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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Commenters make my case for me- Part Two

First, I want to clarify my response to a Dan S question. Second, I will use one commenter as a dialogue for the blog post. Third, I will preview tomorrow's new direction for the posts.

1) Question:

Allow me to re-address the question to me from a new perspective. Were I to be convinced that the universe was of a very old age, and were I to be convinced that macroevolution is the means by which organisms that are here today came about, would it shake my faith? No.

GAP THEORY

In that case, I would have to re-address my understanding of Genesis 1-3. There are some who believe that the reading of Genesis 1:2 contains a gap or allows for a gap. Here is Genesis 1:1-2 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

I have bolded the phrase which is in the original "tohu a bohu" which is translated "without form and void". Now the without form, or Tohu portion of this can mean the following:

formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness

1. formlessness (of primeval earth)
1. nothingness, empty space
2. that which is empty or unreal (of idols) (fig)
3. wasteland, wilderness (of solitary places)
4. place of chaos
5. vanity

and "Bohu"

1. emptiness, void, waste

(Strong's Old Testament Hebrew Dictionary)

Some Bible students believe this phrase allows for a gap that could be billions of years, to accomodate a very old age for the universe. I disagree, but there are those who firmly believe this. In addition....

DAYS AS A THOUSAND YEARS

Psalms 90:4
"For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night."


and also

II Peter 2:38
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."

Bible students also know that at times the language of the Bible is figurative although it is usually literal. The book, context, speaker, style and situation all let the reader know which is which. For these reasons I believe that the reading of the first three books of Genesis is to be done as an historical narrative. Note how the days are presented...

Genesis 1:5
"God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day."

An evening and a morning. Just like any other day. Note that the Jewish believer has continued to consider that a day starts in the evening and ends in the morning. This is of particular interest when studying the crucifixion narrative in the New Testament. It explains why the men charged with crucifying Christ and those who had come to bury him were in a rush to get him down from the cross when in our culture it was the middle of the day. It was because with the beginning of evening was a new day, a High (or special) Sabbath day and taking down and entombing a body would be considered work, which was not to be done on a Sabbath. But I digress.

The Hebrew word for "day" in this passage is "Owr"
which means primarily this: bright, clear, day, etc. In any event the usage and language indicates an actual morning and evening, one 24-hour day. But many believe that this day is a figurative day or an epoch in which thousands and perhaps millions of years could pass. They believe the six days of creation are a general description of the stages of time in which God used millions of years and macroevolution to form life as we know it. I don't believe this, but many do.

In any event, I will continue to have faith in God. I hope this settles the question to the satisfaction of all???

2) ANOTHER COMMMENTER MAKES MY CASE

The bold portions to come are from my post. The italicized portions to come are from a comment to the last issue of this dialogue and then I enter responses.

The commenter is saying that only his world view is scientific.

No, the commenter is saying only the scientific worldview is scientific. Law of identity has got you there. Science is only concerned with what it can observe, and all it can observe is matter/energy. Therefore, science is inherently a materialistic study. Come up with a God-o-meter, and we'll talk.

Wrong! Science is concerned with what can be observed and the implications thereof. The materialist excludes the idea of the supernatural and God, thus limiting his science to boundaries set by his world view. I say that such a view hinders his ability to operate as a scientist.

One's world view has a great effect on one's scientific stance.

Depends on what you mean. Technically, you are correct; if I view the world from physical perspective A and you view the world from physical perspective B, we will see different data, and therefore could potentially draw different conclusions. But, I think you mean that people's philosophical world view colors their science. This is only true of poor science, such as creationism. True science minimizes a priori assumptions and is based on the data. As the only data we can measure is material data, it is necessarily limited to materialism. Again, waiting on your God-o-meter to come out.

Wrong again! (Hee-hee, two for two!) Both creation scientists and evolutionists evaluate data and the same data is available to both. The difference is in the interpretation of the data. Your science is limited by your world view and so also your science is the poor science out of the two.

I am saying that, as you say, that both sides should be presented along with the evidence for both. Being in England, I believe, you don't know how it goes here in the states but in our schools Darwinism is presented as the ONLY possibility, which smacks of indoctrination rather than education.

No, evolution is presented as the only theory supported by the evidence (which is true). In science, Bible does not equal evidence.

First, no one has proven macroevolution to be true. Second, the Bible is a historical document and historical documents are evidence that are used in several disciplines known as science. Try archaeology without documentation sometime...

Perhaps you would consider the existence of Jesus Christ and the miracles he performed as evidence?

Again, in science, Bible does not equal evidence.

Again, see above.

But most of the other evidences such as the fossil record and rock layering depend entirely on how you wish to see them, it would seem.

Amazing how the same people who insist on literal reading of the Bible also insist on convoluted and self-contradicting reading of physical evidence.

Oh, that is rich! Until Uniformitarianism became popular in the 1800's thanks to men such as James Hutton and Charles Lyle, geologists believed that the rock record demonstrated the catastrophic effects of a world-wide flood. Uniformitarianism paved the way for a belief in Darwinism. Now that Uniformitarianism is being challenged and discarded, Darwinists have returned to catastrophism. But now they see the rock record as a series of catastrophes, around the world, rather than all related to the flood.

There is then some follow up stuff, a brief and inaccurate ad hominem attack and then back to our movie...

I posted a thorough look at statistics and have not been given back a straight answer yet. Take the Houdini out of your answers and play it straight, people. Mumbo jumbo with math might impress your friends but not me.

