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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is Darwinism Atheistic? Is it Science?

I am sharing in two parts an examination of the beliefs and practices of Charles Darwin. The beginning of this post is from an article by Bill Johnson which is unavailable, to my knowledge, on the internet.

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Synopsis: During the nineteenth century Charles Darwin introduced his theory of evolution by natural selection. His goal was to show that life was not the result of divine intervention, but the work of blind naturalistic processes. Darwin claimed to have arrived at this truth by working strictly from the facts without having any preconceived ideas., and this is exactly how most people today perceive Darwinism. Dissenters have argued that Darwinism is not science, but that Darwin superimposed an atheistic/materialistic world-view on nature, then searched for the facts to support his theory. Darwinians responded that Darwin's own writings show that he was not an atheist, but always believed in some form of deity. A careful study of Darwin's writings, especially his posthumously published private notebooks and personal communication, reveals that Darwin was indeed an atheist and his theory of natural selection was formulated to replace a creator with naturalistic processes.

The concept of biological evolution is almost as old as life itself

Many men through the centuries expressed the belief that all living things evolved from a common ancestor. Some attributed this evolutionary process to God, and others to nature, but until the nineteenth century, no one had posited a mechanism by which it could have occurred that was remotely plausible.

In 1859, however, Charles Darwin published what is commonly called The Origin of Species, or Origin. His theory of natural selection working on chance variations revolutionized the world.

Today Darwinism is accepted by many people as genuine scientific theory. The popularity of his theory is such that anyone who questions it is suspect and "inevitably attracts the speculative psychiatric eye to himself." (Garrett Hardin). Dissenters, such as Adam Sedgwick, have argued from the beginning, however, that Darwinism is not science, but is founded on a philosophy of atheism and materialism.

Many Darwinians have denied this assertion, believing that Darwinism is not atheistic. They claim that Darwin was always a believer in God, or that he became an unbeliever many years after he developed his natural selection theory. They argue that religion and evolution can be reconciled and that neither atheism nor naturalism influence belief in evolution.

The truth is that natural selection was Darwin's attempt to provide atheism with its much-needed "creation story". Scientist Richard Dawkins maintains that because evolution made God unnecessary, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." The first step in connecting Darwinism with atheism is to examine the evidence that the theory's founder was an atheist and that the theory was formulated to make God unnecessary.

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Father, Son and the Universities (from Robert E. Kofal, Ph.D.)

Charles' father envisioned for his son a career in medicine, and he sent him off with his older brother, Erasmus, to the University of Edinburgh in October, 1825, at the age of sixteen. This was the university open to religious Dissenters, Independents and freethinkers. It was a hotbed of anti-religious, social and political radicalism. Evolutionary theories were in the air and embraced by many. Young Darwin had read and admired his grandfather's book in which a theory of evolution similar to Lamarck's was described a decade before the French zoologist published his own more famous theory. Charles saw that the advocates of evolution were usually violently anti-Christian, politically radical, and opposed to the established Church and the conservative Tory government. This is one reason that he did not publish his theory until he was forced to when another naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, conceived the same theory.

At Edinburgh Charles came to hate medicine and grew in his devotion to natural history. His closest and most influential friend in Edinburgh was Robert Edmund Grant. Grant was an atheistic evolutionist and a leading authority in invertebrate zoology. Young Charles went on field trips with Grant, collecting marine specimens and absorbing the older man's materialistic philosophy of science. Grant believed in the original spontaneous (chance) origin of life and the grand evolutionary history from single cells to man. Young Darwin listened and kept his own counsel. He learned a great deal about zoology, geology and other fields of science at Edinburgh, but he came to abhor medicine. He also took valuable instruction in such practical arts as taxidermy and the preservation of specimens. In April, 1827, he left Edinburgh without a degree and headed for home, forever turning his back on the medical profession.

What was a wealthy English father to do with a son who was devoted to horsemanship and the hunt, a dabbler in insects, geology and barnacles, and seemingly without direction or a future? He could send him to Cambridge to prepare for a tax-funded "living" as a minister in the Anglican Church! So Charles signed the required paper affirming acceptance of the 39 Articles of the Church of England and entered Christ's College, Cambridge University. There Charles managed to cover the requirements for a degree in theology, but his real love was geology, entomology, botany and zoology. He became a protege of Adam Sedgwick, professor of geology, an orthodox Anglican opponent of evolution. Though studying for a theology degree, Charles devoted his major energy to geology and other sciences. Sedgwick took him on a geological field trip to the hill country of southern England. The Professor was impressed with the young man and predicted that he would make his mark in science. Charles learned how to make long-lasting friendships with men of science, such as Adam Sedgwick, who would help him in his career. He saw that among the university professors, many of them ordained clergy and all of them church members, virtually all devoted to their Christian faith, not a single one was committed to the traditional grammatical-historical-literal understanding of the Scriptures. They accommodated the Scriptures to fit the reigning secular scientific conclusions. Some even accepted theistic evolution (the idea that God somehow used evolution to accomplish His work of creation). Darwin observed that among the ostensibly theologically orthodox scientists on the university faculties, not one upheld the literal biblical doctrine of creation or the Genesis flood. For the plain meaning of Genesis many substituted the compromise idea of a series of special creations interleaved with a series of extinctions.

While at Cambridge Darwin also learned that if one engaged openly in political radicalism or exposed his belief in a materialistic form of evolution, his career could be endangered. Du ties by engaging in a riot against the school authorities. Charles observed from a distance was careful not to become implicated in the disorders. Furthermore, Darwin pretty much kept his liberal Whig political ideals and sympathy for social reform private within his family immediate social circle. He was careful never to make public his religious views, and he concealed his materialistic evolutionary ideas from public view until the publication of his book in 1859. In particular, he kept his idea of evolution from apes to humans under cover for over thirty years until the publication of his book. The Descent of Man, in 1871.

