Can Creationism Be Disproven?

The ideal in science is to come up with testable hypotheses that can be confirmed or proved wrong by evidence, at least in principle. It seems to me that the various forms of pseudoscientific creationisms (young-earth creationism and intelligent design) are inherently unfalsifiable. No evidence is allowed to count against them. If one sees evidence of poor design in nature, you are simply told that the Designer must have had a good reason for designing it that way. If you point to evidence for evolution, you can always be told that God created the world with the appearance of evolution, and you’ll never be able to prove that it wasn’t so. As long as creationists are willing to posit an arbitrary and deceptive God, then there is no evidence that could ever be incompatible with it.

Some Christians will be uncomfortable with holding a viewpoint that can no more be falsified than a claim that the Hindu God Brahma created the world 10 seconds ago, creating you with your memories in tact and even your (obviously wrong) Christian beliefs. I think that most Christians, when it comes down to it, actually want to be able to discuss relevant evidence and adjudicate between ideas. But doing that only works if your own claims and ideas are also open to scrutiny and potential disproof.

I find that it is helpful to separate one’s individual beliefs from one’s faith. One’s belief system is not entirely independent of the individual beliefs that it consists of. But for the most part, changing one belief will not cause the whole thing to collapse – although it might require some remodeling. Discovering that the Bible is not always accurate can be upsetting for conservative Christians, and would require revisions to their worldview. But it doesn’t mean that God does not exist, for instance. That’s a question that has to be addressed separately, and which does not depend on a certain view of the Bible.

I’d like to ask a more fundamental question, however. Why is it that some Christians consider it more important to argue that God did not create by means of evolution than to maintain that God is loving and truthful? To engage in denial of mainstream science sooner or later leads one to accuse God of deception or at least ambiguity, to say nothing of the way that fellow Christians working in the natural sciences get accused of either utter stupidity or brilliant involvement in an impressive conspiracy.

If you are a Christian attacker of evolution, please be aware that in defending one particular doctrine, you are doing harm to others, some of which are arguably more important. If God created through evolution, God still created, and the end product is still human beings with the ability to worship, ponder, love, create, and blog, among other things. But once you deny the truthfulness of God, the ability of the Creator to be known via what has been created, you have done serious damage to the heart of Christianity and the teaching of Scripture.

I should mention in closing that there is a new sub-reddit about origins over at Reddit, and one of the posts there inspired this one.

A group of young-earth creationists hard at work.

  • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

    Well, I can certainly tell you that the version of the firmament these YECers are carrying in the photo ain’t gonna work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Simply put, the entire Bible revolves around such ideas as sin and recognizing God’s sovereignty. The theme that runs through the Bible is about God’s divine plan to bring humans to a sinless nature. And all of this is tied into the account of Adam and Eve, as Paul says in Romans 5:12 “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”

    If you are correct and evolution is responsible for the existence of humans, when did sin enter the world? But more to the point, what is written in the Bible does not conform to an idea of sin entering into the world through some evolutionary process. Also, if sin entered into the world through an evolutionary process, then it was part of the planned nature of humans and not an act of conscious rebellion. So man would not be accountable for his sinful nature. And if God does bring humans to a sinless nature as promised in the Bible, he would be altering our original natures that he planned through the process of evolution. That is unless our original nature was sinless. How would you explain this?

    Also, if God knew humans emerged from animals, why wouldn’t animal sacrifices have been a sufficient corresponding sacrifice?

    (Hebrews 10:1-4) . . .For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things, [men] can never with the same sacrifices from year to year which they offer continually make those who approach perfect. 2 Otherwise, would the [sacrifices] not have stopped being offered, because those rendering sacred service who had been cleansed once for all time would have no consciousness of sins anymore? 3 To the contrary, by these sacrifices there is a reminding of sins from year to year, 4 for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take sins away.

    Yeah, I know you will say that these were just the religious ideas of ancient Jews because they did not know about modern science and evolution. If that is so, then very little of the Bible reflects any type of reality that is helpful to us in any meaningful way.

  • http://lowerwisdom.com JSA

    In principle, it is impossible to disprove either the hypothesis “chance did it”, or “God did it”, since either hypothesis could be used to explain anything.

  • Robert

    I don’t think young earth creationism can e disproven – evolution could be, in theory, but the evidence keeps stacking up in support instead – but creationism can be challenged on theological and Biblical grounds. It creates a picture of a dishonest, lying, untrustworthy God which is at odds with traditional Christian theology, and it depends on the arbitrary use of the Bible. If the six days of creation are to be taken in a woodenly literal manner, why not geocentrism or the ‘waters above’, stacked above the sky?

  • Lamont

    Howard–

    What do you feel ‘sin’ is?  Disobedience of God’s laws?  Or something else/more?

    Lamont

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      The common Hebrew term translated “sin” is chat•taʼth′; in Greek the usual word is ha•mar•ti′a. In both languages the verb forms (Heb., cha•taʼ′; Gr., ha•mar•ta′no) mean “miss,” in the sense of missing or not reaching a goal, way, mark, or right point. So sin is anything not in harmony with, hence contrary to, God’s personality, standards, ways, and will; anything marring one’s relationship with God.

  • Lamont

    Howard–

    1.  If original sin is about ‘falling short of the mark’ or ‘missing the mark,’ what would ‘meeting the mark’ look like?  Obedience?  Or something else/more?

    2.  I think you’re stretching ‘missing the mark’ when you talk about ‘not in harmony with, hence contrary to, God’s personality, standards, ways, and will.’  I think you’ve broadened the interpretation of sin past what the author of the Adam/Eve/snake story thought sin was.

    Lamont

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      Lamont,

      Why would you think that? Lets try again, a sin is an error, more specifically an error in judgment. Now to judge something, you have to be aware of both sides of the issue, the right and wrong. Then you need a foundation in which to base your judgment, whether it’s a countries law, a companies policies, or God’s will. If you want to live in a certain country, you must follow its laws. If you want to work at a certain company, you must follow its policies, and if you want to have a relationship with God, you must abide by his will. In all three cases, you have to first learn what is expected of you to continue in that particular situation. There will be restrictions and guidelines that you need to follow. If you make errors in judgment concerning these rules, you can be thrown in jail and lose your freedom, you can be fired, and you can be in rebellion against God.

      If anyone thinks they should be able to do anything they want and still be in God’s favor is really fooling themselves. Even in our imperfect nature, we have a moral code that determines who we will be in a relationship with. Would you knowingly hang around with a serial killer, or a rapist who is currently still active? Hopefully not, they do not meet your moral judgment of what is right and wrong. It is the same with God, he has a moral code significantly higher than ours, and does not look with favor on anyone who continues to practice what he considers wrong. But he also has the capacity to reverse this decision if the person stops doing wrong and does the opposite, and we have this capacity as well.

      The “he” is Adam, why do you ask?

  • Lamont

    By the way, who’s ‘he’ in gen 2:22?

  • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

    Lamont:  “he” is “the man” (אֱלֹהִ֧ים) from v. 7ff.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      Why did you say “the man” but write God in Hebrew?

      • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

        HA!  Bad cut/paste from my interlinear!  Looked too quickly, saw the alef and dalet (both start the same), and it all went downhill from there.  Try this on:  אָדָם‎

        • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

          And the pesky dalet looks like a lamed if you’re not careful.  Geesh.  I read Arabic script for a living, not Hebrews!

          • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

            Yeah, take that extra “s” off “Hebrews,” too!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

          Okay now it makes more sense… :)

          Wait, maybe it doesn’t, if you were responding to the wrong scripture Lamont listed as Gen 2:22, the “he” in fact was Elohim. Just had to be a smartass…

  • Lamont

    oops– I meant gen 3:22.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Same answer, Lamont.  Perhaps you’re attempting to differentiate between Adam of Gen 2-3 and “man” in Gen 1?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    Your right James, creationism is sort of a less likely sort of “we live in a matrix” scenerios. It could be true but without evidence to support it I’m not sure why I should let that possibility affect my behavior. Likewise we may live in a Matrix but I’m not going go on a shoot-out in a metropolitan office building based on the possibility that I’m only killing simulations. 

  • Lamont

    Maybe I’m misreading badly in Gen 3:22.  But substituting names for pronouns, You get:

    God said, “the man has become like one of us, knowing good from evil,” or

    Adam said, “the man has become like one of us, knowing good from evil.”

    Makes no sense; I must be reading something really badly.

    Like one of who?

  • Lamont

    Maybe I’m misreading badly in Gen 3:22.  But substituting names for pronouns, You get:

    God said, “the man has become like one of us, knowing good from evil,” or

    Adam said, “the man has become like one of us, knowing good from evil.”

    Makes no sense; I must be reading something really badly.

    Like one of who?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      I think I see what’s going on here. You must have a version that reads similar to the Douay -Rheims Bible below.

      “And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now therefore lest perhaps he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”

      This version has omitted “YHWH elohim” at the beginning which is usually translated as LORD God. This particular version appears to be from the Latin Vulgate which also has omitted the Hebrew portion. So I thought you were talking about the “he” in the “he put forth his hand” But the answer is God is the “he” in your version.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Does this help, it’s an interlinear of the Hebrew. Words connected with “-“ are a single Hebrew word.

    And-he-is-saying YHWH god behold the-human he-became as-one from-us to-know-of good and-evil

  • Mike Felker

    “If one sees evidence of poor design in nature, you are simply told that the Designer must have had a good reason for designing it that way. If you point to evidence for evolution, you can always be told that God created the world with the appearance of evolution, and you’ll never be able to prove that it wasn’t so.”

    James, what Creationist or ID literature have you been reading whereby you are “simply told” and “always told” these explanations?  Even if you disagree with their conclusions, is this really a fair way to represent them?

  • Lamont

    “Sin is error in judgment.” 
    Ok, for now.  For the most part I agree.  We’ll get back to
    this in a minute.

     

    “to judge something, you have to be aware of both sides of
    the issue, the right and wrong.”

     

    Two things on this. 1)  If you’re not aware of both
    sides, the right and the wrong, is it even possible for you to sin? 2)  Are there only two possible responses to a
    situation, the right and the wrong?  In
    the Adam/Eve/snake story, what is the right judgment?  Because that right judgment will determine
    what a wrong judgment looks like. 

     

    In this story, what is God’s will?  Not just God’s expectations, or God’s desire,
    or God’s laws, but God’s will?  To say that obedience to God’s regulations or
    commands is God’s will for Adam and Eve (and mankind) is to define God’s will
    in terms of sin and obedience.  That’s it?

     

    “if you want a relationship with God, you must abide by his
    will.” 

    So in the Adam/Eve/snake story,
    was the relationship severed?  Did Adam
    and Eve no longer have a relationship with God? 
    Or was it changed into a different relationship?  And if it was changed into a different
    relationship because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, what was it changed into?  In what way was that relationship different
    than the relationship before their sin?

     

    H, you often see the world in extreme, non-congruent
    dichotomies.  And it might well be that
    the author of this creation story saw things the same way.  But I don’t think so.  The opposite of ‘full relationship’ with God
    is ‘no relationship’ with God.  So the
    relationship is not a dichotomy, an on/off switch.  It’s more of a gradient, don’t you think?  They have a ‘lesser’ relationship, rather
    than ‘no relationship.’

     

    “We have a moral code that determines who we will be in a
    relationship with.”  Sorry, but our moral code doesn’t
    determine who we have a relationship with. 
    It might determine how we chose to engage with others, but it doesn’t
    determine who we have relationships with. 
    Our status and our choices have
    more to do with who we chose to have relationships with.  The code may be a guideline for who we
    wish we had relationships with.

     

    So back to ‘sin is an error in judgment.’  Adam and Eve made an error in judgment.  And it must have been a 9 out of 10 for God,
    because not only did he punish them for their sin, he punished all follow-on
    generations for their sin.  That is one
    serious hard-on for a pair of first time sinners; we don’t even punish the
    children of serial murderers that way. 
    So some how, God’s moral code is a bit extreme.

     

    Lamont

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      If you’re not aware of both sides, the right and the wrong, is it even possible for you to sin?

      Biblically speaking, the answer to this is yes and no. It depends on your situation and when you lived. Not to mention there are two different kinds of sin, inherited sin and personal sin.

      Are there only two possible responses to a situation, the right and the wrong?  

      There are multiple responses, but only two results based on the set of laws you are trying to follow. For example, if someone broke into your house to kill you, under US law, you could defend yourself by killing him, you could jump him and hold him down and call the police, you could run away. None of these multiple responses would break US law, so you would be in the right. Now if you jump him and tie him up take him to your basement and torture him for weeks, you have now broken US law, and done something wrong.

      In the Adam/Eve/snake story, what is the right judgment?

      Actually, this was a unique situation. As people with free will, we can decide what we want to take part in and what we do not. Adam and Eve were created by God as perfect humans with free will, since it was not their decision to be created or to live under God’s rule, he provided a way for them to make this decision. That provision was the tree of knowledge. God had said, I do not wish for you to eat from this tree, but he didn’t prevent them from doing so, and if they had not eaten from it, they would have made a conscious decision to accept God as their ruler, the one who decides what is good and bad in all situations. However, when they did eat from it, they made a conscious decision to reject God as their  ruler, and wished to decide for themselves what was good and bad in all situations. As perfect humans who absolutely knew the truth about God, there was no turning back, they made their decision. They were sentenced to death, not so much as a punishment, but the result of Adam severing his relationship with God. Why would God continue to support anyone who does not wish to have a relationship with him? For instance, have you ever quit a job and expected the company to continue sending you a pay check for the rest of your life? However, God knew that some of Adam and Eve’s offspring would want to be under God’s rule, so he made provisions for this in the future.

      what is God’s will?

      That is merely what God wants for his creation. It is not about following rules, but about all his creation being happy and enjoying their life under God’s rule.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      If you’re not aware of both sides, the right and the wrong, is it even possible for you to sin?

      Biblically speaking, the answer to this is yes and no. It depends on your situation and when you lived. Not to mention there are two different kinds of sin, inherited sin and personal sin.

      Are there only two possible responses to a situation, the right and the wrong?

      There are multiple responses, but only two results based on the set of laws you are trying to follow. For example, if someone broke into your house to kill you, under US law, you could defend yourself by killing him, you could jump him and hold him down and call the police, you could run away. None of these multiple responses would break US law, so you would be in the right. Now if you jump him and tie him up take him to your basement and torture him for weeks, you have now broken US law, and done something wrong.

      In the Adam/Eve/snake story, what is the right judgment?

      Actually, this was a unique situation. As people with free will, we can decide what we want to take part in and what we do not. Adam and Eve were created by God as perfect humans with free will, since it was not their decision to be created or to live under God’s rule, he provided a way for them to make this decision. That provision was the tree of knowledge. God had said, I do not wish for you to eat from this tree, but he didn’t prevent them from doing so, and if they had not eaten from it, they would have made a conscious decision to accept God as their ruler, the one who decides what is good and bad in all situations. However, when they did eat from it, they made a conscious decision to reject God as their ruler, and wished to decide for themselves what was good and bad in all situations. As perfect humans who absolutely knew the truth about God, there was no turning back, they made their decision. They were sentenced to death, not so much as a punishment, but the result of Adam severing his relationship with God. Why would God continue to support anyone who does not wish to have a relationship with him? For instance, have you ever quit a job and expected the company to continue sending you a pay check for the rest of your life? However, God knew that some of Adam and Eve’s offspring would want to be under God’s rule, so he made provisions for this in the future.

      what is God’s will?

      That is merely what God wants for his creation. It is not about following rules, but about all his creation being happy and enjoying their life under God’s rule.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Mike, there certainly are a range of claims, views and arguments that in may encounter. I have certainly encountered the sorts of statements I mentioned in my post. But if you are interested in some of the other ways I have blogged about other sorts of things written about Intelligent Design, here’s a link to a round-up of blogging on this subject at my blog’s previous location: http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2010/02/blogging-creationism-and-intelligent.html

  • Sarah

    James I agree that a Christian should not damage the faith of
    another Christian (terrible warning in the gospel) – and that of one who may not need to know or think about science but accepts and trusts Jesus like a “child” .

    However evolution seems to have damaged the faith of many who put their trust in science – eg if someone sees that the words in Genesis are metaphor or symbolic or they may say – then how do I know which parts of the Bible are not metaphor ?
    eg they would have to believe that Adam and Eve were descended
    gradually from apes – and many other inconsistences arise. 

    Paul the apostle preached the Cross of Christ and the Holy Spirit
    then gives a believer the knowledge of the truth that he needs.
    Paul also tells us not to get involved in endless debate and arguments which only cause strife.

    However in Romans Paul does say the following – but I think this is
    more for those that don’t believe in God at all.

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. ”

    There seems to have been many Spirit filled Christians that
    did not dwell on the method of creation especially among the early fathers.      eg Augustine.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, those Christians whose faith has been damaged are, for the most part, people who we told by Christians like you that they must choose between evolution and Christ, and that evolution is a lie of the Devil. If ever such people learn that they were lied to by Christians, and discovere how convincing the evidence for evolution is, is it any wonder that they find their faith damaged? It is the Christians who damage it in such instances. People lose their faith because they are told by other Christians such as yourself that the evidence from God’s own creation is otherwise than it is, as though God’s own testimony in the realm of nature cannot be trusted – the very opposite of what Paul says.

    Why do you choose to trust a charlatan like Ken Ham who has no expertise and relies solely on his own ego, rather than someone like Francis Collins, an Evangelical Christian who also clearly knows something about science?

    • Sarah

      Since Jesus would not quench a smoking wick I don’t think
      it is always a salvation issue.  Therefore to put a fellow
      Christian on a spot like that would be wrong.

      I think any Christian who has doubts should pray for knowledge – but there are many Christians who don’t even give it a thought – and get on with their Christian witness
      and charity.

      Millions of Christians know that Jesus is real without evidence.

      I think there is less case for evolution now than ever.

      But it did seem to be a salvation issue for Darwin and Prof Dawkins and millions of others – so as soon as they believe in evolution they leave the faith.

      Cant see why the evidence is otherwise than it is.

      Most Rabbis take Genesis literally and even have the years
      since Adam in their lineage.  See LUKE

      So here is a question   – Say a “baby” Christian asked you
      who came before Adam after reading Luke – what would
      you say ?

      What if a Christian is brought up from childhood to believe
      in the Bible and is later told that Adam evolved from an ape and the flood was metaphorical ie did not happen – would
      this not damage his faith.  I think more people have left
      their faith through evolution theory than the other way around but this is my personal opinion.

      The communist children were taught evolution since it was
      part of the athiest cult.  If you read Richard Wurmbrand’s free book on internet you will find evolution played an important part in many atheistic dictatorships.

      There are plenty of scientists who do not believe in evolution – they even have a  website – about 1000 on it.
      But as one scientist said Creation is the elephant in the room – so their must be thousands more scientists who have
      not come out.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I lived in Romania for 3 years as well as having spent much time there before and since. I can attest to the ways the Communists sought to utilize Darwin as a means to combatting faith, just as I have seen Capitalists try to appeal to Darwin to justify laissez-faire economics. Everyone tries to appeal to science in an attempt to bolster their viewpoint – that is even what the young-earth creationists are doing in their own way.

    But that doesn’t justify spreading misinformation. There have been Christians saying that evolution is a theory in crisis whose downfall is imminent since even before Darwin’s time, believe it or not. And it simply isn’t true. You have been lied to. I know, because I was once a young-earth creationist. Fortunately my faith survived the experience of discovering that I had been duped. I simply did what I assume you are doing: repeating things that I had been told about Darwin and science, attacking evolution because I thought that as a Christian I was supposed to.

    But if you take the time to fact check the claims that have been made to you, you will find that you have been fed a lot of misinformation. For instance, Darwin had many Christians supporters, and his loss of faith, contrary to what you claimed, was a result of his daughter’s death. I’ll bet you have never read a biography of Darwin, and were either just repeating what others told you, or simply making things up. But either way, you have borne false witness.

    I don’t find myself able to say, when I compare the genealogy in Matthew and Luke, that it is self evident that these are factual. I used to assume that the reason for the numerical scheme in Matthew’s genealogy was simply a matter of numerical precision. Then I counted them.

    I hope you can underrstand why I feel strongly about this. When lies and misinformation about science are associated with Christianity, it drags the credibility of our faith through the mud.

    There is a book which I think you would find life-changing if you were to read it. It is by Kenneth Miller, and the title is Finding Darwin’s God. Miller does a better job than anyone I know of exposing where young-earth creationists have been guilty of deceit, and he does so as a Christian himself. He also explains why YEC is bad theology and ends up depicting God himself as a deceiver. I think that you would find it an important alternative to your current sources of information, whatever they may be.

  • sarah

    Prof James I understood that Darwin lost his faith before his daughters death – These doubts set in during the journey of the
    Beagle and also when he returned.
    However a swimming iguana is still an iguana and the finches have
    built in genetic adaptability in their beaks and are still finches.

    When you counted the ancestors of Jesus back to Adam what was
    the problem – was it because it came to around 4000 years.

    Could you tell me who do you think came before Adam – an answer to this would be of great help to me in understanding your beliefs ?

    Hitler and Lenin admired Darwin and used the philosophy for their
    survival of the fittest creeds (a cruel philosophy) .

    The great apostasy predicted by Paul will be fuelled by unbelief
    in the Bible. As many athiests say “is the bible not just ancient
    history written by men – and is no longer relevant ?”

    You keep saying that creationism is lies and evolution is true
    but the evidence is not there.

    Could you give one example of information being added to the Genome to produce a new species or “kind” ?

    How can the geneology of Jesus not be “factual” ?

    God is not the author of confusion – everything happened just
    the way that God tells it.

     

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I was referring to the numbered sets in Matthew’s Gospel. Try counting them, without counting anyone twice.

    i was also referring to the discrepancies between the genealogies in Matthew and Luke.

    You still continue to show that you don’t understand what biological evolution entails or how it works, yet you are nevertheless eager to claim that it isn’t based on solid evidence. Clearly you are simplly repeating claims that you have heard from others. Does truth matter to you or not? If so, them you ought to actually investigate the subject. Why not read something by Francis Collins, an Evangelical Christian and scientist, about the subject? Why not something by Francisco Ayala? Why continue to allow yourself to be deceived by charlatans?

  • sarah

    Prof James why not just answer one of the questions eg – If a potential believer asked you who came before Adam what would
    you tell him or her.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Hi Sarah. I am getting ready to leave for church (I teach Sunday school) but let me offer a quick response and some links to places where I have addressed some of these topics before.

    The short answer is that I am not, as you seem to think, simply inserting evolution into the time before Adam. I view the story of Adam (or better, about Human) as about what human beings a like, and not as a scientific or historically factual story about how humanity appeared. I believe that within the early pages of Genesis there are good reasons provided by Genesis itself for understanding it that way.

    I can’t seem to get the link to paste, but had wanted to share some links, such as my post about teaching the creation stories, from my old blog location at exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com. I guess that will have to wait until later – sorry!

  • sarah

    Prof James – If one of the children in your Sunday school asks
    who came before Adam surely you would have to come up with a truth ?

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Sarah,

      I’d be happy to dialogue with you privately regarding your questions to Prof. McGrath.  Far be it for me to speak for him, but I suspect we have similar positions on a number of matters regarding science, the Bible, inerrancy, etc.

      So if you’re open-minded to understanding how I believe in these matters while finding my faith both strengthened and enriched, I’m game to dialogue with you.

  • Gary

    I’d say worship Jesus, not the bible. Jesus is perfect, the bible is not. Especially the OT.

    • sarah

      “Man cannot live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD that
      comes from God”  Jesus is the WORD made flesh.

      Gary – Jesus is telling us to live by his every word. In the Hebrew the OT is inerrant – The Jewish scribes did and still do incredible checks on their scripture to ensure
      accuracy.

      “not one jot or tittle of the law and the prophets will pass away until all has been fulfilled” Jesus.

      The new testament is also inerrant especially in the Greek.
      There are slight variations in transalation but the KJV is probably more accurate.

      So the two weapons we have against Satan are the Bible
      and Prayer.  By saying the Bible is not perfect you are
      saying that God in his infinite power cannot ensure the
      accuracy of His WORD.

      It is the Bible that instructs us how to worship God and Jesus or we would know nothing.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, I teach adult sunday school. In response to your most recent comments, what is your basis for stating that the KJV is more accurate? Which translations have you worked through in detail in comparison with the original languages, in order to draw this conclusion? Or are you here too simply parroting things that others have said, on subjects that you have never investigated for yourself?

    The scribes who copied the Hebrew Bible were indeed cautious and remarkably precise. But where we have the possibility of comparing manuscripts, whether of the Hebrew Bible or of the New Testament, it remains the case that they were careful and accurate, not inerrant.

    Since you don’t seem to be grasping my point that “Who came before Adam?” is not a meaningful question, let me try responding with a question: “Of whom was Cain afraid when he was driven out from the presence of the Lord?”

  • sarah

    Prof James
    There are no mistakes in the Hebrew old testament law and prophets as Jesus states – not even a tittle.

    The new testament has many different translations from greek and latin so there are differences but generally not material but in recent times the differences are increasing .
    Even on the Alpha course Nicky Gumbell covers the new testament
    well on this – unless tampered with the original greek is inerrant.

    Why is who came before Adam ? not a “meaningful” question.
    But somehow your question is meaningful.

    Now I will answer your question :-
    “The Bible does not specifically say who Cain’s wife was. The only possible answer is that Cain’s wife was his sister or niece or great-niece, etc. The Bible does not say how old Cain was when he killed Abel . Since they were both farmers, they were likely both full-grown adults, possibly with families of their own.
    Adam and Eve surely had given birth to more children than just Cain and Abel at the time Abel was killed. They definitely had many more children later . The fact that Cain was scared for his own life after he killed Abel  indicates that there were likely many other children and perhaps even grandchildren of Adam and Eve already living at that time. Cain’s wife was a daughter or granddaughter of Adam and Eve.Since Adam and Eve were the first (and only) human beings, their children would have no other choice than to intermarry. God did not forbid inter-family marriage until much later when there were enough people to make intermarriage unnecessary “.

    Because this appeared in “whistle down the wind” it is common
    among evolutionists – the film was a travesty of the truth.

    I just copied and pasted – this is the usual explanation on thousands of sites and I agree with it.

    Can you now answer my question – who came before Adam. ?
    Was Eve made from Adam’s rib or do you believe this is
    “symbolic”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I thought I would take these 5 proofs of evolution and give my response to them.

    1. The universal genetic code.  All cells on Earth, from our white blood cells, to simple bacteria, to cells in the leaves of trees, are capable of reading any piece of DNA from any life form on Earth.  This is very strong evidence for a common ancestor from which all life descended.

    A. While slight variations on the standard code had been predicted earlier, none were discovered until 1979, when researchers studying human mitochondrial genes discovered they used an alternative code. Many slight variants have been discovered since then, including various alternative mitochondrial codes, and small variants such as translation of the codon UGA as tryptophan in the species Mycoplasma and translation of CUG as a serine rather than a leucine in the genus Candida. Despite the minor variations that exist, the genetic code used by all known forms of life is nearly universal. However, there is a huge number of possible genetic codes. If amino acids are randomly associated with triplet codons, there will be 1.5 x 10^84 possible genetic codes. In theory, the genetic code could be completely random (a “frozen accident”), completely non-random (optimal) or a combination of random and nonrandom. There are enough data to refute the first possibility.

    People are always trying to develop universal systems, why do you suppose they do that? Maybe its the smart way of doing things.

    2. The fossil record.  The fossil record shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.

    A. The problem with the fossil record and transitional forms is that there is just as much a possibility that these transitional fossils are in reality just another kind of animal, with slight variations from another kind. What we need to see is evidence that they are transitions from an earlier animal. I found the following quote from a pro-evolution site interesting.

