Comments

  1. jb74 says

    I can’t believe they have not hung up on this person by now (Sam from the U.K.). Their patience with this individual is amazing!

  2. William T. Flowers says

    On today’s show (04-03-2016 #20.13), a caller requested a clear and simple Biblical contradiction. Here’s an example.

    What happened to the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas and who purchased the potter’s field? Compare the stories in Matthew and Acts (verses included below in New International Version,)

    Matt. 27:3-9
    When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

    “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

    So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

    The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

    Acts 1:15-19
    In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”

    (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

  3. mvg says

    Hi Matt, John,

    I’m an atheist and a huge fan of the show. I want to comment on a previous caller’s statement on contradictions in the Bible. In the English translation (e.g. NIV), Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and Genesis 1:1 states: In the beginning, Elohim (plural, Gods) created the heavens and the earth.

    Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “let US make mankind in OUR likeness.

    Genesis 3:22 – And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of US.

    The Apologists I’ve spoken to always reference the Trinity, yet Judaism does not believe in the Trinity.

    Thank you for being a voice of reason.

    All the best.

    Cheers

    Thank you for being a voice of reason.

  4. Alan Wilson says

    @1. Wow, do you realize, if you put all the letters of your comment in a 10×10 grid, and start off in the top left corner and jump squares like a chess knight, you can waste an awful lot of time.

  5. Patrick67 says

    Bible Code Part 2:

    “Seven come eleven!

    Eight come nine!

    Roll’em God Daddy!

    Baby Jesus needs a new pair of shoes!”

    Absolute Biblical proof that God at one time inspired the game of craps.

  6. Lou Newton says

    The proof of gravities affect on small items was found in salt and coffee grams on the international space station just a few years ago.

  7. says

    Yeah, (Sam from UK) didn’t deserve the length of time he got…
    Fantastic show… I am amazed at your knowledge Matt, all you guys are fabulous…

    Thank you it also helps reassure me as I was indoctrinated for 30 years of my life, and away from it all for 17 years now… But I still have some issues with it! I get angry at myself and what it did to me… Thanks again… 🙂

  8. Cleary says

    Bible codes guy here. Wow! I wasn’t even given a chance to get through a quarter of 1 example that I think might have been quite interesting, and easily disproved if it was incorrect. There’ve been so many new discoveries of new relevant codes that were just dismissed without even being heard. The point of these codes is to prove that God knew we’d have software to do this eventually.

  9. Britt Cormier says

    We have a examples for how dust and other smaller particles act in microgravity. Search for Particle Agglomeration in Microgravity on YouTube. The roughly 4 min video is amazing.

  10. says

    Each of these lines of argument – whether it’s John’s biblical prophecy, the last caller’s bible-codes, or the Muslim guy’s arguments – suffers from the same core error, that seems the be prolific across society, and I wish it was something they’d purge out of their minds.

    Evidence is not merely something that is consistent with your assertion.

    Otherwise, I could say: Earthquakes are consistent with XYZ. Therefore, earthquakes are evidence of XYZ. We could fill XYZ with an endless number of different things, and each would be equally “supported” (Read: zero)

    When we’re talking about the evolutionary model, common shared genetic markers, like ERVs between chimps and humans (and fewer, the further back in diversification we go), are direct predictions.

    It’s not tangential or merely associated. It’s not importing shipments of unprecedented, undemonstrated, assumptive mechanisms – it’s Occam-friendly.

    On the other hand, if we started with the premise of a universe-creator inspired book, there’s nothing there that’s imply that there’s be hidden codes, or even prophecy. That much has to be artificially injected to somehow beef up the resume of the author… when at the end of the day, all they’ve produced are hand-picked Rorschach tests that confirm their assertions that the books are full of butterflies (while obscuring the view of the trashcan full of not-butterfly results).

    That’s not even getting to the second core question that they never ask themselves- “For these observations, what is the most reasonable explanation, that accounts for the most data, with the least assumptions?”

    I really wish it was easier to get to the root of these problems, but that’s tough with amny, like on that first call… really? What’s the problem with arguments from ignorance? How does, “We don’t know, therefore, we know.” Make any sense?

  11. Wiggle Puppy says

    Gracious, the “Bible codes” guy was hysterical. Even if we accept that there really are secret messages in there (which the hosts gave several reasons to doubt), why in the world would that require an all-knowing god to achieve? I mean, human cultural history is filled (filled!) with poets and playwrights who have done absolutely amazing things with words and language. I mean, all you would have to do is to map out where you want certain letters to be in a passage and then to write your passage with those letters in the right place. It might be difficult if it’s a complex passage or a long message, but it doesn’t seem to require freaking omniscience. Extra props to the guy for beginning his call by making fun of theists who call into the show only to get trounced and then presenting THAT mess for consideration.

  12. Monocle Smile says

    @Jasper, Fair Witness
    I don’t necessarily agree that causal ties are needed for something to be “evidence,” although that’s a good indicator. A set of data can be said to be evidence of an explanation if only that explanation accounts for the available data and the explanation’s predictions are corroborated. If additional data cannot be accounted for by the explanation, it needs to be modified.

    Sam needs to learn how to shut the fuck up.

  13. Cleary says

    “Bible codes guy” here. I’m really sorry I sounded like some conspiracy nut. It wasn’t my intention. I wish I’d have asked for an example of secular writings that come anywhere near the amount of relevant info to the text it’s found in. For example, if Treasure Island had a code that read, buried golden stuff, or pirates searching etc, it might give a bit more weight to the argument that these code can be found anywhere. The fact is that people can’t come up with such examples. All I’m suggesting is that the codes that are found, in the Torah and Greek NT, are relevant to the passages they’re found in. If I’d have been able to finish more than a quarter of 1 example, I wanted to point out that the word Torah (תורה) appears at 49 letter intervals in Genesis and Exodus, it also appears in Numbers and Deuteronomy, (the 4th and 5th books) but it’s spelt backwards in both these books again at a skip distance of 49. This pattern would suggest that there’s something being pointed out in the middle book of Leviticus, and that’s exactly what it does. If you apply a skip distance of 8 (8 being the number representing completion), you’ll find that it spells out YHVH (יהוה) or the name of God. There are thousands of these all the way through the OT in Hebrew and the NT in Greek. If anybody can get even close to the constraints I wanted to mention on the show, but wasnt really given a chance, that are in the first 11 verses of Matthew, then I will do as I said and donate 100$ to the show. Please don’t think I’m a DIK theist and put me in the box of narrow-minded nongs that seem to frequent the phone lines there. I love to get high when it’s legal.

  14. Matzo Ball Soup says

    Cleary: “The letter ת is God’s signature!”
    Matt: “How do you know that?”
    Cleary: “Because I’ve studied Hebrew!”
    Me: “?כן, גם אני, עבל מה אתה אומר”

  15. Cleary says

    Hi Moderator. You don’t have to post this mail. I’m just wondering why my posts are still waiting to be posted.

    Thanx.

    Cleary.

  16. adamah says

    Re: the Bible Code caller, did anyone else think of Ralphie from the movie, “A Christmas Story”, the kid who waited months for his Ovaltine decoder ring to arrive in the mail so he could finally decode Lil’ Orphan Annie’s secret messages?

    In Ralphie’s case, although he was disappointed, the message actually had a purpose (“drink more Ovaltine”, serving as an ad for the product). If the caller explained what the purpose or utility of God’s coded messages actually was, I didn’t catch it.

    On the other hand, God does seem to enjoy playing children’s games with humans (e.g. a rousing round of playing “hide and seek” with Adam and Eve, who hid from God in shame; non-prescient God had to call out to Adam, “Where Art Though?”).

    So playing the “Bible Code” game may be perfectly consistent with God’s behavior. 😉

  17. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Um, hello, yes. As a fully paid up member of the definitely real and true regressive left, I would like to complain in the strongest possible way that you dared to criticise Sam from the UK. As you know, we are required to never criticise Islam or Muslims, no matter how absurd they or their claims may be, and so I must implore you, next time, to resist the urge to contradict our irrational overlords and simply agree that everything they say is a truthy, truthy fact. If you fail to comply with this request, I’m afraid further measures may be taken, up to and including the revocation of you regressive left membership card and gun, and also some rather severe tutting.

    I really wish you’d given him the chance to explain how it is that we’re sure that accretion simple can’t and doesn’t happen. For a moment, I thought he was going to assert that it had never been achieved in a lab, which might well be true (unless you count dust bunnies or sedimentary experiments that I imagine geologists probably do on stormy nights as they cackle wickedly as accretion?) but which might also be explained by the relative proximity of a fairly large centre of mass which might cause their attempts to form a world of their own to fall at the first hurdle.

  18. favog says

    The dragon slaying in the bible is in the book of Daniel. I know Matt’s read the bible multiple times, but since he was never Catholic, I’m betting it wasn’t a Catholic bible he read. Protestant bibles edit that part out, so I’m not surprised Matt wasn’t familiar with that.

  19. corwyn says

    I am not sure I understood what was being claimed about the bible code (Sam’s best example?) If you start with the first instance of the first letter of ‘Torah’, and skip 49 letters you get the second, and so on to the last. Am I missing something? Is that it? *Three* whole letters in a skipped order? How many letters in the alphabet? Has someone already done the math? It doesn’t that unlikely from merely *chance*. Human intervention is simple (I wrote a love letter that way once). Requiring some god is ludicrous. If one is allowed to change the number, it might be inevitable.

  20. says

    Sam from the UK here.

    I have to say I was very disappointed with the behavior of Matt Dilahunty. I had expected him to have some manners and listen more to the callers rather just try to put them down.

    The first point I was making was that the current scientific knowledge shows that dust/small matter simply does not collapse together to form a bigger mass. Neither can it be collided together to form bigger masses. Experiments have been done in the lab to test these assumptions. You don’t have to take my word for it, just google it. Most people/scientists assume all mass has gravity.This is simply not true. There is no way of testing the gravity of small matter, for example an object in your hand or a massive object like a mountain. This is simply because science says it’s very very tiny so it can’t be tested with the current technology we have. Which begs the question that if the gravity is so tiny that it can’t be tested for then how is it able to influence mass to come together.

    What annoyed me about Matts response was that he simply dismissed it with “so what?”. I was expecting him to be a bit more interested in this and maybe ask what kind of experiments had been done and by who. Because for me it’s very strange that we don’t know how stars and planets form initially yet for some reason science claims to know so much about it.

    The second point I tried to make to Matt was that DNA and fossils CANNOT be used as evidence of Common Ancestry because you simply CANNOT use them to determine which species can interbreed with another. Matt was simply WRONG that you can use DNA to ancestry in humans. From your grandparents level and beyond DNA is simply not reliable. To go on and claim that you can use DNA to determine Common Ancestry among species is simply not true. If anyone thinks it is then please send me the links to the papers/resources.

    The reason I claimed the above two points are evidence of God is because there a certain claims made in the Bible/Quran which CAN be tested by science. One of the claims is that it’s God who created the stars and planets. The current science proves beyond doubt that stars and planets do not form from dust collapsing or by anyother means that we know of. Will science know more in the future, of course it may, but the current science says it’s not via any means that we know of at the moment. One question people should be asking is what other force/method is there that can explain this phenomena which we can observe happening in space. If you’re a believer then “gravity” is not a natural force, you are in fact obeserving God’s power.

    In the Bible/Quran God claims that he made all the living organisms and it’s him who creates new life forms. Currently science shows that it’s not possible for life to be created in the lab. We know what it’s made of but we simply can’t reproduce it.

    Hence, for me, the above are 2 scientific evidences of God because we can test them. I was being open and honest.

  21. Oz 3 says

    Christ, English people who say ‘yeah’ after every sentence is as annoying as Americans inserting ‘you know’ or ‘like’ every third word.

  22. Oz 3 says

    #24-For Me, you provided a compelling rebuttal. Compelling, in that, for me, you failed to provide any evidence to support your claims, as you failed to do on the air. For me, your arguments against Matt’s evidence of the efficacy of evolution claims lacked substance, and that for me, wasn’t adequately addressed by you, for me. For me, your reliance on the appeal to personal incredulity, was, for me, indicative of the traps apologists set for themselves. For me, I think if you’re not prepared to answer the questions posed by the host, specifically in reply to assertions made, they he has every right to treat you as he did. For me, you were given multiple opportunities to respond, on point, and each time you equivocated, and relied on your personal feeling. For me, you WERE treated in a manner befitting your arguments.

  23. Oz 3 says

    ‘Sam’ from ‘UK’-Is that how they’re spelling ‘behavior’ in the UK now, ‘Sam’.

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK #24:

    Most people/scientists assume all mass has gravity.This is simply not true. There is no way of testing the gravity of small matter, for example an object in your hand or a massive object like a mountain. This is simply because science says it’s very very tiny so it can’t be tested with the current technology we have.

     
    Article: BBC – Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground

    Like most gravimeters, the heart of the new instrument is a weight hanging from a spring.
    […]
    The whole sensor is carved from a sheet of silicon 0.2mm thick; the “weight” is a small slab of that silicon and the “spring” consists of several thin shafts that hold it in place. […] our springs are very, very thin – about 10 times thinner than a human hair.
    […]
    our sensor is… almost at the point where you could detect the gravitational pull of a human when you’re standing next to them

  25. favog says

    Um, Sam, gravity is defined more or less as a force that brings matter together. So if you’re saying it can’t be tested for (oops, I dropped a pen, hold on while I pick that up) and/or doesn’t do that, you’re essentially saying that gravity doesn’t exist. And claiming that’s science.

  26. says

    Oz #24.

    Claim is that stars and planets do not form via any natural process/forces that we know of, hence this is a phenomena caused by God.

    Evidence is that all known methods have been tried in the lab and all known forces used.

    Does that make it simpler for you? Please go ahead and clarify what can constitute as a claim and evidence.

  27. corwyn says

    @15:

    I wish I’d have asked for an example of secular writings that come anywhere near the amount of relevant info to the text it’s found in.

    You were told how to look it up. Come back when you have done so.

    The fact is that people can’t come up with such examples.

    So if people *do* come up with examples, you will know that your god is false?

  28. says

    Favog #29.

    Read what I said again please. Now show me how much gravity your PEN has. My claim is that the earth’s gravity and the gravity of other celestial bodies are not natural.

  29. corwyn says

    @33:

    Now show me how much gravity your PEN has.

    Mine weighs 0.4 ounces. That is how much gravity it has.

  30. Vivec says

    I’ve seen nothing that even begins to suggest that the nebular hypothesis is remotely in crisis, and I’ve seen a lot of experts who seem convinced that it is the best explanation at the moment. Care to actually cite a scholarly source that provides a reason to doubt it?

  31. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @corwyn, 35

    Mine weighs 0.4 ounces. That is how much gravity it has.

    AUGH! *twitch*
    Please. Don’t… don’t do that. That’s how much mass it has. It’s probably hearing almost-truths like that that’s responsible for Sam’s weird ideas about things.

  32. says

    Vivek #35,

    Seems like you haven’t understood nebular hypothesis.

    “According to the nebular hypothesis, stars form in massive and dense clouds of molecular hydrogen—giant molecular clouds (GMC). These clouds are gravitationally unstable, and matter coalesces within them to smaller denser clumps, which then rotate, collapse, and form stars. Star formation is a complex process, which always produces a gaseous protoplanetary disk around the young star.” – wikipedia

    “Gravitationally unstable” – is a made up phenomena. No such thing has been observed in the lab. The gravitaional forces of matter are said to be so small that they can’t even be measured. If such thing did exist then you could simply take something very dense and heavy and see if other matter gravitationally sticks to it. It does not happen. In fact you can try it yourself.

  33. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Sam, 33

    Now show me how much gravity your PEN has.

    You can work it out by multiplying the mass of the pen by the mass of whatever object its mass is acting on*, dividing the result by the distance between the two objects, and multiplying that result by the gravitational constant, which is 6.67×10^−12

    *its mass is acting on a lot of things, but gravity is a relational thing, so work it out for each thing individually, or it won’t make a great deal of sense

    My claim is that the earth’s gravity and the gravity of other celestial bodies are not natural.

    That’s a very silly claim.

  34. says

    This sounds like the next micro/macro evolution gimmick. “Welp, we can’t show that macro evolution is real… so.. the only thing left, that my incredibly unimaginative mind can come up with, is God! Must be that.

    … except, swap “macroevolution” with “mass of small chunks of matter”

    Same logical errors.

  35. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Sam, 38

    “Gravitationally unstable” – is a made up phenomena. No such thing has been observed in the lab. The gravitaional forces of matter are said to be so small that they can’t even be measured. If such thing did exist then you could simply take something very dense and heavy and see if other matter gravitationally sticks to it. It does not happen. In fact you can try it yourself.

    Take a moment and look around you. Look up. Look down. Look from side to side. Do you see any large centres of mass that might have a deleterious effect on your attempt to perform this experiment in a lab on earth?

  36. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK #38:

    If such thing did exist then you could simply take something very dense and heavy and see if other matter gravitationally sticks to it.

    See #28: “Like most gravimeters, the heart of the new instrument is a weight hanging from a spring.”

  37. John Iacoletti says

    The thing that both Sam and Cleary continue not to grasp is that even if we don’t understand exactly how something works or happened, or cannot duplicate it, that doesn’t mean that,
    a) it’s impossible for a human to do
    b) therefore a god must have done it
    I don’t know how we can make it any more clear. That’s an argument from ignorance fallacy.

  38. corwyn says

    @37:

    That’s how much mass it has.

    Nope. Ounce is a unit of force not mass. And that force is G*M1*M2/R^2. In other words gravity.

  39. Vivec says

    “Gravitationally unstable” – is a made up phenomena.

    Try again. Provide a scholarly source that gives any reason to consider the nebular hypothesis either in crisis or falsified. If you’re going to assert things without evidence, I’m going to dismiss them just as easily.

  40. corwyn says

    @43:

    I already showed you! Get yourself a Cavendish experimental apparatus, and measure it for yourself. Don’t expect us to be impressed by the fact that you are ignorant of an experiment performed in the 1700s disproving your wild ass assertions.

  41. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Gravimeter

    In a demonstration of the sensitivity of the superconducting gravimeter, Virtanen describes how an instrument at Metsähovi, Finland, detected the gradual increase in surface gravity as workmen cleared snow from its laboratory roof.

     
    From the source:

    He showed a figure of gravity increasing by about 2 microgal over a 4-h period as men shoveled snow from the roof of the SG station, when a member of the audience asked why there was an interruption in the rise of gravity, Heikki said this was a ‘tea break’

     
    * microgal = one millionth of, a centimeter per second squared (1 cm/s2)

  42. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Sam, 43

    Question is how do you confirm it exists?

    Have you ever heard of jumping? That’s ~9.8m/s^2 of gravity instantly available to you.
    But maybe this seems unreasonable? Try going into space – or getting somebody to go to space on your behalf – with a pair of objects. Work out the acceleration that they should experience from one another at a set distance if really does exist, place them (or have them placed) at that distance with as close to zero relative velocity between them as possible, and see if they accelerate toward each other at roughly the rate that you worked out.

  43. corwyn says

    @47:

    That paper doesn’t say what you want it to say. Hardly surprising given you ignorance of science.

  44. says

    @John lacoletti #44,

    “The thing that both Sam and Cleary continue not to grasp is that even if we don’t understand exactly how something works or happened, or cannot duplicate it, that doesn’t mean that,
    a) it’s impossible for a human to do
    b) therefore a god must have done it
    I don’t know how we can make it any more clear. That’s an argument from ignorance fallacy.” – John L

    I do understand the above.

    For point a) you can never prove that argument in absolute terms however you can prove that humans can’t do XYZ using the current knowledge of science and technology. In the future humans may be able to replicate themselves and be in the same place at the same time. You could make any number of wild statements about what could be possible for humans to do and no one could refute it.

    My claim is God causes the planets and stars to form. I never said that just because we can’t explain something then God did it. I made a specific claim which can be looked into further. The interesting thing about this claim is that it’s easily observable and should be very easy to refute simply by doing lab experiments. I’m not saying that just because this can’t be proved then this means God exists. I said this is just one supporting evidence of God. You quite rightly need more evidence to prove existence of God.

    The problem atheists have is that with their current way of thinking they will never accept anything as evidence of God because they will simply say its “an argument from ignorance fallacy”.

    Let’s take for example someone man claiming that he will bring someone dead back alive. Most people who observe it happening will be convinced that the man spoke the truth however the atheist will think there could be another explanation or maybe they were being tricked. So question for atheists is what will make them believe?

  45. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @corwyn, 45
    An ounce is about 28.3 g… and I’m pretty sure that a gram, or 28.3 grams, or even a million grams, does not count as a force. Pretty sure it’s a mass.
    Are you talking about the obsolete foot pounds stuff that basically nobody in 2016, and almost certainly nobody younger than 50 from the UK would recognise? Because that’s probably not the best way to communicate with someone who already doesn’t understand what you’re talking about.

  46. corwyn says

    @53:

    My claim is God causes the planets and stars to form. I never said that just because we can’t explain something then God did it. I made a specific claim which can be looked into further. The interesting thing about this claim is that it’s easily observable…

    Awesome. Where do I point my telescope so I can see god causing planets and stars to form? If there is no god there, you will know that your god is false, correct?

  47. Tod says

    Hi,

    I’m no expert, but it just from the Wikipedia article it seems we have a lot of good ideas about star formation…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_formation

    It seems the answer to Sam’s question is in the section titled “Cloud Collapse”… It mentions that an interstellar cloud is typically thousands to tens of thousands of solar masses.

    From the page on planet formation we find that it takes 100,000’s of years…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebular_hypothesis#Rocky_planets

    Therefore not something we can reproduce in a lab or in fact on earth really…

    As to what evidence would convince an atheist of God’s existence, as Matt says God should know, and isn’t providing it, additionally the quality of evidence given in the various books attributed to God is far from adequate for most atheists.

  48. corwyn says

    @53:

    I said this is just one supporting evidence of God

    Which it is not. Evidence is that which make a hypothesis more likely relative to all others. In order to use ‘planets forming’ as evidence for a god, you need to postulate a god who can cause planets to form. Those gods who can make planets form are a subset of all conceivable gods, so your prior probability for a god must reduced in order to get the probability of a god that can form planets. But this is exactly the likelihood of a planets formed by gods. So in the end you probability of a god is reduced by that factor, and then increased by that factor. So god isn’t more likely given the fact that planets form, so it is not evidence.

    This is (an outline of) the math behind the fallacy of the argument from ignorance.

    Here is the problem (for you) with claiming that something unknown to man is evidence for god:
    People used to ascribe to god the power of animation of living tissue. Until Galvani showed that it was electricity by shocking the legs of dead frogs. Since unexplained animated tissue was evidence for god, explained natural animated tissue must be evidence against the existence of a god.

    Are you going to renounce (or even reduce your belief in) your god should the problems with planetary formation given in the paper you cite, be found to have a natural explanation. That is what you are promising to do, by saying that it is evidence.

    By how much will your belief in your god *decrease* if you perform the Cavendish experiment and it shows that small objects exert gravitational force on each other? That is precisely the amount of evidence you say that that claim (should it bear out) has for god. If you say your belief in god *won’t* be reduced by a positive experiment, then that means that a negative experiment represents NO evidence.

  49. John Iacoletti says

    Sam,

    “For point a) you can never prove that argument in absolute terms however you can prove that humans can’t do XYZ using the current knowledge of science and technology.”

    No, this is wrong. That’s what Matt was getting at when he asked you “if something hasn’t been proven to be possible, does that mean that it is proven to be impossible?” The answer is no. At best, all you can conclude is that you don’t know of any human who has done XYZ.

    “My claim is God causes the planets and stars to form. I never said that just because we can’t explain something then God did it. I made a specific claim which can be looked into further.”

    Ok, so how are you looking into it further (beyond reading the Quran, because that’s not an experiment)?

    “The interesting thing about this claim is that it’s easily observable and should be very easy to refute simply by doing lab experiments. I’m not saying that just because this can’t be proved then this means God exists. I said this is just one supporting evidence of God.”

    This is also wrong. Even if somebody did lab experiments and managed to form planets, that would not refute the claim that a god did it. It tells you nothing about a god either way. So the inability to do this can’t be supporting evidence of a god either. All it tells you at best is that a human hasn’t figured out how to do it. That’s all. If a human did do it, then all it would tell you is that a god is not necessary to do it, not that a god didn’t do it. Finding things that you think, without evidence, that only a god can do is not supporting evidence for a god’s existence.

  50. Vivec says

    This reminds me of the whole “Evilution is false because monkeys still exist” argument – a layperson arguing that an entire well-established theory is false due to some trivial observation that the experts have either overlooked or are hiding.

  51. Oz 3 says

    #30 ‘Sam’ from ‘UK’ “Does that make it simpler for you? Please go ahead and clarify what can constitute as a claim and evidence.” Proving that true is not relevant to it supporting the truth of god’s existence, anymore than you being cleared of a murder charge proves who actually did it. As you stated before, it works ‘FOR YOU’, that’s the same as just accepting in ‘on faith’, but you’ve taken the trouble of trying to prove it scientifically to yourself, and came to the same conclusion I think you already had. That’s called leading the evidence and is fallacious as just saying ‘it feels right to me’, which you did, multiple times.

  52. Philllip Moore says

    @Sam, 24

    “you simply CANNOT use them to determine which species can interbreed with another.” The definition of a species is organisms that can produce fertile offspring. Two different species cannot interbreed in general, or produce fertile offspring more specifically. Can you reword that statement to make some sort of sense?

  53. Devocate says

    @24:

    I have to say I was very disappointed with the behavior of Matt Dilahunty. I had expected him to have some manners and listen more to the callers rather just try to put them down.

    Why? Were you ever listening to him? You tried to talk the entire time you were on the show. There was a constant noise from your end.

    Oddly enough, Matt has perfectly polite back and force conversations with many people, even ones he disagrees vehemently with. I wonder why *your* conversation didn’t seem that way to you?

  54. Argus Von Blargus says

    I had a sneaking suspicion that Sam’s fallacious argument would conclude with…”So saith the Quran….”

    It smacked of the many fallacious “Science Proves Islam is True” claims.

    Sam…Why among the many possible explanations that we could posit that could possibly explain any holes in our understanding of the universe, did you choose a God did it? How do you then plan to explain under what circumstances this god entity came to be? And, what circumstances created the circumstances to make that which caused god to come into being also come being (look up Infinite Regress).

    To Bible Code Guy: Ummm this kind of Biblely Codey Thingy can also be done with War and Peace and any other sufficiently large text. I bet we could find some amazing prophecies and messages in Lord of the Rings. Gandalf will return…

  55. Argus Von Blargus says

    I propose a live televised debate with Matt and John vs. Sam and Hamish.

  56. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #24:

    “Matt was simply WRONG that you can use DNA to ancestry in humans. From your grandparents level and beyond DNA is simply not reliable.”

    Where did you get that idea? Autosomal DNA testing is pretty good for identifying specific common ancestors going back 5 or 6 generations. But that has nothing to do with DNA evidence of common ancestry of species. I invite you to spend some quality time at talkorigins.org .

  57. DudeFromTheNO says

    @Sam from the UK

    Although I disagree with your scientific interpretations and religious convictions, I share your frustration when it comes to Matt’s interruptive style of arguing. I do understand where he’s coming from though. He has heard these kinds of arguments a thousand times before and he just doesn’t have the patience to let you finish what he thinks is an illogical argument.
    It’s just frustrating to hear someone not being allowed to finish a sentence before getting interrupted.

  58. gnostic says

    Current intro music is the best I’ve heard on axp, and your tech team really seems to have production dialled in now, which is great!

    Sam: Nothing in that article you linked even begins to suggest that planet formation is impossible in an accretion disk, and it doesn’t speak to star formation at all.

    The more important question you need to ask yourself is what are you going to do when astrophysicists do work out the details on how planetoid formation happens? The Catholic church got so tired of all the egg on its face earned in disagreements with science that they just retreated to the claim that religion deals with the spiritual and science can have all of the natural. If you care about looking foolish to future believers of your religion, you might want to take a page from their book. You could even tear it out if you wanted to, nobody’s going to stone you for it.

  59. mond says

    Two people stand on a hill at night. An object quickly flies overhead and out of site. Neither person is able to tell what it was.

    Jim : Wow, that was strange, I wonder what that was? Its seems like nothing I have seen before.
    Bob :Well, I have read a book that says that space aliens fly about the sky at night. Since Jim says he doesn’t know what it was, then my book must be correct. Woo Hoo space aliens are real.

  60. Wiggle Puppy says

    @68: Also, once upon a time, investigating the sun – what it was made of, how it functioned, etc – was beyond the capabilities of human observers. Some humans therefore came up with the idea that the sun was Apollo riding his golden chariot across the sky. I mean, it moves so uniformly across the sky that some agent must be guiding it, right? It’s just too complicated a process to happen naturally, right?? They were, however, wrong. The absence of a confirmed answer, in other words, didn’t make some other answer correct. Likewise, the fact that we don’t currently have a full understanding of the origin of life/the origin of the cosmos/any other open question in nature does not mean that a god becomes a plausible answer. AT ALL. In fact, the more we learn about how the universe works, the less and less an active godlike agent seems to be necessary for or even consistent with the makeup of the universe. Sam seems to have the hardest time with this concept, but it’s the simplest freaking idea ever.

  61. Sam from uk says

    Let’s say you saw someone part the sea. You went up to it and could observe water suspended as if were hills. Would you accept that as evidence God or would you wait for science to explain it in the future?

  62. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    This episode made me laugh a lot, from “science can’t explain this!!11” to “if you count from here, here & here, you find the answer that god exists.”

    On Matt shutting down callers: it’s not like they were going somewhere and he already disagreed with where they started off from so there was no need to proceed. Each of these latest callers were given sufficient time to provide something of merit in their favor but they failed to do so.

    I also love the new song & catch myself singing it from time to time, shout out to the guys behind the scenes(audience included) you guys are awesome!

  63. says

    Experiments on the ISS have shown that it is electro-magnetic attraction that begins the process of small particles being attracted to each other. It is only after particles reach a larger mass that gravity takes over the process.

  64. Monocle Smile says

    @Cleary
    Your example wasn’t going to be interesting. In fact, this “bible codes” stuff is about as boring as it gets. Matt referenced Moby Dick on the show, and John now provided a link. I’m willing to bet this kind of stuff has been pointed out to you before and you’ve just ignored it, like you’re likely going to ignore it now.

    @Sam
    I think you warped in from a bizarro universe, because you appear to be flatly wrong about absolutely everything.
    Also, this bullshit:

    The problem atheists have is that with their current way of thinking they will never accept anything as evidence of God because they will simply say its “an argument from ignorance fallacy”.

    No. Compelling evidence will convince skeptics. Want an example?
    https://amazing-space.stsci.edu/news/archive/2006/04/
    Read the “great minds think alike” section.

    Or how about a reductio ad absurdum? My toaster broke yesterday. This is consistent with a gremlin infestation, because gremlins break things. Thus, gremlins exist and they broke my toaster. Tracie used this in a past show.
    If you can’t spot these very obvious errors, then I question your cognitive faculties.

  65. adamah says

    I must’ve missed his post before, as the “Bible Codes Guy” (Cleary) already explained the significance of the hidden messages:

    . All I’m suggesting is that the codes that are found, in the Torah and Greek NT, are relevant to the passages they’re found in. If I’d have been able to finish more than a quarter of 1 example, I wanted to point out that the word Torah (תורה) appears at 49 letter intervals in Genesis and Exodus, it also appears in Numbers and Deuteronomy, (the 4th and 5th books) but it’s spelt backwards in both these books again at a skip distance of 49.

    Hmmm, so the hidden coded message hidden is only the name of book it’s found in?

    That’s disappointing: Ralphie’s secret message contained not just the name of the product (‘Ovaltine’ or ‘Bible’), but coded instructions to be sure to drink it.

  66. KiwiDaveo says

    @ Sam for UK.
    You seem to lack fairly basic knowledge of the laws of physics, biology and logical argument. I’m not sure if this because of lack of schooling or that you don’t want to understand them due to your adherence to particular version of Islam (there many Muslims who accept evolution, modern biology and modern physics without difficulty and are professionals in these fields) but your version of apologetics isn’t something Atheists’ haven’t seen before. It why you were cutoff from the program. You didn’t have a rational argument for the existence of god and didn’t even have a valid critique of various mainstream concepts in modern science.
    You sound quite young? When did you formal secular education end?

  67. robertwilson says

    @24 Had this sequence of words:

    “One of the claims is that it’s God who created the stars and planets. The current science proves beyond doubt that stars and planets do not form from dust collapsing or by anyother means that we know of.”

    And it’s just baffling how someone can write the first sentence, then the second, and somehow conclude that the second supports the first. That is essentially what Matt was trying to show, the whole time.

    Sentence one makes a claim.
    Sentence two pokes a hole in an entirely different claim.
    Therefore sentence two supports sentence one???

    That’s not how it works.

    It’s so infuriating that I could not stop myself from ranting 50 comments later even though I see there has been conversation on this in between.

  68. favog says

    @33 — Wow, are you late to the party. It’s been a topic of conversation on these boards that the universe has everyday phenomena that we can’t really say are “natural” or “supernatural” because really, how would we differentiate? And gravity was in fact the example that was discussed.

    Nor does that change the fact that you said it could not be tested for (because, you know bathroom scales only exist in science fiction) and specifically denied the effect that defines it. That is the equivalent of claiming gravity does not exist. To further claim that the thing you claim doesn’t exist is actually magic is just flat out meaningless.

  69. hansmeiser says

    Let’s take for example someone man claiming that he will bring someone dead back alive. Most people who observe it happening will be convinced that the man spoke the truth however the atheist will think there could be another explanation or maybe they were being tricked. So question for atheists is what will make them believe?

    There’s one way only: A God could “manipulate” my brain and take away my rational thinking skills and “force” me to believe.
    I would never accept something like a “sign in the sky” or any other “miracle” as evidence for the existence of any god, because there are simpler explanations such as mass delusions and so forth.

  70. Cleary says

    Now that a lot of people seem to have gotten the poison out a little, I thought I would offer the Challenge I wanted to on the show, but wasn’t given the chance. While I agree that the example I almost got to give, was not enough to prove any kind of divine intervention, but merely an obvious structure as to give a hint of how to search the scriptures for other such patterns, I’d like anybody in this thread to try n get anywhere near the miracle that the first 11 verses of the gospel of Matthew is, when it comes to heptadic structures. If you can’t, then please don’t bother commenting until you can. I appreciate the link that you posted John about assassinations in Moby Dick, but my point is that the statements found by applying these patterns in the bible, is always relevant to the text. Eg, in Genisis 3 where it’s written about how God made trees with seeds in them that would produce the same kind of tree, you’ll find by using that verse as a startimg point and applying different number letter sequences that it gives every other tree and plant written about in the rest of the bible, no more and no less. Coincidence? No! Where it talks about Nimrod in the bible, being a great and feared leader on the earth, you’ve got statements like, “Nazzi” twice, “Hitler”, “Eichman consumed in Auschwitz” even the name of the gas used “Zyklon B”. This is what I mean by the codes found are always relevant to the surface text. There are thousands of these that are all relevant to the passage they are found in, or by using the relevant verse as a starting point and applying the ELS.
    Here’s the breakdown of constraints in the first 11 verses of Matthew for all you knockers. Good luck producing anything near it even with as many computers as you like. Please produce 11 sentences as a geneology and make up any names you like. Good luck.
    1.) The Number of words must be divisible by 7 evenly (In each of these constraints, it is assumed that the divisions are without remainders.) 
    2.) The number of letters must also be divisible by 7. 
    3.) The number of vowels and the number of consonants must be divisible by 7. 
    4.) The number of words that begin with a vowel must be divisible by 7. 
    5.) The number of words that begin with a consonant must be divisible by 7. 
    6.) The number of words that occur more than once must be divisible by 7. 
    7.) The number of words that occur in more than one form must be divisible by 7. 
    8.) The number of words that occur in only one form shall be divisible by 7. 
    9.) The number of nouns shall be divisible by 7. 
    10.) Only 7 words shall not be nouns. 
    11.) The number of names in the genealogy shall be divisible by 7. 
    12.) The number of male names shall be divisible by 7. 
    13.) The number of letters used in any city, (you have to mention at least one) must be divisible by 7.

    In the English you could kind of smudge it around a bit, take advantage of different spellings etc, but the Greek is so precise, every verb has to meet 5 conditions etc, so there’s no room for error because it’s so ridged, but feel free to use any language you like.

  71. Monocle Smile says

    @Cleary

    but my point is that the statements found by applying these patterns in the bible, is always relevant to the text

    Dude, Matt squashed this among other things on the show. If things didn’t turn out this way, there is exactly nothing stopping you from finding something “hidden” in the text. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This is the most boring, pointless sharpshooter fallacy ever.
    You all but ignored John’s Moby Dick link. Maybe I’m a fucking prophet, because I totally called that.

  72. hansmeiser says


    “Nazzi” twice, “Hitler”, “Eichman consumed in Auschwitz”

    it’s Nazi and Eichmann but you got Hitler correct.

    Can you tell me the numbers of the German lottery for next weekend? That would be nice, ty.

  73. Craig Chadwick says

    So, exactly what are you getting out of this god that plays word games that you have to believe in for no good reason in order to save your miserable, sinful soul, Cleary? Seriously, what do you get out of believing in such a jokester deity? Do you imagine playing find the hidden word pattern in the afterlife or do you simply imagine your god could think of no better, saner way to establish his existence?

    Seriously, I don’t get it. Is this some kind of obsession or what?

  74. gnostic says

    “Only 7 words shall not be nouns.” Now here’s a shining example of divine authorship. Nobody could just fish around for coincidences and come up with a bunch of 7’s like that! Impossible. The only explanation is goddidit. QED. Or perhaps #micdrop, since that’s 7 letters. Provably the hashtag of the gods.

  75. Robert,+not+Bob says

    @81 Eichmann wasn’t consumed in Auschwitz anyway. He was hanged in Israel in 1962.

