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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Behe's Box & Huxley's Horse - Introduction



So the story goes something like this: The scientists trudged up the hill to God's house. They had been there many times before, but this time the long climb seemed easy for they went in triumph! They knocked on the door and God answered:

"You guys again?"

"Yes, God! This time we have really done it!"

"This isn't another cloned sheep, is it?"

One of the men laughed nervously. "No, this time it is for real. We have been able to create life from non-life just like you!"

"Fine" God says, "Show me."

"Great" One of them says, "First, we take some dirt.."

"Hold it right there!" God interrupts.

"What is it?" They all cry in unison.

"Get your own dirt."

The scientists trod back down the hill.

As a young boy I was fascinated with dinosaurs and the idea of living things that no longer existed. It wasn't enough to have plastic models of Styrachosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex, I had to go tromp the woods and tromp the hills in search of fossils. I found them! Primarily I found the fossils of shelled animals and ferns, on occasion I would find a fish. A personal favorite was trilobites. Sometimes you would find a limestone block that was full of them. Fossils had me hooked. I made up my mind that I would grow up to be a Paleontologist.

Through high school I read voraciously on evolution and fossil-related subjects. I took all the science courses I could in school as well. However, it was not easy to decide my college major so I began taking standard courses with one four-hour Anthropology course as an elective. I tested out of the preliminary courses, fortunately.

College was my first real hint that something was not right. I was apalled at how little evidence was presented in my anthropology lectures for the traces of primitive man. A piece of jawbone and a couple of teeth would become a species of human ancestor, complete with stories of his probable lifestyle and tool usage. I could not begin to fathom how all of that came from some jawbone fragment with a couple of teeth! Yet I was still a committed Darwinist, simply believing that some of the methods needed improvement.

I wound up being drafted and serving in the military. After serving, as related in an earlier post, I went back to school and eventually came to realize that I didn't have answers to more important things than that posed by science. I became a Christian.

I was a Christian who was an evolutionist, or Darwinist, but in reading the Bible I saw all sorts of conflicts and had to eventually make some kind of determination. Either the Genesis accounts were unreliable, or I was not reading them correctly, or many of the terms involved were merely figures of speech. Was I reading history, or metaphor? This I needed to determine for myself. It involved looking into the history of the modern Bible we have today. It also involved the flip side of things: Was the science I believed in reliable, or was THAT the unreliable source?

My journey to discern how and what to believe about the Bible began with careful study, prayerful study, of the Bible itself. Added to that was the historical record of its compilation. Meanwhile, I was introduced to creationism by a fellow by the name of Henry Morris, Dr. Henry Morris, hydrologist. Dr. Morris was a kind man with a great sense of humor but also a brilliant man who had come to believe that the Noahic Flood was quite real and was responsible for the sedimentary layers of rock found throughout the earth. He continued his studies on the subject of creationism and it was through a series of his lectures that I realized that, hey, the evidence needs to be reviewed without presuppositions. I soon became a creationist as well.

I cannot say I am at the end of that journey, because life always involves learning. I can say, however, that I came to some conclusions based on my studies and my relationship with my Father. One needs to continue to be a seeker of truth.

You can seek after facts, but facts can change. It once was a fact, accepted by scientists around the globe, that spontaneous generation of life occurred.

"Aristotle (384-322BC), Greek philosopher and scientist, expressed the hypothesis that decaying material could be transformed by the ‘spontaneous action of Nature’ into living animals. Classical scientists as recently as two hundred years ago believed in vitalism, the idea that non-living material like dirt, damp hay, or decaying meat had innate vitality such that "simple" life would spontaneously arise from it. Francisco Redi is best remembered for his 18th century experiments demonstrating that maggots did not come from the meat but from the flies that had laid their eggs upon it. In the 1860’s Louis Pasteur conducted his famous scientific disproof of spontaneous generation in which he sterilized and sealed jars of nutrients, demonstrating that only life begets life--the law of biogenesis. In reflecting upon this, Wald (himself a proponent of spontaneous generation) notes:

"We tell this story to beginning students of biology as though it represents a triumph of reason over mysticism. In fact it is very nearly the opposite. The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a ‘philosophical necessity.’ It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing." (Wald, 1954, p. 46).


(Oddly enough, Pasteur was presenting his proofs and Charles Darwin was publishing his treatise on evolution after having been the naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle.)

