My Review of Expelled

I went to see Expelled yesterday. I am happy to report it was a private screening. Had the theater to myself. Last time that happened was when I saw Snakes on a Plane (a far more scientifically accurate film, by the way).

Granted, it was a Monday night. Indeed, when I go to see movies I nearly always do so on Mondays or Tuesdays specifically to avoid the crowds. The fact remains that for a new release I can typically count on about a dozen people watching the film with me. And let’s not forget that I am living in a town that is — how shall I put this? — somewhat right of center politically. Should have been a ready-made audience for this dreck. Indeed, the low turnout even made me scotch my plans to write a letter to the editor of the local paper urging people to check out the Expelled Exposed website. Why call attention to the film if no one else seems to care?

Short review: The best part was the trailer for Get Smart that ran before the movie. (No, Steve Carrell does not do the voice.)

Long review below the fold.

Folks, this movie is seriously boring. Granted, I am not an unbiased source. But I can honestly say this is one criticism I did not expect to be making. I was expecting to be laughing at the funny parts, getting angry at the getting angry parts, and hating myself all the while for getting sucked into the sick little Spock-with-a-goatee world the creationists and ID folks have created for themselves. It didn’t happen. This movie is capital-B boring. I find this subject enthralling and still couldn’t manage to pay attention.

The movie is, of course, a pack of lies from start to finish. How bad is it? The opening scene shows Ben Stein at a podium lecturing about freedom and America’s greatness to an auditorium filled with Pepperdine University students, several of whom are seen stroking their chins thoughtfully while Stein does his thing. Only they are not Pepperdine students, who it turns out are too savvy to have anything to do with this. Turns out they are extras.

From here we get a whirlwind tour through the annals of Darwinian oppression. The most pathetic here was Discovery Institue flak Michael Egnor. It seems that after he started expressing his creationist sympathies at the Discovery Institute blog he faced the full wrath of the Darwinian establishment. As he tells the story, and if you are not already doing so I recomment sitting down, some bloggers wrote nasty things about him! Also pathetic was journalist Pamela Winnick. Apparently when she started turning her news articles into platforms for adovcating ID, the Darwinan steamroller of doom revved up and — wait for it — people criticzed her!

Folks, oppression just ain’t what it used to be.

Of course, the usual martyrs were also trotted out. Rick Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez. Yawn, Yawn, and Yawn. In each case the film either relied on outright distortions of the facts or pretensions that ordinary hardball criticism now consitutes oppression.

But here’s the thing. This portion of the film, which did at least have some interesting human drama, goes by very quickly. It seems that Stein couldn’t wait to persuade us all that ID is good solid science, and toward that end he trotted out the usual flunkies to tell us that it was. So here comes Paul Nelson, Steve Meyer, William Dembski and a motley crew of other bitter, hapless, creationist superstars. And they run through the usual talking points, careful to be as boring as possible so as to convince their witless fans that they are, indeed, serious scientists. The cell is really complex! Design is scientific! We should follow the evidence wherever it leads! We just want to be heard! It’s a battle of worldviews! Waaaaaaaa!

Cry me a river folks.

It is difficult for me to convey in words precisely how unintersting this portion of the film was. There’s little hope of understanding anything these folks are saying unless you were already well-versed in the subject, and if you were then you were certainly not in the film’s target demographic. Yet it goes on and on and on. And on.

Of course, this was public face ID that was on parade, so everyone was quick to remind us that the designer may not be God and that all of this had nothing to do with religion. Stein, I am happy to report, was having none of it. Oh, he nodded at all the right moments and pretended to go along with it, but then spent a good chunk of the movie getting various scientists (Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Peter Atkins and others) to make snide remarks about religion. The whole movie is so God suffused it feels like a revival. Stein certainly leaves no doubt that God is the designer he has in mind, rather undercutting the intended message of ID’s leading spokesflaks.

The final scene in the film is a Stephen Colbert-like interview between Stein and Dawkins. As far as I can tell the point of this segment was for Stein to ask Dawkins the very dumbest questions he could think of, and then chuckle as Dawkins struggled to reply intelligently to them. It’s funny when Colbert does it. The strange thing here is that Dawkins comes off looking pretty good. The set-up to the scene is a voice-over by Stein boasting of how he is unafraid of the Darwinian horde and that he was going to confront Dawkins. But the main question he wnated answered was, “So you don’t believe in any God, anywhere?” or something like that. He kept repeating it over and over again, even after Dawkins replied that he did not, in fact, believe in any Gods. Then Stein started listing specific gods. How about the Hindu gods, do you believe in any of them? And then he was back to the any God, anywhere nonsense.

There was, of course, another segment to the film. That was where Stein, after assuring us that he wasn’t blaming the holocaust on Darwinism, proceeds to blame the holocaust on Darwinism. Just in case you were worried that this segment was insufficiently offensive and tasteless (not to mention historically misinformed), Stein is quick to remind us that the spirit of the holocaust lives on in the form of Planned Parenthood, abortion and stem-cell research. He trots out a rogue’s gallery of cranks for hire (David Berlinski, Richard Weikart, Steve Fuller) to help him make his case. Berlinski, for example, assured us that while Darwinism was not sufficient to lead to the holocaust, it was necessary for it. Ahem. I’m pretty sure attemps to exterminate the Jews long predate Charles Darwin, but why bother with such details.

I won’t waste your time fulminating about the tawdriness of all this. I’ll just remark that for anyone with any interest at all in facts or logic this film simply confirms that the ID folks and the right-wing propaganda machine that supports them are just about the most odious, soulless, conscience-free, dishonest, lying, political hacks on the planet.

We should mention the sheer ineptitude of the filmmakers as well. Frequently there are people braying at you from the screen with no identifying tag to tell us who these people are. Every few seconds the action is interrupted to show us some stock, black and white footage meant to reinforce the message being spouted by whoever was talking. (For example, some ID flak would tell us of the Gestapo like tactics of the evil Darwinian stormtroopers, and then there would be a cut to some black and white footage of a policeman writing a ticket for some hapless driver.) The interviews with the good guys are so clumsily edited that even the most die hard right-winger has to start wondering what got left on the cutting room floor. The film has so many false endings, where a suitably dramatic line is uttered followed by a fade to black, that I had my jaacket on a full fifteen minutes before the film mercifully ended.

That’s about it. It seems the movie grossed under three million dollars on its opening weekend. This despite opening on a thousand screens. (For comparison, Michael Moore’s Sicko raked in 23 milion opening on fewer than half that number of screens.) Considering that prior to the opening the producers themselves offered fifteen million dollars as the threshold for what constitutes success, and figuring that they surely lowballed that figure as part of the expectations game, I’d say the film’s performance has been pretty embarrassing.

Comments

  1. #1 JimCH
    April 22, 2008

    I was determined to see it so I too could confront Brendemuehl on this utter nonsense, but if it’s not even going to be entertaining then I think I’ll just let other people pick that particular scab.

  2. #2 Joe Shelby
    April 22, 2008

    The film has so many false endings, where a suitably dramatic line is uttered followed by a fade to black, that I had my jaacket on a full fifteen minutes before the film mercifully ended.

    Well, that’s one better than Jack Nicholson, who (according to Elias “Frodo” Wood), left early and missed most of the “fade to black” endings of Return of the King.

    Of course, it also goes to show that even in ending a film, they can’t be original but instead steal a technique from an Oscar winner for artificial clout.

  3. #3 Joe Shelby
    April 22, 2008

    excuse me, “Elijah” not Elias.

  4. #4 The Science Pundit
    April 22, 2008

    The interviews with the good guys are so clumsily edited that even the most die hard right-winger has to start wondering what got left on the cutting room floor.

    Ah. That explains the “As a sex maniac …” in the Expelled trailer parody Sexpelled.

  5. #5 RBH
    April 22, 2008

    I’ll just remark that for anyone with any interest at all in facts or logic this film simply confirms that the ID folks and the right-wing propaganda machine that supports them are just about the most odious, soulless, conscience-free, dishonest, lying, political hacks on the planet.

    Jason, you really have to get over this tendency to soften your criticism. :)

  6. #6 JimCH
    April 22, 2008

    Every few seconds the action is interrupted to show us some stock, black and white footage meant to reinforce the message being spouted by whoever was talking.

    This must be the “Lord Privy Seal” artless effect that Dawkins gets a good laugh about.

    Apparently, the film-makers used the same multi-media short film about the inner-workings of the cell that Dembski had shamelessly been using, without permission, before being asked to stop by the creators (a group from Harvard). Only, as I understand, the Expelled people used creationist BS to over-dub the original dialog. It is hard to imagine, as both Dawkins & Myers speculate, that permission was given for this.

  7. #7 Science Avenger
    April 22, 2008

    But Jason, can’t you see what a victory this is for Intelligent Design! They actually made the movie! They haven’t been sued! You and PZ and Dawkins handed them a stunning victory! Why, they even got YOU to go see it and give them free publicity! You’ve played right into their hands!

    Nope. Still looks stupid. Expelled has failed beyond my wildest dreams. And Yoko Ono still hasn’t spoken. Pity some are intent on spoiling the victory.

    And seriously Jason, had I held my nose and gone to see the movie and found myself in an empty theatre, I would have laughed throughout as I drowned in Schadenfreude. However did you pay attention? I haven’t had a solo viewing (well, me and my two friends) since “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”.

  8. #8 Michael
    April 22, 2008

    I had a feeling people already attached to ID will buy into it, most others won’t. I think the main question would be: is it so stupid that it could show “fence-sitters” the falseness of ID?

  9. #9 Pierce R. Butler
    April 22, 2008

    …the ID folks and the right-wing propaganda machine that supports them are just about the most odious, soulless, conscience-free, dishonest, lying, political hacks on the planet.

    Nah, these are just the second-raters who couldn’t swim with the real sharks in D.C.

  10. #10 HP
    April 22, 2008

    You know, as many times as cdesign proponentsists have been called flat-out liars in public fora, it’s kind of surprising that there hasn’t been a single libel suit filed against their critics.

    Or at least, it would be surprising, if I didn’t know what the “discovery phase” was in civil law.

  11. #11 Pseudonym
    April 22, 2008

    I’m trying to envisage what a Jewish revival would look like, and I’m not succeeding.

  12. #12 rpenner
    April 23, 2008

    Oh. I was busy reviewing the Premise lawsuit against XVIVO

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/04/expelled_draws_more_aggro.php#comment-848670

    From my notes on the film (Friday, 11:30 am):
    One group of bored kids from a Christian school sat in the back of the 20% filled theater, one family group including a visitor from PA (I thought it was inappropriate to assume Dover), and one unpleasant woman who barked derisively at every film editing trick.
    Ben Stein is concerned about American Science, but professional scientists alway tell me there is one science which is universal.
    Shermer is marched out to profess what a disgrace it would be to expel academics for what they said — a point the film never scores on despite the titling choice.
    Crocker, Egnor and Marks make laughable statements. Then Stein tells us about the silent fearful hordes who got the same treatment. Good scientists don’t stay silent, they get evidence, but this film would have not of that.
    Someone I didn’t recognize makes the statement that ID is boring, but no follow-up questions are asked.
    “all varnish, no product” — the gold standard for knowing ID or DI or Expelled
    Scott comes off as very nice, but also as “bring it [the evidence] on” — a plea which falls on deaf ears.
    DI says it is not religious, but Stein knows better than that.
    Some BIOLA hack describes Evolutionary Theory as random mutation and natural selection which is (I think) 85 years out of date or so. Stein glosses over the same hack saying that Evolution actually happened. But Stein want to know about Origin of Life, not Origin of Species.
    They travel all over the world and never made a case for ID or even a case against Natural Selection or Common Descent.
    I think it was Wells who makes the claims that Darwinists distort the evidence, but no idea how that might be possible when the same evidence is available to everyone.
    Berlinski makes the idiotic point that biology is messy to the point that biologists haven’t defined species. That is a prediction of Darwin (1859). Even Berlinski should know that you can’t infer that God does not exist from the declaration that evolution is a fact. They are independent of each other. My estimation of Stein’s intelligence drops when he says this.

    Stein then tells lies about what is known about the origin of life. He says Miller-Urey “didn’t work” which means he didn’t know what they were trying to do. We get asserted as fact that 250 proteins are necessary for life. We get bad math and an animation that doesn’t make anyone laugh.

    We get riducule of “directed panspermia” which is, of course, ID. Damn facts, ruining Stein’s movie!

    We get bad information about “information.”
    We get told Catholics are OK with Evolution, so they must not be Christian. We get Congressman Souter presented as an unbiased judge.

    The much-talked about Lennon song Imagine — two lines — proving that atheists are as evil as John Lennon. — Well played, Stein, well played. Of course, Yoko Ono will have to kill you for this….

    After we get the 1871 quote mine of Darwin, which is left to hang without discussion, we get images of ape faces which drive home a point known for centuries — apes look like people. Damn facts, ruining Stein’s movie!

    And I don’t know what Dawkins saw when he saw the unreleased picture, but the camera-work did not make his nose look too big even when it filled the screen. Who plays with the zoom on the camera with a seated interviewee?

    Neither did Dawkins atheistic-eye-cannons reduce Ben Stein to ash after Dawkins is kept waiting an unreasonable time for the “star” of the film.

  13. #13 Blake Stacey
    April 23, 2008

    He trots out a rogue’s gallery of cranks for hire (David Berlinski, Richard Weikart, Steve Fuller) to help him make his case.

    Steve Fuller? Wow. His appearance on Dawkins’s The Enemies of Reason made me want to reach into my computer monitor and slap some sense into him, and he’s been impressing me with his ability to serve the Dark Side ever since. Expelled probably didn’t even need to interview him under false pretenses. . . .

  14. #14 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    Someone wants to confront me? Gee. I’m scared.

    You missed the language regarding “blame” for the Nazi situation. It was not sufficient but it was necessary. That makes Darwinism a meaningful contributor, not a cause. Please get your facts straight.

    All you have to do is read Sanger’s material. Or is that just more right-wing, Christian false history? Come on now. You, and Mr. Lynch, state plainly in your title that there is Antisemitism in Expelled. Where?

    I will agree with you that Dawkins was sort of refreshing. Much like Nietzsche. He was more candid and truthful about his beliefs than, say, the lady from NCSE.

    Let’s not take Darwin outside of the product of the post-enlightement philosophers.
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-much-deal-from-liberal-world.html

    Collin

    My respose to you and Mr. Lynch, from the earlier thread, have not been published. Just courious why not?

  15. #15 Grant Canyon
    April 23, 2008

    “You missed the language regarding ‘blame’ for the Nazi situation. It was not sufficient but it was necessary. That makes Darwinism a meaningful contributor, not a cause.”

    Colin,
    Anyone who would think this, let alone say it with an straight face, is an idiot.

  16. #16 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    Grant,
    Thanks. That really contributed to the converstion. You show such an evolved vocabulary.
    The language in Expelled was precise and accurate terminology. Jason missed it.

    Jason,
    You belittle the idea that it is not a matter of mere science but of world views. I think there are some on your side who take the battle-of-world-views approach. But no sense in being truthful. Just call us anti-semites and otherwise racists like Ed and you can make your sheeple happy.

  17. #17 Science Avenger
    April 23, 2008

    Collin said: My respose to you and Mr. Lynch, from the earlier thread, have not been published. Just courious why not?

    Perhaps because it made as little sense as these offerings. For example:

    It was not sufficient but it was necessary. That makes Darwinism a meaningful contributor, not a cause.

    Um, “necessary” doesn’t mean “meaningful contributor”. “Necessary” means “required”, which pretty much makes it a cause, insofar as that term is even meaningful.

    “You belittle the idea that it is not a matter of mere science but of world views. I think there are some on your side who take the battle-of-world-views approach.”

    You are conflating two issues. Evolution is a matter of science because the evidence for it is predictive and falsifiable, meaning no worldview required.

    Now it happens that there is a worldview clash in our society which overlaps with the evolution-creation controversy in the political arena. But they aren’t the same thing, any more than “creationist” is the same as “Republican”.

  18. #18 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    Science Avenger,

    I understand the terms. Because it was necessary it was also a meaningful contributor. It could not be viewed as incidental. That should make sense enough.

    Naturalism is a world view that Darwinism depends upon. As goes naturalism so goes Darwinism and modern evolutionary theory. Hence Plantinga’s works:
    Warrant: The Current Debate
    Warrant and Proper Function
    Naturalism Defeated? (Bielby)
    Warranted Christian Belief.

    Enjoy,

    Collin

  19. #19 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    You are conflating two issues. Evolution is a matter of science because the evidence for it is predictive and falsifiable, meaning no worldview required.

    Both Gould and Mayr would (did) dispute that assertion. It is simplistic and naive.

  20. #20 ned rosen
    April 23, 2008

    Collin, the point is that countless developments were necessary for the rise of Nazism as it actually happened. Just to list a few: Hitler’s parents, Christianity, human tribalism, technological advances in weaponry, anti-semitism, the country of Germany, economic conditions in the 20’s, capitalism, Hitler himself, nationalism, fear, jealousy, religion, blah blah blah….

    By CHOOSING to cite just one broad and distant societal influence on an emotionally evocative piece of history, you are NOT noting a simple fact, rather you are playing guilt by association. Spare us the “necessary vs sufficient” justification.

    This reminds of that scene in Animal House when the frat is at a hearing for breaking some campus rules and Otter gets up and says something like ” … and if we are guilty, then isn’t the whole fraternity system guilty, and if the fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t our culture guilty, and if American culture is guilty, then isn’t that an indictment of our whole great country? Well, i don’t know about you, but I’m not standing by while you insult the United States of America!”

    The logic of conflating evolutionary science with naziism makes about as much sense as Otter’s argument. Our course, Otter knew it was BS, that’s why it was funny.

  21. #21 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    Ned,
    I’m not going to pretend to treat the problem of Nazism simplistically. And in that same light it seems equally unreasonable for some to throw out some real and destructive components of that history.

    There was on conflating of evolutionary science with naziism. I am (and the movie is) saying only that this relationship (like others as you mentioned) is direct and necessary. It took a lot to create the problem. Conveniently denying part of that world view is dishonest.

  22. #22 Stephen Wells
    April 23, 2008

    Hitler specifically said that the elimination of the Jews was his continuation of the work of Pasteur and Koch. I look forward to Collin’s denunciation of germ theory anytime now.

  23. #23 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    The ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a public criticism of the TV Documentary Darwin’s Deadly Legacy in which he objected to its linking Darwin to the Holocaust. The situations are so similar, I would expect another ADL press release momentarily.

    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolNa_52/4877_52.htm

    To claim that reducing the diversity of a population increases its potential evolutionary fitness is to show ignorance of the actual science. Even if a scientific discovery is used for immoral purposes, how is that a criticism of the validity of the science?

    The Eugenicists did not need Darwin in order to develop their racist and elitist ideas. Animal and plant husbandry were the only basis necessary.

  24. #24 JimCH
    April 23, 2008

    Collin-
    I don’t know why people have given you a pass on the “necessary” bit. It was not necessary. If Darwinian Evolution hadn’t been available to the Nazis then the agenda would have morphed from some other means. What you are saying is tantamount to suggesting that because puritanism flourished in New England it was necessary for the Pilgrims to have settled there by a 200-ton merchant ship.

  25. #25 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    JimCH,
    It’s “necessary” because the Nazis behaved and believed that it was “necessary”. Their system depended upon it. This is not an insertion of an idea into Naziism in retrospect but from their own material. That makes it, from their own perspective, Necessary.
    It was also a necessary because it was a part of Darwinism. Though we was not as sold on it as were others of his contemporaries, it was there nonetheless. Let’s not forget that Utilitarianism was a significant movement in the 19th c. and it is in this context (Bentham & Co.), the idea of a better world, a postmillennial postivism, that Darwin was writing. He can’t be removed from his historical context. He was, in fact, somewhat driven by it.

    Johnnie,
    To claim that reducing the diversity of a population increases its potential evolutionary fitness is to show ignorance of the actual science.

    It would seem to provide the same benefit as genetic isolation on islands or other regions, a regular hypothesis for the development of peculiar traits. It is a part of mainstream evolutionary science today.

    You are certainly correct that the eugenecists did not need Darwin. The utilitarian movement was destructive enough on its own. BTW, was Sanger a Darwinist?

    Wells,
    Don’t confuse dependence with necessity.

  26. #26 JimCH
    April 23, 2008

    Collin…

    You argue in circles. Darwinian Evolution was definitely not necessary. It was easily manipulated & therefore was manipulated which in no way makes it necessary, merely economical.

    It was also a necessary [sic] because it was a part of Darwinism.

    I’m afraid that this doesn’t even make sense. The “it” in your statement is Darwinism.

    rpenner…
    Thanks for the XVIVO update & link.

  27. #27 386sx
    April 23, 2008

    I’m afraid that this doesn’t even make sense. The “it” in your statement is Darwinism.

    Has dude even told anybody what he means by “Darwinism”? You guys are all arguing with him about Darwinism, and nobody probably even knows what the heck he means by it.

    According to Ben Stein, freakin even the theory of frakkin gravity is something to do with “Darwinism”. Lol.

  28. #28 Grant Canyon
    April 23, 2008

    “Thanks. That really contributed to the converstion. You show such an evolved vocabulary.
    The language in Expelled was precise and accurate terminology. Jason missed it.”

    Ha. And “idiot” was “precise and accurate terminology.” You make the same mistake that the eugenicists made and today’s “Darwin-lead-to-Hitler” idiots make today, by not understanding the importance of the difference between artificial and natural selection.

  29. #29 386sx
    April 23, 2008

    See this post for what Collin probably means every time he says the word “Darwinism”. http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/04/in_which_i_let_my_readers_have.php#c850413

    Careful with arguing “Darwinism” with these guys folks, they probably mean something else entirely!

  30. #30 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    JimCH,

    Yea, I screwed that sentence up. Dang it.

    But yet, what you’re saying is tantamount to saying that Eugenics was not necessary for the existence of Planned Parenthood. You just can’t remove major philosphical planks and maintain consistency within the systems. It does not work.

  31. #31 386sx
    April 23, 2008

    Yea, I screwed that sentence up. Dang it.

    Probably because even yourself is confusing yourself with the term “Darwinism”. If it isn’t Darwinism you are talking about when you say “Darwinism”, then don’t call it Darwinism for crying out loud dude! Tell all your other friends too. Especially tell Ben Stein! Spread the news, man. Thanks.

  32. #32 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    386sx,

    Not really. I’m using Darwinisn broadly as did Gould.
    Some use it narrowly as has Mayr.
    Yes, even evolutionists have varied uses of the term.

    Enjoy,

    Collin

  33. #33 386sx
    April 23, 2008

    Not really. I’m using Darwinisn broadly as did Gould.
    Some use it narrowly as has Mayr.
    Yes, even evolutionists have varied uses of the term.

    Oaky I’m glad those guys got that one pinned down pretty good then. Thanks dude!

  34. #34 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    Apparently, the film-makers used the same multi-media short film about the inner-workings of the cell that Dembski had shamelessly been using, without permission, before being asked to stop by the creators (a group from Harvard). Only, as I understand, the Expelled people used creationist BS to over-dub the original dialog.

    In the version I saw, there was no voice-over during the animation. I am not familiar enough with the various versions to know which one I was viewing. No voice-over, just animation of highly unrealistic cellular processes (molecules miraculously flying to the exact time and place they are needed) Why would they bother to explain any of it? Their goal is to amze, not educate.

  35. #35 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    You missed the language regarding “blame” for the Nazi situation. It was not sufficient but it was necessary. That makes Darwinism a meaningful contributor, not a cause. Please get your facts straight.

    Dear idiot, please get your logic straight. An appeal to consequences is logically fallacious. Evolution by means of natural selection is a scientific theory. The only thing that matters is whether it is true. Even if it contributed in any way to eugenics or the holocaust, that would not affect its standing as a scientific theory.

  36. #36 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    Hence Plantinga’s works:

    Hey Mr. Rosenhouse: that reminds me, you promised to pick apart Plantinga’s positions some day. I am looking forward to it.

  37. #37 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 23, 2008

    Dear Bayesian Buffoon,

    It was not claimed that Darwinsim was untrue because of the problem. It was claimed that Darwinism helped create a problem. Again, get your facts straight.

    Naturalism Defeated? has some major naturalists interacting directly with Plantinga’s material. These men are no lightweights in the field. Plantinga is no lightweight either. It makes for a good read.

  38. #38 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    It was not claimed that Darwinsim was untrue because of the problem. It was claimed that Darwinism helped create a problem. Again, get your facts straight.

    Your repetition adds nothing to the discussion. Once again, since evolution through natural selection (which you may be referring to as “Darwinism”) is a scientific theory, it is entirely irrelevant whether any political or social policies may have been based on it. Whether it is true or not is the only thing that matters, and therefore your whole point is logically fallacious. That means that, no matter what the facts are, you cannot reach the conclusion you are so desperately and dishonestly trying to reach.

    Have you put any thought into how much responsibility “Newtonism” bears for the Holocaust?

  39. #39 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    April 23, 2008

    Naturalism Defeated? has some major naturalists interacting directly with Plantinga’s material.

    I’m sure that when their interaction is completed, the question mark will turn out to be fully justified.

  40. #40 JimCH
    April 23, 2008

    I’m sure that when their interaction is completed, the question mark will turn out to be fully justified.

    It already is, except to people like Collin.

    Plantinga claims that if you remove the supernatural from science & it turns out that there is a supernatural cause then science can’t hope to approach the truth. Therefore, we should change the definition (he must of learned this little gambit from watching 5 year olds play). The man has libeled himself from the start.

  41. #41 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 24, 2008

    JimCH,

    (chuckle)
    You’ve clearly not studied the material.
    (chuckle)
    The theme is not a definition of “science”.
    (chuckle)
    P(R/N&E) & warrant are the subject at hand.
    (chuckle)
    Comments where the opinion differs is one thing.
    (chuckle)
    Even a difference in paradigm can be understood.
    (chuckle)
    If you were seeking understanding (asking questions) that would be admirable.
    (chuckle)
    But not knowing anything of what you’re talking about and making statements like that is laughable.
    (chuckle)

    Collin

  42. #42 JimCH
    April 24, 2008

    chuckle-head…
    You mentioned Plantinga as a credible source, I merely pointed out that what credible means to you is not what it means to rational people. Don’t you live in fear of being hauled away when you chuckle at nothing & have imaginary friends?

  43. #43 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 24, 2008

    JimCH,

    Spoken like a true man of science, ready to read and learn what he does not understand.
    (deja-chuckle)

  44. #44 RichC
    April 24, 2008

    Collin,

    I am not a scientist, but I have a good, solid, layman’s understanding of the basics of evolution. It is apparent to me and to most of the rest of the “educated” American public that evolution is correct and ID/Creationism is complete hog wash. (The stats behind this are available almost everywhere on the web. Do a google search to satisfy yourself if you care to)

    America is languishing in basic scientific understanding behind most of the rest of the developed world. Doesn’t that bother you? I mean, seriously! Doesn’t it make you cringe a little that America ranks behind almost every other developed country in the world in scientific understanding, math skills and critical thinking? That is the real damage of what you are pushing here – a continuation of the slide of the future generations of America into ignorance and superstition.

    Finally, if you hope that your rude and sarcastic remarks will bring anyone to your way of thinking, you are mistaken. It only makes you look foolish and diminishes any point that you are attempting to make.

  45. #45 Caledonian
    April 24, 2008

    Plantinga claims that if you remove the supernatural from science & it turns out that there is a supernatural cause then science can’t hope to approach the truth.

    But that’s just the point – ‘supernatural cause’ is a contradiction in terms.

    It is not just possible but likely that our understanding of nature is incomplete, as it has always proven to be so in the past. When we discover phenomena that we cannot account for in our current understanding, we’ll respond the same way science always has: by changing our understanding.

  46. #46 JimCH
    April 24, 2008

    Caledonian…
    You used my quote but your comment, I’m guessing, must be intended for Collin because that was exactly my point. In addition though, what Plantinga claims is demonstratively untrue. That is, we haven’t yet invoked the supernatural into science & we clearly do know something about the natural world. So, if there were a supernatural force in the mix, not considering it hasn’t prevented us from learning something anyway.

  47. #47 Caledonian
    April 24, 2008

    It’s true that, if science excluded a priori a real phenomenon, science would screw up trying to account for anything it interacted with.

    But the supernatural is impossible. So science loses nothing by excluding it.

    If unicorns, leprechauns, the Mi-Go, and deities exist, they’re part of nature. If they’re not part of nature, they don’t exist.

  48. #48 Science Avenger
    April 24, 2008

    Collin said:Both Gould and Mayr would (did) dispute that assertion [that no worldview is required for evolution]. It is simplistic and naive.

    An empty assertion without the argument to back it that doesn’t rely on lightweight jokes like Plantinga. Gould’s NOMA arguments aren’t much better. I can’t speak for Mahr.

    I’ve not seen one argument that deals completely and honestly with the predictive nature of science. That wipes away all notions of worldview dependency that I’ve seen asserted. I anxiously await a refutation of that position that’s more involved than chuckling.

  49. #49 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 24, 2008

    Science Avenger,

    I’ve documented Gould & Mayr so that you don’t have to look it up:
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-is-evolution.html

    RichC,
    America is languishing in basic scientific understanding behind most of the rest of the developed world. Doesn’t that bother you?

    Yes, it does. The evolutionists (well, liberals in general) have had (almost all of) the schools for the last 70 years and this is the result. Don’t blame us.

  50. #50 JimCH
    April 24, 2008

    Caledonian…
    I disagree with nothing that you’ve stated.

    Collin…
    If the nations that America is languishing behind are nations that you would, I’m sure, consider more “liberal” than the US, how is it that “liberalization” is the problem?

  51. #51 Teri
    April 24, 2008

    what a crock! You people are CAVEMEN! Get with it…your thinking is OLD..maybe that’s why you are STILL an ASSISTANT professor!

  52. #52 JimCH
    April 24, 2008

    maybe that’s why you are STILL an ASSISTANT professor!

    Posting on blogs all day might have something to do with it as well.

  53. #53 Heather
    April 24, 2008

    I just have to ask if you are anti-ID where did we come from? Crystals? Seeded here from another planet.

    You mentioned no where in your review that these were the options. Even Dawkins himself is clueless about where we came from.

    Please just tell me where we came from?? A real answer! Please don’t try to convince me I was formed on the back of a crystal! Give me a solid answer.

    Also, what are Dawinists so afraid of??

  54. #54 Jon S
    April 24, 2008

    At the risk of being ridiculed I’ll share my experience of the movie Expelled, which I just returned from. I’m sure Richard Dawkins and other atheists may accuse me of child abuse, as I took our church youth group to the showing (gasp!). And I have to disagree with much of Jason’s review.