  76. says

    i’ve seen an awful lot of axp videos but i have never heard the sound that comes outta matt @1:17:37.

    birth of a new classic. so cleary’s call wasn’t completely worthless.

  77. Clearly says

    It reads what he did, not what happened to him. If you want the names, dates and execution method from the trial at Nuremberg, that’s in the book of Esther.

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The problem atheists have is that with their current way of thinking they will never accept anything as evidence of God because they will simply say its “an argument from ignorance fallacy”.

    Generally speaking, if you poke a hole in the current modern materialistic understanding of some phenomenon X, proper rational people will never accept that as proof of a god, any god. That kind of thinking is a classic textbook argument from ignorance fallacy (explained at length above).

    It would be very easy to convince me that the Christian god is real. For example, consider the plots of many horror films that deal with the Christian religion, such as End Of Days, The Prophecy, This Is The End, and so forth. If I was the main character of those films, or if I had reliable access to the evidence of the main characters of those films, I might be convinced, or in the case of “This Is The End”, I would be convinced – giant devil/demon/Satan things rampaging about, plus people getting raptured into the sky, etc., is pretty damn convincing evidence.

    In order to make any headway, you need to present particular and positive evidence. Your sort of negative evidence of “evolution is false”, “big bang theory is false”, etc., is never going to be convincing that a god exists. In order to arrive at the conclusion that a god exists, you’re almost certainly going to need particular and specific positive evidence for a particular god or gods.

    Another problem is that religious people always come with pisspoor evidence at best, like easily debunked claims of miracles, such as the incorruptability of bodies of Catholic saints. As the cliche goes, if the Christian god existed, it could settle this debate right now by appearing in front of us and submitting to rigorous scientific testing, ala James Randy’s Million Dollar Challenge. The theists want the easy way out, without appealing to actual strong convincing evidence. Well, until you get strong, convincing evidence, it is right to withhold judgment, and furthermore, based on the available evidence, it is proper to make a judgment that there is no such thing as gods. Of course, this is a tentative judgment, open to revision, if and when anyone ever presents strong and compelling evidence for a god.

  79. Cleary says

    “Dude”, I’ll say it again. If Moby Dick contained statements that were relative to the story, like “Captain’s leg bitten off” or ” Whale attacks boat”, then there might be something there, but as it stands at the moment, just like captain A, you haven’t got 2 legs to stand on.

  80. Monocle Smile says

    @Cleary
    Misspelled WWII shit has fuck all to do with Nimrod. So thanks for refuting your own bullshit.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimrod
    I would have to suffer a severe head injury to believe the crap you’re pushing.

    If Moby Dick contained statements that were relative to the story, like “Captain’s leg bitten off” or ” Whale attacks boat”, then there might be something there

    So if I write a story and do exactly that, will you believe that I’m a god?
    Of course not. This is all post hoc nonsense that IMO isn’t even worth addressing with any rigor.

  81. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Cleary #79:

    in Genesis 3 where it’s written about how God made trees with seeds in them that would produce the same kind of tree

    First chapter has “trees with seeds”.
     
    GEN 1:11 “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth”
     
    Third chapter uses “seed” a tad differently.
     
    GEN 3:14-15 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent” … “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed”
     
    Second chapter doesn’t include “same kind”, but *shrug* still mentions plants.
     
    2:4-5 “God made the earth and the heavens” … “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew”
     
     

    statements found by applying these patterns in the bible, is always relevant to the text
    […]
    you’ll find by using that verse as a starting point and applying different number letter sequences that it gives every other tree and plant written about in the rest of the bible, no more and no less.

    So yay, plant words count as hits! Or anything related to the heavens… or animals… or bodies of water… or land… or humans… or days… or God…
     
    Article: Amazing Bible Discoveries – Mysterious Bible Codes

    The second chapter of Genesis also has in code form every one of the 25 trees mentioned in the rest of the Old Testament, date, vine, oak, fir, olive, and so on. You may refer to Grant Jeffrey’s book, The Signature of God (WORD Publishing, 1998) for more details.

  82. Cleary says

    @CompulsoryAccount. Point conceded, it was Gen 2 not 3. I’m sorry, I was going from memory. I didn’t say fish, seas, heavens or animals etc. I said that every other plant or tree mentioned in the entire rest of the bible, is right there in Genesis using the EDS, but thanks for the articles.

  83. Cleary says

    @Monocle Smile. You can go right ahead and try n rise to the challenge I’ve clearly laid out in an earlier post, but you’ll fail. If you adhere to the constraints that I’ve set out, just as they appear in the Gospel of Matthew, then I’ll admit that it’s possible and apologize straight away. I’m lkn fwd to your attempt. Until then, be careful of head injuries.

  84. Monocle Smile says

    @Blurry
    You still don’t get it. My inability to do something doesn’t mean shit. I can’t perform Mozart’s second. That doesn’t mean a fucking god wrote it or performed it.
    Your whining is even more boring than your call. But by all means, continue behaving like an attention whore.

  85. Cleary says

    @Monocle Smirk. No my friend, YOU still don’t get it. I’m wondering what part of “please try doing it yourself” you don’t understand. You seem to be full of poison and hate for God. Are you like Matt, who used to be a believer then gave up after praying for a road to Damascus experience when it didn’t happen? Please read my challenge and have a go yourself. As I said, you’ll get nowhere near it. If I don’t see some kind of attempt in any of your comments that follow this, that seem to have gotten personal btwl, then I’ll just ignore them, but thanx for playing. God bless you.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    @Blurry
    Your dishonesty and proselytizing are an insult to the intelligence of the board and its mods, so I’d say you made this personal first. You’re no longer worth engaging.

  87. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Cleary #89:

    I didn’t say fish, seas, heavens or animals etc.

    Why not?
     

    I said that every other plant or tree

    Of all the things in that chapter, why say, “Look at the trees!”
     

    mentioned in the entire rest of the bible

    “THE bible”?
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Canons of various Christian traditions
     
    Incidentally…

    it gives every other tree and plant written about in the rest of the bible, no more and no less.

    Article: Wikipedia – List of plants in the Bible

  88. says

    @Atheists,

    So far no one here has cited any evidence here that would convince them that God exists. For an atheist any evidence could be dismissed by one or more of the following reasons:

    1. Just because we can’t explain it now doesn’t mean there isn’t some natural explanation which we don’t know about yet.
    2. It doesn’t confirm that God did it.
    3. It’s a trick of the eyes or some illusion or hallucination.
    4. It’s a mass hallucination or many people were tricked at the same time.
    5. Just because it’s impossible now doesn’t mean it will be impossible in the future.
    6. Maybe aliens did it.

    Feel free to add anymore. I hope some of you guys who are genuiningly nice and want to know the truth will realise this and maybe take some steps be more open to the idea of God rather than taking the attitude of Matt and Co who like to ridicule and try to put down others who differ in their opinions and beliefs.

    I accept there are some crazy believers out there who claim some extraordinary things and that a lot of believers are simply blindingly following others rather than understanding scripture. But once you drop your arrogance, humble yourself, open yourself up and read the scriptures (Quran, Torah, Gospel) then they do make sense. It is clear, it does all make sense.

  89. hansmeiser says

    Why should I believe in Allah and not in Thor?
    Or should I believe in all “existing” gods?

  90. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Exactly ten comments up, EL elaborates what would constitute convincing evidence. Thanks for the blatant lie.

    But once you drop your arrogance, humble yourself, open yourself up and read the scriptures (Quran, Torah, Gospel) then they do make sense

    Why do you think we’re unfamiliar with holy books? The VAST majority of atheists are former believers! Do you not know this? In fact, reading them is what drove lots of us to atheism in the first place!
    It never ceases to amaze me how little believers understand about atheists.

  91. says

    I never said that just because we can’t explain the initial formation of stars and planets then that means there is God. I said that was just ONE of the scientific evidences. I accept you would need more than just one evidence, on top of that you need to have a concept of God which is logical.

    The Quran and Bible describe a number of events, some are things which can be observed scientifically, some are historical, some are parables and some about our human nature. If you take all of these things into account then I feel it’s perfectly rational to accept that there is God.

    Below are some claims which I are made in the Quran and what we currently know scientifically:

    1. Only God can create stars and planets – Scientists are not able to cause dust or any matter come together to form a body which could go on to form a bigger and bigger mass naturally. We simply don’t know how stars and planets formed in the initial stages.

    2. Only God can create life – Scientists know what living organisms are made out of however they are not able to create life in the lab. They are not able to copy the most simplest living organism. When they try to create living organisms it simply doesn’t work. We don’t know why.

    3. God sends winds – Where and how winds form both at the earths surface and higher up we simply don’t know.

    4. God determines where, how and how much it rains in the world – Weather can’t be predicted and some can’t be explained using current science.

    5. God created the seed and makes it grow – Scientists cannot make a seed structure from scratch which will grow. Seeds are an example of non-life become life.

    6. God feeds all animals – All animals need to either eat plants or other animals. No animal can live be feeding on non-life matter. All animals are dependent on living food.

    I’ve cited those above and there are probably are more. All of the above could be simply dismissed by saying that we simply don’t know yet and may know them in the future. I accept that, but for believers I think they can be used to strengthen their belief and faith in God.

  92. says

    @hansmeiser

    Thor had a wife and family. God does not have those things he is the creator of everything. No one has seen God so any religion claims that their god can be physically represented then it’s false.

  93. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Those are all blatant lies, and yes, we can prove this. You still don’t understand the argument from ignorance, either.
    EL was very clear that he would find those things compelling. Good job calling him a liar for no reason.
    Why should anyone give a fuck what you say?

  94. hansmeiser says

    you’re clearly a prove for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    “God does not have those things”

    assertion – how do you know that?

    “he is the creator of everything.”

    assertion – how do you know that?

    “No one has seen God”

    assertion – how do you know that?

    ” so any religion claims that their god can be physically represented then it’s false.”

    just wrong.

    Please don’t reply and look up Dunning-Kruger effect instead.

  95. says

    @hansmeiser

    Of course we don’t KNOW if those things about God are true. You will ever KNOW all of those things. You have to decide whether it makes logical sense.
    We start off with the claims that God makes in scripture and our own logical reasoning to see if it does make sense.

    If God claims he is All Knowing and All Powerful then there is absolutely no way for you to prove that scientifically All you can do is test a subset of the knowledge and power you know about in the universe.

    My advice to you is to drop your arrogance and accept that you’re limited in knowledge and power and humbly open your mind to what could be the truth.

  96. says

    I’d like to state another evidence of God which I believe will be found to be true in the near future. It’s not been proven yet but I believe it will be proven using science in the near future.

    The claim is that the earth’s crust is floating on a mass of free flowing water. The only land mass which is fixed is the mountains which have deep roots. Every other land mass is floating and can move.

    The reason I believe in the above is because:

    1. The above would explain more about why we have earthquakes and how they work.
    2. We have land tides. Land tides are where the land mass rises and falls just as sea tides. If the earth’s crust is floating on water that would explain the land tides. If measurements are made to confirm that mountains don’t rise and fall as does the land mass around it then that would confirm the mountains are immovable.
    3.Scientists have already found water deep beneath the earth’s surface where there were not expecting it. It’s not in free flowing form but I beloeve if they go further they will get to free flowing water.
    4. This will explain how the sea level stays roughly the same.

    Question for the atheists is if the above is confirmed to be true then will they accept that as being evidence of God?

  97. mond says

    @sam

    You mentioned “6. Maybe aliens did it.”

    I am not sure if anyone else mentioned aliens in their post but I certainly did in my little story @70.

    The story was the an example of an argument from ignorance.
    Under the circumstances in the story it is NOT valid logic to conclude aliens exist.

    If your aliens reference is to something else then apologies but if it about my thought experiment then you have failed to understand it on the most basic of levels.

  98. Vivec says

    Holy crap that’s a lot of zero-content proselytizing and zero-evidence assertions. Shit like this is why I find theist callers the most aggravating, least interesting part of the show.

  99. says

    Question for the atheists is if the above is confirmed to be true then will they accept that as being evidence of God?

    There’s two things I’d like to point out, not specifically to your points.

    I tend to take a more hard line, when it comes to what it’d take to demonstrate a god. I acknowledge that many definitions of a god are – whether they’re engineered intentionally or not – *not* demonstrable. So it seems unfair to ask me what it’d take to demonstrate something undemonstrable.

    Without establishing a clear definition and model for this “God” thing you’re talking about, we cannot engage in falsifiable hypothesis testing, and therefore, cannot demonstrate it. Those are usually the first steps.

    My second point is, from our perspective, you’re going at it completely backwards. We’re not out to demonstrate a god, or even evolution. What we’re doing is gathering data about the world, and following the evidence to wherever it may lead.

    It’s possible for data to point at many different possible explanations, so the fact you’ve (or the book authors) contrived an explanation for something observed in reality is – itself – not particularly interesting or useful. The question is whether or not the evidence points reasonably towards that explanation, particularly in the light of Occam’s razor.

    If we found some ancient book that make statements that appeared to be scientifically accurate, we could ask the question “How did they know?” A universe/life creating being that exists eternally outside of space and time would not be the first possibility that comes to my mind. In fact, a much more reasonable possibility is that the authors observed reality and made deductions about it.

    For the Qu’ran and Bible, we have several possibilities (setting aside whether a being that exists outside of space and time is even possible), and it appears that you’ve simply chosen the preferred option, and ignoring the others. Any evidence that seems consistent with that is focused upon, and anything that doesn’t, is rationalized away.

    We have a term for that: Confirmation Bias.

    Before these “predictions” of science or events can themselves be “evidence”, there’s a whole lot of prerequisite assumptions that have to be accounted for, such as the possibility of a mind that can create universes outside of space and time. Otherwise, it’s not on the list of plausible explanations in the first place. There’s a lot of unprecedented mechanics in your position.

  100. says

    If I discover that my trash bags for pickup have been raided, and torn open, sure that’d be consistent with trash-raiding interdimensional aliens, but it’s also consistent with raccoons.

    You’re the person insisting that my shredded bags of garbage is consistent with your notion of interdimensional aliens, and because I have no evidence that it was a raccoon… this is more evidence of aliens. I may be wrong that it’s a raccoon.. maybe it was a dog, but I’m still more in the ballpark than aliens.

    One of these options has more precedence than the other, and makes fewer assumptions than the other. That’s the more reasonable answer.

  101. Tod says

    “The only land mass which is fixed is the mountains which have deep roots”

    Except we appear to know how mountains form, and the mountain ranges we observe today weren’t always there and we can even predict due to tectonic plate movement where new mountain ranges will form…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_formation

    I find it strange when believers exhort faith as if it were a virtue, but then abandon it at the first opportunity…
    Being honest and saying you have no quality evidence, but would like your god-model to be true I can understand, claiming you have the truth about things we don’t know, but then going on to show you don’t even understand the things we do have explanations for is a bit too over-confident I feel…

  102. says

    I know where all you atheists are coming from. I used to be an atheist myself at one time. I know you’re crying out for the evidence. Even a tiny bit of evidence or a simply “I’m here” voice from God. I’ve been through it myself. It took me years of questioning, then I cam to Islam and Christianity and that took me years to comprehend as well. For some people it just takes time and for some they will never believe no matter what they see or hear. That’s just how it is.

    BUT I’m talking about using science to explain what we can readily observe and test today and what we know about the universe and life on earth. The problem is that atheists are always going to use some tired “argument from XYZ” statement.

    I shall try a different approach.
    When you observe stars and planets form or Evolution or different species or even a child being born. THAT is a miracle, that is something being manifest by a force we can’t see or hear or explain. All we can do is observe the physical changes. Science confirms these things are happening because we can observe them and record them and they happen all the time. They are repeatable.

    The question is how do we distinguish it as being something that is happening by some force we can’t see or hear or know much about with it being something that would occur naturally. If you look at the initial formation of stars and planets, evolution or a child being born then you will find that you cannot explain these things using the natural forces and process we know about.

  103. says

    @110

    I know where all you atheists are coming from. I used to be an atheist myself at one time.

    When I hear that, I hear “I used to be rational.” I’ve yet to hear an atheist-to-theist conversion story that didn’t rely on some kind of unverifiable personal experience or logically broken “evidence”.

    BUT I’m talking about using science to explain what we can readily observe and test today and what we know about the universe and life on earth.

    But you’re not though. That’s the point. Where is the falsifiable hypothesis testing? “Torn open trash bags means aliens” is not science, particularly when the evidence doesn’t point there as the most reasonable implication.

    When you observe stars and planets form or Evolution or different species or even a child being born. THAT is a miracle, that is something being manifest by a force we can’t see or hear or explain.

    Uh, so much for science?

    If you’re going to claim “miracles”, that’s implying some kind of divine intervention. You must be able to provide positively supporting evidence for that, or no one is obligated to take you seriously.

    All we can do is observe the physical changes. Science confirms these things are happening because we can observe them and record them and they happen all the time. They are repeatable.

    Agreed (basically).

    The question is how do we distinguish it as being something that is happening by some force we can’t see or hear or know much about with it being something that would occur naturally.

    False. The question is, “what does the evidence point towards?” To even characterize it as “we distinguish it as being something that is happening by some force we can’t see or hear or know ” is already muddying the waters. It’s like having a scientist investigating the Calvin cycle, to then suddenly go off hunting for literal ghosts to try to explain cellular cycles, because the person decided that “are ghosts involved” is a relevant question.

    If you look at the initial formation of stars and planets, evolution or a child being born then you will find that you cannot explain these things using the natural forces and process we know about.

    Again, for the 40th time – first, we *do* have explanations for those – even well tested ones. This has been repeatedly clarified

    Second, that is a *blatant* Argument from Ignorance. That is a formal logical fallacy. It is literally the single most illogical statement it’s possible to make. It must necessarily assume that we’re facing a false dichotomy, that either:

    1) We have a current scientific understanding.
    2) God did it

    … those aren’t the two only possibilities.

    Not only could we have an explanation in the future, but 100% of all current scientific knowledge (hence explanations) was not known at one point. So to use this as a method of supporting the god assertion is a epistemically bankrupt approach. It is a classic “God of the gaps” argument.

    The only reason why we couldn’t create an infinite list of other possibilities, that have zero supporting positive evidence (same as #2), is due to the heat death of the universe.

    If we don’t know how these things happened – it’s just that – we don’t know. You don’t get to shoehorn in your bizarre fairytale explanation as some default answer. “Can’t think of anything else so… I guess, let’s go with an transdimensional mind that spoke everything into existence.

  104. Vivec says

    This is literally just the O’reilly argument.

    There’s no tangible difference between Sam’s nonsense and “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that!”

  105. Vivec says

    @111
    Agreed on almost everything, but argument from ignorance is an informal fallacy, not a formal one. It’s a statement against the soundness of the premises, not the validity of the structure.

  106. says

    It’s like we’re pointing out that every time you say, “And 2+2 = 5”, we respond with “no, 2+2 = 4″… so of course we’re repeating ourselves here. You keep making the same mistake that single-handedly annihilates your position, over and over and over.

  107. says

    @Jasper

    “Again, for the 40th time – first, we *do* have explanations for those – even well tested ones. This has been repeatedly clarified”

    No we don’t. Why don’t you cite some research on how stars and planets form from dust or any other matter which can be demonstrated in the lab. Don’t be silly and point out papers which have models which explain what we see in the heavens.

  108. Vivec says

    Hey atheists, when I drop things, they fall.

    Modern science literally can’t explain why things fall when I drop them. But then in the bible, look at this part of Leviticus:

    “Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.”

    The land (IE Matter) falls because of whores.
    QED.

  109. says

    @Jasper

    Also find papers which explain at the molecular level how living organisms reproduce to form slightly different variants. Also how life can be created in the lab from non-life matter. All of this needs to be explained by the physics and chemistry we know about.

    You simply don’t understand the science.

  110. says

    @116

    No we don’t. Why don’t you cite some research on how stars and planets form from dust or any other matter which can be demonstrated in the lab. Don’t be silly and point out papers which have models which explain what we see in the heavens.

    “Demonstrated in a lab” is not a scientific requirement, incidentally. Otherwise, you can’t provide any scientific evidence of a God’s involvement, could you?

    I’m not going to do homework for you, especially given your tendency to ignore what has been provided.

    @118

    Also how life can be created in the lab from non-life matter. All of this needs to be explained by the physics and chemistry we know about.

    No, actually, it doesn’t “need” to be explained. But congrats, you moved onto a topic (abiogenesis, not evolution), that we’re still working on.

    … not that any of this addresses the core problem of you arguments.

    You simply don’t understand the science.

    Says the person who equivocated between evolution and abiogenesis, and keeps building the foundation of his arguments on blatant logical fallacies.

    I’m done with you. If we can’t even get across to you that much – that using ignorance to support an alternative claim – is invalid, there’s no particular hope.

  111. Vivec says

    Man, the last 2000 years of theology and apologetics must have been idiots. Screw Aquinas or whatever trying to come up with long philosophical arguments for god.

    They could have just said “we can’t explain why things fall, therefore god” and make a perfectly logical argument.

  112. mond says

    @sam

    From what you actually said on the show and have said in this thread, it is clear that you lack the ability to form a coherent logical argument.

    This is level your arguments sound like to to most of us here.

    Santa Claus exists because he left gifts for me under the christmas tree and my parents said they saw him consume the milk and cookies that were left for him.

    Its fucking pathetic. Grow up and join the big boys and girls.

  113. Vivec says

    @122
    I think you’re being a little charitable with that argument. An O’Reilly style argument is more like

    “There are presents under the tree every Christmas. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that!”

  114. says

    The thing that irritates me most about Sam’s simpering “oh, you atheists will find a way to dismiss all evidence for god!” rhetoric, aside from his severe misunderstanding of basic epistemological concepts, is this:

    So, theists spend hundreds of years of apologetics traditions shoring up their god, making it as resistant to falsifiability as possible, making it exactly as malleable as it needs to be so that they can “interpret” their god into our unfolding human discoveries every time we learn something new. They then turn to us, hold up their formless, shapeless god that shrinks and twists away from testing at their behest, and they complain about how we’ll never accept that god. Like it’s somehow our fault that the god they’ve tried their best to make immune to testing, now cannot be adequately tested.

    In Sam’s case, we’re also having to contend with his completely self-serving double standards: he wants to take the fact that we don’t know some things as evidence for his god, yet in post 103 he says we don’t know some things about god, yet for some reason he won’t take that as evidence against his position. It seems that the “I don’t know” answer is only evidence when it can be used to reach his preferred conclusion, and not any others.

  115. Vivec says

    Something that is commendable about Sam’s case is his willingness to stand by his faith so much that he’ll deny fairly well-entrenched science to do it.

    I mean, sure, creationists might disagree with evolution or whatever, but you’ll rarely see one claiming that the field of cosmology or tectonics is invalid. They might try and fudge with it a little (“the flood water shot up into space and hit the moon before the rest sank underground”), but they’ll rarely just declare that “science has no explanation for mountains or rainfall”

    It’s a quaint sort of science denial that is a little pleasant to see, like visiting a pilgrim re-enactment village.

  116. says

    I don’t know if anyone has asked this question, but this is in regards to the Bible codes. I’ve been told and I believe we are pattern seeking creatures. We naturally see patterns, sometimes where none exist. I am wondering now if we are not pattern creating creatures too. Are we, subconsciously perhaps, creating these patterns in books/maps/wherever without even noticing? Then others find them and go “Wow look at that!” and then make up all kinds of crap about it to explain why its there?

    Some folks can’t believe what humans are capable of. We couldn’t build pyramids, or Stonehenge, or whatever…must be god or aliens or some such crap. I see this as much the same thing. The -insert holy book here- is so elegant so well written…look at that prophecy….look at that vague reference that I can twist to sorta sound science-y…O.M.G there’s codes!…we can’t do that! Humans aren’t smart enough….

    Thoughts?

  117. says

    I think the problem with atheists on here is that they are looking for a physical entity which we can observe and test. Unless they see that entity they will dismiss everything as being arguments from ignorance.

    If that’s the case then you’re never going to see God. All you will be seeing is one manifestation of God in whatever form he manifests himself in. And even if you did then you would still have to take his word that he is God and that you are not hallucinating or tricks are being played with your eyes.

  118. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    If there is no reliable way to distinguish a god from something that is not a god, then believing in a god is madness.

  119. Vivec says

    If that’s the case then you’re never going to see God.

    Well, yeah. That’s what happens when you create an unfalsifiable god o’ the gaps.

    Not our problem theists insist on believing unprovable nonsense.

  120. mond says

    @sam

    This idea below is not original to me. I am sure I first heard Matt come up with it.

    God would know what it would take for each individual atheist to be convinced of his existence and being god he should be able to do it (if he so desires).
    You are a case in point. You were an atheist, but now you are not. Something happened to change this. God either did something directly or allowed the conditions to occur that allowed it. Unless you are claiming that god had nothing to do with you becoming a believer (which would be a paradox).

  121. Tod says

    Let’s say we are dealing with something that actually doesn’t exist.. ghosts, fairies or invisible dragons, take your pick…

    We would never find good convincing evidence of them existing, because they don’t…

    We also could never think of good evidence that would convince us, because it would be impossible because they in fact did not exist… (hmm or maybe we actually could, but couldn’t rule out delusion/aliens/other explanations)

    This is the situation we find ourselves in with regards to your proposed entity… Why does god appear to be in the category of things that probably don’t exist?

  122. Tod says

    Exactly…

    and that’s the argument against your god as well…

    some people do claim to have seen them, there are many depictions of them, as varied and contradictory as various religion’s ideas about god..

    remember your reasons why atheists wouldn’t accept any evidence for god..

    “1. Just because we can’t explain it now doesn’t mean there isn’t some natural explanation which we don’t know about yet.
    2. It doesn’t confirm that God did it.
    3. It’s a trick of the eyes or some illusion or hallucination.
    4. It’s a mass hallucination or many people were tricked at the same time.
    5. Just because it’s impossible now doesn’t mean it will be impossible in the future.
    6. Maybe aliens did it.”

    it would seem that would invalidate any evidence for fairies as well… isn’t it strange to you that your god idea seems to be in the same category as fairies?

  123. Tod says

    oh I thought I had…

    They are claimed to have many shapes – I don’t accept those claims
    They are claimed to have been seen by many people – I don’t accept those claims
    They are claimed to be able to do many things and indeed be responsible for many things – I don’t accept those claims
    There appears to be no way to test for them scientifically except to debunk very precise claims being made.

    Let’s apply the same to your god idea…

    It is claimed to have been many things, from the universe, to energy to the basis of reality – I don’t accept those claims
    It is claimed to have been seen by many people, from burning bushes to incarnations as a person – I don’t accept those claims
    It is claimed to be able to do many things and indeed be responsible for many things, the big bang, life, weather, healing – I don’t accept those claims
    There appears to be no way to test for it scientifically except to debunk very precise claims being made. (intercessory prayer etc..)

    Again, doesn’t it seem strange that your god idea seems to be in the same category as another idea you accept to not be real?

  124. Vivec says

    That’s not quite how I’d formulate the argument.

    I believe in universe-creating pixies that confound any form of detection and are directly responsible for the creation of the universe. Any possible evidence sam could cite for his god would also confirm the existence of my pixies or any other transcendent creator deity.

  125. mond says

    @sam 132

    Really? That is your response to to Tod’s position.
    C’mon you are now really embarassing yourself.

  126. Jeremiah says

    FYI, I don’t think it would be that hard for a reasonably competent computer programmer to make something like that. Or in a more relevant manner, to find a shit ton of other coincidences in some other written work. I think even Russel of this show was able to find a “hidden code” in an Avon email he got, since he’s a programmer.

    But the reason a computer programmer wouldn’t spend time on that is that it’s FUCKING STUPID and a waste of time to do something, and it doesn’t demonstrate ANYTHING supernatural. Even if there is a code, it means there’s a cod.

  127. adamah says

    Sam from UK said:

    So far no one here has cited any evidence here that would convince them that God exists.

    Surely an omnipotent God could read our minds and know what would constitute compelling evidence that would convince us of His existence?

    Many believers will simply dismiss that approach out of hand, saying it wouldn’t be gaming for God to do so, or claiming it would interfere with our free will, or citing the concept of “the elected”, etc. It’s a smorgasbord of excusiology, so take your pick….

    Bottom line is, it’s almost like some believers don’t actually want non-believers to believe in Him, since being saved requires many others to be doomed (see the Flood, where supposedly 99.9999999% of the World’s population was killed, so “righteous Noah” and his family could be saved).

    Also review the concept of “burden of proof”, since it’s upon you as the believer/claimant to prove your claim that God exists.

  128. adamah says

    Uh, please replace the word “omnipotent” with “omniscient”, in my first sentence.

  129. Vivec says

    Sometimes you just have to face it. Atheists aren’t always right. Many of us make glaring logical errors all the damn time.

    Inherently, all humans give into flawed reasoning sometimes. Selecting flawed metaphors and whatnot.

    All of us do it sometimes.

    Daily, we can do it hundreds of times if given the chance. It is this that makes us human. No one is free of this sort of flaw. Generally, we try to take a charitable view when faced with these errors. Unless they give us reason not to. Sam has provided plenty of reason for us not to.

  130. John Iacoletti says

    @Clearly, #90
    “It reads what he did, not what happened to him. If you want the names, dates and execution method from the trial at Nuremberg, that’s in the book of Esther.”

    Please tell us the exact words picked out of Esther. and how you know this is about Nuremberg. This sounds a lot like Nostradamus. Also are they all at 49 character intervals?

  131. JT Rager says

    Also, as someone who works in a colloidal science lab, there are two points that are completely being glossed over.

    1. When Sam from the UK says that Gravity can’t work for small masses, that’s not what’s actually going on. Even if the studies looking at gravitational forces for small weren’t valid (they aren’t, but that’s an aside for a different argument), it’s not that SCIENCE CANNOT measure gravitational force between small masses. It’s that they HAVEN’T. “Have not” does not mean “can not”. But the reason it is so difficult is not because it’s impossible to measure gravity for small masses, but because the overwhelming body of science and every verifiable experiment ever has shown that the model for gravity indicates that gravity is AN INCREDIBLY WEAK FORCE. When measuring weight between small masses, measuring the gravitational attraction is like trying to measure how many pounds you are while on a roller coaster.

    The force for gravity is this: F=G*m1*m2/(r^2)
    While the electromagnetic force is this: F=k_e*q1*q1/(r^2)

    If you plug all the constants for two electrons 50 nm from each other, you’ll find the electromagnetic force repels the electrons FAR MORE STRONGLY than the gravitational force will pull them together, causing the electrons to repel.

    2. The other point is that small objects DO attract for forces other than electromagnetism. There is the dispersion force, which indicates that all objects are attracted to each other to some degree, especially at the molecular level. This is an incredibly well-studied field of nanoscience, and people who work with nanoparticles and colloids know about to make their technologies work. There are also static charges. Do you ever wonder why dust collects on the SIDE of furniture, where gravity would otherwise pull larger objects to the ground? That’s because there’s other interactions beside gravity. There’s also other forces like the london dispersion forces. There’s also hydrogen bonding, which we can see in videos from space where water attracts together into a sphere, instead of spreading all over the spacecraft. All it would take in space would be for space dust to accumulate with these forces, which is fairly easy since there aren’t other competing masses in space. EVEN IF gravity didn’t work for small masses (which I don’t accept because I understand how gravity works), there are enough attractive forces between objects that small objects would reach a large enough threshold to gravitationally attract (even though a “threshold” for gravity makes absolutely no sense based on our current understanding).

  132. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #74,
    “Let’s say you saw someone part the sea. You went up to it and could observe water suspended as if were hills. Would you accept that as evidence God or would you wait for science to explain it in the future?”

    How do you get from that to “God”? You seem to be defining “God” as anything you don’t have an explanation for. Would that be accurate?

  133. Patrick67 says

    @Sam from the UK: #24, #98

    I have been following the discussion going on between you and many of the folks here on the APX blog. I have to be very blunt and just state outright that I find all of your premises pretty much BS. You have thrown out a lot of claims based on the Koran and they are all identical or at least similar to claims made by those creationist/ID supporters from the Christian Bible. BTW I find those claims to be just as much BS as your own.

    I don’t have time to go through each of your claims one by one right now and to tell the truth, I think it would be a waste of my time to attempt that. But I am going to speak to your #1 claim found in two of your posts.

    From post #24; you said:

    “The first point I was making was that the current scientific knowledge shows that dust/small matter simply does not collapse together to form a bigger mass. Neither can it be collided together to form bigger masses. Experiments have been done in the lab to test these assumptions. You don’t have to take my word for it, just google it. Most people/scientists assume all mass has gravity.This is simply not true. There is no way of testing the gravity of small matter, for example an object in your hand or a massive object like a mountain. This is simply because science says it’s very very tiny so it can’t be tested with the current technology we have. Which begs the question that if the gravity is so tiny that it can’t be tested for then how is it able to influence mass to come together.”

    From post #98; you said:

    “1. Only God can create stars and planets – Scientists are not able to cause dust or any matter come together to form a body which could go on to form a bigger and bigger mass naturally. We simply don’t know how stars and planets formed in the initial stages.”

    For your enlightenment, what you have stated is not true. In 2003 astronaut Donald R. Pettit (NASA/Johnson Space Center) was aboard the International Space Station preparing his weekly Saturday Morning Science program. To make a long story short, on a whim, Pettit performed an experiment in which he tested several different particles of substances floating in plastic bags to see how they interacted with each other in the confines of space. He experimented with salt, sugar, tea, and dust. Guess what! The individual particles started to cling together, one to one forming clumps, and then the clumps started clinging together clump to clump forming larger and larger clumps. Those particles were attracted to each other by (guess what again!): Micro Gravity. Up until that moment no one had seen this actually happen in science before. It has been confirmed by scientists in additional experiments, notably at the University of Chicago, where the processes involved are more fully explained.

    Below are two links: one to the earliest article that I could find on the original experiment, and two to the actual experiment shown on Youtube as it was done on the International Space Station. There are additional links at Youtube about more of the experiments performed. It was conclusively shown that particles of dust and matter could indeed attract each other and form larger bodies starting from Micro Gravity and then begin the process of eventually forming a planet. The process works very poorly on Earth but in the vastness of space it works extremely well. Your #1 claim from the Koran was debunked by a children’s experiment performed on a Saturday Morning Science Show on the International Space Station.

    ://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/building-planets-in-plastic-bags/

  134. Argus Von Blargus says

    @ Sam:

    “Let’s say you saw someone part the sea. You went up to it and could observe water suspended as if were hills. Would you accept that as evidence God or would you wait for science to explain it in the future?”

    Here are several explanations more plausible than the position THAT an undefined God (which God?) both exists and chose to expend his/her godly energy and time to do a Derron Brown-type water trick:

    1. “Wow, someone has invented a device to cancel out gravity’s effect. I wonder how s/he did it? Are they of this planet?
    2. Did I really see the sea parted? Let’s make sure I didn’t witness an optical illusion or that I am hallucinating.
    3. Well, I certainly do not understand how s/he parted the sea. Let’s see what evidence provides the best explanation (in other words: YES, I WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN WAITING AND WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT RATHER THAN POSITING AN UNPROVEN ASSERTION WITHOUT EVIDENCE.

    Let me throw the question back on you:

    @ SAM: Let’s say you saw someone part the sea. You went up to it and could observe water suspended as if were hills. Would you accept that as evidence of WIZARDS or would you wait for science to explain it in the future?”

  135. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    The question of “what would it take for ye to believe something is a god?” I suppose depends very much on exactly what we’re calling a god. The omni’s weren’t necessarily aspects of the oldest and most interesting gods. Odin and his brothers for instance were powerful enough to create the 9 realms out of the husk of the frost giant Ymir and to create and animate humans, but Odin could still be challenged, captured and even killed by other deities. Zeus and his brothers and sisters were immensely powerful AND immortal, but still required help from monsters to overthrow their parents and take control of the heavens, earth and the sea. Hell, if memory serves even Yahweh was originally a Canaanite storm god who lived in a volcano before he gradually absorbed the aspects of the other gods in his pantheon.
    Personally if a being showed up, claiming to be God and demonstrating the abilities of let’s say Q from Star Trek, I might be inclined to agree that they meet at least my requirements for what a god might be. However, while the now proven existence of an extra-dimensional omnipotent being would now be verified, that doesn’t mean I’d start worshiping them.

  136. says

    @Sam, 133:

    I think the problem with atheists on here is that they are looking for a physical entity which we can observe and test.

    And now you’re acting pretty much exactly like I said: “Here’s my god, which cannot be observed or tested and resists falsifiability,” leading directly to, with not a shred of self awareness, “it’s so unreasonable that you’re suggesting that my god which can’t be tested or observed cannot be sufficiently tested or observed to accept as a true claim!”

    You’re the one with the untestable god claim. It’s not our fault that your belief doesn’t measure up to basic minimum epistemological standards. We aren’t being unreasonable simply because we refuse to lower the bar to admit an idea that you happen to like.

    Unless they see that entity they will dismiss everything as being arguments from ignorance.

    No, we don’t. We dismiss your arguments as being arguments from ignorance, because what you’re asserting is a textbook example of an argument from ignorance. That term actually has a meaning, you know: you seem to have come away from hearing it so much thinking that it’s just a buzzword, instead of bothering to think about how what it means might apply to the things you’re saying. But, as with your unfalsifiable god, it’s not our problem that you’re incapable of considering whether your arguments might be flawed.

  137. says

    @Evil

    “Personally if a being showed up, claiming to be God and demonstrating the abilities of let’s say Q from Star Trek, I might be inclined to agree that they meet at least my requirements for what a god might be. However, while the now proven existence of an extra-dimensional omnipotent being would now be verified, that doesn’t mean I’d start worshiping them.”

    How do you know that this being is actually who he says he is? How do you verify he is omnipotent? How do you know it’s not some hallucination or some illusion or some people trying to trick you?

    Maybe you would be convinced after seeing certain things. How then do you convince others this being exists and is true?

