The Case for a Creator: Authorities

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 2

In the second chapter, Strobel spends some time telling us how he only became an atheist because he was thereby freed from “having to abide by those pesky rules of ethics and morality” [p.25]. I’ve already addressed this point, but I’ll add that this claim casts further doubt on Strobel’s claim to have once been an atheist. The reasoning he attributes to his past self lines up perfectly with Christian apologetic stereotypes, but is entirely dissonant with every atheist’s deconversion story that I’ve ever read or heard of.

No person I’ve ever known has become an atheist just because they wanted to live a life of hedonism and debauchery. What would be the point? If you’re determined to sin, you can do it perfectly well from within the church, as we have countless examples to demonstrate. None of these renowned hypocrites ever claimed to be atheists either during or after their misdeeds. In fact, you’d arguably be better off staying a Christian, since that faith promises forgiveness to those who repent their transgressions.

The imputation of deliberately insincere, bad-faith motives to atheists is a common theme in “ex-atheist” Christian apologists. I strongly suspect that at least some of these stories are fabricated in retrospect for the benefit of their believing audience – “I became an atheist because I wanted to rebel against God!” is a suitably shocking and lurid claim likely to conform to readers’ preconceptions and sell books. On the other hand, it’s also possible that it’s only that subset of atheists, who deconvert for bad or irrational reasons, who are more likely to convert back to Christianity.

But there’s a different assertion in this section that also merits skepticism:

My approach would be to cross-examine authorities in various scientific disciplines about the most current findings in their fields. [p.28]

Note: authorities. Not just qualified, practicing scientists whose professional interest is the topic in question (although several of Strobel’s interviewees don’t even meet that bar, as we’ll see), but authorities – a term which implies a preeminent degree of achievement and expertise recognized as such by other workers in that field.

In earlier books like The Case for Christ, where the topic is early Christian history and theology, Strobel could legitimately claim to be interviewing authorities. After all, most of the people interested in that topic are Christian believers themselves, which is undoubtedly why they chose to pursue that line of work. But in this book, it is most emphatically not the case.

What Strobel tries hard to cover up is that the vast, overwhelming majority of scientists working in these fields – genetics, paleontology, developmental biology, taxonomy, and so on – firmly support the theory of evolution, and soundly reject the creationist alternative that he pushes in this book. To get around this problem, Strobel engages in a highly selective form of cherry-picking, interviewing some of the very few scientists who have given their support to creationism. (In fact, as we’ll see, there are so few that he interviews one of them twice.) Like pseudoscientists of all kinds, he engages in this tactic to create the impression of a raging scientific controversy, when in fact, the scientific community and the published literature are all but unanimous in support of the mainstream consensus, and most of the dissenters are motivated by clearly discernible ideological reasons. I’ll note some examples as we go along.

Other posts in this series:

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  • Mathew Wilder

    What are Strobel’s horrible sins, anyway? “Oh no, I swore and didn’t pray before I ate lunch!”

  • Wednesday

    This claim of “I became an atheist because I wanted to have no moral constraints” generally baffles me, especially when it’s coupled with “without God, there is no reason not to be a murdering, raping, thieving puppy-kicker” fallacy. Why should Christians (or anyone) listen to a self-admitted sociopath? Wouldn’t someone with admittedly no conscience be the very last person a Christian should turn to for arguments in favor of Christianity?

  • Leum

    I strongly suspect that at least some of these stories are fabricated in retrospect for the benefit of their believing audience – “I became an atheist because I wanted to rebel against God!” is a suitably shocking and lurid claim likely to conform to readers’ preconceptions and sell books. On the other hand, it’s also possible that it’s only that subset of atheists, who deconvert for bad or irrational reasons, who are more likely to convert back to Christianity.

    I think it’s probably more that looking back they fit their earlier experiences into the story that ought to be true. It’s something we all do, after all, since memory’s imperfect. Even if they don’t misremember their earlier lives, they can reinterpret the events to fit the story.

  • Demonhype

    Bah, they gave me this crap in Catholic school, starting at age six. Even at six, my reaction wasn’t “OMG, I’d better believe in God!” but “What the HELL is wrong with these people?”

    Now I’m wondering “I figured this out at six, and these people are full-grown adults–what the HELL is wrong with these people?”

  • Gibbette

    A fundie colleague at the public community college where I teach literally told me last week that without religion she would be immoral and had “no idea” what she might do. I was speechless.

  • Brad

    ‘Muse: I think you confused your rhetorics when you wrote “all but unanimous.”

    I’m in general agreement that Strobel’s claim to atheism is suspicious and perplexing. He exactly and conveniently fits the straw man often created for atheists, and exactly doesn’t fit the nearly universal strain of deconverters. A high warrant for skepticism in my opinion.

  • Mathew Wilder

    Wednesday – good point. If I recall correctly, Strobel is just that type of “no reason to be moral without god” types. Which makes me wonder why, if his claim to having once been an atheis are true, why he didn’t rape and murder and rob lots of people. Was it just that, at the time, he didn’t think he could get away with it?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    What are Strobel’s horrible sins, anyway? “Oh no, I swore and didn’t pray before I ate lunch!”

    That’s an excellent point. One would think that, if Strobel really became an atheist just so he could sin as much as he wanted, he would have done a better job of it. As it is, he seems to have wasted his whole opportunity. :)

  • Scotlyn

    Can I say that becoming an atheist/freethinker allows me to be as good as I want to be?

    Ebonmuse:

    the impression of a raging scientific controversy, when in fact, the scientific community and the published literature are all but unanimous in support of the mainstream consensus, and most of the dissenters are motivated by clearly discernible ideological reasons.

    It’s worth not over-stating the case of unanimity or “mainstream consensus” here, either. There are some fascinating controversies taking place entirely within the fold of evolutionary theory – such as the symbiogenesis mechanism proposed by Lynn Margulis and others to account for biological novelty in a way that natural selection, on its own, doesn’t seem to be able to do – Dawkins is a vociferous critic of this idea. Personally, I think it has merit.

    The thing that always puzzles me, though, is why on earth creationists think that if they can simply establish that there are controversies in evolutionary theory everyone will immediately jump back on the creation bandwagon. This doesn’t follow at all.

    I, personally, foresee the potential for a huge paradigm shift within evolutionary thinking in the next ten to twenty years, (possibly as large as the Newton/Einstein paradigm shift in physics) but one that in no way offers the least comfort to creationist origins theory. “Goddunnit” will, under no circumstances that I can think of, ever be a satisfactory scientific answer to the questions posed by data such as the fossil record, DNA anomalies, etc, no matter how much scientists disagree about the details.

    This is just to illustrate the fact that neither “authorities” (per Stroebel) nor “consensus” (per Ebon) spell sound evidence in science. Both the “authority” and the “consensus” are only as good as the data itself and whichever interpretation makes the most sense of all of it. Paraphrasing from memory here: In response to a reporter saying, “a hundred men are lining up to prove you wrong” – Einstein himself said, “but it would only take one.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Becoming an atheist so you could sin would be dumb. It would be like pretending the police department didn’t exist so you could rob any bank you wanted. Wishing does not make it true.

  • http://blog.calumnist.com/ Danny

    @Scotlyn

    I believe Ebon is referring to the consensus about the fact of evolution, which is not in dispute. Margulis & co are not arguing against evolution per se, but about the mechanism that brought it about. One can say that there is overwhelming consensus (based on overwhelming evidence) about the fact of evolution but still have legitimate worries about the dominant theory (the modern synthesis) that explains it. Creationists of the type that Strobel interviewed do not represent authorities in any field related to evolutionary biology, and are thus in no position to pontificate against it.

  • Scotlyn

    @Danny

    One can say that there is overwhelming consensus (based on overwhelming evidence) about the fact of evolution but still have legitimate worries about the dominant theory (the modern synthesis) that explains it.

    I don’t think we are disagreeing here at all – but I’m still a bit bemused at why is is important to argue – as Ebon, possibly unintentionally, seems to be – “smart people agree about evolution,” or possibly “smart people don’t disagree about evolution.” Agreement, even among smart people, is not what gives evolutionary theory its credibility.

