Jan. 2009 Introduction & Addendum: The following snarkalicious post has since become somewhat legendary in the atheist/creationism/science blogosphere.
To cut a long story short, this is the one that led self-styled "conservative columnist" Yomin Postelnik to respond vengefully with bizarre edits to my Wikipedia entry (accusing me of all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, including fraud, drug addiction and pedophilia — vandalism that Yomin wasn't smart enough to realize would be stamped with his IP address, 188.8.131.52), to launch a series of blogs solely geared toward smearing me (since taken down), and to eventually make an Internet-wide nuisance of himself by posting to such forums as RichardDawkins.net (link expired) and ChristianForums.com accusing me of harassment and something he called "Google stalking." This activity only led people back here, where they could see for themselves what Yomin was really up to, and that his histrionic claims of being victimized by "militant atheists" led by me was revealed to be projection at its worst. The only one engaging in unbridled harassment and defamation was Yomin, against me.
My opinion is that Yomin is not merely a thin-skinned adolescent unable to handle criticisms; I think he has full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. The Wikipedia entry on the condition notes, "To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others' needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen... People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined.... With narcissistic personality disorder, the person's perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments."
This is Yomin to a tee. He likes to imagine himself — hell, he's desperate to imagine himself — a powerful and influential leader, and anything that threatens to tarnish this inflated self-image is met with ferocious outbursts of emotion.
The second half of 2008 appears to have been the worst six months of Yomin's life. In September of that year, he had his pre-paid legal service send me a cease-and-desist letter, which was odd, because I wasn't doing anything to him while he was actively maintaining no fewer than three anti-Wagner blogs. It transpired that this was a lame attempt to intimidate me into removing posts from this blog revealing his libelous activities. Basically toothless, because C&D letters carry no legal weight. In response to this, to get Yomin, basically, to pull his head out and back off, my attorney filed an online defamation suit at the end of October. Dumb luck, however, smiled on Yomin here, because for two months, the investigator employed by my lawyer in Florida claimed he could not find Yomin, and the two addresses we had for him were no longer current. This kept Yomin from actually being served for two months.
At the end of December, Yomin sent me a bizarre array of increasingly unhinged, delusional and vituperative emails, alternating pleas to end our conflict (which was entirely of his own making) with threats of further harassment if I didn't take certain posts down from this blog. I forwarded all of these to my lawyer, who advised me that the whole affair was "just getting petty...you need to get this guy out of your life!" Also, to continue to pursue the suit would cost thousands of dollars I didn't have. I had raised the filing fees initially through the help of online donations promoted by folks like PZ Myers. But I didn't feel right continuing to go back to the same people for more money, when this was, truthfully, turning into a childish battle of egos in which Yomin was simply baiting me and trying desperately to drag me down to his level of juvenile vindictiveness. Therefore I agreed to a tentative truce with Yomin at the end of 2008.
Part of me regrets this, as, given Yomin's narcissism, it basically means he thinks he "won" and that he's been able, essentially, to get away with the kind of behavior that, had he been held accountable, would have (hopefully) resulted in some desperately needed character building. The evidence I had linking Yomin to the Wiki vandalism was, in my opinion, ironclad enough to assure a court decision against him. But I didn't want to do this out of other people's pockets, and, knowing the personality type I was dealing with here, it is dead clear that a legal victory against Yomin would have been portrayed by him as further evidence of his victimhood. It is simply better to have this poor sad fellow gone.
In his last emails to me, Yomin, in a revealing moment, exclaimed, "I have to defend my reputation." What the narcissist never understands is that any damage to his reputation is the fault of his own actions. Ultimately, I decided it simply was not my job to help Yomin grow up. Materially, I had not been hurt in any way by Yomin's foolish behavior, while Yomin's name ultimately became synonymous with online hysterics of the most absurd sort. One of our commenters coined the phrase "pulling a Yomin" to refer to anyone having a four-alarm meltdown online. That's a legacy hard to undo, and, in its way, more deflating in the long term than even a court decision.
So, enjoy the following, if you are so inclined.
August 2009 addendum: A number of people have brought it to my attention that Yomin is running for the Florida House in 2010! No wonder he was so frantic to get me to remove embarrassing information about his activities from this blog. While I am amused by this, and by the way a little amount of Googling reveals he is already alienating his hoped-for voter base with his usual online behaviors (like sockpuppeting in blog comments to make it appear he has hordes of supporters, a stunt he pulled all the time in his little battle with me, which was always rendered infinitely sillier by the fact he thought no one would notice he was doing it), I have to say I just don't care. Yes, it is funny that a man who cannot even handle criticism on a blog thinks he's got what it takes to enter the snake pit of politics. But as the GOP has sunk so thoroughly into extremism that many of them actually view an airhead like Sarah Palin as White House material, then I have to say their standards are now such that Yomin ought to be considered an entirely viable candidate. So I wish him the very best of success for victory in his campaign!
January 2011 addendum: After polling less than 6% of the vote in the GOP primaries, Yomin was arrested on November 12, 2010, on charges of misdemeanor domestic battery.
It's been a while since I bloodied my knuckles and let some smug ignoramus have it right in the teeth. So I figured it's time. This is a l-o-n-g one, but a fun one. I hope.
Via Dawkins' site, I learn of a lengthy essay over at Canada Free Press by a nincompoop with the improbable name of Yomin Postelnik, with the grandiose title of "Logical Proof of the Existence of a Divine Creator, Why Atheism is Not Logically Sound". If you thought Ray Comfort was a cocky assclown, you'll love this guy. Postelnik fancies himself a master of logic (if not proper punctuation or English), and yet doesn't seem to notice that his entire, long-winded blather amounts to one spectacular logical fallacy, namely, the argument from incredulity, with a heaping side dish of straw men. Here he sums up his whole position on why atheism is logically unsound.
No one in their right mind would claim that 10,000 hundred story buildings built themselves from randomness, even over time. Yet those who doubt the existence of a Creator believe that an entire universe, containing all of the billions of elements necessary for life to form, may have come about without a builder. As such, they give credence to billions of times more coincidences to having come about.
Ah, yes. It's the old "just look at all the trees!" argument that Matt Dillahunty and I goofed on on the TV show last week, just on a slightly grander scale. Apart from making the fundamental dumb apologist mistake of inferring design in nature from observing it in known artifacts like buildings — I'll explain why Paley's famous "watchmaker" argument actually does not demonstrate intelligent design in nature a little later — Postelnik's whole rant reveals little more than boilerplate religious scientific illiteracy, total ineptitude at this whole "logic" thing for which he repeatedly flatters himself, and a laughable tendency to recycle any number of long-refuted and feeble apologist canards as if they were amazing new concepts no atheist had ever considered before.
Let's have fun going through Postelnik's catalog of failings here, shall we?
Reading through this, you might wonder: why bother? Postelnik is so stupid that he can say this with a straight face: "Would human beings survive if one organ or cavity was missing or displaced, even after somehow being otherwise perfectly formed with no designer?" Well, knowing, as I do, several people who have had kidneys, bladders, appendixes, uteruses removed, I'd say, well yeah, duh. He's so silly that he launches his whole article with false analogies and unsupported a priori assumptions like this, which reveal the pitiful depth of his idiocy in living Technicolor...
The simplest proof (yet one that no atheist has ever been able to counter effectively) is that a universe of this size and magnitude does not somehow build itself, just as a set of encyclopedias doesn't write itself or form randomly from the spill of a massive inkblot.
Well, I bother because millions of people sadly think like this twat, that's why, and they're the ones launching all-out assaults on science education around the world in the name of their invisible magic sky fairy. It's incumbent upon atheists not merely to refute their nonsense, but to take some of the air out of their puffed-up egos by blasting it to smithereens and peeing on the ashes to boot. I've written before about the way Christianity allows its dumbest believers to adopt an air of faux-intellectualism. Here the stupid is unmasked for all to see, and laugh at. Postelnik is the very model of fractal wrongess.
- Postelnik thinks scientific explanations are all about "random chance." Towards this end, he offers up variants on the old "tornado in a junkyard" argument.
[Atheists] believe that not only did whole planets appear spontaneously, but also believe that the fact that these planets do not collide as meteors do, that they have gravity, that they contain the proper atmospheric conditions for life to take hold and contain sustenance to sustain this life all happened by mere fluke.
Reality check: Naturally, nothing in science (let alone atheism) promotes any of the nonsense Postelnik spews. Where in physics or cosmology is the theory proposed that planets emerged "spontaneously," or that collisions between worlds never happen? (Such a collision is, in fact, why we have a moon, and an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.) Nowhere, of course, but Postelnik is typically butt-ignorant of the science he attacks and, like so many apologists, doesn't realize what a fool he's making of himself parading his lack of education in public. Planets, as any first year astronomy student will tell you, form within accretion discs of dust and other particles surrounding a star. Gravity, which Postelnik seems to think of as some ineffable magic property (he refers to celestial bodies as "possessing" gravity) when it's nothing more than the natural attraction between objects based both on their respective masses and the inverse square law, eventually causes the particles in all this whirling dust to coalesce into planets. It is only a "spontaneous" process if you're a fool who thinks spontaneity takes place over lengthy periods of time. But that seems to be a basic misunderstanding of creationist twits.
Here's what Postelnik is too thick to grasp. Science understands the eons of time required for celestial objects like stars and planets to form. And instead of the mere guesswork Postelnik seems to think scientists engage in (typical twaddle: "...they outrageously chalk up to coincidence billions upon billions of times more detail and design in all parts of life found in this universe"), there are in fact well understood laws upon which everything in the universe operates. The "spontaneous" appearance of a planet or a life form would, in fact, refute everything science understands about how nature works, since science does not argue for the spontaneous generation of these things. The laws of physics allow us to understand why planets, once they are locked in their orbits, don't collide willy-nilly, though eventually their orbits could change or decay, and then they could. After all, whole galaxies collide, so certainly planets could.
