Search This Blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

Miracles and Science. A dialogue...

Tomorrow a post about love, written almost entirely by me.  I promise to work in some cultural references and probably a youtube or two. Valentine's Day is coming (and no, I do not believe in Cupid but I do believe in wife).   My wife is so cool that she wouldn't be hurt if I didn't do anything on Valentine's Day to acknowledge her, since I tell her I love her every day.   But that is a very good reason to do it, is it not?

Since copied articles from creation.com are ESPECIALLY beloved by readers,  here is a good one.   We begin by taking a dialogue between commenters on this blog from "Poof" The Magic Dragon with words and music:  (you might want to go read it to have the context for the comments)

~~~~~~~
radar said...
"In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country. Religion in America...must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion -- for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society." You can find this on Google books and various other sites. America was founded on laws based on the Bible and the Judeo-Christian ethic was the default setting for society. As Social Darwinism has attacked the foundations, we now see that society and government are both floundering. The continued deception of Darwinism is key to the eventual erosion of all morality and eventually the USA will be just another great nation that fell from great heights due to the resulting destruction of the fundamental family unit and the lack of moral absolutes. Darwinist science has become a hodge-podge of incomprehensible jargon and conflicting hypotheses that produce ridiculous claims, because no matter what is found, it is explained by evolution. Evolution is therefore nothing, because it is everything. Evolution is simply God to Atheists. But a God devoid of personality or intellect or intent or anything other than a convenient answer to the unanswerable questions is a pitiful lower-case god incapable of actual existence. You may as well buy a bust of Darwin, put some candles around him and bow down to him, he will have as much creative power as does his lame hypothesis.
Anonymous said...
*yawn* Whatever Radar. Move on people, nothing worth your attention here.
Jon Woolf said...
"Move on people, nothing worth your attention here." Yeah, that about sums it up. Wisdom right there in plain print, ripe for the taking, and Radar hides his head in the sand of creationism yet again. "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." -- Charles Darwin 
Anonymous said...
Is Jon Wolf saying that Darwin believed that God created life? That life didn't come from non-life? Abiogenesis is indeed not true? So now you admit that abiogensis is make believe? Good for you! DebB
Anonymous said...
So Jon, Darwin had to say that life was created into a few forms or into one. So why not ALL the basic kinds with lots of genetic information in the DNA for variation that can be selected to adapt to various environments? DebB
Jon Woolf said...
"So why not ALL the basic kinds with lots of genetic information in the DNA for variation that can be selected to adapt to various environments? " Because we can look at the genetic code and tell that's not what happened.
radar said...
The above statement is false.
Anonymous said...
"The above statement is false." You've got some reading to catch up on.
Anonymous said...
Radar: Of course God "makes sense" because God was invented to make sense. That's the whole reason he/it was created. Nazi Germany was still a Christian nation at the time of its collapse. Not what you or I would like to think of as Christian, but still: Christian "values" provide no guarantee of a just or stable society. "no matter what is found, it is explained by evolution." No need to mock this, since (a) what you're saying here is equally explained by the theory being valid, and (b) you complain that science tweaks its theories, if possible, as new evidence is uncovered. New evidence may falsify a theory, or it may tell the scientists "this is almost right, but this bit doesn't work - but it will with some changes". DebB: what do you mean by "re-evolution"? What do you mean by "shape shifting"?
So, a Darwinist admits that Charles Darwin believed in an original creation and actually quotes him saying it and then, when called on it, begins with the falsified BS.   We have shown conclusively that Nazi Germany was pretty much the opposite of a Christian nation.   They believed in the Ubermensch of Nietzsche and the idea of macroevolution but they were not willing for nature to do the work for them, they were Eugenicists to the Nth degree.   In fact this last comment is rather incoherent, as Darwinism is not even a theory but rather a failed hypothesis and new findings in science keep making it more and more ridiculous.  So rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic isn't what I call "science."

Francesco Redi showed that abiogenesis was not true in the late 17th Century and other scientists including Louis Pasteur agreed that there was a law of Biogenesis.   This law has never been broken or overturned in repeated tests and our knowledge of microbiology and biochemistry show us that it cannot happen.   That one of the Darwinist commenters tripped on his own logical shoelaces to post Darwin's quote endorsing an original creation just goes to show that Darwinists are getting desperate.  Just by renaming "spontaneous generation" and calling it "abiogenesis" doesn't work.  

Darwinism keeps changing it's story because new evidence keeps falsifying it, so another just-so story must be made up to stay one step ahead of the new findings.  Uniformitarianism was a key component of Darwinism and now that is gone.  Mutations as sources of information has been falsified.   Testing shows that multiple mutations cannot be expected to be passed along at the same time.  Long decades of testing have shown that natural selection is a design feature of organisms meant to conserve the organism, not change it.   Mutations do not produce improved new and better organisms, it hurts organisms.   Unusual situations that cause organisms to "develop" (select for, in other words) an immunity to some harmful substance comes with a price to be paid in the viability of the organism under normal circumstances.  

Consider the fruit fly, which simply reverts to the norm no matter what scientists do to it.  Consider the deceitful propaganda posted about "Arsenic Bacteria" which turned out to be false.   Headlines proclaim things that research laters debunks.   The bacteria, once allowed to be released into normal (if you call Mono Lake "normal") environment went right back to what it was before.

