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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Critical thinking, foundational worldviews and the sound of ducks quacking.

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Critical thinking is NOT thinking that I am wrong and then saying something critical about me. 

Sticks and stones, you know?  But it is disappointing that after presenting a post about Stephen Jay Gould's Non-overlapping Magisteria concept aka NOMA including his own arguments for that viewpoint and then a follow up with a thoughtful criticism of the modern educational system made by a man with both a doctorate and many decades of experience in teaching and preaching and being in leadership and the comments thread goes kinda like this:

"Warning: This post is of primary interest to people who believe in God." (my words)

Jon Woolf said... 

 Which one? One of the many lords of the Light, such as Ra, Osiris, Ahura Mazda, Brahma, Vishnu, Apollo? One of the Dark Path deities, such as Kali Ma, Angra Mainyu, Set, Tiamat, Loki? Lesser deities such as Anubis, Coyote, Mistress Pele? Lords of warfare and destruction like Thor and Ares? Masters of justice like Zeus and Odin?
4:44 PM
Delete
Anonymous "Anonymous said...
@Jon Woolf: You forgot the Invisible Pink Unicorn (Blessed Be Her Holy Hooves)."
Wow, really? 

You guys start to sound like an assortment of ducks upon being disturbed - Quackquackquackquack

You toss a rock in the pond?   Quackquackquackquack

Cast a fishing line near them?  Quackquackquackquack

You walk towards a few of them who are near the shore?  Quackquackquackquack

Makes no sense and it gets monotonous.   Quackquackquackquack

 quack


There was another guy who asked me to point out just one piece of evidence of creation that I had posted on this blog?   That is like asking someone in the Great Lakes Region of the USA if they have ever seen snow?!  The most common subject of this blog has been evidence for creation.  Here are just a few covered topics:

  1. The Bible as an historical account.
  2. The need for a First Cause for the Universe.
  3. The presence of information everywhere in all organisms.
  4. The problem of finding even one natural source for information.
  5. The irreducible complexity of myriad structures and processes and systems and symbiotic relationships in living organisms.
  6. The problem of a natural source or even clear definition for the "spark of life."
  7. The multiple reasons why the sedimentary rock records are the mute evidence of the Noahic Flood event.
  8. The chirality problem inherent in DNA.
  9. The necessity of meta-information preexistent in any cell before replication can take place.
  10. The fact that the mother lays out the framework for the child, making an absolute barrier against macroevolution but providing for the continuation of the kind of organism.
  11. The preexisting information within cells needed for replication from which "choices without intellect" provide for the continuation of the kind through speciation.  Natural Selection is a design feature of molecular machines brilliantly designed by God to address contingencies and redundancies.
  12. The lack of evidence for a means of inspiring or causing organisms to evolve in Darwinist fashion.
  13. The lack of any observed and documented macroevolution ever anywhere.
  14. The long record of lies promoted by Darwinists that brings their every statement into question.
  15. The discovery of a common ancestry for all so-called races of mankind.
  16. The genealogical records of the cultures of the world which tend to support the Bible account.
  17. The Flood Myths that tend to support the Bible account.
  18. The study of  ancient documents that support other important Bible events such as the existence of Abraham and Joseph and the Jews in Egypt along with the Babel event and various kings and kingdoms recorded only in the Bible and later found by Archaeologists.
  19. Facilitated Variation and Genetic Redundancy (hey, two for one).
  20. The existence of historical records of man and dinosaur found in church documents, town documents, literary accounts, eyewitness accounts of individuals and hundreds of place-names derived from either dinosaur sightings or encounters or fights.
  21. The vast number of paintings and drawings and carvings and figurines depicting dinosaurs by people from antiquity up to within 500 years of today or less.
Twenty-one topics is a start.   There are other evidences for creation I have presented.   Trolls insult your intelligence by empty taunts with all the style and wit of grade schoolers.   Ignore those guys.   Think about the subjects presented and try to think about them critically...I will even give you one for free! 