  138. says

    @Argus

    If someone said a wizard will part the sea and I was able to go up to the parted sea and verify it then I would believe them. I would accept the wizard can part the sea.

    It would be perfectly rational for me to do so. If later on it turned out to be a trick or some hallucination then I would accept that I was mislead or was simply hallucinating. I would probably google it as well to see it’s possible to part wart in the fashion I had seen it. If I found some links where some technology was able to part water a little bit then I would be skeptical of the wizard being able to do it using some supernatural force. Because I’m rather skeptical, I would think the wizard had somehow used some enhanced technology to part the sea. I’d need further evidence from the wizard to verify their powers.

  139. Tod says

    “If someone said a wizard will part the sea and I was able to go up to the parted sea and verify it then I would believe them. I would accept the wizard can part the sea.”

    But how have you ruled out points 3 and 4 from above?
    “3. It’s a trick of the eyes or some illusion or hallucination.
    4. It’s a mass hallucination or many people were tricked at the same time.”

    “I’d need further evidence from the wizard to verify their powers”

    And as I asked before, using your system of thinking, how have you verified your claims that all the things you said could only be done by god, were in fact done by the god you believe in?

  140. says

    @John Iacoletti

    I see what you’re saying. I am not saying that just because you can’t explain something then God did it. But I do see how my arguments are coming across now.

    In order to associate the sea parting with God i would need someone to tell me that God did it. If I was foretold the event then that would convince me further. I would need to learn more about this God before I was fully convinced. I wouldn’t accept one strange event as evidence of God.

  141. Robert,+not+Bob says

    @149 (John)
    Wow, I hadn’t noticed they author line on that and thought it was somebody being snarky. He believes that? *howling derisive laughter*

  142. says

    @Tod,

    I’d rule points 3 and 4 out by asking to see more evidence. I’d need to look into those phenomena more closely to verify they are not tricks. I’d rule out hallucinations if I had seen a number of those phenomena because it would be an awfully long hallucination.

    I’d need to know more about God. I’d need to know more information about him. Whatever I learn would need to be compatible with my reality both subjective and objective.

  143. Wiggle Puppy says

    @149, John Iacoletti: It gets worse – the god that Cleary is proposing is one that inserts secret messages into an ancient book about future horrific events that would happen in a different part of the world and would not occur until centuries later (in the 1940s), and for which humans would not have the computing technology to discover these hidden messages until a few decades after that, in the 1990s/2000s. The god does this to provide evidence of its existence. The god does these things instead of INTERVENING DIRECTLY TO STOP THE HORRIFIC EVENTS WHILE THEY ARE HAPPENING, WHICH WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY PROVIDE DRAMATIC AND COMPELLING EVIDENCE OF ITS EXISTENCE. Cleary, if you wonder why you’re getting lambasted on here, it’s because we see this kind of thing all the freaking time: theists who are desperate to believe something and grab on to any bit of data that seems to fit their pre-assumed conclusion, even though, when you start to unravel the implications of the belief, it becomes incoherent and nonsensical.

  144. Tod says

    ah, well that’s not what you said before… so you would require more evidence…

    and yet we are in the position that all the evidence for god consists of claims either not verified or verified not to match reality or are tailored to piggyback on science with no real connection other than assertion?

    if someone said “they needed to know more about fairies, they needed more information about fairies – and then that all that they have learned about fairies has been compatible with their reality” would you accept their claims and believe in fairies?

    it seems the same assertions you make for your god idea, are used for other different god ideas, and similar assertions are made for many ideas we both reject even though some are crafted to be beyond debunking…

    To go back to your specific assertions which seem to have convinced you –

    “Below are some claims which I are made in the Quran and what we currently know scientifically
    1. Only God can create stars and planets
    2. Only God can create life
    3. God sends winds
    4. God determines where, how and how much it rains in the world
    5. God created the seed and makes it grow – Seeds are an example of non-life become life.
    6. God feeds all animals ”

    These are all assertions, none of this is “currently” known scientifically…

  145. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam 155

    “How do you know that this being is actually who he says he is? How do you verify he is omnipotent? How do you know it’s not some hallucination or some illusion or some people trying to trick you?

    Maybe you would be convinced after seeing certain things. How then do you convince others this being exists and is true?”

    I suppose that depends. How are we using the word “know” in this context?

  146. Yaddith says

    106: Uh, actually Yahweh does have a wife. Her name is Asherah. And I seem to recall reading somewhere that he has a son as well. I think his name is Jesus.

  147. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I think the problem with atheists on here is that they are looking for a physical entity which we can observe and test. Unless they see that entity they will dismiss everything as being arguments from ignorance.

    Loosely, that is correct. If you drop the word “physical” from that quote and replace it with “observable”, then you would be entirely correct. We want hard evidence, not arguments from ignorance. We don’t need physical. According to the bible, angels and burning bushes totally appeared to people. Jesus appeared to people on the road with holes in his side from where he was stabbed. Purportedly. We’re just asking for that sort of evidence.

    Let’s say you saw someone part the sea. You went up to it and could observe water suspended as if were hills. Would you accept that as evidence God or would you wait for science to explain it in the future?

    Still a classic argument from ignorance. Ex: Why do you believe it was a god instead of space aliens? What about a wizard in a wizard robe and hat? It seems equally plausible that a wizard did it with a control water spell. If your argument is of the form “I don’t know how that happened, therefore a wizard did it“, then your argument is fallacious.

    However, if we actually see the wizard, then we’re getting somewhere. If we actually see the wizard waving his hands and mumbling the verbal components of his spell, then that’s even better. Finally, if the wizard is cooperative and proceeds to demonstrate his spellcasting ability on demand under rigorous scientific testing, then this can be very strong and compelling evidence.

    However, if there is no direct, positive, particular evidence of a wizard, then it is premature to conclude that there is a wizard who did it with magic.

    Maybe you would be convinced after seeing certain things. How then do you convince others this being exists and is true?

    First, I would first ask the wizard to come to my friend’s place tomorrow and demonstrate his ability to cast spells. You don’t even have evidence that good because – at best – your god is hiding.

  148. Cleary says

    Hi John. Sorry about the tardy reply, I’m in a different time zone here. No “NostrilDumbass needed or believed in as far as I’m concerned. Here’s about the best article I could find on the subject of the trial at Nuremburg in Esther. I don’t think that God just plays silly word games with us as a joke or prank, I believe He did this for “the last generation” to find, that would be us. The book of Daniel talks about the last generation going here and there searching for knowledge and that knowledge would be increased in that last generation. There’s no denying that one. It also says in Daniel, that specifically refers to the last generation, that the prophecy is to be sealed until the times of the end. I believe that’s just what’s happening as far as the codes being identified in our day. This article is not the shortest in captivity, but it gives a good idea of what I mentioned in my post on the subject. I’m sorry the grid is in Hebrew, but I’m sure anyone who reads Hebrew will be able to confirm it’s just as it’s written in Esther and that the English translation is correct.
    Thanx for being civil.
    C.
    http://www.spirit-digest.org/Quickhive%20articles/hamanfirstnazifdd.html

  149. Cleary says

    @John.
    I didn’t address the last part of your post. No, the letters aren’t at a skip distance of 49. I think the original skip distance number of being 49 and just spelling out the word Torah in the Torah, was to make it easy to find, and then we would know how to search the scriptures using the ELS method.

  150. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Cleary #166:

    I believe He did this for “the last generation” to find, that would be us. The book of Daniel talks about the last generation going here and there searching for knowledge and that knowledge would be increased in that last generation. There’s no denying that one.

    A list of plant words. My knowledge sure has increased.
     
     
    @Robert,+not+Bob #88:

    Eichmann wasn’t consumed in Auschwitz anyway. He was hanged in Israel in 1962.

     
    @Clearly #90:

    It reads what he did, not what happened to him. If you want the names, dates and execution method from the trial at Nuremberg, that’s in the book of Esther.

    That one says 1946. You’ve pivoted, away from the misspelled ‘Eichman’ and the misleading ‘consumed’.
     
     
    From the Spirit-Digest link:

    Jewish sages have long believed and taught that every variation of the surface text, whether it be the size of the letters themselves or a variant spelling of a word, has specific meaning. In some cases, that meaning remains a mystery.
    […]
    As you can see by looking at the list of names, four letters […] appear smaller than the other letters
    […]
    letters can also represent numbers. [400+300+7 = 707]
    […]
    Using the Jewish method of recording years, the number 707 can represent the year 5707 on the Jewish calendar [(Gregorian 1946)].
    […]
    For centuries Jews who read the book of Esther had the future date for the fulfillment of her prophecy there in plain sight, but it could not be deciphered until the event actually occurred!

    Retrodiction does not increase knowledge.
     
     

    [ELS 216: 21 TISHRI (Oct 16)], [ELS 442: 5707], [ELS -650: NAZI], [ELS 432: HANGED], [ELS -7: AMALEKITE], [ELS 1: ARYAN], [ELS 1: HAMAN], [ELS 1: TEN], [ELS 20: SONS]

    Each of those was plucked out individually with different starting points. They have nothing in common except that the reader is doing a word search: circling adjacent letters (ELS 1)… or arbitrarily spaced letters in a line… or wrapping around arbitrary boundaries.
     
    Fussing with constraints until you can coerce the alphabet into a three-to-five letter word. Do this repeatedly, forget all the nonsense and words that don’t fit a theme. Then marvel at the significance of having used a stencil for your sieve.

  151. Paul Cornelius says

    @104 Sam

    God determines where, how and how much it rains in the world – Weather can’t be predicted

    Have I got some exciting news for you! I’m sure you’ll find this interesting, since you are, as you assured us, a rather skeptical person. There’s a relatively new branch of science out called “meteorology.” A big word, sorry! But believe it or not, meteorology is the study of weather. In recent years the meteorologist community has repeatedly dared to predict the weather several days in advance. Now that’s arrogance for you.

    You will be astounded at their methods. They don’t rely on prayer or supernatural revelation whatsoever. Instead they use something called “data,” which in their case consists of observations about warm fronts, cold fronts, barometric pressures, winds, storm systems, the jet stream and so on. They enter all this “data” into something called a “computer” which then . . . Oh, sorry again! Much too technical, I got carried away. At any rate, well, you’re not going to believe this, but their predictions are usually right – not always, admittedly, but they’re getting better all the time. It’s a miracle, I suppose, that such shoddy methods often succeed in practice. There’s no obvious reason why, but I’m sure you can explain it.

    I’m surprised you haven’t heard about this – maybe they have a different word for it over in the UK. Over here (USA) we have lots of weather forecasters, and they even appear on the TV. Oops, I mean “telly.” We have a cable TV channel devoted entirely to weather, 24 hours a day. And we rely on these so-called forecasts, using them to decide when it’s safe to fly a plane or pilot a boat, how to dress most comfortably, or when to be prepared for rain or snow. Sometimes there’s a terrible storm coming and we manage to evacuate people in its path ahead of time. That probably saves thousands of lives every year.

    Of course this meteorology stuff doesn’t prove anything. It’s still possible that God controls the weather just as you say. But you might check out this field of science and let us know if you find it useful. After all, if you can know in advance that it’s going to rain tomorrow, you won’t ever get caught without your brolly.

  152. Chikoppi says

    Sam and Cleary,

    I’ll give you credit for engaging in a discussion. I have a question for both of you: how could you determine if your beliefs are wrong?

  153. Cleary says

    Wow! That’s a good question, I’ve never been asked that b4. Hmmmm, I’m not sure anything could convince me of that. If I died and found out that I was wrong, then I’d believe it then, but of course that would be too late to change my mind. Is that the answer you expected?

  154. says

    @Chikoppi

    If scientists created life in the lab from scratch and were able to repeat it then I’ll accept that life is not something divinely created by God and the Quran has an error in it.

  155. Tod says

    Don’t you think it a bit strange that you think an argument for fairies is silly, but are making that same argument for your preferred idea – your god idea… I find them both equally silly…

    I think you are doing the exact same thing believers in many other things do, picking science that comports with your idea and adding your idea on and claiming the science that we have evidence for and an understanding of wouldn’t work without your idea being involved (which we don’t have evidence for or an understanding of) and then using that claim as evidence, while denying things that don’t fall in line with the idea you want to be true…

    so far you have shown you don’t know things that we apparently have quite good evidence for, claimed you do know things we don’t have evidence for and in fact made some assertions that are outright wrong…

  156. Monocle Smile says

    @Cleary
    If that’s really your position, then…fuck off.
    That’s not meant to be personal, but there is exactly zero value in discussing anything with someone who does not believe they can be convinced of error.

    @Sam
    You do realize we’re stupidly close to doing this and have actually done this under some definitions of life, right? Google the Craig Venter institute.

  157. Cleary says

    @Monocle smirk. You just described your own position on this, so same to you. Nothing personal.

  158. Monocle Smile says

    @Cleary
    So now you’re just going to go ahead and blatantly lie. That’s fun, too.

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Hmm… I see Monocle Smile has ninjaed me on the synthetic bacteria thing. Good work.

  160. mond says

    @ EL

    I am sure that the definition “Life” that Sam is using would ultimately be human life.

    Sam wants science to create a machine in which you just put in a load of chemicals in one end, press the ‘magic’ button and a fully formed human being comes out the other end. Just like god did it, but without cheating by using a machine.

  161. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    At this point I think that Sam is either trolling or being deliberately obtuse. How many times does it need to be typed for you to get that even if science can’t provide an explanation for anything, you’d still be unjustified in believing the claims in your millennium book?

    The standards of evidence are also piss poor, when I told my niece that I got a car she wanted it verified by not only close relatives but friends as well. You’ve failed to look for any verification for your beliefs, simply pointing out(usually wrong) limits to what science can currently explain. The amount of times the goalposts have been moved throughout this would make any forward give up.

    This is exactly what Matt saw during the call, he even let you go on longer than was necessary. One of the worst filers for god I’ve ever witnessed.

  162. says

    @EL and Monocle,

    They copied DNA and put it inside a living cell. They did not create the cell they just put synthetic DNA in there.
    I said “If scientists created life in the lab from scratch and were able to repeat it”. Key thing is from scratch.

    If you understand what the scientists have done so far then you should be asking if they synthesise DNA and other cell components then what is stopping them from creating a living cell from scratch. If it’s so hard to do this by copying existing living organisms and manipulating them in the lab then is it rational to believe that such a thing could happen in the distant past where we have no idea of the conditions.

    My humble suggestion is just to hold this thought in the back of your mind and move on to look at the other things which point towards creation and the other strange phenomena in our reality.

    Quite rightly, to be convinced of God you need to look at a range of evidences and claims as well as scriptures.

  163. says

    I accept there are many mysteries in the universe. There are some things science will be able to explain in the future which we can’t understand now. There are some things that it will never be able to explain. I accept that.

    I’m not claiming that just because there is a certain thing we don’t understand or can’t do then that means God did it. I’m making specific claims from scripture which is claimed to have been inspired by God.

    When you’re a believer you understand that absolutely everything is a creation. Absolutely everything. The universe, life, humans, light, darkness, numbers, atoms, languages, thoughts, dreams, love, pain, evil, etc, etc. absolutely everything even what we call “nothing”. Absolutely everything we can think of including the ability to think.

    Question is how do you distinguish there is God if God created absolutely everything. My understanding is that God has made our reality such that there certain things we can’t do which we should be able to do. For example creating life.

    When you understand the proper concept of God as described in scripture (Quran/Bible) then many things make sense including why there are so many religions, miracles and human behaviour.

  164. Tawn the Atheist says

    #185 “My understanding is that God has made our reality such that there certain things we can’t do which we should be able to do. For example creating life.”
    “There are some things science will be able to explain in the future which we can’t understand now… …I accept that.”

    If you accept that, then how can you say ‘which we should be able to do’??? These two statements from you do not sit comfortably together.

  165. Bruce Smith says

    @Sam from the UK
    > I’m making specific claims from scripture which is
    > claimed to have been inspired by God

    And that is precisely the problem. Claimed but not demonstrated. We care about what can be demonstrated and / or supported by evidence. Anyone can claim anything.

  166. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #156:
    “If someone said a wizard will part the sea and I was able to go up to the parted sea and verify it then I would believe them. I would accept the wizard can part the sea.”

    Wouldn’t you want some evidence that this wizard actually existed before trying to determine whether or not he could part the sea?

  167. John Iacoletti says

    Spirit digest link:
    “Using the Jewish method of recording years, the number 707 can represent the year 5707 on the Jewish calendar [(Gregorian 1946)].”

    So God went to all the trouble to fashion these hidden messages and didn’t actually put “5707” in there? How do you know he didn’t actually mean “707”?

    I think what this shows is that if you get to pick the starting letter and an arbitrary character spacing, you can fashion whatever word you want, given a large enough sample. Add to that, an “interpretation” of those words on top of already known history and you can make those words sound sort of like a prediction if you make enough excuses like “Amalekite really means German”. Why didn’t it bother to mention the 11th one who committed suicide before the hanging?

  168. says

    @Sam:

    If scientists created life in the lab from scratch and were able to repeat it then I’ll accept that life is not something divinely created by God and the Quran has an error in it.

    So people need to prove your completely unevidenced, unjustified claim which runs in the face of everything we can scientifically establish wrong, before you’ll put it aside? You said in post 160 that you’d need evidence to establish the truth of a phenomenon before accepting it, yet in this case you’re happy to just assume based on nothing and expect us to rush around proving you wrong?

    You don’t see how that’s nothing more than a lazy shifting of the burden of proof?

  169. Robert,+not+Bob says

    @Sam:
    “Creation of life” is a meaningless argument when you realize that there’s no sharp dividing line between “things that are not alive” and “living things”. There’s a smooth continuum with simple molecules at one end and prokaryotic cells at the other. “Alive” and “not-alive” are arbitrary designations. Is a virus alive? How about a self-replicating computer program?

  170. Ethan Myerson says

    That “Spirit Digest” link is the biggest load of ad hoc confirmation bias I have ever seen. Looking just at the section labeled “The Prophecy”, it is ridiculous in the extreme. There are “Equidistant Letter Sequences” of 1 (meaning adjacent letters), of 7 (we learned on the call this was god’s most favorite number), of -7 (god’s negative most favorite number?), of 442 (god’s most favorite number times 63.1428, I guess?), of -650 (ummm…).

    Why did it gloss over ELS of 49, which we learned was the key to deciphering god’s real intent? If you start with the first “lamed” (L-sound) in the passage, we get לכַּוָה, which means “to the loophole”.

  171. says

    @John laclotti et others

    No I don’t think you need to see the entity to prove that it exists. Think of God as a concept/thing such as gravity, light, dark energy.matter or a process call evolution.

    We can’t see light or gravity or dark energy but we see their effects. We see creation, life, matter and experience various things. As believers we’re simply saying these are the effects of God. Just as when we see something fall to the ground, we call that thing gravity which causes it fall. When we see this thing that illuminates other objects we call it light and we can study it’s behaviour and properties. No one has observed dark energy/matter but we give the unusual observations a name and call it dark energy/matter.

    So in the cases where scripture points out things God has done or the miracles performed by prophets we are just seeing the effects of God and it’s not necessary to see God direct.

  172. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    You are hopelessly lost
    How would you distinguish a universe with a god from a universe without a god?

  173. Argus VonBlargus says

    @Sam: Let’s change some wording in your response and see how it goes:

    “Think of GANDALF as a concept/thing such as gravity, light, dark energy.matter or a process call evolution.
    We can’t see light or gravity or dark energy but we see their effects. We see creation, life, matter and experience various things. As believers we’re simply saying these are the effects of GANDALF’s MAGIC. So in the cases where the RED BOOK OF WESTMARCH points out things GANDALF has done or the miracles performed by THE OTHER WIZARDS we are just seeing the effects of GANDALF and it’s not necessary to see GANDALF direct.”

    Now, my word substitution may seem silly but it has precisely the same substance and grounding in reality as your above reply. To wit: Both passages deal with a being that has never been demonstrated to exist and can only be found in the pages of old books.

  174. mond says

    @Sam

    “As believers we’re simply saying these are the effects of God”

    That is a logical fallacy called begging the question.

    from wikidpedia:-
    “begging the question” is committed when someone attempts to prove a proposition based on a premise that itself requires proof.

    The premise in this case is that the effects are by god, when god himself required to be proven.

    Miracles and and Prophecy are performed everyday by entertainers called magicians.
    If a magician started claiming that god was doing the miracles and prophecy through them, would you accept that as evidence for god?

  175. says

    @mond,

    If magicians did such tricks and claimed that God did them then we’d need to test them. You’d need to test if anyone else could do those tricks and if indeed they were real or illusions. If they were found not to be illusions then you’d ask for more evidences before being convinced they were from God.

    If someone brought the dead back to life and I knew the person who had died and was brought back to life then I would believe straight away. If I didn’t know the person then there would be some doubts and I would need to see more evidence.

  176. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    We can’t see light or gravity or dark energy but we see their effects.

    And we have very precise falsifiable models for these things, plus lots of confirming evidence. That is what gives us good justification for believing in light, gravity, and dark energy.

    Do you have precise, falsifiable models for your god? Emphasis on falsifiable. Seemingly no. Do you have a bunch of confirming evidence, plus no falsifying evidence? Again, no. Seemingly you’re taking a young Earth creationist position, which means that you are ludicrously wrong. The wealth of scientific evidence against young Earth creationism is massive indeed.

    See:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_against_a_recent_creation

    I hear talkorigins is also good for this topic.

    Conclusion:
    Your model of god:
    Status: Clearly falsified.

  177. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If someone brought the dead back to life and I knew the person who had died and was brought back to life then I would believe straight away. If I didn’t know the person then there would be some doubts and I would need to see more evidence.

    The proper answer is to believe that the dead person came back to life, but to withold judgment on the “how”. Without particular evidence regarding the “how the person came back to life”, jumping to any conclusion is premature, aka a formal argument from ignorance fallacy.

    If, for example, a self-identified cleric of Pelor demonstrated the ability to cast the raise dead spell, on demand, under rigorous scientific testing, then that would be good evidence on the “how”. Without evidence on the “how the dead person came back to life”, one can conclude that the dead person came back to life, but it would be premature to conclude that there was a wizard cleric who did (it with divine magic).

  178. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: I am becoming steadily convinced that the best way to argue for the wrong-headed-ness of “(intrinsic) methodological naturalism” is to cite horror movies that deal with Christianity, or games like Dungeons and Dragons, and ask the other person to imagine themselves as the main character of that fiction, and how they would respond to the plenty and common magical and supernatural elements of the world. If they’re honest, they’re going to drop their pretended methodological naturalism pretty quickly.

  179. says

    @EL

    Let’s say “cleric of Pelor” did such a thing and it was all documented after rigorous scientific testing including videos, photos, news stories, etc. etc.

    Move on some generations from when the event had happened and no one who was alive around that time is living. How do you convince the current generation that it was true if they claim it was all a hoax or a conspiracy or the tests of yesteryear weren’t rigorous compared to the present?

    How do you convince them when spurt out the current arguments which atheists like yourself are doing right now?

  180. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It would be difficult to do so, for the obvious reasons.

    Fir a start, if there was such a cleric of Pelor doing such things publicly, on demand, under the best scientific testing, then we would have lots of independent accounts, which is way more than the mere 1 or 2 accounts that we have for Jesus. For example, see:
    http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html

    This cleric of Pelor, having a direct connection to the sun god, could plausibly obtain information from the god which no mortal man could know. For example, the equations of quantum physics and relativity before they were discovered. One of my favorite examples and Richard Carrier’s favorite examples is germs. Pelor is also the main god of healing in the Greyhawk pantheon. Surely Pelor would inform the people about these things called germs, thereby saving many, many lives, lots of misery, etc. Whereas, what did Jesus do? Not say a thing about germs. Jesus did once say that a particular kind of washing is an unnecessary human tradition, which sort of goes against proper health care, i.e. germs. Nice one Jesus! (sarcasm)

    But of course, Pelor doesn’t hide. Pelor would have clerics with divine spells in all eras. Whereas, the god of Christianity is hiding today. Why is your god hiding? Why did you god choose to reveal his message at that particular time, in that particular place, and never again? Why not choose to reveal it to the Chinese, who had much better civilization, and would have been much better at keeping records and spreading the truth? Oh that’s right – because your god doesn’t exist, and it’s just a human invention.

    For further information, I suggest the work of Richard Carrier, especially “On the Historicity Of Jesus”. His thesis is currently fringe in academia, but even if you don’t agree with the fringe thesis, the book contains a treasure-trove of mainstream-accepted background information that is quite relevant to the particular debate that we’re having.

  181. Chikoppi says

    Sam and Cleary,

    Thanks for replying. I think the problem with non-falsifiable beliefs should be self-evident. Wherever you can assert a non-testable supernatural cause so can someone else. Your belief then becomes no more plausible or justified than any other.

    @Sam Even if scientists create life from scratch, whatever your criteria for that accomplishment might be, it wouldn’t prove that a god “didn’t” create life. You risk reducing your argument to “we can’t do/know X right now, therefore a God is necessary.” That would obviously not be a valid argument.

    The question of falsifiability is an important one. Rather than continuing to assert your beliefs I think you should give some thought to standards or evidence. What standard of evidence would you require from someone who asserts a belief that contradicts your own? What would it take for someone to convince you that their belief about a supernatural entity is true? Figure that out, and you’re on your way to a more rational argument.

    P.S. If some replies have seemed a bit aggressive, don’t take it personally. This group is routinely subjected to a litany of unfounded claims and bad reasoning, often made by quite arrogant posters. A bit of fatigue sets in. You’ve both shown a willingness to question and engage, which is commendable.

  182. Tawn says

    #200
    “Move on some generations from when the event had happened and no one who was alive around that time is living. How do you convince the current generation that it was true if they claim it was all a hoax or a conspiracy or the tests of yesteryear weren’t rigorous compared to the present?”

    Lets use a less supernatural example. Take for example the holcaust. Few people today seriously think this didn’t happen.. but give it 1000 years and who knows? Perhaps video editing is so easy in the future that people doubt the historicity of this event. Although we know it happened, the doubt of those future people may be justified.

    Lets say for argument that the miracles etc of the bible did really happen. You can’t blame us today for having genuine doubts. It’s just tough. The thing is, if there is a god, he could simply create new miracles today for us to witness and settle the matter.. but he doesn’t. I wonder why. (Well I don’t, the answer is pretty obvious.)

    “How do you convince them when spurt out the current arguments which atheists like yourself are doing right now?”
    How do you protect yourself from falsehoods, if you’re willing to drop your standards simply because something happened a long time ago?

  183. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, when you see lightning do you call it lightning or do you call it “the effects of Zeus”?

  184. Sam from uk says

    Let’s say you were finally convinced God exists. Would you bow down and worship him?

  185. Sam from uk says

    Zeus does not fit the concept of God. Zeus needed other people and he never claimed to be the creator.

  186. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If I became convinced that a creature (natural or supernatural, physical or non-physical, etc.) existed that matched the descriptions of the Christian god of the Christian bible, I would try to talk with it and see if it’s as evil as it’s described as being. I would also join an organization in order to research methods to destroy it in case it proves to be actively harmful – a preventive measure.

    If Stargate SG-1 taught me anything, it is that the proper response to evil gods is not to bow down and worship, but to blow them up. Nuke god! If it’s a non-physical god, then we’ll need to research methods to destroy non-physical things, just like the heroes did in the last 2 seasons with the Ori.

    We won’t know if it works until we try, and in this case I’m not going to trust the word of my enemy that my enemy is invincible. I’d rather test that myself.

    And if I fail, then I die free.
    Give me liberty, or give me death!
    Live free or die

  187. Sam from uk says

    That shows you don’t understand the concept of God. Scripture says I should say peace to you and no longer engage in discussions with you.

  188. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    Finally, it depends on what you mean by “worship”. I am not a slave. I will not submit myself as a slave. With the right kind of god, we could be best buds. He could be a mentor figure. But that’s about it. I don’t think is “worship”.

    PPS:
    What exactly does it mean for clerics of Dungeons And Dragons “to worship”? If I got spells, I suppose I might “worship” in that sense. Dunno.

    In a world of D&D, I’d probably be one of the Athars.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faction_%28Planescape%29

    (“Defiers”, “The Lost”), who deny not only the gods’ right to pass judgment over mortals, but their very divinity. They claim that the gods (whom they call “powers”) are powerful but have limits and do not deserve worship. Instead, Athar priests channel divine power from what they call the “Great Unknown”, or what they believe to be the true divine force behind everything. Their headquarters in Sigil is the Shattered Temple, the former temple of the dead god Aoskar. The Athar are broadly derived from real-world atheists, agnostics, and Deists.

    Although, if there was a really sweet god, who was awesome, good, not a dick, etc., I could see myself spreading this truth and making an arrangement to gain powers from that god in order to do good.

    It’s a very interesting hypothetical ethical exercise.

  189. Vivec says

    Real talk, if there’s anything that the character my namesake comes from taught me, it’s that a regular bit of god-killing can be very good for society.

    I just need to get working on that whole “achieving CHIM” thing first.

  190. says

    If someone brought the dead back to life and I knew the person who had died and was brought back to life then I would believe straight away. If I didn’t know the person then there would be some doubts and I would need to see more evidence.

    Sure, knowing the person is important. But why? I think that’s because it also depends on how convinced you were that they were actually dead, which is based on various forms of evidence that are much easier to verify, for yourself, if you know the person who died/resurrected.

    For instance, if I personally witnessed somebody I knew getting ground up completely by a wood-chipper, I would probably believe that some higher power exists if that person came back to life in their previous form.

    However, if somebody I knew died, but I didn’t witness the death, or witness their body after the death, and they came back to life, I would very skeptical that they actually died. It would be extraordinary since this kind of thing *never* happens and would require ruling out a bunch of natural explanations (like they’re lying, or there was some mistake, or any other possible explanation) before I would even begin to speculate that some higher power was involved. In fact, if this has been only claimed to have happened once (as in Jesus), I’m content to conclude that it’s just made up story since this kind of thing *never* happens.

  191. says

    That shows you don’t understand the concept of God. Scripture says I should say peace to you and no longer engage in discussions with you.

    Does that mean that we win? Yay! Just kidding.

    Seriously though, scripture says a lot of things, so I find it a bit telling that you’re announcing a flounce at this point in the discussion. I think you’re uncomfortable about the discussion of other gods since the only “evidence” you think you really have is that science hasn’t and can’t rule out that “there could be some kind of deity”. In that scenario, other gods with a variety of other definitions are as likely as your god definition to exist since there could be any god (or no god). Yeah, maybe some of them require more or less mental gymnastics to fit into reality, but at the end of the day they’re all just claims that won’t ever be proven true or false. The only reasonable conclusion is that it’s all bullshit*.

    * Except for the our Lord FSM (meatballs be upon him). May his noodly appendage keep tweaking the cosmological constants to extend the heat death of the universe so no mortal being feels it’s icy embrace. Ramen.

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To changerofbits
    The first season sucks. Just truck-on through it, to get to the good stuff. <3

  193. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster is unsubstantiated…our beloved lord & savior, The Celestial Teapot, fills the universe with the wonder & glory the arcane men known as scientists try to decipher to this very day, may you & others like you be forgiven for choosing the false god/s.

    Teabags with fine cups & purified water be upon you.

  194. indianajones says

    @149 I am currently reading the rest of this thread, but had to jump to the bottom to comment on this. I like your style!

  195. RationalismRules says

    #83

    Please produce 11 sentences
    …..
    10.) Only 7 words shall not be nouns.
    ….
    …feel free to use any language you like.

    So you’ve put up your challenge, and you’ve said we can do it in any language we like. Before anyone takes up your challenge, could you please give us 11 sentences in English that contain only 7 non-nouns in total? (You may request assistance from your god if you need to.)

  196. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    John Iacoletti #189:

    So God went to all the trouble to fashion these hidden messages and didn’t actually put “5707” in there? How do you know he didn’t actually mean “707”?

    Oh, it’s even worse than that. There’s a whole ‘nother number conveniently dropped!
     
    Adjusting my Spirit-Digest quote in #168:

    As you can see by looking at the list of names, four letters [(tav=400, shin-300, tav, zayin=7)] appear smaller than the other letters
    […]
    letters can also represent numbers. [400+300+7 = 707]
    […]
    The meaning of the fourth small letter, the tav in the seventh name, is still unknown. Perhaps it could signify “the end” of the sons of Haman, since tav is the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

    The end of the alphabet == mortality… of course!

  197. mond says

    @Sam (Not sure if you are still with us on the thread)

    “That shows you don’t understand the concept of God”

    Again this is a fundamental problem of the debate.
    Their are so many concepts(and traditions) of god.
    If you want to be glib about it then you could say that there are as many gods as there are believers.
    The hosts of the show will often ask someone “What do you believe?” and the really important bit “Why?”.
    Its all about the “Why?”.
    I don’t wish to be too harsh but you have presented a very weak “why?” response.

  198. Chikoppi says

    I’m looking for a neutral (non-insultury) way to characterize the difference in standards of evidence required for belief between apologists and skeptics. Can anyone improve on this?

    Assert hypothesis for cause/effect
    Observe reality
    Modify hypothesis to not contradict observable reality

    Observe reality
    Form hypothesis for cause/effect
    Look for evidence that falsifies hypothesis
    If no evidence found; accept hypothesis on provisional terms

  199. mond says

    @Sam

    I am gonna guess that you are not in the “so what ?”camp, so we can disregard that response.

    Which is the best (in this case I mean more interesting) question to ask about the follow statement of belief?

    “I believe Leicester City FC will win the premier league this season”

    why? – They have lead at the moment.
    They have an experienced manager.
    They have been playing well.
    They are only a few games left of the season for them to be caught.
    They have momentum
    etc.etc.ect.

    how? – They will have accumulated more points that the other teams when all the games have been played.

    The how answer is really boring. Its just a statement of the rules on how to win the league.

    The why answer is far more interesting. Its a mixture of facts, intuitions, experience, hopes and various other explanations of why one might believe a proposition to be true.

  200. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #226:

    I’m looking for a neutral (non-insultury) way to characterize the difference in standards of evidence required for belief between apologists and skeptics.

    I disagree with the premise of the comparison: that they both share the goal of modelling reality – that the former’s hypotheses are intelligible, much less that falsification is important.
     
    The most ostensibly important aspects of theology are the least defined (god, heaven, etc). There’s barely a noun to form a sentence. The illusion of explanatory depth is necessary just to entertain them.
     
    Consistency within the theology, across generations, and even moment to moment isn’t critically important. It’s about rhetorical expression and performing/defending social identity. Not to be accurate, to be not threatened – and to threaten out-groups.
     
    So there won’t be clear standards or criteria your rebuttals can satisfy, then yield immediate results. Long-term exposure to other social contexts and having alternative identities to shift to are more effective at worldview altering than a single knock-down argument. A string of argument failures can accumulate a useful frustration however.

  201. Chikoppi says

    @Sky Captain #228

    I agree with everything you say (and think it was particularly well stated). I’m not looking for a single knock-down argument, merely a convenient synopsis for use in explaining why skeptics are dismissive of apologetic “evidentiary” claims.

    “It’s about rhetorical expression and performing/defending social identity. Not to be accurate, to be not threatened – and to threaten out-groups.”

    I’d like to add my own emphasis to this statement. Allowing that one’s socially professed beliefs may be incorrect requires a certain amount of fortitude. For those invested in a religious identity it requires not only admitting error (difficult enough to do), it also requires abandoning a social identity that validates concepts of self-worth and affiliation with a social group that promises mutual support (and enmity toward apostates).

    It’s a steep hill to climb and much more than a purely intellectual achievement; reason to try and practice an abundance of patience in these discussions.

  202. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #229:

    a convenient synopsis for use in explaining why skeptics are dismissive of apologetic “evidentiary” claims.

    Article: IronChariots – Evidence

  203. says

    @To all

    I was having a good think about where I was going wrong with trying to convince the atheists of the evidence of God. Looking at the responses I think it’s going to be futile using the the approach I was. So I’m not going to claim the evidences I listed are evidence of God. Instead I’d like to look at what the current scientific knowledge is about phenomena which we don’t fully understand yet or we think we fully understand.

    Let’s take a look at John Lacoletti/Matt’s understanding that DNA is evidence of Common Ancestry. Once we have gone through the science of DNA and how it is used hopefully other atheists will have a better understanding of what is meant by “Evolution is fact and proven by DNA evidence”. I disagree with Matt’s claim that you need to be an expert in DNA or have some sort of qualification in it. A basic understanding of science and reading up various wiki’s science journals is enough. It’s a huge area but if you take it step by step it’s perfectly easy to understand the fundamentals…in my opinion. I may be wrong and maybe misunderstood the science, if so at least I’ll be corrected by the kind atheists on this forum.

  204. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK #232:

    Let’s take a look at John Lacoletti/Matt’s understanding that DNA is evidence of Common Ancestry.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Evidence of Common Descent

    If the hypothesis of common descent is true, then species that share a common ancestor inherited that ancestor’s DNA sequence, as well as mutations unique to that ancestor. More closely related species have a greater fraction of identical sequence and shared substitutions compared to more distantly related species.
    […]
    Some DNA sequences are shared by very different organisms. It has been predicted by the theory of evolution that the differences in such DNA sequences between two organisms should roughly resemble both the biological difference between them according to their anatomy and the time that had passed since these two organisms have separated in the course of evolution, as seen in fossil evidence. The rate of accumulating such changes should be low for some sequences, namely those that code for critical RNA or proteins, and high for others that code for less critical RNA or proteins; but for every specific sequence, the rate of change should be roughly constant over time. These results have been experimentally confirmed.

     

    Human chromosome 2 is a result of an end-to-end fusion of two ancestral chromosomes.
     
    * The correspondence of chromosome 2 to two ape chromosomes. The closest human relative, the common chimpanzee, has near-identical DNA sequences to human chromosome 2, but they are found in two separate chromosomes. The same is true of the more distant gorilla and orangutan.
     
    * The presence of a vestigial centromere. Normally a chromosome has just one centromere, but in chromosome 2 there are remnants of a second centromere.
     
