Friday, February 22, 2008

Creationism in schools (a continuing thread)

People who read the regular blog posts but not the comments may not be aware of activity on old posts, which is why I'm starting a new thread. This is a continuation of a discussion with Lena, who first dropped in on a post from last November, in which we were talking about the new trailer for "Expelled." I'm resetting the thread mainly so that the conversation doesn't get lost to history.

Lena writes:

Kazim; I understand that there are people who believe in both evolution and God. However, current biology textbooks do not include references to the possibility of intelligent design; I am not aware of any biology or science textbook in mainstream public schools or universities that references the concepts of intelligent design.

That's right, they don't. And do you know why? Because "intelligent design" isn't a scientific concept. It hasn't been accepted into the scientific lexicon; it hasn't achieved mainstream penetration into scientific journals. It isn't testable, and with rare exceptions, it is almost universally regarded as nonscience by biologists everywhere.

Could this change someday? Sure it could, but schools don't have the authority to make that change. Textbooks on science are written BY scientists FOR schools, not the other way around. If this were going to change, it would be by a major shift in the way that biology is understood. And while I understood that there are a lot of popular books, speakers, and 80's movie stars who are gung-ho about Intelligent Design, it's only fair to point out that this has barely registered at all in the scientific community. That's why ID isn't taught in schools.

You can argue that belief in God is the realm of religion, but really, we're not talking about God. We're talking about Intelligent Design - people don't have to believe that is was a God that was the designer, do they? Teachers would never have to say who created the universe, just that there was evidence of design. It is atheists who make the assumption that intelligent design would be identifying God as the designer; why is that?

That's an easy one to answer. It's because ID comes at the tail end of a long history of deceptively trying to slip creationism into schools under false pretenses. In the case of Kitzmiller v Dover of 2005, one of the findings was that the major book being used to promote ID, titled Of Pandas and People, was really just a modified version of an earlier creationism textbook. The editors went through the text and did a search-and-replace operation to eliminate all references to "creationism" and replace them with "intelligent design" and so forth. But they didn't do a very thorough job -- in one place, the word "creationists" was sloppily replaced by the words "cdesign proponentsists."

A number of years before that, something called the Wedge Document was unearthed, explicitly stating that rationale behind the existence of the whole "intelligent design" movement was to, and I quote, "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God."

I don't see why any of this should come as a surprise to you. You're a theist, and so far as I can tell, the main reason you're complaining about lack of ID in schools is because you think that failure to teach ID is tantamount to atheism. Have I missed something?

Certainly there are people out there who might have a different idea of "who" that creator or designer was? There are seriously people who believe space aliens created the earth, but in our society you don't hear public outcry against them.

Yes, you do. Those people are crackpots. They don't come out as regularly as do cdesign proponentsists, but when they do, they tend to receive about the same level of ridicule. Their views are not taken into account as part of mainstream science either.

Do you really think, Kazim, that if the vast majority of people who advocated ID'ism were believers in space aliens, that schools would have a hard time with it? I doubt it.

I do. It would have to have serious research and peer-reviewed publications backing it up before it could even be considered as part of a curriculum. Any teacher who made a unilateral decision to ignore the standards and start teaching about our alien designers would meet with the exact same kind of resistance that creationists experience now.

The search for alien life is actually accepted science. NASA spends unbelievable amounts of money to make machines to search for organisms on Mars. The belief in "alien" life is one that is no longer a subject relegated to science fiction, yet there do not seem to be people who object to including this new "evidence" in textbooks.

The SEARCH for alien life is accepted science. The factual claim that there actually IS alien life is not. Even Carl Sagan, who was in many ways the intellectual father of SETI, was very careful never to say that he conclusively believed that any aliens have been found, because he didn't. It is a tentative hypothesis, remaining open to discussion until such time as evidence can be found. In the meantime, the search for hypothetical alien life has led to all kinds of real advances in science, such as improvements to radio telescopes, signal processing technology, and distributed computing algorithms. No such achievements can be pointed to in the search for intelligent design.

I still think teaching ONLY evolution in schools is advocating atheism.

And I still reply that you are objectively wrong, because evolution is not an atheist subject. Again, 11,000 clergymen and the pope aren't atheists.

You and Martin keep telling me to go back to any basic biology or science textbook, and I have. You've said that I didn't adequately understand cosmology or the atheist viewpoint, so I've researched them further.
I find no mention of the possibility of design in the Big Bang theory. The Big Bang cosmological model asserts that the universe expanded from dense matter, but never explains how the matter came into existence, so even if someone DID believe in God and evolution, or a designer and evolution, there is no indication in your "accepted" theories of origin.
Children who go to public school and are presented with only one possibility for the origin of the universe will accept that possibility, because they're given no alternative. There is scientific evidence for the existence of God, it just isn't welcome at school.

No there isn't. Find me some. As soon as there is any kind of genuine, concrete scientific evidence for "a designer," it might be considered as part of a school curriculum. Until that time, not so much.

I don't just have a problem with biology textbooks, by the way. The textbook industry in general is a revenue-driven business that survives through sales. I read history from other countries because it yields some surprising bits of information that are not in our textbooks in America. Textbook writers leave things out for convenience, for sales, and for political reasons. It bothers me that our children are taught what is politically correct simply because it is what is popular.

I agree. There are lots of things to dislike about the current textbook selection process, especially here in Texas.

On the other hand, what you are demanding kind of comes down to a different question, and it's this: Do you allow that there should be SOME kind of standards for what goes into science and history books? If so, who is responsible for those standards? Is it elected officials, or scientists? Or may any person, regardless of credentials, propose changes to our textbooks? What about flat earthers? What about astrologers? What about holocaust deniers? Do you think that science standards should be set strictly based on what the latest people to win an election think?

If you object to the amount of time our posts have taken up ( I think it has been what, three weeks now?)

I don't care. I'm a slow poster, but I can keep enjoying this all year, if you need. :)

If atheism and the supposed unveracity (yes, it is a word) are such important topics for you and your colleagues that you dedicate enough of your time to be a part of a show and a website, than what is the problem with continuing to converse with me?

There is no problem. I don't disagree with your principles in fighting for what you believe is right. I just think it's only fair to point out that the mainstream scientific literature is squarely against you, and not just a little bit.

Even if the conversation has strayed off the main topic ( and it hasn't; the conversation has broadened because it is a broad topic) then what would be the problem with actually laying down the case for evolution for me, since it is either a part of your job or at least a serious hobby?

Earlier, you complained about the volume of stuff that you were being asked to read. I don't like to just bog down people with links. People spend their entire careers studying and understanding the evidence for evolution. If you asked me to teach you calculus, it would take more than just some argumentative blog posts.

However, if you're serious about understanding WHY evolution is recognized as solid science, you might start here:
29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

I don't do this for a living, but if you have any questions about those pages then I'll do my best to answer them.

I said before that I would be willing to provide scientific sources for the case for creation after you ( or Martin) were finished laying out your case. I haven't done it yet because I've received no indication from you that you are finished.

The only thing I would ask, to begin with, is what you would consider to be a "scientific source" and why.

Though you said you have read the Bible, Kazim, the foundation of this discussion was not the Bible. I said I'd find documented sources outside the realm of religion, but I did mention one Bible verse:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)
I'm still asking if you're willing to do something comparable, from an atheist perspective. You've given some explanation, I'm just listening and commenting occasionally on a few things that I have questions about.

I think I'm doing that. It's just taking a while. As long as you're patient enough to give me some time to finish each post, I'm here.

Question 1:
Lena said: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts?????

Maybe you should browse that link I just posted first.

Kazim, you said you wouldn't expect anyone to individually refute everything on that website anymore than you would attempt to refute everything on answers in genesis.
I'm just asking that, when we make claims or references, we give specific examples. Martin disappeared shortly after that post without satisfactorily explaining or referencing WHAT geological, archeological, or paleontological evidence. Please don't take this as antagonistic, but look at it from an outsiders viewpoint. Consider, when you have questions for believers about the Bible or related topics that they give a broad, sweeping statement and don't satisfactorily explain the statement. I admitted that I did this same thing at the beginning of the conversation, as well, but that I was determined to do a better job with specifics. I'm just asking for the same thing from your camp.

We sometimes "tag team" responses, because there's only so much time to participate in every thread. I'm pretty sure that Martin is still reading, but he's decided to let me take over the participation. I think I'm a bit better read than he is on evolution -- and I don't mean that as a slight, since Martin is a very smart guy with a lot of expertise in other areas that I respect.

Martin, if you're still out there, about leprechauns: I never said I didn't believe in leprechauns. The question is not whether or not I believe in them, the real question is, can YOU prove they don't exist?

