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03/03/2008

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Perhaps he would have commented earlier but it seems as though he has only just learned to write.

Well, Tom, you should be happy that your writing garners such impassioned responses even with the passage of time!

Well, Creation is still disproven and Evolution is how we came to be. So Birdzilla should work on those 14 percent of her comment that actually make sense and just learn that she's wrong about that, too.

kamenin,

Tongue in cheek or not? Too short a sample for accurate judgement.

Well, I'm European and a biophysicist, so make your guess.

Then you really ought to know that you can't prove a negative; all you can do is show that there is inadequate evidence to prove in the affirmative. Of course, it's even better if you can demonstrate evidence in favor an alternative that explains better than the other hypothesis.

Having said that, if we split evolution into two parts, micro and macro, we have a better picture. Micro-evolution, i.e., the minor changes within species, is obviously true. Macro-evolution, the hypothesis that one species changes into another (or the functional equivalent, the appearance of new organs, like bacterial flagellum or the eye), has no evidence in its favor whatsoever. None. Zilch. Nada. In fact, one of the most important observed differences between higher organisms and lower--internal fertilization--and its realization in humans--face to face, as opposed to male from the rear in all other species--subsumes so many changes that must be simultaneous in the male and female that it is literally impossible to have developed randomly, as Darwinism insists changes must.

On the other hand, there is evidence in favor of the existence of God. What's more, astronomer Fred Hoyle, the man who coined the phrase "Big Bang," rejected that theory entirely, and came out in favor of a created universe. Furthermore, prominent philosopher Antony Flew, who for decades promoted atheism, recently re-considered his views, and published a book called There is a God in 2007.

So, I'd have to disagree with your assertions.

Two 19th-century idols, Marx and Freud, have been toppled. The third, Darwin, is looking pretty shaky.

Squid, I don't have to prove a negative. As long as we speak about scientific concepts, say: the earth is 6000 years old, I can disprove that and so, Creationism is disproven.
What I can't disprove are philosophical fantasies like "God made it look older", "We're all part of the matrix", or "Satan put those antievolutionary thoughts into Squidley's brain".

But, Squid, really? What's the big deal about "micro" turning "macro"? Who's putting a stop to it? No evidence whatsoever or no evidence you can't muster the strength to ignore?
Do you really think, no scientist ever thought about the evolution of sex? So, I guess, it actually is the Big Science Conspiracy. Luckily, you found a bunch of bloggers that can show every biologist his errors, spreading bull about humanity's quick end if not God had given males a bigger penis? You must be joking. Even I can see how female and male genitalia evolved alongside because both adaptions are encouraging each other. Those people's understanding stops at "evolution is random mutations and pure chance". Did they get High school diplomas with that?
And the second link? That chemistry is more complex than the chemistry of the hydrogen atom proves God... right...
Fred Hoyle dismissed evolution because he didn't get it: the tornado in the junkyard crap. Sure, that doesn't makes sense. That's why it's not how evolution works.
Antony Flew is, and I think this honestly and with all respect, a senile old men now. He didn't write that book, he doesn't even know what's in there. Look up Richard Carriage's correspondence with him.

Squid, you have been lied to. I think it's because you want to be lied to, but still. Your quoting blog post of people with elementary school knowledge about evolution. There is no big conspiracy to suppress Creation evidence. Just nice but unscientific analogies, mispresentations and fear of losing faith on the Creation side. Reality is more complicated.

Really... America, the only Western country where you can say evolution is true and someone thinks you may be joking.

First thoughts:

I agree that literal interpretations of the Bible leading to 6000-year-old earth hypotheses are false. Let's not worry about that straw man.

Second, I realize that evolutionary biologists have spent many an hour pondering how certain complementary changes may have come about. As far as I can see, such arguments are not only ad hoc, but they also veer from Darwinism by incorporating teleology, which is explicitly excluded from Darwinist theory.

When it comes down to it, I don't know how, for example, whales, or sexual reproduction, came into existence. I don't have to know that in order to acknowledge their reality.

Let's put it this way: If I see a statue, I don't have to know anything about the sculptor's tools, methods, or motives, or anything about the sculptor himself, to acknowledge that the sculpture is real.

Gotta run. More later.

