Pharyngula

After sitting through Hovind’s talk, I have seen the light. I’ve always been awfully hard on Christianity and Christians here, despising their beliefs and making mock of their nonsensical ideas and backwards social agenda. But this evangelist really reached out and grabbed me.

I now feel a great pity for them.

Hovind is one of the leading lights of fundamentalist Christianity in this country; the large auditorium was packed full, and they had to put up folding seats on the stage behind him to handle the crowd. They were enthusiastic and laughing and cheering and shouting “Amen!” throughout his talk. All I could think through it all was sorrow and sympathy for all the Christians who have willingly afflicted themselves with this clown, who have gullibly swallowed his lies. I am so sorry, Christians. I’m very embarrassed for you.

On a purely objective level, evaluating the presentation and the skill of the speaker, I was surprised: it was an exceptionally bad talk. You will often hear these creationist speakers praised for their rhetorical ability, if not their grasp of science, but I’m afraid Hovind was awful. We have weekly student seminars at my university, and sometimes students do a less than stellar job at this public speaking business…but I have never heard a speaker as incompetent as Hovind.

Yes, he spits out words fast with little fumbling, and he lards his talk with well-practiced folksy jokes, but it’s all so poorly organized and clumsily presented that it has no persuasive power at all. He is doing nothing but affirming the prejudices of his audience—he’s effective at that—but he’s not communicating any information at all effectively. I imagined him giving this talk to an informed audience, rather than the bussed-in church groups that were here, and his schtick would fall flat, and fall hard. Scientists have this expectation that they will learn something from a talk, you see, and that they’ll be able to evaluate the process by which the conclusions were arrived at; there was nothing like that here.

Even if you are sympathetic to Hovind’s claims, here is an indicator of what a poor speaker he is. This was scheduled to be a one hour talk. He showed up with a power point presentation containing over 700 slides. My personal rule of thumb for a good hour presentation is that if you’re a bit lazy and fill it chock-a-block with bullet points and text slides, 30 or 40 is about right; better talks pare it down to 20 or fewer data-rich slides and spend some time discussing each one. 700+ is practically criminal; it’s a declaration of rapid-fire superficiality, that you intend to steamroller the audience with no consideration for thought. Hovind is the anti-Tufte.

He also went over his allotted time—he talked for almost 2 hours. He knew it, too; at the hour mark, he mentioned that he was going to say just a few more things quickly, and then instead he went on and on, going all the way to the end of his list of power point slides. It was agonizingly bad. Again, though, his audience was predisposed to favor him, so nobody showed up with a hook.

What about his style? It was nothing but corn-pone jokes. He warmed up the audience beforehand with a continuous display of ‘witticisms’ projected on the big screen. Things like “Why is the third hand on a watch called a second hand?” and “Where does the light go when it goes out?” It was calculated, I’m sure, to rot the brains of the audience before the ringmaster came on. The audience actually laughed at these things. I was ready to leave, and he hadn’t even started talking.

That was the tone in the talk, too. He’d rant a bit about the awful lies scientists pack into textbooks, and then he’d trot out some tired old joke. It was like watching Hee Haw—I half-expected Junior Samples to show up.

(Hovind seems completely incapable of changing his tone. In the beginning, he was introducing his family in this same jokey way, when he pointed to a picture of his son-in-law in one picture and mentioned that he’d died of cancer just a few weeks ago. One serious and sad mention, then zip, right back to the jokes. It was very jarring, and brought one word to my mind: psychopath.)

In addition to dropping a joke everytime his brain lost its train of thought, he was incessantly plugging his videos—they were on sale in the lobby. Money was a constant theme, which is also not something I’ve seen at science talks. Maybe we need to start. I didn’t buy any of his videos, of course—this one lecture convinced me I don’t need to hear any more Hovind, especially not a Hovind babbling on for several hours in each of a dozen tapes. I really don’t know how Matt survived his experience with them.

As for the content of his talk: that wasn’t the point. This was an mutual backslapping session for creationists, not an evening of substance. The talk itself was irony-rich garbage. His message was that science textbooks, yea, even the ones in use at SCSU, were full of lies, and he, lover of science that he was, only wanted to see those lies removed. In order to do this, he gave a talk that was full of lies. About 700 of them, actually.

In those 700 slides, he raced through an incredible number of creationist canards: polystrate trees disprove gradualism,

non-existence of the geologic column,

fossils date the rocks and rocks date the fossils,

the Grand Canyon is young,

microevolution, not macroevolution,

humans don’t have gill slits,

mutations only destroy information, yadda yadda yadda. Seriously. They were all dead arguments presented at such a rapid clip that there was no time to think about them, let alone rebut them. And the lies were just so painfully blatant: as an example, he claimed that trilobites weren’t old and they weren’t extinct, and to ‘prove’ his claim, he showed a picture of an arctic isopod and announced that there it was, alive and crawling, proof that the biology professors have all been lying to you.

It was almost too much to take: Hovind was inciting the audience to tear pages out of biology books, to protest to the university about the lyin’ professors there, and he was doing it by lying non-stop.

I didn’t ask any questions. Once he shut up, I left; I don’t think there would have been any point to trying to rebut him, any more than there is any point to trying to rebut Hee Haw.

Oh, and one more thing: St Cloud State should feel a little shamefaced. We had a creationist visit UMM, and he was politely but forcefully out-argued by our students, and even though at least one church group was brought in, they were totally outclassed by the students. This event was more heavily stacked with family and church attendees, but the SCSU students seemed to be heavily pro-creationist. That’s not a good sign for a healthy university, unless they’re cynically aiming to recruit from the poorly educated pool. It might make economic sense, in the short run, but it’s very unfortunate to see my son’s degree cheapened that way just as he’s ready to graduate.

Comments

  1. #1 Janet Cohen
    April 29, 2006

    Dear Professor Myers,
    SCSU is commonly known for bigotry among administration, professors and students. With no disrespect intended sir, I am surprised you would let your child attend a school with such a poor reputation.
    BTW, I am a great admirer of yours and a U of MN Twin Cities Grad Student. Most sincerely, Janet

  2. #2 kmarissa
    July 20, 2007

    Why do people come back nearly a year later to attract everyone’s attention, again, to what morons they are? Didn’t we laugh at you enough the first time?

  3. #3 Steve_C
    July 20, 2007

    He didn’t mention his hero doing time in the Federal Prison.

    I wonder why that is.

  4. #4 Roger
    July 21, 2007

    PZ you really should inform your students that one year in the scheme of evolution is miniscule.

    I was expecting responses from someone more adult…

    Perhaps you should recruit someone to assist you, who has evolved a little further than mocking birds and laughing hyennas

  5. #5 Zarquon
    July 21, 2007

    It’s not as if yours and Hovind’s lies deserve anything other than mocking.

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    July 21, 2007

    You’re just blithering, Roger. People are mocking you because you seem to be incapable of saying anything of substance, but are just blindly defending Hovind.

    Here’s a proposal: pick ONE specific scientific claim from Hovind’s vast array of ‘refutations’ of evolution and present it here with some minimal support from you. You’ll get a much different response, I promise: people will directly address the claim. Go ahead.

    We’re waiting.

  7. #7 Roger
    July 21, 2007

    Thanks PZ….

    I do have a few questions, and I trust that you can give an answer to them…

    My first question to you is whether evolution is a theory, or a fact?

    (Hovind claims it is a theory – not a fact.)

  8. #8 Lepht
    July 21, 2007

    Roger, it’s both. evidence for it is overwhelming, making it a *scientific* theory, which is the same as an accepted fact.

    the fact that it is a theory does not mean there are people who can look at the evidence and reject it. the word does not hold the same meaning in science as it does in the layman’s world.

    and i’m not PZ. come over to my place if you wanna debate that, because i’m willing to answer any question you put to me.

    Lepht

  9. #9 Roger
    July 21, 2007

    Lepht, thanks for the civility in your response to my first question to PZ.

    My second question to PZ is what stumbling block does this theory have, preventing it from being a fact.

  10. #10 PZ Myers
    July 21, 2007

    Hovind reveals his ignorance of basic scientific terms with that false dilemma. It’s both a theory and a fact. Here, read these: Not just a theory and Evolution is a fact and a theory.

    You aren’t off to a good start here. Lepht also told you it’s both a theory and a fact. Why did you stumble on heedless with your second question? It is a fact. Nothing is preventing it from being a fact.

  11. #11 Roger
    July 21, 2007

    PZ, Lepht has written “the fact that it is a theory does not mean….”

    Now to me this can only be interpreted that it is a theory.

    So if nothing prevents it from being a fact, why do you attempt to classify it as fact and theory?

    Now my third question is related to another claim by Hovind that for this theory to be plausible, spontaneous life would have had to spring from a rock. Hovind claims that this evidence has not been found or duplicated. Was Hovind lying, or does such evidence exist?

  12. #12 PZ Myers
    July 21, 2007

    NOTHING IN SCIENCE IS PROVEN.

    Everything is provisional.

    The theory (which is an important category) of evolution is as well-substantiated as anything in science — it’s much better established than any theory of gravity.

  13. #13 Lepht
    July 21, 2007

    yes! exactly. we can’t outright PROVE anything in science, but we have a hell of a lot more evidence for evolution than Hovind and co. do for their creationist myth.

    so much, in fact, that evolution is an accepted theory, and creationism is not even classed as science.

    Lepht

  14. #15 Roger
    July 22, 2007

    Good day to you gentleman, I trust you folk are well there in the US of A

    Just to fill you in, I went to the dictionary to get some definitions on theory, fact, & hypothesis.

    Perhaps my dictionary is out of date (mid 70’s), but it ties up with my understanding that a theory is a speculation, as opposed to proof. Likewise this dictionary defines a hypothesis as a theory to be proved or disproved by reference to facts. This dictionary defines a fact as a deed or anything done, known to have happened, or to be true.(Chambers’s Etymological English Dictionary)

    In terms of these definitions would my understanding be incorrect to claim, that without proof, a theory remains just a theory, and cannot be classed as a fact?

    Perhaps PZ would then permit us to move on….

  15. #16 Roger
    July 22, 2007

    PZ, I was of the opinion that you would permit me the use of reference books, other than those prescribed by yourself, to verify this hypothesis. A dictionary has always been a useful tool for me to get understanding.

    It comes as a surprise to me that scientists have a very different dictionary to those of the layman, to whom they are trying to sell a theory as fact.

    Be that as it may, are you now willing to permit a response to my questions, from your team?

  16. #17 Lepht
    July 23, 2007

    ah yes, and i almost forgot; by your logic, if evolution is “just a theory” even after science has found evidence for it, no evidence against it, and accepted it as fact…

    … where does that leave the hypothesis with no evidence, plenty of counterevidence and zero real scientists positing it, creationism?

    L

  17. #18 MartinM
    July 23, 2007

    Roger, the dictionary defines ‘energy’ as “the ability to act, lead others, effect, etc., forcefully.”

    Try plugging that into a physics equation and see what comes out.

    Dictionaries typically record common usage, not detailed technical definition. However, take a look at dictionary.com’s entries for theory.

    The first two:

    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

    1) is a good, if simple, start to a definition of the word as scientists use it. 2) is the way you’re using it, and that definition doesn’t apply to evolutionary theory any more than it applies to atomic theory or germ theory.

  18. #19 Lepht
    July 23, 2007

    okay, i call time’s up.

    Roger, if you ever do decide to come back here, and you’re willing to actually debate properly and listen to what we’re saying instead of repeating “Just a theory! Just a theory! Just a theory!” to yourself, i’ll happily host an entire written one on the cases for and against evolution as a fact over at my place.

    i repeat once again that as i’m a techhead, my place is a blog, not a house, and its doors are open to everyone.

    i hope to actually hear from you, and not to see another creationist run off after he can’t convince the satanic atheists that the sky-daddy’s watching them.

    Lepht

  19. #20 Steve_C
    July 23, 2007

    Once again you’ve proven you have no understanding of science or evolution.

    Completely predictable too.

  20. #21 Rey Fox
    July 23, 2007

    “But then we also have theories which do not have the evidence to support it.”

    If there wasn’t EVIDENCE, then it wouldn’t be a proper THEORY. This sentence quite clearly shows to me that you have no willingness to discuss this in any useful way. The commenters here have taken great pains to define “theory” and “fact” to you, and you, quite willingly, just don’t get it.

    But we seem to agree that ideas, hypotheses, what-have-you, should be backed up by evidence. So lay it on us. Let’s hear what Mr. Hovind offers as evidence for his supposed theory. Otherwise, you’re just wasting our time. Playing the victim card won’t get you anywhere, because we’re all familiar with the tactic of provoking the blog regulars into getting testy and then cherry-picking the comments that disturb you the most and whining about how mean everyone is.

  21. #22 Lepht
    July 23, 2007

    they are the same thing. microevolution and macroevolution are the same process, and yes, our species is descended from apes. that is a fact, Roger, and one you are going to have to deal with. you cannot escape it by questioning the morals of scientists.

    you’re right, we can’t outright prove anything, especially not creationism. but i can and will show you the mountain of evidence for evolution, and the gaping void of similar for anything else. i promise you, i will show you the truth.

    TV is not evidence, Roger. claims are not evidence. i am talking about proper evidence – documents you can show that have clearly been altered, data that was collected scientifically but does not fit with the proposals of Darwinian evolution, computer records.

    someone saying a scientist has cheated is not enough.

    i shall not carry on with this discussion unless you can back up your claims. you say scientists rig the show – that is an insult to my profession and its search for the truth, and you must back it up with proof.

    i hope you don’t take that as a personal insult. it is not. i provide backup for my claims, and all i ask is that you do the same.

    Lepht
    http://sapiensanonym.blogspot.com

  22. #23 Stanton
    July 23, 2007

    i shall not carry on with this discussion unless you can back up your claims. you say scientists rig the show – that is an insult to my profession and its search for the truth, and you must back it up with proof.

    i hope you don’t take that as a personal insult. it is not. i provide backup for my claims, and all i ask is that you do the same.

    In my experience, the vast majority of Christians whom I’ve argued evolutionary biology with tend to take requests to do more research as insults or requests to procure evidence for their false claims as being apparently far worse than crass and unsubtle inferences about the fidelty of their mothers.
    Want to bet that Roger takes this that way, too?

  23. #24 Lepht
    July 23, 2007

    Stanton, all i can say is that for once i am glad to have the amount of medical problems i do.

    it means that this whole time i’ve been so sedated that you’re only seeing about a tenth of how pissed off i’d be without the analgesics, thus enabling me to carry on with this discussion.

    Roger, i’m waiting for evidence. not anecdotes, not your mate’s opinions – evidence. creationism, i must warn you, has none so far.

    Lepht
    (opiated)

  24. #25 Roger
    July 23, 2007

    Good grief Lepht, do you expect me to get this evidence for you right now….hell, it has taken you over a 150 years to come up with yours!!!! and you still cannot prove it….do you have any reason not to be reasonable?

  25. #26 Steve_C
    July 23, 2007

    I can make sense of it.

    Has any research done to substantiate the creationist viewpoint?

  26. #27 Lepht
    July 23, 2007

    Roger, Stanton is worrying that you’ll take my request for evidence as an insult and, feeling yourself to have been slighted, not come up with any.

    and actually, yes, i do expect speedy delivery. if the evidence exists, it will be publicised, and on the Net, probably in a scientific journal. so you should be able to dig it out pretty quickly.

    i am reasonable. that is why i do not believe things without evidence.

    Lepht

  27. #28 Roger
    July 23, 2007

    Excellent point you make there Sport
    But as I said I try not to convert you
    and I attempt not to prove creationism
    I do have difficulty getting you to prove your theory…
    We just cannot get passed this stumbling block
    Yet you will have me believe an unprovable theory as a fact
    Sorry…I cannot do that

  28. #29 Stanton
    July 23, 2007

    Good grief Lepht, do you expect me to get this evidence for you right now….hell, it has taken you over a 150 years to come up with yours!!!! and you still cannot prove it….do you have any reason not to be reasonable?

    Among other things, learn how to read, Roger: you spell my name as S-T-A-N-T-O-N.
    Secondly, if you actually knew how to read, you would realize that people have come up with literal lots of evidence for evolutionary biology, including the documentation of fossil organisms, such as the transition from paleotheres to horses and brontotheres, or the transition of small, hornless brontotheres such as Eotitanops, to giant, horned brontotheres such as Brontotherium, and the observation and confirmation of the appearance of new species arising from older species, such as the Giant Evening Primrose, Oenothera gigas arising from the seed of Lamarck’s Evening Primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, the London Underground Mosquito, Culex molestans arising from Culex pipiens, or the Honeysuckle Maggot Fly arising from hybridization between the Blueberry Maggot and Snowberry Maggot Flies.

    And what evidence have scientific creationists like Kent Hovind have brought forth in support of Creationism? Oh, wait, he never brought anything up besides lies and incoherent diatribes.

    It’s gross, willful ignorance like yours that makes me routinely disgusted with Creationists.

  29. #30 Steve_C
    July 23, 2007

    What’s unprovable? God? Yes.

    Yet you can’t except the fact of evolution. Oh the irony.

    You do know about DNA don’t you? Heard of speciation?

  30. #31 Stanton
    July 23, 2007

    You do know about DNA don’t you? Heard of speciation?

    No, he hasn’t, as most likely, his interpretation of Christianity forbids him from learning what “speciation” means under pain of infinite hellfire.

  31. #32 Roger
    July 23, 2007

    Lepht, I quickly went into Yahoo search, typed in Disgraced Scientist, and a number of sites came up

    I have not checked any of them yet,as you are pressing me….I am not even sure if one of these refers to the TV slot I mentioned to you. Would you mind checking these out in the meantime?

    It is now past 11.00 PM here, and I need to call it a night.

    Shall we continue with this tomorrow then?

  32. #33 Steve_C
    July 23, 2007

    We don’t come from apes. We’re descended from a common ancestor.

    There’s a difference.

    We are primates though. It’s a classification in science. Try researching our section of the evolutionary tree.

    Wouldit hurt these people to even WIKI the topics?

  33. #34 Owlmirror
    July 23, 2007

    Easy there, Steve.

    Roger has reading comprehension problems. Note his above confusion between “theory” (popular) and “theory” (scientific). Gotta word things very simply for him.

    Hm. I probably shouldn’t have used big words like “morphological” and “biochemical” and “hominid”, now I think of it.

  34. #35 Kent Hovind
    July 23, 2007

    Hovind pimps all professors that debate him! makes em look like asses! This entire site is a bunch of queers!

  35. #36 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    Although the above review was extremely negative, there was enough “honest” information in the review to make me wish I had been there and had been able to enjoy the solid data the man presented! It is those who cannot present rational and reasonable and convincing scientific counterpoints who are forced to resign themselves to “moaning” over the powerful data which exposes the Darwinian deception.

  36. #37 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    Roger, you’re a nonreligious creationist?

    P-W, honest information from Hovind? What are you smoking?

  37. #38 MartinM
    July 24, 2007

    It is those who cannot present rational and reasonable and convincing scientific counterpoints who are forced to resign themselves to “moaning” over the powerful data which exposes the Darwinian deception.

    What data’s that, then? Got anything of substance, or are you just here to troll?

  38. #39 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    You know, maybe my previous questions were just too hard to answer.

    I’ll try again, with one question, and I’ll keep it very short.

    Roger, what do you think “evolution” means?

  39. #40 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    Roger is a classic troll. I’ll condense his argument down.

    “I see no reason to accept the theory of evolution, I can’t be bothered to actually learn about the science and evidence involved, but Hovind seems to make sense to me, so I’ll let my thinking stop there. And I can’t be bothered to actually consider how life diversified and spread across the planet.”

    He claims to not be religious. And he’s also not interested in actual science. He just doesn’t feel comfortable with the fact that we share a common ancestor with modern primates. It hurts his ego or something. He’s much happier with the god did it theory. But not enough to actually pray to his creator.

  40. #41 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    P-W, honest information from Hovind? What are you smoking?

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 24, 2007 11:26 AM

    The review evidently by PZ Myers, a biologist, was the subject of my comment regarding “enough ‘honest’ information.”

    His review of the Hovind presentation, while obviously expressing extreme disenchantment with Hovind, was truthful enough to make me realize I would loved to have had the opportunity to have been at that two hour presentation so that I could have become more familiar with the overwhelming scientific evidence which is giving Darwinian macro-evolution a real run for its life.

  41. #42 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    Oh. You’re being sarcastic. I get it.

  42. #43 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    It is those who cannot present rational and reasonable and convincing scientific counterpoints who are forced to resign themselves to “moaning” over the powerful data which exposes the Darwinian deception.

    What data’s that, then? Got anything of substance, or are you just here to troll?

    Posted by: MartinM |

    The data presented by Hovind, by Creationists, and material written by recognized scientists and intellectual investigators which is available in Christian bookstores everywhere, who are not out to discredit the existence of a Creator.

  43. #44 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    Hovind doesn’t present data. He presents fiction and promotes ignorance.

    We don’t need to discredit the existence of a creator. There’s no evidence for one.

    Hovind is a conman and a liar.

  44. #45 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    Oh. You’re being sarcastic. I get it.

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 24, 2007 02:46 PM

    Quite the contrary, I am being rather blunt.

  45. #46 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    We don’t need to discredit the existence of a creator. There’s no evidence for one.

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 24, 2007 02:52 PM

    Evidence for the existence of a Creator is found in the existence of order and design and laws in the universe.

    Design indicates a Designer, order indicates an Organizer, and laws inidicate a Lawgiver.

  46. #47 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    You’re blunt like a hammer, you’re not the sharpest tool in the drawer either.

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 24, 2007 02:58 PM

    Evidence for the existence of a Creator is found in the existence of order and design and laws in the universe.

    Design indicates a Designer, order indicates an Organizer, and laws inidicate a Lawgiver.

    Posted by: P-W | July 24, 2007 02:57 PM

    By the way, this evidence for a Creator (the Watchmaker scenario), is based on inductive logic, which is part of the scientific method.

  47. #48 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    Evidence for the existence of a Creator is found in the existence of order and design and laws in the universe.

    Nonsense. Natural order and natural laws exist. They don’t prove anything outside of themselves. And the combination of those order and laws give the emergent appearance of design – without requiring an external designer.

  48. #49 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    Nonsense. Natural order and natural laws exist. They don’t prove anything outside of themselves. And the combination of those order and laws give the emergent appearance of design – without requiring an external designer.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 24, 2007 03:04 PM

    You are correct that natural order and natural laws do not “prove” anything outside of themselves, but they do provide evidence which can be interpreted. To me they are convincing evidence of a vastly Superior intelligence, since by inductive logic, a watch indicates a Watchmaker.

  49. #50 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    A watch also implies a tooler, a glass maker, a jeweler and various other suppliers of what it takes to make a watch.

    How many gods are there anyway?

  50. #51 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    Heck, why do you even need any more “solid data”? You have a set of glib truisms! By the way, do you have any evidence of who that designer is, and how he operates? Or is that the sort of thing we’re not supposed to ask?

    Posted by: Rey Fox | July 24, 2007 03:04 PM

    I find substantial evidence of that Designer in nature: in natural laws, design, and order throughout the fabric of the universe. Such complex order and design cannot even be found in the technology of man!

    Coincidentally, the evidence of the Designer I find in nature is harmonious with the Creator I find described in the Bible.

  51. #52 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    You are correct that natural order and natural laws do not “prove” anything outside of themselves, but they do provide evidence which can be interpreted.

    How do you know your interpretation is the correct one?

    Without additional evidence, your interpretation is without basis.

    To me they are convincing evidence of a vastly Superior intelligence, since by inductive logic, a watch indicates a Watchmaker.

    What watch? There is no watch. Therefore, there is no watchmaker.

  52. #53 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    hehehehe.

    AHAHAHAHA!

    Dats so scareeeee. I hope he never challenges me to a fiddlin’ duel!

  53. #54 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    “Coincidentally, the evidence of the Designer I find in nature is harmonious with the Creator I find described in the Bible.”

    Ah yes, coincidence. Has nothing to do with the religion in which you were raised, nope.

    Posted by: Rey Fox | July 24, 2007 03:44 PM

    You are correct that “coincidentally” may be a poorly chosen word. After all, if we are using inductive logic as a scientific method, the more general assumptions arrived at must be verifiable. The Bible verifies the general assumptions I have arrived at from my observations of nature, and adds much more than my feeble self is able to intellectually arrive at alone.

  54. #55 Bob
    July 24, 2007

    There is a reason for touting the tapes during these things: the creationists have to pay their own way with only tapes or donations supporting their research and expenses. The so called “real” scientists get their way paid for by the taxpayers.

  55. #56 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    No. Given the shoddy — indeed, nonexistent — quality of your proffered evidence, I am afraid that your implied thesis — that a “creation” and a “Creator” exists — is denied.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 24, 2007 03:48 PM

    I hardly think the word “shoddy” is appropriate when applied to the collective work of over forty authors living in varied cultures and varied geographical areas over a period of at least 1600 years. I do not agree with your conclusions.

  56. #57 Rey Fox
    July 24, 2007

    It’s just as well. I knew you had absolutely no intention of learning anything.

  57. #58 Steve_C
    July 24, 2007

    Wow. You’re a silly twit.

    All you need is right there in that 2000 year old book. Well, the King James version most likely… the latin version.

    The bible is evidence of absolutely nothing and it explains very little.

  58. #59 MartinM
    July 24, 2007

    The data presented by Hovind, by Creationists, and material written by recognized scientists and intellectual investigators which is available in Christian bookstores everywhere, who are not out to discredit the existence of a Creator.

    I was looking for something a little more specific.

    And what exactly do you make of the many Christian scientists who accept mainstream science?

  59. #60 Roger
    July 24, 2007

    I think Hovind is an outstanding christian scientist

  60. #61 MartinM
    July 24, 2007

    Hovind isn’t a scientist at all. He has no scientific training, does no scientific research, and is ignorance of even the most basic principles and methodologies of science.

  61. #62 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    All that matters is the observations; those things that the authors report on. Are they detailed and rigorous? Are they substantive? Are they reproducible? Do they hold up given later research?

    No. Either the observations are trivial and vague, or they are unfalsifiable, or they are obviously, evidently, false.

    Posted by: Owlmirror

    The Bible has endured criticism for centuries and milleniums because it can be tested, examined, and is consistently being verified by archaeology as to its historicity, as well as in the fact that macroevolution is being falsified by archaeology as well.

  62. #63 MartinM
    July 24, 2007

    …as well as in the fact that macroevolution is being falsified by archaeology as well.

    So where’s the data? You talk a lot, but where’s the substance?

  63. #64 Brownian
    July 24, 2007

    Really P-W? You have a cud-chewing rabbit? (Leviticus 11:6.)

    Tested.
    Examined.
    Found wrong.

    I suppose you’ll have to become a Hindu then. The Vedas have endured criticism for more millenia than the bible.

    You’d better hurry up and convert. The festival of Guru Poornima happens this Sunday.

  64. #65 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    The Bible has endured criticism for centuries and milleniums because it can be tested, examined, and is consistently being verified by archaeology as to its historicity,

    Nonsense. Parts of the Bible can be verified by archeology – and again, only relatively trivial parts at that. The city of Jericho exists. Pharaohnic Egypt existed, and so did the ancient state of Judea, and its neighbors and enemies.

    However, the Bible is not consistently verified. No tower of Babel, reaching into to the sky and abandoned has been found; no historical record of the Hebrews in Egypt; nothing that even suggests that a 40-year sojourn of a single people in the Sinai peninsula ever took place.

    And the Bible’s claims about natural history are still false, or trivial, or unverifiable, or unreproducible.

    Still rejected!

    as well as in the fact that macroevolution is being falsified by archaeology as well.

    Stuff and nonsense. The bible’s claims are falsified by modern science. Archeology has never falsified evolution.

  65. #66 Rey Fox
    July 24, 2007

    “macroevolution is being falsified by archaeology as well.”

    Archaeology is the study of human culture from historical times. You see why we’re disinclined to take your “scholarship” seriously?

  66. #67 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    Stuff and nonsense. The bible’s claims are falsified by modern science. Archeology has never falsified evolution.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 24, 2007 05:56 PM

    I seem to recall reading a quote by Darwin in which he expressed extreme concern over the fact that the fossil record failed to record the multitudes of “transitional forms” he postulated. He seemed to believe that the fossil record could prove his theory of macroevolution wrong. To this date I am unaware of any fossil transitional forms capable of verifying Darwin’s theory. His concern seems to have been justified that the fossil record could upset his theory.

  67. #68 P-W
    July 24, 2007

    P.W. said: By the way, this evidence for a Creator (the Watchmaker scenario), is based on inductive logic, which is part of the scientific method.

    Yes, but the problem is that is the only first step. Science goes beyond that to falsifiable testing, whereas religions and pseudoscience like ID/creationism remain in the speculative realm. I have a longer explanation of this here.

    Posted by: Science Avenger | July 24, 2007 07:17 PM

    In discussions of science with creationists, it will often be noted that inductive logic is part of the scientific method. “A watch implies a watchmaker” is a piece of induction. Here are some parts, and some gears, which seem to be assembled for some purpose, thus a designer is inferred. They argue this is equivalent to what scientists do when interpreting fossils, or the geologic column, or a wide variety of science.

    However, these are not the same at all. Induction is an important part of science, true. It is often how we construct our hypotheses. Religion and pseudoscience stop at this step, however, which is why they are not science. Science goes one step further and tests its induction with evidenciary experimentation, ie, some procedure that could in theory produce data contrary to the hypothesis. Hypotheses that are based on past data, even a good amount of it, are nowhere near as powerful as those that have been put through the falsification ringer.

    Science Avenger

    The flaw in your thesis is in assuming the area of “testability” is always the three or four dimensions with which we are most familiar.

    If the dimension for testability is in a realm with which science is unfamiliar (the spiritual realm), your thesis fails in its criticism because it fails to include the dimension of the spirit.

  68. #69 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    The flaw in your thesis is in assuming the area of “testability” is always the three or four dimensions with which we are most familiar.

    And you have evidence of other dimensions?

    If the dimension for testability is in a realm with which science is unfamiliar (the spiritual realm), your thesis fails in its criticism because it fails to include the dimension of the spirit.

    The dimension of “spirit” itself is untestable, which is why it is, quite properly, rejected by science.

    I’m not even sure that “spirit” is meaningful. Can you even define “spirit” coherently?

  69. #70 Science Avenger
    July 24, 2007

    P-W said: The flaw in your thesis is in assuming the area of “testability” is always the three or four dimensions with which we are most familiar.

    Oh yeah, well (with apologies to Berkley Breathed) I snort the nose Lucifer, banana banana.

    Sorry, but taking that any more seriously would insult your intelligence, and that of the readers.

  70. #71 Owlmirror
    July 24, 2007

    Emotions like love, hate, joy, grief, and others are not testable in the three or four dimensions physical science attempts to understand,

    False.

    Science can test emotions, or at least, as much about emotions as the person emoting can express, and can be recorded.

    You mention psychology. Rather more important are the sciences of neurology, neuroscience, and neuropharmacology.