    After reading Jason’s review of how boring the movie was I admit I was a bit concerned. But once the movie began I spent the rest of the movie wondering when the boring parts would come. Perhaps I was too into the movie to notice the boring parts. The students and adults were laughing throughout the movie (especially at Dawkins, who has no idea how life began… perhaps an intelligent race aliens did it! But not God!!!) Afterwards the students (junior high and senior high) gave it positive reviews. I specifically asked, on a scale of one to ten, with one being boring, and ten being entertaining, how would they rate the film. Of the four students I asked they gave a 7, 7.8, 7.8 and 8. The adults I asked said it was well done and very, very good. I looked at the people leaving the theater, and everyone was smiling. Near the end of the movie I thought about applauding, but I decided not to unless it was started by someone else. And I wasn’t disappointed as the rest of the audience started applauding, and we joined in.

    Jason criticized Stein for asking “Dawkins the very dumbest questions he could think of” and “kept repeating it over and over again, even after Dawkins replied that he did not, in fact, believe in any Gods.” Of course Stein was being absurd in his questioning, which is what made it enjoyable to watch, and exposed Dawkins atheism as absurd.

    There’s plenty more to comment on, but I’ll leave it here for now. Basically we were all very pleased with the movie, and I hope it helps promote academic freedom, which is something all good Americans should applaud :-)

  55. #55 RichC
    April 24, 2008

    Collin, thanks for showing me just exactly where you are coming from. Check your skirt, your bias is showing. You are obviously also not a thinker, but a dogmatist.

    I’m done with you.

  56. #56 Steverino
    April 25, 2008

    Heather said:
    “I just have to ask if you are anti-ID where did we come from? Crystals? Seeded here from another planet.

    You mentioned no where in your review that these were the options. Even Dawkins himself is clueless about where we came from.

    Please just tell me where we came from?? A real answer! Please don’t try to convince me I was formed on the back of a crystal! Give me a solid answer.

    Also, what are Dawinists so afraid of??”

    Perhaps if you knew what the theory of Evolution actually stated or explained you would not appear so ignorant when asking that quesstion.

    Darwin had nothing to say about “where we came from”. What Darwin proposed/explained, and now factually supported was, how life evolved…after the spark of life. The theory of Evolution does not address, nor was it meant to, explaining Abiogenesis.

    Are you ID/Creationist to stupid or dishonest to understand that?

  57. #57 SLC
    April 25, 2008

    Perhaps it might be illuminating to find out what Mr. Brendemuehls’ views are on all the parts that make up the theory of evolution.

    1. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that the earth is 4.5 billion years or so old?

    2. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that animals have gone extinct in the past?

    3. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that most animals that currently inhabit the earth did not exist millions of years ago (i.e. that there were no cats in the pre-Cambrian)?

    4. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific inference that items 2 and 3 above are best explained by the theory of common descent?

    5. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific theory that items 1-4 are best explained by natural selection and genetic drift?

    Re JonS

    Mr. JonS, a YEC and a man of no accomplishment whatever and generally an asshole of monumental proportions once again trolls on this site with his views on Expelled. By the way, Mr. JonS is a god damn liar when he says he is in favor of academic freedom. He has made it clear on a previous thread that he is a dominionist who favors what amounts to a Christian Taliban type regime in the US. Mr. JonS is cordially invited to take his comment and deposit it in his posterior orifice. If this were Ed Braytons’ blog, I would be less inhibited in expressing my contempt for Mr. JonS.

  58. #58 Heather
    April 25, 2008

    Perhaps if you knew what the theory of Evolution actually stated or explained you would not appear so ignorant when asking that quesstion.

    Darwin had nothing to say about “where we came from”. What Darwin proposed/explained, and now factually supported was, how life evolved…after the spark of life. The theory of Evolution does not address, nor was it meant to, explaining Abiogenesis.

    Are you ID/Creationist to stupid or dishonest to understand that?

    Steve: Where did the spark of life come from? Who cares what Darwin says…just someone tell me where this spark came from!!!

    I guess I am just too stupid to understand that no one has given a SOLID answer for this!

    Why are you so against there being an IDer who caused the spark!?

    About this Abiogenesis this is what I found: Charles Darwin made the suggestion that the original spark of life may have begun in a “warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. present, so that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes”. He went on to explain that “at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.”[12] In other words, the presence of life itself makes the search for the origin of life dependent on the sterile conditions of the laboratory.

    He “suggest” this “may” have caused. Again there is no solid answer and I again ask, “What are you so scared of?” Why not let us stuid, unintelligent, uneducated people cling to our believe in an ID! Why are you being so intolerant of me and my beliefs? Why attack me? Very strange indeed.

  59. #59 Heather
    April 25, 2008

    I guess I am too stupid to spell it correctly! ;-)

  60. #60 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    JimCH,
    Whoa there! Liberalism has affected the US differently than other nations. Those in their 50s may remember being experimented upon with set theory New Math as well as non-directed education, in the 60s. Today’s ed system is filled with over-regulation and bureaucracy, union influence on curriculum, and other issues. The US Dept. of Ed. is one agency that, in all its existence, has accomplished nothing. NCLB was a good principle but burdened with red tape. It’s all a complicated mess.

    John S,
    I would rate it a 5 because the tone was so horrible. The Nazi and Communist images were unnecessary. But the statements of the naturalists were nevertheless enlightening. Crystals. Aliens. Primordial soup + lightning.

    SLC,
    1. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that the earth is 4.5 billion years or so old?

    I think it’s much older. Probably in the trillions of years. Seriously. Cosmology seems to provide some mixed data and older seems more likely. I’m leaning toward Hawking’s idea that there was no Big Bang.

    2. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that animals have gone extinct in the past?

    My favorite is the recent dinosaur find which contained soft tissue. While a great extinction of dinosaurs probably occurred long ago, there’s something about soft tissue that says it was not a general extinction. And given the very large creatures on New Zealand until just a few centuries ago when humans arrived, the probabilities of modern very large dinosaur-type creatures is not out of the scientifc question. Some facts just dosn’t sit well with some theorists. I don’t know that it’s as simple as some might make it.

    3. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific finding that most animals that currently inhabit the earth did not exist millions of years ago (i.e. that there were no cats in the pre-Cambrian)?

    I’m not certain. It depends upon when creation occurred.
    But it is a given that genes are genes and animals change.

    4. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific inference that items 2 and 3 above are best explained by the theory of common descent?

    Maybe. Maybe not, per #2.

    5. Does Mr. Brendemuehl agree with the scientific theory that items 1-4 are best explained by natural selection and genetic drift?

    No. The earth is not old enough.

    ****

    RichC,
    Dogmatist? Are you saying that there is no dogmatism among the evolutionists and naturalists here?

    ****

    steverino,

    Mayr was clear that evolutionists would like to answer the question if theer were a quality theory. There are bad theories out there. Even the primordial soup idea is not held in high enough regard to gain his approval.

    ****

    Not all special creationists are 6K, Very YEC.

    ****

    Brayton is undeniably a religious bigot.
    But I would still interact with him if his
    attitude and his “French” were to improve.

  61. #61 SLC
    April 25, 2008

    Re Collin Brandemuehl

    1. Would Mr. Brandemuehl care to provide a link citing where Prof. Hawking claimed that the big bang theory of cosmology is suspect. A Google search fails to turn up such a claim.

    2. Mr. Brayton is certainly prejudiced against fundamentalist religious believers, particularly when they insist on foisting those beliefs on the rest of us. However, I think it is unfair to term him a religious bigot. In fact, he is not even an extreme separationist as was Madison, as to the relationship between church and state.

    3. Mr. Brendemuehls’ claim that soft tissue was discovered in dinosaur bones is somewhat of a stretch. The news article I read indicated that some proteins were discovered; however, the scientists who made the discovery in no way support a recently deceased Tyrannosaurus. As an aside, Prof. Jack Horner, Dr. Schweitzers’ thesis supervisor during the time when the discovery was made, has speculated that the apparent close relationship between chickens and Tyrannosaurs might allow the use of chicken DNA to reverse engineer a Tyrannosaurus, using advanced DNA manipulation techniques.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/24/AR2008042402025.html?sub=AR

  62. #62 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    1. I’m also looking for more info.

    2. Let Brayton speak for himself.
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/04/the_vacuousness_of_judeochrist.php

    and a response
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/2008/04/logcal-fallacies-secular-straw-man.html

    3. The term “soft tissue” was in the press. I wonder the quantity of protein material? Enough to find and handle? Still sounds like a consistent use for the term.

  63. #63 SLC
    April 25, 2008

    Re Collin Brendemuehl

    Regarding Mr. Brendemuehls’ claim that the earth may be trillions of years old, that is quite impossible. The sun is about 5 billion years old and our knowledge of nuclear physics precludes any possibility of any age appreciably greater. This is quite independent of whether the big bang occurred or not.

  64. #64 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    slc,

    I could be wrong. ;)

    Brayton insists on misrepresentation as his methodology.
    Read his post on the term “Judeo-Christian”
    and then my response regarding straw-man arguments.

  65. #65 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    Dogmatist? Are you saying that there is no dogmatism among the evolutionists and naturalists here?

    That’s not really the point of the discussion, is it, but to engage in arguing over semantics for a moment… Check the definition of dogma. In fact, I’ll do it for you.

    From Merriam-Webster:
    1 a: something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet
    b: a code of such tenets – pedagogical dogma –
    c: a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds

    Check especially definition “c”. While definition “a” may certainly apply to most of us here, “c” certainly does not.

    You, nor any other ID/Creationist has ever put forth once speck of evidence for your belief in the supernatural, not one. No where in this discussion or else where have you or your fellow creationists offered anything but misdirection, lies (or made up truths as Steve Martin likes to call them), and name calling. Please, if we are to have an actual discussion of this, offer one, just one piece of evidence that either contradicts the theory of evolution, or that shows evidence of a designer. That’s it, one. See, that’s the beauty of science and rational thought – anyone can participate, contribute and even take down the most established theories of science with just one piece of evidence. But it had better be one damn good (and repeatable) piece of evidence.

    The reason that definition “c” does not apply to the rational people, and especially the scientific community at large, is that our beliefs can be changed by evidence, and in fact, they quite often are. Our beliefs, truths and ideas are constantly changing and evolving through the introduction of new evidence. There are not absolutes in science. There is no absolute truth in any theory of science. There is an explanation of the observable facts in the best way possible, done without bias, malleable and refutable by others. ID/Creationism is none of those things. ID starts with the answer and works backwards to fit as much as they can into the pre-determined answer. It is not refutable, offers no proofs, cannot be refuted or changed by evidence, makes no predictions and ignores all claims to the contrary. Creationism, of course, doesn’t even bother with the evidence. It is pure, unadulterated dogma.

    So, in answer to your question, yes, I suppose some of us could be called dogmatists in one sense of the word. All IDers/Creationists can be called dogmatists. However, I still put the challenge out to you, provide us one shred of evidence for your dogma. I think you will find that all of us “darwinist dogmatic” types are perfectly willing to look at, analyze and comment upon your evidence. Hell, maybe you will even change someone’s mind!

    Looking forward to see what you can come back with.

  66. #66 TBA
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,
    You are about to see the most breathtaking example of slight-of-hand. It will be entertaining but not entirely satisfying. Let’s watch…

  67. #67 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,

    Let’s see — I’m name-calling while you class me outside of the “rational” people. Pot< ->Kettle? Get over it.

    evidence for your belief in the supernatural
    I didn’t put forth “evidence” for the supernatural because I wasn’t asked. What kind of evidence would you want?
    What would satisfy you?

    There is an explanation of the observable facts in the best way possible, done without bias, malleable and refutable by others.
    You’ve misdefined “science” and even Rosenhouse would argue with you about the shallowness of that statement. And you still avoid the issue of the metaphysical. that’s the nonsense of the quasi-science you propose. It’s like reading a HS text book saying that Science is mere Empiricism. Read Rosenhouse’s essay on how ID might abuse mathematics — his science is there comprised of mathematical models — not a thing Empirical.

    So, if you want empirical evidence for the supernatural, for God, you will be disappointed. Even science falls short of your limited definition.

  68. #68 TBA
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,
    You see? It’s like nailing snot to the wall. But, it does have a certain nickelodeon quality.

  69. #69 heddle
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,

    Do you mean scientific (as in reproducible, by experiment) physical evidence for the existence of the supernatural (God) or prima facie physical evidence? If it is the latter, then I would argue that the success of science is prima facie evidence that God exists.

  70. #70 Science Avenger
    April 25, 2008

    Heather said: I guess I am just too stupid to understand that no one has given a SOLID answer for this! [abiogenisis]

    No one has, because there isn’t one. Got it? There is no scientific theory of abiogenisis. All we have now are speculative hypotheses with little experimental data (relative to what we have for evolution).

    Why are you so against there being an IDer who caused the spark!?

    We aren’t mostly. Imagine one if you like, no skin off my nose. But that isn’t what ID is about. If the IDers restricted it to abiogenisis, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    Hold whatever beliefs for yourself you like, no one cares. But what we are afraid of Heather, is a bunch of, in your words, “stupid, unintelligent, uneducated people” screwing with science education so as to make the children just as stupid, unintelligent and uneducated.

  71. #71 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    I didn’t put forth “evidence” for the supernatural because I wasn’t asked. What kind of evidence would you want?
    What would satisfy you?

    Well, let’s start simple for starters, how about an observable phenomenon and/or fact whose most probable explanation is supernatural.

    You’ve misdefined “science” and even Rosenhouse would argue with you about the shallowness of that statement.

    Actually, I wasn’t defining “science”, I was defining a scientific theory. Also, I fail to see how that statement is shallow. The aim of a “scientific” theory is to explain the observable facts and make predictions based on the theory. The method by which that is done is very straight forward. Any bias in either the testing or explanation is rooted out by having others look at your methodologies and conclusions, offering criticisms, and pointing out any flaws. Am I incorrect in that statement? If so, what is the definition of a theory?

    And you still avoid the issue of the metaphysical. that’s the nonsense of the quasi-science you propose. It’s like reading a HS text book saying that Science is mere Empiricism. Read Rosenhouse’s essay on how ID might abuse mathematics — his science is there comprised of mathematical models — not a thing Empirical.

    I’m not avoiding the issue of the metaphysical, I fail to see how it is relevant to the discussion of whether or not Intelligent Design is a better theory than Evolution. To understand the natural process by which all living things on this planet have evolved does not require a discussion of the metaphysical. What I can’t fathom is how you can call evolution “quasi-science.” Are you actually suggesting that ID is “real science” and evolution is “quasi-science”, or am I reading that incorrectly?

    I have to admit that my understanding of metaphysics is not as strong as my understanding of physics. With that said, it has always seemed to me that the metaphysical is more about philosophy than science, is it not? It is to ask why we are here, not how are we here. To criticize a science book for not addressing the question is akin to criticizing an automobile mechanics book for not addressing the history of transportation on the earth. Physics can run the universe back to just after the moment of creation but, by definition cannot tell us what came before it. You may call it “God”, but there is no more proof for calling it that than calling it “Zeus” or “Strawberry Shortcake.” There is no reason to suppose that there was anything before it, or a sentient cause for it. A need to put a sentient cause on an event is a failing of a thought process.

    I haven’t looked at Rosenhouse’s essay, but I will read it. I would be interested to see what he has to say.

    So, if you want empirical evidence for the supernatural, for God, you will be disappointed. Even science falls short of your limited definition.

    “My” definition is not limited. It’s “THE” definition. By saying that you cannot provide empirical evidence for anything of a religious nature is to completely tear apart your entire argument for ID. ID is a horrible mish-mash of God and science for which you have bad evidence for the science part and no evidence for the God part.

    Science itself does not fall short of the definition. It is the embodiment of the definition. Observation – Question – Hypothesis – Experiment – Evidence – Conclusion. ID is: Conclusion – Hypothesis – Observation. No experiment, no questions, no evidence.

  72. #72 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    Do you mean scientific (as in reproducible, by experiment) physical evidence for the existence of the supernatural (God) or prima facie physical evidence?

    Well, I had to go look up prima facie to try to figure out exactly what you were asking, and I’m still not sure if I understand exactly what it is you are trying to say. If you are asking if I mean evidence to mean “evidence”, then yes, I would like some evidence. If you are asking if I mean evidence to mean made up facts, intuition, mythology, non-existent historical references, feelings and hunches, then no.

    If it is the latter, then I would argue that the success of science is prima facie evidence that God exists.

    Again, I’m not really sure what you are trying to say here. Are you trying to argue that the success of a system that is designed (and this time I actually do think the system is designed – by scientists themselves, no less!) to be self-regulating, dependent on evidence, open to change and critisism – is a prima facie argument for God? I don’t think prima facie is the term that you are going for here. Perhaps sarcina testimonium?

  73. #73 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,
    The question you raised was about the existence of God and to that you demand an empirical proof. (Then you go and change the subject to ID. You’re hard to satisfy when you keep changing the subject.) Your position is shallow because not everything matches your empiricism. Period. Science does not fall short of that definition. Instead, it goes much further. Rosenhouse’s proofs in the cited paper are not empirical, they are calculated. They are both Math and Science. You must get it through you head that there is more to science than empiricism.

    If you’re in physics then you are either in HS or early in your undergrad work. If you’re beyond that point then there are thre books you should read on theory-making: Suppe’s The Structure of Scientific Theories,Machamer & Silberstein’s The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science, and Roy Clouser’s The Myth of Religious Neutrality published by Notre Dame Press. The former is a standard text. The latter will help you root out the metaphysical in your theory-making processes — that’s the problem Plantinga is also attacking. But Clouser identified it clearly in the 60s and the latter edition corrects what critics found in the earlier edition.

    “Strawberry shortcake” or its California equivalent “Flying Spaghetti Monster” only show that you’re criticizing an apologetic that you’ve not studied. Van Til’s Christian Apologetics will give you a good start in that field.

  74. #74 heddle
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,

    No it is prima facie.

    I decided to post the argument on my blog, but instead of linking to myself I’ll just cut and paste.

    In the science-faith bloghetto, there are often demands for proof of God. Now theologically we know such a thing is impossible, for John tells us in his gospel that we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are born again. If you are not born again, you are blind, and if you are blind, you can’t see the proof–which puts you in one helluva predicament. But hey, that’s what grace and divine initiative are all about, and that predicament perfectly explains why we need a savior.

    But is there really no physical evidence? Well, there certainly is not scientific evidence in the sense that “if you do this experiment and get a result A, that will be proof of God.”

    But there is prima facie for the existence of God. And the strongest such evidence is the success of godless materialism, or methodological naturalism if you prefer, or better yet let’s use its common name: science.

    Now the argument is quite simple. The bible tells us things like the heavens declare God’s glory and that the study of creation (that would be science) leaves men without excuse. As I read it, if science leaves men without excuse, then science must be possible. That is, a prediction of the bible is that science, if is to leave us without excuse, will work.

    But science could easily be a fool’s errand. If the simplest physical laws were not linear differential equations, science would be dead in the water. The very fact that man’s intellect can comprehend science, is capable of developing theories, and most amazingly the theories are amenable to mathematical analysis is taken more or less for granted, but it shouldn’t be. When a scientist tells you that science requires no faith or presupposition, he either isn’t being honest or hasn’t thought it through. All of us who are scientists work under the presupposition that we at least have a good chance to be successful–that all of a sudden nature will not decide that enough of her secrets have been revealed.

    A purely naturalistic view (tell me if I’m wrong) has no reason to expect that science is not as fool’s errand. The mathematics could have been so hard as to have forced Newton to give up. But from the bible we get a simple prediction that science will be doable. The success of science, my friends, is prima facie physical evidence that God exist, because the only other explanation is luck.

    Science should be embraced, not feared. Every advancement of science is a feather in the cap of the faith community. Don’t view it as a nail in our coffin.

    The next step is to move the goalpost from “I’d like some evidence” to “I’d like some evidence I accept.”

  75. #75 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    heddle,

    I rather chuckle @ chesterton’s remark in similar regard. Exploring the thinking of modern theologians who deny the reality of sin:
    “If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can make one or two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.”
    — Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton

  76. #76 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    Collin,

    Once again, you have ducked the argument. I did not ask for proof of God. I asked for any proof for ID, which you have not provided.

    I have no idea who you are, nor do I really care. It is a common practice in these debates for ID’ers to consistently change the subject, site non-related works, stall, etc… which is exactly what you are doing.

    As I stated in my first post, I am not a scientist. Neither am I a student and I’m WAY to old to be in high school. Actually, I’m 38.

    Once again. It’s time to put up, or shut up. If ID is a “scientific” theory that deserves as much credibility as evolution, please provide evidence to back up your theory.

  77. #77 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    heddle,

    Thanks for the excerpt from you blog. Let me see if I can sum it up succinctly.

    1. The bible predicts that science will work.
    2. Science works.
    3. Therefore the mere fact that science exists and works proves that there is a God and the bible is his divine word.

    Is that about right?

  78. #78 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    Collin,

    Could you provide a link to Rosenhouse’s essay that you mentioned. I couldn’t seem to find it.

    Thanks.

  79. #79 heddle
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,

    I thought you looked up prima facie.

    Well, I’ll correct you. 1 and 2 are fine. 3 should be more like: since there is no naturalistic explanation as to why science works–why laws are even expressible as mathematical formulas, why it isn’t too hard–why the mathematics can actually be solved or least approximated enough to make testable predictions–on this limited question we’ll rest our case and declare victory.

    And the more science succeeds, the stronger our case. (Which is more-or-less the opposite of what the IDers are saying.)

  80. #80 386sx
    April 25, 2008

    And the more science succeeds, the stronger our case.

    The more science succeeds, the stronger the case for science. Science is the one doing the succeeding dude! Your “case” is the same case it’s always been. (i.e. pulling stuff out of a hat and claiming the gaps in knowledge is some weird sort of “success”.)

  81. #81 Collin Brendemuehl
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,
    You asked for evidence “for your belief in the supernatural”. Quit trolling.

    http://www.math.jmu.edu/~rosenhjd/sewell.pdf

    “Proof for ID” is pretty nebulous. I can prove that ID exists. Just go to their blogs & books “ID” is there. Now if you want to know whether ID is legitimate, that’s a different question.

    Id is a model. It can be an illegitimate scientific model if religious material is inserted into it. It can be a legitimate scientific model if nothing religious is inserted into it. Whether the model works is a different question. But that it *may be* scientific is not a real issue. (Evolution, likewise, if it includes the metaphysical, can also exit the demands of Science. And that’s the problem with Naturalism.)

    But since you continue to ask for the empirical as the only option, there is no answer. I would now recommend that you take your own advice.

  82. #82 heddle
    April 25, 2008

    386sx

    (i.e. pulling stuff out of a hat and claiming the gaps in knowledge is some weird sort of “success”.)

    You are confusing me with the IDers. They argue “gaps” represent success. I say filling the gaps represents success.

  83. #83 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    Collin,
    Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look at the paper.

    I certainly will take my own advice. Thanks for the chat. Sorry we didn’t have any “revelations”.

    Have a great weekend.

  84. #84 ?
    April 25, 2008

    So science is our tool for having the argument from design revealed to us?

  85. #85 RichC
    April 25, 2008

    heedle,

    Thank you for the clarification of your position.

    Well, I’ll correct you. 1 and 2 are fine. 3 should be more like: since there is no naturalistic explanation as to why science works–why laws are even expressible as mathematical formulas, why it isn’t too hard–why the mathematics can actually be solved or least approximated enough to make testable predictions–on this limited question we’ll rest our case and declare victory.

    I don’t really think that your argument holds up though. Who is to say that the math isn’t too tough? There are millions of things that we know of today that we can’t answer through the math (yet), not to mention the unimaginable things that will come about in the future that we aren’t even knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions yet?

    And even if I accept your premise that there is no naturalistic explanation of why science works, which I don’t, there is no correlation between steps 2 and 3 of your argument. I believe that it would be analogous to argue that there is no life elsewhere in the universe because life happens to be here instead of there.

    Go ahead and claim “mission accomplished” if you like, but I’m still not buying it. :)

  86. #86 Jon S
    April 25, 2008

    SLC makes the following snide comments: “Mr. JonS, a YEC and a man of no accomplishment whatever and generally an asshole of monumental proportions once again trolls on this site with his views on Expelled. By the way, Mr. JonS is a god damn liar when he says he is in favor of academic freedom. He has made it clear on a previous thread that he is a dominionist who favors what amounts to a Christian Taliban type regime in the US. Mr. JonS is cordially invited to take his comment and deposit it in his posterior orifice. If this were Ed Braytons’ blog, I would be less inhibited in expressing my contempt for Mr. JonS.”

    SLC my friend, you need to calm down and stop resorting to your usual name calling tactics. I know it makes you feel superior, but it exposes your folly. You’re upset because I (a man of no accomplishments) keep calling your bluffs. Where have I lied? Because I claim to believe in academic freedom? And you compare me to the Taliban? You’re losing it, sport. I’ve never advocated censoring evolution, as you imply. Censorship is something you evolutionists demand. On the contrary I advocate teaching all the problems with evolution (and yes, there are many). In fact I wouldn’t necessarily advocate teaching YEC in public schools, because if the science teacher is an atheist, they wouldn’t have a grasp of what Creationists believe and would distort what we believe, much like you have a habit of doing. I’m in favor of allowing students the freedom to do the research and follow the evidence wherever it leads. You, on the other hand, would favor failing or expelling a student if they gave the remotest sympathy towards ID or Creationism.

  87. #87 heddle
    April 25, 2008

    RichC,

    Go ahead and claim “mission accomplished” if you like, but I’m still not buying it. :)

    Fair enough! Have a nice weekend.

  88. #88 SLC
    April 25, 2008

    Re Jon S

    “I’m in favor of allowing students the freedom to do the research and follow the evidence wherever it leads. You, on the other hand, would favor failing or expelling a student if they gave the remotest sympathy towards ID or Creationism.”

    I would give a failing grade to a student who claimed that germs didn’t cause disease in a health science class. I would give a failing grade to a student who claimed that the earth is flat in a geography class. I would give a failing grade to a student who claimed that the sum of the angles of a triangle in Euclidian geometry add up to something other then 180 degrees. I would give a failing grade to a student in an astronomy class who claimed that the sun revolves around the earth. And I would indeed give a failing grade to a schmuck like Mr. Jon S who claimed that the earth was 6000 years old. Mr. Jon S is completely full of crap and the fact that Prof. Rosenhouse hasn’t banned him from this site, when he would be banned from every other Scienceblogs site indicates that the good professor is far too accommodating to trolls.

  89. #89 Tyler DiPietro
    April 25, 2008

    “You’re upset because I (a man of no accomplishments) keep calling your bluffs.”

    Only if “calling your bluffs” means “concocted a few confused, poorly informed and borderline incoherent ramblings that were satisfactory only to myself as ‘arguments'”.

  90. #90 Jon S
    April 25, 2008

    SLC- Perhaps the good professor is also far too accommodating to foul mouthed blog posters who demand censorship.

  91. #91 Heather
    April 25, 2008

    Science Advenger

    I am just thankful that I am going to home educate my children. At least they’ll have a chance of hearing two sides. I don’t care how smart they are, what I care about is that I raise men of integrity, honor and will seek truth and hold fast to their faith! And if you look at the facts kids who are home educated are far “smarter” than public schooled kids who have been fed only one side of the story.

    What bugs me at the core is that I feel like the “science powers that be” won’t even present the two sides. It makes no sense.

    What I have is faith, what you have is faith. Our faiths just rest in two totally different camps of thoughts.

  92. #92 Science Avenger
    April 25, 2008

    “Heather said: I am just thankful that I am going to home educate my children. At least they’ll have a chance of hearing two sides.”

    I hope all kids hear two sides, and three sides, and all the other sides. And I hope they are given mankind’s best knowledge as to which are onto something and which are basically shit people made up. That is, after all, what school is for: to teach the kids which of the things they hear are actually worth listening to, and how to identify them.

    “I don’t care how smart they are, what I care about is that I raise men of integrity, honor and will seek truth and hold fast to their faith!”

    Ah, but what if their search for truth leads them away from their faith? What do they do then? Do they accept reality, or deny it? See, that’s the problem. Can a man of integrity deny facts?

    “And if you look at the facts kids who are home educated are far “smarter” than public schooled kids who have been fed only one side of the story.”

    Homeschooled kids out perform public school kids because they have involved parents, which is easily the most important factor in a child’s education. The public schools get stuck with the kids whose parent’s don’t give a rip.

    “What bugs me at the core is that I feel like the ‘science powers that be’ won’t even present the two sides. It makes no sense.”

    Two sides of what? Science is not politics madam, nor is it a sport. There is only one side: the one with the evidence. Right now we have the theory of evolution that covers the history of life from right after its beginning to now. For the history of life’s beginning we have nothing but speculations. That is the only “side” that a child in science class need hear. Telling them anything else would be a big fat lie, and some of us are serious about integrity.

    “What I have is faith, what you have is faith. Our faiths just rest in two totally different camps of thoughts.”

    Speak for yourself, I have no faith. Believe it or not, there are people out here who have no trouble saying “I don’t know” when there isn’t any evidence. We don’t take those leaps of faith you so enjoy where you pretend to know something you don’t. I don’t pretend to know how life began. You do.

  93. #93 386sx
    April 26, 2008

    What bugs me at the core is that I feel like the “science powers that be” won’t even present the two sides. It makes no sense.

    Why wouldn’t it make any sense. There’s only one side. You can’t “faith” your way into having two sides. It doesn’t make any sense!

  94. #94 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    Heather said: I am just thankful that I am going to home educate my children.

    How sad that you plan to handicap your children in this way. Life’s hard enough without saddling children with such obstacles to overcome. Teaching children that faith outweighs fact at such a young age is often insurmountable.

  95. #95 windy
    April 26, 2008

    Well, I’ll correct you. 1 and 2 are fine. 3 should be more like: since there is no naturalistic explanation as to why science works–why laws are even expressible as mathematical formulas, why it isn’t too hard

    Science works because there is regularity in the universe. This is not a surprise since if the universe lacked constancy, life would be impossible. Basic arithmetics must hold: 2 offspring must be the same as 1 + 1 offspring, otherwise organisms that produce more offspring could not be selected for. And don’t inverse square laws follow from the dimensionality of the universe? An universe where no math worked would be utterly impossible.

  96. #96 heddle
    April 26, 2008

    Windy,

    By all means argue against my post, but argue against what I wrote. I didn’t use the regularity of science in my argument, but the comprehensibility and mathematical tractability. I did not say anything about math not working, but about the possibility of math being too hard. If Newton’s second law had been a horrible non-linear differential equation, or if it required a complete local field theory of gravitation, nature would still be regular and math would still work–but Newton, and hence science, would have been stymied.

