The Jewish View of Creationism? Really?

Update: I have revised the original post to reflect the observation made by ProgJohn in comment five, and Raka in comment eleven.

 

Over at HuffPo, Rabbi Adam Jacobs presumes to explain “The Jewish View of Creationism.” The title alone is a bad sign. The standard line is that if you put ten Jews in a room you get eleven opinions. The idea that there is a Jewish view of anything is pretty unlikely.

Jacobs focuses entirely on the question of the age of the Earth, and not of biological evolution. He writes:

To the secularist, the notion that we should flippantly toss aside hundreds of years of scientific investigation unequivocally demonstrating an extremely old universe simply because some ancient tome says it was created less than 6,000 years ago is nothing short of idiocy. What I hope to demonstrate is that Judaism’s understanding of this matter (and many others) is significantly more nuanced, complex and surprising than what is currently believed to be the standard religious gloss on the subject. The truth of the matter is that Judaism is frequently (and unfairly) lumped together with other religious systems that actually have vastly different ways of looking at things.


Pretty good so far. I always bristle a bit when people refer to “Judeo-Christian” values, since I see the differences between Judaism and Christianity as far more significant that the similarities. Outside of ultra-orthodox circles most Jews do not attach much weight to doctrines and specific beliefs. It is about practice and community, and is generally focused entirely on this life.

But now things start to go down hill. What is this complex and nuanced view?

Two centuries later, Rabbi Isaac of Akko, a disciple of the great Moses Ben Nachman (Nachmanides) and one of the foremost Kabbalists of his generation, wrote some surprising commentary regarding the age of the universe. In his work “the Trove of Life,” he explains that the Earth was actually 42,000 years old when Adam was created and that these years are “divine” years and should not be thought of as 365 regular days. Rather, a divine year is 1,000 times longer or 365,250 years. He based this on a verse in Psalm 90 that says “1,000 years in your eyes is like a day gone by.” Do the math. According to Rabbi Isaac, the universe is 42,000 x 365,250, or 15,340,500,000 years old. This figure is squarely within the ballpark of where modern cosmology places the age of the universe. How did he know this? And how did he posses the temerity to conclude it in the midst of the Dark Ages? Perhaps our fundamentalism is not quite as primitive as is supposed.

Isaac was assuming that a year had 365.25 days. However, there is something very fishy in Jacobs’ arithmetic. If a divine year is one thousand times longer than a human year, then there are 365,250 days in a divine year. If we multiply the 42,000 years by 365,250 days per year, we get just over fifteen billion days for the age of the universe. In years it is, of course, forty-two million.

There is a further problem. Isaac was discussing the age of the Earth, which is nowadays estimated to be roughly 4.5 billion years old. It is the universe that is typically estimated at 13.7 billion years old. Of course, Isaac probably thought the universe and the Earth were created at essentially the same time, but Jacobs’ has no such excuse for treating them as the same question.

Presumably Jacobs meant that the universe was already 42,000 divine years old when Adam was created. If we figure on 365.25 divine days in a divine year, then we come up with just over fifteen million divine days for the age of the universe. Each of those days is a thousand human years, which implies that the universe is a little over fifteen billion human years old.

But even if we grant this amusing calculation, and blur the distinction between the creation of the Earth and the creation of the universe, we are still just cherry picking one ancient scholar who lucked into the right order of magnitude through a method that does not really make sense.

There is a sad tradition among certain very orthodox Jews known as Gematria. First we assign numbers to various words and phrases, and then we attach great metaphysical significance to the inevitable numerical coincidences that arise. It is pure numerology. Jacobs’ argument is not much of an improvement.

OEC’s are fond of citing the verse in Psalms to justify their own cavalier interpretations of the word “day.” Even the YEC’s find this absurdly literal, and they are right. In context the verse is clearly not meant as a literal metric for understanding what a day is. It is a poetic statement about the timelessness of God. Jacobs employs it here only because he believes it is convenient for his purposes.

Jacobs continues:

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, an Ph.D. in physics from MIT, has spent the last 35 years investigating the confluence of science and Torah and has a novel, yet compelling, approach. Starting with Einstein’s discovery of the relativity of time, he explains how great changes in gravity or velocity produce measurable changes in the flow of time. He demonstrates that on an imaginary planet so massive, with a force of gravity so great, that its time was slowed by a factor of 350,000, a visitor would live out three minutes of normal-feeling time while concurrently, the folks back home would have lived out an entire two years. Looking from Earth, the actions of the “big planet” visitor would appear to be unfolding extremely slowly, and vice versa from the other vantage point. Big Bang theory posits that the entire universe at its inception was but a minuscule speck. This notion was supported and recorded by Nachmanides in the 13th Century when he explained that the universe was originally condensed into the size of a mustard seed. As the universe expanded (again, a notion supported by both science and Torah), time expanded with it so that every time it doubled in size, time would pass at half its original rate. Following this logic, Dr. Schroeder demonstrates that it is perfectly conceivable that from the universe’s perspective, six 24-hour periods had passed and concurrently the dilated outer reaches of that space would view it as if 15 billion years had elapsed. Have a look at his book The Science of God for the full treatment, including charts outlining the exact duration of each Biblical day.

Physicist Mark Perakh has done yeoman’s work explaining everything that’s wrong with Schroeder’s theorizing.

All of this is an exercise in after-the-fact rationalization. Religious scholars through the centuries have tossed off all manner of speculations regarding attributes of the physical universe, but people of scientific temperament have known better than to take them seriously. Then, after science figures out what’s really going on, religion’s supporters try to pretend they knew it all along.

In a way, this is similar to our recent discussion oforiginal sin. For centuries Catholics told us the doctrine was related to Adam and Eve. Now that science has shown the traditional story to be complete nonsense, people dutifully revise the doctrine and tell us that scientists have finally caught up to the deep insights of religious scholars.

I suspect the majority view among Jews regarding creationism is that science will tell us such things as can be known about natural history and the age of the Earth, and who cares what the Torah says. That is certainly a far more sensible view than anything Jacobs is offering.

Comments

  1. #1 MKR
    December 29, 2010

    Thanks for subjecting Rabbi Jacobs’s cockamamie representation of “Judaism’s understanding” of the age of creation to critical examination. I have just finished reading a very nice, thoughtful book by David Ariel called What Do Jews Believe? The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism. A maximally brief version of the book’s answer to the question in its title would be: “Lots of things!” That is, there is no single Jewish “belief” concerning this or that specific question, but a tradition with many diverse voices in it, especially (though not exclusively) in the last 200 years. (This he calls a foundation?)

    It is certainly amusing that Rabbi Akko ended up with the right answer. The fact remains that his conclusion was based on a host of dubious religious assumptions and a laughable interpretation of one verse in scripture. Many other scholars devised wildly different numbers for the age of the universe, and there was no general agreement regarding the correct answer. Jacobs is simply cherry-picking the one person who lucked into the right number.

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  2. #2 Pierce R. Butler
    December 29, 2010

    …the right answer.

    13.7B = 15B?

    Damn, Prof. Rosenhouse must be a real easy grader!

  3. #3 jimvh
    December 30, 2010

    From the HuffPost article:
    One thousand years ago, the great Jewish philosopher and physician, Moses Maimonides, wrote that there is no contradiction between Torah and science and that if one is perceived, then there was a misapprehension of the science or the Torah.

    1000 years ago … science??? science that gave an estimate for the age of the universe??? any science???

    Something smells!

    And where did the 42,000 come from?

  4. #4 Lenoxus
    December 30, 2010

    I agree with Pierce R. Butler that the number isn’t all that surprisingly close.

    A couple more points… when Jacobs said “nuanced”, he didn’t end up where I mistakenly assumed he would, which would be to praise Sophisticated (Jewish) Theologians for waffling wisely instead of asserting the error-free authority of their texts. But by “nuanced”, he actually meant something like “accurate”, going in completely the other direction. I admit, this is refreshing — he’s trying to use the religion to acquire scientific knowledge! If God is behind it all, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work.

    Jacobs’s refers to “the notion that we should flippantly toss aside hundreds of years of scientific investigation unequivocally demonstrating an extremely old universe simply because some ancient tome says it was created less than 6,000 years ago”. That doesn’t seem too far off from his own argument — just substitute “some ancient tome” with “some famous Kabbalist”.

    With his assertions, he’s saying that Kabbalist numerology is about as dependable as scientific investigation. Of course, when pressed, I assume he, like many a mystic before him, would tone its significance down into something that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t (making it useless, of course).

    A good example of “sometimes doesn’t”: Rabbi Isaac’s age for the Earth, 42,000 years. That’s off by a factor of well over 70,000. Why did his math fail him so? One half-hit and one big miss? Sorry, not impressed.

  5. #5 ProgJohn
    December 30, 2010

    What’s with the maths here? If a divine year is 1,000 times longer than a normal year the earth was 42 million years old (42,000 x 1,000). The 15B figure is the age of the earth in days.

