Pharyngula

Don’t ‘debate’ creationists!

A scientist, Charles L. Rulon, debated an ID creationist, and here are the opening remarks he gave to justify joining in the debate. He first gave a list of reasons to not debate, which I’ll summarize in my own words here:

  1. It pits oratory against science in a venue where you’ll be judged on your rhetoric.

  2. It gives publicity to creationists.

  3. Creationists can generate more lies more quickly than you can refute.

  4. Debates artificially give equal time to two sides, falsely elevating creationist trivia to equality with scientific substance.

  5. The debates are often used to recruit members to fundamentalist Christian organizations.

OK, these are all very good reasons, and I agree with them. However, after giving all these reasons to shun debate, Rulon says this:

Today the United States is being confronted with large numbers of scientifically ignorant, politically active Christians who are locked into ultra-religious, anti-scientific views and who want to force these views on others through our elected officials, our courts, and our schools. That’s why I’m here today.

I don’t know how the debate went, but I doubt that it went well if he began the whole mess with that kind of non sequitur. His reason for going ahead with the debate did not negate the several reasons he had just given for not debating; he missed the whole issue.

Here’s the situation: we must engage the public in open discussion of science, and one reason is to combat the ignorance Rulon mentions in his last paragraph. This isn’t questioned by any of us who regularly battle with creationists. The question is one of how you’re going to engage them, and Rulon’s list is a set of arguments that says the generic ‘debate’ format is inappropriate.

I’ve been asked to participate in these debates before. Here are some constructive suggestions on how to respond.

Find out who is inviting you. If it’s the Campus Crusade for Christ or some local fundie church, tell them to take a hike. They’re looking for a patsy. They’ve probably already gone down a long list of local biologists and been turned down — all they want is someone with a degree to give credibility to their already-chosen creationist speaker. Do not oblige them.

Find out why they’re inviting you. If you’re being invited by a credible source — a biology department or a student science or skepticism club, for instance — ask why they’re hosting a debate. Typically, they aren’t actually interested in a debate: some noisy creationist has announced that they are coming to town or campus, and well-meaning, concerned citizens are trying to respond … and “debate” just happens to be the most common reaction (I suppose it is more civilized than “rail, tar, feathers”). You need to offer alternatives.

Here are a few suggested alternatives to debate that you can propose when some concerned person calls you, asking you to help fight a creationist.

  • Research. Hey, what did Buffy and the Scooby gang do first thing when some nasty new big bad hit Sunnydale? They started thumbing through dusty old books to find out what it was. Do the same thing: offer to find out what you can about the clown coming to town. These people usually have the same stock spiel they always give, and you often don’t even need to attend the debate to know what they’re going to say. Scour the web, contact organizations like the NCSE, or send an email to one of those obnoxious bloggers. I’ve talked to people who are pro-science, but didn’t even know there were differences between young earth, old earth, and intelligent design creationists, so even sharing that level of information can help greatly.

  • Help them find non-scientists. If there is some insistence on that horrible ‘debate’ format, suggest that they get a speaker who can handle it masterfully. Ask a lawyer. Seriously. There are all kinds of case law on the subject of creationism in the schools, and the Dover case alone is entertaining and instructive. There are great possibilities in that story: I’d like to see a ‘debate’ in a church where a lawyer explains how thoroughly Buckingham screwed the pooch in that case by recruiting his church to donate creationist propaganda to the public school.

  • Encourage them to get wide local support. There’s a strange attitude that the best response is to bring in a single hired gun to defeat the creationist bad guy. Far better is to tap into local resources and get a broad base of opposition that will also be there next time one of these clowns rolls into town. Find out if there’s a Secular Student Alliance group at the nearby campus, or a biology or geology club. Bring in the local philosophers, too. Recruit people on your side to be in the audience—bus in people to pack the crowd with critics. I’ve never seen this done, but what would also be useful is to find a local liberal church and get them to criticize creationist theology.

  • Prime the press. If you’ve done your research and know what the creationist is going to say, send in letters to the local paper that preempt their major lines of argument, and prepare the audience with counter-arguments. If the paper runs an article on the creationist, find out who the writer is and invite them to sit down and talk with you about it.

  • Have a discussion. Don’t argue with the creationist on his turf—organize a post-lecture panel discussion. Get a biologist or two, a few sensible community people, and invite everyone to join you in the student union or the local coffee shop after the talk to discuss the substance of the talk. Invite the creationist speaker to attend … as a member of the audience. Rip the arguments apart entertainingly and publicly.

  • Lecture on your own terms. If they’re insistent, go ahead, give a talk — but refuse to share a stage with the bozo. Offer to independently and separately talk about a related topic the day after (preferably) the creationist lie. Be sure to follow through and make sure it’s advertised in the same places with the same vigor as the creationist talk. The usual departmental seminar promotion is not comparable. Get the university PR department involved, send out summaries to the local paper, and get those same organizations I mentioned above involved. Make it a talk aimed at the general public.

  • Do not succumb to the temptation to give in to the creationist tactics as Rulon did. It is important to oppose creationists, but it’s foolish to do so on their terms.

Comments

  1. #1 k
    July 7, 2007

    100 points for the great post. 1 billion extra credit for the Buffy references.

    When well-meaning people tell me that public debates are worthless, my usual refrain is: yeah, and where has not engaging gotten us?

  2. #2 Andy
    July 7, 2007

    I like your distilled “five reasons”–the wider this can be circulated in the reality-based community, the better. That said, I think scientists have generally (with the odd exception) done a fantastic job of presenting a united front on the creationist debate issue.

  3. #3 Leni
    July 7, 2007

    1 billion extra credit for the Buffy references.

    Lol- agreed. That’s what I was going to say.

  4. #4 Bisch
    July 7, 2007


    These people usually have the same stock spiel they always give, and you often don’t even need to attend the debate to know what they’re going to say.

    Yeah, you evolutionists are constantly coming up with new arguments. I’ve never heard the same argument twice!

    Seriously, it’s not a crime for a creationist to say the same thing in many of his talks, just as it’s not a crime for a biology professor to lecture about the same things each semester in one of his classes. It’s just as frustrating to us for evolutionists to use the same nonsensical arguments as it seemingly is to you for creationists to use arguments that you believe are incorrect.

  5. #5 Gork
    July 7, 2007

    A debate is supposed to be a fair fight. Consider these pairings:

    – Science vs. Creationism
    – Mathematics vs. Numerology
    – Cosmology vs. Astrology
    – Physiology vs. Reflexology
    – Biochemistry vs. Aromatherapy

    In each pairing, expertise in the one takes years of hard work; in the other, it takes a couple minutes of goofing around.

    Anybody considering debating a creationist would do well to first study the movies The Grifters, The Sting, and Confidence. My advice to them: Don’t be a patsy.

  6. #6 Skeptic8
    July 7, 2007

    It seems like a good time to ask.
    What are the dimensions of Islamic theology regarding science and the validity of the Creation myth?
    They are already trying to get separate Shariah courts established for “members” in CA & UK. That means that “contracting” families can manage children by Islamic law.
    That is a separate jurisprudence and education system that can defy human rights “for members only”. That is until they discover how much they have in common with Christian Dominionists.

    BRY

  7. #7 Possummomma
    July 7, 2007

    You really need to warn me before you drop in references to Scooby Do. I now have Diet Pepsi in my nose and it burns! ;)

    Great post. This is going in my “important points to remember” folder.

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?
    July 7, 2007

    Seriously, it’s not a crime for a creationist to say the same thing in many of his talks, just as it’s not a crime for a biology professor to lecture about the same things each semester in one of his classes. It’s just as frustrating to us for evolutionists to use the same nonsensical arguments as it seemingly is to you for creationists to use arguments that you believe are incorrect.

    I’ll bite. Let’s debate!

    Please tell me one such “nonsensical argument” and why you think it’s wrong.

  9. #9 David Marjanovi?
    July 7, 2007

    Seriously, it’s not a crime for a creationist to say the same thing in many of his talks, just as it’s not a crime for a biology professor to lecture about the same things each semester in one of his classes. It’s just as frustrating to us for evolutionists to use the same nonsensical arguments as it seemingly is to you for creationists to use arguments that you believe are incorrect.

    I’ll bite. Let’s debate!

    Please tell me one such “nonsensical argument” and why you think it’s wrong.

  10. #10 bernarda
    July 7, 2007

    A polite way of telling people that they are dumber than a stump.

  11. #11 Corey Schlueter
    July 7, 2007

    The first thing I would say in creationism versus evolution debate is that I am not here to convince people, but to educate.

    Is it a good thing to try to debate through letters to the editor?

  12. #12 RamblinDude
    July 7, 2007

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the religious, in these so called ‘debates’, are just being contrary. How many people are combative in these debates about creationism, (or fake moon landings, etc.) not because they actually feel themselves to be defenders of the truth, but because they like to be diverted with rousing good entertainment?

    I have many times seen people listen to creationist’s arguments, and then go, “Hmmm…that’s very interesting.” They haven’t actually been converted, but the seeds of doubt have been planted, just enough to allow them to continue playing ‘make believe’ with their friends.

    It’s all good to hold hands and worship Jesus and believe stuff, but if the earth were suddenly to be attacked by space aliens, (okay, how about killer comets?), I suspect the survival instincts of the majority of bible believers–as well as our friend, Bisch, here–would kick in–and they would toss the silly creationists, with their silly beliefs, impatiently to one side and scream their heads off for scientists–not creationists–to save them. (Am I wrong?) They would still be praying, of course, but they would be praying for God to help the real scientists.

    Of course, until the earth is attacked by killer comet space aliens, the lazy minded creationists need to be slapped down, hard, by the ass kicking Buffy-type scientists before they do any more damage.

    The several suggestions offered above are most helpful.

  13. #13 The Science Pundit
    July 7, 2007

    SA,

    But it is a crime to feed the trolls.

  14. #14 Hank Fox
    July 7, 2007

    OH, jeez. Bisch is HERE too??

    Yuck.

  15. #15 NJ
    July 7, 2007

    …organize a post-lecture panel discussion.

    Maybe I can go you one better, PZ. When Duane Gish came to town, we organized a premptive panel discussion. Had a group of faculty (scientists and religious studies) hold a free discussion of the topics on the night beforehand.

    After everyone else on the panel had had their say, I took on the job of skewering Gish directly. Searched Talk Origins for some of his favorite topics and approaches; stepped through his statements and then illustrated the reality he so conveniently leaves out. IOW, an attempt to inoculate the crowd.

    I heard afterward that a number of people (who might otherwise not have known) were shocked that he actually was as dishonest as I demonstrated.

  16. #16 rrt
    July 7, 2007

    Depending on format and venue, what about written debate?

  17. #17 PZ Myers
    July 7, 2007

    Nah, it makes sense: I’d love to set all the churches on one another, ripping and rending and tearing.

  18. #18 Peter
    July 7, 2007

    Glad Possumomma got Pepsi up her nose. If it had been coke the local theocrats would have social service round for sure.

  19. #19 SLC
    July 7, 2007

    A scientist who agrees to debate a creationist must spend a considerable amount of time in preparation. He or she must read everything available about their opposition in order to be in a position to refute their arguments; the scientist must know what these arguments are before he or she even shows up and he or she must be prepared to respond to what is known as the Gish galop. For instance, Ken Miller was persuaded by his students to enter into a debate with a creationist and he spent hours and hours in preparation. He was rewarded by cleaning the creationists’ clock at the debate.

  20. #20 cm
    July 7, 2007

    The real non-sequiturs, or at least non-sensibles, were in Rulon’s 5 points:

    1.It pits oratory against science in a venue where you’ll be judged on your rhetoric.

    Then speak well. Some scientists can.

    2.It gives publicity to creationists.

    So? All debunking gives publicity to the debunked.

    3.Creationists can generate more lies more quickly than you can refute.

    Oh, come on. That’s just a throwaway line.

    4. Debates artificially give equal time to two sides, falsely elevating creationist trivia to equality with scientific substance.

    Since when does equal time automatically elevate one side of debate? Isn’t the whole point of a fair debate to determine which side ought to be considered the “elevated” (more reasonable) one?

    5. The debates are often used to recruit members to fundamentalist Christian organizations.

    Again, so? Couldn’t it just as easily be said that such debates could be used to encourage people to understand science better?

  21. #21 Bisch
    July 7, 2007


    Please tell me one such “nonsensical argument” and why you think it’s wrong.

    The whole thing. I’m skeptical that:

    -Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another.
    -Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical. A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature. It just doesn’t ring true.
    -Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    That’s a few off the top of my head.

    But I think since you won’t buy what I say and I won’t buy what you say, and we will continue to talk past each other, I will understand if you call me an uneducated dolt and link to http://www.talkorigins.org and tell me to learn how to read.

    I’m by no means saying I’m the cat’s meow when it comes to scientific understanding. I am saying that a Civil Engineering degree holder from UC Berkeley should be able to understand, at a cursory level, evolutionary arguments to judge if they make sense (just telling you where I went to college to show that I’m a college graduate, not bragging by any means). I don’t believe the evolutionary arguments I’ve heard make any sense.

  22. #22 Bisch
    July 7, 2007


    SA,

    But it is a crime to feed the trolls.

    If you desire an echo chamber, then by all means, PZ should post that he isn’t interested in creationists’ comments. That would be perfectly acceptable since it’s his site. It may be desired since we don’t really have anything new to add to the debate, as you feel.

  23. #23 Austin Texas
    July 7, 2007

    Your post is dead on — to ‘debate’ anyone who bases their mindset upon words written by primitives living in tents and caves and shitting in holes actually does lend them credibility that they just do not deserve. Better to keep it to the forefront of any conversation that they are basing their argument on foolishness and the scientist is basing his argument upon solid evidence. No holds barred. Why should we play with these idiots — and they are idiots, fools of the highest order — why should anyone lower themselves to debating this garbage; they wouldn’t debate someones belief that the creator of the universe is a big fat fish that lives outside Salt Lake City in an underground movie theater which is surrounded by big dead dogs barking festively ‘Our god is the only true god!’ in Portuguese.

  24. #24 twincats
    July 7, 2007

    I’d like to see a ‘debate’ in a church where a lawyer explains how thoroughly Buckingham screwed the pooch in that case by recruiting his church to donate creationist propaganda to the public school.

    But…Wouldn’t that just be giving them tips for the next case?

  25. #25 John Kwok
    July 7, 2007

    Dear SLC,

    If my memory of what transpired is correct, then Ken Miller was initially reluctant to debate a creationist after he had been approached by an ad hoc campus student committee comprised of Campus Crusade for Christ members. He consented after he was told that there was one committee member who was both the resident skeptic and supporter of evolutionary theory (That was me). I still vividly recall just how much a carnival atmosphere that debate was, since it seemed as though all of Fundamentalist Protestant Southern New England had arrived at the campus hockey arena, hoping that Henry Morris would deliver a rhetorical knockout to the novice debating him. Again, that didn’t happen, and the rest, shall we say, was history….

    Appreciatively yours,

    JK

  26. #26 brightmoon
    July 7, 2007

    QUOTE”Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another

    ANSWER

    Warm-bloodedness generally refers to three separate aspects of thermoregulation.

    Endothermy is the ability of some creatures to control their body temperatures through internal means such as muscle shivering, fat burning, and panting (Greek: endo = “within,” therm = “heat”). Some writers restrict the meaning of “endothermy” to mechanisms which directly raise the animal’s metabolic rate in order to produce heat. The opposite of endothermy is ectothermy.
    Homeothermy is thermoregulation that maintains a stable internal body temperature regardless of external influence. This temperature is often higher than the immediate environment (Greek: homoios = “similar,” therm = “heat”). The opposite is poikilothermy.
    Tachymetabolism is the kind of thermoregulation used by creatures that maintain a high resting metabolism (Greek: tachy = “fast, swift,” metabol = “to change”). Tachymetabolic creatures are, essentially, “on” all the time. Though their resting metabolism is still many times slower than their active metabolism, the difference is often not as large as that seen in bradymetabolic creatures. Tachymetabolic creatures have greater difficulty dealing with a scarcity of food.
    A large proportion of the creatures traditionally called “warm-blooded” (mammals and birds) fit all three of these categories. However, over the past 30 years, studies in the field of animal thermophysiology have revealed many species belonging to these two groups that don’t fit all these criteria. For example, many bats and small birds are poikilothermic and bradymetabolic when they sleep for the night, or day. For these creatures, another term was coined: heterothermy.

    Further studies on animals that were traditionally assumed to be cold-blooded have shown that most creatures incorporate different variations of the three terms defined above, along with their counterparts (ectothermy, poikilothermy and bradymetabolism), thus creating a broad spectrum of body temperature types

    from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warm-blooded

  27. #27 RamblinDude
    July 7, 2007

    Bisch: Okay, you appear to be genuine and not a troll, and it sounds like you’ve gone rounds with the commenters here before, but I’m feeling wordy tonight so I’m going to jump in…

    I just don’t get it. You say: “It just doesn’t ring true.” And creationism does??

    I mean it, I don’t get it. I’m not a scientist, but hard working men and women, around the world have put a great deal of time and effort into exploring the earth and the cosmos, and have concluded that the universe and the earth are very old, and that life evolves. These are serious, truth seeking people; they don’t waste time just believing things without a good reason. Just because you don’t understand all the details, (I don’t either), you are going to go with ancient Hebrew mythology? True, Scientists don’t know everything, but scientists do know more than the ancient Hebrews did. Scientists know a whole lot more than the ancient Hebrews did. Isn’t that obvious?

    One of the screwiest things I know of is for people to reject real investigation simply because of how they feel in church services. Something isn’t made to be true, or right, just because we get into a big group hug and feel all warm and fuzzy about it, history has taught us that lesson, repeatedly. What you creationists never seem to understand, and don’t seem to be capable of understanding, is that scientists don’t want to believe anything. Whatever the truth is, whatever the facts are, that is what they have to go with.

    Once you get away from all that religious nonsense, it’s obvious that all of life is connecting in a very real, organic way, and evolution makes perfect sense.

  28. #28 bob in MI
    July 7, 2007

    Interesting post. I’ve read persuasive arguments both for and against participating in “debates” (I use the term loosely). PZ’s advice rings true, and it’s among the best I’ve read. Eugenie Scott touched on some of these points also in one of the first articles I put in my files when I was starting to follow the controversy (“Monkey Business” in The Sciences, Jan/Feb 1996, pp. 20-25). On the other hand, Michael Shermer remarked in “Why Darwin Matters” that “debates will occur anyway, so they might as well include someone with expertise and experience in science. Better still if they also have expertise and experience in debating, and can employ diplomacy, wit and warmth along with scientific facts.”

    I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to debate, particularly in a time when the art has deteriorated into the “scream at each other a la Bill O’Reilly” format, but I like Shermer’s approach very much. The idea that you can fundamentally disagree with your opponent but debate him civilly, and at the end of the day, go out and have a beer together–that’s a level of civility that is sadly slipping into extinction in our society.

  29. #29 RamblinDude
    July 7, 2007

    This seems like a pretty good article–Screwed the Pooch

  30. #30 Caledonian
    July 7, 2007

    -Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical. A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature. It just doesn’t ring true.

    That’s a pretty complete mischaracterization of what actually happened. “Came from each other” is circular. And the various types of creatures came from less-differentiated ancestors – the differences between lineages started small and increased with time.

    Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    Because we’re not confronted with all creatures that have ever been alive – limiting ourselves to just those that are alive now, we find fairly discrete populations that don’t interbreed – usually. And that’s just species – taxonomic groups are based upon certain shared traits/properties. The way those properties were generated is quite irrelevant to the classification.

    These objections are dumb.

  31. #31 Tailspin
    July 7, 2007

    Off topic, but Screwed the pooch probably came from the same common but forgotten usage as “dog and pony show.” I’m tickled every time some prim and proper young politically correct drone uses the phrase and clearly has never been to Tijuana.

  32. #32 BillCinSD
    July 7, 2007

    Isn’t the whole point of finding out the creationists stock spiel so that you know what they are likely to say and have counters already worked out?

  33. #33 Graculus
    July 8, 2007

    -Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another.

    Why is it “not logical”?

    -Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical. A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature. It just doesn’t ring true.

    I’m not sure what you think you are arguing against here. All of those animals have the same body parts. Skull, lungs, four limbs, etc. Do you mean differences in form and function of some body parts? That’s like arguing that there can’t be any Caucasians because light brown skin would be a bad use of a old feature befor it became a benefit.

  34. #34 Owlmirror
    July 8, 2007

    Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another.

    And what tenet of logic says that it could not have happened? What aspects of metabolic thermal regulation demonstrate this?

    Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical.

    Since evolution states that the “different body parts” came from a common ancestor, not “from each other”, this argument is a strawman.

    A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature.

    Argument from a false premise.

    Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    Shrug. Current taxonomy is the best science has got with the current level of genomic understanding. As scientific understanding improves, a better taxonomy may come into play.

    But I think since you won’t buy what I say and I won’t buy what you say, and we will continue to talk past each other

    You won’t buy what biology says because you haven’t bothered to try and understand biology.

    We don’t buy what creationism says because creationism makes the argument that what creationists don’t understand cannot ever be understood, and is therefore supernatural. Which is such complete bullshit.

  35. #35 Neil
    July 8, 2007

    Re: Hank’s comment #14…Warning: long-assed ramble ahead.

    Gee, Hank, you’re so much friendlier at UTI!;)
    I guess if you’re looking for education or enlightenment instead of porn or religious babbling, it’s still a small internet! One of the results of that fact is that you will run into not only the same arguments and problems again and again, but eventually the same people as well. In case you haven’t picked up on it, this is the same Neil that pops in at UTI, and I feel your pain. But there is another, brighter side to it.

    Some background…
    I have been interested in the sciences since I could read. I have been a religious skeptic since the fifth grade when a Sunday school teacher advised us to burn our rock albums. If I had had to choose, I would have sooner burned down the church than set a match to my original copy of The Who’s “Tommy.” By age fourteen I was pretty lonely intellectually, and other than a few friends in high school and college who could take the heat of reality, remained so for 16 years or so. Once you’ve read all the books, you need another human to sound out your own ideas. To respond with views other than your own.

    Enter the internet. Just as I was giving up on humanity intellectually and ready to write them all off as being completely and willfully ignorant, I discvered that there are millions more just like me, and millions more just starting to wake up. That was a feeling, an awakening, that I can hardly describe, and it went so far beyond the childish comforts that religion had offered me in my youth.

    For all the lame arguments based on personal feelings, for all the pretending to believe in unbelievable stories, most of the religious in this country are not truly stupid or evil. Just indoctrinated, stubborn and often scared by genuine curiosity. Just like they were raised to be.

    What this melting pot of ideas does for you (and all of us) is give us a chance to reach out. To take the debates global without having to be a famous lecturer or other influential personality. Every time I start to get frustrated with somebody who just can’t, or refuses to understand, or with some troll “pissing in the pool” I just think about the intellectual cesspool I used to swim in, when I still thought that it covered the whole world. When it comes to non-trolls kike Bisch, particularly, I can’t get mad. It inspires me that a creationist would even read such sites. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get some of my friends and family back from the kool-aid party.

  36. #36 Stogoe
    July 8, 2007

    Tailspin, what you’re referring to is more commonly known as a ‘donkey show’. I don’t believe that ‘dog and pony show’ ever meant bestiality porn.

  37. #37 Science Avenger
    July 8, 2007

    CM said: 3.Creationists can generate more lies more quickly than you can refute.
    Oh, come on. That’s just a throwaway line.

    Hardly. “All creationist comments are lies.” Think you can refute that in 5 words? Refutations almost always take more time than assertions.

    Since when does equal time automatically elevate one side of debate?

    Um, when it doesn’t deserve equal time, like when all of the evidence is on the other side, as it is here.

    See, creationism had its day in the sun. It was the accepted position for hundreds of years. Evolution won the evidenciary (ie scientific) battle, leaving creationism to attempt victory in the only arenas left to it: politics and public opinion.

  38. #38 Brownian
    July 8, 2007

    Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    This is a good question/point, and I think Bisch deserves a fuller answer than Caledonian’s. I say it is a good point, because I can see how someone might legitimately infer a static state of life from our taxonomic system and I am assuming Bisch is genuinely curious. I think a little bit of background on taxonomy might help Bisch understand how scientists do not have a conflict. Finally, I can’t find any articles on the subject at talk.origins.

    Warning: extremely long post. For those of you who know the basics behind the concepts of species and speciation and how they relate to taxonomy, you might want to skip ahead to someone interesting. I am by no means an expert on any of these, however, and I would appreciate any corrections if they are needed.

    All of Caledonian’s points are right on:

    1) Examinations of currently living organisms show that they tend to be organised in populations that are reproductively isolated from each other. This is the basis of what we describe as species. Note: Some organisms, limited to bacteria and viruses as far as I know, can swap genetic material laterally; that is, they can exchange RNA with other very unrelated bacteria or viruses. This would be analagous to a man walking up to an elm and trading his ears for the elm’s bark;

    2) Our taxonomic system is descriptive, based on observed shared traits or characteristics; and
    3) How these traits came about is generally irrelevant to how they are used in taxonomy. This is largely due to two reasons: a) our taxonomic system came into being long before we had any understanding of evolution. We can see that fish seem more similar to other fish than to birds, and fish and birds seem more similar to each other than to trees; and b) the process of classifying organisms in this way had implications that were generally validated by later discoveries. The invention of the microscope showed that the pattern of dispersion of macro traits was well represented at the micro level. Once DNA and its relationship to reproduction was discovered, the pattern was repeated within the genetic codes of organisms as well. Fossils were discovered that fit where we would expect a fork in the ancestry of living groups. These are what are known as ‘transitional species’.

    This does not mean that we are not continually revising our taxonomic system as our knowledge deepens to reflect what we think is the most likely way that life on our planet actually changed over time.

    The answer to your question, Bisch, lies in understanding that the concept of species is much more dynamic than our taxonomic system would imply. I suggest you read through the wikipedia articles on species and the species problem. In short, the theoretical ability for members of two populations to breed with each other does not mean that they actually will, or that it’s relevant to their ecological behaviour, diet, or location. Wolves and dogs, for example, can breed (wolfdogs are fertile and considered a new breed) and so they are considered the same species. But because they rarely interbreed in nature, have vastly different lifestyles, behaviours, and looks, they are different populations. (Because they diverged so recently in the past, they are still similar enough to interbreed.)

    Things are even more complicated in the past. To continue with the example of wolves and dogs, let’s assume the whole of human biological knowledge was somehow wiped out, and future paleontologists were trying to understand the relationship between wolves and dogs from their skeletons. On the whole, the skeletons would have a very similar look: similarities in teeth (not just sharpness, but numbers, types, and positions, skull shape, number of limbs, number and positions of bones, etc.). However, the size of these skeletons would vary markedly, and without knowing the history of dogs or wolves, they might conclude that Chihuahuas and St. Bernards were different species.

    All of this is consistent with the processes of evolution as we understand them. (DNA and fossil evidence both confirm that wolves are the ancestors of dogs.) Chihuahuas cannot mate with wolves or German Shepherds, but they can mate with Daschunds who can mate with Irish Setters who can mate with Rottweilers who can mate with German Shepherds who can mate with Timber Wolves (okay, I don’t know much about dog breeds either). In this case, the reproductive barrier between the Chihuahua and the Shepherd or wolf is size, but wolves are also reproductively isolated from dogs due to their very different behaviour and lifestyle. If we were to keep selecting for smaller and smaller dogs, in time dogs would be unable to breed with wolves at all (as Chihuahuas are not able to breed with St. Bernards due to their size difference). If our future amnesiac paleontologists were armed with knowledge of geology and were able to tell the relative ages of the wolf, dog, and later Tiny dog fossils, they would be able to put the skeletons of wolves as the common ancestor of wolves and Tiny dogs, and the St. Bernards and Chihuahuas of today would be considered transitional species.

    Any good introductory biology text should be able to give you more detail on these and other speciation processes. Any good introductory text on paleontology will describe how the fossil record reflects these processes.

  39. #39 Brownian
    July 8, 2007

    “Fossils were discovered that fit where we would expect a fork in the ancestry of living groups. These are what are known as ‘transitional species’.”

    Oops. Forks in the ancestry are common ancestors. ‘Transitional’ species are those found between one form and an earlier ancestral form.

  40. #40 cm
    July 8, 2007

    Science Avenger said:

    Refutations almost always take more time than assertions.

    Even so, scientists need refute just some ludicrous foundational creationist statements using gems like “there is no evidence for that”, etc.; refutations needn’t entail full biology lessons.

    See, creationism had its day in the sun. It was the accepted position for hundreds of years. Evolution won the evidenciary (ie scientific) battle, leaving creationism to attempt victory in the only arenas left to it: politics and public opinion.

    That’s a might inclusive “only” you’ve used there.

  41. #41 Who Cares
    July 8, 2007

    @CM (#43):
    CM said:

    Even so, scientists need refute just some ludicrous foundational creationist statements using gems like “there is no evidence for that”, etc.; refutations needn’t entail full biology lessons

    The problem is that the average creationist debator is a trained sophist. Generally everything they say sounds plausible unless you know the background science involved. And that brings another problem, just explaining why one thing is wrong generally requires so much more information that in the usually preferred debate format there is barely (to not) enough time to do it.

    CM said:

    That’s a might inclusive “only” you’ve used there.

    That inclusive is correct. There have been some forms of creationism that actually allowed for predictions to be made. Not a single one of these has survived, all have been falsified by the evidence found.
    The one argument that is left is : “I can’t believe it is possible so it is not possible.”. That argument for some reason does not get accepted by scientists, so to impose their view of reality (even if it contradicts reality) the creationists need to turn to other venues, politics and public opinion.

  42. #42 Ed Darrell
    July 8, 2007

    I’ve often wondered what effect it would have on an audience for one of these staged events were the opposition to the creationist position to be from a Christian who discusses the ethics lying, and the necessity of sticking to reality where we can test it and show it’s accurate, as opposed to faith-based beliefs. Gork, above, rather nails a huge part of this stuff. Most Baptists, for example, would agree that astrology is bunk, and many would probably suggest it’s downright evil.

    Would they want to be on the side of the astrologers? Did they read Behe’s testimony? Do they really think the antics of most creationists are Christian, or ethical under any philosophy?

  43. #43 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    I’d Love to have a formal debate with PZ on the Idea of intelligent design vs random coincidence. I don’t think It would be a snippy one ups man ship, but instead I think the audience would leave agreeing that there is no way to know for sure which is true, and both sides would be represented fairly.