    Can you provide a coherent definition of the soul that is distinguishable from the evidence that the brain contains all that is necessary for consciousness?

    and they cannot be measured or handled, yet we know they are as real as microwaves.

    Emotions can be measured, if somewhat sloppily. As you say, the science is still young.

    However, neurologists can record instances of persons with damaged brains, and thus learn about healthy brains. For example, the reason that the amygdala is known to be the physical seat of the emotions is because those with damaged amygdalas exhibit highly unusual emotional affect.

    Given that persons with damaged brains demonstrate damaged mental function, there is no reason to hypothesize that there is anything other than the brain that is involved in the process that we call mind.

    There’s certainly no evidence for the soul anywhere in there.

    The spiritual realm is evidenced by the material realm, just as the soul is evidenced by the emotions, speech and actions of the individual.

    In other words, there’s no evidence for either a spiritual realm or the soul.

    Emotions, speech, and actions of the individual all arise from the actions of the brain.

    Would it be your contention, by the way, that someone with a damaged brain has a damaged soul?

  71. #72 khan
    July 24, 2007

    Troll/Fundie/Dungeon alert!

  72. #73 MartinM
    July 25, 2007

    …is string theory simply an expedition to explore new possibilities in “materialism?”

    Yes. All physical science deals with the physical, strangely enough. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think you really grasp what physicists mean by the word ‘dimension.’ To a physicist, ‘dimension of the spirit’ is just gibberish.

  73. #74 Steve_C
    July 25, 2007

    I think we can ignore the trolls and leave them to their fairy tales.

    I detest the ignorant arrogant fools.

  74. #75 Roger
    July 25, 2007

    OK, P-W, so now they will not speak to you because you brought to their attention the possiblity of an alternative to their theory.

    Thanks for the insight you brought….it has been stimulating and enlightening

  75. #76 MartinM
    July 25, 2007

    You seem to have an annoying tendency to over-generalize, Roger. I’m quite clearly still speaking to P-W. Indeed, there are a number of commenters who haven’t said anything at all about ignoring him, against only two who have.

  76. #77 Steve_C
    July 25, 2007

    Wrong. It’s because you people are dense.

    String Theory is NOT an alternative to evolution. It doesn’t even discuss biology.

  77. #78 Rey Fox
    July 25, 2007

    Like you said, Steve, ignore. P-W is just throwing on one layer of BS after another, and Roger is just trying to wind us up.

  78. #79 Blake Stacey, OM
    July 25, 2007

    String theory seems much more likely to open the possibility of other dimensions, like the dimension of the spirit.

    Nope. It ain’t.

    It’s a whole lot of hard math which people do in the hope that they will eventually be able to make definite predictions which can be tested by experiment. Same as any other materialistic idea from Big Bad Science.

  79. #80 Science Avenger
    July 25, 2007

    Roger whined: OK, P-W, so now they will not speak to you because you brought to their attention the possiblity of an alternative to their theory.

    No, it’s because what he is saying is ignorant, and that’s when it isn’t complete gibberish.

    Imagine Roger, that you were discussing Christianity with someone who said:

    “If Jesus is the lamb of God, then where is his wool? And how can you explain nylon then?”

    Would you actually try to have an intelligent discussion with such a person? Or would you just ignore him, perhaps suggesting some reading to improve his ignorance to a level that might allow him to ask a substantive question?

    See, babbling on about string theory and tossing the term “dimensions” around willy nilly when discussing evolution is on the same level. It’s not challenging. It’s just annoying. It reveals the interlocutor’s ignorance, and little else.

  80. #81 Lepht
    July 25, 2007

    okay, i have given up on this entirely. i’m just back here to root for anyone who doesn’t think belief is a solution to problems, who can actually read and comprehend an argument,and who are actually searching for truth instead of blindly following what they’ve been told.

    PZ, i apologise for feeding the trolls. Roger, P-W, i hope one day you wonder why you accept Christian mythology, but not Muslim or Grecian. Rey Fox, Science Avenger, get in there!

    Lepht

    PS. i am not angry because of my drugs, you deltoid; the stuff i take is sedative and if anything is making me *nicer*.

  81. #82 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2007

    Sigh. I was busy doing other things, like working, and sleeping. I’m willing to keep up the debate, but I do need time to do other stuff…

    I’m breaking this reply up, because I do have other things I need to take care of in between crafting responses:

    I would suggest you examine string theory to determine whether the three or four dimensions science currently deals with are all that exist, as you evidently assume. […] String theorists postulate as many as nine or ten dimensions. Obviously, they are theorists, but in attempting to explain the things current science is incapable of explaining, some of those theorists postulate other dimensions.

    I’m sorry, but you’ve completely misunderstood string theory.

    While Blake’s response above in #203 is correct, I’ll expand on it a bit:

    It’s kind of funny, because some scientists are a bit irritated at the use of the word “theory” in “string theory” — precisely because (at the time that I write this), there is no way to test any of these theories. In the scientific sense, these string theories are actually “string hypotheses”. And all they are, really, are attempts to create an internally consistent mathematical model of a hypothetical structure that would be consistent with all currently observed subatomic particles, and would be a way of accounting for their properties and behavior.

    Yes, these string hypotheses have included models which require many higher dimensions — but I think you’re a bit confused as to what a dimension is. In this case, it’s a mathematical and physical concept, just the more usually comprehensible 3-dimensions-of-space-and-1-dimension-of-time universe is a mathematical and physical concept.

    There is nothing in string theory that would be mapped to anything like a “spiritual” dimension, in the way that you use the term, which I am guessing is something like “something that we can’t see with our current science”, or something vague like that.

    I took this part out from the above so as to respond to it separately:

    Is it possible that a human is greater than the sum of their physical parts?

    It depends on what “greater” means. Of course there’s a lot about ourselves that we don’t yet understand — but so far, nothing has been found that transcends physical matter.

    Some of the most important scientific fields that have been growing in recent times is the study of physical and mathematical systems following fairly simple rules, yet resulting in enormously complex and unpredictable behavior. This field of complexity theory is still very young, and the reason I bring it up is because emergent complexity is an example of something that is indeed greater than the sum of its parts, yet is still wholly material, with no requirement for “spirituality” to account for it. A simple, basic example of this are those images I’m sure you’ve seen around somewhere. Fractals are mathematical constructs whose rules are very simple, yet their expression is very complex.

    Now, you may want to think that perhaps somewhere in this complexity there is room for spirituality. This has always happened when theists learn something of new physical sciences, such as quantum mechanics, or string theory, or whatever. But the burden of proof is on the theists. As far as science can discover, these are simply the rules by which the universe works. There is not the slightest hint that there is anything “out there” that makes the rules that way, or can be hidden behind the rules. As it has always been, the burden of proof is on theists, to define what “spirit” means in the context of what science has discovered, and is consistently meaningful with, and testable by, those discoveries and observations.

  82. #83 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2007

    If one is taught macroevolutionary theory in an uncritical manner, they may be ignorant of some of the problems made by observations from nature. Consider the following source as a possible option for more critically examining the macroevolutionary hypothesis:

    http://www.christiananswers.net/

    No.

    Evolution is a proven biological phenomenon. You’ve offered absolutely nothing to demonstrate that Christianity has any insight into biology; indeed, your comments have been almost uniform examples of common Creationist errors, showing complete misunderstanding and confusion about evolution, biology, and science in general. More importantly, your comments started out with the severe confusion that the particular texts of your religion have anything meaningful to say about biology or cosmology.

    While Christians may be biologists, and biologists may be Christians, Christianity qua Christianity has no basis in which to offer any criticism of modern biological science.

  83. #84 Stanton
    July 25, 2007

    The dimension of “spirit” itself is untestable, which is why it is, quite properly, rejected by science.

    I’m not even sure that “spirit” is meaningful. Can you even define “spirit” coherently?

    Things like vodka, whisky or merlot.

  84. #85 Stanton
    July 25, 2007

    Really P-W? You have a cud-chewing rabbit? (Leviticus 11:6.)

    Technically, Brownian, the Bible referred to hyraxes, not rabbits. The theologians who were translating the Bible into various European languages, i.e., Latin, French, English, etc, had no contact with hyraxes and had no idea what they were, beyond the fact that they look squintingly like earless rabbits.
    And no, hyraxes don’t chew cud, either.

  85. #86 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007
    I’m not even sure that “spirit” is meaningful. Can you even define “spirit” coherently?

    Things like vodka, whisky or merlot.

    Well, that’s me told.

    But… Scientifically, I think we need to test these spirits, rigorously. Perhaps you can procure some samples? Preferably chilled?

  86. #87 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007

    Indeed, now I think of it, I foresee great advances to the cause of Science and Spirituality here:

    Subject imbibed a solution containing 40% ethyl alcohol by volume, in doses of about 45mL, said doses repeated 5 times over the course of two hours.

    Results: At end of two hour period, Subject felt as though was “floating free of body”, to use a simplified and subjective turn of phrase. Subject then giggled loudly for ~3 minutes straight, then rushed to lavatory to eject contents of stomach.

    Conclusions: Inconclusive. Further testing obviously called for, although perhaps using smaller doses.

  87. #88 P-W
    July 26, 2007

    Consider the following source as a possible option for more critically examining the macroevolutionary hypothesis:

    http://www.christiananswers.net/

    No.

    Evolution is a proven biological phenomenon.
    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 25, 2007 10:05 PM

    That website contains links to observable data from nature and the Creation Research Institute website.

  88. #89 MartinM
    July 26, 2007

    It’s a big site. Perhaps you could choose one argument you feel is particularly good and present it here. Preferably in your own words, so that we know you understand it yourself.

  89. #90 Stanton
    July 26, 2007

    Roger, the people in Answers in Genesis are a bunch of lying sacks of shits who routinely attempt to demonize evolutionary biology by blaming it to every literal ill in the world, from the misinterpretation of dodos to the Pennsylvania Amish shootings. That their leader, Ken Ham, said that Steve Irwin is probably burning in hell for not repenting the apparently unforgivable sin of accepting evolution, doesn’t help improve my opinion of them, either.
    You don’t know anything at all about Biology, evolutionary or otherwise. Coprophagy is not the same as cud-chewing/rumination, which requires the use of a four-chambered stomach, nor is it a form of rumination, either. Furthermore, hyraxes, which the Hebrew authors of the Bible were referring to in the first place, do not chew cud, nor do they practice coprophagy, and as such, any excuse given for literal apologists is just hot air blowing out their arse.
    Now, would it be possible if you could provide some tangible evidence of Creationism, or are you forbidden to do so under pain of eternal hellfire?


    PW, your saying that science is a religion simply because scientists can not perceive the spirit world is inane and moronic. If a scientist has no way of perceiving something, how in the bloody name of hell can he study it? It’s as idiotic as chastising a nuclear physicist because he can’t fix your watch by talking to the invisible, un-x-rayable gremlin that allegedly lives inside of it.

  90. #91 P-W
    July 26, 2007

    Perhaps you could choose one argument you feel is particularly good and present it here. Preferably in your own words, so that we know you understand it yourself.

    Posted by: MartinM | July 26, 2007 08:51 AM

    ” I seem to recall reading a quote by Darwin in which he expressed extreme concern over the fact that the fossil record failed to record the multitudes of ‘transitional forms’ he postulated. He seemed to believe that the fossil record could prove his theory of macroevolution wrong.” P-W

    No. Even if not a single transitional fossil had ever been found, it would not have “disproved” the theory.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 24, 2007 07:33 PM

    Perhaps to restate my argument a little more accurately, Darwin appeared to be concerned that his macroevolutionary theory could be “falsified” by the amazing lack of transitional forms which have never been found (but which many assume exist and which Darwin postulated should exist in abundance in the fossil record).

    The fact that Darwin’s postulated “multitudes of transitional forms” don’t occur is falsification of his theory, although Owlmirror evidently assumes macroevolutionary theory cannot be falsified.

    I am aware that one of the DNA scientists has now advocated man’s appearance as a result of “astronauts” from other galaxies, because his “macroevolutionary” faith for man’s existence has been “shaken.”

    I have read an Australian scientist who argued that cladistics disproves the macroevolutionary hypothesis, yet you will find “quacks” who claim cladistics “proves” the macroevolutionary hypothesis. The magic formula for the macroevolutionary dogmatists is: genetics plus time = macroevolution. “Time” is the magic part of the formula.

  91. #92 P-W
    July 26, 2007

    No, let me make myself clearer:
    Science is about observing the natural world and making sense of what tangible evidence tells us about the natural world.
    Astral projection, out of body experiences, the spirit world, all of those things have left absolutely no tangible evidnce, and are not of the natural world. As such the studies of such topics are not science for two important reasons.
    I stand by my statement that chiding people for making “science” a “religion” simply because they can not perceive it in order to study it to be inane and moronic.

    Posted by: Stanton | July 26, 2007 11:03 AM

    I consider inductive logic (a scientific method) which perceives a Designer from the amazing complexity and design in the Universe neither “moronic” nor “inane” since by analogy design in the natural world evidences the non-material spiritual world with its Supreme Designer. In addition, while natural science doesn’t necessarily concern itself with history (although fossils can be considered “history” and origins can be considered a type of historical study), history is part of the natural world and eyewitness accounts are valid in a court of law and are part of the “natural” world, and eyewitness accounts often help substantiate how events and which events actually happened. Eyewitness accounts may be evidence of the non-material spiritual world, and design in the universe is substantial evidence of the non-material world in which the Designer evidently resides. Eyewitness accounts, while not necessarily being scientifically friendly to natural science, are nevertheless valid means for obtaining data. While I agree with you that natural scientists may not wish to concern themselves with eyewitness data, reasonable scientists recognize there is a measure of value to eyewitness accounts and experiences. If eyewitness accounts indicate that supernatural beings have intersected with our “natural” world, it is unscientific to perfunctorily dismiss them as invalid.

    While you obviously will not agree, Theology is considered by many to be the “Queen of the sciences.”

  92. #93 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007

    (christiananswers.net) That website contains links to observable data from nature and the Creation Research Institute website.

    No. Like all creationist websites, it contains links to half-truths and lies.

  93. #94 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007

    Proving a universal negative is impossible.

    So? All logic must be in accord with observations and understood definitions.

    There is no dry land on the ocean floor.

    There are no naturally growing palm trees at the North Pole.

    There is no naturally breathable atmosphere on the Earth’s Moon.

    There is no evidence that the bible story of creation is true, nor that a universal flood covered all of the Earth at any point in the past 10000 years, or ever.

    There is no evidence that the universe has a creator; nor is there any evidence that the universe needs a creator.

    Physical science is a fallible attempt by man to more fully understand the universe.

    Science is a chaining together of successive observations and facts. Each observation and fact may be a small thing in and of itself, but the whole is the best estimate at what reality itself is that we have. Any fallibility in the system results because individual humans are fallible — which is why science insists on careful citations and observations that are repeatable by other observers elsewhere. The system of science tries to take fallibility into account, and correct for it.

    Religion, in contrast, ignores human fallibility. Indeed, religion only succeeds because humans are fallible, and gullible.

    To place one’s entire eternity in the hands of a fallible baby science

    Science may be a “baby”, but it’s a prodigy with a few centuries of great success, and what certainly looks like a bright future ahead of it.

    Religion is an insane old man with dementia, who sometimes plays with the baby, and sometimes makes attempts to assault the baby, or drown it, or rape it, or set it on fire.

    which is so incapable of explaining so many areas of nature that it requires the rise of “string theorists,”

    Make up your mind, will you? You’re the one that brought up string theory in the first place.

  94. #95 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007

    Perhaps to restate my argument a little more accurately, Darwin appeared to be concerned that his macroevolutionary theory could be “falsified” by the amazing lack of transitional forms which have never been found (but which many assume exist and which Darwin postulated should exist in abundance in the fossil record).

    And your argument is not only inaccurate, but completely false. Charles Darwin never said, nor implied, anything like what you write above.

    The fact that Darwin’s postulated “multitudes of transitional forms” don’t occur is falsification of his theory,

    False. Why do you keep lying?

    The transitional forms that have been found verify the theory of evolution.

    although Owlmirror evidently assumes macroevolutionary theory cannot be falsified.

    Owlmirror assumes no such thing. Find God, get him to write a paper explaining how he performed the creation in such a way that accounts for all observations of evolution, and get him to submit the paper to a refereed scientific journal.

  95. #96 MartinM
    July 26, 2007

    The fact that Darwin’s postulated “multitudes of transitional forms” don’t occur is falsification of his theory

    What, in your opinion, would a transitional form look like? What would we need to show you?

  96. #97 Roger
    July 26, 2007

    I can recall Hovind stating that these guys can produce an entire being, and it’s wife, from the find of a toe fossil…

    Bet you they can do more than that

  97. #98 Rey Fox
    July 26, 2007

    At least we have the toe fossil.

  98. #99 Brownian
    July 26, 2007

    I can recall Hovind stating that these guys can produce an entire being, and it’s wife, from the find of a toe fossil…

    Bet you they can do more than that

    I’ll take that bet Roger, since I studied a fair amount of physical anthropology.

    What can be inferred from a single bone (or a number of unconnected bones) is something called the ‘minimum number of individuals’ or MNI. You see, even from fragments, you can very often tell what a bone is and which side of the body it comes from (I used to bet fellow students coffee money that I could identify and side metacarpals–wrist bones–blindfolded.) The MNI is determined by pairing and comparing like bones. For instance, if you were to find two left fibulae in a pile of bones, you can conclude that at least two individuals contributed their skeletons to that pile. If the two previous bones are from adults and another found in the pile is from a child (based on the fact that the ends of children’s bones aren’t fully fused) you can also conclude that least three individuals contributed their skeletons to that pile. For bones that display sexual characteristics like the skull and the pelvis, you can determine gender. All of this information allows physical anthropologists to make very educated estimates of from whom a bone came from.

    This is a far cry from Hovind’s assertion, but that fellow has some real issues with truth.

    Any other aspect of science you’d like to be actually educated on?

  99. #100 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2007

    Any other aspect of science you’d like to be actually educated on?

    I’ll bet a bottle of Stanton’s spirits that you lost him at the words “physical anthropology”.

  100. #101 Brownian
    July 26, 2007

    Let’s at least hope he won’t be throwing out “Dr. Hovind says they” to the people who are actually part of “they”.

  101. #102 P-W
    July 27, 2007

    There is a scientist who produces science programs that run on TBN who has very interesting data.

    He has produced a book with a photograph of fossilized cowboy boots from the United States (miillions of years old would be the proper assumption). He indicates that fossilization can occur in less than ten years. He also includes a photo of an ancient rock (from Peru) having an ancient carving of a man astride a very specific type of dinosaur (shades of Dynotopia)!

    On one of his science broadcasts he related information about another scientist who has been breeding fruit flies for several decades. As most of you are probably aware, the life span of a fruit fly is miniscule compared to that of a human. That scientist has bred several hundred thousand generations of fruitflies over several decades, which are equivalent to the number of generations macroevolutionists claim it took for man to evolve. But did he ever produce anything greater than a fruitfly? If you think he did, you will leave me in hysterics!

  102. #103 P-W
    July 28, 2007

    “To place one’s entire eternity in the hands of a fallible baby science”

    Science may be a “baby”, but it’s a prodigy with a few centuries of great success, and what certainly looks like a bright future ahead of it.

    Religion is an insane old man with dementia, who sometimes plays with the baby, and sometimes makes attempts to assault the baby, or drown it, or rape it, or set it on fire.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 26, 2007 04:40 PM

    The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer suggested in a video curriculum which I had the opportunity to observe, that modern science is greatly indebted to the Bible and its world view because of the fact the Bible posits the existence of an intelligent Creator. That in itself suggests by inference that the intelligent Creator’s “work” can be “intelligently” understood.

    Schaeffer suggested that the rise of natural science during the Reformation was aided by the Bible world view which indicated an intelligent Creator existed who’s work could be intelligently examined. This world view was of inestimable value towards a “coherent” examination of the physical universe.

  103. #104 Owlmirror
    July 28, 2007

    The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer suggested in a video curriculum which I had the opportunity to observe, that modern science is greatly indebted to the Bible and its world view because of the fact the Bible posits the existence of an intelligent Creator. That in itself suggests by inference that the intelligent Creator’s “work” can be “intelligently” understood.

    No, I think not.

    The Bible is not a scientific text, nor does it encourage analysis or investigation. The alleged creator is not described as an intellect whose work is meant to be studied, but as a powerful authority to be obeyed and never questioned.

    While it does have a few psalms about the glory of the natural world, that glory is presented like the clothes of wealthy king, to be admired from afar but not looked at closely. While it does have the line “Thou shalt not bear false witness” — a commandment that few if any creationists have ever obeyed — there is no positive injunction to actively seek out what is true, document it, and present it to the world. And there’s certainly no suggestion that if its own words are found to be contradicted by evidence, that the evidence is to be accepted and those words of the bible to be rejected. Dogma is held to be absolute.

    While sometimes otherwise religious societies have become sufficiently relaxed from their dogma to permit or even encourage investigation, this investigation is almost always restricted by said dogma.

    In very nearly all places where liberal investigation of reality is permitted, religion is weak–because when actually questioned, it is found wanting in facts. In nearly all places where religious dogma is held paramount, science is very weak, and is often entirely absent.

    Schaeffer suggested that the rise of natural science during the Reformation was aided by the Bible world view which indicated an intelligent Creator existed who’s work could be intelligently examined. This world view was of inestimable value towards a “coherent” examination of the physical universe.

    A case could be made that skepticism towards the bible — and in response, emphasizing rigorous ways of finding truth — resulted after the Reformation because so many doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were being overthrown. If indulgences, transubstantiation, the sacraments, and the authority of the pope were actively denied, perhaps other doctrines and dogmas could be rejected as well.

    Also, more people could actually read the Bible in their own language. Once it is seen what the bible actually says, it’s also possible to see how much it is lacking in evidence. And for that matter, how cruel the character of god is.

    However, more to the point, the Reformation came with the invention and spread of the printing press, and the subsequent dispersal of all sorts of information. Far more important than the bible in the growth of science were the works of the ancient philosophers like Archimedes, Eratosthenes and Aristotle, all of whom had the essence of science in their writings: Make observations, document them carefully, showing materials and methods, and correlate them with past observations to discover new rules or new facts that derive from these observations. These philosophers were not always entirely correct — but where they were wrong, the problem was almost always because of insufficiently accurate tools, or data that they had not or could not collect properly. While they were sometimes sloppy or swayed by biases, the science grew because someone kept on questioning.

    While scientists of the early Reformation were religious — as are some scientists even now — all scientists take their methodology from those philosophers, who documented their observations, not because they were religious, but because that is how truth is built.

    The point is that the discovery of truth is held paramount, and dogma is rejected if it is contradicted by fact.

  104. #105 P-W
    July 28, 2007

    In nearly all places where religious dogma is held paramount, science is very weak, and is often entirely absent.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 28, 2007 06:06 PM

    Dr. D. James Kennedy has made the observation that wherever the Bible has been held in esteem, there the society and its sciences have prospered. There is a difference between “religious dogma” and a Biblical world view. He also noted that wherever the Bible has been held in esteem, there has been the proliferation of colleges and universities and hospitals. In fact most hospitals and a vast majority of colleges and universities were the products of Christian faith. He wrote a book in detail on the very subject. All one needs to do is examine the history of the West and compare it to the history of the East, and trace the route of the Bible and its legitimate adherents.

    While you are correct that “religious dogma” can sometimes be a purpose institutions have used for stopping things that were true (the Reformation is a product of such persecution), a legitimate adherence to the ethics and practices of Scripture promotes rather than prevents advancement.

    Please tell me how atheism has advanced society and the world? What hospitals, universities, and colleges have the atheists built? What has been the incredible contribution of atheism througout history that has so changed civilization?

  105. #106 Owlmirror
    July 29, 2007

    It is interesting to me to note the way the claims have been backed away from in this thread, going from the ridiculous assertion of the scientific factuality of the bible to trying to support the claim that Christianity has social utility. To be honest, I think the latter is a much less contentious claim, and certainly Christians (especially Christian evolutionary biologists) who acknowledge that reality is more important than dogma would still contend that Christianity has value. I am much less interested in arguing this point than refuting the obviously false claims of Creationists, but since I do have some points, I’ll continue.

    Dr. D. James Kennedy has made the observation that wherever the Bible has been held in esteem, there the society and its sciences have prospered.

    This claim is very vague. What does “held in esteem” mean, any way? How carefully did he observe, given that it has been shown that religiosity and education do tend to have an inverse correlation, in that at least some places with high religiosity — such as the American South; the “Bible Belt” — has higher crime rates, greater poverty, and lower education than the more liberal and far less religious states?

    There is a difference between “religious dogma” and a Biblical world view.

    Oh? Can you describe this difference?

    He also noted that wherever the Bible has been held in esteem, there has been the proliferation of colleges and universities and hospitals. In fact most hospitals and a vast majority of colleges and universities were the products of Christian faith.

    Yes, many institutions were built by wealthy Christians. However, wealthy pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Confucians, and Buddhists also built great institutions. And at least some Christians, pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Confucians, and Buddhists tore down some existing institutions — and are still trying to do so.

    When religiosity leads to both creation and destruction, the only logical explanation is that it’s necessary to look deeper than religiosity for both creation and destruction.

    What is the common element in the inspiration to create?

    If we eliminate the name of the religion, we can focus on the specific emotions that inspire that creativity:

    Centers of learning are created by those who favor learning; the process of curiosity, honesty, and sharing of knowledge.

    Centers of healing and charity are created by those who feel compassion for other humans.

    Since Christianity is neither necessary nor sufficient for the above, the absolute most that can be said is that some Christians use Christianity as a means to express compassion and/or love of learning.

    What is the common element in the inspiration to destroy?

    Well, it is often hatred — but all too often that hatred is political or religious hatred for those who are not in the same political or religious group.

    And I therefore think it is equally fair to state that some Christians use Christianity as a means to express contempt, hatred and cruelty toward those who are not of their own group.

    He wrote a book in detail on the very subject. All one needs to do is examine the history of the West and compare it to the history of the East, and trace the route of the Bible and its legitimate adherents.

    “Legitimate” — and who decides “legitimacy”, anyway? No schismatic or heretic has ever been illegitimate in their own eyes; it’s always the one they’re splitting from who is illegitimate.

    More to the point, though, comparing the West to the East is fraught with complexity. Which aspects of history are important? It can just as easily be said that the West gained a momentary advantage, and exploited it ruthlessly in colonization, expansion of trade routes, and conquest. Once those victories were won, some individuals became very wealthy, and invested some of that wealth in the universities and hospitals mentioned above.

    The difference between East and West, I note, is quite often a matter of attitude towards the past; towards tradition and heritage. The excessive reverence for the teachings of the past meant that societies were unwilling to examine those teachings; they were unwilling to innovate past a certain point, because their ancestors had not done so, or because religious innovation was (and is) forbidden, and therefore any innovation was forbidden.

    And, tragically enough, that is exactly what Creationists want to do to the West now: turn away from certain truths that have been learned about nature and reality, and force onto all of society a restrictive, unreasonable, and completely undeserved reverence for the words of the Bible.

    Please tell me how atheism has advanced society and the world? What hospitals, universities, and colleges have the atheists built? What has been the incredible contribution of atheism througout history that has so changed civilization?

    These are wrong questions. It has been my contention throughout that it is not “Christianity” that is responsible for advancement and progress; it would not be my contention that “atheism” is responsible.

    However, I would assert that we can assign a term to the positive creative concept of compassion towards other humans, and to the prescriptive belief that humanity can improve itself. That concept can be covered by the word “humanism”.

    I would also assert that we can assign a term to the positive creative concept of the love of learning; the positive belief that humanity can continue to learn by studying reality and sharing the knowledge with others. That concept can be covered by the term “freethinking”.

    Both humanism and freethinking try to identify the common concepts that have lead to the greatest progress and general welfare of all. Thus, it has been humanistic and freethinking ideals that have lead to all progress throughout time — regardless of whether belief in God was involved or not.

    Since you asked.

  106. #107 Steve_C
    July 29, 2007

    STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS.

    They are ignorant godbots that won’t except amy evidence we give them.

    They don’t care.

  107. #108 P-W
    July 30, 2007

    I am aware that one of the DNA scientists has now advocated man’s appearance as a result of “astronauts” from other galaxies, because his “macroevolutionary” faith for man’s existence has been “shaken.” P-W

    This is false.

    I know that it’s false because I know who you’re thinking of, and what he really said, because I read his actual paper. You don’t even remember his name, and I am certain that you’ve never read any of his work.

    He never questioned evolution.

    Like all creationists, when you have no facts, you offer lies.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 26, 2007 03:39 PM

    My immediate source for this data was my memory. I came across the information quite a few years ago. Two separate pieces of data provided my information, and both were produced by Dr. D. James Kennedy. One was a printed “Creationist” newspaper tabloid he had produced, and I believe I heard Dr. Kennedy also repeat the information in one or more of his radio broadcasts. I was unable to locate my original source, but I just did a Google search and have confirmed my memory of information originally obtained from Dr. Kennedy.

    The scientist was Francis Crick, of Watson/Crick fame (I thought he might be the person, but I didn’t trust my memory and because I couldn’t honestly remember which member of the team it was). The name of his theory, which I did not recall, was entitled “Directed Panspermia.”

    According to Wikipedia he evidently is no longer alive, and evidently recanted the “spaceman” theory before his death. He evidently had a revived belief in spontaneous generation according to Wikipedia. Spontaneous generation is more aptly described as “abiogenesis” by modern scientists, due to the fact that “spontaneous generation” is associated with former forms of the abiogenesis hypothesis which have been debunked.

    Interestingly, the Bible confirms that abiogenesis is actually possible, and the Bible confirms Crick’s restored belief in the possibility of abiogenesis as justified.

    The Biblical account of human abiogenesis indicates it was directed by a Superior Intelligence, something naturalists (and especially materialists) are unable to confirm. The “primordial soup” form of abiogenesis appears to probably be disconfirmed, at least in the manner it is usually postulated by naturalists (Genesis 2:7, 3:19).

    Interestingly, while the first human male appears to have been the product of intelligently directed (dusty) abiogenesis, the first female is only indirectly the result of that process, since she appears to have been genetically engineered from the abiogenesis material previously generated into a male (Genesis 2:21-23).

  108. #109 P-W
    July 30, 2007

    Is this the same D. James Kennedy who made a tv show about how Darwin directly inspired Hitler to commit the Holocaust, nevermind that he didn’t bother to explain why there is no evidence to suggest that Darwin was an antisemite, or why all of Hitler’s antisemitic speeches read as though they were plagiarized from Martin Luther’s “Of the Jews and Their Lies”?

    Posted by: Stanton | July 29, 2007 08:58 PM

    I cannot confirm that Dr. Kennedy produced the type of program you are suggesting, but it is rather common knowledge that Hitler was a racist who, according to my limited knowledge, was attempting to preserve or produce an “Arian” race of blond men.

    By the way, I understand Luther died within days of his anti-semitic comments. I assume it to be the judgment of God on one of His own.