Sadly, the profession of journalist has gone downhill rapidly in the last few decades.  What passes for reporting now would have been consigned to the editorial page (or the circular file) in the days I was matriculating my way through journalism school.  We were taught that journalism was all about getting the facts and separating them from the quotes and then presenting them in a logical order according to their importance and relevance and the audience for whom you were presenting the article.  One of my teachers, Mr. Brady, always reminded us that "Opinion is for the editorial page, keep your opinion to yourself and present the facts."   Now it is hard to find news sources that don't spin everything...Journalistic integrity is gone.  This blog is an opinion piece/editorial style of blog but I admit to it and even proclaim it, I do not pretend to be a neutral observer reporting on a news story.

Academic integrity is also hard to find.  It is hard to find people who teach who actually recognize that they have their own worldview which is NOT part of the curriculum.   Would the worldviews of teacher and students make for some interesting conversation?  Yep.  But if the point of the class is to transmit the worldview rather than the curriculum, then that teacher is not educating, he or she is propagandizing. 

How many readers understand that the point of the previous post was to illustrate how our fast-food culture has produced a generation of numbots who accept whatever they are "fed" in school no matter how well supported by evidence and hurry off to text yet another friend in an increasingly shallow and purposeless existence in which immediate gratification trumps long-term goal orientation?   We are raising a generation of people whose abbreviated text languages represent their reduced attention spans and tolerance for concept analysis.    Do you know what "hru" means?  How about "ttyl?"  

Again, I do not agree at all with Gould's NOMA hypothesis, but I do love his quote:   


"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny — and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)."  — Stephen Jay Gould


For this reason I made a statement that I had to some extent a superior worldview to that of many commenters.  Not because of the content, but because of context and process; in other words, my worldview has been under my constant and critical scrutiny since my grade school days and has undergone radical changes over the years.   I was a grade-school brainiac who read Ayn Rand and passed out Goldwater campaign literature and was both class president, debate champion and runner-up to the winner of the school chess tournament.  I later became a sports nut who played pretty much any sport common to North America and an outspoken supporter of Robert Kennedy.   That version of me was Darwinist all the way...and years of experimentation with drugs and philosophies and powers didn't change that even as I became a Christian.  But after becoming a Christian I decided to investigate Darwinism and found it wanting in substance and coherence and evidence.  But this was a result of study and research and many, many hours of intentional investigation.


“If you whole-heartedly believe in a theory, you will always be able to sustain that belief—even in the face of contradictory evidence—by adding a rescue hypothesis to that theory."  Dr. Carl Werner

A worldview that is safeguarded within a safety-deposit-box mind becomes as outdated and irrelevant as last year's calendar.   But a worldview that adjusts over time as the owner learns more facts and comprehends new concepts remains fresh.   How can you respect your own point of view if you yourself do not even test it?  That is as unwise as the State agencies that ignored the result of structural integrity checks on a bridge that then collapsed in 2007 after being first classified as "structurally deficient" back in 1990!

 oops

"The I-35W Mississippi River bridge (officially known as Bridge 9340) was an eight-lane, steel truss arch bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. During the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, it suddenly collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145." 


You cannot afford to endanger your life because you do not audit your own worldview. Too many people have determined to believe in something no matter what and often what they get is a fairy-tale in place of fact-based belief system.  Maybe one of the commenters thinks that belief in a Creator God is as silly as belief in a Unicorn but even THAT makes more sense than thinking that nothing created everything by no means for no purpose.  *Poof* is not an explanation and yet for the cause of the Universe the Darwinist gives you *poof* and for life he will give you *poof* and for information he'll suggest *poof* and no matter what the package it comes in or how many bows with which it is wrapped, *poof* is all Darwinists have to give us.


Guess what?  An all-powerful Creator is the only possible source of *poof*!  Jesus could call Lazarus and the dead man came back to life and walked out of his tomb.   Jesus could tell a man born lame to get up and walk and that man would get up.   Jesus turned water into wine at the site of a wedding feast.   Many witnesses saw that the Son of God could use *poof*, whereas blind chance is helpless to accomplish anything useful.

