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[P]
An open challenge to Creationists.

By kitten in Op-Ed
Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:12:09 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

The evolution vs creationism quibble has been a particular favorite area of debate for me for about five years now. During this time, I always had a sense of something being wrong - something more fundamental (excuse the pun) than the ideas being discussed. There was something very strange about the creationist argument, and it wasn't until recently that I finally realized what it was.


I've never heard a creationist argument. Never. Not once.

Not one article I've read by a creationist, not one creationist I've spoken with, has ever come forth with an argument in favor of their position; rather, they focus entirely on knocking down evolution. Instead of pro-Creation arguments, they offer only anti-evolution arguments. When we get down to it, the only argument is "I believe in Creationism because evolution is wrong about this, this, and that."

Ladies and gentlemen, I find this to be unacceptable.

The evolution theory - whether or not you agree with it - stands completely on its own and is utterly self-contained; it does not rely on the discredit of another "theory" to be understood.

Creationism, on the other hand, seems to rely soley on "disproving" evolution. It offers no positive arguments for itself, only negative arguments for the opposition.

The concept of evolution is not "Creationism is wrong", so why is the Creationist argument nothing more than "Evolution is wrong"?

After some research online, I was humbled - but not surprised - that I was, of course, not the first person to observe this. I stumbled across this radio debate in 1990 between a Frank Zindler, atheist and former professor of both biology and geology, and Duane Gish, noted Creationist and vice president of the Institute for Creation Science, and moderated by the host of the talk show, Jim Bleikamp. Gish himself was unable to support creationism. A few interesting quotes:
Zindler: Yeah, wait a minute, I'm afraid Dr Gish has strayed off into the wrong debate. ...Instead of defending creationism he tries to attack evolution.

Bleikamp: I must say as the moderator of this program, so far I haven't heard any evidence for defense of creationism. Let's hear it.

And later,

Bleikamp: We'll go to the calls shortly. Duane Gish, I must say twenty-six minutes or so into the program and after repeated invitations to do so, I'm still waiting to hear some kind of a defense of creationism.
That's right. Half an hour of debate, and the vice president of arguably the most prestigious "creation science" institution couldn't construct an argument for his own position.

And so, my challenge to you:

Under the following rules, construct a positive argument in defense of creationism.

.Stipulations.

1. Construct your argument as positive statements for creationism, not negative statements against evolution.
Science freely admits there are problems with the evolutionary model. This is why there are evolutionary scientists that continue to study the phenomenon.
Off the top of my head, I could write pages about evolution without once saying "and therefore creationism is wrong" (or like-minded phrases), but I won't, because literally hundreds of people more educated than I have done so in the past 100+ years. Can you do the same with creationism?

2. No attacking Charles Darwin.
Many creationists go after Darwin like a drowning man goes after air. Darwin was not the be-all and end-all of evolutionary science. He merely laid out some of the groundwork, and since then, there has been over a century of supporting evidence discovered and literature published, and still the study continues.
Attacking evolution (which creationists shouldn't be doing in the first place) by picking holes in Darwin's ideas is like deciding a building is ugly by standing in the basement.
(Some people are apparently also unaware that Alfred Wallace - on the other side of the planet and fully independant of Darwin - had simultaneously come to the same conclusions of evolution and natural selection.)

3. References to faith are not fair game.
If your listeners are not already convinced, a faith argument is useless. One must already have faith in order for a faith argument to mean anything.

4. It is for you to provide evidence for your argument, not for your listener to disprove it.
A favorite tactic of creationists is to say, "you can't prove I'm wrong, therefore my theory is just as good as yours."
The burden of proof always lies on the postulant, not on the listener. I can make any outlandish claim I like - say, magic invisbile noncorporeal elves that cause rain. Will you accept this as a reasonable alternative to observed facts merely because my claim can't actually be disproven? Do you believe elves exist simply because you can't prove that they don't exist?


That's it. I feel that these criteria are fair - the evolutionary argument has no problem with these, so I don't see that it is asking too much of creationists to adhere to these stipulations as well.

I look forward to seeing the results.

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An open challenge to Creationists. | 1020 comments (1011 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1, obviously loaded question (3.75 / 40) (#1)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:37:38 AM EST

So in other words, discount anything that could possibly count as evidence for creationism and then laugh at the poor silly religious people? This approach is shit when Dawkins does it and it's shit now.

I might as well "challenge" you to construct an argument for evolution which doesn't assume the validity of the scientific method. Then we would all laugh at you.

It is not exactly a secret that people who believe in creationism do so because of their religious faith. So why do you think it such an achievement to prove that this is the case, or such a devastating argument against anything in the world? You seem to ignore the fact that your argument is totally reversible: you say that "If your listeners are not already convinced, a faith argument is useless. One must already have faith in order for a faith argument to mean anything.", while ignoring the fact that if you *do* have faith, a faith argument is perfectly all right. And there is no very obvious reason why the creationists ought to care about these putative "listeners"; after all, you're challenging them, not them challenging you. If what you're after is some sort of personal validation -- a Gold Star, or a Merit Badge in the Skeptic's Society, then consider this to be it. But I really think you ought to grow up a bit and move onto something that matters in the world.

What is perhaps more of a mystery is why people who are totally unaffected by what other people believe about events which took place a million years ago are so concerned with "challenging" each other. Perhaps somebody could come up with an evolutionary explanation of *that*

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Scientific method is not "faith". (3.60 / 10) (#2)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:45:10 AM EST

I might as well "challenge" you to construct an argument for evolution which doesn't assume the validity of the scientific method. Then we would all laugh at you.

The scientific method has allowed us to formulate various laws and theories that allow us to predict outcome of events - given enough data - with certainty. That, in and of itself, shows that adherence to the scientific method is much more than "faith".


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
wrong (2.72 / 11) (#9)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:34:06 AM EST

That, in and of itself, shows that adherence to the scientific method is much more than "faith".

No, it shows that it is more scientific than faith. In order to prove that science was a better way of getting your beliefs than faith, you would need a third, independent standard of judgement.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Or not. (4.00 / 9) (#15)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:09:21 AM EST

In order to prove that science was a better way of getting your beliefs than faith, you would need a third, independent standard of judgement.

Says who?
In this case, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. The scientific method has proven itself to be a reliable method of comphrehending the way things work, to the point where we can use it to predict the outcome of events - given enough data - without fail. But I repeat myself.
Faith, on the other hand, does not. You may have all the faith in the world that water boils at 73 degrees Farenheit, but the scientific method is a reliable way to conclude that in fact, it boils at 212 F.
When I heat water to 212 degrees, I don't have "faith" that it will boil. I *know* it will boil.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Quit being ridiculous (3.37 / 8) (#22)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:23:24 AM EST

Are you intentionally being obtuse? Nobody would seriously suggest that the boiling temperature of water is a matter for which a faith-based belief is appropriate.

Faith is a means of approaching questions that science cannot answer, such as why there is a universe.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Why ask why? (4.37 / 8) (#30)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:32:07 AM EST

Science doses not attempt to answer "why" there is a universe. However, creationists argue that they know "how" the universe was created, and point to their "faith" as evidence.

And here lays the reason why I pity creationist. They sit on a vast well of thought and ideas to explain why the universe came into being and our place in it. But so far, all they can do, if vainly argue with irrefutable evidence. Who is being obtuse again?

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
specifics would be nice (2.83 / 12) (#34)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:39:46 AM EST

Perhaps you would care to say what specific creationist claims you have a problem with, rather than arguing against the least defensible versions of the position and assuming they are good for all.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Penalty: Off sides (4.12 / 8) (#63)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:28:26 AM EST

Why should I? Attacking the weakest point, then claming the whole sha-bang is wrong as a result, is usually a creationist point of view. The theory of evolution stands independent from any thing mentioned in the bible, their fore there is no need to attack any thing held within the bible. From the scientific standpoint, it is just irrelevant.

As a Roman Catholic, I find that the reverse is also true. The theory of evolution is irrelevant to the Lord's define wisdom, or to the purpose of the universe and our reasons for existence. From the standpoint of reverences and faith, evolution is irrelevant.

This in my opinion allows for the best of both worlds. Having command over science and technology, allowing us to innovate and explore our world to the limits of our abilities, while still retaining that human aspect that allows us to stair at a rain-bow or smell the fragrance of a rose. And yes, even to love Jesus Christ as our savor, and not just think of him as some unlucky philosopher that got himself nailed to a tree.

Unfortunately, creationist seemed to have doomed themselves to the worst of both worlds. For a creationists "faith" to remain intact, he must deal with the "lies" of those heathen blasphemers we commonly call scientists. To do this, they try to dress up their faith as science, then try to throw the benefits of science into the junk can. The only way creation can ever be accepted by the masses, is to silence the far more plausible and logical explanations presented by evolution for the origins of the universe. While they do this, they forget about the value of the rainbow and the rose because their faith is out their gallivanting at "the truth."

Let me paint it this way.

If one scientist give another scientist a botanical sample, than the other scientist can only examine it as a specimen representing the plant kingdom. Nothing more. Two robots can easily do this.

But if a man should give a woman a rose, it is a sign of his affection for her. Nothing less. Only humans can do that.

Now tell me. Why would a person of such profound faith, want to take something as profound as the Lord's Word, and dumb it down to nothing more than technical babble that isn't even applicable to the real world? Especially when it is capable of far more and a much higher and more profound level of being? Why would you throw away the rose, only to hold a specimen?

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
and I count .... (2.11 / 9) (#66)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:33:08 AM EST

... no specific examples, ladies and gentlemen. In other news:

The theory of evolution stands independent from any thing mentioned in the bible

The theory of creation stands independent from anything mentioned in the bible; ask any Zoroastrian.

Doesn't change the fact that to bait and switch by challenging "creationists" but then actually arguing against one kind of Christian Creation Scientists is a pretty shoddy trick.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

How gullible do you think I am? (4.12 / 8) (#75)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:55:08 AM EST

[The theory of creation stands independent from anything mentioned in the bible; ask any Zoroastrian.]

Please do not insult my intelligence. The "theory" of creation is based solely and wholly on Geneses. There are plenty of other creation stories (Geneses has two) but none of the other Religions are currently voting in state school boards to "de-emphasize" evolution, as well as geology, cosmology, natural history, biology, and physics. I only see Fundamentalist Christians trying to argue that evolution is wrong, and Genesis is actual way it happened. Who was it that came up with the term "Creation Science?" It wasn't the Hindus.

This thread is indeed a challenge to Christians to produce an argument to support their position without attacking evolution. So far, this has failed to materialize, but the attacks on evolution have flourished. A sound demonstration of just how scientifically bankrupt creation truly is. If you find this a problem for your faith, than only you can deal with it. My church has already delete with this issue a long time ago and we have done this by NOT taking the bible as the literal truth.

And when I myself try to offer argument to this effect, your response is to hackle me for doing so. A signal that your arguments are beginning to grow week, assuming that you ever had a position to begin with.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
you lie (2.44 / 9) (#77)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:05:27 AM EST

The article does not mention the word "Christian" even once. It attacks Duane Gish by name, but the challenge is not confined to members of Gish's specific tendency. If you are not prepared to argue against a believer in intelligent design who does not believe in the literal truth of Genesis, you should not pretend that you are.

It is also not the case that the comments in the thread have chiefly been taken up with attacks on evolution; most of them are entirely concerned with the case for intelligent design. Nobody happens to have stood up with the feedlines for whatever you cut and pasted out of the "Biblical Literalist" section of the talk.origins FAQ, but that is your problem.

I would also point out that the original challenge did not suggest in any way that your objections to creationists disappear if those creationists do not stand for school boards. Bait and switch tactics.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Sigh... (3.00 / 3) (#83)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:20:35 AM EST

I think Code Name D should realize whom he's talking to. Trolls sometimes are a marker; when you see them concentrated on one person, you know it's a sign of weakness. Blood found. CND should take a break; he's going off-balance.

[ Parent ]
Reason for moderation (2.25 / 4) (#127)
by spiralx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:09:50 AM EST

Yet another attempt to devalue a posters arguments by saying that they are "trolling". And even after all the articles we've had about it recently.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

You should take a break too (3.00 / 1) (#133)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:20:24 AM EST

I never said that the trolls' points were worse, and I've even been accused of being a "troll apologist" before it was fashionable. But there are skills trolls have in common, and one of them is the sensitivity to the scent of blood.

But in any case, thanks for the explanation. I've gotten used to people just modding first and thinking later.

[ Parent ]
Starting to lose our cool? (4.20 / 5) (#91)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:47:24 AM EST

[The article does not mention the word "Christian" even once. It attacks Duane Gish by name, but the challenge is not confined to members of Gish's specific tendency.]

The article doses not attack any thing. Perhaps you should go back and read it. What the article dose is challenge supporters of creation to define their position. This has NOT been done.

[If you are not prepared to argue against a believer in intelligent design who does not believe in the literal truth of Genesis, you should not pretend that you are.]

Intelligent Design, Creation, Creation Science, and Geneses are all one and the same. To suggest otherwise is blatantly dishonest. To claim that you believe in intelligent design and do not take the bible as the literal truth is an impossibility because they are the same concept. If you have another creation story in mind, than I ask you to define it. Other wise you are throwing up a straw man.

Until then, I am forced to assume that the creation story we are talking about, is the one (of two) defined in Geneses. This is NOT a radical assumption as you would argue sense this debate ALWAYS revolves around Geneses.

[It is also not the case that the comments in the thread have chiefly been taken up with attacks on evolution; most of them are entirely concerned with the case for intelligent design.]

In what form? No one has even offered a definition of what intelligent design is. Even you your self argue that it isn't related to Geneses. You can not defend what you have not defined. So again I ask you do state just what the heck it is you are talking about, or bow out.

[Nobody happens to have stood up with the feedlines for whatever you cut and pasted out of the "Biblical Literalist" section of the talk.origins FAQ, but that is your problem.]

So typical. Attack the source, rather than the facts. If I had not produce the links, you would have berated me for not having done my home work. Sorry, I chose not to debate in the dark, and I decline your insistence that I do so without taking advantage of sources far more capable than I.

[I would also point out that the original challenge did not suggest in any way that your objections to creationists disappear if those creationists do not stand for school boards. Bait and switch tactics.]

You use the words "bate and switch" a lot. I do not think it means what you think it means. And where have I baited you? Sense you have thus far refused to offer a reference for the debate, I offered one in YOUR stead. Apparently you would insist that their be no reference for the debate at all, hence you clearly dishonest claim that intelligent design and Geneses are some how two different things in order to muddy the waters. Such is a common tactic for creationists because logic fails them at every turn.

I might ask you too once and for all offer a definition for the debate. But I know you will not. So I end this thread.


(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
Providing comfort to the enemy (3.50 / 2) (#389)
by rde on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:23:37 PM EST

As a dedicated anti-creationist (my feelings can be found here), I've got to pick a nit...
To claim that you believe in intelligent design and do not take the bible as the literal truth is an impossibility because they are the same concept.
No they're not. The 'intelligent design' argument is a (fairly) rational response to the complexity of the universe, and understandable in people who don't understand probability. Their arguments are often used by creationists, and some of those arguments are put forward by creationists pretending not to be, but that doesn't make them the same.
Does this matter? Yes. Every creationist argument focuses, as you said, on attacking evolution. The typical method is to pick on one niggling point, and use that to imply that the rest of the statement/article/whatever is equally invalid. Rest assured that if any creationist literature cites this thread, your misspelling of Genesis (complete with self-satisfied 'sic') and various other cavils will be used to destroy the validity of your argument. Of course, there'll be no link; that would provide context.

[ Parent ]
Please point out... (2.50 / 6) (#78)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:09:07 AM EST

where in the article appears the word "Christian" or any derivate.

There are plenty of other creation stories (Geneses has two) but none of the other Religions are currently voting in state school boards to "de-emphasize" evolution, as well as geology, cosmology, natural history, biology, and physics. I only see Fundamentalist Christians trying to argue that evolution is wrong, and Genesis is actual way it happened.

"I am a USian and the discussion thus must be limited to mainstream US culture."

--em
[ Parent ]

challenge (4.00 / 2) (#132)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:15:35 AM EST

This thread is indeed a challenge to Christians to produce an argument to support their position without attacking evolution. So far, this has failed to materialize, but the attacks on evolution have flourished.

I think if you challenged believers of evolution to give their arguments there would be a lot of attacking of creationism. It's just the way most people work. We don't personally have any evidence either way so it's easier to attack the other side.

This thread brings up the creation vs. evolution debate. It's the best place on K5 to attack evolution. I'm not a creationist, so I'm not going to bother trying to fit an argument for it into the little rules. I will, however, point out fallacies in arguments.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Accepted (none / 0) (#927)
by OscarGunther on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:55:27 PM EST

I think if you challenged believers of evolution to give their arguments there would be a lot of attacking of creationism.

Nonsense. Evolution can be defined and explained without ever referring to creationism. The whole point of kitten's original post was that the reverse is not true: there are no arguments for hard creationism that are either (1) flawed on the facts or (2) mere attacks on evolution.



[ Parent ]
Yes, there are crackheads out there, Johnny (3.00 / 3) (#38)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:42:16 AM EST

I did not say science attempted to answer the why, now did I? Anyway, many (perhaps most) creationists acknowledge the theory of evolution as the best scientific explanation for the emergence of life. Those who believe the universe is 6000 years old are only a vocal minority that adheres to a bizarre reading of the Bible.

But you knew that, I'm sure.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

you continue to avoid the question (1.90 / 10) (#29)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:30:27 AM EST

The scientific method has proven itself to be a reliable method of comphrehending the way things work, to the point where we can use it to predict the outcome of events - given enough data - without fail.

What possible relevance has this to a question of explaining a single, historical event?

In any case, your example is rubbish. When you boil a kettle, you do not mentally run through Boyle's Law. You act on the basis of habit, on the basis of something which looks very much like faith.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Habit!=Faith (4.00 / 3) (#56)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:12:02 AM EST

Faith is blind to evidence, at least that is how Hebrews defines it. That which comes after noticing a trend in behaviour is trust. Seems that the kettle/habit example is more like trust than it is like faith.

Of course, you can play the Hume card on me... then my cute little distiction gets obliterated like a rather flimsy raft. Then again, we won't care when we leave k5, will we. The distiction will regain its force.

Ah, Hume, the storm that smashed many a raft.



[ Parent ]

Hume? (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by tayknight on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:24:43 AM EST

Forgive my ignorance. Who was Hume?
Pair up in threes - Yogi Berra
[ Parent ]
Hume (4.00 / 2) (#202)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:43:17 PM EST

Hume was a Scottish Philosopher back in the 18th century.

I was making reference to one of his contributions to skepticism, a nice formulation of the problem of induction. In terms of the future and past, you can't prove that the future will be like the past by a demonstration from a priori knowledge because the negation doesn't lead to any contridictions and you can't prove it by the reliability of induction, since that presupposes induction behaving in the future like it has in the past.

Most people give up after thinking about it for a while and accept the skeptical conclusion. But Hume also noted that this sort of thinking didn't last too long. He gave good reasons for skepticism, but claimed not to be one because he was human, and humans don't work by reason like that. They work from habit, associations. So when he left his study and went back into the world, the skepticism dropped away and had no force. We can't constantly question wheither the ground will hold us up with our next step. We get on with life.

You can find more here.



[ Parent ]

Cheap quibble: (3.50 / 4) (#101)
by Alarmist on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:17:45 AM EST

You may have all the faith in the world that water boils at 73 degrees Farenheit, but the scientific method is a reliable way to conclude that in fact, it boils at 212 F.

Water will certainly boil at 73 degrees F, if the ambient air pressure is low enough.


[ Parent ]

Wanted: Thired party to pass judgment. (3.80 / 5) (#17)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:14:36 AM EST

And who can we find that would be a third independent standard of judgment? Hmm, let me think. I know, we can ask GOD to do it.
(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
Luckily we have one (3.50 / 4) (#84)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:21:40 AM EST

"In order to prove that science was a better way of getting your beliefs than faith, you would need a third, independent standard of judgement."

In fact, I have several we could use:

Wealth, measured in buying power
Health, measured in years
Plentitude of food, measured in pounds
Happiness, measured in smiles, orgasms or self-rated
Ability to manipulate nature to mankind's own ends, measured in sophistication of inventions (for instance, Apollo 11 and pacemakers vs slave labor for lack of machines)

We are simply and objectively better off now, thanks to science and the scientific method. Whatever "comfort" faith may give, I think we'd all prefer to just plain live longer.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
I have no problem with that (2.28 / 7) (#93)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:54:03 AM EST

If your reason for believing in evolution rather than creation is that you prefer to, that's fine. I agree with your preference. But that's not the same as pretending to have objective grounds for the belief. Specifically, if you prefer to believe in science because it produces toasters and the internet, you're unlikely to go around issuing silly, pompous "challenges" to people who believe in creation because they don't want to go to Hell. As long as one recognises that it's fundamentally a matter of preference, that's fine.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Huh? (4.00 / 4) (#95)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:10:00 AM EST

"If your reason for believing in evolution rather than creation is that you prefer to, that's fine."

But I don't believe in evolution because I prefer to. I believe in it because it is a powerful explanation that makes meaningful and true predictions about the way the world works.

Now, you might say, "having true predictions about the world" is just your preference. Yes, and it's everybody else's as well. Find me a significant number of people who have deliberately gouged out their eyes and punctured their eardrums for the purposes of stopping the flow of useful data, and I will grant that having workable theories is a "preference" is a non-trivial way.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
justification (1.75 / 4) (#98)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:14:21 AM EST

I believe in it because it is a powerful explanation that makes meaningful and true predictions about the way the world works.

Sadly, you have no non-circular justification for that belief (cf posts of mine ad nauseam all over this site).

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

I guess I'll just have to use... (4.50 / 2) (#115)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:48:02 AM EST

...your definition

In my "Induction" article you argued that induction provided justification "because that's the way the human brain is wired". Well, here I am saying that the scientific method provides justification because "what works is valid" is how the human brain is wired.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
well done (2.20 / 5) (#126)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:09:33 AM EST

you've seen sense at last. And indeed, your belief in scientific induction is justified. But it's not justified in a non-circular way; you have to "just accept" the validty of induction. Which does not give you grounds for criticising people who believe that faith is part of the "epistemological toolkit handed to us by the universe".

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Sure it does (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:04:46 PM EST

I just observe case after case of faith being proved wrong and induce that faith doesn't work as part of any "epistemological toolit". My induction trumps your faith.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
*ahem* (1.00 / 1) (#555)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:26:58 AM EST

at the risk of repeating myself ....

My induction trumps your faith.

sadly, you have no non-circular justification for that belief.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

You mean, apart from experience? (none / 0) (#930)
by OscarGunther on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 04:05:23 PM EST

It's easy to be obtuse about the underpinnings of fact-based beliefs versus faith-based beliefs, but it's tough to argue with the facts themselves.

Assume we're talking about hard creationism here--Gish-style, young-earth creationism. The hard creationist looks at the world and, after Rudyard Kipling, says, "The world is just so because that's the way God wanted it to be." The scientist, after William of Occam, says, "My rules say I can't use God as an explanation because the supernatural isn't scientific, so I'll just have to believe my senses (a protocol that has proved generally valid in the past) and go with the evidence I detect." Each finds her own explanation satisfying. So much for belief.

The foregoing is the self-referential part, the basis for each belief. Each person sets up the rules by which they judge reality and then, if they have any intellectual rigor, apply those rules consistently. The hard creationist believes she's right and that the evidence supports her position; the scientist believes the same thing.

You would say that this is circular reasoning on both their parts and so both equally valid. Fair enough. So what's the independent judge?

Experience. No matter how hard a person believes that God wants things one way, if reality says it's the other way, then it's the other way. Someone might believe they can handle poisonous snakes and not be harmed by their bite; reality says they have a death-wish. We can test our assumptions against reality by using our senses. (We either agree that our senses are valid feedback mechanisms about the nature of the world, or we simply agree to disagree. I'll stipulate broadly that when I say "our senses," I mean our five senses unaltered by chemicals or psychological disturbances.)

If our senses and our experience of the world tend to support one notion over another, that's a perfectly valid rationale for declaring the supported notion to be true. There is no circularity there.



[ Parent ]
The Scientific Method and Evolution (5.00 / 1) (#471)
by phliar on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:00:25 AM EST

That, in and of itself, shows that adherence to the scientific method is much more than "faith".

No, it shows that it is more scientific than faith.

The "scientific method" is not magic; it is merely a standard way of coming up with empirical models of the Universe.

What is a "model"? You can think of it as a mapping from the physical world to an abstract idea - or set of ideas. (It is not really an "explanation" - that is in the realm of metaphysics.) The notion of an electron is a model. Newton's Laws of Motion are a model. Maxwell's Equations are a model.

So the scientific method would be:

  1. observe interesting phenomenon;
  2. come up with a model;
  3. run experiments to test the accuracy of the model.
Implicit in this is that the model is falsifiable - there is an unambiguous way to decide that the model is bogus. And it is important that you conduct experiments that can disprove the model, not just to confirm it.

Example: if I model EM radiation as a wave phenomenon, then it is easy to do some experiments to show that EM radiation is diffracted i.e. it is a wave phenomenon. But it is just as important to think: what can falsify this model? Well, if we can construct an experiment that shows that the energy in EM radiation is quantized then we can falsify the model. And indeed, the photo-electric effect experiment is exactly such an experiment. (Einstein got his Nobel for using quantum mechanics - which until then had been used to model black-body radiation - to accurately model the photo-electric effect.)

So what about evolution?

One problem with the study of evolution and the thories that try to model it is that it is very hard to perform experiments whose outcome would be predicted by the model. Until recently there were no experiments that could be performed; evolutionary biology had to look at the results of "experiments" already performed in the past (and of course these "experiments" could not be chosen by the researchers). But now we have enough accumulated evidence from species whose lifetimes are short enough that we can, in fact, perform experiments. Natural and Sexual Selection (the primary model for evolution) is doing just well; it is a falsifiable model and experiments to refute natural and sexual selection have not done so.

Note! Many creationists say things like "the theory of evolution is only a theory." When we say "theory of evolution", we are talking about a theory that can model evolution; just as the predominant "theory of gravity" is general relativity. No one doubts the existence of gravity, just as no rational person doubts the existence of evolution. Evolution is the change in the composition of a population over time. Look at all the breeds we have of various domesticated animals. For a famous example in the wild, do a web search for Biston betularia and the Industrial Revolution in England. (But don't read too much into the case of B. betularia!)

Faith-based philosophies and explanations are none of the above. It is not surprising that Creationists cannot come up with any "Theory of Creationism" - they are biblical literalists and their arguments are not empirical or experimental, and they are not falsifiable. [In short, useless to the rational person! ;-)]


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Furthermore. (4.00 / 13) (#3)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:53:11 AM EST

I wasn't really finished.

It is not exactly a secret that people who believe in creationism do so because of their religious faith. So why do you think it such an achievement to prove that this is the case,

For one thing, I'm tired of creationists touting their mysticism as "science", as in, Creation Science, when it obviously is not.

I might as well "challenge" you to construct an argument for evolution which doesn't assume the validity of the scientific method.

So far, science has an excellent track record, and when it fails, it is self-correcting.

But I really think you ought to grow up a bit and move onto something that matters in the world.

Given the constant, ceaseless barrage of fundamentalists in the US to lobby Congress and harrass school boards nonstop to either stop teaching evolution, or teach creationism alongside it, I should say that the issue does, in fact, have practical, "real world" importance.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
circular argument (3.10 / 10) (#8)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:20:24 AM EST

So far, science has an excellent track record, and when it fails, it is self-correcting

So what? The principle that an excellent track record and being self-correcting make something a good way to go about getting your beliefs is simply a statement *of* the scientific method, and thus cannot be used as an argument *for* the scientific method.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

I disagree. (4.55 / 9) (#11)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:58:19 AM EST

The principle that an excellent track record and being self-correcting make something a good way to go about getting your beliefs is simply a statement *of* the scientific method, and thus cannot be used as an argument *for* the scientific method.

Statement *of* scientific method:
Observe phenomenon.
Form hypothesis.
Test hypothesis.
Observe results.
If results conflict with hypothesis, revise hypothesis and repeat as needed.

Argument *for* scientific method:
It works.

Furthermore, this alone shows that creationism is not "science" by any means, as science only deals with what can be observed and subsequently tested. Since religion posits supernatural beings outside the natural universe, it is totally untestable, and therefore not the realm of science.
Creation science is truly an oxymoron.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Pardon? (2.62 / 8) (#16)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:10:02 AM EST

as science only deals with what can be observed and subsequently tested.
By that standard, evolution isn't scientific either, now is it? Nobody has observed one species evolving into another, let alone life emerging from non-life. If one is going to accept evolution, it is going to be on the basis of more than empirical data. To claim otherwise would be absurd.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Oh contraire, (4.00 / 6) (#24)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:24:05 AM EST

Oh contraire, spiceation has been repeatedly observed, some times even deliberately preformed. This link
http://icarus.cc.uic.edu/~vuletic/cefec.html#4.12


(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
you mean *au* contrarie. (3.00 / 6) (#32)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:36:44 AM EST

Oh [sic] contraire, spiceation [sic] has been repeatedly observed, some times even deliberately preformed [sic].

Of course, if you get to define speciation the way you want, you get to pick a definition which matches some actual natural phenomenon, and thus "license" to make the false claim that you have shown your opponent to be "wrong".

Simply put, there is no particular reason why one has to accept that "speciation" is to be defined as evolutionary theorists define it. Hell, they can't agree on one definition, for that matter.

It is the responsibility of creationists to clarify what their concept of "species" is, and only given their definition of species can you show them to be wrong in their claims about speciation. Given that their definition will be something along the lines of "a member of the discrete set of kinds of living things, picked by the creator at creation time", don't expect to ever "prove" to a creationist that speciation has been observed.

--em
[ Parent ]

tabarnak, i mistyped `contraire'. [nt] (2.33 / 6) (#33)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:38:31 AM EST

crisse d'esti d'cibouere de sacrement.

--em
[ Parent ]

how creationists define "species" (5.00 / 1) (#330)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 12:21:18 AM EST

Given that (creationists's) definition (of "species") will be something along the lines of "a member of the discrete set of kinds of living things, picked by the creator at creation time"...

I really don't think creationists define "species" from first principles in theological terms. I suspect most creationists define the word "species" by enumerating well-known examples: "What do I mean by 'species'? Well, you know, these different kinds of creatures, which breed true in their kind; for example, bluejays and eagles and curlews are various species of the birds." I'll even go further and say that those hardworking folks who come up with elaborate synthetic definitions of the word "species" are still, nevertheless, inwardly thinking in terms of specific examples, like lions and leopards and tigers, or lemons and limes and oranges.

So I think you could, at least in theory, prove speciation to all but the most intransigent creationist: all you'd have to do is present him with a clear instance of a population of one visibly recognizable species, say buff colored sparrows, suddenly generating a line of a second distinct species, say bright red cardinals. If he sees that and he's willing to believe his own eyes he would be convinced of the fact of evolutionary speciation.

If he were very strongly biased I suppose even then it might well be easier for him to assume you cheated somehow - snuck into the sparrow's aviary with a clutch of cardinal's eggs in the middle of the night, when no one was looking and he was at home asleep. But who after all is not swayed by his preconceptions? If I, an atheist, saw with my own eyes angels floating just off the pavement in the middle of the street I know my first thought would be "it's some kind of movie special effect" and my second would be "hot dog, I've waited years for those legendary LSD flashbacks to kick in and here they are at last!"

Yours WD "free buzz!" K - WKiernan@concentric.net

stint grits
darts file
gratis ways to fit tins
dapper angle
ill apple
-Barbara Baracks

[ Parent ]

I disagree... (3.00 / 2) (#441)
by thomas on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 12:58:29 AM EST

When arguing about the validity of the Theory of Evolution, one must use terms as defined by this theory.

Likewise, when arguing about the Creation theory, it's their definitions that must be used.

War never determines who is right; only who is left.
[ Parent ]

On what? Your objection is the same as mine! (3.50 / 2) (#447)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 01:45:26 AM EST

When arguing about the validity of the Theory of Evolution, one must use terms as defined by this theory. Likewise, when arguing about the Creation theory, it's their definitions that must be used.

I was criticizing evolutionists answering the creationists statements that speciation has never been observed by arguing about creationism using the evolutionist definition.

Are you just reading-challenged, or are you trying some sort of stupid dishonest rhetorical trick?

--em
[ Parent ]

Ugh (3.00 / 2) (#554)
by delmoi on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:26:14 AM EST

Simply put, there is no particular reason why one has to accept that "speciation" is to be defined as evolutionary theorists define it. Hell, they can't agree on one definition, for that matter.

Of course not, in fact, there's no reason to accept anything at all. YAY, let's all rejoice in muddleheaded unreality!

I mean, what the hell? A "Species" is a biological concept, why shouldn't biologists get to decide what constitutes "speciation"? The concept of "Species" is rather vague anyway, it really doesn't have much to do with anything inherent in the natural world, just our desire to classify everything.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Speciation! Woo-hoo! (4.00 / 3) (#474)
by phliar on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:18:21 AM EST

Nobody has observed one species evolving into another, let alone life emerging from non-life.
Speciation is a loaded word! It's one of those words (like pornography) where you think you know exactly what it means, but when you try to pin it down it's elusive. Is pornography bad? Sure! Is publication X pornographic? Hmmmm....

So if I look at a cat and a slug, they're clearly of different species. But a bonobo and a chimp? Until the 20th century they were considered to be the same species. [Warning: joke follows!] Hey, there's a speciation event for you! In this century we saw Pan paniscus split from Pan troglodytes!

For most definitions of species, speciation has been observed.

The emergence of life isn't an evolutionary matter, since evolution is a change in a population. This is abiogenesis, a very interesting subject in its own right.

Go read the talk.origins FAQs.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

argument != assertion (2.75 / 8) (#26)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:24:58 AM EST

Argument *for* scientific method:
It works.

That's not an argument. It's an assertion, and furthermore, an assertion which doesn't even establish the conclusion it's meant to establish. In order to have a valid argument you would need "It works, and therefore it is valid", which is a statement which cannot be proved by observation and therefore must be held as an item of faith. Furthermore, you can't even prove the antecedent ("It works") without using the scientific method to prove itself, an obvious circularity.

In related intellectual dishonesty news, I notice that you have now shifted from the position that "Creationism is false", to the completely different proposition that "Creation Science isn't science". Thank heavens (or indeed, it is an arbitrary result of development over time) that there are observent people like me around to keep you honest.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Re: argument != assertion (4.00 / 1) (#228)
by khym on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:06:28 PM EST

In order to have a valid argument you would need "It works, and therefore it is valid", which is a statement which cannot be proved by observation and therefore must be held as an item of faith.
By "It", do you mean science in particular, or do you mean that the general statement "X works, and therefore X is valid" is an item of faith? If you mean the general statement, yes, it can't be proven, but it presumably something that both evolutionists and creationists believe, as it is one of the basic principles by which humans think about and deal with the everyday world. But if everyone agrees on the general statement, then you can apply it to science, and come to the conclusion that science does, indeed, work.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
He is not attacking faith ! (3.88 / 9) (#14)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:08:54 AM EST

I know I have been trolled but whatever...

Many religious people are NOT Creationists in the hard sense, their faith tells them that there is a god, that is has "Created" the universe and that he has "Created" man. It is not incompatible with the theory of evolution.
What "Creationists" want is to curb facts to their faith.

The Scientific method is very specialised, it talks about mesuring facts and about how to predict future facts.

What Creationists talk about are facts too: the age of the earth is a factual data, the sequence of generations up to either pre-humans or Adam and Eve is factual data.

If they want to speak about factual data they must obey the rules of the game.

Kitten is not attacking religion and faith, he is responding to Creationists who are attacking science.

I know, this rant violates my .sig ...



- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
first things first; fuck off (1.94 / 17) (#20)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:19:57 AM EST

I say "fuck off", because I am also breaking a personal rule by responding to a tiresome, bigoted wannade trollspotter who thinks that insulting people is a substitute for arguing with them. However your error may be informative to others:

The Scientific method is very specialised, it talks about mesuring facts and about how to predict future facts.

However, the creation question has nothing to do with "predicting future facts" -- it revolves around speculation about one historical event. Science can very certainly not prove any fact which is inconsistent with the Earth having come into existence through an act of the Divine Will, and it is dishonest and mischievous to pretend that it can.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

did you read me ? (none / 0) (#76)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:59:32 AM EST

  • first when have I insulted you (you do not think that Troll is an insult do you?)
    second :<br/> The Scientific method is very specialised, it talks about mesuring facts and about how to predict future facts. <br/> While I agree that the part about how to predict future facts. is not very on topic, I do not see how it can an "error"
  • third, I, and the author of the article, are not even trying to "prove" the existance of a fact inconsistant with the Earth having come into existance through an act of Divine Will. <br/> In fact It may very well have come into existance through the act of the Divine Will, it is not really the topic of my rant.
  • fourth, i may change my .sig just for you, It does not apply to Great Trolls, only to little trolls (and, yes I think you are a Great Troll :-) !)

- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
fair enough, I withdraw my epithet (2.66 / 3) (#90)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:46:07 AM EST

I think that it is a serious mistake to confuse a problem of prediction for one of historical explanation. I think that this matter in the current case, as the whole question boils down to "what seems more likely", and science fundamentally can't help us with that.

If you're not arguing that the Earth couldn't (or didn't) come into existence by divine will, I'm not sure how this can be counted as an anti-creationist argument at all.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Maybe a confusion here (3.50 / 2) (#104)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:20:15 AM EST

I am not even trying to argue against or for the existance of God and the Creation of the Universe, in fact It is not possible either to "disprove" or to "prove" such trancendental concepts.

What I am arguing about is specific claims by "Creationists" that there is significent proof of details of the Creation of man, that there is significent "proof" that man did not evolve from _lower_ life-forms (keep in mind that evolution is not "proof" of the inexistance of Creation !).

Where I think is the confusion between you and me (and it seems with others here :-)) is that when I (and the author of the article) say "Creationism",
I do not mean Belief in a God of Creation, I mean "Creation Science".
I thought it was clear from the article that it was only this particular view of Creation and its facination with "proving" things that was under attack. I know how easy it is to go in rant mode when we do not talk about the same things.


P.S: I agree that the Scientific method is inperfect for historical explaination, however it can still guide us



- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
Descartes (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by Refrag on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:39:58 AM EST

I think, from my studies of some of Descartes work, that Descartes finally said that there is nothing that could be proven because the creator could always be fucking with his head.

Naturally, this would make Descartes an agnostic. However, I think his brainwas^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hreligion forced him to use circular logic to somehow use agnosticism to support creationism. I wish I remembered the details more vividly.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

ROTFL (5.00 / 1) (#357)
by neuneu2K on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 04:39:42 AM EST

I just Love your interpretation of Decartes, he was really intellectually dishonest in lots of his "demonstrations" but of course the solipsist point of view is unfalsifiable (and the theory of a crasy god that creates a world that looks old while it is not is a solipsism derivate) and so, not very interesting to debate. (I really try to detect unfalsifiable theories befor debating !)

- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
Predicting future facts (5.00 / 2) (#503)
by Macrobat on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 02:39:11 PM EST

Actually, evolutionary theory (and any theory of origins) can be and is used to predict future facts. It predicts what further kinds of evidence we can expect to find in the fossil records; it predicts what kinds of things are reasonable to expect from examining the human genome; and it makes predictions about what kind of data we expect to find from radio telescopes (okay, that's not evolutionary theory per se, but it is part of the scientific theory of creation).

And, while further investigation into these (and other matters) will continue to turn up unpredicted surprises, so far none of the subsequent data we've turned up has contradicted the theory.

Your argument is like saying forensic evidence is worthless because it's (arguably) scientific and you can't use science to determine what's happened in the past. A completely bogus argument.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

No it isn't (1.00 / 2) (#553)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:23:36 AM EST

Prediction and historical explanation are two utterly different modes of explanation. Your point about forensic evidence actually reinforces my point; forensic evidence is always concerned with analysis of specific traces from the specific historical event under analysis. How would the forensic scientists have gone over if they'd showed up at the OJ trial with nothing more than the theory that lots of football players murder their wives?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Actually, it is (none / 0) (#923)
by OscarGunther on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:23:26 PM EST

The predictive power of a given scientific theory is one of the measures of its worth. Apart from whether creationism is scientific (it isn't), it has no predictive power at all because any scientific evidence can be explained as the result of divine fiat. If there's a pattern, it's because God wanted it that way; if a pattern is lacking, God thought it best to have no pattern.

Prediction and historical explanation are different modes of explanation, but they mutually supportive.

Also, your analogy is flawed: if forensic scientists had showed up at OJ's trial with evidence demonstrating that premier NFL running backs have murdered their wives in the past and have shown a marked propensity to do so as a group, they would have received a hearing. The scenario you posit misrepresents the scientific side.



[ Parent ]
nice troll (1.50 / 2) (#353)
by retinaburn on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 03:04:37 AM EST

now will the real streetlawyer please stand up.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Yet Again... (2.92 / 14) (#5)
by DeadBaby on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:59:23 AM EST

1) I doubt many people reading this site will have any answer because most probably agree with evolution.

2) Creationists can't give you any better reason because their entire belief in it comes down to "faith". You can prove anything when the only proof you need is faith.

3) When it comes right down to it, even creationists know it's untrue. They've never offered any decent argument and as new facts about evolution come out, more and more people are simply starting to agree that creation, at best, was a way to describe evolution.

Lie's are great until facts start to come out; too many problems keeping the story together. It won't take long before the church decides that part of the bible was wrong and everyone should ignore it; just like they randomly seem to ignore other parts of the bible that aren't socially or politically acceptable.

My favorite rebuke to creationists is simple:

"Alright... I agree with you... God created the universe because, as you argue so well, the universe is simply too complex to have just sprung up by itself... However... It does seem a little odd that God, being many times more complex than the universe, seems to have just popped up himself out of nowhere, In fact... He seems to have been created as well... by a more powerful god. Maybe I'll worship him instead. My faith tells me his name is Zoltron and he rides a magic space ship shaped like a giant pink dolphin. I bet my god could beat up your god."




"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Not really (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by Betcour on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:55:08 AM EST

It won't take long before the church decides that part of the bible was wrong and everyone should ignore it

I wish - but it doesn't work that way. For christian, the Bible is never wrong, it just needs to be better "interpreted". Hence if the Bible say the earth is flat - they'll say you have to interpret it as an image as to how the world is this or that.

Still, the Bible is a good book about sex (including rape, incest, sodomy, etc...). To think those biggots make their children read it every day.... ;-)

[ Parent ]
That's why they call it 'faith' (3.00 / 4) (#57)
by mjs on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:16:36 AM EST

You can prove anything when the only proof you need is faith.

I would have thought that faith imples the absence of proof, not the presence. Isn't faith the belief in something without proof? On that basis, you can't argue with a Creationist who hold his/her views by reason of faith: by definition, proof (for or against) is irrelevant.

My point is, I don't think you can make an argument out of this no matter how hard you try.

To set the record straight, I believe that God created the world and the universe and everything in it, including us. I have no idea how, when, or why. But I can't look at a tree or a flower or a butterfly (or my wife!) and believe that they 'just happened'.

[ Parent ]

faith (3.20 / 5) (#68)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:37:41 AM EST

You can prove anything when the only proof you need is faith.

You write as if having faith was something really easy, that you could arbtrarily choose a proposition and have faith in it. Nothing could be further from the truth; it's usually far more difficult to have faith in something than to prove something of similar superficial plausibility.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Creationist arguments (4.30 / 10) (#6)
by spiralx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:02:23 AM EST

Hmm, try this one.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Liked the article (4.00 / 5) (#7)
by nobbystyles on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:19:16 AM EST

Sedems the guy is a moderate or posing as a moderate creationalist. He does seem to accept the scientific method.

I would like to see a few more articles like this one as they are useful at pointing holes in the mainstream big bang/evolutionist case which as champion of the falsification philosophy in science is always good..

[ Parent ]
Debunking Creationist Astronomy (none / 0) (#877)
by Morgoths Cat on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 07:08:43 AM EST

The problem is, old chap, that the article is basically a collection of utter tosh. I've debunked large parts of it myself. See The Supernovae, Supernova Remnants and Young-Earth Creationism FAQ

Best Regards,
Dave

[ Parent ]

God, the great deceiver. (4.75 / 8) (#10)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:49:36 AM EST

The crux of that article seems to be "the physical evidence seems to be this, but don't believe it. God zapped it that way to trick you."