  44. #44 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    But they would know which one fit the evidence best.

  45. #45 Caledonian
    July 8, 2007

    Wouldn’t it be better to have the debate over Intelligent Design vs. evolution?

    Well… not for you

  46. #46 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    I don’t understand why ‘random chance’ is so scary to people. We still exist because of consistent and orderly natural laws. Humans are still creations of the universe. There’s a great deal of freedom in knowing that life is not entirely predictable, that it can diverge and go in any direction.

    And besides, not everything is random chance. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is the exact opposite of random chance.

    ‘Bad Astronomy’ just recently had a post about new mathematical evidence that may shore up the ‘endlessly collapsing and expanding universe’ theory–that Big Bangs happen repeatedly. If so, this implies (at the risk of anthropomorphizing reality, itself) that every possible form of existence is being explored. Maybe that’s a bit whimsical, but it’s not terrifying.

    What I find terrifying is the idea of being created by the god of the bible and then being trapped in a gated community for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever…………

  47. #47 pleco
    July 8, 2007

    Using the phrase “random coincidence” indicates the debate would be short lived and quite one-sided (i.e. PZ would demolish you).

  48. #48 Brian Axsmith
    July 8, 2007

    I was asked a few years back to participate in a debate with Kent Hovind sponsored by a student creation club at a public high school in Ocean Springs Mississippi. You read it right – a creation club (with a faculty sponsor no less) at a public school. I said I would participate if, and only if, it was stipulated in writing that each participant must base at least 25 percent of their presentation on their OWN ORIGINAL RESEARCH. I was told by the faculty sponsor that this was not possible. I asked “why not?” since Hovind calls himself Doctor and claims that creationism is real science. Needless to say, I was cut from the bill.

  49. #49 Patrick
    July 8, 2007

    I don’t understand why ‘random chance’ is so scary to people.

    I wonder if there are any creationists who stand up in biology class and protest meiosis because each gamete has a chromsome from each pair chosen by random chance.

  50. #50 Science Avenger
    July 8, 2007

    Creationists will avoid a debate with structure like the plague. Try getting one to debate on one specific aspect of evolution and see how far it gets you. They have to be able to Gish Gallop or they have little to offer. That’s why they only want unstructured, oral debates.

  51. #51 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    The Physicist: I’d Love to have a formal debate with PZ on the Idea of intelligent design vs random coincidence.

    I don’t see why he’d be interested in having that debate with you, since neither he nor any other evolutionary biologist of which I’m aware are backing “random coincidence” as opposing intelligent design.

    Look, someone else has already boiled it down to one phrase which you should be able to remember: “the non-random selection of randomly varying replicators”. Please note the part where it says “non-random”.

  52. #52 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    How about a debate on the value of scientific inquiry to past, present and future global societies vs. the value of an ongoing campaign of theistic propaganda and disinformation, conducted by a cynical few, which preys on the minds of the undereducated many to the detriment of all?

    Bisch: You think you’re the antidote to Echo Chamber syndrome? You’re laboring under the delusion that you’ve offering even one remotely new objection. You’re one in a long series of engineers who think they Get It. It’s a credit to those commenters here who took the time to give you more than equal time in responding to your statements and questions.

    It just doesn’t ring true.

    LOL! Neither does the completely unsupported notion that some undetectable cosmic being has meddled (undetectably) in biological and geological processes. Hey, my incredulity is at least as valid as yours, isn’t it? After all, the theory in which I “believe” (I’ll save you the trouble of making the standard implication that it’s just another religion) has evidentiary support.

    Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic – to those who have no understanding of the technology. The same goes for the “technology” of evolution. Intuition based on insufficient data and understanding isn’t logic. How many people could pick up a microchip and, without knowing what it was, tell you what it could and could not do?

    Too many people take a superficial look at evolution and say, “Oh, that couldn’t happen!” and fool themselves into believing that their opinion carries any weight at all. Our “feelings” would never lie to us – right?

  53. #53 Ted Powell
    July 8, 2007

    limiting ourselves to just those that are alive now, we find fairly discrete populations that don’t interbreed – usually.

    “usually” is a key word here. It is not the case that every organism can be given a “species” tag, and that the question of whether A and B can produce fertile offspring can be resolved by checking whether their species tags match (and that their sexes don’t).

    It turns out that in some cases close is good enough, giving rise to the phenomenon of ring species (see, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species ), where A and its kin can successfully mate with B and its kin, B’s can mate with C’s, C’s with D’s, etc. If their respective ranges form a ring, e.g. around the Arctic, this can result in, say, J’s occupying the same range as A’s but being unable to mate with them. (Follow the link for a specific example.)

  54. #54 Scrofulum
    July 8, 2007

    Does it make anyone else want to bang their head on the monitor when they read “random chance” instead of evolution?

    Come on guys, if you’re arguing for or agin it, at least know what “it” is.

  55. #55 IanR
    July 8, 2007

    What would be fun (difficult, but fun nonetheless) is to have Mark Isaak’s Index of Creationist Claims handy and reply to each argument by its number ;)

  56. #56 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    A guy walks into a bar in a strange town. He sits down for a beer and notices that every now and then someone shouts out a number and everybody laughs. After a few rounds of this, he asks the bartender about it.

    “Well,” says the barkeep, “We all know each other so well here, we all know the same jokes, and they’ve been told so many times we’re sick o’ hearin ‘em. So we gave each joke a number to save time.”

    “Ah, that’s interesting,” says the visitor. He spends a minute or to gathering up his courage, then shouts out, “Forty-two!”

    The barroom falls silent for a moment as everyone gives him a strange look.

    Aghast, the visitor turns to the bartender. “What happened?!?”

    The bartender replies, “Awwwww, man – yeh told it wrong!”

  57. #57 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    Wouldn’t it be better to have the debate over Intelligent Design vs. evolution?

    Well… not for you…

    I am a sceptic of evolution, but evolution does not preclude ID, there fore I use the term random coincidence. I wish not to be mopped nor do I wish to Mop, I would just like to have a rational discussion with an open mind with the non ID people. It isn’t personal with me. If PZ wishes I would create a blog just for the debate where we could post and respond to each other without being pissy about it or making fun of each other. What the hell I already have 4 blogs. The Physcist vs the PHD Biologist. I would rather enjoy it.

  58. #58 Blake Stacey, OM
    July 8, 2007

    Kseniya:

    The bartender replies, “Awwwww, man – yeh told it wrong!”

    Alternate ending:

    “Awwwww, man — you shouldn’t tell an Irish joke if you can’t do an Irish accent.”

  59. #59 Caledonian
    July 8, 2007

    but evolution does not preclude ID

    In the sense that something things may have evolved, while other things were ID’d, yes, that’s true. But nothing can both have evolved and been ID’d. The one precludes and excludes the other.

    As for your ‘skepticism’ about evolution, I’m sure PZ would set you straight. It might be simpler for you to go to talk.origins and read up on the existing scientific data.

  60. #60 Steve_C
    July 8, 2007

    All it takes is someone to read talkorigins.

    No debate required. ID is a farce with absolutely no evidence.

    ID only requires faith.

  61. #61 MAJeff
    July 8, 2007

    It may be desired since we don’t really have anything new to add to the debate, as you feel.

    What debate. One side uses scientific techniques of inquiry, the other fairy tales. I don’t see any debate.

  62. #62 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    As for your ‘skepticism’ about evolution, I’m sure PZ would set you straight. It might be simpler for you to go to talk.origins and read up on the existing scientific data.

    Well I wish he would, because the only Evolutionists usually descend int invective. In a written debate where he posts his debate points on his blog and I respond on mine would seem to preclude emotional out bursts. I generally want to understand his conceptional discourse, not anyones rants. There can be a 5 day response time from blog to blog for introspection and study. I hope he takes me seriously, because I am. And telling me to go to talkorigins.com is like me telling you to go to the Catechism of the Catholic church.

  63. #63 Foggg
    July 8, 2007

    ThePhysicist,
    …since PZ likely has better things to do with his time than rehash the (for him) well-hashed, and you simply want to have extended discussion with very knowledgeable “nonID people”, why don’t you try other fora, like the Infidels (which PZ used to moderate) or the interactive talk.origins newsgroup?

  64. #64 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    Trust me, these people have very thick Reality Deflection Shields. You go in thinking that, well, they have such an incredibly wrong concept of what the theory of evolution entails that I can just sum it up for them… but no, they’re being that dense on purpose. It’s astonishing.

    Succinctly put. Creationists don’t want evidence and exploration; they want to believe things. It really is as simple as that.

  65. #65 Steve_C
    July 8, 2007

    Physicist.

    You want special personal hand holding. It’s unnecessary. Why would PZ need to sell you on Evolution? There’s an immense amount of evidence and sites that specifically dismantle all creationist and ID arguments.

    That you haven’t bothered to find them isn’t really PZ’s or OUR problem.

    It’s yours. Unless of course you just want to remain willfully ignorant. Then why bother even coming here?

  66. #66 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    The Physicist: Well I wish he would, because the only Evolutionists usually descend int invective.

    Oh, please. This is standard operating procedure: you haven’t explained what it is you think is controversial, and the only point you did bring up (“random coincidence”) betrayed an ignorance of what it is you think you’re debating. Your next move now will be to clutch your tender, bruised fee-fees to your chest and cry that those mean, mean Evolutionists wouldn’t engage you in honest debate, which, of course, is all you ever wanted.

    If you wanted to bring up a point or a question you have, you could have done it at any point in this thread. Instead, you whine about how nobody will listen to you, despite the fact that you’re getting responses to your comments.

    In a written debate where he posts his debate points on his blog and I respond on mine would seem to preclude emotional out bursts. I generally want to understand his conceptional discourse, not anyones rants. There can be a 5 day response time from blog to blog for introspection and study. I hope he takes me seriously, because I am.

    You could always just post your question in the comments. It’s likely to be not worth the whole complicated debate structure that you’ve cooked up.

    And telling me to go to talkorigins.com is like me telling you to go to the Catechism of the Catholic church.

    The Catechism includes FAQs, is written in accessible English and is specifically designed to address the most commonly posed questions? Also, it’s talkorigins.org, not .com. If you’d made a specific claim, we’d send you to the specific section of the Index to Creationist Claims addressing it. But, of course, you haven’t.

    It’s entirely possible that you have honest questions and are curious about the answers, and are somehow incapable of reading some FAQs without them being spoonfed to you. However, given my previous experience with people making the sorts of claims you are and displaying the same level of ignorance (see my previous comment upthread), it’s not very likely.

    (I’d like to note that “ignorance” isn’t pejorative; there are plenty of things about which I’m ignorant. But it is at least tasteless to waste others’ time by displaying this kind of ignorance while claiming that you know so much about the topic that you’re going to demolish someone who makes his living at it, uh-huh, yes, any day now, once you give me a pony first.)

  67. #67 Owlmirror
    July 8, 2007

    And telling me to go to talkorigins.com is like me telling you to go to the Catechism of the Catholic church

    And that’s the root of your problem, isn’t it?

    Talk.origins, like all sites that try to explain evolution in counter to anti-evolution, ultimately points to studies or explanations that contain the evidence; the actual findings that scientists have made in the real world.

    And you think that that is somehow equivalent to a bunch of superstitious assertions.

    Debate would be useless. Ultimately, all that PZ can do, or any scientist can do, is point to the evidence. Which you are saying doesn’t matter.

  68. #68 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    Shorter The Physicist: I can’t ride a bike even with training wheels, but I challenge this guy to a Formula One race–he’s just ignoring me because he knows I’ll beat the pants off him. This means I win!

  69. #69 Steve_C
    July 8, 2007

    Didn’t we already go through this months ago with the Physicist. At that time I was under the impression he finally accepted all the evidence. Apparently he’s been back sliding since then.

  70. #70 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    Alternate ending #2:

    The barroom falls silent for a moment as everyone gives him a strange look.
    Aghast, the visitor turns to the bartender. “What happened?!?”
    The bartender replies, “Oh, everyone is thoroughly bored with that joke.”

  71. #71 Caledonian
    July 8, 2007

    I’m not trying to be condescending or dismissive,

    Whyever not? Ridicule that moron back to the stone age.

  72. #72 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    back to the stone age?

  73. #73 PZ Myers
    July 8, 2007

    I think someone who already has four blogs could simply make the case for his point of view without demanding the irrelevant structure of a written ‘debate,’ so I really don’t see the point of the Physicist’s challenge.

  74. #74 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    Why don’t you let PZ answer his own questions, this is the bullshit I am talking about. I have a BS in Physics and PZ has a degree in Biology. Let’s debate as professionals, if he declines so be it it, but the arrogance and ignorance that exists as those of you who are speaking for PZ in quite amusing.

  75. #75 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    I think someone who already has four blogs could simply make the case for his point of view without demanding the irrelevant structure of a written ‘debate,’ so I really don’t see the point of the Physicist’s challenge.

    Posted by: PZ Myers | July 8, 2007 05:31 PM

    PZ, you miss understand, none of my 4 blogs have anything to do with evolution or ID. I would welcome your debate, but I understand if you are too busy. Just say, Gregg, I Don’t hqave time, or I really don’t care what your perspective is. That is much better than being called ignorant.

  76. #76 Stanton
    July 8, 2007

    Let’s debate as professionals, if he declines so be it it, but the arrogance and ignorance that exists as those of you who are speaking for PZ in quite amusing.

    The irony inherent in this insincere statement is extraordinarily painful, given as how this is coming from a guy who, when the last he was here, made a song and dance out of purposely ignoring and mocking all of the responses to his idiocy, only to make a mock conversion to atheism when Professor Myers made the exact same responses as did his regular blog-commentors.

  77. #77 Steve_C
    July 8, 2007

    ZZZZZZZ.

    I think the Physicists biggest problem… he’s boring.

  78. #78 PZ Myers
    July 8, 2007

    I don’t think you quite get the point of having a blog. You don’t have to wait for me to find time to swap essays with you. You’ve got a blog, or you’re willing to create one, so just do it and put up a summary of your position.

  79. #79 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    The Physicist: Why don’t you let PZ answer his own questions, this is the bullshit I am talking about.

    I didn’t think that PZ would waste his time on responding to your challenge–as you’ll note, I was right in that he thinks it’s ridiculous, but wrong in that he actually said so himself–and so I thought to head off your whining that you’re getting kicked around by his thug squad.

    I predict that pointing out that if you’d actually brought a point, you’d have gotten an actual response will go unnoticed.

    I have a BS in Physics and PZ has a degree in Biology. Let’s debate as professionals, if he declines so be it it,

    He’s chosen to so-be-it, apparently unimpressed with your credential-waving. Which will it be–put up your proposition, as you’ve thus far failed to do, or go somewhere else and whine that the “Evolutionists” wouldn’t give you a fair hearing?

    the arrogance and ignorance that exists as those of you who are speaking for PZ in quite amusing.

    You’re predictable. You’re not the first person to come here and demand that PZ Myers face off with you, mano a mano, and been told that no, you’re not worth the time or effort. I think, given some of the previous comments on this thread, that this may not have even been the first time that you’ve done so. If anyone here was “speaking for PZ”, it’s simply to let you know that, to reuse an analogy, if you demonstrate yourself incapable of riding a bike with the training wheels on, you’re not going to get the attention of a racecar driver.

    Again, if you simply post your propositions and claims here, I assure you that the commenters here will give them a fair hearing. Because (speaking from experience, again) your propositions and claims are likely to be easily-refuted twaddle, you’ll probably get mocked as part of the bargain. But your choices are: (a) don’t make your arguments and get mocked, and (b) make your arguments, learn something, and get mocked.

    If you’re going to waste our time, you’ll have to understand that we’ll probably demand payment in the form of amusement.

  80. #80 David Rockwell
    July 8, 2007

    Having stumbled into this discussion and it’s vitriolic tone, I may regret weighing in here, but I am a little dismayed at how inconsistent the rhetoric of many who claim to support a scientific view of the world is, with what I have always viewed as the foundational values of those who pursue understanding through science – open mindedness to all possibilities and an awareness that no matter how much we think we know, we still don’t know it all yet. The demeaning rhetoric against “creationists” appears to rival that of any racist or other bigot who classifies and attacks the inherent worth of those with whom they disagree. Despite the vast amounts of information we have acquired today, and its value in organizing and controlling our seemingly random existence, I doubt many scientists would argue that much of anything we claim to understand is truly proven, even if it appears to be demonstrated. Aristotle/Ptolemy’s earth-centric view of the universe was reasonable based on objective observations at the time, but non-the-less incorrect. If Einstein’s “theories” are correct, what is observable and measurable in time and space (if such a thing is really possible at all) depends on how close to the speed of light you happen to be traveling at the time. The notion that, “Scientists know a whole lot more than the ancient Hebrews did…(making their ancient thoughts)”religious none-sense.” ignores the significance impact of the Judeo-Christian thinking on the foundations of modern civilization. Despite the imperfect people who attempt to live by it, the wisdom and ideas of those Hebrews has provided an invaluable foundation of morality, law, and ethics that has guided and sustained the modern civilized world for centuries. Many who have contributed scientific and other wisdom through the ages, (Blaise Pascal, many of our founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Schweitzer, to name a few) also held the Judeo-Christian world view of those Hebrews without any sense of incongruity. Not having our current level of “information” at their disposal does not make them either ignorant or stupid. Assuming that people who hold a “creationist” world view automatically makes them “Bozo’s” or “clowns”, is, itself, a rather narrow-minded and unenlightened attitude. Each of our own personal “world views” are behind all of these argument. If mine includes an experience and first hand encounter with the reality of God and yours might not, our different experiences will shape our particular world views, including my understanding of the significance of science and your understanding of religion. For someone to dismiss views based on Judeo-Christian faith as subjective none-sense is no more rational than for me to dismiss the findings of science as secular irrelevance. If creationists are so ignorant and misguided, what is everyone so afraid of (other than the idea that someone would have the audacity to disagree with your particular “scientific” world view.) What, other than your own personal irritations, requires such a concerted effort to attack them? Given the just plain vicious tone of so many of the comments, I find it hard to believe that any genuine altruistic concern to protect the rest of us apparently ignorant masses from the creationist (whose heresies are defined only by your own belief system,) really motivates you. I doubt even evolutionary scientists attribute such dogmatic absolutism to their theories as the antagonism in some of these comments appear to suggest they deserve. (Maybe we should consider burning these modern day creationist “witches” at the stake.) Is free speech only for those as truly enlightened as you are? How grateful are we all supposed be that you see fit to protect the rest of us, dupes, from the perils of those whose views you don’t, for whatever reason, happen to like?

  81. #81 Troy F
    July 8, 2007

    I feel sorry for anyone that refuses in, absolutes, that God did not create the universe, look around you and be awestruck by it’s contents and I can’t find anything in the bible that says, ” Do not evolve “. We or the world was created and science definitely is a great part of understanding it, but the very God that created us will also be the opne that will destroy us. Read and understand Romans one and compare it to geography.
    Abraham Lincoln said to this country, let’s humble ourselves to the God that created us, we have forsaken him.
    Please I beg of you do not forsake him, try to understand that both science and God exsist but the exsistence of science would not be there without the creation.

  82. #82 David Marjanovi?
    July 8, 2007

    Sorry for not having come back earlier! I’m glad to see you’re not a hit-and-run troll. :-)

    Most of what I could say has meanwhile been said, so I’ll just sum up, off the top of my head:

    The whole thing. I’m skeptical that:

    -Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another.

    It probably boils down to a single mutation: cell membranes that are more permeable to sodium ions than usual. This requires constant hard work by the sodium pumps, requiring constant hard work by the mitochondria, and that’s constant high metabolism. Constant high body temperature is a useful byproduct.

    Also note all the special cases where just part of the body is warm-blooded, for example the eyes and the brain in some tunas. (There are completely cold-blooded tuna species, too.)

    Incidentally, cold-blooded animals evolving from warm-blooded ones is clearly difficult and may be impossible, but some think that the crocodiles have managed to pull off this feat, grinning for evermore.

    -Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical. A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature. It just doesn’t ring true.

    What different body parts? I can’t think of one that birds, crocodiles, lizards including snakes, tuataras, and turtles don’t share on some level, except for cases where some have lost one. Please give me an example.

    -Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    You are right: traditional classification rests on ignorance. If we had every organism that ever lived, we couldn’t draw species boundaries, except in the very few cases when chromosomal abnormalities are responsible for speciation under some of the 25-upwards species concepts out there.

    Some already go so far as to say that species are an illusion (the same way that everyone agrees the higher “ranks” — genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain… — are) and should be abolished. Instead, they say, we should only name clades anymore. (Clade = an ancestor and all its descendants.)

    Naming clades and defining their names is easy; I suggest to start here if you want to know more about that.

    If you want to know about transitional fossils, tell me. I can tell you lots about the origin of arthropods, limbed vertebrates, mammals, and birds (the examples about which I know most and for which the most fossils have been found so far). I only fear I’ll end up wasting several days, because there’s so much to say about them…

    Of course, spending a few days in talkorigins.org can never hurt… :-)

  83. #83 David Marjanovi?
    July 8, 2007

    Sorry for not having come back earlier! I’m glad to see you’re not a hit-and-run troll. :-)

    Most of what I could say has meanwhile been said, so I’ll just sum up, off the top of my head:

    The whole thing. I’m skeptical that:

    -Evolution produced cold blooded and warm blooded beings. It’s not logical to believe that one could have evolved from another.

    It probably boils down to a single mutation: cell membranes that are more permeable to sodium ions than usual. This requires constant hard work by the sodium pumps, requiring constant hard work by the mitochondria, and that’s constant high metabolism. Constant high body temperature is a useful byproduct.

    Also note all the special cases where just part of the body is warm-blooded, for example the eyes and the brain in some tunas. (There are completely cold-blooded tuna species, too.)

    Incidentally, cold-blooded animals evolving from warm-blooded ones is clearly difficult and may be impossible, but some think that the crocodiles have managed to pull off this feat, grinning for evermore.

    -Evolution produced birds/reptiles/mammals. All the different body parts came from each other? In a word, illogical. A body part, if it was a mutation, would become a bad use of the old feature loooooong before it became a benefit as the new feature. It just doesn’t ring true.

    What different body parts? I can’t think of one that birds, crocodiles, lizards including snakes, tuataras, and turtles don’t share on some level, except for cases where some have lost one. Please give me an example.

    -Evolution produced transitional species. I know you say you have examples of them. I just wonder how taxonomy is at all possible if your view of the species evolving is true.

    You are right: traditional classification rests on ignorance. If we had every organism that ever lived, we couldn’t draw species boundaries, except in the very few cases when chromosomal abnormalities are responsible for speciation under some of the 25-upwards species concepts out there.

    Some already go so far as to say that species are an illusion (the same way that everyone agrees the higher “ranks” — genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain… — are) and should be abolished. Instead, they say, we should only name clades anymore. (Clade = an ancestor and all its descendants.)

    Naming clades and defining their names is easy; I suggest to start here if you want to know more about that.

    If you want to know about transitional fossils, tell me. I can tell you lots about the origin of arthropods, limbed vertebrates, mammals, and birds (the examples about which I know most and for which the most fossils have been found so far). I only fear I’ll end up wasting several days, because there’s so much to say about them…

    Of course, spending a few days in talkorigins.org can never hurt… :-)

  84. #84 Troy F
    July 8, 2007

    I feel sorry for anyone that refuses in, absolutes, that God did not create the universe, look around you and be awestruck by it’s contents and I can’t find anything in the bible that says, ” Do not evolve “. We or the world was created and science definitely is a great part of understanding it, but the very God that created us will also be the opne that will destroy us. Read and understand Romans one and compare it to geography.
    Abraham Lincoln said to this country, let’s humble ourselves to the God that created us, we have forsaken him.
    Please I beg of you do not forsake him, try to understand that both science and God exsist but the exsistence of science would not be there without the creation.

  85. #85 David Marjanovi?
    July 8, 2007

    the foundational values of those who pursue understanding through science – open mindedness to all possibilities and an awareness that no matter how much we think we know, we still don’t know it all yet.

    Eh, of course.

    But then, there’s a lot of stuff that we do know, so when some people tell us 50 times that we don’t know something we actually know, showing only that they haven’t bothered to read up the discoveries of the last few decades, we start to get annoyed… :-)

    And no, science cannot prove anything. It can only disprove. OK, it can prove beyond reasonable doubt, but it’s impossible to define “reasonable”.

    (Maybe we should consider burning these modern day creationist “witches” at the stake.) Is free speech only for those as truly enlightened as you are?

    Nope. You have the right to spew any bullshit you want. And we have the right to call that bullshit bullshit as loudly as we want.

  86. #86 David Marjanovi?
    July 8, 2007

    the foundational values of those who pursue understanding through science – open mindedness to all possibilities and an awareness that no matter how much we think we know, we still don’t know it all yet.

    Eh, of course.

    But then, there’s a lot of stuff that we do know, so when some people tell us 50 times that we don’t know something we actually know, showing only that they haven’t bothered to read up the discoveries of the last few decades, we start to get annoyed… :-)

    And no, science cannot prove anything. It can only disprove. OK, it can prove beyond reasonable doubt, but it’s impossible to define “reasonable”.

    (Maybe we should consider burning these modern day creationist “witches” at the stake.) Is free speech only for those as truly enlightened as you are?

    Nope. You have the right to spew any bullshit you want. And we have the right to call that bullshit bullshit as loudly as we want.

  87. #87 Owlmirror
    July 8, 2007

    Incidentally, cold-blooded animals evolving from warm-blooded ones is clearly difficult and may be impossible,

    Naked mole rats, it says here, are very nearly entirely cold-blooded.

    ? http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Heterocephalus_glaber.html

    These eusocial rodents also cooperate to thermoregulate. Unlike most other mammals, they cannot maintain a steady body temperature. Their temperatures fluctuate with the ambient temperature, making naked mole-rats essentially cold blooded. By huddling together in large masses, they slow their rate of heat loss. They also behaviorally thermoregulate by basking as needed in their shallow surface tunnels, which are warmed by the sun.

  88. #88 Foggg
    July 8, 2007

    they are assholes, and PZ is not. I care not to debate an asshole, There can be no banning in my proposed debate

    So everyone at II and t.o are “assholes.” Except PZ, who used to post at both and moderate one. And you call others arrogant?
    No one can ban you from the t.o newsgroup. You can’t be banned from II unless you violate their simple rules. But it sounds like you know all about banning already. hmmm…

  89. #89 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    Do you hear that? It’s the world’s smallest violin, and it’s playing just for The Physicist. He just wanted to learn, don’t you know. But none of us would listen. It’s not his fault we’re so closed minded.

    I say again, shouting into the wind: if you actually try to make a point, we’ll address it. If you whine about how nobody addresses the points you haven’t made, we’ll make fun of you. I don’t know how much clearer I can make this.

  90. #90 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    O forget it cowrds, Pz, That doesn’t include you.

  91. #91 Caledonian
    July 8, 2007

    And no, science cannot prove anything. It can only disprove.

    Disproving IS proving. You can’t do one without the other.

    You can always tell who’s just repeating talking points and who actually understands the concepts by looking to see whether they continue stating things that are obviously wrong.

  92. #92 The Science Pundit
    July 8, 2007

    I’m curious what institution hands out BS degrees without insisting that its graduates know how to spell and punctuate.

  93. #93 MAJeff
    July 8, 2007

    Troy F,

    got anything other than silliness and a preference for ignorance, excuse me, awe, over knowledge and investigation?

  94. #94 Foggg
    July 8, 2007

    “I have a BS and “different ideas”, which haven’t been heard countless times before by those extensively involved in this, some for decades. And I have 4 blogs to post them on. And I refuse to participate in knowledgable discussion fora, which are uniformly occupied by “assholes.” While this one merely contains “cowards”. And I want to be ever so “professional” debating PZ.”

    Does that about sum it up?

  95. #95 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    In all this, my favorite part is how he won’t affirmatively state any claim, or do anything other than whine, whine, whine, and that makes us the cowards. Pure brilliance.

  96. #96 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    Well I don’t care if he wants to or not, but the offer is alive in the method of his started purpose, he may be a coward, a liar or just lazy. I am sure he would not be intimidated by one who does not meet your grammatical precision. But Ideas are much more than the invective we fined here. Is PZ a coward, who refuses to debate a degreed physicist? I have know way of knowing, but I suspect it since he laid down the rules of debate himself. And you English majors stuck with what you know. we challenge A PHD in Biology with a BS In Physics. LETS GO!

  97. #97 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    David Rockwell:
    I may regret responding to you, but there is a very small chance that you are simply living in la la land and aren’t coniving some oblique tactic to save my soul, so…

    You said, “Not having our current level of “information” at their disposal does not make them either ignorant or stupid.”

    No, but having our current level of understanding and still believing what the ancient Hebrews did, in spite of massive amounts of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, and then trying to pollute science with that misinformation, and trying to get that misinformation, that mythology, taught in our public schools–as science–does make one ignorant, stupid and subversive.

    This is not a simple clash of equally relevant viewpoints; this is anti-exploratory, anti-science, religious dogma against real investigation. We are not intellectual brothers with, and we do not want to hold hands with people who reject real investigation in favor of believing and proselytizing things that have been proven false, repeatedly.

    If you are going to tell us that our children should be taught the mythology of the ancient Hebrews as science, then you will find nothing but scorn and impatience here.

    I don’t care about, and am not going to attack, anyone’s personal revelations–as long as they keep them personal and don’t try to impose them on me. I cannot evaluate them or judge them–they are personal, as are mine–but no one here is going to apologize for being irritated and angered at the attack on reason, on science, that creationists have engaged in. If you do not understand this, then you do not understand science or critical thinking, and perhaps you shouldn’t be commenting on a science blog.

  98. #98 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 8, 2007

    Alternate ending #4:

    The crowd bursts out in uproarious laughter, which takes several minutes to die down. As the bartender gives the visitor a drink, he tells the visitor:

    “We’ve never heard that one before!”

    And to David Rockwell, it isn’t a strict dismissal of those who have a Chrisitian worldview, it is a frustration that people dismiss the facts out of necessity in remaining congruous to their religion. I have a friend to whom I showed how we have direct evidence of macro-evolution come back later and said he believes in micro- but not macro-evolution because macro-evoliution requires philosophical naturalism and is based on the presupposition that science is the best way to learn about how nature works.

