How to respond to requests to debate creationists


A professor at the University of Vermont, Nicholas Gotelli, got an invitation to debate one of the clowns at the Discovery Institute. Here’s what they wrote.

Dear Professor Gotelli,

I saw your op-ed in the Burlington Free Press and appreciated your support
of free speech at UVM. In light of that, I wonder if you would be open to
finding a way to provide a campus forum for a debate about evolutionary
science and intelligent design. The Discovery Institute, where I
work, has a
local sponsor in Burlington who is enthusiastic to find a way to make this
happen. But we need a partner on campus. If not the biology
department, then
perhaps you can suggest an alternative.

Ben Stein may not be the best person to single-handedly represent the ID
side. As you’re aware, he’s known mainly as an entertainer. A more
appropriate alternative or addition might be our senior fellows David
Berlinski or Stephen Meyer, respectively a mathematician and a philosopher
of science. I’ll copy links to their bios below. Wherever one comes down in
the Darwin debate, I think we can all agree that it is healthy for students
to be exposed to different views–in precisely the spirit of inviting
controversial speakers to campus, as you write in your op-ed.

I’m hoping that you would be willing to give a critique of ID at such an
event, and participate in the debate in whatever role you feel comfortable
with.

A good scientific backdrop to the discussion might be Dr. Meyer’s book that
comes out in June from HarperCollins, “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the
Evidence for Intelligent Design.”

On the other hand, Dr. Belinski may be a good choice since he is a
critic of
both ID and Darwinian theory.

Would it be possible for us to talk more about this by phone sometime soon?

With best wishes,
David Klinghoffer
Discovery Institute

You’ll enjoy Dr Gotelli’s response.

Dear Dr. Klinghoffer:

Thank you for this interesting and courteous invitation to set up a
debate about evolution and creationism (which includes its more
recent relabeling as “intelligent design”) with a speaker from the
Discovery Institute. Your invitation is quite surprising, given the
sneering coverage of my recent newspaper editorial that you
yourself posted on the Discovery Institute’s website:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/

However, this kind of two-faced dishonesty is what the scientific
community has come to expect from the creationists.

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics
need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist
to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite
an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a
Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no scientific support, and
that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars.
Creationism is in the same category.

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of
your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed
journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by
scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish.
Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas
that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly
explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying
to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or
scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel
Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the
prominent mainstream journals.

“Conspiracy” is the predictable response by Ben Stein and the
frustrated creationists. But conspiracy theories are a joke,
because science places a high premium on intellectual honesty and
on new empirical studies that overturn previously established
principles. Creationism doesn’t live up to these standards, so its
proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books,
blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don’t maintain
scientific standards.

Finally, isn’t it sort of pathetic that your large, well-funded
institute must scrape around, panhandling for a seminar invitation
at a little university in northern New England? Practicing
scientists receive frequent invitations to speak in science
departments around the world, often on controversial and novel
topics. If creationists actually published some legitimate science,
they would receive such invitations as well.

So, I hope you understand why I am declining your offer. I will
wait patiently to read about the work of creationists in the pages
of Nature and Science. But until it appears there, it isn’t science
and doesn’t merit an invitation.

In closing, I do want to thank you sincerely for this invitation
and for your posting on the Discovery Institute Website. As an
evolutionary biologist, I can’t tell you what a badge of honor this
is. My colleagues will be envious.

Sincerely yours,

Nick Gotelli

P.S. I hope you will forgive me if I do not respond to any further
e-mails from you or from the Discovery Institute. This has been
entertaining, but it interferes with my research and teaching.

Comments

  1. Josh says

    The hypothesis is simply that design is required for any such system, which by definition necessarily includes living organisms, no matter how simple.

    How do you falsify this “hypothesis” that design is required? It’s not enough for you to claim that design is required because you see design in everything and cannot see how it could arise otherwise. If you’re going to argue that ID is scientific, then you need to be able to falsify that hypothesis. So, in short, how do you test the idea, you wrote, that “design is required?”

    And by the way of that question, how do you falsify the designer?

    And, since you’re still here, and since FTK scurried back into her hole without answering any questions (I’m SHOCKED I tell you), perhaps you’d care to provide an answer to this:

    The Ozark cave fish, Amblyopsis rosae, lives in the dark in caves. It has nonfunctional eyes in its head, with no optic nerve. The ToE has an explanation for this observation (a blind cave fish that lives in the dark and possesses eyes that don’t function) which is quite satisfactory and is congruent with the available evidence. What is ID’s explanation for this observation? Why would a fish that lives in the dark and has no need for eyes, be designed with eyes that don’t function? Why wouldn’t it be designed with no eyes at all? How does ID explain this?

  2. Wowbagger says

    We’ve hit the thousand mark; perhaps PZ will give us the gift of a fresh thread – though it’s probably not going to help with the creotard infiltration. They’ll only be satisfied, Comfort-style, by a crocoduck or something like it. Which is kind of ironic considering they can’t produce anyone’s interpretation of the ToE which predicts the emergence of such creatures.

    Like I said upthread, they agree that you can walk across a room but be completely outraged if you suggest you can walk across a country.

  3. Stephen Wells says

    @1002: with the smarter ones it’s more like, if I keep my right foot still and move only my left foot, I can’t move more than a few inches; and if I keep my left foot still and move only my right foot, I can’t move more than a few inches; therefore by moving both feet I can’t move more than a few inches…

  4. says

    Like I said upthread, they agree that you can walk across a room but be completely outraged if you suggest you can walk across a country.

    This guy has done it: http://www.jonmuir.com/
    Trekked right across Australia, all by himself. Nice guy too, very genuine down-to-earth person.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    I see Brent the IDiot still hasn’t presented any evidence in support of his pathetic idea (it’s not a theory). Brent, since you are a godbot, I would resume you mean god as the creator/intelligent designer. Your job now is to show physical evidence for your imaginary god that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine origin. Until you do that, you have nothing.

    David the IDiot presented nothing of substance.

    Jim M. mad a drive by presenting no rejected paper with referee/editor comments. What a waste of a post. Show the evidence or shut up.

  6. Knockgoats says

    BTW, P.Z. Meyers, you look like you’ve been gang raped already judging from your picture. David

    Who is this “P.Z. Meyers” you speak of, and where can we see his picture?

  7. Wowbagger says

    I’m guessing our creationist ‘friends’ have never thought very hard about the thousands of flaws in the human body; perhaps none of them wears glasses, or suffers from athritis or back pain.

    What I also wonder is how these my-benevolent-and-loving-god-made-absolutely-everything pissants explain things like David Attenborough’s favourite reply to questions about creationism – the Onchocerciasis. Is that something a kind of loving god would create and inflict on people*?

    Now we’ll see some tapdancing…

    *I suspect that, for them at least, because it’s a problem that only affects filthy Africans – who are probably heathens or the wrong kind of Christians anyway – it’s not really that big a deal.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Bah, I’m pushing the good Rev. BDC for the KoT title this morning.
    Second sentence in 1005 should read …presume….
    Last paragraph: Jim M. made…..
    I need coffee.

  9. devolutionist says

    Brent, please.
    All we are saying is that we would like to see some actual research on the topic of Intelligent Design.
    It doesn’t have to be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. A book, or even something posted on a blog somewhere on the Internet would be more than enough for a start.

    “Darwinism” started from the basic hypothesis that all life on earth is a result of couple billions of years of natural selection.

    Then more research has been done, and is still being done, to refine the details of the theory. Today the “Darwinists” have detailed explanations of many aspects of their theory, and more explanations and details are being added all the time.

    We would like to see the same process in the Intelligent Design camp.
    The basic hypothesis is there, all right.
    “Life on earth is too complex to be a result of natural selection. All of it, or some of it, must have been designed by an intelligent agent for a specific purpose.”
    Now you are expected to work from there, do some research, discuss the results of your research with other Intelligent Design proponents, and try to fill in some of the details.

    Some research areas from the Intelligent Design perspective could be:

    1. Which biological systems are intelligently designed, and which (if any) are a result of adaptation (“microevolution”)?
    2. What are the exact limits of adaptation, i.e. how much, and in what ways, can a designed system change?
    3. Were all the designed systems designed at the same time, or at different points in time, and in what order?
    4. What does the fossil record tell us? Do the remains come from:
    a) Lifeforms that have existed at some time in the past, but do not exist anymore (if so, were they deliberately destroyed by the designer at some time or did the designer just introduce new lifeforms who eventually drove the old ones to extinction?)
    b) Lifeforms which still exist in some part of the world, but have not yet been discovered
    c) Lifeforms which still exist and are well known but the fossilized remains are misinterpreted due to their incompleteness or different adaptations at the time when they were living and today
    d) All of the above, and if so, which fossil belongs to which category?

    …and so on, I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas.

    For example, you could write a paper showing that the Platypus is an early prototype of a tetrapod creature which was at some point moved to a far corner of the Earth to make space for newly designed tetrapods.

    And remember,
    even if you do think that “We don’t know and we will never know because it is too complex for us to comprehend” is the only valid answer to all the questions regarding the history of life on earth, you cannot force everyone else to stop trying to find the answers, no matter how futile and misdirected their efforts might seem to you.

  10. Iain Walker says

    Brent (#981):

    The reason that I.D. stands is because we know by everything that we observe in life that intelligence is a necessary ingredient for complex, working, purposeful (to try to help with the idea of specified complexity – complexity with a purpose may be a simple way to think of it) system or entity.

    As I pointed out in #935, this simply isn’t true. We know absolutely no such thing, and you have made no attempt to demonstrate it. But I guess it’s just easier for you to keep repeating an unsupported assertion than actually address a counter-argument.

    And a note on your usage of the ambiguous term “purpose” – this can be used as no more than a synonym for the non-teleological notion of function, but normally people will think of “purpose” in teleological terms, i.e., having a function which is determined by the intentions of an agent. You should clarify what you mean when you use terms like this, if you don’t want to stand accused of equivocation and/or question-begging.

    Oh, and showing that natural processes can lead to “specified complexity” wouldn’t falsify ID. It would just mean that “specified complexity” could not be used as a criterion for ID. Basically, your argument makes about as much sense as:

    “We can tell that apple trees exist because there are such things as fruit, and fruit can only grow on apple trees. So if we could show that non-apple trees can produce fruit, it would show that fruit don’t grow on apple trees.”

    more and more fit (i.e., more complex and more purposeful)

    That’s not what “fitness” means in biology. If you won’t define your own terms properly, at least please desist from redefining other people’s.

  11. Dr. Steve says

    My pricipal problem with ID has always been this. It wants to infer the existence of a designer of biological organisms. The basis of this inference is that the things we know to be designed (watches, airplanes, etc) all have a designer.
    The giant chasm of a flaw is this – biological organisms look nothing like any of those things that we know to be designed.
    They try to get around this by saying that a cat is a lot more complex than a watch – so if a watch is designed then a cat must also be designed.
    Well, a snowflake or a geode is also more complex than a watch and they are clearly not designed.

    And yes, male nipples are a nice refutation of ID – but I thing male breast tissue is even better. It has no function but to occassionally kill the unsuspecting male with breast cancer. Like the appendix, it is akin to a self-destruct button under the dashboard of your car – a really poor design idea.

  12. Iain Walker says

    devolutionist (#1010):

    Actually, a good start for the ID-ists would be to come up with:

    (a) a non-question-begging criterion for identifying design, or
    (b) a specific hypothesis about the nature and intentions of the designer (which is basically one way to provide a).

    That way, they might be able to make some testable predictions that would allow them to garner evidence that was specifically for or against ID, as opposed to merely being against the current theory of evolution.

  13. Jersey says

    Oh my god. I can’t believe he snubbed this opportunity. More proof that scientists don’t know the first goddamn thing about how to change anyone’s mind. This is a political game that scientists just don’t know how to play. You won’t beat creationism unless you can engage the broader public constructively, just like EVERY OTHER political interest group, and scientists have shown time and again that we’re better at acting like petulant children than at actually winning political points.

    And you wonder why half the goddamn country still believes in creationism. Get it straight, we might have science on our side but in the court of public opinion it’s a split decision at best.

    Gotelli writes, “If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish.” To paraphrase, “If you want to be taken seriously by nonscientists and nonscholars, this is where you need to engage.”

  14. PGPWNIT says

    Jersey,

    Evolution is a difficult topic with many lines of evidence. You can’t fully debate it to the lay. These ‘debates’ usually favour the emotional response to cold reason. Therefore, the good doctor was right in declining. He should have also mentioned the Dover trial…where a federal court ruled that ID is not a science. It’s really over after that.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    No Jersey, you are the one who isn’t getting it. Creationists are free to argue with science in the proper venue, the science literature and scientific meetings. Funny how the creobots/IDiots stay studiously away from those venues…

  16. says

    Brent (#981):

    “I.D. does not predict against random mutation that may infer some benefit. What I.D. would predict against is that an organism like a bacteria can, by a beneficial mutation (or any other natural unguided process), become more and more fit…”

    It sounds like you’re saying it predicts that any lineage can be subject to at most a single beneficial mutation: a bacteria line can get fitter through a mutation but not repeatedly through many.

    I can’t believe that is what you’re saying, but I can’t work out what else you could possibly mean. Maybe you’d like to clarify?

  17. Stephen Wells says

    I think he’s saying that any evolution that we actually see happening is OK with ID, while anything else is ID. It’s roughly like saying “Sure, a seed can naturally turn into a seedling, and a seedling can turn into a small plant, and a small plant can turn into a big one. But to grow a whole tree from a seed requires an Intelligent Carpenter.”

    And then we release the spiders.

  18. David Marjanović, OM says

    I was referring to the conspiracy among Darwinists to prevent any paper from an ID point of view that questions evolution from being published in scientific journals.

    Are you even aware of how stupid you sound?

    Here you go, blithely saying that tens of thousands of people worldwide all conspire with each other. Can it get any more stupid than that?

    And no, I’m not pulling that figure out of my ass. I gave a talk at the 2nd International Paleontological Congress in 2006. I was one of two thousand participants. And those were just the paleontologists — and among those just those who were able to afford to go to Beijing!

    The mind boggles!

    Show that the ID point of view is falsifiable and so far not falsified in the first place. This you would be able to publish; you’d even get the Nobel Prize in Physiology Or Medicine for it*. Then you can build on that.

    * Yes, “or” is part of its name.

    Personally, I don’t think that a scientist’s views on evolution should have any bearing on whether his paper is accepted in a journal or not – IF the paper itself is scientifically accurate.

    And indeed, this is the case. Show I’m wrong, and I’ll help make you famous.

    The reason that I.D. stands is because we know by everything that we observe in life that intelligence is a necessary ingredient for complex, working, purposeful (to try to help with the idea of specified complexity – complexity with a purpose may be a simple way to think of it) system or entity. The hypothesis is simply that design is required for any such system, which by definition necessarily includes living organisms, no matter how simple.

    Why did I put this in Comic Sans?

    Because it shows that you really haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about these matters.

    Let’s start with purpose. What purpose does a mosquito serve? What purpose do I serve? Do these questions even make sense — or are they wrong (like “why did Napoleon cross the Mississippi”)?

    Then let’s talk about complexity in the absence of design. Take a box full of ball of different sizes and shake it. The biggest ones will end up on top — because the small ones can fall through between the big ones much more often than vice versa. Order without design. Or take snowflakes. Nothing at work here but electrostatic attraction and repulsion — and yet such a diversity of such complex shapes! Or let’s talk about storm deposits in the sediments of shallow seas. They exhibit “fining-upwards”: the biggest debris falls out of the churned waters the fastest, and the finest stuff stays in suspension for the longest time, settling on the bottom last. Same causes as with the shaken balls, but just add water and you get the opposite sequence (biggest stuff on the bottom rather than at the top).

    Or let’s talk about protein transcription. What mysterious force guides the mRNA, the ribosome, and the tRNA to each other? None whatsoever. All are in Brownian motion, and when they happen to touch each other in the right spots, they stick. Nothing at work here other than electrostatic attraction and repulsion.

    If you really want to argue that a “complex, working […] system or entity” requires design, you have a lot of facts to explain away.

    more and more fit (i.e., more complex and more purposeful)

    No, you do not have the right to take scientific terms and redefine them at whim. Here, look what “fitness” means in biology. Sometimes more complex organisms are fitter, sometimes less complex organisms are fitter; it all depends on the environment.

  19. Jersey says

    See, this is the problem I have with all this. You are defining the “proper venue” WAY too narrowly. The vast majority of the population will never read a scientific journal, attend a scientific meeting, or otherwise engage on the turf of the scientific elite.

    I assume we all support the end goal of increased scientific literacy in the public, and a decline in belief in religious hocus-pocus, right? Well, in the free marketplace of ideas, that goal is better served by leaving these cloistered venues and engaging like real citizens of a real democratic society instead of pouting, or acting like elite snobs.

    What scares scientists is that when you do this, you are no longer operating along the clear, cold, rational, empirical lines to which science is accustomed. You are shifting into the real world, where things and ideas are messy, emotional, and not always based on logic or fact. What’s scary is that this is not a world where the best science will always win, but you know what? You might lose a rigged debate with creationists, sure – but you might also connect with half-a-dozen people in the audience who entertain doubts about the creationist explanation and would never have had the chance to hear the opposite pro-evolution side in this debate up close had the debate been turned down.

    Ultimately, my point is this: this is a free market of ideas, just like Dewey, Holmes and others have argued. It might be scary engaging non-scientists and “regular people” (god forbid), but in a free market of ideas the truth will rise – you just need to have faith.

    So stop pouting and man up.

  20. PGPWNIT says

    Jersey,

    Is any amount of debate enough? Or should it continue as long as there’s someone who thinks they know better? It’s not like these debates are not held and have not been held for generations.

  21. David Marjanović, OM says

    And you wonder why half the goddamn country still believes in creationism.

    Curious that, of all halfway rich countries, it’s only “the country” and Turkey where any significant number of people are creationists. I wonder if it’s connected to the appalling underfunding of the public schools in those countries.

    What’s scary is that this is not a world where the best science will always win, but you know what? You might lose a rigged debate with creationists, sure – but you might also connect with half-a-dozen people in the audience

    Hey, the Internet has already been invented. There’s no reason to stop continuing the written debate, where tactics like the Gish Gallop don’t work.

  22. PGPWNIT says

    #1026,

    Actually, I was talking to David. But it was just a monte python joke.

    Science Policy? Is that a lobbyist group or something?

  23. E.V. says

    #1024 You talking to me? I work for a science policy group in DC.

    That explains everything. Give our love to Nisbet.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Jersey is right in that scientists should be explaining their work to the public. He is absolutely wrong in that debating creobots/IDiots is the way to do it. Creationism/ID deserve absolutely no credibility, which they gain every time a real scientists debates one of their rhetoricians. Colleges and universities should give more credit to those faculty who develop and give 15-20 minute talks to non-professional audiences. I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

  25. Jersey says

    #1025 No I don’t believe you stop. That’s the point of building science literacy, there’s always someone who could use more of it. Celebrating a guy who snubs a debate invitation seems supremely stupid to me.

  26. Stephen Wells says

    @Jersey: also, geographers should be out there, seriously engaging the Flat Earth Society in debate.

  27. PGPWNIT says

    #1031

    At some point you (general, not specific) need to come to the realization that a ‘science’ is not scientific. Astronomers need not debate with astrologers and MDs need not debate with Homeopaths.

    I think we’re at the point where evolutionists need not debate with creationists.

  28. Steve_C says

    Jersey, should scientists waste their time “debating” gravity? A heliocentric solar system? Black Holes? The function of the kidney? How bees fly?

    Just because someone doesn’t understand the science or is willfully ignorant doesn’t give them the right to call science to the mat for a debate.

    Creationists lie, distort, quote mine and will do anything in a debate to make the science appear wrong. It’s quite easy to do. The scientist is at a disadvantage because they use science and facts.

    It’s kind of like have a discussion with Storm.

  29. E.V. says

    Celebrating a guy who snubs a debate invitationfrom a group that notoriously invents data and sandbags debates seems supremely stupid to me.

    (fixed that for you.)

    You must get wood every time someone uses the bandwagon fallacy,

  30. Jersey says

    #1033 That’s the thing, and that’s where we disagree: recognizing that a “science” is not scientific is why you need science literacy, because lots of folks still buy creationism as a legitimate scientific enterprise. I disagree that we’re at a point where the debate is unneeded.

    #1030 I also disagree that creationists gain credibility when scientists debate them. For a lot of people, creationists don’t need scientists to gain credibility, which is why this is an issue to begin with.

    And yes, I would argue that geologists should be engaging flat earthers. Not running around picking fights, mind you, but where opportunities present themselves (i.e. invitations popping up in your emails), then why not?

  31. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Jersey, you are wrong that creationists/ID don’t gain credibility in the publics mind if scientists debate them. That makes their ideas appear scientific and equal to sciences. Which is exactly why they shouldn’t be debated.
    Now which science group do you belong to? The creationists lobbying group?

  32. E.V. says

    So basically, Jersey, are you an advertising wank, a spinmeister who paints a happy smiling face on issues that are irreconcilable and swear they can be reconciled?
    A propagandist? What?
    You want to be the arbiter between people who believe in spooks and a world spoken into existence with people who understand science draws conclusions from empirical data and that there is no such thing as the supernatural? Good luck with that.

  33. Steve_C says

    They don’t debate Jersey. You don’t seem to get it. It’s pointless because just as much misinformation and distortion is manufactured. You’re leaving it to the audience to sort it out. It doesn’t make them more informed, if anything more confused.

  34. Jersey says

    @EV and Nerd of Redhead: I work on legislation. Which means I advocate and secure funding for basic research, among other issues. You’re welcome.

  35. PGPWNIT says

    #1036

    I guess we’re at a crossroads then. Creationism is not a science in my mind and it is in yours. And just because people think it’s a science does not make it so.

  36. Helfrick says

    I tend to think the same thing every time I come back to this retarded blog.

    That’s called psychological projection. Your earlier argument has been refuted repeatedly in the many comments already posted. Get over yourself.

  37. Jersey says

    @Steve_C I guess I think of it like this: best-case scenario, if the scientist does his/her job, then they’ve been able to convey information that moves or gets through to someone. Leave it to the audience to sort out – and some will do so correctly, more than you might think in fact. Worst-case scenario, the scientist doesn’t show up, and one less audience gets to hear someone explain real science.

  38. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Science should never debate pseudoscience. Rhetoricians, which pseudoscience masters, will always win the debates. But science should explain to people why it is pseudoscience.

  39. Stephen Wells says

    Jersey, you do realize that if, say a professor of geology debates a flat-earther publically, the flat-earther will forever after claim that there is a legitimate debate about the shape of the earth? Do you recognise the phrase “That would look good on your resume, not so much on mine”?

  40. Jersey says

    #1041 Agreed, this is an argument nobody is winning. I’m out of time anyway. Thanks for being civil, unlike some of the other children on this thread.

  41. Jersey says

    #1041 Actually, wait – you’re misstated my position a bit. Creationism is not a science in my mind – but for many “out there” it IS a science. That’s the difference.

    #1045 The flat-earther will claim there’s a debate whether you engage or not.

    Okay, really got to go. Next time, all.

  42. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    The “polite” comment. That says it all. It is important to be “nice”. And if you believe that, I have a bridge across the east river…

  43. Feynmaniac says

    I am really glad our Physics Major member didn’t show up. He would have been yelling. Alot.

    Well I am a Physics major and I nearly punched a hole in the wall after reading that.

    It never ceases to amaze me how people can accept really crappy arguments when the conclusions favour their point of view. Just search Pharyngula for “facilis” and you’ll see an horrible argument repeated over and over for the existence of God. We kept telling him to substitute God for Flying spaghetti monster, Greek gods, Wowbagger’s Sideshow Bob figurine, etc. to see how bad the argument was. He refused to do so because we didn’t really believe in those gods (why that mattered, I don’t know).

    This cartoon doesn’t just represent creationism, but all apologetics. The whole field boils down to assuming your religion is right and finding a way (any way) to justify it, completely disregarding the principle of parsimony, intellectual honesty, etc. It’s just rationalization of the fairy tales your parents told you.

  44. PGPWNIT says

    #1048

    I apologize, I made the wrong assumption.

    But to your point, people believe it’s a science because they are not taught what science is in schools…and until they are, debate is meaningless.

  45. Helfrick says

    Thanks for being civil, unlike some of the other children on this thread.

    I tend to think the same thing every time I come back to this retarded blog.

    Apparently, it’s only OK for him to be “uncivil”. Is this his idea of reaching out to people “out there”? I only see an arrogant ass with no substance.

  46. E.V. says

    #1041 Actually, wait – you’re misstated my position a bit. Creationism is not a science in my mind – but for many “out there” it IS a science. That’s the difference.

    Did everyone catch that particular exhibition of tap dancing? All he left out was “but, who am I to say…”
    According to Jersey, everyone’s opinion is valid. He must have gone to a Montessori school.

  47. MarkW says

    RD at #405, #427 and passim:

    You are equating ID with other ideas that have “challenged long standing orthodoxy”. This is not the case.

    ID / creationism was the *old* “long standing orthodoxy”, challenged (and defeated) by the idea of evolution by natural selection. *You* are the one doing the jeering from the sidelines. Your problem is that you’re 150 years too late.

  48. Mover says

    Steve_C@#530

    Not at all. You can say just about anything you want.

    Although, I don’t what your comment has to do with being scientist or not.

  49. BlueIndependent says

    “…Celebrating a guy who snubs a debate invitation seems supremely stupid to me.”

    Alright then. I think you should offer that bit of perspective to a Jewish group the next time a Holocaust denier rolls into town and wants to “debate” whether that even ever happened. After all, it IS debate, is it not?

    You people don’t understand that they are using the word “debate” as the locus for leveraging your perspective on something about which there is no debate: the efficacy of evolution. The DI and AiG, and their ranks, do not actually “debate” anything. They come with PowerPoint files and books full of abject tripe, display them and rifle through them in front of an audience, and then demand that any evolution supporter oblivious enough to have accepted their invitation debunk every single charge they make on the spot, all within the span of a couple hours on stage. Science doesn’t work in that black-n-white world and they know it, so they use their ability to machine-gun 900 different charges in a short span of time about an auditorium, and then pack everything up and declare near immediate and incisive victory.

    Further, people attending debate many times do not have the education and background to even understand a lot of what a well-educated biologist would say. And this is before we discuss how the DI and AiG often stock the ranks of the audience. DI and AiG are not honest brokers. Their points have been refuted thousands of times, yet they still keep publishing books making both bald-faced lies and stealthily concealed twists of logic to make their crap seem credible. They don’t keep the arguments focused on one area, and are in actuality more political organizations than anything else.

    They don’t do research. They haven’t come up with any solutions to anything other than the problem of trying to tear real science education out of the American classroom and replace it with god-bothering bullcrap. They are entirely dishonest. They do not learn. And most of all they should not be treated with the kind of respect they demand, and that is normally reserved for people that do real work and research and make all of our lives the better for it. DI and AiG have done none of that, and thus deserve Gotelli’s rebuke and any further such response until they stop lying and get on with the work they always say they’re about to start doing, but never find the time in their busy debate schedules to sit down and do.

  50. Mover says

    Bob#535

    Before you criticize people for being rude, perhaps you shouldn’t be rude yourself. Why the scare-quotes around and the modifier before the word scientist? You’re accusing me of not being a scientist (or at least not a “real” one), and perhaps making scientist out to be something bad.

    It seems I have hit a nerve, Bob. Whether or not you are a scientist has little bearing on the conversation.

    So, how is what I wrote rude?

    I’m operating under the assumption that the many people who post here are scientists and that some are not, but want to be. Like the goofball who follows police cars around and works as a mall cop. You know, a “Wannabe”.

    So, some think they are scientists, thus the “self described” modifier.

    BTW: Do quotation marks scare you? (“scare-quotes”) Does this phobia have a name?

    Thanks

  51. PGPWNIT says

    How about this.

    We do away with the argument over the argument and make with the evidence. And until there is evidence presented to support ID, no argument/debate will be heard.

  52. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    Mover, your attempt at sarcasm was stillborn.

    And the only nerve struck is the annoyance nerve.

  53. Helfrick says

    So, how is what I wrote rude?

    Let’s review, shall we?

    Of course, since little Nicholas’ feelings were hurt by an opinion piece authored by Klinghoffer, I can see way he might be hiding from him and his people.

    I’m merely pointing out that the lack of civility that you self described “scientists” lack. And seem to be proud of it.

    I’m operating under the assumption that the many people who post here are scientists and that some are not, but want to be. Like the goofball who follows police cars around and works as a mall cop. You know, a “Wannabe”. BTW: Do quotation marks scare you?

    Just about everything you write is dripping with condescension. You continue to play the concern troll while talking down to everyone here. That and you have no argument. Your only position that I’ve been able to detect is that you think science is moved ahead by debating creationists. Do you actually have anything worth discussing, or are you just here to try and start a fight?

  54. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Mover is just a godbotting neocon troll. So, he has no point or evidence. Just uninformed opinion and bile.

  55. BlueIndependent says

    Mover @ 525:

    “…I’m merely pointing out that the lack of civility that you self described “scientists” lack. And seem to be proud of it.”

    Your statement assumes we all call ourselves “scientists”, which we do not. Steve_C was correct in saying we are sick and tired of being told to play nice with people who come in here A) with a perspective that is complete intellectual garbage but that we are supposed to just accept because they don’t like evolution (because it tramples the petty sensibilities of their religion), and B) who come in here yelling all sorts of charges about how our atheism will bring about destruction of the human race and basically manufacturing conspiracies and reinventing history to make their vapid points. There is nothing in that sort of behavior that could reasonably demand that we sit and take it and just shut up. There *is everything* in that sort of behavior that bespeaks a poor level of intellectual development on the part of creationists, a lack of true curiosity about the world, and a tendency to demand that others follow their group or else.

    You can describe our response as “lack of civility” if you so choose, but make no mistake about who starts these things.

  56. Mover says

    Helfrick #1062

    You continue to play the concern troll while talking down to everyone here.”

    You must be feeling small and reading from that angle. I have only learned to ‘talk’ on the level. I don’t know nuanced writing. Besides, it would be foolish to assume that just because someone calls a point into contention that they are stupider than me.

    BlueIndependent#1064

    Your statement assumes we all call ourselves “scientists”, which we do not.

    I had already allowed for that. You must have missed it.

    Nerd of Redhead, OM#1063

    Godbot?

  57. Watchman says

    Jersey, I agree with you in principle, on one level anyway: A bad idea should be countered with a good idea; lies should be countered with facts; offensive free speech should be countered with more free speech.

    Unfortunately, on this level, the “debate” format often fails to accomplish what we suppose it will accomplish, for reasons detailed in many comments already posted. It’s critical for you to at least acknowledge the fact that bitter experience – EXPERIENCE – has taught us this, even if you don’t fully agree with the decisions stemming from the conclusions drawn from that experience. However, I strongly advise you to heed the words of Professor Gotelli, and to do your best to apprehend not only what he wrote, but why.

  58. David Marjanović, OM says

    Damnit, #1051 was suppose to go here . Never post before you’ve had your morning coffee.

    Or just don’t use an RSS reader. What is that good for anyway?

  59. gwangung says

    I’m operating under the assumption that the many people who post here are scientists and that some are not, but want to be. Like the goofball who follows police cars around and works as a mall cop. You know, a “Wannabe”.

    You know what they say about assumptions…

    By the way…you’re pretty much showing that you don’t really have a good handle on what makes up science or how to approach scientific questions. You’re focussing WAY too much on the people with your assumptions and are ignoring the intellectual guts of the matter. Doesn’t matter if a person is a “scientist”; it’s the intellectual rigor of the arguments.

  60. Helfrick says

    @Mover

    I’m not sure if English was your first language, but you might want to polish up a bit before engaging in a written exchange. It would make misunderstandings less likely and it would no doubt improve your ability to MAKE A DAMNED POINT!

    Here, lets start from a common point and work from there. I say debating ID gives it credibility it does not deserve. Now it’s your turn.

  61. Watchman says

    Mover:

    You must be feeling small and reading from that angle. I have only learned to ‘talk’ on the level. I don’t know nuanced writing.

    So you say. That’s quite an impressive run of accidental snark you’ve put together on this thread, then. From where I sit, Helfrick’s #1062 is right on the money.

    Besides, it would be foolish to assume that just because someone calls a point into contention that they are stupider than me.

    That’s a very fair point, but it’s not quite that simple. When someone calls the same point into contention over and over again, having been proven wrong over and over again, it’s not foolish to assume that they’re either obtuse or dishonest.

  62. Sastra says

    The Pro-debate-creationists and the Anti-debate-creationists positions both have some merit, and, though I’m leaning more to the latter, I don’t think it’s clearly superior in every possible way. A good performance on the part of the scientist can indeed change people’s minds, and succeed in presenting the scientific viewpoint to people who would otherwise not be exposed. (One can also use the same argument to support atheism vs. theism debates.)

    I forget who his opponent was, but as I recall PZ went on some Christian radio show and the creationist did very badly, and we all pretty much thought it was wonderful and creationism pwned and all that. So we’re not always consistent here.

    Massimo Pigliucci is an evolutionary biologist who has been involved for a long time with the creationists. Years ago, he positioned himself against Richard Dawkins on the advisability of debating Creationists. He thought it was both necessary and important, for many of the good reasons Jersey brought up. He wrote articles and, I think, even a book arguing Pro-debate-creationists. He did many debates.

    And then he changed his mind. Why? His accumulated experience with creationists and their debate tactics — the good reasons brought others on this thread. He is now on the Anti-debate-creationist side, and last I checked still explains why, using his usual eloquence and insight.

    This is not definitive evidence for either side, but I think it’s worth bringing up.

  63. E.V. says

    My argument against debating creationists is that it doesn’t change things enough to matter. Less than a percent might be swayed somewhat. If PZ pwns a Creationist, the Creationist’s supporters will still feel their vindicated somehow, someway; nothing PZ can say will sway them from the premise that PZ is simply deluded or swayed by the reification of evil.
    Faith is about ignoring any facts that are contrary to sacred beliefs. Giving creationist pseudo-scientists validity by debating them only reinforces the notion that their ideas merit intellectual consideration and credibility.

    Never cry “fake” at a pro wrestling match no matter how obvious it is, you’ll get ass kicked by loyal fans.

  64. Tulse says

    PZ went on some Christian radio show and the creationist did very badly, and we all pretty much thought it was wonderful and creationism pwned and all that.

    But the followup to that was the radio station invited the creationist back for a second appearance to give a rebuttal sans PZ. The problem as I see it is that creationists simply don’t argue in good faith (as ironic as that might be). They don’t see the process as a mutual attempt to use rationality to find the truth, but rather as a propaganda opportunity to promote The Truth by any means necessary. They are fundamentally dishonest, and there is really no utility in debating such folks.

  65. sharky says

    Until now I only knew Gotelli through his papers.. which I always enjoy reading/using/thinking about… But he is correct, I am now jealous of him for the ‘street cred’ he just earned… aouch! Another enjoyable read, but of a totally different kind.

  66. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    Posted by: Mover | February 24, 2009

    Janine#1068

    Sorry, But I don’t know what you are talking about.

    “Prime” “Mover” “Aristotle” Look it up.

    I was assuming that was where you got your moniker.

  67. Tom says

    I think the main problem is anti-intellectualism and a failure on “science’s” part to be “sexy.”
    The IDers have the high ground in public debate because they can connect with the average American dolt. They ally with “culture warriors” who repeatedly paint christianists as victims within the pseudo-democratic society in which they possess a majority.
    The number of trained scientists in America is falling, and with that drops the numbers of Americans who have a suitable and workable knowledge of the scientific method.
    In the public sphere, Americans tend towards homeostasis nearly 100% of the time. They are offended by news that disrupts their narrow worldviews, and quickly jump to conclusions of their own, or those fed to them. A good example of this is 9/11. A majority of Americans still believed Al Queda attacked the U.S. because of its “freedoms”. When in reality, Al Queda said they did it because of: A) our unquestioning support for the state of Isreal; B) our presence on their “holy soil” in Saudi Arabia. Again, Americans believe the easy explanation that was fed to them, rather than believing the truth based upon the very words of their own assailants.
    I find the Discovery Institute’s response to this laughable. Their response to the good doctor from the Green Mountain State is one for discussion and consensus (as if science worked on consensus). What I find truly laughable and down-right offensive is that they refuse to allow an online debate to be held on their site, as you can surely find on this and many other science-based blogs and such. They argue for discussion, then deny any discussion in close proximity to their argument. That would be like a candidate for the U.S. presidency walking out of a debate in a victorious and triumphant manner after answering the first question and not waiting for his opponent’s response.
    So, the answer to our whole problem lies in education. We must not only fight to keep creationism out of the nation’s schools, but we must also push for an increase in spending for education in the sciences. If your local school district wants to build a new pool, or football stadium, ask if they’ll also procure new lab equipment or computers at the very least. If that is not in the district’s plan, get vocal, get organized, and get tough. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it is this, soccer moms and football dads are just as ignorant and annoying as the wilfully abusive creationists.
    Anyhow those are my two cents on this Mardi Gras! Time to go celebrate some phoney-baloney holiday that promotes excessive consumption, and wanton disregard for civility and morality. Just like Jesus would have wanted.

  68. Helfrick says

    Atheism vs Theism is something that lends itself well to debate. I’m looking forward to watching Hitchens vs. D’Souza when I have some free time. ID vs Science just wouldn’t work because the proponents of ID are just so dishonest. They would only benefit from sharing the stage with someone who was actually credible. Looking at the discovery institute’s web site I noticed this:

    For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design should
    be mandated in public schools, which is why we strongly
    opposed the school district policy at issue in the Kitzmiller v.
    Dover case.

    The theory of intelligent design holds that certain

    “the theory of intelligent design” It just cheapens the idea of a scientific theory.

  69. Sastra says

    Tom #1082 wrote:

    So, the answer to our whole problem lies in education.

    As you point out, the problem is rather sweeping. It is therefore unlikely that there will be one “magic bullet” solution to the whole problem. Education is one solution, and an excellent one, for the reasons you say. But probably not the only one.

    I think another part of the solution is to try to “break the spell” that religion has placed on American culture (and in other cultures where creationism and other pseudosciences are growing) — and make criticism of both religious belief and religious methods respectable. As long as having faith, believing in supernatural phenomena, and knowing things ‘in your heart’ are seen as wise and sacred signs of maturity, character, and self-discipline, pseudoscientists will always be able to claim the high ground by appealing to these values as important ‘additions’ to science, needed to make it better.

    It is not necessary (and not possible) to completely eliminate society’s hearty appetite for magic and reverence for being what they consider “open-minded” (and we consider being “dogmatic.”) But I think it would be helpful to try to curb it with a sense of caution, and a recognition that not everyone will admire and approve — nor should they.

  70. says

    Jersey’s position seems to have a fundamental flaw. That is that he’s not taking into account that the people from the DI do know how to advocate in public. So when the group instigating the action knows how to play the game, and the ones they are asking don’t, surely it should be obvious that scientists participating in debates is only going to have negative consequences.

    I’m more for public teaching of science, there simply needs to be more. But playing the game that the DI wants is just playing into the DI’s hands and will be overall negative. A public debate at an obscure university is not going to change anyone’s mind.

  71. Willie says

    I’d like to have your response to these quotes by Michael Behe in Edge of Evolution –

    “Design denies not only that some specific piece of machinery (say, the bacterial flagellum) would be produced by random mutation, but that any complex, coherent molecular machinery would. Although random processes can account for small changes, there are real limits. Beyond those limits, design is required.” (page 235)

    “Darwin and design hold opposite, firm expectations of what we should find when we examine a truly astronomical – a hundred billion billion – number of organism. Up until recently, the magnitude of the problem precluded a definitive test. But now the results are in. Darwinism’s most basic prediction is falsified.”(page 235)

  72. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Willie, just consider that Behe is a paid liar for DI. So, take eveything he says with a grain of salt the size of Montana.

  73. chancelikely says

    #1086, quote 1: Argument from ignorance (or maybe ‘argument from I won’t cite my source but take my word for it’).

    #1086, quote 2: Argument by bald assertion.

  74. Tulse says

    Although random processes can account for small changes, there are real limits.

    And what are those limits? Can those limits be quantified?

    Darwin and design hold opposite, firm expectations of what we should find when we examine a truly astronomical – a hundred billion billion – number of organism.

    And those expectations are? What is the evidence that the expectations of evolution are not supported?

  75. says

    Behe has said that, but he’s been demonstrated to be wrong, both in the Dover trial and in subsequent scientific papers. We’ve know how to evolve a bacterial flagellum through a drawinian process, we can even make it “irreducibly complex.” Anyway, here’s a video explaining how it works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdwTwNPyR9w

  76. Knockgoats says

    Formal, verbal debates have been around for a long time. So has science. Formal, verbal debates are rarely if ever used as part of normal scientific procedure, or of scientific education. There is a good reason for this: they are of absolutely no use if your aim is to get closer to the truth, or to impart understanding of the issues. This is, of course, exactly why creationists like them.

    Written exchanges of view, extended over days or weeks, bilateral or multilateral (as on a blog), have a much shorter history, but are much more promising, at least as a part of scientific education, and if fairly moderated. It is much more difficult to get away with bald assertion, deliberate obfuscation, or tactics such as the “Gish Gallop”. This is why creationist blogs, unlike (for example) Pharyngula, generally just refuse to print comments questioning their claims. A challenge to a verbal debate from a creationist could be met with a counter-challenge to an online debate, either unmoderated, or with an agreed moderator who will edit for tone only.

  77. Helfrick says

    @Kel
    Behe in the Dover trial. There is some gold there:
    “Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

    A Yes, that’s correct.”

    Anyone looking for some cognitive dissonance should take a look at this. I actually -choke- agreed with -gag- Lush Rimbaugh.
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48062

  78. Bob the Atheist says

    Creationists like to point out that polls show that the majority of Americans don’t believe in evolution. Of course, this is irrelevant since science isn’t a democracy and what the public thinks doesn’t matter.

    But notice how telling this poll is about how creationism works: instead of actually doing science, they focus on public relations.

    I guess one does what one does best …

  79. Sastra says

    Helfrick #1098 wrote:

    Behe in the Dover trial. There is some gold there:
    “Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?
    A Yes, that’s correct.”

    Actually, I agree with Behe on this. Astrology is not some vague metaphysical belief or value statement which science can say nothing about, one way or the other. It makes testable predictions. In theory, astrological predictions could have been tested, replicated, and verified — and it would have changed our scientific model of how reality works.

    It’s a failed science theory.

    ID, on the other hand, is less like a science theory than astrology. It doesn’t make predictions, and posits no model. At least Young Earth Creationism, like astrology, gave enough detail to be found wrong.

  80. Amy says

    I weep for you all. For the scriptures speak of you, just as they spoke of me for the first 29 years of my own life when I too mocked as you do…

    I use to say much of what you say here. But once I stopped fearing what I may hear if I listened to what proof may be presented by believers of creation or of intelligent design (which by the way are NOT the same thing if you fully understood them!). If you spent time with the bible, real time, not zipping through it… not afraid it would convert your mind. If you are so sure you are strong in your views, then give just see what it is about cause then why are you so afraid? What harm will it do? If it is meaningless, you won’t be swayed? You say you are so wise! So what do you fear? Maybe what I feared… And what most people fear… That maybe, just MAYBE… you are WRONG. Then what! Well then maybe you better check it out, cause what IF you are wrong? WHAT then? Well then how amazing to discover what there is to discover in an amazing God. And if not, then go back to what you know. Have you never tried a different item on the menu?

    God bless you! As a believer of Jesus Christ – I know that myself and fellow believers only care to share what we know because we love other people like yourselves enough to know that what we believe is true (just like what you believe is true). We just disagree in our belief systems. And what we believe is true is something we believe is critical to your eternity. We CARE about you and we want you to have eternal happiness. Think about it this way…. If I saw that you were about to get hit by a car, I would tell you. Now you may not believe me, but you would appreciate that I told you about it. Well consider people who believe in the gospel as those who really believe in something like that and are just trying to keep you from getting hit by a car. One day we will all know if that car is really there or not… Are you sure you don’t want to learn a little more about what we really, really believe we see? What some very, very brilliant people for thousands of years (inclusive of Abraham Lincoln, CS Lewis, etc. all believed)…

    It is okay if we don’t know all the answers in our lifetimes or ever. We are not God! :) That is very freeing a concept in and of itself.

    Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do. Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

    ‘Look, you mockers,
    be amazed and die!
    For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.’*
    – Acts 13:38-41, *Habakkuk 1:5 (NLT)

  81. John Morales says

    Amy, So what do you fear? Maybe what I feared… And what most people fear… That maybe, just MAYBE… you are WRONG. Then what! Well then maybe you better check it out, cause what IF you are wrong? WHAT then?

    Think about it. You’re scared of nothing.

  82. Ragutis says

    Amy, ever pause to consider that many of us may have been christians? That perhaps we’ve read the Bible a few times, some of us even studied it in depth? That we realized there were no answers in your faith and no evidence for a god?

    No, I didn’t think so.

  83. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    Amy, discovering Jesus turned you into a myna bird.

    I am an atheist and I would tell you if you were about to be hit by a car. Welcome to the wonderful world of being a responsible adult.

  84. Owlmirror says

    If you spent time with the bible, real time, not zipping through it… not afraid it would convert your mind.

    Yah-hoo-huh.

    If you read the bible carefully, and spend real time with it, you realize that while God may be the main character, he’s also the villain.