(Incidentally, you would think that with all his dogging on science, Postelnik ought to have some pretty impressive CV's, don't you? Well in fact...I know this will come as a shock...no. His bio identifies him as "the President of IRPW, a company that offers business plans, funding advice and facilitation, SBA loan applications, SWOT analyses, bold and effective marketing strategies, general business development and grant writing and research for non-profits and certain qualified businesses." Clearly he has all the expertise he needs to explain why all the world's leading astronomers, physicists, cosmologists, and biologists are wrong. One hopes, for the sake of IRPW's business clients, the "research" Postelnik does for them isn't as deficient as that which he's done here.)
- Again with the "spontaneity"! Postelnik continues to demonstrate he snored his way through junior high science class by bringing up "spontaneity" straw men over and over again.
Even if all the planets somehow formed themselves, all somehow staying in perfect orbit and possessing gravity, even take for granted that all the chemicals needed for life were so how [sic] there as well, by sheer happenstance, would it then be possible for billions of species to spontaneously come about, each with a male and female of each kind so that they could exist in the long run?
Reality check: I'll take "Scientifically Illiterate Verbal Diarrhea" for $1000, Alex.
Let's set aside the fact planets didn't "somehow form themselves," they were formed by well-understood natural laws. Let's set aside the fact that most life on Earth is microbial, with many species reproducing asexually, some reproducing both sexually and asexually, and some, like viruses, unable to reproduce on their own at all. Let's set aside the fact that, while the ultimate origins of life are still an open question, no one in science is arguing for its spontaneous — as in "poofed into existence in a puff of smoke" — emergence. Let's set aside the fact that the vast majority of Earth's life forms, even the ones like dinosaurs who had the run of the place for far longer than we have or will, have eventually gone extinct. Let's set aside the fact that, for over a billion years of Earth's early existence, the whole planet was unable to harbor life. In fact, let's set aside every fact that science has established about the development of life at all. And once we're that stupid, we can begin to think along the lines of Yomin Postelnik. Because it's only through a totality of ignorance that one can hold the views he holds.
Where does his whole obsession with things popping up spontaneously come from? Why, from religion, of course. Remember, it isn't science claiming that stars, planets, galaxies, people and puppy dogs emerged spontaneously. It's religion. You know, God said "Let there be," and poof, there it was. That's how tards like Postelnik think things really did happen. And once you think things really did happen in that way, then certainly it will seem illogical to think they happened that way all by themselves, without some agency bringing them about. But of course, things did not poof into existence spontaneously. Not even the universe. Remember: the Big Bang theory is not a creation ex nihilo theory. The Big Bang only describes the event that caused the universe to expand into its current state. There had to be something to go bang in the Big Bang, after all.
Nothing in science, outside of the more esoteric realms of quantum mechanics, argues for the spontaneous creation of things from nothingness. Religion does. Postelnik is, hilariously, attacking his straw man of science by accusing it of making the very claims his religion makes. The problem isn't that Postelnik doesn't accept spontaneous creation. Being religious, he does. But religion offers up a god, and science doesn't, and so in that context, science has the sillier explanation, you see? This is how people with a head full of Bronze Age myths and no education in actual science think. Pathetic, isn't it?
Postelnik babbles on a bit, repeating his bogus analogies (remember, encyclopedias couldn't write themselves!), occasionally pausing to compliment himself on his brilliance (he has to, as no educated person would), ignoring all of the detailed fields of scientific study that do in fact show that everything we observe in nature can very easily evolve and develop over time. Like many apologists, he seems to think blustery rhetoric constitutes evidence.
Then he offers up what he thinks are three "stand out" arguments for God, which have been demolished many times, and which I will now demolish all over again.
- And the "stand out" arguments are: (And savvy readers will note that Postelnik isn't even clear on what he does claim to believe. His definitions of the three following arguments are rather confused and conflated, overlapping one another oddly. The way he defines the anthropic principle is closer to the definition of the first cause argument, while his definition of the teleological argument actually sounds more like the anthropic principle. The man argues like a drunk driver.)
- The anthropic principle.
Postelnik thinks: The anthropic argument contends that the universe is too complex to have no Creator. This is in effect the central point of this column, although explained in a more common manner.
A more foolish manner, you mean. Let's deal with the obvious initial objection, which is that if complexity requires a Creator, then that Creator must be at least as complex as his universe and must have had a Creator too, and so on, ad infinitum. I mean, it's just logical!
The anthropic principle has been punctured so many times and in so many different ways that one has to wonder just how many rocks Postelnik has been hiding under all his life to convince himself that "I have yet to meet an atheist who can make even a feeble argument to counter any of these points." I don't get the idea he's met many atheists at all, and certainly has read no atheist literature, all of which has nuked every silly argument Postelnik proudly flogs. To date, the most interesting and unusual refutation of the AP isn't so much a refutation at all: in The God Delusion, Dawkins makes the fascinating point that the AP is not an argument for God, but a substitute for one. Properly understood, what is known as the Weak Anthropic Principle fully supports a naturalist explanation of reality.
Douglas Adams lampooned the AP in his famous bit about the puddle of water remarking on how amazing it was that the hole it was in was so perfectly formed to contain it. This is the problem with the AP if used to support theism: it's a tautology. Any universe whose properties for supporting life such as ours we could marvel at would have to be one in which we existed in the first place. This fact alone says nothing about a godly designer, nor does it address the likelihood of other possible universes containing entirely different properties, under which entirely different forms of life might arise. Hey, the believer might say, there's no evidence for those other universes, so that's just hypothetical guesswork! To which we say, by Jove, I think you've got it! Your God is the same kind of hypothetical guess, chum. At least the concept of other universes or other physical properties for sustaining life are hypotheses about natural rather than supernatural things.
Understood as supporting natural processes, the AP points out that life developed after an environment in which it could exist arose. We, along with millions of other species (making the term "anthropic" both arrogant and inaccurate — since dogs exist, why do we never hear theists argue the "caninopic" principle?), were fortunate enough to be that life. Such an environment could just as easily not have arisen, as in the false start we see evidence of having occurred — remnants of vast flows of water, etc. — on Mars. In other words, we have been fine-tuned (by the ongoing processes of evolution) for our environment, not vice versa.
The vast bulk of this universe is deeply inimical to life. Most of it, as Postelnik might have overlooked, is hard vacuum hovering around zero Kelvin. And of all the planets we know of, ours is the only one we yet know of teeming with life.
An all-powerful universe-creating God could easily have populated every single planet and satellite and asteroid out there with highly advanced forms of life. Argue for an all-powerful God, and suddenly the need of the universe to possess specific properties for the support of life becomes superfluous. Unless the theist wants to argue that natural laws don't permit that. In which case, they've just argued their God is subject to (thus not transcending) natural laws, and not likely to be the creator of them. An omnipotent being would not be bound by the kinds of natural laws that keep the planets on their courses, and only allow life on our little blue globe while seven other perfectly lovely planets full of pretty exotic real estate go to waste. He wouldn't need to "fine tune" the universe for life. He could merely say, as the Bible has him say, "Let there be..." and there it is.
- The cosmological argument.
Postelnik thinks: The cosmological argument maintains that finite matter (original matter, which was clearly finite) cannot create a universe that is greater than itself.
The cosmological argument is better known as the "first cause" argument, one basic objection to which I've mentioned above: the problem of infinite regress of Gods. Postelnik adds confusion to the whole thing in trying to skirt this objection, by qualifying his version of the argument to state that "finite matter...cannot create a universe that is greater than itself." But he offers no support for this simple assertion, and in terms of its content, it's really nothing more substantial than the creationists' routine insistence that complexity cannot arise from simplicity through natural processes. Postelnik simply wants to throw the phrase "finite matter" into the mix as a way of differentiating his God, which he naturally assumes is "infinite matter." But in making this distinction, our Master of Logic has fallen into another fallacy, that of special pleading. Nature has to obey these particular rules which disallow it from creating a universe, says the apologist. So here is my God, who doesn't have to obey those rules. Convenient, eh?
Cosmological arguments answer no questions at all while raising more than they ever can. Why make assumptions about the supposed limitations of "finite matter," and what evidence does Postelnik provide for the "infinite matter," a.k.a. God, that he clearly sees as the "logical" alternative? Why assume, even if such "infinite matter" exists, that it needs to bear any resemblance to Postelnik's ideas about a God? Finally, the fallacy at the core of cosmological arguments is that they assume knowledge of conditions at the beginning of the universe — mainly, that it was "caused" — that simply are not known. Their very premises are insupportable. They fail before they even get going.
- The teleological argument.
Postelnik thinks: Especially compelling is the teleological argument, that the existence of a Creator can be seen from the fact that the universe works in perfect harmony, as would a giant machine. Gravity, orbits, chemical atmospheres and all other ingredients needed for life to exist come together in unison to allow such existence to happen. An enormous machine that works like clockwork needs to have a Creator.
Postelnik embarrasses himself hopelessly here. His scientific illiteracy is complete, and his fondness for bad analogies is simply spewing over. Again, good old natural laws that have been understood and derived through observation — all the way from classical Newtonian physics to the more exotic fields of study that new research and knowledge are just now opening up — are proving entirely sufficient to explain why the universe functions the way it does, and though we still have numerous unanswered questions, we don't need to invoke any magic man in the sky just yet to fill our knowledge gaps.