    Even if evolutionary theory was a minority view among scientists of today, so long as it has explanatory power in relation to the data, then it is the best theory there is. And even if there are disagreements as to whether this theory is a best fit for the data or not (and there are such disagreements), there is no way that any such disagreement is going to suddenly lead the scientific community back into the arms of creationism – because, under no circumstances is “goddunnit” ever going to be a scientifically satisfying explanation of any set of facts.

    So, instead of making the specious argument about “agreement” and “consensus” among scientists (which is an argument from authority in another form), we should be showing why such arguments have no place in a scientific debate, and get back to letting the data speak – even the bits that don’t yet fit. Following where the data leads us is the process by which the most productive, sound, and interesting future modifications of evolutionary theory will arise.

  • prase

    Scotlyn, of course a theory is either true or false without regard to what people think, but agreement among smart people adds a lot of credibility. It is not completely by chance that those who disagree with “mainstream science” are in most cases wrong. In short, if you disagree with large majority of well-informed specialists and you are unable to persuade them to take your position seriously, it’s very likely that your reasoning has problems.

  • Scotlyn

    prase –

    if you disagree with large majority of well-informed specialists and you are unable to persuade them to take your position seriously, it’s very likely that your reasoning has problems.

    Or your name could be Alfred Wegener, it could be 1915 and you might find yourself quite “unable to persuade well-informed specialists to take your position seriously”…and still be proven right, eventually.

    All I’m saying is, the argument that smart people agree about evolution, or about any other scientific theory or proposition, is a pretty piss-poor argument and we don’t need it anyway, so why use it? Evolutionary theory doesn’t need social “credibility” – it just needs to keep accounting for the data. So long as it does it works. If it doesn’t, it is not inconceivable that a better theory will come along that can account for the data even more comprehensively. But, whatever shape such a theory would take, we know it won’t come within a million miles of creationism. Creationism has never had, and never will have, sufficient explanatory power to account for the data we do have!

    If we insist on making the argument from scientific “consensus” (ie scientific authority), it ends up giving people like Stroebel comfort in pitting his “authorities” vs our “authorities” and deflecting everyone into having a barney about how to decide who is the best authority. I’d rather that our comeback to Stroebel’s “argument from authority” – and its ilk – is to keep insisting that an “argument from authority” is no argument at all!

  • Scotlyn

    I should just add that, further to my last sentence, I had initially thought that that was where Ebon’s post was going…ie that he would rebut Stroebel by pointing out the fallacy of his reliance on authority. But somehow he ended up, instead, getting drawn into the question of what constitutes scientific authority…and that is the only thing I am querying here.

  • prase

    The approximate ratio is one Alfred Wegener among several thousand crackpots.

    I haven’t said that you can’t be right when disagreeing with specialists. After all, you can be right by coincidence. If the evidence is scarce it can point in wrong direction – in such situation it’s even more likely that you are right if you are irrational while the majority is wrong. Or the auhorities in the field may all be stupid. I only say that this is rare.

    The argument from authority is certainly a fallacy when used as an ultimate argument, and who only believes what authorities say is a fool. But the opinion of authorities contains important information, and to ignore it completely is only the opposite extreme, not less irrational than to rely on authorities exclusively. And if you are not a specialist in the field yourself (which happens most of the time), expert opinions are very important indicator which shouldn’t be dismissed.

  • Francis H

    As a Christian may I add the most respectful and sincere comments.
    I believe the problems which exist between Christians and Atheists is that they don’t really understand one another. The subject is massive and beyond any one’s ability to explain easily. However, perhaps the following may help.
    Creationism and Evolution are not mutually exclusive. No one, not even the most clever Scientists or Theologians are able to prove conclusively that either tenant is correct. That a first recognisable human being came into existence must be a truth. That the world is still populated by apes which have not progressed along the evolutionary line is also fully apparent. The crux of the matter is, what generated the first human blueprint? A spontaneous mutation would probably fulfil the requirements of both theories. Whether God generated this, or not, still being the bone of contention. But, then again, it is impossible to define God. The concept of an old man with a long grey beard was for the nursery. The laws of nature and randomness fail to account for the D.N.A. code and symmetry of the Universe. I believe rationalisation should start from this point and not from the either the thumping of the Bible or the apparent belief, by some, that science has already proved all.
    Perhaps if we could avoid avoid confrontation and work in co-operation the reason for mankind to exist will become apparent. Certainly the Universe will be our home, otherwise it would have no reason to exist in its vastness.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Hi Scotlyn,

    You’re perfectly in the right to say that we have more persuasive arguments to make than just appealing to the current scientific consensus. If I ever have justified acceptance of evolution purely on the basis of “the authorities say so”, then I certainly hope you’ll rap me on the knuckles. :)

    That said, I want to offer a minor correction to your comments. Strobel’s tactic here, and a favorite tactic of creationists in general, is to try creating the impression that there’s a raging scientific debate over whether evolution happened at all. (The most notorious example is the Discovery Institute’s “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which I’ll write about soon.) This is part and parcel of their “teach the controversy” strategy: they argue that because the scientific debate over evolution vs. intelligent design has not been settled, this justifies teaching ID alongside evolution in public school science classes, and presenting the two on equal footing, as equally legitimate competing possibilities.

    This isn’t a scientific strategy, but a public-relations strategy. The best way to counter it is to point out that their argument is false, that there is no genuine scientific controversy over whether evolution happened. There’s plenty of legitimate controversy about the rates and mechanisms of evolution, but the facts of common descent and change over time are as close to universally accepted truths as you ever get in the scientific community.

    The pro-ID argument of “let’s let students make up their own minds” is a superficially reasonable-sounding one, appealing to the listeners’ sense of fairness. We can’t just counter it by citing scientific evidence, because the creationists have plenty of their own “evidence” to come back with, and the average, non-expert layperson is going to have a hard time telling who’s making a good argument and who’s talking nonsense. The most compelling way to defeat this tactic is to demonstrate that ID is not a realistic competitor to evolution, but a bit of fringe crankery seeking to do an end-run around real scientific scrutiny, and appealing to notions of “fairness” as a way of gaining legitimacy it hasn’t earned.

  • Leum

    Creationism and Evolution are not mutually exclusive…

    They are. If you haven’t been running in fundamentalist circles you may have escaped this peculiar doctrine: the belief that the world was created by God in seven literal days exactly as described in Genesis 1 (Genesis 2 is, um, er, I’m gonna have to pray about that). To them, phylogeny is fraudulent, the fossil record supports a Noachian deluge, isotope decay rates have changed significantly over the last six thousand years, and nothing existed seven thousand years ago because there wasn’t a seven thousand years ago. Anyone who is calling themself a creationist is attaching to that belief. I fully understand why you, as an intelligent Christian will dislike that, but it’s too late to reclaim the term.

  • Scotlyn

    Ebonmuse – Thanks… you’ve got my point, and that’s all I ask.

    The best way to counter it is to point out that their argument is false, that there is no genuine scientific controversy over whether evolution happened. There’s plenty of legitimate controversy about the rates and mechanisms of evolution, but the facts of common descent and change over time are as close to universally accepted truths as you ever get in the scientific community.

    I couldn’t agree more with this last sentence, and with your public-relations strategy concerns – but I think it shows how much semantics is part of the problem. “Evolution” has become one of those catch-all words that can include or exclude a huge range of propositions that are lumped in together – it can mean almost diametrically opposing things to people debating the issue – and if they have different meanings for the word, then its guaranteed they will never understand one another. Why not separate the different meanings out and be more clear about what we are talking about.

    As I understand it, “common descent” and “change over time” are pretty much the data rather than the theory, which is why no one familiar with the field questions them. On the other hand, some people use the word evolution to mean “natural selection” and there is a lot of scientific debate nowadays as to whether this is the only or primary mechanism involved. Some people picture evolution as a pretty and organised branching family tree, and this view, too, is now being revised as we understand there are gene transfer mechanisms that can work across species and make a mess of our beautiful “trees.”