    If it is meaningless, you won’t be swayed?

    You’re coming way too late. Many of us here were religious, and have given it up as meaningless from disenchantment.

    Of course, those who didn’t buy into the whole religion thing to begin with have also read the bible… and figured out that God is the villain.

    As a believer of Jesus Christ – I know that myself and fellow believers only care to share what we know because we love other people like yourselves enough to know that what we believe is true (just like what you believe is true).

    That sounds friendly, but not particularly coherent.

    We just disagree in our belief systems.

    Sigh. Do you believe that the natural world is real?

    Think about it this way…. If I saw that you were about to get hit by a car, I would tell you. Now you may not believe me, but you would appreciate that I told you about it. Well consider people who believe in the gospel as those who really believe in something like that and are just trying to keep you from getting hit by a car.

    If God wants to hit me with a car, there is nothing that you can do to stop him.

    If God wants to not hit me with a car, then he won’t.

    Isn’t that simple?

    Are you sure you don’t want to learn a little more about what we really, really believe we see?

    Been there. Done that. Found better things to do with my mind.

    ‘Look, you mockers,
    be amazed and die!

    See? God is the villain.

    Oddly enough, the Greek term “αφανισθητε” (translated as “perish” and as “[become] corrupt”) does not appear in the original Hebrew of Habakkuk. Well, biblical translation can be a chancy thing.

  85. says

    And people say Intelligent Design is a science… why is it that everyone defending ID is really just preaching for Jebus?

    Amy, can you answer this:
    If all the evidence points to evolution, what does that say abut God? Does it say that God has deliberately deceived us by making it look like evolution happened, or does it tell us that God worked through evolution in order to create us? I’m really curious, because when so many lines of evidence all point to life evolving over time, when the size and age of the universe are huge, it brings theological implications of either a deceptive God or a God who works through nature.

  86. Twin-Skies says

    It’s people like Amy that make me wonder if ALL the crazy Christian fundie letters out there (including those in PZ’s I get email posts) are actually written by just one dude; a veritable “suspect zero.”

    Aside from some occasional word changes, their rhetoric, their (lack of) line break, their bible quotes – heck even their grammatical errors – are almost the same.

  87. Josh says

    And of course Brent scurries off in the honorable tradition of creationists everywhere (yes, we are still looking at you, FTK) as soon as too many substantive questions get asked of him.

  88. spurge says

    I wonder if Amy has read all the other holy books carefully before coming to the conclusion that she picked the right one?

    I doubt it.

  89. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Amy, one of the leading causes of atheism is to read the bible cover to cover. God acts very much like a mafia don, and the rules simply cannot be followed since they contradict each other. Atheism is rational and sane.

  90. says

    It is okay if we don’t know all the answers in our lifetimes or ever. We are not God! :) That is very freeing a concept in and of itself.

    Amy, the creationists / ID folks are the ones claiming all the answers, not the scientists.

  91. Wowbagger says

    It is okay if we don’t know all the answers in our lifetimes or ever. We are not God! :) That is very freeing a concept in and of itself.

    It certainly frees you from having to think.

  92. Helfrick says

    Actually, I agree with Behe on this. Astrology is not some vague metaphysical belief or value statement which science can say nothing about, one way or the other. It makes testable predictions.

    Well, I learned something new today. I was not aware of the history of astrology other than it diverged from astronomy long ago. I always had the impression that astrology was used to explain current and past events and the only predictions were vague generalizations that could be rationalized to conform to observation. I’m curious though, doesn’t a prediction require the process as well as the outcome?

  93. Iain Walker says

    Amy (#1101):

    Well then maybe you better check it out, cause what IF you are wrong? WHAT then? Well then how amazing to discover what there is to discover in an amazing God.

    It’s interesting how you make your embrace of ID sound exactly like a religious conversion, i.e., an emotional experience, rather than a sober assessment of arguments and evidence. That’s kind of revealing.

    Also, didn’t you get the memo from the Discovery Institute? You’re not supposed to to let on in public that ID is a religious doctrine. You have to pretend that it’s science. Otherwise you won’t be able to get it onto school science curricula.

    But what if we are wrong? Do you really think that none of us have considered that? Well, most of us have looked at the arguments that purport to show that we’re wrong, and we’ve found that those arguments simply don’t stand up. We’ve seen that they are fallacious, based on false or unsupported premises, and often more than a little dishonest.

    If we are wrong, then the arguments offered by ID have come nowhere close to demonstrating it. Which is kind of why there’s been a recurring refrain in this thread, the request that the ID-ists show some evidence.

    I know that myself and fellow believers only care to share what we know because we love other people like yourselves enough to know that what we believe is true

    Uh, what? You know what you believe is true because you love other people strongly enough? What the hell kind of an epistemology is that? Do you even know what the word “know” means?

    What some very, very brilliant people for thousands of years (inclusive of Abraham Lincoln, CS Lewis, etc. all believed)…

    Lincoln’s actual religious views are a source of controversy (there are several indications that he was a deist and somewhat critical of Christianity for much of his life), and C.S. Lewis is responsible for one of the most asinine fallacies ever put forward by an apologist (the “Lord, Liar or Lunatic” trilemma). So even if we were impressed by arguments from authority, you could have chosen a couple of rather more compelling examples.

    Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God

    Which is a very good reason for not signing up to your authoritarian little cult. If “eternal happiness” (whatever the hell that is supposed to consist of) is awarded first and foremost for ideological and emotional commitment to your cult’s figurehead, then I for one want no part in such a morally corrupt system. You may enjoy living in the metaphysical equivalent of North Korea, but don’t expect it to have any appeal for the rest of us.

    I weep for you all.

    Oh, I am so, so bored with the crocodile tears of concern trolls.

  94. SEF says

    doesn’t a prediction require the process as well as the outcome?

    No. That’s what makes theories in science so much better than mere laws (although unfortunately there’s a certain amount of overlap and randomness in the way names are bestowed). Theories, such as evolution by natural selection, explain. Laws, such as gas laws or laws of cooling or gravity, merely predict / calculate based on prior observations. They don’t necessarily have to include an explanation for how the law came to be the way it is (though some eventually have a theory retro-fitted to them).

    So, if astrology hadn’t been bogus anyway, it could have made valid enough predictions (under a limited range of conditions) without requiring an understanding of how it was meant to work.

  95. says

    Actually, I agree with Behe on this. Astrology is not some vague metaphysical belief or value statement which science can say nothing about, one way or the other. It makes testable predictions.

    Testable predictions dripping with confirmation bias.

    It’s a failed science theory.

    exactly.

    Being testable is just the first part. Passing the test is the important part. It’s like what Jerry Seinfeld said.

    Anyone can take a reservation, it’s HOLDING the reservation that’s the most important part.

    ID doesn’t know what a reservation is.

  96. Stephen Wells says

    I prefer to think of the trilemma as the “Gandalf- liar, lunatic or wizard” argument.

  97. Sastra says

    Helfrick #1113 wrote:

    I always had the impression that astrology was used to explain current and past events and the only predictions were vague generalizations that could be rationalized to conform to observation.

    Sometimes. Other times it was used to make specific predictions, and sometimes astrologers claim to be able to tell when a person was born just by asking them some questions about their personalities and lives. There are many schools of astrology, including one that was (and in some places still is) taught as a science in universities in India.

    Astrologers have done studies and experiments which they claimed were successful in demonstrating that there’s really something there to be tested. The studies were either flawed, or not replicated. But astrologers could make predictions specific enough to at least set up something scientific, sloppy thought it may be.

    One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is that its advocates refuse to accept defeat. Their belief is testable — but only if the results fall in one direction. They rationalize failure away with increasingly elaborate, strained, and bizarre excuses — such as ‘it only works if you believe it will.’

    In that sense, it’s similar to religion. Amy in #1101 above talks of us performing a kind of test: “If you spent time with the bible, real time, not zipping through it… not afraid it would convert your mind…” then, presumably, we would find ourselves struck dumb with amazement over how true it all seems. I suspect that her advice to not be “afraid it would convert your mind” means that we must approach a claim with an eager and willing attitude, looking for confirming evidence through a haze of bias familiar to pseudoscientists everywhere.

    It only works if you believe it will — and want it to.

    That’s not approaching something with a questioning, “open mind.” It’s guaranteeing that you will find only the result you hope to find.

  98. E.V. says

    Someone give Amy some delicate laundry and a soap filled bucket so all her hand wringing won’t go for naught.

    Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do. Be careful!

    Oh, brother.

  99. AnthonyK says

    Re: astrology.
    There was a brilliant BBC radio series a few months back about the history of astronomy.
    It appears that the Chinese, centuries ago, kept very precise astronomical records – looking for portents, changes in the firmament – and, btw isn’t it vaguely interesting how pseudo-scientifically inspired investigations have sometimes been very useful to real science? – for the use of the emperor.
    In order to make these observations, there were five dedicated sky-watchers who would observe the heavens on any clear night. They stood atop a tall tower. One would face North, one South, one West, and one East. The fifth would lie on his back and watch the sky above.
    How cool is that?
    As regards Amy, a one-post witnesser I reckon.
    But please come back and try again – if you dare.
    You have nothing to lose but your stupidity.

  100. Helfrick says

    No. That’s what makes theories in science so much better than mere laws (although unfortunately there’s a certain amount of overlap and randomness in the way names are bestowed). Theories, such as evolution by natural selection, explain.

    Maybe that’s where I’m falling down since astrology was referred to as a theory. I think I see what you are getting at though. What’s still troubling me is that without the underlying mechanism, any effects might be construed as a correlation and not a direct result of planetary position or movement. I might also be confusing prediction in the broader sense with predictions by astrology. Please be gentle, I can be slow as molasses in a well diggers ass sometimes.

  101. E.V. says

    From the New Yorker archives of Block That Metaphor!:

    Please be gentle, I can be slow as molasses in a well diggers ass sometimes.

    =o

  102. DaveL says

    Amy, let me tell you a little secret: I’ve been participating on internet discussions regarding atheism, Christianity, and the existence of God for over 10 years, pretty much my entire adult life. I have met dozens of unbelievers personally and probably thousands virtually. Among all those people throughout all that time, I can recall not one instance of one of those unbelievers saying:

    “Hey, guys, I just started reading the Bible for the first time a little while ago, and it’s all so true! I was so wrong! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me Jesus died for our sins?”

    Never. Not once.

    Yet somehow, a large proportion (perhaps a majority) of Christians who I have seen entering these discussions to win converts have claimed that they were once unbelievers themselves, and all that was required for them to see the error of their ways was to read the Bible with an open mind.

    How do you explain this? The population of atheists is insufficient to make up a majority of the Christian population even if 100% converted (and the atheists I’ve known who later re-converted can be counted on one hand). Do only ex-atheists undertake to preach online to unbelievers? If so, I still cannot reconcile their numbers with the conversion rate I have observed. Are my online experiences simply wildly at odds with those of other unbelievers? Hard to believe since I’ve frequented many of the more popular online gathering places for atheists and agnostics.

    I have another hypothesis: most of them are lying. Chances are that includes you, Amy.

  103. SEF says

    any effects might be construed as a correlation and not a direct result of planetary position or movement.

    For a mere law type of situation, for just making predictions, that wouldn’t actually matter. Whereas, for a theory, for understanding and explaining, it would be devastating.

    Let’s imagine a universe in which, say, there were big blundering things (not necessarily intelligent ones) tweaking stuff on Earth but also bumping into stuff in space in the process. In such a world, astrology could correctly predict some particular things had happened on earth by observing the effects in space (the little-end birth of a king typically dislodges a shooting star or whatever at the big-end of the blunderers). The astrologers could have the mechanism all wrong and still make a worthwhile prediction from the observation of the correlation.

    Where such an astrology would trip up is in trying to extrapolate further than the known correlations. Eg it would have difficulty making predictions about wholly new classes of predictions. Without a correct mechanism it would keep looking in the wrong places if it risked looking for any other properties of the incorrectly supposed connection. Eg if the blunderers were mistaken for intelligent intentional agents, the astrologers might try praying or performing rituals to gain effects. Instead of working out that they needed to blast the things along their length with rockets. Though perhaps the Chinese tried that too. ;-)

    Of course, as it happens (ie in the real world), astrology doesn’t work anyway. So there’s no observational correlation to explain. There’s just the human failing, of self-reinforcing imagining non-existent correlations, to explain.

  104. AnthonyK says

    I deny that! Astrology is 100% true in 50% of the possible directions of time’s arrow! That’s 5000% of the time!

  105. BlueIndependent says

    “I weep for you all. For the scriptures speak of you, just as they spoke of me for the first 29 years of my own life when I too mocked as you do…”

    No, the sorrow’s all mine, believe me. So many people rejecting reality and opting out of some of life’s greatest experiences because of what an old book says. That’s pretty sad from my perspective. And you were an atheist the first 29 years of your life? Even before you were born?

    “…I use to say much of what you say here. But once I stopped fearing what I may hear if I listened to what proof may be presented by believers of creation or of intelligent design (which by the way are NOT the same thing if you fully understood them!). If you spent time with the bible, real time, not zipping through it… not afraid it would convert your mind. If you are so sure you are strong in your views, then give just see what it is about cause then why are you so afraid? What harm will it do? If it is meaningless, you won’t be swayed? You say you are so wise! So what do you fear? Maybe what I feared… And what most people fear… That maybe, just MAYBE… you are WRONG. Then what! Well then maybe you better check it out, cause what IF you are wrong? WHAT then? Well then how amazing to discover what there is to discover in an amazing God. And if not, then go back to what you know. Have you never tried a different item on the menu?…”

    Yes I have tried different items on the menu. Perhaps you should as well. Of course, in my case, the menu was fed to me with only one item on it: Believe in God or roast in Hell. So I ate that one for quite some time (about as long as you said you were an atheist), and then figured out that all of that nonsense was useless. I have no need for a god to run my life because I was made into a good person by good parents, not the knowledge that some unseen force was auditing my every breath.

    But I don’t think you used “to say much of what” we say here, not at all. You speak of fear a lot. Why did you fear in the first place? Were you born fearing? That doesn’t make sense. You feared reading anything, then one day decided to just let go and read a book, which ended up swaying you completely? You sound like the other creationists that come in here trying to save us by explaining in odd and non-logical terms how you went from being an atheist (with what we’re supposed to understand was a terrible life), to someone who has unremittent joy now because they “accepted Jesus”. Please stop making up stories and trying to convert. Do you not realize that quite a few of those you are speaking to went in exactly the opposite direction, and maybe have much more experience than you do about religion, enough to make them want to dump it wholesale? Do you honestly think we were all born into atheist families and lived that way up to this point? You apparently do, since you seem to be assuming we all here have always been atheist, which is patently not true. But why else would you proselytize about how much you care and love us, and want us to find the joy you found in your Christ? I am generally thankful when others care for me, as I should for fellow citizens and humans. But I am quite wary of those that do it because an old book told them to, and because an unseen force is demanding they do lest they be cast upon the sstones of eternity. Do you mean to tell me you didn’t care for others when you were a supposed atheist?

    “…We just disagree in our belief systems…”

    Yet another mistake. We don’t have a “belief system”; you do. Atheism is the opposite – the lack – of belief. What is so hard for you to understand about this? No means no. There is no believing going on here, at least not outside of what the creationists and religious zealots coming in here toss about as if it’s their right to do so.

    “…And what we believe is true is something we believe is critical to your eternity. We CARE about you and we want you to have eternal happiness. Think about it this way…. If I saw that you were about to get hit by a car, I would tell you. Now you may not believe me, but you would appreciate that I told you about it. Well consider people who believe in the gospel as those who really believe in something like that and are just trying to keep you from getting hit by a car. One day we will all know if that car is really there or not… Are you sure you don’t want to learn a little more about what we really, really believe we see? What some very, very brilliant people for thousands of years (inclusive of Abraham Lincoln, CS Lewis, etc. all believed)…

    It is okay if we don’t know all the answers in our lifetimes or ever. We are not God! :) That is very freeing a concept in and of itself…”

    Well, therein lies the problem, because we don’t *think* any of what you *believe* is critical to anything for us, least of all our “eternity”, whatever that is. Your car analogy is illustrative of the type religious zealots throw around for why we should take you seriously. You yourself have no evidence of your god or savior, yet you implore us to follow your lead. You say we are standing, waiting for a bus to hit us; what bus is this? what car? Show us or be gone. You have no measurable expertise on which to tell us we should do anything.

    And your citations of brilliant individuals in human history is a lame attempt. Even impressive accomplish individuals are still human, capable of expressing illegitimate theories and views. You are using an argument based on the false premise that just because eminent personality did something, we must. But Newton’s advances in science and mathematics, for example, didn’t come because of his religion, but in spite of it. He had to hide a lot of his work lest he be persecuted and ruined by religious orthodoxy for his “heretical” studies. Ditto Galileo, and myriad others.

    Regarding your plea about “all the answers”, nobody here is claiming they know everything. Why do you people always assume we think we know everything, when we never said we did? Because your god supposedly knows all, and by our rejection og “him” we think we know all? Please explain this logic to me.

    “…We are not God! :) That is very freeing a concept in and of itself…”

    No shit. But what’s truly freeing is not having to follow stupid rules set by stone age mythologies for no discernible reason other than it pisses your sky apparition off. Your god seems to be only good at creating the things that allow “him” to become angry and exact revenge from. Sounds like a child playing with his army men more than it does a real force with powers spanning the cosmos.

    “…Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do. Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

    ‘Look, you mockers,
    be amazed and die!
    For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.’*
    – Acts 13:38-41, *Habakkuk 1:5 (NLT)
    …”

    And what sins would we need to be saved from exactly? The one that says we’re sinful when born, and must be rended from them in order to be worthy? Sounds like a cult to me. No thanks. I’ll handle my “sins” myself. I do not need to be saved by you or anyone else in your tribalistic cult. Perhaps you should save yourself and requestion why you bought in to begin with? After all, what’s to fear from questioning yourself?

  106. Sastra says

    Hellfrick #1121 wrote:

    What’s still troubling me is that without the underlying mechanism (for astrology), any effects might be construed as a correlation and not a direct result of planetary position or movement.

    Astrologers generally do posit some sort of mechanism to explain the results, usually one that implies a supernatural, magical universe where everything is connected to everything else not just physically, but through meaning. Red means anger: if you were born when there was a red planet in the sky, you would be a person quick to anger, because you would be shaped by what the planet signified. That’s sympathetic magic as both a mechanism and a theory.

    In Europe, Galen’s beliefs on the “four humors” which effected the human body and mind linked them up to the four elements that made up everything on earth and in the sky, including the stars. They all had to work harmoniously together in a divinely ordained balance of life — and changes in one area would mean changes in something else. Later, astrologers came up with a mechanism by borrowing ideas from Plato on everything having its own soul — including planets and stars. According to Carl Zimmer (I’m reading his book Soul Made Flesh right now), “The planets influenced the human soul through a cosmic sympathy, just as a plucked lute string could make another string vibrate.”

    It’s not a well-defined mechanism, granted, but it’s something other than a complete blank. Such a general mechanism ought to demonstrate itself in something other than astrology, though.

  107. David Marjanović, OM says

    I prefer to think of the trilemma as the “Gandalf- liar, lunatic or wizard” argument.

    Remember the Blasphemy Challenge from December 2006?

    One reaction to it was:

    STOP THIS! Please, if you’re thinking about blaspheming against the spirit, don’t! It’s no laughing matter, it’s the worst thing you could ever do.

    Who was Jesus Christ? Liar? Lunatic? Lord? Those are your options. Those 3. That’s it. Liar? Yeah, right! He’d have to be a freakin’ genius liar to fool everybody in the bible! Hahaha, puh-leeze! Lunatic? OMG! Hahaha! You’re funny! That explains how He died for our sins then came back to life! Moron. He was Lord. Duh!

    …to which this comment here on Pharyngula added the fourth option as follows:

    STOP THIS! Please, if you’re thinking about blaspheming against the Force, don’t! It’s no laughing matter, it’s the worst thing you could ever do.

    Who was Luke Skywalker? Liar? Lunatic? Jedi? Those are your options. Those 3. That’s it. Liar? Yeah, right! He’d have to be a freakin’ genius liar to fool everybody in the Rebel Alliance! Hahaha, puh-leeze! Lunatic? OMG! Hahaha! You’re funny! That explains how He defeated Vader, and convinced him to turn on the Emperor ! Moron. He was JEDI. Duh!

    I have nothing to add.

  108. SEF says

    Such a general mechanism ought to demonstrate itself in something other than astrology, though.

    Exactly. Even if the correlations (laws) supposedly observed by astrologers were true (which they aren’t), then trying to look for further properties of the supposed mechanism would be how one found out that the explanation (theory) being posited was faulty.

    There’s a long-standing similar falsehood about red haired people being quick to anger. One could make up “theories” as to how that might work but, since the underlying “observation” is false anyway, there’s not ever going to be a right mechanism to find. But, if it had been true, it would still have been a useful law to know even without having a valid theory for it. Just not a law which took you any further. You’d be stuck with merely collecting such unconnected examples of predictable things in the absence of an over-arching theory telling you where to look for other types of examples.

    What the theory of evolution by natural selection does (ie part of its outstanding success) is tells one where to look next. And, unlike religion (which can’t really predict anything), its predictions just keep on working. Suggesting very strongly that it’s quite right. Too strongly for any sane and well-educated person to do anything other than accept it as a fact of life (literally).

  109. Amy says

    For those of you who criticize the car analogy as something “common of those religious fanatics” to come up with… I actually heard this analogy from outspoken atheist Penn Jillette. However, he used a bus and does it much greater justice. Check it out for yourself.

    http://crackle.com/c/Penn_Says#id=2415037&ml=o%3D12%26fpl%3D328072%26fx%3D

    For those of you correcting my grammar… I agree with your corrections! Maybe I should hire you to work on some of my projects as I do have a day job and so spending the time editing this for you is time consuming. I won’t bother editing your comments. I am educated with two masters degrees, and a bachelors degree from an extremely liberal university. I am also a senior partner at a consulting firm, all be the grace of God.

    I actually believe in micro-evolution. And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution (which was the original point of this discussion: the unwillingness of the gentleman and the larger community to even entertain such discussions) there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you. I am certainly not an expert in that area as we all have our areas of expertise. But again, this is something you need to welcome and not merely dismiss before seeing any proof. But you dismiss it blindly.

    Some of you have said that I am incorrect in saying that atheism is a belief system. Is it not true that to believe there is no God is not a belief? Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God? I fail to believe that any one of you does not worship something. Just look in your checkbook or your visa bill or however you account for you spending and see what you invest your time and money against. That is likely the best indicator. Is it you work? Is you job your God? Your children? Shopping? Career growth? Fame? You in general? Your girlfriend? Wife? Popularity? Food? Drugs? Alcohol? Perhaps another religion? An obsession with evolution? Obsession with t.v.?

    Well I choose for my God to be Jesus Christ. I use to have other Gods. And when I had other Gods my life was always lacking something – which is why people jump from one thing to another. If you have never felt this way… give it time, you will. So how is your God working for you? Well when I was introduced to Jesus Christ, something changed. Now keep in mind I had been raised Catholic but never quite “got it” when I was a kid and dismissed religion as hokey until about 29 years. But then I heard about Jesus again at around 29 and how he loved us regardless of our past. And that he came to unburden us, if we would just believe. And I had always felt I was doomed by that mean God many of you spoke about. But I learned that the Old Testamant was and the commandments were there so we could be aware of the fact that we are sinners and our need for a savior. But noone, not one is perfect. And that is not good news. Because if you are not perfect, you are doomed. But that is why Jesus came. Cause he paid our debt. And he paid it for ALL of us! THAT was why he died! And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell. And this is for anyone who believes. I don’t know why, but it was suddenly clear to me!

    It is clear to some people and crazy to others. And to those who it is crazy to, one day it suddenly becomes clear. If that person is you – let me know! Even if in 10 years. Trust me, you will know if you are that person. It just happens. If you had told me this would happen to me, I would have thought you were nuts too. So I totally get why you all write these things to me.

    But I beg of you to be somewhat merciful. If one day you are that person who gets it, I know you will remember this and be sad for it. But please know – I forgive all of you. I have had to consider this this morning that in truth none of you know what you are saying for you do not have the Spirit of God. For only those with the Spirit know Spiritual truths. And that is the most amazing thing that happens when you trust in Jesus. Suddenly you are aware of Spiritual things. If you do ever experience this, just wait until you read the bible then! It will be an entirely different experience. But until then, it will just be another book of foolishness.

    If this is something you secretly want – you can pray for it. Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try. And it never needs to be fancy like churches make it seem. Mine surely aren’t.

    Bless you all. If you want to keep slamming me – that is okay. I will probably not respond. Well unless you are welcoming of a forum on ID (in which case I can get you in touch with the right people – as I am not that person) or you want to talk about a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    For His Glory.

    p.s.
    Forgive my grammatical errors as I am sure there are many. I have not edited and will not be as I need to get back to work. Shalom.

  110. Owlmirror says

    Following up on my own post:

    Oddly enough, the Greek term “αφανισθητε” (translated as “perish” and as “[become] corrupt”) does not appear in the original Hebrew of Habakkuk. Well, biblical translation can be a chancy thing.

    One of the things that makes translation chancy is that ancient written Hebrew has no vowels. The phrase “והתמהו תמהו” certainly looks like it should read “v’tamahu tamahu”; “and you shall wonder wonderingly”. Yet the verb “tamah” is not too far off from another verb written with almost the same letters, “tm”, tav-mem (תם) (which would be pronounced something like the English word “tome”), meaning “finished; completed”, and when referring to a future plurality, would be written using the same consonants. It may be that “wonder” was the literal sense, but some exegetical interpretation (or alternate text) may have added that the actual sense was “wonder and be finished“, which is why the Greek Septuagint adds “και αφανισθητε”.

  111. Helfrick says

    @E.V.
    Sorry about that. I manage to mix them up sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered affirmative by blurting out “Is the pope’s ass water-tight?”

    @SEF & Sastra
    Thank you. That made it click.

  112. says

    And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution (which was the original point of this discussion: the unwillingness of the gentleman and the larger community to even entertain such discussions) there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you. I am certainly not an expert in that area as we all have our areas of expertise. But again, this is something you need to welcome and not merely dismiss before seeing any proof. But you dismiss it blindly.

    Amy, I understand you are new here but take time to do a search just on this blog for how many times ID has been discussed. That’s just this blog.

    We know all about ID. We’ve handled it hundreds and hundreds of times.

    ID needs only to produce science. It has not.

    ID is not scientific. Period.

  113. AnthonyK says

    The problem for me, Amy, is that to believe as you do, you have to give up your mind. You have to stop looking at the world with true wonder, because you have been told what to think. For me, the joyous certainty of your true knowledge would not work – I want to think for myself and make my own mind up.
    For example, your anti-evolutionary views are the sole product of the brand of christianity you’ve signed up to (as you know, many many christians do accept evolution without it diminishing their faith) and are wholly ridiculous. You might as well deny gravity. The problem with those christians who do not accept evolution is that they do so because they do not feel that they can accept the presumed consequences of us having evolved. They deny it because they think that if it happened – it did – then they must deny God his preconceived place.
    As a matter of fact, I personally deny Christianity for many reasons. A minor one is that some christians deny the obvious fact that we have evolved, so their beliefs, at least, are not to be trusted.
    A much more important reason is that if there is a loving god who interacts in any meaningful way with humanity, then he permits unbelievable evil to take place.
    As I write this, it is inevitable that somewhere on the planet a child is being raped and will be tortured to death.
    Why would I worship a being who permits this?
    Anyway, I don’t think you will be coming here often. You will be shredded by the posters here – me too – and will give up. Or be converted to rationalism.
    The latter possibility is, like the existence of your Jesus-centric deity, remote.

  114. Sastra says

    Amy 1130 wrote:

    And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution (which was the original point of this discussion: the unwillingness of the gentleman and the larger community to even entertain such discussions) there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you.

    One of the points we have made in this very long thread — made not once, but many times — is that scientific issues are debated among scientists according to rigid, strict, disciplined rules of evidence and argument. Both Creationism and ID — like astrology and vitalism — were fairly entertained in that community. They were even at one point accepted. They were later rejected by the scientific community because they failed to live up to the standards, and were replaced by theories which could. Telling people to ignore this and “look at the other side and decide for yourself” is dishonest, and illegitimately flatters the person you’re appealing to.

    If you are not an expert in biology — as you admit — then you ought not to argue against the consistent, persistent, and overwhelming consensus of thousands of people who are, based on “having your own opinion.” You do not have a right to that opinion, without having done real work in the actual field, and having genuine expertise and knowledge.

    Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God?

    You are using those terms in a very loose and sloppy way. One can admire something without “worshiping” it, and making it a God. You seem to be implying that everyone is a dogmatic fanatic in some way. Not necessarily.

    I don’t believe in God because I don’t think the hypothesis stands up to critical analysis, and what it purports to explain is better explained in other ways. Thus, it is unlikely to be true. And truth matters to me. I don’t slavishly “worship” it — but I do value it.

    Is Christianity a form of “personal therapy?” If so, then I guess all that really matters is that it “works for you.” You can sell it like any other self-improvement or self-esteem program on personal development. Try it and see if it works to make you and your life better better better! It won’t matter if it’s technically true, as long as it works.

    All the religions work. Just ask their customers.

    But if you think that truth matters — not big-T Truth (absolute rightness and certainty) but small-t truth (what is provisionally likely to be accurate) — then stop trying to sell Christianity like a salesman selling a vitamin package or success seminar. I’m glad it makes you so happy, but the only relevant question to me is: Is it true?

    There’s are better objective methods to use than the methods of science science and a reason unclouded by a desire to believe to answer that question. And if God is a failed hypothesis, then there’s no need to go further and study to find out which religion God is not in. God is not in any of them.

  115. Sastra says

    There’s are better objective methods to use than the methods of science science and a reason unclouded by a desire to believe to answer that question.

    Garbled. Should read “There are no better objective methods which one can use to answer that question, than the methods of science — and a reason unclouded by a desire to believe.”

  116. Owlmirror says

    Everyone worships something.

    Wait, what?

    What do you think “worship” means, anyway? I don’t bow down to “evolution”. I don’t sing the praises of nothingness. I don’t slaughter sheep on the altar of no god.

    If “worship” means “have an intense interest in”, then “worship” is so weakened in meaning that it becomes meaningless. If anything and everything can be a religion, then “religion” doesn’t really mean anything.

    Because if you are not perfect, you are doomed.

    Right. Because God is cruel.

    But that is why Jesus came. Cause he paid our debt. And he paid it for ALL of us!

    If it’s truly “paid for ALL”, then I don’t have to do anything.

    And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell.

    If God doesn’t want us to go to hell, God won’t send us to hell.

    And God could not possibly have “died” for real. Jesus had a bad weekend, then was alive again. Whoop-te-doo-dah.

    I don’t know why, but it was suddenly clear to me!

    It is clear to some people and crazy to others. And to those who it is crazy to, one day it suddenly becomes clear. If that person is you – let me know! Even if in 10 years. Trust me, you will know if you are that person. It just happens. If you had told me this would happen to me, I would have thought you were nuts too.

    Fascinating.

    Calvinists would say that God regenerated you. Well, until God regenerates us, we are doomed to unbelief — and thus, doomed to hell. Because God damns and saves according to his whim.

    I have had to consider this this morning that in truth none of you know what you are saying for you do not have the Spirit of God.

    Right. Because God hates us and wants us to burn forever in Hell. Look, if God saves and damns by his whim, then preaching at us will not convert us. You might as well give up and find a better use of your time.

    If this is something you secretly want – you can pray for it.

    Right. Because I secretly want to believe that God will torture me forever and ever unless I pray to him.

    Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try.

    “Dear God, please bring your fan club to their senses. Thanks, an atheist.”

  117. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    I weep for you all. For the scriptures speak of you, just as they spoke of me for the first 29 years of my own life when I too mocked as you do…

    I use to say much of what you say here. But once I stopped fearing what I may hear if I listened to what proof may be presented by believers of creation or of intelligent design (which by the way are NOT the same thing if you fully understood them!).

    I use to have other Gods. And when I had other Gods my life was always lacking something – which is why people jump from one thing to another.

    First you state that you used to mock believers, implying that you were an atheist. And than you claim that you followed different gods. (You do realize that we mock non-christian theists here?) Which is it? And you cannot use the canard that non belief in a god is a religious belief.

    You cannot show up here, showing off your confusion and expect us to respect your confusion.

    And when I had other Gods my life was always lacking something – which is why people jump from one thing to another. If you have never felt this way… give it time, you will. So how is your God working for you?

    Wow, you have seen into the personality of every person here know that everyone has a “god shaped hole in their soul”. Such power of perception you show here. Is it at all conceivable to you that a person can be an atheist and have a reasonably happy life? It is all conceivable to you that an atheist’s unhappiness is related to a tangible reason as opposed to a vague feeling of a lack of god?

    Amy, just because you have a limited view in what it means to be human does not mean that we will grant you any respect for that.

    In our daily life, we have your “message of love” many times. It is nothing new or unique. You are here to preach to us and it frankly makes many of us cranky. It is also reason enough to get banned here.

    Godbotting Making an argument based only on the premise that your holy book is sufficient authority; citing lots of bible verses as if they were persuasive.

    Stop testifying here, go find a street corner by where you live and let your word out.

  118. SEF says

    To get back on topic, there’s something of a similarity with science and debate and all the people trying to make excuses for “needing” a debate.

    Science is (or should be!) regarded as the best method ever invented for discovering the truth about reality (at all levels and even in subjects not normally regarded as scientific in themselves). That’s a law. Science has repeatedly demonstrated it to be the case.

    Quite separately from that law, there could be theories of just why science is so stonkingly good at what it does. Extrapolating from valid ones of those can help people make science work even better. Whereas trying to apply false ones would soon show that they fail to help.

    Meanwhile, debate is one of the worst methods ever devised for getting at the truth of something. It favours fast-talking charismatic liars and fantasists over careful and perhaps unappealing (in message if not necessarily personal appearance) truth-tellers who are backed by reams of detailed evidence.

    If debate actually worked for the desired purpose (ie of scientists and truth-tellers rather than of religious liars), there would be some reason to go looking for excuses/theories of why it should work and to make it work better. However, since it demonstrably (throughout history, around the world and across subjects) does not work (ie is not fit for the stated good purpose but only for the evil one of convincing gullible fools), contriving apologetics for it is a waste of effort.

    In the legal system, the worst possible part of the process (in terms of actually establishing the truth of a case, which is what trials pretend to be doing) is the rival lawyers pontificating (ie effectively debating each other) at the jury. The best part of the process, only recently added, is any scientific evidence (and I don’t include medical “experts” in that) presented in full – as long as the jury isn’t entirely comprised of moronic and/or corrupt people.

  119. kryptonic says

    Amy #1130.

    Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God? I fail to believe that any one of you does not worship something.

    I worship the wonderfulness of Shakira’s perfect ass.

  120. Iain Walker says

    Amy (#1130):

    And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution (which was the original point of this discussion: the unwillingness of the gentleman and the larger community to even entertain such discussions) there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you.

    Oh bloody hell, Amy, we’ve heard the arguments. We’ve read them and we can tell why they are wrong. Now maybe you know of some new argument that we haven’t heard before. Maybe you know of some new version of a previous argument that overcomes the objections raised against it. If so, then present those arguments so that we can examine them. Don’t just tell us that those arguments exist, and patronise us as if we were novices in this debate. Most of us are old hands who have been debating creationists for years. That is, really debating: listening to what they have to say, analysing their arguments carefully, asking for clarifications, listening to their responses to our counter-arguments etc etc.

    Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God?

    Wrong. Wrong as stupidly and offensively wrong can be. I worship nothing, since I consider “worship” to be a demeaning activity unworthy of human beings. I am in awe of the beauty of nature, but I do not worship it. There are many people alive and dead whom I greatly admire, but I do not worship them. I consider certain values to be sacrosant (e.g., skepticism, honesty, compassion, friendship), but I do not worship them either.

    You’re confusing worshiping something with valuing it. These are not the same thing. One can value something, even greatly, without personifying it or performing rituals in obesiance to it.

    But noone, not one is perfect. And that is not good news. Because if you are not perfect, you are doomed. But that is why Jesus came. Cause he paid our debt. And he paid it for ALL of us! THAT was why he died! And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell. And this is for anyone who believes.

    And as I mentioned earlier, this is a morally repulsive doctrine. Not being perfect merits damnation? Salvation is only possible by believing? This isn’t “good news” – this is a sick, totalitarian fantasy.

    I don’t know why, but it was suddenly clear to me!

    A feeling of clarity about something is no guarantee that it is true.

    Frankly, Amy, your prozelytising is getting quite tedious, and more than a little nauseating. Do you actually have anything intelligent and constructive to say?

    And do you really talk like this in real life?

  121. David Marjanović, OM says

    I actually believe in micro-evolution.

    This is like saying “I believe that it’s possible to walk across a room, but impossible to walk across a country”.

    What is supposed to stop evolution from just accumulating? Which miracle is supposed to remind a mutation of how many mutations have already happened before?

    And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution […] there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you.

    Then please do it already! We’ve been waiting for that for years!!!

    Some of you have said that I am incorrect in saying that atheism is a belief system. Is it not true that to believe there is no God is not a belief?

    I’d rather say it’s a conclusion: the hypothesis that anything supernatural exists is not necessary to explain anything, therefore it should be considered false unless this situation changes.

    Everyone worships something.

    What makes you think so?

    See, that’s the whole purpose of science: to save us from falling prey to the fallacy that everything which appears logical and/or obvious to us must be true.

    What do you worship, what is your God? […] Perhaps another religion?

    Almost impossible. Of all religions in the widest sense, only some kinds of Buddhism and most kinds of communism are compatible with atheism — note how wide that sense of “religion” is, and how narrowly I had to define atheism, because the mentioned “religions” still require belief in something supernatural (karma and nirvana respectively historical inevitability), even though it doesn’t make sense to call that a god.

    Now keep in mind I had been raised Catholic but never quite “got it” when I was a kid and dismissed religion as hokey until about 29 years. But then I heard about Jesus again at around 29 and how he loved us regardless of our past. And that he came to unburden us, if we would just believe.

    You were raised Catholic, but had never heard of those claims?!?

    Does not compute.

    And I had always felt I was doomed by that mean God many of you spoke about.

    So you kept believing in a god all the time. That means you were never an atheist. Maybe a dystheist like Michael Behe the cdesign proponentsist, but not an atheist.

    But that is why Jesus came. Cause he paid our debt. And he paid it for ALL of us! THAT was why he died! And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell.

    And why on the planet do you act as if these claims were news to us!?!

    Apparently unlike you, I was raised Catholic. I (gradually) stopped believing when I found out that I’m incapable of believing without evidence.

    let me know! Even if in 10 years.

    Just for the record… you haven’t mentioned any way to contact you, so… LOL.

    For only those with the Spirit know Spiritual truths.

    Maybe so — if we tacitly assume that there is such a thing as a spiritual truth in the first place. That, however, is something you (or anyone) have yet to demonstrate.

    Go ahead, we’re listening.

    If you do ever experience this, just wait until you read the bible then! It will be an entirely different experience. But until then, it will just be another book of foolishness.

    Note the moving goalposts. In comment 1101, we were told to read the Bible in order to gain the Spirit of God (“If you spent time with the bible, real time, not zipping through it… not afraid it would convert your mind“). Here in comment 1130, we are told to first gain the Spirit of God and then read the Bible in that new light.

    Shame on you, Amy. Admit it when your claims are disproved. Don’t just change them and pretend we have always been at war with Eastasia.

    If this is something you secretly want – you can pray for it. Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try.

    We have already tried that. Systematically even — there are several studies on it. It doesn’t work.

    I will probably not respond. Well unless you are welcoming of a forum on ID (in which case I can get you in touch with the right people

    Bring it on already!!!

    Why would I worship a being who permits this?

    I think it’s easier if we keep the two questions separate:
    1) Does anything supernatural exist?
    2) If so, is any of it worth worshipping?

    The same way, Amy should keep two other questions separate:
    1) Does evolution happen?
    2) Does anything supernatural exist?
    …though the analogy doesn’t quite work, because Amy’s two questions are completely orthogonal to each other, while your second question depends on your first one.

  122. David Marjanović, OM says

    It’s really the quadrilemma: Lord, Liar, Lunatic, or Legend.

    Tetralemma then, if we want it to stay Greek. :-)

  123. DaveL says

    I actually believe in micro-evolution.

    Can you explain, specifically, the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution?

    And if you were willing to hear about ID v. evolution

    I am. I’ve been open to hearing evidence for any new scientific theory. However, that has never been forthcoming from the ID movement. Have you read the Kitzmiller decision? I have. Have you read Stephen Meyers’ paper in Rivista di Biologia? I have. I’ve listened to Behe’s claims about “irreducible complexity”. I’ve listened to Dembski’s claims of “Specified Complexity” and the No Free Lunch theorem. I can tell you without hesitation that they are all crap. A recycling of the argument from ignorance and Paley’s watch analogy, camouflaged in sciencey-sounding jargon, with a generous smattering of outright lies throughout.

    there are people I can bring together who can provide a pretty remarkable SCIENTIFIC, empirically sound series of topical discussions before you.

    Go right ahead. We’ve had thousands and thousands of words in this thread devoted to creationists, enough for several full-length journal articles, but instead all we get is empty rhetoric like yours.

    But you dismiss it blindly.

    Not so. I’ve given creationists plenty of time to make their case. The fact that they choose to use it to repeat arguments that were defeated in the 19th century rather than present any new research results tells me volumes.

    Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God? I fail to believe that any one of you does not worship something. Just look in your checkbook or your visa bill or however you account for you spending and see what you invest your time and money against. That is likely the best indicator. Is it you work? Is you job your God? Your children? Shopping? Career growth? Fame? You in general? Your girlfriend? Wife? Popularity? Food? Drugs? Alcohol? Perhaps another religion? An obsession with evolution? Obsession with t.v.?

    Wow, quite a revealing paragraph. Firstly, it is not in fact true that all people worship something. Many people, myself included, actually live balanced lives and don’t obsess about anything. That really, really burns you, doesn’t it? Especially when they do it without any need for your religion? The fact that, explicitly and by your own words, you utterly refuse to entertain the possibility of a balanced life says much more about your state of mind than it does about unbelievers. It’s called projection. It tells me you find the idea that some people don’t feel any need to obsess or worship threatening somehow.

    I had other Gods my life was always lacking something – which is why people jump from one thing to another. If you have never felt this way… give it time, you will.

    Notice again how you take a characteristic of your own mental life and project it onto the world at large. I do not feel like something is lacking in my life, nor do I jump from one thing to another. Unable than accept that I don’t need the crutch faith provides for you, you prefer to believe that it’s only a matter of time.

    Now this next part is quite revealing:

    But then I heard about Jesus again at around 29 and how he loved us regardless of our past. And that he came to unburden us, if we would just believe. And I had always felt I was doomed by that mean God many of you spoke about.

    So, obviously you were never an atheist, despite your allusions to it in your first post and your continuing insistence that you understand how unbelievers think. More interestingly, you suggest there is something in your past that you felt guilty over, that burdened you, that made you worthy of God’s wrath.

    Might I ask what that was? Did it involve an addiction of some kind?

    It is clear to some people and crazy to others. And to those who it is crazy to, one day it suddenly becomes clear.

    Again, here you take your own experience and project it as a generality. In fact the opposite is far more common- believers who thought they had it all figured out finally realizing how crazy their beliefs are and rejecting them.

    I have had to consider this this morning that in truth none of you know what you are saying for you do not have the Spirit of God. For only those with the Spirit know Spiritual truths. And that is the most amazing thing that happens when you trust in Jesus. Suddenly you are aware of Spiritual things. If you do ever experience this, just wait until you read the bible then!

    If we don’t know what we’re saying, then by all means demonstrate it. Empty, condescending claims like this are merely insulting. Can you demonstrate the existence of a spirit? Can you show the practical difference between a spiritual truth and an imaginary one?

    If this is something you secretly want – you can pray for it. Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try.

    I’ve tried. I’ve tried reading the Bible, I’ve tried praying, I’ve tried all the things would-be preachers tell me will suddenly make God’s existence clear to me.

    Now, for once listen to me: None of them works. Not one. That’s because you’ve been lied to.

  124. says

    If you actually have evidence for ID Amy, then bring it. No-one here cares about the battle for the eternal soul. They do, however, care about science. So if you have some fantastic evidence that proves that there’s not only a designer but that designer is the Judeo-Christian construct of God, then show it. So the evidence that there’s a designer, empirically prove there is a God.

    And if you can answer these two questions, that would be grand.
    http://kelosophy.blogspot.com/2009/02/two-questions-for-intelligent-design.html

  125. Lowell says

    I am educated with two masters degrees, and a bachelors degree from an extremely liberal university. I am also a senior partner at a consulting firm

    Assuming that’s all true–a big assumption, considering Amy trotted out the usual “I used to be an atheist” lie–it’s just another example of how religion can rot a perfectly good brain.

    I wonder if Amy proselytizes her clients and co-workers, too. I’m sure they just love that.

  126. says

    Firstly, it is not in fact true that all people worship something.