And it's hardly a flawless, clockwork-like process. Some planets have atmospheres conducive to life (though ours is the only one we know of), most have deadly atmospheres or none whatsoever. There is evidence at least one of our sister planets, Mars, started out warm and watery, which would be life-friendly conditions, then failed. Where in that fact is evidence of a creating hand, let alone that of the Biblical God who supposedly made us in his image, whom Postelnik is clearly trying to argue for? If anything, what we observe about the way life has developed on Earth (and more importantly, where life has failed to develop) is ideal evidence of the way evolution allows organisms to adapt. Speaking of which: there are over 1,000 species of parasites that can live in the human body. Evolutionary explanations for why they exist make sense, but why would Postelnik's God need, let alone desire, to "design" such creatures to infect us? Is this part of his "perfect harmony"? Maybe it's part of our punishment for Eve's "fall," eh?
Once more with feeling: argue for an omnipotent God, and all this talk about the universe needing to obey specific laws, work in "harmony" like a "machine," have only certain planetary conditions to harbor life, and all that, is so much superfluous noise. Postelnik's all-powerful creator God could, if he so wished (and, given this God's obsession with being worshiped by as many sentient beings as possible, there's no reason for him not to wish), have intelligent beings living on every planet in the solar system, on every airless asteroid, hell, even on the surface of the sun and floating in pure vacuum between the worlds. The great irony of apologists who employ such things as design and anthropic arguments is that they don't realize they are using limits to prove the existence of their limitless God. The premise of their arguments contradicts the nature of the God they're arguing for.
- The anthropic principle.
- And now for a little projection. Postelnik goes on to make a further fool of himself by throwing out some vacuous twaddle about how (he thinks) scientists think that will utterly fry your irony meters. After falsely claiming, without citing sources, that more scientists are embracing theism than otherwise, he goes into what can only be called weapons-grade projection. Try this on for size.
However, we must realize that while the sophistry it takes to purport a falsehood can be easily countered, the person who has upheld such notions for decades must have each of his or her counterpoints addressed. This is able to be done smoothly, in light of the inherent logic that necessitates the existence of a conscious Creator, but it must be done thoroughly.
Encouraging atheists to open their minds to pure logic and to possibilities that they hitherto only sought to counter or to avoid on any pretext also involves an emotional challenge for them, as they must open themselves to the possibility of having to shed preconceived notions that they’ve held firm for decades. And that, rather than facts, is the primary challenge to exposing them to insightful logic. However, if they are willing to address the issue honestly, a search for the truth should be of paramount importance and enough reason for them to take an open look.
*snort* Yeah, whatever you say, Captain Logic.
Postelnik also amusingly advises all us atheist sophists to read Anthony Flew's book, There Is a God. Thing is, Richard Carrier has investigated this book thoroughly, and even corresponded with Flew. And the fact is that the book was not written by Flew at all, but entirely by evangelical Christian Roy Abraham Varghese, who is given a co-author credit on the cover. And one of the arguments in the book is one that Flew, in a letter to Carrier, had abandoned before the book was published. (Questions about Flew's possible mental decline remain, but are ultimately irrelevant. If a former atheist suddenly became a theist, and did so on the basis of lousy arguments, that would not undermine the views of rational atheism. It would simply mean we had a stupid ex-atheist out there.) So if Postelnik wants to shore up his case for theism with another fallacy — argument from (ex-atheist) authority — he'll have to do better than Flew.
And ba-dee, ba-dee, that's all, folks. I was going to go on another round of ridicule over Postelnik's final paragraphs, in which he claims the Bible reveals the first and second laws of thermodynamics before any stoopid scientist ever thought of them, so there. (He grossly misstates both laws, unsurprisingly.) But by this point I would hope I've exposed Postelnik's staggering silliness in all its tarnished glory, and frankly I'm as tired of writing this as I'm sure you are of reading it (assuming you still are). Maybe you folks will have fun refuting those final paragraphs of his yourselves. The fellow is your typical fundamentalist apologist, an intellectual poseur through and through, and in his entire article he never once advances a single new argument. He merely recycles every tired falsehood and fallacy that defenders of the faith have tried again and again, and they work no better for him. The only novelty about Postelnik's writing is watching a bozo who thinks he's some kind of logical paragon when what he really means by "logical" is "Gawrsh, it makes sense ta me!"
Stick with, uh, your "bold and effective marketing strategies," dude, okay? I have no idea if you do that well, either. But it can't be as bad as your oh-so-"logical" attempts at apologetics. (Or as dumb as the way you chose to respond to this critique of your essay.)
That was a truly magnificent rant and debunking, I salute you sir!ReplyDelete
Your blog commences claiming that the argument from design is illogical. What is the standard for logic? Was it only invented by human reason or was it discovered by humans? If it is merely a product of the human mind then how is it you use it as a standard to judge another's worldview? Presumably if there is no god then there is no way to judge one worldview as better than another. You have no standard by which to judge anything as your worldview does not allow for a Judge nor for Justice. I don't understand why atheist spend so much time trying to convince the world there is no god, for if that were true it would seem that it would not matter what people believed. It seems there is an inordinate amount of attention given to this God that atheist claim not to believe in. It seems all of humanity keeps coming back to this question of God. How could we even know to ask the question if God doesn't exist?ReplyDelete
The simplest proof (yet one that no atheist has ever been able to counter effectively) is that a universe of this size and magnitude does not somehow build itself, just as a set of encyclopedias doesn't write itself or form randomly from the spill of a massive inkblot.ReplyDelete
Oh please! Yeah, an incredibly intelligent and powerfule being is going to create a nearly infinite universe, and then spend a couple of thousand years dicking around with a confederation of semi-nomadic tribesmen living in a small stretch of land in the Middle East.
Presumably if there is no god then there is no way to judge one worldview as better than another. You have no standard by which to judge anything as your worldview does not allow for a Judge nor for Justice.
That's there the competition of ideas comes in Trekin. You offer people a vision of the way things could be. That's what Christians do. Yours is just one of a multitude of competing subjective viewpoints, but which you try to claim represents objective truth.
It seems there is an inordinate amount of attention given to this God that atheist claim not to believe in.
Trekin, if I had a dollar for every time one of you theists brought that up, I would be a millionaire by now. Most atheists don't care what you believe in private. It's what believers do in practice, claiming divine sanction, that we have a problem with.
logic is a field of study. The principles of logic derive from thought, work and discussion. The earliest known works on logic are from 3-4 centuries BC. The principles generally used today are the way they are because they work in accordance with the natural world, including our brains, and provide a basis to come to meaningful conclusions and to make testable predictions. If someone comes along and tries to use his own version of logic, he wont be able to have a meaningful dialogue with others unless he first explains his logic to them. A worldview doesn't become respectable or valid just by someone claiming irrefutable logic; to do that, he has to demonstrate that his logic is sound (i.e. based on the most coherent system anyone has so far come up with). This is easily testable: using a person's logic, try to argue the exact opposite of what he claims. If both work equally well, that means the logic isn't sound by not encompassing enough evidence.
Secondly, you question why anyone would try to convince people of the non-existence of god. The answer is so obvious I wonder why you don't see it: because from the assumption of the existence of deities (or any other made-up concept), people draw conclusions and act upon these beliefs, and not act in other ways. This is what matters, because individual action influences society.
You ask, "How could we even know to ask the question if God doesn't exist?" Very simple: because our evolved brains have the capability to ask questions in order to solve problems, and to make up words to communicate those problems and questions. Having an answer is more comfortable (our brain chemistry rewards us), so making it up instead of admitting ignorance feels better. The more answers you have, the more your fellow humans honor you. Plus, we seek patterns in order to understand our environment. The first thing we learn as infants is that adults are good to have around because they give us shelter, food and warmth. We learn that intelligent beings are responsible for stuff happening around us, and people retain that and expand the idea to the whole universe.
Presumably if there is no god then there is no way to judge one worldview as better than another. You have no standard by which to judge anything as your worldview does not allow for a Judge nor for Justice.ReplyDelete
If there were a godly "Judge or Justice" as you claim, by what "standard" would we judge any of its standards to be right or wrong, good or bad for us? We would have to employ our own reason, would we not? Otherwise, we're just mindless, obedient robots. And I think Christians in general like to avoid that problem if they can.
[if atheists were right] it would seem that it would not matter what people believed.
I hear this sort of thing a lot, and it makes no sense.
Yes, it's true that the Earth and all traces of anything any human ever did could be wiped out by a gamma ray burst tomorrow, and the universe as a whole wouldn't care, or even notice (especially since the universe as a whole doesn't have sensory organs or a brain with which to notice or care).
However, our lives matter to us. Other people matter to me. I want to be happy. I want my family and friends to be happy. To a lesser, but still significant extent, I want total strangers to be happy.
Basically, what you're saying is "if Mom and Dad weren't around, I could do anything I want". I'm sorry, but life doesn't work that way. When and if you go live on your own, you'll find that while it's true that you don't have to do anything you don't want, the laundry isn't going to wash itself.
Thanks for that Martin, an excellent debunking and well worth the read.ReplyDelete
I think you've oversimplified a skosh, Mr. Wagner, in this bit:ReplyDelete
Let's deal with the obvious initial objection, which is that if complexity requires a Creator, then that Creator must be at least as complex as his universe and must have had a Creator too, and so on, ad infinitum. I mean, it's just logical!
If complexity requires a creator, then there are two options. In the first, the creator must be of equal or greater complexity than the creation, in which case your argument holds. The other possibility is that the creator is less complex than the creation. But in such a situation, a creator is unnecessary, since we have a more parsimonious description of how greater complexity can arise from less complexity: evolution.
