Why is Ken Ham Believed?

That question, “Why is Ken Ham believed?”, is an important, insightful and puzzling one raised by RJS on the blog Jesus Creed. As that post, “Anointed? … Evangelicals and Authority 1,” points out:

Ken Ham, with no scientific credentials, no credentials in biblical scholarship, no evidence, and no research program, has become the front person, the spokesman for a large segment of evangelicalism. He proves nothing, he asserts what he finds to be truth and tells a story to make it so.

Why do people continue to fall for the charlatans who oppose evolution rather than believing any of the many Christians who actually work in the field of biology and would most likely know what they are talking about? Why do they believe the people who ride roughshod over the Bible rather than the scholars who treat it with the attention and respect it deserves?

Perhaps the answer is “pride”: many Christians felt left playing a defensive game, adapting their beliefs as science progresses and makes inroads in understanding processes that were once pointed to as evidence of God. Anti-evolutionism lets Christians go on the offensive, challenging well-documented credible science in the name of their faith.

But while being on the attack provides one with a stimulating rush and a boost to morale and ego, isn’t it more important to actually be right about both the Bible and science? If so, then people like Ken Ham are obviously not the ones to be looking to in order to accomplish that.

  • http://twitter.com/drcheard Chris Heard

    James, I think that modern individualism and a widespread belief in the perspicuity of scripture both contribute mightily to the kind of anti-expert stance that boots the influence of a Ken Ham type. Many Americans (I can’t speak to other contexts) already think they know better than the experts, whether those experts be doctors, auto mechanics, lawyers, economists, politicians, or scholars. The belief that scripture is simple and straightforward to understand and apply multiplies that “better than expert” feeling for American Christians of a certain bent.

  • Robert

    I grew up in the buckle of Bible belt and had the virtues of Hamm’s positions extolled on me from an early age. However I no longer hold or believe that he is as excellent as he thinks he is.

    Much of it, imho, comes from a deep, deep fear that comes from a culture in which the Bible has been divinized. That if that text is shown to be corrupt then all things are out the door.

    Also, this is my historian self-speaking, a lot of it comes from an embedded anti-intellectualism that has roots in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early 1900s.

    Hamm speaks in absolutes and frames his work in such a way that to question his conclusions (or the epistemological framework that got him there) is akin to questioning Jesus. It is difficult and many are afraid of voicing criticism for fear of being cast out of their spiritual communities for thinking otherwise. The same thing happens in non-fundamentalist camps too…including the life sciences. There is something comforting to people who can, and do, toe the party line.

  • http://thoughtfulfaith.wordpress.com/ Chucky

    I think it’s a large part of it is a confusion between evolution and atheism in their minds. Sadly, that’s an obviously false association which isn’t exactly discouraged by either side.

    • Ian

      I don’t think it is a false association.

      You’ve got to remember that a substantial swathe of fundamentalists think that “liberal Christians” are not christians at all. By denying in varying degrees the supernatural, personal Gods, hell, demons, angels, and so on, they are effectively atheists. The fact that they have some rather nebulous definition of God that they claim to believe in is neither here nor there.

      If you are going to look critically at the world, at the bible, and at claims for the supernatural, and actually take on board the implications of what you find, you are going to end up being an atheist with regard to the God that Ham and his friends believe in, I’d suggest. The fact that you still might want to call your religion by the same name as his doesn’t fool him for a minute.

      And so his playing on that fear is more than a little justified: “if we teach critical thinking to our children, they are less likely to be saved.” Even if the truth is “if we teach critical thinking to our children, they are more likely to have a radically different concept of salvation to us” is rather a moot distinction.

  • Pingback: Doug Mangum

  • Ian

    I don’t think it is a false association.

    You’ve got to remember that a substantial swathe of fundamentalists think that “liberal Christians” are not christians at all. By denying in varying degrees the supernatural, personal Gods, hell, demons, angels, and so on, they are effectively atheists. The fact that they have some rather nebulous definition of God that they claim to believe in is neither here nor there.

    If you are going to look critically at the world, at the bible, and at claims for the supernatural, and actually take on board the implications of what you find, you are going to end up being an atheist with regard to the God that Ham and his friends believe in, I’d suggest. The fact that you still might want to call your religion by the same name as his doesn’t fool him for a minute.

    And so his playing on that fear is more than a little justified: “if we teach critical thinking to our children, they are less likely to be saved.” If the truth is “if we teach critical thinking to our children, they are more likely to have a radically different concept of salvation to us”, it is rather a moot distinction.

  • Ian

    In the linked article, the point is made that many Christians kowtow to these folks, not willing to challenge their bad theology or science.

    I think this is a very important point. I’m increasingly of the opinion that folks with a rational view of the world do need to choose a side. They need to look left and right along the army they’re standing with, and say  “hang on, am I one of the baddies?”. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZ8EkK3eWY

    Maybe if more liberal religious folks would say “the God that Ken Ham believes in doesn’t exist”, it would generate more traction. I’m dubious that the “you can believe in evolution and be a bible-inerrancist” line isn’t just obviously crock.

  • Ian

    In the linked article, the point is made that many Christians kowtow to these folks, not willing to challenge their bad theology or science.

    I think this is a very important point. I’m increasingly of the opinion that folks with a rational view of the world do need to choose a side. They need to look left and right along the army they’re standing with, and say  “hang on, am I one of the baddies?”. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZ8EkK3eWY

    Maybe if more liberal religious folks would say “the God that Ken Ham believes in doesn’t exist”, it would generate more traction. I’m dubious that the “you can believe in evolution and be a bible-inerrancist” line isn’t just obviously crock.

  • Ian

    In the linked article, the point is made that many Christians kowtow to these folks, not willing to challenge their bad theology or science.

    I think this is a very important point. I’m increasingly of the opinion that folks with a rational view of the world do need to choose a side. They need to look left and right along the army they’re standing with, and say  “hang on, am I one of the baddies?”. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZ8EkK3eWY

    Maybe if more liberal religious folks would say “the God that Ken Ham believes in doesn’t exist”, it would generate more traction. I’m dubious that the “you can believe in evolution and be a bible-inerrancist” line isn’t just obviously crock.

  • Chris

    I don’t know that I would ask just regarding Mr. Ham.  But about anyone, in any area.

    Say, Richard Dawkins – I know, a can of worms and I’ll try to shove them back all in when I’m done.

    However, there are some out there that take EVERYTHING (hi Ian) this man says at…well, gospel.

    Drool over every book. Etc.

    Now, full disclosure, I have very little knowledge of Ken Ham – though I have heard of him.  What he spouts?  I don’t know.

    But the last thing, as a Christian, I want, is someone misrepresenting fact, etc. just to push an agenda.

    For one, God doesn’t need that.
    Two, makes the rest of us (despite what Ian might think) who are trying to learn and make knowledge based arguments less credible thanks to: guilt by association.

    Now, I really don’t care what others think (Ian) of me. However, it does make it more difficult to have a true conversation as (Ken Ham) could be in the back of someone’s mind…

    Just like, (Dawkins) is usually in the back of mine when discussing with atheists…I may be Christian, but I’m still human.

    But, I think there are people out there that are so starved for the feeling of belonging, they latch on to what’s easiest, closest, and more comfortable for them.  I don’t think they really, truly, have a belief attached (though eventually they could) to their idol, or whatnot, rather it’s the feeling…and it feels good…and sometimes, that’s all someone wants…

    to feel good, loved, welcomed, etc….regardless of who it comes from and what they give up, to get it.

    • Chris

      BTW – Ian I hope you get that I’m giving you the needle here.  Nothing but respect for you!  In fact, there was a part of me that thought you would respect me LESS (though how could you, right? LOL) if I didn’t….

    • Ian

      Miaow ;) 

      Don’t know how we got to Dawkins, but I’m not a fan. I thought the God Delusion was plain silly, I can’t warm to him personally, and I really hate the way he’s been put up as some kind of atheist messiah. I did think The Extended Phenotype was awesome though.

      “Now, I really don’t care what others think (Ian) of me.”

      “How do you like this play? … The Lady doth protest too much.”

      “to feel good, loved, welcomed, etc….regardless of who it comes from and what they give up, to get it.”

      Do you think the opposite might be true too? That we love an enemy? Someone who is threatening us. It is one of the few things that motivates people communally. The “Blitz spirit”, for example. By making science the enemy, out to steal our children, it fills a particular need to know who to hate.

      Two sides of the same coin, I’d say: the need to find a black and white: these people we love (and I’m one of them), these people we hate because they are out to get us. I suspect that’s nice and reassuring in times with many grey areas. I think the process is at work on both sides of the debate. The little forays I’ve made into arguing against mythicists has shown that. If you’re an atheist who believes Jesus existed, you’re “one of them”, a “so called atheist” and “believe everything the bible says” (I’ve been accused of all three, recently).

      • Chris

        Dawkins was the first name that came to mind…like I said, I’m trying to shove the worms back in the can…

        And yes, the opposite most certainly can be true as well – many people find a common bond in nothing more than a common enemy.

        Some of the most heated debates (by them of course) I’ve had are from other Christians…

        I like to debate, not because I think I’m right, or because I want to change someone’s mind – but rather I want to be challenged on what I believe and forced to THINK.

        Enough about me (unless you want to hear more).

        But yes Ian, I agree, it is a two sided coin.

        I think this is twice now…if we aren’t careful, this might become a habit.

  • Chris

    I don’t know that I would ask just regarding Mr. Ham.  But about anyone, in any area.

    Say, Richard Dawkins – I know, a can of worms and I’ll try to shove them back all in when I’m done.

    However, there are some out there that take EVERYTHING (hi Ian) this man says at…well, gospel.

    Drool over every book. Etc.

    Now, full disclosure, I have very little knowledge of Ken Ham – though I have heard of him.  What he spouts?  I don’t know.

    But the last thing, as a Christian, I want, is someone misrepresenting fact, etc. just to push an agenda.

    For one, God doesn’t need that.
    Two, makes the rest of us (despite what Ian might think) who are trying to learn and make knowledge based arguments less credible thanks to: guilt by association.

    Now, I really don’t care what others think (Ian) of me. However, it does make it more difficult to have a true conversation as (Ken Ham) could be in the back of someone’s mind…

    Just like, (Dawkins) is usually in the back of mine when discussing with atheists…I may be Christian, but I’m still human.

    But, I think there are people out there that are so starved for the feeling of belonging, they latch on to what’s easiest, closest, and more comfortable for them.  I don’t think they really, truly, have a belief attached (though eventually they could) to their idol, or whatnot, rather it’s the feeling…and it feels good…and sometimes, that’s all someone wants…

    to feel good, loved, welcomed, etc….regardless of who it comes from and what they give up, to get it.

    • Chris

      BTW – Ian I hope you get that I’m giving you the needle here.  Nothing but respect for you!  In fact, there was a part of me that thought you would respect me LESS (though how could you, right? LOL) if I didn’t….

    • Ian

      Miaow ;) 

      Don’t know how we got to Dawkins, but I’m not a fan. I thought the God Delusion was plain silly, I can’t warm to him personally, and I really hate the way he’s been put up as some kind of atheist messiah. I did think The Extended Phenotype was awesome though.

      “Now, I really don’t care what others think (Ian) of me.”

      “How do you like this play? … The Lady doth protest too much.”

      “to feel good, loved, welcomed, etc….regardless of who it comes from and what they give up, to get it.”

      Do you think the opposite might be true too? That we love an enemy? Someone who is threatening us. It is one of the few things that motivates people communally. The “Blitz spirit”, for example. By making science the enemy, out to steal our children, it fills a particular need to know who to hate.

      Two sides of the same coin, I’d say: the need to find a black and white: these people we love (and I’m one of them), these people we hate because they are out to get us. I suspect that’s nice and reassuring in times with many grey areas. I think the process is at work on both sides of the debate. The little forays I’ve made into arguing against mythicists has shown that. If you’re an atheist who believes Jesus existed, you’re “one of them”, a “so called atheist” and “believe everything the bible says” (I’ve been accused of all three, recently).

      • Chris

        Dawkins was the first name that came to mind…like I said, I’m trying to shove the worms back in the can…

        And yes, the opposite most certainly can be true as well – many people find a common bond in nothing more than a common enemy.

        Some of the most heated debates (by them of course) I’ve had are from other Christians…

        I like to debate, not because I think I’m right, or because I want to change someone’s mind – but rather I want to be challenged on what I believe and forced to THINK.

        Enough about me (unless you want to hear more).

        But yes Ian, I agree, it is a two sided coin.

        I think this is twice now…if we aren’t careful, this might become a habit.

        • Ian

          :)

          “I like to debate, not because I think I’m right, or because I want to change someone’s mind – but rather I want to be challenged on what I believe and forced to THINK.”

          I don’t think I’ve ever had an proper forum / blog comment debate where I’ve:

          a) changed somebody’s mind,
          b) had my mind changed,
          c) avoid degenerating into name-calling.

          I’m sure that says a lot about me. Not that I’m particularly immovable. Books do it for me all the time…

          • Chris

            Ditto

        • Beau Quilter

          Chris,

          I’m not sure why Dawkins came to mind. Perhaps you sit in the middle of a spectrum on which you see Ken Hamm on one end and Richard Dawkins at the other? But I would like to challenge the comparison.

          Whether you agree with Richard Dawkins or not, comparing Ken Hamm to a legitimate evolutionary biologist, a fellow of the Royal Society, the former University of Oxford Professor for Public Understanding of Science, and a current emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, is a bit like comparing a sideshow witchdoctor to an eminent brain surgeon …

          … not so much a can of worms as a can of poop.

          ;^)

  • Pseudonym

    At the risk of stating the obvious: You can’t understand Ken Ham without understanding the secular political forces which prop him (and people like him) up. If it wasn’t for them, he would still exist, and some people would still follow what he says, but there would be far fewer of them.

  • Pseudonym

    At the risk of stating the obvious: You can’t understand Ken Ham without understanding the secular political forces which prop him (and people like him) up. If it wasn’t for them, he would still exist, and some people would still follow what he says, but there would be far fewer of them.

    • Ian

      “You can’t understand Ken Ham without understanding the secular political forces which prop him (and people like him) up.”

      I don’t understand them. Can you say more?

    • http://twitter.com/faithicide Ubermensch

      I dont know what you mean by secular forces propping him up. Ken Ham strikes me as a demagogic and he has ample backing from fundamentalists. He is nonsense appeals the masses of ignorant fundamentalists who live off the benefits of science but dont have the sense or the courtesy to acknowledge it. These people have been refuted a long time ago. The only thing left is for evangelicals who accept science is based on evidence and reason not faith to come out and say so. I think Ken Ham is a modernist who will not accept the bible as ancient set of document. He refuses to let the bible speak for it self. 

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

    In my opinion, this is due to the individuals approach to religion. It is the contrast between an intellectual pursuit of truth and an emotional pursuit of contentment. And there are people on every level of this perspective, but your question is directed towards those at the far end of the emotional side. These people seek religion and theology to give them hope, something to look forward to, and to give them answers, although often simplistic, to life’s tragedies. It gives them hope that they will see their loved ones again in heaven. So they are willing to agree with a religion or theology that agrees with their own desires and wishes, and has little to do with truth. This kind of religion is really a “me” religion, what will it do for me, instead of what can I do for God. And when someone starts looking at the Bible more critically, their little fairytale religion falls apart, and so do their hopes. The next move is to turn to denial when faced with truth. They go to great extremes trying to explain the unexplainable. If you don’t know what I mean, simply look at someone trying to define and defend the trinity doctrine. So basically, they listen to men like this to have their ears tickled. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

  • Bede

    I think Dr. Hugh Ross and his wonderful team at “Reasons to Believe” have credibly melded the cutting edge of the hard sciences with absolutely faithful Bible scholarship into a superb vehicle for Christian apologetics of the highest order.  Why aren’t we devoting more resources to spreading the word about “Reasons to Believe”?

    • Keith

      If we question one principle or concept of the scripture. What keeps us from questioning other parts? How do we decide which parts are true and false. If the first part of scripture is questionable then so must the redemptive concept in the New Testament. Can it be explained the determining factors of truth? Not all of science has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Micro-evolution is observable but not Macro?

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

      Bede, because RtB *isn’t* being faithful to the biblical text.  Time and time again, they force modern scientific concepts into an ancient document that reflects ancient cosmology throughout both “testaments.”  RtB doesn’t allow the Bible to speak for itself and, instead, rapes the Scriptures of theological meaning.

      RtB’s approach to both the life sciences and hermeneutics fall woefully short of any true scholarship.  A nice stepping stone away from young-earth creationism, but their followers will never reach the Shore of Truth at this rate.

  • Jim

    I think that there are many believers who hold the position that if they condescend or agree in ANY way with a different viewpoint that they are losing  (have lost) the faith, and, therefore they condemn themselves. (And, as you can imagine, this is unacceptable) This dogma has been taught for years to many. 

  • Casey

    Wow, you must really be convicted about your beliefs if you have to result to personal attacks like this. Pray about it, God will reveal to you that you are wrong, just as he did to Paul/Saul on the road to Damascus.

  • Andrew

    I read your post and thought that you would post some evidence. Instead, you just made accusations and that was it. Not what I expected from you. Give some examples and prove the guy wrong.  Play the man. 

  • Shaw198213

    “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.” ~ Sir arthur Keith (he wrote the forward to the 100th anniversary edition of Darwin’s book, Origin of Species in 1959). ~

    “Evolution is a fairy tale for grownups. the theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” ~ Professor Louis Bounoure Director of the Stasbourg Zoological Museum~

    “The assumption of Continuity ( a continuous distribution of animal forms reflected in the fossil record) is crucial to Darwinian theory. The fossil record does not appear to support the assumption of evolution theory, or anything much like it.” ~David Berlinski, Sept. 1996 ~

    Evolutionist must believe in Abiogenesis (Spontaneous Generation).
     Science tells us that Spontaneous Generation is impossible.
     Does not anyone remember Francesco Redi in 1668 A.D. or Louis Pasteur in 1861 A.D.
        Louis Pasteur, himself remarked, after definitve finding in 1864. “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow struck by this simple experiment.” The collaspe of spontaneous generation left a vacuum of scientific thought on the question how live had first arisen.
      Evolution violates the Law of Biogenesis (Life can only come from preexisting life and produces after its own kind).
     
     So to belive in evolution is to be willing ignorant of science.

    • Shaw198213

      “The custom of science is to fashion theories to explain the evidence. theories are useful as long as they explain the evidence available.”

      Evolution has no evidence whatsoever, none!

      “Theory is a statement that explains the facts – the confirmed observation – as far as they are known.”

      “In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientist have accepted it, and many are prepared to bend their observations to fit with it.” ~ H.S. Lipson, FRS, Professor of Physics, University of Manchester, UK in “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin, Vol. 31 (May, 1980). p.138

      So far science as we know fits with the creation model better than with the evolution model.
       
       “Fools have no desire to learn; they would much rather give their own opinion.” ~ Proverbs 18:2 ~

      • Ian

        “Evolution has no evidence whatsoever, none!”
        It must be something to do with this blog. If you hop on several of the other comments you can join in with folks who are pointing out that “the existence of Jesus has no evidence whatsoever, none!”

        Something about James attracts folks who think black is white….

      • Anonymous

        Shaw198213

        Is lying.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Mosser/3228203 Chris Mosser

         // Evolution has no evidence whatsoever, none! //

        Of course it doesn’t. Well, except for the mountain that it has, but that doesn’t count, right. ERV’s are not evidence, are they? How about HC ? How about biogeography? What about fossil spatio-temporal distribution. How about genetic similarity forming a nested hierarchy. Nope, al non-evidence.

        // So far science as we know fits with the creation model better than with the evolution model.  //

        Well, lets check that then. What does the YEC creation model NECESSARILY predict for the distribution of fossils. I know what patterns I expect to see from evolution acting on geologic time scales and processes. So, what about YEC. Let’s evaluate the YEC model against the facts and see how well it performs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Mosser/3228203 Chris Mosser

       // Evolutionist must believe in Abiogenesis (Spontaneous Generation). //

      No they don’t. I know a number of believers who do not accept abiogenesis, but rather believe that ‘god’ *poofed* the first self replicating cell into existence and then evolution began. And abiogenesis IS NOT spontaneous Generation.

      // Evolution violates the Law of Biogenesis (Life can only come from preexisting life and produces after its own kind). //

      No, it doesn’t.
       
      // So to belive in evolution is to be willing ignorant of science.//

      And here I was thinking just the opposite.

      • Ian

        Its a pretty standard creationist tactic, judging from this thread. Claim that black is white, when you’re told it isn’t, shout it all the louder. And hope that some people will stop actually trying to figure out if its true.

        We could do our own version:

        “Creationism teaches that everything was made by the devil. How creationists can be so totally satanic is beyond me. No matter how many times they are told. They just refuse to see that everything was made by the devil.”

  • Anonymous

    Ken Ham does have a degree in applied science, a diploma of education (which would allow him to teach science in a public school), a Doctor of Divinity (1997) from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio, a Doctor of Literature (2004) from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a Doctor of Letters (2010) from Tennessee Temple University.

    He has much evidence and a research program. There are many scientists with degrees on staff that write articles and answer questions both on the website and in Christian Science Magazines.

    Many of the articles expose worldviews which shape their interpretations of the evidence. You say he has no evidence? It is the exact same evidence any one else has. That evidence never speaks. It is people who look at it and then do the speaking about it. Evolution theory has not been proven as a fact by a long shot. It all looks convincing when they mash together natural selection, mutations and common design features being the same. But none of those proves Evolution at all.

    Perhaps so many follow Ken Ham’s web site because it exposes things and is more open minded than secular scientists conclusions.

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

      cdbren,

      Ham’s degrees from Temple Baptist College, Liberty University, and (presumably, but I’m not positive) Tennessee Temple University are HONORARY, not earned.

  • Jsanders

    Fascinating.  With this article it seems that you achieve little more than that of which you accuse your adversary.  Personally, I have found many young-earthers who are quite interested in discussing true science. There are also many credentialed evolutionists who seem quite comfortable preaching dogma and making ad-hominem attacks. There is pride on both sides of the street.

  • Kalel783

    You have obviously never read any of Ken Ham’s books, or listened to him speak.  He has solid proof for what he preaches and can show MANY ways how evolution is false.  The Bible shows that God created the earth in 6 24 hour days.  Read it, it is all there.  Real science only supports and upholds Scripture.  

    • Anonymous

      The Bible is not ‘solid proof’. And that’s virtually ALL the ‘evidence’ that Ham can call upon to support young Earth creationism.

      The AiG website is riddled with deliberate half-truths on science-related matters. I can supply examples if you don’t believe me.

  • Genesis 1

    The real question is why do you not believe what the bible says.  “The evening and the morning were the first day.”

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

    Wow! While I was at church teaching Sunday school and involved in leading worship, some people were apparently at home writing comments on a blog.

    The question is why Ken Ham doesn’t believe the Bible. He doesn’t take the dome over the earth literally, he denies that Scripture is truthful when it says that God has placed the earth on foundations so that it cannot be moved.

    Anyone can find quotes from people with fringe views or which can seem to support something the author never intended when taken out of context. It is not enough to offer quotations. You need to explain plausibly why scientists, including those who are Christians, continue to accept evolution and make discoveries in light of it and confirming it if it is as weak, ridiculous and illogical as young-earth creationists pretend.

    It seems unfair to complain that I did not say everything that could be said about this topic in a single blog post. I have been addressing the lies and unbiblical stance of young-earth creationists for a long time. Do a keyword search and see what I have already said, instead of pretending that this is my first and only post on the topic.

    At the end of the day, it is more likely that Ken Ham is part of a global conspiracy to get Christians to look ridiculous and treat the Bible inconsistently without acknowledging that they are doing so, than that believers like Francis Collins are playing into a global conspiracy in the way young-earth creationists maintain. YECs are working hard to divide the church and demean Christianity’s reputation, but they will not be allowed to get away with it unchallenged.

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      May God forgive you for misleading infants into believing the lie that is evolution. Why would God tell us HE created everything in the universe in 6 days, if it were not true? Why would Christ need to die if there had been years of death and destruction before Adam? Do you not realise that you are calling God a lyre? Show me your evidence for evolution!?!

      • Anonymous

        “Why would God tell us HE created everything in the universe in 6 days, if it were not true?”

        If Genesis 1 is all true (despite being utterly ridiculous in parts and clearly pre-scientific in its understanding) and this happened 6,000 years’ ago, WHY did God create a (fallen) world stuffed full of scientific evidence to the contrary? Is he a deceiver? Or maybe just non-existent?
         “

    • Soupy

      >>While I was at church teaching Sunday school and involved in leading worship, some people were apparently at home writing comments on a blog.<<Really?  Just what are you implying here, sir?  Since we don't all live in the same time zone, it makes perfect sense that some might be at church and others not, according to the time stamp for this particular blog. Not to mention, some people are at church Sunday morning, and others not. For the record, I attend church here in Broad Ripple on Sunday morning, but we share space with a group of believers who have their communal service on Saturday evenings.

      Anyways, I did look through some of your previous tagged "Creationism" blogs and don't find any evidence to support your statement that Ken Ham makes God out to be a liar.  I'm rather curious about that, since what I've heard him say and read what he has written supports quite the opposite view.  Mr. Ham consistently points to Scripture, all of it, to support his viewpoints on origins as well as the institutions of marriage, family, and the church. 

      God *could* have breathed it all into existence in an instant, but I believe what I have been taught since I was a young child (I am now 50), that the creation week is the example for us, to work 6 days and rest on the seventh. Maybe that's too simplistic for your sophisticated point of view, but Occam's Razor suggests that the simplest answer is generally the correct one.

  • Bersz3

    Why do you not believe the Bible? That is the real question.

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

    No, that isn’t the key issue at all. I take seriously that the Bible saays what it says, and acknowledge that some of the things that it says cannot be squared with scientific or historical evidence.

    What people like Ken Ham do is pretend that the Bible doesn’t says such things, and when necessary pretend that the external evidence isn’t there, in order to persuade the gullible that he believes the whole Bible. But he only accomplishes this illusion by denying that the Bible actually says what it says or means what it means in places.

    So the real issue is whether God is happier with those who acknowledge what the Bible says and acknowledge that they do not believe or follow all of it, or with those who claim to believe it all but are pretending it says something other than what it actually says.

    • Anonymous

      YECs like Ham are fairly orthodox theologically I think, but they sometimes ADD meaning to scriptures that aren’t there eg scientific meanings (I have examples though they aren’t by Ham himself).

  • Grandmajosi

    Dr. McGrath, why does Ken Ham bother you?  Who was the first Scientist? Who is the only omniscient Person? Who is the only One Who was there at the beginning of creation?  Who told us what and when He created, so we would not have to speculate and make up myths?  Who are you that you have a problem with your Creator and His Word?  Praise Him for men who are willing to speak the truth of God’s Word, which fully explains everything we see in God’s world.  Dr. McGrath, why did Darwin publish his ideas when he did?  It was to get ahead of Wallace.  Why did Darwin believe as he did?  He said it was because he did not want to be accountable to a Creator God, so he chose to invent an idea that would not need the Bible’s supernatural diety. Why do you and others like you choose to follow such a bad example?

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      They fear Mr Ham because they know in thier hearts that he speaks the truth. If Genesis is not the truth about our beginnings, then the foundation of the whole Gospel, and Christ’s death are removed. On the last day we will all see the Mr Ham is right.

      • Anonymous

        YECs lie about science and what it has discovered. 

        And they ‘embellish’ certain scriptures eg Genesis 7:11.

        It’s liberal Christians – who are not anti-science (so I don’t criticise them) – who ignore certain scriptures.

        Just recalled a case where Ken Ham tried to make Psalm 104 say something that it doesn’t say, on Facebook in late July 2011.

        He claimed:”People often assume that the mountains and oceans basins were as high and deep as they are now before the Flood–Psalm 104 seems to indicate how God ended the Flood–raised the mountains and lowered the ocean basins–if you level out the entire earth, there is already enough water to cover to a depth of nearly 2 miles–the oceans were not as deep and the mountains not as high before the Flood.”I looked for that (the raising and lowering) in Psalm 104 but couldn’t find it. Just that God rebuked the floodwaters. (Unless Ham is both totally ignoring the context of verse 30b and also reading things into it – and also making it refer to a single past event/process rather than continuing change upon Earth’s surface.)I emailed Answers in Genesis to enquire whether the reference might be incorrect. Answers came there none. Good job they aren’t called Answers in the Psalms.    

        • David

          Hi ashleyhr, the NASB interprets Psalm 104:8 as: “The mountains rose, the valleys sank down, to the place which You established for them.”

          There are examples of this all over earth’s surface. One in particular is at Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, NM. Take the tram to to the top, and you will see a display that shows the evidence for 25,000 feet of vertical displacement between Sandia peak and the Rio Grande Valley to the west. There are other places on earth where the displacement is even greater. Mike Oard and others have done some good research on these historic events.

          • Anonymous

            David

            I had not seen the NASB (AiG use the NKJV on their website). The NIV says something very different: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+104&version=NIV

            The verse appears to refer to valleys on land (though it could, possibly, refer to undersea canyons too).

            And this Psalm also could very easily be describing creation as in Genesis 1.

            The US displacement you mention would have resulted from tectonic forces. I’ve not researched this but I’ll bet that most of these events happened millions of years’ ago not thousands.

            I’ve read some pieces by Mike Oard. He’s another charlatan. He claims that there was an ice age after the ‘Flood’ - within the last 4,500 years! A totally unbiblical idea incidentally.

            The Bible was written in a pre-scientific era.  

            • David

              Hi ashleyhr,

              I guess I could bet you most of the mountain rising/valley sinking stuff DID NOT happen millions of years ago, but neither one of us would ever win the bet because we cannot prove our claims. I don’t have a crystal ball or a time machine to go back and see exactly when and how Sandia Peak was displaced 25,000 feet from the Rio Grande Valley, do you? 

              The Bible directs and encourages scientific inquiry, beginning in Genesis 1 when God tells Adam to make some rules to manage creation. And that is the essence of science, inductive reasoning (finding rules). 

              Saying the Ice Age is an unbiblical idea is like saying sharks are an unbiblical idea because there is no mention of them. If you read Job though, he does sound pretty cold on more than one occasion :)

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

    Grandmajosi, the reason Ken Ham bothers me is that he makes God out to be a liar, people from his organization lie about what the Bible actually says in order to dupe gullible Christians, and in many other ways does harm to believers. When people fall for his lies, and then discover they have been duped, they often do not merely lose their faith in Ken Ham, but their faith in God.

    You yourself are also clearly unconcerned with God’s word and commandments. We are commanded not to bear false witness, and yet you are either making things up about Darwin or are repeating things you have never checked, happy to pass on gossip and misinformation. Have you no respect for God, but only for Ken Ham?

    • Craig

      How does he make God out to be a liar?  I find that to be interesting?

    • Cougbob

      Ken Ham is simply upholding God’s truth, the Bible, and defending it as God’s enerrant word.  God says in the Bible that he cannot lie, and that all scripture is God-breathed.  So if he says he created the Universe and all life in six days, that is his truth, which Ken Ham is defending.  God would be a liar if he says he created the world in six days, and Evolution was true.  Nothing could be more distorted than your statement about Ken Ham making God out to be a liar.

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

        Cougbob,

        Did you just make the Bible a self-licking ice cream cone?  Nice …

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

    It is easy to claim that in the end Ken Ham will be vindicated, but the evidence available now suggests that he is spreading lies and causing harm to believers. If God is not honest in his creation, then God is not as revealed in Scripture anyway, and so either way – by twisting Scripture to say what he thinks it should, or by misrepresenting our scientific understanding – Ham makes God out to be either a liar or incompetent. If you consider that to be what God will find pleasing, then perhaps you too will be held accountable on the day of judgment for your unquestioning support for him.

    The Bible itself warns that one can believe themselves to be biblical, focusing on all sorts of minutiae, and yet have missed the point so badly as to be worthy of condemnation. Perhaps it would be worth your being more open to criticism and correction than the Pharisees are said to have been…

  • Midnightwatch

    To embrace evolution is to reject the gospel of Christ.  If death existed prior to the fall, necessitated by evolution, then death is not the wage of sin and we either a) do not require a savior or b) cannot hope to be saved regardless of what Christ did.  Insist all you like, you who embrace evolution, that you are Christians.  You are wolves in the fold and must be exposed.

    • Jsmythe01

      Nice name calling -poor logic and exegesis.1) Adam and Eve somehow knew what death was and that it was a serious consequence -tough to believe if they did not have a first hand experience; 2)they did not die physically after eating the fruit so God must have meant something other than physical death; 3) in order for life to exist the laws of thermodynamics had to exist; 4) they knew what pain was (because God multiplied it after the fall; There in one paragraph is enough to call into question the line of reasoning that says all death was a result of the fall. Actually it is easy enough to turn the tables and call the Ken Ham’s of the world wolves. Deceiving the very elect with little exegetical training or understanding and creating fall out as our generation is confronted with incontrovertible, undeniable proof of a very ancient universe. Somehow it was OK for the ancients (Origen, Augustine and numerous others) to be uncertain about the Earth’s age and Genesis interpretation without it being made a mark of Orthodoxy. I pity small minded and unread people who disavow that “All truth is God’s truth” in order to fit a simplistic model and their small boxes of understanding so they are puffed up in their own minds as the keepers of truth. What continues to amaze me is that somehow people think Old Universe is the same as evolution. Crazy and yet another bait and switch.

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

    Midnightwatch (and since I started writing this also Mark Hollinsworth), to claim that death was unnatural prior to the Fall is to poke fun at the Bible, which describes the garden as containing a tree of life, which there was no need for if there was no death for the fruit of the tree to prevent. Please spend more time reading the Bible, with the help of those who actually study the text in the original languages, and less time reading the thoughts of an individual whose qualifications are relevant neither to the interpretation of the Bible nor the understanding of science.

    We had someone named Terry Mortenson come to the Butler University campus some years ago and peddle the typical nonsense of Answers in Genesis. He adamantly asserted that the word sometimes rendered “firmament” in Genesis 1 does not mean “dome.” People might have simply taken him at his word and trusted his claimed expertise, had not a colleague of mine for some reason decided to quote the first beatitude at him in Greek (I am still not sure why), to which Mortenson replied by saying that he was sorry but he could not understand Biblical Hebrew just by hearing it.

    If you try this on anyone who has had even a semester of Biblical languages, they may not be able to understand what is being said, but they can tell the difference between the two languages.

    These people are taking gullible Christians for a ride.

    If you want evidence for evolution, try reading a book written by a biologist, rather than listening to either Ken Ham or me. Why discuss this topic and make confident assertions about it when you haven’t even sought to find out what biologists actually say, and why they draw the conclusions that they do.

    And Mark, for the record, I have never claimed that God is a musical instrument. But why do you accept Ken Ham’s claim that Genesis 1 provides a factual account of how creation actually took place? Were you there?!

    • Anonymous

      The tree of life was for Eternal life. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing
      good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take
      also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22)

      Also, since there was no sin yet there could not have been death either.

      If you have some other scriptural proof that there was death/sin before the fall, then present it or else don’t claim something that is not there.

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      Sir. Please do not assume to know me. I hold a masters degree, and am well and widely read on a number of subjects. Are you honestly telling me to take the word of a fallible biologist, who also wasn’t there, over the word of God?????

      The Bible doesn’t tell us why the tree of life was there. But I know God had a good reason for it.

      There can’t have been deaths before the Fall, because God made it GOOD. Adam and Eve brought death onto the world.

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      PS – Show me proof of evolution! I know you can’t because NONE exists. It’s a lie. God warns us that people will say right is wrong and wrong is right. You are no freind of God, u r a friend of the world.

      • Anonymous

        If a science theory about the past cannot be 100% proven, that does NOT make it a ‘lie’ (even if it stops people believing ‘the truth’ ie Christianity).

        Except in the mind of a fundamentalist Christian.

        God clearly does not believe in the colour grey. It’s either black or white. Same with Jesus. Bigots?

    • Anonymous

      “These people are taking gullible Christians for a ride.” That’s certainly true when it comes to science.

  • Ken Ham

    Well,
    at least you know another university where you wouldn’t want your
    children to attend! Note the typical personal attack. This professor
    can’t help himself–he has to ‘suppress the truth in unrighteousness’
    (Romans 1) as he shuts his ears to the truth of God’s Word.

    • Craig

      Our family appreciates you and your ministry…God be with you, brother.  By the way, we are enjoying your series in Sunday School at Church!!

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

      So … tell me again why AiG was not invited back to Great Homeschool Conventions?

    • Anonymous

      Ken Ham

      I hope you read my comment posted a few minutes’ ago (the exact time isn’t currently visible) “the blog … creationist apologetics”.

      I also hope you saw my email to AiG about how your colleague completely twisted the conclusions of the science news article about the Chicxulub meteorite on your website on 29 October, under ‘News to Note’.

      Ashley Haworth-Roberts  

  • Craig

    This is a very sad article…I find Answers in Genesis to be very much a credible source and find evolution to be facts intermingled with “the imaginations of men” whose foolish heart has been darkened as Romans 1 proclaims…  Uh…you do not question that scripture passage too, do you?

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

    It seems that so often those who actually suppress the truth are not aware that they are doing so, and convince themselves that in fact it is others rather than themselves who are guilty of doing this. May God bring about your repentance!

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      Just so we r clear. I repent every day.

  • Caitlin

    Ian and Chris–you are welcome to join Celebrating Creation Through Natural Selection on Facebook.  We are a group of various-minded people, but “the group” acknowledges God and science to coexist peacefully.  We try to keep the tone civil and allow people to come to their own conclusions while discussing God and science.  Our members have posted some theologically sound reasons why the bible and evolution are not incompatible.  And many of us are scientists.  Science is a fascinating way of learning about the world we actually live in, not a way of denying God.

  • Pingback: Ken Ham

  • Pingback: Arnold Barr

  • Caitlin

    Mark–I am surprised that you claim to know the mind of God.  What is a day to God?  What is “creation” to God?  It is hubris to tell your God how he could do things.  

  • caitlin

    So, I have a question for the Ham followers out there. You believe that if evolution is true, then the Bible is NOT true, and thus your whole faith is founded on a lie?  Is this why you are so vehemently against evolution?

  • Caitlin

    James, you bring up some interesting points.  It is clear that the evolution deniers are very committed to their cause.   It has been difficult for me to understand why.  It is a trifle sad to see, since if they looked at all the wonderment of the earth, as Linneaus did, as a creation of God, they would see how incredibly more wondrous he is than they could ever have imagined.  It is almost as if they are in their own reality box, and trying to fit God into the box with them.  Rather than asking God what he is, they tell him what he is.

    • Craig

      We do not look at the creation of God and think of how awesome God is??? Could it be that we simply take God at His word when he made it so clear that He called the darkness night and the light day and the evening and the morning were the ___ day?  I do not think God would have placed that in there if He was not trying to make something very clear.  We find out the reality of God from His word first and foremost.

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

    Craig, for the earth to be young, God has to have made many aspects of creation not inly with the appearance of age, but all with the appearance of the same age, deceiving those who study these wonders of creation. Young earth creationism makes God out to be a malevolent figure who deceives people through creation and then blames them for believing he was giving an honest impression through his handiwork. It is ironic that Ham himself quoted Genesis 1, which suggests if anything that God’s truth is revealed in creation, not that God’s lie is foisted on humanity through nature. Ham quotes Romans 1 but ignores what it implies.

    • Craig

      It is not out of character for God to do this very thing.  You are very familiar with parables which Jesus taught…to hide the truth from the carnal mind and to reveal truth to the one who seeks to understand and obey the truth.  I propose God created in such a way to do the same thing.  For those who see that the fruit on the tree is good to make one wise (the one whose eyes are continually earthbound in their thinking without considering – FIRST – the word of God [without trying to twist it]) I believe God created in such a way as to confound the wise.  Do you really, honestly believe that God is obligated to leave a trail of physical breadcrumbs to be followed by scientific inquiry???  The last time I read 1 Corinthians 1, I was told that God made it impossible to be found by human wisdom alone.  Read the reasons for Jesus speaking in parables in Matthew 13.  He said He did so in order that the carnal mind would keep on seeing with their physical eyes and hearing with their physical ears so that they would not be able to find the truth.  I could spend a bit of typing on this but you can go and look at His purposes for telling parables yourself in Matthew 13 and apply it very well to God creating in such a way as to confound the wise as a judgment upon them.  Creation is a parable – in which God does not “lie” but simply hides.  Please be careful with your quest to explain the universe and your handling of the word of God.  God is…well…TRICKY.

      • Anonymous

        Craig

        You’re close to saying that if the Bible is literally true, God is a deceiver. As a former evangelical Christian – never a YEC as it wasn’t an issue here in the UK – I’ve come to a similar view. You seem to want to defend God whereas I frankly don’t any more. Your comments strike me as quite honest. This post at least just defends God and the Bible – WITHOUT misrepresenting science like AiG and their ilk frequently do (I agree there are unanswered questions regarding microbes to Man evolution but the whole young Earth apologetics machine is nonsensical).

  • Bowerbrandon

    I like Ken Hamm and believe he speaks truth. Study it for yourself …

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

      Bowerbrandon,

      I did study Ken Ham’s material for myself.  I have a number of AiG books on my shelf.  Fortunately, I realized how void of truth AiG was, both in terms of science and hermeneutics.  AiG’s M.O. is, sadly, smoke and mirrors.

      Don’t get me wrong: I respect Ham’s desire to defend what he perceives to be the truth, and he defends what he believes with a tenacity that I admire.  But I also pity him to a great extent, for what he is defending is as outmoded as defending a flat earth or geocentrism. 

  • Kevin

    It’s quite simple. As we can see galaxies billions of light years away thew universe must be billions of years old. If not then god created a deception and is therefore a liar.

    As for the sin death problem, 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.

    • Craig

      Please see my response to this idea of calling God a liar…You are very familiar with parables which Jesus taught…to hide the truth from the carnal mind and to reveal truth to the one who seeks to understand and obey the truth.  I propose God created in such a way to do the same thing.  For those who see that the fruit on the tree is good to make one wise (the one whose eyes are continually earthbound in their thinking without considering – FIRST – the word of God [without trying to twist it]) I believe God created in such a way as to confound the wise.  Do you really, honestly believe that God is obligated to leave a trail of physical breadcrumbs to be followed by scientific inquiry???  The last time I read 1 Corinthians 1, I was told that God made it impossible to be found by human wisdom alone.  Read the reasons for Jesus speaking in parables in Matthew 13.  He said He did so in order that the carnal mind would keep on seeing with their physical eyes and hearing with their physical ears so that they would not be able to find the truth.  I could spend a bit of typing on this but you can go and look at His purposes for telling parables yourself in Matthew 13 and apply it very well to God creating in such a way as to confound the wise as a judgment upon them.  Creation is a parable – in which God does not “lie” but simply hides.  Please be careful with your quest to explain the universe and your handling of the word of God.  God is…well…TRICKY.

      • Anonymous

        Please explain in detail how Genesis is a parable? I have studied Hebrew and do not see where that is indicated by the words used.

        • Craig

          I did not propose Genesis as a parable…I proposed Creation to be a parable in the way that Jesus explained His use of parables in Matthew 13. Please read my post above again.

        • Craig

          As far as God being “tricky”, call it whatever word you like, I guess.  Maybe the wrong choice of words.  How about “illusive”?  Jesus explains it well in Matthew 13.

        • Craig

          This is kind of tricky…For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” (2 Kings 7:6)

        • Craig

          Another thing here…”Jesus spoke parables so the unsaved could understand spiritual things.”???????  What?  Please read Jesus’ words…And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-13).  ARE WE READING THE SAME BIBLE?  I do not mean disrespect but this is just another example of someone not telling the whole story as to why Jesus spoke in parables.

          • Anonymous

            A parable is a story meant to instruct. Look up the definition. Jesus used parables that were simple so that the unsaved would better understand what he was saying. If not, why even tell them anything?

            Look what he says right after that verse…”And should understand with their heart and be converted.” Jesus then goes on to the parable of the sower. Jesus was sowing seeds with the parables. Some will get it and be saved, others not. What I am saying is the whole story. Please study more!

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

      Kevin,

      This type of interpretation is part of the problem. Where in the world do you get the idea that Paul believed in a three tiered universe? In Philippians 2:10 Paul is merely pointing out that those who will eventually bow to Jesus will be those in heaven, (the angels), those on earth (the living), and those under the ground (the buried dead that will eventually rise and bow to Jesus). This has nothing to do with cosmology.

      • Kevin

        The Greek translated ‘under the Earth is very specific. It means the caverns under the ground. Paul was saying that whereever you are in the universe, Jesus is Lord there.

  • Allen

    My problem with nearly everyone that claims evolution is an undeniable fact is that most of what they “know” is predicated on assumptions that cannot be proven.  Not the least of these assumptions is that either there is no supernatural or that there are severe limitations on what God can do if he does exist.  I only have a masters in mathematics, but even I can see that they are relying on assumptions that will never be proven.  The difference I see between those that accept evolution and related theories regarding the history of the universe and those that accept the Genesis account as being literally true is that the latter are far more willing to acknowledge their assumptions, especially in public.

    • Ian

      “there is no supernatural ”

      Its a pretty safe assumption. Since there is no evidence for the existence of anything supernatural. We’re all assuming there aren’t fairies too. Or that we’re not all trapped in a matrix-like virtual reality. Or any one of an unlimited number of other assumptions.

      The concept you’re missing is falsifiability. We can safely ignore anything that isn’t falsifiable, because, by definition, it is an explanation with no possible effect on the world.

      If you want to bring the supernatural to the table, then please show it to be first falsifiable, and second provide evidence it exists. Until then it gets to be ignored along with fairies and the matrix.