    Don’t the rest of you pray to gravity too? If not then how else does gravity work?!? We need to pray to gravity if we want things to fall to the earth, otherwise gravity will be mad and will let us fall off the earth…

  127. AnthonyK says

    Yeah, I pray to Darwin, otherwise the natural world would stop evolving.
    I, like Kel, regularly pray to Gravity, but he does not do it with the right attitude – that is once to Newton for the Attractive Masses, and once to Enstein for Space Curvature. For his failure, Kel will die.
    To provide a full list of my necessary obeisances would take almost the 24 hours it takes me to perform them, and so I will merely also note my naked dawn reception of the Star Photons essential to all life, and my nightly Dreamtime devoted to the Sub-atomic Realm.
    Yes, you are correct. I worship science, and I guarantee that as far as I am concerned the moment I stop believing and acknowledging the Universal Is, it will entirely cease to be.

    Woderful arguments, guys. Anyone would think you’ve argued with silly christians before!

  128. Patricia, OM says

    AnthonkyK and Kel are both going to die because they are blasphemous icky boys, and they don’t worship the Chicken Goddess, Cluckhead.

  129. Rey Fox says

    The more I hear this “I used to be an atheist” thing, the less I believe it. I just find it hard to believe that anyone who was truly* an atheist and had rejected religious claims would then turn on a dime and start spouting all the gibberish about how God loves us all – even YOU! – and loves us so much that he would have a bad weekend so that we won’t go to the Hell that he created, and if you just read the Bible and clap your hands and say “I DO believe in Jesus, I DO!”… I mean, that would require a Phineas Gage-level head trauma.

    * Yes, I know, the Scotsman. Bear with me.

  130. Bobber says

    “I DO believe in Jesus, I DO!”

    Am I the only one who hears the Cowardly Lion in this? “I DO believe in spooks, I DO I DO I DO!” : )

  131. Rey Fox says

    I also worship the natural processes that govern the interactions of matter and life. However, I worship them by just going on with my life, because I know that my gods don’t want to make a big fuss about themselves, they’d just get embarrassed.

    I’m sure Jesus would have wanted it that way. “The show must go on,” he’d always say.

  132. Rey Fox says

    “Am I the only one who hears the Cowardly Lion in this?”

    Actually, it’s a Peter Pan reference, but the Lion will do too.

  133. Paul says

    Am I the only one who hears the Cowardly Lion in this? “I DO believe in spooks, I DO I DO I DO!” : )

    I, on the other hand, went right to Peter Pan.

    “I DO believe in fairies, I DO I DO.”

  134. E.V. says

    Religious people lie all the time. It’s there gambit to identify with someone (“I was once a {backslider, atheist, or from another religion} just like you!”).
    They will then exaggerate or make up testimony out of whole cloth to persuade you to join their tithing heavenbound club. (guilty as charged)
    When you hear “I was an atheist” from a christian, know that he/she has no concept of what that truly means. They all lie, but after all God will forgive them because it’s for a good cause. (yeah, right)

  135. says

    Yeah, I pray to Darwin, otherwise the natural world would stop evolving.

    lol, that’s full of win!

    I, like Kel, regularly pray to Gravity, but he does not do it with the right attitude – that is once to Newton for the Attractive Masses, and once to Enstein for Space Curvature. For his failure, Kel will die.

    On the contrary, it is you who will die. Praying to Newton is not necessary, he was a myth made up at a time when people didn’t have an explanation for gravity. Rather it’s Einstein we should thank, and we need to pray for quantum gravity. As you know there’s as yet been no reconciliation between quantum physics and general relativity, so the only conclusion is that in order for gravity to work on a quantum level we must pray to it… lest the universe collapses into a singularity with space-time folding in on itself.

    I find your lack of faith disturbing!

  136. Knockgoats says

    It was because Newton failed to pray to Gravity that He caused the apple to fall on his head! In His attractive mercy, He did not cause the apple to weigh 50 tons and squash Newton flat. So Newton repented and became Gravity’s prophet. The heretic Einstein blasphemed against Almighty Gravity by claiming that He was merely the warping of space-time – Einstein will be punished eternally, being rent unceasingly by tidal forces! Remember There is no Force but Gravity, and Newton is His prophet!

  137. Lowell says

    You guys reminded me of one of my favorite classic nuggets fom DaveScot at UD: “gravity is the strongest force in nature.”

    (I’m not going to link to UD. Anyone can find it via google, if interested.)

  138. AnthonyK says

    UD. That must be the well known blog Up is Down.
    Which it will be, unless you all pray for coninuing weight.

  139. Sherry says

    I’m really impressed with people who do debate creationists. I just really don’t have the time to humor adults who indulge in magical thinking.

    In general, I don’t get any further than this statement:
    “If you believe Jeffrey Dahmer could be in heaven while every non-Christian victim of mental and physical abuse (ie: victims of the Nazi holocaust) is definitely in hell, we have nothing to discuss.”

  140. says

    There’s no schism, just a right view and a wrong view.

    Or so the heretic says. Until you can account for quantum gravity, you’ll always be wrong. And your incessant worship of Newton… he’s a false prophet when it comes to gravity. You might as well worship his as the prophet of chemistry too!

    Newton may have been able to diffract light, he may have invented calculus, but he was wrong on gravity. Einstein is the true prophet and we predict a new prophet will come in our lifetime that will be able to explain quantum gravity. Until such time, worship quantum gravity and not Newton!!!

  141. BlueIndependent says

    “…Some of you have said that I am incorrect in saying that atheism is a belief system. Is it not true that to believe there is no God is not a belief? Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God? I fail to believe that any one of you does not worship something. Just look in your checkbook or your visa bill or however you account for you spending and see what you invest your time and money against. That is likely the best indicator. Is it you work? Is you job your God? Your children? Shopping? Career growth? Fame? You in general? Your girlfriend? Wife? Popularity? Food? Drugs? Alcohol? Perhaps another religion? An obsession with evolution? Obsession with t.v.?…”

    The stupid never ends, it simply reasserts itself. We do not “believe” there is not a god. You are the only one assuming we “believe” there isn’t one. Belief in nothing is exactly that: belief in nothing. But that’s not what we have. We have a 9/10s level of assurance, based on scientific evidence, that a god or gods do not exist. We can’t prove one or many don’t exist, but then, you can’t prove that one does. We prefer the former course, since taking the latter course muddies things up unnecessarily, gets people in a tizzy for no good reason about petty little things, causes domestic and international strife, and basically cause individuals such as yourself to do what you are doing around here: professing your ignorance.

    You can “fail to believe” that we don’t worship anything as much as you want; it would not be the first thing you’ve failed at. We do not worship anything. Any thing. Read that as many times as it takes you to understand it.

  142. Brent says

    Sorry I’ve been missing the fun! Doing some international travel tomorrow and have been busy. Lucky for you guys. Really, total lack of logic and honesty throughout the darwinist posts.

    Anyway, Kel, I’m well aware of the Lenski research. It’s, again, not a solution for evolution, nor against what I.D. predicts. Wish I had more time, but I don’t.

  143. says

    Anyway, Kel, I’m well aware of the Lenski research. It’s, again, not a solution for evolution, nor against what I.D. predicts. Wish I had more time, but I don’t.

    We’ve shown examples of just where the Darwinian hypothesis has been validated. Not only does the theory fit the fossil record and the genetic evidence, but the mechanisms behind change in a species are also well known. And that’s what science is, it’s about making predictions and seeing whether they are validated or falsified by any future evidence. This is why evolution is considered science and one of the strongest theories in science. Intelligent Design on the other hand has made no predictions, shown no mechanisms by which it works, and certainly doesn’t have any validated testing data. This is why ID is not science, which brings be back again to the two questions I posed earlier. How has the designer worked through nature, and how do we test for it? If you can’t answer either, then why should ID be anything more than personal conjecture?

    Fuck Brent, I’m giving you a chance to state the scientific case for Intelligent Design, and all you are doing is complaining about mechanisms in evolution that have been tested and validated countless times. Even if evolution weren’t true, that doesn’t make intelligent design any more valid. If you want your idea accepted, you need to show evidence, plain and simple.

  144. Wowbagger says

    Brent, clueless pissant, wrote:

    Really, total lack of logic and honesty throughout the darwinist posts.

    Thank FSM I chose the industrial-strength irony meter* – anything less would be a smoking ruin right now.

    *Rated to ten Comforts, according to the warranty.

  145. says

    Brent, you also have the chance to show just where were are being illogical or dishonest. It’s one thing to assert it, it’s another to back it up. So if you please Brent, show us where we fail…

  146. Josh says

    Really, total lack of logic and honesty throughout the darwinist posts.

    Any evidence, Brent, or is this another of your rapidly accumulating baseless assertions?

    “I don’t understand what the people on this blog, some of who study evolution for a living, are saying regarding the subject that they study, therefore they’re being dishonest.”

    Is that pretty close to the mark?

    How are we coming with that ID explanation for the Ozark cave fish?

    Oh wait, I get it. Expecting ID to explain an observation (you know, ’cause it’s a scientific theory and all), at least as well as the theory it arrogantly proclaims to be better than, is dishonest and lacking in logic.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Brent, you still need to prove your ID theory from the ground up. Presume/assert nothing without evidence, and cite the primary peer reviewed scientific literature to back your assertions. Time to either put up or shut up.

  148. says

    I’ve been slowly working my way through this marathon thread over the last couple of days, and just come across Walton’s post at #691. Walton, that was an outstanding post – I liked it so much I’ve copied it for future reference. I’ve defended you before from other posters who accuse you of “whining”, but I could see there was more to you than that. You’ve just proved me right all along.

  149. Iain Walker says

    Brent (#1171):

    Wish I had more time, but I don’t.

    Funny, all these creationists turning up to winge about how Gotelli won’t debate with the DI, but as soon as they get put on the spot themselves, all of a sudden they’re too busy to debate with “darwinists”.

    Anyone would think they were a bunch of dishonest hypocrites who were trying to prove Gotelli’s point for him.

    Odd, that.

  150. David Marjanović, OM says

    Brent, if you don’t have time to argue your point, why do you come back to this thread at all?

    Do you believe I could publish a paper or even just a conference abstract saying “yeah, everyone else is wrong, but I don’t have time to demonstrate that, see you later”?

  151. AnthonyK says

    An ID prediction? What? Where? Oh, please please please please please!

    And I’m assuming it’s not thise one:

    To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

    Or is that a mere goal?

  152. Watchman says

    Newton may have been able to diffract light, he may have invented calculus, but he was wrong on gravity.

    Indeed – and he KNEW he was wrong about the mechanism, but the mechanics of it worked beautifully, so the theory stood up for quite a few years.

    Meanwhile, I wait with baited breath for Brent to return to read us bedtime stories from the gospels according to Dembski and Behe.

  153. BlueIndependent says

    Iain Walker @ 1181 makes one of the top 3 points in this thread: Why is it creationists can always find time to set up grand debates in the public square, and huff and puff when they don’t get evolution supporters to join them in their fancy game, but they can’t spend an hour on a thread reading and rebutting? If you guys have all the answers, bring it! But you guys seem excessively content with bringing in the same old annihiliated arguments with the names of the variables changed to try and distract us, or making belicose prognostications about how great your god is, how friendly your prophet-savior is behind closed doors, how evil we are, how much the world should thank you for your existence, etc. ad nauseum. You guys *never* come with anything. You have nothing. All you have is empty assertions backed by years or decades of family-based inculcation, with the kind of efficacy only gained from pointless rituals carried out as laws for millenia.

    Brent is another example of the creationist, who dart in, regurgitate idiocy, and then leave with self-assured grins on their faces as if they did something worthwhile.

  154. says

    I always wonder if people like Brent ever stop for self-reflection in a situation like this. After having every challenge he put forward answered and was not able to even provide the slightest bit of evidence to back up his position, does that make him sit back and think “shit, I’ve been going about this the wrong way”? I’m guessing no.

  155. says

    Well then maybe you better check it out, cause what IF you are wrong? WHAT then? Well then how amazing to discover what there is to discover in an amazing God.

    Well you’ve convinced me Amy!

    I hearby renounce my atheism. Praise Odin!

    Or wasn’t that the god you first thought of?

  156. BlueIndependent says

    “I always wonder if people like Brent ever stop for self-reflection in a situation like this. After having every challenge he put forward answered and was not able to even provide the slightest bit of evidence to back up his position, does that make him sit back and think “shit, I’ve been going about this the wrong way”?…”

    Of course not. Why question the position you are advocating when it’s backed by assurances your support will guarantee you a timeshare on the astral plane? It’s a lighter version of what makes suicide bombers in the ME fling themselves into throngs covered in explosive material. If you are above the law – scientific facts in this case – you don’t have to trouble yourself with playing by the rules. It’s the kind of thing that makes secularism great as an alternative.

    The thing that makes me laugh (or cry) most about godbots of any stripe is that they really think that being part of a massive worldwide religion with 2 billion people is “bucking the system” or being edgy or different. How the F are you so hip and avante garde if you’re doing the same crap 2 billion other people are, and that countless million have been doing for 2000 years? The answer is, they’re not breaking any molds or challenging any conventions with their supposedly awesome gods and trendy saviors (that conveniently always needs to find a way to integrate secular popular culture characteristics and turn them into “hip” religiosity). They’re just doing all the things most people are told to do from the very age they can understand words, except with (sometimes) less emphasis placed on following less important traditions.

    Following religion is not separating oneself from the crowd. It’s the epitome of following.

  157. says

    Why question the position you are advocating when it’s backed by assurances your support will guarantee you a timeshare on the astral plane?

    That’s one thing throughout that’s really annoyed me. Practically no-one here has been advocating that these people renounce their god and accept that the universe is without a divine hand, yet it seems that time and time again the advocates for ID are playing a dichotomy between God and evolution. Well it’s not even that, it’s a dichotomy between the biblical account of God and evolution.

    One more thing too is the sheer amount of emotional arguing that is going on by many of the advocates here. I’m sure their empassioned pleas for us to see Christianity are genuine, but really they are not conveying it in a way that’s going to influence anyone here. The ‘e’-word keeps coming up time and time again, and that’s the one thing that all of the ID people here lack. We are asking for evidence, yet we are getting arguments that play on hopes and fears, or at the very most logical arguments that don’t really cut it. If they really want to convince a sceptic, all they need to do is show evidentially that their proposition is valid. Seems like too much to ask for though.

  158. 'Tis Himself says

    Joe the Peacock has a good post in his blog on “How To Actually Talk To Atheists (If You’re Christian).”

    Atheists do not believe there is a God.
    Yep, I’m using the definition of Atheism as my first point. And I do this not because I think you don’t know what the word means, but because I’m fairly certain you’ve not yet realized the concept. When you witness to an Atheist, the person whom you are addressing does not believe there is a God – therefore, any information about God, Jesus, the holy trinity, the parting of oceans, great floods, and the creation of man falls on deaf ears.
    To put this in more universal terms, you’re attempting to sell a concept for which there is no proof other than the beliefs of men who have spread the word before it.
    Whether you like it or not; whether you accept it or not, the fact remains – you’re attempting to convince someone that something they cannot see, feel, hear, or otherwise partake of any empirical evidence of its existence, exists. Regardless of how much you believe in the story and how much it has affected your life and the lives of those around you, they do not.
    This is important to understand. Until you do, you’re arguing with a stop sign.

  159. Nat Weeks says

    Wow, a true Grand Slam! What a put-down! What a well-crafted, demeaning blend of wit, cutting sarcasm, belittlement, inuendo and sweet disrespect. But is that really how you would settle a dispute scientifically? I regret that Prof. Gotelli who professes to welcome controversy since “one of the best ways to refute intellectually bankrupt ideas is to expose them to the light of day” responded in such an unscientific fashion. It is embarrassing to those of us confident enough to call the bluff of charlitans. I’d rather blow pseudoscience out of the water publically, in front of a full auditorium for all to see, than stoop to the unprofessionalism and rather juvenile tactic of name-calling.
    My students prefer to see how, by using real science, rather than insult, we quickly win the day. The claims of the opponent crumble; ours stand strong! It is a real eye-opener for budding scientists, builds confidence in application of the scientific method, and is a lot more fun. Students learn from the challenge valuable lessons which will serve them throughout their lives. For all those reasons I welcome any invitation to lay my cards on the table because I know I have the better hand. It is then so obvious that all agree with our side and the big-mouth is humbled and silenced more effectively than any slam.
    We’ve seen this in the past although students in college today won’t remember the hundreds of debates on college campuses in the ‘80s & ‘90s. The Creationists made such mincemeat of the Evolutionists that they refused to debate Creationists any longer. The audiences, primarily students who had never been exposed to the scientific problems with evolution nor the scientific support for creation, were amazed by the facts part of the growing data base at ICR.org, AnswersInGenesis.org, and Evolution-Facts.com. They realized how brainwashed they had been. I’ve seen both sides of the coin from the vantage point of prep and pre-prep schools, Ivy League college, and grad school. There is no question that evolution hasn’t a leg to stand on.
    By his own admission, Prof. Gotelli obtained over $3,000,000 from our taxes to support him in his research which has resulted in over 82 journal articles and three books. Yet, in reviewing his conclusions yesterday evening, we see that he constantly admits, “The results appear to contradict the hypothesis… cannot account for the observed pattern…lead to spurious statistical correlations…additional distortion… about the same or slightly less than woulld have been expected by chance…insufficient evidence…no consensus has yet been reached…all models failed completely to predict…in summary we have failed…we have found little evidence… more research is required.” (of course)
    While I applaud his honesty in admitting defeat when it comes to mechanisms of evolution, I wonder what has been the return on this investment? What has he discovered which can benefit society or be put into practical use? Most importantly, in this particular discussion, what one bit of evidence has he uncovered in all this research which supports the theory of evolution? You, too, would find nothing there.
    Several of his articles addressed speciation. He even spoke at Harvard on Evolutionary Biology. Yet see if you can get him to give you the best, specific bit of scientific evidence in favor of evolution. It is all a house of cards and he knows it.
    If you’ve seen Expelled which came out in major theaters last fall, you know it, too. How can any fair-minded person condone educators and scientists being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired for the crime of discussing evidence of design in nature? The evolutionists have tried to rebut the proof presented in Expelled but have been unsuccessful. For the details you can check http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/expelled_exposed_exposed_your.html
    And by the way, if you follow Prof. Gotelli’s reference, you’ll find that Dr. Klinghoffer whom I’ve never met, did not author the “sneering” article which Prof. Gotelli decried as “two-faced dishonesty.”
    Because Truth matters,
    Nat Weeks

  160. Sastra says

    Nat Weeks #1193 wrote:

    I’d rather blow pseudoscience out of the water publically, in front of a full auditorium for all to see, than stoop to the unprofessionalism and rather juvenile tactic of name-calling.

    Unfortunately, the scientific choice isn’t ‘debate your idea in public’ or ‘call someone names.’ The second alternative was ‘persuade the scientific community through the usual channels.’

    I think that, until you do the second, the first one is really rather trivial, isn’t it? Your goal, as an advocate of Intelligent Design/Creationism, isn’t to win the hearts and minds of the American public.

    Your real goal — as a scientist — is to win over your scientific peers, meet the internal objections of the skeptics, and eventually persuade the mainstream the hard way — through the evidence, research, and the quality of your work. So I’m sure you’re busy forming a testable theory of some sort, in order to do that. Forget the crowds. Take your time and do it right.

  161. Zarquon says

    Nat Weeks, ID is a fraud masquerading as science. If you can’t recognise that then you are intellectually incompetent and not a fit person to teach anyone. Your post is full of lies and all you can do is attack the reputations of scientists. You did not in any way, shape or form address the mountains of evidence in favour of evolution in the scientific literature. Until you do that you will remain a fraud and a tool of frauds.

  162. DaveL says

    Ah, another creationist, swaggering in with a deluge of insults, condescension, and unsupported claims just like those before him.

    Nat, do you have any new research results to present supporting I.D.?

  163. Zarquon says

    “The results appear to contradict the hypothesis… cannot account for the observed pattern…lead to spurious statistical correlations…additional distortion… about the same or slightly less than woulld have been expected by chance…insufficient evidence…no consensus has yet been reached…all models failed completely to predict…in summary we have failed…we have found little evidence… more research is required.”

    Mr Weeks, do you or can you recognise that this quote-mining marks you as someone who is transparently dishonest and not to be trusted?

  164. Patricia, OM says

    I’ve confessed before that I actually bought a ticket for Expelled, and watched the entire film in a local theater. So I won’t feel any guilt what so ever in lowering myself to the dumbass trolls level. Nat Weeks, you are an idiot, a fool and a moron. If you are teaching your students that goddidit then I hope you get fired for promoting fraud. I wouldn’t trust you to tell my Bulldog the sky is blue.

    Troll rating: 0

  165. AnthonyK says

    Hmmmm Nat. Well it’s a well written piece, better than average. Is he a new one, or an old one with some “new ideas” and a bottle of wine?
    Bed time for me, or I’d go for it.
    Heck, let’s start the ball rolling.
    Nat – you are wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong.
    So you object to Prof. Gotelli’s letter, for its mocking, condescending tone? A childish reaction to a polite request for reasoned argument?
    Please put it down to frustration. Prof Goteli, a working scientist, is pissed off having to address a long settled question that, his opponents insist, mean that everything he knows about nature is a colossal fraud. I mean, if you were an accountant, wouldn’t you feel upset if you had to spend time defending double-entry bookkeeping – from people who couldn’t count to 10?
    That is the reason why you are wrong. Your religious affiliations have led you to think that evolution cannot be true, and therefore it is not.
    As for the view your own religion has of this, you know much better than I do what that is, but you have to understand that the natural world is indifferent, in every conceivable to what you, or anyone believes.
    The “therefore” is your own personal error.
    Evolution happened. We evolved. All life on this planet, now, then, or ever is linked – and its life force is evolution – however life started.
    I’ll leave you to the others – often ruder, but no less eloquent than I to fill in the details.
    Go and read Don Prothero’s “Evolution” – lovely hardbound book, great photos (men with tail, yes really!) and find out why you are wrong, and stupidly so, about science.
    If you really are a sincere Christian, God’s wonderful handiwork, in all its strange beauty, should only deepen your faith.
    What are your really afraid of?

  166. Jim M. says

    Knockgoats quotes me in post 831:
    Obviously he is proud of his correspondence which, in my opinion, doesn’t say much for him or for Meyers who gladly published it on his site. – Jim M.

    KG says: Who is this “Meyers” you speak of? Why is it IDiots like you so often can’t even get PZ Myers’ name right?

    My reply: OK Knockgoats, I apologize to you and to PZ Myers for messing up his name. Let’s see, did I see a post where Myers or Gotelli apologized to Klinghoffer for falsely accusing him of posting the negative article about Gotelli on Discovery Institute’s site? (I could have missed it, it’s true.) My bad, but this is not what the argument is all about. Why don’t you get on Gotelli for his mistake as well?

    Another quote from my original post:
    “But who needs religion anyway?” Jim M.

    KG’s response: That would be the intellectually challenged and morally feeble, unable to think for themselves, or act rightly without threats and bribes from a mythical sky-daddy – such as you.

    My reply: Thanks KG. You just answered my question for me. After reading your post, I’ll let the readers judge who it is who needs a healthy fear of God more, you or me? It seems to me that your own set of morals did little to temper your anger, hatred, and condescension towards IDiots in this post.

    I should clarify something. I prefer to say that I need God rather than I need religion. I agree with you that religion itself is not the answer. A personal relationship with God where we experience a change of heart due to His indwelling spirit, that is what we need. So perhaps I should have rephrased my original question. I can’t remember why I used the word “religion”. It was probably in response to some post I read criticizing religion. Anyway, my bad!

    Knockgoats, according to your own system of morals, is this permissible? Why or why not? What is the reasoning behind it? Just curious.

    According to God’s moral system, this is not permissible. It would be called a sin.

    Now you might be able to view yourself as a good moral person who basically lives according to your own made up set of personal values and morals, but unfortunately, the “mythical sky-daddy” as you call Him, will not use your personal values and morals as a standard when He judges us.

    It’s funny. Many atheists think they are such moral people, but when you understand the standard for morality, no one can call themselves moral. It’s pure arrogance! So, according to your personal moral standards, you may be moral, but according to God’s moral standards, sir, you need to know that you, like every other human being on this planet, are very immoral.

    If you are in a foreign country, you had better know the laws of that country or you might find yourself committing a crime. Same for us humans. We live in God’s world and our own personal standards as good as they may be, are different than His, or at least insufficient. Now you do not need to agree with this, but I’m just explaining things from God’s point of view.

    If there is no god, who cares about morality anyway? Why bother to defend yourself or claim you can be moral without believing in God? It is a moot point. Why is being moral better than being immoral? Those terms are totally relative and meaningless as you can’t clearly define them apart from God. Your own personal moral standards are nothing more than rules you made up for yourself and there is no harm whatsoever if you don’t follow them, right? You should feel absolutely no shame whatsoever since they are arbitray meaningless standards.

    Me? Yes, I freely admit that I am weak and morally challenged and need a Savior. No argument there. I should correct you on one point though. We Christians don’t attempt to act rightly simply because of perceived bribes or threats from God. We choose to act right because we love God and want to please Him. It has nothing to do with earning a place in heaven. We simply believe that since He made us and loves us, He knows what is best, whether I like it or not.

    Now, to give just one example, if I didn’t think there was a God, I’m sure I would be more liberal with my sexual practices. However, because I do, I do not fool around or use pornography even though I may be tempted to do so.

    Does the Bible talk about fearing God? Yes. The word for fear means “deep healthy respect”. Do you fear the police? Most people do and that is a good thing. It has a positive influence on our lives. Let me ask you this. If there were no laws at all in this land, would you still live your life exactly as you do? Probably not. That is why we need laws and police to enforce those laws.

    Now, is there punishment for us to fear if we sin? Sure, just like there are consequences when we speed. We put ourselves at greater risk of an accident. The speed limit is to protect us and others from accidents. And we put ourselves at greater risk of being caught. Let me ask you again: “Does the presence of a police car have any bearing on how you drive?” I bet it does. In the same way, the presence of God has a bearing on how I live. I’m thankful for that or else I would surely do more harm to myself than good.

    For instance, let’s consider one sexual standard of the Bible. No fooling around when you are married. This includes thoughts in your mind and porn as well as literal action. If it weren’t for the Bible, if I didn’t actually commit adultery, I certainly would freely look at other women and porn as well.

    Well, what does this command protect us from?

    Sexual diseases for me and my wife, unwanted pregnancies, killing an unwanted child, broken trust, immoral reputation, slavery to porn and other acts of sex, disrespect of women or viewing women as things rather than people, maybe divorce if the tryst becomes public, seriously hurting my family, shame, fear of being caught, etc.

    What blessings does it provide for us?

    Trust relationship with my wife, enhanced deeper relationship with my wife, a stronger family, deeper love for my wife, better environment in which to raise kids, good reputation, sex without fear of disease, freedom to have children, more meaningful sex because it takes place within the bounds of a covenant of love, etc.

    Wisdom alone tells us that God’s laws are good for all. So love for God and common sense also are motivations for my obedience.

    I don’t say this condescendingly, because I would probably do the same as you if I didn’t believe in God, but after reading your post, I would like to kindly suggest that a little fear of God might actually do you and a lot of other posters on this board some good. The rudeness, ridicule, anger, and even seeming hatred comes through loud and clear. IF your reaction to this is more anger and a desire to ridicule or belittle more, then that is further proof of my point.

    Here is something else for you to think about. Would you rather be in a hospital in an atheistic country or in a Christian hospital? Where do you think you would get better care? Why? Could it possibly have anything to do with what our worldview tells us about people?

  167. says

    Here is something else for you to think about. Would you rather be in a hospital in an atheistic country or in a Christian hospital? Where do you think you would get better care? Why?

    Given that Sweden is one of the most godless countries on earth (up to 85% are atheist) and they have one of the best health care systems, I’ll take Sweden.

  168. Wowbagger says

    Jim M,

    I wish I had the time to spare to go through your post and point out just how wrong nearly everything in your wretched, woo-skewed screed of mind-numbing drivel is. But I don’t and so I can’t; instead, I’ll say this: you are an idiot, even by the standards of those lackwitted fools who believe the archaic nonsense you believe.

    That this sort of rationale is the best you can come up with for defending the aforemention nonsense fills me with hope that, one day soon, the implementation of decent education standards will prevent those – like you – with the limited capacity and substandard critical thinking skills to accept this tripe from existing in the first place.

  169. «bønez_brigade» says

    Fuck, I long for the ComicSans when reading such mindless garbage as Jim M. has just spewed forth.

    I’ll just pluck this random sample and respond to it, and it alone:
    “Wisdom alone tells us that God’s laws are good for all.”

    Like this one?
    “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” – Deut. 22:11

    Well, guess what? I’m [queue Judas Priest] breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!

    And I’m doing just fine, thanks.

  170. Rey Fox says

    “Now, to give just one example, if I didn’t think there was a God, I’m sure I would be more liberal with my sexual practices. However, because I do, I do not fool around or use pornography even though I may be tempted to do so.”

    What you consider “fooling around” may, in a different kind of relationship, be seen as simple sexual expression. Not everybody fits into the rigid monogamistic mold.

    “For instance, let’s consider one sexual standard of the Bible. No fooling around when you are married. This includes thoughts in your mind and porn as well as literal action.”

    What if you and your wife view porn together?

    “If it weren’t for the Bible, if I didn’t actually commit adultery, I certainly would freely look at other women and porn as well. ”

    Alternatively, you and your wife could realize that harboring sexual thoughts is a natural thing and that “looking at other women” doesn’t mean that you would betray your wife’s trust or love her any less.

    “Why is being moral better than being immoral?”

    Because it makes the world a better and safer place for those who live in it. My morals come from the innate altruistic instincts of social animals and the efforts of ethical philosophers and other thinkers over the years that have hashed these things out and done their best to come up with the rules that best maximize the happiness of the most people. And I’m willing to bet that most of your morals come from that too.

    “So, according to your personal moral standards, you may be moral, but according to God’s moral standards, sir, you need to know that you, like every other human being on this planet, are very immoral.”

    You’d do well to read ‘Tis Himself’s comment #1192 to see how you’re barking up the wrong tree with these appeals to God’s morality. We reject the very premise that a god is necessary to explain our existence and the laws that govern it, so we’re not going to fear God or believe that fear of his punishment is necessary to live a moral life.

  171. Owlmirror says

    Jim M. @#1200:

    I prefer to say that I need God rather than I need religion.

    It sounds more like you need the fear of God than you need God.

    But fear is an emotion inside your own mind… which is almost a hairsbreadth away from saying that God is just an idea.

    For all of your long screed about what this does for you, it’s very, very close to what an atheist might say:

    God is something imagined, and then denied to be imaginary.

    By the way, I note that you responded to Knockgoats’ irritation over a minor misspelling, and Knockgoats’ annoyed final sentence, which you took such exception to that you felt compelled to write a ~1100 word screed in defense of the alleged God’s alleged biblical alleged morality, and ignored the substantive point:

    “ID” has no scientific theory, no scientific research, and is not science.

    And to state otherwise is to bring false testimony.

    Say, isn’t there something in the alleged God’s alleged biblical alleged morality about not bringing false testimony? I could have sworn there was…

  172. A. Noyd says

    Amy (#1130)

    Everyone worships something. What do you worship, what is your God? I fail to believe that any one of you does not worship something.

    If you were to go around life with a cardboard box on your head, everything might look awfully brown and cardboard-like to you, but that wouldn’t mean the world was actually made out of cardboard. The failure of your imagination poses no actual limitations on me.

    And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell!

    Wow, that sounds awesome. Until you realize that the only reason we’d have to go to hell in the first place is because, yup, you guessed it, god set things up that way. And we’re supposed to not only find reason to believe in him for this fucked up little game, but also show gratitude for it? Umm, no.

    And that is the most amazing thing that happens when you trust in Jesus. Suddenly you are aware of Spiritual things.

    Yes, when you are willing to buy into delusions, they do tend to seem quite real. Doesn’t make them true, just makes you delusional. Sorry.

    (And yeah, Amy’s probably fluttered off to witness her idiocy to others by now, never to return, but I felt like saying all that anyways.)

  173. edulike says

    Kel #1160

    quality Star Wars reference.

    Hello all,

    I have been lurking here off and on for 3 days now, ploughing through all the references and comments. For the record, I am a Christian who does not buy the ID crap, or the YE crap. I have a science degree and am aware of science’s need for evidence to attempt to disprove a theory which supports our observations. I think evolution is a very good explanation for how we got to this point, and that it took billions of years to get us here. I am not alone. Not all Christians are unable to think or reason, and some are distinguished scientists who even use the theory of evolution to make measurable predictions. Denis Alexander springs to mind as an example, as does Francis Collins. These are real scientists, not IDiots who have no issues with evolution and Christianity. for that matter, Catholicism and most protestant denominations are OK with ToE too, mainly as it fits what we can observe in nature.

    God is not a liar or a deceiver – Bill Hicks was very good on this when he said “pass me another brontosaurus bone, dad. They’re still wearing crosses. Less mess with their heads”. When the evidence points me in a direction I will go in that direction and see where it leads. I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out (can’t remember who said that).

    Christianity is based on faith, not scientific evidence. I freely admit that. I am a Christian because it rings true for me. This is not to say I don’t have doubts, and even reservations about the character of the God that I read about in the bible, as expressed by David Marjanović and others. Because I don’t like something doesn’t make it true or false. It is, however, not science. You can’t test for God empirically, for some reason, which is a bit of a bummer as you can test a lot of what I believe god created empirically very well.

    I can explain Christianity to people, but I don’t pretend to have all the answers – I am neither an expert on Science nor christianity, but I am perturbed when Christians come across as stupid or vicious. The main point of my post was to explain that not all Christians are thick and there are some of us that are real scientists and have no problems with evolution. For the record, I don’t think ID is science and has no place in a science lesson. Gotelli was right not to debate with the ID crowd as it would have given ID a scientific credibility it doesn’t deserve. Also, a short debate is rigged on the side of the best orator, not the best science.

    Ed.

  174. SEF says

    I long for the ComicSans

    You can has Comic Sans (and LOLcat spk!). You just need to use one of the locally permitted tags which can take the style attribute, eg p (for paragraph), and then use the proper magic spell (including the exact name of the font) within that.

    <p style="font-family: Comic Sans MS"> wibble </p>
  175. says

    Nice comment Ed

    Christianity is based on faith, not scientific evidence.

    This reminded me of a piece from HHGTTG: (modified for IDers)
    Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish bacterial flagellum] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
    The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”
    “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish bacterial flagellum is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED”
    “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

  176. edulike says

    Hi Kel,

    The bacterial flagellum evolved from something simpler. Most Christians I know would have no problem with this. I love Douglas Adams’s stuff, and particularly like the whole “god’s final message to creation” section of SLATFATF.

    I believe people should think these things through.

    Separate the church from the state, permanently. It should be a religious organisation, not a sociopolitical one.

    To all religious people: Stop the knee jerk reactions to everything, and stop being offense athletes. Repeal blasphemy laws and stop trying to include Intelligent Design in Science classes. Stop asking for money from those who are not members of your church. Recognise that atheists can be morally superior to you and learn to separate truth from dogma.

    Above all, think!

    Ed.

    P.S. I am the Ed who wrote on:

    http://kelosophy.blogspot.com/2009/02/two-questions-for-intelligent-design.html

  177. Iain Walker says

    Nat Weeks (#1193):

    The audiences, primarily students who had never been exposed to the scientific problems with evolution nor the scientific support for creation, were amazed by the facts part of the growing data base at ICR.org, AnswersInGenesis.org, and Evolution-Facts.com.

    “Gosh, I’ve never seen a facts part of a database as small as that! Why, you can barely see it. I’m amazed!”

    Much the same could be said for the rest of your post. The fact-to-rhetoric ratio is so small as to be barely discernible.

    How can any fair-minded person condone educators and scientists being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired for the crime of discussing evidence of design in nature?

    I’m sure no-one would, if such a thing had actually happened. Unfortunately, contrary to the lies promulgated in Expelled, it hasn’t.

  178. says

    Now you do not need to agree with this, but I’m just explaining things from God’s point of view.

    How can you possibly know what “God’s point of view” is? Since faith in God is not based on empirical evidence, how can we distinguish between true and false religious beliefs?

    Does the Bible talk about fearing God? Yes. The word for fear means “deep healthy respect”. Do you fear the police? Most people do and that is a good thing. It has a positive influence on our lives. Let me ask you this. If there were no laws at all in this land, would you still live your life exactly as you do? Probably not. That is why we need laws and police to enforce those laws.

    If there were no laws at all, I would not live my life exactly as I do – because there are some things which are not morally wrong, but which the law prohibits. In my country, I cannot own a gun, nor may I own a television without paying a “licence fee” to fund the BBC. In the United States, I cannot drink alcohol, since I’m under 21. I comply with all these laws because I fear that the State will use coercive force against me; yet I believe all these laws to be morally unjustified, and would disobey them if I could get away with it.

    However, I would not do things which are morally wrong even if they were unlawful. Even if rape were legal, I would not engage in it, because I believe it to be morally wrong. Likewise, there are things which are not unlawful but which I personally believe to be morally wrong, such as the viewing of degrading hard-core pornography; thus I don’t engage in such activities.

    You asked how, without a belief in God, one can know the difference between what is morally right and morally wrong, and whether these terms have any meaning. My answer would be that there is an objective, rational morality – independent of any supernatural belief – based on the concept of treating your neighbour in the same way that you expect him to treat you. And how do I expect my neighbour – in the generic sense, the average man on the street – to treat me? I expect him to respect my personal space and privacy, respect my property rights, and refrain from interfering with my autonomy and my choice of lifestyle, provided it doesn’t impact adversely on him. Thus, I must extend him the same courtesies: and so I am morally obliged to refrain from murder, theft, assault, invasion of privacy, or any other form of illegitimate coercion. I am also morally obliged, in the political sphere, to fight against any law which unduly coerces my neighbour and interferes with his right to autonomy and to choice of lifestyle, or which takes money from him in order to support me.

    Do I expect more than this of my neighbour? Yes. I expect him to keep his word, and to treat me as well as I treat him. So if I make a contract with my neighbour, I am morally obliged to keep it. And if I become friends with my neighbour, he can hold me to a higher standard of conduct towards him than he would a stranger, and the reverse is also true.

    This, then, explains all morality. Anything which lies outside this paradigm is, ipso facto, not a true moral precept. Engaging in private homosexual behaviour cannot be immoral, therefore, for example. I do not wish or expect my neighbour to tell me how to conduct my private life; neither, therefore, do I have the right to tell him how to conduct his.

  179. says

    It’s funny. Many atheists think they are such moral people, but when you understand the standard for morality, no one can call themselves moral.

    Humm. Interesting. What is the standard for morality?

  180. David Marjanović, OM says

    Do you believe I could publish a paper or even just a conference abstract saying “yeah, everyone else is wrong, but I don’t have time to demonstrate that, see you later”?

    It worked for Fermat! ;-)
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/FermatsLastTheorem.html

    Good point, but if I published something that wouldn’t be peer-reviewed, it’d be ignored these days…

    Besides, Fermat didn’t upset an orthodoxy here, AFAIK.

    Well it’s not even that, it’s a dichotomy between the biblical account of God and evolution.

    It’s a trichotomy between Genesis 1, Genesis 2, and evolution :-)

    Wow, a true Grand Slam! What a put-down! What a well-crafted, demeaning blend of wit, cutting sarcasm, belittlement, inuendo and sweet disrespect. But is that really how you would settle a dispute scientifically?

    What do you mean “would”? That dispute was settled in the 1860s and maybe 1870s. It’s over. It’s pushing up the daisies. It’s an ex-dispute.

    And everyone in the First World — except for most Americans, most Turks, and most of Jehovah’s Witlesses — has noticed.

    I’d rather blow pseudoscience out of the water publically, in front of a full auditorium for all to see, than stoop to the unprofessionalism and rather juvenile tactic of name-calling.

    How do you blow a liar out of the water in a public debate? How do you blow someone out of the water who is not ashamed to use dishonest, bad-faith, unscientific tactics like the Gish Gallop? Being a scientist, Gotelli is shackled to the evidence, to physical reality, while Klinghoffer the cdesign proponentsist is free to argue whatever delusion he wants!

    Such debates are never won by the better scientist, unless the better scientist happens to also be the better lawyer.

    Klinghoffer’s dishonesty, it is important to mention (I’m repeating this for the maybe fourth time in this thread! Fucking read the whole thread before you add to it!), is already established: check out the top of Gotelli’s letter.

    The audiences […] were amazed by the facts part of the growing data base at ICR.org, AnswersInGenesis.org, and Evolution-Facts.com.

    Half of them grave misunderstandings, the other half deliberate distortions (for example quote-mining).

    There is no question that evolution hasn’t a leg to stand on.

    Show us.

    I applaud his honesty in admitting defeat when it comes to mechanisms of evolution

    WTF? Where did you get that from???

    And by the way, if you follow Prof. Gotelli’s reference, you’ll find that Dr. Klinghoffer whom I’ve never met, did not author the “sneering” article which Prof. Gotelli decried as “two-faced dishonesty.”

    When Gotelli wrote “you”, he mean the Disinformation Institute as a whole, not Klinghoffer personally, whose letter was explicitly written in his function as a DI spokesperson.

    I should clarify something. I prefer to say that I need God rather than I need religion. I agree with you that religion itself is not the answer. A personal relationship with God where we experience a change of heart due to His indwelling spirit, that is what we need.

    But which god?

    And if there is no god at all, what do you do then?

    I know it’s what American fundamentalists do all the time, but that still doesn’t make it logically valid. You simply can’t make an untested assertion and then base something on it. You have to test that assertion first.

    Now you might be able to view yourself as a good moral person who basically lives according to your own made up set of personal values and morals,

    How is my innate empathy, my innate altruism, “my own made-up set of personal values and morals“?

    but unfortunately, the “mythical sky-daddy” as you call Him, will not use your personal values and morals as a standard when He judges us.

    Here you go again with that unsubstantiated assertion! Show us He exists in the first place, and then we can talk.

    Why is being moral better than being immoral?

    1) Because it furthers my own long-term self-interest. It’s better to be everyone’s friend than to be considered (and treated as) an asshole.
    2) Unsurprisingly, therefore, there’s natural selection against being an asshole. That’s where innate empathy comes from. “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

    Those terms are totally relative and meaningless as you can’t clearly define them apart from God.

    That you have never tried doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

    Now, to give just one example, if I didn’t think there was a God, I’m sure I would be more liberal with my sexual practices. However, because I do, I do not fool around or use pornography even though I may be tempted to do so.

    What consenting adults do in their bedrooms is not my business unless I’m one of them (…erm… not the bedrooms, I mean). Just don’t force me to watch. :-)

    Let me ask you again: “Does the presence of a police car have any bearing on how you drive?” I bet it does.

    Just for the record, that may be true of many people, perhaps most even, but not all. I don’t think speeding proves something about my manhood or anything, so I don’t do it. I can’t see any fun in it; if anything, it’s scary. I might do it on a computer, but not in real life!

    To be honest, I’ve done almost no driving so far, though. Never needed it. I also haven’t played a relevant computer game (ancient version of Need for Speed) for easily 5 years, probably more.

    Well, what does this command protect us from?

    […] killing an unwanted child

    You mean you’d actually do that!?!

    slavery to porn and other acts of sex

    It’s possible to get addicted to anything. Why isn’t there a prohibition against addictions in general in the Bible? (In the Qur’ān there’s at least a prohibition against wine, which at least goes in that general direction…)

    more meaningful sex because it takes place within the bounds of a covenant of love

    You act as if love wouldn’t exist without fear of God. That’s silly beyond belief. Is there no love among Hindus, Chinese, Japanese?

    Would you rather be in a hospital in an atheistic country or in a Christian hospital? Where do you think you would get better care? Why?

    Define “atheistic country”. And then explain why your definition makes sense. :-)

    If I get to define “atheistic country”, I’m with comment 1201, but you probably don’t want that :-)

    It sounds more like you need the fear of God than you need God.

    But fear is an emotion inside your own mind… which is almost a hairsbreadth away from saying that God is just an idea.

    For all of your long screed about what this does for you, it’s very, very close to what an atheist might say:

    God is something imagined, and then denied to be imaginary.

    Very good way to put it.

    I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out (can’t remember who said that).

    Carl Sagan said it, but I’m not sure if he invented it.

  181. David Marjanović, OM says

    Great comment, Walton.

    Even if rape were legal, I would not engage in it, because I believe it to be morally wrong.

    And besides… would you find it fun in the first place? I wouldn’t. I think rapists are sick and need treatment (assuming treatment is possible, which probably nobody has ever tried to find out…).

    Likewise, there are things which are not unlawful but which I personally believe to be morally wrong, such as the viewing of degrading hard-core pornography;

    Most or all of it is probably disgusting anyway.

  182. Iain Walker says

    Jim M. (#1200):

    Why is being moral better than being immoral? Those terms are totally relative and meaningless as you can’t clearly define them apart from God.

    Actually, I’d turn this right around – if morality cannot be defined apart from God, then morality is totally relative and meaningless. Basically, if morality is defined in terms of what God commands, then God could just as well have commanded something else – e.g., that murder, rape and theft were morally right. On this view, morality becomes entirely relative to the arbitrary whims of an unaccountable authority. And you can’t just claim that because God is good, he wouldn’t command anything of the sort, because in doing so you acknowledge morality as an independent standard for judging God – i.e., as something that can be defined independently of God’s commands.

    And why is being moral better than being immoral? If that’s meant to be a moral question (i.e., why is it morally better?), then it is a meaningless request – you’re asking for a justification of a set of standards in terms of the very standards that you’re questioning. Any answer is guaranteed to be circular or question-begging. If instead that’s meant to be a pragmatic question, then the answer is obvious – a society governed by shared principles of behaviour that encourage co-operative action, the delayed satisfaction of desires and the minimising of harm is advantageous for all members of that society.