Well, I don't see it as a straw man. Great if you don't believe in it, but people do and I didn't make that up. Therefore my second argument: if you push out everything that makes Creation in any way distinguishable, we're not talking about a scientific but a philosophical concept: "of course, it just looks like evolution, but that's only because God wanted it that way..." [x-files theme fades in the background]

There's a big problem in the debate. It takes almost no effort and no time to think about some claim, state that it is "literally impossible" for evolution to explain and there it is. The evolution side needs to develop a scientific theory (not including teleology), do research, analyze results and so on -- and if one number is not given or hard to understand to the laymen, evolutionary results (which to produce took 10 years against 10 minutes for making stuff up) are declared ad hoc or just-so-stories.
I could go on complaining, but that's why it's frustrating for scientist to discuss with creationists. Well-documented research by well-respected scientists is dismissed with links by high school kids or ministers. (And finding well-founded, state-of-the-art scientific answers to blog post also takes a lot more time than to find blog posts) Creationists never do the hard part, the science. Neither do ID creationist: they just look for stuff to fit their interpretation, get rebuked, look for new stuff...

The sculpture is real, indeed. But if you found that that sculpture was born from slightly different parents (like you carry, statiscally, some 7 or 8 mutations from the DNA you inherited, IIRC) -- then you don't even need a sculptor. At least not to explain the look of the sculpture.

Hey Squid: Can I use all the people who used to believe in God but don't anymore as evidence of a lack of existence of God?

The personal attainment or loss of faith is hardly scientific evidence.

I'd like to know why those who claim faith are always trying to enlist science in their cause. Why are self-professed believers out searching for Noah's Ark, or trying to prove dinosaurs and man lived together in harmony, or seeking government funds to study the power or prayer?

Faith doesn't require scientific backing. It is, in fact, exclusive of the desire for proof. Maybe you could explain to me why the self-declared most faithful are the ones who are out trying to bend scientific method -- a completely different thought process -- into something it's never going to be: an article of faith.

Tom, I agree with you: faith does not need science. I guess that the people who seek science to back their faith are just trying to use the tools of the day to fight back against the relentless attack on religion.

Personal attainment or loss of faith is not scientific evidence, yes. But you don't seem to know why philosopher Antony Flew's conversion away from atheism is so important. You might read up on him and his story, remembering that philosophy, especially the philosophy of science, are pre-theoretical for the pursuit of science. Also, he is what we might term a deist, believing in a more Aristotelean concept of god; he is explicit in his non-belief in any revealed religion.

As for the attacks on him, such as the ones kamenin levels, notice they are ad hominem. Since obviously there is no God, and since obviously the atheist position is the more "logical" one, there must be something wrong with Flew--why, that's it! He's "a senile old man." Yeah, that's the only possible rational explanation, isn't it? No matter that Flew vehemently denies such charges. Considering that he has not been institutionalized, nor have the courts granted power of attorney over him to another, let's take the default assumption that he's still in control of his faculties.

Incidentally, here's a nice discussion on the irrationality of the atheist position, including a link to a much longer discourse on the topic.

The history of science shows us that older theories get supplanted by new ones. How can anyone be so arrogant as to assume that we've finally found the "right" theory? Yet that's the default Darwinist position. In some disciplines, like, for example, physics, theories abound, each with their supporters and detractors. Even Stephen Hawking has--gasp!--admitted he's wrong and changed his mind on some points.

One of my professors in grad school, teaching a theoretical topic, said that he hoped that one of us (i.e., his students) would one day disprove everything he had told us. In other words, it was his hope that we would go on to explicate a better theory than the one we were being taught. In contrast, Darwinists are positively religious about the absolute infallibility of their position.

As for kamenin's complaints about defending the Darwinian theory of evolution: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! The Darwinists have a position; it is up to them to defend it. It is subject to the same standards of scrutiny, debate, evidence, and the like as any other scientific position. Notice that kamenin keeps up the ad hominem stance about critics, as though no scientist ever had a single doubt about Darwinism.

This post too long as it is. Still, I want to direct you to this discussion, called Why Do People Reject Darwin?. Make sure to read Gary W.'s comments at the end; I especially like his point that some of Darwin's harshest contemporary critics were--get this--paleontologists! They said that the fossil record doesn't support his theory. You know what?

It still doesn't.

Scientific evidence changes, scientific theories change. Gravitational theory did change, but things keep falling down; just not exactly in the way Newton proposed. In the same way, evolutionary mechanisms are better understood and refinded every day but it won't change Common Descent. Our idea of electromagnetism changes, but it won't stop the transistors inside your computer from working.
Feel free to disprove it, though. It would be the honorable, lauded and most impressive thing to do. I just have doubts if writing something on the internet about something else you found on the internet is the way to go. Looking for philosophical viewpoints is a nice hobby, but unless you can _demonstrate_, it's just chatter and ramblings. Science will not be impressed.

Squid, you just in fear about your religious worldview. You bring up atheism all the time as if that proves a single point about evolution or as if both discussion were actually the same. That's the opposite of the scientific method. It failed and failed and failed.

if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! The Darwinists have a position; it is up to them to defend it.

It's not about the heat. We'll deal with it all the time when doing the cooking. It's about the kids outside the house calling Fire, Fire.
Like they did every single day since the invention of cooking.