    * The presence of vestigial telomeres. These are normally found only at the ends of a chromosome, but in chromosome 2 there are additional telomere sequences in the middle.
     
    Chromosome 2 thus presents very strong evidence in favour of the common descent of humans and other apes.

    For a very simple “before & after fusing” diagram of the two chromosomes’ centromeres and telomeres, see the “specific examples” section, which includes numerous other instances.
     
     
     

    I disagree with Matt’s claim that you need to be an expert in DNA or have some sort of qualification in it.

     
    Matt (at 22:47):

    You should take an actual science course. […] If you’re going to say that the experts are actually incorrect in their conclusions, it’d be helpful if you had some expertise that you could demonstrate

    Not qualification, comprehension.
     
     
     

    I was going wrong with trying to convince the atheists of the evidence of God. […] I’m not going to claim the evidences I listed are evidence of God. Instead I’d like to…

     
    Matt (at 25:06):

    Even if all of evolution turned out to be wrong right now, you still don’t have any evidence for a god.

  205. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    To clear up confusion you had during the call…
     
    From the “specific examples” section concerning fossils and speciation:

    Limitations exist within the fossil record when considering the concept of what constitutes a species. Paleontologists largely rely on a different framework: the morphological species concept. Due to the absence of information such as reproductive behavior or genetic material in fossils, paleontologists distinguish species by their phenotypic differences.
    […]
    The succession of fossils in stratigraphy can be used to determine evolutionary trends among fossil organisms. In addition, incidences of speciation can be interpreted from the data and numerous studies have been conducted documenting both morphological evolution and speciation.

     

    A study of four mammalian genera: Hyopsodus, Pelycodus, Haplomylus (three from the Eocene), and Plesiadapis (from the Paleocene) found that-through a large number of stratigraphic layers and specimen sampling-each group exhibited, “gradual phyletic evolution, overall size increase, iterative evolution of small species, and character divergence following the origin of each new lineage”. The authors of this study concluded that speciation was discernible. In another study concerning morphological trends and rates of evolution found that the European arvicolid rodent radiated into 52 distinct lineages over a time frame of 5 million years

     
    From the “Transition from fish to amphibians” section:

    Prior to 2004, paleontologists had found fossils of amphibians with necks, ears, and four legs, in rock no older than 365 million years old. In rocks more than 385 million years old they could only find fish, without these amphibian characteristics. Evolutionary theory predicted that since amphibians evolved from fish, an intermediate form should be found in rock dated between 365 and 385 million years ago. Such an intermediate form should have many fish-like characteristics, conserved from 385 million years ago or more, but also have many amphibian characteristics as well. In 2004, an expedition to islands in the Canadian arctic searching specifically for this fossil form in rocks that were 375 million years old discovered fossils of Tiktaalik.

  206. says

    @Sky Captain,

    Good quotes and thanks for providing them.

    “If the hypothesis of common descent is true, then species that share a common ancestor inherited that ancestor’s DNA sequence, as well as mutations unique to that ancestor. More closely related species have a greater fraction of identical sequence and shared substitutions compared to more distantly related species.”

    Let’s take a look at the above statements. First thing is that you are implying that the DNA is inherited via sexual/asexual reproduction through successive generations of a particular population of living organisms. Will just stick to sexual/asexual for now to keep it simple.

    First question for you is how do you determine if one species is closely related to another? Without being able to witness/observe the lineage of a number of species I don’t see how you can confirm if one species is actually more closely related to another. Only things you have to go by is looking at the observable traits.

  207. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK #235:

    how do you determine if one species is closely related to another?

    From the very same block quote:

    the differences in such DNA sequences between two organisms should roughly resemble both the biological difference between them according to their anatomy and the time that had passed since these two organisms have separated

    That’s three related ways to do so.
     

    being able to witness/observe the lineage of a number of species

    This has been done. See “selection” in the article.

  208. says

    @Sky captain,

    OK, let’s look at a mule which is the offspring of a particular horse and donkey. In terms of being “closely related” who is more closely related to the mule. The donkey or horse which produced the offspring or another mule borne from a different donkey and horse?

  209. lolalaserpistols says

    Ha! Fucking Sam. The fact that he sounds just like GradeAUnderA makes it even funnier.

  210. Chikoppi says

    From today’s news:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0407/Scientists-find-no-trace-of-Neanderthal-Y-chromosomes-in-modern-humans

    “Neanderthals and Homo sapiens interbred tens of thousands of years ago, leaving us with a bit of the archaic humans’ DNA. But scientists aren’t clear how viable such hybrid offspring would have been.

    Since about 2 percent of all non-African modern human genomes today come from Neanderthals, it’s clear that some of these hybrid children were successful. But geneticists conjectured that the hybrid males may have faced more challenges than the hybrid females.

    And a new study suggests their suspicion was right. It turns out that the Neanderthal Y-chromosome appears in no known H. sapiens genomes still around today.”

    @Sam I think you quoted the very passage that answers your question, unless I misunderstood what you were asking.

    “any two humans differ, on average, at about 1 in 1,000 DNA base pairs (0.1%)”
    https://www.ashg.org/education/pdf/geneticvariation.pdf

    The degree of genetic variation, and in which sequences that variation occurs, determines the similarity between organisms. This can be observed by comparing the DNA of currently living species.

    Within a species there is a relatively low degree of variation among less fundamental sequences. Closely related species will share more sequences in common than distantly related species. Related species may have inherited identical sequences from a common ancestor that are unique to those descendants.

    I’m not really sure how either confirming or denying the genetic evidence for evolution gets you any closer to establishing evidence for the supernatural. You might be chasing your tail with this line of inquiry.

  211. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK:
    If you want to “keep it simple”, why are you introducing hybrids?
     
    If you have an argument to make, it would be more efficient to state that argument in its entirety for review.
     
    There is no need to do an evo 101 in the comments, when a lengthly article on the matter is available to anyone seriously interested.

  212. says

    @Sky Captain,

    “If you want to “keep it simple”, why are you introducing hybrids?”

    I’ve introduced it because I’m trying to establish your understanding/meaning/usage of the term “closely related”. The term generally refers to living organisms with a lineage.

    I’ve been through quite a lot of “evo 101” and I just want to make sure we and the rest who are interested on this forum are on the same page.

    So back to question below:

    “In terms of being “closely related” who is more closely related to the mule. The donkey or horse which produced the offspring or another mule borne from a different donkey and horse?”

  213. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    I think you are misapplying the term “related” in this context. “Related” refers to common ancestry of species, not of individuals. All mules are equally related to horses and donkeys. The two mules are equivalent to one another, not “related” in the genetic sense.

  214. Bil says

    Concerning the Bible Code… Edgar Allan Poe has a poem called A VALENTINE which he used a similar number system to encode the girl’s name. This was done on purpose, by a man.

  215. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK:

    I’m trying to establish your understanding

    If you have a point, make it. Or stop dragging this out.
     
    My understanding is irrelevant to your ability to express yourself. If necessary I can do supplemental reading before responding. Or John Iacoletti, or anyone else watching, can help me out.
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Hybrid Zone

  216. says

    /@Sky Captain,

    I sense your frustration, my apologies.

    My point is simple and is one which I made to Matt and John Lacoletti. You can’t use DNA as evidence of Common Ancestry. If someone compared the DNA of mules they could never predict that they were descended from the horses and donkeys reproducing with one another. Similiar DNA is not confirmation of Common Ancestry.

  217. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK:

    If someone compared the DNA of mules they could never predict that they were descended from the horses and donkeys reproducing with one another.

     
    From the Hybrid Zone article:

    The clines of hybrid zones can be observed by recording the frequency of certain diagnostic alleles or phenotypic characteristics for either population along a transect between the two populations.

  218. John Iacoletti says

    Sam, Sky Captain is doing just fine. And if you’re going to keep mentioning me, at least spell my name right. If you’re genuinely interested in learning about evolution through natural selection, why aren’t you posting your questions to an evolutionary biology blog instead of a blog for an atheist show? Did you read talkorigins yet? Or Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth”? Good luck in your layman’s quest to disprove evolution though — it still wouldn’t bring you any closer to a god.

  219. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from UK:
    Evolution is about population mechanics, not individuals. A hybrid zone is a region (transect) where the territories of two parent populations overlap at their edges. Each parent population is a pool of gene variants (alleles). Repeat contact between mostly-reproductively-isolated not-different-enough-to-be-completely-incompatible populations may occasionally mate with each other to produce offspring, and those offspring will inherit genes from both parents (sampling from both parent population pools).
     
    DNA from the hybrid offspring can still be examined to identify the parent populations. The offspring within that zone have varying proportions of either parents populations’ alleles resulting in a gradient (cline) between the territories.

  220. adamah says

    Sam asked:

    In terms of being “closely related” who is more closely related to the mule. The donkey or horse which produced the offspring or another mule borne from a different donkey and horse?”

    That’s a simple-to-answer question for anyone who’s taken even an “Intro to Genetics” course designed for non-biology majors. I’ll answer with as little non-technical jargon, since it’s clear you’re not a biologist.

    The hybrid offspring (mule) is more genetically similar to their parents, since the odds are greater there’s more similarity to them vs other individual members of the same interbreeding species.

    That’s also why it’s true that a parent is genetically more closely-related to the own offspring than even their spouse: they share up to 50% of the DNA with their own children, when it’s unlikely they share such similarity with their own spouse (incest cases excluded).

    Of course, variations in DNA leads to variations in phenotypes (i.e. observable appearances), which is what natural selection in some cases differentiallty operates upon. So genetic randomization and mixing is crucial, the engine which potentially drives evolution.

    But back to the hybrids: since many hybrids are in fact sterile, they’re actually unable to perpetuate their genes, so the individuals are an end of that genetic lineage. In some cases, there’s simply m too much difference from the interbred species from which they arose.

    And your point is what, exactly?

  221. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    * may occasionally [result in mating] with each other to produce offspring

  222. says

    Sam @248
    It’s because you’re ignorant of DNA, genetics, taxonomy and biology in general, hence everyone’s frustration. You claimed that you’ve studied it, but it’s clear you haven’t. Example:

    Sorry i don’t see how your response relates to comparing DNA. Please explain.

    Which was in response to this statement quoted by Sky Captain (presumably, since you aren’t referencing the specific comment by quoting or number):

    From the Hybrid Zone article:

    The clines of hybrid zones can be observed by recording the frequency of certain diagnostic alleles or phenotypic characteristics for either population along a transect between the two populations.

    And I’m no biology expert, but even someone with the most basic understanding of it can tell that the “alleles” mentioned in that quote are genes in a chromosome that is comprised of… wait for it… DNA! In other words, we can look at the DNA of hybrids and find alleles (specific types of genes) that belong to the two populations (just like any progeny of sexual reproduction). The hilarious thing is that you don’t even have to know that DNA exists to understand this. Mendel figured hybridization out without even the foggiest idea that an allele was made of DNA.

  223. says

    Gack, blockquote fail in @253:

    From the Hybrid Zone article:

    The clines of hybrid zones can be observed by recording the frequency of certain diagnostic alleles or phenotypic characteristics for either population along a transect between the two populations.

    And I’m no biology expert, but even someone with the most basic understanding of it can tell that the “alleles” mentioned in that quote are genes in a chromosome that is comprised of… wait for it… DNA! In other words, we can look at the DNA of hybrids and find alleles (specific types of genes) that belong to the two populations (just like any progeny of sexual reproduction). The hilarious thing is that you don’t even have to know that DNA exists to understand this. Mendel figured hybridization out without even the foggiest idea that an allele was made of DNA.

  224. Devocate says

    @200 EL:

    If they’re honest, they’re going to drop their pretended methodological naturalism pretty quickly.

    OR stop identifying those things as ‘supernatural’, since they are clearly naturally occurring. Which one depends, it seems, on temperament, not any objective standard.

    You assume ‘supernatural’ is immutable, and ‘methodilogical naturalism’ is not. Others take the opposite tack. Can you name an objective reason for everyone to accept your tack?

  225. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    What changerofbits is saying is that it’s pretty obvious you are wholly unfamiliar with terms like “alleles” and “phenotypes,” which means you’re just straight-up lying about studying this subject.
    I also wonder what in the shit this has to do with any gods.

  226. says

    To the non believers,

    FYI, I am no longer trying to prove the existence of God. I’m trying to show that Common Ancestry is not proven using DNA. So even if I show that Common Ancestry is a very flimsy theory I’m not going to use that as an argument for God. Just want to show Matt and John and most atheists that the science they read is not exactly accurate and quite misleading in some cases.

  227. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    You will fail in the most frustrating, boring fashion. You’re a chew toy at this point.

  228. corwyn says

    @255:

    This is explored in interesting ways in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (hpmor.com)

  229. says

    @John Iacoletti,

    As I’ve said before I’ve done tons of reading. Now I feel confident enough to challenge atheists on Common Ancestry. If you don’t wish to engage in the discussion that’s fine. I accept it would be a better idea to debate with a proper evolutionary biologist rather than some atheists who may not have done as much research. Though I do believe that having a discussion on a forum like this does get some atheists look into their understanding of science differently.

  230. says

    @changerofbits,

    Let’s say you were given the DNA of a horse and the mule to which it was the parent of. Without knowing anything about who the DNA belonged to could you work out that the mule was an offspring of the horse? If so what technique would you use?

  231. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Sky Captain’s question earlier stands. Why are you introducing hybrids? Why not ask the same question about a person and their child?

  232. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “FYI, I am no longer trying to prove the existence of God. I’m trying to show that Common Ancestry is not proven using DNA.”

    You should probably seek out another forum If that’s the windmill you’re tilting at, preferably one frequented by published/practicing experts. Changing their minds (along with decades of tested and established research) is a near-necessary precursor to changing ours.

    Before you do, I’d encourage you to consider if the answer is actually meaningful to you. If you find that the science supporting the evolutionary process holds up under scrutiny, will it change your beliefs about the supernatural? After all, there are plenty of theists who find no conflict between their religious beliefs and contemporary scientific theory.

    For the record, were the theory of evolution were to be overturned in whole or in part, I don’t think it would have any bearing whatsoever on the plausibility of supernatural claims.

    At everyone: Are there any particularly good free online courses in evolution/genetics or introductory books to recommend?

  233. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “Let’s say you were given the DNA of a horse and the mule to which it was the parent of. Without knowing anything about who the DNA belonged to could you work out that the mule was an offspring of the horse? If so what technique would you use?”

    Do you mean of that particular horse? Have you heard of paternity tests?
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_paternity_testing

  234. says

    @Monocle,

    Need hybrids to show that just because there is a pattern under one set of circumstances doesn’t mean you can apply it universally. Basic science. Now can you please help Sky Captain out.

  235. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #268:

    Are there any particularly good free online courses in evolution/genetics or introductory books to recommend?

    Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene
     
    This guy’s fun.
    Youtube Playlist: Robert Sapolsky – Human Behavioral Biology, Stanford Lecture Course

  236. says

    @Chikoppi

    Don’t think you understood the question properly. How do determine from the DNA that the mule is actually an offspring of a horse and donkey just by looking at the DNA.

    “A mule gets 32 horse chromosomes from mom and 31 donkey chromosomes from dad for a total of 63 chromosomes. (A horse has 64 chromosomes and a donkey has 62).” – http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask225

  237. says

    @Sky Captain & others,

    I get the impression that there isn’t much real interest in this topic so I’ll stop. I do have better things to do than enlighten atheists. I’d just like to say that like most people you’ve blindly assumed DNA is a reliable method of confirming Common Ancestry. In my humble opinion it’s not. Simple case is of the mule. You can’t use the techniques used for human ancestry with those for the mule. Just because living organisms have similiar DNA does not mean they are related by a common ancestor. How cells use DNA, how the cells work themselves is a huge and fascinating topic which scientists are still learning about. My humble advice is to take a look at Common Ancestry from the basics and don’t assume that just because something seems to be work in one scenario will work in another. Most explanations, observations in science have parameters within which they are valid. But outside those parameters they are just assumptions. This is basic science.

    Good day to all.

  238. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “A mule gets 32 horse chromosomes from mom and 31 donkey chromosomes from dad for a total of 63 chromosomes. (A horse has 64 chromosomes)”

    I’m far from an expert, but my understanding is that the mule will share chromosomes with both the horse and donkey. The horse will not share chromosomes with the donkey. The donkey will not share chromosomes with the horse.

    So there are three specimens of undetermined lineage: H/H, D/D, H/D

    H/H + D/D = H/D is the only valid answer.

    Neither of the other combinations work:

    H/D + H/H cannot yield D/D
    H/D + D/D cannot yield H/H

    In addition, the fact that a mule has 63 chromosomes may preclude it as a candidate for paternity (again, not an expert).

    But I think all this is moot to the topic.

    When examining genetic ancestry we’re looking at POPULATIONS of species not INDIVIDUALS. Specific genes and gene mutations can be traced through populations of species over time.

    Your “which came first” question is both misguided and a non-sequitur.

  239. adamah says

    Sam said:

    Let’s say you were given the DNA of a horse and the mule to which it was the parent of. Without knowing anything about who the DNA belonged to could you work out that the mule was an offspring of the horse? If so what technique would you use?

    Veterinary scientists have done exactly that sort of thing for decades, even cloning a mule using techniques which rely upon the same basic science used to determine DNA types in other species, including other mammals.

    And if PCR and cDNA studies aren’t valid for veterinary use, you might let these folks know:

    https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/research/index.php

    They’ve been using such methods to determine causes of diseases in both animals and humans (e.g. see the bit about the Howler Monkey outbreak in Bolivia).

    It’s apparent what you don’t know about genetics could fill a book (i.e. a book teaching you the basics of genetics). Granted, it’s a bit harder to understand that “Goddunnit”, but acquiring actual knowledge takes a bit of work….

  240. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #273:

    So you’re going to try the arrogance route, eh? Your argument basically boils down to, “it’s complicated, therefore one ‘explanation’ is just as good as another”. Don’t “enlighten” a bunch of atheists. Like Matt said, enlighten the evolutionary biologist scientific community and submit your rebuttal for peer review. You’ll win a Nobel prize, be rich, and be a lot more famous than just a guy who called into an Internet talk show about atheism.

  241. says

    You can’t use the techniques used for human ancestry with those for the mule.

    Why not and who’s authority are you basing this claim upon? Whether we like to admit it or not (and it doesn’t matter if you believe in Biblical creation or evolution for human origins) all humans are cousins of each other. Yet we can use DNA alone to determine paternity/maternity even though there is the same diamond relationship within the human family tree. Why wouldn’t this work with mules and their horse/donkey parents?

  242. says

    Sam, Sam, Sam…

    There have been over 200 comments, a majority engaging in the discussion you want to have with multiple people to the point that there is so much engagement that it’s a bit bewildering keeping up on the conversation. Then you say these things:

    Sam @264

    If you don’t wish to engage in the discussion that’s fine.

    Sam @273

    I get the impression that there isn’t much real interest in this topic so I’ll stop.

    We’re engaging and are interested in the topic, despite your assertion to the contrary. You seem to have conceded that the argument from ignorance is bad reasoning (kudos!). You’re now dolling out a new claim that mules refute that DNA can be used as evidence for common ancestry. To do this, you need to come big, not “rhetorical big”, but “here’s the data, the peer-reviewed papers” big. And that’s because this is an extraordinary claim. Maybe you think you have something (or rather, I suspect you’ve read some creationist website and think they have something). Maybe evolution and common ancestry and natural selection are all wrong. Will that make your God exist? Or are we back at another argument from ignorance: evolution is wrong, therefore goddidit.

  243. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    OR stop identifying those things as ‘supernatural’, since they are clearly naturally occurring. Which one depends, it seems, on temperament, not any objective standard.

    You assume ‘supernatural’ is immutable, and ‘methodilogical naturalism’ is not. Others take the opposite tack. Can you name an objective reason for everyone to accept your tack?

    By your own admission, seemingly, there is no such thing as an observable supernatural phenomena (whether this is a synthetic or analytic claim is not relevant to the remaining conversation IMHO). With that understanding, what does it mean to assert (intrinsic) methodological naturalism? Surely the point of asserting intrinsic methodological naturalism is to discourage the scientific investigation of particular hypotheses. However, given your position that there is no such thing as an observable supernatural phenomena, your position seems to be contradictory or confused.

    In particular, your position is what Daniel Dennett calls a deepity. A deepity is an assertion that has an ambiguity. It has two possible meanings. On one meaning, the claim is true, but trivial. On the second meaning, the claim would be profound if it were true, but it’s false. Proponents of deepities will frequently defend the deepity on the trivial but true reading, but then try to argue based on the second profound-but-false meaning.

    For example, the following is a deepity:
    “Love” is just a word.
    On the first reading, the word “love” is indeed just a word. It’s trivial. A word is a word. On the second reading, the concept identified by the word “love” is just a word. This second meaning is trying to assert that love is just an illusion, that it doesn’t exist, that it’s just a word. However, whatever love is, it’s definitely not just a word. It might be a mental state. It might be biochemical reactions in the brain. It might be some property of a soul. Hell, love might even be an illusion, but illusions are not words. Love is definitely not a word.

    Your defense and usage of intrinsic methodological naturalism is a deepity. It has two meanings: The first meaning is the true but trivial one. The true but trivial meaning is that anything observable is natural, and therefore the assertion of “intrinsic methodological naturalism” is a do-nothing. It would not prohibit investigation into any hypothesis (at least no more than the standard “falsifiable criterion” does). However, this trivial meaning is not the meaning that proponents of “intrinsic methodological naturalism” use when on the offense. The meaning that they use is the second meaning of the deepity. The second meaning is the “profound if it were true, but false” meaning. The second meaning is that there is a non-empty class of observable phenomena which has the property “supernatural”, and this class of phenomena is somehow resistant or immune to scientific investigation. This would be profound if it were true, but it’s just false.

    As Boudry puts it in the follownig paper, the position “the set of observable supernatural phenomena is empty” is empty and vacuous. No one would assert a principle like methodological naturalism unless they meant it to actually apply, but on this position, it can never apply, which means that it is vacuous. However, proponents of intrinsic methodological naturalism will silently switch between these two meanings – effectively an equivocation fallacy – and try to still cling to the meaningful meaning where “methodological naturalism” as a principle actually have some non-zero effect (above and beyond the usual falsification criterion).

    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

  244. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    First question for you is how do you determine if one species is closely related to another?

    Off the top of my head: Morphological. Genetics. Fossil record.

    OK, let’s look at a mule which is the offspring of a particular horse and donkey. In terms of being “closely related” who is more closely related to the mule. The donkey or horse which produced the offspring or another mule borne from a different donkey and horse?

    I don’t know offhand. It might also be sensitive to your particular definition and measure of “relatedness”.

    You’re missing the forest for the trees. You’re asking about obscure and edge-case scenarios. You’re ignoring the primary case, which is: The fact is that the morphological tree of life, aka taxonomy, aka the family tree of animal species, was discovered a hundred years before Darwin by Carl Linnaeus, who probably was a Christian creationist. Then, in the modern day, when we measure the genome of different species, and have a computer calculate the simple difference between these genomes, and plot the differences as a graph, we see that this genome graph happens to form a tree, and moreover it happens to form the same tree that was discovered by Carl Linnaeus.

    If someone compared the DNA of mules they could never predict that they were descended from the horses and donkeys reproducing with one another.

    What? I’m pretty sure that this precisely could be done.

    Need hybrids to show that just because there is a pattern under one set of circumstances doesn’t mean you can apply it universally. Basic science. Now can you please help Sky Captain out.

    You are a miserable person to take that long to actually give your full argument. You should have done that in the first post. Loosely, apparently your position is “DNA analysis that shows the tree of life cannot distinguish between sexual offspring of parents of the same species, and sexual offspring of parents of different species. When using DNA to show the tree of life, descent is assumed to be via sexual offspring where both parents are of the same popuation. This is an unjustified / wrong premise. Therefore DNA analysis does not show common ancestry ala the usual neo-Darwinian model.”

    The reply is simple: It seems like a pretty fair assumption, based on what we see today, to conclude that hybridization is a very rare phenomenon, and that “normal sexual reproduction from parents of the same species” is the normal course of affairs, which means that “using DNA to show the tree of life and common ancestry” is totally legit.

  245. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Devocate
    Finally, I suggest the following strategy:
    http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_words/
    The problem IMO is a confusion arising from several pernicious dogmatic views that depend on unclear terminology, particularly the words “natural” and “supernatural”.

    Please try to state what you mean to defend and assert with the phrase “methodological naturalism” without using the words “natural”, “supernatural”, or any variation i.e. “naturalism”. I will accept use of the word “materialism” and similar, because I believe that it is sufficiently different to avoid the confusion.

    Presumably, you mean to defend the position that there is a certain well-formed definition of a class of phenomena that we will call XX. You are unsure if the class XX contains actual existing phenomena or not. However, you are asserting that it is improper in some way to use science to investigate XX claims. Possibly you are asserting that any effort to use science to investigate XX claims will fail to produce useful results.

    If XX is exactly coincident with “observable phenomena”, then your statement is true, but trivial, and you’re just confusing yourself and the other person by citing it. You should instead use the more precise and clearer words like “observable”, “falsifiable”, etc.

    If XX is somehow different from “observable phenomena”, then your statement is false. Science can and will work on any observable phenomena, or at damned least I am going to try, and you should try to.

    In effect, as far as I can tell, the word “supernatural” is an entirely arbitrary, culturally-specific, construct, which has arisen largely as a result of our particular history where we have given special privileges to certain kinds of nonsense beliefs that we call “religion”. Further, as far as I can tell, the idea “methodological naturalism” arose as part of a calculated political move by scientists to placate religious persons, i.e. the scientists are trying to say “don’t worry about science, it doesn’t have anything to say about your religions”, in order to get funding, and earlier to avoid getting burned at the stake.

    Bullshit I say. Science does have something to say about religious claims. It does have something to say about the claim of a 6000 year old Earth, of a global flood ala Noah, of a particular man Jesus being clinically braindead for 3 days, then walking around town and talking, etc etc. Science has shown that these claims are false. If one accepts this position, and one should, then it defeats the entire purpose of creating “intrinsic methodological naturalism” in the first place. Science does have a thing to say about religious claims. Further, science is the only thing that has anything reliable to say about factual religious claims, including the existence of gods.

    One final problem is this seeming dogmatic position that claims like gods, ghosts, etc., are somehow magically unbounded, that anything can happen. That’s just a restatement of logical possibility. Anything that is logically consistent is (epistemically) possible. We as scientists need to realize this fact, and embrace it. Science is about sorting through this wild space of logical possibility, and figuring out what is true and what is false.

    Further, just look at many fictions that have gods, like the Hercules TV show, etc. Also look at fictions that have ghosts, etc. The mere existence of gods and ghosts, etc., does not automatically mean that there are no rules that govern the behavior of such things. Of course, the rules that govern these things will be different than modern physics. For emphasize, it is ridiculous to conclude that there would be no possible rules. In many fictions, these gods and ghosts do have limits, and they obey certain rules.

    Finally, there are natural hypotheses that are unbounded in precisely the way that some people fear supernatural explanations. For example, any brain in a vat or The Matrix movie explanation can be carefully defined to be untestable, but someone can also try to use such non-explanations as explanations. “Why did my mom’s cancer go away?” “Because a programmer outside The Matrix used a terminal and a few special commands to cure her cancer.”

    The inherent problem is that the words “natural” and “supernatural” are inherently bullshit, and as far as I can tell, they serve no purpose except to confuse us, and to propogate this bullshit wall that protects religious belief from proper critical scientific inquiry.

  246. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Typos:
    > If XX is exactly coincident with “non-observable phenomena”,
    > If XX is somehow different from “non-observable phenomena”,

  247. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    “Natural” and “supernatural” are used as colloquialisms. In discussions where we’re actually trying to determine the state of reality and observation, then yes, they are useless, but I think you go too far overboard with this. In everyday discussion, people use the term “supernatural” colloquially to refer to certain phenomena that either currently aren’t confirmed to even happen or for which there is no current explanation, like ghosts or telekinesis. Now sure, if we start getting into a discussion about science and whether or not these things can be investigated, then I share your opinion.

    Further, as far as I can tell, the idea “methodological naturalism” arose as part of a calculated political move by scientists to placate religious persons, i.e. the scientists are trying to say “don’t worry about science, it doesn’t have anything to say about your religions”, in order to get funding, and earlier to avoid getting burned at the stake

    Sure. I can totally agree with this. But I think this is separate from using the terms “natural” and “supernatural” as colloquialisms.

  248. Vivec says

    I still love sam’s whole thing of questioning/denying fairly well entrenched science and acting like it’s totally reasonable to think that we have no idea how mountains or clouds work. Argumentum ad O’Reilly* at its finest.

    *A subtype of Argument from ignorance of the form “You atheists can’t explain x (where x is a thing we can explain very easily). Therefore god.”

  249. says

    @EL,

    “normal sexual reproduction from parents of the same species” is the normal course of affairs, which means that “using DNA to show the tree of life and common ancestry” is totally legit”

    Bizarre. But you and the rest are entitled to your opinions.

    The reason that DNA tree of life closely matches the morphological tree of life is because they are both showing the traits of the living organisms. Both trees are based on similarities they are not based sexual reproduction. There is no way of determining via DNA which living organisms can interbreed with another. This is FACT. Similarities in DNA does not confirm that one living organism is able to interbreed with another.

    I believe in the near future Common Ancestry will be put rest as more and more is learnt about DNA and fossils and other living organisms are discovered and understood. When that does happen we’ll simply hear news stories that a number of scientists had their doubts about Common Ancestry and that from the beginning it was never considered strong evidence of Common Ancestry. Just check the Piltdown Man Hoax – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man. For 40 years the majority of scientists accepted it. Now it’s as if it was always on shaky grounds.

    The same will happen with Common Ancestry and the age of the earth. The truth will eventually come out no matter how much people don’t like it.

    Anyway, it’s been a good discussion but I’m not going take this any further as going into how cells work and DNA is used going to take a long time. Please feel free to look into it yourselves if you really don’t want to blindly believe what you read in mainstream media. Thanks to all who made good comments.

  250. says

    They REALLY need to enable comments on youtube. This is nuts. Sure, youtube comments are the bleeding edge, the front lines in the battle against theism and irrational beliefs in general. Hiding from it is not the answer. For every dozen trolls that comment on youtube, fascinating deep conversations with theists actually do take place. I often convert a youtube comment exchange into an email exchange when a theist really genuinely is asking and responding to posts. The perception is that atheists are running scared by silencing the conversation we have about these episodes. This is a negative thing overall. The youtube comment section is largely self-regulating, where trolls do get in, but they get called out rather quickly and ignored (except by atheists that like to have pointless arguments for fun). Having the comment section silenced LIMITS the possible conversations that can take place about this important subject matter. That is a net negative and does nothing to help promote atheism. I would bet a month’s salary that the majority of your viewers agree with me on these points and want the youtube comment section reopened. We all look for people posting your episodes that do NOT have the comment section closed and only resort to THIS account if we cannot find a recent episode.

  251. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    There is no way of determining via DNA which living organisms can interbreed with another. This is FACT. Similarities in DNA does not confirm that one living organism is able to interbreed with another.

    Lols

    I believe in the near future Common Ancestry will be put rest as more and more is learnt about DNA and fossils and other living organisms are discovered and understood.

    Don’t hold your breath. Creationists have been saying this for longer than a hundred years, and academia says the exact opposite. Support for neo-Darwinism is higher now than it ever has been, and it’s only expected to go up.

    The same will happen with Common Ancestry and the age of the earth. The truth will eventually come out no matter how much people don’t like it.

    Remind me – I forgot your answer from the previous thread. I think you said that no amount of evidence can ever convince you that you are wrong. Am I right? If so, your attitude is rather arrogant, hypocritical, and ironic. It appears that you will never accept the truth, no matter how much evidence is gathered against you, and this is according to your own words on the matter. I am willing to admit that I’m wrong if I’m presented with enough evidence to the contrary. I follow the evidence. You have a preconceived faith position that is immune to evidence.

  252. Devocate says

    @281:

    Presumably, you mean to defend the position that there is a certain well-formed definition of a class of phenomena that we will call XX. You are unsure if the class XX contains actual existing phenomena or not. However, you are asserting that it is improper in some way to use science to investigate XX claims. Possibly you are asserting that any effort to use science to investigate XX claims will fail to produce useful results.

    No, I see no well-formed definition of class XX. No, I am defining XX such that it (currently) contains no actual existing phenomena. No, I am NOT claiming it is improper for science to investigate it. I am claiming that XX (for the most part) has been purposefully defined precisely so that science has no *ability* to investigate it. Should such an ability become possible, the things in XX will be redefined (by their proponents) such that the class maintains its characteristic. No, while science can investigate claims of XX-set-hood, the only result it can produce is that the thing is not in XX, and this will have no impact on the believers of the thing (which will still be in XX to them).

    So basically, we disagree on ALL your assumptions about my position. Let’s both taboo ‘methodological naturalism’ in future discussions.

    As an example, Crop circles are produced by aliens. Any crop circle found to be produced by humans is a *fake* crop circle and doesn’t share some important characteristic with *real* crop circles. It doesn’t matter to crop circle enthusiasts that any given crop circle has been determined to be produced by humans. It is NOT taken by them as evidence that some other crop circle is NOT produced by aliens.

  253. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Devocate #288:

    I am claiming that XX (for the most part) has been purposefully defined precisely so that science has no *ability* to investigate it. Should such an ability become possible, the things in XX will be redefined (by their proponents) such that the class maintains its characteristic.

    Paraphrasing a distant memory of hearing AronRa:
    ~~I once asked in a forum, to a bunch of believers, if we built a device that could detect god, would they accept the results when we turn it on? And they flatly refused. They were adamant that their god must be immune to all investigation. They could not allow any risk that they’d have to change their minds.~~

  254. Tawn says

    @#287 EL

    “Remind me – I forgot your answer from the previous thread. I think you said that no amount of evidence can ever convince you that you are wrong. Am I right?”

    No, it was the bible codes guy.. #174.

  255. Tawn says

    @ #286

    “Anyway, it’s been a good discussion but I’m not going take this any further as going into how cells work and DNA is used going to take a long time.”

    Strange thing to say when it was you who decided to change to this line of discussion.. (for no apparent reason other than your original line of argumentation was not working).

    “The same will happen with Common Ancestry and the age of the earth. The truth will eventually come out no matter how much people don’t like it.”
    …and apparently you don’t like it.

  256. says

    @Devocate “…It doesn’t matter to crop circle enthusiasts that any given crop circle has been determined to be produced by humans…..”

    @Sky Captain “… if we built a device that could detect god, would they accept the results when we turn it on? And they flatly refused…. ”

    I can’t help but picture Lucy, promising that she would not move the football, as Charlie Brown runs up to kick it.

  257. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    So a Kent Hovind groupie is going to convince people that common ancestry is false? Good luck with that. Bringing up Piltdown tells me all I need to know about how warped your pea brain really is.

  258. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Myself #289:

    Paraphrasing a distant memory of hearing AronRa

    Ah HA! Found it!
     
    Video: 2011 ACA Lecture – What we can honestly say we know pt3
    (in the first minute)

    Anything that really exists has properties, and God apparently does not. I offered a suggestion: a hypothetical level of technology that might be able to detect properties of God and thus prove his existence. And upon making that suggestion, the believers (in the chat room that I was in at the time) became violently opposed to the idea – seemingly because they wanted God’s properties to remain unknown. They wanted their god to remain indistinguishable from the illusions of delusion, so they could just say God is whatever they wanted to believe he was, that no one could ever tell them that they were wrong.

  259. says

    @293

    So a Kent Hovind groupie is going to convince people that common ancestry is false? Good luck with that. Bringing up Piltdown tells me all I need to know about how warped your pea brain really is.

    I think he said he’s a Muslim, and has been essentially arguing in favor of the Qu’ran. Once again, I’m curious why the Christian and the Muslim don’t go at each other, in the same thread. It’s like they have some international treaty that, if there’s any atheists present, they set aside their differences and focus on the “problem”.

    I’ve had a Muslim and Christian both try Pascal’s Wager on me, at the same time. I’ve dreamed about trying to get them to use the argument on each other.

  260. Chikoppi says

    @Sam Think for a moment about what you are saying. Your understanding of genetics isn’t as a practioner, or a researcher, or a even as a professional in a related field, but rather that you’ve “read a whole lot about it.” Yet you believe you know something that dedicated people, tens of thousands of professionals who have spent their entire careers studying, researching, and compiling information on the subject, don’t know. Not only that, but you, with your cursory at best exposure, have determined that they are wrong.

    I don’t know why you’ve decided that the established facts about these subjects are so threatening to you, but you’ve got to sort it out. It’s driving you to an unhealthy state of mind.

  261. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As an example, Crop circles are produced by aliens. Any crop circle found to be produced by humans is a *fake* crop circle and doesn’t share some important characteristic with *real* crop circles. It doesn’t matter to crop circle enthusiasts that any given crop circle has been determined to be produced by humans. It is NOT taken by them as evidence that some other crop circle is NOT produced by aliens.

    Are you actually saying that you cannot imagine hypothetical evidence that would convince you beyond all reasonable doubt that aliens have produced at least one crop circle?

    ~shocked~

  262. Robert,+not+Bob says

    #296, Chikoppi:

    Based on my experience, I suspect if he had to, Sam would admit he believed in the “grand conspiracy against God” by all the world’s scientists, and that they’re all trying to ignore-or hide-the giant plot hole in their theories.

  263. says

    “As an example, Crop circles are produced by aliens. Any crop circle found to be produced by humans is a *fake* crop circle and doesn’t share some important characteristic with *real* crop circles. It doesn’t matter to crop circle enthusiasts that any given crop circle has been determined to be produced by humans. It is NOT taken by them as evidence that some other crop circle is NOT produced by aliens.”

    Lol.

    What if you had a crop circle which just couldn’t be created by humans. All known methods have been tried and tested over and over again. The whole world has been challenged to do it but they fail. Do you assume there must be some super super clever individuals out there having fun fooling the world or maybe some scientists will be able to figure it out in the distant future?