    Your own personal moral standards are nothing more than rules you made up for yourself and there is no harm whatsoever if you don’t follow them, right? You should feel absolutely no shame whatsoever since they are arbitrary meaningless standards.

    And by the same standard, God’s rules would be just as arbitrary and meaningless, something he made up for himself. In fact, because God is not a social being (i.e., one whose well-being depends on his interactions with a complex society of other beings like him), it would not be totally unexpected if his rules were even more arbitrary than those we invent for ourselves, because he is neither influenced nor constrained by the reality of social living.

    We Christians don’t attempt to act rightly simply because of perceived bribes or threats from God. We choose to act right because we love God and want to please Him.

    Which is exactly the same basis on which public policy was formulated in Nazi Germany – by functionaries doing their best to please Hitler. I’m really not trying to Godwin the conversation – I’m just pointing out that as a basis for morality, this is every bit as flawed as doing good in the hope of reward or the fear of punishment.

    Would you rather be in a hospital in an atheistic country or in a Christian hospital? Where do you think you would get better care? Why? Could it possibly have anything to do with what our worldview tells us about people?

    The question is a loaded one, or at least badly framed – a hospital in an atheist country vs a Christian hospital? That’s not really comparing like with like. If the difference was solely in terms of the religious or non-religious views of the people staffing and managing the hospital, then in most cases there probably wouldn’t be any appreciable difference in the standards of care. However, on balance I’d probably choose the hospital run by atheists – that way I wouldn’t have to suffer being proselytised by chaplains, or having staff refusing perfectly legal procedures because they conflicted with their personal views.

  183. says

    The bacterial flagellum evolved from something simpler. Most Christians I know would have no problem with this. I love Douglas Adams’s stuff, and particularly like the whole “god’s final message to creation” section of SLATFATF.

    I actually find it absurd that people hold the flagellum up as a sign of God’s involvement in mankind. It’s part of a bacteria, I can’t imagine anything more theologically irrelevant. The champion of God’s design in the world is a microscopic construction that helps certain bacteria in certain environments? ID advocates really are shooting themselves in the foot, you’d think the blood clotting would be something they championed more (it would be just as wrong but more relevant to humans)

    P.S. I am the Ed who wrote on:

    I figured. For the record, I do distinguish between ID advocates and Christians in the sense that one is almost exclusively the other but not the other way around. ([almost] all ID advocates are Christian, but not all Christians are ID advocates) and even then there are still some very intelligent ID advocates. Though I find almost all of them either intellectually dishonest or ignorant in that all claims of ID were either scientifically invalid to begin with or have since been refuted. So no, I don’t think all Christians are morons. Given they are a majority population, it’s statistically impossible ;)

  184. «bønez_brigade» says

    @ SEF [#1209],
    Ah, yes, familiar with teh HTMLz, am I. I meant that I’d love to see the posts of known creobots automatically printed in ComicSans. So far, I think I’m a lone voice in the wilderness; but if PZ could edit the CSS code for this part of the Sb site (*hint, hint*), that dream would likely be possible.

  185. Sven DiMilo says

    It’s already possible to display blockquotes in Comic Sans…David Marjanović, the troll “Global Warming Is A Scam,” and, I want to say, Owlmirror do it all the time. (My talents lie, uh, elsewhere.)

  186. «bønez_brigade» says

    Nah, not when _I_ post a comment. What I mean is when a known _creobot_ (or any dungeon member) posts a comment, it shows up with ComicSans applied (and maybe a little wackaloon icon out to the side) — ideally, that is. Analogous to the desired result are the old disemvoweled comments (or maybe they were done manually?).

    A simple example of such automatic formatting is when blog owners comment on Sb and get the dark gray bg. It seems like it would just be some simple CSS code edits — though I could be wrong about the simplicity of this, as I’ve not run a blog on Sb.

    If successful, lulz would ensue, for sure.

  187. Nat says

    Dear Sastra,
    Thanks for your feedback. You are correct – we do not have to win the hearts and minds of the American public. Even after years of brainwashing and presenting but one side of the issue, all polls confirm that the great majority of the American public still believe in creation and that the science (and only the science) of both sides should be presented to students so that they, rather than being brainwashed, can make up their own minds on creation v evolution. However, years ago when the evolutionists realized that the scientific facts were so against them and that they would lose if students like you were presented with the scientific facts, they turned to the courts and resorted to censoring the truth so as to keep students in the dark. You also suggest that we be willing to meet the internal objections of the skeptics. I’m more than willing to do so, but they have no scientific objections, they just call me names. The ‘usual channels’ aren’t open to us regardless of how good or cutting edge the science is. Remember that all the Fathers of the different disciplines of science (Newton, Farraday, Maxwell, Kepler, Agassi, Pasteur, etc). were all creationists when evolution was being promoted. As for a testable theory of some sort. A creationist, recognizing the superiority of a scientific law over a scientific theory, might propose that something could not come from nothing (the 1st LAW of Thermodynamics) or that things naturally, left to their own, would rust, rot, wear out, and fall apart (the 2nd LAW of Thermodynamics). They certainly won’t, all by themselves, get better – in either an open or a closed system. Evolutionists, on the other hand, propose just the opposite. This is a testable theory and you know enough science to know which side is vindicated, without exception.
    Dear Zarquon,
    I was impressed with your response calling me a “faud,” and “not a fit person.” What do you base that on? Is name calling the extent of your ability? You consider me “intellectually incompetent”? Do you not know what a prep school is, or an Ivy League college? I’m “full of lies” am I? Name one lie which I made and your justification. You claim that there is a “mountain of evidence in favor of evolution”? Name one bit of scientific evidence. You might find that harder than you think. Someday you will learn the condemnation without investigation is the height of stupidity.
    Dear DaveL,
    If you re-read more carefully my comments at #1193, you’ll see that I’m not an IDer. I’m a creationist. I can’t speak for ID research.
    Hi again, Zarquon,
    More name calling? Is that the extent of your ability? Is that how you fight truth? Now you are calling me “dishonest”? Why so? (Try to be specific)
    Dear Patricia,
    You must be a friend of Zarquon. Calling a person you don’t know a “dumbass”, “troll”, “idiot”, “fool”, and “moron” isn’t going to win you any arguments. Don’t worry about me getting fired. I’m on the college’s Board of Trustees. We’re the ones that do the firing.
    Dear Anthony,
    Win a lot of arguments by responding with “You’re wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong”?
    The professor is not “pissed off having to address a long settled question” because he would never been able to and is fearful of trying. As for your supposition that my religious affiliations forced me to think that evolution can not be true, you’ve really got that wrong. By the time I had graduated from Dartmouth, I had learned more about evolution than most students are ever taught And when I actually checked the facts, I became a creationist. Only then did I wonder about who or what the Creator might be and that got me out of science and into theology. I finally figured out how to identify absolute Truth and ended up becoming a Christian. The scientific evidence impacted my faith, not visa-versa.
    Dear Iain,
    You must not be looking at the data base I recommended if you think it is small. It is the largest on creation science in the world. Why don’t you really take a look at AnswersInGenesis.org, ICR.org, or Evolution-Facts.com. It needn’t scare you. Apparently, you didn’t look at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/expelled_exposed_exposed_your.html
    either. There is no harm in being open-minded and checking the facts.
    To you all,
    I shan’t respond to name calling any more but if you’d like to deal with real scientific facts, send a question my way and I’ll do my best
    …Because Truth matters,
    Nat

  188. says

    Remember that all the Fathers of the different disciplines of science (Newton, Farraday, Maxwell, Kepler, Agassi, Pasteur, etc). were all creationists when evolution was being promoted.

    Are you high? Newton 1643 – 1727. Faraday 1791 – 1867. Maxwell 1831 – 1879. Kepler 1571 – 1630. Pasteur 1822 – 1895. Nevermind it wasn’t until the latter part of the 19th century when the theory of evolution first came to be (first presented 1858, Origin of Species published 1859) and most older scientists rejected the idea, nevermind that most the evidence for evolution has been found in the latter half of the 20th century, even if Albert Einstein rejected evolution it wouldn’t still make it any less valid. It’s valid because it’s the only theory that fits the evidence.

    If you want ID to be considered a science, then answer the two questions I asked earlier. Just what did the designer do and how do we test for that? Without answering those, just how is ID a science?

  189. clinteas says

    Gee,the zombies are out in force today.

    Jindal-imitating jeebus zombie @ 1226,

    your thin veneer of civility and politeness can not hide the fact that under the cover is a lying distorting unscientific brainwashed creationist who wants to lie to children and promote bronze age mtyh over science.
    You,Sir,are a danger to humanity.

  190. John Morales says

    Nat @1226:

    [1] Name one lie which I made and your justification. You claim that there is a “mountain of evidence in favor of evolution”? Name one bit of scientific evidence. You might find that harder than you think. […]
    [2] By the time I had graduated from Dartmouth, I had learned more about evolution than most students are ever taught And when I actually checked the facts, I became a creationist.

    1. That you claim there’s not a mountain of evidence shows you either lie or are wilfully obtuse.

    2. You may believe that, I don’t.
    You can, however, demonstrate your claimed erudition. I refer you to Sastra’s post @298. Which of the 14 points do you consider erroneous, and for what reason?

  191. JIm M says

    Kel said: “Nice comment Ed” in response to this next quote:

    Ed said: “Christianity is based on faith, not scientific evidence.”

    Then Kel said: “This reminded me of a piece from HHGTTG: (modified for IDers)
    Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish bacterial flagellum] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

    The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

    “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish bacterial flagellum is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED”

    “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.”

    My comments: Kel, Come on. Did you ever hear of the difference between PROOF and EVIDENCE?

    Yes, it takes faith to believe in God, but there is a difference between blind faith and faith based on evidence. God doesn’t normally require blind faith.

    Listen, you are a man of faith too. For instance, we all exercise faith every time we get in an airplane. We believe the plane to be kept in good condition. Usually it is, but we don’t check it out ourselves. We take the airline’s pledge that it is by faith. This is not blind faith. We have evidence of their past flying record and the experiences of other people who have flown to base our faith on.

    Same thing with Christianity. A Christian does not have to close their eyes to all of the evidence and take a leap of faith to become a Christian. You will disagree, but in my mind, there is a lot of evidence to support the existence of God and Christianity in particular. That is one reason I still believe.

    And come on y’all, even with evolution, there is no PROOF. You have facts that you interpret as evidence for your faith. We all look at the same facts and interpret them differently. Our respective worldviews color how we look at and interpret the evidence.

    The evolutionist science writer Gordy Slack wrote this in What neo-creationists get right: An evolutionist shares lessons he s learned from the Intelligent Design camp [The Scientist, June 2008]

    “Which leads me to a final concession to my ID foes: When they say that some proponents of evolution are blind followers, they’re right. A few years ago I covered a conference of the American Atheists in Las Vegas. I met dozens of people there who were dead sure that evolutionary theory was correct though they didn’t know a thing about adaptive radiation, genetic drift, or even plain old natural selection. They came to their Darwinism via a commitment to naturalism and atheism not through the study of science. They’re still correct when they say evolution happens. But I’m afraid they’re wrong to call themselves skeptics unencumbered by ideology. Many of them are best described as zealots. Ideological zeal isn’t incompatible with good science; its coincidence with a theory proves nothing about that theory’s explanatory power.”

    Before that, he also said this:

    “I think it is disingenuous to argue that the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution. It is no less relevant than the Big Bang is to physics or cosmology. Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes. And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it. AND RIGHT NOW WE ARE NOWHERE CLOSE. I BELIEVE a material explanation will be found, but that confidence comes from my FAITH that science is up to the task of explaining, in purely material or naturalistic terms, the whole history of life. My FAITH is well founded, but it is still FAITH.”

    Wow, an honest evolutionist!

    Please forgive me guys if I don’t have enough faith to believe that impersonal brainless atoms wrote their own software, blindly organized themselves into thousands of finely-tuned irreducibly complex micro machines that dwarf the best intelligent humans can conjure up, created a conscience and a sense of morality, created a self-consciousness, and trillions and trillions of time over the eons came up with enough timely lucky mutations to overcome the effects of harmful mutations.

    Please forgive all us intellectually challenged lowlifes around the world who actually have the audacity to think that the exquisite intricate mind-blowing design we see in nature didn’t just happen by accident.

    Please forgive us if we cannot muster up the strength to believe against astronomical odds in the miraculous creative powers of chance and luck.

    Please forgive me if I don’t have enough faith to believe that the many finely-tuned laws of nature just happened, that all the necessary requirements for life just happened to come together on this planet, that matter is eternal, that everything we see just exploded out of nothing, or that there is dark energy and dark matter in this universe that we just can’t see yet. (It may be there or it might not. The only reason people believe it is there is to prop up their pet theories of the origin of the universe. I’ll become a believer in dark energy and dark matter when we find it. )

    Again, the facts are the same. I’m sure you interpret these facts different than I do, but we both have faith.

    I think intelligence best supports the evidence as do many many people from all walks of life in this world.
    Is it really all that irrational?

    If you had proof, that would be one thing, but as yet, that is still missing. You have faith that one day you will get that proof? Great! More power to you, but PROOF is one thing you do not have. You simply have evidence which you filter through your worldview and then base your faith on. You and I are the same.

    But I guess I would fit into the moron category in your eyes simply because I happen to think outside the box of materialism. (When you can prove your ideas of materialism, come back and talk with me.)

    Simply because I believe that intelligence is necessary to explain life and the world we live in, I’m classified as a moron. Fine, I happily wear that label! Not only do I honestly believe the evidence points that way, on top of that, it makes life so much more meaningful!

  192. Owlmirror says

    A creationist, recognizing the superiority of a scientific law over a scientific theory, might propose that something could not come from nothing (the 1st LAW of Thermodynamics)

    I’m sorry, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is completely irrelevant to evolution, and of course, creationism contradicts it anyway. That won’t wash.

    or that things naturally, left to their own, would rust, rot, wear out, and fall apart (the 2nd LAW of Thermodynamics).

    That is not what the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says.

    The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that heat will not spontaneously flow from a colder body to a warmer one or, equivalently, that total entropy (a measure of useful energy) in a closed system will not decrease. This does not prevent increasing order

    Which is obvious to anyone who bothers to actually do the research.

    They certainly won’t, all by themselves, get better – in either an open or a closed system.

    Since you have no idea what the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is, what you say about it doesn’t matter at all.

    Evolutionists, on the other hand, propose just the opposite. This is a testable theory and you know enough science to know which side is vindicated, without exception.

    Yes. Evolution is indeed vindicated every time without exception.

    By the time I had graduated from Dartmouth,

    Graduated with a degree in which field? Apologetics? Using psychoactive substances? Apologetics while under the influence of psychoactive substances?

    I had learned more about evolution than most students are ever taught And when I actually checked the facts, I became a creationist.

    Really! So since you know so much about evolution, please explain the human chromosome 2 synteny?

    And which “facts” exactly led you to become a creationist?

    Be clear, precise, and specific.

    I finally figured out how to identify absolute Truth and ended up becoming a Christian.

    Really! Do tell.

    So, since you know how to identify absolute Truth, maybe you could explain whether it is absolutely True that animals were created before man and woman, or if it is absolutely True that animals were created after man (but before woman).

    Show all work.

    You must not be looking at the data base I recommended if you think it is small. It is the largest on creation science in the world.

    What a coincidence! I happen to have an enormous database of imaginary facts, too! (Or am I imagining it?)

  193. clinteas says

    1231 wins the thread,for most logical fallacies in a single comment,and for worst-affected brain by religious indoctrination today.

  194. says

    Listen, you are a man of faith too. For instance, we all exercise faith every time we get in an airplane.

    Do you honestly think the faith we have in an airplane is the same as the faith we have in God? If needed, I can show how an airplane works. I can show the history of flight, and talk about the physical laws behind flight. And if nothing else I can show that time again time again a plane lifting off and landing at it’s specified destination. I’ve got damn good reason to believe that planes work. Whereas…

    Same thing with Christianity. A Christian does not have to close their eyes to all of the evidence and take a leap of faith to become a Christian. You will disagree, but in my mind, there is a lot of evidence to support the existence of God and Christianity in particular. That is one reason I still believe.

    If you have evidence for god that is equivalent to the ability for a plane to fly, then go ahead and show it. I can show you a plane flying, hell you can go to an airport and see for yourself. Show me the evidence for God.

    Please forgive all us intellectually challenged lowlifes around the world who actually have the audacity to think that the exquisite intricate mind-blowing design we see in nature didn’t just happen by accident.

    No, it obviously happened so God could spy on our sexual habits… it didn’t happen by accident, it happen by specified processes. Pick up a hammer then let go with it and see what happens. Does it do nothing? No. Does it stay where you were holding it? No. It falls to towards the earth. Why is that? Because of gravity. It’s a fundamental force, not an accident nor is it design. The hammer did not fall because you or anyone else willed it to, it fell because of the attractive nature of matter. The accident inference is a red herring. It didn’t happen by accident, it happened by set processes.

    Please forgive us if we cannot muster up the strength to believe against astronomical odds in the miraculous creative powers of chance and luck.

    And you say you understand evolution… Evolution is a non-random process.

    Please forgive me if I don’t have enough faith to believe that the many finely-tuned laws of nature just happened

    What finely-tuned laws? They are just laws and can be no other way. If they were some other way then we wouldn’t exist to talk about how the laws could be no other way. Fine-tuning is one of the most tautological statements for god out there, it boils down to “We exist, therefore God exists” which explains to us absolutely nothing.

    that all the necessary requirements for life just happened to come together on this planet

    More stars than grains of sand on our beaches, yet one planet exhibits the characteristics that give birth to life… you are anthropomorphising the universe. There are 400,000,000,000 stars in this galaxy alone, and from what we’ve observed planets seem to be a common occurrence. Do you honestly think that the entire universe was created all for one lifeform of about 6 million currently living (and billions extinct) on one planet which orbits one star of 400,000,000,000 in one of 100,000,000,000 galaxies? Now that’s being absurd.

  195. John Morales says

    JIm M:

    Simply because I believe that intelligence is necessary to explain life and the world we live in, I’m classified as a moron. Fine, I happily wear that label! Not only do I honestly believe the evidence points that way, on top of that, it makes life so much more meaningful!

    So you’re pitiful, but happy. Fair enough.

    Way I see it, the evidence shows that intelligence, so far as we know, comes from life – and how you figure the claim “there was intelligence before life” is supported by the evidence escapes me.

    Anyway, good luck with your wishful thinking, and may the dissonance with reality be not too angsty to you.
    Hang on to your fantasies while you can, the gaps your Creator lingers within are closing fast.

  196. says

    My comments: Kel, Come on. Did you ever hear of the difference between PROOF and EVIDENCE?

    Of course, proof is a mathematical construct while evidence is the backbone of science. If you have evidence not only to support any god’s existence, but the current god you believe in, please present it.

  197. Jim M says

    OK guys, I’m on a roll here:

    My original post: “Now, to give just one example, if I didn’t think there was a God, I’m sure I would be more liberal with my sexual practices. However, because I do, I do not fool around or use pornography even though I may be tempted to do so.”

    Rey Fox: “What you consider “fooling around” may, in a different kind of relationship, be seen as simple sexual expression. Not everybody fits into the rigid monogamistic mold.”

    My response: My point was that what Knockgoats calls moral may not really be moral in God’s eyes. When we have no way of determining what is moral or immoral, then this is exactly the disagreements that come up. The term moral and immoral become totally relative and meaningless.

    My post: “For instance, let’s consider one sexual standard of the Bible. No fooling around when you are married. This includes thoughts in your mind and porn as well as literal action.”

    Rey: What if you and your wife view porn together?

    My answer: According to the Bible, all porn fits into the immoral category. God is holy and that is what He expects of us. None of us is holy and I sin in the sexual area just like the next guy because my mind and eyes wonder at times. But my goal is to be moral in this area because I love God and believe His ways are best.

    My original post: “If it weren’t for the Bible, if I didn’t actually commit adultery, I certainly would freely look at other women and porn as well. ”

    Rey: Alternatively, you and your wife could realize that harboring sexual thoughts is a natural thing and that “looking at other women” doesn’t mean that you would betray your wife’s trust or love her any less.

    Response: We can rationalize anything if we want to. My wife realizes that men struggle with this more than women. We realize it is “natural” for humans to struggle with sin, but that doesn’t make it right.

    My post: “Why is being moral better than being immoral?”

    Rey: Because it makes the world a better and safer place for those who live in it. My morals come from the innate altruistic instincts of social animals and the efforts of ethical philosophers and other thinkers over the years that have hashed these things out and done their best to come up with the rules that best maximize the happiness of the most people. And I’m willing to bet that most of your morals come from that too.

    My response: Rey, that sounds really great!! I’d like you to write that up and send it to me. I’d be interested to see the list. Why don’t we publish it for everyone to learn? That sounds like a good idea doesn’t it?

    But seriously, tell me, why is it “moral” to maximize the happiness of the most people? Why is that a good thing? The Mafia don’t seem to think so.

    By the way, is “maximizing the happiness of as many people as possible” an absolute standard by which we should evaluate our actions? You aren’t really advocating an absolute standard of morality are you now?

    But, although it sounds wonderful, aren’t you being a bit dishonest here? Are you really trying to say that you actually are able to and actually do live up to even your own standard of morality?

    That brings some questions to mind:

    1) What is your definition of morality?

    2) How do you know your definition is right? (Actually there can be no “right” definition of the word “moral” because morality is not absolute in your worldview, so again, we see that your use of the word moral is meaningless since it cannot be clearly defined.)

    3) What percentage of the time do you have to follow your own standards to be able to honestly claim that you live a moral life even by your own standards? Over 50%? Over 60%? Over 90%? 100%?

    4) What does it matter if you don’t live up to your arbitrary standards? What difference does it make if you live according to your own self determined moral standards 45% or the time as opposed to 55% or even 85% of the time? In the end, what does it really matter?

    5) When you are dead and gone, what difference will it have made if you lived a “moral” life according to your own standards or an “immoral” life? In other words, why in the world does it actually matter how you live your life? For you, that is what you choose, but why is the mafia’s way of life any better or worse than yours, really? Is it simply that more people believe that than don’t? But really, what does it matter if you break them if they are nothing more than arbitrary man-made standards?

    6) To put the same question another way, I will borrow a question from Pastor Tim Keller in New York. Let’s say you are on the Titanic and it is going down. You know you are going to drown. What difference does it make if you go down hugging someone or mugging someone? In 5 minutes you are going to be dead anyway. Our life is much less than 5 minutes when we compare it to eternity. What difference does it make in the grand scheme of things if we go down hugging or mugging?

  198. says

    Jim M, I’ve asked repeatedly for answers to two questions regarding intelligent design: what did the designer do and how can we test for that? These seem perfectly reasonable for any idea that is trying to enter the field of science. If you don’t have anything to support your idea, why should it be considered science?

    It seems you are under the illusion that if evolution is not true then your god is a legitimate answer to the problem. It doesn’t work that way. Consider the hypothesis that all cars are red. Now if we find a car that is not red, it doesn’t make the hypothesis that all cars are blue any more true. You need to show evidence that demonstrates your god’s existence and involvement in life, not merely assert that evolution is impossible and think that your position is the default. Show evidence of your god!!! or at the very least show evidence that ID should be considered a science by answering the two questions above.

  199. says

    Our life is much less than 5 minutes when we compare it to eternity. What difference does it make in the grand scheme of things if we go down hugging or mugging?

    Okay, here’s a question. If you believed God didn’t exist, would you murder someone? Would you rape someone? If not, why not? i.e. is the only thing stopping you from raping / murdering another the threat of hell / the reward of heaven?

  200. clinteas says

    @ Jim on a roll,

    to your questions 5 and 6 in the post above:

    What an immoral nutjob do you have to be without your bronze age morality giving you direction,if you can actually ask BS questions like that.
    Noone I know would have to think twice about answering those,in short,because every sane person with a conscience,atheist or not,will prefer hugging over mugging,as you put it.
    Its a result of evolution.
    Unless youre a sociopath.

  201. Jim M says

    B Brigade said: “****, I long for the ComicSans when reading such mindless garbage as Jim M. has just spewed forth. I’ll just pluck this random sample and respond to it, and it alone:

    “Wisdom alone tells us that God’s laws are good for all.”

    Like this one?

    “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” – Deut. 22:11

    Well, guess what? I’m [queue Judas Priest] breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!

    And I’m doing just fine, thanks.

    MY REPLY: B Brigade, thanks for interacting with my post, I think. Perhaps I can clear up a misunderstanding you seem to have.

    I think you misunderstand the reason for certain laws, namely the ceremonial laws, that were given to the Jews in the OT. They are not meant for you and me to follow. There were some laws that were not necessarily moral issues, but were given for the purpose of setting them apart from the surrounding nations so it would be clear that they were set apart by God.

    Relax! You are NOT breaking the law by not wearing that stuff! Glad you are fine, too, but is it really necessary to mock?

    Now, I do admit that there were some moral laws too that were in effect for the Israelites back then that seem hard to understand. Many of these are applications of moral principles to specific situations and it is hard for us to fully understand them since we were not living back then.

    But, be that as it may, Jesus fulfilled the law and today we are free from all those laws. The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And to love our neighbor as ourself.

    Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we only were able to love each other!!!

  202. says

    From Dawkins:

    “‘Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principals and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees-waxed wings of Icaraus don’t.’ “

    I’m fully in agreement with Dawkins on this. You may call it faith, but quite simply flight works according to a set of physical principles as derived by the scientific method. Just like the computer you are posting this on, just as the theory of evolution has been derived. I fully admit that I don’t know everything about the computer, yet I make my living off it (I’m a programmer by trade) and I know that it needs absolute precision to perform the billions of calculations it does a second. Yet it relies on the counter-intuitive science of quantum mechanics in order to work. This precision, this complexity, only possible by our understanding of the laws of science. You want to call it faith? fine. I call it what works, and I can demonstrate that these laws of nature continue to work through evidential and logical means. What do you have Godboy?

  203. says

    But, be that as it may, Jesus fulfilled the law and today we are free from all those laws. The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And to love our neighbor as ourself.

    And what does that have to do with us being related to the chimpanzee?

  204. John Morales says

    Jim M:

    Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we only were able to love each other!!!

    Yeah, John Lennon urged us to.
    Then someone murdered him.

  205. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    I think you misunderstand the reason for certain laws, namely the ceremonial laws, that were given to the Jews in the OT. They are not meant for you and me to follow. There were some laws that were not necessarily moral issues, but were given for the purpose of setting them apart from the surrounding nations so it would be clear that they were set apart by God.

    So, according to this logic, homosexuality is not a sin. I am so relieved.

    Or, god needed Jews to dress different then others in order to stand out. Following a different religion was not enough?

    Methinks you are playing the pick and choose game with your holy book.

  206. Jim M says

    Because if you are not perfect, you are doomed.

    KG: Right. Because God is cruel.

    JIM M: No you misunderstand God. Because God is holy and hates sin. And because God is just, He must judge sin in order not to violate His own character.

    +++

    But that is why Jesus came. Cause he paid our debt. And he paid it for ALL of us!

    KG: If it’s truly “paid for ALL”, then I don’t have to do anything.

    Jim M: Yes and No. He tells us that Jesus’ righteousness is given to us only when we believe. Here is an illustration. Let’s say you are eating at a restaurant and have eaten some really expensive stuff. You ate the food so of course, you are responsible to pay for it. But the manager makes an announcement that there are coupons for a free meal provided by someone. He has offered to pay the bill. The money is already in an account ready to be accessed if it is needed. You have a choice. Will you believe the manager, take the coupon, and use it to pay your bill or will you struggle to pay your own bill? Jesus has the money to pay for your bill in an account ready to be accessed. If you believe and turn in the coupon, that money will take care of your bill. If not, you will be responsible for that bill yourself. Fair enough, wouldn’t you say? You don’t deserve to have your bill paid to begin with. It is simply a gift of God’s grace.

    +++

    And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell.

    KG: If God doesn’t want us to go to hell, God won’t send us to hell.

    JIM M. No, again you misunderstand. God is just and MUST punish sin. Not to do so would be wrong and God cannot sin. He is bound by His own nature to punish sin. He can’t simply ignore our sin. And like the previous poster said, it is BECAUSE He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him for eternity, because He loves you, that He made it possible to have YOUR bill paid.

    +++

    KG: And God could not possibly have “died” for real. Jesus had a bad weekend, then was alive again.

    JIM M: Jesus was literally man and God and He experienced physical death like you and I. Why does the fact that He came back to life 3 days later invalidate His death? He conquered death and because He did, we too have that same hope.

    +++

    KG: Calvinists would say that God regenerated you. Well, until God regenerates us, we are doomed to unbelief — and thus, doomed to hell. Because God damns and saves according to his whim.

    Jim M: If Calvinism is true, then yes, God decides. But you don’t know if you are chosen or not. He still says “Whosever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Regeneration is not just something that happens all of a sudden. If you do not seek to know the truth and respond to the light He has given you so far, that will never happen.

    And I could add that God is not responsible to save anybody when it comes down to it. If we sinned, we all deserve whatever punishment is required. Rebellion against the Lord of the Universe is a serious sin. Like it or not, God says that the penalty for sin is death. God could rightly just send us all to hell. The fact that any of us are saved is simply due to His grace and goodness. Calvinism is not the only theology in Christendom, but if it is true, I would have trouble accepting it as an unbeliever, so I hear what you are saying. We finite humans will never be able to fully understand an infinite and holy God and His ways.

    +++

    If this is something you secretly want – you can pray for it.

    KG: Right. Because I secretly want to believe that God will torture me forever and ever unless I pray to him.

    JIM M: No, because you want to know the truth. The truth is not always what we want it to be. I would assume that if you were convinced that this is true, you would believe rather than consciously choose eternal separation from God. Look, we are finite and cannot completely understand God, but He promises to reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

    +++

    Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try.

    KG: “Dear God, please bring your fan club to their senses. Thanks, an atheist.”

    JIM M: Now that was silly!

  207. Twin-Skies says

    The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And to love our neighbor as ourself.

    Last I checked, the second verse is an OT teaching. Don’t you mean “Love one another as I have loved you”?

    As for this line:

    “In 5 minutes you are going to be dead anyway. Our life is much less than 5 minutes when we compare it to eternity. What difference does it make in the grand scheme of things if we go down hugging or mugging?”

    If I lived my life making a positive difference to the people around me, what is there to regret. Either that, or I’d be busy finding a way to fight off the hypothermia and sharks.

  208. Feynmaniac says

    Yeah, John Lennon urged us to.
    Then someone murdered him.

    Isn’t it pitiful that the people who urge love and condemn violence (e.g, Lennon, Martin Luther King, Ghandi) frequently get murdered?

  209. says

    Please stop preaching Jim M, no-one here gives a shit whether you can reconcile cruelty in this world with a loving god. Rather the topic on hand is intelligent design, so demonstrate that ID should be considered a science or please go away.

  210. Twin-Skies says

    @Feynmaniac

    Ironically, Ghandi’s willingness to be beaten/arrested by the police has proven to me he’s got a bigger set of balls than the likes that Robertson, Falwell, Limbaugh, or any other right wingnut will ever have in their lifetime.

  211. «bønez_brigade» says

    Nat [#1226],

    Yes, teach all sides of the issue!

    ——-

    Jim M. [#1231],

    Epic Idiot]

    ——-

    And, wow, how thoughtful of Jim to dedicate an entire comment to me.
    Jim [#1241],

    Relax! You are NOT breaking the law by not wearing that stuff!

    No. I am wearing that stuff!

    Now, I do admit that there were some moral laws too that were in effect for the Israelites back then that seem hard to understand. Many of these are applications of moral principles to specific situations and it is hard for us to fully understand them since we were not living back then.

    Oh, yes, but of course (never heard than shi-, err, line before)…

    The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

    meh. Spare me.

  212. says

    I’ve asked many times in this thread one simple question “why should ID be considered science?” And with that I gave two ways to empirically demonstrate ID. In the hundreds of posts that have followed, not a single person has even tried to answer those questions. Instead it’s been complains about evolution and proselytising of Jesus. Why can’t ID be demonstrated to be a science when that is at the very core of the rift that exists between science and the ID community. Show that your idea is scientific, demonstrate either how a designer has interacted in the past or devise a test to catch the designer at play. Otherwise, it’s not science and there is no reason we should be having this conversation.

    Evolution does not imply atheism any more than heliocentric orbit or plate tectonics. This isn’t a debate of whether god exists or not, as there are many theists who accept evolution. Rather it’s a debate whether ID is scientific, and so far not a single person in 1254 posts has demonstrated that ID is scientific. Indeed, it’s been demonstrated time and time again that ID is a religious endeavour by the tight coupling between the idea and giving oneself to Jesus. 1254 posts and not a single person has shown ID as science – way to miss the point IDiots.

  213. SEF says

    ComicSans & quote-spacing fail

    Perhaps you’re better off simply leaving the Comic Sans be. However, the vaguaries of blockquote spacing are a local “feature” with which everyone is afflicted (along with the bug of it breaking between consecutive blocks of text).

    As for the latest creationist moron to claim thermodynamics is against evolution, all they’re doing by flaunting their ignorance that way is demonstrating that they effectively flunked all science and not merely biology. They always remind me of what’s possibly the “best” FSTDT ever, for its epic level of fail!

  214. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    A creationist, recognizing the superiority of a scientific law over a scientific theory, might propose that something could not come from nothing

    Nat, please explain how a scientific law is “superior” to a scientific theory.

    You do realize that they are different things that do different jobs, right?

  215. Josh says

    JimM,

    1. How do you know that the designer is your god and not, say, I don’t know, Odin?

    2. How do you falsify your god?

    3. How does ID explain the Ozark cave fish better than the explanation provided by the ToE?

  216. says

    A creationist, recognizing the superiority of a scientific law over a scientific theory, might propose that something could not come from nothing

    Of course the same question could be posed to a creationist – why is there a god rather than a not-god? To which a creationist would reply “God always existed, God is the uncaused cause.” From which there is an establishment of an idea of eternity in which case an atheist might shoot back “who says that the energy that has built to form the universe isn’t eternal? After all, energy cannot be created or destroyed.”

    No matter what attribution is given to God, the same could be said for what lies beyond our current understanding. And yet it’s is that very notion that the dishonesty of creationism comes out. Why is there something rather than nothing? If you can’t answer it means God created us 6000 years ago out of dirt; regardless of what the fossil record, genetics and morphology demonstrate. Even if we don’t know why there’s something rather than nothing, it doesn’t follow that all of what we do know can be thrown out for the sake of putting God in that gap. Evolution happened, and as soon as theists start accepting this fact then there might be some better arguments for theism. But while they persist in pushing their myth, they make for an easy dichotomy to choose between.

  217. 'Tis Himself says

    JIM M.: And if we just believe this, that GOD (yep – that mean old guy), that GOD died on a cross so we would not have to go to hell! Wow! He loves us that much that he DOES NOT want us to go to hell.

    KG: If God doesn’t want us to go to hell, God won’t send us to hell.

    JIM M. No, again you misunderstand. God is just and MUST punish sin. Not to do so would be wrong and God cannot sin. He is bound by His own nature to punish sin. He can’t simply ignore our sin. And like the previous poster said, it is BECAUSE He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him for eternity, because He loves you, that He made it possible to have YOUR bill paid.

    Let me see if I have this straight. 6000 or so years ago two people sinned* so 4000 years later a guy had to die in a painful way so 2000 years after that I’m free of the 6000 year old sin. That makes perfect sense…if you’re stupid.

    If god was a loving, all good, omniscent god then it would have waved its paw and made things all better without a human sacrifice. Seems like this omniscient god couldn’t figure out how to do it the easy way.

    *The sin was seeking knowledge. Interesting that god is anti-knowledge. Shows how some things don’t change.

  218. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    I see we had another idiot godbot overnight. Can’t show evidence for his imaginary god, can’t explain ID, just preached. What a twit. Jim M, either show us some physical evidence for your imaginary god, like an eternally burning bush, or shut up.

  219. AnthonyK says

    I should clarify something. I prefer to say that I need God rather than I need religion

    Wow! html formatting! So cool!
    From this experiment I conclude that SEF, David Marjanović, OM, Rev Big Dumb chimp and I exist! Evidential proof! Or is that banal “argumentum ad stylum”?

    No, but Wank3R, or whoever you are, we prefer to say that you need reality rather than you need religion.

    Nat (Sweet crucified Myers, was that ever a wasted education) – don’t lie. You never came to the conclusion that evolution was false (whatever that means) through a process a doubt, study, and confirmation.
    At the very least a religious fuckwit once told you that the genome makes the baby Jesus cry, and you took a religious and theological decision to go with your ideology. You fool. Why would scientists – supremely practical people – waste their time on a useless lie? Once again, would you, as an accountant, be annoyed at people who denied double-entry bookkeeping even though they couldn’t count past 9?
    I always wonder about the extent to which reality-denying, proselyting christianists like yourself actually lie. To what extent are people with religious mania truly mendacious?
    You have reached a theological viewpoint about the nature of science. It is incorrect. Are you denying that it was your religion which gave you the reasons to doubt science? Because it sure as hell wasn’t the actual evidence.

  220. says

    I’ve asked many times in this thread one simple question “why should ID be considered science?” And with that I gave two ways to empirically demonstrate ID. In the hundreds of posts that have followed, not a single person has even tried to answer those questions. Instead it’s been complains about evolution and proselytising of Jesus. Why can’t ID be demonstrated to be a science when that is at the very core of the rift that exists between science and the ID community. Show that your idea is scientific, demonstrate either how a designer has interacted in the past or devise a test to catch the designer at play. Otherwise, it’s not science and there is no reason we should be having this conversation.

    I’m surprised, Kel, that you don’t know, by now that all evolution-deniers are uninterested in science, whether doing, explaining, or especially God forbid, learning about it. In fact, this gross disinterest borders on virulent and pathological fear.

  221. says

    I’m surprised, Kel, that you don’t know, by now that all evolution-deniers are uninterested in science, whether doing, explaining, or especially God forbid, learning about it.

    I know it, and everything that’s happened in this thread has evidentially supported that notion. What’s important is that those advocating ID are not given free-reign without answering the fundamental question that underlies this whole fucking debate.

    If ID advocates want to know why scientists won’t debate them, here’s why: YOU DON’T EVER TALK SCIENCE!

  222. says

    If ID advocates want to know why scientists won’t debate them, here’s why: YOU DON’T EVER TALK SCIENCE!

    What are you trying to do? Break their hearts?

  223. Iain Walker says

    Nat (#1226):

    Remember that all the Fathers of the different disciplines of science (Newton, Farraday, Maxwell, Kepler, Agassi, Pasteur, etc). were all creationists when evolution was being promoted.

    Newton and Kepler lived well before evolution was formulated as a scientific theory, let alone “promoted”. This makes as much sense as me claiming that Christianity is suspect because Plato and Alexander the Great weren’t Christians – i.e., it’s not just an appeal to authority, it’s an appeal to a mind-bogglingly irrelevant authority.

    Pasteur was not a creationist. He accepted evolution in broad terms, although like a lot of French scientists at the time, he had reservations about natural selection as a mechanism. Pasteur was also a strong advocate of keeping science and religion separate.

    Maxwell, although he strongly believed in a creator deity, also accepted evolution as scientifically plausible. Claims in the creationist literature that he rejected evolution are usually based on quote-mining his article “Molecules” (Nature, September 1873), in which he rejects evolution as an explanation for the diversity of molecules.

    That leaves us with Faraday and Agassiz. Faraday may have been a creationist for all I know – I can’t find any readily available references to his views on evolution for or against. It wouldn’t surprise me though – he did belong to an unusually strict fundamentalist sect. Agassiz was a creationist – an old earth creationist whose work in geology helped undermine many of the tenets of young earth creationism.

    So, a possible 2 out of 6. Which demonstrates … absolutely nothing. Science doesn’t work on appeals to past authorities.

    A creationist, recognizing the superiority of a scientific law over a scientific theory

    Which shows that the creationist understands nothing about science. A law is a description of a regularity in nature (often formulated mathematically). A theory is an explanation of a variety of such regularities. Neither ranks higher than the other in the scientific scheme of things (although if anything, theories are more important because they do more work). Both are testable, both are potentially subject to disproof. Both can be overwhelmingly supported by evidence so that they can be considered as certain as anything ever gets in science.

    You must not be looking at the data base I recommended if you think it is small. It is the largest on creation science in the world.

    I didn’t say the database was small. I said the “facts part” (as you put it) was small – i.e., that it had negligible factual content. Try reading for comprehension next time.

    Why don’t you really take a look at AnswersInGenesis.org, ICR.org, or Evolution-Facts.com.

    Because every time I have done so in the past I have found demonstrable falsehoods, half-truths and distortions strung together by non sequiturs, and after a while the all-enveloping aura of willful ignorance and dishonesty begins to pall. If you have a specific claim and a specific reference to a specific page, then I’ll have a look, though.

    There is no harm in being open-minded and checking the facts.

    Indeed. Pity you can’t follow your own advice.

  224. Iain Walker says

    Jim M (#1231):

    You have facts that you interpret as evidence for your faith. We all look at the same facts and interpret them differently. Our respective worldviews color how we look at and interpret the evidence.

    OK, so you have a somewhat shaky grasp of the concept of “evidence”. For something to count as evidence, it has to be directly relevant to the predictions (i.e., the derivable consequences) of the idea being tested. Or as Darwin put it: “How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view, if it is to be of any service!”

    This means that if a hypothesis H predicts that we would expect to observe O, and we do in fact observe O, then this is evidence for H. Similarly, if we observe that O is not the case, then this is evidence against H. But if O and not-O are both possible, given H, then our observation of O is neither evidence for or against H – it is consistent with H, but trivially so.

    This is what creationists never seem to get – evidence is more than just trivial consistency between theory and observation. Evidence is when the specific expectations of a theory are confirmed or disconfirmed by observation. And this is where creationism falls down. Evolution is supported by many independent lines of observation which confirm the expectations of the theory, and which had they been different, would have helped serve to disconfirm it. Creationism is consistent with many observations (or can be made so with a certain degree of ad hoc special pleading), but would have been just as consistent with their opposites (again with the appropriate amount of judicious ad hoc-ery). But it makes very, very few concrete predictions that can be tested, and which would consequently count as evidence. And when testable predictions are derivable from creationism (e.g., when one thinks through the observable consequences of the YEC’s global flood), those predictions are more often than not contradicted by observation (e.g., the presence of terrestial surface features such as cracked mud or animal tracks scattered throughout the geological column, in strata which were supposedly all laid down in a single brief period of water-born deposition).

    So when scientists interpret observations as evidence, it is because they are applying a method whereby observations can be demonstrated to count as evidence. Creationists, conducting their cargo-cult pseudo-science, are merely amassing trivial consistencies (and ignoring anything else) and then calling it “evidence”.

    the exquisite intricate mind-blowing design we see in nature

    Please point some out, then. I see plenty of order, complexity and functionality in nature, but I don’t see any obvious hallmarks of any of it having been designed, other than those bits that we independently know to have been shaped by human intervention.

    Not only do I honestly believe the evidence points that way, on top of that, it makes life so much more meaningful!

    Since meaning is something that we are quite capable of creating for ourselves (both individually and communally), I fail to see how it would make any difference whether the universe was created by an intelligent designer or not. Your implication that believing it makes your life more meaningful to you suggests either an authoritarian personality or a large degree of intellectual and moral laziness.

  225. Iain Walker says

    Jim M (#1237):

    How do you know your definition is right?

    Whatever one’s definition of morality is, one can check it against the common usage of the term, to see if it captures what people generally mean when they use the term “morality”. Your own prefered definition, in terms of the commandments of a deity, seems to fail this test.

    This is a general point – definitions are not right or wrong in any absolute sense. They are conventions of usage, nothing more.

    What does it matter if you don’t live up to your arbitrary standards?

    It would matter to me, otherwise they wouldn’t be my standards. And it presumably also matters to the other people I interact with.

    When you are dead and gone, what difference will it have made if you lived a “moral” life according to your own standards or an “immoral” life? In other words, why in the world does it actually matter how you live your life?

    It will have made a difference to the way I behaved, and the way my behaviour affected other people (and my social and physical environment more generally). It will have mattered to me, and it will have mattered to the people I came into contact with. And if you have to ask why that matters, then I can only reply that that is all that matters.

    As Tim Minear once put it in one of his Angel scripts: “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do”

    Let’s say you are on the Titanic and it is going down. You know you are going to drown. What difference does it make if you go down hugging someone or mugging someone?

    It seems rather typical of a dilemma posited by a Christian preacher that this choice leaves out a number of other possible courses of action, such as “helping other people into the lifeboats”. But if those are the only alternative in this unrealistically limited hypothetical situation, then I’ll go for hugging. A reciprocal act of human kindness, warmth and contact versus a potentially painful confrontation from which neither I nor anyone else gain anything? No contest. And what difference does it make? It makes a different to me and a difference to them, during that last five minutes. That isn’t enough for you? What a morally stunted person you are.

  226. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    Iain, you know when you are a geek when not only are you quoting Angel, you are quoting one of the executive producers and writers of the show. Could you quote from Wonderfalls next?

    Just so you know, this is coming from a person who recognizes most of the behind the scenes names of Dollhouse.