No, we can't prove that leprechauns don't exist. So, DO you believe in them?

So what if "my" specific religious beliefs" don't reconcile evolution and the Bible? Isn't that what this discussion is about?

Not really. This discussion was about what's appropriate to teach in school. And the thing is that, as per our constitution, public schools can't actually care about pandering to anybody's specific religious beliefs. Otherwise, they might have people lobbying them to teach that the sun goes around the earth.

32 comments:

  1. Interestingly I watched a program last night about the state of Chernobyl today. It mentioned that a specific breed of bird, I think it was a swallow, was one of the few instances observed of genetic mutation due to the disaster. Apparently the bird has some red feathers under its chin, but some birds began to have white feathers after the disaster. The red feathered birds rarely bred with the white ones, and the trait died out after a brief time due to lack of breeding success.

    Natural Selection in action.

    Meanwhile, a type of water worm also had an interesting change. It was an asexually reproducing organism. But after the disaster, it was observed reproducing sexually. While the worm might not realize it, biologists noted that the sexual reproduction would increase genetic diversity and perhaps help the worms to survive in the radioactive/toxic environment.

    Evolution in action.

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  2. "You can argue that belief in God is the realm of religion, but really, we're not talking about God. We're talking about Intelligent Design - people don't have to believe that is was a God that was the designer, do they? Teachers would never have to say who created the universe, just that there was evidence of design. It is atheists who make the assumption that intelligent design would be identifying God as the designer; why is that?"

    Let's modify that quote:

    "You can argue that belief in God is the realm of religion, but really, we're not talking about God. We're talking about magic - people don't have to believe that is was a God that was the magician, do they? Teachers would never have to say who created the universe, just that there was evidence of magic. It is atheists who make the assumption that magic would be identifying God as the magician; why is that?"

    Why don't we teach evolution, intelligent design AND magic?

    Because magic isn't a scientific theory - and neither is intelligent design. It offers no mechanism, and no assertion beyond "this couldn't happen by evolution alone". When the ID folks get to the point where they have a testable, falsifiable, peer-reviewed explanation for biodiversity, that's when it becomes science and is deserving of inclusion in science education.

    Until then, it is indistinguishable from magic - whether you feel the designer is a god, a space alien or transcendent pixies with a passion for insects.

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  3. >"It is atheists who make the assumption that intelligent design would be identifying God as the designer; why is that?"

    Could I recommend you look up Dover

    http://www.machineslikeus.com/articles/DoversDominos.html

    >After this setback, a 'new' edition of the book came out which seemed to differ from the earlier versions mainly in the fact that someone had used the 'search and replace' function of their word processor to remove all references to the word 'creationism' and replace it with 'intelligent design.'

    It isn't "atheists" who claim the designer is god. It's the ID-ers who actually tried to argue for it in court. They showed themselves up to be plugging in ID for creationism, ergo, God.

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  4. I read too fast. I see Russell pointed this out (what I wrote above)--still I think it was an important to make it clear it's not an atheist invention to connect ID and creationism--as if we're all just making the assumption out of our a**es.

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  5. Personally, let me be clear I am defending Biblical Creationism not ID. I believe ID can be interpreted into anything that created us, even aliens. So people tried to make it politically correct and more palatable by lumping Biblical Creation along with the theory of ID, I feel that was a cop out and even detrimental for the Kitzmiller v Dover trial. It was interesting how they tried to deceive or flat out lie to push the agenda of Biblical Creation. Did they think God wasn't watching that day, give me a break. It really is these same compromises that Christians go through that gets them in trouble. This eisegesis method of interpretation is very damaging and quite simply, sinful. It is my belief that there is no such thing as a True Christian that believes in evolution at all. (Psalms 118:8)

    I am not anti-Science at all quite the contrary. I don't reject science but I reject the presuppositions some secular scientists use to interpret the evidence. If it were so cut and dry why is the scientific community in a battle.

    "Both creation and evolution make claims about an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. Thus both creation and evolution fall under the category of historical science. This is distinctly different from operational (observational) science, which is a methodological system governing directly observed, repeatable results (such as laboratory experiments)." (AIG)

    If you are looking for more study on truth besides just trueorigins.org there are others, such as:

    ISCID

    Discovery

    Intelligent Design Network

    Origins.org

    Access Research Network

    Remember, the atheist asked the Christian, how do you know there is a God? The Christian answered, "I know there is, because I know Him." The atheist responded, "But how can I know that you are not in error?" The Christian said, "Knowing someone is not proven. It is experienced."(carm)

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  6. I've got to hand it to you, Dan. I think you're completely backward in your understanding of science. But at least you're up front in your blunt acknowledgment that you're out to promote a religious belief. I wish more creationists had your honesty.

    Remember, the atheist asked the Christian, how do you know there is a God? The Christian answered, "I know there is, because I know Him." The atheist responded, "But how can I know that you are not in error?" The Christian said, "Knowing someone is not proven. It is experienced."(carm)

    Experiencing something does not translate to knowing it. You ought to see the movie Memento sometime. There are a lot of things that people believe themselves to have "experienced" which did not happen.

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  7. ID is logically bankrupt even without refutation from science. I have (much!) greater respect for honest creationists like dan marvin.

    The basic arguments of ID are that all events need a cause and all complex items need a designer. If that were true, then the designer of today's life (be it God, alien intelligence or whatever) must by the same logic also have a designer and a cause. If we are too complex to have evolved and require a designer, then who designed the designer? And who designed that entity?

    The fundamental premise of ID creates a logical conundrum equivalent to the proverbial infinite stack of turtles.

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  8. Okay, I'll leave this one from Dan up, and we'll see if he remains civil in his discourse and doesn't slip back into his old ways.

    As to Lena's question about the leprechauns: you've got the concept of burden of proof all messed up, girl. No one is under any obligation to prove that the nonexistent doesn't exist.

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  9. There is a common misunderstanding that permeates the popular discourse on evolution. It is the idea that evolution is "just a theory" (which comes packaged with the assumption that theory in scientific parlance must mean what it does in everyday parlance); in actuality, it is a fact and a theory. Evolution has occurred and continues to occur regardless of the actual mechanism by which it does so. We have thousands of pieces of evidence (dozens of transitional forms in the fossil record, the differences and similarities between the genes of different groups, biogeography, structural homologies, the results of breeding experiments, observations of wild populations, pathogen resistance to antibiotics, sexual antagonism and other wasteful - for the species - forms of conflict, the ubiquity of parasitism and other forms of exploitation) telling us THAT evolution has occurred. The Darwinian account is one explanation for evolution; there were others that were put forth but were discarded, as they were later deemed incapable of providing a coherent explanation for the facts coming in. More recently, we have the modern synthesis – essentially the marriage of population genetics with natural selection, as well as speciation through isolating mechanisms) was a refinement of Darwin's insights, and is today the most powerful and coherent account we have for explaining the facts. The modern synthesis is itself being refined and expanded.

    This article summaries this admirably: Evolution as fact and theory. It's quite silly to doubt evolution, for the fact of it is not in serious contention, and hasn't been for at least 100 years. What is somewhat more controversial is the mechanism/s involved.

    What does science show us that fundamentally clashes with any creationist account? It is this: in nature, what we find aren't always neat categories where living beings can be unambiguously pigeon-holed, but continuity, variation, flux, and contingency. These aren't deviations or "imperfections" from a Platonic ideal inhabiting God's realm, but the actual, real stuff "on the ground". I recommend that everyone read Stephen Jay Gould's book "Full House" to get a sense for this (it also happens to be an utterly entertaining book).

    Just to give one prominent example of the type of thing I’m talking about: there are over 250,000 species of beetles. Many will look almost identical to one another; others will be composed of sub-species and varieties. There is a continuum spanning from minor morphological differences all the way to being so different that the respective members are placed into different families. All throughout nature, there is continuity both within and between species, genera, families, orders, and so on, just as there is variation within and among all these groupings. This is what we should expect in a world where new forms are being generated from a common stock. Variation is the material that makes this possible. And it is the sheer breadth of both continuity and variation that is striking. The incredible abundance of forms – so different in so many different ways, but still sharing similarities that allow for clear genealogical inferences - speak of a world of incredible complexity. Of course there are discontinuities, often sharp ones (even here, there may be fossil intermediates to mitigate the "either-or" prejudice favoured by our eagerness to slot everything under neat labels. Was Archaeopteryx “really” a bird or a reptile? It is often touted as the first true bird, but it had far more typically reptilian traits than typically avian ones. What Richard Dawkins calls “the tyranny of the discontinuous mind” will see to it that that such ambiguous examples are forced into either side of a strict divide, but that tells us more about how we categorise the world than about the world as it actually is). But continuities surely tell us something just as, if not more important. This view is bolstered by the existence of such things as hybrid zones and ring species, which wreak further havoc with our discontinuous minds.

