Creationism requires a global conspiracy of lying scientists and/or a lying God

The results from the annual Gallup survey on creationism are out, with the numbers right about where they’ve been for the past 30 years.

Finding yet again that 46 percent of Americans do not “believe” in evolution remains, to me, “dismaying.” (The link there is to my post responding to a similar survey in 2009. The results of the survey haven’t changed much, and neither has my reaction to them.)

Kevin Drum tries to console himself by exploring the idea that perhaps “The Fight Over Evolution Isn’t Actually All That Important.” Drum writes:

Belief in evolution has virtually no real-life impact on anything. That’s why 46 percent of the country can safely choose not to believe it: their lack of belief has precisely zero effect on their lives. Sure, it’s a handy way of saying that they’re God-fearing Christians — a “cultural signifier,” as Andrew [Sullivan] puts it — but our lives are jam-packed with cultural signifiers.

But “Creationism isn’t innocuous,” Amanda Marcotte responds. She quotes from PZ Myers, who says, “A well-informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.” Myers notes that “it’s our public schools that fill the pipeline leading” to our higher education biology departments and medical research labs, and that a rejection of science in those public schools certainly does have a very significant “real-life impact” on the ability to do the science we depend on.

Ryan Cooper weighs in, saying that “Science Denial Is a Large and Growing Problem.” He provides a concrete example of how a rejection of the facts of evolution is resulting in tangible harm:

A lack of wide understanding of evolution is hurting the country, most obviously in the form of antibiotic resistance. Industrial feedlots grow their animals stewed in powerful antibiotics to shave their operating costs, which is leading to bacteria evolving past them and resistant infections cropping up in humans. It’s a classic case of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs, which are tough to overcome in any case, but an understanding of evolution makes the situation immediately and alarmingly obvious, while disbelief can cloud the situation. Witness hack “scientists” at Liberty University, who publish work quibbling with the details of the evidence and thereby muddy the conversation. I’m not saying that’s the only factor, but surely if 80 percent of the country had a strong understanding of evolution, it would be easier to horsewhip the FDA into outlawing antibiotic use in non-sick animals.

I think my favorite response to Kevin’s post, though, comes from Katha Pollitt at The Nation.What’s the Matter With Creationism?” she asks. Well, for one thing, it promotes a delusional, paranoid view of the world that requires tinfoil-hat belief in a global conspiracy of malicious scientists:

Rejecting evolution expresses more than an inability to think critically; it relies on a fundamentally paranoid worldview. Think what the world would have to be like for evolution to be false. Almost every scientist on earth would have to be engaged in a fraud so complex and extensive it involved every field from archaeology, paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics. And yet this massive concatenation of lies and delusion is so full of obvious holes that a pastor with a Bible-college degree or a homeschooling parent with no degree at all can see right through it.

This is important. This “fundamentally paranoid” belief in a vast scientific conspiracy is not optional for belief in creationism. It’s a mandatory, necessary component of creationist ideology. To be a creationist — as 46 percent of Americans claim to be — means that you believe that universities, libraries and laboratories are evil places filled with evil people.

There’s no getting around it. Creationists may prefer not to think to much about the conspiratorial implications of what they’re arguing, but creationism just won’t work without the actual existence of such a “fraud so complex and extensive it involved every field from archaeology, paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics.”

Consider, for example, this recent story: “Aboriginal rock art shown to Australian scientists dated at 28,000 years old.”

Human artifacts from 28,000 years ago are not something creationists can allow themselves to accept. They believe the universe itself is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old. So what do they make of this story?

Broadly speaking, creationists will respond with one of two theories. Either way, someone is lying to us. And either way, there’s a massive conspiracy aimed at deceiving us.

Theory No. 1 involves the global conspiracy of scientists Pollitt describes. This usually involves the claim that the carbon dating used on this rock art is unreliable. The theory — and I’m not joking here — is that scientists relying on carbon dating refuse to account for the way Noah’s flood accelerated the radioactive decay of carbon-14.

The conspiracy won’t admit this, because it would threaten their conspiratorial plot to profit from the lucrative teaching that the universe is more than 10,000 years old. All those archaeologists, paleontologists, geologists, biologists, chemists and physics Pollitt mentions must know this, but they refuse to admit it or to allow others to expose their secret.

So that’s the first theory: The scientists are lying. All of them.

Theory No. 2 doesn’t blame the scientists. It blames God. This conspiracy theory says that God is lying.

This involves some variation of the Omphalos hypothesis, meaning the belief that the apparent age of the world is not its actual age. The idea here is that God simply created the world to appear far older than it is.

The word “Omphalos” is Greek for “navel,” a reference to the idea that Adam and Eve were created as mature adults, complete with belly buttons. So too, the theory goes, God created the rest of the universe in a state of maturity, complete with relics — such as those belly buttons — of a past history that never actually occurred.

This theory has the merit of not being falsifiable. It is impossible to prove that the universe was not created 6,000-10,000 years ago and only appears 14 billion or so years older than that. The problem, of course, is that it is also impossible to prove that the universe was not created 6-10 minutes ago and only appears older than that. Hence the derogatory nickname of “Last Thursday-ism.” (Please don’t bother showing us that receipt from your breakfast last Wednesday. It proves nothing. When God created the universe last Thursday, God also in the same instant created you and your wallet, with that receipt already tucked in there next to your library card and your memories of that breakfast already tucked there inside your brain.)

There are variations of both of these theories but, generally speaking, those are the options for creationists. To believe in creationism, either you must believe that there is a global conspiracy of scientists intent on lying to you, or you must believe that God is intent on lying to you.

That 46 percent of Americans believe one or the other of those is, as I said, dismaying.

 

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  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Jesus buried the dinosaur bones as a test of faith.

    Alternatively, God wanted to give the universe a really detailed backstory.  You never just start a story at the beginning, that’s no fun.  You start in medias res if you can, and even if you don’t you still don’t start at the beginning unless you’re that guy from Airplane II* or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy**.  Generally speaking the story starts after Cinderella’s original parents have died and she’s living with her step family.  Would you expect any less of God?

    I do not seriously believe any of the above.

    Someone here once argued that if God did fake the age of the universe then the faking is the work of God, a truly impressive work of art at that, and thus we ought to study it.  Thus, if creationism is true, we ought to fund science.

    Or something to that effect.

    As I recall the report was that it worked on one person, others not so much.

    * Steve McCroskey: Jacobs, I want to know absolutely everything that’s happened up till now. 
    Jacobs: Well, let’s see. First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil.
    **(First lines of episode 5 of the original Hitchhiker’s radio series): The story so far: in the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Ah, the universe as Narrative; the Grant Morrison school of Creationism!

  • Sigmatize

    Causality is merely one side of the coin or determinism.
    Causality describes how the past develops into the future. But in classical
    physics, determinism works the same in both temporal directions: from the future
    into the past as well as the past into the future. However the quantum mechanical
    probability wave function introduced a new wrinkle into the proposition.
    Measurements collapse nebulous wave functions into concrete particles. Thereby
    the future is always more concrete than the past. Thereby we become part of a
    plausible backstory of some ornamentation of a distant future.

  • hapax

    “Last Thursday-ism” has nothing on the lovely theory of “Occasionalism”, which was popular in certain Islamic theological circles a few centuries back.

    Basically, Occasionalism argues that accepting the existence of natural forces and processes  (like combustion, or evaporation, or gravity) or even of causation was a form of idolatry, threatening the absolute monotheism of Islamic belief by positing power to anything but God.

    Therefore, the Occasionalists argued, God was constantly re-creating the universe every second, every micro-second, every instance of time.  Think that touching a flaming match to a stick of charcoal caused it to catch fire?  Think again;  God was constantly re-creating the universe, every second with the match a little closer to the coal, until finally God created one in which the coal was also on fire.

    Any memories, any apparent patterns we think we observe in the world are simply the results of God’s infinite mercy, giving us the illusion of consistency so we do not go mad.

    I have to confess, there are times when I am drawn to the sheer brilliant audacity of the theory. 

  • Sigaloenta

     I’m reminded also of Aleksandr Nikitenko’s account of the tsarist censors who refused to allow a physics textbook to print the words “forces of nature” (because obviously there are only forces of God, not of “nature”).

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    On the one hand, you can’t prove or disprove causality, it has to be taken at the level of an axiom.  So rejecting it isn’t, from a purely logical standpoint, any less defensible than accepting it.  On the other hand, I have to offer a severe, “What the fuck,” to any theory of anything that rests on rejecting causality.

    I was going off on a completely different tangent when something occurred to me.  Occasionalism is viewing the world like a film strip.

    When we play the film there appears to be causality, but in reality each image is a thing to itself completely disconnected from the other images.  You can’t say frame 153 causes the events in the later frames because if you remove 153 the remaining frames are unchanged.

    And, I have no idea where to go with this so I’m just going to end here and try to go to sleep even though it’s too damn hot to sleep.

  • http://twitter.com/TheKingleMingle Peter

     Isn’t that how Time Travel works in Haruhi Suzumiya? And Occasionalism is hows time works on Discworld thinking about it

  • GeneMachine

    Fascinating, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I wonder why occasionalism pretty much vanished these days – isn’t it a perfect extension to the simulation argument?

    Let’s look at an example of a simulated world: A computer game. When my player avatar in Skyrim looses an arrow that strikes and kills a wolf, there is indeed no causal relation between the avatar letting go of the string and the arrow taking flight, between the arrow striking the wolf and the wolf dropping dead.

    What seems to be a causal chain on the screen to me is just a series of states generated by an entity external to the game world I see on my screen – the game engine. Which, in this case is analogous to the god in an occasionalist universe – it constantly recreates the world.

    If the occasionalist view is true, god is the great gaming engine in the sky and we are nothing but NPCs in the largest. MMROPG. evar.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     

    If the occasionalist view is true, god is the great gaming engine in the
    sky and we are nothing but NPCs in the largest. MMROPG. evar.

    Smith: “I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the nature of things slightly, Mister Anderson….”  :D

    (There’s a reason so many conspiracy-theorists LOVE Matrix references.)

    —–

    I see Last Thursdayism’s been mentioned, I’m partial to the doctrine of Next Thursdayism:  The universe _will be_ created next thursday, and all the things we THINK we’re doing now are merely the false memories that will be implanted when we exist.

    Fnord.

  • GeneMachine

    Consumer Unit: Well, the Matrix is complicated. We might be player characters set up for an unwinnable game, too, that is true. The only unanswered question with regard to the Matrix I am interested in is the following: Is the Girl in the Red Dress self-aware? 

    Regarding Next Thursdayism – How are we aware of the not-yet-created universe *now*? That would imply that every imaginable being that *could* be created at some point would be already aware of all states it *might* be created in. Would then not be creation be the ultimate fall – out of the realm of unlimited potentials into one fixed timeline? A wave function collapsing? 

    Fnord indeed….

  • hf

     Regarding Next Thursdayism – How are we aware of the not-yet-created universe *now*?

    What do you think would feel different if you were a simulation in God’s mind vs. being made of “real” quantum amplitude (or real miniature billiard balls, if you prefer)?

  • Tom

    “Is the Girl in the Red Dress self-aware?”
    In those shoes?  Let’s hope not girlfriend [snap]

  • Randall M

     I was going to bring up Next-Thursdayism, but I decided to read the entire thread first.  Figured someone would beat me to it.

    They can’t prove it’s not true!!

  • Tom

    Like celestial animation!

  • arcseconds

     Far out — that’s Malebranche!  I always thought this was his own idea; I didn’t realise he cribbed it from Islam.

    Or did he cribb it? Would seem remarkable for this to be invented twice, but stranger things have happend, i guess…

    Must find out… but must sleep first…

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

    Terry Pratchett used this idea in his Diskworld novel “A Thief of Time.”

    I had not known its religious origin. Thanks.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Terry Pratchett used this idea in his Diskworld novel “A Thief of Time.”

    Actually the Discworld’s non-linear, patched-together concept of history (“alternate pasts”) owes less to the Omphalos hypothesis than it does to crank pseudo-history like Fomenko’s “New Chronology” or Illig’s “Phantom Time Hypothesis”.

    Pratchett really did base a book entirely on the Omphalos hypothesis, though; the (pre-discworld) novel Strata.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

    Well,  I was not commenting about the “Omphalos” argument.  I was commenting about the notion of “Occasionalism.”

    However, I’ll reread Strata with an eye out for the bellybuttons.

    (The commenting structure could be better).

  • Green Eggs and Ham

     Can we apply Zeno’s Paradox to Occasionalism just for fun?  Wouldn’t God have to create the universe half way between two instances before he could get to the second one?

    And then wouldn’t he have to creat the universe half way between the first instance and the first half way?  Ad infinitum.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    One has to  marvel at the idea that the same God that YECs believe in, who supposedly loves unconditionally and will accept anyone who professes faith by means of the belief in Jesus Christ’s self-sacrifice, is a God who loves playing cute little hijinks with how real peoples’ faith actually is.

    Kind of reminds me of an asshole for a boss playing little mind games with his or her employees, forcing them to jump through hoops to “prove” how good they are as workers.

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

    As a fundamentalist teenager, I was explicitly taught last-Thursdayism. Well, no, my Sunday school teacher didn’t tell us that the world was created last week. What she told us was, perhaps, worse: the world was created with all sorts of fossils and other evidence which, taken at face value, would disprove the early chapters of Genesis. And God did this deliberately as a test of our faith: If we rejected the evidence in favor of Genesis, we passed that one. If we decided that Genesis couldn’t be literally true, he got to send us to Hell. Forever. To burn.

    This was one of the trigger moments that pushed me into atheism – I decided that it would be immoral to worship a God like that, whether what I was taught was true or false. (I was a bit surprised, a couple of weeks ago, to hear a bishop say pretty much the same thing.) It was only dumb luck / the grace of God that, later, brought me into contact with people who showed me that it’s entirely possible to be a non-fundy Christian.

  • Tonio

    Dumb question – why do you think the trigger moment pushed you into atheism and not maltheism? Both of Fred’s recent posts dealing with Omphalos seem to implicitly reject the latter, which I understand precludes worship of the malevolent deity.

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

     Tonio – Somewhere around that time I read, for the first time ever, some stuff by explicitly atheist writers, and I can’t begin to describe the unspeakable relief of discovering that Not Everyone In The World believed in God the Monster. (What I had been taught amounted to “You better watch out, because God is watching for the slightest excuse to send you to Hell, and he’s rigged the game against you.” Which has little to do with anything I would now accept as Christianity; unfortunately, it does seem to be what a lot of people believe.)

    It’s one thing to play the Proud Defiance game of maltheism, and may be necessary if that really seems to be the universe you’re in. Getting out of the trap entirely was a lot more appealing.

  • Tonio

    I suspect that maltheism can lead to proud defiance but that it’s not automatic. It’s possible for the belief to lead to hopelessness instead. I see fundamentalism as maltheism turned inside out, a redefining of the deity’s monstrous behavior as good or justified. Like an abused spouse who internalizes the abuser’s mindset.

  • Tricksterson

    Well it would fit my theory that the Creator is completly insane and a right bastard to boot.

  • Tehanu

    I’m glad you posted this because I’ve always wondered why these people think a good God would be, you know, a liar.  I also think that anyone who doesn’t “believe” in evolution should be prohibited from using any medical device or drug developed after 1859.  Well, maybe I’d relax that requirement for their innocent kids.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    The stoopid, it burnssss…
    It’s something to reprimand children with:  “If you don’t learn to tell the difference between what’s true, and what you *wish* were true, you will grow up to be a young earth creationist!”

  • Jeff Weskamp

    The Omphalos Hypothesis reminds me of the Ravenloft Campaign Setting for the Dungeons & Dragons game.  In that game, the world you inhabit is basically a 300 mile-wide “island” that is surrounded by ethereal mists.  Occasionally, new regions appear in this island.  Sometimes these regions are pulled from other worlds (such as Krynn and Faerun), but some are openly stated to have been created out of whole cloth by the “Dark Powers” that operate the world of Ravenloft.  These usually have inhabitants that believe they’ve inhabited Ravenloft for many generations, and these regions have ruins that are apparently centuries old, books and other documents describing the “history” of the newly-created domain, etc.

    I never ran a D&D campaign in Ravenloft, but if I did, I would explore all the ramifications of the Omphalos Hypothesis.  I would include a “big reveal” that the Player Characters are *themselves* creations of Ravenloft, and all their memories of their previous world (most PC’s are assumed to be from outside Ravenloft) are completely illusory!

  • Montyc4

    I realized the cultural impact of evolution denialism when one day my daughter came home from school and told me she didn’t believe in evolution. I stammered, what do you believe? She answered, the scientific explanation. She had picked up the skepticism about evolution without understanding where it came from.

  • The_L1985

     Better than my science class:  there was NO mention of evolution in our classes at all.  However, we had the A Beka curriculum, which, rather than ever mentioning what the Theory of Evolution actually says at all, simply goes on for a whole chapter of “The Earth is 6,000 years old!  Anyone who believes otherwise is a crazy atheist evolutionist and is going to HELL!!”