  109. #110 P-W
    July 30, 2007

    And, tragically enough, that is exactly what Creationists want to do to the West now: turn away from certain truths that have been learned about nature and reality, and force onto all of society a restrictive, unreasonable, and completely undeserved reverence for the words of the Bible.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 29, 2007 08:06 PM

    No, that is not my wish, and I am certain that is not the wish of other Creationists. That attitude would fit the definition of “religious dogma,” which you have previously raised. That would be asking people to adhere to “beliefs” they do not believe.

    The fact is, as a high school student, I dabbled with atheism. Then I had an “epiphany,” as some might call it (I would prefer the phrase “a God encounter”). After my “epiphany” I realized that “evolution” (as commonly understood) presented problems to my newly grasped Bible based faith.

    To be more technical, “macroevolution” (which would be the theory of a fish becoming a man) was what challenged my faith. “Microevolution” is irrefutable genetics which is found in the “hybridization” process, and it in no way threatened my newly found Bible based faith.

    It was “macroevolutionary” theory which challenged my faith. In a high school biology class the teacher assigned us papers to write. I used the opportunity to explore what I would now technically call the “macroevolutionary” hypothesis (which is commonly called “evolution”). My biology teacher may have been a theistic evolutionist, at least he proposed theistic evolution as a viable alternative to Creationism. But I found macroevolutionary theory to be at variance with my understanding of the Bible. And I honestly thought the macroevolutionary hypothesis might refute my Bible based faith. So I took the opportunity in writing my biology class paper to investigate the macroevolutionary hypothesis from evidence both for and against it.

    I was amazed to discover the paucity of evidence supporting the macroevolutionary hypothesis. I couldn’t believe how many holes there were in the theory. I would never have come across that knowledge if I had not begun a “critical” investigation of the assumed truth about macroevolution. I am someone who had assumed modern natural science knew what it was believing on the issue of evolution, but my critical investigation convinced me otherwise.

    I have never met any “confirmed” macroevolutionary students of natural science, that I am aware of, other than my former biology teacher. It is intensely interesting to discover that very little substance has been offered thus far in my conversations, other than “blanket assertions.” I do find some of the comments rather interesting and some extremely informative and enlightening (I am not a natural scientist, and some of your comments have been rather enlightening), but nothing that would convince me so far that the macroevolutionary hypothesis has added any new convincing evidence in its favor. In my opinion, much of what I have received this far from replies fit what I would call (to borrow your phrase) evolutionary “dogma.” Most replies evidently indicate a sincere belief in macroevolution, but the evidence offered this far has been extremely unconvincing to someone who has become increasingly skeptical of the macroevolutionary hypothesis.

  110. #111 Owlmirror
    August 1, 2007

    Corrected URL: The above URL was a later paper by Crick and Orgel, on RNA as the basis for very early self-reproducing life. The paper by Crick and Orgel on Directed Panspermia is here. It is only 6 pages long.

      ? http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/SC/B/C/C/P/_/scbccp.pdf

  111. #112 Brownian
    August 1, 2007

    So, what’s your problem with Tiktaalik roseae?

    That’s not transitional between lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods? In fact, it is exactly the sort of fossil evolutionary theory would predict and Lo! and Behold: there it is.

  112. #113 Owlmirror
    August 1, 2007

    (The link to Penny’s paper on fossils which you included in one of your comments admits the same “gradual” links are missing, although not in the words I have used).

    Did you read the whole thing? If you couldn’t read it, did you at least look at the pictures? At least the ones showing the sequence of “Eusthenopteron -> Pandeichthys -> Tiktaalik; Acanthostega”?

    Is there something about the explanation of how each of these fossils are a chain of transitional forms between ancient fish and ancient amphibians that you just didn’t understand?

    No, we don’t have all transitional fossils between each of those species. But we have these fossils, which do show clear transitions.

    Even if we had no fossils at all; even if there were zero fossil bones or shells found of any organism whatsoever — there is still all of the enormous genetic and biochemical evidence linking all living animals, which is positive evidence for the theory of evolution. And this body of evidence keeps growing, as more and more organisms have their complete genome sequenced.

  113. #114 P-W
    August 3, 2007

    I just realized something…

    You’ve been insisting, over and over, that there is an absence of transitional fossils. This is false; there are sufficient transitional fossils to demonstrate more than a few biological lineages.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | August 1, 2007 08:20 PM

    You are correct that there are no lack of transitional forms for the verification of “microevolution” (which is simple genetics and evidenced by the hybridization process). Those transitional forms which verify Darwin’s MICRO-evolutionary theory are observable in everyday life (like the different races of man). I am not disputing genetics nor Darwin’s MICRO-evolutionary hypothesis. I consider those issues to be irrefutably verified by a simple observation of everyday life.

    It was Darwin himself who complained (in his own book) that the gradual transitional forms for his GRADUAL MACRO-evolutionary theory are missing from the fossil record. He made that observation as the quotations I supplied from Darwin’s own book indicate (blog comment #260 above).

    If I were to summarize the three quotes from Darwin’s own book (as quoted in blog #260 above), I would say that Darwin was complaining in the following manner:

    Just as we don’t see gradual transitional forms in daily life to verify MACRO-evolution, but instead we see well-defined kinds of life without any gradual transitions between them (derived from Darwin quote #1 – from blog comment #260 above), in the same manner the fossil record mirrors what we see from daily life, a lack of gradual transitional forms linking the well-defined major kinds of life (derived from Darwin quotes #1, #2, and #3 from blog comment #260 above).

    Darwin’s whole “gripe” can be reduced to the simple observation that: the fossil record mirrors what we see in everyday life, a lack of gradual transitional life forms to confirm and verify his GRADUALLY realized MACRO-evolutionary hypothesis.

    The whole issue is over whether macroevolution, if it ever occurs, takes place in a GRADUAL manner as Darwin hypothesized, or in a RAPID and sporadic manner. Darwin favored the GRADUAL form of macroevolution, but the RAPID and sporadic form is advocated by modern proponents of “punctuated equilibrium.”

    My whole claim is that the RAPID and sporadic form of macroevolution (punctuated equilibrium) is best favored by the fossil record, because the theory of “punctuated equilibrium” best explains the lack of “gradual transitional fossil links.” Indeed, “punctuated equilibrium” doesn’t need any “gradual transitional links” in the fossil record, and supposes that “gradual transitional links” do not even exist (in harmony with the fossil record). Darwin’s “gradual” form of the macroevolutionary hypothesis requires a “gradual sequence of links” which are missing from the fossil record.

    The only problem is this, since the “gradual transitional links” are missing for verification of Darwin’s “gradual form of macroevolution,” and since the rapid sporadic form of macroevolution (punctuated equilibrium) does not need any more evidence of transitional forms than what we supposedly observe in daily life, why believe macroevolution based on the “mute” (insignificant) fossil evidence?

  114. #115 Steve_C
    August 4, 2007

    Owl.

    He’s a dyed in the wool creationist. He believes god did it. He may even think the world is 10,000 years old.

    He doesn’t understand how speciation works. Doesn’t want to. He’s got his religous doubters who reaffirm his superstitious beliefs.

    You will go back and forth like this forever, until he picks up a book and actually reads what the theory of evolution is and what it’s mechanisms are.

    That he says there’s micro but not macro proves he doesn’t get it.

  115. #116 Stanton
    August 4, 2007

    Dinars to donuts says that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are going to stop by my house for tea and cookies before PW picks up a book to learn about the theory of evolution and how speciation works.

  116. #117 Steve_C
    August 4, 2007

    Yeah. People don’t like to mess with their gaurded delusions.

    Try popping by abovetopsecret.com… there’s a whole world of wacky out there.

  117. #118 Steve_C
    August 4, 2007

    Yeah. People don’t like to mess with their gaurded delusions.

    Try popping by abovetopsecretdotcom… there’s a whole world of wacky out there.

  118. #119 Owlmirror
    August 5, 2007

    There was an article a while back about a teacher in a public school who is trying to teach evolution. Unfortunately, the parents of the children got some bigshot Creationist, I think it was Ken Ham, to spread his standard mixture of blithering idiocy and lies to the kids. So the kids were often acting up, and combining typical adolescent rebellion and snottiness with spewing Ham’s slams to the teacher, as he was trying to show them the evidence for evolution.

    I don’t think I could take that. I simply wouldn’t have the patience to put up with that sort of crap. But I admire the teacher’s fortitude, and his persistent hope that he might just get through to some of them if he was allowed to get through the curriculum and explain all of the evidence, and correct the misconceptions the kids were ignorantly echoing.

    The students might not be able to learn, but I don’t think that it’s wrong to try and teach the facts.

    Or to put it another way, it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

  119. #120 P-W
    August 5, 2007

    Creationist-religion-pretend-science waves something like this around, says “See? Fossil boots in a few decades! Looks millions of years old!” — and then hides everything, and refuses to allow anyone to examine it at all.

    Open to visitors is not the same as open to scientific investigation. Will he allow his “evidence” to be examined by geologists, chemists and paleontologists? And if thorough scientific investigation shows that the boot is not fossilized as he claims, will he publish a retraction?

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 27, 2007 07:53 PM

    I located my copy of Dr. Baugh’s book which contains photos of the “Limestone Cowboy.” I reexamined the evidence in light of your inference that Dr. Baugh has something to hide.

    Dr. Baugh, at the end of the second page (p. 111) of the two pages containing the photos of the “Limestone Cowboy” in his book (copyright 1999), presents some interesting information which I had not remembered, but which stood out in light of the solicitation by the man at this following link (which you included in one of your blog comments), who indicates his solicitation to “examine” the fossilized evidence was rejected by Dr. Baugh:

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy/boot.htm

    The website you mentioned above (copyright 2006) makes the following claim:

    “Unless more rigorous evidence is provided by Baugh or other ‘limestone cowboy boot’ advocates, their claims that the boot contains a fossilized leg must be regarded as dubious at best. It appears more likely that the boot contains unfossilized bones surrounded by whatever sediment filled and hardened in the boot void after the flesh decayed away–providing no evidence against evolution, nor even rapid fossilization.” D R A F T (C) 2006, Glen J. Kuban

    What is interesting to me is that the comment Dr. Baugh made (copyright 1999) at the end of page 111 was conveniently “excluded” by the author of the previous website who is soliciting an opportunity to “examine” the cowboy’s leg in Dr. Baugh’s museum.

    The comment Dr. Baugh made in that 1999 book is prefaced by the fact that radiological x-rays were performed at a Texas hospital in 1997 (which Dr. Baugh names and dates more specifically in his book, along with the name of the technician who performed the x-ray scans at the identified hospital). What is more interesting is the evaluating comment Dr. Baugh makes at the end of page 111. Dr. Baugh makes the confession that rapid fossilization of some materials is well known by experts in the field of fossils and is “not” a scientific “issue.”

    So what then is the point of the solicitation to “examine” the cowboy leg by the skeptic? Obviously, if the skeptic is unaware that rapid fossilization occurs (which is exactly the assertion he questions on his web page in the quote above), that individual is obviously not an expert on fossils because he is unaware that fossil experts are aware that rapid fossilization takes place and is “not” a scientific “issue,” and so the non-expert skeptic’s “verification” would be worthless. If the skeptic were an expert on fossils, “rapid fossilization” would not be an issue with him, but that is his exact problem.

    Obviously, since the skeptic should be aware by now that “rapid fossilization” of some materials is “not” a scientific “issue” among exerts in the field (at least since Dr. Baugh’s book is dated as 1999 and contains that information, and the skeptic could refute or verify the issue of rapid fossilization from other sources), a possible logical conclusion is that the skeptic may have some concealed and ulterior motive for examining the evidence which he is refusing to reveal to Dr. Baugh, which in itself suggests that the skeptic possibly cannot be trusted. This explains to me why Dr. Baugh would responsibly refuse the non-expert skeptic’s solicitation to “examine” the evidence.

    Furthermore, Dr. Baugh’s main interest about the “Limestone Cowboy” is not to “prove” rapid fossilization takes place (which is already well known by experts in the field). Dr. Baugh’s real purpose with the “Limestone Cowboy” is to make a point with his outlandish relic:

    that experts in the field of fossils are refusing to educate the general public about rapid fossilization (page 111).

    And why? The inference is that macroevolutionists, by refusing to educate the public on rapid fossilization of some materials, are allowing the general public to be misled into the false assumption that “if something is a fossil, it must be “centuries, milleniums, or millions of years old.”

  120. #121 Steve_C
    August 5, 2007

    Uhg.

    Like I said before. PW will pull crap liek this out of his crationist… ummm…

    Anyway.

    There’s no point. PW will only accept creaionist “science skeptics” before he even bothers to read about the evidence of evolution from real scientists.

  121. #122 Stanton
    August 5, 2007

    Furthermore, neither P-W nor “Dr” Baugh, nor any other creationist alive or dead today have never bothered to explain the logic of how an alleged “human finger,” the severed foot in boot of an ex-cowboy, nor a hammer can somehow negate the fact that there are lots of observed, documented evidence of macroevolution, including the appearance of the Giant Evening primrose Oenothera gigas from the seed of Lamarck’s Evening primrose, O. lamarckiana, the descent of the London Underground mosquito, Culex molestans from the European mosquito, C. pipiens within the last 100 years, or the appearance of the Honeysuckle Maggot Fly on the eastern North American coast, descended from hybrids of the Snowberry and Blueberry Maggot flies, within the last 250 years.
    Well, that’s not exactly true: creationists like P-W, and “Dr” Baugh figure that if they refuse to understand evolutionary biology, the evidence will miraculously cease to exist.

  122. #123 Owlmirror
    August 6, 2007

    The inference is that macroevolutionists, by refusing to educate the public on rapid fossilization of some materials, are allowing the general public to be misled into the false assumption that “if something is a fossil, it must be “centuries, milleniums, or millions of years old.”

    Yup, that’s horseshit, all right. Horseshit from an abused zombie horse with bad diarrhea from eating something rotten.

    Dude. The dating of fossils, like all other scientific methods, is ultimately based on the evidence of chemical processes and radioactive decay.

    When a scientist assigns an age to a fossil, it isn’t given a particular age because it’s a fossil; it’s given that age because, by the best geochemical and radiochemical evidence, it really is that old. And the scientist will publish that dating method along with all of the other information about the fossil.

    “Rapid” “fossilization” is completely meaningless if it is immediately obvious to an educated and experienced geologist with half a brain that it is indeed rapid, and that the “fossil” is obviously only a few decades old.

    Nobody is “refusing” to “educate” the “public” about “rapid fossilization”. If the “public” wants to be “educated” about “rapid fossilization”, the public can fucking well take a fucking geochemistry course.

    Sorry about the cursing. A bucket of horseshit dumped on my little candle of science makes me curse a bit.

  123. #124 Stanton
    August 6, 2007

    Like I said before, Owlmirror, the evidence does not exist for P-W because he refuses to understand it.
    Probably for some goofy religious reasons.

  124. #125 P-W
    August 7, 2007

    So, what’s your problem with Tiktaalik roseae?

    Posted by: Brownian | August 1, 2007 03:51 PM

    Perhaps you are aware that the claim is made that Tiktaalik roseae is 375 million years old?

    There are problems with the fact that several accepted dating methods will not agree on the exact age of a fossil.

    Assumptions are made about dating methods and the past which cannot be verified by scientists. Often details contrary to assumptions will undermine the macroevolutionist’s paradigm in dating fossils. Assumptions will be undermined by details which suggest dates entirely different (often much younger) from those macroevolutionists have postulated for a fossil.

    Consider, for example, that dinosaur bones which had not fossilized have been found. But can unfossilized bones exist for more than a few thousand years? The inference is that the time the last dinosaur lived on earth is much more recent than macroevolutionists claim!

    (I am sure you will want evidence for the claim that unfossilized dinosaur bones were found. Consider the following source: “The Real Jurassic Park,” “Earth,” June 1997. You will discover that an inaccurate claim was made by many that blood was also found. The following website does an interesting examination of the “blood” claim:

    http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/dinosaur_blood.shtml )

    Shades of Jurassic Park!

    I will also refer you to the “Limestone Cowboy” controversy in the above blog comments which indicate fossil experts are aware of rapid fossilization.

  125. #126 Aquila
    August 8, 2007

    Yes, the Late Devonian was about 385-359 million years ago.
    Posted by: Owlmirror | August 7, 2007 03:06 PM

    As a matter of interest, how was this determined?

  126. #127 Owlmirror
    August 8, 2007
    Yes, the Late Devonian was about 385-359 million years ago.

    As a matter of interest, how was this determined?

    Generally speaking, from known radioactive half-lives, and from isotope ratios given specific elements and their radioactive decay products. In the case of strata this old, an element with a very long half-life, like certain isotopes of uranium (found in zircon crystals and other minerals). For more detail:

    http://www2.nature.nps.gov/geology/usgsnps/gtime/ageofearth.html#date

    and

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dating.html

    The paper on Tiktaalik in Nature cites several geographic surveys of the region that the fossil was found in; presumably they go into greater detail of how the determination was performed.

    • Embry, A. & Klovan, J. E.
      The Middle-Upper Devonian clastic wedge of the Franklinian Geosyncline. Bull. Can. Petrol. Geol. 24, 485—639 (1976)
    • Chi, B. I. & Hills, L. V.
      Biostratigraphy and taxonomy of Devonian megaspores. Bull. Can. Petrol. Geol. 24, 640—813 (1976)
    • Embry, A. F.
      in Geology of the Innuitian Orogen and Arctic Platform of Canada and Greenland (ed. Trettin, H. P.) 263—279 (Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary, 1991)
  127. #128 Brownian
    August 9, 2007

    Creationists note is that the “special theory” (microevolution) deals with an EXISTING gene pool, but the “general theory” (macroevolution), postulates that NEW MATERIAL is BEING ADDED to that existing gene pool in order to generate new life forms.

    Such genetic additions occur all the time, usually through complete, partial, inverted, duplication transcription errors. There is absolutely no question that genetic material can increase as well as decrease. Google any combination of transposition, duplication, fusion, fission, and you’ll find more scientific articles demonstrating the processes than sore knees at a Catholic mass.

  128. #129 Owlmirror
    August 10, 2007

    When Baugh’s name was first mentioned as a source, I didn’t really dig into his background at all, because, hey, one Creationist is as much of a liar as another.

    After reading the talkorigin’s pages on his persistent pattern of deceptive practices, I realized that I had been wrong. Some Creationists lie more than others.

    Baugh is so full of horsehit that even Answers in Genesis felt moved to repudiate him.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy/whatbau.html

    All the creationist scientists that we have spoken to regard Mr. Baugh’s teaching as a serious embarrassment.

    And note that “Mr.”. For Baugh to arrogate to himself the honorific of “Dr.” is yet another example of horseshit, and is an insult to those who actually spend years of their lives working towards bachelors, masters, and doctorates in the hard sciences.

    Baugh: Humbug!

  129. #130 P-W
    August 11, 2007

    If the evidence gets too tough, “Kill the messenger.”

    Right? After all, isn’t that what they did to Jesus?

    Well, I realize Creationists have their disagreements, and Dr. Baugh is not the only person I have referred to. I also mentioned a link to Dr. Hugh Ross.

    Maybe you want to call him a “liar” also?

    Dr. Baugh is also the scientific research director for the world’s first hyperbaric biosphere, which is a simulation of what he believes are the “original ecospheric conditions of Planet Earth.” Yes, scientists do have changing opinions and theories, and Dr. Baugh is no exception (he formerly subscribed to the macroevolutionary hypothesis, but had a change of mind).

    I cannot vouch for the link you pointed me to, but I find the claim by that individual rather irresponsible.

    But if you are interested in credentials, I noticed I had come across a website entitled, “Dr. Baugh’s Questionable Credentials.” Interestingly, after I accessed it, it was blank. The page contents had been removed.

    Hmmmmmmm. I wonder why?

    Since you are such adept Google experts, I am amazed you were unable to locate anything out about Dr. Baugh except that questionable web page. Maybe you are not really interested in Dr. Baugh’s credentials?

    In case I am wrong, you will find Dr. Baugh’s biography at the following link:
    http://www.creationevidence.org/bio/bio.html

    You will also find Dr. Baugh’s Doctoral Dissertation online at this link:

    http://www.drcarlbaugh.org/

    But are you really even interested in his credentials? I think not.

  130. #131 P-W
    August 11, 2007

    B) If the Ica Stones are real, then, P-W, can you or “Dr” Baugh explain why there have never been any remains of Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops or Stegosaurus ever found in Peru, or why there have been no other depictions of these dinosaurs on any other Peruvian artifacts, ever?

    Posted by: Stanton | August 9, 2007 07:09 PM

    I was unaware such intensive and thorough excavations had already been thoroughly conducted and conclusively completed. Would you please provide me a list of the excavators?

  131. #132 P-W
    August 11, 2007

    So, what’s your problem with Tiktaalik roseae?

    Posted by: Brownian | August 1, 2007 03:51 PM

    While researching “Answers in Genesis” in reply to Owlmirror, I came across this interesting piece on Tiktaalik roseae:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n2/tiktaalik-fishy-fish

  132. #133 Roger
    August 12, 2007

    P.W, I am interested in what you have to say….it all makes a lot of sense to me.

    Please do not be put off by Silvermite’s and Stuntin’s responses…their longshot/bigchance theory is just a rediculous deception.

    Kent Hovind will be proud of you for exposing their lies.

    Keep up your good work shown here

    Roger

  133. #134 Carlie
    August 12, 2007

    “Interesting” isn’t quite the word for it. “Incorrect” and “irrelevant” fit better.

  134. #135 Owlmirror
    August 12, 2007

    If the evidence gets too tough, “Kill the messenger.”

    Who said anything about killing?

    If the messenger is full of horseshit, tell everyone that the messenger is full of horseshit, and ignore the message.

    Or are you saying that the penalty for fraud and false testimony should be death? I can’t agree with your bloodthirstiness, although I don’t think illegal fraud should go unpunished, either. I certainly think it’s worthy of at least a hefty fine, and maybe a jail term. Wow, just like Kent Hovind!

    Maybe you are not really interested in Dr. Baugh’s credentials?

    In case I am wrong, you will find Dr. Baugh’s biography at the following link:

    http://www.creationevidence.org/bio/bio.html

    Actually, I suddenly became fascinated by Mr. Baugh’s credentials, or rather, lack thereof.

    I see that he has some alleged degrees in theology. Whoop-dee-doo. Since theology is essentially the study of a work of fiction, it’s not that hard to get a degree, as long as you make sure that your lies aren’t too different from the lies of every other theologian in your particular sect. This is called “dogma”.

    And since theology has nothing to do with actual cosmology, biology, geology, paleontology, or any other hard science, even if those degrees in theology are valid, they would prove nothing about Baugh’s knowledge in those fields.

    How about those other degrees, from the Pacific College of Graduate Studies? Wait. What the hell is the “Pacific College of Graduate Studies”?

    Oh, look:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy/degrees.html

    Pacific College Incorporated (a.k.a Pacific College of Graduate Studies and Pacific International University)[26], from which Baugh claims a master’s degree in archaeology, traces to a small, private, religious school in Australia, whose president is Clifford Wilson.[27] Ian Plimer, a member of the Australian Research Council and professor of geology at Newcastle University, reported that PCI is not accredited or authorized to grant degrees. Plimer stated, “Any degrees from this ‘College’ are illegal in Australia and are clearly being used fraudulently in the U.S.A.[28]

    (emphasis mine)

    Baugh: Humbug!

  135. #136 Kseniya
    August 12, 2007

    Wow, a thread from April still lives! But when we see comments citing AIG as an authoritative source on Tiktaalik rosae, shouldn’t we just put it out of its misery?

    Just sayin’.

  136. #137 Owlmirror
    August 13, 2007

    Ah, the Ica Stones.

    I hadn’t meant to get caught up in that particular morass, but I really just want to point out a few things:

    1) Even if the stones are real depictions of dinosaurs, carved hundreds or thousands of years ago, that wouldn’t have anything to do with disproving evolution. The extinction of the large dinosaurs is a paleontological theory, not an evolutionary one. For giant dinosaurs to live into the age of modern humans would be quite fascinating, but not a disproof of evolution — and it’s an example of the stupidity and deceit of creationists to suggest otherwise.

    2) Speaking of stupidity and deceit, some of the interpretations of the more crudely carved images on the stones is laughable. There’s that one that is said to depict the Earth’s continents 13,000,000 years ago. Ridiculous! The image on the stone is of some elongated blobs, with blank spaces and lines drawn between them. There’s no telling if the thing is supposed to represent lands at all, let alone giant land masses. And the supposed “Cesarean” operation! It is no trick at all to cut a pregnant woman open and extract the fetus. People forget that in ancient times, that exact thing was done when a pregnant woman died, so as to save the baby (which is why it was almost certainly not the way that Julius Caesar was born, since his mother survived the birth). The trick is in keeping a pregnant woman alive while doing so, and in sewing her back up so that she remains alive afterwards…

    3) However, again pretending for a moment that some (I doubt all) of the stones depicting dinosaurs were carved hundreds or thousands of years ago… There’s a far simpler explanation that doesn’t contradict either evolutionary theory or paleontological theory: Like artists today who depict living dinosaurs, the ancient stone-carvers were inspired, not by living dinosaurs, but by fossils, and the stones are not evidence that man and dinosaur lived in the same area at the same time, but rather that somewhere in Peru was (is?) a beautifully preserved collection of dinosaur fossils.

    Of course, the most likely explanation is that the dinosaur depictions are modern carvings. Even if some or all of the rest of the rocks are ancient, that would not prove the dinosaur ones were of that age. Particularly the one with the triceratops and stegosaurus; that one looks almost too pat.

    I note that the dating method is not described very well, nor is there any sense of how accurate it is.

  137. #138 P-W
    August 13, 2007

    B) If the Ica Stones are real, then, P-W, can you or “Dr” Baugh explain why there have never been any remains of Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops or Stegosaurus ever found in Peru, or why there have been no other depictions of these dinosaurs on any other Peruvian artifacts, ever?

    Posted by: Stanton | August 9, 2007 07:09 PM

    I was unaware such intensive and thorough excavations had already been thoroughly conducted and conclusively completed. Would you please provide me a list of the excavators?

    Posted by: P-W | August 11, 2007 03:31 PM

    CORRECTION:

    I am sorry. I failed to examine closely the pictures Dr. Baugh included on pages 106-107 of his 1999 book. His comments indicate the photos are of ancient Peruvian textiles and ancient pottery from tombs in Peru. Both the textiles and the pottery contain pictures of dinosaurs, and by the way, they are not Ica Stones.

  138. #139 P-W
    August 13, 2007

    1) Even if the stones are real depictions of dinosaurs, carved hundreds or thousands of years ago, that wouldn’t have anything to do with disproving evolution. The extinction of the large dinosaurs is a paleontological theory, not an evolutionary one. For giant dinosaurs to live into the age of modern humans would be quite fascinating, but not a disproof of evolution — and it’s an example of the stupidity and deceit of creationists to suggest otherwise.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | August 13, 2007 02:15 AM

    I agree with your candor here, except it appears to me that the macroevolutionist’s paradigm becomes rather “cramped,” and it is, after all, the other macroevolutionists who have been putting up the big fuss with their claim that the last dinosaur lived 65 million years ago! All one needs to do is refer to the excellent index you pointed out at http://www.talkorigins.org to discover the tremendous effort that has been put into refuting Creationist’s evidences which infer recent dinosaurs, like the Paluxy footprints.

  139. #140 Steve_C
    August 13, 2007

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Creationists don’t have a scientific argument.

    They have deluded beliefs which they must protect by distorting science and making shit up.

    P-W. Give up. You will never ever win.

  140. #141 Brownian
    August 13, 2007

    it is, after all, the other macroevolutionists who have been putting up the big fuss with their claim that the last dinosaur lived 65 million years ago

    No, that claim is made by paleontologists and geologists.

    You see, it is not simply evolutionists who feel their work invalidates creationism.

    It’s all of science.

  141. #142 Josh
    August 13, 2007

    Actually, I don’t think ‘tremendous effort’ has been put into refuting the claims of Paluxy human footprints at all. They were rather easy to refute. The only reason there was any controversy at all is that the structures don’t record the anatomy of any animal, so if they were footprints, they were very poor quality footprints. We have good quality human footprints…and these aren’t them. This of course has allowed for all sorts of interpretations of the structures. This happens a lot in paleontology with tracks. A footprint is the trace of an act; it is an impression in sediment. An animal might have created the footprint but what we’re left to study is the impression. Footprints are highly variable objects and often times they’re terrible in quality. Even for good ones it is a miserable process to try and figure out what animal made a track. Laboratory experiments that have the same animal walk in the essentially the same way across different substrates can produce very different footprints that in the fossil record would look like different animals. As such, the parataxonomy of Linnaean binomials on tracks has always been complicated and problematic–most paleontologists are highly critical *whenever* someone says such and such a track was made by genus X (as opposed to say just ‘large predatory dinosaur’). Why are we going to be *less* critical of an *amazing* claim like “this footprint was made by a human!” when it comes from rock where no human fossils have ever been found from an age where we don’t expect them than we are of a *rudimentary* claim like “this footprint was made by a tyrannosaurid” when it comes from a place where tyrannosaurid fossils are common? Even so, the people who insist of trying to slap genus names on footprints are smart enough to go and try and find the most well preserved footprints they can…you know…ones which actually preserve some anatomical detail. Instead of spending energy vigorously asserting that the Paluxy ‘tracks’ are human…why the hell aren’t people out hunting for better preserved putative human tracks alongside dinosaur footprints? There are literally millions of fair to excellent quality dinosaur footprints in the world that have already been found. If humans and dinosaurs coexisted, then there should be…somewhere…dinosaur footprints preserved with tracks that looked enough like human footprints that we couldn’t disprove the hypothesis. It hasn’t happened…in almost 200 years of scientifically studying dinosaur tracks. Millions of tracks from thousands of localities…no good candidates for human footprints. Where are they? Does this absence of evidence *prove* dinosaurs and humans didn’t coexist? Of course not…Tyrannosaurus existed before we found evidence of it. But sorry…Paluxy doesn’t prove that they did, either. Rather, the footprint evidence argues rather strongly that they did not.

  142. #143 Aquila
    August 13, 2007

    P-W has done a rather sterling job in pointing out to you Darwinian acolytes that the evolutionists’ thinking is very creative in their efforts to dismiss the Creator. Is creative writing a pre-requisite? Evolutionists seem to be very certain about events in the “distant” past to which there were no human eye-witnesses, happily interpreting the fossil record according to their preconceived belief and then stating it as fact. This is akin to fortune-telling, astrology etc. in reverse i.e. pseudo-science.

    The Bible on the other hand declares the works of the Creator and contains predictions (prophecies) e.g. rise and fall of kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome) well before the events occurred, which have been confirmed archaeologically. Moreover, there are some 300 prophecies in the Old Testament specific to Jesus Christ, including the timing of his first advent. And one of Christ’s many epithets is Author of Life…

  143. #144 Owlmirror
    August 13, 2007

    Aquila, your comment was broken. I fixed it for you:

    Evolutionists seem to be very certain about events in the distant past to which there were no human eye-witnesses, happily interpreting the fossil record according to the existing evidence of geological processes, geochemical reactions, and radioactive decay.