      • Craig

        If you are just material, then everything you do is a reflex…chemical reactions and firing at synapses.  You know there is more to you than that…I am sure that you hold people responsible for their immoral actions (as well as assume their to be such a thing as morality).  I am also sure that you give credit to those who come up with ideas that are beneficial to humanity.  Am I right?  Well, if we are only matter, stop doing that, please.  Because every immoral and moral action are mere reflexes in a materialist view.  And, you honoring a moral action and punishing a immoral actions as if people are “responsible” would be like honoring one whose foot came up the fastest at the Doctor’s office during a reflex check or punishing the one whose foot kicked the Doctor square in the nose during the same test.  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. (Romans 1:20)

        • Ian

          “Well, if we are only matter, stop doing that, please.”
          Why? Because you can’t comprehend of how meaning can be found without the supernatural? 

          It sounds like a failure of your understanding of materialism, rather than anything else.

          Its easy to say what must follow from a position you don’t hold. Much harder to actually find out what those who hold it think.

          ” For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen”

          But strangely undetectable… odd that.

          • Craig

            I have a chemistry degree and certainly understand that it is what it is when it comes to the laboratory.  So, once again, treat all as though they are “dancing to their DNA” as Dawkins puts it.  Be consistent.  You are, as the scriptures say – without excuse – but it is not too late.  Seek Him – body, soul and spirit.

            • Ian

              “Be consistent.” How do you mean?

              “You are, as the scriptures say – without excuse – but it is not too late.” True. I didn’t expect to be where I am now 20 years ago, so it’ll be interesting to see where I am in 20 more. Always open for being shown something new.

              “Seek Him – body, soul and spirit.” I knocked, and it turned out that there was nobody at home. Of course, I moved in first, spent a while sitting around talking to nobody and pretending that somebody was there. Turns out it is quite easy to do when the front room is crowded with other people doing the same. Even had myself fooled for a while.

      • Allen

        Since you put it that way, explain how evolution is falsifiable.  I’ve never seen a believer in evolution admit that it is falsifiable, let alone how it can be done.

        And if there is anyone on here that agrees with you and claims to be a Christian, how can you define Christianity without the existence of a supernatural?

        • Ian

          ” I’ve never seen a believer in evolution admit that it is falsifiable, let alone how it can be done.”

          Then you’ve never looked. 

          Creationists are fond of accusing evolution of keeping changing its story when new evidence arrives. How does that work if evolution is unfalsifiable? Isn’t that rather the definition of falsifiable?

          Of course, the same thing happens in all sciences. The falsifiability of Newton’s gravity allowed us to see something was odd with Mercury’s orbit, for example. Faraday’s cathode rays broke his predictions, which was also odd.

          That’s why falsifiability is a pre-requisite of any science. Without it, you can never find out more.

          But its not surprising you haven’t seen any of this. Finding creationists who’ve actually studied evolution on its own terms (as opposed to creationist propaganda on it), is very rare, in my experience. I can count on one finger the creationists who’ve managed to describe evolution to me in any way that I recognize.

  • Adrianalanbennett

    McGrath, you are an arrogant fool.

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

    I am not sure that Craig’s point could not be reversed, with creation being clear and Genesis 1-3 the parable.

    Adrianalanbennet, I certainly was an arrogant fool when I was a young-earth creationist, and repeated claims that I thought I was supposed to as a Christian, not realizing that I was spreading lies and misconceptions. Realizing that I was wrong about that has, I hope, instilled in me a greater measure of humility, although it has also left me considering it important to combat the falsehoods I once helped to spread.

    • Craig

      Dr. McGrath…You illuded my post for the most part.  Please answer the possibility of God’s revelation of Himself in creation as being the same way as He did through Christ in Matthew 13…in a way, illusive.  It is a perfect fit – God blinding the carnal mind by leading that mind on a wild goose chase of scientific inquiry through tunnels leading to nothing but dead ends so that they keep on seeing with the physical ears and eyes.  I find it a very credible proposition.  Therefore, your charge of God being a “liar” does not stick.  Illusive, yes…liar, no.  Did God “lie” in 2Kings 7:6…For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” (2 Kings 7:6).

    • Craig

      I guess I meant to say that you totally “eluded” my post, which you did.  I would simply like to say this about Genesis 1-3 as a parable.  It sadly fails, Dr. McGrath.  I guess the literal genealogies that take our literal Christ back to Adam are part of this grand parable, aren’t they?  Or maybe Christ is not literal???  Maybe He is a parable.  You have been duped, Dr. McGrath.  Duped to the point of insinuating Christ as part of a genealogy that goes back to a parabolic figure.  It doesn’t work.

      • Ian

        “I guess the literal genealogies that take our literal Christ back to Adam are part of this grand parable, aren’t they?”

        Well they’re certainly not accurate. Here’s a challenge. Without looking at one of the (many and contradictory) justifications for the problems in the geneaologies, come up with a time line and a consistent geneaology of Jesus, based on the whole bible. I guarantee if you don’t copy it, you’ll get a different one to everybody else’s. Everyone seems to agree you can make them consistent. But nobody agrees on quite how.

        “Or maybe Christ is not literal???”

        Why not? Do you have any actual historical evidence that the biblical portrait of Christ is accurate? And I don’t mean evidence of a few details of his life and supposed resurrection. Or Josh McDowell-style vague claims. I mean actual historical evidence that the biblical story in its specific details? Because, you know, the vast majority of scholars who actually look at this historically agree that Christ is, by and large, a mythical figure. A human Jesus, we can find some evidence for; Christ, nope.

        “You have been duped, Dr. McGrath.”

        No you’ve been duped. No you have. No, it was you. No, I’m certain it was you. 

        Here’s an experiment. What if you’re the deluded one? I’m not saying you should try and believe you are. Just try the thought experiment. If you were, would you know it? Would you be convinced of your position? Would you feel angry that people tried to say you were mistaken? Both you and I think we’re right. Can you think of some way we could both agree, to see who’s correct?

        • Craig

          You have no place at all in my conversation with Dr. McGrath since you deny the supernatural.

          • Ian

            Funny. Now people who disagree with you don’t even get to discuss things with you?

            Its a good way to win an argument, clearly.

        • Allen

          Do you have any actual historical evidence of the existence of any historical person that supposedly lived within a few centuries of Christ?  If you apply the same standards to the evidence for other figures as you apparently apply to Christ, then you have no evidence for anyone from that time period or earlier.

          • Ian

            That’s not my horse to back. Seriously go and chat to the mythicists. Ask them about socrates, or Julius Ceasar. They’ll give you some excellent reasons to believe they were real but Jesus wasn’t. 

            I don’t buy their reasons. But then I don’t buy creationism either. For pretty much the same reasons.

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

    Cdbren, I thought you said that there was no death anyway. What need was there for a tree that gives eternal life if no one would die anyway? I still do not follow your reasoning. You seem not to be interested in exactly what the text says.

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

      James, its really not that difficult. If we follow the narrative, Adam and Eve were the only humans on the planet, and if they were alive, then human death did not exist. This however, did not apply to animals which probably did die and their deaths were witnessed by Adam and Eve, which would give them the knowledge of what death was. The key to understanding why the tree of life existed in the paradise is to understand that Adam and Eve’s future had not been determined yet. They needed to use their gift of free will to determine the path they would take. To obey God, or not to obey God. Each tree represented the path they would take. One was death and destruction, the other was everlasting life. So the tree of life existed because it was the reward for obeying God.

    • Anonymous

      There was no death. Where does it say there was?

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

    Craig, presumably you meant “alluded”? If you want to explore this topic more, the story in 1 Kings 22 is perhaps even more relevant than the ones you mentioned.

    • Craig

      Sorry…I never use that word…I learned something new today.  You still did not answer the question which goes back to you calling God a liar if He created a certain way.  Last I checked, He can make nature do whatever He wants whether you like it or not.  I am very sad for you.

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

    Craig, you don’t seem to have understood my point. But if you were as open to the possibility that you have things to learn about science as you are about spelling, then you could easily learn more about this topic and at least understand why the vast majority of Christians and scientists (as well as those who are in both categories) consider Ken Ham to be a charlatan.

    Soupy, your comment formatting left me confused, but here is a link to a round-up of some of my past blogging about creationism:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2008/09/blogging-creationism-the-highlights.html 

    • Craig

      That is fine…you do not have to address my answer to your serious charge against Ken Ham for making God out to be a liar.  Maybe you just do not think that to be serious at all.  What you have shown me is that you are not dedicated to listening to and and addressing my defense of Dr. Ham and God’s prerogative to create as He so chooses – not as you choose.  If I were in your church, I would call you to account and to recant your ridiculous comments about Ken Ham making God into a liar.  Again, I am very sad for you, Dr. McGrath…for you and your parabolic figment of imagination (Adam) in the genealogy of my literal Christ.  Good day.

  • Craig

    Everyone reading this….please note my conversation with Dr. McGrath which brings about the possibility that God was “wise as a serpent” in creation to confound the wise just as Jesus presented himself/truth as illusive in the parables (see Matthew 13).  If God created this way, Dr. McGrath calls God a liar.  Dr. McGrath called Ham to the carpet as one making God out to be a liar and will not take that back in light of the possibilities that I presented.  Instead, he just gave a few words in response to try to shake me off – he did not at all respond to my main argument/concerns.  DR. MCGRATH, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF IN NOT REALLY TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE MATTER AND MAYBE CONSIDER REVOKING YOUR AD HOMINEM ATTACKS AGAINST KEN HAM.  By the way, Jesus was called a charlatan as well…consider that.  Once again, I am very sad for you and jealous for God.  May He find mercy on you for your attitude and imagined charges toward Ken Ham.

    • Anonymous

      I think YECs like Ham are often sincere and have assumed that because the Bible is ‘literally true’ awkward science MUST be a lie, however plausible it appears. And they take any opposition, even from ‘rational Christians’ never mind atheists etc as confirmation that their ‘narrow’ way must be correct.

      But they blatantly lie about science, and about how scientists behave, and make the Bible into a sort of science factbook. Their science is not ‘natural science’ alone. Their main agenda in their apologetics is to undermine any ‘natural science’ that, in its conclusions, questions or undermines the Bible. They disseminate pseudo-science as giving ‘answers’ for Christians and as evangelism. Their ‘answers’ may strengthen or kindle faith but the answers themselves have little or no objective reality.

    • Anonymous

      You are taking the verse about the parables out of context a bit. Jesus spoke to non-believers in parables so they could understand better and maybe get saved. It is spelled out in the next parable in Matthew 13 about the sower.

      13 Therefore speak I to them in parables, because seeing, they see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.

      15 For this people’s heart has waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’   

      18 “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower:     

      19 When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he that received seed by the wayside.

      20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word and at once with joy receiveth it;
           
      21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while. For when
      tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he
      loses faith.

    • Jsmythe01

      I am surprised no one has brought in Romans 1 yet as it clearly sides with Dr. McGrath’s position: “for since the creation of the World God’s invisible qualities -His ETERNAL power and divine Nature_have been clearly seen…”
      Eternal is a long time to deduce from something only 4000 years old according to AIG’s statement of faith. In fact it fails for the same reason that the Brits couldn’t evangelize China with the same story-a la Bishop Ussher – since Chinese written history spans to 6000 bc roughly.
      Ken Ham has made a nice little circular argument:
      First -make belief in one particularly narrow interpretation of Genesis a foundation for Orthodoxy (it isn’t, has never been such and never will be)
      Second- get a following and run long on mockery low on facts and woefully inadequate on counter argument
      Third – convince your following that anyone who disagrees or prefers a different, historical, scholarly supported interpretation must have their Faith in God called in to question (notice Craig’s similar approach here) There are at least 5 varying scholarly views of the creation accounts of which the calendar day has the least flexibility to deal with textual criticism or modern scientific data) 
      You will know those who cannot hear God’s voice whispering “come let us reason” by the fact that they degenerate into name calling mockery and vitriolic character attack on people they do not know. He who cannot reason is a fool, he who will not reason is a bigot, but he who dares not reason is a slave. 
      I will likely be an equally divided target because I also disagree with Dr. McGrath’s fixation on the “dome” concept”
      As to Mr. Hollinsworth you are fixated on death not occurring before the fall yet Adam and Eve knew what death was -they don’t question God about the consequence- AND they did not DIE right away. SO we can assume the laws of thermodynamics were in existence (there are way too many problems to even begin to discuss if they were not in operation) plants and animals were dying and giving birth etc. No reason not to (well outside of early 2nd Day Adventist and AiG positions)
      Gentlemen if you want to put aside your pen swords for a moment and consider that those who love God have more in common than should be separated by a non central doctrine (really would you die for your position on this one) and listen to a balanced approach covering the various scholarly views I can refer you to Dr. William Laine Craig’s Defender’s podcast series. It is free and he does a nice job summarizing the various strength’s and weaknesses of each approach under the Doctrine of Creation heading.
      BTW ice core samples in numerous locations (Greenland, China, Antartica) can count years in layers like tree rings. The highest one is up to about 750,000 years and counting. Threw that in because you don’t need a degree to understand the ramifications – and that is just the ice not the rock yet. Premise 1 under Mr. Ham’s regime is ridiculously easy to challenge but folks seem more terrified of digging deeper and “studying to show themselves workmen approved” Get over it folks. Universe is very old and BTW Old universe does not equal evolution. That is an entirely different argument.

  • Clergyman

    I believe God said what He means and means what He said in the Bible.  Clear and to the point.  “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day..”  (Exodus 20:11) I believe in the authority of God’s Word, that’s why I believe in Ken Ham.

    • Jsmythe01

      Yes and by that logic a ten headed monster will rise up some time in the future and wreak havoc as the oceans and rivers become hemoglobin , ad nauseum. It is a great bait and switch to apply textual criticism based on what is easiest to understand but of little value in interpreting ANE documents. Who was it written to, by whom, in what context and what kind of writing is it. Genesis stands alone in in the ANE as a document of unparalleled crafting. Unfortunately most are too busy trying to force it to be something it is not with their presuppositions. Try doing a little research and actually read some arguments you might not even agree with but LISTEN instead of throwing darts.

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

    Clergyman, may I be allowed to ask whether you accept that the Bible also speaks accurately and scientifically when it says (Genesis 1:7) ” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.” And when it says (Psalm 104:5) “He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.”

    I find those who do not pick and choose, and those who pick and choose and acknowledge doing so, less offensive and frustrating than those who pick and choose what they consider to be literally true and worth fighting against science over, but pretend that they are not picking and choosing.

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

      James, your translation of Psalm 104:5 is a little biased toward your opinion. The Hebrew is saying that the earth was set in its proper place and will not be shaken or fall away. Check the Hebrew.

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

    Craig, whether we came about through a process of evolution or are literally moulded dust from the ground, we are made of matter. And either way, we are creative, capable of love, and utterly astounding. Anyone who suggested to you otherwise was trying to create a fight between religion and science where none arises naturally.

    Mark, I do not presume to know you. But to give the sort of response Ken Ham advises, how do you know that the Bible is the word of God in a sense that means it speaks inerrantly about matters of science with accuracy? Were you there when it was written? Were you involved in its inspiration, or in the decisions on what to include and why? The issue is not with the Bible but with your doctrines about the Bible.

    • Mark Hollinsworth

      I see you have still provided no proof of evolution! I will trust God before I trust fallible man. What I know with absolute certainty, is that there is NO contradiction between the Bible and science.

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

    If the genealogies are factual in Matthew and Luke then why do they not agree? If Matthew’s concern was numerical precision, then why do all three of his three groups of 14 not actually contain fourteen distinct names, and why does he leave names from Chronicles out in order to get some of them to fit? 

    Treating the genealogies as factual ignores the evidence the Bible itself offers us about them. 

    Here’s a link to a post I wrote quite some time ago on that topic:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2007/08/the-plain-sense-of-the-bible.html  

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

      James, again a simple matter. The difference in the genealogies from Matthew and Luke are due to the fact that one genealogy is through Joseph and the other is through Mary. The number problem is easy as well. Read what Matthew said.

      (Matthew 1:17) . . .All the generations, then, from Abraham until David were fourteen generations, and from David until the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ fourteen generations.

      The first 14 is counting from and including the names:

      Abraham to David

      The second 14 is counting from and including the names:

      David to Josiah

      The third is counting from and including the names:

      Jeconiah to Jesus Christ

      Yes, you count David twice as per Matthews instructions.

    • Craig

      You speak as an apostate.

  • Cliff Martin

    Wow! this thread is depressing! Like you, Dr. McGrath, I was for 30 years an avid young earth creationist. Read all the literature. Taught it! Loved Ken Ham! And then, I started actually paying attention to the data. Today, I accept the evolutionary history of life on the earth, which is supported by vast quantities of data and evidence. Biogeography alone (the present day observation of how life varieties are distributed across our planet, the very evidence that first persuaded Charles Darwin) is enough to indicate the strong likelihood of evolution. I have never (never!) heard a single young earth creationist explain this data in any way that makes sense of it. Or DNA data of the last 15 years. It was after I started actually paying attention to both sides of this debate that I saw how utterly bankrupt are the arguments for young earth, and for special, recent creation of life. But it is apparent from this comment thread, James, that there is little or no hope of persuading with facts those whose minds are already settled upon theological presuppositions that necessitate their belief in a certain origins dogma.

    • Ian

      “here is little or no hope of persuading with facts those whose minds are already settled upon theological presuppositions that necessitate their belief in a certain origins dogma.”

      Aren’t you an example (and James another) why there *is* such hope? And you’re not alone, I know several others who were humble enough to find out what it was that scientists were actually claiming (rather than reading what creationists claim that scientists believe), and found it to be accurate. There is always hope, man!

      • Cliff Martin

        You are right, Ian. I tend to be overly pessimistic about certain branches of Christendom coming to terms with simple blatant facts. It took Christians (as a whole) something like 200 years to finally lay down their opposition (based upon over 60 clear, literally understood Bible verses) to Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. We tend to drag our feet interminably sometimes. Sad. 

    • Anonymous

      You are assuming of course that those scientists interpretations of the data and evidence is correct. You do know that it would be occupational suicide to show results that pointed to the bible being true? With “peer review” they would never get anything published and probably lose their position. It has happened before.

      You also realize that to interpret the data of things that happened in the past and can’t really be recreated or tested requires assumptions of conditions of that past? Also, that scientists usually make broad generalizations and add in details that aren’t even proven?

      Example: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10570.html

      In this case, the scientists are assuming that the sauropods lived in a
      basin habitat with geography, seasonal climate, and topography similar
      to today’s—even though they believe million years have elapsed since
      those animals became extinct. Therefore, they not only assume these
      sauropods died and were fossilized in their native habitat but also that
      the basin habitat was subject to seasonal droughts. Thus, assuming the
      sauropods had a reason to migrate, they interpret the enamel variations
      as conclusive evidence that they did. They’re even confident that the
      place to which they migrated was the same highlands seen on today’s map,
      again assuming the topography remained unchanged for millions of years.

    • Anonymous

      Your post is what is depressing…

  • Cliff Martin

    Once I became familiar with all the undeniable data, I came to this stark dilemma. Either evolutionary science (or something very much like it) is true, or God is a story teller, a trickster, dishonest, playing fast and loose with the facts he himself gave us. It is for the sake of God’s character as an honest dealer that I came around totally to accept the evidence he gave us in the cosmos at face value, and to understand the Bible as I’m sure he meant it to be understood.

    • Anonymous

      DNA and RNA contain very complex codes that allow a living being to continue to function. To be born the way they are supposed to be born, etc.

      DNA contains a specific code that must be copied from another strand of DNA.

      Where do you think this complex information came from. Purely from random chance? (From stardust, to a simple form, to a more complex form and so on, by chance?)

      “Nobody understands the origin of life. If they say they do, they are probably trying to fool you.”

      —Ken Nealson (University of Southern California), The search for the
      scum of the universe, http://www.space.
      com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/odds_of_et_ 020521-1.html

      • Ian

        You really don’t understand what evolution actually *claims*, do you? This is not what evolutionary biologists claim. Please, before spreading lies, actually find out what your opponents believe. Otherwise you’re just repeating more lies.

  • David

    Well, at least you call it anti-evolutionism, not anti-evolution. I don’t know of any Christians who have a problem with real science. I do know a bunch who have a problem with evolutionism, which is a faith-based idea about past events that says bacteria turned into Butler University professors via a bunch of random genetic mistakes. 21st Century science shows there are limits to genetic change, that cells are super-complex, and that evolution is silent on topics like epigenetics and lateral gene transfer. God said He created different kinds of things, and 21st Century Science provides plenty of evidence for this. The real problem and the real question you should be asking is “why do some scientists think they have unlocked all the mysteries of our past without having any way to verify their conclusions?” This is the real problem, not what Ken Ham does or doesn’t believe.  

    • Ian

      Something tells me you’re not, actually, a research biologist.

      But somehow you know more than those who are about what they do. Impressive!

      And that never strikes you as slightly odd? I mean, regardless of the actual merits of your argument, there is no point at which basic human common sense kicks in to say “maybe they might know something of what they talk”? You might want to head over to some of James’s other posts where he is arguing with atheists who think that Jesus never even existed. It might give you a clue what its like when folks with a clear ideology think they know better than folks who’ve actually worked in the area. You’ll certainly recognize many of their claims, they are search-and-replace versions of yours.

      • Ian

        This makes me wonder. I know mythicists get *really* annoyed when they are compared with creationists (“how can you compare us to that nonesense, we actually have a valid argument…”)

        But is being compared to a creationist more insulting to a mythicist;
        than being compared to a mythicist to a creationist?

      • David

        Hi Ian, 
        Actually, I am a Ph.D. biogeochemist with an engineering undergraduate, and as a scientist and science educator have done plenty of real biological research (maybe even more than you?), and my studies have not led me to conclude that you are a monkey’s uncle.  I think you are missing my point though. I never claimed to know more than other researchers. What I do know is that when it comes to natural history research, everybody has the same set of data, the differences come in the interpretations. Natural history research is not real science, because you cannot verify the conclusions unless you have a time machine. Whether people do it on purpose or not, it is still intellectually dishonest to say that “scientists know” molecules-to-man evolution is real. That is not what 21st century science is revealing, and it is not how God said He made things. I’ll take God’s word over man’s ever-changing interpretations of natural history any day.

        • Ian

          I call BS. You claim to have a PhD in science, then you completely misunderstand what science is or how it works. Well, actually you quote almost verbatim from Ham. Which is a little odd. I can believe you have an engineering PhD: there’s plenty of engineers with science envy.

          “Natural history research is not real science, because you cannot verify the conclusions unless you have a time machine.”

          You’re fond of saying what is “real science” – which brings me back to my point. You don’t have any common sense that, you know, professional scientists might understand what science is? I would find that odd. Kindof like me saying that “real biogeochemistry can’t study X”.

          You might want to try a basic philosophy of science course (called science methodology in some places). Undergrad level is fine. Focus particularly on the bit about differentiating explanations and falsification. And then see if you can figure out how come all these scientists *think they can* do science on long-term biological processes.

          Or you could take the suggestion and go debate mythicists for a while to see how familiar your arguments are. They’re also *very* keen on telling professional historians what “real historical study” is, and why the professional academics aren’t doing it right.

      • David

        Hi Ian,
        Actually, I have a Ph.D. in biogeochemistry and an undergraduate in engineering, and as a researcher and science educator have quite possibly done more biological research in my lifetime than you. But hey, Charles Darwin didn’t have a biology degree, and he admitted he was terrible at math, but people believe his ideas about origins in spite of his lack of scientific prowess. Anyways, I think you are missing my point. Something that isn’t discussed much is that there is a difference between natural history research and real science. If you want to believe you’re a monkey’s uncle, fine, but you need a time machine to verify your claim. Real science is testable, repeatable, and verifiable. Natural history research cannot be verified. 

        Also, I never claimed to know more than other researchers. What I do know is there is evidence for evolution, and there is evidence that God created different kinds of things. Everybody has the same set of data, the differences come in the interpretations. I think it is intellectually dishonest to make claims that “scientists know” how life originated, and that it was definitely molecules-to-man evolution. God said He made different kinds of things, and that you are not a monkey’s uncle. 21st Century science research provides evidence that God created like He said He did. But I can’t prove His claims, and neither can anyone else. Ever. I believe God created just like He said, not because I have a magic crystal ball or some secret knowledge, but because I trust His word over man’s regarding the history of life on Earth.  

        • Ian

          Did you just copy and paste your previous comment? Curiouser and curiouser…

          “quite possibly done more biological research in my lifetime than you” … then … “it is intellectually dishonest to make claims that “scientists know” how life originated”

          Definitely BS. You haven’t got a clue what evolution is actually about, do you?

          “But I can’t prove His claims”

          Oh David, its much, much worse than that. You can’t even provide evidence of his existence, let alone that he has ever made *any claims at all*, before you even get anywhere near trying to establish that your (or Ham’s) particular interpretation of them are what he meant, before trying to go near “proving” them.

          • David

            Hi Ian, I understand evolutionism just fine. How much biological research have you done, and why does that matter anyways? Darwin had no degrees in biology, he was bad at the language of science (mathematics), and some believe he had some pretty serious mental issues. If expertise is all that matters, then Darwin would be pretty incompetent. He didn’t base his idea of natural selection on anything natural, but instead based it on artificial selection combined with Thomas Malthus’ make-believe data on human population trends.
            If you do not understand the difference between real science and natural history research, I encourage you to read Conditions of Philosophy by Mortimer J. Adler. 

            • Ian

              “Hi Ian, I understand evolutionism just fine. ”

              Clearly you don’t, since you couldn’t actually articulate what it was. And can’t even get the word right. 

              “How much biological research have you done, and why does that matter anyways?”

              Six years, but that was 15 years ago. My research was specifically on the evolutionary dynamics of epigenetic features (you know, the topic you said evolution had nothing to say on). It matters when you tell people who know what they’re doing that they are doing it wrong and you know better. Especially when you then demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of what they actually do and why.

              “some believe he had some pretty serious mental issues.”

              Excellent! Darwin was insane too! I heard he also liked young boys.

              “He didn’t base his idea of natural selection on anything natural, but instead based it on artificial selection combined with Thomas Malthus’ make-believe data on human population trends.”

              Ah, so you haven’t actually read Origin of Species either then. Because that’s an excellent misrepresentation of what it contains. Maybe you didn’t understand it.

              “Conditions of Philosophy by Mortimer J. Adler.”

              Adler was neither a philosopher of science, or a working scientist. I wouldn’t trust his opinions on what actual scientists think or do, or what constitutes “real science” any more than I’d trust a car mechanic to perform heart surgery on me. Seriously David, Adler? Of all the people you could pick, you pick Adler?

              Most universities run courses on the scientific method and the philosophy of science (the actual philosophy of science, not science according to a moral and religious philosopher).

              • David

                Hi Ian, please tell me more about your epigenetics research and your published papers. 

                Seems like you feel the same way about Adler as I do about Darwin. I wonder which one used more faked data to make their point?

                • Ian

                  “Hi Ian, please tell me more about your epigenetics research and your published papers.”

                  No, I answered your specific question, I’ve no desire to give you my resume. I am no longer a professional scientist, and I value my anonymity.*

                  I’d rather keep the focus on your absurd claims to know more about science than those who are actually professional scientists. It isn’t *my* idea about science you’re arguing against here. But the actual scientific community, and those who work abstractly on empiricism and its limitations.

                  You don’t get to wriggle out of your insufferable arrogance so easily.

                  Not without some serious evidence that you actually know what you’re talking about and they don’t. So far an appeal to a moral philosopher and a claim to dislike Darwin is it.

                  Care to point out any prominent scientists or philosophers of science who cite Adler as an authority on whats consistutes science and what doesn’t?

                  If not, then whatever you or I *feel* about these people is irrelevant. Because we can cite all day the scientists who claim to have significantly substantiated Darwin’s claims.

                  You were claiming you knew what “true science” was, and now that a philosopher of religion is the authority on this. More so than, you know, actual scientists, or philosophers of science.

                  You’re perfectly entitled to think that science is contradicted by the bible. I agree. You can think that your unverifiable tower of unprovable claims gets to totally refute anything that real scientists do. For a certain kind of theology it does. That you somehow think that theology bears some relationship to reality is your delusion to have. 

                  But if you claim that you actually know what “true science” is, and the people actually doing science are doing it wrong, you’re just a joke.

                  * If you had some google-fu, you could find my work from what you know — I just did. But it would be buried back in the 1990s, behind a *ton* of work by others in the same area. Google scholar is a click away. There’s no excuse for making bold claims about there being no work in an area, when even a cursory search would give you (…checking…) several hundred published papers to be going on with!

                  • David

                    Hi Ian, I never made any “bold claims about there being no work in an area”, and I have made no “claims to know more about science than those who are actually professional scientists.” If you want to know what I claim, you should have just asked. I claim that God made everything, just like He said He did, and that Jesus Christ died for sinners like you and me. These are faith-based beliefs. I believe there is only one God, and only one path to salvation, and that is through Jesus Christ. I find that the same people who yell “hey that’s fundamentalism”, always have their own fundamentalist beliefs. “Fundamentalism” is quite the overused word these days.

                    I also claim that there is evidence in our world for both creation and evolution, but science cannot tell us the whole story, because real science requires verification. I have no crystal ball or time machine that allows me to go back in time and verify any historic claims. Beliefs about origins are just that, beliefs, whether it’s a creationist or evolutionist whose doing the believing. Questions about natural history are, as Adler put it, mixed questions, and require inputs from areas outside science. This is the intellectually honest way to approach questions about origins. 

                    For me and a lot of other people, the premise that life was designed is as self-evident as Euclid’s postulates. There are some statements that just make sense, even without proof, and we can use them to guide and direct our research and unlock mysteries about our world.

                    I hope our exchanges here will make you a little more skeptical regarding evolutionism being “settled science”. If you have an open mind, consider what Adler is saying. Also, some good books include Signature In The Cell by Stephen Meyer and Without Excuse by Werner Gitt. A good video is Programming of Life, which you can watch on YouTube. 
                    Cheers,

                    • Ian

                      “I have made no “claims to know more about science than those who are actually professional scientists.””
                      … then …

                      “science cannot tell us the whole story, because real science requires verification” … “This is the intellectually honest way to approach questions about origins. ”

                      Staggering. 

                      “I hope our exchanges here will make you a little more skeptical regarding evolutionism being “settled science”.”

                      Actually it shows that the people arguing against evolution___ can’t even have a basic conversation about the substance without a) lying, b) using the wrong terms, c) misunderstanding the field and d) suffering an incredible lack of self-awareness.

                      The more of these types of comment thread there are around the internet, the better evidence we have of the character of the creationist position, I think. Which is excellent news for me.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian,
                      I’m sorry you’re so staggered! Attempting to discern between real science, natural history research, and futurology is by no means the same as making a claim to know more than everybody else. The point here is not how much somebody knows, but what do they do with that knowledge. You can’t show me molecules to man evolution any more than I can show you creation with limited change, no matter how much either one of us thinks they know. These are historic events, one supported with a written testimony, one that isn’t. We can use the tools of science to study natural history, but we cannot verify those claims without a time machine or a crystal ball. I have faith that God created like He said He did and that creation was a supernatural event. I have no faith in molecules to man evolutionism. Or time machines. Or crystal balls. But that’s just me.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      That really isn’t true- “but we cannot verify those claims without a time machine or a crystal ball”

                      we sentence people to death on the same kind of past investigating science as is used to support evolutionary theory. the standard is beyond reasonable doubt. a similar standard is active in all of science, for after all every experiment ever performed is in the past, not the present, done by someone else(with few exceptions) accepted on trust and authority more than evidence. 

                      this YECist ploy of dividing modern science into experimental and historical and denying the verification ability of historical science is a red herring. for just as science relies on the past or memories are relying upon as we discuss the Scriptures, everything you think you know about the Bible is memory of reading it, and we are all painfully aware of how poor eyewitness testimony is. this kind of solipsism can only end up in a radical skepticism that denies the value of all knowledge. 

                      like the pointing out that YECism leads to calling God a liar for what we see(~14B light years), YECism also leads to a view of science that is far more skeptical than anything proposed by the new atheists et al. i believe this is the ultimate end of “just the Bible and me” mentality.

                    • David

                      Hi Richard,
                      You are right, sort of. Let’s say a forensic scientist collects some samples at the scene of a crime and is able to run a DNA test. Later the DNA test is matched to one individual, and that evidence is used to verify who the guilty part was. What if however, the DNA evidence was never matched? That is how it works with natural history research, no matter who it is doing the research. You cannot verify the evidence without some eyewitness testimony. When radioisotope dating is used to date Mt. St. Helen’s 1986 lava dome as millions of years old, I’m trusting the boatload of eyewitness testimony over the radioisotope results.

                      I am not sure how believing Scripture leads to a denial of the value of knowledge. One of God’s first tasks for man was to name things. This is the beginning of knowing something. He also gave us the responsibility of taking care of Creation (Genesis 1:26-28), and that naturally requires knowledge and learning. Scripture clearly promotes the advancement of learning.

                      I would agree the “Just the Bible and me” mentality is not right. But there is no good reason to call God a liar for what we see regarding distant starlight, actual experiments have shown time dilation is real. And I don’t think it is good for us to go around thinking that we 21st Century folks somehow have the whole cosmos figured out. Do you?

                    • Ian

                      So after giving an example of how science could verify the identity of a criminal (“that evidence is used to *verify* who the guilty part[y] was”), you then say: but what if you didn’t have the DNA match! And claim “you cannot verify the evidence without some eyewitness testimony”! 

                      “I’m trusting the boatload of eyewitness testimony over the radioisotope results.”

                      :O

                      “I am not sure how believing Scripture leads to a denial of the value of knowledge.”

                      Haven’t you demonstrated this beautifully? You’ve so far managed to misrepresent, or lie about biology, science methodology, geology, relativity, and your own words. Seems pretty obvious to me you have a problem with denying the value of any knowledge that doesn’t support your religion.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian,
                      Scientific research concludes there is a 0% chance of a human, virgin woman giving birth. I don’t deny that knowledge, even though it sure doesn’t support Scripture regarding the birth of Jesus Christ. I believe God’s word, in spite of the scientifically verifiable evidence. At other times I believe God’s word in spite of man’s unverifiable claims regarding natural history. I trust the authority of Scripture over man’s ever-changing mind.

                      History is about studying past events, yet you seem to think it’s strange that I call it “history research”. Why? What is wrong with calling the study of history, “history”? 

                    • Ian

                      “History is about studying past events, yet you seem to think it’s strange that I call it “history research”. Why? What is wrong with calling the study of history, “history”?”

                      It is interesting to see you soften your claims as they are shown to be so laughable. I understand you’re trying to find some ground that makes you look like you have a reasonable grasp of reality.

                      But remember we didn’t get into this discussing about whether we can call study of things in the past “history”. We started with you claiming that such study could not be “real science”. I couldn’t give a fig whether you call it history or Jimbob. I do care that you started out this crusade claiming that what scientists do when they study the past isn’t “true science”, and that they are not “intellectually honest” if they don’t acknowledge your (and maybe Adler’s) opinion on it. Which we got to from your rather grandiose starter that “real science” shows that creationism is correct.

                      So please don’t pretend that we’re actually having a perfectly reasonable discussion about the meaning of the word “history”. That’s just more deliberate bluster and obfuscation. The point is that your claims about what consistitues “real science” and what is intellectually dishonest.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian,
                      If I thought I was having a reasonable (and intellectually honest) discussion with you about the meaning of the word “history”, I wouldn’t be asking you what is wrong with calling the study of history, “history”. So, do you, or do you not have a problem with that? It’s a simple yes or no answer.

                    • Ian

                      Well, you weren’t having that discussion with me. And I’m pretty sure you know it. Since every post of mine has been calling you out on the way you presume to tell scientists what “real science” is. Are you dropping that claim now? Are you conceding that you don’t actually get to say what “real science” is, or then “real science” supports creationism, and those who pretend to do “real science” when studying origins are not intellectually honest?

                      If you genuinely think we’ve been having a discussion about the meaning of the word “history”, then, I’d don’t know what to say..

                      But I’m pretty sure you are fully aware of how we got to this point. I’ve been round these kind of discussions enough to know the MO. And as I said from the start there are a range of comment threads on this blog with carbon-copy examples.

                      Even down to the “Its a simple yes or no answer.”

                    • David

                      Hi Ian,
                      Still just trying to help you discern between natural history research and testable, repeatable science that can be verified. There is a big difference, don’t you agree?

                    • Ian

                      No. I still think you might want to ask, you know, people who actually do science, what it is that science is and what it can do. Rather than “help” people understand your fiat on what is real and what isn’t.

                      Or maybe go and actually study the scientific method from folks who understand it, and work with it, and figure out how it is that so many scientists can study the history of life on earth and think they are doing science. And maybe you should do that *before* you decide to accuse them of not doing real science or of intellectual dishonesty.

                      Your dichotomy is entirely false and artificial. And false dichotomies are not useful to finding out what “real science” is.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian, as a working scientist, natural history researcher, and science educator, I understand the scientific method just fine. And I know scientists who understand what is and isn’t natural history research, and I understand that a lot of scientists haven’t thought that much about it and/or suppress the truth regarding the difference. But please, since you don’t agree, do explain how natural history research is identical to testable, repeatable science that can be verified. Perhaps there’s something I’m missing.

                    • Ian

                      I think you’re missing a basic knowledge of what the terms mean. 

                      Its easy to remedy. Read some actual material on it or take a course on it. And stay away from the philosophers of religion.

                      “I understand the scientific method just fine.”

                      Yet, you’ve been consistently unable to show that you understand what actual scientists or philosphers of science mean by it. How’s that? You’ve cited no credible sources for your view that biologists don’t do real science, claiming only that a moral philosopher has the right definition. Every time I point this out, you just restate the same point again. And again. And again. I’m sure in the response to this you’ll find another way to say “No, I’m right and all the scientists are wrong. *I* know what “real science” is”.

                      “explain how natural history research is identical to testable, repeatable science that can be verified”
                      See? The stupid in that statement is just epic. Do you believe that tennis balls are spherical? If so please explain how tennis balls are identical to spheres… The association fallacy has a long history of being used tendentiously to try to make it seem like someone with an extreme fringe view is making a reasonable point. Again, I refer you to the copious examples in other places on this blog, that I’m sure you’ll agree are evidence of fruitcakery.”as a working scientist, natural history researcher” still BS.”and science educator” God help them.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian,
                      Try discussing this without making any straw man arguments, and then show me how natural history research is identical to testable, repeatable science that can be verified. Also, explain to me why multiple working hypotheses regarding historic earth processes is a bad thing for the advancement of learning.

                    • Ian

                      Please point out where I made a straw man argument. Straw man arguments are easy to knock down – please do.

                    • cbren

                      Hmm. I think I remember reading that the holy spirit impregnated Mary. (No sex) Presumably so that the baby would be sinless and also contain the genetic makeup that would make them human and God. I also think, I may be wrong, that a virgin can be impregnated the same way today while still a virgin. (Insert sperm without sex). 

                      So I think the 0% chance of a virgin giving birth is an incorrect assumption based on the given evidence.

                      Matthew states: “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”

                    • David

                      Hi cbren, so what would you say the probability is that a virgin woman who is not Mary will give birth? What is the probability if you include Mary? 

                    • cbren

                      Very likely if they were artificially inseminated. Which is what happened with Mary.

                    • David

                      And if you exclude AI?

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

                      // Very likely if they were artificially inseminated. Which is what happened with Mary. //

                      Check, please!!

                    • Ian

                      You simply can’t see the end of your nose, can you? You keep saying “real science” or “true science”, meaning, of course, what *you* think of as “real science”, or maybe what Ham or Adler define it as. When you seem to have no desire to find out what the people who are actually paid to do science and to think about it, think is “real science”. And no matter how many times I’ve pointed it out, you keep restating the same thing with nary an acknowledgement. 

                      Your desire to just completely redefine whole swathes of human endevour to avoid having to admit that your viewpoint is unscientific crap *is* staggering.And an excellent indictment of creationist logic.

                      I’m beginning to wonder if you are a “true Christian”. After all “true Christians” all believe in evolution. It is only those who are intellectually dishonest who don’t. So I suspect you’re a fake Christian.

                    • David

                      Hi Ian, I can see the end of my nose, and if I close one eye, it works even better! It doesn’t really matter how Ham or Adler define real science, does it? The study of past events is called history, not science. When I study historic events, I am doing history research, not science research, and the difference is as plain as the nose on my face. Hopefully you will be open to seeing the difference someday, too.

                    • Ian

                      “Hi Ian, I can see the end of my nose, and if I close one eye, it works even better! It doesn’t really matter how Ham or Adler define real science, does it? The study of past events is called history, not science. When I study historic events, I am doing history research, not science research, and the difference is as plain as the nose on my face. Hopefully you will be open to seeing the difference someday, too.”

                      Paraphrase: 

                      It doesn’t matter how Ham or Adler define science. Here’s MY definition of what is science. I’m obviously right, and I hope some day you’ll see that too.
                      :D

                    • Jsmythe01

                      Hmm. Yet another post all bluster no muster. I am seeing only dogmatic commitment to an ideal here. You have yet to posit something substantial besides 
                      an acerbic wit at name calling

          • Jsmythe01

            Ian I am curious. Please provide a defensible Origin of life scenario?  ISSOL seems unable to provide or at least agree on one, and yet you repeatedly claim it is established and undeniable? I am puzzled and disappointed as you sound more and more like a reverse dogmatic for evolution with each post? Although some would call me rabidly liberal I am one who believes God created, not real certain how He followed it through. That leaves me a lot of leeway scientifically and philosophically (not a cop out BTW, rather a commitment to one of the less recognized historical interpretations of Genesis). The atheist has an a priori commitment to naturalism and evolutionary pathways, there is no other scenario open to them. That makes it difficult to be open to taking the evidence where ever it might lead yes?!

      • Anonymous

        Do you mean stuff they try to teach in perhaps a biology textbook?

        1. The books present many evidences that have been discredited by
        scientists. One idea presented as “evolution in action” is antibiotic
        resistance in bacteria. (Not true).

        Mutation and natural selection, thought to be the driving forces of
        evolution, only lead to a loss of functional systems. Therefore,
        antibiotic resistance of bacteria is not an example of evolution in
        action but rather variation within a bacterial kind.

        2. Other faulty or deceptive evidences used in the textbooks to support the idea of evolution include transitional forms, feathered dinosaurs,
        unbroken fossil sequences in the geologic column, radiometric dating,
        DNA sequences, protein similarities, vestigial organs, peppered moths,
        and the Miller-Urey experiment. All of these have serious shortcomings.

        3. They claim that evolution operates as a remodeler so that bones in
        closely related animals are modified over time to serve different
        functions. However, this similar structure is just as compelling
        evidence for one common Designer, who left His mark in all His designs. Not to mention there is no transitionary evidence whatsoever to prove the claim.

        4. Basically the biology textbooks have remained unchanged for like 30 years. There have been a few changes. For example, the evolution of the horse has been replaced by the evolution of the camel, and the use of DNA and molecular technology has been added to the arsenal. Overall, evolution is still presented as the only scientific option for the origin and development of life on earth. Evolution fails as a scientific theory in so many ways.

        • Ian

          Every single one of your points is a bald-faced lie.

          I’m sure you don’t think it is. I’m sure you’ve read somewhere that each is true.

          But that doesn’t stop it from being a lie.

  • Pingback: James F. McGrath

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

    Howard, both Matthew and Luke trace their genealogies through Joseph.

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

      James, there is certainly no consensus on the matter.

      “The most attractive of the harmonizing solutions is that proposed by Holzmeister (Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 47 [1923] 184–218) and cf. Nolle (Scr 2 [1947] 38–42). Holzmeister argues that Mary was an heiress (i.e., had no brothers) whose father Eli, in line with a biblical tradition concerned with the maintenance of the family line in cases where there was no male heir (Ezra 2:61 = Neh 7:63; Num 32:41 cf. 1 Chr 2:21–22, 34–35; Num 27:3–8), on the marriage of his daughter to Joseph, adopted Joseph as his own son. Matthew gives Joseph’s ancestry by birth, Luke that by adoption.” – Nolland, J. (2002). Vol. 35A: Word Biblical Commentary : Luke 1:1-9:20. Word Biblical Commentary (170). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

      “Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph—here His real, there His reputed line—explain the statement about Joseph, that hewas “the son of Hell,” to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ru 1:11, 12), and believe that Joseph’s name is only introduced instead of Mary’s, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables.” – Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. (Lk 3:23).

      “It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in 1:16 and 1:18–25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It is in harmony with Pauline universality (Plummer) that Luke carries the genealogy back to Adam and does not stop with Abraham.” – Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol.V c1932, Vol.VI c1933 by Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Lk 3:23).

      “Some, from as early as John of Damascus, view “as was supposed of Joseph” as a parenthetical note, with Luke actually calling Jesus a son of Eli—meaning, it is then suggested, that Heli (Ηλι, Heli) is the maternal grandfather of Jesus, and Luke is actually tracing the ancestry of Jesus according to the flesh through Mary. Therefore per Adam Clarke (1817), John Wesley, John Kitto and others the expression “Joseph, [ ] of Heli”, without the word “son” being present in the Greek, indicates that “Joseph, of Heli” is to be read ‘Joseph, [son-in-law] of Heli’”. – Wikipedia

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

    Anything can be harmonized if one tries hard enough. My point was that the plain meaning of the text, which people like Ken Ham and his associates say is supposed to be what we accept, is that both genealogies are of Joseph. To say otherwise is to do precisely what young-earth creationists regularly do, namely say that the text means something other than what it plainly says, in order to alleviate a contradiction. But which is more respectful of the Bible: accepting what it actually says, or harmonizing it by claiming that it means something other than what it says?