    I was in college before I learned (through outside reading) what natural selection was, and once I did, everything else made more sense.  But throughout my K-12 years, I’d been terrified to question ANYTHING I was taught in Fundie Elementary/Middle School, because it had been drilled into my head so many times that to question was to burn in hell.

  • emarkjones .

    I must know, where did you go to school?

  • The_L1985

    A church-run private school that averaged about 200 students total across pre-K-12, and hasn’t existed for about a decade.

  • emarkjones .

    Thank you for your reply. I was interested to know. I live in England and I am fairly sure that it is not legal for a school not to teach science, even if it is a church school. I was amazed that this could be the case.

  • Au_catboy

    One odd thought I’ve had is that there IS at least one imaginable circumstance in which creationist behavior could be considered moral.  But it’s not if what they’re saying is true.  It wouldn’t work in the universe described in the KJV, only in that imagined by HPL. 

    If what creationists were saying were actually true, if the universe were in fact no more than 6000 years old, then honest scientific inquiry would eventually bear this out.  It has not.  Creationists do not want to even entertain the possibility.  They oppose the very idea of science at every turn.  They reject evidence and inquiry without even a moment’s thought.  All they do is make shit up or steal carefully-selected quote-mines in an effort to prop up their lies.  They do not WANT honest scientific investigation of the world, which demonstrates that they know that such investigation would not support their claims, because their claims are false, and without those false claims they will no longer be able to fleece the gullible of money.  But what if the fact that science threatens the foundation of lies on which their money and power are built is not the only reason they hate it with such fury? 

    What if creationists knew the true nature of reality, and it was nothing like what they claimed?  What if they knew that the fundamental nature of the universe is hostile to humanity, and further investigation into it would drive mankind mad and unleash Lovecraftian horrors upon us?  That is the only way I could see any moral justification for the creationist opposition to science.  If they were trying to manufacture a myth about a deranged trickster god to hide the fact that the true ruler of all that is is a tentacled abomination beyond our capacity to understand, which would do unspeakable things to us if we drew its attention. 

    Then again, this doesn’t work very well, because the myth is little improvement.  If the god the creationists imagine is real, why would anyone worship it?  If a person with any shred of compassion truly believed there was a god that spent eternity crafting convincing lies so he could torture anyone who believed the frauds he made, why not at least TRY to kill it?  Such a monstrosity is barely better than any other cosmic horror. 

  • Helena

    Yahweh is a lot more frightening than Cthulu

  • ROFLCOPTERY

    Did you get banned from Gaia Health?
    XD

  • Tonio

    The idea that creationism is all a scam hadn’t occured to me. Looking at the Creation Museum’s displays, it seems obvious to me that creationism is really a desperate attempt to explain suffering by blaming it on humanity. These give the impression that their designers would, if confronted with solid evidence that suffering has no purpose behind it, scream and gnash their teeth in existential terror.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    What if creationists knew the true nature of reality, and it was nothing like what they claimed?  What if they knew that the fundamental nature of the universe is hostile to humanity, and further investigation into it would drive mankind mad and unleash Lovecraftian horrors upon us?  That is the only way I could see any moral justification for the creationist opposition to science.  If they were trying to manufacture a myth about a deranged trickster god to hide the fact that the true ruler of all that is is a tentacled abomination beyond our capacity to understand, which would do unspeakable things to us if we drew its attention. 

    ==================================================
    RECORD REDACTED UNDER INQUSITORIAL EDICT HERETICUS.251

    CLASSIFICATION PROTOCOLS IN EFFECT 

    FURTHER INQUIRY WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC TAGGING OF
    INQUISITION.ASSASSUNITORIUM.VINDICARE.TERMINUS

    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
    “An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.”
    ================================================== 

  • AnonymousSam

    Ftairs! We haue found ftairs!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That 46 percent of Americans believe one or the other of those is, as I said, dismaying

    I suspect this isn’t actually true. I suspect that those Americans, if they sat down and thought of it, would realize that both options are ridiculous. They would deny that they believe that nonsense. 

    So they never allow themselves to sit down and think about the implications of what they profess to believe. Because, for most of those 46%, creationism isn’t about holding a consistent worldview or even a reasonable one. It’s about “us vs them”. That’s *all* it’s about. Logically, creationists should — MUST — reject the principle of antibiotic resistance, but they don’t. Logically, they should — MUST — conclude a massive conspiracy of scientists colluding to hide all evidence of creationism, but they don’t. What matters isn’t what creationism IS or what it MEANS, it’s that the alternative is siding with them

  • Tonio

     I’m skeptical of such polls, because too many people wrongly use “creationism” to mean a default Christian position on the origin of life, and wrongly use “evolution” to mean an atheistic mishmash of natural selection and abiogenesis. The creationists are effectively dictating the terms of the argument.

  • isalcordo

    I do not believe that simple mutation, like acquired anti-biotic resistance by a bacteria, constitutes evolution. A bacteria that acquires anti-biotic resistance is STILL A BACTERIA.

  • hapax

     

    A bacteria that acquires anti-biotic resistance is STILL A BACTERIA.

    Yes, it is true, a single mutation does not usually catapult an organism into an entirely new species, let alone an entirely new biological kingdom.

    Well done!

    However, if the bacteria transmits that mutation to its offspring, and they manage to compete more effectively against other bacteria within its species (say, Mycobacterium tuberculosis), so that after many generations that particular genetic mutation begins to dominate within a particular subset of that species to the point that we can identify it as a new “strain” or a new “species” (despite the beliefs of many Creationists, the terminology is surprisingly fluid) and THIS, indeed, “constitutes evolution.”

    In fact, that’s pretty much the definition of evolution.

    P.S.  @ isalcordo:  Highly recommended.

  • isalcordo

    Darwinian evolution has two major premises: a) chance or random events isclaimed to have initiated life and b) survival of the fittest of that organisms which eventually  evolved to produce us humans.  

    Now, it has never been shown or demonstrated by science of lifeless matter spontaneously acquiring biological life as we know it.

    While survival of the fittest is an every day occurences, like big fish swallowing up the small fish, random events as the INITIATOR  of life is a complete denial of the role of the CREATOR OF LIFE or God or of His divine personalities.

    Darwinian evolutionists should know by now that LIFE IS NOT INHERENT IN MATTER, otherwise today’s rocks that have existed billions of years ago or billions of years old would be teeming with COMPLETELY NEW LIFE dateable to within decades or years that can be counted using the fingers of just our one hand from this very day.  

    Without God seeding matter (earth) with life and guiding life’s evolution from dust and organic matter to the point of producing all the plants and the animals, and eventually us humans, the earth would have remained BARREN to this day. Evolution CANNOT begin until God seeded this earth with that seed of life.

    See my earlier post on this article.

    Dr. I. S. Alcordo, Ph.D.
    http://www.layadvocacyforchristianunity.org 

  • hapax

    @isalcordo:disqus: 

    Repeating yourself with EVEN MORE ALL CAPS does not reinforce your argument.

    Since politeness didn’t work, let’s try bluntness.  Your understanding of “Darwinian Evolution” is a laughably ignorant caricature, less accurate than a third-grader’s planetary model of the atom.

    There is no purpose served in refuting your individual arguments, since they have no relevancy to actual evolutionary theory.  You are not saying anything that we haven’t heard from Creationists a million times before.  It is stupid and boring and an embarrassment to the institution which bestowed the credentials you flaunt.  (Hint:  Lots of folks here have letters after their names.  They aren’t as impressive as you think they are.)

    Please go and educate yourself on the topic before you post on it again.  Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone’s time.

  • isalcordo

    I believe that the reason you have read/heard the arguments I submitted, as a critique to academic evolutionis, a million times before – is because academic evolutionists, if you are honest to yourself,  have never answered the two (2) points I raised to the satisfaction of those who believe in the CREATOR of LIFE – GOD.

    So, why not give me your answer and I will give it the kindest consideration, instead of ranting against my person. You may rant against my position . . . but to rant against my person does not speak well of you as a scientest, if indeed you are.

    If your “Scientist Theory of Evolution” begins only after the initiation of biological life as we know it, I believe we have no serious disagreement.

    I. S. Alcordo, Ph.D.

  • hapax

     

    So, why not give me your answer and I will give it the kindest consideration

    Okey-doke.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I looked at your website and admittedly my search was rather cursory but it’s curious that you don’t say where your doctorate is from or what your research specialty is/was.

    Furthermore,  since a Ph. D doctor gets the same letters regardless of whether the degree was in arts or science, unless you state your qualifications, I have no choice but to assume you purchased your degree from some hack diploma mill and that you figured just throwing your name and ‘degree’ around would be enough to impress people over here.

    So, pony up or piss off.

  • isalcordo

    I am glad you peeked into my website. Check the “About me” in that site and there you will see where I obtained my degrees.

  • Tonio

     

    Darwinian evolution has two major premises: a) chance or random events is claimed to have initiated life

    No, natural selection is simply about the diversity of life. It’s silent on the question of what caused life to come into being. Even a first-year biology student wouldn’t make that mistake. But such statements are very common among two types of people – those whose scientific knowledge is lacking, and those who know better but who seek to straw-man science to push religion.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    No, natural selection is simply about the diversity of life. It’s silent
    on the question of what caused life to come into being. 

    True.

    That said, it’s worth saying out loud that the claim that life came to exist “randomly” (that is, as a natural consequence of events, not requiring purposeful intervention on the part of any agent) is also a claim in good standing (though, as you say, it has nothing to do with the Darwinian idea of origin of species by means of natural selection).

  • Tonio

     Good point. Creationists conflate the Big Bang, abiogenesis and natural selection into an atheistic straw man because they seek to twist the debate into whether their reading of Genesis is true or false. None of those hypotheses exclude the possibility of the existence of gods. I suspect, based on the Creation Museum displays, that creationists are really misinterpreting these as excluding the possibility that suffering has an inherent purpose.

  • hapax

    It *should* go without saying that it is perfectly possible to be a monotheist who believe in a Creator God and also accept such scientific theories as abiogenesis, natural selection, the Big Bang, etc. — after all, I am a living example.

    However, our good friend the Doctor PhD apparently doesn’t understand that, so… I am saying it.

  • Tonio

     Many other people hold that position as well, and I admit that I don’t understand it at all. If one holds that the existence of a creator god is a fact, and also accepts the Big Bang theory, that seems to be simply a modified version of the theory even if the person holding the position doesn’t think of it that way. Since the god’s existence cannot be tested in any way, including the god in the theory risks rendering the whole thing untestable and therefore useless for explaining past observations or predicting new ones. I don’t see any reason for treating the proposition “A god caused this tree to fall” differently from any other hypothesis about the cause of the tree’s fall.

  • hapax

     

    I don’t see any reason for treating the proposition “A god caused this
    tree to fall” differently from any other hypothesis about the cause of
    the tree’s fall.

    If you accept the Aristotelian understanding of causation, science only deals with material and efficient causes.  Sometimes scientific explanations are cast in terms of final causes (e.g. teleologically — “bacteria evolved in order to resist antibiotics”) but it always appears upon closer examination that this is only a verbal shorthand for a more complicated process.

    I can’t think of any scientific relevance of formal causes at all.

    The fact that you can’t think of any need to talk about formal and final causes is merely a reflection of the kind of questions that matter to you.  If you’re not interested in them, that’s fine; but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t legitimately important to other people.

  • Tonio

    I had to Google formal and final causes, since I had never heard of those terms and I’m not familiar with Aristotle’s ideas. From my quick reading, he seemed to believe that ideas and purposes could exist apart from any consciousness or intelligence. Offhand I don’t know how Aristotle or anyone else would prove that this is anything more than speculation.

    My point is that a creator god would seem to qualify as an efficient cause (another term I didn’t know). I question the assumption of a material/nonmaterial divide (or a natural/supernatural or physical/metaphysical one), partly because elsewhere I’ve seen it used to try exempt supernatural or metaphysical claims from scrutiny. I’ve long agreed on the possibility of things that may exist beyond our perception, while adding that we have no way of knowing if they exist or not. It seems that one person’s speculations about such things are no more valid than any others since there’s no basis for proving or disproving them. And no, I don’t see “proof” as inherently a material concept.

  • hapax

     

    My point is that a creator god would seem to qualify as an efficient cause (another term I didn’t know).

    Well, a creator god *could* be an efficient cause, but generally speaking, is more often seen as a final (or, depending upon your viewpoint, formal) cause.

    I question the assumption of a material/nonmaterial divide (or a
    natural/supernatural or physical/metaphysical one), partly because
    elsewhere I’ve seen it used to try exempt supernatural or metaphysical
    claims from scrutiny.

    Yes.  Supernatural and metaphysical claims are exempt from MATERIAL  EMPIRICAL scrutiny.  Deal with it.

    I’ve long agreed on the possibility of things that
    may exist beyond our perception, while adding that we have no way of
    knowing if they exist or not.

    Beyond PHYSICAL perception =/= beyond perception,  Deal with it.

    And no, I don’t see “proof” as inherently a material concept.

    I can think of nothing that you have posted, ever, that supports that statement.  Including the statements in this very post, which I quoted.

    Tonio, nobody has any problem if you, or anyone else, does not accept the existence non-material, supernatural, or metaphysical entities.  I personally don’t care if you think I am the silliest person in the world for believing them.

    But you persistently demand explanations for non-scientific beliefs in scientific terms.   I am not asking you to look at the world the way I do.  I am not proposing laws or policies based upon my beliefs.  I am not asking you to conform to any social norms based on my beliefs.  I am discussing concepts that I find interesting with other people who apparently also find them interesting.  I am discussing them because such conversations add beauty and clarity and depth to my appreciation of the world.

    Please stop denigrating such “speculation” as pointless and invalid unless I provide “proof” that meets your specifications.

  • Tonio

     

    Supernatural and metaphysical claims are exempt from MATERIAL  EMPIRICAL scrutiny.  Deal with it.

    The problem is that it provides unwarranted protection for the Pat Robertsons and Fred Phelpses to damn to hell anyone who meets their disapproval. I would like to show that this is not just horrid but also incorrect. I suppose that’s a forlorn hope to shame them into silence.

    Beyond PHYSICAL perception =/= beyond perception,  Deal with it.

    What other type of perception are you talking about? ESP or psychic phenomena?

    Tonio, nobody has any problem if you, or anyone else, does not accept
    the existence non-material, supernatural, or metaphysical entities.

    I wasn’t suggesting that they did. For clarification, I hold no position either way on whether they exist. It’s possible that the divide doesn’t exist and we just lack the necessary knowledge about how the universe is put together.

    I personally don’t care if you think I am the silliest person in the world for believing them.

    I wouldn’t think that about anyone.

    I am not proposing laws or policies based upon my beliefs.  I am not
    asking you to conform to any social norms based on my beliefs.

    And I didn’t say you were. My confusion is that so much of the discussion about supernatural entities seems to treat these in factual terms. It’s not unreasonable for me to ask the question “Is the existence of supernatural entities a fact or not?” When I do so, I’m not challenging anyone’s beliefs, or any reasons they hold such beliefs, or any meaning that people find in them. Those are none of my business. I’m not even treating them as beliefs that people hold, but more like statements that I might have read in a book somewhere and seek to know if they’re factual or not. I’m not asking anyone to prove the factualness of their beliefs, and I apologize for giving that impression. While I admit that I don’t understand why people believe in them, I don’t need to understand that either, again because that’s a private thing. I simply want to know what is factual apart from anyone’s beliefs, including any I may hold.

  • hapax

     

    I simply want to know what is factual apart from anyone’s beliefs, including any I may hold.

    Tonio, I apologize for my irritableness. (Is that a word? Maybe “orneriness”?)

    But “what is factual apart from anyone’s beliefs” is – despite appearances – anything *but* a “simple” question.  It is, arguably, the question driving thousands and thousands of years of religion, philosophy, and science, and has never been completely settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

    What is a “fact”? Generally, that refers to empirical, testable, data.  Non-material entities are therefore, by definition, not “factual”.

    But does that mean that they aren’t “real”?  That they aren’t “true”?  Now you’re getting into very complicated areas of epistemology and ontology.  Just take a look at the Wikipedia article on Truth and you will realize that this is a very complicated and contentious issue.

    Whether he knew it or not, Clinton was onto something very profound when he (supposedly) asked, “it all depends upon what your definition of ‘is’ is…”

  • Tonio

     

    What is a “fact”? Generally, that refers to empirical, testable, data.

    That’s not the definition I’m using, and if what you stated is the general definition, I can see how my use might cause confusion. I’m really talking about things that are objective. If the human race disappeared tomorrow, any alien races would have no way of knowing that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, but that wouldn’t change the fact that the event happened. If those aliens were able to learn about the attack, it might have no meaning for them, but that’s a whole different matter.

    But does that mean that they aren’t “real”?  That they aren’t “true”? 
    Now you’re getting into very complicated areas of epistemology and
    ontology.

    I’m deliberately avoiding using those concepts here because they involve different types of subjectivity. Any universal truths about human existence would likely cease to exist if there were no humans. And reality appears to be how humans perceive the universe instead of the universe itself. What I call subjectivity might really be about questions of value and not of fact.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Iritability, I think.

