Ingram Gets it Right

I’m a bit pressed for time today, so why not just have a look at this insightful op-ed by Jay Ingram in The Toronto Star. He begins:

Scientists are absolutely correct to argue that intelligent design — the claim that a designer, not evolution, created life on Earth — is not science and does not belong in science classrooms. But it might come as a surprise to many of them that simply saying so isn’t enough.

First, to understand why intelligent design isn’t science, you do have to know something about what science is.

Scientists constantly test their theories, trying to poke holes in them. They perform observations and/or experiments to do that. If their preconceptions are not supported by what they see, detect or calculate, they are discarded.

Well said. I also found this interesting

Scott Lilienfeld, a psychologist at Emory University in Atlanta, understands why. In an article in this month’s Skeptical Inquirer, Lilienfeld argues that the problem with scientists is that they expect the general public to be sensible about the whole issue and choose evolution.

But should they be? There is, of course, the issue of religion, as I just mentioned. But what about those who are on the fence, people who might be churchgoers but are not virulently anti-evolution? Is evolution the “common sense” explanation for the glorious diversity of life? No, it is not.

Evolution is hard to grasp. It only makes sense if you’re willing to give it millions of years, and if you can grasp the idea that the most infinitesimal changes in genes can, when captured by natural selection, actually create marvellous organs, like the eye, and marvellous species, from fruit flies to blue whales.

Personally, the idea that numerous small variations sifted by natural selection can lead to magnificent structures seems perfectly straightforward to me. It’s the idea of an omnipotent creator who can bring whole worlds into being with one waggle of his finger that I find hard to grasp.

Comments

  1. #1 Maria
    May 23, 2006

    Well, I think the general idea that complex things that make sense may come about without anyone specifically planning them is quite alien for most people.

  2. #2 kfnyc
    May 23, 2006

    so….

    take a stream.(not a man made one)..with rocks and logs….measure the water flow, speed, angle, variability for a while,

    Is it complex? does it make sense? was it planned?

    measure the type and amount of animals living in the stream, on the rocks, in the streambed….

    Is it complex? does it make sense? was it planned?

    Its the natural world and if we can measure how an uplift in the landscape and groundwater and rain make a stream we can also measure how animals evolved to fill the niches in that stream…complex – yes, makes sense – yes….planned – NO

  3. #3 Drek
    May 24, 2006

    I agree that the omnipotent creator argument has always seemed silly to me, but I think Lilienfeld has a solid idea. He makes the broader point in his article that rather than combating pseudoscience in a piecemeal fashion, we should fight it all at once by teaching good scientific literacy. I don’t think I could agree with him any more than I already do!

  4. #4 Dave S.
    May 24, 2006

    As a follow-up, reader Jim MacDonald sent a letter. The highlight for me:

    Evolutionary theory is just that, a theory. Once a theory is proven to be true, or false, arguments cease. The reality is that there is no proof for evolution, notwithstanding the rigours and discipline of the scientific method. The same can be said for intelligent design.

    Yes, he really did trot out the old ‘its just a theory’ line.

    But this was countered the next day with Alastair MacDonald’s letter:

    In reply to Jim MacDonald’s letter, several points need to be made.

    The word “proof” applies properly only in mathematics. It has no application to scientific theories whatsoever. No amount of evidence can ever “prove” a theory, but by the same token it is “evidence” that is the key word here.

    The theory of evolution is arguably the most successful theory science has ever advanced in terms of the massive evidence that has accumulated to support it.

    Science has been wrong before and likely will be again. But science is self-correcting ? who has heard of caloric or aether or phlogiston or Charles Darwin’s other theory?

    All were rejected for either lack of or contrary evidence.

    I’m not sure to which “other theory” of Darwin’s he refers. Perhaps Darwin’s views on spermatogenesis.

  5. #5 alistair
    May 25, 2006

    any simple focus on some of the outragious positions that darwin`s theory actually want us to support knocks us into uncertainty.
    the simple fact is t mutatons capable of allowing one species to change into another would damage the system so profoundly as to render it inoperable. microevolution is seen all the time. macroevolution is where the magical thinking enters into the theory and reduces it to dogma. the reason why there are no intermediary species in the record is that they don`t exist. hundreds of years of digging with small tools has found pot shards, monkey bones and not one hippowith wings, or fish with legs, or a monkey with 23 chromasome pairs………….i can say these things with the confidence borne of not needing peer review or tenure at a university.

  6. #6 Anonymous
    May 25, 2006

    “I can say these things with the confidence borne of not needing peer review or tenure at a university.”

    In other words confidence borne of ignorance.

    I agree with Jason. The reality, nay inevitability of evolution (in the simplistic sense of mutation plus natural selection) is much easier for me to grasp than how a supernatural creator might work her magic. What would the interface be like? We have no idea because we have no external frame of reference beyond our God-belief or lack of it. Whereas for evolution we have any number of things we can point to and say this is powerful evidence as to how it works. Genetic algorithms. The fossil record (You want a fish with legs, Alistair? Try Tiktaalik. When you can understand why evolution doesn’t predict that we’ll find a hippo with wings, in fact that it predicts the opposite, then come back). Behe’s own paper that he hoped would “prove” the impossibility of natural selection producing IC systems but in fact produced one remarkably quickly. Endogenous retroviruses. Evo-devo. None of this is to say that an omnipotent creator is necessarily wrong. I just find it much harder to grasp, and even harder with the rather bizarre attributes the less politically savvy creationists give the creator.

  7. #7 Ginger Yellow
    May 25, 2006

    Apologies for the anonymity. That last post was me.

  8. #8 kfnyc
    May 25, 2006

    Alistair – “I am a certified hypnotherapist, nlp practitioner and i am working on my doctorate in divinity”

    “oh I see so you liquidated her?!”

    why do you think that random and not so random mutations did not produce both good and bad effects?

    “macroevolution is where the magical thinking enters into the theory and reduces it to dogma” this odd distinction between micro and macro is an artifact of creationist attempts to mount a defense. there is a tree of life and all animals are connected. its just that some are more closely connected to each other. The word species is just a shorthand for saying animals so different that their DNA no longer combines to produce viable offspring…for the most part.

    we can tell who is more closely related to a rock and who is not….

  9. #9 Social Outcast
    May 28, 2006

    I have two questions for the evolutists which I think needs answers for evolution to have any marit as even just a theory.

    so, here it goes:
    I know that evolution depends on changes within a species to be able to evolve to the next species, so scienfically speaking (1) what is the mechinism for these changes that occure within an organism, ana (2) what is the eviromental stimulate which triggers these mutations?

  10. #10 Jon Silcox
    May 28, 2006

    I’m not sure what Ingram got right in his article other than expressing his opinion. If you agree with him you think he’s brilliant, but if you disagree, then he’s really quite ignorant. ID belongs in the classroom no more or no less than evolution. Scientifically, neither can be proven more than the other. Both camps have the same evidence at their disposal. What most people don’t realize is that ones worldview or philosophy is what guides the conclusions of the evidence. From an evolutionist perspective, they overwhelmingly reject God, which leaves only the naturalistic explanation of evolution. But an ID or creationist who believes in God sees right through the evolutionist’s naturalistic philosophy. Evolutionary theory is no more science than ID. Both rely on assumptions that can’t be proven, and neither has been observed by living scientists (on the bright side, though, only one side claims to have an eye witness right from the beginning). So if evolution is taught in the classroom, then criticism of it should not only be tolerated, but accepted, whether in the form of ID or creationsim. If criticism of evolution must be censored in the classroom, then I’d suggest moving the teaching of evolution to philosophy or a world religion class.

  11. #11 Dave S.
    May 29, 2006

    Social Outcast writes:

    I have two questions for the evolutists which I think needs answers for evolution to have any marit as even just a theory.

    “Even just” a theory? All scientific theories are “just” theories. The atomic thery of matter, the germ theory of disease, the theory of relativity, plate tectonics theory. Theories are the goal of science.

    so, here it goes:
    I know that evolution depends on changes within a species to be able to evolve to the next species, so scienfically speaking (1) what is the mechinism for these changes that occure within an organism, ana (2) what is the eviromental stimulate which triggers these mutations?

    You answered question 1 in question 2. Ultimately the source of variation in organisms is mutations. There can also be rearrangements of existing variation, but that variation itself ultimately arose through mutation. Mutations are random, as far as we know. Some areas of the genome are apparently more susceptible than others, but exactly where and when the next mutation occurs can’t be known. There are a number of causes…chemical effects, uncorrected mistakes in coding, radiation effects. Most mutations are neutral (have no effect), but some are expressed and subject to selection and drift.

    Jon Silcox -

    Unlike most ID proponents who insist ID is just a regular science and has nothing to do with religion, you at least have the cajones to express the fact that ID is nothing more than creationism and God is the creator.

    Unfortunately you are exactly wrong that evolution is not a science, since it has all the necessary attributes that any other science has. Evolution no more rejects God than does the atomic theory of matter.

  12. #12 Jon Silcox
    May 29, 2006

    Dave S- I agree that to say evolution is ‘just a theory’ is misleading. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of data (such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Newton’s Theory of Gravity). It would be more accurate to say that evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis or conjecture. Evolution (macroevolution, such as apes evolving into man) has never been observed and is based on faith (an evolutionary interpretation of the evidence, such as the fossil record).

    I also would not put my faith in the coincidences associated with random mutations serving as a catalyst or mechanism for the origin of life, or any upward evolutionary change. The odds necessary for life to arise from non-life and to explode as we see it today are so low it’s not only absurd, but scientifically impossible (20 to the 7500 power in one estimation).

    ID and creationism are not the same thing. In fact creationists often distance themselves from ID for this very reason. There are similarities, but creationism is much more open and direct about who did the creating, when and how. ID doesn’t even necessarily deny evolution (as defined previously), or billions of years, while creationism does.

    Evolution, however, is not science. Pseudo-science or anti-science perhaps, but not science. And to suggest otherwise just confuses what real science is. In fact real science, or ‘operational science’ is helpful (putting men on the moon, curing diseases, genetic mapping, building computers etc.) and doesn’t require any knowledge of evolution. Origins or historical science (evolution, creation, ID) deals with unrepeatable events of the past and requires assumptions about the past that are unprovable.

  13. #13 Ginger Yellow
    May 30, 2006

    In fact real science, or ‘operational science’ is helpful (putting men on the moon, curing diseases, genetic mapping, building computers etc.) and doesn’t require any knowledge of evolution.

    That’s technology, not science.

    Origins or historical science (evolution, creation, ID) deals with unrepeatable events of the past and requires assumptions about the past that are unprovable.

    That’s gibberish. For a start, nothing is “provable” in science – it is just “well supported by the evidence”, “not well supported by the evidence”, or “contradicted by the evidence”. Evolution is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence. Morphology, geographical distribution, genetic analysis, and countless other pieces of data all point to common descent. Even more importantly they all point to the same common descent – ie the phylogenetic picture we get from studying DNA maps to the one we get from fossil morphology. There’s nothing wrong with “criticising evolution” – no two evolutionary biologists will entirely agree on the interplay between the various mechanisms – but if you’re going to flat out deny common descent, you have to explain why all the evidence points to it, and explain why something other than evolution is a better, more powerful explanation. What data, as opposed to made up probability calculations, does the alternative hypothesis explain that evolution doesn’t? Does the theory make different predictions and how could those predictions be tested? Is it just a coincidence that millions of years ago some ape-like creatures started looking more like humans, becoming bipedal, increasing in brain size and developing flat faces, until BAM! suddenly humans appear, but aren’t related to these other hominids, honest? Is it just a coincidence that this pattern is repeated throughout the fossil record? Is it a coincidence that you never find a mammalian fossil dated earlier than the earliest reptile fossil?

    Second, we analyse the past constantly without any problem. The entire criminal justice system is founded on the premise that you can reliably determine the causes of unrepeatable past events. Funnily enough, direct eyewitnesses are far less reliable than indirect evidence such as forensics. Furthermore evolutionary biologists use evolutionary theory to make predictions. These predictions are testable in the present, in the lab or field, and the experiments are repeatable. This is science, and no amount of bluster will change that. Believe it or not, universities are not the centre of an atheist Darwinist conspiracy to deny God, but in fact places where real science is done.

    If you’re genuinely interested in the science of evolution and not just going to continue to spout creationist canards, please visit this page and consider some of the evidence.

  14. #14 Dave S.
    May 30, 2006

    Jon Silcox writes:

    Dave S- I agree that to say evolution is ‘just a theory’ is misleading. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of data (such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Newton’s Theory of Gravity). It would be more accurate to say that evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis or conjecture.

    That might be a more accurate reflection of what you wanted to say, but it is not a more accurate statement. The theory of evolution (both the macro amd micro versions) is very well substantiated. A great many predictions have been made and tests conducted to a sucessful conclusion. The finding of the Tiktallik fossil is but one recent example. Name a single discovery about nature that creationism or ID has predicted (that flow from the theory) that has likewise been verified.

    Evolution (macroevolution, such as apes evolving into man) has never been observed and is based on faith (an evolutionary interpretation of the evidence, such as the fossil record).

    In science it is the evidence that is observed, which means the evidence some event has happened or is happening. Has an electron ever been observed? Has the core of the Earth ever been observed? Has the orbit of Pluto about the Sun ever been observed? The answer to all is no, not directly. Does that mean none of those can be studied scientifically?

    Do you have a testable biological explanation other than evolution for the Homo and Australopithecine fossil assemblages as well as the molecular data on human/ape pattern of similarity? If so, I’d love to hear it.

    I also would not put my faith in the coincidences associated with random mutations serving as a catalyst or mechanism for the origin of life, or any upward evolutionary change. The odds necessary for life to arise from non-life and to explode as we see it today are so low it’s not only absurd, but scientifically impossible (20 to the 7500 power in one estimation).

    The origin of life is a different question altogether than its development, which is what evolution is. But we can talk about too as it’s a valid area of science. Surely you’ve heard of the GIGO rule in computing science. Garbage in, garbage out. Those numbers are the product of models of the origin of life that have nothing to do with the actual research on the plausible mechanisms. IOW, such a number is meaningless in and of itself without context. It’s nothing more than an exercise in arithmetic. If took 50 decks of cards and shuffled them all together randomly and laid out the sequence formed, that sequence would have a probability much lower than the number you quote. Does that mean I couldn’t have gotten that sequence?

    ID and creationism are not the same thing. In fact creationists often distance themselves from ID for this very reason.

    No, they are in every significant aspect the same thing. ID is merely a form of creationism that tries to avoid naming a specific creator in order to get around certain Constitutional restrictions (although everyone knows who that is…*wink* *wink*). In the Dover case, the textbook that was called by ID proponents the first ID textbook was shown as nothing more than a creationist text. They simply, and I mean literally, cut out words like “created” and inserted “intelligently designed”. They even used the exact same definition, simply switching terms. Plus we have the words of the ID advocates themselves explicitly tying ID to a supernatural creator, plus the Wedge document, plus the fact ID can only be understood in terms of a non-natural “designer”. There is ample evidence they are the largely same thing, despite their explicit denials to the contrary.

    There are similarities, but creationism is much more open and direct about who did the creating, when and how.

    That fact that old time creationists are more honest in explitly invoking God does not mean ID is not also a form of creationism. The evidence is clear that it is.

    ID doesn’t even necessarily deny evolution (as defined previously), or billions of years, while creationism does.

    I can’t think of a single ID argument in the biological realm that is not simply a denial of the ability of evolution to do X, therefor X must be designed. This is the form of Behe and Dembski’s claims. This is an argument to ignorance, and is invalid as scientific inference unless the scientist is omnipotent. And besides, Old Earth creationists (e.g. Hugh Ross) don’t deny and old Earth.

    Evolution, however, is not science. Pseudo-science or anti-science perhaps, but not science. And to suggest otherwise just confuses what real science is.

    I’m not suggesting it is, I’m stating point blank that it is. ID on the other hand, is not. It’s a completly useless vacuous statement. Useless for finding anything about nature that is. As political strategy and apologetic it might be more useful.

    In fact real science, or ‘operational science’ is helpful (putting men on the moon, curing diseases, genetic mapping, building computers etc.) and doesn’t require any knowledge of evolution. Origins or historical science (evolution, creation, ID) deals with unrepeatable events of the past and requires assumptions about the past that are unprovable.

    Curing diseases does require a knowledge of evolution. Where do you think the knowledge comes from that doctors use in the first place? From the study of all organisms, which is only understandable in the light of evolutionary theory. How do we know what animals to use as human models (or even that we can use animals) as human models in medical research? How do we understand the development bacterial resistance to antibiotics? How can we know that using the mice genome can help us to find biological relevant SNP sites that could have implications for disease? Evolution sheds light on all these. What light has been shed by ID or creationism in medical research?

    Reproducibility in science does not refer to reproducing events. It refers to reproducing observations. Sometimes this can be done by doing experiments that can be run again and again, but not always. We can study the Sun or erosion of a mountain without constructing a Sun or a mountain.

  15. #15 Jon Silcox
    May 31, 2006

    Ginger Yellow- The differences between historical science and operational science is only gibberish if you’re unwilling to examine your own assumptions and worldview. There are many realms of science (chemistry, medicine, geology, astronomy, paleontology, astrology, UFOlogy, forensics). But whether or not they can be tested in the present is what separates operational science from historical science. Although we can’t see electrons or gravity, they can be tested and measured in the present. Evolution cannot (try observing a petri dish and see if any of the bacteria turn into frogs).