  227. David Marjanović, OM says

    Agassiz was a creationist – an old earth creationist whose work in geology helped undermine many of the tenets of young earth creationism.
    So, a possible 2 out of 6. Which demonstrates … absolutely nothing. Science doesn’t work on appeals to past authorities.

    Or present or future authorities. :-)

    BTW, Agassiz’s creationism was pretty hard to distinguish from evolution. For example, he believed that God had used the “sauromorph fishes” of the Devonian as models when he created the limbed vertebrates of the Carboniferous. Sarcastic personalities might claim that his kind of creationism was carefully designed to be indistinguishable from evolution in the fossil record… I think he used special pleading to convince himself that he could still believe in special creation.

    When he and Sir Richard Owen (who had similar ideas about divine blueprints) died in the 1870s, there were no more biologists left who were (even marginally) creationists, AFAIK.

    on top of that, it makes life so much more meaningful!

    The argument from consequences is a logical fallacy.

    BTW, you should learn the blockquote tag. Here goes: writing

    <blockquote>quoted text here</blockquote>

    results in

    quoted text here

    . You can also nest blockquotes within each other. That would make your comments a lot more readable. Oh, and please stop putting two empty lines between your paragraphs; that tears your text apart and makes it harder to read.

  228. David Marjanović, OM says

    died in the 1870s

    Also, Darwin’s book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex only came out in 1871, and sexual selection explains practically everything that mutation and natural selection alone can’t; so, who knows, maybe they’d have been convinced had they lived longer. But this is idle speculation. Again, the argument from authority is a logical fallacy.

  229. Iain Walker says

    Janine, Knowledgeable Fellow-Geek (#1270):

    Iain, you know when you are a geek when not only are you quoting Angel, you are quoting one of the executive producers and writers of the show.

    Well, I think of it as crediting the actual author – just as when one quotes the biblical character Jesus, one should actually be saying “as Luke puts it …”

    Could you quote from Wonderfalls next?

    Probably not – I had to Google it to find out what it even was. I don’t think it ever made it onto UK television. The Wikipedia page makes it sound … kind of twee.

  230. Iain Walker says

    David Marjanović (#1271):

    BTW, Agassiz’s creationism was pretty hard to distinguish from evolution. For example, he believed that God had used the “sauromorph fishes” of the Devonian as models when he created the limbed vertebrates of the Carboniferous. Sarcastic personalities might claim that his kind of creationism was carefully designed to be indistinguishable from evolution in the fossil record… I think he used special pleading to convince himself that he could still believe in special creation.

    Indeed. Agassiz’s notion was that the succession of species reflected (or were manifestations of, in some vague neoplatonic fashion) a sequence of thoughts in the mind of God. The fossil record would then suggest that God is a somewhat scatter-brained individual who makes things up as he goes along and is forever going off on tangents, punctuated by “Where was I?” moments during mass extinctions. Not to mention that strange monomaniacal obsession with Lystrosauri after dozing off at the end of the Permian.

    I think Huxley had Owen in mind when he coined the aphorism “The first duty of a hypothesis is to be intelligible”, but it could just as well apply to Agassiz too.

  231. Owlmirror says

    [Re: Wonderfalls]

    The Wikipedia page makes it sound … kind of twee.

    It was a bit darker and edgier than that, I think. But it was decidedly weird.

    Not to mention that strange monomaniacal obsession with Lystrosauri after dozing off at the end of the Permian.

    LOL.

    And don’t forget the beetles. What is it with God and all those beetles?

  232. Bobber says

    Iain Walker at #1269:

    As Tim Minear once put it in one of his Angel scripts

    In all the months I have been following the discussion on this blog, I never expected to hear a relative’s name mentioned. Tim is my wife’s cousin. She went out to visit him once and tripped and fell on the set of Angel… our only brush with Hollywood fame. Tim sent her home with the entire run of… what is it, Firefly?… on VHS. (Not my cup of tea.)

  233. Owlmirror says

    To everyone who finds this boring: I apologize, but I find the special pleading of religious exceptionalism interesting sometimes.

    Who knows, maybe PZ will be bored enough to roll his eyes and close the thread.

    Jim M @#1247… everything you attributed to “KG” was in fact written by me. Do you have trouble reading?

    I’m going to replace “KG” with “OM” when I quote, just to fix your error.

    Because if you are not perfect, you are doomed.

    OM: Right. Because God is cruel.

    JIM M: No you misunderstand God. Because God is holy and hates sin. And because God is just, He must judge sin in order not to violate His own character.

    God can judge sin all he wants. But the ones who sin are real people, that, according to you, he created. If God punishes all sinners equally, he is not just; if he punishes all sinners eternally, he is cruel. Therefore, I was correct: imperfect humans are damned because God is cruel.

    OM: If it’s truly “paid for ALL”, then I don’t have to do anything.

    Jim M: Yes and No. He tells us that Jesus’ righteousness is given to us only when we believe. Here is an illustration. Let’s say you are eating at a restaurant and have eaten some really expensive stuff. You ate the food so of course, you are responsible to pay for it. But the manager makes an announcement that there are coupons for a free meal provided by someone. He has offered to pay the bill. The money is already in an account ready to be accessed if it is needed. You have a choice. Will you believe the manager, take the coupon, and use it to pay your bill or will you struggle to pay your own bill? Jesus has the money to pay for your bill in an account ready to be accessed. If you believe and turn in the coupon, that money will take care of your bill. If not, you will be responsible for that bill yourself. Fair enough, wouldn’t you say? You don’t deserve to have your bill paid to begin with. It is simply a gift of God’s grace.

    Your analogy fails because God created not only the restaurant and the food, but also the customers within and their need for food in the first place. So, actually, God does owe it to us to pay the bill. God chose to make us hungry!

    OM: If God doesn’t want us to go to hell, God won’t send us to hell.

    JIM M. No, again you misunderstand. God is just and MUST punish sin. Not to do so would be wrong and God cannot sin. He is bound by His own nature to punish sin. He can’t simply ignore our sin.

    Who the hell are you to tell God what he MUST do, pathetic mortal?

    And if God cannot not punish sin, then there is no such thing as salvation from damnation, and all of Christianity is a stinking pathetic lie.

    You can’t have it both ways: Either punishment is God’s free choice, to perform or not, OR God is some sort of giant monstrous clockwork automaton, damning everyone because no-one meets the standards of perfection, and God has no free will to change anything about what it does.

    Which is it?

    And like the previous poster said, it is BECAUSE He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him for eternity, because He loves you, that He made it possible to have YOUR bill paid.

    If God doesn’t want us to be separated from him, then he won’t do so. If God holds the debt, then God can forgive the debt. God’s free choice.

    OM: And God could not possibly have “died” for real. Jesus had a bad weekend, then was alive again.

    JIM M: Jesus was literally man and God and He experienced physical death like you and I. Why does the fact that He came back to life 3 days later invalidate His death?

    Because death, as defined for humans, is either temporary, or permanent.

    Temporary death — heart stopping on the operating table and then restarting; very low metabolism comas or seizures which are woken up from; etc — is understood to not be real death. Those who die temporarily are understood to have suffered a temporary metabolic lapse. They are not declared to be legally dead, forfeiting their property to their heirs; their friends, family, and co-workers do not speak of them in the past tense when they see them. They are understood to not be really dead.

    Permanent death means that the person is permanently gone from existence in this life. Breathing stops, heart stops, brain stops — permanently. Brain, heart, and breath never start up again. Decay begins.

    If Jesus had died permanently, we would not speak of the resurrection at all.

    Therefore, Jesus’ death was temporary — and therefore, was not a real death.

    Another reason Jesus’ death could not have been permanent is because if Jesus was God, and God is eternal, then God cannot ever die.

    He conquered death and because He did, we too have that same hope.

    No. We do not have the same hope. Christians are not immortals. They do not die and resurrect. Their bodies are put into the ground, and never rise again.

    Jim M: If Calvinism is true, then yes, God decides. But you don’t know if you are chosen or not. He still says “Whosever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Regeneration is not just something that happens all of a sudden.

    Um, that is exactly what regeneration is supposed to be.

    If you do not seek to know the truth and respond to the light He has given you so far, that will never happen.

    You’re telling God what he can and cannot do again…

    And I could add that God is not responsible to save anybody when it comes down to it.

    Sure, because God is not just cruel, but also irresponsible.

    If we sinned, we all deserve whatever punishment is required.

    I dunno, I don’t think the punishment from a cruel and irresponsible God can possibly be “deserved”.

    Rebellion against the Lord of the Universe is a serious sin.

    Why?

    There is absolutely nothing that weak, ignorant, mortal humans can possibly do to harm, or even affect, an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal God. Rebellion is utterly meaningless. If it were a sin, it would be the least serious sin.

    Like it or not, God says that the penalty for sin is death. God could rightly just send us all to hell.

    Because God is cruel.

    The fact that any of us are saved is simply due to His grace and goodness.

    Then God is not cruel, and none of us need fear eternal damnation — regardless of whether we believe or not.

    We finite humans will never be able to fully understand an infinite and holy God and His ways.

    Since we are indeed finite, the only way that we can understand God is in view of our own finiteness.

    If God exists, and understands that humans are finite, then if God judges us by his own infinite standards, then God is cruel.

    If God understands that humans are finite, then God can only avoid being cruel by judging us with a standard that takes into account our finiteness.

    OM: Right. Because I secretly want to believe that God will torture me forever and ever unless I pray to him.

    JIM M: No, because you want to know the truth.

    Actually, I do want to know the truth. But all of God’s believers demonstrate that they do not have truth: those who have prayed have reached contradictory positions on what truth is; indeed, they not only contradict each other, they all too often contradict themselves, just as you have done.

    Therefore, if I want truth, I am safe in not praying. I am better off not believing in anything to be true outside of what can be discovered in the natural, physical world; I am better off defining morality as that which affects real people in the real world.

    The truth is not always what we want it to be.

    You ought to take those words to your own heart, rather than throwing them at me.

    I would assume that if you were convinced that this is true, you would believe rather than consciously choose eternal separation from God.

    Actually, that would depend on whether God actually is infinitely cruel, or is actually just and merciful.

    I would not want to spend eternity with a cruel tyrant. Would you?

    Look, we are finite and cannot completely understand God, but He promises to reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

    The promise is false, as demonstrated by thousands of years of religious wars and contradictory dogmas.

    Even if you think it is silly to pray, just try.
    OM: “Dear God, please bring your fan club to their senses. Thanks, an atheist.”

    JIM M: Now that was silly!

    Of course. But it was no sillier than believing that God sacrificed himself to himself so as to save his creation from himself… And at least I was being silly on purpose.

  234. SEF says

    I don’t think it ever made it onto UK television.

    It [Wonderfalls] did (though possibly not on one of the proper terrestrial broadcast channels, since I did have access to just a few UK cable channels back then).

  235. Nat says

    Dear Kel,
    Evolution is not at all the only theory which fits the evidence. Give me an example of scientific evidence which you think fits evolution and I’ll show you how it actually doesn’t and in fact better fits creation. The theory of evolution came about long before the 1850’s or Darwin’s grandfather and can be traced back to Plato and the Greeks. Since the beginning of mankind, there have only been two explanations: life created itself (evolution) or it was created (creation). As time went by, scientists were able to find ever more supporting evidence for creation but none for evolution. Darwin’s finches evolved into…finches. The peppered moths evolved into peppered moths. Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils and the fossils by the rocks. And according to the Gould, lead evolutionist at Harvard, the missing links are still missing (because they never existed), so he ‘borrowed’ Goldschmidt’s ‘Hopeful Monster Theory’ for his ‘Punctuated Equilibrium.’ In conclusion, you asked what the Designer did, but you know better than to ask an historical question when IDers only deal with scientific questions.
    Dear Clintus,
    Your name-calling excludes you from further dialogue. Act like a scientist.
    Dear John,
    You mentioned again a generic ‘mountain of evidence’ yet you haven’t responded with one example. Do give me your best one.
    Dear Owlmirror,
    Contrary to your claim, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is completely relevant to evolution. Evolution has to start with something which then becomes concentrated and condensed for there to be a Big Bang, but this Law prohibits evolution from fabricating it. You also don’t seem to have thought through the various applications of the 2nd Law to real life. There is a principle, a Law, which says that things left on their own naturally wear out, even if for a while their design enables them to become more complex only by harnessing other-wise destructive, raw energy (a metabolism or photosynthesis) to modify material (food/physical resources) according to a blueprint (DNA/RNA). Everything dies or melts in the end. Therefore extinctions make sense but not the creation of new creatures (beyond cross-breeding within the same kinds).
    You mentioned the human chromosome 2 synteny. Do tell me how you see that as proof for evolution. For any significant change, new information has to be added. Turning one kind of creature into a different kind takes more than shuffling, mutating, or destroying the same old genes. In answer to your last question, innumerable facts in all the different scientific disciplines lead me over a period of years to become a creationists after decades as an evolutionist. Why not actually take a look at ICR.org, AnswersInGenesis.org, or Evolution-Facts.com? If you are not willing to, and since I can’t argue a person out of something he didn’t reason himself into, then you too would then be out of the conversation.
    Dear Josh,
    Good question. Generally a law is a description of a regularity in nature and a theory is an explanation of that regularity. Maybe a simpler way to look at it is that a theory is a cause-effect relationship which has not yet been proven whereas a law is a cause-effect relationship which has never been disproven (for example, ‘living things only come from living things’). That’s why evolution is a theory and creation is a law.
    Dear Iain,
    You write that Newton and Kepler lived before evolution was formulated as a theory. The trouble is that, by definition, a scientific theory also has to be falsifiable. Evolution has never been formulated in this fashion. Pasteur was a creationist because he believed that his god created everything. In fact, his experiments helped prove that life can only come from life, contrary to the tenants of evolution. Maxwell may have thought aspects of ‘evolution’ plausible, but he believed a creator created the heavens and the earth. Those facts are historically documented. Let’s get back to science. You claimed and claim again that evolution is overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence. I’ve already invited you to give me the best evidence you are aware of. I hope you’ll do so. And if you think the web sites I recommended are half-truths, distortions, and demonstrable falsehoods, wouldn’t it be pretty easy to please pick just one of all those examples and demonstrate its falsehood? Talk is cheap but my time isn’t; if I have to make this offer a third time, you are out of the conversation.
    Dear David,
    Did you really mean to say, ‘When Agassiz and Owen died in 1870 no more biologists were creationists’? There were thousands through the remainder of that century and there are thousands more with PhDs in this one. You make it easy to prove you wrong by simply naming one, for example: Dr. Andrew Bosanquet is a biologist (and a microbiologist) as is Dr. Ken Cumming, and Dr. Dudley Eirich, etc., etc. If biochemists count for half-credit, perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Duane Gish.
    Talk science to me. I’ve not time for philosophy, history, or name-calling.
    Because Truth matters,
    Nat

  236. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Nat, you are a liar and bullshitter. Show me how a 4.3 billion year old piece of granite fits into creationism. Until you show some evidence of your own, you have nothing.

  237. says

    Evolution is not at all the only theory which fits the evidence. Give me an example of scientific evidence which you think fits evolution and I’ll show you how it actually doesn’t and in fact better fits creation.

    A short list:

    • Human Chromosome #2, and identical ERV-K markers in both the human and chimpanzee chromosome.
    • Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx
    • inactive genes
    • vestigial organs such as the wings on a kiwi bird
    • The lack of land mammals on islands
    • nylon-eating bacteria

    The theory of evolution came about long before the 1850’s or Darwin’s grandfather and can be traced back to Plato and the Greeks.

    Yes, of course. But it was Darwin who provided a viable mechanism for which to work – natural selection. Since then, the theory has undergone modification as more evidence has come to light.

    Since the beginning of mankind, there have only been two explanations: life created itself (evolution) or it was created (creation). As time went by, scientists were able to find ever more supporting evidence for creation but none for evolution.

    Evidence for creation?

    Darwin’s finches evolved into…finches. The peppered moths evolved into peppered moths. Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils and the fossils by the rocks. And according to the Gould, lead evolutionist at Harvard, the missing links are still missing (because they never existed), so he ‘borrowed’ Goldschmidt’s ‘Hopeful Monster Theory’ for his ‘Punctuated Equilibrium.’

    Missing links is such an outdated term, we’ve found plenty of transitional fossils and they sit in a progressive order in the fossil record. Are you going to dispute the fossil findings of evolution to whales?

    In conclusion, you asked what the Designer did, but you know better than to ask an historical question when IDers only deal with scientific questions.

    It’s an important question. You are saying creationism fits better so surely you can set some falsifiable criteria that would show otherwise. You can’t get away from answering these criteria if you want to show that ID (or in your case creationism) is scientific. Science demands to know the how, and no-one here has demonstrated how ID works. By contrast we know and can demonstrate the mechanisms behind evolution – descent with heritable modification leading to adaptation through natural selection. We can show the role of genetic drift, of horizontal and vertical gene transfer. And even show multiple ways that barriers stop vertical gene transfer between populations. Evolution has made predictions about what to find in the fossil record that have been validated, and the same goes for the genetic code.

    Every step along the way for the past 150 years, evolution has not been falsified yet has been validated time and time again. What does creation have? What is your great evidence for creation? Because it seems to me that you are under the illusion that if you disprove evolution then you’ve proven creation. And that’s not how science works.

    So dear Nat, please show evidence of a designer in action, or place criteria down that will explain future findings in biology better than the current theory that permeates today. Otherwise why is your view in the least bit scientific?

  238. John Morales says

    Nat:

    Dear John,
    You mentioned again a generic ‘mountain of evidence’ yet you haven’t responded with one example. Do give me your best one.

    Don’t need a “best one”, only Google.
    <clickety-clack>
    Here’s a hit:
    From PBS: How We Know
    1. Is there evidence for evolution?
    In the 150 years since Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection, a mountain of evidence has accumulated to support the theory. A greatly expanded fossil record since Darwin’s time, the discovery of DNA and the process of genetic replication, an understanding of radioactive decay, observations of natural selection in the wild and in laboratories, and evidence in the genomes of many different organisms, including humans, have all bolstered the validity of the theory of evolution.
    Learn More
    Evidence for Evolution

  239. Josh says

    Hi Nat,

    You wrote:

    Maybe a simpler way to look at it is that a theory is a cause-effect relationship which has not yet been proven whereas a law is a cause-effect relationship which has never been disproven (for example, ‘living things only come from living things’).

    Those are interesting definitions, but we already have definitions for theory and law in science (which you correctly identified in your comment). Those definitions work fine. Oh, and keep in mind that science doesn’t prove things in the sense that our “proof” can never be guaranteed true with a capital T. That’s just not how science works (and we don’t CLAIM that we ever identify TRUTH). The word prove just shouldn’t be used here.

    You also wrote (not to me, but I’d like to reply anyway):

    Give me an example of scientific evidence which you think fits evolution and I’ll show you how it actually doesn’t and in fact better fits creation.

    How does creation explain the Ozark cave fish better than evolution does? The Ozark cave fish, Amblyopsis rosae, lives its life in the dark in cave streams and ponds. It is blind, but instead of not having eyes, it has eyes that do not function. Evolution has an explaination for this observation which is congruent with the theory and the available evidence. How does creation explain this fish? Why would a designer bother to give a blind fish eyes that don’t work? Why not just not give it eyes at all?

  240. 'Tis Himself says

    Josh, that’s not fair. You’re asking a creationist to answer a real world question. You know that if it isn’t in the Babble, it doesn’t count.

  241. Josh says

    Missing links is such an outdated term, we’ve found plenty of transitional fossils and they sit in a progressive order in the fossil record.

    We don’t look for transitional fossils. All fossils are transitional–that’s the point. We search for clear transitional features that help to point in which direction the transition was “headed.”

  242. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Oh, and Nat, if you are going to say “goddidit”, you need to show physical evidence for god that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine origin. Until you do that, you can’t use “goddidit”. Welcome to science.

  243. Josh says

    Josh, that’s not fair. You’re asking a creationist to answer a real world question.

    *nods in sad agreement*

  244. John Morales says

    Josh,

    Oh, and keep in mind that science doesn’t prove things in the sense that our “proof” can never be guaranteed true with a capital T. That’s just not how science works (and we don’t CLAIM that we ever identify TRUTH). The word prove just shouldn’t be used here.

    And to reinforce that point, I note in the PBS article I linked above it says “[fields of endeavour] … have all bolstered the validity of the theory of evolution” – ‘bolstered’, not ‘proven’.

    In science, theories are considered tentative and potentially subject to revision. It’s utterly unlike dogma.

  245. Josh says

    In science, theories are considered tentative and potentially subject to revision. It’s utterly unlike dogma.

    What John wrote, in spades. The only way I would modifiy those two statements, John, is to add the word ALL in after “In science,…” (you know, just to drive the point a little bit more home)

  246. bastion of sass says

    At #1234 Kel wrote:

    Do you honestly think the faith we have in an airplane is the same as the faith we have in God?

    I’ve noted that creationists, IDers, and other religionuts often employ the equivocation fallacy in their arguments.

    They use a word–usually “faith,” “worship,” “belief”, “religion”–that has more than one definition, and then switch between two or more meanings of that single word in their argument, but argue as if they were using only one meaning–the one that applies to their convictions.

  247. «bønez_brigade» says

    @ Nat [#1279],

    “That’s why evolution is a theory and creation is a law.”

    I agree, the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s creation tale is definitely The Law!

    ———-

    @ SEF [#1257],
    Nay, I’ve seen the errors of my ways, and I hereby repent for my sin of a missing quote mark:

    ¡Praise Cheezus!

    ———-

    @ AnthonyK [#1263],
    I can has existence, too?

  248. Owlmirror says

    Contrary to your claim, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is completely relevant to evolution. Evolution has to start with something which then becomes concentrated and condensed for there to be a Big Bang, but this Law prohibits evolution from fabricating it.

    You misunderstand. Evolution is a scientific explanation about life on Earth. Regardless of what came before life, evolution most certainly applies to life, both immediately after the first living thing came about, and now.

    And of course, if this “Law” prevents “something” from coming about, it prevents God from creating “something” as well.

    You also don’t seem to have thought through the various applications of the 2nd Law to real life.

    Actually, it’s you who has not thought through the application of the 2nd Law to real life.

    If the 2nd Law really did act as you claim, then it would be impossible for life to exist, let alone arise. Obviously all life does exist, precisely because the 2nd Law does not prevent it; it is no great leap to infer the the 2nd Law cannot prevent life from arising, either.

    You mentioned the human chromosome 2 synteny. Do tell me how you see that as proof for evolution.

    No, no, no. I didn’t mention the human chromosome 2 synteny as “proof” of evolution. I asked for you to explain what it was, as proof of your claim that you knew all about evolution. I also asked what field you graduated in from Dartmouth, and which “facts” exactly led you to become a creationist.

    You have answered none of my questions. Obviously, you cannot read and understand simple English, let alone answer the questions written in simple English. You obviously know nothing at all about evolution. Did you even really graduate?

    I also asked for you to demonstrate your knowledge of absolute Truth by explaining which chapter of the bible was absolutely True, and which chapter was a lie. You have not done so, so I must assume that you cannot do so, and therefore you were lying when you claimed to have knowledge of absolute Truth.

    Tell me, doesn’t the bible say something about not bearing false witness?

    Talk science to me. I’ve not time for philosophy, history, or name-calling.

    And yet, when we talk science to you, you cannot respond to even the simplest questions!

    Because Truth matters,

    It is clear that Truth does not really matter to you. Oh, well.

  249. Iain Walker says

    Nat (#1279):

    And according to the Gould, lead evolutionist at Harvard, the missing links are still missing (because they never existed), so he ‘borrowed’ Goldschmidt’s ‘Hopeful Monster Theory’ for his ‘Punctuated Equilibrium.’

    Gould (and Eldridge) came up with PE to explain why species-to-species transitions were rare (note – rare is not the same as non-existent) in the fossil record. They both knew perectly well that transitional forms between higher taxa are much better known. And their solution was to propose that standard models of speciation could be applied to the fossil record – if species arise relatively quickly (e.g., over thousands of years of cumulative mutation and selection) in small groups reproductively isolated from the main parent population, then we would not expect to see very few species-to-species transitions to be preserved. This is not the same at all as Richard Goldschmidt’s “Hopeful Monster” theory, which postulated that new species arose by macro-mutation in a single generation (although Gould also thought that in the light of new discoveries in developmental genetics, that Goldschmidt – while wrong in the specifics – might have had a useful insight into a possible role for developmental mutations in speciation).

    So you’re nicked on two counts of misrepresentation here.

    Evolution has to start with something which then becomes concentrated and condensed for there to be a Big Bang, but this Law prohibits evolution from fabricating it.

    Wrong. Evolution starts with a population of self-replicating systems. Anything before that is outside the purview of the theory.

    a theory is a cause-effect relationship which has not yet been proven whereas a law is a cause-effect relationship which has never been disproven (for example, ‘living things only come from living things’). That’s why evolution is a theory and creation is a law.

    Nope, you still don’t get it. Both a theory and a law are “proven” in exactly the same way – by continuing to make successful predictions about observable phenomena and by not being disproven. And creation is not a law. It is not a description of regularities in phenomena or the causal relationships thereof; it is a purported explanation, and so falls into the same category as hypotheses and theories.

    Oh, and if you’re going to arbitrarily redefine scientific terminology to suit yourself, please try and be less inept about it. By your criterion “All missing children who have never been found are kidnapped by pixies” is a scientific law.

    You write that Newton and Kepler lived before evolution was formulated as a theory. The trouble is that, by definition, a scientific theory also has to be falsifiable. Evolution has never been formulated in this fashion.

    What an astounding non sequitur. The issue was whether the creationist beliefs of Newton and Kepler had any relevance to the merits of evolution. But even if your argument from authority was remotely valid, the fact that both of them lived before evolution was presented in an scientific form means that, their opinions cannot be relevant, since they had no more opportunity to evaluate the idea seriously than Plato could have evaluated the claims of the New Testament.

    And evolution not falsifiable? I can think of any number of ways it could be falsified: 1) if living organisms didn’t fall into a nested taxonomic hierarchy; 2) if there were no non-functional homologies (e.g., the Vitamin C pseudo-gene in humans and other apes); 3) if the fossil record didn’t show a succession of faunas and floras, but instead a given taxon could be found anywhere in the geological column (e.g., “fossil rabbits in the Cambrian”), or if the fossil record showed predictable cycles of faunal replacement (e.g., dinosaurs – primitive amphibians – mammals – dinosaurs – primitive amphibians – mammals); and so on.

    Talkorigins provides a quite detailed discussion of potential falsifications of evolution. If you think that these aren’t potential falsifications of evolution, then perhaps you can explain why evolution does not make these predictions, or why the negation of these predictions would be just as compatible with the theory.

    Pasteur was a creationist because he believed that his god created everything. In fact, his experiments helped prove that life can only come from life, contrary to the tenants of evolution.

    I see the goalposts have shifted dramatically, so that now anyone who believes in an ultimate creator deity can be counted a creationist, even if they accept evolution. On that criterion, Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, Richard Harries and all other Christian opponents of creationism are creationists. Pasteur and Maxwell were not creationists in the same sense that you are – in modern terms they would be theistic evolutionists, in contra-distinction to creationists.

    And what Pasteur’s experiments provided strong evidence for (not “proved”) was that living things do not arise spontaneously from non-living materials over short timescales and in the chemical environment of modern-day earth. That falls considerably short of demonstrating that “that life can only come from life” as a universal rule. His experiments tell against the specific hypothesis of spontaneous generation, not against abiogenesis in general.

    Nor, strictly speaking, is abiogenesis a tenet (not “tenant”) of evolution. The theory of evolution deals with how organisms develop from previous organisms, and would be just as valid even if life was originally poofed into existence by magic. Abiogenesis can be seen as an extension of evolutionary theory into the biochemical realm, but it is not a core element of the theory per se, nor is it logically entailed by it. Alternatively, one can view evolution and abiogenesis as two closely linked but distinct disciplines with the biological sciences, each dealing with a different aspect of a larger problem.

    Those facts are historically documented.

    Yet you chose to misrepresent them, and continue to do so by changing the ground rules.

    I’ve already invited you to give me the best evidence you are aware of. I hope you’ll do so.

    Well, I’ve mentioned three strands of evidence and referred you to others, so I’ll just outline one, and explain why it is evidence: the fact that living organisms can be classified in a nested taxonomic hierarchy. I.e., in Linnaean terms, the fact that similarities and differences between species allow them to be grouped together into Genera, and Genera into Families, Families into Orders, and so on, such that the set of diagnostic characteristics that unite a given group at a given level are also unique to it. Thus for example, we do not find lactating birds, dolphins with gills or mammals with feathers.

    Why is this evidence for evolution? Because common descent occurs by branching and diversification, and the mathematical outcome of any such process is a nested hierarchy of groups within groups. At each branching node, the separate branches are going to start off with the characteristics inherited from their common ancestor, and then accumulate differences, the combinations of which will tend to be unique to each branch, and at the next node the same occurs for the new branches, and so on. Groups within groups united by shared characteristics and distinguished from other groups by shared dissimilarities is an inevitable outcome of such a process. This is what evolution predicts, and the living world could easily have been very different, with chimera all over the place.

    And what does creationism predict on this subject? Abolutely nothing. A nested hierarchy in nature might be trivially consistent with creationism, but then so would the opposite. That’s why this particular observation is not just evidence for evolution, but evidence for evolution relative to creationism – because evolution predicts and explains something that creationism doesn’t.

    wouldn’t it be pretty easy to please pick just one of all those examples and demonstrate its falsehood? Talk is cheap but my time isn’t; if I have to make this offer a third time, you are out of the conversation.

    Backatcha. I’ve already made you an offer, which actually is more favourable to you – make a specific claim, reference it to a specific creationist webpage, and I’ll take a look. In the meantime, you’re providing enough eminently debunkable creationist canards to be going on with.

    Oh, and you don’t get to decide who is “in” or “out” of the conversation. You’re a guest here, same as the rest of us.

    Talk science to me. I’ve not time for philosophy, history, or name-calling.

    If you persist in making historical and conceptual errors, then expect people to respond in historical or philosophical terms. If you don’t want to talk about history, then stop bringing the subject up. If you don’t want to talk philosophy, stop making claims that are open to philosophical criticism. And if you don’t want to be called names, then stop being such a dishonest hypocrite.

  250. David Marjanović, OM says

    What Owlmirror and Iain Walker said.

    I can only repeat one important point in other words: “Evolution” is defined as “descent with heritable modification”. It follows that cosmology and the theory of evolution are orthogonal to each other. Evolution starts with the first self-replicating entity, not at the beginning of the universe around 10 billion years earlier.

    The ignorance! It burns!

  251. David Marjanović, OM says

    SIWOTI syndrome.

    Evolution is not at all the only theory which fits the evidence. Give me an example of scientific evidence which you think fits evolution

    See above.

    and I’ll show you how it actually doesn’t

    Please do try.

    and in fact better fits creation.

    Well, anything and its opposite fits creation. No matter what you’re confronted with, you can always say the Creator was just being ineffable again.

    That, incidentally, is why creationism is not science: it is incapable of answering the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?“.

    The theory of evolution came about long before the 1850’s or Darwin’s grandfather and can be traced back to Plato and the Greeks.

    The idea that there was evolution at all, yes. The theory of evolution by mutation and selection is unique to Darwin, Wallace, and two other 19th-century Britons. You might be familiar with Lamarck’s theory of evolution, which is pretty drastically different, for example. If not, look it up.

    Darwin’s finches evolved into…finches. The peppered moths evolved into peppered moths.

    So what? That’s still evolution. What I saw happening in my petri dish in Molecular Biology Practice 1B, with Escherichia coli and a bacteriophage, was also evolution — evolution by mutation and selection.

    It looks like you want to see lots of morphological change. Well, then wait. Why does everything need to happen so fast that you can observe it within your puny lifetime?

    Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils and the fossils by the rocks.

    Nope. Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils, and the fossils by their sequence.

    You may have noticed that he died long before radiometric dating was developed or even the very idea of its possibility discovered. I mean, what next? Will you declare all of physics wrong because Newton devoted more time to alchemy and theology than to science? Will you declare all of biology wrong because Darwin’s little-known theory of inheritance was wrong?

    As far as I know, Lyell’s relative dating wasn’t even wrong, though… He didn’t say much about absolute dating other than famously mentioning he could see in the rocks “no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end”.

    And according to the Gould, lead evolutionist at Harvard,

    Dead since 2002. Looks like you didn’t notice — just in case.

    Also, does “lead evolutionist” mean something?

    the missing links are still missing (because they never existed), so he ‘borrowed’ Goldschmidt’s ‘Hopeful Monster Theory’ for his ‘Punctuated Equilibrium.’

    That’s a common misunderstanding. Punk eek is something that is only visible at a very, very small scale — one species of Darwin finch to the next species of Darwin finch, for instance. It means that new species arise from small founder populations within a few tens of thousands of years, rather than from large founder populations (like the entire ancestral species) over hundreds of thousands of years. You need a very detailed fossil record — like that of diatoms of the last two million years that make up the mud on the equatorial Pacific seafloor — to be even able to distinguish it from strict gradualism; land vertebrates? Forget it. Anyway, in the couple of cases where the two can be distinguished, punk eek is more common than gradualism, but both occur; here (pdf) is a case of gradualism in the fossil record.

    Now, while Eldredge (not Eldridge) didn’t get into the media much, Gould emphasized at every opportunity that punk eek really was a new idea, which means he emphasized the differences to the traditional view. Lots of journalists took this, ran with it, and completely overlooked the scale. Goldschmidt — working before even the discovery of DNA — had large body plan changes occurring from one generation to the next; no such thing happens according to the theory of punk eek, and indeed we find much more gradual transformations in the fossil record, like the vast array of Cambrian forms between something priapulid- and nematode-like on the one hand (the palaeoscolecids most notably) and the onychophores, tardigrades, and arthropods on the other, or between mollusks, annelids and brachiopods + phoronids.

    In conclusion, you asked what the Designer did, but you know better than to ask an historical question when IDers only deal with scientific questions.

    This is a scientific question, not a question about the history of science.

    History, too, is a science, you see…

    Clintus

    clinteas.

    Your name-calling excludes you from further dialogue. Act like a scientist.

    You have just shown that you haven’t been hanging around scientists much.

    Scientists pay attention to what is said, not to how it is said. I’ve seen two scientists (right in front of my nose) getting louder and louder and getting ready to jump at each other’s throat, before one (still at the same sound volume) reminded the other of some evidence the other had overlooked and the situation defused.

    “Scientist” and “gentleman” are two categories that do overlap, oh yes, but they have no causal relationship whatsoever.

    Contrary to your claim, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is completely relevant to evolution. Evolution has to start with something which then becomes concentrated and condensed for there to be a Big Bang, but this Law prohibits evolution from fabricating it.

    Ignorance already addressed, only reposted here for people to marvel at.

    You also don’t seem to have thought through the various applications of the 2nd Law to real life. There is a principle, a Law, which says that things left on their own naturally wear out, even if for a while their design enables them to become more complex only by harnessing other-wise destructive, raw energy (a metabolism or photosynthesis) to modify material (food/physical resources) according to a blueprint (DNA/RNA). Everything dies or melts in the end. Therefore extinctions make sense but not the creation of new creatures (beyond cross-breeding within the same kinds).

    Same kind of ignorance. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is a name for the observation that heat never flows from cold to hot. This can be more generally expressed as entropy never decreasing in isolated systems — but the Earth is not an isolated system ( = one where neither matter nor other forms of energy can enter or leave). For crying out loud, the sun shines!!!

    Did you also believe that growth is a miracle? Because if that isn’t an increase in complexity, I don’t know what is.

    You mentioned the human chromosome 2 synteny. Do tell me how you see that as proof for evolution.

    Why would a chromosome have two telomeres in the middle, running in opposite directions, and an additional (defunct) centromere, and why would the chromosome be practically identical to two chromosomes of each other ape? On the one hand, it’s hard to see what design sense that could make (though, see above, you can always claim it’s an ineffable mystery). On the other hand, this is exactly what we expect from an ordinary chromosome fusion, if we are apes, too.

    For any significant change, new information has to be added.

    That’s called “mutation”. Just a simple copying or repair mistake to DNA. :-|

    Turning one kind of creature into a different kind takes more than shuffling, mutating, or destroying the same old genes.

    Define “kind”, and then explain why you think you’re right — take gene duplication into account, though.

    In answer to your last question, innumerable facts in all the different scientific disciplines lead me over a period of years to become a creationists after decades as an evolutionist. Why not actually take a look at ICR.org, AnswersInGenesis.org, or Evolution-Facts.com?

    So you really believe we haven’t? We have. They keep parroting the same nonsense as every cdesign proponentsist that comes here — the same arguments from ignorance, quote mines, distortions, half-truths, and so on.

    Generally a law is a description of a regularity in nature and a theory is an explanation of that regularity.

    Yes (except of course that a theory can explain more than one law, and usually also shows that several different hypotheses on several different things are actually the same, and so on).

    Maybe a simpler way to look at it is that a theory is a cause-effect relationship which has not yet been proven whereas a law is a cause-effect relationship which has never been disproven

    That’s not “a simpler way to look at it“. That’s something completely different — and wrong.

    You write that Newton and Kepler lived before evolution was formulated as a theory. The trouble is that, by definition, a scientific theory also has to be falsifiable. Evolution has never been formulated in this fashion.

    So you change the topic rather than acknowledging your mistake.

    But who cares, let’s change the topic. The theory of evolution is of course falsifiable; see above.

    Pasteur was a creationist because he believed that his god created everything. […] Maxwell may have thought aspects of ‘evolution’ plausible, but he believed a creator created the heavens and the earth. Those facts are historically documented.

    And completely irrelevant, because the theory of evolution says nothing whatsoever about the origins of the universe or the Earth, see above.

    Also, you’re fooling around with the definition of “creationist”.

    In fact, his experiments helped prove that life can only come from life, contrary to the tenants of evolution.

    Again wrong, as mentioned above: Evolution starts when the first self-replicator is there. How it came about is simply another question.

    The theory of evolution explains the diversity of life.

    And if you think the web sites I recommended are half-truths, distortions, and demonstrable falsehoods, wouldn’t it be pretty easy to please pick just one of all those examples and demonstrate its falsehood? Talk is cheap but my time isn’t;

    LOL! And you think our time is? Each of these websites contains hundreds of falsehoods! Either read the Index to Creationist Claims, or quote them one by one and we’ll explain them one by one. But we’ve got lives, you see.

    Did you really mean to say, ‘When Agassiz and Owen died in 1870 no more biologists were creationists’?

    Yes (except you’re misquoting me and therefore must not use quotation marks — I wrote “in the 1870s”, not “in 1870” — but that’s irrelevant here). If there were any left, I’ll gladly eat my words. I didn’t count biochemists, though; traditionally, biochemists are educated via chemistry, not via biology, and remain ignorant of the theory of evolution.

    Dr. Andrew Bosanquet is a biologist (and a microbiologist) as is Dr. Ken Cumming, and Dr. Dudley Eirich, etc., etc.

    Now it gets interesting. Who are this people — I mean, what do they work on, and how much and what have they published?

    If biochemists count for half-credit, perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Duane Gish.

    Duane Gish? The guy after whom the Gish Gallop is named, the fucking epitome of intellectual dishonesty? That’s some chutzpa of you. Gish was not a scientist — he did not do science.

    So he had a doctorate? Do you have an idea of the oath I had to sign to get my Master’s degree? It basically lists the opposite of Gish’s behavior.

  252. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    David, Owlmirror and Iain did such a complete job.

    I agree. I’ll raise my glass in salute to these three posters. Ouch is putting it mildly. A small greasy stain in the road of science is all that is left. Salute!

  253. David Marjanović, OM says

    “Who are this people”. Yeah, right. What did I just say about my time not being cheap? I give it away for free. I should have gone to bed long ago. Grmpf.

    Anyway, I found my quote from comment 1271:

    When he and Sir Richard Owen (who had similar ideas about divine blueprints) died in the 1870s, there were no more biologists left who were (even marginally) creationists, AFAIK.

    Look what nat made of it:

    Did you really mean to say, ‘When Agassiz and Owen died in 1870 no more biologists were creationists’?

    Hmmmmm.

    […], OR God is some sort of giant monstrous clockwork automaton, damning everyone because no-one meets the standards of perfection, and God has no free will to change anything about what it does.

    Karma! While pretending to be a Christian, Jim M is a Hinduist or Buddhist! :-D

  254. 'Tis Himself says

    Dr. Andrew Bosanquet is a biologist (and a microbiologist) as is Dr. Ken Cumming, and Dr. Dudley Eirich, etc., etc.

    The only Dr Andrew Bosanquet (there are a couple of Andrew Bosanquets who aren’t doctors) that a google search revealed is a cancer pathologist at Royal United Hospital in Bath, England.

    Kenneth B. Cumming has a BS in biology from Tufts and an MA and PhD in biology from Harvard. He apparently taught biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, and Western Wisconsin Technological Institute at La Crosse. He is presently Dean of the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School.

    Dudley Eirich has a BS in microbiology from the University of Washington and a PhD in microbiology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a research scientist for Henkel Research Corporation and a research team leader for Cognis (a biotech company). He is presently a Scientist Recruiter for Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center.

    Bosanquet isn’t a biologist and Cummings and Eirich aren’t working as scientists.

  255. AnthonyK says

    Dean of the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School
    There is just so much wrong with this title. It is an aweinspring, yet horrifying, example of knowledge and education gone wrong. Imagine, all you scientific and academic dudes a world in which everything you valued and strove for was transformed, reversed, and misapplied – that is this man’s job.
    Shudder.
    Guys, well done, again. Such eloquent take-downs of the silly, yet bafflingly self-confident, creationists. Well that told him, eh? I don’t think we’ll hear any more from them.
    I have a question for you biologists/geneticist etc, possibly a simple one, possibly not.
    It’s this: is there anything peculiar or unusual in the dog genome which produces so much apparent variety? It seems to me that the different sizes, coats, temperament(this perhaps less so) and other features of dogs are surprisingly varied, but is this pure selective breeding? How do they differ from, say, cats in this? Is this even an “interesting” question? Just curious.

  256. says

    As far as I know, Lyell’s relative dating wasn’t even wrong, though… He didn’t say much about absolute dating other than famously mentioning he could see in the rocks “no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end”.

    Actually the “no vestige” quote was from James Hutton, in 1788 (11 years before Lyell was born). By the time Lyell was working the principles of stratigraphy were pretty much laid down. Plenty of geologists who had no time for evolution were happily using relative dating to answer important questions in economic geology.

  257. Nat says

    Dear Nerd of Redhead – You are out of the conversation for name-calling.

    Dear Tis Himself – Good question. To me, truth matters. Ought I not assume that it matters to you?

    Dear Kel – Thanks for your good response; we are going to have some fun! Now the conversation is getting worthwhile, down to specifics. Good job coming up with five great topics. You pick the one you’d like to start with. Explain how you see your choice as proving or supporting evolution. We’ll go from there. If I delay in getting back to you it is because I fly this evening from San Diego back home and will probably be doing catch-up tomorrow but I’ll certainly get back to you. So take whatever time you need.
    I would register an exception to your claim that Darwin provided a viable mechanism for evolution ie natural selection. In moments of honesty, evolutionists tell me that natural selection is actually a tautology. From my point of view, natural selection guarantees that birth-defects won’t survive. It keeps different kinds of creatures in their normal ranges by deleting wierdos at both extremes. Otherwise, evolutionists would be recommending that we all live near nuclear power plants to increase mutations and speed up the evolutionary progress.
    As for evidence for creation, if there are only two theories, two options, then scientific evidence against one constitutes scientific evidence in favor of the other. For example, the fact that dinosaur fossils are found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin, and can all be C14 dated at less than 60,000 years ago scientifically supports a recent creation. We can’t get a nickel’s worth of evolution in only 60,000 years, can we?
    I also do indeed dispute the so-called fossil evidence for the whale which begins with the idea that cows, preferring more salt in their diet of grass, waded into the ocean to feed on sea grass, while their noses moved up to the top of their head and their hooves turned into flukes.
    You said that science demands to know how something was created which is kind of like a purchaser demanding to know of an engineer how a computer was made. In both cases wouldn’t the answer be, ‘by design’? How do you yourself create or invent something new? Don’t you take raw material, tools, labor, and knowledge, then put it all together? If what you make is self-replicating, over time, and has to contend with a worse environment than originally designed for, might it not reasonably be expected to function poorly, yet still be impressive?
    You mentioned horrizontal and vertical gene transfer. One can transfer genes in all sorts of directions but you’ll still end up with the same genes (or degregated ones), in a different configuration, perhaps resulting in different types of…dogs, apples, whatever…but never a new kind of creature. Creationists have no problem with cross-breeding to get new types of dogs, etc. But dogs can’t ever be turned into non-dogs because all they have are dog genes. To turn a dog into an elephant, elephant genes would have to be introduced, and evolution can’t do that.
    You also said that, “We know and can demonstrate the mechanisms behind evolution.” Stephen Gould, Harvard’s top evolutionist, wrote a thousand page book (SET) disproving that claim. How do you know that what you are ‘demonstrating’ is indeed the mechanism behind evolution unless you can get something to evolve?
    And you claim that, “Every step along the way for the past 150 years, evolution has not been falsified, yet has been validated time and time again.” Have you overlooked the fact that Darwin’s theory on pangenesis was refuted by Gregor Mendel and his theory on abiogenesis was refuted by Louis Pasteur? There is quite a long list of further refutations. Darwin himself listed four objections that he recognized if not resolved would be fatal to his theory: 1) Lack of transitional fossils. 2) The incredible complexity of such organs as the eye. 3) The development of instincts in animals. 4) Sterility in crossbreeding of species. After 150 years they are still unresolved (and never will be), because evolution is not the best scientific answer.