It doesn't change the ultimate point, but I think it's a good idea to be thorough and explicit.
The vast bulk of this universe is deeply inimical to life. Most of it, as Postelnik might have overlooked, is hard vacuum hovering around zero Kelvin.
This is what I think every time I hear some theist say "the universe is so perfectly fine-tuned for human life" or something along those lines. Not only is the vast majority of the universe instantaneously lethal to humans, but much of our own planet is uninhabitable by humans--oceans, Antarctica, New Jersey, etc. If the universe is fine-tuned and perfect for anything, it's apparently dark energy.
Some planets have atmospheres conducive to life (though ours is the only one we know of), most have deadly atmospheres or none whatsoever.
And some planets (gas giants) are all atmosphere (sort of). Hard to walk around on worlds like that, though.
Speaking of which: there are over 1,000 species of parasites that can live in the human body.
In the Garden of Eden, tapeworms only parasitized trees, and botflies laid their eggs in roses.
the person who has upheld such notions for decades must have each of his or her counterpoints addressed.
"I'm not going to do it, I'm just going to half-assedly repeat the things they've made counterpoints to. But someone must address them."
in which he claims the Bible reveals the first and second laws of thermodynamics
Because a God who can create and destroy matter and energy falls totally in line with the First Law, which says that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed. I wish I could have a big book of multiple choice to believe in.
It saddens me that Christian Apologists are like theological packrats, refusing to discard any old, worn-out argument no matter how threadbare and hole-ridden and moth-eaten it is. They're working with arguments as old as St. Augustine (and rarely newer than Paley), no matter how often those arguments are debunked, and they have yet to answer criticisms that actually pre-date their faith (i.e., Euthyphro). They're unsinkable polystyrene ducks--not only will they not go down, but they'll take millennia to biodegrade. The nice thing about idiots like Postelnik is that they add some variety to the same-old, same-old arguments, by fouling them up in such inept ways that they're at least amusing to read.
It seems to me that apologetics come in two flavors: old and tedious (Pascal, Paley, Hoyle), and new(ish) and hilariously ridiculous (the Banana, the crocoduck). It's nice to see someone trying to do both at once.
Martin, your post jarred an interesting question in my mind. How can Christianity claim that what they teach is humility? It doesn't seem humble at all to stubbornly cling to the idea that some god created the whole universe with human beings in mind. What I do find humbling, however, is to view my life through the lens of Sagan's pale blue dot photograph. Enjoy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_DotReplyDelete
"Presumably if there is no god then there is no way to judge one worldview as better than another."ReplyDelete
Actually, there is. Simply claiming that there is a God up there doesn't automatically validate a worldview. The "judge", to use your word, is robustness in the face of scrutiny. If a theory or hypothesis can withstand a test against reality, it survives to fight another day. If it fails, it generally doesn't. No gods are required. Indeed, gods themselves would need to be subjected to this scrutiny before we could regard them as good explanations for anything. Without this process of cumulative improvement in knowledge, anything goes, and we have no basis at all for regarding any proposition about the world as valid. Saying "such and such is ordained by God" is to say something that presupposes its own conclusion. Religion of course teaches that it has the answers to life's deepest questions; but that's miles away from it actually providing answers that approximate to reality.
"I don't understand why atheist spend so much time trying to convince the world there is no god, for if that were true it would seem that it would not matter what people believed."
Well, it wouldn't matter so much if god-belief wasn't wholly implicated in the perversion of science education, the indoctrination and labelling of innocent children, the subjugation of women, the perpetuation of stifling codes of conduct, the division of people based upon different readings of some "holy" book, and a raft of other problems. But the thing is that god-belief is implicated in all of this. That beliefs have consequences is what matters, and it's what we're primarily concerned about. Once we realise that religion isn't all about hugging puppies, this should be clear enough. Surely it would be ridiculous to say, to take something from the political arena, "I don't believe in fascist dogma. Therefore, I don't see it as a problem." It's completely mindless. By the way, you are an atheist when it comes to all the other gods that humanity has ever believed in. Want to know what it's like to be an atheist who doesn't believe in the Christian God? Just look at how you regard other religions. You're an atheist when it comes to Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus. That's how followers of other faiths regard Christianity, and that's how atheists regard all religions (we seem them as permutations of human delusion). To use Dawkins' phrase, "It's just that some of us go one god further."
"How could we even know to ask the question if God doesn't exist?"
That would apply equally to ANY of the other deities alluded to above. How could we even know to ask the question of whether Allah exists? It should be perfectly clear to you (I venture to say, it is perfectly clear to you) that being able to ask a question about Allah in no way whatsoever vindicates the notion of his existence. Why not apply that good logic to your own god? Or do you imagine that your religion should somehow be afforded an a priori veneer of plausibility not afforded to other faiths? It's always rather amusing to see how a religionist places his/her religion in front of all others and speaks as though other religions don't even exist, and hold their religion up as somehow being the "default" choice, the starting reference point against which everything else has to judged. All religions presuppose their own validity over other religions, and what you're saying is entirely consistent with that.
These are really simple, elementary things I'm saying. As much as it pains me to say it, the fact that these answers never occurred to you - even though it would have taken next to no effort to figure them out if given a moment's contemplation - is testimony to the way that religious faith as deformed your critical thought processes and deactivated them when it comes to your faith. I'm sure that you're fully capable of applying these basic themes to other areas of life (indeed, you'd better be able to, in order to operate effectively as a member of a complex society), but when it comes to religion, your mind has been so thoroughly hijacked that you really don't know how to think. This isn't meant as an insult in any way; I've known plenty of people who have had their minds similarly incapacitated when it comes to religion. But I do hope that I have at least given you some inkling of the fundamentally wrong way in which you're addressing the issue.
Yomin Postelnik = tool. Has someone already taken the liberty of emailing him, or should I? One feels almost sorry for such a person; it's only fair to warn him of his deep errors so as to help him avoid it in future.
Your distortions should be quite clear. It's amazing that you see the need to skew everything said into your narrow prism and definitions, most of which diverge greatly from their intended meaning. It's also interesting that you fail to make a proper case against the main point of the column.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately I have no time to debate in detail on every board. I will therefore copy a debate on here. Some parts, as you will see, were interrupted by clowns on your side with all kinds of fascinating personal insults and accusations. Still, you will see that it is in fact those on your side who are ignorant of science and of Darwin's theory. I critique it honestly and they can't defend it with the same honesty.
Thanks for the link to Gateway Pundit. And thanks for clarifying your debate offer.
So, let’s talk about an “intelligent creator.” I’ll abbreviate it “IC” to make typing easier. Do you base your belief in an IC on the complexity of life?
I accept the evolutionist explanation for biological diversity, i.e., speciation, however, evolution has nothing to say about the origin of life on this planet. So I need to know whether you are limiting the discussion to the origin of all life on earth, or whether you wish to include the diversity of species which we observe in our discussion.
I accept the evolutionist explanation for several reasons. One is the fossil record. Two is the distribution of genes in animal DNA. (BTW, did you see the recent articles about the sequencing of the platypus genome? It looks to me like the platypus is a living “transitional” species.)
Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 10:27 am
We can talk about evolution as well. But the main point is the existence of an intelligent Creator. Specification is just one aspect, but it’s a leading one. If we say that order formed out of a primordial pool, without intelligent guidance, we’re saying that randomness begot intricate specificity, to the tune of billions upon billions of species, the existence of many being are interdependent. The difference between sudden random creation and evolved devolpment, in essence, would be whether a full set of Encyclopedia Britannicas was formed suddenly with the accidental spill of one massive ink blot or whether spilled ink first started out as dots, then gradually formed as letters and then words, paragraphs, etc. all without intelligent guidance. The latter possibility is even more illogical than the first. And it would be far, far easier for such an encyclopedia set to come about than a universe in which numerous stars and planets must be aligned enough so as not to collide, in which species need food, water, air, sunshine and other elements to survive and just happen to have all of them (if life adapts to the conditions that are prevalent it would have never been able to get off the ground, and many in cold parts could survive on merely snow, etc. - more on that later if you want), and in which each species has the exact organs and cavities that are necessary for life, with even one missing, added or in the wrong place making life unsustainable.
Also, please realize that despite Austin’s worry of multiple Yomins (he denies the existence of One Creator but believes in many Yomins and maybe many Austins), it may take 24 hrs, sometimes 48 between responses. Those are the constraints of a kid and business, and are worth it.
By the way, the platypus genome is similar similar to other so-called “transitional” fossil, the Archaeopteryx. That one had fully developed feathers and nothing transitional in nature. A transitional fossil would have half scales and half feathers, etc. What we have instead is a species that’s not uniquely mammal or amphibian, but it’s not transitional.
By the way, feel free to email me for the global warming links. The 1998 study got a lot of coverage on the BBC in 2006 and wasn’t mentioned again in the media for another year, but there are many links to it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg (lousy pun intended).
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 28, 2008 @ 11:12 am
I think your idea of an IC is based on reasoning (correct me if I’m wrong): life is so fantastically complex, an IC is the only thing we know of that could have caused it. That’s a reason, but I don’t accept it as fact.
I do not think that life was caused by an intelligent creator. I have seen no evidence to support that idea so I have no good reason to believe it. I haven’t seen good evidence for other explanations either. I think the origin of life is a mystery, which may be solved in the future. In the meantime, I am content to let it remain a mystery.
