Intelligent Design Can Leave You Scarred For Life

Many of us know that movements like intelligent design, and even more so young-earth creationism, can leave their adherents scarred for life if they eventually discover the extent to which they have been lied to and misled by proponents of these ideologies. But probably no such person will be scarred for life as this one.

Arni Zechariassen shared the photo above of an “irreducibly complex” tattoo. What will happen if he reads Howard van TilKen Miller or Nick Matzke? I suppose the good news is that the tattoo can work well as a testament to the wonder of the natural order – and still as a pointer God, if one thinks in those terms – even without the misinformation propagated by proponents of Intelligent Design. So if he ever gets exposed to accurate scientific information, he’ll be glad he got this tattoo rather than a picture of Denyse O’Leary.

Jim Kidder shared some other cartoons centered on the idea of “teaching the controversy” and letting students decide.

The last one actually made me wonder whether it might not be useful to focus more on flat-earthism when dealing with this subject. After all, couldn’t someone with the view that the earth is flat simply say that God in his providence brings those who seek to circumnavigate the earth, and even light, from one edge to the other? As long as you are willing to introduce miracles to avoid a more obvious interpretation of the evidence, then not only intelligent design, nor even young-earth creationism, but even a flat earth can be embraced and pesky counter-evidence can be neutralized. And if someone is not happy doing so to defend the literal meaning of certain flat earth or geocentric texts, then they should ask themselves why they are willing to do it for their own preferred view.

Also related to this topic, IO9 shared a piece on how flaws in diamonds help us trace the history of the earth. Diamonds are not a creationist’s best friend – but when they get wind of this aspect of the evidence, will they say that God made all diamonds around the world this way in order to deceive us, or will they say that diamonds were made by Satan?

Also related:  Ted Herrlich blogged about Texas and the Discovery Institute, and an update on Texas. Jen McCreight blogged about the neutral theory of evolution as part of her blog-a-thon. Larry Moran shares how even a deaddog can tackle cdesign proponentsists. Horace Jeffery Hodges asks about the genre of the creation account(s) in Genesis. And Scott Hatfield has been busy teaching.

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  • Howard Mazzaferro

    It’s always nice to see a “Christian” belittle and ridicule every author of the New Testament, not to mention Jesus himself. Really James? Just what sort of Christian are you?

    • Nan

      I must have missed something…

      • Howard Mazzaferro

        Yeah, you missed reading all the rest of the comments…

  • Gakuseidon

    Not sure if you’ve seen the Onion’s satirical piece on “Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory”:,1778/

  • James F. McGrath

    Howard, I don’t believe that Jesus had a tattoo of a bacterial flagellum. Exactly how was I ridiculing him and apparently every New Testament author? Do you know something that I don’t know? 

    The ancient people you mention accepted the best understanding of the world available in their time. To do so then was nothing to be ashamed of. To expect people to accept the best understanding available 2,000 years ago instead of the best understanding available today is reprehensible – not to mention arguably at odds with what the earliest Christians actually did.

    What exactly got you so riled up?

    • Howard Mazzaferro

      James, I don’t think there is anything I can say that will make a difference. It is quite obvious that you do not believe in the Bible, or God or Jesus or the holy spirit or inspiration. It is the combination of these things that gives the Christian religion meaning and purpose. The best I can tell is that what you believe is that some average guy named Jesus walked around Israel 2,000 years ago with some peaceful ideas. That’s not a religion or something to believe in, is it?

      Because when you admit that Jesus says he believed in creation, but he was mistaken. You are saying that he wasn’t there with God at the creation. Jesus quoted the creation account in Genesis, but you say they are not true accounts. You are saying that Jesus, who has lived in God’s presence for the entire existence of man, was misled by these lies.

      When you admit that the Bible writers talk about and believe in creation, and you say they were mistaken, you are saying they were not inspired or have the holy spirit to direct them into all truth, but they wrote non-truths instead.