Charles read the required theology texts by Arch-deacon William Paley and others. On his own he read Paley's classic book on natural theology, the argument for God based on the evidence for intelligent, purposeful design in the structures and relationships of living things. Impressed, he nevertheless devoted his entire professional career to the difficult task of over- throwing Paley's case. As graduation drew nearer, confronted by the prospect of examination for ordination to the Anglican ministry, Charles read a standard text on theology. He concluded that he could give intellectual assent to the arguments for Christianity. Some time later, however, in a frank and intimate discussion with a fellow student, he agreed with his friend that he, too, could not affirm an inner calling to the Christian ministry. As biographers Desmond and Morris suggest, Darwin's interactions with theology characteristically were limited to the intellectual level. He finally opted out of the ministerial gravy train. His father had co-operated by paying for his education, concerned not at all with his religion or irreligion. The son without question recognized the hypocrisy in an atheist father's financing the fitting of his son for a career in the Church. It was merely a convenience arranged with a view to assuring a comfortable, government-sponsored career for the son.

Charles had read with great interest the books by Alexander von Humboldt, the famous German naturalist, and other naturalists who traveled to the far corners of the earth collecting new data for geology, zoology and other sciences. He yearned to follow their example and to experience for himself the spectacular green mysteries of the tropics. So his future after graduation was uncertain. He reasoned about the advantages of a "living" in the Church to en- able him to carry on with his scientific studies with tax funding as a country clergyman. Upon graduation he was looking for some opportunity to travel and do science. While planning with a friend for an overseas expedition, he was surprised by the arrival of an invitation from the British Admiralty. He had been chosen to serve as the official naturalist for the voyage around the world of the Royal Navy's ship, the Beagle. After some negotiations with the government and with his father, Charles accepted. His appointment with destiny was sealed.

When he embarked on the Beagle Darwin had with him the first volume of Charles Lyell's new three volume set. Principles of Geology, given to him by Captain FitzRoy. He devoured the book and within five months was sold on Lyell's uniformitarian view of geology. It became the lynch pin of his interpretation of all geological and fossil observations. Lyell's theory of earth history provided Darwin with the time needed to make any theory of evolution at all plausible. Lyell worked from the a priori assumption that the biblical young-earth chronology was false and that the Genesis flood never occurred. Lyell was determined completely to discredit the biblical record of earth history. This was his agenda for science. But he cannily refused publicly to espouse evolution until after Darwin's Origin had conquered the scientific world. Then Lyell went public with his acceptance of evolutionary theory, after such a step no longer seemed dangerous to his reputation.

Charles Darwin was never a Christian. The influences which made him what he became-- family, religious, educational, social--combined to turn him against biblical Christian faith and to open his mind to the secular materialistic understanding of the world. Brought up as a gentleman of the well-to-do upper middle class, trained to value reputation and respectability, naturally a likeable person with an innate ability for making friends, and possessed of a keen mind and natural curiosity, Charles had the attributes needed for success in the scientific establishment of 19th century England. Naturally bent toward skepticism by two generations of family practice and belief, and for the most part experiencing only the formal religiosity of a degenerating Anglican Church, he was repelled by the gospel of Christ. The principal counter- influence was that of his pious sisters and later on his wife, but these sincere women apparently did not comprehend the biblical faith. Young Darwin with his college diploma realized that to argue against the gospel required the discrediting of the God of creation who is sovereign Lord over all His creatures. Aware of the force of the evidence for an intelligent, purposeful God to be found in the complex designs of living things, Darwin had to find another explanation for those designs. Evolution was the means for disposing of the evidence and for making the God of creation either non-existent or an irrelevant cosmic wimp in the "real world" that science investigates.


Darwin's Faith (Bill Johnson)

It appears that Darwin had a deep and abiding faith in atheistic materialism. The controversial question I now wish to address is, Did Darwin's atheistic and materialistic beliefs play any part in the development of his theory, or was Darwin led strictly by the facts? Darwin would have us believe that the facts alone led him to his theory: "My first notebook was opened in July 1837. I worked on true Baconian principles, and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale scale, more especially with respect to domesticated productions , by printed enquiries, by conversation with skillful breeders and gardeners, and by extensive reading."

Darwin's writings also demonstrate, however, that the facts played a very small part in the formulation of his theory. His early notebooks show that he entertained two other theories of evolution before finally arriving at his final theory. George Grinnell, in his study of Darwin's first theory of evolution, asks this question: "Were these three theories complementary or were they mutually exclusive? If they were complementary, then the implication is clearly in favor of the importance of empirical data in shaping Darwin's thought, but if they were mutually exclusive, the implication is that Darwin approached the data with a prior world view which he attempted to superimpose on the data by means of various hypothetical models and mechanisms."

Grinnell has come to believe that Darwin's three models were indeed mutually exclusive. Darwin rejected theory number one (variation by isolation) because it contained too many anomalies. Darwin then turned to theory number two (variation by habit), but soon abandoned it for a third model ( variation by domestic breeding) which turned out to be the most fruitful. "The extent to which he was willing to push one model," argues Grinnell, "and after its collapse, to entertain new models suggests that he was philosophically inclined to transmutation theories for reasons that transcend the empirical data with which he originally worked."

That Darwin had a philosophical inclination toward evolutionary thinking is further supported by his response to evidence that contradicted his theory, including: (1) lack of transitional forms, (2) sudden appearance of Cambrian fossils, (3) the problem of coordinated development, (4) persistent types (i.e. species that do not change), and (5) the existence of nonadaptive structures. Rather than allowing contrary evidence to falsify the theory, as a good scientist would, Darwin offered a plethora of ad hoc hypotheses to save the theory from falsification. (for example, imperfect fossil record, functional shift {today it is called preadaption}, less severe competition, correlations of growth, and sexual selection -i.e., female choice.) Later, he even embraced theories he once ridiculed, such as Lamarckism (the theory that evolution occurs through the inheritance of traits acquired through the use or disuse of body parts) and group selectionism, to solve special problems that natural selection could not solve.