    On the other hand, some creationist debaters – such as Francis H. above, still think of evolution as “progress,” a bastard notion that was never really part of evolutionary theory, but became associated with it during the optimistic, “progressive” nineteenth century. A creationist video I saw yesterday said “evolution teaches that something came from nothing” – what?

    Wouldn’t it spike their guns if a textbook came out – with the best of current biology thinking, but that didn’t use the actual word “evolution” once, instead choosing precise terms as needed – such as “common descent” etc. Its hard to see how the ID/creationist propaganda machine could come up with scientifically credible ways of “teaching the controversy” about “change over time.” Just for example.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Francis,

    I believe the problems which exist between Christians and Atheists is that they don’t really understand one another.

    Many atheists in this country were former Xians. Do you really wish to contend that atheists don’t understand Xians?

    No one, not even the most clever Scientists or Theologians are able to prove conclusively that either tenant is correct.

    What do you mean by “conclusively” because the evidence is very much one sided that evolution is correct and creationism is not.

    That a first recognisable human being came into existence must be a truth.

    Humans in current form are from a long line of continually transitioning entities.

    That the world is still populated by apes which have not progressed along the evolutionary line is also fully apparent.

    The apes of today, and all the organisms living today are just as much evolved as we are.

    The laws of nature and randomness fail to account for the D.N.A. code and symmetry of the Universe.

    This is just plain nonsense.

    I believe rationalisation should start from this point and not from the either the thumping of the Bible or the apparent belief, by some, that science has already proved all.

    Please point out the people who are claiming that science “has already proved all.”

    Perhaps if we could avoid avoid confrontation and work in co-operation the reason for mankind to exist will become apparent.

    If you would like co-operation and advancement of our knowledge, I suggest you tell your creationist breatheren to stop getting in the way of actual scientists.

    Certainly the Universe will be our home, otherwise it would have no reason to exist in its vastness.

    The universe – as far as we can tell – doesn’t have a reason to exist, whether we are here or not.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen
    Certainly the Universe will be our home, otherwise it would have no reason to exist in its vastness.

    The universe – as far as we can tell – doesn’t have a reason to exist, whether we are here or not.

    and even if we didn’t exist the universe would be getting along very nicely without us thank-you.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Scotlyn

    On the other hand, some people use the word evolution to mean “natural selection” and there is a lot of scientific debate nowadays as to whether this is the only or primary mechanism involved.

    I’m not sure even this is true. The standard evolutionary algorithm is replication with variation + (natural) selection. Most of what controversy does exist seems to be around the sources of variation rather than whether natural selection is involved.

  • Scotlyn

    Steve – you may have missed my reference to Lynn Margulis above. I know that she, for one, is quite specific in framing her “symbiogenesis” hypothesis as an alternative evolutionary mechanism to natural selection, which she considers insufficient, on its own, to account for evolutionary novelty – ie the development of brand-new features in organisms that have never appeared before. Her contention appears to be that selection can only prune back the growth that is already there, but cannot add anything new. Perhaps you could place her symbiogenesis hypothesis under the “variation” term in your algorithm, but in that case, she has still had to fight vigourously to have it included as a source of variation that may turn out to be even more important than standard genetic variation by random mutation.

    [On this point, a vociferous exchange between her and Dawkins seemed to centre around the question of whether "competition" (from natural selection) or "co-operation" (symbiosis) were key to evolutionary novelty. Both of these terms, in this context, suggest value judgments - which may mean that this discussion was, at least in part, a proxy for a discussion of their different outlooks on human society and social values.]

    Her hypotheses re symbiosis have been accepted in part – most biologists now accept her proposition that mitochondria and chloroplasts became part of the eukaryotic cell through an ancient symbiosis – and this is an easy accept because they still carry genetic material that is separate from that of their host cells. Some of her other proposals are more controversial. Her hypothesis that cellular flagella arose from an ancient symbiosis involving spirochete-like bacteria is a harder convince, because even if she is correct, any separate genetic markers have been lost.

    Where this controversy, and/or others like it may end, I don’t know, but I dislike watching honest scientists like her being asked to “tone down” so as not to give comfort to creationists. (And this can be the more subtle sub-text of the “smart people don’t disagree about evolution” argument).

    I just think that it is essential to keep emphasising that there is no conceivable way that proper scientific questioning of evolutionary theory, even should it result in a “raging controversy,” would ever lead to creationism by default – it just ain’t gonna happen. Darwin may even be proved wrong in lots of particulars… (what? … it could happen)… and if it did, it still wouldn’t lead scientists over to creationism.

    So let scientists disagree if they feel that’s where the data takes them. Our main talking point shouldn’t be – “smart people agree about evolution” or “smart people agree with Darwin.” Our talking point has to be “Teach the evidence.” “Teach the evidence.” “Teach the evidence.” Whatever, and whereever it leads.

    “Teach the controversy” types have no intention of teaching the evidence – they would very quickly be caught out!

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    you may have missed my reference to Lynn Margulis above.

    I hadn’t but had only come across her work via the odd New Scientist article. Having done a bit of web searching on symbiogenesis I would still take the line that no matter how she frames it the theory is really about sources of variation (at least of phenotype if not genotype) rather than a critique of natural selection as a means of preserving “favoured races” as Darwin would have it. I don’t want to give the impression I’m a Dawkinsian fundementalist about this but actually the theory doesn’t really purturb his gene-centric view of evolution all that much IMO.

    To avoid derailing this thread altogether I would just say I agree with your basic point. There is no long term merit in hiding legitimate controversy about evolution. Whatever the fine detail of the mechanism turns out to be it will not (as you state) offer any comfort to creationists. Rather we should hold the willingness of the scientific consensus to be challenged and adapted up, as the antithesis of the religious dogma it must eventually replace.

  • Francis H

    I’m going to ignore # 19 since Leum misses the point of my posting completely. Posting # 24, although not related to mine, probably crystallizes the thought better in several respects. My comment was aired in order to suggest a way forward for unbiased observers.
    Posting # 20 refers to me as a Creationist, but I would certainly not meet the requirements of the definition in terms of Adam and Eve nor, necessarily, from the gradual evolution up to the point of a first human being recognisable.
    1) Yes, but the probability is greater that nothing should exist (#22 and #21)
    2) No two Christians nor any two Atheist will share exactly the same views on ‘their chosen subject’. Many years ago I was approached by a devout Christian and a confirmed Atheist. The Atheist demanded to know if I worshiped the Cross. To be absolutely honest I didn’t know exactly what he meant. The Christian then got cross with me for not saying NO immediately. I simply didn’t know whether the word worship was being used as in, “Worship God” or “Worship the ground Ms walks on”.
    I don’t ‘worship’ film stars nor sports men or women. Some do, but, if either of the two who approached me had explained the history of their discussion I could have understood the exact question I was being asked. Hence my suggestion that Christians and Atheists don’t really understand one other or, more probably, because some don’t want to.
    3) My comment that apes have not evolved appears to have not been understood. My fault of course, but I meant that they have not evolved into a more recognisable human form.
    This would have meant that, if evolution was the sole answer, we would now be surrounded by other ‘humans’ but with different appearances and with either higher or lower intellects. I trust this point is now clear.
    3) # 21. You appear to have set the definition of the term ‘evolution’ to mean only that which you wish it to mean. Evolution is now occurring in humans so why should I deny it has a function.
    4) # 21. You deny DNA is a code? You also have a full working knowledge of Particle Physics and, MUCH more importantly, as one day scientists will find out, Wave Mechanics?
    5) # 21. I am advised Professor Dawkins is fully conversant as to how life evolved. But, then again, the Caesars knew they were Gods.
    6) # 21. Actual Scientists? You mean the ones who gave us Aids, B.S.E. DDT. Who cannot agree at Professorship level whether or not there is just one or multiple Universes.

    All in all, OMGF, I am disappointed you have not helped to rationalise this discussion.