    Dear John Morales – If you don’t want to give me your best one, which do you want to start with?

    Dear Josh – I appreciate your civil appraoch to our discussion. The non-functional eyes of the Ozark cave fish is supposed to have started out as funcitonal. Deterioration, however, is not support for evolution, is it? If they were to go extinct some day, would that also be proof of evolution? Evolution is suppose to evolve new things. However, a creationist would suggest that over time, if there is no need for eyes, no advantage, then fish will lose the ability to see. It is natural cross-breeding and information is lost, not gained as we’ve scientifically concluded after decades of experimentation with fruit flies. With dogs, breeders can select out or in certain dog traits, but never those of a cat (unless artificially introduced). The Ozark fish, blind or seeing, will always be a fish. A blind Ozark fish is no closer to evolving into an amphibean than a seeing one would be.
    You asked why a designer would make an Ozark fish blind, but is that a scientific question? You know better.

    Dear Owlmirror – The real reason life exists may actually be because the creator designed it to exist – to harness energy in order to convert matter according to the blueprint given it so as to effectively delay, for a while, the inevitability of the 2nd Law.
    How would explaining synteny prove my claim of knowing all about evolution if you don’t see any connection between synteny and evolution? Are you asking me to waste my time?
    Here, as you requested is a quick list of some of the scientific facts which led me to become a creationist. 1) There is a known mechanism for creating life according to creation but not according to evolution. When your mother gave birth and created you alive (when nine months earlier you weren’t) that was not evolution. That involved amazing design. 2) The fossil record indicates completely designed creatures (beginning with the Cambrian Explosion) which is what creationists anticipate. Evolutionists would expect continuous evolving (since its ‘mechanism’ doesn’t honor the Sabboth) such that all fossils would be transitional making classification impossible. 3) The record also shows no order from simple to complex (for those who realize by now that the cell itself is not ‘simple’). The same index fossils show up at different levels of strata and even show up, alive, today (which kind of makes them useless as index fossils). 4) There is no recapitulation or vestigial organs. Uses are being discovered for even ‘junk’ DNA. Purpose and intent are evident throughout just as a creationist would anticipate 5) All accurate measurements indicate the earth is much too young for any sort of evolution to have taken place. Then, consider the problems with life arising by chance – problems with chirality, with unreactivity, ionization, mass action, selectivity, solubility, sugars, etc.(we can go into detail on any one of these if you’d like).
    By the way, there is no need to be insulting. You are coming closer to being excluded from further discussions which would be a shame because you are hitting on some good points.
    Best wishes to all,
    Because Truth matters,
    Nat

  258. Ichthyic says

    In moments of honesty, evolutionists tell me that natural selection is actually a tautology

    *sigh*

    liar.

    Because Truth matters

    liar.

    By the way, there is no need to be insulting.

    liar.

    All accurate measurements indicate the earth is much too young for any sort of evolution to have taken place.

    liar.

    The same index fossils show up at different levels of strata and even show up, alive, today

    liar.

    The fossil record indicates completely designed creatures

    liar.

    Dear Nerd of Redhead – You are out of the conversation for name-calling.

    then you need to remove yourself for blatant dishonesty.

  259. John Morales says

    Nat,

    Dear John Morales – If you don’t want to give me your best one, which do you want to start with?

    As you requested, I pointed you to a mountain of evidence by linking to a page pregnant with examples (well over 100 entries in many categories).

    You could start at the top of the list and work your way down, or address them in thematic order. Up to you.
    After you’ve done those, you’ll have taken your first step upon the mountain. I’ll provide you with the next few hundred examples at that point, should it become necessary.

    Re:

    Dear Nerd of Redhead – You are out of the conversation for name-calling.

    Good one! Heh. This is Pharyngula!
    You can evade answering him on that pretext, but you can’t exclude him from the conversation by fiat.

  260. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Fuck off Nat, just because you dislike Nerd calling you an accurate name does not mean you can tell him to shut up. And a word of warning, everyone you are currently “debating” will also call you rude names if you use bad faith arguments, quote mine or lie. It will also happen if you use the same tired creationist canard that they have refuted numerous times.

    Have fun and do not start crying when they ripping you apart.

  261. says

    Explain how you see your choice as proving or supporting evolution.

    Okay, fine.
    – Human Chromosome #2, and identical ERV-K markers in both the human and chimpanzee chromosome.
    Forget all the other genetic markers that humans and chimps share in common (and there are plenty more) and just focus on these two. Humans have 46 chromosomes, while all other great apes have 48 chromosomes. So for us to share a common ancestor with chimpanzees and the other primates, it means that there has to have been either a split in our genome that’s in all other apes or we have a fused pair that other primates have. So when we look at human chromosome #2, we see a fused pair. We see the markers of two chromosomes that have fused together, we see two centromeres (one inactive) and telemeres in the middle of our chromosome. So when we look at the chimpanzee genome we actually see those two chromosomes unfused. How does one explain that without common ancestry?

    Secondly the ERV-K markers. I’m sure you are aware of horizontal gene transfer by retroviruses. With the insertion of DNA in a host, it gets passed down through generation after generation so it can be used to trace common ancestry. So when we look at the chimpanzee genome, we see several ERV markers in the identical spot in both the human and chimpanzee genome. You won’t get that kind of thing by chance, it’s just too improbable for the exact same markers to be in the exact same spot without ancestry.

    Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx
    God I love these fossils, they are just superb. As you are probably aware the idea that dinosaurs had evolved into birds was put forward before the discovery of this wonderful specimen. Then when Archaeopteryx was found in 1861, it exhibited all the characteristics of a transitional form. And since then many others have been found, including one in the 1960s where the feather imprints were so faint it was mistaken as a land dinosaur. Since then we’ve found many dinosaurs with feathers, more transitional stages from dinosaur to bird, and there’s even a bird in this modern day that the chicks still use it’s wings as limbs in order to hold onto branches.

    As for Tiktaalik, this was a triumph of science. We knew there were no tetrapods in the fossil record before 370MYA, and lobe-finned fish were the prime candidate for the move out of the ocean. So thanks to a knowledge of geology, the palaeontologists were able to look where they thought was the right place to find a fishapod. And what happened? They went to rocks of the right age and right type, and pulled out a transitional form showing the move out of water and onto land by fish. And of course there are many other instances like this throughout the fossil record, those two are just so big and significant it’s hard not to talk about them.

  262. says

    All accurate measurements indicate the earth is much too young for any sort of evolution to have taken place.

    Several dating techniques all with different scales tested on rocks of different ages and origins all show quite convincingly that the earth is over 4.5 billion years old. And the size and distance of galaxies show that the universe is at least 13 billion years old.

  263. Owlmirror says

    In moments of honesty, evolutionists tell me that natural selection is actually a tautology.

    So you agree, then, that natural selection is self-evidently true?

    For example, the fact that dinosaur fossils are found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin, and can all be C14 dated at less than 60,000 years ago scientifically supports a recent creation.

    Good thing that dinosaur fossils are not found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, OR hemoglobin, and dinosaur fossils cannot be carbon-dated to less than 60,000 years!

    I guess that since the “fact” you cited is false, creationism is false! Thank you for helping us figure out that creationism is false.

    And of course, even if it were true… it would not falsify evolution. Indeed, if there were no dinosaurs in the fossil record, the evidence that we do still have for evolution would still exist. Evolution wins!

    I also do indeed dispute the so-called fossil evidence for the whale which begins with the idea that cows, preferring more salt in their diet of grass, waded into the ocean to feed on sea grass, while their noses moved up to the top of their head and their hooves turned into flukes.

    Great! Excellent! Since there is no “so-called fossil evidence” that involves cows magically turning into whales!

    Wow, creationism is looking more and more false, and evolution is looking more and more true, with every example you give!

    But dogs can’t ever be turned into non-dogs because all they have are dog genes. To turn a dog into an elephant, elephant genes would have to be introduced, and evolution can’t do that.

    Now you’re not making much sense. Too bad. Evolution shows clearly that dogs and elephants share a common ancestor from their common genes, many millions of years back. That’s why they are both mammals. See? They both descend from an ancient mammal ancestor.

    And you claim that, “Every step along the way for the past 150 years, evolution has not been falsified, yet has been validated time and time again.” Have you overlooked the fact that Darwin’s theory on pangenesis was refuted by Gregor Mendel

    Nope! We love Gregor Mendel. Gregor Mendel is our bestest buddy, because Gregor Mendel showed the evidence of how heredity really works. And yes, we know that Darwin was wrong about heredity. PZ has only mentioned it a billion zillion times on this very blog! Too bad you don’t really know anything about evolution, or you would know that.

    Great! Evolution still validated!

    and his theory on abiogenesis was refuted by Louis Pasteur?

    Still doesn’t refute evolution!

    Darwin himself listed four objections that he recognized if not resolved would be fatal to his theory: 1) Lack of transitional fossils. 2) The incredible complexity of such organs as the eye. 3) The development of instincts in animals. 4) Sterility in crossbreeding of species. After 150 years they are still unresolved (and never will be), because evolution is not the best scientific answer.

    Darwin did not list those four objects as being fatal to the theory of evolution. And indeed, they are not fatal problems to evolution. Great! Evolution wins again!

    So evolution is the best scientific answer.

    How would explaining synteny prove my claim of knowing all about evolution if you don’t see any connection between synteny and evolution?

    No, no, no! Of course the chromosome 2 synteny is evidence for evolution. I wanted you to prove that you weren’t lying about knowing about evolution by explaining what it was, and, at the very least, why it was thought to be evidence for evolution even if you thought it was wrong. You didn’t, so we now know, absolutely and for certain, that you are a liar.

    Are you asking me to waste my time?

    You’re wasting your time trying to convince me that you know anything at all about evolution, or any other part of science.

    1) There is a known mechanism for creating life according to creation but not according to evolution.

    No there isn’t. No creationist has ever demonstrated this alleged “mechanism” — only claimed that it exists. Talk is cheap. In science, we need evidence.

    2) The fossil record indicates completely designed creatures (beginning with the Cambrian Explosion) which is what creationists anticipate. Evolutionists would expect continuous evolving (since its ‘mechanism’ doesn’t honor the Sabboth) such that all fossils would be transitional making classification impossible.

    Complete nonsense from end to end. The Cambrian “Explosion” took millions of years, and is completely in accord with the theory of evolution.

    (since its ‘mechanism’ doesn’t honor the Sabboth)

    Ha! Neither do Christians!

    3) The record also shows no order from simple to complex (for those who realize by now that the cell itself is not ‘simple’). The same index fossils show up at different levels of strata and even show up, alive, today (which kind of makes them useless as index fossils)

    Complete garbage. We know that there are fossils that never appear in the strata until after a certain point, and never appear beforehand. Evolution wins again!

    4) There is no recapitulation or vestigial organs.

    If by “no recapitulation” you mean the old outdated statement by Haeckel that “ontology recapitulates phylogeny” in a literal sense, I’ll grant that — but evolution doesn’t need it to be true. Hah! Evolution wins again!

    And as for vestigial organs… Dude, where is your tail? You have a tailbone, but no tail! It’s vestigial! So… Evolution wins again!

    Uses are being discovered for even ‘junk’ DNA.

    LOL. You don’t know what real junk DNA is, do you? Sorry, most of the junk is, in fact, junk. The part that isn’t “really” junk is very, very small. Evolution wins again!

    5) All accurate measurements indicate the earth is much too young for any sort of evolution to have taken place.

    Hah! WRONG! The earth is about 4.5 billion years old; the universe is about 15 billion years old! Plenty of time for evolution! Evolution wins again!

    Then, consider the problems with life arising by chance – problems with chirality, with unreactivity, ionization, mass action, selectivity, solubility, sugars, etc.(we can go into detail on any one of these if you’d like).

    Why bother? Evolution has won at every point so far, and creationism has lost, and you obviously have no idea of what evolution is, and no evidence for creation.

    By the way, there is no need to be insulting.

    There is no need for you to lie about your education and knowledge of evolution, and yet you do. Why is that?

    You are coming closer to being excluded from further discussions which would be a shame because you are hitting on some good points.

    If you can’t be truthful, it is you who should be ashamed.

    Because Truth matters,

    If truth really mattered, you wouldn’t lie.

  264. Klokwurk says

    For example, the fact that dinosaur fossils are found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin, and can all be C14 dated at less than 60,000 years ago scientifically supports a recent creation.

    After a quick google search I found the name Mary Schweitzer and her discover, which I think is what gnat is talking about. Too bad she doesn’t seem to know any of the details or the fact that while Mary Schweitzer is a devout christian she doesn’t believe her discovery shows anything about creation. Also, as Owlmirror said there’s no liquid blood, flexible vessels or hemoglobin and nothing to indicate it was 60,000 years old. Care to elaborate gnat? Or are you referring to someone else?

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur.html?c=y&page=1

  265. says

    Who in their right mind would be using C14 (which has a half-life of less than 6,000 years) to age dinosaurs? Let alone use it to conclude that all radiometric dating is inaccurate, to the point where the hundreds of thousands of scientists who use nuclear physics are off by a factor of 700,000? That margin of error is like saying that the distance between New York and San Francisco is a matter of metres!

  266. Liberal Atheist says

    Someone claimed that Louis Pasteur refuted abiogenesis. This is entirely false. He did refute one specific kind of abiogenesis, that’s all though.

  267. John Morales says

    Owlmirror @1312, magnificent!

    [Pedant mode]You misquoted*, it should’ve been
    “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”.

    * You probably noticed already, I know.

  268. Ragutis says

    Hmmm, seems someone else could use the link David tried to get Alan to read.

    Nat, Click here and read. Feel free to point out it’s errors and refute it all with any evidence you have to the contrary, but read it first.

  269. Stephen Wells says

    Specifically, Pasteur was arguing against people who still thought that maggots in rotting meat and mice in granaries might be formed by spontaneous generation. It’s got nothing to do with the actual origin of life as chemical cycles of increasing complexity, for much the same reason that the observation that all currently living human beings have human parents is completely irrelevant to the evolutionary history of humankind.

  270. Josh says

    It seems to me that the different sizes, coats, temperament(this perhaps less so) and other features of dogs are surprisingly varied, but is this pure selective breeding?

    As far as I know, this variation comes mostly from selection in relation to breeding. We’ve done the same thing with other species as well (e.g., corn), so I don’t think there has to be something special within the genome of an organism for us to be able to muck around with its morphology. Genetics is a long way from what I do, however. Some of the more bio-focused folks probably have a better handle on this.

  271. Josh says

    Dear Josh – I appreciate your civil appraoch to our discussion. The non-functional eyes of the Ozark cave fish is supposed to have started out as funcitonal.

    Hi Nat. Is that creation’s explanation? Because that’s how the ToE explains this observation.

    Deterioration, however, is not support for evolution, is it?

    You cannot really make that blanket statement for or against. The specifics matter. How do you defind deterioration, first off?

    If they were to go extinct some day, would that also be proof of evolution?

    Depends on the reason the critter goes extinct. Again, specifics matter. If a meteor destroys all of its habitat, then no.

    Evolution is suppose to evolve new things. However, a creationist would suggest that over time, if there is no need for eyes, no advantage, then fish will lose the ability to see.

    Welcome to evolution. That is basically how the ToE explains that observation. Where is the designer in this answer?

    It is natural cross-breeding and information is lost, not gained as we’ve scientifically concluded after decades of experimentation with fruit flies.

    Citations?

    With dogs, breeders can select out or in certain dog traits, but never those of a cat (unless artificially introduced).

    Again, citations?

    The Ozark fish, blind or seeing, will always be a fish. A blind Ozark fish is no closer to evolving into an amphibean than a seeing one would be.

    You’re close to shifting the goalposts here. We weren’t discussing that. I never suggested it was close to evolving into an amphibean. Evolution is complex subject. Let’s stay on the same page of it, otherwise these chats go off the rails rather quickly. Let’s try to get to some sort of common ground regarding the eyes of this bugger, then we can move on to other issues.

    You asked why a designer would make an Ozark fish blind, but is that a scientific question? You know better.

    We agree that it isn’t a scientific question, but that was why I asked it, Nat. If questions related to the designer are not scientific ones, then how can people insist that we should teaching designer-related ideas as science?

    Also, your answer:

    However, a creationist would suggest that over time, if there is no need for eyes, no advantage, then fish will lose the ability to see.

    didn’t involve (or appear to require) a designer. How does the designer effect this change and how do we test for that effect? If not, then how is your explanation designer-related? You say that I shouldn’t be bringing the designer into it, because those aren’t scientific questions, but that has been our point all along. If you’re going to make a statement like the one I blockquoted just above, but you’re going to posit that it is the result of some designer’s actions, then how do we falsify that part of your statement? How do we test for the designer? If we can’t, then why should we care?

  272. Josh says

    …observation that all currently living human beings have human parents is completely irrelevant to the evolutionary history of humankind.

    Why is this observation completely irrelevant to the evolutionary history of humankind, exactly?

  273. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Nat, your creationism cannot exist without a creator. Time to show either physical evidence for that creator (god) that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine origin. Otherwise, you have nothing. A philosophical god won’t cut the mustard either. If god is interacting with the physical world traces must be left that we can measure. Time to put up or shut up. Welcome to science.
    You are not in control of this discussion. If you don’t like being called names, then you need to grow a pair of gonads and take your lumps like a man.

  274. Wowbagger says

    In my year or so of posting here I don’t believe I’ve seen so complete an act of pwnage as Owlmirror over Nat in post #1312. To say he had his ass handed to him is an understatement.

    Bravo.

  275. Stephen Wells says

    @1321: sorry, over-compressed that phrase a bit. To expand: All current human beings have human parents. If you interpreted that to mean that every human being had strictly human (modern homo sapiens) parents, that forbids our evolution from non-human ancestors. That would be wrong; “is the same species as” is a relationship like “is very close to”, so we can have a long chain of ancestors, each of which is the same species as its own immediate descendants, but the most recent descendant needn’t be the same species as the earliest ancestor.

    Similarly, Pasteur pointed out that maggots do not just appear spontaneously, they emerge from eggs laid by flies, and we wind up with a law of biogenesis, viz. that cells appear by the reproduction of other cells, not spontaneously. Creationists then take that to mean that life can’t originally have emerged from non-living precursors. The argument is of course false, as the observation that modern cells (after four billion years of evolution) don’t spontaneously emerge has nothing to do with the formation of an ancient and far simpler protocell under very different chemical conditions.

  276. Josh says

    If you interpreted that to mean that every human being had strictly human (modern homo sapiens) parents, that forbids our evolution from non-human ancestors.

    Ahhh…roger. I get what you meant. We’re on the same page, now. Thanks.

  277. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    For example, the fact that dinosaur fossils are found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin, and can all be C14 dated at less than 60,000 years ago scientifically supports a recent creation.

    Some others have batted at this one, but I’m going to address it as well.

    NO.

    There, done.

    *sigh* Okay, more seriously. NO. Nat, we don’t use C14 methods to date Mesozoic-aged rocks. I don’t know how much more plainly I can say it. We just simply do not. Creationists are always going on about how “C14 dates for dinosaurs are way off of what we evilutionists claim dinosaur ages are, so obviously we’re (the earth sciences community) being disingenous: the data really don’t show the ages that we claim.”

    This is all bullshit.
    The earth sciences community isn’t using C14 to date dinosaur fossils. It is true that C14 methods don’t produce accurate ages for dinosaur remains. That doesn’t matter because we’re not using those methods to date dinosaurs. We use other techniques to date rocks that bracket the sediments which contain dinosaur fossils.
    For just one example:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v400/n6739/abs/400058a0.html
    This paper used Ar/Ar geochronology to date volcanoclastic rocks that bracket lakebed siltstones which contain important dinosaur remains. This is how it is done. Whatever source told you that we use C14 to date dinosaur remains was either completely misinformed or was deliberately lying.

    Also, to address the conspiracy theory nonsense:
    1. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who figured out C14 dating techniques in the first place.
    2. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who figured out that C14 doesn’t work on rocks that are as old as the Mesozoic.
    3. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who communicated that finding to everyone else.
    4. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who devised other dating techniques that do work in Mesozoic-aged rocks.
    Where is the conspiracy?

    This is kinda like saying that because we can’t get Honda Civics to run on JP4, that car is a flawed design, while ignoring completely the fact that we don’t try to get Honda Civics to run on JP4 because we have…gasoline.

    We can’t get a nickel’s worth of evolution in only 60,000 years, can we?

    Yes, we can get evolution in less than 60,000 years. Specific examples have been discussed on this very blog in the past year.

  278. E.V. says

    Josh is swatting away at the IDots. Willful ignorance is a tough shell to crack but I see a MOLLY in your future.

  279. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Josh is swatting away at the IDots. Willful ignorance is a tough shell to crack but I see a MOLLY in your future.

    Yeah, I’ve that noticed too. He has moved onto my “keep an eye on list”. Time will tell.

  280. AnthonyK says

    It’s inspirational, really, to see how you guys blast apart what pass for Nat’s arguments.
    What annoys me most, and you, is that although he “believes” his arguments, in the way that I was once a convinced Clausist, his motivation is dishonest.
    All he is doing is engaging in apologetics. He’s witnessing. No enquiry, no argument, he’s here because repeating the same pro-god sentences time after time are part of his personal salvation plan. It is a lie that he was once a genuine seeker after truth, unconvinced by scientific explanations, he just got religion – probably brainwashed from a child – and has been told that the only view, in his narrow little christain padded cell, is that evolution if false.
    Quit pretending you are seeking after truth, you aren’t.
    May I suggest that you take your formidable argumentational skills and head over to an accountants’ forum? Some of them still argue for double-entry bookkeeping, which is not in the bible, and, as I’m sure you can demonstrate, just plain wrong.
    You’ve more chance arguing that convincingly than you have telling biology that its central tenet is untrue.

  281. Josh says

    Nat also wrote:

    I also do indeed dispute the so-called fossil evidence for the whale which begins with the idea that cows, preferring more salt in their diet of grass, waded into the ocean to feed on sea grass, while their noses moved up to the top of their head and their hooves turned into flukes.

    Excellent. Welcome to science. The currently accepted phylogeny of whales is a testable proposition. But, you will actually have to do some work. Simply asserting that you dispute the evidence isn’t going to cut it. I’ve never gotten a paper published on the basis of a simple assertion. Opinions being like…well, you know.

    But while this is a testable proposition, it’s also rather involved (for a lot of folks have been working on the evolution of whales for some time). Luckily for all of us, though, the history of our current understanding of whale evolution is also divided up into discrete scientific articles. Each of these either discusses a particular aspect of the problem, presents new data, or re-synthesizes the entire (well, probably not, but probably close to it) known dataset.

    So, which data don’t you like, or, perhaps more useful to those of us here who are conditioned to thinking in terms of discrete studies, which papers out there specifically gall you?

  282. Josh says

    Nat:

    Darwin himself listed four objections that he recognized if not resolved would be fatal to his theory: 1) Lack of transitional fossils.

    First, That isn’t what he wrote. All forms are transitional. That’s the point. The only time a species stops evolving is when it dies. Extinction ends evolution, but even those taxa that wink out are still in the process of continuing to evolve until the last of the light dies. Whatever was the theoretical “evospace” that they were “headed” into, we will never know, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t “headed there.”

    Second, we don’t look for transitional forms any more than we look for missing links. We look for transitional features. This is a critical distinction. The features, when used comparatively, help us to try and decipher what lineages are closely related to what lineages. The features, when used comparatively, help us to try and decipher patterns and trends.

    2) The incredible complexity of such organs as the eye.

    Which would have been fatal if the eye couldn’t be explained by the ToE. It can, and has been. Not perfectly, but science doesn’t ever reach perfection. The story is way cool, though. There is a ton of good shit out there that has been written about this very subject. Seriously, Nat, the library is your friend. Vis per Scientiam.

    3) The development of instincts in animals. 4) Sterility in crossbreeding of species.

    I have less to say about these examples as I have less information at hand (they are both a long way from my research comfort area). I’ll leave this to others. I do know, however, that neither of these points has presented a fatal blow to the ToE.

  283. Watchman says

    Nat Weeks, your “explanation” of the 2nd Law is an embarrassment to our mutual alma mater. As if “rot” is a manifestation of increasing entropy!

    On another point, please explain to me how Klinghoffer didn’t author this. What am I missing?

  284. Watchman says

    What an embarrassment.

    Nat, the fact that you’re talking about carbon-dating dinosaur bones reveals just how painfully ignorant you are. Vox Clamantis in Deserto? Hardly. I’ll refrain from accusing you of rank dishonesty, but the fact is, whether through intellectual myopia, gullibility, or personal choice, you’ve become little more than a mouthpiece for AIG. Aren’t you ashamed?

    Go back to school, boy.

  285. Owlmirror says

    [Pedant mode]You misquoted*, it should’ve been
    “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”.

    And as a pedant myself, don’t think I didn’t wince, either.

    Also, when I wrote about dinosaur fossils, I obviously meant non-avian dinosaurs (as I am sure has almost everyone else in this thread).

  286. David Marjanović, OM says

    I have a question for you biologists/geneticist etc, possibly a simple one, possibly not.

    It’s this: is there anything peculiar or unusual in the dog genome which produces so much apparent variety? It seems to me that the different sizes, coats, temperament(this perhaps less so) and other features of dogs are surprisingly varied, but is this pure selective breeding?

    Yes. No elevated mutation rate or anything has been claimed. Just large populations (therefore large absolute numbers of mutations) and lots of selective breeding.

    Actually the “no vestige” quote was from James Hutton, in 1788 (11 years before Lyell was born).

    Oops. James Hutton, the other founder of geology…

    (And probably a better scientist, too, actually. Lyell argued like a lawyer, not like a scientist.)

    In moments of honesty, evolutionists tell me that natural selection is actually a tautology.

    It’s close to a tautology, but not quite. That’s because it’s easily possible to predict which ones will have the most surviving fertile offspring (and thus be “the fittest”): those that are best adapted to their environment. And that can be measured. How much energy do they expend to get the same amount of food? How much food do they get, and what is its quality? And so on.

    From my point of view, natural selection guarantees that birth-defects won’t survive.

    That depends on the defect and on the environment. If you’re a legless human, I smell a problem. If you’re a legless whale with a seriously big tail, you actually have an advantage, no, two advantages, because you don’t need to grow and maintain hindlegs and because you have less drag.

    It keeps different kinds of creatures in their normal ranges by deleting wierdos at both extremes.

    That’s correct. What you have overlooked is that the environment moves. As long as it stays stable, the abovementioned fittest ones will be the ones in the middle of the bell curve; that’s called stabilizing selection. When the environment changes, however, the bell curve becomes off center — the definition of “weirdo to be deleted” changes.

    Simple, no?

    Same when the environment does not change, but a population enters an environment it previously didn’t live in. Then, too, the definition of “weirdo to be deleted” is different for that population than it used to be.

    Otherwise, evolutionists would be recommending that we all live near nuclear power plants to increase mutations and speed up the evolutionary progress.

    Funnily enough, that’s very similar to what some bacteria do: When the times get rough, they shut down the production of highly accurate DNA repair* enzymes (like DNA polymerase III) and instead make sloppy ones (like DNA polymerase V), thus increasing their mutation rate. If a whole population does this (especially while constantly reproducing), chances are that some will have a mutation that happens to be advantageous in that particular environment.

    * DNA falls apart when stored in water and thus needs to be constantly repaired. A sizable part of our basic metabolism is DNA repair. Takes a lot of energy. Whose bright idea was it to use DNA as the material of heredity? Stupid Design.

    But, no, I don’t recommend it for humans. The cost in terms of ruined or ended lives would be too high. We’re evidently well enough adapted to our present environments, as shown by our unsustainably high (though fortunately shrinking) reproduction rate…

    As for evidence for creation, if there are only two theories, two options

    I’ll ignore your blatant misapplication of “theory” to creationism and jump right to “two options”. You cannot possibly be serious about that. On the one hand, just about every religion (Pastafarianism included) has at least one creation myth, and they all contradict each other (like the two in Genesis). BTW, have you heard of Vedic creationism? It claims that everything is much older, not much younger, than what science says. On the other hand, there’s not just the modern theory of evolution that ultimately goes back mostly to Darwin, but there are also Lamarck’s (which developed a lot beyond Lamarck: it only died out in the 1950s), Buffon’s, and so on.

    dinosaur fossils are found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin

    Waaaaait, wait, wait, wait. You should try to get your information directly from the primary literature, not from creationists copying from creationists a tale that grows in the telling.

    Those fossils do not contain liquid blood. What a moronic claim! They contain shriveled things that might be remnants of blood cells. The vessels only become flexible when treated with acid, and there’s no hemoglobin, only its decay products. It’s still fantastic preservation, but it’s not fresh meat. Also, the preservation varies greatly within a single bone.

    There were three talks and posters on this exceptional preservation at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in October. I’ll post links to the abstracts soon, so you can read them yourself instead of relying on fifth-hand distorted misinformation.

    The main mechanism behind the preservation seems to be crosslinking of the protein molecules under the influence of iron (which is of course available in blood). That makes them indigestible.

    and can all be C14 dated at less than 60,000 years ago

    Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses. But this way, you turn out to be an ignoramus like so far all YECs I’ve cyber-encountered*. You see, carbon-dating only reaches back around 60,000 years, and that with high uncertainties, because the half-life of 14C is a measly 5730 years! After ten half-lives there’s simply no 14C left (or, more accurately, 1/210 of the original amount, which was tiny to begin with — it’s less than a part per fucking trillion of the carbon in the atmosphere, and still a bit less of the carbon in most living organisms.

    That’s why fossil fuels don’t contain any 14C, except when they lie close to radioactive rocks that generate trace amounts of 14C by bombarding nitrogen atoms in the coal or oil with neutrons.

    So, “can be C14-dated to less than 60,000 years ago” means “contains 14C at all“. And that means there’s (almost no) contamination. Indeed, there’s a paper that has claimed to have found a bacterial biofilm in some of the fossils in question — an obvious source for contamination.

    Testing for contamination is, BTW, the only reason I can imagine why anyone would even try to carbon-date a Mesozoic fossil.

    The Wikipedia article on 14C dating is pretty good. Read it. And then follow all the links at the bottom.

    * Never seen one in meatspace. There are almost none over here. OK, I’ve seen Jehovah’s Witlesses, who have YEC as part of their official theology, but a poll says that even in the USA 8 % of JW have no problem with the theory of evolution…

    I also do indeed dispute the so-called fossil evidence for the whale which begins with the idea that cows, preferring more salt in their diet of grass, waded into the ocean to feed on sea grass, while their noses moved up to the top of their head and their hooves turned into flukes.

    What a ridiculous strawman!

    Learn what a chevrotain is (I don’t include a link because comments get held up for moderation when they contain too many links; you’ll have to google for it yourself), just to get an idea of a modern analogue.

    Then learn what Indohyus is.

    And then learn what Pakicetus and Ichthyolestes are; do make sure to use papers that date from September 2001 or later.

    And then Rodhocetus, Maiacetus, Basilosaurus

    Yes, whales are artiodactyls, but they aren’t cows, for crying out loud!!! Their closest living relatives are the hippos.

    One can transfer genes in all sorts of directions but you’ll still end up with the same genes (or degregated ones), in a different configuration, perhaps resulting in different types of…dogs, apples, whatever…but never a new kind of creature. Creationists have no problem with cross-breeding to get new types of dogs, etc. But dogs can’t ever be turned into non-dogs because all they have are dog genes. To turn a dog into an elephant, elephant genes would have to be introduced, and evolution can’t do that.

    Do you know what you are doing here?

    You are denying the very existence of mutations.

    No, seriously. I’m not exaggerating.

    Also, you still haven’t defined “kind”. We asked you to do that long ago.

    You also said that, “We know and can demonstrate the mechanisms behind evolution.” Stephen Gould, Harvard’s top evolutionist,

    Last time you mentioned him, you called him a “lead evolutionist”. I asked if that meant anything. And now, rather than answering the question, you say “top evolutionist”.

    I’m just saying.

    wrote a thousand page book (SET) disproving that claim.

    The way you use that abbreviation, it looks like you don’t know it stands for the strange title “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory”. Also, it has 1300 pages, not 1000 :-)

    But to return to the point: Gould’s main claim in that book is the old hypothesis that selection occurs not only on individuals, but also on populations or even larger entities. It’s not clear if there’s even a difference between those. Gould was not quite mainstream here.

    Have you overlooked the fact that Darwin’s theory on pangenesis was refuted by Gregor Mendel and his theory on abiogenesis was refuted by Louis Pasteur?

    Neither Darwin’s theory of heredity nor Darwin’s hypothesis on the origin of life have any logical connection to the theory of evolution. They have nothing to do with each other, except for the person of Charles Darwin. And persons are the one thing that doesn’t matter in science.

    Funnily enough, the theory of evolution would be in deep trouble if Darwin’s remarkably Lamarckian theory of heredity — blending, rather than discrete, inheritance — were correct! It works a lot better with Mendel’s theory of heredity (plus the occasional mutation).

    Oh, and, besides, Pasteur didn’t even disprove Darwin’s hypothesis on the origin of life. He didn’t rebuild Darwin’s scenario. Darwin’s hypothesis is probably still wrong… but, see above, who cares; we’re talking about evolution here, not about the origin of life, nor about Darwin.

    Darwin himself listed four objections that he recognized if not resolved would be fatal to his theory: 1) Lack of transitional fossils. 2) The incredible complexity of such organs as the eye. 3) The development of instincts in animals. 4) Sterility in crossbreeding of species.

    And then he went on, in the same fucking book, to resolve all of these objections!

    That’s his technique throughout the entire book: come up with all imaginable objections, and then refute them.

    Dude. When will you stop making such embarrassing arguments from ignorance? It is really painful to watch how you make a drooling, gibbering moron of yourself here in public. Please stop.

    Deterioration, however, is not support for evolution, is it?

    It’s actually an improvement. Why bother building and maintaining eyes when there’s no light anyway? Why not invest that energy in something else, like reproduction?

    If they were to go extinct some day, would that also be proof of evolution?

    Neither that nor the contrary.

    (Glossing over your ignorant use of “proof”, which doesn’t exist in science anyway, and assuming you meant “evidence”.)

    Evolution is suppose to evolve new things.

    Wrong.

    However, a creationist would suggest that over time, if there is no need for eyes, no advantage, then fish will lose the ability to see.

    Why wasn’t it created without eyes right away?

    It is natural cross-breeding and information is lost, not gained as we’ve scientifically concluded after decades of experimentation with fruit flies.

    Define “information”.

    With dogs, breeders can select out or in certain dog traits, but never those of a cat (unless artificially introduced).

    Sure they can, they just have to wait for the appropriate mutation. Most dogs have shorter snouts than wolves; cats, too, have short snouts… Already happened.

    The Ozark fish, blind or seeing, will always be a fish. A blind Ozark fish is no closer to evolving into an amphib[i]an than a seeing one would be.

    Completely irrelevant. Evolution doesn’t work according to Marxism, you see. There is no progress. Whatever works works. The theory of evolution is the explanation for the diversity of life.

    You asked why a designer would make an Ozark fish blind, but is that a scientific question?

    Of course it is (once we assume a designer). More yet: it is a necessary question, because if the designer is ineffable, the hypothesis of his/her/its/squid’s existence is unfalsifiable and therefore outside of science.

    You fail at basic science theory. Why am I not surprised.

    There is a known mechanism for creating life according to creation but not according to evolution.

    Miracles are a known mechanism? What next?

    When your mother gave birth and created you alive (when nine months earlier you weren’t) that was not evolution. That involved amazing design.

    All I can say is TSIB. What happened there was the fusion of two living organisms (egg cell and sperm cell) into one (zygote), followed by application of the two half templates contained therein (DNA). No design. No creation. Nothing, just gene expression.

    <headshake>

    The fossil record indicates completely designed creatures (beginning with the Cambrian Explosion) which is what creationists anticipate.

    The fossil record doesn’t begin with the Cambrian Explosion, o ignoramus (there were mollusks over ten million years earlier, just off the top of my head), and the Cambrian Explosion took fifty million years! Some explosion!

    Evolutionists would expect continuous evolving (since its ‘mechanism’ doesn’t honor the Sabboth) such that all fossils would be transitional making classification impossible.

    And that’s exactly what’s happening. =8-)

    That’s the replacement of rank-based nomenclature by phylogenetic nomenclature; look up its Wikipedia article or its future body of rules.

    Define anything — “mammal”, “bird”, anything –, and I’ll find a big problem with the definition, unless that definition happens to be in terms of ancestry (such as “the last common ancestor of A and B, and all its descendants”, for example).

    The record also shows no order from simple to complex

    Indeed not. It does, however, show only (relatively) simple organisms first, and more complex ones turning up later (in addition to the simple ones). And that’s exactly what we’d expect. Why would we expect the simple ones to all die out? In some environments it’s an advantage to be simple.

    The same index fossils show up at different levels of strata and even show up, alive, today (which kind of makes them useless as index fossils).

    Not all fossils are index fossils. I mean, please.

    There is no recapitulation

    Not quite — because development, too, evolves.

    or vestigial organs.

    No, there are still plenty of them. Your coccyx has been mentioned. Your appendix — yes, there is immune-system tissue in it, but no more than throughout the rest of the gut. And then of course there are the eyes on all those cave fish!

    Uses are being discovered for even ‘junk’ DNA.

    A tiny, tiny part of it.

    Nobody has yet suggested a function for the over half of your genome that consists of retrovirus corpses in all stages of decay, nor yet for most of the rest, which consists of endless repetitions of sequences of 2 to 4 bases. It’s also difficult to imagine one, don’t you think? Yet it’s not at all difficult to explain how all that junk got there, and why we can’t get rid of it.

    Purpose and intent are evident throughout just as a creationist would anticipate

    Mutation and selection are a much simpler explanation, and therefore to be preferred…

    All accurate measurements indicate the earth is much too young for any sort of evolution to have taken place.

    See above, and comment 1317.

    Then, consider the problems with life arising by chance – problems with chirality, with unreactivity, ionization, mass action, selectivity, solubility, sugars, etc.(we can go into detail on any one of these if you’d like).

    Oh yes, let’s go into detail on all of those — but after you’ve read the relevant Wikipedia articles and/or watched the relevant YouTube videos (there are a couple of really great ones out there).

    Also keep in mind that none of this matters for the theory of evolution. Being defined as “descent with heritable modification”, it starts when the first self-replicator is there; all that comes before is irrelevant.

    By the way, there is no need to be insulting. You are coming closer to being excluded from further discussions which would be a shame because you are hitting on some good points.

    If you exclude everyone but yourself from further discussions, you’ll never find out if you’re wrong.

    Is that deliberate…?

    Because Truth matters

    Then why have you learned so pathetically little about it? Why do you parrot such transparent misinformation? Why do you keep making arguments from ignorance? Oh, and, why did you parade the dishonest, evil Duane Gish as a scientist?

    I love the video on YouTube where Potholer54 debunks the idea of a dinosaur bone being carbon dated. “Oi Hovind! We can’t date this, there’s no f@#ken carbon in it!”

    Yes — while it’s still an oversimplification, it’s a very good introduction. The same holds for “The Age of Our World Made Easy” which pops up right afterwards.

    Specifically, Pasteur was arguing against people who still thought that maggots in rotting meat and mice in granaries might be formed by spontaneous generation.

    No, nobody believed that anymore. What he disproved was the notion, still widespread at that time, that fermenting microorganisms form spontaneously.

    I was once a convinced Clausist

    What’s that? Wikipedia doesn’t have an article on Clausism. It has an article on this particular Claus, who might be relevant, but it doesn’t tell.

  287. AnthonyK says

    David tl:didr. Excellent.
    One little criticism however (though I hardly dare!) – too many fucking fonts.
    ‘K?

  288. David Marjanović, OM says

    Speaking of transitional fossils:
      Use and Abuse of the Fossil Record: The Case of the ‘Fish-ibian’
    http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/fishibian.html

    A good article, by an author who presented a talk on paleoclimatology at the SVP meeting last year. In the interest of pedantry, though… she missed a few things that are outside her apparent area of experience.

    Ichthyostega was incapable of putting its feet on the ground. That’s been known since the early 1990s. If it ever moved on land at all, it did so like a seal.
    – In the three drawings of skulls of “modern fishes”, the “frontal” and “parietal” are the parietal and postparietal, respectively. That’s been suspected since the early 20th century and demonstrated with the discovery of Panderichthys a few decades ago, but the ichthyologists are only now beginning to notice. Their traditional nomenclature for skull bones comes from a futile attempt to directly see the mammalian pattern in carps, trouts, and the like. “Dermosphenotic” my ass, it’s just the intertemporal…
    – Most importantly, Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, Acanthostega and Ichthyostega are just four examples out of a vast array of relevant animals. Here is the latest addition; click on the links on the left to learn about the other Devonian ones — and just the Devonian ones; there are lots and lots in the Carboniferous, starting with this one.

  289. AnthonyK says

    “I was once a convinced Clausist”
    The one I followed was the Sanity Claus. You can see why I left the faith.

  290. Steve_C says

    Can you say smackdown?

    Wow Nat, what’s it like to have your ass handed to you like that? Must be demoralizing.

  291. Owlmirror says

    I was once a convinced Clausist

    What’s that? Wikipedia doesn’t have an article on Clausism. It has an article on this particular Claus, who might be relevant, but it doesn’t tell.

    The only One, True Claus is the fat man in the red suit with white fur trim who maintains a worldwide espionage network to determine behavioral metrics for toy distribution a few days after the winter solstice. Believing in him is one of the required characteristics for getting on the “nice” list, and thereby receiving toys rather than nothing at all. ¹

    _______________________________________________

    1: Some say the naughty receive coal, but this is a minority opinion. Why would Claus wish to harm coal miners and distributors by undercutting their prices and perhaps even depleting their coal seams? And that’s not to mention the insanity of providing known naughty children with a combustible material. Pyromania starts in very young children.

  292. Iain Walker says

    Nat (#1306):

    What, no “Dear Iain Walker”? Guess I really am out of the conversation.

    Right, then …

    In moments of honesty, evolutionists tell me that natural selection is actually a tautology.

    I suspect that “evolutionists tell me” really means “I once read some selective quotations on a creationist website”. That aside, the claim isn’t true. The idea that “the survival of the fittest” simply means “the survival of those who survive” is based on a misunderstanding of what evolutionary “fitness” means.

    The fitness of an organism is defined not merely in terms of its survival to reproduce, but in terms of what it is about its phenotype that tends to make it more or less likely to survive in a given environment. To put it another way, what makes an organism fit (or unfit) is how it is put together and how it interacts with its environment. Consequently, it is not tautologous to speak of “the survival of the fittest”, because this means more than “the survival of those who survive”.

    The confusion usually arises because population geneticists traditionally use survival rates as a measure of fitness. However, a measure of something is not the same as a definition of it.

    Otherwise, evolutionists would be recommending that we all live near nuclear power plants to increase mutations and speed up the evolutionary progress.

    Why would they do that? Accepting that a process occurs is not the same as wanting to encourage it.

    As for evidence for creation, if there are only two theories, two options, then scientific evidence against one constitutes scientific evidence in favor of the other.

    Fallacy of the False Dilemma alert! The fact that only two alternatives are being offered for consideration in this debate does not show that they are mutually exhaustive of the possibilities.

    Have you overlooked the fact that Darwin’s theory on pangenesis was refuted by Gregor Mendel and his theory on abiogenesis was refuted by Louis Pasteur?

    Pangenesis was a problem for Darwin because he couldn’t get it to work with his theory of natural selection. It actually turned out that the Mendelian mechanism of heredity was the very thing that made Darwin’s mechanism viable. So far from falsifying Darwin’s theory, Mendel made a major contribution to it.

    And Darwin himself was somewhat skeptical of spontaneous generation (as you’d have realised if you’d read the Pasteur link I provided for you), which Pasteur did indeed refute. But as people keep pointing out, and you keep ignoring, Pasteur’s limited experiments did not refute abiogenesis (which was never an integral part of Darwin’s theory anyway).

    There is a known mechanism for creating life according to creation but not according to evolution.

    “Goddidit” is not a mechanism, let alone a known one. A mechanism is process whereby you can show how a causal relation is obtained. Simply asserting a causal relation without attempting to describe the “how” is the complete opposite of appealing to a mechanism.

    When your mother gave birth and created you alive (when nine months earlier you weren’t) that was not evolution. That involved amazing design.

    Hmm. By this (re)definition of “creation”, you create your own turds whenever you go to the toilet. Well, I suppose that if creationism is to be understood in those terms, it would explain rather a lot …

  293. AnthonyK says

    Thanks Owlmirror. Now this thread will just descend into another Clausist debacle.
    The evidence for his existence is still strong, though somewhat age dependant.
    He did exist. He doesn’t now. Get over it.

  294. says

    Wow Nat, what’s it like to have your ass handed to you like that? Must be demoralizing.

    Nat couldn’t recognise his arse from a hole in the ground… let alone just why he got completely ripped apart.

  295. David Marjanović, OM says

    too many fucking fonts. ‘K?

    Why? I used only two. I’ve made some with three…

    “Clausist”: <headdesk>

    Well, not even I can deny the existence of Sanctacaris.

  296. Sven DiMilo says

    Yeah, great…next some troll shows up and starts spouting the Kringle heresies.