    “Creationists will critique transitional fossils in a variety of ways. They might claim that a transitional fossil is not proof of an evolutionary relationship since you can’t prove that it is, in fact, an ancestor of any later organism. It’s true that we can’t prove this in the strictest sense, but transitional fossils are suggestive of an evolutionary relationship rather than proof of it. As is so often the case, this is an example of creationists demanding proof when science deals rather with supporting evidence then claiming that the absence of absolute proof demonstrates that evolution isn’t science at all.”

    Don’t evolutionist often demand proof of God? Supporting evidence is never good enough for them.

    3. Genetic commonalities.  Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats, 80% with cows, 75% with mice, and so on.  This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past.  And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.

    A. That would certainly be what we would expect a creator to do if his creations were to survive in the same ecosystem. If humans were entirely different from all other living things, how would we then live? If we are to eat food to provide nutrients and energy to live, what would we eat if every other organism on earth were fundamentally different biochemically? How could we digest them and how could we use the amino acids, sugars, etc., if they were different from the ones we have in our bodies? Biochemical similarity is necessary for us to have food!

    4. Common traits in embryos.  Humans, dogs, snakes, fish, monkeys, eels (and many more life forms) are all considered “chordates” because we belong to the phylum Chordata.  One of the features of this phylum is that, as embryos, all these life forms have gill slits, tails, and specific anatomical structures involving the spine.  For humans (and other non-fish) the gill slits reform into the bones of the ear and jaw at a later stage in development.  But, initially, all chordate embryos strongly resemble each other.
    In fact, pig embryos are often dissected in biology classes because of how similar they look to human embryos.  These common characteristics could only be possible if all members of the phylum Chordata descended from a common ancestor.

    A. It was an idea of Étienne Serres in 1824–26. In 1886 Ernst Haekel proposed that the embryonic development of an individual organism (its ontogeny) followed the same path as the evolutionary history of its species (its phylogeny). It is also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism. It was a theory  that tied evolution with embryology The theory basically stated that before they are born, organisms pass through developmental stages that look like adult animals of other species, in roughly the same order that these other species split off during evolution. Although there is something to this idea, it is no longer thought to be such a useful way to look at development.

    5. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics.  Bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution.  It is important to note that in every colony of bacteria, there are a tiny few individuals which are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics.  This is because of the random nature of mutations. When an antibiotic is applied, the initial innoculation will kill most bacteria, leaving behind only those few cells which happen to have the mutations necessary to resist the antibiotics.  In subsequent generations, the resistant bacteria reproduce, forming a new colony where every member is resistant to the antibiotic.  This is natural selection in action.  The antibiotic is “selecting” for organisms which are resistant, and killing any that are not.

    A. This has nothing to do with evolution, it is simply the results of chance happening. The bacteria did not mutate to prevent itself from being killed, it just happened to have some makeup that was resistant to the antibiotic. This only proves that the environment can direct the specific traits of a species through natural selection, it does not mean natural selection can change one species into another.

    • sarah

      1. Howard I agree with your excellent post

      That the same code is used for all living things is evidence of a common designer. God uses the code to produce different living organisms analogous to a builder using building materials to produce different buildings. If you see a house next to some flats using the same materials you would not assume that the house “evolved” from the flats.
      2. As Darwin himself said – he was amazed at the lack of transitional fossils. eg  Fish fossils just suddenly appeared.
      He hoped that more would be found after his passing – none have.
      In a global flood the sea creatures would normally be covered in sediment first. The faster and more intelligent
      land animals would be found higher up in the sediments.
      3.Haeckel was exposed as a fraud since he “made up” his drawings.
      4. Gill slits in humans were debunked.
      5. The bacteria have built in adaptability – they remain
          – bacteria.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, If there were no copying mistakes, then why do the manuscripts we have show evidence of copying mistakes? If you think that Jesus was making a statement about textual criticism, then you are saying that Jesus was wrong.

    I don’t understand the Nicky Gumbell reference, which seems to be saying that the text is inerrant except when it isn’t. But at any rate, I was talking about the copying of manuscripts, not their translation, so I am not sure whether we are on the same page regarding the topic of discussion.

    Since you botched the name of the movie Inherit the Wind I think it is safe to conclude that you are once again discussing a topic that you know nothing about. This time you happen to be correct that the movie doesn’t remain true to events as they actually transpired. But since you didn’t know the name of the movie, you ended up being right by accident, and not because you took the time to be well informed about this subject before debating it.

    I used to do the same thing. I wonder why it is that some Christians feel obliged to demonstrate that other people are wrong even when they have not researched a subject well enough to know whether they are wrong, much less prove it.

    If there were not a literal Adam, then no one would be before him, and so the question that has to be answered first is whether the story with Adam is one that can be treated as scientifically and historically factual. If not, then the question you are posing will become meaningless. And the fact that the story includes a talking animal seems to give a clear indication of its genre. Why do some Christians feel that the appropriate response to such details is not to treat them as clear indications about genre, but instead as tests of their willingness to treat things as factual that run counter to their own experience and everything they have ever learned to be true about literature? Why do some Christians delight in envisaging God trying to trip human beings up and play mean tricks on them?

    • sarah

      Prof James
      The scribes have brought the old testament down completely accurately by hand (until recently) for thousands of years (incredible) so the Old Testament law and the prophets that the orthodox Jews use will be 100% accurate.

      Nicky Gumbel proves there are no significant differences
      in the commonly accepted different versions of the new testament.

      James -What on earth is important about the name of a movie which I watched ?  Why make such a big thing about it ?

      Don’t really understand your answer.
      You imply that Adam and Eve are symbolic so what does
      this do to the whole Bible story of sin and salvation and that
      the First Adam sinned. Adams sin is the key to the curse on and rebellion of mankind and the whole redemptive process finishing with the lamb of God Jesus’s propitiatory
      sacrifice for our sins.

      Do you believe in Lazarus being brought to life eg trillions
      of decaying cells (clay) becoming alive again.

      Then if you believe in Lazarus then why do you think that God could not make Adam out of clay and Eve from a rib.

      The resurrection of Jesus must be believed to be a Christian
      - this was instantaneous NOT evolutionary.

      The Bible is not “literature” written by man but by God.

      You are thinking with human reasoning rather than with
      belief in the power of God.  Faith is believing things which
      we have NOT seen – you are thinking in the “natural”
      or in the flesh.

      Satan can enter or become a snake. It implies that the animals could talk in these days but not now apart from the
      odd species.  We are not given the full picture of the snake.

      Having a form of religion but not believing in the power thereof – Timothy  ( not putting you in this category but
      this is how some people think).

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Howard, I think that the genetic evidence actually demonstrates more than your comment indicates. While one can obviously treat anything as compatible with design, as my post indicates, when we have one fewer chromosome than other primates, and one of ours is larger and has remnants of telomeres in the middle indicating fusion of two chromosomes, is there a good reason to explain that as something that God simply made that way, rather than as evidence of our common ancestry with other primates and an indication of one of the more substantial changes that has resulted in our divergence from them genetically?

    See http://www.evolutionpages.com/chromosome_2.htm

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      From Geneticist, Andrew Hellman, Stanford University

      “Genes, not the chromosomes, matter in making a plant or animal what they are. Chromosomes are really just how the genes happen to have been grouped over the history of the plant or animal. And the way the genes are grouped can change.

      Think about it like piles of clothes on the floor of a kid’s room. The chromosomes are the piles and the genes are the clothes. The clothes in the piles can be put together to make whatever outfits the kid usually wears.

      It really doesn’t matter how many piles the clothes are in as long as all of his or her clothes are there. Same thing with genes. It doesn’t matter if human genes are in 46 or 56 chromosomes — it’s the genes that matter.

      And there is a wide range of chromosome numbers. Animal chromosome numbers range from 254 in hermit crabs to 2 in a species of roundworm.

      The fern called Ophioglossum reticulatum has 1260 chromosomes! Humans have 46, chimpanzees have 48, and yes, potatoes also have 48. All of these numbers have come about because of chance.

      As I said, chromosome numbers can change over time. They can stick together by accident through a process called fusion. Although this decreases the number of chromosomes, little or no genetic information is lost. The chromosome number just goes down. Like making 2 smaller piles of clothes into one bigger pile.”

  • Ian

    Howard. Hellman is quite right. But his quote doesn’t make your point, nor contradict the evolutionary implications of human Chromosome 2. Chromosomal organisation is highly conserved. So the patterns of its variation provides very good evidence of mutual descent.

    But your comment, as biblical literalists (we’ll see where Sarah goes on her KJV-onlyism), plus some mythicists, various conspiracy theorists, and others I’ve interacted with, have shown a kind of noxious tendentiousness.

    They pick little bits of information that sound roughly like they have enough jargon in them, but show no desire to actually learn what the experts actually say, nor why they say it. As such they are entirely unable to assess the implications of what they say.

    There are plenty of ways you can actually learn some real genetics and evolutionary biology. Learning it from either a pro-evolution* website or anti-evolution website is a good indication you’re actually more concerned about being right than discovering the truth.

    *Pro-evolution websites are not a good place to learn this stuff. Firstly most are written by well-meaning non-specialists, and secondly, because they are arguing against anti-evolutionists, they cede the agenda, and so don’t typically give you a sense of what is actually important in the field.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      Ian,

      My purpose for quoting Hellman, was to point out that it is the genes that decide what a plant or animal is going to be. So could you answer the following questions?

      1. How did the fusion of these chromosomes affect the genes?

      2. How exactly did 2 chromosomes from 2 different great apes fuse together?

      3. What does this fusion mean? Did it turn an ape into a human?

      4. Are the genes within the two fused strands of human chromosomes exactly the same as in the great apes corresponding chromosomes?

      As for my tendencies, show me a person that says he has no bias and I will show you a liar and a fool. Of course I am biased, I have made a commitment to my beliefs. I’m not one to be blown about like the waves of the sea with every new teaching that comes along. It’s called faith, a commitment to the truth I accepted. If you want to live in doubt till the day you die, be my guest.

      • Anonymous

        Howard, Like I said, you lack even a basic understanding of genetics and evolutionary biology. Putting forward a list of “if you’re so clever, answer this” is just more Dunning-Kruger grandstanding. 

        You can’t tell which two of these questions make no sense. You wouldn’t understand the answers to the others. And the answers would not be helpful in bridging your lack of understanding. 

        This has nothing to do with faith or doubt. It is your pride and ego. That here, with no study or intellectual effort, you can hold court on the findings of a complex field.

        If you are actually interested in the answers, then repent of your arrogance, and go and learn about it, on its own terms.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

          Ian, I never claimed to be a geneticist, but neither are you, or you would have answered my questions. The questions were presented specifically so I could see your answers, and proceed from there, it had nothing to do with grandstanding. The questions were real, I wanted real answers because I am confused, from what I read, chromosomes are fused together all the time. What makes this significant, and what relation does it have to the genes?

          But that is only part of the issue, evolution can be rejected for a number of reasons. The most important is because it is not undisputed fact. The fact the earth is spherical is undisputed. No one would reject that fact, especially scientists, unless they were insane. However, many scientist question evolution, that would not be the case if there were not numerous unexplained gaps in the theory. So is Michael Behe insane?

          To me, evolution is like the following simplified analogy. If you walked into someone’s house, and you seen a table full of pies, and you notice someone in the kitchen banging pans around. Most people would assume that the person cooking in the kitchen is the one who made the pies. All the evidence is there to make such a supposition, but the supposition could still be wrong, someone else might have made the pies before that other person entered the kitchen.

          If God used the same blueprint to create all living things, this might surely confuse scientist and geneticists. First because they only know a fraction of what is really there, but more important, if God did use basically the same blueprint, then the evidence for evolution is theoretically there in the biology. If someone was smart enough to understand and manipulate the genes in our bodies, I’m sure he could reproduce something that would support evolution, all the information is there in our genetic code. Most living things on this planet are closely linked together by genetics. So did evolution link us together over time or did God create us linked together to be able to share the ecosystem? I am going to have to go with the one that God himself said happened.

          Did God create with the purpose to make it look like evolution happened to deceive us for some reason? No, man has just misjudged the situation because he didn’t have all the facts, the same with my analogy above. In my example, no one tried to deceive anyone, the person just jumped to the wrong conclusion because he didn’t have all the facts.

          Another annoying thing is most people on here say, “you must believe in evolution, you are a fool if you do not believe in it. Go look at all the evidence, its in your best interest.”

          Why? How will believing in evolution change one iota of my life? On the other hand, how is believing that God created Adam ruining my life? So let me get this straight, if the true God has anything to do with the book we call the Bible, he either introduced the creation story himself or he let men introduce it in a document that he knows represents him here on earth. So the only way to really please God is to be smart enough to recognize the creation account as mythical or symbolic and to know that it either represents the idea of evolution, or evolution is to replace it, and the only people who could really do this, lived in the past 200 years. So the creation account has been misleading people for thousands of years until evolution was proposed? Is that what you are telling me?

          No, it is not my pride, my boastful speech is in God. (Psalm 34:2) “In YHWH my soul will make its boast; The meek ones will hear and will rejoice.”

          • Ian

            “but neither are you, or you would have answered my questions”
            Man, you really are full of yourself aren’t you?

            “The questions were real, I wanted real answers because I am confused”

            Rubbish. If you really wanted answers you’d go study the subject, rather than looking for comments on a religion professors blog. The motivation for your comments, and your responses throughout this thread are pretty clear.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

              Yeah, I didn’t think you knew anything… All talk are we?

              • Ian

                “Yeah, I didn’t think you knew anything..”

                Zero to “you guys with PhDs know nothing” in four comments is exactly why creationism is so pernicious, and its adherents so worthy of ridicule and exclusion from grown-up debate.

                So how about you answer your own questions, using the thousands of books you said you’ve read?

                1. How did the fusion of these chromosomes affect the genes?

                What ways can you think that chromosomal organisation might affect genes? Could it have an effect on nuclear replication, if so what? Could it have an effect on gene expression? Can we assume such effects would be neutral?
                2. How exactly did 2 chromosomes from 2 different great apes fuse together?

                Fail. Go back and read the paper (or a summary) again to find what it actually claims.
                3. What does this fusion mean? 

                You might want to revise what a chromosome is, since the answer to this should be pretty obvious in general terms (the specific biochemistry is more complex, but let’s walk before we run). You should look particularly at how a chromosome is organized during normal cell activity, not just meiosis. How does the chromosome transition between these states? So by what mechanism might chromosomes fuse (this isn’t trivial, but I’d expect a bright high-schooler to be able to get there)?

                Did it turn an ape into a human?

                Remember your grade-school biology here. You can do better than this.

                4. Are the genes within the two fused strands of human chromosomes exactly the same as in the great apes corresponding chromosomes?

                Read the paper (or any of its summaries) and answer these reading comprehension questions: what indicator genes were used to identify the fusion site?, how much genetic material was excised in the fusion?, what genes were duplicated into the fusion site? And based on your general biological knowledge: other than genes, what other features of the genetic sequence would you expect to see correlated across the fusion site? Would you expect this feature to show higher or lower levels of correlation that an analysis based on homologous genes?

                My original comment said 

                “Chromosomal organisation is highly conserved. So the patterns of its variation provides very good evidence of mutual descent.”

                Which really is all you need to know to understand the significance of Chromosome 2 in human evolution. If you had the basic biology, that is.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

                  Talk about reading comprehension, I did not say all PhDs, just you! And where did I say I read all those books, I said I have them, for reference. “grown-up debate” Don’t make me laugh, you have done nothing but criticize my character from the beginning, real professional of you. And you answered nothing, because you don’t know anything Mr. PhD, what did you major in, being a jackass?

                  • Ian

                    No answers to my questions? All talk are we?

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

                      I would actually have to take time to research the information, and it has become clear to me that it would be a waste of time because you are not willing to discuss anything, you only want to blow your own trumpet and insult people. Not the type of person I want to have anything to do with, but thanks anyway. See you in a million years or so when we evolve into a bucket of slime or something. :)

                    • Ian

                      Okay, thanks for not ratcheting up the bile further (or too much further anyway). I shouldn’t have been so fatuous in the last response.

                      “I would actually have to take time to research the information, and it has become clear to me that it would be a waste of time”That makes me sad, genuinely. Please don’t think that spending some time learning about this stuff is useful to the extent that it polishes my trumpet.I’m sure there is some area where you really know your stuff. I don’t know you, but let’s say you are fluent in Japanese, or you are a passionate coin-collector. We all have areas like that.If you have that kind of knowledge in any field, you’ll know that there are very obvious clues that give away people who don’t know their stuff. They use the wrong term for something, or they mess up a particular bit of grammar, or they fail to pick up a blindingly obvious connection. Things that let you instantly see where their knowledge is at.It is no different in evolutionary theory. It is clear fairly quickly where someone is in understanding the field. I don’t mean  accepting it, just in how much exposure they’ve had to it.With creationism it isn’t just about being a beginner. In the language example, imagine that there is some group of people who claim to speak Italian, but actually are speaking Portugese. When you discuss with them, they immediately want to take you right to obscure Italian words derived from roots that are also used in the Portugese language, and show how, of course what they are speaking is Italian.If this keeps happening anyone who actually speaks Italian would want to say “BUT YOU DON’T KNOW ITALIAN!”This my problem with “debating” creationism. There just is no point in starting to discuss our disagreement at human chromosome 2. It is a silly place to start. We have to double back to the start and start with the “Hello”, “I am Ian and I am 12″, level. And just like a language, there’s no earthly way anyone can teach you from scratch in a series of blog posts. You need to go and find a basic high-school level evolution text-book. Then an undergrad text-book on genetics and another on evolution. If you want to go further, you can read a good book on population genetics, or on cell biochemistry. And as you do, it will be obvious you have an increasing grasp of the basics, so it will make more sense to ask “hey, how do they think Chromosome 2 fused?”, and I can help get the answer for you.That’s my problem with talking to creationists. I am not professional about it, no, I’m pretty pissed actually, because I love the Italian language, and I’m fed up with all these Portugese speakers going around telling everyone they are speaking Italian.That’s why I use my degree in being a jackass.If you do, if you really can say: I’m going to start from lesson 1 and learn what evolutionary theory says, then that’s great. IF you are genuine about that, I’ll give you my personal email, and be available to answer anything you don’t understand as you learn over the next couple of years. I’d love to be helpful in that way.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

                      No Ian, you have it all wrong. I never claimed to be an expert on evolution or genetics and I have no interest in doing so. I will explain in a minute. But first lets see how we got to this point. I put up a comment with my responses to 5 proofs of evolution. The majority of what I answered with, were quotations from other sources. No one had a word to say about what I wrote except James, and he is the one who brought up Chromosome 2. I replied to James with Hellman’s words, hoping someone would explain the connection between genes and Chromosome 2. Then you reply with.

                      Ian said: “But your comment, as biblical literalists (we’ll see where Sarah goes on her KJV-onlyism), plus some mythicists, various conspiracy theorists, and others I’ve interacted with, have shown a kind of noxious tendentiousness.”

                      They pick little bits of information that sound roughly like they have enough jargon in them, but show no desire to actually learn what the experts actually say, nor why they say it. As such they are entirely unable to assess the implications of what they say.

                      Learning it from either a pro-evolution* website or anti-evolution website is a good indication you’re actually more concerned about being right than discovering the truth.”

                      So what did I say or quote so far to deserve such an attack on my character? Also, I used one little quote from a pro-evolution site just to show the ignorance there. The rest was taken from Wikipedia and Hellman’s site.

                      Then after your insulting comment, I still politely explained why I quoted him and asked you some questions that I admittedly did not understand. What did I get, more hate and insults, remember these?

                      Ian said: “Like I said, you lack even a basic understanding of genetics and evolutionary biology. Putting forward a list of “if you’re so clever, answer this” is just more Dunning-Kruger grandstanding.

                      You can’t tell which two of these questions make no sense. You wouldn’t understand the answers to the others. And the answers would not be helpful in bridging your lack of understanding.

                      This has nothing to do with faith or doubt. It is your pride and ego. That here, with no study or intellectual effort, you can hold court on the findings of a complex field.

                      If you are actually interested in the answers, then repent of your arrogance, and go and learn about it, on its own terms.”

                      I guess we both know the rest. I never claimed to be an expert I was merely attempting to respond to the Chromosome 2 question raised to me.

                      Now for what I have been trying to argue that you have made no attempt to address, are the philosophical and theological ramifications of evolution.

                      But on another note, you keep implying that if I take all this time and effort to accurately learn about evolution and genetics, it will somehow convince me. Did it convince Michael Behe and others? I don’t think it will convince me either, I don’t feel I need to invest that much time. If there were absolutely no doubt in the academic and scientific communities over evolutionary theories, I might be more persuaded to investigate. But for now, I’m willing to let these men and women’s expertise speak for me as well.

                      And you never did answer my question. How will believing in evolution benefit my life? Or how will not believing it affect my life other then being insulted by PhDs?

                    • Ian

                      Okay, I was unreasonably pissed with you, then. I’m sorry. Its hard to  have a rational (grown-up?) discussion with someone who has already decided what you’re trying to say. Mea culpa. Sorry Howard.

                      “But on another note, you keep implying that if I take all this time and effort to accurately learn about evolution and genetics, it will somehow convince me. ”

                      Actually, I don’t necessarily think that’s true. But it will mean that you can understand and enter into a discussion on it. Whether it convinces you, (in my opinion) depends on the malleability of your current worldview. 

                      “I don’t feel I need to invest that much time.” 

                      No. And that’s cool. You don’t have to know about stuff. Just like I have no desire to learn Portugese right now, or spend 3 years studying world coin production. That’s fine. But I’d also recognise that I’m not going to make a sensible contribution if I wade into a discussion on the merits of Portugese literature.

                      But given that you are asking questions about evolution, and the implication of genetics, I suspect you are interested. Interested enough to have read Behe, say, or other creationist / ID works. And if that is the case, you’re plenty interested enough to read the actual science, at least the introductory text-books.

                      “And you never did answer my question. How will believing in evolution benefit my life?” 

                      I would hope it would give you a better sense of the wonder of the cosmos, of the workings of the natural world, and the contingency of life.  But, as I said, your beliefs aren’t a big deal for me. I do care that you aren’t used as a conduit for other people’s misinformation. And I think finding out is good for that.

                      “Now for what I have been trying to argue that you have made no attempt to address, are the philosophical and theological ramifications of evolution.”

                      I haven’t attempted to address it because I don’t care about it, and I didn’t realise you’d tried to engage me in that (I could have just skipped that bit through lack of caring). I find the theology of evolution entertaining, but it would rarely draw more than a curious musing from me. I would say, however, that if you want to understand the theological implications of something, it is probably worth spending some time understanding the something first.

                      “other then being insulted by PhDs?”

                      No guarantee of that either way.

                • Chris

                  conserved “chromosomal organisation” is mo more evidence of mutual descent than it is of comparable design.  One only assumes descent, if they already assume evolution.

                  In addition, when the “chromosomal organisation” is not conserved – say whales – mutual descent is still argued.

                  Seems like evolution gets it both ways.

                  • Ian

                    Grr – deleted my comment… trying again.

                    “mo more evidence of mutual descent than it is of comparable design.”

                    Indeed. Because God wanted it / created it that way is a completely valid explanation of anything in the universe. Whether it is biological phenomena, physical observations, whatever. It is also entirely irrefutable by science. In fact it is irrefutable by anything.

                    But

                    “when the “chromosomal organisation” is not conserved”

                    You don’t seem to understand what conservation is. It isn’t binary. If you can find anywhere in the evolutionary tree where there is a lack of conservation of genetic features, you’ll have an excellent disproof of evolution.

                    • Chris

                      They make a good argument here: http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v11i12f.htm

                      And please, if they state ANYTHING wrong, point it out.

                      Thanks!

                    • Ian

                      A good argument for non-conservation? Seemed to me they were talking about the opposite.

                      As for ANYTHING wrong, the whole thing is written in a way to maximise the amount of rhetoric and minimise the information. Its normal creationist crap, and won’t help you understand what conservation is and why it is important.

                      There’s nothing magic or mysterious or controversial about conservation of genetic features down lineages. If you just simulate the way a bunch of individuals pass down their DNA by hand, you’ll see conservation at work, and if you have me the results, I’d be able to reconstruct the sequence  you used.

                      If you’re asking specifically about a claim on why lab-initiated mutations in Ultraconservative DNA weren’t deletarious, then see my long comment to Howard below. I think you need to learn to walk before we start to run. Understanding the basics of inheritance and genetic conservation would be a good start.

                    • Chris

                      “creationist crap” yet nothing specific. Very helpful. However you reply doesn’t supply an adequate answer for conservation either or the nonconservation (whales) of genetics. It’s a theory within a theory.

                      But hey I’m just spouting creationist crap. Though
                      You fail to point out any crap at all…

                    • Ian

                      “yet nothing specific”

                      You haven’t shown you even understand what I mean when I talk about the conservation of genetic features. “Dna or morphology?” what? You know what genetics is, right? How can we possibly talk specifics?

                      And now you’re off on the ‘information’ content of evodevo! And that it goes against evolutinary thought! And somehow gene regulation means ‘information has always been there’! – it would be funny if you weren’t so seriously convinced of this nonsense.

                      Seriously Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. So yes, creationist crap. Why not start by actually trying to understand the subject. There are plenty of ways you can do that.

                    • Chris

                      Ian,

                      No, as to the article I posted – you didn’t answer.  You hide behind my lack of understanding.  that is a cop out.  It’s irrelevant if I understand your answer, I asked you for what is WRONG.  “Crappy creationism” doesn’t help me, nor anyone else that might be interested.

                      Yes, I overstated on Evo Devo – however there IS A DIFFERENCE between ED and what has been predominantly taught as to the speculative mechanics of evolution.

                      Perhaps, I am a bit confused on some issues, however you aren’t doing anything to help are you?  No, just chastizing.  Very intellectual, Ian. Very.

                    • Ian

                      I’m not claiming to be helpful Chris, much less intellectual. I have no desire to try to educate folks who cruise around posting rubbish on internet forums. There’s *plenty* of help available if you really wanted it. 

                      My point is very simple: if you want to debate calculus, but can’t yet add up, don’t be surprised if nobody takes you seriously.”It’s irrelevant if I understand your answer”That’s says everything anyone needs to know about your motivation for asking.”however there IS A DIFFERENCE between ED and what has been predominantly taught as to the speculative mechanics of evolution.”How would you know? Since you don’t actually have a grasp of what is taught as the mechanics of evolution? Evodevo isn’t taught in high-school, true, where you’re struggling to get most students to grasp the basics of natural selection (and, incidentally, you don’t have to look around many forums like this to see that even high-school biology is more than most folks end up ‘getting’). But it certainly isn’t incompatible in any way. But to assert in capital letters that black is white is just laughable.

                    • Chris

                      Ian, regards to your still not answering and “how do I know there are differences between EvoDevo and and what is predominatly taught”  because I do look and try to learn.

                      Are their differences?

                      YES!  and you know what they are too, I could list them if you’d like – my “understanding” allows me to accomplish that.
                      And they are quite drastic from what is taught.

                    • Chris Meyer

                      As for features, what do you mean exactly?  DNA or morphology?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, two points in relation to the misinformation you insist on repeating, as found in your last comment.

    First, there is one glaring problem with the “running animals” explanation of the stratification of living things in the fossil record: plants can’t run.