Fossils were put in the rocks to trick us into thinking the Earth was older than 6000 years. Light was created "in transit" from stars thousands or millions of light-years away; again, to trick us.

And when the article isn't explaining how everything is a grand illusion, the information it presents is wrong. Particularly of note is the "comet issue": "How could comets survive for 4.5 billion years if they don't weigh much to begin with and lose a lot of mass with each approach to the Sun?" The article assumes that all comets were formed at the same time as the rest of the solar system, and this isn't necessarily true.

Let us take the wonderful "design" argument. This article chooses the moons of Jupiter as an example: "How could these ten+ moons be in orbit for so long without decaying or crashing into each other? The configuration of the orbits is perfect, and therefore designed."
Of *course* the orbits of the observed moons are well-configured. The satellites that had decaying orbits, or crashed into each other (a likely cause of the ring system of Jupiter or Saturn) aren't around anymore to be observed. When you look at things like this, you're seeing only the successes and none of the failures. Nothing divine about that.

I could go on, but really, it isn't necessary. I've heard all these before and quite honestly, they don't hold much weight.


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
intellectual dishonesty (2.55 / 9) (#18)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:15:28 AM EST

It always strikes me that the forces of science come off really badly in comparison with the forces of ignorance when one looks at the weaselly tricks they use

And when the article isn't explaining how everything is a grand illusion, the information it presents is wrong. Particularly of note is the "comet issue": "How could comets survive for 4.5 billion years if they don't weigh much to begin with and lose a lot of mass with each approach to the Sun?" The article assumes that all comets were formed at the same time as the rest of the solar system, and this isn't necessarily true.

A paragraph which starts by setting up the promise of "the information it presents is wrong", but only delivers "this isn't necessarily true" is little better than a confidence trick.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

You're full of shit... but (1.12 / 8) (#46)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:55:28 AM EST

I guess it makes life interesting, knowing that somewhere out there is someone who desperately wants the crap kicked out of him for being a completely obnoxious arsehole.

[ Parent ]
subject (2.66 / 3) (#47)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:59:40 AM EST

Can you elaborate on that?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Probably not... (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:07:31 AM EST

Its just your style of responding to peaople that gets me. I do apologise for my idiotic comment but I guess I kind of lost it there. I don't deal well with people being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. Character flaw, I am sure. :-)

[ Parent ]
subject (2.40 / 5) (#55)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:11:42 AM EST

Why do you say "your idiotic comment" but you guess you kind of lost it there? You don't deal well with people being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative character flaw you're sure?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Again - tongue in cheek on the last sentence.. (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:25:27 AM EST

Forgot to insert the smiley :-)

[ Parent ]
etc (2.16 / 6) (#64)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:30:12 AM EST

Please go on.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
There are better places & times to do that [nt] (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:42:14 AM EST



[ Parent ]
subject (2.16 / 6) (#70)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:45:32 AM EST

Would you like it if they were not better places times to do that?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
All right... (4.00 / 1) (#112)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:46:29 AM EST

who wrote the bot that's using Eliza code to impersonate streetlawyer? I'd like to see a version that uses zippy code instead.

[ Parent ]
give that man a coconut (2.28 / 7) (#118)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:52:22 AM EST

It's my latest flame technology; when someone insults me, I just start giving them Eliza's responses to their posts.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Really? (3.33 / 3) (#122)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:58:50 AM EST

Cool!

Ok, uh, you're a wanker.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

generated response 24312 (none / 0) (#882)
by Daemosthenes on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 12:28:46 AM EST

3$&*!˛†ŕ---NO VALID RESPONSE\n
-PUNT-
So...tell me about your mother.

-
[ Parent ]
What are you suggesting? (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:00:02 AM EST

That we inflict physical harm on someone for pointing out obvious fallacies? Well, that is certainly a scientific way to look at things.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Get a grip - tongue was firmly in cheek! [nt] (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:05:35 AM EST



[ Parent ]
so have you heard one or not? (4.00 / 1) (#346)
by Delirium on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 02:12:23 AM EST

So the crux of your story was that you'd "never" heard a Creationist argument, but now you're admitting that you had in fact "heard all these before." Which makes your article make a bit less sense.

[ Parent ]
God's "Tricks" (3.00 / 1) (#433)
by Malicose on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:10:21 PM EST

Fossils were put in the rocks to trick us into thinking the Earth was older than 6000 years. Light was created "in transit" from stars thousands or millions of light-years away; again, to trick us.
Perhaps you just don't know the reasoning. I've heard it put as an example before: a lower animal looks at things in the immediate context, and not on a grand scale. The immediate pain caused by the removal of a trap or other life-saving treatment certainly wouldn't be willfully allowed by this lower lifeform, even if it could recognize that you were promising to "save" it. This could be much the way such "tricks" of God come across to you. Did it ever occur to you that such things "in transit" light were provided as-is so the earth would, for example, have the necessary light at night?

[ Parent ]
No brass ring here. (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:00:40 AM EST

Your link doses not meat the given conditions. The supposition presented on the first page depends solely on attacking well established scientific theories. The first section may seem like an overview of creation, however, on closer examination, I found that it resembled more of a "state of creationism" address, rather than trying to present a theory.

I would have been surprised if it did present any thing. After all, the whole notion of creationism is already presented in Geneses in the form of "literal truth."

BTW: Many of his arguments have already been specifically refuted. Point by point. See the link below.
http://icarus.cc.uic.edu/~vuletic/cefec.html

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
-1, Eurocentric (2.33 / 3) (#36)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:41:17 AM EST

After all, the whole notion of creationism is already presented in Geneses in the form of "literal truth."

You seem to be labouring under the belief that all Christians are Judeo-Christian; nothing could be further from the truth.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

erratum (2.33 / 3) (#62)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:28:00 AM EST

for the first "Christians" above, read "creationists", obviously. Hindu and most forms of Buddhism have creation myths, and there are believers in "intelligent design" who make no specific religious assumptions.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Ha! (3.25 / 4) (#43)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:52:07 AM EST

I would have been surprised if it did present any thing. After all, the whole notion of creationism is already presented in Geneses in the form of "literal truth."
I'm sure you're very good at something, but exegesis of ancient texts clearly is not your ball of wax. No serious scholar of Hebrew literature would suggest the first chapters of Genesis are meant to be interpreted as an empirical account of the origins of the universe. Certainly it has been read that way by uneducated readers, but you can hardly describe their absurd interpretation of the text as its "meaning."

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Debunking Creationist Astronomy (none / 0) (#876)
by Morgoths Cat on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 07:05:50 AM EST

Old chap, that article is utter balderdash. I've debunked large parts of it myself - see The Supernovae, Supernova Remnants and Young-Earth Creationism FAQ

Best Regards,
Dave

[ Parent ]

Anthropic arguments (3.72 / 11) (#13)
by cameldrv on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:04:39 AM EST

The best pro-creationism argument I know of are the so-called "anthropic numbers." Essentally, there are a number of constants in our universe which could take on any value and produce a self-consistent physics. However, if these numbers were significantly different than their current values, various processes deemed to be essential to the production of life would be impossible. Now, I think that some of these are reaching a bit, and some of them could probably be different if life were significantly different. However, the ones which seem to make sense to me still lead to a probability of complex life of somewhere in the vicinity of 1/10^100. Now, if these truly are free variables, then that would seem to indicate two logical possibilities. First, there are an infinite number of universes, one for every value of each variable. We "got lucky", but there is sample bias because if we didn't get lucky there would be no one to do the asking. The other obvious possibility is that the universe was designed for the emergence of complex life.

not "Creationism" per se (4.75 / 4) (#19)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:17:14 AM EST

These may be good arguments. (for metaphysical arguments, they are in the class "very good" !).
But they are not in favor of Creationism, they may indicate existance of a Creator for the universe
but not direct physical creation of first man (and all other life).

- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
A sloppy god? (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:40:13 AM EST

Only if you except the notion of a sloppy creator that took several trillion attempts to get it right. But if this is the case, why would you need a creator in the first place. Random probability would fit the bill quite nicely in god's place.


(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
Sloppy indeed. (4.66 / 6) (#51)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:05:12 AM EST

Indeed, Christian fundamentalists would have you believe that God is intelligent enough to create a universe with just the right values of fundamental constants, inverse square gravity laws, and all the other beautifully complex and intricate goings-on of the universe, but has no idea what will happen if you put two naive people in a garden with a big tree and a neon sign saying "Don't Touch".

Sloppy.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Heh. (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by minusp on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:22:34 AM EST

I always wondered about that, too.

Remember, regime change begins at home.
[ Parent ]
oh dear (1.20 / 5) (#61)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:26:41 AM EST

Shall we just say that your theology is not quite au courant and leave it at that? Yes, I think that would be kinder than what I had in mind.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
That was a troll but... (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by farmgeek on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:36:53 AM EST

I'll bite.

Actually, many Christian fundamentalist would have you believe that God did it on purpose.

Also, you will find that many Christians do agree with scientific "Creationism" for religious reasons.

The reason I and many other Christians I know attack evolution is because it is in essence a non-testable theory and has a history of lies and fabrications on the part of those attempting to "prove" it true.

[ Parent ]
Damn my eyes! (none / 0) (#74)
by farmgeek on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:53:05 AM EST

That should have read "many Christians do not agree with scientific "Creationism""

[ Parent ]
Oh is that so? (none / 0) (#81)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:17:07 AM EST

Perhaps I might interest you in some light reading. The link below is that of some of the more "credible" creationists arguments and their credentials.
http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-creationists.html


(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
This relates to my post how? (none / 0) (#94)
by farmgeek on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:54:20 AM EST

First, it wasn't a link it was a URL, but I understand not wanting to take the time to use HTML formatting.

Second, what does any of that babble have to do with what I posted, or may I surmise that you didn't actually read either of the links and were assuming that I was somehow trying to make a defense of "Scientific Creationism"?

Or were you merely offended that I would say that there were (gasp) some people involved in science that weren't actually seeking the truth, but were instead attempting to use it as a means of pushing their own agenda forward?

[ Parent ]
Glad you brought that up. (5.00 / 7) (#21)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:21:44 AM EST

I've heard this one used a number of times. The argument is similar to the so-called "design argument", in that it assumes that since everything is "just so" for us to exist, there must be a creator behind it.
I find it to be a ridiculous argument.
If the numbers governing those forces (strong nuclear, weak nuclear, etc) were different, you're absolutely right: We wouldn't exist.. and thus, wouldn't be asking the question. We live in a universe where the numbers are right, though.. of course. It's like watching a game of chance where the odds are incredibly low, but all you get to see are the wins, and none of the losses. We are the result of a successful game of chance.
I'll let Neal Stephenson and his Command Line essay take it from here:
Our universe emerged from an uncannily precise balancing of different fundamental constants. The mass of the proton, the strength of gravity, the range of the weak nuclear force, and a few dozen other fundamental constants completely determine what sort of universe will emerge from a Big Bang. If these values had been even slightly different, the universe would have been a vast ocean of tepid gas or a hot knot of plasma or some other basically uninteresting thing--a dud, in other words. The only way to get a universe that's not a dud--that has stars, heavy elements, planets, and life--is to get the basic numbers just right. If there were some machine, somewhere, that could spit out universes with randomly chosen values for their fundamental constants, then for every universe like ours it would produce 10^229 duds.

So the odds of a universe with the "correct numbers" appearing are 10^229 to 1. And we, obviously, are the 1.
Are the odds improbable? Hell yes. To say the least. Are the odds impossible? No.
And when you only get to see that one, and don't get to see the other 10^229 failures, you can't really take a reasonable sample.
But you already knew that.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Of course that is assuming... (3.80 / 5) (#28)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:28:58 AM EST

...that there was more than one try. And that, of course, is a thoroughly unscientific assertions, since it is completely unobservable or empirically verifiable.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

More than one try? (3.75 / 4) (#37)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:41:38 AM EST

Fits nicely with the so-called "closed model" universe that's currently in vogue with cosmologists.
Universe expands, it's a ball of plasma, nothing interesting here. It contracts.
Expands again, another dud, this time it's a mild sea of gas, nothing special. Contracts again. It expands again, and lo and behold: this one isn't a dud. We get to develop wheels and war and New York and mint-flavored jelly and so on.
It contracts.
Expands again. This time it's a seething ocean of radiation. Nothing of importance here. It contracts again.
Repeat as necessary.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Nope (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by qpt on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:45:14 AM EST

I am too lazy to dig up a link, but the current best evidence indicates that this universe isn't going to collapse. Roughly speaking, v limits to a positive value as t approaches infinity.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

you support evolution with *cosmology*? (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:50:02 AM EST

Gee, are you *really* trying to support one theory about unrepeatable events with another, extremely controversial one? Jeez.

--em
[ Parent ]

Hahaha...very true. (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by theboz on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:43:55 AM EST

I find it amusing when people argue against religion based on faith in some other religion. Science becomes a religion when people accept things on faith, especially when they have not been even upgraded from a hypothesis to a theory yet.

I would assume since she posted the article asking people to prove creation to be true, she must believe in it and want reasons to prove it to be real. Otherwise, she wouldn't be using bad science to try to prove creationism wrong.

Personally I think I don't know. In my mind creation is possible, just as the big bang and life sparking from gasses floating around are possible. I probably have a bad view of things, but from seeing that the ancient greeks and egyptians, who were nearly as advanced as our society, and more advanced in some ways, believed in many gods, and the fact that people used to think that wearing a mask with rose petals in it would keep you from getting the plague, the Earth was flat, etc. I think the human race, with whatever science and technology you can come up with, is full of shit. That's why these debates are fairly pointless in my opinion. The majority of people in the world have no idea what they are talking about, and the few that do still don't know much. When it comes to science, people try to explain it to another, but often the other people don't get it and then end up being just as stupid themselves as any religion they fight against.

Blah

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Hey what? (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by spiralx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:06:42 AM EST

Fits nicely with the so-called "closed model" universe that's currently in vogue with cosmologists.

What the hell are you talking about? The oscillating universe theory is certainly possible, but it's hardly more than one of a number of cosmological ideas which cannot be tested. And you're assuming each oscillation would have different fundamental constants - another unknown.

If you'd have talked about Linde's chaotic inflation or Smolin's black hole theories then maybe, but you're using a rediculously poor example.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

worst abuse of probability theory *ever*! (3.00 / 7) (#31)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:36:22 AM EST

This is a horrific fallacy, which is not made any better by its use in a noble cause. To use a frequentist concept of probability in the case of a single known event is literally incoherent.

For this reason, it's not surprising that it doesn't establish its conclusion, and I note that our champion of "positive arguments" is quite happy to help himself to all the advantages of the defensive in pretending that a single possible alternative explanation means that he can stop worrying about a massive coincidence.

[just in case anyone thinks that this is trolling, I'll note that the avowed materialist and hugely prominent philosopher Derek Parfit takes certain versions of the Anthropic Argument very seriously indeed, or at least he did at a series of seminars in 1994]

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

What's difficult to understand about this? (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:50:18 AM EST

This is a horrific fallacy, which is not made any better by its use in a noble cause. To use a frequentist concept of probability in the case of a single known event is literally incoherent.

I honestly don't understand where your confusion lies. The point of the comment was that, given enough time and enough chances, eventually, one will beat the odds, no matter how improbable.

As for "trolling".. nobody accused you of trolling, but quite frankly I'm not sure what else to think of someone who votes -1 on a story (which is fine if that's how you feel), but then sticks around to comment on it endlessly.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
doo de doo (2.20 / 10) (#44)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:52:40 AM EST

The point of the comment was that, given enough time and enough chances, eventually, one will beat the odds, no matter how improbable.

And the point of my comment was that given only one event, it is senseless to use this kind of reasoning. Come back on this point when you've read "Treatise on Probability" by JM Keynes; quite apart from anything, by the time you've finished it you'll be significantly older and therefore perhaps more worth talking to.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Sample size. (3.50 / 2) (#58)
by minusp on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:19:35 AM EST

The problem with the probabilistic model, in this case, is that you have a sample size of one (1) and that "undefines" the math. There is no externality to frame the observation from, anyway, it's all pretty moot.

Remember, regime change begins at home.
[ Parent ]
wait a second. (4.00 / 1) (#233)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:18:40 PM EST

I've heard this one used a number of times.

I thought you said that over the 5 years you've been involved in this sort of thing you've never heard a creationist argument. Here is one. Ta-da. They've met your challenge. You lose. :)


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Crown of Creationism (4.80 / 10) (#86)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:25:06 AM EST

Ah yes, the teleological argument I like to call 'crown of creationism'. Here's some refutations....

Rhetorical refutation:

The current universe may be exceedingly improbable but if it is not impossible we have no reason to ascribe transcendant purpose to it's origin. It is no more improbable for our existence to be accidental than it is for us to heve been created. Occam's Razor notes that accidents and events of great improbability occur frequently while any evidence for the existence of God(s) is nonexistent. Therefore accidental anthropism is the logical conclusion.

Regressive refutation:

So, uh, who created the creator? Our universe could not have been created by a being less complex than the universe and since the universe's complexity is at the core of why many think there must be a creator there must be a creator of the complex creator who made the complex universe; ad infinitum, infinite regress. God as an answer to the problems of Anthropic Principle is no answer at all, it is simply labeling our ignorance as God.

Anthropic refutation

More in the hard science vein are refutations of the very principle of anthropism. The Chaotic Inflationary model, for instance, posits a potentialy unlimited number of non-interacting bubbles in the universe each of which has it's own fundamental physical constants. Self-selection bias is what makes us wonder at the tailoring of our bubble to support our kind of life. Quantum gravity, Sums-over-histories, and Chaotic Gauge theory also cast doubts on the anthropic principle.

Basically the anthropic argument rests on the preconception of God to prove the existence of God. Circular reasoning at it's worst.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

all flawed (2.66 / 9) (#109)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:33:41 AM EST

the first refutation falls at the first; you cannot talk about probability when what you are trying to do is to explain a unique historical event. Or at least, you cannot help yourself to the frequentist concept of propbability which you need here.

The second is not a refutation; it is possible to posit a deity existing outside space and time; one could quite easily define one's Ultimate Deity as the infinite set of all the posited deities. It is curious on the face of it you use an infinite regress as an argument against a being which is commonly thought to have infinity as one of its attributes.

The third is merely an alternative suggestion. That's not a refutation at all.

The accusation of circularity is also not valid; there is nothing in the empirical fact that the anthropic numbers have the anthropic values which presumes the existence of a god. If anything, the weakness is the other way; the premis is to far removed from the conclusion.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

all bunk (4.50 / 6) (#186)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:53:24 PM EST

the first refutation falls at the first; you cannot talk about probability when what you are trying to do is to explain a unique historical event.

You can not talk about the anthropic principle without talking about probability, it's the basis of the idea; our universe is supposedly too improbable to exist without a creator. If we discard probability we must discard anthropic creation theory as well. So your refutation of my refutation includes the refutation of the anthropic principle... fine with me.

Or at least, you cannot help yourself to the frequentist concept of propbability which you need here.

I can certainly use Conditional Probabilty with Occam's Razor to show that the probability of God creating the universe [prob(G|U)] is close to nill. For prob(G|U) to have any value at all we must accept evidence from religous documents with no scientific basis whatsoever.

The second is not a refutation; it is possible to posit a deity existing outside space and time; one could quite easily define one's Ultimate Deity as the infinite set of all the posited deities.

You posit something in order to prove it's existence. Circular reasoning.

It is curious on the face of it you use an infinite regress as an argument against a being which is commonly thought to have infinity as one of its attributes.

Nice appeal to belief there, if a billion people think 2+2=5 they are still wrong.

The third is merely an alternative suggestion. That's not a refutation at all.

These theories say anthropism is non-existant, or of infinite variety, and therefore refute the theory that a superior being made these values for our benifit.

The accusation of circularity is also not valid; there is nothing in the empirical fact that the anthropic numbers have the anthropic values which presumes the existence of a god.

Are we arguing creation science's use of anthropism or simply that certain values, easily explained without resorting to mystic gobbledygook, are required by physics for us to exist? Don't muddy the waters with disingenious crap like this.

If anything, the weakness is the other way; the premis is to far removed from the conclusion.

If I understand this correctly you are agreeing with my point. The premis (certain values in reality allow us to exist) is to far removed from the conclusion (God made those values).


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

no; you can't reason (3.00 / 2) (#552)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:18:43 AM EST

Back to Ayn Rand grade school for you, I'm afraid.

In the first place, the anthropic argument only requires the subjective concept of probability, while your putative refutation requires the stronger, more mathematically useful, but less philosophically defensible frequentist concept. I'm not going to discuss this further, because you don't understand the difference.

Second, it is not circular to posit the existence of an entity in order to falsify a universally quantified claim. You claimed that a creator deity was necessarily impossible because it led to an infinte regress; I pointed out that the concepts of deity and infinity were not inconsistent.

You seem addicted to what a friend of mine has called "the rhetorical equivalent of premature ejaculation", the attempt to bring boilerplate lists of rhetorical fallacies into a logical argument. Your accusation of my appealing to authority is simply wrong.

Your contention that "These theories say anthropism is non-existant, or of infinite variety, and therefore refute the theory that a superior being made these values for our benifit. " proves nothing other than that you don't know the difference between the meaning of the common English words "refute" and "deny", for which I can only blame American state education.

And your penultimate paragraph concedes the whole point; that the anthropic argument is not circular.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Pith and vinegar (2.50 / 2) (#586)
by Rand Race on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:06:18 AM EST

Back to Ayn Rand grade school for you, I'm afraid.

Hah hah.... fuck you and the objectivist horse you rode in on. Grade school is a bit to intellectual for randians.

I'm not going to discuss this further, because you don't understand the difference.

What an argument. I do understand the difference between shit and shinola, this is shit.

Second, it is not circular to posit the existence of an entity in order to falsify a universally quantified claim.

Posit an unfalsifiable being in order to falsify a claim? Psuedo-science is obviously your forte.

You seem addicted to what a friend of mine has called "the rhetorical equivalent of premature ejaculation", the attempt to bring boilerplate lists of rhetorical fallacies into a logical argument.

How pithy. How meaningless.

Your accusation of my appealing to authority is simply wrong.

What a defence of an obviously invalid argument. You could have simplified it as 'Nuh-uh!'.

...proves nothing other than that you don't know the difference between the meaning of the common English words "refute" and "deny", for which I can only blame American state education.

And yet another specious, ad hominem, argument. Nice tacit admission that your argument rests soley upon semantic trivia as well. My use of the denial (or infinite nature) of anthropism by these theories refutes the argument that anthropism shows that God created the universe. I am laughing at the superior education.

And your penultimate paragraph concedes the whole point; that the anthropic argument is not circular.

Your right, it's not if you don't posit some ephemeral deity as the cause.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

you're the one with "Rand" in his name (3.00 / 2) (#587)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:17:43 AM EST

My use of the denial (or infinite nature) of anthropism by these theories refutes the argument that anthropism shows that God created the universe.

Denial is not refutation; nor is repetition argument. Nor for that matter, are semantic differences unimportant, except to people who don't care what claims they're making because they've decided what to believe ahead of time.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Nada (2.50 / 2) (#593)
by Rand Race on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:28:13 AM EST

you're the one with "Rand" in his name

So? Don't confuse your ignorance with my beliefs.

I repeat because you obviously did not understand it the first time. By denying a tenet of an argument I refute the argument. Note that the denial is of an element of the theory of anthropic creation which is refuted when that element, upon which it depends, is shown to be false. See: Deny anthropism; Refute Anthropic Creationism.

And may I say that it is the height of disingenouity to accuse me of preordination when you are arguing for the existence of God! Talk about deciding what you are going to believe ahead of time. Semantic differences are important if they are not specious; your obtuse inability to parse what I am refuting and what I am denying is specious at best.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

lalaladobedobedo (3.00 / 2) (#599)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:56:17 AM EST

which is refuted when that element, upon which it depends, is shown to be false.

which glorious hour, is no doubt at hand, I assume? All you have done so far is say that something else might be true, which is hardly the same thing.

By denying a tenet of an argument I refute the argument.

You appear either to be operating from rules of logic which are different to those which I learned at university, or to be speaking a language which only superficially resembles English. By denying an argument, you refute nothing.

And may I say that it is the height of disingenouity to accuse me of preordination when you are arguing for the existence of God!

In passing I note that you have lost your distaste for argumentum ad hominem; this is not an improvement.

I'd also have to note that you don't appear to be able to use the word "specious" correctly; of course this is a far less serious error than not understanding the distinction between "refute" and "deny".

Thinking about it, you're using the word "parse" pretty loosely, too. As I said earlier, I blame the Internet.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Enough (2.50 / 2) (#610)
by Rand Race on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:26:00 PM EST

This mental flailing of yours is unbecoming. Come back if you have any nonspecious arguments to provide.

Oh, BTW, you blamed my education not the internet. Not that you have the faintest fucking clue what my education consisted of. Typical.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

I have a clue what it *didn't* consist of (1.00 / 2) (#613)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:39:38 PM EST

Do you wish that I have any nonspecious arguments to provide?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
What sort of life? (4.50 / 4) (#192)
by kaatunut on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:27:41 PM EST

various processes deemed to be essential to the production of life would be impossible.

Am wonderink, what would our universe look like with slightly different values? Yes, atoms ould collapse, stars wouldn't form, all that. But is it obvious that no complex structures would emerge from the soup of that universe?

Please note that this is not an attempted refutation in form of rhetorical question, but an actual request of information.


--
there's hole up in the sky from where the angels fall to sire children that grow up too tall, there's hole down in the ground where all the dead men go down purgatory's highways that gun their souls
[ Parent ]

Bah. (3.05 / 18) (#23)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:23:56 AM EST

Natural Selection is not a scientific theory, it is a tautology-- the fact that its defenders try to pass it off as a theory shows them to be either ignorant or dishonest. And the conclusions of evolutionary theory as a whole have been vastly overstated, due to the fact that it is mostly a body of unproveable conjectures and just so hypotheses. While there are some little bits of evolutionary theory which are in good empirical standing (since they are based on actual, repeatable observations), believing in stuff like biogenesis, or even in very basic stuff like the interrelatedness of all species, is just an article of faith.

So really, as I always say, evolution may be the best theory we have, but only because all of our theories suck. Evolutionary theory as practiced today says tons more about our technological culture's obsession with understanding and controlling nature than about the natural world. It tells the story about how our scientific community just won't accept the fact that we shall never gain knowledge of most things about our planet, nevermind the universe, simply because the means to acquire that knowledge don't exist.

--em

experiment != practice (4.89 / 19) (#82)
by iGrrrl on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:19:23 AM EST

If you mean "tautology" in the form of a statement which by self-referential definition is always true, I can see why you might say that, but would still disagree. Yes, there's apparent circular reasoning in the idea that species survival is determined by selective pressure, and that natural selection is defined the survival or failure of species in response to selective pressure. I think. But, in my view, it's similar to the idea that if I drop something it will fall because of gravity, and gravity (on the macro scale) is defined as the tendency of things to fall. By that sort of reasoning, gravity is a tautology as well. I think.

Although I am a biologist and not a linguist, I want to parse out something you said:

Evolutionary theory as practiced today says tons more about our technological culture's obsession with understanding and controlling nature than about the natural world.
I agree with you on this point if you mean that we have, as a culture, translated the Darwinian metaphor of "survival of the fittest" in to practice. If you mean to describe working biological scientists trying to understand the mechanisms behind changes in gene and adaptation to the environment, I have to take issue with you.

In another thread months ago I put up a link to several abstracts from the literature of bacterial evolution. This is the system most easily studied because the time scales of generations are measured in tens of minutes rather than in years. The last abstract reports an experiment which was simple and elegant (Nature 394, 69 - 72 (1998)). The first paragraph of the article:

Explanation of macroevolutionary phenomena (for example, adaptive radiation and punctuated evolution) by direct extrapolation from microevolutionary processes (for example, mutation and competition) is contentious(1,16-18). Conventional explanations for adaptive radiation frequently invoke no more than vacant niches and stringent competition between niche specialists(14,19-21). Experimental studies have lent credence to this view(22), but by necessity these studies have been limited in scope(7,15,21). An ideal experiment would follow the evolution of a single genotype in multiple environments that differ solely in their niche potential. The experiment would be designed such that ecological and genetic factors could be carefully controlled, thus allowing mechanistic hypotheses concerning the origin and maintenance of diversity to be tested.
Essentially, they put bacteria into either homogenous or heterogeneous environments (mostly variations in oxygen) and looked to see whether any differences developed. In the homogenous environment, the bugs stayed the same, but in the heterogeneous environment they developed into different stable phenotypes depending on oxygen and nutrient availability. The phenotypes appeared repeatably across repetitions of the experiment if the starting population was large.

Their closing sentence: "As populations were founded by a single asexually reproducing genotype, we can attribute the evolution and proliferation of new designs directly to mutation and natural selection." Please note that they try to be careful in their phrasing. "...we can attribute..." They seem to want to stay mentally prepared to be proven wrong and avoid speaking in absolutes. From a certain view point (which I, perhaps mistakenly, think of as belonging to post-modern cultural relativism) one could say that they designed the experiment to find what they wanted to find, and thus merely fed their prejudices. I would disagree. A true null hypothesis -- that environment would not influence changes in phenotpye -- could have just as easily been demonstrated, if it were the case. The data say otherwise.

Or so I think. You may think otherwise:

While there are some little bits of evolutionary theory which are in good empirical standing (since they are based on actual, repeatable observations), believing in stuff like biogenesis, or even in very basic stuff like the interrelatedness of all species, is just an article of faith.
I suppose one could say that the ability of a gene which controls eye development in a mouse to also control eye development in a fly is only a "little bit" of empirical evidence for the relatedness of species. That is only one dramatic experiment, however. The literature concerning the relatedness of genes (and their ability to function when swapped) across species encompasses tens of thousands of publications based on experiment.

Faith? Not by how I understand the definition. There are thousands of anecdotes about miracles wrought by saints, I suppose, but I can't test them in the lab.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

historical accident vs. ahistorical laws (4.16 / 6) (#97)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:13:37 AM EST

If you mean "tautology" in the form of a statement which by self-referential definition is always true, I can see why you might say that, but would still disagree. Yes, there's apparent circular reasoning in the idea that species survival is determined by selective pressure, and that natural selection is defined the survival or failure of species in response to selective pressure.

Nope. I spoke a bit unprecisely, though; i should have said "mathematically true" instead of "tautological". Let's look at a simple definition of Natural Selection:

Some types of organisms within a population leave more offspring than others. Over time, the frequency of the more prolific type will increase. [...] Natural selection [...] is defined as differential reproductive success of pre- existing classes of genetic variants in the gene pool.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html
This is, of course, an informal rendering of a particular kind of a probabilistic model, where there is a population of individuals among which we can observe a distribution of certain properties which are causally implicated in differential reproductive rates for individuals with different sets of traits. Those combinations of traits which result in the highest reproductive rates become more numerous in succeeding generations of the model.

But the crucial point is that all this is true not because of anything about the real world, but because of the mathematical assumptions themselves. Thus you can only disprove Natural Selection if you can disprove probability theory and statistics. E.g., if you have a hypothesis that a certain trait A in species X is hereditary and adaptive relative to allele B, but however, you observed that the X's with trait A had a lower reproductive rate than those with B, you would give up either the assumption that A was hereditary, or that it is adaptive relative to B, but not that Natural Selection holds, because the latter holds because probability theory holds.

The stuff on variation in bacteria is precisely among the kind of evolutionary research I think is good research. However, it is a far cry from showing some of the more familiar "facts" that evolutionary theory claims to have shown, e.g., that birds are descended from reptiles.

I suppose one could say that the ability of a gene which controls eye development in a mouse to also control eye development in a fly is only a "little bit" of empirical evidence for the relatedness of species. That is only one dramatic experiment, however. The literature concerning the relatedness of genes (and their ability to function when swapped) across species encompasses tens of thousands of publications based on experiment.

This does not support the relatedness of species to the exclusion of other contradictory theories. What if I just claimed that the fact that the gene that can do one thing in a mouse can also do it in a fly is because, well, it does precisely that?

To put it in starker terms: the typical evolutionist explanation for, e.g., the fact that human DNA and chimpanzee DNA is so similar, is to claim it is due to the fact that both species have a recent common ancestor. But what if one were to simply make the claim that the genotypes are similar simply because the phenotypes are similar?

Note this is not circular. A mathematical model might run as follows: we come up with independent methods for classifying organisms according to their phenotypes and their genotypes. These methods place each organism on a point in a space of possibilities, and place organisms which are "similar" in some dimension in close coordinates in the relevant dimension.

Now we look at how these two spaces can be mapped to each other. And there are several kinds of outcome here. It may turn out that, for a given area in the phenotype space, there are many areas, spread out over many distant areas of the genotype space, could correspond to that point. Or it could turn out that the map is very nearly one-to-one.

In the first case, if organisms which were similar phenotypically also turned out to be similar genotypically, we would be very strongly pushed precisely to the relatedness explanation. But, crucially, in the second case, we aren't-- in this case, phenotypically similar organisms are genotypically similar because of historical laws of nature, and not because of historical facts like common descent.

My point is simple: we just do not know what kind of universe we live in, the first or the second; however, evolutionists just assume the first.

--em
[ Parent ]

Similar phenotypes (4.62 / 8) (#151)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:48:35 AM EST

But what if one were to simply make the claim that the genotypes are similar simply because the phenotypes are similar?
Then one would have to explain why animals with similar phenotypes but different ancestories (like alligators and crocodiles) have greater differences then either do with their more immediate relatives.

There are lots of examples of convergent evolution, where creatures are widely seperated branches of the tree of life have very similar phenotypes. In none of them do the creatures show any closer genetic match to each other than random creatures with random phenotypes, but the same "relatedness" do.

So you could make that claim, but the evidence is strongly against it.

This isn't new territory here. Throwing "convergent evolution" into google will bring up this as the first match. Clearly many scientists are way ahead of you in understanding whether similar phenotypes mean similar genotypes. Clearly the answer is "no".

However, it is a far cry from showing some of the more familiar "facts" that evolutionary theory claims to have shown, e.g., that birds are descended from reptiles.
The descent of birds is still very much a matter of debate. Some say dinosaurs. Some say reptiles. Don't mistake idiotic statements in Newsweek about what "science thinks" with real science.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
What is `similar'? (2.66 / 3) (#245)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:47:00 PM EST

Then one would have to explain why animals with similar phenotypes but different ancestories (like alligators and crocodiles) have greater differences then either do with their more immediate relatives.

Or, modify one's notion of "phenotypic similarity". Perhaps alligators and crocodiles are not as similar as the outward appearances suggest.

--em
[ Parent ]

Aligator similarity (4.00 / 2) (#255)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:00:42 PM EST

Perhaps not, but if you follow the link I put up there, you'll find a description of birds and their appearance, diet, behavior, etc. Basically, their phenotype to as great a level of detail as could be determined.

And they found exactly the same thing.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

your link is bad [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#271)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:41:32 PM EST


--em
[ Parent ]

Shit (3.66 / 3) (#272)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:50:37 PM EST

Try this
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
in this context (3.50 / 2) (#550)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:11:18 AM EST

you may be interested to know that biologists pheontypically classify the elephant as being reasonably closely related to the rabbit.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Bad explanation (4.00 / 1) (#633)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:33:48 PM EST

Unfortunately, I did not explain myself well. Implicit in the whole thing is that alligators and crocodiles both have "relatives" that are less similar in appearance to each other, yet show the same genetic difference. In other words, two animals that are not closely related and look similar are no closer, genetically speaking, then two animals that are not closely related and don't look similar. That implies that "looking similar" has no genetic component. You can do the same thing for any trait, not just "looks similar".

That is clearly not the result that you'd expect if the original poster's theory was correct, that is, that similar phenotypes were due to similar genes.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it clear that I was talking about one trait, not the whole beast.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Again, what is `similar'? (1.00 / 1) (#642)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:08:55 PM EST

That is clearly not the result that you'd expect if the original poster's theory was correct, that is, that similar phenotypes were due to similar genes.

You are ignoring my reply. You are implicitly assuming that alligators and crocodiles are similar, withtout any discussion of what similarity should be.

Simply put, any attempted refutation without an explicit definition of `similarity' is meaningless. And a refutation based on one specific definition wouldn't force the whole theory to be wrong-- you could conceivably fix your definition of similarity.

--em
[ Parent ]

Umm.... (3.00 / 1) (#643)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:24:12 PM EST

Did you read what you replied to? Perhaps I'm still not getting it across.

Call alligators creature A. Call crocodiles creature B. Creature A looks much like creature B.

Now look at some close relative of alligators. Call it creature A'. Creature A' doesn't look much like either creature A or B. In other words, that one aspect of the phenotype is different.

Now look at the amount of genetic difference between the two creatures. A and A' turn out to be just as far from B, genetically speaking. Clearly if the phenotypic trait that A and B shared (the basic bodily structure) came from similar genes, you'd expect creature A to be slightly closer to creature B, genetically speaking, then creature A'. You don't, though.

Anyway, that's the point I was trying to make. It doesn't matter if the two are generally similar, only that they are similar in the specific traits you are looking at when compared with a third species more closely related to one.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Similarity and the pretheoretical eye. (1.00 / 1) (#649)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:59:12 PM EST

Did you read what you replied to? Perhaps I'm still not getting it across.

I read it, and you got your point across alright.

Now look at some close relative of alligators. Call it creature A'. Creature A' doesn't look much like either creature A or B. In other words, that one aspect of the phenotype is different. Now look at the amount of genetic difference between the two creatures. A and A' turn out to be just as far from B, genetically speaking. Clearly if the phenotypic trait that A and B shared (the basic bodily structure) came from similar genes, you'd expect creature A to be slightly closer to creature B, genetically speaking, then creature A'.

Any particular instance of this argument will have to assume some definition of `similarity'. If you find such creatures A, B and A', that means that either the theory that phenotypes and genotypes are in sometinh close to one-to-one correspondence is false, or that the definition of similarity assumed by the argument is wrong.

Alligators and crocodiles may look damn similar to the pretheoretical eye, but to the same eye the Earth is flat, and the sun comes out of the east each morning. How do you know that a good theory of phenotypic similarity will say that they are very similar to each other?

--em
[ Parent ]

Phenotype (3.00 / 1) (#652)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:13:57 PM EST

I don't think you quite understand what the word "phenotype" means, at least in this context.

I also don't think you are aware of exactly how much work has gone on in the very area you are talking about.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

subject (1.00 / 1) (#675)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:27:00 AM EST

I also don't think you are aware of exactly how much work has gone on in the very area you are talking about.

You are making reference to work that almost exclusively makes precisely the assumptions that I am putting under question.

--em
[ Parent ]

Uh, no.... (3.00 / 1) (#705)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:46:53 AM EST

Quite the opposite. If similar phenotypes == similar genotypes, you'd get different results.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
converging divergence (4.00 / 3) (#240)
by iGrrrl on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:30:45 PM EST

With all due respect to your other areas of expertise, you are not very well versed in the mechanisms of molecular biology and development.

First: The simple examples used to teach Medelian genetics are precisely that: Simple. In a whole organism most phenotypes arise from more complicated interactions of genes, rather than from one gene which can cause white or red flowers. One gene may cause an fly's wings to look frizzled, but it is only one gene in a web needed to make a wing at all.

Second: I think convergent evolution on the molecular level is more improbable, speaking mathematically, than divergent evolution. Different arrangements of amino acids can form proteins with similar functions, but far more often than not, proteins with similar functions have similar arrangements of amino acids. DNA sequence, with rare exceptions, dictates amino acid sequence, and DNA is the primary stuff of heredity.

Third: The case of the eye experiment. Mammalian and arthropod eyes develop through complex interactions of genes, many of which are not the same in mice and flies. The tissues are very different, as is the wiring and ultrastructure, and the processes observed in development are quite different. The gene which induced the development of a reasonble fly-eye-like structure on the leg of a Drosophila melanogaster was a mouse gene that kicks off the expression of eye development in a mouse. What I'd like to know is whether there is a homologue of that gene in Euglena controlling eyespot structures in that single-celled organism.

The differences between arthropod and mammalian eyes were cited as homologous evolution (iirc), meaning that both organisms developed separate ways of dealing with light-based information. The similarities between cephalopod eyes and human eyes were once cited as examples of convergent evolution, based on the assumption that very different processes had brought about similar structures. These labels were given long before we had any clue about DNA.

Yet we learn that the same piece of DNA can control eye development across phyla. To say it does that because that it what it does seems circular to me. A shared evolutionary ancestor seems more probable to me.

As for your argument about mapping phenotype space, molecular genetics has actually broken some of the classical classification schemes based solely on human assignment of phenotype parameters.

But you may believe what you like. I choose to believe the data. Sometimes better data come along, and operating belief changes accordingly. Which could make me a bit of a relativist after all.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

What are the assumptions of evolutionary theory? (4.00 / 1) (#268)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:29:47 PM EST

First: The simple examples used to teach Medelian genetics are precisely that: Simple. In a whole organism most phenotypes arise from more complicated interactions of genes, rather than from one gene which can cause white or red flowers. One gene may cause an fly's wings to look frizzled, but it is only one gene in a web needed to make a wing at all.

I understand this fact. I don't think it makes much of a difference for my suggestions. Note my "genotype space/phenotype space mapping" thought experiment worked on the basis of mapping *complete* genotypes and phenotypes, not on the basis of mapping discrete "genes" to individual traits.

The differences between arthropod and mammalian eyes were cited as homologous evolution [...] The similarities between cephalopod eyes and human eyes were once cited as examples of convergent evolution [...] These labels were given long before we had any clue about DNA. Yet we learn that the same piece of DNA can control eye development across phyla. To say it does that because that it what it does seems circular to me. A shared evolutionary ancestor seems more probable to me.

But why does it seem more probable to you? Which are the underlying assumptions that you bring into play when making that judgement? My claim is that you make this judgement because you assume at least that (a) the set of possible DNA sequences that would work the same way were they substituted for the sequences that actually occur in each species, is a large and very varied set; and possibly that (b) among those possible alternate sequences, many would work only in fruit flies, many would work only in mice, and few would work in both. Given these assumptions, the facts about the same bit of mouse DNA being able to control eye development in mice and drosophila become vanishingly unlikely unless we go for the historical accident explanation. But do we know that the assumptions are true?

As for your argument about mapping phenotype space, molecular genetics has actually broken some of the classical classification schemes based solely on human assignment of phenotype parameters.

Which could mean nothing more than those particular classificatory schemes being wrong, right?

--em
[ Parent ]

do the experiment (5.00 / 2) (#600)
by iGrrrl on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:01:22 AM EST

But do we know that the assumptions are true?
What we do "know" is that the assumptions (and I do not agree with you that those are the exactly the assumptions I hold) predict subsequent observation time after time. Empirical observation. After the thought experiments and hypothesizing, just go look at it. What does it do?

Wait a minute. If you're a linguist, do you study the development of language? Do you assume that all languages arose spontaneously, despite those which show strong correlations in syntax and indicate shared word origins?

I'm sorry. I do shave with Occam's razor. You do the math. 4 letters in an alphabet coding for 26 amino acids. Pick one purpose (say, muscle contraction) and the system of proteins which make contraction happen are similar across species and have similar coding sequences. The probability of them all arising spontaneously is calculable. It is lower than the probability of them diverging from a common ancestor. I find the higher probability event to be more likely.

If, however, statistics to you are simply a construct with no relation to observation, then I have nothing else to say. If, like some theorists, you think that language itself has no realation to reality (whatever that is), then why are our chins (or fingers) moving?

I understand that a lot of theorists have a strong aversion to empiricism. I have a strong aversion to theory without empiricism. If I can't test it, however interesting it may sound, it's useles in my working life. Given that, I think we've both made our points and can stop now.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

under which assumptios? (1.00 / 1) (#645)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:49:39 PM EST

What we do "know" is that the assumptions (and I do not agree with you that those are the exactly the assumptions I hold) predict subsequent observation time after time.

My point is that, as far as I can see, one can formulate theories of each kind which make the exact same empirical predictions. The choice between them can't be because data falsifies one kind of theory, then, but because of reasons of parsimony. Which way Occam's Razor cuts depends on assumptions about the actual range of possibilities our universe allows.

If you're a linguist, do you study the development of language? Do you assume that all languages arose spontaneously, despite those which show strong correlations in syntax and indicate shared word origins?

Many languages are related by ancestry-- we know this because we have *ample* records of it happening for many language families, which span thousands of years. However, the only thing in the classification of languages which looks like the family-tree model are these so-called `genetic' relationships, which only hold if there is a continuous transmission of the language from one generation to the next within a stable speech community.

