC of the gaps. Why should “we don’t know” = “It’s impossible”? History shows that those gaps get filled in when we spend some time on these things.

    The problem is that it is impossible to demonstrate that something is IC. The argument essentially relies on a failure of the imagination.

    I’m not sure why you are questioning my statements about evidence. Are you disagreeing with them and claiming you should be able to be convinced by pure reason? One of the revolutions of the renaissance scientists was the overturning of conclusions made by pure reason by doing experiments. You insist that I demonstrate that you should only be convinced by evidence?

    “But the point remains that one interprets the evidence (your version) in terms of your presuppositions.”
    Well there is always a bit of that yes. You do the same. If you could explain where a presupposition of mine has lead me astray, please do.

    “Again, if evolution stands on its own, why does it need defending?”
    Because people with certain religious beliefs attack the theory because they see it as contradicting their religion. If there was a mainstream religion that still maintained that diseases were caused by demons, would you want that taught in schools along side all the wacky stuff about tiny animals that you can’t see? It is not really the fault nor the concern of science that your religion contains false notions about the world.

    “I don’t hesitate to grant that chromosomal fusion seems to present a strong case for common descent. But it does not prove that the mechanisms proposed by the theory of evolution were responsible.”
    Nor was I using it to demonstrate that. I was suggesting it as I demonstration of common descent. Which leads us back to the too many definitions of creationism issue. I am at a disadvantage because I actually don’t know what you believe. Could you clarify this for me? DO you believe that evolution essentially occurred as described by science excepting that “divine selection” played a bigger role than natural selection?

    “It also does not account for other explanations, such as a chromosome split, since the genome of the common ancestor is not known. I am not even sure that the last common ancestor has been identified.”
    Oh it certainly does because all the other great apes have the two chromosomes like the chimps. We know this was a fusion not a split. At least that is the far more probable explanation.

    “Also, that did not answer my question at all. I asked for a demonstration of biochemical pathways from ancestor to descendant taken from any example in the fossil record.”
    I’m not sure what you mean by “biochemical pathways”. I doubt such a thing can be seen in the fossil record. Mostly it is just the “hard parts” that get fossilized and when rarely we see soft parts the details have been destroyed. The fossil record is almost wholly limited to morphology.

    “Well, can you falsify the proposition that it happen via random mutation followed by natural selection?”
    We can definitely show that it could easily occur by random mutation. Which completely eliminates the need to hypothesize any supernatural aid. Natural selection probably didn’t have much to do with this particular case. I don’t know that there is necessarily an advantage or a disadvantage here, but I am far from an expert. As I said above this is evidence for common descent not natural selection.

    Hopefully that cleared some things up.

    Regarding randomness:

    Evolution is certainly random in the sense that it has no predictable or deterministic direction. As described by Daniel Dennett above. But with selection it is far from the “tornado in a junkyard” randomness that many creationists like to misrepresent it as. Natural selection preserves the useful mutations. It is a simple, but very powerful mechanism.

    Regarding the pre-cell origin of life:
    According to the theory the only thing that is needed for evolution to occur is imperfect replication and struggle for resources. There are many proposed possibilities for pre-DNA evolution and theories of abiogenesis. It is the cutting edge and requires much more study. But we have to be willing to say “I don’t know” rather than assuming that anything we can’t explain must be supernatural. We have made many mistakes in our past with those kinds of assumptions.

  61. Hold the phone here Joe.. I think you are making natural selection a more powerful mechanism than it is. Whether it can construct things out of existing matter (because that is all it can do) may not be altogether random, but what you are forgetting here is that you still have no template or blueprints to work off of. How and where exactly are you getting these blueprints for life?

  62. There are no blueprints. How have I made natural selection a more powerful mechanism than it is? Why would a “blueprint” be necessary?

  63. How have you made natural selection a more powerful mechanism than it is? Because you have just told us that there are still “unknowns” for pre-DNA evolution. If natural selection is so powerful why can’t it produce DNA from scratch? As for blueprints, what exactly are these complex structures being built on? Are you implying that there is no structure to it? What is natural selection basing its structure on? Where do patterns come from?

  64. natural selection can’t build anything from scratch. It simply selects the “best” from what is available. There are many unknowns for life pre-DNA. This is the cutting edge of biology. It is not completely understood at this time.

    I am not sure what “structure” you are talking about. DNA is essentially a recipe for how to make an animal. When an animal is developing and growing it is following the recipe described by its DNA. Selection occurs when that animal is either able to reproduce and send that DNA into the next generation, or it dies before it is able to reproduce and its genes die with it. Any structure involved is developed from the instructions in DNA.

    Other than that I am not sure what you are asking. Sound like a good overview of biology might help you answer them though. I am certainly not an expert in the field so I may not be able to answer them sufficiently.