  97. #97 SLC
    April 26, 2008

    Re Jon S

    Gee, Mr. Jon S doesn’t like strong language. If Mr. Jon S thinks that my language on this blog is strong, I suggest he try posting comments over at Ed Braytons’ blog. If he doesn’t believe me, just refer to one of the comments from Mr. Brendemuehl.

  98. #98 386sx
    April 26, 2008

    You are confusing me with the IDers. They argue “gaps” represent success. I say filling the gaps represents success.

    Yeah but filling the gaps represents success for science. Science is the one filling in the gaps.

    “3 should be more like: since there is no naturalistic explanation as to why science works–why laws are even expressible as mathematical formulas, why it isn’t too hard–why the mathematics can actually be solved or least approximated enough to make testable predictions–on this limited question we’ll rest our case and declare victory.”

    That sounds like another gap to me. If you’re declaring victory, then it really shouldn’t be a gap. But you declare victory… and yet there it is… still a big ol’ gap! (Maybe I’m confused or somethin.)

  99. #99 Nemo
    April 26, 2008

    Short review: The best part was the trailer for Get Smart that ran before the movie. (No, Steve Carrell does not do the voice.)

    I hope he at least says “missed it by that much”, and “would you believe…” at some point in the movie. He seems like the perfect choice for the role.

    Folks, oppression just ain’t what it used to be.

    Check out this domain name: “FreeGonzalez.com”. Apparently, failure to gain tenure is a form of imprisonment. Whoda thunk?

    ————

    Please just tell me where we came from?? A real answer!

    “I don’t know” is a real answer. So is “I don’t know, but here are some possibilities, and here are some things we can pretty much rule out.”

    Please don’t try to convince me I was formed on the back of a crystal!

    Not you — your extremely remote (pre-cellular) ancestors.

    Why do you find this particular idea troubling? I see that it gets a strong reaction from creationists who’ve seen Expelled, but I honestly don’t know why. Is it just because you think the word “crystals” sounds New Agey? Or what?

    Also, what are Dawinists so afraid of??

    Um, nothing.

  100. #100 Heather
    April 26, 2008

    Yes, you have faith. Faith to believe in nothing. It takes faith to believe in the “spark of life”. I’d rather believe that there is a God who had a plan and created us with a purpose.

    So yes, you have faith. You also know we’re all religous. Religion is a set of beliefs that dictate your actions. Now some worship their science, some worship their God. Some worship trees, some worship the sun, some worship themselves. So we’re all religous and we all have a religion that dictates our actions. I believe we were created with a desire to worship something…I believe you worship your academics, science, facts.

    Of course this is way off course why I first posted on here. I just want someone to really explain how we went from nothing to life.

    I left Expelled thinking how can a rational person actually believe that we were created on the backs of crystals…I mean really, doesn’t this sound absured?! And where did the crystals come from?

    Just how was the cell created? How did we evolved to create life? It just blows my mind you can study how a child is form…the millions and millions and millions of conditions that have to be just right for the human body to form inside the womb of a woman…and not even entertain the idea that there is a Higher Power that did this.

    If there is no God who created us, then what’s the purpose of life? Where’s your hope? In science? Science does fail, people fail. I’d feel totally hopeless without my faith. I’d see no purpose.

    I also am okay with just having faith in a Creator. Having that faith has allowed me such peace.

    Also you keep saying these are facts…then where’s the missing link? What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics that is violated in believing in order being made from chaos?

  101. #101 Nemo
    April 26, 2008

    And where did the crystals come from?

    Crystals grow on their own, if you really didn’t know. Simple chemistry. Although few would deem crystals to be “alive”, they do have some of the same properties as living things. That’s what makes them interesting to people studying abiogenesis.

    If you want to credit the laws of chemistry to God, go ahead. But it’s not magic.

    What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics that is violated in believing in order being made from chaos?

    The second law is not violated, primarily because the Earth is not a closed system. Life on Earth is driven by the energy of the Sun… which is running down at a fierce rate, in cosmic terms (it only seems slow to us because we’re so tiny and short-lived). And the sun “wastes” most of its energy, radiating it out to space, with only a tiny fraction reaching Earth. So, the Sun/Earth system as a whole (which still isn’t completely closed, but close enough) is in fact applying the second law all too vigorously.

    If there is no God who created us, then what’s the purpose of life?

    If there is a god who created us, then what’s the purpose of life? To be his amusement? Why is his “purpose” any better than your own?

  102. #102 Adrienne
    April 26, 2008

    Heather, the crystals idea is far from absurd. If you really care about learning the scientific reasoning behind it, try reading this book: http://books.google.com/books?id=PhmCLImwz2wC&dq=seven+clues+origin+life&pg=PP1&ots=0e8nVyOG6N&sig=rww9Lpq0zr8fPGFc7pmCsfZL12M&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=&q=Seven+Clues+origin+life&btnG=Google+Search&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail.

    The crystals are clay minerals, IIRC.

    Also, you seem to think that not having an answer in science is some sort of problem. It isn’t. “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer in science. Invoking a supernatural deity as an explanation isn’t. See how that works?

    Also, the arguments you are trotting out in favor of creationism (2nd law of thermo, etc) are quite thoroughly refuted here: http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html

    I really hope you do give your kids “both sides of the story”, including the idea that maybe your faith-based ideas are wrong, but I rather doubt that will happen. And I hope you will still love them even if they end up abandoning their faith later on.

  103. #103 Adrienne
    April 26, 2008

    And Heather, please explain how “believing in nothing” requires “faith”. To me, that sounds like a logical impossibility. But then, I’m just a faithless atheist, after all.

  104. #104 windy
    April 26, 2008

    By all means argue against my post, but argue against what I wrote. I didn’t use the regularity of science in my argument, but the comprehensibility and mathematical tractability. I did not say anything about math not working, but about the possibility of math being too hard. If Newton’s second law had been a horrible non-linear differential equation, or if it required a complete local field theory of gravitation, nature would still be regular and math would still work–but Newton, and hence science, would have been stymied.

    But we do have phenomena that are described by nonlinear differentials, and science isn’t stymied. Do you have any evidence that Newton’s way would have been the only possible way to go in an universe where the laws of physics are completely different? Is it possible to have an universe where no linear equations work at all? Nothing that alternate-Fisher could work with to get statistics off the ground, for example?

  105. #105 Adrienne
    April 26, 2008

    Heather wrote: “I just want someone to really explain how we went from nothing to life.”

    Heather, as someone already pointed out, “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer in scientific terms. “I don’t know, therefore God must have done it” isn’t, however.

    Also, can you explain how there are three persons in one God in the Christian triune Godhead? How the Son and the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father, yet are equal to Him? When I was in Catholic school, we were all told in our religion classes that the “Three Persons, All Equal, One God” bit was a Divine “mystery”, and therefore we puny humans couldn’t ever hope to understand how this was true, even if it WAS true (revealed as such, supposedly). So even religion has its mysteries, it’s unexplainable principles. Yet why are “people of faith” so hypocritical in criticizing scientists for not having all the answers, hmmm?

  106. #106 windy
    April 26, 2008

    Yes, you have faith. Faith to believe in nothing. It takes faith to believe in the “spark of life”.

    There is no “spark of life”. Life is a chemical reaction.

  107. #107 386sx
    April 26, 2008

    If there is no God who created us, then what’s the purpose of life? Where’s your hope? In science? Science does fail, people fail. I’d feel totally hopeless without my faith. I’d see no purpose.

    That doesn’t mean that there is a “God who created us.” It’s just s sermon. At best, it is an argument for why people should believe in a “God who created us”, whether or not that “God who created us” really exists or not. Sorry!

  108. #108 heather
    April 26, 2008

    God’s wisdom is foolish to men.

    I am not critical of scientists. I don’t need all the anwsers…really I am okay with just having simple, plain faith in God.

    I just don’t want my simple faith and my right to share my faith, teach my children my faith to be in jepordy! I believe I have the right to believe this and share my beliefs.

    Honestly the 3 in 1 is beyond my understanding. But again, that’s faith. I don’t need all the answers, I am not God.

    What I do understand is that in my marriage, although my husband and I are two people, there is a oneness between us that is unexplainable.

  109. #109 slpage
    April 26, 2008

    For a good laugh, tale a look at Collin’s take on mutations and evolution on is blog. Classic example of why non-scientists should keep their yaps shut when it ocmes ot scientific issues.

  110. #110 Nemo
    April 26, 2008

    I just don’t want my simple faith and my right to share my faith, teach my children my faith to be in jepordy!

    It’s not, and never was. The only point at issue with regard to education is what will be taught in public schools, to all children regardless of their religion or lack thereof, at taxpayer expense, with the authority of the government behind it. You can teach them whatever nonsense you like at home.

  111. #111 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    Heather wrote: …then where’s the missing link? What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics that is violated in believing in order being made from chaos?

    And this is a person planning to homeschool her children. This is precisely why innocent children should be protected against homeschooling.

  112. #112 RichC
    April 26, 2008

    Heather,

    You have a fundamental lack of understanding of chemistry and biology. PLEASE!!!! Educate yourself before you inflict your ignorance of these subjects on your children.

    You are also making a critical error in thinking in your argument. Just because something “seems” ridiculous, unlikely, silly or whatever, has absolutely no influence on if it is true or not. Intuition is no substitute for facts.

  113. #113 SLC
    April 26, 2008

    Re Heather

    1. I think that Ms. Heather is making the mistake of conflating the origin of life with the origin of species (i.e. evolution). These are two different and separate theories. The evolution of species doesn’t begin until after the origin of life. Currently, the consensus of the scientific community is that the theory of evolution, namely the neo-Darwin synthesis, provides a good description of the origin of species. This theory does not, repeat does not in any way, shape, form, or regard explain the origin of life. Currently, there is no consensus of the scientific community as to a theory of the origin of life, i.e. how did life, defined as the appearance of the first replicators, originate out of organic chemicals. There are various hypothesis but all of them are tentative at this time.

    2. Ms. Heather is concerned that the theory of evolution appears nonintuitive. Well, guess what, the theory of quantum mechanics in physics is much worse. Just to quote a Nobel Prize winning physicist, Steven Weinberg, “Quantum mechanics is a totally preposterous theory which unfortunately appears to be correct.”

  114. #114 Adrienne
    April 26, 2008

    Heather,

    Remember also that your children also have the right to question what you teach them, including your shared faith. They also have the right to refuse to share that faith, or to eventually walk away from it if they choose.

  115. #115 Heather
    April 26, 2008

    Tomh…it’s thinking like that that scares me the most. You think you (big brother/governement/programs) needs to protect my children from me. Why not pick on parents who are completely uninvoloved and abusive?

    Nemo..there are groups and states (Californa and the UN for example) that are trying to tear away our rights as parents.

    I hope my kids question everything…this is why I am homeschooling them. In the public school they’d only be fed what “big brother” thinks is okay for them to learn.

  116. #116 Adrienne
    April 26, 2008

    Heather, Tom is worried that your children are not learning real knowledge…which if you are teaching them creationism, they aren’t. You think he scares you, but the idea of what your kids will NOT know in terms of not just knowledge but critical thinking when they enter the workforce and society at large scares the bleep outta us.

    You have many rights as parents, but even parental rights have limits. You can’t withold medical treatment from your kids when they are sick and just pray over them instead to make their fevers and diabetes magically disappear. Why should they be robbed of the chance for a real education just because your religious sensibilities preclude it? Your kids have the right to learn real and valid scientific (and other types of) knowledge too, not just the sectarian religion you are passing off to them incorrectly as real science

  117. #117 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    Heather wrote: I hope my kids question everything…this is why I am homeschooling them.

    When kids are fed a steady diet of misinformation they have no background to question anything. You are merely training them to follow your faith, whatever that might be. If you really want them to have a choice, send them to school, then give them your views on the subject at home. That way they really will be able to make an informed choice. Most homeschoolers won’t do that because of the chance that the kids, once they are exposed to some accurate information, might question their faith. Don’t be so afraid of that.

  118. #118 cl
    April 26, 2008

    Hello Jason – this is your blog I’m commenting on for the first time so I thought I’d say waddup.

    I’ve just spent the better part of two hours pouring through this thread on a lazy Saturday and I’m seriously concerned about the intellectual advancement of society. If I could sum this up in a single word it would be “bickering” and if I were to ascribe an adjective to “bickering” it would be “needless.” I lament all victims of The Great Culture War and may we all be reminded of the importance of temperance in belief, and of Hamilton’s wise observation that we find good and knowledgeable people on both sides of any debate. To those convinced one way or the other, we can test gravity, measure electromagnetism and formulaically standardize the chemical composition of sulfuric acid, but the beginning of the universe was a one-time event and attempting to define its ultimate cause by simply studying the aftermath is not unlike attempting to define the exact attributes of a rock thrown into a pond by studying the outermost ripples in the water. Obviously, there are inherent disadvantages in the situation, let alone complications related to the idea that perhaps Somebody threw the rock.

    May God and/or Nature forgive my judgment, but to Collin I must ask, In spite of being legitimately provoked ad hominem by Boussant and referentially by jimHC, and in spite of making an occassional good point as do the other commenters, does calling people “buffoon” and conveying an attitude of arrogance in any way glorify Jesus Christ? Is it in line with 1 Peter 3:8’s admonitions to “not return insult for insult” or to “love as brothers” or to “be compassionate and humble?” Although certainly always seem “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks…” as later described in verse 3:15, are you doing it “…with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience?” My perception of the conversation was an arrogant arguing over semantics, exactly the kind of “fruitless dispute over the meanings of words” Scripture warns against.

    Where does Steveroni get the right to jump down Heather’s throat, who was without a doubt the politest person on this thread?

    Why did jimHC kick the thing off with a reference towards Collin, and why did Bouffant first call Collin an idiot??

    Why the tension? Hostility? Lack of respect? Snarkiness? Surely the laboratory is not so cursed! Surely the sanctuary suffereth not!

    The origin of life debate needs synergy, not division, there is dogma on all sides in all hearts and such attitudes are not indicative of falsifiability or a willingness to learn. When taken to extremes due to intellectual polarization that is often emotionally-based, neither side wishes to yield, and as could be expected, religion generally demonizes science or any other field that disagrees with orthodox doctrine – and science is generally intolerant of religious, spiritual, or metaphysical explanations concerning the past, present, or future.

    On one end we have the dogmatic, intellectually polarized religionist, spewing subjective dogma that he or she doesn’t always necessarily know how to explain nor care to. On the other end we have the dogmatic, intellectually polarized scientist, refusing to acknowledge anything that cannot be tested empirically and often drastically overlooking great gains science could make if it were possibly just a bit more open-minded towards the evidence for religious, spiritual, or metaphysical aspects behind human existence. The truly enlightened know there is no conflict and the history of human religion unfortunately rests on a bed of tyranny the history of science rests on a foundation of thinkers open-minded enough to embrace both religion and research.

    While another needless battle in The Great Culture War rages on, the important question is worth restating: Regardless of your education, your current belief system, your lifelong faith, your faith in reason or science or rationalism or religion or extraterrestrial seeding experiments or any pre-commitment to atheism or theism or agnosticism or whatever, are you intellectually polarized?

    If you’re immediate reaction was “Of course not…” introspection is advised.

  119. #119 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    cl wrote: …. great gains science could make if it were possibly just a bit more open-minded towards the evidence for religious, spiritual, or metaphysical aspects behind human existence.

    Can you give an example of such evidence? Or even what such evidence might look like?

  120. #120 Science Avenger
    April 26, 2008

    “I hope my kids question everything…this is why I am homeschooling them. In the public school they’d only be fed what ‘big brother’ thinks is okay for them to learn.”

    And being fed only what momma thinks is OK for them to learn is better how exactly? ‘Big Brother’s knowledge base is larger by orders of magnitude. Emotional attachment does not equate to good pedagogy.

    Oh, and Heather, we atheists believe in 99.9% of what you believe. We just don’t believe your little god myth. That’s hardly everything, as the full and rich lives of atheists around the world attests.

  121. #121 Science Avenger
    April 26, 2008

    Cl said: On the other end we have the dogmatic, intellectually polarized scientist, refusing to acknowledge anything that cannot be tested empirically and often drastically overlooking great gains science could make if it were possibly just a bit more open-minded towards the evidence for religious, spiritual, or metaphysical aspects behind human existence.

    When those who emphasize the religious, spiritual, or metaphysical over the empirically testable come up with some actual knowledge that has some objective content, any of us will sit up an take notice. Go on, no one’s stopping you. Go away and do whatever it is you think will gain knowledge and come back when you have some. Until then, take your smarmy Compulsive Centrist Disorderly concern trolling and stick it where the sun don’t shine. It’s a whiney bore.

    You act like this shit is new, when in fact it is older than everything else we are talking about. It is scoffed at because it ruled the intellectual arena for hundreds of years and produced not one scintilla of knowledge compared to what science does. Science won in the free market of ideas, simple as that. You might as well tell us that we are all closed-minded Model-A’ers who won’t give horses a fair chance. Your way had its fair chance, and got its head handed to it.

  122. #122 cl
    April 26, 2008

    @ tomh,

    Hi, nice to meet you..surely I could provide what I perceive to be persuasive evidence of religious, spiritual or metaphysical frameworks behind human existence. But the whole world is pink through rose-colored glasses and I’ve no interest in proselytization!

    If personal enrichment is really the motive, I could suggest some reading I’ve found interesting, which you could check out and formulate your own opinions about..

  123. #123 cl
    April 26, 2008

    @ avenger,

    nice to meet you. might I suggest a closer reading of my words here or elsewhere before you categorize me? nonetheless in an inflammatory manner? I know you’ve never met me before, but I most certainly do not “emphasize the religious, spiritual, or metaphysical over the empirically testable” nor does my original comment left here imply such imbalance as it appears you’ve charged.

    I’ve hopefully shed most if not all of my intellectual polarization over the years and don’t wish to rehash fruitless bickering. However, if you have a legitimate question for debate I’m all ears and love a good conversation!

    have a good day!

  124. #124 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    cl wrote: …surely I could provide what I perceive to be persuasive evidence of religious, spiritual or metaphysical frameworks behind human existence. But …

    As expected, you have nothing.

  125. #125 Science Avenger
    April 26, 2008

    CL dodged thusly: I most certainly do not ‘emphasize the religious, spiritual, or metaphysical over the empirically testable’ nor does my original comment left here imply such imbalance as it appears you’ve charged.

    No, it implied balancing a proven winner with a perennial loser, all in the name of balance. Reality is not fair and balanced.

  126. #126 cl
    April 26, 2008

    @ tomh,

    Cool…don’t really wanna argue with ya..you’re entitled to speculating that I have nothing, and to speculating that I have a firm opinion one way or the other about anything, and to speculating that for some undisclosed reason I’m somehow interested in changing your belief system.

    If you stick to my words in the first comment, you’ll see that all I’m saying is that it’s unfortunate for the advancement of science, and really life in general, that people with opposing beliefs can’t or won’t engage in civil discourse.

    Dig?

  127. #127 Kaerion
    April 26, 2008

    Heather:

    I left Expelled thinking how can a rational person actually believe that we were created on the backs of crystals…I mean really, doesn’t this sound absured?!

    First of all, let me clarify one point, since you seem to have bought into at least one lie: The hypothesis does not say that *we* were created on the backs of crystals, it says that our extremely distant, pre-cellular ancestors might have been.

    Secondly, I have a question. It might just be that I’m a little slow today, but I’m hoping you’ll give me a straight answer, so I might understand where you’re coming from a little better. If it’s absurd for any rational person to think that our distant, pre-cellular ancestors began their life on crystals, do you also think it’s absurd for any rational person to *know for a fact* that our not-so-distant, fully human ancestors were created out of mud?

    On the face of it, disregarding everything else, the second position seems far more absurd to me, mostly because of the differences between *knowing* something, and thinking it *might* be so, and the differences between pre-cellular life appearing on crystals, and *fully-human* beings being created (*poof!*) out of mud.

    Maybe you can share your views on this, and if you are a Christian (which is the impression I’ve gotten, and I apologize if I was mistaken), maybe you could explain why you have such a problem with the crystals, while ‘humans-out-of-mud’ doesn’t bother you at all?

  128. #128 cl
    April 26, 2008

    @ Avenger,

    Regarding the physical world, I agree that science has won many a victory and religious orthodoxy obscured many a truth. I would further accentuate the religious failings on account of the fact that failings in research typically don’t lead to one being burned at the stake.

    I disagree that I “dodged” you, because you didn’t ask me a question that I could dodge. You just prejudged me as hostile towards your worldview, and attacked. If you want to know what I think about point X or Y just ask, or if you have a legitimate issue to debate, as I said, I’m all ears!

  129. #129 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    cl wrote: …don’t really wanna argue with ya..you’re entitled to speculating that I have nothing

    Well, when you say you could surely provide persuasive evidence but you won’t, what else is one to think? All I ask is one tiny bit of evidence that you claim to have. Is that so much to ask?

  130. #130 cl
    April 26, 2008

    As I say, the entire world is pink through rose colored glasses, and what I view as evidence quite possibly you’ll discount, but until I can wrap my head around a reasonable natural explanation for the uniform left-handed chirality characteristic of molecules in amino acids in space as well as human DNA, or a reasonable natural explanation for the acceleration of inorganic matter into a self-replicating cell, or a reasonable natural explanation for the fact the Detroit Lions haven’t yet made it to the Super Bowl..

    When nucleotides collide and become DNA, they develop a twisting pattern that forms the ‘coil’ of the double helix structure. This occurs because each of the molecules has the same left-handed chirality. If even one molecule displayed right-handedness, the DNA double helix would not exist nor could DNA function properly. I’ve no PhD, but I believe it be a foundational truth in chemistry that chirality cannot be created in chemical molecules by a random or uninformed process. You might want to ask Larry Moran; he’s the last legitimate professor I encountered in the blogosphere.

    And even now that I’ve leaked a little, so what? I mean, bottom line, people should be civil, which shouldn’t be taken to mean you aren’t, but I don’t know where that other commenter was coming from.

    Although I’m certainly interested in hearing your take on it, I’m not asking you to accept my evidence; only to acknowledge, or respect it in the event you have no counter. (except for the bit about the Lions) I personally view these among many other peculiarities to be, at the very least congruent with the idea of, as Einstein ascribed to his deism, “an intellegence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

  131. #131 cl
    April 26, 2008

    @ tomh,

    a little afterthought,

    Although I fully admit they represent frontier science findings from the early twentieth century that hardline scientists today would not seriously consider, I also find McDougall’s experiments both worthy of natural explanation and the need to be repeated in controlled experiments. Either way, they don’t prove the existence of the soul, but they are at the very least congruent with the idea that something exits the body at the time of death for humans, but not dogs.

  132. #132 tomh
    April 26, 2008

    cl:
    There are many, many unanswered questions in science, some of which may never be answered, certainly not in our lifetime. Why this would cause you to automatically assume there is an intelligence responsible, just because science hasn’t been able to explain some natural phenomena, is a mystery to me. Surely you must see this is simply the god of the gaps argument. If we can’t explain it, god must have done it?

    As I asked before, do have any evidence for anything, rather than just pointing out things science hasn’t explained yet? As for your hundred year old ghost experiments, that’s just embarrassing.

  133. #133 Che-Taylor
    April 27, 2008

    since there is no naturalistic explanation as to why science works–why laws are even expressible as mathematical formulas, why it isn’t too hard–why the mathematics can actually be solved or least approximated enough to make testable predictions–on this limited question we’ll rest our case and declare victory.

    And the more science succeeds, the stronger our case. (Which is more-or-less the opposite of what the IDers are saying.)

    Single dumbest argument ever presented anywhere. I amreally not trying to be insulting it is just extremely stupid. It is men who did the calculations, men who discovered the formulas. Saying it’s outside of the natural world is just special pleading. Every single aspect of the above was done in a very material world. Why people try to infuse absurd arguments to buttress beliefs founded in the prevelant culture for non ratioanal reasons is really an area in need of more study. Neuroscience anyone?

    I can’t believe some fellow above took a group of kids to this movie and then actually laughed at Dawkins for being honest. He doesn’t know and neither does anyone else despite the pretending that goes on. I have faith, I also know evolution is a slam dunk correct just like gravity. But my faith is not evidence of correctness and frankly I find apologists like the above embarrassing to God.

    People of faith need to stop pretending we have the ‘Truth’ when what we have is belief and it’s a belief we have faith in but simply is not verifable in any real sense. It’s just honesty. Something apologists and creationists have forgotten in their zeal to be correct about something in which that may be impossible.

  134. #134 Science Avenger
    April 27, 2008

    Cl asked: a reasonable natural explanation for the fact the Detroit Lions haven’t yet made it to the Super Bowl..

    Brett Favre, Matt Millen, Wayne fontes, and Barry Sanders’ 30% or so lifetime carries for negative yardage. Don’t feel too bad, you could have had Tony Mandarich. And at least you still have 1957. We Saints fans are still waiting.

    I know, hardly on topic, but I thought it was the most interesting question you asked…

  135. #135 JimCH
    April 27, 2008

    cl…
    The opening comment with reference to another poster was not a non-sequitur. It was a continuation from the entry just previous to this one. Please show me exactly where I molested the poor guy. You admitted that this is your first time here so perhaps you can’t imagine that other people have posted often & therefore there views & tones are well known & established.
    & I’m sorry, but I must agree that if you are seriously dragging out the McDougall tripe then … well, it’s hard to know how to respond. MacDougall’s results were flawed, to say the least, because the methodology used to harvest them was suspect, the sample size far too small, & the ability to measure changes in weight imprecise. His postulations on this topic are a curiousity, but nothing more.

  136. #136 Jon S
    April 27, 2008

    Che-Taylor- Yes, I admit we laughed at Dawkins, but not for being honest… it’s refreshing when atheists are brutally honest. It exposes them for who they are and why we need to stand up to them. In this instance he admits he doesn’t know how life began, but when we claim that we do know how the universe and life started because God told us, we’re told that’s anti-science, even though it’s quite reasonable. The problem is that atheists and evolutionists refuse to let a divine foot in the door… which is itself anti-science. If God, in fact, created as he revealed to us in the Bible, then believing only in natural explanations will prove false when a supernatural explanation was the true cause. Once we allow for that possibility then science will finally have the freedom to advance wherever the evidence leads. It’s amazing that Dawkins admits being uncertain on the origins of life, yet he’s so very certain that anyone who doesn’t agree with his views on evolution and the origin of life must be censored and must not be allowed to present counter evidence because the powers that be have proclaimed evolution to be a sacred cow beyond criticism. His beliefs are beyond absurd. If you have to resort to intelligent aliens, then believing in God is not so far fetched after all.

    Now I’m not sure where you’re coming from. Are you a person of faith? What kind of faith? As a Christian I believe we can know the truth… only because God has revealed it to us. In fact Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. So when you say people of faith need to stop pretending we have the truth, I feel compelled to defend God’s word. Without it there is no truth. But with God’s word we can have confidence in the truth.

  137. #137 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ tomh

    just as I thought you’d react..

  138. #138 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ tomh

    see that’s why I initially hesitated. You seem to think I care what you believe. I don’t. Of course I knew you’d denigrate my view. Do you have a sufficient answer for any of my questions? Does “science avenger” ??

  139. #139 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ jimHC

    i basically agree with you. I didn’t say you molested Mr. Brendemuehl, I said you provoked him. It may certainly have been justified, and I could easily see Collin warranting the offensive you gave him –

  140. #140 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ jimHC

    I agree. And I could imagine as much or more than you. And surely the possibility that you and Mr. Brendemuehl have a long-standing axe to grind might be the case.

  141. #141 SLC
    April 27, 2008

    Re Jon S

    I see that the YEC schmuck Mr. Jon S is still around, providing his usual moronic comments. I really get a kick out of assholes like him who have never published a paper on any scientific topic in a peer reviewed journal arrogantly claiming that competent scientists like Prof. Dawkins and Ken Miller are all wrong about the theory of evolution. In a previous thread, this putz claimed that George Lemaitre was all wrong about the big bang theory of cosmic evolution. Mr. Jon S, of course, has never read Fr. Lemaitres’ paper on the subject and wouldn’t understand it if he did. Mr. Jon S is an example of the arrogance of the ignorant, which he wallows in, and his “contributions” to this blog show what we might expect if he and his ilk ever took power in the US. In fairly short order, the US would look like Afghanistan under the Taliban. To dimbulbs like Mr. Jon S, the fairy tales in the Christian and Hebrew bibles supply all the knowledge required for humanity.

    By the way Mr. cl, should consider clowns like Mr. Jon S when he criticizes the scientific community for arrogance.

  142. #142 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ SLC,

    Nice to meet you. To my knowledge, re-reading my words I’ve left to date on this thread, I’ve criticized nobody except those who subtract from the integrity of the debate with ad hominen attacks. Can you show me where I’ve criticized the scientific community “for arrogance” as you charge? I don’t have an ax to grind with anyone really, so I don’t know what you’d like me to consider about Jon S. I don’t even know the guy. Hell I don’t even know anyone on here!

  143. #143 Science Avenger
    April 27, 2008

    Jon S said: [Dawkins] admits he doesn’t know how life began, but when we claim that we do know how the universe and life started because God told us, we’re told that’s anti-science, even though it’s quite reasonable.

    It is anti-science (because of lack of evidence), and it isn’t any more reasonable than it was for the Greeks to attribute lightning to the gods. When there is no evidence for something, the reasonable position is “I don’t know”, not “I’ll make shit up”.

    [Dawkins'] beliefs are beyond absurd. If you have to resort to intelligent aliens, then believing in God is not so far fetched after all.

    Be warned, when you take the word of known liars, you end up with egg on your face. Dawkins does not believe that intelligent aliens put the first life on earth. He used that as an example of how it MIGHT be done, and then, were you able to see the full context of his comments, went into why that doesn’t solve the essential problem because then we must ask where the aliens came from. You have been Duped by the Ben Stein Liars Committee.

    And as far fetched as the alien solution is, it is not nearly as far-fetched as the god solution, since we already know of something similar to aliens that exist: us.

  144. #144 cl
    April 27, 2008

    Hi Avenger.

    You introduced yourself to me here with some pretty heavy comments, so I thought I’d give your blog a read. Pretty good stuff, honestly. I dig your exegesis and share more than one of your sentiments. However, this caught my attention as possibly way out of line with the current scientific consensus, and certainly way out of line with what you yourself write earlier in that same post:

    Quoting Stein, you write, “Is it reasonable to posit that a chance combination of atoms and molecules, under those conditions, somehow generated a living thing?” You then conclude with no explanation, “Of course it is…”

    This is problematic for me because earlier in that same post you correctly note that science has no reasonable hypothesis of abiogenesis. If science proposes no reasonable explanation for the organization of inorganic matter into the first replicating cell, from whence do you?