Apart from this, however, there are all sorts of "language contact" phenomena which just don't fit this model. There's so-called "areal features", which are features of languages in a geographic area which cut-acrosss language family. There's the ever-controversial case of creole languages, which people can't agree whether they can be fit into the genetic model. Also, creoles formed in different parts of the world from different input languages tend to be uncomfortably similar. Pidgins (simplified languages used for intercultural communication) also show quite similar syntax. A lot of things point to there being very strong constraints on how languages look which have little to do with the history of the language.

But a crucial thing is that we actually *have* observed fully-fledged languages spontaneously forming within a 2-generation span (e.g. Nicaraguan Sign Language).

Languages are much less like species than many people think.

I'm sorry. I do shave with Occam's razor. You do the math. 4 letters in an alphabet coding for 26 amino acids. Pick one purpose (say, muscle contraction) and the system of proteins which make contraction happen are similar across species and have similar coding sequences. The probability of them all arising spontaneously is calculable. It is lower than the probability of them diverging from a common ancestor. I find the higher probability event to be more likely.

How you "do the math" depends on all kinds of assumptions. Again, you are assuming that the same purpose could be encoded by a vast variety of dissimilar DNA sequences. How do you know that to be true?

--em
[ Parent ]

Help me out here (4.00 / 1) (#342)
by apocryphile on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:26:03 AM EST

But the crucial point is that all this is true not because of anything about the real world, but because of the mathematical assumptions themselves. Thus you can only disprove Natural Selection if you can disprove probability theory and statistics.

And why, exactly, is this a bad thing?

Are you arguing that probability theory and statistics are themselves invalid?

Is it that Natural Selection is not a scientific theory? The definition you give isn't pretending to be a theory. It's a restatement of a mathematical truth as it applies to a population of organisms which reproduce and possess hereditary traits. As such, it is the mechanism proposed for the origins of species by the various theories of evolution. The theory is the Theory of Evolution. Natural selection is just a part of that theory.

Are we not allowed to use correct logic in our theories, since that logic, being correct, would be unfalsifiable, and thus not a scientific theory?

[ Parent ]
Natural Selection:Evolution ~ Calculus:Mechanics (4.00 / 1) (#358)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 04:56:36 AM EST

Are you arguing that probability theory and statistics are themselves invalid?

No.

Is it that Natural Selection is not a scientific theory?

Yep. More precisely, that it has the same status in biology as, say, differential and integral calculus hold in Newtonian mechanics, and not, say, the law of gravitation.

Are we not allowed to use correct logic in our theories, since that logic, being correct, would be unfalsifiable, and thus not a scientific theory?

Certainly you are allowed to do so. What you are not allowed to do then is to claim that mathematical truths are falsifiable hypotheses.

Let's quote some from a section of the talk.origins FAQ, who are arguing against a Popperian argument that Natural Selection is tautologous:

Darwinian theory rules out quite a lot. It rules out the existence of inefficient organisms when more efficient organisms are about. It rules out change that is theoretically impossible (according to the laws of genetics, ontogeny, and molecular biology) to achieve in gradual and adaptive steps (see Dawkins [1996]). It rules out new species being established without ancestral species.

All of these hypotheses are more or less testable, and conform to the standards of science.

Note, they are presenting this as a counterargument to a claim that NS is tautologous. But note a crucial error: "being tautologous" doesn't mean "fails to rule out anything"! An implicational statement which is formed by conjoining the axioms of the theory of arithmetic as the antecedent and the negation of "1+1=3" as consequent is a tautology; yet it rules out the possibility of the laws of arithmetic holding simultaneously with "1+1=3". Any statement, if true, rules out the negation of each of its entailments.

They point out correctly that the hypotheses they mention are testable. Fine. Even if they came out false, they wouldn't falsify NS. You'd have to give up other hypotheses-- like those about the advantage conferred by traits, and those about heredity.

So, given that you recognize that NS is indeed not an empirical hypothesis but a mathematical principle, you have an upper hand over many very famous defenders of evolutionary theory, who by claiming otherwise, show themselves to be ignorant, dishonest, or both.

--em
[ Parent ]

Some corrections. (none / 0) (#566)
by i on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:14:58 AM EST

A tautology is a logical consequence of axioms. As such it does not rule out anything that is not ruled out by axioms themselves. "1+1=3" is not a tautology as far as arithmetic is concerned. It is a contradiction. "1+1=2" is a tautology.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Your `corrections' are wrong. (none / 0) (#582)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:49:29 AM EST

A tautology is a logical consequence of axioms.

Not quite. You are mixing up the semantic side ("logical consequence") and the syntactic side ("axioms") of logic.

A statement for which exists a valid derivation from the axioms in some theory is a theorem. A tautology typically means a statement which is logically valid in propositional logic, though I've also seen it used to refer to logically valid statements in first order and higher logics (though I and some other logicians I know tend resist that usage). It is not used to refer to statements which are valid in theories with non-logical axioms (such as arithmetic).

Also, given that a logically valid statement is a logical consequence of any set of statements in a logic (including the empty set), your "definition" of tautology in terms of logical consequence is quite misguided.

"1+1=3" is not a tautology as far as arithmetic is concerned. It is a contradiction. "1+1=2" is a tautology.

Unless you are a logicist (ŕ la Frege, or Russell and Whitehead, for example) "1+1=2" is not a valid statement of logic, since it involves non-logical axioms. Thus, it is not a tautology.

--em
[ Parent ]

This is quite correct. (none / 0) (#680)
by i on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:35:47 AM EST

So I've mixed up theorems and tautologies -- I did my Logic 101 some 15 years ago. Anyway, if you would disprove the principle of inheritance, or the assumption that the fittest survive, you would disprove NS in as a fact that happens in our universe. It is like Euclidian geometry. Fine as mathematical theory, but does not hold in our universe.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
The "evolution is tautology" argument... (4.50 / 2) (#214)
by Count Zero on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:26:29 PM EST

...is incredibly flawed. If evolution were a tautology, it would be unfalsifiable. Yet it is quite easy to falsify. For example, if we were to find human fossils in the same strata as dinosaur fossils. That would decidedly falsify evolution. Just because no one has done it yet doesn't mean it can't be. It just means that it is a sound theory. If someone were to falsify evolution, the scientists supporting it would find a new theory. That's how science works, theories are based on evidence, not blind obedience to dogma.

[ Parent ]
Please note... (3.25 / 4) (#231)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:13:19 PM EST

If evolution were a tautology

Please note that the original statement was this:

Natural Selection is not a scientific theory, it is a tautology

They are not the same thing.

Evolution (as it seems to be treated by the author of the article) is the belief that, through wholly natural processes, the earth and universe (including all life) as we know it came to be. Modern evolutionary thought indicates that the universe was once infinitely compressed immediately prior to the Big Bang, and that all life on earth is derived from inorganic material. Generally, (I think) it is assumed that all life descended from a single common ancestor.

Natural selection is the assertion that "Organisms most fit to survive a particular set of circumstances will survive." This is the tautology, meaning the statement is circular. Thus, I could ask, "Who survives?" The answer is "Organisms most fit to survive." Then I can ask, "How do we know that they are the most fit to survive?" The answer is, "Because they survive." Because of this relationship between the two parts of the statement, natural selection is a tautology. Saying that "the fittest don't survive" is akin to saying "this statement is not true."

My next point is a comment on the statement:

That's how science works, theories are based on evidence, not blind obedience to dogma.

If evolution were falsified in ways that seem apparent to us today (i.e. finding human bones among dinosaur fossils), I am under the impression that scientists who investigate evolutionary theory would modify their theory to match. i.e., they would claim "Well, some form of hominid evidently appeared earlier than we thought." The biggest problem that I see with evolution is that it really is more of a general principal, an assumption if you will, that scientists use when analyzing evidence. In general it sounds good, but in reality, since there is no perfect record of the last 6000-4.5billion years (I think that covers the range of accepted ages of the earth) (we haven't found God's 8mm camera yet), there is no way to thoroughly prove evolution.

That's how science works, theories are based on evidence, not blind obedience to dogma.

Saying that no scientist treats evolution as dogma is like saying that nobody treats creation as dogma. Likewise (at least in my opinion), saying that everyone treats creation like dogma is like saying that everyone treats evolution as dogma.



[ Parent ]
NO (4.00 / 1) (#548)
by delmoi on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:17:40 AM EST

Evolution (as it seems to be treated by the author of the article) is the belief that, through wholly natural processes, the earth and universe (including all life) as we know it came to be.

What the hell are you talking about!?!?!

Evolution dosn't say anything about anything other then biological changes in life. It has nothing to do with the Big bang or anything like that!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
why debate? (4.00 / 10) (#25)
by nickco on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:24:32 AM EST

Honestly, I would like to know why people feel the need to even debate this subject. I'm not looking to insult either party, I just want to understand your motivation. It is, in my opinion, impossible to determine if some eternal being created the universe, or if it simply 'happened'. Besides being essentially un-answerable, it really matters very little. It exists, either way. So, why assault other people's beliefs?

Again, this is not simply rhetoric, they are legitimate questions that I would like answered. Thanks!

You're asking for trouble from our learned peer... (2.60 / 5) (#49)
by NoCashValue on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:04:14 AM EST

Streetlawyer is coming for you! His obvious wealth of knowledge bursting from his swollen cranium. The veins in his arms throbbing at the thought of bashing out a couple of hundred words of blinding intellectualism to dazzle us all with his absolute and all-commanding grasp of EVERYTHING. Muahahahahahahaha!!!!! Fear him ye mere mortals - he comes for YOU! And watch those buzzwords fly!

[ Parent ]
lol (3.66 / 3) (#152)
by Spendocrat on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:49:29 AM EST

Streetlawyer is the boogeyman the people on kuro5hin scare their children with at night.

[ Parent ]
My view of the landscape (4.50 / 2) (#250)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:52:19 PM EST

Honestly, I would like to know why people feel the need to even debate this subject. ... Besides being essentially un-answerable, it really matters very little.

On the surface, I agree with you. I believe that no living person (with one probable exception) will ever completely understand the origin of the universe. Arguing over what happened thousands or billions of years ago seems fairly inconsequential. Discovering that a particular theory of origins is correct is not going to do much to change the ways that we do things. Cars will still move, faster computers will still be made, life will go on.

However, just below the surface of this scientific debate is a deeper philosophical one. I am pretty convinced that the two main camps (who I will call Christians and Humanists) are waging a much larger war that has spilled into the realm of origins. In origins, the stakes are high.

For many Christians, creation as recorded in the Bible is very foundational. The accuracy of the account in Genesis is the ultimate proof that a Creator exists. If this Creator exists and Genesis depicts the account of his creation and his initial revelations to humanity of himself, then the rest of the Bible rests very easily and very solidly on its shoulders. There is much less to contest if Creation is accurate. However, the inaccuracy of the account in Genesis leads to questions regarding the accuracy of the rest of the Bible, including the very central doctrine of the salvation that God offers man through his son Jesus. If the beginning of Genesis is false, then many Christian doctrines (such as Adam's sin being the source of all pain, suffering, and death, man's superiority over and responsibility for the rest of creation, and man's need for a bridge between himself and God) are more easily attacked.

Similarly, for many Humanists, evolution is very foundational. The accuracy of modern evolutionary theory, including the very important theory/hypothesis/whatever of common descent, is the ultimate proof that a Creator does not exist, or at the very least is irrelevant. Belief in "souls" is much less acceptable if all we are is muck that has devoloped the ability to talk. Ideas such as "moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone" (from the AHA website; emphasis mine) gain much greater weight under evolution. And on the flip side, the disproof of evolution by the proof of some form of supernatural creation puts man subject to some supernatural being. Specifically, if the Christian view of creation is proved, and the Christian God exists, then Humanists claiming that everyone has the right to determine his or her own morals are suddenly found to be in rebellion in front of God, since God has defined a definite set of moral standards.

So, basically, both hard-core philosophies have much to gain or lose in this debate. Outside of that, both camps can marvel at DNA or the Giant Squid.

Unfortunately, there are many people caught in the middle who just don't care. Some walk into the argument unawares of the diagreement. Some don't see a point to it. Just like any other war, battles will erupt and swallow up the ignorant, the indifferent, and the innocent.



[ Parent ]
wow. (none / 0) (#356)
by nickco on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 04:34:02 AM EST

Thanks for the excellent reply, you definitely put a more rational face on it. It's easy for me to think these debates irrational, but I can see the passion that the people on both sides pour into them; and I know that it's a spiritual thing, even for those who don't support such ideology. I understand the fundemental need to know whence the human race, and the universe itself came.. I simply belong to a third party; the indecisive one :)

[ Parent ]
For the same reason that we do anything (3.50 / 2) (#285)
by ZanThrax on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:32:06 PM EST

more than eat, sleep, shit, and fuck. Humans are intelligent, emotional animals, and we do a great many things that don't really matter, simply because we want to. Intellectual debate is like art or mountain climbing; we do all three because we can. As soon as we stop doing things simply because they don't serve a great and wonderous purpose, we may as well devolve to something on the order of an insect, because we'll never again find any great and wonderous purpose for anything.


There is no them. There is only us. We are them.


[ Parent ]
really. (none / 0) (#355)
by nickco on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 04:24:31 AM EST

I understand your point, in a general view. However, I don't argue about the origin of the Universe.. does that make me less human? My question was why we debate about this subject.. to assume that I disagree with debate itself would be silly, as I am replying to this post :)

[ Parent ]
Church of Science. (1.60 / 5) (#50)
by sator on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:05:08 AM EST

I could say much in fafour of creationism, in the light of my solipsism, after all I havent existed for ever, so there I have empiric truth of world being created trough myself.

But on the subject itself. Only thing more tiring than people who have lost their sight to the light of religion, are the ones that have lost their sight to a paradigm .

I believe in science. Paradigms are religions. IMO: evolution is as plausible theory as is creationism, neither must oppose otherm and neither can be proven true on the large scale. So in this light I am not believer neither theory and therefore I am not accepted by neither of these sides.

And by the way, you insulted the ppl. who believe in creation. Creation van mean a lot of things, like big bang.

Ooooh, goody! A challange! (3.77 / 9) (#65)
by jd on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:32:06 AM EST

Actually, a double challange, since someone has asked for a proof of evolution that doesn't require the axiom of the scientific method.

I love challanges. Especially on toast.

First, the "proof of creationism". Hmmm. Difficult. There are actually several stories of "creation" within the Old Testament, and there is ample evidence that many Jewish sects, prior to the Greek and Roman occupations, had their own version of this history. Thus, it is impossible to be certain which "creationism" a person is supposed to prove.

However, let's assume that we're talking STRICTLY about the first creation story, at the start of Genesis. (Like I said, there are others, later on.) Let us ALSO use the dating of this event, as recorded by Greek scholars in the Great Alexandrian Library: 400,000 BC.

At this point, creationism and darwinism actually converge, albeit only for a while. If my (somewhat crappy) memory serves me right, this is about the time that early humanoids were leaving Africa. I don't want to get into all that "scientific religion" stuff, because that tends to be even more warped than pure faith. On the other hand, the whole of Genesis (as a historical event) suddenly takes on a whole new twist. Could the "Creation Myth" in the Bible be a proto-memory, handed down over hundreds of thousands of years, of the exodus from Africa?

Evolution is a much more interesting problem. How to validate a scientific theory, without the use of scientific tools? The concept that such a validation exists raises an interesting side-question: Is "science" a unique path to deep understanding and repeatable truth, or merely one defined path which achieves those goals?

If science is a unique path, then (by definition) nothing scientific can be validated except through science. On the other hand, if science is simply one of many paths, then evolution should be verifiably through any one of those paths.

(In mathematical terms, is "truth by deduction and induction" a spanning-tree, or a graph? If a graph, then the number of "walks" from the starting point to the conclusion is greater than or equal to one.)

This graph would be a "meta-science", in that all actual sciences are spanning trees which form perfect subsets of the original graph, AND no node would exist in that graph which could not be traversed by some science.

The definition and description of such a graph would render the notion of scientific disciplines redundant. You could still use those, as a convenience, but all that would involve is selecting a collection of connected nodes and whittling down connections until you had a spanning tree.

To the best of my knowledge, the closest any society has got to such a graph was during the Reneissance, when people mixed and merged disciplines of all sorts to see what would happen.

To determine, then, a totally abstract theory of evolution which does NOT depend upon any axiom at all, all that is required is to define the location of evolution in the graph, and then to define the graph itself. From there, all proofs from all starting-points can be derived.

Unfortunatly, I don't posess such a graph. If anyone (creationist, evolutionist, Myst, I don't care) can provide one, I'd be happy to answer the question.

Why there is a Creator (4.33 / 12) (#71)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:45:59 AM EST

For one thing, any "logical" proof I use will necessarily be a dim approximation to the real reason. After all, logic is just a method of starting out from very small, simple assumptions, and through various transformations that lie within the rules, come to a truth that sounds different from what you started with. (But of course isn't any different.)

In a famous debate, Gauss once said: "(x^4)/(x+1): Ergo God. Reply!" His opponent was so flustered that he couldn't reply, and so Gauss won undeservedly. So much for logic.

The Creationist argument basically boils down to probability -- the universe is an extraordinarily weird place. When we go very small, we find strange quantum effects that keep us from learning. Go big, find strange relativistic effects and singularities which break every rule we imagine. Go into the fields of logic, we find Gödel's Theorem, telling us that there are things which are undecidable, which we will never be able to prove. Nowhere are we free to understand; we are only forever on the edge of understanding. Even in the universe of our own minds (logic) we are always left in mystery.

And if we can be so arrogant to forget how strange it is for us to be conscious and cogitating on the nature of Creation, is it really so strange that some consciousness created what is around us, the way we create words and biospheres? Some think that the earth itself is conscious in an interesting way (Gaia theory). If we live in a universe with entities that have gained consciousness, is it not conceivable that many more things than we presently understand have consciousness, or at least the universe was a result of a conscious act?

Who Created the Creator? (4.25 / 8) (#117)
by thedward on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:51:05 AM EST

If you stipulate a conscious creator you just push the question up a level. Why wouldn't the creator need an explanation?

[ Parent ]
Thanks (3.80 / 5) (#125)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:07:18 AM EST

If you accept such recursive reasoning, then I can use Aquinas' First Cause and First Movement arguments to solve this challenge.

There is a creator since there is motion. Through cause and effect, something caused each movement. Every chain of events has a beginning. The beginning event which moved everything is the creator. (Regardless of our anthropomorphic images of a kindly bearded old man.)

Here's a link for you. It should give a reasonable outline of the very basic objects and counterreplies to the topic.

[ Parent ]
So god is the big bang? :) (4.33 / 3) (#159)
by thedward on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:59:30 AM EST

Seriously, that doesn't really have anything to do with the existance or non-existance of a conscious creator.

[ Parent ]
No, God is the one who made the bang (2.66 / 3) (#166)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:22:31 PM EST

I hope you don't think I'm sitting here and thinking, "My god, I had never known!"

What I believe in this matter is seperate from what I say. There is potential in this discussion to learn epistemology, but everything seems to conspire to kill it stillborn before it even begins.

And there's centuries of argument and counterargument to this one theological point. I mentioned a link; if you want to continue being prejudiced without even responding to a single point in that link, then perhaps your life is better for it.

[ Parent ]
Re: No, God is the one who made the bang (4.50 / 2) (#190)
by thedward on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:18:30 PM EST

I hope you don't think I'm sitting here and thinking, "My god, I had never known!"
Of course not. I just don't see why the big bang can't be the "uncaused cause". Besides, the link you provided seems to do a pretty good job of dismantling the First Cause Argument. What exactly is it in that article you want me to respond to? Even taking it at face value, it seems that calling the first cause "god" is taking a huge leap.

[ Parent ]
aquinas and beginnings (4.75 / 4) (#293)
by Delirium on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:20:36 PM EST

Heh I didn't think people still relied on Aquinas's arguments. His premise is flawed - in every chain of events there is not necessarily a first cause. In fact in every chain of events that we can experience in everyday life, this is decided not the case. Every event is caused by another event, which in turn each was caused by another, and so on. To postulate that somewhere in tracing this lineage we eventually come to an "uncaused cause," the start of the chain (and of all chains in fact) really has no basis. That doesn't make it necessarily wrong, but it certainly doesn't provide any reason to believe it's so.

Furthermore, if there is in fact an uncaused cause, why is this uncaused cause God? If we say "a small little piece of matter, which was itself uncaused, expanded in the Big Bang to create the universe," we have exactly one uncaused object for which we have no explanation. If instead we say "God, an uncaused being, created a small little piece of matter, which then expanded in the Big Bang to create the universe," we have explained where the matter came from only at the expense of replacing it with another unexplained object. Again, exactly one uncaused object.

So while neither possibility is in fact fully logical or explained, I don't see what benefit whatsoever the second version ("the God version") offers in explaining things; we're left exactly where we started. We could of course then postulate a mystical spirit that created God, and then we're left with where the spirit came from. Just adding more things to the beginning doesn't solve the problem.

[ Parent ]

A better question... (3.00 / 3) (#177)
by phenyx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:46:11 PM EST

Why would God need a starship?

[ Parent ]
Explanations (4.33 / 3) (#196)
by paulT on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:35:07 PM EST

We would need an explanation and there are two immediate ones to consider:
  • The creator has no creator.
  • The creator is one of an infinite line of creators. The Circular Ruins
Both explanations are possible but the explanation is irrelevant. It does not harm arguments in favour of a creator that we do not know the origin of the creator just as it does not harm various physics theories that we are unclear on the details of the origin of the universe.

FWIW I have yet to see an argument for a creator that completely satisfies me but I have also never seen an argument against a creator that completely satisfies me. As for creationism, I doubt a creator would have been so sloppy as to create a world that we could tell from the real thing this early in the game.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
simply put (3.50 / 2) (#306)
by xriso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:16:36 PM EST

God doesn't obey the laws of cause and effect, just like He doesn't obey gravity, or thermodynamics, or any other physical law. He is out of this world^H^H^H^H^Huniverse, therefore not constrained by its laws.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
"Cause and effect" is a physical law? (2.00 / 1) (#519)
by roystgnr on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 07:16:25 PM EST

No, it isn't. And you don't have to get very far in grade school science class to come up with repeatably observable instances of causeless effects: the random decay of radioactive elements or unstable particles, for example.

"Cause and effect" is not a physical law, it is a philosophical belief introduced to this discussion by creationists who need to "prove" God. And if you're going to introduce such a rule once, you can't just ditch it when you think it's about to lead you to an inconvenient conclusion.

[ Parent ]

x^4/x+1? (2.00 / 1) (#394)
by Spatula on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:51:10 PM EST

So, is x = -1 a vertical asymptote? And *that's* proof for a deity? I don't get it.
--
someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]
Well, it's probably... (3.00 / 1) (#562)
by Nurgled on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:46:38 AM EST

It's probably something along the lines of "Human beings can do maths, God created human beings, so God created maths."

The fact that the argument itself is completely baseless seems not to concern some members of the creationist fraternity. I had a maths teacher some time ago who put forth arguments like this. In time we learnt to just stay away from the subject.

(I'm British. The abbreviation for mathematics retains its plural s in British English)



[ Parent ]
only god could come up with that (none / 0) (#725)
by lemmingEffect on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:48:31 PM EST

I think it's more an arguement that no mere human could have created mathematics. It implies that a higher intelligence was involved.

The mathematics arugment is similar to the devils in the clock argument (can't for the life of me remember who's--anyone want to help? i take the class and forget the names (= ): basically if you were to pick up a watch off the ground and wondered how it was created you'd think a watch maker because the odds are it didn't just occur from thin air. in like manner, the world/universe must have been created. therefore god.

of course one of the main problems with that argument is it doesn't have to be god. could be aliens. in which case it begs the question of who created them...recurse. that of course leads to the Aquinas theory discussed elsewhere.

*shrug*

"Just do me a favor, ok? Don't breed." -- Adam Carolla, Loveline
[ Parent ]

Ontological argument (none / 0) (#971)
by Spatula on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 03:52:56 PM EST

That was by St. Anselm. (The Watch argument). However, it definitely uses the logical fallacy of equivocation.

I can't buy that the existance of mathematics (much less the existance of x = -1 as a vertical asymptote) as proof of a higher power. It's equivocation.
--
someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]

Excellent (2.62 / 8) (#79)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:15:12 AM EST

First, excellent, excellent challenge with very good rules (and explanations thereof).

Second, awesome reverse-trolling. You've really pissed the trolls off this time. Nothing angers Certain Trolls more than claims of objective reality and the (real) scientific method.

To bring ass-kissing ontopic: It occurred to me that maybe you could find an "evolution-free" creationist argument by looking pre-Darwin. Then I realized that probably no one bothered to formulate an argument back then since it was "obvious". So I agree, creationism as an attempt at science is purely a reaction.

Play 囲碁
theory (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by ubu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:27:11 AM EST

Actually, the argument went on before evolutionary theory. There was a concept known as "spontaneous generation", which held that rats and flies and frogs and such were "spontaneously" generated by their environment.

It was an embarrassingly rustic theory, but until darwin and gould and huxley came along there really was nothing better to fight with.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
And strangely enough... (4.50 / 2) (#201)
by dgwatson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:42:34 PM EST

It would seem that the latest research would point toward spontaneous generation for the origin of life. Otherwise, how could it arise so quickly in unfavorable conditions, and do it not once, but hundreds or thousands of times?

It's either believe that life just appeared spontaneously, or else it was put here. Which is easier to believe?

[ Parent ]
An easy question... (3.00 / 1) (#206)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:54:37 PM EST

It is much easier to believe that life arose via the action of physics and chemistry, rather than from some supernatural agency. We observe physics and chemistry in action, and can construct viable theories which explain how life could have arisen. We have no evidence that a Deity or Deity exists or ever has existed, much less that said Deity actively began life on this planet, or interacted with this planet at all for that matter.

I don't doubt that many will strongly disagree with my position. That's OK. We're here to hash this whole thing out.

[ Parent ]

reply (4.00 / 2) (#227)
by ubu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:04:29 PM EST

It is much easier to believe that life arose via the action of physics and chemistry, rather than from some supernatural agency.

Indeed, and nothing proves this quite so well as the widespread popularity that "spontaneous generation" enjoyed. It was considered quite scientific and sensible by its proponents.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Some Good articles (4.10 / 10) (#80)
by cmoyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:16:14 AM EST

These are two scientific studies about creationism. Both revolve arounding proving a "young earth model".
The Current State of Creationist Astronomy
The Sands of Time: A Biblical Model of Deep Sea-Floor Sedimentation

Many similar articles

The Current State of Creationist Astronomy (2.33 / 3) (#128)
by Refrag on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:10:21 AM EST

I didn't read much of this. I read the quote at the top, and then I read the abstract. To me, it sounds like this guys argument is going to be that a creator exists, because the universe cannot simply exist without a design.

Whatever.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Actually... (3.00 / 3) (#134)
by cmoyer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:21:15 AM EST

Much of the article discusses facts that can be used to show the earth can't be as old as Big Bang theory suggests. in fact, they show an age much close to that suggested in biblical accounts.

[ Parent ]
The Big Bang Theory... (3.00 / 2) (#257)
by Anonymous 6522 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:03:41 PM EST

...does not suggest how old the Earth is. It can only put an upper bound on the Earth's age.

[ Parent ]
After reading the Creationist Astronomy article.. (none / 0) (#278)
by lb on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:29:29 PM EST

I admit it was refreshingly thorough and well reasoned, however I don't think at least that article matches his requirements.

Most of the points in the article are interesting, but they're still points that seem to say "oh yeah, well your theory doesn't explain this yet!"

Overall there were about 10 issues that it discussed, and several of them it partially debunked itself as not being in favor of a 6000 year old universe.

I'm certain if one spent as much time looking at all the information available as the christian scientists have, you could come up with just as much 'evidence' that the universe is *older* than what most of science currently agrees upon.

And finally, it really seems to me from a creation point of view that God is trying to make the universe appear older than the 6000 years the literal interpretation of the bible suggests. If so, do you really expect to find some detail that god fouled up? He's supposed to be perfect, isn't he?

-lb

[ Parent ]

Creationist Astronomy Debunked (none / 0) (#875)
by Morgoths Cat on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 07:03:25 AM EST

Old chap, that article is balderdash. I've debunked large parts of it myself - see The Supernovae, Supernova Remnants and Young-Earth Creationism FAQ

Best Regards,
Dave

[ Parent ]

Show a paragraph without an 'e' symbol... (4.21 / 19) (#85)
by acestus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:23:45 AM EST

3. References to faith are not fair game. If your listeners are not already convinced, a faith argument is useless. One must already have faith in order for a faith argument to mean anything.

I think you misunderstand.

Creationists are (in my experience) not Creationists because of their belief in Creation. Instead, they are Creationists as a side-effect of their belief in some greater body of dogma.

I am not interested in convincing anyone of Creation. I would much rather convince them of the importance of loving their fellow man, and of the reality of grace and sin. If they can accept that, but not Creation, it's a fine thing.

Imagine that a Creationist had asked you to provide an argument about Evolutionism, stipulating that you may not reference the Scientific Method.



Acestus
This is not an exit.
Dogma versus Science (4.77 / 9) (#100)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:16:52 AM EST

Creationists are (in my experience) not Creationists because of their belief in Creation. Instead, they are Creationists as a side-effect of their belief in some greater body of dogma.

Whilst this is almost certainly true, creationists like to deny it. According to "Creation Scientists" such as Gish the evidence is strongly in favour of a young Earth, special creation and Noachian flood.

There is an important practical reason for this: in the US Creationists are forever trying to get their version of events taught in science classes. In order to do this they have to claim that Creationism is truly science rather than religious dogma. If they admit that they are actually pushing a religious dogma then they will be banned from science classrooms.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Don't taunt the monkeys! (3.83 / 6) (#121)
by acestus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:56:03 AM EST

Well, of course, you're right with regard to that group. (I am tempted to call them a minority, but this would be both unsubstantiated and unimportant.)

Creation Science is interesting, I think, but it's also entirely wrong-minded. It reminds me of the Buddhist parable of the burning house. Let people believe want they want about the unimportant things while you convince them of the important ones!

On the other hand, I think there is a fine line between teaching modern science and trendy science. We must caution ourselves against teaching the most cutting-edge theories in highschool. They are still highly speculative and subject to change. I can sympathise with the Creation Scientist's appeal to this need, but I think that it must ultimately be rejected. The science of Creation is clearly more likely, at this point, to be forgotten as a trend in the future. If the science is going to mature, let it mature first as a theory, second as a teaching.

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]

huh (4.00 / 2) (#138)
by alprazolam on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:29:05 AM EST

We must caution ourselves against teaching the most cutting-edge theories in highschool

Why? People want to learn 'the most cutting-edge' ideas, they're exciting! Just because they aren't proven out doesn't mean they aren't the best explanation there is. Scientists don't assume they can explain everything. it's just a framework for understanding the natural world, based on observation and experimentation. You don't have to let anything 'mature' to teach it, you just explain the idea, why people think it may be true, and what people are doing to prove it's trueness. Science isn't dogma, just because people think something is true now, doesn't mean it can never be disproved.

[ Parent ]

out of my mouth... (3.20 / 5) (#103)
by tayknight on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:19:48 AM EST

Imagine that a Creationist had asked you to provide an argument about Evolutionism, stipulating that you may not reference the Scientific Method.
Thank you. I was going to say exactly that.
Pair up in threes - Yogi Berra
[ Parent ]
Can someone explain (none / 0) (#325)
by eightball on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:53:08 PM EST

how a 'Me too' gets a 5?

[ Parent ]
No, you're assertion is incorrect. (4.33 / 6) (#182)
by krlynch on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:07:06 PM EST

Creationists are (in my experience) not Creationists because of their belief in Creation. Instead, they are Creationists as a side-effect of their belief in some greater body of dogma. .... Imagine that a Creationist had asked you to provide an argument about Evolutionism, stipulating that you may not reference the Scientific Method.

I don't think the writer misunderstood at all. I think you are missing the point. "Creation science" claims to be SCIENCE not RELIGION. If you want to look at it as religion, that is fine with me... but don't pretend to ALSO be a science. If you want to look at creationism as a science, then you DO have to adhere to the scientific method... and within the framework of the scientific method, creationism is excluded because the physical evidence contradicts the model. Evolution, however, IS NOT excluded within the framework: the theory has successfully withstood all challenges, while individual models have not.

So, if you stipulate that I can not use the scientific method to provide arguments in favor of evolution, I would have to respond that to do so is impossible, because the theory of evolution is a SCIENTIFIC theory, not a DOGMATIC theory, and I would have to decline to attempt to convince you. So I don't think he got it wrong at all, but very very right.

[ Parent ]

Which part? (4.00 / 3) (#256)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:02:53 PM EST

Evolution ... has successfully withstood all challenges, while individual models have not.

I am curious about a fuller description or definition of evolution that has stood up to the test of science. I am also curious as to which individual models you are referring to that have not stood up. I guess I don't see the difference between the models and the theory in what you said.



[ Parent ]
Theory vs. Model (none / 0) (#623)
by krlynch on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:41:29 PM EST

The crucial difference is that between model and theory. Theory provides the tools and structures on which individual models are based. I'm a particle physicist, so I can most easily explain the difference in that field: the theory that most of particle physics is based on is Quantum Field Theory, QFT. It is a mathematical structure built from "simple" first principles that is believed to describe the underlying structure of the Universe, at the level we can currently probe. There are many models built on top of QFT: Quantum Electrodynamics, Fermi's four-body model, the pion-exchange based strong nuclear force model, the Standard Electroweak Model, and many many Supersymmetric models. All of these models are constructed on the building blocks of QFT. If you are a programmer, the buzzwords to think of are: theory:interface :: model:implementation.

The "scientific theory of evolution", broadly speaking, is that physical processes occuring over time lead to changes in biological systems, and those changes include things like speciation, adaptation to new environmental circumstances, etc. There are specific models of how this can occur: intelligent design is a favorite of "evolutionary creation scientists", Darwinian Natural Selection, Punctuated Equilibrium. Each model leads to different a priori or a posteriori predictions, and the comparing those predictions to experiments results in either ruling out the model or not ruling it out. The "intelligent design" model is ruled out by observation (see other posts to this article), Darwin's original model is also ruled out. There are other, more modern models, but I'm not sufficiently up on the state of the art to say what those models are. Overall evidence is strongly in favor of the theory, however, but the particular mechanisms responsible (the models if you will) are what scientists spend their time discussing.

[ Parent ]

Wow (4.00 / 4) (#198)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:37:09 PM EST

I'm not being sarcastic here -- you just made me realize something my hubris had hid from me for a long time, even though I was arguing the exact same thing.

I've always been a quasi-nihilist and believe reality does not exist. Interpretation exists. Thus, each person, or class of people more broadly, exists in a reality slightly different from everyone else's. Now, that's not to say these reality's don't have meaning. For example, murder is not right or wrong, but by reality making it wrong thru abstractions good things (when viewed from the same reality) can come about. Anyhow, 'nuff 'bout that.

You finally termed Chrisitianity in a way I can understand. A separate reality. This makes sense from my view. I personally subscribe the the reality of science. I subscribe to the reality of making observations and interpreting the data. Chrisitianity doesn't do this, and so from my reflection of reality it is wrong.

However, Christians have this thing called faith. This is as alien a concept to me as pure scientific method must be for some zealots. However, as reality doesn't exist and everything is simply interpretations, faith cannot be dismissed as less valuable than the scientific method. For Christians who subscribe to their own reality, scientific fact seems as worthless as faith does to some scientists.

But that's the problem, isn't it? The scientific method can be used to invalidate almost all faith-based arguments, and faith can be used to invalidate almost all scientific method based arguments. You can successfully argue creationism if you subscribe to the reflected faith reality. You can sucessfully evolution if you subscribe to the reflected scientifc method reality.

But you can't successfully argue evolution from the faith-based reality nor can you argue creation fromt he scientific-method reality.

However, as infinite realities exist, there must exist one in which both of these arguments could be argued sucessfully ;)

Cheers

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Solipsism (3.00 / 2) (#261)
by Pimp Ninja on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:15:35 PM EST

You may want to look at your definitions...

Unless i miss my guess (and it does happen from time to time...) you're not a nihilist. You're a solipsist.

i'll leave my ... low ... opinion of that for a more fitting forum. But at least call yourself by a more accurate name.


-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


[ Parent ]
No you freak (1.60 / 5) (#267)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:28:47 PM EST

You fucking idiot. Solipsism believes nothing exists but herself, and everyone else/everything else/reality is nothing but a manifestation of her own thoughts. Nihilism denies existence in general. Nihilism suggests that everything we believe to be real, from gravity to love, is nothing more than interpretations our mind creates; or more general that nothing which can be described is real.

*sigh* Sophmoric attempt at vocabulary. You're really pathetic.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Pathos (none / 0) (#369)
by acestus on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 09:24:19 AM EST

I think your attitude here is pretty reprehensible. Granted, PN's reply was not the most diplomatic that I have seen, but I don't think there's ever much reason for us to call each other 'fucking idiots' and 'pathetic.' It neither helps our arguments nor makes anyone feel welcome to discuss things.

Further, I think that, to an extent, you are both wrong and right in the word you are choosing. The beliefs you described struck me as a form of absolute relativism. Relativism suggests that there are no objects (things which exist for us to see), but rather only subjects (things in our field of vision which need not 'really' exist.)

In my opinion, relativism is solipsistic, as it leads to the postulation that you can know only yourself. After all, once you believe that you can only really understand your own reality, the realities and realness of others becomes something of a moot point.

As for nihilism, nihilism is one of those awful terms that has come to mean all things to all people. While you could certainly class your explained beliefs as nihilistic, I think nihilism is a term better avoided. It is too overwhelmed with connotations, and one can usually express one's ideas better with more specific terms.



Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Pathos? (1.00 / 2) (#880)
by DranoK on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:29:54 PM EST

An admirable condition. I will say what I feel like saying dammit. Are you too fucking pathetic and idiotic to realize that what I say are merely words from an online persona?

Idiot.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Infinity != All Things (1.00 / 1) (#368)
by acestus on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 09:14:28 AM EST

However, as infinite realities exist, there must exist one in which both of these arguments could be argued sucessfully ;)

An infinite set of numbers exist, yet it is not true that there must exist a number a such that a!=a.

See my reference on faith and reason.



Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Not much point (2.12 / 25) (#89)
by LQ on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:44:48 AM EST

You can't have a rational argument with the mentally ill. You can't get sense out of people who've had their minds screwed by their upbringing. Religion is a fog that clouds the perceptions and closes the mind to reality.

You're right (4.33 / 3) (#96)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:12:10 AM EST

As you persist in your religious conviction that you are sane and above others, I can only find that I agree with you.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but ... (none / 0) (#901)
by LQ on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 05:41:57 AM EST

I'm not the one who lives their live based on some Middle-Eastern ghost story. If someone spent their time obsessing about the Tooth Fairy, you'd say they were bonkers. I don't see any difference between that and any other mythology.

[ Parent ]
Well. (4.00 / 2) (#107)
by kwsNI on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:32:01 AM EST

If you're right, and there is no God, then what have I lost in the end by living a Christian life?

If I'm right, and there is a God, then what will you lose in the end?

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

What have you lost? (4.50 / 6) (#119)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:55:13 AM EST

If you're right, and there is no God, then what have I lost in the end by living a Christian life?

You've wasted away your existance living a lie. Your entire purpose for life was non-existant.

If I'm right, and there is a God, then what will you lose in the end?

In the end I will have lost my conviction that there was no God. Assuming he's a nice guy, he'll understand why I didn't have faith. If he isn't, then I guess I'll rot in hell or something.

Still... there are so many beliefs that chances are, you're wrong too. So I'll see you in hell and you can tell me what a great life you've had.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
That's good. (4.50 / 4) (#124)
by kwsNI on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:06:42 AM EST

You've wasted away your existance living a lie. Your entire purpose for life was non-existant.

And since there is no God, what would be your existance?

Assuming he's a nice guy, he'll understand why I didn't have faith.

You haven't done your research very well.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

(sigh) ... Christians. (4.62 / 8) (#135)
by scorbett on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:21:45 AM EST

Assuming he's a nice guy, he'll understand why I didn't have faith.

You haven't done your research very well.

That's the part about Christianity that I never understood. God supposedly created everyone with free will and a mind of their own, yet severely punishes anyone who doesn't obey his commandments? What kind of free will is that? If someone has a naturally suspicious personality (i.e. a doubting Thomas), isn't it because God made that person that way? Why would God then punish that person for being the way He made them?

Both my parents are Christians, and tried their hardest to raise me as such, but the more I learned, the more I got the impression that it's all a big fairy tale designed to suppress man's natural fear of death (i.e. hey, you don't actually die when you die, you get to keep living!). Of course, if there is a God, he made me who I am, so it shouldn't be a surprise to him that I would choose not to believe. If he wants to send me to hell for that, well, so be it. You'll forgive me if I don't get too worked up over it.



[ Parent ]

You're missing something here (4.00 / 2) (#199)
by dgwatson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:39:22 PM EST

God is perfect. Therefore his commandments are perfect.

If you refuse to obey his commandments, you are, in effect saying, that you are better than God. If you say you are better than someone who is perfect, than you are wrong, and therefore imperfect.

Through Christ, we are made perfect in God's eyes. Thus he can accept ups. Otherwise, his perfectness (i.e., holiness) will not allow us into his presence.

[ Parent ]
No. My point stands. (4.50 / 4) (#220)
by scorbett on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:36:35 PM EST

God is perfect. Therefore his commandments are perfect.

Your entire argument is based on this assumption, which I would challenge. If god were perfect, he would be incapable of producing imperfect creations. Hence, all of us humans (god's creatures) would be perfect. Nowhere in the bible does it say that god is perfect, though, so I'm not sure where you're getting that idea. Take a look at the story of Noah - you're telling me that god, who is perfect, created a world that went so wrong, the only way he could see to rectify the situation was to kill everyone on the planet except a small group of loyal followers and start over from scratch? That really doesn't sound like the action of a perfect creator to me (or even a sane one).

Any way you look at it, I think it's utterly pointless to debate the existence of god, since the only way to find out for sure is to die. We'll all learn the truth eventually, so why bicker about it in the meantime?



[ Parent ]

Still missing a major factor (none / 0) (#531)
by dgwatson on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:11:00 PM EST

God exists outside of time, and created time as we see it. He is not confined by our sense of time, however - he knows everything that will happen even before he does anything.

When he created humans, he gave them free will. There is no way to have free will without having the ability to screw up - otherwise you don't have the ability to make choices. I don't claim to understand God's purposes, but I do believe that he allowed man to mess up so that he may should his power by saving them through Christ.

At the time before the flood, it says in Genesis that man had become completely reprobate - his only thoughts were evil all the time. If these people had not been destroyed, they would have destroyed themselves. By rescuing Noah and his family (the only humans who were not completely sinful), and destroying all mammals and birds that had been affected by these evil people, there was a chance for a new beginning. Not that I don't believe that the flood was global, but that it only covered the area necessary to kill off all the humans.

[ Parent ]
contradiction (none / 0) (#743)
by Elendur on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:44:32 PM EST

Your post brings up something I've always seen as being a contradiction.

"God exists outside of time, and created time as we see it. He is not confined by our sense of time, however - he knows everything that will happen even before he does anything."

Okay good, so he knows what will happen before it happens.

"When he created humans, he gave them free will."

How can we have free will if God already knows what we will do? If God can know what happens throughout time, then it must be predetermined. Therefore we cannot have true free will.

This is something I've always wondered about. I don't think I frame it very well or with quite all the logical steps needed, but I've never found a contradiction to it either.

[ Parent ]
Your mind is too limited ;) (none / 0) (#768)
by dgwatson on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 09:44:10 AM EST

I admit this isn't the best analogy, but this what I came up with:

Imagine this scenario. You see a car speeding
towards a cliff. It is clear that there is no way it can stop in time. You know for an absolute fact that the car will crash at the bottom and the people inside will be killed.

By your argument, you would be responsible for the deaths of those people. You knew what would happen, so why didn't you do something about it?

In the same manner, God knows what will happen, but that does NOT mean that he has caused it or is responsible. Don't take this the wrong way - I'm not saying that God is powerless to do anything. It's just that if he were to stop us from making mistakes, he would be taking away our free will.

You may find it interesting to note that Christianity/Judaism are the only religions which involve both predestination and free will. Others may include one or the other, but not both. This suggests to me that combining the two is something that no human mind would think of, but instead comes from God. Thus other religions are limited by man's finite mind in its attempt to find meaning in life, whereas Christianity/Judaism are a result of an infinite God trying to reach man.