  • Francis H

    #25 Steve Bowen.
    Respects to you Steve, but please may I advise that, as a Christian I don’t know what God is, so how do you?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Francis,

    1) Yes, but the probability is greater that nothing should exist (#22 and #21)

    That is a completely unsupportable statement.

    Hence my suggestion that Christians and Atheists don’t really understand one other or, more probably, because some don’t want to.

    What you really mean to say then is that Xian thought is so varied that no one can understand the beliefs of any other. That Xian thought is all over the map is not something I would debate, since no two Xians have the same concept of god. That, however, does not mean that atheists do not understand Xians in some respect.

    My comment that apes have not evolved appears to have not been understood. My fault of course, but I meant that they have not evolved into a more recognisable human form.

    No, I understand quite well that you don’t know what you are talking about. There is no reason why we should expect apes to look like us.

    This would have meant that, if evolution was the sole answer, we would now be surrounded by other ‘humans’ but with different appearances and with either higher or lower intellects. I trust this point is now clear.

    It’s clear that you haven’t the foggiest. Using your logic, humans should be the only lifeforms on the planet if evolution is true. This is simply ridiculous and is in no way at all representative of what evolution actually says.

    You appear to have set the definition of the term ‘evolution’ to mean only that which you wish it to mean. Evolution is now occurring in humans so why should I deny it has a function.

    Where did I claim that you deny that? My claim (and it is more apparent now) is that you don’t actually know what evolution says.

    You deny DNA is a code? You also have a full working knowledge of Particle Physics and, MUCH more importantly, as one day scientists will find out, Wave Mechanics?

    I did not deny that DNA is a code of sorts. What I said was that your assertion that natural processes can not account for such things is in error. Please work on reading what I actually write.

    I am advised Professor Dawkins is fully conversant as to how life evolved. But, then again, the Caesars knew they were Gods.

    This is just bizarre. You obviously weren’t reading what I wrote.

    Actual Scientists? You mean the ones who gave us Aids, B.S.E. DDT. Who cannot agree at Professorship level whether or not there is just one or multiple Universes.

    Are you claiming that AIDS was manufactured by scientists? Even if it was, do you deny that science has brought us massive amounts of knowledge about the universe? What has religion brought us? In fact, we find over and over that religionists stand in the way of new knowledge, which is what I was saying with my comment. If you really want to learn about reality, then stand back and let scientists do the work that has actually brought us knowledge.

    All in all, OMGF, I am disappointed you have not helped to rationalise this discussion.

    I apologize if pointing out your erroneous assertions and understandings of evolution somehow doesn’t help to “rationalize” the discussion. I was under the impression that having correct knowledge of what one speaks about was something that helps to facilitate rational discussion. Apparently you feel differently.

  • Francis H

    #28 OMGF
    Re the Universe. Statistics is not your strong point is it?
    The sum total of all the negatives you give my comments only underlines your total commitment to all the negative aspects that a committed anti God displays. Please note I didn’t say Atheist.
    To start. What don’t you understand about ‘humans with different appearances’, must I write a thesis for you to understand my generalisations? Perhaps ‘Learn to read with Janet and John’ would serve some people well?
    I assume you would class as Scientists those who sought The Philosopher’s Stone, The Elixir of Life, some centuries after the Bible was written. Original work on genetics was done by a Christian Monk as I recall, not to mention remedies, developed in the Monasteries, now synthesised.
    In relation to Aids, YES, it was brought into our lives by a total misunderstanding and blatant disregard of the effects of blood transfusions from apes.
    Even in these last few postings by others it is quite clear evolutionists do not agree one with the other as I originally stated. Nor do Christians as I have already advised you. Such is the Human condition.
    My bone of contention is with those of your ilk who have an agenda which prohibits the free thought as shown by Scotlyn #24. Scotlyn may not agree with me but denial for denial’s sake will not forward the progress made towards understanding. I acknowledge very sincere and dedicated work is being done in the fields of research, so don’t tar me with the same brush which was used on you.
    Perhaps the best way to understand my point of view is to go back to my original posting and actually read it. #17, confirmed Atheists I understand, bigots no.
    Looking forward to your next posting.
    (This posting being made in the U.K. where its 22.16 at night. So heading off to watch the end of the News and then to bed.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    My fault of course, but I meant that they have not evolved into a more recognisable human form.
    This would have meant that, if evolution was the sole answer, we would now be surrounded by other ‘humans’

    Francis H: Allow me to explain why this is attracting some derision. Evolution has no direction or goal. Humans are not some pinnacle of evolution, nor are we necessarily bound for some utopian evolutionary future. ALL evolution by natural selection achieves is that the organisms best suited to their environment(s) will become the predominant and most successful organisms in that niche. Best suited may involve large complex bodies and big, self aware brains. It may also mean basic replicating genes and a simple protein shell. Every virus existing today is just as evolved as the bacterium, plant or animal it infects. The fact that the common ancestor we share with the other ape species eventually became us does not mean that all ape like species will become us or like us and this mis-understanding of evolution is central to many creationist argument.

    Respects to you Steve, but please may I advise that, as a Christian I don’t know what God is, so how do you?

    Not sure where this one came from. I don’t think I have claimed anywhere, ever, to claim to know what God is. I do claim that so far nothing we have any evidence for suggests that any god is active in our universe and my philosophical position is that until it does (which to be fair I consider unlikely) I will assume no such gods exist.

  • Francis H

    Dear Steve,allow me to explain my first posting.You commented on the ‘antithesis of religious dogma’ and ‘comfort for the creationists’.
    If by this you mean, ‘everything in 7 days’ and ‘mankind made and that’s it’. I would agree with you, but implicit in that comment is the belief that you have a full knowledge of the form and nature of God. You have clarified your position in your later posting #30, and I now understand you better and thank you. However, you are already going to be viewed with suspicion by evolutionists due to your acknowledgement that you consider the existence of a God only ‘unlikely’. Your position on this I fully accept and welcome as a very understandable and logical decision. But will OMGF accept this? I made my first posting in the hope that the totally anti God brigade, not the Atheists, would cease to regard those with Religious faith as obstacles to Scientific research. OMGF chooses to make up his own versions of us, which I find disappointing.
    I did not say evolution has a direction and I my comment that we would be surrounded by other ‘humans’ was only to illustrate how evolution would produce alternatives if it were the sole mechanism involved. We did have Neanderthal man for a time didn’t we?
    I trust this is a full enough explanation and cannot understand why derision of any point of view should be made.
    Yours, with respect, Francis H.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Francis H. I’m not sure I understand the point you are trying to make. I realise you don’t claim to be a YEC yet you fall into the same fallacious reasoning about the expected effects of evolution as they do. Your statement about modern apes is typical of YEC and I.D proponent’s misunderstandings. Yes, alternative species of intelligent ape have existed in the past; this wasn’t inevitable but the evidence suggests it happened. For whatever reason these alternatives were out-competed (or absorbed ?)by modern humans. There is no reason why the rest of the modern apes should have spawned other alternatives since.
    Is it your argument that Homo sapiens is “alone” in this respect because some deity has arranged it that way?
    As for my statement that gods are “unlikely” I think you will find the majority of atheist (including OMGF?) would allow the logical possibility that some sort of creator might exist or once have existed, it’s just that as a hypothesis it has yet to have any evidence and shows no sign of acquiring any.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Francis,
    You obviously don’t understand what I’m saying. And, the derision in this dialog has mostly come from your side, or do you think it is derisive to correct one’s errors?

    Re the Universe. Statistics is not your strong point is it?

    Deride my grasp of statistics all you want, but you can not show that which you assert.

    The sum total of all the negatives you give my comments only underlines your total commitment to all the negative aspects that a committed anti God displays. Please note I didn’t say Atheist.

    It’s not my fault that you don’t have a grasp of the concepts you are talking about. Perhaps if you actually listened to Steve Bowen and myself you might learn why you are in error. And, I fail to see how correcting your misapprehensions about what evolution says and does is somehow anti-god.