Looking at the genetic code is teaching us that there is lots more to reproduction than we had imagine, that there is no "junk DNA" and that a few copying errors and mutations have occurred that are not beneficial, that there is meta-information involved in reproduction, that the mother controls the building of the organism so that the organism has to be a form of whatever kind of organism the mother is and that there are many built in switches that can hasten the speciation of organisms to adjust to changing environments.   All of these things are design elements that require hardware and software and operating system, much like computers.   It is not I that needs to catch up on my reading.  It is time for Darwinists to throw away the fairy tales and do science.

You want good science?  Depend on evidence and history and logic.   Quit inventing ridiculous unrealistic scenarios in which things are basically creating themselves.   Accept the logical conclusion that there is a Creator God and move along.  Knowing God created is kind of like having a roadmap for a city that you are seeking to explore.   It doesn't stop you, it just helps you understand where you are going.   Living organisms were designed.   So that information tells you that the original kind would have been the standard to emulate and that finding genetic information scattered amongst separated populations might be helpful to "fix" genetic problems in organisms.

Rather than the Darwinist idea that we are evolving upwards and that darker-skinned people are inferior, we accept the clear statement of God that He created man and woman and that we are all relatives.   In fact probably the optimal human would result from intermarrying between races rather than killing off Aborigines and Jews and Africans like Eugenicists once openly proposed (and now do surreptitiously by the placement of Planned Parenthood offices).   Darwinism is anti-Christian and anti-science. It is merely a ruse by which atheists pretend to be scientists and avoid the questions concerning absolutes of right and wrong.  Like a toddler with his hands over his eyes.   Toddlers eventually grow up.  (Hint)

And now, an interesting dialogue between Darwinist and Creationist:

Miracles and science

1 September 2006

Introduction

This email questioning miracles comes from the self-styled Peidos from South Australia, who gave permission for this to be posted but without name or initials (real name and address supplied). Peidos in another email wanted to make it clear that he was ‘taking the “evolutionist” or “atheist” side’, not that we doubted it.

The response (posted after the whole letter) points out that Peidos commits the fallacy of false dilemma, overlooking an alternative that successfully avoids both horns. The response also addresses some misconceptions about natural law and probability fallacies of skeptical denials of miracles. Finally, it also points out that anti-Christian systems have no rational basis for the idea of natural law in the first place, so their arguments from natural law against miracles ‘commit suicide’.

Many of the arguments have already been covered in our materials (which is why we encourage inquirers to search the site first), for example, in Section 1.2) Miracles and science of What’s Wrong With Bishop Spong? and Ch. 1: Argument: Creationism is religion, not science of Refuting Evolution 2. Also, one of the first talks I ever gave for CMI was Miracles and Inerrancy, which we hope to make available on DVD.

Other reading

  • C.S. Lewis (1898–1963) wrote a very worthwhile book called Miracles (1947) that anticipates the anti-miraculous attacks of almost all sceptical and liberal ‘Christians’ on the Incarnation, not that they would be interested in challenges to their naturalistic faith.
  •  
  • John Earman, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, and not a Christian, wrote Hume’s Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles (Oxford University Press, USA, 2000). This is a devastating response to the anti-miraculous attacks of the skeptic David Hume (1711–1776). Sceptics today do little more than regurgitate Humeanism. However, Hume made a crucial blunder in his probability analysis, and Bayes’ Theorem demolishes his argument—I mentioned this briefly in a recent feedback. The online chapters of Earman’s book require registration, but the main point is explained lucidly in William Lane Craig’s debate with Bart Ehrman.


On scientific proof of miracles
If one contends that miracles have occurred and that they are the direct intervention of a creator god it implies that within natural law there is a loophole that allows god to alter outcomes on his whim.
That is: this god can and does cheat when he wants to.
So any evidence for or against his existence, be it a book, a fossil or supposed miracle, may just be his intervention, perhaps hidden from our ken.
If god will cheat or boast that he can or does intervene in our lives, in the natural order, to create a species, for prayer, for adulation, or any purpose not even disclosed to us, it makes observation of the world and the affairs of the tiniest microbes to galactic catastrophe, all futile, for they are then placed at the whim of a fickle god who will deceive us when it suits him.
Therefore to test that god exists or does not by appeal to observations in and of this world and its affairs is quite futile. If god has intervened in the world even once then no observation or consequent conjecture we can make is reliable.
Let us suppose that some clever person makes an observation that purports to prove a miracle has occurred, that god has intervened just once. We cannot thereafter trust our observation on any other point, for it may be another intervention. And since the tool science is ideally rigorous observation and conjecture it would seem to discredit that very tool as a way to discover the nature of the world, and since it is, by this test, a discredited tool, its proof that a miracle has occurred is also discredited.
So either there is a god and he cheats with miracles, or the world obeys strict rules of action and consequence. If the former, we can prove nothing by even the most rigorous observation and conjecture. If the latter, our world is true to its appearance and we have a chance of understanding it.

Response to On scientific proof of miracles


“The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.”
— G.K. Chesterton
First of all, we don’t claim to have this. Rather, miracles are a matter of history not (operational) science. But the principles of origins science are consistent with certain miracles in the past, as we have said before:
Origins science uses the principles of causality (everything that has a beginning has a cause) and analogy (e.g. we observe that intelligence is needed to generate complex coded information in the present, so we can reasonably assume the same for the past). And because there was no material intelligent designer for life, it is legitimate to invoke a non-material designer for life. Creationists invoke the miraculous only for origins science, and as shown, this does not mean they will invoke it for operational science.
If one contends that miracles have occurred and that they are the direct intervention of a creator god it implies that within natural law there is a loophole that allows god to alter outcomes on his whim.