    ‘Nothing is “provable” in science- it is just “well supported by the evidence”, “not well supported by the evidence”, or contradicted by the evidence”. Be honest- evolutionists act as if it is provable. But evolution is built on just-so stories If you were presented evidence to contradict evolution, would you believe it?

    “Morphology, geographical distribution, genetic analysis, and countless other pieces of data all point to common descent.” It also can be used to falsify evolution and support a young earth. Your worldview will determine how the evidence is interpreted and how you see the facts. Much evolutionary theory is based on politics and philosophical arguments, not science. Evolution has already been falsified many times over. For example, Louis Pasteur showed that life cannot arise from non-life. I would say this is well supported by the evidence. But evolutionists deny this anyway, despite the evidence, because of their commitment to naturalism. Stanley Miller’s origin of life experiment proved that even the building blocks of life can’t arise by chance, but by a carefully controlled experiment.

    “if you’re going to flat out deny common descent, you have to explain why all the evidence points to it, and explain why something other than evolution is a better, more powerful explanation.” The evidence doesn’t point to common descent, unless that’s what you’ve been conditioned to believe. Many examples used to support evolution can be falsified, such as the austrolopithecines, which were knuckle walkers that did not walk upright, as you may have been taught to believe.

    “What data, as opposed to made up probability calculations, does the alternative hypothesis explain that evolution doesn’t?” It explains how we live on a young world in a relatively young universe (helium in zircon crystals, the amount of salt in the ocean).

    “Does the theory make different predictions and how could those predictions be tested?” Yes. Just study Newton, Pasteur, Maxwell, Faraday, Kelvin, Boyle, Dalton, Linnaeus, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, and Mendal, to name a few creationists. Francis Bacon is usually credited with being the man primarily responsible for the formulation and establishment of the scientific method (experimentation and induction from data rather than philosophical deduction). His writings led to the Royal Society of London. Many evolutionists try to claim that creation isn’t science, but if it’s not, then what is? Newton’s convictions led him to believe scientific investigation leads to a greater knowledge of God. Science is only possible because God created an orderly and predictable universe. And although God is supernatural, he didn’t create a supernatural universe, which is what evolutionists try to depict creationism and ID.

    “Is it just a coincidence that millions of years ago some ape-like creatures started looking more like humans,…” This is not supported by the facts. What you’ve described is politics. Forcing fossils into our human ancestry is not science. Fossils have been politically maneuvered into the human ancestry to ‘prove’ evolution (Piltdown Man, Ramaphithecus, Sinanthropus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus).

    “Is it a coincidence that you never find a mammalian fossil dated earlier than the earliest reptile fossil?” Perhaps it’s a coincidence. Future discoveries may change that. Castorocauda is a good example of a mammal living alongside dinosaurs.

    “Second, we analyze the past constantly without any problem. The entire criminal justice system is founded on the premise that you can reliably determine the cause of unrepeatable past events.” There are problems analyzing the past. That’s why we constantly find that some of those we put in prison are innocent. If analyzing the past were so accurate, we ought to be more successful. But if we have problems analyzing the past 30 years or so, what makes you think we can analyze millions and billions of years in the past with better accuracy?

    “Furthermore evolutionary biologists use evolutionary theory to make predictions. These predictions are testable in the present, in the lab or field, and the experiments are repeatable. This is science, and no amount of bluster will change that.” Okay, give me examples.

  16. #16 Dave S.
    May 31, 2006

    The following was directed to Ginger Yellow, but I’ll chime in anyway if she doesn’t mind.

    Ginger Yellow- The differences between historical science and operational science is only gibberish if you’re unwilling to examine your own assumptions and worldview.

    A statement which is itself gibberish. There is no meaningful distinction, other than as a rhetorical device to separate science you don’t like that which you can accept.

    There are many realms of science (chemistry, medicine, geology, astronomy, paleontology, astrology, UFOlogy, forensics).

    UFOlogy?? Astrology??? These are not sciences. Putting an -ology on the end doesn’t make them one.

    But whether or not they can be tested in the present is what separates operational science from historical science.

    You’re reading too much Jonathan Sarfati at Answers in Genesis and thinking he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t.

    Evolution can be tested. It makes very specific predictions. Darwin for instance predicted, based on evolution, that the earliest human fossils would be found in eastern Africa. This was at a time when all human fossils were European. Guess what…prediction confirmed!

    Although we can’t see electrons or gravity, they can be tested and measured in the present. Evolution cannot (try observing a petri dish and see if any of the bacteria turn into frogs).

    But they can’t be observed. Only the effects of electrons can be observed, just as the effects of evolution are observed today in every living and fossilized organism. What about the orbit of Pluto? It has never once orbitted the Sun since it’s discovery…so how do we know that it does?

    Be honest- evolutionists act as if it is provable.

    Since you are honest, you will now provide us with references that confirm this. If you are honest.

    But evolution is built on just-so stories If you were presented evidence to contradict evolution, would you believe it?

    No, it’s built from piles of evidence. And yes, if I were presented with evidence better explained by something else, I’d believe it. So….is there any such evidence?

    Much evolutionary theory is based on politics and philosophical arguments, not science.

    Baloney. The science is overwhealming. You’re talking about ID.

    Evolution has already been falsified many times over. For example, Louis Pasteur showed that life cannot arise from non-life.

    This has nothing to do with biogenesis. They are two totally different events.

    I would say this is well supported by the evidence. But evolutionists deny this anyway, despite the evidence, because of their commitment to naturalism.

    Baloney x2. Evolutionists do not deny Pasteur, and ALL scientists are committed to naturalism (methodological)…including your “operational” ones.

    Stanley Miller’s origin of life experiment proved that even the building blocks of life can’t arise by chance, but by a carefully controlled experiment.

    Read the paper some time. It was not an origin of life experiment, and the building blocks arose all by themselves. Of course the experiment had to be set up to replicate as much as possible the atmosphere as it was thought to exist. I thought you were fine with “operational” science like this? You seem selective indeed in what you will accept.

    The evidence doesn’t point to common descent, unless that’s what you’ve been conditioned to believe.

    Fine. Please explain the pattern of simlarity between the human and the chimpanzee genome and the hominid fossil record by something other than descent from a common ancestor. That explains it. But apparently you have a better explanation, so go for it.

    Many examples used to support evolution can be falsified, such as the austrolopithecines, which were knuckle walkers that did not walk upright, as you may have been taught to believe.

    Wrong. Not a single professional paleontologist I know of believes this. Australopithicine walked upright, if not exactly in the human fashion.

    It explains how we live on a young world in a relatively young universe (helium in zircon crystals, the amount of salt in the ocean).

    Wrong. Both arguments are horribly flawed. And the salt argument (assuming you believe it) shows the Earth is at least 60,000,000 years old. So is that your position?

    Yes. Just study Newton, Pasteur, Maxwell, Faraday, Kelvin, Boyle, Dalton, Linnaeus, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, and Mendal, to name a few creationists.

    Please stop reading Answers in Genesis and assuming they know what the heck they are talking about. At least try to read some actual evolution articles so you’ll see what they really say. And find some names from the 21st century. Obviously people aren’t going to be impressed by Darwin’s theory of evolution before it existed, which is true of most of your names.

    Many evolutionists try to claim that creation isn’t science, but if it’s not, then what is?

    Evolution.

    Newton’s convictions led him to believe scientific investigation leads to a greater knowledge of God. Science is only possible because God created an orderly and predictable universe.

    Science only assumes the universe is ordered and predictable. How it got that way is outside the scope of science.

    And although God is supernatural, he didn’t create a supernatural universe, which is what evolutionists try to depict creationism and ID.

    But the IDists argue that creationism is religious, but ID is not.

    This is not supported by the facts. What you’ve described is politics. Forcing fossils into our human ancestry is not science. Fossils have been politically maneuvered into the human ancestry to ‘prove’ evolution (Piltdown Man, Ramaphithecus, Sinanthropus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus).

    Are they all fakes? hat are they if not exactly what they look like, intermediate forms.

    “Is it a coincidence that you never find a mammalian fossil dated earlier than the earliest reptile fossil?” Perhaps it’s a coincidence. Future discoveries may change that. Castorocauda is a good example of a mammal living alongside dinosaurs.

    The question was if there were mammal fossils earlier than the earliest reptile fossils. Why do all those fossils fall in a temporal pattern that looks just like you would expect if evolution were true? we have a whole series of transitional forms from fully reptile to fully mammal. Why aren’t they just all mized up in the fossil record?

    There are problems analyzing the past. That’s why we constantly find that some of those we put in prison are innocent.

    Shouldn’t we release them all if we can’t know anything scientifically about the past?

    If analyzing the past were so accurate, we ought to be more successful. But if we have problems analyzing the past 30 years or so, what makes you think we can analyze millions and billions of years in the past with better accuracy?

    Because we have evidence left behind from events back then. Have you read Doug Theobalds 29+ Evidences for Macroevoluton? Great resource.

    “Furthermore evolutionary biologists use evolutionary theory to make predictions. These predictions are testable in the present, in the lab or field, and the experiments are repeatable. This is science, and no amount of bluster will change that.” Okay, give me examples.

    Gave you Darwin’s prediction already. And Tiktallik was mentioned. How do you think scientists knew where to look for that fossil form? Did they use The Force? No…they used evolution. Predicting the location and form of the fossil was the test…finding it the confirmation. That’s what we call science.

  17. #17 Jon Silcox
    May 31, 2006

    “A great many predictions have been made and tests conducted to a successful conclusion. The finding of the Tiktallik fossil is but one recent example.” I’m eager to learn more about Tiktallik. Once more evidence can be examined I’m sure we’ll have a better picture of its significance. Scientists once thought the coelacanth was a missing link… until it was discovered alive and well. Observations in the present showed what the past could not- namely that its fins were used for better maneuvering through the water, not for walking.

    “In science it is the evidence that is observed, which means the evidence some event has happened or is happening.” Correct. But remember that the evidence must be interpreted. And every scientist brings a worldview with them when doing research, and that worldview will shape their interpretation of the evidence. If your worldview is that the evidence MUST be interpreted from a secular viewpoint by naturalistic processes, then you’re already sunk.

    “Has an electron ever been observed?” Electrons can be tested in the present.

    “Do you have a testable biological explanation other than evolution for the Homo and Australopithecine fossil assemblages as well as the molecular data on human/ ape patter of similarity? If so, I’d love to hear it.” The answer is yes! It can be demonstrated, using computerized multivariate analysis of many measurements on the bones that all of the Australopithecines, grouped together anatomically, are further away from both apes and humans than they are from each other. We can conclude, therefore, that Australopithecines are a uniqqe group of extinct creature, and is not anatomically intermediate between apes and humans, and are not evolutionary links at all… this is from evolutionist anatomists Lord Solly Zuckerman and Professor Charles Oxnard. They have also concluded that the long powerful arms were suited to tree-dwelling. They were knucklewalkers, not bipedal. The only evidence supporting the australopithecines being related to humans is human footprints found near them. But since evolutionists claim humans didn’t exist at that time, they were dismissed as human footprints and were proclaimed Australopithecine footprints, which is the evidence proving they walked upright like humans. Computerized X-ray scans of the inner ear provides evidence as well. These are only two men who do not believe that any of the australopithecines were on the human line. Marvin Lubenow has also demonstrated that various alleged ancestors don’t form a smooth sequence in evolutionary ‘ages,’ but overlap considerably. He also points out that the various finds are either true humans (Neandertals, Homo erectus) or non-humans, like the Australopithecines.

    “If took 50 decks of cards and shuffled them all together randomly and laid out the sequence formed, that sequence would have a probability much lower than the number you quote. Does that mean I couldn’t have gotten that sequence?” Is this a valid scientific argument supposed to support that a strand of DNA could form on its own and evolve a cell with all its necessary parts and functions strictly by random chance? Come on.

    “The fact that old time creationists are more honest in explitly invoking God does not mean ID is not also a form of creationism. The evidence is clear that it is.” No, it’s only clear to someone who wants to silence critical thinking toward evolution, prohibit free speech, intellectual thought, academic freedom, and open debate.

    “I can’t think of a single ID argument in the biological realm that is not simply a denial of the ability of evolution to do X, therefor X must be designed.” If it can be scientifically demonstrated that evolution is impossible, then the only alternative is special creation.

    “I’m not suggesting it is, I’m stating point blank that it is. Be honest. If mainstream scientists can provide evidence of evolution and billions of years, and creationists can demonstrate scientifically that the universe is less than ten thousand years old and that there is no common descent, then you can’t label one as science and the other not. What kind of logic is that?

    “Curing diseases does require a knowlege of evolution. Where do you think the knowlege comes from that doctors use in the first place?” This is an absurd statement. Can you name me one doctor who can’t practice medicine without understanding evolution? I wouldn’t want that doctor operating on me. Being a doctor requires observation, testing and skill. I’m aware of many doctors and scientists that tell me evolution has no bearing on what they do. This is a favorite argument of evolutionists, but it’s an empty statement that can easily be demonstrated to be false.

  18. #18 Ginger Yellow
    June 1, 2006

    Christ, what a Gish gallop. There’s so much nonsense and lies in Silcox’s posts that I really don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just address a few key areas. Jon, you seem to lack even the most basic knowledge about the scientific method, the philosophy of science, what evolutionary theory says and predicts, and what the fossil record shows.

    I can’t think of a single ID argument in the biological realm that is not simply a denial of the ability of evolution to do X, therefor X must be designed.” If it can be scientifically demonstrated that evolution is impossible, then the only alternative is special creation.

    This is utter nonsense in two ways. First, you cannot “demonstrate that evolution is impossible” – all you can do, as Behe and Snokes tried and still failed to do, is say “If we constrain evolution to these inaccurate mechanisms, then it cannot do these things”. Amusingly enough, it turned out that even with the unrealistic constraints, evolution could do those things. Second, if evolution were to be contradicted by some persuasive piece or pieces of evidence, then an infinite number of alternative hypotheses could be the real answer, including but certainly not limited to special creation (of which there are an infinite variety of types – which type of special creation do you think is the only alternative?).

    Although we can’t see electrons or gravity, they can be tested and measured in the present. Evolution cannot (try observing a petri dish and see if any of the bacteria turn into frogs).

    Yet more gibberish. First, name me one scientist who thinks bacteria should turn into frogs in a petri dish. What evolution predicts, and what actually happens, is that under selective pressure bacteria turn into slightly different bacteria, which turn into slightly different bacteria, ad infinitum, until the bacteria are so different that they are no longer bacteria but, for example, eukaryotes. Second, every single measurement is a measurement of the past, because the speed of light is finite. When we measure things in and make predictions about cosmology, we’re often doing so about things that happened before the earth was even around. Third, evolution can easily be tested in the present. What the hell do you think evolutionary biologists have been doing for the last 150 years? Twiddling their thumbs and dreaming up ways to persecute creationists? To take a single, basic example, chimpanzees have 24 chromosome pairs while humans have 23. There is a clear differentiation between special creation and evolution here – under special creation there is no particular reason for either to have a particular number of pairs. On the other hand, if evolutionary theory is correct, then there must have been either a fusion event reducing the 24 chromosomes of chimpanzees to the 23 of humans, or a fission after the lineages split to increase the number of pairs from a common 23 to 24 for chimpanzees. And happily enough, if you look at the DNA in the present (or rather the immediate past) there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a fusion event. Like I say, this is just one example. Time and time again the evidence from genetics matches with what we infer from the fossil record. Evolution as we know it could easily be falsified if the two clashed significantly, yet they mesh beautifully. Any alternative theory has to explain that fact.

  19. #19 Dave S.
    June 1, 2006

    Jon Silcox –

    Ginger Yellow is right…these are just the whoriest old creationist canards from 20-30 years ago that have been refuted for ages. I’ll just hit a few bullet points. Use the blockquote function Jon (if I may call you that) as it makes it so much easier to read what you write.

    I’m eager to learn more about Tiktallik. Once more evidence can be examined I’m sure we’ll have a better picture of its significance.

    Are you really eager to learn more, or eager to know how other Creationists rationalize it away? Either way, it was a successful prediction using evolutionary theory (I could easily list many more), so where are the successful predictions using Creationism or ID?

    Scientists once thought the coelacanth was a missing link… until it was discovered alive and well.

    That it’s still alive does not change it’s evolutionary significance. My parents, aunts and uncles didn’t die when I was born.

    And Tiktallik does not replace the coelocanth. They are both significant, but in different ways.

    Observations in the present showed what the past could not- namely that its fins were used for better maneuvering through the water, not for walking.

    Its fins were transitional between ray-finned fishes and tetrapod feet. Just what evolution predicted Jon. It was also found in exactly the environment predicted by evolutionary theory.

    If your worldview is that the evidence MUST be interpreted from a secular viewpoint by naturalistic processes, then you’re already sunk.

    Fine, then you’ve just sunk ALL science, including “observational” ones like chemistry, physics, “astrology”, etc.

    “Has an electron ever been observed?” Electrons can be tested in the present.

    But how can they be tested if they can’t be observed? Please explain without resorting to naturalistic processes, as obviously then you’re sunk.

    The answer is yes! It can be demonstrated, using computerized multivariate analysis of many measurements on the bones that all of the Australopithecines, grouped together anatomically, are further away from both apes and humans than they are from each other.

    Ummm, of course Australopithecines are more like other Australopithecines than they are humans or apes. Duhh.