You’ve probably heard this before but I’ll repeat it anyway. If life on earth was created by some being, what caused the creator? If that is a mystery, then a creator being is unnecessary. You are just moving the mystery “back” one level. If you think the creator always existed, I have to ask: how do you come by this knowledge? As far as I can tell, there is no way to know the nature of such a creator.
Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 12:04 pm
I agree with you that the Creator can’t be physical and to my knowledge no religion believes in a physical Creator, rather, one that is higher than physicality. All I’m saying is that physicality itself points to the fact that there is an Intelligent Creator, above the physical realm. What that Creator is remains a partial mystery, in as much as we only understand the physical and have an idea of the spiritual and the Creator needs to be higher than both (as physicality cannot emanate from spirituality - more on that later). But one thing is clear. The only way that an orderly universe with some many complex creatures, inter-reliant on each other, can exist is through the act of a conscious Creator. A plane can’t build itself, and if it did so piece by piece that would be even more fantastic, much less a whole universe. To look for the answers as to more about this Creator, we need to analyze which texts have a logical source and tradition, and make sense. That’s a different subject, but one we should discuss. But that can only be looked at after analyzing the Universe and recognizing that such a vast physicality mandates a conscious Creator.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 28, 2008 @ 5:33 pm
I think that it’s a bit premature to talk about the whole universe. The only life we have knowledge about is based on earth, so I will address that.
Yes, life is unimaginably complex. However, I think that scientists, such as biologists and paleontologists, have provided us with reasonable answers to the complexity of life on earth with the the law of evolution. That law also provides good reasons for the facts that lifeforms on earth are highly adapted to their environments and are interdependent with each other. Because those reasons are based on verifiable evidence, I prefer them to those based on an Intelligent Creator.
As to how life originated on earth, it’s possible that it’s the result of intelligent creation, but IC does not exhaust the possibilities. So, I need a good reason to prefer the IC solution to any of the others. If I said that life came about accidentally, by a fortuitous combination of natural events, you would rightly want me to give you a reason that made sense to you.
Furthermore, if the complexity of life requires an explanation for its origin, I think that an IC would also require an explanation for its origin. The IC you refer to must be complex because you said that it transcends both the physical AND the spiritual.
Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 10:29 pm
I agree that we have to look from the bottom up, so to speak. We live and understand this physical world and know much of the physical universe. But by looking at the numerous interactions needed to form physical existence as we know it, we can come to certain logical conclusions.
Evolution is a poor answer to creation. Even if we were to take it for granted as fact, it would only further show proof of a creator as orderly progress, down to the most minute detail, would need to be intelligently orchestrated. Going back to the analogy of an Encyclopedia Britannica being formed from an ink blot, if it commenced formation as a dot and then expanded in perfect order to form a complete set of thoughts, that would be greater proof of its intelligent design than even a sudden formation of the entire set. And that’s only an encyclopedia, a collection of thoughts. Actual creation is far more complex, down to the last being. The life of one small mammal takes more simultaneous reactions and interdependent happenings than it takes to form an entire bookshelf of words. Looking at this physicality necessitates an intelligent Creator.
So in short, by considering just physical existence, no matter how it was formed, we see a need for a conscious Creator, just as a set of encyclopedias doesn’t write itself, even in steps.
But evolution’s not a fact. It’s a theory. And it’s one that mandates that life started from non-life, which is unattainable. The lack of transitional fossils also needs to be looked at, but even the scarcity of fossils that are considered evolutionary (though admittedly non-transitional as they aren’t a combination/transition between two species) points to a huge problem. There’s an overabundance of fossils of species known to us, dating throughout all timelines. By contrast, those cited as possible evolutionary fossils are scarce, decayed and inconclusive. If evolution showed the development of numerous species such fossils would be plentiful and many would be conclusive. The problem gets worse when examining hominids, as of the 12 known types, 9 have only monkey/ape characteristics and 3 have solely human ones. None contain features known to be uniquely human as well as uniquely ape in conjunction, as would be the case were evolution to play a role.
Regarding knowledge of the Creator, as we do live on this physical plane, we can only know a certain amount, perceiving a little bit about the Creator through the Creator’s own acts. Even our understanding of spirituality is limited to how it connects with physical beings. Knowledge of purely spiritual existence is beyond us. We only see that it exists because it’s the animating force of physicality. That’s with regard to spirituality. The Creator is necessarily above being spiritual, as spirituality cannot create physicality. Therefore we’re talking about a being that’s higher than both, and that creates both physicality and spirituality and is able to combine the two. Obviously, such a being is out of the realm of understanding. However, there are ways we can understand something about its essence, that being through its acts. As the intelligent and purposeful creator of life (as existence demands an intelligent designer), we see its immense kindness. Through the way the world works, we see measured severity, needed for continuous harmonious existence and delving further we can see other attributes as well. This allows us, after much contemplation, to understand something about the nature of the Creator. But the fact that there is a Creator seems pretty open and shut from the immensity of physical existence as well as by considering the completeness of the entire creation, down to the smallest detail needed for life to exist.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 8:41 am
But evolution’s not a fact. It’s a theory.
In the scientific community evolution has the same status as the theory of gravity. There is no controversy. It’s a law.
it’s one that mandates that life started from non-life
The law of evolution says nothing about life starting from non-life.
The lack of transitional fossils . . . a combination/transition between two species
Consider the following physical features of the platypus.
Bird-like: duck bill, webbed feet, egg laying, toothless, one orifice for excretion / sex / egg laying.
Reptile-like: leathery eggshells, venom, multiple sex chromosomes, testes kept internally.
Mammal-like: milk producing (but no nipples), fur, beaver tail, 4-chambered heart, mammalian jaw hinge, middle-ear bones separated from lower jaw, digs ground burrows and has sensitive hearing although it spends most of its time in the water where these features are nearly useless.
This improbable combination of physical characteristics is now joined by an equally improbable combination of genes. The newly sequenced platypus genome includes some genes which are found only in birds, some found only in reptiles, and some found only in mammals.
The platypus is a living transitional form.
But the fact that there is a Creator seems pretty open and shut from the immensity of physical existence as well as by considering the completeness of the entire creation, down to the smallest detail needed for life to exist.
If life’s DNA code were designed intelligently, it would be different than it is. It is easy to see ways to improve it.
There are 64 possible 3-letter words using the 4-letter alphabet of the DNA genetic code. Each word represents an amino acid from which proteins are constructed within the body. Because the proteins of life are made from only 20 amino acids, only 22 words are needed (taking into account one word for “start” and another for “stop.”
In fact, DNA uses all 64 combinations, including 43 for synonyms. This 64-word vocabulary of DNA appears to be haphazard rather than orderly. For example, some amino acids have four or six synonyms whereas others have none or one. Moreover, the word ATG, depending on context, represents either the amino acid methionine, or “start,” and there are no synonyms for either one.
It would be better if methionine and start each had its own word, rather than relying on context for meaning. There are many redundant words that could have been used for that purpose. The reality is what you would expect from a code that evolved by trial and error over millions of years.
It’s hard to believe that a creator capable of making a universe would also create a hodge-podge such as our DNA code. It is much less problematical to think that it was not designed at all.
Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 10:07 am
I’ll write more later, but briefly - the complexity of the DNA code also attributes also helps different humans respond differently to certain diets, acclamations, etc. It seems purposeful. In any case, it doesn’t negate the need for an active Creator to have formed something so massive and interdependent. It’s a question as to why it was done in a certain way, but something so complex doesn’t come into existence by itself.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 3:52 pm
There are many prominent creationist scientists. Granted, they don’t get much media attention (what else is new), but their findings are challenging and profound.
Evolution does necessitate that life started from non-life, as the first step is lower than algae and more advanced swap life, which according to the evolutionist originated from a mix of chemicals, forming molecules etc. At its root, the first step is non-life and its supposed transition to life poses a greater problem than the missing link.
The platypus has features of different species types, but none are transitional (i.e. half formed feathers, half formed scales). Furthermore, they’ve been around exactly as they are, without transitioning, as long as any other species. Why they were designed in such a way is another question, but they’re no different than the multitudes of species. The same question can be asked of any interesting species, although few are as diverse as the platypus. We don’t see the platypus as a link in any evolutionary chain, just as a unique creature. The fact that all these characteristics are fully developed makes it even less likely to be part of an evolutionary chain and seems to point to it being a unique species in and of itself.
I was running into a meeting in my last post and didn’t read it properly, thinking you were talking of the possible unnecessary complexity of human dna.
Austin, In case you haven’t noticed from my response to the hit piece, I’m about the easiest person to make a truce with, so I wonder why you don’t do so.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 6:29 pm
the complexity of the DNA code also attributes also helps different humans respond differently to certain diets, acclamations, etc. It seems purposeful. In any case, it doesn’t negate the need for an active Creator to have formed something so massive and interdependent. It’s a question as to why it was done in a certain way, but something so complex doesn’t come into existence by itself.
You look at the complexity of life and the universe and think that implies a creator. My point is this: When I look at some of the parts of this supposed creation, I see sloppiness that could have been avoided. To me, that argues against a creator.
It seems to me that a creator with the power to create an entire universe such as the one we observe, and the extremely complex life on earth, which we also observe, would have been able to create things in a way that would be more efficient, orderly, uniform, and especially, conducive to the health and welfare of the life forms.
But what I observe is sloppiness, haphazardness, and inefficiency — functional but with many problems that could have been avoided.
I am only a human, and not a biologist or other specialist. Yet I can see many ways that human bodies could have been improved, body parts that are less optimal than the same parts in other animals.
1) In the human eye, the optic nerve goes through the retina, creating a blind spot. The eyes of octopuses are wired the “right” way, so that they have no blind spot.