It's the typical creationist "Explain difficult science completely thoroughly, but use small words." You're a computer guy--write me a 100% effective anti-virus program using only BASIC. You have 15 minutes...go!

While plenty of people have given you perfectly correct answers, I'll try to rephrase. It seems like the basic statistical trap you have fallen into is a presumed outcome. You set up your probability based on the premise that evolution requires that we start with slidge and end up with life as we know it. This is untrue. There is no a priori requirement that life end up as we know it today! That's why, even if you knew the correct probability functions to plug into your model, you would fail. It is quite possible that we could have ended up with life that was completely different than what we know right now. To correct an analogy that creationists are fond of abusing, evolution does not predict that a tornado in a junkyard will create a 747. Evolution predicts that a tornado in a junkyard will produce a configuration of junk that has lower wind resistance than the original configuration.


Your answer fails again. The answers I get basically throw out statistics as a science and say that anything could happen and all possibilities are possible. That is the stuff that comes out of the end of the horse! (Previous post)

I did a long post on that one, carefully and patiently explaining why macroevolution, if it operates, must do so against the second law of thermodynamics.

*sigh* Fine, a thermo lesson. The 2nd law, as you stated in the other post, only states that, in the absence of an input of energy, heat only flows from hot objects to cold objects; that is, the thermodynamic entropy of a system can only increase in the absence of an input of energy. Fortunately, we have the Sun. It inputs a lot of energy, increasing the overall entropy of Earth. Plants take that excess energy and use it to generate ordered biomolecules. You can do it without life through photochemistry; unliving molecules get excited by light, and join together into more complex molecules (e.g. aryl azide chemistry). No thermodynamic problem here.

Your ignorant bastarization of the 2nd law states that things can only get less complex. Unfortunately for you, anyone who has seen a snowflake, or a quartz crystal, or normal ice can refute that terrible interpretation--things can and do assume more complex forms without any intelligence guiding them. Another example would be the formation of nylon-digesting bacteria. This entirely new function did not exist before man created nylon; it formed by genetic mutation and selection, causing a new function never before seen on Earth to form. This would also be against Radar's bastardized 2nd Law of Thermo, but fortunately, nature doesn't care what he thinks.


Previous post again. Gee, since the sun was around back in the days of Robert Boyle or Carnot, don't you think they would have been unable to postulate such a thing as thermodynamics? The idea that the sun makes the earth an open system has already been refuted. Tell you a story - When we decided to build our house three years ago, we put a pile of bricks and wood and other stuff on the property we had purchased and left it open to the sun. In a few months the sun had built the house for us and we moved in - NOT!

The sun is undirected energy and guess what? Leave a pile of stuff out for the sun to shine on and it will begin to fall apart and degrade. Cover it up so the sun doesn't shine upon it? It will begin to fall apart and degrade. Here is one of the quotes again...

“...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems ... there is somehow associated with the field of far-from equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.” [Dr. John Ross, Harvard scientist (evolutionist), Chemical and Engineering News, vol. 58, July 7, 1980, p. 40]

How many of you have the guts to say, "I believe in macroevolution and that life has evolved. Nothing radar can say will change that?"

Because it isn't true. If you discover data and show it to me, it is possible that you could disprove macroevolution and cause a complete reworking of the theory. But either creationists can't be bothered with something as trivial as finding new data, or else they just can't find any convincing data to disprove evolution, no matter how hard they try. Which is it?

Neither. Creationists continue to present data while macroevolutionists try to suppress it and call it names. Macroevolutionists in general are afraid to openly discuss creation or Intelligent Design issues and avoid the data whenever possible. They fight hard to keep the open consideration of both schools of thought out of classrooms. It is macroevolutionists who have fought so hard to keep ID information out of classrooms. Why, because ID or creationist proponents are trying to toss Darwin out? No, because they simply want both sides to be considered and the macroevolutionists, far from challenging the other side to present information, are working hard to stifle that information. You claim you want science and only want to study the data but in fact you try hard to stifle any thoughts or ideas that disagree with your own!

For instance, macroevolutionists have tried very hard to stifle the presentation of ideas that do not support evolution in Kansas. Let's take a look at a FAQ for the Kansas Science Standards.

Some excerpts -

Q: How do parents want evolution taught?

A: Parents want evolution taught honestly. Most Polls conducted by highly
regarded organizations show that more than 80% of the public oppose an
“evolution only” curriculum, i.e., one that discourages critical analysis of evolution.

Q: Did the Board remove evolution from the standards as stated by the
National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)?

A: No. This is misinformation that seeks to suppress any critical analysis of
evolution.

Q: Why has the Board opened Pandora’s box by inserting discussions
of “origins” into the standards?

A: The Board did not insert origins. It inserted objectivity into an existing onesided discussion of origins. Textbooks and prior science standards teach the origin of the universe and the origin of life and its diversity from a single
perspective. The new standards are more objective.

Q: Do the changes seek to criticize evolution to advance religion?

A: No. They seek to eliminate rather than advance a religious bias that
permeated the old standards.


Your world view determines to a great extent where you stand on the creation versus evolution question.

You are absolutely correct; if you demand physical evidence for your belief, then you will twist or ignore the writings in ancient texts and fall toward the evolution side. If you demand a literal interpretation of an internally and externally inconsistent collection of ancient writings, then you will twist or ignore the writings in the ancient texts and fall toward the creation side.

Dr. Henry Morris said this:

"The question arises then, if evolution is so solidly proven, what are evolutionists afraid of? Why must evolution be protected from scrutiny? Why must students be shielded from other views? Why not present all the pertinent facts and encourage the students to think critically, as a good scientist should? Would this not be a good educational technique? Would this not produce better citizens and scientists?