    We can conclude, therefore, that Australopithecines are a uniqqe group of extinct creature, and is not anatomically intermediate between apes and humans, and are not evolutionary links at all… this is from evolutionist anatomists Lord Solly Zuckerman and Professor Charles Oxnard.

    Busted dude. Obviously you have not read Oxnard (and probably not Zuckerman). Zuckerman held a minority view even back in the 50′s when he put it forth, and that view was discredited totally decades ago. As for Oxnard this is what he had to say about the foot fossil OH8, “The results confirm the earlier univariate findings and firmly indicate the functional affinities of the four bones to be mosaic, in some respects being human-like while in others being essentially ape-like, suggesting the presence of a divergent first ray.”. Doesn’t sound like a guy who rejects transitional forms to me. See, The OH8 foot: a reappraisal of the functional morphology of the hindfoot utilizing a multivariate analysis, J. Human Evo., 1996, vol. 31, pp. 269-291. Granted OH8 is Homo habilis, but this is not a lot different from Australopithecine. He certainly agrees Aust. were bipedal, although probably not ancesteral to modern humans. (See my next point for reference).

    They have also concluded that the long powerful arms were suited to tree-dwelling. They were knucklewalkers, not bipedal.

    Totally wrong. Oxnard says they were bipedal. Indeed they may also have spent time in trees, but they were not knuckle-walkers. Let me quote Oxnard in 1975 on Australopithecine (The place of the australopithecines in human evolution: grounds for doubt?, Nature. 1975 Vol. 258(5534), pp 389-95), “Their locomotion may not have been like that of modern man, and may, though including a form or forms of bipedality, have been different enough to allow marked abilities for climbing. Bipedality may have arisen more than once, the Australopithecinae displaying one or more experiments in bipedality that failed.”

    And this I remind you is your own source. I could list other paleontologists all day who will tell you the Australopithecine were indeed bipedal. But why when your own reference does it?

    The only evidence supporting the australopithecines being related to humans is human footprints found near them. But since evolutionists claim humans didn’t exist at that time, they were dismissed as human footprints and were proclaimed Australopithecine footprints, which is the evidence proving they walked upright like humans.

    Total crapulence. We don’t know what made the Laetoli footrints, but it could have been Australopithecine. And the evidence for their human relationship is their human like anatomy (e.g. pelvis, leg, knee, foramen magnum) They also have ape like anatomy (skull size, facial bones, finger bones), and anatomy in-between (arm bones). That’s why we say they are transitional!!

    Computerized X-ray scans of the inner ear provides evidence as well.

    No, they don’t. I know you’re referring to Fred Spoor’s work here, and you’re wrong. Would you like to know what Spoor really thinks?

    Marvin Lubenow has also demonstrated that various alleged ancestors don’t form a smooth sequence in evolutionary ‘ages,’ but overlap considerably.

    Sorry, but overlap is only a problem for people who don’t understand evolution. Lubenow is confused, and you’re just following him sheep-like. Is it a surprise to know that your parents lived after you were born? But how could they if they gave rise to you??!!

    He also points out that the various finds are either true humans (Neandertals, Homo erectus) or non-humans, like the Australopithecines.

    Of course they were not fully (modern) human. Nor were they fully ape. They were transitional in form between the two. That’s kinda the point. The neat thing is that if you ask a bunch of Creationists which ones are human and which ones are ape, they can’t agree! If there are just humans and apes and nothing in-between, why don’t they all agree which is which?

    “If took 50 decks of cards and shuffled them all together randomly and laid out the sequence formed, that sequence would have a probability much lower than the number you quote. Does that mean I couldn’t have gotten that sequence?” Is this a valid scientific argument supposed to support that a strand of DNA could form on its own and evolve a cell with all its necessary parts and functions strictly by random chance? Come on.

    C’mon?? Is that your rebuttle? My number was much smaller than yours, and yet there sits the sequence. How was that possible? And where exactly does science say that the first cell arose in that way? It doesn’t. You’re making a straw-man.

    No, it’s only clear to someone who wants to silence critical thinking toward evolution, prohibit free speech, intellectual thought, academic freedom, and open debate.

    Bull. Like any science, evolution welcomes valid critique. Surely you’ve heard of the debates between Out of Africa and Multiregional proponants? The differences between those who say natural selection is more important and those who say other factors like drift are more important in speciation? There are many such debates in evolution. You’re just making an excuse to try and get nonsense arguments like the ones you’ve been spouting presented as valid critique.

    If it can be scientifically demonstrated that evolution is impossible, then the only alternative is special creation.

    What if it’s another naturalistic mechanism other than evolution? And even if we accept the first part, why can’t it be another form of Creation? Why can’t it be the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Lakota creation gods if not any possible natural mechanism? By what standard do you choose?

    If mainstream scientists can provide evidence of evolution and billions of years, and creationists can demonstrate scientifically that the universe is less than ten thousand years old and that there is no common descent, then you can’t label one as science and the other not. What kind of logic is that?

    But you’re not trying to demonstrate the Creationist model scientifically, you’re just trying to attack evolution and then your model is supposed to somehow win by default. You have no positive evidence that the universe is 10,000 years old. In fact, there is massive evidence that it can’t be 10,000 years old or less.

    If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

    This is an absurd statement. Can you name me one doctor who can’t practice medicine without understanding evolution? I wouldn’t want that doctor operating on me. Being a doctor requires observation, testing and skill. I’m aware of many doctors and scientists that tell me evolution has no bearing on what they do. This is a favorite argument of evolutionists, but it’s an empty statement that can easily be demonstrated to be false.

    Except you don’t get around to actually demonstating anything, do you? For example, here you simply ignored the examples. Of course a doctor could simply learn his craft by rote memorization and never think about evolution. But what about the doctors who have to invent the medicines and procedures that that first doctor merely memorizes? On what basis do they do that?

    OK…so maybe more than a few bullets. :)

  20. #20 Jon Silcox
    June 1, 2006

    “Pseudoscience, gibberish, creationist canards, baloney, gish gallop, nonsense and lies, utter nonsense, duhhh, total crapulance, bull”: Great quotes from the previous posts. But they can be applied to the evolutionary evidence cited as well. I understand the evidence you provide is exciting to evolutionists and overwhelming, but we’d expect nothing less from those committed to naturalistic processes. And any counter evidence is waived off as gibberish, nonsense, baloney, etc. But I’m enjoying the posts and learning a lot. Keep the rhetoric coming!

  21. #21 Social Outcast
    June 2, 2006

    A few questions for evolutists:
    Does the fossil record as described by the theory of evolution explain how every life-form to our knowledge evolved from its predecessor? Also, according to the same fossil record, what common descendant do creatures such as (for examle) do lions, horses, birds, fish, dandilions…. etc…. have in common? where did the platipus come from? In your answer I do not want hear you say it was by random mutation. So, the “random mutation” rebutal is out

  22. #22 Anonymous
    June 2, 2006

    I have asked these two questions before, and I’m not convinced by the random mutation response which I recieved, so the random mutation rebutal out because of the ambigious nature of response which really does not explain anything scientifically.
    The orginal question was worded like this:
    “I know that evolution depends on changes within a species to be able to evolve to the next species, so scienfically speaking (1) what is the mechinism for these changes that occure within an organism, and (2) what is the eviromental stimulate which triggers these mutations?”

    I do not think these questions are answered in each other, because the mechinism of change in question 1 refers to the mechinism of change within the origanisms. And l the eviromental stimulate in question 2 refers to an outside stimulant which acts as the trigger for the mechnism of change within an organism.

    I’m demanding a precise scientifically clear and logical anwser without the random mation rebutal. Keep in mind there is a differance between precision and accuracy.

  23. #23 Social Outcast
    June 2, 2006

    That last post was by me, Social Outcast.

  24. #24 Jason Rosenhouse
    June 2, 2006

    Social Outcast-

    Please only post your comments once. Thanks.

  25. #25 Anonymous
    June 2, 2006

    Social Outcast, I’m not sure what you’re looking for. Random mutations happen and are observed all the time. It’s not a “rebuttal” of anything, it’s just a fact. Compare the DNA from an asexual organism and its immediate descendant, and there will be some random (no discernible pattern) changes (I can’t remember what the average mutation rate is but somebody here will). The same is true for sexually reproducing organisms. There are different mechanisms for this – for instance exposure to radiation famously increases the incidence of mutations – but even absent such abnormal “environmental stimulate” mutations will occur because of transcription errors and so on. Where “environmental stimulate” really comes into play is not in changing an individual organism but in fixing the mutations in a population. For instance, say that in a given warm environment the climate is gradually getting hotter over hundreds of thousands of years. Any mutation that results in changes to a trait that allows an animal to lose excess heat more efficiently (eg larger ears, less thick fur), will give that animal an advantage over other animals without that trait. Consequently it will (on average) reproduce more, and its offspring will too, so the mutation will spread throughout the population so long as that selection pressure is there. Conversely mutations which cause the animal to retain heat and thus overheat will put the animal at a disadvantage and it will reproduce on average less frequently. Thus this mutated gene will be much less likely to spread through the population. This is what we mean by natural selection acting on random mutation – note that the changes in population are absolutely is not random, but determined by the interaction of genes, phenotype and environment. However random mutations do form the basis for natural selection – it’s a bit like a palette from which the evolutionary artist can choose the best colour, except that evolution works by trial and error rather than with foresight.

    Note also that natural selection is not the only mechanism of evolution – we are only now beginning to understand the relative importance of other mechanisms such as genetic drift and sexual selection.

  26. #26 Dave S.
    June 2, 2006

    Jon Silcox says:

    “Pseudoscience, gibberish, creationist canards, baloney, gish gallop, nonsense and lies, utter nonsense, duhhh, total crapulance, bull”: Great quotes from the previous posts.

    Glad you like them. I have more.

    But they can be applied to the evolutionary evidence cited as well. I understand the evidence you provide is exciting to evolutionists and overwhelming, but we’d expect nothing less from those committed to naturalistic processes. And any counter evidence is waived off as gibberish, nonsense, baloney, etc.

    Wait a sec. You seem to be forgetting that those words were not all that was said in response. Luckily for us, all the posts remain so we can see exactly who supplied evidence and who responded point-by-point, and who did the waiving. I especially liked the part where you claimed the work of Charles Oxnard in supporting your views that Australopithicine was not bipedal, and when I supplied direct quotes and references to the effect that he holds no such views, you immediately fell silent. Didn’t know that, did you? Looks like the only one being lead astray by your sources is you. But of course I’m the one “waiving” and you’re the one providing “counter evidence”. I credited AiG as your source, but I’m starting to wonder if you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel and going with Kent Hovind.

    Oh look, there’s another quote for you to collect.

    But I’m enjoying the posts and learning a lot. Keep the rhetoric coming!

    But let’s ignore the fact that your arguments (really just assertions, and partial assertions at that) were totally busted by the facts.

    Social Outcast asks:

    A few questions for evolutists:
    Does the fossil record as described by the theory of evolution explain how every life-form to our knowledge evolved from its predecessor?

    Absolutely not. We know that the fossil record is very spotty. There are many reasons for this. First, fossilization is a rare process – only happens when the conditions are right, which is not often. Second, some environments are better suited for fossilization than others. This is why we have way more fossils from shallow water marine creatures than from forest dwelling creatures for example. Then we also have to consider geology, where erosion and other geologic processes can destroy the fossils that are there. Plus, we obviously have to find them , which ain’t always easy!

    So the record is very much incomplete. But we do have a lot of fossils still (and some very good transitional series). And those show most convincingly the progress of evolution and strongly support the theory. We know a lot, but we still have a lot we don’t know.

    Also, according to the same fossil record, what common descendant do creatures such as (for examle) do lions, horses, birds, fish, dandilions…. etc…. have in common?

    Organisms should be found nested as groups within groups if the theory of common descent is correct, and that is exactly what we see today with modern plants and animals. Also, we should be able to find specific intermediate forms in the fossil record between groups, and that is also what we find. For instance we have a nice series of fossil forms going from something which is completely reptile (Sphenacodon) to something completely mammal (Hadrocodium). In between we can find forms intermediate between reptile and mammal (Probainognathus).

    The last recent common ancestor of all the orgnanisms you list (except dandelion) is probably something like Pikaia an early form of chordate from 540 miliion years ago or so. Dandelions are plants, and so that the fossil linking plants to animals (if it exists) would be a good deal older still and probably microscopic and marine.

    where did the platipus come from? In your answer I do not want hear you say it was by random mutation. So, the “random mutation” rebutal is out

    The platypus fossil record is sparse, as is the Australian record in general. Examples can be found that only go back 25 million years or so. The platypus is a very primitive kind of mammal called a monotreme, still retaining reptilian characteristics (the laying of eggs). The fossils we do have show that the older forms apparently were larger than modern forms and had teeth.

  27. #27 Jon Silcox
    June 3, 2006

    Dave S says “You seem to be forgetting that those words were not all that was said in response. Luckily for us, all the posts remain so we can see exactly who supplied evidence and who responded point-by-point, and who did the waiving.”

    I’m quite aware of what’s been said. I may not have been as thorough as I’d like, but I’ve certainly made my point-by-point responses, and you’ve done your share of hand waiving. I’d love to continue to debate you point-by-point, but I doubt it would have much affect. You’re convinced of what you beleive, and I’m convinced of what I believe.

    “I especially liked the part where you claimed the work of Charles Oxnard in supporting your views that Australopithicine was not bipedal, and when I supplied direct quotes and references to the effect that he holds no such views, you immediately fell silent.”

    No, I just thought this post ran its course and I was going to let you have your fun. It seems futile to argue with a devout evolutionist; but of course I expected no less when I first began posting. I new I’d take some hits, but you haven’t presented the overwhelming evidence to support evolution as you claim there is. You make some elegant arguments, but until you can demonstrate real evolution (molecules to man), evolution is still impossible, and the problem of life arising from non-life is laughable. Until evolution can be witnessed, it’s no different than mythology. All the just-so stories you ascribe to don’t cut it for those who support creation and reject evolution. The bottom line is I trust God and scripture as my authority, while you accept the word of Darwin. And while you may not see it this way, your faith is in how well scientists interpret the past, while my faith is in God. Both creationism and evolution are based on faith, religion and philosophy. You seem blind to your own faith and keep calling it science, which it’s clearly not. It’ll take some work to convince you. But I’d certainly like to debate further, so keep it coming, as I know you will.

  28. #28 Anonymous
    June 3, 2006

    Jon, if you want a real debate, why don’t you address the evidence, rather than making sweeping personal accusations? We’re talking science here, not faith, and in science it’s the evidence that matters. For now I’ll just repeat that abiogenesis is not part of evolutionary theory. For all we know, God created the first self replicator. Even if somehow we knew for certain that he did, or even the first recognisable organism, evolution would still be the most plausible explanation for the current diversity of life on earth. All evolution says, and it is at once very basic and very magnificent, is that once you have a self-replicator, we have a mechanism (or rather group of mechanisms) to explain how that self-replicator eventually turned into all the different varieties of life we have seen in the course of history. It may turn out that the process that takes us from amino acids to self-replicator resembles natural selection in some way (auto-catalysis is the most likely precursor), but it doesn’t matter to evolutionary theory what it is, because evolutionary theory deals with what happens after you have a self-replicator.

  29. #29 Dave S.
    June 4, 2006

    Jon Wilcox –

    Instead of using quote marks, use the blockquote function. It makes it so much easier for the reader. It’s more inconvenient for the writer, but a good writer knows the reader comes first. The form is [blockquote]QUOTE[/blockquote], switching the square brackets for the corresponding angled ones.

    Jon Wilcox writes:

    I’m quite aware of what’s been said. I may not have been as thorough as I’d like, but I’ve certainly made my point-by-point responses, and you’ve done your share of hand waiving.

    If I’ve hand waived it’s because I did not think a complete response warranted. However I do not want to be accused of giving whatever agrument you may have a less than a fair hearing, so please indicate where you think my response was lacking and I’ll elaborate.

    I’d love to continue to debate you point-by-point, but I doubt it would have much affect. You’re convinced of what you beleive, and I’m convinced of what I believe.

    I am not so much interested in your beliefs, let alone changing them. I’m interested in the evidence.

    No, I just thought this post ran its course and I was going to let you have your fun. It seems futile to argue with a devout evolutionist; but of course I expected no less when I first began posting.

    Even if I am a “devout evolutionist” (which by the way are many devout Christians), doesn’t the fact that Oxnard claims the exact opposite of what you thought he did make you wonder?

    I new I’d take some hits, but you haven’t presented the overwhelming evidence to support evolution as you claim there is.

    I wasn’t aware that I should have been making such arguments. I was more or less simply responding to the points you brought up. However I would be delighted to answer any questions or consider any argument you may make.

    You make some elegant arguments, but until you can demonstrate real evolution (molecules to man), evolution is still impossible, and the problem of life arising from non-life is laughable.

    I’m unsure how this can be demonstrated to your satisfaction. Of course creating some complex form (like a man) in the laboratory from a simpler form (a bag of molecules) is not technically possible at this time. One can only examine the evidence we have, which has never been explained by a scientific theory other than evolution to my knowledge.

    How exactly life arose is a separate and very difficult problem indeed. We don’t know exactly how this happened, and we may never know. Although we are finding out a lot about interesting pathways that may have been important in those early days.

    But say for example we concede that the first cell was created by God. Would that make the Theory of Evolution (the development of life after its formation) any more pallatable to you?

    Until evolution can be witnessed, it’s no different than mythology.