  • isalcordo

    I am glad that in you hapax I have found a scientist who also believe in a Creator God. But I do not understand what “your good friend the Doctor PhD” does’t understand. Please enlighten me, if you will.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I’m not entirely sure of the motives.

    I mean, that complex systems with apparently purposeful behavior can emerge naturally from the apparently purposeless behavior of simple systems is a hard idea; I can understand how people bounce off of it and into easier ideas (e.g., positing sentient purposeful directors).

    But I agree that one of the reasons it’s a hard idea is that it’s harder to hold on to the idea that anything has a purpose (including but not limited to suffering) once I accept that what created it did not.

  • isalcordo

    “But such statements are very common among two types of people – those whose scientific knowledge is lacking, and those who know better but who seek to straw-man science to push religion.”

    I hope you would be kind to consider me among the latter type, which I believe I am, and precisely because some scientists outrightly and arrogantly dismiss what they cannot measure but which is possible of being experienced. . . if only they are willing to use the proper tool to reach out which is FAITH to become conscious of the goodness of our Spiritual Father.

    Why not then dismiss as well their very own minds or consciousness since, I am sure, they have no way to take hold of it or determine their mass?  

  • phantomreader42

    There is not a single creationist argument that isn’t founded on shameless lying.  In order to remain a creationist, one must be willfully ignorant or a pathological liar.  Usually they’re a little of both, combined with a breathtaking level of arrogance. 

  • Tonio

     I’m not sure what you mean by “what they cannot measure but which is possible of being experienced.” The real arrogance is in assuming that there are only two positions on the diversity of life, either scientific theory or Genesis pseudo-literalism. It’s possible that both are wrong and some other religion is correct on the matter.

  • Rattus Norvegicus

     The beginning of life through natural process is called ‘Abiogenesis’.  It is a completely separate set of ideas and hypothesis from evolution.  Abiogenesis is still an incomplete picture, but its missing pieces don’t automatically mean God did it.

  • B_R_Deadite99

     Doctorates must be easy to get these days. For starters, evolution’s number one premise has absolutely nothing to do with life’s origins, as people like me seem to constantly have to explain to people like you. The hypothesis that deals with life’s origins is abiogenesis; evolution, by it’s very definition, only deals with adaptations in existing life. Next time, try doing some actual research before you start spouting common creation-tard straw-men.

    Regarding the rest of your comment; God of the Gaps fallacy. You do not have a mechanism; you do not have proof; and you’re arguing from ignorance in favor of unfalsifiable concepts. If everything must have a creator, therefore god, who created god? Remember, if everything must have a creator, then your “creator” is no exception and to argue such would be special pleading and invalidate your premise.

  • BJC


    Darwinian evolution has two major premises: a) chance or random events isclaimed to have initiated life”

    False. Abiogenesis has nothing whatever to do with the Theory of Evolution.

    “Now, it has never been shown or demonstrated by science of lifeless matter spontaneously acquiring biological life as we know it.”

    Again, not a problem for the ToE. You also realise that there is no evidence whatsoever for any creator, don’t you?

    “random events as the INITIATOR  of life”

    Who claims this? Certainly not evolutionary scientists or those working on abiogenesis.

    “a complete denial of the role of the CREATOR OF LIFE or God or of His divine personalities.”

    Logical fallacy of begging the question. First, you have to establish the existence of this “creator” before claiming knowledge of what he/she/it/they actually did. As of yet there is not one single scrap of evidence for any gods.

    “Darwinian evolutionists should know by now that LIFE IS NOT INHERENT IN MATTER, otherwise today’s rocks that have existed billions of years ago or billions of years old would be teeming with COMPLETELY NEW LIFE dateable to within decades or years that can be counted using the fingers of just our one hand from this very day.”

    If life were to arise independently of the existing lifeforms on this planet it would face a very tough time indeed as it would be in no position to compete with organisms already well-adapted to their environment. In other words, it would very quickly become a food source for something that has billions of years of evolution behind it. And, of course, when scientists talk about abiogenesis and the first “life” it bears very little resemblance to even the most “primitive” bacteria extant today.

    “Without God seeding matter (earth) with life and guiding life’s evolution from dust and organic matter to the point of producing all the plants and the animals, and eventually us humans, the earth would have remained BARREN to this day. Evolution CANNOT begin until God seeded this earth with that seed of life.”

    Begging the question again. Unless and until you can provide evidence for the existence of this god and that he/she/it/they did all of the things you say, the above remains an empty assertion, devoid of any value.

  • isalcordo

    “False. Abiogenesis has nothing whatever to do with the Theory of Evolution.”

    My reply: Thank you for your  info. Now, I know that the “Theory of Evolution” is now properly called the “Theory of Mutation” and its practioners may now be called “Mutationists. And according to one online dictionary, Abiogenesis is, coined by T. H. Huxley in 1870,  – – “the now discredited theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.”  Now, having given up the original notion, abiogenesisist are playing around in the lab with artificial cells and cell membranes. This is the better way to use one’s Ph.D. since, by now, biologists should accept the fact  that only God can create life.

    You also realise that there is no evidence whatsoever for any creator, don’t you?

    My reply: Can anyone prove to me that he or she has a “Mind” using evidence of science such as measurable weight or dimension? Yet no one will ever accept that he or she has NO mind. Yet, we all accept, that intellectual products are the works of the minds, and so, by inference, accept that you and I do have mind. And so is God! 

    “random events as the INITIATOR of life” Who claims this? Certainly not evolutionary scientists or those working on abiogenesis.

    My reply:  Since academic evolutionists-mutationists and abiogenesisist do not believe in a divine Creator of life, then a natural event must have initiated life.  If this single event was not the result of millions or billions of random events, then these events that eventually lead to life-creation must be directed by some intelligent force, energy, mind, or whatever. That creative X is what theists call God or one of his divine personalities.  . . . continuation in the next post. 

  • phantomreader42

    As always, creationists have not the slightest idea what the fuck they’re talking about.  All they can do is regurgitate incredibly stupid lies debunked decades before they were even born. The fact that creationists have no recourse but constant, blatant, shameless lying is proof enough that their god is nothing more than a sick delusion they made up to give them an excuse for their complete inability to tell the truth and their refusal to even look in the general direction of reality. 

    isalcordo, you are an idiot and a liar, and you will never be anything else.  No matter what bullshit you vomit forth, no one with a brain will ever believe you.  You deserve no response but ridicule and derision. 

  • phantomreader42

     isalcordo the delusional willfully ignorant pathological liar vomited:

    Can anyone prove to me that he or she has a “Mind” using evidence of science such as measurable weight or dimension?

    Anyone who makes an argument like that is desperately seeking to avoid the responsibility to back up their claims with even the slightest speck of evidence, because they know that the evidence is stacked against them.  This post serves as isalcordo’s admission that she is lying through her teeth and cannot defend her delusions by any other means than lying. 

  • isalcordo

    Thank you for your abusive comments on my person and faith. Our difference in handling of intellectual conflict reflects the quality of our souls, which you will again deny their existence, the atheist’s, in complete spiritual darkness spewing with devilish spit, the theist’s/deist ‘s, profuse with the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which I pray you will not blaspheme, of love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, meekness, and temperance.

    Now, my scientific background demands, in my search to know and understand, God that I may do His will, to study all major claims of spiritual revelations – not human opinions – and I came across one website that you may be interested: http://www.truthbook.com . Do check it and you will have a partial support of your cause. It is about Theistic Evolution of Life and Theistic Mutation of Existing Species. The subject is The Urantia Book.

    I give you my brotherly concern for your soul.

    isalcordo

  • Lori

    the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which I pray you will not blaspheme, of
    love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, meekness, and
    temperance. 

    Funny, I don’t see “lying” and “self-righteousness” on that list.

     

    I give you my brotherly concern for your soul.  

    Save it. Lousy gifts that can’t be returned are just annoying.

  • B_R_Deadite99

     “My reply: Thank you for your  info.”

    Lol, a Ph.D who has to get information from anonymous internet posters instead of doing research before he opens his trap. How pathetic. And yet, it’s pretty typical for creationists.

    “Can anyone prove to me that he or she has a “Mind” using evidence of science such as measurable weight or dimension?”

    Translation; I, isalcordo, am so full of shit that admitting my complete want of evidence for my magical creator story is just too much to handle. Therefore, I shall try to distract them with some tired old bit of philosophical masturbation.

    There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  • isalcordo

    Thank you for your abusive comments on my person and faith. Our difference in handling of intellectual conflict reflects  the quality of our souls, which you will again deny their existence, the atheist’s, in complete spiritual darkness spewing with devilish spit, the theist’s/deist ‘s, profuse with the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which I pray you will not blaspheme, of love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, meekness, and temperance.

    Now, my scientific background demands, in my search to know and understand, God that I may do His will, to study all major claims of spiritual revelations – not human opinions – and I came across one website that you may be interested: http://www.truthbook.com .  Do check it and you will have a partial support of your cause. It is about Theistic Evolution of Life and Theistic Mutation of Existing Species. The subject is The Urantia Book.

    I give you my brotherly concern for your soul.

    isalcordo

  • B_R_Deadite99

    “Thank you for your abusive comments on my person and faith.”

    Who said anything about faith? Unless your faith entails conflating separate theories, that is, in which case I’ll gladly abuse that as well.

    “Our difference in handling of intellectual conflict reflects the quality of our souls, which you will again deny their existence, the atheist’s, in complete spiritual darkness spewing with devilish spit, the theist’s/deist ‘s, profuse with the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which I pray you will not blaspheme, of love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, meekness, and temperance.”

    “Devilish spit”? Lol, what?? And I can’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit; it’s pretty hard to blaspheme that which doesn’t exist.

    As for the rest; if you really cared about understanding and knowledge, you would have known the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. That you did not proves that you are a novice to evolutionary sciences, and don’t know what you are talking about. Further more, your attempt to worm your way out of the situation by throwing an ill-conceived semantic game at us was amateurish and pitiful. Admit your mistakes and learn how to argue without straw-men and logical fallacies.

  • hapax

     

    Now, my scientific background demands, in my search to know and
    understand, God that I may do His will, to study all major claims of
    spiritual revelations

    So why did you not respond to my suggestion that you examine this exhaustively documented study of the Urantia Book and its origins, that I pointed you towards over a week ago?

    Surely your “scientific background” demands examination of all the evidence about these claims, both positive or negative?  Or do you simply swallow at face value any outlandish hogwash presented with sufficient “passionate sincerity”?

  • isalcordo

    Sorry, I did not come across your response, request. I have been studying TUB for two months now, spending 4-6 hours each day searching for contradictions. I found one book critical of TUB and exposing its alleged author to a pschiatric patient on amazon.com which was debunked outright by various reviewers. It may take sometime to come to a pisition, one way or another.

  • hapax

     Seriously? 

    You take Amazon comments as critical reviews?

    Do you poll random toddlers as to the comparative nutritional value of spinach and chewing gum as well?

    And you expect us to take your scientific credentials as meaningful?

  • isalcordo

    Why don’t you do your own research? Whatever conclusion I may have about the book your kind will simply brush it off. You all have to come to your own decision. I brought this book to the attention of this group  so they can check the  theistic aspects of  evolution reported in TUB in the light of your own atheistic so-called scientific theory.  

  • Tonio

    Darwinian natural selection is silent on the question of whether gods exist, so it’s neither theistic nor atheistic. I found it funny that your post implies Hapax is an atheist.

  • phantomreader42

    But don’t you see, Tonio? Hapax fails to mindlessly accept isalcordo’s ignorant bullshit wwiithout question, therefore hapax MUST be an atheist. If isalcordo cannot dismis anyone with the slightest capacity of critical thinking as an atheist aannd thereffore nonhuman, isalcordo might be forced to consider the posibility that she might be WRONG. And to entertain that thought for even an instant would irreparably shatter isalcordo’s pitifully fragile faith.

  • isalcordo

    No, phantomreader42. You and Tonio are wrong. And by the way, I am NOT a SHE. I am a father of 4 and married to one woman for the last 54 years. Now,, read on.

    No, Tonio. I was following your text conversations with hapax. You were the athesist questioning hapax’s faith in God. And I commended hapax for this. Search my past posts.
    Now, it is nice to hear that Darwinian evolution was silent about God. Darwin was a believer as almost all the best investigative minds in science, philosophy, and religion of “SomeOne or Something” greater than their minds. The arrogance of evolution scientists like Richard Dawkins and physicists like Stephen Hawking is a modern phenomenon. And it is this atheism seeping from them into the mainstream population that is economically destroying Europe and the U.S. as the result of weakening morality – the spiritual preference to do what is right and good (truth) over wrong and evil (falsehood) in all sphere of life. I hope you all give all spiritual revelations – particularly the Bible and the Urantia Book – a reading . . . even just a recreational reading.

  • phantomreader42

     Oh, I just assumed “Isabello” was a woman’s name, since every person I’ve encountered with a similar name was female.  To be honest, I don’t really care if you’re a man or a woman, as your gender is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.  What’s relevant is your complete lack of even the most rudimentary understanding of the science you feel compelled to attack, combined with your refusal to learn anything no matter how many times it’s explained to you. 

    As an example, if this is the first time you’ve been made aware of the fact that Darwinian* evolution is silent on the question of god, what makes you think you know enough about evolution to saunter in here babbling nonsense, claiming it says things that anyone with a brain knows it doesn’t and dismissing over a hundred years of biology because the voices in your head tell you to? 

    *oh, just FYI, Darwin has been dead for over a century, and evolutionary science has been advancing and learning in that time, not that you’d ever dream of admitting that, so trying to attack a dead man instead of addressing the century and a half of work in the real world that’s grown from his theories only makes you look like even MORE of an idiot, which is kind of an accomplishment for you in a certain twisted way.

  • isalcordo

    I think we are through with your nonsensical blah. . blah against me. The truth is, if I have to be blunt. . . . is that evolutionists have nothing to contribute to the world but . . . useless descriptions of new species that canot feed the hungry or soothe the oppressed. Wake up. Shift to DNA maniputation.  

  • phantomreader42

    No, isalcordo, the truth is that YOU have nothing to contribute to the world but useless whines on subjects that you know nothing about and would sooner kill and eat your own family than learn anything about.  

  • isalcordo

    No, Tonio. I was following your text conversations with hapax. You were the athesist questioning hapax’s faith in God. And I commended hapax for this. Search my past
    posts.

    Now, it is nice to hear that Darwinian evolution was silent about God. Darwin was a believer as almost all the best investigative minds in science, philosophy, and religion of “SomeOne or Something” greater than their minds. The arrogance  of evolution scientists like Richard Dawkins and physicists like Stephen Hawking is a modern phenomenon.  And it is this atheism seeping from them into the mainstream population that is economically destroying Europe and the U.S. as the result of weakening morality – the spiritual preference to do what is right and good (truth) over wrong and evil (falsehood) in all sphere of life.  I hope you all give all spiritual revelations – particularly the Bible and the Urantia Book – a reading . . . even just a recreational reading.

  • Tonio

    I’m neither a theist nor an atheist. I don’t know whether gods exist or not, so I hold no position either way. And I wasn’t questioning anyone’s faith, I was asking why I should take the position that gods exist, and the question wasn’t directed at any specific person.  Similarly, I also ask why I should take the atheist position that gods don’t exist. 

    I readily acknowledge the possibility of things that may exist beyond our perceptions. Still, the operative word is “may.” I have no way of knowing whether such things exist or not, so any assertions that they exist, or any assertions that they don’t, are indistinguishable from speculation. 

    Also, any position on the existence of gods is not synonymous with morality or the lack of it. Deists believe in gods that have nothing to do with morality. And Fred writes frequently about a subset of believers who promote immorality despite their stance that a god exists – the Misogyny entry is one example.

  • isalcordo

    You have to face this issuse . . . to live life in faith of God or not . . . by yourself. But God does minister to our minds for our mind to evaluate His existence or non-existence.

    God ministers to our minds three-fold:

    (1) the ministration of God the Father – through the indwelling of our minds by his pre-personal spirit – should the mind ask the Father for guidance on what is right and what is wrong on any matter – to lead us what are TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOOD. The opposites are. of course: FALSE, UGLY, and EVIL.

    (2) the ministration of God the Son (Jesus Christ) – through His Spirit of Truth to lead our mind to discrimninate between spiritual truths and spiritual deceptions;

    (3) the ministration of God the Spirit – through the Holy Spirit to help us produce His fruits in the totality of our personality in relation to our neighbors and to God the Father, and these are: love, peace, joy, faith, gentleness, goodnes, long-suffering, meekness, and temperance (best to remember as: lpj-fgg-lmt); AND to embue our soul with courage, counsel, knowledge, understanding, intuition, worship and wisdom (best remembered as: cc-kui-ww) – the “seven spirits of God like lamps standing before His throne.”

    isalcordo

  • Tonio

    You’re not arguing for theism, you’re arguing for a particular concept of Christianity, as if other religions that assert the existence of gods were irrelevant. I already mentioned deism, and Bahai and Sikh and Zoroaster religions have different concept of a single god. It’s possible that one of those belief systems could be right and Christianity could be wrong. 

  • hapax

     

    Darwin was a believer as almost all the best investigative minds in
    science, philosophy, and religion of “SomeOne or Something” greater than
    their minds.

    Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Oh, come on now.  Seriously?  Which orifice did you pull THAT one out of?

    Not that the religious beliefs of any particular scientist make the slightest particle of difference in the validity of their scientific ideas.  Or, for that matter, the success of their scientific theories has anything to do with the validity of their religious beliefs.

  • isalcordo

    Here is an excerpt from wikipedia on Darwin. He did not just arrogantly dismissed the possibility of the existence of God. He was interested in religion. Religion in Europe during that is basically Christianity. He must be interested in Cjrist.Charles Darwin’s views on religion have been the subject of much interest. His work which was pivotal in the development of modern biology and evolution theory played a prominent part in debates about religion and science at the time, then in the early twentieth century became a focus of the creation-evolution controversy in the United States.Charles Darwin had a non-conformist background, but attended a Church of England school.[1] With the aim of becoming a clergyman he went to the University of Cambridge for the required BA degree, which included studies of Anglican theology. He took great interest in natural history and became filled with zeal for science as defined by John Herschel, based on the natural theology of William Paley which presented the argument from divine design in nature to explain adaptation as God acting through laws of nature.[2][3] On the voyage of the Beagle he remained orthodox and looked for “centres of creation” to explain distribution, but towards the end of the voyage began to doubt that species were fixed.[4][5] By this time he was critical of the Bible as history, and wondered why all religions should not be equally valid. Following his return in October 1836, he developed his novel ideas of geology while speculating about transmutation of species and thinking about religion.[6]

  • phantomreader42

    Why should anyone trust your opinion on evolution (or any other surject for that matter) when you’ve made it painfully clear that you have not the slightest understanding of what a theory is, what the theory of evolution involves, how the Internet works, what science is, what an atheist is, nor in fact have you shown even the slightest capacity to comprehend ANYTHING anyone has said to you, on any subject?

  • hapax

     

    Why don’t you do your own research? Whatever conclusion I may have about the book your kind will simply brush it off.

    My “kind”?  What the heck is my “kind”?  Christians? Redheads?  Basketball fans?  Librarians?  Middle-aged Southerners?  Human beings?

    But to answer your question, I’ve read the Urantia Book, thanks.  (Also the texts of a lot of other USian so-called “new religions”, plus the scholarly literature about them.  It’s pretty much required in any serious graduate program that studies the origins of Christianity.)

    I found it neither enlightening, inspiring, informative, well-written, internally self-consistent, or even lulz-worthy.  If it performs any or all of those functions for you,  that’s great.  Just stop pushing it on the rest of us, mmkay?  Proselytizing of any sort tends to get a lot of pushback around these parts.

    I’ve already got sacred texts that, in bits and pieces, fulfill functions a, b, d,  and f (for me), which is a much better fit for my life.  I try to find as much informed analyses about those texts as I can, to see whether I should give those texts (and which parts of them) a greater and lesser role.  Gardner’s book is much more respectful than a lot of stuff I’ve read about the formation of various Scriptures sacred to my faith;  oddly enough, I find challenging information to be productive of greater understanding, not less.

    I thought as a self-proclaimed scientist, you might feel the same way.  But hey, to each his own.

  • isalcordo

    It is not how much we have read or how much spiritual bits and pieces we have collected that matters. It is what we have read and what we have decided from our readings to live by that truly matters. Choose your God or god, hapax.

  • Silver Strings

    Isabelo S Alcordo of Mindanao University in the Philippines? A PhD in agricultural sciences does not qualify you as an expert on evolutionary theory. Furthermore, the only people who use both “Dr.” and “Ph.D.” to sign correspondence are either 1) fakes who hold no actual degrees, or 2) egocentric in the extreme. I guess you think your little Agr.Sci. degree lends you the weight of authority. Unfortunately, it only makes you look like a self-important egomaniac.Unfortunately, you were wrong with the very first sentence, and never recovered. It is obvious you know nothing about evolution, and even less about logic.-Evolution has nothing to do with how life originated; it only explains how life (once it began existing) adapts & changes over time.-“Survival of the fittest” is a bit outdated, as evolution pertains to populations… not individuals. Furthermore, it does not mean what you seem to think it means. It’s a matter of the most fit & survivable members of a species passing on their genes, not just the biggest & strongest.-You claim lack of evidence for abiogenesis, then propose religious creation… which has zero scientific evidence.-Which creator deity do you mean? The Christian one? The Hindu one? The Norse, or Greek, or Roman ones? There is just as much ‘evidence’ for one as the others (that is to say, none). Prove empirically that such an entity exists, and THEN it will be considered by scientists.Congratulations, you’ve been shown less knowledgeable than someone with a freshman-level knowledge of evolution & biology. Perhaps you should go back to school, “Doctor.”

  • Silver Strings

    Ugh, bloody formatting… ah, well.

  • isalcordo

    You are so narrow in your interpretation of the PH.D. degree. You appear in your dicussion in relation to my degree, to be non-employable outside of your field. My Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, 1968, Champaign-Urbana, prepared me to understand a wide range of discipline, which I am now applying to understand and know God. Why are atheists, like you so arrogantly dismissive of the possibilty of the existence of God when you have no notion whatsoever of the divine – having refused to give Him a hearing/reading?.   

  • phantomreader42

    Why are creationists pathological liars?  Oh, yeah, because their faith is too weak to survive the slightest exposure to reality. 

  • aunursa

    The plot of Total Recall involves a twist on “Last Thursdayism.”

  • MaryKaye

    Does that 46% figure really refer to young-earth creationists, or to all creationists?  Because OEC is a lot more intellectually viable than YEC–the versions where God’s intervention is ongoing are actually  fairly easy to reconcile with reality; their main problem is that they don’t add anything testable to our understanding of the world.

    Young-earth creationists are certainly forced to espouse something extremely strained and with extremely bad public-health implications, but I don’t know that this is true for the other flavors–most OEC I know have no problems with the micro-evolution of antibiotic resistance.

    I don’t know if you’d label as “creationist” the doctrinaire Catholic view that evolution made the body and God added the soul, but that one seems relatively non-problematic.

    (My co-teacher did the first session of our huge Intro Genetics course yesterday, and carefully mentioned evolution–I didn’t see distress among the students, but there are a lot of them and I could hardly see most of them.  But we’re in a city known to be among the least Christian in the US.   I teach the follow-up course on Evolutionary Genetics every 2 years, and have never had a non-closeted creationist, but then, it’s not a required course so it would be very strange for them to take it.)

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

     Mary, the 46% is specifically young-earth creationism. The question presents three options – old-earth creationism, evolution, young-earth creationism. YECs get 46%. (Evolution gets 32%, OEC 15%).

    This years poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    No, the 32% figure is not OECs, but includes theistic evolutionists.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

     You’re right, technically that option is theistic evolution. But I have a really hard time figuring out any belief system that includes theistic evolution that *isn’t* OEC. (Is there any version where God has been guiding evolution for millions of years, but did *not* create the universe?). As for the other possibility, believing that God created the universe millions/billions of years ago, but does *not* guide evolution, is pretty much Deism – which may have been popular in the 18th Century, but not so much anymore. So the two issues would seem to be a pretty close proxy. The 46% option (“God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago) is pretty much the definition of YEC.

  • hf

    No, no, you’re thinking like someone who wants to understand reality. An ordinary person (well, American at least) who vaguely believes in evolution, and who ‘believes’ in God, will tend to pick the “guided” option because it contains the word “God”, and saying “God” is good. God, God, God.

    Likewise, the 46% option does not say that God created the observable universe* in six days about 6000 years ago. It seems compatible with OEC if you assume that God plopped Adam and Eve and a vanishing Garden of Eden in the middle of a world with a long history and life already established (somehow). I suspect a lot of the 46% would endorse this if pressed, because I think they want to endorse what they see as the important part of Genesis, and they simply haven’t tried to fit it into their view of the world (or more charitably, connect it to the rest of their worldview). ‘Separate magisteria,’ you know.

    This, by the way, illustrates why I have more respect for Gosse than for theistic evolutionists. Gosse understood that true statements should fit together. He also thought evolution described something real in the mind of God, I think, though that may have meant to him, “God’s thoughts about what Gosse would enjoy finding.”

    *We should have resisted using the word “universe” to mean ‘the part from which light can reach us.’ But it seems much too late now. I’ve taken to calling the ‘physical universe’ as described by current science (which appears to hold many timelines) the Cosmos. Reality as a whole, which may or may not consist solely of our Cosmos, can be the Macrocosm. Hopefully this does not mean V.

  • The_L1985

     Er, the definition of “creationism” given in the poll includes the phrase “less than 10,000 years ago.”  As a believer of theistic evolution, I can assure you that I am well aware that humans evolved long before that.

  • hf

    Er, the definition of “creationism” given in the poll includes the
    phrase “less than 10,000 years ago.”  As a believer of theistic
    evolution, I can assure you that I am well aware that humans evolved
    long before that.

    I don’t know what you’re responding to. If you just want a cookie, you’ll have to do better than that.

    “As a believer of theistic
    evolution,” how do you think your God guided evolution? Did this involve killing or sterilizing all lifeforms that didn’t fit the desired progression? Why or why not? And what would you expect to look different if your theory holds, compared to if it doesn’t? If nothing would look different, does that mean your God “lies” just as much as Gosse’s? Why or why not?

  • The_L1985

     1. I believe in multiple gods, each with his/her own agenda.

    2. They wouldn’t have to do anything dramatic, just a nudge here, a meteor there, just to see what happens.  (Remember, I never said they were omniscient gods.)  Species dying out would be just another random effect.  “Let’s see which species survive/develop if we do THIS!”  “Do you reckon that one over there would evolve sentient offspring?”  “Nah, I’m banking on that bird type there.  Talking primates would just be silly.”

    3. Frankly, the effects of multiple deities all mucking about with the same planet, with little goal in mind, wouldn’t be THAT much different from random chance.  I doubt we’d be able to tell the difference.  This isn’t Discworld, after all, where deities are loud and flashy and make atheism dangerous. :P

    4. Er, you do understand that it is possible for religion and science to not interfere with one another?  And that the form which most “theistic evolution” ideologies take is more about unprovable causes than about things that have already been proven?

  • Tonio

     

    4. Er, you do understand that it is possible for religion and science
    to not interfere with one another?  And that the form which most
    “theistic evolution” ideologies take is more about unprovable causes
    than about things that have already been proven?

    To clarify, are you suggesting that religion is the realm of the unprovable and science is the realm of the provable, like Stephen Jay Gould’s principle of NOMA? My concern there is that even when a proposition of fact is unprovable, it’s still either factual or not factual. Saying that belief is permissible for such propositions sounds, to me, like saying that the question of their factualness is not important. If a proposition is not provable, I see no reason to hold it as factual.

    My own concept of NOMA would be not provable/unprovable but fact/value, with the latter being religion’s magisterium. The divide could also be expressed as “what is” compared to “what should be.”

  • hf

     1. “Unprovable” could have different meanings, too. Take aliens. The size of our observable “universe,” and the evidence that our Cosmos is larger still, strongly suggests that aliens exist. By the same token, though, a visit from them during your lifetime seems unlikely (at least on its face). So if you decide you don’t want to believe in them unless reality forces you, and you choose to ignore (or just plain don’t know) the way the preceding argument connects with or derives from direct experience, you could label them “unprovable.”

    2. I often disagree with religions about “what should be.”

  • Tonio

    1. I’m reluctant to label something unprovable unless it’s absolutely so. It’s not impossible to prove the existence of aliens, whereas the usual definitions of gods exclude even the possibility of proof.

    2. As do I, but that’s not relevant to my point. “What should be” refers to moral concepts, which are matters of subjective value.

  • The_L1985

     By the same token, is it not possible to have a subjective experience, the veracity of which can be neither proven nor disproven?

    I have had the experience (on more than one occasion) of what I believe to be interaction with various gods.  I can neither prove nor disprove this, hence I cannot force others to believe in gods.  However, my own direct experience is certainly good enough for ME.

  • Tricksterson

    Are you sure we weren’t seperated at birth?  So much of what you say is frighteningly similar to my own life experiences.

    Just in case, dibs on being the evil twin.

  • The_L1985

     You were raised Catholic in southern AL, went to a private church-run school, and have gradually gone from hard-line conservative Catholic to being a liberal, bisexual, polyamorous Wiccan-ish person?

    Wow.  That’s…pretty cool, actually.  Life-twins forever! :D

  • Tricksterson

    Eastern Massachusetts, anarcho-libertarian-nihilist and straight although I do enjoy looking at an attractive man every now and then.  So, I guess no.  Am eclectic pagan though so close on that one.

  • Tricksterson

    And an ex-Catholic so there’s that.

  • The_L1985

     I’m also guessing male, which would be another difference. :P  Meh, you still seem like a kindred spirit.  Well met!

  • Tricksterson

    Maybe you’re my feminine side that got surgically removed at birth by alien sockpuppets.

  • The_L1985

    Let’s go with that.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I certainly agree that it’s possible to have subjective experiences, and that if I claim to have had a particular subjective experience there’s no way to prove or disprove that claim. (I would also say that it’s at best impolite to challenge such a claim.)

    But I also think it’s a mistake to conclude, on the basis of those truths, that if I infer something to be true about the world on the basis of a particular subjective experience, then that something is in fact true about the world.

    I have had the subjective experience of being visited by Mysterious Beings from Outside of Time with a Very Significant Message for All of Humanity that I was Meant to Impart. (The capital letters are intended to convey a Sense of Great Significance that was very much part of the subjective experience.) I can’t prove to anyone that I had such an subjective experience — I mean, I could be lying, and you would have no way of knowing — but I’m quite confident that I did have it.

    What I’m not confident of, and in fact don’t consider likely, was that the subjective experience was caused by being visited by mysterious beings from outside of time.

  • Mary

    I have had subjective experiences of psychic phenomina. No I can’t prove it to anyone else scientifically but I still know for myself it is real. I knew the exact year, month and day of the week that my mother would die. I also had a very vivid dream of a news story before it aired. It was very detailed. It was not like what some people might say, “Oh I dreamt that a plane crashed and it did.” Without concrete details then it could just be a coincidence.” I knew the names of the people involved and the exact details of what happened.

    I have a healthy skepticism, but I am also open to possiblities. I know that there is a spiritual dimension from these experiences and others as well. I don’t see that this conflicts at all with science, because in truth, we don’t know everything (yet, lol).  I believe that there are times when it is okay to suspend disbelief and remain open to whatever happens.

    When scientists say that this is impossible, they are operating from a preconcieved notion based on something that they don’t understand. This is actually completely at odds with the scientific method. Usually you observe something first, and then come up with a theory of how it works later.

    When people knock this, I tell them to try seeing a psychic, but don’t tell them anything about yourself. In fact the psychics I have seen do not do that whole fishing for information thing. If they did, I wouldn’t respond. I have gotten very specific advice from people that I didn’t know at all. One psychic knew that I liked to write. These are “experiments” that I have done myself.

    Anyway. just because something is subjective doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not true.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I agree completely that just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    That said, much of what you describe here can be subject to inter-subjective verification. There exist mechanisms whereby we can register predictions, for example, and verify that we know about things before they happen. There exists mathematics whereby we can calculate how unlikely it is that we could make a given prediction without knowledge of the event.

    I encourage the psychics you’ve visited to make use of such tools; they are a great way to move such knowledge from the purely subjective realm into the inter-subjective, where it can be studied and understood and built upon.

  • EllieMurasaki

     When scientists say that this is impossible, they are operating from a
    preconcieved notion based on something that they don’t understand. This
    is actually completely at odds with the scientific method. Usually you
    observe something first, and then come up with a theory of how it works
    later.

    So go talk to James Randi’s lot about observing psychic phenomena. They’ve got a million dollars for the first person to demonstrate a psychic phenomenon under controlled conditions.

  • Lori

     

    When people knock this, I tell them to try seeing a psychic, but don’t
    tell them anything about yourself. In fact the psychics I have seen do
    not do that whole fishing for information thing. If they did, I wouldn’t
    respond. I have gotten very specific advice from people that I didn’t
    know at all 

    You vastly underestimate the ability of the well-practiced and motivated to do a cold read. I am willing to be a great deal of money that I can’t afford to lose that you provided all the information that those people who you didn’t know at all needed to impress you. The amount that people unconsciously reveal about themselves is truly amazing. So is the willingness of many “skeptics” to pay attention to the things that psychics get right and either fail to notice or quickly forget the things they get wrong.

  • Tonio

    Penn and Teller discussed that exact technique on a Bullshit episode. The core problem with psychic phenomena and ESP is that no one can truly know what is in someone else’s mind. If someone says she is thinking of the color red, we don’t know that she is indeed thinking of that color. We only know that she says she is, and she could be lying. 

  • arcseconds

    It’s true that many (if not most) scientists have a tendency to stick with the framework they already have, and will, say, accept anecdotes that fit with that framework without any further proof and reject those that can’t.  It can be quite appropriate to do this, but it’s also true that many take it further than they should (if you don’t believe me, go find some scientists who have been in the business for a while and talk to them about journal editor / funding body / departmental head bias). 