    Species diversify if conditions allow, get replaced, get displaced by other species, and die off. This is part and parcel of natural history. The conditions that tip the scale in favour of one thing happening instead of another are often stochastic. A meteorite falling to Earth doesn't do so in the hope that a lineage of primates will eventually spawn Homo sapiens from the ashes of the dinosauria. A meteorite just does what it does, and whatever follows follows. If not for the K-T event that finished off the dinosaurs, we almost certainly wouldn't be here (though there might well have been other beings with similar levels of contemplation talking about how lucky they were that no catastrophes had befallen their own ancestors, and how self evident it is that their existence represents the raison d'être of the universe). In hindsight, that meteorite was necessary for our being here, but that's not the same thing as saying that it existed for the sake of us. In the vast array of permutations that take place as a necessary part of having so many actors on life’s stage, something had to happen, and we just happen to be part of that something. We will never know all the other worlds that could have been; and certainly we shouldn't glorify what did eventuate with the stamp of inevitability just because we happen to inhabit it.

    Similarly, our australopithecine ancestors didn't live for the sake of eventually spawning us. Our existence is fortuitous, not an ineluctable consequence of divine providence or inherent drive. Evolution was never aiming for us (and nor could it, for it has no foresight); like millions of other denizens of this planet, we are one of its products. Ancestors don't live their lives striving towards some preordained "goal" of producing "higher" predecessors; they have better things to do - things that organisms do as part of being organisms, like eating, excreting, mating, fighting, and nurturing. As a logical consequence of the way evolution operates, even separate phyla had to have originated as populations of a single species that happened to undergo some form of reproductive isolation. This was accompanied by no fanfare. Such an event would have been entirely run-of-the-mill, entirely run according to the regularities and contingencies of natural history. If that species had not chanced upon conditions that led to its divergence into two sub-species, then most of the things that we know that has in fact followed would not have happened. But of course, plenty of other stuff would have happened – just that it wouldn’t have mattered to us, as we would not have existed.

    Some may see all this as having disturbing implications, for how then shall we regard ourselves as special if we are "merely" products of contingency coupled with a process lacking foresight and compassion? I would submit that the lesson here is that the view offered by science is uplifting and inspiring for its own reasons. We not only get to keep most of what we cherish as human beings, but we also get to reconstruct its understanding on a firmer foundation. We are artefacts of this universe, not separate from it. Understanding the forces that gave rise to us is to understand ourselves more clearly, which can itself give us grounds for hope that we shall at least make find solutions to the problems that plague us. Finally, we should feel incredibly lucky to be here at all, and to relish our time as conscious entities.

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  10. Final thoughts I have to add:

    >The Big Bang cosmological model asserts that the universe expanded from dense matter, but never explains how the matter came into existence

    I would add here that maybe this person needs to read the law of conservation of matter. Perhaps the reason Big Bang doesn’t incorporate someone/something creating matter is that we have no evidence that such a thing ever happened. It may be unnerving to a theist, but it appears possible that matter may be eternal stuff based on what we know about matter.

    Meanwhile, it is also true that science works from what is known—and since “X that creates all matter” does not align with known reality, it can’t be reasonably incorporated into a scientific theory—most especially when reasonable answers are available using all of the things we already know exist—such as matter and energy.

    In other words, if we can make a sense of universal origins based on what’s all around us—why _would_ we incorporate fantasy things—whether they are particles, people, gods, aliens or what-have-you?

    It’s like seeing a chewed up shoe next to a sleeping puppy and exclaiming, “We’ve got a shoe-chewing ghost in our house!”

    Here’s Hawking’s summary. I suggest this person gather some information BEFORE forming opinions:

    “Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. This kind of beginning to the universe, and of time itself, is very different to the beginnings that had been considered earlier. These had to be imposed on the universe by some external agency. There is no dynamical reason why the motion of bodies in the solar system can not be extrapolated back in time, far beyond four thousand and four BC, the date for the creation of the universe, according to the book of Genesis. Thus it would require the direct intervention of God, if the universe began at that date. By contrast, the Big Bang is a beginning that is required by the dynamical laws that govern the universe. It is therefore intrinsic to the universe, and is not imposed on it from outside.”


    >Textbook writers leave things out for convenience, for sales, and for political reasons. It bothers me that our children are taught what is politically correct simply because it is what is popular.

    Ironically, I work with a text book publisher. Religious groups are not only allowed to, but routinely DO read text books and revise them to be more religion/history friendly. It’s required in some states as a form of not being offensive to / not defaming a student’s beliefs. It bothers you that kids are taught what is “politically correct”? Then maybe you need to complain to your representatives about letting churches tell text book companies to take out true facts about their religious behaviors/history that they find embarrassing in the modern day and age and would rather not advertise anymore.

    >then what would be the problem with actually laying down the case for evolution for me,

    In addition to all the cases we witness for ourselves of genetic change over time (ALL our domestic breeding is BASED on this model Ever seen a Guernsey Cow? Where do you think it came from? A herd of wild Guernseys? Domestic breeding is nothing but a huge experiment in what evolution can do.) and of the observed reality of natural selection, it’s a leading scientific theory. I can’t fathom why Russell should have to provide a poster with information that is ALL OVER the place if only someone were serious enough to do a tiny bit of research. It appears this poster cares enough to post how they disagree with evolution—but they don’t care enough to look it up and even find out what it is they’re claiming they don’t agree with. If I need Russell to explain evolution to me--how can I be objecting that it should be treated as equal to ID? How would I know it’s equal if I admit I need someone to tell me what it even is?

    Shouldn’t a person wait until they understand X somewhat--somewhat better than this person seems to understand it, anyway--before drawing conclusions concerning X? Or is that just a personal value of mine?

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  11. Why not just try and teach Creationists the difference between an hypothosis and a theory?

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  12. I think some of you are confused as to what evolution implies and what it actually means. According to the link that Lui provided Evolution as fact and theory there was something that I will quote, from that link, that I absolutely agree with: "Organisms changing generation to generation is called evolution.". But then it jumps to the fallacy that Evolution is Fact because of that observation. It is a huge leap don't you agree?

    Now as for myself, as many creationist, I believe that micro-evolution is observable and is a fact. That is exactly what it says in the Bible, for example Genesis 1:21 says "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." Micro-evolution is an observable fact we can all agree.

    Understand that God already said that there would be variations like you pointed out Lui "over 250,000 species of beetles" (after their kind) or Dogs (after their kind) or humans (after their kind) but to state that we used to be fish or Macro-evolution is plain false and cannot and has never been proven, EVER! Yes it's a theory and hypothesis, but not fact!

    If everything were from the same genetic strand then we could create different species all together like man-horse, cow-giraffe. The only existence of a cat-dog that I know of is in a cartoon. Macro-evolution is a figment of imagination, FALSE, and just a simple hypothesis that never was provable or observed.

    Your religion of naturalism is so flawed. Let's start with Big Bang, mentioned by Tracie, and how come no scientist in the world can answer the many simple and logical questions posed. You want to force feed us illogical theories. Big Bang, like evolution, has no evidence just assertions based on ignorance.

    Let's see if these problems can be addressed by anyone:

    big bang problem #1: Missing antimatter problem. (Baryon number) How much in the universe, ZERO. One fluke exception is not an answer either.

    big bang problem #2: Monopoles problem. At high temperatures, greater then the core of a star, can create singular poles and the big bang started at infinite temperature and that would be hot enough. Guess how many we find ZERO.

    big bang problem #3: Singularity point problem. The Big Bang DOES NOT even explain the origin of the universe. How did that singular point get there?

    big bang problem #4:Known physics breaks down in this situation. General relativity (powerful gravitational fields) and quantum mechanics (very small situation) exists separately but there is NO
    physics currently that can explain both situations at the same time which is what the Big Bang requires. Known physics cannot describe that (big bang) situation so big banger's take it on BLIND FAITH that if such physics is ever discovered that it would even allow for the theory of the big bang.

    big bang problem #5: Population 3 stars there should be these type of first stars everywhere all over the universe. Any guess to how many are out there...ZERO! All stars have trace amounts of the heaver elements.

    Now I had help (Dr. Jason Lisle) for these points but science cannot explain there theories they try to teach the kids. Not mine, because we are homeschooling our kids. These are things with no evidence, just assertions based on ignorance. It all starts with a scientist's presupposition and that is why most are mislead into wrong assertions as I stated in the past.