Yes, once it was a fact that life generated from non-life, and Pasteur disproved it. Of course, Darwinists say that he did not, and that one day they will prove him wrong. Once most people thought the earth was flat, and now we know that it is actually a globe. Once people thought that the sun revolved around the earth in an earth-centric solar system. Galileo nearly lost his life for proclaiming otherwise after his observations using his early telescope showed him that the earth revolved around the sun:

"Galileo was first denounced by the Roman Catholic Church in 1615. Fortunately, he was personally popular with the most powerful Church officials of his day. After wisely choosing to denounce his beliefs in a Copernican "sun-centered" universe, and promising he would never again teach it, Galileo was left alone by the Church for many years.

However... almost twenty years later, in 1632, with the publication of yet another book entitled Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems : Ptolemaic and Copernican, Galileo forced the reluctant Church to once again take action. In 1633 Galileo went before the Spanish Inquisition one final time. At his inquisition, Church officials refused to even look through Galileo's telescope. They knew full well that the Devil was capable of making anything illusory and deceptive appear in Galileo's telescope.

One more time, Church officials offered Galileo an option for the avoidance of being burned at the stake for church heresy. Denouncing his beliefs in a Copernican "sun-centered" universe, Galileo chose being imprisoned in his own home (and later in homes of his friends) for the remainder of his life. Galileo died January the 8th 1642."


Fact is what we think the truth to be. Truth is what it is, never changing, waiting to be discovered. I am a seeker of truth. It has taken me to places I never expected to go and led me to do things like post this blog, much to the dismay of many of the more committed Darwinists who roam the internet. In order to state a few things clearly, this three part posting....

FIRST: There are three major problems that Darwinists have to deal with and have found no reasonable answer for and here they are:

Where do we get the dirt? A Creationist depends on the narrative from the book of Genesis which tells us, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Some hate the idea of God and some hate the idea of the supernatural. But it is true that creationists have an explanation for how things came to be. God created. Some Darwinists agree that God created things, and then they evolved. Others, however, reject the idea of God altogether and then have to have an alternate explanation.

The Big Bang - Stephen Hawking, The Big Bang, and God by Henry F. Schaefer III provides this passage:

"The idea that the universe had a specific time of origin has been philosophically resisted by some very distinguished scientists. We could begin with Arthur Eddington, who experimentally confirmed Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1919. He stated a dozen years later: "Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me and I should like to find a genuine loophole." He later said, "We must allow evolution an infinite amount of time to get started."

Albert Einstein's reaction to the consequences of his own general theory of relativity appear to acknowledge the threat of an encounter with God. Through the equations of general relativity, we can trace the origin of the universe backward in time to some sort of a beginning. However, before publishing his cosmological inferences, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant, a "fudge factor," to yield a static model for the universe. Einstein later considered this to be the greatest blunder of his scientific career.

Einstein ultimately gave grudging acceptance to what he called "the necessity for a beginning" and eventually to "the presence of a superior reasoning power." But he never did accept the reality of a personal God."


Dr. Hugh Ross, who has conducted experiments which he says proves that the Big Bang required such precision that only God could have orchestrated it, says,

"Time is that dimension in which cause and effect phenomena take place. . . . If time's beginning is concurrent with the beginning of the universe, as the space-time theorem says, then the cause of the universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and pre-existent to the time dimension of the cosmos. This conclusion is powerfully important to our understanding of who God is and who or what God isn't. It tells us that the creator is transcendent, operating beyond the dimensional limits of the universe. It tells us that God is not the universe itself, nor is God contained within the universe."

So even many proponents of the Big Bang are believers in God. They believe that God produced and conducted the Big Bang itself! That is one way of echoing Genesis 1:1.

But we will not linger here, for the Universe began and all things are, somehow. No matter how it occurred, Darwinists still have two big problems:

Life from non-life: How is it that life arose from non-life? Is it reasonable to believe that somewhere in non-observable time and at a non-observable place, life just happened? In the book of Genesis, God creates all life within the first six days of creation.

Millions of different types of creatures and billions of complex systems, how did they come to be? From the one kind of life that somehow came from non-life, Darwinists say that all the creatures now found on earth and all that have been found to have become extinct had to have evolved. Creationists already know where all the life came from: In the book of Genesis, God creates all life within the first six days of creation.

