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Friday, March 26, 2010

There are many roads and few destinations

Picture and poem credit

Is Creation versus Evolution a fork in the road and do all come to that road seeking truth? No. If you think that is the case you have not followed the history of origins science, a oft-contended discipline that is rarely seen sticking even a toe into operational science. Allow me to use the analogy of the Road Not Taken (because I like it) by Robert Frost and begin to look at how we all get to where we are going.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost



So I am sure many of us relate to this poem. I am quite sure that many times I have come to forks in my own personal road and taken the one that was more difficult and less traveled. Occasionally I have found that roads sometimes come back together again for awhile but more often they take one far away from where the other road would lead.

Do you think Evolution versus Creation is a fork in the road? I would propose that one has to travel for awhile to even get there. Once we are relatively sentinent beings (I think about 12 years old is about right) most of us have grown up enough to comprehend all these issues the grownups talk about and begin forming opinions that are not mirror images of our parents or the drivel that is served up by the media or just exactly what the teachers in school tell you. At some point you grow past childhood and can review ideas with a critical eye. Not that everyone actually does this, but the ability to do so grows on you, so to speak.

For several years I have blogged on this subject and traded comments with many people. I have studied it and taught it and read about it and practically x-rayed it and smashed it to bits and put it in a blender and done a chemical analysis of the results. The results are always the same.

The first fork in the road is the worldview fork. And fork is more like intersection. There are three major roads that diverge here - God, NotGod and NotSure. As it happens, even if you take the NotGod road you will still find turnoffs that would lead you towards God but as you near the end they no longer appear. The NotSure road continually branches off towards or away from God. The God road has intersections like crazy - Christ, Allah, Dagon and etc. I have found that if you do take the Christ road there are a lot of detours but you keep on heading for Christ in the end. But back to our movie.

Worldview impacts science tremendously, especially in the area of origins. Worldview drives people far more than does evidence.

If you take either the God or the NotSure road, you will come to the fork in the road pointing towards evolution and towards creation. You will also see one marked intelligent design.

If you take the NotGod road you will never come to any road marked creation or intelligent design. You will only make it to evolution. You will not find intelligent design. Your worldview has trapped you into only one possibility no matter how unlikely.

If you take the God road you will see all three but will feel lost if you go too far down evolution and, if you choose intelligent design you will just hop off at a creation interchange and stay there. So in the end creation is the road you want. Oddly enough a lot of folks who believe in God keep going down the evolution path despite the fact that with the Bible as your road map you will be hopelessly disoriented there. Even those who are rabbinical Jews and Islamists tend to avoid evolution, as it just does not fit into the notion of God.

If you take the NotSure road you may well be very comfortable with the intelligent design path because you do not need to think about a Who but only concentrate on the evidence. So it is true that someone who finds that intelligent design is the best answer for the questions of origin then naturally at some point one may start to wonder Who was the Designer....but that is not part of the science.

So I would say that the wise man will choose his first path carefully. If you go too far down the NotGod road you will enter a no U turn expressway at some point and the traffic behind you will speed up and there will not even be a berm on the side to stop and think, you will simply be funneled on down to the end. What is the end?

The NotSure road will tend to lead one to intelligent design. Once you realize intelligent design is the logical scientific view of the evidence, you find yourself contemplating the source of the intelligence. But strictly on evidence the intelligent design folks are front and center in terms of scientific evidence alone.

The God road will lead quite naturally to Christ who will take you straight to a quite different end. The road will be bumpy. If you do not choose the creation lane you can still get to the end but there are unpatched potholes there, beware! A Christian who accepts intelligent design and then concludes that God is the designer finds that the Bible fits the evidence hand in glove. You simply have to give God the benefit of the doubt in that if He is so much infinitely greater than we to be able to have made all things we cannot understand exactly how He did it for our minds cannot match His.

Yet Newton believed that by understanding how things worked he also drew closer to the Designer. Many scientists of the past believed that their research into the nature of the Universe was a Godly pursuit and I do agree.

~

A free discussion in the world of science would compare evolution and creation and intelligent design ideas on their merits. Evidence would be presented and analyzed on merit only. But this is not the world in which we live.

A free discussion of the world of history would include the Bible, for it is the best and oldest of documents that is far better supported by evidence than any other ancient writings (Old Testament) and thoroughly documented in more recent times (New Testament). Archaeologists working in the Holy Lands habitually refer to the Bible to help them locate and identify digs.