    As he is an old-earth creationist and not a new-earth creationist, I still don’t see much difference in his attitude and the attitude of Answers-in-Genesis; which requires that its “researchers” agree to the statement that whenever the evidence conflicts with the Bible then the evidence is wrong. My friend won’t accept the truth because it conflicts with his beliefs.

    The Physicist has shown that he is not really interested in learning, but that he is more interested in scoring rhetorical points and also would look forward to the notoriety he thinks he woul gain by debating the famous atheist PZ Myers. He is deluded in thinking that his BS is physics gives him the cred he needs to stand up toe-to-toe with a professor who has a PhD in Biology. He has also said that the origins and faqs at talkorigins.org are essentially the work of atheists and therefore have nothing to teach him. Which answers to the point of the post in the first place. Don’t give the creationists any credibility by allowing them to lie to themselves about the weight of their arguments.
    That’s what they seek from those “debates.”

    I would suggest that you get off your high horse. The creationists are telling scientists who study evolution, geology, cosmology, paleontology, chemistry and a host of convergent sciences that they are “wrong” because the bible tells them so. Who can blame them for being dismissive of creationists?

  99. #99 Justin Moretti
    July 8, 2007

    I reject Young Earth and even Old Earth creationism absolutely, because it posits that everything was just “put there”, and implies that in the modern scientific context, there is no point in trying to understand the relationships between various organisms.

    Intelligent Design creationism would require some really good evidence that someone or something had actually meddled with the earthly gene pool. Nobody would be more impressed than the Darwinian evolutionists if somebody actually came up with incontrovertible scientific proof for this. But saying it must be so, over and over again, isn’t proof. If you’re going to try to prove Intelligent Design, you must first close and set aside all religious texts, and proceed as if they were false.

  100. #100 rrt
    July 8, 2007

    Physicist: Calling PZ a liar now? That’s rich coming from you, old friend. And I thought it was we Evilutionists who descended into invective…

  101. #101 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    Alternate ending #5: “Ah, that’s interesting,” says the visitor. He spends a minute or to gathering up his courage, then shouts out, “”Infinity!”
    The barroom erupts into laughter that never stops.

    (I’m cracking myself up here.)

  102. #102 Stanton
    July 8, 2007

    If you’re going to try to prove Intelligent Design, you must first close and set aside all religious texts, and proceed as if they were false.

    Not false, just totally irrelevant to the subject at hand.

  103. #103 k
    July 8, 2007

    People like The Physicist puzzle me the most. It’s one thing when a willfully ignorant person also lacks immediate access to higher education. It’s quite another when (if we take him/her at his/her word) an individual has easy access to higher education.

    Why challenge P.Z. to a debate at all? There are books out there–piles of them. There exist thousands of academic articles. And there are classes as well. It’s not like evolutionary biology is some kind of secret.

    To wit: it isn’t P.Z.’s job to educate every random schmo who can’t be bothered to crack the spine of a biology book. Hell, I’m not a biologist. I’m a lawyer by training, but I’ve taken enough classes and read enough literature to know that evolution is both theory and fact. Insulating myself against creationist claptrap was no more difficult than learning the absolute basics of any other subject.

    So, “Physicist,” it isn’t about being a this or a that at all. Rather it’s about educating yourself. If you can’t do that, then you aren’t particularly intellectually honest. If you aren’t intellectually honest, then you are a troll.

  104. #104 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    goodnight PZ according to the peanut gallery, you are afraid to debate on your terms, written corespondents.

  105. #105 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    To wit: it isn’t P.Z.’s job to educate every random schmo who can’t be bothered to crack the spine of a biology book.

    To whit you err, the origin of man is not the exclusive science of biology.

  106. #106 Owlmirror
    July 8, 2007

    the origin of man is not the exclusive science of biology.

    Got any evidence for that assertion?

    Or are you afraid to post it?

  107. #107 David Rockwell
    July 8, 2007

    “But then, there’s a lot of stuff that we do know”

    Really … or just think we know? – i.e. Ptolemy’s reasonable notion that the sun revolved around the earth. If your world view insists that there can be no God, then all your evidence and explanations will be filtered through that given preconception. We will always find some other explanation for the existence and order in a universe we clearly did not cause to exist ourselves. We must then also insist that no one else could possibly know a God we don’t care to believe is real. Or that at least they couldn’t possibly know Him and we not be aware of His reality ourselves, if by any chance He really is there. I always wonder why people who insist there is no God, and work so hard to eradicate him from their world view think, that if they were wrong, and He really is there, that they somehow would be among the first to find out about it. The earth revolved around the sun despite the reasonable evidence to the contrary and our ignorance of that reality had no impact on that ‘truth’. God will exist whether either you or I believe in Him or not. In my experience the problem people have with letting God into their world view has little to do with the scientific reasonableness of the possibility and more with the accountability issues it raises. If there is a God who made us, then we are no longer at the top of the food chain and we probably will have to answer to Him in some way. We would rather live in a seemingly random and meaningless universe where what we personally think we know is the highest order of accountability we ever have to contend with. It is not illogical to look at the variety, order, and remarkable balance and harmony in “nature” and consider that someone or something with intelligence, power, and skill greater than ourselves is responsible for its existence, except that we prefer not to have to share the universe with such a being, because He just might expect something from us, more than a casual acknowledgement of his possible existence.

  108. #108 Vasu Murti
    July 8, 2007

    Evolution is mostly speculation. The physical evidence from the past is fragmentary; of the one billion species believed to have existed, 99 percent did not leave fossils.

    In the deliberate breeding of species, there are limits to the changes one can make. When pushed beyond a limit, species become sterile and die out or revert to their standard design. We can induce changes in existing forms via breeding, but cannot generate new complex structures. If this cannot happen by man’s conscious efforts, why should it happen by blind natural processes? No satisfactory evolutionary models have ever been made.

    Darwin’s theory is being demolished. Michael Cremo & Richard Thompson’s Forbidden Archaeology (1993) is a step in that direction. This controversial book shocked the scientific community and became an underground classic.

    The book’s premise is that evolutionary prejudices held by powerful groups of scientists act as a “knowledge filter” which has eliminated evidence challenging accepted views, and left us with a radically altered understanding of human origins and antiquity. Forbidden Archaeology shocked the scientific world with its evidence for extreme human antiquity.

    It documented hundreds of anomalies in the archaeological record that contradicted the prevailing theory and showed how this massive amount of evidence was systematically “filtered” out. This is how mainstream science reacts (almost like a religion) to any challenge to its deeply held beliefs.

  109. #109 Brian Hope
    July 8, 2007

    One major indication of the decline and ruin of ancient Western civilization was the final destruction of the Library of Alexandria with its awesome repository of knowledge & technology by Christian zealots in the 4th century.

  110. #110 Malachi
    July 8, 2007

    OK all you stupid evolutionists are going to swim in an eternal lake or fire { at least you dont have to worry about getting cold } you all are wrong GOD created all that there is so dont even try to tell me that we came from a ball of snot to fish to frogs to monkey to people im sorry to inform you but your all wasting your time on this subject many scientests from all over the world already have admitted that the evolution theory does not have enough scientific evidence to prove it on the other hand creationism does have more evidence to support it

    P>S> GOD CREATED ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  111. #111 arensb
    July 8, 2007

    I want to see a more interesting debate: let’s get a paleontologist, a cell biologist, a geneticist, and an embryologist to argue over who has the best evidence for evolution.

  112. #112 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but Rockwell’s Wall of Tireless Rhetoric has worn me out.

  113. #113 epicurean
    July 8, 2007

    I enjoy reading the thread from most of you as I’ve seen your posts many times now over the past months. It is curious that the arguments don’t every really change in context.

    If I were hosting this site and had written a list of techniques for debating with creationists, I would be practicing those techniques here. Of course, not all of those techniques are applicable here, but the ones that are, I’d use.

    As for myself, I just enjoy reading these posts to see if anything new transpires. So far Kseniya’s joke post is the only thing new.

    Now, what I want to know is why evolutionists and creationists are so adamant about their particular view. I say whether it was by divine intervention or evolution the fact is we all exist here together on this little planet. Believing or not believing in a God makes no difference to the facts. Science has the right to investigate and theorize about the origins of man and the universe as much as the religious do. The methodologies are just different. One believes that what is seen and reproducible in a lab makes the most sense while others believe that some unknown entity gave us the ability to live as we do. I just think it’s great that the two sides can get together in this venue and discuss the possibilities of our reality.

  114. #114 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    God created Al? Who’s Al?

  115. #115 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    Kseniya: Don’t leave just yet, we need another joke. ; )

  116. #116 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    “God created Al? Who’s Al?”

    Alley oop?

  117. #117 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    Got any evidence for that assertion?

    Or are you afraid to post it?

    No I am not the one afraid I clearly offered my self up to a post graduate biologist. I am not the one that is afraid. Not saying PZ is, he may just be an elitists for all I know.

  118. #118 The Physicist
    July 8, 2007

    Good night all I must continue my work on my book, “The Complete Traditional Bow Hunter”

  119. #119 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    Kseniya: Just out of curiosity, you’re joke about the guy in the bar was sort an ironic statement about the déjà vu-all-over-again posting going on in the comments tonight, wasn’t it? Cause otherwise, see, my comment on the alternate ending #2 wouldn’t make much sense or be very ironic, and I would just look like a dork. LOL

  120. #120 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    “The Complete Traditional Bow Hunter”

    Now that actually sounds interesting.

  121. #121 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    Dude, it was more a riff on the idea of posting refutations to creationist claims by t.o. claim number, which was itself a statement about the déjà vu-all-over-again posting – so yes, though indirectly and perhaps not as intentional as you imagined.

    (FWIW I liked all the alternate endings offered. I wondered if shouting out “Pi” would prompt the crowd to chuckle irrationally…)

  122. #122 Owlmirror
    July 8, 2007

    “The Complete Traditional Bow Hunter”

    Now that actually sounds interesting.

    If it’s anything like his posts here, it’ll be something like:

    “The traditional bow is the bow that is used traditionally. I will be glad to explain more, but only in a debate with a trained military marksman. If the marksman does not want to debate me, then he’s either a liar, a coward, or an elitist.”

  123. #123 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    And endlessly. : )

  124. #124 richardmorant
    July 8, 2007

    I understand that ‘science’ has to be supported and taken seriously. I love science and support orderly investigation into truth. Nevertheless, when it comes to the inexact and speculative sciences ( anything but Math) You guys have to have FAITH in the body of work to support a speculative conclusion. The idea of an unassisted macro evolution is mathmatically impossible because of the magnitude of the probability upon probabilty (ad nauseum). If you are honest with yourselves you’ll admit the point. Having said that, I wish my friends in the ID movement would try to be more scientific in making their points. Although I believe strongly that there is scientific truth in Scripture, we haven’t been told which Scriptures are literal and which are figurative. Therefore we should not waste valuable scientific discussion on matters of interprtation of faith. The Scientific community should examine themselves and ‘their’ motives. They give the game away by beginning their research with: “It couldn’t possibly be Creation of any kind so therefore it HAD to be EVOLUTUION”!!! I don’t think that is the appropriate Scientific way to approach anything; by dismissing the alternative, not only out of hand, but also ,AT ALL COSTS! Lets look for the truth in a REAL scientific way.

  125. #125 epicurean
    July 8, 2007

    Well, Kseniya, in a place like this it is hard to overstate a case. When everyone continues to agree with, what they’ve already made their minds up to believe in, then there really is no discussion. The rhetoric merely becomes an exercise in reaffirming what we already believe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having confidence in what our beliefs are, whatever they are. But, treading the same water offers no new shore to swim to. I’ve read scientific articles and theological articles, books on both views and alternate views, but nothing has stood out as being irrefutable.

    Therefore, I believe what I believe and will keep that to myself.

  126. #126 Zarquon
    July 8, 2007

    Rockwell:

    If there is a God who made us, then we are no longer at the top of the food chain and we probably will have to answer to Him in some way.

    The Bible – it’s a cookbook!!

  127. #127 k
    July 8, 2007

    To whit you err, the origin of man is not the exclusive science of biology.

    Fine by me. Geology, anthropology… whatever you like. Crack those books and put on the kettle, nonetheless.

    After all, if my “err” regards the minor offense of underinclusion, yours regards utterly missing the point and otherwise failing to address the claim at hand.

    Physics!

  128. #128 RamblinDude
    July 8, 2007

    it’s a cookbook!!

    LOL!

  129. #129 Akron
    July 8, 2007

    As a scientist, I am amazed by the hypocrisy here. Maybe I shouldn’t be as this duality is simply a part of human nature. A posting like this one, however, disappoints me. We scientists refute religion as illegitimate due to religion’s insistence on inarguable truths (the existence of God, the Virgin birth, etc). Science, on the other hand, is wedded to no such premise. Years–dare I say, centuries–of investigation lay the foundation for the few “truths’ we adere to in science. We are all biased. I happen to believe in intelligent design. When a mechanism that refutes the existence of an intelligent designer is elucidated, I will drop my fidelity to this point of view. The universe as we know it and preponderance of evidence in nearly every area of science screams intelligence, coherence and purpose. It is intellectually dishonest to intelligently design studies to unwrap the mysteries of this incredible universe, depend on a reasonable degree of ORDER, and yet deny–unequivocably–the existence of an original designer. It is nonsense at the minimum, mind numbing cognitive bullting at betst. Stop it. Do good science and let the chips fall, randomly???, where they may.

  130. #130 Paul Dias
    July 8, 2007

    You forgot one more reason not to debate a creationist. They will usually win. Having watched several debates, it is usually the evolutionist that resorts to discussion concerning religion. Evols know that as long as they can make politicians believe that it is religion vs science then they can alone indoctinate the public schools with their brand of “science”. They are smart! They realize that it is unconstitutional to bring religion into the public schools. It is just not unconstitutional to bring bad science into the public schools. Giving data to students then interpreting that data for them with evols glasses gives a bad name to inquiry learning.

  131. #131 grendelkhan
    July 8, 2007

    Malachi, you have to start using the phrase “dopers and sodomites“, which is at least kind of amusing. Also, remind us that “EVERY KNEE SHALL BEND”; that’s always good for striking fear into the hearts of unbelievers, or, failing that, getting your righteous-wank on.

    I suppose richardmorant and company make me see the upside of The Physicist, who was at least coherent. I can’t extract the talking points from the rants I’m seeing in this portion of the thread, which makes it difficult to respond to them. Even if The Physicist was a cowardly weasel more intent on playing the victim than actually engaging anyone here, he did construct coherent thoughts… they weren’t useful, but at least they were coherent.

  132. #132 Doc Dooley
    July 8, 2007

    “I want to see a more interesting debate: let’s get a paleontologist, a cell biologist, a geneticist, and an embryologist to argue over who has the best evidence for evolution.”

    The paleontologist would have to admit that “Noah’s flood” would have caused rapid sediment deposition (fossils) and explosive climate and tectonic changes if it occured as recorded in the bible. I believe I read in magazine that a hard hat was found fossilized in an old mine dated back hundreds of thousands years old. All I am saying is that the science of aging artifacts and fossils is not too accurate.

    The cell biologist would have to admit that the mechanisms of cells are so inter-related that the chance of a single generational evolutionary change could not account for all the changes to occur at once so that the organism would benefit from the change and therefore retain the mutation for future generations.

    A geneticist would have to admit that his, or her, profession has genetically traced all humans, without regard to race, color, structure, or language, to one tribe existing in Africa today. All of us, from one pair.

    An ebryologist will admit that the so called gill slits appearing in many unborn babies of any species are only folds and never, except in fish, have any true structure to appear as a functioning organ such as gills are. So why do many developing babies look the same from many species, the same way you can tell a Thomas Kinkaid paintings without looking for the signature in the corner.

    So as far as the best evidence for evolution, there is most likely not any. If evidence is irrefutable fact. So, before we depate with or write articles like the one that sent me here that has no real substance but merely resorts to name calling. We need something that is true now, has been true in the past and will be true in the future. Science has not been able to do that in any field…ever. So keep working on it, don’t give up. But in the mean time, don’t shoot off at the mouth until we really have something. After, the bible said the world was round long, long, long before science decided to agree.

    Dr. Dooley

  133. #133 monkeymind
    July 8, 2007

    The question that puzzles me is why creationists, if they are Christian, spend so much time trying to cobble pseudo-scientific explanations together and so little time following the example of Christ and his apostles. Jesus spent very little time debating scientific/philosophical questions and a lot of time challenging the rule-bound religionists of his day with new interpretations of their scriptures. He also spent a lot of his time on hands-on stuff like healing the sick, feeding the hungry, etc. In Acts, the Apostle Paul in Athens expounded the new religion to the top philosphers of the day. Some were interested, the rest mocked. Interestingly, Paul did not hang around the Areopagus trying to convince the ones who mocked, but made arrangements to meet the ones who were interested later.

    See, a fundamentalist education has its uses. And I’ll tell you straight, what turned me away was not learning about evolution in school, but the banality and narrow-mindedness of what I saw and heard in church.

  134. #134 Eamon Knight
    July 8, 2007

    Oh, gods: this thread has descended to like, The Very Stupidest Arguments Of Talk.Origins. I will content myself with one riposte to the idiocy, because this one is too good to pass up:

    richardmorant writes: The Scientific community should examine themselves and ‘their’ motives. They give the game away by beginning their research with: “It couldn’t possibly be Creation of any kind so therefore it HAD to be EVOLUTUION”!!!

    You’ve got it exactly bass-ackwards. The claim “X is impossible to have happened by evolution, therefore Goddidit, hallelujah” is nigh-ubiquitous in ID/Creationist argumentation. For example, just read Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box — a book which, beneath all the obfuscatory verbiage, is based on nothing but that premise (though of course, Behe is pretending to talk science, so he’s coy about using the G-word).

    Now go away until you’ve learned the friggin’ first clue about the debate you pretend to be engaged in.

  135. #135 Kseniya
    July 8, 2007

    nothing has stood out as being irrefutable.

    Nothing? Literally? Ok. In science, everything is potentially refutable. Every conclusion is provisional, pending further evidence.

    The contrasting, ah, methodology you refer to works more like this: 1. Core beliefs are founded on ancient fictions contrived to explain the unexplained. 2. Core beliefs are both immutable and unfalsifiable. 3. Observations and conclusions that contradict the belief will be discarded on the basis of faith in the foundation of the belief, 4. Goto 1.

    Nothing is absolutely irrefutable, as you say, and you seem to be using that idea as justification to imply that all beliefs are created equal – but the fact that people like richardmorent offer a bucket of stale dog-slobber as a refutation of evolution does not mean they’ve cast any meaningful doubt on conclusions that have been provisionally accepted as true.

    Which side, in this “debate”, is claiming absolute knowledge?

  136. #136 KellBelle1020
    July 9, 2007

    “A geneticist would have to admit that his, or her, profession has genetically traced all humans, without regard to race, color, structure, or language, to one tribe existing in Africa today. All of us, from one pair.”

    Um, no. Mitochondrial Eve lived about 140,000 years ago, whereas Y-Chromosome Adam lived less than 100,000 years ago, according to the geneticists you claim to speak for. That means that humanity’s last common maternal and paternal ancestors never knew each other, much less did the nasty (unless, by a stunningly large coincedence, Y-Chromosome Adam was a necrophiliac and chanced upon M.E.’s fossilized remains. Even then, much different version of events than Genesis). They’re named “Adam” and “Eve” simply because of the convienent reference to a widely known myth, rather than any assertion that they actually WERE the literal Adam and Eve of the Bible.

    Besides, I’d always heard that the Garden of Eden was supposedly in the Middle East. Or has that changed recently?

  137. #137 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    I believe I read in magazine that a hard hat was found fossilized in an old mine dated back hundreds of thousands years old.

    What was the magazine? “AIG’s Amazing Stories”? Next you’ll be exhuming The Limestone Cowboy.

  138. #138 The Physicist
    July 9, 2007

    Yes they did infact, but that ios a ,matter in which I would like to engage PZ

    PZ’s #1 one objection is to oral debate. I think five days for response would overcome this nonsense of the Sean Hannity Syndrom (Who I cannot stand). I understand exactly what PZ is saying, he who controls the microphone controls the debate. A quite astute observation.

    I intend to let a five day lapse between responses, more if needed. This should be a controlling authority in itself. I don’t know PZ, and if he chooses not to debate me I will think no less of him.

  139. #139 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    Here, here monkeymind! Moving away from the creation v. evolution discussion, I would have to agree with you on the differences between religious beliefs and narrow-minded hypocrisy. Today’s Christians have mostly become the new Jews. History continues to repeat itself, but in a religious context instead of a socio-political context.

    This brings up a very good point. The notion that evolutionary beliefs = atheist and religious beliefs = Christian. This has become as much of a religious war, for some, as Christianity v. Islamic beliefs. In my opinion, evolution, as a science, needs to be separated from evolution as a religious battlefield.

  140. #140 Vanessa
    July 9, 2007

    I’ve read through most of the comments here and unfortunately, what I see are lots of sarcastic, emotional, and angry-sounding evolutionists. Very few of you are able to keep your cool about this and have a calm discussion like mature and educated adults, and I fail to see why. When someone like David Rockwell puts some sincere thought and effort into his post to make you question yourselves and your perception of the universe, all you can think to do is call it boring.

    If your scientific proof is so infallible, then why are you so up-in-arms about it? What are Christians and ID people doing to you that makes you so defensive? Promoting family values? Being honest, law-abiding citizens? Making the suggestion that our attempt to process our little glimpse of our little corner of the universe with something we call “science” may not provide us with the whole truth?

    It really looks like your words proclaim your fear of what might be the truth. Sorry, but you will never be able to convince any believer in God that He does not exist–nor will you be able to convince Him of your notion. Lots of Christians read scientific articles and even get degrees in biology and other sciences. I’d be curious to know how many worshippers of science ever investigate the Bible or church and try to understand what Christians know that makes them want to stick their necks out and be called names by people like you.

  141. #141 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    For number 146, popular science was the magazine and for #145 The bible clearly states that adam and eve were forced to leave the garden. Also, if

    “That means that humanity’s last common maternal and paternal ancestors never knew each other…”

    Evolution wouldn’t work very well either. So I can’t imagine what your attempted point was.

    Good try. I doubt you and I will solve the problems for proving our evolutionary theory but let us keep trying.

    What is AIG? Is that a book?

    Dr D

  142. #142 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Vanessa,

    You fail to consider the possibility that Mr. Rockwell’s thoughful post was nothing more than a superficially civil rehash of a particular brand of tedious crap we’ve seen here in various forms countless times before. It may have been his first post here, but it’s hardly the first time the same sentiments have been posted. That he was well-intentioned and that the thoughts were “original” in his own mind doesn’t change that. Read between the lines of his post (if you can) and maybe you’ll see what I’m getting at, but given that you likely agree with most of what he wrote, I sincerely doubt you’ll be able to. That’s not an insult, by the way. Mr. Rockwell’s worldview blinds him to certain realities, too, you see…

  143. #143 KellBelle1020
    July 9, 2007

    Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam lineages and their ages were measured by completely different genetic pathways. Mitochondrial DNA, and the Y-Chromosome, respectively (weird, I know, they should really name those things more clearly).

    But to clarify, mito is only inherited from the mother, whereas the Y-chromosome is only inherited from the father, which is why these pathways are used to look at the history of the human race – none of that annoying recombination to dig through.

    Oh, and my attempted point was that you clearly don’t know what an actual geneticist who actually studies these things would argue.

  144. #144 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    I pose a question to the evolutionists’, “If we evolved from an animalistic state to a more rational state, where conscious effort exists and enlightenment, what was the catalyst for such an occurrence and do other animals diplay individual intellect over their own kind?”

    To the creationists’ I pose, “If Adam and Eve were the first two people and they begot Cain and Abel, and then Cain killed Abel, how was it that Abel was sent to Nod where he had a son Enoch by his wife before Adam and Eve had their third son Seth?” Genesis 4:15 – 4:26

  145. #145 Benjamin
    July 9, 2007

    Try looking at it this way:

    Look at the universe as a giant computer. Now picture yourself as a little man standing inside the case of the computer. You were born inside the computer, you know of nothing outside the computer, all you know is what you can observe. Now if you were to try to figure out how the computer works, you could do it. Without knowing where the computer came from or how it came to be you could comprehend its mechanics.

    This is one thing that people with an evolutionist view of the world really like to make fun of. “If creationists ran things we’d have no technology and little know-how. We wouldn’t have surgery, just someone praying over the sick and hoping they’d recover.” This is not true.

    As I said, you don’t have to know how the computer was made to understand how it works. Now go one step further. If you were to try to figure out how the computer came to be, it would be impossible. You could theorize based on things you see take place with-in the computer, but you could only assume that these actions are connected with the computer coming into existence. Now perhaps someone would walk up to you and tell you that the computer was put together by a greater being outside the walls of the computer. You might think this to be absurd. There is no proof such a person exists, and no way of finding out unless the greater being wants you to.

    I’m not trying to prove anything with this argument, other than the fact that if God created everything, it is possible that He can not be explained through physical evidence. We would never assume that a computer was assembled by chance over long periods of time, and yet we’re willing to swallow whole the idea that humans, capable of far greater feats than a computer, were brought into existence by pure chance. Why is one so hard to swallow and the other so undeniably obvious? You may want to consider that fact that there might, JUST MIGHT be something out there that is greater than us and is undiscoverable, unless He wants us to be aware of Him.

    It just so happens that He does want us to know Him, and He’s even given us a book to guide us through our lives. Is it really that hard to swallow?

  146. #146 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Dr. Dooley,

    Re: PopSci. I suspect you’re full of ???????. Citation, please?

  147. #147 Vanessa
    July 9, 2007

    The way I see it, Rockwell presented his thoughts from behind his world view, and Kseniya, it looks like you’re in the same boat, being human with your own world view, right? Nobody on either side has said anything new and mind-boggling on this entire page. We’re all just people throwing tidbits back and forth. Nobody here knows everything, so we’re all admittedly wasting our time here on earth trying to conclude where we came from. It’s more important to know what this life is for and where you’re going when you die.

  148. #148 Zarquon
    July 9, 2007

    It just so happens that He does want us to know Him, and He’s even given us a book to guide us through our lives. Is it really that hard to swallow?

    Yes. As no two of you godbotherers can agree on what the book means it’s stupid for anyone else to accept it.

  149. #149 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    epicurean
    Throughout the bible and all of it’s “begots” adam lives over 900 years. I am not sure what makes you think that Seth was their only their 3rd son because he was touted to replace abel. Adam was 130 years old when he had seth, do you believe he didn’t ” know” his wife before that?

  150. #150 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    What are Christians and ID people doing to you that makes you so defensive?

    Lying. They hate truth and love falsehoods, and repeat the same lies, over and over and over again.

    I’d be curious to know how many worshippers of science ever investigate the Bible or church and try to understand what Christians know that makes them want to stick their necks out and be called names by people like you.

    Worship, shmorship. Many religious people who reject their religion do so because they actually read the Bible.

    For example, right there in the book of Genesis, God lies, and the serpent tells the truth. A little later on, God kills nearly everyone on the planet, without mercy or justice.

    The entire bible is full of stories of God committing the same sins that are condemned in humans – wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, pride, envy, etc. The only rational reaction to such hypocrisy is to reject the whole thing.

    And of course, once the bible itself is rejected as an authority, the next step is to look for non-biblical evidence for God. Since there is none, rational methods of discovering truth are searched for. Hey, science is a rational method for discovering truth! Let’s try that! So far, it’s worked out.

  151. #151 adorgan
    July 9, 2007

    Personally, I think there are fewer differences between the theory of evolution and the Biblical story of creation than most peoplebelieve there are. Both start with an undifferentiated universe from which stars, planets, etc. are formed and end with the creation or development of man. Although the Bible uses the word day for the time period of each step, Biblical scholars say the word translated as “day” also means “phase.” I believe my source for this is a book called The Jesus Dynasty. (I highly recommend this book to all you fundamentalist-type Jesus freaks – it’s a real eye-opener.)

    Another point to consider is that while does not require God, neither does it deny God.

  152. #152 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    “It just so happens that He does want us to know Him, and He’s even given us a book to guide us through our lives. Is it really that hard to swallow?”

    Yes! Is that so hard to understand?

  153. #153 Benjamin
    July 9, 2007

    In response to #157:

    So if I were to give five 7 year olds an instruction manual and a car model kit and only 2 of them put it together properly, does that mean the instructions are bad? Or does it just mean that maybe the other 3 didnt read it correctly?

    God’s word is not hard to understand, but man is corrupt and so naturally he will come up with his own interpetation of the Bible from time to time. I’m not asking you to listen to man’s oppinion, I’m asking you to read it for yourself and then go from there. And if you’re gonna take me up on this challenge, you’ll have to use the real Bible. 1611 KJV

  154. #154 Benjamin
    July 9, 2007

    Whoa whoa whoa… #159, you claimed that God lied to Adam and Eve in the garden. Would you please explain yourself?

  155. #155 Vanessa
    July 9, 2007

    Thanks, Owlmirror, for proving some of my earlier points. I hope someone replies to me who has managed to get past Genesis. :)

  156. #156 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    Kseniya

    Yes popular science, i thought the article was a joke at first. Anyway, I suspect you haven’t figured out who I am rooting for. I just know what I have come across in my studies that I can not refute.

    Dr D

  157. #157 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    We would never assume that a computer was assembled by chance over long periods of time, and yet we’re willing to swallow whole the idea that humans, capable of far greater feats than a computer, were brought into existence by pure chance.

    The problem with that (a variant on the argument from design, sigh) is simply this:

    Either it’s possible for complex things (humans; the universe) to develop from less complex things over long periods of time without outside intervention, or it is not possible.

    If it is not possible, then, as you say, an external designer is hypothesized. But… if it is not possible for complex things to develop from less complex things over long periods of time, then this designer could not have developed either, hence, a contradiction: your designer is impossible, by your own argument.

    Therefore, the only rational conclusion is that it is indeed possible for complex things to develop from less complex things over long periods of time without outside intervention; that is, without requiring a designer.

    QED.

  158. #158 Benjamin
    July 9, 2007

    Owl, you’re trying to put restrictions on an unrestricable God. Limits and rules don’t apply to God if He exists. (And I say “if” for sake of arguement.)

    As for looking for someone who’s made it past Genisis, I’ve read the entire Bible several times through, and I’m 19 years old. I welcome anyone to present me with a “contridiction” and I’ll do my best to explain it.

  159. #159 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    @#163: Genesis 2:17 – God says that if they eat the fruit, then on that day, they will die.