2) Humans can choke on their food while eating. Chimpanzees (with whom we share 98% of our genome) have a better shaped throat, such that they cannot choke while eating.
3) Certain Africans have a mutation which confers immunity to malaria. However, this beneficial effect is offset by its also making the person susceptible to sickle cell anemia.
There are many such examples, as well as the suboptimal business of the DNA code that I mentioned previously.
So, when I consider these things, I say that a being powerful enough to create the universe easily could have avoided these problems when creating human beings. Especially since better “designs” are to be found in other animals.
To scientists and non-theists, like me, our observations of life are entirely consistent with the law of evolution. On the other hand, those observations seem inconsistent with the work of an all-powerful creator as described by the people who believe in such a being.
In light of the above, I conclude that life evolved and was not created by a supernatural being. I think that is a reasonable conclusion to make.
Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 6:29 pm
Btw The platypus doesn’t have any transitionary features (half, half). Its webbed feet aren’t unique among mammals. In many ways, it’s perfectly fit to its environment. It seems to be much more of a unique type of species than a mistake, especially given the fact that it uses each of its unique abilities to survive in an uncommon terrain.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 6:54 pm
“There are many prominent creationist scientists.”
Do they really do science?
Where are the predictions they have made, the experiments they have run?
What have they published in peer-reviewed science journals?
Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 7:02 pm
They present logically sound solutions. Their books are very indepth. You need to examine all sides. The so-called “global warming consensus” is challenged by hundreds of prominent climatologists, especially those studying primarily historic (as opposed to modern) patterns. Likewise with creationist science. It is compelling and is without the political attacks that are the hallmark of most evolutionary responses (though not yours, and I give you credit for that).
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 7:28 pm
The platypus has features of different species types, but none are transitional (i.e. half formed feathers, half formed scales.
How did you decide what kinds of features a transitional species should have?
Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 10:33 pm
Good morning. A transitional form is something that shows transition, i.e. scales developing into skin or feathers. As such, the scales would be partial and the feathers partial. Neither would be fully formed as the scales would be turning into skin or feathers. The platypus has nothing transitional, i.e. changing from reptilian to mammal. It has characteristics of both, which works very well in its fairly unique environment, but a)it has nothing transitional along the lines described above (which would be needed to show change and gradual development; evolution) and b) it’s the same as fossils of other platypus. No change is evident over time (and, because of reason a, it doesn’t fit into any “evolutionary” form or chain).
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 30, 2008 @ 8:06 am
A transitional form? Sure look at your hands. They are part way between Homo Erectus and whatever species replaces us. See? Humans are a transitional form- every species is. Except the species that is the last on its branch before it goes it extinct.
As for your actual article… lets see-
-The reason they focus on Republican scandals is there are more of them. There have been 12 compared to 1 with a Dem.
-Dems aren’t liberals.
-Talking points? Like what? The media openly supported Bush for Iraq- I didn’t see them helping out the dems or issuing their talking points.
-You make a long rant, but give no examples- or even evidence.
- The religious right is conservatives who are evangelicals. We CAN do blanket statements about them because the term covers people with a specific ideology.
-Bin Laden isn’t the president… nor did he steal an election. Unlike you I happen to want to see Laden hang. I hate bush for failing to give us that opportunity.
-Analyze scientific data? We do that all the time.
-Conservativism has faults.
-It is called self justification, not bigotry. Take psych 101.
-A bigot is a person who stereotypes a whole group of people falsely. Please use a dictionary.
-Could it possibly be the reason they do this is… they are right? Conservatives do bad things, and some of the things liberals do are justified?
-Judging people by ideology is perfectly acceptable. It is similar to judging by action.
-Actaully the reason liberals do that is half a century of education at conservative hands. ID and the wedge document anyone? Liberals think conservatives are a cabal of plotting nuts because REPEATEDLY they have been shown to do that. Karl Rove anyone?
-Strawman liberal. I don’t fight against old- I fight against wrong.
-The Greeks weren’t hedonists.
-Gay rights? Class issues? Democracy? These aren’t issues of societal change.
-If that is true why do all the racists wind up in the GOP?
-No, liberalism exposes a “it is the responsibility of the strong to aid the weak” philosophy
-He is on to us! We supported the abolition of the slave trade because we KNEW it would lead to the right of blacks and white to marry each other! Kidding aside you still haven’t provided and actual example.
-Who cares what he thinks? He is a facist/commie… hmm. There ARE people we don’t give a damn about what they think… because their beliefs are insane. And before you ask “what Nazi”, the guy at Atheism Analyzed is close. “The atho-pagan conspiracy is working to destroy traditional values!” Or maybe Vox Day’s “Killing when God tells you to is mandatory”.
Don’t take it personally. I hope you can see your error if I show you how, exactly you are wrong. Why do you refuse to accept facts and logic though? It is frustrating to have to deal with a bigot such as yourself.
Honestly the list at the end IS that offensive. Why? Because it assumes your opponents DON’T use facts and logic. In short it assumes your opponents are nuts.
I don’t assume such things- I can see it clearly from your article.
Comment by Samuel **** — May 30, 2008 @ 4:37 pm
I do agree with the poster above who speaks about promoting discussion.
Like I said earlier in the thread, though I wish I could, I don’t have time to debate all issues. I do deal with some of those issues in other articles. I think media bias has been the other way around, but don’t expect them to question too much before it becomes a talking point. Unfortunately for both sides, they’re followers, not leaders.
Re transitional forms - We’re talking about the unavailability of half/halfs, true transitional forms that document transitions. Hands would only be transitional if you take for granted, as a leap of faith, so to speak, that they evolved from the palms of apes. There are no transitional skeletons/fossils that show half human hand, half ape palm, not even the inconclusive hominids usually cited. It’s this that we’re talking about with regard to transitional forms, actual documented transition (which is unavailable).
Have a good weekend if I can’t get online before Mon.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 30, 2008 @ 5:02 pm
You don’t get what I’m saying- ALL living things are transitional forms. Saying something is a transitional form and another isn’t is presuming evolution has a goal.
What you are talking about is simply links between species people haven’t found yet. However, this has NOTHING to do with the truth value of evolution. Why? Because we haven’t excavated the entire planet AND fossils are rare.
Heck, if punctuated equilibrium is accurate we WON’T find transitional forms. (PE is stasis and bursts of rapid change)
Comment by Samuel **** — May 30, 2008 @ 9:04 pm
What I’m saying is that if you want to make a valid case for evolution, you need to find some forms that document it. These are what’s referred to as transitional forms. They’d show real gradual transition from amphibian to mammal or something of that nature. This is the premise that evolution is based on and such fossils have yet to be found (a platypus has fully formed reptile features and fully formed mammal ones, nothing that shows gradual transition).
More compelling: There’s an overabundance of fossils of multiple forms of species that exist today. A real overabundance. But out of all of these found, we have yet to find any with truly transitional forms (not fully developed mammal parts nor fully reptilian, etc.).
In essence, you’re asking me to accept evolution as a leap of faith, in spite of serious questions about its premise and key parts to the theory behind it. I’m just asking for a sound basis for such faith.
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 31, 2008 @ 11:35 pm
Why? Although fossils are evidence for evolution, they aren’t required.
Since we can see evolution occuring now we know it happens. Fossils are simply confirmations it occured in the past.
I’m not asking for faith. I don’t know any “serious questions” against it- most turn out to be a lack of knowledge about what evolution is.
By truely transitional you are making an error.
Trait A reptile
Trait B mammal.
Why not trait AB- reptile/mammal? Maybe because the species went from trait A to trait B.
You are assuming there must be an intermediate form for certain traits. That is simply not true the majority of the time. Not to mention the overwhelming majority of stuff doesn’t fossilive (skin anyone?).
I’d go on, but hopefully you will get the idea.
Comment by Samuel **** — June 1, 2008 @ 6:26 pm
I understand that you believe that evolution can be proven from A becoming B without an intermediary. My point is that:
a) That is a huge leap of faith - you’re assuming that a became b without any proof of transition.
b) Evolution is based on the premise of gradual transition. The absence of such fossils goes against this theory.
c) Charles Darwin agreed with as much and said that such transitional fossils would appear over time. Given the enormity of fossils excavated in the last hundred years, none of which show true transition (which is again, documented transition, i.e. half/half or gradual), it’s quite possible that Darwin would now reject or amend his own theory as he recognized the need for transitional forms to prove it, the existence of which is strongly questioned by the enormity of other fossils and the absence of truly transitional. The absence of such fossils actually makes a strong against evolution.
This is what the famous “missing link” that’s always alluded to is about, just on a more complex level of discussion
Comment by Yomin Postelnik — June 2, 2008 @ 3:20 pm
Paul B*** says:
I think we better understand each other’s views now but we are not making progress to finding common ground for productive discussion. As with so many other discussions of this type, I think the basic obstacle is evidence. You don’t accept mine and I don’t accept yours. Too bad. I gave it my best shot and now I want to conclude this discussion. Good luck to you.
June 3, 2008 at 9:53 pm
Samuel **** says:
No- I’m saying that evolution goes from form a to form b to form c and… whops- died out. How about this line? Them too… damn- what are the odds?
Evolution is not based on gradual transition. It can go in leaps- in fact it has to. DNA does work in degrees you know- well, not all the commands.
Transitional fossils have been found repeatedly. Read an anthropolgy text book.
The problem you have is you see a range of fossils. Than you put one half on one side and the other on the other side.
Then you ask where the middle is. It is a bit like upon being told the average height for several people, asking why none of them are that height.
Or, to put it simpler, all your arguments are based off of ignorance. You need to actually prove your case. Attacking alternatives doesn’t work (except in ethics and social organization- but those aren’t about truth, but effectiveness) You can’t.