    To start. What don’t you understand about ‘humans with different appearances’, must I write a thesis for you to understand my generalisations? Perhaps ‘Learn to read with Janet and John’ would serve some people well?

    What don’t you understand about your argument not being what evolution says?

    I assume you would class as Scientists those who sought The Philosopher’s Stone, The Elixir of Life, some centuries after the Bible was written. Original work on genetics was done by a Christian Monk as I recall, not to mention remedies, developed in the Monasteries, now synthesised.

    I class as Scientists those who actually use the scientific method to advance our collective knowledge.

    In relation to Aids, YES, it was brought into our lives by a total misunderstanding and blatant disregard of the effects of blood transfusions from apes.

    Got any evidence for that?

    Even in these last few postings by others it is quite clear evolutionists do not agree one with the other as I originally stated. Nor do Christians as I have already advised you. Such is the Human condition.

    What’s your point?

    My bone of contention is with those of your ilk who have an agenda which prohibits the free thought as shown by Scotlyn #24. Scotlyn may not agree with me but denial for denial’s sake will not forward the progress made towards understanding.

    Wait. I don’t engage in free though because I actually know what evolutionary theory says and am willing to correct your mistakes? IOW, I have to agree with you or else I’m not a freethinker?

    Perhaps the best way to understand my point of view is to go back to my original posting and actually read it.

    I did and corrected your mistakes. You seem to have taken offense to being corrected, which is not my fault.

    Your position on this I fully accept and welcome as a very understandable and logical decision. But will OMGF accept this?

    Yes, because I happen to share his view. Some conceptions of gods are logically contradictory, and therefore impossible, but the concept of any god is simply unevidenced and highly unlikely. Perhaps next time you should actually ask instead of assuming that you know everything about me.

    I made my first posting in the hope that the totally anti God brigade, not the Atheists, would cease to regard those with Religious faith as obstacles to Scientific research. OMGF chooses to make up his own versions of us, which I find disappointing.

    How disappointing. I don’t regard all people with religious faith as obstacles. Just look at Ken Miller. He’s making great contributions to evolutionary science, for just one example. It’s the people who trot out these falsehoods about what evolution says, does, and can do and who refuse to actually deal with the theory as it is written, and actually get upset if someone corrects them and refuse to be corrected that are obstacles to overcome, as an example.

    I did not say evolution has a direction and I my comment that we would be surrounded by other ‘humans’ was only to illustrate how evolution would produce alternatives if it were the sole mechanism involved. We did have Neanderthal man for a time didn’t we?

    So, you’re claiming that evolution should produce alternatives and it hasn’t, so it’s wrong, but it has, like Neanderthal man, which you claim means you are right that it should produce alternatives, which in turn means that you are right that it hasn’t produced alternatives and is wrong? It truly boggles the mind. Once again, let me disabuse you of your erroneous notions. There is no necessity for evolution to produce more humans with more variety. There is no necessity for evolution to produce different types of humans or alternatives. Evolution is simply the process of selection working on natural variations. If some variations don’t work, the unfortunate organisms that happen to have those variations are not selected and they die off. There is nothing in there that says that alternatives must be present or happen.

  • Francis H

    I note you flit from comment to comment as if each were understood, yet in your reply to my query concerning the DNA code, you skip over it by saying it is a code of sorts. I’m sorry, did you say it was a code ‘of sorts’? It’s either a code or not a code. Perhaps you need to think about that?
    Statistics, or should I have said Logic. In the “”period”” before the ‘Big Bang’ what was the statistical evidence that, A) The ‘Big Bang’ would occur? B) That anything at all would be created? The fact that anything resulted can only be seen in hindsight. Therefore your assumption that the ‘probable’ result would be the creation of a Universe or anything else is patently flawed. My case proved.
    The experiments to replace human blood with ape blood were done in Africa many years ago. You expect me to believe your ‘truths’ so why not believe mine? It should be within your scope of knowledge, as it is within mine. Your colleagues may have more background than I.
    You say, “I class as Scientists those who use the Scientific method”. So are you saying that the work done in the genetics, in relation to bees, by the Christian monk was not scientific? His work his still hailed as ground breaking, or perhaps this facet of information has escaped you also.
    My comments re the ‘Philosopher’s stone’ and the ‘Elixir of life’ are still relevant today and, unfortunately, reflect the arrogance certain members of the Scientific community still exhibit. Perhaps there is the faintest chance you will remember ZETA, as announced in the 50s by the British University, which declared it had solved the problem of obtaining energy by Nuclear Fusion. All announced to a fanfare in the world’s press.
    Then again, ‘Cold Fusion using Palladium Electrodes’, in the 1980s to the best of my recollection. At that time I had been working on the storage of Hydrogen and realised that the effect was that produced by Palladium Hydride in contact with a part aqueous electrolyte. Energy in, by electrolysis, energy out, by chemical reaction! Five minutes reflection was the full burden on my memory.
    I have not got a ‘down’ on Scientists, just those like yourself who are not prepared to listen, let alone understand their peers in other areas of Physics or related fields. I quote Professor Dawkins as being anti God since he has drawn up some blueprint of what he feels God is and then finds his limited knowledge does not enable him to join up the dots on his blueprint, so he declares there is no God.
    You say I do not know you, but by the same token you do not know me. I have already acknowledged evolution does occur, as in my postings above, but you have chosen to selectively translate certain of my comments into your understanding of Creationists. My concept of God would allow evolution by natural selection but evolution on its own should generate more variance between races as is known to exist.
    If you cannot understand this, then that’s my considered viewpoint, take it or leave it.
    If you really MUST reply, please stop going over the same ground, ad infinitum, and stop mistranslating my comments to suit you agenda.

  • Francis H

    #32 Steve Bowen.
    Of course my comment #34 was for OMGF. I assume he can work that out at least.
    Many thanks for your comment. For some reason OMGF is allocating substance to my first posting which was not intended.
    You ask, what point am I making?
    The original posting I made was in the hope that some reconciliation could be made between Atheists and followers of any faith in relation to man’s existence. The nip picking which OMGF has introduced into the equation makes this obviously a great difficulty. Whether evolution, or some selection of the human gene, makes us different from other animals I mistakenly assumed would be of interest to both Scientists and religious Theologians alike. I did not want to channel the discussion down the road of confrontation. I picked your comment up in the hope that the definition of a ‘God’ could be more readily understood/accommodated by the Scientific community. I cannot define that which I consider to be ‘God’. My underlying belief is that we are here, here and now, so let us ask ourselves the right questions and not feel honour bound to defend some particular theory which is guaranteed to change at some time in the future.
    It would be completely impossible to define the nature of a God. Some religions even baulk at giving him a name.
    So there you have it, my comments to OMGF still stand.
    Oh, by the way, I trust you will be aware that Einstein’s Energy/Mass equivalence is misunderstood and that our existence is already of an ethereal nature. I’m not prepared to expand this, OMGF will probably still want to argue the world is flat.

  • Scotlyn

    @ Steve:

    I would still take the line that no matter how she frames it the theory is really about sources of variation (at least of phenotype if not genotype) rather than a critique of natural selection as a means of preserving “favoured races” as Darwin would have it

    Actually, Steve, I think you are right as to this being a barney over sources of variation, and it is much easier to see this having taken a second look at your algorithm. Cheers!

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Francis,

    I’m sorry, did you say it was a code ‘of sorts’?

    Yes, I did, because it depends on your definition.

    Statistics, or should I have said Logic. In the “”period”” before the ‘Big Bang’ what was the statistical evidence that, A) The ‘Big Bang’ would occur? B) That anything at all would be created?

    It’s meaningless to talk about anything before the big bang, so let’s add physics to what you don’t understand. Regardless, you have no basis to simply claim that something happening is less likely than nothing happening. On what evidence do you base your opinion on this? Please show your work.

    The fact that anything resulted can only be seen in hindsight. Therefore your assumption that the ‘probable’ result would be the creation of a Universe or anything else is patently flawed. My case proved.