      Its a pretty pitiful God you believe in who can’t or won’t tell us the truth.

      You are basically rejecting all the major aspects of the Christian religion. I don’t have a problem with that, I know a lot of people who do that, but they are atheist, agnostic, mythicists or from a different religion completely.

      And as far as the proof of evolution, all I have to say is that even though something appears like it can happen one way, does not necessarily mean it did happen that way. I could sit here and throw millions of paint balls at my wall for about 50 years and eventually produce a decent picture, or I can get up and paint a decent picture with a brush in about an hour.

  • Anonymous

    Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture
    andDoonesbury [July 10/11]


    Intelligently-Redesigned Doonesbury [July 11//11]


  • James F. McGrath

    Howard, I don’t get where you are coming from. You think that the New Testament authors believed that bacterial flagella are intelligently designed? I don’t believe that they knew what bacteria were, never mind that they had flagella, much less their design.

    I don’t get your point about God’s honesty. If God has spoken clearly, uninterfered with by the intervention of limited human minds in the process, is it not in the created order? The rocks cry out!

    Your paint ball analogy is off target – if you will excuse the pun. It is in fact an issue with Bill Dembski’s claims addressed in one of the articles I linked to. Evolution builds on what was there before. Once organisms are in the picture, they contribute to their own evolution through their behaviors. So it is not a question of either God’s intelligent design or random paint balls. The intelligences of living things, such as they are, have been contributing to the evolutionary process for millions of years. And so in that sense – but not the sense used by modern day cdesign proponentsists – we are intelligently designed. But be that as it may, I have no idea why that aspect of the scientific portrait of how things work is objectionable to you. Do you also reject genetics because it contradicts our being knit together in our mother’s womb? Or the understanding of stars as suns, massive balls of hydrogen undergoing fusion, as incompatible with God calling the stars by name and their marshaling out to appear at his command? Why do you feel the need to drive a wedge between legitimate science and faith in God?!

  • James F. McGrath

    @R2D3, those are not reliable sources of information you linked to. If you are not a troll and are interested in discussion, I and others will, I am sure, be happy to explain exactly why.

  • Anonymous

    James McGrath wrote: “Do you also reject genetics because it contradicts our being knit together in our mother’s womb?”

    It does?

    Francis Crick and James Watson are the co-discoverers of the thread-like DNA molecule. Crick described himself as agnostic, with a “strong inclination towards atheism”. In 2003, Watson spoke at Youngstown State University and was asked by one student, “So you don’t believe in God?” The scientist answered, “Oh no, absolutely not. The biggest advantage to believing in God is you don’t have to understand anything, no physics, no biology. I wanted to understand.”

    Yet thousands of years ago the psalmist wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13;16). The phrase “you knit me together” anticipates that we are literally knitted or woven together at the molecular level.

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Thanks for the link, though there’s one “e” too many in “Jefferey” — should be “Jeffery.”

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • James F. McGrath

    @86fab6374dce5d7071f03c8ebebfb134:disqus, I’ll fix it -sorry!
    @R2D3:disqus, you deny that there are natural processes involved in the process of our genes producing a human baby based on genetic information in the chromosomes inherited from the parents?

  • notpmoc84

    Not that James can’t defend himself, but I think that people can believe a lot of different things and still be considered “christian”.

    Jesus was a man, and admitted that he had limits of his knowledge *as a man*(Mark 13:32).  He was raised by people who had no special knowledge of creation and presumably was taught about life by them.  He was even known to change his mind on things (see Mark 7:24-30).

    I don’t see how an acknowledgement of Jesus’ humanity counts against his being the son of God.

    Further, to say that the author was mistaken, but gave us the best information available seems pretty charitable considering the biblical authors were normal people.  Just because they weren’t scientific experts doesn’t mean they didn’t know anything about God.  It is simply to recognize that God works within the limitations of fallen humanity.

  • Anonymous

    Did I say that?