Not a single one of your arguments gives evidence- only an attack on the opposing view.
The basic problem is that you can’t give a natural explanation for supernatural stuff. The problem is there is no reason to believe in the supernatural. You justify it with a circular argument.
design-> evolution flawed and supernatural
supernatural-> because of design
See the problem?
June 4, 2008 at 1:39 am
Yomin Postelnik says:
Thanks for giving the opportunity to debate. I would encourage you to examine all sides of the issue. That’s what led me to these views. I do respect your forthrightness and willingness to have examined some of these. Who cares if we don’t see eye to eye?
Yomin Postelnik says:
The late Steven J. Gould, who obviously had a very different take than I did on the issue of evolution, nevertheless said “the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” He, as did Darwin, understood transitional fossils in the way that I laid out. Their best argument used to be that fossils were still being uncovered. They understood evolution to be gradual. In fact, if it’s not, you have no reason to believe in evolution at all because one could equally attribute similar fossils, with little directly in common, to the fact that they’re two different species as opposed to the primitive and evolved forms of the same kind of species.
The DNA argument alone is extremely weak (and that’s being mild). All physical life has very similar DNA. Look at us and mice, yet no credible scientist says we evolved from mice.
These are huge problems with evolution.
Now, more importantly (because this is what the whole debate here was supposed to be about), is that our physical universe necessitates a Creator. If you see a building, you know someone consciously designed and built it. If the universe was designed in such a way that everything was there to necessitate life except for the perfect combination of gases in the air, we wouldn’t exist. If everything was perfect but the planets collided, as do meteors, we wouldn’t exist. If the human being had one out of thousands of small things wrong with it, it could not survive. To argue that there’s no conscious Creator is to argue that billions of buildings came into existence in and of themselves, either all at once, or, if you want to chalk it up to evolution, molecule by molecule perfectly forming bricks without any instruction and then brick by brick forming billions of buildings all by themselves, each without a builder. Now sure, we can argue that in theory such a thing might happen if a number of things happen, but in reality such a position is absurd, no matter how well argued. The only difference is that it takes thousands of more simultaneous happenings to give life to a person than it does for a whole slew of buildings to rise up.
You can’t discount an entire field of logical thought without studying it at all, simply saying “it can’t be known,” without trying to discern it or without at least looking at thousands of years of logical arguments necessitating a creator, dating back as far as Plato.
Logical proofs of the existence of a conscious Creator range from the anthropic (that the world is too complex to create itself), to the cosmological (that finite matter cannot come to form a universe that is clearly larger than its original size) to the teleological (citing the inherent cooperation involved in all parts of the universe, showing that each works as a piece of a larger and well structured machine). Some of these arguments do date back to Plato and possibly before. But in the end, all are unnecessary. Proof of a Creator can be seen by just considering the enormity of the universe and how if one out of billions of things were off, life would never have taken root, or by looking at the small, detailed, individual factors on their own (perfect air balance, perfect nutritional balance, etc). In fact, off hand, I’d say that the small little details, that each small necessary ingredient to life is available, show a proof that’s even more thorough than that seen by considering the larger picture (that being the enormity of the universe, as outlined above).
At this point a bystander challenged that man did indeed evolve from shrew, 250 million years ago. Postelnik reminded him that the main proponent of this argument was not from a credible scientific finding but rather the hypothesis of one scientist on CNN, talking about the mouse genome in 2002. Nothing was ever found to support this (not even the most far fetched examples of transition) and most credible proponents of evolution have not in fact support the claim that all mammals stemmed from mice (Although we will grant that since this hypothesis took hold in 2002, Gould had already passed on. Still, other leading proponents of evolution have resisted making any such claims. In fact, many clearly state that mice and humans are not part of a same evolutionary tree. At least far more than those who say otherwise). He further pointed out that aside from the fact that the statement lacks any basis, much has been done in the way of study of other genomes (unlike in 2002 when the mouse was the only such mammalian genome to have been studied) and the conclusions point much more readily to common characteristics of all physical life, not that any genetic relation.
LOL! I suppose only a fool whose work has been exposed as foolish would counter such exposure by providing even more evidence that he's a fool. Holy crap that's hysterical! Thanks for the copy/paste job there Yomin. WowReplyDelete
much of our own planet is uninhabitable by humans--oceans, Antarctica, New Jersey, etc.ReplyDelete
Actually, humans can't live anywhere but a thin bubble; let's generously say within 10 km of the surface, either up (where the atmosphere is too thin) or down (where the temperature is too high). Since the radius of the earth is over 6000 km, that means that the vast bulk of our planet is uninhabitable even before we start considering oceans and Antarctica.
I'll give you New Jersey, though.
It's quite illuminating for him to have provided a large enough sample to actually *see* the fractal properties of the wrongness.ReplyDelete
Just examine any paragraph, and then any sentence, and then any word. Each reflects and hints at the wrongness at both the higher and lower levels of magnification.
It's got a certain strange beauty to it, like perverse alien jazz music.
I think Yomins time would be better spent READING from an encyclopedia instead of worrying about the odds that one could spontaneously appear. If he would, then he might see that randomness plays a small part in natural selection. Yomin, if you read this, I will make it simple. It isn't a matter of how many random iterations it takes to create "the encyclopedia." It is the number of iterations that it takes that INCLUDE THE CORRECT CHOICES from the previous iteration. Here is an example: How many iterations would it take to come up with the number 15493423? If we start randomly generating 8 digit numbers it could take awhile. What takes a shorter amount of time is if we get to keep the correct guesses, and this is how evolution works. If the the first number generated is 32596512 then we already have a correct number, and we get to keep it. It is "selected" by the environment. It is easy to see now that the process is not entirely random. Once you take into account that there are several answers to each digit, and that there are only 4 digits to choose from (DNA is composed of 4 acids) you begin to see that is really alot easier to get that encyclopedia you are so worried about poofing into existence, yet haven't bothered to peruse.ReplyDelete
Your distortions should be quite clear. It's amazing that you see the need to skew everything said into your narrow prism and definitions, most of which diverge greatly from their intended meaning.ReplyDelete
Really? Really? I suggest you actually look up the Anthropic Principle before you go lecturing anyone about misusing definitions. It has nothing to do, as you seem to think, with the universe's complexity. In fact, what it has to do with is right there in the name: "anthro-", prefix, meaning of or related to man/humans.
Unfortunately I have no time to debate in detail on every board.
Why does every woo seem to think it's some terrible time-waster to back up their arguments? Yes, I know it's much quicker to just spew a bunch of garbage that you've done no research for and no fact-checking on, but if you weren't prepared to defend your work, then you shouldn't have published it.
Still, you will see that it is in fact those on your side who are ignorant of science and of Darwin's theory.
You've made it abundantly clear that you don't even understand gravity, let alone neo-Darwinian evolutionary science. Your arrogant assertions are not actually a substitute for knowledge. A small sample:
If we say that order formed out of a primordial pool, without intelligent guidance, we’re saying that randomness begot intricate specificity, to the tune of billions upon billions of species, the existence of many being are interdependent.
Not only is this borderline incoherent, but it demonstrates a fundamental and major misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, particularly in that it omits natural selection. You know, the part of the theory that's pretty much 100% Darwin's. Who's ignorant of Darwin's theory?
Here's natural selection in a nutshell, Yomin--a definition, if you will--it is the non-random survival of randomly mutating hereditary characteristics. Mutation is the only random component in the process; natural selection is explicitly and fundamentally not random. Any ninth-grade Biology textbook could have cleared that up for you, Yomin, so I recommend that you climb down off that high horse and actually get a clue.
While you're at it, why not learn a little about logical fallacies too? Pay specific attention to false analogies. Trust me, you need it.
jdp: How many iterations would it take to come up with the number 15493423? If we start randomly generating 8 digit numbers it could take awhile.
Or, in other words, if we use the creationists' misunderstanding of how evolution works, then we prove that it's nearly impossible to get Yahtzee.
That was a long read, but worth it. If it took me that long to read it, must have taken you a bit to write as well. Thanks for posting it.ReplyDelete
To the writer -ReplyDelete
I'm an agnostic physicist and I'd like to knock you off of your high horse a little bit. You make several scientific misstatements in your post here. For example:
"plain old Newtonian physics, without even getting into the ideas of Einstein and beyond — are entirely sufficient to explain why the universe functions the way it does"
This is laughable. Newtonian physics can only barely begin to explain a small fraction of the functioning of the universe (it just so happens its a part that makes up a large part of our common experiences). It doesn't explain why the universe is expanding, why the stars shine, how chemistry works, what cosmic rays are, gravity on large scales, gravity on small scales, atoms, nuclei, genetics, etc. etc. etc. I could go on, but you get the idea. Newtonian physics does a good job of explaining the kinetics of small objects objects and systems and approximating gravity on the scale of planetary systems such as the one we are in.. and that's about all.
I agree that this Postelnik is entirely ignorant in the ways of science, but your scientific knowledge seems to not extend much further than the turn of the 19th century. You'd do well to stick to stuff you know and not try to pass yourself off as an expert in science.
You're quite right. I was thinking in terms of the simple things Yomin was trying to explain — gravitational attraction, the orbits of planets and the like — and overstated the case in my remark. Obviously Newtonian physics doesn't account for the exotic properties of the universe we are only just discovering. I'm not an expert in your field, and didn't mean to come off as if I was pretending to be one. I am editing the original to more accurately state the case.ReplyDelete
Good morning, Martin.ReplyDelete
Whew...that was cathartic! Thanks for the work. And a very nice acknowledgment of error to a kinda rude commenter. I'd just like to say that Mr. Postelnik may have a problem commenting here again, as I assume he is overwhelmed with many comments on his overblown article.