Further, when pressed on why there are persistent types, Darwin admitted that his theory must be based entirely on general considerations (i.e., the struggle for survival) and when it gets right down to it, the theory requires faith: "When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed...nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Now can we explain why some species have changed and others have not." Darwin's theory was not scientific, as he claimed it to be. He had such a blind faith in materialism that he was willing to ignore or bend observations, and resort to ad hoc reasoning on an unprecedented level.

Why did Darwin lie about how his theory was formulated? The advice he gave to John Scott in 1863 may provide the answer: "I would suggest to you the advantage, at present, of being very sparing in introducing theory in your papers...let theory guide your observations, but until your reputation is well established be sparing in publishing theory. It makes people doubt your observations." (emphasis in original). Darwin recognized that people are more apt to accept a new theory if it arose from the facts rather than from a preconceived idea, especially one that is inherently atheistic.

"I have done a great deal of work on Darwin and can say with some assurance that Darwin also did not derive his theory from nature but rather superimposed a certain philosophical world-view on nature and then spent 20 years trying to gather the facts to make it stick." - George Grinnell

(Bill Johnson's entire article is found in the Christian Research Journal, volume 29, number 2, 2006.)

Much like Darwin, modern macroevolutionary scientists continue to try to find facts to support their beliefs. The belief came first and the evidence is being sought to support it. Meanwhile, fruit flies remain fruit flies, bacteria remains bacteria, and a host of monumental questions go unanswered. Where did life come from? How did so many complex systems simply come from nothing? Explain with some form of rationality the idea of convergence? The questions far outnumber the answers.

24 comments:

creeper said...

So what if Darwin wasn't your favored brand of Christian? It doesn't matter where or how he got the idea, what matters is that it was formulated and confirmed by observations and evidence.

This obsession with Darwin himself is quite amusing, but it's really just a distraction from facing today's theory of evolution, and the evidence supporting it.

"Many Darwinians have denied this assertion, believing that Darwinism is not atheistic."

Neither Darwin's theories nor today's theory of evolution are atheistic, they simply do not necessitate God's active participation. They don't require God's absence or non-existence either. Science is neutral on the subject of God's existence.

Mr. Johnson is not above some quote mining, I see:

""When we descend to details we can prove that no one species has changed (i.e., we cannot prove that a single species has changed): nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Nor can we explain why some species have changed and others have not. The latter case seems to me hardly more difficult to understand precisely and in detail than the former case of supposed change" - Darwin, 1863.

[...]

First of all, the quote is from a "P.S." to a letter to G. Bentham, May 22, 1863 [Darwin, F., ed. 1905. The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1. New York: D. Appleton & Co., p. 209-10].

As an aside, the main part of the letter is discussing, interestingly enough, the aspect of the fossil record that eventually lead to proposal of the theory of Punctuated Equilibria:

"The objection . . . of certain forms remaining unaltered through long time and space, is no doubt formidable in appearance, and to a certain extent in reality according to my judgment. But does not the difficulty rest much on our silently assuming that we know more than we do? ... [I]n judging the theory of Natural Selection, which implies that a form will remain unaltered unless some alteration be to its benefit, is it so very wonderful that some forms should change much slower and much less, and some few should have changed not at all under conditions which to us (who really know nothing what are the important conditions) seem very different."

In essence, Darwin is saying that the stasis in the morphology of species found in the fossil record is partly due to the imperfection of the record itself and, possibly, partly due to differential rates of change in species. While Darwin's default position was for gradualistic change in species, such concepts are relative. He saw that some change in species could take much longer than others and, of course, the Punctuated Equilibria theorists only claim that change tends to come "rapidly" in geologic terms but over very long times in human terms.

Now to the actual quote:

"P.S. -- In fact, the belief in Natural Selection must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations. (1) On its being a vera causa, from the struggle for existence; and the certain geological fact that species do somehow change. (2) From the analogy of change under domestication by man's selection. (3) And chiefly from this view connecting under an intelligible point of view a host of facts. When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed [i.e. we cannot prove that a single species has changed]; nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Nor can we explain why some species have changed and others have not. The latter case seems to me hardly more difficult to understand precisely and in detail than the former case of supposed change. Bronn may ask in vain, the old creationist school and the new school, why one mouse has longer ears than another mouse, and one plant more pointed leaves than another plant. . . . the fact that they have not been modified does not seem to me a difficulty of weight enough to shake a belief grounded on other arguments.

Here Darwin is pointing that Natural Selection can be seen to operate and serves as a single coherent explanation for many diverse phenomena. Even if all the details of the individual phenomena are not known, the "consilience", in William Whewell's phrase, of his mechanism cogently explaining a wide range of events is, itself, support for its status as a "vera causa". [See Snyder, Laura J., "William Whewell", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).] Add to that the fact that the fossil record generally shows change in life over time and the clear analogy from animal breeding, and there is substantial support for his proposed mechanism.

As to the quote mined portion, Darwin is saying that, based on the fossil record (the only evidence available at the time, before genetics), there wasn't enough detail to say that a particular species was the descendant of a particular earlier species. By the same token, then, it would be impossible to show from the fossils that any particular species had changed into another. This is a "problem" with all fossil evidence, at least until and unless we can recover DNA or other genetic material. It constitutes some sort of refutation of evolution only to those who are determinedly hopeful of one and willfully ignorant.

The other point Darwin was making in the P.S. is that it is not necessarily possible to determine just what about a trait makes it advantageous, given the complexity of the interaction of the organism with the environment. In fact, Darwin is here warning against the "just so stories" that Stephen Jay Gould would inveigh against 120 years later. Once again, this is an excellent example of just how deeply and comprehensively Darwin understood his theory.

- John (catshark) Pieret"


(from Talk Origins Quote Mining Project)

cranky old fart said...

Darwinism?

What the heck is Darwinism?

Is the study of Physics Newtonism?
Is the study of Algebra Al-Khwarizmism?
Is the study of Geology Huttonism?

Science is science.

Einstein was a pacifist. Einstein was a fascist. How would either fact figure into E = mc²?

creeper said...

"Where did life come from?"