  6. #6 Jason Rosenhouse
    December 30, 2010

    ProgJohn –

    Crap! I missed that. Jacobs’ argument is even worse than I thought. Thanks for pointing this out. I’ll revise the opening post accordingly.

  7. #7 Birger Johansson
    December 30, 2010

    Anything with the number “42″ in it should be approached with caution. Watch out for the Vogons!

  8. #8 Mandrake
    December 30, 2010

    So Douglas Adams was right! 42 (at least as a factor) *is* the answer to the life, the universe, and everything!

  9. #9 Steven Carr
    December 30, 2010

    What year is it according to the Jewish calendar?

  10. #10 Tommy Holland
    December 30, 2010

    It’s even worse. Isaac gets his one thousand figure from Psalm 90:4 which reads: ‘For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.’

    So you have the additional problem that the divine year is being equated to two different lengths of time: a day, and a watch during the night, which is substantially less than a day, perhaps four hours or so.

    So which is it?

  11. #11 Raka
    December 30, 2010

    You actually had the arithmetic right the first time. Jacobs misstates his own position when he says “Rather, a divine year is 1,000 times longer…”. His calculations actually assume that a divine *day* is a thousand human years. This is consistent with his source: “1,000 years in your eyes is like a day gone by.” So a divine day equals one thousand human years, and a divine year equals 365.25 divine days.

    So he’s sloppy with his writing and wacky with his conclusions, but reasonably okay with his calculations.

  12. #12 Raging Bee
    December 30, 2010

    Didn’t we go through a similar controversy at Panda’s Thumb when some airhead named Carol Clouser showed up to shill some book by Joshua Landa arguing that a “literal” interpretation of the OT agrees with all the established science on all matters, if only we use the “right” “literal” interpretation of each relevant word?

    This is just another totally pointless exercise where we’re expected to take what science tells us today, then re-interpret the words in the Bible to pretend they were right all along. Even for mental masturbation it’s ridiculous; and it’s nothing but a useless distraction from what we’re expected to learn from the Bible. True or not, timely or not, the Bible is a guide to Man’s relationship to God, not a science textbook. Anyone who ignores this basic and obvious fact is either a liar or a fucking idiot.

  13. #13 eric
    December 30, 2010

    …and a divine year equals 365.25 divine days.

    Does anyone else see the absurdity in this statement? I mean beyond the obvious absurdity of trying to read poetry literally.

    Even if we assume a biblical metaphysics for the sake of argument, why the heck would a divine year have a fractional day? Isn’t it a sign of imperfection if the days don’t fit into the years without a remainder? Does the divine calendar have a divine leap year? Do they drop the divine leap year every divine century to make up for the small divine fraction in the third decimal place?

    It just seems ludicrous, even “within” the biblical mindset, to model God’s timekeeping on the earth’s. The relationship between the earth’s rotation and revolution is so obviously arbitrary/conditional that it seems completely ridiculous to me to claim it derives from some metaphysical basis.

  14. #14 Jeff
    December 31, 2010

    Jacobs works for Aish HaTorah, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) organization that preys upon young, non-observant Jews, often while they’re visiting Israel and are alone and away from home for the first time, and attempts to coerce them into adopting the lifestyle. Some stay on to assist with the indoctrination (I’d wager that’s what happened to Jacobs). They’re known for using this sort of argument; they’re also big on the “Torah codes”.

    Tragically, Jacobs’ position isn’t even the most right-wing to be found in that world. Many (probably most) of the Haredim have a literal understanding of the Torah, and are what we’d call Young Earth Creationists. The Modern Orthodox (who, unlike their more regressive coreligionists, pursue secular education), historically have been immune, but as a result of Haredi influence, all of Orthodoxy has moved to the right over the last several decades. The Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists (yes, there actually is one) has begun, in recent years, to flirt with ID.

    At least they aren’t trying to push creationism into the public schools. They don’t attempt to influence public policy outside of Israel and parts of Brooklyn. They’re largely xenophobic, and the gentile world is almost totally irrelevant to them.

  15. #15 Keith Douglas
    January 2, 2011

    As an anecdote along some of these themes, years ago I took a sociology of religion course as an undergraduate elective. One event in the course was a talk given by a Lubavitcher rabbi, who took some questions. I asked about the age of the earth, “creationism” etc. and he answered basically like any Christian fundamentalist, even going so far as to reference works by Gish, etc.

    What a depressing example of religious syncretism!

  16. #16 Jeff
    January 3, 2011

    One event in the course was a talk given by a Lubavitcher rabbi

    I’m surprised he would even agree to do it. I have to think he regarded it as an act of “kiruv” – outreach – to any young Jews in the class.

    What a depressing example of religious syncretism!

    The Orthodox and the Christian fundies are buddies, these days. Actually, politically conservative secular Jews are in on it as well. The Jews use the Christians for political and monetary support for Israel, and the Christians think if they can get a critical number of Jews into Israel, it will trigger the whole Left Behind scenario. The fact that the Christians believe these same Jews will then die horribly and go to hell for eternity is the elephant in the living room they just don’t talk about.

    I find it all too revolting for words.

  17. #17 Howard
    January 5, 2011

    I don’t know if the math has been cleared up or not yet, but here is how it goes.

    1 divine day = 365,250 human days or 1,000 human years.

    1 divine year (365.25 divine days) = 133,407,562 human days or 365,250 human years.

    42,000 divine years = 5,607,117,604,000 human days or 15,340,499,942 human years.

  18. #18 Aviv
    January 17, 2011

    don’t you think it’s amazing that Judaism in English Gematria is Power: http://www.gematrix.org/?word=judaism

  19. #19 eddie
    January 18, 2011

    The thing that stands out to me is that, before the fall, the days were a thousand times longer. Then…

    Time flies when you’re having fun.

  20. #20 Michael
    January 26, 2011

    So you mean to tell me that all the stuff I’ve been reading on this guys website is not true. I want you all to take a look at this and tell what you think. http://www.squidoo.com/the-origin-of-man And please make it snappy. You have to see this because I got alot riding on it. Thanks.

  21. #21 Michael
    February 1, 2011

    Hey, who turned out the lights. Where did everyone go. You can catch up with the rest of the atheist over at http://www.asktheelder.com Hopefully they are being saved!

  22. #22 Numerology
    June 14, 2011

    Something tells me that Michael didn’t actually read the post before commenting.

  23. #23 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    First time researching what Jews think of evolution and I have to say, I am disappointed. Seems typical of what Israelites were like in the OT. Always turning away from God in any way they could and adopting pagan values. I expected some decent thought on the issue but it seems that the prominent jews are all but happy to appease atheist worldviews and “scientists”. There are so many problems with anyone claiming the earth is 4.5 billion years old its not even funny. Then to claim an age for the universe, claiming also the theory of evolution as fact. When it gets to the point that a Jew or christian has completely eliminated the need for God in any part of the process, you have to wonder. How exactly does one deny intelligent design? I know you want to do it for certain reasons, but how on earth do you settle that with your religion? You essentially deny God his creation at that point. “he made a cell, then stuff happened”

    Anyway, that is how I see it. Slowly and slowly you chip away at your religion because you need to be ok with any halfassed theory the atheists come up with.

  24. #24 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    Just to be clear. Evolution is in no way a fact. It is a naturalistic explanation and apparently the best those who hated religion or were not religious could come up with. To see people adopting it is shameful considering what it is. You drop your explanation for their explanation because they give you examples of it in nature even though the examples they give really don’t support their claim. I have yet to hear one single good evidence for evolution. Anyone who tries to gives “microevolution” as evidence and only a moron would accept that.

  25. #25 NJ
    August 24, 2011

    Temi @ 23:

    There are so many problems with anyone claiming the earth is 4.5 billion years old its not even funny.

    It is funny. Funny that you don’t try to offer any examples in support of your statement. Perhaps it is because you don’t actually understand the topic and just say things you were told to say? How does it feel to be only as smart as an echo?

    Tami @ 24:

    Just to be clear. Evolution is I am in no way a fact intelligent.

    FIFY.

  26. #26 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    Temi, evolution is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence in biology. And it’s not only atheistic biologists who recognise this, most scientists aren’t atheist yet evolution is overwhelmingly supported among biologists.

    Being a scientific issue, the case for evolution is and ought to be determined by the evidence. Just where do you think the evidential case for evolution falls down? Biologists and palaeontologists can give countless examples of evidence that fits the pattern*, so where do you find such accounts lacking? Or do you have evidence that doesn’t fit the pattern of common descent?

    * see: Jerry Coyne – Why Evolution Is True or Don Prothero – Evolution for details.

  27. #27 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    @NJ My intention was not to write an essay for you. People here seemed intelligent enough to have seen that stuff on their own.

    Who would have told me to say that? You don’t see the problem with a man telling you that the earth is many millions of years older than he could possibly have knowledge of? You would have to ask why he says that. Then he tells you that it is so based on certain assumptions he has made about the age of the earth and the assumption that everything that is happening now, happened exactly the same way then. At the very least you have to question it.