    But as already mentioned, many things in science cannot be witnessed in any direct sence. Even simple chemical reactions (where molecule A reacts with molecule B) have never been witnessed directly to my knowledge. All we can do is to observe the evidence we can see, and infer the best explanation. We confirm that this is the best explanation by testing it using other observations. That’s the very essense of science.

    But having said that, we have actually observed the process of evolution happening in our lifetime. Knowledge of disease resistance in microbes and insects, new phenotypically active mutations arising de novo, and observed speciation all speak to an active and ongoing process. But our life-time is small compared to the life-time of life itself.

    All the just-so stories you ascribe to don’t cut it for those who support creation and reject evolution.

    I think I probably cannot “convert” a Creationist, to use an expression. Neither am I trying to do so. I’m merely rebutting what I see are bad arguments. Evolution does not rely on just-so stories, but on reasonable inferences of the evidence. Countless tests have borne it out, although naturally there are many questions so far unanswered.

    The bottom line is I trust God and scripture as my authority, while you accept the word of Darwin. And while you may not see it this way, your faith is in how well scientists interpret the past, while my faith is in God.

    No, I do not accept the word of Darwin, and in fact, I think Darwin was wrong in a great many things. Does that sound like someone who accepts what he says as Scripture? Evolution is a discovery, not an invention, and would exist in Nature regardless of who discovered it. The scientific question, the one that I’m concerned with, is what is the best explanation for the facts. This leads to evolution. There are no scientific alternatives to my knowledge, but you can debate that if you wish. Also, I’ll point put again that people can BOTH have the deepest of religious faiths AND accept the Theory of Evolution. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Both creationism and evolution are based on faith, religion and philosophy. You seem blind to your own faith and keep calling it science, which it’s clearly not. It’ll take some work to convince you. But I’d certainly like to debate further, so keep it coming, as I know you will.

    This is correct for Creationism, but evolution is no more or less a scientific endeavor than is chemistry or geology. It’s done differently at times, but then again, there is no one way to do science.

    If you’d like to debate further in any area you like, then I’d be happy too. Unless of course you hit one of those many areas that I don’t know enough to comment reasonably. That’s always a possibility. Nobody knows it all. Even me! :)

  30. #30 Dave S.
    June 4, 2006

    See, even I get it wrong sometimes.

    Your name is of course Silcox, not Wilcox. My apologies!

  31. #31 Jon Silcox
    June 5, 2006

    Dave S- Thanks for your comments, but I can’t seem to get the blockquote function to work. Sorry. This may be lengthy, but I accept your challenge. I hope you consider some of what I write. I’d actually like to be much more thorogh than what time allows. So here it goes:

    Dave S wrote “So where are the successful predictions using Creationism or ID?”

    Here’s 3 quick ones: American naval office and oceanographer Matthew Maury (1806-1873) wrote the first textbook on modern oceanography in 1855, The Physical Geography of the Sea and its Meteorology, and used the Bible for his predictions. Atmospheric scientist Larry Vardiman has written on helium in the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Gentry has written on helium conatained in Zircons. You’ve tried to mention that some of these arguments are horribly flawed, but didn’t provide any evidence.

    Dave S wrote “But how can they (electrons) be tested if they can’t be observed? Please explain without resorting to naturalistic processes, as obviously then you’re sunk.”

    You missed my point. Electrons can be tested in the present by naturalistic processes. But evolution cannot. For example, you may examine fossils in the present, but you cannot observe an Australopithecine evolving into a modern man. Scientists didn’t live back then. They can only observe what’s left behind. The evolutionary process is assumed and put together by just-so stories. Taking a naturalistic worldview is fine in the present, as this is what creationists have done for centuries, knowing that we believe in an orderly God who created on orderly universe. However, if you assume evolution, and that the universe is about 13.5 billion years old, but if in fact it’s only about 6 thousand years old, and evolution has not occurred, then having a naturalistic worldview will obviously lead you astray.

    Dave S wrote “Zuckerman held a minority view even back in the 50′s when he put it forth, and that view was discredited totally decades ago.”

    Who discredited it? Was it other experts? Which experts do you believe? Didn’t he totally discredit what the other experts said? Why would his view be discredited, other than that’s not what the rest of the scientific community wanted to hear? Could politics have anything to do with it and not science? But if indeed Australopithecus is not an ancestor of man (which creationists believe it’s not), then Zuckerman is correct in his conclusion. Is it someone elses opinion that he is wrong? Where did he make his mistake?

    Dave S wrote “As for Oxnard this is what he had to say about the foot fossil OH8, “The results confirm the earlier univariate findings and firmly indicate the functional affinities of the four bones to be mosaic, in some respects being human-like while in others being essentially ape-like, suggesting the presence of a divergent first ray.”

    I agree that Oxnard believes Australopithecus were bipedal. It was my conclusion that they were not. Oxnard does, however, agree that they did not have locomotion like that of modern man. But if you examine his quote, it is pure speculation, which means that it is open to interpretation. Will it be interpreted from a purely naturalistic worldview, or a scriptural worldview? Excluding a Biblical worldview is not very scientific because it does offer a valid alternative to evolution, despite the naysayers. But it’s quickly mocked by mainstream science despite the success of creationist scientists of the past and present.

    Dave S wrote ” Granted OH8 is Homo habilis, but this is not a lot different from Australopithecine.”

    Homo habilis actually constitutes two or three different species, probably all australopithecines.

    Dave wrote “Indeed they may also have spent time in trees, but they were not knuckle-walkers.”

    You provided no proof that they are not kuckle-walkers. But evidence shows they have the same wrist anatomy as chimpanzees and gorillas.

    Dave wrote “We don’t know what made the Laetoli footprints, but it could have been australopithecine.”

    It also could have been modern man, which is what we believe, because that’s what the footprints look like.

    Dave wrote “And the evidence for their human relationship is their human like anatomy. They also have ape like anatomy and anatomy in-between.”

    This is still evolutionary assumption. Are there any scientists who disagree with this conclusion? Different scientists will have different opinions based on their worldview. And even if you think the anatomy looks like it has a relationship doesn’t mean that it does. Two houses or two cars may look similar without being built by the same company or person.

    Regarding computerized X-ray scans of the inner ear providing evidence that australopithecines didn’t habitually walk upright Dave writes “No, they don’t I know you’re referring to Fred Spoor’s work here, and you’re wrong. Would you like to know what Spoor really thinks?”

    You may tell me what Spoor thinks, but the fact remains that the inner ear of australopithecus is decidely apelike. You even admitted that they share ape-like anatomy. But this evidence indicates that they did not walk upright like modern man as evolutionists want us to think.

    Dave wrote “The neat thing is that if you ask a bunch of creationists which ones are human and which ones are ape, they can’t agree!”

    This just goes to show that science is open to interpretation. But just whose interpretation is accepted is based on biased evolutionary assumptions. Still, the fossils are either human or ape, not transitional. I can point to many evolutionists who share contradictory agruments, ranging from dinosaurs to the big-bang, but you’ll still make the point that they believe in common descent, or something to that matter.

    Dave wrote “If took 50 decks of cards and shuffled them all together randomly and laid out the sequence formed, that sequence would have a probability much lower than the number you quote. Does that mean I couldn’t have gotten that sequence?”

    The point is that DNA is actually a complex structure and contains coded information. Where is the coded information in your randomly shuffled deck? Coded systems are only the result of intelligence, and the code means nothing unless it can be interpreted.

    Dave wrote “Like any science, evolution welcomes valid critique.”

    This is not true. Just try getting criticism of evolution into science class (or a sticker). If it were true, then why all the politics to keep it out? I know, because you don’t believe creationism is science. But then again the same can be said of evolution, as I’ve already demonstrated. Valid critique is not welcomed in the classroom, I think, because evolutionists are afraid to lose their grip. If students were allowed to think critically about evolution, they just might reject it.

    Dave writes “What if it’s another naturalistic mechanism other than evolution?”

    We either came about by random chance, or on purpose and for a reason. I can’t think of a third alternative, can you?

    Dave wrote “But you’re not trying to demonstrate the Creationist model scientifically, you’re just trying to attack evolution and then your model is supposed to somehow win by default. You have no positive evidence that the universe is 10,000 years old.

    Helium in the atomosphere, helium in zircons, ocean salt, all indicate a young earth. Show me where the flaws are as you state there are.

    Dave writes “But what about the doctors who have to invent the medicines and procedures that that first doctor merely memorizes?

    Are you referring to creationist doctors who invent the medicines and procedures that the evolutionist doctor merely memorizes? There are many creationist doctors and scientists who’ve done the inventing and publishing. If you want a few names aside from the famous scientists of the past (Newton, Boyle, Kelvin,Galileo) there’s Dr. Geoff Barnard, Dr. John Baumgardner,Ian Macreadie, and thousands more. If you want links to their names, degrees, patents, inventions, publishings, that can easily be provided.

    Dave writes “One can only examine the evidence we have, which has never been explained by a scientific theory other than evolution to my knowledge.

    Ummm, how about creationism, that’s a pretty well known alternative that fits the bill. Give it some credability.

    Dave writes “How exactly life arose is a separate and very difficult problem indeed. We don’t know exactly how this happened, and we may never know.”

    This is a problem for evolutionists, but not creationists, because we believe God revealed what happened, how, and why in scripture.

    Dave wrote “But say for example we concede that the first cell was created by God. Would that make the Theory of Evoltuion any more pallatable to you?”

    Of course not. That’s because God has already revealed man’s origin, and it wasn’t evolution starting from a single cell.

    Dave writes “All we can do is to observe the evidence we can see, and infer the best explanation.”

    But your explanations automatically rule out special creation. And if creation is true, then the ‘best explanation’ was theorized in vain.

    “But having said that, we have actually observed the process of evolution happening in our lifetime. Knowledge of disease resistance in microbes and insects…”

    Nope. Microbes are still microbes, and insects are still insects. Creationists have no problem with this, if this is what you call evolution. We expect organisms to give birth to their kind with variation. But this is not the same thing as a dinosaur turning into a bird, or an ape into a man. Comparing the two is a bait-and-switch. One can be observed, and the other cannot.

    Dave wrote “Also, I’ll point put again that people can BOTH have the deepest of religious faiths AND accept the Theory of Evolution.”

    True, but whether or not you’re being consistent is the real issue. Is God your authority, or is man your authority? God has revealed our origin, but man thinks he can reject what God has plainly revealed and come up with his own story, which contradicts God’s word. So is the solution to reinterpret scripture to fit with mainstream science? I would suggest no, not if you trust God. I believe God revealed our real origin and history, so if he’s real, which I believe He is, then I’d rather accept what he says and reject mainstream scientists naturalistic interpretations, which automatically reject God’s word. Afterall, if God is real and not some fairy tale, then he should know the truth better than all mankind, especially if He’s the one who did the creating.

  32. #32 Ginger Yellow
    June 6, 2006

    “Nope. Microbes are still microbes, and insects are still insects. Creationists have no problem with this, if this is what you call evolution. We expect organisms to give birth to their kind with variation. But this is not the same thing as a dinosaur turning into a bird, or an ape into a man. Comparing the two is a bait-and-switch. One can be observed, and the other cannot.”

    Look, it’s very simple. We can observe, through the fossil record, a chronologically linear succession of organisms whose morphology goes from being entirely reptile to entirely bird. This is observing a reptile turning into a bird and is exactly what evolution predicts, and special creation has no explanation for it beyond “God or the devil put the fossils there to make it look like evolution happened”. We don’t expect it to happen in a single generation – the whole “you never see a dog turning into a cat” argument is ludicrous for precisely this reason. We expect to see, and do see, a reptile begetting a slightly different reptile, which begets a slightly different reptile, and so on, until after hundreds of thousands of years the result is unrecognisable from its ancestor, although it may have vestigial features (eg an ostrich’s wings). Just because the evolution of birds and mammals from reptiles happened in the past doesn’t mean we can’t make valid observations about that process from the evidence available to us. It’s nothing to do with assuming an old world or evolution, beyond the proviso that in theory God could have created the entire universe as is a split second ago. It’s that the evidence is best explained by an old world and evolution – in other words these are productive theories which generate predictions about the evidence that stand up – and furthermore different strands of evidence match and reinforce other strands. The picture of evolution provided by genetics is exactly the picture you get through a morphological/chronological analysis of the fossil record. This is why biologists are so confident about evolution. Creationism or any other alternative to evolution has to explain all the data, not just a few data points that might allow for a different explanation. It’s possible that God created every organism in the history of the world in an act of special creation in exactly the pattern that evolution would predict, but that’s hardly a parsimonious explanation, and besides if you wanted to make predictions about what sorts of organisms or features you would find in a given place and time you would still have to use evolutionary theory to figure it out.

    True, but whether or not you’re being consistent is the real issue. Is God your authority, or is man your authority? God has revealed our origin, but man thinks he can reject what God has plainly revealed and come up with his own story, which contradicts God’s word. So is the solution to reinterpret scripture to fit with mainstream science? I would suggest no, not if you trust God. I believe God revealed our real origin and history, so if he’s real, which I believe He is, then I’d rather accept what he says and reject mainstream scientists naturalistic interpretations, which automatically reject God’s word.

    That’s your prerogative, but it’s a metaphysical judgement not a scientific one. You’re problem isn’t with evolution per se but with the scientific method, which doesn’t accept any authority beyond the physical evidence. In a clash between scripture and evidence, science will always take the evidence.

  33. #33 Dave S.
    June 6, 2006

    Jon Silcox writes:

    Dave S- Thanks for your comments, but I can’t seem to get the blockquote function to work. Sorry. This may be lengthy, but I accept your challenge. I hope you consider some of what I write. I’d actually like to be much more thorogh than what time allows. So here it goes:

    I’ll consider it to the best of my ability. It will be difficult unless you talk in specifics and provide references. Simply listing sound-bites one after the other isn’t terribly conducive to good discussion. Especially when they are simply followed up by more sound-bites.

    Dave S wrote “So where are the successful predictions using Creationism or ID?”
    Here’s 3 quick ones: American naval office and oceanographer Matthew Maury (1806-1873) wrote the first textbook on modern oceanography in 1855, The Physical Geography of the Sea and its Meteorology, and used the Bible for his predictions. Atmospheric scientist Larry Vardiman has written on helium in the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Gentry has written on helium conatained in Zircons. You’ve tried to mention that some of these arguments are horribly flawed, but didn’t provide any evidence.

    But you’re not providing any evidence to rebut with other evidence. You’re simply making extremely general claims. Can you give a specific example from one of the above? Less Gish Galloping, more facts.

    You missed my point. Electrons can be tested in the present by naturalistic processes. But evolution cannot.

    You’re making an artificial distinction here that’s based on your religion (or rather how you understand the Bible), and not science. What is the scientific rationale for saying its OK to use purely naturalistic methods for one thing and not another?

    For example, you may examine fossils in the present, but you cannot observe an Australopithecine evolving into a modern man. Scientists didn’t live back then.

    But detectives, when they solve a crime, weren’t there either. They still prove the crime, don’t they?

    It doesn’t matter that scientists didn’t live back then. All that matters is that scientists can observe the evidence now, and the evidence is the fossils (among other things that are observable). Almost all science relies on inferring processes by the evidence left behind. The only difference here is that the processes happened further back in time than a simple chemical reaction.

    They can only observe what’s left behind.

    Exactly my point. Scientists always observe what’s left behind. That’s the evidence. Then they formulate models as to how the evidence got that way. Then they test their models to verify that they are reasonable.

    The evolutionary process is assumed and put together by just-so stories.

    No, it is based on the evidence as already described many times. And it’s tested. If it was just assumed, then why was Darwin right that the earliest human fossils were found in Africa and why were the researchers who found Tiktallik also right?

    What’s the point in discussing if all you’re going to do is make bald assertions without the slightest evidentiary support. And then you expect me to rebut the “evidence” of your bald assertions.

    Taking a naturalistic worldview is fine in the present, as this is what creationists have done for centuries, knowing that we believe in an orderly God who created on orderly universe.

    But that is not being consistant. Why is it fine in the present? If you reject naturalism, you need to reject all naturalism. Unless you have a scientific basis for this distinction?

    However, if you assume evolution, and that the universe is about 13.5 billion years old, but if in fact it’s only about 6 thousand years old, and evolution has not occurred, then having a naturalistic worldview will obviously lead you astray.

    Scientists do not assume this. This is the conclusion they have come to based on the evidence. All the physical evidence points to an old Earth. There is not one single piece of physcal evidence that points to a 6000 year old Earth. Even your own sources do not show this. The only way you get this number is by adding Biblical chronologies.

    The difference is that I will allow for any age for the Earth as best determined by the facts (and having done that, the Earth is old), but you MUST have a specific age and will a priori reject all others. That’s not a difference in “interpretation”. It’s a complete difference in method. I’m using science, and you’re using apologia.

    Dave S wrote “Zuckerman held a minority view even back in the 50′s when he put it forth, and that view was discredited totally decades ago.”
    Who discredited it? Was it other experts?

    Of course it was other experts, and using the same methods as he did I might add! If you want to believe Zuckerman, then that’s your business, but you can’t say that the science agrees with him, because it absolutely does not, and paleontologists have not for many decades. One thing we have that he did not is man many more fossils and better quality ones at that. Wilfred Le Gros Clark already showed by 1950 that Australopithecine (africanus) were not apes.

    Which experts do you believe? Didn’t he totally discredit what the other experts said? Why would his view be discredited, other than that’s not what the rest of the scientific community wanted to hear? Could politics have anything to do with it and not science?