  65. DNA has no structure to it or in it? I’m sorry but this is incorrect.. DNA functions like a software program using a four character digital code sequence (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). Sequences of these chemicals provide the instructions necessary to assemble complex protein molecules that in turn help form structures such as the eyes, skin, etc.. It is not junk as you seem to be implying and is very complex.

    Perhaps this article will help you understand the DNA formations better.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dna

    As for as your response to natural selection you have again confirmed my point that it CANNOT stand on it’s own.. Why? Because it can’t build anything from scratch.

    So where did the information in DNA come from then?

  66. I wasn’t stating that DNA had no structure. I was asking you what you were referring to. The actual physical structure of the DNA molecule is a function of its chemistry.

    Natural selection doesn’t “stand on its own”. It is only a single part of the process. The “information” comes from random mutation (and later sexual gene shuffling). The “design” comes from natural selection. Neither, on its own, is sufficient.

  67. No… Backup to your comment on 64. You stated the following, “There are no blueprints.” Now you are saying that there is structure to DNA… Please get your facts in order if you seriously want to debate this.

    Natural selection is single process that is part of the main false process called Darwinian evolution. It cannot stand on it’s own… If one of your cards is missing, then your house of cards falls.

    Your whole “structure” is built on a cheap plastic notion that “chance” is the chief sole orchestrator and creator of life. This is beyond silliness and has never been proven in any science class.

    Again, where did the information in DNA come from?

  68. I do have my facts in order. I think we are misunderstanding each other. I did not know you were referring to the physical structure of DNA. I though you were referring to DNA as a “blueprint” for an animal, as was clarifying that it is more like a recipe for an animal. A recipe carried out by chemical process as an animal develops and throughout its life cycle.

    “Natural selection is single process that is part of the main false process called Darwinian evolution. It cannot stand on it’s own… If one of your cards is missing, then your house of cards falls.”
    it is one part of the process. It does not work alone. Do you think automobiles are impossible because a piston alone can’t make them go? Evolution is a process that requires selection and random variation. If you don’t have both it doesn’t happen.

    “Your whole “structure” is built on a cheap plastic notion that “chance” is the chief sole orchestrator and creator of life. This is beyond silliness and has never been proven in any science class.”
    No it isn’t. It is random mutation (i.e. chance) combined with natural selection. Continuously leaving out one portion of the process to denigrate it as merely the other is dishonest. If you claim one more time that evolution is singularly one or the other our conversation is over. It is both together that make the process work.

    “Again, where did the information in DNA come from?”
    Maybe I can give you an example. Sometimes when species are reproducing an accident happens and a whole section of their DNA is copied twice. Their offspring then has the same set of genes twice in part of their DNA. This may have a major negative effect and the offspring may die, or it may be neutral or even slightly beneficial and the offspring may live. (It may result in an extra set of limbs or leaves and there even a single mutation could greatly effect the body plan.) If the change in any way gives the individual (and its similar offspring) an advantage then they could thrive and replace their “parent species”. Has information been created yet?

    What if after fifty years the new type of plant has further adapted so that the new leaves are a different color than the original so that they are now what we might call pedals, now have we created information?

    Or maybe you are asking “where did DNA or the structure of DNA come from?” That’s a different question. Please don’t act like I don’t know what I’m talking about, if the problem is really that I am not sure what you are talking about.

  69. “it is one part of the process. It does not work alone. Do you think automobiles are impossible because a piston alone can’t make them go? Evolution is a process that requires selection and random variation. If you don’t have both it doesn’t happen.”

    Again…. You don’t have other parts of the car… Your natural selection can’t even produce a single atom… Please stop dreaming..

    “No it isn’t. It is random mutation (i.e. chance) combined with natural selection. Continuously leaving out one portion of the process to denigrate it as merely the other is dishonest. If you claim one more time that evolution is singularly one or the other our conversation is over. It is both together that make the process work.”

    Again… You have no other portions… You have nothing…

    “Maybe I can give you an example. Sometimes when species are reproducing an accident happens and a whole section of their DNA is copied twice. Their offspring then has the same set of genes twice in part of their DNA. This may have a major negative effect and the offspring may die, or it may be neutral or even slightly beneficial and the offspring may live. (It may result in an extra set of limbs or leaves and there even a single mutation could greatly effect the body plan.) If the change in any way gives the individual (and its similar offspring) an advantage then they could thrive and replace their “parent species”. Has information been created yet?”

    Again you have NO offspring to reproduce.. Remember you are trying to produce life from scratch from non-living chemicals.. This cannot be done and any science class..

    “Or maybe you are asking “where did DNA or the structure of DNA come from?” That’s a different question. Please don’t act like I don’t know what I’m talking about, if the problem is really that I am not sure what you are talking about.”

    You can word it anyway you want… Because you will still come up empty handed… Maybe you don’t understand what I’m talking about because you don’t understand what you are talking about..

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