    Why would I look at bottle draining water, for example, and assume, by the rate of water flow, that the bottle had been draining water for a certain amount of time? What if someone drank from the bottle? what if the bottle had water put in it halfway instead of full? What if even subtle changes such as heat and cold affected the water flow? That is something quite simple compared to making a claim of 4.5 billion years on the age of anything.

    Someone is usually not intelligent once they disagree with you. Typical of the current situation. I thought Jews were stronger than to fall prey to that rubbish. I really did, or at least hoped.

  28. #28 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    How we know the age of the earth is an interesting question. Temi, if you have multiple independent measuring devices all showing the same value, isn’t that good reason to suspect that the assumptions are right? Otherwise, why should it be that different ways of measuring give the same value?

  29. #29 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    Back to my 2nd to last paragraph in my last post. If the assumption is that the water has been draining from the bottle at the same rate from the existence of that water and that bottle and that the bottle was full from the outset, then we would all come to the same conclusion on how long that bottle has been there with water inside it.

    Coming from the same assumptions, of course the conclusions will be the same. It does not make it fact. Different ways don’t give the same value btw. Even with the same assumption you get wide variations and values being dropped because they don’t go in line with the assumed ages. Shows just how weak the science is that even the same assumptions give you widely varying ranges. What if those assumptions were wrong?

  30. #30 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    But in the case of radiometric dating, the starting point can be known because of how crystals form. And as for multiple techniques getting the same value, do more than just say it can happen: show that it is indeed the case. It’s interesting that you can sit there and argue that the science is fatally flawed, whereas if you were able to demonstrate it you’d be world-renowned and a Nobel prize winner!

    in other words, you’re making a statement about the methodology and results of science. That requires you to do science, not speculate from your armchair…

  31. #31 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    It’s amazing just how easy it is for non-scientists, with no understanding in the field in question, can find the fatal flaws that those who study the matter always seem to overlook! Thousands of people spending decades researching and doing experiments can so easily be undone by someone spending 2 minutes trying to find a reason why it’s obvious nonsense…

  32. #32 NJ
    August 24, 2011

    Temi @ 27:

    You don’t see the problem with a man telling you that the earth is many millions of years older than he could possibly have knowledge of?

    How do you know this man could not possibly have this knowledge? Because he was not present? By that logic no one has any knowledge of the Roman empire. By that logic no one could be convicted of a crime without witnesses. By that logic no one could hold the religious beliefs that you clearly hold.

    Ooops.

    My intention was not to write an essay for you.

    So your intention was simply to make an unevidenced assertion to actual experts in these fields? Would you walk into a cancer ward to announce that the oncologists do not have “one single good evidence” (your phrase!) that cancer exists? And that “only a moron would accept that” (your phrase again)?

    And yet you are shocked, shocked, mind you, that someone calls you out on that with a bit of snark.

    So, you fumble a metaphor, make expansive statements, but show no indication that you can actually discuss one – just one – specific example of the topic.

    And yet you are shocked, shocked, mind you, that someone suggests you are simply repeating what you have heard, without any learning or reflection.

    So here’s the deal. You want to continue on this path? Fine, I’ll just take potshots at you, hoping to amuse the audience. You want a specific discussion? Excellent, we can find out why you take a position in opposition to the work of generations of scientists whose personal beliefs span the spectrum of religions and political ideologies.

    The ball is in your court. You wanna be serious or just a chew-toy?

  33. #33 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    Science is not just some endeavour that only engages in hard facts. Saying someone found evidence against the age of the earth and would be famous for it is naive. A scientist in opposition of evolution is at risk for one thing and evidence requires interpretation. There is as much for an Old earth as there is for a young earth. But guess which one people are most likely to go for? Nobody wants God in science, that should be pretty obvious. Not only that God should not be in science, but God should replace science.

    The history of the age of the earth is interesting. A part of it had to do with the ages accepted at the time not being enough for evolution. It kept getting longer and longer till what we have now. Who is to say it won’t be something else in a few years? In the meanwhile people throw away their faith for this naturalistic game.

    How can the starting point be known because of how crystals form? Circular reasoning is typical of this field.

    I think you meant to show that dating gives varying values.

    Feel free to read these

    http://www.oocities.org/stuball127/dating.html

    http://swordandshield.biz/Serious-Problems-With-Radiometric-Dating.pdf

    http://www.bible.ca/tracks/dating-radiometric.htm#excuses

    Personally I do not see a reason to go into as much detail. The claims and assumptions made are beyond out there.

  34. #34 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    My intention was not to write an essay for you.

    Your intention was to blather creationist science denialism, which you did.

    You don’t see the problem with a man telling you that the earth is many millions of years older than he could possibly have knowledge of?

    It’s not “a man”; it’s the entire informed consensus of geologists, and specifically, experts on dating the age of the earth.

    And they are backed up by the informed consensus of astrophysicists; experts on dating the age of stars, like the sun. And they are backed up by the informed consensus of cosmologists; experts on dating the age of the universe.

    Why should there be a problem with accepting the consensus of experts who argue from the evidence of the earth, the sun, and the universe?

    You would have to ask why he says that.

    You could indeed research for yourself the evidence and reasoning used to determine those dates. So why don’t you? Why doesn’t any creationist?

    Then he tells you that it is so based on certain assumptions he has made about the age of the earth and the assumption that everything that is happening now, happened exactly the same way then.

    No. It is a deduction; reasoning from evidence.

    The only assumption made is that the evidence of the real world is not a lie. Do you think that the evidence is a lie?

    At the very least you have to question it.

    You could question it, but you have to understand what you’re questioning.

    Why would I look at bottle draining water, for example, and assume, by the rate of water flow, that the bottle had been draining water for a certain amount of time?

    Why do you think that scientists are so stupid as to not think of possible things that would falsify their reasoning?

    The clocks used to date the earth are not really like a bottle of water flowing. That’s an analogy — and it’s one that has counter-examples that there are no analogs for, with respect to the real methods of dating used.

    What if someone drank from the bottle?

    This has no analog with radioisotope decay, and other geological clocks.

    what if the bottle had water put in it halfway instead of full?

    Geologists can account for situations analogous to this. They don’t just measure the “water” left; they look at the ratio of the “water” that drained versus the “water” that remains.

    What if even subtle changes such as heat and cold affected the water flow?

    This has no analog with radioisotope decay, and other geological clocks. Don’t you think that scientists strive to account for possible changes to the clock rates they use?

    That is something quite simple compared to making a claim of 4.5 billion years on the age of anything.

    Or rather, your “water bottle” analog is pathetically simplistic, to the point of being false.

    Someone is usually not intelligent once they disagree with you.

    You’re not stupid because you disagree with scientists. You’re stupid because you disagree without having the slightest idea of what it is that you’re really disagreeing with. You’re disagreeing because of nothing more than religious ideology.

    If the bible had really said, or implied, that the earth was 4.5 billion years old, to the point of it being religious dogma, you wouldn’t be sneering at science; you would be crowing about how science proves the bible.

    If science had somehow proved that the earth really was 6,000 years old, you would, in this case too, crow about how science proves the bible.

    But since there’s a disagreement between anything close to a literal reading of the bible, and the findings of actual science, you have to sneer at something — and you’re a religious fanatic, so you sneer at science.

    I thought Jews were stronger than to fall prey to that rubbish. I really did, or at least hoped.

    And you prefer the rubbish of religious dogma, so you want everyone to fall prey to that. Feh.

  35. #35 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    @NJ

    Someone making a claim about the roman empire is nothing compared to a claim encompassing billions of years. Maybe you missed the logic altogether and are imposing yours on it.

    Oncologists can see cancer and have much more reason to believe it is there. Your logic is failing you again.

    Why do you keep saying “shocked, shocked mind you”? You aren’t repeating what you heard about evolution and the age of the earth? Seems to me that for someone not to believe it, they have to have investigated it instead of taking it on faith that it is that age as they are told.

    Take potshots. Your type is not worth talking to. I don’t take scientists as gods. So yes I can call them out on weak science. It seems pretty obvious to me the flaws in their claims and I linked a few that I hope would be good reading in a previous post. I see no reason, at the least, to change my world views to theirs based on THEIR assumptions and what are essentially faith based claims. I don’t really care which religious individual feels the need to comply either.

    Kel, your comment in #31 is silly. Scientists reject their own widely accepted claims often enough. what is your point in saying that? BTW, what makes you think I am not a scientist? Years in medical school and a masters in medical physics underway and you wish to make that claim about me? This is the typical mindset now. You aren’t a scientist if you object. You arent a scientist or an authority if you don’t listen to our assumptions based on our worldviews.

  36. #36 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    BTW, what makes you think I am not a scientist?

    You’re not.

    Years in medical school and a masters in medical physics underway and you wish to make that claim about me?

    You’re a glorified technician, assuming that’s even true. Whoop-te-doodle-doo.

    You aren’t a scientist if you object.