    His views were discredited because they simply did not hold up to scrutiny. If you believe they are still valid, then on what evidence do you base that? Again, you can choose to believe whoever you like, but that doesn?t mean that person has a valid viewpoint. Howell in 1978 list at least a dozen studies similar to Zuckerman’s that came to the opposite conclusion.

    It’s missleading to present Zuckerman as if his is just one opinion among many. The consensus is plain that Zuckerman was wrong, and has been for decades. If you want to argue otherwise, then use the data and show me. Don’t just cherry-pick his conclusions because you like them best. This is the “valid critique” you speak of?

    But if indeed Australopithecus is not an ancestor of man (which creationists believe it’s not), then Zuckerman is correct in his conclusion. Is it someone elses opinion that he is wrong? Where did he make his mistake?

    No, it does not follow that if Australopithecus is not an ancestor of man, then Zuckerman weas right. There was not simply a linear progression.

    I agree that Oxnard believes Australopithecus were bipedal. It was my conclusion that they were not.

    Fine.

    Oxnard does, however, agree that they did not have locomotion like that of modern man.

    Well yes, I already said he did. This is not controversial.

    But if you examine his quote, it is pure speculation, which means that it is open to interpretation. Will it be interpreted from a purely naturalistic worldview, or a scriptural worldview? Excluding a Biblical worldview is not very scientific because it does offer a valid alternative to evolution, despite the naysayers. But it’s quickly mocked by mainstream science despite the success of creationist scientists of the past and present.

    Now suddenly that he doesn’t agree with you, he’s speculating! He wasn’t “speculating” a minute ago when you thought Oxnard agreed with you. That’s just the kind of stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere near a real science class.

    No, the transitional nature of the OH8 foot and the bipedal nature of Australopithicine are conclusions based on the facts.

    We have the following facts about Australopithicine – the pelvis, knee, leg bones, and spinal column entrance into the brain case are ALL much more similar to humans than to apes. It is these very characteristics that allow us to determine bipedality! They are not ape like in those respects. But they also have ape-like characteristics. And that’s why we call it transitional.

    Transitional does not mean lineal descendent, but you knew that right?

    Dave S wrote ” Granted OH8 is Homo habilis, but this is not a lot different from Australopithecine.”
    Homo habilis actually constitutes two or three different species, probably all australopithecines.

    Based on what evidence? Please be specific. I will not waste my time answering repeated broad general assertions.

    Dave wrote “Indeed they may also have spent time in trees, but they were not knuckle-walkers.”
    You provided no proof that they are not kuckle-walkers. But evidence shows they have the same wrist anatomy as chimpanzees and gorillas.

    It’s you who provide no proof Jon. You simply assert that they were as if that’s all you need to do! But as evidence I present the paper by B.G. Richmond and D.S. Strait, Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor. Nature 2000; 404:382-385). Now don’t let the title fool you, what they find is that Australopithicine retained some features found in knuckle-walkers, not that they themselves were knuckle-walkers. In fact, their evidence says they were not, “The absence of these features (ed. – eg. pronounced dorsal metacarpal ridges and dorsally expanded and widened articular surfaces of the metacarpal heads, features were really do find in knuckle-walkers) in early hominids, in conjunction with clearly derived morphological evidence for bipedalism, suggests to us that early hominids did not themselves practice knuckle walking.“. They are clear about this. What is your evidence to the contrary??

    Dave wrote “We don’t know what made the Laetoli footprints, but it could have been australopithecine.”
    It also could have been modern man, which is what we believe, because that’s what the footprints look like.

    Like I already said, I’m not interested in what you believe, I’m interested in what you can show using the evidence. And the honest appraisal of the evidence is that that Australopithicine could have made them, but we really don’t know what did. I could provide references, but first I want to see your specific arguments based on the data.

    This is still evolutionary assumption. Are there any scientists who disagree with this conclusion? Different scientists will have different opinions based on their worldview. And even if you think the anatomy looks like it has a relationship doesn’t mean that it does. Two houses or two cars may look similar without being built by the same company or person.

    No, the transitional nature of the fossils is simply a fact. There’s no getting around Jon that these fossils look in part like humans and in part like apes. This is explained by evolution, but you don’t have to believe in evolution at all to see the transitional nature. If you can’t explain them by evolution, then have you a better biological explanation. Denial is not a better explanation.

    You may tell me what Spoor thinks, but the fact remains that the inner ear of australopithecus is decidely apelike. You even admitted that they share ape-like anatomy. But this evidence indicates that they did not walk upright like modern man as evolutionists want us to think.

    No, your just picking and chosing your data and conclusions to match your pre-conceived notions, the evidence be damned! That the inner ear anatomy is ape like does not show that they didn?t walk upright. Spoor found that the semicircular canals were ape-like, but he made it clear this is consistent with the normal evolutionary view that Australopithicine were bipedal but may have spent some time in trees.

    That is your conclusion, not Spoor’s, which is the same thing you did to Oxnard. You need to make it clear when you are concluding something and when your sources are. Indeed, the Homo erectus skull Sangiran 2 actually has a human like inner ear structure. But this skull is identical to Java Man, who most Creationists say is an ape!

    This just goes to show that science is open to interpretation. But just whose interpretation is accepted is based on biased evolutionary assumptions. Still, the fossils are either human or ape, not transitional.

    If you’re saying that there are only ‘humans’ and ‘apes’ and nothing in between, then why can’t the Creationists agree which is which for all the skulls? Can’t they tell the difference?? Why are 3 of them saying ER 1470 is human and 3 that its an ape? The only reason I can see is that it looks something like both. In other words, transitional.

    I can point to many evolutionists who share contradictory agruments, ranging from dinosaurs to the big-bang, but you’ll still make the point that they believe in common descent, or something to that matter.

    But evolutionists can tell the difference between 2 things if there is nothing in between that looks like some of both.

    The point is that DNA is actually a complex structure and contains coded information. Where is the coded information in your randomly shuffled deck? Coded systems are only the result of intelligence, and the code means nothing unless it can be interpreted.

    No, you’re using circular reasoning. You’re assuming DNA is a code, and so you look at the probability assuming it’s a code, and its so low that DNA must be a code! You’re assuming what you’re supposed to be showing. Plus you’re not even using an evolutionary model. Your model is completely irrelevant.

    Dave wrote “Like any science, evolution welcomes valid critique.”
    This is not true.

    This is true. Scientists thrive on valid critique. That doesn’t mean they?d accept just anything.

    Just try getting criticism of evolution into science class (or a sticker). If it were true, then why all the politics to keep it out? I know, because you don’t believe creationism is science. But then again the same can be said of evolution, as I’ve already demonstrated.

    You have demonstrated nothing of the sort. You have asserted that this is true, but your assertions are not evidence.

    Valid critique is not welcomed in the classroom, I think, because evolutionists are afraid to lose their grip. If students were allowed to think critically about evolution, they just might reject it.

    Valid scientific critique is welcome. Gross missunderstandings of theory and cherry picked data and conclusions are not.

    We either came about by random chance, or on purpose and for a reason. I can’t think of a third alternative, can you?

    What about non-random physical forces?

    Dave wrote “But you’re not trying to demonstrate the Creationist model scientifically, you’re just trying to attack evolution and then your model is supposed to somehow win by default. You have no positive evidence that the universe is 10,000 years old.
    Helium in the atomosphere, helium in zircons, ocean salt, all indicate a young earth. Show me where the flaws are as you state there are.

    Look, these are not arguments. They are just soundbites. I’m not going to spend hours debunking vague assertions like this. HOW does helium in the atmosphere show a young earth?

    Are you referring to creationist doctors who invent the medicines and procedures that the evolutionist doctor merely memorizes?

    Wow, really? Show me some of these creationist medical discoveries.

    There are many creationist doctors and scientists who’ve done the inventing and publishing. If you want a few names aside from the famous scientists of the past (Newton, Boyle, Kelvin,Galileo)

    Of course they were Creationists?most of them never heard of evolution! Creation was simply assumed to be true. Its only when someone actually looked at the data was it found that this model fell short.

    there’s Dr. Geoff Barnard, Dr. John Baumgardner,Ian Macreadie, and thousands more. If you want links to their names, degrees, patents, inventions, publishings, that can easily be provided.

    These are Creationists that are also scientists. But show me where in their science they used their creationism to make any discoveries?

    Ummm, how about creationism, that’s a pretty well known alternative that fits the bill. Give it some credability.

    But it has earned no credibility Jon. Zero.

    This is a problem for evolutionists, but not creationists, because we believe God revealed what happened, how, and why in scripture.

    It’s a problem for all scientists of all religions. Even Christian ones.

    Of course not. That’s because God has already revealed man’s origin, and it wasn’t evolution starting from a single cell.

    But others of faith don’t agree with you. That’s why in science we use a different standard…what does the evidence say? And no, it doesn’t count when you start with your conclusion and then try to force the evidence to make it fit as Creationists do.

    And no, evolutionists do not.

    Dave writes “All we can do is to observe the evidence we can see, and infer the best explanation.”
    But your explanations automatically rule out special creation. And if creation is true, then the ‘best explanation’ was theorized in vain.

    Wrong. If special creation as you envision it were true, then the evidence in the fossil record and in the molecular record would have bourne that out. That fact that the evidence does not doesn?t mean God is wrong, although it might mean that you are wrong.

    Nope. Microbes are still microbes, and insects are still insects. Creationists have no problem with this, if this is what you call evolution.

    This is evolution Jon. But this is not all that evoltion is, and I have never said otherwise.

    We expect organisms to give birth to their kind with variation. But this is not the same thing as a dinosaur turning into a bird, or an ape into a man. Comparing the two is a bait-and-switch. One can be observed, and the other cannot.

    Now we’re back to what can be “observed” and not “tested”? Evidence is observed in science Jon. The evidence needs to be observable directly, not the process.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I am not using bait and switch. That is false. I am saying that there is BOTH evidence for small scale evolution, AND evidence for large scale evolution. I AM NOT saying the latter must be true because the former is. BOTH are observable.

    True, but whether or not you’re being consistent is the real issue.

    I am being consistent Jon. You’re the one who uses two different scientific standards based on how a given science affects your religion. My standards are consistent throughout.

    Is God your authority, or is man your authority? God has revealed our origin, but man thinks he can reject what God has plainly revealed and come up with his own story, which contradicts God’s word. So is the solution to reinterpret scripture to fit with mainstream science? I would suggest no, not if you trust God. I believe God revealed our real origin and history, so if he’s real, which I believe He is, then I’d rather accept what he says and reject mainstream scientists naturalistic interpretations, which automatically reject God’s word. Afterall, if God is real and not some fairy tale, then he should know the truth better than all mankind, especially if He’s the one who did the creating.

    But your exigesis is just one of many, and your religion is but one of many. There is no rational basis to accept yours and reject all others. Don’t confuse your exegesis with what God says. They are not the same thing.

  34. #34 Richard Simons
    June 9, 2006

    I am puzzled by Jon’s last paragraph. Is he implying that all the physical, chemical, geological, genetic, archaeological, morphological, anatomic and other evidence that supports the concepts of a great age for the Earth and the action of evolution on organisms was deliberately put in place by a devious, trickster God to deceive people and that a single book, that has come to us after many tellings and retellings, writing and rewriting, is the absolute Truth (despite having internal contradiction)?

  35. #35 Jon Silcox
    June 10, 2006

    Ok, I’m hoping to make this my final post for this topic.

    Previously I named Matthew Muary, Larry Vardiman and Robert Gentry as three scientists who use Creationism to make successful predictions.

    Dave S wrote “You’re simply making extremely general claims. Can you give a specific example fromone of the above?” He also wrote “But show me where in their science they used their creationism to make any discoveries?”

    Matthew Maury (1806-1873): He sought naval reform to provide skills in chronometry, natural history, mathematics, international and maritine law. He searched to find the ‘paths’of the sea spoken of in Psalms, and found them. In the currents of the ocean he saw strong evidence of design and purpose. He devoted himself to studying the Bible, winds, clouds, weather, and ocean features. Psalm 8 says “…whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Muary believed that if God said there were ‘paths’ in the seas, then it must be true. So he set out to find them. He studied ship logs, compiled charts of ocean-wind and sea currents. In 1855 he wrote the first textbook on modern oceanography, The Physical Geography of the Sea nd Its Meteorology. He quoted scripture, Job 28:25, which refers to God making ‘the weight for the winds’. From this he concluded that the air has weight, and described atmospherical pressure.

    Dr. Larry Vardiman (Physics, meteorology, atmospheric science) demonstrates how young the earth is from the formation of helium. By measuring the amount of helium in rocks and in the air we can calculate the maximum age of rocks and of the air. Since 67 grams of helium escape from the earth’s crust and into the atmosphere every second, it would have taken about 2 million years for the current amount of helium to build up, even if there had been none at the beginning. Any known escape mechanisms for helium are inadequate to account for the small amount of helium in the air. (Book: The Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere: A study of the Helium Flux through the Atmosphere)

    Robert Gentry’s research on zircons found that they contained far too much helium for the earth to be billions of years old. He also discovered that granites contain microscopic coloration halos produced by the radioactive decay of primordial polonium But polonium halos should not be there according to an evolutionary time frame. The existence of polonium halos is scientific evidence of a young earth, possibly even an instantaneous creation. (Creation’s Tiny Mystery, Earth Science Associates, Knoxville, pp. 111137, 1988. Radioactive halos: geological concerns, Creation Research Society Quarterly 25 (4):171-176, 1989.)

    Dave wrote “You’re making an artificial distinction here that’s based on your religion (or rather how you understand the Bible), and not science. What is the scientific rationale for saying its ok to use purely naturalistic methods for one thing and not another?”

    The scientific method (observation, inference, hypothesis, hypothesis testing, interpretation of data, critical thinking, etc.) doesn’t dictate which worldview to use and when. Only people can do that. Evolutionists, ID, and Creationists all use the scientific method, but our worldview will dictate how we interpret the data. What I’m saying is that real science isn’t biased against those who interpret the data differently. If the science is valid, then there should be no opposition to it, which there is. Of course those who hold a purely naturalistic worldview may disagree, but at least be honest about your biases.

    Dave wrote “But detectives, when they solve a crime, weren’t there either. They still prove the crime, don’t they?”

    Not every time. Again you’re missing the point. I’m not saying that they can’t solve crimes. I am saying that it’s their interpretation of the evidence that will determine WHETHER OR NOT they solve the crime. Any factual or fictional murder mystery can be solved by just about any of the characters, but only a correct interpretation of the facts will result in true justice. Truth is independent of interpretation. An incorrect interpretation will result in a false conviction, which does happen. Trying to interpret mysteries millions and billions of years in the past will be much harder to do, but if you start with the correct assumptions (ie, God and scripture), then you’re ahead of the game. In addition, much of what we know about forensics can actually be tested in the present and can even be recreated in the present. This cannot be done with evolution.

    Dave wrote “It doesn’t matter that scientists didn’t live back then. All that matters is that scientists can observe evidence now, and the evidence is the fossils (among other things that are observable). Almost all science relies on inferring processes by the evidence left behind. The only difference here is that the processes happened further back in time than a simple chemical reaction.”

    It does matter that scientists didn’t live back then. Unless they lived back then and observed what happened they can never be sure that their inferences and conclusions are correct. All the fraudulent fossil finds should serve as an example (Piltdown man, Nebraska man, Archaeoraptor). Scientists believed them for a while because they observed the evidence and made incorrect inferences. Eventually the frauds were uncovered, but this goes on to show that it does matter that no one was around a million or billion years ago to observe what happened. Are there other hoaxes that have not been exposed? Possibly. But how can we know for sure if we can’t look into the past? Australopithecine appears to be genuine, but it’s not possible to prove that the inferences and conclusions made about them being man’s ancestors are true since no one was able to observe it happening.

    Dave wrote “Scientists always observe what’s left behind. That’s the evidence. Then they formulate models as to how the evidence got that way. Then they test their models to verify that they are reasonable.”

    Reasonable to whom? Someone who shares their worldview? A lot of models are not reasonable to both creationists and evolutionists. There are many scientists who don’t believe in the Big Band (Ernst Peter Fischer, Halton C. Arp, Hans Jorg Fahr), the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs (The Great Dinosaur Extinction Controversy, by Charles Officer and Jake Page), That dinosaurs turned into birds (Alan Feduccia), or many supposed transitionary forms (examples previously cited). The models scientists formulate are just-so stories that explain the evidence… stories that have already been shown to be unreasonable by many. So again, who determines reasonableness? The majority? Is the majority ever wrong? Majority does not equal truth.

    Replying to my comment that scientists assume evolution, Dave writes “Scientists do not assume this. This is the conclusion they have come to based on the evidence. All thephysical evidence points to an old Earth. There is not one single piece of physical evidence that points to a 6000 year old Earth. Even your own sources do not show this. The only way you get this number is by adding Biblical chronologies.”

    This is double-talk, and you’re mistaken about several things. Are you trying to suggest that scientists don’t believe in evolution, and then interpret the evidence according to that belief? I suggest that they already believe in evolution when they begin their studies, and their interpretations reflect that belief in their conclusions. This is why the evolutionary community believes that certain apes are ancestors of man. Because they want to see ape like anatomy mixed with human anatomy, that is what their conclusions will show. Those that disagree are simply ‘discredited’ by the evolutionary community (ex. Zuckerman, Oxnard). Also, I have previously cited evidence for a young Earth without resorting to Biblical chronology.