    God does want us to look into the heavens and wonder this is true. He wouldn't of placed us in the clear part of the galaxy's swirl to observe the stars and planets and other galaxies. He wants us to understand our surroundings as stated in Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"


    If we are just pond scum that was just fortunate because of past events, how do you explain that we are the ONLY creatures on this planet that wonder and are concerned about our own mortality. Also, we are the only species that has laughter and comedy. We have an ability to laugh at ourselves and observe that is unlike any of the other species, we are truly unique and very special. We are after all created in His image.

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  13. "If everything were from the same genetic strand then we could create different species all together like man-horse, cow-giraffe."

    I'm sorry, but that's absolutely ridiculous. There is no expectation whatsoever to be able to produce such hybrids, for the simple reason that too many genetic differences have accumulated since the common ancestor of the two groups. Of course, there are genes that are highly conserved and will be shared by both species, but the notion that macroevolution predicts that you can take the genome of one species and stick it together with that of another species, resulting in a functioning chimera, is nothing I've ever heard even hinted at by biologists. Your terminology doesn't seem very precise either; you make "genetic strand" sound like an homogeneous piece of material, as though common descent means that we should automatically expect the two strands to be fully compatible and to work together to produce a viable organism. Jurassic Park was wrong when it had frog DNA being used to fill in the sequence gaps in dinosaur DNA (Stephen Jay Gould complains about this in his essay "Dinomania"). SOME genes can indeed be transplanted from one organism to another. Some developmental genes - like the transcription factor that initiates the cascade of events that builds an eye - can be taken from a human, for instance, and put into a fly, where it works. That's not speculation, but observed fact. But it doesn't follow even from that that we could ever construct a fly-man. In actuality, a genome tends to be a highly coadapted suite of genes (and by "genes", I mean regular protein coding sequences as well as developmental switches) that have been selected in each other's presence.

    "Understand that God already said that there would be variations like you pointed out Lui "over 250,000 species of beetles" (after their kind) or Dogs (after their kind) or humans (after their kind) but to state that we used to be fish or Macro-evolution is plain false and cannot and has never been proven, EVER! Yes it's a theory and hypothesis, but not fact!"

    I'd love to know how it's "plain false". Natural selection provides us with a viable mechanism to account for how change occurs; fossils tell us THAT certain lobe-finned fishes acquired more and more tetrapod features, until the line between fish and tetrapod was blurred. It isn't necessary to provide every step of a narrative in order to be reasonably sure that something took place. Natural selection complements the fossil record, as does the latest data from evolutionary developmental biology. Look at this bloke. The point of my mentioning beetles was to show how there is a whole continuum of similarity alive today. Transitional forms like Tiktaalik give us snap-shots of where this leads when we look at deep time. Of course, Tiktaalik was its own creature, doing its own thing. If creationists had been around at the time, they might have mentioned Tiktaalik (after its kind). To use an analogy by Dawkins: to say that macroevolution is impossible because there was no definitive point at which one species became another is rather like saying that coffee cannot get cold because there is no definitive point at which it flips from "hot" to "cold". Continuity IS the reality, not the deviation from a Platonic ideal (or a "kind"). I am also somewhat bemused at how you would lump a group as large as the beetles (comprising an Order) into a "kind"; I suspect that this may be a form of goal-post moving. Creationists have been prone to ask, "when has a species ever turned into another species?" Provided with examples, the challenge then becomes something like "well show me where a frog turns into a salamander”, as though that could happen in a single speciation event. But there is no expectation by macrevolutionary theory for such transitions to happen in the time available in speciation event. The reason we know THAT macroevolution has occurred is because of the converging evidence from morphology, genetics, and palaeontology, which allow us to view the relationships between large groups.

    "Big Bang, like evolution, has no evidence just assertions based on ignorance."

    That's so wrong it's not even funny, and it’s actually quite embarrassing. It's on the same magnitude as saying "Einsteinian relativity has no evidence, just assertions based on ignorance." Your comments have so far led me to believe that you yourself are ignorant of the evidence, and have perhaps been swayed too readily by creationist propaganda (which has contributed not one bit to actual science).

    "Known physics cannot describe that (big bang) situation so big banger's take it on BLIND FAITH that if such physics is ever discovered that it would even allow for the theory of the big bang."

    Obviously you've never heard of the cosmic microwave background radiation (predicted by the big bang), the Hubble constant or the valid prediction of the abundance of hydrogen and helium made by the Big Bang model. There is still much that is unaccounted for, but that's no warrant to claim a pedastal for superior knowledge when it’s clear that your only real interest is to foster unalterable dogma.

    "If we are just pond scum that was just fortunate because of past events, how do you explain that we are the ONLY creatures on this planet that wonder and are concerned about our own mortality."

    This sort of language really gives the game away. It is the sort of sloppy, populist rhetoric that might stump someone not particularly familiar with evolutionary biology, but won't suffice to stump someone who has read up a bit on the topic. You're in fact assuming that two separate questions (one about our ultimate origins on this planet, the other about the evolution of intelligence) must provide contradictory answers. You ask them as though the answer to one must somehow negate the existence of the thing being addressed by the other. Our ultimate origins in "pond scum" (a term perhaps calculated to inculcate personal incredulity and to appeal to our aversion for something “yucky” rather than an interest in biochemistry) is simply not something that would cancel out the possibilty of our being the only organisms endowed with the capabilities we do as a matter of fact have. Let me ask you: if we came from the primordial soup, why should that prevent us from being the only beings with such capabilities if the conditions that happened to prevail in later natural history favoured such development along those lines? And why would you expect that humans be accompanied by other like-brained metazoans, as though that were somehow the goal of evolution? As I explained, evolution has no foresight. We exist; that much is true, but there is no reason to suppose that simply because of that fact, that we must favour ourselves as the inevitable consequence of any grand scheme.

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  14. "Big Bang, like evolution, has no evidence just assertions based on ignorance."

    That's so wrong it's not even funny, and it's actually quite embarrassing.


    Lui, welcome to Dan Marvin. He is in so many ways the Platonic ideal of the Dunning-Kruger Effect creationist ignoramus I mentioned before: he knows nothing whatsoever about any of the scientific fields he's talking about, yet he thinks he's got more expertise in those fields than the actual experts in them. So he'll freely spout laughably false gibberish, and not understand why he's being laughed at. You couldn't get a better spokesman for the way fundamentalism cultivates, nurtures and rewards stupidity than our old boy Dan.

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  15. dan marvin:
    big bang problem #5: Population 3 stars there should be these type of first stars everywhere all over the universe.

    Not "all over the universe". Population III stars, the first stars, would be located at the extreme edge of the universe. Detection of anything that far away is problematic.

    But these are the fun questions that need to be answered. Maybe the big bang theory needs to be modified. Maybe not. But I don't see you offering a better alternative theory.

    When your home schooled children ask "What are the stars?", is your answer going to be found in Genesis?

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  16. Lui your comment "it’s actually quite embarrassing. It's on the same magnitude as saying "Einsteinian relativity has no evidence, just assertions based on ignorance.""

    Actually your quite right in your example. "Einsteinian declared that the inclusion of the cosmological constant was his "biggest blunder." Einstein's mistake was not a mathematical one but rather a philosophical one made many times over the history of thought. (Presupposition) Einstein held too strongly to the belief that the universe was static and thus was unable to appreciate the power of his theory's predictions of a dynamic universe. His error serves as an lesson to all thinkers, that we should never close our minds to new possibilities, even if the thought of the day is that they are impossible. Imagine how history would have been changed had Copernicus refused to accept his belief that the sun was actually the center of the solar system, or had Columbus thought he would have fallen off the edge of the Earth. It is hard to know where the next paradigm shift will come from, but we should always be waiting for it." (U O Colorado Boulder)

    How can anyone be so closed minded to the "possibility" of a Creator creating Creation is beyond my comprehension. The closed minded thinker is way more dangerous then any Christian, like Einstein they become stagnant and fall off cliffs because of their blind stubbornness. All I am trying to do is stop you all before you fall off that cliff of life that the bulldozer called time is pushing us towards daily. It isn't too late to stop stubbornly heading towards that cliff if you just listen to your conscience.

    The Tiktaalik, you pointed out, is interesting but people are jumping to very far fetched conclusions, again based on their presuppositions. Try to explain the platypus in evolutionary terms, it's amphibious that lives in a river, lays eggs(monotremes), feeds it young with milk like a mammal, it has a bill like a duck that also, like a shark, senses electromagnetic signals put out by muscles of other animals, tail like a beaver, claws like a reptile, fur like a polar bear (it's waterproof fur keeps it from getting "waterlogged."), poison like a snake, it stores the food in small pouches within its cheeks (Squirrel?), webbed front feet propel it through the water (it "rows" through the water with its front legs).