    You have to actually object based on the evidence. You don’t. You make false analogies, and argue fallaciously from those.

    That’s not science. That’s just you being stupid.

  37. #37 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    [ You could indeed research for yourself the evidence and reasoning used to determine those dates. So why don't you? Why doesn't any creationist?]

    You assume i haven’t. I have looked into evolution deeply and have listened to what many scientists say about it. Unfortunately their claims don’t sound very scientific AT ALL. It simply happened because they think it did and must have. What else could be the explanation?

    You’re not stupid because you disagree with scientists. You’re stupid because you disagree without having the slightest idea of what it is that you’re really disagreeing with. You’re disagreeing because of nothing more than religious ideology.

    If the bible had really said, or implied, that the earth was 4.5 billion years old, to the point of it being religious dogma, you wouldn’t be sneering at science; you would be crowing about how science proves the bible.

    If science had somehow proved that the earth really was 6,000 years old, you would, in this case too, crow about how science proves the bible.

    But since there’s a disagreement between anything close to a literal reading of the bible, and the findings of actual science, you have to sneer at something — and

    You don’t quite seem to get my point. I said people compromise their religion for the sake of someone else’s naturalistic world view. Whether or not I would praise science for agreeing with religion is irrelevant when the science that the compromise is made for, is weak. There are scientists who say there is evidence for a young earth btw. I also never said I think the earth is 6000 years old. To be honest I do not think they had valid reason to come to that conclusion either. You really are making huge assumptions about what I believe in your post. smh. lol. You are funny.

    Or rather, your “water bottle” analog is pathetically simplistic, to the point of being false

    it’s false to you. The assumptions made for dating methods at least include that element of knowing the past and knowing the system was a closed one for billions of years and knowing that everything stayed constant essentially. Not only is the claim of billions of years, it is a claim that every single second of those billions of years comply with your assumptions. If you don’t see how huge that is… I guess i see why you buy into this.

    Geologists can account for situations analogous to this. They don’t just measure the “water” left; they look at the ratio of the “water” that drained versus the “water” that remains.

    and the water that evaporated from the bottle, the water that evaporated from the water that drained, the guy who drank from the water that was in the bottle, the water that drained that simply isn’t there for them to measure. etc etc etc. The best you can do is assume things.

    This has no analog with radioisotope decay, and other geological clocks

    why not?

  38. #38 Temi
    August 24, 2011

    You aren’t a scientist if you object.
    You have to actually object based on the evidence. You don’t. You make false analogies, and argue fallaciously from those.

    That’s not science. That’s just you being stupid.

    its false because you don’ like or agree. Its fallacious for the same reasons. I post a couple links in a previous post with talk on radiometric dating and some about the age of the earth. If that doesn’t help you.. Good luck with your religion that you call “science”. I am not against science, but I can tell the difference between proper science and a mountain of claims based on a worldview.

  39. #39 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    Yes, scientific ideas get overturned. So what? Scientific ideaws also remain despite scientist and nonscience alike calling it nonsense. It could be that you’ve uncovered a fatal flaw that geologists, geophysicists, and other physicists missed – but it could also be that you missed so mething too. So tell me, how have your years studying medicine equipped you to handle questions of geology? How much time have you spent studying the techniques of geologists and nuclear physics? Have you researched and demonstrated where those flaws lie in the scientific literature on the matter? If no, who gives a damn any more about your training as a scientist?

    yes, you could be right. But it’s not worth anything if the best you can do is make an analogy of why it could be wrong in the comments of a blog. Where’s your evidence?

  40. #40 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    You assume i haven’t. I have looked into evolution deeply and have listened to what many scientists say about it.

    We were talking about geology, not evolution. But you haven’t studied evolution.

    I bet you can’t even summarize what evolution is, if you get it confused with geology.

    Unfortunately their claims don’t sound very scientific AT ALL. It simply happened because they think it did and must have.

    You mean, they reason from the evidence of the real world. Gosh, how unscientific! Clearly, they should look in an old book instead of looking at the real world, right?

    What else could be the explanation?

    Oh, oh, I know!

    An invisible person with magical superpowers!!

    That’s the “scientific” explanation you want, right?

    You don’t quite seem to get my point.

    Your point is just stupid science denialism.

    I said people compromise their religion for the sake of someone else’s naturalistic world view.

    Right; they accept reasoning from evidence instead of religious dogma. And that’s bad, right? Because religious dogma is always better,

    Whether or not I would praise science for agreeing with religion is irrelevant when the science that the compromise is made for, is weak.

    Now you’re just lying, because the science “that the compromise is made for” is no “weaker” than any other part of science.

    There are scientists who say there is evidence for a young earth btw

    They are lying, or they are not scientists.

    I also never said I think the earth is 6000 years old.

    You’re a creationist; it doesn’t matter how old you think the earth is. If you disagree with the scientific consensus, you’re not doing so on scientific grounds, but on ideological ones.

    To be honest I do not think they had valid reason to come to that conclusion either.

    Yeah, right.

    You really are making huge assumptions about what I believe in your post.

    You’re a creationist, and you whine about the age of the earth based on stupid science denialism that I’ve only heard from YECs. It’s not a huge assumption to to conclude that you think that the earth is about 6,000 years old, within an order of magnitude or two.

    I’d ask you how old you think the earth is, but you’ll probably evade the question by whining stupidly about how it can’t be known, even to an estimate, blah blah blah.

    Make a point or shut up.

    it’s false to you.

    It’s false to reality, which is what really matters.

    The assumptions made for dating methods at least include that element of knowing the past and knowing the system was a closed one for billions of years and knowing that everything stayed constant essentially. Not only is the claim of billions of years, it is a claim that every single second of those billions of years comply with your assumptions.

    Still more lies about the science of radiometric dating. If the system isn’t closed, there will be evidence that it wasn’t closed, and the dates will be adjusted accordingly.

    You can’t stop lying, can you?

    and the water that evaporated from the bottle,

    False analogy, liar. Where does a parent isotope “evaporate” to?

    the water that evaporated from the water that drained,

    False analogy, liar. Where does a daughter isotope “evaporate” to?

    the guy who drank from the water that was in the bottle,

    False analogy, liar. What guy even exists to “drink” from a parent isotope? How is he supposed to carry out this alleged drinking?

    the water that drained that simply isn’t there for them to measure.

    False analogy, liar. What, daughter isotopes just vanish?

  41. #41 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    its false because you don’ like or agree. Its fallacious for the same reasons.

    It’s false and fallacious because you don’t care about truth.

    I am not against science,

    Liar.

    but I can tell the difference between proper science and a mountain of claims based on a worldview.

    Liar.

  42. #42 NJ
    August 24, 2011

    Temi@34:

    Maybe you missed the logic altogether and are imposing yours on it.

    So…..chew-toy it is then!

    Someone making a claim about the roman empire is nothing compared to a claim encompassing billions of years.

    But (in your apparent view) if you don’t have direct knowledge then it doesn’t matter. I also note that you didn’t touch the crime analogy (in case your problem is one of length of time), or the religion analogy.

    Funny that.

    Oncologists can see cancer and have much more reason to believe it is there. Your logic is failing you again.

    And I can see that the lava flow that overlays the sediments and is cut by the fault is necessarily between them in age.

    And I can see the amounts of U and Pb, and Rb and Sr, and Nd and Sm, and Lu and Hf in the minerals in the rocks.

    And I can see that despite the different chemical systems and decay constants that I get the same radiometric date.

    And I can see that this result is consistent with the work of many other researchers around the world.

    There clearly is logic failure here, sport; if you want to see the source go find a mirror.

    Seems to me that for someone not to believe it, they have to have investigated it instead of taking it on faith that it is that age as they are told.

    Thank you for making my point. I’m the actual researcher in the field; you are the poseur with the unrelated degrees.

    Oh and if you have Master’s in medical physics, then why are you arguing against radioactive decay? Isn’t that your job? Or are you just making shit up again?

    I don’t take scientists as gods.

    Gee, me either!

    So yes I can call them out on weak science.

    Except you still haven’t shown any, haven’t even tried to, just asserted it sans evidence. What do we call this?

    Oh, yeah! Weak.

    It seems pretty obvious to me the flaws in their claims

    Then give specifics. Otherwise its obvious to everyone else that you don’t have a clue.

    I see no reason, at the least, to change my world views to theirs based on THEIR assumptions and what are essentially faith based claims.

    Asserted without evidence. Again. Logic really isn’t your friend.

    You arent a scientist or an authority if you don’t listen to our assumptions based on our worldviews.

    Ibid. State some of these assumptions or worldviews that you think are problematic. Or continue to get chewed.

    Temi @ 36:

    I have looked into evolution deeply and have listened to what many scientists say about it. Unfortunately their claims don’t sound very scientific AT ALL. It simply happened because they think it did and must have.

    Sentence #3 is in direct contradiction to sentence #1. Almost as if…you were reading what someone else wrote and didn’t understand it. Quel surprise! Fortunately for all the world, you have not been elected as the supreme arbiter of what is sciency enough.