First, it is better to call miracles an addition to natural laws rather than a loophole within them. This is because natural laws are formulated in isolated systems. For example, Newton’s 1st Law of Motion states that objects will continue in a straight line at constant speed — if no unbalanced force is acting. But there is nothing in the law to prohibit unbalanced forces acting—otherwise nothing could ever change direction!

This can be applied to a sceptic in Britain who claimed that Jesus couldn’t have walked on water because it would ‘violate’ Archimedes’ Principle, ‘Objects will sink in water if they weigh more than the buoyant force’. But this is true only if no other are forces operating. For example, if you were tied to a helicopter you wouldn’t sink. There is nothing that ‘violates’ Archimedes Principle, just that it can’t preclude other forces acting.

If God exists, there is no truly isolated system. Thus there is no basis for disallowing miracles unless you could prove that God doesn’t exist, but you can’t prove a universal negative. And if Jesus really were God Incarnate as I believe (see documentation), He could certainly bring other forces into play without violating science.
C.S. Lewis applied these concepts to the virginal conception of Christ: that is the zygote was made by the Holy Spirit’s action on Mary’s ovum, i.e. an addition to the system. But after that, the embryo developed in the normal manner.

Second, this comment treats natural laws as real entities. In reality, scientific laws are descriptive of what we observe happening regularly, just as the outline of a map describes the shape of a coastline. Treating scientific laws as prescriptive, i.e. the cause of the observed regularities, is like claiming that the drawing of the map is the cause of the shape of the coastline.
That is: this god can and does cheat when he wants to.
I have dealt with this before by pointing out that we are not just advocating any ‘god’. Christians don't advocate just any ‘god’ who may or may not be capricious. Rather, they identify the Designer with the faithful triune God of the Bible, as stated:
The Bible explains that: we are made in the image of a rational God (Genesis 1:26–27), God is a God of order not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), God gave man dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28), and He commanded honesty (Exodus 20:16).
Applying this, as well as a correct understanding of the nature of scientific laws as description, leads to a worldview that historically led to science without jettisoning miracles, as previously stated:
These [founders of modern science], like modern creationists, regarded ‘natural laws’ as descriptions of the way God upholds His creation in a regular and repeatable way (Col. 1:15–17), while miracles are God’s way of upholding His creation in a special way for special reasons. Because creation finished at the end of day 6 (Gen. 2:1–3), creationists following the Bible would expect that God has since mostly worked through ‘natural laws’ except where He has revealed in the Bible that He used a miracle. And since ‘natural laws’ are descriptive, they cannot prescribe what cannot happen, so they cannot rule out miracles. Scientific laws do not cause or forbid anything any more than the outline of a map causes the shape of the coastline.
Because creation finished at the end of day 6, biblical creationists would try to find natural laws for every aspect of operation science, and would not invoke a miracle to explain any repeating event in nature in the present, despite Scientific American’s scare tactics. This can be shown in a letter I wrote to an inquirer who believed that atoms had to be held together by miraculous means:
‘“Natural laws” also help us make predictions about future events. In the case of the atom, the explanation of the electrons staying in their orbitals is the positive electric charge and large mass of the nucleus. This enables us to make predictions about how strongly a particular electron is held by a particular atom, for example, making the science of chemistry possible. While this is certainly an example of Colossians 1:17, simply saying ‘God upholds the electron’ doesn’t help us make predictions.’
And in my days as a university teaching assistant before joining CMI, I marked an examination answer wrong because it said ‘God made it so’ for a question about the frequency of infrared spectral lines, instead of discussing atomic masses and force constants.
So, Scientific American is wrong to imply that creationists are in any way hindered in real operational scientific research, either in theory or in practice.
We have also cited the succinct thoughts of philosopher and apologist J.P. Moreland:
‘But some will object, “If we allowed appealing to God anytime we don’t understand something, then science itself would be impossible, for science proceeds on the assumption of natural causality.” This argument is a red herring. It is true that science is not compatible with just any form of theism, particularly a theism that holds to a capricious god who intervenes so often that the contrast between primary and secondary causality is unintelligible. But Christian theism holds that secondary causality is God’s usual mode and primary causality is infrequent, comparatively speaking. That is why Christianity, far from hindering the development of science, actually provided the womb for its birth and development.’ [Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 226, 1989.]
So any evidence for or against his existence, be it a book, a fossil or supposed miracle, may just be his intervention, perhaps hidden from our ken. If god will cheat or boast that he can or does intervene in our lives, in the natural order, to create a species, for prayer, for adulation, or any purpose not even disclosed to us, it makes observation of the world and the affairs of the tiniest microbes to galactic catastrophe, all futile, for they are then placed at the whim of a fickle god who will deceive us when it suits him.
Therefore to test that god exists or does not by appeal to observations in and of this world and its affairs is quite futile. If god has intervened in the world even once then no observation or consequent conjecture we can make is reliable.
G.K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
(1874–1936)
Public domain image from
<www.lib.utexas.edu>
Actually, you are a perfect illustration of G.K. Chesterton’s point (Orthodoxy ch. 9):
Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.
Also, C.S. Lewis pointed out that arguing against miracles based on the alleged total uniformity of nature is actually circular reasoning (from Miracles):
No, of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely ‘uniform experience’ against miracles, in other words, they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately, we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we know all the reports are false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.
[Note, see also response to an agnostic who asked whether biblical Christians commit circular reasoning]
Let us suppose that some clever person makes an observation that purports to prove a miracle has occurred, that god has intervened just once. We cannot thereafter trust our observation on any other point, for it may be another intervention. And since the tool science is ideally rigorous observation and conjecture it would seem to discredit that very tool as a way to discover the nature of the world, and since it is, by this test, a discredited tool, its proof that a miracle has occurred is also discredited.