    Genesis 3:4 – the serpent says that they won’t die.

    They eat the fruit. They don’t die. Thus, God lied, and the serpent told the truth.

  160. #160 monkeymind
    July 9, 2007

    you’ll have to use the real Bible. 1611 KJV

    You’re wrong! The only real Bible is Luther, 1522. Better git bizzy learning Early New High German!
    Or wait, I have an idea. Let’s test our theories against objective reality!

  161. #161 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    In genetics, each pair passes on it’s mutations as well has has the posibility of creating new mutations. Mostly, these mutations are repressed and no one is none the wiser. The very idea that a mutation in early organisms could develope into a functioning eye or a lung is rediculous. Now consider that that organism would have to mate with another with the same recessive traits for it to express as dominant. Then the family would have to interbreed to continue the trait and that, as discussed above, will only magnify the mutations. Take the Alabama back woods for example.

    The last sentence was a joke for illistrative sake. Not a jab at your mother/cousin/sister.

    That was a joke too, it is getting late.

    Dr. D

  162. #162 beemerup
    July 9, 2007

    Or, we could look at it another way: Today the United States is being confronted with large numbers of scientifically ignorant, politically active Secularists who are locked into anti-religious, anti-Bible views and who want to force these views on others through our elected officials, our courts, and our schools. AND THAT’S WHY I’M HERE TODAY!!
    In a few years we will all be dead, but God will still be alive. Every God-less society has fallen to ruin. And you want to kick God out of OUR society? You can forget about God if YOU want to, and absolutely run Him out of your life if you want to, it’s a free country, but don’t try to make ME live like that. I’ll respect your freedom, you respect mine. When we had God in the schools, kids didn’t have guns there, whether you like that or not, that’s the fact, Jack. By the way, guns aren’t the problem. Morality is. When we had God in the court system, we had honest justice. Notice I said, HAD. Past tense. Gone till we get God on the bench. No God, no justice. Back when we had God-fearing politicians, we didn’t have scandals in the White House. Face the facts, if you dare. This country has gone steadily downhill financially, socially, morally, ever since secularists took prayer out of the schools and it’s getting worse every day that we distance the United States from God. That’s so simple, even a scientist can figure it out. And it’s time Christians (not religious people) stood up to be counted. We are NOT a minority. However, we have been a silent majority. But no more.

  163. #163 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    Well Doc, I cited the actual chapter and verses that I took my wording from in the bible. Of course, maybe you have a different version! The Bible says that Abel was sent away and went to Nod. There he lay with his wife (not Eve) and had a son name Enoch. After this statement the Bible says that Adam and Eve had their third son, Seth.

    So Doc, you’re saying that between Abel and Seth was 130 years and several girls were born of Adam and Eve. One of them moved to Nod and found Cain. Then brother and sister had Enoch. Hmmmm…which Bible are you reading?

    BTW – I have read the NIV from front to back twice. I was raised in Catholic family, but learned to think for myself anyway. I know for a fact that many of the original books of the Bible have been removed over the centuries because of “confusing” messages to the layman. Also, God, in the original text is sometimes singular and sometimes plural. When he created the Earth and all that was on “we” (God) saw that it was good. Who was he talking to?

  164. #164 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    Owlmirror

    The original text of the bible stats that if they eat of the fruit, that “die-ing you shall die. That means the body will not age until death.

    no lie and no contradiction

  165. #165 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    Owl, you’re trying to put restrictions on an unrestricable God. Limits and rules don’t apply to God if He exists. (And I say “if” for sake of arguement.)

    Every examination of our universe shows that limits and rules apply everywhere, and there’s no evidence that God exists unconstrained by those limits and rules. Indeed, there’s no evidence that anything like a God exists at all.

  166. #166 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Yes. As no two of you godbotherers can agree on what the book means it’s stupid for anyone else to accept it.

    Oh, but Zarquon, if it was easy to understand, what good would it be?

    More to the point, the one word that best describes the history of Christianity is “Schizm”.

    Doc, I’m trying to find the article you refer to. I can’t find it. Until I do, I’m going to have to consider the tale apocryphal at best.

    Vanessa, we all have our own priorities. But not all world-views are created equal. Some are based on what can be observed and verified. Others are not. Mr. Rockwell projected all his doubts and fears about the uncertainty of his own existence on those he presumes to know something about. He projects his own lack of intrinsic moral compass on those he presumes to know something about. He projects his own fears about the meaninglessness of life and the universe on those he presumes to know something about.

    This phenomenon is so wearyingly familiar (wearyingly – is that a word?) I just want to dump a bucket of ice water on his head out of spite. And I’m not a spiteful person. I object to being called an amoral nihilist by someone who doesn’t have a clue about me or anyone else here. I’m sorry if you’re offended that I found his tiresome and subtly poisonous rhetoric less than completely digestible.

    Nobody here knows everything, so we’re all admittedly wasting our time here on earth trying to conclude where we came from.

    Why is it a waste of time? How does incomplete lack of knowledge make it a waste of time? Explain, please. (That’s also rather funny given that Creationism is ALL about Where We Come From, and supplying an all-encompassing and unfalsifiable explanation for The Origin of Everything and calling it “science” without actually explaining anything at all.

    Every culture has its creation myth, but for some reason, ours hasn’t grown up enough to realize that this one, too, is in fact a myth. Sad.

    It’s more important to know what this life is for and where you’re going when you die.

    What makes that more important? Explain, please. What if there’s no afterlife? Wouldn’t it be a complete waste of time to contemplate it? Given the utter lack of evidence for an afterlife, I should think that worrying about it would be a far, far greater waste of time that trying to learn something about the biological past, present, and possible future of our (and other) species.

    Meanwhile, Benjamin claims absolute knowledge of the existence of God based on no evidence whatsoever, and we’re supposed to feel enlightened. This is especially amusing coming, as it does, on the heels of his elaborate analogy explaining why knowledge of God is completely impossible.

    Yeah, god(s) could exist. So what? If they do, they do, and no abount of disbelief is going to make them go away – if they don’t, they don’t, and no amount of belief is going to poof them into existence. “What if” cuts both ways.

    Anyway, the “it’s just a theory” of evolution neither requires nor excludes god(s) nor does it concern itself with the origins of life or of the universe. So why are we talking about god(s) at all? Because Creationists insist on conflating all these issues into one, because they can’t stand the possibility that their precious hypothetical God doesn’t (or didn’t) have a hand in every little detail of their reality.

    What they need to DO, instead of getting in the way of the sometimes-important process of knowledge acquisition, is to grow up and learn to live in the real world as adults. Hey, if I was a goddess (an I’m not, though I am often mistaken for one) I would want my children to grow up and be able to live without me. To wish otherwise would be irresponsible.

  167. #167 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    I welcome anyone to present me with a “contridiction” and I’ll do my best to explain it.

    I don’t really care what the bible says, but just to be a pain…
    Hope you have lots of time on your hands

  168. #168 Zarquon
    July 9, 2007

    The original text of the bible

    Wow, you’ve read the original, not a tranlated version of an edited copyist’s version like everyone else. Where’d you find it?

  169. #169 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    epicurean

    try to keep up…

    Genesis 4:25 reads

    Cognovit quoque adhuc Adam uxorem suam et peperit filium vocavitque nomen eius Seth dicens posuit mihi Deus semen aliud pro Abel quem occidit Cain.

    Since others may read this than you I will translate

    Adam also knew his wife again: and she brought forth a son, and called his name Seth, saying: God hath given me another seed for Abel, whom Cain slew.

    There is no mention of birth order at all.

    God the Father, God the Son, And God the Holy Spirit are the Alpha and that is the we.

    Dr. D

    ps last post error “the body will now decay until it dies.”

  170. #170 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    The original text of the bible stats that if they eat of the fruit, that “die-ing you shall die. That means the body will not age until death.

    Yet another creationist lie.

    The original text of the bible says
    “Ume’ets hada’at tov vara lo tochal mimenu ki beyom acholcha mimenu mot tamut.”

    Ume’ets hada’at tov vara lo tochal mimenu = And from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, do not eat from it
    ki = because
    beyom = on the day
    acholcha = that you eat (in the future)
    mimenu = from it (the tree)
    mot tamut = you shall die the death

    God lied.

  171. #171 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    mot tamut = you shall die the death

    3:3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.

    De fructu vero ligni quod est in medio paradisi praecepit nobis Deus ne comederemus et ne tangeremus illud ne forte moriamur

    But let us look at your version. Die the Death, what deat, mmm…maybe the death of age.

    I’m with you but you are not proving our point any better then I can. If we are going to move to the next level of knowledge in order to refute this info,we will have to make stronger efforts.

    Dr. D

  172. #172 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Long live The Deathbird.

  173. #173 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    maybe the death of age.

    Weak. You’re quote-mining your own holy book.

    on the day
    that you eat
    from it
    you shall die the death

    And you’re on the wrong chapter and verse. What kind of scholar are you? Oh, right, a creationist one, who loves falsehood anyway.

    It’s Gen 2:17, where God tells a direct lie, not 3:3, where Eve paraphrases what she’s been told.

    de ligno autem scientiae boni et mali ne comedas in quocumque enim die comederis ex eo morte morieris

  174. #174 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    Looking in the NIV that is NEW IV isn’t it? Will hardly reveal truely original writings will it? Not to say His world will come back void in any version. In 130 years there are lots of sons and lots of daughters. If we believe anything of science we know that two men and a women can’t live together for 130 years and not produce children.

    Did Cain kill Abel before their parents had 80 other children, or after. There is no mention of the total population at the time of the first death. (well at the very least second since God killed an animal to cloth adam and eve)

    I read the latin copy of the Aramaic

  175. #175 Wonkie1
    July 9, 2007

    It’s a cop-out to use ridicule to replace DEBATE. If you don’t have answers, just make fun of something. Now THAT’S real intelligent! Please explain where/how original life began…a Big Bang? Right!! WRONG! How ridiculous is that? What many people…including some “scientists” call “evolution” is merely mutation. Even Creationists whose authority is the Bible accept mutation because it’s scientific and Biblical. Mutation has nothing to do with the origin of life. …and yes, Creationism comes from the Bible:if you don’t accept the Bible to be authentic, you are not on the same plane…are scientists-many from some of our most pretigious Laboratories in the country. I have to say that all the above entries are interesting. It’s almost unbelievable how many Americans are so ignorant about something so very basic.

  176. #176 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    “It’s almost unbelievable how many Americans are so ignorant about something so very basic.”

    You mean like the Big Bang theory?

  177. #177 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    It’s almost unbelievable how many Americans are so ignorant about something so very basic.

    Yup – almost.

  178. #178 Zarquon
    July 9, 2007

    It’s a cop-out to use ridicule to replace DEBATE. If you don’t have answers, just make fun of something. Now THAT’S real intelligent! Please explain where/how original life began…a Big Bang? Right!! WRONG! How ridiculous is that

    Uh you just used ridicule to replace debate, dude. I hope you have a fire extinguisher for the smoke that’s coming from your logic circuits.

  179. #179 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    Fine 2:17
    The meaning an point is still the same.

    I am not”a creationist one”

    I am not a bible scholar for sure but I seem to have asked and researced more questions at this point in my life then you have. If as scientists we are looking for truth of truth and not truth of what we want it to be. We just aren’t doing well. Then when we can’t make good points, some of us just start being hostile or calling names like when you said

    And you’re on the wrong chapter and verse. What kind of scholar are you? Oh, right, a creationist one, who loves falsehood anyway.

    What point did that rant have but to make us look like we are trying to develope emotion in others instead of stimulating good thought.

    Again, I am her to learn how to better defend my scientific position, I’m just getting not help.

  180. #180 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    Looking in the NIV that is NEW IV isn’t it? Will hardly reveal truly original writings will it?

    Doc, this proves a point I was trying to make earlier. You are now saying that one version of the Bible is correct and another isn’t. My version specifically states that Seth IS the third son of Adam and Eve.

    If we believe anything of science we know that two men and a woman can’t live together for 130 years and not produce children.

    Now, you throw in your own assumption that is NOT stated in the Bible. How is someone supposed to take the Bible literally when you yourself just shot its credibility down?

  181. #181 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    Oh…BTW, Doc…NIV is New International Version. It has clergy from nine different religions overseeing the interpretation to make sure the language is as closely translated as possible and that no one religion tries to influence the wording.

  182. #182 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    your point makes mine. It is a collaberative effort. There is most definitly give and take.

    you are correct, no one religion and influence the wording. Nine can.

  183. #183 epicurean
    July 9, 2007

    Doc, your inability to answer my post, previous to the one you just commented on, clears up your agenda greatly. Thanks for your time. Sorry, you are lacking in having an intellectual conversation.

  184. #184 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    If this is any indication of the people our elightened minds will be coming from i am concerned. In fact, i have spent my life just convincing myself that i cannot refute the bible with sound science as has been my goal. Although science has changed, evolved if you will, over time and the bible has not, maybe the bible is what the religious claim it is. In fact, at this point in my career, if my science doesn’t coincide with the bible, I almost automatically rethink my science. Without exception, the original scientific thought has been wrong and later coincides with the bible.

    i suppose I and other’s will still try. I am definately loosing my faith….in science.

    Good night

    doc dooley

    fornosonly@hotmail

  185. #185 Doc Dooley
    July 9, 2007

    epicurean

    you must me young……

  186. #186 Andyblue
    July 9, 2007

    My favorite response to creationism was an anecdote about the French astronomer Laplace who when asked by Napoleon why in all his theories of the universe there was no mention of the word ‘God’ replied ‘I had no need of that hypothesis’.

  187. #187 Richard Dawkins
    July 9, 2007

    I’ve never had the bottle to use it myself, but I can’t resist passing on the response of my colleague Robert May (Lord May, former President of the Royal Society, and Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government) when invited to have a ‘debate’ with a creationist (read his words with an Australian accent): “That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine.”

  188. #188 David Rockwell
    July 9, 2007

    (FWIW I liked all the alternate endings offered. I wondered if shouting out “Pi” would prompt the crowd to chuckle irrationally…)

    Or a long expectant pause as the room falls silent and then someone pipes up, “Well, aren’t you going to finish it??”

  189. #189 Martha S
    July 9, 2007

    Creationism is often used to describe a literal 6 Days of Creation. To take the creative 6 days and put them in to 24 hours periods of time is NOT a Bible Teaching.

    If I may, I will offer some information which you may point out to Creationists.

    I do believe in Creation but Creationists should pay more attention to the Bible if that is what they are utilizing to prove Creation. Creative Days from a Bible Standpoint agrees with Science in that it took Thosands/Millions/Billions of years for Creation.

    (1.) It was not until the 4th Day of Creation the 24 hour period of time was in place. Genesis 1:16-18 “And God proceeded to make the two great luminaries, the greater luminary for for dominating the day, and the lesser luminary for dominating the night, and also the stars. Thus, God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth, and to dominate by day and by night and to make a division between the light and the darkness.”…

    (2.) 2 Peter 3:8 “However, let this one fact not be escaping YOUR notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” Here the Apostle Peter is stressing to disciples that they are waiting on God to bring the promised day and they would have to wait according to God’s time even though they are experiencing ridicule. 2 Peter 3: 3,4 “For you know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires, and saying: ‘”Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.'”

    Even if you do not believe in the Bible, those that do can be shown scriptures that fly in the face of 6 Literal Days of Creation.

    Also, in this scripture a thousand years is being used as a long period of time to humans so the disciples would understand a long period of time, not the time period for God’s day.

    (3.) A Day, even to humans, is used to describe a period of time. “In my day….” “It was the day of a new philosophy….” And the Bible uses this same type of “day”. Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of those Kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin….” These are not 24 literal days but a time period. Additionally, the “Old Testament Word Studies, Grand Rapids , Mich.; 1978, W. Wilson, p. 109″ The Hebrew word meaning day has a variety of meanings, including a long time; the time covering an extraordinary event.”

    I think it is important to understand the Bible view point of Day even if you do not believe the Bible is the Word of God or in Creation. Those that do believe in the Bible should know Creative Days were not 24 hour periods of time and Creationists should be shown this information to at least let them know that what they are depending on to show creation is not in agreement with their view of 24 hour time periods of creation.

  190. #190 Blake Stacey, OM
    July 9, 2007

    Richard Dawkins:

    Nice. :-)

    David Rockwell:

    The natural thing to do would be to shout out “e!” (Though I imagine that some wannabe wit would reply with a lusty yell of “i!“)

  191. #191 Reed
    July 9, 2007

    Oh how sorry are the debaters. The scientist ignors the truth to claim a lie all in the name of science. But the natural scientist know nothing about science for they refuse to listen to THE SCIENTIST, the one who created it all.
    Folks do not rest in the lies and retoric of your ignorant teachers who are destined to die in pride and real emptiness. They have set the pace which has made our society a society of hopelessness and despair.
    There is a book which explains this better than any lying so called professor of deceit. The title is “A Case for a Creator.”
    The demogogue will not read it for it disproves and shows that the present day scientific community is looking away from the evolutionary hypothesis. It is so easily disproved that when faced with indisputable facts which even Darwin would have had to accept that these fools remain true to a cause which they really know is a lie. Why? “Because they are Scientist?”

    Find the truth and the truth shall set you free. I did 27 years ago and Jesus is my source. He is also God, the Creator!

    Don’t accept the philosophy of the Darwinian Scientist which is disguised in scientific terminology to decieve the masses.

  192. #192 Blake Stacey, OM
    July 9, 2007

    epicurean:

    In another Bible I read it stated that, “Cain went to a nearby city.” Where did this city pop-up from? There was only Adam and Eve and Cain…Abel was dead. Was it Gods first attempt at making woman? Lilith?

    I believe this “solution” was actually proposed in the 1700s, when the “pre-Adamite” idea was all the rage. Of course, those who have read the truly inspired scriptures — I refer, naturally, to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman — know that Adam had three wives. The first was Lilith, who was expelled for being too uppity; the second God created while Adam was awake, and Adam rejected her because he could see all the muscle and mucus inside; and the third was Eve, who never died, but retreated to her cave to bear the blame for the Fall.

    The story of Adam’s second wife, made from dust and spurned by a squeamish Adam, comes from the Alphabetum Siracidis, a medieval text attributed to Yeshua ben Sira, the author of Ecclesiasticus (in the way that many medieval authors used ancient and revered names to bulk up their street cred). AFAIK, Gaiman adopted it to make Eve another aspect of the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother, crone).

  193. I don’t mean to be rude, but, What a silly article. It reeks of some homemaker diva giving recipe advice to a tub full of dunces. I will debate anytime anywhere any number of “Creationists” and win easily. I know the bible and know Anthropology (Ford Foundation Fellowship Recipient). This article sounds like fear of something that is ludicrous. The Euro’s are right, Americans are cowards. This article sounds like a frightened child with silly bromides, scared to go toe-to-toe with the Big-Bad Creationist. Starting with the childish points laden in above, you are self-defeating. Write about something more in your line of expertise like raising kittens, or baking muffins. No wonder Bush got elected twice, if this is the best the opposition has to offer, Creationists deserve to win. How wussie.

  194. #194 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Or a long expectant pause as the room falls silent and then someone pipes up, “Well, aren’t you going to finish it??”

    Heh. :-) Or, “Oh for God’s sake, not this one again – it’s way too long!”

  195. #195 michigander
    July 9, 2007

    I have but one question for Reed: Did THE SCIENTIST keep a lab notebook? Oh, wait, I know…the Bible will suffice. Dang, that’s a handy book.

    I digress now:

    Re #99: “I’m curious what institution hands out BS degrees without insisting that its graduates know how to spell and punctuate.”

    Um…most of them? With the exception of some small, private liberal arts colleges, I’m not sure any university really gives a flip about this on a grand scale. Oh sure, all are concerned about it in the abstract, but really addressing the problem of poor writing ability is like trying to eliminate underage drinking on campus. Good luck. regardless, all of us over 40 r going 2 have 2 adjust, becuz n 20 years, the journals r all going 2 b wrtn n this diealect..cu later…im off 2 the libary were the boks r

    Go over to rateyourstudents dot com if you want a laugh (or cause to slash your wrists) to read some horror stories.

  196. #196 michigander
    July 9, 2007

    Ah, nuts. It’s rateyourstudents dot blogspot dot com.

  197. #197 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Blake,

    The natural thing to do would be to shout out “e!” (Though I imagine that some wannabe wit would reply with a lusty yell of “i!“)

    No, man! Those aren’t jokes – they’re song titles from the repertoire of the popular tribal-percussion group, The Log Rhythm Devils!

    And for good measure (no music pun intended) here’s a review of Forbidden Archaeology.

  198. #198 Fred
    July 9, 2007

    Cut the crap of all these creationists, and terminate all extremist ideologies and the same of religions. Earth will become a nice place to live in.

  199. #199 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Blake, have you ever read George MacDonald’s Lilith? It’s a good read, and a precursor to the Narnia series. I think Lilith got a raw deal, myself, but G-Mac doesn’t see it that way, given that Lilith was, you know… kind of a riot grrrl.

  200. #200 Lisa Sellinger
    July 9, 2007

    I never bother to respond to all of these articles on the internet…but this one struck a nerve. Science is man’s knowledge based on man’s study. No person is perfect or without mistake. I guess “the super-genious” man writing this article and the responding “scientists” must be God himself. After all, he and many other commentators seem to know it ALL. Billions of people around the world are practicing Christians who believe in Creationsim. I think it is unfair to teach science only as truth and fact, and not present the other side of the argument that obviously has validity in the eyes of billions of people. Not to mention the lack of respect written into the article is staggering from someone claiming to be intelligent.

  201. #201 Nullifidian
    July 9, 2007

    I think the blog is quite unfair to The Other Website That Shall Not Be Named. I’ve always found RateMyProfessors.com to be extremely useful by the quality of its bad reviews. If reviews are posted in leet speak and complain about how the professors made the students think, then it’s no exaggeration to say that I consistently choose that professor over the others, and it led to my most satisfying classes as an undergraduate.

  202. #202 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Lisa,

    “Unfair?” You’re thinking about this the wrong way. It is unfair not to teach mathematics in a foreign-language class? Is it unfair not to teach physics in a comparative religion class? Keeping mythology and superstition out of science class isn’t about fairness. There’s no imperative to supply equal time to competing viewpoints when these viewpoints fail to present even the most basic qualifications of a science.

    You want unfair? Unfair is raping the 1st Amendment by cramming mythology, dressed up as science, down the throats of schoolchildren.

    Billions of people around the world are practicing Christians who believe in Creationsim.

    1. You overestimate the number of Creationists. Badly. Fewer than half the Christians in the Western World believe in the Biblical account of Creation (or any reasonable facsimile thereof). It’s not even half here in the backwards U.S. of A. Half the world’s Christians are Roman Catholic, and the RCC supports the teaching of Evolution.

    2. Popularity does not equal validity.

  203. #203 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Holy crap.

    Who sicked the godbots on this post? Vox?

    Their arguments never do get any better.

    And Physicist still doesn’t get it. Post something on ID… give up your evidence and then link to PZ’s blog and send him an email. He’ll probably respond with his own post if it’s worth it. That’s what a back and forth between blogs is. He’s done it with LOTS of bloggers.

  204. #204 Epistaxis
    July 9, 2007

    Creationists can generate more lies more quickly than you can refute.

    This isn’t a “throwaway line” at all, no matter how assertive it sounds. Comment #141 is a case in point (among many others here – this post must be hot on the science-denial circuit, for obvious reasons). Point-by-point, imagine how much longer a polite, well-researched debunk would be.

    A few years ago, the student board at my university’s biology college thought it would be cool to host a student-on-student debate about evolution vs. design. I’m not sure why no one told them it was a bad idea. They had trouble finding a volunteer to defend evolution – even *I* got asked. (I said no, for many of PZ’s reasons, especially #1 because I was just a science student and the opponent was an officer in the debate club.) To the dismay of the student board, evolution lost.

    It’s easy to be right and lose a public debate anyway.

  205. #205 rrt
    July 9, 2007

    Steve C: But that wouldn’t provide nearly as much spectacle and special attention, which seems to be part of what our friend’s after.

  206. #206 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    There has to be a way to put things in perspective for debates…
    a ruthless gloves off approach. Disdain, mockery and humor.

    If Hitchen’s were a scientists… hmm. And SOBER for a debate.

    Creationists and ID endorsers lie… why don’t we just say they’re
    lying and being dishonest.

    I’m sure this would all fail miserably. But at least you can point out they’re putting lipstick on a pig.

  207. #207 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    “Ah, that’s interesting,” says the visitor. He spends a minute or to gathering up his courage, then shouts out, “1 times 1″.
    There is a bit of polite but subdued laughter to be heard around the barroom. Puzzled, the visitor turns to the bartender. “What happened?!?”
    The bartender replies, , “It’s not any funnier when you tell it that way.”

  208. #208 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    Adaptation is different from evolution. It is possible for a moth, over a period of time, to change colors to blend in with its environment; however, it is not possible to change a fish into a giraffe.
    If one little thing went wrong in the creation of the universe (one little, tiny thing) the Earth might be too close to the sun and we would burn up, or be too far from the sun and fly away. If one little thing went wrong in our DNA we woudln’t have any way of desposing of our body waste so we would swell up and eventually die, or we would have no way of getting food INTO our body in the first place so we would die. There is no possible way that everything just fell into place so perfectly.
    One great Christian who argues against evolution all the time is Kent Hovind he’s got tons of awesome videos disproving it, too.

  209. #209 PZ Myers
    July 9, 2007

    Kent Hovind? The guy who bought a diploma from a house in Colorado, taught dogma at a Bible school and now claims to have been a science teacher, and who has been convicted and jailed for tax fraud? That’s who you trot out as your paragon?

    Bwahahahahaha!

    I suggest you search for “hovind” in the box at the top left of this page.

  210. #210 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    “Science is man’s knowledge based on man’s study.”

    So is religion. All those books were written by men. I don’t know why people seem to fail to grasp this.

    Oh, except this blog. PZ’s writings are actually dictated from the words of a Magic Man in the sky. It’s true.

  211. #211 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    “There is no possible way that everything just fell into place so perfectly.”

    And yet it did.

  212. #212 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    The bible explains all of history back as far as we can go and even scientists are showing more and more facts that are listed in the bible to back that the information is true. From time missing in history to underground rivers and even holy places being found just as they are described in the bible.

    There’s no reason not to believe that the Bible can be used as a historic record of human sociopolitical events that happened during the time frames of their writing. However, since the Bible is a collection of various stories, tribal myths and accounts, it would be a fallacy to assume that just because parts of it were found to have historical basis, the whole thing must be true as well, including the parts that were supposed to happen before the tribes that wrote these stories even existed.

    To use an analogy, supposing a 50th-century archaeologist were studying 20th century culture using various 20th century stories and accounts as a guide. Would the discovery of the remains of the White House prove the story of Santa Claus to be correct? Of course not. If archaeologists uncovered evidence of ancient rivers and villages reflected in the religious stories of other cultures, does that make their creation myths correct as well?

    You creationists sure do love your logical fallacies…

  213. #213 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    #222 you make no sense.

  214. #214 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    #224, you make no sense either

  215. #215 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    #225, nothing in the Bible can be disproved and evolution books were writen even longer of a time from the sourse then the Bible stories

  216. #216 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    OW! The stupid it burrrrrns.

  217. #217 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    Whatever that means, #229.

  218. #218 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    What doesn’t make sense? Religious tomes were written by men. Fallible, credulous, desperate men. Then those books were edited, expanded, contracted, translated, retranslated, re-edited, and re-retranslated by men. I’m just refuting the notion that science is flawed because it is mere human reasoning.

    As for post #226, I may have been pretty flip, but you might want to look up the “anthropic principle.” The fact that conditions are such that we may exist says nothing about how those conditions came to be. All it says is that we exist, which is self-evident. If we didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be here arguing anyway.

  219. #219 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    #231, speak in English. Whose side are you supporting?

  220. #220 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    We try not to converse on a 3rd grade level around here.

    Maybe you should try the Discovery Kids website Lam.

    http://kids.discovery.com/

    He’s supporting the informed side Lam. Not the ignorant one.

  221. #221 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    You should speak in English too pig whose side is he supporting?

  222. #222 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    You should speak in English too. Whose side is he supporting?

  223. #223 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    When you creationists come here with your silly beliefs, and are ridiculed and hooted off the stage, you take it far more personally than it actually is. What you don’t get, and probably don’t want to understand–because it would obviate your martyr complexes–is that the invective is generic. It’s not reserved just for creationists who spout nonsense; scorn would be heaped upon ANYBODY who came around spouting nonsense as factual, especially mythological nonsense. People who actually work hard to figure out how the world works are far less interested in trying to be-like-Jesus all the time, and are far more interested in getting to the truth.

    If any of your silly ideas can be tested and proven then do it! If you do that, then you will win the day and all the ‘godless, sinful, apostate scientists will accept the validity of your claims–they will have no choice. But you can’t do that because all your ideas are gotten by either second hand bible stories that don’t stand up to real-world scrutiny, or by your feelings about how the world should work. And since you spend most of your time cloistered in tight little prayer circles indulging in paranoia and pretending that an invisible, all-powerful dominate alpha male has been appeased into not smiting you, your intuition about how the world works is very askew.

    You do not understand science, you reject the scientific method, and you’re not interested in working hard to get to the truth–you just want to be blissed out and feel ‘SAVED!’. What part about “that is not science” don’t you understand?

  224. #224 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    I think your nic is missing a letter.

    e

  225. #225 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    Do you have a point?

  226. #226 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    #228 Lam, by your own premise of not being able to prove what people weren’t there to witness, then you can’t disprove evolution either (as you are attempting to claim in #220.)

  227. #227 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    RamblinDude

  228. #228 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    #239, disprove the Bible and I’ll listen to you.

  229. #229 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    You are LAME.

    That’s my point. I say it with fewer words than Rey and Ramblin.

    It’s easier for you to understand.

  230. #230 tony
    July 9, 2007

    Barkeep: “No Mongo! Don’t eat the nice…”
    Customer: “Arrghhh!”
    Mongo: “Mmmm, Crunchy!”

    regarding i… Aren’t all jokes imaginary?

  231. #231 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    WHAT IS YOUR POINT!?

  232. #232 Lam
    July 9, 2007

    Steven Colbert said it best, “Man was created in God’s image. Monkeys were created in God’s chimp’s image.”

  233. #233 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Wow, I missed out on all the fun. I’d like to point out that I find it painfully ironic that the religious of any persuasion accuse scientists as being elitist.