    I said people compromise their religion for the sake of someone else’s naturalistic world view.

    Classic creationist conflation of philosophical naturalism with methodological naturalism. A-plus for parroting ability, F for understanding.

    The assumptions made for dating methods at least include that element of knowing the past and knowing the system was a closed one for billions of years and knowing that everything stayed constant essentially. Not only is the claim of billions of years, it is a claim that every single second of those billions of years comply with your assumptions.

    Conratulations! You have finally made some specific claims. And in my field, no less.

    There is no assumption explicit or implicit of knowing the past in radiometric dating.

    The hypothesis (note: not an assumption) that the radiometric system was closed with respect to those isotopes is testable with age diagnostic techniques such as isochron methods, it is testable by measuring multiple independent isotopic systems, it is testable by comparing the results with the independently determined relative age, the process of which works without any preconception of actual ages.

    The only assumption here is that of the constancy of the basic rules of the Universe, which is required for everyday life. If you wish to speculate that physics was very different in the past, you will need to provide physical evidence thereof, and demonstrate how your explanation is superior to the prevailing one.

    How about that? No name calling, no snark, just a series of straightforward statements. And all you had to do is offer some specifics…

    Good luck with your religion that you call “science”. I am not against science, but I can tell the difference between proper science and a mountain of claims based on a worldview.

    Ah, well that was short…

    No. You can’t tell the difference. You have demonstrated that. You are projecting, accurately perceiving your own failings (a religious worldview that conflicts with physical reality) and assigning that failure to others.

    We don’t need ‘years in medical school’ to diagnose this.

  43. #43 Kel
    August 24, 2011

    It’s fairly common for people who perceive themselves to be pro-science (most people are) to claim that science they reject for ideological reasons is due to it being bad science. Climate change, for example, is often described as bad science and a figment of left-wingers with an agenda, meanwhile many on the left do the same thing with medicine or GM crops – citing them as bad science pushed by big corporations looking for a profit. Creationists often brand their opponents as atheists (including religious scientists) yet the support for evolution among scientists isn’t down theistic/atheistic lines.

    again it could be that evolution is little more than an atheist ideology pushed onto the wider community of non-atheist science. But interestingly enough, it’s the opponents of evolution who see it in such ideological terms – while the biologist just give evidence after evidence in support of evolutionary theory. In other words, creationists tell me how ideological evolution is, while evolutionists just give me the evidence…

  44. #44 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    [Testing]

      asa3.org

  45. #45 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2011

    Hm.

    [Testing some more]

      /ASA/resources/Wiens.html

  46. #46 Temi
    August 25, 2011

    @Kel

    So what prevents those saying it is science to do it for similar reasons? Accusing one side of something doesn’t excuse the other side of possibly doing the same. None of this is that simple. When scientists repeatedly explain evolution as fact using micro-evolution and very weak microbiological evidence as support, I tend to not believe them. It shows they really aren’t thinking. When a scientist starts going off about crystals forming DNA because they are ordered, I tend to think he is grabbing at straws for some reason. I know religious people accepted evolution. I know that even people high up in catholic circles and other religions are quite willing to take God completely out of the equation to please the theory. Doesn’t mean I have to do the same. Nobody ever actually supports this thing and the reasons they think the earth is as old as they say has just as little fact to it.

    Your comment before this is interesting again. Neither of us is in the particular fields you mentioned yet you think you are right in taking their views on it DESPITE the obvious BASIC problems with the things they say. In the case of evolution I really don’t think there is much to argue. The theory is stupid and started off stupid. Darwins conclusion from what he saw was basically retarded. One thing that could be argued is the age of the earth, but like I said (links will be shown eventually I hope) the assumptions there are massive ones. i see no reason for a religious person to accept them (my entire point here) when they are so weak

    @NJ and owlmirror I won’t be replying to you. I am not getting in a hostile exchange with your rhetoric. I posted links that I highly down, now, would budge any of your views. Hopefully they are accepted by the mod.

  47. #47 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    Temi, you’re right. It could very well be that there are people on both sides for ideological reasons – but the point I was trying to distinguish was between the reasonableness of the science versus the claims of ideology. In the case of evolution, when I read biologists on the matter, they don’t make their case by trying to convince me God doesn’t exist – they talk about fossils, and morphology, and genetics, and observations of natural selection in action. While some biologists make no secret of their atheism (just as some profess their theism), they make their case on the evidence. Their stand to the validity of evolution is on the evidence

    creationists, on the other hand, i’m often coming across Creationists who make it about God. They complain that science unfairly excludes God, or that evolution is part of the godness agenda, or that evolution means that God doesn’t exist. So if evolution really is an ideology and not good science, why is it creationists who bring God into it? If it’s bad science, then surely that could be demonstrated scientifically… But it isn’t, it’s the people who complain about evolution who pretend that the scientific community is conspiring to deny God, while the evolution poponents talk evidence.

  48. #48 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    The funny thing is, Temi, you’re illustrating my point for me. Notice that I haven’t mentioned God at all in talking about evolution. I haven’t made accepting evolution conditional on denying God – I kept referring to the evidence. Yet in your rejection of evolution you’ve brought God into focus and not even bothered to show evolution as bad science.

  49. #49 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    When scientists repeatedly explain evolution as fact using micro-evolution and very weak microbiological evidence as support, I tend to not believe them.

    You don’t believe them because your blind ideology prevents rational thought, which is necessary for reasoned belief. You don’t actually understand anything about the science, and you have no refutation.

    It shows they really aren’t thinking.

    It shows that not only are you not thinking, you aren’t aware of how to think without committing logical fallacies.

    g. When a scientist starts going off about crystals forming DNA because they are ordered, I tend to think he is grabbing at straws for some reason.

    Because you know all about how DNA actually forms, and it’s magic, right?

    Nobody ever actually supports this thing and the reasons they think the earth is as old as they say has just as little fact to it.

    Or rather, evolution is supported by all of the science done so far, and the reasons the earth is as old as geologists say is based on the facts of geology.

    Neither of us is in the particular fields you mentioned yet you think you are right in taking their views on it DESPITE the obvious BASIC problems with the things they say.

    You haven’t shown any basic problems. You’ve shown that you have no idea how to do basic science and use basic reasoning.

    In the case of evolution I really don’t think there is much to argue.

    That’s good, because you don’t actually have a valid argument.

    The theory is stupid and started off stupid.

    Or rather, you are stupid, and you started off stupid.

    Darwins conclusion from what he saw was basically retarded.

    Or rather, it is the correct conclusion that you are basically retarded.

    i see no reason for a religious person to accept them (my entire point here) when they are so weak

    Right, because only religious dogma is “strong”. Of course, that’s what a lying religious fanatic would say.

    I won’t be replying to you.

    Of course not. You prefer to lie.

    I am not getting in a hostile exchange with your rhetoric.

    Right. You’re a hypocrite, and only want to deliver hostility, not take it. Liar and hypocrite that you are.

    I posted links that I highly down, now, would budge any of your views.

    Right; you linked to a YEC liar whose lies you like.

    Hopefully they are accepted by the mod.

    The mode is probably asleep right now.

    I posted a link too. You could go to the site #44, using the continuation of the link in #45. But it wouldn’t matter, because the writer isn’t a YEC, and you prefer YEC lies to truth.

  50. #50 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    Yet in your rejection of evolution you’ve brought God into focus and not even bothered to show evolution as bad science.

    Gosh, Kel, didn’t you see his brilliant refutation of Darwin? He wrote that Darwin’s theory was stupid and his conclusion was retarded! Clearly, this blithering fapnoggin dipstick has refuted a hundred and fifty years of science with a couple of sentences!

  51. #51 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    Biologists do claim eviidence for common descent. One such piece of evidence is the pseudogenes associated with synthesising vitamin c. The genetic code has been broken by mutation in apes and old world monkeys, but not new world monkeys. Moreover it’s the same mutation in all species. And since mutation accumulates through time, the similarity of the genetic code between species can be compared.

    So not only is there a structure that shows common descent, but it shows the same tree of life pattern that was derived on the basis of morphology.

  52. #52 Temi
    August 25, 2011

    @Kel

    My first comment here had God in it. Sorry if you wanted to discuss on your own terms. The fact is that evolution is a pretty nice foot in the door for atheism. Some evolutionists have been honest enough to admit that and admit it lead to their atheist views.

    Me saying that doesn’t automatically mean I am rejecting it based on ideology. I can easily decide to buy the garbage and believe it like so many other theists. I intially looked into the issue because I was questioning my religious views. All I found was ridiculous claims. What evidence would you like against evolution? I know you probably know about ID already and reject it (based on what?). You probably know that DNA and the nuances of organisms coming about by random mutations is very unlikely. You probably know that scientists have no proper explanation for how we have all this information in life or how life started in the first place. If you’ve checked the theory you would have seen those problems, yet you still believe it. Do you bother evaluating the evidence they give you? Do you eliminate all the microevolution “evidence” and focus on those that aren’t meaningless in that way? Do you then look at fossils and realize that anyone claiming anything such as evolution does, based on fossils needs to be questioned? Do you realize that there are no transitional fossils and the claims of them are highly speculative and sometimes have been outright frauds? Let me ask you something relevant to fossils. If the platypus was to go extinct in the next decade and someone 1000 years from now saw a fossil of it, do you think they would call it a transitional (having no information on the animals existence)? There is even one particular case where they called an animal to have lived millions of years ago, gone extinct and then found the thing living just as it was in the fossils.