God could tell us that He spoke the world into existence and you understand that only He could do it.  *Poof*
God wanted light?  *Poof*   God wanted the Red Sea to part?  *Poof*

*Poof* is the supernatural ability of a Creator God to command the reality He has created.   It is not in the toolbox of nothing.  Nothing cannot have a toolbox.  In fact, without a Creator God there is not even a nothing.   There is not even an "is."  Nothing cannot make something, but a Superior and Supernatural God can and will do as He wills with His own creation. 

I challenge you to challenge yourself and your own worldview and to subject it to scrutiny.   I challenge you to keep learning as you go through these years of temporal existence.   If you think your education began and ended at the doors of a school you have been sadly mistaken.   Every moment of this life is an opportunity to learn or grow or do something worthwhile.   Most of us waste most of those moments and they are never going to come back to you.  I spend more time researching and reading and intentionally exposing myself to ideas than some folks because I never want to quit learning.  I don't want to be the person who cannot explain what he believes and why he believes it.   It is shocking how many people cannot defend their belief systems and resort to anger or mockery when challenged because they cannot use reasoning.   

I believe the God of the Bible created all things because it is logical and is supported by the evidence of the Bible and the best analysis of the evidence presented by the Earth and the Solar System and the stars.   Organisms show clear evidence of being designed with molecular hardware and both software and operating systems already present within.  I believe Darwinist scientists have been lying for many decades about evidence, and we have plenty of examples of that, but also much has been hidden.   I read an article yesterday that asserts that 432 different species of mammals have been found in "dinosaur rock" layers and that there are specific instances of Darwinists relabeling organisms found encased in rock to support their hypothesis when it is obvious that the organism is unchanged and alive today - the Purple Heart Urchin, for one.   In fact, allow me to end with presenting more evidence for creation:

Living fossils: a powerful argument for creation


Don Batten interviews Dr Carl Werner, author of Living Fossils (Evolution: the Grand Experiment vol. 2)

Dr Werner
Dr Werner

Dr Werner graduated from the University of Missouri with distinction in biology (summa cum laude). He received his doctoral degree in medicine at the age of 23 and practices emergency medicine in St Louis.

Dr Werner explained what living fossils are and why he became so interested in them, collecting photographs of these fossils over the last 14 years:

“Living fossils are fossilized animals and plants that look similar to modern organisms. I became interested in living fossils as a tool to test evolution.”

“There are basically two models of how life came about: The evolution model suggests that chemicals coalesced and formed a living single-cell almost four billion years ago and then this changed over long periods of time into all other living things. Examples of evolutionary changes include a dinosaur into a bird, or a four-legged land mammal into a whale. The other model, creation, suggests that an external supernatural being (God) created all of the various types of animals and plants at once, and these organisms have changed little over time, other than variations within a basic type.”

Dr Werner’s use of ‘type’ is similar to the biblical use of the word ‘kind’ in Genesis. For example, an animal can change, but only within its kind, such as a wolf into a dog—not radical change such as a four-legged mammal into a whale.1
 
Dr Werner continued, “Living fossils provided me a simple way to test evolution. If evolution did not occur (animals did not change significantly over time) and if all of the animals and plants were created at one time and lived together (humans, dinosaurs, oak trees, roses, cats, wolves, etc), then one should be able to find fossils of at least some modern animals and modern plants alongside dinosaurs in the rock layers. I set out to test this idea without any foreknowledge of any modern organisms in the rock layers. My results (as laid out in the book & video Living Fossils) showed that many modern animals and plants are found with dinosaurs—far more than I ever expected to find.”

Contrary to popular belief, modern types of birds have been found [in ‘dinosaur rock’] including: parrots, owls, penguins, ducks, loons, albatross, cormorants, sandpipers, avocets, etc.