  297. AnthonyK says


    This is professor PZ Myers here. There will be no more talk of Clausism on this thread.
    That is all

  298. AnthonyK says

    I was no good at religious studies at school. I could never get my head around factions.

  299. KyleM says

    Kel, Iain, Owl, Anthony, and SO many others – Thank you. This has been thoroghly enjoyable reading over the past week – keep refreshing to see your posts. This is my first comment on the thread.
    Nat wrote “As for evidence for creation, if there are only two theories, two options, then scientific evidence against one constitutes scientific evidence in favor of the other” – everything else you wrote has been thoroughly trashed by intelligent arguments with evidence from others on this thread, but I didn’t see anyone point out your logical fallacy here. Even assuming there are only two options, and even if you could falsify evolution (which you obviously cannot) it absolutely in no way validates your argument. Only with evidence FOR your option will you have evidence.

  300. Watchman says

    True enough, Kyle, but I should point out that Iain Walked sounded a “Fallacy of the False Dilemma alert!” in his post, comment #1347. Good on you both, then!

  301. Wowbagger says

    Heh heh heh. We’re not just watching Nat having his ass handed to him; Owlmirror and David Marjanović are playing keepaway with it first. And Iain Walker’s getting some time with it as well.

    The lesson: don’t come to Pharyngula and let your mouth (or, in this case, your fingers) write cheques your ass can’t cash. Because your ass will get taken away and kicked around a great deal before being handed to you. Over and over and over again.

  302. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    The same index fossils show up at different levels of strata and even show up, alive, today (which kind of makes them useless as index fossils).

    Reading quickly, I missed this earlier and caught it while perusing David’s comment #1341. The point merits additional commentary, so I’m going to add to David’s comment.

    First, strata is an old, rather outdated, and awkward term. It’s imprecise. Some people use stratum to refer to a formation; some for a subdivision within a formation. It not precise enough to be a good term and we shouldn’t use it. Same with layer. It’s just as imprecise. Bed is better, as long as you’re using it as viewing it as being nested within higher level stratigraphic units such as formation. In fact, if you’re not using these terms as nested, then you should just probably not talk about stratigraphy. See my comment #582 in this thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/04/kent_hovind_at_st_cloud_state.php

    Second, to your complaint, Nat, that some index fossils show up in different layers of strata; I presume that you’re talking about fossil organisms? If so, then I’m going to presume that the source you have used for this information is using the term “index fossil” incorrectly. If they are using it correctly, then they’re just deluded and making shit up. As David alluded, not all fossils are index fossils, and as you yourself recognized, if the critters cross lots of time, then they’re poor index fossils and thus not strong evidence against anything.

    Like everything else in science, the term “index fossil” has a specific definition. Index fossils are those fossils that indicate a particular time period, because they are only found within that time period. A good index fossil is a species that was widespread during life, is very distinctive (so as to be easily identified with confidence regardless of most taphonomic bullshit), and was very geologically short lived. The point is, that if you’re using a species as an index fossil, then where ever you find that species, you know the age (within a range, depending on some other variables) of the rock that contains it. Species that cross “lots” of time are poor candiates for index fossils. Indeed, they wouldn’t even be used as index fossils unless there is simply nothing else in the geoolgy of note that can be used to pin an age.

    Again we run into the problem of strata as a term. If an fossil’s range extends beyond several beds, there isn’t necessarilly a problem with using it as an index fossil. In fact, if it is only found within a couple of beds, and we’re using bed as properly nested within formation, then in most sedimentary regimes that critter will be a spectacular index fossil. If it crosses several formations, then we might have a problem depending on the paleoenvironment and the rate of deposition.

    So, in short, stating that index fossils are found at different layers of strata somehow weakens evolution (or is evidence against an old earth) is poor reasoning. If a fossil species crosses “a lot” of time, we won’t use it as an index species. Index species is a defined term. We don’t apply it willynilly to every critter we find, and creationists don’t get to do that, either. We defined the term and we’re the ones who use it. If some creationist source is using it improperly to support their arguement that the earth isn’t old, they’re just making themselves look foolish. It does nothing to weaken our science.

  303. Owlmirror says

    Oh, and don’t forget Josh. He’s the actual geologist. I just knew how silly Nat was being with that 60,000-year-old carbon-dated dinosaur bone with blood vessels (etc), and had to laugh; Josh actually went into the details.

    BTW: Josh, David M., Iain W: kudos for the excellent effort, but I really think you’re talking way above Nat’s head. You’re thinking and talking at least “college graduate” level; I think you need to keep the vocabulary and details to “high-school” level or lower, to get through to him.

    Remember, the Dunning-Kruger effect does not just mean he’s overestimating his own competence… it also means he’s underestimating your competence. Words he doesn’t understand are words that have no meaning at all.

  304. Nat says

    Dear Dave Marjanovic – Sorry about not including you in my most recent response. Yours came in after I had reviewed the others. Sorry to have kept you up so late.
    In any case, I was surprised that you wrote, “Evolution starts with the first self-replicating entity, not at the beginning of the universe around 10 billion years earlier.” You are the first evolutionist I’ve heard say this. But does this now mean that you concede that the creation was the result of a Creator, if not a result of evolution? Yet, you are familiar with the terms, ‘Cosmic Evolution’ and ‘quantum cosmology’? Steve Weinberg in “Origins,” Science, vol.230 (Oct 4, 1985), p.16 claims, “The theory of stellar evolution allows one to deduce the age…(The result, by the way, according to this evolutionist is that these clusters of stars are about 10 billion years older than the the universe!)” Alan Guth (another evolutionist) in “Cooking Up a Cosmos,” Astronomy, vol.25 (September 1997), p54 remarks, “So, in the inflationary theory the universe evolves from essentially nothing at all…” Isn’t that great science! Won’t you acknowledge with all the astrophysicists that there is more than just biological evolution?
    Next topic. When I asked you to give me an example of scientific evidence which you think fits evolution, you replied, “See above.” I like to be accurate so would you mind being a bit more specific?
    You commented, “That, incidentally, is why creationism is not science: it is incapable of answering the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?”. That is not true at all. For example, it is claimed that evolution has been impacting living things for millions and even billions of years. If it were doing so today (and there is no reason why it would suddenly have stopped), I would know that I am wrong. How would you know if you were wrong?
    I wrote, “Darwin’s finches evolved into…finches. The peppered moths evolved into peppered moths.” and you responded, “So what? That’s still evolution.” Not so! That is simple cross-breeding. Evolution is vertical change between kinds, not horizontal change between types within kinds. Every creationist, myself included, would agree with your definition of evolution. But a creator is needed to get different kinds of creatures.
    You wrote, “Why does everything need to happen so fast that you can observe it within your puny lifetime?” It doesn’t. One experiment involving the dripping of tar has been underway for over 115 years; many go several generations. However long it lasts, the scientific method still requires observation, quantification, replication, etc. You could watch for evolution for millions of years and still never see one kind change into a different kind.
    You wrote, “Nope. Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils, and the fossils by their sequence.” Let me remind you that the evolutionists looked at strata in eastern Canada, the Paris Basin and northern England and from that scanty review determined the whole geologic column sequence for the whole world, which obviously resulted in lots of problems. For example, the sequence in the Grand Canyon (which itself doesn’t display the complete geologic column) skips and repeats – all sorts of confusion with ‘younger’ layers below older ones, etc. If today you were to find an unusual rock and take it to your geologist, he will ask you to take him out to the strata where you found it and dig around to find an index fossil. If the index fossil is a million years old, he’ll announce that to be the age of your rock. He dates your rock by the age of the index fossil. But before you two leave each other, don’t forget to ask him how he knows that the index fossil is a million years old. He’ll reply because it was found amongst rocks, like yours, which are a million years old. He dates the index fossil by the age of your rock. That is circular reasoning.
    You wrote, “It means that new species arise from small founder populations within a few tens of thousands of years, rather than from large founder populations (like the entire ancestral species) over hundreds of thousands of years. You need a very detailed fossil record.” I understand that theory but I’m interested in the facts. Give me scientific facts in support of this theory. Diatoms over the last two million years have ‘evolved’ into diatoms, just as a creationist would expect.
    Just before Gould died in 2002 (as you correctly noted) he wrote, ‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. . . . To preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.’ [‘Evolution’s erratic pace,’ Natural History (1977), 86:14]. Did you get that? ‘We never see the very process we profess to study.’ Some science! His way around the problem with punk eek theory was the same type of non-scientific baloney offer by the ‘hopeful monster theory.’ We’ll simply say the reason we have no scientific evidence is because evolution works too slowly to measure, but the changes come too quickly to be identified in the fossil record. What a cop-out. That’s amusing philosophy but that’s not science
    You write, “and indeed we find much more gradual transformations in the fossil record, like the vast array of Cambrian forms between something priapulid- and nematode-like on the one hand (the palaeoscolecids most notably) and the onychophores, tardigrades, and arthropods on the other, or between mollusks, annelids and brachiopods + phoronids.” Dave, you know darn well that these palaeoscolecids from Scandinavia were ALL assigned to species of Hadimopanella (although the researches acknowledge that they could be misidentified as Sahascolex Labyrinthus; the poor preservation of the individual sclerites does not allow a detailed systematic allocation). Can’t you find anything clearer than these? They were only discovered a year or so ago and the case on them is far from being closed. How about transformations among apes and men, like the Piltdown Man, or Peking Man, or Nebraska Man, or Java Man, or Lucy, etc.?
    When I concluded, “you asked what the Designer did, but you know better than to ask an historical question when IDers only deal with scientific questions.” you then replied, “This is a scientific question…History, too, is a science, you see…” Oh, sure, I see. Let’s be loose with our terms when in a bind. Let’s call whatever we want a scientific question…philosophy, history, comedy, math, religion… How does one know in your scheme of things what would not qualify as a scientific question? Ah, forget that query of mine. I want to stick with real science. You get side-tracked if you like.
    Sounds like you’ve still got problems with my definition of the 2nd Law. Let’s take a look at what Isaac Asimov wrote, “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal (June 1970), pp.4-10: p. “Another way of stating the Second Law, then, is: ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly…in fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself – and that is what the Second Law is all about.” John Ross in “2nd Law of Thermodynamics,” Chemical and Engineering News, vol 58 (July 7, 1980), p.40 as a Harvard professor said, “…there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems…” And Emile Borel showed that no finite physical system can be considered closed.
    On the next topic covered, I wonder, Dave, whether you saying that if we don’t yet understand at this point why a chromosome has two telomeres in the middle, running in opposite directions, and an additional centromere identical to an ape’s that it therefore is defunct and purposeless junk for humans and apes share many genes since we are physically similar in many ways? Be patient and like lots of similar situations in the past, its design will make sense. Remember when the appendix and tonsils were thought to be useless also?
    When I pointed out that, “For any significant change, new information has to be added.” You replied, “That’s called ‘mutation’. Just a simple copying or repair mistake to DNA.” My point is that the DNA hasn’t received any new information. Copying or repairing what was already there is insufficient. A mutation is damage to a gene, not the addition of new information to that gene which would allow it to become something new.
    Dave, You’ve asked me to, “Define kind taking genes into account.” I would define ‘kind’ as the taxonomic classifications of “genus” or “family” with the corresponding genetic compliments. May I ask you to define species taking genes into account?
    You comment was, in response to the web sites which I recommended, “They keep parroting the same nonsense as every cdesign proponentsist that comes here — the same arguments from ignorance, quote mines, distortions, half-truths, and so on.” I had asked earlier for one example, just one. I’ve found that talk is cheap. You say that there are so many. So can’t you identify just one?
    Dave, you profess to agree with my description that, “Generally a law is a description of a regularity in nature and a theory is an explanation of that regularity.” but you don’t like my simpler way of looking at it claiming it is “completely different – and wrong.”. Well then Dave, please explain to me the Law of Evolution.
    On the next matter, I replied, “You write that Newton and Kepler lived before evolution was formulated as a theory. The trouble is that, by definition, a scientific theory also has to be falsifiable. Evolution has never been formulated in this fashion.” In turn, you then remarked, “So you change the topic rather than acknowledging your mistake.” If you read Plato, Aristotle, etc. you will find that they all had theories but they too were not falsifiable. And they were as scientifically weak as Darwin’s. I made no mistake to acknowledge. By the way, all Darwin proved was that cross-breeding (within kinds) can happen. All creationists believe likewise. What hasn’t been proven scientifically is that kinds themselves can evolve into new kinds of creatures – from molecules to man. Darwin did not deal in the Origin of Species with the origin of species (but it is insightful that in the last paragraph of the last page he concludes that it was all “originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms…” Would you give as much credit to the Creator today?
    Ha! I’m not surprised that you’ve heard of Duane Gish. Sounds like by calling him the “fucking epitome of intellectual dishonesty” you are still fuming. You made me laugh. Are you still frustrated over his track record of revealing to audiences during debates on university campuses throughout the USA and around the world the paucity of scientific evidence and the illogical claims of evolution, while at the same time presenting lots of scientific evidence in favor of creation? I know how you must feel I used to be an evolutionist, too. And do you recall that he won over 334 debates against the top evolutionists at the time? Admit that this is the reason why Nick Gotelli won’t accept any debates. He’d get wiped out because audiances can see through intellectual dishonesty! But you must not know who Gish actually is for it is simple ignorance to claim that, “Gish was not a scientist — he did not do science.” Gish received his B.S. in chemistry in 1949, then a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1953. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow (1953-56) as well as Assistant Professor (1956) at Cornell University Medical College (where he taught science), then returned to Berkeley at the Virus Laboratory of the University of California as Research Associate in biochemistry (where he ‘did’ science, 1956-60). He had the unique opportunity of collaborating with two Nobel Prize Winners, Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud at Cornell and Dr. Wendell Stanley at Berkeley (where he ‘did’ science). He then worked as a Senior Research Associate in biochemistry for eleven years at the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan (where he ‘did’ science). Didn’t know this, did you.
    You finally conclude with, “LOL! And you think our time is? …But we’ve got lives, you see…What did I just say about my time not being cheap? I give it away for free. I should have gone to bed long ago. Grmpf.” Hey, Dave, I’m feeling the same way. Let’s rein ourselves in and settle on one topic at a time. We are touching on too much and spending hours replying to each other. Shall we start (and limit ourselves) to the age of the earth, until that is addressed, to both of our satisfaction?
    (because Truth matters)
    Best wishes,
    Nat

  305. Watchman says

    If it were doing so today (and there is no reason why it would suddenly have stopped), I would know that I am wrong.

    Nat. You’ve just admitted that you’re wrong. Congratulations, there’s hope for you yet.

  306. says

    But a creator is needed to get different kinds of creatures.

    So all those instances of observed speciation, that’s God making population genetically isolated from another?

  307. Watchman says

    By the way, Nat, I am sorely tempted to challenge your claim that you studied Evolution at Dartmouth. Nobody who had done so could possibly be as ill-informed as yourself. However – not that I expect you to care – I’ll cut you some slack on this point, and assume that you slept through class, rather can accuse you of bald-faced lying.

    Either way, given that the last class you took was at least 35 years ago, don’t you think it’s time for a refresher?

    That is simple cross-breeding.

    Wrong.

    Evolution is vertical change between kinds, not horizontal change between types within kinds.

    Wrong.

    Every creationist, myself included, would agree with your definition of evolution. But a creator is needed to get different kinds of creatures.

    How sad. Stuck on “kinds”, are we? Just like a good little creationist.

    Yes, Gish has a resume, he has degrees. That doesn’t make him right. Hey, even Jonathon Wells has a PhD, and he’s one of the most intellectually dishonest “scientists” of our age. You revere Gish not because he’s right, but because he tells you what you want to hear.

  308. Josh says

    Just before Gould died in 2002 (as you correctly noted) he wrote, ‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. . .

    Actually, Nat, we were discussing this quote when I was in early graduate school and I got my PhD before Gould died. I think he said that in the late 70’s.

  309. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Nat, show us the physical evidence for your god. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, not natural, origin. Otherwise, all you have is the idiotic blather you excrete. God first, then we talk about what he did.

  310. Josh says

    Not so! That is simple cross-breeding. Evolution is vertical change between kinds, not horizontal change between types within kinds.

    Nat, seriously, you don’t get to tell us how our theory works. I can go tell an architect that the chimney she’s designing isn’t a chimney at all, but instead is just a footer. I can do that. But I shouldn’t expect her to take anything I have to say seriously thereafter. I’m not a architect. I don’t really have a say in how they do their jobs. You guys should really just let us do ours, or stop using the fruits of our labors (you know, petroleum, for example).

    I don’t have a problem with you disputing that evolution has occurred because you dispute evidence as existing. That is at least something that we can discuss. But you’re saying: no, that thing you’re showing me there, which I acknowledge is evidence–that stuff isn’t part of the theory that you guys study professionally. Saying that isn’t just insulting, it’s…well, a little crazy.

    I’m also concerned about your use of horizontal and vertical. That language suggests to me that you expect evolution to have some “vertical” progression from “less evolved” to “more evolved.” If that’s the case, you really need to read some more, because you’re very misinformed about what the theory actually states. Evolution does not state that organisms go from less evolved to more evolved. That statement doesn’t make sense. Two organisms that each have a common ancester are each just as evolved from that common ancester.

    Every creationist, myself included, would agree with your definition of evolution.

    Then, gasp, shock, maybe there’s some common ground in our future after all?

    Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

    But a creator is needed to get different kinds of creatures.

    Please–show us some evidence that this statement is true.

  311. says

    “Evolution starts with the first self-replicating entity, not at the beginning of the universe around 10 billion years earlier.” You are the first evolutionist I’ve heard say this.

    Somehow I’m not surprised by this, because by all accounts it seems you haven’t listened to a single ‘evolutionist’ ever. The only people who ever talk about evolution being a theory of everything are dishonest creationists like Kent Hovind.

    Yet, you are familiar with the terms, ‘Cosmic Evolution’ and ‘quantum cosmology’? Steve Weinberg in “Origins,” Science, vol.230 (Oct 4, 1985), p.16 claims, “The theory of stellar evolution allows one to deduce the age…(The result, by the way, according to this evolutionist is that these clusters of stars are about 10 billion years older than the the universe!)”

    Cosmic evolution has nothing to do with biological evolution. Cosmic evolution – how the cosmos formed. Biological evolution – how replicating life changes. Can you see the difference? Evolution in the biological sense is different from evolution in the cosmological sense.

    You are lumping all science under the one banner, evolution, instead of looking at the context in which the word is used. If you think the process of star and galaxy formation is the same process by which life changes over time, then you are seriously deluded.

  312. Josh says

    You could watch for evolution for millions of years and still never see one kind change into a different kind.

    Nat, please define “kind.”

  313. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Nat, you can’t prove creationism by proving evolution wrong. You have to show proof positive for creationism. That starts with showing physical evidence for your creator. Then physical evidence for creationism that isn’t explained by evolution. We are waiting for your proof positive.

  314. Owlmirror says

    What did I tell you? Dunning-Kruger. No doubt about it. Possibly mixed with psychopathy.

    Won’t you acknowledge with all the astrophysicists that there is more than just biological evolution?

    Of course there is, but biological evolution is the topic under discussion.

    For example, it is claimed that evolution has been impacting living things for millions and even billions of years. If it were doing so today (and there is no reason why it would suddenly have stopped), I would know that I am wrong.

    Excellent. You are, indeed, wrong. Glad to see you concede that!

    How would you know if you were wrong?

    If God showed up, and before the eyes of biologists, zoologists, and other experts, turned rocks and earth into living animals that had never been seen before, whose genomes could be examined to see that they were utterly distinct from that of all life on earth and from each other, and yet which could survive and reproduce with each other.

    Bring forth an active miracle-working God, and falsify all of biology; indeed, falsify all of science.

    However long it lasts, the scientific method still requires observation, quantification, replication, etc. You could watch for evolution for millions of years and still never see one kind change into a different kind.

    Wrong. We know from observation, quantification, and replication that evolution happens. We observe changes in the genome, quantify the rates at which they occur, quantify them between different species, and replicate those observations and quantifications between many different species.

    Evolution wins again!

    Diatoms over the last two million years have ‘evolved’ into diatoms, just as a creationist would expect.

    Creationists can’t say what they expect, since they contradict themselves all the time.

    Just as you admitted that the world is at least two million years old, in contradiction to the bible.

    We’ll simply say the reason we have no scientific evidence is because evolution works too slowly to measure, but the changes come too quickly to be identified in the fossil record.

    And yet we keep finding the transitions in the fossil record. Because they’re there. Because they existed.

    What a cop-out.

    Says the guy with no evidence of God, and no evidence of creation. Evolution wins again!

    On the next topic covered, I wonder, Dave, whether you saying that if we don’t yet understand at this point why a chromosome has two telomeres in the middle, running in opposite directions, and an additional centromere identical to an ape’s that it therefore is defunct and purposeless junk for humans and apes share many genes since we are physically similar in many ways?

    Sure we understand “why” it is: because chromosomes can fuse! Evolution wins again!

    A mutation is damage to a gene, not the addition of new information to that gene which would allow it to become something new.

    WRONG! You don’t get to define “mutation”. A mutation is any change to the genes, including point mutations, and duplication, and telomere fusion, and change in chromosome number — and any other change to the genes, because that’s what “mutation” means.

    Evolution wins again!

    “You write that Newton and Kepler lived before evolution was formulated as a theory. The trouble is that, by definition, a scientific theory also has to be falsifiable. Evolution has never been formulated in this fashion.”

    LOL!

    1) Organisms reproduce
      Falsification: Organisms that do not reproduce
    2) The offspring of these organisms vary
      Falsification: Organisms that produce only 100% exact copies of themselves (even parthogenetic organisms have some genetic variation)
    3) The environments that organisms live in varies
      Falsification: If the world were like a Platonic sphere, uniform in absolutely every respect, including light and temperature.
    4) Organisms in different environments survive better or worse depending on how their individual differences
      Falsification: If all organisms survived exactly the same regardless of environment, OR if the least adapted organisms survived contrary to the environment (e.g., naked animals with no insulation or heat-generating ability in the polar regions; thickly-furred and heavily insulated animals with no heat-loss ability in the hot tropics).
    5) Those organisms in those different environments that survive better depending on those individual differences will pass on the differences to their offspring.
      Falsification: If none of the organisms that were best adapted to some particular environment reproduced, OR if the individual differences cannot in any way be inherited.

    Evolution wins again!

    I made no mistake to acknowledge.

    You have made many many mistakes that you simply refuse to acknowledge.

    [Duane Gish has done this, Duane Gish has done that, blah blah blah]

    Never mind who Duane Gish is or what he might have done in the past.

    Does Duane Gish have any evidence for creation? NO!
    Does Duane Gish have any evidence against evolution? NO!

    REJECTED!

    …and we’re done with Duane Gish.

    Evolution wins again!

    (because Truth matters)

    If Truth matters, then stop lying!

  315. Josh says

    Okay, you know what? Fuck this.

    Nat wrote:

    You wrote, “Nope. Lyell dated the rocks by the fossils, and the fossils by their sequence.” Let me remind you that the evolutionists looked at strata in eastern Canada, the Paris Basin and northern England and from that scanty review determined the whole geologic column sequence for the whole world,

    No. They didn’t. That’s kind of sort of what happened, but it’s far enough off as to be…well…wrong. That’s pretty off topic, so I’m not going to go into detail on this aspect of historical geology unless people start asking.

    For example, the sequence in the Grand Canyon (which itself doesn’t display the complete geologic column) skips and repeats – all sorts of confusion with ‘younger’ layers below older ones, etc.

    A. What are you talking about? The geology of the Grand Canyon isn’t that complex. There isn’t all sorts of confusion. There is some minor craziness in the Precambrian section at the base of the canyon, but it’s pretty typical of the type of deformation we see in Precambrian rocks across North America. Nothing all that dramatic. The Paleozoic sediments overlying the Precambrian are mindnumbingly uniform and flat-lying. The Grand Canyon is often used to teach elementary stratigraphy because it’s so bloody simple. You need to find sources written by people who know what the hell a rock is.

    This link is to a recent bedrock map of the Grand Canyon.
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i-2688/i-2688.pdf

    The rocks are color-coded by age (i.e., the colors indicate different rock units of different age). Notice how the Paleozoic sediments of the canyon seem to follow the topographic contour lines? This is because the rocks are essentially flat lying. Yes, there are faults criss-crossing the whole bloody place (black lines). But notice that the displacement on these faults is minor because overall the geology is still pretty layer-cake. This is not complicated geology.

    This is what complicated geology looks like:
    http://www.mapsofpa.com/20thcentury/891.jpg

    B. Sometimes stratigraphic sections do repeat, with older formations overlying younger ones. This most commonly results from tectonic deformation. This is not something that geologists cannot explain, nor is it something that presents a problem for an old earth or for evolution. There is this whole subfield of geology called structure… Google “thrust fault.”

    If today you were to find an unusual rock and take it to your geologist, he will ask you to take him out to the strata where you found it and dig around to find an index fossil. If the index fossil is a million years old, he’ll announce that to be the age of your rock. He dates your rock by the age of the index fossil.

    Yes, but you are ignoring the fact that index fossils only provide relative ages. To obtain an absolute age, we date volcanic rocks that bracket the sediments (usually in other places and then correlate them). You’re telling 1/4th of the story.

    But before you two leave each other, don’t forget to ask him how he knows that the index fossil is a million years old. He’ll reply because it was found amongst rocks, like yours, which are a million years old. He dates the index fossil by the age of your rock. That is circular reasoning.

    It would be circular reasoning if you weren’t completely misrepresenting what we do. You’re telling a foolish, untrue story. I would reply, to my friend, that we have to find those same index fossils (remember the whole constraint thing about good index fossils) in other areas where the rocks that enclose them lie adjacent to volcanic rocks. We then have to obtain absolute ages from the volcanic rocks, which give us age information about the sediments that enclose our index fossils.

    If this is the kind of information about geology and evolution you’re getting from whatever sources you get your information from, you need to find new sources. Those people are fucking lying to you. They have no idea what they’re talking about.

  316. says

    If this is the kind of information about geology and evolution you’re getting from whatever sources you get your information from, you need to find new sources. Those people are fucking lying to you. They have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Because truth matters ;)

  317. Nat says

    Greetings Owlmirror – You think that dinosaur fossils are not found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, OR hemoglobin, and cannot be carbon-dated to less than 60,000 years? I don’t blame you. It would kind of screw up your belief in evolution, eh? But you haven’t done your homework. Check ??’s response
    You claim that, “Evolution shows clearly that dogs and elephants share a common ancestor from their common genes, many millions of years back.” Please share those clear scientific facts of the matter. I’d be interested.
    You said, “Gregor Mendel showed the evidence of how heredity really works. And yes, we know that Darwin was wrong about heredity.” Oh? Then why doesn’t the scientific facts discovered by Mendel which proved Darwin wrong not also prove evolution wrong? And why doesn’t refutation by Pasteur not therefore also refute evolution?
    “PZ has only mentioned it a billion zillion times on this very blog!” Be patient with me, I’ve just now discovered this blog.
    You claim, “Darwin did not list those four objects as being fatal to the theory of evolution. And indeed, they are not fatal problems to evolution.” I suspect you don’t even understand the issue. Time to do some homework. However, I do enjoy your enthusiasm for your cause!
    Ooops, you just called me a liar. Sorry to say good-bye. Read along if you’d like but no more replies from me except to encourage you to present more than grandious claims and huge generalities. Take the time now to check the facts.

    Greetings Klokwurk –
    Good job finding Schweitzer’s discovery. Is the Smithsonian the only site you checked? They’ve a good track record of censoring anything which doesn’t fit with their ideas on evolution. You’ll be fascinated by http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0306AAAS.asp. Interesting photos when you click on “Still soft and stretchy.” Also http://www.icr.org/article/2032/

    Greetings Kel –
    You wonder, “Who in their right mind would be using C14 (which has a half-life of less than 6,000 years) to age dinosaurs? That margin of error is like saying that the distance between New York and San Francisco is a matter of metres!” Exactly! So what is therefore your conclusion when fossils, coal, and even diamonds (which are too hard to be contaminated) prove dateable with C14? Hey, it is a great way for creationists to prove their case and destroy the time-line necessary for evolution.

    Greetings Liberal Atheist –
    You wrote, “Someone claimed that Louis Pasteur refuted abiogenesis. This is entirely false.” Not so, and I’m glad you caught yourself by adding, “He did refute one specific kind of abiogenesis, that’s all though.” And do you know the significance of that?
    Greetings Ragutis –
    Hey, thanks a lot for an interesting link (Christian perspective on radiometric dating): (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/RESOURCES/WIENS.html) I’ve looked it over and I’d be glad to discuss radiometric dating as well as C14 but I haven’t had a chance to read the entire article. I have saved it however, to get to when I can catch my breath. I appreciate your consideration.

    Greetings Stephen Wells –
    You are right, “specifically Pasteur was arguing against people who still thought that maggots in rotting meat and mice in granaries might be formed by spontaneous generation.” But the resulting principle is that spontaneous generation is contradicted by scientific experimentation. I disagree with you that it’s got nothing to do with the actual origin of life because chemical cycles do not naturally increase in complexity. I’ll stick with the scientific proofs rather than vain speculations because for the same reason that living human beings have human parents, any physical, living thing came from a living ‘parent.’

    Greetings Josh – “Hi Nat. Is that creation’s explanation? Because that’s how the ToE explains this observation.” Josh, I don’t know whether there is any particular stand or concensus on blind Ozark fish by the creationists world-wide. As far as I know, it’s just a scientific fact. Granted, creationists have no problem with scientific facts but we also have no problem with H2O resulting in water. Now, if what eye it has developed where none was before, that would be good evidence for evolution, but deterioration moves ‘progress’ in the opposite direction.
    You are asking good questions. Deterioration would be anything which results in less genetic information resulting in less flexibility and a lower chance of survival if and when the environment changes. Dogs can be interbred to the point where they have no hair (like some of those Mexican dogs) but if it gets to the point where hair no longer exists in either recessive or dominant genes, it can never get hairy again, unless the missing info is introduced from outside. In other words, it has deteriorated beyond personal recovery. Then, if another ice age comes and the hairless dogs freeze and become extinct (no meteor necessarily involved; the dogs just can cope and stay warm), then that wouldn’t prove evolution, would it?
    I understand the confusion because it has become worse in the last 30 years. We believe in natural selection. Creationists believe in mutations. We believe that certain traits give an advantage. But that is not evolution. Evolutionists are loose in their definitions because their credibility comes in micro (vertical), not macro (horizontal) evolution. But there is no such thing as micro-evolution. That is simply change within a kind. Perhaps the Ozark fish was designed with two eyes like any fish and over time, interbreeding amongst fish with certain mutations living in the dark resulted in a diminished abilitiy to see. That would be an interesting research project. There is interesting evidence that when mankind was created and before mutations had accumulated, we all had photographic memories and amazing abilities such as those which occasionally still pop up in idiot savants. But over time, those abilities were lost. We are now subject to over 3500 mutational disorders
    You asked me for a citation that after decades of mutating fruit flies they have remained fruit flies. Is there anybody who disagrees? For evolution to take place, there needs to be a series of accumulated beneficial mutations which will be selected. The mathematical problem for evolution comes when you want a series of related mutations. The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one in 107 x 107, or 1014. That’s a one followed by 14 zeroes, a hundred trillion! Any two mutations might produce no more than a fly with a wavy edge on a bent wing. That’s a long way from producing a truly new structure, and certainly a long way from changing a fly into some new kind of organism. You need more mutations for that. So, what are the odds of getting three mutations in a row? That’s one in a billion trillion (1021). Suddenly, the ocean isn’t big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.
    What about trying for four related mutations? One in 1028. Suddenly, the earth isn’t big enough to hold enough organisms to make that very likely. And we’re talking about only four mutations. It would take many more than that to change a fish into a philosopher, or even a fish into a frog. Four mutations don’t even make a start toward any real evolution. But already at this point some evolutionists have given up the classic idea of evolution, because it just plainly doesn’t work.
    Way back in 1967, a prestigious group of internationally known biologists and mathematicians gathered at the Wistar Institute to consider Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution. All present were evolutionists, and they agreed, as the preface clearly states, that no one would be questioning evolution itself. The only question was, could mutations serve as the basis—with natural selection—as a mechanism for evolutionary change? The answer of the mathematicians: No. Just plain no! Fruit flies will always be fruit flies.
    Again, I’m sorry but I didn’t look for a citation in assuring you that dogs can’t be turned into cats. Dogs as dogs are the status quo…pretty much common knowledge. If somebody disagrees, certainly do ask them for a citation.
    You suggest, “Let’s try to get to some sort of common ground regarding the eyes of this bugger, then we can move on to other issues.” That is fine with me. Share with me the scientific data you’ve found, unless you feel I need to look it all up myself. Disagreement is never over the actual scientific data, but rather its interpretation.
    You ask a super question, “If questions related to the designer are not scientific ones, then how can people insist that we should teaching designer-related ideas as science?” I suggest that questions related to the creator are philosophical/religious. Questions related to origins are historical. Questions related to the creation are scientific. Does that make sense. If I make an engine, can students study the engine without having to study me?
    A fish may lose its ability to see without a designer being involved (beyond giving it good eyes initially, just as our ancestors may have been given photographic memories). The environment, rather than the designer, could effect change. I suspect that the environmental effect has already been tested for.
    You ask another crucial question, “How do we test for the designer? If we can’t, then why should we care?” If you came upon a lap-top computer on the beach, would you suppose that the energy from the sun, the power of the waves, the pull of the tide, and the impact of wind on the sand made the silicon computer chips and all the rest? If not, how would you test for a designer? And if you can’t, would you care? See what I’m sayiing?

    Sorry Nerd of Redhead, you’re still out.

    Greetings Stephen Wells, Anthony, EV, Owlmirror, and Kel – if you wish for me specifically to respond to your comments, I’d be glad to if you’ll address me as Nat. Then, I’ll know to do so. Otherwise, I’ll assume you are just throwing out the comment for anybody to respond to and I’ll defer to them since I’m getting plenty to reply to as it is.

    Greetings Rev. BigDumbChimp – In response to my, “Because Truth matters,” you asked, “Is that different than TRUTH or truth?” Not to me. Truth, especially in the world of science, is not based on opinion.

    Greetings Josh – dinosaur fossils with liquid blood, flexible vessels, hemoglobin,… “Some others have batted at this one, but I’m going to address it as well. NO. There, done.” Good job Josh. Feel better now?
    “Nat, we don’t use C14 methods to date Mesozoic-aged rocks.” True. That’s where the various forms of radiometric dating comes in. But if you re-read what I wrote, you’ll realize that I’m talking about bones and as you are aware, many dinosaur bones are not completely fossilized.
    It sounds like you are saying that discordant ages are “all bullshit.” If the topic Dave
    Marjanovic settles on with me is the age of the earth, let’s pick up that thread.
    You correctly point out that (evolutionist within) the earth sciences community aren’t using C14 to date dinosaur fossils. If they did, and the public found out, how would they explain such recent ages? It could blow their cover. The other techniques used to date rocks have all sorts of problems and don’t agree with each other, sometimes with a discrepancy of millions of years.
    This paper found at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v400/n6739/abs/400058a0.html
    on Ar/Ar geochronology can be discussed if Dave wishes. If he isn’t interested, I’ll come back to this topic for you.
    You point out, in order “to address the conspiracy theory nonsense: 1. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who figured out C14 dating techniques in the first place.” And a good number of them were creationists. “2. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who figured out that C14 doesn’t work on rocks that are as old as the Mesozoic.” It doesn’t work on any aged rock. It only works on the carbon of living things. “3. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who communicated that finding to everyone else.” No problem there. “4. Physists, geochemists, and geologists are the ones who devised other dating techniques that do work in Mesozoic-aged rocks.”… granted a number of unreasonable assumptions. “Where is the conspiracy?” Well, if you find out (do a little homework) that any fossil (including dinosaur bones), coals, and diamonds produce a recent date when tested by C14, won’t you wonder why this info was kept from you?
    When I said, “We can’t get a nickel’s worth of evolution in only 60,000 years, can we?” you replied, “Yes, we can get evolution in less than 60,000 years. Specific examples have been discussed on this very blog in the past year.” I have not been privy to such discussions, having just recently discovered this blog. Would you kindly share with me your best example?

    Greetings Josh – Where did you get the idea that Darwin thought all forms are transitional? You go on to say, “The only time a species stops evolving is when it dies.” Are you confusing micro with macro evolution? Can you tell me how you have evolved since your birth? Or by evolution do you simply mean change? “Second, we don’t look for transitional forms any more than we look for missing links. We look for transitional features. This is a critical distinction.” What do you see as the difference? “The features, when used comparatively, help us to try and decipher what lineages are closely related to what lineages…patterns and trends.” Don’t forms enable us to do likewise?
    You continue, “Which would have been fatal if the eye couldn’t be explained by the ToE. It can, and has been. Not perfectly, but science doesn’t ever reach perfection.” On page 138, H.S. Lipson in “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin, vol.31 (May 1980) comments, “I have always been slightly suspicious of the theory of evolution because of its ability to account for any property of living beings.” I’m sure the story is “way cool.” Remember the story about the princess who kissed a frog and it turned into a handsome prince. Given millions of years, that’s pretty much what evolutionists believe.
    Greetings Watchman – “Nat Weeks, your “explanation” of the 2nd Law is an embarrassment to our mutual alma mater. As if “rot” is a manifestation of increasing entropy!” See Asimov’s quotation in my response #1362 last night. “On another point, please explain to me how Klinghoffer didn’t author this. What am I missing?” As I said, if you follow Prof. Gotelli’s reference, you’ll find that Dr. Klinghoffer did not author the “sneering” article which Prof. Gotelli decried as “two-faced dishonesty.”

    Greetings Watchman – “Nat, the fact that you’re talking about carbon-dating dinosaur bones reveals just how painfully ignorant you are.” If you haven’t found the references to dinosaur bones, have you found those for C14 dating coal and diamonds?
    “Vox Clamantis in Deserto?” You ever wonder where Dartmouth’s motto comes from, or Harvard’s (Veritas, Christos et Ecclesiastae)?
    I’m out of time and will continue tomorrow so as to respond to all your good comments including those I couldn’t get to this evening.
    …because truth matters,
    Nat

  318. says

    Greetings Kel –
    You wonder, “Who in their right mind would be using C14 (which has a half-life of less than 6,000 years) to age dinosaurs? That margin of error is like saying that the distance between New York and San Francisco is a matter of metres!” Exactly! So what is therefore your conclusion when fossils, coal, and even diamonds (which are too hard to be contaminated) prove dateable with C14? Hey, it is a great way for creationists to prove their case and destroy the time-line necessary for evolution.

    So if you use the tests wrong and test for things that it’s known the tests won’t work on, you can prove the timeline false? Don’t think so Nat.

  319. Stephen Wells says

    Nat’s claim that “chemical cycles do not naturally increase in complexity” is pulled directly from his rectum rather than being based on, you know, facts. You guys can fisk all the other false claims.

    I wonder what law Nat thinks forbids a cycle to increase in complexity?

  320. says

    From talk.origins
    “Any tool will give bad results when misused. Radiocarbon dating has some known limitations. Any measurement that exceeds these limitations will probably be invalid. In particular, radiocarbon dating works to find ages as old as 50,000 years but not much older. Using it to date older items will give bad results.”

  321. Wowbagger says

    Nat – tl;dr. But I glanced – you seem to doubt everything science tells us about the world. How quaint. I hope you apply the same biblical standards when you’re ill and don’t even think of visiting a doctor when you’ve got oil and a bible handy.

    Why don’t you spend some time at TalkOrigins? They explain pretty much everything you’ve misinterpreted (to put it politely) as a ‘problem’ with the numerous branches of science that support evolution.

    Go here to have all your questions answered.

  322. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Posted by: Nat | March 3, 2009 2:17 AM [kill]​[hide comment]

    Greetings Owlmirror – You think that dinosaur fossils are not found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, OR hemoglobin, and cannot be carbon-dated to less than 60,000 years? I don’t blame you. It would kind of screw up your belief in evolution, eh? But you haven’t done your homework. Check ??’s response
    You claim that, “Evolution shows clearly that dogs and elephants share a common ancestor from their common genes, many millions of years back.” Please share those clear scientific facts of the matter. I’d be interested.
    You said, “Gregor Mendel showed the evidence of how heredity really works. And yes, we know that Darwin was wrong about heredity.” Oh? Then why doesn’t the scientific facts discovered by Mendel which proved Darwin wrong not also prove evolution wrong? And why doesn’t refutation by Pasteur not therefore also refute evolution?
    “PZ has only mentioned it a billion zillion times on this very blog!” Be patient with me, I’ve just now discovered this blog.
    You claim, “Darwin did not list those four objects as being fatal to the theory of evolution. And indeed, they are not fatal problems to evolution.” I suspect you don’t even understand the issue. Time to do some homework. However, I do enjoy your enthusiasm for your cause!
    Ooops, you just called me a liar. Sorry to say good-bye. Read along if you’d like but no more replies from me except to encourage you to present more than grandious claims and huge generalities. Take the time now to check the facts.

    I am going to say this upfront so you do not feel the need to answer me. Fuck off you pompous windbag. You spend a lot of words to say “I do not believe your facts and I will repeat my garbled claims”.

    You are not going to find dinosaur fossils with organic material because the organic material is long gone and the space it occupied was replaced by other materials. In other words, dinosaur fossils (And most other fossils) are impressions left in the rock. Basic stuff but you do not have a grasp of the basics.

    Pasteur did not disprove evolution, he proved that diseases have a biological origin and that vermin did not have a spontaneous generation.

    The modern evolutionary synthesis is Darwinian selection being explained by Mendelian genetic theory. It is how organists that are able to survive long enough to breed can pass the traits that allowed them to survive.

    It is telling that you stick with 19th century figures, you know nothing of the works done in the last century and a half. You seems willing to dismiss the thousands of experiments as merely exercises in faith as opposed to an actual attempt to understand the material world.

    Nat, the simple fact that you are so able to dismiss the works of people both more intelligent and better educated then yourself speaks poorly of your values. I am not a scientist but your proud display of ignorance is insulting to me. The fact that the people you so blithely dismiss are not cursing you by now only shows they have a patience greater then mine.

    You are a liar. You have a poor grasp of the facts you spew out. Nat, you are an asshole.

  323. Owlmirror says

    OK, I think it’s time to call chatbot on Nat. Canned responses, no intelligence. Dunning-Kruger to the nth power!

    You think that dinosaur fossils are not found containing liquid blood, flexible vessels, OR hemoglobin, and cannot be carbon-dated to less than 60,000 years? I don’t blame you. It would kind of screw up your belief in evolution, eh? But you haven’t done your homework.
    Check ??’s response

    See? The data retrieval engine spat out a null pointer!

    You claim that, “Evolution shows clearly that dogs and elephants share a common ancestor from their common genes, many millions of years back.” Please share those clear scientific facts of the matter. I’d be interested.

    Nah, you wouldn’t. Why should I look up pages and pages of papers and references only for you to reject them all?

    “Gregor Mendel showed the evidence of how heredity really works. And yes, we know that Darwin was wrong about heredity.” Oh? Then why doesn’t the scientific facts discovered by Mendel which proved Darwin wrong not also prove evolution wrong?

    Because being partly wrong doesn’t mean entirely wrong — especially since “variation” in heredity is true no matter how heredity works! Modern evolutionary biology does not depend on the original theory being 100% right.

    Or do you concede that because insects do not have 4 legs, the entire bible is proven false? Then welcome to atheism!

    And why doesn’t refutation by Pasteur not therefore also refute evolution?

    Because Pasteur did not “refute” evolution!

    Sheesh.

    You claim, “Darwin did not list those four objects as being fatal to the theory of evolution. And indeed, they are not fatal problems to evolution.” I suspect you don’t even understand the issue.

    Hahahaha! I know that you don’t understand the issue at all.

    Ooops, you just called me a liar. Sorry to say good-bye. Read along if you’d like but no more replies from me except to encourage you to present more than grandious claims and huge generalities.

    Excellent! I will be so glad to be able to refute your nonsense, and not get any lies back from you.

    Hey, did you see that everyone? Nat just said that all you need to do to shut him up is call him a liar!

    “Who in their right mind would be using C14 (which has a half-life of less than 6,000 years) to age dinosaurs? That margin of error is like saying that the distance between New York and San Francisco is a matter of metres!” Exactly! So what is therefore your conclusion when fossils, coal, and even diamonds (which are too hard to be contaminated) prove dateable with C14?

    Except they aren’t datable with C14 (unless they are actually younger than the C14 limit), except to get dates which are known to be wrong. The problem isn’t “contamination”, the problem is the limits of radioactive half-life.

    Hey, it is a great way for creationists to prove their case and destroy the time-line necessary for evolution.

    No, it’s a great way for creationists to get basic geology and radiochemistry completely 100% wrong and destroy their own scientific credibility! Evolution wins again!

    Not so, and I’m glad you caught yourself by adding, “He did refute one specific kind of abiogenesis, that’s all though.” And do you know the significance of that?

    The significance is that beef broth does not yield bacteria and fungi in the temperature and lighting conditions that Pasteur had the broth in, in the time period he ran the experiment.

    Say, if Pasteur had proven that abiogenesis was true; that bacteria can spontaneously form from broth; would you agree that evolution is true?

    Hey, thanks a lot for an interesting link (Christian perspective on radiometric dating): (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/RESOURCES/WIENS.html) I’ve looked it over and I’d be glad to discuss radiometric dating as well as C14 but I haven’t had a chance to read the entire article. I have saved it however, to get to when I can catch my breath.