  264. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What if you had a crop circle which just couldn’t be created by humans. All known methods have been tried and tested over and over again. The whole world has been challenged to do it but they fail. Do you assume there must be some super super clever individuals out there having fun fooling the world or maybe some scientists will be able to figure it out in the distant future?

    Two points. First, we have a massive wealth of background evidence that most crop circles are human-made cons. This ample background evidence will tilt our starting odds heavily towards “con by humans”. Second, even if we amass enough evidence to conclude that humans didn’t do it, that’s where the argument should stop. We don’t know how it happened. We shouldn’t then say “and therefore aliens did it”.

  265. says

    So you would be in the position to conclude that no known current human knowledge or technique could have produced the crop circle. Now that wasn’t hard to say was it?

    Lol.

  266. says

    A further thought, what if millions/billions of those crop circles kept on appearing all over the world.

    Maybe you’d conclude that crop circles are just a natural occurring phenomena of this universe?….hmmmm.

  267. says

    @Sam from the UK

    To EL’s point, we know there are MANY people on this planet that are working hard to fool other people, some for money, some for pleasure. Some, because they have been fooled themselves. Some use the idea of aliens to fool you, some use the idea of gods to fool you. Many seek out individuals that seem to be easy to fool. You ignore all of this at your own peril.

  268. says

    Okay, i just want to i think point out a honest mistake Matt committed in this video in the talk with SAM. Before i begin: I am an atheist, and reject of course Sam´s argumentation line. But there is something about the whole “possible” and “impossible” bit that i think should be cleared up. Just to prevent some atheist to drill into it and abuse it to besmirch the show. So in all i do here, please be aware that I am not an “enemy” of the show.

    If something hasn´t been proven to be possible, does that mean that it is impossible? It is 100% correct to say that it is not. If something has not been proven to be possible, there is no way we could say it is impossible. That HORN of the argument is true.
    But what with the OTHER horn?
    If something has not been proven to be IMPOSSIBLE, does that mean that it is possible? And Matt is of the opinion that the answer is – like in the first horn – NO as well. But that this is a mistake. Let us think it through. What would the DEFAULT position be if something has not been proven to be impossible? Well, the default position would be to say it is possible! It is of utmost importance to remind oneself that does not mean it is a fact. It does not mean it is necessary. It just means that it is possible, since it is not proven to be impossible. Because we need to be left with some Position, and that Position should not be self contradictory. If i say, that if something has not been proven to be impossible, then that means that it is neither impossible nor possible, then i have no idea what i am talking about. There is no neither impossible nor possible. Either something is possible or not possible (impossible) Neither would be the proposition: If something has not been proven to be impossible, then that means it is impossible AND possible, in any way intelligible. It is a flat logical contradiction. ONe has to remind oneself, that “possible” and “impossible” are NOT terms of epistemology, where one has the THIRD option: If something has not be sufficiently supported, then that means that there are two positions: Either we can reject it and accept its denial, or we can SUSPEND OUR JUDGEMENT, and neither accept it NOR accept its denial. The mistake Matt did was to somehow conflate terms of epistemology with terms of modal logic/essential metaphysics/classical Logic. The problem is whenever you use the term “possible” and “impossible” you should be wary that you leave epistemology and venture into the muck of modality.

  269. Devocate says

    @297:

    No. Reread what I actually said.

    You need to throw out that internal model in your head, of what people, who disagree with you, think. It is wrong.

  270. Chikoppi says

    “A further thought, what if millions/billions of those crop circles kept on appearing all over the world. Maybe you’d conclude that crop circles are just a natural occurring phenomena of this universe?….hmmmm.”

    I think we’d investigate and test hypothesis. Catalog location, time, place, type of crop, soil composition, weather patterns, frequency under various conditions, etc. We’d monitor locations with thermal, spectral, and sysmic equipment. We’d create controlled testing conditions to see if we can identify any correlating factors.

    What we wouldn’t do is conclude anything until there is good reason to do so. Until such a time the only rational answer about the cause of the phenomena would be “I don’t know, let’s keep looking.” To throw up our hands and say “it must be supernatural” would be no different than primitive people ascribing seemingly random weather events to angry spirits.

    In considering this thread, I don’t think your objection is to “science” per se. I think you’re wrestling with epistemology, the study of knowledge. Believing something and claiming to have knowledge of something are two very different types of claims. Skeptics base their beliefs proportionally on the quality of knowledge about that subject. In this regard, “I don’t know” (I don’t have enough good information to adopt any proposed conclusion) is a perfectly reasonable answer.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology

    Not all atheists know about or care about science. “Science” is not at the root. Epistemology, whether through a formal or informal understanding, is.

  271. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quoting Devocate

    No. Reread what I actually said.

    I did. You said this:

    Quoting Devocate
    Bolding added:

    I am claiming that XX (for the most part) has been purposefully defined precisely so that science has no *ability* to investigate it. Should such an ability become possible, the things in XX will be redefined (by their proponents) such that the class maintains its characteristic. No, while science can investigate claims of XX-set-hood, the only result it can produce is that the thing is not in XX, and this will have no impact on the believers of the thing (which will still be in XX to them).

    Bullshit. In particular, the bolded part is bullshit. It is epistemically possible for science to confirm that the Christian god does exist, or Thor does exist, or that wizardry from Dungeons And Dragons exists. You’re operating from the assumption that such things do not exist. You’re operating from the assumption that the theists cannot actually win. You’re operating from the assumption that there is no god that can be shown by science. Bullshit to all of that.

    In my post 91, I gave several examples of evidence that should be supremely convincing that there exists a creature for which we would all agree that “the Christian god” is a reasonably accurate description. Right here, you are denying that such a thing is possible, or you’re writing in the most confusing way possible.

    Again, for clarity, I ask: Can you imagine hypothetical evidence that would convince you that the Christian god exists? Please see post 91 before answering.

  272. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Further:
    To save yourself, you might try to argue that the Christians, having won in this hypothetical, would then attempt to redefine their claims in such a way that the Christian god is a natural phenomenon. Which is outright ludicrous.

    And finally, if you do take this ludicrous position, and the Christian god can be redefined, then what does it mean to assert your methodological naturalism? Presumably, you mean to say that science is not useful for some topics of inquiry. If science can work on inquiry into the Christian god, then exactly what topics of inquiry are verboten according to methodological naturalism? Presumably none. If you’re with me thus far, then your methodological naturalism is not right. It’s not even wrong.

  273. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    That last paragraph is IMO the clearest way you’ve ever laid out your objections to “methodological naturalism.” High five.
    Sorry about the ninja earlier! HIVEMIND wins again.

  274. Blixic says

    RE: The mule/horse question that got people annoyed on both sides.

    I’m super late into this discussion, but I’m actually a geneticist. Meaning, I have two degrees in it and have worked in a genetics laboratory in a veterinary setting for more than 5 years.

    To restate the question, I think he asked that if I was given the DNA from a horse and a mule that was its child, how would I prove/know that the mule was the child of the horse (and not vise-versa, or any other relationship between them). And I’d have to do this without relying on my knowledge of the typical relationship between horses and mules.

    It’s easy, but here’s a little bit of background. All of the horses sex cells go through meiosis, a type of reductionary cell division, to produce eggs or sperm (egg in the case of the horse/mule relationship). During this process, each pair of chromosomes that the horse has meets up with each other and exchanges material. This makes each chromosome in the resulting egg or sperm cell a patchwork of the parent’s chromosomes. So, if the horse had horse chromosome #1 version “ABC” and version “DEF”, the single copy of horse chromosome #1 in the resulting egg or sperm might be “ABF”, “AEF”, “AEC”, “DEC”, “DBF”, or “DBC”. It’s also possible (although highly unlikely) that no exchanges occur. But, it’s never the case that no exchanges occur for every chromosome, therefore, at least some of the resulting chromosomes would be patchworks.

    The answer: In the mule, one set of its chromosomes would be a patchwork of both sets of the horse’s chromosomes. This would not be the case vise-versa; the horse would not have one set of chromosomes that is a patchwork of the both sets of the mule’s chromosomes.

    The method: This particular type of testing could be done by whole-genome sequencing, which is possible at this point – although time-consuming and costly. It could also be done by simply looking at any number of small regions of chromosomes and simply looking for a particular constellation of alleles, ie looking for which one has a patchwork chromosomal region of the other’s two. Or, an even easier way to do it is to simply stain the chromosomes (obtained easily from a blood sample) on a microscope slide and then photograph them. Afterwards, you can use simple photo-editing software to cut and paste the chromosomes into a karyotype (a good word to look up when talking about evolution), which shows all of the chromosome pairs lined up next to each other. This way you can visualize, through dye or banding patterns, that one clearly has one set of chromosomes that is a patchwork of both of the other’s.

  275. Blixic says

    Also, Sam in #24 is just completely wrong. Like 100% wrong. Demonstrably wrong. I think everyone else has said as much, but he just doesn’t accept it.

    “The second point I tried to make to Matt was that DNA and fossils CANNOT be used as evidence of Common Ancestry…”

    Yes they can. And are.

    …”because you simply CANNOT use them to determine which species can interbreed with another. ”

    Yes you can. Although it’s different whether you’re talking about plants, animals, bacteria, etc., but you can tell. Even if you couldn’t, I don’t understand how this particular point would disprove common ancestry. Common ancestry is not about which species *can* interbreed with another, and in most cases it’s not even about which ones *have* interbred with each other. It’s usually about how or when a group within a species (or a whole species) split up or otherwise split their breeding up into two or more groups that then naturally accumulated random mutations. And because the two or more groups no longer bred with each other, the random mutations that the accrued over time were different. And over more time, those random mutations led to noticeable phenotypic/morphological differences and eventually led to the groups not being able to successfully reproduce with each other, even if they tried.

    “Matt was simply WRONG that you can use DNA to ancestry in humans.”

    Nope. He wasn’t.

    “From your grandparents level and beyond DNA is simply not reliable.”

    It’s still reliable, just less precise. However, on a species-wide scale, it’s extremely reliable and precise. Like, take into account the DNA from a sampling of 100 humans of various ethnicities and compare it to the DNA of 100 gorillas from various locations. You can easily see the relation via DNA sequencing, RFLP analysis, or even karyotyping . Even without DNA, you can still get nearly as-good results from good old morphology (looking at the physical, macro-scale differences and similarities).

    “To go on and claim that you can use DNA to determine Common Ancestry among species is simply not true. If anyone thinks it is then please send me the links to the papers/resources.”

    It is true, demonstrably. I really don’t see why someone else has to search the internet for you, but here’s a good starting point:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

    Read the article, then check out the references section and read some of the articles there. There are lots to choose from, and surely something must look interesting to you. The amount of data out there to support common ancestry by morphology, fossils, DNA, etc. is huge. I can’t point you to one singular article that sums it all up (although a meta-article like the wikipedia page is a really great summary), because there isn’t one; there are hundreds of thousands of them. Take your pick and then realize that they all corroborate each other, regardless of what kind of organism (or non-organism, like a virus) it’s about.

    The problem is that when you google a subject like this, you get lots of results that are religious-biased and not many that are scientific. Sam, you’ve got to realize that all of the rebuttals in these religious websites are non-scientific, false, made up, misconstrued, etc., and most importantly can’t be backed up or demonstrated. Heck, most of them actually give *biblical* reasons for their rebuttals, as if using the bible to prove that the bible is true could even work. Religious people that don’t want you to trust science when it disagrees with their old holy book WILL LIE to you. They may do it out of compassion for your “soul”, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

  276. John Iacoletti says

    Piltdown Man is not an example of the failure of science, it’s an example of science working the way it’s supposed to work.

  277. says

    @Blixic,

    Thank you for making the comments. I hope with your background in genetics you will be able to help in this discussion.

    “If the hypothesis of common descent is true, then species that share a common ancestor inherited that ancestor’s DNA sequence, as well as mutations unique to that ancestor. More closely related species have a greater fraction of identical sequence and shared substitutions compared to more distantly related species.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

    The second sentence makes a claim that “More closely related species have a greater fraction of identical sequence and shared substitutions compared to more distantly related species”. Now in the example of the mule. In terms of lineage who is more closely to the mule.

    A. Another mule.
    B. The horse.
    C. The donkey.

    Bear in mind you know nothing about origins the DNA. My understanding is that based on comparison of the DNA alone then you must conclude that another mule must be more closely related to the mule.

    Second question is by just looking at the DNA how did you determine that the horse and donkey would be able to produce an offspring.

    Third question. If you are given the DNA of a number of mules how do you determine that the mules will be infertile or fertile. Bear in mind you have no idea that the DNA belongs to some mules.

    Thanks

  278. says

    @John lacoletti,

    It’s an example of the truth eventually being found out. It’s nothing to do with science. Atheists don’t have any exclusive rights over science no matter how much they cite it in support of their arguments.

  279. Blixic says

    @Sam #318. Just as a preamble, I should restate what others in this thread have stated. I truly don’t understand how any of your questions lead to falsifying evolution or common ancestry. In fact, they don’t. But I would like to hear why you think they do. And, even if they did somehow, I truly don’t understand how it would lead to proof of a god. That being said, you don’t have to reply to this preamble as long as you take my concerns to heart. Here are the answers.

    Question one. The claim is not “one individual member of a species”. Read it again: “More closely related *species* have a greater fraction of identical sequence and shared substitutions compared to more distantly related *species*”. Yes, if you look at mules as a species (which they really aren’t, because they are nearly completely unsuccessful at reproducing), horses as a species, donkeys as a species, and heck even hinneys as a species, you would find that they are all more similar to members of their own species than members of other species. But this is a species-wide comparison and not at an individual level. A parent-child relationship is an individual vs. individual relationship, and can’t be compared to a species vs. species relationship. I’m more closely related to other humans than to chimps, but I’m also much much more closely related to my own mother than to other humans. If I was a hybrid between an human and an alien, I’d be more related to other human-alien hybrids as a group (meaning I share similar chromosome sets and alleles with them, moreso than humans or aliens), but I’d still have a staggering 50% of my DNA *identical* to either of my parents. So, hopefully I’ve answered the question. If not, how about instead of using this hybrid example, we get at what the issue really is. Like, if I gave you the answer you were hoping for, what would the next step be and what do you think that would prove?

    Question two. DNA sequences alone cannot do this. It can’t tell you whether something is able to reproduce with something else. Looking at DNA sequences can’t tell you exactly how tall a person will be or how much viable sperm they will have. A huge part of going from genotype to phenotype is post-DNA “nurture”, or what happens to you during your life. You could have genes to be extremely tall, but then have very poor nutrition and end up being very short, etc. Similarly, you can’t tell whether two things will be able to successfully mate. And, not to get too graphic, but success of mating has many levels… DNA compatibility, hormone compatibility, chemical compatibility, probably lots of others in the middle (I’m not a physiologist so I probably couldn’t name them all), and the last one being physical compatibility. Let’s say hypothetically the DNA was compatible for a human to reproduce with a gnat… Well, obvious physical (and likely hormonal, chemical, etc., etc.) incompatibilities would prevent this from occurring except possibly in a petri dish. But, hopefully you’re not drawing a comparison from this to the mule question that I answered in #313. You didn’t say that I had to determine whether it was “possible for mating to occur”, but by looking at the DNA or chromosomes I could tell you that one was the parent of the other.

    Question three. That one is pretty easy in this case. Because horses and donkeys have a different number of chromosomes, they chromosomes will not “pair up” in meiosis (as I described in #313). Similar chromosomes will line up, but there will be one extra horse chromosome that has no homologous (similar) donkey chromosome to pair with. Because of this, the extra chromosome will likely be torn apart into two random chunks. Or, some sex cells will get a whole extra chromosome while others will be missing a whole chromosome. This is called aneuploidy and is very deleterious for animals – causes very early miscarriages, sometimes within hours of fertilization! You can see and predict this by looking at the mule’s karyotype – hopefully you looked that up! You’ll be able to see that there is an odd number of chromosomes, which always spells disaster for reproduction in animals. In plants, however, aneuploidy and even polyploidy (doubling, tripling, quadrupling [etc.] whole sets of chromosomes) is common and not usually deleterious.

    So, if you were given a DNA sample of *some organism* that reproduces sexually and you didn’t know whether it was plant or animal (and for some reason weren’t allowed to sequence any of it to find out), as long as the karyotype showed an even number of chromosomes in homologous pairs, a reasonable person would conclude that, at a DNA level, reproduction would be possible. You’d have to have to be able to test the actual organism itself for the other levels of reproduction barriers to find out for sure.

    Now, what does any of this have to do with evolution? Lol. I don’t mind answering questions like this at all, but I’m failing to see the point other than to educate you. Which, I guess is fine with me.

  280. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #319

    You’re going about it exactly backwards. You’re starting with a belief and hoping that science will one day justify it, instead of looking at what the science shows and using that to formulate your belief. If you’re going to embrace science as a methodology for discovering what is true or likely to be true then you should recognize this.

  281. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Blixic
    Upthread, Sam let slip his actual argument. I’m not sure on what it is exactly, but it’s something like this: DNA testing cannot distinguish between species related by normal population descent vs hybridization. Therefore, the purported family tree of animal life as shown by DNA might actually contains lots of links that are hybridization, or even some other thing(!). Therefore, the purported family tree of life is not strong evidence in support of common ancestry.

  282. Blixic says

    @#322. Oh, interesting, kinda. Well Sam, ‘normal’ population descent does take into account interbreeding, cross-breeding, founder effects, diversifications, and anything else you could throw at it. Now, in any particular lineage, more fine-tuning of our knowledge of what happened is always helpful. This is why people have studied and are still studying specific phylogenies. For my Master’s degree, I gathered evidence to answer a question about which specific subspecies of strawberry hybridized with which other specific subspecies of strawberry to create the hybrid that we commonly produce in the USA. Now, before I got my answer, was the human body of knowledge of common ancestry lacking a vital clue? No, it was just a minor detail of one of a gazillion (scientific term, of course) lineages. A friend of mine also did her Master’s on a particular group of species of parrots in the Amazon basin, answering the question of who interbred with who first, second, and most recently. Again, this is just fine-tuning of our knowledge of particular threads. Nothing that we have discovered about any phylogeny has gone against the idea of common ancestry. In conclusion, common ancestry is accurate, and is not thrown by hybridization. Don’t forget (or learn something new!): If two animals can successfully reproduce with each other and produce fertile offspring, they are considered the same species. Really kind of throws a monkey wrench in your idea, huh?

  283. says

    @Blixic,

    I’ll not involve God in the discussion yet. It’s not necessary when challenging common descent.

    I realise species is the wrong word for mules. As you will know the term “species” has a long evolving history and even today is considered “plastic”. The problem is how do you determine whether a living organism is of a certain species just by examining the fossils and DNA? As far as I know it’s just not possible since as you confirmed below, DNA can’t be used to determine whether one living organism is able to reproduce with another.

    “Question two. DNA sequences alone cannot do this. It can’t tell you whether something is able to reproduce with something else.” – Blixic

    That was one of the key points I was trying to get across to Matt and John and some of the folk on this forum – hopefully they will accept it now. Common descent relies on a chain of successive generations of living organisms being able to reproduce with one another. Doesn’t matter if populations split up or whatever, at some point the genes were passed down via sexual reproduction. The question I am raising is that if you can’t use DNA to confirm whether one living organism can reproduce with another then how do you justify using DNA as evidence of common descent which relies on sexual reproduction.

    I know where the scientists are coming from when they propose common ancestry. Logically it makes sense. Millions of years, tiny changes/mutations over thousands of generations, etc, etc. I get it all. BUT let’s look at reality. Let’s take a look at living organism today and the DNA since we now know much more about it. Are there any similiar species which can’t reproduce? Are there any living organism who actually can reproduce with one another but just choose not to? When species do interbreed what is the extent of the change at the DNA level and morphology?

    The point I am trying to get across is that when you look at reality it’s just not straight forward. We simply don’t have any examples of a lineage of living organisms who start from one kind of species to a completey different one. For example from a dinosaur to a bird. There is simply no such evidence of that nature. Please don’t cite ring species. On top of that we observe species which simply don’t fit in the phylogenetic tree and for whom there is no apparent similiar species living today.

  284. says

    @EL,

    The phylogenetic tree. How do you think it’s created?
    Now think of your family tree and think how that is put together. Do they put together by examining the fossils of your ancestors and using DNA?

    When you reply back that DNA is used to determine you’re ancestry please let me know how far back they can go to determine it reliably that you’re ancestors were of the same bloodline as you and what other evidence you have to confirm it.

  285. says

    @Blixic,

    “If two animals can successfully reproduce with each other and produce fertile offspring, they are considered the same species. Really kind of throws a monkey wrench in your idea, huh?”

    Sorry not sure why you are stating the above. To me it’s like saying if this cat looks black then it;s black. It’s meaningless when it comes to determining common ancestry for animals which no longer exist today as you confirmed that there is no way of determining which animal can reproduce with another simply by using DNA.

    For some reason you still think that common ancestry is still a well supported assumption. I’ll reply to this tomorrow.

  286. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    About phylogeny:
    We can make a particular phylogenetic tree based solely on genetics of extant species. Then we can make one based on morphology in the fossil record. Then we can make yet another one with physiology. Guess what? They cross-confirm each other. see, scientists aren’t dunces who just make shit up for no reason. People like you do that. Stop assuming other people share your shortcomings.

  287. Blixic says

    @Sam #324.

    Yes, species is a plastic term. Like all words that we know of, it was created by humans to describe something. We can define living species by testing (in vitro, in silico, or in vivo) whether they can successfully reproduce with one another. We can also define living species by %homology of DNA when it is unrealistic or impossible to try to get them to try to mate (awkward!). This is the kind of thing I do in my daily work. All you have to do is take a sampling of what we currently consider to be “a species” and come up with the observed minimum % homology of DNA. Say, if we tested a large number of humans of all ethnicities and found that the minimum similarity between any 2 humans tested is 95% (this is hypothetical and I don’t know or care to look up the actual number). Then, we have some other organism that we’re trying to figure out if it’s part of that species… we compare it against our database of already-tested humans. If the organism in question comes up at only 92% homology to some humans, we would say that it’s likely a different species, based on the organisms in the dataset. Then, morphology and (awkward!) reproduction tests could confirm this classification. When we don’t have living members of a species, or when we are comparing a non-living sample, all we can rely on is whatever sample we have. If it’s a fossil, we have to classify based on morphology. If it’s glacier-preserved DNA, then we have a very small data set to compare to. Either way, we can still get a good answer. This is especially true *BECAUSE* the word “species” is so plastic. However, common ancestry does not rely on a precise and static definition of the word. Humans have just arbitrarily decided what counts as a species and what doesn’t. It doesn’t actually make a difference when we look at lineages. A species is actually fluid, constantly changing, and plastic itself so our definition is a good fit.

    Sam: “The question I am raising is that if you can’t use DNA to confirm whether one living organism can reproduce with another then how do you justify using DNA as evidence of common descent which relies on sexual reproduction.”

    I’m sorry, Sam, but these two things are not dependent on each other. Why would I need to be able to tell if something *COULD* reproduce with something else, when, (as I stated in the mule/horse answer in #313) I can tell that something *DID*?

    About your last two paragraphs, I’m afraid reality is kicking your butt.

    “Are there any similiar species which can’t reproduce? Are there any living organism who actually can reproduce with one another but just choose not to?”

    Neither of those questions have any significance or consequence to common ancestry. Sure, there could be either. So what? Like I said, species is just a term humans created. What actually happened is a bunch of long lineages occured, more and more of them over time (in general, except for apocalyptic events that killed lots of species), and then humans came along and decided to try to group them arbitrarily. It really has no bearing on the correctness of common ancestry.

    There is no such thing as “kinds” of organisms in the sense you use it. It’s an idea invented by creationists. Of course we can’t see a living dinosaur evolve into a living bird – we’d have to live for millions of years to see that! A la Dawkins, we are detectives, arriving after the event happened. We are left with a plethora of evidence, but eyewitness accounts only tell the (very) end of what happened. We have to go and figure out what all of the evidence leads to. And, guess what? It leads to common descent.

    I HIGHLY recommend you read “The Greatest Show on Earth” to answer other basic questions you might have and also to help you get a better picture of what common ancestry is actually suggesting. It describes common ancestry in easily understood and interesting terms. You say you have done “tons of reading” on common ancestry but you have demonstrated some really huge misunderstandings that are leading you to draw really weird conclusions. This book will make it very easy to understand, from a broad perspective all the way down to a single organism’s perspective. Of course, you don’t have to believe it, but to argue against something (which you seem to want to) you at least need to understand it.

  288. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The phylogenetic tree. How do you think it’s created?

    Offhand, by two major lines of evidence, with a third supporting. 1- Categorization by apparent similarilty of morphology of modern species. 2- Objective DNA measures on the genomes of modern species. 3- Apparent family history by apparent similarilty of morphology in the fossil record, including change over time as visible in the fossil record.

    Carl Linnaeus discovered the tree of life by creating a systematic categorization of modern animal species according to their apparent similarilty of morphology. This happened several hundred years before the discovery of DNA. This happened a hundred years before anyone knew what fossils were! This happened a hundred years before Darwin wrote his book on evolutionary theory.

    Then, completely independently, by using objective mathematical measures of similarity of genomes, we plotted the genetic distance of the genomes of modern animal species with a computer. This plotting of genetic distance discovered the same family tree pattern of Carl Linnaeus. We did not provide any inputs to this process except the DNA sequences themselves. Obviously, the two family trees had some minor differences, but overall the two family trees were very, very close. This close-ness cannot be random chance.

    I’m sure that one can use the fossil record to help accomplish the same thing, but AFAICT, because of the scarcity of the fossil record, this is at best a supplement for particular areas of the family tree.

    To Sam and Blixic:

    “Question two. DNA sequences alone cannot do this. It can’t tell you whether something is able to reproduce with something else.” – Blixic

    That was one of the key points I was trying to get across to Matt and John and some of the folk on this forum – hopefully they will accept it now. Common descent relies on a chain of successive generations of living organisms being able to reproduce with one another. Doesn’t matter if populations split up or whatever, at some point the genes were passed down via sexual reproduction. The question I am raising is that if you can’t use DNA to confirm whether one living organism can reproduce with another then how do you justify using DNA as evidence of common descent which relies on sexual reproduction.

    You’re misunderstanding.

    The practicing scientist Blixic answered a particular question: (paraphrase, with my emphasis:) “By looking only at the DNA of two animal individuals, maybe same species, maybe not, can we determine if they can interbreed?” – “No. Modern academia does not possess the knowledge to do so reliably.” You understood the answer as equivalent to “No, the desired information is not available in the DNA, even in principle”, which is a ludicrous position. Obviously, whether two animal individuals can interbreed depends on their body and behavior, which are heavily dependent on their DNA, especially the body, and it’s also dependent on the chromosomal compatibility of the DNA itself. tl;dr whether two animals can interbreed is heavily dependent on their DNA.

  289. adamah says

    Sam said:

    The problem is how do you determine whether a living organism is (a member) of a certain species just by examining the fossils and DNA? As far as I know it’s just not possible since as you confirmed below, DNA can’t be used to determine whether one living organism is able to reproduce with another.

    The question I am raising is that if you can’t use DNA to confirm whether one living organism can reproduce with another, then how do you justify using DNA as evidence of common descent which relies on sexual reproduction?

    Is that what’s hanging you up?

    One of the basic suppositions of biology is that fully-formed organisms don’t just spring out of thin air, but only result from other living matter.

    That’s called the “principle of ‘biogenesis”:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogenesis

    In all of Homo sapiens’ recorded history, there’s never been one verified instance of life spontaneously generating, whether on its own, or as the result of a magical spell. No, that kind of stuff happens only in fantasy books (e.g. God saying, “Let there be life”, and TAW-DAH!!).

    Instead, evolution is a SLOW process, e.g. it took millions of years for mammals to emerge from their single-celled ancestors, where the clear majority of the animal kingdom used sexual reproduction to produce offspring.

    So if we should be so lucky as to find an animal fossil buried in the Earth, our operating assumption is that the animal which left the fossil remains resulted from sexual reproduction, since that’s exactly how new animal life comes about now.

    And so much the better if more than one fossil is found, and all the luckier if some have the morphological traits of members of an opposite sex!

    We can thus be comfortable concluding such fossils (esp if they’re approximately the same age) are the result of species mating to produce the fossilized individuals as their offspring.

    Your bought up hybrids, but they’re relatively rare; they are the exceptions, rather than the rule, of sexual reproduction. Since they often cannot successfully reproduce and pass on their genes to offspring, they are evolutionary ‘dead-end roads’, the end of their genetic lineage.

    But as doomed as they may be to exist only on the trash heap of failed experiments in evolution, hybrids are often intentionally produced due to Homo sapien intervention (aka breeding), e.g. sterile mules have been produced for millennia to combine the desirable traits of the horse (speed, intelligence, ease of domestication) with the best qualities of the donkey (sure-footed, efficient metabolism, able to carry heavy loads).

    You asked of an example of members of the same species who don’t (or can’t) reproduce. Aside from genetic compatibility, remember there’s often morphological traits which effectively preclude interbreeding amongst members of the same species.

    The best example that comes to mind are both canines: the Chihuahua and Great Dane.

    Although they potentially could reproduce, their vast size difference renders that, for all intents and purposes, an impossibility (and in the case of the diminutive female Chi, all I can say is, “OUCH!” The male Chi would require the assistance of elevator shoes to mount the female Great Dane, and that’s not likely to happen: male Chis look funny wearing elevator shoes, and their ego prevents it).

    Point being, these groups may very well be on their way to becoming different species, but time will tell if that ultimately happens or not.

    FWIW, if you’re a biology major in undergrad, a formal course on Evolution is not introduced until the 3rd year of studies.

    This is not accidental: understanding the concepts of evolution requires having studied a diverse range of prerequisite course work (zoology, anatomy, animal physiology, genetics, inorganic and organic chemistry, botany, etc, etc).

    In that sense, the theory of evolution is the unifying theory of biology, and presented only after the vast supportive evidence is understood. That’s why evolution is said to be the grand-unifying theory of biology, which physicists have searched for in their field, but haven’t yet found.

    So without the theory of evolution, the biological sciences would simply become a study of memorizing disparate facts and figures; without it, nothing in biology makes any cohesive sense.

    So when someone implies the unifying theory of my field of study is all wet, I consider the source and must question how much biology they’ve studied….

    In MY book (which is a biology textbook), there’s nothing more arrogant than someone telling those who’ve dedicated their lives to advancing knowledge that they’re doing it all wrong, esp when it’s clear the person doesn’t know much about the subject matter.

    That’s called the “arrogance of ignorance”, and not surprisingly, it’s quite prevalent in believers who feel emboldened to do so, backed only by their faith in God.

    That said, I’m impressed with your drive and persistence: you’re obviously motivated to learn more of the subject matter, and you’re obviously smarter than the average lay-person.

    I’d encourage you to consider formalized training in biology: nothing is more exciting than studying life itself, and a mind is a terrible thing to waste by filling it with fear-driven fantasies and superstitions.

  290. says

    @admah,

    “Is that what’s hanging you up?

    One of the basic suppositions of biology is that fully-formed organisms don’t just spring out of thin air, but only result from other living matter.”

    “So without the theory of evolution, the biological sciences would simply become a study of memorizing disparate facts and figures; without it, nothing in biology makes any cohesive sense.”

    Erm.. yes of course that is one of the things that is “hanging me up”. It’s irrelevant to the current science of biology if fully-formed organisms spring out of thin air. Biology does not rely on common descent. It’s not important. What we know about living organisms in terms of how they function is not affected at all.

  291. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    Biology does not rely on common descent. It’s not important. What we know about living organisms in terms of how they function is not affected at all.

    That’s physiology, you dumb shit. But even this is informed by evolution. Explain atavisms without evolution, dickhead.
    Given that you clearly don’t understand at least half the terms used by Blixic, what is your purpose here? Do you just want to troll and waste time? Because that’s what it looks like.

  292. HappyPerson says

    Sam from the UK says:
    “Erm.. yes of course that is one of the things that is “hanging me up”. It’s irrelevant to the current science of biology if fully-formed organisms spring out of thin air. Biology does not rely on common descent. It’s not important. What we know about living organisms in terms of how they function is not affected at all.”

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA215.html

  293. Monocle Smile says

    @Panda Panda, 307

    Because we need to be left with some Position

    No, we do not. Matt’s not the one having trouble with epistemology. That’s you.
    Possibility needs to be demonstrated because we live in a universe that operates on rules. This means that some things are indeed impossible, but just because we haven’t demonstrated this doesn’t mean that something is possible.

  294. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam

    Erm.. yes of course that is one of the things that is “hanging me up”. It’s irrelevant to the current science of biology if fully-formed organisms spring out of thin air. Biology does not rely on common descent. It’s not important. What we know about living organisms in terms of how they function is not affected at all.

    I know that might be exaggeration for rhetorical effect, but taken at face value, that’s just wrong. One of the biggest advances in biology and especially medicine was the germ theory of disease, and dare I say that the germ theory of disease depends on the demonstrated fact that life does not spontaneously arise from non-life (or at least that it does so only exceedingly rarely). The known fact that germs do not spontaneously form on sterilized equipment is an invaluable fact for modern medicine, i.e. surgery.

    Again, I want to check with you. Do you understand the two following facts? Do you contest the two following facts?

    1-
    Carl Linnaeus probably was a Christian creationist. He discovered a particular hierarchy of animals which we today call “the tree of life”. When he discovered the tree of life, he ddn’t know what it was. When he discovered the tree of life, it was before Darwin and the invention/discovery of evolution. It was before the discovery of what fossils are. It was before the discovery that some species have gone extinct. It was before the discovery of DNA. It was before the modern consensus of the age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years old.

    2-
    With modern technology, when we measure the genomes of various animal species, and when we use a compute algorithm to simply measure the differences between the genomes using objective, reasonable measures, and when we plot those results, we see the same relationship that Carl Linnaeus discovered. We see the family tree. This work can be repeated by anyone with the proper equipment. This work does not require any assumptions of common ancestry, evolution, etc. It’s simply a matter of measuring the differences in genomes and plotting them. Crudely, it’s something like “we measure that humans and chimps are X% different, humans and dogs are Y% different, etc.”, and then creating a plot based on those distances.

  295. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    Also, ponder this. Humans have 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs. The other great apes have 48 chromosomes, 24 pairs. We’ve known this for a long time. If evolution were true, and if we shared a common ancestor, then one human chromosome pair must be a fusion, a joining, of 2 pairs of the other great ape chromosomes. This was known before the genomes of the two animals was measured and published. A prediction was made: If evolution is true, then when we measure the genomes, we should see that one human chromosome pair should be a fusion of 2 pairs of other great ape chromosomes. This prediction predated the measuring and publishing of the genomes. Then, we measured the genomes, and the results were published, and we found that chromosomal fusion.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosome_2_%28human%29

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/07/19/the-mystery-of-the-missing-chromosome-with-a-special-guest-appearance-from-facebook-creationists/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oweUN-GaN3M

    That’s clear-cut evidence for common ancestry.

    Now, imagine discoveries like this being made every day, discoveries of various kinds – not just chromosomal fusions. Each discovery is just as amazing as this one. Imagine thousands, tens of thousands, of such data points. That’s the evidence we have for common ancestry and evolution.

  296. says

    @EL,

    ” and dare I say that the germ theory of disease depends on the demonstrated fact that life does not spontaneously arise from non-life (or at least that it does so only exceedingly rarely). The known fact that germs do not spontaneously form on sterilized equipment is an invaluable fact for modern medicine, i.e. surgery.”

    Sorry not sure how germ theory depends “on the demonstrated fact that life does not spontaneously arise from non-life”. You say say life does not spontaneously arise from non-life then in brackets you say “or at least that it does so only exceedingly rarely”. You seem to be claiming one thing then immediately disclaim it. Not making sense.

    Would you agree that seeds are non-life and become life spontaneously? If not why would you consider seeds as non-life.

  297. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry not sure how germ theory depends “on the demonstrated fact that life does not spontaneously arise from non-life”.

    What? It was common to wear blood-stained clothing into surgery as late as the 1870s. It was common to not wear face masks during surgery as late as the 1890s. That’s because they didn’t understand that many kinds of disease are caused by germs. Their model of reality is something called spontaneous generation, where life comes from non-life all the time. If that is your understanding of biology, then it doesn’t make sense to try to sterilize your equipment, maintain a clean operating room, etc. It makes sense to do those things only with the modern knowledge that many diseases are caused by germs, and that germs can be killed in the usual ways (cleaning, disinfectant, hot temperatures, etc.), and crucially that germs will not spontaneously form on the equipment after being cleaned. The idea “life only comes from life” is a crucial underpinning of germ theory.

    You say say life does not spontaneously arise from non-life then in brackets you say “or at least that it does so only exceedingly rarely”. You seem to be claiming one thing then immediately disclaim it. Not making sense.

    The reason for the hedging should be obvious: abiogenesis. Abiogenesis and spontaneous generation are two very different things.

    Would you agree that seeds are non-life and become life spontaneously? If not why would you consider seeds as non-life.

    What? Hell no. Do you know what’s in a seed? A seed growing into a tree is radically different than the belief that maggots and flies would form on meat open to the air spontaneously, which is famously what happens according to spontaneous generation, and which doesn’t actually happen in the real world. Trees creating tree seeds which create trees is comparable to flies creating maggot eggs creating maggots creating flies. Both are radically different from the notion that maggots can spontaneously appear in rotten meat in open air sans fly eggs.

    And finally, I want to know where you’re getting your script – specifically this nonsense about “seeds are non-life”. Is it Ken Ham? Kent Hovind? Institute Of Creation Research? Answers In Genesis?