    Pre-emptively, I’m not being a smart-ass troll or trying to dupe you into another needless flame war; I’m sincerely confused by what I perceive as a sloppy argument from an otherwise decent writer.

    Can you or anyone else point me to one valid experiment that supports your claim? And to elaborate, what conditions was Stein alluding to?

  145. #145 Che-Taylor
    April 27, 2008

    JonS-

    It exposes them for who they are and why we need to stand up to them. In this instance he admits he doesn’t know how life began, but when we claim that we do know how the universe and life started because God told us, we’re told that’s anti-science, even though it’s quite reasonable.

    From a rational standpoint no it isn’t. There is no credible evidence for God having a hand in any of it and certainly not a particular variety of God.He was being honest and admitting he doesn’t know something. For this you say ‘what they are’ and ‘need to stand up to him’? As I read it he was honest and you and the ID folks have no real case. He honestly comes of much better bothin terms of character and truthfulness and I am sympathetic to the faith side.

    If God, in fact, created as he revealed to us in the Bible, then believing only in natural explanations will prove false when a supernatural explanation was the true cause. Once we allow for that possibility then science will finally have the freedom to advance wherever the evidence leads.

    ‘If’ so by your own words we have the same uncertainty Dawkins used and your critical of his position. The rest of that statement is just jibberish. You can allow for a ‘supernatural’ cause when one provides evidence one actually exists. This is the part folks like you never get although anything that acts on a natural system is by definition natural itself. So supernatural iskind of a silly idea in and of itself.

    It’s amazing that Dawkins admits being uncertain on the origins of life, yet he’s so very certain that anyone who doesn’t agree with his views on evolution and the origin of life must be censored and must not be allowed to present counter evidence because the powers that be have proclaimed evolution to be a sacred cow beyond criticism. His beliefs are beyond absurd. If you have to resort to intelligent aliens, then believing in God is not so far fetched after all.

    So he is honest and thinks people ought to understand the truth of evolution. Wow what a bad guy. He doesn’t want anyone censored and evolution is clearly criticized often and the theory is constantly being refined. He doesn’t resort to aliens,he simply states it as a possibility, one of many. He isnot endorsing the position. You sir are not really being honest here in your assessment of Dawkins.

    Now I’m not sure where you’re coming from. Are you a person of faith? What kind of faith? As a Christian I believe we can know the truth… only because God has revealed it to us.

    You can believe it and so can I but it’s a matter of faith and not verifable no matter what we say or how much we want it to be so. All other religions make and have made the same claims and none can do what science has done which is actually prove their case.

    In fact Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. So when you say people of faith need to stop pretending we have the truth, I feel compelled to defend God’s word. Without it there is no truth. But with God’s word we can have confidence in the truth

    We need to stop pretending we have the truth. We BELIEVE we have the truth. It’s a faith matter. We can have confidence in a belief but that is different from the confidence in matters of science which really is verifably true. All religions think they have the truth and defend it as such. Obviously it doesn’t provide the same standard of ‘truth’ as science. It’s more like the ‘truth’ of politics.

  146. #146 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor,

    Hi, nice to meet you. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments on the idea of the “supernatural” and by asking you the following question I am in no way, shape, or form aligning myself with Jon S, or anyone else here, or any particular ideology or lack thereof…etc.

    Assuming we’re talking about the universe and life itself, when you write, “You can allow for a ‘supernatural’ cause when one provides evidence one actually exists,” does this contain the presupposition that one can allow for a natural cause in a similar absence of evidence? If so, I would encourage equal application of standards. If not, I am very interested in hearing your evidence for a natural cause of the universe.

    On a side note, I really like your last paragraph in the post I address. Alot.

  147. #147 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor,

    On another side note, what’s the HTML code for the cool little indents you use? That’s pretty neat.

  148. #148 tomh
    April 27, 2008

    cl wrote: Do you have a sufficient answer for any of my questions?

    But your questions aren’t questions at all, they’re merely an argument from ignorance. Because you say you can’t, wrap my head around a reasonable natural explanation, for a whole list of things that science hasn’t explained, you’re persuaded that an intellegence must be responsible? How does that follow? There’s no logic there at all.

    Further, If even one molecule displayed right-handedness, the DNA double helix would not exist nor could DNA function properly. By the same token, if the fundamental forces of our universe were slightly different,
    life as we know it couldn’t exist. Does this also persuade you of an intelligent cause? Again, that just doesn’t logically follow.

    Of course I knew you’d denigrate my view.

    Don’t be silly. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the long debunked, never duplicated, ancient “soul” experiments. If you bring that up as serious proof of anything you have to expect a little ridicule. You might want to drop that from your arguments.

  149. #149 JimCH
    April 27, 2008

    I would encourage equal application of standards. If not, I am very interested in hearing your evidence for a natural cause of the universe.

    Perhaps it is as simple as that everything we know about the universe is natural. When we continuously test nature
    (whether it be every-day experience or in the lab) we continuously & unanimously have always come away with natural causes. To invoke the supernatural does nothing for a problem &, in fact, hinders the process. What you are supposing is akin to a god-of-the-gaps argument from fossil evidence, only worse. It is recognizing that there are two possible answers to the the range of phenomena (logically formal) & concluding that both possible answers deserve “equal time” when in fact, like I’ve stated, we have always got one kind of answer & never the other.

    The indent is created by introducing new opening & closing paragraph symbols & inserting your comments in-between. Try bookmaking this site:
    http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp

    By the way, you keep referring to me as “JimHC”. Why? Is this some weird way to try to get under my skin or do you have some kind of typing impediment?

  150. #150 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ JimCH,

    Nice to meet you. Sorry about the typing bit. Honestly. I am mildly dyslexic and it’s been getting worse since my accident.

    I’m about to go to Farmers Market. Thanks for the HTML link, no I’m not trying to get under anyone’s skin and yes I do have a legitimate cognitive impediment that makes short codes and letter combinations occasionally scramble.

    I’ll respond the meat of your response in a few..

  151. #151 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ JimCH,

    Cool HTML tip. Thanks, I’ll definitely mess with that a lil later..I promised to address your meat from that post so here’s it:

    In the context of tomh asking for my evidence for supernatural agency, you write, “everything we know about the universe is natural.” I concur. This is observationally correct and expected, but can in no way, shape or form be construed as scientific evidence for natural causation, if that was in fact implied.

    You continue, “When we continuously test nature (whether it be every-day experience or in the lab) we continuously & unanimously have always come away with natural causes.” I generally concur, but also feel this to be a bit misleading and would replace especially the word “unanimously.” For example, we don’t yet have a sufficient natural cause for the peculiarity of light to exist as both wave and corpuscle, but whether we find it or not one exists. Pre-emptively I don’t feel the lack of a natural cause for this strange phenomenon implies a “supernatural” one. Science includes behavior but not governance and can’t say shit about God.

    Going further, you state, “To invoke the supernatural does nothing for a problem &, in fact, hinders the process.” Again I concur, with minor redress: to invoke the supernatural does nothing for a problem *of science* and hinders the *scientific* process. On that corollary, I don’t myself believe in the supernatural. If demons and angels, God and Jesus or holy non-menstruating virgins exist they would be better described as metanatural and I suggest all serious writers on the topic omit the word “supernatural” from their musings entirely. Although I do not personally define “natural” as synonymous with “godless,” I do not believe anything exists that isn’t natural. If God indeed works miracles either universally or in the human heart, I believe it’s by some magnificent and orderly manipulation within the natural order, not some mystical supercession of the natural order.

    And finally a point I can disagree with! Carrying along, you write, “What you are supposing is akin to a god-of-the-gaps argument from fossil evidence, only worse.” Well, what are you supposing I’m supposing? I’m not supposing anything, and since I don’t know what you’re supposing I’m supposing, I can’t fairly assess whether I feel it’s akin to the god-of-the-gaps argument, which I don’t recall extolling either here or anywhere else very recently. I will say that I see the immense orderliness and precision in nature and simply perceive it as a manifestation of God, and I most certainly don’t suppose that my puny little observation proves God by default.

    Forgive me on this last point; I might be misreading you. If I am, I apologize. Regarding your last sentence, I do believe there are at least two possible answers for the range of observed phenomena, but I’ve never stated that both answers deserve equal time in the laboratory, or that both should receive equal merit empirically, if either of those approximate what you meant. What I did say was that anyone who feels one can only allow for “supernatural” causation on the shoulders of direct evidence must apply an equal standard to natural causation. The only current, scientifically-acceptable answer to the question of life’s origin is “I don’t know.” The bleak reality is that we are all at a total loss to investigate the cause of the universe in any way that could be deemed scientifically credible, and although there is no observable data which directly contradicts a natural cause for the universe, the belief that the universe had a natural cause cannot be proven by observable data, and until that data appears, we’re all still at square one.

    All should remember that due to the laws of physics we have no prospect of attaining observable data for anything that transpired before Planck time. As such, stating whether the cause of the universe was natural or divine is simply outside the jurisdiction of observable data. Again, science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God. Despite this fact, and in similar breach of cogency as theists who contend the cause of the universe must have been “supernatural” not because of observable data but because of IC or because the Bible told them so, many atheists contend the cause of the universe must have been natural, not because any body of direct observational evidence proves the idea, but because their prior commitment to atheism or methodological naturalism demands it.

    None of that last rant was directed towards you personally, by the way. About the only thing I feel to be unequivocably true in the matter is that the entire world is pink through rose colored glasses.

    And dang sorry about the typing bit!

  152. #152 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ tomh re: experiments.

    Yep, them’s be the ones. Please respect that I conceded openly from the getgo that McDougall’s work represented an isolated case of frontier science from the early twentieth century that hardline scientists today don’t and shouldn’t seriously consider. I don’t consider it science. All I said was I find it interesting, worthy of explanation and most definitely worthy of controlled repetition in today’s scientific establishment. It’s not one of my “arguments,” first off because it would be foolish to base an entire worldview on the results of a century-old frontier experiment whose methodology is open to legitimate debate; and second, because I’m not arguing (as in trying to convince anyone of) anything here, other than my original point that the debate needs synergy and that some people here could use a refresher in civil human relations, the first epistle of St. Peter and also cogent discourse.

    The entirety of my subsequent posts were mere responses to stimulating provocation from you and the “ScienceAvenger” that had nothing whatsoever to do with the thrust of my original post, which just called for integrity and decency in the debate. Honestly, I thought at least one freethinker here would applaud a biblically-based assessment of Mr. Brendemuehl’s conversational proclivities. Currently I’m left perplexed as to why you and ScienceAvenger appear interested in arguing with someone who took a point of contention with a recurring theistic thorn in this blog’s side.

    As for my statements regarding chirality being an “argument from ignorance” as you charge, I concur, but at least be fair enough to point out it’s ignorance we share! Surely you don’t think naturalism is safe from our lack of an answer to these and other questions?

    You also misquoted me at least twice when you write, “Because (I) say (I) can’t wrap my head around a reasonable natural explanation for a whole list of things that science hasn’t explained, I’m persuaded that an intellegence must be responsible..”

    Let’s look at what I actually said: “…until I can (not because I can’t, which changes everything) wrap my head around a reasonable natural explanation for these things…” yes, until then I’m persuaded that intelligence might (not must, which again changes everything) have something to do with the beginning of the universe. Which, by the way, is in and of itself a very interesting proposition recorded in the first three words of the Bible. None of this is anywhere near the same thing as thinking I believe my ignorance somehow proves that a transcendent Creator exists, which would be logical suicide. Would you say your ignorance of causative factors behind molecular chirality justified your outlook of atheism?

    Although I thank you for not jumping down my throat acausally like the ScienceAvenger, I remain curious to your motive in asking me for my evidence. I mean let’s be honest; we both knew I wasn’t going to change your mind..not saying our exchange was a flame war, but people’s minds typically don’t get changed in such battles; contrary, their walls typically erect higher. So what’s the point?

    Science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God. Whether they call us professor or pastor, unless we enjoy running around fruitlessly in circles let’s all look towards one another for similarities not differences, and by all means let’s discuss science, not the Culture Wars so seemingly contrived by those with ulterior motives to divide and conquer.

  153. #153 Jon S
    April 27, 2008

    SLC says “I really get a kick out of assholes like him who have never published a paper on any scientific topic in a peer reviewed journal arrogantly claiming that competent scientists like Prof. Dawkins and Ken Miller are all wrong about the theory of evolution. In a previous thread, this putz claimed that George Lemaitre was all wrong about the big bang theory of cosmic evolution.”

    And I get a kick out of how a mere mortal, fallible human being can arrogantly claim that an all powerful God is all wrong. Where were you when God laid the earth’s foundations and set the stars in the sky? Were you alive when it happened? Did you observe the formation of the sky and land, and the creatures of the sea and sky? Surely you must have to claim that these “competent” scientists are right and that we can’t even consider that life didn’t arise by chance, but was created on purpose. What arrogance! And what arrogance to believe that all the competent scientists who support Creation are wrong!

    SLC says “In fairly short order, the US would look like Afghanistan under the Taliban.”

    This is demonstratably false. The United States was founded on Christianity, and it became the greatest nation ever! We made great advances in science and medicine and landed on the moon all without the principles of naturalism or evolution. Christianity played a huge role until recently when the judicial branch of the government has unjustly decreed a separation of church and state, which doesn’t exist in the constitution. If there was a true separation of church and state, then we’d have to ban evolution because it’s really an atheist religion, fairy tale and mythology. But now the nation is crumbling, the education system is in shambles, and kids go on shooting sprees to advance evolution by getting rid of the undesirable and weak. Wow, thank you evolution, Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins! As for me, I believe academic freedom is much more noble than having God deniers and evolutionists dictating what is tolerable in the education system and forcing students to be indoctrinated with evolution, and imposing your personal religious, anti-religious, and morality upon them in the name of ‘science’.

  154. #154 Tyler DiPietro
    April 27, 2008

    “And I get a kick out of how a mere mortal, fallible human being can arrogantly claim that an all powerful God is all wrong. Where were you when God laid the earth’s foundations and set the stars in the sky? Were you alive when it happened? Did you observe the formation of the sky and land, and the creatures of the sea and sky?”

    I’m having a hard time finding a flaw in this perfect Mobius strip of logic.

    “Surely you must have to claim that these “competent” scientists are right and that we can’t even consider that life didn’t arise by chance, but was created on purpose.”

    Modern evolutionary theory does not concern itself, at least as of right now, with the origin of life. Evolutionary processes involve variation, retention and selection. Since prior the the formation of life such things weren’t present, the explanation for the original of selectable replicators will have to be extraneous to evolution itself. This isn’t a difficult point to grasp.

    “The United States was founded on Christianity, and it became the greatest nation ever!”

    That’s funny, I don’t see “Christianity” anywhere in the Constitution!

  155. #155 Adrienne
    April 27, 2008

    Talk about Poe’s Law. I can’t tell if “Jon S”‘s post is a parody or real fundie spew. To keep me from banging my head on the keyboard in frustration and despair at such an ignorant, arrogant, and just plain WRONG rant, I’ll assume it’s a parody.

  156. #156 tomh
    April 27, 2008

    cl wrote: …that hardline scientists today don’t and shouldn’t seriously consider

    I have no idea what you mean by “hardline” scientists. Any idiot can recognize pseudoscience and why you keep insisting that this ancient fraud is meaningful is beyond me.

    science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God.

    You keep repeating this strawman argument. Where does science ever say anything about God? I’ve never seen it. The only ones who say anything about god are religionists and they shout it loudly and with certainty every chance they get. Witness JonS and others on here.

  157. #157 tomh
    April 27, 2008

    That’s funny, I don’t see “Christianity” anywhere in the Constitution!

    Or the word “God” for that matter.

  158. #158 JimCH
    April 27, 2008

    This is observationally correct and expected, but can in no way, shape or form be construed as scientific evidence for natural causation, if that was in fact implied.

    Interesting. So, if we discover natural causes for natural phenomena we aren’t allowed to deduce a natural cause. You’ll have to provide more insight here.

    For example, we don’t yet have a sufficient natural cause for the peculiarity of light to exist as both wave and corpuscle, but whether we find it or not one exists.

    Perhaps you misunderstood. I wasn’t suggesting that we have casual explanations for everything that we have questions to, & that they are natural; I was merely stating that everything that we do have causal explanations for are unanimously natural.

    Science includes behavior but not governance and can’t say shit about God.

    Religious people continue to baffle me on this point. I don’t know of any scientist or tenant of science, which is taken seriously, that would state the counter. If you want to believe that god(s) wound the whole thing up & let it go, then knock yourself out; this is a straw-man. However, if you want to suggest that god(s) interceded somehow after the initial creation then you do have some explaining to do.

    If God indeed works miracles either universally or in the human heart, I believe it’s by some magnificent and orderly manipulation within the natural order, not some mystical supercession of the natural order.

    I’m afraid that this makes no sense what-so-ever. Manipulation of the natural order would be superseding the natural order. It sounds like what you’re implying is that if God(s) somehow lessened the force of gravity temporarily, for instance, rather than suspend it completely then God(s) is/are somehow not interceding.

    I can’t fairly assess whether I feel it’s akin to the god-of-the-gaps argument, which I don’t recall extolling either here or anywhere else very recently.

    You didn’t. It was an analogy. The point was that science continuously fills in the “gaps” in our knowledge about the universe, & not having filled in all the “gaps” does not justify invoking the possibility for the supernatural where there happen to be “gaps”.

    I will say that I see the immense orderliness and precision in nature and simply perceive it as a manifestation of God, and I most certainly don’t suppose that my puny little observation proves God by default.

    Ok, but this is a metaphysical point; not an epistemological one. Having stated that, do birth-defects fit this orderliness? How about progressive mental disorders? So, because the sun continues to show-up everyday there is an orderliness which suggests god(s)? It would seem to me that if the orderliness were occasionally “put on the shelf” you would have an argument here. But you’ve also suggested that “miracles” would imply the supernatural (as, in deed it would). There is no arguing with logic like this; every scenario means what you want it to.

    Despite this fact, and in similar breach of cogency as theists who contend the cause of the universe must have been “supernatural” not because of observable data but because of IC [sic] or because the Bible told them so, many atheists contend the cause of the universe must have been natural, not because any body of direct observational evidence proves the idea, but because their prior commitment to atheism or methodological naturalism demands it.

    I must again disagree here. Religious people invoke god(s) based on nothing but imagination. Non-theists (I speak for myself & ones that I personally know) do not because there is no reason to & doing so only makes the question needlessly complicated; it’s a matter of parsimony. I don’t not not believe in God(s) because it necessarily makes me feel good, however I’ll wager a guess that the same cannot be said about you for your belief.

  159. #159 JimCH
    April 27, 2008

    To keep me from banging my head on the keyboard in frustration and despair at such an ignorant, arrogant, and just plain WRONG rant, I’ll assume it’s a parody.

    I’m afraid that if consistence & longevity mean anything then you assume wrongly. It appears that this monkey did, in fact, manage to crack the code of the keyboard.

  160. #160 cl
    April 27, 2008

    @ Jim, tomh

    “if we discover natural causes for natural phenomena we aren’t allowed to deduce a natural cause. You’ll have to provide more insight here.” yes, we are. we aren’t allowed to deduce a godless cause, because science can’t say shit about God. You both appear to be using science to argue against the possibility of “supernatural” causation, which is just as absurd as using science to argue for God.

    “Perhaps you misunderstood. I wasn’t suggesting that we have casual explanations for everything that we have questions to, & that they are natural; I was merely stating that everything that we do have causal explanations for are unanimously natural.” Okay, that’s fine, and again to be expected, and again I agreed with that. That’s not what you wrote though, and to me the original writing was misleading. So I was merely pointing out that there are several phenomena for which we have no natural explanation (yet). No biggie. My opinion, no skin off your back.

    I totally agree with this: “science continuously fills in the gaps in our knowledge about the universe, & not having filled in all the gaps does not justify invoking the possibility for the supernatural where there happen to be gaps.” I don’t invoke the idea of God where there happen to be gaps in our knowledge about the universe. I invoke the idea of God for events that transpired pre-Planck time.

    Regarding birth defects, etc., I don’t think orderliness is synonymous with what we might call “perfection.”

    You write, “Religious people invoke god(s) based on nothing but imagination.” That’s a broad statement that lumps people together, and is also totally false. Some religious people invoke god(s) as a result of some life experience, for example, or as a result of the study of science.

    “Non-theists (I speak for myself & ones that I personally know) do not *believe in god(s)* because there is no reason to…” To this I just say the whole world is pink through rose colored glasses, and people see what they want to see.

    The bottom line in my opinion is that there are de facto assumptions in all origin-of-life theories, and given the persuasive scientific and scriptural evidence indicating that the material existence was vastly different throughout the distant past, all honest scientific origin-of-life theories must recognize the disadvantage in saying anything with any real certainty. The religious origin-of-life theories can say whatever they want and not have to back it up at all, because religious claims cannot be verified empirically, and if a claim can be verified empirically then we are no longer discussing a religious claim, but some other statement about some other condition that is true, in actuality.

    belief in God often doesn’t make me feel good. the simplicity of an atheistic death would relieve a decent amount of stress perhaps.

  161. #161 tomh
    April 27, 2008

    cl wrote: … scientific origin-of-life theories must recognize the disadvantage in saying anything with any real certainty.

    You keep erecting these strawmen. Can’t you get that there are no scientific origin-of-life theories that claim any certainty at all and no one claims that there are. Only religionists claim that.

    given the persuasive scientific and scriptural evidence indicating that the material existence was vastly different throughout the distant past,

    That’s too funny. “persuasive scriptural evidence”. I give up.

  162. #162 Jeff Whitaker
    April 27, 2008

    Simply put. To believe that somehow, nothing became something and that something somehow survived millions or billions of years (however long you think you need) to someway form a cell and then survive, multiply and eventually evolve into every variation of life we see today, well you tell me who is being ridiculous and checking their brain at the door? Most evolutionists don’t want to even entertain the thought that there was intelligent design because if there were, then they are forced to ask the question, “Does that Intelligent Design require anything of me or do I have any responsibility or relationship to that “Intelligent Design” and they simply can not face that possibility. I’m talking about this Monday night, April 28th at 6 eastern with the Associate Producer of Expelled over WOND radio in Atlantic City, NJ. You can listen over the internet and even call in. I’d love to talk with you. http://www.wond1400am.com

  163. #163 SLC
    April 27, 2008

    Re Jon S

    “his is demonstratably false. The United States was founded on Christianity, and it became the greatest nation ever! We made great advances in science and medicine and landed on the moon all without the principles of naturalism or evolution.”

    1. Mr. Jon S is a god damn lying piece of crap. The most important founders of the US were not believing Christians at all. These include folks such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, John Adams, and George Washington. In fact, Madison, who was responsible for writing most of the Constitution was a strong critic of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular.

    2. As Mr. DiPietro and Mr. tomh say, the words Christianity, god, Jesus, Moses, bible, scriptures, creator, etc. are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution. The US is a secular nation with separation of Church and State founded on secular principles. If Mr. Jon s doesn’t like it, I suggest he move to Iran which he may find more to his liking.

    3. Mr. Jon S states that the we got to the moon without the use of naturalism. The ignorance of this kookoo bird is absolutely beyond belief. The physics that provided the theoretical background that was indispensable to firing a rocket to the moon is based on methodological naturalism. Where in the Christian or Hebrew bibles are Newtons’ laws of motion or Einsteins’ theory of relativity described? By the way, neither Newton or Einstein were Christians (Newton rejected the Trinity, Einstein was Jewish).

    4. Would Mr. Jon S elucidate us as to what great theories of science are to be found in the Christian or Hebrew bibles (or the Koran or the Bagavatiga for that matter). Newtons laws, Maxwells’ equations, the germ theory of disease, DNA, Einsteins’ theory of relativity, the quantum mechanics of Heisenberg, Bohr and Dirac are nowhere to be found in any of those books.

    Re Adrienne

    Oh, Mr. Jon S is quite serious. Based on his comments on this thread and on previous threads on this blog, I think that he believes every word that he writes. This is an example of the type of crap that fundamentalist churches shovel out to their brain-washed parishioners. Unfortunately, there are many school districts in the US that have school boards dominated by birdbrains like him.

  164. #164 Che-Taylor
    April 27, 2008

    As such, stating whether the cause of the universe was natural or divine is simply outside the jurisdiction of observable data.

    For now agreed.

    Again, science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God.

    Disagree. If God exists he is in the world in some manner. He can’t be in and out at the same time. The universe is everything in a manner of speaking. Even outside the boundaries of the universe is still the material world. Religions also make real world claims that are definetly in the realm of science and the scientific method.

    Despite this fact, and in similar breach of cogency as theists who contend the cause of the universe must have been “supernatural” not because of observable data but because of IC or because the Bible told them so,

    Agreed.

    many atheists contend the cause of the universe must have been natural, not because any body of direct observational evidence proves the idea, but because their prior commitment to atheism or methodological naturalism demands it.

    Agreed to a point although I don’t think atheism as a prior committment has anything to do with it. It is factual that naturalism provides results and real verifiable answers(Truth) and as such if one wants to place a bet one would lay their cards on that table rather than one which loses each and every time it is examined.

    And I get a kick out of how a mere mortal, fallible human being can arrogantly claim that an all powerful God is all wrong. Where were you when God laid the earth’s foundations and set the stars in the sky? Were you alive when it happened? Did you observe the formation of the sky and land, and the creatures of the sea and sky? Surely you must have to claim that these “competent” scientists are right and that we can’t even consider that life didn’t arise by chance, but was created on purpose. What arrogance! And what arrogance to believe that all the competent scientists who support Creation are wrong!

    I think most intelligent readers can see the blantant arrogance of this individuals position. No room for humble learnin from this fellow.

    But now the nation is crumbling, the education system is in shambles, and kids go on shooting sprees to advance evolution by getting rid of the undesirable and weak.

    By every single social indicator this is a healthier nation than it has ever been. Of course if you judge an entire society by it’s tragic events you may be correct. Let’s just ignore prohibition, the depression, civil wars,disease, etc and get back to the good ole days. What a goof! I hope you have no access to young minds because the damage you could be doing is staggering.

  165. #165 Jon S
    April 27, 2008

    Science Avenger said: [God] is anti-science (because of lack of evidence), and it isn’t any more reasonable than it was for the Greeks to attribute lightning to the gods. When there is no evidence for something, the reasonable position is “I don’t know”, not “I’ll make shit up”.

    You’re helping me make my point. Can’t you see Dawkin’s hypocrisy? That he’s making stuff up? But I thought it’s not science to make stuff up? And isn’t the United States wasting millions and millions of dollars trying to find these ‘little green men’, when instead they could be spending it on the poor, or on our substandard education system that’s void of ‘religion’? The hypocrisy is amazing! We can believe in aliens, but heaven forbid anyone believe in God! Where’s the evidence that life began on crystals or from aliens? You don’t seem to mind a lack of evidence as long as it fits a naturalistic explanation, but the moment someone suggests that the Bible might be right you wale and moan and cry foul to maintain your own personal universe. Again I maintain a supernatural origin to the universe is quite reasonable, scientific, and is supported by the evidence. The fossil record and geologic column support a young earth and world-wide flood. But if you’re a Bible denier, then you’ll never accept the geologic column as evidence of a world-wide flood. Instead you’ll make up uniformitarianism or a few catastrophic events like an asteroid impact, aliens and stuff like that.

    Science Avenger said: Dawkins does not believe that intelligent aliens put the first life on earth. He used that as an example of how it MIGHT be done, and then, were you able to see the full context of his comments, went into why that doesn’t solve the essential problem because then we must ask where the aliens came from. You have been Duped by the Ben Stein Liars Committee.”

    Perhaps it’s you whose been duped by the indoctrination and brainwashing of our substandard education system. Whether or not Dawkins believes it, he’s at least willing to consider it, and at the same time attack anyone who believes in God. But take a look around you Mr. Avenger, the world is full of many kinds of religion. You can claim that it must be extinguished like a good atheist, or you could consider that it might have something to do with there being a real God (gasp!) who made us religious beings. As you can see I’m not afraid to take a stand for God and the Bible, just as you’re willing to stand up for your man-centered ideas, which is itself a religion.

    Acience Avenger said “And as far fetched as the alien solution is, it is not nearly as far-fetched as the god solution, since we already know of something similar to aliens that exist: us.”

    That’s your opinion, which I, as well as billions of other humans, don’t buy into. I believe that God created us in His image. And it’s not as far fetched as aliens. Believing in aliens only seems reasonable if you reject God.

  166. #166 Jon S
    April 27, 2008

    Che-Taylor says “So he [Dawkins] is honest and thinks people ought to understand the truth of evolution. Wow what a bad guy. He doesn’t want anyone censored and evolution is clearly criticized often and the theory is constantly being refined. He doesn’t resort to aliens,he simply states it as a possibility, one of many. He isnot endorsing the position. You sir are not really being honest here in your assessment of Dawkins.”

    Dawkins absolutely wants censorship, and he wants an end to religion, too. You’re deluded if you think otherwise. I don’t know what your religious views are, but if Dawkins had his own way he’d prevent you from believing whatever faith you believe. Dawkins once said “I think of religion as a dangerous virus. It’s a virus which is transmitted partly through teachers and clergy, but also down the generations from parent to child to grandchild. Children are especially vulnerable to infection by the virus of religion.”

    Further, evolution is rightly criticized. The fact that scientists can’t get evolution right and that it has to constantly be refined is evidence that the previous evolutionary beliefs were wrong. So again, if we can document every instance where science was wrong concerning evolution and the origin of life, then it should be accepted that God is not out of the question. In addition, how can you ever know if science is correct about the past if it’s claims are unverifiable? There’s always the possibility that future evidence will falsify the belief that was once held as ‘best supported by the evidence’.

    Che-Taylor says “You can believe it and so can I but it’s a matter of faith and not verifable no matter what we say or how much we want it to be so. All other religions make and have made the same claims and none can do what science has done which is actually prove their case.”

    Faith certainly can’t be verified scientifically. Faith and religion are personal, while science is not. Faith and religion have to do with ‘salvation’, while science does not. But to say that the two cannot be allowed to mix is foolish. For example, if it’s true that God made the world 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, then any science claiming the earth is 4.5 billion years old will inherently be wrong.

    Che-Taylor says “We need to stop pretending we have the truth. We BELIEVE we have the truth.”