  • Anonymous

    Here are the 2 comics again….

    Doonesbury [July 10/11]

  • Anonymous
  • James F. McGrath

    @R2D3:disqus ,  why did we need links to them again? They are no more accurate in their depiction of evolution now than the first time? I mean seriously, it makes the pseudoscience being peddled look that much worse when you complain that evolution doesn’t explain origins (it isn’t supposed to, that isn’t what it’s about) and make silly references to humans “magically” appearing from apes.

    You don’t seem to know enough about this subject to be involved in an actual serious discussion of it.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

     James, I don’t understand why you do not see where I am coming from. No, I am not referring to the tattoo. I’m referring to the overall theme of the post that seems to indicate only fools believe in the creation account. I am neither an ID proponent or a young earth creationist, but I believe in the creation account. Maybe I am misunderstanding your deeper intent, but when you go on about people using miracles to oppose scientific facts, you are at variance with God’s wishes. Genesis does not go into biological detail as to how God created humans and animals, did God use any type of evolution to achieve some of this? I have no idea, I suppose it is possible, but it is not part of my faith in God because that’s going beyond what was written. I know that something magnificent happened at the creation of life on earth, I don’t know what exactly happened and God didn’t say either. What he did say was that he was the one who did it, that is what I am to take away from the Genesis account. He didn’t say it was done through evolution, so that’s not part of my beliefs. In the future, if he tells me that’s how it was done, then it will be part of my beliefs about God. But to accept evolution and reject the creation account is to abandon what God wanted us to believe, and we are only left with things that go beyond the Scriptures.

  • Anonymous

    Third time lucky. Here’s the origial Doonesbury strip from July 10/11

  • James F. McGrath

    @Howard, I have a great appreciation for the creation accounts in Genesis, and for that very reason I have little tolerance for those who claim that those accounts justify the rejection of mainstream science – and make the accounts themselves look bad and interfere with people appreciating them for what they are.

  • James F. McGrath

    If God provided evidence in the created order of how he created, shouldn’t that be good enough? Why would you need a prophet to proclaim to you what is observable?

  • Anonymous Regarded Genesis as Real HistoryIf Jesus was (and is) both the Creator God and a perfect man, then His pronouncements are always and absolutely trustworthy. And Jesus referred directly to details in each of the first seven chapters of Genesis fifteen times. For example, Jesus referred to Genesis 1:26-27 when He said in Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Man was created male and female “from the beginning of the creation,” not after millions of years. In the very next verse, Jesus quotes directly from Genesis 2:24 when He said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.” Five times Jesus refers to Noah and/or the destructive global Flood as real history. If He, as the Creator, was actually a witness to the events of Genesis 1-11, then we have no alternative but to regard these opening chapters of the Bible as reliable history.

    Ian Taylor concludes his article from the Creation Science Association of Ontario Newsletter (Fall 1995):”At increasingly earlier ages the belief is impressed upon children that evolution is a fact accepted by all educated people. Thus even if the child does become a Christian later in life, the fear of looking foolish lingers on subconsciously. While pride of intellect plays no little part, the bottom line is that the believer in theistic evolution has  less fear of God than he has of man.”—-Online Book: “In the Minds of Men” by Ian Taylor

  • Anonymous
  • Howard Mazzaferro

    James, I also have great appreciation for science, but its one thing to supplement your faith in God with scientific fact and quite another to replace your faith in God with scientific fact. I do not reject mainstream science, however, I also do not reject the Bible over tentative scientific discoveries that claim to disprove biblical accounts. Mostly because the biblical account it disproves is a misinterpretation of the biblical account. For example, the young earth creationist view of literal 24 hour days is obviously wrong. Genesis 2:4 disproves that idea, not to mention other things as well. The biblical days in the creation account were thousands of years. I wonder how a young earth creationist would explain the fact that we are right now still living in the seventh day. Another contradiction, the creation of light on the first day, but the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day. Is it really talking about the sun on the first day? Notice that it says God put a division between the light and the darkness. How exactly would this be physically done? How night and day are divided on the earth is that half the spherical earth blocks the light from the sun. If God had already created a spherical earth and then created the sun, this night and day feature would happen automatically based on the laws of physics. God would not have had to specifically create a division. Unless he was talking about something else besides simply creating the sun. I’m not saying I know what he was talking about, I’m just saying this leaves it open to other understandings besides creating a sun. Then again, maybe it was just depicted in an illogical manner so ancient Hebrews could perceive it in how they saw the world, that is if ancient Hebrews didn’t know that light came from the sun.