A little trip to Wikipedia can point you to the current state of scientific knowledge in this regard - you can branch out from there:

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 (see Selection) 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 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 2006, 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


So the answer is basically: we don't know. Scientists are actively researching this topic.

The YEC answer: God did it, and we don't care how.

"How did so many complex systems simply come from nothing?"

What makes you think they came from nothing?

"Explain with some form of rationality the idea of convergence?"

Natural selection selects for traits that benefit survival and reproduction - say for example flight, or sight. There is no single path toward such a trait, and no single way of achieving such a trait (there are many different kinds of eyes, and different ways of achieving flight, found in nature). Creatures in all kinds of different circumstances, geographically isolated from each other, will face such similar survival pressures and benefits, and so it is not surprising that such traits are selected for, arriving at similar traits (flight, sight) from different starting points.

Convergent evolution makes perfect sense in the context of the theory of evolution (natural selection, an old earth and hence plenty of time for all kinds of variations to play out, etc.). It takes a kind of willful misunderstanding of the theory of evolution, however - generally by insisting that it is in some way goal-directed or teleological, which it's not - to pretend that convergent evolution is somehow inconsistent with other aspects of the theory of evolution.

Perhaps you do this because it dawns on you that convergent evolution makes a mockery of YEC, since YECs had to claim that the creator is efficient and intelligent and reused designs (in order to explain homologies), but also used radically different designs to achieve the same function. For an old earth and billions of years of variation in different environments etc. this is not a problem. For a single creator to have designed all these creatures a mere six thousand years ago, it is maddeningly inconsistent.

But that's your problem.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Excellent overview radar...added ya to mah blogroll btw..:) and thanks for yer comments at mah humble abode!

creeper said...

"Meanwhile, fruit flies remain fruit flies, bacteria remains bacteria"

That little strawman never gets old, does it? Could you please explain why, according to the theory of evolution, we would not expect to see macroevolution occurring before our eyes in the a human life span?

highboy said...

I'm totally unqualified to debate too deeply the evolution vs. YEC thing, but Radar is suggesting that Darwin's beliefs have produced a sort of placebo effect with his science, and I agree. He knew what result he was looking for and steered his theory as such. Creationists get accused of this all the time.

Discoveries are fairly rare and have often been made under questionable circumstances. As soon as something is found, dug up, and taken elsewhere, essential elements -- such as its exact position in the strata -- are destroyed, and afterwards one is dependent on the testimony of the discoverers. Many of their statements depend on various observations and conclusions about geological layers and disturbances within them. The testimony of one person may be different from that of another. Then there is the temptation to cheat, which can be systematic (as in the Piltdown case), or less premeditated (as in reports omitting research material which does not quite fit the desired conclusions). Also, modern chemical and radiometric dating is not without its limitations. Contamination may influence the result, or preliminary calculated dates are sometimes rejected or accepted on the basis of arguments that are not always clearly stated or published. Since paleoanthropological reports tend to provide incomplete information about "complex, unresolvable issues," the authors decided to compare the quality of different reports. These same type of arguments are used to discredit the Bible, or point out contradiction in the Scriptures. Why not evolution? Science, like history, is wide open to interpretation in many cases.

There is actually good reason to lump Darwin and Hitler together when it comes to evolution. They are basically two peas in a pod, as I have pointed out before. But according to Darwin's theory, it seems to be the next logical step.

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

Darwinism. It was the term favored by the authors I was quoting. I say "macroevolution" myself.

Hahahahaha! Creeper, tell me you are not giving us the 1953 Urey-Miller experiment? I presented that as an example of macroevolutionary fraud and so many commenters came back and said that no one uses it anymore. I suggested that we had recent examples, and then the commenters said that it is no longer taught at the higher levels. But here it is again! Thanks, I actually laughed out loud!

The rest of that wikipedia post is a bunch of just-so stories with no real evidence to back them up.

I chuckle again when you say that the Creator is inefficient! Engineers study natural systems and try to match their efficiency. Organisms have within their genetic code the ability to adapt to a wide variety of changes in habitat without passing from the scene. Multiple kinds of organisms fill the same role in the ecosystem so if one kind goes extinct, there is another to take its place. The human brain is still far more complex and efficient than any computer a man can design. Machines can make faster computations, but they cannot truly think creatively or ethically.
In short, man is entirely unable to duplicate the efficiency of design of even the most miniature of God's machines. Tell me again why God is inefficient?

Finally, Creeper, I believe I have learned that you prefer to just say "strawman" rather than answer hard questions. Macroevolutionists say it takes too long to see in this life, and happens too fast to see in the fossil record. How incredibly convenient. Tell me, how many millions of generations of bacteria do you think we have had pass on since the days of Curie? Do you know of any bacteria who have turned into, say, protozoa or anything else other than another bacteria?

radar said...

Sadly, Hitler was a big fan of both Darwin and Neitszche. It doesn't mean that Darwin himself would have favored Hitler. In addition, Marx was a Darwin fan but Darwin himself was a capitalist. The idealogy behind his hypothesis fits in well with some terrible philosophies but this doesn't really impact the science.

highboy said...

"It doesn't mean that Darwin himself would have favored Hitler."

Maybe not, but many would view this as a contradiction in his science. Hitler believed the white Aryan race to be the supreme race, perfectly evolved from the lesser species: blacks, Indians, Jews, and so on.

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind me reposting a comment from the previous thread:

"It's been suggested that this very neglectful irrelevence is what drives creationists batty . . . However, I've yet to meet a creationist that actually understands this [that religion is actually irelevent to science - not to Dennet, perhaps, in his popular writings, but to science]. Indeed, such an idea seems to be literally unthinkable (since for them, God is so relevent, through and through) and so instead, as here, it must be all a big plot (consciously or not) to undermine religion and spread Godless materialism.
. . . none of y'all even seem to be able to deal with evolution on a strictly scientific basis - there's always this ideological stuff. "

Even if some daring academic found a puzzle that hid the directions to a long-lost collection of documents revealing the truth* about Darwin (let's pretend it's that his lifelong aim was to overthrow religion), it wouldn't matter. Sure, it would be all scandalous, and of professional interest to historians of science and suchlike, but in terms of science? Whatever.