    (Scientists are human beings)

    However, good scientists are open to phenomena that don’t fit with the received view.  In fact, they often really like that kind of stuff, because that’s when the really exciting work of science gets done, when suddenly the rug gets pulled from under you and you have to completely rebuild your theory.

    Thing is, though, scattered anecdotal accounts like yours give us nothing we can work with.

    To start with, your experiences could still be chance.  Sure, the chances of a particular dream you have conforming to reality is pretty low.  But there are 6 billion people on the planet, each dreaming several dreams a night: the chances of some of those dreams conforming quite close to reality is actually quite high even without assuming something spooky is going on.   I’d say it’s quite likely that every night someone on the planet has a dream that matches a few details of the following day.  Over a length of time (years, maybe) you’d expect to come up with a few examples of very very close matches.

    Secondly, as Aristotle pointed out, ‘there can be no science of monsters’.  By ‘monster’, it is meant something falling completely outside our categories.  Aristotle’s model of science was biology (unlike Plato, for whom it was mathematics) , and he had a class hierarchy metaphysics (very recognisably like object oriented programming, for you coder people out there).  He was aware that occasionally an animal would be born that didn’t fit with his hierarchy (a calf with six legs, say — a literal monster (we still call chemicals that do this sort of thing ‘teratogens’) ) and this was his response.

    I think it was the correct response, too.  Of course, now congenital abnormalities fall within regularities that do fit within our framework, which as you’d expect is considerably advanced on Aristotle’s knowledge.  But if we were in the position of having just one prophecy which was far too accurate to be chance (it could never be completely certain that it isn’t chance in the absence of a well-confirmed theory that tells us it isn’t, but an incredibly low probability event would be impressive), then the correct scientific response would not be to go “gosh, a psychic realm exists! Madame Blavatsky FTW!”, but rather go ‘hum, that’s weird’ and file it away pending further similar events (well, it’d probably also be a good idea to go looking for more, not just wait, but you get the picture).

    Finally, while of course we don’t know everything, for those of us who are sceptical of psychic phenomenon, it’d have to be given an initial probability of quite low.   It’s wrong to set it at 0 simply because we don’t have a plausible mechanism for it (otherwise we’d never believe any kind of totally unexpected phenomenon, and we’d never make scientific discoveries).   I think there are enough spooky anecdotes around to give it a small amount of currency.  However,  even if there are psychic phenomena, in a sense they can’t be very impressive.   It must be some combination of extremely rare, very inaccurate, or extremely random in its operation, otherwise someone would have claimed Randi’s prize by now.

    I’m not saying you didn’t have your experiences, and I’m not even really trying to suggest you’re wrong to believe in psychic phenomena.  If I had had your experiences I’m sure I would be incredibly weirded out (I have had a couple of nearly-prescient dreams myself, and if more details had worked out that would have been really, really spooky).  Also, as I said to start with, a differing framework can (I think) make the difference between ‘confirming instances’ and ‘random noise’.  But scientists not accepting this stuff isn’t merely a matter of being boring ideological stick-in-the-muds.

    (Actually, I’m thoroughly disappointed that the universe doesn’t appear to contain impressive displays of psionic ability.  I just console myself with the thought that every time i raise my arm, it’s an example of telekinesis…)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I just console myself with the thought that every time i raise my arm, it’s an example of telekinesis…

    Well, it’s not very “tele-“.

  • arcseconds

    Quiet, you.

    You can’t even relay significant messages from beyond time reliably!

     ;-]

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     That’s “Significant Messages from Beyond Time.”

  • arcseconds

    To make my point about 6 million dreamers a little clearer:

    Let’s say someone comes along and says “I’m psychic – look, toss this coin 10 times.  I’ve written down my prediction of the outcome on this bit of paper, which you can hold”.    And so you toss a coin 10 times, recording the results as you go, and then you open her paper, and it’s exactly the same.

    OK, well, maybe she just really got lucky.  So you say “I want to check this is repeatable.  Let’s do it again.”  So you do it again, she writes down her prediction, then you toss the coin ten times and read it back.  She’s got it right again!

    ‘OK, three time’s the charm’, you say.  You get her to write down another 10 results.  This time you read them as you go.  First you get a head.  She’s written ‘H’ as her first position.  then another head.  Another ‘H’.  Then a head, followed by 2 tails.  ‘HTT’.  Then a tail, followed by a head.  ‘HT’.  Now you’re getting really spooked.  Finally two more heads, and a tail.  ‘HHT’.

    Far out.


    Well, if that ever happened to you, you’d be impressed, right?  Maybe they’re psychic, maybe there’s something else weird going on like electromagnets or mesmerism or something.

    OK, now let’s say we have a global project to work out who’s psychic, and we arrange for everyone on the planet to do this kind of experiement in front of their families and friends. Well, with 7 billion people (I’m behind with the population estimate!), we could expect about 7 people to get this right! 

    Now, they and their family will have about the same subjective experience as you did in my first story: they’ll see an instrinically highly unlikely event being pulled off, and they’ll be weirded out, and maybe start to think their friend is psychic.

    But there’s nothing weird going on here.  We’d expect this to happen.  What would be much, much stranger is for this not to happen at all.  If we got all the results in, and no-one in the world managed to predict 30 coin tosses in the row, and no-one was spooked — that’s the spooky result.  That would give us just as much warrant to start believing in psychic powers as the first story.

    ( maybe the psychic energy of everyone expecting not to predict the coin tosses is forcing the coin tosses to be arranged in patterns that don’t conform to anyone’s predictions. )

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    If we got all the results in, and no-one in the world managed to predict 30 coin tosses in the row, and no-one was spooked — that’s the spooky result.  That would give us just as much warrant to start believing in psychic powers as the first story.

    Well, almost. I make the chances of nobody getting it right to be about 0.15% – a long shot by normal standards, but not in the same league as a one-in-a-billion shot.

  • arcseconds

     DAGNABIT!

    (*ahem*)

    I mean, yes, very good, you caught the deliberate mistake I put there to check if anyone was paying attention!

    The point still stands, though: with really large samples, if you don’t occasionally see ‘odd’ things happening, that itself is odd. 

    (damn you, Arithemetic! I’ll get you for this. just you wait…)

  • arcseconds

     Actually, I’ve always wondered whether low probability mental events might not explain at least some of the reports of odd happenings.

    I mean, how reliable are our brains really?  Let’s say there’s a 1 in a billion chance per day of even normal, healthy brains going into a kind of waking dream state for a few minutes, like a normal night dream except superimposed on veridical experience.   That’s way more reliable than a lot of computing hardware!   The chances of this happening in your life would be about 1 in a hundred thousand , but 7 people a day on average would have an experience like this, and it’s likely that someone in your city would have had an experience like this.

    It’d be very difficult to tell this is ‘normal’.  How could we ever collect such data? It’d probably look like what we get at the moment: the occasional report from sober and reliable  people of odd events who swear they actually happened, plus a few who experienced it but doubt it was ‘real’.  Chances are a lot of these occurrences would go completely unreported, because people wouldn’t want to appear ‘mad’.

    (I’ve read some cognitive scientists suspect that hallucinations and other forms of non-veridical experience might be actually much, much more common than we realise, because people are disinclined to ever talk about it)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Asimov wrote of something like this too, pointing out that ‘miracles’ can happen this way, but given extremely large populations, events of low probability start to become almost commonplace, creating confusing “noise”, if you will, that starts to blur out the distinction between entirely random events and truly reproducible ‘psi/otherworldly’ phenomena.

    An excellent example is the day my car broke down and at the very place I parked, not a half block away was a  taxicab dropping someone else off. Now that was definitely serendipitous and I might almost be tempted to believe in some controlling entity, but the difficulty with that is that statistically, something like that has a nonzero probability of happening anyway.

    How do you separate out “noise” like that from extraphysical beings who direct and guide the universe in some unfathomable way? You can’t, not really, so that’s one reason science tends to dismiss claims of such things. Until it can be reproduced under controlled conditions each and every time there’s no point to trying to claim ‘esper/supernatural/etc’ phenomena are real.

  • malpollyon


    Until it can be reproduced under controlled conditions each and every time there’s no point to trying to claim ‘esper/supernatural/etc’ phenomena are real. 

    It’s a bit better than that, it doesn’t have to be each and every time(heck, there are all sorts of things that can’t be reproduced under controlled conditions *each and every time* that I believe in just fine, such as immunity conferred by vaccination), it just needs to be sufficiently common compared to your sample size under controlled conditions that it shows up in a statistical analysis. Sure a chance of one in a billion per day is effectively invisible to all but the most extravagant study, but if for example, Newspaper-Style Horoscopes were even vaguely predictive it wouldn’t be hard to show their effect in even a modest data set (needless to say even a dataset as large as the OkCupid userbase shows exactly what we’d expect to see if they were just made up).

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “So you do it again, she writes down her prediction, then you toss the coin ten times and read it back.  She’s got it right again!”

    This was well illustrated in an episode of Ed. Danny Devito played a guy who was sending one of the characters baseball predictions in the mail before each game. After getting three or four winners right, Devito offered to sell his prediction for the next game. Of course, the prediction proved wrong and money was doubly lost. It turned out he was sending opposite predictions to a number of people, and only sending follow-up predictions to those people (fewer after each round of predictions) for whom he picked the winner of the game correctly. To those who got three or four winners in a row, it looked like Devito had a great gambling system.

  • arcseconds

     Re: mysterious beings from outside of time

    Awesome.

    What was the message?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    What was the message?

    Beats me. Like a lot of such things, the Feeling of Great Significance was a first-order experience, not something I derived from the content. I think it was something entirely self-referential about the nature of time and how prophecy works, but it was ultimately pretty banal.

  • hf

     Oh, did you momentarily forget the poll had three options, so you thought my first and second paragraphs referred to the same group?

  • The_L1985

     You seemed to be lumping theistic evolution in with YEC.  I know that the poll does it differently.  I’m just not sure why you insist that a belief in deities, in general, must automatically entail a refusal to accept science.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    But I have a really hard time figuring out any belief system that includes theistic evolution that *isn’t* OEC.

    That’s not what “OEC” is usually taken to mean. OECs do not believe in evolution at all – they accept the true age of the universe and the Earth, but not that natural processes can produce life or new species without specific creative acts in each case.

    We could summarize the various theistic views along these lines:

     – the theistic evolutionist sees evolution as a process that can run along by itself, but God just happens to tweak it in places to keep it going the right way; common descent is a fact; macroevolution is possible and natural

     – the IDer sees evolution as a process capable of only minor or degenerative changes without specific intervention to “add information” or “create specified complexity”; common descent is a fact; macroevolution is possible only by intervention

     – the OECer sees evolution as nonexistent or limited to minor changes; common descent may not be a fact; macroevolution is impossible or possible only by intervention (i.e. each new “kind” requires its own creative act)

     – the YECer sees evolution as nonexistent or minor (within kinds only); common descent is not a fact; macroevolution is impossible; every “kind” is separately created

    OECism doesn’t seem to be common (just compare the extent of sites like Hugh Ross’s reasons.org to the flood of YEC material). It barely rates a mention in Rosenhouse’s book “Among the Creationists” (which is an account of his experiences of creationist and ID conferences). OECers are sharply criticised by YECers for their strained interpretations of Biblical passages.

  • Mark Z.

    Is there any version where God has been guiding evolution for millions of years, but did *not* create the universe?

    Alien Astronaut-ism.

  • The_L1985

    No.  The word “creationism” implies that every species was created in its current form.

    The idea that evolution happened with some deity guiding the process is called theistic evolution.

  • GeneMachine

    L1985: Haven’t they rowed back on the “created in its current form” thing by now, given that at least minor speciation has been shown without doubt in fruit flies? I hear lots of talk about “kinds” which seems to relate to something like basic body plans – so, apes have been created as a “kind”, for example. Makes it easier to fit them on the Ark, too. 

    A constant moving of goalposts, in any case.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I did not know of the Omphalos hypothesis by that name, but I have thought before on how to rebuke it by integrating it with a empirical world view.  Suppose for a moment that we assume the Omphalos hypothesis to be true, the universe was only created some arbitrary amount of time ago, and everything created at that moment was created with the perfect imitation of something much older.  So perfect, in fact, that it is impossible to make any empirical distinction between them and something that actually was substantially older, and everything in the universe has this perfect appearance in perfect harmony with everything else such that the entire universe appears older.  

    Well, in that case, there is absolutely no reason to treat the universe as anything other than being elderly.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, then we might as well treat it like a duck.  One can study the universe and treat it practically as something older, while still believing that it is young.  If the Omphalos hypothesis is carried to its logical conclusion, then it becomes indistinguishable from empirical reality and the conflict disappears.  

  • Dan Audy

    Well, in that case, there is absolutely no reason to treat the universe as anything other than being elderly. 

    Except that an all powerful, omniscient God will throw you into an eternal pit of suffering if you fail to see through his flawlessly crafted deception.  You can’t really separate the two ideas and treat it as if there is a sense or logic to the parts.

  • PorlockJunior

     Omphalism is, as the Wikipedia article says, named after the book in which Philip Gosse laid out this idea as a way of reconciling Evolution and Scripture. According to his son Edmund (later Sir Edmund), a gloom fell upon the breakfast table when the reviews of the book came out, almost unaninously panning the book. He really had hoped to calm down the controversy.

    As Bertrand Russell (I think) commented, the Victorians could not imagine that God had gone to all that trouble to tempt such a respectable organization as the Royal Society into heresy.

    Wikipedia mentions a couple of forerunners of the idea, but no one notices the earlier and more distinguished authority who applied the idea in another context.

    In the book that got Galileo into trouble with the Inquisition (Dialogue between the Two Chief World Systems), there are four days of discussion of the weird new idea that the Earth orbits the Sun and all that. The next to last thing in that discussion is that the guy who has defended the orthodox ideas presents a new approach. His name is Simplicio, by the way, after the respected Roman philosopher Simplicius, a follower of Aristotle; if you thought it was the Italian word for Simpleton, you have company. Anyway, Simplicio has learned of an excellent new teaching from an extremely respected authority. God, after all, could make the world work in whatever way He chose. Also, He could make the world *look* like whatever He wanted. A universe that moves in the way the Bible says it does, but gives all these appearances that make it seem otherwise? Easy enough, for Omnipotence!

    The last thing in the discussion is that Galileo’s mouthpiece Salviati calls this “a most admirable and angelic” teaching. Then he thanks the others for the fine discussion, and they go home.

    For this Galileo got in trouble. See, the High Authority not mentioned by name was the Pope Himself — oops, got carried away with the capitals — Pope Urban VIII, who thought up the theory and told the censors who were examining the finished book that they had to make Galileo put his bright idea in if he wanted it to be published. Which Galileo did, and the Inquisition didn’t like the way he did it.

    Funny coincidence, isn’t it, that the two heretical notions generated the same rationalization? Maybe there’s no other getting around evidence? Other than giving up, I mean.

  • MatherZ

    I don’t think that those who reject evolution in favour of YECism are just doing it as a “cultural signifier”.  Now, I don’t think many of them have sat down and looked at the evidence objectively and came down on the side of YECism, so there’s definitely some tribalism happening – but the fact that they’ve answered the poll that way because they’re on Team Creationism because their parents and friends are doesn’t mean they actually know better. They’ve just decided “I don’t know about evolution and I don’t want to know”. And THAT worldview is particularly dismaying to me, regarding ANY subject.

    But it must be a horrible feeling, to be the victim of an enormous fraud – and the only possible conspirators are your Civilization or your God.

  • Tom

    I have to confess a small moment of unjustified xenophobia here.  Over in the UK we get a lot of your movies and TV so we are aware that, on the surface, God appears to play a bigger part in your public lives than us – the cliche of a bible-belt fundie Phelps style lunatic is a well established one.Therefore my immediate reaction was “Wow, I knew the US had a problem – but I didn’t realise how bad!” so I googled similar stats for the UK…  Oh shame…  The numbers are worryingly similar (only 1 in 5 believe in creationism but half didn’t believe in evolution – or were at least ‘confused’ by it)

    I don’t know if they are just quieter over here or something but I wouldn’t have even guessed that there were that many CHRISTIANS in the UK!

    Being a university educated atheist raised by university educated atheists I’ve always regarded creationsism as akin to thinking fire was witchcraft and electricity was magic – It’s something that I knew about but couldn’t really get my head around real people actually believing.

    Presumably idiot peasant farmers in the middle ages even got it to a certain extent, or we wouldn’t have all the different breeds of farm animals that we have now.

    If evolution isn’t true then what the hell are dogs?  Do creationists not believe in dogs?  (Genuine question – No offence to the religious people here but from my athiest point of view I realise that Christians have had 2000 years, and millions of human brains, to think of convincing answers to all the logical problems that their faith poses… So I’m certain there must be some justification for selective breeding and dogs being true but evolution not being).

    Apologies if I come off as arrogant but evolution is one of those things that’s so simple and obvious I can’t believe nobody thought of it before Darwin…  I’d go so far as to say that it’s impossible to understand the theory and not believe it (we know that traits are passed down to our children, and we know that people who survive longer have more children – isn’t that basically it!?)

    So apologies American friends, for letting my media induced stereotypes unfairly lead to incorrect assumptions.