Evolutionists purport that there is no real science supporting intelligent design, that ID is just religion, or at least a “backdoor” to religion. But the facts are that many secular scientists, through observation and experimentation and based on the scientific evidence and data they’ve obtained, have come to the conclusion that life has been designed, not created by mere chance from nothing.

Science involves conducting research, using the scientific method in various disciplines, and reporting on the data and results. There’s no religion in the facts. ICR has recently discovered groundbreaking evidence about rock dating, carbon-14 in diamonds, excess helium within zircons, and other geologic data supporting a young earth. ICR is adamant that this science be available for scrutiny by critical thinkers—that students, specifically, are able to evaluate the evidence and formulate their own beliefs If the science points to a designer, so be it. But if the evidence suggests otherwise, which we’re sure it does not, then so be it. Let the chips fall where they may.

Perhaps evolutionists’ avoidance of these kinds of data exposes a basic insecurity in their position. ICR has long held that evolution cannot stand the test of science—it must avoid the light of open inquiry. Only by limiting the debate can evolutionists hope to maintain their monopoly on education. Yet, it serves us well to recognize that the debate involves a deeper issue than just control of academic content. If evolutionists admit that science does indeed support intelligent design, then they are admitting that there is a possibility of a Creator. Perhaps what evolutionists are truly afraid of are the implications of the presence of a higher power. Higher power means higher authority and, ultimately, higher accountability."

Thank you, Dr. Morris, a founding member of ICR.

It is in fact the macroevolutionist who tries to twist statistical analysis and the second law of thermodynamics like pretzels to fit their postulations. It is the materialists who have sought to re-write history by ignoring and attacking the older geneological records and recorded histories available to them because such histories support the Bible records and they cannot stomach this. My next post, tomorrow, will address this because I have to get the geneological evidence out there before I get to the Flood itself. But I have to tell you, after you read my post you will probably know whether you are descended from Ham, Shem or Japheth!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Were I to be convinced . . . would it shake my faith? No."

Thank you for answering my question!

Cool. It would be depressing if you based your faith on only the evidence of things seen, on a sort of constant metaphorical wound-poking.


So your faith doesn't actually require this particular reading, in a specific strictly literal manner, of Genesis.

"In any event, I will continue to have faith in God."
That's good.


"I say that such a view [a methodological naturalistic excluding of the supernatural from science] hinders his ability to operate as a scientist."

And this is why science blossomed in the early and middle years of the last millenium - how, for example, when Europe was hit with a Little Ice Age, scholars sought to understand scientifically why the weather had gotten so bad as to cause crop destuction,livestock deaths, poverty, famine, and disease. And even though they failed to untangle this extremely complex question, important work was done in learning how farmers might best breed crops better able to deal with the colder, wetter conditions, etc . . .

Oh, wait. No. That's not what happened:

"As climatic conditions deteriorated, a lethal mix of misfortunes descended upon a growing European population. Witchraft accusations soared, as people accused their neighbors of fabricating bad weather . . . Sixty-three women were burned to death as witches in the small town of Wisensteig in Germany in 1563 at a time of immense debate over the authority of God over the weather [that is, whether the weather was God's wrath or witches' malice]. Witch panics erupted periodically after the 1560s. Between 1580 and 1620 more than 1,000 people were burned to death for witchcraft in the Bern region alone. WItchcraft accusations reached a height in England and France in the severe weathe years of 1587 and 1588. Almost invariably, a frenzy of prosecutions coincided with the coldest and most difficult years of the Little Ice Age, when people demanded the eradication of the witches they held reponsible for their misfortunes. As scientists began to seek natural explanations for climatic phenomena, witchcraft receded slowly into the background . . ."

Fagan, Brian. (2000). The Little Ice Age: How climate made history: 1300-1850, p. 91.

"also your science is the poor science out of the two."

It's strange that mainstream science, in a time of such wonders, would be the poorer science, while creation science , presumably the richer flourishes (as science) mainly in the sheltered environments of special institutions, such as the kind of colleges or organization that requires signed statements of faith (or as part of a privately funded p.r. machine). It's rather like some endangered species which, proving too tender, too specific in its needs, now exists in a tiny protected fraction of its former range, and zoos . . .
. . . but look! Unable to otherwise compete, it's attempting to spread by a kind of cuckoo-like brood parasitism! It dumps its eggs into other bird's nests - I mean, its ideas into other disipline's classrooms - for those birds to care for. Oh, how cute! The little creationism chick just pushed its 'sibling' out of the nest and to its death! Aww . . .

"Try archaeology without documentation sometime..."

I did. Also with documentation. It's certainly nice to have documentation, but as historical archaeologists will tell you, any documents are merely an additional (if possibly quite informative) line of evidence and must be read carefully and critically. What the text giveth, the text taketh away - or at least, might distort, misreport, not mention, etc. I'd quote at you, but the books I'd use are packed away : (

" Now that Uniformitarianism is being challenged and discarded"

This is a misunderstanding. Uniformitarianism - the assumption that the natural processes operating in the past are the same as those that can be observed operating in the present" - is not being discarded. What has been discarded - for quite some time - is a specific version, a sort of vulgar uniformatism, which holds that events occur onlyin a steady and gradual manner, like a sort of endless English summer. Interestingly, the pioneers of uniformitarianism did not seem to hold this view:
"Note, however, that many "catastrophic" events are perfectly compatible with uniformitarianism. For example, Charles Lyell thought that ordinary geological processes would cause Niagara Falls to move upstream to Lake Erie within 10000 years, leading to catastrophic flooding of a large part of North America." (It may have developed as a kind of overreaction to runaway catastrophism, but I don't actually know this.)