    This is science.

    The Bible on the other hand declares the works of the Creator (which are either contradicted by the evidence, or for which there is no evidence), and contains records of alleged predictions (prophecies) e.g. rise and fall of kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome) well before the events occurred, few of which have been confirmed archaeologically. Moreover, there are no prophecies in the Old Testament specific to Jesus Christ, including the timing of his first advent, only stories made up creatively after the fact.

  144. #145 Stanton
    August 13, 2007

    Thank you for proving that Creationists have absolutely no interest in science, and that they utterly lack any respect for those humans interested in entertaining rational thought.

  145. #146 Roger
    August 14, 2007

    Good prophecy you quoted there Steve_C, it is straight from the Bible, so you can count on it.

  146. #147 Aquila
    August 14, 2007

    Well, Stanton, let’s see: “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” (Isa 42:5). Then, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isa 42:9).

  147. #148 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    Owlmirror wrote: *Like the Paluxy footprints, for which all of the evidence, as examined by actual paleontologists and geologists with real credentials, is that they were all formed by dinosaurs, in their entirety.*

    Well…mostly, except that not every impression in question is a footprint at all, of anything. I know this might be considered splitting hairs, but it illustrates *just how little* geology anyone who believes in Glen Rose human tracks knows.

  148. #149 Steve_C
    August 14, 2007

    Oh yeah… no one knew that you decomposed and turned into dirt before the bible was conjured up.

    That’s hysterical.

    Next you’ll be telling me that the bible foretold that you needed eyes to see and a mouth to talk.

    Nitwit.

  149. #150 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    P-W wrote: *Darwin suggests “chance” is the designer of man’s brain…*

    Where exactly did Darwin suggest that? You know, part of the reason this foolish ‘debate’ continues is that a ridiculously small percentage of those on the side of creationism appear to have actually read Darwin or, more importantly, noticed that science hasn’t been sitting around watching the daisies grow since 1859 and has actually (What? shock!) moved a bit beyond Darwin. For people who so often use the word ‘truth’ in their arguments, many of you seem to have little need or desire to verify the truth of *your own* statements. Instead you vigorously assert incorrect statements like the one above and then you’re surprised when scientists don’t immediately take you seriously. You have zero problem telling people to go read the Bible to get educated about creationism but for some reason don’t see that a little education on your end might also be beneficial. It is difficult to effectively discuss imagery in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ with someone who has never opened Tolkein. Moreover, if you’re trying to pursued folks that your side of an argument is right, can’t you not see that misrepresenting the side you’re arguing against hurts you…badly? Why should we take any position you make against evolution seriously when your writing strongly suggests you haven’t even taken the time to figure out what the theory actually says?

  150. #151 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    *Because they said that God said so, Josh.*

    Well, then their argument is easy. They can simply assert that the Bible is literal truth, period. They don’t need to say anything at all about Darwin…indeed, given *that* position, they should have even *less* of a need to misrepresent what he actually said.

  151. #152 Steve_C
    August 14, 2007

    A bear shiteth in thine woods.

    -3 Duhnoshittius 14:7

  152. #153 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    Rey wrote: *…and so they assume that we think the same way.*

    Sigh…I know. And I should let them continue to argue in circles, but…it’s so hard.

  153. #154 Kseniya
    August 14, 2007

    Josh:

    For people who so often use the word ‘truth’ in their arguments, many of you seem to have little need or desire to verify the truth of *your own* statements. Instead you vigorously assert incorrect statements like the one above and then you’re surprised when scientists don’t immediately take you seriously.

    Bingo!

    While we’re on the subject of Truth, I’d like to clear something up:
    ________________________________________

    In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings. With the wind she laid a golden egg and for ages she sat upon this egg. Finally life began to stir in the egg and out of it rose Eros, the god of love. One half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky and the other became the Earth. Eros named the sky Uranus and the Earth he named Gaia. Then Eros made them fall in love.

    Uranus and Gaia had many children together and eventually they had grandchildren. Some of their children become afraid of the power of their children. Kronus, in an effort to protect himself, swallowed his children when they were still infants. However, his wife Rhea hid their youngest child. She gave him a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he swallowed, thinking it was his son.

    Once the child, Zeus, had reached manhood his mother instructed him on how to trick his father to give up his brothers and sisters. Once this was accomplished the children fought a mighty war against their father. After much fighting the younger generation won. With Zeus as their leader, they began to furnish Gaia with life and Uranus with stars.

    Soon the Earth lacked only two things: man and animals. Zeus summoned his sons Prometheus (fore-thought) and Epimetheus (after-thought). He told them to go to Earth and create men and animals and give them each a gift.

    Prometheus set to work forming men in the image of the gods and Epimetheus worked on the animals. As Epimetheus worked he gave each animal he created one of the gifts. After Epimetheus had completed his work Prometheus finally finished making men. However when he went to see what gift to give man Epimetheus shamefacedly informed him that he had foolishly used all the gifts.

    Distressed, Prometheus decided he had to give man fire, even though gods were the only ones meant to have access to it. As the sun god rode out into the world the next morning Prometheus took some of the fire and brought it back to man. He taught his creation how to take care of it and then left them.

    [etc.]

  154. #155 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    I have actually wondered for a while when Zeus was going to get pissed off enough that so many people have stopped worshiping him that he started getting up in people’s shit.

  155. #156 Josh
    August 14, 2007

    Shit no…I didn’t know that…

  156. #157 Kseniya
    August 14, 2007

    So… We have Mel Brooks to thank for our continued existence? Awesome!

  157. #158 PZ Myers
    August 14, 2007

    Somebody has been reading that fraud, Josh McDowell.

    The Book of Daniel was written after the events it “prophesies”, and even at that the “prophecies”were mistaken and full of errors. Your evidence is crap.

    As for a stegosaurus, most well-preserved fossils would have been buried within days or weeks. Replacement of the organic tissue with minerals would have occurred over tens of thousands of years, and could have been ongoing for millions.

  158. #159 Steve_C
    August 14, 2007

    Are you truly interested in the science or just looking for more opportunities to spread your superstitions?

    You can’t even prove that Jesus existed. How can you show a prophecy was fulfilled? Such silliness.

    Try wikipedia and look up fossils or fossilization.

  159. #160 Stanton
    August 14, 2007

    I repeat, Aquila: What exactly do Biblical prophesies have to do with Biology, Geology and or Paleontology, and how does the Bible explain why fossils of placoderms and trilobites are segregated from fossils of plesiosaurs, which are, in turn, segregated from fossils of whales?
    You don’t appear to have answered either question at all.

  160. #161 Stanton
    August 14, 2007

    Steve, to answer your question,

    Are you truly interested in the science or just looking for more opportunities to spread your superstitions?

    And I quote from the book of Welduh 8:32

    And lo, there will be holy idiots in the future who claim to know everything, and yet, be unable to answer a single question. And they get angry and puzzled when others disagree with their answer of “GODDIDIT””

  161. #162 Owlmirror
    August 14, 2007

    Alas, P-W. You fail to learn, you fail to try and understand, you fail to think. Naturally, you return to dogma.

    The issue of origins ultimately deals with alternatives: is chance the “designer,” or is some intelligence the Designer?

    Neither, although the first one is closer. The laws of the universe are the “designer”. “Chance” is involved, in the sense that the manner in which the laws interact are usually uncontrolled — and when they are controlled, the ones who implement that control are fallible living beings, ultimately subject to those laws.

    Darwin suggests “chance” is the designer of man’s brain,

    Dawin suggested that “chance” and selection was the designer of man’s brain. So far, there has been nothing to disprove this, and accumulated evidence — in the form of comparisons between the brains of various animals, and a better understanding of how genetics interacts with brain development — in favor of this.

    but the Bible indicates Intelligence is the Designer of man and his brain.

    The Bible assumes an Intelligence. It tells a story, and provides no evidence that this “Intelligence” exists now, nor ever existed. It explains nothing.

    Has random chance ever been observed or has random chance been seen repeatedly in the act of creating the most basic organism?

    That depends on what “creating” means. Inasmuch as all reproduction and development involve a certain degree of random chance, and can be considered to be acts of “creation” to a certain extent, then the answer is “yes”. Heh.

    Has an Intelligence been observed creating or has an Intelligence been seen repeatedly in the act of creating the most basic organism?

    If by “Intelligence” you mean “the entity whose story appears in the Bible”, then, NO. Of course not.

    Individuals often make a decision between “random chance” as the designer (as Darwin suggested), or for an Intelligence as the Designer (as the Bible suggests).

    People who educate themselves about science and biology do find evolution to be the simplest explanation that fits the existing data.

    Those who are brainwashed and indoctrinated into a religion and who refuse to shake off the indoctrination, do prefer the story that includes an Intelligence, yes. Oddly enough, Muslims prefer the Intelligence in the Koran; Hindus often prefer the Intelligence in the Vedas. Orthodox Jews like the Intelligence in the Bible as well, but reject in disgust the entire New Testament. And everyone gets into fights over which Intelligence is the “right” one, including various sects of Christians.

    Yet none of the religious groups can provide any evidence that their Intelligence even exists.

    The “laws of logic” intimate the Great Logician, the Ultimate Engineer, is The Grand Designer.

    The “laws of logic” do no such thing. The laws of nature exist and have been and are being discovered. Nothing about those laws “intimates” anything about being the result of an Intelligence. But the “laws of logic” do strongly intimate that all religious works were created by human imagination, and nothing more.

    Nature, the Bible indicates, “preaches” the existence of a Creator, and according to the Bible, noone is excused from nature’s “sermon.”

    A work of fiction about an imaginary being has no weight in describing anything about nature and reality.

    The Bible indicates some do not wish to retain knowledge of the Creator revealed through nature, but instead reject that knowledge of the Creator which everyone perceives via the material world.

    Since nature does not reveal a Creator, then those that do perceive a Creator are deluded. Those who do not have achieved at least that amount of rationality.

    the Bible also indicates that the Creator has communicated with mankind through men, through prophets, and ultimately through the love of the Ultimate Prophet, the Messiah of Israel.

    In other words, the work of fiction about God claims to be true, without providing any evidence. How nice and circular.

    Statistical evidence exists for the validity of the Bible through over 300 predicted Messianic prophecies which were made in the First Covenant Bible of Israel (the Old Testament), and recorded as fulfilled in the Second Covenant Bible of Israel (the New Testament).

    Pure horseshit.

    A miniature sampling of some of the 300 predicted and fulfilled Bible prophecies of the Messiah (which provide further verification that Israel’s Lord is the Creator of the world) are available at the following link:

    300 samples of pure horseshit. Again, those are nothing but examples of making up stories after the fact.

    Now science, on the other hand, has a pretty good track record of making predictions and fulfilling them. Every implementation of technology is a fulfilled prediction of science. I don’t know exactly how many there are, but I am absolutely certain that the number is far higher than 300.

  162. #163 Owlmirror
    August 15, 2007

    Let’s see…

    The book of Daniel, the short snark shock version:

    Chapter 1: Judaea is conquered by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Daniel is one of the conquered people, and is brought to the king. There’s a bit about him not wanting to eat the food or drink the wine of the king, presumably because it isn’t kosher food or wine, and him and his friends being healthy eating just legumes and drinking water. Whoop.

    Chapter 2: Neb has a dream! He call his magicians and wise men, and orders them to tell him what his dream was. They can’t, and he orders them killed.

    Daniel prays to God for the answer, and gets it. There’s a bit of groveling to God for giving the answer, and the Dan goes to Neb, and says that God told him what the dream was and what it meant.

    The dream: A big statue, with a gold head, silver chest and arms, brass belly and thighs, iron legs, and feet made partly of iron and partly of clay. The whole thing gets smashed by a rock. The pieces fly away like chaff. The rock grows and becomes a big mountain.

    The meaning: Neb ate too much before going to bed. OK, maybe not.

    The meaning: The gold head is Neb. Everything else are empires to follow. They’ll each fall. The crushing rock is God’s eternal empire.

    Neb is stunned by this awesome psychic reading, and tells Dan he should set up his own psychic hotline. OK, maybe not.

    Neb gives Dan lots o’ schwag, including a whole honkin’ province to run. Dan in turn puts his buddies Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in charge.

    Chapter 3: Neb makes a golden statue, and launches a concert to dedicate it (statuepalooza?). People are supposed to worship the statue. Those who don’t get down and boogie to the statue burn in a furnace.

    Shad, Mesh & Abe don’t get down. They say God will make them cool. Neb gets mad. He stokes the furnace, and tosses them all in. They don’t burn. Neb is impressed. He orders that no-one should disrespect God.

    More groveling to God follows.

    Chapter 4: This chapter is told in first person from the POV of Neb. Neb has a new dream, about a tree that gets cut down. Dan says, “Dude, that tree is you. You are so totally busted.” Except Dan is now called Belteshazzar. WTF?

    Neb goes nuts and eats grass.

    More groveling to God follows.

    Chapter 5: The new king, Belshazzar, sees some weird shit. There he is, chowing down with his buds, and suddenly this freaking hand appears and writes something on the wall. Bel says that anyone who can read it will get schwag. He calls in Dan. Dan says, “I don’t need schwag. Your dad was an arrogant swot, and so are you. The writing says that your kingdom was weighed by God, and he’s going to split it between the Medes and the Persians”. Bel is apparantly not particularly distressed by this, and gives Dan his schwag. Bel gets snuffed that very night.

    Chapter 6: Now Darius the Mede is in charge. He wants everyone to bow down only to him for a 30 day period. Dan ignores this, and grovels to God as usual. Dar’s ministers tattle on Dan to Dar. Dar tosses Dan to the lions. The lions don’t eat Dan. Dar tosses the tattlers to the lions, and the lions chow down on the tattlers. NOM NOM NOM.

    More groveling to God follows.

    [To be continued, maybe…]

  163. #164 Owlmirrror
    August 15, 2007

    I dunno, I was just thinking that Aquilia thought that the book of Daniel was something so impressive with the prophesies and fulfillment and stuff. Yet here I am, halfway through the book, and so far there’s just some weird dreams, and real unlikely shit (frex: Belshazzar has just heard that his empire is doomed and all he can think of is to give the messenger some bling and go to bed so that he can be killed. Can we say idiot plot?)

    I was just wondering if Aquilia could maybe point out the parts that I’m supposed to be impressed by. So far, it’s about as good as most folktales, which also often have weird shit and contrived idiot plots, now I think of it.

  164. #165 Owlmirror
    August 16, 2007

    I am not sure if I am trying to offend Aquila or not. I am mostly trying to amuse myself, although there is a certain continuing irritation at the fundamentalist dogma that Bible stories are all 100% true, which is presumably where Aquila’s certainty that the book of Daniel is a true prophecy arises from.

    I suppose there’s the faint hope of the humor perhaps provoking subversive skepticism about the fundamentalist mindset, unlikely as that might be.

  165. #166 Brownian
    August 16, 2007

    Ooh, I liked that too, Owlmirror.

    My fundamentalist ex-roomate used to spout off similar bible stories as if they were examples of wisdom only the divinely inspired could possess.

    His favourite example was of Solomon and the prostitutes (1 Kings 3:16-28).

    To me it was a perfect example of a biblical strawman: if you were confronted with a psychotic woman who would rather kill a baby than let her roommate have it (“Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”), do you think you’d really need God’s help to determine she’s not the most fit mother?

    His response was that godless people are all savages, incapable of the most basic human compassion.

    What a maroon.

  166. #167 Kseniya
    August 16, 2007

    Owl’s tale rocked, and was deeply chuckleworthy.

    Brownian – whoa. And they call skeptics ‘arrogant’…?

  167. #168 Owlmirror
    August 16, 2007

    His favourite example was of Solomon and the prostitutes (1 Kings 3:16-28).

    Funny you should mention that; I was just thinking about it.

    The really weird thing about that story is this: If you read it carefully — and I checked this in the original Hebrew as well — Solomon does not say “Give the baby to the mother who wants the baby to live”. He speaks right after the mother who says “Cut the baby in half”, and says “Give her the baby; she is the mother”. The text simply does not say who “her” refers to, and the most literal interpretation is that the baby should go to the mother who would rather kill the baby than give it up.

    Larry Gonick (yes, in The Cartoon History of the Universe, Vol I) suggested that the whole thing was a political allegory: The “baby” is the state of Israel; the two “mothers” are Solomon and the other claimant for the throne, and that Solomon was willing to cut the state in two if he couldn’t have the whole thing, and his rival preferred peace and unity and giving up the claim to the throne.
    Therefore, Solomon deserved the whole thing.

    Or something like that. I may have to double-check to be sure.

  168. #169 Brownian
    August 16, 2007

    What was even more bizarre (to me, at least) was that my roommate would see the tiniest bit of good advice in the bible as evidence that it was inspired by God, as if no mortal human could have come up with “Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” (Deut 15:11)

    Perhaps it’s because he was a selfish ass both before and after his being born-again.

  169. #170 Kseniya
    August 16, 2007

    Perhaps it’s because he was a selfish ass …

    Yeah. I’m continually struck by those who claim there is no morality without god. Huh? I can only conclude that the claimant is admitting his own innate amorality, and projects it on everyone else. This is nothing new, of course, but it’s a recurring theme which continues, in a way, to astonish me.

  170. #171 Stanton
    August 16, 2007

    Would a parent be considered a good parent if she teaches her child to share his cookies with his sibling by telling him “If you don’t give your sisters some of your cookies, I’m going to cut off all your fingers and make you eat them”?
    I think it’s analogous to saying that it’s better to do good to avoid eternal hellfire, rather than to do good simply because it’s good.

  171. #172 Kseniya
    August 16, 2007

    Steve, yes!

  172. #173 Kseniya
    August 16, 2007

    That is to say, the woman who was given custody of the baby was the one who was willing to give it up. Whether or not she was actually the mother is, perhaps, open to question…

  173. #174 Owlmirror
    August 17, 2007

    The book of Daniel, the short sharp snark version, Part 3

    Chapter 8:
    Dan dreams wacky shit, part 2.

    So Dan is in Shushan in Elam by the stream Ulai, and he sees a ram (OH HAI…) with two horns (no doubt specified because there are so many one-horned and three-horned rams running around?) up high, one horn higher than the other.

    And this ram is kicking ass and taking names and being one badass ram, when all of a sudden Dan sees a billy-goat from out of the west, with one horn between his eyes. [It really sounds like somebody back then knew the trick of surgically joining the horn-buds of a kid-goat in the center of its head to make a goat-unicorn. (Note: pink dye is extra)]

    And the billygoat-unicorn is in the ram’s base, downgrading the ram and breaking the ram’s horns. And the billygoat is now large and in charge, but his single horn breaks and becomes four horns, and a horn comes out of one of the horns and takes over the south and the east, and is so badass that it puts out the stars and tears down the sky and it tears down truth, and it is just mighty badass.

    And Dan hears a saint asking how long this particular crap is going to go on, and gets an answer of 2300 days.

    And Dan sees a dude, and someone says, “Gabriel, explain the weird shit to Dan”.

    And Gabe very conveniently infodumps on Dan that the ram is the joint Medean and Persian kingdom (“Und ze broken horns, you see, represents your fears of emasculation…” “Whut?”), and the ass-kicking ram-slamming billygoat is the Hellenic empire that defeats the Medes and the Persians, and the big, powerful, central horn is “the first king” (“Und did you feel any desire to be… penetrated by zat horn?” “Whut?”), and the four horns are the kingdoms that follow, and one of the later kings will be a mighty badass, who will nevertheless fail.

    And shut up about this dream because it’s about the far future.

    And Dan pukes up some fly agaric ‘shrooms and cheese. OK, maybe not.

    And Dan faints.

    Chapter 9:

    Um. Most of this chapter is Dan groveling to God. See Dan. See Dan grovel. Oh, yes, God you are so mighty, and we are so pathetic, and evil, and we deserved to have our asses conquered, and you are so good to us… and so on. Grovel, Dan, grovel.

    Oh, wait. Gabe shows up again. OH HAI, IS INFODUMPS TIEM AGAYN. With more numbers! Gabe sez: God luvs ya. You have 70 weeks to make it up to God. In seven weeks, Jerusalem will be allowed to be rebuilt, and for 62 weeks it will be built. And then some hotshot will come in and kill an anointed one, and destroy the city, but he’ll be flooded out, and he’ll do nasty stuff for one week.

    Chapter 10: Hoo, boy. This one is where the light subtext suddenly becomes really heavy subtext. Slashfic writers will shout for joy, and grab their tools, and maybe after that, they’ll grab their writing implements.

    Dan has been feeling poorly. He hasn’t been eating right for 3 weeks, and he’s been letting himself go. He’s a complete mess.

    Then, there he is by the river Tigris, and he looks up and sees a dude, wearing TOTALLY sleek threads, and this dude has a TOTALLY HAWT BODY, and a voice like you wouldn’t believe. And Dan is totally overcome, and falls facedown on the ground. And then… hold on, I gotta paste this in verbatim:

    “10 And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me tottering upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

    11 And he said unto me: ‘O Daniel, thou man greatly beloved, give heed unto the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright; for now am I sent unto thee'; and when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.”

    And there’s more like that, where the dude is talking to Dan, explaining that he’s involved in this big struggle, and Dan feels weak, and “one like the appearance of a man” touches Dan, and Dan feels strong again.

    I mean, really now. Somehow, I get the feeling that Dan and the dude are going to be staring into each other’s eyes while the dude is infodumping, and the subject of horn will come up again, and Dan will blush and get all flustered. OK, maybe not.

    [To be continued, probably. Why stop now?]

  174. #175 Owlmirror
    August 18, 2007

    The book of Daniel, the short sharp snark version, Part 4

    Nearly done.

    Chapter 11: I am not 100% sure if this is narrated by Dan, or by the stud by the river in a continuation from the previous chapter. And it doesn’t lend itself very well to snark; it’s all politics, and vaguely-worded politics at that, which is really kinda boring. No more weird dreams and shit; no more funky animals (and long, stiff horns); no more hot studs making poor Dan tremble. It’s all infodump. Sorry.

    Anyway, whoever narrates sez: There will be 3 more kings of Persia, then a fourth one will arise who will be richer, and more powerful, and more ambitious, and more aggressive, and he’ll attack Greece.

    And he’ll fail, and lose everything.

    And there will be a king in the south who will kick ass, and his daughter will marry the king of the north, and … nothing much will come of this directly. But one of her descendants will kick the ass of the king of the north, and will bring treasure and stuff into Egypt (which is presumably the south?), and leave the king of the north alone for a while. And then…

    Crap, I don’t think I can summarize this. Basically, the north and the south and whoever all try and kick each others asses, and make treaties and alliances, and break them, and all kinds of shit happens, and I think the part that he’s trying to get to is where one of these characters will “have indignation against the holy covenant” and “they shall profane the sanctuary, even the stronghold, and shall take away the continual burnt-offering, and they shall set up the detestable thing that causeth appalment”, and then he’ll get his ass kicked but good.

    I think that’s it. There’s a bit more of this guy, and fighting between the north and the south, and… anyway. Eh, close enough.

    Chapter 12: Last chapter!

    Hey, this is about the dead arising! It looks like it happens right after the last part, which ends in the death of the one who profaned the sanctuary, which allegedly happens after some wars and stuff that follow the last three kings of Persia in Dan’s time. Huh. I think we would know if there had been a zombie apocalypse sometime in the past two and a half millenia, ya think?

    Some will have “everlasting life”, and some will have “reproaches and everlasting abhorrence”, and the wise will shine like the stars. How nice.

    Hm. It looks like Dan has been with the stud by the river this whole time, and it was the stud who tells Dan the last bit about the dead rising.

    And someone asks when all this happens, and the stud gives a vague answer. And Dan has apparantly recovered enough strength to say WTF?, and asks the stud again, and the stud tells Dan to amscray; “for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end”. Poor Dan! Denied by his studmuffin! </3

    However: “from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the detestable thing that causes appalment set up, there shall be” 1290 days. And “Happy is he that waiteth, and cometh to the” 1335 days.

    And Dan should just wander off and relax and wait for the end of days.

    And that’s it. The end.

  175. #176 Owlmirror
    August 18, 2007

    So a track record of fulfilled “predictions” are validation for natural science but not for the Bible?

    Sure.

    The so-called “fulfilled” “predictions” in the bible are all either really tenuous interpretations, or are claimed to be “fulfilled” by simple fiat, or have obvious natural explanations. Such as being written down after the events they “predict”.

    Just out of curiosity, have you personally investigated all of the so-called “fulfilled” “predictions” in the bible? Have you investigated any of the 300 samples that you pointed at?

    Science, on the other hand, is an eternal prediction — in the sense that a scientific law means that all future interactions involving the law will follow the law.
    Two masses will always attract each other with a force that is inversely proportional to the square of their own distance, multiplied by a specific constant of approximately 6.67 10?11 N m2 kg?2.

    Of course, it may be discovered that the law — the “prediction” — is not being followed in exactly the same way, in which case, it requires modification. In the case of gravitation, the law required modification by Einsteinian relativity. But note that relativistic gravitation, while it gives a better prediction in all scenarios, in most non-relativistic scenarios, it is nearly identical to the prediction given by Newtonian gravitation.

    The whole point of science is to modify the predictions, if necessary, based on the evidence.

    The whole point of religious dogma is to reject all evidence that contradicts the biblical “predictions” (fundamentalist/creationist), or by rejecting that there is a contradiction (liberal interpretation).

  176. #177 Stanton
    August 18, 2007

    P-W, do you know why Biblical prophesies are so important to Biology, Geology and Paleontology?

  177. #178 Owlmirror
    August 18, 2007

    Say, I just remembered my own question that I was wondering about. P-W, above you said that you investigated “macroevolutionary theory”, and found a “paucity of evidence” and “holes in the theory”, and on and on.

    How, exactly, did you perform this investigation? Which books did you read? Did you look at any original scientific papers? Did you fully investigate the geological record, the paleontological evidence, and the biochemical and genetic evidence?

    Describe your methods and reasoning. Show all work.

  178. #179 Stanton
    August 18, 2007

    I prophesize P-W will say one of the following answers:
    1) “”Answers in Genesis” told me so”
    2) “Dr Baugh told me so.”
    3) “Dr Hovind told me so.”
    4) “The Bible prophesized it.”

  179. #180 Kseniya
    August 19, 2007

    Paucity? Holes? Indeed! P-W correctly brings to our attention the utter lack of extant video that shows transformation of a snail into a cougar. Darwin is finished!

    He’s way ahead of me. I didn’t realize that macroevolutionary theory was different from evolutionary theory.

  180. #181 Owlmirror
    August 19, 2007
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    I think Hitchens is more appropriate here.

    [w]hat can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    Well, to a certain extent. Especially in regards to the more egregious claims.

    But the problem is that the Fundamentalists think they do have evidence — in the bible.

    And there’s certainly plenty of ordinary evidence in the bible. The texts do exist; they have been around for a long time; some of the places and peoples described in the texts have independent verification.

    Where things start getting problematic is the exact details of those people and events. There’s no verification for most of them. In many cases, the peoples mentioned — Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians — kept their own records of various things that they thought were important, and the things described in the bible don’t match up, or don’t appear at all. So there’s one level of unreliability right there.

    And finally, of course, there’s all of the supernatural events described, from the creation to the Flood; to three dudes being tossed into a roaring furnace and not getting burned; to events being “prophesied” hundreds of years before they happened.

    For those supernatural — extraordinary — events, there is indeed no evidence at all.

    (You knew that already, but I thought I’d clarify in case P-W et alia were still lurking)

  181. #182 Kristjan Wager
    August 19, 2007

    Well, I can’t help wonder if Roger and P-W really want to use Hovind as a source.

    We are, after all, talking about someone:

    1) Who even AiG thinks is wrong on science.

    2) Is in jail fpr tax evation, basing his lack of tax payment on the advice of people who has to make clear that they are not qualified to advice people in tax questions.

    3) Who has sold anti-semitic literature in the past.

    Does this imply that this is someone you can trust as an authority on anything? He has clearly demonstrated his lack of judgement and skepticism, and that he is unqualified to talk about the subject at hand (science).

    Given the fact that our Creationist commenters have yet to demonstrate any understanding of what science is, and just parrot talking points from Creationist sites, I guess they aren’t too critical of Hovind (beggars can’t be choosers), but I would be embarressed basing any of my arguments on such a person’s “lectures”.

  182. #183 Aquila
    August 19, 2007

    PZ, I am not familiar with the work of Josh McDowell. However the links you provide are one-sided – not what I expected from an academic. Try the works of Roy Anderson and William Shea.

    Otherwise thank you (and Josh) on the elucidating comments on burial. Have you experimentally verified your statement that replacement of the organic tissue with minerals would have occurred over tens of thousands of years, and could have been ongoing for millions?

    Owlmirror, what does the law of evolution predict homo sapiens will evolve into? (BTW it’s et al…)

  183. #184 Owlmirror
    August 19, 2007

    Owlmirror, what does the law of evolution predict homo sapiens will evolve into?

    Assuming Homo sapiens (NB: the standard of nomenclature is to always capitalize the genus, and always lowercase the species) refrains from becoming extinct due to global disaster, the law of evolution predicts that, as with all species, H. sapiens will evolve into its descendants.

    Really, what kind of answer were you expecting?

    (BTW it’s et al…)

    Since I didn’t (and don’t) know the actual genders or numbers of the Creationists who might read and might respond, I saw no reason not to use the plural neuter.

    Especially since Creationists behave more like things than people. Ask simple, basic questions like “How do you know what you think you know?” or “Why do you think that this article of belief is true?” or “What methods did you use in research?” or “Why do you continue to rely on this authority when it has been shown to be fraudulent?”, and there’s no response, except for continual rephrasings of old, old misconceptions and misunderstandings. Where is the self-awareness? Where is the ability to analyze and reason? Where is the critical thinking?

    But I rant.

  184. #185 Josh
    August 20, 2007

    Aquila wrote: *Otherwise thank you (and Josh) on the elucidating comments on burial. Have you experimentally verified your statement that replacement of the organic tissue with minerals would have occurred over tens of thousands of years, and could have been ongoing for millions?*

    Aquila, you’re more than welcome.

    Regarding your question about work being conducted on the post-burial degredation rates of the organic fraction of vertebrate bone and subsequent replacement rates by minerals via groundwater solutions, some research has been and is being done on this. But for vertebrates certainly this aspect of the science of taphonomy is really still in its infancy. There just aren’t that many people who focus on this kind of stuff (I’m far less familiar with what folks who work on invertebrate fossils are up to, but I can tell you very little research has popped up on my radar).

    Since paleontology focuses on what ancient life was like *while that life was alive,* we’re far more interested in using taphonomy to help answer questions regarding the environment in which an animal lived than about what happened to it after it was dead and buried. So, because folks are trying to use taphonomic information to infer aspects of paleoenvironment, they’re much more often trying to understand what various environmental processes do to (mostly the outside of) a bone or shell or whatever *before* the element in question undergoes final burial.