    What is truth? If there is truth, then are you really pretending to have the truth if you’ve actually found it? Of course just because I claim to have found the truth doesn’t mean that I have indeed found it. It only means I believe I’ve found it. But if in fact truth were revealed to me and I believed it, then your claim that I’m only pretending is false. I maintain that the only way we can really know truth is if God, if he exists, were to reveal the truth to us, which I believe he did. Therefore, if he has revealed the truth to us, then we are not pretending.

  167. #167 Matthew
    April 27, 2008

    Jon S.

    Although I could discuss many points in your post, I’ll limit myself to Dawkin’s comments on Panspermia from “Expelled”.

    Dawkins was asked by the interviewer if there were any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred? He responded with Panspermia.

    Now Panspermia isn’t a scientific proposal as there is no evidence for it. However, it is an ID position, one ID advocates have explicitly embraced, and their only idea Dawkins could allow to be hypothetically possible.

    So when you dismiss “little green men” as the designer, you are not rejecting science, you are in fact attacking Intelligent Design. At least one of its positions.

  168. #168 Jon S
    April 27, 2008

    Tyler DiPietro says “Modern evolutionary theory does not concern itself, at least as of right now, with the origin of life.”

    So I’ve heard countless times. So let’s pretend the issue doesn’t exist and not bring it up. Is that science?

    Tyler DiPietro says “That’s funny, I don’t see “Christianity” anywhere in the Constitution!”

    That’s funny, I don’t recall saying that it was. What it says is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” So whenever the judicial system declares teaching ID or Creationism unconstitutional, it’s violating this law because it’s decreeing that only secular humanist beliefs are permitted.

    Adrienne says “I can’t tell if “Jon S”‘s post is a parody or real fundie spew. To keep me from banging my head on the keyboard in frustration and despair at such an ignorant, arrogant, and just plain WRONG rant, I’ll assume it’s a parody.”

    And I’ll assume your fundie spew is a parody. Or do you really deny the existence of God and that he may actually know more than you and ‘mainstream’ scientists?

    SLC rants “1. Mr. Jon S is a god damn lying piece of crap. The most important founders of the US were not believing Christians at all. These include folks such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, John Adams, and George Washington. In fact, Madison, who was responsible for writing most of the Constitution was a strong critic of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular.”

    You may rant and rave and deny the influence of Christianity in America, but you are wrong, and worse, maybe a liar, or at least, ignorant. You’ve obviously suffered from too much of a secular education. Your brainwashing must be thoroughly complete.

    SLC says “The physics that provided the theoretical background that was indispensable to firing a rocket to the moon is based on methodological naturalism. Where in the Christian or Hebrew bibles are Newtons’ laws of motion or Einsteins’ theory of relativity described? By the way, neither Newton or Einstein were Christians (Newton rejected the Trinity, Einstein was Jewish).

    You’re not listening. I’m saying it didn’t take a belief in evolution to get man to the moon. The man behind the Apollo moon mission was a creationist rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. And another creationist, Jules Poirier, designed some vital navigational equipment used in the space program

    SLC says “Would Mr. Jon S elucidate us as to what great theories of science are to be found in the Christian or Hebrew bibles (or the Koran or the Bagavatiga for that matter).”

    The Bible is a historical book, not a science textbook. Science textbooks keep changing every year, but history stays the same. If we know that God created everything in six days, then we can be sure that the universe is not 13 billion years old. And if God created man in his image, then we can be sure he didn’t evolve. If science ever contradicts a reliable eye witness, then it’s safer to accept the eye witness account. For example we know innocent people are sent to jail based on science experts that got something wrong. It happens.

  169. #169 Science Avenger
    April 27, 2008

    Jon S said: Perhaps it’s you whose been duped by the indoctrination and brainwashing of our substandard education system. Whether or not Dawkins believes it, he’s at least willing to consider it, and at the same time attack anyone who believes in God.

    You are still not getting it. Dawkins doesn’t believe in panspermia. He considered it long ago, and rejected it, and for the exact same reason he rejects the god variations: lack of evidence. He entertained the possibility only as an intellectual exercise to show the futility of hypothesizing a complex being to explain complexity.

    He doesn’t attack people for believing in gods. He attacks them for pretending their belief is equivalent to evidence, as do I. The Yahweh solution has exactly the same amount of evidence as the Flying Spaghetti Monster solution does: zero.

  170. #170 Science Avenger
    April 27, 2008

    Jon S said: So again, if we can document every instance where science was wrong concerning evolution and the origin of life, then it should be accepted that God is not out of the question.

    Here is the essence of Jon’s irrationality laid bare. If you’ve made mistakes, I get to make shit up! Tell me Jon, are the flying spaghetti monster, Thor, and the lord of my armpit also equally “not out of the question”? Or do you reserve a special, arbitrary place for your god(s)?

  171. #171 Che-Taylor
    April 27, 2008

    I hadn’t realized Jon S was so, um, special.

    Dawkins absolutely wants censorship, and he wants an end to religion, too. You’re deluded if you think otherwise.

    I think it’s quite clear that it is not I who is the deluded one.

    I don’t know what your religious views are, but if Dawkins had his own way he’d prevent you from believing whatever faith you believe.

    No he wouldn’t. You are simply practicing character assasination. And frankly your lying.

    Dawkins once said “I think of religion as a dangerous virus. It’s a virus which is transmitted partly through teachers and clergy, but also down the generations from parent to child to grandchild. Children are especially vulnerable to infection by the virus of religion.”

    Yeah and? Seems to me a pretty straight forward assessment of how religion is transferred. What do you have against honesty?

    Further, evolution is rightly criticized. The fact that scientists can’t get evolution right and that it has to constantly be refined is evidence that the previous evolutionary beliefs were wrong.

    Good grief. All of science is like this. All theories get refined as new information is added. Evolution is true. Period. All living things evolve. That the basic mechanisms are stillbeing learned doesn’t change that fact.

    Faith certainly can’t be verified scientifically. Faith and religion are personal, while science is not.

    Correct, correct, correct. Science is universal which means it works wherever you are andmeans the same to an Iranian as an American. Not so with religion.

    Faith and religion have to do with ‘salvation’, while science does not.

    That is nonsensical.

    But to say that the two cannot be allowed to mix is foolish. For example, if it’s true that God made the world 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, then any science claiming the earth is 4.5 billion years old will inherently be wrong.

    Oh they can mix but it’s always religion that loses due to lack of evidence and clearly absurd claims. See above. If evidence shows the world is 4.5 billion years old than the bible is simply incorrect in that regard. It was written by men you know.

    Of course just because I claim to have found the truth doesn’t mean that I have indeed found it. It only means I believe I’ve found it.

    yup, thats what I said.

    But if in fact truth were revealed to me and I believed it, then your claim that I’m only pretending is false.

    Sure afteryou verify the claim, who revealed it, when, and provide evidence for the same. Ofcourse above you denied this very possibility.

    I maintain that the only way we can really know truth is if God, if he exists, were to reveal the truth to us, which I believe he did. Therefore, if he has revealed the truth to us, then we are not pretending.

    That has got to be the worst example of circular logic I’ve read in some time. Again you believe it. Thats fine.No problem. But that just means you have a belief in your belief. Like politics. You have your version of the truth. Unfortunately you have some verifiably incorrect beliefs and hence are really furthering falsehoods.

  172. #172 JimCH
    April 27, 2008

    Most evolutionists don’t want to even entertain the thought that there was intelligent design because if there were, then they are forced to ask the question, “Does that Intelligent Design require anything of me or do I have any responsibility or relationship to that “Intelligent Design” and they simply can not face that possibility.

    Holy shit! Where do you people come up with this stuff? Do you sit around in a big circle in those folding metal chairs in the church basement & “brain”-storm over how to talk about god without mentioning god?

    The implication in the last part of your statement implies that non-theists are really only trying to get away with some behavior that they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with if the adult were home. I suggest that you check the prison statistics for god-belief (excuse me, that’s ID-belief in your secret code) vs unbelief (especially for violent crimes). I completely resent the implication. When was the last time you heard of a non-believer flying a plane into a building or blowing-up a women’s clinic?

  173. #173 Tyler DiPietro
    April 27, 2008

    “So I’ve heard countless times. So let’s pretend the issue doesn’t exist and not bring it up. Is that science?”

    Apparently exposition isn’t your strong point. The proper conclusion is to stop conflating evolution with the origin of life. To do so is monumentally sloppy, amateurish and only serves to further expose creationists like yourself as the ignorant fools you are.

    You can always have a serious discussion about various speculative hypotheses regarding the origin of life. Neither you or the Excoriated crew could give a damn about such things, all you want is a few cute-sounding talking-points and another gap to stuff your god into.

    “That’s funny, I don’t recall saying that it was. What it says is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” So whenever the judicial system declares teaching ID or Creationism unconstitutional, it’s violating this law because it’s decreeing that only secular humanist beliefs are permitted.”

    And even if this nonsense were true in every detail, it would not substantiate your ahistorical assertion that “this country was founded on Christianity”. But even then, your “argument” here is risible. The judicial system declares that religious beliefs can’t be taught as science. The exclusion of ID stands on the same grounds as would the exclusion of demonic possession as an “alternative” to the theory that neurotransmitters and synaptic connections cause mental illness, or the exclusion of “divine retribution” as an “alternative” to the theory that germs cause disease, or teaching phlogiston theory as an “alternative” to chemical periodicity, and on and on.

  174. #174 Tyler DiPietro
    April 27, 2008

    Not to preempt SLC’s inevitable castigation of Jon S’ latest stupidity, but I really must note how utterly astounded I am at the force of the following retort:

    “You may rant and rave and deny the influence of Christianity in America, but you are wrong, and worse, maybe a liar, or at least, ignorant. You’ve obviously suffered from too much of a secular education. Your brainwashing must be thoroughly complete.”

    LOL!

  175. #175 Lightnin
    April 28, 2008

    Jon S:

    ” SLC says “The physics that provided the theoretical background that was indispensable to firing a rocket to the moon is based on methodological naturalism. Where in the Christian or Hebrew bibles are Newtons’ laws of motion or Einsteins’ theory of relativity described? By the way, neither Newton or Einstein were Christians (Newton rejected the Trinity, Einstein was Jewish).

    You’re not listening. I’m saying it didn’t take a belief in evolution to get man to the moon.

    Wow, do you even read your own posts?

    Jon S (earlier in the discussion):

    “We made great advances in science and medicine and landed on the moon all without the principles of naturalism or evolution.”

    You, like most creationists seem obsessed with what evolution can’t explain or be used for. Evolution didn’t a man on the moon (well it did actually, albeit indirectly). Evolution doesn’t explain abiogenesis. Evolution doesn’t explain gravity. Evolution doesn’t explain the big bang.

    REALLY? NO SHIT!

    However your claim that naturalism (and by that I assume you mean the study and understanding of natural phenomena) has had nothing to do with science, medicine, or space exploration is breathtakingly ignorant. I’m too tired to bother discussing scientific philosophy and the scientific revolution of the renaissance, but I will take you up on evolution.

    Although evolution doesn’t really help out with space exploration ( SHOCK! HORROR! ) to say that it has no impact on medicine and science underlines your contemptible ignorance which permeates all of your posts here.

    Ask someone dying of AIDS if evolution by antigenic drift has any impact on medicine.

    Ask scientists who use their understanding of evolution to target areas of pathogens which don’t evolve, whether evolution is important to science and medicine.

    Ask researchers who use homology between model organisms and humans whether evolution is important to science and medicine.

    I really don’t like calling people ignorant and stupid, because it is unhelpful when trying help educate people about genuine misconceptions they have about science. But it is when people are so incredibly arrogant and proud of being so pathetically stupid that I lose my patience.

  176. #176 Adrienne
    April 28, 2008

    Mr. Whitaker blathered:

    Simply put. To believe that somehow, nothing became something and that something somehow survived millions or billions of years (however long you think you need) to someway form a cell and then survive, multiply and eventually evolve into every variation of life we see today, well you tell me who is being ridiculous and checking their brain at the door?

    Yet this is exactly what you believe, no? That something (*cough* GOD *cough*) came from nothing? Or as you put it, “nothing became something”? And then created everything ex-nihilo? Where did God come from, huh? “God always was” or “God was uncreated” are cop-out answers, btw.

  177. #177 SLC
    April 28, 2008

    Re Jon S

    “The Bible is a historical book, not a science textbook. Science textbooks keep changing every year, but history stays the same.”

    The stupidity of this statement is beyond belief.

    1. Has Mr. Jon S never heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    2. History does change when new information becomes available. Letters and other writings from historical figures appear all the time and often change our perception of history. As an example, the perception of the events which led to the firing of General McClellan by President Lincoln changed dramatically when the former wrote his memoirs and supplied copies of his correspondence with the latter.

    3. Werner von Braun wouldn’t have gotten a rocket 10 feet off the ground without the advances in physics begun by Isaac Newton, which were founded on methodological naturalism. The Apollo astronauts would have missed the moon without the advances in physics by Einstein which increased the accuracy of the trajectory calculations required. This was also founded on methodological naturalism.

    4. I’ll put my education achieved at UC Berkeley and the Un. of Rochester up against the bible colleges where Mr. Jon S went any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I have taken courses from 4 Nobel Prize winners in physics, Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segre, Steven Weinberg, and Julian Schwinger. But, of course, Mr. Jon S will claim they were brainwashed also.

    Re Lightnin

    1. Unfortunately, Mr. Jon S is ignorant and stupid. We only see the tip of the iceberg on this thread. Perusal of previous threads on this blog will bring out the full complement of Mr. Jon S’ crackpot ideas. Earlier, I briefly mentioned the French priest, Georges Lemaitre, who first predicted the big bang from a solution to Einsteins’ gravitational field equations. On a previous thread, Mr. Jon S had the audacity to proclaim that Fr. Lemaitre was all wrong, both scientifically and theologically. I really must say that never have I heard anyone speak so knowledgeably from such a vast fund of ignorance. Of course, just as Mr. Jon S denies the theory of evolution, he also denies the big bang.

    2. The most interesting thing about Mr. Jon S is that, while he lustily denounces Richard Dawkins, in point of fact, he and Prof. Dawkins are in 100% agreement that the Hebrew and Christian bibles are to be take literally. Of course, their conclusions from their readings then diverge at a 180 degree angle. Mr. Jon S concludes that science is wrong when it diverges from his interpretation of scriptures while Prof. Dawkins concludes that the scriptures are wrong when they make scientific predictions which disagree with the laws of physics (e.g. Joshua making the sun stand still).

  178. #178 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor,

    Good to hear back from you. I love this line, “Religions also make real world claims that are definetly in the realm of science…” The first three words of Genesis are one such example.

    I’m worried about something else though. I notice you address points of mine and then skip unnannounced to Jon S in your same post. I noticed that you skip from addressing one of my points to some of Jon S’s and I’m hoping you didn’t mistake Jon S’s statements for mine! I don’t want to be associated with JonS!

    I still take slight grievance with you though. In response to my statement, “science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God” you wrote that you disagree, stating “If God exists he is in the world in some manner. He can’t be in and out at the same time. The universe is everything in a manner of speaking. Even outside the boundaries of the universe is still the material world.” This contains the either-or fallacy. I think the only cogent statement is “If God exists he *might* be in the world in some manner.” It is also possible that God could exist outside the bounds of our universe, or that God’s existence might not be empirically detectable.

    I’m afraid if you ask any honest scientist whether the domain of science is behavior or governance, their reply will be the former, but I’m open to change.

    Best,

    CL

  179. #179 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ Adrienne,

    Hi, nice to meet you. Without defending JonS, can I politely state I feel part of your argument against him is flawed on account of the either-or fallacy? You ask where God came from and continue, claiming that “God always was” or “God was uncreated” are cop-out answers. I need more explanation before I can agree. I don’t think those are cop-out answers. While I understand fully that everything which begins to exist seemingly needs a cause, I also feel the fact itself doesn’t disqualify the possibility that some uncaused condition might have always existed. The idea boggles my mind, but just because an idea boggles my mind is no excuse for me to not include it’s potentially to be correct in my worldview.

    Towards clarity..

  180. #180 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ SLC,

    Although I won’t call the guy any names or defend any of his errors, I completely agree with almost all of your points against Jon S, but I did find two isolated aspects of your argument against him to be misleading and/or problematic, and as such I ask politely for clarity.

    First, I thought your references to Newton and Einstein were potentially misleading and I’ve always felt people shouldn’t align like-minded scientists with their worldviews (which of course is not to say that you have). Newton may have rejected the Trinity, Einstein may have been Jewish, but Newton was theist, Einstein was deist and both deduced the universe as an expression of a Grand or grand intelligence respectively. Neither thought random and/or unguided molecular accruement could account for our ability to ponder the cosmos. So while neither was Christian, do you feel either could be fairly labeled as anti-teleological?

    Second, I took issue with this: “Where in the Christian or Hebrew bibles are Newtons’ laws of motion or Einsteins’ theory of relativity described?”

    I think the fact we don’t find field equations in the various world scriptures insinuates religion might be unqualified to speak on science, just as the fact we can’t prove God from science insinuates science might be unqualified to speak on religion. However, science is both qualified and obligated to respond to religion that masquerades as science, just as religion is both qualified and obligated to respond to science that masquerades as religion.

    So where are Newton’s laws of motion or Einstein’s theory of relativity in the Bible? Off hand I can’t recall any field equations anywhere in either testament, but valid scientific laws and theories are referenced in the Bible on more than one occasion. We need look no further than the first three words of Genesis 1:1, for example, which read “In the beginning…” lest anyone is unfamiliar. While the words “In the beginning…” are definitely not acceptable scientific theory, they both describe and predict perfectly the observational results demanded by a perfectly acceptable scientific theory known as Hubble’s Law.

    Then, is your point of contention that Newton and Einstein’s ideas may be absent from the Bible while Hubble’s ideas for some reason seem included? Or is your point of contention that there is no scientific integrity anywhere in the Bible? Or something else? Because the second position is demonstrably false.

    I don’t mean any of this to seem snarky, either. I’m genuinely interested in comprehending your methodology.

    Either way, I loved your response to Jon S that, “The physics that provided the theoretical background that was indispensable to firing a rocket to the moon is based on methodological naturalism.” I agree. Fully. Too many fail to understand the difference between atheism and naturalism as applied in science (with a lower-case N). I think the points you make would be a great primer for any religionist wishing to study science, and if I can deflect enough of my own criticisms I’d love to address a few of Jon S’s statements myself.

  181. #181 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ tomh:

    you address the straw man thing twice. In response to my statement made on my own behalf that “science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God,” you responded: “You keep repeating this strawman argument. Where does science ever say anything about God? I’ve never seen it.” Your response contains the assumption that I somewhere accused a scientist or tenant of science of saying such, when until this point I hadn’t. But, since we’re on the subject, have you seen the subtitle of professor emeritus Victor Stenger’s lastest? It’s antecedent subtitle would be “Science proves God!”

    so did you misunderstand my context? we’re you unaware of victor’s book? do you challenge his credentials as a scientist? if none of those am I misunderstanding a straw man argument? if not are you sure you have a correct understanding of the term? I’m just wondering because the words of mine you apply it to were clearly speech of my own I repeated on behalf of my own position, not my opponent’s. I said four times: “Science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God.” I was not implying that my opponent was saying or had said such; I do imply that anyone leaves the realm of behavior and enters the realm of governance when he or she makes any form of proclamation about the ultimate cause or potential purpose of the universe.

    Other than this most recent mention of Stenger I’ve never claimed that science has a pretense it can speak on God, which no honest scientist should claim, and thus I’ve never set up a straw man to knock down. I suspect some people on this thread somehow think science can speak on God either this way or that, and not all of them are JonS. At any rate, anyone who says that “orderliness proves God” or that “since we continue to find predictable explanations for observable phenomena in the universe the cause of the universe must be natural” has left the domain of behavior.

    In a subsequent post you write, “You keep erecting these strawmen. Can’t you get that there are no scientific origin-of-life theories that claim any certainty at all and no one claims that there are? Only religionists claim that.” Yes, I long ago “got” that there are no scientific origin-of-life theories. That’s why I caution that any scientific origin-of-life theories must recognize the disadvantage in saying anything with any real certainty, which is exactly what I wrote. Admittedly, the writing could be improved to, “*Any proposed* scientific origin-of-life theories…” so I suppose you aided me there.

    Last post you misquoted me twice, this time you take me out of context. When I used both the “behavior/governance” bit and the term “persuasive scriptural evidence,” both were with reference to things I myself am arguing, not in reference to things I’m claiming my opponents are arguing. I admit the wording might be better improved to “persuasive scriptural *accounts*” because a just-so story can hardly be considered evidence in the strict scientific sense of the world. In the latter I was referring to the fact that many ancient texts describe periods of immense physical transition in Earth’s history, and evidence of immense physical transition in Earth’s history is confirmed in every field of science. Do you deny this assertion? If not then your ridicule doesn’t apply.

    But thanks for keeping me on my toes!

  182. #182 Jon S
    April 28, 2008

    Science Avenger says “You are still not getting it. Dawkins doesn’t believe in panspermia. He considered it long ago, and rejected it, and for the exact same reason he rejects the god variations: lack of evidence. He entertained the possibility only as an intellectual exercise to show the futility of hypothesizing a complex being to explain complexity.”

    You still don’t get it. The fact that he’s willing to mention aliens in a pro-ID interview tells us he either has a few screws loose or isn’t a very competent scientist. Regardless, he’s willing to consider aliens (whether or not he rejected them long ago) before he’d consider that there is a God. I contend that those who believe that God created the universe are much more sane.

    Science Avenger says “He [Dawkins] doesn’t attack people for believing in gods. He attacks them for pretending their belief is equivalent to evidence, as do I. The Yahweh solution has exactly the same amount of evidence as the Flying Spaghetti Monster solution does: zero.

    I’m sure you believe Dawkins isn’t hostile toward religion, believing in God, or gods, but you’re flat out wrong as I pointed out in a previous quote of his. Basically what you’re saying is that it’s okay to have faith or religion as long as you don’t believe it’s real or has any basis in reality… for the moment you believe it’s true then you’re a threat to atheists and the way of life that they’d like to impose on the rest of the world. Am I close? Atheists don’t seem to mind offending us “religious fundies”, but if we question their secular science, they become outraged at our arrogance. Can’t you see the hypocrisy? I guess I’m just trying to reach out and make peace with you atheists, but you really don’t want any of it, which is what turns this evolution business into a war. What a shame.

    Science Avenger says “Here is the essence of Jon’s irrationality laid bare. If you’ve made mistakes, I get to make shit up! Tell me Jon, are the flying spaghetti monster, Thor, and the lord of my armpit also equally “not out of the question”? Or do you reserve a special, arbitrary place for your god(s)?”

    Can you tell me what it is that I made up? I pointed out that science gets things wrong all the time, hence there are revisions. That’s a verifiable fact that I hope you wouldn’t deny. That tells me that scientists are the ones making stuff up, at least when it comes to the unverifiable past. Therefore, if seculars scientists can’t figure out the past and are constantly getting it wrong, it’s reasonable that they are wrong about God too. Secular science believes only naturalistic explanations are acceptable, while supernatural explanations are forbidden. To answer the next part of your question, the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.” If this command was spoken by God, which I believe it was, then other god’s should not be worshiped. Of course you deny the existence of God, but rationally speaking, if he exists as described in the Bible, then why should we give credit to the flying spaghetti monster? (on a side note, why is it that atheists have such an infatuation with the flying spaghetti monster?)

    Che-Taylor- First you deny being deluded, then you deny that Dawkins would prevent you from your faith if he could. Hmm. I posted a quote from him stating how religion is a dangerous virus transmitted by teachers, clergy and parents. Then you defend him by stating that it’s a pretty straight forward assessment, and champion his honesty, and you claim I’m assassinating his character and lying? It’s amazing that every time I write something I’m accused of lying, while you seem to be above lies. Are you sure it’s not you who’s lying? If his assessment is true, as you contend, then why wouldn’t he do anything to stop a dangerous virus? Come now, do you really believe he wouldn’t stop religion if he had the power to do so? From what I’ve read of him (and many other atheists), he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity. I think that’s a fair assessment of Dawkins and the new atheists. Am I wrong, am I lying, or am I right?

    Che-Taylor says “Evolution is true. Period. All living things evolve. That the basic mechanisms are stillbeing learned doesn’t change that fact.” & “All of science is like this. All theories get refined as new information is added.”

    Good grief, here we go again. Why is it that you people think evolution is true? What undisputable evidence can you present? I’ve been following this site for several years now and I’ve yet to see the overwhelming proof that is claimed for evolution. Is it because bacteria changes? Is it because beaks can change size? Is it because moth’s can change color over generations? If that’s what you call evolution, then fine. But when you claim this is proof that dinosaurs turned into birds then you’re off your walker. No one has ever observed such an event, nor have we observed a deer-like mammal turning into a whale. Dogs only give birth to dogs, and cats only give birth to cats. We NEVER observe anything else. Therefore, based on observational data, evolution is a lie. Period. Or do you care to produce some indisputable evidence which I’ve repeatedly begged for in the past to no avail.

    You claim that my statement that ‘Faith and religion have to do with ‘salvation’, while science does not’ is nonsensical. Do you care to elaborate on that?

    But to say that the two cannot be allowed to mix is foolish. For example, if it’s true that God made the world 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, then any science claiming the earth is 4.5 billion years old will inherently be wrong.

    Che-Taylor says “Oh they can [science and religion] mix but it’s always religion that loses due to lack of evidence and clearly absurd claims.”

    Not so. Guess what happens if you mix the two? You get expelled.

    Che-Taylor says “If evidence shows the world is 4.5 billion years old than the bible is simply incorrect in that regard. It was written by men you know.”

    But if the evidence is misinterpreted due to the insistence of purely naturalistic causes and rejection of a supernatural creation then the secular science is wrong. It was written by men you know.

  183. #183 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ JimCH:

    Like tomh, you also took issue with me on the straw man thing, in two ways. First it was regarding my statement “Science addresses behavior not governance,” to which you responded “I don’t know of any scientist or tenant of science, which is taken seriously, that would state the counter.” I don’t either, and your response contains the assumption that I somewhere accused a scientist or tenant of science of stating the counter, when until this point I hadn’t. But, since we’re on the subject, have you seen the subtitle of professor emeritus Victor Stenger’s lastest? It’s antecedent subtitle would be “Science proves God!” so did you misunderstand my context? we’re you unaware of victor’s book? do you challenge his credentials as a scientist? if not am I misunderstanding a straw man argument? if not are you sure you have a correct understanding of the term?

    I’m just wondering because the words of mine you apply it to were clearly speech of my own I repeated on behalf of my own position, not my opponent’s. I said four times: “Science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God.” I was not implying that my opponent was saying or had said such; in other words I’ve never claimed that science has a pretense it can speak on God, which no honest scientist should claim, and thus I’ve never set up a straw man to knock down. I state the words four times because I think anyone who says that “orderliness proves God” or that “since we continue to find predictable explanations for observable phenomena in the universe” that we’re somehow qualified to comment on any potential purpose or lack thereof in the universe. So, again, to leave with a question, Did you misunderstand the context? or the meaning of a strawman argument?

    On your second point, I’m actually really curious to hear better explanation of this: “If you want to believe that god(s) wound the whole thing up & let it go, then knock yourself out; this is a straw-man. However, if you want to suggest that god(s) interceded somehow after the initial creation then you do have some explaining to do.” I’m unaware with a methodology in which belief in a Creator is synonymous with straw-man argumentation. But I’m willing to hear your explanation because I want to be sure I correctly understand strawman argumentation.

    Also – when you noted (sic) after my use of “IC” let it be known I was referring to everybody’s favorite concept of irreducible complexity. It was laziness, not misinformation or misspelling of “ID” as I suspect you may have been presupposing.

  184. #184 cl
    April 28, 2008

    Thinking freely…

    We all know Earthlife as presently experienced is no Garden of Eden. Surely crime, injustice and bigotry dampen our ability to co-exist, which threaten our ability to evolve. For example, how can we as a people successfully handle nuclear energy if there are still folks around who wish to use it maliciously? Surely no existing legislation or discovery of science can remove human tendencies towards malicious behavior, and the prospect of one that could do so without a compromise in free will seems non-existent.

    In a way that admittedly defies conventional logic, I view the longstanding lack of any observable data that proves or disproves God to be suggestive of God’s potentiality to exist. As can be seen in the current world situation, intelligence and free-will are very serious responsibilities who’s presence amongst members of a society is inversely proportional to that society’s ability to flourish. If I were God, and I wanted to cultivate a certain kind of society, for example a society comprised of individuals who cooperate with and respect one another, a society that could peacefully flourish, I would consider a blind experiment an effective strategy. Any parent knows the best way to expose a child’s heart is by observing how the child acts when the child is 100% convinced nobody is watching. So if I were God, although it would pain me, I would simply wind up life and walk away, letting it all go to chance and taking notes of who acted how. That way when the clinic-bombers, warmongers and soul stealers show up asking for residence in my utopia I’d be fully justified in their denial.

    Science can answer the how but cannot address the why, and that itself, in my blood-stained opinion provides ample ground for the potential existence of God. In my opinion, yes indeed life is a blind experiment, not by random chance or any lack of a Designer or per reference to Dawkins’ watchmaker, but a blind experiment in the sense that God’s human provability factor is currently set to absolute zero. Since science cannot prove or disprove God’s existence, we have no direct evidence or irrefutable confirmation that we’re being watched by Freud’s Angry Parent in the Sky, thus for all intents and purposes we really are free. If science could prove God one way or the other free-will would lose all meaning. And if God were to manifest undeniably, we would be aware of God’s existence which would negate our fre will and influence our behavior, and then the experiment would not be blind. Any scientist worth funding knows the results of an experiment can never possibly be fair if the experiment isn’t truly blind, right?

    As modern thinkers we all have access to and can analyze the same evidence, and we each are entitled to our own conclusions. So what? One person looks at the evidence and believes in “I don’t know.” Another accepts “I don’t know” and also believes it’s possible we’re being tested for worthiness for possible inclusion in some place or time with far greater knowledge and power, somewhere far from the inner conflicts externally imposed by the current deprecated state of humanity.

    So to tomh, JonS, Che-Taylor, JimCH, ScienceAvenger and all other humans, remember that atheism and theism are both deductions about the observable range of phenomena, and that it’s unethical for either to bastardize the study of observable phenomena to gain converts.