Actually, the exact opposite is true. Without a belief that the universe was made by a God of order and that we are made in the image of this God, the Logos, we have no basis for either an orderly universe or that our thoughts can be trusted, as explained before.

“Atheists can’t prove that the universe is orderly, because the proofs would have to suppose the order they are trying to prove”
Atheists can treat these premises as axioms, i.e. accepted as true without proof, but they are theorems for Christians since they follow from the propositions of Scripture. Indeed, atheists can’t prove that the universe is orderly, because the proofs would have to suppose the order they are trying to prove. Similarly, they can't prove that their thoughts are rational because the proofs would have to assume this very rationality. Yet evolution would select only for survival advantage, not rationality.
So either there is a god and he cheats with miracles, or the world obeys strict rules of action and consequence.
This is the false dilemma. However, an alternative, as explained, is a God of order who used miracles for creation, and in rare occasions at other times when working out His program, but normally works by what we call ‘natural law’. The logical feasibility has been amply proved in practice by the good science discovered by believers in miracles.
If the former, we can prove nothing by even the most rigorous observation and conjecture.
And most philosophers of science agree that it is impossible to prove things with science; rather, scientific progress comes from disproving things. This should become very clear upon understanding the underlying logic.
If the latter, our world is true to its appearance and we have a chance of understanding it.
You cannot derive an orderly universe from the proposition ‘God does not exist’. Indeed, you need to accept an orderly universe as a ‘brute fact’, which ironically was actually plagiarized from the Christian world view.

Related article

45 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

You're not fooling anyone, Radar. Anyone who reads this blog and the comments (the ones you let stand, at least) knows that you cheerfully spread lies and misstatements, then run for cover whenever anyone questions you. You don't even understand your own arguments, much less the pro-science ones.

"The Bible explains that: we are made in the image of a rational God (Genesis 1:26–27)"

Yeah, right. You believe in a god who created man and gave him intelligence, free will and dominion, then punished him for all eternity simply because he used those gifts. And not only him, but all his descendants, none of whom shared in the original crime because they didn't exist yet. And you call it 'rational.' Sounds more like a sadistic psychopath to me, teasing and torturing his pets and then laughing at their attempts to escape.

Anonymous said...

"Second, this comment treats natural laws as real entities. In reality, scientific laws are descriptive of what we observe happening regularly, just as the outline of a map describes the shape of a coastline. Treating scientific laws as prescriptive, i.e. the cause of the observed regularities, is like claiming that the drawing of the map is the cause of the shape of the coastline."

Found this interesting. Maybe Radar can learn something from it, with his complaints that some people supposedly "have no respect for scientific laws"...

radar said...

Someone has a personal problem with me to the point of losing rationality. A guy who doesn't even understand that bacteria have a language first discovered in 1999 if not earlier? A guy who dismisses "quorum sensing" because he thinks it was found by a Discovery Institute scientist? A guy who argues against creationism by quoting Darwin's acknowledgment that God created the first organisms? It would appear that it is you who doesn't understand the science. How can you possibly be eligible to critique anyone's scientific knowledge when you are apparently driven by religious fervor rather than logic?

So now you are shaking your fist at God and calling him names? That is called being an atheopath. Welcome to the Dawkins/Myers club of venomous rants against God. Is VRAG a good acronym? Hmmm. Has a ring to it.

As to the other anonymous, I am supposed to learn from my own blogpost? Would I not obviously know what the post is and decide to make the post because I understood what it said and wanted to make it known? One important point is that Biogenesis is a law and that Darwinists have ignored it in order to promote their religious beliefs. Renaming "spontaneous generation" and calling it "abiogenesis" is like a thief taking an alias to avoid capture. It has still been proven to never happen...and we've been testing this for literally hundreds of years!

Anonymous said...

The link that you claim shows "conclusively that Nazi Germany was pretty much the opposite of a Christian nation" does nothing of the kind. They took some Christian icons and symbols out of the schools - well heck, you'd call the US a Christian nation, and when was the last time you saw Christian symbols in a public school?

Your claim that Nazis believed in "the idea of macroevolution" is also unsupported - and directly contradicted by the banning of Darwin's books in Nazi Germany. The Nazis believed in microevolution, sure, but so does every farmer - and of course every Christian creationist, as you keep pointing out.

Nazis believed in superior and inferior races, but that is hardly non-Christian in spirit. Remember those other tribes in the OT that had to either become slaves to God's chosen people... or die? Now what theist doesn't like to think s/he's one of God's chosen people?

Incidentally, races are quite low on the taxonomic ladder and fall very much under microevolution.

Anonymous said...

"It has still been proven to never happen...and we've been testing this for literally hundreds of years!"

Not proving that it happens is not the same as proving that it never happens. Elementary logic fail, Radar.

Anonymous said...

"So now you are shaking your fist at God and calling him names?"

Maybe you should take a deep breath and wipe some of the spittle off your chin yourself. Woolf was merely pointing out that the god described in the Bible is not a rational one.

Yes, you can respond "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or whatever, but that's exactly the point: you have to admit that God's not rational, and then explain that instead.

Anonymous said...

"A guy who doesn't even understand that bacteria have a language first discovered in 1999 if not earlier?"

Having read up a little on "quorum sensing", I really don't see how one would reasonably describe it as a language. Woolf's counterpoint ("Bacteria respond to environmental stimuli. no more and no less.") appears to be entirely correct.