    You’re asking about what is going on *after* final burial and we know far less about this because we CARE far less about this. As I stated in other posts, the degree of permineralization in a bone or shell is completely irrelevant to whether or not we think of it as a ‘fossil'(the process of permineralization is a continuum, sure, but it does *not* ever result in a yes or no as to whether something is or isn’t a fossil) and is actually irrelevant to most of the questions we try to answer *using* fossils. In general, broad declarative statements that minerals replace the original material in bones or shells over millions of years (or hundreds of thousands, or whatever) don’t really reflect the literature nor how paleontology currently looks at fossils or the permineralization process.

    BUT, that all being said, the level of detail in which we currently understand rates of perminalization DOES NOT AFFECT OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE AGE OF A FOSSIL BECAUSE WE DO NOT DATE FOSSILS USING PERMINALIZATION. Well, perhaps some people out there somewhere do, but if so, they’re foolish and I’ll tell them that. I’m making this point because I presume you’re actually more interested in questions regarding the age of fossils than you are in discussing the nuances of the precipitation of calcite crystals out of groundwater.

    The fact that the study of permineralization is currently rather far behind some other aspects of paleontology CANNOT BE USED (if you’re being honest) to say– “SEE?! They don’t know how old the earth is! Scientists don’t know anything! He even just admitted they don’t understand fossilization rates well!” –because we simply *don’t use* permineralization to date fossils. Its like if Ford had trouble with side airbags and someone said, “See! Ford doesn’t know anything about Electronic Fuel Injection systems! They can’t get those side airbags to deploy properly at all! And they have the audacity to try and tell us their EFI system increases gas mileage by 13mpg? Ridiculous!”

    (and yes, I intentionally used the foolish phrase ‘fossilization rates’ above instead of properly saying perminealization because that is probably exactly how I would be misquoted).

  185. #186 Josh
    August 20, 2007

    I have to admit that I am still intrigued by those occasional glimmers when they actually will…for a moment…engage the specific point that is being discussed and not dodge. I agree with you, though, Steve…the dodging ability is nothing short of astonishing. Its fascinating, actually.

    I also keep putting geology out there since both ‘sides’ as a general rule seem so amazingly uninformed.

  186. #187 Josh
    August 20, 2007

    Regarding #383. Uhm…ok… I’ll take this as an addendum to post #380, I guess, since it doesn’t act to refute what I wrote nor really to build on it but rather acts to sort of tangentially restate the major points: that degree of permineralization doesn’t define a fossil and that the process of permineralization is not one that we use to date rocks (I dealt with the mechanism itself in other posts). What you write is more or less accurate, except that what you describe as silicate is much better referred to as silica (silicon dioxide).

    In geology, we tend not to use *silicate* to refer to SiO2, but rather as a term used to discuss a group of rock forming minerals built around various configurations of silicon and oxygen. Whereas quartz, probably the best known silicate mineral, can be involved in permineralization, there are whole groups of silicates, such as say…the amphibole group, which don’t tend to form at the temperatures and pressures where permineralization takes place and usually end up in sedimentary rocks as clasts of pre-existing igneous or metamorphic rocks rather than by crystalizing out of solution. I’m not going to be looking at a thin-section of a heavily permineralized dinosaur bone and expect to see crystals of hornblende. Granted, weird things do happen and nature is certainly all about breaking the foolish little rules we like to set up, but in general *silicate* is an imprecise term to use when discussing permineralization.

  187. #188 Kseniya
    August 20, 2007

    Aquila,

    what does the law of evolution predict homo sapiens will evolve into?

    Ah, a request for a prediction of the future, as if the theory of evolution were divination. Professor Trelawney will be with you shortly to answer that question.

    While we wait for her, I have A Question for you: Is your resistence to learning organic or environmental?

    First: It’s not a law, it’s a theory. I suggest you write that down, as it will be on the test.

    Second: AFAIK, and the better-educated among us will correct me if I’m wrong, that sort of prediction is impossible to make without knowledge of the future. A species may evolve or not, it may become extinct or not, depending on the existence of selective pressures (or the lack thereof) and adaptive mutations (or the lack thereof).

    Predictions may be made within the context of speculative scenarios in which hypothetical selective pressures and mutations that may guide and enable the evolutionary process are introduced into the scenario, and applied with regard to those species considered in the scenario.

    The predictive power of the theory is demonstrated (and validated) in the discovery of Tiktaalik rosae. The existence of a “transitional” form similar to Tiktaalik was predicted to have existed in a particular geological place-time, and the discovery of Tiktaalik fulfilled that prediction.

    We all share your curiousity about the future of the human race. But evolutionary theory cannot tell us what that will be. Eventual extinction is extremely likely, unless we can colonize planets in other solar systems. And even then… Hey, all things must pass.

    A more interesting (to me) question might be, “What will the mudskipper evolve into?” The answer to any question like that, however, is always “It depends.”

    Speaking of mudskippers, it never ceases to amaze me that creationists who clamor for transitional fossils blithely overlook the existence of a modern fish that breathes air and climbs trees. I suppose that’s to be expected from the sort of mind that reject all evidence (particular the existence of transitional fossils!) that conflicts with its pre-set beliefs.

  188. #189 Owlmirror
    August 20, 2007

    Or to summarize, evolution predicts that all future generations will follow the process of reproduction, variation, and selection.

    But neither reproduction, variation, nor selection are simple, easy-to-quantify concepts. All we can do is look at organisms, and see, as more and more data accumulates, that they all resulted from those processes.

    (But if mammals evolved from mudskippers, why are there still mudskippers?!?) (Sorry. Sometimes I’m evil.)

    Josh/Stanton: I don’t know enough geology, so it’s good to see solid explanations of how actual geology is done. But I do know enough to know when a Creationist is spewing a bogus argument, about geology or anything else. So there’s that.

    Which reminds me…

  189. #190 Owlmirror
    August 20, 2007

    I am not familiar with the work of Josh McDowell. However the links you provide are one-sided – not what I expected from an academic. Try the works of Roy Anderson and William Shea.

    I didn’t find anything about Anderson, but William Shea appears to be a rabid Creationist, whose biggest claim about Daniel appears to be that there is a list of names, written on a clay prism during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, which include some names very similar to those of Daniel’s companions from chapters 1 and 2 of the book. Wow! Gasp!

    Except… the names don’t match very well (the Wikipedia entry, for example, has them as much closer to the biblical forms than the actual Akkadian inscriptions). You really have to squint and use a very creative interpretation to make them all fit.

    I want to try digging into Shea’s source for this, because I have a sneaking suspicion that he may have fudged the data (that is, I suspect that not all of the names are actually on the clay prism, and some are from other sources, which may or may not have anything to do with Nebuchadnezzar). This may beyond my research capabilities, and I’ve already spent far too much time trawling though articles about cuneiform studies and ancient semitic languages.

    All of which is besides the point, of course.

    It doesn’t matter if all of the names from the Book of Daniel are found together in inscriptions dating from Neb’s time. So what? It is not incredible that the author of the Book of Daniel was descended from high-ranking ancestors in Babylon, and was recording names from his family history, for example. The prophecies are what is incredible, and remains unproven.

    Until the actual prophecies are conclusively dated to before the events they describe, the so-called “prophecies” can be considered bogus; a deliberate literary device, a fiction.

  190. #191 Owlmirror
    August 21, 2007

    The short response to your argument, P-W, is that the burden of proof is not on me to disprove your claim, but on you — on all theists — to provide proof of the “God” claim.

    So far, all of your so-called arguments only work by assuming the conclusion first that God exists! This is bogus logic.

    I have a longer response, but it will take time to compose, and I have other things to do just now.

  191. #192 Owlmirror
    August 21, 2007

    Oh, and before I forget: The earthquake in Peru is a terrible tragedy, but one of the things that I noticed was that one of the places that was damaged was Ica. Sure enough, in another forum, the question of the Ica Stones came up, with some rather interesting references to the truth and factuality of them:

    http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/ica-stones/

    Spanish investigator Vicente Paris, after four years of investigation, offered in 1998 new evidence that supports that the stones are a hoax. Among the proofs presented by this investigator were microphotographs of the stones that showed traces of modern paints and sandpaper.

    and later on:

    The October 2001 Fortean Times article, “Jurassic library – The Ica Stones” by Filip Coppens goes into more detail about why the stones are hoaxes:
    “The first-hand observation by Neil Steede that, even though the stones he examined did have this patina, there was no patina in the grooves. This suggests that while the stones were certainly very old, the carvings were clearly of far more recent origin”
    Also, Mr. Uschuya made a custom Ica stone that said “BBC TV” on it for a man by the name of Ray Sutcliffe in 1977. I think that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he faked the Ica Stones.

    And so on.

  192. #193 Stanton
    August 22, 2007

    Owlmirror, you honestly think that P-W will believe you about the Ica Stones, when you’re not a crackpot creationist like “Dr” Carl Baugh?
    You’re silly like that…
    Just like me, waiting for P-W to explain what Biblical prophecies have to do with biology, geology or paleontology.

  193. #194 Josh
    August 22, 2007

    It really is remarkable, and indeed never fails to amaze me, how difficult they find it to directly reply to a question or a statement of refutation. If I make a statement that Stanton doesn’t like, he is going to pounce on it, immediately, hopefully supporting his assault with data or reasoned thought…something. And he fully expects that if he makes a good case I’m going to say ‘huh…you make a good case.’ These guys throw out stuff like the Paluxy tracks foolishness, we respond with hundreds of words explaining to them how we actually deal with footprints and in what manner the Paluxy track issue was dealt with…and ‘they’…disappear…or simply move on to another point. Fascinating. What I find even more intriguing, at least on this blog…is that when ‘they’ make a statement that ‘we’ feel is disingenuous, we jump on it and point out our position regarding that statement…again usually supporting the refutation with data. Unless I’m missing it, when ‘we’ through out reasoned refutations of points, ‘they’ don’t tend to respond with ‘oh, that’s bullshit, you’re lying’ unless we don’t really support the statement. If there is a lot of data involved, then tend to just…move away. Amazing. Sorry…just ruminating here because it is such a curious thing.

  194. #195 Owlmirror
    August 22, 2007

    P-W: I have been thinking about my longer response, but it occurs to me that Josh and Stanton are right in that you don’t seem to respond to questions or to new information very well. So if I’m going to invest the time in writing arguments, you need to show that you’re reading them and paying attention.

    So, if you would answer a few simple questions (and also Stanton’s above), starting with this one ….

    Are you familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

  195. #196 Kseniya
    August 22, 2007

    People have been known to go to great lengths when attempting to avoid (or to “resolve”) cognitive dissonance…

  196. #197 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2007

    (so much for the Socratic method… ::sigh::)(so. trying incremental repetition instead:)

    It is because of the fact that nature already “declares” the Creator’s existence that the Bible does not need to “prove” God’s existence (which is not arguing in a circle).

    You really are completely deluded, aren’t you?

    “It is because of the fact that nature already “declares” the Creator’s existence” – this, right there, is false. It is not a fact. It is not true. It is a basic, fundamental lie that you have had repeated to you, and have repeated to yourself, and are trying to spread to others. But you, and those that repeat it, don’t seem to understand its falseness.

    Nature only declares itself. Deluded people — like you, like other creationists — think that nature “declares” something else. It doesn’t. All we can study is nature; all that we can infer from the study of nature is nature’s laws. That’s all. Those are the only facts that are evident.

    To argue otherwise is speculation, and utterly unsupported speculation at that. To assert that this speculation is “fact” is delusional.

  197. #198 Steve_C
    August 24, 2007

    He is.

    I said that weeks ago.

    It’s completely pointless.

    I don’t know why he comes here.

  198. #199 tony
    August 24, 2007

    P-W

    You are seriously deluded. circular claims notwithstanding, you mention one of my favorite bugbears — the eye is better than any camera made by man.

    Not true.

    The eye is pretty good (for organics). But it is completely reliant on a whole bunch of post-processing to make sense of the images that impinge on the retina. It has stupidly high latency. It has blind-spots (pretty much) right at the primary point of focus (fovea) requiring lots of micro-movements (saccades) to get that part of the field of view to impinge on actual receptors, and the general resolution is so poor it would be unacceptable in the cheapest camera-phone. It’s color resolution truly sucks, with very limited sensing capabilities (and even these are degraded in a significant part of the population).

    The fact that our brains can fool us into thinking our eyes are so damn good, might suggest to you that they are pretty good at fooling us into believeing some other things too (like gods)

    If the eye was submitted as a ‘design’ for a new camera – it would not even make it to the preliminary PoC stages.

    Admittedly, it (mostly) does the job. But as a camera it has huge technical flaws.

    Just like your arguments.

  199. #200 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2007

    It may have something to do with evangelicals thinking that it would be a big “win” to convert an atheist. Of course, Creationists can’t see that the arguments are all bogus; if they could see that, they wouldn’t be Creationists.

    So P-W keeps returning, thinking, “Aha, this argument will convince that rascally atheist!”. Of course, when the flaws are pointed out, the Creationist brain doesn’t understand it, and rather than saying, “Hm. I wonder if there really is something wrong with the argument?”, says “Well, that atheist sure is being stubborn!”. And then: “I bet this argument will convince that rascally atheist!”

    And so on.

    It’s creepily and sadly like seeing an insect banging against a light bulb.

    “Ooh, shiny — must be the moon! Me go that way — ow! Whut th’? Ooh, shiny — must be the moon! Me go that way — ow! Whut th’? (etc)”

  200. #201 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2007

    (another increment…)

    Since nature itself demonstrates God’s existence,

    I’ve already addressed the first part of this statement. It is false. It is not true.

    the Bible does not make any “proofs” for God’s existence.

    The bible makes claims about what God allegedly did. It starts with “God did this”, then continues with “God did that”, and “God did the other”, on and on through the Bible.

    Since the evidence of nature often contradicts what the bible says God did, those claims that the bible makes about God are proven false.

    When a source of information has many important claims proven false, it is not reasonable to consider anything that the source says to be reliable (Baugh: Humbug!). If the claim is particularly extraordinary, it can be considered false until further evidence is found.

    The bible is not a reasonably reliable source of information about the nature of the universe or its laws.

  201. #202 P-W
    August 25, 2007

    The main reason for this post is to correct an incorrect reference in my Daniel comments (blog comment #407). Footnote #2 is incorrect. The correct link to footnote #2 is:

    http://www.tektonics.org/guest/danielblast.html

    Sorry.

    I will try to address some of the comments at a future date.

  202. #203 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2007

    http://www.tektonics.org/guest/danielblast.html

    Well, I’m glad to see that you’re at least correcting your own errors of scholarship. The problem is, your sources are crap. Who is going to correct those errors of scholarship?

    I skimmed through the above. Boy, “blast” is right. It’s just this huge glob of dumped points, a lot of which looks quote-mined. Of course, he demonstrates his bias by highlighting things like “linguistically impossible”, and “no evidence”. Funny, if a hardcore atheist said something like “The absence of evidence is proof that god does not exist”, the Creationist comeback is always something like “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!”. Bah. Inconsistent and illogical hypocrites to the end. A natural explanation is simply that at least part of the book of Daniel — containing the “language” that he’s so hot about — was passed down as a document from the time it was written. And I see that I’m hardly the first to suggest that.

    And I see that he’s not only biased, he’s bloody well dishonest as well. Right after this whole long section about those who argue that the stupid book had more than one author (a rather obvious explanation for the inconsistencies, errors, and differences in language), he suddenly ignores everything that he had just written, and summarizes:

    “that scholarly consensus is that most of the chapters of the book were written during the Exile and that there was only one author to the book this means that “we may safely assert that the book could not possibly have been written as late as the Maccabean age.”

    Such nonsense! Such bilgewater! Such utter bullshit!

    It doesn’t matter how many linguistic analysis were done, nor what experts did them. If they were Creationists/Fundamentalists, they were biased and deluded.

    None of them can prove that any miracles happened, like people being set on fire and not being burned. None of them prove that the parts of the book of Daniel that talk about the Greeks conquering the Persians (and much of the Middle East) were written before the Greeks conquered the Persians (and much of the Middle East).

    And there’s nothing in Daniel that specifically refers to the Roman Empire. There’s nothing in Daniel that specifically refers to a son of God being killed by the Romans to atone for original sin.

    And a lot of the so-called resolutions of the dating problems are just painfully stupid.

    And finally, he ignores the biggest problem of all: The last prediction. Chapter 12 says that shortly after the events being “predicted” in chapter 11 — right after the Greek Empire arises, it falls and splits into a north and south kingdom in the middle east, and there’s all kinds of crap happening, with the kings of the north and south smacking each other around — this last king arises, and loses, and then the dead come back to life.

    Hello? Never happened!

    “Daniel” didn’t predict anything. Like many other eschatological “prophets”, he mixed some myths from the past with events that were recent for him, and then bunged in this huge, final prediction that the world! would! soon! end! and the dead! would! rise!. And like all the other eschatological “prophets”, his prophecy failed. Duh.

  203. #204 Stanton
    August 26, 2007

    AND
    How does the alleged prophecies in the Book of Daniel prove that the Bible is a reliable resource for Biology, Geology, and Paleontology?

  204. #205 Owlmirror
    August 26, 2007

    (Another increment… still slogging… slowly…)

    the eye is a camera superior to any camera ever devised by man, b) the brain is a computer superior to any computer man has created, c) the body is a machine superior to any robot man can devise, and so on.

    and

    I suddenly thought of the atoms in a leaf and the atoms in a blade of grass, and I realized I could not be an atheist.

    These are arguments from ignorance and incredulity. They ultimately boil down to: you don’t understand how these things came to be, therefore, God did it. Or more to the point: You don’t understand how natural laws could have caused these things, therefore, no natural laws could have caused them, and therefore something supernatural caused them.

    This is bogus logic. The inference “no natural laws could have caused them” is not something for which you have any evidence, only your own feelings. The next inference, which is even more bogus, “and therefore something supernatural caused them”, comes from your religion, which is just traditions and stories and myths written down and transmitted by flawed and ignorant men.

    This is what all Creationism, whether YEC or ID, reduces down to. It is rightly rejected by proper scientists, even religious ones.

    If you don’t know how something arose, then the only honest thing to do is to stop there and admit it: you, personally, don’t know how these complex things arose.

    Science starts from the assumption that things in the natural world (including eyes, brains, bodies, leaves, and grass) can be examined, and their properties demonstrated and described as things in the natural world. And the vast bulk of the evidence from science, from the many examinations and demonstrations and descriptions, is that living organisms, and their varied parts, arose from simpler organisms; and that these simpler organisms arose from still simpler ones, and those arose from single cells.

    And the best speculation, based on all of the existing evidence that has been gathered, is that single cells arose from the complex interactions of organic chemistry.

    The last part requires more evidence to be gathered, but there’s more evidence for that than exists for supernatural explanations of the origins of life — which in fact offers no explanations at all, other than saying that it was supernatural!

  205. #206 Dustin
    August 28, 2007

    P-W, did you ever “unlearn” that the earth was flat, and that the sun wasn’t spinning around our pancake to make the day and night? Because that’s the idea most people will have if left to their own devices — just like God. They also, if left to their own devices, tend to independently codiscover Aristotle’s version of physics, and have to “unlearn” that, too. What most people believe when left to their own musing isn’t a good indicator of anything.

  206. #207 Aquila
    August 30, 2007

    Owlmirror wrote in post #379: “Since I didn’t (and don’t) know the actual genders or numbers of the Creationists who might read and might respond, I saw no reason not to use the plural neuter.” Well, no… et al. is the abbreviation for et alii (masculine), et aliae (female) and et alia (neuter), all plural. Since this abbreviation is extremely common in referencing/citations, surely you should know this basic fact?

  207. #208 Owlmirror
    August 31, 2007

    The following Scriptures lead me to the conclusion that the Bible “assumes” (your word) the existence of God based on “nature’s declaration of the Creator’s existence” (my opinion):

    Uh-huh. And why are those bible verses supposed to matter, to scientists, or to anyone else who wants to find out how reality actually works? To turn Stanton’s question into an assertion: The bible has absolutely nothing to do with modern biology, geology, or cosmology. It is nothing more than the record of a primitive and often superstitious people, and the only observations of the natural world within this record are nave and often incorrect ones. It is rightly rejected for those wrong observations since evidence has been found for the correct observations that contradict it.

    “Fingerprints” of the Creator exist in nature,

    They most certainly do not. We know what fingerprints are because we have examples of fingers, and we can see that they leave prints; we can therefore correctly infer that the prints that are found came from fingers that match the prints.

    We do not have any examples of the fingers of a god or gods, or any reasonable analogs thereof; neither does anything in nature resemble “fingerprints”.

    While deductive logic is a more reliable method of reasoning, natural science must often rely on the inductive method, which can be misleading, and which is less reliable. But noone in the natural sciences will discard the inductive method of reasoning, because the deductive method of reasoning is sometimes not possible in the natural sciences.

    There is something wrong with your logic if it arrives at conclusions for which there is no evidence, or is otherwise bogus.

    Theology is considered by many to be the “Queen of the sciences.”

    Many people having reverence for a delusion and making grandiose claims for it does not make the delusion true. Theology is no more a science than people with Napoleon complexes are Napoleon.

    Natural Theology (one of Systematic Theology’s many divisions), relies on inductive reasoning like the following:
    Programming evidences an intelligent programmer. DNA exhibits intricate programming. DNA evidences an Intelligent Programmer.

    And that “reasoning” is crap, since it ignores real, important differences between programs written by intelligent humans, and the way that DNA works.

    Heck, the owner of this very blog, PZ Myers, knows both computer programming and how DNA generates the proteins that build bodies, and has pointed out how DNA is not like software.

    There are more specific arguments that can be made. Here’s one:

    The whole point of how DNA works is that it varies. It does not stay exactly the same; variation in reproduction and the transfer of genetic material from one bacteria to another is the bloody rule, not the exception. The “random chance” that you so decry above is everywhere in the way that DNA reproduces.

    This is in stark contrast to programs written by humans. The whole point of most programs is for the code to stay exactly the same; the input and output vary, but the programming of a particular version must stay exactly the same as what the programmer originally wrote.

    There’s an exception to the above rule, in genetic algorithms. But the whole point there is that the “programmer” is, again, random chance. Yes, an intelligent person performs the selection of the rules according to a desired result, but not any actual programming. And those who have used evolutionary programming have often noted how weird the resulting software is; how incredibly convoluted it is; how different from the careful, structured programmatic constructs of most actual human programmers.

    Again, the important concept here is selection. Yes, in the case of evolutionary algorithms it is an intelligence that selects. But selection involved when most DNA reproduces is starkly, obviously not an intelligence. It is whether the result can survive. If it does, it has a chance to reproduce in its own turn. It has been selected for. If it doesn’t survive, it has been selected against. And so it has gone, and so it goes, until the sun flares, and then later goes out.

  208. #209 Owlmirror
    August 31, 2007

    Well, no… et al. is the abbreviation for et alii (masculine), et aliae (female) and et alia (neuter), all plural. Since this abbreviation is extremely common in referencing/citations, surely you should know this basic fact?

    I really don’t get your point here. You seem to be implying that someone who writes in English and uses the Latin phrase “et alia” does not know that the phrase is abbreviated “et al.”, which is a totally ridiculous inference to make.

    The only conclusion that I can reach is that seeing Latin confuses and upsets your thinking, which seems strange to me given your Latin cognomen. Are you even aware that Aquila means “Eagle”? Perhaps not.

    I am sorry for overestimating your intellect and linguistic flexibility. I shall refrain from writing “nota bene” or “et cetera”, or any of the many other Latin phrases that have been accepted into English scholarly language, and while often abbreviated, can also be written out in full.

    Instead, I humbly submit that instead of “et alia” in my parenthetical aside above, please read “and the rest”. There, is that better?

  209. #210 Aquila
    August 31, 2007

    My dear Owlmirror, your intellectual prowess is really letting you down, tut tut… My point was that your stated reason for using et alia instead of et al. is completely nonsensical.

  210. #211 Roger
    August 31, 2007

    Stuntin, I believe the point that Aquila was making was that the prophecies foretold and fulfilled were an indication that God does in fact exist.

    We find the answer your question regarding the bearing it has on the sciences in Scripture (1 Timothy 6.20) “…avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called”

    I have now watched Hovind’s DVD’s and believe that Kent has covered this very topic in depth, and extremely well.

    Roger

  211. #212 P-W
    September 3, 2007

    Peace!

    “Fingerprints” of the Creator exist in nature” (P-W),

    “They most certainly do not. We know what fingerprints are because we have examples of fingers, and we can see that they leave prints; we can therefore correctly infer that the prints that are found came from fingers that match the prints.

    “We do not have any examples of the fingers of a god or gods, or any reasonable analogs thereof; neither does anything in nature resemble ‘fingerprints’.”

    Posted by: Owlmirror | August 31, 2007 1:49 AM

    You are correct again, Owlmirror! If indeed God is a Spirit (as the Bible claims), God the Spirit would not have fingerprints because He is a Spirit (although if Deity took upon Himself humanity in the Messiah, that would be an unusual exception, and an after creation event).

    But you have missed my point (perhaps intentionally?).
    The idea is that of analogy, not the idea of literal fingerprints for God the Spirit (which may mean you know more than you are letting on, and you are really feigning ignorance?).

    “Programming evidences an intelligent programmer. DNA exhibits intricate programming. DNA evidences an Intelligent Programmer.” (P-W)

    And that “reasoning” … ignores real, important differences between programs written by intelligent humans, and the way that DNA works.

    Posted by: Owlmirror | August 31, 2007 1:49 AM

    I am glad Owlmirror, you made the point that my statement “ignores real, important differences between programs written by intelligent humans, and the way that DNA works.”

    You are correct again, Owlmirror! But the point is: it is the similarities, not the differences (between humanly produced software programs and DNA), which are the basis for the inductive analogy!

  212. #213 Roger
    September 3, 2007

    Thanks, Stintin….

    Perhaps we should then move away from Hovind’s evidences, and see what Prof. Walter Veith has to say on this subject.

    From what I can undestand, Walter was an evolutionist who saw the deception of this darwinian theory, and after years of studying creationism, has crossed the floor, and turned his back on on your so called solid scientific facts.

    I have obtained copies of his DVD’s on this topic, and it is my intention to study this material closely.

    From what I can pick up, it seems that Walter recently toured the US of A giving lectures covering, amongst others, the theory of evolution.

    Perhaps you are aquainted with Prof. Walter Veith, and some of his work?

    Roger

  213. #214 Josh
    September 4, 2007

    You are perceptive.

    Thanks…I will take that as a compliment.

    Yes my interpretations from the “evidence” are that a Creator exists. While you are correct that this is my “opinion,” it is also my “opinion” that if an object is hurled into the air it will likely change direction and fall to the earth. Both are my “opinions.”

    I would not say that they are ‘opinions’ in the same sense. I’m presuming that you take the eye (?human) as evidence of a creator because you cannot conceive of how evolution could produce such a structure. You see that the structure (eye) exists but you did not do any work to *demonstrate* why the eye existing is evidence that a creator produced it other than to make the statements that A, a creator exists and B, evolution cannot produce an eye (you’re also not doing any work to *demonstrate* why evolution cannot produce the eye). These statements are unsubstantiated, which is why they are opinion…evidence, at least the kind that would make us sit up and take notice, would be something that clearly showed a creator acting. That the eye exists doesn’t work…even if evolution were wrong, the default answer wouldn’t necessarily be a creator.

    The falling object example is different, not the least of which because you have experience watching objects fall…you can predict, with a good deal of certainty, that if you release your pencil, it will fall to the floor. In this case, your ‘opinion’ is based on experience (observations of things actually falling). There are lots of observations supporting your opinion that the pencil will fall. These observations, these data, might even cause you to theorize about what is causing all of these pencils to fall when you drop them.

  214. #215 Steve_C
    September 4, 2007

    Jebus these guys are idiots.

    I think their arguments are perfectly round in their circularity?

    Is there such a thing as quantum circularity?

  215. #216 Stanton
    September 5, 2007

    I think that is an excellent variation on what I have come to call *The Stanton Question*…I think you should use this version perhaps more often than the classic one.

    Correction: that’s “The Intelligently Designed Intelligent Design Filter.”

  216. #217 P-W
    September 5, 2007

    Thank you for your reply Owlmirror (#437).

    When you speak of alleged “fingerprints” of God, you are implying that an observation in the natural world can only be explained by a cause that is supernatural. This is false; you have no evidence of the supernatural; of anything outside of nature.” (Owlmirror)

    Inductive reasoning is the process of reasoning by analogy, or similarity. This is an imperfect form of logic which can lead to false conclusions, but it is an accepted tool for the scientific method. No, inductive logic does not require a Creator as the only possible solution. Macro-evolutionists use inductive logic to arrive at a totally different explanation: Darwin’s general theory (macro-evolution). Inductive logic is based on analogy, so in the sense of analogy, inductive logic is “evidence” of a Creator by analogy. A Creator is not the only possibility from inductive logic (as Darwin has demonstrated), but the existence of a Creator is a viable and, in my opinion, more probable and reasonable option for explaining organisms than blind chance and a hypothesized and yet undiscovered and unknown “law” of nature which self-organizes matter (how much closer to defining a Creator can one get without acknowledging Him?).

    But the point is: it is the similarities, not the differences (between humanly produced software programs and DNA), which are the basis for the inductive analogy! (P-W)

    But the inductive analogy is false if the premise is false. It is assumed that DNA is “intricately programmed” in the same way that software is programmed; the alleged “similarity” is an illusion resulting from confusion by those who understand neither DNA nor software programming. (Owlmirror)

    The strength of an induction rests in the number of similarities contained in the comparison or analogy. I noticed, for example, that in one of your previous comments you said that design in nature has the “appearance” of design but isn’t really design. Well, maybe you could coin a new word? We can argue over the meaning of language, but the strength of inductive logic is in the similarities of the subjects being compared. For all intents and purposes, there is no reason to claim that design in nature isn’t design, not even semantically.

    Your strategy is to preempt the power of the analogy by declaring the premise false semantically. By denying design is design, one wouldn’t need a Designer, and by denying that programming is programming, one can dispense with an Intelligent Programmer for DNA. By denying that law is law, one does not need a Lawgiver, and by denying order is order, one can dispense with an Organizer. Semantics will not discredit the premise. The tactic of declaring the premise as false semantically is in my opinion false itself.

    You obviously have copied your tactics here, but the strength of the inductive argument is in the number of similarities in the two subjects being compared. Design can be defined by at least six characteristics: symmetry, order, beauty, functionality, and form. These are observable characteristics in design. All of these characteristics are observable in nature, and are the properties of numerous organisms. The inductive conclusion is that organisms have a Designer. While you might prefer a depersonalized designer (macro-evolution), I am confident the mathematical odds and the evidence from nature (including biology, geology, and paleontology) are against your hypothesis and in favor of a personal and Intelligent Designer, whose existence is evidenced by the material universe, and whose identity is proclaimed in the Bible.

    Also, since the use of the phrase “intricately programmed” is meant to imply that an intelligence, presumably supernatural, deliberately produced the program, this is once again an example of assuming the conclusion. (Owlmirror)

    Again, the strength of the inductive argument, is in the number of similarities between the two subjects being compared. No, just because a banana is yellow and the sun is yellow, that does not mean they are the same size. The number of similarities in that comparison are inadequate for a valid induction.