    I am almost certain all the evidence you have doesn’t actually support evolution. Like morphology, natural selection, fossils and genetics. All of what you mentioned basically. Morphology – would you advocate making cars with square wheels? So does morphology being similar mean something could not have been created or that the design was a good one?
    Natural selection – demonstrating this doesn’t prove evolution in anyway. Till natural selection and mutations are shown to change an animal fundamentally. Natural selection as a matter of fact works on existing traits. Most of the quoted instances are miserable misunderstandings.
    Genetics – how do genes evolve in the first place and do similarities have to be interpreted the same way they are in the case of morphology?
    Fossils – dealt with

    It’s often science vs God for too many people. Even dawkins says the world looks designed but evolution gives us an explanation that doesn’t require God. He now says the world only gives the illusion of design. Why? because its how he wants it to be. Maybe you aren’t aware of that. Even Huxley who helped darwin when he was talking about his theory did it to kill religion. Now they have managed to get things to where you can’t question the theory without damage. You can’t tell a child that it is to be looked at deeply and not just taken as outright fact. They oppose that simple idea of letting children think. Why?

  53. #53 Malchus
    August 25, 2011

    Temi, NJ isn’t using rhetoric. He’s using facts. Facts in his own field. Either you can dispute them or you can’t, but simply stating that you’re not going to bother to engage them makes you look as though you were UNABLE to engage them.

    If you are ignorant of geology – a reasonable deduction given the simplistic, non-scientific language you’ve employed so far – you should say so and concede that you are unable to have an informed opinion in that field.

    But you appear to be the one fond of rhetoric.

  54. #54 Malchus
    August 25, 2011

    What evidence would you like against evolution?

    Anything you have.

    I know you probably know about ID already and reject it (based on what?).

    Because it’s an unsupported conjecture, offered without evidence.

    You probably know that DNA and the nuances of organisms coming about by random mutations is very unlikely.

    How unlikely? Be precise.

    You probably know that scientists have no proper explanation for how we have all this information in life or how life started in the first place.

    Your first point is false, and your second is true, but irrelevant.

    If you’ve checked the theory you would have seen those problems, yet you still believe it.

    You haven’t presented any problems so far. And I don’t “believe it”; I accept it as the best current explanation.

    Do you bother evaluating the evidence they give you?

    Yes. I actually finished med school.

    Do you eliminate all the microevolution “evidence” and focus on those that aren’t meaningless in that way?

    Why should I discard evidence?

    Do you then look at fossils and realize that anyone claiming anything such as evolution does, based on fossils needs to be questioned?

    Why? Be precise.

    Do you realize that there are no transitional fossils and the claims of them are highly speculative and sometimes have been outright frauds?

    You are wrong. There are millions of transitional fossils.

    Let me ask you something relevant to fossils. If the platypus was to go extinct in the next decade and someone 1000 years from now saw a fossil of it, do you think they would call it a transitional (having no information on the animals existence)?

    Yes. Because it is.

    There is even one particular case where they called an animal to have lived millions of years ago, gone extinct and then found the thing living just as it was in the fossils.

    No, the coelacanth is not just as it was in the fossils. And what does its continued existence have to do with the validity of evolution?

  55. #55 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    You’re not quite grasping my point, Temi, so i’ll rephrase:

    Whether or not evolution is a good reason to be an atheist, or that evolution is atheistic in nature, it doesn’t change the quality of evolution as a science. If you want to show that evolution is bad science, then you need to show where it fails as a science. No matter how hard you push the link between evolution and atheism, it doesn’t even address the scientific validity of evolution.

    think of it this way. Imagine someone said Jesus wasn’t a historical figure because Jesus is there to prop upa particular religious faith. Christians believe in Jesus as their saviour so of course they’re going to say Jesus is real. But is that Jesus is central to Christianity mean that all claims to Jesus being historical can be dismissed on ideological grounds? Of course not. Jesus as a historical figure is a separate question to Jesus being a product of ideology. Whether or not there was a historical Jesus doesn’t depend on what we believe – but what historical evidence exists.

    if you’re adament that evolution is bad science, you need to show that on scientific grounds. It doesn’t matter whether evolution implies atheism to whether it’s good science. If it’s good science and implies atheism, then that’s good reason to be an atheist – not to reject the science.

  56. #56 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    [Bleh. Comment held. Trying again in parts.]

    The fact is that evolution is a pretty nice foot in the door for atheism.

    Right, because God can’t evolve. You’re so good at telling God what he can and can’t do.

    Some evolutionists have been honest enough to admit that and admit it lead to their atheist views.

    Evolution leads to atheism because evolution leaves less and less for God to actually do.

    But creationists have no evidence that God actually does anything.

    So they just sneer at evolution. Religious ideology, not science.

    Me saying that doesn’t automatically mean I am rejecting it based on ideology.

    True. You’re rejecting it based on ideology because you’re a ideological fanatic.

    I intially looked into the issue because I was questioning my religious views. All I found was ridiculous claims.

    You mean ridiculous claims like an invisible person with magical superpowers creating all life about 6,000 years ago?

    What evidence would you like against evolution?

    You have no evidence against evolution.

    I know you probably know about ID already and reject it (based on what?).

    ID isn’t evidence against evolution because it isn’t a coherent concept.

    Mike Behe — who came up with ID — accepts common descent and a 4.5 billion-year-old earth, by the way. I guess you think you’re smarter than he is, right?

  57. #57 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    [Bleh. Comment held. Trying again in parts.]

    You probably know that DNA and the nuances of organisms coming about by random mutations is very unlikely.

    Kel knows that in addition to random mutations there is natural selection, and genetic drift, and that this process is not very unlikely; it’s supported by evidence.

    You probably know that scientists have no proper explanation for how we have all this information in life or how life started in the first place.

    You can’t even define “information”, and life’s origin isn’t relevant to the process of evolution, which is observed in all organisms.

    If you’ve checked the theory you would have seen those problems, yet you still believe it.

    These aren’t problems, except for very stupid people, who have no idea what they are talking about.

    Do you bother evaluating the evidence they give you? Do you eliminate all the microevolution “evidence” and focus on those that aren’t meaningless in that way?

    Only dishonest and stupid people would say to that ignoring the evidence is the same as evaluating the evidence, or that the evidence is meaningless.

    Do you then look at fossils and realize that anyone claiming anything such as evolution does, based on fossils needs to be questioned?

    Fossils don’t need to be questioned. Fossils are evidence for evolution.

    Do you realize that there are no transitional fossils

    Do you realize that you have no idea what a transitional fossil is, and that indeed, all fossils are transitional?

    and the claims of them are highly speculative and sometimes have been outright frauds?

    Do you realize that the claims about transitional fossils are based on evidence, and that the “outright frauds” were found out by paleontologists examining the fossils themselves?

    Do you realize that paelontologists can make a prediction about which geological stratum a particular transitional fossil might be found in, and then go to that stratum, and find a the transitional fossil predicted?

  58. #58 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    And yes, Temi, I’m aware of what ID is. Just what about ID is evidence against evolution? Irreducible Complexity is a non-starter conceptually (it was a prediction of evolutionary theory as far back as 1918) and all such claims of IC structures have turned out to be reducible. Meanwhile most other ID arguments centre around how improbable evolution is… The design inference (that it’s either law, chance, or design – and it’s not law or chance) has not modelled evolution, instead making calculations based on the possible arrangements of DNA without taking contingency into account.

    So what is it about ID that’s evidence against evolution?

  59. #59 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    [Bleh. Comment held. Trying again in parts.]

    Let me ask you something relevant to fossils. If the platypus was to go extinct in the next decade and someone 1000 years from now saw a fossil of it, do you think they would call it a transitional (having no information on the animals existence)?

    Yes. Because all fossils are transitional.

    There is even one particular case where they called an animal to have lived millions of years ago, gone extinct and then found the thing living just as it was in the fossils.

    So what?

    I am almost certain all the evidence you have doesn’t actually support evolution.

    Because you’re a liar, and you’re very stupid.

    Like morphology, natural selection, fossils and genetics. All of what you mentioned basically.

    Right. All of the evidence doesn’t count, because you say so.

    Morphology – would you advocate making cars with square wheels?

    Another false analogy. Living organisms aren’t vehicles.

  60. #60 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    [Bleh. Comment held. Trying again in parts.]

    So does morphology being similar mean something could not have been created or that the design was a good one?