If you have a reasonably argued counter-argument to make, by all means make it.

Anonymous said...

"A guy who dismisses "quorum sensing" because he thinks it was found by a Discovery Institute scientist?"

Woolf didn't say anything of the kind. You're putting words in his mouth.

Anonymous said...

"It would appear that it is you who doesn't understand the science."

Read what Woolf actually said, and then argue against that with scientific arguments instead of rhetorical rants.

Woolf has repeatedly shown that he has a drastically better understanding of you in a number of fields. You can earn the right to dismiss him when you manage to respond to his long list of questions one by one instead of childishly dismissing them as "rabbit trails".

"How can you possibly be eligible to critique anyone's scientific knowledge when you are apparently driven by religious fervor rather than logic?"

Ah, the irony is delicious. You really don't see how this perfectly describes your own behavior all over this blog?

Anonymous said...

"A guy who argues against creationism by quoting Darwin's acknowledgment that God created the first organisms?"

Um, which is it:

Darwin was an atheist and invented evolution to get rid of God?

or

Darwin "acknowledged" that God created the first organisms?

Try to keep your little myths straight, will you?

Anonymous said...

Jon Wolf said:
Yeah, right. You believe in a god who created man and gave him intelligence, free will and dominion, then punished him for all eternity simply because he used those gifts. And not only him, but all his descendants, none of whom shared in the original crime because they didn't exist yet. And you call it 'rational.' Sounds more like a sadistic psychopath to me, teasing and torturing his pets and then laughing at their attempts to escape."

So you think God sadistic for giving gifts to His creatures that the creatures abuse and suffer the consequences? That sounds perfectly fair to me. God hates sin because sin destroys the sinner. The logical consequence of turning from God and using His gifts as intended is suffering. Take sex for example, look at all the pain and suffering that is caused by abusing the gift God meant for a man and women to become "one flesh". Sex was meant to cement a committed relationship that could produce new life.

We all suffer, we all die, that is why God miraculously intervened in His creation by sending Jesus to suffer for us.

I have comfort in my suffering, I have confidence my suffering will be compensated.

What compensates your suffering? DebB

Jon Woolf said...

Y'know, Deb, viewed from the outside there's a striking similarity between your "religious faith" and Stockholm syndrome.

"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." -- Marcus Cole, An'la'shok.

radar said...

I made the counter argument to him right here. Woolf has used Darwin to say God created, he has said bacteria don't have a language (clearly they do) and so he is way behind on the knowledge. He said information comes from "mutation and natural selection" which is of course ridiculous, as it doesn't even begin to answer the question. It is like asking "how are automobiles made?" and getting the answer "the highway."

The worst part isn't that Woolf didn't know bacteria have a language, it was that he thought the Discovery Institute discovered it and for that reason he rejected the idea! Ignorance + prejudice.

Anonymous said...

"So you think God sadistic for giving gifts to His creatures that the creatures abuse and suffer the consequences?"

Keep in mind that the ability to "abuse" the gifts was also one of the gifts.

Anonymous said...

"I have comfort in my suffering, I have confidence my suffering will be compensated."

There's no doubt that such a belief is comforting. That's why it was invented and why it so easily perpetuates itself.

Anonymous said...

Stockholm syndrome? Great comeback, Jon. But you didn't answer my question. What comforts you when you are suffering? When you are discouraged and alone? When a loved one dies or deserts you? What hope would you have if everything you have was taken away from you, your home your family your health?

DebB

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"There's no doubt that such a belief is comforting. That's why it was invented and why it so easily perpetuates itself."

I believe and have historical evidence my belief is true. I believe in eternal justice.

So what do you base your non-belief on? What comfort do you get for your non-belief? What eternal benefit do you receive from your non-belief? You are born, you suffer and then you die and you are no more. What are you living for?

DebB

Anonymous said...

Radar,

"He said information comes from "mutation and natural selection" which is of course ridiculous, as it doesn't even begin to answer the question."

This is one of many questions that you avoid like the plague, even right here. It's also why you're so eager to avoid an open debate on the subject of genetic algorithms between a computer engineer who is a student of yours and a computer engineer who is a commenter on this site.

There is a reasonable and intelligent discussion that can be had on this subject, but apparently you fear the outcome too much to "go where the evidence leads", "teach both sides of the controversy", allow an open discussion...

I take it you won't harp on about "Darwinists" being afraid of debate any more, the same way you'll have to abandon complaints about censorship after what you did last month.

Anonymous said...

"I believe and have historical evidence my belief is true."

What historical evidence would that be exactly?

"You are born, you suffer and then you die and you are no more. What are you living for?"

For my family, my loved ones and, in a wider sense, for humanity itself. My wife and I live to pass on the best I can to our children.

What is all this suffering you speak of, btw?

Anonymous said...

"What comforts you when you are suffering? When you are discouraged and alone? When a loved one dies or deserts you? What hope would you have if everything you have was taken away from you, your home your family your health?"

A perfect example of the wishful thinking that brings religion about in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"Woolf has used Darwin to say God created,"

Woolf quoted Darwin saying God created. Quite a different thing from "using Darwin to say God created".

I don't know in what way Woolf intended the quote, but it certainly counters your endless demonization of "Darwinists" - it's not a clear atheism/religion divide, and any talk about abiogenesis is not a strike against evolution. You need to think outside of this simplistic "us vs. them" paradigm.

Anonymous said...