And today "all mainstream scientists support uniformitarianism as do most mainstream religious denominations."

"all possibilities are possible."
Aren't they?

"Tell you a story - When we decided to build our house three years ago, we put a pile of bricks and wood and other stuff on the property we had purchased and left it open to the sun. In a few months the sun had built the house for us and we moved in - NOT!"

]bangs head on desk repeatedly, hoping that the flashes of light and nauseous feeling will somehow make it better (at least in comparison?)

Hey, you're the one with the miracles (understood as something that happens in defiance of physical laws, etc.), not me . . .

How about this: when you put that pile of bricks &tc. down, you also found an acorn and plopped it in a pile of dirt. In a few months, the sun (or rather, energy stored previously from the sun) 'built' a sprout. Over the next couple of years - and decades, the sun 'built' an oak tree that shaded the house. Perhaps in the house, people - powered by the sun's energy - even 'built' other, little people.

The analogy is fatally flawed, in a way that says something very interesting about how we conceptualize things - but this I am not able, sadly, to really understand, but only dimly grasp at . . : (

Abiogenesis: while brick and lumber won't build a house when exposed to sunlight (that wouldbe pretty cool), chemical reactions do occur in the presence of energy [phrased weird and wrong, sorry]. Also, house really complex. Little blobby proto-life, not so much.

Evolution. Bricks, lumber not typically observed to reproduce. Organisms, yes.

[Darwinists try to supress critical thought because they are afraid, they want to stifle dissent!]*
You know, there are folks who think that ancient history is best explained by invoking a series of alien visits and subsequent involvement. There are also folks who think that aliens abduct numerous humans yearly, for the apparent purpose of prodding their orifices. (I don't know how big the overlap between these groups are - and the former is pretty small, I think). Now, sure, essentially all archaeologists, etc., reject this first idea, and the second is somewhat undermined by the continual inability of its proponents to, for example, produce any clear physical evidence. But what about the marketplace of ideas?! Why should we suppress evidence? Students should be able to hear both sides of the argument . . . right?

Creationists just want special rights.

" Parents want evolution taught honestly."
Sounds good to me!

"more than 80% of the public oppose an
“evolution only” curriculum, i.e., one that discourages critical analysis of evolution."
Was it phrased like that? Ah, rhetoric! Who can be against 'critical analysis'? Who could be against mom and apple pie (or, alternately, soldiers not dying)? Who could be against cool, stunning, aesthetically pleasing giant horse sculptures left at our gates by a fleeing army in recognition of our superior might and inevitable victory?

Aditionally (besides the interesting results if we design curricula via poll), thanks to
a) decades of creationist attempts to shut down the teaching of evolution, leading in many times and places to a de facto (and sometimes de jure) removal or serious downgrading of evolution ed.
and
b) a steady campaign of misinformation against evolution, an attack on science unparalleled in modern times (in terms of non-industry campaigns. This is pretty much par for the course with industry. Lead is good for you!)
most adults at least have almost no idea about evolution, if they don't additionally think it's bad and evil, a pathetic, anti-religious tissue of lies clung to by a small, quickly shrinking, and desperate gang of dogmatic Darwinists. In these circumstances they will tend to either a)oppose the teaching of evolution, or b) use the standard rule of thumb: when there's a furious argument over some obscure thing that you neither know a lot about nor necessarily care about, the truth's probably in the middle, and it's only fair that both sides get their say.

"Q: Did the Board remove evolution from the standards . . .A: No. This is misinformation . . . "

-"The Kansas Board of Education approved new science standards for teachers in public schools [in Nov. 2005] that question Charles Darwin's teachings on evolution and hand a victory to advocates of "intelligent design."

The board's 6-4 vote reverses a 2001 decision that affirmed Darwin's theory of natural selection. That vote came two years after most references to the theory were removed from state standards, making Kansas the butt of jokes by scientists and late-night comedians."

- "The 1999 vote never banned the teaching of evolution nor required the teaching of the Biblical story of creation. But it dropped Darwin's theory from standardized tests taken by Kansas students.

1999 KS science standards here - I belive this is the correct version - They refer strictly to micoroevolution, more or less as radar defines it:
"Indicators: The student will: . . . .
2. Understand that microevolution, the adaptation of organisms - by changes in structure, function, or behavior - favors beneficial genetic variations and contributes to biological diversity. . .
4. Understand that natural selection acts only on the existing genetic code and adds no new genetic information."

And perhaps even this wasn't being tested?

"Textbooks and prior science standards teach the origin of the universe and the origin of life and its diversity from a single
perspective. "

Yep. Just like astronomy elective textbooks teach the structure of the solar system from a single perspective.

Look, generally what gets into science class in public high scools are a) Sturdy, time tested consensus ideas, or maybe b) major old-ish, 'mature' controversies, perhaps in an advanced class or in a brief sidebar. In this case, for starters, both sides have to admit there is a real controversy. Why are you asking for special treatment?

"A: No. They seek to eliminate rather than advance a religious bias that permeated the old standards."

Where would Dante put these guys?
Religious bias, my butt! Believe it? Then do I have a bridge in Oceania to sell you! I hate this kind of mealy-mouthed truth-twisting. Either that, or these folks genuinely can't realize that not everything is religion. I wonder if they think that Toyota has to make separate cars for Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. . . .

this post says it better than I - regarding criticism of the science victory in Ohio . .