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

      Frankly James, that is a bunch of bull, and you know it. Actually, I am a little shocked that someone with the word “literature” in their job title would say something so ridiculous. But I have been here long enough to know that when you get forced into a corner, the Liberal Christian who rejects major sections of the Bible because of his critical thinking, somehow transforms into a biblical literalist when it suits his needs. As a professor of literature I’m going to assume you are well aware of the use that harmonization plays in many different aspects of interpretation of writings and stories. And please don’t forget that the subject matter here is a 2,000 year old story from a different language and culture. I don’t think that any scholar of the Bible would disagree with me when I say the text has to be understood within the culture and contexts in which it was written. That said, the harmonization of seeming contradictions is in reality putting the texts back in its cultural contexts so as to eliminate the western contradiction. Finally, I am not Ken Ham nor a young earth creationist, so why attribute their approach of the Bible to me? James, you really need to stop handing out your personal opinion as evidence or scholarly consensus. If you are going to disagree, show the evidence. Which Biblical scholars say harmonization is wrong? What scholarly evidential consensus says Luke’s genealogy can not be attributed to Mary?

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

    So then you will not, I presume, trust the writings of Paul, who in 2 Corinthians says at one point that he writes as a fool and not according to the Lord? Surely he self-identifies as a fallible human being?

    For detailed proof of evolution, I direct you to the following Christian biologists: Ken Miller, Francis Collins, and Francisco Ayala. They address the evidence and answer young-earth creationist lies more effectively and with more relevant expertise than I could, at least as far as the scientific aspects are concerned.

  • Anonymous

    The blog is rather disappointingly brief for an academic to write, but I agree.

    Answers in Genesis, which includes a number of PhD scientists, is against vast swathes of science (mostly science that seeks to explain the past).
     
    THIS is how Ham teaches ‘science’ to young people. He gets them to recite after him “If there really was a global flood you’d expect to find billions of dead things buried in rock layers all over the Earth!”. As in this recording: http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/audio/archive/ken-ham-talks/dinosaurs-for-kids/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=homeschool-talks&utm_campaign=mp3-5
     
    If he was really interested in science, he would also examine the hypothesis that if there really was a global flood only 4,500 years’ ago you’d expect to find vast amounts of buried organic material everywhere which dates as around 4,500 years’ old by radiocarbon dating.
     
    And he wrote THIS on his blog recently: “Yes, biblical truth does trump the fallible ideas of sinful man who has a heart that is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”. I make no apology about taking such a stand!” http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/10/19/shot-taken-at-aig-by-nazarene-professor-in-new-york-times-op-ed/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KenHam+%28Around+the+World+with+Ken+Ham%29
     
    He was responding in his blog of 19 October to this article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/opinion/the-evangelical-rejection-of-reason.html?_r=4&ref=opinion. The article stated: “The rejection of science seems to be part of a politically monolithic red-state fundamentalism, textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious. As one fundamentalist slogan puts it, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” But evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism that most of the Republican candidates have embraced”. And then: “Mr. Ham built his organization, Answers in Genesis, on the premise that biblical truth trumps all other knowledge. His Creation Museum, in Petersburg, Ky., contrasts “God’s Word,” timeless and eternal, with the fleeting notions of “human reason.” This is how he knows that the earth is 10,000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs lived together, and that women are subordinate to men. Evangelicals who disagree, like Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, are excoriated on the group’s Web site. (In a recent blog post, Mr. Ham called us “wolves” in sheep’s clothing, masquerading as Christians while secretly trying to destroy faith in the Bible)”.
     
    When I contact Answers in Genesis by email about inaccuracies on their website, which happens around three times every week, they NEVER discuss with me the issues raised.
     
    The ‘science’ put forward by Mr Ham and his colleagues is almost entirely young Earth creationist apologetics.
     

    • Ian

      “which dates as around 4,500 years’ old by radiocarbon dating”

      I thought the basic MO was that you start with a conclusion: any science that contradicts it is wrong, any science that doesn’t is okay. So I assumed that all creationists think radiological dating must also be made up.

  • Anonymous

    I see that cdbren is pretending not to have received the responses he or she received HERE – http://www.frumforum.com/no-need-for-christians-to-fear-science?replytocom=355189#respond - just the other day.

    And Shaw appears totally ignorant about science if he or she thinks abiogenesis=spontaneous generation.

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

    David, are you saying that criminologists cannot rightly deduce who committed crimes because they are limited to evidence and deduction? Are you saying that the same applies to history? It is certainly the case that natural history involves different things than what one can do in a lab, but do you really want to suggest that we cannot legitimately draw conclusions about the past based on available evidence?

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

    Howard, I think you may be mistaking what I was trying to say, perhaps because I replied to your post in a way that also tried to relate that conversation to the main topic currently under discussion. If one harmonizes, it often involves reconstructing a history that is deemed to be accurate by means of stating that one or more texts does not mean what it appears to on a facile, face value reading. And in relation to the discussion of Ken Ham’s views, my point was that as soon as one allows for such an interpretative move, then the simplistic answers that young-earth creationists offer become inadequate, not merely because they are wrong about so many things, but because the claim that the Bible is any way fundamentally correct about things regularly involves taking the text at something than other than face value, which is what so-called Biblical literalists claim to be doing and suggest that one ought to do.

    That said, scholars as a rule are often quite happy nowadays to accept that Matthew and Luke, for instance, simply had different perspectives and different information, and not try to fit them together as though the information they provided was foreseen by them to be a contribution to a larger puzzle, in which they were simply providing pieces.

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

      James, I see, and that is probably the cause of a lot of miscommunication in these discussions. You are talking in generalities, I was being specific. I understand that the larger scope here is the discussion about Ken Ham and YEC, I however, was responding to a specific statement you mentioned concerning the genealogies. But in the end, I still do not agree with you about harmonization. It would seem that this word has acquired some bad connotations with regard to Bible interpretation. If that’s the case, I think it is totally wrong. As with any other field of study, we do not have all the facts, so we attempt to fill these gaps with the most likely suggestions which would go along with the other facts that we do have. Missing facts create confusion and contradictions. Another big cause of contradiction is a particular theology. For example, when a trinitarian reads that Jesus says that God is greater then him, it creates a contradiction that he has to harmonize to maintain his theology. I think this is the type of harmonization that you have in mind, ones that cause people to redefine scripture to make the harmonization fit. I was talking about historical information. The idea that harmonization is somehow cheating is nonsense, even scientist do it. If they get contradictory results from an experiment, do they just drop it, or do they investigate why?

  • Mary Clark

    I’d like to respond to several comments regarding Genesis’ role in the gospel and the importance of “the fall”.  This was definitely the hardest thing for me to deal with in my journey of understanding and accepting evolution because I recognized how critical this issue was.  Part of my own testimony is below, but I will give my explanation of how one can still have understanding of these essential things without reading the first few chapter of Genesis literally.  In chapter 5 of “the Problem of Pain”, C.S. Lewis (who was a Darwinist by the way) gives a great illustration of how Genesis and modern study can fit together.  Even most young earth creationists agree that the phrase “image of God” does not refer to a physical image but something much deeper, an eternal soul, a will, ability to reason, and a knowledge of God.  At some point in time after many years of evolutionary history, God chose to impart this image in humanity, breathing into them the breath of life (that is spiritual life that other creatures could not experience).  For a time they existed in perfect fellowship with God, but then for some reason chose self over God.  Theologians have debated for centuries what the first sin was, and few say it was the eating of a fruit, but rather the cognitive process or feelings that preceded it, either doubt (of God or God’s command) or pride (choosing to please self over God.)  This action caused mankind to “fall”, not from a perfect state of physical being, but from the perfect union and fellowship that was had with God.  This view in many ways actually does fit with the Gospel very well.  A savior was indeed required, and provided in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  But even Christ atoning death does not save us from physical death, but rather gives us hope of eternal spiritual life with him.  Would not his redemption naturally fit that which he redeemed us from?  The Eastern church has always believe death was part of God’s original design.

    You can take this view or leave it, but please be careful about how you speak on this issue.  There are many souls at steak because of this.  To share my experience very briefly, I was an extreme YEC in middle and high school, read about every book there was on the issue at the time and loved debating it.  When I got to AP Biology in high school I realized that evolution actually made more sense in explaining the world around me than a literal interpretation of the Bible.  It shook my faith extremely because I had always equated evolution with atheism and thought that in order to be a Christian you have to believe in six days of creation.  Because I could no longer force myself to believe what I knew was false it started several weeks of panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.  No one had ever told me that a Christian could believe in evolution and so I thought I had to give up the faith I had built my whole life around.  Thankfully someone gave me the book “the Language of God” by Francis Collins, and I realized that faith and science can indeed be in harmony.  C.S. Lewis wrote a lot on the issue as well and I don’t know of anyone who doubts the sincerity of Lewis’ faith.  My point in sharing is that it’s fine to believe either way on the issue, but do not try to make it seem like this is an issue that is central to the Christian faith.  That sets people up for serious trouble, and I know many more people who have left the faith after encountering evolution than I know people who have been brought to faith through “creation science”.  Please don’t make people feel like they can’t be a Christian if they use their brain.

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

    And why is it that sacred texts which clearly had human authors are given greater authority than starlight and physical evidence that no human could make? Do young-earth creationists not see the irony that if anyone is trusting human testimony rather than God, it is them?!

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

    Presumably in your books Matthew and/or Luke must also be apostates, since they wrote the texts in question – I am merely pointing out what they say, because they are too important to me to allow people to get away with praising them and yet at the same time twisting what they actually say.

    Why is it that fundamentalists are so eager to treat contradictions in the Bible as evidence that God sneakily tests our willingness to harmonize contradictions and believe mutually contradictory things to be true, rather than as God graciously providing clear evidence within the Bible itself that it should not and can not always be treated as providing factual narrative, history or science?

    • Anonymous

      As a Pastor, I would most certainly excommunicate you from my Church.  You are a blot on Christianity I am sad to say.  You have traded God’s word for man’s.  A most horrific tragedy.

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

    cougbob, the author of Genesis depicts God as creating in six days. What makes you say that it is God making this claim? How do you know that God made the author write this? Were you there?

    Cdbren, what was the need for a tree that gives eternal life in a world that lacked death?

  • Anonymous

    James, your comment about there being death because of the tree? Romans 5:12 shows that there was not. Also see Romans 5:17.

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned.”

    Any believer knows/knew that there was no death before Adam sinned. That is only ONE scripture I looked up that backs up Genesis.

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

    Cdbren, why not take that as a reference to what Genesis actually says, the loss of humanity’s access to the tree, rather than what young-earth creationists usually do, i.e. God turning vegetarian saber-toothed tigers into carnivores?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    I’ve been struggling to retain interest and enthusiasm as i read through the mass of critical comments here. I am truly amazed that James M. reads and responds carefully to so many of them. This one literally floored me:

    Basically the biology textbooks have remained unchanged for like 30 years. There have been a few changes. 

    I finished a biology BA in 1980 and went back to university in 1995, I took a few bio courses I had missed more than a decade ago. I was shocked to find words I do not know, in a beginning 1st year mo-bio book, in a field I had struggled so hard to learn just a few years before. Not just a few words, but whole paragraphs of them, it was like a brand new field where I had to learn a new vocabulary.

    Why do i bring this up? Because absurd claims like this-bio textbooks haven’t changed in 30 years, permeate the creation-evolution “discussion” from the YEC side. They never seem to be challenged by those that know better, but these claims demonstrate an absolute poverty of factual information about the field they claim to be refuting. But it is painful to address the same basic misinformation over and over again, we naturally desire some novelty and new thinking, especially in something as voluntary as responding to comments on someone’s blog.

    To the person who wrote this, how can you believe such a truly false statement? Let alone put it out there into the net for all to read. Biology is such a dynamic field, yes even evolutionary bio, that it is simply impossible for anyone to keep up with even the smallest piece of the field. where was even the terms evodevo or hox 10 years ago? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    1. 
    There can’t have been deaths before the Fall, because God made it GOOD. Adam and Eve brought death onto the world.

    2.But it is apparent from this comment thread, James, that there is little or no hope of persuading with facts those whose minds are already settled upon theological presuppositions that necessitate their belief in a certain origins dogma.

    3.how do you know that the Bible is the word of God in a sense that means it speaks inerrantly about matters of science with accuracy? Were you there when it was written? Were you involved in its inspiration, or in the decisions on what to include and why? The issue is not with the Bible but with your doctrines about the Bible.

    If there was just one thing i wish YEC Christians to understand, it is to see that their understanding, their interpretation of the Bible is NOT the same thing as the text of the Bible. This natural humanly way of not seeing that reading IS interpretation, that understanding something, is not the same as the thing understood, that the model in our head is not the same thing as the world outside, that the map is not the place, is so ingrained in our thinking as to be completely invisible to most.

    The Hebrew word “tov” is embedded in a matrix, just as the English word “good” is embedded in our modern cultural, interpretive community’s matrix. In our case, good is very “contaminated” is a similar word “perfect”, a whole bunch of connotations are literally imported under our consciousness into our minds when we see the word “good” that are never intended by “tov”. My point is that most fundamentalist, conservative Christians are so unaware of this cultural matrix that they really end up claiming that their interpretation must be correct since it is God’s own way of looking at these issues.

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

    David, leaving aside the origin of life question, about which there are so many unanswered questions, can it not be adequately shown that humans are related to other primates, from the evidence for chromosomal fusion, our common inability to produce Vitamin C, and all the other evidence for our shared biological heritage provided by genetics, paleontology and other relevant fields?

    Stating it in terms of “molecules to men” seems an attempt to ridicule and focus on what we don’t know, whereas the important discussions are about what we do know, and how we know what we know.

    Surely if you are a Christian, “molecules to men” should not be a phrase appropriate for use as mockery anyway. Do you mock the creator who is depicted as making humans from soil in Genesis 2? Why is that not “molecules to men”? Why is the idea that creation is endowed by God with life-giving power so ridiculous to you? Do you not accept the account in Genesis 1, in which God commands the earth and sea to bring forth living things?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    “The study of past events is called history, not science. When I study historic events, I am doing history research, not science research, and the difference is as plain as the nose on my face.”
    all events are in the past. take the nose on your face. what you have is a memory of seeing your nose in the mirror. maybe your plastic surgeon has access to his memory of your rhinoplasty. perhaps your mom has access to her memories of your nose being as cute as a button when you were 2 years old. now i can do some research on your nose, i can talk to your mom and your surgeon, i could even ask you about your relationship with your nose. but no matter how much time i spent thinking about your nose i could never have direct access to yours or those others memories. does that mean i can’t understand your nose? does that mean i can have no true knowledge of your nose? now say i do all this via email, in text only, i’ve never see a picture of your nose.  how can i have true knowledge of your nose? 

    the difference between doing history and doing science is not that one is in the past and one repeatable and in the present, but rather one of technique. i could study your nose in ways that appear to most people as scientific, i’d propose that this is what science is, an agreed upon way of how to study things. i’d submit this is the kind of knowledge your surgeon has.

    likewise interviewing people, putting their stories together about your nose is a different kind of study, something more like history. this is the kind i might achieve interviewing everyone about your nose.

    it’s a question of technique and community standards, not a question of past or present. some historians use scientific techniques in their historical research, some sciences have larger components of historical research than others, say high energy particle physics vs dendrochronology. but they don’t cease being science when they do use these methods.

    in any case, it’s as plain as the nose on your face can be approached from any number of competing and cooperating perspectives none of which is especially privileged as a god’s eye view would be, or particularly exhaustive(except your mom’s). 

    • David

      Hi Richard,
      It is a question of technique AND a question of past or present. There is an inherent uncertainty with studying things like origins, the Yellowstone Caldera, etc., that you don’t have with testable, repeatable science. Look at the Grand Canyon, for example. There’s a huge variety of interpretations of how it formed, even though everyone has the same set evidence and data to look at. It’s not really about “true knowledge” as much as it is about “complete knowledge”, and it is much harder to have anything remotely resembling complete knowledge about the origin of the Grand Canyon as it is to have complete knowledge regarding whether my olfactory sensor is working properly. Would you agree?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        “complete knowledge”
        i’m afraid i have no idea what this could mean. from my reading i have a glimmer of what true or justified or even verifiable/verified or knowledge gained from proper functioning, means. but “complete”? complete as in exhaustive? or complete in as never needs revision, as being final in some important form? or complete as in sufficient, meaning that nothing is lacking or missing that is necessary. or complete as in fully explained, elaborating all the various details. or complete as in all the mechanisms are fully shown and understood. 

        does complete knowledge mean i know about how the havasupai have managed to live down there for so many generations or do i only need to know the geology? to have complete knowledge do i have to have had a religious experience while overlooking the beauty of the canyon?

        it’s a butter like term-complete knowledge-the more i try to grab it, the more it slips through my fingers. even there i’m reasoning with an analogy, a metaphor, are these models in our minds really knowledge about?

        • David

          Hi Richard,
          Is my mother’s knowledge about my nose more or less complete than yours? Does a Grand Canyon tour guide with 20 years of experience have more or less complete knowledge of the Grand Canyon than a baby’s?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    quote:
    Scientific research concludes there is a 0% chance of a human, virgin woman giving birth

    is it really scientific to make such a statement?
    there are a handful of creatures that do reproduce parthenogenetically.
    is it possible for a human to do so? however remote. 

    but the question is really one of the possibility of supernatural events. is science if able to even see these kinds of things? is science atheistic or agnostic with respect to miracles? 

    i for one don’t believe that science makes sufficiency type of statements, that is statements like nature is nothing but matter in motion. i believe science is always radically provisional and that statements like this are philosophically ones not scientific.

  • Chris

    Wow…

    I’m not even going to jump into this, Lol…

  • cbren

    Ian, check here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

    Anything I have said is basically stated there. Along with how they study evolution. They study it using operational data (operational science) which is exactly the same as people have been saying on here. 

    An observational science is a science where it is not possible to construct controlled experiments in the area under study.

    Similar traits does not equal evolution. I can equally state that they equal special creation from one designer. Neither of which is verifiable with a scientific method. 

    It even describes the Cambrian Explosion where fossils and plants just “appear” fully formed. This is yet another evidence against evolution that has yet to be answered.

    • Ian

      More lies? Again almost everything in that response is untrue. Don’t you even do a basic google of stuff before you post it? I type random keywords from your post and I get thousands of hits saying exactly the opposite to you. It isn’t brain-surgery.

      It isn’t possible to do controlled experiments in evolutionary biology? Creationism is verifiable with the scientific method? Evolutionary biologists have nothing to say on the Cambrian Explosion?

      Please stop lying for Jesus, cbren.

      • Anonymous

        Either you are playing people for fools or you have a general habit of missing information that is staring you in the face. Type “evolution” in google then click the Wiki link. You will see this at the explanation.

        Scientists continue to study evolution using both observational data and experiments in both the field and the laboratory.

        Then click on observational data and you get this:

        An observational science is a science where it is not possible to construct controlled experiments in the area under study. For example, in astronomy,
        it is not possible to create or manipulate stars or galaxies in order
        to observe what happens. Other examples of necessarily observational
        sciences include geology, paleontology, epidemiology, and much of the social sciences.

        It is what Ken Ham and others have been saying and it is verified here. I did not say it. Wiki did. So call Wiki a liar if you want to but don’t call me that. I didn’t say the words. 

        Here is more that it says about evolution which I mentioned and refuted, so stop saying I don’t know what evolution attempts to teach:

        Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.[4]

        • Ian

          You said “it is not possible to construct controlled experiments in the area under study.”
          Wiki said: “Scientists continue to study evolution using both observational data and experiments in both the field and the laboratory.”

          So which is it ? Can scientists study evolution using experiments in the lab or not?

          And what is “operational science” – was that a typo? If so, that’s fine. We all do that…

          Evolutionary biology certainly uses field observation. But as the wiki article patiently explains, it doesn’t *only* do that. Claiming otherwise is just a lie.

          “It is what Ken Ham and others have been saying and it is verified here. ”

          Its only verified if you ignore the 99% of the article that explicitly contradicts you, in great detail with ample references!

          “which I mentioned and refuted”
          :D I’m sorry, claiming black is white is not a refutation. It is, however, Ham’s normal mode of operation. Keep claiming black is white, when challenged, claim it even more. Point people at documents that contradict what you’re saying. When that’s pointed out, pick a tiny quote you do agree with and say that’s what you meant all along. Its all lies.

          • Anonymous

            Unlike you, I am open to looking at all the evidence. Just because someone shows something that is different from another theory does not make any one of them incorrect. That is what science discovery is all about and it would be nice if scientists actually followed that line of thinking. It is called debating to find the truth.

            If you examine the AIG site, it too refutes evolution ideas with great detail and ample references. Calling names is just…childlike. 

            It is a fact that DNA needs to be copied from another DNA strand to replicate, that the fossil record is missing lots of evidence, there is no plant evolution evidence, the cambrian explosion is a major problem for evolutionists, evolution defies scientific laws, evolutionists do not know where life came from, natural selection, mutations and genetic drift can’t cause a species to turn into an entirely new creature. 

            You spout accusations of lies….but the reality is that evolution is merely a hypothesis of how life arose based on a beginning presupposition. One that HAS TO EXCLUDE special creation. So it is a limited hypothesis in that respect as it can’t ever come out of it’s box. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

          re:
          Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution.

          i believe, sexual selection is also adaptive in the same way as NS.

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

    Cbren, this odd welding of science and religion of yours leads to strange conclusions. Leaving out the father makes Jesus sinless? The “sin gene” is on the Y chromosome? Then all women are sinless!

    The Cambrian explosion repsents a sudden appearance in the fossil record, but whether it represents a sudden appearance in actual fact is not something that can be asserted based in the available evidence. Besides, since young-earth creationists deny the Cambrian, an explosion of any sort during it isn’t likely to help their case much.

    Let’s try something more directly accessible. Did God make moles with eyes and skin over them, rather than making them simply eyeless? Would such an organism seem better explained as the result of deliberate creation in its present form, or as the result of an organism with sight’s descendants adapting to undrground life burrowing through dirt?

    • Ian

      Presumably the immaculate conception meant that Mary could have previously been born, through grace, without the copy of the sin-gene, due to a beneficial mutation maybe. Which would suggest that the gene for original sin could be on any chromosome.

      Still, what an amazing reason for Christians to put huge amounts of money into basic genetic research. Imagine the world once we’ve eradicated sin as a genetic disease!

      • Anonymous

        Not sure how you come up with sin being in the genes. Could you explain? I mean, it would probably not add anything to the debate as you seem to deny anything spiritual in nature. 

        • Ian

          I was pointing out to James that the original sin gene didn’t have to be gender-linked if one assumes an immaculate conception of Mary.

          I don’t deny all things spiritual, no. I do deny anything supernatural. Or at least, I do contend that the supernatural, as claimed by Christians is either verifiably untrue, or else by definition irrelevant, depending on their definition.

          • Anonymous

            What is this sin gene you are speaking of? Is this some new scientific discovery? Sin is coded into the genes? What?

            • Ian

              Never mind… I was responding to James who was making fun of your thing about the artificial insemination of Mary provide the God DNA. Sorry it went over your head.

          • Jsmythe01

            Kalam: 1) Everything that exists has a beginning
                      2) The universe exists
                      3) The universe therefore had a beginning. 
            That beginning then by inference is super natural. i.e. beyond the natural and requires a first cause. Islamic in origin and quite old but elegantly simple and verifiable (well to T-34 seconds at least). Albeit with a sample size of 1. Quite relevant too methinks.   Atheists are unsuccessfully attacking premise 1 and ocassionally 3  (the second one is kind of hard to deny but some have tried that too). Just having some fun stirring the pot here. 

            • Ian

              Lots to reply to J, sorry if my responses miss something.

              A. Kalam. What you have there isn’t Kalam, or even a cosmological argument at all. But if you follow through your syllogism it actually says that either God doesn’t exist or God had a beginning. Kalam is a valid cosmological argument, but like all such arguments is axiomatically dubious. “Atheists are unsuccessfully attacking premise 1″ – Erm, point 1 isn’t even in Kalam. You mean something like “Everything that comes into being has a cause”, which is a non-technical statement of an axiom of Kalam. Making broad statements about what Atheists are doing about something you’ve made up isn’t very convincing. I am happy to have a sensible discussion about Kalam though, it is very interesting.

              B. All bluster. The post you were referring to was objecting to a No True Scotsman fallacy. Redefining science to be what you want it to be is fine, we can all redefine words as we wish, but then expecting scientists to take your definition seriously as you use it to exclude their work, is just a joke. My ‘bluster’ was all to say: ‘if you want to know what science is, you better ask scientists rather than Ken Ham’. Same goes for Christianity. I’ve blogged about the fashion for redefining what Christians believe “all religions are really only searches for fundamental meaning”, which I think is equally specious if you then use it to say that some people’s beliefs are better than others. If you want to know what Christianity is, you ask Christians, not impose an exclusive definition on them.

              C. Origin of life “and yet you repeatedly claim it is established and undeniable” – I think you’re reading someone else’s posts here. “The atheist has an a priori commitment to naturalism and evolutionary pathways,” Funny inversion there. “That makes it difficult to be open to taking the evidence where ever it might lead yes?!” Well, what evidence, specifically? Because the last 250 years has been pretty striking that the evidence has lead very strongly away from religious claims to origins. And we’re having this discussion because a sizeable proportion of religious folks deny that evidence because of their a priori origins claims. So I think it odd that you invert this. If there was an intelligent creator, that would not be excluded from science a priori, nor would it be excluded from explanations of origins. There is just no good *evidence* for it. It is entirely possible that there could be such evidence, there are many ways for ID folks to prosecute a research agenda that would show their position. But until that work is done, the explanation can be excluded from anything with any evidential basis. Even very odd abiogenesis hypotheses are based around biological and chemical processes that are evidenced (even if the evidence is non-existent that that is how life began). As such they are in a far better position. But as for the super-natural, my position on the status of supernatural claims (unverifiable or irrelevant) is an empirical one, based on the writing of religious folks. In which supernatural claims are either immune to any empirical test (irrelevant), or they fail the test (unverifiable). Would you like to posit some supernatural phenomenon that has any affect on the natural world, that we could go and verify empirically? You might (as many have before) say that I am being unduly reductionist here. I am, its true. But if you concede that there can be no possible natural effect of a supernatural phenomenon, then you’re saying no more than I. I am just couching that point in ascerbic rather than liberal religious terms.

    • cbren

      I don’t know of any sin gene mentioned in the Bible. Whether Mary’s DNA was used or not, I assume it had to be. You are assuming that the sin nature is bound to genetics. I don’t believe the sin nature is confined to human genes. I believe scripture (and common sense) shows that we now have the sin desire and then we sin. We are all accountable for ourselves, not specifically just inherited from Adam. Although the sin nature, the desire to sin is. It is a curse on the world. 

      Being from Mary and God, the virgin birth of the holy spirit and Mary’s DNA links Jesus to man and God. I don’t think young earth creationists reject the Cambrian. It can easily be explained as layers of dead things buried by the world wide flood. As I recall it is mainly small mammals and plants. The flood easily explains the entire range of fossil evidence. An organism losing eyesight as an adaption to certain environment conditions is not an example of evolution. It’s adaptation using what is already there. In this case losing something, not gaining new genetic information. Living creatures have genetic information to be able to adapt to varying conditions. 

      • Anonymous

        *something messed up with me being logged out so I can’t edit my previews posts*

        I don’t think young earth creationists reject the Cambrian. It can easily be explained as layers of dead things buried by the world wide flood. As I recall it is mainly small mammals and plants. The flood easily explains the entire range of fossil evidence. 

        An organism losing eyesight as an adaption to certain environment conditions is not an example of evolution. It’s adaptation using what is already there. In this case losing something, not gaining new genetic information. Living creatures have genetic information to be able to adapt to varying conditions.

        • Ian

          *something messed up with me being logged out* - must be the internet weather – I’m fighting my connection today too!
          ” It can easily be explained as layers of dead things buried by the world wide flood. ”

          Only if you ignore any specifics: we have an layer here with feature X, Y, and Z in it – “flood geology” says “It was the flood” – “but what about the consistent X, Y and Z?” – “God wanted it that way”. “but it is exactly consistent with the general phylogenetic record” – “God wanted it that way”. Pretty easy really. Of course, there is nothing that could possibly contradict that explanation. 

          “As I recall it is mainly small mammals and plants” Then you recall very wrongly. There is not one single species in the Cambrian strata that matches an extant species we have alive today. There are representatives of most (but by no means all) modern phyla there, but they are a long way from being anything alive today. Seems Noah didn’t manage to take every creature on the ark after all :D

          “An organism losing eyesight as an adaption to certain environment conditions is not an example of evolution.”

          You know that is basically a definition of evolution, right? (Hey, if you don’t believe me, read the first paragraph of your precious Wiki article). I mean if I say “Christianity isn’t anything to do with a guy called Jesus who was crucified and resurrected”. No matter how many times I repeat that, it is still a lie.

          “In this case losing something, not gaining new genetic information. ”

          “information” – you keep using that word, Vizzini,  I do not think it means what you think it means.

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

    I think the most entertaining aspect of the suggestion that stratification is due to the flood is its requirement that even plants ran from the flood waters and did so at different paces, to account for the way plant life is stratified in the geological record.

    I recommend the book The Bible, Rocks, and Time by two Evangelical authors if you want to know why flood geology is pure foolishness and lies, at odds with the evidence.

    • David

      Hi Dr. McGrath, 

      Rock Solid Answers by Oard and Reed is a good book for those open to a different view than that offered by Bible, Rocks and Time. And for a contrasting view that claims it is actually BRT that is promoting deception, click here: http://creation.com/review-young-and-stearley-bible-rocks-and-time

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

        David,

        The only reason YEC geologists exist is because of their “the Bible tells me so” hermeneutic, which features virtually zero critical investigation into the nature of the Bible itself.

        Are you aware of any modern non-Christian scientists who believe in anything but a 4.6 billion-year-old earth and/or subscribe to Flood geology? If not, shouldn’t that fact raise some eyebrows, preferably yours?

        • David

          Hi Mike,
          And the only reason Christianity exists is because of a whole lot of people’s “the Bible tells me so” hermeneutic. I don’t have a list, but I imagine there are some Jewish and Muslim and other non-Christian scientists who don’t believe the earth is 4.6 billion years old. But hey, we all have the same set of data to look at, right? The differences come in the interpretations, and some interpretations are better than others.

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

            David,

            I’ll grant you some Jewish and/or Muslim scientists, but that’s only because they’re using the same ancient document(s) many Christians do, including myself at one time. Thus, my point remains valid.

            As for the existence of Christianity, it has nothing to do with the Bible. The story of Christ, which I do believe, existed and thrived well before the NT was written. Thus, your point is invalid.

            • David

              Hi Mike,
              Good point regarding the story of Christ. Before the NT (and after), Christians believed because of their “the story told me so” hermeneutic. 

              I am not sure how the number of non-Christian believers in an unverifiable  historic claim regarding earth age equates with truth. I am also not aware of any non-Christian scientists who believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but I believe that too, even though they don’t.

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

                My point, David, is that you’re conflating the concept of Christ’s historicity and the doctrine of an inerrant Bible.  If you rid yourself of the falsifiable doctrine of biblical inerrancy, there would be no young-earth creationism.

                It’s one thing to believe in Jesus Christ based on historical claims.  It’s another thing to believe that the earth is only 6000 years old based on a book that contains ancient scientific concepts that have been solidly disproved by modern science.

                • David

                  Hi Mike,
                  The only thing modern science has solidly disproved is the impossibility of a human female virgin giving birth, and the impossibility of someone dying and coming back to life a few days later. Science alone cannot solidly disprove anything regarding unverifiable historic events. 

                  So I would disagree. There is no difference in believing in Jesus Christ, or Adam or Noah, or an extremely old age of 6,000 years for the earth. I believe these things because of what He has revealed in His word and in His handiwork. 

          • Ian

            “But hey, we all have the same set of data to look at, right?”

            It just occurred to me that I’ve never seen a creationist be specific with the date. They quote data in qualitative terms sure, but not the kind of mass quantitative data that scientists have to wield. 

            I may not have read the right things. But do creationists really deal with the specific statistical properties of genomic data, for example, and then come up with an alternate interpretation? Or do they come up with the interpretation and then not bother to actually analyse the data? I know that so called creation research establishments aren’t doing large scale sequencing of their own, but do they work with the NCBI data sets, say? Or if not genomics, are there any creationist papers that put foward basic stratigraphical data, and then interpret them? Or do they cherry pick the most conducive published columns they can find?

            I’m pretty sure Ham wouldn’t know a gene sequence form a barcode, but does anyone in the more ICR-style corners of creationism deal with the actual, specific, highly finnicky, quantitative data? And if so, I’d love to get a few references, so I can better understand the way they do their analysis and the basis they use for their interpretation.

            i always had the (possible mistaken) sense that creationists don’t much care for the actual data. Certainly the stuff I’ve read of Dembski et al on the ID side isn’t data based, but conceptual. There’s a place for that style of science, of course, I just wanted to make sure I haven’t missed a body of creationism that does care about working with the data.

            • David

              Hi Ian, 
              A good person to talk to would be Dr. Robert Carter with Creation Ministries International.

              • Ian

                I’m struggling to find any actual research work he’s done though. I can find a book, but from the samples I can see it doesn’t contain data analysis. Do you actually know he does the ground work, or are you guessing?

                is there anybody else?

                • Ian

                  Oh, what the hell. I bought his book – let’s see if you does deal quantitatively with the data.

                • David

                  Hi Ian, if you are struggling, then contact him and ask some questions. 

    • Anonymous

      There are very few, if any, plant fossils preserved as soft tissues like that do not preserve well. Do you have a web site of something that says otherwise? 

      Plus they would tend to float. 

      Again, looking this up on my own I find plants miraculously appear in the Cambrian explosion. The chart shows only flowers just above that. No plants are stratified really. No huge surprise there for me. 

      • Ian

        “No plants are stratified really. ” What? Outrageous.

        “In fact I have never seen any fossil plant series nor can I find examples of any evidence for it.” 

        I can’t find any evidence for the existence of Spain by looking in my kitchen either – maybe you should look in the actual research. Or buy one of the undergraduate textbooks on paleobotany.

        ” All I would need is some sort of unequivocal evidence of transition from one plant to another. ” 

        The problem is you wouldn’t know such evidence if it bit you on the ass. You’ve already said the Cambrian was full of mammals and there are not stratigraphic evidence of plants! I have no confidence that if you looked at a pollen fossil, say, you’d have any clue what you were looking at. As I said above, the easy way to solve that is to buy one of the introductory textbooks on paleobotany and bring up your skills in the area. I would be *very* suprised if you did, however. Because if you aren’t actually willing to even read the wikipedia article you quote it is obvious you have no desire at all to actually find out about the subject.

        ” If so, send me the link please. ”

        Here’s what you do. Whenever you’re about to say “there is no…” or “I’ve never found…”, or “show me the evidence…”, you go to Google Scholar – the search engine that indexes papers and scholarly books. And type your keywords in. Then read what comes up. “Fossil plant evolution” will give you several thousand results. The first page of which contain at least 5 resources with detailed breakdowns of stratigraphical fossil data for plant evolution.

        “You spout accusations of lies….””

        Well you accuse me of that right after a paragraph with a whole bunch of them (remember google scholar? if you doubt any of my responses, go check…)

        “It is a fact that DNA needs to be copied from another DNA strand to replicate,” – yes, so what? In fact, this is, mathematically, what you need to have to get evolution to work. If you want to do a mathematical model of evolution you *have* to do something similar, or it doesn’t work. Google scholar keyword: “genetic algorithms”.

        “the fossil record is missing lots of evidence” – the fossil record *is* the evidence. You mean it isn’t a complete record of everything that has ever lived. So what? Would evolution, or geology, or anything else predict it was?

        ” there is no plant evolution evidence” bullshit – 170,000+ articles on google scholar say you’re lying.

        “the cambrian explosion is a major problem for evolutionists,” another lie, but not surprising since you don’t seem to know what it is.

        “evolution defies scientific laws” another lie. I assume you mean either 2 thermodynamics here, or else something like “life doesn’t come from non-life” – the first is just plain wrong, the second is neither a scientific law, nor is it anything to do with evolution, which is concerned with descent with modification, not the origin of life.

        “evolutionists do not know where life came from” – so? evolution isn’t the study of the origin of life. You quoted a wikipedia article to me twice now, but you’ve still not actually read it. Or at least it hasn’t sunk in. Evolution is the study of the change in heritable traits. The first line from the wiki: “Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations”. See anything about origins there?

        “natural selection, mutations and genetic drift can’t cause a species to turn into an entirely new creature” says who? there’s a ton of good evidence for it (again google scholar is your friend – you want to call this “speciation”). Just saying something confidently doesn’t mean it isn’t a lie.

        So you’re not doing well for the speaking truths stakes. 4 lies, 3 irrelevancies and a total failure to read what you quote.

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

    Here’s a link to a blog review of the book I wrote a while back.

    Rather than share some more charlatans’ other book as a way of insulating yourself from both Biblical and scientific truth, let’s instead discuss the details of the book The Bible, Rocks, and Time, which I assume you have read and are not just dismissing out of hand. How do you respond to the evidence from chalk deposits that the authors discuss? Why do you not consider the explanations of them offered by young-earth creationists nonsensical in the highest degree?

    • David

      Hi Dr. McGrath,
      I have not read BRT, but I also do not want to dismiss it out of hand. I need to get a copy and take a good look at it. I do find it helpful to read the reviews of others like yourself, so thank you for the link. 

      YEC explanations for chalk deposits may indeed be nonsensical. I’ve seen more than a few nonsensical arguments on both sides of this coin. But that’s to be expected. 

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

    David, how about if you address some of the relevant evidence. Why did God create chains of islands which have radiometric evidence for the age of an earth that is ancient? Why did God, on a young-earth creationist view, cause the rate of life and death cycles of microorganisms to speed up millions of times faster so as to produce chalk deposits (some earlier than the supposed flood, one imagines) that appear to have taken much longer than a matter of thousands of years to form? Why did God insert extrusive igneous rock formations into sedimentary ones to give an appearance of the earth’s age that is misleading?

    I am rather tired of this discussion failing to focus on relevant details. I am tired of young-earth creationists asking “Where is the evidence?” when it is clear that the only things they have read related to geology, biology, or any other relevant field are the works by the charlatans whom they claim are telling the truth, and yet whose claims about science they have never fact-checked by reading something by actual scientists – not even works by Evangelical scientists who are crying out in the young-earth creationist wilderness, trying to get you to repent and turn from your stubborn denial of the truth and your determination to make Christians look like fools.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=TRKtFWlSrRsC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

    I’ll bet that if any of the young-earth creationist commenters actually click through that link or read the book, they will not read it finally seeking to learn something about geology, but simply trying to come up with any objections no matter how implausible. Because ultimately they are not concerned with truth, and are unwilling to be taught either by God or by godly people. They are determined to seem to be right in the views that they already hold, rather than learn the truth, because their true God is their own pride.

    • Anonymous

      If explained with the world wide flood being a true event, chalk deposits resulted from circulating and receding flood waters, not sped up death cycles. The chalk shows dates of less than 10,000 years old as well.

      One important discovery is that coccoliths (which make up the bulk of
      the chalk) are so small that they do not settle (Hancock 1983, and
      Hardman 1983). So what is the mechanism that laid down the chalk layers?

      “In particular areas of the North Sea, the coccoliths are coated with smectite, a clay which cannot survive transport other than by short
      distances (Hancock 1983). This seems to add credence to the local and rapid trapping of the coccoliths. Drifting around for years (as per Tyler’s timescale) or millions of years (as uniformitarianism requires) would have destroyed the smectite. Also, the smectite had the potential to assist with flocculation.”

      There is a rather long and semi-technical discussion of this here. Of course there are several flood models and differing opinions as with any scientific research.

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/chalk-and-upper-cretaceous-deposits

    • David

      Hi James,
      I think it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search matters out (Proverbs 25:2). God does not mislead, but we are certainly confused by what we see sometimes, and have a difficult time interpreting past events. 

      I am sorry you are tired of young earth creationists asking “where is the evidence?” I don’t argue that way though. I say we all have the same evidence, the differences come in the interpretations. 

      I would be happy to address some of the relevant evidence, perhaps a debate would be a good format? Maybe we could debate about the limits of science?

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

    Offering counter-claims that only persuade those who are not well-informed about Biblical studies or the natural sciences does not constitute ‘refutation.’

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

    So you don’t know how chalk is formed, Cdbren, but are determined to reply even if it exposes your ignorance?

    • Anonymous

      So if we trall the ocean floor, then will we find layers and layers of chalk as millions of years would produce?

  • Anonymous

    Ian, I googled “Fossil Plant evidence” and see a lot of stuff said but no real examples. No solid facts. Just conjecture. I spent a good bit of time clicking on links but soon gave up finding any real, solid evidence for plant evolution. 

    I then looked up “speciation” and found much the same. Lots of conjecture, absolutely no real evidence. They take the ability for species to change, much like we have changed the species of dogs/wolves/fish into different breeds but all still what they were to begin with. Then they add in long ages, maybe some mutations and assume great change can magically make a dino into a bird or vise versa depending on what scientist you choose to believe on what came first.

    How long should I search on google scholar for something I can’t ever find?

    • Ian

      You should actually read the articles rather than spending quite a while clicking on links. If you don’t understand it, find the background knowledge until you do.

      ” and see a lot of stuff said but no real examples”

      Then I despair of your basic reading comprehension. Because just about every paper in that list has detailed evidence, and describes facts from fossil morphology, genetic records, stratigraphical data. We’re done, I think. There comes a point where there is no possibility of meaningful communication.

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

    Cdbren, no need to go beneath the ocean to find that.

    • Anonymous

      That is where geologist claim the chalk came from after millions of years. Then it was pushed upward with tectonic lift. So naturally I would assume you could find layers and layers of it just lying on the ocean floor. Is it there? Or is that yet another blow to the millions and millions of years date? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    re:
    ” All I would need is some sort of unequivocal evidence of transition from one plant to another. ” 

    ” I googled “Fossil Plant evidence” and see a lot of stuff said but no real examples. No solid facts. Just conjecture. I spent a good bit of time clicking on links but soon gave up finding any real, solid evidence for plant evolution. 

    I then looked up “speciation” and found much the same. Lots of conjecture, absolutely no real evidence. ”

    —-
    plants are a rather good example evolution because of polyploidy and our reliance on food plants, in particular the cereals and maize which means lots of research on the topic. it took me one google search to hit good scientific articles on the current state of observed plant evolution. 

    • Anonymous

      Hmm. Cereal is still the same grains and maize is still the same maize. Changed slightly do to mans tampering but still basically the same. I hardly think that qualifies as evolution from one form to a more complex form.  Rather that is reshuffling of genetic information already there. In all examples I see mention of man’s tampering, not natural processes. 

      Observed changes in one type of plant does not equal evolution. You may think it does or think scientists say it does but that does not make it a fact. It makes it a theory, yes. 

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

    As someone who works in higher education, let me say confidently that “I Googled for X and didn’t find anything” doesn’t mean there isn’t anything about X available online, much less that there is nothing reliable or useful. More often than not, it indicates something about competency in performing searches for reliable information, or level of interest, rather than something about what is available.

    • Ian

      I gave her/him the exact term to type in the box, and checked the results beforehand. No skill should have been needed.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, I found them easily enough and clicked through several although they did not provide the hard evidence you propose they contained. Lots of theory and scientific examples but no real facts. 

        Richard gives examples of grains and corn which were changed due to man’s farming. It is not an example of plant evolution nor proof that plants evolve from one type to a completely different other type. 

        You can give all kinds of scientific papers on what could or should have happened but the truth is no one knows because they were not there. (One person was there though. God was and he gives an account of what happened and why we are all here.)

        Scientists can’t prove evolution, they can only speculate. The evidence, again, does not speak to anyone. Evidence does not make deductions. People speak and make deductions.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

          in your clicking through google hits did you read about and understand what polyploid/y means? be honest with yourself-are you here to learn something new? 

          do you study, read and research to learn and grow intellectually and to be open to changing your mind? or are you simply here to preach your AIG gospel? examine your motivations, be frank with yourself. why are you here? why spend precious moments of your life here and not doing something else?

          your writings here show no evidence of understanding the issues a little bit better each posting or even an evolving knowledge as you read and understand the issues. i find it sad that so many YECists seem incapable of absorbing even little facts as they read. each posting sounds like it comes from the exact same well of knowledge as the first one.

          i don’t see something as simple as the introduction of a new scientific term gained from reading from one posting to the next. i see these as symptoms of a non-inquiring mind. 

        • Ian

          “Lots of … scientific examples but no real facts. ”

          You just couldn’t make this up!

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

    It is easy to pretend that scientists do not have evidence for their conclusions as long as one never actually reads anything written by actual scientists working in these fields.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    re:
    but the truth is no one knows because they were not there. (One person was there though. God was and he gives an account of what happened and why we are all here.) 

    then dismantle the legal system for any murder that has only a victim and killer. since no one was at the crime except them. nonsense. we everyday use information gained from situations just like this. are we certain he did it? no that is why we have various burden of proof legal standards such beyond reasonable doubt, Clear and convincing evidence, and preponderance of evidence.

    Genesis is certainly not a newspaperman’s account of what happened(written 3000 years before the creation of such a literary genre), at best it is an equivalent to a historical novel. 

    but please continue to chant AIG’s mantra to suppress all other thinking.

    • Anonymous

      Not quite an exact analogy but rather good. Of course the evidence must be evaluated by an expert and a lot of times they do get it wrong. 