    To the fundamentalists here: tell me how you really feel about the multi-armed elephant-headed god Ganesh of the Hindu pantheon. What about the Japanese Caterpillar deity? No trickery here; I’ll know if you’re lying. You see, if you really felt these other beliefs deserved equal time or should be respected like you ask us to respect yours, you’d be out there studying them, searching them for the truth they just might hold. Since most of you don’t and prefer to retreat into your born-into born-againism (and how random/coincidental is that? You just happened, of all the 6 billion people on earth to be born into the ‘right’ religion? What are the odds of that? And what did you do to deserve to not be born in a heathen country to heathen parents? I suspect somebody’s deity’s been dealing from the bottom of the deck) we can only conclude from your behaviour that you feel the beliefs of others are silly and wrong-headed.

    So why don’t you take your holier-than-thou wounded false pride and stick it where the Great Designer designed hemorrhoids?

    To put it in biblical terms, ‘Go forth and multiply.’ In other words, fuck off.

  234. #234 ROF
    July 9, 2007

    From the somewhat erudite Rockwell to the nattering of The Physicist to the totally imbecilic Lam, this thread is proof of its premise — “Don’t ‘debate’ creationists.”

    It may be sport of a sort; but . . . the PAIN !!!

  235. #235 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    Oh dear. Time to shatter your worldview even further, Lam: Steven Colbert’s show is satire. Oh, sorry, let me say that in English. He’s playing pretend.

  236. #236 Karl Rove II
    July 9, 2007

    Wow, Vox called forth his “Shtupid Minyons” and they came…crazy and dumb as rocks.

    Hope you enjoyed the vacation…

  237. #237 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    #241 If you can’t even read for comprehension then I highly doubt you’re capable of listening. At any rate…

    http://freethought.mbdojo.com/biblical_problems.htm

  238. #238 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Alternate ending 1a:

    The bartender says, “Awwwww, man — you shouldn’t tell an Irish joke if you can’t do an Irish accent.”

    The visitor nods, thinks for a moment, then leans over the bar and, in a honey-thick burr, says “Thirrrty-twoo!”

    The bartender gives him a quizzical look. “I don’t get it. You mean the cannibals were Scottish?”

  239. #239 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    Lam is a troll, and we’ve been had. You got us Lam.

  240. #240 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    “There is no possible way that everything just fell into place so perfectly.”

    And who says it did – or even HAD to?

    There’s a big difference between “The universe was created specifically to accomodate human beings” and “Human beings came to exist as part of a complex set of natural processes taking place on the world as it happened to exist as it did.”

    Whales don’t live on mountaintops, they live in oceans. That doesn’t mean that oceans were created for whales.

  241. #241 Sue
    July 9, 2007

    Hey, Brownian. They guy you told to “fuck off” is a kid. A kid who simply wanted to enter into a discussion. I hesitated…I knew someone would go low like you did…so I won’t paint you all with the same brush, as you do all Chrisians. You, Brownian, responded ignorantly. Interestingly, you responded to his perceived intolerance by telling him to fuck off. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Rey Fox posted that it seems impossible that everything just fell into place and “yet it did”. Sounds like faith to me. I don’t enter into debates with evolutionists. I know what I believe. I know it’s not science, I know that it’s faith. Why not own that your “beliefs” take a lot of faith too? Faith that cells randomly evolved into pefectly formed and functioning humans.

    To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. (Darwin 1872)

  242. #242 v. w. alphan:
    July 9, 2007

    we get the anti darwinists at the islands; evolution & creation was the luncheon special that afternoon. Creolution no doubt! haha.
    problem is: their doctrines tend to out number & impress; not bible doctrine, post grad. degrees.
    i’m a bit intimidated from debate, as not desiring a size seven in the oral cavi-ate emptor haha

  243. #243 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Just like a creationist… to quote mine Darwin.

    Why don’t you finish that with what he says AFTER that?

    Tool.

  244. #244 MikeG
    July 9, 2007

    To Sue #255
    regarding that eye quote:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part2.html#quote2.8

    Does anyone want to bet if she’ll check it out?

  245. #245 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Let’s be clear Sue: I was telling all of the religious who bitch because they’re called ignorant when they hold exactly the same contempt for every religious belief other than theirs to fuck off.

    I don’t brook bigotry.

    And if you’re going to call someone out, be honest: I may be truthfully called an asshole, but I am by no means ignorant.

  246. #246 tony
    July 9, 2007

    Go away for a few minutes and the vermin just get everywhere….

    We need RAID for Godbots!

    Some may be good for a little light relief, but others are just damn midges…. (LAM – that means you!)

    Damn — I remember writing an ‘Eliza’ in college that engaged in better conversational gambits than these drones!

    I sometimes worry – then I look at my kids, and their friends, and happily realize these bufoons are breeding themselves into a genetic backwater… REAL people think REAL thoughts and are concerned by the REAL world.

    (A can of RAID would be nice, though)

  247. #247 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    I made an honest stab at refuting his comments, and he told me to “speak English” (oh, and despite his attempt to cover it up, he called Steve C a pig). If he’s a kid, then he’s a rude kid, and if you’re his mom, tell him that people don’t like smartasses, particularly when they’re more well-informed on a subject than he is. Also, realize that we can’t tell from the content of people’s posts who they are. Plenty of supposed adults come here and sound just like Lam.

    And please learn a little more about evolution so that you don’t go around telling people that it’s just cells “randomly” self-organizing into people.

  248. #248 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    #255: Explain how we’re supposed to know everyone’s personal details. How did this “kid” find this blog, anyhow? …Gosh, is Pharyngula is linked to the AOL Kids’ Corner or something? How disingenuous. Encourage the kids to enter the fray then lay the guilt on thick when the mean ol’ godless evilutionists hurt their feelings. …Then again, guilt-manipulation is yet another creationist specialty.

    As for the eye dilemma, you’re correct about not wanting to enter into debate with evolutionists if all you can muster is a quote mine on a topic long since addressed in more recent years. You creationists sure do love your logical fallacies…

  249. #249 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Or that evolution claims that giraffe can evolve into fish.

    Mammals have evolved from land dwellers to seaside dwellers to sea dwellers however.

  250. #250 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    “Ah, that’s interesting,” says the visitor. He spends a minute or to gathering up his courage, then shouts out, “42+6-9+3=42 again!” The barroom falls silent for a moment as everyone gives him a strange look. Aghast, the visitor turns to the bartender. “What happened?!?” The bartender replies, “We don’t understand sign language.”

    (I think it’s time for me to quit.)

  251. #251 arensb
    July 9, 2007

    Doc Dooley:

    Looking in the NIV that is NEW IV isn’t it?

    Yes. It’s an updated version of the NIII. As for myself, I’m waiting for the NV to be released before I upgrade.

  252. #252 Mike
    July 9, 2007

    My repeated observation is that the Christian True Believer (True Believer is the title of a book by Eric Hoffer that I read decades ago) forgets that at least some of them claim in a 4th century, if I recall correctly, statement that God created all things seen and unseen, visible and invisible, etc. Within my limited knowledge and as far as I am aware that statement has NOT been repudiated, disclaimed, renounced, etc.

    So why is it that a God who is all powerful, who created everything, etc. by Christian definition, could not have also created evolution with all of its variations as well? That has never been answered.

    The exception and only answer that seems to be presented when there is even a response is that the world is only so many thousands of years old despite clear evidence to the contrary–the calendar we have is 2000-ish years old.

    To me it is clear that the True Believer doesn’t appreciate their calendar calculations or those of the Essenes and other Jewish sects from the period, which incidentally is part of the Bible which is supposedly true. The various Jewish sects of the period all kind of figured that the world was more or less 3900 years old and that there was something like another 1000 years or so left before end of the world around AD 1000 or so. The calendar and dates were variable and changed to suit and support the belief systems of the various sects. As I understand it the calendar was also apparently changed when the claims failed to be fulfilled. Again this is as I currently understand it.

    As I understand it there is nothing in the Biblical account as to why there has been another 1000 years or so of existence since the end of the world was pronounced so many times so long ago based on the calendars of the various sects. Can it be that the sects in the Bible are wrong? (My numbers do NOT pretend to be exact but are rather ballpark due to recollection.) The clearest explanation I’ve seen, read, heard of to date and one that also makes some semblance of reasonable sense is in Barbara Thiering’s Jesus the Man where she goes into calendrics of the period in a fair amount of detail as she puts forth her other ideas. The book is heavily endnoted with lots of different bibliographical references from the period as well as contemporary. No, I am not she. I have no relationship of any type with the publisher, author, family, etc. I am merely impressed with the thoughtfulness, reasonableness, thoroughness of her work.

    So I stop as they are then really a True Believer with whom no further discussion can be had on this subject.

    I really suspect, but can’t know because I am not inside them, that the really True Believer lives with almost constant if not constant internal terror if not TERROR.

    I finally threw out the proverbial bath water along with the baby decades ago. With it also went the bathtub, the scrub brush, soap, wash cloth, the faucets, the plumbing, etc. (yes I’ve brought some of it back in) when I finally realized that along with the good Christianity may have given the world that it also has supported, enabled, aided and abetted, if not directly given us over the centuries various murderous rampages against heretics, a few Crusades, the Inquisition, destruction of native populations in the “quest to save them” as other Europeans stole their resources under the guise that the natives could not make efficient use of them or that the natives had no law to name but 4 large historical categories. I am now starting to suspect that perhaps so many have died under the hands of Christianity that the count may very well reasonably approach if not exceed the combined count of the Nazis and Stalin. Perhaps this is hyperbole but it is something I ponder.

    Of course, since the Bible is taken as literally true I think it is also very easy to falisfy in this case because all it takes is a single independently verifiably wrong fact, claim. I think this is why there has been such a push to prove the Bible as factual in the last decades. The True Believer I suspect realizes at some visceral level that they have backed themselves into the same proverbial corner as the caged animal. So rather than admit error, they would rather take the entire “universe” down with them to ensure that their beliefs remain intact. But this is only suspicion. I have no proof other than results of their behavior–Didn’t Jesus say something like–by their fruits you shall know them? I think we can know them by their fruits.

    Will many disagree if not take extreme exception if not dramatic offense? Absolutely.

    Some may even put a hit out on me.

  253. #253 khan
    July 9, 2007

    Back when we had God-fearing politicians, we didn’t have scandals in the White House.

    Look up: “Warren Harding” and “Grover Cleveland”

    You are as ignorant of history as you are of biology.

  254. #254 Drekab
    July 9, 2007

    If one little thing went wrong in the creation of the universe (one little, tiny thing) the Earth might be too close to the sun and we would burn up, or be too far from the sun and fly away

    Well it’s good thing there’s about a billion billion star systems out there, much better chance at least one of them came out right.

  255. #255 Sue
    July 9, 2007

    I did tell him he was rude. He was rude and he did not understand some of the clever word play, because he’s a kid. What I’m not seeing in here any acknowledgement that when you resort to fuck you, you have ceased to have the intellectual debate you state that you respect. I did not encourage him to enter the fray, I discouraged him, and I kept an eye on the exchange, which is why I ended it.

  256. #256 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    If one little thing went wrong in the creation of the universe (one little, tiny thing) the Earth might be too close to the sun and we would burn up, or be too far from the sun and fly away.

    Very true. Just like the fact that a small body of water, spinning too fast in a container, will climb up the sides and fly out (you can test this at home with a cup, glass, bowl or pail. Ask an adult to help). However, water always knows not to spin so fast it flies out of the sink when you pull the plug. Further, it always obeys this knowledge.

    This raises two very interesting questions (which, to my knowledge, no scientist has ever answered): How does water ‘know’ the maximum spinning velocity when running down the drain? and why does it obey this speed limit?

    In my mind, there is only one entity that can both teach and discipline: a school principal.

    Thus, I call the solution to this mystery the Hydropic Principal.

  257. #257 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    How old is this kid, Sue?

  258. #258 John Marley
    July 9, 2007

    Re comment #223:

    Many people here have seen Mr. Hovind’s videos.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA! is the only appropriate response.

  259. #259 Don
    July 9, 2007

    I think there would have to be some sort of first cause. What that is no one knows. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter?

  260. #260 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    I know, Jay, that’s what I keep telling everybody here: they need to drop the false gods of science and jehovah/yahweh, and embrace the truth of Triglav. He is so holy, he is blindfolded so that he cannot even see the wicked sins of men and woman. Yes, it seems odd, but the only and true god is so awesome, he must be represented as three: Svarog, Perun, and Veles. But that is the amazingness of TRUTH; it cares not for the limitations of our human understanding.

    Thank Triglav there’s another here who understands truth as I do, Jay. Let us hold hands, and pray that these infidels see the light through our holy guidance.

  261. #261 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    Jay: I’d drink all the Pabst in the world before I let one drop of ACID in my mouth. Seriously, you’re nuts.

    Sue: If you’re trying to make us feel bad, it ain’t working. We’re all familiar with the tactic of cherry-picking the rudest comments made and then holding them up as indication of how mean the people on our side are. By the same token, I could conclude that the creationists aren’t interested in intellectual debate because they compare their god to acid, therefore, they’re all insane.

  262. #262 Creationist
    July 9, 2007

    Wow..lets get one thing straight. you are going to hell. Is there something wrong with not wanting kids on the street dressing like sluts, when you dress l ike that people will judge you, how do a lot of girls get raped ?? and drugs..if no one teaches a child to say no to drugs they are going to doooo theem PEER PRESSURE THATS WHAT YOU ARE TEACHIGN THEM NOT TO GIVE INTO IN SCHOOL or is that just a show…because here we go letting them watch mtv…which says use protection have safe sex, blah blah blah…thats BS because if they meant that they wouldnt put sex and inuendos in the music videos and on the reallity shows..hmm We arent tryign to rule the world… unlike you money loving self centered people we care about the kids (which i am one of them) and we care about the people….sorry for caring and sorry for wanting whats right..because we all know that letting our children watch MTV music videos that are very showy and then wondering why people are how they are …mayeb hypocrits ?!?! sound good..because thats what you are controdicting hypocrits..?! ..bring the debate on… there are so many sides youd lose, look at our country… we originated on being ONE NATION UNDER GOD and now… we took the 10 commandments out of the court We tryed to take out ONE NATION UNDER GOD …for gods sakes WHY because these Athiest “americans” dont believe in god …THEN YOU ARENT AMERICAN ..just because of one prson we will change the whole country nooo thats wrong..these people that ask for “respect of religion” should respect ours and all these people coming from over seas and MEXICO who dont respect us…damn…you are lucky we are letting you in here…we are giving into them AMERICA…we let you in our country let you live here give you freedom and you dis us and stuff !?! no thats not how it works..you came here your epsect our ways or you should keep your mouth shut. what is this country coming to…we already got ourself into enough shit..we have no true alibis Not only morally is this country messed up but financially ..we aer controdicting wanna be’s we take the pwoer for granite…wow im done…. may god help you all…

  263. #263 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    What I’m not seeing in here any acknowledgement that when you resort to fuck you, you have ceased to have the intellectual debate you state that you respect.

    Sue, what you must understand is that exchanges with creationists stopped being a ‘debate’ a long, long time ago. This is just us swatting mosquitoes–annoying mosquitoes who keep trying to suck out our ‘souls’.

    If creationists would bring sensible arguments to the forum, and stop annoying us with the same drivel that’s been refuted and explained endless times before, then the whole tone of things would change.

  264. #264 John Marley
    July 9, 2007

    Creationist:

    Wow..just..WTF?..wow.

  265. #265 Dennis Marcellino
    July 9, 2007

    After I got over the shock from seeing such incredible bigotry, closed-mindedness and emotionalism (using words like “take a hike”, “patsy”, “obnoxious”, “noisy creationist”) in the name of science, I decided to reply to this very uninformed post. It appears that the poster’s opinion is based perhaps on a few bad experiences with over-zealous “creationists”. (I’m giving the poster the benefit of the doubt by assuming this). But it is very unscientific of him to assume that all Creation scientists are without substance in their arguments. In my extensive research based on my engineering and psychology backgrounds, I’ve found that when science and logic are taken to the nth degree, THE truth (and the science of logic says that there is only one truth) ends up with this conclusion: God exists and the Bible is true. Even Louis Pasteur, a founding father of science said, “A little bit of science averts us from God, but a lot of it takes us back to Him.” I didn’t see any science in Mr. Myers’ post, just emotional rhetoric. So if he, or anyone is interested in examining whether his view or the views of creationists are true, I invite you to a new blog, which is http://www.TheUltimateMeaningOfLife.com. Post a substantive (not emotional*) comment there and then everyone (including myself) will have a chance to respond. (*When I see emotional responses and emotional language it tells me that the person doesn’t have enough substance to their argument and therefore has to resort to emotion to try to get their view across).

  266. #266 John Marley
    July 9, 2007

    Creationist:

    On a second reading, I have to conclude that this is satire.

    Well done.

  267. #267 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis, you obviously don’t know about Triglav and his magnificence.

    I’ll pray for you.

  268. #268 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    So will Jay, with the concentrated acid that he’s referring to which can only be the tears of Triglav.

  269. #269 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Fucking hell.

    We run the gambit here…. the “educated” creation scientist to the theocratic ignorant high school drop out godbots sniffing the winger glue.

    I can’t decide which is more pathetic.

  270. #270 Jay
    July 9, 2007

    Thank you for the mockery Brownian, I forgot that in this forum there isn’t need for intelligent debate, just evidence for intelligent design. I have no need for an unseeing god, I need a god can see all sins with lucidity and judge them, for only a god that can see can fully know truth.

  271. #271 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    Brownian: I sneer at your false God Triglav, and I truly mourn for your eternal soul for you are surely bound for Hellfire. I implore you, fall on your knees and worship Zeus, the rightful ‘King of all kings’ and ‘God of all Gods’ before it is too late.

  272. #272 Don
    July 9, 2007

    I won’t argue whether or not there is a God as long as no one tries to define what it is. But to believe the Bible as the word of God that is sheer nonsense.

  273. #273 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Jay you have daddy issues. Or a self control problem. Funny how many of us don’t need that brutal authority figure in the sky to keep us in line.

  274. #274 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    #269 Fallacy of florid prose. Gee, d’ya think you could make a more convincing argument if you added an MPEG of “Amazing Grace” ?…

    (Also, fallacy of false dichotomy. What isn’t “true” about the concept that things change over time?)

    #276: Appeal to Consequences (and what has any of this got to do with illegal Mexican immigrants?)

    Creationists sure do love their logical fallacies!

  275. #275 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    How dare you claim my faith is mockery, Jay?! Just because your sinful human mind cannot comprehend that a blindfolded god has no need for eyes to ‘see’ doesn’t make it untrue. Triglav’s justice is absolute, hence the blindfold.

  276. #276 Nullifidian
    July 9, 2007

    It appears that the poster’s opinion is based perhaps on a few bad experiences with over-zealous “creationists”. (I’m giving the poster the benefit of the doubt by assuming this). But it is very unscientific of him to assume that all Creation scientists are without substance in their arguments.

    Why is it unscientific if that’s entirely true, based on one’s experience?

    In my extensive research based on my engineering and psychology backgrounds,

    Neither of which are biology.

    I’ve found that when science and logic are taken to the nth degree, THE truth (and the science of logic says that there is only one truth) ends up with this conclusion: God exists and the Bible is true.

    So how do you find the story of the falling walls of Jericho, given your experience as an engineer? Do you really think trumpets can match the natural harmonics of brick enough to create a driven oscillation?

    Even Louis Pasteur, a founding father of science

    Pasteur lived well after the transformation of science into a fairly rigorous methodology.

    Secondly, the whole “founding fathers of science” narrative has been disputed for the past 40 years by historians of science.

    said, “A little bit of science averts us from God, but a lot of it takes us back to Him.”

    And Pasteur had no more basis for his religious positions than my plumber. So who cares?

  277. #277 MAJeff
    July 9, 2007

    Sue,

    With your own dishonest quote mining of Darwin, and your exposure of that child to the Ken Ham’s nonsense, I’ve just got to ask, Isn’t lying forbidden in you little “holy book?”

  278. #278 Dennis Marcellino
    July 9, 2007

    < >

    Because “ONE’S experience” is not a big enough sampling to come to an hypothesis … especially when there are SO MANY other experiences to the contrary.

    Reading some of the posts here, it appears that this forum is mostly for an emotional catharsis delivered with profanity and insults. So let’s not blasheme the intelligent approach of science and try to call it a forum about science. (BTW, ‘hearsay of theories’ is not science. Only openminded inquiries that lead to intelligent challenges that have substance and that encounter intelligent corrections can lead to good hypotheses.) If this forum is a sampling of the anti-Creationist side, then I see it violating all of Rulon’s guides and therefore the conclusion should be reversed to say “Don’t debate emotional, insulting anti-Creationists.”

  279. #279 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis:

    in the Diamond Sutra Siddh?rtha Gautama spake thusly to his disciple Subhuti:

    “Subhuti, do you think that you can measure all of the space in the Eastern Heavens?”

    “No, Most Honored One. One cannot possibly measure all of the space in the Eastern Heavens.”

    “Subhuti, can space in all the Western, Southern, and Northern Heavens, both above and below, be measured?”

    “No, Most Honored One. One cannot possibly measure all the space in the Western, Southern, and Northern Heavens.”

    “Well, Subhuti, the same is true of the merit of the disciple who practices compassion and charity without any attachment to appearances, without cherishing any idea of form. It is impossible to measure the merit they will accrue.”

    Scientists know that the universe is immeasurable, since it is far larger than the distance light could have travelled since the big bang. Thus, the Diamond Sutra is true, and speaks of compassion and charity.

    Why are you not a Buddhist?

  280. #280 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    If creation “scientists” behaved more like scientists, the very least one would expect is to change the Creation story in accordance with the knowledge gained and evidence found. (For example, changing the time span from six days to millions of years). …Not try to spin the evidence to fit a story that was more or less an attempt by ancient tribes to understand the world around them.

  281. #281 Nullifidian
    July 9, 2007

    Because “ONE’S experience” is not a big enough sampling to come to an hypothesis … especially when there are SO MANY other experiences to the contrary.

    That’ll be news to Ignaz Semmelweis and Joseph Lister.

    And if you have “SO MANY” experiences of sound creationist argumentation, then do, by all means, provide us with something that is not already refuted in the Index to Creationist Claims. Note that what you’ve got on that blog you’re hawking already fails the sniff test.

    If this forum is a sampling of the anti-Creationist side, then I see it violating all of Rulon’s guides….

    So you see this site violating all of the guides to a man-made plastic amalgam of primarily TFE fluorocarbon?

    Or are you trying to throw out Robert’s Rules of Order on us? If that’s the case, science doesn’t progress by Robert’s Rules of Order, nor are we bound to give even minimal credence to known liars like the five-Watt luminaries of creation-‘science’.

  282. #282 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Whatever Dennis.

    You’ve just shown up?

    Try hanging around here for a couple weeks and see how ridiculous the creationists are that show up here…

    You’ll understand our lack of patience and understanding. We usually have a 3 post rule for trolls. But sometimes that rule is voided by the bullshit they spout with their first post.

    Wonder if Dennis will make it to 3. He’s already treading on concern troll ground.

  283. #283 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis is one of the more subtle breed of God-slaves whose approach is to shake his head sadly at the intolerance being displayed, and pretend that he is imbued with reason and open minded impartiality.

    And then, when you turn away thoughtfully, rebuked and chastised, he sneaks up behind you and, yep, sure enough, tries to save your soul and bring you to Jesus.

    You’re not fooling anyone.

  284. #284 Dennis Marcellino
    July 9, 2007

    < >

    Ann,

    Before coming to that conclusion, you should check out the specific details of the Creationist’s arguments. I think that they are quite convincing, and they do very much behave like scientists (which they also are by profession. And, unlike popular belief, there are hundreds of them). You can see these arguments at http://www.ICR.org, http://www.answersingenesis.org and http://www.TheUltimateMeaningOfLife.com. This is not a topic that a person can be flippant about (although most here are trying to be). It takes a lot of study. Just because a person has anger against Creationists (for whatever reason), it is premature of them to just come out firing opinions as if they are facts. (That’s not a comment against you personally, but against this forum as a whole). That approach can be frustrating to a person like myself who has put a LOT of time into this topic.

  285. #285 MAJeff
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis,

    the amount of time spent “studying” and propogating bullshit, does not make it any less bullshit.

  286. #286 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Ah, there it is. Dennis feels that the evolutionists haven’t read and studied the creationist arguments, hence their invective against what he feels they don’t know.

    What Dennis doesn’t know is that we are familiar with all of these arguments, have refuted them, and seen them refuted by others time and time again. (And those are the arguments that aren’t complete lies.)

    You think you’re frustrated because you’ve put a lot of time into this topic?

    Man, you haven’t a–close your eyes, Sue–fucking clue what frustrated is.

  287. #287 PZ Myers
    July 9, 2007

    “Hundreds of them”? That isn’t against popular belief, that’s pretty much standard. It’s also pathetic, given that there are many hundreds of thousands of qualified biologists in this country who reject creationism.

    The creationists do not behave like scientists. They refuse to accept evidence contrary to their predetermined conclusion, and anyone who has had any experience with them at all is familiar with their predilection for dishonest scholarship. Any organization that is trying to argue that the earth is less than 10,000 years old in blatant contradiction of the facts of physics, geology, chemistry, and biology — as ICR and AiG do — is a nest of humbug and nonsense. I’m sure you have put a lot of time into it, but what you’ve been doing is not science, it’s a desperate attempt to rationalize biblical foolishness in the face of the facts.

  288. #288 Dennis Marcellino
    July 9, 2007

    (Ramblin’ Dude wrote) Dennis is one of the more subtle breed of God-slaves whose approach is to shake his head sadly at the intolerance being displayed, and pretend that he is imbued with reason and open minded impartiality.

    And then, when you turn away thoughtfully, rebuked and chastised, he sneaks up behind you and, yep, sure enough, tries to save your soul and bring you to Jesus.

    You’re not fooling anyone.

    Ramblin’ Dude,
    I assure you I have no such hidden agenda. I’m just trying to reason within this forum. I was an atheist myself for many years and just came to the conclusion that following the Bible REALLY helped elevate my life and experience. Then later I was able to meet all the intellectual challenges regarding that (because as a scientist I didn’t want to feel like I was blindly following a fairy tale). Given the responses that I’ve seen at this forum, the people here must have encountered some very pushy Christians in order for them to be so attacking here. I’m sorry for that, but that doesn’t negate what the truth is, which like I said before, requires a LOT of investigation.

  289. #289 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    Kudos to Steve_C for pegging Lam as a 3rd-grader. Can you blame anyone for not realizing he was literally correct?

    I hope Sue learned something today about letting her boy play on unrestricted sites on the Internet.
    I hope she learned that there are worse things than being told to “fuck off” by an adult after having been rude to a group of adults he doesn’t even know.
    I hope she learned that letting her boy learn (pseudo-)science from the likes of Kent Hovind betrays the fact that she has has no concern whatsoever for the quality of his intellectual development.
    I hope she learned that he’ll find more truth here in ten minutes than he could in a year under the oh-so-careful guidance of a man like Dr. Dino.

    (Yeah, so I’m an idealist. What of it?)

  290. #290 Howard
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis – it’s quite convenient that your “investigation” helps you sell your books, isn’t it?

  291. #291 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis, there is also the possibility that our lives and experiences are already elevated (or were formerly depressed as god-believers) and so see no need to work so hard to make the facts fit the bible, or the q’uran, or the sutras, or the upanishads, or dianetics, or the daodejing.

  292. #292 Nullifidian
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis – it’s quite convenient that your “investigation” helps you sell your books, isn’t it?

    That sounds very overly-optimistic. One look at his one-post blog (do we have a new version of JA Davidson?) convinced me that I was absolutely not interested in anything he had to say at book-length.

  293. #293 Jim
    July 9, 2007

    I can give scientific reasons why evolution is a sham. In fact if any of you actually did your research you will find out that the TOP scientists in the evolution(Biology for the idiots) field are abandoning the whole evolution theory. LOOK IT UP! Don’t just reply to this out of ignorance. Granted they may not be looking at a creation point of view, but are saying evolution has to many holes to explain away. Many of you claim that science is fair and unbiased because it goes through rigorous scrutiny. That is stupid!!! How many years has it been that Darwin came up with his theory and people have accepted it only now the top scientists don’t even believe his theory is valid. But it is still being taught in schools. His theory caught on not because of testing but because of peoples distaste for God. You believe what you want to prove there is no God and hide in the guise of science. I pity you all. Most of you can’t even explain the “moral code of humans” Where does it come from? Now some of are saying hey I took philosophy in college and can give you reasons. Who created the moral code? In the animal kingdom where we so called came from it is survival of the fittest? I know I’m wasting my time typing this. But you all need to find truth not just frivolous arguments of how we came from monkeys. (Excuse me the Lemur was the first of the monkey of which we derived from. But most of you are too stupid to even know that.)

  294. #294 David Rockwell
    July 9, 2007

    As the skunk making love to the porcupine finally commented, “I have enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand.”

    A few parting comments:
    From RamblinDude – I don’t care about, and am not going to attack, anyone’s personal revelations–as long as they keep them personal and don’t try to impose them on me. I cannot evaluate them or judge them–they are personal, as are mine–but no one here is going to apologize for being irritated and angered at the attack on reason, on science, that creationists have engaged in.
    – I have no designs on your soul, my friend. I appreciate your respect for other’s personal revelations, but would submit that no one is under any obligation to keep them personal, just so as not to annoy you, any more than you feel obligated not to vent your personal perspectives and reactions on the rest of us. But thank you for the response. It appeared to be and was taken as a sincere attempt to explain your perspective and, believe it or not, I can even appreciate some of your sentiments.

    Vanessa – Thank you for your supportive observations.