Ad hominem? Yeah, sure. Could also be calling a spade a spade.

Back to Tom,

I agree that faith and science address different areas of the human experience, and while they are not mutually exclusive, I don't think they have much in common. Even so, some scientists, in exploring "their" corner of the universe, marvel at the wonder of God's creation, and take joy in explicating His truth, as imperfectly as we can understand it.

kamenin,

Darwinism is taught as though it were God's own truth, when it is actually a hypothesis proposed to explain observed facts. While I agree that micro-evolution is factual, and that it might even be the route for certain instances of speciation (such as dogs vs. wolves), macro-evolution falls flat on its face. I also find utterly unconvincing any evolutionary account of the genesis of art and music, not to mention something as basic as sexual reproduction, or even the origins of single-celled organisms.

I will admit that I haven't read all the relevant literature, but I am coming from a much stronger scientific background than most people, and I was once a Darwinist believer.

While I'm at it, nice ad hominem about my "fear." I don't really have a dog in this fight; I'm just pointing out that there are plenty of rational, intelligent people, including scientists, who think that macro-evolution is a load of hokum.

Your reference to my alleged fear just underscores typical leftist attack methods: since leftism and liberalism are, a priori, the only "correct" approaches, anyone who disagrees with a leftist/liberal position must be irrational. Here, you're expanding this to science and scientific positions. So my rejection of macro-evolution can't be based on having examined the evidence and the theory then and finding the theory lacking; it must be because I'm irrational--in this case, "afraid." Obviously, you don't have to deal with irrational fears, so your little world is "safe."

In the same vein, nice slam on Fred Hoyle earlier. In this case, you don't attribute irrationality to him, but a lack of intelligence. He was smart enough to win numerous scientific awards but, according to you, not smart enough to understand evolution. Right.

And I thought I was arrogant!

Squid, is there anything I can write that won't constitute an ad hominem? I wrote about Hoyle that he didn't understand evolution because the analogies he invented to discredit it ('tornado in a junkyard') have nothing in common with evolutionary mechanisms -- never had, never will have. I did not even speculate about his intelligence! Lots of intelligent people said lots of stupid things about fields in which they don't work. It's that easy.

More, everyone would remember Hoyle for his impressive successes and would have forgot about the one time he made a fool of himself, if people like you didn't bring it up again and again. His argument won't get any truer because of his work as an astronomer. Your strong scientific background should stop your bringing in stupid points just because someone famous made them first.

You brought up atheism again and again, so, sure it looked like that question touches somewhere on faith issues for you. To note that is not an ad hominem. It's not even about irrational fear: if your faith informs you that God made you special and in his image, fearing evolution may be very rational for you. Still wrong, but rational.
If you want science to be treated as a political debate ('leftist attack method'), go on. Won't change the science. Maybe the quality of education American children get, but not the science.

You talk about plenty of rational, intelligent people but you link again and again to a website of people with hardly high school knowledge about evolution. Your last link pointed to someone who "converted" from evolution because of the faith he got from reading an Ann Coulter book! I couldn't make that up; it's way beyond parody.

If it's arrogant to demand at least basic knowledge about scientifically tested and respected theories, alright, I'm guilty. And rather proud of it.
That makes telling evolutionary biologists how wrong they are because it looks implausible on first glance what: humility?

To be fair, you made a few arguments about evolution itself:

When dogs come from wolves, why does that mean that "macro"evolution falls flat on its face? A dog comes from a dog-like wolf, a wolf comes from a wolf-like pre-wolf, that comes from a similar mammal -- down to early mammals and the evolution of mammals. Where's the big show stopper?

Evolution of art: chimps already have a brain evolved that enables them to use and construct simple tools. Mating ceremonies show the giving of presents, the use of decorations etc throughout the animal kingdom. Is there no way an animal with a bigger brain than a chimp could have found both ways interesting enough to produce something art-like? Nor that a thinking animal could find a drive to express his thoughts through something different than words but maybe a picture?

Music: animals do it a lot. For communicating, for mating ceremonies. All genetic studies show that musicality is heritable in humans.

Sex: there are several theories how sex came into existence. It's far from impossible. We're not speaking about mammals here springing into existence with two pairs of genitals: we're talking about finding a way to combine DNA strands from two individuals. Cells do so by Conjugation, for example.

Cells: Look up proteinoids. Wikipedia for example. They're on theory how RNA/DNA could have encoded cell-like structures around them.

Are there open questions? Sure, Squid, that's what science is about. But even if you look for the points where evolution just seems most implausible for you, it's still not falling flat on its face.

If it's arrogant to demand at least basic knowledge about scientifically tested and respected theories***, alright, I'm guilty.

What I meant: ***when you're seriously trying to disprove them...

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