"he has said bacteria don't have a language (clearly they do)"

Far from established. Note the description of the phenomenon itself: "quorum sensing". Woolf's characterization is certainly applicable, and you haven't presented any evidence otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are living for your family and all of mankind, very well but what if you lost your family and mankind treated you unjustly? It happens to people all over the world every day. I'm not wishing it on Jon or you or anybody but it is a fact that everybody suffers. I don't believe your love for your family would sustain you if you lost them all.

My historical evidence is Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection. DebB

Anonymous said...

And Jon Wolf quoted Darwin. Darwin's quote refereed to created life. If life is created then life did not create itself. So I pointed out that apparently Darwin did not (according to the quote) believe in abiogenesis. And then added why not admit that all the basic kinds of life were created with adaptation to different kinds of environments programed into the DNA? I don't think that it is a very big step from the Darwin quote. DebB

Anonymous said...

"And Jon Wolf quoted Darwin. Darwin's quote refereed to created life."

Just like I said. But he did not "use Darwin to say God created".

"So I pointed out that apparently Darwin did not (according to the quote) believe in abiogenesis."

I don't know whether Darwin did or didn't believe in abiogenesis, but it's pretty irrelevant both to the theory of evolution and to people today who do think abiogenesis is possible.

See, the theory of evolution works even if God created life in the beginning and then let it evolve. It's entirely possible that the process of evolution is God's handiwork. Actually, to someone who believes God created all of nature, that is a perfectly logical conclusion.

You should be weary of some of the propaganda being used. Your husband likes to conflate evolution and atheism and abiogenesis etc. into this thing called "Darwinism", which in turn now makes you believe it's significant that, say, Darwin wasn't an atheist etc. It strikes you as a contradiction only because of the simplistic generalizations that have been bandied around in places like this blog.

Anonymous said...

"And then added why not admit that all the basic kinds of life were created with adaptation to different kinds of environments programed into the DNA? I don't think that it is a very big step from the Darwin quote."

I mean no offense, but your thinking that that wouldn't be a very big step would be because you haven't read much about what evolution is all about from a source that isn't trying to misrepresent it.

There is no "admitting that all basic kinds of life [etc] programmed into the DNA etc." because there is no evidence that this is so. If DNA were pre-programmed and if the kinds were distinct from the very beginning, there would be certain observations one could make to confirm this. Or to disprove it. Unfortunately, any such statements so far have come down against creationism. Which is when creationists start spinning tales of conspiracies, unfortunately.

The kinds being more or less created as they are is directly contradicted by evidence both in the fossil record and in the DNA. No doubt Radar will dismiss this as propaganda, but look carefully at what he is saying and how far he is prepared to back up his statements - his denials never go beyond a very superficial level. Subject by subject, very consistently.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe your love for your family would sustain you if you lost them all."

You asked what I lived for, not what would sustain me if everything I lived for was taken away from me. And actually it is at times like that when people just as easily turn away from God rather than towards him.

In any case, I don't find your scaremongering particularly persuasive. It's pretty close to Pascal's Wager, and that's not the most effective argument. If I don't think God exists, no amount of "but what if things got really really bad" is going to persuade me. It still strikes me as a rather obvious though perfectly understandable means by which man finds comfort.

If it's any consolation to you, I and all of the many atheists I know lead perfectly virtuous lives, with the same flaws and foibles as the Christians among us. We're not demons, we don't hurt anyone, and we are happy and at ease with our beliefs. We don't "hate God". Which is why it's irritating to see hatemongers like Radar spout their occasional diatribes that paint us as the epitome of evil.

Jon Woolf said...

"I don't know in what way Woolf intended the quote,"

The same way I usually mean it when I quote that particular passage: a demonstration that the creationist chihuahuas and their incessant yapping about "Darwin the God-hater" and "Darwin the atheist" are completely clueless, and that Darwin had a better grasp of the divine spark (if such a thing exists, and he clearly believed it does) than all of them put together.

As for "quorum sensing" -- new name, but old news. It's been known for decades that bacteria can send and receive simple messages using chemicals; all this "new discovery" really means is that the messages can be a little more complicated than previously thought. But the Disco 'Tute wants you to believe it means bacteria have a language as complex and meaningful as any human language -- and that's simply a lie.

"But you didn't answer my question."

The fact that you didn't understand the answer doesn't mean that no answer was given.

radar said...

Woolf clearly said that bacteria didn't have a language and he derided the idea because it came from, in his words, "Disco Tute" because he divides science in a religious way. If a Darwinist said it, it must be true. If a ID or Creationist said it, it must be false.

Way back in 2007 Bonnie Bassler and her colleagues established that gram positive and gram negative bacteria have a language and also that there is a universal language as well. The youtube I posted with her explanations make it easily understood by anybody with a sixth grade education.

Woolf can backfill and harrumph all he wants, he said it and it was wrong. Also he used Darwin's own words to submit that God created life. Seems a bit inconsistent to me, that.

Do you know how easy it is to search the internet and find abstracts explaining bacterial language. Wouldn't a scientist at least look things up before making such a kneejerk response?

My next post on Hawking's delusional new book should raise hackles but it would be refreshing to see someone come back with evidence instead of heckling and baseless opinions and personal attacks.

Really, Stockholm Syndrome? Wow. How desperate are you to take the discussion away from the science?

Anonymous said...

"The kinds being more or less created as they are is directly contradicted by evidence both in the fossil record and in the DNA."