So we will address these last two problems in the next two posts. But one more thing:

THERE IS NO THEORY OF EVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Theories must become theories by following a certain protocol:

BELIEF – HYPOTHESIS(TEST – REPEATABLE AND VERIFIABLE)
THEORY ESTABLISHED(TEST – REPEATABLE AND VERIFIABLE)
LAW

In the case of Darwinism (and creationism, for that matter) there are believers. The hypothesis has been provided. But no one has been able to test for and verify either macroevolution or creationism. So if anyone tells you that Darwinism is "proven", that it is a "theory" or that it is a fact" then you know that they don't know what they are talking about or, they are being deliberately deceptive, or they sure did drink the Kool-Aid! Wrap your head around it, Darwinism is not fact, not proven, not even a theory, it is simply a hypothesis that the majority of the scientific community still endorses. Right or wrong. For scientific, philosophical, or religious reasons. Nevertheless, merely a supposition rather than theory or fact. Meanwhile, we are looking for truth!

The next two posts will discuss the evidence found on the earth, in the fossils and in the organisms themselves. We will also deal with the mathematics involved. So, stay tuned for the next two posts to explore the second and third big problems with Darwinism up for discussion. Behe's Box and Huxley's Horse? They are coming same bat time, same bat channel..........tomorrow!

14 comments:

Jake said...

Way to completely flub the joke. The whole point is that the scientists came to God to tell him that they didn't need him anymore. Without that line the humour is lost.

oriolebird38 said...

I agree with Jake. I heard that joke in Church once, not quite the same without the opening.

Anonymous said...

*sigh*

Get the meaning of the word "fact" right and then we'll talk. It was believed that life was created out of nothing - but it was never a fact and could not have been one if Pasteur managed to disprove it. A fact and a belief are not the same thing.

And last time I checked, Talk.origins had 29 predictions for macroevolution - all of which provide falsification criteria.

If there was a creator, he obviously wants us to believe in evolution. If he created a young earth, one can only ask why? Myself, I prefer to believe in the Lord of Truth rather than the Father of Lies.

- F

cranky old fart said...

Speaking of being being "deliberately deceptive".....

Are we gonna go through this again?

Young earth, Noah. Show us the peer reviewed science please.

creeper said...

1. There's a reason Radar mangled his joke: he takes it as a given that all scientists have as their goal nothing more or less than to dismiss God and justify atheism, and he didn't think something so obvious needed to be stated.

Radar, the theory of evolution is not at odds with the existence of God. It is at odds with the literal interpretation of some parts of the Bible. It is entirely possible to believe in God and accept the theory of evolution as valid.

More points regarding this here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA601_1.html


2. ” A piece of jawbone and a couple of teeth would become a species of human ancestor, complete with stories of his probable lifestyle and tool usage. I could not begin to fathom how all of that came from some jawbone fragment with a couple of teeth! Yet I was still a committed Darwinist”

I find it extremely difficult to believe, given your claims that you tested in the 99th percentile and had a previous interest in science, that you sat through a four-hour anthropology class and walked away with the impression that scientists concluded “stories of probable lifestyle and tool usage” from a piece of jawbone and a couple of teeth. Were you unaware of the tools in question being found, as well as clothes, living spaces etc.? Surely a visit to any museum of natural history would have easily filled in this gap in your knowledge at an early age.

When you say it was a four-hour class, I took that to mean four hours a week for the length of the semester – but is it actually possible that the entire class lasted only four hours? Does one get credit for something like this? If it was four hours a week for the semester, did you actually attend the class? Did you pass?

This simple misunderstanding was your “first real hint that something was not right”?


3. ” I was a Christian who was an evolutionist, or Darwinist, but in reading the Bible I saw all sorts of conflicts and had to eventually make some kind of determination. Either the Genesis accounts were unreliable, or I was not reading them correctly, or many of the terms involved were merely figures of speech. Was I reading history, or metaphor?”

There is also the possibility of inaccurate editing, copying and translation down the line. Taken literally, Genesis clashes with many scientific observations, not just the theory of evolution. If you really believe that “the evidence needs to be reviewed without presuppositions” (which I tend to doubt you do based on what you’re saying here), then you would see the evidence weighed against, for example, creation taking place in literally 7 24-hour days, or Noah’s flood taking place when it did.


4. ”You can seek after facts, but facts can change. It once was a fact, accepted by scientists around the globe, that spontaneous generation of life occurred.”

Radar, if it was a fact, that means it really happened. This word ‘fact’ – I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Scientific understanding can and does change over time. That’s a good thing.


5. ”Once most people thought the earth was flat, and now we know that it is actually a globe. Once people thought that the sun revolved around the earth in an earth-centric solar system.”