Dr Werner and his wife Debbie travelled over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) and took 60,000 photographs as they filmed the television series Evolution: The Grand Experiment. (Episode 2 of this series, Living Fossils, reveals exactly what they found.) They focused on fossils found in dinosaur rock layers, and compared these fossils to modern animals and plants.

“We looked only at fossils found in the dinosaur dig sites so that scientists who support evolution could not suggest that the fossils we looked at were not ‘old’. All of the fossils we used for comparisons were found in dinosaur rock layers (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous).”

Many modern animals in dinosaur rock!

I asked Carl just how many modern types of animals he had found in the dinosaur rock layers.

“We found fossilized examples from every major invertebrate animal phylum living today including: arthropods (insects, crustaceans etc.), shellfish, echinoderms (starfish, crinoids, brittle stars, etc.), corals, sponges, and segmented worms (earthworms, marine worms).

“The vertebrates—animals with backbones such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals—show this same pattern.”

Modern fish, amphibians and reptiles

“Cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays), boney fish (such as sturgeon, paddlefish, salmon, herring, flounder and bowfin) and jawless fish (hagfish and lamprey) have been found in the dinosaur layers and they look the same as modern forms.

“Modern-looking frogs and salamanders have been found in dinosaur dig sites.

“All of today’s reptile groups have been found in the dinosaur layers and they look the same or similar to modern forms: Snakes (boa constrictor), lizards (ground lizards and gliding lizards), turtles (box turtles, soft-shelled turtles), and crocodilians (alligators, crocodiles and gavials).”

Modern birds

“Contrary to popular belief, modern types of birds have been found, including: parrots, owls, penguins, ducks, loons, albatross, cormorants, sandpipers, avocets, etc. When scientists who support evolution disclosed this information during our TV interviews it appears that they could hardly believe what they were saying on camera.”

Mammals

“At the dinosaur dig sites, scientists have found many unusual extinct mammal forms such as the multituberculates2 but they have also found fossilized mammals that look like squirrels, possums, Tasmanian devils, hedgehogs, shrews, beavers, primates, and duck-billed platypus. I don’t know how close these mammals are to the modern forms because I was not able to see most of these, even after going to so many museums.”

Paleontologists have found 432 mammal species in the dinosaur layers; almost as many as the number of dinosaur species. … But where are these fossils? We visited 60 museums but did not see a single complete mammal skeleton from the dinosaur layers displayed at any of these museums. This is amazing.

“Few are aware of the great number of mammal species found with dinosaurs. Paleontologists have found 432 mammal species in the dinosaur layers;3 almost as many as the number of dinosaur species. These include nearly 100 complete mammal skeletons. But where are these fossils? We visited 60 museums but did not see a single complete mammal skeleton from the dinosaur layers displayed at any of these museums. This is amazing. Also, we saw only a few dozen incomplete skeletons/single bones of the 432 mammal species found so far. Why don’t the museums display these mammal fossils and also the bird fossils?”

Many modern plants in dinosaur rock!

“In the dinosaur rock layers, we found fossils from every major plant division living today including: flowering plants, ginkgos, cone trees, moss, vascular mosses, cycads, and ferns. Again, if you look at these fossils and compare them to modern forms, you will quickly conclude that the plants have not changed. Fossil sequoias, magnolias, dogwoods, poplars and redwoods, lily pads, cycads, ferns, horsetails etc. have been found at the dinosaur digs.”

Fossil sea urchin
Fossil sea urchin
Living sea urchin
Living sea urchin

Were any modern organisms not found?

“I did not find fossils of every organism living today in the dinosaur layers, rather I found representative examples from all of the major animal phyla living today and all of the major plant divisions living today. Taking it one step further, within these bigger groups, I frequently found representatives of all of the major groups or classes within a phylum. For example, for echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins, etc.) I found fossils of all of the major types living today. Same with the insects and the crocodilians, etc. I did not find any large mammals. The largest mammal discovered in a dinosaur layer so far (live size) is 30 pounds (13 kg). Nevertheless, with so many living fossils, both plants and animals, from all of the major phyla and all of the major plant divisions, it points to stasis (lack of change), not evolution. I should also note that if you look at the serious problems with the fossil layer system (the geological column as presented by geologists today), the absence of the bigger mammals can easily be accounted for, but I will save this for a later day.”