    Who’d have thought it – almost half the people in our countries don’t believe in dogs.

  • arcseconds

    Re: dogs

    Creationists believe in ‘micro-evolution’.  You can change this or that about a descent line of a species by selection, so wolves can change into various breeds of dogs, but dogs/wolves can’t be changed into octopuses or rhododendrons, and monkeys certainly can’t change into people.   Because that doesn’t make any sense!  Or something…

    This also allows them to believe in antibiotic resistance, so Ryan Cooper in Fred’s post might be a little off base there.  It’s probably true that being unconcerned about evolution means you’ve got less focus on things like that, but I think other things are at work here.  Capitalism, mostly, but if I had to pick a religious notion helping it along it’d probably be the ‘dominion over the earth’ stuff (i.e. we can do anything we damn well want because God said so).

    Also, you may be interested to know that Darwin collected a lot of information from animal husbandry types.

    As far as evolution pre-Darwin, firstly I’d have to caution you that something that seems obvious today when you basically get it with your mother’s milk might not seem so obvious when you know nothing about it.   Remember that in Darwin’s day, no-one had any real idea of how old the Earth is, the fossil record was a few curios sitting on some shelves, there was no science of paleontology, and most people thought the Bible was the last word on the subject.  If you have a nice simple explanation from an authoritative source, why look for another, more complex, more dubious one?

    However, for all that it had been thought of prior to Darwin.  Lamarck published his work in 1809, 50 years before Origin of Species. Erasmus Darwin had similar ideas to Lamarck.  A few years before that, Immanuel Kant noted his musing on the subject in a fascinating appendix to the Critique of Judgement.  He supposes that most thinking people familiar with biology would have been tempted by this kind of hypothesis. and I’m inclined to believe it must have been ‘in the air’, so to speak.  What Darwin provided was a new mechanism, and an extensive argument backed by proof that that was in fact the mechanism.

    science is more than plausible ideas, remember.

    the earliest thing that looks anything like an evolutionary account to my knowledge is Anaxagoras, writing in (I’m kind of guessing here) 500 BC or so.  His account is pretty weird: if i recall correctly limbs and organs and things are just floating around the place until they eventually start to form more and more stable configurations (simply due to chance).   Epicurus had a vaguely similar idea about atoms: they float around the place eventually settling into a stablish kind of  state for a while.

  • Tonio

     Creationists often harp upon the false distinction between micro and macroevolution as if they’ve deciphered the Mayan Codex. Since it’s based on the idea that species boundaries are immutable, it appears to confirm their belief that their god created all species. In reality, “species” is a human-created classification, and in some cases biologists disagree on whether a critter is a species or subspecies.

    Any ideas on why Darwin’s natural selection has run into so much opposition while his predecessors’ ideas about evolution didn’t? Perhaps some opponents misinterpret “survival of the fittest” and worry that they themselves wouldn’t survive, like the flip side of the grandiosity found in many libertarians.

  • Tom

    Thanks for that comment – it was very interesting!

    I accept what you say about something being obvious because we grew up with it – it’s just that evolution’s one of those ones that’s so facinating because of its simplicity, you can literally explain it to a child.  Radiation was discovered around the same time and I still don’t understand it beyond an abstract thing that I just have to accept is there!  And don’t get me started on magnets… WHAT ARE THEY!?

    RE: macro and micro – this sounds suspiciously like an arbitary rule that conviniently exists to prop up a pre existing religion with no basis in observable fact.  If a wolf can become a pug but a mouse cannot become a rat, (or an ape become a man) then I think maybe they need to invent some adittional arbitary rules.  What do they think are the physical forces that cause offspring to stop mutating when they reach the edges of their species?  God I suppose.  I guess it’s pretty silly me asking these questions really.  It’s a bit like asking what colour hair the firewitch has.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Aside: For me, the coolest thing in physics has been seeing the physical and mathematical proof that electric currents really do generate magnetic fields. :)

  • The_L1985

     I had a Bill Nye junior science kit as a kid, and being able to make my own electromagnet was a special joy, second only to the realization that it isn’t all that hard to make one’s own clothing if one already owns a sewing machine.

    It’s like you have this special power you didn’t know you had. :)

  • The_L1985

     I felt betrayed as an adult when I learned about evolution.  You mean, everything’s tied together by something that simple–and nobody ever bothered to tell me before?!

    Also–effin’ magnets, how do they work? :P

  • arcseconds

    Re: micro evolution

    People are really comfortable with the categories that they grow up with, and hate it when someone pulls the rug out from under them.   Having categories give you the illusion of understanding the world without the hardship of actually having to think about anything.  And it also means you think you know something, and knowledge is highly valued in most corners of our society.

    It’s not just creationists who are like that.  Consider the furore when the IUA decided that Pluto isn’t a planet!  People were really upset about that, and I think I understand it but I have difficulty putting it in words.  It’s like someone stole something you knew from you.

    And I think you can still see this kind of thing at work amongst the scientifically educated.   There are (or at least were) considerable debates about what a species really is, even though there’s no real answer to that question.

    It’s much easier when you grow up understanding that species change.  That way, no rug needs to be pulled (although I found ring species a bit disorienting when I first learned about them).

    Of course, creationists often cling to their categories much more rigidly than other people.  They tend to be like that about their religion, too.

    The other thing I think is going on here alongside clinging to ‘dog’ as an eternal category is a complete failure of imagination.   I suspect they’re completely unable to envisage what small, incremental changes could do over millions of years.  I don’t even think they have any real concept of how long millions of years is.   Of course, they’re not even going to try, which doesn’t help.

    So, I don’t think it’s quite as simple as just shoring up their religion.  And in these respects they’re not all that different from other people.  I’ve definitely met my share of materialists (ontological materialists, not value-materialists) who are rigid and cling to their sense of control and understanding in similar ways.

  • Tom

    “Consider the furore when the IUA decided that Pluto isn’t a planet!”
    I can actually feel myself getting big and green now…

  • arcseconds

    Oh, this business about forces preventing stuff from mutating when at the species edge?  

    You’ve already put more thought into this than a typical creationist.  They’re not interested in exploring the consequences of their beleifs, and they’re really not interested in exploring any consequences if there’s any chance of proving troublesome.

    Anyway, you’re still thinking far too much like someone who doesn’t see species as some kind of eternal fixed constitution of the universe and who understands at least something about how genetics works.

    Think of ‘dog’ as some kind of physical law, like magnetism.  Magnetism can take various forms, but it can’t change it’s fundamental nature and turn into gravity and there’s no hybrid gravito-magnetism possible (as far as we know).

  • The_L1985

     “If evolution isn’t true then what the hell are dogs?  Do creationists not believe in dogs?”

    I’ve heard this argument used dozens of times.  “But even with all the breeding we’ve done of dogs over the centuries, a chihuahua and a Great Dane are STILL DOGS!!” is the usual rebuttal.

    Frankly, the dog, being a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus familiaris) is not the best example to use.

  • GeneMachine

    L1985: I am not up to date on dog genetics – however, the main problem here seems to be that the species concept is a bit more complicated than it is usually explained. In the wild, a great dane and a chihuahua would not interbreed, simply due to physical incompatibility. The fact that you might be able to interbreed them by means of artificial insemination has no significant bearing in my opinion.

    However, if you have a mixed population of dogs of all sizes, gene transfer between great danes and chihuahuas would eventually happen. That is pretty close to the ring species idea -without the geographical separation that is typical for ring species.

    But yes, in the end – dog breeding has not led to true speciation in the narrowest sense. Then again, we are breeding them on an evolutionary rather insignificant timescale for now.

    Anyway, if you ask your run-of-the-mill creationist, you’ll probably get an earful of “microevolution” and “directed by the intervention of a (human) designer” anyway. I don’t find it useful to debate these people anymore.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Before you get too worried, I think it’s worth finding out what people mean by “confused”. I don’t recall studying evolution at school – not in any malevolent sense, just that it wasn’t covered in the curriculum before I stopped doing biology at  12; I believe if I had taken Standard Grade biology it would have been covered  – and presentations of evolution in the media are frequently terrible or just plain wrong.

    For example, “Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that gets used a lot to refer to evolution, and quite frequently “fittest” is used in a way that implies “physical fitness and/or strength” rather than “best suited”. With that starting point, a lot of animals seem to undermine evolution – not many people could beat a grizzly bear or a great white shark in a test of strength, for example. And don’t even get me started on Brannon Braga…

    If I had not been quite such a keen reader in my teens, had a mother with a biology degree and felt the need to absorb every single piece of information that came my way and seek out even more, I think I could quite easily have become “confused” by evolution.

  • arcseconds

     Well, as I said earlier, ‘survival of the fittest’ is Spencer, not Darwin, and I don’t think it’s a very helpful phrase. 

    I think we should punch people in the nose and howl about Spencerites every time someone mentions it.   No-one will know what the blazes we’re going on about, but if we do it enough no-one will ever say it again because they’ll be afraid of setting someone off.

    I’ve just looked up Braga and see he’s a sci-fi writer for some obscure franchise or other.  It’s not just him: there’s been a century’s worth of misleading tropes in fantastic fiction about evolution.  Anything involving psychic powers runs a high risk of blithering about ‘the next step’ in human evolution and homo superior, yada yada.  X-men is a particularly egregious example.

    Also, anything involving future human descendents with huge brains and tiny withered bodies is pretty sus.

    You’ve got me vaguely curious as to the exact nature of Braga’s sins, though.  Dare I ask what they are? i know that’s getting you started: do you think you can contain yourself to a couple of hundred words or so? 

  • PJ Evans

    there’s been a century’s worth of misleading tropes in fantastic fiction about evolution

    That’s why you get all those ‘mutants’ who ‘mutated’ by exposure to radiation/chemicals/spider-bites/whatever. Mutation doesn’t work like that!

  • Mary

    My wonderful dad, who I love dearly, says that evolution is impossible because of the First Law of  Thermodynamics. He says you don’t have to go any further than that. Yes of course that explains everything…. Thanks Dad…(lol)

    He is also 84 and set in his ways…sigh…

    My observation is that most Christians believe a kind of fuzzy, mishmash science, incorporating both established science AND creationist beliefs, without even noticing the contradictions. For instance I don’t know anyone who denies that dinosaurs existed and that they died out sixty-five million years ago (including my dad).  Yet these same people insist that they believe the literal account of creation in the Bible.  They make fun of the flat-earthers yet at the same time ignore that THAT IS what the Bible says! 

    Then there are those who modify things ‘”just a little bit.” For instance they will accept microevolution (such as mutating bacteria and viruses) but claim that there is ‘”no proof”  for actual speciation because “you can’t observe it.”

    Many seem to be under the impression that all evolutionists have to go by is Darwin’s word.
    Excuse me, but we have OVER A HUNDRED YEARS of science in every discipline that proves he was right!

    Or they will latch on to certain disagreements among the evolutionists and claim that that “PROVES” that they can’t agree on it. The fact is that we HAVE PROVED  that it happened and is still happening right now! The disagreements have been about HOW evolution works, not whether it exists.

    They point out the “missing links” problem without knowing that THERE ARE LINKS, but you are not likely to find a continuous progression of one species into another because the most of these creatures WERE NOT preserved as fossils. Also, if you’ll forgive my pun, WE’VE BARELY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE of what is out there waiting to be found. But basically my point is that the whole missing links thing is a setup. We can definitely trace a progression in the fossil record, but it is always going to be incomplete. 

    My point is that most Christians seem to have the idea that the facts have not been proven and are still open to interpretation. So in their minds they think that creationism is still a valid option. 

    Plus the fact that it seems kind of demeaning to be related to a monkey (LOL).

  • arcseconds

    An acquaintance of mine a while back told me a story about the same argument; 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts evolution so Haha! gotcha, secularist suckers!

    In this particular case, if I recall correctly, they were muslim creationists.

    She responded very sarcastically “oh! this is amazing! over a century of science since Darwin, and no scientist has ever spotted this before.  I guess none of them knew about both physics and biology! But at last, now due to you undergraduates, we know the truth! Good spotting!”

    I don’t think it did any good….

    Anyway, I think Fred (and others) overestimate the thought your average creationist is putting into this, and the knowledge they have about this.  For the most part, i doubt they’ve even spent 5 minutes working out the consequence of their beliefs.  They don’t have a clue about how evolutionary thinking is used in science, and I don’t think they really have a clue about the extent and sophistication of the scientific community.   I reckon that most of them kind of tacitly suppose there’s two not very complicated stories on the table, which don’t really connect to anything, and there’s no way to prove them, so you essentially take your pick, and the Bible tells you which one is right.  Scientists are a small group of bearded bespectacled tweed-wearing Athiests who have concocted the other story because they want to reject the Bible who occasionally crop up on talking head shows.

    (On other occasions, scientists are incredible agents of Industry who invent new forms of energy, weapons and propulsion systems.  They either never put the two takes together, or they vaguely think they’re different groups of scientists)

  • Tricksterson

    I wouldn’t mind if it was a bonobo or even a gorilla.  Chimps are just nasty though.

  • arcseconds

    I’ve got two thoughts on why creationists think that evolutionary science is a pushover requiring just one piece of conflicting evidence and then you’re done.

    Well, two thoughts beyond the obvious that you’ve got a dogma to defend and you’re not picky about how it gets defended.

    Firstly, I reckon part of the problem is that science education is often not done very well.  There’s (I’m simplifying here) two parts to the discipline of science: there’s the methodology of science and there’s the doctrine of science (by ‘doctrine’ I mean facts, causal accounts, theories, that sort of thing).  The really important part is the methodology.  If a society had good methodology but crappy doctrine, then they’d sort the doctrine out eventually, but a society with no clues about methodology and with good doctrine who would be stuck.  The best they could do is preserve the doctrine as a kind of unimpeachable dogma.  They would not be in a position to judge as to why it’s true (or thought to be true) — they’d just have to accept it as being true.

    But what seems to be focused on is the doctrine.  School curricula, introductory texts, scientific journalism and documentaries often focus on giving the supplicant a whole lot of cool facts and stories, but often neglect any detail about how this stuff was established.

    It’s not hard to see how someone who’s exposure to science has been like this might come to understand science as just a bunch of propositions and stories that they either accept or reject.  It’s also possible to see that they might come to suppose that the measure of science is telling a coherent  and convincing story (as we might find an ancedote convincing or not), and if they find another story more coherent and convincing, then well…

    When matters of proof are discussed,  the focus is often on ‘critical experiments’, where one theory is discarded completely and another embraced because of one empirical result.  The history of science is rarely this simple.   There’s no single experiment which proves evolution and disproves creationism, for example, instead there’s a long history of increasing alignment of various different results in disparate areas and an impressive record of explanatory success.   It can’t be done away with as easily as all that.

    But if you do dimly remember critical experiments as the way science is done, it might be very tempting to think that this anomalous carbon dating result means the whole story has to be jettisoned.

  • arcseconds

    The other thought, which only recently occurred to me, but in retrospect seems obvious, is that many creationists (I reckon) probably think evolution is a rigid, inflexible theory which cannot ever be modified and has to explain immediately every datum available or be rejected completely because that’s what their worldview is like.

    It’s a form of projection, in other words. 

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    There’s also this idea (perpetuated by certain media and mythos) that evolution is a specific set of steps, which also do not change and play out the same way for all living things anywhere – and that there is a HEIGHT of evolutionary level.  You don’t get a Raichu unless you went through Pikachu, which you don’t get unless you started with Pichu.
    And of course from there you start getting the arguments about whose humon has the best inherent stats and breeding.

  • Tonio

    The idea that evolved species are improvements on their predecessors is merely human speciesism. Even many people who accept evolution misinterpret it as a value system, with the species that survive and adapt being better than the ones that don’t. That may be one reason that evolution has so many opponents, because it appears to refute the belief that value has inherent existence outside the human mind.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    Yep.  The “if we evolved from apes why are there still apes” argument.

  • J_Enigma32

     I respond in kind: “If white Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?”

  • arcseconds

    The idea that there’s a hierarchy to being was around long before evolution became at all popular.

    It’s also worth pointing out that ‘survival of the fittest’ is Herbert Spencer’s phrase, not Darwin’s, and he was espousing a kind of social darwinistic take before Darwin published Origin.

    Spencer also thought evolution had a direction – the hierarchy of being is diachronous in his philosophy.

    This is a tempting philosophy for rich white men in the hub of a global empire involving subjugation of melanin-enhanced folk.  I’m on top because I’m a higher form of life.

    Darwinism has been infected with these things from the very beginning, because they were there before Darwinism and already sounded like Darwinism and provide a metaphysical justification for, well, capitalism, basically.

  • arcseconds

     On a slightly different note, and more in support of your ‘speciestist’ remark, if you don’t really know much about how it works but have seen the ‘evolution of man’ sketch, then, well, you know that our ancestry has been getting bigger brains.

    And because we tend to pay attention to complex forms of life, particularly large animals, even if you know a bit more, it’s easy to get the impression that life has been getting more complex and more brainy as time has gone on!

    But that’s only in a tiny number of lineages. The truth is, complex animals are a side show.  Bacteria win all the main events, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

  • JustoneK

    More than ants?  D:

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You’d think that misconception would make evolution *more* popular.