It's like arguing that Galileo was actually an atheist - or hated the Pope or Catholicism or whatever - and wanted to make the Church look dumb (after all, the last straw was that his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems not only had the geocentrist character often sounding kind of silly, but voicing the Pope's very words!).

So?

Eppur si muove.

And yet it moves.
(as Galileo allegedly muttered, after being forced by the Inquisition to recant his 'heretical' ideas.)

_______________

In other words, what Creeper said above.

_______________

And Cranky - Al-Khwarizmism . . . very nice!

_______________

"the 1953 Urey-Miller experiment? I presented that as an example of macroevolutionary fraud . . "

"Fraud" is simply not correct here. My understanding's that the major issue with this experiment is that it was based on ideas about the composition of Earth's early atmosphere that were later considered incorrect. The wikipedia page on the Miller-Urey experiment says that this might not actually be the case, but that regardless, additional experiments changing such variables have had similar results.

If one believes in God, then what scientists are doing are working to discover how God caused life to be created. So maybe the first bit of Genesis isn't a science textbook - so what?! What does it matter?. One of the main trends in recent human history has been away from 'nature gods', as that Vatican fellow puts it, and towards scientific explanations. Bolts of lightning aren't Zeus's thunderbolts. Storms aren't caused by either God or demons/witches - a major debate some centuries back - but weather - ultimately, physics. That tsunami wasn't God's wrath, as some clerics, both Muslim and Christian, claimed - it was caused by an earthquake, a result of plate tectonics. Angels don't push the planets in their orbits (unsure how widespread or seriously considered an idea this was). Plagues aren't (again) God's wrath - they're caused by tiny creatures (and often, though not always, poor sanitation).

This is the world we live in. For some, the obvious conclusion is that God is just a just-so story, a mistaken explanation. For others, the obvious conclusion is that God is the Creator and Sustainer, who brought the universe into being - but not the Constant Fiddler (as in always touching, not as in the universe's biggest violin), not the Divine Microsoft Engineer who has to keep issuing new patches (I wish I had come up with that one!!).

This is what the Vatican astronomer is talking about when he calls literalist creationism "pagan" - it reduces God to one of those age-old nature gods who serve in part as explanations of natural phenomena (Look, the sun moves across the sky, disappears, then reappears the next day! How does this happen? It must be Khepri the Divine Dung Beetle pushing it across the sky, down into the underworld, and then up again!

What would have happened if the ancient Egyptians had a Galileo (and Newton, &etc.)?

What happens when scientists come up with a plausible and well-supported theory for how life originated (as is definitely a reasonable prediction, if not a certainty)? Yes, yes, Dawkins said that evolution " made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." What happens if you insist on a specific variety of religion that, as science progresses, makes it harder and harder to be an intellectually fulfilled theist, at least without rejecting more and more science?

_______________

"Do you know of any bacteria who have turned into, say, protozoa or anything else other than another bacteria?"

The underlying idea is interesting, but I have to point out that what you're asking is roughly equivalent to 'do you know of any plants who have turned into, say, animals or anything else other than another plant?' You seem to be treating bacteria as a 'kind,' when they're actually they're a major, major group. Indeed, one modern classification system divides all life into three domains: Bacteria, Archaea (other single celled organisms lacking a nucleus - bacteria, sort of, but quite different) and Eukaryota, everybody else: animals, fungi, plants, and protists, oh my!

Let me refer you to two posts by Carl Zimmer that I've previously linked:

Tree of Life, c. 2006, for both a graphic representation of this, and a good discussion that also touches on how science actually works;

and Adapting to Life in Yogurt:

"In tomorrow's New York Times I have an article about yogurt, and how the bacteria in its culture have been undergoing drastic genomic change since the stuff was invented some 5000 years ago.
I report on a new study on
Lactobacillus bulgaricus, found in many yogurt cultures. . . . The analysis, based on the microbe's newly sequenced genome, suggests that the bacteria descend from microbes that originally fed on plants. Some of them fell accidentally into some herder's milk, it seems, and happened to clot it and kept it from spoiling. Since then, people have been transferring yogurt to fresh milk time and again, and the effect has been like running a long-term experiment on the evolution of bacteria. Genes for old jobs, such as breaking down plant sugars, have mutated beyond use. Many genes seem to have been deleted altogether. (The evidence for this is the abnormally high number of genes for RNA molecules compared to protein-coding genes. The scientists argue that a lot of protein-coding genes must have disappeared.) New genes have also appeared in the genome, either through transfer from other microbes or by gene duplication."

This is a major change, like an animal switching from eating meat to eating plants. It's just not as obvious to us because bacteria are small and relatively simple, and much of the changes are subtle, if even more substantial than the difference between, say, a dog and a cat.

(As an aside, let me add that I am convinced that it was a guy who discovered yogurt. Think about it: 'Hey, the milk's turned all thick and clotty, and smells kind of weird . . . let me give it a try!'

A guy. Definitely.)

Aditionally, while gene transfer (exchanging, sharing, cannibalizing, even) in bacteria has some very important (and for us, in some cases, potentially very bad) consequences, they've also really big into asexual reproduction - a lot of the time, it just takes one. This slows down evolution a good bit - it's only when you start with sex that it really heats up . . .

_______________

" His early notebooks show that he entertained two other theories of evolution before finally arriving at his final theory."

"That Darwin had a philosophical inclination toward evolutionary thinking is further supported by his response to evidence that contradicted his theory, including: (1) lack of transitional forms, (2) sudden appearance of Cambrian fossils, (3) the problem of coordinated development, (4) persistent types (i.e. species that do not change), and (5) the existence of nonadaptive structures. Rather than allowing contrary evidence to falsify the theory, as a good scientist would, Darwin offered a plethora of ad hoc hypotheses to save the theory from falsification."

"Contamination may influence the result, or preliminary calculated dates are sometimes rejected or accepted on the basis of arguments that are not always clearly stated or published . . . paleoanthropological reports tend to provide incomplete information about "complex, unresolvable issues . . .