But in this case, what people once thought (that God created the Earth in seven days) has to be true, right?

How come you see yourself in the role of the newcomer who overthrows religious dogma? You’re the one buying into it, Radar, and in the process you’re willfully ignoring a lot of information that is easily accessible to you.


6. ”Fact is what we think the truth to be.”

No, that’s a belief.


7. ” I am a seeker of truth. It has taken me to places I never expected to go and led me to do things like post this blog, much to the dismay of many of the more committed Darwinists who roam the internet.”

The “committed Darwinists” are not here because you post “truth” – which has already been easily demonstrated – but because a popular blog drew attention to a very (unintentionally) funny post of yours, and many people were amused and appalled enough by the misinformation you made public to drop by and tell you so. I doubt very much that “dismay” is what people feel in the face of your previously rebutted arguments, which you were unable to defend when called on them. At least not dismay at their position being threatened, that is.


8. ”Where do we get the dirt?”

What does this have to do with the theory of evolution? You’re confusing acceptance of the theory of evolution with atheism. One can easily accept God and the theory of evolution, and one can accept the theory of evolution and believe that God created the universe. One can even accept the possibility that a supernatural entity had a hand in creating the universe and not believe that a personified God that gives two hoots about us exists today.

There is no conceivable reason why the origin of the universe needs to be addressed before we can debate how life on Earth evolved.

Where do we get the dirt? The Big Bang theory appears to be the front runner, and as you point out there is no clear dividing line here between theists and atheists. And to both of them it is a mystery. Theists call that mystery “God did it”.


9. ”Life from non-life”

” Is it reasonable to believe that somewhere in non-observable time and at a non-observable place, life just happened?”

Did you have something more in mind here than a simple argument from incredulity or argument from ignorance? Read up on abiogenesis and biopoiesis.

” There is no truly "standard" model of the origin of life. However, most currently accepted models build in one way or another upon a number of discoveries concerning the origin of molecular and cellular components for life, which are listed in a rough order of postulated emergence:

1. Plausible pre-biotic conditions result in the creation of certain basic small molecules (monomers) of life, such as amino acids. This was demonstrated in the Urey-Miller experiment by Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey in 1953.
2. Phospholipids (of an appropriate length) can spontaneously form lipid bilayers, one of the two basic components of a cell membrane.
3. The polymerization of nucleotides into random RNA molecules might have resulted in self-replicating ribozymes (RNA world hypothesis).
4. Selection pressures for catalytic efficiency and diversity result in ribozymes which catalyse peptidyl transfer (hence formation of small proteins), since oligopeptides complex with RNA to form better catalysts. Thus the first ribosome is born, and protein synthesis becomes more prevalent.
5. Proteins outcompete ribozymes in catalytic ability, and therefore become the dominant biopolymer. Nucleic acids are restricted to predominantly genomic use.

The origin (see Origin of organic molecules) of the basic biomolecules, while not settled, is less controversial than the significance and order of steps 2 and 3. The basic inorganic chemicals from which life was formed are methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), water (H2O), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), and phosphate (PO43-). As of 2004, no one has yet synthesized a "protocell" using basic components which has the necessary properties of life (the so-called "bottom-up-approach"). Without such a proof-of-principle, explanations have tended to be short on specifics. However, some researchers are working in this field, notably Jack Szostak at Harvard. Others have argued that a "top-down approach" is more feasible. One such approach attempted by Craig Venter and others at The Institute for Genomic Research involved engineering existing prokaryotic cells with progressively fewer genes, attempting to discern at which point the most minimal requirements for life were reached. The biologist John Desmond Bernal, in coining the term Biopoesis for this process suggested that there were a number of clearly defined "stages" that could be recognised in explaining the origin of life.

Stage 1: The origin of biological monomers
Stage 2: The origin of biological polymers
Stage 3: The evolution from molecules to cell

Bernal suggested that Darwinian evolution may have commenced early, some time between Stage 1 and 2.”



10. ”In the book of Genesis, God creates all life within the first six days of creation.”

And is that reasonable to believe? Or any other creation myth, for that matter? Are we the offspring of frost giants created in the under arm sweat of Ymir, the primeval giant of the Norse creation myth?

What makes one creation myth any more true than another, other than it being yours?


11. ” Millions of different types of creatures and billions of complex systems, how did they come to be?”