" ICR has recently discovered groundbreaking evidence about rock dating, carbon-14 in diamonds, excess helium within zircons, and other geologic data supporting a young earth."
radar, you do know that the ICR has roughly the same amount of credibility with the vast majority of scientists as the astrology forecasts in the paper? And do you know why? Like astrology, so far they can't deliver the goods. They could earn credibility - but I doubt they will . . .

" If evolutionists admit that science does indeed support intelligent design, then they are admitting that there is a possibility of a Creator. Perhaps what evolutionists are truly afraid of are the implications of the presence of a higher power. Higher power means higher authority and, ultimately, higher accountability."

And here we come to the crux of the matter, as has come through repeatedly in radar's recent posts and as restated a few lines down. Scientists must be trying to suppress, ignore, or disprove creation because it fatally undermines their belief system, their petty, self-indulgent materialistic religion, because

"such histories support the Bible records and they cannot stomach this"

thank you, radar!

Yes, yes, and' I didn't make the team because the coach hates me!!! It's all because I'm so good, and it would make the other players look bad.' [or something]

meanwhile, the coach is planning what to do - working, y'know - without hardly a thought in their head about the kids that didn't make the cut,let alone any specific one . . .

That's pretty much it, y'know - creationism is like some kid who didn't make the team, and their parent won't stop trying to make the coach put him on - and on varsity, too - from lawsuits to trying to get their friends on the board to pull some strings, blaming everybody else, never admitting that for their 5'6", 120lb, can't manage 10 push-ups child, just maybe football isn't the right sport quite yet . . .

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"would it shake my faith? No."

Good.

"I hope this settles the question to the satisfaction of all?"

That wasn't so hard, was it?

"Science is concerned with what can be observed and the implications thereof. The materialist excludes the idea of the supernatural and God, thus limiting his science to boundaries set by his world view. I say that such a view hinders his ability to operate as a scientist."

We could make this more accurate by re-phrasing it: "Science is concerned with what can be observed and the implications thereof. Because of this, the scientist excludes the idea of the supernatural and God."

If the supernatural and God were observable, they could be examined scientifically. Actually, that would make them natural as well.

What is this obsession with wedging God into science anyway?

"Both creation scientists and evolutionists evaluate data and the same data is available to both. The difference is in the interpretation of the data. Your science is limited by your world view and so also your science is the poor science out of the two."

Whoa... are you suggesting that "creation science" is not limited by creationists' world views? As the commenter (shygetz) points out: "True science minimizes a priori assumptions and is based on the data. As the only data we can measure is material data, it is necessarily limited to materialism."

I guess you'll try to claim that science makes the a priori assumption that God doesn't exist. This is not so. Science makes no assumption about God one way or another, and is neutral on the subject. It can, however, not include God as part of any scientific explanation because God is not observable.

If you believe God created all nature, then this should not be bothersome to you.

"First, no one has proven macroevolution to be true."

Shygetz got this exactly right: "evolution is presented as the only theory supported by the evidence (which is true)." Scientific theories are not proven the way a mathematical equation is proven; they are confirmed or falsified by the evidence.

That macroevolution occurred (i.e. descent from a common ancestor) is overwhelmingly confirmed by the evidence, and accepted by scientific consensus. The exact mechanisms by which this happened are mostly agreed on, but continue to be examined. ID does not challenge an old earth and common descent, but questions the adequacy of the currently proposed mechanisms (natural selection, genetic drift, gene mutation).

"Second, the Bible is a historical document and historical documents are evidence that are used in several disciplines known as science. Try archaeology without documentation sometime..."

The Bible is an ancient text, but show me a historian or archaeologist who unquestioningly takes every ancient text as being literally true. The texts are examined in the context in which they were written, not taken as ironclad evidence that the events they describe really happened - especially when those events bear strong similarities to mythology.

Parts of the Bible may well reflect historical events accurately, but this is by no means evidence that other parts of the Bible are likewise historically accurate and do not reflect, for example, a creation myth or similar.

If this is what you intend to demonstrate by expanding on the genealogy of Genesis - without directly touching on the flood - I'll let you know up front that there's a very good chance you're walking into a Fallacy of Composition.

creeper said...

creationism is like some kid who didn't make the team, and their parent won't stop trying to make the coach put him on - and on varsity, too - from lawsuits to trying to get their friends on the board to pull some strings, blaming everybody else, never admitting that for their 5'6", 120lb, can't manage 10 push-ups child, just maybe football isn't the right sport quite yet . . ."

Dangit, Dan - another great analogy!

creeper said...

shygetz: "While plenty of people have given you perfectly correct answers, I'll try to rephrase. It seems like the basic statistical trap you have fallen into is a presumed outcome. You set up your probability based on the premise that evolution requires that we start with slidge and end up with life as we know it. This is untrue. There is no a priori requirement that life end up as we know it today! That's why, even if you knew the correct probability functions to plug into your model, you would fail. It is quite possible that we could have ended up with life that was completely different than what we know right now. To correct an analogy that creationists are fond of abusing, evolution does not predict that a tornado in a junkyard will create a 747. Evolution predicts that a tornado in a junkyard will produce a configuration of junk that has lower wind resistance than the original configuration."

you: "Your answer fails again."


Um, why? Shygetz described perfectly one of the two fallacies underlying your statistics claim, and he or she did so without stepping outside statistics at all.

"The answers I get basically throw out statistics as a science and say that anything could happen and all possibilities are possible."