[ Parent ]
Or maybe... (none / 0) (#774)
by spiff on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 12:26:17 PM EST

How can we have free will if God already knows what we will do? If God can know what happens throughout time, then it must be predetermined. Therefore we cannot have true free will.

Philosophers have been arguing this for a long time (so you probably should read available literature and make your own opinion). But don't look at time, as God sees it, as a straight line, remember He is outside time. Plus there's the question: Is knowing what a person will do given a set of circumstances the same as saying there is no free will?

[ Parent ]

I'm not following your logic (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by guffin on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:16:29 PM EST

Why does god being perfect imply his commandments are perfect? Aren't we (humans) one of his 'commands'?

[ Parent ]
Not particularly. (4.00 / 1) (#237)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:24:38 PM EST

If a perfect god said, "Let there be falliable beings," perfectly, it would still result in the creation of falliable beings.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, the old "holier than thou" argum (none / 0) (#310)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:36:22 PM EST

If you do not repent, the giant blue chickens will get you and send you to the notched tree stump behind the chicken coop.

(Say, doses it hurt your hand to be thumping the bible so hard like that? Or do you ware a padded glove or something.)

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
research (4.75 / 4) (#139)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:29:51 AM EST

You haven't done your research very well.

What research could I possibly do? Anything and everything would involve the opinions of people. There are so many opinions on what it takes to "get to heaven" that it would be impossible to follow all of them. Which one do you suggest? Yours? :)

Do you belong to a church? If you do, are you 100% in agreement with your church on matters? I find that most people who do belong to a church are not.

Why do you believe exactly what you believe? Unless God himself handed you the specific rules, I can see you having trouble with interpretations of the bible (or whatever). If you have to interpret it yourself, how can you be sure you're getting it right? You believe you're fallible, don't you?

Have you done the research or are you just repeating what you've been told? I honestly want to know.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
If you read my original post. (none / 0) (#170)
by kwsNI on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:36:24 PM EST

Originally, I said that IF I am right, what would he lose. I'm not going to sit here and tell everyone that they should believe what I believe or even that they are wrong. I think the people here are smart enough to do their own research and make a decision on it. I think that if I'm wrong (and I don't believe that I am - but faith is just that, believing something you can't prove so I won't argue that point) I will still have lived a wonderful life. Sure, maybe I live with a few extra rules in it, C'est la vie. Believing in a God isn't making my life miserable. If there is no God and I believe in him anyways, why is my life a waste of anything?

Wait, I do have a point :) Everyone here is entitled to believe what they want. I wanted the original poster to just think for a second about the fact that maybe there is something else out there and why it wouldn't hurt to look. He really can't prove he's right any more than I can prove I am - that debate has been going on for thousands of years and has been debated by many people out there much more studied in the debate than either of us. Yet he's either so sure that he's right or so insecure about if he's wrong that he has to treat everyone that doesn't agree with him like their mentally handicapped. That is what pisses me off.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

Yes (4.33 / 6) (#146)
by DeadBaby on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:43:35 AM EST

Assuming he's a nice guy, he'll understand why I didn't have faith.

You haven't done your research very well.

Yes, lets be clear... If you don't get down on your knees and take it like a man from GOD you'll burn in hell forever. He won't understand why you didn't have FAITH. He'll hate you for it, he's a jealous god after all. A man who doesn't worship him is no man at all, a man with a mind of his own is a pesk; A TOOL OF THE DEVIL.

Yes, if there is a god all the smart people in this world will be burning in hell for a very, very long time. That's god's way right?

Remind me again why I don't care? If you worship a GOD(!) like that you got some serious troubles coming to you in the after life. I'd rather burn with all those evil people who told god to suck it once they figured out his only purpose was to look in a mirror all day and muse about how wonderful he is.




"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
reply (4.75 / 4) (#131)
by ubu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:14:51 AM EST

You've wasted away your existance living a lie. Your entire purpose for life was non-existant.

Existentially speaking, there's nothing wasteful about that at all. A religious life would be just as "authenticating" as a non-religious life.

Still... there are so many beliefs that chances are, you're wrong too. So I'll see you in hell and you can tell me what a great life you've had.

Atheists are so insightful, seriously. It's true that holiness is far beyond the reach of any man except Christ. Which is why the sacrifice of Christ was necessary in the first place.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
You've lost me :) (5.00 / 4) (#145)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:41:29 AM EST

Existentially speaking, there's nothing wasteful about that at all. A religious life would be just as "authenticating" as a non-religious life.

Absolutely... nothing wrong at all if it's what you truely believe. If you're scared into believing something you'd rather not, then I'd say it's a lousy way to spend your life.

Atheists are so insightful, seriously. It's true that holiness is far beyond the reach of any man except Christ. Which is why the sacrifice of Christ was necessary in the first place.

Okay, you've lost me. I'm going to try this piece by piece.

Atheists are so insightful, seriously.
Sarcasm, okay...

It's true that holiness is far beyond the reach of any man except Christ.
Even you? Then what's the difference between you and the atheists? What does this have to do with them again?

Look, I'm not saying, "You're wrong, God doesn't exist." I'm saying, "I'm not exactly sure where I stand on this God issue. There are many different viewpoints and religions to consider. I'd rather that you didn't threaten me with the Lord's vengance while I'm trying to sort out my beliefs." If you tell me I'm going to hell, of course I'm going to get defensive... What do you expect?


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
my response (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by ubu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:20:06 PM EST

Atheists are so insightful, seriously. Sarcasm, okay...

No, not sarcasm. I'm always surprised by how an atheist will frequently grasp the fundamental reality of man's position before God -- more keenly than most Christians, in fact, do.

It's true that holiness is far beyond the reach of any man except Christ. Even you? Then what's the difference between you and the atheists? What does this have to do with them again?

The difference is that Christ's sacrifice is for me and, sadly, not for you. I am wretched, yes, but Christ's holiness is imputed to me. By God's reckoning, Christ is the advocate for my redemption, and the whole Bible is the story of that redemption.

Look, I'm not saying, "You're wrong, God doesn't exist."

Of course you are. It's natural. It was my condition, too.

I'd rather that you didn't threaten me with the Lord's vengance while I'm trying to sort out my beliefs. If you tell me I'm going to hell, of course I'm going to get defensive... What do you expect?

Naturally, one wouldn't expect anything else. I'm not threatening anyone with anything. As a wiser man said (approximately), "The gospel of Christ is already a considerable offense to the atheist's ears. No need for Christians to compound the offense with their behavor."

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
1 thing wrong (none / 0) (#243)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:36:58 PM EST

Look, I'm not saying, "You're wrong, God doesn't exist."

Of course you are. It's natural. It was my condition, too.

I'm not an atheist. I came off that way because I mentioned losing my conviction that God doesn't exist or something to that effect. The reality is that I'm agnostic. And I sort of lean to the deity side of things. I have no idea beyond the basic feeling that there's something greater though, and wonder how most religious can get so specific with their beliefs.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
A different kind of Atheist (5.00 / 1) (#251)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:52:29 PM EST

I don't say "You're wrong, God doesn't exist.", a position sometime known as Strong Atheism. I say "I see no evidence that a Deity or Deities exist or ever have existed, much less evidence that your particular set of beliefs have a monopoly on Truth." This stance is referred to as Weak Atheism. Maybe you do have The Truth, but I'm going to need a lot more to go on than your say-so, or that of one particular book written around 2,000 years ago by pre-Industrial farmers & herders.

Weak Atheism is sometimes referred to as Agnosticism, but that isn't quite accurate. Agnosticism holds that the nature of Divine is unknown and unknowable, or irrelevant because said Divinity doesn't interact with our reality.

[ Parent ]

I love this one... (none / 0) (#163)
by Refrag on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:08:41 PM EST

I just have to ask: how many times did your bible school go on field trips to Las Vegas? If I were to have faith, I wouldn't base it off of gambling odds.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Enough? (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by davidmb on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:11:04 PM EST

You'd know full well that living the "Christian life" isn't enough - you have to believe, you have to have faith.

Someone like me could never do that, so there's no point trying to hedge my bets. I don't believe in a god. So I search out rational explanations.

I don't really feel the need to try to change anyone else's mind though, so these little debates are quite amusing.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
It's hard to reply to this without sinking down... (4.50 / 2) (#188)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:01:49 PM EST

...to your level so it's going to be tricky - but I'll try.

(1) Imagine some horrible deity, G, from your favourite pantheon
(2) Imagine some service, S, that G might require you to perform.
(3) Imagine some infinitely bad punishment, P, that G could inflict on you.

Now argue thusly:
Suppose there exists a G who requires you to perform service S or else receive punishment P. If G doesn't exist what's the loss in perfoming S? If G doesn't exist imagine the loss of suffering P. No matter how small the probability of the existence of G the expected loss due to P must be worse than the loss caused by performing S. Therefore you should perform S.

Do I really have to point out that any idiot could use this argument to support performing any service S for any deity G including, for example, raping and murdering virgins for Satan?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

Reply (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by kwsNI on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:49:19 PM EST

Do I really have to point out that any idiot could use this argument to support performing any service S for any deity G including, for example, raping and murdering virgins for Satan?

Do I really need to point out that one just did?

Now, let's take this back in context. That is, if you think you can try to understand someone that is obviously so inferior to you that you couldn't possible stoop to their level. Saying that I do good things because I believe in a God doesn't have anything in common with a Satanic cult murduring people. Show me where I've ever said I've broken the law to follow my religion?

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

Let me explain (5.00 / 2) (#262)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:18:35 PM EST

I'm not making any statement about your ethics whatsoever. For all I know you are a saint and have committed not even the slightest pecadillo in your life. What I am commenting on is your argument for living your life as you do. It is a fallacious argument. If it were a good argument it could be used to justify lots of things like rape, murder and pillage. My argument is a reductio proof. By using your form of argument I conclude something silly. Hence your form of argument is not valid. When someone uses a reductio argument to derive something silly you're not supposed to think that that person was trying to prove something silly. Here's what Britannica has to say on the subject.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
I agree in a way. (none / 0) (#334)
by kwsNI on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:01:52 AM EST

Yes, you are right, when you take my argument that way. However, if you look at what I said instead of generalizing it, it's different. My point was, if I live my life believing something and it turns out to be false, I don't lose anything. If I started using those beliefs to go against accepted laws or practices, then your argument becomes valid.

Really, I think the problem I see with your argument is this: I argue a specific case and you say that if you applied it to something else, my argument would be wrong. The thing is, an argument can be valid in some cases without being a valid argument for everything. It's like accusing a vegetarian of killing cattle farmers just because he says he doesn't lose anything by not eating meat.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

But then assume (5.00 / 2) (#246)
by Anonymous 6522 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:49:19 PM EST

Assume:
  • That there is another horrible deity, G2.
  • That he/she/it requires a service, S2, that cannot be done if you do S.
  • If you do not do S2, G2 will award you with bad punishment P.
Where does that leave you if you do do S? With punishment P. Where does that leave you if you do S2? With punishment P.

Everyone is going to hell because there is no way that you can make all gods happy.

[ Parent ]

it's all about the testamonials (2.66 / 6) (#92)
by Locke on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:51:16 AM EST

I know true is Creationalism because all the testamonials from people believing it true must be right. If you not believe the testamonials then scientific proof will not convince you because you will doubt the science or the persons running experiment. Why should we spend money to proof through science when we are better to spread the word through advertising? All evolutionist are truly Antichrist (old testament only).
</alex chiu impression>

I knew I shouldn't have read that slashdot interview with Alex Chiu (K5 story) yesterday.

heh... (2.66 / 3) (#99)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:15:30 AM EST

Creationism, on the other hand, seems to rely soley on "disproving" evolution.

Let's think about that for a second. :)

Anyway... on to your challenge.

If I were a believer in creationism I would most likely be so because I believed in the literal interpretation of the bible. I would believe that the bible was the word of God. I would probably believe this because I would believe that God led me to this truth. That's good enough for me.


--
[ odiv.net ]
meh... ignore above (3.50 / 2) (#113)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:47:26 AM EST

I only read half the challenge. :)

I've got faith in here, so my argument doesn't pass.

Move along, nothing to see here. (although I comment further up.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
MLP. (3.71 / 7) (#106)
by kwsNI on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:25:52 AM EST

Check out the website of the Institute for Creation Research.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
Concerning each of your points (3.77 / 9) (#108)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:32:15 AM EST

This is a challenge, and not an honest seeking out of truth. If you don't search for truth antagonistically, you might actually obtain what you're searching for.

These are your stipulations, and the problems with them.
1. Construct your argument as positive statements for creationism, not negative statements against evolution.
Through this stipulation, you've framed this debate in terms of Christian creationism, as well as any other creationist theories that lie in opposition to evolution. In reality, you restrict the entire debate to such a small subset of creationism that it's no wonder at all if people come up with simple-minded arguments.
2. No attacking Charles Darwin. Darwin was not the be-all and end-all of evolutionary science.
As you ask for Creationist arguments, you must then give modern evolution arguments. If you don't know any creationists who have arguments you're willing to accept, then how can you think that creationists will automatically know everything about the evolutionist side?

Give information to get information. Talk to someone instead of talking at them.
3. References to faith are not fair game.
Of course.
4. It is for you to provide evidence for your argument, not for your listener to disprove it. A favorite tactic of creationists is to say, "you can't prove I'm wrong, therefore my theory is just as good as yours."
That is also a favorite tactic of all conservative scientists. Dogmatism exists at all levels, in each camp. To think otherwise is to believe that you are human while the other is not.

--
At this point, you've already alienated anyone intelligent enough to give you a run for your money. You talk about science, but you stack the deck against any scientific probing. I know that K5 is "just a weblog," but if we can push it to higher standards, I'm all for doing that.

These are totally fair criteria. (none / 0) (#247)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:50:13 PM EST

Through this [the first] stipulation, you've framed this debate in terms of Christian creationism, as well as any other creationist theories that lie in opposition to evolution.

No. Evolution arguments run counter to creation arguments but somehow manage to leave creation out of it. As I said, whether or not you agree with evolution, it is a completely self-contained argument.
You can't argue for something simply by arguing against everything else.

As you ask for Creationist arguments, you must then give modern evolution arguments.

You want modern evolution arguments, attend a college class on the subject, or go to the library, or research online. It isn't my job to do for you what countless thousands of modern evolutionary scientists are have done, are doing, and will continue to do.
Again: This isn't about evolution. This is about creationism. Evolution has been on the defensive for some reason for far too long; it's time that the creationists adopt the defense side.

All I'm asking, really, is to get a decent argument for creationism that doesn't boil down to "which means evolution is wrong".
If creationists want to bring science into their arguments, they have to play by the rules.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (3.64 / 14) (#111)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:43:28 AM EST

My main problem with people who believe in evolution is that they do it for generally the same reason as someone who believes in creationism.

Tell me right now why you believe in evolution without looking anything up. Can you? You believe in evolution because it was taught to you, like the creationists. If you personally have seen enough proof for evolution (which I doubt), I bet you believed in it prior to the proof. What it comes down to is that you have faith in other people, the evidence is irrelevent.

Ignore my last comment... I half read the challenge. I just wanted to post that I thought "creationism is only an attack on evolution" was so funny. Creationism was around before, was it not?

Anyway... I can guess with 99% certainty that you do not have enough information yourself to prove much of anything, abiding by your own rules.


--
[ odiv.net ]
Excuse me? (none / 0) (#173)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:37:32 PM EST

I see evolutionary theory as the current 'best guess' as to how life arose and changed over time. The fossil and genetic evidence alone is overwhelming. In addition, the growing field of evolutionary computation gives us clear demonstrations of some of the ways life could have evolved.

There... I just told you why I think evolution as an explanation of life makes sense. Was it taught to me? Yes, but then, wonder of wonders, I studied and thought for myself No, I did not believe it prior to the proof. Just as I have yet to see any evidence that a Deity or Deities exists or ever have existed, I do not see any evidence that some supernatural agency had anything to do with the origin and development of life on this planet.

[ Parent ]

Okay, here's why I'm convinced of evolution. (4.75 / 4) (#183)
by Moss Collum on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:34:11 PM EST

First, I should note that I already believed in evolution before I became truly convinced; the way our educational system typically works today, we have to believe things based solely on our trust of our teachers long before we can see them properly proven. This, alas, is as true in mathematics as in biology. But since being taught evolution in school, I've had the time to examine just what the arguments are for it, and I am convinced that I was not misled.

When I was reading Darwin's Origin of Species, the arguments that really struck me were by no means certain. They were, however, enough to show that the evolutionary theory was worthy of further investigation. The diversity of living organisms, their apparent arrangement into families, the apparent occurence of mutations of some sort in nature, the successes of breeders, the harshness of the struggle for life--all these combined to make evolution appear a compelling and elegant explanation of how the different species could have been created.

What remained to be examined were the detailed mechanics of how evolution could work. I started my reading with Mendel, who, though his research was in a fairly limited area, did enough to convince me that traits might actually be passed from generation to generation in discreet units, rather than being blended and averaged, or random and unpredictable. As I read later research in genetics, this idea became more and more convincing, and more and more detailed. Eventually, Watson and Crick were even able to establish that they had discovered the physical mechanism behind heredity.

But even before the discovery of DNA, much work had been done explaining just how genetics could explain the workings of evolution on the immediately functional level. I think what convinced me most--the moment I really felt I could accept the theory of evolution based on my own understanding, and not on faith--was a paper by a mathematician, G. H. Hardy, pointing out that, with what we know of heredity, the genetic makeup of a population will stay relatively stable, with no traits become more or less common, unless there is some particular survival value to one trait over another, in which case it will spread throughout the population in a surprisingly small number of generations. This, together with the fact of (and the diversity of) mutation, is enough to establish that, at least after the development of sexual reproduction, the fact that evolution will take place is simply a certainty. Of course, I understood that this was not establish evolution in general with absolute certainty, but it was enough to establish that evolution had indeed occurred, and might be sufficient to explain the diversity of living things.

I myself have not pursued the details of the arguments for evolution much beyond this point. My reading was enough to establish that the theory had a solid grounding, and that, by and large, the scientific community could be trusted in their investigation of the details of that theory. I do occasionally browse more recent papers, just to see how the theory is developing, but overall I am convinced that any changes to our understanding will come in the form of further refining our understanding of evolution, not of overturning it altogether.

Finally: I understand that a defense of evolution isn't strictly on-topic for this article, but I do have a point (beyond just defending my beliefs, which I must confess is a big part of why I wrote this). The argument above is far from complete--I wouldn't expect it to be enough to convince anyone else--but it is enough to explain the reasons I have for my opinions, and to show that I do have reasons. I'd be interested in seeing just this much from the creationists, in the hope of better understanding where y'all are coming from: what were the things that really convinced you of your beliefs? What in particular made your understanding seem truest to nature, and what made it seem to be the best way to interpret the Bible?

This is a .sig.
Now there are two of them.
There are two _____.


[ Parent ]
Theistic Evolution. (4.08 / 12) (#114)
by skeezix on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:47:49 AM EST

I am a Creationist. However I happen to think that it is quite possible, given the evidence, that God chose to create the world through an evolutionary process, through natural means guided by his supernatural will. The language of the first few chapters of Genesis, in which the author (most likely Moses) describes the account of Creation, is very poetic, and as such, is very unlikely that it was ever meant to be a "literal" account. I believe the week of Creation described in Genesis is not actually a literal 7 day (24-hour) period of time. It was meant to be poetic. The real point was to describe the awesome Glory of God and his power, remaining true to the nature of God and how he creates, while doing so in a way that the audience of the time could understand and appreciate in a poetic way, much in the same way the Psalms are poetic and metaphorical. Unlike most biblical accounts, where the author is writing down actual accounts of witnessed events, Moses was not on hand to actually witness the Creation of the universe. He wrote, as a man, worshipping God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, not to give a literal and scientific account of how God created and in what time-frame, but to worshipfully relay to the people of God, His awesome majesty.

Misguided (3.37 / 8) (#116)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:49:12 AM EST

Organisms can be built, A-Life and all that. They can also be evolved... this has been shown quite spectacularly. Both theories work. The only question is whether either one was the cause of life on this planet.

The whole issue is completely out of whack. The only issue up for debate is which, if either, is responsible for what we see - NOT the workability of either theory. Really, attributing it to evolution is just as much an act of faith as attributing it to "God."

Evolution just happens to be less offensive to Occam and his shaving kit. That's why I subscribe to it as a "working theory."


farq will not be coming back
Intelligent Design (3.70 / 10) (#120)
by rkenski on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:55:51 AM EST

In fact, there's an interesting creationist theory that doen't deny evolution, but put it as a work of god. It is called intelligent design.

The most famous version was proposed by Willian Paley in 1802. It goes like this:

In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there for ever. ... But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think the answer which I had before given [would be sufficient].

... the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.

There are many other versions of it, but the main point is the same: there are design patterns in nature so perfect that they could only be made by a intelligent being (in this case, God).

There is a lot of research going on on this area, but the majority os scientists deny it for obvious reasons: Intelligent Design put evolution as a work of god. So, there's not much to scientifically argue about.

And, of course, the main effort of intelligent design researches is attacking Darwin.

Rubbish argument (4.20 / 5) (#129)
by nobbystyles on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:11:02 AM EST

The intelligent designer as many things in nature are not especially well designed but are adequate for the task. Take for instance the human eye. No intelligent designer would put the retinal cells for transmitting the electrical signals to the brain so that they faced inwards into main body of the eye and blocked some of the light hitting the retina. An intelligent designer would have them coming out of the back of the eye like a TV camera.



[ Parent ]
Indeed... (4.83 / 6) (#150)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:47:54 AM EST

there are some eyes in nature that are arranged that way. Life on this planet looks exactly as if it were the product of mutation and selection, and very much does not look like it was designed... unless it was 'designed' via a process of mutation and selection.

[ Parent ]
Design at a higher level (4.25 / 4) (#160)
by guinsu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:04:32 PM EST

Maybe "intelligent design" works at a higher level, think of physics and mathematics. The beautiful and bizzare structures that exist in those laws and the odd occurances in numbers. Maybe that is where the intelligent design is, in the fundamental structure of the universe, not in the billions of years of breeding to create people. God (if he exists, speaking as another agnostic) didn't need to evolve people, he just created pi, e=mc^2 and e^(pi*i)= -1 (the last is such an interesting coincidence that it does make me wonder). If I ever could belive in a god, it would have to be one of this sort, who set things in motion with certain rules and structures inplace.

[ Parent ]
convinent numbers (4.40 / 5) (#175)
by jkominek on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:42:30 PM EST

Numbers like e and pi are convinent representations because they're related to many other numbers and concepts in useful ways. e^(pi*i) = -1, are related simply, sure, but there are an infinite number of other irrational numbers that don't have simple relationships. (hell, that relationship isn't even very simple). But they're not used because they're not useful.

you're treating an artifact of human consciousness as evidence for something besides human's being lazy fucks who want convinent ways to represent useful numbers.
- jay kominek unix is all about covering up the fact that you can't type.
[ Parent ]

To answer that argument... (none / 0) (#176)
by Macrobat on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:43:48 PM EST

...read "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. Not only informative about evolution, it's also one of the best-written pieces of extended expository/argumentative prose I've ever read.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Design, but not necessarily intelligent (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by krlynch on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:52:15 PM EST

there are design patterns in nature so perfect that they could only be made by a intelligent being

And for every one that you could possibly come up with, I could easily come up with a counter example. Here is part of the standard list in humans: the appendix, the cocyx, the eye, sickle cell anemia, the excessive gestation period, newborns are completely helpless for months, deterioration of the body with age, and on and on. There are many more examples from throughout the natural world, but you don't need more than a handfull of examples.

The entirety of the evidence falsifies the theory of intelligent design from a scientific viewpoint. Intelligent design is an (almost) scientific attempt at creationism, and as such is subject ot the same rules and restrictions as any other scientific theory. It has been excluded by those rules, and I haven't heard any modifications to the theory that would make me believe that it has any scientific validity.

[ Parent ]

Heard this one before, too. (5.00 / 1) (#235)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:21:12 PM EST

Ah yes, the old "stumble over a watch on the sidewalk" gambit.

As stated above, the argument generally runs along the lines of, "Suppose you're walking down the sidewalk and trip over a rock. You take no notice because it's just a rock. But suppose you walk further and come upon a wristwatch on the ground. You conclude that the watch was designed and manufactored, and did not simply 'be' there by chance."

Utterly inane. First, I know what a watch looks like - more or less - and can readily identify one.

More importantly, let's assume I'd never seen a wristwatch. I come across this thing and notice that it displays characteristics that are not displayed by anything "natural", that is to say, formed by nature. I can therefore conclude that it was, in fact, a product of design, not nature.

It was in this way that the people who discovered Easter Island were able to determine that the stone heads were products of design, not erosion.

The "watch argument" is useless. It relies on the observer being able to compare the designed product (a watch) to a natural product (trees and rocks and so forth). It stipulates that the universe was designed..

..so what are we supposed to compare the universe to?
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Impossible. (3.40 / 5) (#123)
by Refrag on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:06:25 AM EST

I feel that arguing for creationism is impossible, which is why I am agnostic.

When I was taking on of the many philosophy courses I took back in college, we read several papers from some of the biggest names in philosophy on how they could prove that god existed. I can't remember who argued what, but some of the philosophers we studied were Descartes, Socrates, and Aristotle. At any rate, every single one of these great minds' arguments relied on circular logic. Every one of their arguments proved the existence of god, at some point or other in the argument, based soley on the fact that god exists. So in essense after hundreds of years of arguing for Creationism, pages and pages of rhetoric boils down to: god exists because god exists.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

entropy (2.00 / 3) (#130)
by ikarus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:14:27 AM EST

i know were not supposed to "attack" evolution here, but i think a good thing to think about is entropy. you know, that little law of thermodynamics that basically states that things tend to follow a path from order to chaos, and not chaos to order.

as a creationist, i don't completely discount some of the theories of the evolutionary process, however, i don't buy what they sell me in school, hook-line-and-sinker. explain to me how conciousness arises. explain how an as-of-yet intelligent lifeform had the capability of "choosing" traits to aid them, of altering their bone structure, and changing their genetic makeup. something else has to be involved.

as for proving creationism, you can't. things that are out side the realm of science cannot be proved by scientific means. to prove anything, it must be observable and repeatable. under those stipulations, you'll find it's hard to prove evolution. one can only develop theories.

if you've done any reading (on both sides of the table) you'll find that evolution is not as clear cut as the author makes it out to be.



RE: Entropy (4.00 / 2) (#141)
by greyrat on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:34:08 AM EST

explain to me how conciousness arises.
Read Descartes Error. A fine outline on the basics of emotions and conciousness as it is understood today.
explain how an as-of-yet intelligent lifeform had the capability of "choosing" traits to aid them, of altering their bone structure, and changing their genetic makeup. something else has to be involved.
Yes, something else has to be involved. Most often it's called "death". Sometimes its called lack of ability to reproduce. "Choosing" did not occur on the part of the lifeform, but rather the lifeforms that were best adapted to a particular environment survived, had sex, and made new lifeforms. Some of those lifeforms were best adapted to that particular environment and survived. Lather, rinse, repeat.
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
Entropy (4.66 / 3) (#148)
by DoubleEdd on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:45:01 AM EST

Entropy has nothing to do with it. Sane people have been telling this to creationists for YEARS and you still trot out this rubbish. I'm not normally a flamer, but thinking that entropy has the slightest bearing on the subject indicates you've barely investigated the subject.

The fridge keeping your beer cold is breaking the laws of physics by your logic.

[ Parent ]

There are things we don't understand yet... (2.00 / 1) (#149)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:45:28 AM EST

and scientists continue to search for answers. Like the author of this thread, all I've ever heard from those who believe in some version of Divine Creation are 1. supposed flaws in evolutionary theory and 2. arguments that can be condensed down to "God did it. The Bible says so." The former, if they are indeed flaws, indicate areas where further study is needed. The latter are irrelevant.

[ Parent ]
You, Sir, have no concept of a theory (4.66 / 3) (#168)
by xWakawaka on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:31:09 PM EST

Sir-

You have made no attempt to advance or defend a creationist theory- only vague attacks on evolutionary theory. This- in the face of a request to do otherwise. Have you no shame?

The scientific method is one of advancing theories to describe phenomena- then testing those theories for their validity through experiment. In this sense no theory is ever "proven", only "probably right, in that it has passed every test we have thrown at it".

If I may draw a parallel between relativity and evolutionary theory, both are excellent examples of theories. We know that Einstein's theories on relativity/physics are "very very close, but not quite right" because they describe and predict physical phenomena with better accuracy than any other theory which has been advanced. It is therefor quite useful to us in advancing our understanding of phenomena. At the same time we acknowledge that a better or refined "law" must exist because Einstein's theories fail to predict or describe with perfect accuracy (I'm paraphrasing Hawking here, IANAPhyscist). The same can be said of current evolutionary/natural selection theory. It seems to be pretty good, as it accurately describes and predicts much observed phenomena. Is the theory perfect? No. Some observable phenomena cannot be accounted for by the theory. Therefore, just as with physics, refined theories will be advanced and hopefully we will continue to progress in our understanding of the world and universe we live in. Science admits and embraces this fact- and that honest humility is the most useful part of the scientific method.

You, on the other hand, have advanced no theory, and only pointed out that there may be flaws with a competing theory- which was a given.

Your "if you've done any reading" is a particularly arrogant tagline to the rest of your non-argument. Care to let us unwashed masses in on the names of your texts of choice?

Thank You


[ Parent ]
smug? (2.50 / 2) (#221)
by ikarus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:38:35 PM EST

i don't think i in any way implied to be an expert on anything. i simply said that anyone who has done any reading will understand the complexities involved.

i was throwing out points for consideration, not refuting the evolutionary system.

and "sir," your arrogance is not appreciated either.

[ Parent ]
MC Hawking says... (5.00 / 5) (#169)
by calvid on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:34:41 PM EST

Creationists always try to use the second law,
to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
The earth's not a closed system, it's powered by the sun,
so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!

-- MC Hawking, Entropy

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

[ Parent ]
Not that (old, refuted) argument again! (4.75 / 4) (#171)
by Macrobat on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:07:22 PM EST

First: The second law of thermodynamics relates to closed systems, of which the Earth most certainly is not an example. We are constantly recieving thermal energy from our friend Mr. Sun--when the Sun goes out, we will see an increase of entropy here on Earth. (Well, not us, but those descendants of humankind who will have evolved from us.)

Second: Lifeforms do not "choose" their genetic alterations; they are handed a set of alternatives through mutation. Those that help the organism survive to reproduce within it's environment are retained; those that don't are weeded out--the individual doesn't survive to pass on the new genetic pattern.

Third: Don't be so smug about what other people have or haven't read; you've already shown the limits of your own understanding.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

ok... (2.00 / 1) (#217)
by ikarus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:32:19 PM EST

well, about being smug, i'm not. i don't believe i claimed to know more than anyone else. i simply stated that what i have read has only lead me to understand the further complications of both arguements. i think anyone who claims to "know" and "understand" evolution or creationism fully is a fool.

yes, the earth is not a closed system. but the universe is (ok, some will debate it's not but whatever). basically, you require energy, if there's nothing to begin with (pre-"big-bang"), you got have someone/something put energy in. you can't get something from nothing.

[ Parent ]
Nope (3.00 / 1) (#226)
by guffin on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:53:30 PM EST

Actually there are theories about this. They have been around for years. The research area is known as quantum cosmology. See section 4.2 of this (200k) brief introduction to the subject (pg 40). See this paper by Vilenkin.

A less technical introduction here.



[ Parent ]
Absolutely! (4.16 / 6) (#180)
by zakalwe on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:00:44 PM EST

Hah yes - I'm glad you haven't been fooled by these ridiculous laws - even their own "science" trips them up. And the law of thermodynamics isn't the only one!

Newtons 2nd Law:
"An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to say in motion with the same speed and in the same direction"

But look! hold something in the air and it falls to the ground, and then it stops! This proves of course that God is acting on the object!

(Of course some idiots will try to claim that there's an extra "unless acted on by another force", or "in a closed system" to these laws. But if they can't defend a partially quoted version how can the whole version be right?

[ Parent ]

They might also... (4.50 / 2) (#224)
by Vermifax on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:52:02 PM EST

...claim that it was in fact his first law of motion and not his second.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
evolution == entropy (3.00 / 1) (#197)
by j0s)( on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:35:47 PM EST

Here's another way to think about what you are trying to convey. Your first paragraph states --

i know were not supposed to "attack" evolution here, but i think a good thing to think about is entropy. you know, that little law of thermodynamics that basically states that things tend to follow a path from order to chaos, and not chaos to order.

Now, with that in mind, turn your thoughts around. In the beginning everything was simple, there was nothing, no order, no chaos. The world was simply the world. (Note: the thought pattern portrayed here is not necessarily that of the author but just another thing to think about in the debate.) As evolution began, things went from what was an ordered state (no order == order), and move towards and unordered, chaotic state, today. We like to think that we are making technological advances and becomoing smarter and evolving into something better. But there is the law of entropy. (This next part is the key) Maybe we should look at our evolution as the evolution of entropy. Everytime someone/thing evolves, it presents more chaos into our being. When a virus mutates (evolves) to be resilient against its antibiotics, it has evolved. We view that evolution as a bad thing. It has caused more chaos and therfore entropy is obvious correct because not only do we have the original strain, but a mutated, uncurable form as well. Our man made answer to the problem hasn't soved any of the problem, we have only caused the problem to spread. If we look at our lives in the same light we see that we are not evolving and becoming greater. We are only evolving to solve the problems we are currently having which in turn creates more problems and proves entropy to be true.

So dont necessarily view evolution as man becoming greater and being able to go against the law of entropy. Veiw mans evolution as furthering entropy.

Just another way to think about your comment. I dont necessarily support evolution but I do believe in some of it. It is only obvious that it exists. I did go to a christian high school and they did a remarkable job of making me anti-christian. I do however feel that live could not have arisen from nothing. I prefer the more complex version. I believe an outside force (in this case i think it was probably god but who knows since the debate of there being a GOD or a God or a god or gods or whatever will never be solved) created life in a manner that it could evolve to what it is today. or should i say devolve instead of evolve. the law of entropy tells us all that this evolution is techically the de-evolution.

j0sh -- j0shdot.net

-- j0sh -- of course im over-dramatizing my statements, but thats how its done here, sensationalism, otherwise you wouldnt read it.


[ Parent ]
I've done this before, I'll do it again. (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:32:13 PM EST

i know were not supposed to "attack" evolution here, but i think a good thing to think about is entropy. you know, that little law of thermodynamics that basically states that things tend to follow a path from order to chaos, and not chaos to order.

*sigh*
The second law of thermodynamics states that in any closed system - that is to say, a system that does not accept nor receive energy from a source exterior to its own - entropy will increase.

First: The Earth is not a closed system. This should be abjectly obvious to anyone.

Second: The law does not disallow brief and localized pockets of order amidst the chaos. Look at the universe, a closed system if there ever was one. We find that, on the whole, it is indeed "winding down", or increasing in entropy. But for (relatively) brief periods of time, localized pockets of organization can and will arise. Hence, the formation of stars and solar systems.

as a creationist, i don't completely discount some of the theories of the evolutionary process, however, i don't buy what they sell me in school, hook-line-and-sinker. explain to me how conciousness arises. explain how an as-of-yet intelligent lifeform had the capability of "choosing" traits to aid them, of altering their bone structure, and changing their genetic makeup. something else has to be involved.

*sigh again*
The organisms don't "choose". Traits arise via random genetic mutation, and the harmful traits are weeded out of the gene pool when the organism dies before it can reproduce. But if the trait is beneficial in some way, the organism is better able to evade predators, gather food, or whatever, and will live longer, passing its genetic code to the next generation.
When you see an animal, you're seeing the results of success upon success upon success upon success. How else could it be? The failures are no longer around for you to observe.

I could go on, but I won't. Prosecute evolution all you want, but that still isn't a defense of creationism. Which is what I said in the first place.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
variations (2.00 / 1) (#314)
by ikarus on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:07:40 PM EST

the thing about variations, is that there would have to be an infinite number of them for each and every organism that is evolving. to make the steps from fish to bird (just as an example) that fish would have to try an enourmously large number of variations (at each step), and then "decide" (i use that word not in it's literal sense) which ones to keep. essentially, it has to be able to tell what is "better" and what is no good. if you are leaving this process to purely random chance at each step along the way, it has to try every single possible combination. evolutionists constantly refer to natural selection "choosing" mutations.

frankly, i'm not interested in debating things with people (online no less) who like to insert *sigh* in their replies as if i were some sort of uneducated, bible-thumping fanatic. and as i said in my first comment, you can't prove creation just like you can't prove God. the meta-physical cannot be proved by physical (scientific method) means. it's like me asking you to prove creationism is wrong. you can't. you must really think that mankind knows a whole hell of a lot. i mean, on an evolutionary timescale we've been around for what? a nano-second?



[ Parent ]
And evironmentalists.. (2.50 / 2) (#329)
by eightball on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 12:04:29 AM EST

speak of mother earth as if it were making choices as well.

Or people also anthropomorphize their pet's actions

Or worse, their computers.

It is true that it is somewhat circular to talk about natural select just based on what happens. (It survived; therefore it must have been the fittest). OTOH, being yourself requires a bit of action before understanding as well. What came first, your true self, or the result of the things you do to find yourself?

[ Parent ]
The evolution of the eye (none / 0) (#363)
by abo on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 05:47:47 AM EST

the thing about variations, is that there would have to be an infinite number of them for each and every organism that is evolving. to make the steps from fish to bird (just as an example) that fish would have to try an enourmously large number of variations (at each step), and then "decide" (i use that word not in it's literal sense) which ones to keep. essentially, it has to be able to tell what is "better" and what is no good. if you are leaving this process to purely random chance at each step along the way, it has to try every single possible combination. evolutionists constantly refer to natural selection "choosing" mutations.
Yes, this is a problem, and they usually do not give you a good answer in school, but it does exist. You can even find it in popular science magazines. Look at the eye, for example. It can evolve through evolution. It's really quite simple, and the answer to this and your other questions can be found at Evolution for Creationists.
Frankly, i'm not interested in debating things with people (online no less) who like to insert *sigh* in their replies as if i were some sort of uneducated, bible-thumping fanatic.
Well, excuse us, but you sure sounded like one...
-- Köp BRUX!
[ Parent ]
Nobody asked about evolution. (4.00 / 1) (#411)
by kitten on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 06:36:08 PM EST

I repeat: Nobody asked about evolution. The question was, tell me about Creationism.
Yet you still have to attack evolution, don't you. After a fair request which specifically says not to.
Attack evolution all you want; all you're saying is that evolution is wrong, and you say nothing about how Creationism is right.

That said, I'll reply anyway.
is that there would have to be an infinite number of them for each and every organism that is evolving.

Nobody said that each new trait is the best, only that it is better than what came before.
There doesn't have to be an "infinite" number of them.
First, understand that evolution generally only occurs in small groups. In a colony of, say, 100 animals, one new animal that can do something none of the others can is quite a formidable force. That animal can quickly clean up resources, spam it's environment with genetic copies of itself which can share it's new ability, and generally outcompete the hell out of the small number of others. In a colony of say a million, one animal that can do something the others can't will barely be noticed.
to make the steps from fish to bird (just as an example)

Stop. Just stop right there.
The notion that a fish became a bird is idiotic. There were literally thousands of forms in between, generally classed as first amphibians, which in turn became reptiles, and finally, birds.
And that's just generally speaking. The actual theory is much more complex than that.
People study evolutionary science for their entire lives and still don't have all the available data. There is, quite simply, a staggering amount of literature and evidence on the books. And you (the collective "you", not you specifically) try to condense that down into a few trite sentences and then go "that sounds stupid, I don't believe it."

that fish would have to try an enourmously large number of variations (at each step), and then "decide" (i use that word not in it's literal sense) which ones to keep. essentially, it has to be able to tell what is "better" and what is no good.

It "decides" when the one that is "no good" dies and the "better" one doesn't.

Again, when you look at an organism, you're seeing the result of success, built on success, built upon success, built upon success. You see only the success and none of the failures, because the ones that failed aren't around for you to see.
We may think the platypus is a bizarre animal, a ridiculous looking thing with strange and inefficient life cycles and feeding patterns. But we can also say with 100% certainty that it works - because it's here.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Will the REAL law of thermal dynamics please stand (none / 0) (#299)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:41:41 PM EST

It is always funny to see Creationist try to tout that evolution is in violation of the law of thermal dynamics ( TD) Only to have it become quickly apparent they have no idea what it really is.

A creationist thinks that TD is that in a close system, chaos moving to order.

What TD really says however, is that in a closed system heat will transfer from the warmer body, to the cooler body. Go open the door to your refrigerator. The hot air from outside will rush in and try to warm the milk to room temperature. But the average temperature between the room and the contents of the refrigerator doesn't change. This is TD at work.

On the other hand, if you were to turn on your oven, and heat it up. You're adding heat into the system and making it warmer. The system is no longer closed. The earth is more related to the oven, than the refrigerator, because of the sun.

The concepts of "order" and "chaos" are little more than crude conceptual grafts onto the law of TD in order to try and explain it better to the layperson.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
Life and entropy (none / 0) (#365)
by abo on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 06:05:57 AM EST

That's the whole thing about life! It creates order out of energy (from the sun). Isn't it wonderful? It even created Kuro5hin!
-- Köp BRUX!
[ Parent ]
Why not? (3.28 / 7) (#136)
by AgentGray on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:22:19 AM EST

3. References to faith are not fair game.

I ask why not? Evolution relies on faith as well.

Oy. (none / 0) (#144)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:41:07 AM EST

I think you'd better give us your definition of "faith."

[ Parent ]
ooh ooh, pick me! (none / 0) (#147)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:44:53 AM EST

This is easy assuming you belive in evolution. If you don't, ignore this.

You believe in evolution. You do not personally have enough evidence. Thus, you're belief in evolution relies completely on faith.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Hmmmmm. (none / 0) (#153)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:50:56 AM EST

I think that evolutionary theory provides the most plausible explanation for life on earth given the observations and experiments that have been performed to date. Does this mean I have "faith" that evolutionary theory is correct?

[ Parent ]
Experiments? (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by dgwatson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:50:06 PM EST

You mean the ones that have been disproved because they were performed using our atmosphere, instead of the atmosphere at the time when evolution supposedly took place?

Because of the conditions of the atmosphere when life first appeared (~4B y. ago), the amino acids that were created by zapping a chemical soup could not have formed, or even if they had, they would have been destroyed immediately.

Are you aware that there WAS no "primordial soup"? That in the most recent discoveries have shown that there is NO way that life could have formed through naturalistic processes?

Or what about the fact that cosmologists are currently trying to get around the fact that the universe requires some first cause to start the big bang? And that the only possible explanation is that some extra-dimensional being who exists in 2 dimensions of time is the only thing that can account for the existence of the universe?

I'd say that those things would make it seem that the unscientific ones are those who are trying to avoid scientific evidence because it doesn't fit in with their worldview. That is, those people who are so against the concept of the existence of God, that they are willing to do anything to find some way out?

[ Parent ]

Wrong theory.... (none / 0) (#208)
by Count Zero on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:57:26 PM EST

You mean the ones that have been disproved because they were performed using our atmosphere, instead of the atmosphere at the time when evolution supposedly took place?

Because of the conditions of the atmosphere when life first appeared (~4B y. ago), the amino acids that were created by zapping a chemical soup could not have formed, or even if they had, they would have been destroyed immediately.

Are you aware that there WAS no "primordial soup"? That in the most recent discoveries have shown that there is NO way that life could have formed through naturalistic processes?

You are trying to disprove abiogenesis, not evolution. Two entirely different theories. Evolution can exist quite happily without abiogenesis.

Or what about the fact that cosmologists are currently trying to get around the fact that the universe requires some first cause to start the big bang? And that the only possible explanation is that some extra-dimensional being who exists in 2 dimensions of time is the only thing that can account for the existence of the universe?

Ahh, the old "first cause" bit. Follow your logic to it's own conclusion. If everything must have a cause, what caused God? Not to mention this is a false dilemma. "The only possible explantion for rain is magic elves!".



[ Parent ]
Belief is irrelevent. You will be assimilated. (4.00 / 2) (#212)
by Shren on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:11:51 PM EST

Belief is irrelevant to science. It's supposed to be. You gather every single fact that you can find and try to come to the best possible conclusion you can.