    Except that life is replete with bad design; with living forms that make no sense except in light of evolution.

    I mean, seriously, who would design the human throat so that it’s possible to choke on swallowed food, or put the reproductive system in the same place as the excretory system?

    That’s stupid design.

  61. #61 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    [Bleh. Comment held. Trying again in parts.]

    Natural selection – demonstrating this doesn’t prove evolution in anyway.

    What a stupid assertion. Natural selection is part of evolution!

    Natural selection as a matter of fact works on existing traits.

    So what?

    Most of the quoted instances are miserable misunderstandings.

    Misunderstandings of what? Really, this is your refutation; vague nonsense about “misunderstandings?”

    You understand nothing at all.

    Genetics – how do genes evolve in the first place and do similarities have to be interpreted the same way they are in the case of morphology?

    They don’t have to be interpreted the same way; they simply do match morphological similarities — which supports evolution, of course.

    At least, it does for people who aren’t complete ideological fanatics and morons.

    You can’t tell a child that it is to be looked at deeply and not just taken as outright fact.

    You can’t lie to children and tell them that it’s not a fact.

    They oppose that simple idea of letting children think.

    They completely support letting children think. They oppose ideological fanatics like you lying to children and trying to promote your confused and fallacious thinking.

  62. #62 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    Temi, instead of reading Dawkins for the smoking gun to link evolution and atheism, perhaps you should read him to understand how evolution works. Evolution is a non-random process: mutations are random but selection is not. To give a biological example, think of a mutation that gives an insect a slightly better camouflage. The insect is less likely to be eaten and the gene for camouflage should spread through the population over subsequent generations. And further muutation that gives an even better camouflage will get passed on, thus over time evolution orders randomness by the beneficial random mutations getting passed on while the nonbeneficial do not.

    To illustrate the principle, think of admissions to university. Yale, hypothetically, will have a graduate class with people who scored over 1500 on their exam – yet people with all sorts of scores might apply. It’s no act of God that organises this way, just selection criteria. In the case of Yale, it’s people who score highly on tests. In nature, a sharer tooth helps a predator, and a defence mechanism helps prey. Things that help the genes into subsequent generations is what orders the random mutations.

    so to call evolution a random process fundamentally misrepresents how evolution works!

  63. #63 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    *shakes tiny fist at hyperactive and inconsistent spam filter*

  64. #64 Richard Simons
    August 25, 2011

    Temi:

    I know you probably know about ID already and reject it (based on what?).

    Based on the fact that it is completely vacuous. No ID supporter has ever been able to make a prediction based on ID and certainly has never tested it, or even been able to rigorously define it. ID is a useless concept that I strongly believe will never become a theory.

    I looked at one of your links on dating. It started with some claims about using C14 for dating fossils, which gave me a good indication of what to expect (C14 is never used to date fossils) then proceded to given a large number of vague, largely undocumented claims. If you are the scientist you claim to be (and I don’t believe this for one moment) you would know that this is not an example of meticulous research.

    Regarding your claim that transitional forms do not exist: look at the photos of various human and non-human skulls and tell me where the correct division occurs. Be aware that creationists disagree, because they form a continuum.

  65. #65 Richard Simons
    August 25, 2011

    Temi: it has been my experience that most people who are upset by the idea and theory of evolution do not have even a basic understanding of the theory. Please could you describe just what you consider to be the salient points of the theory of evolution.

  66. #66 Cubist
    August 25, 2011

    Scientifically speaking, the reason to dismiss ID is very simple: There’s no ‘there’ there — it’s too damned vague. ID can be accurately summarized in seven words: Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something. ID-pushers don’t like this summary, but thus far, I haven’t yet run across any ID-pusher who could demonstrate how/where ID is inaccurately characterized by this seven-word summary.

  67. #67 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    Damn, comment moderation…

    I know you probably know about ID already and reject it (based on what?).

    Why I reject ID…

    Short answer: Rebranding creationism doesn’t make creationism any more scientific.

  68. #68 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    … continuing …

    Long answer: Intelligent Design doesn’t actually make any predictions about life as we see it, rather the entire point of the exercise is to infer that a designer was involved. Except without making any predictions about what a designer did and how we can test for it, we can’t really know that a designer was there. So instead what the ID movement has done for the last 20 years is focused on eliminating evolutionary theory – concepts like irreducible complexity were meant to show a designer was involved because they couldn’t evolve. Except by showing that it couldn’t evolve by natural selection doesn’t actually show a designer did it, it just means we don’t know how it came about. So my main objection Intelligent Design would be that it’s making an argument from ignorance. And until such time as it makes specific predictions and is testable / falsifiable, all it’s doing is saying what we can’t yet explain because it’s complex and has a purpose must therefore be the work of one or more designers. It’s no more helpful today to make that gambit than it would have been 200 years ago in the absence of natural selection.

  69. #69 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    … continuing …

    In terms of its scientific content, intelligent design is empty. So I reject Intelligent Design on those grounds. But to get back to my short answer, Intelligent Design was conceived in the aftermath of Creation Science being declared unconstitutional, it’s just re-branded creationism. And unlike the tenuous link between evolution and atheism, here there is a clear ideological agenda. The Wedge document, for example, highlights the aspiration of the Discovery Institute (the leading ID proponents) is: “To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies” and “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God”. As leading ID proponent William Dembski put it: “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Call that science?

  70. #70 Kel
    August 25, 2011

    … continuing …

    In other words, ID is the ideology that you accuse evolution of being. Now I want to point out that I’m not saying that one or more designers weren’t involved in the process of life, indeed we couldn’t explain life as it is now without human intervention in the process. We have theories of intelligent design: in the case of livestock, in the case of selective breeding, in the cases of genetic modification – these are all instances where we have intelligent beings playing their role in shaping life. But they are specific and limited instances of design, one where we know the designer and how that kind of design happens. Saying that there was some sort of design in the process of life without knowing what was designed or how the designer went about, on the other hand, doesn’t explain anything at all. It’s vacuous nonsense!

    [fin.]

  71. #71 Wow
    August 25, 2011

    “ID can be accurately summarized in seven words: Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something.”

    Worse, far worse than that.

    You need another five words:

    “and so stop asking questions.”

    It is, in plain fact, ANTI science. It INSISTS (just as religion does) that YOU MUST NOT question. If it’s “irreducibly complex”, then DO NOT ask if you can find how it happened (e.g. the flagellum).

    That would be the END of science.

    Which is what the creationists want.

    ID is far worse than just creationism with a white coat and clipboard. It’s an assassin, out to kill inquiry and science.

  72. #72 Wow
    August 25, 2011

    ” What evidence would you like against evolution? ”

    What have you got?

  73. #73 Wow
    August 25, 2011

    “meanwhile many on the left do the same thing with medicine or GM crops – citing them as bad science pushed by big corporations looking for a profit.”

    Though you can look at the EVIDENCE for that and conclude that “making the world a better place” is, if on the list at all, waaaay down that list.

    In fact, a common corporatist mantra is that any corporation acting like a money-grabbing asshole HAS to act like a money-grabbing asshole “because that’s the law!”. Except it isn’t. The corporation DOES NOT have to extract every penny possible legally. It might get the board thrown out by a SHAREHOLDER vote, but they CANNOT institute legal actions. A corporation has to heed, in order of descending precedence:

    1) The customer. They have the money you want.
    2) The workers. They produce the work that the customer (hopefully) wants in exchange for their money.
    3) The shareholders. They prime the pumps, but they DO NOT make a corporation without workers or customers work.
    4) The management. You can manage a long time with very little management, maybe none. You’ll probably be less efficient without it, but you an still operate. So in essense, they’re really the go-between between the workers and the shareholders, and the customers and the business.

    But look at the drugs pharma produces. No cures, that gets R&D from government and occasional help from philanthropy, but treatments. Treatments that are damn expensive.

    Remember the case where India said “Your drug is too expensive. We’ll just ignore your patent and make it ourselves”. The price came down hugely.

    Why? Because the pharmaceutical company DEMANDS monopoly rent.

    NOTE: More is spent on marketing than on R&D, and most drugs are a minor improvement on previous patented drugs, brought out only when the patent on the old version is running out.

    Money maximisation.

    Now look to see what “money maximisation” scheme can be entertained by a scientist-wide conspiracy to fake Global Warming…

  74. #74 NJ
    August 25, 2011

    Temi@46:

    @NJ and owlmirror I won’t be replying to you. I am not getting in a hostile exchange with your rhetoric.

    me@42:

    Conratulations! You have finally made some specific claims. And in my field, no less.

    There is no assumption explicit or implicit of knowing the past in radiometric dating.

    The hypothesis (note: not an assumption) that the radiometric system was closed with respect to those isotopes is testable with age diagnostic techniques such as isochron methods, it is testable by measuring multiple independent isotopic systems, it is testable by comparing the results with the independently determined relative age, the process of which works without any preconception of actual ages.