Those who chose the NotGod road have control of academia, media and the sciences - they are the ruling paradigm...for now. But remember the lesson of Galileo and Copernicus. They butted heads with academia and sciences and the ruling paradigm. They presented a view of the world that was not in any way contrary to God or the Bible or to common sense or evidence. What they believed was simply contrary to the popular and accepted belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Rulers and clerics alike refused to even look into a telescope to see for themselves. THEY DID NOT WANT TO KNOW. They just wanted to stay within the comfort zone of their belief systems.

So now Michael Behe and Guillermo Gonzalez find themselves castigated as were Galileo and Copernicus for promoting ideas contrary to the ruling paradigm. Are the high priests of Darwin any less guilty of censorship and oppression than were the high priests of the Catholic Church in Galileo's time? I think not! But who won the day?

The Church (which was integral to the ruling class in those times) tried to prevent the spread of information of any kind. Bibles were banned and rudimentary printing presses smashed and their operators flogged and executed. Yet Gutenberg produced a Bible and soon Bibles were being published and read far and wide. Once the Bible became relatively common the level of the education of common man grew greatly. People could read and learn and think and innovation flourished. It was not the "Renaissance" of the nobility that changed the world so much as the "Reformation" broke the shackles of the ruling class off of the common man and released him to grow and learn and flourish.
Information is the enemy of the tyrant and the friend of the free. Even now Hugo Chavez is an enemy to information, having jailed the owner of Globovision for daring to present information that cast Chavez in a negative light. Do you applaud this? Even now in this country there are those in high places who wish to take control of the voices on talk radio and monitor and control content on the internet. Do you think they have our greater good in mind? Did you know that Barack Obama had a website set up where his followers could report people who posted negative things about his administration? It was taken down after bloggers everywhere put the link up on their own sites and asked followers to report them!

So you who wish to stomp out creationism and intelligent design? You are on the side of the censor and the tyrant. How does it feel to work so hard to stifle the flow of information? How can that make you happy? It will not do any good. You see I believe the truth wins in the end. The theme of the history of man is that we make the same old mistakes over and over again and every time truth is stifled in one place it leaks out somewhere else and ultimately prevails.

Information. Design. You can run from them but you cannot hide, they will get you in the end.

16 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

Radar, do you really think that endless repetition of this self-serving, self-aggrandizing dogma will someday, somehow make it true?

There are three major roads that diverge here - God, NotGod and NotSure.

Make that four. At least.

The God road will lead quite naturally to Christ who will take you straight to a quite different end.

Don't bet on it.

On second thought, do bet on it. Bet everything you have and everything you can borrow. I need the money.

A free discussion in the world of science would compare evolution and creation and intelligent design ideas on their merits. Evidence would be presented and analyzed on merit only. But this is not the world in which we live.

Actually, yes it is. You just don't like the result that most of the analysts have reached.

The evidence regarding the history of Earth, and of Life on Earth, is not censored. It's available to anyone, in books, magazines, papers, journal articles, museum collections, and newly-exposed fossils all over the world. People -- not just those dirty sneakin' lowdown yellabelly conspirytor God-hatin' [sneer]scientists[/sneer], but people -- have looked at all the evidence and concluded that young-earth creationism doesn't work. It doesn't fit the evidence.

You can build all the self-serving pseudo-logical arguments you want, but creationism still won't fit the evidence. There is no scientific, evidence-based case for creationism. There never has been. There never will be. All you can do -- as shown in your posts and comments here -- is cherry-pick data and quotes so that they seem to support you and discredit evolutionary theory, while ignoring numerous other points of data that contradict you and strengthen evolutionary theory. Like I said before, this is a pattern among anti-evolutionists that hasn't changed in over a century. You are not, I regret to say, even a particularly original variant on the theme. At least Ron Wyatt was rib-splittin' funny, what with his claims of finding Noah's Ark and Moses' mountaintop and a huge pile of ancient Egyptian chariots on the bottom of the Red Sea with coral-encrusted human bones inside them. Oh, and let's not forget the Ark of the Covenant, hidden in a cave directly below Golgotha, with Jesus's blood smeared on it -- blood which a DNA analysis showed to have only haploid chromosomes, thus proving he had no earthly father.

radar said...

Woolf, your answer is hysterical. I must presume that you are completely brainwashed. Sure, there are wingnuts on both sides but when you say there is no evidence for creation science you are either horribly misinformed, brainwashed, or are deliberately lying.

Again I ask, are you part of the NCSE? You have not answered that question.

radar said...

Another thing. Either you believe in God or a god, you do not believe or you are not sure. What is the fourth choice?

creeper said...

"Again I ask, are you part of the NCSE? You have not answered that question."

I'm curious as to why that would interest you. Would it affect your opinion of the facts and arguments that Jon presents?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"when you say there is no evidence for creation science you are either horribly misinformed, brainwashed, or are deliberately lying."