    Second, the liars to whom you have been exposed continue to say that transitional fossils have not been found. But they have. Fossils are rare, and so do not provide a complete picture. Plus every time a transitional form is found, it simply leaves two more “gaps” on either side for young-earth creationists to try to spin. But clear examples like Tiktaalik are significant not only because they are transitional forms, but also because they are found in the fossil record in the period were mainstream evolutionary understanding predicts that they should be.

    But again, the main issue is that you are not a scientist and are spreading lies about scientists and about science. Do you not believe the Bible’s traching about lies and liars? If you do, then why do you simply repeat things that you have been told without investigating them? Do you really think that you can be a participant in deception that brings dishonor to Christianity and never be held accountable?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      James, nice progressive Christian attitude you have taken up with Sarah. Calling her an outright liar is a bit much, she may not be as well informed as others on some subjects, but how does someone learn if they do not first express their opinions and hopefully someone will kindly point them in the right direction. I think that would be a little better than saying, shut up liar and only listen to what I say! And it’s a little disingenuous for someone who rejects a literal Bible at every turn, but has no problem demeaning someone with biblical quotes of lying when it suits their needs.  But from where I sit, she is generally right in most of what she says. It is not lying about scientist, it is a difference of opinion concerning the evidence.

    • sarah

      THE SEDIMENTS ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD ONLY BE CAUSED BY A GLOBAL FLOOD.

      Prof James - Plants float then sink and when covered in sediment and compressed they become coal.

      Fossils are not rare – there are billions of them all through the sedimentary strata – right up to the tops of mountains.
      eg There are thousands of trilobites at the top of mt everest
      does this mean they were the last to “evolve”.

      The sediments are dated by the fossils found in them and the fossils are dated by their position in the sediments
      - unscientific circular reasoning.

      Plus if the global flood happened in one year then there is no dating since all sediment would settle in under one year.

      There is no uniform sedimentary layer – eg Heart mountain
      thrust is supposedly resting on strata ( eocene) 250 million
      years younger.

      Why would land animals float about in water waiting to die
      in order to take up their place in the sedimants – this would assume the world was continually covered in water – plus
      how is the animal preserved long enough to fossilise instead of rot.

      Peter the apostle describes the flood – surely you can’t say
      he was not telling the truth.

      The flood is mentioned by Jesus – The Word of truth incarnate.

      You have given one fossil as a transitional – how do you know ? It can only be by looks – meaningless – dogs are
      vastly different in form but are still dogs.

      Once again :-
      It is easy enough to MAKE UP STORIES of how one form gave rise to another …… but such stories are not part of science .”"Fossils may tell us many things but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else”Colin Patterson – Senior Palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History ( what an honest evolutionist)Google up his full speech – it is not out of context.
      James   – You must know more than Colin .

      • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

        Sarah and Howard,

        If you desire, I will purchase and ship to your home — FREE OF CHARGE — the books “The Bible, Rocks and Time” (by Evangelical authors Stearley and Young) and “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution” (by Richard Dawkins).  But only if you promise to read the book and, by phone, discuss your thoughts and findings with me chapter by chapter.

        I want to expose you to other points of view beyond the Young-Earth Creationist materials upon which you clearly rely for your rebuttals.  (I know, because I have shelves full of those very books.)

        Are you willing to take the plunge into a larger world?  Or are you fearful that the knowledge will shake your faith?  If your faith is truly in Christ, then acceptance of scientific truth won’t shake it in the least.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

          Mike,

          Thanks for the offer, but there are a few things you should know. First, I am not a young earth creationist. I do believe the universe and the earth and many of the extinct animals are millions of years old, it was only man that was created about 6,000 years ago. You are probably not even familiar with my view of creation.

          I know a lot about evolution and science. I too have many books, many thousands in fact. However a number of my issues with evolution are of a logical nature as to how it is described as happening. For example, a good portion of living things today have two eyes, that would mean either two things.

          1. Every living thing today that has two eyes shares the same ancestry with the first living thing that had two eyes. That would mean everything living today with two eyes had a common ancestor? Is that what evolution teaches? That all mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, etc., share the same ancestor that had two eyes?

          2. Or it would mean that living things with two eyes do not share a common ancestor and the uncontrolled mutations that were responsible for eyes happened more than once in the evolutionary past.

          Which one corresponds to evolution?

          • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

            To be honest, Howard, I actually added your name to my post at the last minute, so the entire “gist” of the offer didn’t actually apply to you.  (My apologies.)  However, before I posted, I did note while skimming through your posts that you haven’t quite got the “gist” of evolution either.  Hence, my offer to you still stands.  :D

            There are some serious flaws with your two options, for they offer an incomplete selection of choices.  But to answer your question, neither choice corresponds with evolution. 

            (1) Evolutionary theory does not necessarily dictate that everything with two eyes has a common ancestor (one that, according to your options, presumably evolved two eyes).  While bats and birds certainly have a common ancestor down the line (as do all living things), it certainly didn’t possess wings.  The evolution of wings in both bats and birds are examples of convergent evolution.  For that matter, humans and compound-eyed insects have a common ancestor, but that doesn’t require that we should expect to have eight legs and venomous fangs as a result.

            (2) DNA analysis provides us with an improved look at ancestral relationships which allows us to determine, with greater clarity, when species with two eyes actually descended from a common ancestor and where species with two eyes independently evolved binocular vision.  Whereas a majority of (if not all) species with two eyes share a common ancestor with two eyes, it does necessarily not make it so in all cases.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

              Mike,

              I understand about convergent evolution, I was only trying to keep my point simple. Because the eye is a complex organ and for random mutations to create it once would be astronomical, but to create it more than once independently would be simply unbelievable. Almost as unbelievable as a supernatural God creating a man from the ground.

              Also, would it be accurate to say that the mutations involved in evolution are random, and that beneficial mutations are retained by natural selection where as those that are not die out? If that is accurate, why has the eye not evolved significantly for millions of years? If you look at the fossil record of evolution from the time the eye first appeared, almost every part around it supposedly evolved, but the eye has stayed relatively the same. Is it really possible that further mutations to the eye were halted by natural selection over millions and millions of years? What about the idea that these mutations are suppose to be very gradual changes. That would mean further mutations to the eye would not be affected by natural selection until they were significant enough for it to be an issue. So does the eye today show evidence of unfinished mutations?

              Just saying… :)

        • sarah

          Mike you now have shelves full of evolutionary books -
          and you want to give me evolutionary materials upon which you clearly rely.
          Since I came from an evolutionary mindset to a creation mindset there is no way I would change my views from
          what Jesus has said through  Moses and the Prophets.

          Darwin’s theory of evolution did shake the faith of millions .

          See if you can answer the above question on how land animals went back to the sea – an evolutionary stumbling block but not anymore than fish becoming land animals.

          How can you supposedly accept the instant creative ressurection of Jesus, Lazarus and final resurrection of all who lived and still think that God had to use the cruel tool
          of evolution to create the universe and all that is in it.

          • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

            Sarah,

            No disrespect intended, but your “evolutionary mindset” wasn’t (and still isn’t) very informed, especially considering your questions to Prof. McGrath (or me, for that matter).  There are plenty of resources regarding the evolution of land animals to whales (and quite a nice chain of successive fossil remains detailing the transformation), but I can see clearly that you don’t even want exposure to these lines of evidence.

            Darwin’s theory of evolution certainly shook the faith of millions, but perhaps it was because Christians were neither armed with a proper understanding the nature of the Scriptures and/or a proper understanding of evolutionary theory.  That can be remedied, and I’ve offered to help you in that regard.

            The basis for my belief in the miracles and resurrection of Jesus stem from my belief that SOMETHING happened 2000 years ago that changed the world, and the Gospels provide what I believe to be reliable and trustworthy eyewitness accounts of that “something.”

            As for the “cruel tool” of evolution, I actually find the process quite beautiful.  Eye of the beholder, I suppose.

            • sarah

              Mike  Once Again :-
              ” It is easy enough to MAKE UP STORIES of how one form gave rise to another …… but such stories are not part of science .”"Fossils may tell us many things but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else”Colin Patterson – Senior Palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History ( what an honest evolutionist)”The lack of intermediate life forms persists as the trade secret of palaeontology ” Stephen Jay Gould – evolutionist.

              Stephen was “exposed to these lines of evidence” and did
              not find them convincing.

              Your animal to whale “succesion” is nothing but looking
              for similarities in “stone bones” – a meaningless task.
              Eg I could find a fossilised hyena with four legs and then postulate that it is the ancestor of all four legged creatures.

              The scriptures cannot be reconciled to evolution nor its crazy 10 billion years of time .

              There is no rational mechanism for evolution – if there was
              it would be still happening and we would see transitionals
              now. It is mysterious how all your stone transitionals have
              all died conveniently died out.

              The point is your “something” was the resurrection of Jesus
              which is absolutely not an evolutionary event.

              I presume you are waiting on the resurrection of all who ever lived – how can you accept this non evolutionary event
              but not the Creation as told in the Bible.

              Evolution requiring  billions of years of “tooth and claw” is obviously more cruel than our deserved curse on creation that sin brought into the world which only lasts 6000 years
              much of it in tooth and claw but much in peace and prosperity.

              Although the creation is still incredible and the blessings that
              God pours on us is even more incredible considering our natures.

              I dont need Prof Dawkins or books on Darwin to tell me that
              Jesus and the Apostles did not know what really happened.

              I find that evolutionists seldom answer questions or argue the point always making references to books and websites
              not their own logic

              • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

                Sarah,

                You may not realize it, but you’re engaging in quote-mining.

                As for your statement that the “scriptures cannot be reconciled to evolution nor its crazy 10 billion years of time,” you are absolutely correct!  But the Scriptures can’t be reconciled with a heliocentric universe either.  So, are you telling me that you’re a flat-earther and geocentrist?  If you aren’t either of these things, then you’ve outright denied the testimony of Scripture and allowed modern science to affect your reading of those passages that clearly assume an ancient Near Eastern cosmology.

                In regard to your need to see evolution happening before our eyes, you only need to get out from behind your YEC literature and read the professional journals.  There is a virtual goldmine of examples for you to read about.  At least go down to your local Barnes and Noble and skim through “Scientific American.”  You ask for evidence and I provide you with resources documenting that evidence, and then you refuse to look at and consider that evidence, and finally accuse me of hiding behind evolution literature.  That’s not how honest investigation should work.  Your snarky claims of “conveniently died-out transitionals” (amongst other anti-evolution claims) also betray a severe lack of what evolutionary theory even claims and/or predicts.  Before you argue against a theory, you should at least be able to articulate what that theory says and be able to argue as well for the theory as you can against it (despite your anti-evolution position). 

                • sarah

                  Mike – when evolutionists “quote mine” it is OK but when creationists quote mine it is somehow bad.  The quotes stand alone or you can google up the whole text.

                  There have been no verifiable transitionals – it is just “stone bone comparisons”

                  I believe the Bible to be inerrant.

                  There are many evolutionary theories – too many to mention.

                  But off your own back could you briefly describe the stages
                  of mammal to whale evolution and what would cause the DNA of say a deer or a bear to change into the DNA of a whale by the operation of pure blind chance.

                  • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

                    Sarah,

                    (1) Whales *are* mammals.  No transition required.(2) The DNA of a deer or a bear did not change into the DNA of a whale by the operation of blind chance, so, no, I can’t briefly describe stages that never took place to begin with.

                    Until you can actually articulate what evolutionary theory says and predicts, I’m afraid we’ll have to cut our conversation short.If you’d like, I’ll send you — FREE OF CHARGE! — the following book:http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Dummies-Greg-Krukonis-PhD/dp/0470117737Once you’ve read it, come back and we can discuss the topic of evolution intelligently.

                    • sarah

                      Mike  – no transition required – where did whales come from then.  Why not watch the National Geog Doc.  – they
                      went through the stages. 
                      Did whales suddenly get created – then you do agree with me ?
                      There must be stages of gradualism – the thing is evolution theory IS easy to understand and then refute.

                      Even Darwin understood it and he was an amatuer working in the dark – but he admitted he had found no evidence – see
                      quotes on other site from agnostic evolutionists.

                      I cant really say much more but you are an evolutionist
                      and I remain a creationist – we are both Christians- so one
                      day we will find out.

                    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

                      Sarah,

                      Read your previous post to me *carefully,* and then read my response to it *carefully.*  My responses to you were based on your questions, which don’t make sense in light of current evolutionary theory.To answer your more recent question, I believe whales evolved from land-dwelling mammals.  They were NOT created ‘de novo.’ 

                      BTW, simply watching a NatGeo documentary is not going to provide the detailed proof for which you’re looking (or not looking, in your case).  You’ve already admitted that nothing will ever convince you that evolution occured, so I’m afraid that none of my answers will convince you either.  I just hope that my responses will encourage you to at least study evolutionary theory deeper, using *numerous,* *complete,* and peer-reviewed scientific studies as well as popular works by evolutionists, so that you can argue against evolution more intelligently.I do appreciate your gracious tone when recognizing that we are both Christians.  I just hope you’re just as gracious after meeting again on the “other side” when you discover that you’ve lost the bet.  ;-)

                • sarah

                  Mike –  Geocentrism
                  The astronomers before Galileo were more or less unanimous
                  on Geocentrism and because of the theory of relativity both
                  sets of calculations work and are still used today – a well kept trade secret.

                  “The earth is still and cannot be moved”  David the psalmist

                  If you google up “galileo was wrong” there are hundreds of websites on this .  An unbelieving astronomer said he chose
                  heliocentrism since the alternative could not be countenanced – meaning that it would make the Bible true.

                  Mr Sugenis and his highly qualified co writer have a book
                  and a website on “galileo was wrong” – it is very interesting.
                  There is also a animated model which shows how both systems work – excellent stuff.
                  Since I am not an astronomer I don’t debate on the websites.

                  The Catholic Magisterium has never retracted on Geocentrism since they follow scripture – I think it was
                  looked at by Pope Paul the 2nd and the Magisterium was
                  not changed – but I don’t think it can be.

                  So I believe David the psalmist who was writing what the
                  Holy Spirit told him.

                  The bible never said the earth was flat – a nice trick -
                  but David the psalmist says - ” the circle of the earth” but someone said the Hebrew meaning can be sphere.

                  That the earth was flat is just a pagan myth – what
                  about the “map of mundi ”

                  EVIDENCE  – I could swamp you with lots of creation literature and books and websites but I don’t – I debate
                  simple things from first principles and using logic on what
                  little knowledge I have. But the Bible and its inerrancy is
                  what I start with.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJ6PZMYZVJL4CGQBUYBVMQSDPQ james Harrison

    The only interesting questions here are meta questions since the scientific debate over the reality of evolution was over before the beginning of the 20th Century. If you treat the arguments as arguments about matters of fact, you wind up getting increasingly barmy since there is no sensible way to behave in a crazy situation where the scientifically literate find themselves trying to come up with new evidence that lead doesn’t float.

    No doubt there is confusion on both sides. Believers in fundamentalist theories of the origin of life seem to think that the scientists are interested in genetics and chemistry and the rest because of the purported relevance of biology to theology. They aren’t simply ignorant of the findings and evidence, though they are certainly that too, but that they can’t accept that their scientific opponents aren’t hostile to religion but indifferent to it. Nobody goes into microbiology to refute Paley, assuming they ever heard of that worthy. On the other side, the scientists and their allies have a hard time understanding what seems to them a zombie-like loyalty to tradition. The willingness to subordinate truth to faith violates their own ethical commitments so they keep on assuming that the other side just doesn’t understand the issues. After all, what would be the point of passionately defending the merely false? So neither side gets the other and the discussion goes nowhere.

     

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, why do none of the copies of the Hebrew Scriptures found at Qumran agree precisely with the Masoretic Text, if what you claim is true?

    Since Nicky Gumbel has expressed his appreciation for the work of textual criticism, I can only assume that you have misunderstood the information from the Alpha Course.

    • sarah

      Who said the ones at Qumran are the correct scrolls- but I have seen the exhibition.  The old testament in the Hebrew
      that the orthodox Jews use is preserved in its accuracy by the scribes -not one tittle is missing as Jesus said.

      I have not misunderstood the Alpha course and stand by what I said and what Nicky said.
      After textual criticism he said that there are no significant differences in the mainstream bibles- I used to run Alpha courses.

  • Gary

    So Howard, per your comment…”This only proves that the environment can direct the specific traits of a species through natural selection, it does not mean natural selection can change one species into another.”…First, I am not a biologist. But what, exactly is your definition of species? As I remember from Biology 101 as a freshman, which is about all I took, a new species cannot reproduce, or can reproduce, but cannot produce fertile offspring, with another species, was at one time one definition of a new species. I have no idea what the current defintion is. To use alittle commone sense, HOWEVER, after only about 200 years, man himself by ”human” selection, can breed a Chihuahua and a Great Dane from a regular dog. By my definition, from a mechanical stand point, the Chihuahua and the Great Dane cannot physically mate. It doesn’t take too much imagination to assume in another 1 million years, the Chuhuahua and the Great Dane would be separate species by anyone’s definition. Of course, 1 million years is a killer argument from Sarah’s standpoint, but I won’t even waste my time to argue my point with a YEC. Anyway, I just put my 2 cents in, I don’t want to argue it. It, too, is a waste of time. But I would like to know what your definition of species is. This gets into the heart of what I have heard other people argue, actually in my church…the micro verse macro evolution point. Which, by the way, I believe is a bunch of “you-know-what”. Slight of hand to try and defend an in-defensible position. Micro-evolution is a bunch of, again, “you-know-what”, when used to shoot down evolution itself. It’s like saying you believe it a little bit, but not enough to generate a new species. Thus the question  “what is your definition of species”?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      Gary, In the way I was using it there, a species is a dog, cat, or a horse. And yes, each of these species is capable of numerous variations, such as all the different breeds of dogs. So my point was that even if something in nature kills off all short haired dog breeds, the remainder will not turn into cats, we will merely be left with only long haired dog breeds.

    • sarah

      Gary – the chichuana and great dane are still dogs although they can’t mate.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Just two quick points. First, I used to repeat many of the exact same claims that you made in your comment about supposed evidence for a global flood and against evolution. I am now embarassed and ashamed of myself. I had not investigated the subject properly. I was parroting what I had heard from others, and which had seemed persuasive. But as Proverbs says, the first to present his case seems right, until another steps forward and questions him.

    Second, if you are no comparing later manuscripts to earlier ones, then how can you make any claim about how closely they do or do not agree?

    • sarah

      Prof James
      If you dont believe that God created everything in six days
      and saw that it was good.
      If you dont believe in Adam and Eve
      If you dont believe in the fall caused by Satan
      If you dont believe in the flood of Noah

      Then you dont believe in what Jesus and the apostles believed in because they spoke of all these things under the power of the Holy Spirit.  But you seem to know better.

      How can a Christian think that Jesus did not know exactly what happened – Jesus created all these things – and was
      preincarnate.

      You are still parroting what you heard from others – you have just changed the “others” to - eg Darwin Dawkins et al  – we all do this – it is called debate.

      Evolutionists keep trying to exalt their scientific learning
      above those with simple faith – are you not aware that
      Darwin and Lyell were not trained – were self taught – and their theories are still accepted unchanged ( almost) hundreds of years later.

      Scrolls of the essenes were found at Qumran and the object
      of their interest was their similarity eg in the scroll of Isaiah.
      If I find a sects Bible – eg such as the Mormons I would expect it to be different but the Old Testament which the Rabbis use today will have no variations in the Law and the Prophets – They are written in Hebrew and went through
      incredibly detailed error finding checks since Moses.

      Since you are now a convinced evolutionist who supports
      Prof Dawkins et al – you are supporting people who undermine the faith.
      Once someone rejects the basic truths of the Bible the door
      is then open for unbelief – especially under persecution.

      Your human reasoning has taken over and you look for
      natural causes for everything in the Bible.
      I asked you many questions but your answers have been
      few and sort of evasive lacking in detail.

      Here’s a question you did not answer earlier.

      Can you give one example where the genome of a species
      has added genetic information sufficient to change it into
      another species – like say from a land animal such as a pig
      or a cow into that of a sea mammal such as a whale.
      Darwin suggested that a fish catching bear might be the ancestor of a whale – we can forgive him since he knew nothing of genetics and dna .

      Even imagining a scenario like this is almost impossible.

      Jesus said if they do not believe in the books of Moses then
      they will not believe in Him.

       

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, it sounds to me that the heart of your problem may not be your lack of scientific knowledge but your heretical Christology. It seems clear that you view any lack of knowledge on the part of the incarnate Christ impossible. If only you read what the Bible has to say on that topic, perhaps you would be more open to learning about science, too. Perhaps you would be open to growing in wisdom as Luke says that Jesus did…

    • sarah

      Prof James
      I can hardly believe that a Christian would say that Jesus
      the Son of God would lack knowledge. Do you really believe
      that Jesus needed instruction from Darwin and Dawkins et al
      about how things really began ????
      when Jesus created the universe and all living things.

      How can the Rabbi , the teacher of all ever need mere human knowledge.

      Jesus and all the prophets and apostles never gave a hint
      of evolution – they spoke (under the power of the Holy Spirit ) of :-

      The Creation in six days
      The fall of Adam and Eve
      The Noachin Flood which the surface of the earth attests to.
      The virgin birth and incarnation
      The  creative miracles of Jesus (not evolutionary miracles)
      eg the loaves and fishes , the raising of Lazarus , the
      resurrection of Jesus from the dead (not evolving from death
      over long periods of time)
      The final resurrection of all who ever lived.
      and much more.

      The surface of the earth is just as we would expect in a global flood – water borne sediments full of quickly killed and quickly fossilised creatures – as most pre Darwinists agreed. 

      The churches all believed in the Deluge in pre Darwin times – are you condemning these believers as ignorant.
      Wilberforce , it was said won the Debate on Darwinism but the newspapers wanted a story and the people wanted to
      “untie the knot and in one bound we are free”.

      I am not sure which parts of the Bible you actually believe.
      Why not pray to God for understanding and the Holy Spirit
      will teach you in all things.

      Your God now seems to be naturalism and evolution.

      There is NO rational  mechanism for evolution.

      Natural selection is not evolution as many evolutionists will
      tell you – it merely selects the fittest in the species from
      already created genetic information – in fact it actually keeps the species pure notwithstanding that dna corrects
      mistakes.  The variations in particular KINDS come from
      information already designed by God.

      Because Darwin did not have knowledge of dna he mistook
      breeding for evolution. He thought that breeding (selection
      by nature) could produde a different creature.

      The theory of evolution , now that we know the information
      code , is based on random genetic damage miraculously changing the dna of a creature such as a deer like animal
      (national geographic) into the dna of a whale.

      Just guessing - this would take about a few million or billion
      changes to the dna .
      So even the dna corrective mechanism would have to be overriden.  How would a partially developed whale survive ?
      How does the process start ? 

      How could random damage develop whale sonar and breathing mechanism to name just two – it took thousands
      of engineers to design and develop sonar that does not even come anywhere near the whale’s.

      I would rather stay a deer than catch squid 6000 ft below the sea.

      This would not even make a good fairy story.

      By the way you still have not answered the question of an example of how the genome of a creature can have information added.

  • sarah

    Prof James calling me a heretic for taking God’s word as it stands
    is astonishing it is you that is not accepting the Word OF God like
    a “little chiild”

  • sarah

    Prof James and Mike – I was thinking when you reach heaven and meet Jesus and the Apostles and tell them Noah’s flood left no evidence and that the sedimentary layers were caused by a flood
    which lasted billions of years.  You can also tell the Apostles that their ancestors were apes.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Sarah,

      No need for me to tell them.  They already know.  ;-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, I don’t know if you realize that you are misunderstanding (or  if you do, then you are dishonestly deliberately misconstruing) what scientists and the evidence say. You have received quotes second hand – I know because the same quotes get recycled by people who have heard them from young-earth creationists.

    The relationships between living things are not determined only by fossils and by comparative anatomy but by genetics.

    But perhaps we should return to the topic of the original post. It sounds like you would agree that nothing could persuade you that evolution occurred. Is that correct?  It also sounds as though you would sooner accept a God who made living things look related and evolved from a common ancestor than accept that evolution actually occurred. Is that also correct?

    • sarah

      Prof James
      The quotes stand alone or can be googled for the full text.
      How evolutionists hate quotes showing their lack of evidence. The quotes are clear and concise and are not open to dispute – I have lots more from evolutionists.

      With a common creator ie God who used the same DNA code for all living things  we would expect some genetic sequences to be common.

      The expression of words (analogous to codes) used in two different books from a single author although similar in many places does not mean that one book “evolved” from another.

      Mathew 24 36 is what I agree with – Jesus is talking about the Noachin flood and also the rapture or parousa – so I agree with Jesus.

      Luke – Jesus was a young boy and grew in wisdom – yes.
      But his wisdom already surpassed that of the teachers of the law     ”all who heard  Jesus as a young boy were amazed at his wisdom and intelligence”.

      Jesus knew the scriptures since he wrote them – including about the Noachin flood and Sodom – the evidence of which is still there to this day.

      So I agree with what scripture says – the Noachin flood actually happened as evidenced by the sedimentary layers.
      I agree with what scripture actually says not what an evolutionist thinks it “ought to say.

      Nothing can persuade me that evolution as understood has occurred.  Although adaptation through information loss
      can happen eg dog breeds.

      If I was a builder why on earth would my different buildings
      NOT look related – but they would not evolve from each other or I would be wealthy.

      Most evolutionists are Godless and Mike are giving them credence.  Don’t you see if you agree with Prof Dawkins
      who says there is no God then other Christians will look on
      and possibly think their faith is in vain.

      You still have not answered the mammal to whale question.

      I repeat there is no evidence for evolution.

      • Anonymous

        “Nothing can persuade me that evolution as understood has occurred”

        To be fair, I’m not sure anything would persuade me that evolution as Sarah understands it has occurred either. And evolution was my PhD topic.

        Repeating lies, misrepresenting people, and refusing to learn. All very sad. But not at all unusual, in my experience. It is pretty grim what indoctrination can do.

        • sarah

          ID – All I can do is refer you to the quoteming of very
          credible scientists on the other blog “hume giraffes….

          I would be interested in your comments on these scientists
          since they sum up what I believe and know more than me
          and also are easy to understand

          • Ian

            Actually I think you’re lying again. Because if you really were interested in discussing scientists opinion, you’d be willing to learn enough about evolution to actually understand what they are saying. 

            There is no point discussing Euler’s integral with someone who refuses to learn to multiply.

    • sarah

      QUOTES ARE GREAT
      Prof James  – what do you mean received quotes second hand – is this to try and make it untrue. Quotes come down
      through the ages and are a useful literary device to understand what in the final analysis a person believes in.

      When you or Mike did your degree projects they would be suffused with quotes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, wouldn’t it be more fair to ask Mike to explain something that evolution actually claims, rather than asking him to justify a silly parody that you offered. Or are you so poorly informed about this topic that you don’t realize that what you described is not what scientists are talking about regarding evolution? And if so, then why involve yourself in a discussion like this in the first place? 

    • sarah

      Prof – James all evolutionists believe that mammals in the ocean came from land animals which slowly evolved back into seagoing creatures. Now this is true.
      Darwin proposed that a bear evolved into a whale. So it is NOT a parody. I watched the National Geographic Doc. on the deerlike animal becoming a whale – so it is not a parody 

      The only way they got the deer to the whale was by
      digital means – but they never explained how it happened.
      The deer started swimming, went off pine cones, started chasing fish , developed flippers and sonar and about
      100,000 other changes and off it went into the deep.

      If you dont believe me Google it up.

      This IS the kind of thing evolution claims – one creature evolving into another over time due to chance genetic mutations - you cant possibly deny this.