Radar, have you not done any reading on the theory of evolution at all? Have you completely confined your reading to Creationist propaganda sources? You mentioned earlier that you had “given up” on talkorigins, but how far into it did you get, really? The answer to your question is precisely what the theory of evolution is all about. So read up on it, then come back with specific questions or problems you might have.

You can start with a brief overview here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution - and a summary of transitional forms here - http://talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html I do suggest you read them from beginning to end (same for this: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html – it would speed up your learning curve considerably.) Right now you’re just running in circles.

And a question for you: millions of different types of creatures – how did they all came to be from whatever Noah was able to stuff onto his ark less than 4,500 years ago?

”So we will address these last two problems in the next two posts.”

I certainly hope you’ve done a lot of reading by then, because from what you’ve said here it looks like you’re desperately under-informed on these topics.


12. ”THERE IS NO THEORY OF EVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

You’re just determined to work through all the most obvious misconceptions, aren’t you?

”In the case of Darwinism (and creationism, for that matter) there are believers. The hypothesis has been provided.”

There’s a testable hypothesis for creationism? Young earth creationism? Old earth creationism? ID, even? I’d love to see them.

”But no one has been able to test for and verify either macroevolution or creationism.”

Since you’re arguing from a young earth creationist perspective, first of all please acquaint yourself with the evidence for macroevolution that F linked to. It contains plenty of falsifiable predictions, and makes it clear that the theory of evolution contains many testable predictions that have indeed been tested and verified. Yes, the theory of evolution is indeed a scientific theory that has been confirmed by scientific research over time.

Second, regarding your consistent misuse and misunderstanding of the word ‘fact’ in this context, here is an article - http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html - that may clear this up for you.


” So if anyone tells you that Darwinism is "proven", that it is a "theory" or that it is a fact" then you know that they don't know what they are talking about or, they are being deliberately deceptive, or they sure did drink the Kool-Aid!”

The theory of evolution is not ‘proven’ (that happens in mathematics, not in the natural sciences, where a theory is only ‘confirmed’ by available evidence), and it is not a ‘fact’. It is, however, a scientific theory. There is also what is called the “fact of evolution”, which is discussed in the link two paragraphs above this one.

Radar, if you’re going to keep using the term ‘Darwinism’, please define it as you understand it once and for all; earlier in this blog post you seem to think it’s synonymous with atheism.

radar said...

Creeper, I will certainly address what you say in the next post.

creeper said...

radar: "As a young boy I was fascinated with dinosaurs and the idea of living things that no longer existed."

creeper: "Hold it right there!"

radar: "What is it?"

creeper: "Where do you fit in dinosaurs?"

Simon Peter said...

Radar: You did kind of mangle that joke. I have a better version kicking around somewhere that I'll dig out for you.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S.]

Yes, yes, you know better than 99% of actual biologists.
(Granted, that sort of thing does happen on occasion, sort of . . .)

I found this post horribly depressing, by the way, and am no longer in the spirit to write much of a reply. I mean, I have no doubt that your current beliefs give you a meaningful framework for life, and etc., but how sad to lose all that!

What year was that anthro course? (to help me figure out the state of knowledge then) What was the topic? And who was Mr. Jawbone?

This is a real problem, though. Pop science accounts tend to gloss over all of the science, in the procedural sense - esp. on tv, where they're dealing with 5 second attention spans . . . so it's never really made clear how scientists know anything, on what grounds, which aspects of whatever is being discussed are long-held orthodoxy and which are the exciting new contentious hypotheses . . it's all just "and this is the way it is" so when people hit the real science, if they're of a specific temperment/mindset, one that craves certainty, it's quite shocking and upsetting.

Whether maggots come from rotting meat (without fly eggs being involved) is a very different question from "where did life come from originally" - which is a different question from "once here, how did life develop into all the different forms we've seen."

" I could not begin to fathom how all of that came from some jawbone fragment with a couple of teeth! "
Well, that could go a long way towards telling you diet, for starters. It could also suggest a bit about social relationships (prominant canines for males or no?) And of course, tool usage - as pointed out above - if you happen to find some tools present at the same time as the jawbone . . .

Are you talking about Homo habilis and OH 7? The timing (reference to drafting) is about right . . ., and we have a jawbone and associated stone tools . . .

Man, human evolution is a horrible place to start hitting the 'real science' wall. There's a ton of attention being focused on what is still a relatively small number of fossils over quite a short peroid in time, due to their importance relatively small differences loom large, tempers run high, and instead of a nice easy straight-line progression, there seems to have been all sorts of fun bushy branching, and nobody is really quite sure what was going on.