The thread I see running through these statements (oh my god, Darwin considered different theories!!) is a deep-seated misunderstanding of how science functions, the warp and the weave of it, the shape of the thing (especially in contrast with received knowledge). I'm too tired to get into this right now, so I'm just tossing this out there - maybe one of the other pro-science folks 'round these parts can pick it up?

And re: radiometric dating - try Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale: Circular Reasoning or Reliable Tools?. It's a good general discussion (although assuming basic background knowledge of the subject) that not just answers Radar's earlier question, but touches what Highboy is saying here.

"The example used here contrasts sharply with the way conventional scientific dating methods are characterized by some critics . . .   A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging.  These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception.  I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists.  Geochronologists do not claim that radiometric dating is foolproof (no scientific method is), but it does work reliably for most samples.  It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for "young Earth" theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques."

And yes, it's a TalkOrigins link. Besides spending frankly too much time at this, and having a poor old computer that is almost comically slow -so hunting around on Yahoo is not going to happen right now - the fact is that - to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge - this page presents actual modern science. You could print it out and head over to the Geology Dept. at the University of Chicago, for example, and show it to the faculty there, and they'll go 'yes, that's right.' You can repeat this all around the country, and in other ones, and you'll get the same response. In other words,if you have a problem with it, you'll have to take it up with the worldwide geological community, not a specific proscience site.

_______________

" As soon as something is found, dug up, and taken elsewhere, essential elements -- such as its exact position in the strata -- are destroyed, and afterwards one is dependent on the testimony of the discoverers . . ."

Highboy, what you're doing here, besides making accusations of individual and disipline-wide incompetence, as if geology was a fact-free he-said/she-said matter of opinion - is alleging fraud on a grand scale, basically universal throughout the field (and Piltdown, a matter of paleoanthropology, was not a systematic fraud, but to the best of our knowledge involved only one or at best a few unidentified (though speculation abounds) individuals who took advantage of the relatively unsophisticated state of the field at that time (1913!). It should be noted that it was not creationists (such as they were at the time) but scientists who discovered it was a fake; as wikipedia points out

"The exposure of the Piltdown forgery in 1953 by workers at the British Museum and other institutions was greeted in many academic quarters with relief. Piltdown man had for some time become regarded as an aberration that was entirely inconsistent with the mainstream thrust of human evolution as demonstrated by fossil hominids found elsewhere."

The entry discusses various factors that may have contributed to Piltdown Man's initial acceptance - welcome confirmation of particular theories, racism, nationalism, whatever - but in the end, whatever helped him weasel his way in, it was science, and attention to data, that knocked him off - first the growing awareness that he didn't seem to fit with anything else being discovered, and then finally the chance notice "that the top of one of the molars sloped at a very different angle to the other teeth. Microscopic examination revealed file-marks on the teeth and it was deduced from this that filing had taken place to change the shape of the teeth, as ape teeth are different in shape from human teeth."

It's been argued (Kuhn) that growing uneasiness - more and more things not fitting, an increasing build-up of anomalies - is a repeated feature in the lead-up to scientific revolutions (even though most workers will dutifully attempt to work them into current thinking - basically, research is hitting the borders of the explainable under that paradigm). Talk to geneticists, evolutionary biologists, etc., and you won't hear about anomaly buildup, even as little errors, minor quirks, unexplained questions - but of more and more things coming together.
(Incidentally, I don't think there's any chance a fraud like Piltdown could be pulled off today - too many people in the field would jump on it and try to beat it to death in favor of their favored interpretation, which works out, since it means things have to be rather more well supported to survive . . .)

Anyway, in terms of geology, the only thing I could suggest would be to try to sit in on a college geo class - intro, historical geology, set&strat, something like that (where in Canada are you? Anywhere near McGill? They have a rather nice museum (the Redpath Museum - if I remember correctly, home to some very cool Burgess Shale fossils . . .) or at least flip through some good popular geology books . . . .

_______________

And Radar, thanks for pointing out the silliness of imagining Darwin as Hitler II (or, I guess, Hitler: the Prequel!). As someone who had 6,000,000 relatives slaughtered because of Hitler's genocidal sickness, I'm not sure I can (right now, anyway) respond to this silly claim in a polite fashion - nor that I should.

_______________

* It's such a bad book - the only thing I've ever encountered that was worse was one of those cats&mystery series . . .)

-Dan S.

highboy said...

"Highboy, what you're doing here, besides making accusations of individual and disipline-wide incompetence,"

The Piltdown man is a prime example of what I was talking about. You can say that it wouldn't or doesn't happen but you have absolutely no way of backing that up. Anyway, I was just throwing it out there...

"I'm not sure I can (right now, anyway) respond to this silly claim in a polite fashion - nor that I should."

If you read my post, I didn't say Darwin was Hitler, but that Hitler based his ideology on Darwin's theories.

creeper said...

"Hahahahaha! Creeper, tell me you are not giving us the 1953 Urey-Miller experiment? I presented that as an example of macroevolutionary fraud and so many commenters came back and said that no one uses it anymore. I suggested that we had recent examples, and then the commenters said that it is no longer taught at the higher levels. But here it is again! Thanks, I actually laughed out loud!"

1. In what way was the experiment a fraud?

2. In what way did the experiment not demonstrate that monomers could be formed?

"The rest of that wikipedia post is a bunch of just-so stories with no real evidence to back them up."

And you've scoured the scientific journals to verify this, have you? The wikipedia entry links to a number of interesting articles on the subject, which you're welcome to explore if you're at all interested in this subject. Then again, as a YEC you're pretty much required not to be, right?

"I chuckle again when you say that the Creator is inefficient!"

I didn't say the alleged creator was inefficient overall, I said the alleged creator was inconsistent, efficiently re-using designs in some cases, but inefficiently using different designs to achieve similar purposes (re-inventing the wheel).

(And since you're making up an argument I didn't make so that you can argue against it you've once again created a - yep, you guessed it - strawman.)