  • Chris

    Cannot I not be both Christian AND a critic of evolution?  Certainly.  Some Christian believe in evolution and efend it.  However, NOT ALL atheist scientists believe in evolution.  To point the finger and call someone names because they disbelieve in a theory that you hold dear, doesn’t do anything.

    I have looked, continue to look, at the “science” behind evolution and find it quite lacking.  There are many unanswered questions that evolution hasn’t accounted for, and when it tries – usually fails.

    now, certainly you can believe in evolution and believe that the “evidence” is on your side – however if that were really true, then ALL scientists would believe in it – like gravity, or light.

    However that isn’t the case, and one could see that evolution is loosing steam, otherwise those of you who believe evolution is true wouldn’t have to try so hard to convince others.

    I’m not a critic of evolution because I’m Christian – that’s irrelevant.  But because, like I said, I find the “evidence” quite lacking, and more/less nothing but speculation and wishful thinking.  Old theories die hard sometimes…

  • Chris

    I forgot to include:

    While you can’t disprove something now, doesn’t mean you can’t later.  Thus with God.  To say “God isn’t falsifiable” is incorrect.  Certainly he could be so, but just because you don’t know how, doesn’t mean he can’t be.  Knowledge, especially science, is behind reality.  What scientists “claim” to “discover” usually has already existed.  If this wasn’t the case, then that means we KNOW EVERYTHING there is to know – which we obvioulsy don’t.

    Nor, if it was a fact that God couldn’t be disproven, that doesn’t mean he’s real or isn’t.  It only means you can’t disprove him.

    However, to claim he’s unfalsifiable is a weak tactic to try and remove God from the dialogue – as if because our SCIENCE can’t disprove him, he’s irrelevant – or a designer is irrelevant.

    No, that’s just trying to keep your belief in a tidy little box and anything that goes against it is either wrong, or irrelevant.  However, to say that it’s wrong is to admit it into the conversation, so it’s better to say irrelevant.

    If science is truly about finding the truth, then EVERY angle must be looked at – not just the angles YOU want to look at.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, your last comment doesn’t make sense. Is English your native language? Could you perhaps clarify that you meant?

    But more importantly, I am astonished that you would play so fast and loose with the meaning of Scripture. The Hebrew says circle of the Earth, and to try to change that to sphere merely because of what science tells you is at odds with your worldview.

    And how can you disregard Matthew 4:8? Or do you not accept that the Devil took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth? How could he do that unless the earth is flat?

    You seem to pick and choose what to accept and what to take literally from Scripture based on what science tells you. Astonishing!

    • sarah

      Prof James – dont see whats wrong with the wording
      - simply then – you will use quotes all the time.

      No I did not change it to sphere – I had remembered that
      someone said that - as I admitted. I did not check the Hebrew but the earth looks like a circle.

      Your debating style is strange picking on small points saying not much.

      The devil gets his power from God and would be able to do this quite easily – again you are thinking as a human would
      in the natural flesh – because you could not do this therefore the Devil could not do this. Unbelief in the Bible
      and the power of God. Are you saying that Mathew 4:8 is a lie ? For goodness sake James.

      James you said this about me ?????? :-
      You seem to pick and choose what to accept and what to take literally from Scripture based on what science tells you. Astonishing!
      This is exactly what you do – even more astonishing.

    • sarah

      Prof James – Fast and loose with scripture ? - is it not you that promotes the idea that scripture is not inerrant – that
      Jesus and the Apostles needed to be taught about the Flood – in other words you were not accepting that their knowledge is complete – you also said that the Hebrew has discrepancies between different Old Testaments.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @b1e534b1bbf9ae2360c0eefc3023067c:disqus , you are ignoring what I wrote, and what the Bible says. Matthew and Luke both say that the Devil took Jesus to a high mountain/place and showed him from there all the kingdoms of the earth. That is not possible if the earth is spherical: some kingdoms would be around the bend, hidden from view.
    But you insist, in spite of this very clear Scripture, that the earth is a sphere. Is that not just your twisting of the Scripture to fit with what you believe to be scientifically correct? 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, please stop dodging the point I made, and please stop making things up. I have no idea what you even mean by “different Old Testaments” but I do know it is not something I said.

    You seem to believe yourself greater than the apostles you keep appealing to. Galatians tells us that Paul felt the need to rebuke Peter in Antioch because he was blameworthy. Yet you continue to press ahead as though they were not humans who sometimes needed correction, and seem to do so because you believe that you are as inerrant as you consider them to have been.

    The fundamentally unbiblical nature of your stance is plain for all to see. Yet no doubt you will continue to press ahead, because your true motivations is pride. You are not seeking to get at the truth or learn from other Christians, you are seeking to win an argument and be reassured that you are right.

    • sarah

      Prof James
      The only argument I want to win is that the Bible is inerrant
      and that evolution is therefore not true since it has done so
      much damage to the Christian faith which is based on the Bible.
      You seem to despise creationists but respect and admire
      athiestic evolutionists and often aggresive evolutionists- does this not tell you something.

      There is nothing in the Bible to lead us astray – the example
      of Paul  correcting Peter was given by God to show us his word is true – eg all foods are clean. So the example was given before the canon was closed – the Bible is full of people being corrected. It does not mean that there is mistakes in the scripture.

    • sarah

      Dont understand why I am dodging the point you made ?

      You maintained that the Hebrew scripture was not preserved
      since Moses in 100% accuracy – this would mean that there would be variations therefore thats what I meant about
      different old testaments .

      How can believing in the Bible be unbiblical.

      I just can’t believe in something I know not to be true in my heart and the evidence thats been presented.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, I never questioned your ability to Google. I questioned your ability to distinguish between what you wrote and what scientists actually deduce.

    Out of curiosity, are you the sort of creationist that also rejects linguistics and the evolution of languages over time?

  • sarah

    Prof James – So tell what scientists actually deduce in your own words – not a website please.

    - so onto the next subject.

    I believe in the Tower of Babel and the confusion of the tongues
    by God – just as the Bible says .

    Later on languages would evolve with words being added or changed – emigrations and invasions would lead to more evolution eg we have many French words.
    Latin would influence the whole of Christendom and affect the
    European tongues.
    But initially The Tower of Babel started it to separate the nations.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    So ultimately your concern is to attribute an attribute of God to a book, in an idolatrous fashion.

    Do you accept that Romanian, Italian and French all evolved from Latin?

    As I have said before, in most cases Christians’ faith is not damaged by evolution, but either by being told by Christians that they must choose between the two, so that when they find the evidence for evolution to be persuasive, they reject Christianity because Christians told them they must, in their foolishness; or when they discover that the Christians who once duped them into young-earth creationism were spreading lies.

    That is why I am so concerned to combat your detrimental influence. Your lies may shipwreck the faith of many Christians.

    • sarah

      But I think Darwinism led Christians to doubt their faith.

      Yes I would accept that these languages show latin influence but French is different from Italian.

      No if I was the pastor in a church I would not like to see
      a theistic evolutionist leave even though I think creationism
      is true.

      Since the majority of evolutionists seem to be athiests and the majority of Americans seem to be creationists you must
      admit we do have a problem.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, what is your basis for claiming that “the majority of evolutionists seem to be athiests and the majority of Americans seem to be creationists” other than your assumption that everyone thinks like you?

    What do you mean by “Latin influence”? Are you saying that you believe that French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian were already in existence as separate languages, and then Latin influenced them?

  • jeff

    With some hesitation, I will enter the fray, and then hopefully leave as quickly as I entered as I’ve found that once someone has an idea in their head it can be pretty difficult to change that idea.   In short, I started out as a naive YEC as that was the basic belief I inherited from my parents.  Fastforward 20 years and I now have a biology degree from an Evangelical Christian University and I’ve been working in academia and biotechnology for ~17 years.  Am I an expert at everything evolution?  No, but I have a good understanding of it and the scientific method, etc., that I personally feel qualified to comment on the matter.
     
    There is a reason why most Christian Evangelical schools teach evolution to their students, and that is because there is no alternative to it when it comes to explaining the basic patterns we see with life on this earth.  The preceding arguments in the above comments don’t legitmately criticize evolution as they generally fail to deal with the volumes upon volumes of data that support it.  I’m not going to go into specifics because I don’t have the time or energy to do it, but if you don’t believe me, fine, get a biology degree and then we’ll talk.  Until then, realize that if you want to argue in support of YEC (or some version of it) then you are arguing against 99%+ of scientists with expertise in the field.  When you get your taxes done you probably trust the accountant to do them. If you’re sick, you probably see a Doctor, and if you’re getting sued you’d probably get a lawyer.  But for some reason if you want to know what the best explanation for the diversity of life is, you go to a book that really doesn’t care much about the diversity of life and you twist the context to fit your purpose rather than talk to the people who actually study the diversity of life.   Please realize that for all the science that has been validated and you know works (e.g. the various physical and chemical principles used in the myriad of devices and medicines out there), you fundamentally reject those same principles in the manner that they have been applied in their support of the biological sciences…I still don’t understand how some people so easily bypass this contradiction.  
     
    Since the World Series is happening, let me say that the arguments used by YEC (or other variants of it, like old earth but young humans) to argue against evolution are standing out in the parking lot.  They haven’t even entered the stadium in hopes of making it to left field.   I don’t expect anyone to believe me, nor should you.  Rather, I implore you to get an education in the field so you can draw your own evidence based conclusions that legitimately take into account the sum of the data.  If you’re not willing or able to do this, then I would suggest that you not be so quick to discount the experts. 

  • sarah

    Prof James  – It was the results of  “polls” in America. There were also polls in the UK and I think a majority believed in a creator God . The poll was quite recent.    Prof Richard Dawkins commented
    on some of them.

    I am not a language expert – but if Latin came from babel it does
    not disprove the Bible if thats what your trying to say.

    My own view is that the 5 languages you mention came from Babel
    but were subject to Latin influence for hundreds of years by the Romans so it must have had a big effect.

    Either way they came from Babel .

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, what sorts of polls? Random internet polls? Ones that have some validity to their results?

    Do you have evidence that Italian, Spanish, French, Romanian and/or Portuguese were around thousands of years ago? Or are you happy to draw your own conclusions no matter what the evidence and no matter how ludicrous?

  • sarah

    They were polls in the newspapers – in the daily mail UK – not sure of the validity – how could I be .

    I presume these peoples were around thousands of years ago – I mean it has been two thousand years snce Jesus and the Italians
    were obviously there and the French who the Romans conquered.
    And the Spanish were around when Jonah got on the cruise to Spain.  Yes they have been around for thousands of years.

    Not sure what you are getting at – do you not believe in the Tower
    of Babel

  • sarah

    Prof James not sure what my ludicrous conclusions were on Languages or Polls – did I make any on languages ?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Do you have any evidence that anyone in the time of Jesus (which, at any rate, was well after the time in which the story of the Tower of Babel is set) in the regions that we today refer to as Italy and France spoke the languages we know today as Italian and French?

    Anyone who has looked into the validity of internet polls, and the phenomenon of pharyngulation, will know that they are worth absolutely nothing as they are totally unreliable.

    In all of this, I am trying to work out whether you are someone with whom it is possible to have a reasoned discussion about relevant evidence, including the Bible, or whether you are one of those people who, like the Pharisees or Sadducees of Jesus’ time, were so sure they were thoroughly Scriptural in their thinking that they would defiantly resist anyone who tried to tell them that they were not only wrong, but unbiblical in important ways that they were resistant to admitting.

  • sarah

    I would presume that the Italians spoke Italian which might have been Latin and the French spoke French.  So the whole of Europe would have had different languages – eg Swedish , Norwegian
    Latvian , Polish , Dutch , etc etc quite incredible when you think
    about it. The Latin influence would depend on the amount of contact with the Romans.

    If you say that all polls are totally unreliable well you are entitled
    to this view – I am not an expert in this area and don’t have the time to be.

    But I do believe in the confusion of the tongues at Babel
    and the thousands of different languages in the world testify
    to the Biblical truth of this fact.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Did the Italians speak Italian or Latin? Were the Romans Romans or Italians? Is there any reason for you to presume? Is it acceptable just to guess? Does evidence not matter?

  • sarah

    Prof James – I really don’t know much about languages – I am not sure what this has to do with your subject of disproving creationism.
    Unless it is to say that the tower of Babel is myth.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    You really don’t know much about biology, but you are happy to make assertions when you think that it is important.

    I’ll explain where I am going with this, if you like, but first I would like to know why you are eager to debate one subject about which you are poorly informed and arrogantly dismiss the views of your brothers and sisters in Christ who are scientists, but in another area you are happy to acknowledge that you are not well informed. Why behave one way in relation to one topic and another in relation to another?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Some may be interested in the following.

    Isaiah 40:22 (KJV) asserts that the Creator sits upon the “circle of the earth” (ḥûg hā˒āreṣ), a rendering retained by the ASV, RSV, and JB. The nabhas, “He sits enthroned above the vault of the earth,” which the neb amplifies as the “vaulted roof of the earth.” NIV: “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.” The poets of the ot describe their universe phenomenologically, i.e. as it appears to them standing on the earth and looking above and about. This perspective differs from that of modern scientific thought, which assumes a perspective beyond the earth. Both are accurate and useful according to their own perspectives.

    Some have held that Isa 40:22 implies the sphericity of the earth. It may, but it may refer only to the Lord enthroned above the earth with its obviously circular horizon. Note the remarkable concept given in Job 26:7.

    Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (267). Chicago: Moody Press.

  • sarah

    Well I think that the theory of evolution is easy to debunk as you can see by the simple easy to understand quotes of scientists who know more than me – who are evolutionists creationists theists and athiests.  Darwin and Lyell could not have known too much since
    DNA knowledge did not exist and they were self taught amatuers.

    I have taken an interest in creation and evolution for 25 years
    but only as an amatuer.

    But no interest in languages.

    Do you have qualifications in evolutionary areas ?

    • Ian

      “I have taken an interest in creation and evolution for 25 years
      but only as an amatuer.”
      !

      Interested in a subject for 25 YEARS, but never bothered to find out the content of that subject? How is that possible. I mean even if you’re interested in attacking something, how can you do so for 25 and yet know not even the basic high-school level groundwork?

      Oh God. 

  • sarah

    Evolutionary Christians would dismiss my creationist views but I should not let that bother me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Why is your concern with Darwin and Lyell, whose work was done in a time when the modern day professional scientist was pretty much unheard of, and the field of genetics had not yet even been discovered? Is your interest in where biology was about a century and a half ago, or where it is now? And why is it that you as an amateur have absolutely no respect for at least your brothers and sisters in Christ who work in these areas professionally, even if you don’t have respect for anyone else?

  • sarah

    Prof James you seem intent on disparaging bible believing Christians
    who because they take the Bible to be inerrant believe in creationism.
    Why do I not have respect for anyone else ?

  • sarah

    Prof James – do you have qualifications in evolutionary areas ?

  • jeff

    Sarah,

    You’re forming an anti-evolutionary viewpoint based on the quotes of scientists?  If I show you tens of thousands of quotes by scientists who believe the evidence that evolution occurred, is occurring, and will continue to occur, will you believe it then?  Shoot, I’m in the same lab with a bunch of them.  This would be very easy (if not time consuming) to do, and based on your quote it would probably be quotes from some of the same people. 

    Regarding evolution, quotes are meaningless if they are removed from context and data (true of most quotes, actually).  I was going to stay out of the fray, but your last comment was a bit much…actually, quite a few of them have been a bit much.    

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, you have already shown that you are not a Bible-believing Christian in any meaningful sense. You do not refrain from bearing false witness (you pass on things that you have heard about scientists and science without checking them, and so this perhaps is an area where the Bible’s statements about gossip would also be relevant). The Bible indicates that even testing of spirits is necessary, and yet you have accepted the claims of charlatans without testing them in ways that the internet makes easier than ever. And when I asked you whether you accept that the earth is flat, as required for the story about Satan taking Jesus to a high mountain to survey all the kingdoms of the earth, you have refused to answer and continued to dodge the question.

    You understandably wish to claim to be a Bible-believing Christian, and you may even be able to delude yourself into believing that you are one. But if you knew the Bible better, you would realize that you are not in fact a Bible-believing Christian.

  • sarah

    jeff – they are only a bit much if you believe your evolutionary views are right and must be accepted and creationism is wrong.

    Evolution is not difficult to understand – I have seen quotes from
    evolutionists but have rejected them while believing in the anti evolutionary quotes which seem to me correct and easily acceptable.

    Plus I also believe the bible is inerrant and also – it fits with creationism.  But I hope I have not been rude and sincerely apologise if this was the case.

  • sarah

    Ian – the theory of evolution is pretty simple – it maintains that
    a single cell came into being in the primordial soup then it multiplied
    into we don’t know what. Then this “what” multiplied and diversified
    into billions of different creatures through genetic mutations caused
    by pure blind chance adding information to the genome.

    It is not happening today nor ever did . 

    eg out of the billions of humans who ever lived and who are still
    living not one is showing any sign of useful extra information – such as wings or sonar – we are still humans. However there are humans
    with genetic mutations which are not beneficial eg  missing information. Pure blind chance cannot design anything useful in the genome.  What we see in the animal kingdom proves this.

    Kinds mate and give rise to the same Kinds just as the Bible says.

    Sickle cell syndrome gives resistance to malaria but also causes
    illness. This is about the only mutation that evolution can show.

    Darwins finches were not evolving new beaks – the information is already in their Genome to produce these “adaptations” or micro
    evolutions. The info has to be already there.

    Why do scientists believe a theory without evidence. It would not be accepted in any other discipline.

    • Ian

      Why, when you’re being told over and over that *that isn’t what evolutionary theory says* would you think it reasonable to just keep repeating the same lies?

      Surely, at some point, just a basic human common sense would say: “hey, here are some people who might know who are telling me I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, maybe I have misunderstood – why don’t I try to figure out what they’re trying to say first”. To get to that point and to say: “hey, you, yes, you who studied this stuff for 8 years – let me tell you I know what its all about and you don’t”

      I get that you have religious reasons for believing it is wrong. James is more qualified that I to go into the theological issues there. But we’re not even at that point yet. We can’t even get you to understand that you’re actually arguing against something that nobody, absolutely nobody believes. If a human being grew wings, it would pretty much conclusively *disprove* evolution. Until you understand why, starting a sentence with “evolution is pretty simple, it is…” is never going to end well.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, your statement that the theory of evolution is simple would have been far more persuasive if you had accurately described some part of it.

    Why don’t you go consult with any scientist you know and find out what the differences are between what you wrote and what the natural sciences have deduced? Or perhaps reading a book would do…

  • Chris

    Well according to talkorigins: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html

    Question to you Ian: what do you consider a species?

    • Ian

      “what do you consider a species”

      Why would it matter what *I* consider a species? If you’re asking: “biologically, what is a species”, then the answer depends on what you want to do with it.

      If you want to pass your SATs, then something like “a population that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring”, which is neat if you’re dealing with simple biology, but doesn’t work for life that doest “interbreed” at all, and in fact getting decidedly farcical when you look at bacteria and some protists. 

      If you’re doing field ecology or ethology you might choose a definition based on morphological features, or fairly basic genetic analysis. 

      All groupings: species, subspecies, and so on, are descriptions of different scales of similarity and difference intended to make understanding clearer. There’s no such thing as a species as a Platonic concept, but there are a bunch of working definitions that are used to draw (sometimes rather fuzzy) lines.

      • Chris Meyer

        Yet below you make the claim that someone needs to understand what a species IS and what speiciation IS – yet you readily admit it’s a muddy area to begin with, so really is it so hard that someone might be a bit confused at the issue?

        In fact speciation (as GENERALLY accepted) is all we have proof of when it comes to evolution – it’s the rest that is debated.

        Malaria is still malaria, fruits flies are still fruit flies, humans are still humans, apes are still apes, and on and on the list goes…more creationist crap.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Chris, my impression is that there are significant portions of DNA that are widely found across a variety of not only species but broader groupings, while others differ, but recent work on EvoDevo (evolutionary developmental biology) suggests that often what accounts for the differences is the new use to which a bit of genetic information is put, as a section is “switched on or off” or reduplicated or in other ways put to a different use. Recent work in genetics suggests that it is more than just the sequence of “letters” that matters in turning genetic information into living things.

    • Chris Meyer

      Evo Devo goes against current evolutionary thought in regards to genetic information.  As the current thought is information is “accumulated” through mutation and natural selction.  Where as Evo Devo says information was always there, just turned on or off depending.

      Quite a bit of difference.

      Though, as Ian, would say – just more creationist crap.

      • jeff

        Not being an expert in Evo Devo, I think it is likely an error to say that Evo Devo goes against current evolutionary thought.  The  major debates within evolution are generally mechanistic oriented, and as best as I can tell evo devo does more to suggest that there are other mechanisms at work besides mutation through natural selection which help account for life’s diversity (epigenetics (e.g. DNA methylation, MiRNA–the latter of which may revolutionize our understanding of evo devo).  If anything, these ought to make evolution more palatable to skeptics (keeping in mind that a vast majority of skeptics are lay people)  as it may lessen the role of mutation through natural selection (at least in my opinion). 

        Additionally, I believe you’ve overly simplified the definition of speciation (in your comment below).  A former Ecology professor of mine (a Christian for what its worth) was an expert in mites that live in raspberry fields.  Especially in these simpler organisms, what constitutes an individual species is not black or white, but few things in biology ever are.    

        • Ian

          Yes, evodevo doesn’t go against evolutionary theory in any way. What it does do it focus on the process by which a phenotype is produced from the genetic material and how that process itself has evolved.

          Far from being an abstract code fed into a life-form making machine,
          genetic material has a very complex relationship to the phenotype, and we’re increasingly understanding the dance at work in that process.

          As we understand more about that process, we discover places where there are previously unknown mechanisms to generate (or amplify) diversity, and new focus on phenotypic features that are inheritable. Both of those directly feed into evolutionary dynamics.

          But none of that

          • jeff

            Thanks for your thoughts, Ian.  Though it isn’t my life’s ambition to argue against the intellectual catastrophe also known as young earth creationism, thus, I may not be entirely correct in saying this, but my impression is that YEC hasn’t really begun to address (or know how to address) the rapidly advancing field of epigenetics and the potentially game changing role it may play in evolution.   

            • Ian

              YEC will certainly deal with it in time. I don’t think it has got to the point of maturity where most counter-apologists are familiar enough with it to use it in debate. When they do, YECs will come up with model refutations and talking points. Which we’ll then see start to percolate into lists of objections copy and pasted into venues like this.

              I’m not sure epigenetics changes the evolution game much though. 

              I’ve lost count of the number of times that journalists at places like Scientific American publish stories with stupid leaders like “this calls conventional evolutionary theory into doubt” — hyping discoveries as if they are paradigm shifts. 

              It isn’t unique to evolution, of course, there are at least 4 stories a year with stuff like “this revolutionizes the understanding of physics”, “physicists have to go back to the drawing board” and so on. Medicine gets it even worse, where every result is a “breakthrough for cancer treatment”, or “treatment X causes disease Y!”. Phrases like “baffles scientists” are another good indicator of bad scientific journalism that adds to this general sense that science works in a way that it simply doesn’t*.

              This is one good reason that lots of scientists don’t read stuff like SciAm. More worrying the letters and editorials of journals like Nature have started to get more hypey too.

              The only implication of EvoDevo for evolution is that it gives more possible sources of variation, more possible sources of selective advantage, and a more complex relationship between genotype and phenotype. It doesn’t change the role of mutation or natural selection.

              * Scientists should always be baffled, if they aren’t they’re doing it wrong. But they are almost never baffled about anything that you can explain succinctly in a short magazine article.

          • Chris

            Could you provide some examples please?

        • Chris

          I agree I might have overstated – I was a bit pressed for time to answer Prof. James, my fault completely.  However, I stand by the fact that Evo Devo does part ways with what is still thought of as evolution, IE only through mutation and natural selection – no tool kit to work with.
           
          As for my speciation – please explain how I over simplified?  We have not seen anything BEYOND speciation occur.  this is not debated on either side.  It’s the BEYOND that is, and as far as I have been show (as of today still) no one has shown the beyond.  Even in laboratory trials: malaria is still malaria, fruit flies are still fruit flies.

          • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

            Chris,

            When you claim that “we have not seen anything BEYOND speciation occur,” it tells me that you don’t have a true appreciation for the lengths of time it takes for significant morphological changes to occur, or for what is within the evolutionary art of the possible within, say, 100 millennia. 

            If you looked at each successive generation of a single line of ancestry (i.e., unbroken chain of ancestors/descendants) between, for example, Homo habilis and Homo sapiens, you wouldn’t notice the changes.  Each child would appear extremely similar, if not identical, to its parents.  Take snapshots, however — which is what the fossil record provides us (thank God for gaps!) — and the differences you’d notice would be quite marked. 

            As an analogy, think back to your baby pictures, and your elementary through high school photographs.  You can see marked change from year-to-year (uh-oh! you didn’t really grow up!  there are gaps in your photograph book!).  Your parents, on the other hand — or you, if you have children — didn’t really notice your development to the same degree.

            Thus, what you ask, Chris, is the impossible, if not highly improbable.  Even with species possessing short lifespans.  You simply will not live long enough to witness the process for yourself.

          • jeff

            Chris,

            To clarify my thoughts on species:  A cat is a cat, a dog is a dog, etc..  For the creationist, this must of course be the case.  What I poorly attempted to say is that every rule or technicality that a biologist might try to make to actually define a species as a species might be useful as a general principle, but I guarantee that life has found a way to circumvent the rules, and that as you get into the “lower” life forms, the rules of what constitutes an individual species are not always black and white.  If this has any impact on creationism I will leave it up to you to decide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I appreciate and accept your apology for the misunderstanding, I’m also sorry for my part, and part of the reason I come to sites like this is to be exposed to ideas that conflict with my beliefs to see if I can be given explanations about something that would be difficult to provide alternative reasonable explanations. But at this time, I am not willing to spend years fully grasping a concept just to see if it has no alternative explanations. No more then you are willing to spend years learning my particular theology simply to find the faults in it.

    You are right, I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of evolutionary genetics, but I like to think I have a basic understanding of the concepts of evolution. And no, I would not submit a refutation to an academic journal on evolution, but I think a blog site is informal enough to express my opinions on the topic. But do me a favor, go back to my comment about the 5 evolution proofs and show me where I posted any lies or egregious mistakes.

    And if you want to get technical, you entered a theological discussion when it turned to genetics. If you look at the beginning, I was the first one who responded to this post with a serious comment about the theology of the topic. But I guess that wasn’t interesting enough to get a response by anyone.

    I think I have a pretty good grasp of the wonder of the cosmos, I read about science all the time, I just don’t read it with a view to evolution, but with a view of God’s creative power. I actually studied astronomy for years, but that was 30 years ago. That was about the time I got into computers, how I dreamed of hooking my telescope to my computer, but it was a little too early for that. Now I just fix and build computers on the side.

    What I meant by philosophical, would be ideas such as, for evolution without a God, it would require life from lifelessness. So how is that research going? But I take it from your response that you have no belief in a god? That is certainly your prerogative, and that is probably the cause of our contention. I feel my theology is just as real as you feel about evolution. But please do not confuse my theology with mainstream theology as they are very different. For example, (not that you’re really interested) but in my view of creation, God was progressively creating animal life from the fifth day all the way up until Eve was created, which spans enormous periods of time.

    • Ian

      Okay. Cool.

      “What I meant by philosophical, would be ideas such as, for evolution without a God, it would require life from lifelessness.”