In the end it goes back to the 'science as a process of discovery (by flawed mortals), not revelation handed down from on high' bit.

Take some time and go fossil-hunting (depending where you live). Go and check out/buy the best recent book on dinosaurs or human evolution you can find, and settle back and read for a bit. Please?

Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea is suppposed to be good . . .

-Dan S., hominid

radar said...

That was a tad condescending. Tell me you don't understand what four credit hours would be? Of course I passed the class. As to what was being found out in the field, well, there is a great deal of controversy to this day over so-called human ancestors. One by one they turn out to be either a form of ape or a form of homo sapiens.

Yes, a great deal was to be inferred by the markings on the teeth and other minute evidences. However, if man had been living on earth for at least a million years, there should be bones piled ten feet high all over the planet! At the very least, there should be thousands of skeletal remains of pre-human and early human ancestors rather than this very tiny trickle of bones that is released to the public by the researchers. There is more involved than simply a misunderstanding.

You imply that those who disagree with you cannot understand the science. But I have soldiered on ahead with another post anyway. I think that after the BBox and Horse postings are finished then the divergence in thinking will be pinpointed and it will not be a lack of intellect that will lead one to follow the creationist road. It will be interesting from my point of view, that is certain.

Dan S, you dodge issues when you imply that what you know cannot be understood by a mere creationist. I understand, I just think you are remarkably wrong.

highboy said...

creeper: It is hypocritical to accuse someone of getting all their information from what you deem "creation propaganda", and cite all your information from Talk Origins. (Learn how to post a link by the way) They have nothing more to offer than evolutionist propaganda, so what is your point?

"There is also the possibility of inaccurate editing, copying and translation down the line."

The same can be said for WWII coverage.

"One can even accept the possibility that a supernatural entity had a hand in creating the universe and not believe that a personified God that gives two hoots about us exists today."

Sure, its possible, it just makes little sense. But actually, its quite an accomplishment. You can sove the problem of how the universe came into existence, without bothering to be accountable to its creator. How convenient.

"10. ”In the book of Genesis, God creates all life within the first six days of creation.”

And is that reasonable to believe? Or any other creation myth, for that matter?"

Why not? It is certainly as plausible as believing in an unseen, unheard, unproven missing link all humanity evolved from.

Radar: Much like my second part to Creation vs. Evolution on my site, your posts, not matter how plausible, no matter what the evidence, cannot be disproven, and so that next logical step is to attack the source itself. Because we all know how objective those evolutionists are compared to creationists.

creeper said...

Radar,

”That was a tad condescending. Tell me you don't understand what four credit hours would be? Of course I passed the class.”

I do know what four credit hours would be, but I’m surprised, given your claims that you tested in the 99th percentile, were allegedly interested in science, and supposedly attended and passed this class, that you walked away with the impression that no tools had been found from which tool usage could have been inferred. I hope you asked for your money back.

”As to what was being found out in the field, well, there is a great deal of controversy to this day over so-called human ancestors.”

About their tool usage?!

”One by one they turn out to be either a form of ape or a form of homo sapiens.”

I appreciate you’re trying to change the subject on this. Fine, we’ll let it rest.

”Yes, a great deal was to be inferred by the markings on the teeth and other minute evidences. However, if man had been living on earth for at least a million years, there should be bones piled ten feet high all over the planet!”

If what you are saying is true and human remains are so amazingly well preserved, we should be able to find every living being since Noah’s flood, right? So where are they all?

Or could it be that human remains are not so amazingly well preserved, and less so the further back we go in time?

Could that be, Radar?

”You imply that those who disagree with you cannot understand the science.”

Not at all, though it is clear that you specifically do not understand much of the science and are pre-disposed to fall for the first piece of creationist propaganda that falls into your lap. I will freely look at any point or evidence anyone wants to bring forward. Your track record in this regard is not great, as you’ve made it clear you haven’t read up much on this subject, or at least are resistant to read opposing viewpoints with an open mind.

I am not saying this simply because we disagree, but because you have not been able to respond coherently to responses that have been made once you trotted out creationist talking points. I doubt that will change very much in the debate about your upcoming posts.

creeper said...

Highboy,

”It is hypocritical to accuse someone of getting all their information from what you deem "creation propaganda", and cite all your information from Talk Origins. (Learn how to post a link by the way) They have nothing more to offer than evolutionist propaganda, so what is your point?”