    Also, R2D3’s cartoon of evolution is no more inaccurate or offensive then your cartoon of “teaching both theories and let the kids decide” to my beliefs.

    • Richard Peachey

      Howard Mazzaferro asserts:”For example, the young earth creationist view of literal 24 hour days is obviously wrong. Genesis 2:4 disproves that idea. . . .”
      This assertion is incorrect. Various writers have attempted (wrongly) to use Genesis 2:4 against six-day creationists. Hugh Ross is one prominent example of this. But such an argument simply does not understand the Hebrew construction involved. Please see my exegetical analysis of Genesis 2:4, here:

      • Beau Quilter

        I took a look at Richard Peachey’s site on a whim. I have to say, it brought a smile to my face.

        The essay is tiresome, but the painting of young woman with a flower in her hair conversing with a congenial velociraptor is worth the price of admission.

      • Howard Mazzaferro

        Allrighty then, how do you explain that we are still living in the seventh day, that started more then 6,000 years ago?

  • Anonymous

    There appears to be at least  eight perspectives with regard to origins:

    ATHEISTIC NATURALISM  God does not exist. There is no real design (only apparent design) and nature is all there is.[eg. Carl Sagan:”The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”]

    AGNOSTIC NATURALISM  One is unsure whether God exists. Though nature may not be all there is, nature is all that matters.

    THEISTIC NATURALISM  God exists. He designed the natural laws. There is no design in the strict sense, and although _in principle_ nature is not all that matters, _in effect_ it is.

    THEISTIC EVOLUTION (WEAK DESIGN). God designed the natural laws so that their ordinary operation would result in the intended outcome.

    THEISTIC EVOLUTION (STRONG DESIGN).To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws, but also determined their initial conditions.

    INTERVENTION To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws and determined their initial conditions, but also intervened in subsequent conditions.

    SPECIAL CREATION [old universe/old earth/recent global flood] To ensure the intended outcome, God designed the natural laws, determined their initial conditions, and intervened in subsequent conditions. God created the universe billions of years ago. Although micro-evolution /speciation occur, it is viewed as variation within created “kinds” (baramins) eg. the cat “kind”. Macro-evolution has never occurred.

    SPECIAL CREATION [young universe/young earth/recent global flood] To ensure the intended outcome, God designed the natural laws, determined their initial conditions, and intervened in subsequent conditions. God created the universe only thousands (not billions) of years ago. Although micro-evolution /speciation occur, it is viewed as variation within created “kinds” (baramins) eg. the cat “kind”. Macro-evolution has never occurred.

    Note: Many creationists and proponents of intelligent design prefer the term micro-variation to micro-evolution, because they argue no net “evolution” (vertical evolution: information-building evolution) has occured.—Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson says naturalists define words like “evolution” and “science” in such a way that naturalism is true by definition. Johnson said in World magazine:

    “Evolutionary science is based on naturalism and draws philosophical conclusions to that base. That’s why any theistic evolution is inherently superficial. It leads people into naturalistic thinking, and they don’t realize it.” (Nov. 22, 1997, p.13)

  • Nan

    Howard, if you know the McGrath view but are unhappy with any but a literalist view of the Bible–forgive my density, but why are you here? It is entirely possible (some of us say desirable) to dearly love the entire book of Genesis without interpreting it as factual in a scientific sense. The issue is not faith or its absence; the issue is whether one accepts only a literal reading of scripture.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • James F. McGrath

    And what led you to decide to turn to a lawyer rather than a philosopher of science for an answer to that sort of question?