    Dave wrote “The difference is that I will allow f-or any age for the Earth as best determined by the facts (and having done that, the Earth id old), but you MUST have a specific age and will a priori reject all others. That’s not a difference in ‘interpretation’. It’s a complete difference in method. I’m using science, and you’re using apologia.”

    I’m using both science and apologia. I’ve cited examples, facts and observations, but you simply discredit them because you disagree. Sure, you have shared your evidence. But you keep denying evidence that supports a young earth or rejects evolutionary theory based on the evidence you agree with. Since I’ve cited evidence, there should be no more denying it. Saying it doesn’t exist is nothing more than hand-waiving in spite of the contrary evidence. So, ultimately, how do you decide what to believe? Is it based on majority opinion. That’s what it sounds like. But that’s not science. There are a minority (Creationists and evolutionists) who don’t agree with some or all evolutionary theory. But since they’re the minority they are automatically discredited, and face an uphill battle trying to get the evolutionary community to accept their conclusions. I doubt you have observed the evidence first hand and have come to your own conclusions. Like many others, you probably read what others write about their conclusions and either accept or reject that information. But if a minority opinion tests those conclusions and finds them unreasonable, how do you respond? Isn’t it by showing where those you agree with have tested the counter arguments and found the others results unreasonable. But then what about the next counterargument, and so on?

    Dave wrote “It’s missleading to present Zuckerman as if his is just one opinion among many. The consensus is plain that Zuckerman was wrong, and has been for decades.”

    Again that’s your conclusion, and you’re entitled to your opinion. Does ‘majority rule’ in science? Does a cosensus dictate fact or truth? Or do you settle for what you consider a ‘reasonable explanation’? A quick search reveals other studies and articles indicating that Australopithecines as an ancestor of man is not as clear as you’re making it out to be. Articles by Meave Leakey and Daniel Lieberman in Nature are but other examples. It’s misleading to present Zuckerman as the only individual who holds to this conclusion.

    Dave wrote “Now suddenlty that he doesn’t agree with you, he’s speculating! He wasn’t “speculating” a minute ago when you thought Oxnard agreed with you. That’s just the kind of stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere near a real science class.”

    Again you’re missing the point. And you did the same thing you’re accusing me of. Except I’m willing to admit it. You used Oxnard’s quotes to support what you agree with, and discredited what I used to support my position. Isn’t that the cherry picking you’re accusing me of? You finally admitted this stuff doesn’t belong anywhere near a real science class. That’s why I believe the teaching of evolution doesn’t belong in science class… perhaps in a world religions class, but not science, because it’s not based on real science; it’s based on assumptions about the past that can’t be proven. You keep admitting inferences are being made about the past that cannot be observed. You see, whoever can win the mainstream scientific community with their inferences gets the trophy. Truth is irrelevant.

    Dave says “No, the transitional nature of the OH8 foot and the bipedal nature of Australopithicine are conclusions based on the facts.”

    Russell Tuttle at the University of Chicago denies that a ‘Lucy’ made these footprints. Marvin Lubenow, whom I know you disagree with, also indicates that Australopithecines had curled toes, unlike the footprints discovered.

    I wrote that Homo habilis actually constitutes two or three different species, probably all Australopithecines. Dave S replied “Based on what evidence? Please be specific.

    John Woodmorappe’s article titled ‘The Non-transitions in Human Evolution- on Evolutionists Terms’indicates that Homo habilis has now been split up into Homo rudeolfensis and Homo habilis sensulato. What used to be called ‘early Homo erectus’ has now been split off and elevated to a separate species, Homo ergaster. What remains is called Homo erectus sensu lato.

    Dave wrote “Show me some of these creationist medical discoveries.”

    Here are a few that I found from a quick search, and a few discoveries from other fields:
    Dr. Raymond Damadian is the inventor of the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.
    Dr. Eric Norman has done groundbreaking pioneer research with vitamin B12 and developed a highly accurate, simple urine test for identifying an early deficiency in this vitamin.
    Dr. David Pennington was the first plastic surgeon in the world to successfully reattach a human ear.
    Dr. Donald Chittick holds patents on alternate fuels and in ‘programmed instruction.’
    Dr. William M. Curtis has several discoveries in aerodyanamics engineering.
    Archaeologist David Down has used the Bible to determine Egyptian chronology in his work (Searching for Moses, TJ, 15 (1):53-57, 2001).
    The list of Creationist Medical discoveries goes on and on. I don’t know how many you need to support the fact that Creationists have always done and still do ‘real science’, but it’s not hard to find them if you look for them.

    Dave wrote “If special creation as you envision it were true, then the evidence in the fossil record and in the molecular record would have bourne that out.”

    The fossil record does support special creation. There are flood models that account for the fossil record and the ice age. There is a wealth of information available for your reading, such as The Fossil Record, Becoming More Random all the Time, by John Woodmorappe, and How Well do Paleontologists Know Fossil Distributions? by Michael Oard. Flood Models: the Need for an Integrated Approach, by A.C McIntosh, T. Edmondson & S. Taylor. Ice Cores vs the Flood by Michael Oard. Flood/ post-Flood Boundaries Within the Global Stratigraphical Record, by C.R. Froede Jr.

    Finally, Richard Simons wrote “I am puzzled by Jon’s last paragraph. Is he implying that all the physical, chemical, geological, genetic, archaeological, morphological, anatomic and other evidence that supports the concepts of a great age for the Earth and the action of evolution on organisms was deliberately put in place by a devious, tricster God to deceive people and that a single book, that has come to us after many tellings and retellings, writing and rewriting, is the absolute Truth (despite have internal contradiction)?”

    No, of course I’m not saying that. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m saying, as I’ve repeated in numerous posts, that the evidence for a great age of the Earth is based on one’s INTERPRETATION of the evidence, and not from the evidence itself. We all have the same evidence, but it will be interpreted differently based on ones worldview. If, in your worldview, you believe in an ancient universe, all the evidence will be interpreted that way. If you trust the Bible as your authority, then the evidence will be interpreted in light of that. God did not trick anybody. That may be your interpretation, but God made it plane in His word that His creation is young, and all the scientific evidence can be interpreted that way (see Romans 1:20). If you’re willing to examine Creationist research you will see that they look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions about the facts. You may disagree with their conclusions, but that doesn’t mean the evidence isn’t there. And yes, God’s word is truth. Without it there would be no truth. And no, there are not contradictions. Any perceived contradictions are the result of interpretation. I’ll save further discussion on this for a future post.

  36. #36 Dave S.
    June 12, 2006

    Jon Silcox writes:

    Ok, I’m hoping to make this my final post for this topic.

    That would be up to you. I think we’re not going to go much further.

    Matthew Maury (1806-1873): He sought naval reform to provide skills in chronometry, natural history, mathematics, international and maritine law. He searched to find the ‘paths’of the sea spoken of in Psalms, and found them. In the currents of the ocean he saw strong evidence of design and purpose. He devoted himself to studying the Bible, winds, clouds, weather, and ocean features. Psalm 8 says “…whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Muary believed that if God said there were ‘paths’ in the seas, then it must be true. So he set out to find them. He studied ship logs, compiled charts of ocean-wind and sea currents. In 1855 he wrote the first textbook on modern oceanography, The Physical Geography of the Sea nd Its Meteorology. He quoted scripture, Job 28:25, which refers to God making ‘the weight for the winds’. From this he concluded that the air has weight, and described atmospherical pressure.

    It was already well known that there were navigational channels and currents in the open ocean, as there were in smaller inland seas. The explorer Herrara wrote in 1513 of the Gulf Stream, and sailors afterward routinely used the longer southern route to go west and the northern to go east, taking advantage of this current. Franklin even made an accurate map 100 years before Maury. So Maury was already well acquainted with currents and navigation channels. As for atmospheric pressure, Torricelli and Viviani already measured that in 1643, so Maury was already acquainted with that too. You’re simply correlating descriptions of natural phenomena with some vague description in the Bible.

    And you might be interested to know that Maury does not agree in a young Earth. He wrote in 1855:

    “I pass by the history of creation as it is written on the tablets of the rocks and in the Book of Revelation, because the question has been discussed so much and so often, that you, no doubt are familiar with the whole subject. In both the order of creation is the same. First, the plants to afford subsistence and then the animals, the chief point of apparent difference being as to the duration of the period between “the evening and the morning”. “A thousand years are in His sight as one day”, and the Mosaic account affords evidence itself that the term “day”, as there used, is not that which comprehends our twenty-four hours. It was a day that had its “evening and morning” before the sun was made.”

    So, even though a Creationist, he also discounted a literal 24 hour 6-day creation viewpoint as Biblically untenable.

    Larry Vardiman … Robert Gentry’s

    Both the work of Gentry and Vardiman have been soundly debunked and I won’t bother to go into detail here. If Jon wants to examine some specific data, then let’s go at it. But I’m tired of the Gish Gallop game.

    The scientific method (observation, inference, hypothesis, hypothesis testing, interpretation of data, critical thinking, etc.) doesn’t dictate which worldview to use and when. Only people can do that. Evolutionists, ID, and Creationists all use the scientific method, but our worldview will dictate how we interpret the data.

    Baloney. Creationists and ID advocates do not use the scientific method. You may call it that, but you’re not using it. You’re starting with your conclusions (those are in the Bible) and then you’re trying to rationalize the data. If you were really doing science, then you’d agree that the Bible could be proven false by testable physical data. Is that what you agree to? That is true for evolution. Are you prepared to say the same thing?

    What I’m saying is that real science isn’t biased against those who interpret the data differently.

    But you are not interpreting data. You already have your conclusion and no data can change that. Creationists organizations like ICR and AiG even have mission statements which make that crystal clear. ID tries to be more clever and hide their agenda, but it doesn’t work.

    If anything, science is biased in favour of explanations that can be and have been tested in a manner which minimizes human opinion.

    If the science is valid, then there should be no opposition to it, which there is. Of course those who hold a purely naturalistic worldview may disagree, but at least be honest about your biases.

    Nonsense. I oppose the existence of atoms, so therefore they don’t exist?

    I’m not talking about my “worldview”. I’m talking about what we can or can’t show with science. Science is methodologically naturalistic, and I?ve never suggested otherwise. If you can show us a better way methodologically, then show us. Unfortunately, starting by accepting your version of religion as absolute truth gets us nowhere. Of course all the evidence will be ?interpreted? to support your position?you?re position is already the truth by definition. That?s a pointless waste of time doing ?science? that way.

    Dave wrote “But detectives, when they solve a crime, weren’t there either. They still prove the crime, don’t they?”

    Not every time.

    When detectives don’t solve the crime, it’s because they don’t have enough evidence, it’s not because of some philosophical obstruction against scientifically examining the past.

    Again you’re missing the point. I’m not saying that they can’t solve crimes. I am saying that it’s their interpretation of the evidence that will determine WHETHER OR NOT they solve the crime. Any factual or fictional murder mystery can be solved by just about any of the characters, but only a correct interpretation of the facts will result in true justice. Truth is independent of interpretation. An incorrect interpretation will result in a false conviction, which does happen.

    My point is only that events in the past can be studied scientifically by looking at the evidence left behind of the event. You do not need as a necessity to observe the event itself.

    Trying to interpret mysteries millions and billions of years in the past will be much harder to do,

    The absolute age is itself irrelevant. What matters is how much evidence is left behind.

    but if you start with the correct assumptions (ie, God and scripture), then you’re ahead of the game.

    Whose God? Whose scripture? How do we know which one is correct? Obviously you think your is, but how do you know it’s not the Lakota creation myth? How can you prove it’s not the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Geeze Jon, your “starting assumptions” aren’t even agreed upon by most Christians let alone most people of faith.

    In addition, much of what we know about forensics can actually be tested in the present and can even be recreated in the present. This cannot be done with evolution.

    Atcually it can. But of course you’ll simply dismiss the scale as not evolution as you think of it. But my point remains that you can test for events that happened in the past, even if you can’t actually observe the event itself directly.

    It does matter that scientists didn’t live back then. Unless they lived back then and observed what happened they can never be sure that their inferences and conclusions are correct.

    Of course they can. They use the evidence left behind, as has been explained a million times now. The more evidence left behind, the better we know what happened.

    All the fraudulent fossil finds should serve as an example (Piltdown man, Nebraska man, Archaeoraptor). Scientists believed them for a while because they observed the evidence and made incorrect inferences.

    What about all the legitimate fossil finds? Aren’t they a better example, since they are the fossils actually used in the science.

    Eventually the frauds were uncovered, but this goes on to show that it does matter that no one was around a million or billion years ago to observe what happened.

    Uncovered by other scientists, using the normal methods of science. And Nebraska Man wasn’t a fraud, and Archeoraptor didn’t fool any scientists, it fooled National Geographic staffers.

    Are there other hoaxes that have not been exposed? Possibly.

    Maybe. So what? There are hoaxes and errors in every field of science. Remember cold fusion? Memory water? There are plenty of religious hoaxes too for that matter, so I don’t see what you’re supposed to be showing here.

    But how can we know for sure if we can’t look into the past? Australopithecine appears to be genuine, but it’s not possible to prove that the inferences and conclusions made about them being man’s ancestors are true since no one was able to observe it happening.

    But we can look into the past via the evidence left behind. Do you have another biological explanation for the features of Australopithicine fossils other than evolution? Do you have evidence they are frauds? And by evidence I don’t mean slurs by association.

    Reasonable to whom? Someone who shares their worldview? A lot of models are not reasonable to both creationists and evolutionists. There are many scientists who don’t believe in the Big Band (Ernst Peter Fischer, Halton C. Arp, Hans Jorg Fahr), the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs (The Great Dinosaur Extinction Controversy, by Charles Officer and Jake Page), That dinosaurs turned into birds (Alan Feduccia), or many supposed transitionary forms (examples previously cited).

    This is actually a good example of exactly how evidence can be left behind for events that happened long ago. The Big Bang was verified by finding the physical evidence that was predicted to have been left behind if such an event were real (the anisotropic 3K background radiation). The evidence was there, just as predicted. Science uses evidence that can be OBSERVED today to infer a process that happened in the PAST. There will always be dissenters, but the fact there are a few doesn’t mean the science isn’t as settled as science gets.

    The models scientists formulate are just-so stories that explain the evidence… stories that have already been shown to be unreasonable by many. So again, who determines reasonableness? The majority? Is the majority ever wrong? Majority does not equal truth.

    Of course not. But minority doesn?t equal a controversy in conclusion either, which is my point. It?s disingenuous to suggest the view of Zuckerman today can be presented as a valid critique of modern science simply because Zuckerman said something you like. You must back it up with the data. You have not done so, and cannot do so because the data simply is not there. That?s why no professional paleontologist today holds his views. Back in 1950 LeGros Clarke challenged Zuckerman to find a single chimp fossil jaw that matched the Australopithecine fossil jaw. Zuckerman could not do it, nor could he answer the professional statisticians who informed him he wasn?t using their statistics correctly.

    Now if you want to hang onto Zuckerman like grim death, then that’s your business. One has to wonder though that if he were right, why can’t you point to the evidence today that shows this.

    This is double-talk, and you’re mistaken about several things. Are you trying to suggest that scientists don’t believe in evolution, and then interpret the evidence according to that belief? I suggest that they already believe in evolution when they begin their studies, and their interpretations reflect that belief in their conclusions.

    Please don’t try to put words into my mouth. Scientists indeed accept evolution, but they accept it for the same reasons they accept the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease, because all those theories have been tested and found to pass again and again. Even today there are tests going on and evolution continues to pass (remember Tiktaalik).

    This is why the evolutionary community believes that certain apes are ancestors of man. Because they want to see ape like anatomy mixed with human anatomy, that is what their conclusions will show. Those that disagree are simply ‘discredited’ by the evolutionary community (ex. Zuckerman, Oxnard). Also, I have previously cited evidence for a young Earth without resorting to Biblical chronology.

    But the people I pointed to were CREATIONISTS Jon. It was creationists who could not tell consistently which fossil skulls were human and which were ape. You tell me?what other reason could there be for this other than that the skulls in question look something like both. Evolution aside, once again I ask how you otherwise explain this?

    Let’s start with this. Are you suggesting that we can’t really tell an ape skull from a human skull? I say we can. What say you?

    I’m using both science and apologia.

    No, it’s all apologia. You?re simply using science-y sounding terminology.

    I’ve cited examples, facts and observations, but you simply discredit them because you disagree. Sure, you have shared your evidence. But you keep denying evidence that supports a young earth or rejects evolutionary theory based on the evidence you agree with. Since I’ve cited evidence, there should be no more denying it.

    Actually you haven’t. What you’ve cited is people who agree that the Earth is young and their claims to have evidence. But the actual evidence itself that they use is old hat that has been refuted time and again.

    Saying it doesn’t exist is nothing more than hand-waiving in spite of the contrary evidence.

    Why won’t you be specific? State in your own words exactly what the evidence is, how it was collected, and how this is a valid way to show the age of the Earth. All you ever do is point to one creationist after another and claim they are right, and complain that I then don’t go into detail. Unless I see some actual argument from you, I’ll be content with what I’ve written so far.

    So, ultimately, how do you decide what to believe? Is it based on majority opinion. That’s what it sounds like. But that’s not science.

    No. It’s based on the best testable explanation for the physical evidence. It’s based on presenting a positive testable model that has been tested and the predictions of which have been verified. You have not even presented a model to test.