    As an apparent student of natural science, you are evidently unfamiliar with the legal rules for written and spoken evidence, which corroborate the testimony of nature.

    The evidence that humans have always believed in a God or gods is virtually universal, and is evidenced by the category of “Natural Theology” which is also referred to as “General Revelation” (revelation of a Creator through nature):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_theology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_revelation

    You will discover the roots of nature’s evidence of a Creator (if you examine the above links) goes all the way back through history to include the ancient Greek philosophers, but in my opinion even further to the earliest human beings. Unfortunately, the Bible indicates that some people do not wish to retain the knowledge of the Creator. The Creator allows people to follow their own desires, but they are not exonerated from the evidence which everyone universally understands, but in some cases may deny.

    Peace!

  217. #218 Steve_C
    September 5, 2007

    Geeze. He never quits. No gonna let it go are ya.

  218. #219 P-W
    September 5, 2007

    Thank you for your reply Josh.

    Yes my interpretations from the “evidence” are that a Creator exists. While you are correct that this is my “opinion,” it is also my “opinion” that if an object is hurled into the air it will likely change direction and fall to the earth. Both are my “opinions.” (P-W)

    I would not say that they are ‘opinions’ in the same sense. I’m presuming that you take the eye (?human) as evidence of a creator because you cannot conceive of how evolution could produce such a structure. You see that the structure (eye) exists but you did not do any work to *demonstrate* why the eye existing is evidence that a creator produced it other than to make the statements that A, a creator exists and B, evolution cannot produce an eye (you’re also not doing any work to *demonstrate* why evolution cannot produce the eye). These statements are unsubstantiated, which is why they are opinion…evidence, at least the kind that would make us sit up and take notice, would be something that clearly showed a creator acting. That the eye exists doesn’t work…even if evolution were wrong, the default answer wouldn’t necessarily be a creator. (Josh)

    I will refer you to the reply I made to Owlmirror (#446) and specifically to the following links which deal with Natural Theology and General Revelation, which are different ways of referring to evidence of a Creator from nature and go all the way back through history to include the ancient Greek philosophers, but in my opinion even further to the earliest human beings:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_theology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_revelation

    The falling object example is different, not the least of which because you have experience watching objects fall…you can predict, with a good deal of certainty, that if you release your pencil, it will fall to the floor. In this case, your ‘opinion’ is based on experience (observations of things actually falling). There are lots of observations supporting your opinion that the pencil will fall. These observations, these data, might even cause you to theorize about what is causing all of these pencils to fall when you drop them. (Josh)

    Inductive logic is an accepted tool in the scientific method which can give unreliable results. Inductive analogy is a logical method of reasoning which is partially based on experience, but which you correctly note does not constitute the same kind of evidence as an empirical form of study, but inductive logic is based on analogy, so in the sense of analogy, inductive logic is evidence of a Creator by analogy. The strength of inductive logic is in the number of similarities between the subjects being compared. If you require empirical evidence of a Creator, the same kind of empirical evidence natural science requires, this suggests you have eliminated the possibility of an immaterial Creator. You cannot require the same evidence for an immaterial Creator, as you would for a material being, unless you have already ruled out the possibility of an immaterial Creator Spirit.

    Peace.

  219. #220 Stanton
    September 5, 2007

    So, how does this “Fingerprint of God” talk explain why no one has found Iguanodon fossils together with Dawkins’ Giant Deer, Megaloceros dawkinsi, in rock strata in England?

  220. #221 Stanton
    September 7, 2007

    What empirical evidence from geology or paleontology supports the existence of a creator whose identity is proclaimed in the Bible?

    The fulfillment of the prophecies made in the Book of Daniel, of course, apparently.

  221. #222 Aquila
    September 7, 2007

    Stuntin, I believe the point that Aquila was making was that the prophecies foretold and fulfilled were an indication that God does in fact exist.
    Posted by: Roger | September 3, 2007 4:20 PM

    Roger that Roger – I had hoped that Stanton would have used his(her) God-given abilities to figure this out for him(her)self, especially since I pointed this out way back in post #314.

    …just some shitheaded…shitheaded little shithead…crap…shitmouthed, shitheaded little blaspheming shithead…
    Posted by: Stanton | September 3, 2007 5:55 PM

    Rather limited vocabulary, Stanton. But there is hope – extensive reading… You could also ask Lepht what sedative he(she) is taking to make him(her) nicer.

  222. #223 Stanton
    September 7, 2007

    Aquila, do realize that Roger is a complete moron who demonstrates his alleged “Christian love” by refusing to display the minimal brainpower to spell my name correctly. If you had the necessary brainpower to realize that Roger is nothing more than a twit who has done absolutely nothing but agitate people, you would also realize that you have utterly failed to demonstrate how the alleged prophecies in the Bible show how the Bible enhances the sciences of Biology, Geology or Paleontology.
    In other words, can you put up, or shut up, please?

  223. #224 Stanton
    September 7, 2007

    Or, if you truly can not demonstrate why the Bible is necessary for the study of the Natural Sciences, can you explain exactly why it was necessary of Roger to insult and agitate me by maliciously mispelling my name, AND why it was necessary for you to point out the fact that I became agitated without also pointing out the fact that Roger was goading me?
    Or, is insulting demeaning people without answering questions asked of them routine behavior for creationists like you and Roger?

  224. #225 Stanton
    September 7, 2007

    I mean, really, isn’t it a spectacular sight watching a creationist slander a person by cherrypicking facts? Why do they do such things? Do they, as Christians, feel compelled to break the 10 Commandments, especially the Commandments of “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” and “Love thy neighbor,” on a routine basis because they feel that, when Jesus said to disregard the laws of the Old Testament, he meant the 10 Commandments, and not the myriad laws of Leviticus?

  225. #226 P-W
    September 8, 2007

    I must apologize for the inadequacy of my previous responses (#446 and #448) in basing my evidence for the existence of a Creator solely on inductive analogy with regard to DNA. While it is correct to say there is a correspondence between computer programs and DNA, and so there is an inductive analogy, a following author indicates there is an exact attribute shared by both humanly created software programs and DNA which does not rest on analogy, but on a precisely identical characteristic, namely: the identical ability to store information which is essentially a language.

    “The most striking fact about DNA is that the existence of the coded genetic information can definitely not be explained in terms of matter and energy or natural laws. Dr. Werner Gitt, a professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology, has said this on the subject:

    “A code system is always the result of a mental process… It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required… There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this. “

    ( http://www.harunyahya.com/articles/70scientific_world.html )
    (Above quotations from an article cited by TalkOrigins.org)

    Below you will find an author who argues analogy is not required for evidence of a Creator, because there is an exact correlation between a software program and DNA.

    DNA and Other Designs

    By Stephen C. Meyer
    From First Things 102, April 1, 2000

    ( http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_dnaotherdesigns.htm )

    … biologists now describe cells as, among other things, “distributive real time computers” or complex information processing systems.

    As it turns out, specific regions of the DNA molecule called coding regions have the same property of “sequence specificity” or “specified complexity” that characterizes written codes, linguistic texts, and protein molecules. … As Richard Dawkins has noted, “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” In the case of a computer code, the specific arrangement of just two symbols (0 and 1) suffices to carry information. In the case of DNA, the complex but precise sequencing of the four nucleotide bases (A, T, G, and C) stores and transmits the information necessary to build proteins. …

    … Our experience with information-intensive systems (especially codes and languages) indicates that such systems always come from an intelligent source–i.e., from mental or personal agents, not chance or material necessity. … During the last forty years, every naturalistic model proposed has failed to explain the origin of information–the great stumbling block for materialistic scenarios. …

    Because mind or intelligent design is a necessary cause of an informative system, one can detect the past action of an intelligent cause from the presence of an information-intensive effect, even if the cause itself cannot be directly observed. …

    Scientists in many fields now recognize the connection between intelligence and information and make inferences accordingly. … SETI’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence presupposes that the presence of information imbedded in electromagnetic signals from space would indicate an intelligent source. As yet, radio astronomers have not found information-bearing signals coming from space. But molecular biologists, looking closer to home, have discovered information in the cell. …

    … contra the classical Humean objection to design, the “DNA to Design” argument does not depend upon an analogy between the features of human artifacts and living systems …

    … while DNA is similar to a computer program, the case for its design does not depend merely upon resemblance or analogical reasoning. Classical design arguments in biology typically sought to draw analogies between whole organisms and machines based upon certain similar features that each held in common. These arguments sought to reason from similar effects back to similar causes. The status of such design arguments thus turned on the degree of similarity that actually obtained between the effects in question. Yet since even advocates of these classical arguments admitted dissimilarities as well as similarities, the status of these arguments always appeared uncertain. Advocates would argue that the similarities between organisms and machines outweighed dissimilarities. Critics would claim the opposite.

    The design argument from the information in DNA does not depend upon such analogical reasoning since it does not depend upon claims of similarity. As noted above, the coding regions of DNA have the very same property of “specified complexity” or “information content” that computer codes and linguistic texts do. Though DNA does not possess all the properties of natural languages or “semantic information”–i.e., information that is subjectively “meaningful” to human agents–it does have precisely those properties that jointly implicate an antecedent intelligence.

    As William A. Dembski has shown in his recent book The Design Inference (1998), systems or sequences that have the joint properties of “high complexity and specification” invariably result from intelligent causes, not chance or physical-chemical necessity. …

    The design argument from information content in DNA, therefore, does not depend upon analogical reasoning … but upon the presence of an identical feature (“information content” defined as “complexity and specification”) in both DNA and all other designed systems, languages, or artifacts. While a computer program may be similar to DNA in many respects, and dissimilar in others, it exhibits a precise identity to DNA in its ability to store information content (as just defined).

    Thus, the “DNA to Design” argument does not represent an argument from analogy of the sort that Hume criticized, but an “inference to the best explanation.”

    Above article by Stephen C. Meyer, who did his doctoral work in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College and Senior Research Fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

    Copyright 2000 Stephen C. Meyer. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

    There you have it in the words of Stephen C. Meyer:

    “The design argument from information content in DNA, therefore, does not depend upon analogical reasoning … but upon the presence of an identical feature (“information content” defined as “complexity and specification”) in both DNA and all other designed systems, languages, or artifacts.”

    The Creator is evidenced by His ability to store information in DNA which is essentially a language. The exact same ability to store language information is found in human software programs which Stephen C. Meyer defines as “information content” defined as “complexity and specification.”

    PEACE!

  226. #227 Owlmirror
    September 8, 2007

    The exact same ability to store language information is found in human software programs which Stephen C. Meyer defines as “information content” defined as “complexity and specification.”

    I’m not going to go through that entire thing and refute it point by point.

    Instead, I’m going to attack it at the source. What the fuck is “complexity and specification”? How is it defined? Is there some rigorous way that it can be applied and tested so as to determine its utility in distinguishing natural things from intelligently designed things?

    No. There isn’t. I’m going to expand on that in a bit, but first, a little story.

    It is alleged that a famous religious mathematician once faced off against a famous atheist in the mid-1700s, declaiming “Sir, (a+bn)/n=x, therefore, God exists! Reply!”, and that the atheist had no reply.

    This probably never happened, and if it had, I would be ashamed of the mathematician for stooping to such nonsense. Arguments like this are essentially arguments from intellectual bullshit: “I am smart, I can spout off something that sounds smart, and I believe in God, therefore, God exists!”

    Stephen Meyer, whose article you cite, is not a mathematician. He’s a good writer, but his qualifications are in history and philosophy. He is in fact citing the work of one William Dembski.

    So what happens when those who are actually qualified to analyze Dembski’s alleged “complexity and specification” do so?

    How about this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2006/06/creationists_respond_to_debunk.php

    But the Dembski line is the one that’s particularly funny. Because, you see, my critique of “specified complexity” was that you can’t mathematically refute specified complexity because Dembski never defines it. In paper after paper, he uses obfuscatory presentations of information theory to define complexity, and then handwaves his way past “specification”. The reason for this is that “specification” is a meaningless term. He can’t define it: because if he did, the vacuity of the entire concept becomes obvious.

    A complex system is one which contains a lot of information; which, in information theory, means a system which can’t be described with a brief description. But specification, intuitively, means “can be described concisely”. So you wind up with two possibilities:

    1. “Specification” has a mathematical meaning, which is the opposite of “complexity”, and so
      “specified complexity” is a contradiction; or
    2. “Specification” is mathematically meaningless, in which case “specified complexity” is a meaningless concept in information theory.

    The problem isn’t that “I don’t know the definition of specified complexity”. It’s not even that there is no definition of specified complexity. It’s that there cannot be a definition of specified complexity.

    A few more:

    http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2006/06/dembskis_profound_lack_of_comp.php

    I was recently sent a link to yet another of Dembski’s wretched writings about specified complexity, titled Specification: The Pattern The Signifies Intelligence.

    While reading this, I came across a statement that actually changes my opinion of Dembski. Before reading this, I thought that Dembski was just a liar. I thought that he was a reasonably competent mathematician who was willing to misuse his knowledge in order to prop up his religious beliefs with pseudo-intellectual rigor. I no longer think that. I’ve now become convinced that he’s just an idiot who’s able to throw around mathematical jargon without understanding it.
    […]

    Demsbki’s theory of specicfied complexity as a discriminator for identifying intelligent design relies on the idea that there are two distinct quantifiable properties: specification, and complexity. He argues that if you can find systems that posess sufficient quantities of both specification and complexity, that those systems cannot have arisen except by intelligent intervention.

    But what if Demsbki defines specification and complexity as the same thing? Then his definitions are wrong: because he requires them to be distinct concepts, but he defines them as being the same thing.

    Throughout this paper, he pretty ignores the complexity to focus on specification. He’s pretty careful never to say “specification is this”, but rather “specification can be this”. If you actually read what he does say about specification, and you go back and compare it to some of his other writings about complexity, you’ll find a positively amazing resemblance.

    In other words, Dembski’s “complexity and specification” is a deliberate and egregious argument from intellectual bullshit.

    Re-fucking-jected!

  227. #228 some random sockpuppet...
    September 9, 2007

    Josh & Stanton – i don’t think it’s worth the effort.

    look above at roger’s comments from july & october of 2006, and then from july of 2007. any attempt to even get basic details of what he knows is ignored in favor of insults, cheap shots and non sequiturs. his recent comments have been mere smug assertions that some crap creationist video convinced him, with no explanation of why. he shows no interest in even discussing what he thinks, let alone why he thinks it.

    he’s not only a troll, he’s a stupid, boring troll.

    and as for mangling of names, well, just remember that “roger” means “fuck”.

  228. #229 Roger
    September 9, 2007

    Some Randy Suckpuppet ???? what name is that ?
    Try washing your mouth…the filth spewing out is pretty fowl

  229. #230 Stanton
    September 9, 2007

    Aquila, you still haven’t answered my question of is befouling other people through the cherrypicking of facts typical behavior for Christian Creationists like yourself, or are you joining Roger in this schoolyard antagonism?
    Furthermore, are you saying that Christians are not compelled to treat other people with respect and that it is perfectly legitimate behavior for Christians such as yourself and Roger to antagonize other people with the sole purpose of your own selfish amusement?

  230. #231 Aquila
    September 9, 2007

    PZ, Owlmirror and Josh (in no particular order), following on from posts #289, #378 and #380 (also in no particular order):

    I gather that the geologic periods are determined by the fossils contained within them. Therefore, for example, the Devonian period is not necessarily characterised by the same rock type across the globe, and may be characterised by more than one rock type (say a layer of limestone on top of a layer of sandstone) at various locations.

    Furthermore, that fossilisation requires quick burial. Therefore the forming of geologic periods must be characterised by slow deposition (via erosion for instance) over millions of years as well as fast deposition (via flood for instance) to enable quick burial within days to weeks. I imagine that the two different mechanisms would yield distinct strata, especially distinct if the deposition material comes from different sources?

    The Devonian period has been dated by the presence of Zircon crystals and other minerals within it at one geographical location at least. What is this location? Have Devonian period locations in other parts of the world also been dated?

  231. #232 Stanton
    September 9, 2007

    Perhaps I haven’t been clear enough for you, Aquila.
    Let me rephrase myself, then.
    Why did you feel compelled to point out my outburst without also pointing out that my outburst stemmed from the fact that Roger was purposely and maliciously misspelling my name?
    Certainly, aren’t there supposed to be prohibitions in the Bible against behaving like schoolyard bullies, or did you and Roger read a section of the Bible that permits a Christian to taunt and agitate other people?

  232. #233 Owlmirror
    September 9, 2007

    Could you indicate where Jesus said to disregard the laws of the Old Testament?

    Jesus didn’t, yet disregarding the laws of the Old Testament seems to be part of modern Christianity.

    I mean, there’s the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week. That’s one of the Ten Commandments right there. The commandment says to keep it, and not to do “work”. There’s some debate over what “work” means, but other parts of the Old Testament say that one of the most critical laws of keeping the Sabbath is no lighting fires.

    Yet Christians seem to have no problem with disregarding that commandment and lighting fires on Saturdays. Summer barbecues are often held on Saturday, for example, and of course, Christians drive anywhere they please on Saturday using an internal combustion engine.

    So why is that, exactly?

    And that’s not even getting into circumcision and keeping kosher, and the laws of purity, and all of the sacrifices, and keeping the holidays, and on and on.

  233. #234 Steve_C
    September 9, 2007

    If we did that, you would be completely ignored.

  234. #235 Stanton
    September 9, 2007

    Aquila, you did not answer my question of whether it is typical for all Christians to behave as schoolyard bullies, or if it’s only typical for Creationists such as Roger and yourself.
    Why is that?

  235. #236 P-W
    September 9, 2007

    I don’t require empirical evidence of a Creator…science does. Science doesn’t put the notion of a creator in a different category than it would a butterfly. Yes, science needs empirical evidence of a creator in order to contemplate a creator. Otherwise, the creator is out of the realm of science. This is why we tend to say that, scientifically speaking, we don’t care if there is a creator or not, because we cannot disprove the existence of an immaterial being (unless that being chooses to act in a material way that can be studied). If we’re talking about science, we restrict the discussion to things science can actually deal with. Unless you’re in Kansas, science ‘rules out’ the immaterial simply because it cannot be studied by the process of science…therefore we see it as a bit foolish to include.

    Posted by: Josh | September 6, 2007 5:54 AM

    Thanks for your reply with some interesting and provocative issues! Well thought out!

    First, to give you a general reply, I would like to ask you Josh, if “science” can prove the existence of Julius Caesar? If not, why not? Is it because Julius is not alive now, and he cannot be observed and tested for his existence on a weight scale or by some other method of testing like DNA or blood samples?

    Did Julius Caesar ever exist, and can natural science “prove” Julius Caesar ever existed? If so, is Julius Caesar’s existence “proven” by natural science through experimentation and testing? If not, are you suggesting that some other form of evidence is required other than empirical science?

    I am not trying to be rude or clever with the above questions, I am simply using an analogy to suggest that natural science may require another form of evidence to establish the existence of Julius Caesar (a form of evidence other than empirical evidence or testable observation). This is a similar situation which we find in trying to establish the existence of the Creator Who is rumored to exist in another world, a dimension which, I would suppose, natural science might also need “proof” for? How would natural science find evidence for the existence of another dimension (a spiritual one)? Does natural science attempt to investigate near death experiences, and do all natural scientists conclude that near death experiences are “brain tricks” and that rumors of another world should always be deemed incredible? Material evidence is used to infer the existence of the Creator (like DNA’s remarkable programming language — blog comment #461), but the Creator Himself is not observed and is, according to the Bible, an immaterial Spirit (except for the incarnated Messiah which is Deity taking humanity at Bethlehem — Micah 5:2).

    Secondly, testable evidence of a Creator would, if the Creator was an immaterial Spirit as the Bible claims, be in the form of secondary evidence, like “fingerprints” from a crime scene which infer that a crime has been committed, and that the evidence of the crime is a fingerprint (or bullet, or weapon, or whatever other evidence might lead investigators to conclude a criminal perpetrated the crime). The crime was a historical event which probably was not observed (unless a video somehow captured the incident). Since the crime was a historical event, it cannot be observed again and retested, although theories about how the crime was perpetrated can potentially be tested and evaluated. Creation was also, like crimes or the existence of Julius Caesar, a historical event, so evidence can be amassed for the beginning of the world, like Einstein’s theory of relativity which infers the Big Bang, which in turn suggests the Biblical account of Creation is credible when it points to the Creator “speaking” the universe into existence ( page 6 of “The Return of the God Hypothesis”):

    ( http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf )

    Third, Science has not always had the skeptical view of an immaterial Creator which it has maintained since Darwin’s inductive (but in my opinion, false) conclusion about the “truth” of macro-evolution (Darwin’s general theory), which was extrapolated and confused with and from micro-evolution (Darwin’s special theory). While micro-evolution is demonstrated in nature, you yourself appear uncertain about the credentials of macro-evolution in some of your previous comments. Macro-evolution has never been demonstrated or proven, although all sorts of circumstantial evidence has been amassed by its supporters to infer its reasonableness. To demonstrate the shifting belief natural science has had about a Creator, I would refer you to a work by Stephen C. Meyer ( http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf ), “The Return of the God Hypothesis.”

    In that work, Stephen C. Meyer indicates that science often concludes things about the world on the basis of abduction, a different method of logic than deduction, but a method which sometimes can give results which are as reliable as “deduction.” I would refer you to the whole work, but the part on abduction is pages 20-22 ( http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf ). The section which indicates the shifting belief in a Creator is pages 1-6, and the revival of the God hypothesis through recent discoveries in the sciences is found on pages 6-19.

    Your own example of evidence of the falling object–that you used that example in the same spirit (no pun) as the ‘evidence’ we were discussing for a creator (the ‘fingerprints’ you see in the natural world) shows clearly what you posit above…that you’re putting the evidence for a creator in a different (immaterial) category than that of the falling object. You and I are on the same sheet of music with respect to the falling pencil…but we want different forms of evidence for the creator…that’s where the departure comes in. This isn’t right or wrong…it just makes being on the same sheet of music in a discussion more difficult. (Josh)

    Again, historical events which are by nature unrepeatable and untestable from an empirical point of view (like the existence of Julius Caesar or a crime committed yesterday), require a different “form” of evidence, although that different form of evidence is not necessarily “immaterial.” They are not necessarily “immaterial” forms of evidence, but they are secondary forms of evidence which do not directly “replay in video” the existence of Julius Caesar or the commitment of a crime, or the creation of the universe.

    Natural Theology examines tangible and material evidence (like encoded information in DNA which atheist Richard Dawkins said had an uncanny resemblance to computer programming — blog comment #461) for existence of a Creator in a similar way CSI’s (Crime Scene Investigators) examine material and tangible evidence to determine if a crime has actually been committed at a crime scene. The evidence is secondary, but there are definite inferences the secondary evidence can make for the historical event. That evidence can lead to the correct conclusion a crime was committed, and in the case of a Creation Scene Investigation, to evidence of the existence of a Creator.

    Peace!

  236. #237 Owlmirror
    September 9, 2007

    The Devonian period has been dated by the presence of Zircon crystals and other minerals within it at one geographical location at least. What is this location? Have Devonian period locations in other parts of the world also been dated?

    Your question appears to imply that only one dating has been done. What, you think geologists are as intellectually lazy as creationists? Quite the contrary, there have been many dating efforts over that past century, in many different locations, and using different radioactive elements, and of course, dating efforts are still ongoing. Geology is not a dead science, although creationism wants to kill it.

    scholar.google.com has 18,000 hits on (zircon dating), and 3,540 on (zircon dating Devonian)

    Let’s see, here’s the first hit and a few refs:

    R. D. Tucker, D. C. Bradley, C. A. Ver Straeten, A. G. Harris, J. R. Ebert and S. R. McCutcheon,
    New U-Pb zircon ages and the duration and division of Devonian time,
    Earth and Planetary Science Letters,
    Volume 158, Issues 3-4, 30 May 1998, Pages 175-186.
    ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(98)00050-8 )

    The site locations for the above dating are listed as being:

    3.1. K-bentonite, Kalkberg Formation (Helderberg Group), Cherry Valley, NY (early Lochkovian)
    3.2. Sprout Brook K-bentonites, Esopus Formation (Tristates Group), Cherry Valley, NY (early Emsian)
    3.3. Tioga K-bentonite, Wytheville, VA (Eifelian)
    3.4. K-bentonite (Center Hill), Little War Gap, Tennessee (Frasnian)
    3.5. Piskahegan Group, New Brunswick (late Famennian)

    There are 55 references in that paper; I’m not going to hunt after all of them.

    But here’s some:

    Chemical Geology
    Volume 119, Issues 1-4, 5 January 1995, Pages 307-329
    U—Pb dating of granites with inherited zircon: Conventional and ion microprobe results from two Paleozoic plutons, Canadian Appalachians
    J. C. Roddick and M. L. Beviera
    ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0009-2541(94)00107-J )

    Here’s another:

    Geological Magazine
    Volume 129, Issue 3, 1992, Pages 281-291
    The numerical age of the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary
    Claoue-Long, J.C., Jones, P.J., Roberts, J., Maxwell, S.
    ( http://geolmag.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/129/3/281 )

    The locations:

    The SHRIMP ion microprobe has been used to date zircons in a 1cm thick bentonite located in the Hasselbachtal auxilliary global stratotype section through the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary in Germany, and a tuff located at a similar biostratigraphic level in Australia. Multiple replicate analyses have yielded indistinguishable ages, and indicate 353.24.0 Ma (2s) as the age of the boundary.

    This study used strontium found directly in fossil shells in the strata rather than zircons:


    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Volume 60, Issue 4, February 1996, Pages 639-652
    Strontium isotope stratigraphy of the Middle Devonian: Brachiopods and conodonts
    Andreas Diener, Stefan Ebneth, Jn Veizer and Dieter Buhl
    ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0016-7037(95)00409-2 )

    Brachiopod and conodont samples were collected in the Eifel region of Germany, the area around the global stratotype for the Middle Devonian, with an apparent average temporal resolution in the 105 y range. Preservation of the brachiopod shell material has been assessed by optical microscopy, SEM, and cathodoluminescence and only the better preserved internal (“secondary”) layer of the shell has been utilized for strontium isotope measurements.

    And this study used neodymnium isotopes:

    GSA Bulletin;
    April 1999; v. 111; no. 4; p. 578-589
    Nd isotopes, geochemistry, and constraints on sources of sediments in the Franklinian mobile belt, Arctic Canada
    P. J. Patchett, M. A. Roth, B. S. Canale, T. A. de Freitas, J. C. Harrison, A. F. Embry, and G. M. Ross
    ( http://bulletin.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/111/4/578 )

    Here’s a review of dating methods:

    Williams, E. A., Friend, P. F., Williams, B. P. J.
    A review of Devonian time scales: databases, construction and new data
    Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2000 180: 1-21
    ( http://sp.lyellcollection.org/cgi/content/abstract/180/1/1 )

    Aspects of the isotopic age and stratigraphical databases underpinning Devonian geological time scales are reviewed to assess differences in recent U-Pb zircon-based schemes and older schemes based on Rb-Sr, K-Ar, 40Ar-39Ar dating of minerals and whole-rock samples. The various methods of time-scale construction are described and, with their databases, 14 calibrations of Devonian time are discussed. Finally, the most recent data are collated and compared against current U-Pb-based time scales.

  237. #238 Owlmirror
    September 9, 2007

    if “science” can prove the existence of Julius Caesar?

    So, you want to talk about Julius Caesar, eh?

    The claims that you are making about God are vastly different from those made for Julius Caesar. Yes, Julius is only known to us now by writings and artifacts. But the claims are hardly that extraordinary! He was a man, like all men. We know that Rome exists and has existed for w few thousand years; we know that Romans exist and had ancestors going back to those thousands of years to the time of the Empire and earlier; we know that the Romans had a political structure like all peoples have political structures; we know that that political structure had a leader; and we know that at one period of time, they recorded the name of that leader as “Gaius Iulius Caesar”.

    We know that humans exist and have existed; we have 6 billion examples of our species. Where is the example of a God?

    Note that Julius Caesar has been dead and gone for millenia. Are you trying to say that God has been dead and gone for millenia as well?

    Also note that we don’t believe everything that was written down about Julius. The Romans wrote that after Caesar died, betrayed by those he thought he could trust, he became a god. Do you believe this? If you do, you’re even more of a credulous dolt than you’ve so far indicated. If you don’t, though, you’re just a hypocrite: Why do you reject the written Roman myth about Caesar and accept the written myth about Jesus with such tenacity that you deny all logic and reason in defending the myth?

    Macro-evolution has never been demonstrated or proven, although all sorts of circumstantial evidence has been amassed by its supporters to infer its reasonableness.

    What, more refuted bullshit?

    All of science is demonstrated by the evidence that has been amassed by scientists. “Proof” isn’t even the relevant word.

    NO evidence has been amassed by Creationists. All you have is tradition, imagined nonsense, and flat-out lies.

  238. #239 Aquila
    September 10, 2007

    Aquila, you did not answer my question of whether it is typical for all Christians to behave as schoolyard bullies, or if it’s only typical for Creationists such as Roger and yourself.
    Why is that?
    Posted by: Stanton | September 9, 2007 4:45 PM

    Stanton, you might pose the essence of your insistent question to yourself: as far back as post #99, without direct provocation, you engaged in name-calling.

  239. #240 Stanton
    September 10, 2007

    Really, are you really that factually and morally bankrupt that you are wholly unable to explain why you had to point out my outburst without also acknowledging that Roger was to blame?

  240. #241 Steve_C
    September 10, 2007

    I beg you’re pardon, I’m the King of Dismissiveness.

    You’re the Duke of Drivel.

    If you said anything of substance, I’d engage you. But you don’t.

  241. #242 PZ Myers
    September 10, 2007

    Hey now! What are you doing, handing out aristocratic titles on my blog?

    Duke? No way. “Mud-smeared starving peon of Drivel”, maybe.

  242. #243 Steve_C
    September 10, 2007

    Ok. But can I still be the king of dismissiveness?

  243. #244 Stanton
    September 10, 2007

    Only if you agree to wear a rhinestone-studded jumpsuit and grease your hair, Steve.

  244. #245 Josh
    September 10, 2007

    Wouldn’t you rather be the ravenous despot of dismissiveness or something cool like that?

  245. #246 Steve_C
    September 10, 2007

    C’mon. I’m strictly black leather Elvis.

  246. #247 Josh
    September 10, 2007

    Anton,
    Well said.

    -J

  247. #248 Owlmirror
    September 10, 2007

    As for crimes…how do you think forensic investigators attempt to determine the existence and nature of a crime? Did this person commit suicide or were they murdered? If they were murdered, how was it done? You run tests.

    And (I realize that this is a bit redundant, but P-W seems hard of understanding), you run tests on the evidence.

    And just to hammer the point home a bit more, those tests don’t come out of nowhere, or out of a personal revelation. All forensic tests were originally done as scientific experiments on physical, material evidence. I’ve already pointed out that fingerprint testing arose from observing that fingers leave prints. The other forensic tests are also from observations of the material world: a particular chemical binds to blood proteins and fluoresces; an individual hair from one person will have characteristics that can be compared to other hairs on that person; fibers from one particular fabric will have characteristics that can be compared to other fibers; pollen grains on a shoe can be compared to other pollen grains from a particular environment. And so on.