Evolutionary story telling ‘unsinkable’?

I asked Dr Werner how evolutionary scientists deal with this evidence, given these remarkable findings. Dr Werner remarked, “If you whole-heartedly believe in a theory, you will always be able to sustain that belief—even in the face of contradictory evidence—by adding a rescue hypothesis to that theory. For example, if a scientist believes in evolution and sees fossils that look like modern organisms at the dinosaur digs, he/she might invent an hypothesis to ‘explain’ living fossils this way: ‘Yes I believe that animals have changed greatly over time (evolution), but some animals and plants were so well adapted to the environment that they did not need to change. So I am not bothered at all by living fossils.’ This added hypothesis says that some animals did not evolve. But if a theory can be so flexible, adding hypotheses that predict the opposite of your main theory, one could never disprove the theory. The theory then becomes unsinkable, and an unsinkable theory is not science.”

Different names for the same animal?

Carl related how evolutionary scientists give fossils different genus and species names from the living forms, creating the illusion of evolution: “Let me give you an example. A scientist found a fossil sea urchin in Cretaceous rock that looks nearly identical to a modern Purple Heart sea urchin, but assigned it to a completely new genus (Holaster). If you saw that creature alive in the ocean you would recognize it as a Purple Heart sea urchin (genus Spatangus). The different name suggests that sea urchins have changed over time, but this is contrived ‘evidence’ for evolution. The fossil looks the same as the living one.” (See photos right).

Evolution disproved?

I asked Dr Werner if his study disproved evolution.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for the evolutionary model to stand in the face of this great number of living fossils. Adding the many other problems with evolution (fossil record, origin of first life, geological layering problems, similarities of non-related animals, etc.), you can declare with confidence that yes, the theory is finished. If a few larger mammals were found in the dinosaur layers, it should be over even for the die-hard believers of evolution, but people tend to go to their grave with the theories they learned in college. A new generation might well look at all of this and ask, ‘What were they thinking?’ ”

Further reading

References

  1. Sarfati, J., Variation and natural selection versus evolution, Refuting Evolution chapter 2; creation.com/rech2 
  2. They were a rodent-like order of mammals, named after their teeth (multiple rows of bumps, or tubercles, on their molars). 
  3. See Kielan-Jaworowska, Z., Kielan, Cifelli, R.L. and Luo, Z.X., Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure, Columbia University Press, NY, 2004. Return to text.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Compare:

"Critical thinking is NOT thinking that I am wrong and then saying something critical about me."

and

"You guys start to sound like an assortment of ducks upon being disturbed - Quackquackquackquack

You toss a rock in the pond? Quackquackquackquack

Cast a fishing line near them? Quackquackquackquack

You walk towards a few of them who are near the shore? Quackquackquackquack

Makes no sense and it gets monotonous. Quackquackquackquack"

Jon Woolf said...

Makes no sense and it gets monotonous.

I'm going to guess you've always had a difficult time with the concept of 'reductio ad absurdum.'

I probably shouldn't have said anything ... but your pomposity on the subject of religion is irresistibly needle-able, to anyone who knows anything about the history of human religions. Humans have worshipped hundreds of different gods in dozens of different pantheons. What makes yours any more likely to be The One True God than any other? Other than what others have told you about him, which of course is completely unreliable, whether it was said yesterday or written down two thousand years ago.

Jon Woolf said...

Now, on the subject of this post:

I read an article yesterday that asserts that 432 different species of mammals have been found in "dinosaur rock" layers

This article's claims are partly true, partly untrue, and partly true-but-irrelevant.