    Anyway, there are indeed a range of possible views. Where would you place yourself on that spectrum, if I might ask? Should I assume that if you posted a link in lieu of an actual comment, that link goes to something that reflects your precise viewpoint?

  • James F. McGrath

    R2D3 now you are just spamming. Even if those links were not to misinformation and lies told not only about mainstream science but also about the Bible, it would still be spam to just fire off links like that.

    Speaking of intelligence and design, a bot can post links. Let me know if you change your mind and decide you want to actually engage in conversation.

  • James F. McGrath

    I deleted the comments that were just links and nothing else since a quick search indicated that the commenter in question regularly trolls sites and posts links but does not interact, and we obviously don’t need that sort of thing here.

  • James F. McGrath

    And the comment about the mother’s womb text even involves self-plagiarism from an article he wrote last year, without any indication of that. Wow, certain subjects really bring out the trolls, don’t they?

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Nan, obviously I am here to show James the error of his ways. Just kidding!

    I’m actually here for many reasons, but its too late to get into all of that right now. But I will say that most of the time I am trying to understand James’ view. I wouldn’t say I was unhappy about his view, just confused. If someone wants to reject parts of the Bible as myth and legends, reject miracles from God, say Jesus did not possess the supernatural knowledge of a heavenly being, and the apostles and Bible authors did not receive the holy spirit that revealed God’s truth, and say they were a Christian, I suppose I can deal with that.

    As I already said in another comment, Genesis is not really dealing with scientific facts. So you can not compare the two. The creation account is providing one main point, that God was responsible for everything that exists. He doesn’t say exactly how he did it, but that he himself did it. If you believe that one point, and want to speculate that he did it by evolution, then fine. But if you reject that one point in favor of a Godless evolution, then you are rejecting God. Its as simple as that. And when someone goes through the rest of the Bible rejecting its miraculous accounts in favor of a humanistic viewpoint, then God is being rejected at every turn.

    So I am just curious how someone can reject God at every turn then say they believe in God and that they are a Christian.

    • Nan

      Thanks. I’m thinking on all of this.

  • Paul D.

    Weeds spring up quickly after a rain.

  • James F. McGrath

    @google-2e495af83153bef01b686a6c2268489d:disqus, I think we already established that you don’t accept the existence of the dome the existence of which is clearly set forth in Scripture (Genesis 1:6). And so if rejecting myth in the Bible is a problem, then the difference between you and me is one of degree, not of kind.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    I guess I’ll never fully understand your position. However, on the other hand, I don’t think you fully understand mine either. I do not believe there are any myths in the Bible. I believe things were depicted in many different ways to get a specific point across. I also believe some things were written so that they were not understandable until certain other features were met, and some our still future yet. But I believe it is all accurate when understood properly and when it has been granted. In my mind, God is real, and he has a real interest in man and he has plans for him, and man has a part to play in this plan, so he needs accurate information to accomplish this. God has provided this information in his book. A book that he will not allow to be corrupted. You are an author, would you sit idly by while someone misrepresents things from one of your books right in front of you? I know I wouldn’t, and I don’t believe God would either.

    • Beau Quilter


      Though we usually disagree, I think I can usually at least understand your position on given issues. 

      But I have to say, this time you’ve totally lost me! 

      You’re not a young earth creationist, you’re not an ID proponent, you can accept evolution at some level … so what’s your beef with James this time? 

      James’ post is about the faults of ID science and young earth creationism. I don’t think he ever uses your phrase “Godless evolution.” And, in fact, he links to scientists such as Ken Miller who contends that the truth of evolutionary science and God’s creative hand in the universe are completely compatible.

      What are you arguing about?