    Where is God, that we can compare the so-called evidence to it?

  248. #249 Aquila
    September 11, 2007

    Thanks folks for your latest detailed inputs on geology, fossilisation and dating. I find it all very interesting and will inter alia work through these in due course.

  249. #250 Kseniya, OM
    September 11, 2007

    Can I be the Countess of Accountability?

    (Why yes, I do suffer from delusions of grandeur.)

  250. #251 Steve_C
    September 11, 2007

    Jesus christ on a grill.

    If you can’t stand the ridicule get out of the commenting business.

  251. #252 Owlmirror
    September 11, 2007

    (…And another thing, in response to P-W’s repeated assertions about using inductive logic to argue for Natural Theology…)

    I’ve been thinking about inductive logic, and it occurs to me that another argument can be made from inductive logic as well, to a certain extent. Follow, please:

    Humans have the examples of other humans to look to. One important and striking trait that humans have is that humans can and do communicate; the more intelligent humans are, the better they are at communicating with each other. Even if two humans don’t have a common language, they can learn each other’s language through gestures, actions, and other signifiers.

    Not all humans are equally communicative. However, even someone who is generally quiet can make some indication that a question was heard; they can make a gesture, or otherwise indicate that they are aware of the other person attempting to communicate.

    Some humans have nonfunctional speech systems; they are mute.
    Some humans have nonfunctional hearing; they are deaf.
    Some humans have nonfunctional sight; they are blind.
    But even the deaf and mute can either respond to gesture or use gesture to communicate. Those who are deaf and mute and blind can respond at least to touch; to gestures drawn with a finger on their hands.

    Some humans have nonfunctional bodies; they are not merely mute, but paralyzed, so that they cannot gesture either. But even they can blink, at least, or move their eyes.

    Some humans are so badly paralyzed that they cannot move their eyes voluntarily with any regularity. But in recent years, their brains can be monitored, and activity indicates that they can at least hear questions.

    Of course, sleeping humans cannot communicate; nor can completely catatonic ones. And when humans are completely dead, they cannot communicate at all ever again.

    Otherwise normal but deeply depressed or bad-tempered and sullen humans might be able to communicate, but will refuse to do so.

    Otherwise normal but busy or distracted humans might be able to communicate, but their attention is focused on something else that is important to them. But even a distracted person can communicate once their attention is no longer distracted.

    The god hypothesis is that there is an entity of enormous intelligence and enormous power that exists. Theists have asserted that this entity is immaterial, non-physical.

    But even if we grant the highly improbable hypothesis that an intelligence is possible without an evident body of some sort, there is a huge problem: This supposed intelligent and powerful entity refuses to communicate clearly and effectively as even the least intelligent human can. Does the entity suffer from one of the communication-stopping defects that humans suffer from, listed above?

    Theists tend to make excuses for this entity, yet here, the choice seems clear:

    Given the options of
    (a) believing in an enormously intelligent and powerful immaterial entity that cannot or will not communicate, and
    (b) deciding that such a ridiculous contradiction in terms does not exist,
    the latter is by far the simplest and most likely logical conclusion.

  252. #253 Aquila
    September 11, 2007

    If you can’t stand the ridicule get out of the commenting business.
    Posted by: Steve_C | September 11, 2007 3:51 PM

    Thankyou Steve_C! Something useful from you is a welcome change. But do you think your mate, Stanton, will be convinced?

  253. #254 Steve_C
    September 11, 2007

    So obtuse.

    I get it. You can’t stop playing dumb.

  254. #255 Steve_C
    September 11, 2007

    I thought they were supposed to be witty in that part of the world.

    Apparently not.

  255. #256 Steve_C
    September 11, 2007

    I believe his answer was…”You reap what you sow” and pointed out two of your posts before Roger’s.

  256. #257 Stanton
    September 11, 2007

    And how does that excuse Roger from being an unabashed troll or Aquila from being a perfidious quote miner who can’t explain why the alleged prophecies of the Book of Daniel are relevant to Biology?

  257. #258 P-W
    September 13, 2007

    Thank you for your extensive comments (#462, 463), Owlmirror.

    I hope you will forgive me for being selective about my own responses, but I am not well-informed about some scientific issues, and I find it necessary to do research to make hopefully halfway intelligent comments (plus or minus) to more informed scientific knowledge. I also sometimes need to take time to process the meanings conveyed by other people’s statements.

    Sometimes I find the story of the man and the forest to fit my situation rather appropriately. The story goes that a man was told about a forest by his friend, so he went to investigate, and when he got to its location he used his cell phone to query his friend and said to him, “Forest? What forest? I don’t see any forest! All I see are trees that are in the way!”

    I believe I am not always alone on this feeling.

    Anyway, to address some of your issues:

    Macro-evolutionists use inductive logic to arrive at a totally different explanation: Darwin’s general theory (macro-evolution). P-W

    Since evolutionary biology has the evidence of genetics, paleontology, and comparative anatomy, it is not merely inductive, but deductive logic that is involved. (Owlmirror)

    While you may be correct that evidence for micro-evolution from genetics, paleontology, and comparative anatomy can be, and sometimes probably is, deductive, or at least abductive, I continue to maintain that since (in the opinion of Creationists like myself), evidence for MICRO-evolution does not necessarily constitute evidence for MACRO-evolution, that the “evidence” for macro-evolution continues (in my opinion) to be inductive rather than deductive.

    but the existence of a Creator is a viable and, in my opinion, more probable and reasonable option for explaining organisms than blind chance and a hypothesized and yet undiscovered and unknown “law” of nature which self-organizes matter (P-W)

    How is selection undiscovered and unknown? (Owlmirror)

    I believe my vague statement was misinterpreted here. In referring to “self-organizing” matter, I was referring to spontaneous generation and abiogenesis (the hypothetical development of living organisms from inanimate matter unaided by the Superior Intelligence of Genesis 2:7).

    Why do you never even acknowledge selection by even writing it out? What is this phobia you have about the word? (Owlmirror)

    I do not have a phobia for the phrase “natural selection” as it pertains to MICRO-evolution (which refers to the environment as the “breeder” of specific characteristics). I strenuously object to the term when it is used of MACRO-evolution, because MACRO-evolution has never been demonstrated as a factual process. “Natural selection” (in the case of MACRO-evolution) is an inductive hypothesis which has not been confirmed because MACRO-evolution itself fails to be confirmed. If macro-evolution were confirmed, then it could follow naturally that “natural selection” might also probably apply to cases of macro-evolution, just as natural selection applies in cases of MICRO-evolution.

    “I am sorry that you are so easily confused by the appearance of design. But when so many organisms have features that best serve, not human purpose, but the purposes of the organisms themselves, it is completely wrong to assert that some external intelligence designed all of those features, when the only evidence we have is that those features evolved. (Owlmirror)

    I am glad you used a loaded term: “purpose.” That loaded term has obvious connotations for Intelligent Design which I assume you would also object to. The word “purpose” was one of the six characteristics of design which I had observed, but which I had accidentally omitted in my list of design characteristics (I had stated there are at least “six” characteristics of design but had inadvertently only listed five characteristics for design in a previous blog comment).

    “I do deny that evolved design is design by an intelligent designer (except for human breeding projects, which are often sloppy anyway), because there is no evidence that evolved design is intelligent design. Evolved design is often demonstrably sloppy and stupid.” (Owlmirror)

    In comparison to your views, I have evidently come to a different conclusion about the original design of organisms. I believe the original organisms aboard Noah’s Ark, and those organisms which survived apart from the Ark (in what I believe was a universal, not a localized, flood) had all of the genetic capabilities for producing all of the known varieties and breeds of organisms today, including the different races of man). Those organisms aboard the Ark are examples for micro-evolution (Darwin’s special theory), which I define as “the shuffling of genes” and also as “the environment and geographical isolation sometimes causing some genetic combinations to be more favored than others (natural selection).” Those organisms surviving aboard the Ark and apart from the Ark were descendants of what I believe were Intelligently Designed ancestral organisms (Genesis 1), an opinion, which you evidently may not share.

    Semantics will not discredit the premise. (P-W)

    Your premise isn’t false because of semantics. It’s false because DNA in general shows no sign of having been programmed by any intelligence. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate otherwise. (Owlmirror)

    I am nowhere as familiar with DNA as you may be, and I should probably read PZ’s article on DNA, but maybe I can spot a forest where you only may be able to spot the trees? There are several lines of evidence that suggest to me (although they may not be convincing to you) that DNA is the product of Intelligent Design.

    1. As Stephen C. Meyer noted in quoting atheist Richard Dawkins, “‘The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.’ In the case of a computer code, the specific arrangement of just two symbols (0 and 1) suffices to carry information. In the case of DNA, the complex but precise sequencing of the four nucleotide bases (A, T, G, and C) stores and transmits the information necessary to build proteins.” (#461) I have done a little toying with programming myself, so I have a limited understanding of programming languages, and the nucleotides analogy to the binary system is a sufficient analogy for me to conclude an Intelligent Designer was behind DNA.

    2. I also noticed this article on a computer program which was developed for deciphering DNA and which was first tested on a novel by Jane Austen without having ever been programmed to understand English ( http://www.physorg.com/news82989044.html ). I consider this computer program to decipher DNA and its capability to operate on the English language an adequate illustration of the similarity between English and DNA for “information content” defined as “complexity and specification.”

    3. I have used computer virus and maintenance software in rebuilding the information on some computer hard drives I have used. I noticed the “uncanny resemblance” (to allude to the words of atheist Richard Dawkins) of the color map (use the On/Off switch) for DNA found at
    ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/genome/expl_01_onoff.html or
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/genome/explore_wave.html or
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/genome/explore.html ) and the color map of a hard drive (which depicts specific types of information being repaired by color) which is created by maintenance software while it is in the process of rebuilding the information on the hard drive.

    4. Another code was discovered with regard to DNA ( http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/science/25dna.html?ex=1311480000&en=34d8e6ced8d42f47&ei=5089 ).

    5. DNA is even replacing silicon chips in human computers: ( http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v22/i2/focus.asp#DNA ) and

    The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), January 16, 2000, p. 20.
    Minneapolis Star Tribune, < http://www.startribune.com/>, January 13, 2000.
    Nature, January 13, 2000, pp. 143-144, 175-179, and

    New York Times, < http://www.nytimes.com/>, December 6, 1999.
    New Scientist, December 11, 1999, p. 8 and

    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_computing ) and

    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAYA_II ).

    6. A statement by Bill Gates comparing DNA to computer code ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part4.html ).

    As a summary, the above information (some of which attests to the “language” characteristics of DNA) suggests to me that the Genesis 1 account of the Creator “speaking” and then “creating” the organisms on earth, is accurate. The “speaking” and “creating” language was, perhaps, DNA?

    Natural theology at best is an argument for a vaguely Deistic and distant designer. (Owlmirror)

    I knew there was a theologian lurking in you somewhere, Owlmirror! Your concession is noted. Still, in an effort to tweak your theology, it has been noted by Stephen C. Meyer that Deism and Pantheism have some difficulties with new discoveries by science (pages 6, and 24-25 of “The Return to the God Hypothesis”). While Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson may have been able to maintain the credibility of Deism’s “reconstruction” of the Creator in their day, the theory of relativity and the Big Bang suggest Deism’s and Pantheism’s “reconstructions” of the Creator are grossly inadequate (see pages 6 and 24-25 of “The Return of the God Hypothesis”: ( http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf ).

    I mean, there’s the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week. That’s one of the Ten Commandments right there. The commandment says to keep it, and not to do “work”. (Owlmirror #473)

    As a side note, I noticed your statement about the Sabbath. If it were somehow validated that macro-evolution was the tool used by which the Creator made the different organism’s on earth (which I believe is highly unlikely, but I admit my interpretation of the Genesis text is potentially wrong), and if it could be demonstrated that the proper interpretation of Genesis 2:7 is that of a literal “process” (macro-evolution) rather than a literal “event” (creation), I would be forced to adopt a form of theistic macro-evolution which probably most macro-evolutionists would find repulsive.

    If I were the above hypothetical theistic macro-evolutionist, and some creationist came to me with the objection that “macro-evolution is not capable of being demonstrated today,” my pat answer to the creationist would be, “Well of course macro-evolution is not demonstrable today! Haven’t you read that God rested on the Sabbath, and that He created in only six day-ages? If macro-evolution were still going on today, the Genesis account would be proven incorrect, because present day macro-evolution would prove the creation process is still going on since macro-evolution is a tool for creating newer and higher life forms!”

    While I am not a macro-evolutionist, one of the reasons I believe macro-evolution is not going on now (if it were the method the Creator used to produce living organisms), is that the Creator rested on the Sabbath and did not resume the task of creating, which was completed on the sixth day.

    At present, I remain a perpetual skeptic of macro-evolution, even in a theistic form, and I am extremely skeptical about macro-evolution being the technique used by the Creator to create the organisms on earth.

    Peace.

  258. #259 Steve_C
    September 17, 2007

    Anyone who believes the story of the Ark is true should be laughed at, then ignored.

  259. #260 Rey Fox
    September 18, 2007

    Yeah, Stoontoon, Jesus/God/Holy Vapor magicaly teleported all the Australian marsupials after the Flood! The lack of fossils totally proves this!

    On an unrelated note, this crack cocaine that Roger gave me is friggin’ SWEET.

  260. #261 Stanton
    September 18, 2007

    Roger, that you have to resort to a monumentally pathetic insult rather than even attempt to pull one of your beloved video mentors’ pathetic explanations out of your ass to counter my pointing out that the fossil record repeatedly contradicts the Noachian Flood simply reinforces the fact that you are both fatally naive and maliciously stupid.
    Didn’t you go into a big song and dance about how this one South African veterinarian made a bunch of pathetic internet videos on how he saw the Light and disproved Evolutionary Biology? Didn’t you say that this twit had evidence that explained why the fossil record apparently contradicts the Noachian Flood?
    Oh, wait, Creationists don’t need to obey the Commandment of “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”
    Of course, then there’s the fact that you lack even the most rudimentary brainpower to copy and paste my own name.

  261. #262 Steve_C
    September 19, 2007

    Don’t worry. We’re greatful too.

    If the creationists weren’t such dense nitwits… we wouldn’t get so “mean”.

  262. #263 nemo
    September 19, 2007

    aah, there you go again.

    perhaps your education wasn’t as complete as you thought. it seems to be entirely impossible for you to make a reasonable comment without insults.

    as i say, you lot seem to be an unusually unpleasant bunch. there are other sites where “scientists”, athiests and christians can comment (and disagree) like adults, without the sniggering and name calling.

    from where i’m sitting, it looks like this site is for little boys with big egos

  263. #264 Brownian
    September 19, 2007

    Nemo, try going to a conference of physicians and telling them they really should listen to your theory about how all disease is caused by and imbalance of the four humours.

    Why not head down to an MLB game, hop onto the field and tell the umpire you’ve got a book that says (with some interpretation) that last pitch was actually over the plate?

    Maybe the boys on the line at Ford would be grateful to hear how an angel came to you in a dream and said that cars can be safely assembled with wads of chewing gum rather than bolts and welds.

    I’m sure they’ll accord your beliefs all the respect they deserve with none of the ‘nastiness’ you see here.

    Do let us know how it goes, willya?

  264. #265 Rey Fox
    September 19, 2007

    You seem to think you’re entitled to not get insulted. We get folks like you coming on our board all the time and whining about how mean we are, and they almost never have anything else to contribute to the discussion. It’s like they just skim over entire threads and only read the naughty words. Heck, the way you put “science” and “scientist” in quote marks clearly signals to me that you have no respect for us (and is a pretty good sign that you have no respect for empirical evidence). So why should we make nice?

    I suggest you go back to those other fora you mentioned where they tell you that it’s okay to believe centuries-old dogma rather than actual facts. You’re not going to get that here.

  265. #266 nemo
    September 19, 2007

    you misunderstand, having different views and beliefs is one thing, resorting to name calling is another.
    i’m not saying one group or another should suddenly change their views, but it would make for more interesting reading (for both sides) without all the rubbish.

  266. #267 MAJeff
    September 19, 2007

    But, your “side’s” views are the rubbish.

  267. #268 Josh
    September 19, 2007

    Thanks for the generalization, Nemo, but I don’t snigger or refer to name calling unless I think someone truly deserves it. If you can point to me a place on this blog where my ego has gotten the best of me and I’ve been nasty without provocation, I’ll apologize for it…immediately. I’m rather skeptical you can find a case where I’ve been nasty at all, however. I don’t appreciate being painted by such a blanket statement. Nor actually, do I appreciate the tacit insult leveed by your choice to type scientists in quotes. I am a scientist, thank you very much. I do it for a living, and have the graduate degrees and the peer-reviewed publications to back it up. If you’re going to accuse people of being childish, it is perhaps wise to make sure you’ve outgrown your own diapers.

  268. #269 Steve_C
    September 19, 2007

    Creationism and ID are garbage.
    Worthless, meaningless crap.

    Nemo should I say what a great and wonderful idea Adam and Eve and Noah’s ark are?

    The people who come on here and whine about us being mean believe those things are actually true events.

    I think they should be laughed at.

    Do you like being laughed at Nemo?

  269. #270 nemo
    September 19, 2007

    josh, i do apologise to you. it was not my intention to lump you together with the others. your comments have been quite intersting. i am actually very interested in what both sides have to say.
    regards

  270. #271 Aquila
    May 17, 2008

    Thanks folks for your latest detailed inputs on geology, fossilisation and dating. I find it all very interesting and will inter alia work through these in due course.
    Posted by: Aquila | September 11, 2007 3:15 PM

    …Different mechanisms yield different types of sediment, not different strata. Different events yield different strata….
    Posted by: Josh | September 10, 2007 10:31 AM

    Josh, so a band of rock ostensibly of the same colour is not necessarily a stratum in itself but may comprise several strata representing several events, whilst a stratum may have different types of sediment due to different mechanisms (fast vs. slow deposition). But wouldn’t fast vs. slow deposition be different events, and hence result in different strata?

    In post #517 you (and Owlmirror, post #514) comment that geologists could not find any evidence for a universal flood. What would constitute such evidence?

  271. #272 Brownian, OM
    May 17, 2008

    For one thing, a global flood would leave a distinctive 18O/16O ratio, distributed worldwide, as a result of the Dole effect.

  272. #273 phantomreader42
    May 17, 2008

    Aquila @ #532:

    In post #517 you (and Owlmirror, post #514) comment that geologists could not find any evidence for a universal flood. What would constitute such evidence?

    Now there’s a good question (though one that the people claiming there actually was such a flood should be trying to answer, but they don’t).

    Here’s an interesting site I’ve seen on the subject.

    A local flood leaves evidence, it disrupts things in predictable ways. A global flood would have much more serious effects, over a much larger scale, and therefore would be expected to leave much more evidence. And yet, not a speck of anything that even looks like evidence of a global flood has been found.

  273. #274 phantomreader42
    May 17, 2008

    And what’s with doing necromancy on a months-dead thread to ask questions about bullshit like flood geology?

  274. #275 Steve_C
    May 17, 2008

    He’s back out, on parole.

  275. #276 Owlmirror
    May 17, 2008

    Zombi thread rise from the dead
    and wants to eat pick ur BRAAAAIINS

  276. #277 Owlmirror
    May 18, 2008

    However, more seriously regarding flood geology: One might want to research on James Hutton, and other early geologists, such as James Playfair and Charles Lyell.

    However, the early geologist that I had in mind was the very devout Adam Sedgwick.

    And related to the topic, a somewhat discursive early history of geology.

  277. #278 Rey Fox
    May 18, 2008

    And then there’s that worldwide layer of black clay from the K/T extinction event. Why isn’t there anything in the Good Book about a global fire?

  278. #279 Roger
    May 18, 2008

    Aquila, Aquila, what are you doing looking for info from these chaps?

    Scroll back and read comment #129… these guys are posing as “scientists”. They have nothing to offer you.

    Even PZ has admitted it is just a THEORY, and it cannot be proved. So don’t get all hung up on it. Just drop it into the trashbin.

    Rather get hold of the material from Kent, or Walter Veith…these guys are real scientists, and they can explain what you need to know. It makes far more sense.

  279. #280 anon
    May 18, 2008

    Hey, Rogeridiot, Wikipedia says you’re wrong

    A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable. In principle, scientific theories are always tentative, and subject to corrections or inclusion in a yet wider theory.

    And if Kent Hovind is a real scientist, then how come he doesn’t have any degrees from any accredited schools and never engaged in any scientific research whatsoever?

  280. #281 Owlmirror
    May 18, 2008

    Kent “Convicted Felon” Hovind doesn’t even know his own bible, let alone anything about science. Kent “Jailbird” Hovind thinks that “Render unto Caesar” doesn’t apply to him. Nor does Kent “Criminal Fraud” Hovind care about the verse that says “Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay”. And Kent “Criminal Perjury” Hovind repeatedly broke God’s commandment (and US law) against not bearing false witness.

    If you actually care about science, maybe, just maybe, you should ignore the convicted and proven frauds and pay attention to the actual, real scientists; the ones who actually do the real-world research and can explain how all of the pieces fit together.

  281. #282 Roger
    May 18, 2008

    Thanks Onion and Fowlmirror, so we can then accept that Prof.Walter Veith is a real scientist then.

    Ok then Aqila, forget the Hovind material, but do get the Veith info. You will be amazed at how logical this is, and his model does not need constant changing to fit a “theory” He demonstates how the layers were formed.

  282. #283 Etha Williams
    May 18, 2008

    @#543 Roger —

    You will be amazed at how logical this is, and his model does not need constant changing to fit a “theory”

    Again with the misuse of “theory”! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Did you not see anon’s #541 clarifying the correct use of that word?

    In science, models do need constant changing as new evidence comes to light. In the words of Konrad Lorenz, ” “Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.” No good scientist would claim that his explanation of a natural phenomenon is complete and immutable.

  283. #284 Roger
    May 18, 2008

    Thanks Etha…..I was merely pointing Aquila to the fact that Veith’s model demonstrates the deposition of the layers. It is very clear, and does not need updating. He has not claimed anything…he has merely demonstrated…

    Unlike the evolution theory which is often updated, and yet remains a theory, and incomplete.

  284. #285 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    “yet remains a theory”
    What the hell do you expect it to become? You’ve been pointed to the scientific definition of the word “theory”. Do us the courtesy of reading it, learning it and using it correctly.

    Else I shall be forced to toss you onto the “virulently ignorant” dustbin.

  285. #287 Owlmirror
    May 18, 2008

    Actually, all of Veith’s credentials involve… zoology. Specializing in nutrition, I see. He might know how to feed a cow, or a lizard, or a monkey, or a troll (like that naughty monkey who calls himself Roger!). But his mythological explanation of geological deposition would be unlikely to be of any value, since he has no expertise in geology.

    If you want to understand geology, you might want to read the work of peer-reviewed geologists. Hey, how about picking up a nice geology textbook? You can even get one from the library, if you’re low on funds. Shocking idea, isn’t it, to read up on what’s written by actual peer-reviewed scientists writing in their area of expertise.

  286. #288 Etha Williams
    May 18, 2008

    Ummm…ignore the “right?” at the end of the first sentence in my second paragraph in #547. I initially worded that as a rhetorical question, then decided a simple statement would suffice, but forgot to remove the “right?” from the end.

  287. #289 Aquila
    May 18, 2008

    And what’s with doing necromancy on a months-dead thread to ask questions about bullshit like flood geology?

    Posted by: phantomreader42 | May 17, 2008 9:14 PM

    But hey, what is months in the greater scheme of things i.e. millions of years as per evolutionary model?

    Moving on, considering that the present earth surface shows erosional features, why is it that the contact between bands of rock is so flat?

  288. #290 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 18, 2008

    Rather get hold of the material from Kent, or Walter Veith…these guys are real scientists, and they can explain what you need to know. It makes far more sense.

    Yes go give old Kent a call…. ooops. Nevermind.

    The bigger question is, do you think that Kent is getting that special kind of male companionship one can only get in prison?

  289. #291 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    Really, Aquilla? Contact between bands of rock is always flat?

    I guess the Wave in Arizona doesn’t exist, not to mention countless other uplifted, eroded and overlain formations.

  290. #292 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    Crap.botched the link to the Wave

    must remember to use preview.

  291. #293 Etha Williams
    May 18, 2008

    @#551 Rev. BigDumbChimp —

    Yes go give old Kent a call…. ooops. Nevermind.

    You have to realize, though, that KH is in prison because of the religious persecution against outspoken Christians that is all-too-common in the US.

  292. #294 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 18, 2008

    Unlike the evolution theory which is often updated, and yet remains a theory, and incomplete.

    We need to create an internet law that states something along the line of.

    Rev. BigDumbChimp’s internet law of Creationist ignorance: During any communication with a creationist, the probability of the creationist making the “It’s just a theory” mistake approaches one.

    You creationists continue to make that mistake and when doing so immediately demonstrate to everyone reading that you are completely clueless as to how science works.

    Please, read this. It will help. I promise.

    In the American vernacular, “theory” often means “imperfect fact”–part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is “only” a theory, and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less than a fact, and scientists can’t even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): “Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science–that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was.”

    Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

    Moreover, “fact” does not mean “absolute certainty.” The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

    Evolutionists have been clear about this distinction between fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory–natural selection–to explain the mechanism of evolution. He wrote in The Descent of Man: “I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to show that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change. . . . Hence if I have erred in . . . having exaggerated its [natural selection’s] power . . . I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations.”

    Thus Darwin acknowledged the provisional nature of natural selection while affirming the fact of evolution. The fruitful theoretical debate that Darwin initiated has never ceased. From the 1940s through the 1960s, Darwin’s own theory of natural selection did achieve a temporary hegemony that it never enjoyed in his lifetime. But renewed debate characterizes our decade, and, while no biologist questions the importance of natural selection, many doubt its ubiquity. In particular, many evolutionists argue that substantial amounts of genetic change may not be subject to natural selection and may spread through the populations at random. Others are challenging Darwin’s linking of natural selection with gradual, imperceptible change through all intermediary degrees; they are arguing that most evolutionary events may occur far more rapidly than Darwin envisioned.

    Scientists regard debates on fundamental issues of theory as a sign of intellectual health and a source of excitement. Science is–and how else can I say it?–most fun when it plays with interesting ideas, examines their implications, and recognizes that old information might be explained in surprisingly new ways. Evolutionary theory is now enjoying this uncommon vigor. Yet amidst all this turmoil no biologist has been lead to doubt the fact that evolution occurred; we are debating how it happened. We are all trying to explain the same thing: the tree of evolutionary descent linking all organisms by ties of genealogy. Creationists pervert and caricature this debate by conveniently neglecting the common conviction that underlies it, and by falsely suggesting that evolutionists now doubt the very phenomenon we are struggling to understand.

    Sorry for the long paste, but … well it was needed.

  293. #295 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 18, 2008

    You have to realize, though, that KH is in prison because of the religious persecution against outspoken Christians that is all-too-common in the US.

    Yes of course. Now that we atheists are the majority in the representative government and judicial system we are free lay the legal smackdown on the minority groups like christians.

  294. #296 Aquila
    May 18, 2008

    I was referring to “sentinels” in Cedarberg where top of layer 3 is decently weathered but layer1/layer2 and layer2/layer3 contacts are flat. Also Grand Canyon appears to have pretty flat contacts.

  295. #297 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    OH, OK then. The flat contacts support your hypothesis and the ones that intersect at different angles matter not at all in Earth’s history.

  296. #298 Owlmirror
    May 18, 2008

    The flat contacts support your hypothesis

    What, the hypothesis that layers form in layers?

  297. #299 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 18, 2008

    What, the hypothesis that layers form in layers?

    OHHHHHHHHHH right. Next you’ll be telling us that water is wet.

  298. #300 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    Ogres are like onions, they have layers!

    That last one was a bit garbled, I guess. I was pointing out that Aquilla’s idea that the earth is just a layer cake (laid down in a flood), or maybe a parfait (everybody loves parfait), is a bit off. This pic linked in the “wave” link, once I got it right, shows strata that are not parallel to all of the other strata.

  299. #301 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    Disregard that last comment, my new Sarcastrometer(TM) hasn’t arrived yet.

  300. #302 Owlmirror
    May 18, 2008

    Anti-evolutionists are like onions; they make me weep. Actually, they’re more like horseradish; they make my eyes itch and weep really hard AND they clear my sinuses.

    No, wait, that’s not quite it.

  301. #303 MIkeG
    May 18, 2008

    Creationists are like habaneros, slice ‘em up and they’ll add a little fun to the dish, but wash your hands before going to the bathroom.

    Not quite right either…

  302. #304 Aquila
    May 20, 2008

    Really, Aquilla? Contact between bands of rock is always flat?

    I guess the Wave in Arizona doesn’t exist, not to mention countless other uplifted, eroded and overlain formations.

    Posted by: MIkeG | May 18, 2008 4:46 PM

    Thanks for the link to the pretty picture; don’t see signs of erosion between the layers i.e. contacts are flat… As for intersecting layers at various angles, got any more pretty pictures?

  303. #305 Owlmirror
    May 21, 2008

    don’t see signs of erosion between the layers i.e. contacts are flat

    So?

  304. #306 Roger
    May 21, 2008

    Aquila, you will need to be a little patient and supportive with these folk…..

    Seems like their “scientific” minds cannot grasp what you are drawing to their attention. Perhaps they are regrouping to get a handle on this now

    Perhaps you can now understand why they are so upset about KH whipping them in their professed field of expertise…and he is not even a scientist…so they claim.

    Be that as it may…get hold of Veith’s material…he will definitely answer your questions…

  305. #307 Brownian, OM
    May 21, 2008

    Here are a bunch of photos of non-conformities for Aquila’s edification.

    As for Roger, well, his brain’s about the best example of a fossil as anyone’s likely to see.

    The only people Hovind has ever shown up are the ones who fell for his bullshit.

  306. #308 Owlmirror
    May 21, 2008

    Who should be believed on geology?

    A nutrition zoologist out of his field (and, after seeing some of his statements on the web, probably out of his mind)? A convicted fraud and perjurer?

    Or actual peer-reviewed geologists?

    Such a difficult question to answer.

  307. #309 Kseniya
    May 21, 2008

    Hovind… whipping…

    goawaymentalimage

  308. #310 MIkeG
    May 21, 2008

    Thanks, rational people for trying to point Aquila to information.

    Personally, I thought the Wave was an aesthetically pleasing as well as geologically stunning example of an angular conformity.

    As for the disconformity Aquila asked for, Brownian covered that, so I need say no more.

    Aquila, have fun in your little geological-layer cake world. It must be so easy there, all answers are “Flood done it!” Who needs a Brunton?

  309. #311 Owlmirror
    May 21, 2008

    goawaymentalimage

    Calm blue ocean…

    Calm blue ocean…

    Here’s a better mental image:

    Hovind is sitting in his cell, mumbling to himself. Every now and then, his mumbles become louder, and his cellmate starts reading his book aloud until Hovind quiets down.