      It wouldn’t *require* that at all. It is generally thought to be the case, though. But if you want to talk philosophy best not to adopt too many unjustified “requires”… And, of course, positing God doesn’t help unless you can say how God came to be. And if God never came to be, then it seems you’re happy with an ontologically category of uncreated things. Which I’d agree: there are such things as uncreated things.

      “So how is that research going?” 

      Pretty well, I think. Though it wasn’t my field, so I only hear about papers that are particularly significant. When I had more to do with this 10 years ago (I went from graduate school into industry, so I am not an academic), I know that it was fairly routine to be able to produce biochemical precursors in the lab. Even manipulating the seed conditions, I would expect that to take a long time, even under the assumption that they have the mechanism right. But as I understand it, many of the links one would expect to need in that chain have been demonstrated. From boundary-formation to replication to protein synthesis to nucleic acid production.

      “I take it from your response that you have no belief in a god”

      I believe there is no god, yes. But that is rather tangential. I did my graduate work while I was a Christian (I have a theology undergrad degree also) and it had no effect on my faith. My conclusions about the non-existence of god arose from consideration of evidence. But not evidence about evolution, evidence of the supernatural.

      “that is probably the cause of our contention”

      Not really, I’d splutter into a feather filled rage on every post here if that were the case. 

      I have a hair trigger on evolution because, for years when I was doing this stuff, I was routinely lied to, lied about, and condemned to hell, by fellow-Christians who knew better than me what I was researching and why I was wrong. Look at Sarah’s posts here and on the hume post for examples. I started out trying to debate my point. But it really is like trying to discuss calculus with folks who can’t yet add up. Totally pointless.

      “go back to my comment about the 5 evolution proofs and show me where I posted any lies or egregious mistakes.”

      Most of them miss the point or confuse or conflate different concepts. Again, I’d want to double back well before that to make sure we’re on the same page with the basics first. I think need to find out how inheritance can in principle form evidence of common descent, and how one would distinguish that from just homologous forms. The comments about fossils rather misunderstand where biologists think fossils fit (a very common creationist misunderstanding, I find). The embryo response is just confused, and misunderstands how embryonic development works, and you are directly drawing from creationist misinformation here. And the final example is another common misunderstanding about what a species is and how speciation works.

  • jeff

    Sarah,

    Ultimately, what was a bit much with your posts was that in a few short paragraphs you managed to make just about every expert in Biblical studies, ancient history, archaeology, paleontology, linguistics, logic and every field of biology (etc.) cringe by your overt butchering of the the accumulated data because of your logically indefensible belief in Biblical innerrant literalism.  I would guess that every other aspect of your life you don’t behave in this manner (in that your willing to ask critical questions about something), but when it comes to faith your blinders are clearly up (actually, what you call faith I call blind confidence).   But nothing I can do about it, you’ll either start asking the hard questions or you won’t. 

    And yes, evolution is easy to understand if you’re willing to summarize it into one sentence filled with error.  Shoot, I guess that makes me an expert at quantum mechanics…cool, I always wanted to be one of those. 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Chris, presumably it would be fairer to say that Evo Devo represents an improvement on our understanding in biology. I’ve encountered critics of science who complain that it is “always changing” as though that suggests untrustworthiness. But surely as we study and study there is good reason to think that, on the whole, our understanding, whether of biology, physics, or astronomy, is on the whole improving as we understand more and more. And so this “constant change” is presumably something encouraging, indicating that these fields are not characterized by trenchant dogmatism but genuinely seek to improve, expand and clarify our understanding of the domains that they investigate. 

    • Chris

      However, there is trenchant dogmatism – evolution is true, case closed.  No other theories are allowed.
       
      ID says, Hey what about design?
       
      evolutionist say, you’re just a christian trying to pass off God and religion!  Get away, there’s no design – just the appearance, there’s no room for your theory, there’s only evolution!
       
      pretty dogmatic to me, not even allowing a SECULAR argument of design (I myself subscribe to crappy creationism – if only just to piss of ian as it does.)
       
      Yet the case ISN’T closed.  There is much evolution can’t, doesn’t account for.  Does ID do much better?  I don’t think so, but much of the “evidence” for evolution can just as easily be considered evidence for design.
       
      Why can’t both angle’s be looked at?  Easy, because people ARE dogmatic and entrenched in their beliefs and don’t want them rocked.  But that’s not honesty, at least not scientifically.

      • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

        Chris,

        Insofar as our immediate solar system is concerned, are you open to other theories besides heliocentrism?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

        PS — There is no such thing as gravity.  Only Intelligent Falling.

        • Chris

          Mike,

          As our immediate solar system is concerned I’m open for ANY theories as I am quite ignorant of it – I am facinated by it, however given it’s vastness, I am also sometimes overwhelmed by it to the point of assuming I won’t ever truly grasp it.

      • Ian

        There’s a couple of things in this post which are interesting, I think, and speak to the general process of finding stuff out.

        The epistemic process looks like this: we come up with some explanations for something (how life came to be as it is now, say, or how a victim got murdered, or why the stock market crashed). Then we look at those explanations and we consider the consequences of those explanations, and we look for something that is *different* in each case. Something that one explanation says will go one way, and another says will go another way. Then we can go and check. One such check rarely finishes the argument, but if one consistent beats the other, it will come to dominate.

        So it should be obvious there are a bunch of things that are useless in finding out which explanation is better: 

        - situations where both explanations suggest the same thing, 

        - situations where one explanation can make no prediction at all, 

        - post-hoc rationalisation, 

        - failing to generate the right prediction for one explanation. 

        All four are dangerous sirens. They are dangerous is professional science (although they are very likely to get called out in peer review, in my experience), and they are *everywhere* in non-specialist discussions.

        In some cases, two or more explanations have no different implications at all, or have differences only in areas we can’t check yet (different accounts of Quantum Mechanics have this latter property). In those cases, criteria for which is better might vary. 

        In the scientific case, you prefer the one that produces more accurate predictions. If there’s still a tie, you might prefer the one with the simpler math, say, or use Occam’s Razor. In a legal case you might prefer an explanation that reduces the risk of injustice, say. But notice that this *doesn’t* happen, until you’ve established that there are no differential consequences. I see this a lot from anti-theistic science-fans, who think somehow Occam’s Razor is a good criteria on which to judge whether explanations are right, without going through the process outlined here.

        By far the most common (but not the only) way in which two explanations are indistinguishable is when one is so general it is unfalsifiable. This is so common that such an explanation is usually dismissed out of hand. Because it is always going to be inferior to any explanation that can make any verifiable prediction.

        So design and evolution, then. Where do they differ? What does design *predict* that evolution *predicts* differently? 
        Bearing in mind you have to make sure that your prediction for evolution is actually correct (which is what normally happens, creationists misunderstand evolution, so come up with straw predictions that they then knock down).

        My sense is that some design theories do make testable differential predictions. But those aren’t usually successful. Explanations of “Because God wanted it / created it that way” obviously are total supersets of any other explanation.  But they do so by being unfalsifiable (what would constitute evidence that there was no design?)

        • Chris

          I completely agree – except for “falsibilty”.

          Just because you can’t falsify something NOW doesn’t mean you might not to later – like I have said – knowledge follows fact.

          We don’t KNOW everything.

          Here’s my point: designs in nature are looked at by scientists.  Engineers look at nature when they are trying to create and build as there is much to learn from nature in their profession – ANY profession really.

          Evolution says: it evolved.  How?  We’re looking into it. Why? there is no why. it’s evolution. evolution has no purpose.
          ID says: it was designed. How?  We’re looking into it. Why?  Let’s find out.

          I would argue the ID asks a deeper question, one that invites us to further discovery, further understanding. With evolution?

          What further understanding is there after the mechanism?

          None.

  • sarah

    IAN  DO you think you know more than these top scientists :-

    QUOTE MINES I ADMIT – but a quote  sums  up a persons final vierwpoint.
     
    “I have little hesitation in saying that a sickly pall now hangs over the big bang theory.”
    (Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer, cosmologist, and mathematician, Cambridge University)

    “The pathetic thing is that we have scientists who are trying to prove evolution, which no scientist can ever prove.”
    (Dr Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize winner and eminent evolutionist)

    “The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge.”
    (Dr A Fleishmann, Zoologist, Erlangen University)

    “It is good to keep in mind … that nobody has ever succeeded in producing even one new species by the accumulation of micromutations. Darwin’s theory of natural selection has never had any proof, yet it has been universally accepted.”
    (Prof. R Goldschmidt PhD, DSc Prof. Zoology, University of Calif. in Material Basis of Evolution Yale Univ. Press)

    “The theory of the transmutation of species is a scientific mistake, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, and mischievous in its tendency.”
    (Prof. J Agassiz, of Harvard in Methods of Study in Natural History)

    “Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.”
    (Dr Ambrose Fleming, President, British Assoc. Advancement of Science, in The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought)

    “Overwhelming strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us … The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I cannot put it into words.”
    (Lord Kelvin, Vict. Inst., 124, p267)

    It is possible (and, given the Flood, probable) that materials which give radiocarbon dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years could have true ages of many fewer calendar years.”
    (Gerald Aardsman, Ph.D., physicist and C-14 dating specialist)

    “We have to admit that there is nothing in the geological records that runs contrary to the views of conservative creationists.”
    (Evolutionist Edmund Ambrose)

    “The best physical evidence that the earth is young is the dwindling resource that evolutionists refuse to admit is dwindling … the magnetic energy in the field of the earth’s dipole magnet … To deny that it is a dwindling resource is phoney science.”
    (Thomas Barnes Ph.D., physicist)

    “No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.”
    (Pierre-Paul Grasse, Evolutionist)

    “The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it … It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution … if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.”
    (Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer, cosmologist and mathematician, Cambridge University)

    “It is easy enough to make up stories, of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.”
    (Luther D Sutherland, Darwin’s Enigma, Master Books 1988, p89)

    “Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which – a functional protein or gene – is complex beyond … anything produced by the intelligence of man?”
    (Molecular biologist Michael Denton, Evolutionist: A Theory in Crisis (London: Burnett Books, 1985) p 342.)

    “When I make an incision with my scalpel, I see organs of such intricacy that there simply hasn’t been enough time for natural evolutionary processes to have developed them.”
    (C Everett Koop, former US Surgeon General)

    “Modern apes … seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans … is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter.”
    (Lyall Watson, Ph.D., Evolutionist)

    “Although bacteria are tiny, they display biochemical, structural and behavioural complexities that outstrip scientific description. In keeping with the current microelectronics revolution, it may make more sense to equate their size with sophistication rather than with simplicity … Without bacteria life on earth could not exist in its present form.”
    (James A Shipiro, Bacteria as Multicellular Organisms, “Scientific America, Vol.258, No.6 (June 1988))

    “Eighty to eighty-five percent of earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geological periods appearing in ‘correct’ consecutive order … it becomes an overall exercise of gargantuan special pleading and imagination for the evolutionary-uniformitarian paradigm to maintain that there ever were geologic periods.”
    (John Woodmorappe, geologist)

    “That a mindless, purposeless, chance process such as natural selection, acting on the sequels of recombinant DNA or random mutation, most of which are injurious or fatal, could fabricate such complexity and organisation as the vertebrate eye, where each component part must carry out its own distinctive task in a harmoniously functioning optical unit, is inconceivable. The absence of transitional forms between the invertebrates retina and that of the vertebrates poses another difficulty. Here there is a great gulf fixed which remains inviolate with no seeming likelihood of ever being bridged. The total picture speaks of intelligent creative design of an infinitely high order.”
    (H.S.Hamilton (MD) The Retina of the Eye – An Evolutionary Road Block.)

    “My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed.”
    (N.H.Nilson, famous botanist and evolutionist)

    “None of five museum officials could offer a single example of a transitional series of fossilised organisms that would document the transformation of one basically different type to another.”
    (Luther Sunderland, science researcher)

    “The entire hominid collection known today would barely cover a billiard table, but it has spawned a science because it is distinguished by two factors which inflate its apparent relevance far beyond its merits. First, the fossils hint at the ancestry of a supremely self- important animal – ourselves. Secondly, the collection is so tantalisingly incomplete, and the specimens themselves often so fragmented and inconclusive, that more can be said about what is missing than about what is present. Hence the amazing quantity of literature on the subject ever since Darwin’s work inspired the notion that fossils linking modern man and extinct ancestor would provide the most convincing proof of human evolution, preconceptions have led evidence by the nose in the study of fossil man.”
    (John Reader, Whatever Happened to Zinjanthropus? New Scientist Vol. 89, No.12446 (March 26,1981) pp 802-805))

    “The evolutionist thesis has become more stringently unthinkable than ever before.”
    (Wolfgang Smith Ph.D.)

    “The only competing explanation for the order we all see in the biological world is the notion of Special Creation.”
    (Niles Eldridge, PhD., palaeontologist and evolutionist, American Museum of Natural History).
    Darwin’s Own Confession

    “Not one change of species into another is on record … we cannot prove that a single species has been changed.”
    (Charles Darwin, My Life & Letters)

    “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”
    (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, chapter “Difficulties”)

    “A growing number of respectable scientists are defecting from the evolutionist camp … moreover, for the most part these ‘experts’ have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or biblical persuasions, but on scientific grounds, and in some instances, regretfully.”
    (Wolfgang Smith, Ph.D., physicist and mathematician)
    “As yet we have not been able to track the phylogenetic history of a single group of modern plants from its beginning to the present.”
    (Chester A Arnold, Professor of Botany and Curator of Fossil Plants, University of Michigan, An Introduction to Palaeobotany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1947, p.7)

    “The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated.”
    (John Adler with John Carey: Is Man a Subtle Accident, Newsweek, Vol.96, No.18 (November 3, 1980, p.95)

    “…most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument in favour of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.”
    (Dr David Raup, Curator of geology, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago)

    “Despite the bright promise that palaeontology provides means of ‘seeing’ Evolution, it has provided some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of ‘gaps’ in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not provide them.”
    (David Kitts, Ph.D. Palaeontology and Evolutionary Theory, Evolution, Vol.28 (Sep.1974) p.467)

    “Hundreds of scientists who once taught their university students that the bottom line on origins had been figured out and settled are today confessing that they were completely wrong. They’ve discovered that their previous conclusions, once held so fervently, were based on very fragile evidences and suppositions which have since been refuted by new discoveries. This has necessitated a change in their basic philosophical position on origins. Others are admitting great weaknesses in evolution theory.”
    (Luther D Sutherland, Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition (Santee, California: Master Books,1988) pp.7-8)
    “The fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable, and so far from the criteria otherwise applied in ‘hard’ science has become a dogma can only be explained on sociological grounds.”
    (Ludwig von Bertalanffy, biologist)

    “Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: … I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen?”
    (S Lovtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (London:Croom Helm, p.422))

    “If one allows the unquestionably largest experimenter to speak, namely nature, one gets a clear and incontrovertible answer to the question about the significance of mutations for the formation of species and evolution. They disappear under the competitive conditions of natural selection, as soap bubbles burst in a breeze.”
    (Evolutionist Herbert Nilson, Synthetische Artbildung (Lund, Sweden:Verlag CWK Gleerup Press, 1953, p 174)

    “In all the thousands of fly-breeding experiments carried out all over the world for more than fifty years, a distinct new species has never been seen to emerge … or even a new enzyme.”
    (Gordon Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery (New York: Harper and Row, 1983, pp 34, 38)

    “The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature.”
    (George Simpson, palaeontologist and Evolutionist)
    Fossils

    “As is well known, most fossil species appear instantaneously in the fossil record.”
    (Tom Kemp, Oxford University)

    “The fossil record pertaining to man is still so sparsely known that those who insist on positive declarations can do nothing more than jump from one hazardous surmise to another and hope that the next dramatic discovery does not make them utter fools … Clearly some refuse to learn from this. As we have seen, there are numerous scientists and popularizers today who have the temerity to tell us that there is ‘no doubt’ how man originated: if only they had the evidence…”
    (William R Fix, The Bone Pedlars, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1984, p.150)

    “The curious thing is that there is a consistency about the fossil gaps; the fossils are missing in all the important places.”
    (Francis Hitching, archaeologist).
    “The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply.”
    (J.O’Rourke in the American Journal of Science)

    “In most people’s minds, fossils and Evolution go hand in hand. In reality, fossils are a great embarrassment to Evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of Creation. If Evolution were true, we should find literally millions of fossils that show how one kind of life slowly and gradually changed to another kind of life. But missing links are the trade secret, in a sense, of palaeontology. The point is, the links are still missing. What we really find are gaps that sharpen up the boundaries between kinds. It’s those gaps which provide us with the evidence of Creation of separate kinds. As a matter of fact, there are gaps between each of the major kinds of plants and animals. Transition forms are missing by the millions. What we do find are separate and complex kinds, pointing to Creation.”
    (Dr Gary Parker Biologist/palaeontologist and former ardent Evolutionist.)

    “Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not provide them.”
    (David Kitts, palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

    “… I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed and a palm tree have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition.”
    (Dr Eldred Corner, Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, England: Evolution in Contemporary Botanical Thought (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961, p.97))

    “Fossils are a great embarrassment to Evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of Creation.”
    (Gary Parker, Ph.D., biologist/palaeontologist and former evolutionist)

    “So firmly does the modern geologist believe in evolution up from simple organisms to complex ones over huge time spans, that he is perfectly willing to use the theory of evolution to prove the theory of evolution [p.128] … one is applying the theory of evolution to prove the correctness of evolution. For we are assuming that the oldest formations contain only the most primitive and least complex organisms, which is the base assumption of Darwinism … [p.127] If we now assume that only simple organisms will occur in old formations, we are assuming the basic premise of Darwinism to be correct. To use, therefore, for dating purposes, the assumption that only simple organisms will be present in old formations is to thoroughly beg the whole question. It is arguing in a circle. [p.128]”
    (Arthur E Wilder-Smith, Man’s Origin, Man’s destiny: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1968, pp127-8)

    “It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical standpoint, geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succession of organisms has been determined by the study of their remains imbedded in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the remains of the organisms they contain.”
    (R H Rastall, Lecturer in Economic Geology, Cambridge University: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol.10 (Chicago: William Benton, Publisher, 1956, p.168)

    “I admit that an awful lot of that [fantasy] has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs [in the American Museum of Natural History] is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared fifty years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now, I think that that is lamentable, particularly because the people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we’ve got science as truth and we have a problem.”
    (Dr Niles Eldredge, Palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

    “The set of genetic instructions for humans is roughly three billion letters long.”
    (Miroslav Radman & Robert Wagner, The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication, Scientific America, Vol. 259, No.2 August 1988, pp40-46)

    “DNA and the molecules that surround it form a truly superb mechanism – a miniaturised marvel. The information is so compactly stored that the amount of DNA necessary to code all the people living on our planet might fit into a space no larger than an aspirin tablet.”
    (Paul S Taylor in The Illustrated Origins Answer Book page 23)

    “… Life cannot have had a random beginning … The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the power of 40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court …”
    (Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space)

    “The chance that useful DNA molecules would develop without a Designer are apparently zero. Then let me conclude by asking which came first – the DNA (which is essential for the synthesis of proteins) or the protein enzyme (DNA-polymerase) without which DNA synthesis is nil? … there is virtually no chance that chemical ‘letters’ would spontaneously produce coherent DNA and protein ‘words.’”
    (George Howe, expert in biology sciences)
    “…An intelligible communication via radio signal from some distant galaxy would be widely hailed as evidence of an intelligent source. Why then doesn’t the message sequence on the DNA molecule also constitute prima facie evidence for an intelligent source? After all, DNA information is not just analogous to a message sequence such as Morse code, it is such a message sequence.”
    (Charles B Thaxton, Walter L Bradley and Robert L Olsen: The Mystery of Life’s Origin, Reassessing Current Theories (New York Philosophical Library 1984) pp 211-212)

    “Generation after generation, through countless cell divisions, the genetic heritage of living things is scrupulously preserved in DNA … All of life depends on the accurate transmission of information. As genetic messages are passed through generations of dividing cells, even small mistakes can be life-threatening … if mistakes were as rare as one in a million, 3000 mistakes would be made during each duplication of the human genome. Since the genome replicates about a million billion times in the course of building a human being from a single fertilised egg, it is unlikely that the human organism could tolerate such a high rate of error. In fact, the actual rate of mistakes is more like one in 10 billion.”
    (Miroslav Radman and Robert Wagner, The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication… Scientific America. Vol. 299, No 2 (August 1988, pp 40-44. Quote is from page 24))

    “In the meantime, the educated public continues to believe that Darwin has provided all the relevant answers by the magic formula of random mutations plus natural selection – quite unaware of the fact that random mutations turned out to be irrelevant and natural selection a tautology.”
    (Arthur Koestler, author)

    “Evolution lacks a scientifically acceptable explanation of the source of the precisely planned codes within cells without which there can be no specific proteins and hence, no life.”
    (David A Kaufman, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainsesville)

    “Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect deliberate….It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect …higher intelligences…even to the limit of God…such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.”
    (Sir Fred Hoyle, well-known British mathematician, astronomer and cosmologist)

    “Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.”
    (Michael Denton, ‘Evolution, A Theory in Crisis’ page 358)

    “The notion that … the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.”
    (Evolutionist Sir Fred Hoyle)
    The theory of Evolution … will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity it has.”
    (Malcolm Muggeridge, well-known philosopher)

    “We have had enough of the Darwinian fallacy. It is time that we
    Cry: ‘The emperor has no clothes.’”
    (K.Hsu, geologist at the Geological Institute at Zurich)

    “Far from being an established fact of science that it is so typically portrayed to be, evolution is, in reality, an unreasonable and unfounded hypothesis that is riddled with countless scientific fallacies.”
    (Scott M Huse, The Collapse of Evolution (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pp 127)

    “Unfortunately many scientists and non-scientists have made Evolution into a religion, something to be defended against infidels.
     In my experience, many students of biology – professors and textbook writers included – have been so carried away with the arguments for Evolution that they neglect to question it. They preach it … College students, having gone through such a closed system of education, themselves become teachers, entering high schools to continue the process, using textbooks written by former classmates or professors. High standards of scholarship and teaching break down. Propaganda and the pursuit of power replace the pursuit knowledge. Education becomes a fraud.”
    (George Kocan, Evolution isn’t Faith But Theory, Chicago Tribune 9 Monday April 21 1980)

    “Scientists who go about teaching that Evolution is a fact of life are great con men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining Evolution we do not have one iota of fact.”
    (Dr T N Tahmisian, a former U.S. Atomic Energy Commission physiologist)

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      God have mercy on me if my entire worldview was summed up in one quote.  Especially if I was quote-mined while still a young-earth creationist.

      Sarah, have you read their works in context?  Do you know where they stand today?  (Some of those quotes are from the 80s, for Pete’s sake!)

      • Ian

        “Some of those quotes are from the 80s, for Pete’s sake!”

        “Come on how many evolutionary quotes will be a lot older.”

        Priceless.

    • Ian

      Sarah, I think you’re getting rather unhinged. I’m sorry if you can’t understand what is being said to you over and over and over again. The quotes are a mix of creationists, misquotes, out of context quotes, and quotes that don’t mean anything like what you think they do. 

      The more you post in this kind of way, the more you discredit your god, which is fine by me. Unhinged creationists are great evangelists for reason and common sense. Please continue to rant as loudly and as widely as you can. Please continue to ignore any response, and to fail to understand even the basics of anything you want to talk about.

      By showing the anti-intellectual, dogmatic, ignorance of indoctrination, you’re a *great* advertisement for atheism. :) Thanks

    • Ian

      “QUOTE MINES I ADMIT – but a quote  sums  up a persons final vierwpoint.”That’s got to go on Fundies Say the Darndest Thing. Superb. 

      • Ian

        Though, as it turns out, sarah already has a bunch of entries there from other forums!

  • sarah

    Darwins and Lyell nearly 200 years ago
    Come on how many evolutionary quotes will be a lot older.

  • sarah

    The quotes are mainly from evolutionists and non bible believers
    with no axe to grind. 
    I can see why you don’t like them though.

    • Ian

      No, I like them a lot. Please copy and paste more multi-thousand word quote mining expeditions. After all, a mined quote accurately summarises a persons final position!

    • jeff

      Sarah, I still consider myself a Christian (by your definition, whatever it is, you might not), but I agree with Ian that your quote mining was a point for atheism, if we’re keeping score.  I mean, seriously, you included a quote from an advocate of Lamarckism…and that wasn’t the worst (and several of them are affiliated with the ICR). 

      I could easily (I’m not going to, I’d rather play with my kids) come up with a quote mine of legitimate and preeminent Bible scholars (who believe and do not believe) that could illustrate why your belief in literal inerrancy is wrong.  But what’s the point, it would be better to get educated to the point that one can hold a reasonable discussion on the matter. 

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Sarah,

      It’s not that we don’t appreciate the quotes with which you’ve spammed us.  It’s that we don’t appreciate what you’ve done with them.  Certainly, some accurately reflect the original authors’ personal opinions.  Most of them, however, are taken out of context deliberately.  Still others reflect their thoughts before additional evidence changed their minds.  In two out of three cases, it ultimately constitutes bearing false witness.  And those quotes that do accurately reflect the authors’ views?  Well, those scientists probably constitute a fraction of 1%.  The overwhelming rest are evolutionists.  Majority doesn’t necessarily make right, but that fraction of 1% of all scientists is getting smaller by the day.  Soon, the only scientists left that believe in young-earth creationism will be those who have abandoned science altogether in favor of a fiction with no basis in reality.  (Heck, we may have already reached that point.) 

      Young-earth creationists are, for all intents and purposes, polytheists, for they worship not just the God that created this cosmos using natural laws sufficient to bring about all that we see today over the course of 15 billion years … they also worship a book that can be easily proven errant in certain places. 

      The Bible need not be inerrant in order to provide a reliable and trustworthy witness to the person and works of Jesus Christ.  It’s sufficient to lead both you and me to the Messiah despite its flaws.  If you don’t believe that’s possible, I challenge you to think about how adequately you conduct your day-to-day business based on fallible people, fallible engineers, fallible construction workers, fallible teachers, fallible accountants, fallible politicians (well, yeah, that’s a stretch), fallible parents, fallible phone directories, fallible preachers (how do you know they’re preaching correct doctrine?), fallible translations of the Bible … the list goes on.  I suspect you get along quite well.

      But I understand why, in the end, you resort to such tactics:  fear.  Fear that Christianity stands or falls on Genesis 1 not really meaning what you think it means.  You need not fear.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJ6PZMYZVJL4CGQBUYBVMQSDPQ james Harrison

    Since the faith of believers is more important to them than literal truth, there is no point in trying to argue somebody out of young earth creationism. But folks like Sarah can perhaps come to understand how the scientists view the controversy, specifically that for the scientists the controversy is simply an irritating political issue since none of them are going to stay up late worrying that they are wrong about theories and facts that are endlessly confirmed during their working lives. Just as there would be very little debate about global warming absent an enormous PR campaign financed by specific  business interests, nobody would doubt the antiquity of the Earth or the reality of biological evolution were it not for theological interests. If it weren’t for religion, there would be no public argument about evolution, though there would be and, in fact, are endless scientific debates about the particulars of evolution, which, precisely because they are realities and not ideological abstractions are incredibly complicated.

    My point is that the scientists are not acting as “heathens raging in vain” when they dismiss the arguments of creationists as piffle. What religious people don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around is the degree to which their religious concerns are simply irrelevant to the enterprise of figuring out the world and how it works. What we have here is an instance of delusions of reference, the mistaken belief that the scientists are thinking about you and your obsessions when they work out the phylogeny of whales.