Some of the things that we may find in space, such as unicellular life, may challenge our entire outlook on evolution. Evolution might be thrown out entirely as the source of life on earth. (although not as the cause of development)

The difference between a scientist and a creationist is that the scientist would forget early evolution theory and say, "Look at the neat rock we found! Do you realize the ramifications of this thing? It's got life! In space! And it's alive! And it uses DNA! It's paper writing time!", while the creationist would still say, "No no no! This mistranslated big black book is still the only book you need! And god put the life on the rocks, even though he didn't mention that in this big black book!"

[ Parent ]

in theory (5.00 / 1) (#238)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:29:57 PM EST

Sure that's how science works. That's not how normal people work, however... They defend evolution and attack creationism more rabidly than any scientist. If you believe in evolution you're about the same as if you believe in creation, in my book. Actually, come to think of it, the creationist has a slighter edge. His belief comes from an infalliable being whereas the belief in evolution comes from people who are very falliable. I'm not saying creationists have more of a chance of being right. I'm just saying their faith is more understandable.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
This is not necessarily so. (none / 0) (#292)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:13:10 PM EST

First off, I must take issue with the notion that the lay person "attack(s) creationism more rabidly than any scientist." As a layperson myself, I find that I am compelled. Some times even against my will, to this issue. On one occasion, I was reading a Discover magazine in the cafeteria when three co-workers suddenly took it upon themselves to "enlighten me to the truth of God."

In 1999, the Kansas State School Board took it upon themselves to "de-emphasize" evolution, and about the full scope of science that seemed to contradict the tenants of a local Young Earth Society located in Topeka. I was then compelled to face the issue on a political scale as a voter.

In America, we tend to get a little upset when a small minority seeks to dictate to us what we can believe. If this is an "attack on creationism" then it is only in response to creationism's attack on us.

Secondly is the notion that a layperson has to "believe" in evolution. This is little more than a word play as creationist would try to translate believing what I read in a magazine, with believing in a concept of science.

This is a lot like reading that Japanese like to eat raw fish, and believing that they eat raw fish. Weather I believe in the article or not is irrelevant, they still eat raw fish. But by reading such an article, one can learn about the Japanese diet and taste.

On the other hand, Creationist (for the sake of argument) come up and tell me that the Japanese do not eat raw fish because that is disgusting. The argument running something like this, "Would you eat raw fish?" "No," "Then what makes you think that Japanese eat raw fish if you don't have 'faith' that they do?"

Of course a lay person has no answer for this. A creationist may manage to fluster the layperson by asking him technical questions that would require a trained biologist to know the answers. The creationist then misinterprets the layperson's failure to answer the question as not just evidence of his "faith" but that his faith is some how "flawed." The Creationist would then brake his arm patting himself on the back.

But the joke is really on the Creationist. You might be able to convince some one that the Japanese do not eat raw fish, but they still eat raw fish. And man still evolves.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
so what you're saying is (none / 0) (#624)
by Shren on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:43:55 PM EST

So what you're saying is that some people are stupid and take authority figure's word for things.

I can buy that.

[ Parent ]

exactly (none / 0) (#635)
by ODiV on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:53:17 PM EST

and while to me, it seems as though evolution is more likely, there's no way I'd really know. I'm deciding based on the reader's digest versions of both sides.

Unless you're in there yourself studying evolution, unless you're finding out things first hand, for yourself, you can't really talk down to the creationists. Go to any first year biology class and the vast majority will believe wholeheartedly in evolution even though they know very little about it.

some people are stupid and take authority figure's word for things.

That's mostly what I'm saying. I think it works out to a lot more than 'some' though. And I don't think that these people are 'stupid'. They just don't have the time or inclination to do the research. They're believing it out of habit/conformity. It just gets sticky in my book when they start defending/pushing the belief.

I can buy that.

Well don't take my word for it. :)


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
while the truth may be hidden... (none / 0) (#671)
by Shren on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:18:50 AM EST

The methods that various groups use to find the truth are not. I do believe that you can judge a group by these methods. Thus, I discount Creationism, although I haven't pulled out my wallet to buy into Evolution.

[ Parent ]

not faith (none / 0) (#156)
by guinsu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:57:49 AM EST

Evolution does not rely on faith, it relies on observed facts that do not contradict any known physical laws. It is also supported by various mechanisms that allow evolution to take place (genetics is a big part of that). Yes, for the lay person evolution, just like the laws of electro-magnetism, are accepted on faith, but you cannot use that standard to say the whole thing is based on faith. Creationism relies on faith even in its most experienced researchers and supporters. At some point in a creationist description the arguments "and then a miracle occurs" has to be put in.

[ Parent ]
faith... or not? (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by John Thompson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:11:25 PM EST

Both science and religion ultimately rely on unprovable assumptions. Religion (well, maybe not Buddhism) assumes that a supernatural force of some kind, operating from outside the universe and unhindered by it's laws created the universe and its laws in some supernatural manner.

Science, for its part assumes that the universe is fundamentally comprehensible and that the laws of nature apply uniformly throughout the universe.

Neither of these positions can be "proven" in the strict sense of the word, so scientists use a heuristic tool called "Occam's razor" to select among alternative explanations. Very simply, Occam's razor allows one to prefer the simplest explanation that fully accounts for the known facts.

Supernatural forces are quickly eliminated by this tool, but that does not mean the alternative explanation is necessarily invalid: only that scientists have rejected it for being needlessly complex.

-John

[ Parent ]
Faith (none / 0) (#222)
by ubernostrum on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:40:48 PM EST

Believing the theory of evolution requries acceptance of the basic tenets of the scientific method and a judgement of the credibility of the scientist who is telling you something, but the scientific method is built around falsifiability and repeatability. You have "faith," because you know you could go do the same experiments, make the same observations, and get results to compare to the other guy's - and he knows this, so he's less prone to lie to you. It's really a question of whether you trust him to tell you the truth, or whether you go do the experiment yourself - and it's an entirely personal choice. Proper skepticism mandates you do it yourself, convenience makes you accept findings from people you've come to trust.

Contrast with, say, the Christian religion, which asks you to accept what the Bible tells you, and you *can't* go check - you can't wander out into the desert, get enslaved by Egyptians, etc. to test the validity of the Bible.

Faith in science is faith in a method which tests itself as it goes. Faith in religion is faith in unfalsifiable doctrine and revelation.

Wow, I need to spend more time in controversial threads...I'm getting all sorts of stuff for my Philosophy of Science thesis...




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

Faith. (5.00 / 2) (#230)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:11:18 PM EST

MAN: I have a magic elf on my head.
SKEPTIC: Really? I don't see anything.
MAN: Of course you don't, he's invisible.
SKEPTIC: I don't feel anything either.
MAN: I said he was magic. He's not made of normal matter.
SKEPTIC: Look, that sounds great, but you're going to have to show me something a little more concrete, if you really want me to believe you have a magic elf on your head.
MAN: No, you're going about it all wrong. First you have to believe in the elf, and THEN you'll be in a positition to retroactively seek proof of what you already believe.
SKEPTIC: *sigh* Fine. Let's say, just to get things moving here, that I believe you have a magic invisible elf on your head. Now then. Tell me more about him.
MAN: Well, this elf causes rain.
SKEPTIC: Really? How do you know?
MAN: Every time you see it rain, you're seeing the elf in action! What more proof do you need?
SKEPTIC: *moving on* What else?
MAN: The elf is very wise. He tells us good ways to live.
SKEPTIC: Hrm, what does the elf say we should do?
MAN: (hands SKEPTIC a six-hundred page book) You can find out if you read this.
SKEPTIC: (flips through book) Ah.. yeah. Look, a lot of this would mean I have to completely abandon my lifestyle and do things that sound, well, a bit strange.
MAN: I know, but it's for your own good. For you see, if you do not obey the magic invisible elf, he will cause you to become part of a snowglobe mural when you die.
SKEPTIC: Uh huh.
MAN: It's all in the book.
SKEPTIC: And the elf wrote this book, is that right?
MAN: No, that would be silly. The elf used magic telepathy to tell other people - all of whom died six decades ago - what to write.
SKEPTIC: What evidence do you have that the words in this book were elf-inspired, and not just a bunch of people sixty years ago writing things down?
MAN: I don't need evidence, I beleive in the elf.
SKEPTIC: But I don't already beleive, so I'm going to need some evidence for any of this, if you want me to completely change my life.
MAN: Sinner! You dare doubt my magic elf?!&#@
SKEPTIC: Calm down. I'm just saying that I'm not going to completely rearrange my life and everything I stand for, unless you can give me a good reason why.
MAN: I already gave you a good reason! You're going to end up in a snowglobe mural if you don't believe!
SKEPTIC: Have you actually seen anyone turn into a snowglobe after they die?
MAN: Well.. no. But I know it happens.
SKEPTIC: How?
MAN: The book says so, and the elf doesn't lie.
SKEPTIC: Look, this is ridiculous. I'm leaving.
(SKEPTIC gets up and makes for the door)
MAN: (ranting to SKEPTIC's retreating form) You're on your way to being a snowglobe! You're making a big mistake!
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Forget that 'magic elf' nonsense... (none / 0) (#239)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:29:59 PM EST

you should all be Kissing Hank's Ass.

[ Parent ]
Magic elves => intellectual dishonesty (none / 0) (#341)
by tmoertel on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:17:27 AM EST

The "magic elf" example is still as fundamentally broken now as it was the last time you used it back in Church vs. State. As a recap, the fatal flaw is that the existence or nonexistence of a postulated thing (be it God, Creation, or magic elves) is not dependent upon whether a person can prove the thing's existence or nonexistence to another person. More generally, whether statement X is true is not dependent upon whether X can be proven.

Please try to be intellectually honest when participating in debates likely to be as incendiary as this one. As I pointed out this flaw the last time you mentioned the magic elves, and yet you still paraded the elves out again in this debate, I have little hope that you'll raise your standards next time. I guess that's why I'm so thankful we have streetlawyer. ;-)

--
My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]


[ Parent ]
duh! (2.00 / 1) (#140)
by valar on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:32:46 AM EST

Haven't you people read any discworld books? The world floats through the universe supported on the back of 4 elephants that are riding on a giant turtle. The gods created man, not a god, and man definitely didn't e-volve or whatever it is you people are talking about.

And... (none / 0) (#142)
by greyrat on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:36:06 AM EST

..."it's turtles all the way down."
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
God of Evolution (none / 0) (#155)
by guinsu on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:53:19 AM EST

But there is a god of evolution, however he might have stopped with the cockroach.

[ Parent ]
God of Evolution, Turtles (none / 0) (#380)
by leonbrooks on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 11:02:36 AM EST

Terry did indeed have a god of Evolution in one of his stories, who lived on an island where there was exactly one of each kind of creature. His daily employment consisted of teleporting in some of his animals and replacing one feature of each with an almost indistinguishably different feature.

The turtles also have an interesting side note: there are plenty of turtle fossils (those big hard shells, y'know), but no fossil of any proto-turtle - so it seems that turtle shells, at least, were de novo, ex nihilo. And if the shell, why not the whole animal? And if one animal, why not all? (-:
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

No, No, No! :) (none / 0) (#303)
by beeblebrox on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:57:54 PM EST

I'm afraid you're falling behind on your Pratchett-lore. Please refer to Small Gods. People created deities.

[ Parent ]
I am not decended from a monkey. (2.40 / 5) (#154)
by SnowBlind on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:52:25 AM EST

You are missing the point, God created the universe using evolution as the pattern.

Why would'nt He? It makes the whole thing hang together nicely, is low maintance, and gives some humans with too much time on their hand the opertunity to mock themselves by proclaiming to all of creation they are decended from the same common genetic stock as monkeys.
There, now you have proof of not just creation, but that God has an infinite sense of comedy.

There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
Mr. Pratchett Has This To Say (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by Matrix on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:50:54 PM EST

(Paraphrased) And look at the dinosaur bones. Obviously placed there by a Creator with a very twisted sense of humor, to give crazy ideas about the origin of life to all these humans running around digging stuff up and generally making a mess.

Of course, every right-thinking individual knows that life started when a rather bad egg and cress sandwich was casually discarded into a bacteria-filled tidal pool. Anything else just doesn't make sense.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Science and Religion (4.33 / 9) (#157)
by Jin Wicked on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:58:28 AM EST

I have to say that while I'm ready to admit there may be flaws in the theory of evolution (or who knows, maybe it could be entirely wrong), I see absolutely no truth or plausability in Creationism.

Call me cynical, but I think it's conceited to think that out of all the hundreds of thousands of religions existing in humanity's history, that the Xians, out of everyone else, [think they] were the only ones to get it right. I mean, no one seriously believes that Apollo is still riding his golden chariot across the sky anymore, right? Of course not. We know the sun is a giant flaming ball of gas, from photographs, experiments, etc.

Once upon a time a man named Galileo was tossed around for putting forth the idea that the earth wasn't the centre of the universe. The modern church has had to adapt to scientific discoveries since the Renaissance. (Haha, survival of the fittest anyone?) We may never know the absolute truth, but a working scientific theory with physical evidence, to me, is at least something to think about (not necessarily "believe" in). On the other hand, I see no logical reason why I should believe in Creationism, especially given that it cannot prove itself any more accurate than the thousands of other explanations for the existence of the world and humanity.

The US may be predominantly Xian, but (and this may be a news flash to a few people) the rest of the world offers much more variety. And these other people may have very different ideas about religion and creation, etc. I want to know how any Xian can be absolutely sure he is right, and these other beliefs are wrong?

I'll just stick with working scientific theory, and not get my panties in a bunch over it, myself. I really don't care where we came from. I'm more concerned with where we're going.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


yeah... (4.00 / 4) (#162)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:08:09 PM EST

Damn those people who believe what they believe in. What do they know anyway?


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Galileo's story is not so simple (none / 0) (#681)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:57:01 AM EST

The story of Galileo's dealings with the church is actually more complex (and much more interesting) than you characterise. A pretty good summary can be found in the Catholic Encyclopaedia. You may be interested to know, for example, that Copernicus (who proposed the heliocentric solar system that Galileo was censured for promoting) was an employee of the church, rising to administrator of the Diocese of Frauenberg, but there was no Catholic opposition to the idea until 73 years later.

Personally, I think that the Galileo story is more of an object lesson in what can happen if there is not a clear separation between church and state. You have to remember that this was during the age of "Christendom", the Christian church-state, and so it's kind of hard to tell what motivated a given action. The story of Galileo's treatment can easily be interpreted as political rather than philosophical in nature.

BTW, I'll thank you not to use the phrase "survival of the fittest" again. It's a phrase coined by a journalist around the time of Darwin. While there are worse over-simplifications in the world, and it served its purpose over a hundred years ago, this one really doesn't help nowadays. "Survival of the fittest" describes the corporate world much better than the biological world.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
More on Galileo (none / 0) (#754)
by fsh on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:27:37 PM EST

Galileo, like Copernicus, was actually sponsored by the church for a while. Then he wrote a little thing wherein he depicted an intelligent man talking to a fool. The intelligent man had his ideas, the fool had the churches. That's when he was sentenced to house arrest, and it was never even pretended to be about his scientific theories, but for portraying the Pope/Church as a simpleton.

Not to say that the church didn't persecute followers of Copernicus. Check out the history of Giordano Bruno for more insight into this topic.
-fsh
[ Parent ]

<Sigh> Here we go again... (3.25 / 4) (#158)
by Mantrid on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:58:34 AM EST

First some clarification:

<center>Creationists != All Christians that believe that God Created The Universe</center>

The Creationist movement is misguided attempting to inject a scientific argument where none is possible. You can't prove or disprove the existence of God. You can't prove or disprove the exact mechanism whereby the universe was formed. Genesis does not contain a detailed, scientfic account of how God created the Universe. We are given very few details. I have always felt that had God wanted us to know the nitty gritty details of how He created the universe, He would've had the biblical authors include such information. Maybe He did use evolutionary forces to shape the world, we are not told. Also I don't believe that the Genesis 6 days are a literal six days - I mean part of the story tells of the creation of the sun...there couldn't be days before the solar system existed!

Evolution is just a theory. In cannot be proven either...no one has been able to find an unbroken chain from single celled organisms right through to modern man (or other animals). Adaptation has been noted and is clearly visible in the natural world...but the change over time from one species to another has never, to my knowledge been shown.

But the real problem with the whole creationism vs evolution argument is science trying to prove/disprove things that it cannot disprove. There is no God-o-scope that can detect the presence of God. It is a matter of faith. No one living was around to see the formation of the earth and the universe, so no one can say for sure what happened.



Science cares not a whit about god (3.50 / 4) (#187)
by John Thompson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:57:17 PM EST

Your reply suggests that you believe science is trying to disprove the existance of god. That is simply not true. Religion and god are entirely outside the scope of science and any scientist who claims otherwise is merely stating a personal opinion. As you say, there is no way to prove or disprove the existance of god. But an important hueristic used throughout science is "Occam's razor" which allows one to prefer the simplest explanation that accounts for the known facts. An omnipotent, intelligent, unprovable supernatural being is just about as far as you can get from a simple explanation, so it should not even be considered in a scientific question.

IMHO, science and religion are two complementary ways of viewing the same universe. They can, and should, exist together without strife. People who attempt to interpret religion as science or vice-versa are doing both a diservice.

-John

[ Parent ]
Two Nits (3.50 / 2) (#259)
by krlynch on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:12:21 PM EST

While I as a scientist agree with your general idea, I have to pick two nits that I think are very important. First, your title:

Science cares not a whit about god

This is not, strictly speakin, true. Science currently have not a whit to say about god(s), because no one yet has a theory/model, based in the scientific method (i.e. a model which is in principle falsifiable) for answering the question of whether god(s) exist. That is not the same as saying that science does not care a whit about god(s); it does say that, at the present time, science can neither be used to support or refute the existence of god(s).

But an important hueristic used throughout science is "Occam's razor" which allows one to prefer the simplest explanation that accounts for the known facts.

Again, strictly speaking, Occam's razor is a statement about two models/theories which, in principle, take exactly the same inputs and produce exactly the same outputs; it is not a general principle that simpler theories are better. I only say this because "Occam's razor" is often abused by pseudoscience (like "creation science" and astrology) as an argument against true scientific disciplines, because their "theories" are "simpler than (insert true scientific discipline here)". So you have to be careful about when you apply the Razor.

[ Parent ]

Reason, material evidence, plus a dash of theology (none / 0) (#379)
by leonbrooks on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:56:26 AM EST

The Creationist movement is misguided attempting to inject a scientific argument where none is possible. [...]

There is no God-o-scope that can detect the presence of God. It is a matter of faith. No one living was around to see the formation of the earth and the universe, so no one can say for sure what happened.

True... and also very false. Reductio ad absurdum, you are saying that the past, as far as creation (whether by divine fiat or really big vacuum anomaly or whatever) is concerned, is inscrutible, unknowable.

Evolutionists hypothesising about the first few femtoseconds would disagree violently with you. Noah would also have disagreed, given the chance. This is one of very few occasions where they would both be right.

Evolution should leave traces. A whole passel (millions of passels, actually) of fossils intermediate between species, for example. And doesn't. Creation should leave traces (unless you subscribe to one of those created-old theories which imply that God lied) such as sharp mountains, deep seas and small river deltas. And does.

Now to theology: Christ stated flat out that God created - in one passage of Paul's - all things through Jesus - and in another, directly quoting Jesus - Adam and Eve. If Christianity is defined as believing in Christ, which would naturally include believing Christ, then all Christians believe that God created ``all things''.

Next time, remember to bring your thinking-brain dog. (-:
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

Very GOOD Evidence (3.44 / 9) (#167)
by dgwatson on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 12:30:38 PM EST

Go to reasons.org. This is a site set up by Reasons to Believe, who have amassed tons of evidence that evolution is not possible, that a God must have created the universe, and that special creation is the only way that life could have arisen.

There's also a large archive of radio broadcasts from their weekly radio show, as well as debates between evolutionists and creationists.

One thing that may interest you is that they do NOT believe in young-earth creationism, but hold with the current evidence that the earth is 4.5B years old, with the universe 17B y. o. This is easily lined up with Genesis 1 if you take into account that the hebrew word "yom" can mean 3 things: 12 hours, 24 hours, or a long period of time. Clearly it means the latter, and this is also the only explanation which lines up with the rest of the Bible.

Here's some evidence for you:

  • Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen. In fact, one theory that is gaining popularity (since it is one of the very few possible ones) is "directed panspermia" - some outside force placed life on earth.
  • After asteroid collisions which wiped life off the earth, again life arose too rapidly for it to have happened through naturalistic processes.

There's more that I could give, but I'd have to look it up right now.

Hugh Ross, the president of RTB, spoke here (Kent State) last year, and nobody was able to come up with any scientific evidence that contradicts what he was saying. This makes sense, since Judaism/Christianity are the ONLY religions which do not contradict science in any way.

The most up-to-date cosmological models show that the universe had a beginning, and has not always existed. Compare with Genesis 1:1. When compared with Hinduism and many Eastern religions, it is clear that their cyclical universe (created and destroyed many times over) is not possible, since the universe will never collapse.

So go to reasons.org and read/listen to the info there with an open mind - and if you'd like to hear more, their weekly radio program is from 12-1 PM EST on Saturday, and you can listen through their simulataneous webcast as well. You can also call in if you'd like - I know they'd love to hear your questions.

[OT] Go Flashes! (none / 0) (#181)
by kostya on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:06:24 PM EST

Hehe. I'm a UA alum.

----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Bzzt. (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by Count Zero on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:32:39 PM EST

Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen.

1) Because there are no viable theories, then it must be from an outside force? Not only is that a major logical leap, but also contradictory. "There are no viable theories, but here is my theory".

2) There actually are theories that cover the origin of life. Abiogenesis, for one. (Yes, there are flaws in the theory. I only offer it as an example)

After asteroid collisions which wiped life off the earth, again life arose too rapidly for it to have happened through naturalistic processes.

Punctuated Equilibria. Not to mention not all life was wiped of fthe Earth in the Yucatan crash of the late Cretaceous.



[ Parent ]
I looked at reasons.org... (4.00 / 1) (#200)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:42:04 PM EST

and, lo and behold, what did I find? "SATURDAY MORNING BIBLE RADIO BIBLE STUDY"... "TBN Airs New RTB Series: "Who is Adam?" Why, what an objective, open-minded forum for the exploration of the origins of life. Pbbbbbt. Yet another pathetic attempt to cast dogma into the language (but not the rigor or content) of science. Do yourself a favor and go to The Talk.Origins Archive and do some serious reading.

Oh, and as for your above objections:

Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen. In fact, one theory that is gaining popularity (since it is one of the very few possible ones) is "directed panspermia" - some outside force placed life on earth.
Life arose "as soon as it possibly could", and this somehow implies "it was created from some outside force"??? Eh? There are no currently viable theories as to how else it could have happened? Even if this were true, it would not therefore follow that your particular favorite creation myth has anything to do with reality. If panspermia, directed or otherwise, is the case, then life still must have arisen elsewhere, and it still would have changed over time (you know, "evolved" ?) on Earth.

[ Parent ]
Flaws (none / 0) (#207)
by paulT on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:57:19 PM EST

  • Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen. In fact, one theory that is gaining popularity (since it is one of the very few possible ones) is "directed panspermia" - some outside force placed life on earth.
  • After asteroid collisions which wiped life off the earth, again life arose too rapidly for it to have happened through naturalistic processes.
What puzzles me here is that both these pieces of evidence suggest flaws in the original creation. I have no problem believing in God but I find most creationist science functions by hunting for flaws in creation. That God would have to intervene in creation after the initial push suggests God erred in that push and contradicts a belief in the omniscience of God.

Creationist science is simply a way for those who can not find faith within themselves to prop up their beliefs. While some evolutionists do use evolution to attack faith there is nothing in science that can deny the existence of God. It can only deny the existence of physical evidence for God.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
re: Very GOOD Evidence (none / 0) (#209)
by naicinhcet on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:01:05 PM EST

This makes sense, since Judaism/Christianity are the ONLY religions which do not contradict science in any way. 1 Kings 7:23

[ Parent ]
woops (none / 0) (#210)
by naicinhcet on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:03:15 PM EST

That didn't format how I wanted it to. Anyway, check out 1 Kings 7:23.

[ Parent ]
why did you link to that verse? (none / 0) (#215)
by Strider on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:30:09 PM EST

are you joking?
---
"it's like having gravity suddenly replaced by cheez-whiz" - rusty
[ Parent ]
re: why did you link to that verse? (none / 0) (#219)
by naicinhcet on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:34:46 PM EST

Perhaps I got the verse wrong (I am not in a position to check at the moment), but it should allude to the value of pi being 3, which obviously contradicts mathmatics. I apologize if I messed up the verse.

[ Parent ]
not really (none / 0) (#296)
by xriso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:39:44 PM EST

This link explains the fallacy of that one verse, and goes on to some other stuff I'm not so sure of. Basically, the rim of the basin is not necessarily the same diameter as the bottom portion: <pre> \ / | | | | |___| </pre> Well, that's the basic idea here. You might want to take a look at the rest of Y Files, they have other good stuff.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
ARGH!!! (none / 0) (#298)
by xriso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:40:40 PM EST

Pre doesn't seem to work. Oh well, take a look at the article anyway.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
huh!? (4.00 / 1) (#211)
by el_guapo on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:08:10 PM EST

"since Judaism/Christianity are the ONLY religions which do not contradict science in any way." which one are you talking about? would this be the same Judaism/Christianity that persecuted Galilio (-5 points for spelling) for saying the earth wasn't the center of the universe? i'm sorry, but "Judaism/Christianity" has, throughout history, tried to religiously explain everything they could that was not then scientifically possible to explain; and when a science DID try to explain it, they resorted to some pretty dispicable behavior in an effort to silence it. Creationism is simply one of the few remaining pillars they have standing.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Dead wrong (none / 0) (#475)
by ryancooley on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:26:06 AM EST

It was the church members that persecuted scientists. There is nothing in the bible that says the earth is flat, the center of the univers, or anything to that effect. This is the same as Darwin expressing some theory that is not in-line with scientific beliefs. The individual does not represent the idealogy.

[ Parent ]
politely disagreeing (none / 0) (#837)
by el_guapo on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:11:21 PM EST

it was the church "leaders" that did this.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
What can I say? (none / 0) (#891)
by ryancooley on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 07:17:31 PM EST

You're just splitting hairs here. It doesn't change the point or the legitmacy of my claim.

[ Parent ]
Before I go read this stuff (3.66 / 3) (#216)
by ubernostrum on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:30:49 PM EST

I'll deal with you, since I've bene sent to reasons.org before and have yet to see anything noteworthy.

Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen.

Do you bother to read the *real* literature on the subject? My current favorite among theories for how life originated deals with experiements in which self-replicating organic molecules have been seen to form on a crystal "scaffold" of...ordinary clay.

After asteroid collisions which wiped life off the earth, again life arose too rapidly for it to have happened through naturalistic processes.

Again with "do you bother reading any real scientific literature?" Life has never been wiped off the earth. There have been periods where many species went extinct, but never has everything been wiped out. And why is it odd that, say, mammals undergo explosive evolution when suddenly the dinosaurs are gone and there's suddenly every possible niche wide open and waiting to be exploited? Also, the words "punctuated equilibrium" come to mind.

The Reverend Heep Long Foo recently spoke at my house on philosophical Taoism (yes that really is my religion) and evolution, and my great-grandmother couldn't come up with scientific evidence against him. That's just more evidence that Taoism is the only religion that doesn't contradict science in any way, right?

Of course the universe had a beginning - so why does that rule out cycles of creation and destruction? Your argument there basically says "The universe had a beginning, therefore it won't collapse." Logic, anyone?

There's more I could say, but I'm only using this as practice for the real world, where people actually believe this stuff enough to go on for days at a time...thanks for the opportunity to hone an argument, though.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

I can't resist. (5.00 / 1) (#283)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:11:43 PM EST

[Life arose as soon as it possibly could after the earth cooled (about 4B y. ago). This suggests that it was created by some outside force, because there are NO currently viable theories as to how else it could have arisen. In fact, one theory that is gaining popularity (since it is one of the very few possible ones) is "directe panspermia" - some outside force placed life on earth.]

Actually, I could argue (and shall) that this weakens the creation argument. If life arose as soon as the environment allowed it to, this suggests that life was always trying to form, even when the environment didn't allow it. Thus, life resulted when the earth cooled sufficiently to allow it to do so.

However, if there was a gap between the cooling of the earth and the time where life arose, say a few billion years, then this could be an argument for a creator. Because conditions would have been favorable for life to form, but didn't until it received a "push." Of course you didn't make that argument.

For some reason, I have the image of Adam and Eve dancing on extremely hot rocks.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
my interpretation (none / 0) (#295)
by xriso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:33:52 PM EST

I believe Hugh Ross is saying that God created life as soon as it could be created. I'm not sure if He really started right at the beginning of Earth, but He created bacteria as soon as possible. This falls under Hugh's argument of all other life forms leading up to humanity, which is the climax. In the mean time, the lower life forms can terraform, and deposit fossil fuels.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
This is going to be a shock to you (3.50 / 2) (#172)
by John Milton on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:33:38 PM EST

Most Christian people accept evolution grudgingly. Those of us who believe in a God don't really care how things got started. I have a few reservations about evolution, but they are scientific ones.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Of course Christians hate evolution (1.46 / 15) (#174)
by cargogod on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 01:38:57 PM EST

And it's entirely understandable; look how little it did for them.

Duplicate Account Right Here, Folks (none / 0) (#193)
by slick willie on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:31:13 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/?op=comments;sid=2001/3/24/63128/3482;cid=89

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
evolution, creation, obsessions, and god: (3.85 / 7) (#184)
by gtx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:43:34 PM EST

while one of the stipulations of this challenge was to prove creationism, i see many people challenging the evolutionists to provide some sort of evidence of evolution. unlike the speculative nature of creationism, evolution provides evidence that can be witnessed by people today. right now. the only evidence of creationism so far (the theories used to explain how life was created in such a short time following the cooling of the earth and the regeneration of life following mass extinctions) are based primarily on our speculation of how old the earth is and when life first began to form. creationist theories which question how non-sentient life can evolve (arguing that life forms have to 'choose' to evolve somehow) are inherently flawed: it's not a matter of what the life forms want to do, it's a matter if they can live long enough to do what they are designed to do, and that is reproduce. all of that talk about the strong surviving is not just a snappy soundbite. it is actually the basis of evolution as we know it. slight alterations to genetic code produce one of two things: either the resulting altered offspring will survive and pass along the alterations, or the offspring will die, taking it's alterations with it. before long, one species is either replaced by it's successor, or the two will live independent of each other, as is the case with the monkies and humans.

however, evolution seems to have a whole lot of things going for it, easily observed by people today:
  • notice how certain infections become resistant to antibiotics, so we have to change the medication to treat certain ailments? this is evolution brought about by a stressful environment, and it is directly observable by people right now.
  • ever look at a hamster before? just watching one for a few minutes writes clearly shows evidence of evolution. note that the hamster doesn't have a tail, but rather the vestigal traces of one. note that the hamster obsessively chews to keep his teeth shortened. why do they chew like that? in the beginning stages of hamster evolution, the hamsters that chewed obsessively (thereby keeping the teeth short and making eating alot easier, let alone keeping the teeth from gouging holes in their cranium) lived long enough to procreate more.
  • Why do animals have sex? Do humans know at birth that the species as a whole would prosper from copulation? no. sex, too, is an obsession with the species that furthered our time on this planet.
and you cannot faithfully give the arguement that god is commanding us, or forcing us, or otherwise coercing us to have sex, as, according to the christian bible, he gave us free will. god does not decide what we do, we do. on top of this, it is against christian philosophy to have sex before marriage, and had god was in charge of our sexual being, then he would just make it so we didn't have sex before marriage, right?

in all fairness, however, i will admit that the possibility of god (or some other higher power) creating life with the intention of it evolving, but i will not credit god for directly creating humans. i do believe that the fossil record will back me up on this one.

i'd like to leave one final thought for people in this thread who claim that christianity is completely possible according to science: that is simply untrue. the christian philosophy has evolved over time in order to meet the elightenment factor of the masses.


--------
i don't have anything clever to write here.
Rebuttal (2.25 / 4) (#264)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:25:29 PM EST

notice how certain infections become resistant to antibiotics, so we have to change the medication to treat certain ailments? this is evolution brought about by a stressful environment, and it is directly observable by people right now.

... or certain bacteria, as a result of lossy mutations in the past, have lost some ability that now makes them resistant to the antibiotic. For example, a bacteria produces an enzyme that an antibiotic reacts with to create a chemical that destroys the cell wall of the bacteria. Some of the bacteria don't have the DNA to make this enzyme. They survive the onslaught of antibiotics. They multiply and pass on their DNA that won't make this enzyme, and a resistant strain is born. No constructive evolution there.

ever look at a hamster before? just watching one for a few minutes writes clearly shows evidence of evolution.[sic] note that the hamster doesn't have a tail, but rather the vestigal traces of one. note that the hamster obsessively chews to keep his teeth shortened. why do they chew like that? in the beginning stages of hamster evolution, the hamsters that chewed obsessively (thereby keeping the teeth short and making eating alot easier, let alone keeping the teeth from gouging holes in their cranium) lived long enough to procreate more.

... or they were created with extraordinary teeth so that they could eat enough to keep on the move and have a chance to outrun snakes.

Why do animals have sex? Do humans know at birth that the species as a whole would prosper from copulation? no. sex, too, is an obsession with the species that furthered our time on this planet.

... or human sin nature includes an insatiable lust for sexual pleasure.

Why are poisonous caterpillars so brightly colored? Is it because they need to keep the birds away? Wouldn't their poisonous nature alone kill off all the birds that would eat them so that the caterpillars could be whatever color they want to be? Maybe they were created in a very colorful way so that the birds could distinguish edible caterpillars from inedible ones.



[ Parent ]
That was a rebuttal? (3.00 / 2) (#270)
by coffee17 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:40:44 PM EST

They multiply and pass on their DNA that won't make this enzyme, and a resistant strain is born.

This is a great example of evolution, thanks for providing it.

No constructive evolution there.

Um, am I missing something? Why does evolution have to be additive to the species? No definition of evolution I've ever heard says the a species can only evolve additional tricks to the point that we all become X-men. Evolution depends upon the environment... in a non-stressful environment (such as humans currently find themselves in), evolution will not necessarily occur. To use your example, let's suppose that we have two poisons A, and B... A will likely kill bacteria C if it creates enzyme D, and B will likely kill C if it doesn't have D. Now, we can expose the population to A, and we'll see that the species evolves so that more of the population doesn't create D. Now, we take this new population and expose it to B instead of A. The species will evolve to a population which creates the enzyme. Now, we re-expose the population to A, and we're not making the enzyme. Does the fact that we're going in circles mean that the species is not evolving? No.

As for the other examples, they are merely guesses about what might have been, and are not particularly great for prooving evolution nor creationism, I'm unsure why the original poster or you included them.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Re: That was a rebuttal? (3.50 / 4) (#275)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:20:25 PM EST

Why does evolution have to be additive to the species?

Some evolution must be additive to the species in order for man to have evolved from primordial soup. The evolution mentioned by the original poster didn't show that and so in that respect it didn't do much for the case of evolution in the sense of common descent. Of course it's evolution when this change occurs and the bacteria becomes resistant. However, this doesn't exhibit a mechanism that would have caused the species Homo sapiens to come about. Mutations like the ones that make bacteria resistant to antibiotics exibit a loss of information in the genetic code of the bacteria.

I guess my main point was that the examples didn't say much about the accuracy of evolution.



[ Parent ]
Man is not the center of the universe. (4.33 / 3) (#280)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:53:59 PM EST

Clearly, you are under the impression that evolution is a linear process. That at one end you have the primordial ooze, the building blocks of life, and at the other end, you have man, the finished product. And thus, "evolution" would demand that all life be evolving toward being human.

The ooze > - - - - - > > - - - - - > > - - - - - > > - - - - - > Man

But the example sited, and as you argued, is an example of bacteria taking a step back and becoming less like man.

I might ask you how you could possibly make this determination. How do you know that not losing resistance to ensime A isn't in fact more like man, especially if humans also lack resistance to ensime A. If that is so, then this is an example of evolution, that would meat your own definition of what evolution is.

Unfortunately, you are incorrect about "linear evolution." Genetic change, no mater how slight, by definition is evolution. And thus the "direction" of the mutation, or even weather the mutation is beneficial, is wholly irrelevant. Those issues to however have relevance to natural and artificial selection.

But even in this sense, your position is shaky. You might argue that a goat is really trying to evolve into man. But can you argue that a bush is trying to evolve into man? Why isn't a bush actually trying to evolve into a tree? Is a tree's evolution proceeding away from man for some reason? If it is, than that kills your linear evolution. If it is not, then how do you explain the dramatic differences between a tree and a human? If man was God's ultimate goal for life, than why dose man inhabit a world with diverse forms of life?

Man of course, is not the center of the universe. Just one tiny part of it. Perhaps the bacteria example has little relevance to human evolution, but it dose demonstrate the mechanisms by witch man has also evolved.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
Progression? (4.00 / 1) (#328)
by spraints on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 12:02:40 AM EST

Perhaps the bacteria example has little relevance to human evolution, but it dose demonstrate the mechanisms by witch man has also evolved.

What I am claiming is that the mechanism exhibited by the adaptation of the bacteria is not a mechanism that would result in the sorts of changes necessary to bring about anything more complex than soup. The mutation example is an example of the degradation of the capabilities of the bacteria. What I am saying is that random mutation of an organism's DNA is not a mechanism that would ever lead to more complexity, but rather that mutations to a gene have always resulted in the loss of information. Hence the example of this bacteria "evolving" from some strain to another isn't relevant to an argument about whether man is the product of billions of years of evolution.



[ Parent ]
Ah, the old micro but not macro evolution argument (4.50 / 2) (#343)
by Code Name D on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:37:06 AM EST

[What I am claiming is that the mechanism exhibited by the adaptation of the bacteria is not a mechanism that would result in the sorts of changes necessary to bring about anything more complex than soup.]

I will grant you that a signal mutation in and of itself is not worth a great deal in the scheme of things, no more than a signal piece of paper is very thick. But a ream of paper is still two inches thick. A stack of reams fills a box that takes two men to lift, filling a pallet that requires a forklift to move, and in turn can fill an entire truck. All from nothing more than a collection of paper. So too will the changes of mutations accumulate to provide a dramatic change.

You're own example shows that the signal piece of paper dose indeed exists in the form of a signal mutation. Where one mutation is possible, then so are more. With the span of billions of years, I can easily produce enough mutations large enough to fill any truck.

[Hence the example of this bacteria "evolving" from some strain to another isn't relevant to an argument about whether man is the product of billions of years of evolution.]

On the contrary. This is the very heart of the mater. A bacterium is an organism that is made of just one cell. Humans are made up of millions of cells. If a bacterium can experience a mutation, than so can man. And indeed, such mutations have been observed in man-kind. Ever hear of sickle cell anemia? This is a classic example of a human mutation.

Is it a mutation in a "negative" direction? In the case of sickle cell, it injures their ability to survive. That is the process of natural selection at work. Natural selection removes the negative mutations from the flow, and rewords the positive mutations by allowing them to bread. That (in a nut shell) is what evolution is.

Your argument that some how a mutation has to be positive to be a "mutation" is a logical foe-pa. It's like arguing that a coin toss is only valid if it lands heads up. Thus, your case of "negative" mutation is still a sound argument in favor of evolution.

(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
that was not a rebuttal. (4.00 / 2) (#347)
by gtx on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 02:19:22 AM EST

... or certain bacteria, as a result of lossy mutations in the past, have lost some ability that now makes them resistant to the antibiotic. For example, a bacteria produces an enzyme that an antibiotic reacts with to create a chemical that destroys the cell wall of the bacteria. Some of the bacteria don't have the DNA to make this enzyme. They survive the onslaught of antibiotics. They multiply and pass on their DNA that won't make this enzyme, and a resistant strain is born. No constructive evolution there.

this is simply not true. anything that allows the organism to live longer is constructive. why? because the bacteria species doesn't go extinct. this can lead to greater changes. the way evolution works is that one minor thing leads to another minor thing, which leads to another minor thing, until eventually, you have a completely new organism. furthermore, even though this may not be 'constructive evolution' (although that's not true) this is indeed evolution. i gave you proof that evolution was occuring, and you just decided to split hairs over whether or not this particular brand of evolution had any effect on the organism in question. however, that point is moot anyway, since everybody who subscribes to evolution understands the slowly-progressing nature of it. remember, 14 billion years is an awfully long time.

... or they were created with extraordinary teeth so that they could eat enough to keep on the move and have a chance to outrun snakes

and that answers absolutely nothing. having teeth that never stop growing doesn't help anything. you won't be able to eat more just because your teeth are constantly growing. having teeth that need constant maintanence will do nothing to keep you away from snakes or any predators.

... or human sin nature includes an insatiable lust for sexual pleasure.

and you don't find it the least bit convenient that this 'insatiable lust' keeps the species afloat? this arguement makes no sense. okay, god created us, we have insatiable urges to have sex (which is wrong), yet sex keeps us alive? and you're telling me that this makes more sense than my theory of evolution which states that the humans who enjoyed sex had more sex, and therefore procreated more, passing the 'enjoys sex' genes along? i would like to point out that my theory doesn't rely on the influence of infinite metaphysical powers.

Why are poisonous caterpillars so brightly colored? Is it because they need to keep the birds away?

well, actually, it can be chalked up to that whole 'evolution' thing i've been talking about. think about it.

i would like to note that once again, an entire arguement has been made for creation, without any arguement being made.


--------
i don't have anything clever to write here.
[ Parent ]
"Free will" according to the Christian B (4.00 / 1) (#297)
by gbd on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:40:08 PM EST

Can you please quote me chapter and verse from the Christian Bible where the concept of "free will" is explained? Don't waste your time; you'll find no such material. The idea of "free will" does not stem from anything that is written in the Christian Bible. Rather, it is an idea that was manufactured by apologists who desparately needed to explain The Problem of Evil (how Ted Bundy and Timothy McVeigh and Fred Phelps can exist in this world if the Christian god is "all-loving".)

Actually, the Christian Bible contradicts the idea of "free will" quite directly on multiple occasions. We are, after all, "clay" in the hands of the Christian god (Job 33.)

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

My 2cnt rant... (4.38 / 13) (#185)
by spiff on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 02:52:15 PM EST

I've never heard a creationist argument. Never. Not once.

But you seem quite familiar with many of the arguments posted thus far and your replies seem a bit biased and rooted in your faith in evolution. Like the "THE CURRENT STATE OF CREATION ASTRONOMY" article where you totally ignore the good points he makes and nit-pick over some controversial theories he mentions.

As far as the creation/evolution argument, it sounds something like this with a humorous twist (I'm aware that it can be altered to favor either side):

  • Johnny got from point A to point B.
  • There's a bus stop close to point A and another one close to point B.
  • Evolutionists believe Johnny took the bus from point A to point B.
  • Creationists point out that the buses don't say what their route is, the bus drivers are blind and Johnny would have to change buses 1 million times to get from A to B. Creationists also say that someone told them he gave Johnny a ride from point A to B, so he didn't take the bus.
  • Evolutionists counter that they don't believe in giving rides so that theory is preposterous and anyway it took Johnny a VERY long time to get there. Plus the fact that Johnny is currently at point B proves that he took the bus.
  • Creationists say that since evolutionists can't prove them wrong creationism must be right.
  • Evolutionists declare giving rides un-scientific.
  • Some creationists state that Johnny was given a ride to a nearer bus stop and took the bus from there.
  • Evolutionists accuse creationists of putting God before science.
  • Creationists accuse evolutionists of abusing science as an excuse to ignore God.
  • Evolutionists say they have no problems with giving rides as long as it's studied objectively. They then proceed to ban it in all classrooms.
  • States with creationist majority react and try to teach ride-giving instead of bus-taking in the classroom.
  • Evolutionists embark in a crusade to save creationists from themselves.
  • Most creationists reject the posibility that maybe the person who gave Johnny a ride was driving a bus.
  • And so on and so forth...

So in conclusion I believe that evolutionists (not all, but in general) have forgotten that science means looking for the answer to what? when? where? and how? and should think of the possibility that any "serious lack of evidence" for creationism might be due to a "serious bias against" creationism on their part.

Creationists (not all, but in general) on the other hand should stop huddling in corners and making funny faces at the evolutionists and start doing something about it. For if what we believe is true there should be at least enough evidence out there to stalemate the evolutionists.