  185. #185 SLC
    April 28, 2008

    Re cl

    1. I agree with Mr. cl that Newton was a theist. I got into an argument on another blog when I referred to him as a Unitarian when a commenter said he was in fact, an Arian. Since the commenter appeared to be much better informed about the subject matter then myself, I would defer to him. As for Einstein, I’m not sure that Deist is an accurate description. Richard Dawkins has said that he believes in Einsteins’ god while Einstein said that he believed in Spinozas’ god. I don’t know much about Baruch Spinoza, other then he was excommunicated from the synagogue in Amsterdam for heresy. The point I was trying to make with Mr. Jon S was that neither of them were Christians, at least as that designation is generally understood.

    2. I appreciate that Mr. cl notes that methodological naturalism does not necessarily imply philosophical naturalism. I have tried to make this point on this and other blogs but too many folks just don’t get it, even if one points to individuals like Ken Miller and John Polkinghorne who are methodological naturalist and philosophical theists. A very good description of this point has been made by Prof. Barbara Forrest in her Dover testimony and in the book she co-wrote with Paul Gross on ID.

    3. Mr. cl brings up a good point about the first sentence in the 1st Book of Genesis. After Fr. Lemaitre published his paper showing that Einsteins’ gravitational field equations predicted the big bang, Pope Pius XI pointed out that such a proposition implied a beginning for the universe which roughly agrees with implication from the aforementioned first sentence. Of course, as I have noted, that cuts no ice with Mr. Jon S who, on a previous thread, stated that Fr. Lemaitre and the pope were theologically incorrect. He’s got quite a crust does this blogs favorite YEC.

    4. Just to give Mr. cl a further insight into Mr. Jon S’ thinking, or lack thereof, on an earlier thread he claimed that lions (and presumably tyrannosaurus rex) were once vegetarians, that Homo Erectus was fully human, and that the Australopithecines were apes.

    5. I think that Mr. cl can tell from Mr. Jon S’ last comment that he just repeats the same old creationist crap that he reads on AIG and other creationist web sites.

    Re Jon S

    1. Mr. Jon S seems fixated with Richard Dawkins, who apparently, in his mind, is a candidate for the worst man who ever lived, surpassing Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Come on Mr. Jon S. Prof. Dawkins is just a professor at Oxford Un., holds no political position, nor does he show any inclination to do so.

    2. Mr. Jon S disputes the hypothesis that dinosaurs (lets be careful here; we are specifically referring to the theropod dinosaurs, not the sauropods) evolved into birds. OK, then Prof Jack Horner is another scientist who, in the uneducated opinion of Mr. Jon S, is all wrong when he opines that a tyrannosaurus rex might some day be re-engineered from chicken DNA using manipulation techniques on the HOX genes. So who should we listen to, Mr. Jon S whose ignorance of genetics is profound or Prof. Jack Horner, a well known paleontologist? Lets put that another way, would we listen to Mr. Jon S’ opinions about the treatment of breast cancer or those of surgical oncologist Dr. Orac?

  186. #186 Science Avenger
    April 28, 2008

    “Jon S said: The fact that [Dawkins is] willing to mention aliens in a pro-ID interview tells us he either has a few screws loose or isn’t a very competent scientist.”

    That shows how little you know about scientists. They often entertain otherwise absurd notions for the sake of fleshing out the implications. And based on your statements here you believe in talking burning bushes, virgin births, and 3-days dead people coming back to life, so you’ve got no business accusing anyone else, much less an accomplished scientist, of having screws loose.

    “I’m sure you believe Dawkins isn’t hostile toward religion, believing in God, or gods, but you’re flat out wrong as I pointed out in a previous quote of his.”

    You are equating being hostile towards religion (which he is) to attacking religious people (which he doesn’t do). And you didn’t get anything I think right either. Don’t put words in my mouth, I’ve got plenty of my own.

    “Basically what you’re saying is that it’s okay to have faith or religion as long as you don’t believe it’s real or has any basis in reality…”

    Um, no, I’m saying it’s OK to have faith/religion as long as you don’t expect others to treat your faith/religion as if it has any basis in reality.

    “for the moment you believe it’s true then you’re a threat to atheists and the way of life that they’d like to impose on the rest of the world.”

    It is very psychologically revealing that you guys consistently equate preventing you from imposing your religion on others, with others imposing their religion on you. That’s why you are so against the seperation of church and state. To you, the only reality is which religion will rule. It’s similar to the mindset that thinks “Atheist” means “someone who is mad at the gods”. So no, you aren’t even close.

    Atheists don’t seem to mind offending us “religious fundies”, but if we question their secular science, they become outraged at our arrogance. Can’t you see the hypocrisy?

    It’s not hypocrisy when its apples and oranges. Our outrage at your arrogance in declaring mainstream science in error, after your mere hours of study, and zero lab time, has nothing to do with offense. That’s another myth in this debate. We are not offended by you. We are insulted by you. We are embarrased by you. We are ashamed of you. That you could exist in your state of scientific ignorance in 2008 in a country this advanced is a national disgrace.

    I pointed out that science gets things wrong all the time, hence there are revisions.

    Right, better to be like the religions, who to hang onto all errors as long as they can before dancing a “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia” waltz down memory-hole lane every century or so when the evidence against them becomes so great even they can’t maintain the deception any more.

  187. #187 Science Avenger
    April 28, 2008

    Cl said: So to tomh, JonS, Che-Taylor, JimCH, ScienceAvenger and all other humans, remember that atheism and theism are both deductions about the observable range of phenomena, and that it’s unethical for either to bastardize the study of observable phenomena to gain converts.

    You forgot to click your ruby slippers together.

  188. #188 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ SLC,

    Maybe JonS is trolling? Who knows. Either way, the dialog surely doesn’t cease to be entertaining. I get accused of trolling alot; in fact ScienceAvenger welcomed me as such in this here thread right off the bat, which I don’t understand ‘cuz I’m dead serious about anything I post.

    Now without embracing YEC, because my personal answer to the question of the Earth and the universe’s age is simply “I don’t know,” I will say that IF we limit the discussion simply to the Big Bang and radiometric dating, putting aside for a moment tectonic or stratagraphic evidences from geology, there is no direct evidence that can confirm 4.5 billion years as the “age” of the Earth or roughly 15 billion years as the “age” of the universe. None from cosmology, none from biology, none from paleontology, etc. Furthermore, all alleged evidence that does exist suffers fatal presupposition upon further examination, which I can try my best to explain in a little more detail should anybody be interested.

    I don’t have a problem with the idea of a recent creation nearly as much as I have a problem with the way YEC is typically handed down and discussed in the public forum, which is in a very pseudoscientific manner. Talk about strawman! A position is falsely established that all YEC’ers must reject the proposed scientific ages of Earth and the universe in order to harmonize their much smaller window of anywhere from 6,000 to 40,000 alleged calender years of time.

    I know that sounds like intellectual ignorance and flat denial of scientific fact, but it’s not. Again, I’m not a YEC advocate or an OEC advocate. As I said, I don’t know how many calendar years the observable phenomena have been observable and both scripture and science stand severely crippled in their ability to provide any irrefutable answer. I’m especially interested in hearing from a reputable cosmologist, because I think I have an error in my understanding of galaxy formation that might be clouding my conclusions.

    If anyone wants to debate this, please do so with full understanding of every word in the directly-above paragraph.

  189. #189 JimCH
    April 28, 2008

    First, I must acknowledge that you are right in supposing that I thought you made a type-o with “IC”, however it really doesn’t change anything.

    Now without embracing YEC, . . . Furthermore, all alleged evidence that does exist suffers fatal presupposition upon further examination, which I can try my best to explain in a little more detail should anybody be interested.

    OK, I’ll bite. What possible magic woo could you have up your sleeve?

  190. #190 SLC
    April 28, 2008

    Re cl

    Actually, we can estimate how old the sun is and the universe is.

    1. We know approximately how old the sun is from the ratio of helium to hydrogen. Assuming that the suns’ consumption rate of hydrogen is more or less constant, an assumption which our observations of other stars in the galaxy indicate is almost certainly correct, the current ration indicates an age of approximately 5 billion years. Therefore, unless one is prepared to argue that planetary formation somehow took place recently, this would indicate an age for the earth of not too much less then that. Based on our theory of planetary formation which is now well supported by the observation of extra-solar planetary systems, this latter argument appears to be quite likely.

    2. We can estimate the age of the universe, which must be at least equal to the age of the sun, by using Einsteins principal that the speed of light is finite and independent of coordinate systems. We can estimate the distance to more and more remote stars if we know both the apparent magnitude and the absolute magnitude. We do this using a technique known as calibration and validation. We can measure the distance to nearby stars using triangulation, similar to the technique used by surveyors. Thus we pick out a sample of nearby stars whose distance is measured, and knowing the apparent magnitude, we can determine the absolute magnitude. It turns out that, provided we restrict ourselves to stars on the main sequence, there is a highly correlated regression between the observed spectrum and color of light emitted by a star and the absolute magnitude. We then choose a different sample of nearby stars and validate our model by comparing the estimate of distance from the apparent/absolute magnitude model with that measured by triangulation. This model has been shown to be highly predictive. We are then in a position to apply the model to more remote stars

    In particular, applying it to the brightest stars in the Andromeda Galaxy indicates a distance of 5 million light years, indicating that the universe must be at least 5 million years old.

    As we go farther and farther out, we eventually can no longer distinguish individual stars with the exception of supernovae. Again, we can use spectral techniques to estimate the absolute magnitude of supernovae (which by the way can exceed the brightness of entire galaxies) and again use that to estimate distances. The use of supernovae has not only given distances in the billions of light years to distant galaxies but has also, indicated an accelerating expansion rate for the universe, a development which came as a major surprise to astronomers and has resulted in the dark energy hypothesis (which by the way Mr. Jon S also rejects). Of course, the billions of years estimate also means that the age of the universe must be at least as great.

  191. #191 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ JimCH,

    well, take one common argument from cosmology for example. We seem to know in fact that the particulate matter of the universe all the way out to the most distant and magnificent quasars appears to be spread across a space-time continuum of approximately 15 billion light years. We also seem to know from the science of spectroscopy and the study of redshifts that these physical objects really are the distances the mathematics call for. The resultant argument, and the argument I object to, is that since we on Earth can receive light from the most distant quasars, the universe must have existed for about 15 billion light years because it would take that much time for the light to get here.

    Of course, that’s a bit murderous so let’s put this crap in some sort of empirical framework. Within a spherical universe, and assuming galaxies are only spaced out by say 10 galaxy diameters (when science suggests actual spacing to be much looser), and assuming there are only one million galaxies (a figure we know for a fact is far too small), our universe ought to be approximately 62 million light years across. Why?

    As said, our computation treats the universe as a sphere and arranges within that sphere one million galaxies, evenly distributed in the center of dark matter cubes each approximately one million light years across. The volume for a sphere I believe is 4pi(r)cubed (sorry I don’t know the legit keyboard shortcuts but I mean “4 x pi x radius cubed) divided by 3, and the volume of 1 million such cubes is 10 to the 24th power cubic light years. Thus r, or radius, equals 62 million light years.

    Although I haven’t answered your question yet, would you say we are talking woo or science so far?

  192. #192 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ SLC

    we should co-opt our discussion into mine and JimCH’s. I just read your posts after I responded to his, and will surely consider your well-made points…

  193. #193 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ SLC

    You seem to have a background in cosmology. Does my most recent response to JimCH jive with you?

    As for your points 1 & 2 above, regarding point 1 I feel every single word you wrote to be scientifically valid and you simply echoed my sentiments that “all alleged evidence that does exist suffers fatal presupposition upon further examination” as you yourself conceded in your point.

    Every single word you type in point 2 and below also seems to me to be perfectly sound science. The only point of contention I have is your conclusion that “the brightest stars in the Andromeda Galaxy indicate a distance of 5 million light years, indicating that the universe must be at least 5 million years old.” It’s not the 5 million part I dispute.

  194. #194 cl
    April 28, 2008

    Rereading the above I felt I should clarify. When I said, “It’s not the 5 million part I dispute” I simply mean that I do not dispute that the brightest stars in the Andromeda Galaxy are actually 5 million light years away. I do not accept the premature conclusion that because the brightest Andromedan stars are 5 million light years away in actuality, and we can see their light, that 5 million calendar years have passed.

  195. #195 SLC
    April 28, 2008

    Re cl

    1. Actually, my degree was in physics so I don’t have a substantial background in cosmology. The explanations I have offered would probably be better coming from somebody like Phil Plait or Sean Carroll, both of whom have degrees in astrophysicists I would refer Mr. cl to their blogs for more information. He might also check out the talk origins website which has an extensive discussion on the age of the earth.

    2. I believe that possibly there is some confusion about what the term light year actually means. The term light year refers to a unit of distance, not time. Thus 1 light year = ~6*10^12 miles. Thus, 5 million light years = ~30*10^18 miles, which was the distance in miles between the two galaxies 5 million years ago (of course the actual distance between the galaxies as we sit here today will be different as they are approaching each other and are on a collision course).

    The point here is that it takes light 5 million years to travel from the Andromeda Galaxy to the earth. Thus we are seeing what the Andromeda Galaxy looked like 5 million years ago, which means that, assuming it is still around, it is at least 5 million years old. I guess one could argue that maybe it isn’t around any more, or maybe the Milky Way galaxy wasn’t around 5 million years ago but this seems like clutching at straws.

  196. #196 cl
    April 28, 2008

    @ JimCH,

    well well well….so while re-reading some of these posts awaiting response from you about my cosmological musings, I noticed in your writing what most certainly appears to be some form of logical fallacy, much more bonafide than the strawman argument you accused me with. It’s the kind of logical fallacy that occurs where one doesn’t apply equal standards to one’s own belief system or adherents thereof. I think this fallacy is formally known as bias.

    Although your point eloquently demolished JonS’s assertion that “non-theists are really only trying to get away with some behavior that they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with if the adult were home,” the rest of it is problematic for me. Now I’m not defending or agreeing with JonS, but in response to JonS, you wrote, “I suggest that you check the prison statistics for god-belief vs unbelief (especially for violent crimes)” continuing “…When was the last time you heard of a non-believer flying a plane into a building or blowing-up a women’s clinic?”

    You seem to be claiming that criminals, terrorists, murderers, extremists and incarcerated pyschos have statistically higher scores on the theism meter, and that an abnormally high percentage of them believe in God, both points I’m not going to dispute.

    However, my accusation of bias stems from the fact that you appear to focus unfairly on theistically motivated atrocities while ignoring atheistically motivated ones. Earlier you justifiably criticized McDougall’s work on account of an insufficient sample size. McDougall tested six humans and seventeen dogs I believe. To contrast, we have only one airplane-as-missile suicide bombing which we can reasonably classify as theistically motivated, but for reasons undisclosed you seem to reach the premature conclusion that only theists ram airplanes into buildings.

    Moving on, Ted Kaczynski might be the most recent example of an atheist that repeatedly blew up buildings maiming and killing people. Pre-empting a counter that Ted wasn’t irrefutably motivated by his atheism, note that the perpetrator of the Jokela High School shootings was undeniably motivated by his atheism and more specifically by his belief in natural selection, writing before the deadly spree, “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.”

    In making your comments, you are essentially making the same appeal as theists who blame Darwin for the holocaust, and it seems to me that an honest examination of life teaches that any race, group or creed can psychotically distort their worldview to justify malicious action, and that no race, group, creed is exempt.

    Anyone who argues otherwise is almost surely engaging in discrimination. Would you agree or disagree?

  197. #197 Jeff Lee
    April 28, 2008

    Ben Stein is right on! You have a phd in math – go ahead give me the probability of something coming from nothing. What are the random odds of this planet not just supporting life but designed with such a perfect order? Has evolution been proven as a law? NO! It’s bad science and you don’t need a religious argument to prove that. I guess maybe when I walk around my farm tomorrow I will find a new Mac computer that just randomly assembled itself. Evolution is your religion.

  198. #198 Jon S
    April 28, 2008

    SLC says “Has Mr. Jon S never heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls?”

    Yes, and they support the accuracy of scripture.

    “History does change when new information becomes available.”

    History never really changes. What happened in the past actually happened in the past. It would be more accurate to say that it’s our account of history that actually changes. Therefore the more reliable a source we have the more reliable account we have. If the Bible really is God’s word then we have a very reliable source and account of history.

    “The Apollo astronauts would have missed the moon without the advances in physics by Einstein which increased the accuracy of the trajectory calculations required. This was also founded on methodological naturalism.”

    I’ll add to what CL said about Newton. Newton did believe in God. He’s quoted as saying “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired.” It really shouldn’t be surprising that scientists who believe in God can actually do good science. You act as if you fall for the old canard that belief in evolution and billions of years is required.

    “I’ll put my education achieved at UC Berkeley and the Un. of Rochester up against the bible colleges where Mr. Jon S went any day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

    You don’t get it. I believe in God and His word. Your education, and the education of Nobel prize winners doesn’t impress God (1 Corinthians 1:25). I appreciate and respect the hard work you’ve done to achieve, but from what I’ve read in scripture, God has nothing to fear from man. I’m not ashamed to defend scripture when you elevate yourself above God.

    “Of course, just as Mr. Jon S denies the theory of evolution, he also denies the big bang.”

    True, as do many other secular scientists as I pointed out. Maybe you’re just smarter than they are. However I’m confident some day you’ll deny the Big Bang too. It’s jut a matter of time before another theory comes along, and you’ll discard the Bang and accept the new theory as if you new it all along.

    “The most interesting thing about Mr. Jon S is that, while he lustily denounces Richard Dawkins, in point of fact, he and Prof. Dawkins are in 100% agreement that the Hebrew and Christian bibles are to be take literally.”

    Amazing; I think this is the first time you characterized me correctly. If I recall correctly prof Rosenhouse would agree too. How about you?

    CL say “I’m hoping you didn’t mistake Jon S’s statements for mine! I don’t want to be associated with JonS!”

    I’m having trouble trying to figure you out. Have I said anything you consider irrational? I’m merely defending scripture. If you can point out from scripture where I’m in error please do so. I’m open to correction. But as SLC pointed out, when secular science contradicts scripture, I’ll stick with scripture and accept the premise that the scientific data has been misinterpreted by mainstream scientists. Or do you believe mainstream science never misinterprets data? If so I can point out specific examples.

    CL says “So to tomh, JonS, Che-Taylor, JimCH, ScienceAvenger and all other humans, remember that atheism and theism are both deductions about the observable range of phenomena, and that it’s unethical for either to bastardize the study of observable phenomena to gain converts.”

    I totally agree that it’s wrong to bastardize the study of observable phenomena to gain converts. I also think it’s wrong to ridicule scripture to gain converts. If you’re suggesting that I have bastardized the study of observable phenomena then please point out my error and I’ll listen. I don’t think anyone has observed lizards growing feathers, hooves turning into flippers, or Geologic Column forming. If I’m mistaken please let me know.

    SLC says “Just to give Mr. cl a further insight into Mr. Jon S’ thinking, or lack thereof, on an earlier thread he claimed that lions (and presumably tyrannosaurus rex) were once vegetarians, that Homo Erectus was fully human, and that the Australopithecines were apes.”

    Correct. That’s consistent with what’s recorded in Genesis. Do you really think it’s far fetched to believe lions and t-rex were vegetarians, yet insist that dinosaurs evolved into birds with feathers, an avian lung and bone system? Which claim seems more outrageous? Anyone, anyone?

    SLC says “I think that Mr. cl can tell from Mr. Jon S’ last comment that he just repeats the same old creationist crap that he reads on AIG and other creationist web sites.”

    These organizations all have real scientists working for them, and you seem to believe anything a ‘real’ scientist says, so why not jump on their bandwagon?

    “Mr. Jon S seems fixated with Richard Dawkins, who apparently, in his mind, is a candidate for the worst man who ever lived, surpassing Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Come on Mr. Jon S. Prof. Dawkins is just a professor at Oxford Un., holds no political position, nor does he show any inclination to do so.”

    I’m sure if I met Dawkins and we had an opportunity to know each other we’d become good friends. I’d love to spend a couple hours (or days) talking with him. I’d find it fascinating.

    “Mr. Jon S disputes the hypothesis that dinosaurs… Prof Jack Horner is another scientist who, in the uneducated opinion of Mr. Jon S, is all wrong when he opines that a tyrannosaurus rex might some day be re-engineered from chicken DNA using manipulation techniques on the HOX genes.”

    You still misunderstand my position. I have no doubt that it’s possible to genetically engineer t-rex from chicken DNA, frog DNA, or giraffe DNA. These things are in the realm of observable, repeatable science and has nothing to do with evolution. This is something a Creationist scientist could do as well. Science makes all kinds of great advancements. But just don’t be mislead into thinking that just because such things are possible when engineered that life could arise and evolve by pure chance and blind luck. Instead it demonstrates that intelligence is absolutely required for such achievements.

    SCIENCE AVENGER says “you believe in talking burning bushes, virgin births, and 3-days dead people coming back to life, so you’ve got no business accusing anyone else, much less an accomplished scientist, of having screws loose.”

    Again you’re helping me make my point. I do believe in those points, and you’re defending someone who’s willing to entertain the idea of little green men. If we could agree to let each other to their own beliefs without persecuting one another I think we could all get along and make great advancements in science. Instead we’ve got to have this war against religion and evolution. If you want to believe in evolution and aliens, fine, just don’t force my kids, or anyone else’s children in public schools to believe it, and don’t deny student’s right to their religious beliefs by undermining the Bible.

    Science Avenger says “I’m saying it’s OK to have faith/religion as long as you don’t expect others to treat your faith/religion as if it has any basis in reality.”

    Fine, as long as you don’t expect others to treat your faith in evolution as if it has any basis in reality.

    “It is very psychologically revealing that you guys consistently equate preventing you from imposing your religion on others, with others imposing their religion on you. That’s why you are so against the seperation of church and state. To you, the only reality is which religion will rule.”

    The revelation was intentional. I would agree that I’m against separation of church and state, and that’s because it doesn’t exist. For some reason there’s a myth that it’s in the constitution, but I have a copy of it here, and, funny, it’s not there. Another funny thing is what it actually does say: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech. Hmm, it seems like those who refuse to allow criticism of evolution, or refuse to allow evidence for a young earth are the ones violating the constitution on two levels. They expect congress to pass laws prohibiting the teaching of a young earth, and censor academic freedom and speech, while shoving their own form of secular religion into the classroom.

    “We are not offended by you. We are insulted by you. We are embarrased by you. We are ashamed of you. That you could exist in your state of scientific ignorance in 2008 in a country this advanced is a national disgrace.”

    Well, as you can see, I’m not ashamed of the gospel. In fact I have confidence in scripture and am willing to share it with anyone who asks. As to scientific ignorance, I’m just amazed that any rational human being could observe a cell and think it must have just happened by accident. Take a close look what it does and how it works and maybe you’ll see how amazingly complex it is and how absurd it is to conclude it’s just an accident.

  199. #199 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ JonS,

    Hi, nice to meet you. Now that most of the others have taken a break it seems the inevitable has come and we meet. I guess I should have introduced myself to you before mentioning you in third party. I apologize. It’s just that I was concerned somebody was mistaking your words for mine.

    You write, “I’m having trouble trying to figure you out. Have I said anything you consider irrational? I’m merely defending scripture. If you can point out from scripture where I’m in error please do so. I’m open to correction.”

    I’ll break the statements into pieces and address each independently.

    1) “I’m having trouble trying to figure you out.” Without being rude or arrogant, I’ll take that as a compliment. I strive to omit partisanship from my work in order to force people to critically consider the words, not the messenger.

    2) “Have I said anything you consider irrational?” Yes. Several things. Earlier to somebody you wrote, “The United States was founded on Christianity (irrational and wrong) and it became the greatest nation ever (irrational)…We made great advances in science and medicine and landed on the moon all without the principles of naturalism (irrational) or evolution (rational). Saying that naturalism played no part in the success of allopathy or getting man to the moon is irrational. Evolution? Not by any stretch. Naturalism? You bet it’s partly responsible for both. In medicine it’s the outlook that reduction in sodium intake is likely beneficial for all people, and in the case of the moon it’s the outlook that the laws will work properly every time and that the equations will get us there.

    You continue, “Christianity played a huge role until recently when the judicial branch of the government has unjustly decreed a separation of church and state, which doesn’t exist in the constitution.” This too is irrational and wrong, but I don’t wish to debate the Constitution with you, and I ask, are you a Reconstructionist?

    Getting more irrational you continue, “If there was a true separation of church and state, then we’d have to ban evolution because it’s really an atheist religion, fairy tale and mythology (irrational and untrue). But now the nation is crumbling (true) the education system is in shambles (true) and kids go on shooting sprees to advance evolution by getting rid of the undesirable and weak (true). Wow, thank you evolution, Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins!” (irrational!!!) This contains strawman arguments among other irrational premises including an appeal to consequences.

    We do agree on quite a few things. Please note that in the very next paragraph you write, “I totally agree that it’s wrong to bastardize the study of observable phenomena to gain converts.” I agree. You continue, “I also think it’s wrong to ridicule scripture to gain converts.” Again, I agree, and ask is it wrong to ridicule science to gain converts, like you do?

    In case you disagree, you say, “If you’re suggesting that I have bastardized the study of observable phenomena then please point out my error and I’ll listen.” At the time of my writing I had never charged you with such; but ironically, in the very next sentence you bastardize the study of observable phenomena to discredit evolution by stating, “I don’t think anyone has observed lizards growing feathers, hooves turning into flippers, or Geologic Column forming.” Of course they haven’t. But science deals with many things for which it has no prospect of direct observation. So to insinuate evolution is nonscientific because it cannot be observed directly is to bastardize science to bolster a theistic outlook, in my opinion.

    3) “I’m merely defending Scripture. If you can point out from scripture where I’m in error please do so. I’m open to correction.” While admitting further research is warranted, I’ll say I disagree. I think I can demonstrate you make the error of bringing certain presuppositions to scripture, as the early Church did with the poor fellow Galileo and his ideas. However, I would need to know more of your theology. For example, these folks say you’re a YEC’er…if true, have you decided conclusively that Earth and the universe must be young? Do you accept archbishop Usher’s chronology? Do you force a literal interpretation of yowm? Etc. And also, are you in fact an American Reconstructionist Dominionist??

    I’ll need clarification before any scriptures can be cited.

  200. #200 Che-Taylor
    April 29, 2008

    Science can answer the how but cannot address the why, and that itself, in my blood-stained opinion provides ample ground for the potential existence of God.

    Perhaps but lets not pretend that religion offers any discernable answers at all. It doesn’t. Religion doesn’t offer any tangible why at all really.

    If his assessment is true, as you contend, then why wouldn’t he do anything to stop a dangerous virus? Come now, do you really believe he wouldn’t stop religion if he had the power to do so? From what I’ve read of him (and many other atheists), he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity. I think that’s a fair assessment of Dawkins and the new atheists. Am I wrong, am I lying, or am I right?

    Your completely wrong in your mindset but your also saying something different here. Dawkins likely would like to see religion die. He sees it as a destructive force in the world as a whole. He does not campaign for harm to come to it’s practitioners. Big difference.

    Good grief, here we go again. Why is it that you people think evolution is true? What undisputable evidence can you present? I’ve been following this site for several years now and I’ve yet to see the overwhelming proof that is claimed for evolution.

    Thats because you are either blind, biased, or ignorant. The case is so open and shut only in the backwaters of America is this discussion not wholly laughable.

    But when you claim this is proof that dinosaurs turned into birds then you’re off your walker. No one has ever observed such an event, nor have we observed a deer-like mammal turning into a whale. Dogs only give birth to dogs, and cats only give birth to cats. We NEVER observe anything else. Therefore, based on observational data, evolution is a lie. Period. Or do you care to produce some indisputable evidence which I’ve repeatedly begged for in the past to no avail.

    Your understanding of the theory is so pitiful and uninformed that really further discource is abjectly a waste of time. Of course dogs come from dogs did you think they would produce something else? But allow 3 million years to elapse and the descendents of todays dog will look very different.

    Che-Taylor says “Oh they can [science and religion] mix but it’s always religion that loses due to lack of evidence and clearly absurd claims.”

    Not so. Guess what happens if you mix the two? You get expelled.

    No you lose credibility because you amazingly forget to do research or back up any claims.

    But if the evidence is misinterpreted due to the insistence of purely naturalistic causes and rejection of a supernatural creation then the secular science is wrong. It was written by men you know.

    The bible was written by men yes and it’s interpreted by the same. But fortunately for us the evidence shows the Earth is 4.5+billion years old. It doesn’t matter if your a materialist or not.

    Have I said anything you consider irrational? I’m merely defending scripture.

    Funniest line in the entire thread.

    I do believe in those points, and you’re defending someone who’s willing to entertain the idea of little green men.

    There are other worlds, millions of them. Little green men is certainly not a wild ass idea. We can actually see other planets and we know the conditions for life. You can’t compare such real world ideas to talking burning plants without losing any semblance of creditibility.

    If we could agree to let each other to their own beliefs without persecuting one another I think we could all get along and make great advancements in science. Instead we’ve got to have this war against religion and evolution.

    Uh the only people waging a ‘war’ are uneducated goofs from various fundamentalist religions. Evolution is progressing just fine as a theory with new material and advances every year.

    If you want to believe in evolution and aliens, fine, just don’t force my kids, or anyone else’s children in public schools to believe it, and don’t deny student’s right to their religious beliefs by undermining the Bible.

    First evolution is a massive part of biology. The bedrock. If you want your kids to remain ignorant then that is your shame. But the educated and those who actually care about America’s progress and future will continue to drag your uneducated and misinformed kind along with us. An occasional thank you would be appreciated.

    Likewise the bible is not protected and nor should it be. If someone thinks it absurd they should say as much. If you or your kids have been raised not to handle a variety of opinions again that is on you.

    Fine, as long as you don’t expect others to treat your faith in evolution as if it has any basis in reality.

    Really,how canyou be so abjectly ignorant in 2008. Aren’t you even remotely embarrassed by this material? And you teach your kids this stuff?

    it seems like those who refuse to allow criticism of evolution, or refuse to allow evidence for a young earth are the ones violating the constitution on two levels.

    Evolution gets criticism all the time where have you been? Most by uneducated or clueless hacks but it’s still there.And there isn’t any evidence for a young earth. None.

    As to scientific ignorance, I’m just amazed that any rational human being could observe a cell and think it must have just happened by accident. Take a close look what it does and how it works and maybe you’ll see how amazingly complex it is and how absurd it is to conclude it’s just an accident

    Argument from personal credulity. I don’t understand it therefor no one does hence no need to think any further.

  201. #201 Che-Taylor
    April 29, 2008

    But now the nation is crumbling (true) the education system is in shambles (true) and kids go on shooting sprees to advance evolution by getting rid of the undesirable and weak (true

    Missed this one.