      This is the same situation. Only the evidence is sketchy, they discount eyewitness accounts of the incident and make bold assumptions. (They, meaning secular scientists). 

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

    Cdbren, your “argument” cuts both ways. You wrote:

    “(One person was there though. God was and he gives an account of what happened and why we are all here.)”

    How do you know that God was there? Were you there?! How do you know that it was God who gave the account in Genesis? Were you there?! 

    Please either follow the Christian principle of treating the arguments and claims of others the way you wish your own to be treated, or drop the pretense of pretending that you are in any way motivated by anything to do with Christianity. If fundamental Christian principles don’t matter to you, then “defending” Genesis 1-3 seems altogether beside the point.

    • Anonymous

      I am relying on eyewitness accounts from Genesis, other scripture written by different people, living in different areas, over decades of time as well as the testimony of Jesus, which has it’s own set of eyewitnesses. 

      Aside from video footage or something I don’t know what could be more compelling. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    re:
    Richard gives examples of grains and corn which were changed due to man’s farming. It is not an example of plant evolution nor proof that plants evolve from one type to a completely different other type. 

    proof is for math not science. science is primarily inductive which shows something akin to the legal standard of beyond reasonable doubt, it does not prove anything. if you are looking at science for proof you will never find it.

    maize is not teosinte, wheat is not emmer. 
    btw, have you learned what polyploidy means yet?

    • Anonymous

      You are incorrect. Taking a few minutes to study would dispel this error. 

      Maize is a domesticated variant of teosinte, with only two genes not similar. Maize is a teosinte. Or I should say one of the theories proposed. No one really knows, to date, exactly how Maize originated.

      Emmer is wheat and common wheat or bread wheat is wheat. 

      What you have said is like saying a rose is not a Rosaceae. Or a peach tree is not a Rosaceae. Both indeed are.

      Polyploidy means a change in the number of chromosomes, not a change in the chromosome itself. Are you trying to say that proves evolution of plants? It does not. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        i had hopes that you would have found 
        http://polyploidy.org/index.php/Information:Why_it_is_important
        but since Poe’s been called, i’m out of here. o-o

        • Anonymous

          Hmm. Doesn’t tell me what I don’t already know or state and actually the image there speaks louder than words. It shows the same plant in various sizes. I fail to see, from the picture, where polypoidy turned it into a totally new plant.

          Making wheat bigger or smaller. maize kernels smaller or bigger does not mean evolution.

      • Ian

        Wow I missed this one. Hold the phone.

        “What you have said is like saying a rose is not a Rosaceae. Or a peach tree is not a Rosaceae. Both indeed are.”

        Are you saying, cdbren, that you think different Rosaceae are members of the same “kind” (I believe you used the word “type”)? In the same way that Maise and Teosinte are? I.e. that there is no reason why one Rosaceae couldn’t be derived from another from the genetic processes you do believe can happen?

        Because if so, that’s quite a big jump up in the size of “kinds” from anything I’ve seen argued before. Rosaceae is a family, and contains about 3000 different extant species.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, exactly. Corn (a grain) is from the cereal family and a Rose from the Rosaceae family. 

          You could throw all kinds of terms around all day. Because someone named a certain animal a certain species or belonging to a certain family is not set in stone. It is not cut and dry in scientific terms. They are just labels to sort of keep things classified. Right?

          • Ian

            Okay, but taxonomy wasn’t my point. In this thread you’ve said you thought sightless moles are derived from sighted creatures by some genetic process (call it process X – we don’t need to worry specifically what that process is, just that there is some process that causes small amounts of genetic change) that caused them to lose the sense of sight. And you’ve said that modern cereal crops are derived from wild cereal crops by a genetic process that caused certain genes to change. Both of these examples are, as you said, relatively small changes.

            And then you used the example of Rosaceae, which suddenly would have stepped up the changes. Members of the Rosaceae family are much less similar than Teosinte and Corn. So I wanted to know if you thought, in principle (I’m not asking whether you think this is actually what happened, just whether it is possible), one Rosaceae could be derived from any other by the same genetic process that could lead from Teosinte to Maize or could lead a Mole to lose its eyesight.

            It seems you are saying that, because Rosaceae hybridize quite successfully, you feel that indicates a particular type of close similarity between them. And in turn that would suggest that it isn’t unreasonable to think they might be derived from one another by some genetic process, such as process X.

            I’m trying to get a handle on what genetic processes you do feel are reasonable. You’ve said that you believe that process X must be one in which “information” is lost, or “complexity” decreases (I put both words in quotes, because what you mean by them might not be the same as mine). But that is rather abstract, and the actual examples of changes that might have been caused by process X are more enlightening, I think.

            The reason I’m trying to get a handle on this is because you said something I wouldn’t have expected a creationist to say. So as a new species of creationist thought (at least to me) – I’m interested in finding out more about it and how it works :)

            • Anonymous

              I don’t have a problem with anything you said above. 

              I think that a loss of a feature in a species….say beak size getting smaller, bacteria resistance, change in colorization…are changes that are acting on genetic information already there. So do not fall into the definition of “evolution” as nothing new appeared in the species.

              The reverse is true as well. I think the biological evidence shows that changes can only occur if the genetic structures are already in the codes.

              I am fully aware that scientists claim mutations can change the code and thereby make new genetic information but I feel it is much more complex than that. From what I have seen and researched, mutations are not beneficial (where they do appear to be another feature is lost) and they are corrected in succeeding generations. 

              I think the evolution as you believe it to be can only go so far. Otherwise we’d have seen it by now. Especially since we have been dabbling in changing different species and plants for years. 

              • Ian

                I didn’t want to talk about evolution, because I think what I mean by evolution is different to what you mean by it. And it might be that if we stay away from using the E word, we actually agree mostly on what can happen with regard to genetic change. As I said, until you used the Rosaceae example, I wouldn’t have thought that to be.

                A couple of points, following on from this clarification, then. You said

                “if the genetic structures are already in the codes.”

                So let’s go back to Maize and Teosinte (because for Rosaceae we’ve only agreed that process X can’t be ruled out, not that it is certain). Maize has a small number of different genes than Teosinte, as you pointed out yourself. Can you be more specific about what it means for the genes that are now in Maize to have been “already in the codes” for Teosinte.

                Do you mean that when we’ve looked at the genetics of Teosinte, the Maize genes are hidden, so we’ve not found them? Or something else? What does it mean, in your understanding, for a gene to be “already in the codes”?

                “From what I have seen and researched, mutations are not beneficial (where they do appear to be another feature is lost) and they are corrected in succeeding generations. ”

                Again, I’d prefer it to stay away from abstractions, because so far in this discussion you’ve made abstract statements, and a few of the rest of us have ridiculed them and called you a liar, and — to be frank — I don’t suppose either you or we have felt that the discussion has moved on much. So can I respectfully ask that we be specific? Teosinte to Maize is a great example, I think, because the change is small enough that we both agree that Maize represents some kind of genetic change from an ancestor: Teosinte. We don’t have to agree whether dinosaurs are ancestors of birds to have this discussion. I also take it from your comments on Roses that you’re either a gardener, or reasonably happy with plants…. so can we stick here for a bit?

                So the genetic change that has caused Maize to be Maize, not Teosinte. Is that beneficial or a loss? If the former, then what was lost? If this isn’t a good example: can you give an example from your research where a beneficial mutation has occurred, but accompanied by a corresponding harmful mutation?

                “I think the evolution as you believe it to be can only go so far”

                So my motivation for these questions is that I genuinely want to know how far you think it can go. It strikes me that you think it can go a *lot* further than most creationists, up to spanning the diversity we see in a taxonomic Family, but obviously you do not think it can go all the way to bridge the gaps between major families of life. And, I assume, you find the use of the term “evolution” to talk about those smaller changes to be at best a problem, at worst offensive, so I’m happy to discuss this not in terms of “evolution” at all, but to be specific about the kinds of genetic change we mean.

                • Anonymous

                  Wow. Of all the people posting here, I didn’t think you would be the one that I can agree with and have a rational discussion. I think we are on the same page here.

                  I don’t propose to understand plant biology but from what I do understand, Teosinte, through the process of polypoidy, gained more Homologous chromosomes from similar grasses like it, enabling it to grow larger and larger kernels. Homologous being a key term here.

                  Not enabling it to become, say a flowering plant like a rose. I would assume because the genes of both are not as homologous.

                  Much the same happens in animals or humans when a new life is conceived.

                  As far as I understand, there is a species barrier in living things as well as a homologous barrier in plants. That is what I see as disabling the change to go only so far. 

                  We see that in breeding dogs. It can only go so far and there are non-beneficial consequences that come from that. For example the Boston Terrier. The shortened nose causes them not to be able to breath as well as a longer snouted dog. Shorter legs allow slower running, etc.

                  Anything else you could add would be welcome.

                  • Ian

                    If you look in other comment threads you’ll see that my MO is normally to be a bit of a jackass for a while, then get bored and have a conversation :)

                    “Not enabling it to become, say a flowering plant like a rose.” No, I think we can safely agree that there’s no way on earth Teosinte could evolve into a rose. ;)

                    Okay, so Teosinte to Maize, there’s a few different genetic mechanisms we’ve touched on. 

                    1. There’s a change in the number of chromosomes (with either no or very minor change in the genes contained in them).

                    2. There’s mutation – whereby one gene changes in some way – and (we agree) this is normally bad for the offspring with the mutation, but – as you said – can sometimes be beneficial (but I acknowledge you want to add the caveat, as you said, that such a beneficial mutation normally means there is some other loss somewhere).

                    3. Now you’ve introduced a third, where one Teosinte gained chromosomes from other grasses. Can I ask you to elaborate on this a bit. So you have Plants A and B, which reproduce to produce offspring C – are you saying that there is yet another plant D which can donate its (or some of its) chromosomes to C as well? So you can have a Teosinte offspring with chromosomes from a different plant (a grass, as you said?). Is that the case – you believe that process X can include wholesale incorporation of chromosomes, as long as the chromosome being imported is similar enough (i.e. homologous)? Do you think this sharing of chromosomes among different members of a Family is common, or is it rare enough that (like in Teosinte -> Maize) it makes a big difference to how the resulting lifeform looks?

                    “the species barrier”

                    I’m slightly reticent to bring that in, because its an odd concept for this discussion. As far as I can tell, you don’t think that “species”, in the way a biologist might define it, is particularly useful. You’ve said, for example, that process X could quite easily create one “species” from another (different of the 3000 species in the rose family, for example) – and I assume that’s because you think that in the case of the Rose family, it isn’t so much a “species” barrier as a “family” barrier (or “homologous barrier”).

                    I don’t want to start using language that might back you up because it is overloaded by “evolution-speak”. I get (I think) why you think Roses could have been derived from one another. But I don’t want to start saying “you think one species can evolve into another” – because clearly that’s trying to suck your views onto a battleground made out of my terminology. So maybe “species” isn’t quite right, or else we define “species” in your terms to mean “groups of things that couldn’t be derived from one another via process X”. So all the roses are in one of your “species” then, as are all dogs, but cats and dogs aren’t. Even though a biologist might claim that cats and dogs are closer than strawberries and almonds, say. But other species of mammals, say dogs and wolves, could possibly be derived from one another (the latter I’m assuming since I’ve heard other creationists say that is a gap that is small enough to be crossed – correct me if you think dogs and wolves is too big a jump). Is that fair?

                    “We see that in breeding dogs.”

                    Yes absolutely. My PhD topic focussed on the interaction between fitness and fecundity. A great example is dairy cattle, who’s fertility is compromised by being bred to lactate constantly. Or seedless grapes. Or even the way the diameter of the female human pelvis makes childbirth so dangerous (and therefore lowers fecundity), but is constrained by the needs of human locomotion. But hey, that’s another story.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                    re:
                    As far as I understand, there is a species barrier in living things as well as a homologous barrier in plants.  

                    i would be curious to read about this “species barrier”, afaik there isn’t even a good definition of species “out there”, given ring species i’m reasonable sure there isn’t such a thing as “species barrier” but i’m willing to do a bit of research if you can provide a scientific paper to start with.
                    (all my googling gets is infectious agents crossing the species barrier, same term but very different meaning)

                    • Ian

                      Yes, “species barrier” is normally a term used to mean that an organism dependent on one species (a parasite, infectious disease or symbiont) has a particular specialised biochemistry so that they can’t function in the same way on other creatures. Dog fleas, for example, don’t do well on humans (though they can be a pain, they can’t survive). Conversely things like parasites when they cross the species barrier can be lethal to other species, since they have no need to keep them alive.

                    • Anonymous

                      Well, I was referring to say attempting to mate a dog with a sheep. It just won’t work. The same with trying to mix some types of plants. 

                      There is a line there that can’t be crossed within groups of animals. Not sure what that is called exactly.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      Well, I was referring to say attempting to mate a dog with a sheep. It just won’t work. The same with trying to mix some types of plants. There is a line there that can’t be crossed within groups of animals. Not sure what that is called exactly. 

                      —more nonsense from the ignorance of AiG et al.
                      there are several good examples of retroviral insertions actually swapping whole genes between species.
                      i’d start this educational reading with something like http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1001191 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have a problem with the evidence that species or plants can change to adapt to environmental change. That is seen and there is evidence for it. 

    What I have a problem with is scientists then taking that and running with it, saying it “could” be evolution. Or saying that every species and plant and insect “could” have all come from simple celled organisms. This has not been seen nor proven.

    Bacteria are still bacteria (and they replicate very rapidly), dogs are still dogs, horses are still horses. 

    They have even found many, many species that were thought to have evolved and been long extinct. Yet they are here unchanged. They have found wasps and other organisms preserved in amber supposedly millions of years old but identical to what we have today. 

    Oh, and I think someone mentioned that none of the species in the Cambrian explosion are alive today. Yet I can name one. The Coelacanth. It was even considered a missing link between fish yet the current one found is no different than the 400 million year old fossils found. 

    “The long-running puzzlement about the appearance of the Cambrian fauna,
    seemingly abruptly and from nowhere, centers on three key points:
    whether there really was a mass diversification of complex organisms
    over a relatively short period of time during the early Cambrian; what
    might have caused such rapid change; and what it would imply about the
    origin and evolution of animals. Interpretation is difficult due to a
    limited supply of evidence, based mainly on an incomplete fossil record
    and chemical signatures left in Cambrian rocks.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      you could have consulted http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Fishapods.jpg/350px-Fishapods.jpg
      to see that the Coelacanth does not date back as far as the Cambrian explosion.
      or you could google lobe finned fish and see that they arose during the  Silurian (ca 418 Ma).

      in any case a few minutes would dispel this error:
      Oh, and I think someone mentioned that none of the species in the Cambrian explosion are alive today. Yet I can name one. The Coelacanth. It was even considered a missing link between fish yet the current one found is no different than the 400 million year old fossils found.  

      google and the wiki can be your friends but you have to actually read them

      • Anonymous

        Sorry for the error. 

        I’d say they date back to about 10,000 years ago. I happen not to agree with the supposed eras of time as proposed. 

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

          //I’d say [Coelacanths] date back to about 10,000 years ago. I happen not to agree with the supposed eras of time as proposed.//

          I’m putting this one on my wall.

    • Ian

      “Yet I can name one. The Coelacanth. ”

      I’m almost ready to call Poe on this one. I’m beginning to suspect this is deliberate.

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

    Cdbren, I must ask: What persuades you that it is glorifying to God to simply make things up in an effort to argue against the work of scientists in a field that you do not understand? Why is the attempt to combat evolution, which you understand to be an evil for whatever reason, more important to you than Christian teaching about honesty and truthfulness? I really want to hear your answer to this. It seems to me that you may not even realize that in your effort to debate a matter of science which many would say is indifferent with respect to salvation, you are sacrificing Christian morals and other considerations that are of the utmost importance. Would you care to explain your reasoning for your actions?

    • Anonymous

      I would guess none of the debaters on here have knowledge of any and all science fields. I entered a response merely stating that Christians do not fear science. It was others who chose to bring the conversation to where we are now. 

      Just what am I making up? Most of what I said was from scientists articles or research. Not my own. I even provided links. 

      How am I sacrificing Christian morals? Did Jesus sacrifice Christian morals when he chased the money lenders out of the temple with a whip and over turned tables? 

      Sometimes you have to take a stand for what is right.

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

    Cdbren, I don’t think that Jesus overturning moneychangers’ tables is comparable to making things up about scientific fields regarding which one has no expertise, or pretending that one has not only knowledge but relevant answers in the hope that no one will see through the charade. I am astonished that you would compare your dishonesty to an action of Jesus, but alas, that is precisely the sort of thing that one learns to expect from young-earth creationists: a concern to be right about science and a delusion of Christlikeness and infallibility, with no evidence of any real concern to either follow Christ’s example or emphasize the things that he himself emphasized.

    • Anonymous

      I never said I was infallible. Again, what am I being dishonest about? I find the inability of those here to answer the hard questions rather curious.

      I also would not call myself a young Earth creationist. I am merely taking God at his word.

      • Ian

        “I find the inability of those here to answer the hard questions rather curious. ”

        Classic. 

        Pseudoscience MO:

        1. Lie and misrepresent the science.
        2. When corrected ignore the correction and optionally restate the lies again.
        3. Quote things you have either not read or don’t understand.
        4. Copy lists of quotes from works or writers you’ve never read.
        5. Claim there’s no evidence.
        6. Ignore any evidence provided, or claim it doesn’t support your misrepresentation of the science.
        7. Tell yourself that Jesus is proud of what you’ve become.
        8. Goto 1
        9. When anyone sane gives up debating with you, claim victory.
        10. Remember the whole episode as when evolutionists tried to debate you, but were crushed by your superior logic and command of the facts.

        I confess, cdbren has me on this one. I’m crushed by her/his superior logic and command of the facts.

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

    No, you are not taking God at his word, you are taking ancient authors at their word, at best. But you are not even doing that. You don’t accept their claim that there is a dome into which the lights are set. You don’t accept their calculation of pi. You accept what you wish, while denying the result of God’s word, spoken to bring about a creation which testifies to its age and processes and yet you dare to contradict them, in ways that show time and again that you have not even informed yourself about subjects before speaking arrogantly about them with unfounded confidence.

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

    I would first like to see in what ways you address some of the specific questions and points of evidence that I have already mentioned, and why you think it is better to have God suddenly speed up the rate at which microorganisms reproduce and die than to believe that they did so in much the way they do today. But even then, I don’t see why you would want to debate biology with a religion professor. I’ll gladly discuss the Biblical evidence, if you like.

    • David

      Hi James, just to clarify, I don’t want to debate biology specifically, I want to debate the limits of science. One way I would address specific questions and points of evidence would be to begin with the premise that the present is not always the key to the past.

    • Anonymous

      Why do you keep saying about speeding up the rate? 

      If we are going by the bible we would first assume that God created lots of these creatures at the beginning. We would assume that there was around 2000 years from creation to the flood based on the genealogy given. (That is more time for more coccolitha to grow.)

      We would also assume that many of these organisms could have died in the flood. 

      There is no need to think anything was sped up. There was plenty of them around to form the chalk deposits we see today. 

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

    Perhaps you would care to read what I wrote? Can you see what you got wrong, even if you can’t see what is wrong with your approach as a whole?

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

    Cdbren, are you saying that experts are typically wrong? That amateurs with no expertise are usually right when experts are wrong?

    I really can’t let your previous comment drop without further comment. Instead of sponding to what I wrote very clearly, which was that one does not have to dive beneath the ocean to find chalk deposits, since there are former sea beds now raised high above sea level, you tried to twist what I wrote as though I had written that there is no chalk beneath the ocean.

    You seriously need to spend less time allowing yourself to be distracted from Christianity by young earth charlatans and more time finding out what Christianity teaches about truth and about how to treat other human beings. Otherwise, you may sometimes win a few debates with ill-informed people, but are sacrificing your soul in the process. Is that really what you want? Do you not care that you are sacrificing the core teachings of Christianity in your effort to appear to win in a debate about a subject regarding which you have no expertise? Does Christianity real mean so little to you?

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

    How do you know they are eyewitness accounts? As Ken Ham says we should ask, “Were you there?!”

  • Pingback: Brock Casias

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

    OK, can you please read something on this topic, dealing with the rate of chalk formation, and then see if you still think what you wrote makes sense or is plausible? And of course, by read something I mean something that is not young-earth creationists who feel free to make things up, ironically in an attempt to prove that past Christians who wrote the Bible didn’t make things up. In fact, your behavior illustrates that some Christians today are indeed willing to lie and fabricate on behalf of their faith, making it hard for people to believe that ancient Christians did not simply do the same thing. It saddens me greatly.

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

    I decided to address this at greater length in a separate post: 
    “Young-Earth Creationists Undermine Confidence in the Bible”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2011/11/young-earth-creationists-undermine-confidence-in-the-bible.html 

  • Anonymous

    Ian, yes everything you stated is spot on. I apologize for not using the correct terminology at times.

    I was just thinking that plants probably diversify much easier than animals. This discussion has helped me learn some things I did not know or take into consideration.

    You asked if I thought polypoidy was rare or common. I think both because there would be other random factors to consider. Weather conditions, wind, animal grazing, etc. 

    My problem with the macro-evolution idea is that it presents a tree of descent back to simpler and simpler organisms. Presumably this would cause less and less chance of diversification as we went further back as there would be less genetic information to pass on. 

    Less of plants A, B and D if you will and in simpler form.

    • Ian

      Okay, so I’m going to assume that we can’t get much further on this, cdbren, but I do want to try and give you some context of the ways mainstream science thinks about what we’ve basically agreed. If that’s okay. I hope to write this in a way that you can’t disagree with it.

      You might disagree that it is *correct*, of course (in fact, I’m writing assuming you would), but I just want to point out the way it gets thought about or the words used. If that’s okay. Don’t take this as an attempt to argue with you, just to give you a picture of what scientists mean when they say stuff in relation to what we’ve agreed.

      1, So “Process X” is what I and most biologists would call “evolution” – now “evolution” has a bit problem as a term. Because it means a few different things. Basically it means any change in hereditary traits over time (remember the wiki definition). It also is used slightly informally to mean “Darwin’s theory of the origin of species by natural selection”, which is (I think) the way you are using it. Strictly speaking, Darwins theory isn’t “evolution” but is a theory that relies on evolution. In other words, Darwin said “look, we get all these species by evolution” – in the same way one might say “we get parcel deliveries by UPS” – even if it turned out that species were created by God in a one-off event, then I think we’ve agreed that “Process X” – genetic change over time still happens.

      I say this not because I want you to start thinking that “evolution is right”, just to point out that when you say “evolution is wrong”, the person you’re talking to might think you’re saying something you’re not. You clearly believe in “evolution” in this sense – but you have a problem that something as simple and obvious as evolution could achieve what biologists claim it achieves: the diversity of life on earth. Is that fair?

      Now I know that some creationists cry foul at this point, and they point to the word being used in other contexts (physicists use it to, but there it means something different again, and isn’t about ‘origins’ at all). And they (perhaps rightly) claim that we sneak in the Darwin-meaning but then retreat to the uncontroversial one. And, what can I say, I’m sorry for the confusion, but that’s just the way its happened. It isn’t a conspiracy of confusion, as far as I can tell. But if you basically believe in “evolution” but not in “Darwinism”, then it ain’t helpful, admittedly.

      2. Your genetic mechanisms. The first and second (polyploidy and mutation) would be typical mechanisms that scientists would study as ways that evolution (i.e. change in some genetic features – I’m not talking in the molecules to man sense) happens. There are a handful of others too. None of which are game changing, so I’m happy to stick to these two.

      The points about mutation are good – that overwhelmingly the mutations are bad, of those that aren’t bad, the majority are what we call ‘neutral’ (neither good nor bad) and those tiny proportion that are neither may be beneficial, but usually only in a very tiny way.

      This is logical: think of an ecosystem, each species is highly specialised to its niche. If you went in to a rainforest and waved a magic wand and changed the length of a monkey’s tail, say, the chances are you’ll make that monkey slightly less balanced than the others, or slightly too heavy, and it will get eaten by predators. Life forms are highly, highly specialised to their niches, and blind mutations are more likely to disturb that specialisation.

      You linked the small proportion of beneficial mutations with some loss: you can have beneficial mutations, but you also get some compensating loss. Scientists wouldn’t agree with that connection (again, remember I’m describing, not trying to get you to agree they’re right). They’d say that mutations are independent, most are problematic, some are neutral, few are beneficial: its just a matter of probability.

      You mention “information” and “complexity” several times. I know what you mean (it is a point we disagree on, but that’s not what I want to focus on).

      I do want to say that “information” has a particular set of very mathematical meanings in genetics, so when you say “evolution couldn’t create information” or some such, just be aware that (for the scientist’s definition of information) this would be trivial to show, mathematically, that it could.

      Because you are talking about two different things, what you are seeking would require evidence (which I think is available, but again, I’m not trying to argue, I recognize you disagree), but what a scientist might hear is a silly comment, like someone saying “2+2 can’t equal 4″. Again, don’t take that as anything other than just a description of how it sounds to the other side. It just takes a while to remap the jargon onto what you’re trying to say.

      “Complexity” on the other hand doesn’t have a good definition in evolution, it does in certain branches of computer science. But it is rather befuddling if you say “evolution can’t create more complex things” because it isn’t clear what you’d define as complex, in a specific, measurable way. I get it generally (and disagree, of course), but it wouldn’t be obvious how to come up with a number to measure how complex a creature was to do anything with that number, such as test the hypothesis that complexity can’t increase. So as a result the claim seems a bit wishy-washy. Does that make sense? (again, to avoid doubt, I’m not arguing that it *is* here – just that it sounds that way).

      Lastly in your genetic mechanisms you talk about genes from one species crossing into another. I get what you’re saying. That is something that we don’t think happens, to chunks of material as big as chromosomes between things like plants. It does happen on a smaller scale, and is really important in evolutionary biology. Things like viruses regularly do it and can bring genes from one species to another. There is an organelle in the cell called a mitochondria that is thought to be a whole bacteria sucked into the cell. There is a big and active field in genetics at looking at this. Again, don’t take this as anything other than as a description of what’s going on with scientists. You’re free to think of it what you will.

      3. And finally. Creationists are fond of talking about microevolution and macroevolution – which represents this small genetic change, and the kinds of genetic change you need to generate a bird from a dinosaur. In science the two terms are rarely used. They mean similar things: evolution on a big or small scale, but they aren’t very specific, so they aren’t very useful to us. The main reason is that, we can’t find any dividing line.

      So this more constructive dialog started with your comments on the Rose family, because, to an evolutionary biologist, families are fairly large (we would identify Bears and Dogs in the same family, say, or Chimps and Humans). To drive the diversity in a family, takes quite a lot of evolutionary change. I felt at that point, you were out of the realm of what many creationists might think of as microevolution. I concede you might not see it like that – you probably think of that as still “microevolution” – that’s fine. I’m not trying to say it is or isn’t (especially since the terms belong more to creationists that scientists), just that I saw it that way and that’s what caught my attention.

      So from the point of view of a biologist the problem with drawing a line is that it isn’t obvious where to do so. If wolves can evolve into dogs (as most creationists think – though obviously they may be uncomfortable using the “E” word), then why couldn’t a more primitive form of wolf, say Canis lepophagus, evolve into a wolf then into a dog. And that more primitive form of a wolf is pretty darn similar to a coyote, so could it have evolved into a coyote? And so on. I’m not asking you to agree with these stories (I suspect you won’t), just to make the point that, biologically, there is no place to draw a clean line.

      Most creationists use the concept of a “kind” to describe this. Bears and wolves/dogs are different kinds. And biologists find this frustrating, because nobody can figure out where the line should be.

      Maybe there is a line – as there would have to be if creationism were true (i.e. what were the separate things God actually created). Again, just trying to give you a sense of the landscape.

      So I feel myself starting to get drawn in to trying to convince you that enough of your microevolution would lead to macroevolution – but I don’t want to start arguing again, and my point here was really more to just give you a sense of how biologists talk about some of the things we’ve agreed about. Looking back over the early part of this conversation, lots (but not all) of the things I objected to were ways in which we were using terminology differently, and as it turns out it there was a good degree of underlying agreement. But there remain important disagreements too, probably vehement ones. But I for one am done arguing, so if you want to rant some more on them, the stage is yours. I hope we can end on this note of agreement though!

      And maybe make a pledge to one another to try harder to find the other’s point of view before we criticize it, lest we end up ignoring points of agreement. At least, that’s my pledge.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, and thank you for the lengthy post about the terminology. It was very helpful. I would agree on a lot of things you said. 

        I will try not to criticize in the future. That was not my initial intent. 

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

    On the claim that there is no “new information” produced by evolution, the well known Christian biologist Dennis Venema has a useful series that he has turned into a pdf:  http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/venema_origin_information.pdf

    If you have never seen it, you may also find the PBS documentary about the Dover trial – the famous one in which it was shown that mounds of evidence was ignored by the proponents of intelligent design, and simple studies that could test their claims were never done by their proponents. I know the focus here has been on young-earth creationism, but when the discussion moves to the “no new information” claim, it is a claim that overlaps with what the cdesign proponentsists say (that phrase too is one relevant to the Dover trial and the evolution of Intelligent Design).

    • Anonymous

      Natural selection selects from information already there. It has not the means to change an entire species to something new. It is merely a means to bring certain features to dominance when needed.

      About the E. Coli experiment. E. Coli are already known to be able to synthesize citrate under special conditions. So nothing new happened there. Nothing evolved. 

      Mutations are shown to be not adequate to serve as a means for evolution.

      So now you see where scientists misinterpret things, trying to see new information produced where there is none produced. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        Natural selection selects from information already there. 

        more uneducated partisan nonsense repeated mindlessly from YEC/AIG.

        and google “herv-k syncytin” for a fascinating study on how a viral gene was co-opted to make the transition from marsupial to placental mammals possible.
        the herv’s themselves are excellent examples of new information added to the human genome by retroviral insertions, they make up 3-8% of your genome, all added in the distant past by infections. there are several co-opted genes, one was even inserted backwards!(3′ to 5′) this mantra, no new information really gets old if you have the slightest idea of the truthfulness of evolutionary theory.  anyhow enjoy your google education.

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

    I think you must be confused, both because you seem to think that evolution never involves genetic sequences already present in the genome being put to new uses (see the extensive work on Evo Devo by Sean Carroll, for instance), and because you seem to think that it makes sense to posit that scientists are confused and misrepresent things while a bunch of internet crusaders who do not work in the sciences are the only ones who see and offer the truth. I find such a conspiracy approach unpersuasive.

    Please try harder to understand the things that you are being asked to read. Don’t just read them looking to see if you can come up with some off-the-cuff objection that might or might not be intelligent in light of a fuller understanding of the field. It does not glorify God, and may just do the opposite, to try to make oneself seem a know-it-all in a field that is not one’s area of expertise.

    • Anonymous

      What you describe is not what is happening to the E.Coli. 

      You do understand that cells must have an incredibly sophisticated editing process to ensure that each gene is reproduced error-free? Did you know that the human genome contains 48-250 million letters? If you do the math, random changes in that would be extremely, extremely impossible and even it did happen, it would cause a break down, not an advance. 

      I googled “Genome” on Wiki and found no mention of the genome able to make new information with a different sequence. DNA is incredibly complex and most of what occurs is copying or inheriting. Not random chance.

      I have continuously given you non-creationist links to back up that what I said above is actually scientific fact. 

      An analogy to the human genome stored on DNA is that of instructions stored in a book:

      The book (genome) would contain 23 chapters (chromosomes);

      each chapter contains 48 to 250 million letters (A,C,G,T) without spaces;

      Hence, the book contains over 3.2 billion letters total;

      The book fits into a cell nucleus the size of a pinpoint;At least one copy of the book (all 23 chapters) is contained in most cells of our body.

      The only exception in humans is found in mature red blood cells which become enucleated during development and therefore lack a genome.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        to cdbren: since you are apparently currently struggling to learn the field of mobio one wiki article at a time as you go along with the discussion here-

        re:
        There is a line there that can’t be crossed within groups of animals. Not sure what that is called exactly. 

        —google ring species

        re:
        Mutations are shown to be not adequate to serve as a means for evolution 

        nonsense, are you aware that on the average you have 150 SNiPs that your parents do not? try reading the faq’s at 23andme. (plus unknown numbers of inversions and indels) one interesting topic is to trace genealogy with these mutations, try ftdna for that reading. 

        if you want even more interesting reading try cystic fibrosis as resistance to tb as sickle cell is resistance to malaria or a number of brain fat storage genes like tay sachs are responsible for increased mean IQ for european jews. we can trace mutations in human beings in recent history yielding excellent info on evolution in people.

        it’s a fascinating learning curve, enjoy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

          re:
           like tay sachs are responsible for increased mean IQ for european jews.  

          this literature is a bit hard to find good stuff in, to much garbage to wade through, i recommend starting with http://www.economist.com/node/4032638?story_id=4032638

        • Anonymous

          I think you are imagining “new information” where there is none. For example, Tay-sachs clearly is labeled as a disease and DEFICIENCY.
            
          Tay–Sachs disease (abbreviated TSD, also known as GM2 gangliosidosis or Hexosaminidase A deficiency) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder.
          In its most common variant, known as infantile Tay–Sachs disease, it
          causes a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities that
          commences around six months of age and usually results in death by the
          age of four.

          ——
          I am not saying mutations don’t happen. They just aren’t adequate to produce the change necessary for large scale evolution to happen.
          —-

          Ring species? Seriously? This is your evidence? Maybe you should google it and go read it yourself.

          You seem to be stretching it to fit a theory.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            read about tay-sachs, it is the downside of variants that increase intelligence. analogously to sickle cell being downside to increased malaria resistance. tay-sachs is detectable because it is a disease, the up side of those alleles is only accessible via statistically methods. and tay-sachs is 1 of 5 known fat storage in brain diseases which seem to be the result of mutations that increase average intelligence(interestingly they effect SD even more). 

            you seem to react far to quickly here to have had the time to read on the topic. i know the lipid storage diseases in european jews took me almost 2 days of serious reading to grasp. it’s no wonder that you reply “but tay-sachs is a disease” when i said as much and further pointed out that it is the up side of those alleles (probably heterozygosity) that is interesting. 

      • Ian

        “If you do the math” – can you do the math? Because I can, and it doesn’t bear out what you’re saying. I’ll walk you through it if you like. As long as you have high-school probability, we could do it. If you think you can do the math, please walk me through it, because I’d love to see how you get your impossibility out of it.

        “DNA is incredibly complex and most of what occurs is copying or inheriting. Not random chance.” True, but if that is “most”, what’s the rest?

        • Anonymous

          Well, give me something to work with. I would assume, taking the complexity of DNA, to make one meaningful and workable new trait that will “stick” in each succeeding generation, would require like one chance in 25 billion years. Of course we aren’t even figuring in the ability for DNA to repair any errors in each generation.

          I assume we are using the Multiplication Rule of Probability. We will also need some numbers that represent working numbers. I assume it is going to be more complex than a simple four to six numbers? Add in genotypes? Chromosomes? (The human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs of DNA arranged into 46 chromosomes. The information carried by DNA is held in the sequence of pieces of DNA called genes. Transmission of genetic information in genes is achieved via complementary base pairing.)

          This is way over my knowledge base and relying on others research, which is why I was being general with “do the math”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            Well, give me something to work with. I would assume, taking the complexity of DNA, to make one meaningful and workable new trait that will “stick” in each succeeding generation 

            the term is “fixation”.
            i’m just curious, i intend to close this tab now and get back to my books, why are you so confident and so certain that evolution is wrong when you have just an average grasp of mobio and ET itself? i believe that “the boards” are a good place to ask questions, to try out ideas, to debate questions. i have nothing against any YEC/AIG fan who comes to defend their ideas. but from the ~300 messages here it is obvious that you are woefully unprepared to defend your ideas with anything scientific. you lack the vocabulary, you misappropriate big ideas and often completely miss the details presented in rebuttal. ET is a very well attested theory, with extraordinary consilence, much of it is accessible to the mythical average reader with more than a little bit of time to spend on it. i wish you the best in your studies, i think it a worthwhile project.

            o-o

          • Ian

            Okay, so there’s a bunch of different ways mutation can happen. But it will only decrease the probabilities if we limit doing the math to one. Say, single nucleotide polymorphism (when just one letter gets changed). This mutation rate on human DNA is at the rate of hundreds per offspring, obviously with very large variation. Call it X. X varies but it is in the region of hundreds. This is as measured by DNA sequencing, so this is *after* your DNA error correction.

            Then we can figure out what proportion of those changes have no biochemical effect by definition. For that we need to figure out what proportion of the genome is genes, and what proportion could ‘absorb’ the error without effect. Call that Y. So we have XxY  mutations to genes per generation.

            Then we need to figure out, if you get an SNP will it change the resulting protein? (you are aware that genes code for proteins, right, and there is a code that maps sets of 3 base-pairs onto one of 20 or so amino acids, which are arranged in sequences to make the proteins). Because there are 64 possible codons mapping to 20 or so amino acids, many of the codons are redundant, so we have 20/64 of the SNPs within genes we’d expect to be reflected in the proteins that the genes code for. So all told XxYx(20/64) of the SNPs will affect the origanism. If we low ball the values and say X=100 (for simplicity), Y=2/3, we’d get 20 mutations *per individual* that change the biochemistry.

            So every individual that is born has 20 unique pieces of biochemistry not shared by either parent.

            Feel free to go and find values for X and Y, if you like. I suspect you won’t get lower that 100 and 2/3. But remember, you have to *measure* these, you can’t guess. And none of this is remotely evolutionary, its just basic genetics: sequencing and counting the DNA.

            If you’re happy to this point I can go  on and build up the math of how these changes reach fixation in a population, and how to bring in natural selection to the calculation. That gets a little bit more complex than multiplying proportions together – we’re then talking population genetics, and we have to venture into Markov processes. But it doesn’t take more than high-school math.

            • Anonymous

              Isn’t it more like per individual per every 20 year generation? 

              • Ian

                You said, “Isn’t it more like per individual per every 20 year generation? ”

                I said, “So every individual that is born has 20 unique pieces of biochemistry not shared by either parent.”
                So, yes :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        I have continuously given you non-creationist links to back up that what I said above is actually scientific fact.  

        thank you for your wiki references, but i have read hundreds of biology books since 1971 when i started my biology learning curve at UCSD. like many of the people helping you learn the field here, this has been my passion for a lifetime. google Russell Doolittle of blood protein cascade fame, i discussed ICR with him in 1978, perhaps before you were even born.

        • Anonymous

          I was born long before ’78

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        I googled “Genome” on Wiki and found no mention of the genome able to make new information with a different sequence. DNA is incredibly complex and most of what occurs is copying or inheriting. Not random chance. 

        And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  

        wisdom often listens when ignorance speaks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        I googled “Genome” on Wiki and found no mention of the genome able to make new information with a different sequence. DNA is incredibly complex and most of what occurs is copying or inheriting. Not random chance. 

        google “nylon bug” it’s a particularly good example for several reasons: gene duplication, open reading frame, alternative reading frame due to deletion. this is new information ie new protein from the same sequence (minus 1 nucleotide). just trying to contribute to your day researching ET *grin*

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

    Perhaps this will help you understand:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2011/11/monkeys-typewriters-and-evolution.html 

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

    Cdbren, you clearly don’t grasp that the human genome is full of mutations and variations, and that ring species illustrate that species blend seamlessly into one another in cases that we can observe, and all that would have to happen is for the intervening gradated transitional forms to die out and we would have two distinct species.

    So let me try a different tack. How do you know that the genetic variations we can observe, over a time span of millions of years, could not under any circumstances lead to the sorts of significant changes that evolution posits. Were you there? If not, then what is your objection to the piecing together of observable phenomena, transitions across time in the paleontological evidence, genetic evidence of relationship between existing descendants of past animals, and other relevant data, so as to reconstruct as well as we can what most likely occurred? 

  • Anonymous

    James, do you know what the coccoliths reproduction rates are per day? How many could be produced/or reproduced in one day? 

    And their average life cycle. How long they live.If we could know that, then we could calculate how long it would take to add up to 17.5 million cubic kilometres of rock. (Of course not all that is chalk so I am adding a very large upper limit. There is much less chalk than that on the earth’s surface.)

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

    Do you mean coccolithophorids? Or did you mean their production rather than reproduction? Did you actually read anything that was linked to here, mainly for your benefit, offering studies of that very subject? Have you even read the young-earth creationist writings admitting that this is a problem for their viewpoint, if not mainstream scientific studies?

    • Anonymous

      Why is it a problem for them? I would think it is a problem for long age evolutionists. 

      They multiply by 2 to 3 times each. (VERY fast.) Within a few thousand years (rough estimate) there would be enough dead shells to account for not only the chalk formations around the world but also for every other bit of mountain above sea level.

      If the earth was millions of years old I’d suspect we’d have an astronomically deep layer of chalk at the bottoms of oceans.

      Just something to think about and I am just being general here.

  • Craig

    “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them,… (Exodus 20:11) – THAT WAS EASY!

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

    God said, “Let there be a dome…” (Genesis 1:6-7)

    Still think it is so easy?

    • Anonymous

      The word is “firmament” not dome. 

      The original Hebrew word used there for firmament is “raqiya”. It literally means “expanse” or “sky”. It does NOT mean “dome”. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        The word is “firmament” not dome. The original Hebrew word used there for firmament is “raqiya”. It literally means “expanse” or “sky”. It does NOT mean “dome”. 


        i’m curious, how do you know this? what is your evidence as to the english meaning of the hebrew word רָקִיעַ ? why should i trust your interpretation of what the word means?

        • Ian

          Even if firmament is the best modern word to translate it, last I looked, space was far from *firm*. 

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament has an interesting overview. Saying it means “firmament” hardly seems like a significant step forward for biblical “literalists”, since it clearly is nothing of the sort.

          • Ian

            BDB has:

            raqiya – “extended surface (solid), expanse (as if beaten out)  
            1. (flat) expanse (as if of ice) as a base or support. 
            2. the vault of heaven or ‘firmament’ regarded by Hebrews as solid and supporting ‘waters’ above it.”

            [edited to remove textual witnesses, and references to its use in the hebrew bible].

            • Anonymous

              So is the sky firm (solid) or can it fly away? Are the stars firmly in place every time you look up at them? Peoples of all times always thought of the sky as firm. Firmly there.

              • Ian

                “So is the sky firm (solid) or can it fly away?” It is certainly not firm – its rather funny to think of it as anything like firm. And using “firm” metaphorically doesn’t help you – the Hebrew word meant solid, the english translation meant solid to use it metaphorically to mean “unchanging” is no different to reading “day” as “some period of time, possibly hundreds of millions of years” in the creation account.

                “Not a manufactured “dome”” Exactly a manufactured dome. God created it to separate the waters above the dome from the waters below it. This is really what was believed by the people who wrote the Hebrew bible. That you don’t find it convincing is rather the point.

                “is ADDING to the Bible.”

                It really isn’t. No more than mythical beasts, 7 day creation, polytheism, or any of the other things that are in the OT but don’t sit well with some (or most) Christians possessing a modern understanding of the cosmos. 

                It is just inconvenient for you, so you ignore it. Its fine. Nobody who reads the bible does any different. Just most people are aware of what they’re doing and don’t claim to be taking it all word-for-word literally.

                • Anonymous

                  Either it is God’s word or it isn’t. I suppose it is personal choice to believe it or not. But if you don’t believe it is God’s word then you can make it say whatever you want it to say. 

                  About the word “raqiya”, I was trying to say that peoples of that time period considered the sky “solid”. It would make sense that God would use that word. Also, we don’t know what the conditions were prior to the flood. So it is not really an “Aha! Gotcha!” type of situation.

                  Job 26:7 says the earth is hanging on nothing.

                  ————-

                  I am sorry but you are not correct on the word “day”. 

                  In the Hebrew, the word day when referring to “evening and morning” as Genesis does, meant a 24 hour period of time. There is no reason not to take Genesis as literal and the days as 24 hour days. 

                  It is not logical that God would wait each day for an indefinite time period to make the next group of things. I don’t think many plants can survive without pollination, moving of seeds by animals or without sunlight.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                    re:
                    In the Hebrew, the word day when referring to “evening and morning” as Genesis does, meant a 24 hour period of time.  

                    look at gen 1:5
                    5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 

                    God called the light, that is daylight-the period of light=yom.
                    the word yom is being used in 2 different ways in the same verse, the first day-light versus night-dark, the second “day-first” part of the ceation week pattern marker. it is a major part of this great separation-division of order from chaos motif. 

                  • Ian

                    “But if you don’t believe it is God’s word then you can make it say whatever you want it to say.”
                    Quite the opposite. I don’t believe it is God’s word,  I believe it is very firmly a human text written by people trying to make sense of their lives and their environment with the pre-scientific knowledge they had. I believe it contains a multitude of voices, over many many centuries, reflecting a broad range of viewpoints on God and knowledge about the world. I read it as a witness to diversity: from temple-oriented deuteronomy to the temple-hating prophets, from the monotheism of later judaism, to canaan polytheism, from the creation of the world in 7 days, to pi being 3. I take it for what is actually written. Not for what someone has told me to read into it.

                    So I’m *very* happy to believe that the authors of Genesis really did have 24-hour periods in mind when they wrote the creation account. I see no reason to think they were thinking about ages. They really did have such little knowledge of the biota that they though 2 or 14 of each animal would fit on a boat, and they really did think the sky was a vast dome separating the waters above from the waters below.

                    Unlike “inerrancists” I can let the bible say what it actually says, I can take it quite literally and at face value. And those things that are obviously wrong, I can let them be wrong, without losing respect for the writers who believed them to be. I respect the text enough not to filter it or twist it, or make it a metaphor.