Perhaps you should rethink this part... (4.66 / 3) (#191)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:24:13 PM EST

So in conclusion I believe that evolutionists (not all, but in general) have forgotten that science means looking for the answer to what? when? where? and how? and should think of the possibility that any "serious lack of evidence" for creationism might be due to a "serious bias against" creationism on their part.
Should I consider the possibility that any "serious lack of evidence" for the tooth fairy might be due to a "serious bias against" the tooth fairy? Sure, scientists should always be mindful of their individual biases, and the systematic biases of Science as an institution. Fortunately, there are many, many scientists all over the world who continually recheck our assumptions. I for one certainly have NOT forgotten that Science seeks to understand the Universe and the phenomena within it. If there is an explanation for the life we see that better fits our observations and experiments than evolutionary theory, then bring it forth and let's have a look. If there are parts of evolutionary theory that don't make sense, then by all means point them out and we'll have a look.

[ Parent ]
Re: (none / 0) (#218)
by spiff on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:33:46 PM EST

Should I consider the possibility that any "serious lack of evidence" for the tooth fairy might be due to a "serious bias against" the tooth fairy?

The problem with that argument is that while there's no evidence for the existence of the tooth fairy, there is evidence that points to creation.

Fortunately, there are many, many scientists all over the world who continually recheck our assumptions.

But how many would even consider a explanation that gave credit to creationism? And if any did would he be published?

[ Parent ]

There is? (none / 0) (#234)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:19:46 PM EST

The problem with that argument is that while there's no evidence for the existence of the tooth fairy, there is evidence that points to creation.
What evidence do you have in mind? Seriously, I'd like to know how you see things, particularly if the evidence isn't of the "God of the gaps" variety.

[ Parent ]
The Tooth fairy told me. (4.00 / 1) (#276)
by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:20:40 PM EST

[The problem with that argument is that while there's no evidence for the existence of the tooth fairy, there is evidence that points to creation.]

If creationists have evidence, then it is about time they present it. Of course the history of creationist theory is littered with hocks, fraud, and outright dishonesty and a bias of their own. Let me list a few of the "evidence" presented by creationist.

(+) Adam & Eve were giants. And the average size of humans has been steadily shrinking from creation. (I have no idea how this can be said to support creation.)

(+) That the speed of light decelerated to its present speed, just at the point then we figured out how to measure it.

(+) That there was a six mile deep canopy of water suspended in the air that covered the whole world prior to the great flood. (I'm reasonably sure that Moses would have made note of the "ocean in the sky," and that the other locals would have taken his warning of a flood more seriously.)

(+) Humans up to and prior to Moses, lived side by side with dinosaurs. Then for some odd reason, they just got up and walked away, never to be seen from again.

(+) That dinosaurs breathed fire. And thus were the inspiration for many a knight slaying a dragon to save his kingdom was actually a record of actual events.

(+) There is a tree called "iornwood" that is stronger than ten times aluminum, allowing the construction of a structurally viable ark. That Got created this tree specifically for the purpose of the construction of the ark, and thus was not worthy of being saved from the flood.

(+) That God created the fossil record, just to fool scientists and other unbelievers.

(+) That God created the entire universe, consisting of thousands of galaxies, each consisting of billions of stars. Only to make seven planets and to put humans on just one. (Talk about waist.)

(+) Creationist use an incorrect understanding of the law of thermal dynamics to try to disprove what they also claim is unverifiable. (Apparently from this thread, this error has yet to be corrected.)

[But how many would even consider a explanation that gave credit to creationism? And if any did would he be published?]

Apparently, none. But the explanation must first be credible. Creationists claim that there is some how a state of censorship preventing the airing of creationist theories and findings. And yet creationists do not publish any scientific papers. Instead, they publish un-peer-reviewed books directly to the popular media, and seem to specifically avoid publishing to the scientific journals. I submit to you that these claims from the past never qualified as credible. You might as well try to claim that man was formed from mud. (Wait, this IS what Creationists claim. Sorry.)


(_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
[ Parent ]
not to be rude (3.00 / 2) (#205)
by el_guapo on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:52:43 PM EST

but i am noting a significant lack of an argument in favor of creationism.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Re: not to be rude (none / 0) (#213)
by spiff on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:12:48 PM EST

I gave none, for neither side. I was trying to point out how bias on both sides tends to muddle the issue and turn it into a us versus them fight.

[ Parent ]

One thought (minor detail nitpick thing) (3.00 / 1) (#260)
by Elendale on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:13:47 PM EST

Evolutionists counter that they don't believe in giving rides so that theory is preposterous

Or perhaps they should counter that someone telling you they gave Johnny a ride is not a reliable scientific method.

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Hilarious! (-: (none / 0) (#372)
by leonbrooks on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 09:54:46 AM EST

While I firmly believe that the tyre-marks reveal a ride and very limited scope for buses and also that there is no point A, I want to applaud you for the only bona-fide serious attempt at a light-hearted view I see on here.

Others talk about a light-hearted view, or sternly demand that I take on myself, but this is both insightful and witty, and teaches by example.

Ta muchly! (-:
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

Re: (none / 0) (#714)
by spiff on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:15:29 PM EST

there is no point A

Just say point A is "in the begining"... Analogies can only go so far...

And thanks for taking on kittens challenge (and kitten) pretty much single handed without loosing your cool. That's not easy when arguing with someone who starts arguments with the word OBVIOUSLY and qualifies views contrary to their own with "*sigh*", "inane" and "ludicrous".

[ Parent ]

Meta-discussion: Kitten is easy to handle (none / 0) (#911)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 10:42:19 AM EST

And thanks for taking on kittens challenge (and kitten) pretty much single handed without loosing your cool. That's not easy when arguing with someone who starts arguments with the word OBVIOUSLY and qualifies views contrary to their own with "*sigh*", "inane" and "ludicrous".

True, I suppose - but OTOH I do tech support work, and have three children up to teenage. (-:

BTW, loosing == untying; losing == ! winning; this paragraph sponsored by my Mum the English teacher. (-:

All it takes to manage kitten, and those like them, is enough patience to see where they are coming from (I think it helps that I've only been a creationist for about 30% of my life and was a rampant evolutionist up to the point where I started to really ask questions) and restate things in enough ways that they are finally understood, a voracious enough reading habit to supply arguments and provide benchmarks against bulldust, and half a brain.

All of your serious opponents will be practicing faith of some kind. Nobody will spend that much effort unless they're either in love with something or afraid of something. Most of them are afraid of being seen as different (which would happen if they understood enough that they had to become creationists); and/or as ignorant (which we all basically are anyway, so it's an emperor's-new-clothes thing); and/or of having any real obligations (self is king, fallen nature at its best) especially those requiring lifestyle changes. Most people's livestyles only change with the final heart attack, becoming somewhat more horizontally inclined.

Your task is to find their article of faith, which might take many questions but is usually pretty obvious (in kitten's case it showed up about two questions in) and match it with a few facts. Variety is good, since it helps to avoid becoming bogged down in trivia, but sometimes a narrow focus and completeness is required.

Selecting this particular example, kitten seems to be hanging his faith on an infinite number of universes as a trump card against any sensible application of mathematics; the basic form of the argument is that the miracle must have happened, because here we are. Consequently, anything we should happen to see which might look like evidence for Creation, can't really be that and must be explicable by another means, no matter how desperate. Circular reasoning, n: see ``Circular reasoning.'' (-:

In order to be able to see where the other person is really coming from, you have to be prepared to believe what they are saying they believe, even if only as a postulate. A lot of the zealots from both sides effectively geld themselves in disputational terms by being completely one-eyed in discussion.

Dicussion is a series of transactions; the point at which both parties stop trying to understand the other person's mind-set is the point at which the conversation stops. The way I achieve this is by being genuinely interested in the other person's arguments and point of view. I'm interested in real truth, not in defending one set of dogma against another, and I'm sure that if God is the truth, He will be revealed when all falsehood and assumption has been ``factblasted'' away.

Many people are using the available evidence as a drunk uses a lamp-post: for support rather than illumination, and in those circumstances they can't think too hard about what they're doing, so are not very effective in debate.

This discussion will have one of two outcomes if followed through; either kitten is intelligent and/or self-honest enough that his dogma will become eroded when enough unavoidable facts have hit it, or fear will win and cause a retreat behind a wall of borrowed dogma, excavated and packed in from nearby (after the fashion of a fleeing wombat).

Some simply aren't ready to listen. But who knows how many lurkers read the posts? So I reply anyway, if the assertion hasn't been exposed elsewhere and/or the reasoning here is interesting enough.

Finally, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

Read the article again (none / 0) (#420)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 08:22:52 PM EST

There are no arguments *for* the existence of a god, or his creation of the world, in it. There are arguments for some physical facts that are inconsistent (if correct) with the current scientific consensus, but that is no the same thing. Even if all these things turned out to be true - commets only appeared recently, and the earth really is 3600 years old, and so on - that offers no evidence for special creation, the primary thing the creationsits are trying to show. What kitten is asking for is a real scientific theory, predictions from it, and tests of those predictions. That cannot be supplied - as kitten knows full well - because there is no scientific theory of creation. Instead there is the account in genesis, which is literary and descriptive and cannot be used to make predictions. Indeed, since we cannot by definition predict God's actions, there can be no scientific, christian, theory of creation.

Creation scientists view there as being two options - and I agree with them so far - which they call "creation" and "evolution". Their arguments all take the form '"evolution" says X, but in fact Y is true, so "evolution" is false and "creation" is true'. Regardless of whether X or Y is the case, ehe logical step from an incorrect prediction to supporting their ideas is wrong. In fact, when you examine their arguments in detail - and the astronomy article is a good example - they are not arguing about evolution at all, but the thing they call evolution is in fact the entire scientific, naturalistic account of the past of the earth and the universe. Indeed, their real argument is with philosophical naturalism. They use "evolution" as a label for these ideas because it is the part of the naturalistic account of the world that most obviously contradicts, or appears to contradict, things that reasonable people want to believe.


Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Creationist Astronomy - Debunked! (none / 0) (#874)
by Morgoths Cat on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 06:56:53 AM EST

Sorry, old chap,THE CURRENT STATE OF CREATIONST ASTRONOMY is no better than other creationist articles,i.e it is complete balderdash. I've personally debunked large parts of it - see theSupernovae, Supernova Remnants and Young-Earth Creationism FAQ

[ Parent ]
Evolutionists and Creationists (3.00 / 1) (#195)
by Langley on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 03:34:14 PM EST

You will never get a Creationist to agree with an Evolutionist on the argument of creation vs. evolution.

The only real religion is the one you subscribe to. So just let the creationist go on believing in spontaneity, and let the evolutionist continue reading Darwin as dogma.

The only thing you need to worry about is the theory of evolution, at least when it was first proposed, seemed to be a good map for the territory Darwin was exploring.

Of course, the map is not the terrain



A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. -Abraham Lincoln (Sixteenth President of the United States of America)
My argument (3.60 / 5) (#223)
by j0s)( on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:46:16 PM EST

I'm going to attempt to follow your rules as closely as possible. I will point out the flaws with this at the end. First, my thoughts...

I believe in a more complex version of how we came to be here. I believe that an outside force created something in order for it to evolve into what we are today. Lets take at look at some of the laws of thermodynamics, in particular, matter or energy can neither be created nor destroyed and objects at rest tend to stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force (and vice-versa). We also need to consider the law of entropy. (i have already posted a comment in regards to entropy -- "evolution == entropy" -- i feel its definitely worth reading before continuing) Since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it is obvious that evolution had to be kick started by something. And since entropy is obviously true and no oen will argue it, we have to also understand that our "evoluton" is actually our "de-evolution". (I dont feel like going into too much detail about entropy so i urge you to read my previous post in order to grasp it more thoroughly.) This version is obviously the most appealing to everyone. It doesnt have the flaws that creationism alone has, nor does it have the flaws of evolution alone. it combines the best of both thoughts. The defficiencies in one arguments can be filled by the positives of the other. We know that there was something on Earth. It evolved. We came about as a result. What we started with, no one knows. But assuming something gave us the starting blocks needed, and a kick in the right direction, we were able to become what we are today.

As for your rules. 1. my statements are a positive argument for my beliefs. 2. i didnt attack anyone. 3. I didnt reference any faith but my personal thoughts and beliefs (your fundamental error) 4. the evidence needed does notneed to be laid out in detail because no one knows what there actually was at the time nor does anyone want to try and argue it. Also, we all have a pretty general idea of what there was, this is simply my argument as to how it happened.

The fact that you dont want to accept faith based arguments discludes your argument. We all believe an argument because we have faith in it. I dont have faith in the "Christian creation" nor do i have faith in "evolution". so for the purposes of this debate, i, and all others, should assume "faith arguments" to be those arguments based on "god created it all cause god created it". i do, however, agree with some of the main points from both arguments. You cant say that evolution is right because its based on science. science is another form of faith. you put your faith in the scientific method and its results. others put their faith in god (or some form thereof). No one will ever be able to argue a point of view on this topic without having faith in their argument for the simple fact that no one has the facts and information as to what was actually happening at the time. When did the universe start? when did mans evolution begin? no one knows. you cant use "scientific" carbon dating methods becuase they are based on circular reasoning. If soneone had been present, there would be no debate.

my two cents. I think this kind of debate is intereting because of the points that so many people can create. However, nothing will ever be solved by any of this. you may sway someone to your camp and make them believe your story, but thats only because they were too weak minded to figure it out themselves. Evolution is not totally correct, it is theory. Creation is not totally correct, it is theory. All sides need to furher their studies to determine the flaws and correct them and find out more fact. You cant proclaim evolution as science because its theory is not wholy correct yet. the same with creation.

lets discuss some of the holes. evolution has not been proved. you can not tote evolution as your belief. if you do so, you are saying you believe in something that is inaccurate. It goes against the basic laws of thermodynamics. something science created and has proved correct. it does agree with entropy though (read my other post to see what i mean). Christianties opinions are quite flawed as well. I dont understand christianities main point... God. thermodynamics again. if matter and energy can neithr be created nor destroyed, then god must be above all law he created. or was God, as Christians know him, created? so why not believe in the god that is the creator of God? But this argument isn't about ones religous faith. So how did God create the units that spawned evolution? We are stuck at the beginning. Neither theory can get enough steam to get off the ground. So my next question, and most pressing one, is, why even bother debating any of this. Both theories can be shot down before they can even begin to maneuver down the runway.

This whole debate is based on ones personal faith. If one places all his faith in science, evolution will be his cup of tea. For those people who have swallowed all the propaganda that a church has shoved down its throat, creation is obviously the answer. For those of us who prefer a more objective stance. My theory holds the most water. Evolution was started by something. But now again, if we go back even further, how was the somethng that started evolution down its path created? We can not even answer the most basic of questions in this debate wihtout taking a huge leap of faith and believing in a theory. How'd the universe come to be? God? it was just always there? these questions can not and will not be answered.

We should instead concentrate on something more pressing. how to sustain our quality of live for as long as possible. entropy is at work everyday in everythign we do. as evolution brings our eminent end closer by furthering entorpy, how can we devise a way to slow entropy with out furthering it in another aspect. we evolved to learn to build tools and weapons. we killed peole. we build shelter. we built better shelter. we used up precious land and contaminated natural reources. for every leap we take forward, we bound backwards. this is a repurcussion for everythign we do. how are we going to minimize these repurcussions? this is the question we need to debate. so we can devise a plan to further our being while keeping entopy to a slow crawl. entropy will exist and be present always and in everything, so lets try to minimize its effects on our present day and our future.

j0sh -- j0shdot.net

-- j0sh -- of course im over-dramatizing my statements, but thats how its done here, sensationalism, otherwise you wouldnt read it.


subject goes here (5.00 / 1) (#254)
by coffee17 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:59:54 PM EST

in your evolution==entropy post you seem to miss a minor detail... the world was not "simply the world" but rather it was a world being bombarded by energy from the sun. Evolution is negative entropy, not entropy (and the answer to how there can be negative entropy has already been answered; the earth is not a closed system, it gains energy from the sun, mass from asteroids and cosmic dust).

we have to also understand that our "evoluton" is actually our "de-evolution".

My only guess at any meaning behind this sentence rests on evolution being negative entropy, not entropy, so could you elaborate a bit on what you meant with this?

Evolution is not totally correct, it is theory. Creation is not totally correct, it is theory.

the difference is that one is a theory backed by observable, repeatable evidence. Note that "evidence" is only evidence if it is observable by all, and repeatable. Thus, the observing of increasingly robust bacteria and virii occuring in hospitals is evidence, as if you don't believe another's word, you can setup an environment and continually poison bacteria with antibiotics to see if a strain of resistant bacteria becomes prominent. However, I've asked god a number of times, and he hasn't said anything to me about pi being 3, his creating of earth or tales of anger about apples. If creationism has no evidence (or "arguments" for it), then it is a theory not worthy of any more consideration than the theory of the invisible pink unicorns.

To be a bit plainer, there are many theorys. I could present a theory that if paint my computer's case with my blood that it will run faster, but that is a failed theory (at least with my old pentium... maybe Athlons are more receptive to cases painted in blood), but the mere fact that it is a theory does not put it on equal grounds of credibility as something like the theory of evolution; and you seem to try to paint a theory of creationism as on equal footing as that of creationism.

This whole debate is based on ones personal faith.

Actually I think the difference is that I and many others try to not have a faith. While I will give credance to some ideas which have a decent amount of backing (such as the round earth theory), I don't believe anything until I've observed it, and then all that I believe is that I observed it, knowing that the human observing machine is imperfect (take a few hits of acid and you might observe god, but you also might observe your carpet turning into a liquid).

... hmmm, I don't seem to see an argument in your entire post... did I miss it? If so, could you please point it out?

-coffee


[ Parent ]

2nd Law Proven??? (5.00 / 1) (#266)
by Shalom on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:28:19 PM EST

Hell, most people I know can't even accurately describe the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. "Um, things go from order to chaos, right?" But why? How? How do you define order? How do you define chaos? How can you quantify them well enough to say "there is more chaos now then there was 2 days ago"? If you can answer these questions without begging the question, my hat's off to you.

At any rate, the 2nd law applies only to a closed system. We on earth are receiving energy from the sun, in abundance, so the argument is invalid.



[ Parent ]
2nd law (none / 0) (#388)
by spiralx on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:11:27 PM EST

The second law states something like that in a closed system, any irreversible transformation always increases entropy.

The definition of entropy I remember has to do with the number of microstates of a system, and S = kB ln ω where kB is Boltzmann's constant and ω is the number of microstates. IIRC there's a macroscopic definition as well, something related to heat and temperature but it's been a while... :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Just to drive the point home... (none / 0) (#390)
by kreyg on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:25:31 PM EST

The second law of thermodynamics really doesn't apply in this case because:
a) The Earth isn't a closed system and
b) Not all transformations are irreversible.

It would seem to be a common error to apply the concept of religious laws (general and universal, such as the ten commandments) to scientific laws (which are specific and limited in scope).

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Microstates? (none / 0) (#400)
by Shalom on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 02:16:12 PM EST

Hmm, thanks. It sounds like it is approaching something real. But do you happen to know what a microstate is?

The best (or most scientific) definition I ever heard of order was "the percentage of energy in the system devoted to chemical bonds." It is easy to see why this will decrease as structures break down.



[ Parent ]
Microstates (none / 0) (#509)
by spiralx on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 04:18:55 PM EST

Microstates are those microscopic states which are consistent with the macroscopic properties of a system - pressure, temperature and so on. Note that these microstates, defined for position and velocity, are indistinguishable from each other - every microstate will give rise to the same macrostate.

For an ideal gas (a useful approximation to a real gas) the number of position microstates is proportional to VN where V is the volume and N is the number of particles, and the number of position microstates is proportional to (kBT)3N/2. So overall for an ideal gas

ω = cVN(kBT)3N/2

and this is the number of microstates which the system could be in, and still be the same gas at temperature T and volume V. So the more microstates there are, the more random the macrostate is, and the entropy is higher.

Ugh, that wasn't the best discription. Sorry...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Probability (none / 0) (#513)
by Shalom on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:32:12 PM EST

So it's about "how many ways could the system look given the information we have?" Like a microstate is one possibility for how the system could be. For example, one microstate for a pair of atoms is that they are bonded, another is that they are not. They macroscopic system therefore has two possibilities and probably very low entropy. (Probably there are other possibilities, but hopefully I am conveying my idea ...)

[ Parent ]
Yes, but... (none / 0) (#568)
by spiralx on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:54:18 AM EST

... the important point is that every microstate must give rise to the same macrostate. I don't think your example would, since in one we have a pair of atoms, in another we have a molecule, and they probably have different properties.

OTOH with a gas at a given pressure and temperature there are shitloads of ways the particles could be positioned without making any difference to its macroscopic state, and a whole bunch of velocity distributions as well...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I Get It (none / 0) (#592)
by Shalom on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:24:22 AM EST

OK, now I think I understand. But it seems like the 2nd law is awfully dependent on the human view of the world, don't you think? Macrostates like "pressure, temperature" seem like they're mainly human simplifications. They aren't exact, even in an ideal gas, they're averages. So it seems like the chaos in the system could change just based on someone coming up with a different idea of macrostates, while the physical system (microstates) remains the same. Hardly seems an objective matter ...

[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#608)
by spiralx on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:06:09 PM EST

Pressure is a macroscopic property, but it's derived from the average force transferred to a solid object from the particles hitting it every second. Similarly temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of a group of particles. They're simply easier quantities to work with when you're talking about a large quantity of particles in a state where you're not interested in their exact states, only the average.

There's nothing objective about it. All of these quantities have microscopic definitions...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Averages Lose Information (none / 0) (#646)
by Shalom on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:49:48 PM EST

But as far as I can tell, in a classical system, entropy doesn't ever increase until you start taking averages, as in temperature and pressure of an ideal gas. It is entirely based on our ignorance (willful or otherwise) of the true situation. If you had an exact value of all the positions and such at any given time, there would be only one possible macrostate--the actual one. No chaos. But since we are such limited beings, we have to resort to averages and such, and when we take the average and call it pressure and temperature, we lose the information about the positions of the individual particles. It is because we do this that we do not know where they are, and only because we do not know where they are that there are many possible positions. And this is the cause of chaos by this definition, so the ultimate cause of the chaos is our lack (or loss) of information, not anything inherent in the system itself.

All I'm saying is, if I understand this right, in a classical system, if you are an omniscient observer, you would note that there is no chaos whatsoever. Because there is only one possible state: the one you see. And there is only one possible future: the one that will be created based on the current position and the physical laws.

Of course, quantum mechanics blows that all to hell since there is a true source of randomness, or chaos, in the universe, so that an omniscient observer would not be able to tell what would happen next just based on the current position and physical laws.



[ Parent ]
No... (none / 0) (#691)
by spiralx on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:51:36 AM EST

It is entirely based on our ignorance (willful or otherwise) of the true situation. If you had an exact value of all the positions and such at any given time, there would be only one possible macrostate--the actual one.

There is only ever one macrostate - the actual one :) But there are always one or more possible microstates which can give rise to this macrostate.

Or do you mean there would only be one microstate? Well true, you'd know the exact microstate the system was in, but there would still be other states which had equivalent physical properties. Pressure and temperature are valid quantities, in the same way that mass of an object is a valid quantity despite being made up from microscopic parts.

And this is the cause of chaos by this definition, so the ultimate cause of the chaos is our lack (or loss) of information, not anything inherent in the system itself.

I think the problem here is that the terms order and chaos are only metaphors for understanding. As entropy increases, the system becomes more homogenous (and boring). In a sense, entropy is a measure of redundancy, not "chaos".

Of course, quantum mechanics blows that all to hell since there is a true source of randomness, or chaos, in the universe, so that an omniscient observer would not be able to tell what would happen next just based on the current position and physical laws.

See above - chaos in this sense does not mean randomness. A chaotic state in thermodynamics is simply one that can be produced from a large number of different microstates - an ordered one has relatively few internal configurations that can give rise to it.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Is Entropy an Objective Measure? (none / 0) (#735)
by Shalom on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:26:19 PM EST

Or do you mean there would only be one microstate? Well true, you'd know the exact microstate the system was in, but there would still be other states which had equivalent physical properties. Pressure and temperature are valid quantities, in the same way that mass of an object is a valid quantity despite being made up from microscopic parts.

I really appreciate your patience and teaching. And I think I'm very close to completely understanding this. But there is one element of confusion left here, one thing I don't understand. Is entropy supposed to be an objective measure? In other words, when two people look at the same system, will they always calculate the same entropy value, or will it be based on which quantities they decide are important about the system (like mass, or P/T/V)? If it's subjective, then I am talking about nothing and I probably understand it correctly, and thank you. If it's supposed to be an objective measure, though, then I think there is a piece missing from this puzzle.

Let me make sure I understand you're saying first: I think you're saying that the amount of entropy in this system is proportional to the number of different ways the system could look (like different positions for the atoms) given the same values for some measurements, like pressure/temperature/volume.

If I am undersanding, I think my point still stands. My point is that chaos, by this definition, is a completely subjective thing. It depends on which aggregate quantity (pressure/temperature/volume in this case) you decide to hold constant. Instead of saying "entropy in an ideal gas is proportional to the number of possible positional states given that the pressure, temperature and volume are the same as the current gas," what makes it so that you can't say "entropy in an ideal gas is proportional to the number of possible positional states given that the positions of all the atoms are the same as this current gas," which, while sort of silly, seems just as valid. What is a good reason to say the second is not a measure of entropy?

The point is, I can't figure out in this scheme what is a valid value to hold constant (like pressure, temperature, volume) and what is not. You could measure mass, too, or anything else.



[ Parent ]
w00t (none / 0) (#762)
by spiralx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:46:19 AM EST

Let me make sure I understand you're saying first: I think you're saying that the amount of entropy in this system is proportional to the number of different ways the system could look (like different positions for the atoms) given the same values for some measurements, like pressure/temperature/volume.

In the last sentance, given the same values for all measurements that are required to define the microstate. For an ideal gas the equation of state is

PV = NkBT

where P = pressure, V = volume, N = no. of molecules, kB is Boltzmann's constant and T is temperature. You need all of these quantities to define the macrostate of the ideal gas.

Is entropy supposed to be an objective measure? In other words, when two people look at the same system, will they always calculate the same entropy value, or will it be based on which quantities they decide are important about the system (like mass, or P/T/V)?

But to define the gas they will both have to agree on the same quantities (P,V,N,T) or derived quantities dependent upon those. There is no choice of variables involved - these are the physical properties required to specify the system.

My point is that chaos, by this definition, is a completely subjective thing. It depends on which aggregate quantity (pressure/temperature/volume in this case) you decide to hold constant.

For a given macrostate, all of these quantities are constant, or else you have a different macrostate ;)

Instead of saying "entropy in an ideal gas is proportional to the number of possible positional states given that the pressure, temperature and volume are the same as the current gas," what makes it so that you can't say "entropy in an ideal gas is proportional to the number of possible positional states given that the positions of all the atoms are the same as this current gas," which, while sort of silly, seems just as valid. What is a good reason to say the second is not a measure of entropy?

BTW, you forgot velocity states as well :)

In your second definition the answer is always 1 - this is a tautology. If all atoms are in the same place (and with the same velocity) then this is the same state - nothing has changed...

The thing to remember is that entropy has a precise defintion whereas "randomness", "chaos" and "disorder" don't. They're red herrings if you're really trying to understand what entropy is :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Well.... (3.25 / 4) (#225)
by Edsel969 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 04:52:34 PM EST

why are we wasting our time trying to argue something like this on minimal proof, when we SHOULD be spending that effort in making a time machine to go see for ourselves....:P Mike

On attacking Darwin (4.00 / 2) (#229)
by coffee17 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:10:03 PM EST

I think one of the reasons creationists like to go after Darwin, is they are likely members of some church hierarchy and likely a follower of bible god (the big cheese). They are used to seeing some head honcho to follow, and as people tend to project themselves onto others, they assume that non-church goers also have some hero worship. Thus, the best way to attack followers of evolution is to look for evolution's jesus, and attack the central figure. However, science doesn't really care much for who's, and if a theory is a bit off, it will be corrected, possibly by someone else, and if it's bunk it eventually gets discredited as well, and we'll move to something new. The church however rarely re-thinks an issue, so they project that sciencey people are still following things exactly as they were originally postulated (the situation is not helped much by the public school system (at least not in the US))

On an odd note, I'm sure that sciency people also project some of their behavior's onto believers. Of any believers in the crowd, might I ask what some of the biggest issues are that you think we project onto you?

-coffee


Faith not fair game? (1.50 / 2) (#236)
by kger on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:22:45 PM EST

3. References to faith are not fair game.

At first I was going to object to this stipulation. But it actually takes an amount of faith to believe in either side of the origins debate. You either have faith in a Creator, or faith that there was no creator, and that you are here by the random workings of nature over extremely long periods of time.

Since no man was there to witness the beginning, and it cannot be reproduced, we are left with interpreting the evidence. Much of the evidence (and so-called evidence) can be inserted into either origins model as supporting material, differing only in how it is interpreted.

No one comes into this debate objectively, either. Everyone has a worldview, and it is the basic starting point for your argument on either side of the origins debate.



evolution doesn't presuppose atheism (none / 0) (#308)
by Moss Collum on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:19:54 PM EST

To deny the existence of a creator requires faith, yes, but I don't think the same is true for evolution. I'm an agnostic--though I haven't believed in the past, I honestly don't know whether to believe in God or not. At the same time, though, I'm quite firmly convinced of evolution. If there is no God, then it holds the same explanatory force as any theory, and if there is a God, then evolution is, we may say, the mechanism whereby He realises His creation of living things, just as gravity is the mechanism by which He creates the motions of the planets.

This is a .sig.
Now there are two of them.
There are two _____.


[ Parent ]
Absense of belieg is not a belief (none / 0) (#312)
by TheNefariousNoodle on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:54:26 PM EST

Lack of belief is not in itself a belief. Here's a metaphor for you:

Imagine that you have a blank piece of paper. This piece of paper represents your beliefs--your 'worldview', you could say. Now, if you believe in a God, then written on your piece of paper would be the word 'God', among many other words denoting your belief in many other things.

Now, what if you didn't happen to believe in a particular thing? God, for example. If you didn't hold faith in a God, would 'Not God' be written somewhere on your piece of paper? No. God simply wouldn't appear. There's no need to list 'Noodle believes in dogs, cats, quantum mechanics, but not God'. The absence of a belief is not in itself a belief.

I hope that made sense.

-Noodle
"Do you have the time/To listen to me whine/About nothing and everything/All at once?" --Green Day, "Basket Case"
[ Parent ]
The world is really a game of Nethack (none / 0) (#569)
by PresJPolk on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:19:26 AM EST

You step on to the street.
A bus honks its horn.
You die. You sees a white light. It is a dialog box, asking you "Do you want your possessions identified?"

You had:

An uncursed +0 T-shirt of LA Lakers (being worn)
An uncursed +0 torn pair of Jeans (being worn)
An uncursed +0 watch called Timex (being worn)
An uncursed +0 torn pair of shoes (being worn)
An uncursed +0 wallet

The wallet contained
A cursed +0 credit card
20 zorkmids

"Do you want to see your attributes?"

You believed in cats.
You did not believe in God.
You were slow.
You are dead.

hmm.. does this mean that the RNG created the universe? Wouldn't that explain things like the appendix?

[ Parent ]
Appendix I (2.00 / 1) (#614)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:59:35 PM EST

PostFix hits. Procmail hits. Kmail hits.

You have mail.

A probe on port 137 hits about every four minutes.

You thank ipfilter.

You are glad that you don't run Windows.

Vestigial organs aren't. The appendix secretes substances which keep the intenstinal flora and fauna in your stomach separate from the different ones in your bowel. ``drop appendix'' and you have more digestive problems. ``drop tonsils'' and you get sicker more often. And so on. Medical science is now down to a handful of organs with no known function; this from a starting list of over 200.

Realisation hits.

You didn't create yourself.

You're not a monkey's nephew.

BTW, my inventory would be:

An uncursed +0 reddish-brown shirt.

An uncursed +0 jacket called London Fog.

An uncursed +0 slacks.

2 uncursed +0 shoes.

2 uncursed (but smelly) +0 socks.

An uncursed +0 underpants.

A cursed -1 mobile telephone called frequently.

An uncursed +0 wallet.

An uncursed +0 keyring.

The wallet contained:

An uncursed +1 driver's licence called Class A & L.

An uncursed +1.5 telephone card called Telstra.

An uncursed +0 card called Woolworth's ID

An uncursed +4 swipe card called Medicare

An uncursed +4 card called Health Care

An uncursed +4 swipe card called Mt Barker Co-op

45.9 Australian zorkmids

10 uncursed +0.45 stamps called postage

An uncursed +4 card called Proverbs 3:5

16 uncursed +0 cards called business

2 uncursed +1.8 tickets called bus

An uncursed +0 card called Sub Club

4 uncursed +0 stamps called Sub Club

11 uncursed +0 receipts

An uncursed +0 post-it note called LSL door combo.

The keyring contained:

3 uncursed +0 keytags

An uncursed +0 key called TownAce Van

An uncursed +0 immobiliser tag called TownAce Van

3 uncursed +0 keys called Chrysler Centura

An uncursed key called Porongurups Front Door

An uncursed key called Perth Front Door

An uncursed key called Perth Screen Door

An uncursed key called Perth Shed Door 1

An uncursed key called Perth Shed Door 2

An uncursed alarm control called Perth

An uncursed blue key called Old Firestation Backpackers

An uncursed laser pointer called Altronics

(-: I carry a lot of crud around. :-)
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

Why does creationism rule out evolution? (3.60 / 5) (#241)
by CyberQuog on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:30:55 PM EST

Or evolution rule out creationism.

I happen to believe in both creationism and evolution. I believe that a supreme being (we'll call him God for now) created the universe, possibly initiated it with The Big Bang, and continued it from there. In fact the Old Testament even gives proof for evolution. It starts by saying that trees came first, then things like birds and simple fish came along, then more advanced mammals and amphibians, then came humans. Seems like an argument for an evolution led along by God.

Basically, I see it as this: the world and universe have too many coincidences and anomolies to be 100% completly random chance, I refuse to belive that life started because of the 1 in a google chance that the right elements came together from comets and meteores in a galactic soup and suddely ~zap~ theres a cell. People say "if God made the universe, where's his signiture" and I say that all you have to do is look around you, with open eyes, at anything.

-...-
OT proof of evolution? (4.00 / 1) (#244)
by kitten on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:40:14 PM EST

The fossil record shows that birds were NOT around when fish appeared, as Genesis says they should be.

The fossil record shows that reptiles came long before birds. Genesis would have you believe birds were there before reptiles.

I refuse to belive that life started because of the 1 in a google chance that the right elements came together from comets and meteores in a galactic soup and suddely ~zap~ theres a cell.

Yup, I reufse to believe that life started that way either. Fortunately, I know the actual theories, and not a watered-down, half-baked, deliberately misleading version of it.
If you're going to "refuse to believe" in evolution, then perhaps you should audit college classes, research it yourself (and I mean *research*, not poking about a few sites online and thinking you know it all), or do whatever else it takes to learn what evolution actually says rather than simplifying it to the point where it sounds ridiculous and then saying "that sounds ridiculous".
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Refuse to believe in evolution... (none / 0) (#249)
by CyberQuog on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:52:11 PM EST

Who said i refuse to believe in evolution, evolution is Charles Darwin's theory of species changing over time. It has nothing to do with how life first began. I refuse to belive that life started Nope, no reference to evolution there.


-...-
[ Parent ]
Why do you *refuse* to believe in something? (4.00 / 1) (#252)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:55:12 PM EST

I just weigh up the evidence and decide based on that. I can't say that I've ever in my life refused to believe anything. Isn't refusing to believe something a bit silly? If you don't believe something because you refuse aren't you increasing your risk of believing something false?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Ok... (none / 0) (#279)
by CyberQuog on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:52:43 PM EST

Refuse was a bad word choice on my part. I should have said "it is highly unlikely" or something of the sort.
-...-
[ Parent ]
Fair enough... (none / 0) (#290)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:52:24 PM EST

All sorts of people have different kinds of belief systems and many people believe things because they believe their creator says it is right to believe, or because they expect some kind of reward for believing and probably many other interesting reasons too. So I hope you don't think I was being too pedantic!

Personally I I agree with you that it is unlikely that a cell came together on one go just like that. However I can imagine all sorts of scenarios that might lead from 'primordial soup' to cells that are much more likely than that. For example I don't find the spontaneous 'coming together' of a small set of molecules that can catalyse their own synthesis all that unlikely. Well, I'd be pretty surprised if it happened in my coffee cup right now but on a whole planet undergoing all sorts of interesting physical and chemical processes it doesn't seem that weird. Once that has happened once or twice I'd expect natural selection to start taking place on these groups possibly leading towards more and more cell-like structures.

Granted we've never observed anything like this - but for me this scenario doesn't stretch the bounds of credulity enough for me to start invoking supernatural phenomena. What makes you find this scenario so completely implausible?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

Why I find it implausible (none / 0) (#404)
by CyberQuog on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 04:09:18 PM EST

I find it implausible because I find it hard to belive that inanimate matter could become a living organism from simply the right combination of energy and material. If scientists replicated this feat in a credible way, and got living results from it, then my opinion might be swayed. Although, this still wouldn't in my mind rule out the presence of God.

On a different topic, maybe then I don't believe in "creationism" per-se, I believe in my own hybrid of both creationism and evolution. Anyway, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with it, just like I don't agree with their explanations either. But in the end it really doesn't matter too much because either way we're here, living, together. :P


-...-
[ Parent ]
You're probably in a majority (none / 0) (#596)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:39:48 AM EST

I believe in my own hybrid of both creationism and evolution
Actually I've found this kind of view to be quite popular even if it's not officially endorsed by any particular religion. You're probably in a majority.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
ambiogenisys (none / 0) (#258)
by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:08:49 PM EST

You're thinking of ambiogenesis, which I am almost certainly spelling wrong. Ambiogenesis, as far as I know is an umbrella term for theories describing how life began. There are a few out there, but no real conclusive evidence one way or another. Since it has zero practical relevance what actually happened, it doesn't really matter. Scientists are going to keep studying it, of course, and think up theories. But unless we can come up with some kind of time machine, we'll never know for sure.

But anyway, some of the odds aren't really that imposible. In the 1970s some researches replicated the conditions they believed might have existed on the pre-life earth. After a few weeks of simulation, they had a nice brown much of the building blocks of life.

Unfortunetly for them, our understanding of the pre-life earth changed over the next few decades. And their experiment doesn't quite work out anymore. But none of the odds are 'a needle in the entire world' type of things.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The word you want is "abiogenesis" (none / 0) (#265)
by MrMikey on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:26:45 PM EST

Here is an FAQ that will get you started, including discussions of the probabilities involved.

[ Parent ]
The fossil record as an arguement? (none / 0) (#476)
by ryancooley on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:40:21 AM EST

I really wouldn't use the fossil record to make any arguments if I was in your shoes.

For many centuries this cycle has been going on... We know everything there is to know about the history of life on earth, and then we find a new fossil that doesn't fit in. This happened with the discovery of a very advanced human-ish fossil (in Australia I recall) that outdated the more primitive, and younger fossils that were supposedly the eariest humans (cave men, whatevery you prefer to call them as the scientific name escapes me right now). In other words, the scientific record makes sense prefectly until we find a new fossil.

Personally, it wouldn't suprise me if tommorow the fossil record pointed to homosapiens as the cause of dinosaur extinction.

[ Parent ]
you don't belive in 'creationism' (none / 0) (#253)
by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:58:42 PM EST

While you may belive that an intelegent being created the universe, if you belive in Creation theory, then you cannot beilve in Evolution. modern "Creation theory" is nothing more then a literal intrepretation of the bible.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
creation theory (none / 0) (#294)
by Delirium on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:23:27 PM EST

It depends on the version of "Creation theory." There are some flavors which postulate that in addition to creating the universe, God also created life on earth, and then guided its evolution into higher life forms. This is going further than merely saying God created the universe (because it claims that after a few billion years he then created life in a separate act), and it's not incompatible with evolution (though it may be incompatible with the "primordeal soup + electricity" theories of how life originally formed).

[ Parent ]
Soley? Like the fish? (1.00 / 1) (#248)
by MantorpCity on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 05:50:59 PM EST

Perhaps a referral to when the first fish crawled out of the ooze on to terra firma. The word is solely.

This has already been done. (3.33 / 3) (#263)
by Sheepdot on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:18:58 PM EST

And the result was no creationist came up with anything.

Forgot exactly when and where, but I know this was done before.

And for the record, I'm not an evolutionist, and because of the Fundamental Christians taking over creationism, I cannot say I am a creationist.

Basically my position is a rejection of evolution due to the many holes I find in the theory.

The other interesting thing about attacking creationism due to its basis on faith is that you have to be a purely logical person oftentimes in order to do so.

You can't believe in Ancient alien visitors, aliens, ghosts, ufos, etc. and still have a legitimate basis in attacking creationism.

For your pleasure, I got the following that is basically a defense of creationism. It talks about the flood and other assorted items.

http://www.creationism.org/genesis.htm

I don't like the way the author goes about making his argument. And like I said, I'm an evolution rejector, I could care less if creationism is true or not, I'm not going to believe evolution just because creationism doesn't hold up to "scientific scrutiny" and I'm not going to believe creationism because "faith will guide" me.


You have GOT to be kidding me (none / 0) (#309)
by Myxx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:22:24 PM EST

It has not been fully explained why the human body insists on developing cancer, but that doesn't mean that I should not believe in the desease because we do not know everything about it, or cannot fully explain how it works.

Based upon this empirical methodology, you believe in nothing more than the following:

men have a penis
women have a vagina
babies come from having sex
the sun will rise tomorrow
things will fall when relesed


And even these things are suspect when you begin to consider the "why" of it all. You, my friend, belong in a philosopher's world of the 19th century. Nothing can be explained fully without reaching some point where it is speculation and conjecture. Theproblem with religion is that it removes the role of speculation and requires absolute conviction of a fact that is neither provable, nor observable.

Based upon the premise that intelligence arises on worlds where life may exist, aliens are a must. The only thing that causes this assumption to be the least bit suspect is that we have yet to observe another habitable world. However, we know other worlds to exist. It is only a matter of time.

Religion relies on the premise that X happened by the hand of God. We shall never see this act again because it is in the past. You simply accept that it happened until you can see it repeated. The problem is that dieties tend to speak less and less these days. The only similarity between believing in aliens and believing in God is that neither can be proven because they never take place in front of a camera. But the liklihood of one can be extrapolated based upon the world around us and the universe itself. God exists simply because we are unable to conceive of a world without him. That X that comes before everything is too hard to fathom. It frightens us and so we run back to the Father ( or mother in older religions). Strip out the religion part and you've got a far less controversial diety that is capable of fitting into the structure allowed by evolution.

Your problem is that you concenrtrate on the holes as if they make your argument. There are holes because not everything can be known. The theory itself is evolving over time. I find enough holes in your reasoning that allow me to discount it soundly.

[ Parent ]
Interpretation of "evidence" (none / 0) (#332)
by Sheepdot on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 12:51:55 AM EST

It has not been fully explained why the human body insists on developing cancer, but that doesn't mean that I should not believe in the desease because we do not know everything about it, or cannot fully explain how it works.

This is not a good analogy to evolution IMHO. A better one would be coming to the scene of an accident and observing skid marks and a few eye witness accounts to determine that car A was violating the law when it hit car B. All the evidence points to car A being the violator and as such it is ruled in court.

Then, after given some time to ponder the evidence and after finding the eyewitnesses to not remember certain key elements of the crash, an investigator comes to the conclusion that car B might not have been in violation of the law, but car A definitely wasn't.

Such is the debate with evolution vs. creationism. It has come to a point now where carbon dating has been questioned, new information about the birth of the universe has changed, and furthur elements that have caused some evolutionists to recreate Darwinism into a new rapid form or "dramatic evolutionary changes" at various points in time.

My position is that of the investigator. Evolution has been turned into nothing more than a "faith" argument itself through the work of several dedicated creationists, bent on disproving it. It does *NOT* prove creationism, but by no means am I required to believe one or the other.

Theproblem with religion is that it removes the role of speculation and requires absolute conviction of a fact that is neither provable, nor observable.

I have no argument against "religion" entering into a debate, as most require you to believe "their way" in order to understand what they take as fact. However, not all creationists are religious (though more and more of them are turning out to be) and not all evolution-rejecters belong to a "faith".

Based upon the premise that intelligence arises on worlds where life may exist, aliens are a must. The only thing that causes this assumption to be the least bit suspect is that we have yet to observe another habitable world. However, we know other worlds to exist. It is only a matter of time.