    There are a minority (Creationists and evolutionists) who don’t agree with some or all evolutionary theory. But since they’re the minority they are automatically discredited, and face an uphill battle trying to get the evolutionary community to accept their conclusions.

    WRONG. They are discredited not because they are in the minority, but because they abuse science to try and support their pre-conceived religious notions.

    I doubt you have observed the evidence first hand and have come to your own conclusions. Like many others, you probably read what others write about their conclusions and either accept or reject that information.

    Actually I have done some of my own original research (although I haven’t dug up every skull of course!). Papers published and everything. How about you?

    But if a minority opinion tests those conclusions and finds them unreasonable, how do you respond? Isn’t it by showing where those you agree with have tested the counter arguments and found the others results unreasonable. But then what about the next counterargument, and so on?

    You’re still on the false point that it’s merely that creationists are in the minority. That has nothing to do with it. Many great discoveries were once held in the minority. But those discoveries were pushed by a positive scientific model backed by testable hypothesis, something creationists do not have. Or if they do have them (like the YEC’s), the models have failed utterly.

    Again that’s your conclusion, and you’re entitled to your opinion.

    It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. If you think Zuckerman’s views should still be considered, then why? What data supports this. I keep asking you for data, and you keep ignoring me and presenting some other creationist who says what you say. Science deals with actual data Jon.

    Does ‘majority rule’ in science? Does a cosensus dictate fact or truth? Or do you settle for what you consider a ‘reasonable explanation’? A quick search reveals other studies and articles indicating that Australopithecines as an ancestor of man is not as clear as you’re making it out to be. Articles by Meave Leakey and Daniel Lieberman in Nature are but other examples. It’s misleading to present Zuckerman as the only individual who holds to this conclusion.

    Of course majority doesn’t rule, but you seem to think that if one scientist says something you like, you can keep bringing him up regardless that his views have been debunked decades ago. But if you insist, fine, … your data to support that this should still be conclusion is what? Name fossils and the measurements used. Can you show me an Autralopithicine fossil jaw in the literature that’s the same as a chimpanzee jaw?

    Again you’re missing the point. And you did the same thing you’re accusing me of. Except I’m willing to admit it. You used Oxnard’s quotes to support what you agree with, and discredited what I used to support my position. Isn’t that the cherry picking you’re accusing me of?

    Ummm, YOU were the one who claimed Oxnard as a source. I was merely showing that you had obviously not read Oxnard, or more likely the creationist source you got your info from didn’t. Or read what he wanted to hear and stopped there. But if you can use Oxnard to show that I’m wrong, then please do. Show me where Oxnard says what you said originally. I could very easily name pretty much any paleontologist alive today, but why bother when I can name your own source, whom you’ve apparently not actually read?

    You finally admitted this stuff doesn’t belong anywhere near a real science class. That’s why I believe the teaching of evolution doesn’t belong in science class…

    No, it’s your misrepresentations of science that don’t belong in a science class Jon. You obviously have a deeply flawed view of what science is which is well entranched.

    perhaps in a world religions class, but not science, because it’s not based on real science; it’s based on assumptions about the past that can’t be proven. You keep admitting inferences are being made about the past that cannot be observed. You see, whoever can win the mainstream scientific community with their inferences gets the trophy. Truth is irrelevant.

    It’s not an “admission” Jon, of course we can’t view directly something which happened in the past, just as we can’t directly view lots of things like electrons or the orbit of Pluto. Much of evolution happened in the past, but it’s also happening right now. Just as a tree is growing right now, although we might not be able to directly observe it growing from seed to old age. Observing that process directly is not possible, but science can and does make such inferences every day. And it does so by inferring from the evidence which is OBSERVED today. We can’t observe your parents conceiving or giving birth to you, but we can test your DNA and observe the patterns compared to theirs and infer your ancestory. That’s science.

    I’ll agree with you that truth is irrelevant. Science isn’t about truth, it’s about evidence.

    Russell Tuttle at the University of Chicago denies that a ‘Lucy’ made these footprints. Marvin Lubenow, whom I know you disagree with, also indicates that Australopithecines had curled toes, unlike the footprints discovered.

    Another selective creationist cherry-pick. You forgot to mention a few things. First, you forgot to mention that although Tuttle thinks it wasn’t Australopithicine afarensis that made the prints, it was another Australopithicine species (just as you forgot to mention that although Fedducia doesn?t think birds evolved from dinos, he does think birds evolved from crocodilians). That was sneaky of you switching from ‘Australopithicine’ to ‘Lucy’ like that all of a sudden, probably thought I wouldn’t notice. Of course Zuckerman never heard of Lucy, so we’d better forget about him for now too. You also forgot to mention that Johanson and Edgar think it was one of Lucy’s species, Stern and Sussman think it could have been made by her or another Australopithicine, and R.J. Clarke thinks his Stw 573 Australopithicine is a good candidate. The most honest answer, like I said already, is that we don’t really know what made those tracks yet. But you of course pick the one answer you like and omit all the rest.

    John Woodmorappe’s article titled ‘The Non-transitions in Human Evolution- on Evolutionists Terms’indicates that Homo habilis has now been split up into Homo rudeolfensis and Homo habilis sensulato. What used to be called ‘early Homo erectus’ has now been split off and elevated to a separate species, Homo ergaster. What remains is called Homo erectus sensu lato.

    I would agree that habilis fossils probably span too great a range to be covered by a single species name. That’s the problem of finding more evidence, the picture has to adapt. That’s science. I don’t see where erectus suddenly enters the picture.

    Here are a few that I found from a quick search, and a few discoveries from other fields:
    Dr. Raymond Damadian is the inventor of the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.
    Dr. Eric Norman has done groundbreaking pioneer research with vitamin B12 and developed a highly accurate, simple urine test for identifying an early deficiency in this vitamin.
    Dr. David Pennington was the first plastic surgeon in the world to successfully reattach a human ear.
    Dr. Donald Chittick holds patents on alternate fuels and in ‘programmed instruction.’
    Dr. William M. Curtis has several discoveries in aerodyanamics engineering.
    Archaeologist David Down has used the Bible to determine Egyptian chronology in his work (Searching for Moses, TJ, 15 (1):53-57, 2001).
    The list of Creationist Medical discoveries goes on and on. I don’t know how many you need to support the fact that Creationists have always done and still do ‘real science’, but it’s not hard to find them if you look for them.

    First of all, alternative fuel patents, aerodynamics and Egyptian chronology have nothing to do with medicine. And secondly, these are just discoveries by people who also happen to be creationists. What I’m after is the medical discoveries done using a positive creation science model as their scientific world-view. What ever happened to the evil-spirits theory of disease Jon?

    The fossil record does support special creation. There are flood models that account for the fossil record and the ice age. There is a wealth of information available for your reading, such as The Fossil Record, Becoming More Random all the Time, by John Woodmorappe, and How Well do Paleontologists Know Fossil Distributions? by Michael Oard. Flood Models: the Need for an Integrated Approach, by A.C McIntosh, T. Edmondson & S. Taylor. Ice Cores vs the Flood by Michael Oard. Flood/ post-Flood Boundaries Within the Global Stratigraphical Record, by C.R. Froede Jr.

    Still more Gish Galloping, listing creationist books as if that’s all you need to do. You’d never accept me simply listing evolution books, would you? Such models all fail miserably to account for the fossil record. Unless you make a specific argument and quit making lists of articles and books, I see no need of anything more detailed by way of response. Why for instance aren’t all fossils of similar types of organisms jumbled together and instead are in descrete layers consistent with and only explicable as having evolved? Why are human fossils and their detritus only ever found in the uppermost layers? Provide specific examples.

    No, of course I’m not saying that. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m saying, as I’ve repeated in numerous posts, that the evidence for a great age of the Earth is based on one’s INTERPRETATION of the evidence, and not from the evidence itself. We all have the same evidence, but it will be interpreted differently based on ones worldview.

    To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.”

    If, in your worldview, you believe in an ancient universe, all the evidence will be interpreted that way. If you trust the Bible as your authority, then the evidence will be interpreted in light of that.

    There’s still the difference between interpreting the evidence, which leads only to a very old Earth, and rationalizing it given the fact that Earth must be young.

    God did not trick anybody. That may be your interpretation, but God made it plane in His word that His creation is young, and all the scientific evidence can be interpreted that way (see Romans 1:20). If you’re willing to examine Creationist research you will see that they look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions about the facts. You may disagree with their conclusions, but that doesn’t mean the evidence isn’t there. And yes, God’s word is truth. Without it there would be no truth. And no, there are not contradictions. Any perceived contradictions are the result of interpretation. I’ll save further discussion on this for a future post.

    It’s not God’s word that I’m worried about. It’s yours. Obviously not even every Christian agrees with you on what exactly God is saying.

    Let alone theists of other faiths.

    Since ya’ll can’t agree, I’ll stick with what the evidence is saying. And the evidence can only be understood as the Earth and the Universe as being very old. Heck, I’d stick with the evidence whether ya’ll agree on what exegesis you like or not.

    Reminds me of the old joke where the guy in a flood turns down 2 boats and a helicopter and is drowned, saying God was going to rescue him. He asks God what happened and God in turn asks why he turned down the 2 cars and a chopper God had sent. The evidence is in the Earth, for those not afraid to look at it.

  37. #37 Jon Silcox
    June 13, 2006

    Ok, I admit I’m enjoying this too much to stop yet.

    Dave wrote “Both the work of Gentry and Vardiman have been soundly debunked and I won’t bother to go into detail here. If Jon wants to examine some specific data, then let’s go at it. But I’m tired of the Gish Gallop game.”

    I tried presenting the evidence you asked for, and you call it a ‘gish gallop game’? You present evidence and it’s called science? Let’s be reasonable; I’m willing to examine some specific data. Show me where they have been debunked.

    Dave wrote “Creationists and ID advocates do not use the scientific method. You may call it that, but you’re not using it. You’re starting with your conclusions (those are in the Bible) and then you’re trying to rationalize the data.”

    This is an old evolutionist canard and it has been disproven repeatedly by the scientists already mentioned. If your claim were true, then there should be zero Creationist scientists or doctors. The fact that there are, and that they’re growing in number as Creationism grows, should be proof enough. I’ve cited not one, but many Creationis scientists from many different fields and time periods that have used the scientific method. Yes, they start with their conclusion, but so do evolutionists. In fact the data MUST be interpreted to support evolution because that’s their belief and conclusion. The data MUST be interpreted from a naturalistic worldview because the alternative, special creation, is unthinkable. When I present counterevidence you waive your hand and claim it was discredited. Of course it would be discredited because it rubs against the evidence interpreted in favor of evolution. But isn’t that what we’d expect from those commited to evolution?

    Dave wrote “If you were really doing science, then you’d agree that the Bible could be proven false by testable physical data. Is that what you agree to? That is true for evolution. Are you prepared to say the same thing???”

    Yes. The Bible makes certain claims that can be tested, such as a world-wide flood. If this were true, then there should be some kind of evidence left behind from such a catasrophic event. We believe the fossil record and geologic column is evidence of a world-wide flood. Other evidence includes marine fossils found on the tops of the highest mountains. The preservation of animal tracks, ripple marks, and raindrops indicates the rock strata was laid down quickly. Fossil graveyards around the world is further evidence. Polystrate fossils indicate a quick deposit of the strata. More evidence is the lack of erosion, soil formation, animal burrows, and roots between layers. The deformation of thick layers of sediment without evidence of cracking or melting indicates the layers were soft when bent (Eastern Beach, Auckland, New Zealand). The formation of clastic dykes and pipes indicates rapid deposition of many strata. The Morrison Formation from Texas to Canada reveals a process not seen today, but expected in the flood model. I’m sure it’s all hogwash to you, but if you’re interested in reading more there’s Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History, by Austin, Baumgardner, Humphreys, Snelling, Vardiman and Wise.

    I wrote “What I’m saying is that real science isn’t biased against those who interpret the data differently.”
    Dave replied “But you are not interpreting data. You already have your conclusion and no data can change that.”

    You’re still clinging to your own conclusions. And yes, Creationists do interpret data. The flood model proposed by the scientists mentioned dispells that myth.

    Dave wrote “You already have your conclusion and no data can change that. Creationists organizations like ICR and AiG even have mission statements which make that crystal clear.”

    I’m not denying any conclusions; in fact I’m quite open. I wish evolutionists were open about their conclusions instead of insisting they don’t have them. Allow me to quote some prominent evolutionists:

    Teilhard de Chardin “Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? It is much more… it is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforth bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow… this is what evolution is.”

    Stephen Jay Gould was candid about bias: “Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.”

    Philosopher of science David Hull said “…science is not as empirical as many scientists seem to think it is. Unobserved and even unobservable entities play an important part in it. Science is not just the making of observations: it is the making of inferences on the basis of observations within the framework of a theory.”

    Biologist Richard Lewontin shows his bias: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    Karl Popper said “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical [i.e., religious] research programme.”

    Michael Ruse, University of Guelph said “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion… a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.” (National Post, May 13, 2000).

    Dr. Scott Todd, Immunologist, Kansas State University: “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”

    Professor D.M.S. Watson (Johannesburg, 1919) stated: ‘We maintain this theory not because it has been observed to occur and is supported by logically coherent arguments but because the alternative, special creation, is unthinkable.’

    These men tell a different story than what you’re willing to admit to… evolution is a religious, mythological ideology, built on a priori commitments, and full of unsubstantiated just-so stories.

    Dave wrote “If anything, science is biased in favour of explanations that can be and have been tested in a manner which minimizes human opinion.”

    This would rule out evolution; it’s filled with human opinion.

    Dave wrote “I’m not talking about my “worldview”. I’m talking about what we can or can’t show with science. Science is methodologically naturalistic, and I’ve never suggested otherwise.”

    This definition of science is self-serving. If, for the sake of argument, the God of the Bible does exist and really did create the universe within six literal days, then wouldn’t this man-made definition of science rule out special creation in spite of it’s accuracy?

    Dave wrote “Of course all the evidence will be ‘interpreted’ to support your position. You’re position is already the truth by definition. That’s a pointless waste of time doing ‘science’ that way.

    At least I admit my position. Pointless? No. It’s been done for centuries Dave.

    Dave wrote “My point is only that events in the past can be studied scientifically by looking at the evidence left behind of the event. You do not need as a necessity to observe the event itself.”

    Then how do you know the conclusions are correct (ie Australopithecine is an ancestor of man)? Because some anatomoy looks human-like, and some looks ape-like? Homology doesn’t constitute discent.

    I wrote “but if you start with the correct assumptions (ie, God and scripture), then you’re ahead of the game.”
    Dave commented “Whose God? Whose scripture? How do we know which one is correct? Obviously you think your is, but how do you know it’s not the Lakota creation myth? How can you prove it’s not the Flying Spaghetti Monster??”

    Good questions. The God of the Bible, who created the heavens and the earth. Scripture is God’s Word, and believers are commanded to have no other gods before Him (that would include the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Scripture is God’s revelation to man, and is real history with real events, real people and real miracles. I can’t convince you which one is correct; that’s something you’ll need to seek the Lord on. He’s real and can answer prayers, so you can speak to him personally if you choose to. From a secular view, there is evidence to support scripture, including archaeology (see Bryant Wood’s excavation of Jericho). I’ve also mentioned evidence for a world-wide flood. The best evidence, however, is a personal relationship with God.

    Dave wrote “Geeze Jon, your “starting assumptions” aren’t even agreed upon by most Christians let alone most people of faith.”

    Agreed. But the question I’d ask them is if they’re being consistent with their beliefs. Is God all powerful, all knowing, just, loving, merciful? Is scripture God’s word? Can scripture be trusted? Is scripture authoritative? If so, then we should put our faith and trust in God and what He revealed in scripture, not man or science.

    I wrote “It does matter that scientists didn’t live back then. Unless they lived back then and observed what happened they can never be sure that their inferences and conclusions are correct.”

    Dave wrote “Of course they can. They use the evidence left behind, as has been explained a million times now. The more evidence left behind, the better we know what happened.”

    You can explain it a billion times, but the fact remains that the events of the past are unrepeatable, untestable, and unprovable. The evidence, such as fossils, don’t come with a video clip of the past (unless you watch the Discover Channel or National Geographic). The fossil must be studied before a conclusion can be reached. But there’s no way to prove the conclusion is correct. In a previous post Ginger Yellow wrote “For a start, nothing is “provable” in science – it is just “well supported by the evidence”, “not well supported by the evidence”, or “contradicted by the evidence”. If Ginger is correct, then their inferences and conclusions cannot be proven correct. Instead the conclusions must be accepted by faith. The previous quotes also support this.

    Dave wrote “There are hoaxes and errors in every field of science. Remember cold fusion? Memory water? There are plenty of religious hoaxes too for that matter, so I don’t see what you’re supposed to be showing here.”

    People are fooled by hoaxes because they can’t see the whole picture. They see bits and pieces. I’m not implying that Australopithecine is a hoax, but your conclusion that it’s an ancestor of man cannot be proven or demonstrated to be true. We can’t see the whole picture. As you’ve indicated, you’ve seen enough to be convinced. But you haven’t provided evidence to cause me to change my mind, nor do you have the evidence available. Perhaps someday we may be able to clone one of these little critters and get a better picture of the truth? Who knows?

    Dave wrote “But we can look into the past via the evidence left behind.”

    I think we’re sounding like broken records. Of course we can look at the evidence left behind. But we both agree to that, so stop acting like that’s the rub. What we disagree with is the INTERPRETATION of that evidence, the conclusions and inferences.