  298. says

    @HappyPerson,

    “Without the theory of evolution, it would still be possible to know much about biology, but not to understand it.”
    -http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA215.html

    Not sure what the author is trying to say here but my guess he is looking for something to explain the origin of life. Theory of evolution does not explain the origin of life. It’s a theory to explain the diversity of life as far as I understand it. Non-believers are looking for a “natural” explanation to explain the bio-diversity. What they don’t understand is that life being able to reproduce itself is anything but natural. It’s a phenomena which can’t be explained via physics and chemistry when you get down to the molecular level.

    Non-believers are oversimplifying the observations they make. But enough of that, it’s better to take a look at specific areas to see what we actually observe and know.

  299. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What they don’t understand is that life being able to reproduce itself is anything but natural. It’s a phenomena which can’t be explained via physics and chemistry when you get down to the molecular level.

    What the fuck?

    Are you saying that when a bacteria undergoes mitosis and splits to form two “identical” bacteria, it’s magic!?

    Seriously. We understand how that happens, all down to the “molecular level”. There’s nothing mysterious about bacteria replication.

  300. says

    @EL,

    The reason why I say seeds are non-life is because the they don’t fit the definition of life as we understand it. A seed isn’t active, there are no dynamic processes taking place as you would find in a living organism. It is not growing. It doesn’t need energy.

    Now can you explain why you think a seed is life. Hopefully you will be able to point to some resource which the scientific community agrees on.

  301. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What’s your point? On the inadequacy of certain technical definitions of “life”? Great. You could also cite “viruses”. This kind of deficiency is not a secret. It’s not like the entire academic world is suddenly going to wake up and realize that “oh shit, how did we miss this for hundreds of years!?”. Again, what’s your point?

  302. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    This is some seriously cuckoo shit.
    Seeds are dormant. They can become nonviable. Right there in EL’s link is a section on germination.
    There are several species of plant, insect, and fish that go dormant when their water habitat freezes. They are still alive.

    What they don’t understand is that life being able to reproduce itself is anything but natural. It’s a phenomena which can’t be explained via physics and chemistry when you get down to the molecular level

    Nonsense like this is starting to convince me that you’re either a deliberate troll or a nut who isn’t worth engaging.

  303. says

    @EL,

    “Are you saying that when a bacteria undergoes mitosis and splits to form two “identical” bacteria, it’s magic!?
    Seriously. We understand how that happens, all down to the “molecular level”. There’s nothing mysterious about bacteria replication.”

    Never said it was magic. But yes it is mysterious. When you say you understand down to the molecular level then please explain why scientist are not able to replicate the process from scratch. You may be confusing “understanding” with “observation”. Just because you can observe something happen does not mean you understand it or are able to replicate it or control it.

  304. says

    @EL,

    “On the inadequacy of certain technical definitions of “life”? Great. You could also cite “viruses”. This kind of deficiency is not a secret. It’s not like the entire academic world is suddenly going to wake up and realize that “oh shit, how did we miss this for hundreds of years!?””

    Although this is a great topic we’re going off the subject of Common Descent. I’ll concentrate on that for now since we have Blixic around to help.

  305. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    Let’s take it a step back: I claim that it’s entirely possible – in principle – to take literal a-biological rock, take them into a lab, then refine the rocks to the elemental constituents like oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, etc., then arrange these atoms of the elements into certain shapes, and voila – you could produce a functioning prokaryote of a particular species that would function and behave identically to any cell found of that species found in the wild.

    Do you believe that this is actually impossible? Do you believe that the functioning of a prokaryote cell is something more than chemistry and atomic physics? On what basis do you make such a bold claim? All of the evidence we have today very clearly shows that every known mechanism in such a cell is mediated entirely by known chemistry and known physics.

    This is what I asked earlier. You dodged the question. Let me ask it again. Do you believe that the functioning and replication of a prokaryote cell from the wild happens by known materialistic physics? Or by some alternative process, i.e. magic?

    Of course, today we lack the tools and methods to produce such a cell from scratch, from literal rock, but there is every reason to believe that it can be done, and no reason to believe that it could not be done – in principle.

  306. jetflaque says

    Sam, all you do, literary ALL you do, is:

    SAm: I don’t understand this!/we can’t explain this. MUST be god!
    person x: “yeah but it works like this, and even if we didn’t know, that still doesn’t prove your god”
    Sam: “yeah but this other thing then? Must be god!
    person x: “works like this, and even if we didn’t know, that still doesn’t prove you god:
    Sam: but this other thing its GOD GOD GOD LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOOUUUU!!!!

    Your god is the god of the gaps. And throughout this comment section and the debate you had with Matt/John you desperately kept trying to push it into every gap you could find, You can’t STAND the fact that you cannot grasp something, so you pick the easiest non answer and thats god did it.

    Its intellectually incredibly lazy, You’re no different from the viking that thought up Thor when he saw lightning. Word of advice, Try and be actually honest with yourself in matters that you don’t understand. and try to see that the conclusion of not knowing something:

    is that you don’t know it. not insert god here)<-. your god in this format has no substance whatsoever and is nothing more then another word for "i dunno".

    peace

  307. Chikoppi says

    @Sam said: “When you say you understand down to the molecular level then please explain why scientist are not able to replicate the process from scratch. You may be confusing “understanding” with “observation”. Just because you can observe something happen does not mean you understand it or are able to replicate it or control it.”

    And you may be confusing “not knowing everything” with “not knowing anything.”

    This man-made cell has the smallest genome ever

    “We knew we could boot up a virus from our synthetic DNA, but nobody had ever transplanted a microbial genome, specifically one made from scratch with four bottles of chemicals,” Venter told The Washington Post. “So [the 2010 paper] was the control experiment to see if any of this was possible.”

    “In an email to The Post, Harvard University professor George Church, who wasn’t involved in the new paper, called it “a solid study worthy of celebration” but pointed out that gene editing using the CRISPR method is also coming along rapidly. It’s likely that editing will be more practical than building from scratch in many instances.”

    “But Venter’s institute has a lot of lofty goals for their synthetic biology techniques. They’re working on the prototype of a device that sends digital translations of DNA across the globe, allowing for a sort of 3-D printer that spits out tailor-made vaccines, proteins and microbes on demand.”

  308. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam from the UK #345:

    @EL, [re:”I say seeds are non-life”]
    “What’s your point? On the inadequacy of certain technical definitions of “life”?”
     
    Although this is a great topic we’re going off the subject of Common Descent. I’ll concentrate on that for now since we have Blixic around to help.

    Aw, you were sooo close to asking “When is a strawberry dead?”
     
    (Running gag on the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast)

  309. says

    @Chikoppi,

    “This man-made cell has the smallest genome ever”

    The headline is misleading. This is a good example of folk being mislead by the media. It was not a man-made cell. The DNA was man-made, the cell itself was an existing one which had it’s DNA removed.

    This is a good example of where we are with the technology yet we’re still not able to create a living organism from scratch even though we know what it is made of and understand how it works.

  310. Blixic says

    Sam is right in #350. I don’t mean to play religous-person’s advocate here, but it was a synthetic genome transplanted into a mycoplasma recipient cell.

    Sam, when humans are able to create a cell from scratch that reproduces by itself and fits any and every definition of “alive” (and I mean actually from scratch, like we can make all the organelles plus the genome from nothing but chemicals), will that make you stop believing in god? It would be interesting if your answer is yes, because humans will eventually be able to do that, but I suspect the answer is no. So why is this line of questioning interesting to you? Why do you think it proves anything to atheists? Or, do you actually think that humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch? Please enlighten me. Thanks.

  311. Blixic says

    Sam, also please look here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    “This article is specifically intended for those who are scientifically minded but, for one reason or another, have come to believe that macroevolutionary theory explains little, makes few or no testable predictions, is unfalsifiable, or has not been scientifically demonstrated”

  312. adamah says

    Yeah, I’m not saying what hasn’t been said in other words, but I’m getting a overpowering stench of “argument from ignorance, (personal)”, when it’s not our responsibility to educate anyone, esp. when they’re not actually interested in learning.

    Sam essentially is saying that if he doesn’t know or understand something, then the rest of us must not be able to (or are not allowed to) know it, either. That’s the classic “argument from personal ignorance”.

    And Sam dares to complain of US being arrogant, and filled with hubris? Wow!!! Project much?

    I suspect a college-level biology education is not the entire answer, either, as Sam reminds me of a fundie Xian classmate in my evolution course who bogged the class down by constantly bombarding the professor with questions.

    It’s not so much the questioning per se that annoyed the rest of the class, but the fact that the questions were asking about something the professor had just fully-explained, 5 minutes earlier. So the guy was smart enough, but he seemingly wore the cognitive blinders of emotionally-driven thinking (AKA ‘demonstrating his faith’) which interfered with his ability to process new information.

    Again, that’s a personal problem….

    BTW, it’s a disproven and dangerous urban legend that fundies of all stripes are mostly uneducated, semi-literate knuckle-draggers. The female shooter in San Bernardino was a practicing pharmacist, a career which requires earning a doctorate-level degree in a related field of science. Similarly, many of the 9/11 hijackers held advanced college degrees.

    But in keeping with the old saying about you can lead horses to water but you cannot force them to think (uh, drink), we can only stand on the river-bank, repeatedly saying, “Heeerrreee horsie, horsie: there’s some cool water in here for you to drink!!”

  313. says

    @EL,

    “Do you believe that this is actually impossible? Do you believe that the functioning of a prokaryote cell is something more than chemistry and atomic physics? On what basis do you make such a bold claim? All of the evidence we have today very clearly shows that every known mechanism in such a cell is mediated entirely by known chemistry and known physics.”

    Yes I believe creating life from scratch is impossible. The thought originated from the Quran I initially believed the Quran had been proven wrong since I was pretty sure scientists had created life from scratch, I remembered some headlines I had seen. I quickly thought I must have misinterpreted the Quran or maybe those verses didn’t apply now. But when I looked more into it I realised I had been mislead by the news article headline. It’s only when I read to the bottom of the article did the author admit the living organism they had created was not fully synthetic. When I looked more into the science of cell biology it was clear what a huge task scientists have to create a living organism. The more you read about cells the more fascinating things you come across. It’s quite mind blowing. Blixic should be able to confirm that.

    The next bit below may be a bit far out for some of you so proceed with caution!

    I think one of the problems with non-believers thought process is that they think if you can observe a phenomena and explain and understand it then it’s not a mystery. For example, cell mitosis. Cell mitosis is actually a miracle happening before scientists very eyes, it’s akin to Moses parting the red sea or Jesus bringing the dead back to life or healing the blind. With those kind of miracles done in the past people would not have been able to observe them again and again. If they did then people would simply have been able to observe water molecules coming together in order to form a wall. They’d have observed a dead mans cells come back to life, they’d have seen non-functional eye cells being to work again. The stubborn non-believer would still demand to see the force causing those things before they’d believe.

    If the above makes sense then those who are honestly seeking the truth will look more into the science rather than the headlines and read scripture with more of an open mind rather than the rubbish fed to them.

  314. says

    @Blixic,

    “Why do you think it proves anything to atheists? Or, do you actually think that humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch? Please enlighten me.”

    Short answer is that some non-believers will never believe no matter what you show them. Humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch. I don’t think he philosophical reasoning will make much sense to anyone hear as you need some background knowledge in religions and human behaviour.

  315. Chikoppi says

    @Sam said: “The headline is misleading. This is a good example of folk being mislead by the media. It was not a man-made cell. The DNA was man-made, the cell itself was an existing one which had it’s DNA removed.”

    @Blixic said “I don’t mean to play religous-person’s advocate here, but it was a synthetic genome transplanted into a mycoplasma recipient cell.”

    My fault for not being clear about the reference. Sam, you said…

    344: “You may be confusing “understanding” with “observation”. Just because you can observe something happen does not mean you understand it or are able to replicate it or control it.”

    I referenced the synthesized genome experiment not as an example of a “cell from scratch,” but to as an example of researchers manipulating DNA to produce an organism with desired morphological traits. I’d say that is strong evidence for “understanding” as well as some initial degree of “control.”

    But more to the point…what do you mean by “from scratch?”

    Are you looking for a cell built from the atomic level out of raw elements? How many atoms in a simple cell, 100 trillion? How many atoms in the human genome, 200 billion? This “from scratch” retort of yours doesn’t make any sense. Its like saying, “you can’t learn anything about solar dynamics until you build a star yourself.” There are a great many things we can have understanding of without having the ability to create or arbitrarily command.

    Again, it seems as though you are hung-up on epistemological questions. What does it mean “to know,” as opposed to what “is known.”

  316. adamah says

    Sam said:

    I think one of the problems with non-believers thought process is that they think if you can observe a phenomena and explain and understand it then it’s not a mystery. For example, cell mitosis. Cell mitosis is actually a miracle happening before scientists very eyes, it’s akin to Moses parting the red sea or Jesus bringing the dead back to life or healing the blind.

    Uh, add the ‘equivocation fallacy’ to Sam’s list, based on his ill-defined use of the word, “miracle”.

    (Sam, you really need to take a course in informal logic, too, as it focuses on learning the informal fallacies often encountered in daily life.)

    To explain:

    When MOST people use the word ‘miracle’, it implies “a rarely-observed phenomena that represents an exception to the normal patterns of behavior of the natural world”.

    But since meiosis is constantly occurring a quadrillion times in quadrillions of cells in all living organisms on the Planet, and all such episodes are readily observed by anyone with access to a sufficiently-strong microscope and the desire to look, labeling them as ‘miracles’ is a fallacy. It’s internally contradictory to claim an easily-observed phenomena is a ‘miracle’.

    BTW, it’s interesting you’d cite Jesus curing the blind as a ‘miracle’, too.

    Are you aware the Bible records Jesus performing only a handful of episodes of curing the blind, when it would constitute a slow morning for a modern-day ophthalmologist to perform so few cataract surgeries in their practice (they also are effectively curing the patients of their “blindness”)? In fact, many OMDs will handle 20-30 surgeries in a single afternoon.

    As usual, the believers simply move the goalposts, ignoring that scientific advances allow humans to perform ‘miracles’ on such a regular basis, such that humans have ‘stolen the thunder’ that once was only the domain of Gods.

  317. adamah says

    Correction:

    I said:

    But since meiosis is constantly occurring a quadrillion times in quadrillions of cells in all living organisms on the Planet

    For the sake of anyone who’s taken biology and is paying attention, I originally wrote “and mitosis”, but then removed it for the sake of brevity; however, I forgot to fix the part about “all living organisms on the Planet”.

    Obviously, only those living organisms that reproduce via sex need apply for meiosis.

  318. Blixic says

    @ fair witness in#354.

    I’ve answered several direct questions. Could you please point me to the ones I haven’t answered yet. After post 354 I haven’t finished reading.

  319. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Blixic: Fair Witness was saying Sam was ignoring YOUR questions.

    Sam, Blixic asked you some direct questions.

  320. Chikoppi says

    @Sam “Short answer is that some non-believers will never believe no matter what you show them. Humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch. I don’t think he philosophical reasoning will make much sense to anyone hear as you need some background knowledge in religions and human behaviour.”

    Well, I studied philosophy and theology at an undergraduate level. There are others here with similar or better credentials. So why don’t you present your argument and we’ll see. I can tell you right off the bat that your premise is erroneous.

    No one is going to buy the “I’m right but I can’t explain why” argument.

  321. says

    @ Blixic #360
    As Sky Captain pointed out, I was trying to make sure Sam did not ignore YOUR questions, Blixic.
    I thought it was important to hear his answers to them, since they cut to the heart of his beliefs.

    Along with all the other fallacies, the key one Sam seems to be leaning on is an argument of incredulity, based on the complexity of the living cell.

  322. Vivec says

    Humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch.

    First off: Proof, please. I’d argue there’s next to no evidence (that I can think of anyways) that can justify absolute claims about the future, but I’d be interested to see it.

    Secondly, life is a poorly defined term with a lot of weird borderline cases wherever you draw the line. Are viruses alive? Could a self-replicating program be considered alive? When does a living thing stop being living? Usually, people use an “I know life when I see it” sort of standard, which really can’t suffice for the sort of claims you’re making.

  323. adamah says

    Sure, Fair Witness, ‘appeal to incredulity’ applies, too.

    And since I brought up the ‘appeal to personal ignorance’ fallacy above, no mention of it would be complete without citing its best example in recent history: the video “Miracles” (by Insane Clown Posse), in which they cite magnetism as a ‘miracle’ in their lyrics, since they don’t understand how it works.

    (I suggest magnetism is a ‘Juggalo weak-force interaction’, but I have no proof of it. But it’s true, and all you Juggalos out there can just trust me on it, since I knows what I’m talkin’ ’bout. PS All u haterz out there can just suck my….)

    Enjoy!

  324. Chikoppi says

    @Sam #355

    “With those kind of miracles done in the past people would not have been able to observe them again and again. If they did then people would simply have been able to observe water molecules coming together in order to form a wall. They’d have observed a dead mans cells come back to life, they’d have seen non-functional eye cells being to work again. The stubborn non-believer would still demand to see the force causing those things before they’d believe.”

    Yep, this is wrong…

    We observe X;
    We don’t know what causes X;
    Therefore God.

    Your “from scratch” retort is really just a variant of the above, and equally wrong…

    We observe X;
    X is too complex for us to currently create from constituent materials;
    Therefore God.

    These are examples of an argument from ignorance (or “God of the gaps”). Please provide evidence of the supernatural without resorting to either of the fallacious arguments above. (Also, see my earlier reply #309.)

  325. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quran

    Ah. That explains a lot. That’s why I’m unfamiliar with your particular rhetoric and games.

    Humans will NEVER be able to create life from scratch.

    Lol.

    PS:
    Linking to “ICP – Miracles” is absolutely perfect.

  326. Blixic says

    @Fair Witness and Sky captain. Ah, thanks. I must have read that post too quickly. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    @Sam: Seeing mitosis from a sample that I went through pains to germinate, grow, collect, treat, and then make a slide out of is what caused me to want to be a geneticist. I agree that it’s amazing! But, it’s not miraculous. There’s a clear cause and effect going on. The spindle fibers of the cytoskeleton (which you can actually see if you dye them to not be transparent) pull the chromosomes apart. On a post way up there somewhere, you said that humans could understand it but not control it. Well, I actually have controlled it. And it wasn’t any big deal. You can easily apply a chemical to stop mitosis and then remove it and let it progress. You can even use the chemical to stop all cells at a certain subphase and then release them so they all go through mitosis at the same time. You can apply other chemicals that disrupt the spindle apparatus to cause mitosis errors that result in aneuplody. You can even fool a cell into thinking it already went through mitosis when it didn’t, causing polyploidy (remember aneuploidy and polyploidy from my post #320?). I’m sure all of that will not impress you though, because probably when you say “control” you mean like magic, like a god would do. /sigh.

    If your belief in god really hinges upon whether humans can create life from scratch, then pray to your invisible friend that you die happy before we figure it out… Because we will. With 3D printing of whole organs, and the Venter institute creating a whole working synthetic genome, we’re pretty darn close. It will certainly be within my lifetime that we pop out a living cell from scratch, from 3D printing or otherwise. I guess whoever does it should probably be really careful with the news. If other religious people feel similarly to you, there could be some kind of mass panic and pandemonium as religious people all over the globe suddenly stop believing in god. The same could probably be said for discovering life on another planet, at least to biblical or quranic (what’s the right word?) fundamentalists.

    Please read some of the articles we have linked to, and please read a scientific book on evolution or common ancestry. I didn’t learn about religion by reading scientific articles about it, so you shouldn’t think it’s acceptable to learn about science by reading religious books/websites about it. You’ve got a good, inquiring mind, but you’re stunting your intellectual growth by being hung up on what an old book says. The Quran is not the ultimate truth, no matter how much it claims to be. Neither is science, but science has never claimed to be. Science is just *the way* to find the truth (truth in a non-philosophical meaning).

  327. says

    @ Blixic #368 “Well, I actually have controlled it. And it wasn’t any big deal.”

    You just made my day.

    The most important thing I learned in school was a statement made by an E.E. professor who said “Things that are simply remarkable, become remarkably simple, once they are understood.”

  328. John Iacoletti says

    @Sam, #355:
    “it’s akin to Moses parting the red sea or Jesus bringing the dead back to life or healing the blind. With those kind of miracles done in the past people would not have been able to observe them again and again.”

    Is there actually any evidence of a sea being parted, or dead being brought back to life, or the blind being healed, or do you just believe it because somebody wrote a story about it?

    “If they did then people would simply have been able to observe water molecules coming together in order to form a wall. They’d have observed a dead mans cells come back to life, they’d have seen non-functional eye cells being to work again. The stubborn non-believer would still demand to see the force causing those things before they’d believe.”

    Of course s/he would. Are you saying that if you don’t understand how something happens you just get to make up a cause? What you call “stubborn” the rest of us call “rational”.

  329. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Now that John brought it up, I want to add:

    If they did then people would simply have been able to observe water molecules coming together in order to form a wall. They’d have observed a dead mans cells come back to life, they’d have seen non-functional eye cells being to work again. The stubborn non-believer would still demand to see the force causing those things before they’d believe.

    We have to be very careful with our semantics, and we have to take a quick trip down what it means to be “an explanation”.

    First, I suggest watching the following video by the Nobel Physicist Richard Feynman.
    It’s often humorously titled “Fucking Magnets – How do they work?” or similar, in reference to the song “Miracles” by Insane Clown Posse, which is also embedded above, thanks to someone else.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMFPe-DwULM

    The first key thing to take away is that normal explanations are explanation by virtue of explaining how some thing works in terms of something else, and often in terms of something else that we’re more familiar with. If someone asks “Why does a hammer fall when I release it from a height in normal household conditions”, I can answer “gravity”. I am explaining the particular phenomenon, the hammer falling, in terms of something else, gravity. That is an explanation.

    Before I gave the explanation “because gravity”, the person already knows that the hammer did fall. Adding an explanation does not change the fact that the hammer has fallen. Further, if the person does this experiment repeatedly, dropping a hammer from a height in normal household conditions, then this person will be able to deduce that there is causation happening – “the hammer falls to the ground” always follows “releasing a hammer from a height in normal household conditions”. Without knowing how it happened, the person still knows that it happened, and that there is a causal relationship.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constant_conjunction

    The only way, literally the only way, that we can learn that A causes B is this kind of observation that “whenever I see A, it is always followed by B”. Obviously, we can refine the idea a lot better, and do better at controlling for confounding variables (i.e. finding scenarios where B does not follow A). This is important.

    So, if I see a cleric of Pelor wave his hands in a particular way, and mumble something, and then the the lake in front of me splits in two, this is not good evidence that the cleric of Pelor had anything to do with the water being split in two. However, if the cleric was cooperative, and I had an army of scientists and professional magicians on hand to investigate whats going on (in order to rule out fraud), and if the cleric proceeded to demonstrate this purported ability many times, then it does rise to good evidence. Repeated demonstrations means we now have constant conjunction, which is again the only that we can ever learn that something ever causes something. (Obviously we should do a good job at attempting to find and eliminate confounding variables. Ex: It would be rather embarrassing if we were simply witnessing the tide.)

    I do not need to go down to the level of individual molecules to be confident that this cleric of Pelor is causing the water to split by certain hand motions and certain verbal mumbles.

    Of course, as a good scientist, given my massive background knowledge in support of materialism, I would spend quite a lot of time looking for a materialistic explanation. Again, it would take quite a lot of effort and time, very very much, because I have an equally very very large amount of background knowledge that materialism has always shown to be the right answer, which gives me every reason to try very very hard to look for a materialistic explanation for this too. However, eventually, as I tried and tried without success, eventually I would admit that this appears to be a new fundamental force of nature, i.e. it’s not part of standard materialism. It would be like discovering another force of nature, like the gravity force, the electrical force, etc. No – it’s just “like”. It would be that exactly. There is now the “magic force”. Currently, I would not have a precise mathematical formula, and perhaps there isn’t a precise mathematical formula, but it would still be a convincingly demonstrated fact, on the basis of this supposed evidence.

    This particular demand “I need to know how it works before I accept that there is a causitive relationship” is a common failing among atheists and scientists. It’s a failure to understand the epistemology of science. IMO, it’s very closely related to the other common failing of atheists and scientists known as intrinsic methodological naturalism. The problem is that these atheists and scientists have raised materialism to the level of an unassailable dogma that is the foundation of science, instead of treating materialism as a tentative conclusion of science (a conclusion for which we have overwhelming evidence, but still tentative like all scientific conclusions).

    tl;dr
    I could and would accept that Moses and your god exist and could part a large lake of water at will, on command, without knowing how they did it. It would take a lot of evidence and thorough investigation to convince me that it wasn’t fraud. It would take further evidence and investigation still to convince me that it cannot be explained in the current materialistic framework, but it could be done, and I can name specific thresholds that would need to be met to convince me. (The thresholds that I would name are specific, finite, and hypothetically attainable, but I would probably err on the side of caution in naming them, and it’s possible something less would be convincing.)

    In particular, a requisite is going to be that your god needs to stop hiding. Your miracles and magic need to not be something that happened in one small era, with only one independent attestation. To convince me that it’s real, it needs to be undeniably real, which means it needs to be common, like it’s part of my daily life. It needs to be like the sun rising every day. It needs to be like flipping on the light switch turns on the light. It cannot be a one-off. It needs to be repeated and vigorously investigated. Again, for example, for characters in a Superman film, they often do not know how it’s physics-ly possible for Superman to fly seemingly by force of will, but because Superman is such a common and undeniable element of their world, it would be perverse for any character to deny the obvious fact that Superman does indeed exist, and can fly by mere force of will.

    For further information, I suggest looking at James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge.

  330. says

    @EL,

    “This particular demand “I need to know how it works before I accept that there is a causitive relationship” is a common failing among atheists and scientists.”

    Well put.

    “In particular, a requisite is going to be that your god needs to stop hiding. Your miracles and magic need to not be something that happened in one small era, with only one independent attestation. To convince me that it’s real, it needs to be undeniably real, which means it needs to be common, like it’s part of my daily life. It needs to be like the sun rising every day. It needs to be like flipping on the light switch turns on the light. It cannot be a one-off. It needs to be repeated and vigorously investigated.”

    Two examples of these miracles are the formation of celestial bodies and the earth as well as the existence of life. Both of these can be tested rigorously and have/are being tested. Another is the biodiversity that we observe. Question comes down to what your threshold is before accepting these phenomena are indeed miracles.

    I hope Matt, John and the others take onboard what EL has said.

  331. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    EL does not agree with you.

    Two examples of these miracles are the formation of celestial bodies and the earth as well as the existence of life. Both of these can be tested rigorously and have/are being tested. Another is the biodiversity that we observe. Question comes down to what your threshold is before accepting these phenomena are indeed miracles.

    This is even more laughable than ICP’s “Miracles.” How about answering this question: what’s wrong with you? How in the shit are these “miracles?”

  332. says

    @Blixic,

    “It will certainly be within my lifetime that we pop out a living cell from scratch, from 3D printing or otherwise.”

    I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    Some great questions have been asked but we’re getting off track on common ancestry. If I may I’d like to get back to it and stick to it.

    “We can also define living species by %homology of DNA when it is unrealistic or impossible to try to get them to try to mate (awkward!). This is the kind of thing I do in my daily work. All you have to do is take a sampling of what we currently consider to be “a species” and come up with the observed minimum % homology of DNA.”

    A species is defined as being population of living organisms who are interfertile so is it correct to analyse the DNA which gives no indication of whether the living organisms are interfertile?

  333. says

    @Blixic,

    I am familiar with the talk origins site as I read some sections in depth a long time ago. I had a brief look at it again and came across the below with a slightly different perspective.

    “According to the theory of common descent, modern living organisms, with all their incredible differences, are the progeny of one single species in the distant past. In spite of the extensive variation of form and function among organisms, several fundamental criteria characterize all life. Some of the macroscopic properties that characterize all of life are (1) replication, (2) heritability (characteristics of descendents are correlated with those of ancestors), (3) catalysis, and (4) energy utilization (metabolism). At a very minimum, these four functions are required to generate a physical historical process that can be described by a phylogenetic tree.

    If every living species descended from an original species that had these four obligate functions, then all living species today should necessarily have these functions (a somewhat trivial conclusion). Most importantly, however, all modern species should have inherited the structures that perform these functions. Thus, a basic prediction of the genealogical relatedness of all life, combined with the constraint of gradualism, is that organisms should be very similar in the particular mechanisms and structures that execute these four basic life processes.” – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html

    In the above it states “organisms should be very similar in the particular mechanisms and structures that execute these four basic life processes”. This to me is very vague, I’m hoping you and the other experts on here will be able to clarify. I understand it’s written like this to make it easy for a layperson like me to understand.

    With regards to replication, is the above saying that the mechanism and structure of replication should be very similiar among all living organisms?

    If so I would claim that the replication process for bacteria is very different compared to say, humans. Bacteria replicate themselves, where as humans require a mate and I would says the mechanism and structure if very different.

  334. says

    @Blixic,

    Having thought about it a bit more I would also go further and argue that bacteria replicate themselves but humans don’t, A man does not create a copy of himself and neither does a female. The offspring they produce are not copies of the parents.

  335. Blixic says

    You missed our ignored the beginning of the sentence.. “a basic prediction of the genealogical relatedness of all life, combined with the constraint of gradualism, is that organisms…..”

    In case you didn’t understand, *the whole sentence* is saying that the more closely related the organisms are, the more closely related their mechanisms and structures for performing life functions are.

  336. Blixic says

    Regarding #374. Why are you so hung up on species? It’s just a word that inaccurately describes a fluid group of organisms at a snapshot time point. I know we’ve been over this before…. No, right now we can’t look at DNA and definitively conclude whether something can definitely interbreed with something else, but we CAN see how closely related they are. You seem to think that common ancestry hinges on what can interbreed with what, but IT DOESN’T. It hinges on WHAT DID INTERBREED WITH WHAT. Sorry, not sorry for the all caps- I made this exact point earlier apparently to no avail.

  337. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “Two examples of these miracles are the formation of celestial bodies and the earth as well as the existence of life. Both of these can be tested rigorously and have/are being tested. Another is the biodiversity that we observe. Question comes down to what your threshold is before accepting these phenomena are indeed miracles.”

    We observe X;
    We don’t know what causes X;
    Therefore God.

    Again, this is the argument from ignorance (or, as adamah points out, the argument from incredulity). This is how a child reasons upon unexpectedly finding the cookie jar empty: “There are no cookies; cookies are things that get eaten; I didn’t eat the cookies; there must be a cookie monster!”

    If this is the basis of your belief then you are wrong in what is quite possibly the laziest and most obvious way to be wrong.

    P.S. I hope you take the opportunity to learn something from Blixic, who has been very generous with his time and remarkably patient with your questions.

  338. says

    @378

    No, right now we can’t look at DNA and definitively conclude whether something can definitely interbreed with something else, but we CAN see how closely related they are.

    Or put another way… the fact we can’t predict when a tornado will occur, doesn’t mean we can’t figure out when they occurred in the past.

    There’s no logical connection between the two… but his entire objection seems to hinge upon it.

  339. Blixic says

    Yes, well said Jasper and Chikoppi. Thanks. The point of common ancestry is not future prediction, but past understanding. DNA can do that.

  340. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam:
    There is some confusion about your idea of “miracle”: how you are deciding certain events to be miracles and (presumably) other things not.
     
    If I place cotton in contact with a fire, do you believe divine intervention is what causes the cotton to burn? Or did *I* do that, wielding molecules which themselves exhibit behavior consistent with chemistry and physics?

  341. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Summary of Sam’s comments so far…
     
    #24:

    … In the Bible/Quran God claims that he made all the living organisms and it’s him who creates new life forms. …
    … One of the claims is that it’s God who created the stars and planets. …
    … “gravity” is not a natural force, you are in fact obeserving God’s power. …

     
    #104:

    The Quran and Bible describe a number of events, some are things which can be observed scientifically, some are historical, some are parables and some about our human nature.
    […]
    1. Only God can create stars and planets
    2. Only God can create life
    3. God sends winds
    4. God determines where, how and how much it rains in the world
    5. God created the seed and makes it grow
    6. God feeds all animals

     
    #109:

    Of course we don’t KNOW if those things about God are true. You will never KNOW all of those things. You have to decide whether it makes logical sense.
    We start off with the claims that God makes in scripture and our own logical reasoning to see if it does make sense.

     
    #185:

    I’m making specific claims from scripture which is claimed to have been inspired by God.
     
    When you’re a believer you understand that absolutely everything is a creation. Absolutely everything. The universe, life, humans, light, darkness, numbers, atoms, languages, thoughts, dreams, love, pain, evil, etc, etc. absolutely everything even what we call “nothing”. Absolutely everything we can think of including the ability to think.
     
    Question is how do you distinguish there is God if God created absolutely everything. My understanding is that God has made our reality such that there certain things we can’t do which we should be able to do. For example creating life.

    So the universe is fundamentally inconsistent. Things only appear to make sense up to a point (God micromanaging every event according to his own custom). Then at some level, things go bonkers in a way we’ll never understand/model/control, because that’s god causing a irrational events. Or sometimes God does something flashy like part water.
     
    And anything we do understand, just pushes the proposed irrationality another level deeper.
     
    #175:

    If scientists created life in the lab from scratch and were able to repeat it then I’ll accept that life is not something divinely created by God and the Quran has an error in it.

    Or y’know, parable. >.>
     
    But actually, that allowance for falsification is dishonest. If the claim is god does EVERYTHING, there’s nothing *we* could DO “from scratch” because God would steal the credit.

  342. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    God is irrelevant to everything Sam has said about the inadequacy of science. Taken at face value, there’s no need for him to fight so hard against planetary formation, or common descent, etc. He could in principle accept all that the same way he accepts combustion.
     
    Even if the universe were thoroughly modeled at every level, he’d just say that model describes God acting consistently, so far as we’re aware. God adds nothing to an understanding of the universe except a hope that he can bargain with it for future reward.

  343. says

    @Blixic,

    The fundamental phenomena of Common Ancestry is replication/reproduction of living organisms. If DNA can’t determine which living organism is able to interbreed with one another then how can you use that to determine what happened in the past maybe millions of years ago? Sorry but I just find it incredible that a person of your calibre can justify such an assumption knowing what you know.

    Why should I not be “hung up” on the term “species”. Just because something doesn’t fit in nice boxes they way non-believers like why should I put it to the side? It needs to be addressed and brought up. I’ve found the same kind of approach with fossil evidence. Whenever something is found to not be in the place where it’s expected according to the so called “scientific community” it’s discarded. Sorry that’s just being dishonest and people not being objective and accepting the observations for what they are.

    The tornado analogy is wrong. Anyone can make an analogy. Just accept the science for what it is rather than try to bend it to fit the way you want it to fit.

    To summarise, you simply cannot use DNA to determine Common Ancestry because DNA. If you have other means by which you can use DNA to test interfertility between living organisms then please present them.

  344. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Two examples of these miracles are the formation of celestial bodies and the earth as well as the existence of life. Both of these can be tested rigorously and have/are being tested. Another is the biodiversity that we observe. Question comes down to what your threshold is before accepting these phenomena are indeed miracles.

    Did I not just say I need more than a one-off? Again, let me give the example of Superman. In the stories of Superman, people know that Superman is real because he appears visibly in public, performs seemingly impossible feats, and because he does this every day. If it just happened once, like the hundred foot tall marshmellow man of the first Ghostbusters film, then there’s still plenty of room for doubt. Your examples are one-offs, and thus they are not compelling.

    Further, I see a planet. I don’t see a god making a planet. Your argument is fundamentally fallacious. Again, your argument is of the form “I don’t know how it happened, therefore god did it”. That’s not how it works. No, you need to be able to say “I know how it happened, god did it, and I know this because I actually saw god do it, and I actually saw god do it many, many times while I attempted to investigate possible fraud, and attempted to eliminate possible confounding variables.”

    A species is defined as being population of living organisms who are interfertile so is it correct to analyse the DNA which gives no indication of whether the living organisms are interfertile?

    DNA does contain the information to answer “can these two individuals interbreed”. However, modern science is not at the level where we can look at the DNA of two individuals, and determine if they can interbreed with a high degree of reliability in all cases.

    Having thought about it a bit more I would also go further and argue that bacteria replicate themselves but humans don’t, A man does not create a copy of himself and neither does a female. The offspring they produce are not copies of the parents.

    Correct. Sexual reproduction vs asexual reproduction.

    If DNA can’t determine which living organism is able to interbreed with one another

    It can. It does. DNA does contain information sufficient to determine if an individual is member of species A or species B.

    Also, post 378 is important. Read that again. What post 378 says does not contradict anything I’ve said here.

  345. Blixic says

    Sam, all I can say now is that you are still not understanding the points that we are making. And that is why you think it’s dishonesty. I’m telling you that one thing has nothing to do with another, and you are insisting that it does, and therefore the science is wrong. The science is not wrong, and it is not dishonest. It is testable and demonstratable. The tornado analogy is perfect; please don’t discard it so flippantly.

    To quote Sam: “Just accept the science for what it is rather than try to bend it to fit the way you want it to fit.”

    Exactly, Sam. Accept the science for what it is. I’m not bending it. You are. /micdrop

  346. Chikoppi says

    Re: 386

    There is a distinction between using DNA to understand the relationship between two INDIVIDUAL organisms and between two (or more) POPULATIONS of organisms.

    Aren’t we getting into phylogenetics here?

    Some genes code for fundamental morphological characteristics (e.g., all living organisms have the genes for mitochondria, except bacteria). Some genes code for primary characteristics (e.g., nervous system, vertebrae, jaws). Some code for secondary characteristics (e.g., bipedal, hair). Some for tertiary characteristics (e.g., hair color, eye color, etc).

    (Warning: layman’s description ahead.) We can group individual DNA samples according to genetic morphology (e.g., how many and which morphological traits did they share in common). We can also catalog the samples in time (did the two populations exist contemporaneously or do they appear sequentially). There are other factors as well, such charting the history of population size and geographic scope.

    With all this in hand we see how genetic drift impacts speciation, observing how a population with fundamentally identical genes divided into two populations to evolve increasing variability in morphology.

    The very fact that there WAS a population with genetic precedents and antecedents NECESSITATES reproductive viability.