                    Its only when you start with the position that the bible has to be right, and only then look at what it has to say, that you need to make it say what you want, in order to fit your presumption.

                    • Ian

                      … and of course this goes for the NT too. 

                      I see no reason to think Jesus didn’t believe in a historical Moses, a historical Adam and Eve. I see no reason to think Jesus wasn’t a 7-day creationist. I see no reason to think Jesus didn’t believe the Kingdom really would come within months or a few years. I have no pre-supposition that requires me to believe he was anything but mistaken on all those counts.

                    • Anonymous

                      You do realize that you sound exactly like the scoffers of Jesus’ day? Denying he is the Christ, that he is God and that Moses’ writings were God’s words? Professing themselves wise but really not wise at all? 

                      I do thank you for being honest and amiable though in your responses. I have come away learning some things about science that I had not realized. 

                    • Ian

                      “and that Moses’ writings were God’s words”

                      Oh its worse than that – there is likely to have been no historical Moses that is recognizable from the stories in the bible, and if there was a kernel of a historical figure, he definitely didn’t write the Pentateuch. There are few things more certain. I’m afraid once you look for any evidence of any of this stuff, it turns out there is none. The Moses of the OT was long ago shown to be a fiction.”Professing themselves wise but really not wise at all? “The problem is that cuts all ways. We have stories of those who scoffed at the Buddha’s teachings too. Presumably you’d be one of those. Which just means you’re not enlightened, you’re trapped in the cycle of rebirth. Doesn’t it?Hubbard spends a lot of time describing the attitudes of the supressive people, and describing (I assume) your attitude toward the truths of Scientology. That you find the idea of alien imprintations controlling your instincts ridiculous sounds like scoffing to me.

                      Most religions have some story that justifies why people disbelieve in that religion, and what their fate is as a result (hint: it usually isn’t pleasant, but fortunately is rarely predicted to occur before death, where it could presumably be actually checked). There are thousands of religions in the world that explain why you don’t believe in them, that put you along with a long history of scoffers and condemners. 

                    • Anonymous

                      Hmm. I looked it up and there was no definite conclusion to that debate. Maybe to you, but to many scholars and professionals in the field, it is still up in the air. (There is a wealth of stories and additional information about Moses in the Jewish apocrypha and in the genre of rabbinical exegesis known as Midrash, as well as in the primary works of the Jewish oral law, the Mishnah and the Talmud.)

                      As far as I know, no other religions have a man that is also God, who rose from the dead and was seen alive again. That died so to pay your sin debt. 

                      I am full aware of ancient myths that sound similar but remember that Adam and Eve all the way to Noah, walked or talked with God and were full aware of a savior promised to do just what he did. It would make sense that other cultures after Noah would incorporate kernels from these stories into their own created religions.

                    • Ian

                      I wasn’t talking about religions that sound similar – there are plenty of religions that sound nothing like it. I don’t see how you can get Scientologist’s aliens and past-life imprints into a Christian framework. Or how about those neo-pagans who talk to and cast spells through Fairies? 

                      Plenty of religions have god-men – it is a very common trope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_have_been_considered_deities
                      Is an incomplete list.

                      Rising from the dead is also not uncommon, from well before Jesus.

                      Christianity is only unique when you put lots of its claims together. But then so is every other religion when you are so specific. But even if that weren’t true, just having a unique claim doesn’t mean the claim is true. As above, I think Scientology has some of the most unique claims – I’m sure we agree that doesn’t make them true.

                      As for the stories of Moses in later Jewish writings, that’s true. But have you read the stories about Jesus that arise in later Christian writings? I’d be *very* surprised if you didn’t think most of them were untrue.

                      Historically (and those on this thread who are actually historians, can correct me, because I’m out of my field by miles here), one can make a tentative presumption that Moses was not a whole-cloth invention, that there is a tradition going back from the writers of the OT to earlier stories and possibly to a historical figure. But one wouldn’t say much more than that without some evidence outside the Hebrew bible, and certainly you won’t find many outside conservative confessional scholarship who would claim there is any evidence for the OT stories about Moses. Some would push it and say there was perhaps some kind of exodus, but not in the way described in the OT.

                    • Anonymous

                      All of your arguments are sound. I don’t doubt what you say is true but I think the Bible, the NT in particular, has some ounce of truth to it that the other God-men stories and rising from the dead do not. 

                      In particular, many other books by other authors that seem to back it up. Rather recent writings compared to other works. 

                    • Beau Quilter

                      The Book of Mormon is more recent. And it has a full succession of inspired Salt Lake City prophets to back it up. After all, they get their word directly from God!

                    • Anonymous

                      Well, that is in direct violation of the Bible. Once Jesus fulfilled the law, no more prophets are needed.

  • Gary

    I must say that I have enjoyed the various comments back and forth. Even David’s rather ridiculous approach to science is amusing, but I can accept his opinions with a smile and not have any malice toward him. However, one comment stopped me dead in my tracks. Anonymous’s statement (doesn’t even have the guts to say who he is), “As a Pastor, I would most certainly excommunicate you from my Church. You are a blot on Christianity”…so anonymous is a pastor? He is judge and executioner, from a Christian pulpit, on someone elses belief in God. That sums up the problem with SOME (not all) right wing Christian factions. Seems as though Jesus’s teachings have been forgotten by them. George Orwell’s 1984′s “ministry of truth” has been established. Or maybe the pigs have taken over the “Animal Farm”.

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

    All the linguistic evidence points to it referring to something solid, and indeed, when the KJV translators rendered it “firmament” they knew, as many KJV-only types today tend not to, that that word meant a “prop” or “support” – it is related to the word “firm.”

    But the young-earth creationist has to deny what the linguistic evidence says at this point because they have already made up their minds that the Bible cannot give voice to a pree-scientific worldview. Hence they end up tampering with the Bible rather than defending it, because it is their belief about the Bible, and not the Bible itself, that is their ultimate authority.

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore “God called the firmament heaven.” Heaven, “shamayim” meaning “to be lofty, the sky, aloft”. It also has the meaning of what you see when you look up at the sky. 

    The key to understanding the bible is reading the entire context. In this case Gen.1:1-8. Not just pulling a verse out and trying to put your own personal spin on it. 

  • Gary

    Pot – a – to, pot – au – to….”So is the sky firm (solid)”. For those space aliens aboard the space shuttle, coming into the atmosphere at 20000 miles an hour, the atmosphere can burn you up pretty good. From that reference point, firm is more likely than non-firm.

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

    Cdbren,vclearly believing that the Bible is the Word of God does not prevent people from twisting it to mean what they want. Otherwise, you would not be trying so hard to deny that the author of Genesis made reference to a solid support for the waters above, when the linguistic evidence points clearly in that direction.

    Unfortunately, it seems that if anything is likely to lead one to twist the meaning of the Bible, it is committment to its inerrancy. Once someone has decided beforehand that the Bible must be historically, factually, scientifically and in all other ways preecisely correct and accurate, then they will twist, deny, and in other ways force the text to fit this prior committment. For such people, their doctrine of Scripture actually leads them to deny the clear meaning of Scripture, and no evidence even from the Bible or any other source seems capable of changing their minds. The hardness of their hearts leads them to believe that they are following God, and yet once they have set their doctrine of Scripture above all else, including Scripture itself, it is unclear how God could ever get through to them to teach them the error of their ways.

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

    Cdbren, whatever one may think of the Book of Mormon, what you wrote is in direct violation of the Bible. The Book of Revelation claims to be prophecy after Jesus. Paul refers to prophecy in the Corinthian church as well as others. You are ignoring what the Bible says, as usual, because your beliefs about it are more important than what it actually says.

    • Anonymous

      John was a chosen apostle of Jesus who was commissioned to speak God’s word. Of course Revelations was Prophecy. John was a prophet, chosen by Jesus. (The NT was not completed until all the books were written.)

      Heb. 1:1 says that Jesus speaks to us now instead of prophets.

      So therefore there is no need for any “new Prophecy”. You could say a Pastor has a gift of prophecy, but not in the sense that any new revelation is to be given. It is only to edify, exhort, and comfort but not predict anything or add anything new to God’s word. 

      The holy spirit is now given to be a Christian’s counselor. 

      No more need for priests nor prophets now that we have Jesus and His words. Of course, there will be false prophets. Jesus warns of them.

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

    You are still contradicting what you wrote earlier. Your last comment is in fact self-contradictory. Either there can be prophecy after Jesus, or Revelation is doing something wrong.

    And how exactly do you know that the author of Revelation was chosen by Jesus? Are you assuming that he is John the Apostle? Are you simplpy taking him at his word? Are you committed to the authority of the Church that chose these writings to be included in the canon (ignoring Martin Luther’s qualms about it)?

    • Anonymous

      Jesus gave John that revelation! The apostles were chosen to be God’s spokesmen. So it isn’t doing anything wrong. It completes the NT. If you cared to at least study it, prophecy (new revelation) was there until the completing of the NT.

      What you are doing is not questioning me, you are questioning God and His words. You are questioning whether God actually exists and if he could present us with His word in complete form. (Which He can and did).

      You claim you are a born again Christian but your very words betray you.

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

    You are presumably Roman Catholic, and so are committed to the view that the church has vouchsafed the apostolicity of canonical texts. As a Protestant myself, I cannot simply accept those decisions, nor can I pretend that the Bible simply descended from heaven as a pre-packaged whole. Martin Luther questioned the canonicity of Revelation. While I am happy for it to be part of the canon, I recognize that there are few reasons to accept that the John who wrote it was John the son of Zebedee, and many reasons to question that attribution.

    I am not questioning whether God could do this or that. I simply know enough about the history of the church and of the Bible to know that what you seem to believe God did, he did not do, and it is for me to make sense of the Bible I have actually received, not to pretend that God did otherwise because my preconceptions say he must have.

    • Anonymous

      As far as I know, Protestants accept the Canonicity of the NT.

      Most of the NT books were already in use by the early churches and they all meet the criteria for being inspired from God. 

      So are you saying, that in your opinion, God gave us bits and pieces of His words and then allowed men to just throw other books into it? That the Bible is not necessarily God’s words but only say they are? That God intentionally misled millions of people? 

      How do you know that it isn’t all God’s word and that he allowed what was to be in it? How do you know he did not do this? 

      Do you trust that God’s word is “God breathed”, “It is alive”, that the word was made flesh? That all words in the OT and NT bible are Jesus’ words? 

      Usually I base all my conclusions on God’s word, what it says about God’s nature, God’s plan. Doing otherwise would be trusting my own faulty ideas and conclusions. Which you seem to be doing. 

      I don’t think God will fault you for believing what is supposed to be His word with no definite proof that it is not.

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

    Hmm, I suspect that you would disagree with anyone who used that last statement as a justification for accepting anything that you don’t view as Scripture.

    In addition to learning about the natural sciences, you might want to study the history of the Bible. I think you will be surprised if you learn the long and complex process by which the Book of Revelation made it into the canon.

    But the main issue is not what is or is not included in the Bible, but your two assumptions that (1) the church had no role in the process in deciding what to include or exclude, as though the whole descended from heaven in a single volume, and (2) your assumption that anything the church included must be inerrant by mere virtue of the fact that they gave it canonical status.

    You claim to view the Bible as authoritative, and yet you seem not to know or care what it is or how it came to be.

    • Anonymous

      It is God’s living word that came from God. Of course.

      Canonical history

      Revelation was accepted into the canon at the Council of Carthage of 397 AD.[28] Revelation’s place in the canon was not guaranteed, however, with doubts raised as far back as the 2nd century about its character, symbolism, and apostolic authorship.[29]

      2nd century Christians in Syria rejected it because Montanism, a sect which was deemed to be heretical by the mainstream church, relied heavily on it.[30] In the 4th century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including Revelation because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the risk of abuse. In the 16th century, Martin Luther initially considered it to be “neither apostolic nor prophetic” and stated that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it”,[31] and placed it in his Antilegomena, i.e. his list of questionable documents, though he did retract this view in later life.

      In the same century, John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary.[32] It remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church, though it is included in Catholic and Protestant liturgies.

      According to Merrill Unger and Gary N. Larson, in spite of the objections that have been raised over the years, Revelation provides a logical conclusion, not just to the New Testament, but to the Christian Bible as a whole, and there is a continuous tradition dating back to the 2nd century which supports the authenticity of the document, and which indicates that it was generally included within the, as yet unformalized, canon of the early church.[33]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation#Canonical_history

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

    How do you know it came from God, and how does that fit with Revelation’s troubled history of non-acceptance by many parts of the church throughout many centuries of the church’s history?

    When it comes to a question like who wrote Revelation, do you simply accept church tradition? Do you use historical deduction? Or do you claim to have the truth divinely revealed to you? I think that any of those will be at odds with at least some of the things you have written here thus far.

    • Anonymous

      I believe what I posted answers one or two of your questions. 

      Who wrote Revelations? It claims itself that Jesus gave it to the writer so I would deduce that Jesus is the originator of Revelations and whoever wrote it, wrote it. Experts seem to think there is enough authenticity evidence to say John the Apostle wrote it. 

      Personal study has shown me that it is in harmony with the rest of the NT writings. The experts seem to think so too.

      How do you know it didn’t come from God? 

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

    And so anyone who claims that Jesus spoke to them, the writing must be apostolic? Or is that only the case if the church also said so?

    You have not answered my question. How do you draw your conclusions about a matter like this?

    If Revelation is by John the Apostle, then given how different the Greek is, to whom do you attribute the Gospel and letters of “John”?

    • Ian

      Apropos of nothing (and not wanting to derail the fascinating exchange with cdbren) – I had someone claim to me that the reason the Greek was so different was that John literally had his mind blown by the experience, it sent him insane, and it was as much as he could do to get it down on paper. Novel rationalisation I thought – but maybe the person had been reading too much Lovecraft.

      • Anonymous

        That was a funny one. Lovecraft…..

    • Anonymous

      Your question does not make sense. Just because Jesus spoke to someone does not make them an apostle. Jesus specifically chose the 12 and gave them special authority. 

      Correct me if I am wrong, but revelations does open with the name John mentioned a few times and states that he was imprisoned at Patmos for talking/preaching about the gospel. I don’t know Greek so how would I know if the Greek differed? I do see that experts that studied it as far back as they could said it was authentic. (Merrill Unger and Gary N. Larson).

      Why do you continuously question God’s word? Is it because if you would take God’s word as God breathed truth that you would then have to reject the religion of naturalism? (Evolution)

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

    I don’t question God’s word. I do question your treatment of the writings of early Christian apostles, prophets, and others who wrote in the names of those individuals as though they were the very words of God. 

    But you’ve hit on an important issue. You don’t know Greek, and have not taken the time to learn from those who do, and so you’re not aware of what the Bible is, what the character of these writings are. Just as you don’t know biology, paleontology and genetics, and have not taken the time to learn from those who do. 

    But even though you have never taken the time to inform yourself adequately about either the Bible or science, you confidently treat the views you happen to have adopted from others or come up with yourself as though they are divinely ordained.

    Have you no fear of God, that you allow yourself to be controlled and misled by your pride in this way?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.–Caesar in Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw

    • Allen

      Dr. McGrath…it took six days.  God told me so in Exodus 20.  I take Him at His Word…yea, let God be true and every man a liar.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D1xDjLG4W0

    • Anonymous

      Are you serving the creature more than the creator?

      Did you know that David spoke of creation and believed in Genesis as history?

      Did you know Isaiah spoke of creation and trusted the Genesis account as history? (I could list dozens of more examples.)

      I am not misled. The Bible is composed the way it it because God is in control as He says He is. It can be 100% trusted. I have studied it extensively as well as the history of it. From various sources. 

      I have studied evolution ideas. They make guesses and theories about natural things God put in place for species to adapt to changing environments. They reject God who made natural selection. They reject the worldwide flood that created the fossil record and many of earth’s features. 

      Being saved by Christ, I do not fear God but respect and reverence Him as being far above me, myself not worthy of anything. 

      I follow God’s word, not my own ideas. So I am wondering which one of us really trusts God? Which one of us is really guilty of pride? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:

      But even though you have never taken the time to inform yourself adequately about either the Bible or science, you confidently treat the views you happen to have adopted from others or come up with yourself as though they are divinely ordained. 

      i think this is one of the most important lines in this long conversation.
      ignorance and confidence. lack of knowledge and the certainty of conviction. i do not know if YECists are simply ignorant, or deceived, or malicious, but i do see an unwarranted confidence, a public certainty that they are right while science is wrong. how do people get to this point? there is so much to understand and learn, how are they so sure about the little they have learned?

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

    Allen, if you are right that these are God’s words, then do you believe in the dome, and the number given for pi?

    You might as well simply accept Matthew’s claim that there are three groups of fourteen generations in his genealogy of Jesus, ignoring what happens if you count them, and the fact that he leaves some generations out that are in Chronicles. Treating numbers in the Bible as inerrant flies in the face of the evidence the Bible itself provides.
    Are you not guilty of idolatry, in claiming the words of an ancient Israelite author are God’s words?

    • Allen

      Dr. McGrath…you have a carnal mind – I honestly cannot believe anyone can call you Christian, including yourself.  You speak as an atheist (I cannot tell the difference)…I wish you would realize, Dr. McGrath, that naturalistic science is the victim of the supernatural act of creation whereby God worked in such a way to counfound the folks who will continue to feast on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (seeing it is good to make one wise). God does not bless the carnal mind…he confounds it. The parables are an example of this. God is capable of placing a star in the sky that can hover over where Christ was AND make an army (as I indicated days ago) hear a sound that was not there (2 Kings 7:6). This should tell you that God can use nature how He pleases. Let God be true and every man a liar! The idea that God would be a liar because (in the case of the creationist message) He did not allow natural laws to shape the universe is unfounded. To say that all nature HAS TO BE “TRUE” in the sense that everything has to be explained by natural causes is also unfounded. God never said that it would be that way. In six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth – I still trust that phrase in union with Genesis 1 (night, day, evening, morning…simple). Signed…a wise “fool” for Christ – by His grace.

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

    If you studied either the Bible or science seriously, or perhaps both, you could avoid making egregious errors of fact and mistaking your assumptions for things that are supported by evidence.

    By making the words of human beings in the Bible out to be the words of the creator, it is you who are serving humans rather than God. And then you have the audacity to malign those who study the handiwork of the Creator and speak honestly about it. Shame on you!

    • Anonymous

      If you would read said Bible you would see I am not making the words of human beings into the words of the creator. The Bible itself says they are. I am merely trusting it at it’s word. Written by Godly men and confirmed by multitudes of witnesses. 

      Theopneustos, James. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

      What is the nature of your God? I would guess it is NOT the God of the Bible but the false god of naturalism. 

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

    You are simply making things up, and then blaming those who do not accept them of being carnal. Such exercises in self-justification of one’s own conceit are what the Bible clearly defines as an attitude dominated by the flesh, and not what I pursue, which is honesty about the Bible and about the created order, which the Bible says testifies to the glory of God. But you would deny the truthfulness of those very statements in the Bible, in order to defend the truthfulness of other select statements you pick and choose. 

    Your attitude is all the more egregious because of your attitude of boasting and certainty of your own rightness. I think you need to study the Bible not only more carefully, but with a greater openness to having it point out your own faults, rather than assuming that it will applaud you and condemn those you are inclined to disagree with.

    • Anonymous

      I do not think Allen was boasting of anything. Or is certain of any thing about his rightness. He is speaking about wisdom from the Bible and what God has said, not man. 

      You yourself have admitted that the words in the Bible are from man and not inspired by God. A direct opposite of what the Bible teaches. 

      James, fossils do not lay around for thousands of years and then get buried gradually. They get buried (and are shown to have been buried) by a deluge. By sediment that was deposited very fast.

      The created “order” you speak of is merely the flood waters killing all air breathing animals and humans not on the ark and burying their remains quickly. It testifies to the flood, so in a certain way you are correct. 

      You have also not answered many of my questions. Mainly if Coccolithophores that are from between 1 million or 500 million years ago, take a long time to form chalk formations, then why is there not mountains of chalk all over the earth by now? Even 1 million years would produce mass amounts of it. 

    • Craig

      Trusting in the word of God over our own intuition is humility.  You have it very much backwards.  You are the one, Dr. McGrath who is brutally arrogant and proud.  What comes to mind here is the passage in Romans…Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3).  You are a preacher of your own speculations…while I have taken the word of God as a child and am giving that as truth…takes humility – by God’s grace.  You are a disgrace to the name, Christian.  THE BOASTING I HAVE IS IN THE WORD OF GOD…NOT MY OWN SELF.

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

    “Written by Godly men” – how do you know that?
    “Written by Godly men” – whose word you trust when they claim to speak with the voice of God, and whose very words you deny when they themselves emphasize that the speak “foolishly, and not according to the Lord,” as Paul does in 2 Corinthians.

    Do you not see that you could make the same circular argument regarding the Qur’an, or indeed any text at all? Do you think that faith is something that one must be born into? Because you treat your beliefs as something which one must already share, and not something to which one can be introduced persuasively. In so doing, you hinder the Gospel.

    • Anonymous

      You are putting limits on God’s power. Are men in control on Earth or is God in control? Which is it? 

      God is so powerless as to not be able to control the whole process of the 66 books ending up in the Bible? How do you, yourself, pick and choose as those that canonized the Bible? What makes you think you have more abilities than they did?

      The Qur’an you say? Well, I just so happen to have one translated to English right here and have read it. It does not make claims as the Bible does. It was written by one man in a cave. One book with nothing to harmonize with. The Bible has 66 books by 44, give or take, authors and it all harmonizes. All claims that they are words from God.

      So no, you can’t make the same circular argument regarding the Qur’an.

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

    As I have said before, the issue cannot usefully be framed in terms of what God could or could not do. If it is, I can challenge your piety for insisting that God created in six days, which seems to deny that he could have created instantaneously. 

    As for the Bible being harmonious, that is the very issue at hand, and whenever you are presented with evidence to the contrary, you say that the Bible must be harmonious, because it is the Word of God. But now you use its harmoniousness as an argument that it is the Word of God. Can you see the problematic circularity?

    One needs only to take the genealogies in Matthew and Luke the see a lack of harmoniousness… 

    • Anonymous

      You understand nothing. God created in six days to establish the idea of a week. That is why we use 7 days to signify a week. How do you know what processes went into creation or that it would have been wise to do it in an instant? Were you there? 

      God always uses natural processes. That is why he used men to write his words and men to compile the Bible. 

      I believe the genealogies were explained by another poster. Luke goes from Jesus back to Adam. Matthew goes from Abraham down to Joseph. They would naturally not harmonize. If you are confused on this one simple matter…well….

      • Ian

        “God always uses natural processes. ” – wait – did I miss something. Because a couple of hundred posts in this comment thread were about how God used a supernatural process, weren’t they?

        • Anonymous

          You are lurking. 

          I think God using natural processes along with supernatural power go hand in hand. 

          If you are trying to say that evolution from one family to another is a natural process, I would say it is not natural at all. It is merely a guess at what MIGHT have happened. Natural selection and speciation, they are natural. Mutations are natural but a result of the sin curse. They are not beneficial. 

          • Beau Quilter

            “Mutations are natural but a result of the sin curse.”
            What cdbren is doing can’t even be called bad religions or bad science. He’s just making stuff up!

            • Anonymous

              Thorns would be considered natural but were not there before sin either. 

      • Craig

        God bless you, friend…

  • Herpy McDerp

    I live in a country where most people don’t care about religion. I’ve never met a creationist in real life.

    Reading the comments here makes me feel like I’ve accidentally walked into a mental hospital.

    • Craig

      Honestly…to see a group of folks believing that this all happened by accident would make me feel as though I walked into a mental hospital…no offense to you.  It is just that a supernatural Creator is what the universe preaches about…to deny it is to, well, be in denial.

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

    You understand nothing. God created in eons to introduce us to the eon. No, wait, he created in a second to introduce us to the second. No, wait…

    Don’t you get that you are just offering ad hoc rationalizations for what you want to believe? 

    God uses natural processes – yes! Finally we are making progress, hopefully on both the scientific and Biblical fronts.

    You do realize that both genealogies connect Abraham to David and Jesus to Joseph, but in between David and Joseph diverge, right? If you get confused by this simple matter, then you had better not count Matthew’s generations to check his math…

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

    No, you are guessing about whom God spoke to and when. Evolution, on the other hand, is supported well by genetic, fossil, and anatomical evidence.

    One can indeed make a case for belief in God. But not by pretending that the Bible is flawless nor by pretending that the scientific evidence is weak when it is strong.

    • Anonymous

      Evidence is all well and fine but it never speaks. Guessing that those natural processes somehow can maybe cause evolution is not fact. 

      What genetics shows that evolution from a single cell to man or from a fish to a bird happens? What fossil evidence shows that? What anatomical evidence shows that? Similar design features? 

      Similarity does not mean evolution. Small beak to big beak does not mean evolution. Bacteria resistance does not mean evolution. Mutations does not mean evolution. The fossil record does not show evolution, in fact testifies against it. All of those processes you mentioned uses information already there. Loses information already there. Selects from dormant abilities already there. 

      That complex new information can just appear or anatomical features, that were not present in that species family, can just fix to a new species type is purely a guess. Actually it is against scientific evidence. 

      Information in genetics does not come from random processes. Science shows information comes from an intelligence. A living creature is more complex than our best computers today. Much more. 

      • Ian

        “That complex new information can just appear or anatomical features, that were not present in that species family, can just fix to a new species type is purely a guess. Actually it is against scientific evidence. ”

        Yes, and it would be against the predictions of evolution too. In fact if we saw that happen, it would be a good disproof of evolution. You do like railing against things that nobody actually believes.

        If you don’t know about evolution and don’t even use the word to mean the right thing, how can you possibly hope to know enough to say what is or isn’t evidence for it? How can you expect to know enough to make such bold statements?

        • Anonymous

          So basically evolution says a bunch of small changes (natural selection, mutations) can eventually lead to a big change, given enough time and the right conditions? And you admit it is a guess as you say they have not seen it happen.

          I mean to say, the small changes have been seen happening but not a big change. (By a small change I would mean a smaller or larger beak for instance which is still a beak.)

          • Ian

            You said new anatomical features can just appear, or can fix to a new species – neither of which are the gradual accumulation of changes.

            Complex information doesn’t just suddenly arrive – it is made up of smaller bits of information. (and, again, “information” isn’t quite the right word, but I get what you mean by it).

            You already agreed that such ‘beneficial mutations’ could arise – but you stopped in the middle of figuring out the math of how common they should be.

            • Anonymous

              Ian, I understand what you are saying. I just don’t agree that enough mutations can make anything complex and beneficial in the long run. 

              I think a bird will always stay a bird type. I think there is more to the reproduction of a species than we know of. 

              I am going to go out on a limb and suggest a “what if”. 

              What if it is possible both of us are right. That given enough time, the evidence you see within genetics, that God put there to allow species to adapt to differing climates, could cause new features to arise. New families to arise eventually. 

              What if creation did happen 10,000 years ago? Then there has not been enough time for that to happen yet if the Earth is not millions of years old.

               

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                What if creation did happen 10,000 years ago? Then there has not been enough time for that to happen yet if the Earth is not millions of years old. 

                yet there has been enough time for the world to be repopulated after a global Noahic flood? including the marsupials in OZ, found nowhere else. YECism has evolution happening many orders of magnitude faster in order to have a global food followed by a worldwide diaspora from mt ararat. 

                • Anonymous

                  I do believe it is easily possible. In 10 generations the population could easily be 106 people. In 20 generations it could be 6,600. In 30 generations 386,000. In 52 generations over 4 billion people.

                  That is roughly in only 1,800 years. (One generation being 35 years old and each family having 3 children.) 

                  So marsupials are mainly found in Australia but there are other branches of the family like the opossum and shrew opossums which are in North and South America. 
                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10774536

                  Could be that they merely only got to Australia from the ark and migrated no farther. 

              • Ian

                “I just don’t agree that enough mutations”
                I understand, but the question isn’t one that is resolved by opinion. You have to work it through – look at the biochemistry of the major phylogenetic differences, and the amount of evolution needed to cause them. Look at the speed of mutation, figure out how fast natural selection can work, and so on. And you get a result that suggests it is totally feasible. As I said, happy to work through the numbers.

                “I think a bird will always stay a bird type. ”

                Again, evolutionary biology would predict somewhat the same thing. There is no discontinuity in the evolution of species. There is no point where a bird becomes a not-bird. If after a huge amount of time you end up with creatures that do not appear to be birds, you’d expect to find that anatomically and genetically they are still more similar to other birds than to, say, mammals. A good example would be aquatic mammals. Though they function very much like some large fish, their anatomy and biology is mammalian. There’s no point where they’d become “not-mammal”, and more than a mammal could become “not-vertibrate”, or “not-eukaryote”. If you look at whale biology, you see that although the coarse features of their locomotion is very similar to fish, the *way* they solve that problem is completely different, and consistent with mammalian biology. If you found that suddenly a descendent of a bird became a not-bird, it would be pretty damning evidence against evolution.

                “What if it is possible both of us are right. ”

                Yes, so here’s the crux of it. There is no way to show that God did not create the world 10,000 years ago (we call this an unfalsifiable hypothesis), with the features apparent in the cosmos. If the earth was created 10,000 years ago there has been *nowhere* near enough time for evolution to have generated the diversity of life on earth. If you start with the axiom that life started 10,000 years ago, then one can simply conclude life didn’t come to be how it is by long-term evolutionary change. In fact, if the earth was only a few millions of years old, there would not be enough time either.

                What one can say, in that case, is that God created creatures not just with genetic similarity, but with hierarchical similarity (I can explain more about that if you’d like), which is exactly what you’d expect from a ‘tree’ of common ancestors. And he further created creatures to use a mechanism of genetic change to adapt to their environments that is consistent with the same patterns. That he engineered radioactivity, geology and biology to tell a consistent but wrong story about the age of the earth. 

                This gets to the point James was making at the start: that either God is rather deceitful, or else one needs to come up with a theological rationalisation why he’d choose to make one thing look like another (the suggestion was that God deliberately did this to confound the wise – though obviously that doesn’t play nicely with the Christian idea that evidence for God is written in creation).

                And it is *this* point which is where creationists, by and large, diverge. Because what are your alternatives? Its either to mud-sling at the science, and say that it isn’t true that creation appears to be old. Or else it is to accept a slightly uncomfortable characteristic of God. Clearly some creationists go in both direction, depending on where they feel most comfortable. But equally clearly, those who try to take pot-shots at the science, are vastly more likely to be uninformed about the breadth and depth of the field.

                The problem with the creationist critique of science is its sheer breadth. You have to challenge biology, genetics, paleontology, geology, nuclear physics, astronomy, anthropology, and so on. And while you can come up with some post-hoc rationalisation why *any* piece of data is wrong (you come up with a story why certain types of radiometric dating are suspect, say), the fact that they all are wrong in exactly the same way, that is harder to sound like your not just making it up. Eventually you have to argue from conspiracies: that the hundreds of thousands of professional scientists in tens of diverse fields, are conspiring to tell a story of an old earth.

                Because I don’t have skin in the theological game, I’m always happier to see that angle taken. But I guess folks like James don’t enjoy seeing God accused of that kind of duplicity.

                • Anonymous

                  Ian, there are some Christian scientists that show life could have diversified to what it is now in less than 10,000 years, through natural selection.

                  Have you heard of the island of Surtsey? It isolated yet life came back to it very fast after a volcano erupted.

                  I believe the creation event could have created what we now see in geology as apparent long ages. The same goes for distant starlight. I don’t think God is deceitful. If he made it look young when the creation events really did age the earth, then he would be being deceitful. 

                  I have also seen numerous problems evolutionists have faced that do not match up to their way of thinking. Of course those kinds of things are not admitted to easily. It is not so cut and dry as you want it to sound. 

                  I am enjoying the conversations and value the time you are taking to discussing things honestly. 

                  • Ian

                    I don’t know what you’re trying to say – you think evolution could cause the diversity of life to occur in 10,000 years? Or you think credible scientists (Christian or otherwise) claim it could? That seems to fly in the fact of what you’ve been saying all along, so I don’t understand. Either way, it is pretty simple to show mathematically that evolution can’t work that fast, so its rather a moot point. The “scientists” who claim such are either wrong, or you’re misunderstanding them.

                    Surtsey is a biolcolonization nature reserve. Its inhabitants all have known or obvious vectors, and in most cases can be tracked to specific events. I suspect any evolutionary change on the island is rather irrelevant to the ecologists who focus on it. Does anyone claim that the life on Surtsey *evolved* to its current form?

                    Your third paragraph doesn’t make sense to me: I may be misunderstanding what you’re trying to say. If God made it look young, when it was created 10,000 years ago, that would have been deceitful? I don’t get that at all. Of course God could have created distant starlight already in transit, but I don’t get why that wouldn’t be rather deceitful – since the obvious conclusion is that the light actually came from the star.

                    As for the “problems”, you haven’t yet shown a basic understand of what evolution is or what evolutionary biologists think, so forgive me if I don’t take the “problems” you have seen very seriously. It is easy to confuse what one doesn’t understand with what is not understandable.

                    Scientists *always* have problems. If they didn’t, science would stop. Problems are what they work on. It is highly tendentious to use that to suggest that any of the basics of either evolution or an old earth are in the slightest doubt among the hundreds of thousands of professional scientists who don’t work for conservative Christian organizations.

                    My point is still good – creationists as far as I can see don’t have any idea of the breadth and consistency of evidence for an old earth. Because AiG and its ilk focus instead on slinging mud on individual results, and positing (unfalsifiable) post-hoc rationalisation for single features. They never address the fact that, even if the things they say were true, the astronomical improbability of them all giving indications that are wrong in the same direction, by the same amount. Such a discrepancy is either a feature of design (God wanted it to be misleading) or is no discrepancy at all.

                    • Anonymous

                      Ian, I am going to try to explain my line of reasoning/logic from what God has (presumably) stated.

                      It says he created Adam and Eve perfect. Now, if there were no parents to birth a child and a baby would not last long without help he had to make them as adults. The fact they looked “old” is not deceitful. (He tells us clearly that he made them in one day to be prefect.)

                      If God created the universe to be complete and in working order he would have had to use forces that enabled that. Stretching star light or placing it in transit, in my opinion would be deceitful. It would have been more like stretching out the entire universe in time. Of course this would also make everything “look” old. Again, not deceitful as it had to be that way to be “very Good” and in full working order.

                      Now the earth would follow the same. The Bible says he made dry land appear. How did this happen in just one day? What geological forces could raise land up under the vast ocean in 24 hours? This could “look” old as well but yet not be deceitful. (After all, he guided Moses to write that it did indeed take only a day for the process.)

                      The rest is just seeing natural selection and aspects in biology that can allow creatures to adjust to changing climates and then naturally assuming that after a long period of time things could evolve. I am not saying that isn’t possible. I am saying God provided a genealogy to clearly show how long man and creatures have been here.

                      So in conclusion I think that the hundreds of thousands of scientists you mention are seeing exactly what God created. A fully functioning universe, fully functioning Earth and fully functioning ecosystem without deceit of any kind as he clearly has expressed that they were all created in 6 days.
                      In it’s fully functioning, adult stage.

                      It is just that you as well as them choose to ignore or overlook that bit of evidence from God’s word. Following a slightly wrong conclusion to what can be seen and detected. Wrongly accusing God of being deceitful or in error when it is the exact opposite. 

                      James saying what we see and test around us in nature should lead us to the truth and then disregarding what God clearly states in Genesis. That He created everything “Very good” and in full working order.  

                    • Ian

                      Okay, so let me try to rephrase what you’re saying.

                      There are two clocks we could look at.

                      There’s the clock of the earth and cosmos itself, the internal clock. The clock of radioactive decay, or the speed of light, say. If we look at that the cosmos is billions of years old.

                      And there is “God’s clock” (for want of a better word). This is the clock referred to in the bible when it talks about 6 (24-hour) days for creation.

                      And right now the two clocks are in sync. And have been for some time.

                      But if you go back the full 10,000 (or however many) years on God’s clock, you go back about 15 billion years on the cosmic clock. Thus God compressed cosmic time into a smaller duration in his time.

                      —-

                      Is that a reasonable summary of your understanding of creationism and why the cosmos looks old?

                      Again, not condemning or condoning (though my view on it is probably easy to guess ;) ) – I just haven’t heard it put quite this way.

                    • Anonymous

                      Yes Ian, I think you have it. Not that I am right in any way in what I said. Just trying to show my own or other Christian’s view points using the Bible as a starting point of how we all got here. 

                      I don’t necessarily think God purposefully compressed time, no more than I think God purposely created Adam as a baby and then somehow sped up time so he was an adult. I believe he created Adam in full adult form not to deceive but to be able to say Adam was “very good”. To make him fully functioning without using some arbitrary processes. 

                      The same goes for the universe and Earth. He made it fully functioning and complete. The fact that those processes makes it look old is a natural effect. (Think of the sun. God did not make it a point of energy and then age it to be the star we see now. He made it in full functioning form.) Making anything look otherwise would be deceitful.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      i first saw this creationist idea several decades ago in a discussion about the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in cana. like you they proposed a fully functioning mature creation with a history. the problem is that a history is deceitful. 

                      if the wine at the wedding came in bottles with a label stating they were produced at a specific vinery then the label would be a faked history, the wine was water moments ago. equivalently an earth made 10k years ago but with a history of snow fall in glaciers, of summers of pollen in lake beds, and tree rings showing years of growth is a lie, those processes never occurred, but rather like the fake label are a fraudulent history.

                    • Anonymous

                      I understand your conflicts with it. Not everything can be applied that you stated. 

                      Let me comment on the tree rings. If God created a tree in it’s full adult form then you would require that it have no rings at all inside? Wouldn’t that be deceitful? 

                      It would be like creating Adam in baby form but able to walk and talk like an adult. If it is in fully functioning form then it would look that way.

                      In other words, why would he create what is supposed to be an adult tree with no rings? It would not then be an adult tree so therefore would look like a trick.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      It says he created Adam and Eve perfect.  

                      no. it does not.
                      in gen 1, creation is pronounced tov-good. and finally tov meod-very good. interestingly the couple themselves are not specifically called tov. gen 1:26-30.

                      nowhere in gen 2-3 are either adam or eve pronounced good. rather the word is used to state that it is not tov for man to be alone.

                      tov is not equivalent to our latin derived perfect. it means complete, suitable, well built as to it’s purpose, without any of the connotations of without error or mistakes that perfect has. 

                      look at the idea that it was not good for man to be alone. no suitable mate was to be found. it is all about design to a purpose. that is what tov is all about, not perfection is some absolute sense.

                    • Anonymous

                      Richard, I think you are over looking Genesis 1:31 which encompasses everything He made. So yes, he did pronounce Adam and Eve “very good” as well as everything else he made. 

                      “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was mod towb.”

                      mod (wholly, exceedingly, mightily) towb (good in the widest sense, best)

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

                      @cdbren:disqus  you are clearly just copying things from some poor interlinear, I presume, not realizing that the order of words in Hebrew is different. The phrase you are looking for is tov me’od.

                      Why is it that people who do not even know the basics of Hebrew make sweeping assertions about the meanings of words? Do they not grasp that the meaning, usage and nuance of words is not something that one gets just by utilizing a dictionary? Are all such people monolingual?

                    • Anonymous

                      Yes, it is reversed in Hebrew. For Good morning they would say Yom tov. 

                      It would be then silly for me to tell you in English that the person greeted me with “Morning good!” 

                      But English doesn’t go that way. So I reversed it around to the way we would say it in English. To the way it would be stated as our translation. Why even bring that up other than to try some petty jab at discrediting me?

    • Craig

      In six days – the Lord made the heavens and the earth…easy!!  Humility accepts….pride denies!!

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

    It is a deduction based on the evidence for all things being related geneticslly and the evidence for change in the fossil record over time. If you have a real objection to deduction, then please stop deducing that God spoke in the past based on the existence of mere texts in the present. If you allow for such deduction, then please stop with the nonsensically selective objections.

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

    Craig, if you are willing to listen to the “testimony” of the universe, then do so. But young-earth creationists in fact accept both the Bible and science very selectively.

    Don’t pretend that this is a disagreement about whether there is a Creator. It is about listening to what the universe “preaches” vs. not doing so, and according to some commenters here, the universe preaches lies, or the Creator has left misleading evidence in the created order.

    • Craig

      You haven’t heard a single thing that I have said, have you?

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

    And yet you ignore the place in that same passage where Paul says that what can be known of God is made plain to all through what was made. And you ignore that the whole reason for what we call “chapter 1″ is precisely to then turn the tables on anyone who joined in the condemnation. It is a prophetic trap that goes back at least as far as prophets like Nathan and Amos, and yet even though you claim to know the Bible, you walked right into it nonetheless…

    • Craig

      Dr. McGrath…the passage talks about people who suppress the truth about God…and that the invisible attributes of God from the creation of the world – even His eternal power and divine nature – are clearly seen.  That’s all…so that means, we give in to full scale particles to people evolution??!!!  Is that what the passage says???  I think you are reading into that passage…it goes on to talk about people who are VAIN in their imaginations…if the theory of evolution isn’t vain, I do not know what is.  Seems you use the Bible to justify your vain studies concerning the speculations of science??  Why??  Because the fruit on the tree is good to make one wise.  Look in your heart, Dr. McGrath.  You are against God.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        You are against God. 

        is it Christ-like to engage in such inappropriate conversation? if you have something against a brother, first take your concerns to him privately. matt 18:15. 

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

    God made a dome – easy!

    It is in fact relatively easy today to study what God has made and to understand it.

    But as you said, “pride denies”…

    • Craig

      ????  God made a dome??

      • Anonymous

        Craig, James is using an incorrect translation of raqiya or raqia as “dome” rather than the translation most language experts use which is “expanse”. 

        Genesis 1:6 “And God said let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

        Genesis 1:8 “And God called the expanse heaven.”

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

    Yes, Genesis says that God made a dome – unless you have one of those Bibles that panders to people who think they should accept everything the Bible says, including about the cosmos, and so translate it less literally, ironically reinforcing those people’s belief that they are taking the Bible literally.

    And because I am refusing to allow you to twist both the Bible and science, supposedly I am against God? I pray that one day you will see how far off the mark your judgment was at this stage in your life, and repent.

    Although particles-to-people seems to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding, I still don’t see why you think it would be beyond God to make a universe capable of just that. Something much faster and arguably more remarkable happens when a child is conceived and develops into a fully formed human being. It is remarkable, it is comprehensible from a scientific perspective, and it is no slight on God’s honor to affirm that it is both.

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

    Cdbren, please name those language experts who say that the word raqi’a means “expanse” in some vague sense, rather than something solid thought to be capable of holding up the waters above.

    Are you saying that the King James Version was wrong at this point? Or do you just like the NIV because its translators translated the word less literally, so that you can believe you are taking the Bible literally?

    • Anonymous

      You are using an erroneous translation.

      Check here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=firmament

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

    Cdbren, Raqi’a comes from a root that means to stretch out by hammering, as one does with metal. And so there is no need to posit a misunderstanding, especially as the Syriac root can have the same meaning, to stretch out and make thin, as one does in metalworking (see Payne Smith p.549).

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

    Richard, I know that in my own case, I had a powerful, life-changing born-again experience, which typically leads to one wanting to share that experience with others. It is unfortunately very easy for charlatans to take advantage of that enthusiasm. Whether it is “It is those nasty scientists who are standing in the way of the spread of the Gospel with their evolutionary theory” or “Give money to my ministry, because the Lord told me that if I don’t raise enough he will take me home,” it has alas proved true time and time again that Christians make a virtue out of a fervent, uncritical emotional response. It takes time, and sound education, to realize that not everyone who comes up to you shouting praise the Lord and then asks for money or says that you ought to think like they do is actually really someone who shares your faith, much less someone who is credible. And alas, because examining what people say critically, even though the Bible itself teaches us to do so, can be an emotional downer, it is easy for us to find ourselves manipulated in a context in which hype or zeal is mistaken for spirituality.

  • Anonymous

    Richard said: “if the wine at the wedding came in bottles with a label stating they were produced at a specific vinery then the label would be a faked history, the wine was water moments ago. equivalently an earth made 10k years ago but with a history of snow fall in glaciers, of summers of pollen in lake beds, and tree rings showing years of growth is a lie, those processes never occurred, but rather like the fake label are a fraudulent history.”

    Basically here Jesus is showing exactly the way creation happened by transforming the water. He bypasses planting the vine, waiting for grapes to grow, etc. It is not creating a false history. He did not create a wine bottle with a date attached. It is simply creating something in it’s adult form, if you will. By passing the needed time to make it so. 

    (You would have a valid argument if Jesus did present a bottle with a date on it but that is not what is reported to have happened. Please stick with basic facts.)

    I believe the snowfall and pollen was deposited by the flood. Much strata evidence you could point out was a result of flood waters covering the Earth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      I believe the snowfall and pollen was deposited by the flood. Much strata evidence you could point out was a result of flood waters covering the Earth. 

      there are varved lake beds with extraordinary pollen lines dating back 10′s of Ks of years. like the air bubbles in ice cores, the pollen is accessible to many other analysis-type, dating. they are a history laid down by a continual process, observable today. each of these-tree rings, ice cores, pollen deposits, is being used in climate research-obviously a hot topic today-yielding good data far, far older than 10k years, of earth’s genuine historical climate.

       i believe properly reading the book of nature is a task for Christians who love and worship the Creator, ignoring the data, chalking it up to deception and illusion, like YECists do, is just plain wrong. 