    "What a grand design, it does what it does and it does do fine.
    (chorus) It's designed to do what it does do. What it does do, it does do well. Doesn't it? Yes it does. I think it does. Do you? I do. Hope you do too. Do you?" (Song by Buddy Davis)

    Martin: "So he'll freely spout laughably false gibberish, and not understand why he's being laughed at." This is not a concern of mine what so ever my friend. I will refer you to Psalms 118:8 again and frankly I desire to seek just a node from God then all the applause of all of mankind. I think that is one of many ways we differ from each other.

    Nal: "When your home schooled children ask "What are the stars?", is your answer going to be found in Genesis?"

    Mostly yes as well as the astrophysicist viewpoints. Our family loves science. My young paleontologist (6 yr old) looks through high school biology and palaeontology books and questions the billions of years and I refer her to the Bible and what God says vs what Man says about our origins. She understands the struggle that mankind is going through seeking the truth. At 4 she already memorized the 10 commandments backwards and forwards and knew about God. She changes the channel when someone on the television blasphemies spouting "omg" or something contrary to glorifying God, even her favorite shows. She leads the way and I didn't have to push, even at her age she seeks the truth and to glorify God. I just pointed her to the tools to get there. Narrow minded "evolution only" or rigid blinders is a very unhealthy way to teach.

    You would be surprised if you just let them explore truth instead of the "because I said so" mentality of evolutionist. As parents, we teach our children how to talk and eat and go poopy in the toilet. The trust is already there to teach them the three R's along with proper Godly wisdom. You should all try it, I am having a blast watching my kids grow up, explore, and question everything to seek truth and justice. Our 4th child (3rd boy) will be here soon and I can't wait. God blesses our womb as promised, and we are so very grateful for it.

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  17. dan marvin
    My young paleontologist (6 yr old) looks through high school biology and palaeontology books and questions the billions of years and I refer her to the Bible and what God says vs what Man says about our origins.

    I'm glad to see that she doesn't question God's word. How can anyone be so closed minded to the "possibility" that daddy's interpretation of the Bible is in error. The trust that child puts in your interpretation of the Bible should make you question the confidence of your interpretation. She is the loser if your interpretation is in error.

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  18. I desire to seek just a node from God then all the applause of all of mankind. I think that is one of many ways we differ from each other.

    Indeed it is. You're a deluded individual who would rather believe you were scoring brownie points with your invisible magic friend in the sky instead of actually learning anything (the applause of mankind being frankly irrelevant — religion has the lion's share of mankind's applause despite being an incredibly unreliable and insupportable tool for acquiring knowledge).

    We are indeed as different as it is possible to be.

    My young paleontologist (6 yr old) looks through high school biology and palaeontology books and questions the billions of years and I refer her to the Bible and what God says vs what Man says about our origins.

    Thus thoroughly confusing her as to the difference between knowledge and belief. It's your perogative if you want to make your kids as completely miseducated as you are, Dan, though I feel sorry for them.

    Narrow minded "evolution only" or rigid blinders is a very unhealthy way to teach.

    Methinks thou dost project too much.

    You would be surprised if you just let them explore truth instead of the "because I said so" mentality of evolutionist.

    Yes, it's much better to fill her head with Christian principles like "believe this or go to hell," of course. And as you don't know the difference between truth and delusion, you're going to lead the poor kid astray in a bad way. Then again, she may be smarter than you in the long run, get some good science teachers later on in life who straighten her out on the falsehoods she's already learned, understand how science works in actuality, see where the evidence leads, and figure the rest out for herself. It could happen. Most of the smartest, science-savvy people I know had rigidly fundamentalist parents. Unfortunately, they carry a huge baggage of resentment at having been lied to all their formative years into their adulthoods.

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  19. "Actually your quite right in your example. "Einsteinian declared that the inclusion of the cosmological constant was his "biggest blunder." Einstein's mistake was not a mathematical one but rather a philosophical one made many times over the history of thought. (Presupposition) Einstein held too strongly to the belief that the universe was static and thus was unable to appreciate the power of his theory's predictions of a dynamic universe.”

    Translation: an expanding universe. But anyway, what you say is true; Einstein's mistake wasn't mathematical. My point, however, wasn't about Einstein's blunder, it was about Einsteinian relativity and how we accept it today based upon evidence. I simply said that it would be just as silly to deny Einsteinian relativity on the basis of some fictitious notion that it is evidence-lacking and can only be propped up by ignorance as it would be to deny evolution on the same grounds.

    “His error serves as an lesson to all thinkers, that we should never close our minds to new possibilities, even if the thought of the day is that they are impossible. Imagine how history would have been changed had Copernicus refused to accept his belief that the sun was actually the center of the solar system, or had Columbus thought he would have fallen off the edge of the Earth. It is hard to know where the next paradigm shift will come from, but we should always be waiting for it." (U O Colorado Boulder)"

    It’s all well and good to imagine, but since we don’t actually know how the world would have turned out, such imagination is really just idle speculation. Scientific discoveries can and have been made independently, because there are phenomena out there that can be discovered, and the existence of those phenomena doesn't depend upon the particular person who has uncovered them. It is in this sense – and in the sense that it is cumulative – that scientific knowledge is different to religious “knowledge”. This doesn’t mean that we should disparage the discoveries of Copernicus and Coloumbus on the grounds that someone else would have hit upon them eventually anyway (though it seems you’re willing to disparage Darwin’s great discovery – which was independently hit upon by Alfred Russel Wallace), and they have certainly shaped the world in no small way, but it does seem rather obtuse for you to talk about paradigm shifts when you so utterly ignore what is arguably the most profound paradigm shift in the history of science and human thought in favour of beliefs adhered to millennia ago.

    "The closed minded thinker is way more dangerous then any Christian, like Einstein they become stagnant and fall off cliffs because of their blind stubbornness."

    I love how you mention "close minded thinker" (whatever that might mean; apparently just someone who doesn’t agree with your close minded adherence to a literal reading of Genesis) and "Christian" as thought they were mutually exclusive categories. It's not for you to tell us about close mindedness. If you were truly open minded, you wouldn't rely so heavily upon creationist propaganda and would actually look at what the biologists and other scientists (who you accuse of being dogmatic and "plain wrong") are themselves saying. Your rhetoric is in fact entirely indicative of close mindedness and a craven eagerness NOT to learn, but at the same time to pronounce knowledge as though your “source” gave you the merit to do so. Certainly the facts don’t bolster whatever claim you have for speaking truth, for you have misrepresented the truth (not because you're lying, but because of ignorance on your part - no crime in itself, but if you're going to make bold, sweeping statements, then it might help to check that they align with actual science, not just what some creationist wants to see). The Bible contains claims within it that speak to you as a person (and no, that doesn't make them true), but this seems to have overridden your ability to critically examine claims. Before you come in here throwing around accusations of "close mindedness" and holding yourself up as a shining example of the alternative, you might do well to remedy your current ignorance and practise what you preach.

    "All I am trying to do is stop you all before you fall off that cliff of life that the bulldozer called time is pushing us towards daily. It isn't too late to stop stubbornly heading towards that cliff if you just listen to your conscience."

    "Conscience"? I thought we were discussing science and evidence. If we're to mention conscience in the context of a discussion about truth claims made from genetics and such, we need only consider honesty and respect for the evidence - two things that all too often escape the minds of ID/creationist propagandists who, as Martin has already mentioned, can't stop lying (not as a matter of choice, but through absolute necessity). Their only goal is to shut down critical minds, not to foster them. Why do fundamentalists always have to drag in the emotional baggage they attach to a topic as if it should automatically become the focus of everyone's considerations - including the people who know most about the topic? Simply because, to a fundamentalist, emotion is tantamount, and facts secondary. They thus predispose themselves from the very outset to believing in distortions, half-truths and plain, naked lies. I’m afraid to say, this seems to have been corroborated on this blog by your misrepresentations. I would ask YOU to follow your conscience and embrace the truth (in as much as you actually know what the truth is in this field, and in as much as respect for truth is part of the repertoire of your conscience), rather than strong-arming and distorting it in the furtherance of static dogma. You absolutely will not win any hearts, and certainly no minds, by telling people that they're damned and lost when you're supposed to be addressing genetics and speciation. You'll only succeed in making yourself look lost, and rightfully so. Getting off topic on purpose and then accusing us of being dogmatic when we criticise such a tactic doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence in either your integrity or intelligence.