Keeping telling yourself that and you might actually believe it. Oh wait, you *do*.

So in a system of endless possibilities aliens are likely to exist. Big deal, so is a creator. Hence the reason why believing in intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe is just as big of a stretch as saying that the Universe was created by a God.

The only similarity between believing in aliens and believing in God is that neither can be proven because they never take place in front of a camera. But the liklihood of one can be extrapolated based upon the world around us and the universe itself.

I'd like to know how you measure likelihood and come to the conclusion that there are aliens but not a creator. The "world around us" has evidence of these aliens moreso than it has evidence of a creator?

The 3 major religions of this world (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) all trace their history back to one man, Abraham. That's plenty of data for you to "extrapolate" while ancient aliens and the like have only garnered data as of late.

Your problem is that you concenrtrate on the holes as if they make your argument. There are holes because not everything can be known. The theory itself is evolving over time. I find enough holes in your reasoning that allow me to discount it soundly.

And I can't even begin to explain how ludicrous your reasoning sounds. I concentrate on the holes cause they exist and they exist to such an extent that I'd be a fool to choose the "lesser of two evil" theories.

I'm not going to believe "evolution" because its main opponent is a radically religious fundamentalist movement bent on forcing its position.

Rather, I'm not believing it because it doesn't convince me and is not head and shoulders more sound of an argument than the "other" theory.


[ Parent ]

Something else strange (4.50 / 6) (#269)
by dash2 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:40:19 PM EST

There was something very strange about the creationist argument, and it wasn't until recently that I finally realized what it was.

I've never heard a creationist argument. Never. Not once.

You know that's interesting, because what I found strange about the creationist argument was that bit with the talking snake.

Dave
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

bible talk... (none / 0) (#728)
by lemmingEffect on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:58:05 PM EST

hehe. =)

it's stuff like this that leads me to wonder why christianity relies so much upon the bible. it's based on a collection of 'god-inspired' (that a bunch of church fellows felt were true) works that leaves two critical points of failure:

  1. the humans writing the works--they could sure have been smoking that wacky-weed instead of inspired;
  2. the committee of church officals--could have left out some works that were truly inspired by god. not to mention how subjective the process must have been.

though i guess if you can't use the bible there isn't much to base christianity upon. but it seems to be a heavily faith-based religion anyways so is that so bad?

"Just do me a favor, ok? Don't breed." -- Adam Carolla, Loveline
[ Parent ]

IMHO (4.40 / 10) (#273)
by Mr Obsidian on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 06:54:15 PM EST

I will devide this post into two sections. The first being why I think this debate will always be pointless, and second, I will explain some misconceptions I have read.

Firstly, the debate between evolution and creationism will probably rage on for ten thousand years until someone actually video tapes a drastic change in an organism (multiple speciations, etc), and even then there will still be a debate over "why?"... Someone tried to point out that science was about the what, why, when, where, and how. They did miserably. Firstly, science does this, but only so far as a natural environment. I often hear creationists (particularly my college biology teacher... baka) complain that scientists are too naturalistic and they let that cloud their judgement. Really? Scientists... Naturalistic? Never!?

I may be mistaken, but the aim of science is to explain our reality and the happenings therein through natural processes. By saying natural, I imply unintelligent. So therefore, by my understanding of the definition of science there can be no unobjectively measurable phenomena(god, God, other supernatural forces) in scientific explinations and laws that govern our predictions of reality. This leads to my next point: All systems of belief are fundamentally based on assumptions. The obvious one here for science is that there are no supernatural forces. Everything can be explained naturally. Christianity (the main pushers of creationism), on the other hand, assumes that there are supernatural forces that govern our reality. Depending on how far you delve into these assumptions you may or may not be a postmodernist, but it is my personal opinion that much less faith (fewer assumptions)is required to believe that a uranium-238 atom loses half its original atoms in 4.5 billion years than a supernatural being creating the universe in seven days... I know that statement does not address different opinions within the creationist camp, but I am just using it as an example of my preference to sceince over a version of creationism (Young Earth creationism). From my previous stated understandings of what science and creationism require as basic assumptions in their beliefs... I will say that I think they are apples and oranges. For this, I do not support Creationism taught in bilogy classes. Biology is a science, not theology. Anyway... thats enough of that rant... (I am sure I will get hellaflamed for this and will continue this arguement in the thread).

Here are some falsities and misconceptions that I have read in some creationist/evoltuionist posts that I would like to try and clarify.

The first and foremost thing I should point out is that (in my mind) there are three areas to this debate: Microevolution, Macroevolution, and Origin. I know the distinction between micro/macro isn't the most accurate, but it is the most simple and I will be using it as that. I see evolution as being both "Theory" and "Fact". Evolution as fact can be stated a number of ways. One of which is that the bilogical definition of evolution is (more or less) genetic change in a population over time, more specifically: change in gene alleles in a population over time. We can see this everyday. Organisms (even humans) change from one generation to the next. This can even lead to speciation, where the change has been so significant that the speciated population of organisms can no longer produce offspring with the original species. This has been observed many times. A good example is with european rabbits left on an island during the colonial expansion of the western european countries. When the island was revisted a couple of hundred years later, a completely new species of rabit was found. It was obviously decended from the european rabbits (I don't have taxonomical names, as I cannot locate my text book. Post a response requesting exact info if you don't want to take my word for it). However, it was an entirely new species that could not reproduce with the ancestor species. This is what I consider evolution as fact. Macroevolution gets slightly more hazy and thats why I consider it evolution as theory. Please see: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html for a more indepth look at Evolution as a fact and theory. Origin, on the other hand, is not explained in the theory of evolution. Evolution tries to explain everything that happens after Origin, and therefore, I think it is a poor arguement to hold origin against evolution.

Entropy... Its like a word amoung the creationists. Sadly, I have never met a creationist who can explain thermodynamics to me in a mathmatical sense. Excerpt from: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/thermo/probability.html

"...it is only the over-all entropy of a complete, or closed system that must increase when spontaneous change occurs. In the case of spontaneously interacting sub-systems of a closed system, some may gain entropy, while others may lose entropy. For example, it is a fundamental axiom of thermodynamics that when heat flows from subsystem A to subsystem B, the entropy of A decreases and the entropy of B increases. The statement that an increase in order can only occur as the result of a directional mechanism, program, or code is misleading. Any process that can be demonstrated to take place with an increase in order/decrease in entropy is arbitrarily deemed to be the consequence of an undefined "directional mechanism."

"Thermodynamics merely correlates the energy relationships in going from state A to state B. If the energy relationships permit, the change may occur. If they don't permit it, the change can not occur. A ball will not spontaneously leap up from the floor, but if it is dropped, it will spontaneously bounce up from the floor. Whether the ball is lifted by intelligent design or just happens to fall makes no difference."

I felt that you would rather not get bombarded in mathematics, so feel free to follow the link and read the whole article.

My last point for this post: Irreducible Complexity: Incoreect Reasoning.

Behe is/has/will be refuted. See here.

Well, I hope this hasn't been to long. I am open to all intelligent discussion. (let the flaming begin)

Mr.O


"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
No lack of ``will'' just lack of ``can'' (-: (none / 0) (#612)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:30:47 PM EST

Behe is/has/will be refuted. See here.

Such faith! (-:

It seems that the ``will'' is becoming quite protracted. There are many more sanguine links from this article, which unlike the talkorigins rant, has the guts to link to opposing views.

Since you like talkorigins so much, you'll certainly appreciate some thoughtful commentary on their site. Go to it!
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

My brain hurts.... (ChristianityToday article) (none / 0) (#718)
by Mr Obsidian on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:50:38 PM EST

I am short on time so I stoped reading at "The God Question", so if I missed anything important, please point it out. That said...

The article was an interesting read (the 3/4's I did read). I found a few good points; I found the staged moth pictures of particular interest. I don't like bad science and it did point out some bad science. However, I feel that this article, as most creationist articles, has too many composition fallacies and appeals to the audience than I find comfortable. I believe that this articles examples pertaining to Behe did an excellent job of showing that he really was talking about apples and oranges in his comparisons (composition fallacy, I believe). I still think the evidence against Behe still stands very strongly.

Again and again, I feel that the arguement against the definition of science is kind of irrelevant. Although, the article misdefined its "typical" definition of science in my opinion. I believe that the common definition (at least M-W's) is that the results are saught through quantitative (or as close as possible) data, and I would love to see a quantitative religious explination in place of evolution.

My brain is still realing from the fallacies in the article, but I could have just misunderstood them, although I doubt that. I was very interested in the ID movement from a sociological point of view. I agree with the statement that it is so effective/appealing because it runs lite on the ideological baggage. Johnson has some points, but I watched him lose (rather miserably) a debate with an evolutionary biologist on tape (I believe it was the same Johnson). I am an experienced debater, and even my professor (an avid creationist teaching biology, sheesh) agreed that Johnson didn't do as well in the debate.

As far as evolution in school. I feel that science has to be as quantitative as possible, and even though biology is not very quantitative, it has a lot of foundations in chemistry and physics. With that in mind, I don't think that evolution should be taught in conjunction with creationism. I went to a biology class to learn bilogy, not theology. I would go to sunday school to learn that(or a theology class). Evolution should be taught because it is the only theory that I believe has enough evidence that I would deem "scientific" to make it stand up to scrutiny. I do believe it has its holes, but I have *gasp* "faith" that they will be filled in the years to come. :-)

Mr O

PS: A creationist teaching evolution in a bilogy class just doesn't work. I can tell you from experience. (Just as an evolutionary biologist teaching creationism in church wouldn't work I assume, no?)


"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
[ Parent ]
Errors in article (none / 0) (#792)
by Fluffy The Cat on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 05:49:08 PM EST

Peppered moths don't always rest on tree trunks. The photographs of peppered moths demonstrating the superior mimicary of the melanic form of the peppered moth in industrially polluted environments were staged. However, neither of these facts have anything to do with the argument

Kettlewell used moths on tree trunks because he was performing an experiment. As a result, compromises had to be made - it's necessary to design your experiment in such a way that you can actually get some readings. Placing the moths to the tree trunk made things significantly easier, and at the time it was in fact thought that the moths did tend to rest there. In any case, Kettlewell produced very convincing evidence that in polluted areas, melanic moths pinned to trees stood a better chance of not being eaten than non-melanics.

Extending this to real life is more interesting. The major arguments are generally

  1. Using the tree trunk was not representative. The moths rest under branches instead
  2. The photographs were faked
The fact that the moths were on the trunks is, broadly speaking, irrelevent. Firstly, a significant number do. Secondly, the trees in question generally have similar colouring on the branches as well. Saying that the moths "Fly about in the higher branches" is not actually a lie (they do), but it is misleading. They sit on them as well. The branches are demonstrably darker in areas suffering from industrial pollution.

The fact that the photographs were faked misses the point entirely. Of course they were faked. Finding two moths sitting next to each other on the same tree is not easy (the populations of specific species of moths within a single habitat may number only a few hundred) and different areas tend to have more of one form than the other. This is entirely irrelevent - the photographs do not form any part of the argument other than "The melanic form is less visable on polluted trees than the non-melanic. The non-melanic is less visable on non-polluted trees than the melanic". Later experiments have shown that the moths are considerably better at hiding themselves than whoever took those photographs was, but even then the non-melanic is more visable on polluted trees.

Lack of transitional forms is not really an issue. Evolution does not occur at a constant rate. Large environmental changes (such as a small increase in average temperature, a small alteration in transmitted light and so on - "large" is relative here) will cause the strength of selection to alter suddenly. New equilibrium states will form, and the makeup of the ecosystem will be wildly different to before. Once selection pressure has been reduced (as the organisms are now adapted to the new environmental state), you'll have another period of stability. In any case, to claim that no transitional forms have been produced is not true - there are several examples of things that look like they're between apes and humans.

Take an example that impressed Darwin: the variation in beak size among finches on the Galapagos Islands. A recent study found that during a drought, the larger birds survived better and thus the average beak size increased slightly. Evolution in action? Not exactly. When the rains came back, beak sizes returned to normal. All that researchers discovered was a cyclical variation that allows finches to survive under changing conditions.

This is what evolution predicts. Organisms will change in such a way that they better suit their environment. Larger beaks were beneficial in a drier environment - they were a hinderance in wet ones. When the rains returned, selection would favour the birds with smaller beaks and they'd have more offspring. However, a mutation that increased the fitness of a bird in all conditions (such as a more efficient enzyme in a metabolic pathway) would spread to fixation within the population and would not revert.

Behe's ideas about irreducible complexity are based on a false assumption. One of the major mechanisms for the evolution of new genes is duplication of one gene. The second copy is then free to diverge - providing it continues to carry out some function of the original gene, it will be retained. If several genes are doing this, alterations which favour interactions between these gene products will themselves be favoured. Once a new interaction has been produced, selection then favours mutations which improve this interaction. You end up with a system that has evolved from both ends simultaneously. Behe's claims that this is impossible are simply incorrect. Computer simulations show that this can happen, and the fact that many proteins carrying out completely different functions show strong relationships to each other supports this.

One of the greatest problems facing evolution is that while it has a very basic concept, the consequences of it are not at all obvious. Most biologists are unable to deal with all the complexities present in evolution, let alone laymen.

[ Parent ]

Some arguments for creationism. (3.50 / 4) (#274)
by spraints on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:10:10 PM EST

I will do my best to satisfy your criteria. Although I believe what I believe originally as a result of different reasoning than this, I believe that this is a plausible, logical progression that leads to my belief.

First, some observations.

  • There exists a set of conditions (temperature, day length, atmospheric composition) that appear to be very precariously balanced within the realm of livable conditions.
  • There is a great layer of fossils buried in the crust of the earth.
  • There is a great diversity of life. All life is built on the basic building block of DNA and the cell.
  • Among groups of life-forms, there is much similarity in the DNA and layout of the organisms (like a poodle and a great dane). Between different groups, there is little similarity (like a tree and a bird).
  • Many organisms exhibit remarkable coherence. For example, a woodpecker's skull is strong enough to hold together under the stress of repetitive pounding against the bark of a tree. The heart of a human being pumps blood in a very precise manner to support the rest of the functions of the human body.

Now, how do we interpret these observations? It looks like, from here, there are two very well-travelled paths. Here are some pretty logical interpretations of the observations above.

  • Coherence observed between the parts of an organism are the result of design
  • Similarities (like DNA) between all organisms, or a diverse subset thereof, are the result of component reuse.
  • Large amounts of diversity are the results of organisms becoming isolated and specialized for their environments. For example, if I take a mouth guard, I should make sure that it gets molded to the shape of my teeth before I use it. Once it fits my teeth, there's not much that can be done to go backwards to make it suitable for use by anyone, save by melting it down and starting over.
  • The conditions that seem favorable for life are the result of a carefully set up environment for the designed organisms to live within.
  • A catastrophe or catastrophes buried many organisms that once lived on the earth in a very short period (or periods) of time.

The sum of the interpretations of design, component reuse, and a carefully established environment lead to the conclusion of a creator. Because of the nature of many of the conditions (such as the speed of light and other forces present throughout the known universe), it is assumed that the creator is outside of the realm of the universe, in some way transcending it.

As far as what creation science strives asserts... I think a pretty simplified statement is that there is a Creator (I believe that the God spoken of throughout the Bible is this Creator) who created everything in the universe and that what we observe presently is the result of that creative activity. The specific brand of creation that I understand to be true is that the earth is very young (~7000-10000 years old) and that all kinds of organisms were created by God in a six-day period as described in Genesis. This means that poodles and Great Danes are descended from the same dog, but the only similarity between man and dog is that the same creator created the first man and the first dog (and that many design paradigms and components were reused by the Creator).

Hopefully that is satisfactory as a positive statement of creation science.



I suppose that this isn't really fair (4.50 / 2) (#282)
by ZanThrax on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:03:40 PM EST

considering the nature of the original article, but I want to raise a couple points about your points...

The conditions which are favourable to life (as it exists on Earth obviously. We don't know if any exists elsewhere, although I personally believe that it must.) are not proof of creationism or evolution. It is simply a prerequisite of life as we know it. If the Earth was not capable of sustaining life, we'd never have existed to marvel at the fact that Earth can sustain life. While the likelihood of a random planet being able to suport terrestrial life may be infintesimal, there is nothing surprising about terrestrial life existing where the possibility exists.

As for coherance being evidence of design, I think that at the very least, your example is weak. The strengthened skulls of woodpeckers is little more than the speciation of Darwin's finches. (Random change gives finch stronger beak; finch & offspring can eat harder nuts. Random change gives pre-woodpecker harder skull; pre-woodpecker can start digging at surface of trees.) I tend to think that the refinement arguements are of no use in debating creation versus evolution. Instead, I think that the existance of complex systems that wouldn't work at a very minimum level of evolutin is a much more compeling arguement. (It has also the one that has lead me to believe that something has/had a role in the design of higher forms of life, if not in life in general.) I can accept that eyes change and evolve over time, but I can't understand how something with a minimum level of complexity to be useful could evolve gradually in the first place.)


There is no them. There is only us. We are them.


[ Parent ]
The Funny thing is... (5.00 / 2) (#284)
by Shadow Knight on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:13:49 PM EST

The funny thing is, nearly every single one of those points can be also be used to support evolution! Even the one about the narrow range of life-supporting factors is easily explained by the anthropic principle ("If it weren't that way, we wouldn't be here to ask about it"). In fact, some of them, to my mind, lean more toward evolution than Creation. Also, some of those observations are incorrect: the difference in DNA between a tree and a bird is in fact vanishingly small! All life on Earth differs by less than 2% at the DNA level. Bonobos (aka Pygmy Chimps) and Humans differ by less than 0.02%! This doesn't really argue against creation, but it does support evolution, to a degree.

Of course, then there are the pro-Creation arguments that got left out here (though they may be mentioned in other comments): for instance, it can be shown using mitochondrial DNA that all humans are descended from a single female. There's no reason this wouldn't be the case with evolution, either, though.

Personally, I believe that God used evolution as a means of creation... that is, he created man by laying down all the laws and rules that would lead to that over the 20,000,000,000 years since the beginning of the universe. Plus, I believe this is the current official view of the Catholic Church (of course, that will cause some people to knee-jerk disbelieve it...).

later,
Shadow Knight


Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity
[ Parent ]
Genome differences (none / 0) (#339)
by spraints on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:11:57 AM EST

Also, some of those observations are incorrect: the difference in DNA between a tree and a bird is in fact vanishingly small! All life on Earth differs by less than 2% at the DNA level. Bonobos (aka Pygmy Chimps) and Humans differ by less than 0.02%!

Do you happen to have support for these assertions? I had, actually, been informed of the opposite: that the genomes between organisms that are close on the evolutionary chain are much more different than would be expected if they had evolved from a common ancestor. For example (from this page):

E. coli and H. influenzae, which are only slighly more separated in evolution than M. genitalium and M. pneumoniae show no conservation of the overall organization of the genome.

This seems to say that two organisms are almost completely different genetically (at least in an organizational sense), and that they should be much more similar. I don't think that I am taking this out of context. If two bacteria are almost completely different, how can it realistically be claimed that they evolved from a common ancestor?



[ Parent ]
The more complex the organism, the more they share (none / 0) (#740)
by pavlos on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 08:39:10 PM EST

Bacteria and viruses have relatively small amounts of DNA compared with multicellular organisms. These simple organisms also have more variation in DNA from one species to the other than things like trees and mammals.

I think that when the article says that A and B "show no conservation of the overall organization of the genome." this is a technical term. Sortly after, the page says that X and Y "show conservation of the overall genome organization; ie. orthologous genes are in the same order in both genomes.". I think "no conservation" just means that "orthologous" genes, whatever these are, are shuffled.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Replies to your points (5.00 / 3) (#288)
by jynx on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:47:35 PM EST

Coherence observed between the parts of an organism are the result of design

It's quite a leap from your observations to this point. For example, I can create a system that will create computer programs using evolution - there is no design in these program, they are emergent from the basic properties of the system (selection and recombination).

Similarities (like DNA) between all organisms, or a diverse subset thereof, are the result of component reuse.

Similarities between organisms will necessarily occur due to evolution. How could evolution produce orgnaisms that are totally different?

(I am not a biologist but) on the other hand, we have introns. Introns are are "junk" DNA that serve no purpose and has no effect on an organisms phenotype. Organisms of diffent species share introns. If you were designing several species of creatures, why copy junk DNA between them? It makes sense for organisms to share DNA that serves some purpose, but why duplicate irrelevent information? I could see a mortal doing it (although it's dubious. Would a programmer copy commented out code from one program to another?) but it makes no sense for a omniponent God to do so.

The conditions that seem favorable for life are the result of a carefully set up environment for the designed organisms to live within.

Necesarily, any universe in which there are observers must be capable of supporting organisms capable of observing. This cannot be entered as an arguement, as we do not know how many universes there are. Quantum theorists speculate that there are infinitely many, in which case there it is obvious that we should be in one that "works".

The sum of the interpretations of design, component reuse, and a carefully established environment lead to the conclusion of a creator.

No they don't. Observations lead to a conclusion in this way if, and only if the observations cannot be explained in any other way.

If we must make assumptions about the conclusion non-deductively, we should choose some method for preferring one theory ("God created the world") over another ("giant blue chickens created the world").

It's open for debate, but a common method for this is "Occam's Razor", which is, essentially, prefer the simplist explanation that conforms to the evidence.

I don't believe Creationism fits this, although I'm too tired to argue that evolution does. However, in this particular debate, I think the proof of burden has been placed on the Creationists.

but the only similarity between man and dog is that the same creator created the first man and the first dog

Sorry, I don't want to labour the point, but how do you explain introns? A biologist would argue that the only similarities between a man and dog is a whole bunch of useless DNA that serves no purpose in neither man nor dog, but is very well explained by evolution.

Hopefully that is satisfactory as a positive statement of creation science.

Independant of whether or not I'm convinced by evolution, I find your arguments to be very weak from a scientific standpoint.

--

[ Parent ]

topic (none / 0) (#305)
by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:14:37 PM EST

I don't believe Creationism fits this, although I'm too tired to argue that evolution does. However, in this particular debate, I think the proof of burden has been placed on the Creationists.

Right, but the point of the article was to show some evidence for creationism without attacking evolution :P
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
My replies to your replies to my points (none / 0) (#331)
by spraints on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 12:42:56 AM EST

For example, I can create a system that will create computer programs using evolution.

I am curious about genetic programming and don't know much about it. Just out of curiosity, have you written a program that implemented a genetic algorithm? Or, could you point me to somewhere that I can investigate a genetic algorithm that has overcome a similar degree of randomness to create something as complex as even a cell?

How could evolution produce orgnaisms that are totally different?

Why would a creator create organisms that are totally different? Ask anyone who writes software if they would rewrite the operating system for any piece of software that exists. Ask automotive engineers if they would throw out every design they make and start from the absolute ground (no engine type to copy, no door to copy, no presumed fuel source) up? That would be silly. I'm not saying that an infinite Creator is incapable of creating completely different organisms, but it wouldn't really make sense, would it?

Introns are are "junk" DNA that serve no purpose and has no effect on an organisms phenotype. Organisms of diffent species share introns. If you were designing several species of creatures, why copy junk DNA between them? ... Would a programmer copy commented out code from one program to another?

I doubt very much that any junk DNA exists. Just as many vestigal organs have been shown to have a purpose beyond taking up space, I am confident that in time, introns will be shown to have an important function. Here's a challenge: find someone confident in the uselessness of introns and have them all removed. Or remove all the introns from fertilized chicken eggs, or worm larvae, or something. Or just randomly insert DNA molecules in place of your introns. I think that there would be a change of opinion as to whether introns are useless or not. The question might be instead whether a programmer would copy an entire library or just the select bits that are directly called by the program linking to it?

Observations lead to a conclusion in this way if, and only if the observations cannot be explained in any other way.

Why is that the case with creation science but not with evolutionary science? Isn't that what we call a "double standard?"

If we must make assumptions about the conclusion non-deductively

<nitpick>You are correct in noticing that my arguments were not deductive; they were inductive.</nitpick> In inductive reasoning, we start with observations and make predictions. No general laws or rules are applied. Applying an assumption or law or rule arbitrarily can be dangerous scientifically. For example, if I say "God created the heavens and the earth and all living things", and I interpret all the evidence with that principle in mind, I will probably come to the conclusion that "God created the heavens and the earth and all living things." Likewise if I said alien Giant Squids coughed up the earth one morning; or if I said that a bunch of molecules got together one morning (or over a series of millions of mornings) and made life on their own out of themselves. <troll>(Notice how I went from most likely to most preposterous there?)<troll>

It's open for debate, but a common method for this is "Occam's Razor", which is, essentially, prefer the simplist explanation that conforms to the evidence.

I don't see why evolution with its complicated processes is simpler than a creator creating.



[ Parent ]
Posted elsewhere..... (none / 0) (#542)
by univgeek on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:59:05 PM EST

Try this link Evolutionary computing


Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!
[ Parent ]

GA's != molecules to man (none / 0) (#626)
by spraints on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:16:10 PM EST

I guess what I'm actually looking for is something that shows how Genetic Algorithms or Artificial Evolution demonstrate an analagous progression from nothing to something that the naturalistic theory of common descent requires of biological history. For example, could I leave my computer sitting on my desk undisturbed for a few years and have it make me a Apache, or some other piece of somewhat complicated software? (I realize that that wouldn't happen. But would a GA be able to figure out the instructions supported by my Athlon, and then put them together to make a program that reproduces itself?)

The thing that seems quite incongruous to me is that all GAs that I have seen start with something, not nothing as the theory of common descent requires. (I realize that this is an argument from ignorance, but please enlighten me if this is a result of my ignorance.) For example, a GA might improve an algorithm to play chess. A chess playing program is present at the beginning of the GA's run, and a chess playing program is present at the end of the GA's run. Or, a circuit that once worked as an ALU is present, and a GA "evolves" a new circuit to fix itself. Both these examples start with something that has a viable level of fitness (or once functioned).



[ Parent ]
sort of.... (none / 0) (#719)
by univgeek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:53:55 PM EST

The circuits that were described in the article, were completely random circuits. The only thing that 'saved' some of these ciruits from being removed from the pile was the fact that they performed somewhat better than the others.

Thus here the initial seed circuits were NOT something designed by a person.

I guess this answers your query?
Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!
[ Parent ]

What does the "purposefulness" of life t (5.00 / 1) (#752)
by pavlos on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:08:54 PM EST

You point out, reasonably, that we could not start some GA program that puts together random bytes and eventually produces Apache. But evolution is not suggesting that either, and this has interesting parallels with the natural world.

Apache is very much the product of design. The people who built it had in mind from the beginning a web server. You can't evolve a web server from raw bytes unless you have a poor human (or a very clever computer) evaluate every random variation on a string of C tokens (or bytes, if you must) that your GA produces and say "yes, this is a positive mutation, this is a step on the way to a web server". That is not just impractical, it clearly violates our criteria that things should rise spontaneously.

Evolution is not able to create things from scratch to fulfil a distant goal. It's only able to adapt things gradually so that they are better matched to whatever external criteria you apply at any given time. In the absence of other pressures, evolution maximizes the ability of organisms (or programs, this is not too hard to duplicate) to reproduce, and to do so more vigorously and successfully than other organisms.

Look at the insane devotion with which organisms around you compete to reproduce! Look how self centered and automatic it is, just as evolution would predict. Why would a creator do that? Wouldn't he have designed us for some actual purpose? No, my intuitive judgement compells me to believe that since only evolution explains this, we and other organisms must have arisen through evolution.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

It still isn't really convincing... (none / 0) (#782)
by spraints on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 02:14:43 PM EST

Apache is very much the product of design.

Couldn't the same, even in an evolutionary sense, be said of complex organisms? Parts of mammals' bodies work together in a very organized manner in order to sustain the life of the organism. Doesn't this seem at all to resemble some sort of (divine/alien/random) design?

You can't evolve a web server from raw bytes

Granted. I realize that I would be quite amiss if I were to say, "Because a computer can't make the leap from random bytes to a high performance web server, the concept of evolution as the origin of species is absolutely false." But what would a primordial soup of bits lead to? (Starting with C-tokens is not allowed, since that would put the computer at the point after which DNA has happened. Even starting with a bunch of 0's and 1's and a finite set of instructions that need to be found is greatly improving the odds of evolution doing something useful.) Would complex programs organize and develop themselves eventually? Would simple ones even arise? Would a succession of viable programs lead from the simpler ones to the more complex ones?

Look at the insane devotion with which organisms around you compete to reproduce! ... only evolution explains this

Look at the awful success rate also. Infant mortality is pretty poor across the board. (Why hasn't evolution selected out infant mortality?) Anywhere that there's a natural predator, the prey's chance of survival is greatly improved by having as many offspring as possible. (Interestingly, the predator's survival is also dependent upon the prey's survival.) Reproduction isn't contrary to creation theories. In fact, the creation ideas that I have some understanding of include the directive to "multiply and fill the earth." (While this directive seems to be aimed specifically at humans, it makes sense that it implicitly applies to all organisms since humans rely on them.) How would one species, let alone a whole world of species, fill the earth without reproducing faster than they died off?

Relatively small changes make a great deal of sense in light of evolution. Like that there is a higher prevalence of sickle cell anemia in populations where malaria is more prevalent makes sense based on an understanding of selective pressures and such. Relatively complex systems that are very interdependent don't make as much to me. This includes both intra-organism/species and inter-organism/species systems, especially where transistions in very essential components thereof would not be practical (like a four-valve heart).

Wouldn't he [a creator] have designed us for some actual purpose?

Yes. And he did.



[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#815)
by univgeek on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:40:12 AM EST

Granted. I realize that I would be quite amiss if I were to say, "Because a computer can't make the leap from random bytes to a high performance web server, the concept of evolution as the origin of species is absolutely false." But what would a primordial soup of bits lead to? (Starting with C-tokens is not allowed, since that would put the computer at the point after which DNA has happened. Even starting with a bunch of 0's and 1's and a finite set of instructions that need to be found is greatly improving the odds of evolution doing something useful.) Would complex programs organize and develop themselves eventually? Would simple ones even arise? Would a succession of viable programs lead from the simpler ones to the more complex ones?

Tough questions. This is of course one of the remaining problems I guess. The question is, when faced with such a problem, you prefer to go to God, I prefer to wait for science to give me an answer. Personally I think that I like the analogy of crystals forming from solutions. Also the fact that larger organic molecules form narturally from smaller ones. Some organic molecules have been found to be self-reproducing (eg. prions, cause CJD). And this is just a protein molecule. Yeah I know it needs an animal to reproduce, but maybe the earlier versions could survive off the soup itself. I guess to each person his/her own satisfaction as to what constitutes valid proof is important.

Look at the awful success rate also. Infant mortality is pretty poor across the board. (Why hasn't evolution selected out infant mortality?)

Are you saying Infant mortality is HIGH? I guess thats what you're saying. Actually this cant be taken to be entirely true. Think about simpler life forms, they have many more offspring and are pretty much found in every niche they can occupy. Also if the rate of mutation is high, this can be seen to be a natural corollary, ie nature kills the young with least investment in them (ie at young age). The sum of millions of generations of small changes can lead to pretty large changes I would think. I mean even a few centuries of breeding have produced strains of food-grains and vegetables that cant survive in the wild BUT provide us with excellent nutrition. How many more generations before we come up with totally new food's that we do not have now??? I wouldnt even hazard a guess.

BTW. What would you consider sufficient proof AGAINST the existence of (your particular) God?

Just curious :-)


Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!
[ Parent ]

Uhm. What? (4.00 / 1) (#458)
by kitten on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 03:49:06 AM EST

Aight. Let's do this one bit at a time.

Quitr frankly, I have no idea how you're deducing your "interpretations" from the observations.

There exists a set of conditions (temperature, day length, atmospheric composition) that appear to be very precariously balanced within the realm of livable conditions.

Proving what? That we live on a planet that we can live on? This is hardly news. If the conditions were different, you wouldn't be here asking the question.

There is a great layer of fossils buried in the crust of the earth.

And what do these fossils show? That humans have not been here forever, that animals were very different millions of years ago than they are today, that the further down into the strata (further back in geologic time) you go, the less advanced the lifeforms get. This rather contradicts Creation but supports evolution nicely.

There is a great diversity of life. All life is built on the basic building block of DNA and the cell.

Which seems to me to indicate that all life is related somehow, not independantly formed.

Among groups of life-forms, there is much similarity in the DNA and layout of the organisms (like a poodle and a great dane). Between different groups, there is little similarity (like a tree and a bird).

False. Humans share approximately 99.98% of DNA with chimpanzees. Genetically speaking, we are closer to chimps than chimps are to gorillas.
Hell, we share 40% of our DNA with a cabbage. Considering how different we are, I'd say that's a rather significant percentage.

Many organisms exhibit remarkable coherence. For example, a woodpecker's skull is strong enough to hold together under the stress of repetitive pounding against the bark of a tree. The heart of a human being pumps blood in a very precise manner to support the rest of the functions of the human body.

This supports evolution nicely. You assume that since the organism works well, it must have been designed.
You fail to understand that when you see an organism, you're seeing the result of success built on success built on success, etc. You're seeing generation upon generation of success.. so of course they work well.
Of course, you don't get to see any of the failures - they died.
How does this observation support creation? It's entirely in keeping with evolutionary models. In fact it's what evolution is all about: "Organisms are suited to their environment."

I dont' even know what to make of your conclusions. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but quite honestly they make no sense whatsoever and have nothing to do with the observations you put forth.
You then go on to state what the story of Genesis says. We all already know the story. That wasn't the question. The question was, "Why do you believe that?"

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Why (none / 0) (#637)
by spraints on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:18:28 PM EST

Proving what? That we live on a planet that we can live on? This is hardly news. If the conditions were different, you wouldn't be here asking the question.

Nothing is proved or disproved by life being viable in the specific set of circumstances that we're in. However, it suggests an order, or a purpose... something intentional. Is the interstate system of highways (that provide conditions favorable to rapid automobile travel) in the U.S. the product of some random process or is it the result of deliberate actions? While it could have been some freak cosmic occurrence, the chance of it being random is very slim. But it's probably more likely than the conditions for life being good. Yet the road was deliberate. Why is it unbelievable that the universe was set up so that life could survive on earth?

And what do these fossils show?

Tree trunks cutting through many different layers of rock. Animals apparently killed suddenly (doing things like giving birth) for no apparent reason. Dinosaur blood cells.

The tree trunk implies that the rock layers were laid down very quickly. The suddenness that seems to have overtaken some animals in the midst of their activities also implies this rapid covering. The dinosaur blood cells imply that a very short amount of time (less than 10000 years) has elapsed since the dinosaur that used them expired. So what do the fossils show? A recent great catastrophe.

Which seems to me to indicate that all life is related somehow, not independantly formed.

Were your car and my car independently formed? Then why do they both use the same gas and have pistons in the engine?

Humans share approximately 99.98% of DNA with chimpanzees.

Do you have a source for that?

This supports evolution nicely. You assume that since the organism works well, it must have been designed.

Correct, that is my assumption. What is wrong with assuming that an organism was designed? What's wrong with assuming that all organisms were designed? Especially when the body plans of many animals show a great amount of interdependence between organs that all must be in place for the organ to be viable?

You fail to understand that when you see an organism, you're seeing the result of success built on success built on success, etc. You're seeing generation upon generation of success.

Well, most of your DNA still successfully does what it is supposed to. The first two humans were pretty unique in that they had no mutations in their genes, so their DNA was perfect. Unfortunately, there have been mutations that have led to many problems, conditions, and diseases today. Fortunately each gene is in duplicate and has some error checking to allow lots of problems to be avoided or repaired. That's why marrying your cousin is a bad idea: all the mistakes in your genes are more likely to be matched by your cousin's, and are much less likely to be masked, making the problem even worse for your children.

Of course, you don't get to see any of the failures

Not even in geology's camera, the fossil record?

You then go on to state what the story of Genesis says. We all already know the story.

If everyone knows the story, then why do people keep asserting that man all monkeys and cabbage are all related to each other? That's not what the story says.

That wasn't the question. The question was, "Why do you believe that?"

I guess I misread the article. I thought that "a positive argument in defense of creationism" meant a statment of belief, of sorts, since without stating what I am defending, I'm not doing a very good job. Here's my statement of belief, a brief history of the world, if you will, leaving out theological ramifications of the various events.

A long time ago, the earth was created. After that, many distinct forms of life were created on the earth. (Among the forms of life were two people.) About 5000-10000 years ago, a great disaster (probably including a great flood) occurred on the earth, causing many of the living things to die. Since then, the organisms that survived have adapted and evolved to the point at which we know them today.

OK, now you can wipe that tear from your eye and stop laughing so that I can explain some reasons why I believe this.

  1. Two human ancestors of all humanity - Genetic studies have been done on mitochondrial DNA that show that there was one woman who is "mother of all". The dating of this woman's existance has been estimated at anywhere between thousands and hundreds of thousands of years ago. (Because of the nature of mitochondrial DNA, it is impossible to predict from modern genetics whether there was only one father.) However, for the effects of inbreeding not to have affected this "mother"'s descendants, her DNA was probably of extremely high quality, possibly even with no defects.
  2. The Cambrian explosion in the fossil record exhibits a vast number of very complex organisms. Beneath the Cambrian layer of rock, there is nothing that approaches that biological complexity. So the organisms that show up in the Cambrian layer probably appeared on the earth complete.

I hope that this makes it a little clearer as to why a rational, reasoning human being would believe these things.



[ Parent ]
Walk without rhythm. (none / 0) (#991)
by kitten on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:27:31 AM EST

Why is it unbelievable that the universe was set up so that life could survive on earth?

Is that logic talking, or human egotism?

Did the entirety of creation (I use the word here in the metaphorical sense, of course) come to a screeching halt when life appeared on Earth? Did stars stop forming and exploding? Why is it we can witness - even now - solar systems beginning to form from dust clouds and nebulae?
If the purpose of "creation" (this time, the literal sense) was to create life on Earth, why is it that none of the fundamental processes of creation (metaphorical) have ceased?
Face it: The appearance of life on Earth caused no stir whatsoever in the cosmic scheme of things.

Tree trunks cutting through many different layers of rock. Animals apparently killed suddenly (doing things like giving birth) for no apparent reason. Dinosaur blood cells.
The tree trunk implies that the rock layers were laid down very quickly. The suddenness that seems to have overtaken some animals in the midst of their activities also implies this rapid covering. The dinosaur blood cells imply that a very short amount of time (less than 10000 years) has elapsed since the dinosaur that used them expired. So what do the fossils show? A recent great catastrophe.

That's one sloppy god, if he's making his trees smack in the middle of a rock, eh?
Perhaps you meant to imply that the rock developed around the tree, very suddenly, as a result of a wide-sweeping catastrophe of some description.
Okay. How does a large catastrophe support Creation? I'm really not following.
And Jurassic Park not withstanding, very few dinosaur blood cells have been recovered, and none whatsoever from the fossilized remains themselves. I stand by this statement; if I'm wrong, feel free to point me to credible sources that show intact cells being recovered from fossils.

Correct, that is my assumption. What is wrong with assuming that an organism was designed?

Well, for one thing, humans - the usual focal point of creation stories - aren't really designed all that well. There are few safeguards built in; without modern medical science we have exceedingly short lifespans. Breakdown can occur from a wide variety of causes. Our eyes - one of the "miracles of creation", are completely backwards from the way one would expect - our rods and cones (the light-sensitive cells) face the wrong fucking way.
Explain to me why a "designed" organism would include such features as an appendix - an organ which does nothing, but can potentially cause a great deal of harm.
Explain to me why male mammals have nipples.
Explain to me why whales have fingerbones in their fins.
Explain to me why humans have tailbones.

? Especially when the body plans of many animals show a great amount of interdependence between organs that all must be in place for the organ to be viable?

Very true. Take bats, for example - without the ears to receive ultrasonic sounds, their ultrasonic vocal systems would be useless. Quite honestly, science is baffled as to how the two systems developed simultaneously, because one without the other is more or less useless.
So the correct answer, I think, would be "We don't know yet, but at least we're working on it," instead of "We don't know, let's sweep this challenge under the Divine Rug and assume God did it."

Well, most of your DNA still successfully does what it is supposed to.

An awful lot of human DNA seems to be composed of dormant traits, and other bits of human DNA don't seem to be there for any reason whatsoever.

The first two humans were pretty unique in that they had no mutations in their genes, so their DNA was perfect.

What first two humans? Where have those been discovered? And who says they had "perfect" DNA? What is "perfect" DNA anyway? What the #!&$ are you talking about?

Not even in geology's camera, the fossil record?

Woah, that's not fair - my comment was "You only see the success, and you don't see any the failures", but I was referring to a comment you'd made about how well modern animals work, in which case my statement stands.
Addressing the geologic camera issue - nice metaphor, by the way - my statement still stands. Fossils of animals that existed in any significant numbers - those animals were obviously well-suited to their environment - when they were, where they were. When conditions changed, the animals either adapted - dormant and previously insigificant mutations suddenly became quite important - or they died, which is why you don't see those animals anymore.

Were your car and my car independently formed? Then why do they both use the same gas and have pistons in the engine?

Because all cars operate under the same basic plan - much like all organisms do. Our cars are related in the same way organisms are related, in that they operate under the same basic principles.

If everyone knows the story, then why do people keep asserting that man all monkeys and cabbage are all related to each other? That's not what the story says.

My point was that it is not necessary to rehash what the story of creation is - we're all familiar with it. Simply because we're aware of what the story says does not mean we believe it.

Two human ancestors of all humanity - Genetic studies have been done on mitochondrial DNA that show that there was one woman who is "mother of all". The dating of this woman's existance has been estimated at anywhere between thousands and hundreds of thousands of years ago. (Because of the nature of mitochondrial DNA, it is impossible to predict from modern genetics whether there was only one father.) However, for the effects of inbreeding not to have affected this "mother"'s descendants, her DNA was probably of extremely high quality, possibly even with no defects.

I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about. And if we all have the same "parents", why are there so many variations in humans - like skin color and other racial features?


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
The argument from personal incredulity (5.00 / 2) (#747)
by pavlos on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:45:41 PM EST

I concede that your argument is honest and reasonable. You say "I observe great order. The only agent which I know to achieve such order is design. Therefore I conclude that design was involved". This should look reasonable to a scientist. It passes (in my opinion) as a genuine attempt to interpret observed facts.

We all agree that the argument is inductive. You are saying "A causes B, I observe B, I see no other likely causes, so I infer A". So long as your belief is somehow tentative, this is sound too. By tentative I mean that if someone comes along and says "observe: C also causes B" then you would be willing to reopen the question of whether A or C (or some as yet unknown D) are really the cause. It would then come down to which of A or C is more likely, convincing, etc. On the other hand if you said "No, now that I have concluded A I shall not budge!" any argument would be a lost cause.

My first disagreement is that your argument is very strongly intuitive. It is true that conscious intention is an agent that brings order in our everyday actions. But we are not creating universes, just cars, houses, etc. It's true that if you see such a thing in the everyday world, design is the most plausible explanation.

But why should this intuition hold over something the size of the universe? It's a bit like saying "I see that the sun is glowing yellow-hot. The only thing I know of that can sustain such heat is fire (exothermal chemical reaction). Therefore I conclude that the sun must be a great big fire". Notice, no metaphysics here, just faulty application of intuition. Closer examination reveals the sun to be powered by something quite unintuitive, even implausible (hydrogen fusion?) but in the end the evidence is compelling. Galaxies, relativity, quantum mechanics, tectonic plates, and yes, also evolution, are all deeply unintuitive.

Scientists, if they are at all fair, generally agree that evolution is extremely unintuitive. Richard Dawkins has spent most of his life writing (excellent) books that go like this: "I agree that evolution seems extremely implausible. Here is how it works in a very gradual, step by step way. As you can see, none of the steps require any extraordinary coincidences, nor does the whole thing require design. Does it look plausible now?". I'll come back to the "does not require" later.

There are several common counter-evolutionaly :-) arguments that are honest. Mainly they say "evolution is not plausible because some step, or sequence of steps, would have required some extraordinary coincidence". Generally these are misconceptions of what evolution actually claims and/or can be refuted. Here's a short list of examples, I can't write a book about it:

  • "Trillions of trillions of molecules would need to suddenly fall into shape and make a human". Don't be silly :-) this is the paradox that evolution is trying to explain too!

  • "Millions of molecules would have needed to jump together to form a bacterium, or at least its DNA". No, only a few tens of molecules would need to get together to form a very short DNA chain. Just a few bases. Given an environment of simple carbon compounds, which are easy to form naturally, it would replicate itself and evolve.