"Engineers study natural systems and try to match their efficiency. Organisms have within their genetic code the ability to adapt to a wide variety of changes in habitat without passing from the scene. Multiple kinds of organisms fill the same role in the ecosystem so if one kind goes extinct, there is another to take its place."

That doesn't really explain why different blueprints should result in achieving the same traits, though.

"The human brain is still far more complex and efficient than any computer a man can design. Machines can make faster computations, but they cannot truly think creatively or ethically.
In short, man is entirely unable to duplicate the efficiency of design of even the most miniature of God's machines. Tell me again why God is inefficient?"


See above. You can now stop playing with your strawman.

"Finally, Creeper, I believe I have learned that you prefer to just say "strawman" rather than answer hard questions."

I'll gladly point out your fallacies to you when you make them, but I don't do this instead of answering questions. It's pretty rich for you to come up with this, given your backlog of unanswered/evaded questions.

"Macroevolutionists say it takes too long to see in this life, and happens too fast to see in the fossil record. How incredibly convenient."

You try to make this sound like an inconsistency, but what you're actually saying is: "Macroevolutionists say it takes too long to see in the span of a century or two, and happens too fast to see between snapshots millions of years apart."

The second part of this isn't even true; there are plenty of progressions visible in the fossil record.

"Tell me, how many millions of generations of bacteria do you think we have had pass on since the days of Curie? Do you know of any bacteria who have turned into, say, protozoa or anything else other than another bacteria?"

Given what the theory of evolution actually says, what makes you think we should see such a drastic change in this particular span of time, which in geological time is just a blink of an eye?

(Though we were fortunate to see an excellent demonstration of genetic mutation and natural selection in action, resulting in the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria.)

Anonymous said...

"You can now stop playing with your strawman."

. . . oh my.

But has anyone ever observed a strawman evolve? And how come there are still strawmonkeys?


. . . ok, so there aren't, but there should be, don't you think? That would be pretty neat . . .

"Then again, as a YEC you're pretty much required not to be, right?"

At first glance this almost sounds like a throwaway line, but it's so not. I mean, really, given your religious beliefs, it would seem you're required, essentially, to attack/ignore/mock scientific attempts to answer these big (How?) questions. It does seem sad to me, though of course you replace them with other things. The silly bit is that you could have both! I mean, really: if God, then God; if not, then not - whatever we're talking about evolution, weather, or whatever. It seems very simple to me - am I just really dumb or something?

Ok, don't answer that . . .

""Macroevolutionists say it takes too long to see in the span of a century or two, and happens too fast to see between snapshots millions of years apart.""

Nice rephrasing, Creeper.

Think of a family photo album that has had a bunch of the photos fall out and get lost. You might find pictures of a little kid growing up, a process that is certainly too slow to be perceptible in terms of days, and which in the photos we might have remaining, could seem decidedly discontinuous . . .

And yes, in other cases we might a pretty good progression of photographs, and in still other cases just one or two of Uncle so-and-so, looking pretty much like he does now . . .


Y'know, looking at my the one on my bookshelf, it's really hard to see 'evolution.' Serious - you have some people who pretty much look the same throughout, pictures of people looking pretty similar - a little different, but not a whole lot - and pictures of people who I know are the same person - me!, in some cases - but really seem to have very little in common.

One could come up with a whole creation/evolution photo album argument (people aren't actually growing, past a certain point (they can change clothes and hairstyles, and maybe get a little bigger, or more wrinkly, but beyond that there's no evidence whatsoever! How come in all of last week you never saw anybody 'grow' from a baby to a little old person, huh?!) they were all created in their present form, more or less, but some of the funny looking smaller people just didn't make it, sure, 'family resemblances' and DNA similarities make it seem like they're 'related,' but that's just because they were made looking similar, like a matched set, etc. . . . )

And of course, the arguments for would be somewhat similar. Photo albums don't have nearly as many clues to original order as in geology, but there are methods of relative dating - clothing/car/decor styles, size of tree in front yard, etc. - not to mention, for some photographs, absolute dating (and over a long enough time, analysis of the photographs themselves could tell you a lot about roughly when they were taken (although it's trickier than its analogy-counterpart, since people intentionally sometimes use older methods, b&w especially, but you will very occasionally get people using really old school techniques) - see for example here.

And it would become clear, with enough study, that one never sees things particularly out of place. You're never going to find (well, photoshop, etc., but let's focus here, 'kay?) a picture of L'il Dan with Big Dan or Big Dan with Dan's dad with a whole head of hair and looking very, very 70s. or with middle-aged Dan's grandparents . . .

Like the very nice pictures Radar posted a bit ago - without some sort of manipulation, you'll never find a picture of Radar's parents from years ago in the same frame as Radar as pictured on this blog.

And yes, while, say, genetic similarities could be imagined as the mark of a common Maker (including bits that don't have to do with appearence, etc? Well, then they must actually do, or the Maker was just using the same template, or . . .), given the rest of the evidence, this sounds perhaps a little silly . . .

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"or with middle-aged Dan's grandparents . . . "

That is, with Dan's middle-aged looking grandparents. Not quite there yet.

-Dan S.

creeper said...

Highboy,

"Discoveries are fairly rare and have often been made under questionable circumstances. As soon as something is found, dug up, and taken elsewhere, essential elements -- such as its exact position in the strata -- are destroyed, and afterwards one is dependent on the testimony of the discoverers."

That's a pretty sweeping generalization, and a heck of an accusation. Could you back it up with anything at all? Otherwise a correction or retraction would be in order.

highboy said...

I'm pretty sure I did Creeper. The Piltdown Case, for one. I'd also try reading The Hidden History Of the Human Race. Though I want it noted that I don't ascribe to everything the book says. And the statement I made:

""Discoveries are fairly rare and have often been made under questionable circumstances. As soon as something is found, dug up, and taken elsewhere, essential elements -- such as its exact position in the strata -- are destroyed, and afterwards one is dependent on the testimony of the discoverers."

is pretty much conmon sense, unless you want me to believe that these paleoanthropologists are infallible.