    Not only do you not understand the arguments being employed (I didn’t say it was more or less probable for anything, since we have no clue how probable it was or wasn’t that the universe happened) but you’ve simply asserted that since we are here and could only see it in hindsight that this is somehow proof for your assertions? It’s nothing of the sort. Proof would be an equation or some sort of evidence that shows that the events that happened were unlikely.

    The experiments to replace human blood with ape blood were done in Africa many years ago. You expect me to believe your ‘truths’ so why not believe mine? It should be within your scope of knowledge, as it is within mine. Your colleagues may have more background than I.

    Let’s see some documentation. I did some checking on this, and there are lots of conspiracy-type theories, like what you are putting forth, but the best supported theory is that HIV formed from close proximity between hunters and chimps (not apes BTW).

    You say, “I class as Scientists those who use the Scientific method”. So are you saying that the work done in the genetics, in relation to bees, by the Christian monk was not scientific? His work his still hailed as ground breaking, or perhaps this facet of information has escaped you also.

    Did Mendel use the scientific method? Yes, he did. So, he was doing science. It’s really quite a simple statement I made, and I’m surprised that you could get it so wrong, but you have.

    I have not got a ‘down’ on Scientists, just those like yourself who are not prepared to listen, let alone understand their peers in other areas of Physics or related fields.

    Are you serious? Of course I’m not willing to listen to people who are wholly ignorant of evolution and then try to tell me what it can and can’t do and why it’s wrong. If you wish to be taken seriously and listened to, then actually look up what evolution is before spouting off about it. I’m prepared to listen to people who actually know what they are talking about. Simply because I see that you haven’t the foggiest doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to others. And you accuse me of not knowing anything about logic?

    I quote Professor Dawkins as being anti God since he has drawn up some blueprint of what he feels God is and then finds his limited knowledge does not enable him to join up the dots on his blueprint, so he declares there is no God.

    Since you’re an expert on logic, how about you tell me how that is not a non sequitor.

    I have already acknowledged evolution does occur, as in my postings above, but you have chosen to selectively translate certain of my comments into your understanding of Creationists.

    You also claim that evolution can’t account for DNA, should have created other human types by now, etc. Simply because you state that evolution occurs doesn’t mean that you aren’t ignorant about what it is and what it says, or that I have to agree with your ignorant blatherings.

    My concept of God would allow evolution by natural selection but evolution on its own should generate more variance between races as is known to exist.

    And you persist in making these ignorant statements. What evidence do you have that what you are asserting is true, especially since it contradicts what evolutionary biologists working in the field actually say?

    If you cannot understand this, then that’s my considered viewpoint, take it or leave it.

    For the umpteenth time, it’s not that I don’t understand what you are saying, it’s that it’s flat out wrong.

    If you really MUST reply, please stop going over the same ground, ad infinitum, and stop mistranslating my comments to suit you agenda.

    So wait. You’re misrepresenting evolutionary theory, and I’m calling you out on it, and somehow that equates to me mistranslating you? And, what agenda do you think I have? The only agenda I have in this is pointing out the erroneous things you are saying about evolution.

    Of course my comment #34 was for OMGF. I assume he can work that out at least.

    If you are going to complain that I’m being derisive, it’s pretty hypocritical to turn around and be derisive towards me at every turn.

    The original posting I made was in the hope that some reconciliation could be made between Atheists and followers of any faith in relation to man’s existence. The nip picking which OMGF has introduced into the equation makes this obviously a great difficulty.

    If you think it’s nit picking to point out that you are distorting science, then that’s simply too bad, because it’s at the heart of why reconciliation does not happen. When theists insist that reality bend to what they want it to be, no reconciliation can happen because atheists live in the real world.

    Whether evolution, or some selection of the human gene, makes us different from other animals I mistakenly assumed would be of interest to both Scientists and religious Theologians alike.

    It is of interest. Making blanket statements about how evolution can’t account for DNA is throwing up your hands and showing disinterest, not the other way around.

    I did not want to channel the discussion down the road of confrontation.

    That’s your problem. If you have to lash out at me because I pointed out that you are in error and then complain about it, then you need to do some looking inside.

    I picked your comment up in the hope that the definition of a ‘God’ could be more readily understood/accommodated by the Scientific community.

    Not our job to define it – it’s your job to define it since you are putting forth the idea. Then, perhaps you can tell us how to test for it.

    I cannot define that which I consider to be ‘God’.

    Then how do you expect us to take it seriously or study it or do whatever else you want us to do with it?

    My underlying belief is that we are here, here and now, so let us ask ourselves the right questions and not feel honour bound to defend some particular theory which is guaranteed to change at some time in the future.

    No one is doing that. We feel honor bound to follow the evidence and not misrepresent it.

    Oh, by the way, I trust you will be aware that Einstein’s Energy/Mass equivalence is misunderstood and that our existence is already of an ethereal nature. I’m not prepared to expand this, OMGF will probably still want to argue the world is flat.

    More bluster. You get to throw out all kinds of wacky comments that are unsupported and that you are unwilling to even attempt to support and if we scoff at you or disagree or whatever, then we are flat-Earthers. Do you even understand what is so wrong with that?

  • Scotlyn

    Francis H

    My bone of contention is with those of your ilk who have an agenda which prohibits the free thought as shown by Scotlyn #24. Scotlyn may not agree with me but denial for denial’s sake will not forward the progress made towards understanding.

    I’m not sure what you mean Francis H, (or whether this works out to be a compliment, in which case thanks, I think) but I will say this – while scientists may disagree about theories, you are very much mistaken if you think they will ignore or argue with actual data. You can’t just make up your evidence, or cherry-pick the bits you like. Truth in science stands or falls by the evidence.

    You also say

    I acknowledge very sincere and dedicated work is being done in the fields of research

    and I would add that sincerity and dedication, even though they are admirable in themselves, do not establish scientific truths. The sincerest researcher may be wrong, if he is contradicted by the data, while the least dedicated researcher may just get it right, so long as she follows the data.

    If you want to make credible arguments here, Francis H., you must at least get familiar with the evidence. Both the evidence in biology, genetics, paleontology, etc that support evolutionary theory, and the evidence in astronomy, cosmology, physics, etc that support the Big Bang Theory, since those are discussions you appear to be interested in having.

    Here is an interesting exercise, which will illuminate the way science works. In this quote

    my comment that we would be surrounded by other ‘humans’ was only to illustrate how evolution would produce alternatives if it were the sole mechanism involved.

    you have made a prediction, of sorts. It is not very clear what your parameters are, but perhaps you can work on it a bit. Your prediction is “evolution would produce alternatives if it were the sole mechanism involved.” So, once you spend a little time clarifying in your own mind what you mean by “alternatives” and what you mean by “sole mechanism” you can begin to test this prediction against the evidence. If your prediction is not bourne out by the evidence, then you have to go back and make a new prediction. Can you do this? Congratulations, you’re doing science!

    Just remember to get to know your data. That is where all good arguments atart and end.

  • Scotlyn

    Whoops – atart = start.