    Someone with greater expertise will have to elaborate.

  347. says

    @EL,

    #335. I’m not sure how the generated the tree of life using the genome. I’d have to take a look at their methodology before I could comment. The “tree of life” created Carl Linnaeus was based on subjective reasoning. Again you’d have to take a look at what Carl Linnaeus reasoning were to find out why his “tree of life” looks the way it does. Then you could better comment on why they are both similar.

    #336. Ken Miller is wrong. The number of chromosomes is irrelevant to common descent. The current method of using DNA to determine if one species is related to another relies on comparing sections of DNA (even though it is well known that DNA cannot be used to determine interfertility for some reason it still is). As far as I understand it, these sections of DNA can be in any chromosome as long as they are there. So it doesn’t matter if humans had 100 chromosomes and chimps had 50 or vice versa. So I believe Ken Miller and his team we’re just trying to make the so called discovery of the “missing” chromosomes more dramatic or maybe someone didn’t know how to compare DNA.

    Ken Miller also made a number of statements which were blatantly wrong:

    1. He claimed that if humans lost a pair of primate chromosomes that would be lethal. He should have said if humans were missing some fundamental sections of DNA then that would be lethal. It doesn’t matter where the DNA is in the chromosomes, as long as it’s somewhere in the cell where it can be used it’s OK. So if the “missing” DNA was spread over 10 additional pairs of chromosomes then that’s fine.

    2. He made the claim that a pair of chromosomes must have become fused. This is wrong. As mentioned in point 1, those sections of DNA could just as well be separated over 10 extra chromosomes or even spread around the existing 46 chromosomes.

    3. He claimed that evolution is wrong if the so called “missing” chromosomes are not found. This is wrong because evolution does not care about the number of chromosomes but instead relies on the DNA being present. This DNA can be arranged in different ways as mention in points 1 and 2 above. Note that Evolution and Common Descent are 2 separate subjects. Even if Ken meant to say Common Decent is wrong if the so called “missing” chromosomes are not found then he’s wrong again. Evolution is a fact and can be observed so it will always be true.

  348. John Iacoletti says

    Sam, can you give an example of something being found to not be in the place where it’s expected according to the so called “scientific community” and it being discarded?

  349. says

    @Blixic,

    “It is testable and demonstratable”.

    Here’s your thinking:

    Do the test using only human DNA. You analyse the DNA and see that the DNA is very similar. You look at the population and see that they are inter-fertile.

    You do the test using DNA from only lions. You analyse the DNA and see that the DNA is very similar. You look at the population and see that they are inter-fertile.

    You do the test for say different species of horses who have bigger differences between the DNA. You observe that some of those horse species are interfertile.

    You do the test for say different animals, let’s say humans and apes. You see a much bigger difference in DNA but there are no observations of interfertility.

    Based on the above you conclude that as the DNA difference get’s really big then those animals are no longer part of the same species.

    You then conclude that there MUST have been an intermediate species or range of species or a common ancestor which lead to the human and ape you are testing because in your preconceived mind there is no other way to explain the existence of those animals.

    Sorry but that is flawed science. You are not being objective and reasonable. Proper scientists would openly state that they can’t explain the biodiversity using DNA. If they did support Common Descent they would put a disclaimer that the theory depends on intermediate species who were interfertile at one time or the other and that there is currently no way of confirming it with the present scientific knowledge and techniques.

  350. Blixic says

    Sam: “The current method of using DNA to determine if one species is related to another relies on comparing sections of DNA (even though it is well known that DNA cannot be used to determine interfertility for some reason it still is)”

    Blixic: /slashes wrists

    Seriously, Sam. Seriously. You CAN determine relatedness by DNA. You can. We do all the time. This is how paternity tests are done and a billion other types of tests that deal with how closely two individuals or populations are related. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER THEY CAN BREED WITH EACH OTHER. NOTHING. NOT A DARN THING. You’re comparing apples to freakin’ zebras over here.

    Example: You give me a DNA sample of you and a central african pygmy female. Then, you ask me two questions:

    1. “Can I breed with this central african pygmy female?” My answer: Maybe, maybe not. Too many factors besides just DNA to know. But, by looking at the DNA sample I can see that she is female and you are male, you and her have the same number of chromosomes, and the chromosomal banding patterns are extremely similar. Neither of you have any forms of aneuploidy which means your gonads are likely to create chromosomally healthy sex cells. There are good chances, at a genetic level, that you can. Non-genetic barriers are still in question, because I didn’t ask for your ages to see if you are both still theoretically fertile, a sperm or egg sample to see if either of those have any issues (chromosomal or otherwise), or for genital swabs to determine hormonal and chemical compatibility, or for scans of both of your abdomens to see if your reproductive systems are intact and functioning, or, or, or, or, or………..
    2. “Am I related to that central african pygmy female?” My answer: Yes. You have n% nucleus DNA homology to her and y% mitochondrial DNA homology to her, meaning that your most recent common ancestor was approximately x generations ago.

    See how easy that is? See how the two ideas aren’t related? See how DNA can easily tell you one thing that is completely mapped out by DNA and not another thing that’s determined by waaay more than DNA? I sure hope so because this is like the 4th or 5th time I’ve tried to tell you that.

  351. Blixic says

    “You then conclude that there MUST have been an intermediate species or range of species or a common ancestor which lead to the human and ape you are testing because in your preconceived mind there is no other way to explain the existence of those animals.”

    Your story was good up until that point. We have found intermediate species/common ancestors. We didn’t/don’t need to have preconceived notions about a common ancestor because we have evidence of them. Not like a fingerprint on a candlestick evidence, either. We have their bodies. And in cases where the intermediate species or common ancestor species is still alive today (like amphibians are intermediate between fish and reptiles, lobe-finned fish like coelocanths are intermediate between fish and amphibians, etc.), the morphology (structural similarity) shows us that they are indeed intermediate. This is what Linnaeus used to come up with his tree design. Then, the DNA also shows us that they are intermediate. The morphological differences and the DNA differences line up in every case.

  352. Blixic says

    Your whole thing on Ken Miller being wrong is totally laughable. You don’t understand it one bit. He came up with the idea that one of the primate chromosomes had been split up into two in humans BECAUSE HE KNEW THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE OF ONE PAIR OF CHROMOSOMES BETWEEN THEM. That’s why he didn’t predict 50 or ten or any other number. The number of chromosomes is not a direct indicator of ancestry (and his team never claimed it was), the fact that one primate chromosome is a fusion of 2 human chromosomes IS an indicator of ancestry.

  353. says

    @Blixic,

    You’re forgetting the parameters.DNA is used for paternity tests among a population which is KNOWN to be interfertile. The reason is it works is because the DNA is unique enough to allow it to be used. As you will know that in the case of chimera’s you have to be more careful.

    What I’m trying to get across is how do you use DNA to determine a relationship between two groups of populations, for example humans and apes, where there is a common ancestor whose DNA you don’t even have.

    You’re filling in the gaps with intermediate species between humans and the common ancestor and the apes and the common ancestor with absolutely no DNA evidence at all. You’re just making an assumption that it existed and it must have looked like such such thing.

    You fully well know that even very similar species are either incapable of breeding (maybe because they are in diffent locations), choose not to or they are simply not interfertile at the cellular level.

    Do you not see that using DNA to determine a LINEAGE is only proven reliable within very specific parameters?

  354. says

    @Blixic,

    “1. He claimed that if humans lost a pair of primate chromosomes that would be lethal. He should have said if humans were missing some fundamental sections of DNA then that would be lethal. It doesn’t matter where the DNA is in the chromosomes, as long as it’s somewhere in the cell where it can be used it’s OK. So if the “missing” DNA was spread over 10 additional pairs of chromosomes then that’s fine.” – Sam

    Please explain what s wrong with the above.

  355. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “If they did support Common Descent they would put a disclaimer that the theory depends on intermediate species who were interfertile at one time or the other and that there is currently no way of confirming it with the present scientific knowledge and techniques.”

    How could an intermediate species be infertile? The term “intermediate” requires both ancestors and progeny.

    Phylogeny does not require fertility testing. Given ANY observed population, the genetically variant population which preceded it was NECESSARILY FERTILE.

    Can you provide an example of how the descent of a species might be erroneously artibuted to an infertile genetic ancestor? If not, I think this obsession of yours is all a red herring born of a perplexing misconception.

    P.S. Wait a minute…do you think new species emerge only as the result of closely related species that interbreed? That would explain a lot about your comments thus far.

  356. Blixic says

    Sam: ”
    @Blixic, You’re forgetting the parameters.DNA is used for paternity tests among a population which is KNOWN to be interfertile. The reason is it works is because the DNA is unique enough to allow it to be used. As you will know that in the case of chimera’s you have to be more careful.”

    No I’m not forgetting the parameters of DNA (whatever that means). I’m a geneticist, and I work on phylogenies routinely. You don’t have to be more careful in the case of a hybrid (is that what you mean by chimera?). It doesn’t matter whether you’re testing populations of the same species or the same family or the continent or the same planet. It doesn’t matter whether the organisms are interfertile. If you give me the DNA of your and your pet cat, I will still be able to just as easily tell you how closely related you are. Or you and your pet fish. Or you and the bacteria that lives between your teeth. There are no “parameters” of DNA testing that requires interfertility.

    “Do you not see that using DNA to determine a LINEAGE is only proven reliable within very specific parameters?”

    You’re asking me whether I can see that DNA is only proven and reliable within a species? I can’t believe you would even ask that. The answer is a resounding NO. DNA is both proven and reliable across all life on earth. I think you know that, but you choose not to believe it. That’s fine. You can choose not to believe whatever you want. But you’re wrong in this case. And you’re not going to prove the hundreds of thousands of scientists across the world that all of their papers on phylogenies across or between species are all duds. You’re even saying that my master’s project (with strawberry species, even including a hybrid) and my friend’s (with the parrot species phylogenies) are crap because the DNA can’t possibly mean what we think it means. You’ve got guts to claim something so riduculous.

  357. Blixic says

    Sam: “@Blixic,
    “1. He claimed that if humans lost a pair of primate chromosomes that would be lethal. He should have said if humans were missing some fundamental sections of DNA then that would be lethal. It doesn’t matter where the DNA is in the chromosomes, as long as it’s somewhere in the cell where it can be used it’s OK. So if the “missing” DNA was spread over 10 additional pairs of chromosomes then that’s fine.” – Sam
    Please explain what s wrong with the above. ”

    Got it. You don’t understand that he was comparing two logical possibilities. The chromosomal number difference between humans and primates of exactly one chromosome means either:
    A. Humans lost exactly one pair of chromosomes somewhere along their divergence from primates, meaning humans actually LOST the genetic information on that chromosome, or
    B. The genetic material for exactly two primate chromosomes is found on exactly one human chromosome, meaning the genetic information is still present, but just REARRANGED.

    Scenario A would be fatal.

    So scenario B was where he was putting his metaphorical money. And it was correct.

  358. Blixic says

    @ Chikoppi #399. He type “interfertile” not “infertile”.

    But still, as I’ve said ad nauseum, if they did breed (inter- or otherwise), we know from the DNA. We just can’t tell the future with it.

  359. says

    @Blixic,

    Sorry I do understand what he was getting at. What I’m trying to get across to you is that he wasn’t correct in his language.

    Ken clearly said that if a pair of chromosomes were missing it would be fatal. He never said if the genetic material was missing. If the so called missing DNA was spread over the 46 existing chromosomes would that be fatal to humans? And if not does that not mean the chromosome count is irrelevant and instead the genetic material is important.

    Just to clarify, Ken was making a deal of the NUMBER of chromosomes not on what the missing genetic material was. If for example a human had just 44 chromosomes then as long as the genes are there it’s fine. So claiming that humans should have X number of chromosomes was wrong instead of he should have said that humans should have X amount of genes.

  360. Blixic says

    I pretty much already explained it the best way I could. But, no, it’s not logical to assume that the “missing” DNA was spread out over all of the remaining chromosomes because we know that chromosomal fusions and fissions are a) rare and b) often result in aneuploidy due to losing some DNA or gaining an extra copy of some DNA (both of which are deleterious). So, the hypothesis that one chromosome had broken into a large number of pieces and fused with all remaining chromosomes without losing any pieces, was not worth him considering because of how astronomically unlikely it is. Of course, anything could happen, right? But When we roll a 6-sided die, we consider it possible to land with numbers 1 through 6 on top, or maybe even it could land on an edge, or a corner! But, we don’t consider it possible enough to be worth mentioning that “for all we know, the dots could reassort and show an 8!”

  361. Patrick67 says

    @Sam from UK:

    Sam says:”Sorry I do understand what he was getting at. What I’m trying to get across to you is that he wasn’t correct in his language.

    Ken clearly said that if a pair of chromosomes were missing it would be fatal. He never said if the genetic material was missing. If the so called missing DNA was spread over the 46 existing chromosomes would that be fatal to humans? And if not does that not mean the chromosome count is irrelevant and instead the genetic material is important.

    Just to clarify, Ken was making a deal of the NUMBER of chromosomes not on what the missing genetic material was. If for example a human had just 44 chromosomes then as long as the genes are there it’s fine. So claiming that humans should have X number of chromosomes was wrong instead of he should have said that humans should have X amount of genes.”

    What do you think Ken Miller means when he says that if a pair of chromosomes were missing in humans, it would be fatal? I have a very strong idea that you are confusing his use of the word fatal. Ken Miller is not using the word fatal in the sense that it would mean the death of an organism.

    Ken Miller is pointing out how the knowledge of DNA testing has confirmed Common Ancestry. I will try to simply explain his argument as well as I can.

    All the great apes have 48 chromosomes. They are in the form of 24 pairs of chromosomes (24 originating from the father and 24 originating from the mother). There is one exception among the great apes. Humans are a great ape but we only have 46 chromosomes arranged in pairs (23 from the mother and 23 from the father). For Common Ancestry to be true we should have the same number (48) as the other great apes. Somewhere along the way in evolution, something happened to one of the chromosomes from the father and the mother in humans. If we can’t account for those missing chromosomes then Common Ancestry is “fatally” flawed. It is dead in the water. This is the meaning of the word fatal in Ken Miller’s claim.

    Fortunately as Ken Miller explains, the knowledge of DNA comes to the rescue. Scientists predicted that the only explanation for the missing chromosomes was that two of them must have fused together to form a single one containing the genetic info of the original two. When the DNA of other great apes was compared to the DNA of humans it was found that (if I remember correctly) chromosome #2 of the human DNA was indeed a fused chromosome containing all the genetic material of the two original chromosomes. There was no doubt over this finding. It has been repeated time and time again. The fused chromosomes left the male humans and female humans with 23 chromosomes instead of the 24 found in each sex of the other great apes. The missing chromosomes were there but had been fused. This finding confirmed Common Ancestry beyond a doubt. In fact the testing was so accurate that we now know that some of the genetic material was switched off in the fusing. This is probably at least part of the explanation for most of the differences found in humans and the other great apes. I’m sure others could explain this in more detail. I’m not an expert but I am remembering this as best I can from a lecture I watched by Ken Miller about 9 years ago.

  362. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam

    Regarding the morphological tree of life:

    The work of Carl Linnaeus is not “subjective”. It is objective. His classification of animals based on body structure documents objective facts about the similarities of body structures of different animal species. It is like taking 4 pictures and showing them to a child, where 1 picture is an outlier, and asking the child “which picture does not belong?”. When we look at a Boston Terrier, a wolf, a coyote, and a tiger, objectively – one of them is more different than the rest (tiger). That is an obvious and objective fact. When this kind of objective classification is done over many animals, we discover that all animals can be grouped together into buckets (species), which can be further grouped together into larger buckets (genus), which can be further grouped into larger buckets (family), and so on for order, class, phyla, and kingdom.

    Examples:
    * A Boston Terrier is a kind of dog. Dog is a kind of carnivora. Carnivora is a kind of mammal. Mammal is a kind of vertebrate. Vertebrate is a kind of animal.
    * A tiger is a kind of cat. Cat is a kind of carnivora. Carnivora is a kind of mammal. Mammal is a kind of vertebrate. Vertebrate is a kind of animal.
    * A black bear is a kind of bear. Bear is a kind of ursidae. Ursidae is a kind of carnivora. Carnivora is a kind of mammal. Mammal is a kind of vertebrate. Vertebrate is a kind of animal.
    * A human is a kind of ape. An ape is a kind of mammal. A mammal is a kind of vertebrate. A vertebrate is a kind of animal.

    Regarding the genomic tree of life:

    Again, I explained how they did the work and the methodology of the work to create the tree of life from genomes. At its crudest level, they took samples of DNA from one individual per species, for many species. Then they measured the DNA (sequenced it), and obtained a description of the DNA base pair sequences in a computer digital format. Then they apply standard computer diff algorithms, like common approximate solutions to the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_common_subsequence_problem"longest common subsequence problem, in order to calculate the difference, or distance, between any two samples (species). Then, they applied standard general purpose plotting algorithms to plot

    Regarding your misunderstandings w.r.t. Ken Miller:

    The following are simply brute facts that you can go confirm today:

    As a general rule, genes do not move between chromosomes. They do not move between chromosomes during the normal course of affairs of cell functioning. They do not move between chromosomes during sex, nor reproduction.

    As a general rule, genes do not move locations on a chromosome. They do not move locations on a chromosome during the normal course of affairs of cell functioning. They do not move between chromosomes during sex, nor reproduction.

    As a general rule, the DNA base pair sequence that constitutes a chromosome remains relatively fixed over time. Small mutations regularly change individual base pair “letters” on the sequence, but the sequence remains substantially unchanged over long periods of time. (I’m ignoring a couple of irrelevant details.)

    These facts are what allow us to distinguish human chromosome #1 from human chromosome #2. These facts are what allow us to name the chromosomes in the first place. (The name “human chromosome #2” is a name. It is a different name than “human chromosome #1”.)

    If we were to simply remove one chromosome pair from a fertilized human egg, the egg will die.

    If we were to simply remove one chromosome pair from every cell of an adult human being, the human would die immediately. AFAIK, almost certainly within a day. Probably within hours. Maybe much quicker. (I don’t know offhand.)

    With no assumptions of evolution, nor common ancestry, etc., today, we can visually observe the number of chromosomes of humans and the other great apes. From that, we can discover the following facts:
    * Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
    * Chimps, and the other great apes, have 24 pairs of chromosomes.

    With no assumptions of evolution, nor common ancestry, etc., today, we can (and we have) measure (sequence) the DNA of a human and a chimp, and we can store the DNA base sequence pairs in a computer digital format. Then, we can apply standard computer diff algorithms to discover the following facts.
    * The first “half” of human chromosome #2 has substantial similarity to particular chimp chromosome #A.
    * The second “half” of human chromosome #2 has substantial similarity to particular chimp chromosome #B, which is a different chromosome from chimp chromosome #A.
    * Human chromosome #2 has extra, defunct telemores and centromeres, which are out of place, but which match a hypothetical historical fusion event of the two above chimp chromosomes.

    Those are the facts.

    Before the advent of whole genome sequencing technologies, we still knew the other facts here. We did not know that one of the particular human chromosomes matched a hypothetical fusion. It was not known before the invention and production of whole genome sequencing technologies.

    Before the advent of whole genome sequencing technologies, we still knew that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and the other great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. Based on knowledge of the processes of sexual reproduction at the cell level in humans and other great apes, we know that a mere loss of a chromosome pair and its genes would be deadly. We also know that human and great ape chromosomes simply do not split into many pieces and insert themselves into other chromosomes. We do know that sometimes, rarely, chromosomal fusions do happen – we have observed that.

    Before the advent of whole genome sequencing technologies, people, based on the (already established) truth of evolutionary theory, they took these facts together, and they properly concluded that the most likely explanation by far for how chimps how 24 chromosome pairs and humans have 23 chromosome pairs is that in the past, there was a “mutation” event in the human line, which caused two chromosome pairs to fuse, to go from 24 chromosomeb pairs to 23 chromosome pairs. This is a prediction that pre-dated the evidence. Later, as described above, this prediction was wonderfully verified by an exhaustive examination of the DNA base pair sequences of the human genome and the chimp genome. We found the expected extra out-of-place defunct centromere and telemore, and we found a substantial matching of base pair sequences between the human chromosome and two chimp chromosomes.

  363. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “He type “interfertile” not “infertile”. But still, as I’ve said ad nauseum, if they did breed (inter- or otherwise), we know from the DNA. We just can’t tell the future with it.”

    Ah…my goofball mistake.

    So, to get this straight…

    1) You do in fact accept evolution, that current species are descendents of genetically different ancestor species.

    2) You do accept that species diverge and differentiate over time, that one population may evolve into two distinct species (that can no longer successfully interbreed).

    3) You do accept that speciation over time involves gradual transition in the genome, that a species will exhibit overwhelming genetic similarity to its predecessor.

    4) You do NOT accept that DNA evidence alone can be used to establish a line of descent between any two species.

    Fair?

  364. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quoting Patrick67

    Ken Miller is not using the word fatal in the sense that it would mean the death of an organism.

    No, he does mean fatal in terms of an individual organism.

    Actually, let me try one more time for Sam, in different language: If we assume that neo-Darwinism evolutionary theory is true, we want to explain the difference in the number of chromosomes of humans and chimps. Based on the truth of evolutionary theory, we know that it’s very likely that the shared ancestor population had individuals with either 23 or 24 pairs of chromosomes. Because the other great apes all have 24 pairs, it’s thus very likely that the shared ancestor population had 24 pairs.

    Given the knowledge of how mutations and chromosomes work, see earlier post, the question then becomes: “Where did that chromosome go in the human lineage?”.

    It is flatly ridiculous to hypothesize that the chromosome split into many parts, and embedded itself into the remaining chromosomes. This simply does not happen in multicellular animals. We have made many observations, and this simply does not happen.

    Rarely, sometimes animals do just lose chromosomes. However, Ken Miller correctly notes that in a great ape, the loss of a whole chromosome would mean that the individual organism would certainly die. So that cannot be what happened.

    We look for other possibilities. The only remaining possibility that actually has been observed in the lab is chromosomal fusion. Thus, before the advent of modern whole genome sequencing, the following prediction was made: (simplified for present audiences): In the human lineage after the human-chimp split, in one individual, two chromosome pairs fused. This individual then had children, and those children had children, all who inherited this change, and all who had only 23 pairs of chromosomes. Eventually, this change went to fixation in the population, i.e. every individual in the population was a direct descendant of the individual who had the chromosomal fusion, and every individual in the population had 23 chromosomes.

    If evolutionary theory is true, then this prediction should be true. With the advent of whole genome sequencing, we were able to verify this prediction, and spectacularly so.

  365. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    […]
    Based on the above you conclude that as the DNA difference get’s really big then those animals are no longer part of the same species.

    Loosely correct.

    [continued from above quote]
    You then conclude that there MUST have been an intermediate species or range of species or a common ancestor which lead to the human and ape you are testing because in your preconceived mind there is no other way to explain the existence of those animals.

    Loosely incorrect. It would be improper to make that conclusion on this line of evidence alone.

    Sorry but that is flawed science. You are not being objective and reasonable. Proper scientists would openly state that they can’t explain the biodiversity using DNA. If they did support Common Descent they would put a disclaimer that the theory depends on intermediate species who were interfertile at one time or the other and that there is currently no way of confirming it with the present scientific knowledge and techniques.

    I still suspect that you don’t actually understand evolutionary theory, and that you are appealing to a strawman version of it.

    Remember this: The biggest hurdle that I have to convincing creationists of the truth of evolutionary theory is not to argue about evidence, not to argue about philosophy of science, etc. The biggest hurdle that I have is to explain what evolutionary theory actually is. Most creationists, yourself included, have no idea what evolutionary theory actually is, and they are often quite resistant to learning what evolutionary theory actually is.

    In particular, what you wrote sounds suspiciously similar to the crocoduck idea.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crocoduck

    In particular, your use of the language “intermediate species who were interfertile” suggests this misunderstanding.

    There was no ancestor population that was halfway between crocodile and ducks. If you think that evolutionary theory predicts that there was a population of animals, i.e. crocoducks, that was fertile with ducks, and also fertile with crocodiles, then you do not understand evolutionary theory.

    You need to think of evolution as a family tree, where the most-recent common ancestor may look nothing like the descendents on a cursory examination. (A more detailed examination, like what Linnaeus did, will show the relationship.)

    I forget the best online resource for this, but here is one resource. I know Aronra was working on this. I should check on it. It’s an online resource to actually navigate through the tree of life.

    Here’s humans, and some other great apes.
    http://tolweb.org/Hominidae/16299

    By navigating, one can see the following “family history” of humans.
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Primates -> Catarrhini -> Hominidae

    Here’s dogs:
    http://tolweb.org/Carnivora/15971
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Carnivora -> Caniformia -> Canidae

    Here’s tigers:
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Carnivora -> Felidae -> Pantherinae -> Panthera -> Panthera tigris

    Here’s echo-locating bats:
    http://tolweb.org/Microchiroptera/16085

    By navigating, one can see the following “family history” of the echo-locating bats:
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Chiroptera -> Microchiroptera

    Here’s crocodiles (or close to it):
    http://tolweb.org/Archosauria/14900

    By navigating, one can see the following “family history” of crocodiles:
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota -> Diapsida -> Archosauromorpha -> Archosauria -> Crocodylomorpha

    All 3 have the following common history:
    Eukaryotes -> Animals -> Bilateria -> Deuterostomia -> Chordata -> Craniata -> Vertebrata -> Gnathostomata -> Sarcopterygii -> Terrestrial Vertebrates -> Amniota

    Let me repeat that without the common history:
    … -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Primates -> Catarrhini -> Hominidae
    … -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Carnivora -> Caniformia -> Canidae
    … -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Carnivora -> Felidae -> Pantherinae -> Panthera -> Panthera tigris
    … -> Amniota -> Synapsida -> Therapsida -> Mammalia -> Eutheria -> Chiroptera -> Microchiroptera
    … -> Amniota -> Diapsida -> Archosauromorpha -> Archosauria -> Crocodylomorpha

    Notice how some of these particular animal species share a longer common ancestry with some species than other species. For example, dogs and tigers have a common family history up to “Carnivora”. Bats, dogs, and humans onlyh ave a common history up to “Eutheria”. Crocodiles with these other examples only have a common history up to “Amniota”.

    Again, there never was a population of bat-men that could interbreed with bats and also humans. Instead, the most-recent common ancestor of humans and bats was the first population of Eutheria, and based on other knowledge, IIRC, this first population of Eutheria looked like shrews. This population of shrew-like things divided many, many times, and further divided many, many times, to become bats and humans (and whales and dogs etc.). You can see this by exploring the website, and I strongly suggest that you do. One of those spits of splits of splits of … [etc] … splits of splits is bats. Another one is humans. Another is dogs. Another is whales. Etc.

    Guessing based on this knowledge, the common ancestry of ducks and crocodiles is Amniota, which is described imprecisely and loosely as: “Mammals, reptiles (turtles, lizards, Sphenodon, crocodiles, birds) and their extinct relatives”. So, seemingly, guessing based on this information, the most-recent common ancestor of crocodiles and ducks was something that looked like a gecko, or some other common lizard.

    According to evolutionary theory, these are what the most-recent common ancestors would have looked like. They are not halfway between the two in some Frankenstein sense. Instead, one needs to look at their evolutionary history in order to see what their most recent common ancestor would have looked like.

    In particular, humans and bats are both mammals and Eutheria, and that’s the most-recent common ancestor, and therefore the most recent common ancestor would look like a shrew (again I happen to know from other sources that it was probably shrew-like). Bats, humans, and this shrew-like creature are Eurkaryotes (cells with a nucleus and mitochrondria IIRC), and they have bilaterial symmetry (Bilateria), and they have a spinal cord (Chordata), and they have a skull (Craniate), and they have a backbone around the spinal cord (Vertebrata), and they have a jaw and certain other features (Gnathostomata), and they have four limbs (or vestiges) (Tetrapodomorpha), that reproduce with eggs (Amniota), that share certain other features of the skull (Synapsida), have limbs that extend below the body instead of sideways from the body (Therapsida), they have hair, 3 middle ear bones, mammary glands, regulate body temperate (Mammalia).

    Again, let me emphasize how easy it would be to show that Linnaeus’s system of classification is arbitrary. For example, just one mammal with feathers. That’s all it would take. For further reading / watching, I suggest the work of Aronra, and in particular this video:

    > Phylogeny Challenge

  366. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Patrick67 #405:

    Ken clearly said that if a pair of chromosomes were missing it would be fatal. […] I have a very strong idea that you are confusing his use of the word fatal. Ken Miller is not using the word fatal in the sense that […] If we can’t account for those missing chromosomes then Common Ancestry is “fatally” flawed. It is dead in the water. This is the meaning of the word fatal in Ken Miller’s claim.

    Ken didn’t say fatal.
    He said “lethal” in the lecture.
     
    Video: Ken Miller – 2nd Chromosomal Fusion
    “Could it have gotten lost in our lineage? Uh-uh. If a whole primate chomosome was lost, that would be lethal.”

  367. Chikoppi says

    I wonder if a minor concession with a major caveat might be in order? I hope my naïveté isn’t to blame, so correct me if I’m wrong with the following.

    You are handed two sets of data, each containing the sequenced genome of an extinct species. You have no other information. No dates, no geographical information, no other samples of either population. No further context.

    Based on that information alone you could estimate how closely related the species are. You might not be able to determine if one is a direct descendant of the other, if an intermediate species separates them, or if they are both direct descendants of a common predecessor.

    That’s the minor concession. Fair?

    The major caveat is the phylogeny of species doesn’t depend merely on genetic information considered in a vacuum. In reality there is a catalog of species ordered by chronologic, geographic, and genetic evidence. In this context the evolution of genotypes can be traced through species over time. The sample genomes in the above example may have a determinable position in the phylogeny based on which genetic variations within the catalog necessarily precede and which necessarily follow. The more complete the record, the more certain the lineage. Fair?

    I’m still not sure what any of this has to do with the price of tea, but why let an interesting subject go to waste?

  368. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    You’re filling in the gaps with intermediate species between humans and the common ancestor and the apes and the common ancestor with absolutely no DNA evidence at all. You’re just making an assumption that it existed and it must have looked like such such thing

    What the fuck, Sam?
    I squashed this like a hundred comments ago. We make a phylogeny based solely on the DNA of extant species. Then we independently create one based on morphology in the fossil record. Then we COMPARE THEM. When this is done, we see an incredibly strong correlation. Why is that? Can you answer this? Or are you going to ignore it again?

  369. says

    @Chikoppi,

    “Based on that information alone you could estimate how closely related the species are.”

    All you are doing is determining how those living organisms are similar. You can’t determine if they are related in the sense of a lineage.

  370. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well, actually, with the fossil record, and other lines of reasoning, we can show that the tree of life shown by morphology and DNA is in fact a descent with modification relationship.

  371. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “All you are doing is determining how those living organisms are similar. You can’t determine if they are related in the sense of a lineage.”

    Morphology and lineage are related. Unless you are denying that two avian specimens are more closely related (share a more recent common ancestor and genetic similarity) than an avian and a fish. Two Passeriformes are more closely related than a Passeriformes and a Strigiformes (though both are aves). Two species of crow are more closely related than a crow and a swallow (though both Passerformes). Etc.

  372. says

    @EL,

    “Actually, let me try one more time for Sam, in different language: If we assume that neo-Darwinism evolutionary theory is true, we want to explain the difference in the number of chromosomes of humans and chimps. Based on the truth of evolutionary theory, we know that it’s very likely that the shared ancestor population had individuals with either 23 or 24 pairs of chromosomes. Because the other great apes all have 24 pairs, it’s thus very likely that the shared ancestor population had 24 pairs.
    Given the knowledge of how mutations and chromosomes work, see earlier post, the question then becomes: “Where did that chromosome go in the human lineage?”.
    It is flatly ridiculous to hypothesize that the chromosome split into many parts, and embedded itself into the remaining chromosomes. This simply does not happen in multicellular animals. We have made many observations, and this simply does not happen.”

    So how does the above apply to the Gibbon family whose genome varies quite radically?

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26187-shattering-dna-may-have-let-gibbons-evolve-new-species/

  373. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Do you understand what the phrase “general rule” means? It means a rule that covers most cases, but not all. From your paper and other papers, this kind of rearrangement of chromosomal content is relatively rare in animals, especially mammals.

    What you did is called “cherrypicking”. Cherrypicking is taking one outlying piece of evidence, and trying to use it to pretend as though the general trend does not exist. It’s a form of dishonesty, or gross ignorance. I’m not sure which yet in this particular case. I suspect it’s somewhere in the middle, right around blind dogmatic obedience to a pre-existing faith belief, and disingenuous attempts to seize on to any form of argument, whether legitimate or not, to support that pre-conceived faith position.

    Speaking of which, what is your position? Are you a Muslim? How old is the Earth? How long ago, in years, did animal life first exist on Earth? How long ago, in years, did humans first exist on Earth? Which came first – trees or stars? Note: The book of Genesis says that trees were created before stars.

    This is my position: I am an atheist. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Animal life first existed about 500 million years ago (gross approximation). Humans first existed about 1 million years ago (gross approximation). The first stars existed long before the first trees. The first stars came into being about 13 billion years ago (gross approximation), while the first tree is definitely younger than 500 million years. Probably closer to 200 million years. I could look it up, but I don’t care right now.

  374. Chikoppi says

    Also from the article:

    “Gibbons are apes, and were the first to break away from the line that led to humans. There are around 16 living gibbon species, in four genera. … Each species carries a distinct number of chromosomes in its genome: some species have just 38 pairs, some as many as 52 pairs.”

    And yet it is still possible to use genetic analysis to establish the patterns of descent (lineage)…

    “Uniquely among hominoids, gibbons exist as multiple geographically contiguous taxa exhibiting distinctive behavioral, morphological, and karyotypic characteristics. However, our understanding of the evolutionary relationships of the various gibbons, especially among Hylobates species, is still limited because previous studies used limited taxon sampling or short mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. Here we use mtDNA genome sequences to reconstruct gibbon phylogenetic relationships and reveal the pattern and timing of divergence events in gibbon evolutionary history.”

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0014419

    Thanks for pointing to the article, that was a fun fact I didn’t know!

  375. says

    @Chikoppi,

    “2) You do accept that species diverge and differentiate over time, that one population may evolve into two distinct species (that can no longer successfully interbreed).”

    Problem is we just don’t know if 2 species are capable of interbreeding. They may not do so because of behaviour or due to separation by location or because it’s a problem at the cellular level or they simply can’t do so because of morphology.

    Which I believe is one of the main reasons the term “species” is very problematic and hard to pin down.

    So we can observe different looking animals of the same group, for example dogs, can can observe that most of them can interbreed. The same may not apply to certain groups of cats or horses, etc.

    I know scientists are always looking for explanations to the phenomena they observe and try to come up with one that will unify them and provide origins BUT at some point they need to accept that as we learn more and more about living organisms we are seeing things which just don’t fit into this unifying model, for example ToE. They can’t simply say this is a rare occurrence or an edge case which we don’t have include in the model, everything has to included no matter how much they don’t like it.

    So if you can’t define “species” you need to be clear on it and use it very very carefully or find another term.

  376. Chikoppi says

    Re: 415

    Also from the article:

    “Gibbons are apes, and were the first to break away from the line that led to humans. There are around 16 living gibbon species, in four genera. … Each species carries a distinct number of chromosomes in its genome: some species have just 38 pairs, some as many as 52 pairs.”

    And yet it is still possible to use genetic analysis to establish the patterns of descent (lineage)…

    “Uniquely among hominoids, gibbons exist as multiple geographically contiguous taxa exhibiting distinctive behavioral, morphological, and karyotypic characteristics. However, our understanding of the evolutionary relationships of the various gibbons, especially among Hylobates species, is still limited because previous studies used limited taxon sampling or short mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. Here we use mtDNA genome sequences to reconstruct gibbon phylogenetic relationships and reveal the pattern and timing of divergence events in gibbon evolutionary history.”

    See PLOS ONE: “Mitochondrial Genome Sequences Effectively Reveal the Phylogeny of Hylobates Gibbons”

    P.S. Does the format of PLOS ONE URLs break the forum? I twice tried posting the actual link to the research paper to no avail.

  377. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Problem is we just don’t know if 2 species are capable of interbreeding. They may not do so because of behaviour or due to separation by location or because it’s a problem at the cellular level or they simply can’t do so because of morphology.

    Ok. What’s your point?

    So we can observe different looking animals of the same group, for example dogs, can can observe that most of them can interbreed. The same may not apply to certain groups of cats or horses, etc.

    Ok. What’s your point?

    We can still do computer diff algorithms on the DNA of Gibbons to compute a distance between different Gibbon species, and between various Gibbon species and other ape species. Sure, the diff algorithm is slightly more complicated than the literal diff utility that comes with Linux, but it’s not that hard to write a diff utility for this purpose. It’s not like genes have been randomly assigned locations on new chromosomes. There’s still a large resemblence to other ape chromosomes. Further, even if the genes were randomly assigned on some chromosomes, there’s still the contents of the genes themselvse which can be compared by a formal, blind, computer diff algorithm.

    tl;dr Proper objective distance measures can be made on genomes that have been completely randomly scrambled but where the individual genes are left intact, and the same tree of life emerges from this DNA diff analysis.

    You think that this is a defeater for my position, but it’s totally not, because you don’t understand what you’re talking about.

  378. says

    @EL,

    “Do you understand what the phrase “general rule” means? It means a rule that covers most cases, but not all. From your paper and other papers, this kind of rearrangement of chromosomal content is relatively rare in animals, especially mammals.
    What you did is called “cherrypicking”. Cherrypicking is taking one outlying piece of evidence, and trying to use it to pretend as though the general trend does not exist. It’s a form of dishonesty, or gross ignorance. I’m not sure which yet in this particular case. I suspect it’s somewhere in the middle, right around blind dogmatic obedience to a pre-existing faith belief, and disingenuous attempts to seize on to any form of argument, whether legitimate or not, to support that pre-conceived faith position.”