    From Kseniya – Mr. Rockwell projected all his doubts and fears about the uncertainty of his own existence on those he presumes to know something about.
    -You seem to be good at doing a bit of projecting yourself. That was an interesting analysis of my comments. My tiresome point was that many arguing for the superiority of our understanding from science (and apparently even the various branches of science are at odds with each other in this thread) are no less blinded by their own world view than the rest of us. The insistence on the purported reliability of science, which in its best tradition never claims to have definitively proven or dis-proven anything, seems no less dogmatic than any religious orthodoxy I’ve encountered. You acquire information just like the rest of us, from what you read, observe, and experience personally, regardless of your methods, and your faith in those experiences and observations is no more or less reliable than my faith in what I read about and personally experience regarding both science and spiritual matters. The significance attached to many modern observations regarding the “theory” of evolution appears to be rife with speculation, either because the left over evidence only points to phenomenon not directly observed in times past or the key transitions cannot be demonstrated to be reliably and consistently repeatable in a scientifically controlled setting. What still puzzles me is the seemingly arrogant assertion that you are more justified in expressing your views (and your annoyances) because your faith in the role of science in determining reality or truth is automatically superior to a world view that also allows for faith in the such mysteries as God. I find such a blind faith in science almost as disturbing as you seem to find my faith in God. The only difference I can detect is that you don’t annoy the hell out of me the way my world view seems to annoy you. Perhaps that is because there is room for a lot of your world view in my belief system, and there appears to be none in yours for mine. Enjoyed the barroom thread, by the way :-)

  295. #295 Jay
    July 9, 2007

    Brownian, what exacly do you label yourself? You’ve expressed reasoning rooted in Slavic tradition, Buddist beliefs, and mentioned pagan practices. What exactly are you? Should you not identify that before you try to skew the scales in your direction?

  296. #296 PZ Myers
    July 9, 2007

    I know some of the “TOP scientists” in the field — people like Watson and Wilson, various Nobelists, etc. — they’re all saying the evidence, already strong, is getting even stronger. What “TOP scientists” are you talking about? Can you name a few? Can you cite a few examples of their denial of evolution?

  297. #297 Howard
    July 9, 2007

    I can give scientific reasons why evolution is a sham.

    Jim, please go ahead and post them here.

    In fact if any of you actually did your research you will find out that the TOP scientists in the evolution(Biology for the idiots) field are abandoning the whole evolution theory. LOOK IT UP!

    Generally it’s good form in an argument to present your own sources instead of demanding that your audience “LOOK IT UP!”

  298. #298 kmarissa
    July 9, 2007

    Perhaps that is because there is room for a lot of your world view in my belief system

    Such as, when it’s convenient for me. Like when I’m sick and need antibiotics. Then you’re more than welcome to appply what you know about evolution to give me drugs that work. But when I’m healthy, well, your “evolution” is just another arrogant worldview!

  299. #299 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis said:

    “but that doesn’t negate what the truth is, which like I said before, requires a LOT of investigation.”

    I quite agree, and that was exactly the reason for constructing the scientific method in the first place. Either getting to the truth is your agenda or it isn’t. Only you know that.

  300. #300 Benjamin
    July 9, 2007

    Comment #175:

    When God said “Thou shalt surely die” he was not speaking of a physical death. In fact, death literally means seperation. And in fact, they were seperated from God, which is the worst form of seperation possible. The serpent decieved Eve into believing that God meant a physical death, and indeed had that happened Adam would have never eaten from the tree. Since he was able to convince her otherwise, however, Adam likewise ate the fruit and thus condemned the entire human race.

    As to a comment about there being no evidence that God exists: Even if there were no such evidence, the God that the Bible speaks of is quite capable of existing without a way to trace him scientificly. Or did you ever consider that science is not omnipotent? Just because science is not able to detect a being as great as God now does not mean that it never can be done. 1000 years ago science wasnt able to detect the existence of the planet Pluto, but it still is out there isnt it?

    “Scientists” tend to assume too much. “Since we cannot explain or detect God, He must not exist.” Did you ever consider that “While we cannot find scientific evidence for the existence of God, we cannot prove He does not exist.”

    Science is great for explaining the physical, but God is not bound to a physical realm, He created the physical realm and can enter and exit it like a room in a house. God exists in a spiritual realm that can never be observed through scientific means. Thus the word “faith”.

  301. #301 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    “In fact if any of you actually did your research you will find out that the TOP scientists in the evolution(Biology for the idiots) field are abandoning the whole evolution theory.”

    Name three.

    “Who created the moral code?”

    Well, I would think it’s an invention of multiple races of humans independently of each other throughout history that started realizing that they’d be happier and feel more secure in their lives if the fellow people in their social groups weren’t running around killing each other for little reason and stealing whatever they liked. You could even say it’s evolutionary: we wouldn’t have survived if we couldn’t keep from killing each other, or if humans would have survived, there’d be much fewer of them and we wouldn’t have these nice comfy societies to live in. But I guess it’s much more inspiring to believe that Cosmic Daddy made the rules and will punish us if we don’t follow them.

  302. #302 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    What scales am I skewing, Jay? I’ve restricted myself to using only standard Christian apologetics. I’m just using them to justify non-Christian beliefs in exactly the same way a Christian uses them to justify Christianity. Kinda like C.S. Lewis if he weren’t a bigot.

  303. #303 Howard
    July 9, 2007

    Just because science is not able to detect a being as great as God now does not mean that it never can be done. 1000 years ago science wasnt able to detect the existence of the planet Pluto, but it still is out there isnt it?

    The problem with your analogy is that Pluto is obviously something that is detectable, and your God, by definition, is not. The same is true of bacteria, or the atom, or anything that we have discovered that was once inconceivable. It is impossible to refute your idea of God because you have defined him as such.

  304. #304 T_U_T
    July 9, 2007

    Benjamin,
    if god
    – creates an universe in which occam razor works
    – deliberately chooses to be undetectable,

    then she
    – either doesn’t mind if its inhabitants believe in her or not
    – or deliberately wants people to go to hell
    .
    in either case there is no reason to believe in such a god.

  305. #305 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    I wonder how all those Amerindian civilisations got on before we gave brought them the morality that god invented?

    Seriously Jim, you gotta stop repeating ‘survival of the fittest.’ Herbert Spencer coined that term, and he didn’t know shit about evolution.

    But you’re too stupid to know even that.

  306. #306 John Marley
    July 9, 2007

    I was an atheist myself for many years and…

    I think this is the official catch-phrase of concern trolls.

  307. #307 rrt
    July 9, 2007

    Benjamin, please understand that the overwhelming majority of us agree with “While we cannot find scientific evidence for the existence of God, we cannot prove He does not exist.” But has been stated above, this fact means that we have no need of the God hypothesis. It’s a frivolous complication.

    If we cannot detect any evidence for the supernatural, then the supernatural cannot have a significant influence upon our world. Thus it may as well not exist. Efforts to argue otherwise always wind up crossing back into claims that the supernatural has testable effects on the material world, and ’round and ’round we go. The majority of the creationist comments here have struggled with the basic concept of definitions and standards of material evidence, either having none at all, or having broken versions that amount to “anything I don’t like (e.g. talkorigins’ summaries) is just ‘spin.'” There’s no real effort to understand what science accepts as evidence and why.

  308. #308 hoary puccoon
    July 9, 2007

    Please don’t take this as a statement of faith in Hinduism, but….Holy Cow! If ever anyone needed an explanation of why to avoid debates with creationists, this thread says it all.
    And Sue, dear, if you can’t teach your child some manners, you’d better teach him some karate. If Lam doesn’t learn to treat others with more consideration, being cussed out verbally will be the least of his troubles.

  309. #309 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    Another key difference is that before the discovery of Pluto, no one ran around saying that there HAD to be another planet* out there, and everybody just HAD to believe in it because of faaaaith and that aplutonists were bad or closed-minded people. Pluto wasn’t anyone’s imaginary friend either, to be made existant and have observable effects when it was convenient, and to be indetectible when people started asking where or how they might find it.

    * Er, dwarf planet.

  310. #310 GALizzard
    July 9, 2007

    I am amazed that intelligent people can miss important points. Sorry for the LONG POST.

    I see in this blog two conflated terms used to justify arguments that do not follow. When you attack creationism, you should be more modest in your claims of what science proves. Does evolution occur? Undoubtedly, but it depends on what you mean by evolution. Is there variation and change? Yes, within particular genetic bounds this type of evolution has been strongly demonstrated. Dogs, dingos, and wolves are all essentially wolves. Big beak finch and small beak finch populations vary in the Galapagos Islands depending on climate conditions. However, these examples do not prove common ancestry. They only prove variation within genetic bounds. This situation is common when arguing for evolution, but evolution champions often overstate their case. More is needed to substantiate common ancestry, and modest claims are more persuasive.

    Likewise, conflating creationism with intelligent design or other critiques of Darwinism does nothing more than create a straw man. ID has to be dealt with on its own merits or demerits. Creationism was redefined in the 1970’s to mean the Institute for Creation Research/Answers in Genesis brand of flood geology. That has been shown to be bad science, and should be shunned. ID, however, is not the same thing as flood geology, which the NCSE misses either ignorantly or deliberately for rhetorical purposes. It may work in press releases, but it is intellectually specious.

    In its truest sense, a creationist is simply someone who believes that God created the universe and everything in it. At the very least, God set the initial conditions including the laws of physics, and then let things run in a natural, perhaps evolutionary way. It is possible to be a creationist and believe in limited evolution. There are reasons many scientists think that God actually is more involved than just natural processes. Yes, scientists. I am a consultant in academia, and I work with hundreds of scientists and engineers. I hear these stories all the time. In fact, research published in “Scientific American” (Sept. 1999) show that 40% of scientists believe in a God “to whom you may pray expecting an answer.” This is hardly the atheistic view of science pushed in this blog. Again, be modest in claiming to represent science and scientific attitudes and theories. You can walk into a pit and maybe step into something brown and smelly in the process.

    If any of you will read about the history and philosophy of science, you may discover some interesting and maybe disturbing facts. University of Washington sociologist (now emeritus), Rodney Stark’s chapter on science in “For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery” (2004, Harvard University Press) is an intriguing read.

    The first fact is that science does not equal naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that God does not exist, and that the world only operates according to natural, material processes. This is a philosophical position that can not be demonstrated scientifically. The belief that God exists and created everything is a philosophical view called theism. It can not be demonstrated scientifically.

    Each of these views has a grand explanation for where everything came from and how everything works. The grand story of naturalism is evolution. Random interactions of matter and energy result in high levels of organization and complex organisms. God made nothing because He does not exist. Nature made nature. The grand story of theism is creation. God made nature, and God is not the same thing as nature. These competing explanations are actually religious stories, and not science. That’s right. Macroevolution (common descent, not modest variation within genetic bounds) is primarily a religious viewpoint. This whole debate is not science versus religion, but religion versus religion. Richard Dawkins admits this in his recent writings, including his book “The God Delusion” and an article last winter in “Wired” magazine. He admits his philosophical naturalism and defends it as compatible with science.

    Nonetheless, the fact that naturalism is a widely-held viewpoint among scientists does not negate the 40% of scientists who do not buy naturalism. This is not a bunch of fringe kooks like the ICR or AiG. They are mainstream university faculty, like the professors I consult with at schools like Georgia Tech, University of Texas, or Stanford among others. Likewise, incipient naturalism in science does not negate the fact that experimental science was born out of Western Christian Europe, the pioneers of science, with very few exceptions, were all Christians, and science got along just fine without naturalism for nearly 400 years. Science is easily done with a creationist (in the technical sense, not the ICR sense), and does not require naturalistic assumptions. This is simply the facts of history. Darwinism came along and provided a plausibility story for a naturalistic worldview, and it is only the last 150 years in which naturalism has gained ascendancy. As Dawkins said in “The Blind Watchmaker,” “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    Just think a little before making broad statements about the surety of evolutionary theory. Know what can be proved, and what is still theoretical. Don’t conflate terms. Microevolution is not macroevolution, and ID and other critiques of Darwin is not the flood geology of young earth creationists at the ICR. And don’t assume that science requires naturalistic assumptions. Forty percent of scientists will laugh at you if you do.

  311. #311 RamblinDude
    July 9, 2007

    “Ah, that’s interesting,” says the visitor. He spends a minute or to gathering up his courage, then shouts out, Negative 42!” The people in the barroom erupt into tears and begin sobbing uncontrollably.

  312. #312 Brownian
    July 9, 2007

    “They only prove variation within genetic bounds.”

    What is this boundary you speak of GALizzard, and where is the evidence for its existence?

    Otherwise, the only limit to how much genetic change in a population of organisms we can observe is time.

  313. #313 Felix
    July 9, 2007

    this whole fight sounds more like a game than people trying to educate each other. I do read the word win quite a few times on this page. would you join such a debate to help the people understand more of the world or just to do another strike against creationists?

    how about this: the world was created to look like it evolved. then religious people have creation. and all the scientific theories are still applicable.

    the question creation or no creation is purely religious. you can argue against creation as a non-Christian but not as a scientist. Popper said that a scientific theory has to be disprovable. since a scientist can’t disprove things like creation, or the existence of God (no matter if they are true or not) they are nothing he/she can to be concerned with.

    of course I don’t understand how a religion justifies denying scientific theories since they are something purely non-religious in my understanding.

  314. #314 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    Thump thump thump goes the bible.

    So much noise.

  315. #315 jackd
    July 9, 2007

    Sorry, GALizzard, but those of us who’ve been around the evolution/anti-evolution debate for a while are well acquainted with the difference between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. Your attempt to conflate the two doesn’t get you anywhere if you’re trying to appear both honest and informed.

  316. #316 Steve_C
    July 9, 2007

    How about the minister who decided that hell was not needed because life can be so shitty on earth that eternal punishment seems overkill. So therefore god would not create a hell.

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3356360&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

    He fails to carry his logic far enough though. He stuck with his god is pure love story.

    Lost his congregation too… they need their hell. Sad lot.

  317. #317 David Marjanovi?
    July 9, 2007

    Naked mole rats, it says here, are very nearly entirely cold-blooded.

    Good point. Last time I checked, though, they still generated half of their body heat themselves, meaning they haven’t gone all the way to bradymetaboly, bradyaeroby, and poikilothermy. But maybe they will, if we let them, over the next couple of million years.

    Disproving IS proving. You can’t do one without the other.

    You can always tell who’s just repeating talking points and who actually understands the concepts by looking to see whether they continue stating things that are obviously wrong.

    Sure, one should think that disproving A and proving the opposite of A were the same.

    But to think so shows that you have thought no farther than those American journalists who believe that there are exactly two sides to every question and believe that objective journalism consists of reporting both sides in “equal time” (if I may borrow your humiliating tone for a while). If hypotheses A, B, C, and D exist and explain the same phenomenon, and then B, C, and D are disproven (which means their predictions are found to disagree with repeated precise observations), and all predictions of A are fulfilled, have we proven A even within methodological naturalism and the principle of parsimony? No, we haven’t. Maybe A is true, but maybe we have merely not managed to imagine E so far.

    “But then, there’s a lot of stuff that we do know”

    Really … or just think we know? – i.e. Ptolemy’s reasonable notion that the sun revolved around the earth. If your world view insists that there can be no God, then all your evidence and explanations will be filtered through that given preconception.

    But, you see, I don’t insist that there can be no God. We don’t know if there is a God. Sure, there’s no evidence for one, and there’s nothing that requires the existence of one to be explainable, but that doesn’t prove that no God exists.

    Why do you confuse the philosophical question of whether anything supernatural exists with the scientific question of whether evolution happens? They have nothing to do with each other.

    It is not illogical to look at the variety, order, and remarkable balance and harmony in “nature” and consider that someone or something with intelligence, power, and skill greater than ourselves is responsible for its existence

    Dude, if a god exists, you have committed blasphemy. Two words: Stupid Design. Order? Balance? Harmony? It’s a mess. A fascinating mess, but a mess, a huge mess. Read the recent post on segmentation genes, if the position of your own trachea is not evidence enough for you.

    The paleontologist would have to admit that “Noah’s flood” would have caused rapid sediment deposition (fossils) and explosive climate and tectonic changes if it occured as recorded in the bible. I believe I read in magazine that a hard hat was found fossilized in an old mine dated back hundreds of thousands years old. All I am saying is that the science of aging artifacts and fossils is not too accurate.

    Where to begin…
    – “Rapid sediment deposition” and “fossils” are not the same. You should know that, really.
    – We don’t determine the age of anything by looking at how old it looks. Radiometric dating. It works. Eat that.
    – Do you know what a radiolarite is? Do you know how thick they can be? Do you know what a coral reef is? There are rocks that cannot be deposited within 6000 years. Period.
    – Tectonic plates are never faster than about 20 cm a year. At least not within the last few billion years.

    The cell biologist would have to admit that the mechanisms of cells are so inter-related that the chance of a single generational evolutionary change could not account for all the changes to occur at once so that the organism would benefit from the change and therefore retain the mutation for future generations.

    There are so many examples that show you are wrong. Go and read.

    An ebryologist will admit that the so called gill slits appearing in many unborn babies of any species are only folds and never, except in fish, have any true structure to appear as a functioning organ such as gills are.

    Gills and gill slits are not the same. Go and read.

    So why do many developing babies look the same from many species, the same way you can tell a Thomas Kinkaid paintings without looking for the signature in the corner.

    This is special pleading, and you know that full well.

    So as far as the best evidence for evolution, there is most likely not any.

    Go and read, ignoramus.

    After, the bible said the world was round long, long, long before science decided to agree.

    Where does it say the world is round? In at least two places it says the world has four corners, and in many it says the world is flat, resting on unspecified pillars.

    The Bible tells us to worship God. Instead, you worship the Bible — without having read it. That is sad. That is truly sad.

    Besides, I’d always heard that the Garden of Eden was supposedly in the Middle East. Or has that changed recently?

    No. Instead, there’s evidence that it’s modeled after Sumerian descriptions of Dilmun, which apparently was Bahrain. Google for “Dilmun”.

    I’ve read through most of the comments here and unfortunately, what I see are lots of sarcastic, emotional, and angry-sounding evolutionists. Very few of you are able to keep your cool about this and have a calm discussion like mature and educated adults, and I fail to see why. When someone like David Rockwell puts some sincere thought and effort into his post to make you question yourselves and your perception of the universe, all you can think to do is call it boring.

    You see, we had a very calm and mature discussion in the mid-late 19th century.

    We become sick and tired when people who haven’t bothered to read up on the basics bring the same long-disproven arguments back to the table again and again and again and again.

    And no, David Rockwell hasn’t put sincere thought or sincere effort into his posts. His posts make clear that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has not learned even elementary biology. The fact that he doesn’t notice — the fact that he believes biology only consists of what little he knows — falls under egnorance (correct spelling — google for it).

    ——————-

    OK, I’ve only read up to comment 149 and need to go to bed. “See” you tomorrow.

  318. #318 David Marjanovi?
    July 9, 2007

    Naked mole rats, it says here, are very nearly entirely cold-blooded.

    Good point. Last time I checked, though, they still generated half of their body heat themselves, meaning they haven’t gone all the way to bradymetaboly, bradyaeroby, and poikilothermy. But maybe they will, if we let them, over the next couple of million years.

    Disproving IS proving. You can’t do one without the other.

    You can always tell who’s just repeating talking points and who actually understands the concepts by looking to see whether they continue stating things that are obviously wrong.

    Sure, one should think that disproving A and proving the opposite of A were the same.

    But to think so shows that you have thought no farther than those American journalists who believe that there are exactly two sides to every question and believe that objective journalism consists of reporting both sides in “equal time” (if I may borrow your humiliating tone for a while). If hypotheses A, B, C, and D exist and explain the same phenomenon, and then B, C, and D are disproven (which means their predictions are found to disagree with repeated precise observations), and all predictions of A are fulfilled, have we proven A even within methodological naturalism and the principle of parsimony? No, we haven’t. Maybe A is true, but maybe we have merely not managed to imagine E so far.

    “But then, there’s a lot of stuff that we do know”

    Really … or just think we know? – i.e. Ptolemy’s reasonable notion that the sun revolved around the earth. If your world view insists that there can be no God, then all your evidence and explanations will be filtered through that given preconception.

    But, you see, I don’t insist that there can be no God. We don’t know if there is a God. Sure, there’s no evidence for one, and there’s nothing that requires the existence of one to be explainable, but that doesn’t prove that no God exists.

    Why do you confuse the philosophical question of whether anything supernatural exists with the scientific question of whether evolution happens? They have nothing to do with each other.

    It is not illogical to look at the variety, order, and remarkable balance and harmony in “nature” and consider that someone or something with intelligence, power, and skill greater than ourselves is responsible for its existence

    Dude, if a god exists, you have committed blasphemy. Two words: Stupid Design. Order? Balance? Harmony? It’s a mess. A fascinating mess, but a mess, a huge mess. Read the recent post on segmentation genes, if the position of your own trachea is not evidence enough for you.

    The paleontologist would have to admit that “Noah’s flood” would have caused rapid sediment deposition (fossils) and explosive climate and tectonic changes if it occured as recorded in the bible. I believe I read in magazine that a hard hat was found fossilized in an old mine dated back hundreds of thousands years old. All I am saying is that the science of aging artifacts and fossils is not too accurate.

    Where to begin…
    – “Rapid sediment deposition” and “fossils” are not the same. You should know that, really.
    – We don’t determine the age of anything by looking at how old it looks. Radiometric dating. It works. Eat that.
    – Do you know what a radiolarite is? Do you know how thick they can be? Do you know what a coral reef is? There are rocks that cannot be deposited within 6000 years. Period.
    – Tectonic plates are never faster than about 20 cm a year. At least not within the last few billion years.

    The cell biologist would have to admit that the mechanisms of cells are so inter-related that the chance of a single generational evolutionary change could not account for all the changes to occur at once so that the organism would benefit from the change and therefore retain the mutation for future generations.

    There are so many examples that show you are wrong. Go and read.

    An ebryologist will admit that the so called gill slits appearing in many unborn babies of any species are only folds and never, except in fish, have any true structure to appear as a functioning organ such as gills are.

    Gills and gill slits are not the same. Go and read.

    So why do many developing babies look the same from many species, the same way you can tell a Thomas Kinkaid paintings without looking for the signature in the corner.

    This is special pleading, and you know that full well.

    So as far as the best evidence for evolution, there is most likely not any.

    Go and read, ignoramus.

    After, the bible said the world was round long, long, long before science decided to agree.

    Where does it say the world is round? In at least two places it says the world has four corners, and in many it says the world is flat, resting on unspecified pillars.

    The Bible tells us to worship God. Instead, you worship the Bible — without having read it. That is sad. That is truly sad.

    Besides, I’d always heard that the Garden of Eden was supposedly in the Middle East. Or has that changed recently?

    No. Instead, there’s evidence that it’s modeled after Sumerian descriptions of Dilmun, which apparently was Bahrain. Google for “Dilmun”.

    I’ve read through most of the comments here and unfortunately, what I see are lots of sarcastic, emotional, and angry-sounding evolutionists. Very few of you are able to keep your cool about this and have a calm discussion like mature and educated adults, and I fail to see why. When someone like David Rockwell puts some sincere thought and effort into his post to make you question yourselves and your perception of the universe, all you can think to do is call it boring.

    You see, we had a very calm and mature discussion in the mid-late 19th century.

    We become sick and tired when people who haven’t bothered to read up on the basics bring the same long-disproven arguments back to the table again and again and again and again.

    And no, David Rockwell hasn’t put sincere thought or sincere effort into his posts. His posts make clear that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has not learned even elementary biology. The fact that he doesn’t notice — the fact that he believes biology only consists of what little he knows — falls under egnorance (correct spelling — google for it).

    ——————-

    OK, I’ve only read up to comment 149 and need to go to bed. “See” you tomorrow.

  319. #319 Kseniya
    July 9, 2007

    David Rockwell:

    Nice try, and I’m not being sarcastic. .You’re a good fellow, I think we’d get on fine in 3D, but you really don’t understand me at all. Your faith doesn’t trouble me. It’s that you believe your faith gives you essentials that can’t be obtained otherwise. That’s what you project onto those who don’t believe what you believe – that they don’t have meaning in their lives or a moral compass to follow. THAT is what is tiresome, and irksome. You may not even have realized that that’s what you said. Where do those ideas come from, if not from your believe that without faith, there is no meaning or morality? That’s why YOU are projecting, and I’m not. I’m reporting.

  320. #320 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    Someone’s going to have to add that Argument From Kinkade to the 300 (or is it now 3000?) proofs for God’s existence.

  321. #321 Rey Fox
    July 9, 2007

    #332: I was disappointed that the article was unfinished. I was waiting to hear from the sheep that left the flock. But having that picture of Hell at the top was pretty funny.

    “Photo credit: Dick Plinkman, AP, currently having his internal organs dissolved by darkroom chemicals for eternity on the Fifth Circle.”

  322. #322 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    When God said “Thou shalt surely die” he was not speaking of a physical death. In fact, death literally means seperation. And in fact, they were seperated from God, which is the worst form of seperation possible.

    Stuff and nonsense.

    There are many places in the bible where God says that the punishment for X is “he shall be cut off from his nation”, and things like that (mostly in Leviticus, Lev 20:6 being but one example). That can be interpreted as meaning “separation”. If God meant “separation”, he could have said “separated”. He could also have gone with something more generic, such as “cursed”, or “punished”, both of which would have made the statement true.

    Instead, God uses a phrase that means “die”, as in “death”. “Death”, which does not mean separation from God, but rather, separation from life. Death, as in “deceased”, “expired”, “no more”, “ceased to be”, “resting in peace”, “shuffled off the mortal coil”, “pushing up the daisies”, “feeding the worms”. Death, as in “ex-parrothuman”. Death, as in the exact same word used to describe what happened to Adam 930 years later, in Gen 5:5.

    Which makes the statement in Gen 2:17 false. As in, God lied.

  323. #323 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    (Gosh, I’m cranky.)

    So, the guy in the bar calls out: 5+7i. A few of the patrons laugh appreciatively, but most just look puzzled.

    The bartender shrugs and says, “I think that one is just too complex for most of this crowd.”

  324. #324 GALizzard
    July 9, 2007

    Brownian,

    What I mean by boundaries are the limits that a genetic system can go to. For instance, with sugar beets you will find several kinds and they vary in their sugar content. There are variations in finch populations due to periods of drought or wetness. With dogs, you have Chihuahuas, Bassett Hounds, and Great Danes. A lot of variety. However, the finches stay finches, the dogs stay dogs, and the sugar beets stay sugar beets. In fact, you can push the natural genetic boundaries through engineering. The different pure breeds of dogs are not found naturally in the wild, but have been engineered. By crossbreeding, you can increase the sugar content of a sugar beet. However, you can only push that only so far. There is an exponential curve that represents the amount of engineering needed to get an increased result. Eventually, the amount of input for the degree of return is no longer feasible. You can only get so much sugar into a beet. You can only get so far with purebred dogs before you get deformity, distemper, or other genetic maladies. You can cross a donkey with a horse, and you get a mule. It is a viable animal, but it is sterile, and can not reproduce. You’ve reached its genetic limit. In fact, when you remove the constraints the investigator puts on the genetic system, it will revert to its natural boundaries. What would happen if we let all domesticated dogs go wild? We wouldn’t have St. Bernards any more.

    Within these genetic limits there is a lot of variety, but there is not much experimental evidence to show that organisms jump these limits to go on to new vistas. They stay within genetic limits. This phenomenon was addressed somewhat by Michael Denton in 1985 in “Evolution a Theory in Crisis” as biochemistry and genetic science began accelerating. He is no creationist, but rather an atheist who saw significant problems with Darwinism because of advances in biochemistry. John Sanford at the University of Chicago devotes a lot of time to this question in “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.” Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, continues to explore this issue in his brand new book “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism.” Guys like this don’t get to be full professors at major research universities by being slip-shod scientists. This is a well documented phenomenon, and one that is puzzling many scientists.

    Oh, and by the way, JackD, thanks for pointing out your familiarity with methodological and philosophical naturalism. While most scientists operate methodologically as naturalists, that does not mean that theism is a priori off limits in science. Nor does it mean that naturalism is necessary to science.

    From a broad perspective it is a challenge for philosophical naturalists to explain the origin of experimental science. If the grand organizing principle of the universe is a random interaction of matter and energy that results in complex organization and complex organisms, what makes a naturalist think they can go into a laboratory, conduct and experiment, and get anything that is repeatable, predictable, or regular? They do, but they have no reason to.

    Appealing to the laws of nature does no good, because the laws have to be in place first before anything can proceed according to natural law. The laws of physics came into existence when the universe did, and it hasn’t always been here. Good questions, and good puzzles. They are easier to answer from some worldviews than others, and naturalism is not adequate for explaining the origin of the scientific method.

  325. #325 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    So the guy tries: “eiπ+1″, and the reaction is mostly puzzled stares, and a few groans.

    And the bartender tells him “Not only was that too complex, but it was a pretty painful pun as well.”

  326. #326 MAJeff
    July 9, 2007

    They stay within genetic limits. This phenomenon was addressed somewhat by Michael Denton in 1985 in “Evolution a Theory in Crisis” as biochemistry and genetic science began accelerating. He is no creationist, but rather an atheist who saw significant problems with Darwinism because of advances in biochemistry. John Sanford at the University of Chicago devotes a lot of time to this question in “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.” Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, continues to explore this issue in his brand new book “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism.”

    Did anyone else just start giggling uncontrollably when they read this?

  327. #327 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    Appealing to the laws of nature does no good, because the laws have to be in place first before anything can proceed according to natural law.

    Given that there is no evidence that it is possible for there to not be natural laws, it is a reasonable conclusion that natural laws need no further explanation other than their own existence.

    Absent evidence, the simplest explanation is sufficient.

    They are easier to answer from some worldviews than others, and naturalism is not adequate for explaining the origin of the scientific method.

    Sure it is. If the laws of nature weren’t consistent, existence as we know it would be impossible.

    How is supernaturalism a better explanation?

  328. #328 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2007

    Did anyone else just start giggling uncontrollably when they read this?

    Well, I did roll me eyes when I read “Guys like this don’t get to be full professors at major research universities by being slip-shod scientists.”

    http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/news/evolution.htm

    The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of “intelligent design.” While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

  329. #329 tony
    July 9, 2007

    Guys like this don’t get to be full professors at major research universities by being slip-shod scientists.

    No they don’t….

    And there’s nothing to stop them going batshit once tenured!

  330. #330 Keith Douglas
    July 9, 2007

    RamblinDude: People (a) don’t understand that there are laws of chance and (b) they think (correctly) chance is opposed to purposefulness. This is where the fear is – a lot of people think they need some sort of purpose imposed from without by Church, Party, etc.

    Zarquon: There are people who claim to derive nutritional advice from it (beyond the dietary laws), like vegetarianism, amazingly.

    (At message #203) Wow, what a lot of creationists and, isn’t that a Velikovskian? Yikes. Any sock-puppet detectors around?

    tony: Yes, in some sense, but they can be like scientific approximations – pretty close to the truth.