  • Francis H

    # 37 OMGF.
    (Thank you Scotlyn re comment #38)
    The answer to my query regarding human diversity was quite simple, if anyone had even considered the point. The time scale of separation of humans across the globe and the differences between the Environments has not been sufficient to produce Evolutionary change.
    There! Simple answer without the rude and patronising comments.
    Or perhaps you are incapable of both civility and rational discussion.
    If my answer is incorrect, or or my assumptions are erroneous in any way, I should expect to be advised as such without the overbearing ignorance continuing.
    Apparently I have made the mistake of believing this was an open forum such that all could comment and possibly learn.
    You query my definition of God, yet comment made by yourself and Steve Bowen is to the effect that you keep an open mind on the existence of God. How could you recognise any input by God? Total nonsense as a statement, which has even less credence than any input by myself. If one of your prehistoric humans were find a C.D., you know what I mean, pretty colours. Would he come to the conclusion it was made by a more advanced human or would he regard it as just an unusual seashell? Do I really need to labour this point any more?
    A Code is a Code, changes by evolution are not excluded by any of my inputs, end of story.
    Before the Big Bang? You clearly didn’t understand my use of “” “”. I thought my intelligence was in question?
    Big Bang again. I did not say nothing could happen, the energy involved could quite easily have ended in a form other than that capable of supporting life. The probability that the Universe would be created probably n to the power of some astronomical negative number.
    The rest of your posting is mainly padding which enables you to argue that which you surmise, or have projected, from my original elementary posting. If you wish to argue I suggest you find a less demanding blog site.
    My comment in relation to Energy and Mass was not bluster. For a start it was made to Scotlyn, who has a much better sense of decorum and, if he chooses, can question my motives. However, since you raise the point. I have realised that the scientific communities suffer badly from incest. That’s right, incest of though. Many breakthroughs in the fields of Science are made by free thinkers, not your definition of free thinking.
    I have been amused at the invention of new ‘particles’, Gravitons, to explain gravitational ‘pull’. Then came ‘String theory’, quite an interesting philosophical and mathematical distraction but probably the best you can say of it.
    The most depressing part I find is that the works of Maxwell, Einstein, Schrodinger and Fourier have not led to the most blindingly obvious explanation of both gravitational ‘pull’ and the form of ‘matter’. Inertia and momentum being derivations.
    So why should I ‘bluster’ about that which I unable to get movement.
    Purely for the reason that, when I am long gone, others will remember. Possibly even OMGF. Please don’t even think about making comment on this. You will be out of your depth and I shall simply not involve myself in discussion with closed minds.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Francis H

    The answer to my query regarding human diversity was quite simple, if anyone had even considered the point. The time scale of separation of humans across the globe and the differences between the Environments has not been sufficient to produce Evolutionary change.

    A rational hypothesis. But unless I have mis-understood you this wasn’t the problem you raised was it? You suggested that if evolution was the sole mechanism there should be alternative “humans” evolved from ape ancestors. Arguably we know there has been time for such divergance as witnessed by your own example of Neanderthals, but it hasn’t happened as far as we know. Modern man has diverged into races of course and again given enough time and isolation we coulddiverge as a species (but unlikely given current globalisation). But more importantly I still don’t really understand your point. Ignoring the finer points of evolutionary theory is it (as I asked #32)your argument that Homo sapiens is “alone” because some deity has arranged it that way?

    Then came ‘String theory’, quite an interesting philosophical and mathematical distraction but probably the best you can say of it.

    I have some sympathy with this view, I am less qualified to speak on physics than biology and sometimes the more esoteric aspects of the discipline can seem like just so stories to me too. However the more interesting thing about string theory is that it can and does make accurate predictions about the universe so I allow it more merit than you do.

  • Scotlyn

    Francis H

    I thought my intelligence was in question?

    Perhaps not your intelligence, Francis, but either the currency of your understanding of the subject matter, or the clarity of your thinking on those subjects may be in question.

    You have a way of arguing that is not particularly clear. Some of your comments appear to be non sequiters, some make use of common terms that we are all using -eg “God” “evolution” “mechanism” “diversity” – but without, apparently, giving them their common meanings, and some of your points are just plain obscure.

    Just for an example:

    The most depressing part I find is that the works of Maxwell, Einstein, Schrodinger and Fourier have not led to the most blindingly obvious explanation of both gravitational ‘pull’ and the form of ‘matter’. Inertia and momentum being derivations.

    I couldn’t even begin to make a guess at what you mean in this sentence. What to you is the “blindingly obvious explanation” that Maxwell, Einstein, Schrodinger and Fourier missed. What are “inertia” and “momentum” derivations of? And why have you not published your “blindingly obvious” corrections to the conclusions of these theorists in a physics journal, where the people most familiar with that theoretical ground can comment?

  • Francis H

    Steve Bowen #41 Many thanks for your kind critique of my posting. You are probably perfectly correct in all your comments, but the problem being generated by OMGF is his scatter gun approach, makes it difficult to chose phrases which he will either take at face value or ask me to expand or clarify. No matter what I type he appears to have some irrational fear that I am trying to undermine the whole principle of evolution. If I were a 14 year old boy I would expect an explanation of perceived mistakes rather than the comment “nonsense”.
    In relation to the ‘Deity’. I have my own interpretation which certainly differs from the image OMGF appears to wish to force on me. Perhaps #17 could been framed better but, #21 by OMGF, I considered gave me, and us,no room for discussion.
    To put it quite simply, if the Laboratory personnel I had worked with had responded at first instance in that manner, they would have been out on their ear.
    The ‘Deity’ I would identify most closely with, would be one who used natural events to provide the outcome of his wishes. That is why I made an initial attempt to move Evolution into an area which could be accepted by Religious Theologians. My statement that there must have been a first man and woman does not negate the whole of evolution, but puts the developing human species into the realm of being chosen.
    I have no doubt OMGF will wish me to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
    Many thanks for your patience.

  • Francis H

    Scotlyn #42.
    It is more than likely that some phrases I use may not be immediately understood, but off the cuff criticism by OMGF does not help anyone.
    In relation to Energy and Mass. I would respectively advise you that most Physicists are bound up in their own pet theories. As, I assume, are Biologists. The particle Physicists have now got the bit between their teeth in the Large Hadron Collider project. I have laid down on Physics message boards the necessity to redefine the ‘Aether’. No, not the perfectly elastic medium etc, etc, but probably a ‘component’ part of the ‘Mass’ which generates this ‘Aether’.
    The theory on diffraction gratings is incomplete and incorrect for both photons and electrons.
    No ‘particle’ exists at a point.
    Saying no more, but thanks for your ear.
    Best possible regards to you.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Francis,

    The answer to my query regarding human diversity was quite simple, if anyone had even considered the point.

    People have considered the question and found you wrong.

    The time scale of separation of humans across the globe and the differences between the Environments has not been sufficient to produce Evolutionary change.

    You’re now introducing a new claim. Please define what you mean by this.

    There! Simple answer without the rude and patronising comments.

    There’s nothing rude about pointing out that your assertions are unsupported and not representative of evolutionary theory, it’s all in how you take it (is your ego that fragile?)

    Or perhaps you are incapable of both civility and rational discussion.

    If civility means I must kowtow to your claptrap, then yes, guilty as charged. And, as I’ve said before, rational discussion involves correct information, so if you wish to continue to spew out ignorant, creationist ramblings, then any lack of rational discussion is on you.

    If my answer is incorrect, or or my assumptions are erroneous in any way, I should expect to be advised as such without the overbearing ignorance continuing.

    This makes no sense. You were advised that you were in error, yet you persisted in your ignorance.

    Apparently I have made the mistake of believing this was an open forum such that all could comment and possibly learn.

    It is an open forum. You are allowed to comment here. It also seems that you are the one that needs to learn about evolution, so if no learning is happening, that’s again your fault.

    You query my definition of God, yet comment made by yourself and Steve Bowen is to the effect that you keep an open mind on the existence of God. How could you recognise any input by God? Total nonsense as a statement, which has even less credence than any input by myself. If one of your prehistoric humans were find a C.D., you know what I mean, pretty colours. Would he come to the conclusion it was made by a more advanced human or would he regard it as just an unusual seashell? Do I really need to labour this point any more?

    Yes, because although I understand all the words you are using here, you have yet to put them into a coherent pattern that expresses an idea.

    A Code is a Code, changes by evolution are not excluded by any of my inputs, end of story.

    You’re a bizarre one.

    Before the Big Bang? You clearly didn’t understand my use of “” “”. I thought my intelligence was in question?

    Do you even know what you are talking about? You want to base an argument about what happened before time existed (as we define it) and when corrected you claim some bizarre notion about using quote marks as if that somehow buttresses your argument? If you knew what you were saying was nonsense, then why did you say it, and why do you still think you’ve made a good argument? IOW, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

    Big Bang again. I did not say nothing could happen, the energy involved could quite easily have ended in a form other than that capable of supporting life. The probability that the Universe would be created probably n to the power of some astronomical negative number.