The point is the information contained within those links. You can dismiss them as propaganda once you’ve addressed them; this incidentally is what we are doing with the creationist propaganda that Radar is putting forth: addressing it point by point instead of dismissing it out of hand, as both you and Radar have done with Talk Origins.

It is your lack of responding to the actual content that makes you seem less than serious and open-minded once you decide on a foray into the field of science.

I’ve tried to post links (using another blog post editor, a method which has worked for me before), but got repeated error messages, so in the end took the links back out. If you could tell me the easiest way to post links on this blog, I’d appreciate it.

”"There is also the possibility of inaccurate editing, copying and translation down the line."
The same can be said for WWII coverage.”


Yes, it can, and that was less than a century ago. But for some reason texts from thousands of years ago, passed on both orally and in written form, copied and edited more than once, could never have been subject to such issues?

”"One can even accept the possibility that a supernatural entity had a hand in creating the universe and not believe that a personified God that gives two hoots about us exists today."

Sure, its possible, it just makes little sense.”


Given for example a tsunami wiping out thousands of innocents, an omniscient, omnipotent God that gives two hoots about us makes no sense. A God used to fill in gaps in knowledge of the world around us, sure, why not? It’s just another way of saying “we don’t know, and we’d rather have an explanation for this, even if it is a magical plugging of the gap”. But a personified God? One that is benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent? It is not consistent with the large scale death of innocents.

”But actually, its quite an accomplishment. You can sove the problem of how the universe came into existence, without bothering to be accountable to its creator. How convenient.”

Yes, I suppose it would be convenient, but entirely possible. I don’t see how it’s any less convenient than the just-so story that has grown up around the Christian God though. You get to have your afterlife, your organizing principle in society, your yearning for immortality fulfilled, your special status above all else. It’s convenient all right.

”And is that reasonable to believe? Or any other creation myth, for that matter?"
Why not? It is certainly as plausible as believing in an unseen, unheard, unproven missing link all humanity evolved from.”


Even the Vatican takes on board that man evolved from more primitive beings.

”Much like my second part to Creation vs. Evolution on my site, your posts, not matter how plausible, no matter what the evidence, cannot be disproven,”

I haven’t looked at your second part yet. Your first part was pretty ridiculous and ill-informed, though, as has been covered in abundance already. Radar’s posts too have been taken apart in detail, and just because he hasn’t responded doesn’t mean that his posts are somehow unassailable.

” and so that next logical step is to attack the source itself. Because we all know how objective those evolutionists are compared to creationists.”

My “attack” on Radar’s educational experience here was relatively mild, and he’s the one who brought up this calamity. Skipping the tools that archaeologists had found and from which they were able to conclude tool usage is really quite an omission.

I have, on the other hand, responded to many of his points with logical arguments, which he has not yet found the time to address. So it is not the case that I’m unable to address his points and instead opt for ad hominem attacks. It is hard to avoid questioning how informed he is on these topics, though, but pointing that out is just the gravy.

Where are these open-minded creationists, by the way? Are you talking about young earth creationists?

Anonymous said...

[Dan S.]

" As to what was being found out in the field, well, there is a great deal of controversy to this day over so-called human ancestors.
Indeed! If you follow the SI link I posted, they discuss quite a few of them on that site . . . It's wild. That's how science works - it's not always pretty. Fossils aren't found with little prepasted labels listing their species, relationship, lifestyle, etc. We don't just get the answer - we have to do our best to figure it out all by ourselves, and we don't always get it right on the first go.

"One by one they turn out to be either a form of ape or a form of homo sapiens."
No. This is not correct.
But let's look a little closer. Have paleoanthropologists - actual scientists working in the field said this? No. Have actual scientists in related fields leaned over and gone, guys, look, you made a mistake, that's just an ape? No. Has creationist Martin Lubenow said this (Bones of Contention)? Yes! Or do I mean Gish? I always get folks mixed up. Anyway, who's the only people who've said this? Creationists.