  • sarah

    I agree - to many people creation science is not neccessary to their belief in the Resurrection of Jesus and their hope in the final
    resurrection. This is true for Christians before Darwinism -about 1800 years of Christianity. Proving that head knowledge is not necessary to live out the gospel – indeed head knowledge might be
    detrimental – having prideful arguments – which can take one away
    from the Golden Rule – rather than helping widows and orphans etc.

    The laity that accept the truth of God’s word like little children
    don’t need creation or evolution science – but they still accept the word of God. So they avoid endless controversies as Paul warned.

    I agree Bible infallibilty would not be necessary – since before the bible was printed there was 1400 years of salvation based on preaching and teaching and traditions of the early church fathers
    who used the scriptures  as their guide .

    However you can’t deny that evolution has damaged Christianity
    as many people make a religion out of evolutionary science to destroy belief in the One True God – such as Professor Richard Dawkins and many others.  This is also what communist regimes did. 

    Evolution means survival of the fittest through chance events and is in direct contrast to an all powerful creator who is in control
    of every atom in the universe and knows when we sit or stand
    and when a hair falls from our head or when a sparrow falls to the ground.

    There are many translations of the New Testament – but using them the laity would get the same message which is the Cross of Christ preached under the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Lots of the laity need to believe the truth of the Bible since this knowledge is what their faith is based on – if this truth can be undermined such as to be thought of as fallible – then is this not
    what Satan did – undermined truth -   “did God really say that …..
    ” you will not die …….
    By underming truth with just these two phrases the Fall began
    and is why we are in this fallen condition and the whole of creation
    groans under a curse.

    “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”   Hosea

    I however believe in the inerrancy of scripture and the creation account as Jesus and the Apostles did.

    Every mistake I made was through not reading scripture every day and following the commandments and instruction therein - so I have not been a good Christian and have many sorrows due to not putting into practice what I now preach.

    The “word of God is living and active……..

    It actually changes your nature by reading …… it took
    me too long to realise this.

     

    • jeff

      Sarah,
      I wish to respond to the following from your earlier comment:

      “However you can’t deny that evolution has damaged Christianityas many people make a religion out of evolutionary science to destroy belief in the One True God – such as Professor Richard Dawkins and many others. This is also what communist regimes did. Evolution means survival of the fittest through chance events and is in direct contrast to an all powerful creator who is in control of every atom in the universe and knows when we sit or stand and when a hair falls from our head or when a sparrow falls to the ground.”

      First, I’m not sure what has damaged Christianity more, evolution or the typical Christian response to it and the fact that too many Christians tag it as the “enemy.”  This ends up saying a lot more about Christians then it does about evolution.  In fact, Evolution has nothing to say about Christianity or God, and evolution has nothing to say about how we should actually treat one another or the world around us (Darwin worried that his theory would be misused in this manner).  Evolution is merely a large area of scientific inquiry and makes no moral judgements or recommendations at all, how humans misuse it has more to do with the stupidity of humans and not evolution (and how some Christians mischaracterize it has to do with the stupidity of those Christians, quite frankly).   I would argue that critical biblical scholarship has done a lot more to destroy Christianity (as I presume you to define it) then evolution.  Note, I’m not saying Bible scholarship is wrong either, if anything I’m saying that the thoughtful, critically thinking human being needs to be willing to evaluate and accept new ideas if there is adequate evidence supporting them, and that sometimes means evaluating those things that can be extremely challenging, like issues of faith.  The Fundamentalist Christian swaggers in the arrogant certainty that their faith is right (which, of course, isn’t faith at all) like the fundamentalists of all religions; and out of necessity  they build a house of cards (there are a lot of holes) with fear on the other side.  Seriously, if the ancient Jews had the same certainty of their creator that most fundamentalists espouse, I would think that their history might look much different from the messy history that is in the Bible.  My house of cards tumbled long ago, it was a house that never needed building to begin with had I received appropriate teaching early on.  In any case, there are plenty of evolutionists who still find it reasonable to maintain faith.   

      Remember, the mechanism of natural selection is death.  You don’t have to like it, I’m not particularly thrilled by it, it just is.  If Christianity has something to say on the matter, it is how to live in the present (which, I would argue, is not clinging to Genesis as Gospel) with the hope that death doesn’t get the last word.  But to our end, it is just hope.  I suppose I will have to reach that point to see if there is more to it than that (if I find out that the end is just the end, I won’t be too disappointed at that point :-) .   

  • sarah

    I will therefore avoid posting comments on evolution and let
    the quotes from eminent scientists say it all.

    As for fear – if I had taken this on board I would have avoided
    my sins and errors.

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

  • Ian

    Sarah quotes, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.”

    How delightfully ironic.

  • Chris

    Ian,
    (i had thought I posted this, but am not finding it now so I’ll repost – sorry everyone)

    Must chromosome 2 be a fusion of an ape like ancestor?  if so, why?

    Could it not be from a human ancestor as well?  If not, why?

    Thank you.

    • Ian

      Replying to a bunch of your comments…

      “Must chromosome 2 be a fusion of an ape like ancestor?” 

      Seriously, why are you even asking this? If you wanted to know there are places you can learn enough to read the paper or its summaries. I am not going to waste my time describing what is all there, fully available online, a google search away.

      “Are their differences? YES! ”

      I’m starting to watch out for the capital letters now. A good sign you’re winging it. You could list them if you like. But I suspect it isn’t the list that is at fault, but that you don’t actually have a good grasp of “what is taught”, having not been taught it, or at the very least not understood what you were taught. So your list will be of features of EvoDevo that are different from what your odd view of what evolution courses might teach is. Or different from the strawman version of evolution you’ve read about somewhere. But feel free to prove me wrong, just don’t expect me to get dragged into re-educating you if I’m right.

      “Just because you can’t falsify something NOW doesn’t mean you might not to later”

      Okay, that’s true and fair enough. So I’d suggest you should expect design to be taken seriously as a possible explanation when it does get around to making falsifiable predictions. But until then science will leave you to do it quietly in the corner, so you don’t disturb all the others doing the same for their pet unfalsifiable ideas.

      The problem with unfalsifiable explanations is they are *easy*. We can come up with 100 before breakfast. Try it. Even better, find a random word in the dictionary, and use it to build an unfalsifiable explanation for the universe. It doesn’t take much creativity.

      And there are hundreds and hundreds with active communities of believers. From ancient astronauts, to those who really believe we’re part of some kind of virtual reality. Go googling for a while, and you’ll find them. And once you figure out why mainstream science should ignore them, you’ll figure out why it should ignore ID.

      “Evolution says: it evolved.  How?  We’re looking into it.”

      It says how, in pretty good and increasing detail.

      “Why? there is no why.”

      I don’t think you mean why, you mean “what for”. There’s plenty of why. Its just a historical rather than a teleological why. But assuming there’s a “what for” is assuming design: or at least assuming that there’s a being who is concerned with life’s purpose. So it isn’t really a question, just question begging.

      • Chris

        “Seriously, why are you even asking this? If you wanted to know there are
        places you can learn enough to read the paper or its summaries. I am
        not going to waste my time describing what is all there, fully available
        online, a google search away.”

        Actually Ian it’s  simple yes/no answer – nothing more is required.  Your rant, as it were, is quite silly.

        Yes or no.

        Simple. No trick.

        Three or two letters…yet you rather rant on why you WON’T answer the question – very telling.

        As for the “list” of differences I was going to pull the list from other sources, in fact, not my own.  As you don’t take anything I say seriously.  So here’s a source (one that evolutionists like to use alot)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_developmental_biology#Development_and_the_origin_of_novelty

        I read it….and yep! Differences!  Even I could read them.  Or am I reading it wrong and the two are EXACTLY the same teaching?

        “But assuming there’s a “what for” is assuming design: or at least
        assuming that there’s a being who is concerned with life’s purpose. So
        it isn’t really a question, just question begging.”

        Correct – there is an assumption – never said there wasn’t.  Just like the assumption of evolution.  Difference is, you don’t want evolution challenged.  Let both evolution and ID rise or fall on their own merits.  If you truly believe that evolution will win, why not let ID be taught.  It will be offereed and either accepted or rejected – if it’s rejected, then ID’ers will have nothing to complain about.

        All it looks like now is that evolutionists are afraid to have evolution be truly challenged.

        • Anonymous

          “Yes or no.”

          Yes.

          “So here’s a source”

          You might want to actually read the passage in Wikipedia you quoted. The bit where it said Hox genes were discovered in the 1980s. Genetic regulatory networks had been known about (but not tracked down to specific genes) for a long time prior to that. I did my studies in the 1990s, and I was certainly taught this stuff. I was taught by someone who’d been doing the evolutionary math of gene regulation and regulatory stability by shuffling computer punch cards in the 1960s. In the mid-1990s I was doing graduate research on the mathematics of how certain features of the genome not used in coding for genes evolved (of which epigenetic processes would be one example). Like I said, I don’t think you have any grasp of what is taught as evolutionary biology, nor what would constitute a “challenge”.

          When initial math was being done by folks like Fischer and Wright (the start of the neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolution and genetics in the 30s) they used Markov models that assumed many-to-one gene to feature mapping. Because that makes for easy math, and that’s all that was known with any confidence about genetics in the 1930s. EvoDevo (and the previous 50 years of genetic results, in fact) show that the mapping is actually many-to-many. And in fact the first ‘many’ can’t be assumed to be made up only of genes, but includes other genetic (and in fact non-nuclear) features. You have to have a slightly different form of math to run those calculations, but the results come out the same.

          Can you point to one college course by a professional biologist that teaches a version of evolution that would be refuted by evodevo? How about an undergraduate textbook?

          “Let both evolution and ID rise or fall on their own merits.”

          They do. 

          It wouldn’t be difficult to make ID a proper science. You just have to start predicting stuff and checking if you’re right. You wouldn’t even have to get all the predictions right (no science ever does – that’s how we find out new stuff). But as you’ve already conceded, we can’t check ID yet. When we can, then it can be taken seriously.

          “ If you truly believe that evolution will win, why not let ID be taught”

          For the same reason we don’t teach that life came from ancient astronauts, or that we’re all locked in virtual reality, or that the universe is a clockwork machine worked by miniature fairies. First ID has to come up with something that can be tested, until then it gets to be ignored with all the other unfalsifiable stories. It is very simple. Unfalsifiable stuff isn’t science. 

          In the quest for stuff that actually works, is useful and is testable, evolution is winning. In fact it would be hard not to, as ID hasn’t left the start-line.

  • sarah

    Jeff – I keep saying over and over that creation science or evolution science is not a salvation issue.
    Millions don’t understand evolution OR creation science but
    still hope for the resurrection.

    Millions of people accept the gospel and the TRUTH of God’s
    word like little children.  Jesus said the gospel can be understood
    by a little child .

    So if a Christian said to his brother get out of this church your not a six day creationist – this could never be the gospel.

    BUT similarly if someone is a six day creationist the theistic evolutionists should still love him as a brother.  This is the way
    in most churches.

    However if a Christian has problems of reconcilition of evolution
    the church should have material to back up the truth of Genesis.

    The Holy Spirit will lead him to the truth if he humbles himself and
    prays for understanding.

    However if someone could prove to me that Genesis is not true then I would have severe problems – no one ever has.

    By the way – the truth eventually comes out because God is his
    OWN interpreter  :-

    The crossing of the Red Sea at the back of the Bible is incorrect.

    Archeologists have traced the journey on film and the evidence is there :-

    Joshua’s temple , Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia and is burnt black
    at the top, The split rock that Moses struck is there showing water
    egress ,  Chariot wheels are in the Red Sea – thousands of them and some are golden , perfectly preserved.   You should google
    this film  up – it was on main stream TV  – if you can’t find it
    I will have a look – I also have a copy on email somewhere.

    The mount Sinai in Egypt is incorrect – it was named by an archeologist in error.

    Remember Jesus said if they will not believe in the Books of Moses they will not believe in me .

    • jeff

      Sarah,

      I may be mistaken, but several of the claims you refer to seem to mirror a lot of what Ron Wyatt claimed.  If that is the case, most or all of his claims have been discredited by professional archaeologists.  I’m not familiar enough with the data on either side to comment except to say that I suspect the data supports the case of the professionals. 

  • sarah

    Jebel el Lawz Translated into English it means ‘mount of Almonds’. Aaron’s staff …
    It was a team of Israeli Archeologists as far as I know but I know
    Ron Wyatt filmed his own trip – but look at the photographic evidence and the film – eg frogmen underwater examining the chariot wheels and the golden wheel.
    But there are lots of photographs and websites

    The Land of Midian was part of Egypt.

    A theory has been put forth that Jabal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia is Mount Sinai. Advocates for this theory include Lennart Moller (a Swedish professor in environmental medicine) and also Ron Wyatt and Bob Cornuke.[37][38][39] Allen Kerkselager, associate professor of Theology at St. Joseph’s University has stated that “Jabal al Lawz may also be the most convincing option for identifying the Mt. Sinai of biblical tradition” and should be researched.[40] A number of researchers support this hypothesis while others dispute it.[41] Ken Durham, Assistant Dean of Professional and Biblical Studies of Colorado Christian University, who has conducted on-site research throughout the Middle East, says: “I feel Bob Cornuke’s work concerning the locale of Mount Sinai is right on the money.” [42]
    Lennart MOLLER has written a book on it.

    It is a film so you can actually view the sites.
    It would be hard to build a mountain which was burned black
    on top. Plus it follows the Bible story accurately.

    • jeff

      It took me 5 minutes to discredit every reference you listed as a legitimate resource for achaeology.  Of course, that assumes that everything I read about these individuals is accurate (if it is, you’ve been duped). Thus, it takes me back to peer reviewed research for the best source for addressing the above questions. 

  • sarah

    Jeff – I will just look at the photographs and the Films.
    Using eyesite is trustworthy.   Notice how the current
    Mt Sinai has not been discredited – it was Constantine’s
    mother who chose this site. Does this not tell you something.

    There are lots more references – probably hundreds
    check them all out . Even by sight people will not believe.

    Jesus said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
    Luke 16 :31

  • sarah

    Jeff – It is amazing how you can discredit so many :-
    Lennart Moller, Bob Cornuke, Allen Kerkselager, associate professor of Theology Ken Durham, Assistant Dean of Professional and Biblical Studies of Colorado Christian University.
    What have these men done ? 

    If you don’t believe the written evidence why not believe your
    eyesight.

     

  • jeff

    I can discredit them (as authorities on achaeology) because they are not archaeologists…with the exception of Cornuke, who is an “amateur” archaeologist (but there are some fairly negative stories out there in his case, which I am not qualified to pass judgement on but red flags are waving). 

    As a biologist, I am keenly aware of how unqualified I am to speak authoritatively on many of the various fields within biology, as the devil is in the details and those details are incredibly complex and intricate.  This is one reason why I cringe when I see “amateurs” make sweeping conclusions about biological data (with regards to evolution) because they really have no idea how the data should be interpreted or what it means.  Without a thorough understanding of the appropriate context, the data is meaningless.  That said, I grant that archaeology is not much different in that regard (on a similar note, I grant that New Testament scholarship isn’t that much different either.  I get a bit of a chuckle when James patiently goes over various data with mythicysts who think they have a good enough grasp of the collective data set on which to base their conclusions, because unless one has been thorougly immersed in the relevant literature, context, etc., one most likely doesn’t have a great idea of what one is talking about).  Give me archaeologists who have thoroughly studied in the area, debated eachother, and staked their career on producing relevant peer reviewed articles and  evaluating the work of others, etc.. 

    If you’re sick, you go to a doc., he/she narrows it down a bit and sends you to a specialist, etc., if it is required.  Perhaps this would be a good model to follow in the case of the questions you are raising here. 

    I don’t believe a picture because I don’t know the appropriate context of that picture, I don’t know what professionals might have to say about it, etc., and, in the end, it’s just a picture until there is consensus by qualified academics as to the authenticity of what is in the picture. 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, there are plenty of Christian sites documenting that Ron Wyatt is a charlatan. Here is one example: http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/

    You do no service to God by being gullible.

    • Chris

      Speaking of charlatans – Marjoe!

      Though watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder: who’s is truly using who?

      A great film though, very well done.

      • Ian

        “Speaking of charlatans – Marjoe!”

        It is a fascinating film. 

        “who’s is truly using who?” 

        I couldn’t agree more. It asked *loads* more questions that in answered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Ian, Jeff, or Mike, would any of you care to critique this article? And no ad hominems please, I had nothing to do with this article.

    “EVOLUTION is as much a fact as the heat of the sun,” asserts Professor Richard Dawkins, a prominent evolutionary scientist. Of course, experiments and direct observations prove that the sun is hot. But do experiments and direct observations provide the teaching of evolution with the same undisputed support?

    Before we answer that question, something needs to be cleared up. Many scientists have noted that over time, the descendants of living things may change slightly. Charles Darwin called this process “descent with subsequent modification.” Such changes have been observed directly, recorded in experiments, and used ingeniously by plant and animal breeders. These changes can be considered facts. However, scientists attach to such slight changes the term “microevolution.” Even the name implies what many scientists assert—that these minute changes furnish the proof for an altogether different phenomenon, one that no one has observed, which they call macroevolution. You see, Darwin went far beyond such observable changes. He wrote in his famous book The Origin of Species: “I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings.” Darwin said that over vast periods of time, these original “few beings,” or so-called simple life-forms, slowly evolved—by means of “extremely slight modifications”—into the millions of different forms of life on earth. Evolutionists teach that these small changes accumulated and produced the big changes needed to make fish into amphibians and apes into men. These proposed big changes are referred to as macroevolution. To many, this second claim sounds reasonable. They wonder, ‘If small changes can occur within a species, why should not evolution produce big changes over long periods of time?’

    The teaching of macroevolution rests on three main assumptions:

    1. Mutations provide the raw materials needed to create new species.
    2. Natural selection leads to the production of new species.
    3. The fossil record documents macroevolutionary changes in plants and animals.

    Is the evidence for macroevolution so strong that it should be considered a fact?

    Many details of a plant or an animal are determined by the instructions contained in its genetic code, the blueprints that are wrapped up in the nucleus of each cell. Researchers have discovered that mutations—or random changes—in the genetic code can produce alterations in the descendants of plants and animals. In 1946, Hermann J. Muller, Nobel Prize winner and founder of the study of mutation genetics, claimed: “Not only is this accumulation of many rare, mainly tiny changes the chief means of artificial animal and plant improvement, but it is, even more, the way in which natural evolution has occurred, under the guidance of natural selection.”

    Indeed, the teaching of macroevolution is built upon the claim that mutations can produce not only new species but also entirely new families of plants and animals. Is there any way to test this bold claim? Well, consider what some 100 years of study in the field of genetic research has revealed. In the late 1930’s, scientists enthusiastically embraced the idea that if natural selection could produce new species of plants from random mutations, then artificial, or human-guided, selection of mutations should be able to do so more efficiently. “Euphoria spread among biologists in general and geneticists and breeders in particular,” said Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, a scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, who was interviewed by this Journal! Why the euphoria? Lönnig, who has spent some 28 years studying mutation genetics in plants, said: “These researchers thought the time had come to revolutionize the traditional method of breeding plants and animals. They thought that by inducing and selecting favorable mutations, they could produce new and better plants and animals.”

    Scientists in the United States, Asia, and Europe launched well-funded research programs, using methods that promised to speed up evolution. After more than 40 years of intensive research, what were the results? “In spite of an enormous financial expenditure,” says researcher Peter von Sengbusch, “the attempt to cultivate increasingly productive varieties by irradiation, widely proved to be a failure.” Lönnig said: “By the 1980’s, the hopes and euphoria among scientists had ended in worldwide failure. Mutation breeding as a separate branch of research was abandoned in Western countries. Almost all the mutants exhibited ‘negative selection values,’ that is, they died or were weaker than wild varieties.”

    Even so, the data now gathered from some 100 years of mutation research in general and 70 years of mutation breeding in particular enable scientists to draw conclusions regarding the ability of mutations to produce new species. After examining the evidence, Lönnig concluded: “Mutations cannot transform an original species [of plant or animal] into an entirely new one. This conclusion agrees with all the experiences and results of mutation research of the 20th century taken together as well as with the laws of probability. Thus, the law of recurrent variation implies that genetically properly defined species have real boundaries that cannot be abolished or transgressed by accidental mutations.”

    Consider the implications of the above facts. If highly trained scientists are unable to produce new species by artificially inducing and selecting favorable mutations, is it likely that an unintelligent process would do a better job? If research shows that mutations cannot transform an original species into an entirely new one, then how, exactly, was macroevolution supposed to have taken place? Darwin believed that what he called natural selection would favor those life-forms best suited to the environment, while less suitable life-forms would eventually die off. Modern evolutionists teach that as species spread and became isolated, natural selection chose those whose gene mutations made them most fit for their new environment. As a result, evolutionists postulate, these isolated groups eventually developed into totally new species. As previously noted, the evidence from research strongly indicates that mutations cannot produce entirely new kinds of plants or animals. Nevertheless, what proof do evolutionists provide to support the claim that natural selection chooses beneficial mutations to produce new species? A brochure published in 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the United States says: “A particularly compelling example of speciation [the evolution of new species] involves the 13 species of finches studied by Darwin on the Galápagos Islands, now known as Darwin’s finches.”

    In the 1970’s, a research group led by Peter and Rosemary Grant began studying these finches and discovered that after a year of drought, finches that had slightly bigger beaks survived more readily than those with smaller beaks. Since the size and shape of the beaks is one of the primary ways of determining the 13 species of finches, these findings were assumed to be significant. “The Grants have estimated,” continues the brochure, “that if droughts occur about once every 10 years on the islands, a new species of finch might arise in only about 200 years.”

    However, the NAS brochure neglects to mention some significant but awkward facts. In the years following the drought, finches with smaller beaks again dominated the population. Thus, Peter Grant and graduate student Lisle Gibbs wrote in the science journal Nature in 1987 that they had seen “a reversal in the direction of selection.” In 1991, Grant wrote that “the population, subjected to natural selection, is oscillating back and forth” each time the climate changes. The researchers also noticed that some of the different “species” of finches were interbreeding and producing offspring that survived better than the parents. Peter and Rosemary Grant concluded that if the interbreeding continued, it could result in the fusion of two “species” into just one within 200 years. Back in 1966, evolutionary biologist George Christopher Williams wrote: “I regard it as unfortunate that the theory of natural selection was first developed as an explanation for evolutionary change. It is much more important as an explanation for the maintenance of adaptation.” Evolutionary theorist Jeffrey Schwartz wrote in 1999 that if Williams’ conclusions are correct, natural selection may be helping species to adapt to the changing demands of existence, but “it is not creating anything new.”

    continued…

    e scientific community].”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Indeed, Darwin’s finches are not becoming “anything new.” They are still finches. And the fact that they are interbreeding casts doubt on the methods some evolutionists use to define a species. In addition, they expose the fact that even prestigious scientific academies are not above reporting evidence in a biased manner. The previously mentioned NAS brochure leaves the reader with the impression that the fossils found by scientists more than adequately document macroevolution. It declares: “So many intermediate forms have been discovered between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles and mammals, and along the primate lines of descent that it often is difficult to identify categorically when the transition occurs from one to another particular species.”

    This confident statement is quite surprising. Why? In 2004, National Geographic described the fossil record as being like “a film of evolution from which 999 of every 1,000 frames have been lost on the cutting-room floor.” Do the remaining one-in-a-thousand “frames” really document the process of macroevolution? What does the fossil record actually show? Niles Eldredge, a staunch evolutionist, admits that the record shows that for long periods of time, “little or no evolutionary change accumulates in most species.”

    To date, scientists worldwide have unearthed and cataloged some 200 million large fossils and billions of microfossils. Many researchers agree that this vast and detailed record shows that all the major groups of animals appeared suddenly and remained virtually unchanged, with many species disappearing as suddenly as they arrived. After reviewing the evidence of the fossil record, biologist Jonathan Wells writes: “At the level of kingdoms, phyla, and classes, descent with modification from common ancestors is obviously not an observed fact. To judge from the fossil and molecular evidence, it’s not even a well-supported theory.”

    Why do many prominent evolutionists insist that macroevolution is a fact? After criticizing some of Richard Dawkins’ reasoning, influential evolutionist Richard Lewontin wrote that many scientists are willing to accept scientific claims that are against common sense “because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Many scientists refuse even to consider the possibility of an intelligent Designer because, as Lewontin writes, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    In this regard, sociologist Rodney Stark is quoted in Scientific American as saying: “There’s been 200 years of marketing that if you want to be a scientific person you’ve got to keep your mind free of the fetters of religion.” He further notes that in research universities “the religious people keep their mouths shut,” while “irreligious people discriminate.” According to Stark, “there’s a reward system to being irreligious in the upper echelons [of the scientific community].”

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Howard,

      Are these thoughts truly yours?  Or do you make it a practice to cut and paste them from places like http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=105770826161922 without proper attribution?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

        Well for starters I said in the first line it was an article that I had
        nothing to do with. My copy is from the original source, the facebook
        page is just a coincidence. I wanted the article to be judged on its merits and not on the publishers, is that a crime?

        • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

          My apologies, Howard. I only saw your last comment, which didn’t possess the explanation that your penultimate comment had, and I linked directly to it from email. As it didn’t possess your usual style, I got a little suspicious. Again, my apologies for not being thorough and jumping to conclusions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

            No Problem. I wasn’t aware I had a style. :)

            I just wanted to see how you guys would respond to something that wasn’t written in the clumsy manner that I write in. Hey, maybe that’s the style you speak of…

    • Anonymous

      The problem I have with ‘critiquing’ this article is that, to do so in any way you’d understand, I’d have to again take you through a basic education in evolutionary theory.

      If I say, for example, that the article completely gets the terminology wrong and misrepresents what evolutionary biologists claim. That it makes claims about mutation in evolution that are wrong (or so twisted through lack of context that they do not support the argument at all), that it omits the actual data about artificial selection in creating new crops (a massive success in human science in the C20), that it completely misrepresents the conclusions and implications of the Grant study, that it quote-mines folks who’s full views would be quite different to how they appear, and so on. Then you’ll rightly say “so what are the wrong claims about mutation”, etc., and then we’ll be back to trying to teach you what evolution *actually* implies about de-novo mutations. And so on. It would be easier to do that explanation starting from the beginning.

      I simply don’t see why I should spend that kind of time, when there are masses of readily available resources out there, which are better written and better tested for teaching efficacy than my hastily composed blog comments.

      You’d be better off just starting at the beginning. Not starting with anti-evolution resources, nor anti-anti-evolution resources, but just finding out what evolution actually is.

      If that sounds evasive, or you want to conclude its because I don’t have a real critique and I’m hiding behind bluster, fair enough. 

      I found myself saying something similar last week in an argument with an atheist, when I had to say: “look, why don’t you just go and read the bible? rather than demanding I tell you every detail of what is in it, or why you’re misrepresenting large swathes of it?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

        Ian, Jeff, and Mike,

        Thanks for the responses to the article. Actually, I had no intention on arguing the point of the article. I merely wanted to see how you would respond. However, by your responses and especially Ian’s response to Chris about ID, it has become clear to me that we are approaching this dispute from totally different perspectives. Let me try to explain.

        Ian is right when he says:

        “First ID has to come up with something that can be tested, until then it gets to be ignored with all the other unfalsifiable stories. It is very simple. Unfalsifiable stuff isn’t science.”