    Uh-huh. Then before you claim again that creationists can “destroy” the time-line necessary for evolution, make sure you read it and understand it.

    I disagree with you that it’s got nothing to do with the actual origin of life because chemical cycles do not naturally increase in complexity. I’ll stick with the scientific proofs rather than vain speculations because for the same reason that living human beings have human parents, any physical, living thing came from a living ‘parent.’

    Funny you should choose to juxtapose those two sentences, because embryological and fetal development is an excellent example of a chemical cycle that does naturally increase in complexity. Evolution wins again!

    We believe in natural selection. Creationists believe in mutations. We believe that certain traits give an advantage. But that is not evolution.

    WRONG! That is exactly evolution. You don’t get to define evolution.

    Evolutionists are loose in their definitions because their credibility comes in micro (vertical), not macro (horizontal) evolution. But there is no such thing as micro-evolution.

    WRONG!

    For evolution to take place, there needs to be a series of accumulated beneficial mutations which will be selected.

    WRONG! Evolution is the accumulation of mutations, beneficial and otherwise.

    [Garbled stupid wrong math….]

    Hahahahahah! You tried to copy and paste from some stupid AIG page, and forgot to copy the tags! Copy-and-paste FAIL!

    I suggest that questions related to the creator are philosophical/religious.

    Garbage. You’re making scientific claims about what this creator allegedly did. You bring evidence for this alleged creator in for scientific study, or get the hell out of science.

    If you came upon a lap-top computer on the beach, would you suppose that the energy from the sun, the power of the waves, the pull of the tide, and the impact of wind on the sand made the silicon computer chips and all the rest? If not, how would you test for a designer? And if you can’t, would you care? See what I’m sayiing?

    Nope! You’re making no sense at all. You seem to be saying that we both should and should not care about the designer.

    Truth, especially in the world of science, is not based on opinion.

    Great! Then you acknowledge that creationism is not truth and not science — because creationism is nothing more than an opinion!

    Evolution wins again!

    You correctly point out that (evolutionist within) the earth sciences community aren’t using C14 to date dinosaur fossils. If they did, and the public found out, how would they explain such recent ages?

    As being the result of all the C14 having radioactively decayed, which is exactly what radioactive C14 does!!!!!

    Evolution wins again!

    The other techniques used to date rocks have all sorts of problems and don’t agree with each other, sometimes with a discrepancy of millions of years.

    Dude. Stop talking about “the other techniques used to date rocks” until after you read the paper Ragutis linked to on radiometric dating. Because you’re making a complete fool of yourself.

    Well, if you find out (do a little homework) that any fossil (including dinosaur bones), coals, and diamonds produce a recent date when tested by C14, won’t you wonder why this info was kept from you?

    Not if you have any knowledge of how radioisotope testing works….

    Of course, you don’t.

    You go on to say, “The only time a species stops evolving is when it dies.” Are you confusing micro with macro evolution? Can you tell me how you have evolved since your birth? Or by evolution do you simply mean change?

    He said “species”, not “organism”. And that’s because every single organism, including all members of any given species, is a mutant. Mutation happens with every single generation — it’s just that the number of mutation is very small. Therefore, it logically follows that a species is constantly evolving: every member of the species is a mutant from each other.

    QED

    …because truth matters,

    Yeah, right!

  324. clinteas says

    *Sigh*

    Is this Nat guy for real?

    People like that are the reason that im pessimistic about the survival of the human race,this lying and distorting and misrepresenting,only to somehow integrate their via brainwashing acquired worldview with the facts,its so sad.It shows a basic flaw in the human brain,lets call it a design flaw….:-)And it turns too many people into liars and dishonest thugs.

  325. clinteas says

    *Sigh*

    Is this Nat guy for real?

    People like that are the reason that im pessimistic about the survival of the human race,this lying and distorting and misrepresenting,only to somehow integrate their via brainwashing acquired worldview with the facts,its so sad.It shows a basic flaw in the human brain,lets call it a design flaw….:-)And it turns too many people into liars and dishonest thugs.

  326. says

    When scientists find a flaw in their testing, they seek to understand why. When a creationist hears about a flaw, they sing hallelujah and declares the entire scientific endeavour dead…

    When there was C14 in coal, oil and diamonds, scientists sought to see why that’s the case. After all, C14 dating has been blind tested many times and shown to be accurate. So what did they find? that Uranium radiation was contaminating underground sources. But creationists leave that explanation out, they show utter contempt for their audience’s knowledge by asserting that not only can all dating be thrown out because of one bad result, but that creationism must be true.

    People like Nat are the arse-end of humanity, intellectually dishonest and willing to distort anything and everything in order to conform to the conclusions of his particular religion. I’m with Clinteas, this doesn’t give me much hope for humanity. Science has been the tool that has allowed our society to advance, yet we’ve made a system where intellectually-dishonest fucktards like Nat don’t need to know one bit about the processes that give him the ability to even be able to have this conversation.

    You’re a dishonest fucktard Nat, do you honestly think that the hundreds of thousands of scientists who work on geology and nuclear physics are unaware of the limitations to the method? Do you think that those scientists who come from all walks of life are all trying to suppress your holy book? Or could it be that on a topic you know next to nothing about it’s you who is mistaken?

  327. says

    Ah, well, you see, the reason why carbon-dating doesn’t always work is because the invisible leprechauns tamper with the equipment. I may know absolutely fuck-all about geology, physics or the physical sciences in general, but I know this important Truth in my heart; leprechauns are real!

    Top o’ the mornin’ to ye…

  328. says

    Oh good. I was thinking of making a long refutation of the post, but I was worried that I was going to look silly mocking a poe. Now instead it’ll just be like beating some some self-righteous twat in a wheelchair.

  329. Josh says

    Janine wrote:

    You are not going to find dinosaur fossils with organic material because the organic material is long gone and the space it occupied was replaced by other materials. In other words, dinosaur fossils (And most other fossils) are impressions left in the rock.

    Janine, that’s actually not really accurate (especially the last sentence). The simple fact that you have a dinosaur fossil does not ensure that the fossil has been completely replaced and contains no organic matter. Unfortunately, the common view that fossilization is a 0 or a 1 condition (bone versus fossil) is a complete myth. It presumes that if you take any bone and inter it in sediment for some length of time T–then after T, poof, you have a fossil which is now totally mineral. That’s not what happens (and we don’t know how long T is in any a priori sense).

    Fossils are a continuum, from essentially unaltered “raw” non-fossil objects, to objects which have been completely replaced. The process we think of as fossilization is a complex one that involves numerous variables, including everything from the pressure of the overlying pile of sediment enclosing the object to the biogeochemical actions on the object of the groundwater moving through the sediment. To blanket say that all fossils are geochemically the same (or, sadly, even similar) is like saying that all taxonomic families are defined using the same criteria and are somehow “equivalent” ranks. It just doesn’t work that way.

    I’ve seen dinosaur bones that cross almost the entire spectrum of preservation, from stuff that you’d swear went into the ground last week to “bones” that are so replaced by minerals you’d think that some gem shop technician carved and polished them from a hunk of quartz. Keeping this focused on bone (even though we don’t have to), the science doesn’t have a good handle on where to draw the line as to when that bone becomes a “fossil,” but we do know that it isn’t a question of how long the bone has been interred (or at least, it’s not entirely a question of time).

    Determining how much organic matter remains in a bone/degree of mineralogical replacement isn’t a trivial exercise. You can make a qualitative guess for objects at both ends of the spectrum based on a cursory look, but you cannot do that for most objects. For those, you’re gonna need to cut the fossil and study the bone matrix. People who quickly assert that such and such a fossil is a good candidate to have “lots” of organic matter in it probably haven’t read the literature on this subject and don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

    I wouldn’t worry about making that mistake, though. Almost everyone does. You were correct in calling Nat on the assumptions made in the earlier comment that you were pointing at, but just for the wrong reasons.

  330. passerby says

    once again…
    Nat, give us some research on Creation/Intelligent Design. Anything. Please.
    It doesn’t have to be a paper published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. A book, or even something posted on a blog somewhere on the Internet would be more than enough for a start.

    You see, “Darwinism” started from the basic hypothesis that all life on earth is a result of couple billions of years of natural selection.

    Then more research has been done, and is still being done, to refine the details of the theory. Today the “Darwinists” have detailed explanations of many aspects of their theory, and more explanations and details are being added all the time.

    We would like to see at least a bit of that from you guys.

    You have the basic hypothesis, but pretty much nothing else.
    “Life on earth is too complex to be a result of natural selection. All of it, or some of it, must have been designed by an intelligent agent for a specific purpose.”

    You are expected to work from there, do some research, discuss the results of your research with other Intelligent Design proponents, and try to fill in some of the details.

    Some research areas from the Intelligent Design perspective could be:

    1. Which biological systems are intelligently designed, and which (if any) are a result of adaptation (“microevolution”)?

    2. What are the exact limits of adaptation, i.e. how much, and in what ways, can a designed system change?

    3. Were all the designed systems designed at the same time, or at different points in time, and in what order?

    4. What does the fossil record tell us? Do the remains come from:
    a) Lifeforms that have existed at some time in the past, but do not exist anymore (if so, were they deliberately destroyed by the designer at some time or did the designer just introduce new lifeforms who eventually drove the old ones to extinction?),
    b) Lifeforms which still exist in some part of the world, but have not yet been discovered,
    c) Lifeforms which still exist and are well known but the fossilized remains are misinterpreted due to their incompleteness or different adaptations at the time when they were living and today,
    d) All of the above, and if so, which fossil belongs to which category?

    …and so on, I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas.

    And remember,
    “We don’t know and we will never know because it is too complex for us to comprehend” is not a valid answer to any question.

  331. SEF says

    See? The data retrieval engine spat out a null pointer!

    I noticed.

    Nat just said that all you need to do to shut him up is call him a liar!

    I don’t believe that – even if it accurately represented what he meant it would just be another lie. But anyway:

    Nat, you’re a liar. Not a one-off liar but a serial liar, a pathological liar who probably can’t ever manage to tell the truth about anything much (and certainly not where your religion is concerned). One of the most damning pieces of evidence against you is your claim that “You are the first evolutionist I’ve heard say this.”

    Your only possible outs for that lie include being dishonest in other ways.

    Eg.1 if you were never really listening (including earlier in the thread) – and are presumably still only pretending to listen since you demonstrably fail to take on board the information once again!

    Eg.2 you are being dishonest about the other people in the thread.

    Eg.3 you were being dishonest about having any sort of a decent education in the relevant area – including being dishonest about the nature of that education or who was (mis-)teaching you, ie only your fellow ignorant creationists.

    Is this Nat guy for real?

    He’s certainly not for truth, but he’s not (mis-)behaving in that unusual a manner within the full context of reality. Liars are the norm not the exception among humans. You’ve been hanging around too exclusively with the vanishingly small minority of truth-tellers (ie natural-born scientists) if you haven’t noticed that by now.

  332. says

    Now instead it’ll just be like beating some some self-righteous twat in a wheelchair.

    Wait as part of the global evil atheist cabal aren’t we supposed to do that?

  333. says

    Wait as part of the global evil atheist cabal aren’t we supposed to do that?

    It’s a grey area, I just tend to stay on the side of good behaviour in that respect so I can watch all the porn that Walton thinks is immoral.

  334. Josh says

    Is the Smithsonian the only site you checked? They’ve a good track record of censoring anything which doesn’t fit with their ideas on evolution.

    Nat, any support to back this up that doesn’t come from AIG? I’m sorry, but they lie about everything. They are simply off the table as far as being a source that I can accept in any way.

  335. says

    It’s a grey area, I just tend to stay on the side of good behaviour in that respect so I can watch all the porn that Walton thinks is immoral.

    So it’s kind of like a Corporate offsets for greenhouse gases.

    Can I buy your abuse of self-righteous wheelchair twat offsets?

  336. says

    Can I buy your abuse of self-righteous wheelchair twat offsets?

    Sure, go ahead. In fact, anyone who wants to abuse the tool who posted that absolute uninformed drivel is more than welcome to. It’ll take me a couple of days to write a response.

  337. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    Exactly! So what is therefore your conclusion when fossils, coal, and even diamonds (which are too hard to be contaminated) prove dateable with C14?

    Hi Nat.

    1. Please define “coal” so we know that we’re on the same sheet of music before I comment on that point. If you think that’s a pathetically silly thing for me to ask you to do, then I’m going to presume that you and I are not on the same sheet of music with respect to what constitutes coal, and that’s a problem. Coal can be a number of things. Let’s make sure that we’re both talking about the same thing, okay?

    2. Diamonds have already been dealt with. Please go follow the link that was provided and read it.

    3. HOW would being able to date fossils using C14 techniques falsify evolution? Your contention all along has been that “C14 doesn’t work for objects that are less than about 60,000 years old, so how can we say dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago”. You never said that C14 didn’t work for fossils within that age range. In fact, you wrote, in #1376:

    Well, if you find out (do a little homework) that any fossil (including dinosaur bones), coals, and diamonds produce a recent date when tested by C14, won’t you wonder why this info was kept from you?

    which implies that you think if a young C14 date were returned from these materials, it would be an issue. This requires you to accept that C14 dating works!

    So, how does the mere fact that some fossils can be dated with C14 techniques threaten evolution? Are you seriously trying to imply that there are no fossils younger than 6000 years before present? That kind of makes it hard for the flud to have generated the world’s fossiliferous deposits, doesn’t it?

  338. Stephen Wells says

    @Josh: it’s worse than you think, he’s using “prove datable with C14” when he means “contain non-zero quantities of C14 which, if you were an idiot and hadn’t thought at all about issues of contamination, you might mistake for a date at the outer limit of possible C14 dating.” Our conclusion from this, is of course, “Don’t be an idiot, and pay attention to issues of contamination”.

  339. Sastra says

    Nat #1376 wrote:

    I suggest that questions related to the creator are philosophical/religious. Questions related to origins are historical. Questions related to the creation are scientific.

    What was the mechanism used in creation?

    That’s a science question. Evolution is very specific on the mechanics of replication, variation, and selection. It doesn’t claim that there were any special forces or processes in action then, which are not directly observable now. We are always dealing within the same basic natural laws of chemistry, physics, etc.

    So what mechanism is used in special creation? Psychokenesis? Vitalism? Cosmic harmonic resonance? If you can’t discuss it in detail — or even speculate on what it is and form some testable hypotheses — then you can’t put this up as a scientific theory.

  340. David Marjanović, OM says

    Nat, you credulously believe a tale that has grown enormously in the telling from creationist to creationist. You shouldn’t. There is no liquid blood in any fossil bone.

    The ScienceBlogs comments are no longer searchable by Google (what the fuck!?!), so I have to retype all three abstracts by hand. Well, here goes. All three are summaries of a poster (the first) and two talks (the other two) presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting of October 2008.

    Lots of big words in there, I know. Please do ask what any of those mean that you don’t understand; I’m happy to educate.

    I saw the poster and talked to its first author. I unfortunately missed the talks, though — the second talk was at the exact same time as my own…

    Note the experimental approach.

    —————————————————–

    Timothy Cleland & Mary Schweitzer (2008): Preliminary investigation of microscopic integrity and molecular preservation in newly excavated dinosaurs, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28: supplement to issue 3, 64A

    Soft tissue has been recovered from [L]ate Cretaceous dinosaurs of Montana, indicating the presence of a depositional facies conducinve to preserving organic material on the molecular level. The mode of preservation is unknown; however, iron-induced crosslinking has been proposed as a possible mechanism for preservation of these components. To test the hypothesis that iron is part of the chemical pathway of preservation of these tissues that may be responsible for the persistence of these soft tissues [SVP meeting abstracts are not edited for style or anything…], additional dinosaur bony elements were collected without preservatives, using a field collection protocol designed to reduce chances of contamination or artifact. These specimens were demineralized within days of collection to verify the presence of soft tissues, and either embedded and sectioned, or chemically extracted, then subjected to multiple analyses to characterize these components. Histochemical and immunostaining were performed to detect and identify remnant endogenous organics preserved within the soft tissues. The sections were examined using analytical transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine the presence and elemental compositions of high-density minerals associated with the preserved tissues. The microstructures preserved within the dinosaur were then chemically compared to extant ostrich vessels derived from long[-]bone elements. The [ostrich] vessels were incubated in a concentrated solution of hemoglobin, as a proxy for naturally occurring processes proposed to occur during death and degradation. Comparing the chemical changes in ostrich vessel, including resultant mineral precipitation in vessel walls, provides a model for early diagenetic chemical pathways that may have assisted in the preservation of dinosaur soft tissue structures. Developing testable odels of rates and processes that may result in the preservation of cells and vessels is critical because current understanding of fossilization and/or degradation does not allow for the persistence of these soft tissue structures across geological time.

    Elisabeth Johnson & Mary Schweitzer (2008): The microbial role in early diagenetic mineralization of vertebrate soft tissue within bone, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28: supplement to issue 3, 97A

    Microbial processes assist in preserving soft tissues by inducing anoxia, chemically altering the pH of local microenvironments, and acting as passive nucleation sites through either cell bodies or biofilm secretions to induce mineral precipitation. These microbially mediated processes greatly increase the rate of mineral precipitation compared to abiotic conditions, and therefore, [sic] may play a role in early diagenetic mineralization correlated with exceptional preservation. Here, we report the results of actualistic experiments designed to test the hypothesis that microbes play an important role in early diagenesis to preserve vertebrate remains. Extant chicken tibiae were de-fleshed and either chemically degreased (simulating pre-burial exposure) or untreated (simulating rapid burial). Bones were subsequently buried in pure quartz, [sic] medium[-]grained sand and allowed to degrade for approximately four weeks. This process resulted in differential sand cementation directly adjacent to bone fragments. Cemented and unconsolidated sediments were examined for authigenic minerals and microbial biomarkers, supporting the hypothesis of microbial involvement in early diagenesis and forming the basis for a predictive model for vertebrate bone entrance into the fossil record. To test this model, we examined sediments associated with dinosaur remains from which soft tissues (vessels and cells) were recovered. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to test for the presence of microbial morphotypes in sediments, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) was used to identify authigenic mineral phases in sandstone cements and/or microbial bodies to verify these were mineralized, and not recent contaminants. Finally, chemical extracts of sediments surrounding exceptionally preserved dinosaur bones were examined by mass spectrometry for the presence of muramic acid, a biochemical fingerprint of microbes, and other biomarkers to verify the role of microbes in early cementation resulting in exceptional preservation.

    Mary Schweitzer, Chris Organ, Zheng Wenxia, John Asara & Timothy Cleland (2008): Exceptional preservation of Brachylophosaurus canadensis (Campanian, Judith River Formation, USA), Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28: supplement to issue 3, 139A

    The presence of apparently original soft tissues in demineralized Tyrannosaurus rex bone (MOR 1125) was unexpected. We demonstratedthe persistenceof these comonents (transparent vessel-like structures, two populations of cell-like microstructures, and flexible, fibrous matrix) in a variety of fossils spanning several continents, time periods, and taxa, and we showed, using immunochemistry, amino acid sequence data, and a variety of other methods, that collagen fragments were preserved in matrix tissues and chemical extracts of bone fragments in extremely low concentrations. Recently we showed that sufficient molecular signal was retained in these sequences to generate phylogenetic hypotheses that are consistent with other lines of evidence supporting the close relationship of birds and dinosaurs [bad wording]. Here, we present the results of multiple analyses conducted on the femur of an ~80 Ma [old] hadrosaur (Brachylophosaurus canadensis, MOR 2598). Hind limb elements of this dinosaur were collected specifically for molecular analyses, using a protocol designed to optimie the chances of such recovery, while minimizing introduction of contamination or artifact. We show preservation of the above endogenous components in skeletal elements of this dinosaur, and present evidence for the presence of proteins, including collagen, osteocalcin, hemoglobin, and elastin. Multiple phylogenetic analyses of amino acid sequence data place this hadrosaur well within Archosauria, closer to birds than crocodylians.

  341. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    Josh, I don’t know whether there is any particular stand or concensus on blind Ozark fish by the creationists world-wide. As far as I know, it’s just a scientific fact.

    But then you’re essentially saying that you don’t know if creationism provides an explanation for the Ozark blind cave fish.

    I wasn’t asking you for the fact. I already know what the fact is; I gave it to you. I was asking you for the theory (the explanation of the fact).

    If you’re going to call a fact scientific, then you need to be using science’s definition of fact, which is an observation that has a margin of error attached to it. I gave you that. The fact is that there is a fish that lives in the dark in caves. It’s blind, but instead of just not having eyes, it has eyes that don’t function. That’s the fact.

    I was asking you for the theory (the explanation of the fact (i.e., the explanation for why the cave fish has eyes that don’t work instead of just not having eyes at all)).

    You’ve been saying that creationism is better science than evolution. If so, then creationism must explain the same observations that evolution explains, but it must explain them better. Otherwise, why do we need creation? Science tries to explain observations with as few steps as possible. Adding a creator/designer to the mix complicates the universe rather substantially. Therefore, if you’re insisting that creationism is science, then you must have a really good reason to add a designer (like direct evidence of the designer’s existence). In short, for it to be science, a creationist explanation for an observation must be a better explanation than what we get from evolution. Otherwise, we have no need of adding the designer to the mix. And YES, if you’re insisting that creationism is science, then it’s a perfectly reasonable result of the discussion to say that the designer is untestable or unnecessary and throw her out onto the trash heap of irrelevance.

    How about we try it again? The Ozark cave fish is blind. It spends its life in the dark in subterrainian bodies of water. It has rudimentary eyes that don’t work. There is no optic nerve. This is the scientific fact (an observation of an aspect of nature). Evolution has an explanation for this observation.

    What is creationism’s explanation for this fact? Essentially: why did the designer give the fish eyes that don’t work instead of just not giving it eyes at all?

  342. David Marjanović, OM says

    Greetings Ragutis –
    Hey, thanks a lot for an interesting link (Christian perspective on radiometric dating): (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/RESOURCES/WIENS.html) I’ve looked it over and I’d be glad to discuss radiometric dating as well as C14 but I haven’t had a chance to read the entire article. I have saved it however, to get to when I can catch my breath. I appreciate your consideration.

    Well, it’s very simple. You need to read that article before you can talk about the age of the Earth. After all, it’s no use if you talk about something that you don’t understand; it would only result in us keeping talking past each other.

    You should have ended your comment right here. You are excluded from the conversation till you have read the article and demonstrate that you have understood it. Have a nice evening.

  343. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    Then, if another ice age comes and the hairless dogs freeze and become extinct (no meteor necessarily involved; the dogs just can cope and stay warm), then that wouldn’t prove evolution, would it?

    No, Nat, it wouldn’t prove evolution (ignoring the fact that we do not prove things in science in the way your’re thinking of the word prove). But, it wouldn’t falsify evolution, either. How do you think it would? And please, stop with the horizontal and vertical stuff. That isn’t how evolution works and we’re not suggesting that it does.

  344. Nat says

    Greetings Kel – When I asked that you, “Explain how you see your choice as proving or supporting evolution,” you replied, “Okay, fine.” That’s impressive. Thank you. I decided for no particular reason to start with your comments on the Tiktaalik. I’ll come back and do Archaeopteryx and then #2 and ERV-k in due time. Hope that is okay.
    You said, “We knew there were no tetrapods in the fossil record before 370MYA, and lobe-finned fish were the prime candidate for the move out of the ocean. Palaeontologists were able to look where they thought was the right place to find a fishapod and found a transitional form showing the move out of water and onto land by fish.”
    To set the stage, let’s remember that fish come in a bewildering variety of forms that defy consistent classification. As a result, there are competing classification schemes based on the particular bias of the classifier. That’s because fish comprise fully half of all known vertebrates; approximately 25,000 species of currently living fish have been identified, with 200–300 new species being discovered—not evolved— every year. Based on the fossil record, some experts claim that there were once nearly a million species of fish! It appears that over time we have lost a lot of species of but losing thousands of species of fish is hardly evolution—it’s extinction. Fish have been divided into two main types—the jawless fish (hagfish and lampreys) and the jawed fish (all the rest) which is turn is divided into the cartilaginous fish (such as the sharks and rays which have a skeleton made of flexible cartilage) and the much more numerous bony fish, which have hard bony skeletons (24,000 living species) and are divided into ray-finned fish and lobe-finned fish. The latter are divided into the Crossopterygii (coelacanths and fossil relatives).
    and the Dipnoi (lungfish) of which only three species survive. The fact that these fish can breathe air, survive out of water for long periods of time, and have the ability to pull themselves along on their bellies (i.e. “walk”) across mud flats with the aid of their fins, has caught the imagination of some evolutionists who consider them to be ancestral to tetrapods. However, the northern snakehead, the perch (Anabas testudineus) which can climb trees, and the “walking catfish” (Clarias batrachus) are air-breathing fish (and the mudskippers which breathe oxygen through their skin) are all able to travel overland for considerable distances. Yet none of these curious fish are considered by evolutionists to be ancestors of tetrapods—they are simply interesting and specialized fish. Flying fish” have never been considered ancestoral of birds. The April 2006, issue of Nature, Daeschler, et al. reported the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae preserved in sedimentary layers of siltstone, cross-bedded with sandstones, in Arctic Canada. Like the other lobe-fin fish, Tiktaalik was declared to be late Devonian (between 385-359 million years old) by means of a “dating” method known as palynomorph biostratigraphy. This method presumes to date sedimentary rock layers on the basis of the assumed evolutionary age of pollen and spores contained in the rock. Most importantly, the discoverers of Tiktaalik claim that it “represents an intermediate between fish with fins and tetrapods with limbs.” In a review article on Tiktaalik (appearing in the same issue of the scientific journal Nature that reported the discovery of Tiktaalik), fish evolution experts, Ahlberg and Clack concede that “in some respects Tiktaalik and Panderichthys are straightforward fishes: they have small pelvic fins, retain fin rays in their paired appendages and have well-developed gill arches, suggesting that both animals remained mostly aquatic. Before we get into Tiktaalik’s “legs,” it might be instructive to consider an old trick question. If we call our arms “legs,” then how many legs would we have? The answer, of course, is two legs—just because we call our arms “legs” doesn’t make them legs. All tetrapod limb bones and their attachment girdles are endochondral bones. In the case of all fish, including Tiktaalik, the cleithrum and fin rays are dermal bones. It is significant that the “earliest” true tetrapods recognized by evolutionists (such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega) have all of the distinguishing features of tetrapod limbs (and their attachment girdles) and were clearly capable of walking and breathing on land. The structural differences between the tetrapod leg and the fish fin is easily understood when we realize that the buoyant density of water is about a thousand times greater than that of air. Fin rays are relatively fragile and unsuitable for actual walking and weight bearing. In addition, even the smaller endochondral bones in the distal fin of Tiktaalik are not related to digits. Ahlberg and Clack point out that “although these small distal bones bear some resemblance to tetrapod digits in terms of their function and range of movement, they are still very much components of a fin. There remains a large morphological gap between them and digits as seen in, for example Acanthostega: if the digits evolved from these distal bones, the process must have involved considerable developmental rearranging.” So, what about the popular claim that Tiktaalik is the “missing link” between fish and tetrapods? In their review article on Tiktaalik, Ahlberg and Clack tell us that “the concept of ‘missing links’ has a powerful grasp on the imagination: the rare transitional fossils that apparently capture the origins of major groups of organisms are uniquely evocative.” The authors concede that the whole concept of “missing links” has been loaded with “unfounded notions of evolutionary ‘progress’ and with a mistaken emphasis on the single intermediate fossil as the key to understanding evolutionary transition.”(Ahlberg, P.E. and Clack, J.A., News and Views, Nature 440(7085): 747–749), 6 April 2006. “Unfounded notions” of this kind continue to be uncritically taught and accepted in the popular media and in our colleges. We can go further on this topic as you wish. As for its anticipated location in the geologic column, creationists recognize a sequence, not of evolution, but of deposition as the result of world-wide flooding. On the lowest levels, we would expect creatures on the bottom of an ocean which can’t travel to be buried by sediments first (shells & plants) followed by those in the ocean (fish), those adjacent to the ocean (amphibians), those further inland (reptiles), those at higher, cooler elevations (mammals) and finally buried at the top of the column, primates which can survive a flood longer by hanging on to floating material. And this is generally what we find.
    …because truth matters.
    Nat

  345. Josh says

    Nat wrote:

    And this is generally what we find.

    Nat, this isn’t even close to what we find.

    On the lowest levels, we would expect creatures on the bottom of an ocean which can’t travel to be buried by sediments first (shells & plants)

    On what basis are you identifying a creature as being marine? Like, for example, say we’re standing in front of an outcrop of limestone. There are a ton of fossil shells preserved through the limestone. How are you determining that these shells are marine critters?

  346. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Posted by: Josh | March 3, 2009

    I wouldn’t worry about making that mistake, though. Almost everyone does. You were correct in calling Nat on the assumptions made in the earlier comment that you were pointing at, but just for the wrong reasons.

    Josh, there is a reason why I normally do not comment on science, my knowledge is not very deep there. I know that there are people who know their stuff and they hardly need my inane driveling. But I have great respect for other people’s knowledge, especially when they are able to demonstrate it. (For the random creationist reading this, respect and worship are two very different things.) And Nat’s ignorant blathering offends me. I guess I just wanted to show that this non scientist can see through Nat’s non sequiturs.

  347. AnthonyK says

    Rarely have I come across a post here so full of sciency words and technicalish terms and yet so utterly devoid of real meaning.
    Nat, you’re yet another tedious, brainwashed-since-childhood (I’m being charitable here) christianist s fucking Witnessing on the big bad atheist site. Wanking for Jesus, again. Nat, if no-god doesn’t exist then why are you so angry with it? If we’re all going to no-hell for our non-beliefs, why are you so worried?
    Anyway, I’ll leave it to Josh, Kel, David, and our other eloquent experts here to rebut your foolishness in detail, if they can be bothered to do it yet again, but I fear that they will fall on deaf ears – in your case because they are entirely full of jesusjism.

  348. Stephen Wells says

    Nat’s copy-paste includes a claim that “some evolutionists” have considered modern lungfish to be ancestral to tetrapods. This claim is false; your cousin is not your granny.

    Per creationism, there’s no reason for Tiktaalik to exist _at all_. Per evolution, there absolutely _had_ to be some creatures with transitional morphology, and they _had_ to be found in a certain kind of rock of a certain age. Evolution passes test with flying colours; creationists add lame apologetics and excuses.

  349. AnthonyK says

    Janine, we understand. You are forced to bear the scars of your previous fights with creationists in your very name. I feel your pain. Still, it could have been worse. Imagine if JLB had called you a “fat cumswilling fuck”?
    It’s your children who would have suffered.

  350. Watchman says

    Good catch, Rev. As if it wasn’t already obvious that Nat is an AIG parrot. Cut, paste. Cut, paste. No real comprehension. No real education. No real skepticism. No real intellectual curiosity.

    Nat has his head wrapped in a hazy gauze of woo. Apparently, it runs in the family. Some of them are/were pedaling glyconutrients, dietary supplements of highly questionable value, to credulous alt-health consumers and to people with illnesses and compromised immune systems whose health care reserves could have been better spent elsewhere.

    I don’t bring this up to cast aspersions on Nat or his family. Perhaps they were taken in by the lies, distortions, and unsubstantiated claims of the charlatans at Mannatech and other glyconutrient vendors, just as Nat has been taken in by the lies, distortions, and unsubstantiated claims of the cdesign proponentsists and the charlatans at AIG. Nat seems like a decent fellow, despite his delusions and his absurd, even cowardly, refusal to even respond to anyone who dares question his integrity. Oh, the irony.

    I don’t bring it up as an implied ad hominum rebuttal of his arguments against evolution. His arguments are being effectively addressed by others here on the thread.

    I bring it up because it represents a piece of a larger pattern of anti-rationalism and gullibility. I bring it up because, as Nat is so fond of saying, the truth matters, and yet neither he, nor certain members of his family, seem to have any interest in finding it.

  351. Nat says

    Greetings again Kel – You wrote, “Archaeopteryx exhibited all the characteristics of a transitional form. Since then we’ve found many dinosaurs with feathers, more transitional stages from dinosaur to bird, and there’s even a bird in this modern day that the chicks still use it’s wings as limbs in order to hold onto branches.”
    Seemingly forgotten in all the claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs is the fact that dinosaurs are reptiles. How do we keep a cold-blooded creature alive while it evolves exceptionally high body temperatures – changing from ectothermic to endothermic? [We can talk about brooding behavior or osteons (or Haversian systems) in dinosaur bones if you wish to bring that up but even tuna fish have osteonal bone in their vertebral arches].
    All dinosaurs are divided into two major groups based on the structure of their hips (pelvic bones): the lizard-hipped dinosaurs (saurischians) and the bird-hipped dinosaurs (ornithiscians). The main difference between the two hip structures is that the pubic bone of the bird-hipped dinosaurs is directed toward the rear (as it is in birds) rather than entirely to the front (as it is in mammals and reptiles). But in most other respects, the bird-hipped dinosaurs, including such huge quadrupedal sauropods as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus, are even less bird-like than the lizard-hipped, bipedal dinosaurs such as the theropods. This point is rarely emphasized in popular accounts of dinosaur/bird evolution.
    One of the main lines of evidence cited by evolutionists for the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs is the three-fingered “hand” found in both birds and theropods. The problem is that recent studies have shown that there is a digital mismatch between birds and theropods. Most terrestrial vertebrates have an embryological development based on the five-fingered hand. In the case of birds and theropod dinosaurs, two of the five fingers are lost (or greatly reduced) and three are retained during development of the embryo. If birds evolved from theropods, one would expect the same three fingers to be retained in both birds and theropod dinosaurs, but such is not the case. Evidence shows that the fingers retained in theropod dinosaurs are fingers 1, 2, and 3 (the “thumb” is finger 1) while the fingers retained in birds are 2, 3, and 4.
    The problems don’t stop here. Bird respiration involves a unique “flow-through ventilation” into a set of nine interconnecting flexible air sacs sandwiched between muscles and under the skin. The air sacs contain few blood vessels and do not take part in oxygen exchange, but rather function like bellows to move air through the lungs. The air sacs permit a unidirectional flow of air through the lungs resulting in higher oxygen content than is possible with the bidirectional air flow through the lungs of reptiles and mammals. The air flow moves through the same tubes at different times both into and out of the lungs of reptiles and mammals, and this results in a mixture of oxygen-rich air with oxygen-depleted air (air that has been in the lungs for awhile). The unidirectional flow through bird lungs not only permits more oxygen to diffuse into the blood but also keeps the volume of air in the lungs nearly constant, a requirement for maintaining a level flight path. How do we keep this creature alive and breathing while its lungs completely change?
    If theropod dinosaurs are the ancestors of birds, one might expect to find evidence of an avian-type lung in such dinosaurs. While fossils generally do not preserve soft tissue such as lungs, a very fine theropod dinosaur fossil (Sinosauropteryx) has been found in which the outline of the visceral cavity has been well preserved. The evidence clearly indicates that this theropod had lung and respiratory mechanics similar to that of a crocodile—not a bird.(J.A. Ruben, T.D. Jones, N.R. Geist, and W.J. Hillenius, Lung structure and ventilation in theropod dinosaurs and early birds, Science 278:1267–1270, 1997). Specifically, there was evidence of a diaphragm-like muscle separating the lung from the liver, much as you see in modern crocodiles (birds lack a diaphragm). These observations suggest that this theropod was similar to an ectothermic reptile, not an endothermic bird.
    No living creature other than birds has been found to have a cutaneous appendage even remotely similar to a feather. Dinosaurs are reptiles, and so it is not surprising that fossil evidence has shown them to have a scaly skin typical of reptiles. For example, a recently discovered well-preserved specimen of Compsognathus (a small theropod dinosaur of the type believed to be most closely related to birds) showed unmistakable evidence of scales but alas no feathers (U.B. Gohlich and L.M. Chiappe, A new carnivorous dinosaur from the late Jurassic Solnhofen archipelago, Nature 440:329–332, 2006). [Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, the only ‘definitive feathered dinosaur,’ was reported with much fanfare in the November 1999 issue of National Geographic but has since been shown to be a fraud by evolutionists on the same scale of all the ape-men frauds.] If birds evolved from dinosaurs or any other reptile, then feathers must have evolved from reptilian scales.
    However, feathers are profoundly different from scales in both their structure and growth. Feathers grow individually from tube-like follicles similar to hair follicles. Reptilian scales, on the other hand, are not individual follicular structures but rather comprise a continuous sheet on the surface of the body. Thus, while feathers grow and are shed individually (actually in symmetrically matched pairs!), scales grow and are shed as an entire sheet of skin. The feather vane is made up of hundreds of barbs, each bearing hundreds of barbules interlocked with tiny hinged hooklets. This incredibly complex structure (designed?) bears not the slightest resemblance to the relatively simple reptilian scale.
    Now to Archaeopteryx which is a true bird (P.J. Currie et al., eds., Feathered Dragons: Studies on the Transition from Dinosaurs to Birds, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2004). 100% birds (such as Protoavis) existed ‘millions’ of years before the dates assigned to Archaeopteryx so how can Archaeopteryx be ancesteral and transitional? You are right that for many years Archaeopteryx has been touted in biology textbooks and museums as the perfect transitional fossil, presumably being precisely intermediate between reptiles and birds. Indeed, much has been made over the fact that Archaeopteryx had teeth, fingers on its wings, and a long tail—all supposedly proving its reptilian ancestry.
    While there are no living birds with teeth, other fossilized birds such as Hesperornis also had teeth. Some modern birds, such as the ostrich, have fingers on their wings, and the juvenile hoatzin (a South American bird) has well-developed fingers and toes with which it can climb trees.
    One of the biggest problems for evolutionists is explaining the origin of flight. To make matters worse, evolutionists believe that the flying birds evolved before the nonflying birds, such as penguins. We can talk about this further if you wish.
    My argument is that having a true bird appear before alleged feathered dinosaurs, no mechanism to change scales into feathers, no mechanism to change a reptilian lung into an avian lung, and no legitimate dinosaurs found with feathers are all good scientific indications for a creationist that dinosaurs didn’t turn into birds.
    If it is okay with you, I’ll put off #2 and ERV-k for tomorrow. I just got home from San Diego and have lots of things I need to attend to. But I’ve enjoyed taking a look at the truth of these matters with you. I’m sure other have further comments, too. I’ll try also to get to them ASAP. Best wishes to all.
    Nat

  352. E.V. says

    Uh, AnthonyK. I seem to have dazed your sensibilities with my profanity laden word train. Perhaps one day you can forgive and forget the imagery that seems to have been etched in your mind.

  353. LOLNATZ says

    Seemingly forgotten in all the claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs is the fact that dinosaurs are reptiles.

    LOL!

  354. says

    Nat, stop copying and pasting from Answers In Genesis.
    It contradicts your alleged claim of caring about the truth.

    Or, would you prefer to be referred to as a Lying Hypocrite for Jesus?

  355. David Marjanović, OM says

    BTW, Nat, I have no problem with (say) waiting for the rest of the week, but I do hope you read that article soon! I’m itching to respond to your comment 1362, which contains a misunderstanding in every sentence that isn’t a quote! :-)

    The same holds for your comment 1376, which shows very clearly that you’ve just breezed over our preceding couple of comments and not watched the YouTube video we linked to. You should watch it. You should learn.

    “Darwinism” started from the basic hypothesis that all life on earth is a result of couple billions of years of natural selection.

    Actually, in Darwin’s time, considerably less time was considered necessary and probable. The 4.56 billion years for the age of the Earth, as well as all other radiometric dates, come strictly from geophysics.

    You are not going to find dinosaur fossils with organic material because the organic material is long gone and the space it occupied was replaced by other materials. In other words, dinosaur fossils (And most other fossils) are impressions left in the rock. Basic stuff but you do not have a grasp of the basics.

    It’s true that Nat doesn’t have a grasp of the basics, but yours could be improved, too. Under exceptional conditions, organic matter can be preserved. For example, if you take silicified (petrified) wood and put it in hydrofluoric acid to dissolve the silica, you get the original cell walls, around which the silica was deposited.

    There are fossils that are infillings of the hollow spaces left behind by completely dissolved hard parts of organisms, but most fossils are original hard parts with their hollow spaces (that is, those which contained soft tissue in life) filled in by minerals; usually the original hard substance (apatite or calcium carbonate) is also recrystallized to varying degrees, which typically involves slight changes in composition, but, all taken together, when you hold a fossil bone, you’re in most cases really holding a bone — with the complications that Josh explained.

    You’re a dishonest fucktard Nat, do you honestly think that the hundreds of thousands of scientists who work on geology and nuclear physics are unaware of the limitations to the method? Do you think that those scientists who come from all walks of life are all trying to suppress your holy book?

    No.

    Being a creationist, he has never thought that far in the first place. He really does believe that everyone is just as ignorant as he is, and he really has never stopped to consider how improbable that is.

  356. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Nat, you aren’t being scientific if you are cutting and pasting from AIG, where there is no science. I’m speaking as a 30+ year practicioner of science. Try the peer reviewed primary scientific literature if you wish to back up a point.
    Now, you still need to show physical evidence for your creator before you can show any physical evidence that only backs up the theory of creationism, and is not explained by evolution. Forget birds, dating, etc. Prove your creator.

  357. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    PZ, it looks like we need to close this thread and open a new one for this topic. It doesn’t appear Nat has realized he is in over his head.

  358. Stephen Wells says

    Do you notice how in Nat’s little creationist world, all divisions are hard and sharp; cold-blooded OR warmblooded with an impossible transition. If anyone tells him about the temperature management of, say, the great white shark or the larger sea turtles, he’ll have conniptions.

    Creationism is biology for people who think the world contains horsies, doggies, fishies, bugs and people. Adults have to deal with a little more complexity than that

  359. David Marjanović, OM says

    Nat, copying & pasting from AIG wouldn’t be bad at all if the authors of AIG had any idea what they’re talking about.

    But, you see, they don’t. What you’ve pasted consists of nothing but misunderstandings, and most of those misunderstandings are misunderstandings of outdated information, outdated by decades in many cases. It’s painful to watch such incompetence at work, such delusions of knowledge!

    I am capable of writing long, detailed rebuttals of both of the AIG pages you pasted (without attribution — let’s just say that if a scientist did that, they’d be called a liar, and rightly so…), and I will do so as soon as you read the article on radiometric dating and watch that YouTube video on carbon dating and have shown that you’ve understood them (if you have questions about them, please do ask, I bet we can answer).

    Sorry for being so insistent about this. The last time I asked a creationist to read the article on dating, he still hadn’t done so when PZ closed the thread eight hundred comments later for having become too repetitive. So I think I must insist on this before continuing your education about vertebrate paleobiology.

  360. David Marjanović, OM says

    Actually, I’ll have to teach you not just a lot of vertebrate paleobiology, but also a lot of the history of that science. “Crossopterygii”? Man. That term fell out of its last vestiges of use 20 years ago, when it became undeniable that the — at the time — so-called “rhipidistians” (such as Eusthenopteron) and the coelacanths (like today’s Latimeria) are not each other’s closest relatives. It’s really impressive how far AIG is behind the times.

  361. says

    Nat isn’t arguing, he’s essentially playing a a game of copy and paste.

    Even he doesn’t understand the information he is displaying.

    So what does that say nat? Not only are you copy and pasting information (with some slight edits) from a source that is renowned for being mostly devoid of honest scientific inquiry, but you don’t even understand that.

  362. Watchman says

    David, I fear that you’ll be frustrated by Nat’s unwillingness to learn. I’d love to see him prove me wrong, though, and I don’t say that lightly.

  363. says

    But I’ve enjoyed taking a look at the truth of these matters with you.

    You haven’t discussed anything. You’ve engaged in merely regurgitating nearly directly copied passages from AIG.

    I always take the “sciency” sounding passages from long screeds like the ones posted by Nat and do a quick google search.

    Invariably you’ll find either direct plagiarism or slightly modified versions on one of the big Creationist websites.

  364. Josh says

    Seemingly forgotten in all the claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs is the fact that dinosaurs are reptiles.

    NO, they are not. Not in the way you’re thinking. Reptilia isn’t a valid organizational group unless you’re going to include birds, which kinda punches a nice hole in the whole “cold-blooded being a requirement” thing. Not to mention the fact that if there is anything about non-avian dinosaurs that we lack a real good understanding of, it’s their bloody physiology.

    And if you’re going to assert that you don’t buy that birds are classified within dinosaurs (i.e., if you’re going to assert that you dispute the current science on this subject), then why the heck do you accept the division of Dinosauria into Saurischia and Ornithischia? That division is based on skeletal features. Basal birds are classified as dinosaurs based on skeletal features. I really doubt that you know enough comparative anatomy and systematics to be able to assess one archosaur grouping as valid and another as invalid.

  365. E.V. says

    “Crossopterygii”? Man. That term fell out of its last vestiges of use 20 years ago,

    This is the crux of a much larger problem. Non-scientists (me) keeping up with the rapid re-evaluations of science and the existence of outdated textbooks. Most people’s knowledge of any science ends at graduation. Their rigid paradigm of science is how they approach everything years afterward, especially when Jeopardy comes on the tube.

    It’s the Obsolete Encyclopedia effect, most entries in the encyclopedia are out of date in just a few years. Imagine using a 1964 Funk & Wagnalls set for school term papers in 2009 and the Teachers don’t even catch on (that’s another story…)
    Crossopterygii? Hell, most people never made the transition from Brontosaurus to Apatosaurus or even why it was necessary.