    Dave wrote “Do you have another biological explanation for the features of Australopithicine fossils other than evolution??”

    No, I don’t have a ‘biological’ explanation. That’s the problem of having a self-serving definition. It totally excludes special creation, which is the model I adhere to. God created living creatures on days five and six. This, I think, would be considered a supernatural explanation, and would not constitute a ‘biological’ explanation. So if the creation model is correct, then it’s already rejected before being legitemately examined.

    Dave wrote “The Big Bang was verified by finding the physical evidence that was predicted to have been left behind if such an event were real (the anisotropic 3K background radiation). The evidence was there, just as predicted. Science uses evidence that can be OBSERVED today to infer a process that happened in the PAST.”

    If you’re referring to Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by Penzias and Wilson, there’s a light-travel-time problem involved that discredits the Big Bang. Looking at the Big Bang timescale, there hasn’t been enough time for light to travel between the widely separated areas of space. Yet different regions have a precisely uniform temperature, although they have never communicated. Astronomers have proposed solutions to the ‘horizon problem’, but none is satisfactory. The inflation scenarios are not certain, and there are many models, each with their own problems. And I’m not aware if there is a consensus on which is correct.

    Dave wrote “There will always be dissenters, but the fact there are a few doesn’t mean the science isn’t as settled as science gets.”

    Just curious: are there any areas of science where you dissent? If so, how do you deal with the overwhelming evidence against you?

    Dave wrote “It was creationists who could not tell consistently which fossil skulls were human and which were ape. You tell me what other reason could there be for this other than that the skulls in question look something like both. Evolution aside, once again I ask how you otherwise explain this??”

    Again, homology doesn’t equate to common descent. If we can ever clone the fossils then we can have a pretty good picture of what is what. All your scenario tells me is that paleontologists are not able to accurately reconstruct the past, whether their creationist or evolutionist.

    Dave wrote “Let’s start with this. Are you suggesting that we can’t really tell an ape skull from a human skull? I say we can. What say you??”

    I say yes, but not with complete accuracy. It would certainly help if we had living specimens to observe.

    Dave wrote “State in your own words exactly what the evidence is, how it was collected, and how this is a valid way to show the age of the Earth. All you ever do is point to one creationist after another and claim they are right, and complain that I then don’t go into detail. Unless I see some actual argument from you, I’ll be content with what I’ve written so far.”

    Well excuse me for not being a scientist. I’ve tried to present the evidence you wish to see, but you make comments like the ones above. I’ve cited evidence, articles, books, and sources, and if you disagree with those sources, that’s fine. I’ve gone into detail about helium, zircons, the Big Bang, and cited sources, but it just hasn’t been up to your level of satisfaction.

    Dave wrote “You have not even presented a model to test.”

    I disagree. I presented the Creationist model. If you can prove evolution is correct, and that the universe is in fact billions of years old, then the model can be tested and falsified. Now I realize evolutionists already claim to have done that (even though I’ve been told on this blog that science, by its very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt.”), but I’m trying to point out your own biased conclusions and show that your conclusions cannot be proven.

    Dave wrote “Actually I have done some of my own original research (although I haven’t dug up every skull of course!). Papers published and everything.”

    Very cool.

    Dave wrote “How about you?”

    Nope, I keep wishing I had become a paleontologist, but I went into video instead.

    Dave wrote “Can you show me an Autralopithicine fossil jaw in the literature that’s the same as a chimpanzee jaw?”

    Forgive my ignorance, but what does an Australopithecine fossil jaw have to do with a chimp jaw?

    Dave wrote “I’ll agree with you that truth is irrelevant. Science isn’t about truth, it’s about evidence.”

    Actually I believe truth IS relevant. But I’m glad to hear your admission about science. Most of the evolutionists I know will deny that truth is irrelevant in science.

    Dave wrote “What ever happened to the evil-spirits theory of disease Jon?”

    I believe in evil spirits (demons). Do you? Of course that’s in the spiritual realm, so I think it’s foolish to fight demons physically. I admit there have been bad practices in medicine such as this, but what about the evolutionist medical disasters, such as vestigial organs that actually play a vital role? Many people had organs removed unnecessarily because of such evolutionary indoctrination.

    Dave wrote “Obviously not even every Christian agrees with you on what exactly God is saying.”

    True. I’m good friends with Christians who disagree. But when I point out scripture that contradicts the scientific concepts they do agree with, they usually try to come up with various interpretations so that they can maintain their faith in God and science. I love science, but I don’t put my faith in it. Salvation can only come from God.

  38. #38 Jon Silcox
    June 18, 2006

    Ok, I admit I was having too much fun to stop yet, so here goes another round…

    Dave wrote “Both the work of Gentry and Vardiman have been soundly debunked and I won’t bother to go into detail here. If Jon wants to examine some specific data, then let’s go at it. But I’m tired of the Gish Gallop game.”

    I presented the evidence you asked for, and you call it a ‘gish gallop game’? You present evidence and it’s called science? Let’s be reasonable; I’m willing to examine some specific data. Show me where they have been debunked.

    I wrote “The scientific method (observation, inference, hypothesis, hypothesis testing, interpretation of data, critical thinking, etc.) doesn’t dictate which worldview to use and when. Only people can do that. Evolutionists, ID, and Creationists all use the scientific method, but our worldview will dictate how we interpret the data.”

    Dave wrote “Baloney. Creationists and ID advocates do not use the scientific method. You may call it that, but you’re not using it. You’re starting with your conclusions (those are in the Bible) and then you’re trying to rationalize the data.”

    This is an old evolutionist canard and it has been disproven repeatedly by the scientists already mentioned. If your claim were true, then there should be zero Creationist scientists or doctors. The fact that there are, and that they’re growing in number as Creationism grows should be proof enough. I’ve cited not one, but many Creationist scientists from many different fields and time periods that have used the scientific method. Yes, they start with their conclusion, but so do evolutionists… except they don’t like to admit their evolutionary philosophical assumptions. In fact the data MUST be interpreted to support evolution because that’s their belief and conclusion. The data MUST be interpreted from a naturalistic worldview because the alternative, special creation, is unthinkable. When I present counterevidence you waive your hand and claim it was discredited. Of course it would be discredited, because it rubs against the evidence interpreted in favor of evolution. But isn’t that what we’d expect from those commited to evolution?

    Dave wrote “If you were really doing science, then you’d agree that the Bible could be proven false by testable physical data. Is that what you agree to? That is true for evolution. Are you prepared to say the same thing??”

    Yes. The Bible makes certain claims that can be tested, such as a world-wide flood. If this were true, then there should be some kind of evidence left behind from such a catasrophic event. We believe the fossil record and geologic column is evidence of a world-wide flood. Other evidence includes all the marine fossils found on the tops of the highest mountains. The preservation of animal tracks, ripple marks, and raindrops indicates the rock strata was laid down quickly. Fossil graveyards around the world is further evidence. Polystrate fossils indicate a quick deposit of the strata. More evidence is the lack of erosion, soil formation, animal burrows, and roots between layers. The deformation of thick layers of sediment without evidence of cracking or melting indicates the layers were soft when bent (Eastern Beach, Auckland, New Zealand). The formation of clastic dykes and pipes indicates rapid deposition of many strata. The Morrison Formation from Texas to Canada reveals a process not seen today, but expected in the flood model. If you’re interested in reading more there’s Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History, by Austin, Baumgardner, Humphreys, Snelling, Vardiman and Wise.

    I wrote “What I’m saying is that real science isn’t biased against those who interpret the data differently.”
    Dave replied “But you are not interpreting data. You already have your conclusion and no data can change that.”

    You’re still clinging to your own conclusions. And yes, Creationists do interpret data. The flood model proposed by the scientists mentioned dispells that myth.

    Dave wrote “Creationists organizations like ICR and AiG even have mission statements which make that crystal clear.”

    I’m not denying any conclusions; in fact I’m quite open. I wish evolutionists were open about their conclusions instead of insisting they don’t have them. Allow me to quote some prominent evolutionists:

    Teilhard de Chardin “Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? It is much more… it is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforth bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow… this is what evolution is.”

    Stephen Jay Gould was candid about this bias: “Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method’, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.”

    Philosopher of science David Hull “…science is not as empirical as many scientists seem to think it is. Unobserved and even unobservable entities play an important part in it. Science is not just the making of observations: it is the making of inferences on the basis of observations within the framework of a theory.”

    Biologist Richard Lewontin shows his materialistic bias: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    Karl Popper said “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical [i.e., religious] research programme.”

    Michael Ruse, University of Guelph: “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion – a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. …Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. …Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.” (National Post, May 13, 2000).

    Dr. Scott Todd, Immunologist, Kansas State University: “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”

    Professor D.M.S. Watson (Johannesburg, 1919) stated: “We maintain this theory not because it has been observed to occur and is supported by logically coherent arguments but because the alternative, special creation, is unthinkable.”

    Dave wrote “If anything, science is biased in favour of explanations that can be and have been tested in a manner which minimizes human opinion.”

    This would rule out evolution.

    Dave wrote “I’m not talking about my “worldview”. I’m talking about what we can or can’t show with science. Science is methodologically naturalistic, and I’ve never suggested otherwise.”

    This definition of science is self-serving. If, for the sake of argument, the God of the Bible is real and really did create the universe within six literal days, then wouldn’t this man-made definition of science rule out special creation in spite of it’s accuracy?

    Dave wrote “Of course all the evidence will be ‘interpreted’ to support your position. Your position is already the truth by definition. That’s a pointless waste of time doing ‘science’ that way.”

    At least I admit my position. Pointless? No. It’s been done for centuries, Dave.

    Dave wrote “My point is only that events in the past can be studied scientifically by looking at the evidence left behind of the event. You do not need as a necessity to observe the event itself.”

    Then how do you know the conclusion is correct (ie Australopithecine is an ancestor of man)? Because some anatomoy looks human-like, and some looks ape-like? Homology doesn’t constitute descent.

    I wrote “but if you start with the correct assumptions (ie, God and scripture), then you’re ahead of the game.”

    Dave commented “Whose God? Whose scripture? How do we know which one is correct? Obviously you think your is, but how do you know it’s not the Lakota creation myth? How can you prove it’s not the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”

    Good questions. The God of the Bible is the one I’m referring to, the one who created the heavens and the earth. Scripture is God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16), and believers are commanded to have no other gods before Him (that would include the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Scripture is God’s revelation to man, and is real history with real events, real people and real miracles. I can’t convince you which one is correct; that’s something you’ll need to seek the Lord on. He’s real and can answer prayers, so you can speak to him personally if you choose to. From a secular view, there is evidence to support scripture, including archaeology. I’ve also mentioned evidence for a world-wide flood. Another good way to tell that the Bible is correct is because of its fulfilled prophesies. All its prophesies have been fulfilled, except those that refer to the end times and the second coming of Christ. The best evidence, however, is a personal relationship with God.

    Dave wrote “Geeze Jon, your “starting assumptions” aren’t even agreed upon by most Christians let alone most people of faith.”

    Agreed. But the question I’d ask them is if they’re being consistent with their beliefs. Is God all powerful, all knowing, just, loving, merciful? Is scripture God’s word? Can scripture be trusted? Is scripture authoritative? If so, then we should put our faith and trust in God, not man.

    I wrote “It does matter that scientists didn’t live back then. Unless they lived back then and observed what happened they can never be sure that their inferences and conclusions are correct.”

    Dave wrote “Of course they can. They use the evidence left behind, as has been explained a million times now. The more evidence left behind, the better we know what happened.”

    You can explain it a billion times, but the fact remains that the events of the past are unrepeatable, untestable, and unprovable. The evidence, such fossils, don’t come with a video of the past. The fossil must be studied before a conclusion can be reached. But there’s no way to prove the conclusion is correct. In a previous post Ginger Yellow wrote “For a start, nothing is “provable” in science – it is just “well supported by the evidence”, “not well supported by the evidence”, or “contradicted by the evidence”. If Ginger is correct, then their inferences and conclusions cannot be validated. Instead the conclusions must be accepted by faith. The previous quotes also support this.

    Dave wrote “There are hoaxes and errors in every field of science. Remember cold fusion? Memory water? There are plenty of religious hoaxes too for that matter, so I don’t see what you’re supposed to be showing here.”

    People are fooled by hoaxes because they can’t see the whole picture. They see bits and pieces. I’m not implying that Australopithecine is a hoax, but your conclusion that it’s an ancestor of man cannot be proven or demonstrated to be true; it’s simply conjecture. We can’t see the whole picture. As you’ve indicated, you’ve seen enough to be convinced. You haven’t provided evidence to cause me to change my mind, nor do you have the evidence available. Perhaps someday we may be able to clone one of these little critters and get a better picture… who knows?

    Dave wrote “But we can look into the past via the evidence left behind.”

    I think we’re sounding like broken records. Of course we can look at the evidence left behind. But we both agree to that, so stop acting like that’s the rub. What we disagree with is the INTERPRETATION of that evidence, the conclusions and inferences.

    Dave wrote “Do you have another biological explanation for the features of Australopithicine fossils other than evolution?”

    No, I don’t have a ‘biological’ explanation. That’s the problem of having a self-serving definition. It totally excludes special creation, which is the model I adhere to. God created living creatures on days five and six, including the original Australopithecine kind. This, I think, would be considered a supernatural explanation, and would not constitute a ‘biological’ explanation. So if the creation model is correct, then it’s already rejected before being legitemately examined.

    Dave wrote “The Big Bang was verified by finding the physical evidence that was predicted to have been left behind if such an event were real (the anisotropic 3K background radiation). The evidence was there, just as predicted. Science uses evidence that can be OBSERVED today to infer a process that happened in the PAST.”

    If you’re referring to Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by Penzias and Wilson, there’s a light-travel-time problem involved that discredits the Big Bang. Looking at the Big Bang timescale, there hasn’t been enough time for light to travel between the widely separated areas of space. Yet different regions have a precisely uniform temperature, although they have never communicated. Astronomers have proposed solutions to the ‘horizon problem’, but none is satisfactory. The inflation scenarios are not certain, and there are many models, each with their own problems. And I’m not aware if there is a consensus on which is correct.

    Dave wrote “There will always be dissenters, but the fact there are a few doesn’t mean the science isn’t as settled as science gets.”

    Just curious: are there any areas of science where you dissent? If so, how do you reconcile that with the overwhelming evidence against you?

    Dave wrote “It was creationists who could not tell consistently which fossil skulls were human and which were ape. You tell me what other reason could there be for this other than that the skulls in question look something like both. Evolution aside, once again I ask how you otherwise explain this?”

    Again, homology doesn’t equate to common descent. If we can ever clone the fossils then we can have a pretty good picture of what is what. All your scenario tells me is that paleontologists are not able to accurately reconstruct the past, whether their creationist or evolutionist.

    Dave wrote “Let’s start with this. Are you suggesting that we can’t really tell an ape skull from a human skull? I say we can. What say you?”

    I say yes, but not with complete accuracy. It would certainly help if we had living specimens to observe.

    Dave wrote “State in your own words exactly what the evidence is, how it was collected, and how this is a valid way to show the age of the Earth. All you ever do is point to one creationist after another and claim they are right, and complain that I then don’t go into detail. Unless I see some actual argument from you, I’ll be content with what I’ve written so far.”

    I’ve tried to present the evidence you wish to see, but you make comments like the ones above. I’ve cited evidence, articles, books, and sources, and if you disagree with those sources, then fine. I’ve gone into detail about helium, zircons, the Big Bang, and cited sources, but it simply hasn’t been up to your level of satisfaction.

    Dave wrote “You have not even presented a model to test.”

    I disagree. I presented the Creationist model. If you can prove evolution is correct, and that the universe is in fact billions of years old, then the model can be tested and falsified. Now I realize evolutionists already claim to have done that (even though I’ve been told on this blog that science, by its very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt.”), but I’m trying to point out your own biased conclusions and show that your conclusions cannot be proven.

    Dave wrote “Actually I have done some of my own original research (although I haven’t dug up every skull of course!). Papers published and everything.”

    Very cool.

    Dave wrote “How about you?”

    Nope, I keep wishing I had become a paleontologist, but I went into video instead.

    Dave wrote “Can you show me an Autralopithicine fossil jaw in the literature that’s the same as a chimpanzee jaw?”

    Forgive my ignorance, but what does an Australopithecine fossil jaw have to do with a chimp jaw?

    Dave wrote “I’ll agree with you that truth is irrelevant. Science isn’t about truth, it’s about evidence.”

    Actually I believe truth IS relevant. But I’m glad to hear your admission about science. Most of the evolutionists I know will deny that truth is irrelevant in science.

    Dave wrote “What ever happened to the evil-spirits theory of disease Jon?”

    I believe in evil spirits (demons). Do you? Of course that’s in the spiritual realm, so I think it’s foolish to fight demons physically. I admit there have been bad practices in medicine such as this, but what about the evolutionist medical disasters, such as unnecessary surgical procedures done on vestigial organs that actually play a vital role? Many people had organs removed unnecessarily because of such evolutionary indoctrination.

    Dave wrote “Obviously not even every Christian agrees with you on what exactly God is saying.”

    True, but not every evolutionist agrees with you on what Darwin (or any other high priest of evolution) said. I’m good friends with Christians who disagree. But when I point out scripture that contradicts the scientific concepts they do agree with, they usually try to come up with various interpretations so that they can maintain their faith in God and science. I love science, but I don’t put my faith in it. Salvation can only come from God.

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