      (As a side note, it seems that you have a particular interpretation of the meaning of the Genesis days of creation. That’s fine, but it’s not very clear what you believe. And I don’t think you’re saying that James is promoting a “Godless” creation, because he’s not agreeing with your interpretation of Genesis – or are you?)

      • Howard Mazzaferro

        Beau, I guess the problem is that when James writes these kinds of posts ridiculing ID and young earth creationist with silly cartoons and outrageous comparisons, such as we could use the same reasoning to believe in a flat earth, he is also ridiculing me, even though I am not a proponent of ID or a young earth creationist. The ridicule can be applied just the same to my views. That would be the same as if I ridicule some specific groups views on the trinity to show that such a belief is ridiculous. Wouldn’t I really be ridiculing all people who believe in the trinity no matter what their specific beliefs about it are?

        I’m not sure what James’ view of creation is, but it sure sounds like he does not credit it to God. He may credit the actual origin of life to God, but I’m pretty sure he believes all the different species including humans came about from biological evolution. The Bible does not seem to agree with such an idea. However, simply saying God created man from the dust of the ground, leaves out a lot of details, so many things are possible here. I just choose to leave it at that, and hopefully God will fill in the rest later. That doesn’t mean I don’t speculate about things, but speculated things are not part of my theology.

        • Beau Quilter

          Come, come, Howard. I’ve seen enough of your posts to know that you’re not above ridiculing an idea you don’t agree with :^)

          It’s fine that you hear the biblical creation story and “choose to leave it at that”, as long as you don’t mind scientists who choose not to leave it at that.

          Unfortunately ID proponents and young earth creationists do mind. 

          Excellent evolutionary science is leading not only to an understanding of our biological past, but also to better understandings of biology today: genetic disorders, viral evolution, antibiotic resistence, etc.

          • Howard Mazzaferro

            Beau, You are correct about the ridicule, hence the hullabaloo in the comment section. I never said no one couldn’t, but they are going to get it right back.

            Actually, I am very involved with science and technology and I don’t discourage it at all. What I disagree with is when people say to abandon the Bible’s concepts in favor of scientific evidence. There are two main problems with this approach. 1. Science is not 100% correct all the time, if it even achieves 100% at all. 2. The biblical concepts are hardly ever interpreted 100% correctly. So there is an overlap of either one being wrong or both being wrong. I live in this overlap.

            Let me try another analogy and don’t screw with it this time… :)

            Lets say I wrote in a journal that I planted 5 trees in my back yard. That’s all I wrote for that day and about that subject. Then 25 years later, some people stop in my yard to admire all the trees because no other yard in the neighborhood has any trees (there’s 20 trees in my yard now) And one of their children ask, “how did all these trees get here?” The father then goes on to describe how trees use seeds and pollination to reproduce and the father theorizes based on science, that at one time a single seed blew into this yard and was responsible for all the trees.

            A good guess based on the scientific evidence, but it is still wrong because there is other evidence to the contrary. Now if this father was shown the journal, he would be forced to change his theory, because the contrary evidence would be viewed as credible because it was a clear statement. It’s not that the science was wrong, it was just applied in the wrong way. The clear statement in the journal pointed out the error. The not so clear statements in the Bible however, are simply rejected based on a not so clear interpretation or a wrong interpretation.

            • Beau Quilter


              So let me just extend your analogy about the journal and the trees. If you had planted only one tree, then three the next week, but erased the last entry in your journal …

              … just kidding! 


  • Richard_Peachey

    Regarding James McGrath’s comments on “Flat Earth” belief in his original post above, I think it’s important for us all to understand that this whole business is a fraud foisted upon the church by evolutionist scholars. I am not proposing some sort of conspiracy theory on this; standard historians see it exactly as I do. See my summary of the evidence here:

  • Gary

    The Einstein cartoon represents two theories that should be taught. E=MC2 falls out from relativity. Also, magic might as well be renamed quantum mechanics. Magic best describes uncertainty, strings, quarks, strange, charm, probability densities, Schrodinger’s cat, tunneling, etc. Anyone that believes in these, which I do, can hardly challenge a simple, one-time resurrection of a guy 2000 years ago.