    The only assumption here is that of the constancy of the basic rules of the Universe, which is required for everyday life. If you wish to speculate that physics was very different in the past, you will need to provide physical evidence thereof, and demonstrate how your explanation is superior to the prevailing one.

    How about that? No name calling, no snark, just a series of straightforward statements. And all you had to do is offer some specifics…

    When offered specific claims, you got a specific rebuttal. When you offered hostile rhetoric, you got hostile rhetoric back. In spades.

    And now a variety of people who actually understand the topics have come out to have a chew on you. Having fun yet? Or perhaps when uncomfortable arguments raised their ugly head you bravely turned your tail and fled.

    Ah, well. I’m sure it will feed the martyr complex you so dearly want to have.

  75. #75 Mu
    August 25, 2011

    What really gets me with the IDiots is that they don’t even put their theory to the right problem. We have two (probably) unsolvable issues in the history of everything right now, what triggered inflation of the universe, and what was the first abiogenesis. My god of gaps, your invisible sky fairy and the ID Cdesigner all fit nicely there, no science in the way.
    But no, they have to run against the parts that are well documented, scientific consensus, actual observably facts etc. Such idiocy really disproves ID, unless Dogma is right and god has a great sense of humor.

  76. #76 Temi
    August 25, 2011

    @wow

    wow… lol. You really think ID and religion are antiscience? Because if you did, and if it was true… we would still be in the dark ages. This isn’t about electronics or space exploration. This is about ORIGINS. This is the very area in which you would expect God to be an hypothesis yet people like you ignore the fact of all the religious scientists that contribute now and in the past to where we are and ignore the fact that looking at the world from a design standpoint might be beneficial and at least doesn’t stop you trying to understand it. I honestly find that opinion disgustingly dishonest. When someone says the lies about evolution (not you) should be taught anyway because they encourage thought, it is utterly DISGUSTING. People say that same foolishness when they finally accept that there is no evidence for evolution, they ask what would replace it. AS if humans cannot ever work knowing the world is designed even though the best scientists we have had and have now did that very thing.

    Keep spewing your ignorant garbage. Creationists want the end of science and science ends when we accept God. I personally have no tolerance for that kind of thinking and will pay it no mind any further.

    @Kel

    All scientists, not just Dawkins, do a very poor job of saying how evolution works. At some point it turns into “could have” “supposedly happened this way” etc etc. The only thing they can talk about solidly is microevolution, which is not the evolution they preach. Jumping from microevolution to macro is like me assuming, because I saw a car turn a corner and come towards me, that the car drove across the ocean by itself to get there. You eventually make a leap in logic that most people don’t even bother considering. I am ignoring your 2 comments before Dawkins because I already told you my point was about Jews and evolution. It’s what the article is about. I also did tell you basic problems with the evidence you think you have. People don’t like the word microevolution but we REALLY need to start doing the word evolution Justice. People can’t figure out the differences when evolution is used for everything. Its a bit deceitful when you point to evolution in the form of microevolution then say its proof of macro.

  77. #77 Temi
    August 25, 2011

    Is that the best example of evolution you have? You started with a fly, ended with a fly. That fly probably already had variations that included that camouflage. Your scientists look at that and make the typical jump in logic to “Oh, it came from a rock” It is completely OFF. How do you get from variations in organisms to macroevolution? Should we expect Gods creation to be static? There was this one really silly example of bacteria clumping together in the presence of a predator. The scientist (of course with his brain fixed on evolution) made the dumb conclusion that this is an example of how multicellularity might have come about. This is basically the height of sense when it comes to evolution. I should then assume that humans living in close proximity will evolve into some giant multihuman being? The notion that a land animal became a whale because it spent time around water is another one.

    Kel, at what point would you infer a designer? I ask because you may not realize the answer is none. If we had a worldview that required that a car could not be made by someone, I can bet you the same logic that applies to evolution could be used to make that car a product of natural forces.

    “call that science”? I call science a search for knowledge where-ever it leads. You seem to have an aversion to anything that might lead to God just like so many others. So once someone is religious and tells you something, you throw it out no matter how much sense it makes. You throw out ID, but your best answer is “we just don’t know yet”? Really? You don’t even want to consider another hypothesis. That is a tool used by evolutionists by the way. They know society has a thing about seeming religious when presented with any scientists view.

    It’s vacuous nonsense

    I bet you think evolution has done something for you that thinking that organisms were designed could not. ID would give you the same conclusions evolution did. Why? because evolution simply hides behind actual observable science and claims credit. Natural selection, mutations, DNA, Bacterial processes etc are not things we needed evolution to realize. They are processes we can observe today and probably more freely if we didn’t keep evolution in the mix just because we need something to hide from the truth. The big deal here is not about what we know and where we go with it. Its about where we came from. I would love to know how exactly you think the claims of macro-evolution help anything WITHOUT going right back to microevolution again. Its easy to have a theory of micro evolution without touching on origins, but your theory doesn’t stop there. It goes beyond practical useful science and pretends to be useful because it professes to be the same as the less radical parts.

    @NJ

    So what assumptions do you use to test that your assumptions are right?

    @Mu

    Really? What science is in the way? You would love it if everyone just accepted your worldview wouldn’t you? That is exactly how it works now in the world of science. How on earth is the theory supposed to be tested properly when anyone who doubts it gets that treatment? We think science selfregulates but how should that happen? Scientists can’t even openly debate the issue of evolution. People get fired or shut down just for doubting it. What exactly do you think this theory is about and why do you think it would be out if it was wrong? Do you not realize just what it MEANS? This is evolution or God. Its not just some science theory. Its everything. It is why anyone who doubts evolution becomes labelled a creationist, they know the alternative and want to avoid it. So what if that alternative is true? are we honest scientists to throw it away?

  78. #78 Temi
    August 25, 2011

    My last post started off directed at “Kel” btw

  79. #79 Mu
    August 25, 2011

    Temi, you’re obviously an adherent to one of the evangelical denominations that think Catholics and mainstream protestants are dangerous heretics for accepting evolution as fact. Which lets us to deduct that you probably believe in the literal truth of the bible, those 300 internal contradictions be damned. As such you’ve demonstrated such a degree of mental flexibility that describing yourself an honest scientist is not even a sign of delusion.
    To those of us with a slightly different definition of honest scientist, if an observable fact contradicts something someone else wrote down, be it Einstein or Moses, the fact is correct, and the writing needs to be redone.

  80. #80 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    It started with some claims about using C14 for dating fossils, which gave me a good indication of what to expect (C14 is never used to date fossils)

    Nit: 14C can be used (and is used) to date fossils that are less than 10 half-lives of 14C old.

  81. #81 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2011

    When someone says the lies about evolution (not you) should be taught anyway because they encourage thought, it is utterly DISGUSTING.

    Yes, creationist lies about evolution are utterly disgusting.

    Creationists want the end of science and science ends when we accept God.

    Finally, the truth comes out. Took you long enough.

    All scientists, not just Dawkins, do a very poor job of saying how evolution works.

    Liar.

    You haven’t read “all scientists”.

    You certainly haven’t understood any scientists working in evolutionary biology.

    At some point it turns into “could have” “supposedly happened this way” etc etc.

    While some evolutionary biologists speculate based on the evidence, creationists have nothing besides stupid speculation that completely ignores real evidence of the real world.

    The only thing they can talk about solidly is microevolution, which is not the evolution

    Why? Because you say so?

    Microevolution is evolution. Evolution is macroevolution that occurs over a long enough period of time.

    Jumping from microevolution to macro is like me assuming, because I saw a car turn a corner and come towards me, that the car drove across the ocean by itself to get there.

    No, you lying moron with your stupid false analogies, it’s like assuming that a ship that can sail one mile can sail a thousand miles, or ten thousand miles, or a hundred thousand miles, across the ocean.

    Evolution works. Science has the evidence. You have no evidence whatsoever that it doesn’t work.

    You eventually make a leap in logic that most people don’t even bother considering.

    It’s true that you don’t consider using logic.

    because I already told you my point was about Jews and evolution.

    Right. Your point was that religious dogma is better than evidence-based science, because you’re a religious fanatic.

    I also did tell you basic problems with the evidence you think you have.

    No, you didn’t. You demonstrated basic creationist misunderstanding of the evidence that science has.

    People don’t like the word microevolution but we REALLY need to start doing the word evolution Justice.

    If you cared about “justice”, you wouldn’t lie about science.

    People can’t figure out the differences when evolution is used for everything.

    If they can’t figure out the differences, they should study evolutionary biology.

    Its a bit deceitful when you point to evolution in the form of microevolution then say its proof of macro.

    Of course microevolution is evidence of macroevolution, just as microgravity is evidence of gravity, or micrometers are evidence of megameters.

    Evidence doesn’t stop being evidence just because religious fanatics say so.

  82. #82 Jason Rosenhouse
    August 25, 2011

    OK folks. I’m not sure why this very old thread has suddenly attracted so much attention now, but I don’t like my New Comments being taken up with this. I think everyone’s had their say, so I’m closing the comments here.

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