      • Anonymous

        Richard, you are making assumptions that those layers represent 10′s of K’s of years. You are also making the assumption that there was not a world wide flood that would have moved and redistributed those layers. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

          re:
          Richard, you are making assumptions that those layers represent 10′s of K’s of years. You are also making the assumption that there was not a world wide flood that would have moved and redistributed those layers. 

          no, it is not an assumption, it is a conclusion from the data. is there an assumption of forces present today being projected into the past? yes, and when you can see layers from the seasons with a changing tree pollen dependent upon the weather, those assumptions appear to be well warranted and well testified to.

          data: layers of various sized particles depending on the seasons. layer of pollen. carbon dating of pollen plus knowledge of what trees it is from. 
          conclusion: count the layers, date the pollen, several places in japan yield 100k years of really interesting data.

          look at the data. it is not consistent with a flood.

          google varved lake pollen

          • Anonymous

            How to do you carbon date pollen that is 100K years old? Carbon 14 decays long before then. Plus carbon dating assumes there was the same levels of carbon in the atmosphere thousands of years ago as there is today.

            I googled what you said to and found one study that went back only 2000 years, on that went back 8000 years and one that relied on faulty ideas of sediment layers showing long “ages”.  Maybe you could give me some direct link to your 10′s of k’s statement?

            It is not a conclusion to the data. It is only an interpretation of the data.

            Look at the fossil record, look at the Grand Canyon, fossilized dinosaur tracks, plant and animal fossils spread across continents, sand transported long distances, mass extinction of dinosaurs and other animals, oil formed from huge amounts of dead plant matter, coal formations, rock layers folded but not fractured all are evidence that a worldwide flood did happen.

            Also we have a written record of it which is verified as true history by Jesus. 

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

              re:
              Plus carbon dating assumes there was the same levels of carbon in the atmosphere thousands of years ago as there is today. 

              no it doesn’t. there are several carbon dating correction curves. one of the most interesting ones involves using tree rings and dating their wood.

              lots on varved lakes, Lake Suigetsu, Japan, is most quoted
              http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/varve.html 

              re:
              James, all conclusions to evidence from the past which can’t be repeated is an assumption. An interpretation. Not necessarily a factual conclusion.  

              you are confusing things. an assumption is an idea that can not be proven yet is necessary in order to interpret the data and to build a theory. assumption, presupposition, axiom are similar concepts.

              an interpretation is a theory about how the data fit together and what they mean in context.

              i don’t know what a factual conclusion is. a conclusion is a theory, i suppose you could mean a well attested to, well authenticated,  well supported conclusion, well justified etc, but in any case the term “factual conclusion” isn’t one i’ve encountered in my reading.

              • Ian

                http://www.solidrocklectures.org/attachments/Christian_Geologists_on_Noahs_Flood_Davidson_and_Wolgemuth.pdf
                Discusses the Varve / C14 data in a Christian context.

                The point is not that some ad-hoc rationalization can’t discredit any particular bit of data, but that all the data is consistent and points in the same direction, data from completely different parts of the world, of completely different types. That points to either truth, or a deliberately deceptive God.

              • Anonymous

                Richard, the link you gave only gives partial information. Are you saying we can test tree rings that are beyond 10,000 years old? I was not aware of tree’s with that long of a life span. 

                You mentioned 10′s of K’s of pollen lines and then said they could be carbon tested. I propose that it is under the mistaken assumption that layers of sediment supposedly represents long ages. 

                Please give a link to pollen lines being carbon tested to beyond 10,000 years old. Is there clear evidence that pollen beyond that supposed date has little or no carbon 14 indications?

                Also, with the ice core samples, they are assuming that the ice has remained that way throughout long ages. They are counting out the layers too far to fit in with their millions of years ideas. (110,000 annual layers I believe they counted.)

                I see they had problems with the oxygen isotope ratio in the core samples being way too high to represent each layer being only a year long.

                • Ian

                  Would you mind giving references for this kind of stuff cdbren, because your understanding of what you’re reading seems to be so vague, that it is very hard to track down your sources.

                  There are abrupt changes in oxygen isotype ratio in ice-cores at specific periods of global climatic change. I suspect your last sentence represents some typical creationist mud-slinging, but I can’t track it down.

                  “Also, with the ice core samples, they are assuming that the ice has remained that way throughout long ages. ” Well if they weren’t then the expected age would be older not, younger. The only way to get younger would be to posit that multiple ice-layers were laid down in one year. But that would also mean having thousands of years with tens of winters per year. Or else some unknown process that has long since stopped that laid down ice layers in exactly the same way as a winter would.

                  Its true that ice layers at 100kA involve some assumptions, but there is a strict, measured individual-layer chronology to nearly 40,000 years ago.

                  And again, doesn’t it strike you as odd that *all* these indications are wrong in exactly the same direction, to the same extent? Surely just basic common sense should tell you there’s something going on here.

                  And weren’t you arguing a few posts back that God made the earth look old? Now you’re arguing it doesn’t look old. Make your mind up. If God make the earth look old, made trees with growth-rings already in them, then why not ice cores with layers already there?

                  You seem to be vacillating between regurgitating creationist propaganda, and having your own thoughts. But not tracking the fact that the propaganda you’re regurgitating is written by people with a different theology to yours, and therefore doesn’t match with your own thoughts. You appear to be willing to jettison any kind of consistent argument or position: as long as it doesn’t conflict with your 6×24-hour days, anything goes. Isn’t that just intellectually dishonest?

                  • Anonymous

                    Ian, those ice layers were not created by God. They were formed only thousands of years ago after the creation event. After the world wide flood and climate change. No one is taking into consideration those variables, are they?

                    What I meant was, in regards to counting layers, is that they think each layer represents a year. When in fact some of the evidence shows multiple layers represent years. Or rather the layers they are counting as years represent only days.

                    What I meant by “remain that way” is that each layer supposedly represents a year. There is no strict layer chronology, only an assumed (estimated) layer chronology based on long ages. They view the ice sheet as maintaining equilibrium for a few million years. This is not proven.

                    The top layers would follow that line but not as you get farther down. 

                    If you would like to read a differing view go here:

                    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v15/n3/greenland

                    • Ian

                      I’m not going to get into refuting the particular claims, because I’m still not confident that you have any interest in actually finding out about any of it. (The AiG article is obvious BS, however, with even a bit of common sense.)

                      I am more concerned that you seem to be relying on AiG to give you easy things to hurl against the science, but that AiG’s position isn’t consistent with your stated position that God made things look old, because otherwise he’d have been deceptive. AiG’s position is that things *don’t* look old. Which is it? Can you tell the difference?

                    • Anonymous

                      I don’t believe AIG is infallible. Like any scientists, the ones on staff there are looking at evidence and coming to conclusions. Not every conclusion will prove right. 

                      I am not trying to hurl things at science. I am merely questioning some of their conclusions. If there was no question about any of it, like the higher oxygen isotopes, the idea that they think millions of years of layers were in equilibrium all that time, the fact that they count each layer as a year. (which is a guess.) 

                      Am I not allowed to question? Am I to take what anyone says about the past as fact? 

                      Can we recreate the past exactly as it was and happened? No, we can’t. Can we come to wrong conclusions about the evidence we do have? Yes, we can.

                    • Ian

                      “Am I not allowed to question?”
                      Of course. Look I’m not interested in playing the refutation game. There are plenty of resources out there for you to understand why scientists come to the conclusions they come to. And as we’ve seen talking about genetics and mutation rates and the like, it isn’t difficult to educate yourself enough to see through creationist straw-men.

                      My definition of mud-slinging is the creationist tactic of trying to say why scientific conclusions on a particular issue aren’t sound without either a) examining all the reasons scientists come to the conclusion, or b) doing any work to figure out exactly what one would expect to see if the alternate explanation were true. All explanations have consequences. Mud-slinging is the attempt to tarnish something without really engaging with it. The article you linked to last is a great example. A bit of common sense should bring you to ask, for example, what would happen in the ice-core record at the transition between annual layers and multi-annual layers, or if this is happening 2000 years ago, what would we expect to see in tree-ring data, or the change in the rate of C14 at that point, etc. Mud-slinging is the act of not bothering to actually follow through and say what you’d *expect* to see. The stuff AiG is preaching is not just an alternative explanation of the data – it would have consequences, and so would be falsifiable.

                      I suspect I’m shouting in the wind on this though – since its been said before, and hasn’t had any effect on you.

                      But ultimately, from my point of view, I’m genuinely interested in what you actually think happened. You have a non-standard view of creationism – you think that different species in a family can evolve (or process X) from one another, you think that God’s definition of a ‘day’ was different to a day measured by physical processes if you go back a while. These are equally valid theological positions as AiGs, but they aren’t the same. I want to encourage you to either follow through on your opinions, or not. But at the moment you’re trying to have your cake and eat it.

                    • Anonymous

                      How is the AIG article BS exactly? You can’t make a claim and then not give reasons why you made that claim. Basically it is then a false claim.

                      Michael Oard, who wrote that article, received his Masters of Science degree in Atmospheric Science
                      from the University of Washington in 1973. He then worked as a
                      meteorologist for the U.S. National Weather Service until 2001, and as
                      the lead forecaster in Montana from 1981 to 2001.

                      He is a prolific author who has published numerous books and papers in widely recognized creationist and secular journals. He has served on the board of directors of the Creation Research Society since 2001.

                      Look him up. He has like eight published articles/papers with different secular publications.

                    • Ian

                      You’re not engaging again. Come on, we’re not talking about the specific scientific merits of that article, we’re talking about how fast and loose you are playing with creationism.

                      And in my response I pointed out why it was BS a) it didn’t deal with all the evidence: it ignored most of it, and b) it didn’t follow through its alternatives to reach falsifiable predictions. Two good indicators of pseudoscience.

                      “He has like eight published articles/papers with different secular publications.” So do I – and I say its BS. :)

                    • Anonymous

                      Ian, you responded with the why part before I saw it and posted, asking you why. I did see that you did explain your position in that second post.

                      Flinging around, “he has more publications than that guy” or “he has experience in weather conditions but not geology so he doesn’t know what he is talking about” isn’t getting anyone anywhere. 

                      I’ve researched some information about ice core samples. Lower down you can’t count the layers anymore because they are too compressed. They say dating the sample/layers is a very difficult task. They also say that they count each layer as a year. (Which may not be correct.)

                      You make it sound as if it is a solid fact or that how many years, days, months are represented in each layer is easily determined. It is not that cut and dried.

                    • Ian

                      Okay fair enough – these ships often pass in the night…

                      Look, there are difficulties, but they are difficulties of a very particular type. Because it is difficult to determine if A or B is true, it doesn’t mean it isn’t absolutely trivial to show that C *isn’t* true. Science works like that all the time. It doesn’t take any specialist knowledge to see that the AiG explanation would leave particular kinds of evidence, that isn’t there. It is very true that way back it is difficult to tell where one layer ends and another starts, but it is definitely not true to say that therefore the compression rate is different, and that huge masses of ice at that depth could have been laid down in one year. Because if either of those were true, it would have massive other consequences on what we’d expect to see. Think through it yourself. What would you expect to see at the point where the ice transitioned from annual to multi-annual layers?

                      This is the problem with creationism all over, it is *easy* to find an ad-hoc reason to doubt something, but that’s meaningless unless you can follow through. Alternate explanations are trivial and cheap. I can give you 50 explanations for anything you choose. Finding explanations whose consequences check out is what is important.

                      We can both come up with good reasons why, say, Abraham Lincoln was a fictional figure. For any bit of evidence that you give me, I’ll come up with a good story why that isn’t really evidence, or why it is evidence that he was a fiction. I can do that, you can do it, our ability to create rationalisations is unbounded. And if we wanted to make sure that the mythical Lincoln idea was strong we wouldn’t bother checking the consequences of our explanations. And we wouldn’t bother worrying about why it was that so many of these different evidences point to a historical Lincoln, but had different ad-hoc dismissals.

                      The pattern of creationist denial is *exactly* what you’d expect to see if you and I decided, cynically, to propagate the notion of a mythical Lincoln.

                      And sensible people would see through it in the same way. As a whole.

                      But I guarantee you this. I’m *plenty* clever enough that there is no way that *anybody* can show me some evidence for a historical Lincoln that I can’t pick holes in a mile wide and turn into evidence for a mythical Lincoln. On that I’d bet my soul.

                      It isn’t true that we have the same data but different interpretations. We have an objective criteria: predictability, for what explanations are better. The only time I’ve ever seen creationists claim that creationism is a predictive science is when they claim retrospectively that some feature that has been discovered was predicted. Which as you pointed out way back in the thread: retroactive predications after the event are not predictions at all.

                      As for email – sure, though I’m not the only person getting some sport out of this conversation here, I think. But if you want to directly message me “ian AT akainishin DOT com” will get to me. I’ll edit this comment to remove that email address as soon as you email me though, or in 24 hours if you don’t, so its not there for every spambot to find for years to come.

                    • Anonymous

                      The difference between annual and multi-annual layers, I would say, would not be easily apparent. 

                      Am I right in saying the layers represent annual snowfall? I would then assume that it could snow multiple times within a year. With warming and cooling periods on differing days. 

                      Testing the air is problematic they say. Solar flares can alter the top layers. The deeper down, the harder it is to accurately date it.

                      I understand that the upper core data can be very valuable in a variety of ways. I am not downplaying the importance of the data nor the sincerity of the scientists. 

                      I am merely questioning the assumption that each layer actually represents a year. Obviously it isn’t something that can be definitely agreed upon yet is thrown into the forum by Richard Williams as some sort of proof positive of the Earth having aged, aside from radiometric decay.

                    • Ian

                      No, the layers can’t be simply linked to snowfalls. The top layers – the ones we can watch form year by year- happen one per year with the gross temperature changes of the seasons. There are certain very rare incidents where a snow dune can get compacted and leave a smaller secondary layer – though these are both rare, and  obvious, since the contents are different and the dune is local.

                      Let’s say each layer is Xmm thick, as you go back in time, the average thickness is decreasing at a particular rate (this much even acknowledged in the AiG article). If one year you suddenly get two layers, and most years prior to that you have 2, then a little earlier 3 per year, then more up to an average of > 10 needed to get the data we see. What would you expect to happen to the average thickness at that point? If the compression were minimal, as the AiG article suggests, what would you expect to see in the density at that point? Or the concentration of atmospheric gases? What effect would the climate needed to produce that multiplication have on other observables? Such as the C14 gradients or tree rings.

                      What I’m saying is – choose one explanation rather than many. It doesn’t matter which one, just as long as you can’t “mud-sling” by switching between different ones whenever there is some new piece of information to discredit. Were the extra layers snowfalls? Or multiple freeze-thaw cycles? Or some of one and some of another? For each one, follow through what you’d expect to see. If we’re talking about there being 10 winters per year 2000 years ago – what would you expect to see then? If we’re talking about massive quantities of snow-dunes laying extra layers uniformly across large geographic distances, what would we expect to see? Follow through and make predictions. Then and only then do you have an alternative explanation.

                      That’s what science is.

                      Just coming up with an alternate interpretation of the data is not it. Anyone can do that. I can come up with a sciency sounding demolition of the ice core data that shows why the earth was created by aliens in 1975. It is really easy to just make stuff up. Just as we could both play the mythical Lincoln game (I challenge you, try me, why do you believe Lincoln was real? I guarantee the evidence the so call experts teach you is rubbish). The key is to deliniate alternatives, and follow through the implications of each one.

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

    It illustrates what is uniformly the case: the people who promote young-earth creationism make confident, arrogant assertions about what Biblical words do or do not mean, and in general, they do not know those languages well enough even to transliterate the sounds of them into English, much less comprehend them.

    • Anonymous

      So what does tov me’od mean James? Is it similar to Mazal tov? (good luck in english)

      What does me’od mean? It is an unused word in Hebrew today.

      Does both together mean “very good” as in “as good as it can get” or what? 

      Feel free to place your spin on it.

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

    Me’od is still used in modern Hebrew. It means more or less what “very” means in English. Trying to read Hebrew as though it were a code rather than a language, as though simply saying that something is “tov me’od” gives a precise degree of perfection unlike the comparable phrase in English, “very good,” is to misunderstand how language works.

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

    Cdbren, you are making the assumption that accusing your conversation partner of making assumptions, or invoking a global flood for which there isn’t geological evidence, is an adequate response when confronted with evidence that does not support the conclusion you wish to draw.

    • Anonymous

      James, all conclusions to evidence from the past which can’t be repeated is an assumption. An interpretation. Not necessarily a factual conclusion. 

      Has anyone presented an adequate explanation to why there was a mass extinction in the fossil record? It is a mystery that has not been solved to this date. (Unless of course you accept the answer from a historical record that clearly says a world wide flood killed them.)

      Not only the evidence, but also a historical record backs up that assumption.

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

    Describing conclusions based on evidence as “guesses” shows you either are not familiar with the deductive reasoning that has led to the conclusions, or you are deliberately misrepresenting it. 

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

    I think a major reason that fundamentalists can imagine that their arguments are cogent is their lack of experience with the sciences, by which I don’t just mean their unfamiliarity with the arguments and conclusions of scientists but their innocence of the sheer scale of their enemy’s operations. They appear to be unaware, for example, that working geologists have been mapping and correlating strata for well over two hundred years* now so that their views of the history of the Earth are slightly more detailed than the apologist’s vague “a big flood could have laid down all those layers you see in the Grand Canyon!” Things look very different if you deal with geological maps all the time or have done even a little field work of your own. Of course part of the difference in perception goes back to the ascription of motives: a certain proportion of religious folks simply can’t accept that living breathing geologists aren’t in the theology business—A hell of a lot of ‘em work for oil companies. Which is why the implausibility of a literal reading of Genesis is trivial compared to the goofiness of the fantasy that the money and effort required to conduct all those seismic surveys and geochemical analysis is expended in a Satanic effort to destroy the faith of the faithful. No dough in that and not much intellectual satisfaction either since you only get points for defeating ideas that have some plausibility.

    *As I pointed out in an earlier comment, people who actually went out and looked at the rocks didn’t need to wait for the discovery of radiation to conclude that the Earth is very old indeed. Radiochemical dating made it possible to assign an absolute date to particular formations; but even before 1800, you had to stick your fingers in your ears and yell “La, la, la, I can’t hear you!” to avoid the obvious fact that Genesis had to be treated allegorically or dispensed with altogether.

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

    Being an extremely qualified weatherman doesn’t mean that one has expertise in biology or geology. Do you accept the views of religion that Richard Dawkins offers simply because he is a qualified biologist?

    • Ian

      Or indeed the views of Richard Dawkins on his own field? Or James F. McGrath’s on his? ;)

    • Ian

      Are you keeping up with this from SBL James? I figured you’d be going quiet for a week…

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

        I haven’t left yet (it doesn’t start until the 19th, but I’ve noticed from other blogs that some have managed to head there a bit early). I hope to be able to blog about the conference!

  • Anonymous

    Is there a way to talk on email rather than through this forum?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

    re:
    Why do people continue to fall for the charlatans who oppose evolution rather than believing any of the manyChristians who actually work in the field of biology and would most likely know what they are talking about? Why do they believe the people who ride roughshod over the Bible rather than the scholars who treat it with the attention and respect it deserves? 

    i think that the conversation here clearly shows that it involves a commitment to a particular way of interpreting both the Scriptures and the information found in the scientific community. this commitment has the wording of “i will believe God before man”, since anything that contradicts this stance must be wrong, science isn’t accepted as an authority. the big question is how do some people become so convinced that their interpretation of both books is identical with that of God Himself? it’s this confidence and certainty that most interests me. is it rooted in the personality of these believers? or in the organizations who teach them these things? curiously, i am all too aware of having been wrong and of being stupid to make such confident claims about my beliefs, i suppose i expect other people to be likewise aware….maybe not, if i read things here rightly.

    • Anonymous

      There is nothing wrong with science. When a person apposes evolution, they are opposing an idea, not a scientific fact. When I say evolution, I mean a single celled organism can evolve to say a fish, then a bird, then an ape, then a man. For most non-scientific types, there does not appear enough evidence that this has gone on. 

      Christians do not deny nor oppose that change happens. That natural selection happens or that a species can change and adapt to environments as they were created to. That is why we can clearly see diversity in a species. 

      If everything added up I don’t think there would be much outcry. But things do not add up. Lots of things crop up that are a problem for scientists. That do not fit their models. That can’t be explained away.

      Some branches of science are always struggling to find that missing link, find out why dinosaurs disappeared, why there is evidence of a Cambrian explosion, why there aren’t more fossils, feathers on dinosaurs, life on other planets, why the universe doesn’t seem to conform to the Big Bang model, dark matter, etc. etc.

      I think for some if evolution was true we’d have those answers easily. 

      For some, the Bible is a trustworthy eyewitness account. Jesus proven to be God come down in the flesh who verified that the OT was history. Those that ask for salvation from Christ are said to be able to understand the Bible and spiritual things through the holy spirit. Unless you experience that, the Bible is just words on paper. 

      So what it comes down to is differing views of the beginning. Different starting points. A beginning that is admitted science can’t explain. It is not a conflict with science vs religion at all. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        When I say evolution, I mean a single celled organism can evolve to say a fish, then a bird, then an ape, then a man.  

        individual organisms do not evolve, populations evolve.

        re:
        Christians do not deny nor oppose that change happens.  

        you are conflating your particular interpretation of the Scriptures with an entire group-Christians. Most Christians are not YEC, even in America. even if you modify this to read:
        YEC Christians do not deny nor oppose that change happens.  
        since most YEC are also world wide flood adherents, they actually propose an extraordinarily fast evolution and movement of creatures from Mt Ararat to repopulate the world in a few thousand years from those on ark. this is many orders of magnitude faster evolution than any science thinks actually happened. to get from an ark full of “types” to the present world of biogeography in 6K years is even more a stretch of the creative imagination than to understand life evolving over 3.5B years. from noah’s zoo to you in a 6K year blink.

        re:
        For some, the Bible is a trustworthy eyewitness account. Jesus proven to be God come down in the flesh who verified that the OT was history.  

        YECists and AiG talk so much about verifiability and experimental justification and even try to falsely separate science into historical and experimental(AiG operational) sections yet their faith itself rests on the superbly unverifiable, unexperimentally testable event-the Resurrection. they demand of science what their faith assumes, a past event taken as justified true knowledge without any ability to perform experimentation to show confirming present day evidence. it really is a curious asymmetry: to demand that science produce a series of experiments confirming the certainty of each element evolutionary theory yet at the same time declaring a unique historical event absolutely certain without subjecting it to the same claims they say ET must undergo to be justified.

        any criticism by YECists of science’s inability to verify evolutionary theory is the same criticism that could be directed at the Resurrection or even the historical fact of Jesus’s existence(mythicists). given the 2 books of God metaphor, the reading of these are roughly parallel, both involve an epistemology of understanding the past and how to gain justifiably true knowledge from it. with every criticism that AiG directs at historical science that same criticism can be directed at the root of their faith, and science nowhere claims the certainty and absolute conviction of truthfulness that faith does. it has a far lower standard to meet than any faith does as a result.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, Richard, species can diversify and change in a very short time. But dogs remain dog kinds, insects remain insect kinds, humans remained humans.

          If we are on the same page here than there is no need for hostilities or arguments. Natural selection, the species abilities to use information already in their genes…..YEC do not see that as “evolution” in the sense that a mammal changed to a whale. 

          This has been observed in nature. Species ability to adapt very quickly. The YEC idea is that nothing new was introduced. Long hair, long beak, short beak, long legs, short legs, long neck were already programmed into the DNA/genetics.  

      • Ian

        My problem with this is similar to James’s. You’ve got this list of so called problems and even what you think of as evolution from creationist sources. So most of them are just plain untrue, some of them aren’t problems at all, and others are just things we simply don’t know yet.

        If you had learned about Christianity exclusively from Christianity’s ideological enemies, rather than from other Christians, do you think you’d have come to faith? There is no reason to get your scientific information from organizations that are explicitly dedicated to overturning modern science. Organizations that make absolutely no attempt to hide that they are ideological campaigning organisations seeking to overturn science for entirely non-scientific reasons. If I set up an organization dedication to overturning Christianity because its mission statement was dedicated to removing the evil doctrine of Christianity from our culture and replacing it with Ancestor Worship – would you trust that organisation to tell you accurate information about Jesus?Even if Ancestor Worship was your thing, wouldn’t you think: “hang on a bit – if I want to learn about Christianity, I maybe ought to *start* with folks who aren’t publicly sworn to its downfall.”Scientists get fed up at the constant *lies* that come from Ham and his cronies. They really are mostly lies, and when not lies they are half-truths designed to skew the science and lead to false conclusions. They get fed to well-meaning Christians who start of being motivated to honour God and resist attacks on their faith. But they then go around repeating the same lies. Lies about the fossil record, genetics, about even what evolution is, even about what science is. It is a scandal for Christendom, I think, that a religion that claims to be about truth, is riddled with this stuff. It makes me angry, not that there are folks like Ham (there have always been charismatic leaders fleecing their flock), but that there are so many Christians who are willing to recite his talking points as if it were gospel. Because by and large they don’t know enough to know what they’re doing, and they don’t care to actually go back to the start and work through stuff from first principles.How long did it take you to learn math? If someone came to you and said: “I can’t do calculus, so calculus is rubbish” would that not be a joke, or “Calculus should be easy, if it were true”? Or “if you’re so sure Calculus is true, show me the evidence – oh an by the way, I struggle to add up”, it would obviously be silly.No, I think we all understand that to get your math skills from adding up to calculus is quite hard and takes time, you have to know a lot and you have to develop your skills. The same is true of biological science – it takes years to learn this stuff, to practice with the basic concepts until you get them pat – to learn the jargon, etc. It takes years more graduate education to get to the point where you’re actually at the forefront of what we know as a culture (the same is true if you want to know all we know about calculus). So it is frustrating to see folks parachute into this, claim that its all rubbish, and expect you to show them why it isn’t in a few blog comments. I hope in things like the discussion of genetics, of evolutionary math, and ice cores, you’ve had a glimpse that the rabbit hole is quite deep. If you really want to know about this stuff – just like math – there is no alternative to just learning it.

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

    “When I say evolution, I mean a single celled organism can evolve to say a fish, then a bird, then an ape, then a man. For most non-scientific types, there does not appear enough evidence that this has gone on. ”

    No scientist thinks that this is what has gone on. I think what you should do is actually read something by an actual biologist about evolution. Understand what it is, not what young-earth creationists who dispute that it occurred misunderstand and misconstrue it to be. Understand what the evidence for it is. Then, and only then, decide whose perspective is more likely, the young-earth creationists who haven’t even told you accurately what the scientific view of evolution entails, or the scientists who you then perhaps begin to understand.

    • Anonymous

      No scientist thinks that is going on? What?

      Late Bloomers: “New” Genes May Have Played a Role in Human Brain Evolution

      Sixty “de novo” genes, many active in the cerebral cortex, arose from once-quiet stretches of DNA after humans split off from chimpanzees more than five million years ago.

      By Charles Q. Choi
      November 18, 2011 |3

      Billions of years ago, organic chemicals in the primordial soup somehow organized themselves into the first organisms.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=late-bloomers-new-genes-may-have-played

      • Ian

        The point is it was a caricature. Here’s an analogy:

        “I can’t believe you worship a magical zombie.”

        A fair description of Christianity?

        Well, it is certainly true that Christianity believes Jesus was raised from the dead, and it teaches that he had power that wasn’t natural. But described that way, it is obviously rubbish, and no Christians believe Jesus was a “magical zombie”.

        Its the same with your description. As long as you stick to the caricatures peddled by Ham and his like, you’re at the “magical Zombie” level of discussion.

        • Anonymous

          I believe the definition of “Zombie” is a soulless corpse. Not someone that has been brought back to life. 

          Like Lazarus. Everyone knew he was dead long enough to be rotten yet Jesus brought him back whole. Not as a zombie. 

          How do you know his power was not natural? He is not described as being just human.

          Not a very good analogy.

          • Ian

            “Not a very good analogy.”
            On the contrary, you prove my point quite nicely. I’m sorry you missed it so spectacularly.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        very interesting article, thank you for bring it to our attention.
        line of reasoning-cdbren:”When I say evolution, I mean a single celled organism can evolve to say a fish, then a bird, then an ape, then a man. For most non-scientific types, there does not appear enough evidence that this has gone on. ”

        J.McG:No scientist thinks that this is what has gone on. cdbren:No scientist thinks that is going on? What? sciam article:Billions of years ago, organic chemicals in the primordial soup somehow organized themselves into the first organisms. A few years ago scientists found that something similar happens every once in awhile in the cells of all living things: bits of once-quiet stretches of  DNA sometimes spontaneously assemble themselves into genes. 

        what is this paragraph of the article doing?
        it is setting up a juxtaposition of two themes of random reorganization, the 1st abiogenesis, the 2nd these gene segments, the topic of the article. it is a simple literary device to introduce a new idea by aligning it with and by analogy to, another better known example.

        does it support the idea that evolution is a single celled organism changing into say a fish? no. the author of this article knows that evolution is not a change of an organism into something else. it is the changing alleles in a  population over time. individuals don’t evolve populations do.

        • Anonymous

          You are using the word game again. 

          Individuals make up a population. You are making a paradoxical statement.

          • Ian

            “The ability for species to be able to rapidly repopulate, like after the flood, is documented. It is called “adaptive radiation”.”
            I think you’re misunderstanding what you’re reading again. Even in the article you yourself quoted, it says quite clearly that “rapid” consists of much more than a few thousand years. Such as the adaptive radiation of mammals after the KT event (20 million years in duration). A process taking a few million years is very fast in contrast to the half-billion year history of life. It is still fa* to slow to account for post-flood diversity if you claim that the ancestors on the arc were single representatives of roughly family-level clades. 

            But presumably that’s part of the God making it look old thing again – God can make things go faster or slower as he wants.

            • Anonymous

              Ian, that was just during the creation event. So that everything was in it’s full form and everything worked.

              • Ian

                I suspect it isn’t intentional, but you’ve rather backed yourself into arguing that evolution (in the scientific sense of genetic change over time) happens more quickly than scientists think it does. Based on what you’ve said about your theology, I’m not sure this is really what you want to take a stand on arguing.

                Maybe it would be worth backing up a bit and figuring out where you conceded too much ground ;) Because if you start conceding that evolution happens, and it responsible for at least some proportion of biotic diversity, then I suspect it is going to be very hard to stick to timescales of a few thousand years without ending up arguing completely against YEC orthodoxy (and your own comments about mutation rates &c.).

                • Anonymous

                  Ian posted: Maybe it would be worth backing up a bit and figuring out where you conceded too much ground ;) Because if you start conceding that evolution happens, and it responsible for at least some proportion of biotic diversity, then I suspect it is going to be very hard to stick to timescales of a few thousand years without ending up arguing completely against YEC orthodoxy (and your own comments about mutation rates &c.).

                  —————-
                  I think natural selection is clearly shown to both cause certain dominant features to take hold in a species (I contend that the genes for that are already there but dormant) and to work in a very fast manner. (or else the creature would not be able to survive easily to climate or other changes). 

                  I don’t think I need to concede any ground. If the Bible is true then God did not create lower life forms to branch out and become other life forms. I believe he created them in the form of kinds that are then able to adapt to situations quickly or branch off from the “kinds”, like we see in spiders or dogs. 

                  What scientists are discovering I am not arguing against. That they think there was an evolutionary tree and that what they see can go to very great lengths is what I question. 

                  • Ian

                    “What scientists are discovering I am not arguing against.”

                    I’m sorry, that is just a bald-faced lie, and you know it. 

                    You’ve been consistently arguing against the discoveries of science through the whole thread. Whether it be common ancestors or not: basic genetics, mutation rates, natural selection, anatomy, geology, paleontology. 

                    Don’t pretend that you aren’t ideologically opposed to the discoveries of science. Your starting point is that scientific discovery is wrong and your interpretation of the bible is right.  At best those discoveries that have nothing to do with your ideology are allowable. But everything else you know is wrong beforehand.

                    You don’t get to pretend otherwise, I’m afraid. If you can’t even be honest about your own motives, then I am done with the conversation.

                    • Anonymous

                      Sorry, but I thought I made it clear I was arguing against the interpretations of those discoveries. 

                      Just because the process of natural selection has been discovered, for example, does not mean it drives evolution from simple organisms up the tree to more diverse forms. You could theorize that it could do that and that would be an interpretation of the discovery. Not fact per say.

                      I am not forcing anyone to converse with me and you may stop at any time. My first post here was merely to dispel some wrong ideas about Christians and show that Ken Ham does have credentials. That scientists writing articles for AIG do have credentials.

                      Since things seem to have gotten hostile at times rather than normal conversation, (except for Ian who was very gracious) I will end the conversation now myself. 

                      It has been good talking with you all.

                    • Anonymous

                      Oh, I almost forgot. One more thing. 

                      Ian, I do not claim natural selection is faster than what scientists claim. It is faster as you can clearly see in dog breeding. If it did not happen fast in each generation then we’d have a planet of little to no creatures. 

                      I did not say evolution was faster nor ever claimed it was. I said natural selection was. 

                    • Ian

                      I know you didn’t say that, because you have different definitions for those words to the rest of us. Which allows you to think that evolution isn’t true, even though we’ve seen that (for the scientific definition of evolution) you think ‘process X’ is responsible for a lot of the diversity of life. If we’re coming to the end of the conversation, that’s fine. I was hoping we could get you to use the common terminology at least, because it obviously makes it simpler to discuss things, but I 100% understand why you wouldn’t want to.

                      Dog breeding is not, by definition, *natural* selection. It is *artificial* selection.

                    • Anonymous

                      I don’t think I am the only guilty party for using terms incorrectly.

                      I looked up Natural selection/artificial selection: “There is no real difference in the genetic processes underlying artificial and natural selection.”

                      Natural selection is described as a NON-random process where biological traits become more or less common. (You can recheck Wiki if you want to). Traits already there are selected for so it can’t be termed “evolution”. 

                      This is the process that resulted in all the species we see today in a short time. Species off the ark had MORE genetic traits than individual species we see today. (Generally natural selection tends to delete genetic traits over time, not add them.)

                      I DO NOT mean that species came off the ark and then “evolved” quickly. If anything they are less of what they were before. Diversified more yes, but genetically less is there in each species. 

                      ———

                      Mutations generally are also non-beneficial but even if beneficial does not mean evolution. 

                      None of that is directional. Even new genes appearing randomly is not directional. 

                      The term evolution is thrown around to mean almost anything you want it to mean. If change happened “BAM” it’s called “evolution”. The way I have always used it is “producing directional change in an upwards manner resulting in decent with modification from a common ancestor.” 

                      Here is a for instance. For a fin to change to foot or hand, it would take an extreme amount of information in the embryo to be able to grow bones, grow them in the right place, to the right length, be attached to the correct tendons, the right blood vessels and then all has to to attach to the  bones of the pectoral girdle. 

                      You can do all the math you want to. Natural selection, mutations, select breeding, will not make that happen. There is no process known that can make that happen. 

                    • Ian

                      I think its not worth carrying on. You either are not able to understand, or are unwilling to understand what is being said to you. This response is just chock full of the same crap we’ve been correcting time and again in this thread. Which indicates you aren’t paying attention, you aren’t understanding what is said, or you have no desire to actually hear.

                      You seem to be quoting stuff that you aren’t actually reading. I’ve no idea how this is even possible, but it is clearly beyond the wit of any of us here to help you, even if we had any sense that your motivation was to learn. 

                      When we’ve tried to break something down and look at your underlying assumptions you’ve run as fast as you can back to specifics that you clearly don’t understand. Or you claim to read resources we link to, then make comments that are frankly baffling.

                      I’ve no desire to teach basic reading comprehension through the medium of blog comments.

                      So carry on, make as many sweeping statements as you like about what can and can’t happen, what has or has not been observed, what scientists think or claim. You will *always* be right that nobody has been able to refute you, as long as you ignore or fail to understand what they say.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      I looked up Natural selection/artificial selection: “There is no real difference in the genetic processes underlying artificial and natural selection.”

                      –this is true. same mechanism different directing hands.
                      re:
                      Natural selection is described as a NON-random process where biological traits become more or less common. 

                      –NS is not random, it “moves” towards a population’s greater fitness in it’s current environment. mutation is random, selection, as the term implies is not random

                      re:
                       Traits already there are selected for so it can’t be termed “evolution”. 

                      —what? how can selection occur on something that is not there? the mutations have to be present to be selected for or against. evolution is a changing allele makeup in a population.
                      re:Species off the ark had MORE genetic traits than individual species we see today. (Generally natural selection tends to delete genetic traits over time, not add them.) 

                      —no, selection, selects. parasites evolve, they are the classical “less” traits and there are lots of them, groups of free living and parasitic in same family. and new traits evolve. NS doesn’t have, afaik, any direction other than climbing fitness mountains. if mutations adds traits or causes pseudogenes, then NS has things to operate on. then there’s always genetic drift.

                      and yes, adaptive radiation from the ark in 4000 years is several orders of magnitude faster evolution than any evolutionary theory proposes. 

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      producing directional change in an upwards manner  

                      this directionality to evolutionary theory was abandoned by the 1920′s. ET do not propose a movement upwards or towards complexity anymore. the old model of a tree is being replaced as it becomes obvious that the metaphor confuses people. the last “tree of life” i saw recently was a sweeping circle. THERE IS NO DIRECTION TO EVOLUTION except a greater population’s fitness.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      sorry–a population’s greater fitness. 

                    • Anonymous

                      re: this directionality to evolutionary theory was abandoned by the 1920′s. ET do not propose a movement upwards or towards complexity anymore. the old model of a tree is being replaced as it becomes obvious that the metaphor confuses people. the last “tree of life” i saw recently was a sweeping circle. THERE IS NO DIRECTION TO EVOLUTION except a greater population’s fitness.

                      You mean the one that shows decent from a common ancestor in the center? Clever doing it that way but the original idea still holds. You STILL have to get more complex as you go along the “chain”.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                       You STILL have to get more complex as you go along the “chain”. 

                      the complexity is an artifact it is not a movement towards complexity as we see in a directionality. see a metaphor like reading darwin’s/mendel’s library or climbing mt improbable(fitness space as valleys and mountains) for hints on how to think about the situation.

                      look at the metaphor of the great chain of being, this was darwin’s challenge to begin to overthrow this classic way of seeing life. ET’s current dominant metaphors are not driven by anything but increasing population fitness, no increasing complexity, no higher, no better, no “more like people” directionality is allowed. this is a misunderstanding from the early history of ET, propagated by the metaphor of the tree of life. we need models to think with, but in this case it is misleading. a tree grows upwards, towards the sky, ET isn’t like this at all, hence why the new “trees of life” are not trees at all.

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

                      Small technical note: as S.J. Gould and others have pointed out, one reason that there has been an apparent increase in complexity in living things over the last several billion years is that organisms require at least a minimum level of complexity to survive but the maximum level of complexity is not obviously constrained. As time goes by, more and more complex organisms will appear even if the governing process is completely random; but more and more simple organisms can’t evolve past a certain point. (As I recall, the minimum set of genes for a species appears to be about 400; and that’s in bacteria that have to live inside other cells where they can exploit the metabolic machinery of their hosts. Obviously, it may turn out that even simpler microbes will turn up. They can’t gave fewer than zero genes, though!)

                      Imagine a drunk wandering around at random. If he starts out in the middle of a big field, the places that he visits, viewed from above, will look like a symmetrically expanding cloud; but if he starts out near a wall, the distribution of his average position will tend away from the wall and the drunk’s purposes or lack of ‘em have nothing to do with it.

                      Of course the main reason evolution appears to have a direction is simply human vanity. The vast majority of living things on earth are microscopic, but we don’t care about them.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      Imagine a drunk wandering around at random. 

                      thank you very much. i had considered pointing out a random walk in a space where it is constrained on lower side only but didn’t have it all worked out as well as you have presented it. this is probably the source of the apparent directionality towards life’s complexity.

                  • Ian

                    “and to work in a very fast manner. (or else the creature would not be able to survive easily to climate or other changes)”

                    I don’t know if you realise your playing bait and switch here. Previously you’d said that family-level change was as a result of evolutionary processes. Now you’re talking about intra-sepcies adaptation to climatic change. That’s not in debate. 

                    Let’s stay on the issue: your claim that the diversity of life could have evolved from family-level progenitors in a few thousand years. That claim assumes evolutionary speed which is faster than any scientist claims. You’re claiming, in effect, that evolution is more powerful than scientists think it is. 

                    You may not think you’re arguing that, but that is the implication of the sum total of what you’ve been saying in this thread.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        fascinating article. 3 excellent links included. 

        look at http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002379 

        it’s a good introduction into why “no new information” AiG/ID mantra is completely wrong. look at the ORF they are searching for:
        Only those genes that had a human specific mutation that generates an open reading frame and where both the chimpanzee and orangutan retained the ancestral state at these positions, thus disrupting the open-reading frame, were kept  

        again, thank you very much for bring this to my attention. an hour of excellent reading.

        • Anonymous

          Richard posted: fascinating article. 3 excellent links included. look at http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar… it’s a good introduction into why “no new information” AiG/ID mantra is completely wrong. look at the ORF they are searching for:Only those genes that had a human specific mutation that generates an open reading frame and where both the chimpanzee and orangutan retained the ancestral state at these positions, thus disrupting the open-reading frame, were kept .——

          I read the article. Genes can code for simple eye color, hair length all the way up to number of limbs.

          The article does not state what the genes they found actually do. 

          A new gene making an offspring have brown eye from a blue eyed mother and father is hardly “new” information. Number of limbs I would assume would be a mutation that simply copied the gene when is was not supposed to. Again, an extra limb is not “new” information.

          I think you are reading too much into the article/research. Wishful thinking does not equal new information. 
           

          • Ian

            In your model, would a bat having wings instead of the front legs of a quadrapedal mammal be new information? Would a whale flipper instead of the front legs of a quadrapedal mammal be new information?

            I’m interested in where you draw the line.

            • Anonymous

              Ian, yes I would say those would be classified as new information to that particular species as usually a bat is not born with front legs instead of wings and if it is, then it won’t be able to feed or fly so that particular “mutation”, if you want to call it that, would die out. ie. Not passed on or if so, corrected in the next bat being born.

              Your next comment would probably be that these changes happened slowly, not quickly as you described but I would still transcribe to the theory that none of those situations would happen anyway. A bat is designed to fly, a whale designed to swim. Why would it change (slowly) to a totally new way of locomotion that would make survival more awkward?

              • Ian

                Okay, so would you consider, say webbed feet or skin flaps under the arms as new information. Take an aquatic mammal, say, could their webbed feet have developed by natural selection? Or a gliding mammal such as a flying squirrel?

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                 A bat is designed to fly, a whale designed to swim. 

                no. they are adapted, ad hoc, badly, using what was there to use, not designed. one of the interesting things about ET is the dual nested hierarchical structure of living things. this is the result of the primary vertical structure of mutation-selection. what little horizontal transfer of genetic material we’ve seen is viral like syncethin.

                life is not designed like a human being designs things. we swap modules, from software to engineering to produce development, people avoid rediscovering the wheel. rather human designers invariably borrow the best ideas they are familiar with and import them into their new project. life is NOT like this design at all.

                surprisingly, chimeras like griffins, sphinx are intuitively obvious to people, they do not happen in RL.

                gotta go, i’m on my way to church, perhaps cdbren will be sitting in the pew in front of me this morning. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            Genes can code for simple eye color, hair length all the way up to number of limbs. 

            there is nothing simple about the genetics of human eye color.
            i don’t believe there can be a gene for hair length, i suspect that it is a function of barbershops.*grin*

            “up to” connotes some kind of progression, some great chain of being ideal. the number of limbs is coded in many genes, from the hox complexes to the formation of chemical gradients during development.

            re:
            The article does not state what the genes they found actually do. 

            the paper is about how they identify them. what they do is the topic of other papers.

            • Anonymous

              Hair length is coded in, for instance, certain dog breeds or cat breeds. 

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

              re:
              hair length 

              actually you could be referring to mammalian fur/coat hair length. i’ve had the misfortune to look into the genetics of mammalian fur coloring, i spent a week reading, found that more than 100 genes are involved, all aptly named for the fur bearing animal and color involved. imho, a morass best left alone.

  • Anonymous

    The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother.

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_02

    Here they even show a transitional form like I described. A four legged mammal progressing to a whale with gills and scales. 

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_51

    • Ian

      “A four legged mammal progressing to a whale with gills and scales. ” :o

  • Anonymous

    From the Berkeley web site, Evolution 101

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

    In his famous book Three Christs of Ypsilanti, the psychiatrist Milton Rokeach tells what happened when he put three paranoids who all believed they were Christ into the same ward. None of them ever realized they were deluded, though they did come up with some pretty elaborate explanations about the other two. For the most part, creationists aren’t literally psychotic, of course; but they react in much the same way when confronted with evidence that is both irrefutable and intolerable. Rokeach eventually decided that his experiment was futile. You can’t cure paranoia by direct attack. I figure Creationism is likewise invulnerable. At best, in refuting their arguments, you might inform somebody about some interesting history, geology, or biology.

    It’s not very interesting to correct cdbren when he writes about “a four legged mammal progressing to a whale with gills and scales” because the fact that whales don’t have gills and scales is pretty widely known outside of Liberty University. On the other hand, many people are confused about micro and macro evolution. The creationist cavil about the supposed difference between the two is just as arbitrary as claiming that an inch is a micro-measurement and a mile is a macro-measurement so that it’s impossible to traverse a mile by moving an inch 63, 360 times. People who are familiar with particular groups of organisms have another reason to smile at the macro/micro idea. I know a thing or two about insects, for example, and am consequently aware that very closely related bugs can look and act very differently. Nobody has any difficulty telling apart termites and cockroaches, for example; but if you look under the hood, you’ll find them close kin, a fact that was recognized long before it was verified by DNA analysis and is also supported by the fossil record of termites and cockroaches and the similarity of the bacterial symbionts found in their hindguts. Indeed, termites are basically just social cockroaches and, as a result, are now classified in the same group. There are a host of similar examples. Even species in the same genus can look drastically different. Creationists suggest that there’s no way that animals with very different body plans could have arisen from a common stock because there is too great a difference between, say, a flatworm and a sea urchin, but it doesn’t take 600 million years to produce organisms with comparable differences. I could show you some flies…. Anyhow, the considerable obvious differences that now exist between the phyla (major groups) would not have been very obvious at all at the time of the original divergence from their common ancestors. The animals that became modern flatworms and the animals that became modern sea urchins were probably almost indistinguishable for a long time. (I swiped that last observation from Valentine, author of the Origin of Phyla.)