    In fact, I bet that’s why the Catholic church is generally okay with evolution.

  • The_L1985

     I always felt that “evolve” was a mistranslation of whatever the Japanese versions of Pokemon use.  Caterpillars do NOT “evolve” into butterflies, any more than I “evolved” to get from baby to adult.

  • We Must Dissent

     

    I always felt that “evolve” was a mistranslation of whatever the
    Japanese versions of Pokemon use.  Caterpillars do NOT “evolve” into
    butterflies, any more than I “evolved” to get from baby to adult.

    The Japanese term, 進化 (“shinka”), pretty much means biological evolution. It gets used for other things, just like the English term does. However, it has a much stronger connotation of progress or advancement–the construction is basically “advance/progress/go forward” plus “-tion/-ment”. It has a direct antonym, 退化 (“taika”), which means regression or degeneration back to a previous state.

  • arcseconds

    ‘Evolve’  can just mean ‘to change’ in English, anyway.

    Admittedly often it does refer to biological evolution these days, or can be read as some kind of metaphor involving biological evolution.  But the more general meaning is still in use.

    Astrophysicists talk about stellar evolution, for example, but by that they don’t mean that stars somehow individually undergo natural selection.

    (and if someone says “the idea evolved in my mind over the course of several years”, I suppose some might be tempted to read that as using biological evolution as some kind of metaphor, but I’m inclined to read it just as ‘change’)

  • Tom

    Oops, didn’t see you’d already answered this!

  • Dave Lartigue

    For me the problem with believing in Creationism is, and I’m sorry to do this but it’s true, the fact that it necessitates believing in God — especially the God that Creationists tend to believe in. It’s not just a hostility towards science, it’s a hostility towards reality. We can’t adequately prepare for the future or address the present if almost half of us believe that there’s an omnipotent, unpredictable being who at any moment could completely change everything and who has a personal interested in us (and, it seems, our genitals). It’s why one of Superman’s toughest villains is Mr. Mxyzptlk. 

    When you believe that the creator of the universe is on your side, what can anyone do or say against you, even when you start declaring that women, gay people, poor people, and so forth are subhuman, or that we are blessed with unlimited resources or that our Creator wouldn’t let us ruin His creation? These people don’t just reject science, they reject knowledge, reason, and truth. And it’s not just centered in a belief that God hand-created all life on Earth 6000 years ago, it’s centered on a belief that there is a God and it’s important to account for His will in all things.

  • The_L1985

     Hi.  I believe that there are gods.  I don’t feel that my belief in any way contradicts any known science.

    Also, not all of the gods are on humanity’s side. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507398586 Tim Fargus

    I don’t know why the conspiracy angle doesn’t get more play than it does. It’s the case with global warming as well. Any piece of science that is claimed to be ON ITS FACE UNTRUE inexorably leads to a massive malevolent conspiracy on the part of the scientists who claim otherwise.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Remember that to the folks at the Jack Chick end of the religious craziness spectrum, EVERYONE who’s not their brand of Real True Christian already is a member of The Malevolent Conspiracy of SATAN HIMSELF, whether they know it or not.

    So for them, believing in the Evil Liberal Science Conspiracy is easy, as it’s just a subset of what they already believe.

  • Dave Lartigue

    It is also interesting to me that the same people who denounce what they think of as evolution “survival of the fittest” as un-Biblical with regards to biology usually have no problem and even espouse it with regards to economics and sociology. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    OEC works something like this…

    God (looking out over the earth and pointing at a group of proto apes on the prehistoric African savannah)  There.  They will be the crown jewel of my creation.

    Gabriel: (looking over God’s shoulder)  What?  Them?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  A bunch of small mammals, no armor, can’t fly, no venom, barely scratching out an existence.  That’s the species you want to dominate the earth?  If you ask me, T-rex was a better choice.  Michael is still peeved about that asteroid.

    God:  Exactly.  It’s much more satisfying to take a loser species and turn it into a winner, then use something that’s already kicking butt.  Now go get the Monolith ready.

  • The_L1985

     I actually like this idea, nearly as much as I like the way it really happened.

    Someone needs to get Terry Pratchett on this, while he’s still alive and capable of writing. :P

  • DavidCheatham

    Vaughn Lowe
    Here’s my take:

    God: Okay, I’ve almost got them ready to invent fire, we’re going to need a…what the hell!

    Gabriel: It’s an asteroid. It killed everything. Ugh. When did you last save your game?

    God: …save? Crap. Okay, wait, we’re still going. Everything’s good. I can use, uh, these little mammal things.

  • Mira

    As my paleontologist spouse puts it, “The craziest part of the whole idea is that you could get tons of scientists to work together on a conspiracy. Too many egos, that could never work!” 

  • Jim Roberts

    More than a few creationists believe that it isn’t just that the flood made carbon dating unreliable, but that carbon dating itself is inherently flawed because it’s capable of producing results that are less than perfect. They even extrapolate this out to other varieties of radioisotope dating, going so far as to take their own samples, prepare them poorly, send them off to the right companies for processing, and crow that the contradictory results prove them right.

    Which is a bit like handing Gordon Ramsey a stack of Field & Stream magazines and a dead gerbil and complaining he can’t make a risotto out of it.

  • JustoneK

    Ramsey could totally make a risotto out of it.

  • ReverendRef

    I still haven’t gotten a YEC to satisfactorily tell me why creation happened in six days.   I know, I know . . . the whole “six days of creation” thing in Gen. 1:1 – 2:3.  But even more than the problem of not even being able to HAVE days until Day 4 is the question of, “Why?” 

    Why THIS creation story and not the one-day creation story in Gen. 2:4 – 3:24?  Why are YEC’s hung up on the first story but totally ignore the second?  Why do they take the first story as literal history, but then go through the mental gymnastics of forcing the second story into it?  Some Christians make my head hurt.

    On the humorous side, I would almost pay to see the fight between six-day creationists and one-day creationists.

  • Jim Roberts

    The usual explanation is that the first chapter of Genesis is the quick and dirty version of creation and the second creation story is an elaboration of what that creation actually looked like from Adam’s perspective. Which I saw as a major problem even in my childhood and which has only become more acute now.

  • The_L1985

    They don’t ignore Gen. 3, with the snake and the tree and all.  They just gloss over Gen. 2 because Gen. 1 has the longer and more poetic-sounding story.  (“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”)

    Also, these are people who won’t accept the idea of contradictions existing in the Bible.  That’s the reason why there’s a prayer/meditation called “The 7 Last Words of Jesus.”  (a compilation of the 7 statements Jesus is said in the Gospels to have uttered on the cross)  Never mind that they don’t all make sense together, or that Jesus couldn’t have said two different “last things” at once.  These sentences all came from the same Bible story (in different books), hence they are what different people saw of the exact same event and Jesus said every single thing.

    Mentioning the unreliability of eyewitness testimony to these people won’t get you anywhere, either.

  • ReverendRef

     Also, these are people who won’t accept the idea of contradictions existing in the Bible.  That’s the reason why there’s a prayer/meditation called “The 7 Last
    Words of Jesus.”  (a compilation of the 7 statements Jesus is said in
    the Gospels to have uttered on the cross)

    I don’t particularly see the seven last words as a contradiction.  You’ve got seven recorded words in four different gospels that are used as a meditation, and that has its place. 

    More problematic are the two different lineages of Jesus between Matthew and Luke (if you’re okay with contradictions, or okay with understanding each writer had a particular ax to grind it’s all good; but if not . . . ).  The story of Noah’s ark is also interesting because you have the whole J/P thing going on there as well.  Did Noah take two of every living thing (Gen. 6:19-20), or did he take seven pairs of clean animals, but only one pair of the unclean animals (Gen. 7:2)?

    It takes a lot of time and energy to be a biblical literalist; time and energy I’d rather be doing other things — like working to welcome all people into the church, figuring out our parish’s particular mission, writing sermons that challenge people and make them think, reading and commenting on Slacktivist . . . You know, important stuff.

  • hf

     Why are YEC’s hung up on the first story but totally ignore the second?

    I think you’ve answered your own question.

    IANAH, but scholars nearly all seem to agree that our Torah combines several different versions of the stories. The person who combined them deliberately put the Priestly version of most/all stories before the J Text and other versions, thereby making it seem like the default.

  • Albanaeon

    I love the idea that the flood messed up radiometric data.  It’s a perfect example of how people really don’t understand some basic science such as nuclear decay releases energy.  Compressing 4.5 billion years or so of nuclear decay would be 8 months of the Sun’s total energy output.  All on the Earth, in less than a year.  Noah wouldn’t have to worried about rising water.  Or water at all.  Or constructing a boat.  Or gathering animals.  Or even finding a place to sit since everything would have been vaporized.  Might put a damper on God’s plans…
     

  • Apocalypse Review

    Don’t forget the “speed of light is slowing down” argument. (<_<)

  • The_L1985

     I used to have a copy of AiG’s The Answers Book, complete with a whole chapter on how c was decreasing.

    The whole book is full of fail, entertainingly mixed up with the occasional glimmer of actual science.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    I long ago decided that YEC people were ignorant or stupid or both, because any basic understanding of geology and palaeontology simply destroys the Young Earth fallacy. The evidence is literally written in the rocks all around us.  I cannot truthfully deny that any more than I can deny that water is wet.

    I had heard of the Omphalos hypothesis, though not by that name, and it mostly convinced me that YEC believers were heretics as well as ignorant and/or stupid. Saying that God lies to us, and wrote a Big Lie in the very rock is saying that God is evil. It is also saying that the Bible lies, because the Bible claims that God tells the truth, and loves the truth. If the Bible lies, and God lies, than who can say that Genesis is not also a lie?  So the Omphalos hypothesis is extremely bad theology and should be discarded.

    For me, theistic evolution is the only thing that makes sense. 

  • http://www.dregstudios.com Brandt Hardin

     

    Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to
    allow creationism back into the classroom.  This law turns the clock back
    nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply
    embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than
    that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic
    Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual
    response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at
    http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html
    with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  • Keromaru5

    The thing about Genesis is, I can certainly believe that God may have granted a vision of the creation of the univere to some ancient Mesopotamian mystic.  What I cannot believe is the mystic having such an exact understanding that when such a vision is recorded, it’s as accurate as a news report.  Divine things are hard to comprehend–that’s why Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation are so bizarre — and a totally scientific understanding of astrophysics and evolution would have been so far out of the mindset of said ancient Mesopotamian, it has to be translated into terms that mystic understands.  Like “days” or “firmament” or “sea monsters.”

    Why do it then and not today, when we’re able to comprehend it?  Probably because (a) why not reward a mystic for years of hard work? and (b) because it’s not about providing a scientific explanation.  Genesis is saying, “Look at what I made.  Isn’t it amazing?”  Stages of the process can have their own poetic meaning, but they’re not the point of Genesis.  And actually, the illustrations out there the real literal Genesis model of the universe are kind of lovely in their own way.

    Of course, I never could buy the idea that science and religion were irreconcilable.  My parents weren’t fundamentalists, and our church never emphasized ultra-literalist interpretations.  The more important things are what Christ did, and what we do with our lives now.  If Genesis is anything, it’s a poetic and spiritual view of the cosmos; the exact explanation comes from science.  I was also never discouraged from speculating about God, and besides, I always just thought a God who could build a 14 billion, umpteen-jillian parsec universe was way more impressive than one who can only make a 6000-year-old, 2-light-year one.

    That said, I actually once came up with an idea for how both YEC and evolution could be simultaneously true.  I don’t believe it, myself, but I may use it for a sci-fi story someday.  It’s based on more ancient and orthodox views of the Fall, that Adam and Eve’s sin not only affected humanity, but changed creation itself for the worse by breaking its communion with God.  The idea is that God did create the world in 6 days 5000 years ago exactly as the Bible described.  But when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they broke the universe; time and causality itself scattered out, and every creature and object that had originally been created in an instant had its development stretched to millions of years.
    Now idea what the story would be, but it’s a start.

  • The_L1985

     That would be awesome to read.

  • Mary

    I think the questions about how evolution works is being answered by genetics.  It seems to be a lot easier than people think. I think maybe some Christians might understand better if they studied it. If fact you don’t even have to study the whole subject. I was surprised to learn from a documentary that in fact we share a lot of our genetic material with PLANTS. Apparently we don’t need huge mutations to create new species. A lot of it has to do with HOW THE GENES ARE EXPRESSED.

    In light of that information it isn’t hard to imagine that we could develop from a common primate ancester related to the apes and monkeys. A lot of it is just “tweaking” what is already there. My body shape is almost identical to a primate, the genes were already there. I don’t need new genes for that.  My larger brain is more complicated than apes of course. But  I assume, without actually studying it, that it is very similiar to other primates.  Probably the reason we are more intelligent is that we developed a bigger cranium, thus allowing the brain more space to grow.  Factor in also the neuroplasticity of the brain.

    About the stupid question “why do apes still exist?” Duh, a species that is adapted to it’s environment doesn’t NEED to change much. As I understand it, humanity evolved because of regional CLIMATE CHANGE. We had to develop skills to survive a more hostile environment. And that required SMARTS.

    By the way, my belief system is that the Universe is a part of God. To me all these miracles are simply an expression of Spirit. Not directed, but rather growing to fruition. However, I cannot prove that scientifically, of course :)  

  • PJ Evans

    Probably the reason we are more intelligent is that we developed a bigger cranium, thus allowing the brain more space to grow.

    There are indications that genetics is involved – humans have some genes involved in brain development that are duplicated, where other species don’t. What those genes do is still being figured out.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Relevant imgur comic is relevant. I really like how it describes the biologist’s work in easy terms :)

  • arcseconds

    That’s a nice comic, but it’s not going to impress any creationist.

    If they don’t have a line in their songbook about this already, then they have a line which they can adapt quite easily.  They already say that the reason why lots of creatures look strangely similar to one another, even down to detailed anatomy and biochemistry, is because God likes to reuse design.

    When it comes to DNA, we could even say that God’s a good programmer who’s into code reuse :]

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I never ran a D&D campaign in Ravenloft, but if I did, I would explore all the ramifications of the Omphalos Hypothesis.  I would include a “big reveal” that the Player Characters are *themselves* creations of Ravenloft, and all their memories of their previous world (most PC’s are assumed to be from outside Ravenloft) are completely illusory!

    But I seem to recall that the artificial inhabitants of the realms of Ravenloft weren’t entirely real, in some sense – esp. not actually sapient – they’re more archetypes than actual people.  Then again, the Dark Powers are *Dark*, so it’s always possible… but I got the impression Ravenloft denizens are *physically incapable* of defying their will in any event.

    Then again, this doesn’t work very well, because the myth is little improvement.  If the god the creationists imagine is real, why would anyone worship it?  If a person with any shred of compassion truly believed there was a god that spent eternity crafting convincing lies so he could torture anyone who believed the frauds he made, why not at least TRY to kill it?  Such a monstrosity is barely better than any other cosmic horror.

    Or perhaps they discovered the true nature of reality, were driven mad, and Creationism is the muddled explanation of what they learned?

    Let’s look at an example of a simulated world: A computer game. When my player avatar in Skyrim looses an arrow that strikes and kills a wolf, there is indeed no causal relation between the avatar letting go of the string and the arrow taking flight, between the arrow striking the wolf and the wolf dropping dead.

    Well… sorta?

    There isn’t a causal chain between the *image* of the avatar loosing the arrow, the *image* of the arrow in flight, and the arrow striking the *image* of the wolf… but there is a causal chain between those events.  The game recieves an input (from you) that the arrow should be launched.  Therefore, it notes that the arrow is launched, and calculates what it’s trajectory should be.  It then processes where the arrow should be every ‘cycle’, checking if the arrow object occupies the same space as another object.  When this calculation shows that the arrow has ‘collided’ with the wolf object, it then proceeds to remove a certain value from the wolf’s HP score.  If this brings the wolf’s HP to negative, it then marks it as ‘dead’…
    All the while, it’s sending signals to the graphics portion of the game to depict the events taking place (which are just geometric calculations as far as the computer is concerned) as something more ‘material’.  So while what you *see* actually has nothing to do with the actual cause, from the computer’s perspective, input leads to event leads to event to event… everything is consistent, the state of one cycle leading logically to the next.

    And you could always argue that if you did this in real life, the light reflecting off the arrow and wolf has nothing to do with what actually happens, so there is no causal connection between *seeing* the arrow loosed and *seeing* the wolf die… the only times observation can really be a cause, almost by definition, is when dealing with the reaction of intelligences (and quantum mechanics).  In other words, what seems to be a causal chain to your eyes is actually generated by an ‘external’ entity to your vision – the laws of physics.

    Therefore, the Occasionalists argued, God was constantly re-creating the universe every second, every micro-second, every instance of time.  Think that touching a flaming match to a stick of charcoal caused it to catch fire?  Think again;  God was constantly re-creating the universe, every second with the match a little closer to the coal, until finally God created one in which the coal was also on fire.

    If the occasionalist view is true, god is the great gaming engine in the sky and we are nothing but NPCs in the largest. MMROPG. evar.