It's almost true that 'individuals of every phylum' have been identified in rocks from the late Mesozoic ('the Age of Dinosaurs'). Of the 90-odd recognized extant phyla, at least 80 have some kind of fossil record, and virtually all of those do go back as far as the late Mesozoic. You can even get away with saying that all living classes of organisms (mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.) have known Mesozoic representatives, and be more or less right. But it's a long, long way from that taxonomic level to claiming that modern species have been found in Mesozoic rock layers.

For one thing, on the geologic time scale the 'Age of Dinosaurs' lasted 185,000,000 years. Tyrannosaurus rex lived closer in time to us than to Archaeopteryx. It's pure deception to suggest that, because a lot of mammals are known from Cretaceous rocks (circa 140-65 million years ago, or MYA), that there were modern placental mammals throughout the entire Mesozoic Era, as far back as 250 MYA.

Jon Woolf said...

...and that there are specific instances of Darwinists relabeling organisms found encased in rock to support their hypothesis when it is obvious that the organism is unchanged and alive today - the Purple Heart Urchin, for one.

This claim is quite simply a lie, a false statement made with intent to deceive.

Carl Werner claimed: "A scientist found a fossil sea urchin in Cretaceous rock that looks nearly identical to a modern Purple Heart sea urchin, but assigned it to a completely new genus (Holaster). If you saw that creature alive in the ocean you would recognize it as a Purple Heart sea urchin (genus Spatangus)."

You would, probably I would -- but you and I aren't experts in Echinoidea, the group to which sea-urchins belong. Actually, to my eye there are differences between the two pictured animals, the most obvious one being in the pattern of pores within the five 'arms' of the star shape. Echinoid classification makes a great deal of the size, shape, and placement of various openings and pores in the exoskeleton. If an echinoid expert looked at those and said 'they are different genera,' he'd have reasons to back up that classification.

Likewise with other groups: Werner claims that he found "boa constrictors" in the Mesozoic, and therefore snakes haven't changed since the Mesozoic. The Boidae (boas and their relatives) are considered among the most primitive of snakes partly because there's been little significant anatomical change in them since the Late Cretaceous. (Of course, there are other reasons -- like the fact that boas have visible external remnants of their limbs.) However, the vast majority of living snake species belong to groups that first appear in Cenozoic rocks, including all the extant venomous snakes -- all the cobras, rattlesnakes, vipers, sea snakes, etc.

Werner: "At the dinosaur dig sites, scientists have found many unusual extinct mammal forms such as the multituberculates2 but they have also found fossilized mammals that look like squirrels, possums, Tasmanian devils, hedgehogs, shrews, beavers, primates, and duck-billed platypus."

Taxonomists don't pay off on "looks like." If an animal doesn't have the entire suite of features that identifies it as, say, a beaver, then it ain't a beaver.

Werner: "Paleontologists have found 432 mammal species in the dinosaur layers; almost as many as the number of dinosaur species. … But where are these fossils? We visited 60 museums but did not see a single complete mammal skeleton from the dinosaur layers displayed at any of these museums. This is amazing."

No, it's not. Museums never put rare or scientifically valuable specimens on public display. Complete or nearly-complete Mesozoic mammal skeletons are so rare that every one is precious.

Anonymous said...

I will give Werner credit for this much: Mesozoic mammals are among the fossil groups that are standing jokes among paleo-taxonomists because past workers were so loose in their assignments of new species and genera. A great many fossil-mammal taxa are now considered nomen dubium (name doubtful), because they were originally defined based on inadequate material such as scattered teeth. But the rules on classification have been tightened up considerably in the last fifty years, and most of the recent work in fossil Mammalia is much better.

Jon Woolf said...

(Oops, the comment just above is also mine - forgot to sign it.)

Anonymous said...

The fact that the mother lays out the framework for the child, making an absolute barrier against macroevolution but providing for the continuation of the kind of organism.

Lines like this make me think you don't understand the theory of evolution at all.

lava

Anonymous said...

"Lines like this make me think you don't understand the theory of evolution at all. "

There is ample evidence to support that conclusion throughout this blog.