It doesn't even make any sense. We've found fossils of a number of at-least somewhat bipedal apes roaming over parts of Africa during the last few million years (roughly, Australopithecus species). Some of the bipedal apes seem to have specialized in chewing (getting enormous jaws and teeth and muscle-attachment sites), presumably adjusting to changes in the environment, diet, etc (nowadays given their very own genus - Paranthropus: you might have met one as Zinjanthropus boisei). Others seem to have specialized in thinking. These guys get put in Homo. If anything, the trend (last I looked, a bit back) seems to be pulling things out of Homo sapiens - Neandertal man, maybe H. heidelbergensis - or maybe they're back with us again . . . It's been debated whether, if you could dress Neandertal man in a suit and tie and put him on the subway, if anyone would notice. (In New York, probably not, but that doesn't count.) But go much past that, and these questions are ridiculous. Were H. ergaster* or H. erectus apes? Well, you could consider our whole genus apes, but given the associations people bring to this issue, let's not get into that. They were bipedal, had large brains, used stone tools and probably fire. They weren't gorilla or chimp-like apes, for sure! Were they Homo sapiens? No way. Big browridges, brain size in the 900-1100cc range, uncertainty as to if (or how) they used language, no evidence of symbolic art, etc, plus other boring distinctions. Click on their names above to get a closer look and judge for yourself . . .

This insistence on 'either an ape or Homo sapiens' can been seen as not just a way of explaining away data, but as a reflection of a deep-seated, perhaps even biologically based (for our species) essentialist tendency - the idea that certain groups of things share a fixed, unchangable essence (see 'kind,' also this neat post by science writer Carl Zimmer, whose blog The Loom is always very good reading ) -as well as a need for certainty.
Ironically, the issue is that we have, in a way, so many fossils for a short period of time - you can pretty much see evolution in action as organisms change over 10,000s of years, sending branches this way and that, with fossils so transitional that it's tough to say on either end whether it's species A or B, etc. Geez - we give you guys a beautiful (if very confusing, still) example of smooth evolutionary transitions, and you guys go - nope! an ape! nope, an ape! nope, an ape! nope, H. sapiens. *Sigh*

A muskrat biologist might well lump us all (Homo, Pan, and Gorilla in one genus. But you know muskrat biologists!

You may not like it, but the talk origins Fossil Hominids page is actually a pretty good source. And you can dig around the Smithsonian page . . . There are a bunch of good resources out there, but I'm just too tired . ..

Other issues:
Where's the dirt (from)!?
Dude, science is broken up into various disciplines. Some scientists deal with the origin of the universe. Some deal with the origin of the solar system. Some deal with the origin of life. The guys we are talking about deal with what happened after that - how we got from - Hi! I'm life! - to - Hi! We're the vast (fossil and current) diversity of life! (As you point out). Scientists are working on this issue, and constantly finding out more about the history of life and what our comon ancestor might have been like. I know this sounds like somewhat of a cop-out, but it's the truth! That's how science works. It's like saying that history is bunk because it doesn't explain how humans came to be. (And I don't know enough about the first three to say much of anything). For evolutionary biology, where the dirt came from is not an issue. The scientists - biochemists? I'm so clueless, I don't even know - in the joke would say, but God, we're not trying to recreate matter, etc. - we're just trying to show one way that life might have gotten started. It's like the scientists were trying to figure out a way to learn more about the moon and stars, and they tell God, first, we take this telescope and look . . , and God says, Get your own light! Or, get your own dirt, still, since what is a telescope made of?

Creationist Claim CB090:
Evolution is baseless without a good theory of abiogenesis
- and I'm not posting these links to say, here's what a well-know pro-science site says, so it must be right, I'm saying, here's a link to some quick and common responses to this argument, which have been put up because we been having the same bloody arguments for - in some cases - decades. What do you think of this response?

"Yes, a great deal was to be inferred by the markings on the teeth and other minute evidences. However, if man had been living on earth for at least a million years, there should be bones piled ten feet high all over the planet! At the very least, there should be thousands of skeletal remains of pre-human and early human ancestors rather than this very tiny trickle of bones"

You're joking, right? You really don't understand why this wouldn't be what scientists expect?! I can't believe that.
Religion generally tells what happens to us -that is, us, the part that looks out from behind out eyes, that does all the thinking and feeling and etc. - after we die. However, there's a branch of paleontology that deals with what happens to the rest of us after we (or anything else) dies. It's called taphonomy. A lot of it tends to get eaten or otherwise demolished, unless conditions are quite good. I mean, think - just in the last few thousand years enormous numbers of animals have been dying. Why isn't the globe covered with them? (And don't forget,the science you're arguing with doesn't suggest that fossil hominids were present in anything like the enormous numbers of people we have today. We're talking probably numbers in the rather low millions (at best) and under.)

* Early African erectus fossils have been put in a seprarate species - H. ergaster and it is now throught that this species is ancestral both to is and to mostly-Asian H. erectus.

-Dan S., non-muskrat