Anonymous said...

"As soon as something is found, dug up, and taken elsewhere, essential elements -- such as its exact position in the strata -- are destroyed, and afterwards one is dependent on the testimony of the discoverers.""

There is basically the same . . . issue . . in archaeology. After all, excavating a site is essentially destroying it (indeed, when possible often an area may be left unexcavated, for future archaeologists with more sophisticated techniques, etc.). As a result, the number one priority is turning preserving as many elements of the site as possible by turning them into information.

Let's say you're in a New Hampshire field where a first a storm-uprooted tree and then some test pits indicate the presence of Paleoindian artifacts. Do you just start digging away until you find something, and then toss in a sack and keep digging, with only your word about where it came from, what it was associated with, etc? Oh no. No, no, no. Among other things, you're going to establish a grid, so that everything you uncover is associated with a fairly small area (which, since you're also doing frequent depth measurements, extends in three dimensions. You're going to me keeping careful notes about everything you find as you painstakingly scrape away the earth (trust me, you haven't lived until you've squatted in an open field in high summer trying to match the exact color of the dirt to one of hundreds of little barely distinguishable little ceramic tiles - and don't get me started on sandy loam vs. loamy sand . . .) including diagrams, photographs, etc . . .

Ok, so you're being very careful and detailed. But you can - in careful, detailed slow motion, dig around for cool stuff, tossing the dirt away over your shoulder, right?

No, no, no. In the case I'm thinking of, you're going to take the dirt, sift it through a screen looking for tiny lithic flakes and such - it's actually amazing how your brain learns, after some practice, to start zooming in on such things; works with anything, really, even golf balls (and of course, anything you find is going to be carefully recorded and bagged with identifying and location details). Then the rest of the stuff on the screen is going to be bagged, (still identified - along with other, various, dirt samples, etc. of course) and you're going to go through it offsite on trays, looking for anything that might have been missed (which you'll find, if not in immense numbers. Then the leftover 'kibble' is going to be saved for flotation analysis (basically, putting it in water so that various organic remains float happily to the top, waving and calling 'here I am, and you thought I was just another pebble!) . .

Of course, I'm leaving a lot out. There is some cool stuff folks are doing with technology that just makes me start drooling . . .

But anyway, apparently it's all pointless, since we might as well just make stuff up . . .

Is there the possibility of fraud, given that we can't turn back time and magic everything back into its original place, for anyone to check? Well, yes; it's a human endeavor, and you know humans!. Of course, there are ways for fakery to fall apart, in all these sorts of fields - inconsistencies in reporting, etc.; further work in other places may point out the falsified result as an unusual anomaly, raising questions; careful examination of the material may provide evidence of fraud, etc . . .

More importantly - the doctor ones goes to who recommends surgery could be just making up the diagnosis, 'cause he has a thing for cutting people up. And post-op, a lot of the evidence could be destroyed or falsified - to an extent, you're dependent on the testimony of the medical team.

Right?

And so?

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"I'd also try reading The Hidden History Of the Human Race."

Which is the condensed version of Forbidden Archaeology, orginally (or at least, at one point) published by "the Bhaktivedanta Institute, International Society for Krishna Consciousness."

Baby got bhakti!*

Ok, ok - of course, the fact that the authors are Vedic creationists who believe that (unevolved) human history stretches back 300 million years and more doesn't in and of itself mean the book is silly, worthless, etc. Certainly an important part of science is examining findings and assumptions, rather than taking everything on faith, and they may make some meaningful points here - although I should note that you can find this sort of thing by working mainstream scientists, y'know?

Anyway, here's a remarkably even-handed and quite informative review of the book - and bouncing off that website, here's a nifty little page on Incredible Archaeology:

"Are you wondering whether a TV show about Noah's Ark was for real?  Curious about a web site that says ancient Celts were in Oklahoma?  Does your inquiring mind want to know about a tabloid centerfold showing Adam and Eve's grave?  


Well, this web site won't give you the answers!  But it will equip YOU to decide whether certain "archaeological science" in the media is really credible (supported by evidence) or incredible (unsupported or contradicted byevidence).
"

Here is a (shorter and rather more pugnacious) review of the condensed version.

* 'I like big Bodhisattvas and I cannot lie . . ."
(yes, yes, I'm mixing religious traditions, but c'mon, it's funny! Well, a little?)

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"I'm pretty sure I did Creeper."

If your criticism was intended to be a sweeping one regarding most paleoanthropologists' work, then no, you didn't, but if it was a more limited one (which I gather is a possibility judging from your proposed alternative that paleoanthropologists are infallible) that, hey, mistakes happen, sure, I'll go with that. That's not how your statement came across to me at first, since if it is the more limited criticism, then so what? That hardly discredits the entire field.

As Dan points out, these excavations are done very carefully, with the maximum of useful information extracted.

creeper said...

I thought it was funny. Love that song, too.

highboy said...

If your criticism was intended to be a sweeping one regarding most paleoanthropologists' work, then no, you didn't, but if it was a more limited one (which I gather is a possibility judging from your proposed alternative that paleoanthropologists are infallible) that, hey, mistakes happen, sure, I'll go with that. That's not how your statement came across to me at first, since if it is the more limited criticism, then so what? That hardly discredits the entire field."

I'm not trying to discredit the whole entire field, no. Dan's posts are usually entirely too long, so I didn't read the whole thing. At any rate, I'm sorry I brought it up, I was merely throwing things out there for discussions sake. As I said, this isn't exactly my field of expertise. That would be Scripture, war, football, and fried chicken. (maybe I'll start my own Col. Sanders blog. Would anyone visit?)

creeper said...

I promise to read your Colonel Sanders blog if you promise to read Dan's posts all the way through.

highboy said...

"I promise to read your Colonel Sanders blog if you promise to read Dan's posts all the way through."

That's not really a bargain. Dan always has cool things to say, even when I disagree with him, but sometimes he just goes on and on and on...not that I disagree with him concerning this thread. But I'll hold you to it. Deal.