        It is true that genetic information, for example, can be compared in some fashion to support or refute some portion of an evolutionary theory, because you at least have some kind of idea as to what the results should be or should not be. However, this is not the case for creation, in the study of genetics, we have no idea what to expect as to a divine origin. There is simply nothing we can use for a comparison. The most we can do is to look at the complexity and attribute this to design rather than accident. But this is nothing more than a conclusion based on our feelings of what seems reasonable. I understand this, but I also want you to understand that I don’t believe in God because I reject evolution, I reject evolution because I believe in God for many other reasons not related to the issue of evolution. But at the same time, I know that none of us knows everything about the universe. I understand that there is a chance my beliefs might be wrong, maybe there is no God at all, maybe God did use evolution, or some other method that no one has thought of yet. But whatever the actual truth turns out to be, I feel that God wants us to accept the creation account for some reason, even if it is merely to make the concepts in the Bible easier to comprehend. So theologically, I feel it is necessary to accept the creation account as it is written.

        That brings me to my next point. Ian is right again, science is science, and the search for the knowledge of God is philosophy. They really can not come head to head in a debate. In the strictest sense, to scientist, its a job, their employers expect usable results. No one is going to pay them for sitting around all day philosophizing about things that can not be proven with scientific methods. Religion or having faith is a philosophy about how to live your life. Biology is a job that helps doctors do their jobs better, and it makes someone money.

        So why do these two totally different perspectives often come together in dispute? Here is what I think. I’ll start with an analogy.

        Lets say you looked out your window, and you see a man mugging another man, you take a closer look to make sure of what you are seeing, and yes, the man knocked the other man to the ground, grabbed his wallet and started running away. All the observable evidence points to the fact that you have just witnessed a mugging. However, later on, you find out that a movie was being filmed on your street and the two men were actors.

        Even though the observable evidence depicted a mugging in every possible way, there was a bigger picture at work, one that relied on depicting a mugging for other reasons then a real mugging.

        So the evolutionist only deals with the observable facts, and after observing them, they make a determination based on what they see.

        Religion claims to recognize the bigger picture, and although at first the observable facts indeed look like evolution has occurred, but God relied on using a genetic makeup that could be misconstrued as evolution, but in fact they were used for other reasons.

        So when evolutionists observe the facts and make predictions, the predictions are in fact accurate, based on the accumulated knowledge of the human race. However, religion discounts this knowledge in favor of divine knowledge which supersedes human knowledge, if God exists and really said what’s in the Bible. Religion then attempts to refute this human knowledge by attempting to disprove the claims of evolutionists. Which usually doesn’t work because these are two completely different worldviews, and the more someone knows about evolution the more unlikely it will be to bring them into your worldview. Therefore, at this juncture in time and in relation to their particular worldview, both ideas are true. The real truth hinges on whether God exists or not. If he does, we will eventually know the truth. If he doesn’t then evolution is probably true. Unless the ancient astronaut thing is true. :)

        That’s all I had to say, if anyone cared…

        • Ian

          I think you’re right, Howard.

          It could be that God had designed the world so no matter how hard you look it appears that evolution happened. It could be that God designed the world so it looked that way for a while, but ultimately some discovery will come to light at some point that makes scientists have to say: “hang on, something else is going on”.

          Paradigm shifts in science almost never replace what went before, they normally subsume it. You mugging example is good: when you look at the big picture, somebody is still being mugged, but the context of that and the meaning of that change. So the things you can predict suddenly increase dramatically. You can still predict all the things about the mugging, but now you can predict things related to the film-shoot.

          So yes, it could be that we are witnessing a pretence inaugurated by God who is content to allow those who look carefully at all the evidence to come to the wrong conclusions, and who provides those who have a certain kind of theology the truth. It is a possibility.

          I don’t have a problem as a rule with folks who say what you’ve said. Nor with folks who say “I don’t want to know anything about evolution: I believe in special creation, and that’s that, evolution is irrelevant to me.” Just as I don’t have a problem with folks who say “I believe God knows everything about the universe, so I don’t believe in Quantum Mechanics.” Fine. We disagree, but I don’t find that noxious.

          I have a big problem with the creationists who try to make out that evolution is bad science, who quote-mine to suggest that scientists are being knowing deceptive, who misrepresent what evolution actually says, and who accuse evolutionary biologists of lying about their results or (if they are Christians) being tools of satan. Compounded by those who want such lies taught in science education, because their country doesn’t allow their religious meta-model to be taught.

          Rejecting empiricism as a route to finding out stuff is philosophically viable (with the caveat that I am not a philosopher). Though I do worry about consistency, since I assume such folks will use empiricism when it suits them. But, fair enough, who says consistency of philosophical stance is the highest ideal, anyway?

          But standing judgement over the work of scientists and trying to make out that they are incompetent or deceitful, is obnoxious.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

            Ian,

            No, I do not think scientist and evolutionist are lying and being deceptive. If I might make an assumption, I would imagine that there are many scientist that have contributed to evolution who were not even expecting to. They were probably working on some unrelated task and found information that was related to evolution. So no, the majority are not trying to deceive anyone. On the other hand, you can not deny that as with any other group of fallible humans, there are some who have used unsavory tactics to promote their views. But this is usually a small minority and not the object of my comments.

            I would like to clarify one point. In my view of things, I don’t believe God is purposely deceiving anyone either. It might be that scientist do not know enough yet to fully understand the complexity of the relationships between the living things on the planet. So it is merely a coincidence that what they have learned so far indicates a clear genetic link between all creatures past and present, and interpret it in the only terms available with today’s knowledge, as evolution. But as you said, the day might come when something is discovered that will push it in favor of one direction or another. Only time will tell.

            • Ian

              “But as you said, the day might come when something is discovered that will push it in favor of one direction or another.”
              Yes, my point about paradigm shifts, though, is that it is just about impossible that new evidence will push in in a way where evolution didn’t happen. Like the mugging example, or newtonian gravity, when these shifts happen, they recontextualize.

              At the very least, something went to an *incredible* amount of trouble to make evolution appear as if it was true, and to make genetic patterns agree with it, quantitatively to incredible precision over (now) trillions of data points. Whatever it is, this is not an accidental co-incidence.

              It maybe part of some bigger scheme, it may be a part of god’s plan, but it we can rule out coincidence pretty conclusively.

              We might say that gravity isn’t quite what we think it is. That there’s some bigger reality that means gravity doesn’t have the role it appears to. But even if that is possible we can say that the fact that so far gravity has always pulled us down rather than flinging stuff off is not going to just be an amazing coincidence.

    • jeff

      Howard, here are my very general comments regarding the article (and they are nothing more than that, I am not an expert in critiquing ID).  First, not knowing the source, it seems to be a pro-ID article considering it quotes some folks closely associated with ID without identifying them as such.  Therefore, I have serious doubts that some of the comments regarding the fossil record, etc., are represented in a manner that reflects the consensus of those scientists who are experts in the field.

      Regardless of my religious beliefs, I am not bothered that science remains steadfastly in the material world.  I do not mind that any notion of the divine remains outside of science, because I’m not sure what science really could say on the matter without sacrificing its credibillity as a useful process.  When I start an experiment, I don’t pray that God will make it work because what I do must be reproducible or it is nothing more than crap.  

      Honestly, I don’t understand the appeal of ID.  It has nothing to do with the Bible, it offers no satisfactory explanation of the various natural phenomena around us, and it seeks to acknowledge the divine as the author of what I would personally describe as a horror novel.  If one wants to say that God created the physical order of the universe which led to what we see around us, fine, but why pin more blame on him than that (a bit facetious).  When explanatory molecular mechanisms are there (and those are the ones we know about) which provide a framework for evolution to occur, I don’t understand the appeal of a divine tinkerer to do some assembly outside of the natural laws that already exist.  Evolution is clearly an amoral process, but last I checked the people who believe in God (I  count myself among them) ascribe to Him opposite characteristics, so where’s the joy in increasing his responsibility for “the way things are” when there is zero positive data supporting it?  I don’t get it.   In my opinion, it detracts from the mystery of God and what I perceive Him to be about.

      Note, I don’t doubt there is some poor reasoning in the above, but I’m thinking off the cuff as fast as I can so I can get to work, so there it is.  

  • Chris

    Ian,

    So chromosome 2 couldn’t be a fusion of human ancestor chromosomes, but only that of a chimp ancestor?

    Why exactly?

    (don’t fret about my understanding level, an answer will suffice – who knows? it may make sense – after all, i don’t have to know EXACTLY how a plane flies to understand how it could)

    As for your explanation regarding Evo-Devo – I’m not sure what you are trying to prove anymore.  Evo-Devo and for lack of a better term, Neo-Darwinism or whatever they are teaching these days are not the same.  Similar, yes, but are not in agreement in some important areas.  I don’t know why you are having such an issue acknowledging that….

    You are right, I don’t have much of an idea what they are teaching today (Neo-Darwinism or otherwise) as I haven’t darkened a classroom nor do I have a child who is at present. I do see what other evolutionists argue – and few use Evo-Devo as an argument.

    However, by your own admission Evo-Devo is not, or at least not widely, taught in schools (yet) - so I would guess Evo-Devo also has some differences with what is taught currently – whatever it may be.

    Regardless, I am putting it to rest, for me – my main point was they have differences, and they do, but I really don’t care, because I am not sold on evolution so I have no dog in that fight for either of them, or symbiogenesis for that matter.

    Though the chromosome 2 is very interesting to me – I’ll let you know when I come across some great creationist crap about it and get your take on it!

    • Ian

      “Why exactly?” Read the paper and find out. Its all there. Laid out in very specific detail.

      “Evo-Devo and for lack of a better term, Neo-Darwinism or whatever they are teaching these days are not the same.” Of course they aren’t. They are different fields of biology. They don’t contradict one another though. And EvoDevo doesn’t even “challenge” evolutionary biology.

      “I do see what other evolutionists argue – and few use Evo-Devo as an argument.” Few use the arachnid digestive tract either, though that is also a perfectly reasonable area of biological study.

    • Ian

      “Though the chromosome 2 is very interesting to me”
      Me too! I think its fascinating. I read the paper and I have a bunch of follow on questions. It makes me want to get back in the lab.

      “I’ll let you know when I come across some great creationist crap about it and get your take on it!”

      What a shame. Really, genuinely. Can I put another heartfelt request in that instead you start at the beginning and find out about the whole field, and arrive at chromosome 2 from more general knowledge? If you find it very interesting, you’ll just love the rest of it! Really. Those whole field is so interesting.

  • jeff

    Howard,
     
    You said “However, religion discounts this knowledge in favor of divine knowledge which supersedes human knowledge, if God exists and really said what’s in the Bible. Religion then attempts to refute this human knowledge by attempting to disprove the claims of evolutionists.”

    Based on the (little) Biblical textual criticism I have encountered, I would argue that whatever divine knowledge we may have was encountered through the human brain. If one wants to discount human knowledge that is testable and repeatable, then it seems quite plausible to discount the same human source that reveals what you are calling divine knowledge, for without the knowledge of humans the divine (as we have it) could not have been revealed.  Then what are we left with…people believing whatever they want…which seems to be the case anyway.  :-)

    BTW, maybe your “religion” attempts to disprove the claims of evolutionists, but there are plenty of Christians who have no such issue.

    Thanks to all for the comments, it’s been interesting.   

      

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

      Jeff,

      Sorry for the confusion, I was not implying all human knowledge is disputed, only the human knowledge with respects to evolution which conflicts with the thoughts of those who believe the literal reading of Genesis is knowledge from God. I also didn’t imply any of it was true, its just what’s been happening. My comment was not to be all inclusive, it was directed to those that do try to disprove evolution. I know some don’t, and some even accept it as part of their religion.

  • Drl

    If Sarah is still around, I have a question for her, or those who think like her. In Mark 7, he seems to be telling his disciples not to wash their dishes and their hands before eating. Did He know about germs? If He did, why did He not warn his disciples about them and thus save thousands, if not millions, of lives?

  • sarah

    DRL Jesus knew about germs – since he created them.  But he was using the occasion for his parable regarding cleanness on the inside rather than the outward appearance.

    No one dies other than at his appointed time.  I have always had good health however as someone who did not meditate on my behaviour as the Bible commands – a spell in hospital would have
    been good for my soul since I was always rushing about and wasting time on worldly things.

    So many people have come to know God through illness.

    A Christian who is walking in the spirit can avoid the curse eg
    Paul shook off the snake in Malta (I think) to the amazement of the crowd.
    But I would not tempt the Lord by deliberately putting myself in danger.

    It used to amaze me how billions of people could eat out of a communal dish with their fingers and not be harmed.

    Also there seems to be many hospital bugs that poison people no matter how much hand washing is done.

    Paul was also given a thorn in the flesh – which could have been an
    illness – it was given to him to prevent pride.

    • Ian

      Drl, sarah’s theology: that Jesus didn’t say anything about the science he knew because God wanted millions of people to have short lifespans, before dying of ignorance from easily preventable diseases, always reminds me of this video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOfjkl-3SNE

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Young earth creationists claim to take the Bible literally and that the Bible reflects accurate scientific knowledge ahead of its time. And yet in every instance the language the Bible uses would have been understood in the time it was written to reflect the same pre-scientific view of the natural world that other people back then held.

    And so in order to be able to claim that the Bible today is literally scientifically true, and that God offers honest scientific information in the Bible, they have to maintain that God inspired the Bible in such a way as to mislead those who first read it, offering them metaphors that they had no way of identifying as such.

    Why that is supposedly better, from the YEC perspective, than God offering us inaccurate information or metaphors in our time is easy to answer: it is because young-earth creationists read the Bible in a self-centered manner. As long as it seems to be speaking what they want it to in our time, they couldn’t care less about the implication that God was treating previous generations deceitfully.

    It is far better to simply explain what we find in the Bible in a more straightforward way: It doesn’t mention germs because no one then knew about them. It mentions a dome because that’s what people thought was there. And when that worldview changed to the Ptolemaic one, they mentioned multiple heavens.

    Sarah is still denying Jesus’ genuine humanity. She believes that she is defending Christianity while in fact she is promoting heresy. 

  • Chris

    Ian,

    thanks for the link.

    After reading it, I did a bit more looking around at what others (both sides) were saying about it.

    Anyway,  here’s my creationist crap I came up with:

    it’s obvious that an ancestral ape is already assumed, prior to this look at C-2

    1 – the article starts off with admitting the fusion is “suggested” to be ancestral – so, still human ancestors could account for it (I’ll come back to that)

    2 – 2 cosmids (c8.1 and c29B) found in chromosome 2 “must originate from chromosome 2.  Interesting.  I would read this as meaning NOT found in the two chimp chromosomes, am I correct?

    3 – the fusion happened AFTER the alleged split from our ancestors.  Your link, and another article admit to this (timeline wise)

    4 – this fusion, LOOKS closer to chimp, than the others it lists.  All OTHER large apes it lists still have 48 Chromosomes.  So this fusion is ONLY (at presently known) is a human deal (after the split)

    5 – No humans, that we know of, have 48 chromosomes – though there’s no suggestion as to why there shouldn’t be as it happened recently.

    So, I have a few (probably stupid) questions:

    1 – what is the genetic difference of Chromosome 2 and the chimp chromosome?  While they look similar, I agree, what is the genetic make up – how similar are they still?  As above there suggests some differences. Are there more?

    2 – Are their other examples of chromosome fusion that we know of outside of ape/man?  What has been the result of these fusions?

    3 – why are there no humans with 48 chromosomes?  if it has been so “recent” why aren’t their ANY 48ers?  What is the genetic advantage that we 46er’s have over them?

    4 – do we know of any large apes with this fusion?

    5 – if this fusion is A) recent and B) in the human line only, then how can we for certain say that it’s because of chimp chromosome fusion and not just human ancestor fusion?

    • Ian

      Okay, some general observations.

      Firstly try to get your terminology locked down, because otherwise you may mean one thing when you ask something and I may assume you mean something different. Both “human” and “ape” can mean a range of things, and your observations might be more or less true depending on what you pick. Remember that a human is an ape. And be careful talking about “humans” without qualification. Do you mean modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens, for example), or the homo group?

      1. It is very complex, but includes a variety of structures, not just the genes they have in common, but the exact order of those genes, the position of the (duplicated) centromere, the partial telomere, and the general inversion. Taking the inversion into account, the specific sequencing also shows incredibly high levels of correspondence. The paper isn’t really arguing for a fusion (that was inferrable from the genetic data before this paper) – it is showing *exactly* how the fusion occurred.

      2. I don’t understand what you mean by ‘result’. Nobody is suggesting a ‘result’ of this fusion: certainly it didn’t “result” in modern humans or any such. Just that, if humans had a common recent ancestor with chimps, then the difference in chromosomes means that there was a change in chromosome numbers during that time, and we should expect to see it. And because that is a relatively small gap, in evolutionary time, we should expect to see it very clearly preserved.  As for other species, yes, e.g. certain subspecies of horse have fused chromosomes (and that fusion may have occurred since the domestication of the horse). In fact we can actually do it in the lab, we understand the biochemistry of the process pretty well and it isn’t super rare. Because development is highly susceptible to aneuploidy, however, it is likely to be deleterious in most cases.

      3. Nobody said it was “recent” in human terms. It is incredibly unlikely that it is anywhere near as recent than modern humans. The paper and its references cite a bunch of reasons to push this back closer towards the common ancestor.

      4. No, humans are the only extant species on the branch where it must have occurred. It seems likely that the H.neanderthalensis  sequence from chromosome 2 is fused, but that’s not certain enough to bet the house on yet, because we have only patchy neanderthal sequencing data.

      5. Nobody said it was from chimp chromosome fusion. And it definitely did occur in a human ancestor.

  • sarah

    Prof James
    And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand” (Luke 8:10).

    I can’t see why telling the truth in the Bible should lead people astray.  Germs are mentioned in many places . Pestilence , Plagues etc
    Strange diseases in the curses in the Law.

    All the miracles of creation are repeated by Jesus and the Apostles
    The creation in 6 days ,Adam and Eve , the Fall , the Flood etc.

    So a person might say that if Jesus and the Apostles did not know
    what really happened how can I believe in the rest of scripture.

    I don’t think it is a salvation issue as long as evolution does not put
    off anyone from the miracle of the resurrection and the final resurrection and of course the miracles of the Bible in general.

    So I have said it already there is room for both camps in the church
    but they should not cause division.

    How far do you want to go in saying the Bible is not inerrant.

    Do you believe that loaves and fishes were instantly created ?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, you are once again reading modern scientific information into the Bible. It mentions pestilence and illness but does not explain what causes it – and how to avoid catching or transmitting it. Germs are not to be found in the Bible. 

    The Bible is not inerrant in any meaningful sense. That doesn’t mean it is completely wrong or is wrong all the time. But it means that we cannot simply assume that it provides accurate information. If it can be imprecise about pi, and either inaccurate or metaphorical about the nature of the earth and the sky, then that should move us to stop deferring responsibility for our decisions away from ourselves to a book and learn to think critically and cultivate moral discernment. The alternative is what you seem to be left with: to have a set of beliefs that is in most cases a combination of what others have told us and we ourselves happen to think, never critically examined and mistakenly identified as representing “Biblical truth” and/or the timeless revelation of the divine will. You may believe that that is what you have, but without learning to actually look honestly at what the Bible says, you’ll never know for sure one way or the other whether that is what you actually have.

  • Chris

    I look at inerrancy this way: is it inerrant about it’s purpose?  (like design).

    Example: maps.  (yes, I know there is no perfect map, but this purpose we’ll pretend).

    Maps aren’t inerrant for getting you from point A to point B nor all the points inbetween.  that is their purpose – to show you where places are and how to get there – for that, they are inerrant.  However, maps are a poor representation of the reality of the places, roads, etc…in fact, it’s get most of it wrong!

    The Bible – I believe – is not inerrant in it’s purpose, nor it’s message.  It points to Jesus.  It shows us the path from creation to resurrection – and a bit afterward.  How God works, and will work, with us “stiff necked” people, and yet still accomplishes His Will.

    It’s not meant to be 1) a guidebook on how to live, 2) proof of God, 3) a historical narrative of the world. 4) a scientific text book, 5) or a road map to life.

    It’s the message of the Bible that matters, not the Bible itself.  What’s more important: the messenger or the message?

  • sarah

    Prof James
    I don’t think the word pestilence and plagues and fevers and
    ““The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation…which will plague you until you perish”

    means the Bible never mentions germs – it might not give you a
    electron microscope picture but these are definately germs.

    So do you think the cooked loaves and fishes were really instantly created or not.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      “Definitely germs”?  No likelihood of killer cooties?  (Much bigger than germs, BTW.  I played the game as a kid.  I know.)

  • sarah

    Chris I think your 1 to 5 WOULD  be what the Bible teaches.
    It does not give us micro science eg how the cell works but a
    story of the main acts of Creation .

    The Bible is also prophetic – eg daniel predicts the exact date of the crucifixion.  Daniel predicts the four empires to come and describes their nature.  Iaiah predicts the crucifixion before the cross was in use.
    The empires overall nature is described . (excludes empires after
    AD.)
    The Bible predicted the state of Israel in 1948 – General Allenby
    was a biblical scholar who knew this as he entered the city.
    It also predicted that the Jews would return to Israel.

    Jesus predicted the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad.
    He even told the Christians how to escape “dont return for your cloak …… they escaped since they believed the prophecies.

    I can’t predict what will happen tomorrow but God knows the end
    before the beginning.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega”

    We are in the last days now and lots more prophecies will be coming true.

    It predicts the one world currency (electronic)  - no man can buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast.

    Google up ” Bible prophesies which came true”

    • Drl

      “The Bible is also prophetic – eg daniel predicts the exact date of the crucifixion.”

      How do you know this? Does anyone

      know he exact date of the crucifixion? From anything I’ve been able to ready, no one is even sure what year Jesus was born or died.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sarah, you understand germs to be in view because you know about germs, but what about the people in those times who didn’t have this knowledge provided by science? You treat Paul’s references to “heart” as the locus of thought as a metaphor because you have scientific input about the brain being the place where thinking occurs, but what about people in Paul’s time who lacked that scientific knowledge? You treat the dome in Genesis 1 as a metaphor or something to do with the atmosphere, because you have scientific knowledge of space travel, but what about people in ancient times who lacked such knowledge? You are treating the Bible as though it means what you think it means, reading it in English today in light of current knowledge, but what it means is what it would have meant to its authors and original readers in the languages, cultural contexts, and frameworks of knowledge available in their time. You are setting yourself, your science-influenced worldview and your own current perspective as the arbiter of the Bible’s meaning, showing it great disrespect in the process.

    • Ian

      “It predicts the one world currency (electronic)  - no man can buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast.”
      I suspect you’re on a loosing wicket here James.  This is way more serious than not actually reading the text.

  • Kevin

    Romans 8:20-22 definitely talks about physical death not spiritual
    death. Physical death existed before humans according to the fossil
    record. So how do we get round this? Paul believed in an ancient
    astronomy and an ancient geology. A three tier universe (Philippians
    2:10) and he would have also believed in an ancient biology. Therefore
    he accepted an ancient view on the origin of life. A cow gives birth to a
    cow etc. To the ancients the kinds made perfect taxonomic sense. As
    Paul had an ancient view of the origin of life he had to also have an
    ancient view of the origin of death. If you separate the message from
    the incidental ancient science you conclude that sin is not connected
    with physical death therefore there is no sin death problem, sin entered
    the world but not through Adam but Jesus died for our sins. Jesus died
    for sinful humans and rose physically from the dead and offers the hope
    of eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) This also stands up by Anselms
    Ontological Approach.

  • sarah

    Prof James – you are limiting the Power of God. Even in those days
    people knew that the brain was where the thought processes arise
    - thats why Jesus is called the head of the church.

    You are using human reasoning

    The prophecies describe planes – “what are these birds that look like ships that carry my people back to Israel”. The prophet had a vision of a plane.
    You use sky the Bible uses dome . 
    Plus the one world monetary system “no one can buy or sell….
    has to be electronic.
    I think the mistake you are making is to assume that the writers
    were acting on their own accord -but the Bible was written by the Holy Spirit.

    But look at this on the heart – sorry for long post :-

     Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
    Nobody views the heart merely as a blood pumping station, anymore. We know that the heart is an emotional organ and has a relationship with the “emotional brain.” Beside the emotions, could the heart also be an organ of intelligence that works in unison with the brain?
    To answer this, let’s start with the example of the colon. Once, the colon was seen only as an organ of digestion. We know better now. Michael Gershon, M.D., the author of The Second Brain, says, “Your gut has a mind of its own.” Gershon, who spent 30 years studying the human bowel, claims that there are nerve cells in the gut that act as a brain. He advises that our two brains, one in our head and the other in the bowel, must cooperate.
    In support of the mind-gut connection, one could say that sometimes the “gut feeling” is a lot smarter than the “brain droppings” The latter is a fancy name for such brain activity as thinking and reasoning. Gershon says, that the digestive system has its own nervous system and constantly communicates with the brain. It learns and it remembers.
    Does the heart have a similarly strong connection with the mind? According to a study published this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, memory, attention and concentration somewhat declined immediately after the bypass surgery and similar decline was observed five years after. Here are the two obvious explanations: 1) A bypass may affect the brain blood flow. 2) The heart lung pump used during the surgery may cause mental impairment. So, we know there is heart-mind connection through blood circulation.
    While some experts might find it outside the mainstream of scientific thought, researchers based at the HeartMath Institute, claim that the heart plays a role in the functioning of human intelligence, emotions and personality.
    According to folk wisdom, the heart is the seat of intuition, love, creativity, wisdom, gratitude, faith and the like. The finest values and qualities are associated with the heart rather than the mind. How do we know this? We know it in our heart. But, is there a scientific basis for this intuitive knowledge?
    The heart physically communicates with the brain and the rest of the body. The communication pathways, which originate in the heart, travel through the emotional memory section of the brain and go all the way to the top of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The heart has a complex nervous system, with the capability to learn and remember.
    The pulse created by the heart is actually like a “blood pressure wave” that reaches and energizes every single cell of the body and brain.
    The heart also radiates powerful electromagnetic energy. It permeates every cell of the body including those of the brain. The electromagnetic signal from the heart is so powerful that it radiates beyond your skin, all around you, the 360-degree sphere, and as far as ten feet into the space around you. Nothing else in the body has such strong electromagnetic force.
    The heart is also a hormonal organ. Among other hormones, it produces one which is labeled by some as the “balancing hormone,” because it contributes to the balancing of other hormones. This same hormone can facilitate the reduction or increase of stress hormones. The heart may also be responsible for the production of “Oxytocin,” fondly referred to as the “love hormone.”
    The love hormone plays an important part in our emotional and social development. For example, Oxytocin is in action when a mother feeds and tends her child. Compassion, caring, love, appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness and other behaviors that are the fabric of our family and society, may have a lot to do with how well the heart is functioning at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
    So why am I telling you these esoteric and the scientific facts about the gut and the heart? So that you will have a little more appreciation of what you have, and so that you may become even more motivated to take care of this wonderful mind-body system of yours.
    Intelligence without involvement of the heart may be dangerous. Brain intelligence without involvement of the heart can be dangerous. There are indeed many heartless but very smart people in the world. The world is not going to benefit much from their short or long lives. Brain intelligence can produce a nuclear bomb but building in the safeguards and utilizing the energy for the good of the people is function of the heart.
    Expressions such as, “Open your heart,” or “My heart goes out to you,” may be more than symbolic. Some people have habitually visualized their heart opening and reaching out to others. They report that they have become more calm, confident, compassionate and creative. ”

    The BOWELS are also important – children with autism and aspergers seem to have bowel problems – they are noted for
    their lack of empathy and natural affection although this can be
    overcome.

     

    • Ian

      :O

      “what are these birds that look like ships that carry my people back to Israel”

      You know that’s not actually in the bible, right?