Define "creation science". Is it YEC, OEC, or what?

-- creeper

radar said...

Creationists who are scientists are fairly common but many of them hide their beliefs to avoid major fights with peers or to get tenure or grant money and etc.

Creation scientists are those who have decided to work explicitly with other scientists who believe God created. YEC is the most common position among them, I would think, but there are certainly OEC as well.

Jon Woolf just keeps rehashing NCSE talking points so I wondered if maybe he worked with or for them. Woolf doesn't post a lot of facts or evidence he mainly just makes statements that he presents as factual.

So there. I answered you, now what is that fourth way?

radar said...

For instance here is a Woolf classic:"You bear false witness against the NCSE by claiming that "This institution, supposedly on the side of education, is dedicated to keeping information away from students and teachers!" NCSE's purpose is to keep phony, unscientific propaganda out of public school science curricula. Since phony, unscientific propaganda is all that creationism has to offer, NCSE seeks to keep creationism out of public school science curricula."

Bear false witness against the NCSE? I am going to be put on a rack? They are censors, that is all they do@

radar said...

Then he made this hilarious argument in which he tosses aside the very detailed study of the working of replication within the cell and just yammers out some Dawkins-like talking points.

Jon Woolf said...

Either you believe in God or a god, you do not believe or you are not sure. What is the fourth choice?

MU

when you say there is no evidence for creation science you are either horribly misinformed, brainwashed, or are deliberately lying.

Or simply telling the truth as I see it. I've never seen any evidence that favored any form of creation-science. Not in the way that, say, Diarthrognathus and Archaeopteryx favor an evolutionary interpretation.

Again I ask, are you part of the NCSE?

I already answered this.

radar said...

Woolf, I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about the same time I was reading Carlos Castaneda and, well, you get the idea. I was lumping thinking like this as NotSure in the sub category of not caring under the heading of think of it a different way...Okay. I can give that it's own category.

Archaeopteryx is a bird. It has nothing to do with evolution. No serious Darwinists even try to call it a transitional form. For one thing, it is found in the same strata or below the strata in which dinosaurs are found so the timeline is wrong. Assuming you accept the ridiculous premise the the sedimentary rock layers represent millions of years rather than the more obvious answer of a Noahic Flood event.

Diarthrognathus is based on the remains of some juvenile specimens and those remains do not show us much.

radar said...

Furthermore, if you do not consider the signature of design in all living things as evidence then you simply to not try to reason about things. You have a stubborn blind faith that refuses to consider other ideas. It's a free country, enjoy!

But the NCSE and the ruling paradigm are doing evil by trying to censor people and hide information and keep people from hearing from sides that dispute Darwinism. In this all of you who support this censorship are completely and utterly wrong.

Aristotle would condemn you.
Galileo would condemn you.
Newton would confront you and scold you for your arrogance, to believe that you and your kind are the final arbiters of truth! How dare Darwinists spend billions of hours and billions of dollars trying to halt the spread of information! If you had hoods, the rack and the guillotine and a writ from some wicked judge you would be torturing and killing creationists for daring to publish information and ask questions.

Heretics used to be burned at the stake. Many of them were Christians like me who questioned the authority of the ruling CHURCH which was, like the Sanhedrin, a bunch of guys with power who primarily did not give a rip about a real God. They just liked their money, power and prestige.

highboy said...

Yeah, what radar said.

radar said...

So for now the Darwinists resemble the Catholic Church of the middle ages. They seek to stamp out all disagreement and keep the layman from understanding what is really going on at the frontier of science. The NCSE just joins hands with the media and academia and simply blather on the same old propaganda. Most shows on Discovery or History or National Geographic or PBS and most magazines and news organizations continually prate on in linking difference in animals with evolution and assigning millions of years to processes without a shred of proof.

Shame on all of you! I think the inquiring mind should seek truth. Truth is a funny thing when it comes to science because just when you think you have it nailed down - it moves. We keep learning that the atom is far more complex and far more interesting and mysterious the more we study it. we also find organisms far more complex and interesting as we study them Darwinism as a working hypothesis should have been tossed aside long ago because it does not fit the evidence. Darwinism is a remarkably primitive way of looking at organisms.

creeper said...

"Furthermore, if you do not consider the signature of design in all living things as evidence then you simply to not try to reason about things."

What you so freely label "design" (with the obvious implication of a designer) is better described as "function". A signature of design would be something beyond function, for example a verse of the Bible miraculously encoded in DNA*. Now that would be evidence of design!

But as long as it's plain function, the theory of evolution has it well covered.

* The movie A Serious Man features an entertaining example of such a signature.