Wow, that was some post! I quite enjoyed it! And he's attempting to sue over that? Fundies are fundementaly insane;)ReplyDelete
Just got here from RDF (yeah THAT forum thread)... I must say, well done.ReplyDelete
This Yomin characters seems to me to be rather disturbed, not to mention stupid.
All I can say after seeing what Yomin has written is that I have a new-found appreciation for the fact that we are sufficiently blessed to live on one of the lucky few planets that possess gravity, not one of those bizarro, non-gravitational planets.ReplyDelete
It's a shame when the best a theist can do when discussing science is yell "CHANCE, CHANCE!" at the top of their lungs. Why are the intelligent theists not standing up and ripping apart their small-brained cousins every time one of these simians opens their mouth and spews utter garbage?ReplyDelete
It is worth remembering the vehicle for Postelnik's writing. The 'Canadian Free Press' is a strange beast, brainchild of Judi McLeod, a Canadian 'journalist' who penned an outraged article about anti-Christian jeans and has been accused and reprimanded for defamatory attacks against, amongst others, Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, a Canadian social-democratic party, and Cathy Crowe, an anti-poverty activist and nurse. The Canadian Free Press collects the very 'best' of the paranoid conservative right in Canada, rabidly pro-market, anti-environmentalist, occasionally annexationist (ie, they want Canada to be part of the United States) and a hostility to 'socialist' tendencies in Canadian political and cultural life, such as higher taxes, lower military funding and the role of government agencies such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That Postelnik's 'essay' (it was a feeble try) emerged from the Canadian Free Press isn't really surprising, but luckily, not many people take them seriously, at least here in Canada.ReplyDelete
Yomin Postelnik - some kind of cabbage (oops sorry, cabbage - you are not that dim?)?ReplyDelete
As for trekblahblah:
Logic is a formal science, structurally related mathematics. If you had bothered looking up Wikipedia (no, NOT conservopedia, - that is for cretins only), you would have found a quite good article on it.
Contradictions are usually not considered logical, even if the one promoting them is 'god'.
And Martin, you are a beacon of patience with the inane.
As to Tom Foss:
but much of our own planet is uninhabitable by humans--oceans, Antarctica, New Jersey, etc.
Well put :^) Sounds like something Marcus Brigstocke would have said.
Quote: "It seems all of humanity keeps coming back to this question of God. How could we even know to ask the question if God doesn't exist?"ReplyDelete
Gosh, Trekin4JC, that sure is brilliant. People keep "coming back to the question" of the chupacabra. They couldn't "know to ask the question" if the chupacabra doesn't exist, right?
And Bigfoot. Vampires. Alien abductions. Witches casting spells that shrink African villagers' penises. Astrological horoscopes. Fairies in gardens. Humans keep revisiting these concepts - so we know they're ALL REAL!
And don't even get me started on Santa. Oh, how the kids "ask the question" about Ol' Fat Nick! Well, we parents no longer have to go through that embarrassing moment of telling the little ones that Santa was all a big game; you've just proved that he EXISTS!
Thanks, Trekin4JC ("Trekkin' for Jesus Christ"?). Knowing that everything a human ever dreamed up must exist, the world just got a lot more interesting. (And a little unnerving, too. Excuse me while I go hang some garlic on my door. And kryptonite too. I never trusted that Superman.)
Yomin said: The late Steven J. Gould, who obviously had a very different take than I did on the issue of evolution, nevertheless said "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology."ReplyDelete
Steven Jay Gould said: "Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists-—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—-as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."
What you have done, Yomin, is the standard, disingenuous quote-mining that is so ubiquitous amongst creationists. If you care to actually read what Gould really wrote, you will find something quite different from what you are trying to state here.
Also, your claims about evolutionary biologists' "standard defenses" are false. They are not based strictly upon finding more fossils in the future; they are based upon the plain and simple fact that conditions for successful fossilization are very rare, so in the grand scheme of things, only a tiny fraction of all organisms to have ever existed will ever be fossilized at all. And then, we still have to find them. And that is why the fossil record is--and always will be--rather 'spotty', like the individual frames of a low-FPS film strip, or watching a couple dance in a strobe light.
This is why what Gould describes is exactly what we'd expect to find in the fossil record: relatively "low resolution" transitions (i.e., very few at "species level") but, nonetheless, very clearly recorded transitions (i.e., at higher-than-species level). (Fortunately, the species-level transitions are observable all around us in the world today, thereby completing the fossil picture---filling-in any possible question that might have remained about transitional species. For more on this, just continue reading.)
Indeed, given this scenario, it's quite remarkable just how complete some lines of fossil evidence actually are: such as the beautiful transitional sequences we've found for cetaceans, for the mammalian inner ear, for the emergence of tetrapods, and much much more. Look-up, for example, Tiktaalik; even more to the point, read about how it was discovered; it was no mere accident.
As for more contemporary lines of evidence, you should perhaps read about nylonase, ring species, Italian wall lizards, cladistics (pay special attention to how numerous, independent portions of the genetic code yield identical cladograms; this is no small detail since, for N species, the theoretical number of possible cladograms is PRODUCT(i=2..N,2i-3)---which is already 34,459,425 with only N=10 species; yet, the actual ('experimentally determined', as opposed to 'theoretically possible') cladograms match one another; this is astonishingly powerful evidence of common descent), biogeography, drug-resistant disease strains (and entirely new diseases, for that matter), and TONS more. Your ludicrous claim that the "DNA argument alone is extremely weak (and that's being mild)" is, I'm sorry to say, abysmally ignorant. You need read no farther than the works of Francis Collins (a Christian, by the way) to find out why. (He directed the Humane Genome Project. If there's anyone who should know anything at all about the "DNA argument" you are so eager to dismiss, it's the scientists who spent many years unraveling the evidence.) You should, perhaps, also read some Kenneth Miller (another Christian).
Yomin said, "... If the human being had one out of thousands of small things wrong with it, it could not survive. ..." You are correct here, of course, which is exactly why those people who are born (or naturally aborted; i.e., miscarried) with those problems DO DIE, and they fail to pass-on those genetic combinations to any progeny. That is WHY the humans alive today do not have those combinations--because they wouldn't BE alive if they (or ANY of their would-be ancestors) had them! How much more obvious can it get? LOL
But, those awful mutations DO happen, and there are also enormous portions of our DNA that can be modified with little to no effect on us, and sometimes with positive effect. It is estimated that every person on the planet has somewhere between 10 and 100 mutations (copying errors, from his/her parents' DNA), on average, in his/her DNA. It is also estimated that BY FAR the greatest number of "abortions" that happen, occur entirely naturally, and often without the would-be mother ever even knowing. (In other words: there are a lot of would-be humans who are so monumentally incapable of survival that they die, naturally, even before emerging from the womb. And, there are plenty more that die later, and for the same basic reason: lack of survival fitness---often genetic problems, but also disease and other forms of failed competition for survival.) So, don't pretend these genetic changes don't happen.
Oh! Incidentally, as for your supposed "design argument", can you please answer a few things for me:
1) We require vitamin C to survive; without it, we develop some rather nasty afflictions---specifically, scurvy. (Deprived for long enough, we will die without vitamin C.) All mammals carry genetic coding for the synthesizing of vitamin C; and all of those, with a very notable exception, actually use that genetic coding to make vitamin C. The notable exception? Primates (us). That genetic coding is "turned off" in us; so, instead, we are forced to rely upon our food intake to supply our dosage of vitamin C. But, we still have the genetic coding. Evolution easily explains this. How does your "designed by a creator" paradigm do so?
2) It has long been known that an organism such as Archaeopteryx was a transitional form between reptiles and birds. (Also look-up Dromaeosauridae and Troodontidae.) It has numerous features from both groups. One of those features is teeth. No birds (naturally) alive today have teeth. Archaeopteryx was found almost 150 years ago. But, only in the age of genetic sequencing did we discover that, sure enough, birds still have the genetic coding to grow teeth, yet none do. (Again, it is "turned off".) Again, evolution explains this perfectly. And, again, how does your "designed by a creator" paradigm do so?
3) Common descent suggests humans and other apes share a common ancestor. But, having looked at some of the genetics for the five apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, humans), a problem became apparent: all the other apes have 24 chromosomal pairs; humans have only 23 pairs. So, in considering the various possibilities that could explain this, an hypothesis was formed: one of our chromosomes is the fusion of two other ape chromosomes. We went looking for it, to test this hypothesis---because, if we couldn't find it, then common descent is in serious trouble. Well, guess what? It's chromosome 2. Not only does evolutionary understanding explain this perfectly, but it actually predicted it, and was proven correct in that prediction (along with thousands upon thousands of other predictions). Yet again, how does your "designed by a creator" paradigm explain this?
These examples/questions are only the TINIEST subset of those that could be provided/asked. You cannot reasonably explain them from your view, except by "divine whimsy" (which is as useful as "it's magic"); but, evolution offers deep understanding of each of them.
Your reiteration, ad nauseum, of the assertion that "evolution requires abiogenesis" does not actually make it true. And, it is definitely not true--any more so than evolution requires the Big Bang to be true (which, again, it does not; the theory of the Big Bang arose long after the theory of evolution by natural selection). Evolution deals with how life changes and adapts to its environs; it does NOT deal with how life began. Specifically, evolution deals with the changes in frequencies of alleles in genetic populations. This has no more to do with abiogenesis than calculus has to do with politics.