  • sarah

    Ian I just did it from memory. The good news bible is as follows

    “What are these ships that skim along like clouds, like doves returning home? “ 

    It was a vision Isaiah had.
    Isaiah 60:8

    The things thus flying along like clouds and doves are ships; with the Tartessus ships, which come from the farthest extremity of the European insular quarter of the globe.

    Some scholars think that this is the Jews returning home to Israel.

    • Ian

      I notice you had to try hard to find a translation near to what you originally said. There’s no word for ‘ships’ in the Hebrew, and no other translation seems to go near it. 

      The use of ships is put there because that was how this was *interpreted*, to then use that interpretation via a reinterpretation as a prophecy is just pathetic.But hey, I’m sure it is wasted pixels pointing out how fast and lose you play with the truth.

    • Drl

      The Hebrew text is:
      “מִי-אֵלֶּה, כָּעָב תְּעוּפֶינָה; וְכַיּוֹנִים, אֶל-אֲרֻבֹּתֵיהֶם.”
      http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1060.htm

      Where do you see ships there?

  • Morganlee0108

     From Gills exposition   -   The Targum says :-”the, captivity of Israel, who are gathered together, and come to their own land, as doves that return to their dove houses.”

  • sarah

    “It is of great interest to notice that Isaiah predicted that the people of Israel would return to their homeland by airplanes, hundreds of years before the invention of airplanes. “Who are these that fly along like the clouds, like doves to their nests? (Isaiah 60:8 NIV).”

    He also predicted that they would return by SHIPS.
    “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the SHIPS of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee (Isaiah 60:9).”This is not my post but from a prophetic website.

    • Drl

      “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land” (verse 18)

      Sounds about right – a very accurate description of the last of Israel today!

      And what about the camel caravans in verse 6?

      Nobody come by car?

      • Drl

        Typo! I meant land of Israel.
        Sorry!

    • Ian

      And from this you got that the bible amazingly and accurately predicts aeroplanes. You really are a tool.

      “This is not my post but from a prophetic website.”
      Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  • sarah

    EXACT YEAR OF HIS CRUCIFIXION   (After the passover feast)

    PROPHECY: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and 62 sevens (or a TOTAL of 69): The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after 62 sevens shall the MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but not for Himself.”-Daniel 9:25,26. (Prophecy given 538 B.C.)

    The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the armies of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity and exile in 586 B.C. But 133 years later, in 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews the commandment to go forth (from captivity into the land of Israel), “to restore and to build Jerusalem”.
    We know his decree was issued in 453 B.C., and that Jesus was “cut off” in 30 A.D. Therefore, if we add the 453 years B.C. to the 30 years A.D., it equals 483 YEARS. Let’s see now if Daniel’s specific time prophecy coincides with this:

    The prophecy predicted that from the time of this decree until the death of the Messiah the Prince would be–HOW long?–”7 sevens plus 62 sevens”–or 69 SEVENS. 69 sevens would be 69 x 7, which equals 483. So Daniel predicted that 69 sevens of YEARS, or 483 YEARS, would pass between the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem and the “cutting off” of the Messiah.–And that’s EXACTLY how many years DID pass between 453 B.C. and Jesus’ death in 30 A.D.!–What an amazing EXACT FULFILLMENT of prophecy!

    And this astonishing prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C.–almost 600 years BEFORE Jesus the Messiah was crucified! It’s also interesting to note that this 483-year period was divided into two periods: First a period of 7 sevens (49 years), then a period of 62 sevens (434 years). History reveals that it did take the Jews 49 YEARS from the time the decree was issued to “rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem”. Once Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was exactly 434 years (62 sevens) later that Jesus the Messiah was crucified!
    Daniel’s prophecy continues with undeniable PROOF that this MESSIAH had to be JESUS:

    This prophecy is on a great many websites

    • Ian

      According to your interpretation the Messiah would either be killed 49 years before he is born, or else 434 years later. Amazing prophecy is simple when you can ignore half the verse.

      You ought to buy the books on “The Bible Code”, I think they’re right up your alley.

      Here’s an exercise. Give me a random verse from one of the major prophets, any one. And give me a historical event of the last 100 years. And I’ll show you exactly how that verse prophesizes the event with uncanny accuracy. I’ll even use capital letters throughout to make the point. And then there’ll be another amazing prophecy on the internet to refer to.

      For extra credit, we can do the same thing with the Bhagavad Gita, any Shakespeare play, or Moby Dick.

      I even promise my prophetic fulfilment will be MUCH (<- capitals, see!) less tenuous than your aeroplanes.

      • sarah

        I don’t think you understood the prophecy – it is not on one website and was around for thousands of years interpreted
        in the same manner – anyway never mind – I feel this is pointless.  You offered to find a prophecy to fit an event AFTER  it happened ?  – this would be a fraud. 
        Prophecy is about predicting the future. You can’t even tell
        what will happen next week.

        Anyway Ian we will leave it you are obviously an athiest
        who will use any argument to avoid the fact you have a creator.

        • Ian

          I understood it fine, and how it was arrived at. 

          “it is not on one website”

          True, but you don’t actually google either. Because the same prophecy interpretation is available in multiple places with *different* dates. 30AD? 33AD? 34AD? Different interpretations has it predicting the baptism, crucifixion, triumphal entry, etc. They treat the ‘streets’ as meaning different things, and the second 62 as different too.

          “was around for thousands of years interpreted”

          But you can’t point me to a text from before Jesus that interpreted it as meaning a messiah would die in 30AD, can you? So you’re lying. Again. This really is rather predictable.

          “You offered to find a prophecy to fit an event AFTER  it happened?”

          Yes. Which is exactly what you did. Again, where is a pre-Jesus interpretation of this passage as meaning the messiah dies in 30AD?

          “Anyway Ian we will leave it you are obviously an athiest”

          Yeah, obviously. Cus all the Christians on here who think you are equally full of it are only pretending to be Christians. They’re really atheists too.

  • Chris

    Ian,

    So again, this fusion is only assumes evolution. (and yes I should clarify my terminology, but I give you the benefit of the doubt that you understood me).

    No common ancestor is needed – which was the point of my question.  It is ONLY assumed, and only “proof” of evolution, because evolution is assumed.

    Second, what about the answers to my other questions?

    Thanks!

    • Chris

      By “assumes” evolution, I mean: that we (modern human) still evolved from a common ancestor of the modern chimp.

    • Ian

      I really can’t figure out what you’re trying to say. What possible situation of a taxa and the structure of its chromosomes would provide evidence of mutual descent, then? What would you predict that we should find if evolution were true?

      How about acting like a scientist for a bit? Even if you’re not prepared to do it for ID, how about deciding what, in your judgement, would be valid evidence?

  • Chris

    Ian,
     
    “I really can’t figure out what you’re trying to say. What possible situation of a taxa and the structure of its chromosomes would provide evidence of mutual descent, then? What would you predict that we should find if evolution were true?”

    I have no idea Ian, however, I admit as such.  You, on the other hand are passing something off as evidence of mutual ancestry.  But what you present ASSUMES mutal ancestry to begin with.  I don’t believe in evolution, so I can’t make an unbiased prediction as to what we could find.  You do, though, and have provided what you believe is proof.”How about acting like a scientist for a bit? Even if you’re not prepared to do it for ID, how about deciding what, in your judgement, would be valid evidence?”     -  valid evidence?  I don’t know, some actual PROOF that we came from a common ancestor – which hasn’t been provided?  What does that look like?  Good question…could YOU answer it honestly?  All that you, or your cited paper have claimed is similarity = ancestry.  Yet this is only speculation and assumption of common ancestry at the start…

    Again, what of the rest of my questions?

    Thank you. 

    • Ian

      I’ve never used the word proof. It is something creationists say a lot, in my experience. In science it is often possible to more or less disprove something, but not prove it.

      Evidence for science works by making predictions. In order to make a prediction you say: IF x is true, what would I expect to see? And then you go and look. 

      If Newton’s theory of gravity were true, I’d expect to see certain orbits for the planets. We check: we were right. We check later with much more powerful tools than Newton had. We’re right again. Except…Mercury. Odd. Maybe Newton’s Gravity isn’t totally correct….

      But none of this is proof. I might say: “Everything orbits round the earth, like it says in the bible. The planets orbit in a complex way, with epicycles, driven not by gravity, but by a pre-ordained orbit set in motion and sustained by God.

      The efforts of scientists to find where the planets are, to show in ever more detail that they orbit in a way that is consistent with gravity would be pathetic. I’m not interested in whether they are consistent, I want to see proof. Saying “look this orbit is where it should be if gravity were true” is just assuming gravity controls planetary orbits. If you assume it does, then don’t be surprised if you find it does!”

      That’s not how science works. If you want proof of anything, go do math.

      Chromosome 2 is excellent evidence for evolution, in the same way that finding Jupiter where we thought it should be tonight is good evidence that gravity drives planetary orbits. Not because we can’t come up with some other interpretation for how it came about. 

      It is good because of all the things we could possibly find in the fused chromosome, most of them would be very good evidence against evolution (of all the places Jupiter could be in the sky, most would totally refute Newtonian mechanics). 

      But, *of course* Chromosome 2 is also consistent with your version of creationism, because as we’ve seen, there is *no possible* evidence that could be put forward that would not be consistent with it. Whatever we see, God could have willed it to be that way. There is *no possible* evidence for evolution, because whatever patterns we see in the genes, it could have been put there that way. 

      If we found another species of hominid with the Chromosome 2 fusion, that was more similar to modern humans than chimps by every measure: would that be proof of a common ancestor? No, of course not. Because God created our new species with the fused Chromosome 2.

      The evidence is also totally consistent with any other unfalsifiable story you want to make up. Which is why we don’t put scientific, falsifiable, explanations up against unfalsifiable explanations. We just ignore the latter.

      “Good question…could YOU answer it honestly?”

      Yes, I would expect unexpressed inheritable characteristics to be correlated among relatives, in proportion to the closeness of the mutual ancestor. I would expect to see the phylogenetic reconstruction derived from such an analysis be consistent over *every* feature in the genome we can think of to test.

      For pairs of species that are highly morphologically different, I would expect to find evidence (fossils, most commonly) of species that span those morphological gaps in the right area of time to correlate with the analysis above.

      There are literally millions of possible such features and pairings, the probability of them all looking right by chance would be vanishing. If evolution were true, I’d expect to see them all look right.

      Under a scientific version of  ID (i.e. one that could in principle be falsified), I would expect to see biological patterns and modules reused whereever they are appropriate, with those unexpressed characteristics intact. I would expect to see a pattern of usage that is inconsistent with a purely hierarchical phylogenetic tree, but instead I would expect to see a toolkit approach.

      There is a differentiable prediction. If we could find such re-use that would be excellent evidence for ID, and terrible news for evolutionary theory.

    • Ian

      “ All that you, or your cited paper have claimed is similarity = ancestry”

      This maybe the source of your confusion. 

      It is more than ancestry=similarity. 

      If you have a pattern of ancestry then you would have a tree, right? Not a graph where you can have lines merge as well as fork, no loops, no crossovers.

      If you have that pattern of ancestry, what pattern of similarity would you expect? Would the pattern of similarity be different than if you didn’t generate the individuals from a tree? 

      The answer is yes. You’d expect a very specific kind of similarity, we could call hierarchical similarity.

      You can do this yourself with paper and pen (I used to do it with students as a good and fun exercise in phylogeny). Start with a random 50 digit number. Then make 2 copies of it, changing a couple of numbers in each ‘offspring’. Then repeat. Then throw away all the ‘parents’ – those you’ve copied from. Taking the remaining numbers you should be able to reconstruct the tree. Usually you’ll have a few numbers that *could* fit in at a few different possible places, or some sequences that could be in a couple of different pemutations. But they won’t find numbers that are inconsistent with the tree.

      If you do the experiment again but create the numbers using a different algorithm: one that isn’t hierarchical, then do the exercise again (I’ve done this only once, as it isn’t a useful exercise) you’ll immediately see the tree reconstruction is impossible. 

      Mathematically you can state what it means for a set of sets to be hierarchically similar. And you can further show (even proove!) that the proportion of sets of sets that has this property is astronomically tiny*. So the chance of seeing a hierarchical similarity pattern by chance are vanishingly small.

      In fact, even more than this, I’d bet $1000 you cannot come up deliberately with an algorithm to generate a hierarchical pattern of similarity without using some variation of tree-branching ancestry. Mathematically there will be such algorithms, but it is possible to put a very high lower bound on its complexity. High enough that you’d never be able to come up with one, and my money is safe.

      It is that particular similarity: a similarity that is hierarchically reconstructable, which is the pattern that we look for to find evidence of evolution. If we found similarity that didn’t match with that pattern (as the math shows we’re overwhelmingly likely to) we’d have a good disproof of evolution.

      Again, the fact that the similarity we do see doesn’t prove anything. It could be that God is smart enough to use a complicated algorithm for designing the genetics of species so they are hierarchically similar, without actually using a hierarchy. It might be that God created species by having common ancestors on the drawing board, but then only realised the final products (e.g. evolution in his head, but only special creation at the end). As I said, there are any number of unfalsifiable stories that show this isn’t a proof of anything. But it is more than just assuming similarity = ancestry.

      * And what gets me hot is that, using the same math, you can figure out how the number of ambiguous points in the tree varies with the way the sets are generated (i.e. you can actually predict how many numbers the students will struggle to fit definitively, and the number of possible places they can go). Which in a roundabout way is some of the math I worked on during my PhD.

      • chris

        So again, assumption of evolution.

        You said the fusion HAD to be that of an ancestral ape – as your answer was yes.

        However, it really doesn’t…it’s only because of the assumption of evolution and such “predictions” as it were.

        Again, you bring up similarity.  However, the classification systems used today to place speciese etc. on the “tree of life” as it were, is constantly modified – like archy the “bird” – had a solid perch (because of predictions of evolution) now it doesn’t have a home.

        Anyhow, the point has been shown…the fusion is HOW you look at it.  You stated “yes” the fusion HAD to be from an ancestral ape, yet we have now come to the conclusion: no it doesn’t.

        • Ian

          Come on Chris, you’re not so dumb you have to play those kind of games. Surely?

          “Anyhow, the point has been shown…the fusion is HOW you look at it.  ”

          Well the point has been shown that no matter how detailed and specific the answers you are given, nor the extent to which someone tries to walk you through the reasons, the only thing you’re interested in is silly linguistic traps. 

          Yes, the fusion had to happen in an ancestral ape. In the same way and with the same kind of backing that the reason I remain sitting in this chair not flying into space has to be because of gravity. 

          If you want to cast aside the scientific method (with all its scare-quotes-adorned predictions and hi-falutin stuff), then yes, I agree that strictly speaking the fusion did not HAVE to have occurred in an ancestor of modern humans, and it doesn’t HAVE to be gravity keeping me in my seat.

          But I really wish you’d said you were in this conversation for the cheap shots. Or I wish I’d have stuck to my guns and not bothered engaging with this kind of nihilistic attitude towards knowledge.

  • chris

    Mike,

    Thanks for your link.  I read it, then looked up some additional info, some critical of the study.

    So a few things, please correct what is wrong.

    1) only similar sequences were used in the comparison?

    2) some DNA, perhaps critical, was omitted.

    3) to fill in gaps, human genome was used as a guide (I believe I read there were roughly 5million of these gaps) however, this “assumes” common ancestry at the start, to do so.

    4) anomolies are present where there is no similarity in the genome.

    5) ONLY used protein coding portions.

    6) chimp genome is 10-12% larger than human genome

    7) there are 35 million places where we differ from chimps.

    8) we share 88% oaf our genome with rats (just an interesting fact, if true!)

    9) the published human genome is an average of individuals – which naturally differ, however their differences are unknown, and same with chimp.

    10) it’s a similarity = common ancestry argument, that assumes common ancestry at the start.

    These are critiques I found, so corrections are welcomed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Ian,

    I found this news article about Junk DNA. If it is accurate, how does it fit into all this?

    http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/59267-junk-dna-makes-us-different-from-chimps

    • Ian

      “junk DNA” is a (rather unhelpful) term for the bits of DNA that aren’t part of genes, nor of the standard biochemical machinery that makes DNA work (like the indicators that say a gene starts here).

      We know these bits don’t create proteins (imagine reading a book, where after every couple of paragraphs there is a whole chunk of what looks like random characters). But evolution would also suggest that natural selection would get rid of them, and save itself all the effort of copying them, if they didn’t have some function.

      But the function is somewhat odd. By and large we can replace the actual DNA bases in these sections by others and have no effect (hence we know they aren’t being used to build proteins). There are a lot of different ideas. And new ones all the time. When I was studying this stuff, mathematically in the 1990s, there was only one possible use with any evidence to it. Now a handful of those ideas have good lab evidence. And it seems that there may be different types of this material doing different jobs. I suspect that in 20 years we’ll not think of this stuff as all the same kind of thing, but we’ll have narrowed down the different functions and be able to classify it in more detail. But its too early to be sure.

      The article you link to puts a bit of an unhelpful spin on the research (with the normal over-egging the significance of the result). The original research considers whether a particular possible biochemical use of a certain subset of this stuff could be particularly significant in comparing human and chimp development. And concludes that such an explanation is consistent with the available data.

      Its hard to be more specific, without getting knee deep in jargon. I’m probably not the best at doing layman explanations, sorry.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

        Ian,

        I’m not sure why you say “over-egging” when the article does not appear to add or change anything from the Georgia Tech press release.

        http://gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=71798

        If you are interested, the full research article is located at the bottom.

        I bring this up because, if this article is correct, am I right in thinking that even if humans and chimps share a very close gene sequence, it is this process that is responsible for the particular gene expression between humans and chimps? Correct me if I am wrong, but I’m thinking this is something like if you had two computers with exactly the same hardware, the current function of the computer is dependent on which switches in the CPU are on and off. Therefore, the same hardware can produce radically different functions based on the position of the switches. And your analogy might mean that the “random characters” are responsible for what the paragraph says.

        Does that make any sense?

        • Ian

          “I’m not sure why you say “over-egging” ” – don’t read too much into my comment. The way these things are phrased (by the PR dept of big universities) usually doesn’t communicate the actual problem space that the scientists work in, that’s all. Because the actual characteristic of the problem is usually rather technical, and the PR team need big-picture.

          “If you are interested, the full research article is located at the bottom. ”

          Thanks. Yes, I’d found it from the original article you posted, and read it.

          … anyway … on to substance…

          Your summary is okay, yes, it is something like that, though analogies are only ever imperfect (I say that not to do your effort down, just to head off any conclusions you want to use the analogy to come to).

          We’ve known for the best part of 50 years that it isn’t just the base-sequence of DNA that makes a creature. Put pig (or chimp) DNA into a human ovum and you won’t get a pig. What we can say is that the complex biological molecules in a cell get there because there are instructions to build them in the DNA. But the actual process by which genes get *expressed*  - turned into a creature, is very very complex.

          You could compare this to trying to figure out what some computer code does from its listing. Sometimes this will be easy [e.g. while(true) { print("Hello"); } ]. Sometimes (by the halting theorem) it will be impossible.

          Actually the computer code example (while still an analogy) is important practically for studying this stuff, because one of the ways we figure the math of this is to evolve computer programs. And look at the way genetic vs phenotypic (code vs behavior) changes interact evolutionarily. Doing this showed us (back in the early 90s) that ‘junk DNA’ would confer a selective advantage even if they had no effect whatsoever on gene expression. But sorry, I keep being tempted to bring this back to the math, because that was my field.

          “am I right in thinking that even if humans and chimps share a very close gene sequence,  it is this process that is responsible for the particular gene expression between humans and chimps”

          Yes and no. The article is saying is that they’ve found some regulatory processes that seem to be influenced by a very particular type of sequence in the ‘junk DNA’ (the INDEL that the paper refers to).

          “And your analogy might mean that the “random characters” are responsible for what the paragraph says. ”

          Yes, at least to some extent.

  • chris

    “But it is more than just assuming similarity = ancestry.” 

    Really?  When one ASSUMES that humans and apes evolved from the same ancestor (ancestry) then LOOKS for SIMILARITIES (matching genome, etc) then states these similarities are evidence for evolution, because well we are ANCESTORS…not only is that circular, but it is arguing similarity = ancestry.

    As even your cited paper points out all the SIMILARITIES of our ANCESTORS.

    Why?

    Because of the assumption of evolution, and the assumption of similarity = ancestry.

    If one were to GO BACKWARD from now to as far as we can go, deconstructing as it were – genetically and morphilogically, what would we find?

    One line for apes, one line for humans…getting closer?  Or staying apart?

    • Ian

      Yes really, and I showed exactly why and how. You didn’t actually read what I wrote did you?

      I spelt it out in very specific detail. It is the pattern of similarity that is significant and highly falsifiable.

      Replying in capital letters doesn’t make your point clearer, like sarah’s increasingly hysteric rants, it just makes you look more unstable.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJ6PZMYZVJL4CGQBUYBVMQSDPQ james Harrison

    I haven’t paid a huge amount of attention to the phylogeny of human beings. We’re just one species in millions after all, though our kinship with the monkeys and apes was obvious from comparative anatomy long before anybody knew about DNA and it takes a bad case of vanity to have any doubts about our ancestry. I do know quite a bit about the phylogeny of insects, however, and would like to report that DNA studies of the relationships between the various groups have routinely verified affiliations that were originally posited on the basis of observable features.

    One example: there is a group of six-legged animals called springtails, which, despite their obscurity, are actually one of the commonest and most important organisms on the planet. In the olden days, i.e. my youth, traditional entomologists classified them in the class insecta because, among other things, they do have six legs. Thing is, though, there are many differences under the hood between these organisms (collectively known as collembola) and the vast majority of insects, even primitive wingless insects like silverfish. As a result, many experts were sure that they would turn out not to belong with the rest. Sure enough, when molecular methods became available to compare the genomes of springtails and other hexapods, the suspicions were verified that these animals were quite distinct, a separate arthropod lineage.

    The point here is that evolutionary thinking works in relation to issues that have nothing to do with the parochial obsession of us naked apes. Grow up.

  • Chris

    Well, since I was accused of not searching for knowledge and only interested in taking “cheap shots” (whatever that means) I offer this:

    Me: does this (chromosome 2) fusion HAVE to be from an ape ancestor?

    Ian: Yes (remember this took some effort to get from him)

    Me: why exactly?

    Ian: Read the article. (he links it)  In fact he says, “Read the paper and find out. Its all there. Laid out in very specific detail.”

    Me: “creationist crap” about the article and some questions – (aka trying to get some knowledge)

    Ian: replies…then says this: “The paper isn’t really arguing for a fusion (that was inferrable from the genetic data before this paper) – it is showing *exactly* how the fusion occurred.”  (see Ian comment from above)

    Me: more creationist crap about the fusion doesn’t HAVE to be from an ape ancestor, (article didn’t show this) and asking about if we go backwards and follow the lines of ancestry what do we find?

    Ian: Yes it does (fusion from ape ancestor)! And then something about me being silly, taking pot shots, not trying to find knowledge, etc…No answer to ancestry line.
     
    So, I’m sorry folks for being a silly, cheap shot, taking creationist.  Clearly, Ian has made his case and it’s me who’s to blame.
     
    So, I will change my story.  I am convinced – we came from an ape ancestor! (though this does make me ask the question about how we have “human” rights, if we are under the “ape” category…yet no “ape” rights which would encompass us all, including our primate brothers, but that’s another debate)
     
    But again, the fault is mine – obviously, and I will take the blame, I was only trying to take cheap, pot shots at Ian and my questions were unfounded, lazy, and stupid and should NEVER have been asked…I should never have bother to ask ANY questions that I felt were not answered – that was silly of me.

    Again, I’m sorry for wasting everoyone’s – and Ian’s time. 
     
    Though: Let’s not forget the EvoDevo debate – where I admitted I overstated the differences, but there were differences – yet Ian was arguing that…well, honestly…I don’t know what Ian was arguing, BUT after how many posts(?) we get this: “ME: “Evo-Devo and for lack of a better term, Neo-Darwinism or whatever they are teaching these days are not the same.”

    IAN: Of course they aren’t. They are different fields of biology.”
     
    Wow, that took awhile…must be because I’m a creationist…oh wait, no I converted! (It’ll take awhile until I get used to it)

    (nor did Ian correct anything on my list…guess he’s leaving that to Mike to do…but don’t worry Mike, you don’t have to since I am now converted, I will forget those issues even exist)

    • Ian

      Sorry Chris, I get that you’re getting increasing hysterical with me. But I really couldn’t follow your fantasy screenplay there.

      Here’s my (deliberately tendentious) attempt:

      CHRIS: Did the fusion have to happen in an ancestral ape?

      IAN: Yes

      CHRIS: But what about this alternative explanation that has no evidence for it at all, and can’t be tested in any way. Couldn’t that be true?

      IAN: Yes, as could any other unfalsifiable story.

      CHRIS: SEE – IT DID’T HAVE TO BE IN AN ANCESTRAL APE!!!

      “nor did Ian correct anything on my list.”

      Boo-hoo you. I’m not doing exactly as you said? Boy that must be frustrating.

      “you don’t have to since I am now converted”

      Anyway, I am very glad that you’ve converted to be a believer in the religion of evolution now. I hope that since you’ve come to believe in evolution by an act of faith, you’ll now maybe spend a little time and go back and do some discipleship to learn some of what it is you actually just accepted.

  • Chris

    Ian, you are too funny!
     
    “But I really couldn’t follow your fantasy screenplay there.”
     
    Too Funny!
     
    And here it is again:
     
    “But I really couldn’t follow your fantasy screenplay there.” Classic!

  • Chris

    Ian,

    If you are going to paraphase something I said (to make a point) – make sure I actually said something to which you are paraphrasing.

    If you look back, I actually gave you NO alternatives to the fusion, I only asked WHY it had to be ancestral ape and NOT human…

    that’s okay, it fit your story…

    However, mine ACTUALLY contained quotes you said ( I paraphrased mine to just “creationist crap”

    The only “theory” if you’d like to call it that, that i offered was just a simple question.

    How does the ancestral line look if we work backwards from now?

    Straight to our respective ancesters, or converging?

    I’ll cry now that you won’t answer that too, just so I don’t have to be disappointed in you…

    Booohooo
    booohooo
    booohooo

    There, out of my system.

  • Chris

    My screenplay: attacks what you ACTUALLY said.
    Your screenplay: makes up something I never hinted, nor said, and thus attacks me for it.

    I’m big, I can take it…but as for looking hysterical and silly?

    Sir, I would take a long hard look at your post….

    You may have the last word, Ian.

    Make it count.

    • Ian

      Odd, I got notification of three comments there, Chris – were the first two original drafts of this? Or are the other two about to appear?

      —Okay. This is frustrating. Because clearly neither of us are idiots and yet we’re just behaving increasingly like jerks. And as a result we’re talking past each other. I have no sense that you’ve been willing to engage on the points I’ve made, which I feel provide some of the necessary framework for understanding the questions you’re asking. I feel that you are more interested in point scoring than trying to understand what I’m actually trying to say. Maybe you feel otherwise, I suspect so. And it seems to me you feel that I’m systematically failing to engage with you on what you’re asking, and that I’m more interested in making jackass comments than dealing with substantive issues. Though (as noted above) I do feel otherwise.So I don’t know if you’ve any interest in going around again. But I’m bored of being a jackass. And there’s no point either of us composing long comments that won’t be read by the other.

      I’m sorry the discussion didn’t end up being productive. An I’m particularly sorry for my role in making that so.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

        “I’m more interested in making jackass comments. . .”

        Hey! That’s my line. Boy, nothing but plagiarism on this blog… :)

  • Eelyerfdog

    I think they may play a game of soccer afterwards. 


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