    The nation is not crumbling. Every social indicator shows improvement from prior decades. The educational system needs work but still is fantastic in many places and has a wide degree of success(and failure) and the shooting sprees are RARE which makes them news worthy. They are also done by teenagers with problems. Not because of a science theory they likely didn’t even understand.

  202. #202 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ JonS,

    It didn’t take long to find an area where I think you are clearly both overstepping the bounds of “defending scripture” and clearly in error about what scripture says.

    You write, “SLC says ‘Just to give Mr. cl a further insight into Mr. Jon S’ thinking, or lack thereof, on an earlier thread he claimed that lions (and presumably tyrannosaurus rex) were once vegetarians, that Homo Erectus was fully human, and that the Australopithecines were apes.'” Then you respond, “Correct. That’s consistent with what’s recorded in Genesis.” I feel you are mistaken about Genesis or reading a different Bible than me, and this appears to be an area in which you are undeniably invoking pseudoscience to prove theism. The Mosaic creation account says nothing about the eating habits of T Rex, there is no mention of Homo Erectus in Genesis and last time I perused the account there was no mention of the word “Australopithecines” either. I would advise against teaching such as well, should you be so inclined.

    Even if the Bible is completely authoritative the reader�s interpretations of it are surely not always so. St. Augustine warned early believers against the error of appearing ignorant by bringing presuppositions to scripture and making unjustified pronouncements: “It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn� If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions, how are they going to believe in the matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven?�

  203. #203 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor,

    You make some noteworthy points in your rebuttal to JonS, but I’d feel premature in addressing them because it’s unclear whether you’re interested in debate with me at this point. I say that because I raised an issue to which I’ve thus far not seen a response.

    In response to my statement, “science addresses behavior not governance and can’t say shit about God” you wrote that you disagree, stating “If God exists he is in the world in some manner. He can’t be in and out at the same time. The universe is everything in a manner of speaking. Even outside the boundaries of the universe is still the material world.”

    I feel this contains the either-or fallacy, which manifests in various forms but always forces the observer to make a choice amongst limited options. I think the only cogent statement is “If God exists he *might* be in the world in some manner.” It is also possible that God could exist outside the bounds of our universe, or that God’s existence might not be empirically detectable.

    I’m afraid if you ask any honest scientist whether the domain of science is behavior or governance, their reply will be the former, but I’m open to change. What do you think?

  204. #204 MartinM
    April 29, 2008

    …note that the perpetrator of the Jokela High School shootings was undeniably motivated by his atheism and more specifically by his belief in natural selection, writing before the deadly spree, “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.”

    Yes, and then he shot himself in the head. You’re taking the writings of a child who was clearly mentally ill at face value. You don’t see a problem with this?

  205. #205 SLC
    April 29, 2008

    Folks, anyone who wants to try to understand the mentality of a putz like Mr. Jon S need only read the following sentence from his last comment.

    “You don’t get it. I believe in God and His word. Your education, and the education of Nobel prize winners doesn’t impress God”

    This is the height of chutzpah, Mr. Jon S now claims to speak for god. God tells him and he tells the world. How can he prove that god didn’t whisper in the ears of those Nobel Prize winning scientists I mentioned? Or Charles Darwin for that matter. Education and knowledge are irrelevant to Mr. Jon S. Everything he needs to know is contained amongst the fairy tales in the Christian and Hebrew bibles. Mr. Jon S would take us back to the 1st century CE.

    The bottom line here is that it is a total waste of time and computer storage to engage in discussions with nutcases like Mr. Jon S. We can only hope that his ilk are rare. He is a fanatic and he is far from harmless. In his own way, he is as dangerous as people like Charles Manson as, if he and his ilk achieved power, they would burn the intellectual descendants of Giordano Bruno at the stake.

  206. #206 Che-Taylor
    April 29, 2008

    I feel this contains the either-or fallacy, which manifests in various forms but always forces the observer to make a choice amongst limited options. I think the only cogent statement is “If God exists he *might* be in the world in some manner.” It is also possible that God could exist outside the bounds of our universe, or that God’s existence might not be empirically detectable.

    I agree although what would be ‘outside the bounds of the universe’? That is one of those things people say but really seems to be meaningless in reality. And if God is not detectable than honestly why bother even talking about it as it would be impossible for any real knowledge to be gained.

    I’m afraid if you ask any honest scientist whether the domain of science is behavior or governance, their reply will be the former, but I’m open to change. What do you think

    I agree again to a point. But science leads to more understanding in all natural systems including behaviour. Neuroscience in particular is starting to produce some really good insight. I am not advocating governance but understanding.

  207. #207 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ MartinM,

    Nice to meet you. Your concern is in fact valid and would be better directed towards JimCH. Might I suggest closer reading of the thread? For if one will read the entirety of my post and JimCH’s that provoked it, one can quickly see mine is an argument against JimCH’s illogical appeal to consequences; not the introduction of my own.

    Speaking to JimCH who earlier tried to construct a link of direct culpability between theism and atrocity, I wrote, “In making your comments, you are essentially making the same appeal as theists who blame Darwin for the holocaust…” By citing the Jokela school massacre, my intent was to illustrate to JimCH that anyone can commit an atrocity in the name of anything or nothing, and there IS in fact a logical problem with an appeal to consequences no matter which point of reference we argue from. I don’t blame atheism for the Jokela school massacre; why, then, does JimCH blame theism for 9/11 and clinic bombings?

    Isn’t anybody that would bomb, maim and kill people arguably mentally ill, whether they believe in Allah, Jesus or I Don’t Know??

    Again, it seems to me that an honest examination of life teaches that any race, group or creed can psychotically distort their worldview to justify malicious action, and that no race, group or creed is exempt.

    Agree or disagree?

  208. #208 JimCH
    April 29, 2008

    cl…
    The response that you are referring to below wasn’t to JonS. I don’t engage him (what’s the point?). The response was to Jeff Whitaker. If you’re going to be the hall-monitor you should get stuff like that right.

    You seem to be claiming that criminals, terrorists, murderers, extremists and incarcerated pyschos have statistically higher scores on the theism meter, and that an abnormally high percentage of them believe in God, both points I’m not going to dispute.

    If you’re not going to dispute what you think I said then you would be accepting more than I do. The last time I looked at prison statistics for this (for instance, check Pew for an update) God-belief vs non God-belief roughly corresponded to the rest of American society. The point, if you put it back in context, was that non-believers are roughly no better & certainly no worse statistically than believers. To spell it out further, if prison statistics is the research tool then believers can’t claim the moral high-ground, which is very important to many of their claims for nudging religion further into secular society.

    However, my accusation of bias stems from the fact that you appear to focus unfairly on theistically motivated atrocities while ignoring atheistically motivated ones.

    I wasn’t ignoring non-theistically motivated atrocities; I wasn’t emphasizing them. It’s what most people do when they try to make a point, especially when the counter-examples are so few.

    Earlier you justifiably criticized McDougall’s work on account of an insufficient sample size. McDougall tested six humans and seventeen dogs I believe. To contrast, we have only one airplane-as-missile suicide bombing which we can reasonably classify as theistically motivated, but for reasons undisclosed you seem to reach the premature conclusion that only theists ram airplanes into buildings.

    This is an odd comparison but I’ll go with it. True, we only have one (technically, 2) major “airplane-as-missile” case but it’s definitely not for lack of trying; perhaps you’ve noticed the change in airport security since 11 September 2001. The profiling (no matter how you may feel about that) is not for secular humanists, it’s for religious fanatics (not coincidentally). Please show me where I said that only theists ram airplanes into buildings (I assume you also mean all atrocities of this nature).
    I posed the question that began, “when was the last time …?”
    Answer: not often.
    Really not often, when contrasted against theistic motivations.
    By the way, I’m not sure why you are waiting on something from me about the age of the universe. I only asked why you believe something so unusual about the universe because you, for no apparent reason, suddenly changed the thread topic with an idea out of the scientific mainstream. SLC responded. SLC also provided links to where you could get more information & opinions from experts in the field. I know that your view is unusual but not a whole lot more. I’m not a cosmologist, & never stated that I was. Now, if you want to exchange in-depth ideas about something as esoteric as subduction-tectonics then I’m your guy. However, I don’t know how one would make that relevant to this thread, or even to this blog.

  209. #209 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor,

    Makes sense.

    Don’t know about this though: “And if God is not detectable than honestly why bother even talking about it as it would be impossible for any real knowledge to be gained.” That’s a fair question, and my answer begins with opening our minds and changing our misunderstanding of “empirically observable knowledge” as “all knowledge that may exist.”

    I made a post earlier that runs along these lines. To save you time from searching, here it be..

    We all know Earthlife as presently experienced is no Garden of Eden. Surely crime, injustice and bigotry dampen our ability to co-exist, which threaten our ability to evolve. For example, how can we as a people successfully handle nuclear energy if there are still folks around who wish to use it maliciously? Surely no existing legislation or discovery of science can remove human tendencies towards malicious behavior, and the prospect of one that could do so without a compromise in free will seems non-existent.

    In a way that admittedly defies conventional logic, I view the longstanding lack of any observable data that proves or disproves God to be suggestive of God’s potentiality to exist. As can be seen in the current world situation, intelligence and free-will are very serious responsibilities who’s presence amongst members of a society is inversely proportional to that society’s ability to flourish. If I were God, and I wanted to cultivate a certain kind of society, for example a society comprised of individuals who cooperate with and respect one another, a society that could peacefully flourish, I would consider a blind experiment an effective strategy. Any parent knows the best way to expose a child’s heart is by observing how the child acts when the child is 100% convinced nobody is watching. So if I were God, although it would pain me, I would simply wind up life and walk away, letting it all go to chance and taking notes of who acted how. It would be easy. I’d just give them a gray matter brain in which every thought, feeling or action is recorded via neurotransmitters. That way when the clinic-bombers, warmongers and soul stealers show up asking for residence in my utopia I’d be fully justified in their denial.

    Science can answer the how (behavior) but cannot address the why (governance), and that itself, in my blood-stained opinion provides ample ground for the potential existence of God. In my opinion, yes indeed life is a blind experiment, not by random chance or any lack of a Designer or per reference to Dawkins’ watchmaker, but a blind experiment in the sense that God’s human provability factor is currently set to absolute zero. Since science cannot prove or disprove God’s existence, we have no direct evidence or irrefutable confirmation that we’re being watched by Freud’s Angry Parent in the Sky, thus for all intents and purposes we really are free. If science could prove God one way or the other free-will would lose all meaning. And if God were to manifest undeniably, we would be aware of God’s existence which would negate our fre will and influence our behavior, and then the experiment would not be blind. Any scientist worth funding knows the results of an experiment can never possibly be fair if the experiment isn’t truly blind, right?

    As modern thinkers we all have access to and can analyze the same evidence, and we each are entitled to our own conclusions. So what? One person looks at the evidence and believes in I Don’t Know. Another accepts that and also believes it’s possible we’re being tested for worthiness for inclusion in some place or time with far greater knowledge and power, somewhere far from the inner conflicts externally imposed by the current deprecated state of humanity. Note I’m speaking hypothetically, and not saying FOR SURE this is what I think. Rather, the situation is offered as one possible situation in which an empirically undetectable God would be both valuable and conducive to real knowledge.

    While not asking you to adopt it, is there anything that violates reason with this?

  210. #210 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ JimCH,

    damn my bad you are certainly correct. I did attribute your response to the wrong guy!! Sorry, really. You’re absolutely right. If I’m gonna bring something up I ought to get my shit straight…!

    I admire you for not engaging JonS. If you haven’t seen them yet, might I suggest searching the thread for his statements to me and my responses? The guy is either trolling, being a provocateur or just not thinking. At any rate…

    So, if in fact all you we’re saying was “non-believers are roughly no better & certainly no worse statistically than believers” then we’re in full agreement. I think part of the problem came from my faulty ASSUMPTION you were implying just the opposite – that statistically more nuts and quacks were theists – an assumption at least partially justified by your reference to theistically perpetrated atrocities juxtaposed to an omission of atheistically perpetrated atrocities.

    So sorry about that – I made a faulty assumption about what you were saying.

    You write, “SLC responded. SLC also provided links to where you could get more information & opinions from experts in the field.” Well, true. SLC did respond with links. But I haven’t said anything that was refutable yet.

    Here’s where you might be making an assumption yourself though: “I know that your view is unusual but not a whole lot more.” How can somebody who overtly claimed an answer of “I don’t know” to the age of the universe have any view whatsoever to be called unusual? Or is that exactly what you mean? In other words, are you assuming I’m YEC or saying the fact that I answer the age of the universe question with “I don’t know” is unusual? Because I’m not YEC or OEC – I say nothing conclusively about the age of the universe. And the only reason I brought it up was because I don’t think the distance to standard candles in space-time light years MUST BE synonymous with the passage of calendar, solar years.

    You seemed to think that was impossible without “magic woo” so when I began to set up my argument, I paused to check with you and be sure we both agreed I was still talking science, not woo. If you want to reread the computation, do you agree so far? If so we can continue. If not, no biggie. In fact we should probably just leave it cuz this threads already over 200 comments, and I’m really just waiting to hear what JonS has to say to me. But that you even responded led me to believe you were at least a little interested in hearing me out.

    Lastly, you wrote, “Now, if you want to exchange in-depth ideas about something as esoteric as subduction-tectonics then I’m your guy. However, I don’t know how one would make that relevant to this thread, or even to this blog.” That sounds really interesting, and you’re right, wouldn’t be very relevant to the blog. But then again, not one comment since my first one three days ago has addressed the movie Expelled so it’s not like we’d be departing from the natural disorder.

    So where can I read your work? Although I haven’t appreciated some people’s snideness, I’ve learned much from my time spent here this weekend.

  211. #211 Che-Taylor
    April 29, 2008

    Science can answer the how (behavior) but cannot address the why (governance), and that itself, in my blood-stained opinion provides ample ground for the potential existence of God.

    Of course it addresses the why. Why does the rain fall? Why does the Earth circle the sun and not inverse? Multitudes of other examples exist. Religion simply cannot offer a credible why past hand waving and appeals to credulity. Fideism is acceptable on a emotional level but science gives plenty of why’s.

    would simply wind up life and walk away, letting it all go to chance and taking notes of who acted how. It would be easy. I’d just give them a gray matter brain in which every thought, feeling or action is recorded via neurotransmitters. That way when the clinic-bombers, warmongers and soul stealers show up asking for residence in my utopia I’d be fully justified in their denial

    Your presupposing you have free will but neuroscience seems to indicate it’s illusory at best. And even clinic bombers think they are doing the right thing for whatever reasons they think it. They are also more than decent 99% of the time. So single or even multiple heinous acts wouldn’t be enough compared to the overall good typically produced by a human.

    Rather, the situation is offered as one possible situation in which an empirically undetectable God would be both valuable and conducive to real knowledge.

    No because as it is undetectable you have just quite literally created an entire fantasy in your entirely material brain. No real knowledge is gained at all and hence can’t have real value. Past what we would have without the additional step.

  212. #212 cl
    April 29, 2008

    @ Che-Taylor

    right on, that’s cool…I respect your opinion. I hope someday mine makes more sense. Science tells us how it rains, not why. “How” involves methodology, repeatability and the acquisition of knowledge via the scientific method. Science cannot discuss WHY it rains or WHY the big bang blew; it can discuss HOW these things happen. It can discover molecular patterns of accruement and the forces propelling them; again, this is how, not why. If you still disagree, that’s fine too, but ask any real scientist if he or she can tell you why it rains or why evolution occurs, and think twice if you’re tempted to reply “natural selection” to the latter.

    As for your other points, I’m sorry you view the idea of God as nonsensical and lacking evidence. others don’t. it’s clear your mind is currently made up and I’m not in the business of proselytizing.

    But I did think you were pleasant to converse with and welcome you to comment on any threads over on my blog.

    I’ve spent too much time in here!

    cl

  213. #213 Che-Taylor
    April 29, 2008

    Science tells us how it rains, not why.

    I think this is abit of a word game. We know why it rains and how. We know the how of the big bang but not the why—yet.

    but ask any real scientist if he or she can tell you why it rains or why evolution occurs, and think twice if you’re tempted to reply “natural selection” to the latter.

    Um, I am a real scientist. We also know why evolution occurs and the how even as we learn more about the process all the time. The how is as you said methodological but the why can be seen also.

    I’m sorry you view the idea of God as nonsensical and lacking evidence. others don’t. it’s clear your mind is currently made up and I’m not in the business of proselytizing.

    Not nonsensical at all but lacking in any credible evidence. As mentioned above I have my faith albeit a fideistic variety. It doesn’t change the factual nature of the discussion.

  214. #214 cl
    April 29, 2008

    Word.

  215. #215 Blake Stacey
    April 29, 2008

    The Anti-Defamation League has finally spoken up:

    The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.

    Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness.

    It seems a bit belated, but it’s still nice to hear.

  216. #216 Jon S
    April 30, 2008

    cl: Thanks for taking the time to respond. I hope I can clear some things up. You disagree with the influence Christianity has had in America? According to the Declaration of Independence, in congress, July 4, 1776 “… the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”. I know few people who would deny that America was a Christian nation (now a post-Christian nation) or the influence of Christianity in America. I find nothing irrational about my statements. If you’d like more evidence concerning the influence of Christianity in America I could provide plenty of reading material. Also, you assumed that I meant that naturalism played ‘no part’ in the success of getting man to the moon. That assumption is not correct. I acknowledge that naturalism can and does play a part. My main point is that one’s belief system (religious or not) has no bearing on one’s ability to do good science or medicine. However this is a myth atheists persist in promoting- that you can’t do good science or medicine unless you believe in evolution. I merely provided evidence that this is not true, and in turn they ridicule Wernher von Braun and Jules Poirier. Why? Because they’re Creationists doing good science, which to them is an impossibility, despite the evidence to the contrary. In addition, many of the founders of the principle scientific fields, such as Bacon, Galileo, and Kepler, were believers in a recently created earth. You go on to promote naturalism. I have no problem with naturalism in the sense that God created nature, and made it understandable and consistent. So please don’t misunderstand what I really believe.

    You ask if I’m Reconstructionist. No, I wouldn’t say I am, although I agree with some Reconstructionist ideas. I believe a Christian influence on society is beneficial in the sense that having a culture with high morals is preferable to having a society that is morally corrupt and bankrupt. I’ll say again, the influence Christianity had in America made us the greatest nation in the world. Turning this country into a secular nation has had a high cost, such as a poor education system.

    You accuse me of being irrational for suggesting evolution is a religion. Do you understand evolution is based on faith, not observable evidence? No one has witnessed it, and no one can demonstrate it’s validity, yet atheists religiously defend it at all costs, demanding that there be no opposition. By faith atheists believe that if bacteria can change and become resistant to antibiotics, then over millions of years it can become an entirely original organism, and then man. This belief is not based on observational evidence, but on faith and science fiction, like the movie X-Men; hence evolution is a religion, unless you’re able to provide undeniable evidence. But as you can see since I requested such evidence no one has produced anything but silence. If I get anything they usually provide an example of an organism that lost genetic information, which is the exact opposite of what we’d expect if an organism can evolve into a more complex organism.

    You accuse me of ridiculing science to gain converts, but I think you miss my intent. Firstly I think science is great. My intent is not to ridicule science, but to demonstrate hypocrisy. For example, SLC loves to ridicule Creationist scientists who’ve worked hard for their degrees and deserve the utmost respect. Not only are they ‘real’ scientists, but many have converted from atheism, which makes SLC treat them with even more contempt and scorn. He then elevates ‘mainstream’ scientists to the point of worship by claiming that anything they say is gospel (The universe is over 13 billion years old. The Big Bang). I then turn the argument around by pointing where scientists have been wrong in the past, which is true, and try to explain that just because there’s a consensus about the unobservable past doesn’t mean that they are right and cannot be criticized; in fact there are other credible scientists who disagree with their ‘conclusions’ or ‘interpretations’ of the evidence. According to SLC there should be no dissent or criticism of the mainstream consensus, which is absurd. I merely try to point that out by returning ridicule with ridicule.

    In addition you claim I bastardize the study of observable phenomena to discredit evolution by stating, “I don’t think anyone has observed lizards growing feathers, hooves turning into flippers, or Geologic Column forming.” Again I’m trying to make a point. Since you admit these things can’t be observed, then why be so hostile when someone suggests that God is real and that the Bible’s account of history is true? If people want to believe evolution over the Bible, fine, just don’t ridicule those who do believe in God and try to keep them out of scientific fields just because your beliefs don’t jive with ours. Atheists, however, have such contempt and scorn for anyone who believes in God and that the Bible is real history, or denies evolution and billions of years, and they’ll go to any length to impose their belief system and stop any opposition to their evolutionary theory (hence the movie Expelled). Therefore I feel obligated to point out the holes in evolution and demonstrate how silly their own belief system is. If one can believe in aliens and still be taken seriously, then don’t ridicule those who believe in God.

    You rightly observe that science deals with many things for which it has no prospect of direct observation. I don’t have problems with that, so long as it’s not incompatible with the Bible, and I expect others to respect those beliefs and not impose their evolutionary belief system on the rest of society. If you want to teach evolution, fine, just so long as criticism of evolution can be presented. That’s what academic freedom is all about. But atheists are extremely hostile to such thoughts, and I feel obligated to point out their hypocrisy. The sad thing is that many people are led to believe that there is no evidence for a young earth, which is exactly why it needs to be presented. We’re raising up generations of ignorant Americans.

    You claim that my insinuation that evolution is nonscientific because it cannot be directly observed is to bastardize science and bolster a theistic outlook. So, based on your argument, to insinuate that Creationism is nonscientific because it cannot be observed directly is to bastardize Christianity and religion and to bolster the atheistic outlook. So when atheists do this, I merely turn the tables on them, and then you chastise me when I defend scripture and point out they’re doing the same thing I’m being accused of.

    You asked if I have decided conclusively that Earth and the universe must be young and if I accept archbishop Usher’s chronology? Well, I believe that the earth is young (less than 10,000 years old). However no one can ‘conclusively’ prove the age of the earth, which I constantly point out, but it keeps going over people’s heads, mostly because of their emotional bond to an old earth, atheism and insistence on purely naturalistic explanations, even if the cause was supernatural (which is irrational). So since no one can conclusively prove the age of the earth, it’s not unreasonable to allow evidence of a young earth into the classroom, which is not the same thing as allowing religion into the classroom, but is what atheists claim we’re doing.

    You ask if I force a literal interpretation of yowm and if I’m Dominionist. Do you mean the word Yom, or day in Hebrew? I’m aware scripture describes a thousand years being like a day to God, but in context, it’s not suggesting that a day in scripture should be interpreted as a long period of time. For example, if I were to say “Two days ago I watched a ballgame”, would you think I was talking about what I did ten years ago? Of course not. Based on the context you would rightly conclude that I was talking about a literal two-day period. In Genesis the context of the text is clear that they are literal days (evening and morning, the first day). As someone pointed out already, Dawkins rightly understands Genesis to be taken literally based on the text. Lastly, if God intended Genesis to be taken poetically, symbolically, or metephorically, he would have made that clear by the context, as with the Psalms and Proverbs. There are many ways he could have explained evolution and billions of years if that was his intent. The people back then weren’t stupid apes incapable of understanding such things. In addition, Exodus 20:8-11 and Mark 10:5-6 shed light on the beginning of Creation and what God meant by days.

    You claim I’m in error about scripture concerning lions and t-rex being vegetarians and that I’m invoking pseudoscience. Actually, I don’t believe in evolution, so I don’t invoke pseudoscience (this is where I turn the tables on your own ridicule). Anywho, I’m not mistaken about Genesis. Please read Genesis 1:29-30 and explain how I’m mistaken. God specifically gave man and all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground and everything that has the breath of life in it every green plant for food. How do you take this to mean that lions or t-rex ate meat? Isn’t that just an assumption since we know that they’re meat eaters now? Yet you believe in evolution? What’s more absurd… to believe meat-eating dinosaurs were once vegetarian, or that life could come from non-life, and that that life-form could produce all life that we see today? As with SLC you think this is an absurd notion and ‘pseudoscience’, yet I haven’t heard you condemn anyone for believing in aliens, or that a dinosaur could evolve into a bird, or a hoofed mammal turn into a whale. I find these examples to be pseudoscience because it’s all based on faith, not observable science.

    You rightly say that even if the Bible is completely authoritative, the reader’s interpretations of it are not always so. That’s why we must allow scripture to interpret scripture. In Acts 17:11 Paul commended the Bereans for examining scripture to see if what he was saying was true. This is why I asked you to show me from scripture where I’m wrong, but you have not done so. You’ve merely made accusations, while I’ve cited Biblical references, which is something I do on many of my posts to show that I’m not making anything up.

  217. #217 cl
    April 30, 2008

    @ JonS,

    I agree with much of what you say, and disagree with much as well. I will certainly address your points, but it might take a few days as I’m going for surgery tomorrow early. So don’t think I bailed.

  218. #218 SLC
    April 30, 2008

    Re cl

    Mr. cl, don’t waste your time arguing with Mr. Jon S. It should be quite obvious that he is a complete whackadoodle and you have no more chance to convince him of anything than I have to win the Tour de France this year. As a fellow cyclist, your might appreciate that. Mr. Jon S’ contempt for science and scientists should tell you that he is beyond hope.

  219. #219 tomh
    April 30, 2008

    SLC wrote: Mr. cl, don’t waste your time arguing with Mr. Jon S.

    They seem to be a well matched pair. cl agrees with much of what JonS says and also thinks the Bible is persuasive evidence of something or other. They’re both just pathetic, creationist time-wasters.

  220. #220 ctw
    April 30, 2008

    I have become quite interested in why often intelligent and seemingly well-educated people have the attitudes and characteristics presumably intended to be captured by “whackadoodle” (preferring to be more charitable, I’ll subsequently refer to them as “anti-evos”). My tentative conclusion is that it is largely a matter of having no idea how one goes about arriving at an informed opinion on a topic.

    Eg, an acquaintance has concluded that the ACLU is “destroying America” – a view I feel confident is shared by many/most anti-evos. And whence this conclusion? O’Reilly says so. Yet, when asked for an example the sole response was the Phelps affair, presumably based on the assumption that if defended by the ACLU the protesters must be atheist peaceniks. Apparently, despite the ready availability of google, getting the details isn’t worth the bother – faith in O’Reilly suffices.

    Similarly, I have been assured that war with Iran is inevitable. Because of the influence of neo-con war mongers, because some ME expert says so on TV or in a book? No, because it’s predicted in the Bible. And this from someone with multiple degrees and several years of medical residency! One can only wonder what sort of research techniques were involved in getting those credentials.

    A careful reading of a recent anti-evo comment reveals similar deficiencies: apparent inability – or refusal – to objectively explore a topic in some depth from multiple perspectives, assess source credibility, weigh competing opinions, etc. In short, inability to take the steps necessary to reach an informed (which is not to say necessarily correct) opinion. Also, failure to understand how one reasons from evidence, especially when incomplete. And possibly most important, failure to appreciate that belief has (or at least should have) a confidence level attached that is a function of the supporting evidence, ie, a measure of “faith” in the wisdom of holding the belief. Thus, while it is roughly correct that scientific beliefs – like religious beliefs – are, in this sense, matters of faith, the standards of evidence for faith – ie, confidence – in a belief within the scientific and religious communities are dramatically different. IMO, it is this difference that makes “evolution is just another religion” misleading or worse.

    Another characteristic common to many anti-evos (and admittedly, to many others as well) is the overly broad and typically unsubstantiated denigration. Eg, in that single comment one finds the claims – or at least implications – that atheists and/or evolutionists and/or non-Christians (synonymous in the commenter’s mind?):

    – promote that you can’t do good science or medicine unless you believe in evolution
    – prefer and/or are the cause of a society that is morally corrupt and bankrupt and has a poor education system
    – religiously defend evolution at all costs, demanding that there be no opposition
    – have contempt and scorn for anyone who believes in God and that the Bible is real history, or denies evolution and “billions of years” (sic)
    – are responsible for raising up generations of ignorant Americans

    (Ironically, all this – and more – accompanied by the plea “just don’t ridicule those who do believe in God”. Perhaps a re-reading of Matthew 7.3 on wood-induced vision defects is in order?)

    Anyone who frequents relevant scienceblog blogs, has any sense of contemporary cultural influences, knows many non-believers (whether or not they self-identify as “atheists”), knows anything about US demographics, and – most important – has the skills needed to arrive at an informed opinion should see the flaws in these sweeping claims.

    Also ironic is that the deficiencies typical in anti-evos are further evidence in support of their criticism of the deplorable state of US education – even though one may challenge their assessment of the causes.

    – Charles

  221. #221 SLC
    April 30, 2008

    Re ctv

    It should be pointed out that disbelief in evolution is only the tip of the iceberg. For instance, our friend, Mr. Jon S, in addition to being a YEC and denying the theory of evolution also:

    1. denies the big bang theory of cosmology, and asserts that Fr. Lemaitre, a Catholic priest, who first showed that Einsteins’ field equations of General Relativity predict it, was not only wrong scientifically but also theologically.

    2. denies that there is any such thing as dark energy or dark matter.

    3. insists that lions and tyrannosaurs were once vegetarians,

    4. claims that homo erectus was a human, and that the Australopithecines were apes

    5. claims that the United States is founded on Christian principals, despite the fact that most of the founding fathers were not believing Christians (they were non-Christian theists), and despite the fact that the words Christianity, god, Joshua of Nazareth, etc. appear nowhere in the Constitution,

    6. points out that the word creator appears in the Declaration of Independence but provides no evidence that Thomas Jefferson, the author of that document was referring to the Judeo/Christian god (he could hardly have had that particular god in mind as he was neither a believing Christian or a Jew),

    7 insists that we didn’t need methodological naturalism to get to the moon, cure disease, invent microcomputers, etc.,

    8. denigrates some of the greatest scientists of the 20th century and claims to speak for god in asserting that the latter is not impressed with them.

    To sum up then, the situation with Mr. Jon S goes far beyond a lack of education. Many of the commenters on this blog think he is just putting us on. I don’t agree. I think he really believes all of this crap. In short, Mr. Jon S is, as the British put it, raving bonkers.

  222. #222 ctw
    April 30, 2008

    SLC –

    Understood. As noted, I was just trying to find a descriptor that was less dismissive than “whackadoodle”. “Anti-evo” was intended to be a label for those with the whole spectrum of beliefs you list, not just disbelief in evolution. But having limited imagination, it was the best I could come up with.