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

    Cdbren, I think I will forego any attempt at further interaction until you show me evidence for whales with gills and scales.

    Or you can just humbly acknowledge, at long last, that you don’t have even the basic knowledge of biology necessary to discuss this subject intelligently.

    • Anonymous

      Whoops. I saw a fish. Sorry for the error.

  • Ian

    Just for information, I’m now un-subscribing from this thread, so I won’t see any more responses here. Feel free to ping me by other means if there’s something to talk about.

  • Anonymous

    Richard, you can’t state the aspect of mutations, slap natural selection in and expect the normal intelligent (non-scientist) person to believe that would be able to reorganize bone structure, ligaments, blood vessels, nerve endings, etc. for complex structures.

    Natural selection can only cause diversity and varieties within the same “kind” on a downward hill. There is no uphill climb from mutations and natural selection. 

    Many mutations not only corrupt information, but they also remove variability from the gene pool.

    Natural selection tends to only sort out fairly minor characteristics (color, size, proportions, etc.).The result is that certain varieties of an animal will be unable to reproduce the traits that their ancestors originally had in their gene pool.

    Outwardly, then, we see increased outward diversity among different breeds regarding their size, the length of their fur, or the color of their eyes, etc. But this actually represents a decrease in the variety in their gene pool. “Pure breeds” no longer have the ability to reproduce the type of diversity that the original pair of the kind had. (Coming off the ark)

    According to Ian’s math + mutation rate, by millions of years any species would be more or less wiped out. Look at domestic breeds of dogs. They have many, many problems due to mutations from selective breeding. (Look up miniature poodle problems).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      Natural selection can only cause diversity and varieties within the same “kind” on a downward hill. There is no uphill climb from mutations and natural selection.  

      this is the theme of climbing mt improbable by dawkins. 
      you can get into the literature with “evolutionary computing fitness space diagrams” search in GA’s.

  • Anonymous

    This it Richard?

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

    Cdbren, it remains the case that you misrepresented evolution as sequential transformation of one compplex organism into another in series, and you did not know that a whale is a mammal, and yet you continue to try to pretend that you are competent to discuss this subject. If you botch the rudiments, do you really believe that you can make a case against the big picture? Do you not realize that you are not only making a bad impression of yourself and of young earth creationism but of Christianity? Why do you persist in doing this?

    • Anonymous

      It matters not whether it is a series, or a ladder or a tree. 

      The whale comment was a mistake. Anyone can make them.

      I don’t really need to make a case against anything. I pointed out some big issues and have gotten not much response other than to attack me personally. 

      James, you can’t attack a person to prove a point. God uses all kinds of people, even ones with a stutter to be His spokesperson. Since you reject God I assume you have to also reject me.

      I think it is funny that because of all the problems with the theory, they simply change the diagram. It does fit better with the incomplete fossil record. 

      A fancy diagram however does not prove evolution. 

      Now it seems evolution is magic and can just do whatever it wants to do. So now instead of up, it is sideways? No matter how you show it, mutations and natural selection are downgrades. There is still no known mechanism for complexity from one species to another. And no one putting up the evidence for that mechanism, as yet.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        It matters not whether it is a series, or a ladder or a tree.  

        –these diagrams are models, analogies, metaphors, ways of thinking about a topic, ways of imaging how things are connected. and they do matter, a lot. we do much of our thinking in pictures, models both guide and misguide our theories. drawing evolution as a tree with mankind at the top is misleading and doesn’t do justice to the current state of the art. ET as history is not a great plot to produce me, evolution is not only unguided from our vantage point but undirected and without apparent goals beyond immediate fitness.

        re:
        I think it is funny that because of all the problems with the theory, they simply change the diagram. 

        –i am unaware of all these problems. the diagrams, the models are being changed because they are misleading. they do not represent the current state of our knowledge. the analogy of the tree of life is being revised because of the false directionality proposed by the growth of a tree does not fit ET but is a relic of historical understanding.

        re:
        A fancy diagram however does not prove evolution.  

        –proofs are for math(s), not science. science demonstrates, science builds theories on induction which has a standard something like the legal system’s beyond reasonable doubt. it does not in general prove anything in the terms like deductive mathematical proofs. science is always provisional, subject to revision, probabilistic.

  • Anonymous

    Richard, thanks for the chart.

    Interesting that they have a Cambrian explosion and then I count five mass extinctions.

    May I suggest that the Cambrian explosion was close to the creation in the beginning and that the five extinctions were really one mass extinction, the flood, that buried everything in different layers of sediment. Layers that are incorrectly labeled with long ages. 

    I think they are still having problems explaining the extinctions as any scenario would wipe everything out. (Unless a sample of each species was saved on a large freighter).

    I still also see trees with branches to increasing complexity. 

    James? Check the chart out. Looks like a series to me. Thoughts? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      I think they are still having problems explaining the extinctions as any scenario would wipe everything out.  

      i just stumbled upon a nice article on the extinction issue at
      http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/11/permian-.html 
      nice reading

      • Anonymous

        Richard W. Thanks for the comments (they were helpful) and the link. 

        You know what is interesting? The bible says during the flood the fountains of the great deep were broken up. Creationists think there was lots of volcanic activity during the flood.

        The article you posted found this exact evidence and increased Co2 levels. Just as would have happened during the flood. Only they see long ages in the strata so think it happened over thousands of years. 

        Of course you would not accept that a flood with lots of volcanic activity destroyed all life and created the Earth as we see it today. But this is just as viable a theory as the one in the article. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

          re:
           But this is just as viable a theory as the one in the article. 

          how do we judge a scientific theory? as JMcG wrote above, credentials are important, so is consensus. but is the idea that YEC proposes an equally viable theory to unify the field of biology, after all that is what evolutionary theory does, have any validity? no, YECism is a series of ad hoc attacks of particular pieces of ET. how about it’s usefulness as a research program, that is how well does it create fruitful theories that can be investigated and direct research, after all this ET does everyday in the field? essentially YECism says “God did it” and an axiom that Genesis is historical and scientific truth, which afaik is a discussion as well as a research stopper.

          so, no the noahic flood as an explanation of the permian great dying is not a viable theory to explain the data hidden in the rocks, any more than YECism poses a legitimate alternative framework for biology in place of ET. 

          • Anonymous

            Richard: So in other words, if the bible says it, then it can’t have happened, even if there is evidence for it staring you in the face.

            Like they said in the article. There was lots of C02 released into the atmosphere. Only they say it isn’t clear where it came from and that something unusual was going on.

            But I understand. If the evidence does not fit the ET model, if the evidence points towards the bible being true, then by any means look for another explanation. CT does it sometimes. ET does it all the time.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

              re:
              So in other words, if the bible says it, then it can’t have happened, even if there is evidence for it staring you in the face. 

              i don’t see any evidence for a young earth. i see evidence that YECists read 18thC geology into Genesis and demand that it support their thinking. i have a high view of Scripture and don’t think this is the right way to read it, trying to find our concerns and our burning issues in a document that has a very different worldview in mind. Genesis is unconcerned with the how of creation, we are obsessed with how and means and methods and mechanism. that is the consuming passion of our age, not the first readers of Berishit. we have effectively substituted our concerns for theirs with the sleight of hand interpretation. we believe not only that Scriptures was written for us but that it was written to us.

              • Anonymous

                So Richard, you think that the abrupt appearance of creatures in the fossil record and the lack of millions of transitional forms that would be there after millions of years is evidence for an “old” Earth?

                I see secular scientists attempting to bend the evidence or interpret evidence, when they do not understand or know past conditions, to show millions of years. I don’t see any evidence for an old earth.

                • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                  re:
                  you think that the abrupt appearance of creatures in the fossil record and the lack of millions of transitional forms that would be there after millions of years is evidence for an “old” Earth? 

                  abrupt is a very context sensitive word. in geology it’s millions of years.

                  all fossils are transitional forms. just as i am transitional between my grandfather and grandson. i’ve been learning genetic genealogy for the last few months and am rather impressed at it’s ability to solve long standing issues. paleontology and genealogy are surprisingly parallel fields, we have an intuitive idea of how to do genealogies, we understand intermediate ancestors and how to relate them to those further back. use this knowledge as applied to fossil hunting and understand better how all fossils ever found are transitional forms, then reread elementary paleontology texts with this new model in mind to see what they are really saying….. 

                  re:
                  I see secular scientists attempting to bend the evidence or interpret evidence, when they do not understand or know past conditions, to show millions of years. I don’t see any evidence for an old earth 

                  the original scientists who discovered deep time were all in the field to prove the noahic flood, they were looking for data to show it when they discovered that a worldwide flood never happened. they were Christians using the Bible, trying to show the facts of Noah, when they learned to read the rocks and discovered they had misread Genesis. about 200 years ago.

                  one of the really interesting things about YECists is their desire to moralize epistemology. “secular scientists” as if being secular made their reading of the book of nature suspect. the curious thing about the book of nature is that so many different kinds of people can and do read it the same way, because the book of nature is public knowledge.

                  • Anonymous

                    Richard, you can’t make up your own definition of “transitional fossil”. Not all fossils are transitional and your grandfather and grandson are in the same taxonomic group so do not qualify. 

                    If this is what scientists do, I can see why many people are led astray by their guesses.

                    “A transitional fossil is any fossilized remains of a lifeform that exhibits characteristics of two distinct taxonomic groups. A transitional fossil is the fossil of an organism near the branching point where major individual lineages (clades) diverge.” 

                    What you maybe should have said was that vestigial organs appear in different species, or that the fossil record only shows a small percentage of creatures or that they should be called “intermediate” and not “transitional”. 

                    Or you could have said that scientists no longer use the term “transitional” (and I assume for good reason.) 

                    You could have even used the platypus as an example of an intermediate form to make your argument concrete.

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

    Cdbren, I am not attacking a person, you or anyone else. I am trying to point out how ridiculous it is for you to challenge a scientific conclusion that is based on information and comprehension you do not have.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it is ridiculous to challenge things. I know more than the average person on the street. I can research. I have an above average IQ. I can read and understand most scientific data.

      It is challenging things that allow us to move forward.

      I think you are attacking people. Case in point, the title paragraphs at the top of the page. I offered evidence in the Bible and you attacked that. you attacked my knowledge of the Bible. Even when presented with the original Jewish words, you disparaged my statements. 

      You claim to have asked Jesus Christ to save you yet you do not seem to believe or trust the very words he spoke. The very words that promised you eternal life. 

      This issue goes far deeper than challenging mere scientific conclusions.

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

    Cdbren, if you can understand the scientific data, then why don’t you? And if you are a Christian, why do you demean your many brothers and sisters in Christ who work in the fields of biology, genetics, and paleontology, to say nothing of Biblical studies, and prefer the word of a charlatan who sows division and doesn’t know what he is talking about, either with respect to the Bible or with respect to science?

    • Anonymous

      James McGrath, you’ve claimed to be a born again Christian. Trusting in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was put to death on a cross for your sins.

      Trusting the record that what he said was true. 

      Is that correct?

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

    I believe that Christian faith has God as its object, not a text, not even one claiming to be a record of God’s acts. To make faith a matter of trusting a text is idolatry.

    • Anonymous

      I hope I have simply misunderstood your statement.

      Faith is: Trust, confidence, belief.

      Basically you are evaluating the Bible according to your own arbitrary philosophy. You are appealing to your own reasoning as your ultimate standard.

      So, in fact, you are guilty of what you accuse.

      You are making up your own idea of God and that is definitely idolatry. (And I don’t think you even realize it.)

      You are setting yourself up as authority instead of God’s word. (pride and idolatry).

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

    cdbren, on the one hand, you are dodging the point that trust in the Bible is trust in something other than God, and potentially idolatrous, as it explicitly claims in places to be the words of human beings.

    On the other hand, if you believe that you are bypassing your human brain in reading the Bible, you are deluded. And once you realize that reading without using the brain is impossible (and comprehending what is read even more so), hopefully you will understand why actively using your brain in the process is a good thing, and try to do more of it.

    • Anonymous

      Science results are also the words of human beings. Putting trust in them is equally potentially idolatrous. 

      I don’t think any Christian will dispute that the Bible was written by men. What you are doing is diminishing God to have no power and making up things about Him to your standards. 

      If you want to set yourself above God’s word and authority, or make up rules for God, that’s your business I guess. But don’t bring the bible into it because your god is not the Bible’s god.

      Trust in the Bible is trust in what God has revealed to us about himself, the Earth and heaven. Jesus himself compared the word of God with a seed and something that can produce fruit. Just like a seed, God’s word has living power. There is also a spiritual aspect to it. It speaks to not only to the brain but the heart as well.

      Trusting the Bible as God’s word and trusting God are both the same thing. It has nothing to do with idolatry. 

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

    cdbren, You are trusting what people have written about God and denying the testimony of God’s own handiwork in creation which no human can replicate. And despite your ignorance about both Biblical studies and biology being exposed you continue to rely on a charlatan’s deceptive twisting of both the Bible and science, and so deny both the Bible and the Creator. And to top it all off, you have the audacity to claim that you are a true Christian while others who care enough about both the Bible and the reputation of God, Jesus and Christianity to point out your errors are maligned by you. Your whole approach is shameful, like that of those about whom the Bible warns, people who would persecute Christians and believe that in so doing they were performing a service to God.

    One reason to listen to the scientists (including the Christians among them) rather than you is that science is by definition open to correction and improvement in light of the evidence. Your views on both the Bible and science clearly are not.

    • Anonymous

      James, you are telling me not to put my trust in man’s word (the bible) yet you yourself are putting trust in man’s words. 

      Science/evidence can’t tell anyone anything. You are listening to their interpretations of that evidence. If it can be corrected or improved and is open then why deny a differing interpretation? All things should be considered. 

      I am not denying God’s handiwork in creation at all. You are correct though that no man can replicate it. Which puts it outside the realm of science as far as interpreting it. 

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

    Cdbren, you seem to want to create controversy simply because you enjoy it, where none need exist. Is it “trusting man’s words” because scientists have to use human language to describe what they see when they look through a microscope, or a telescope, or whatever?

    In denying that science, the created order, and evidence in general cannot tell anyone anything, you are not only being inaccurate and dishonest, you are once again denying the truthfulness of the Bible, which says things such as that the heavens declare the glory of God, and that that which can be known of God can be discerned from what God created. You deny both God’s books, when it suits you to do so. Because one ultimately cannot owe allegiance to both the Bible and young-earth creationism, since the two pull in such different directions, assuming one actually knows in detail what is in the Bible, and not just the select pull quotes superficially understood.

  • Guest

    What I have never understood is how creationists explain the diversity and distribution of life, in the 4000 years since the flood. Once the kinds of animals got off the Ark, they and the plants must have evolved super fast to arive at the number of species we find today.

    • Anonymous

      Guest: Yes, plants and animals diversified very fast. That is what natural selection does. The only reason you think it can’t happen fast is you have been told by scientists that lower life forms evolved to higher forms and that it takes millions of years. 

      Today we can cross breed Camels with Lama’s, Lions with Tigers, Cougars with Leopards, Zebra’s with Horses, potatoes with hot peppers. If millions of years of evolution produced these animals they would not be able to interbreed anymore today.

      Look at the variety of dogs man has come up with using selective breeding from only a few breeds. No one put the information into the dogs. It was already there. Each creature and plant contains a vast reserve of information for variety to allow them to adapt quickly to environmental change.

      The animals off the ark were more fit and more genetically diverse than what we have today. 

      It is creation. What God has created them to do. It is not evolution in the sense you think it is. They did not evolve from lower forms millions of years ago. Quite the opposite. They were created according to their kind with the ability and vast information to diversify according to their kind.

      (There is research that shows if salmon are isolated in the wild they can diversify in just around 13 generations.)

      Andrew P. Hendry et al., “Rapid Evolution of Reproductive Isolation in the Wild: Evidence from Introduced Salmon,” Science 290 (2000): 516–518; 

  • Anonymous

    James M.:

    I propose that the distinctive feature of both the form and “organisation” of life (as
    opposed to its materiality) and the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of the
    mind is that they are unequivocally non-material in that they cannot be
    quantified, weighed or measured. And thus, strictly speaking, they fall
    outside the domain of the methods of science to investigate and explain. (Science’s dead end, James Le Fanu, 21st July 2010  —  Prospect, Issue 173 )

    I mean, the genome project is no closer to figuring out why the 20,000 genes in living things are nearly identical and the same in number among all organisms. Or that our human genome is virtually interchangeable with that of a mouse. The same genes that tell a fly to be a fly, tell a human to be a human. In other words it is much more complex than mere “random chance” can account for. 

    I have been finding out there is a lot of information that has not been disclosed to the public either from fear of funding being cut or because it has been brushed under the rug. 

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

    This is the point at which conspiracy theories finally go awry. There is supposedly a cover up of fatal problems with the theory of evolution, so as to avoiding losing funding or for whatever reason, and yet supposedly someone who doesn’t know enough biology to know that a whale is a mammal can find it (did they hide it on the internet) and understand it (something that was even made to look like a report of scientific research ought to be challenging to understand for even an academic outside of the field).

    This should make anyone interested in truth ask where the deception really lies.

    • Anonymous

      Here. I will post this link for anyone looking for truth. For anyone willing to explore the whole picture. 

      James, your attempts to say something are ending up saying nothing.

      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/08/direct_rna_templating_a_failed050121.html

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        i do not understand why you referenced this article in the context of the extended discussion here. it is a criticism of a particular rna world origin of life scenario, it really has little to say about the age of the earth or evolutionary theory. imho, abiogenesis is a particularly hard field to understand and is often confused with ET, unjustly so.

        • Anonymous

          Richard Williams: “I do not understand why you referenced this article in the context of the extended discussion here.”

          Well, if you read the entire article it spells out a real problem for life arising by chance and clear evidence that it was indeed created by an intelligence. 

          —————————
          Chicken and Egg

          Yarus’s model also raises a significant chicken-and-egg paradox. Meyer and Nelson explain:

          Because those biosynthetic pathways involve many enzymes, extant cells would require a pre-existing translation system in order to make them. Since attempts to explain the origin of the genetic code are also attempts to explain the origin of the translation system (indeed, there can be no translation without a code), Yarus et al.’s findings raise an acute chicken and egg problem. Which came first, the aptamer-amino acid affinities that Yarus et al. propose as the basis of the code and translation system, or the translation system that would have been necessary to produce those amino acids (and, thus aptamer-amino acid affinities) in the first place?

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

    You forgot to put “looking for truth” in ironic scare quotes.

    Just like “Evolution” “News” forgot theirs.

  • Anonymous

    David Tyler (University professor) recently remarked,
    “Time and time again, Darwinists fill the gaps in knowledge with their
    theoretical models, but sooner or later, the next generation of scholars
    will realise that Darwinists have constructed a virtual world that does
    not match the real world revealed by research.”

    ——

    M. Leisola and O. Turunen at Helsinki University of Technology suggest
    in a 2007 protein engineering study that there is an “overreliance
    on the Darwinian blind search to obtain practical results. In the long
    run, random methods cannot replace insight in constructing life-like
    proteins.”

    ——–

    Genome guru, J. Craig Venter: “The tree of life is an artifact of some early scientific studies that
    aren’t really holding up…So there is not a tree of life.”

    “All creatures do not have the same genetic code.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      Genome guru, J. Craig Venter: “The tree of life is an artifact of some early scientific studies that aren’t really holding up…So there is not a tree of life.” “All creatures do not have the same genetic code.” 

      God could have made this whole debate disappear if He had created human beings with a different tRNA to amino acid coding table. we would still be able to eat other creatures but it would be obvious that human beings were not continuous with other living creatures. i count this as a big mistake on His part. it would prove beyond doubt that human beings did not share a common ancestor with great apes-what a missed opportunity…….

      can you imagine the effect when such a code was discovered? it would be the divine skywriting that we all desire sometimes, that piece of evidence that you point an atheist to, with a little grin and say—there is God’s Hand. QED

      btw, each kind with a different genetic code would prove “no evilution between kinds” as well. what a demonstration God could have done.

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

    And just to show clearly whether or not you are quote mining, please tell me what Venter proposes in place of the tree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      but professor *waving hand in the air wildly* you didn’t tell us this would be on the test!

    • Anonymous

      James: “And just to show clearly whether or not you are quote mining, please tell me what Venter proposes in place of the tree.”
      Yes, he said there “may” be a bush but that it is just a concept. He also stated that he did not agree that all life originated from one common ancestor. 

      The main point is that when confronted with something that changes their ideas some can’t seem to accept it. It was a rather hilarious and also sad panel discussion.

      Interesting how they say the population will soon get too big to supply food for everyone yet overlook the fact that if humans were here for millions of years we’d have reached that point long ago. Lee Hartwell said that the more they study the cell the more complex it appears. Also that they are STILL trying to find the origin of how life came about. 

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

    So when scientists offer improvements on our understanding (in this case, it is the model of a tree with linear branches, ignoring the lateral transfer of genes, that is challenged, not evolution), young-earth creationists either have missed the point or are deliberately misusing quotations. To suggest that a scientist who offers an improvement on our understanding will always be right in their criticism of existing concepts but wrong in what they put in its place is picking and choosing at its worst.

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

    Scientists and religious apologists aren’t playing the same game; they don’t just differ in what they claim at a given time but in how they claim it. Indeed, back in the early 19th Century, virtually all scientists were proponents of something like intelligent design, but that didn’t make ‘em apologists, because they were open to new ideas and new evidence and this new evidence could and eventually did change their minds—ID isn’t a new notion that can’t get a fair hearing: it’s an old notion that had a fair hearing. To put things more succinctly: the difference between the believers and the scientists isn’t that they have different holy books. It’s that the scientists don’t have holy books at all. Scandalous.

    It’s apparent that the fundamentalists just don’t get it that the biologists aren’t a different kind of theologian but an entirely different breed of cat. Which accounts for the predictable way that every advance in biology will be seized upon by the believers as a problem for their opponents, who, just as predictably, aren’t discommoded in the slightest by the need to modify their ideas. The scientists agree with Heraclitus that you have to expect the unexpected. You sure shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. But novelty is fatal to a system that insists on being the once and future truth.

    There is a further wrinkle in all this. It is perfectly true that the current scientific understanding of evolution differs considerably from the textbook Darwinism of the 1950s, but much of the new ideas and findings of the last 50 years have actually moved the consensus further away from comfortable old conceptions. Like a sailor marooned on a rock in the middle of the sea, the fundamentalists keep hoping their ship will return when, in fact, it’s no longer even in the same ocean. If you imagine translating such novel scientific concepts as evolution by symbiosis, epigenetics, lateral gene transfer, or niche construction into the picture language of mythology, you don’t get anything remotely resembling the Babylonian accounts of creation that the Jews borrowed in Genesis. If the evolutionists are giving up trees, it’s hardly good news for the traditionalists. After all, at least there were a couple of trees in the garden.

  • Anonymous

    I presented like 5 or 6 individual problems facing evolution and pointing to ID as being a viable theory and also these point to proof for ID. 

    I am still waiting for discussion on these. I see a curious skirting of the main issues. Not many seem capable of thinking new thoughts. 

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

    Cdbren, just two points of clarification regarding what you wrote. First, you have not presented any problems with evolution. You have presented evidence that you misunderstand evolution and the evidence for it. Second, ID is not a new thought (the design argument is ancient) but even if it were, a thought’s newness is not a sign of its veracity.

    • Anonymous

      Well, that all depends on what definition of evolution you are choosing to use at the moment. 

      No one has or will argue that species can adapt to environments through natural selection and mutations within their species. 

      Apparently continuing to attack the person, mix and maxing terminology and ignoring the main issues is your M.O. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        No one has or will argue that species can adapt to environments through natural selection and mutations within their species.  

        the first problem with this is that species are a human construct, a way of patterning our thought and understanding the biological world. there really isn’t a good definition of species, it really isn’t clear exactly what we are talking about, what qualities we are trying to capture with the idea. 

        ring species make the old working definition of interbreeding populations problematic. as we learn more about speciation and how breeding populations divide, the more we see the idea of species as a convenient fiction, useful yet not quite capturing what we think it does.

        in any case, i don’t think the majority of YECists propose species and kinds to be the same, i’ve seen kinds=genus a few times, but more often the level kinds is assigned to is family or even higher like “things that fly” or “things with fins”. if you think the scientific idea of species is slippery, it is nothing compared to the YECists kinds-baramin, since there really isn’t any constrain on the imaginations of those proposing definitions.

        • Anonymous

          Richard, I thought definition of species was already gone over here. That it is basically a group of animals that will always produce that kind. That the species is fixed and not able to interbreed with other species. 

          Maybe I should have used the word family instead but I think either word will suffice.

          Most animals on the planet reproduce sexually and will produce a replica of itself. Natural selection and mutations allow that animal to adapt to it’s environment. Long hair, short hair, long beak, short beak, long legs, etc. 

          If you know of any other method by which totally new features arise, including information for new blood vessels, nerve endings, bone design and placement, etc. as in say a fish growing legs that offer support, please disclose it. 

          Also, if we have that method then explain how that creature survives as it changes, and how increasing complexity somehow means increased change. (Which is seen to be quite the opposite.) 

          —–
          You mention ring species and you would maybe have a valid point if the examples were not different types of Gulls or different types of salamanders. Now if you used tigers and say Zebras as a ring species maybe I would agree. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            Maybe I should have used the word family instead but I think either word will suffice. 

            family is already taken.
            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a5/Biological_classification_L_Pengo_vflip.svg/150px-Biological_classification_L_Pengo_vflip.svg.png

            re:
            That it is basically a group of animals that will always produce that kind. That the species is fixed and not able to interbreed with other species.  

            lots of animals interbreed at genus level.
            good example is Canis, i believe all Canis sp. can interbreed at various levels of success. the mere fact of viable offspring can not be rule for species,  usually it is stated -=fertile=- offspring, but for various reasons that doesn’t work quite right either. afaik there is no good definition of species, just rather sloppy rules of thumb.

            the problem is that species are not fixed, not in time, not in space. how can you propose fixity when we really don’t even have a good working definition? for an interesting example you can google hawthorn maggots/flies to see speciation in very recent time. there is some very interesting genetics outlined in their reproductive isolation, not geographic.

            just because they don’t interbreed doesn’t mean they can’t. just because they usually don’t produce fertile offspring doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes. and this is with animal orders like mammals, you should see how complex species definition gets with hybrid and polyploidy plants.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            If you know of any other method by which totally new features arise, including information for new blood vessels, nerve endings, bone design and placement, etc. as in say a fish growing legs that offer support, please disclose it. 

            i’ve already offered syncytin, which is a HERV-W, horizontally transferred via a virus and co-opted to form placental interface. as HERVS are 3-8% of human genome, this is a big deal.

            you, yourself offered an excellent paper showing ~60 examples of non protein coding sequences being used to form new novel proteins in the brain. the nylon bug is another, a gene duplication in recent times being used to “eat” a novel chemical never before seen in nature. we’ve offered lots of good examples in this 500+ message comment thread. then there is the ORF and several start-stop codon mutations referred to.

            • Anonymous

              Those do not qualify for what I asked for. Gene “duplication”? I could copy a page of text over and over but it wouldn’t tell you anything new.

              New protein coding sequences? I can’t see where I offered that paper. If anything I offered part of a rebuttal of that paper.

              The nylon bug is simply another “gene duplication” event where the bacteria already had the ability to adapt built in.

              None of your examples would give rise to the kind of complexity I asked for or in the number of ways that kind of complexity could code for.

              What you are doing is giving me the same old thing we all can see happening. The duplication only of simple components. A creatures ability to adapt to certain conditions that was already built in. Then you theorize that enough of that could lead to new, very highly complex organs, tissues, and bones given enough time. 

              That last part is a wild guess and not proven fact in the least. Again I ask for the mechanism that will add new complex information to allow an embryo to grow new highly complex features not inherent in the original parents.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                New protein coding sequences? I can’t see where I offered that paper. If anything I offered part of a rebuttal of that paper. 

                your link
                http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=late-bloomers-new-genes-may-have-played 

                the paper it is based on
                http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002379 

                from the summary, a nice list of mechanisms
                The origin of genes can involve mechanisms such as gene duplication, exon shuffling, retroposition, mobile elements, lateral gene transfer, gene fusion/fission, and de novo origination. However, de novo origin, which means genes originate from a non-coding DNA region, is considered to be a very rare occurrence. Here we identify 60 new protein-coding genes that originated de novo on the human lineage since divergence from the chimpanzee, supported by both transcriptional and proteomic evidence. 

                from the paper:
                To be a candidate de novo originated gene, in addition to having a potentially translatable open reading frame in the human genome, the gene must have been present, and disrupted (i.e., non-translatable), in both the chimpanzee and orangutan genomes, e.g., the chimpanzee and orangutan sequences must lack an ATG start codon or have frameshift-inducing indels or nucleotide differences that result in a premature stop codon.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                Those do not qualify for what I asked for. Gene “duplication”? I could copy a page of text over and over but it wouldn’t tell you anything new. 

                one of the best examples of gene duplication is accessible by googling russell doolittle and blood clotting cascade, R.D. and a class with him is why i went to seminary rather than finishing grad school in biology as i had intended, that class was 30 years ago.

                so cdbren, why am i so confident your ID quote:
                the story that these seemingly defunct retroviruses provide compelling evidence for common descent on the one hand, and support for the notion of non-designed junk on the other, is based on an interpretation that is almost thirty years old and contradicted by recent data.

                is so wrong about the 30 year dating? and what is driving this HERV research? show you understand the connections.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                That last part is a wild guess and not proven fact in the least. Again I ask for the mechanism that will add new complex information to allow an embryo to grow new highly complex features not inherent in the original parents. 

                this demonstrates the rather typical laymen’s understanding of mutation, fed by movies and scifi. it is the buildup of lots of little mutations over deep time that allows POPULATIONS to evolve. unfortunately SJG lead into it with “hopeful monsters”. however, this is not how evolution works, it is a straw man misunderstanding at a very important level in ET. you have perhaps 120-150 SNiPs unique to you, not in your parents. trace this through 1000 generations and you see POPULATIONS evolve.

                since hopeful monster mutations over a single generation are not how ET happens, no one will be able to show you examples.

  • Anonymous

    If we all agree that groups of species can adapt to environments through natural selection and mutations and that it is called evolution then what are we debating about? (I give an example of variation in bird families or insect families.)

    We are debating an explanation of origins which is outside the realm of science to explain. Or rather outside the realm of the scientific method.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      bird families or insect families.

      both Aves & Insecta are classes not families.
      like whales are in order Cetacea not in class Osteichthyes (bony fish).
      reasonably careful use of common terms facilitates good communication even in forums like this.

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

    Cdbren, it sounds like you are asking for evidence that new and complex features arise in a singke step all at once, which raises the question of whether you are intentionally setting up a straw man, or simply don’t know enough about evolution to know that that is not what science posits as happening.

    • Anonymous

      Well, then James, you are in a catch 22 situation. If it did not happen all at once and was a slow gradual process then you would have species with non-functional, incomplete systems over long periods of time.

      I think it was Richard that kept saying “population fitness” over and over. That (evolutionary process) does not strike me as being very fit.

      The fact that bacteria can adapt to eat nylon and many other things we can clearly observe show that species can adapt very fast and that the information for that adaptation is already there. That species basically remain what they are and reproduce that way. (ie. wings, four legs, scales, feathers, beaks, light bones for flight, etc.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        I think it was Richard that kept saying “population fitness” over and over. That (evolutionary process) does not strike me as being very fit. 

        you are right. evolution needing to find antecedents for everything it does is ad hoc, wasteful and very unfit as compared to a human designer. the big deal with design is the reuse of working modules. everyone does it-software, bridges etc. everyone wants to avoid redesigning the wheel, human designers love debugged functional modules. evolution doesn’t work at all this way. it is a random walk through the library of mendel, reinventing eyes 40 times, each time only able to use what was already present in the genome. ET is the ultimate tinkerer, inefficiency is inherent in the whole process.

        it is this ad hoc, must use antecedents, no functional module swapping that is some of the best evidence that life evolved not designed. you are certainly right, the evolutionary process is itself not very fit. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      the topic is evo devo and the book to read is 
      Carroll, Sean B. (2005). Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom
      probably one of the 5 best biology books i’ve read .

      i reviewed it on amazon 5 years ago
      http://www.amazon.com/Endless-Forms-Most-Beautiful-Science/product-reviews/0393060160/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 

      good solid popularization of evolutionary development, on the required reading list, May 31, 2006By 
      R. M. Williams “just an avid reader” (tucson, arizona USA) - See all my reviewspresented as evidence that i do my homework *grin*imho, if someone doesn’t understand the nylon bug and syncytin they will not understand the homeobox genetic system.

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

    This image offers a cute response to creationism’s approach that seems relevant to what some commenters here have been saying: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2011/11/think-outside-the-box-the-cutest-response-to-creationism-ever.html

  • Anonymous

    Richard, HERV’s being evidence for evolution is like 30 years old now and has since been shown that is not the case. We know a lot more about them now than 30 years ago. 

    They are not junk DNA and do not show common ancestry. They are an integral part of the functional genome. It is not horizontally transferred.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/retroviruses-and-common-descent-and-why-i-dont-buy-it/

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      Richard, HERV’s being evidence for evolution is like 30 years old now and has since been shown that is not the case. We know a lot more about them now than 30 years ago. They are not junk DNA and do not show common ancestry. They are an integral part of the functional genome. It is not horizontally transferred.


      i didn’t say anything about HERV insertions creating cladistic trees, which recapitulate the dual(taxonomy and genetics) nested hierarchical structure known before them which is what your link is about. i offered syncytin, which your link misses the significance of, because it is horizontally transferred, it is a viral genome being co-opted.

      it’s interesting that you would rephrase this:
      the story that these seemingly defunct retroviruses provide compelling evidence for common descent on the one hand, and support for the notion of non-designed junk on the other, is based on an interpretation that is almost thirty years old and contradicted by recent data. 

      HERV’S have not been known for 30 years. the knowledge about they stems from a very specific source. i challenge you to present the origin of our knowledge of HERV’S

      http://www.uncommondescent.com… 

      • Anonymous

        Richard, they have known about junk DNA since 1972 and have been suggesting it is evidence for evolution since that time.

        “Junk DNA, a term that was introduced in 1972 by Susumu Ohno,[25] was a provisional label for the portions of a genome sequence for which no discernible function had been identified.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noncoding_DNA

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        this challenge is not a google creationist sites and misinterpret their scientific links type of task. you really have to understand what is going on in the field, and you’ll understand why that 30 year claim about the framework is wrong. 

        so, what is driving this study in HERVS and why am i sure this ID quote about it being almost 30 years old is wrong? the earliest literature on HERV’S i found date to 1992-94. so cdbern, what is driving the study of HERV’S  and why isn’t the new data contradictory as the quote above you offered contends?

        when you respond i’ll tell you about a class i had in 1977-80 that shows what is going on.

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

    You seem not to be aware of any of the research showing the problems with Michael Behe’s and others’ claims about “irreducible complexity,” Cdbren. Systems often functioned as something else which served in turn to provide the groundwork for another adaptation which turned what was there into something different and which served a different purpose.

    Why won’t you just go read about these things yourself? The information is readily available. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

    • Anonymous

      James, why would random processes or rather how would random processes produce a functioning system? Natural selection and mutations do not develop new systems, let alone build them up from non-working parts or other systems.

      Again I ask what directs this process? Is it directional or not? You seem to be flipping from one to the other quite easily. 

      Basically what you are saying is the same as what I was asking. How does a flipper turn into a foot gradually and still be functional. Your response, “it was a flipper which had some elements of a foot, which then turned into a foot over long periods of time.”

      I paraphrased there. 

      I have read many an article about the entire issue from both sides. There is no proof that systems change to other systems and you are missing the point that at one time no systems existed. So then how did the systems that functioned as something else come about???

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        James, why would random processes or rather how would random processes produce a functioning system? Natural selection and mutations do not develop new systems, let alone build them up from non-working parts or other systems. 

        genetic algorithms do exactly that. an entire field built on what you say doesn’t happen, it even designs airplane wings!
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html 

        • Anonymous

          re: genetic algorithms do exactly that. an entire field built on what you say doesn’t happen, it even designs airplane wings!
          http://www.talkorigins.org/faq… 

          Again you are using wishful thinking. Taking the ability of an organism to adapt and saying that is proof of evolution from one creature to another. 

          In the real world of biological evolution, or of computer programs,
          “climbing up Mount Improbable” involves not just taking large numbers of
          tiny steps upward, but scaling many steep cliffs. You not only have to
          explain how the giraffe’s neck
          grew longer, but how the bacterial flagellum developed, with dozens of
          parts (each essential for function) similar to those of an outboard
          motor, or how aquatic bladderworts developed their carnivorous traps.

          Another great example is the metamorphosis of a butterfly. I’d like to see either you or James try to figure out how that works by gradual small changes. (There is God’s hand!)

          Oh, and your reply about God maybe using another design with the genetic code. Again you are presuming to know the mind of the creator. Which you do not know. You presume (higher knowledge than God) that there is some sort of better way to write/design the code.

          We DO NOT share a common ancestor with great apes by the way. There is no common ancestor. The 98% similarity only refers to 2% of the genome of humans and apes. Basically that means PROOF that we in fact have separate origins. 

          http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/10/the_latest_on_chimp_and_human052291.html

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            to cdbern.

            do you intend to answer my challenge to actually understand and synthesize what you are reading?

            it’s from your link
            http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/retroviruses-and-common-descent-and-why-i-dont-buy-it/

            it’s your quote:
            Richard, HERV’s being evidence for evolution is like 30 years old now and has since been shown that is not the case. We know a lot more about them now than 30 years ago. They are not junk DNA and do not show common ancestry. They are an integral part of the functional genome. It is not horizontally transferred. 

            why do i know it is wrong? what is driving HERV’S?

            take some time. understand what you are reading. show people that you can put the pieces together. do the evidence for evolution justice by understanding it, not simply dismissing it because you lack the will to actually engage with it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            Oh, and your reply about God maybe using another design with the genetic code. Again you are presuming to know the mind of the creator. Which you do not know. You presume (higher knowledge than God) that there is some sort of better way to write/design the code. 

            you apparently do not understand what i am saying about a different tRNA to amino acid coding table for people or even for each baramin and how this would be an example of divine skywriting declaring God as Creator and putting ET forever out of biological science. sad. i think it an excellent example. it is certainly a better way of dismissing evilution-forever than what we now see as the continuity of living things including us allowing the theory of a single common ancestor to be good science.

            you really don’t understand the biological data but are rather like a drowning man frantically flaying about in the water reaching out madly at even rescuers in his attempt to stay afloat. catch your breath, the world is not out to get you, biological science is not lying to you, try to understand what you are reading before you so strongly react against it.

            i can see from your online footprint http://www.frumforum.com/no-need-for-christians-to-fear-science that you have been struck by the rock of ET and are yelping in great pain. but hiding behind ignorance will not sooth that hurt to your faith. do yourself a service and read for understanding, even the wiki has things to teach you, if you’ll listen.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            We DO NOT share a common ancestor with great apes by the way. There is no common ancestor. The 98% similarity only refers to 2% of the genome of humans and apes. Basically that means PROOF that we in fact have separate origins.  

            again, i will repeat, for i do not believe you understand-that proof is for maths. science demonstrates something like the legal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.

            btw: i found the evidence for the fusion of chimp 2p+2q with the resultant human chromosome having 2 centrosomes and internal telomeres, including the predicted backwards section, persuasive enough evidence to move me from OEC to ET.

            btw: basically, your statement is incoherent. 98% of the 2% coding. but ~95% of the whole genome.  similarity that begs for explanation not ignorance.

            • Anonymous

              re:btw: “basically, your statement is incoherent. 98% of the 2% coding. but ~95% of the whole genome.  similarity that begs for explanation not ignorance.”

              I agree that it begs explanation.

              So if I got a 30% on a test (70% wrong) and another person got a 30% score, does that mean that we got the exact same answers wrong? 

              You are missing the big picture. Are you proposing that we fully understand DNA language or do we have a better grasp on English language than DNA language? Answer this with a direct link to back it up and then say again there are similarities in human and ape DNA.

              The genetic difference expressed as a percent says nothing about whether humans and chimps share a common ancestor.

              http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/following_the_evidence_where_i047161.html#comment-9266481

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                You are missing the big picture. Are you proposing that we fully understand DNA language or do we have a better grasp on English language than DNA language? Answer this with a direct link to back it up and then say again there are similarities in human and ape DNA. 

                chimp 2p+2q=human 2 with 2 centrosomes and internal telomeres including as predicted those backwards ones.
                a fusion event is a far more parsimonious explanation than “it’s designed that way”

                no need for a link, i understand this data. do you?

                are you going to answer my challenge on your previous links? why am i so certain that HERV’s aren’t 30 year old data? demonstrate your mastery of the data and how well you can read and understand your own links.

                btw: i suspect i understand the big picture better than most….

                • Anonymous

                  re: “are you going to answer my challenge on your previous links? why am i so certain that HERV’s aren’t 30 year old data? demonstrate your mastery of the data and how well you can read and understand your own links.”

                  Richard, that was a pasted quote from the article I linked it to. Not my quote. It was from someone far more qualified than I to say that. 

                  I assume that since HERV’s do not produce protein that they would be considered junk DNA. Thirty years ago was when they started looking at this stuff.

                  On the other hand if it isn’t old data then they don’t know enough about it to make bold, unsubstantiated claims. 

                  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                    i’ll give you a big hint on my challenge to you to integrate with your reading. demonstrate your ability to understand what you are presumably reading. i’ve told you your quote is wrong.

                    i had a medical virology class, before 1980, it covered an extraordinarily complete textbook, 1 chapter per week. the quarter was coming to an end and the prof skipped a chapter-RV’s and stated this was because there were no known medically significant viruses in this group.

                    so why do i know that our knowledge of HERV’s are less than 30 years old? what is driving this field?

                    btw: 
                    re:that since HERV’s do not produce protein
                    i’ve already showed you a HERV-K gene co-opted to produce syncytin, crucial in placental development.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            The 98% similarity only refers to 2% of the genome of humans and apes. 

            the big problem is what to count and how much to count each mutation/difference. most of the figures are SNiPS, how to count indels is a big issue. say you have a 100bp inversion, does this count 1 mutation or 100? that is why i don’t think the discussion is profitable here.

            but given the lack of progress in simpler issues earlier in this conversation, i think i’ll pass on this data discussion.

            • Anonymous

              Re: “The big problem is what to count and how much to count each mutation/difference. most of the figures are SNiPS, how to count indels is a big issue. say you have a 100bp inversion, does this count 1 mutation or 100? that is why i don’t think the discussion is profitable here.

              but given the lack of progress in simpler issues earlier in this conversation, i think i’ll pass on this data discussion.”

              Yes, please do so as I stated and showed with links that it has already been debunked and shown we are not closely related to any kind of primate. I’ll agree that we have design features that are related though. 

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

    I actually met Sean Carroll when he spoke at Butler. Here’s a post from a while back related to that: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2007/10/sean-b-carroll.html

    And here are a couple of others related to the current discussion:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2007/10/tis-but-a-scratch.html

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2007/08/the-heart-of-the-matter-what-does-god-do.html

  • Anonymous

    One important fact as well.

    Modifications to early embryo development are uniformly NOT evolutionarily hereditable. If there were changes in early development, it would prove detrimental if not lethal. 

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/colliding_with_the_pharyngula_047281.html

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      i keep asking myself, why get involved in these discussions? part of the answer must be that other people have and will in the future read the things we wrote here. i’ve sent links to J.McG’s blog to many people.

      but the biggest part has to be that i see YECists primarily as Christians who have been sadly deceived, not just about the science of evolutionary theory but about the very nature of Scripture itself.

      Genesis 1-3 is, like all of Scripture written for us, for our benefit, but not to us, it is not about our culture’s big questions it is about theirs. it is not about how, about mechanism, it is about worship, about an uncreated Creator, it is a polemic against the rest of the ANE’s ideas of gods.

      God uses the ancient Israelite’s worldview to communicate to a hundred plus generations of readers, He is not teaching the specifics of it as binding the consciences of His believers. to do that we have to look at nature and rightly read God’s book of works.

      i think it important to trust God’s writing in both books, He is not lying to us in either, contra both Al Mohler and cdbren.

      • Anonymous

        Richard, I don’t think you addressed many of the issues I brought up at all but instead you tried to assess my current mental state. This is a typical retreat defense mechanism of an evolutionist. 

        I am not denying God and I am looking at what he created and listening to biology. It is just that sometimes, and more than likely, secular scientists come to the wrong conclusions.

        http://www.evolutionnews.org is a great place to explore un-biased research. They are not concerned with trying to prove one position over the other but to look honestly at where the evidence leads. And it continuously leads to a creation event.

        There is a WEALTH of information showing that creation was a special event that happened in the recent past. If you trust the writing in God’s book and trust Jesus then it would be IMPOSSIBLE to trust any other book as you want people to do. 