    MAJeff: I discovered that one can almost sign and gag at once …

  331. #331 Calladus
    July 9, 2007

    Dennis said: I was an atheist myself for many years and just came to the conclusion that following the Bible REALLY helped elevate my life and experience.

    Oh great, here comes the believer’s cliché: “I used to be just like you.” I call bullshit. This is just a way to imbue yourself in “Instant Christian Credibility” ™.

    Josh McDowell, Ray Comfort and a slew of others who have as little credibility as any carnival huckster can become dyed in the wool “fonts of knowledge” just by claiming a religious transformation. How very convenient. Forgive me for cynically noticing that more than a few politically powerful Christians get all their credibility from a “dramatic spiritual transformation.”

    And what makes a believer think that his or her personal transformation means that Christianity is true? Other religions have conversion stories. Heck, even an Atheist can feel the presence of God and come away still an Atheist, realizing that the feeling is fictional.

    Brains do funny things – they can even make you feel like you are the beloved creation of a fictional omnipotent being.

  332. #332 Ann Homily
    July 9, 2007

    #299: I infer those fine folks over at AIG spent “years” of study to reach the “convincing” argument that T. Rex ate coconuts and raptors frolicked with human children who looked like Sears Roebuck mannequins? That’s pretty sad. Although certainly, lawyers, politicians et al. probably also spend a few years learning rhetoric, emotional ploys, showmanship and other ways to manipulate the public.

  333. #333 Karl Priest
    July 9, 2007

    Evolutionists are bluffing when they say their beliefs are scientific. Be sure to look at the list of evolutionists who refuse the debate challenge from Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo. See the list at http://www.lifescienceprize.org/

  334. #334 Zarquon
    July 9, 2007

    Mastropaolo’s a kook. That’s why no-one debates him.

    Keith, “It’s a cookbook!” is the punchline to this story.

  335. #335 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Zarq: I should have mentioned earlier that your cookbook quip (hundreds of posts ago) made me laugh, aloud no less! (I got the reference, and it was perfect!)

    Ann Homily: You’ve been bucking for a Molly all day here, though you probably don’t even realize it. Your contributions have been pithy and entertaining. Thank you.

  336. #336 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Demagogue: It was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The distinction is important. Not so much to me personally, but to the whole Eden story concept. ;-)

    Knowledge itself was not forbidden, but the knowledge of Good and Evil was not for Man to possess. In disobeying God to acquire that knowledge, A&E committed the sin of seeking to be like God – and it cost them their innocence, and more.

  337. #337 Ann Homily
    July 10, 2007

    “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”… I think that’s supposed to imply having the power of free will, higher awareness and ego that separates humans from animals. Before, it was implied that Adam and Eve existed as childlike innocents in nature. But the higher awareness and ego gave humans a greater desire and capability towards power, along with the desire to challenge authority. Of course the lesson is to obey, obey, obey or be punished.

  338. #338 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    Kseniya,
    Well, that makes it even more interesting that there would be a distinction between pure knowledge, I assume for the sake of knowledge, vs. an understanding of good and evil. This is very perplexing in the concept that knowledge in and of itself would not lead us to an eventual understanding of good and evil. I like Ann’s info on the whole socio-political/ economical aspect of Lilith vs. Eve as a more domesticating force in early family dynamics.

    Still, it explains much when battling against mindsets of creation v. evolution. Fear and loathing in the 21st century are alive and well.

  339. #339 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Ann: Molly.

    It seemed likely you wouldn’t know. Important? No. Fun? Yes. As I said: Pithy and entertaining. :-)

  340. #340 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Ann, Demagogue: “Yes, well said!” to everything you’ve written over the past 20 or 30 minutes. (It’s way past my bedtime; this is all I’ve got left in the tank. Cheers!)

  341. #341 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    Good night all. I’ll catch up tomorrow.

  342. #342 hoary puccoon
    July 10, 2007

    As long as this is still going on, here’s a totally different angle on the Adam and Eve story. There was an early cult of goddess-worshipping priestesses in the Mediterranean basin that claimed to get wisdom from serpents. We know this for a fact because, in a watered-down form, the cult lingered into historic times at Delphi, Greece. (The Delphic oracle was always a woman, and referred to as ‘the Pythoness,’ after the sacred snake that the god Apollo supposedly slew.)
    The classical scholar, Robert Graves, presents evidence that the cult originally controlled a matriarchy– except that the leader was a king, who was “crowned” by being presented with a golden fruit or ball. But here’s the thing– after a ritually-prescribed period of time, the king was sacrificed to the triple goddess.
    If, as seems likely, this ancient cult was the origin of the Adam-and-Eve story then the whole thing began with some perfectly straight-forward advice, “don’t take that fruit, or you’ll be sooorrrry!” The whole edifice of original sin, etc., was read into it long afterward, when the story had been handed down verbally for a few centuries and the initial context was forgotten.
    This is, in fact, typical of a lot of early myths, in many cultures. The early, sensible meaning is forgotten, and the preferred twist– generally one which supports a group in power– is insisted upon as the literal truth. It isn’t much comfort to me that creationists garble the bible about as badly as they garble modern biology, but that’s how it shakes out.

  343. #343 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    However, the finches stay finches, the dogs stay dogs, and the sugar beets stay sugar beets.

    Just give them time. More than a few puny millennia.

    Remember that the problems of extreme dog breeding are biomechanical, not genetic. Remember that mules are sterile because they have an unpaired chromosome which makes meiosis and thus the production of gametes next to impossible.

    And remember that the mosquitos in the London tube are a separate species that doesn’t occur anywhere else.

  344. #344 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    However, the finches stay finches, the dogs stay dogs, and the sugar beets stay sugar beets.

    Just give them time. More than a few puny millennia.

    Remember that the problems of extreme dog breeding are biomechanical, not genetic. Remember that mules are sterile because they have an unpaired chromosome which makes meiosis and thus the production of gametes next to impossible.

    And remember that the mosquitos in the London tube are a separate species that doesn’t occur anywhere else.

  345. #345 Nullifidian
    July 10, 2007

    Evolutionists are bluffing when they say their beliefs are scientific. Be sure to look at the list of evolutionists who refuse the debate challenge from Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo. See the list at http://www.lifescienceprize.org/

    Now, from the tenor of the first sentence, one would be inclined to suppose, based on the general cooperativity principle in communications that HP Grice described, that the debate challenge actually resembles the practice of science, and that it is thereby a good way to measure the scientific validity of an idea. But it has nothing in it about peer review, nothing in it indeed about any data whatsoever. It involves the supporter of evolution putting up a $10,000 stake, having a superior court judge (Municipal ones weren’t good enough for you? And were judges on the courts of appeal too lofty for you?), and having the whole three-ring circus take place in a courtroom.

    When Mastropaolo claims on his website to have challenged every member of certain organizations, that is false and patently so, especially when he claims to have challenged every member of the ACLU and the NCSE. As a member of both, I once tried to get him to attempt something rather more modest. I didn’t try to get him to do real science–I had long given up any hope of that–but I thought I could at least get him to agree to a realistic written debate, rather than a circus. He ducked and weaved and refused even a written debate that would have required hardly any effort at all.

    Despite saying: “But wait! There’s more! Should the task be too threatening for individual evolutionists, Dr. Mastropaolo has offered to entertain suggestions for ‘terms that will bolster the courage of Darwinian dogmatists.’ ”

    In my case, though, he sent this response to my request for a debate, after about five or six back-and-forth discussions in which I tried to pin him down to some reality-based form of written debate.

    Dear Mr. [withheld]:
    The note says: “terms that will bolster the courage of Darwinian dogmatists” It does not say the protocol will be changed.
    Best wishes.
    Joseph Mastropaolo, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus

    Attempts to figure out what the difference was between the debate ‘protocol’ and the debate ‘terms’ availed me nothing.

  346. #346 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    Many good comments recently.

    #351: Another way to interpet Genesis is to see it as an early exercise in sociopolitical manipulation. Those in positions of power understand this principle well. It’s easier to control and manipulate the ignorant, so just strike fear into them and tell them that knowledge is a Bad Thing. …Notice how this concept neatly dovetails into the whole creationist/right-wing/dumbocracy of the ignoramasses self-perpetuation machine. Why *don’t* the Republicans care about scientific literacy?

    (I just thought it needed to be posted again. Until people understand the mechanics of subjugation, it will continue to be a huge problem.)

    hoary puccoon #359: You made my day. Nothing like waking up and learning something really interesting.

  347. #347 rrt
    July 10, 2007

    You can lead a horse to water, Nullifidian… All the background in the world isn’t going to help if these guys reject the means we use to establish that background as correct.

  348. #348 Nullifidian
    July 10, 2007

    You can lead a horse to water, Nullifidian… All the background in the world isn’t going to help if these guys reject the means we use to establish that background as correct.

    No, indeed, but it would make the debate less boring. When I was first learning about biology, I found debates with creationists more entertaining because the refutations of the creationists were at least new to me. But I’ve moved on and they haven’t. Halfway through getting my biology degree, I was already bored with them. Insisting that they have some basic level of demonstrable competence might improve the level of discourse.

    Unfortunately, even the ones with academic credentials make the most obvious howlers in the way that they conceptualize evolution (e.g. Behe’s analogy of a single groundhog crossing an expressway). If they had the requisite background, I wouldn’t expect them to change their mind, per se, but I would at least hope they’d be more circumspect in presenting bad arguments.

  349. #349 Ann Homily
    July 10, 2007

    #359 Yes, quite a few of the stories in the Bible were appropriated from or responses to myths and practices of the other cultures who were the Hebrews’ contemporaries. According to this site, the creation story was actually adapted from Sumerian mythology:

    http://www.bandoli.no/sumerianlegacy.htm

  350. #350 michigander
    July 10, 2007

    Oh, how I miss our pleasant family meals together….

  351. #351 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    I love finding out about how the old testament is a bad rip off of older myths.

  352. #352 Caledonian
    July 10, 2007

    A better question would be: why don’t Americans care about scientific literacy?

    Among the obvious answers are: because teaching people how to think makes them less susceptible to social methods of control.

  353. #353 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Yup Cal, that IS a better question. (FWIW, I don’t believe that cynical little voice in my head.)

    I think the simplest answer may be the most likely: “Because we’re lazy.”

  354. #354 The Pacifier
    July 10, 2007

    What’s the debate? Creationists choose to believe there is ‘order’ within ‘disorder’. That this ‘order’ has a purpose and that consequently ‘life’ has purpose.

    I really struggle to see what the debate is all about. It really is fascinating; we give cute little names to these unknown forces at play within our reality like, ‘gravity or energy… we study the cause and effect of these ‘forces’ on what we can observe and then…. for whatever reasons find it necessary to debate that which we are completely and totally ignorant of….. like ‘is there a God”…? An entity that exists outside of ‘nature’….. of course we don’t know if there is anything ‘outside’ of what we can observe….. but guess what…. we can ask the question can’t we? So what’s wrong with that? How evolution answers the question of initial cause…. I don’t know. I guess I must be missing something. Would one of you brighty brights explain to me how evolution addresses the question of initial cause?

    Thanks…..

  355. #355 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    The disturbing thing is that it’s laziness that is cultivated and groomed–and fiercely defended!

  356. #356 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    How evolution answers the question of initial cause…. I don’t know. I guess I must be missing something. Would one of you brighty brights explain to me how evolution addresses the question of initial cause?

    Yes, I think I can, and I’m not even particularly bright.

    It doesn’t. It doesn’t try. The fact that it doesn’t is one of those “holes” in the theory that creationists – in their perpetual dishonesty or steadfast ignorance – try to exploit.

  357. #357 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    It doesn’t. Never claimed to. Creationists do however. And they have nothing.

  358. #358 RavenT
    July 10, 2007

    Would one of you brighty brights

    Wow–ressentiment much?

    explain to me how evolution addresses the question of initial cause?

    Again? (Virtual) reams have been written about it; I’d believe in your good faith a lot more if you actually sought out the answer in the work that’s been already been done. Instead, you’re just wasting our time and calling us names.

    Why would anyone here be interested in engaging with that?

  359. #359 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    Kseniya: I really have to disagree with you on this one…You’re pretty bright. ; )

  360. #360 The Pacifier
    July 10, 2007

    Yes, I think I can, and I’m not even particularly bright.

    It doesn’t. It doesn’t try. The fact that it doesn’t is one of those “holes” in the theory that creationists – in their perpetual dishonesty or steadfast ignorance – try to exploit.

    Posted by: Kseniya | July 10, 2007 11:47 AM

    Hmmmmm,

    A “hole” you say…. so the creationist chooses to believe that there could be a “God”…. or something yet unidentifiable by our tools of science and because of this ‘belief’ they are being dishonest and ignorant. So what you are saying is…. we should not ask these types of questions. We should only talk about what we know…. any speculation beyond our observation is being ‘dishonest’ and ‘ignorant’.

    Got it.

  361. #361 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    The Pacifier: No that is not what we are saying. You may ‘choose’ to believe whatever you want–just don’t call it science. And Don’t try to teach it as science in our public schools.

    Science is not about ‘choosing’ to believe. It is about going in whatever direction the facts lead–Choicelessly.

  362. #362 RavenT
    July 10, 2007

    So what you are saying is…. we should not ask these types of questions. We should only talk about what we know…. any speculation beyond our observation is being ‘dishonest’ and ‘ignorant’.

    Got it.

    More bad faith on your part, Pacifier. You are twisting Kseniya’s words–no one is saying “don’t speculate”; only that to represent that speculation as knowledge is dishonest and/or ignorant. Creationists typically represent speculation as knowledge equivalent to knowledge based on evidence, as Kseniya points out.

    Speculate all you want, but if you claim to “know” something, you need to show the evidentiary basis of that knowledge. Misrepresenting uncertainty and twisting other’s words are not the way to demonstrate your good faith.

  363. #363 rrt
    July 10, 2007

    Good point, Nullifidian. As you say, if only having more background was enough. But it seems all too often it just yields the same bad arguments in new clothes, pretending to meet your request when nothing actually changes. It reminds me of Chapman’s character in the Python sketch that starts a couple minutes into this clip, and especially at the end, clownsuit and all: “The whitewash over you. Not over me. It’s over you. You get the laugh. You get all the laughs. And now for the custard pie in the mush. It’s not my mush, it’s your mush. It’s your laugh, it’s your laugh mate, not mine. It’s your bleeding laugh.”

  364. #364 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    I see Raven beat me to it, but…The dishonesty is in characterizing speculation as proven fact. If you want to prove the existence of God, then more power to you. Just don’t pretend that you have when you haven’t.

  365. #365 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    The Pacifier doesn’t seem to know the difference between metaphysical navel gazing and science.

    “We don’t know” shouldn’t be replace with “God did it” by default.

  366. #366 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Pacifier. No. Not even close, actually. Sorry that I wasn’t clear enough. Let me take another stab at it.

    The Theory of Evolution does not address the origin of life itself. The fact that it doesn’t is not a fatal flaw in the theory. It’s not a flaw at all, because first cause is not a part of what the theory attempts to explain or describe. That’s why I used the scare quotes – it’s a “hole” only to those who either don’t understand it or willfully and repeatedly misrepresent it in an effort to promote their own agenda. One might as well condemn the automobile as a failed design on the grounds that it can’t fly.

    The asking of questions, be they large or small, is not only permitted, it is encouraged. For science, it is required.

  367. #367 Nullifidian
    July 10, 2007

    Well, perhaps it’s a superficiality of my character, but I’d be satisfied if the ‘clothes’ were new. I just hate to be bored by creationist arguments, and since they haven’t had a new idea in twenty years that’s how it always is with me.

  368. #368 Ann Homily
    July 10, 2007

    The study of evolution is the observation that there were changes in life forms over a great time period. The evidence is observable. What is not observable is how life on Earth got started. So science cannot make a claim as to know for certain what that originating mechanism was.

    The creationists, on the other hand, do make that claim. They claim it was the Judeo-Christian God. It’s not “Speculation From Genesis” or “Genesis Might Yield a Clue”. It’s “Answers in Genesis.” Genesis already has the “answer”, which is “In the beginning…”

    But without the ability to measure, test, or falsify that it was indeed “their” God, how can we know that? How can they claim that their answer is the correct one? For all we know, it could have been a Native American god, or a giant spirit-bird, or a pantheon of intelligent forces, or aliens, or something humans haven’t even thought of yet, or no supernatural forces at all.

    So in other words, the creationists make the claim that they DO have the answer even though they can’t really bring forth any direct evidence of this existence of “God”. So they spend a lot of time using distraction ploys, such as trying to “disprove” evolution because there are unanswered questions. (This of course is the Fallacy of the False Dichotomy. Disproving evolution is not going to make the biblical creation story correct any more than it would make other creation stories correct.)

    The creationists are not agnostics. The creationists use the data as “evidence” to fit their worldview, which is a faith in the existence of “Yahweh” as described in the Judeo-Christian Bible. How would the observable information be interpreted if (just for the sake of argument) the Bible had never existed?

  369. #369 The Pacifier
    July 10, 2007

    Hey…. I didn’t come up with the “don’t debate the creationist” bit…. I agree with what you are saying…. It is not a scientific question. I don’t think ‘creationism’ should be taught in the science class. I’m simply saying that the existence of “God” may or may not be true. That’s all…. It’s really that simple; believe what you will…. Just don’t be so pretentious in your own beliefs (when it comes to God or a creative force or whatever….) as to claim with certainty that you know one way or the other.

    Here, I’ll sum up the “big debate over ID & evolution”…

    Evolutionist:
    To the best of our ability, using the scientific method, evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life as we know it.

    Creationist:
    That’s great….. I believe that “God” created ‘life’.

    Evolutionist:
    There is no physical evidence of “God” therefore I do not believe in “God”.

    The End.

  370. #370 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    So you’re an agnostic?

    Why didn’t you just say so.

  371. #371 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    There’s no need to ask if there’s a god, Pacifier. The question was answered thousands of years ago by Hindu scholars. The answer is yes, there are hundreds of gods. The creation you’re wondering about was initiated by Brahma. There are thousands of texts that explore this in detail.

    Satisfied?

  372. #372 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    The reason I brought up Lilith and some other mythological beliefs early is because as hoary puccoon stated, “…typical of a lot of early myths, in many cultures. The early, sensible meaning is forgotten, and the preferred twist– generally one which supports a group in power– is insisted upon as the literal truth.”

    The Bible is a conglomerate of stories from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor, and some lost tribes along the way. Examine the story of Horace or the Christmas falling on December 25th, they all came from other beliefs.

    Ask the Nicene Council about why they picked certain stories to be the Bible and not others. There was an agenda and they even glorified Jesus from prophet to “Son of God” status.

    For the devoutly religious, NOT believing in the stories they’ve grown up with would be tantamount to chaos and blasphemy. The universe as we know it would unravel and we actually may have to examine the truth of science over myth.

    Lions and tigers and bears…oh my!

  373. #373 Owlmirror
    July 10, 2007

    What does “initial cause” mean? The initial cause of life, or the initial cause of the universe, or what, exactly?

    The initial cause of life itself — abiogenesis — is being studied by organic chemists and biochemists. The roots of all biology is chemistry; everything that has been studied about life indicates that it is a very complicated organic chemical reaction. Life’s enormous complexity makes it difficult to study all of the various possible pathways that might have lead to the first simple chemicals becoming self-reproducing chemicals — RNA and DNA. There is more than one possible pathway; further research is necessary before the most likely pathway is found.

    The initial cause of the universe is a matter of cosmology. That’s a very separate branch of science from chemistry, and requires more specialization in astrophysics and particle physics, not biology and chemistry. Currently, there are also various ways that the universe could have come into existence; further research is necessary before the most likely pathway is found.

    But the only way to find out initial causes is to do the research and look at the evidence.

    There may be some point where our ability to find evidence for earlier causes breaks down; where there is no further back that we can go. One might call anything prior to that “God”, but that’s no different from calling it “The Great Pumpkin”, or “The Flying Spaghetti Monster”. Giving the initial cause a label doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with the mythological imaginings of peoples who had no understanding of the universe, other than what they could directly observe with their limited senses.

    And finally, it may be that “initial cause” itself is simply the wrong concept to use. More than one branch of cosmological physics has suggested that the universe may be its own cause, a literally uncaused cause in and of itself.

    Until cause and effect, and time and space, are better understood, the question will remain unresolved, and may be unresolvable.

  374. #374 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    I just added Ann’s ‘The Purple Koolaid Playtime Show’ to my Favorites list.

  375. #375 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    And you didn’t get the “creationist” argument correct.

    It’s not just “life”. It’s “everything”.

  376. #376 The Pacifier
    July 10, 2007

    So you’re an agnostic?

    Why didn’t you just say so.

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 10, 2007 01:09 PM

    If you were to be completely and totally honest with yourself…….Aren’t we all……?

  377. #377 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    So you’re an agnostic?

    Why didn’t you just say so.

    Posted by: Steve_C | July 10, 2007 01:09 PM

    If you were to be completely and totally honest with yourself…….Aren’t we all……?

    Posted by: The Pacifier

    I couldn’t agree more.

    That’s why it’s the absolute zenith of hubris, ignorance, bigotry, arrogance, and narcissism for anyone to believe the teachings of any one religion.

  378. #378 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    Sure,

    As agnostic as most are about Zeus, Wotan, Gnesh and any other superstition you want to name.

  379. #379 tony
    July 10, 2007

    Pacifier — Evolution has no “holes”: as Kseniya, Nullfidian, Steve C, Ann Homily and other have commented.

    Creation ‘Science’ on the other hand is nothing but holes… or maybe not…. I need your help (as an authority) to answer some simple questions for me.

    Since your book has all the answers, I’m sure you can simply post them here so we may all be illuminated…

    Where is your proof of God (other than a man made book)?

    Where is your proof of a world-spanning flood (note – must include rapid deposition sediments)?

    Where is your proof that all land creatures ‘survived’ this flood through the agency of an ark? (how big was this damn ark anyway? Have you EVER been to even a small zoo? That’s a lot of animals!)

    If we’re all decended from Noah, and damn few generations since (< 4000 years if the earth was created 6000 years ago), how come there is so much variation in humans (from sub-saharan africa, to scandinavia, to the asian steppes, the indian subcontinent…)?

    Where did all current the plant life come from (most plants don’t survive more than a few hours in water, and especially not salt water – 40 days would be a little much)?

    If heaven is ‘above’ and hell is ‘below’ — explain to me how that can be the case since we live on a sphere?

    That’s just the easy ones to get you started.

    Once you respond, I’ll have some more questions, don’t worry!

  380. #380 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    Now, folks in Pharyngula county hadn’t seen a good ol’ fashioned polemic in a long time. Looks like them god boys were in a whole heap o’ trouble….

  381. #381 RamblinDude
    July 10, 2007

    More than one branch of cosmological physics has suggested that the universe may be its own cause, a literally uncaused cause in and of itself.

    Or maybe a big quantum computer, computing itself: “Seth Loyd’s–Programming the Universe”

  382. #382 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The answer is yes, there are hundreds of gods.

    Hundreds? I thought 330 million?

    (Who, according to other schools of Hinduism, are actually all just manifestations of the same one god, but I digress.)

    Evolutionist:
    There is no physical evidence of “God” therefore I do not believe in “God”.

    Evolutionary biology and agnosticism are not the same. You keep confusing stuff.

  383. #383 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The answer is yes, there are hundreds of gods.

    Hundreds? I thought 330 million?

    (Who, according to other schools of Hinduism, are actually all just manifestations of the same one god, but I digress.)

    Evolutionist:
    There is no physical evidence of “God” therefore I do not believe in “God”.

    Evolutionary biology and agnosticism are not the same. You keep confusing stuff.

  384. #384 Rey Fox
    July 10, 2007

    I can’t quite understand the need some people feel to break down atheists into agnostics. “Do you knooooow that there aren’t any gods aaaaanywhere?” Well, no, I don’t.

    But I call myself an atheist because Yahweh and all those other beings that Steve C. mentioned are so unlikely that it’s just not worth the bother of wondering on that tiny chance that any of them MIGHT exist (and if they do, I’m sure it wouldn’t kill them to maybe say hi once in a while). It’s not necessary to know for absolutely certain that there are no Gods. I called myself an agnostic for years until it just started sounding too wishy-washy and namby-pamby for me. No, I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in gods. Call it a belief if you must, just don’t call it faith, because I make no leaps thereof. I don’t believe in gazorninplats either, but I see no need to call myself agnostic towards them, even if there might be a few hiding in a sixth dimensional tesseract.

  385. #385 The Pacifier
    July 10, 2007

    Once you respond, I’ll have some more questions, don’t worry!

    Posted by: tony | July 10, 2007 01:20 PM

    My Response:

    You’re an idiot…..

  386. #386 Heather Kuhn
    July 10, 2007

    The real proof that God lied is this bit:”And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever (Gen 3:22)” After all, if eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was itself, lethal, why is God worried about them having access to the Tree of Life?

  387. #387 tony
    July 10, 2007

    Pacifier:

    I see that you’ve mastered the art of intelligent debate… 8|

    However, I’m still waiting for some answers (AiG didn’t have any)!

    I doubt that any will be frothcoming. I should tell you (since you’re unlikely to be able to work it out for yourself) that I am proudly atheist… and extremely open-minded… Unlike creo’s my mind is open on top, to accept new knowledge, not on bottom so it all dribbles out.

    :-)

  388. #388 tony
    July 10, 2007

    FORTHcoming

    where’s a spellchecker when you need one!

  389. #389 Steve_C
    July 10, 2007

    He’s claiming he’s an agnostic and essentially above debate when it comes to evolution.

    I don’t think he was ever arguing FOR anything.

  390. #390 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The Bible is a conglomerate of stories from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor, and some lost tribes along the way.

    Regarding the latter, the association between the highest god, mountains, and thunderstorms strikes me as rather Indo-European. Are we maybe looking at Hittite influence?

    And finally, it may be that “initial cause” itself is simply the wrong concept to use. More than one branch of cosmological physics has suggested that the universe may be its own cause, a literally uncaused cause in and of itself.

    More than one cosmologist has suggested that there might be a multiverse which might be eternal. That would simply remove the need for a cause.

    If you were to be completely and totally honest with yourself…….Aren’t we all……?

    Heh heh. =8-)

    BTW, Bisch… I praise you for not being a hit-and-run troll, and you never return? What’s up?

  391. #391 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The Bible is a conglomerate of stories from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor, and some lost tribes along the way.

    Regarding the latter, the association between the highest god, mountains, and thunderstorms strikes me as rather Indo-European. Are we maybe looking at Hittite influence?

    And finally, it may be that “initial cause” itself is simply the wrong concept to use. More than one branch of cosmological physics has suggested that the universe may be its own cause, a literally uncaused cause in and of itself.

    More than one cosmologist has suggested that there might be a multiverse which might be eternal. That would simply remove the need for a cause.

    If you were to be completely and totally honest with yourself…….Aren’t we all……?

    Heh heh. =8-)

    BTW, Bisch… I praise you for not being a hit-and-run troll, and you never return? What’s up?

  392. #392 tony
    July 10, 2007

    Steve_C, re The Pacifier…

    Yeah — I see that he turned himself around to an agnostic position…. not what he initially portrayed though!

    (timing’s a PITA — my connection decided to die… but returned the page from cache for a while!)

    Anyway — not very agnostic about name calling! (I wonder if he is aware that a pacifier is known as a ‘dummy’ in the UK?)

  393. #393 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    Once you respond, I’ll have some more questions, don’t worry!

    Posted by: tony | July 10, 2007 01:20 PM

    My Response:
    You’re an idiot….

    Oh, I see. We need to acknowledge the ‘gaps’ in evolution, but you won’t even attempt at some of the most basic gaps in theology. Essentially, “what you are saying is…we should not ask these types of questions.”

  394. #394 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    Ok…I have enjoyed most of the debating, gnashing of teeth, and dribble coming out of some people’s (heads?), but when you start dissing Zeus I have to draw the line. Sheesh, I mean the other Gods may be fake but I’ve seen Zeus in lots of movies. That’s got to count for something.

    I wonder…do Gods have DNA? Oh…never mind.

  395. #395 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Err… hang on a sec.

    Ok, just to be clear, I did not (and would not) assert that there are no holes in the Theory of Evolution.

    That would be wrong.*

    Few, if any, theories completely explain every single aspect of the phenomena they’re constructed to explain, model, or describe. All I was trying to point out was this:

    The ToE has holes, of course, but the lack of an explaination for first cause (or, specifically, the origin of life on earth) is not one of them.

    Unfortunately, it IS a hole in humanity’s knowledge base, creationists are constantly sticking their finger through it and wiggling their little god and jesus finger puppets at us as if the wiggling actually means something about the origin of life – and, more to the point, the validity of the ToE.

    Nor does the ToE say (or attempt to say) anything about the existence of some godlike-creator-being-or-committee beyond this: It/they are not required to explain what the ToE endeavors to explain.

    <IMO> It’s human nature to speculate on the existence (and non-existence) of god(s). I doubt there’s an adult human who’s ever lived who has not done so at least once. Some are more skeptical than others. Some conclude that there is no evidence for god(s). That is not the same thing as claiming absolute knowledge of the non-existence of any kind of godlike-creator-being-or-committee. Nor is it the same as agnosticism. The distinction may be subtle, but it’s not trivial.</IMO>

    ______________________________
    * Do I get a zeusload of points for the Buffy reference?

  396. #396 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    The oddest thing is that I was never referring to Lam in my ‘fuck off’ post. Though he is a troll and a jerk, he never complained about being talked down to by the other side.

    I kept hoping that someone would notice this, specifically Sue, but eh? What can you do?

  397. #397 rrt
    July 10, 2007

    The amount of points earned are directly proportional to your resemblence to Eliza Dushku, Kseniya.

  398. #398 tony
    July 10, 2007

    What’s all this crap about zeus…

    a pointy-eared brat who wore a bathrobe for feck-sake…

    What we need a re REAL gods for REAL men and REAL women.

    We need ODIN! All hail the one-eyed one!

  399. #399 Ann Homily
    July 10, 2007

    #387: The anecdote of the evolutionist saying “I don’t believe in God” is a subjective opinion based on the personal beliefs of that particular individual. The point is, the study of evolution itself is agnostic about something that can neither be proven nor disproven.