    I generally don’t respond to commenters once I realize they have that orientation – partly for the reasons you have stated and partly because of the almost unavoidable frustration and the attendant potential for rudeness. But once they go down the “if you aren’t a believer you have no morals” path, I consider that they have invited aggressive response. Even then, I’m a bit too much of a milk toast to go as far as “whackadoodle” – whatever that means. ~(:>)

    – Charles

  223. #223 Jon S
    April 30, 2008

    cl- all the best with your surgery.

  224. #224 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    May 5, 2008

    “Expelled has nothing to do with creationism” – David Berlinski

  225. #225 cl
    May 7, 2008

    Hey thanks everything went well. The thread is old and quiet, and it’s possible you won’t read this, and I apologize to Jason for clogging up his blog, and that’s why I say to you or anyone else here, especially tomh and ScienceAvenger, hit me on my blog with any point of debate and we can continue.

    In what’s really unrelated to cl and JonS, I’ll say that as opposed to our bipedal brethren tomh and ScienceAvenger, both of whom resorted here to division, the reflex to argue and ad hominems, I referenced you, as always my custom, neutrally, with respect and politefully. So don’t think I’m among those who attack “the man” JonS. Now there are people here on scienceblogs and elsewhere online who, hiding behind the safety their monitors and the surety of their opinions, somehow feel that perceived differences between themselves and others merits ad hominem name-calling, which in the street we basically call shit talking or running your mouth. I’m of the opinion a thread represents a real conversation; I’ve seen interesting things go down in bars and house parties for much less offense than I’ve seen on this single thread. I personally have drawn blood and had blood drawn for much less. I don’t know where some of these folk get off, but I do know not all of them would act the same way in real time. I’ve been jumped, beat by the cops, in fights with thugs with knives, etc. all over misunderstandings of words, so as a general rule I treat people with respect, as I would on the block and in public, as opposed to taking bitchy little snipes at them for some reason or another.

    At any rate, my first reference to you was that I didn’t want any of my words to be mistook as yours. This was a comment I made to Che-Taylor. Nothing personal, I just don’t want to get immediately painted with all the negative connotations that accompany your beliefs as I’ve seen them expressed here on this thread, or as you might have expressed them elsewhere. For example, I don’t want to be mistook as the guy who wrote that naturalism wasn’t necessary for man to get to the moon.

    At any rate, I don’t know you or much of what you believe, but like anyone else I wish you the best. All I can glean from this thread is that, if you’ll excuse my impolite use of labelling, you’re a YEC who thinks America was founded an overtly “Christian” country, and you seem to disagree with the separation of church and state, 3 points among others I recall you seeming to make, and to which I respond:

    1) “Yowm” is used I believe about 70 times in scripture to denote a period of time beyond a solar day. You say you believe the days were solar days – how is that possible if the sun wasn’t created until a few days in? Is it not the sun that determines whether it be “night” or “day” on Earth? That violates common sense man! And what, Adam named all those animals and did all that work in 24 hours? I’m still awaiting clear, scriptural indication of Earth’s age in calender years from you, or anyone.

    On a side note, regarding your support from Genesis 1:29 that T Rex was a vegeterian, I just think you’re going too far. It just says that God gave vegetation for food to all creation. That’s generally true and an entirely different statement than, “All of creation was only vegetarian” which may or may not be true but sure seems at odds with modern science. In a roundabout way, even the carnivores consume the plants, via the vegeterians they consume. It doesn’t say in Genesis that God created T Rex or dinosaurs, either, and even my carnivorous cat nibbles on green grass for food! I feel safe in saying most of the land dwelling mammals eat grass here and there, and that’s why I say you make scripture say more than it actually says. I don’t know why, but many religious folk have this mindset that things are always only black and white. Some carnivores eat vegetation.

    2) To be brief, yes, many interpretations of Christianity influenced America, and do to this day. So do many other forces. It is no more useful or specific to call America a Christian nation than it is to call it a religious nation. Some of the Fathers were Christian, others not. At any rate, let’s not argue this point as it has nothing to do with science.

    3) If a document declares that the government shall make no rule respecting an establishment of religion, that, to me, is a call for a separation of church and state. It is worth noting that some Jews intend to make Jesus a politcal king, intentions Jesus averted. Let’s also not argue this point as it also has nothing to do with science.

    4) Here’s some other disparate points I noted, some of which have nothing to do with science:

    You wrote, “I have no problem with naturalism in the sense that God created nature, and made it understandable and consistent. So please don’t misunderstand what I really believe.” I only misunderstood it because you yourself wrote something totally contradictory earlier. You did in fact say, on April 27th at 3:40pm, that, “We made great advances in science and medicine and landed on the moon all without the principles of naturalism or evolution.” To me, although such error is of course forgivable, it is not rational. Mean what you say, say what you mean.

    As far as making irrational arguments, you also write, “…kids go on shooting sprees to advance evolution by getting rid of the undesirable and weak.” This is an appeal to consequences, also known as a breach of logic. As I’ve stated elsewhere in this thread, any race, group or creed can psychotically distort their worldview to justify malicious action, and that no race, group or creed is exempt. To imply otherwise is irrational, and only weakens your argument, in my opinion.

    I also disagree with you strongly when you write, “My main point is that one’s belief system (religious or not) has no bearing on one’s ability to do good science or medicine.” One’s belief system absolutely can, and ofted does, have a bearing on one’s ability to do good science, and medicine. On at least one occassion Eintsein’s belief system lead him to a huge error, and the best science is blind. Without denigrating either school, would you trust an accupressurist to set your clavicle or an orthopedic surgeon? When one’s belief system is not of the fiber that can accommodate change, that will more likely than not have a bearing on their ability to perform their job.

    I later said that if I came across something in particular you wrote that I felt overstepped the bounds of “defending scripture” that I would mention it. I quickly responded, “I feel you are mistaken about Genesis or reading a different Bible than me, and this appears to be an area in which you are undeniably invoking pseudoscience to prove theism. The Mosaic creation account says nothing about the eating habits of T Rex, there is no mention of Homo Erectus in Genesis and last time I perused the account there was no mention of the word “Australopithecines” either. I would advise against teaching such as well, should you be so inclined.” I still stand by this, and await your response.

    You ask, “…do you believe mainstream science never misinterprets data?” Of course I do. All human enterprises are open to error. Religion included. That’s why when you say, “when secular science contradicts scripture, I’ll stick with scripture” I say, when secular science contradicts scripture, I’ll stick with secular science because it’s less likely to suffer from bias. And, by the way, unless we force a literal reading of every word of scripture, I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible that “contradicts” secular science, save of course for the miracles. But surely God’s miracles could contain science we don’t yet understand.

    You say you don’t believe in the Big Bang, a point at which I don’t wish to judge you on. But the Bible is actually the only ancient document I know of, and the only document outside science I know of at all, that correctly posited the universe as having a beginning, and even defining the Bang conservatively as a hot expansion of light, to me one need look no further than the first three words of the book for one of science’s most important discoveries, Hubble’s Law, written thousands of years before the telescope at a time when the rest of the world’s philosophers were still toying with variant ideas of an eternal universe. To me, your disbelief in the Big Bang has no basis in scripture. Agree or disagree?

    There’s lots to work with here, and instead of introducing anything new, let’s stick with what we already have.

    I also have a question of my own. When you wrote “I also think it’s wrong to ridicule scripture to gain converts” – who were you implying had done such? Meself? Or some other more incendiary folks on this here thread??

  226. #226 tabuhan
    May 7, 2008

    Thanks….

  227. #227 Jason C
    May 7, 2008

    Wow, Ben Stein peaked in Ferris Buhler’s day off. The audacity that he has to create a film depicting an issue that he obviously has no knowledge or objective interest in would be hysterical if not for the gullible uneducated individuals willing to trust a game show host over centuries of scientific evidence and confirmation with regard to evolution. The issue is not about giving equal time to two plausible theories, but is a desperate and pitiful attempt by a generation of religious obsessed fanatics unwilling to accept anything that disagrees with their fantasy world.

  228. #228 cl
    May 8, 2008

    @ Jason,

    Hey, nice to meet you. I share your above sentiments about our governor, and ex-president Ron Reagan, you know, in the sense of, “why do people trust actors in positions of immense leadership over seasoned dictators, crooks and politicians?” The latter clearly have much more experience in national affairs, and objective interests..at any rate.

    Now when you posit that, “…centuries of scientific evidence and confirmation with regard to evolution” exist, particularly noting your plural usage of the word ‘century’ I ask, Do you mean to imply that bonafide scientific research on the theory of evolution was being done before 1859? I myself am only aware of corollary principles like homology and isolated examples of frontier science that could be construed as related to the lines of Darwin’s original research. If there was bona fide scientific research on the theory of evolution being done before 1859, well, I’m sure kicking myself for not having included it into my research all these years, so, please, clear this up for me!

  229. #229 JimCH
    May 9, 2008

    Jason C…
    Although budding theories hinting at evolution as a promising discipline have been around going back at least to Anaximander in the 6th century BC, falsifiable research has not, as cl’s sarcasm implies, been around for centuries.

  230. #230 cl
    May 10, 2008

    Thanks Jim. I knew about Anaximander. And my comment was meant to be an acknowledgment of two things: 1) Some people on this blog will of course be smarter and more well-read than I, and 2) I don’t consider myself so smart that I couldn’t have missed some account of some guy doing something that could be loosely construed as legit frontier evolutionary research in say, 1803. Know what I mean? It’s entirely possible, but unlikely. And I really didn’t know; I knew what I thought was correct, which in fact is correct as far as we know today, but at the time of the question I was and remain open to being wrong.

    That’s why instead of jumping down the guy’s throat like ScienceAvenger ffirst did to me here, I introduced myself to Jason C trying to be nice, neutral, etc. with the light, non-confrontational bit about Arnold and George, then moving on to my honest question. I knew that either he or I was wrong, and I didn’t want to assume so I asked. I reread the question and still don’t see a dis. It came from honest motives. What’s wrong with that, that it has to be sarcasm?

    Now since you seem to want to point a finger at me and judge me of sarcasm, can I ask why you never apologized for your sarcastic insult of “Why do you insist on calling me JimHC…do you have some sort of typing impediment?” when it turns out, yes, I’ve got mild dyslexia and experienced a head trauma injury two months ago I’m still reeling from? That’s why I told you I still hhave some trouble with codes and combinations. Not that you owe me shit, but if the tables were turned, and I offended somebody else unknowingly with my sarcasm, I would’ve been like, “Oh damn, sorry man…I didn’t know.” Isn’t that reasonable?

    If I wanted to be a sarcastic jerkoff dominated by the reflexes to argue, prove others wrong and evade common courtesy like I see too much of in life already, I could. But I’m trying to learn a thing or two about life and keep a lid on my mouth, mainly cuz I grew up street not school for one, and for two I’m seriously amazed at how people treat each other in what’s supposed to be a scholarly undertaking.

    If you’re going to jab me, friend, do it on something real not perceived. Formulate a cogent intellectual argument against anything I’ve said thus far and let’s have some fun. I read and enjoyed that stuff you sent me. You seem like a smart, interesting and pretty cool guy -

  231. #231 tabuhan
    May 10, 2008

    thanks. thnks. Thanks.s.s.

  232. #232 tomh
    May 10, 2008

    cl wrote …some account of some guy doing something that could be loosely construed as legit frontier evolutionary research in say, 1803.

    By 1803 many naturalists had observed hybridization in plants and species changing. Linnaeus in the 18th century and Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus, and many others such as Lamarck had accepted that species are constantly changing. Of course, Lamarck’s theories of inheritance have all been discredited, but he saw the overall picture. In the 17th century the English botanist John Ray, who coined the term “species”, had a very accurate picture of how plants evolved. In fact, by the middle of the 19th century descent with modification was not even a controversial idea. What was missing was a mechanism and that’s what Darwin brought to the table with natural selection. In fact, one could argue, that rather than starting a revolution, Darwin supplied the last piece to an already existing puzzle.

  233. #233 tomh
    May 10, 2008

    cl:
    Consider this quote from John Ray, in the preface to his great work on classification of plants, almost 200 years before Darwin. “Nature, as the saying goes, makes no jumps and passes from extreme to extreme only through a mean. She always produces species intermediate between higher and lower types, species of doubtful classification linking one type with another and having something in common with both…” quoted from The Naming of Names, by Anna Pavord.

    The idea of evolution was well understood and accepted by botanists (botany was another word Ray coined) long before Darwin. It was the mechanism that was a mystery and natural selection was Darwin’s novel contribution.

  234. #234 JimCH
    May 10, 2008

    tomh…
    Agreed. But would you not agree that theory synthesis is not just a piece of the puzzle, but the crucial piece? I’m not sure that I have an argument with you here except that I’m not sure I’d want to de-emphasize Darwin et al.’s contribution of theory synthesis. Without the mechanism there is nothing to test & therefore, it seems to me, just philosophy. A philosophical construct grounded in a whole hell of a lot of empiricism to be sure, but philosophy none-the-less.
    conradg…
    Your response to Jason C sure looked like sarcasm to me. If you state that it’s not, then it’s not. I’m not particularly bothered by sarcasm here myself, but the tone of the discussion has been a major theme for you so it appeared to be a “good for the goose, good for the gander” position.
    May I suggest that it is possible to be over-sensitive — not implying that you are, just stating the possibility. Consider the long comment to me though weighted against what was essentially one short phrase in my comment. It looks to me that what you really want from me is a long-standing apology. So, if I’ve hurt your feelings, then my bad. By the way, I’m not sure that I’d call a public forum like this necessarily scholarly. It certainly can be, of course, but it seems to me that these venues run the gamut. Remember that anyone with a library card & a 30 minute internet access time-limit is “invited” (think of a certain YEC who has managed to crack the alphabet code & has frequented here — unapologetic sarcasm). If you insist on it for your own blog, that’s a different story.
    As the rest of your comment to Jason C goes, it looks about right to me (not withstanding the outcome regarding hair-splitting with tomh).

  235. #235 JimCH
    May 10, 2008

    cl…
    I inadvertently addressed you in the above entry as “conradg”. My bad again.

  236. #236 tomh
    May 10, 2008

    JimCH …

    I would never de-emphasize Darwin’s contribution and of course the importance of natural selection can’t be stressed enough. But I was responding to cl’s speculation that there may have been, “some guy doing something that could be loosely construed as legit frontier evolutionary research in say, 1803.” There is a general tendency to ignore the efforts of generations of botanists who, though they didn’t exactly call it that, were studying evolution for several hundred years before Darwin. John Ray and his ilk were not philosophers, but down and dirty plantsmen who observed, experimented, and published results. Of course they got some things wrong, just as Darwin did, just as scientists sometimes do today, but that didn’t make them any less valuable. Darwin didn’t just appear out of a vaccuum.

    Philosophers also flirted with evolution. Kant, after all, speculated that, based on similarities of organisms, they all sprang from a single ancestral source. In this case you’re right, this is based on nothing but speculation, intelligent though it may be. But the botanists of the day, or plantsmen as they generally called themselves, were true scientists and they laid the groundwork for Darwin.

  237. #237 JimCH
    May 10, 2008

    tomh…

    But I was responding to cl’s speculation that there may have been, “some guy doing something that could be loosely construed as legit frontier evolutionary research in say, 1803.”

    Fair enough, but I took cl’s statement as implying what we now mean when we speak of evolution (with natural selection, or something like it, as a driving mechanism). No doubt the pre-Darwinian botanists were “doing science” & that their work was part of the “backs-of-giants” that Darwin et al. stepped up on but without natural selection as a mechanism to test I’m not sure I’d call what they were testing “evolutionary theory”. We just mean something significantly different when we speak of evolutionary theory before a driving mechanism is introduced. If someone asked how long evolutionary theory has been around it would seem a little misleading to say something about some of the Hellenists or even Maupertuis, for example.
    The pre-Darwinists were data collecting, testing, & hypothesizing & therefore practicing science, but within a narrower scope then what I think is implied in this discussion. They may have had ideas about a driving mechanism (much of the time just an appeal to god) but were they testing anything like natural selection? This aspect would have then been philosophy if philosophy means an intellectual pursuit without observational experiment. Just to be clear, I’m only suggesting that with regards to a driving mechanism they weren’t doing science, they were engaged in philosophy.

  238. #238 Jon S
    May 11, 2008

    cl: I just noticed your post, so I’ll reply. You said “I don’t want to be mistook as the guy who wrote that naturalism wasn’t necessary for man to get to the moon.” I understand how you misunderstood me, and I accept your criticism when you said “Mean what you say, say what you mean.” I’ll try to be more accurate. Belief in evolution and long ages wasn’t necessary to get man to the moon. As I attempted to explain previously a belief in naturalism is fine when naturalistic principles are involved. But my criticism of naturalism is that it doesn’t apply when the cause was supernatural and not natural. For example, if God created the universe in six ordinary days, then naturalistic explanations, obviously, can’t present an accurate account of what happened. Naturalistic explanations can tell a pretty story, as can any good sci-fi novel, but in this example it would have no basis in reality.

    cl says “Yowm” is used I believe about 70 times in scripture to denote a period of time beyond a solar day. You say you believe the days were solar days – how is that possible if the sun wasn’t created until a few days in?”

    It’s true that the word ‘yom’ can have a range of meanings, such as a period of time, a specific point in time, a year, the time of day when it is light out and it can also refer to 24 hour period of time. However God didn’t allow for any other interpretation than 24 hour days because He used a number, and the phrase ‘evening and morning’ for each of the six days of creation. When ‘yom’ is used with a number or the words ‘evening’ or ‘morning,’ it is referring to a 24 hour day.

    cl said “Is it not the sun that determines whether it be “night” or “day” on Earth? That violates common sense man! And what, Adam named all those animals and did all that work in 24 hours? I’m still awaiting clear, scriptural indication of Earth’s age in calender years from you, or anyone.”

    This does not violate common sense, man. The sun determines whether it be night or day on earth TODAY, not at the beginning of creation. Since the sun, moon and stars weren’t created until day 4, common sense tells us that there must have been another source of light. Christians understand that God is light (John 1:1-9, 1 John 1:5). In fact Revelation 21:23-25 tells us about a new heaven and new earth where the glory of God will give it light; there will be no sun. This is another example of a criticism of naturalism. If it’s true that God was the source of light at the beginning, being that this is a supernatural event, naturalism can’t account for it.

    cl says “regarding your support from Genesis 1:29 that T Rex was a vegeterian, I just think you’re going too far. It just says that God gave vegetation for food to all creation. That’s generally true and an entirely different statement than, “All of creation was only vegetarian” which may or may not be true but sure seems at odds with modern science.”

    In the context of scripture in its entirety, it’s clear that there was no death, disease, or suffering at the beginning of creation. Death didn’t come until Adam disobeyed God. Genesis 1:31 says that God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. In Genesis 2:15-17 God commanded Adam not to eat from one specific tree, and warned him that he would die if he were to eat from it. There are many scriptural references that there was no death prior to the fall of Adam. If there was no death, then certainly there were no meat-eaters as well. Further, when God brought the animals to Adam to name them in Genesis 2:18-20, this is also good reason to believe all animals were tame. If they were wild they would have mauled and eaten Adam if God had brought them to him, and it would have been a cruel trick. But we know from scripture that life wasn’t always like it is now. Once Adam sinned it brought death, disease and suffering into the world, as well as wild, man-eating animals. And again, this is only at odds with modern science because modern science rejects scripture. Of course if scripture is true, then there’s no reason for modern science and scripture to be at odds.

    cl says “In a roundabout way, even the carnivores consume the plants, via the vegeterians they consume… I don’t know why, but many religious folk have this mindset that things are always only black and white. Some carnivores eat vegetation.”

    If God created wild, man eating animals at the beginning, do you consider that a ‘very good’ creation? If God wanted us to know that the animals he originally created were vegetarian, how else could he have made it more black and white than to explain that “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground- everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food.” How could he so carelessly have avoided “oh, and you can eat each other too.” If he had meant to say that there were meat eaters he would surely have said so, just as he did with Noah in Genesis 9:1-3. Up until then man didn’t eat meat either… crazy, huh? Read it.

    You disagreed with me when I wrote “My main point is that one’s belief system (religious or not) has no bearing on one’s ability to do good science or medicine.” I’ll try to be more clear. If you are in fact doing good science, then one’s belief system is irrelevant and is certainly not inhibiting science. If you’re doing bad science, then it also doesn’t matter what your belief system is… you’re still doing bad science whether you believe in evolution, the tooth fairy, goblins, or aliens.

    cl correctly stated “One’s belief system absolutely can, and ofted does, have a bearing on one’s ability to do good science, and medicine.”

    I agree. In fact many people have unnecessarily lost body parts due to a belief in evolution and vestigial organs, such as the appendix and tonsils. There was no reason to have the operations except for a belief in evolution which said they were left over useless organs.

    You state that I overstepped the bounds of defending scripture and that the Mosaic creation account says nothing about the eating habits of T Rex, there is no mention of Homo Erectus in Genesis or “Australopithecines” either. Are you suggesting these names should be in the Bible when they weren’t coined until the 1800 and 1900’s? When the Bible says “…ALL the creatures that move on the ground- EVERYTHING that has the breath of life in it…” it is referring to lions, tigers, bears, oxen, goats, crocodiles, and, yes, t-rex and other dinosaurs. Why would you suggest that if the Bible doesn’t mention specific animals such as t-rex that they must not have existed? If God did create the earth in six days, then when do you think t-rex came along? Please read Job 40:15-24 and tell me what God is describing (please don’t say hippo or elephant). Or Job 41 and Isaiah 27:1.

    cl says “I say, when secular science contradicts scripture, I’ll stick with secular science because it’s less likely to suffer from bias.”

    Obviously you don’t believe scripture was written or inspired by God. Scripture claims to be God-breathed and authoritative. If this is true, and God tells us something that secular science denies, then don’t you think God would have a better understanding of science and what has transpired over the course of time than a mere human being who denies the very existence of God in order to arrive at a secular conclusion that can’t even be proven?

    cl says “And, by the way, unless we force a literal reading of every word of scripture, I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible that “contradicts” secular science, save of course for the miracles.”

    I say the Bible should be taken literally where it’s meant to be taken literally, poetically where it’s meant to be poetic, allegorically where it’s meant to be allegory, or figuratively where it’s meant to be figurative. Does that not make sense? Context is the key.

    cl says “You say you don’t believe in the Big Bang, a point at which I don’t wish to judge you on… To me, your disbelief in the Big Bang has no basis in scripture. Agree or disagree?

    I disagree because the Big Bang contradicts the sequence of events in scripture (The Bible says the earth came before the sun). Billions of years are not compatible with the Bible. The Big Bang may sound good, but it’s only necessary to those who reject the plain reading of scripture. If you accept scripture the Big Bang isn’t needed. It won’t be long before it’s discarded, and I think it’ll happen in our lifetime. But scripture won’t change.

    cl says “I also have a question of my own. When you wrote “I also think it’s wrong to ridicule scripture to gain converts” – who were you implying had done such? Meself? Or some other more incendiary folks on this here thread??

    Without naming names, I wasn’t implying you. I was merely countering your argument by turning it around on you, but I’m sorry if it sounded like I was making such an implication. It was the more incendiary folks.

  239. #239 cl
    May 12, 2008

    @ Jons,

    Regarding the naturalism comment, no problem, and I’m glad you weren’t offended. So far as I can see you seem a much better guy than some people around here are willing to give credit for, if I might open myself up further to their attacks.

    About the yowm thing, my argument is exhausted. You say potato, I say po-TA-to…

    You said, “There are many scriptural references that there was no death prior to the fall of Adam…” I would like to see some.

    I like that you wrote this: “If you are in fact doing good science, then one’s belief system is irrelevant and is certainly not inhibiting science. If you’re doing bad science, then it also doesn’t matter what your belief system is… you’re still doing bad science whether you believe in evolution, the tooth fairy, goblins, or aliens.” That’s a great statement. Can I ask, don’t you honestly think Henry Morris is doing bad science when he uses the continental erosion theory to ‘prove’ the earth is less than 10,000 years old? Is that fair when plate tectonics can easily offset natural erosion?

    Here I think you botched things up though: “Why would you suggest that if the Bible doesn’t mention specific animals such as t-rex that they must not have existed?” I’ve never suggested that. And of course I wouldn’t expect the words “t-rex” or “australopithecus” in scripture. I objected to your pontificating on the eating habits of dinosaurs from Genesis, when the words in the Bible alleged to correspond to dinosaurs aren’t in Genesis. But you at least explained your basis for your argument, the whole “God gave all the animals green for food” bit. Might I ask, Would you say no new species have risen since God rested from creative works? Can you show me any scripture that demands dinosaurs were in the original array of creation? Or even created by God at all?

    And you really got it wrong here, but it could be on account of my failure to better explain my own position. In response to me saying “when secular science contradicts scripture, I’ll stick with secular science because it’s less likely to suffer from bias,” you responded: “Obviously you don’t believe scripture was written or inspired by God. Scripture claims to be God-breathed and authoritative. If this is true, and God tells us something that secular science denies, then don’t you think God would have a better understanding of science and what has transpired over the course of time…?” Your error is in assuming on account of that statement that you know whether I believe scripture is inspired…I’m aware the Bible “claims to be God-breathed and authoritative” as you point out. Authoritative or not, interpretations are not always so. Galileo was not biased. The Church was. The Church was wrong, because they were unnecessarily wed to a particular interpretation of scripture that was not the only legitimate interpretation of scripture. That’s why I say what I said, because to me, if a fact contradicts our understanding of the Bible, it is our understanding of the Bible that needs revision, not the fact. None of this has any bearing on whether I have faith or not. So slow your roll there, and ask for insight on the one engaged.

    You write, “I say the Bible should be taken literally where it’s meant to be taken literally, poetically where it’s meant to be poetic, allegorically where it’s meant to be allegory, or figuratively where it’s meant to be figurative. Does that not make sense?” and I say, yeah, makes sense to me…!

    You say, “Billions of years are not compatible with the Bible” and to that I say the same Bible says with God all things are possible, and that God’s ways are not ours.

    Whatever some folks want to say, I’ve enjoyed talking to you, the so-called horrible YEC of the blog in their eyes, more than I’ve enjoyed commenting with the incendiary crowd. Which I’m sure will become more fuel to a stupid and useless fire..

  240. #240 Jon S
    May 14, 2008

    cl: Thanks for your comments as well as criticisms. I’m used to taking a lot of abuse around here, but that comes with the territory. Having an authentic, civilized dialogue is kind of unexpected, but very cool and welcome.

    You said you’d like to see some scriptural references that there was no death prior to the fall of Adam. Aside from the previous Genesis references, there’s Romans 5:12-21, Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. These verses explain that Adam’s sin brought death, and this is the very reason why Jesus came. Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25 foreshadows peace in heaven, but this is also a good example of the way it was before the fall when God called his creation ‘very good’.

    You ask if Dr. Henry Morris is doing bad science when he uses the continental erosion theory to ‘prove’ the earth is less than 10,000 years old? And you ask if that’s fair when plate tectonics can easily offset natural erosion? Well, I’m not a geologist, so I don’t know for sure if that’s bad science or not. That may or may not be the case. I might be mistaken, but I thought he took plate tectonics into consideration; at least other creationists have. I’d have to brush up on his work. But in order to get an accurate answer, I think you’d need to consult other creationist geologists to get a fair answer. Secular geologists rely on unproven, evolutionary assumptions (actually, all scientists rely on certain assumptions), so just because they reject Dr. Morris conclusions doesn’t mean that they’re correct either. By relying on unproven assumptions, they themselves could be accused of doing bad science. What constitutes ‘bad science’ often depends on what assumptions the scientist accepts or denies.

    You are correct that I botched the statement regarding t-rex. I said, “Why would you suggest that if the Bible doesn’t mention specific animals such as t-rex that they must not have existed?” I didn’t mean to imply that you think t-rex never existed. My intention was to explain that just because t-rex or dinosaurs are not specifically mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean that they didn’t coexist with man. I meant to demonstrate that man and dinosaurs did in fact live at the same time in history. If the creation account in Genesis is real history and is true (if God really did create everything in six days around 6,000 years ago), then man and dinosaurs MUST have lived at the same time. This is a deduction logically implied based on a straight forward reading of scripture. I hope this also answers your question of how scripture demands dinosaurs were in the original array of creation. Also, I’m sorry if you thought I was pontificating; I didn’t intend to do that.

    You asked if I would say no new species have risen since God rested from creative works? My answer is that new species have risen and do continue to rise. Species change; that’s observational evidence. What we don’t see is any new, original genetic information not found in a species’ ancestors. For example, all dogs may be related to an original wolf kind, but we never observe them giving birth to anything other than another wolf or dog kind. Today we see many varieties of dog species, but they’re still dogs; they haven’t grown wings, gills, or scales. Genesis 1:20-25 says that God created animals according to their kinds, and this is exactly what we do observe. We don’t see species evolving into different kinds of animals because they don’t have the genetic information to do so. Mutations, gene transfer, etc., don’t account for the genetic information necessary to grow feathers in an organism that doesn’t have the genetic coding for feathers. A massive amount of genetic information would be required, and we don’t observe that happening in the real world.

    I also owe you an apology for stating that you don’t believe scripture was written or inspired by God. I shouldn’t have jumped to that conclusion. You did say “Authoritative or not, interpretations are not always so.” This is true, which is why we need to let scripture interpret scripture. You still contend that “if a fact contradicts our understanding of the Bible, it is our understanding of the Bible that needs revision, not the fact.” Are there any ‘facts’ that you believe contradict our current understanding of the Bible? How do you know for sure such contradicting facts are in fact true? If it’s a scientific fact that a man cannot be raised from the dead, or to be conceived by a virgin, then who do you suppose Jesus was? Was he who he claimed to be? Or do we relent to secular science and accept Jesus to be just a ‘good’ man or teacher and not the Son of God? On the contrary is it possible that secular science, in it’s insistence upon ONLY naturalistic explanations, be in error where there APPEARS to be a contradiction? Could it be that what God has revealed in scripture is true and that fallible human beings might be wrong about the universe being billions of years old?

  241. #241 cl
    May 14, 2008

    JonS,

    thanks, too, for a decent conversation.

    I like your ending questions and find them interesting enough that I’m gonna do a post addressing them on my blog, and we can carry on there. I feel bad hogging this thread anymore because it has nothing to do with Jason’s original topic.

    So come on by my neck of the net in a couple days or so….

  242. #242 by-stander
    May 14, 2008

    Sweet Jesus thank you, finally.

  243. #243 spam
    May 14, 2008

    If only they’d take conradg with them!

  244. #244 cl
    May 14, 2008

    Any smart ass who thinks they have me categorized is free to stop by as well. Apologies only to Rosenhouse. And if Rosenhouse is ‘spam’ or ‘bystander’ well then you are cordially invited to stop by too. At any rate, thanks for stirring things up.

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