        Main point: God’s word is claimed to be God breathed, His living words and backed up by many eyewitnesses. Long ages and the fact of a common ancestor, evolution of one creature into another is simply man’s interpretations of evidence. Backed up by no witnesses. 

        —-
        On the “hereditable” term, I did not pull that from a dictionary. A scientists made that statement. I gave a link to the article. 

        In fact he posted I think six or seven articles in response to the idea that all embryos at a certain stage supposedly resemble each other. When in fact each has specific instructions, a blueprint, to build biologically. I gather that he knows what he is talking about, that small and gradual evolutionary changes would not work at that level.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      One important fact as well.Modifications to early embryo development are uniformly NOT evolutionarily hereditable. If there were changes in early development, it would prove detrimental if not lethal.  


      actually the one important fact is that you must realize that this makes no sense at all pulled out of context.

      dictionaries use false words to catch plagiarism, as maps use false place names. one of the interesting things about misspellings like hereditable, other than the fact that someone doesn’t take the time to run a spellchecker over what they write/copy/cut and paste. is that where it comes from is a bit easier to find for sure. just go to discovery.org and search for the misspelled term.

      i remember a fascinating developmental class with an excellent prof. the class was full of medical students, who are extraordinarily competitive. he said that their most important test, which everyone in the class had already passed was gastrulation, which had perhaps as high as a 50% failure rate. mostly as a result of mutations in critical genes.

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

    This is not about “secular scientists” since the vast majority of Christians with actual qualifications relevant to biology also accept mainstream science. Calling it “secular” is just another young-earth creationist attempt to spin things, and distract from the fact that YEC is about listening to alleged Christians with no relevant expertise and rejecting the testimony of clearly faithful Christians who have relevant qualifications.

  • Anonymous

    Forgive me as I am still reading through the posted articles about embryo development. The main point is this which is still a question:

    As noted previously, from an evolutionary vantage, the evolution of vertebrate development almost appears goal-directed, where embryos if many taxa start off developing very differently but then converge on a somewhat similar stage midway. So how could Darwinian evolution preserve a midpoint of
    development as similar, when embryos start development so differently?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      re:
      As noted previously, from an evolutionary vantage, the evolution of vertebrate development almost appears goal-directed, where embryos if many taxa start off developing very differently but then converge on a somewhat similar stage midway. So how could Darwinian evolution preserve a midpoint of development as similar, when embryos start development so differently? http://thebenevolenthecklers.blogspot.com/2011/07/models-of-embryological-development.html 

      it’s an ok article but basically is an extended argument from incredulity.

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

    Somebody may have mentioned the point before, but the loss the the ability to synthesize vitamin C is one of the characters that shows our kinship with the other monkeys and apes. If apes and men were in fact separately designed, it would show a striking lack of foresight on the part of the designer not to include the ability to make vitamin C in our biochemistry since an intelligent designer would know that we would not always inhabit regions where fresh food could be counted on to supply the deficiency. If we descended from tropical, fruit-eating animals, on the other hand, it’s no mystery how it happened that we don’t have the built-in immunity from scurvy that most other mammals have but chimps do not.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

       chimps and us have exactly the same mutation 
      for those learn mobio via google: stop codon glo gene
      or plagarism glo pseudogene

    • Anonymous

      Re: “Somebody may have mentioned the point before, but the loss the the ability to synthesize vitamin C is one of the characters that shows our kinship with the other monkeys and apes. If apes and men were in fact separately designed, it would show a striking lack of foresight on the part of the designer not to include the ability to make vitamin C in our biochemistry since an intelligent designer would know that we would not always inhabit regions where fresh food could be counted on to supply the deficiency. If we descended from tropical, fruit-eating animals, on the other hand, it’s no mystery how it happened that we don’t have the built-in immunity from scurvy that most other mammals have but chimps do not.”

      Again, you are making bold assumptions. Mainly that the first created humans, Adam and Eve could not synthesize vitamin C. I see nothing and you have presenting nothing that would make you come to this conclusion.

      Second, you are making assumptions that you know the mind of the creator and what they would or would not do. 

      Third, you are forgetting that mutations over time simply could have caused this deficiency. Suggesting that it shows we have a kinship with monkeys and apes is both far reaching and extremely without a shred of evidence. 

      Bats, certain fish and guinea pigs also have this deficiency. Does that mean we have a kinship with and evolved from one of them?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        Bats, certain fish and guinea pigs also have this deficiency. Does that mean we have a kinship with and evolved from one of them? 

        look carefully at the data.
        chimps and human beings have exactly the same mutation. guinea pigs have a different one.

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

    cdbren’s responses would be the sheerest Calvin ball were he actually engaged in trying to figure out how nature works. He isn’t. He’s defending the faith, which is a distinctly different operation. Paranoids need to believe they’re Napoleon, and Fundamentalists need to believe that all the evidence that Genesis is history. (Once again, I’m not suggesting that Fundamentalists are literally crazy. It makes a big difference if you have a lot of company!)

    Anyhow, cdbren’s procedure is perfectly logical since it follows from the postulated truth of his central beliefs that all apparently conflicting evidence is erroneous and misunderstood. The trouble is, logic provides an extremely weak test for any hypothesis. I guess you could complain that the gymnastics folks of his persuasion go through to claim that anvils float is objectionable precisely because it is just too easy.

     

    • Anonymous

      re: “Anyhow, cdbren’s procedure is perfectly logical since it follows from the postulated truth of his central beliefs that all apparently conflicting evidence is erroneous and misunderstood. The trouble is, logic provides an extremely weak test for any hypothesis. I guess you could complain that the gymnastics folks of his persuasion go through to claim that anvils float is objectionable precisely because it is just too easy.”

      On the contrary, I have said quite a few times that the evidence could go equally both ways. 

      Attempting to describing the character of a fundamentalist or the mindset of a scientist, based on simply your opinion, is backpedalling. It isn’t even a comment on the main issues.  

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

        As I have pointed out several times in this thread, I’m not addressing cdbren. There is absolutely no point in arguing with some one for whom no evidence or argument will ever make the least difference, which is the usual case with creationists. I’m writing to others.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams
        • Anonymous

          Re: “As I have pointed out several times in this thread, I’m not addressing cdbren. There is absolutely no point in arguing with some one for whom no evidence or argument will ever make the least difference, which is the usual case with creationists. I’m writing to others. ”

          Oh, sorry. I was not aware that you were addressing certain non-Christian scientists. Yes, they are very stagnant in that way. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        On the contrary, I have said quite a few times that the evidence could go equally both ways.  

        yes you have said it, but it is not true.

        what is more reasonable-that God created adam and eve able to make vit c and then mutated a descendant so that many thousands have died a painful death from scurvy and then to make evolutionary theory plausible made this exact same mutation in chimps.

        or that the mutation occurred in an ancestor in the great apes who ate plenty of fruit and then the great apes split into the species we see today?

        does the evidence REALLY go equally both ways?????

        or that God created adam and eve with a chromosome 2 that looks exactly like the fusion of the chimp 2p+2q? just to fool and deceive 20thC evolutionary biologists?

        does the evidence really go EQUALLY  both ways?

        denying the evidence doesn’t change the forcefulness of it on people who actually care about the truthfulness of God’s book of works.

        • Anonymous

          Richard, no one was ever implying that God mutated anything or created the deficiency. It could simply be a result of the sin curse. Many fish have that deficiency as well. 

          Because we share this deficiency with chimps does not lead me to conclude that that means we evolved/diverged from them. It means nothing of the sort. 

          To say a certain similarity in two creatures equals a common ancestor is a wild guess at best, and a bad guess. 

          I think God created all creatures in a similar way using the best design features. Obviously they would all appear very similar. 

          In replying to James Harrison I was not referring to the vitamin C deficiency. I was referring to other evidences discussed here. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            I think God created all creatures in a similar way using the best design features. Obviously they would all appear very similar. 

            the big problem with ID is that even a high school level biology class demonstrates that a life is badly designed, ad hoc,  use what is available, tinkering random walk through Mendel’s library. even human literature is sprinkled with chimeras, sphinxes, griffins etc which are designed by swapping functional modules, an efficient obvious human way of design, something life never does. it reinvents badly even when a good functional partly debugged module lies just inches away but when in another lineage is completely unavailable. 

            imagine being a dying from scurvy sailor being told that every cell in his body contains the solution for his impending death but for the lack of a single nucleotide will cause his death. best design? tell him that.

            • Anonymous

              re: “imagine being a dying from scurvy sailor being told that every cell in his body contains the solution for his impending death but for the lack of a single nucleotide will cause his death. best design? tell him that.”

              Again, no one is saying God created the deficiency (except you). Adam and Eves sin is the cause of much of the bad things in the world. 

              You are again putting yourself above God and God’s thoughts in deciding that you somehow know a better way to design life. Or a biologist knows how to design life better than God. 

              Things were not as they are now at the beginning. 

              Romans 8:22: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

              I think the discussion though has migrated to an attack on God instead of the main issues. The reason? Many of the issues brought up are evidence against the idea of natural creation and can’t be answered by the idea of random, natural creation. 

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                re:
                You are again putting yourself above God and God’s thoughts in deciding that you somehow know a better way to design life. Or a biologist knows how to design life better than God. …I think the discussion though has migrated to an attack on God instead of the main issues. The reason? Many of the issues brought up are evidence against the idea of natural creation and can’t be answered by the idea of random, natural creation.  


                no, i am challenging the internal coherence and consistency of a viewpoint that God has directly designed nature as a series of miracles.

                you proposed adam and eve created with a functional glo gene and it subsequently mutated independently from the chimps mutation. i believe this is incoherent and not an equally valid way to explain the data as you contend. incoherent not just as science but as theology as well. you make God into a tinkerer, never quite getting it right and having to constantly intervene in the natural world to keep life going. there is an excellent discussion of this as a fully gifted creation in howard vantill’s fourth day of creation.

                this YECist viewpoint of God as tinkerer does not do justice to the God of Scripture, the constant ad hoc attacks by YECists on good science does not do justice to the high view of truth that a worshipper of the Biblical God should have.  Like Al Molher’s claim that creation lies to us, a young earth is an incoherent position, as is painfully obvious to the reader of these 500+ comments.

                • Anonymous

                  Richard, there is no tinkering. It was right at the beginning. Adam sinned and now everything is running down. Man constantly turns away from God. 

                  There are no attacks on good science at all. There are only attacks on imaginative assumptions of science evidence. 

                  You did not answer why fish also have vitamin C deficiencies. Did we evolve direct from fish? More than likely pollution is the cause of this deficiency, not direct decent. 

                  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                    re:
                    You did not answer why fish also have vitamin C deficiencies. Did we evolve direct from fish? More than likely pollution is the cause of this deficiency, not direct decent.  

                    not all fish, the teleost.

                    because the only data on teleost fish GLO mutation at this point seems to point to a loss of the gene entirely or it’s mutation beyond easy id. it’s not as clear as either the chimp-human SNiP(loss of 1 bp) or guinea pig, given your answer that God created Adam/Eve with functional GLO, pursuit of teleost genetics seemed fruitless.
                    see http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cg/2011/00000012/00000005/art00006

                  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                    re:
                    You did not answer why 

                    and you still haven’t answered why i knew immediately that the data on HERV’s isn’t 30 years old as your link stated. what is it about HERV’s that makes them so important? integrate your reading.

                    • Anonymous

                      Richard, look. Human endogenous retroviruses are considered “junk DNA”. Junk DNA has been studied since 1972. Hence the 30 year remark made by not me but a scientist I quoted.

                      That said, I assume you mean that HERV’s are important because some think since they are found in primates and humans that it means we both have the same lineage?

                      Or do you mean some think they have some sort of role in evolution?

                      ———————

                      I searched and did find that ERV’s do have functionality.

                      They are not just characteristics thought to be there by direct lineage. They have function:”Our analysis revealed that retroviral sequences in the human genome encode tens-of-thousands of active promoters; transcribed ERV sequences  correspond to 1.16% of the human genome sequence and PET tags that capture transcripts initiated from ERVs cover 22.4% of the genome. These  data suggest that ERVs may regulate human transcription on a large scale.”(Andrew B. Conley, Jittima Piriyapongsa and I. King Jordan, “Retroviral promoters in the human genome,” Bioinformatics, Vol. 24(14):1563–1567 (2008).)

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      all you had to do demonstrating integration of your reading on HERV’s was to post simply: AIDS-HIV.

                      HIV-AIDS is a retrovirus. the money pouring into research for this disease created the basic research into HERV’s. until this disease was recognized as a RV the whole family of 
                      Retroviridae was considered esoteric and somewhat uninteresting as of no medical significance as i posted earlier as a hint for your study.
                      what we know as HERV’s were very serious diseases effecting our   primate and homo ancestors, like AIDS-HIV is today. 

                      this indicates the difficulty of understanding what you read, mobio is not a simple topic, why should it be, why should the average person have innate understanding of it?

                      re:
                      ERV’s do have functionality 

                      i know, i’ve presented syncytin several times as evidence of horizontal transmission of genetic information and a viral co-opted gene. i am also familiar with some of the research showing HERV’s as siRNA sources.

                      btw:
                      the term “junk dna” means “not coding for proteins”. it has the same relationship with the useless stuff in my backyard as quantum chromodynamics has with the color wheel and the literature of james joyce, or that quark flavors have with my taste buds.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

                      re:
                      Andrew B. Conley, Jittima Piriyapongsa and I. King Jordan, “Retroviral promoters in the human genome,” Bioinformatics, Vol. 24(14):1563–1567 (2008). 

                      i assume you actually read this via
                      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/08/function_for_endogenous_retrov010451.html 

                      or perhaps you found a rebuttal of it at
                      http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/retroviral-promoters-in-the-human-genome/ 

                      but did you actually read the article? which is online in full.
                      http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/14/1563.long 

                      where is the first paragraph they write:
                      The abundance of these so-called endogenous retrovirus sequences (ERVs) testifies to the extent that human evolution has been shaped by successive waves of viral invasion (Sverdlov, 2000). 

                      sound familiar?

                    • Anonymous

                      I did not read the full paper or rebuttal. I have done so now.

                      Have you read the responses of the rebuttal? One person, who seems knowledgeable, said:

                      “While I generally agree with Dave that the ID prediction of “no junk” is rather spurious, not a necessity of ID, I do not concur with his view that it is a pure product of YEC thought. In Nature’s Destiny, Denton clearly predicts a lack of junk. He, in fact, suggests that proof that a majority of human DNA is junk would falsify his theory. I don’t follow his logic, but he’s hardly YEC.

                      That said, the flip side seems clear. Darwinists have calculated that only a small portion of human DNA can be functional or there would be too many mutations per generation to manage. (I wish I had a citation.) My calculations say that if there is more than one phenotype affecting mutation per generation, natural selection falls apart.

                      In the known protein coding DNA, the average human has, I think, 3. This already presents a serous problem. If the amount of DNA that renders in the phenotype were 10 times the size of the identified active DNA, then we would be the product of 30 phenotype affecting mutations per generation. That would be a serous problem.

                      My understanding is that about 30% of DNA is somewhat conserved between man and mouse. If natural selection, which only acts on the phenotype, is responsible for this conservation then at least 30% of human DNA renders in the phenotype. This is a serious problem for the darwinian theory. The other alternative is that there is another preservative in DNA, something other than the broad-based error correction technology that is know. This would suggest that a major discovery is called for.”

                      ———–

                      Another person stated that evolution theory scientists regularly jump on the first bit of a new discovery and call it evidence for evolution. I am not buying that this is evidence of common decent from apes/monkeys. Obviously it is a highly technical issue and needs more study before jumping to quick conclusions. 

                      Interesting reading though. Thanks for the links.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            no one was ever implying that God mutated anything or created the deficiency. It could simply be a result of the sin curse. Many fish have that deficiency as well.  

            since i’m a reformed Christian, the escape hatch of God didn’t do it, isn’t an option for me. 

            God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure. 

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

    Cdbren, I realize that it may be fruitless to attempt to get you to read and understand mainstream scientists’ writings. Efforts to get you to turn to them for information instead of the charlatans who have duped you have been ineffectual thus far, or so it would seem.

    But please at least read the comments here carefully, and do not try to twist them as though they were saying something they were not. Do you really imagine that you are in a setting in which no one will see what you are doing? Do you consider either lack of careful reading or deliberate misrepresentation to be glorifying to God?

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

    Cdbren, would you care to explain how pollution would cause Vitamin C deficiency? It sounds like you are making up anything that pops into your head (or copying things from someone who does so) because nothing – not truth, not accuracy, not coherence, nor anything else – matters to you more than giving the appearance of having won this argument.

    • Anonymous

      James, the idea that vitamin C deficiency equals proof we branched off from apes is not truth, not accurate and a conjecture at best. I don’t happen to agree with that conclusion.

      There is no “winning an argument”. Maybe for you there is. I am only interested in truth. Not wild assumptions that fit only one world view of molecules to man thinking. I call it a world view because that is all it is. 

      Basically from what I read it is a mutation in the chromosome. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, as well as errors that occur during meiosis or DNA replication. So yes, it could be caused by environmental factors. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
         I am only interested in truth. 

        i am *** surprised.

        re:
        equals proof 

        it is not proof. it is evidence.

        re:
        Not wild assumptions 

        they are not assumptions they are conclusions

        re:
        a mutation in the chromosome 

        there are two mutations to explain, exactly the same in chimps(other primates as well) and human beings. like a misspelled/fake word in a dictionary or a false place name on a map they lead into a discussion of plagiarism as evidence of copying.

        re:
         fit only one world view of molecules to man thinking. 

        so anyone understanding the evidence for evolution has a single world view ?  this appears to me to trump any other commitment, period.  therefore in your eyes anyone claiming to be a Christian but also understanding ET is first an evolutionist and second a Christian. why don’t you just come out and honestly state that no Christian can have a proper worldview unless they are YEC. that makes the YEC commitment more important, more significant, more a priority than a commitment to the risen Lord. if YEC’s were honest they would state that the real Shema is “in only 7 days” not Easter’s “He is risen”. to me this is idolatry, raising a piece of creation, it’s beginning, to the importance of the Resurrection. 

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

    Cdbren, if you had even the slightest interest in truth, you would not simply make up ad hoc off the cuff responses that illustrate your lack of understanding of the scientific fields you have arrogantly taken it upon yourself to ajudicate. Nor would you claim that stances which use deductive reasoning in a much more persuasive way are mere hunches. Where does that leave your own hunch?

  • Anonymous

    Something I just thought of. Adam and Eve were more perfect than we are now. That is how they lived to be 900+ years old. We only live a fraction of that now due to copies of copies, pollution, environmental changes, mutations, etc. The whole Earth is running down because of sin. 

    So when you talk of an imperfect designer, you are looking at the world NOW. The same is true for the age of the Earth. They are looking at NOW, not then. 

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

    Cdbren, if you want to interact further, I am going to have to insist that you use “assume” in its generally accepted English sense, or not at all. I have as little tolerance for young-earth creationists twisting the meaning of words in English as I do for their twisting of the meaning of words in Hebrew as used in the Bible.

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

    Cdbren, how do you know how old Adam and Eve existed at all, much less how long they lived? Were you there? These are just your assumptions, based on an ancient text which you assume to be inerrant and divinely inspired.

    • Anonymous

      No, I don’t assume it is. It, itself claims to be both God’s word and inerrant. If you have something of the contrary please put it up here. If you have something that shows an otherwise age of Adam and Eve, put it here.

      I trust Jesus who proved himself to be God by eyewitness accounts and also Jesus affirmed that the words of Moses were from God.

      If you have something to disprove this then please show it. It is not my business that you don’t believe God. It is not my business to make you believe God. 

      I have little tolerance for people who claim to trust God and Jesus and then not trust God and Jesus’ words of which that trust and faith must be based on. (Unless you make up your own God.)

      BTW, it is not “an” ancient text. It is 66 ancient texts by 44 different authors that have been proved time and time again to be translated correctly.

  • Anonymous

    James, how many times did the God of the Bible send messengers to you to tell you His word is true? Did you lose count? 

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

    cdbren, the Bible obviously does not claim anything about itself, since the entire collection by definition did not exist at the time at which any individual work within it was written.

    Either your claims are mere assumptions, or you have been misusing the term assumption in reference to science’s conclusions. Which is it? For someone who claims to be interested in truth such persistent dishonesty and double-dealing as you have engaged in here ought to be inappropriate.

    Either you are merely assuming that the Gospel authors or their sources were eyewitnesses, or you have drawn it as a conclusion based on deduction and reasoning. Which is it? Don’t refuse to allow deduction, evidence, and conclusions to others and they expect them to be allowed for your own purposes.

    BTW, my reference to an ancient text was a reference to Genesis.

    • Anonymous

      James, are you trying to compare a written historical text (which is supported by external sources) , backed up also by Jesus himself to
      a fossil bone lying in the dirt or the discovery of DNA which we are still trying to piece together? Seriously???

      I am not the one being dishonest and double dealing here. 

      You claimed to be a born again Christian. Either you will have to admit to believing in Jesus’ word and in turn Moses’ writings as God’s inerrant words or you are going to have to admit that you lied. It is those very words that promise you will be born again and have eternal life. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        are you trying to compare a written historical text (which is supported by external sources) , backed up also by Jesus himself toa fossil bone lying in the dirt or the discovery of DNA which we are still trying to piece together? Seriously??? 

        let’s take how people read the Scriptures.  how many different denominations are there? how many, say modes of baptism, who is baptized, what it means. the only thing that is clear is that there is disagreement and everyone is sure they are right. now, in the scientific world how many different ways are there to interpret the same mutation in apes and human in the glo gene? 1-descent from common ancestor.

        count how many different interpretations there are for any important verse in the Bible. compare that to how many different ways of teaching geology, say in moscow, in london, in LA? you can’t even get all the churches in a small town to agree, yet science fundamentally agrees on most things around the globe.

        if anything Scripture is far more divisive, far more contentiousness than science.  in my own church we’ve had grape juice only, wine only and split tray for communion. yet a few miles away at the university we have people from practically every nation on earth, speaking dozens of languages, adhering to lots of different religious traditions sitting down in the same labs, in the same classrooms working together, on those very fossil bones and dna which you above refer to, yet on sunday any 2 Christians among them go to a very different church and disagree about virtually everything.

        i think any comparison leads to the idea that Scripture has multiple interpretations and the physical world one.

        by way of illustration i offer:
        I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off. 

        • Anonymous

          Richard, I hear what you are saying. Most of that is people following the church leaders, or tradition and not the bible or they don’t take the time for personal study.

          I have met many, many Christians that actually put a little effort into study and every one of them believes exactly as I do. I am talking plain Bible believers. Not belonging to any set denomination. 

          As far as baptism, that is spelled out quite clearly in the Bible as well as examples. I don’t see where there is a difference in churches over that other than Catholics who use sprinkling. Look that up. It isn’t in there. It is tradition only, so is not a translation issue.

          I do not agree with your statement that science fundamentally agrees with “common descent”. The vitamin C deficiency gene is NOT THE SAME in primates as in humans. In primates it is not intact. Ours is INTACT.

          “We identified a human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) provirus that is
          present at the orthologous position in the gorilla and chimpanzee
          genomes, but not in the human genome. Humans contain an intact preintegration site at this locus.”

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1137838
          ——–

          “But although this concept of retrovirus selectivity is currently
          prevailing, practically all genomic regions were reported to be used as
          primary integration targets, however, with different preferences. There
          were identified ‘hot spots’ containing integration sites used up to 280 times more frequently than predicted mathematically.”

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014579398004785
          ———

          “Remarkably, we have found many cases of parallel intron gains at
          essentially the same sites in independent genotypes. This strongly
          argues against the common assumption that when two species share introns
          at the same site, it is always due to inheritance from a common
          ancestor.”

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210111148.htm
          ———-

          “Several lines of evidence indicate that chimpanzee and gorilla PTERV1
          copies arose from an exogenous source. First, there is virtually no
          overlap (less than 4%) between the location of insertions among
          chimpanzee, gorilla, macaque, and baboon, making it unlikely that
          endogenous copies existed in a common ancestor and then became
          subsequently deleted in the human lineage and orangutan lineage. Second,
          the PTERV1 phylogenetic tree is inconsistent with the generally
          accepted species tree for primates, suggesting a horizontal transmission
          as opposed to a vertical transmission from a common ape ancestor. An
          alternative explanation may be that the primate phylogeny is grossly
          incorrect, as has been proposed by a minority of anthropologists.”

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1054887/
          ———–

          I could go on but I think you have the picture? Looks like different interpretations to me. The deficiency is simply because the virus chose the least path of resistance in a compatible species genes, and evidence shows it is not from direct descent. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            re:
            I do not agree with your statement that science fundamentally agrees with “common descent”. The vitamin C deficiency gene is NOT THE SAME in primates as in humans. In primates it is not intact. Ours is INTACT. 

            the topic is the GLO pseudogene. 

            the first link doesn’t go with the quote, however the quote is from
            http://medicine.yale.edu/labs/kidd/www/399.pdf 
            the article is about using mutations in the provirius to determine evolutionary distance between, Homo, Gorilla and Pan species.

            interestingly the article http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/do_shared_ervs_support_common_046751.html
            does have the link right.
            as well as this group of links, in the same order, demonstrating your original source for the material. especially given that your snippets quotes from the papers are from the evolutionnews article itself.

            the second link is http://tinyurl.com/7f9ohua
            it too is an article on using insertation sites and subsequent mutation to build clades of the great apes.

            the third link is excellent http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014579398004785
            but once again it is not about the topic- GLO mutation at all.

            “I could go on but I think you have the picture”, these links have nothing to do with the GLO gene but are about HERV insertations and how to use them to do clades.

            the actual information about the GLO pseudogene is easy to obtain because it is a common example, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/.
            http://www.eigenauer.com/english1a/vitaminc.pdf 
            in both chimps and humans it is the loss of a single bp leading to a reading frame shift mutation.

            re:
            Looks like different interpretations to me. The deficiency is simply because the virus chose the least path of resistance in a compatible species genes, and evidence shows it is not from direct descent.  

            all the articles are in agreement-evolution happened-mankind is related to the great apes-their research into HERV-K’s is evidence that you can build clades with RV insertations and the subsequent mutations in the provirus.

            i believe this shows that you really don’t understand what you are reading. that you get your information from evolutionnews not the original scientific articles and misinterpret even evolutionnews’s stuff. HERV-K’s have nothing to do with the GLO pseudogene.

            it is curious, the asymmetry of this argument. cdbren makes a statement-read these 5 links-as evidence for my argument. it took me almost 2 hours to understand these papers. maybe 10 minutes for him to quote these things from evolutionnews. yet there is no evidence that he understands evolutionnews’ “there are hot spots, HERVs all get stuck there, again and again” argument against these papers. 

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

              re:
              Looks like different interpretations to me. The deficiency is simply because the virus chose the least path of resistance in a compatible species genes, and evidence shows it is not from direct descent. 

              since this is not a quote from evolutionnews, it would appear to be your summary of the HERV insertion argument. THE path of least resistance assumes a single path, that is what it means. but this argument is that thousands, no- tens of thousands of insertion events are independent in numerous(thousands? depends on evolutionnews=EN’s idea of kinds) independently created lineages is not evidence of common descent.
              THE path of least resistance means one insertion(per chromosome maybe?) can be independent.  actually this is a lot worse than EN’s real point that there are hotspots, multiple.

            • Anonymous

              James, this is a more technical and obviously “creationist” leaning but perhaps you can follow it. Hopefully you will read the entire article with an open mind. 

              I assume you were talking about GULO or Gulop genes, which is a pseudogene. Associated with vitamin C deficiency. http://naturalselection.0catch.com/Files/pseudogenes.html

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

    The text is your source for the belief that Jesus backed up the text, is it not? But that, of course, does not make sense. So what are you referring to? A revelation by Jesus at some later point, authorizing precisely these writings – presumably to Luther or another of the Protestant Reformers?

    You seem not to be willing to take this conversation seriously. You have not even begun to admit when you a reasoning circularly, nor that believing the Bible and being a Christian are not coterminous. Don’t you see that there is middle ground? Don’t you see that fallible human beings could testify truthfully – but not perfectly – to other human beings about their experience of God, and provide them with a basis enough to believe and experience for themselves? Or don’t you believe that some were saved when apostles preached to them, without being explicitly told that there are inerrant Scriptures, much less given a collection of scrolls, less still books that had yet to be written? Apparently at this point too you disbelieve the Bible’s own clear testimony, even while claiming to defend the nonsensical notion of its inerrancy.

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

    I don’t understand why Christians seeking information about the natural sciences continue to go to Ken Ham and other non-scientists and eschew sources like BioLogos, an Evangelical organization which unlike Answers in Genesis is full of real scientists working in the sciences and actively engaged in research. Here’s a post from today, just as an example:  http://biologos.org/blog/evidences-for-evolution-part-2b-the-whales-tale 

    • Anonymous

      James, I can’t believe you could fall for that stuff.  http://biologos.org/blog/evide… 

      They show a tree of evolution (which you ridiculed me for expressing as an example of evolution) and also it shows fins turning to legs which would require massive amounts of new information. Not just random change. 

      There is ample evidence for whale evolution in the fossil record? Only if you make it up. 

      Similar design features does not mean common descent. The only thing that proves is they have common design features. If that is their proof that whales evolved to mammals, it is laughable. 

  • Anonymous

    75 whale fossils found together in desert. I call “Worldwide Flood evidence.”

    Shallow sea floor driven up? Exactly what happened during Noah’s flood.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45367885/ns/technology_and_science-science/?gt1=43001#.TtOlC_GKp-4

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

      Well, this might be a good point to test whether you are taking this matter seriously and are interested in truth. I’m sure you will not accept them, but can you at least articulate the viewpoint of those who do not find the evidence explicable in terms of a worldwide flood? Again, it is your prerogative to disagree, but I suspect that you may not actually know why your viewpoint is not accepted by any mainstream geologist or paleontologist, and so can you articulate the view you disagree with? This may help clarify whether you are informed and yet disagree, or disagree because you are neglecting or avoiding opposing viewpoints.

      • Anonymous

        Re: “I’m sure you will not accept them, but can you at least articulate the viewpoint of those who do not find the evidence explicable in terms of a worldwide flood?”

        Well, searching for awhile I only found a few conflicting arguments.
        Decay rates (we have discussed this) The so called estimate of fossils at the Karoo fossil formation which is in dispute and reliant on lots of guesswork.Erosion events (angular unconformities) which are deciphered by decay rates and sediment layer as far as dating them. The presupposition that sediment deposits take long periods of time to form. Differences in erosion of Rocky mountains and Appalachians. Rocky mountains were formed by “unusual subduction” and bits of broken sea floor are found on The Appalachian Mountains which are evidence of deformation due to “plate collision”. (Both consistent with the flood model and both formed by different methods. The Rocky mountains mainly by glaciers.)Some differing sea types noted in geochemistry.~ Not all that convincing. 

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

    So does this mean no, you either have not understood the other side, or are not willing to show that you have done so?

    How is it that what experts in biology write about whales is something one “falls for” whereas you seemed not to know that whales are mammals and consider yourself or your sources of information trustworthy?

    • Anonymous

      James, do experts in biology also mean experts in archeology and  paleontology? 

      I have seen experts in biology write conflicting papers to the one you posted. Just because someone has training does not automatically make them infallible. 

      The whole paper is about similar design features and similar DNA. I could show you many a scientist with the exact same credentials claim that it is clear evidence of special creation. That change on that scale can’t happen biologically from random chance. 

      Do you not see that mere similarity is not evidence for random evolution? Do you not understand the complexity involved with such a transition? The only thing it is proof of is that things have similar design features. 

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

    So from what you wrote (“searching for awhile”) is it fair to say that (1) you do not generally read on topics such as geology and biology from mainstream sources, and (2) when they come up, if you look into them at all, it will be what you happen across on the web?

    Would you be content if someone took that approach to looking into Christianity?

    • Anonymous

      James, I read Scientific American but rarely do I see evidence against a worldwide flood presented. But then you may think erroneous posted dates for the Earth and other guess work is evidence…..

      I think that is what you asked for. Why a worldwide flood is not accepted by geologists and paleontologists. (Although I can envision other reasons. Papers not published, funding cut off, career down the tubes, ridicule and maybe even death threats from other scientists. Calls of “pseudoscience”, “prophet of ignorance” and “charlatan” come to mind.) 

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

    Can you please first show at least some evidence that you have understood the case for common ancestry? Not acceptance of it, just comprehension of why it is found persuasive.

    If all that is needed to undermine a claim is that someone hold a contrary opinion, then clearly your view of the Bible is invalidated by the fact that I and many other Christians hold a different viewpoint, right?

    Please, please, just give some indication, however slight, that you are interested in understanding the views you disagree with. If you are only interested in dismissing, not in understanding, then there is obviously no point in continuing the conversation, since it won’t be a conversation at all, but people presenting evidence and arguments and you dismissing them. And that is something that one can do from any standpoint and thus does not give the impression that you are interested in the truth, much less that you actually have the truth.

    • Anonymous

      James, I am presenting evidence and arguments with links. Please be specific. 

      So far, there is no clear evidence for common ancestry. Just some footloose guesswork that has been debunked. I don’t want to go over it again when it was already presented here. 

      You seem to just dismiss (yes, you have been doing the exact thing you claim I am doing) anything that points to evolution and long ages as being wrong, no matter the source. You don’t even try to explain it, you just move to the next argument. At least I try to provide (scientific and other) evidence for differing conclusions.

      Maybe you missed it, but below I posted some clear evidence that vitamin C deficiency is not evidence of common ancestry. And it isn’t even from a Christian source. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        Maybe you missed it, but below I posted some clear evidence that vitamin C deficiency is not evidence of common ancestry. And it isn’t even from a Christian source. 

        no, you didn’t.
        you took http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/do_shared_ervs_support_common_046751.html
        misunderstood it’s point-=there are hotspots-so all these thousands of insertions are independent events in separately created creatures not evidence of common descent=-
        and mis–>aimed it at the GLO pseudogene, a reading frame shift due to a single bp deletion.

        the article at
        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210111148.htm 
        That many introns are not acquired from a common ancestor but are the result of separate insertion events, the scientists say, means that the rates of intron gain in any species’ lineage could be considerably higher than currently estimated. 

        is interesting in the context of the original evolutionnews article you mis/used. for it clearly shows that people are aware of the difference in hotshots being used to show common descent and those within a lineage ie separate events. something evolutionnews assumes they are not aware of.

        btw:
        re:
         The vitamin C deficiency gene is NOT THE SAME in primates as in humans. In primates it is not intact. Ours is INTACT. 

        they are exactly the same unitary pseudogene with the exact same mutation. although, as always, i understand that i maybe wrong so i will examine any evidence you have for this statement. just please try to make it more appropriate to your topic than this has been. i enjoy reading the journals but it is a bit of a time commitment.

  • Anonymous

    Richard Williams said: “this directionality to evolutionary theory was abandoned by the 1920′s. ET do not propose a movement upwards or towards complexity anymore. the old model of a tree is being replaced as it becomes obvious that the metaphor confuses people. the last “tree of life” i saw recently was a sweeping circle. THERE IS NO DIRECTION TO EVOLUTION except a greater population’s fitness.”

    Yet the bio-logos article James just posted states: “The most recent tree diagram, produced by using a combination of skeletal features and DNA data, still supports this family connection, as shown by the following figure (Figure 2).6 

    Basically there is no indication at all of transitional fossils in the millions of years gaps. All creatures shown are fully formed, fully functional species.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

      when i build my genealogy charts, especially in pedigree mode it appears that five generations are progressing until i was finally born. but this is obviously wrong and an artifact of how we misinterpret the pedigree chart for i am sure when my 3ggparents gave birth to their 7th child they had no idea that i was even remotely involved let alone the whole purpose in that event. it is the same here, a convenient, traditional way of summarizing the data, not a statement of purpose or progression or “history as a plot to produce me” any more than my pedigree chart implies any of the people purposed to create me (except of course the last pair *grin*) as the chart seems to show.

      please forgive the example, many of my other browser tabs are open to ancestry.com now.

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

    Cdbren, as long as you insist on treating almost all of your brothers and sisters in Christ who are biologists, geneticists, paleontologists and geologists as though they were idiots, you cannot be taken seriously either as someone discussing science or as a Christian. Please indicate that you understand why not only almost all scientists but also almost all scientists who are Christians find the mainstream scientific conclusions. Just show that you understand – add a disclaimer that you yourself are not persuaded for clarification. But so far you are dismissing mainstream science as nonsense, which indicates that you don’t understand what it claims, what it concludes, or how it works. If you want to engage in discussion, you need to at least understand the viewpoint you are disagreeing with and why others find it persuasive.

    • Anonymous

      I am not treating anyone as idiots. Nor have I called anyone that.

      Is that how you perceive a second or third conclusion to the data if it does not result in what you want it to result in? 

      I am not dismissing mainstream science as nonsense. I will admit that I am dismissing some conclusions/guesses about the scientific evidence as incorrect in view of alternate possibilities. 

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

    Cdbren, let me ask whether perhaps English is not your native language? That is the only charitable explanation I can come up with for why you are unwilling to distinguiish between conclusions and guesses.

    Is it safe to say that you would be happy to have your description of the Bible as the Word of God referred to as a “guess”?

    • Anonymous

      James, “conclusion” and “guess” are synonyms. They are basically both “beliefs” or “speculation”. 

      Synonym is “a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.” 

      A feeling, a guess, an impression, a presumption, a mindset, conjecture, a notion, a prediction……
      —–

      Perhaps English is not your native language? 

      You know, this line of conversation is becoming extremely petty….

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        conclusion, hypothesis, theory, conjecture, speculation, opinion, guess, belief are not synonyms. they differ by the amount and quality of evidence available to support them. this is an ordered list from more to less evidence.

        • Anonymous

          Richard, evidence does not support the list of words you posted. You LOOK for the evidence to support those conclusions, opinions, speculation, etc. 

          Theory is the only one I would agree has more evidence than the rest backing it up.

          Guess and conclusion and opinion and belief are all synonyms. 

          http://www.thesaurus.com

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            solipsism.

        • Anonymous

          Richard, we can easily test if what you stated is TRUTH or not. I propose that all stated words below are equally synonymous and none hold any more amount or quality of evidence than any other. In fact, not one of the listed statements even has evidence yet. 

          I came to the conclusion that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I have a hypothesis that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I made a conjecture that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I speculate that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I am of the opinion that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I have a guess that the posters here all have brown hair.

          I believe that the posters here all have brown hair.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

            just ask–any lurkers here without legs(does not have one leg)? please raise your hand so we can determine this issue.

        • Anonymous

          Richard, how much evidence one of those words holds does not make them differ in the least. You can’t define words and put them in a line according to contained evidence. 

          A belief or guess could have just as much evidence as a conclusion or a hypothesis. Or they could all have no evidence at all.

          Your statement is not coherent. 

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

    Instead of being snide and rude, perhaps you would do better to look up “conclusion” – you may be surprised.

    • Anonymous

      Me? Being snide and rude? I simply used your comment at me, back at you. It was probably wrong of me, though. 

      —–
      Conclusion: a summing up of the points and a statement of opinion or decisions reached.

      A reasoned deduction or inference.
      —–

      Again “deduction” is really just another synonym for “guess”. 

      Look it up. 

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

    I did.

    Do young-earth creationists have not only their own geology, astronomy, biology and history but their own dictionaries and language, too?

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

    Posting a link without comment doesn’t change the fact that “conclusion” and “guess” do not mean the same thing.  :-)

    • Anonymous

      We already established that it does and is listed in the thesaurus as a synonym. 

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

    I’m reminded of the Friends episode in which Joey used the thesaurus to replace every word possible in a letter. It ended up being signed “Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani.”

    Perhaps you need to look up the difference between a thesaurus and a dictionary and learn what each is used for. But would you know which one it would be most helpful to look them up in?

    • Anonymous

      So what is a hunch, an assumption, a suspicion, a feeling, an opinion? 

      It’s a guess. It’s coming to a conclusion about something. 

      I guess, conclude, am of the opinion that you don’t have a solid grasp on reality or English words. It really explains the idea of this whole blog. 

      (Above is me making a reasoned deduction or inference. So would you say I have arrived at an opinion of something?)

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

    Your stance on the meaning of words irrespective of dictionary definitions or the diverse ways in which they are used with senses that do not completely overlap is a great illustration of how young-earth creationists think they can simply define their own reality by wishful thinking and obstinate refusal to accept input from any source that does not agree with their presuppositions and guesses. 

    I hope your recent comments don’t get pushed down out of sight by further discussion. They illustrate so many important points so very well, and I am grateful to you for providing them!

    • Anonymous

      James, “making a reasoned deduction or making an inference”. Is it different or the same as “arriving at an opinion of something”? Yes or no?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662663242 Richard Williams

        re:
        James, “making a reasoned deduction or making an inference”. Is it different or the same as “arriving at an opinion of something”? Yes or no? 

        they represent two different kinds of reasoning techniques-deductive and inductive. science is primarily inductive (actual it’s abductive or reasoning to best explanation, but inductive is an OK term) which is why it(science) is probabilistic and doesn’t actual prove anything as maths and logic do with their deductive methods.

        since Plato philosophy has divided true knowledge from mere belief/opinion.

        re:
        A belief or guess could have just as much evidence as a conclusion or a hypothesis. Or they could all have no evidence at all. 

        after your study in mobio you could use a reading in the philosophy of biology. let me recommend 
        Introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Cutting Nature at Its Seams by robert klee. it’s the best introduction i know of. but as always i’m looking for books to an to my tbr pile ;-)

        perhaps your private definition of conclusion as a guess is what is inhibiting you from understanding the evidence of ET. of course, if it is merely a guess, it comes to your mind without any authority persuading you to understand it.

        • Anonymous

          Well, that makes sense then since an induction can start with certain information in it’s premise but then come to a false conclusion. (This does happen in science). Then what follows from an induction is the deduction.

          Like Sherlock Holmes going over the case details (induction) and then giving the answer to solving the case (deduction). Of course the deduction could be wrong or partially wrong.

          Math does use both inductive and deductive reasoning by the way.

          Conclusion being synonymous with guess is not my private definition. In fact, it isn’t even a definition. It’s an observation based on both logic and what the English thesaurus plainly says. 

          Conclusion basically means “end”. You have made your decision final. So it can still be a guess. Your best guess. Your best conclusion. Synonymous.

        • Anonymous

          Richard posted: “They represent two different kinds of reasoning techniques-deductive and inductive. science is primarily inductive (actual it’s abductive or reasoning to best explanation, but inductive is an OK term) which is why it(science) is probabilistic and doesn’t actual prove anything as maths and logic do with their deductive methods.”

          I found this little gem on Wiki when I googled “abductive reasoning”.

          Abduction is a kind of logical inference described by Charles Sanders Peirce as “guessing”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

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

    I know young-earth creationists like to pretend everything is either/or. But reality is not that simple.

    Some opinions are based on reasoned deduction and investigation. Plenty of people have opinions which are not. 

    And so it is not that the two are completely distinct or the same. They overlap.

    Having failed to make much progress in getting you to understand science, at this stage I’ll settle for making some progress in your comprehension of English!

    • Anonymous

      Yet we are not talking about what those opinions are based on. We are talking about the meaning of “opinion” or the meaning of “Guess” vs “conclusion”. 

      In which case your use of opinion is not overlapping. It is exactly the same meaning in and of itself. An opinion is an opinion. 

      Adding in other words to make a different meaning is not going to save you from the mistake you made. I never claimed they had the exact same dictionary definition. I said they had the same meaning as single words. 

      No matter how much evidence a guess has behind it, it is still a guess. 

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

    Well, if you have no conclusions to offer, but only guesses and opinions, then I guess there’s nothing more to talk about, is there?  :-)

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

    A chart illustrating the contrast between two approaches to science and knowledge illustrated by recent comments here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2011/11/how-young-earth-creationism-works.html

    • Anonymous

      It is a joke that does not even represent anything truthfully. Using it makes you look, for lack of a better word, ignorant.

      If this is the best you have…..

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

    Oh, that God would grant you the gift to see yourself as others see you (to paraphrase Robbie Burns).

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t think the discussion had anything to do with me but I am flattered. 

  • Pingback: Jakob Heckler

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

    I think it is also important to point out that many theists who believe that the beginning of the universe (created in such a way as to give rise to life), or who believe that God intervened to create life, would still object to the false claims of Ken Ham and other young-earth creationists about evolution. Whatever one may think about the attribution of the scientifically mysterious to God, it is a very different matter than the denial of the scientifically sound and well-documented. The latter is what the young-earth creationists do, and plenty of Christians find it objectionable.

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

    This article on the evolution of complexity in molecular machines will be of interest to those who’ve participated in the discussion here:  
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/uocm-eoc010512.php 

  • Herman

    You article is false. Ken ham has credentials. Ken Ham earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, with an emphasis in Environmental Biology, at Queensland Institute of Technology and a diploma in Education from the University of Queensland.[6][7][8]

    He has been awarded two honorary degrees: In 1997 from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio and in 2004 from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.[6] (Source: Wikipedia)

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

      You are right that “no credentials” is a slight exaggeration. His bachelor’s degree does strongly suggest that he is being dishonest about science and is not actually ignorant of the things he misrepresents. But at the bachelor’s level you only learn so much. An honorary doctorate is not a credential. It is not something that indicates research – especially when awarded by institutions which represent an ideology that is opposed to scholarly research. And so he certainly does not have the scholarly credentials that are expected of an expert in a field.

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

    Having just replied to a new comment here, I noticed that there are comments that have been deleted, leaving my replies without context. Does anyone know whose comments they were or why they were deleted? Perhaps they were from someone who repented of their involvement in the pernicious dishonesty that is young-earth creationism and deleted their earlier comments supporting it?

  • Pingback: get cialis fast


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X