    With what basis do you make that comment? Show your work. You are simply claiming that event X was improbable and expecting us all to agree with you.

    The rest of your posting is mainly padding which enables you to argue that which you surmise, or have projected, from my original elementary posting. If you wish to argue I suggest you find a less demanding blog site.

    Whatever. I suggest you learn to post in paragraph forms so that we can actually read your vomitous ejaculations.

    I have realised that the scientific communities suffer badly from incest. That’s right, incest of though. Many breakthroughs in the fields of Science are made by free thinkers, not your definition of free thinking.

    First of all, you don’t even know what my definition of free thinking is. You’ve imparted upon me positions and thoughts that I do not hold as if you have some magic ability to know what I think. Secondly, you’re going to have to support this with some examples.

    I have been amused at the invention of new ‘particles’, Gravitons, to explain gravitational ‘pull’. Then came ‘String theory’, quite an interesting philosophical and mathematical distraction but probably the best you can say of it.

    These are attempts to explain data that we haven’t quite figured out yet. What is your explanation? goddidit?

    The most depressing part I find is that the works of Maxwell, Einstein, Schrodinger and Fourier have not led to the most blindingly obvious explanation of both gravitational ‘pull’ and the form of ‘matter’. Inertia and momentum being derivations.

    Oh great. You’re an armchair, crank, physicist that knows all about life, the universe, and everything, and if only those real, practicing physicists would agree with you, we’d all know the answer is 42.

    So why should I ‘bluster’ about that which I unable to get movement.

    Perhaps you should try ex-lax?

    Purely for the reason that, when I am long gone, others will remember. Possibly even OMGF. Please don’t even think about making comment on this. You will be out of your depth and I shall simply not involve myself in discussion with closed minds.

    If your knowledge of evolution is any indication, I’m not worried.

    No matter what I type he appears to have some irrational fear that I am trying to undermine the whole principle of evolution.

    Sigh. No, more like you are typing some erroneous things and I am correcting you. If you start actually talking about what evolution says and does, then we’ll be all set.

    If I were a 14 year old boy I would expect an explanation of perceived mistakes rather than the comment “nonsense”.

    When you post long debunked creationist tripe, there’s almost no other appropriate response.

    In relation to the ‘Deity’. I have my own interpretation which certainly differs from the image OMGF appears to wish to force on me.

    Which is funny, because in your last comment you admitted that I asked you to define your deity. So, which is it? Am I forcing a deity concept on you or have I asked you to define it? You can’t have it both ways.

    Perhaps #17 could been framed better but, #21 by OMGF, I considered gave me, and us,no room for discussion.

    Cry me a river.

    To put it quite simply, if the Laboratory personnel I had worked with had responded at first instance in that manner, they would have been out on their ear.

    Oooo, threats.

    The ‘Deity’ I would identify most closely with, would be one who used natural events to provide the outcome of his wishes. That is why I made an initial attempt to move Evolution into an area which could be accepted by Religious Theologians. My statement that there must have been a first man and woman does not negate the whole of evolution, but puts the developing human species into the realm of being chosen.

    Except that evolution does not operate in such events as having a first man or woman. If you want to be a theistic evolutionist, fine, but that’s not the position you are taking. The position you are taking is of a middle ground that makes no sense. You can’t “move evolution” into any area, because it stands or falls on the empirical evidence. You also can’t simply make blanket statements that evolution fails at X, Y, or Z, simply to prop up your religious leanings or to make it more palatable to theologians.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Francis,

    The theory on diffraction gratings is incomplete and incorrect for both photons and electrons.

    Go publish and then pick up your Nobel Prize.

  • Francis H

    Scotlyn and Steve Bowen.
    It appears OH MY GOD FATHER has blown a fuse. I do not intend to respond to an hysterical man, no matter what colour of lipstick he wears.
    I think I owe both of you more information in relation to my comments re Gravity and Mass.
    If OMGF will now do me the favour of ignoring my postings I would be grateful.
    I do not know whether or not you will approve of the slight deviation from the Evolutionary side of the discussion but OMGF did put meanings into my comments which detracted from the thrust of argument.
    The Big Bang. I am fully aware that time, as we know it, did probably not exist.
    At the initiation of the event I believe that a MASSIVE change of state occurred.
    That change being a wave front rising, or falling, in an infinitesimally short time. (As in delta y in calculus.) It’s been 50 years since my formal education in Integral calculus so my terminology may be as loose as that OMGF says it is in Evolutionary theory. You tolerance is requested.
    Now, by Fourier, a wave front rising in an infinitesimally short time will generate an infinite number of frequencies. (If a Square wave were considered the frequencies would be the Fundamental and all odd harmonics up to inf. This effect is used to generate waveforms in electronic musical instruments).
    Thus, my suggestion would be that this massive amount of Energy, tied up in a ‘blizzard’ of frequencies, may have eventually generated the matter of the Universe etc.
    I’ll stop there for two reasons.
    1) It may be fully rejected by you two good people.
    2) You may feel that even drip feeding my theories onto this message board is a breach of etiquette.
    If either of you agree I shall continue, a little at a time, until all outstanding ‘bluster’ is dealt with.
    Yours, Francis H.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    OH MY GOD FATHER

    Not what it means.

    I do not intend to respond to an hysterical man, no matter what colour of lipstick he wears.

    Coming from a crank? Wow.

    If OMGF will now do me the favour of ignoring my postings I would be grateful.

    Whatever.

    I do not know whether or not you will approve of the slight deviation from the Evolutionary side of the discussion but OMGF did put meanings into my comments which detracted from the thrust of argument.

    So you keep saying without showing. Problem is that you’ve made some pretty stupid comments.

    The Big Bang. I am fully aware that time, as we know it, did probably not exist.

    Probably? Do you even understand how we measure time?

    That change being a wave front rising, or falling, in an infinitesimally short time.

    More nonsense.

    Now, by Fourier, a wave front rising in an infinitesimally short time will generate an infinite number of frequencies.

    Sigh, no it doesn’t. An infinitesimally short pulse in space would be made up of (near) infinite wavelengths according to Fourier. IOW, the shorter the pulse, the more frequencies are used to make it. Take your square wave example. It’s the shape and physical makeup of the wave, not how quickly it oscillates.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    I think I owe both of you more information in relation to my comments re Gravity and Mass.

    I doubt I would know whether you were making sense, as I said I’m qualified to argue in the biological sciences. My physics is of the armchair pop science variety and not well grounded.

    It appears OH MY GOD FATHER has blown a fuse. I do not intend to respond to an hysterical man,

    I do not like getting directly involved in other peoples debates but… OMGF has a pugnacious style and he obviously enjoys a good online scrap, but in my experience his comments are invariably pertinent and his underlying knowledge is evidently sound. Ignore the style and take more account of the content, he really is trying to tell you something useful here.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Francis, your comments are completely irrelevant to the topic of this thread. If you want to peddle physics crackpottery, please go find another site to do it on.

  • Francis H

    Ebonmuse. #50
    Re your kind comment. I shall leave with great alacrity.
    But before I go I am honour bound to leave some good Christian advice.

    To function in the field of Science, whatever your field of knowledge, even if you have no better qualification than working as a Clerk in a Patents Office, need others to undertake the solution of the more complex mathematical problems, are slightly dyslexic and refer to God occasionally:-

    “ALWAYS QUESTION EVERYTHING, ESPESCIALLY THAT WHICH YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE”.

    As I leave I shall kick the dust from my shoes after being in this place.

    You won’t understand this, but that is your problem.

  • Scotlyn

    As I leave I shall kick the dust from my shoes after being in this place.

    Folks, I do believe we’ve been scriptured… Is there a technical term for this?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Francis,

    “ALWAYS QUESTION EVERYTHING, ESPESCIALLY THAT WHICH YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE”.

    This is good advice, but it certainly isn’t Xian advice. This is the method of science, not religion. Religion is all about not questioning and believing based on faith.


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