Last I heard, all possibilities were indeed possible. Impossibilities, not so much. But no matter.

"I posted a thorough look at statistics and have not been given back a straight answer yet. Take the Houdini out of your answers and play it straight, people. Mumbo jumbo with math might impress your friends but not me."

1. You didn't post a "thorough look at statistics", but a single quote that mentions a probability of something happening without showing what assumptions that calculation was based on: "The figure 1 with three million naughts after it: and that would take three large volumes of about 500 pages each, just to print! ... no one would bet on anything so improbable happening; and yet it has happened."

I wouldn't exactly call that a "thorough look at statistics", Radar...

2. You completely missed Huxley's point: the odds are extremely small if one takes natural selection out of the equation. Natural selection rather obviously changes the odds at each point, which has a significant overall effect on the odds - especially if the odds are calculated cumulatively.

3. It's a bit silly that on the one hand you accuse some people of "throw[ing] out statistics as a science" and on the other hand insisting that people don't confuse you with big words and numbers and stuff.

Still, I had previously attempted to explain - in very simple terms - the difference between the odds of something evolving and the odds of something specific evolving. Here it is again:

"The odds of a child being born are much better than the odds of you being born. What are the odds of you being born?

It’s similar to the odds of you winning the lottery vs. the odds of someone winning the lottery. In any given week, there may be a fifty/fifty chance of someone winning the lottery. At the same time, the chances of you winning the lottery are so astronomical as to appear impossible.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, there are three billion members of each sex on this planet. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that a third of those are capable of reproducing sexually. There are a quintillion possible combinations; the odds of someone being born are pretty good.

What are the odds of you being born? I’ll presume, for argument’s sake, that you exist, even if you do represent a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics as you understand it. What are the odds, among these billions of people, that your parents would meet, start to like each other, meet repeatedly, fall in love, procreate? Considering they could have met and mated with so many other people, the odds of even this happening are pretty slim. The odds of them meeting somebody are much better, but the odds of your parents meeting each other are very small. And yet it happened.

Even now that your parents have met and are reproducing in this scenario, what are the odds that you would emerge? Given the respective chromosome combinations, the odds against the one combination that became you are still astronomical.

And yet it appears you exist.

And so it is with the evolution of the horse. The odds against what we know specifically as the horse evolving are astronomical; the odds of something evolving are very different, and of course much better. No more ”transcending statistics” involved than your very own existence."

creeper said...

Re. the 2nd law of thermodynamics:

"Gee, since the sun was around back in the days of Robert Boyle or Carnot, don't you think they would have been unable to postulate such a thing as thermodynamics? The idea that the sun makes the earth an open system has already been refuted. Tell you a story - When we decided to build our house three years ago, we put a pile of bricks and wood and other stuff on the property we had purchased and left it open to the sun. In a few months the sun had built the house for us and we moved in - NOT!

The sun is undirected energy and guess what? Leave a pile of stuff out for the sun to shine on and it will begin to fall apart and degrade. Cover it up so the sun doesn't shine upon it? It will begin to fall apart and degrade."


That's one of the funniest things you've posted in a while - great stuff, Radar! [cleaning coffee off the keyboard]

It does raise a couple of questions, though:

1. How exactly do you think the theory of evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Explain in your own words, if possible - no scientific mumbo-jumbo please. Don't let that stop you from being specific, though.

2. Is it possible for a woman to give birth in a dark room? (You may assume that she is already highly pregnant.)

3. Is the Earth a closed system? Is the Sun outside this system, or is it a part of the system?

4. Should we include the Sun as a factor in our observations of nature, or should we exclude it?

5. Where do construction workers come from? I mean originally. What do construction workers eat?



"Here is one of the quotes again...

“...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems ... there is somehow associated with the field of far-from equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.” [Dr. John Ross, Harvard scientist (evolutionist), Chemical and Engineering News, vol. 58, July 7, 1980, p. 40]"


Which of the following violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

1. a birth
2. a DNA copying error
3. a snowflake
4. a snowball
5. a pile of leaves
6. a burning pile of leaves
7. a burning bush
8. a blog post
9. a computer
10. a growing plant
11. a faster animal beating a slower animal to the punch, and as a result getting to survive and reproduce
12. the act of conception
13. a painting by Jackson Pollock
14. a painting by Rembrandt
15. none of the above


There's a lot more here to discuss, of course, but it appears your understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is so wildly inconsistent with the world you live in that you really have to catch up on some of the basics - entirely irrespective of your beliefs re. creationism/"Darwinism".

There's a very nice man - a Christian - who has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and has taken the time to put together a lovely paper to try to make this topic accessible, especially from a Christian perspective.

creeper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
creeper said...

The passages below are a good start, but read the whole thing - it addresses a few other creationist arguments as well.

"The Second Law and Creation

Now we address the context in which the 2nd law arises in creation arguments. The usual argument goes something like this: "The 2nd law says everything tends toward increasing entropy (randomness and disorder). But the evolution of life involves the development of great complexity and order. Therefore, evolution is impossible by the 2nd law of thermodynamics." While it sounds simple, there are major flaws in this argument that render it worthless.