    The “big debate” is over whether or not ID can be properly classified as “science”. If you can neither prove nor disprove the existence or nature of the “Designer”, then how can you call it “science”? It belongs more in the realm of Sunday School or New Age meetings.

    Maybe if the IDers could work on inventing a machine that actually located and measured the existence of metaphysical beings, then we can start calling them “scientists”. Until then…

    As for the unanswered questions in the ToE… scroll towards the more recent entries where PZ posted the “Wheel of Fortune” cartoon. It’s kind of like that. The unanswered questions/gaps in the fossil record don’t invalidate the theory, and they certainly don’t validate creationism. Look at it more in terms of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle — and new pieces are found to fit the puzzle as time goes on.

  400. #400 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    Kseniya,
    You also get extra points for saying, “zeusload.” As fpr “Buffy” or evil slayer Eliza Dushku, I’ll take Jessica Alba, my Dark Angel.

    I’m prayin’ to a new god…wang chung

  401. #401 Brownian
    July 10, 2007

    I really hate* to have to say this, but I believe a Wang Chung reference earns you an automatic points deduction.

    *I own a copy of “Everybody WANG Chung Tonight: Wang Chung’s Greatest Hits”. Then again, I own a copy of “Men Without Hats: Greatest Hats”, so my opinion may not count for much.

  402. #402 Caledonian
    July 10, 2007

    is agnostic about something that can neither be proven nor disproven.

    The existence of God is not one of those things. Disproven.

  403. #403 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    Tony: I admit that Odin and his gang are way cool.

    Ann: Well said, again. I agree, the Wheel or Fortune ‘toon illustrates it nicely.

    Dema: My resemblance to Jessica Alba is striking, in that we are both females of the same species.

    rrt: Despite my Slavic heritage, I don’t look much like Dushku. I’m nearly six inches taller than SMG, and have never shaken a pom-pom in my life. Yes, I own a double-bladed waraxe (and who doesn’t?) but my “Mr. Pointy” got confiscated back in 3rd grade. Sigh. (That pencil sharpener looked sturdier than it was.) Consequently, I am rarely found in graveyards at night.

  404. #404 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The point is, the study of evolution itself is agnostic about something that can neither be proven nor disproven.

    That’s not even part of the topic. The supernatural is simply outside the scope of evolutionary biology. Evolution is incompatible with a belief in the literal truth of a creation myth*, like (still ongoing) experiments have shown that it still rains when you don’t sacrifice children to Tlaloc and that the sun still rises when you don’t sacrifice hearts to Inti, but that’s all.

    * And that is already impossible for Jews and Christians, because the two creation stories in Genesis contradict each other.

    Caledonian, please define “God”…

  405. #405 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    The point is, the study of evolution itself is agnostic about something that can neither be proven nor disproven.

    That’s not even part of the topic. The supernatural is simply outside the scope of evolutionary biology. Evolution is incompatible with a belief in the literal truth of a creation myth*, like (still ongoing) experiments have shown that it still rains when you don’t sacrifice children to Tlaloc and that the sun still rises when you don’t sacrifice hearts to Inti, but that’s all.

    * And that is already impossible for Jews and Christians, because the two creation stories in Genesis contradict each other.

    Caledonian, please define “God”…

  406. #406 Kseniya
    July 10, 2007

    … (still ongoing) experiments …

    LOL!

  407. #407 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    LOL!

    Yes, Caledonian is right about the principle: being religious in nature does not automatically make a claim untestable, and some can be tested in ways that are more… visible than, say, statistical studies on the effectiveness of prayer.

  408. #408 David Marjanovi?
    July 10, 2007

    LOL!

    Yes, Caledonian is right about the principle: being religious in nature does not automatically make a claim untestable, and some can be tested in ways that are more… visible than, say, statistical studies on the effectiveness of prayer.

  409. #409 Demagogue
    July 10, 2007

    I wish I was more educated in biology. However, I did make it through college organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. Also made it through anthropology. Biology would just pull everything together. As it is, I have just enough education to be ignorant so I send the one of the Gods of the Toltec, Quetzalcoatl against until he can rebuild the city of Tula.

    Ok…I can’t send curses on anyone…especially Kseniya being she “almost” looks exactly like Jessica Alba because their both female! I’m dyin’ here!

    Oh yeah…leave wang chung alone! I need my perfect pitch.

    I’ll post some more later…that’s a threat…as I must go to class now. Continuing education…

  410. #410 kellbelle1020
    July 10, 2007

    “Besides, I’d always heard that the Garden of Eden was supposedly in the Middle East. Or has that changed recently?

    No. Instead, there’s evidence that it’s modeled after Sumerian descriptions of Dilmun, which apparently was Bahrain. Google for “Dilmun”.”

    So this was way back at #333, but, hey, whoa! I resent being lumped in with all that creationist bullshit and need to defend my name! I only brought up the location of the Garden of Eden because some psycho said that our most recent common matrilineal and patrilineal ancestors were from Africa as though to prove the story of Genesis – whereas I distinctly remember from my Sunday School days (before I became an atheist, natch) that the church generally placed it in the Middle East.

  411. #411 Demagogue
    July 11, 2007

    … without ever declaring how Chaos came to be. Some have found it an aberration to assume that Chaos came out of nothingness; for then Chaos, being the first, had nothing to come from and nowhere to go. This is why they concluded that no one of these things came first or second, but that they existed always.

    No agreement

    These and many other cosmogonic and theogonic questions have been addressed, throughout the history of mankind, first by the myths, and later by philosophy, religion, and science. However, in spite of all extraordinary efforts and sometimes genial presentations of the subject, no general agreement has ever been reached. On the contrary: the legion of cosmogonies and theogonies has continually increased since the dawn of human civilization up to our days; and among the Greeks, as among other peoples belonging both to the past and to the present, there have circulated through time myths, beliefs, theories, and all kind of speculations concerning the origin of the world and the gods, and the nature of them all.

  412. #412 Demagogue
    July 11, 2007

    I found my last post here http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/MythsCreation.html

    I only did this because it seems that we are merely blogging the same argument that has gone on since the Greeks tried to explain the beginning of the known universe.

    Interestingly enough, I also found more literature on early religious practices of Jews involving Ba’al. The stories surrounding Ba’al (which appears in the old testament as Baalzebub…later Belzebub and in the new testament, too) are very similar to stories which appear in the old testament as Yahweh literature.

    Christianity is losing ground to mythology and is folding in on itself. So, let science explain that which is physical and the religious can keep that which is not of science.

    This does not mean that evolution has all the answers or that it is the only logical possibility for everything living, but that it deals with the physical realities as we know them at this time.

    So, instead of fighting against evolution theories, rejoice in having new options to explore life with.

  413. #413 Kseniya
    July 11, 2007

    So… You’re saying it’s turtles, after all?

  414. #414 Demagogue
    July 11, 2007

    Kseniya,
    The only references I have to your “turtles” statement is the giant turtle or the magical turtle (that unites heaven and Earth) of Asian mythology, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the great turtle in Stephen King’s “IT.” My best guess would be you’re referring to the magical turtle, although the Mutant Ninja Turtles may have had something to with the origin of the universe.

    If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right…sorry, it’s stuck in my head.

  415. #415 Kseniya
    July 11, 2007

    LOL……….!!!

    My turtles are the turtles one finds in the phrase, “It’s turtles, all the way down!”

    So… yes. Magical/mystical/mythological. Turtles. Holding up the world. Or something.

  416. #416 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2007

    So, instead of fighting against evolution theories, rejoice in having new options to explore life with.

    yeah! Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are great stories too. (uh, adults don’t normally use them to “explore life with”, though).

    This does not mean that evolution has all the answers or that it is the only logical possibility for everything living,

    oh?

    funny, I can’t recall any other extant logical, supported theories that explain radiation and speciation out there.

    haven’t been any in the scientific lit for about a hundred years.

    or are you trying to say creation myths are logical?

    ’cause that would be funny.

    Christianity is losing ground to mythology

    how can it be losing ground to itself?

  417. #417 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2007

    So, let science explain that which is physical and the religious can keep that which is not of science.

    *psst*

    NOMA died years ago.

  418. #418 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2007

    On the contrary: the legion of cosmogonies and theogonies has continually increased since the dawn of human civilization up to our days; and among the Greeks, as among other peoples belonging both to the past and to the present, there have circulated through time myths, beliefs, theories, and all kind of speculations concerning the origin of the world and the gods, and the nature of them all.

    have you ever even considered that the reason for rampant bifurcation into multitudinous sects has very little to do with “speculation concerning the origin of the world” and far more to do with localized socio/cultural issues?

    perhaps a gander at recent schisms in xian sects like Lutheranism might give you a place to start examining more likely scenarios?

    there is a LOT of history on that you can find on the web without much effort.

    It really isn’t disagreement on abiogenesis issues that drives the vast majority of religious schisms. Moreover, there are actually great similarities in the creation myths over a broad range of cultures.

    so, when you say the “legion of cosmogonies has increased”, it really hasn’t so much, actually.

    the genesis account has changed not a jot in the written texts of either judaism or xianity, for example.

    meanwhile, science marches on, and the “legion of cosmogenies” has actually occurred in the area of science (as new evidence and new abilities to measure appear), far more than it historically has in any religion you care to name.

  419. #419 Streight Talker
    July 11, 2007

    I would rather be a “godbot”, or “ID”er or “Creationists” or any of those other names you call us Believers…Than to believe in nothing…And that is what “The Rest” of you are…
    God help your souls…”Bless them fot they know not what they do” I will pray for you !!!

  420. #420 rrt
    July 11, 2007

    What a marvellous justification for faith! “I was afraid not to!”

  421. #421 David Marjanovi?
    July 11, 2007

    but, hey, whoa! I resent being lumped in with all that creationist bullshit and need to defend my name!

    Sorry. I got your point, I only don’t like posting 5 times in a row, so I just put quotes in chronological order and answer them one by one in the same post.

    I’ll do it again:

    I would rather be a “godbot”, or “ID”er or “Creationists” or any of those other names you call us Believers…Than to believe in nothing…

    Why?

  422. #422 David Marjanovi?
    July 11, 2007

    but, hey, whoa! I resent being lumped in with all that creationist bullshit and need to defend my name!

    Sorry. I got your point, I only don’t like posting 5 times in a row, so I just put quotes in chronological order and answer them one by one in the same post.

    I’ll do it again:

    I would rather be a “godbot”, or “ID”er or “Creationists” or any of those other names you call us Believers…Than to believe in nothing…

    Why?

  423. #423 MAJeff
    July 11, 2007

    I will pray for you !!!

    Please don’t.

  424. #424 Kseniya
    July 11, 2007

    Tony… Puppies?  * *eyeroll*

    Surely you mean, “I believe in sacrificing puppies.”

  425. #425 Caledonian
    July 11, 2007

    I believe in puppies, and kids, and fun, and laughter, and dance, and music, and waterfalls, and rainbows.

    Surely you don’t mean that you assert the existence of those things.

    So you must have faith that they possess some other property.

    The misuse of ‘believe’ is one of the greatest crimes of religion. Don’t repeat it.

  426. #426 tony
    July 11, 2007

    Kseniya: I do believe in puppies. Much tastier than cat!

    Caledonian: I do believe in those things. I have only my senses to inform me, and I believe my senses…

    I personally assert the existance of puppies, rainbows, and kids. They posess many other properties (mostly noise and ecess liquid… but that’s another story). I don;t have any kind of ‘faith’ in any opther attributes they may have…. (I do have frequently denied wishes, however!)

    Seriously, though, I was using ‘believe’ since I ‘believe’ in concrete things (not things I necessarily can touch, but things I can definitely observe and interact with). I don’t believe in woo (although woo most definitely exists – I can’t logically interact with it!)

  427. #427 tony
    July 11, 2007

    Caledonian: My apologies….

    While true
    { console.writeln(“I will not misuse ‘believe’ in a posting.”);
    }

    There: infinity lines for my punishment! (Sorry for the waste of resources it will take to execute that, though!)

  428. #428 Steve_C
    July 11, 2007

    Yeah everyone who is superstitous deserves big ol shiny medal and a sense of superiority because they believe in “something”.

    Don’t Satanists believe in something too?

    Hypocrits every last one of em.

  429. #429 CortxVortx
    July 11, 2007

    re: #430

    The only references I have to your “turtles” statement is the giant turtle or the magical turtle (that unites heaven and Earth) of Asian mythology, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the great turtle in Stephen King’s “IT.” My best guess would be you’re referring to the magical turtle, although the Mutant Ninja Turtles may have had something to with the origin of the universe.

    What!? No mention of Great A’tuin? Shoddy scholarship.

    — CV

  430. #430 Locke
    July 11, 2007

    RamlinDude:

    Your senses also told you that the earth was flat…and the sun revolved around it…and that it was the center of the universe. Your senses are wrong mostly because your parent’s senses were wrong…and their parent’s senses were wrong…exponentially.

    –LuPP

  431. #431 tony
    July 11, 2007

    WTF?

    methinks Locke has had a humorectomy….

    I’m also very confused! If the earth is flat, how does the sun manage to ‘revolve’ around it? AIR the sun ‘rode across the sky’ in flatearthdom.

    And the center of the universe was next door (at least while I was growing up…. and how did you know that? have you been spying?)

  432. #432 Kseniya
    July 11, 2007

    The sun is a flaming chariot! I saw it! I saw it in a movie! It was a Walt Disney Production! There was a live orchestra and everything! What more proof do you need?

  433. #433 Demagogue
    July 11, 2007

    CortxVortx,
    The giant turtle I referred to is the Great A’tuin. Four elephants stood on his back according to Asian lore. Sorry, I wasn’t more explicit. So, for that I’ll accept the “shoddy scholarship” moniker.

  434. #434 Demagogue
    July 11, 2007

    Ichthyic,
    “I can’t recall any other extant logical, supported theories that explain radiation and speciation out there.”

    Other theories don’t require that you recall them or not.

    “Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are great stories too. (uh, adults don’t normally use them to “explore life with”, though).”

    A very well thought out and intelligent argument. But, The origins of life have been asked about before cosmic microwave background radiation (or were you discussing Paleocene radiation) and the four prevelant theories on speciation came about. The Greeks were discussing origin back in 465 BCE.

    I picked just two online articles that discuss evolution, in detail, by seemingly very qualified scientists, and they somewhat agree with each other on certain aspects of evolution, but also poke big holes in other evolutionary theories.

    So, go take a look at them before you try and tear me apart again with your psuedo-intellect. Because if you are really so smart then only you have the answers and you will become the next diety.

    The Fossil Record of North American Mammals:
    Evidence for a Paleocene Evolutionary Radiation
    by JOHN ALROY, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution
    1994 Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Title: “Quantitative mammalian biochronology, biogeography, and diversity history of North America.”
    1993 M.S., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
    1989 B.A., Biology, Reed College, Portland, Oregon.

    Jeffrey H. Schwartz, University of Pittsburgh professor of anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, is working to debunk a major tenet of Darwinian evolution. Schwartz believes that evolutionary changes occur suddenly as opposed to the Darwinian model of evolution, which is characterized by gradual and constant change. Among other scientific observations, gaps in the fossil record could bolster Schwartz’s theory because, for Schwartz, there is no “missing link.”

  435. #435 David Rockwell
    July 11, 2007

    Kseniya
    Nice try yourself, and I’m not being sarcastic either… “I’m not projecting, I’m (just) reporting”… Come on, Kseniya, your sounding too sanctimonious and a little narcissistic. You assert that I am somehow guilty of projecting things on people I “presume to know something about,” but after reading only two of my posts, you are just “reporting” that you know all about my “doubts and fears about the uncertainty of my own existence” and “fears about the meaninglessness of life.” My existence doesn’t seem particularly uncertian and my life is far from meaningless. Of course I believe my faith gives me essentials that can’t be obtained otherwise. Why else would I bother to embrace it? You believe science provides value and insight that can’t be obtained any other way, don’t you? I never stated, nor do I believe, that other’s who don’t hold my world view don’t have meaning in their lives or some kind of moral compass which guides them, (but you somehow appear to believe it is possible for you to posses some kind of existential insight into my own “intrinsic moral compass,” or lack, thereof.) If all that is what you read between the lines, you read it in yourself. I can’t project something, intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t believe, unless you are going to try and assert that I now know how to not only say things, “I don’t know I’m saying,” but apparently believe things, I don’t know that I believe. Again, I am mystified why so many who post here seem to have the need to, not just disagree with people, but to somehow convince themselves that there must be something intrinsically wrong with or lacking in them (“full of fear and doubt… no moral compass… liars… bozos… ignorant… stupid… subversive,” etc.), or else an almost paranoid concern that they for some reason have nefarious designs on their souls, or are callously attempting to irritate and annoy them.

  436. #436 Demagogue
    July 12, 2007

    David Rockwell,
    I find the whole evolutionist = atheist or agnostic v. creationist = religious belief argument is a little mind numbing sometimes. The problem is that either side will use the information to somehow prove their existing belief and disprove the opposing belief. Those who are polarized in their beliefs will find my statements to be unpalatable, but the truth often angers those that wear blinders.

    Luckily, my awesome sense of humor counters the overt seriousness between the two sides. I have even given alternative positions, from a philosophical point of view, for those who don’t want to discount one view for the other.

    I realize it is maddening for those who want to purely talk about the science of evolution and the interesting aspects of how they relate to our present manifestations. Unfortunately, there are those who come here with their religious beliefs just to strengthen their beliefs instead of having an intellectual conversation about the science of evolution and learn something.

    Also unfortunate, are that religious beliefs and scientific facts are not compatible. Some try to argue that they are, but really, they are not. Tolerance of both views does not make them compatible either. The social dynamics of religion and evolution make them diametrically opposed by nature. The problem for most of the religious community is to be able to separate their beliefs from the evidence presented by scientific research.

    I have done a lot of reading on religions, humanities, and philosophies, but am just now expanding my knowledge of theories on evolution. I have learned a lot from blogging with those who have more knowledge and have engaged in a lot of reading on the different aspects of evolution theories. Evolutionary theories are a lot more complex than I realized, but I am slowly gaining a better understanding.

  437. #437 Kseniya
    July 12, 2007

    David Rockwell,

    I retract every statement I made about you.

  438. #438 Kseniya
    July 12, 2007

    Of course I believe my faith gives me essentials that can’t be obtained otherwise. Why else would I bother to embrace it?

    Therefore, those who do not embrace your faith lack those essentials, as would you if not for your faith. If you can’t admit to the implications of this inescapable conclusion, this conversation has clearly gone on WAY too long. And what would those essentials be? Meaning? A moral foundation? Hey, I’m just guessing here. Help me out.

    You believe science provides value and insight that can’t be obtained any other way, don’t you? /blockquote>

    Yes, of course. Don’t you?

  439. #439 hoary puccoon
    July 12, 2007

    Ann Homily– Thanks for your info way back at #366 on the Sumerian beginnings of many biblical legends. That business it cites of writing having been invented in ‘late 4th century BC’ is wrong, though. That would put the invention of writing after the classical era of Greece. Could they have meant 14th century or even late 4th millenium? (You know, looking at the bible as a collection of very early writings, without having to believe it’s literally true, makes it about a thousand times more interesting, at least for me.)

  440. #440 Demagogue
    July 12, 2007

    hoary puccoon,
    The first recorded writing (hieroglyphs) or glyphs of some kind have been found In Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Sumerian regions around the same time period. Mesopotamia and Sumerian lands would be where modern day Iraq and Iran are situated now.

    Elamit script is 300 years older than that of the great civilization of Susa. Susa was a Persian city (now Iran). It had claim to the oldest recorded glyphs of around 5000 years ago. The Elamit script would be at 5300 years ago.

    Archeologists believe they will find eventually written script that is earlier than this.

    As interesting as all this is, it doesn’t really answer your question, though. The reason is that most stories were written centuries after they were originally told. These stories were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth until period when writing stories down became a more common practice. Much of the literature written about earlier scholars, philosophers, etc. were second hand (at best) as the originator usually didn’t write his or her discoveries, methodologies, or axioms but only committed them to memory.

    Adds a twist to history that was 2000 or 3000 years ago about stories of events dating back before 7000 or 8000 years ago. This is why mythologies grew in grandeur.

  441. #441 David Rockwell
    July 13, 2007

    -Demagogue
    Unfortunately, there are those who come here with their religious beliefs just to strengthen their beliefs instead of having an intellectual conversation about the science of evolution and learn something.
    Also unfortunate, are that religious beliefs and scientific facts are not compatible. Some try to argue that they are, but really, they are not. Tolerance of both views does not make them compatible either. The social dynamics of religion and evolution make them diametrically opposed by nature. The problem for most of the religious community is to be able to separate their beliefs from the evidence presented by scientific research.

    I don’t really disagree. And I am not prepared to endorse the conclusions or tone of everyone posting here who apparently would share my Judeo-Christian faith, or at least worldview. As RamblinDude pointed out earlier. There is a point at which personal “revelations” and understandings are just that, personal (but not necessarily as irrelevant as many therefore conclude.) I also think I understand the difference between gaining insight through scientific methodology and faith, though I am not as extensively trained in science as some here. I guess the perspective I have been trying to articulate, and apparently not very effectively, or at least not in a manner which is not annoying to many who contribute here, is that even trusting in science to shape your understanding of the world is, in the final analysis, also a leap of “faith.” Your comment that, “the problem for most of the religious community is to be able to separate their belief from the evidence presented by scientific research.” The operative word, I think, is “evidence.” I won’t cite the Ptolemaic view of the solar system again (but guess I just did.) I would even concede that there are people whose “faith” seems to be threatened by scientific evidence. (Please take this as a sincere question and not some covert attempt at trying to convert you or save your soul) but are you really convinced that the only worthwhile understandings and conclusions about the world and life can be ascertained solely by some scientific process of investigation? Is that all you are willing to trust? Is there no element of mystery in life or (dare I suggest) spiritual aspect to existence, which may ultimately defy scientific quantification? The success of any “faith” experiment ultimately depends not so much on the strength of the convictions of the one believing, or even just the evidence that seems to point to the object of faith, but on the innate reliability of the object of faith itself. If I am convinced that a bridge is defective, I won’t ever drive across it, even if it really is sound. Nor will my being certain that it is sound stop it from collapsing when I cross it, if it’s really defective. You might suggest that a scientific examination of the bridge could determine whether it is sound or not. Quite true. But I am only suggesting that a conversation with the bridge builder and a personal confidence in his skill and integrity may be sufficient evidence to send me on my way across the bridge as well. If you don’t believe that the bridge has a builder, or that it is arrogant for me to claim I know him even if it does, you will need to just keep inspecting the bridge. That doesn’t mean you’re a fool or wasting your time. And you will probably learn a lot about the bridge and its reliability, that way. But by the same token, that doesn’t mean that I can’t get myself across the bridge just fine, simply because I don’t embrace your more skeptical attitude about what can be known about a bridge and how we can come to know that. I guess I am not convinced that science and religious faith, while certainly very different orientations to life, are as diametrically opposed, at least in their practical usefulness, as you would probably be inclined to suggest.

  442. #442 Demagogue
    July 14, 2007

    David Rockwell,
    Please, do not misunderstand me. I sound like a song. But, I am not telling you not to have a belief in God. I am saying that a personal belief is just that whether it is philosophical, deity driven, monolithic, or Wiccan. Science is what it is. Hypotheses are made from collected and tested data. We don’t have to believe the hypotheses, but we can’t ignore the evidence either.

    I have my own personal beliefs about the world around me because my experiences, environments, influences, genetics, and other factors are unique to me. Therefore, I believe what I believe, but don’t try to convince others to try and believe as I do. If they decide to believe as I do it because of the logic of my argument.

    That is the intercourse of debate. It allows each of us to explore beyond the boundaries of our knowledge and test whether our assumptions really hold water or not. My path is mine alone and I expect no other to take it. Yet, as social beings, we try to find commonalities amongst those we come into contact with. This leads us to try to integrate our belief system with that which requires no belief…science.

    The arguments aren’t about what science has discovered but rather what the implications of those discoveries mean. The next discovery is whether to accept what has been revealed, exasperate the process, deny its validity, or wait for more data.

  443. #443 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    Other theories don’t require that you recall them or not.

    sorry, was I being to rhetorical for you?

    here:

    there are none.

    better?

    ball’s in your court.

  444. #444 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    But, The origins of life have been asked about before cosmic microwave background radiation

    and that has fuck all to do with evolution, let alone going into what the actual definition of “theory” is.

    demagogue, indeed.

    you need to complete your handle.

    might i suggest:

    ignorant demagogue?

  445. #445 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    My path is mine alone and I expect no other to take it

    *whew* you had me worried you actually were expecting us to take you seriously.

  446. #446 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    I picked just two online articles that discuss evolution, in detail, by seemingly very qualified scientists, and they somewhat agree with each other on certain aspects of evolution, but also poke big holes in other evolutionary theories.

    NO, you idiot.

    I can already tell, without even looking, that they are discussing issues of mechanism WITHIN the current theory of evolution, not whether the theory itself is valid.

    example:

    is sexual selection or environmental selection more important for the evolution of a given trait within a given population is a discussion of MECHANISM, not the theory of evolution itself.

    there IS NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF EVOLUTION THAN THE CURRENT EXTANT ONE.

    do try to keep up.

  447. #447 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    Because if you are really so smart then only you have the answers and you will become the next diety.

    count me as god then, because i knew the answer to your inane rambling even without a need to reference your irrelevant list of papers.

    It’s a crappy job though, being a god. I’ll stick to being a scientist, thanks.

    OTOH, with just the slightest bit of work, you too could have figured out the definition of a scientific theory, realized that there is only one theory of evolution with multiple mechanisms involved, and not even have bothered to post your ignorance.

    see how easy it is to be a god?

    anyone can do it.

  448. #448 David Rockwell
    July 14, 2007

    Demagogue

    From post #460 – “The arguments aren’t about what science has discovered but rather what the implications of those discoveries mean. The next discovery is whether to accept what has been revealed, exasperate the process, deny its validity, or wait for more data.”

    Your whole post was well said, and I concur. With regard to “what science (claims to have) discoverd” and the arguements over the implications of the evidence, many others who post here don’t seem so reasonable about the siginifcance of their own conclusions. Some who espouse a “scientific” world view contend, with a dogmatism and self righteousness that rivals any religious zealot, that their particular conclusions about the evidence are sacrosanct, just because they purport to have used a “scientific method” to arrive at them. The rest of us are suppose to and then go on to attribute to their “theories” an automatic halo of truth and the same level of universal significance they, themselves, have already decided they deserve. They don’t just say, the theory of evolution is a reasonable conclusion based on the apparent evidence. They have in fact said, since I claim my evidence is “scientific,” if you don’t agree with my conclusions about the theory of evolution, you are just an annoying idiot. For people who claim to base their world views on the reason of science, they seem incredibly unreasonable in their attitude toward others who happen to disagree with their conclusions, as evidenced by some of the reactions to both of our past comments.

  449. #449 Zarquon
    July 14, 2007

    Or maybe they’re just reacting to the fact that you’re an idiot.

  450. #450 Kseniya
    July 14, 2007

    DaveRock,

    I did overstate my case the first time around, and laid a lot of stuff out which impinged on your character and otherwise just got in the way. Sorry about that. I wiped the slate clean and tried to distill the source of my original complaint down to something we could actually discuss. Thanks for the reasonable reply, which was food for thought, and also made me chuckle (“cosmic blind date” – LOL). I have a few things to say, but no time to say them, which may be a blessing to all involved. (I have to work another wedding tonight… my head still hurts from last night, and I didn’t even drink!) Maybe tomorrow…

  451. #451 David Rockwell
    July 15, 2007

    Kseniya,

    Post #468 – Your thoughts appreciated and accepted. Hope your evening went well.

  452. #452 Demagogue
    July 15, 2007

    Ichthyic,
    Oh great fish God! I, the ignorant demagogue, apologize for posting on your site. Please mentor me in the ways of the un-opposable and invincible scientific theories and hypotheses of evolution. I humble myself to you oh mighty deity of the fish.

    So, let me get this right: 1) There is no god or gods, 2) science has proven, scientifically (meaning: science agrees with itself), that all living things evolved over millions of years, 3) science can stop collecting more data on evolution as it is immaterial and trivial at this point in our understanding, and 4) the only things left for science are to cure all disease, stop aging, and advance space technology to populate other planets for the time when the Sun diminishes, or man, nature, or the x factor causes man’s extinction.

    Whew, Ichthyic, I guess you got me. There is absolutely no reason for anyone else to even speak on this site of have any other questions about how, why, when, or where. You write, we’ll read.

  453. #453 Ichthyic
    July 15, 2007

    So, let me get this right: 1) There is no god or gods,

    not a part of anything I said, though now that you mention it, sounds like you got it right.

    2) science has proven, scientifically (meaning: science agrees with itself), that all living things evolved over millions of years,

    beyond any reasonable doubt at this point.

    3) science can stop collecting more data on evolution as it is immaterial and trivial at this point in our understanding,

    You must have missed my pointing out the issues of “mechanism” to you. read for comprehension, not hyperbole, and you can avoid that in the future.

    and 4) the only things left for science are to cure all disease, stop aging, and advance space technology to populate other planets for the time when the Sun diminishes, or man, nature, or the x factor causes man’s extinction.

    no, that’s only a handful of things.

    zarquon’s right, i was giving you too much credit, actually.

    Oh great fish God! I, the ignorant demagogue, apologize for posting on your site

    uh… well don’t let it happen again?

    hardly likely given you likely enjoy exhibiting your ignorance, but a deity can only hope, right?

  454. #454 Demagogue
    July 16, 2007

    Ichthyic,
    Don’t worry. My ignorance is both temporary and topic specific. Your wisdom enlightens me daily. So, if I continue to be ignorant then you are a bad mentor.

    You did say mechanism and I agree that was a technicality of the evolution theory I was exposing as being in question. But, only because many evolutionists don’t agree on how we went from H. habilis 2.4 million years ago to H. erectus 1.8 million years ago. So, I’m not disagreeing about radiation and speciation, just “mechanisms.”

    I’ve read quite a few of your posts over the past two months (about as long as I’ve been blogging) and found you to be very intelligent in presenting your data. I am actually interested in this topic and have been reading as much material as possible. I appreciate you taking the time to actually respond to my particular posts in order to correct my misconceptions and unscientific jargon.

    However, I will continue to learn and post unlike some cretins that will continue to babble the same tiring rhetoric. So, you can continue to call me names, if you wish, but I’ve been around too long to let someone’s verbal barbs bother me.

    Party on…

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