  • "An organ such as the eye could not have arisen by a gradual process. What good is a half-evolved eye? Surely the whole eye must have been designed". No, a single light-sensitive cell (not biochemically hard) would be an advantage if every other creature is completely blind. A drop of goo over it would help it gather more light. A membrane round the goo would stop it evaporating. These are plausible mutations.

  • "All organisms seem perfectly suited to their environments. How did evolution prepare them so well". It didn't. The worst-equipped ones died out and the barely able to survive did. Of their offspring, some were better and some worse equipped, but only the former survived. This has been going on for so long that by now pretty much every organism is well adapted. If you breed dogs or horses for speed you can eventually get faster ones than the best you started with.

    The main point about evolution, as mentioned above, is that it does not require design. It doesn't say "design is wrong, you are stupid to believe in it" nor does it say "design could not have created all this, only we are right". All that it says is "You don't have to believe in design by a creator because of the complex life that you see around you. The complex life as such can arise by natural processes, like this".

    Most scientists like discovering naturalistic causes of things because people are then at least not compelled to believe in mysterious causes of the same things. You are still free to continue to believe that some supernatural cause nontheless did cause the thing that can be explained naturally, but that viepoint is unusual. Most religious people then choose to believe in a god that is elsewhere (before the big bang, outside of the physical laws accessible to us) and that is not at odds with science, just with scientific philosophy.

    Now for a few psychological arguments. Why do you find the concept of a creator god helpful? To me, it substitutes one mystery (our existence) with another (that of god), while raising a huge number of uncomfortable issues: What were god's motives? Are we to fear them? What if they got fed up and destroyed the whole thing again? Are they affecting the daily world, and if so, could it be that that other goup over there has their favor? Is it not a relief that we don't have to believe in such a being?

    Finally, it seems amazing to me that beholding the order of life in the world would lead one to believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible! Why? All your intuition is telling you is that some supreme being seems to have created everything. Do you have any way of imagining what the sort of beings who create universes should think and act like? Is it plausible to ascribe to God such anthropomorphic tendencies as "testing people" or "sacrificing his son"?

    Which of the following is more likely:

  • A. Supreme being beyond our wildest imagination creates the universe. Then meets a few old men in Asia and passes cryptic messages to be promulgated to the masses. Thereafter sits patiently observing if we worship them.

    Or

  • B. Humans observe the great order of the universe and, understandably, imagine some sort of creator. A few old men in Asia write a cryptic book claiming to represent the creator. Thus they use people's awe at the world to manipulate them, sometimes for good sometimes for bad.

    Pavlos

    [ Parent ]

  • Why Evolution vs. Creationism (4.16 / 6) (#277)
    by ShrimpX on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:23:32 PM EST

    This is a battle that I'm getting sick of. I think that it makes absolutely no sense to put these two concepts head to head. If you believe in creation, what stops you from incorporating evolution into it? If you believe in a Creator, what makes you think that evolution was actually not part of his plan to get to the human? As a believer, it's not your place to question God's plans.

    And as an evolutionist, what stops you from incorporating initial creation into your beliefs? You are not that arrogant, are you? I mean, you're nothing but a speck of matter in this limitless Universe, afterall... What entitles you to define it, when your life is based on theories?

    So my question is this: Is that what really matters? Should we worry so much about how our physical surroundings came about? Hum...

    No competition, really (3.00 / 2) (#319)
    by tommasz on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:31:31 PM EST

    There are people who believe in God and evolution, oddly enough. If you assume that God is omnipotent, then creating a universe whose internal organization is such that life can evolve to the point where it contemplates the origin of said universe, is trivial. But then, that may be more than small minds are capable of.

    [ Parent ]
    Worth pointing out. (5.00 / 1) (#336)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:05:56 AM EST

    I think it merits some mention that only the very hardcore Creationists disbelieve Evolution entirely. There are varying lines, but the most thought-out arguments by Creationists that I've heard usually draw the line at origin of life.

    To put it another way, the core debate isn't whether or not evolution (or even speciation) occurs, but whether evolution is the source of life on this planet. And whatever each individual Creationist believes, this is still the most important thing to be discussed.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I believe that someone intelligent is behind the creation of the universe -- but that at some point that someone stopped and let the "experiment" run its course.

    --
    never put off until tomorrow what can be done the day after.
    Express Yourself

    [ Parent ]

    The source of life (4.00 / 1) (#437)
    by BehTong on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:37:45 PM EST

    Well, *I* think there is no debate at all. (I.e., what debate there is is quite pointless.) If God exists, what makes one think that He did not create life by evolution? I personally do not think so; however the Bible itself doesn't say exactly how life was formed, it just states that God made them. God could have made them from nothing (ex nihilo), but He could equally well have made them by some other process. Now with human beings the Bible does mention that God formed Adam and Eve out of clay; but that still leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Again, although I personally have a more literal interpretation of this, as far as the Bible itself is concerned, how God formed man from the clay can be interpreted in many consistent ways. The Bible is not a treatise of divine creation techniques; it does not need to, and therefore doesn't, explain how God made things. What is important is the fact that God created life, not how He did so.

    And this is why I think the debate is pointless. God's existence does not depend on whether a scientific theory is true or not. The nature of science precludes its ability to affirm or deny God's existence. Neither does God's existence depend on one's interpretation of how life (or man) was made. The Bible itself never explains how life was made; so there is nothing to debate about except people's opinions about what the Bible says vs. what they "conclude" from scientific theories regarding something outside the scope of science.

    Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
    [ Parent ]

    Ah, but you missed slightly (none / 0) (#658)
    by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:03:37 PM EST

    I tend to agree with you that the debate is largely esoteric -- but I don't think it is entirely pointless. In any case, that's not the main point I want to make...

    You make valid points, but you confined your argument to how God effected creation (should you choose to believe it). My original point is that the core of the Evolution v. Creation debate is if there was intelligence behind the formation of life on Earth.

    --
    never put off until tomorrow what can be done the day after.
    Express Yourself

    [ Parent ]

    Intelligence (none / 0) (#742)
    by BehTong on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:16:22 PM EST

    My original point is that the core of the Evolution v. Creation debate is if there was intelligence behind the formation of life on Earth.

    Cut it either way, the debate is still more or less pointless.

    "Intelligent design" is largely up to one's interpretation/beliefs. I mean, somebody could easily claim that there is no such thing as intelligent design, since everything arose out of random chemical reactions and evolved; therefore the designing of things such as, say, a computer, really isn't "intelligent", it's just a consequence of random events that evolved far enough to produce something useful.

    Somebody on the other side could also interpret everything as intelligent design, if one believed in a sovereign Creator who from start to finish, cosmic organization to subatomic detail, crafted everything to fit a master plan.

    And there is everything else in between on this spectrum. Where someone is on this spectrum depends on factors such as belief, perception, etc., which no debate can ever reconcile. I personally believe that the real answer lies outside the realm of mental debates and mind games. And so, belaboring the debate is just an exercise in futility.



    Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
    [ Parent ]

    There IS no argument: Creationism IS Evolutionism (4.35 / 14) (#281)
    by Kasreyn on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 07:56:06 PM EST

    ...I have never understood why creationists feel such an overpowering urge to "disprove" evolution. Why should they NEED to? I have proposed this argument to religious people in the past, but I post it here at K5, even though I doubt many here are creationists:

    Why can't evolution fit WITHIN creationism? Why can't religious people believe their god caused evolution to be? If he made the universe and organized it and gave it being, surely such a logical progression as evolution by natural selection would simply be a side effect of his work.

    I've never seen any argument against evolution that wasn't ridiculously full of holes. There's no REASON for that, though. Many (and I do mean MANY) religious scholars and believers of today feel the Bible is more of an allegory or legend, a parable if you will, rather than an exacting account of real events. At the very least the Torah or Old Testament is usually seen as such. Here's what I suggest:

    What if evolution and creationism are one and the same? Imagine god, having made the world, trying to explain to whatever prophet wrote Genesis (bear with me), trying to explain how he created his work? For god to have created the universe, he must know all that there is to know about quantum physics, gravitation, chemistry, geology, biochemistry, you name it! He must know thousands of times what we NOW know, at a minimum. But how is he supposed to explain this to an ignorant goat herder, whose technology level includes nothing more advanced than agriculture and perhaps bronze tools? There's no way to explain the concept of the Big Bang, galactic formation, solar accretion, and evolution to someone lacking a couple thousand years of scientific background! So, god uses a METAPHOR.

    In the beginning was darkness. Well, yeah. Before the Big Bang (assuming there wasn't a gnab gib before it ;), there were presumably no stars, thus no light. Then god says, let there be light (BANG! goes the universe). The creation of the universe and galaxies and solar system we breeze past on the first day. Then we get into creation of the Earth, and it largely goes in the order in which its features came about. The general order is the same: light (universe/sun), then sky (atmosphere), then seas (several million years of rain), then fish, reptiles, and birds, and finally mammals and man. You can't expect a goat herder to understand the concept of a million years, much less the 4.5 billion or so years of Earth's history, so god condenses it into seven metaphoric days. But it mostly makes the same story.

    Why can't creationists satisfy their religion by believing, "Yes, god made the universe, and evolution is HOW HE CHOSE TO MAKE IT." Doesn't the bible preach humility? I have no qualms about being descended from Ramapithecus. Doesn't Genesis say god took some dust or clay and shaped man? This can be construed as an evolution metaphor: we arose from less organized beings, originally from single celled life like everything else on this planet, which itself arose from nonliving matter - metaphorically, dust. There is no reason for the evolutionist-creationist schism. The Scopes trial was totally unfounded. The entire ARGUMENT has no basis. If creationists believe god created the universe then they must accept that this is the universe he created. And if they accept that, then it is clear that evolution was how he chose to get things done.


    -Kasreyn

    Disclaimer: I am not a religious person or an authority on religion, though I was once somewhat of an amateur theologist. ;-)


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Precisely (4.50 / 2) (#287)
    by ehintz on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:44:40 PM EST

    The two can clearly co-exist. So, Creationists trying their hardest to prove a literal interpretation of what is nothing more than a parable, prove only their ignorance and short sightedness. I believe in many of the fundamental teachings of Christianity, though not all, but I am generally embarrassed to admit it, because so many dumbshits from the bible belt have turned Christianity into something Jesus clearly never meant it to be. When it comes down to the wire, most theological debates are about the details, the big picture is remarkably consistent. It's the fools and the people with hidden agendas that start the holy wars.

    Regards,
    Ed Hintz
    [ Parent ]
    Your postulation is against... (2.66 / 3) (#289)
    by Anymoose on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:50:57 PM EST

    Organized churches as they exist, and have existed throughout history. That is why they cannot accept this logic. Organized religion has held vast amounts of power over the "lost sheppards" for so long that anything that threatens to blast the foundation of the "church" - that the bible is literal and absolute - threatens their power. This, right or wrong, they cannot accept.

    I AM, Therefore I THINK
    [ Parent ]

    Obviously you do not understand... (none / 0) (#327)
    by TheLer on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:57:25 PM EST

    ...the majority of "Organized churches" today. Even the Catholic teaching is that creationalism and evolution go hand-in-hand. Not all Christian sects are fundamentalist literal interpretters of the Bible, some do "accept the logic" and can grasp the biblical metaphors.

    [ Parent ]
    Well put! (4.60 / 5) (#291)
    by Quequeg on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:54:08 PM EST

    I am a Christian. I am also a software engineer, and consider myself an "intelligent" person (doesn't everyone.) I've held exactly the beliefs that you describe since my decision to accept Christ as my savior.

    IMO, God is the supreme architect, engineer, systems programmer. As a developer, I'm constantly attempting to build systems that are fundamentally solid, extensible and robust enough to accept changes in specification that I could never have originally anticipated. Of course, were I omnipotent, existing in the past, present, and future, my designs would always exhibit these properties. I believe that in God's infinite wisdom and foresight, he set events in motion billions of years ago that would bring us to our present evolutionary state. All the pieces were in the right place, all the actors played their parts perfectly.

    Evolution is certainly proof that God exists.

    I also agree with you that the men that wrote the Bible, under the influence of God's spirit, wrote what they understood God to be saying.

    It's extremely difficult to express and share this belief with some Christians exactly for the reasons outlined in the original post. Most (that I've spoken with) seem to cling to the belief that the "Evolutionists" are saying that it all happened over a couple of hundred (thousand, whatever) years, and scream "My Daddy weren't no monkey!!!"

    It's embarrassing. Anyways, there are as many beliefs in the world as people, but I just wanted to express my approval of your post, from the other side of the religious fence.

    BTW, the original thread post was something of a troll, IMO, but I couldn't help but bite.

    [ Parent ]

    under the influence? (2.50 / 8) (#323)
    by Funk Soul Hacker on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:39:19 PM EST

    I also agree with you that the men that wrote the Bible, under the influence of God's spirit, wrote what they understood God to be saying.

    How you know they wern't just 'under the influence' of crack? Or pahaps it's old-school analog


    --- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
    [ Parent ]
    Proof (3.00 / 1) (#427)
    by slakhead on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 09:36:09 PM EST

    Evolution is certainly proof that God exists.

    Isn't part of Christianity that there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God? One has to have faith in God and if everyone knew he existed there would be no cause for faith, right?

    'I refuse to prove I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.' --HHGTTG

    [ Parent ]

    Christianity doesn't need proof of God's existence (none / 0) (#501)
    by Quequeg on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 02:21:14 PM EST

    People do.

    Isn't part of Christianity that there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God?

    Not at all. The part of Christianity that makes it Christianity is belief that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, that he was resurrected 3 days later, and that he will return someday to complete and fulfill the Biblical prophesies of the Old Testement. How one comes to that belief is merely a detail. For some, raised in church families and taught from a young age that this is all the "truth", that belief is totally based on faith, as logic and deductive reasoning weren't included in the equation. For others, like myself, who wheren't raised on the Bible, the belief had to be achieved by other means. In my case, coming from an acedemic background, I attempted to deny the Bible at every turn, to deconstruct every argument for Faith, and basically just discard the whole thing as bunk. Fortunately, all the arguments I had about supposed falacies and innaccuracies seemed weak and useless, compared to the simple, beautiful truth of God's salvation plan.

    Back to your point, I needed proof, and I found it, in a number of ways. The beautiful engineering of a human hand is proof of God's craftsmanship. A flower. An insect. The vastness of space. A baby's beautifully formed, miniture fingernails. Acedemics would like to give the credit for these things to evolution, to natural selection and mutation. I give God the credit for evolution, and that probably annoys the crap out of some people.

    BTW, as much as I enjoyed the "trilogy", just because Douglas Adams said it, doesn't make it so.

    [ Parent ]

    Then again... (4.00 / 1) (#505)
    by MrMikey on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 03:05:10 PM EST

    you could be simply deluding yourself with the comforting illusion that the world was created by a benevolent Deity who personally cares about you, loves you, and will reward you with eternal bliss for your obedience and servitude while simultaneously damning and torturing for eternity those who didn't make the same sacrifices that you did. This illusion is so satisfying to you that you see what seems like evidence for it everywhere you look, and discount anything that might contradict or challenge your cherished views.

    [ Parent ]
    pot calling the kettle black? (none / 0) (#508)
    by skotolux on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 04:16:38 PM EST

    And you could also be deluding yourself with the comforting illusion that you are "strong enough" that you can survive without holding these beliefs, and it makes you feel superior to those that hold these beliefs, regardless of what the actual individuals think. In my mind, you are guilty of the same thing which you speak out against.

    [ Parent ]
    Incorrect (none / 0) (#510)
    by MrMikey on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 04:57:47 PM EST

    If, indeed, my position was that I am "strong enough" to survive without holding those beliefs, and that I feel superior to those who hold said beliefs, then you'd have a point. Since neither of these is the case, you do not, in fact, have a valid point.

    Please note that I said "It could be..." I have no privileged knowledge of the nature of reality such that I KNOW what the exact nature of reality is. I was offering an alternative interpretation of Quequeg's perceptions.

    [ Parent ]

    Then again... (none / 0) (#516)
    by Quequeg on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 07:00:38 PM EST

    It's inevitable that Christians doubt what they've been given. I know you'd like to think that we're all mindless zealots, slogging through the world with prosthetic smiles and bibles in our pockets, condemning all that don't meet our standards. That's just not the case. Christians are people, people have doubts. Don't you think I may have once considered that, perhaps, the earth is just another rock floating through the cosmos, populated with the random flotsam of a couple million years of evolution? That the end of life is just the end, that we stop, cease to exist, and that everything else just keeps going?

    It's no wonder so many people decide to get off the ride early. It's no wonder that people are capable of commiting such horrible acts against eachother.

    Perhaps I've considered exactly the argument you make, and decided that, deluded or not, my life is better now than it was before.



    [ Parent ]

    Reasons (none / 0) (#535)
    by slakhead on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:45:41 PM EST

    People kill themselves because they believe there is no life after death?

    Well, as I read your message it occured to me that the idea of this one bit of matter we call the Earth formed together out of seeming nothingness to produce us is not such a bad idea.

    We all speak our piece, do what needs to be done in life, then we die. I don't find that sad or depressing.

    If anything I think it is tragic and beautiful. If this is all we have, let's make it something amazing while we can! Why do we have to believe that our souls will be saved afterwords? Why can't we just live and enjoy the life we have no matter what happens after death?

    [ Parent ]
    I agree! (5.00 / 2) (#434)
    by BehTong on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:10:49 PM EST

    OK, this will probably be lost in the massive amount of posts on this article, but I thought I'd throw in my thoughts as well, just in case somebody happens to read them.

    Anyway, to start off, I'll freely admit I'm a Christian, and that I do have qualms accepting some of the "conclusions" people draw from evolution.

    BUT, I don't really have a problem with evolution, as it is currently postulated by the scientists. There definitely is a gradual change in species as time passes; and it's foolish to deny this. What I do have a problem with is how some people take evolution as fact. Well, it is not. It's a theory, just like other scientific theories. Newton's laws are theories. They aren't facts, they are approximations to how the physical world behaves. General relativity is another theory, which is a better approximation under certain conditions. Evolution is a theory that explains phenomena scientists have been observing. And just like other scientific theories, it is not 100% correct, but it does describe the evidence scientists have found so far.

    And so, I don't have a problem with evolution per se; but with how some people take it to imply God's non-existence. Well, it doesn't imply either way! It's merely a description of the evidence scientists have collected. People shouldn't be using it to prove God's non-existence; and people also shouldn't be attacking it just because they believe in God. Science is self-correcting as far as evidence is concerned; sooner or later, we will find out whether evolution is "true" or not. Arguments that use it to prove God's existence/non-existence are pointless and a waste of energy. And basing one's manner of life on unsure conclusions derived from something so easily changed as a scientific theory is rather unwise.

    Now on the other side, I think that creationists who stubbornly cling to a 6000-yr-old (or so) earth/universe to be too dogmatic. They stand in the face of much scientific evidence and archeological findings that are simply too hard to explain away without twisting facts.

    I urge everyone who really wants to know more to go and read Genesis. Even, go and study different translations, or better, read the Hebrew (use an interlinear or whatever aid). Find out what the text really says, not what people says it says. First of all, it never claims that the world was made in 7 days. (And even the word for "day" in the Hebrew may mean an age, not a 24-hour day.) The 7 days, which may or may not be 24-hour days (and really, it doesn't make much difference either way, as far as the Christian faith is concerned), may actually not be a description of the original creation. If this is the first time you've heard this, I highly recommend G. H. Pember's book, Earth's earliest ages.

    Pember's book describes a possible alternate reading of Genesis that corresponds very closely with the geological record. One of the more striking points Pember makes is that there must be a gap between the first two verses in Genesis chapter 1. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." This statement merely states that God created the universe; it doesn't say how, nor does the rest of the Bible say how -- that is not the point of the Bible. So far so good; no contradiction here.

    The second verse is interesting: "and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." On the surface, one may think that this is an elaboration of verse 1, but Pember argues that it isn't. First of all, the conjunction "and" in Hebrew actually could imply a new idea; i.e., what verse 2 talks about is something separate from verse 1; it probably isn't talking about the original state of the creation. Furthermore, it seems odd that the God of the Bible, who is Light, would create a world with darkness. I won't rehash Pember's argument here, but basically, he argues that a lot of time must have passed between verse 1 and verse 2. (Read the book if you really want to know how he arrives at this.)

    This view is quite consistent with what current scientific theories say about the origins of the universe -- after the Big Bang, a long time passed when matter coalesced and slowly formed into stars and galaxies, and eventually planets. What verse 2 describes is the state of the earth after much time has passed (and probably after the earth has been formed for millions of years). I won't go into what the Bible says happened during this time (it says very little, there are small hints here and there, but no details. Again, probably because most of this is irrelevent to its message), but the darkness was probably the result of God's judgment on a creation prior to Adam and Eve. What the 7 days describe, then, is God's restoration of an already existing world.

    This is why land is described as resulting from the parting of water -- there was already water and land in existence; what God did on the 3rd day dealt with material already in existence. So, this cannot possibly describe the original creation of the earth; if it were, it would have describe the formation of waters and soil; not the separation of them.

    Anyway, I just try here to very very briefly summarize what Pember goes into great lengths to explain in his book. But my whole point was, I believe that the Bible is a 100% accurate account of the past; however, one must be very careful not to read into the text one's own interpretations of it. I'm not 100% sure that the alternative interpretation I just described is the correct interpretation; I believe it's probably the right one, but it could just as well be wrong. Nevertheless, the Bible itself I believe to be completely accurate.

    Therefore, I think it's stupid for evolutionists to proclaim God's non-existence; that's not the role of a scientific theory -- science explains the physical world; God, if He exists, cannot be physical. And it's equally stupid for creationists to beat on evolution because it goes against their particular interpretation of the Bible. On either side, I think what we need is humility: the willingness to accept that we do not know everything, and what we know is but a very crude approximation to what things really are, whether it be our theories about the physical world, or our understanding of what the Bible says.

    I personally have a personal relationship with God, and obviously I have full confidence that He exists, and that the Bible is His infallible word; but that doesn't mean that I think I know everything, that my interpretation of the Bible is accurate. When evidence strongly suggests otherwise, I will have to reconsider what I thought the Bible said.

    (Aside: the Bible does make very clear statements about a lot of things fundamental to my faith, and I certainly believe it 100%; but there are many non-essential things that it's vague about; these are open to interpretation, and I think the proper attitude is to NOT impose one's own understanding on it, but to be open to reconsider things. As far as I've found, what science and archaelogy has discovered do NOT in any way contradict what the Bible said. It may contradict what people think the Bible said, but I've yet to see the Bible itself proven definitely false. There is no reason science and faith can't co-exist.)

    Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
    [ Parent ]

    Proof, theory, fact, truth and all that (2.50 / 2) (#678)
    by Pseudonym on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:19:48 AM EST

    Part of the problem here stems from a misunderstanding of what scientists (or, at least, philosophers of science; it shocks me sometimes to discover how little some scientists understand their own field) mean by words like "theory", "hypothesis", "fact", "truth" and "proof".

    Evolution is a fact. This means first that it is a scientific theory: a testable hypothesis which has stood up to tests, both attempts to test for and against. Secondly, it must have been tested and defended from alternative theories to the point that it would be perverse to believe otherwise, given our current state of knowledge.

    BTW, there are rules for proposing alternative theories, too. Your alternative theory must first explain all previously observed phenomena (you get bonus marks for explaining observed phenomena not currently explained, but it's not required). Secondly, it must propose a test or series of tests designed to distinguish between the existing theory and the new one.



    sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
    [ Parent ]
    fact? (3.50 / 2) (#724)
    by lemmingEffect on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:35:11 PM EST

    though i do not have all the facts myself, i was under the impression that evolution is very much a theory. hence 'theory of evolution.'

    my understanding is there's still the missing ape-human link and some inconsistencies with the rate of evolution predicted by Darwin's work and those observed in nature.

    Am i that off? =p

    "Just do me a favor, ok? Don't breed." -- Adam Carolla, Loveline
    [ Parent ]

    Fact _and_ theory (3.00 / 2) (#761)
    by Pseudonym on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 03:26:11 AM EST

    A fact is a theory which is well-tested and which has stood up to sufficient challenge. So evolution is both theory and fact.

    You're right that there is much that is under dispute. A lot of Darwin's original work has been replaced since he proposed it. But it is a fact that species turned into other species, and it happened over a long period of time.



    sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
    [ Parent ]
    A book has been written on this subject (4.33 / 3) (#304)
    by Begbie on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:13:41 PM EST

    The Science of God by Gerald Schroeder

    Schroeder explains a theory of how science and biblical creation could fit together. He extensively quotes Nahmanides, a 13th century scolar, who never would have heard of the concept of evolution, thus isn't influenced by it. He also brings up a lot of physics throughout the book too (he has a PhD in physics).

    Anyway, here's a brief sum up Schroeder's theory:

    1. Both the biblical account of creation in 7 days, and the scientific account of billions of years are correct. How? Because they are measured in time at different points in the universe. Scientific theory measures time from the surface of the earth, while the biblical account has some other reference point (I won't go into it, there is a lot of theory on this point). He argues that time could not have been measured on earth during creation since "in the begining the earth was void, without form"
    2. Adam: If point 1 is true, then how can Adam, the first human be explained? Humans evolved, right? Answer: Humans existed before Adam, however they were just like other animals, without a spirit, a soul, thus not a true human being. This idea is backed up by Nahmanides.
    3. The rest of the book basically tries to harmonize other biblical and scientific points

    Weather you believe in god or not this book is really an interesting read. It certaintly tries a lot harder to be objective then all of the other christian 'science' theories.

    [ Parent ]
    The reason why (none / 0) (#564)
    by dcodea on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:58:28 AM EST

    Most die-hard Creationists are Fundamentalist Christians; That is, Biblical literalists. I've just spent a fairly unpleasant semester learning all about them. They are chracterized by an 'idolatry' of The Word of God, as received in the Bible, and The Word is the source of all truth, and the only source. The bible doesn't mention evolution; It DOES mention Adam, Eve, and like 6 thousand years or so of history since creation. So that's what happened, no interpretation allowed.

    Who Dares Wins
    [ Parent ]

    Don't Panic (A little much needed humor.) (4.33 / 12) (#286)
    by Code Name D on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 08:32:26 PM EST

    God: I refuse to proof that I exist, because proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing.

    Man: Oh, but the babble* fish is a dead give away, isn't it. It proves you exist. Therefore you don't. QED.

    God: Opps. I hadn't thought of that. (God promptly disappears in a puff of logic.)

    Man: That was easy.

    For an encore, man moves on to prove that black is in fact white, and gets himself killed at the next zebra crossing.

    - Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    *The babble was said to be a fish that can eat brain waives. It would then extricate waste brainwaves that had the curious effect of rendering any language instantly intelligible to any one who spoke any other language. The upshot of this is that sticking one in your ear allows you to instantly understand any language in the known universe. So goes the argument that something so sublimely useful couldn't have possibly evolved purely by chance. Thus explaining the serial number on the tip of it's tail.

    Also by Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


    (_¬¬) Truth dispatched by mer logic, was never truth to begin with.
    Not really a debate... (3.00 / 1) (#300)
    by Lelon on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:45:21 PM EST

    Creationists will always believe in creation instead of evolution. It doesn't matter what proof is discovered in the future, they will still believe in creationism. They freely admit this, proving that is in fact not a scientific debate at all, it is a belief, it is their faith. Therfore trying to counter it with scientific evidence is futile.

    That is the only thing different between this and global warming. I can show you mounds of evidence proving the existence and cause of global warming, and more evidence is coming every day. But certain people will never blieve in global warming despite the overwhemling scientific proof.


    ----
    This sig is a work in progress.
    Actually, it does matter what proof is presented.. (3.00 / 1) (#364)
    by Dissention on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 05:53:49 AM EST

    If you can present creationists with the prrof that no supreme being, no God, no higher consciousness exists then they will believe you.

    However, it is currently impossible to do this, and is likely to always be impossible. This is why this debate is rather futile.

    I believe however, that the creationists actually have more scientific evidence that our universe was created than what can be presented against this. This evidence also follows basic scientific laws.

    [ Parent ]
    A few comments (3.33 / 3) (#301)
    by Kamaril on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:52:36 PM EST

    First off, evolution really isn't a theory anymore. It's observable, and to deny it is just plain foolish. From the hoards of influenza that thrive in the human body to those wierd moths on smoke stacks during the industrial revolution, it's there. And it fits in with creationist theory completely without contradicting (? that I know of) juedo-christian beliefs.

    However, when I say evolution, I mean the process of gene differentation and natural selection. It's more commonly used in this discussion to involve speciation. This is what is really causing problems. This is not the same as evolution! The fact is speciation is still a debated theory in biological anthropic circles. And the formation of new species is what creationist have a problem with, and what we should be discussing. Because it is still largely theory, and it isn't observable in our lifetime. And to them, God created all species at the time of creation. No where does it say they can't change. But it doesn't say they can form new species, and therefore, we can't really form from primodial soap.

    As for postulate three of your rules for a creationist theory, that pretty much rules out all arguments I would consider valid. Religion is a faith, and you can't link anything to that without incorporating that faith. Any omnipotent being that has the ability to create the world as we see it lives(metaphorically speaking of course) outside the bounds, and therefore the rules of the observable universe. To try and explain the actions of such a being without faith is an impossability. Therefore, your whole premise is invalid. Sorry. Also, for those attempting to answer this challenge, go home, your just making a fool of yourself.

    Oh, and as a final note to you creationist, I always wanted ask. What happened to all the plants during the Great Flood? *grin*


    re: a few comments (4.00 / 1) (#316)
    by mveloso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:11:37 PM EST

    Amusing! Hehehe! The breakout of speciation and evolution is a nice touch, and it seems like you actually might know what you're talking about :) In the end, creationism and more scientific versions of it are basically moot, because they're models of reality (or meta-reality) that really have little-to-no impact on real life. Does it really matter whether the world and everything in it was created willy-nilly a few thousand years ago, or if everything was created by a long process of trial and error? Not really. Indeed, the positions aren't as exclusive as one might think. Prove, for example, that some being didn't create everything as-is 5000 years ago. As far as I can tell, the only argument against the idea is something like "it would be too much work." Note that a belief in science is also a fath, but it tends to have concrete results. OTOH, the crusaders had pretty concrete results too. One interesting question for you on gene differentiation is: if evolution (in the gene differentation/natural selection sense) is canon, how does it explain homo sapiens? One would think that the process tends towards specialization (what Darwin found on the islands). Homo sapiens, though, are practically anti-tuned to the environment, and apparently fill no real environmental niche. Anyway, it's an interesting topic, no?

    [ Parent ]
    There's an intresting consept you might want to (3.00 / 3) (#322)
    by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:36:15 PM EST

    Look into

    It's called 'paragraphs'. Truly fascinating new technology
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    not observable? (5.00 / 2) (#321)
    by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:34:30 PM EST

    Well, how do you define 'species'? If you're going by organisms that can't reproduce with each other, then single celled organisms are undergoing speciation' every time they devide!

    Anyway, asside from that semantic trick. the talk.origins People have a big long list of about a hundred observed 'speciation' events. both in single and multicelular sexually reproductive organisms
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    It is a lop-sided forum. (none / 0) (#525)
    by static on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 08:53:06 PM EST

    I prefer to believe in Special Creation because if I don't, whatever takes its place conflicts with other beliefs I have about God and the world. But I also know better than to argue about that on K5! :-)

    I can see the original poster had a valid question. However, it has become quickly apparent that most people who read and post on K5 prefer to believe in some sort of Evolution. So this was the wrong place to ask his question.

    Wade.

    [ Parent ]

    Perhaps... (4.40 / 5) (#302)
    by xriso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 09:54:06 PM EST

    I'm thinking sites like yfiles.com, and the already-mentioned reasons.org.

    Y Files gives reasons for why the Bible is true. While this doesn't mean that creation is true necessarily, it reduces the argument down to what the true interpretation of Genesis is.

    Reasons.org is probably a good one. If you have the time, the archived TV episodes are really good.
    --
    *** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

    Why the Bible? (4.50 / 4) (#315)
    by Shalom on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:09:01 PM EST

    Can't Creationism be totally true (i.e. God created the world) and Genesis be a work of pure fiction?

    [ Parent ]
    Yes! Exactly! (5.00 / 4) (#436)
    by gromm on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:30:41 PM EST

    I'm an Atheist, but I've always looked at Creationists as loonies for the sole reason that they believe that a Genesis can be taken word for word. Consider the following:

    Let's assume for the sake of argument that God does exist, and is all-powerful and all-knowing, created the universe and all that stuff. Now, we can take it as fact that Moses did indeed write Genesis, and if God was indeed talking to him, telling him to write all this stuff about how the world was created, what would he say? Would he give Moses long (or perhaps deceptively simple) mathematical equations for the physics involved in the creation of the universe, the gravitational laws by which the sun and this planet were formed and how fusion sparked by crushing forces ignited the sun? Or would he give Moses a story that he and everyone he told it to could actually understand? God isn't dumb. Moses' understanding of the world and the universe was anything but scientific, and there wouldn't be anyone around to understand it for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

    I don't think that even if God came down today to lay it all out for us, that he would explain it all in such detail, but I suspect he would say that Genesis was just a parable because we wouldn't comprehend the precise truth.
    Deus ex frigerifero
    [ Parent ]
    Why Creationists argue against Evolution. (2.50 / 2) (#307)
    by static on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:18:50 PM EST

    I tried to have a good look to see if this had been mentioned yet, but it was difficult with so many comments... As far as I can see, it hasn't.

    I used to subscribe to "Creation" magazine so I know that one of the more imporant reasons Creations (look like they) argue against Evolution, as opposed to arguing for Creation, is that Evolution tends to deny the existence of God. And the issue of whether there is a God or not affects society at large, as philosophers have noted for centuries. Creation vs Evolution does not stand isolated.

    Remember, too, that there are people on both sides who find adding God to Evolution or adding Evolution to the Biblical account to be abhorrant.

    Wade.

    Humankind and evolution (none / 0) (#320)
    by magney on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:34:10 PM EST

    Actually, I've found that the common thread amongst those who argue against common descent is that they object to the idea that humans are related to other animals. It's not that common descent tends to deny the existence of God - it doesn't - but that it tends to deny the special creation of humans, that causes the problem.

    As evidence for this, I have only my personal experience that the few evolution opponents I've encountered that weren't specifically Christian had a particular animosity to the idea of humans being a kind of ape.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Right on the money. (none / 0) (#523)
    by static on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 08:41:31 PM EST

    And lack of special creation of humans can and is used to deny the existence of God. Which brings us back to an amoral society again, which we know creates problems.

    Wade.

    [ Parent ]

    I do not believe in the existence of God, (none / 0) (#546)
    by MrMikey on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:21:06 AM EST

    and think "special creation" is nonsense, and yet I am not amoral. One can be an Atheist and moral, just as one can be the a Christian and immoral.

    [ Parent ]
    Nevertheless... (none / 0) (#731)
    by magney on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:16:42 PM EST

    ...the overwhelming evidence is that humans and apes are related. How you reconcile that with your conception of morality is up to you - but I don't believe in telling "noble lies". Society must be able to adapt to reality, or else it rests on a foundation of sand.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Concept of God (none / 0) (#543)
    by weirdling on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:09:40 AM EST

    I doubt very much if the concept of god has the import most Christians ascribe to it. I keep hearing this: if we teach creationism and god and ten commandments, we'll have less school violence/pregnant children/whathaveyou. I doubt this very much. The simple fact is that the majority of people do exactly as they please if they can get away with it, and those in control limit the behavior as they see fit and as they can get away with it. Without the concept of god, something else would take its place and the system would continue because the system is a complex and self-formed one: the majority of people would simply rather not think about why, and so leave that thinking to the few susceptibles who will spout anything to back up their statements.

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    Hydrogen (3.83 / 6) (#311)
    by richieb on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:49:17 PM EST

    Once I heard a creationist summarize the theory of evolution as:

    Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas which given sufficient amount of time forms into people!

    The speaker was outraged that anyone would try to support such a ridiculous statement. The funniest thing is that the statement is true.

    ...richie ("a natural born atheist")


    It is a good day to code.

    Hydrogen != People (3.00 / 2) (#324)
    by Will Sargent on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:49:20 PM EST

    Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas.

    People are mostly complex carbohydrates, proteins and water.

    With lots of nuclear and chemical reactions, one can evolve from the other, but the atomic structure is different, and time alone is insufficient on its own to cause transformation. It's not like people are highly energetic hydrogen atoms or anything.
    ----
    I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
    [ Parent ]

    Actually... (5.00 / 2) (#333)
    by kreyg on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 01:00:16 AM EST

    Given an appropriate amount of time, so the theory goes, the hydrogen in a star will fuse to form heavier elements. Then after a supernova, will be blasted across the galaxy to gradually form into planets with heavier elements.

    Some of these processes have been observed (supernova, gas clouds in which we can determine the elements present), but given the length of time a star system is presumed to require to form, it is rather difficult to observe the overall process.

    In any case, the assertion that hydrogen eventually turns into denser elements and then into people is essentially correct.

    There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
    [ Parent ]
    why I prefer science over religion (5.00 / 3) (#565)
    by Glacky on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:58:31 AM EST

    Hydrogen gets fused into heavier and heavier elements in stars, eventually up to iron (the largest nucleus that releases energy by fusion)

    Supernovae fuse elements above iron as they implode, and the resulting debris is scattered through the universe, to be captured and swirled into planets by other protostars as they form.

    Eventually, on at least one planet, complex carbohydrate chains start replicating and evolve into humans (so the theory goes)

    Which leads to the innately beautiful and wonderous statements of science - that people are made from stardust. No religion ever stated anything so grand in their version of Creation.

    Which is why I prefer theory to theology.


    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 0) (#466)
    by delmoi on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 04:21:37 AM EST

    What's even funnier is that that statement is true even if you accept all of creationism at face value! I mean, the elements that make up newborn babies had to come from somewhere, regardless of where the first humans came from.
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    Soylent Green (none / 0) (#507)
    by glassware on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 03:40:27 PM EST

    Then this means that ... Soylent Green is hydrogen?!?

    [ Parent ]
    A more serious comment. (4.00 / 4) (#313)
    by richieb on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 10:54:55 PM EST

    I don't necessarily want to hear evidence that will support creationism. However, if creationism is to be treated like a scientific field it should abide by scientific rules. So in principle, there has to exist a phenomena that if true would make creationism false. That is, in principle, creationsim should be falsifiable. So, my question for the creationists is - what evidence, if presented, would prove creationism false?

    I can think of number of such things for evolution. For example, imagine discovering that there are many life forms on earth not based on DNA.

    ...richie


    It is a good day to code.

    no it wouldn't (none / 0) (#317)
    by delmoi on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:21:26 PM EST

    I can think of number of such things for evolution. For example, imagine discovering that there are many life forms on earth not based on DNA.

    That wouldn't prove evolution false at all. I don't think any tennent of evolution states that life must only exist using DNA.

    If a life form were to suddenly be 'created' that might prove evolution wrong. A better disproof would be to prove that DNA cannot, under any curcumsances, change.
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    the whole macro/micro thing. (none / 0) (#478)
    by kapital on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 05:53:01 AM EST

    A better disproof would be to prove that DNA cannot, under any curcumsances, change.

    Most creationists, though, claim to believe in "microevolution", but not "macroevolution" - so they believe that DNA can change, just "not very much".

    With that in mind, I can think of a couple of ways to disprove (macro)evolution:

    • Show that there's some limit on the total amount of variation that can occur in the genome, even over an infinite number of generations, thus limiting how much descendants can differ from their ancestors,
    and/or
    • Identify the sections of the genome responsible for a creature's "species", and show that these can never change at all in any of the creature's descendants, also over an infinite number of generations.

    Since the genomes of several creatures have been mapped out, providing some nice initial data sets, I'd say it's about time for the "creation scientists" to put up or shut up.

    [ Parent ]

    How to falsify Creationism (none / 0) (#591)
    by farmgeek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:22:11 AM EST

    This obviously won't work for those that believe in special creation, but for those of us that believe in literal creation, all one has to do is give overwhelming evidence of a nascent organ/appendage. That is, some body part that is in the process of being evolved for use by an organism, and then go on to show that organ/appendage in use.

    [ Parent ]
    Gross misconception (none / 0) (#628)
    by pavlos on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:22:28 PM EST

    Looking for a "nascent" organ is a gross misconception of evolution. Organs do not start by being "under construction" for several generations before being useful. That would require conscious design telling the organisms "you should stick with this useless lump of flesh because some day it will benefit your offspring". Organs only evolve if they are somewhat useful, compared to not having them, over several generations. The individuals with the best (relatively speaking) organs have more offspring that survive, and so better organs prevail.

    There are tons of examples of plausible (to a creationist) "nascent" organs by this corrected definition: Monkey's brains, shark's skeletons, reptile eggs, worm's hearts, amphibian legs. All of these organs appear in a primitive form in organism A and in a more complex and effective form in organism B. This is no proof of evolution, but I would claim it is evidence, especially as there is other evidence (layering of fossils, carbon dating) that suggsts organism B is more recent.

    It is not possible to demonstrate the evolution of a complete organ (as in something you could cut out of an organism and put on a table) on demand because that would take thousands to millions of years. However, it is possible to demonstrate various smaller and still drastic changes within observable time scales: You can breed dogs to just about any shape and size. You can make things like moths change the color they are born with to match the environment (that just requires birds to eat the poorly camouflaged ones). You can breed insects to withstand conditions (chemicals, diseases, etc) that would kill the great majority of their ancestors.

    Ultimately, there is no proof of either evolution or creation. In my opinion, evolutionists put forward a far more convincing and consistent theory than creationists. I would also say that evolutionists are being more cooperative by agreeing to hold arguments based on evidence that both parties can see, whereas creationists often say "a voice in my head says it's true". Unfortunately, evolution is an extremely unintuitive phenomenon, and is often explained wrongly, so people who either have not heard a correct account or who value intuition over logic remain unconvinced.

    Pavlos

    [ Parent ]

    mental models, mental midgets? (2.75 / 4) (#318)
    by mveloso on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:28:32 PM EST

    What this comes down to is the age-old problem of conflicting mental models. When copernicus said "the earth revolves around the sun," he was speaking a true statement. When the authorities said "the sun revolves around the earth," they were also speaking a true statement. The only difference was their frame of reference.

    Think - in space, there are no reference points, so which body revolves around the other is completely dependent on the FOR of the observer.

    The basis usually used to judge the 'correctness' of a model is how useful a model is. A model in which the earth revolves around the sun is more useful, because it provides rules, equations, and such that can be generalized outwards to other models.

    As a better example, classical physics is still taught and is used on a daily basis...but instead of being -the- model of reality, it's now a model of reality to a certain level of scale.

    One interesting tendency of model selection is that simplicity is one of the model biases: a model tends to be more accepted if it's simpler than another, competing model. Possibly this is because it's difficult to describe a model that's made up of exceptions? I suspect that's more due to cognition tendencies in how people learn, but it's interesting to speculate about it.

    Anyhow, the basis of a model is how useful it is. So - why would you care if someone else uses a different model? Challenging someone's mental model may be fun, but it usually doesn't work - if the model didn't work for them, it wouldn't be there. It's pretty interesting, tho, to see the comments, no?

    Rotation is not relative (none / 0) (#533)
    by pavlos on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:22:45 PM EST

    Although it is true that location and rectilinear motion in the universe are relative notions (it is valid to exchange the participants). Rotation is not. If A revolves around B that means A is experiencing a certain acceleration that B is not.

    However, your point is correct that "The Sun revolves around the Earth" is a perfectly good model in terms of predictive power for any activity other than astronomy or space travel. The same is true of classical physics in our everyday lives, and that is why it is (quite correctly) taught in schools.

    This concept, that certain older models that seem foolish to us today delivered reasonable predictive power for their time, was pointed out very eloquently by Isaac Asimov in his essay "The relativity of wrong". It's in the book by the same title.

    Pavlos

    [ Parent ]

    Just so you know... (3.50 / 2) (#326)
    by Crashnbur on Fri Jun 08, 2001 at 11:55:33 PM EST

    You're just trying to belittle creationists by appealing to those that think like you and demeaning those that don't. You have a way of offending creationists in such a way that they do not wish to argue with you.

    Still, your challenge is fair enough, and I see no reason why creationists shouldn't argue instead of simply calling evolutionists wrong. Oh, but in my experience, that's what they've always done. I have never had them simply tell me that it's wrong. (I don't ask the diehard church boys and