The Earth is Not an Isolated System

It is only in isolated systems that entropy must increase. Systems that can exchange energy with their surroundings have no such restriction. For example, water can freeze into ice (becoming more ordered and decreasing its entropy) by giving up heat to its surroundings (this increases the entropy of the surroundings, of course). In the case of the Earth, the Sun is a major source of energy, and the Earth also radiates energy into space. One consequence of thermodynamics is that, when energy comes from a "hot" source (like the Sun) and is output to a "cold" reservoir (like space), it can be used to do work, which means that "complexity" or "order" can be produced. The main point is that, for a non-isolated system, an increase in "complexity" (to the extent one can connect that concept with the thermodynamic entropy, which is far from straightforward for living creatures) does not necessarily indicate a violation of the 2nd law. A good example is the development of a human fetus into an adult; this is the production of a more thermodynamically complex system but involves no violation of the laws of thermodynamics.

It is worth mentioning here that the usual reply to creationists that "the second law doesn't apply to non-isolated systems" is not quite correct. The second law always applies; in fact, it was originally developed for non-isolated systems (the working fluid of a heat engine). The key point is that it is only in isolated systems that the second law takes the simplified "entropy must increase" form. For non-isolated systems, the second law still applies as a statement about heat flows and temperatures, just not in the form used in creationist arguments."

creeper said...

Radar,

why should a special exception be made for young earth creationism to be taught as science in a science class before it is tested and confirmed by scientists?

We don't do this for any other field in science. If YECs like yourself are so confident in the scientific foundations of your beliefs, then it will of course end up in the science classroom. Insisting on it being taught as science before the hard work is done betrays a niggling fear that the science will not back it up.

Jeffahn said...

Is this a comedy blog? It has to be!

Whatever you do -please don't stop!

I just love watching peoples' dreams turn to dust waiting for evolution to die.

Invisible man in the sky we love you and we wrote some stuff in a book aout you and all the stuff you liek did, but then we took some books out, edited some a bit, took out a few more books, borrowed some stuff from other fairytale books and we think you might like it!(I think, maybe?)

creeper said...

Dr. Henry Morris said this:

"The question arises then, if evolution is so solidly proven, what are evolutionists afraid of?"


Certainly not opposing evidence, if that's what he's insinuating.

"Why must evolution be protected from scrutiny?"

It isn't.

"Why must students be shielded from other views?"

We don't just throw any old junk into a classroom and let the kids sort it out. In science class, we present the best theory as supported by the evidence, after scientists have come up with a reasonable consensus. To date, ID and especially "creation science" have presented nothing of the sort. Especially YECs are guilty of not coming up with a proper hypothesis or scenario that adequately squares their assertions with available evidence.

"Why not present all the pertinent facts and encourage the students to think critically, as a good scientist should?"

A good scientist has training in proper scientific method, which is what teaching science is all about, right? Why are YECs so gung-ho about fighting this out in a classroom instead of a lab? If you win the fight in the lab, you win the classroom anyway. Is this an admission that the fight in the lab can't be won?

"Would this not be a good educational technique?"

I'm not a psychologist, but maybe there is something to the notion of dunking impressionable minds in complete chaos and mis-information and see what they come up with. Not that I'd want my kids subjected to that kind of nonsense, but maybe you could go first.

"Would this not produce better citizens and scientists?"

All we have to do is check in about 20 years to see if Kansas is suddenly the new hotbed of microbiologists, with a reduced rate of divorce, murder etc. In that regard, Kansas could be quite useful yet.

"Evolutionists purport that there is no real science supporting intelligent design, that ID is just religion, or at least a “backdoor” to religion."

I thought Henry Morris was a YEC? ID only challenges a small portion of the theory of evolution, and does not challenge an old earth or common descent.

But the facts are that many secular scientists, through observation and experimentation and based on the scientific evidence and data they’ve obtained, have come to the conclusion that life has been designed, not created by mere chance from nothing."

1. Who?

2. How many secular scientists were convinced by the scientific evidence for young earth creationism, which is what you believe in?

3. Are the others all part of a conspiracy?

"Science involves conducting research, using the scientific method in various disciplines, and reporting on the data and results."

Yep.

"There’s no religion in the facts."

Not for scientists. Creationists apparently do want to use religion as fact. That's unfortunate.

"ICR has recently discovered groundbreaking evidence about rock dating, carbon-14 in diamonds, excess helium within zircons, and other geologic data supporting a young earth."

Since Dr. Morris was going on about scientists not being afraid to address creationists' claims, here's one.

And there are a few other problems as well:

1. Subsurface pressure and temperature conditions affect how quickly the helium diffuses out of zircons. D. R. Humphreys et al. selected a rock core sample from the Fenton Hill site, which Los Alamos National Laboratory evaluated in the 1970s for geothermal energy production. The area is within a few kilometers of the Valles Caldera, which has gone through several periods of faulting and volcanism. The rocks of the Fenton Hill core have been fractured, brecciated, and intruded by hydrothermal veins. Excess helium is present in the rocks of the Valles Caldera (Goff and Gardner 1994). The helium may have contaminated the gneiss that Humphreys et al. studied. In short, the entire region has had a very complex thermal history. Based on oil industry experience, it is essentially impossible to make accurate statements about the helium-diffusion history of such a system.