    “The Tiktaalik, you pointed out, is interesting but people are jumping to very far fetched conclusions, again based on their presuppositions.”

    Tiktaalik is in fact an excellent transitional form precisely because it is everything we ideally look for in such a fossil. But of course, even such a fine specimen won't be allowed to count as evidence in the creationist's mind. It wouldn't matter if a hundred more transitional forms showed up (on top of the dozens we already know about); there would always be another excuse not to acknowledge the new discovery as significant. Instead of allowing their own pre-suppositions to be challenged by reality, the creationist will much sooner lay down a fresh one for the evolutionist, and the evolutionist's failure to meet it would be met with shrieks of condescending and self-congratulatory disapproval. Meanwhile, the chant "Evolution is supported by not one piece of evidence, only ignorance" will continue unabated. I’d love to know what you think is “far fetched” about the conclusions made about Tiktaalik (and based not just upon the fossil itself but also upon prior evidence of the same sort, not upon sinister “presuppositions” that you think lurk in the minds of biologists). It’s a fossil containing a mosaic of features of two groups, it’s clearly similar to other such finds, and it lived at the right time. It is exactly the sort of thing that we would expect to have existed if evolution is true. Transitional forms don’t get much better than this, so what more do you want before you’ll acknowledge that it IS a transitional form? Come to think of it, what does a fossil have to be – that Tiktaalik isn’t – that would make it count as one? Since you’ve already decided that evolution can’t be true, NO fossil will ever suffice to sway you (though you might call it “interesting”, whatever that means). Talk about presuppositions.

    "Try to explain the platypus in evolutionary terms, it's amphibious that lives in a river, lays eggs(monotremes), feeds it young with milk like a mammal, it has a bill like a duck that also, like a shark, senses electromagnetic signals put out by muscles of other animals, tail like a beaver, claws like a reptile, fur like a polar bear (it's waterproof fur keeps it from getting "waterlogged."), poison like a snake, it stores the food in small pouches within its cheeks (Squirrel?), webbed front feet propel it through the water (it "rows" through the water with its front legs)."

    You clearly expect me to be stumped by the platypus. I'm not. You clearly think that, because of its sheer strangeness, it should somehow pose a difficulty for evolutionary theory that creationism is somehow better qualified to address. It doesn't. The platypus and the echnidna are in fact another slap in the face for creationism, because they highlight, once again, continuity and affinity. These animals are the only extant monotremes and are descendants of an early branching in mammalian diversity. They have retained many conspicuously "reptilian" traits (and are hence often dubbed as "the most primitive mammals". Strictly, this is unfair on two counts. Firstly, their respective morphologies are well suited to their particular niches (and besides which, ancestral doesn't have to denote "inferior" in some absolute sense); and secondly, because they have derived traits that their ancestors didn't (and there is no reason these traits can't be highly sophisticated pieces of biological apparatus. Possessing ancestral - or "plesiomorphic" - traits doesn't preclude the possibility of having complex derived ones. Another point to mention: calling something ancestral or derived depends upon what part of the universal phylogenetic tree – the tree of life – you're looking. An opposable thumb is ancestral if you consider humans, but is derived when you consider mammals as a whole. Milk production is ancestral to mammals, but derived when you consider tetrapods. The common ancestor of the monotremes and the rest of the mammals (which later diverged into the placentals and the marsupials) is estimated to have lived about 150 million years ago, more than enough time for monotremes (or certain species therein) to acquire their own special adaptations - just as members of the branch did. The sensitive bill of a platypus is an apomorphy - a derived trait. I'd like to know what is so formidable about the platypus that you think it poses a challenge to evolution? Granted, it's a peculiar animal (and largely because of that, the focus of much attention in evolutionary biology, and not at all something that biologists would want to avoid and brush aside), but what is so qualitatively troublesome about it that you think creationism can be wheeled in to better explain?

    ""What a grand design, it does what it does and it does do fine.
    (chorus) It's designed to do what it does do. What it does do, it does do well. Doesn't it? Yes it does. I think it does. Do you? I do. Hope you do too. Do you?" (Song by Buddy Davis)"

    The point is how it got to be so, not that it is. A platypus is well "designed" for its particular niche (because of coadaptation, not divine creation), and its bill is indeed a marvel of biological engineering, but organisms aren't optimal in every way. There are limitations upon perfection. Two very important limiting factor are embryological and historical constraints. A divine engineer wouldn't need to work with such constraints (at least not historical ones), and could start fresh each time he designed a new animal. There would be no appendixes being retained after birth to get infected, no urinary tracts going through the prostate, and so on. Evolution can't get rid of all these things because embryological processes would be so interrupted that the intermediates wouldn't survive as well as their good-enough contemporaries. Having no foresight, natural selection can't make things worse as a prelude to making them better. For something to get worse, which then happens to open up an avenue of possibilities being opened up to natural selection, might happen fortuitously due to random processes like drift, but selection can’t favour from the outset something bad in the hope that it will lead to something better in the future. And because of this, there is plenty of "bad design" out there - of things that don't benefit the organism but with which the organism is pretty much stuck. Evolution can only work with what it's got, and structures derived from prior structures (often having a different function) will have the signature of history, not the signature of optimal design.

    "Narrow minded "evolution only" or rigid blinders is a very unhealthy way to teach."

    As I mentioned, it isn’t for someone who demonstrably has rigid blinders on (and who has just as clearly not been taught very well by his creationist “sources”) to tell us about open mindedness. And it isn’t for someone of that mindset to tell us about teaching standards, because learning will often be the last thing on their mind. In a science curriculum, only science should be taught. Everything else can piss off. What is unhealthy is to confuse what science actually is and to bring in Bronze Age conceptions into a 21st century teaching space as though they had the same level of import. The biology curriculum should be evolution because only evolution is science. And it’s that simple. Everything else really is bunk, not because that’s the way anyone wants it to be, but simply because nature is as it is, and the way it is doesn’t lend itself to being explained by a creationist account.

    "My young paleontologist (6 yr old) looks through high school biology and palaeontology books and questions the billions of years and I refer her to the Bible and what God says vs what Man says about our origins."

    Because obviously the Bible is such an unyieldingly accurate and precise reserve of scientific knowledge, whereas palaeontologists, geologists, astronomers, biologists, botanists, zoologists, ethologists, pathologists, psychologists, anthropologists, cosmologists and physicists clearly don't know what they're talking about or even doing (perhaps why you've ignored every paradigm shift up until the ones that made it possible to believe in a young Earth; while you use a computer, of course. Another example of fundamentalist hypocrisy). Pity the poor children. You won't appreciate me for saying this, but what you're doing to your child is quite contemptible. If the confident ignorance you've put on display here is anything to go by, I see grounds for much worry in your child's future scientific understanding. She, like you, will feel compelled to adopt a schizophrenic approach to reality; on the one hand, using, enjoying and benefiting from the fruits of science, but on the other hand whining about and rejecting, almost in its entirety, the science that makes such applications and breakthroughs possible in the first place.

    "She understands the struggle that mankind is going through seeking the truth. At 4 she already memorized the 10 commandments backwards and forwards and knew about God."

    You're joking, right? You want us to believe that your family "loves science" and that it flourishes in an atmosphere of open discussion and questioning of beliefs, yet you freely admit (with no hint of irony) that she could remember the 10 commandments at the age of four? Gee, I wonder if she just didn't need any prodding to do that. The claim that a 6 year old "understands the struggle that mankind is going through" is one of the most pathetic and laughable things I've ever heard. Perhaps it's never occurred to you, but a little child is too YOUNG to known where he or she stands on such matters, for the simple reason that their minds haven't been armed with the necessary tools for evaluating competing claims. They are, of course, highly susceptible to believing whatever their ignorant parents tell them, and religionists have used this to devastating effect (most religious claims wouldn't survive if they were has to pass muster through the critical scrutiny of informed, educated adults, rather than being imposed on young, defenceless minds). Everyone knows what's going on, and it's got absolutely NOTHING to do with teaching the virtues of open mindedness or of questioning things. You're simply imposing your ignorance on you child (a neglect of care, I would say). If you want us to seriously believe that she gets angry at blasphemy and questions the millions of years of the Earth's history (another fact that she'll be ignorant of, thanks to you, and probably stunting the chances of her becoming a competent geologist or palaeontologist rather than an insignificant nuisance working on the fringes of respectability) on her own initiative without your brain-washing and deforming input, you must think we're completely brain-dead. And yeah, what Nal said.

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  20. "After their own kind..."