    Hovind’s cellmate is reading The God Delusion.

    Heh.

  310. #312 Aquila
    May 25, 2008

    …This pic linked in the “wave” link, once I got it right, shows strata that are not parallel to all of the other strata. Posted by: MIkeG | May 18, 2008 6:33 PM
    …Aquila, have fun in your little geological-layer cake world…Posted by: MIkeG | May 21, 2008 6:44 PM

    The natural pictures are awesome. However I did not claim parallel layers nor a geological-layer cake world. Nevertheless, your “geological-layer cake world” comment does raise a question:

    I have heard it stated that the geological column represents the Earth’s land surface as you go back in time. For example, if you go back some 408 million years, then the Earth’s land surface is the definable boundary between the Silurian System and the Devonian System (bar unconformities such as the missing rocks of the Silurian and Ordovician systems in the Grand Canyon, where the Muav Limestone (Cambrian) some 505 million years ago would have been exposed). What is the accepted geological stance on this statement?

    And then, what lies beneath the ocean floors? Have the ocean floors been excavated?

  311. #313 MIkeG
    May 25, 2008

    For the first question, I’m going to have to plead ignorance. I’m not a geologist, just a microbiologist stuck in an office full of geologists. They sound like they’re full of schist, but they’re generally gneiss about it.

    As for what lies below the ocean floors, well, the part that interests me is the first few cm (lots of cool microbial stuff going on there). As I understand it, the ocean basins get they’re young rock along the spreading centers, such as the Mid-Atlantic ridge, it’s basalt that cools and spreads as the convection of the mantle pulls it along. as you go farther from the ridge, the fresh basalt cools and gets thicker when the mantle below it cools with it and adds thickness. It also collects anything that rains down on it from above. That’s mostly clays and some organic material left over from the food web above. So, say somewhere between the mid-Atlantic ridge and Florida, you have a gradually thickening layer of sediment, with additions from the top via the water column, on top of a gradually thickening layer of basalt.

    As for what lies below the basalt, well, it’s mostly upper mantle material. There is a geological term for it, but, again, IANAG.

    Has it been excavated? Not like an anthropological site. It has been extensively drilled, though. That’s the whole point behind the Ocean Drilling Project and its successor, the International ODP.

    Sorry for not being able to adequately answer your 1st q, but that’s why we have specialists. Did the response to the 2nd clarify?

  312. #314 Aquila
    May 27, 2008

    For the first question, I’m going to have to plead ignorance… Sorry for not being able to adequately answer your 1st q, but that’s why we have specialists. Did the response to the 2nd clarify?
    Posted by: MIkeG | May 25, 2008 5:34 PM

    MIkeG, re 1st question, I appreciate your candour given your previous jibes. As for “full of schist… generally gneiss about it” – good one.

    Thanks for response to 2nd question. Given that oceans account for some 70% of Earth’s surface, I am certainly curious as to what lies in the oceanic sedimentary layers – specifically anthropologically speaking, although other fossil finds would also be interesting.

    So Owlmirror, Josh et al., could you elucidate?

    Meanwhile, another question (3rd): why is it that we even have a fossil record if the average erosional rate is reported to be 60 mm per 1000 years?

  313. #315 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    why is it that we even have a fossil record if the average erosional rate is reported to be 60 mm per 1000 years?

    Why don’t you ponder that one for a while, Aquila, and come up with an hypothesis or two? There are doors to be opened, and interesting pathways beyond.

  314. #316 Josh
    May 27, 2008

    So Owlmirror, Josh et al., could you elucidate?

    Shit. Hold on. I was gone for almost four months, so the last time we were talking on this thread was like December/January. Let me catch up a bit…

  315. #317 Aquila
    May 27, 2008

    Kseniya@#576: You’re a geologist? If so, this is your domain – you answer it.

  316. #318 Aquila
    May 27, 2008

    …last time we were talking on this thread was like December/January. Let me catch up a bit…

    Posted by: Josh | May 27, 2008 4:08 PM

    Actually, last time pre-dates #531 around Sep…

  317. #319 Josh
    May 27, 2008

    Actually, last time pre-dates #531 around Sep…

    Yeah, I noticed that when I looked back. Hard to believe.

    I’m starting with a reply to #532. This’ll take a second, though…

  318. #320 Aquila
    May 27, 2008

    Josh, but if you don’t mind, I’ll catch up tomorrow as I have to hit the sack.

  319. #321 Josh
    May 27, 2008

    …Different mechanisms yield different types of sediment, not different strata. Different events yield different strata…. Posted by: Josh | September 10, 2007 10:31 AM
    Shit, was it that long ago…?

    Josh, so a band of rock ostensibly of the same colour is not necessarily a stratum in itself but may comprise several strata representing several events, whilst a stratum may have different types of sediment due to different mechanisms (fast vs. slow deposition). But wouldn’t fast vs. slow deposition be different events, and hence result in different strata?

    Okay, “band of rock” is difficult. It has no meaning in geology, really. In truth, strata (an old term) are awkward to deal with as well in discussions. I’m going to presume that “band” is probably analogous to bed, however. But let’s use current terminology. It’ll be easier to stay on the same page.

    So…okay. What you see most of the time when you look at sedimentary rocks in place in the field is an outcrop. Outcrops are the currency of field geology. An outcrop is an exposure of bedrock cropping out at the surface (i.e., poking through the vegetation and modern soil, buildings, etc). Let’s be clear also: you can have an outcrop of unconsolidated glacial sand or till or whatever. An outcrop doesn’t have to be “hard” with respect to the soil that is partially covering it. Bedrock is defined with respect to the modern topographic surface–how hard or soft it is is irrelevant.

    In an outcrop, there might be one or more “formations” exposed. A formation is a mappable unit of rock (i.e., it is extensive enough that it can be indicated on a geologic map). Usually formation-scale is much larger than outcrop-scale. Outcrops are usually a few to dozens of meters “long” or thick and formations are usually dozens or hundreds or thousands of meters thick. Depending on whether or not the formation is flat-lying, a single thick formation can represent the entire bedrock of an area many miles wide. But you can have an outcrop that happens to glimpse the contact between two formations. This happens all the time.

    A sedimentary formation can be one rock type (e.g., sandstone, shale, limestone) or it can be more than one (e.g., can include sand and mud, could be limestone and sandstone). Few sedimentary formations contain only one rock type. Most contain varying lithologies (different rock types).

    A sedimentary formation will have a number of beds (1 to n) in it (again, I think a bed is analogous to your band of rock above). These beds will either all be the same type of rock, which is unusual, or they will be varying lithologies, which is common. Beds are usually going to range from a few centimeters in thickness to a number of meters.

    So, it is very common to see, for example, an outcrop that has twenty meters of alternating beds of sandstone and limestone, which are all from about a meter to three meters say in thickness.

    In general, beds of sandstone more commonly represent single “quick” events (such as a given storm event). Beds of mudstone often represent single events, like a storm, but can also be integrated over time, depending on the type of environment we’re talking about (in marine environments they are more commonly much longer events). Beds of shale are usually quite thick and represent good amounts of time. Beds of limestone range in thickness but almost always represent pretty significant amounts of time. But, each of these beds are thought of in terms of single depositional “events” because the depositional conditions remained basically the same through the deposition of the entire bed. So, “event” is not tied to time the same way for all sedimentary bodies. One thing that is the same, is that the boundaries between beds are tied to time. They represent changes in conditions and a time gap. These gaps can be very small or very large.

    So, a sedimentary formation will usually consist of a bunch of different beds of rock that each represent the depositional conditions for that bed. There is a time gap between each of the beds and there can be a different mechanism for adjacent beds. You can have a sandstone bed a meter thick sitting on top of a mudstone bed five meters thick. Two different things happened at two different times.
    We know this because we see this happening today. Much of geology is a very historical science. Sedimentology is actually much less so. We can directly observe most of these processes happening in the modern world and set up experiments to directly test and models and hypotheses.

    Color is tough. It can relate to the process that produced the bed. But it can also be related to post-depositional processes. Color is far less important to us than sedimentary structures (of which bed is one). Color can change within formations or between formations or there can be a series of different mappable units that are all, red, say. But, a formation or an outcrop of one color will usually include a number of beds representing a number of events. We worry about rock type and structures first, color second. I have seen color change across a single bed before, though. Color is not the key. Beds are the key.

    So, yes, changes in depositional conditions usually make different beds (roughly analogous to strata), which can indicate different rates of deposition and different mechanisms.

    Okay. I barely scratched any surfaces here, but I think that this answers your question. So, I’m going to stop for now and ask: does it?

    In post #517 you (and Owlmirror, post #514) comment that geologists could not find any evidence for a universal flood. What would constitute such evidence?

    Uh, let’s do this is slightly smaller steps. Let’s worry about beds first. Once we get beds down, we can move on to the fun stuff…

  320. #322 Josh
    May 27, 2008

    Aquila asked in #550:
    …why is it that the contact between bands of rock is so flat?

    Again, if we’re equating “bands” with beds, then the answer is: contacts between beds aren’t universally “so flat.” Sometimes contacts are flat, sometimes they’re not (e.g., bows or ripply contacts); depends on the bed.

  321. #323 Owlmirror
    May 27, 2008

    Hey Josh,

    Glad to so you back, and being patient and explanatory.

    There’s a quote out there that I like, that’s attributed to Charles Babbage:
    “On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

    I think creationists often become confused, and ask questions that reflect that confusion.

    I suspect that Aquila’s question about “flat contacts” is the result of a similar confusion over rates of erosion and/or rates of deposition, and how a sedimentary layer ought to look, either from his own thoughts or from some creationist source. See also Aquila’s #557 and #565.

    You might want to go over the basics in very small baby steps, perhaps using a layer cake as an example.

  322. #324 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    Hey Josh, welcome back, and echo Owlmirror’s sediments.

    Err, sentiments. :-)

    Aquila: No, I’m not a geologist, though the question is certainly not unanswerable. (Obviously, Josh could answer it better than I.) I don’t mean to be coy, I’m simply curious about what you might come up with, and thought you might find the exercise worthwhile. After all, your question already contains part of the answer.

  323. #325 MikeG
    May 27, 2008

    Aquila:

    Given that oceans account for some 70% of Earth’s surface, I am certainly curious as to what lies in the oceanic sedimentary layers – specifically anthropologically speaking, although other fossil finds would also be interesting.

    There is tons of good stuff in the seds of the ocean basins, but most of it is not anthropological. Humans haven’t been plying the oceans that long. There are a few ancient shipwrecks, I would guess, but they don’t go very far back in time (geologically speaking).

    The fossils that are laid down in the ocean sediments throughout deep time actually represent one of the best and most complete fossil evidences for evolution. Algae with silicious or carbonate shells make great fossils, and they occur in huge numbers (blooms, etc.). Huge numbers, relatively easy to fossilize, and lots of time = great record.

  324. #326 Josh
    May 28, 2008

    Hey Owl; Kseniya. Thanks for the welcome back. It’s good to be. I missed you guys, but there’s this war on and stuff.

    I think creationists often become confused, and ask questions that reflect that confusion.

    Agreed, and agree re: baby steps. I think for a bit, however, that I’m gonna try and reply point by point to specific questions rather than doing a lot of exposition. I don’t think anyone wants to read through a sedimentology text in blog form. Maybe we can see how that goes for a minute and then re-adjust if needed.

  325. #327 Josh
    May 28, 2008

    Roger wrote: Ok then Aqila, forget the Hovind material, but do get the Veith info. You will be amazed at how logical this is, and his model does not need constant changing to fit a “theory” He demonstates how the layers were formed.

    He truly must be a visionary, and a genius, and must have written one heck of a lot on this subject, because based on my years of training and experience, the statement “he demonstrates how the layers were formed” is as difficult and complicated to address as something like “he shows us how the cathedrals are built and decorated.”

    Addressing the complexity and diversity of cathedral design takes more than a few thick volumes, as anyone with even a passing interest in the subject knows from ten seconds browsing a bookshelf. Addressing “how the layers were formed” is a similar career-ish type quest. It’s called sedimentology.

    When I read that statement, several questions popped to mind, such as:

    Which layers? Where? What kinds of layering are we discussing here? Not all layers are “created” equal. How a layer (probably analogous to bed) of limestone is formed is generally a very different process from how a layer of sandstone is formed.

    For someone to assert that they have a model of how “the layers” (I’m assuming all of them?) were formed is like saying “I have a model for how the wars were won.” The statement is simply ridiculous. If he is asserting that he knows how all sedimentary layers are formed, then he is lying.

    It is on him to demonstrate why his model is correct and all of our models are incorrect. To do this he must demonstrate how his model falsifies thousands of tested hypotheses, millions of observations, thousands of experiments, and countless data points that are covered in thousands of publications. Simply appealing to authority or logic isn’t going to be sufficient. Our models have some logic to them, thank you very much, and they work. This isn’t a observation-only, deep time discipline within geology.

  326. #328 Josh
    May 28, 2008

    Thanks for the link to the pretty picture; don’t see signs of erosion between the layers i.e. contacts are flat… As for intersecting layers at various angles, got any more pretty pictures?

    re: “the wave.” In the picture, the large distinct line cutting horizontally across the outcrop in the middle (above the heads of the people walking) is an erosional surface. There are a bunch of others, but that is the most distinct and obvious one. The people are walking on depositional surfaces (each of those white lines). Each of the white lines is an avalanche surface along which sand grains are deposited. This is a sedimentary structure called cross-bedding. You can tell that the “big line” is an erosional surface because the tops of the cross-beds are truncated against it. They didn’t form by stopping all at that same point. They were eroded down to that point.

  327. #329 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008
  328. You will be amazed at how logical this is, and his model does not need constant changing to fit a “theory”

    In other words, Veith applies a little “common sense” to a field in which he has limited expertise. In doing so, he makes the same mistake all creationists make: he starts with his conclusion, hammers the evidence into whatever grotesque shape is necessary to fit that conclusion, and makes the a priori assumption that if science contradicts Scripture, then science must be wrong.

  329. You will be amazed…

    Uh-huh.

    Look, even a layperson can pick Veith apart.

    What’s that you say? A layperson has no business critiquing the work of a scientist in his field of expertise?

    Dr. Veith’s field of expertise is Nutritional Physiology. But, being [cue trumpets and dramatic sunrise graphics] A Creationist, he has access to all kinds of insights that tens of thousands of trained geologists are denied.

    Uh-huh.

    Lookee: 446 hits, mostly creationist sites, of course.

  330. You will be amazed…

    I am, I am. Really. I am.

  • #330 Josh
    May 28, 2008

    However I did not claim parallel layers nor a geological-layer cake world.

    Didn’t you? I interpreted why is it that the contact between bands of rock is so flat as though you were arguing for a “layer-cake” world. It doesn’t change anything I wrote, but my mistake if that isn’t the position you’re advocating.

    I have heard it stated that the geological column represents the Earth’s land surface as you go back in time. For example, if you go back some 408 million years, then the Earth’s land surface is the definable boundary between the Silurian System and the Devonian System (bar unconformities such as the missing rocks of the Silurian and Ordovician systems in the Grand Canyon, where the Muav Limestone (Cambrian) some 505 million years ago would have been exposed). What is the accepted geological stance on this statement?

    We don’t really have a stance on it. Saying that the geological column represents the Earth’s land surface as you go back in time is such a generalization as to be untrue. Let’s leave that one alone for the moment. It’s problematic nature should become more clear as we fry other fish.

    And then, what lies beneath the ocean floors? Have the ocean floors been excavated?

    Mike dealt with this well. I’m gonna let it lie for the moment.

  • #331 Josh
    May 28, 2008

    Rey Fox wrote: And then there’s that worldwide layer of black clay from the K/T extinction event. Why isn’t there anything in the Good Book about a global fire?

    Since we’re in geologic housekeeping mode, I would be remiss if I didn’t address this one as well. Couple of points:

    A. The clay layer is not exposed everywhere and doesn’t uniformly cover the planet.
    B. The clay isn’t uniformly black.
    C. Clay alone doesn’t generally equal fire.
    D. I dunno anyone who is actually arguing that the WORLD burned.

    Ray’s larger point, however, is well taken: the K/T event was global and it wasn’t a flood (there do appear to have been local “floods” related to it, though–tsunami breccias anyone?) and it is well recorded in the geologic record. One would think the good book might mention it, especially if it came after the deluge, as many young earthers like to argue (i.e., if the entire package of sedimentary rocks is the result of the Flud or since).

  • #332 MikeG
    May 28, 2008

    Whew! It’s good to have you back, Josh. Thanks for the geologist’s perspective.

  • #333 Roger
    December 28, 2008

    Kent Hovind made a statement that if one placed a frog into a blender and reduced it to squelch, that a frog would not emerge from the goo, no matter how long you waited.

    Here we have a scenario where all the ingredients are available in the exact proportions needed for your model to kick in.

    According to your model, would the goo first become a tadpole before evolving into a frog?

  • #334 Janine, Vile Bitch
    December 28, 2008

    Let’s see here. A dumb ass goes to an old thread and asks an ignorant question.

    FUCKHEAD, you will not get a frog from that goop. But it will make great food for billions of micro otganisms.

    And, FUCKHEAD, get your terms straight. A tadpole does not evolve into a frog anymore than a baby evolved in order to become you.

    Roger, you are a sad sack of shit. And that is without your body being blended in a blender.

  • #335 Kel
    December 28, 2008

    The only way frog goo could turn back into a frog is through an intelligent agent – that would be an act of creationism if it happened. Having the ingredients is never enough, it needs to come together in the right order. The only way you are ever going to get a frog is have another frog give birth to it, you won’t get the evolutionary process starting from scratch and giving rise to the exact life that is now – that’s an absurdity and again indicative of a divine hand in the process.

  • #336 Roger
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks Kel, I can see that you have a good understanding of the process of life. I agree with you totally.

    Janine’s ranting is indicative of someone that cannot provide support for a failed and floored theory.

  • #337 Kel
    December 28, 2008

    Janine’s ranting is indicative of someone that cannot provide support for a failed and floored theory.

    Evolution happened, the theory is one of the most solid we have in science. The amount of evidence for evolution is overwhelming, everything from the DNA that is in each of our cells, to the fossil record, to the morphological similarities and variation between species – it all fits one pattern: life emerged gradually over millions of years and we along with every other species of life began from either a single or a few self-replicating primitive cells.

    To call that theory failed and floored is to just show your own ignorance of the scientific method and the evidence that supports the theory.

  • #338 Roger
    December 28, 2008

    It’s amazing Kel

    The model you support says that the building blocks of life were formed from the goo over millions of years

    Millions of years then brought about life, yet Janine says that the goo would have been food for “otganisms”?? organisms???

    I withdraw my support of your understanding of life…..it is very different to mine

    With the obvious absence of labaratory tests to create life under the best circumstances, this theory is floored and failed.

  • #339 Nick Gotts
    December 28, 2008

    With the obvious absence of labaratory tests to create life under the best circumstances, this theory is floored and failed. – Roger

    I don’t know of any “labaratory tests to create life” – or even laboratory ones. Research on abiogenesis is making rapid progress – google the name “Szostak” for example. Of course, if this work does lead to the creation of life in the laboratory, creobots will promptly claim that this supports their claims, because it obviously required intelligence to do it.

  • #340 Kel
    December 28, 2008

    I withdraw my support of your understanding of life…..it is very different to mine

    Based on what you’ve said, I’m glad you don’t support my view. I’ll go with the scientific consensus on this issue.

    The model you support says that the building blocks of life were formed from the goo over millions of years

    Show me where in evolutionary theory it says life was formed from goo… actually show me where in evolutionary theory that it rests on abiogenesis.

    Evolution is to do with the change and diversity of life from common ancestry, it says nothing about how life began.

    With the obvious absence of labaratory tests to create life under the best circumstances, this theory is floored and failed.

    Abiogenesis = origin of life, evolution = diversity of life. Abiogenesis has some way to go, though we are getting closer. But we are talking about a chain of events that happened ~3.8 billion years ago. Evolution is the force that acts on the life that is already there, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. What came before the evolutionary process began? Well that’s another question to answer, and it’s one that does need an answer. But not knowing how the earth got it’s crust does not invalidate plate tectonics, the evidence for plate movement and the geological features associated with that are well supported by evidence.

    Evolution, the diversity of life with common ancestry is one of the strongest theories in science, it’s up there with heliocentric orbit of the earth. We know more about the mechanisms behind evolution than we know the mechanisms behind gravity. If you want to complain about how life began, you are not talking about evolution you are talking about abiogenesis. Don’t you understand the basic difference?

  • #341 Janine, Vile Bitch
    December 28, 2008

    Let’s see. Ignorant dumbass drops a steaming pile of knowingness on an old thread. A non scientist (Me) calls the dumbass on not even knowing what the terms means. Dumbass whine that my rudeness proves that one hundred and fifty years of scientific research fall apart in the face of dumbass’ staggering tower of stupidity.

    Kel and Matt were much too kind to you.

    Words to the dumb. Learn the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. Evolution does not cover how life begins, just how it changes. Also, dumbass, despite my typo, that pile of frog goop will be a colony for micro organisms. What the fuck do you think happens with carcasses.

  • #342 SC, OM
    December 28, 2008

    The model you support says that the building blocks of life were formed from the goo over millions of years

    This obsession with words like “goo” is really just so silly. Why is the idea that life in this way so appalling? As Bakunin said in “God and the State” some 130+ years ago:

    Idealists of all schools, aristocrats and bourgeois, theologians and metaphysicians, politicians and moralists, religionists, philosophers, or poets, not forgetting the liberal economists-unbounded worshippers of the ideal, as we know-are much offended when told that man, with his magnificent intelligence, his sublime ideas, and his boundless aspirations, is, like all else existing in the world, nothing but matter, only a product of vile matter.

    We may answer that the matter of which materialists speak, matter spontaneously and eternally mobile, active, productive, matter chemically or organically determined and manifested by the properties or forces, mechanical, physical, animal, and intelligent, which necessarily belong to it-that this matter has nothing in common with the vile matter of the idealists. The latter, a product of their false abstraction, is indeed a stupid, inanimate, immobile thing, incapable of giving birth to the smallest product, a caput mortuum, an ugly fancy in contrast to the beautiful fancy which they call God; as the opposite of this supreme being, matter, their matter, stripped by that constitutes its real nature, necessarily represents supreme nothingness. They have taken away intelligence, life, all its determining qualities, active relations or forces, motion itself, without which matter would not even have weight, leaving it nothing but impenetrability and absolute immobility in space; they have attributed all these natural forces, properties, and manifestations to the imaginary being created by their abstract fancy; then, interchanging rles, they have called this product of their imagination, this phantom, this God who is nothing, “supreme Being” and, as a necessary consequence, have declared that the real being, matter, the world, is nothing. After which they gravely tell us that this matter is incapable of producing anything, not even of setting itself in motion, and consequently must have been created by their God.

  • #343 'Tis Himself
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks, SC. I’m filing that quote from Bakunin for further study and possible use in discussions with creationists.

  • #344 SC, OM
    December 28, 2008

    You’re welcome, ‘Tis Himself! I’ve been working (very, very slowly and inconsistently) on a critical analysis of that piece, but I love that segment.

    The whole thing is available here, and it’s great:

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_archives/bakunin/godandstate/godandstate_ch1.html

    (Beware: antisemitism in evidence. :()

  • #345 Roger
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks for the info

    I must be confused then

    I thought C.D’s book Origin of Species should cover this too.

    But Kent Hovind makes asses out of you and this dumb theory

  • #346 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2008

    C.D.’s book is a) about the mechanism for how species originate from other species, and b) 150 years old. Catch up.

    Kent Hovind makes asses out of you and this dumb theory

    Yes, of course he does. Bye now!

  • #347 Jadehawk
    December 28, 2008

    Roger, if you want to argue on here without being insulted or laughed at, some basic education in biology, physics, and Philosophy of Science would be essential.

    1)The Origin of the Species is, despite what you may think, not the end all be all of Evolutionary Theory. It wasn’t that even when it was written, and it certainly isn’t now, 150 years later. If Darwin had never existed, the Theory of Evolution would still exist. You’d just be blaming someone else for it.

    2)I know most creationist have a hard time separating words for things from the things themselves, but “goo” isn’t a particular substance. The goo that happens when I forget the boiling veggies is different from the goo from a shredded frog, is different from Teh Primodial Goo(TM).

    3)Even if we had Teh Primodial Goo(TM), abiogenesis isn’t an imperative. There is nothing that HAS to happen. I’m sure there’s plenty of exoplanets (or maybe even bodies within our solar system, for example Europa) that have some form of primodial goo, but nothing happened (or not enough happened to call it “life”). It’s just the way the dice rolled.

    4)Evolution doesn’t care a whit how life came to be. it would still work the same whether life came about by abiogenesis, panspermia, or goddidit

  • #348 Janine, Vile Bitch
    December 28, 2008

    Posted by: Roger | December 28, 2008

    I must be confused then

    The only thing dumbass was right about.

  • #349 Owlmirror
    December 28, 2008

    I repeat my comment #542 above:

    Kent “Convicted Felon” Hovind doesn’t even know his own bible, let alone anything about science. Kent “Jailbird” Hovind thinks that “Render unto Caesar” doesn’t apply to him. Nor does Kent “Criminal Fraud” Hovind care about the verse that says “Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay”. And Kent “Criminal Perjury” Hovind repeatedly broke God’s commandment (and US law) against not bearing false witness.

    If you actually care about science, maybe, just maybe, you should ignore the convicted and proven frauds and pay attention to the actual, real scientists; the ones who actually do the real-world research and can explain how all of the pieces fit together.

  • #350 Kel
    December 28, 2008

    I must be confused then

    Indeed you are confused, just look:

    But Kent Hovind makes asses out of you and this dumb theory

    Yep, really confused.

    I thought C.D’s book Origin of Species should cover this too.

    The Origin Of Species is not a bible, science changes over time as more evidence comes to light. Certain aspects of his theory have been superseded to fit the new evidence, but the theory as a whole still remains. Remember that Darwin didn’t know about genetics when he wrote the book, yet all findings in modern genetics validate the theory. We’ve learnt just how speciation works, and one thing we’ve seen that Darwin didn’t write about was genetic drift.

    We’ve found transitional fossil after transitional fossil, there are genetic markers that are in identical places on chimps and humans, we’ve observed advantageous mutations, we’ve seen new species come to light, we have observed natural selection in action. And all this fits in with relative and absolute dating techniques in geology, it all fits with the geographical distribution of life, and it fits in with the age of the cosmos.

    If you are going to come on a science blog and make assertions about science, can you at least have the decency to be informed?

  • #351 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    Kel and Matt were much too kind to you.

    I’m in favour of giving people a chance before belittling their proud ignorance. Roger may simply be misinformed, and in that case there’s no harm in steering him in the right direction. However he turned out to be a creationist troll and once again my vision of humanity is shattered.

  • #352 Janine, Vile Bitch
    December 29, 2008

    Kel, I had no idea you try to maintain such an idealized view of humanity.

  • #353 clinteas
    December 29, 2008

    and once again my vision of humanity is shattered.

    There’s a reason I like “Resident Evil”.Or “Idiocracy”.

    It is hard these days to believe in humanity,try getting into a lane on a busy freeway,tells you all you need to know about humanity.

  • #354 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    We all need some way to sleep at night :P

  • #355 clinteas
    December 29, 2008

    We all need some way to sleep at night :P

    Mine is Tawny Port.
    Or “Once upon a time in the West”. Or both.

  • #356 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    Mine is Tawny Port.

    All I have left is vintage

  • #357 Janine, Vile Bitch
    December 29, 2008

    I use my misanthropy as an excuse to escape the waking world.

  • #358 clinteas
    December 29, 2008

    I use my misanthropy as an excuse to escape the waking world.

    Well,for me its not so much misanthropy,I tend to just dispair about people and their stupidity and ignorance….well,maybe that is misanthropy after all…:-)

    Back to Tawny…

  • #359 Owlmirror
    December 29, 2008

    I’m in favour of giving people a chance before belittling their proud ignorance. Roger may simply be misinformed, and in that case there’s no harm in steering him in the right direction. However he turned out to be a creationist troll and once again my vision of humanity is shattered.

    I could have told you…

    For some reason, “Roger” really likes this particular thread, perhaps because he’s a Hovind partisan. As far as I can tell, the Roger who started commenting in July of 2006 is the same Roger who appears throughout the thread, claiming (so to speak) that Hovind is right, and everyone else is wrong, blah sneer blah, creationist garbage, sneer, sneer blah.

    He has evinced no actual interest in science. It’s all about promoting Hovind as True Prophet/Scientist.

  • #360 Josh
    December 29, 2008

    …and here I thought we had finally killed this thread.

  • #361 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    He has evinced no actual interest in science. It’s all about promoting Hovind as True Prophet/Scientist.

    Okay then, so he’s just another idiot to be treated with contempt. I’ll remember for the future.

  • #362 Rey Fox
    December 29, 2008

    “For some reason, “Roger” really likes this particular thread”

    Thread? This here is a blog. Roger camps out at this blog, which he gets on his internet.

  • #363 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 29, 2008

    With the obvious absence of labaratory tests to create life under the best circumstances, this theory is floored and failed.

    So much stupid in one sentence.

    There is a lack of tests?

    What are the best circumstances?

    What theory are you talking about?

    abiogenesis?

  • #364 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    “Darwinism cannot explain gravity, cannot explain thermodynamics. Most of all, it cannot explain how life began.” – Ben Stein

    Seemed oddly appropriate

  • #365 Kel
    December 29, 2008

    “Darwinism explains so little. It doesn’t explain how life began. It doesn’t explain how gravity works to keep the planets in their orbits. It doesn’t explain how thermodynamics works. It doesn’t explain how physics or the laws of motion work.” – Ben Stein

    “And I would say to these people, well, how did life begin? “We don’t know, but it had to be by Darwinian means.” Well, how did gravity begin? “We don’t know, but it had to be by Darwinian means.”” – Ben Stein

  • #366 Josh
    December 29, 2008

    “Darwinism explains so little. It doesn’t explain how life began. It doesn’t explain how gravity works to keep the planets in their orbits. It doesn’t explain how thermodynamics works. It doesn’t explain how physics or the laws of motion work.” – Ben Stein

    Funny, the same is true for ID and the Bible.

  • #367 Owlmirror
    December 29, 2008

    “For some reason, “Roger” really likes this particular thread”

    Thread? This here is a blog. Roger camps out at this blog, which he gets on his internet.

    <*looks askance*>

    <pedantry style=”terminology”>
    For some reason, “Roger” really likes this particular comment thread of this particular weblog posting.
    </pedantry>

    <sheesh style=”sheesh”>
    Sheesh.
    </sheesh>

  • #368 Rey Fox
    December 30, 2008

    Er…that was actually deep cover satire. I was figuring that the reason that Roger keeps posting on this ancient thread is that he thinks it’s the whole web site, or “blog”. A la John A. Davison, or any other number of technically illiterate creationists.

    And now that that joke has fallen to the earth with a gentle thud, I shall retire to my bed.

  • The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.