What exactly does the fossil record say? Every fossil you can find says "I'm a dead thing that was buried in a hurry" and all those plants and animals are very much the same as plants and animals we see today except some were bigger and some have gone extinct.

"If DNA were pre-programmed and if the kinds were distinct from the very beginning, there would be certain observations one could make to confirm this."

Exactly! What has been observed so far? We have observed that the DNA controls what the organism becomes. DebB

Anonymous said...

Also he used Darwin's own words to submit that God created life. Seems a bit inconsistent to me, that.

Only inconsistent to those who think if you believe in evolution, you are an atheist.


lava

Anonymous said...

"Woolf clearly said that bacteria didn't have a language"

Indeed he did, and to call "quorum sensing" a language (meaning the purposeful communication of meaning through symbols) is quite a stretch.

"and he derided the idea because it came from, in his words, "Disco Tute" because he divides science in a religious way. If a Darwinist said it, it must be true. If a ID or Creationist said it, it must be false."

While Woolf has said unkind word about creationists in the past, he tends to be specific about what he means, and here he has said nothing like what you are claiming. Here is the link to his comment: http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2011/02/three-for-thursday-real-scientists-do.html?showComment=1297392693460#c5038027920400520189

You're putting words in his mouth. Consistently. This is also known as lying.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what difference does it make if bacteria use a "language" anyway? It doesn't exactly prove anything as such either pro-evolution or pro-creation.

Anonymous said...

"What exactly does the fossil record say? Every fossil you can find says "I'm a dead thing that was buried in a hurry" and all those plants and animals are very much the same as plants and animals we see today except some were bigger and some have gone extinct."

It says rather more than that. Again, this is where you suffer from the fact that you have only read on the subject from sources that are trying to misrepresent it.

The plants and animals that we see in the fossil record are not all "very much the same as plants and animals we see today except some were bigger and some have gone extinct". Many were quite different from what we see today and, more importantly, they will consistently be found in layers dated at the same ages. In the most simple terms, fossils of type X (say, a brontosaurus), will very consistently only be found in rock layers of age Y. This is a state that can not possibly be explained by the global flood that YECs claim deposited the fossils all in one year, yet it is perfectly in line with modern understanding of evolution and geology.

This is a colossal problem for YEC that Radar has never been able to address, opting instead for ad hominems etc. Take a close look at his responses. They will be either non-existent or only go to a very superficial level. In the past, he has made unsupported claims of "hydrologic sorting" that appear to be made up on the spot, have no basis in research and in any case do not explain the arrangement of the fossil record.

Anonymous said...

"Exactly! What has been observed so far? We have observed that the DNA controls what the organism becomes."

That by itself does not indicate that DNA was pre-programmed, as it is just as compatible with having evolved.

To show that DNA was pre-programmed, one would need to show that it contains features that could not have evolved. So far, nothing of the kind has been found.

The notion of kinds being distinct from the beginning, as opposed to having evolved from each other, is directly contradicted for example by the existence of endogenous retroviruses.

Here are some videos that explain this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De-OkzTUDVA

http://wn.com/Irrefutable_evidence_for_evolution,_endogenous_retroviruses

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De-OkzTUDVA

Anonymous said...

Please ignore the third link, it's the same as the first. Sorry.

Jon Woolf said...

DebB: Every fossil you can find says "I'm a dead thing that was buried in a hurry" and all those plants and animals are very much the same as plants and animals we see today except some were bigger and some have gone extinct.

Hm. Interesting. Please tell us, where are the modern animals that are 'very much the same as' Anomalocaris? Or Eopachydiscus, or Ramphorhynchus, or Spinosaurus, or .... well, most of the fossils we've discovered. In fact very few fossil organisms still survive today, and relatively few modern species have also been found as fossils.

As for the 'reliability' question: do you know how many times I've investigated creationist claims and found them to be entirely accurate, from the facts being cited to the conclusions reached? I don't think it's ever happened. They're always slanted to support creationism and/or discredit evolutionary theory. So I conclude, based on a great deal of evidence, that nothing a creationist says about science is trustworthy. This is simply another example of that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jon for the anomalocaris link! Fascinating and just what I said,
(Every fossil you can find says "I'm a dead thing that was buried in a hurry" and all those plants and animals are very much the same as plants and animals we see today except some were bigger and some have gone extinct.)That creature fits the description perfectly. It is a large very complex organism that died and was preserved because it was buried in a hurry. That the researchers are having a hard time trying to classify it based on creatures that we know today does not have anything what-so-ever to do with evolution. From what did it evolve? It is now extinct as far as we know. DebB

Jon Woolf said...

"That creature fits the description perfectly."

It does?

I think you need to look again. Very carefully. See if you can find any modern organism that looks or lives anything like Anomalocaris. If you don't succeed, don't feel too bad. No one else has done it either.

Captain Stubing said...

Deb seems to be engaged in what is also known as "whistling past the graveyard".

Deb, I know this may be difficult in your household, but if you read up on the actual mainstream position on evolution and the fossil record, you could learn something - and that's not a bad thing, is it?

What Radar so pointedly ignores is that fossils very consistently only show up in certain strata - for example, once you get past certain ages in the rock layers, you will never, ever find any dinosaurs. Before certain ages in the rock layers, you will never, ever find any fossil remains of humans, though you will find progressively less human-like remains as you go back further.