"But the NCSE and the ruling paradigm are doing evil by trying to censor people and hide information and keep people from hearing from sides that dispute Darwinism. In this all of you who support this censorship are completely and utterly wrong."

Censorship censorship bla bla bla. Radar, the challenge is pretty obvious:

1. Come up with a testable prediction that refutes the prevailing paradigm and confirms YEC.

2. Test that prediction.

3. Write a paper detailing the prediction and the result.

4. Submit it to the relevant scientific journals, peer-reviewed and all.

5. If they reject it, publish the paper and the reasons for the rejection by the journal everywhere you please.

All this whining* about censorship without such a concrete example of a deserving scientific paper is just so much whining and gnashing of teeth. Creationists (and especially YECs) just want a free pass to get out of doing the actual work.

*Again, there's an excellent example of such a whiner in the movie A Serious Man.

"Aristotle would condemn you. Galileo would condemn you. Newton would confront you and scold you for your arrogance, to believe that you and your kind are the final arbiters of truth!"

Hardly. They'd turn to you and ask: Where's the beef?

"How dare Darwinists spend billions of hours and billions of dollars trying to halt the spread of information!"

Do I sense another billion/million "typo"? More made up nonsense.

"Heretics used to be burned at the stake. Many of them were Christians like me who questioned the authority of the ruling CHURCH which was, like the Sanhedrin, a bunch of guys with power who primarily did not give a rip about a real God. They just liked their money, power and prestige."

Yes, and fortunately that power has waned and science has prevailed. Unfortunately the Church still has a few other problems to contend with, raping children, that kind of stuff.

"So for now the Darwinists resemble the Catholic Church of the middle ages. They seek to stamp out all disagreement and keep the layman from understanding what is really going on at the frontier of science."

How so? You're free to spout your nonsense like anybody else. Teach it in classrooms? Bit of a different issue. Outside of a strictly historical context, we don't just throw a bunch of conflicting theories (say, flat Earth, Lamarckianism, Norse creation myths) at them and let them sort it out, do we?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"The NCSE just joins hands with the media and academia and simply blather on the same old propaganda."

... which bizarrely happens to be supported by facts...

"Most shows on Discovery or History or National Geographic or PBS and most magazines and news organizations continually prate on in linking difference in animals with evolution and assigning millions of years to processes without a shred of proof."

"without a shred of proof"... now there's one of these untruths we've been talking about. Possibly Radar is ignorant of said proof, in which case he would not be a liar. As usual, the alternatives aren't flattering.

"Shame on all of you!"

Spoken like a true middle ages churchman.

"I think the inquiring mind should seek truth. Truth is a funny thing when it comes to science because just when you think you have it nailed down - it moves. We keep learning that the atom is far more complex and far more interesting and mysterious the more we study it. we also find organisms far more complex and interesting as we study them Darwinism as a working hypothesis should have been tossed aside long ago because it does not fit the evidence."

Again, complexity itself does not disprove the theory of evolution. You seem to have misunderstood quite a few things there.

"Darwinism is a remarkably primitive way of looking at organisms."

Darwinism in this case being the modern synthesis? I'd ask you to read up on it (since you clearly have gaping holes in your understanding of the theory of evolution as well as biology and a few other fields). What is a less "primitive" way of looking at organisms? Be specific. "Creation science" sure has drawn a blank.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

radar: "I was lumping thinking like this as NotSure in the sub category of not caring under the heading of think of it a different way...Okay. I can give that it's own category."

Well, I suppose that counts for something. I guess you're not quite as inflexible as I first thought.

Radar:"Archaeopteryx is a bird. It has nothing to do with evolution. No serious Darwinists even try to call it a transitional form."

[laughing] A bird with working fingers, a bony tail, and several other features not found in any modern bird -- or even any Cretaceous or Cenozoic bird. Yeah, right.

Radar:"For one thing, it is found in the same strata or below the strata in which dinosaurs are found so the timeline is wrong."

ROTFLMAO

"The same time as the dinosaurs," indeed. He makes it sound so simple, doesn't he, folks?

Like most YECs, Radar, you have no real concept of geologic time. The Dinosauria dominated land faunas for one hundred and sixty-five million years. That's 30% of the entire history of complex life on Earth. Almost one-third! Tyrannosaurus rex lived closer in time to us than it did to Archaeopteryx -- 65,000,000 years from us to T-rex, vs. 85,000,000 years from T-rex back to archy. And it's another 75,000,000 years from archy's time back to the earliest known dinosaurs.

Radar: "Diarthrognathus is based on the remains of some juvenile specimens and those remains do not show us much."

Do you even know what Diarthrognathus is and why it's considered important? "Its remains don't show us much" indeed! [snicker.wav]