    • Beau Quilter

      Um, no. Quantum mechanics may involve some strange and unexpected properties of quantum level particles, including an uncertainty principal which is not purely deterministic.

      But quantum mechanics is a science based on exhaustive research with predictive power and years of experimental evidence and real-world applications. It is most certainly not magic.

  • Gary

    @Beau….come on, Beau, loosen up. Solving mathmatical equations for multidimensional space, and electron equations for probability densities for, wait a nanosecond, an electron was there, then it wasn’t, then it tunnels through a energy barrier, and I can actually measure the resulting current. I can indeed make measurements, thus science, on quantum mechanics. HOWEVER, the ideas were all generated by purely math models of how things work…..Einstein, Schrodinger, and most honest physicists admit, they don’t truely understand the concept entirely. I call that magic. You must be a physicist that is wound up too tight, or no imagination (just joking).

    • Beau Quilter

      Sir Arthur Eddington in his 1929 The Nature of the Physical World, famously compared the activity of elementary particles to Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”:

      “the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe”

      You can enumerate the particles and describe their activity to an extent, but you can’t compare them to anything in the macro world. Particles are not like billiard balls or planets, and atoms are not like baseball diamonds or solar systems 
      (or magic). Particles are what they are and they do what they do.

      We may not be able to visualize what they are and what they do in a way that makes sense to a biological creature of our size, but we know enough to make excellent predictions about how atomic particles affect the universe we see. We may have no idea when a carbon 14 atom will decay into a nitrogen 14 atom, but we know that half the carbon 14 in the sample will decay in 5730 years.

      Sorry to be a stiff-shirt about the magic comparison; but “magic” is word we use for things we can’t model mathematically, for which we can’t devise experiments, and for which there is no evidence.

      Scientists can devise useful (or destructive) nuclear reactions using radioactive materials.

      But no matter how you mix the lacewing flies, blades of knotgrass, and filings of saltpeter, mercury and mars – I’m afraid you’ll never get a goblet of polyjuice potion.

      Because quantum mechanics works. Magic doesn’t.

      • Howard Mazzaferro

        “Because quantum mechanics works. Magic doesn’t.”

        I beg to differ, I have seen a lot of magicians and their magic worked just fine! :)

        • Beau Quilter

          Excellent analogy!

          Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!

  • Gary

    @ Beau, I’ll let you give the last word, since I am not so sure we disagree in the overall physics of the world. However, per the comment “You can enumerate the particles and describe their activity to an extent, but you can’t compare them to anything in the macro world”….”The Grand Design”, Stephen Hawking, pg 137, under the picture, “Multiuniverse – Quantum fluctuations lead to the creation of tiny universes out of nothing. A few of these reach a critical size, then expand in an inflationary manner, forming galaxies, stars, and, in at least one case, beings like us.” Concerning magic, my interpretation, same book, pg 140, “Consider the apparent dimension of the universe. According to M-theory, space-time has ten space dimensions and one time dimension. The idea is that seven of the space dimensions are curled up so small that we don’t notice them, leaving us with the illusion that all that exist are the three remaining large dimensions we are familiar with.” So I use the term “magic”, Hawking uses the word “illusion”. I can live with that. I didn’t say that I didn’t believe it. Only implied that there is more to matter than mass.

    • Beau Quilter

      I loved The Grand Design! I didn’t even have to get out of my chair to reach for my copy and turn to the page you referenced.

      Yep – we probably don’t disagree here.

  • James F. McGrath

    @Richard, how is what you linked to a consideration of the evidence, and how does it relate to what I wrote?

  • James F. McGrath

    @Richard, how is what you linked to a consideration of the evidence, and how does it relate to what I wrote?