    I knew someone would say something like that. You’re not really understanding what these rare cases mean, It simply means certain mechanisms which you thought produce a certain phenomena are wrong. You need to discard them. If you don’t understand the mechanisms at the molecular level and are basing your understanding on trends then you need to to drop that trend when you find something which refutes it or at least put a disclaimer in there.

    So Ken Miller should not have said that evolutionary theory should have predicted the fusion of the chromosomes. He was blatantly wrong. He should have remembered the case of the gibbons genome.

    My religious beliefs are irrelevant. Just take the science for what is rather than what you or others want it to be,

  379. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “So if you can’t define “species” you need to be clear on it and use it very very carefully or find another term.”

    Well, I thought I was clear, but let me try again without invoking the term…

    2) You do accept that a genetically homogenous population can diverge and differentiate over time, that emerging genetic variations between those divergent sub-populations may eventually result in their inability to interbreed.

  380. says

    @EL,

    Like I said before, I’d need to look into how DNA is used to create a phylogenetic tree as well as how Carl Linnaeus created his. Also, a persons religious beliefs are irrelevant to science. The observations and reasonings should be there for everyone to judge on whether it is sound. That’s proper science. Not like we have it today and in the past where if you disagree with scientific community you are ridiculed.

  381. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So Ken Miller should not have said that evolutionary theory should have predicted the fusion of the chromosomes. He was blatantly wrong. He should have remembered the case of the gibbons genome.

    Again, this sort of gene movement inside of a single chromosome and across chromosomes is rare in animals, and very rare in mammals. We know this. We have lots of evidence for this. Therefore, it was correct and proper to predict that a fusion event is the most likely explanation of the different number of chromosomes of humans and the other great apes.

    Further, this prediction w.r.t. human chromosome #2 was spectacularly confirmed. Do you still deny the obvious fact that it is a fusion? We have recorded the genomes. The first half of human chromosome #2 matches some chimp chromosome P, and the second half matches some other chimp chromosome Q, according to base-pair by base-pair comparison, similar to a Linux diff algorithm. This matching is an undeniable fact that everyone can look at right now. Further, the extra out-of-place centromere and telemore is an undeniable fact that everyone can go look at right now. To deny that this indicates a fusion event is perverse. Do you even know what “centromere” and “telemore” mean?

    Also, a persons religious beliefs are irrelevant to science.

    Care to answer the other scientific questions then? Age of universe. Age of Earth. Age of first animal. Age of first human. Age of first tree. Age of first star.

    Like I said before, I’d need to look into how DNA is used to create a phylogenetic tree as well as how Carl Linnaeus created his.

    Maybe you should go do your basic research before pretending to know what you’re talking about. This coincidence of the tree of life according to DNA diff distances and the tree of life according to morphology – that is the strongest evidence in favor of evolution and common ancestry. You say that you’ve looked into the evidence. If you haven’t looked into the strongest evidence of your opponent, then what have you been looking at? Obscure and irrelevant details of the number of Gibbon chromosomes? Spend your time better. Read what your opponents actually believe, again specifically “The Greatest Show On Earth” by Richard Dawkins and “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne.

  382. Chikoppi says

    @Sam

    “Also, a persons religious beliefs are irrelevant to science.”

    Just curious, do you believe the inverse is also true? That a person’s belief about science is irrelevant to his or her beliefs about religion? Because there are plentiful theists who refuse to accept basic scientific facts because they think it contradicts scripture.

    At the very least, it can cloud a person’s judgement due to cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning. To wit (#286)…

    “I believe in the near future Common Ancestry will be put rest as more and more is learnt about DNA and fossils and other living organisms are discovered and understood. … The same will happen with Common Ancestry and the age of the earth. The truth will eventually come out no matter how much people don’t like it.”

    Because it can’t be true if it contradicts scripture, isn’t that right?

  383. says

    @EL,

    “Obscure and irrelevant details of the number of Gibbon chromosomes?”

    That’s a typical response to phenomena which goes against the understanding of non-believers. As I said before, you just want to sweep stuff like that under the carpet instead of trying to address and understand it and dare I say soften your stance on your “beliefs”.

    You need to ask yourself why you are investing so much effort and time in wanting believe in ToE that you call certain phenomena which has profound implications on ToE “Obscure and irrelevant”. (John lacoletti I hope you are reading this).

    You should be accepting that the way DNA structure is passed down from generation to generation or even one individual to another is open to variation. That further research needs to be done on the mechanisms in which cells use to store DNA.

    If you have a “theory of everything” and all of a sudden something is proven to break that “theory of everything” then do you throw the observation out or modify the “theory of everything” or throw the theory out. Well any rational honest person would look at the theory again rather than discard the observation that violates the theory.

  384. says

    To all,

    My apologies if I sound arrogant, dumb, stupid, naive and various other negative words. It’s hard for me to get across what I want to say clearly. But I feel many on here are not seeing the science for what it is. I feel you will only change your minds when you see something published in the media.

    The evidence speaks for itself. You can’t use similarities to determine sexual relationships whether it’s DNA or morphological. That is a fact. You seem to think just because we can use and do use DNA to confirm paternity/maternity then you can use that to determine sexual relationships with “species” which are outside our “species”. This is wrong.

    You CANNOT use DNA to determine who your common ancestor was 10 generations ago and this is within a population which is KNOWN to be interfertile and of the same population. This is a fact. To go on and say you can use the same principles of DNA analysis to determine common ancestry with living organisms of whom little is known or who are of a different family is ludicrous.

    Stop citing the genome calculations when they are irrelevant. Accept the data/evidence for what it is.

  385. says

    Sorry forgot to mention that I won’t be commenting very much here as I need to take care of work. For those interested I may make a few posts if I think I can put a more coherent and understandable case against common ancestry. My apologies if i didn’t respond to your questions. It’s just to hard for me to answer questions in different threads.

    I feel it’s been a wonderful and very engaging discussion which was helped immensely by experts in their field. So thanks to Blixic for taking the time to comment.

    As I said before the truth will come out eventually no matter what you or I think or want it to be. I personally think that most believers don’t engage science as they should and try to avoid things which are blatantly fact such has Evolution and don’t take the effort to understand it so they can challenge things like Common Descent in a more coherent and collective manner.

  386. Blixic says

    Sam saying that proven and demonstratable facts aren’t facts….. it’s frustrating. It’s like me telling everyone that ‘if you go outside and throw a rock up into the air, it won’t come down again. It just won’t. It’s a fact. And the only reason you all think it will is because you misunderstand gravity.’

    It’s hard to know how to respond to such a thing. It’s obvious to me and I assume everyone else that he’s wrong and just doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, but he’s just one person and it’s easy to dismiss his “no it’s not”/”no it doesn’t” attitude. But to him, it must seem like this giant conspiracy, or giant bunch of idiots. He really thinks that all of the experts have it all wrong. He’s confident enough to tell the experts “you can’t do that – you can’t make phylogenies across species” as I’m literally sitting here running a tree-building algorithm on this very computer. My mind is blown.

    It takes an incredible amount of arrogance to try to tell me that the work I do every day is just a fantasy or something. All these phylogenies that I have made, published, presented are just crap because none of us scientists actually know what we’re doing. Like, I wouldn’t go up to an astrophysicist, after reading some articles online, and tell her that the most basic assumptions of astrophysics are B.S. and then point out a whole bunch of things that I think she did wrong in her life’s work, tell her how she should have worded something 20 years ago. You know? I wouldn’t presume to understand anywhere near enough to critique it.

    At least I have learned something from Sam, though. I didn’t realize just how arrogant a person could be about something they don’t understand.

    Guess I should quit my job now, because I apparently can’t use DNA the way I thought I could. Darn, all that education and research and honing of my skills was for nothing.

  387. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    If you have a “theory of everything” and all of a sudden something is proven to break that “theory of everything” then do you throw the observation out or modify the “theory of everything” or throw the theory out. Well any rational honest person would look at the theory again rather than discard the observation that violates the theory.

    Listen, fuckhead. Science is continuously making modifications to theoretical models. But this discussion has yet to approach the depth at which these modifications are made. We’re still mostly talking in very general terms. The constant stream of lies has been grinding on me for a while, as is your refusal to answer my questions.
    You’re just a dunce who’s wrong about everything. It’s truly baffling how you manage to function…although it’s very hard to accept that you actually believe all the garbage you post.

  388. John Iacoletti says

    @EL, #408:
    “Thus, before the advent of modern whole genome sequencing, the following prediction was made: (simplified for present audiences): In the human lineage after the human-chimp split, in one individual, two chromosome pairs fused. This individual then had children, and those children had children, all who inherited this change, and all who had only 23 pairs of chromosomes. ”

    This is interesting to think about. That first 23-pair mutant: did he or she breed with a regular 24-pair ape? Does that work? If so, were the offspring 23 or 24, or a mixture? Or did there have to be at least 2 23-pair mutants who breeded?

  389. John Iacoletti says

    @EL, #409:
    “Again, there never was a population of bat-men that could interbreed with bats and also humans. ”

    Then how do you explain Batman? Checkmate, atheists!

  390. Chikoppi says

    @Sam #426

    “You CANNOT use DNA to determine who your common ancestor was 10 generations ago and this is within a population which is KNOWN to be interfertile and of the same population.”

    Who your ancestor was … 10 generations … within a population. This is 100% irrelevant to how genetic analysis is actually used to establish phylogeny.

    @Sam 422

    “Like I said before, I’d need to look into how DNA is used to create a phylogenetic tree”

    And yet despite the fact that you ACKNOWLEDGE that you have an incomplete understanding you presume to obstinately lecture a practicing professional, not to mention the entire scientific community. Where does such hubris come from? Is it perhaps due to the fact that you desperately NEED the facts about evolution to be wrong because they contradict your irrational religious beliefs?

    @Sam 426

    “If you have a “theory of everything” and all of a sudden something is proven to break that “theory of everything” then do you throw the observation out or modify the “theory of everything”

    Let’s rephrase that…”If you have a RELIGIOUS belief and all of a sudden EVIDENCE is proven to break that RELIGIOUS belief then do you throw the EVIDENCE out or modify the RELIGIOUS belief?”

    The question is rhetorical, but your answer to it should help you meditate on the degree of intellectual honesty you can claim to possess.

  391. adamah says

    Sam said:

    Some great questions have been asked but we’re getting off track on common ancestry. If I may I’d like to get back to it and stick to it.

    It would help immensely if you’d refrain from continually derailing your own discussion by throwing out absurd statements that require correction.

    Here’s examples:

    A species is defined as being population of living organisms who are interfertile so is it correct to analyse the DNA which gives no indication of whether the living organisms are interfertile?

    AND:

    Problem is we just don’t know if 2 species are capable of interbreeding. They may not do so because of behaviour or due to separation by location or because it’s a problem at the cellular level or they simply can’t do so because of morphology.

    It’s these type of “if a tree falls in the forest” type of questions that border on trolling, since it’s been explained to you ad nauseum.

    Next you’ll be demanding us to prove that all homo Sapiens constitute the same species and are inter-fertile, insisting that we force a human African male to have sex with a Japanese female, as you’re calling our bluff on the whole species concept.

    (Hint: spontaneous abortions occur, some of which are due to genetic problems (mismatches) occurring in fetal development.)

    As others have already explained, ‘common ancestry’ relies on evidence that already exists, as a result of reproductive events that have actually transpired.

    Common ancestry couldn’t give a whit about what COULD, MIGHT, WILL, or MUST be in the future, since no one (including Gods) knows with absolute certainty what tomorrow will bring. It only deals with what WAS and IS.

    As others have repeatedly explained, even if a given breeding pair fails to produce offspring, it actually says NOTHING of their being members of different species. As blixin pointed out about 100 posts upstream, there are many OTHER factors besides DNA (such as whether the female has functional ovaries, had a hysterectomy, hormonal issues, etc) that are involved in determining whether the couple is able to produce viable offspring (eg maternal nutrition, pre-natal exposure to harmful or toxic agent which damage the fetus, etc.)

    And anyone who’s watched even one popular animal show (eg Animal Planet) should be familiar with the concept that some animals (e.g. pandas) often won’t breed in captivity. Sometimes scientists will resort to artifical insemination or other means to produce fully-fertile offspring, but their failure to mate says NOTHING about their status as being members of the same species.

    So rather than dealing with certainty, science deals in probabilities, and not absolutes: that’s why it’s said the language of science is statistics (which includes studying probabilities). It’s so critical to understanding biological principles, that it’s required coursework for biology majors in undergrad.

    Like many lay-persons, you appear to be hung up on binary thinking, preferring false promises of absolute certainty rather than having to deal with probabilities.

    Unfortunately for you, biology deals in probabilities (and readily admits to the unknowns)…

    Having thought about it a bit more I would also go further and argue that bacteria replicate themselves but humans don’t, A man does not create a copy of himself and neither does a female. The offspring they produce are not copies of the parents.

    Now I’m doubting whether Sam has even taken ANY biology course, even a General Bio 101 course designed for non-science majors.

    ‘Replicate’ is not a synonym for ‘duplicate’, and hence the offspring needn’t be EXACT copies of the bacteria from which they originated.

    In fact, bacteria (which in most cases reproduce asexually) often will MUTATE, developing new characteristics or novel capacities (on the metabolic and/or phenotypic level) due to changes in their genome.

    That’s exactly how drug resistance to antibiotics arises: those bacteria lucky enough to have mutated beforehand to have the ability to metabolize an antibiotic they’ve never encountered before will survive, while those bacteria that haven’t mutated the key to survival won’t. Hence, the latter bacteria will quickly replicate in the niche left from the antibiotic onslaught, surviving to pass on the key to survival to their progeny.

    If you doubt this, just Google “MRSA” (methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus), realizing it’s a public-health threat that is in the news.

  392. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To everyone, I have a post at 409 which just got through moderation. I had a few too many links. My bad.

    To Sam:

    For you Sam especially, I encourage you to read post 409, and to watch Aronra’s videos. Especially the one to which I linked, the Phylogeny Challenge, but his other videos “The Foundational Falsehoods Of Creationism” are important too.

    With some better background knowledge, I also thoroughly recommend this lecture:
    > Darwin Day Broward 2012 AronRa
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLu3-wYIxI0

    I did not properly understand evolution until I saw this video. I suspect that many atheists here are laboring under the same fundamental misunderstandings that I was, and I encourage everyone to watch this lecture if they have not.

    To John:

    This is interesting to think about. That first 23-pair mutant: did he or she breed with a regular 24-pair ape? Does that work? If so, were the offspring 23 or 24, or a mixture? Or did there have to be at least 2 23-pair mutants who breeded?

    I actually don’t know. I would like to know the answer to that question too.

    “Again, there never was a population of bat-men that could interbreed with bats and also humans. ”

    Then how do you explain Batman? Checkmate, atheists!

    That was my aim, lol. Glad someone enjoyed it.

  393. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This is interesting to think about. That first 23-pair mutant: did he or she breed with a regular 24-pair ape? Does that work? If so, were the offspring 23 or 24, or a mixture? Or did there have to be at least 2 23-pair mutants who breeded?

    From what I can read online, it’s highly unlikely that the same mutation happened twice (as should be obvious).

    Remember, with a single chromosomal fusion, it would create a person with 47 chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells. 48 – 1 = 47. Their egg / sperm would then contain either 23 or 24 chromosomes. Further, it seems that during sexual fertilization, as long as the chromosomes sequences are there, then 2 chromosomes can bond to a single chromosome. It has reduced likelihood of bonding, and thus reduced fertility, but it can happen. This can produce more 47 chromosome people. With inbreeding, we can get two 47 chromosome people together, which could produce a 46 chromosome offspring, and with luck and chance, eventually the 46 chromosome genome could go to fixation in the population.

  394. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I must admit that I spoke incorrectly:

    It is flatly ridiculous to hypothesize that the chromosome split into many parts, and embedded itself into the remaining chromosomes. This simply does not happen in multicellular animals. We have made many observations, and this simply does not happen.

    The Gibbon evidence shows that at least one plausible meaning of what I wrote is false. Rather, I should say that this doesn’t happen in one step in one individual. It didn’t happen in one step in the Gibbons. Instead, in Gibbons, to get that kind of genetic shuffling, it must happen over many steps, over many individuals. To that extent, I was correct.

  395. says

    @EL,

    Keep looking into it and seeing how things really work in nature especially the “rare” cases that don’t fit into the way people want them to and find it difficult to understand.

  396. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, shut the fuck up Sam. You haven’t even looked into the strongest evidence on my side, i.e. the morphological tree of life and the genomic tree of life. And you have the gall to lecture me on being uneducated. Shut the fuck up and read a book, such as “The Greatest Show On Earth” and “Why Evolution Is True”. Once you’ve done your basic due diligence of having a passing knowledge of the basics of the conversation, then you shall return.

  397. Chikoppi says

    @Sam “Keep looking into it and seeing how things really work in nature especially the “rare” cases that don’t fit into the way people want them to and find it difficult to understand.”

    Just to be clear, evidence for the efficacy of genetic analysis in determining phylogeny is strengthened by the case of the gibbon genome. It can be successfully applied even in cases of atypical gene migration. It is evidence that refutes your position.

    As an aside, thanks for linking to that article. It was a fun fact about gibbons of which I was completely unaware!

  398. says

    @440

    especially the “rare” cases

    Sam, could I ask you how old you believe the Earth to be? I ask because you seem to think that some “rare” or improbable genetic events are so unlikely that they simply couldn’t have happened. I’m no scientific historian, but I’ve read that before we (humans) understood nuclear fusion (the physics kind, not the biological kind), one big objection to evolution by natural selection wasn’t with any of the evidence that Darwin used, but rather it was that we didn’t know if there had been enough time for it to produce the life we see (or that they saw). They had an idea that the earth was old, they just didn’t have an explanation for how it could be as old as it was, specifically that the Sun could burn for that long. If you hold that there’s a young earth (~10,000 years), and therefore these rare events couldn’t have happened, then we’re discussing the wrong thing. If you agree with the scientific consensus of a billions of years old earth, then you need to show your math that the probability of the “rare” event you’re hanging your cap on is unlikely given what we know of the timeline and population of animals (apes, humans, horses, donkeys or whatever) you’re talking about.

  399. says

    @changerofbits,

    I’m with the young earth group.

    Even if the earth was trillions of years old I don’t believe some of the biological phenomena could have happened including the existence of life. Given what we currently know about chemistry and physics it’s impossible for life to exist.

  400. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Exactly how many blows to the head with a cricket bat have you sustained?

  401. Chikoppi says

    @Sam “Even if the earth was trillions of years old I don’t believe some of the biological phenomena could have happened including the existence of life. Given what we currently know about chemistry and physics it’s impossible for life to exist.”

    That’s the argument from incredulity. Sam, the default position for belief should be “I don’t know” (including “I don’t know how” and “I don’t know why”). The time to believe something is when the preponderance of evidence supports a conclusion. Literally all the evidence, chemical, physical, biological, astronomical, etc., indicates the earth is billions of years old. All of it.

    As I and others have pointed out previously, it doesn’t seem you are actually interested in learning what the evidence tells us. What you’re trying to do is to find a reason to not have to challenge your presuppositions.

    There are many theists who have absolutely no problem squaring their beliefs with what we have learned from scientific pursuits. Facts need not be a threat.

    You cannot pursue what is true and have blind faith. It’s one or the other.

  402. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Sam #355:

    Cell mitosis is actually a miracle

     
    #444:

    Even if the earth was trillions of years old I don’t believe some of the biological phenomena could have happened including the existence of life.

    You reject the chemistry constantly occuring in your own body.
    Your incredulity is obscenely miscalibrated.
     
    On the other hand, a god wouldn’t need to rush. He could poof life onto an old earth just as easily.
     
    If you’re going to insist phenomena that DO happen are impossible, just to give a god something to do, there’s no reason to argue against any theory. Whatever happens happens. The earth is as old as it appears. You’re just gonna say goddidit anyway.
     
    Your desire for ignorance-driven conflict and negative attention is counterproductive and unhealthy.
     
    #104:

    God sends winds – Where and how winds form both at the earths surface and higher up we simply don’t know.

    Convection: Goddidit.

  403. says

    You guys haven’t understood what I said before and don’t understand the concept of God.

    Everything is under the power and control of God. Absolutely everything. Everything that exists is created by God. So yes God did everything.

    The question is more of how do we distinguish God using science if God created everything including the facilities we use to learn science with, for example our eyes, hearing, intellect, etc.

    I realise for some this is a difficult concept to understand. Once you do understand many things make sense.

  404. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    None of your wild-ass claims mean shit unless you can actually prove them.
    I asked you waaaay upstream how we could distinguish a universe with a god from a universe without a god. Like all my questions, you ignored it.
    Lose the god-bot bullshit and actually think. Try it. I swear it won’t hurt.

  405. Chikoppi says

    @ Sam

    Having to deny basic facts about the world isn’t much of a way to honor “creation.” If you believe that God is limitless than surely a few billion years of evolution is within the realm of possibility. Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge and appreciate it than deny it?

    But that’s not it. Someone has told you that scripture, more specifically their particular interpretation of scripture, can’t be questioned. So how do you know they’re right? How do you know they haven’t misinterpreted the meaning? Whether Christian or Islamic, there is constant debate about interpretation. Be willing to question and change your mind if that’s where the evidence leads. Think for yourself!

  406. says

    @Chikoppi,

    When I see the evidence of billions of years of so called “evolution” I’ll accept. When I was an atheist it made complete sense. When I looked into it further I’m no longer convinced and am not going to accept conjecture, assumptions and misunderstandings by so called experts as facts. I’ve accept Evolution as a fact since it can be observed. Common Descent has never been observed (please don’t cite talkorigins, yes I’ve read and understood it).

    Some theists may say don’t question scripture but the Quran says you should clearly do it and that’s what I do. I disagree with certain “experts” of the scripture on the meanings because sometimes what they say and believe goes actually against scripture.

    I suggest you open your mind more and question the science rather than simply accept conjecture and assumptions as facts.

  407. Vivec says

    You guys don’t understand the concept of this magic bean I have in my back pocket.

    Everything is under the power and control of the magic bean in my back pocket. Absolutely everything. Everything that exists was created by the magic bean in my back pocket. So yes, the magic bean did everything.

    Oh wow, you could plug in literally anything for “god” in that statement, and the epistemic content remains the same!

  408. adamah says

    Sam said:

    Everything is under the power and control of God. Absolutely everything. Everything that exists is created by God. So yes God did everything.

    Cool, so Sam derailed his own thread once again, and we’re back on the topic of theology. Hopefully he’s better-versed in defending theism beliefs than he is in challenging scientific evidence.

    So since God is responsible for “everything” (including controlling natural phenomena, like the wind, earthquakes, etc), is God also responsible for the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands a few years ago (and the earthquake just a few days ago that killed hundreds in Japan)?

    That’s the problem with claiming that God micro-manages EVERY natural phenomena in the World: if true, He has to bear the blame for the bad stuff if He wants to take credit for the good and/or benign.

    Aside from the example of parting the Red Sea (which you properly cite as a claimed miracle), this idea of God controlling every natural phenomena (including non-miracles) is actually supported in the Bible (which isn’t the Quran, Of course), eg in the book of Job, God famously takes credit for rain, winds, etc.

    And in Exodus 4:11, God (when speaking to Moses) off-handedly even takes dubious ‘credit’ for causing disability in humans:

    The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

    So God promises to eventually get around to fixing problems He intentionally caused: whadda great guy!

    Sam says:

    I’ve accept Evolution as a fact since it can be observed. Common Descent has never been observed (please don’t cite talkorigins, yes I’ve read and understood it).

    Yet you believe in God, since per your demands to observe before believing, you must’ve observed Him in action?

    Care to explain?

  409. Chikoppi says

    Hardly a day goes by that I don’t change my mind and update my beliefs as I encounter and assess new information. I don’t need any answer to be correct and I believe things only insofar as the quality of the evidence. Good luck Sam. I mean it sincerely. When I was a theist I said many of the same things as you.

  410. says

    @adamah,

    “So since God is responsible for “everything” (including controlling natural phenomena, like the wind, earthquakes, etc), is God also responsible for the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands a few years ago (and the earthquake just a few days ago that killed hundreds in Japan)?
    That’s the problem with claiming that God micro-manages EVERY natural phenomena in the World: if true, He has to bear the blame for the bad stuff if He wants to take credit for the good and/or benign.”

    You forget that just as life is a creation then so is death and sadness and suffering. These things are trivial for God to reverse in an instant. For humans they are uncontrollable. Once you understand this then the usual question becomes “Why?”.

  411. says

    @admah,

    “Cool, so Sam derailed his own thread once again, and we’re back on the topic of theology. Hopefully he’s better-versed in defending theism beliefs than he is in challenging scientific evidence.”

    Theology is much easier for me to understand now. The science stuff takes a lot of effort to research and understand for me in detail. But the basics is easy enough.

  412. adamah says

    MS apparently made herself feel somewhat superior to Sam by delivering this ad hom:

    Exactly how many blows to the head with a cricket bat have you sustained?

    Then, MS chided Sam with:

    I asked you waaaay upstream how we could distinguish a universe with a god from a universe without a god.

    What a silly, ignant (sic) question, MS.

    For one, there wouldn’t be any churches in a God-free Universe…

    Theists for the win! 🙂

    Seriously, it’s a rather silly question to ask, since it’s simply “begging the question”, rephrasing the very unanswered assertion at stake (although it has limited utility in forcing the person to ponder their response, or as a stepping stone to prod with further questioning).

    Unlike our blixic’s claims above that mankind creating life in a test-tube will be the death knell of religion, I unfortunately disagree: the same was said for Galileo’s discovery that the Solar System wasn’t centered in the Earth, the discovery of disease-causing germs by Pasteur (defeating Jesus’ “sin hypothesis of disease’), the discovery of a spherical Earth, not to mention the absence of NASA missions not running into the ‘firmament’ (the dome-shaped ceiling to which the Sun, Moon and stars were attached, and above which resided Heaven).

    The plasticity of the human mind (aka cognitive dissonance suppression techniques) allows believers to simply modify the prior disproven beliefs in order to harmonize with human understanding.

    Hence, many believers have already anticipated the answer by constructing elaborate explanations for God’s seeming absence and disinterest in human affairs (e.g. God must be so distracted from all His daily micro-management of rain-making and the like, although omniscient, He’s obviously going to miss an occasional genocide or two).

    MS whined:

    Like all my questions, you ignored it.

    As I do, too, but that goes for not just your questions, but ANY and ALL comments that are OT.

    So while its questionable that Sam may be as brain-damaged as you claim (and you may be unfamiliar with emotional intelligence?), he’s smart enough to know when he’s been the target of one of your ad hominem personal attacks.

    And if you’re lauding the value of direct observed experience, I suppose you’ve found the approach of insulting others to work best in real life, so you feel justified in doing so on-line, too?

    Sorry, but knowing human nature, I highly doubt that: so Sam apparently is ‘people-smarter’ than you are, and he’s learned to simply ignore you (as I do, unless it’s to point out some dumb-ass shit you say, etc).

  413. Monocle Smile says

    @adam
    Do the world a favor and jam your dick in a pencil sharpener. Nobody fucking cares what you fucking say.

    @Sam

    You forget that just as life is a creation then so is death and sadness and suffering. These things are trivial for God to reverse in an instant

    Then why don’t we see these things happen? Why don’t the dead come back to life? Why don’t people magically stop suffering?

  414. says

    @adamh,

    When reading the bible I ignore most things in the NT except for what was said by Jesus. What Jesus said was the Gospel. There is nothing that Jesus says which goes against the OT and Quran.

  415. adamah says

    Sam said:

    “There is nothing that Jesus says which goes against the OT….”

    No?

    Then you’d better let Jews know about your claim, since Jesus was rejected by Jews as the prophecized Messiah for good reason: Jesus simply didn’t fulfill the criteria:

    http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/17-03.html

    Your understanding of the basic tenets of religion leaves even more to be desired, so perhaps you’d care to discuss biology again?

  416. Argus VonBlargus says

    Sam said:
    “When reading the bible I ignore most things in the NT except for what was said by Jesus. What Jesus said was the Gospel. There is nothing that Jesus says which goes against the OT and Quran.”

    A few observations:

    1. You cannot validate your claim that Jesus “said” anything in teh Bible. At best, you have a non-eyewitnesses second/third hand account of a (by then) decades old story. So right away, the remaining content of your argument is built on a weak foundation. What if the gospel writers were mistaken, deceptive or just plain wrong about the purported statements of Jesus?

    2. Why would you base your religious beliefs on only what Jesus allegedly says? What about the writings of Paul — which are universally accepted by your fellow Christians?

    3. I echo Adam’s remarks but..let’s suppose you ARE correct and Jesus does not go against the OT.

    That means that Jesus would condone: owning and beating of slaves, vigilante murder, stoning disobedient children, requiring rape victims to “yell real loud during their rape” if their case is to be prosecuted. Etc. Why would you follow a demigod/man who would not “go against” such atrocious morals?

  417. Blixic says

    @Adamah #459,

    My statements about how humans creating life in a lab would be the end of the religion were in jest, and wishful thinking at best. I was basically trying to get Sam to say “if humans do create life in the lab, then…” but he won’t because he’s *so sure* that it’ll never happen. I assume this means that he’ll be one of the people more affected by it than others who have prepared themselves. But you’re probably right, it won’t really change anything. I wish it would though… /sigh

  418. adamah says

    AVB, Sam claims to be an adherent of Islam, not Xianity.

    Regardless, I suspect he’s trolling, but it’s hard to discern between a poe and a true believer, since the parody is often identical to the genuine article.

    BTW, good point here:

    That means that Jesus would condone: owning and beating of slaves

    Although Jesus didn’t explicitly state a position on slavery in the NT, remember that Jesus told the parable of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ in Matt 24, wherein Jesus unapologetically implied that the slave owner would be fully-justified in hacking their head slave into itty-bitty pieces, if the head slave failed to provide for the needs of the other slaves.

    If that’s not Jesus explicitly condoning the practice of slavery, then I don’t know what would suffice as proof (other than Jesus outright saying, “Slavery? It’s good!”).

    God knows Xians claim to be “slaves for X” (which is a pretty safe claim to make, when there’s no possible way for a long-dead Jesus to exert any effect on them, either good or bad).

    It’s interesting to note that some fundamentalist Islamists are reintroducing the practice of slavery in territories under ISIS control, e.g. forcing captive female infidels to serve as their sex slaves.

    So Islam or Xianity, gimme some o’ dat’ ol’ time religion!! I wantz 2 own me some slaves!

    Sam, you get to pick your poison:

    1) you get to choose whether what you said above about Jesus not contradicting the OT is true (and Jesus endorses slavery), or,

    2) you can back-peddle from that claim, but then you’d admit to being wrong on theology (which is supposed to be YOUR area of expertise, as you said “it’s so much easier” than biology).

  419. says

    @446

    I’m with the young earth group.

    That’s what I suspected. Next two questions: Flat earth or round? Earth centered or sun centered solar system?

    Even if the earth was trillions of years old I don’t believe some of the biological phenomena could have happened including the existence of life. Given what we currently know about chemistry and physics it’s impossible for life to exist.

    Thanks! Now we know what you believe and another broad-based, ignorance fueled claim of yours! I asked you to bring the math, the data, to show why you are justified in thinking these things are true. If you believe these things, you must have a good reason that would be convincing to other people, right?

  420. says

    You need to ask yourselves what slavery is then it may make more sense as to why the concept of slavery exists.

    You guys are forgetting that absolutely everything is a creation. The fact that you and most people hate slavery should be something you need to think about. It certainly isn’t a product of evolution, it’s something innate in humans.

  421. Chikoppi says

    @Sam “You need to ask yourselves what slavery is then it may make more sense as to why the concept of slavery exists.”

    What? Controlling the productivity of another through physical coercion and taking the benefits of that labor for yourself. Because, lacking sufficient empathy or social ethics to recognize the extent of harm done, the net productivity gained from slavery is believed outweigh the perceived cost of the coercion.

    “You guys are forgetting that absolutely everything is a creation.”

    There is no evidence of this. It is a presupposition.

    “The fact that you and most people hate slavery should be something you need to think about. It certainly isn’t a product of evolution, it’s something innate in humans.”

    Well, as there has been and is slavery, hatred of it clearly isn’t innate. Also, you don’t think empathy is an evolved trait? Are you familiar with theory of mind and mirror neurons? You don’t think the capacity for social behavior is an evolved trait, enabled by cognitive processes that evolved over time? Did you know that a brain injury can make a person psychopathic, destroying their capacity for empathy?

  422. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You need to ask yourselves what slavery is then it may make more sense as to why the concept of slavery exists.

    I have no need to ask that question. I already have the answer. Sociology has a quite satisfactory explanation to how the cultural practice of slavery arises in culture, and how this particular cultural practice has persisted.

    You guys are forgetting that absolutely everything is a creation.

    Wrong. Our local observable universe, as we know it, started at an event that we call “the big bang”. The big bang is very likely an unintended quantum fluctuation of some kind, just like any other random quantum fluctuation.

    The fact that you and most people hate slavery should be something you need to think about. It certainly isn’t a product of evolution, it’s something innate in humans.

    Humans are generally born with 1 heart and 2 lungs. Humans are not born so that they will grow up to automatically practice slavery. Slavery is a cultural practice. Some cultures practice it. Some do not. Generally cultural practices are learned. In contexts like this, generally we use the word “innate” in contrast to “learned behaviors”, i.e. the cultural practice of slavery. Therefore, what you wrote is wrong.

  423. JD and Co. says

    @467 Sam

    Aaaand here’s where Matt would have called you an asshole and hung up on you.

    So let me do it for him.

    You actually believe slavery is defensible..and the rest of *us* are misguided in our opposition to it?

    Asshole.

  424. says

    @470 JD

    I don’t think that’s what Sam is saying.

    I think he’s saying that we atheists can only hate slavery if we were created by a God that would plant in us the idea that slavery is immoral (it’s a version of the “you can’t be moral without God” or “where do your morals come from” argument). Never mind the fact that he believes in a God that created a universe that contains a lot of slavery, where even within the 10,000 years or so he believes it has existed, there have been countless numbers of people born into and die as slaves. Or the fact that God didn’t really want us to even have the knowledge of good and evil in the first place. Or that the most Loving and Holy Jesus didn’t say a word directly against slavery, hence you get Christians shoveling this doublespeak horseshit:

    http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-to-find-freedom-through-becoming-a-slave-11609562.html

  425. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To changerofbits
    Ah, good catch. Your interpretation makes a lot more sense than what I thought Sam was saying.

  426. says

    Exactly.

    I think for atheists it’s a huge problem if human beings don’t live a happy and satisfying life as they believe this is the only life there is. If understood the concept of God then you’d realise that God can bring all the dead back alive in a nanosecond and provide each one with things to make them happy for eternity.

    If you accept God and belief that every human being will be raised again to live forever then it makes it easier to accept slavery as well as the other evils of this life. So even if you suffered for a 100 years in intense misery and pain and you had been sinless and not deserving of the suffering, when you are placed in heaven then all that suffering will feel like a few seconds. We can;t control what we feel but God can. Anything bad is easy for God erase from our memory to make it easy for us to accept.

    The question becomes why the suffering? Why slavery?

    Slavery is a concept where an individuals basic rights are taken away. They become the property of their master. This can happen either by force or by the agreement of the slave. When it happens by force it’s usually after a war/battle. When it happens via agreement then it’s usually because the slave was in debt.

    Question is in a post war/battle situation is it OK for the victors to enslaven the losers? If not what should they do with them?

  427. Chikoppi says

    @sam (#473)

    Oh boy. Your ideas are despicable and wrong, and if anyone is still paying attention to this thread you are likely to hear about it in volumes.

    No one is justified in causing suffering or misery for another. It’s not OK for me to kick your teeth in today because I plan to do something nice for you tomorrow. It’s not OK to enslave war prisoners. It’s not OK for me to accept the servitude of someone who volunteers to surrender their freedom. Those ideas are repugnant and if your religious beliefs justify them or encourage praise of a deity who tolerates them then you are a seriously damaged individual.

  428. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    I think for atheists it’s a huge problem if human beings don’t live a happy and satisfying life as they believe this is the only life there is. If understood the concept of God then you’d realise that God can bring all the dead back alive in a nanosecond and provide each one with things to make them happy for eternity.

    There was a post on this blog years ago that I bookmarked in order to respond to bullshit like yours. Your response to the problem of evil is terrifying and contemptible.

    From anteprepro:

    Typical to attack us for your greatest weakness. The truth of reality is evil exists. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen for no reason. Suffering is random and not the product of divine retribution in proportion to ill deeds. And you mean to say that the existence of God, despite these facts, makes anything better? No, it makes the suffering of this world all the more galling. It makes God’s morality all the more suspect. Without God, all the shit we deal with makes sense, because there is no puppetmaster. It all happens for no reason and we just have to find a way to cope and survive. With God, children get cancer because God wants them to. With God, people get raped and murdered because God says “I’ll allow it!”. With God, lives are lost to natural disasters because God wants to send some message and priests everywhere argue endlessly about what that message actually is, with the only clear message being “Welcome to Summer!”. Your God is what makes the problem of evil into a problem. Without him, it is just shit happens. With him, shit happens for some ridiculous, convoluted reason that is somehow good, so shut your fucking whining mouth you ingrates and accept that Jesus knows what’s best.

  429. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Monocle Smile #475:
    Definitely worth bookmarking. Do you have the url for that?
    Google neglected to index it, and wordpress doesn’t search comments.

  430. says

    id just like to point out that when caller sam from england argues that matter-dust doesnt clump together eventually resulting in planets ,well it isnt just theory any more on a shuttle mission i wathced once an astronaut discovered by accident this very thing he put some,i think it was sugar in a bag and shook it up distributing it at random throughout the bag then when observed it started to clump together so they now think this is the beginings of formations in our solar system cool hugh it was covered quite well actually showing it live in the shuttle so sorry sam