    It's funny that you interpret that to mean that a Great Dane is a "kind" of Chihuahua, merely because science tells you they are both related as Canines.

    Take a person outside our sphere of scientific knowledge, and try to convince them the Great Dane and the Chihuahua are the same animal. Good luck.

    Basically, you acknowledge that genetic variation results in changes over time--we can see it, and you admit it. However, "after their own kind," seems to make me wonder where ANY variation would come from? I _don't_ agree a Great Dane and a Chihuahua are of the same "kind." I agree that they are both canines, and I trust science on that point--as you seem to as well. However, I think it would be an absurdity to say a Great Dane is even "the same kind" of dog as a Chihuahua.

    To use your logic: If Chihuahuas and Great Danes were the "same kind" then we could breed two Great Danes and somehow come out with a Chihuahua.

    I don't see how you can interpret "their own kind" to mean they'll produce offspring that are "sorta" like them, but changing to a huge degree (as a Chihuahua and a Great Dane represent a HUGE degree of change). Just the fact we can see such a striking change in a single species of animal shows they're not producing "after their own kind" at all--but varying to a striking degree.

    Of course, there is also observed speciation to contend with.

    But the main thing is that you are stretching a verse like silly putty. If dogs brought forth offspring after their own kind, all dogs would still look exactly like the original wild dogs. I see NO evidence your interpretation of the verse--that it only sorta means what it says--should be accepted.

    And you seem to want to put a stop to evolution and say, "It can't produce different species"--but it has.

    The question is--where are you getting the idea that evolution has a stopping point? Based on what?

    You are like a person who says, "I agree stalactites can grow half an inch from mineral deposits dripping down--but I totally can't accept they can grow 3/4 inches! That's impossible!

    Nobody knows what limits, if any, evolution has. You don't have that information, and you're stretching the Bible statement to try to make your beliefs fit with what you recognize as undeniable reality.

    We agree evolution occurs, we don't know how far it can go. It may account for all species on the planet--and you have no reasonable basis to claim otherwise.

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  21. Lui "The Bible contains claims within it that speak to you as a person (and no, that doesn't make them true), but this seems to have overridden your ability to critically examine claims. Before you come in here throwing around accusations of "close mindedness" and holding yourself up as a shining example of the alternative, you might do well to remedy your current ignorance and practise (practice) what you preach."

    Lui what is your motivation with this conversation? Your appear to be feverishly, at length, trying to convince that your viewpoints have to be correct but let me ask you who are you trying to convince, me or you? Lui you also seem to be convinced that I hate science, this is just another one of your presuppositions that you need to overcome. Please go see the movie Expelled when it comes out and you might understand some of our struggles, as Christians who love science. Just consider these things:

    It is interesting that when certain people (atheists) seek historic and scientific proof, they immediately discount the Bible as a reliable source. If we look at the Bible simply as a historic document, it should be among the most reliable on record compared with others.

    Historians routinely cite Herodotus as a key source of information. He wrote from 488 B.C. to 428 B.C. and the earliest copy of his work comes from 900 A.D. (1,300 years later). There are only eight known copies of his work.

    You have heard of Julius Caesar and I am sure you believe that he existed right? Well there were 10 manuscripts of antiquity that explained who he was as we know him today. 10 that is it, in one language, everything we know today about him came from just those 10 manuscripts.

    By contrast, the New Testament of the Bible (with all its information about Jesus) was written between 40 A.D. and 100 A.D. The earliest known copy is from 130 A.D. and there are 5,000 known copies in Greek, 10,000 in Latin and 9,300 in other languages.

    But again your presuppositions will determine if you will accept documented historical proof or not. Hermeneutics is very important here is my blog about it: Hermeneutics

    If I showed you evidence that would that prove God to you would your presuppositions prevent a belief again? There is plenty of evidence for knowing God. Evidence of impossible things that are in the Bible also, such as, eye witnesses with dedication to the truth, 40 people writing a cohesive message of salvation over 1600 year period, etc. There is even scientific truths in the Bible that would be impossible to know back when it was written a brief list of Atoms (Hebrews 11:3, written 2000 years ago), Blood is the source of life and health (Leviticus 17:11), Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains (2 Samuel 22:16; Jonah 2:6), round earth (Isaiah 40:22) , Second Law of Thermodynamics the Law of Increasing Entropy (Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25,26; and Hebrews 1:11), Each star is different (1 Corinthians 15:41), Light moves (Job 38:19,20),Winds blow in cyclones (Ecclesiastes 1:6) ,Ocean contains springs (Job 38:16), Job 38:35 written 3,500 years ago said that light can be sent, and then manifest itself in speech but did you know that radio waves move at the speed of light? This is why you can have instantaneous wireless communication with someone on the other side of the earth. Science didn't discover this until 1864 when "the British scientist James Clerk Maxwell suggested that electricity and light waves were two forms of the same thing" (Modern Century Illustrated Encyclopedia, Vol. 12), Dinosaurs (Job 40:15-24), Why was circumcision to be carried out on the eighth day? (Genesis 17:12) Medical science has discovered that the eighth day is the only day in the entire life of the newborn that the blood clotting element prothrombin is at the highest levels. On and on, a handful more things that can be pointed out but you get the point.

    Are all of these things acceptable to you, is another question. Obviously, the evidence presented so far doesn't allow an atheist such as yourself to believe.

    Lui "You're simply imposing your ignorance on you child (a neglect of care, I would say)."

    That is because you lack experience and that is the difference. I have an experience that removed ALL doubt, I am 100% certain there is a God. On the flip an atheist cannot say they have 100% certainty based on a non experience, it is based on a belief still. They have a belief based on lack of said experience, but they remain uncertain (lack of assurance).

    Nal "She is the loser if your interpretation is in error." Not so my friend, but be confident that if YOU are in error you will lose salvation, insert Pascal's wager here.

    Please forgive me for repeating myself, but let's just say that I stump you with powerful arguments, using archaeological and scientific evidence. Just suppose that I have even intellectually dwarfed you.

    Now all I have to do is convince you that Noah actually built an ark and brought in the animals two by two, that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, that Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, that Daniel was really in the lions' den, that Moses really did divide the Red Sea, and that Adam and Eve ran around naked...and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Do you really think I can prove all of that to you?

    Look at what Paul said about how he persuaded men about God: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God." (1 Corinthians 2:1) Why didn't Paul dazzle his hearers with eloquent speeches and intellectual wisdom? Bible scholars who have studied his letters tell us that he was extremely capable intellectually. First Corinthians 2:5 tells us why he deliberately stayed away from worldly wisdom: "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

    If sinners are converted by the intellect (the wisdom of men), they will fall away by the intellect. If they are merely argued into the faith, they will just as easily be argued out of it whenever a respected scholar reports that 'the bones of Jesus" have been found. However if sinners are converted by "the power of God," they will be kept by the power of God. No intellectual argument will cause them to waver because they will know the life-changing reality of their conversion, and their faith will be secure in the eternally solid and secure Rock of Ages.

    My point is that it's impossible for me to intellectually ague that there is a God and that it is only the "power of God' that converts someones heart. The Bible tells us to preach the word in season and out of season and that is as far as I should go as we are instructed 1 Timothy 6:

    1Timothy 6:20 "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science, falsely so called,"

    The Bible is clear about the questions mankind has. Job 35:11 "When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom."

    Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

    My motivation is to help you all get saved through God's grace, if you reject it that is your God given gift of free will. The same goes for my 6 year old, she has every right to reject everything that I tell her about God. She will, by faith and grace, go to heaven where I will be waiting with open arms. I hope our eyes meet (Lui and Nal, Tracieh and Matt D, and yes even Martin and all the rest of you) in heaven and we can all rejoice at these spirited conversations with gladness and humility and give each other warm embraces of understanding and love. Today, that is my prayer.

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  22. “Lui what is your motivation with this conversation?”

    I have four basic motivations. The first is that I want to show you how your ideas about evolution don’t stand up to even cursory examination. The second is to show you how hypocritical and disingenuous you’re being when you profess to have special knowledge that scientists somehow lack. The third is because ignoring people’s nonsense makes me feel ikky, and for me it’s an issue of personal integrity not to let barbaric ignorance go unchallenged. The fourth is that I wanted to test how long it would take for you to give up on the science and go straight to the Bible passages (not long, as it turns out).

    “Your appear to be feverishly, at length, trying to convince that your viewpoints have to be correct but let me ask you who are you trying to convince, me or you?”