In a young Earth/Noah's flood scenario, there is no explanation for this. None. Radar has taken a stab at a few (not scientifically supported) explanations, apparently freely made up, e.g. "hydrologic sorting" or body mass index or whatever. Not one of these was ever scientifically tested and, much more importantly, not one of them would explain the current sorting of the fossils. That is why Jon Woolf has been asking some of the questions that Radar nervously casts aside as "rabbit trails", e.g. why are brontosaurus and hippo never found together (I'm paraphrasing this one).

Watch carefully how Radar responds to such points. His rebuttals are skin deep and usually consist of a fallacy.

Captain Stubing said...

For example, he'll try to dismiss the entire fossil record by pointing to polystrate fossils, i.e. fossils that span more than one stratum. When pushed for examples, this claim invariably falls apart. One was shown to be a lie (the whale), and others were in strata that did not represent geological time passing at all, for example the pictures of fossil trees that Radar keeps posting without further detail as to what they represent. They were simply subject to rapid burial and do not falsify either dating methods or an old Earth.

And lest you now go "Ha! Rapid burial! Proof of Noah's Flood!" - unfortunately that's another YEC canard: rapid burial by itself also occurs under conventional geology and an old-Earth scenario, so by itself this does not prove a young Earth at all, much as YEC adherents would like it to.

Captain Stubing said...

"That the researchers are having a hard time trying to classify it based on creatures that we know today does not have anything what-so-ever to do with evolution."

Researchers aren't just trying to classify it based on creatures that we know today. They fit the creature into its context, namely the Cambrian, where Anomalocaris fits in quite nicely. So it does tie in very well with evolution.

From a creationist point of view, however, it seems this would represent yet another "kind". Which reminds me - did Noah include all the different "kinds" that we find in the fossil record on the Ark? Or just the ones we see around us today?

radar said...

Woolf DID say that bacteria do not have a language and he did make fun of the idea because he thought the Discovery Institute came up with the idea. Go back and read his comment and try to tell me otherwise. Good grief, Woolf, don't say it if you are going to later deny it.

Bacteria have languages, plural, some specific to type of bacteria and one "Esperanto" language all bacteria understand inasmuch as bacteria can understand.

As to kinds, the kinds of animals taken on the Ark were specifically land-dwelling vertebrates. The Hebrew is clear. ALL land-dwelling vertebrates would have to have been included, including birds and saurians and mammals. Clearly dinosaurs were quite common before the Flood and became increasingly uncommon afterwards until they were all killed off by mankind.

The records and drawings and figurines, etc. make it clear that dinosaurs lasted for several centuries after the Ark landed but in the changed ecosystem were less advantaged because the decreased oxygen in the atmosphere kept them from growing to immense sizes and the areas that were ideal for their existence were limited by the new climate. Mammals were far better equipped for the new ecosystem.

radar said...

Rapid speciation, which has been clearly demonstrated in recent scientific studies (you will find I have referenced these in earlier posts) allowed for every niche in the ecological cycle to be filled by a mammal. Dinosaurs and most marsupials did not make it to modern times. Live-breeding mammals have done quite nicely. Interestingly enough, bottom-dwelling sea creatures have not changed much and neither have insects, other than typical sizes are smaller in adult specimens. Plant life has remained much the same and so have bacteria. There are large numbers of kinds of creatures that are identical or very similar to those preserved in fossil form by the Flood event.

There is now a University that teaches Flood geology using the Grand Canyon as a teaching tool. The canyon alone has enough anomalies to falsify the long-age hypothesis.

This recent snowstorm was interesting in that we saw more than a dozen layers produced in the snow in less than 24 hours. Once the melt began, ripples of some layers were revealed as much of the snow converted directly to gas. Also, the sides of the driveway looked like miniature Grand Canyon walls, with smaller and larger layers revealed in them as the melt began. I think those who choose not to believe in the Flood are simply not willing to research.

Jon Woolf said...

"Interestingly enough, bottom-dwelling sea creatures have not changed much and neither have insects, other than typical sizes are smaller in adult specimens. Plant life has remained much the same and so have bacteria. There are large numbers of kinds of creatures that are identical or very similar to those preserved in fossil form by the Flood event."

All of this is nonsense, Radar. Benthic faunas, insects, plant life, even bacteria, in most cases there are huge differences between fossil versions and modern life. Nothing now living remotely resembles a eurypterid, for example. Or Anomalocaris. Or Opabinia. Or trilobites, or ammonoids, or ostracoderms...

"... most marsupials did not make it to modern times."

Except in Australia/New Guinea, where they dominate the land faunas. The only placental mammals in Australia are those that could swim, fly, or hitch a ride with humans. Speaking of which, just how did stupid, slow marsupials like koalas and wombats and platypuses and echidnas travel from the Ark's landing place in the Middle East to Australia -- which just happens to be the only region on Earth that also produces large numbers of related fossil animals -- yet not go anywhere else, even to equally suitable habitats in the Americas, or leave any traces of their passage along the way?

"ALL land-dwelling vertebrates would have to have been included, including birds and saurians and mammals."

More than 6000 species of amphibians. More than 8000 species of reptiles. More than 10,000 species of birds. About 5500 species of mammals. All fitting into about 90,000 square feet of space, plus food and drink for a year, plus living spaces, sanitary arrangements, et cetera.

That's just the ones that still live today, mind you. You can double or triple the space required for the dinosaurs, the giant mammals like Indricotherium, the therapsids, the synapsids, the giant crocodilians like Phobosuchus, the super-size snakes like Titanoboa.

And you say evolution is magic?!

If your current gig is a casualty of the depression, Radar, never fear. You'll always be able to get a job doing stand-up.