2. Scientific studies, especially those with radical implications, do not mean much until the results have been replicated by others. Many scientific claims have disappeared entirely when others could not get the same results. Confidence in this particular paper is reduced by certain points:
* Most measurement errors and variabilities are not reported. Therefore, we do not know how accurate the results are.
* Humphreys et al. claimed that they studied zircons and biotites from depths of 750 and 1,490 meters in the Jemez Granodiorite. However, Sasada (1989) showed that at those depths, the samples came from a gneiss, an entirely different rock type.
* Because of math errors, the Q/Q0 values (fraction of helium retained), used by Humphreys et al. to derive their dates, are too high.
* Humphreys et al. (2003) failed properly to total their data in Appendix C, which means that they grossly underestimated the total amount of helium released by their 750-meter-deep zircons. The amount of helium in the zircons greatly exceeds the amount that would be expected from the radioactive decay of uranium over 1.5 billion years. The high helium concentration may be due to samples that were abnormally high in uranium and/or to the presence of excess helium.
* Much is made of the fact that samples five and six retained the same amount of helium, even though the amounts are probably at the limit of what could be measured. The possibility of measurement error accounting for the results is never mentioned.
* If one discounts sample five, which is likely at the limit of measurable precision, the conclusions of Humphreys et al. (2004) rest on just three samples. Such a small data set may be the basis for further research, but not for drawing firm conclusions.
* Humphreys et al. (2003, note 9) referred to correcting "apparent typographical errors" in the raw data, casting suspicion on the validity of all the data.

The helium results could easily be due to an aberrant sample. They could be an artifact of the experimental or collecting method (e.g., defects in the zircons caused by rapid cooling) or from just plain sloppiness. We cannot know for sure until others have looked at the issue, too.

3. Producing a billion years of radioactive decay in a "Creation week" or year-long flood would have produced a billion years worth of heat from radioactive decay as well. This would pretty much vaporize the earth. Since the earth apparently has not been vaporized recently, we can be confident that the accelerated decay did not occur. (Humphreys recognizes this "heat problem" but is currently unable to provide a solution.)

4. If helium concentrations stay high around the rocks, it is possible for helium to diffuse into voids and fractures in the zircons, or at least high helium pressures could reduce the rate at which helium diffuses out. Either of these scenarios would invalidate the helium diffusion calculations in Humphreys et al. (2003, 2004). Helium concentrations within the earth become high enough for commercial mining. The sample measured by Humphreys et al. came from an area that is probably helium enriched. Helium deposits are common in New Mexico, and excess helium has been found just a few miles from where the sample was taken (Goff and Gardner 1994). To test for the presence of excess helium in their zircons, Humphreys et al. should look for 3He.

5. Uranium does not decay directly to lead; rather, it proceeds through a series of multiple intermediate radioactive elements (Faure 1986, 284-287). It takes about ten half-lives of the longest lived intermediate to achieve secular equilibrium (i.e., each intermediate having the same activity). The uranium decay series contains elements with half-lives well over 10,000 years. If the decay rates changed suddenly, we would not expect the various elements to be in a secular equilibrium. Humphreys et al. should test for this in their zircons. Other uranium ores are at secular equilibrium, indicating a constant decay rate for at least the last two million years.


With all respect, the "creation scientists" should continue studying this and let us know what they come up with. Until then, it really doesn't show much of anything, and the more this is bandied about without being done properly, the more it looks like "creation science" can't hack it.

"ICR is adamant that this science be available for scrutiny by critical thinkers—that students, specifically, are able to evaluate the evidence and formulate their own beliefs."

It is available to critical thinkers as it stands. It's apparently even available to uncritical thinkers. Putting it in science class before doing the necessary groundwork - as we do with all other areas of science - smacks either of intellectual laziness or a lack of confidence in the scientific validity of YEC.

"If the science points to a designer, so be it. But if the evidence suggests otherwise, which we’re sure it does not, then so be it. Let the chips fall where they may.

The chips are falling. And still YEC can't come up with the goods.

"Perhaps evolutionists’ avoidance of these kinds of data exposes a basic insecurity in their position."

Ah yes, "my boy's too good to play on the team - he'd make everyone else look bad"... (h/t Dan)

Very convincing, right...

"ICR has long held that evolution cannot stand the test of science—it must avoid the light of open inquiry."

The theory of evolution is widely examined in scientific journals on an ongoing basis - and routinely confirmed. Falsifying evolution with genuine scientific research would cause a sensation and make somebody the happy recipient of truckloads of fortune and glory. Nothing is stopping "creation scientists" from pursuing their research and coming up with the goods- apart from the available facts, of course...

"Only by limiting the debate can evolutionists hope to maintain their monopoly on education."

They share it quite happily with the Newtonists, Galileists etc.

Speaking of "limiting the debate" - have you ever, for a laugh, tried to post a polite but "non-supportive" comment (i.e. non-echoing) on www.uncommondescent.com, Dembski's blog? I can think of at least one other blog that routinely deletes (and even alters) comments that present opposing views to "anti-Darwinism".

"Yet, it serves us well to recognize that the debate involves a deeper issue than just control of academic content. If evolutionists admit that science does indeed support intelligent design, then they are admitting that there is a possibility of a Creator."

1. To date there has not been any scientific evidence for intelligent design. Irreducible complexity is an interesting concept, but so far has not panned out.

2. Scientists on the whole do not deny the possibility of a Creator.

Perhaps what evolutionists are truly afraid of are the implications of the presence of a higher power. Higher power means higher authority and, ultimately, higher accountability."

Perhaps not. If "creation science" were true, it would be doing a heck of a lot better after centuries (how many?) of research than the theory of evolution after approx. 150 years. Instead YEC can't even get out of the starting gate by presenting a coherent scenario that (1) pulls together its claims (ironing out its internal inconsistencies) and (2) is consistent with the world we live in.

xiangtao said...

This is the problem with the whole creationist/ ID argument. The proper place for discussion of the scientific validity of ID is in the laboratory and peer reviewed scientific writing between scientists, not in an eighth grade classroom. Until you figure that out, there is no discussion.