    You. And no, I’m not trying to convince you that my viewpoints have to be correct; I’m merely being feverish about pointing out facts and exposing your blatant errors. There’s a huge difference. Either challenge my viewpoints, or don’t talk about them. And if you’re going to challenge them, do so on the basis of science. Don’t go hiding like behind your God-book. Not that I actually have any serious hope of convincing you of anything (you delusion seems too embedded for that to happen), but when ignorant statements like the sort you’ve been making (so far, you’ve managed to get everything wrong) are trotted out as fact, and told to people who actually read up a bit on science, I feel compelled to speak up and expose such errors. In typical fundamentalist fashion, you will automatically interpret this as rebellion against God. It isn’t; it’s rebellion against boorish ineptitude. That’s also a huge difference. I also happen to enjoy elucidating what concepts in biology, and I hope that others might learn something new along the way. Even if you choose to wipe any new knowledge I provide you with clean from your mind, I hope that others will look into this knowledge and be better armed should they encounter creationist nonsense.

    “Lui you also seem to be convinced that I hate science, this is just another one of your presuppositions that you need to overcome.”

    It’s not a presuppositions, it’s an observation from reading your comments. I’ll “overcome it” when I see some evidence that you actually care about what science says instead of what you want to read into it.

    “Please go see the movie Expelled when it comes out and you might understand some of our struggles, as Christians who love science.”

    Expelled isn’t about Christians who love science, it’s propaganda dressed up as such. It’s such a crude attempt that the atheist scientists – Dawkins and PZ Myers – had to be bamboozled into granting interviews (something they don’t normally do, for good reasons. They don’t like to give the impression that creationism has any scientific respectability, and granting interviews with such people would only lend credence to the idea that there is a genuine scientific controversy at stake. The other reason is that creationist propagandists love to take things out of context). IDists whine a lot about being sidelined by the big bad scientific community. They in fact have no one to blame but themselves.

    “It is interesting that when certain people (atheists) seek historic and scientific proof, they immediately discount the Bible as a reliable source. If we look at the Bible simply as a historic document, it should be among the most reliable on record compared with others.”

    This is a common dichotomy in the minds of fundamentalists: either the whole Bible is true, or none of it can be. Why? Well, because it was written by God, obviously. So it can’t be false! “Therefore”, it’s true in its entirety. Which is of course complete crap because there also exists the possibility of some of it being true, and some of it being false. It’s really not that hard to conceptualise. Fiction can be interspersed with historical fact and vice versa. Besides which, the things I’ve been addressing have nothing to do with the Bible. Why raise it as though it has any relevance to genetics, speciation or macroevolution? It isn’t a treatise on biology, and it was written some two millennia ago. In case you haven’t noticed, the game’s moved on since then, and the latest and most powerful incarnation of our biological knowledge – the modern synthesis – flatly contradicts a literal reading of Genesis.

    “Evidence of impossible things that are in the Bible also, such as, eye witnesses with dedication to the truth, 40 people writing a cohesive message of salvation over 1600 year period, etc.”

    It’s always funny to see what Biblical literalists count as “miracles”.

    “I have an experience that removed ALL doubt, I am 100% certain there is a God.”

    Good for you, mate. It doesn’t mean shit to us. “I am 100 % certain there is a God” is just another way of saying “I am impervious to evidence”. Nothing I show you can sway you (that’s not a virtue, by the way). And you talk to me about being open to evidence? It’s this sort sickening arrogance masquerading as humility that really gets me.

    “Not so my friend, but be confident that if YOU are in error you will lose salvation, insert Pascal's wager here.”

    Yes so; you’re filling your daughter’s head with poison (and whom are you trying to convince when you do that? Her, or yourself?). Pascal’s wager is strictly for intellectual cowards. Besides which, it applies to every religion, not just Christianity. You have decided to stake all your bets on Christianity. So there are thousands of religions that you could be wrong about. I just go one religion further and adopt the most parsimonious view: all religions are variations of fiction.

    “Now all I have to do is convince you that Noah actually built an ark and brought in the animals two by two, that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, that Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, that Daniel was really in the lions' den, that Moses really did divide the Red Sea, and that Adam and Eve ran around naked...and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Do you really think I can prove all of that to you?”

    No. Besides which, anyone who believes in the Ark story (a story shot with so many holes it’s not even funny) is so deluded that he has lost all credibility. If you can’t prove these things though, we have no reason to believe them.

    I notice that you didn’t address a single scientific point I made. Surely that can’t be because what you said was a pile of crap? All you did was blab about eternity and throw around some more accusations. You have argued like a pious know-nothing, in other words. I’m sorry if that’s unkind, but if you’re so starved of credibility that you need to present us with Bible passages, then the persona you project into these discussions will inevitably become the focus of some criticism, since you haven’t exactly projected anything of much value. Unless you’d like to keep talking about the platypus.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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  23. My only thought on this issue is that while the instruction of Darwinism is
    accepted, the right of individuals to believe what they will is not. I believe that both are protected under the Constitution which attempts to secure the rights of individuals to believe and say what they want. The restriction of either of these rights is a serious attack on individual freedom.

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  24. Bradley, exactly where (in the US at least) is the right of people to believe what they want not accepted, and where is this right being restricted? A person can believe that purple nose-goblins created the universe if they like. But try to get "equal time" teaching that as an "alternative theory" in science class, and expect to be justly shut down.

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  25. Martin,

    Did you mean to say: But try to get "equal time" teaching that as an "alternative theory" in science class that indoctrinates the religion of secular humanism, and expect to be justly shut down.

    Do you feel you have the right to push your religion on our children Martin? Keep in mind that you don't even have kids.

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  26. dan marvin:
    ... the religion of secular humanism ...

    Let me see, secular: not religious. So we have a religion that's not religious.

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  27. "Did you mean to say: But try to get "equal time" teaching that as an "alternative theory" in science class that indoctrinates the religion of secular humanism, and expect to be justly shut down."

    No. He meant: "But try to get "equal time" teaching that as an "alternative theory" in science class, and expect to be justly shut down."

    But tell us, exactly how does teaching evolution count as teaching "the religion of secular humanism"? Don't fundies get enough religion at home, in church, on television, on bill boards, in hotel drawers? And now you want to spread your poison into the science classroom? Let me juxtapose the issue: in the interests of "fairness", would you be alright with having an evolutionary biologist and a biochemist provide an alternative theory for life's development and origin at your local church? How about a scientist addressing your kids in Sunday school? Half time for Bible study and whatever gibbersih you wish to have them grow up thinking, and half time for what you call the religion of secular humanism. You know, to give them a "balanced" viewpoint. If you bring religion into the science classroom, we should be allowed to bring science into places of worship and prayer. Fair trade, isn't it?

    I know. You're a hypocrite.

    And you have a pretty warped view of what constitutes religion (but of course, for someone who views absolutely everything through a religious lens, you are ideally predisposed to seeing any viewpoint as a religious one; you're genuinely incapable of conceptualising a framework of knowledge devoid of Gawd). By playing the rat-bag "evolution is a religion" card (one of the most stupid and dishonest inanities yet devised), you can hope to squeeze in your antiquated nonsense with genuine science (I guess you don't care much for the image of your country. You would much sooner turn it into the village idiot of the West than to admit you might be wrong about anything). When it comes to matters of truth, people like you have less than no integrity.

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  28. Dan squeezed all three of his working brain cells and out came: Did you mean to say: But try to get "equal time" teaching that as an "alternative theory" in science class that indoctrinates the religion of secular humanism, and expect to be justly shut down.

    No, stupid, I didn't mean to say that, because secular humanism is not a religion, and even if it were, teaching evolution, a field of science supported by the most extensive body of evidence in existence, would not serve to promote it, any more than it would to be teaching kids the world is round and revolves around the sun.

    Every time you post, Dan, you reveal how uneducated you really are. Haven't changed.

    Keep in mind that you don't even have kids.

    But I do have knowledge. Another big difference between us, I've noticed.

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  29. Check it out: toe-nails on the flipper of a manatee, a fully aquatic mammal. The Sirenians - the group to which manatees and the Dugong belong - are most closely related to elephants.

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  30. Tenets of Secular Humanism

    1) A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.

    2) Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.

    3) A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.

    4) A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.

    5) A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.

    6) A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.

    7) A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

    Except for parts of 2) and 4), I fail to see where a science class would even touch on the other tenets. But maybe that's enough to turn Dan off. I guess he loves science but not the scientific method.

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  31. Remember, the Christian asked the Pagan, how do you know there is a Greek goddess of love? The Pagan answered, "I know there is, because I know Her." The Christian responded, "But how can I know that you are not in error?" The Pagan said, "Knowing someone is not proven. It is experienced."(carm)"

    That was for Dan Marvin ;-)

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