    So, from this, we can reasonably infer that god operates at a clock rate of one planck-time?

    Also, we don’t really know that it’s neccessarily the *largest* MMORPG in the external universe…

    Is the Girl in the Red Dress self-aware? 

    Why would part of a rudimentary simulation designed entirely for tutorial purposes be self aware?  Ever?  Does Zion even retain the *capability* to create AI?  And why the hell *would* they, considering how well it went last time (actually, pretty darn well, up to the point they decided exterminating them was a good idea, but I digress…)

     I always felt that “evolve” was a mistranslation of whatever the Japanese versions of Pokemon use.  Caterpillars do NOT “evolve” into butterflies, any more than I “evolved” to get from baby to adult.

    ‘Metamorphose’ seems the obviously appropriate replacement, but maybe it was too awkward?

    About the stupid question “why do apes still exist?” Duh, a species that is adapted to it’s environment doesn’t NEED to change much. As I understand it, humanity evolved because of regional CLIMATE CHANGE. We had to develop skills to survive a more hostile environment. And that required SMARTS.

    Moreover, a species can ‘split’ perfectly well if there’s a reasonable amount of resources, potential for geographic seperation, and a nearby nitche waiting to be filled.

  • Tom

    The Japanese word used for Pokemon is ‘進化’ (shinka) which is ‘evolve’

    I guess you can’t rely on kids cartoons to be scientifically accurate these days.

    P.s. if you don’t already know – look up how catterpillars actually metamorphosize.  They turn completely into liquid then re-form, but somehow still keep their memories… and as far as i know we still don’t understand how!

  • The_L1985

     Considering brains are pretty much liquid already, it doesn’t surprise me much.

  • Beroli

     

    But I seem to recall that the artificial inhabitants of the realms of
    Ravenloft weren’t entirely real, in some sense – esp. not actually
    sapient – they’re more archetypes than actual people.  Then again, the
    Dark Powers are *Dark*, so it’s always possible… but I got the
    impression Ravenloft denizens are *physically incapable* of defying
    their will in any event.

    Mm no. Ravenloft originated as a “weekend in hell” setting, but with the hardcover Domains of Dread supplement, they started making serious efforts to treat it as an actual setting, starting with rules for player characters created in Ravenloft and explicit statements that that, not “pulled in by the mists from somewhere more real on a temporary basis,” should be the default for Ravenloft PCs, and moving on to, eventually, treating it as nearly as much of a given that Ravenloft PCs were born in Ravenloft as it is that Forgotten Realms PCs were born in the Forgotten Realms.

    And even from the beginning, the residents of Ravenloft were always real people–well, as real as the fictional characters who populate any of the D&D settings.

  • J_Enigma32

    Give them credit – they’re terrified evolution will undermine their “world view”.  And with a “world view” like that, they’re right. It’s like any lie. Once you tell one, you have to tell another to back it up, and then another, and then another, until eventually you’re drowning in a sea of lies, when it would’ve just been better to own up to the truth. They’ve trapped themselves in a “reality” where they can’t escape. Imagine it as a moebus strip of illogical suppositions; you can’t get off of it, and all it does is feed into itself. the harder you try to straight it out, the more crossed it becomes. It’s possible to free them, but it’s hard.

    I’ve always been fascinated with how they turn God into a malevolent trickster figure. It’s darkly amusing and/or depressing how they’re so loyal to their abusive tin god.

    I’m also impressed that the percentage of people believing in Creationism is that low in the United States. Maybe I need to stop underestimating the people in this country…

    Nah. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the American people.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    Re: Creationism

    I got my hands on some Far Side books lately and one strip in The Far Side Gallery 2 is captioned “Creationism explained.”  It involves string, the square root of a cat, and a chicken, among other things. It makes about as much sense as any other explanation I’ve seen.

    Also, God made the Earth using a discount boxed mix and it’s only half-baked. Far Side is funnier in some ways now that I’m older, but I seem to have blocked out some of the darker strips, like “Belly button slipknots.”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Nah. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the American people.

    Except the Japanese.

    P.s. if you don’t already know – look up how catterpillars actually metamorphosize.  They turn completely into liquid then re-form, but somehow still keep their memories… and as far as i know we still don’t understand how!

    Caterpillars have memories?

    You’ve got me vaguely curious as to the exact nature of Braga’s sins, though.  

    He’s most famous for perhaps two completely terrible ideas resulting in some of the worst Star Trek episodes ever – one, ‘Threshold’ wherein a new drive caused the crew’s evolution to accelerate, causing them to transform first into a giant lizard due, then into small lizards.  Also featuring the Doctor (not that one, the other one – Voyager’s medical AI) being able to project the future course of human evolution.  Absolutely.
    Second is Dear Doctor, in Enterprise, where there’s a plague on this planet, which is killing everyone.  The captain wants *that* ship’s doctor to synthesize a cure, which he can do, but ultimately he refuses.  Why?  Well, because there’s another sub/semi-sapient race on the planet, but apparently the main race is stifling their potential, and therefore evolution has decided to wipe them out.  So it would be unethical to interfere.

    And thus was the Prime Directive formed.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    That more or less covers the worst of Braga – although I would also throw in a mention of the TNG episode “Genesis”, where Reg Barclay is injected with a synthetic T-cell to activate a dormant gene, which somehow activates his introns, which somehow activates EVERYONE’S introns, which somehow leads to the entire crew turning into animals – including Nurse Ogawa “de-evolving” into a monkey, Data’s cat spot becoming an iguana and Reg himself turning into a frickin’ SPIDER.

    Oh, and Worf spontaneously grows a working venom sac in under an hour. I would say “Genetics? How do they fucking work?” but clearly that’s not a question Brannon has ever asked himself  or anyone else.

    To be fair, he’s not a bad writer, per se – he also co-wrote Star Trek: First Contact and wrote or co-wrote some very well regarded episodes of TNG and Voyager (including “All Good Things…” the much beloved finale for Next Gen) but he really needs to stick to his strengths, which don’t include anything involving biology.

  • Tricksterson

    To me that episode was easily explained by two words: “Lieutenant Barclay” .  The man was walking zonw of wierdness.  In “Vager” jus his hologram mnaged to futz things up.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    So go talk to James Randi’s lot about observing psychic phenomena. They’ve got a million dollars for the first person to demonstrate a psychic phenomenon under controlled conditions.

    The problem with observing psychic phenomenon under controlled conditions is that psychic phenomena are not controlled.  If your idea of ‘psychic’ is Mr. Gellar, who can bend spoons at will, then, yeah, it’s easy to test.  But if psychic events are a rare, unpredictable occurence?  Well, that’s a lot harder to test, and since it’s fairly rare in any event, it could easily be mistaken for coincidence.  How do you conduct a lab experiment on ‘occasionally one person out of seven billion gets a flash of insight’?

  • EllieMurasaki

     I was thinking palm reading and tarot, since whoever I was replying to was suggesting we go see professional psychics.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    How do you conduct a lab experiment on ‘occasionally one person out of seven billion gets a flash of insight’?

    Depends on the nature of the “insight”.

    If we’re talking about unverifiable insights (e.g., “God wants me to quit my job and become a street preacher”), no idea.

    If we’re talking about verifiable insights (e.g., “my mother will die at 6:15 AM next Tuesday”), it’s doable. Basically, set up a secure online system where anyone who believes they’ve had such a flash of insight can register the insight ahead of time. Track how closely the predictions match reality. If accurate predictions (or, for that matter, inaccurate predictions) happen at a higher rate than theory expects, that’s evidence that our theory is not taking into account some important factor. (What that factor is is a different question. Perhaps what I’ve discovered is a new factor in medical diagnostics, rather than a previously undiscovered psychic faculty. But at least we know there’s a phenomenon worth studying.)

  • Joshua


    “my mother will die at 6:15 AM next Tuesday” 

    I’m impressed you plan to get out of bed that early.

  • Lori

     

    But if psychic events are a rare, unpredictable occurence?  Well, that’s
    a lot harder to test, and since it’s fairly rare in any event, it could
    easily be mistaken for coincidence.  How do you conduct a lab
    experiment on ‘occasionally one person out of seven billion gets a flash
    of insight’? 

    The thing is though, the claims that people make about psychic phenomena aren’t all that rare. So unless you’re going to sort of cheat by making “too rare to test” part of  the definition of “psychic phenomenon” then there are ways to test it.

  • Erl

    I feel that Jack Chick, with his “there’s no strong force! The love of Christ holds nuclei together!” is embracing a form of quantum occasionalism, and while it’s comically absurd, it’s at least comic.

    On the “there would have to be a conspiracy to prop up evolution” point, this only follows if you understand science as different from religion. Pretend for a moment that you’re a Christian fundamentalist, of the sort that would call zirself a biblical literalist. You know that Christianity is true; you know that Islam is false. However, there doesn’t need to be a “conspiracy” of all the imams to hide the truth from their congregants; they were simply misled as children by their culture, and given a corrupted/falsified/untrue text. Since they rely on it, instead of on the correct Christian bible, none of their results are true.

    Now, science works quite differently, and we understand that. I’m not sure that a YEC does, though. 

  • isalcordo

    A serious and undeniable MISINFORMATION or ERROR in Genesis has made me decide to set aside the Church doctrine of pure creationism of the Bible/Church, especially the
    creation of Adam and Eve as well as the Darwinian evolution of science.

    (1) Ge 3:24-4:18 (Summary): Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden. Outside of
    the Garden, 4 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth
    to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2
    Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

    Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 Cain brought the fruits of the
    soil as an offering to the Lord; Abel brought fat portions from some of the
    firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5
    but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry,
    and his face was downcast.

    8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they
    were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

    10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to
    me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground.12
    When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be
    a restless wanderer on the earth.”

    16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east
    of Eden. 17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to
    Enoch.

    It is interesting to note that Bible Comentators/Commentaries/church denominations  generally avoid making comments on this episode . . . Or pull out “daughters of Adam and Eve” from nowhere “living on the land of Nod, east of Eden?”  as the possible wife of Cain.

    For me, IT IS OBVIOUS that LONG BEFORE Adam and Eve came into the scene there was
    already the tribe of the NODITES occupying the
    “‘land of Nod, land east of Eden,'” and most likely other tribes all around Eden, the “the land of Adam.” Thus, the Bible itself BELIES the Bible’s and the
    churches’s teaching that we all came from Adam and Eve as the FIRST parents of
    humakind created by the very hands of God from the dust of the ground.

    (2) Darwinian evolution has two major premises: a) chance or random events is
    claimed to have initiated life which then evolved to produce humans and b)
    survival of the fittest.

    These indicate complete absence of the role of God or of His divine personalities. LIFE IS NOT INHERENT IN MATTER, otherwise today’s matter that have existed billions of years ago will be steeming with COMPLETELY  NEW LIFE dateable within years from this very day.

    Without God
    seeding matter (earth) with life and guiding life’s evolution from dust and
    organic matter to the point of producing all the plants and the animals, and eventually us humans, the earth would have remained BARREN to this day.

    Both scientists and religionists, especially Jews, Christians, and Judeo-Christians, should get hold of THE URANTIA BOOK (TUB) to explore new spiritual and material horizons.

    There you will find that much of man’s faith in God, as Creator and Father is founded in the human mind which TUB claims to be a BESTOWAL OF THE
    GOD THE SPIRIT, the Third Person of the Trinity.

    To me, it has become clear that the OT of the Bible, especially the Five Books of Moses (The TORAH),  is but a vaguely remembered and confused presentation of a true and ancient histories of very ancient peoples to create
    an ethnic religion promoting a so-called “chosen people of God.”

    Dr. Isabelo S. Alcordo, Ph.D.
    Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines
    isalcordo@earthlink.net 

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Witness hack “scientists” at Liberty University, who publish work
    quibbling with the details of the evidence and thereby muddy the
    conversation.

    The same Liberty University whose most famous contribution to science was Outing Tinky Winky.

    Think what the world would have to be like for evolution to be false.
    Almost every scientist on earth would have to be engaged in a fraud so
    complex and extensive it involved every field from archaeology,
    paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics.

    “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    — Kooks Magazine

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Pedants, help me out:

    Isn’t Dr PhD redundant?

  • Lori

    Yes, although I suppose it could be a (somewhat awkward) means of indicating that the person is a PhD and not a medical doctor. 

  • Tonio

    Style guides for journalists typically limit the Dr. title to medical, osteopathic and veterinary doctors, and not Ph.Ds or Ed.Ds. Essentially, you have to be qualified to prescribe drugs to get the title.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wait, is that an international convention? Cos most medicos just have a couple of Bachelor degrees (MBBS), so if anyone’s claim to the title Dr should be downgraded, it’s them.

    Also, I’m certain I’ve regularly seen PhD docs given their due title by local journalists.

  • Tonio

    I don’t know if it’s international. Most guides I’ve seen say not to use Dr. for academic titles. Associated Press makes an exception for clergy members.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wasn’t Condoleeza Rice referred to as Dr Rice? She was here, anyway.

  • Lori

     

    Wait,
    is that an international convention? 

    The use of Dr as a title has different rules in different countries. In the US the default is that Dr = medical doctor. In other countries PhDs also use it as their default title.

     

    Also, I’m certain I’ve regularly seen PhD docs given their due title by local journalists.  

    That would be the case if the person was being mentioned in a professional capacity, but in the US it wouldn’t be used in a more general context. So, if you’re quoting the person’s views on a topic related to their area of specialty you’d call them Dr So and So. If the article was about how the person’s house burnt down or something they’d generally be referred to as Mr or Ms So and So.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The Latin American countries I’ve been in seem to treat “Doctor” as a relatively general term of respect, rather like the U.S. uses “sir”.

  • Shivas

    There’s more physical evidence for evolution than there is for God. There is nothing of a material nature to substantiate the existence of a supreme being. No hovering obelisk, no ten commandments, no revealed truth about the nature of the Universe, no holy indestructible periodic table of the elements, in short nothing.

    Believers will point to the Bible, but that was written and rewritten by many authors years after the events it depicts. In essence it is hearsay. But it is divinely inspired they retort. “So what!” I say, a lot of people claim to be divinely inspired, including a lot of people with diagnosed mental illnesses. And when the smoke clears it is still all from the minds of humans, not communicated directly from a supreme being.

    It is all story, all interpretation, all of it made up by humans. If you choose to believe it, that is up to you. If you try to force others to live by what you believe, it has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do with power and control. it is politics plain and simple and just as politics has no place in religion, religion has no place in politics.

  • babyming

    The article gives the example of large-scale feeding of antibiotics in industrial feedlots, which is an important example.  It should be emphasized that there are many, many “practical” examples of why it matters that Americans respect the reality of evolution.  Hospitals today are filled with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Biological weapons researchers work to evolve deadlier and deadlier viruses.  The way the trigeminal nerve spreads across the skull makes no sense until we consider how it’s evolved from our ancestor fish.   Evolutionary algorithms have been part of computer science for decades.

    Einstein never got a Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity; it was very politically controversial.  But after nuclear bombs appeared, people realized that Einstein’s ideas were practical, and they stopped screaming about the evils of his theory of relativity.  As time goes on, and the power of bioweapons is better appreciated, more people will appreciate that it’s not a good thing for America to rank near the bottom of the world when it comes to understanding evolutionary biology. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Gentleman in questiom wrote his doctoral thesis in 1968.

    Author:  Alcordo, Isabelo SueloTitle:  The flow properties of montmorillonite,
    Fe-montmorillonite, Al-montmorillonite, and soil clay suspensions and
    their changes with anaerobic reduction.Department:  AgronomyDegree Earned:  Ph.D.Year:  1968Advisor:  Tyner, E.H.Call Number: 631.1AL18F

    Montmorillonites are, essentially, clays in soils.

    So, soil chemistry and analysis back in the 1960s. Went back to teach in the Phillippines.

    Now dude’s an expert on everything from how the earth formed to who was calling the shots when life got started here, and insists that the generally accepted explanations are wrong with considerable references to Christian dogma as backup.

    I think we call that “chutzpah”, not “Renaissance Person”.

    Especially as a fairly cursory search doesn’t show a helluva publication history. Not that it in itself is bad, but the one publication his name’s on is a book printed back in 1993. One paper on radon flux back in 1997. The remainder are patents of odds and ends such as bank checks.

  • isalcordo

    Now you know me, a bonafide “Ph.D. degree awardee” from a prestigious U.S. university , attending school as a Rockefeller Scholarship awardee. As for your question as to who hired me upon returning to the Philippines, would you believe that I was elected by the Board of Regents of a regional State University at the age of 34 as university president and presided over the university for 12 years building it up to modernity with the approval of the country’s “Second World Bank Loan to the Philippines for Education?”

    Mind you, I am not your kind of Christian that you find in churches, Catholic or Protestant . But I am a solid follower of Jesus of Nazareth, as the Christ/Anointed of God, as  the Incarnation of the Son of God, based solidly on His reachings on morality, spirituality, and promise of eternal life as recorder in the Bible and in “Jesus, A New Revelation” in the Urantia Book.

    I have opened myself to your abuses by putting on record my true identity. Why are you all so cowardly hiding behind your pseudo-names. Anyway, check http://www.truthbook. Who knows what change this will make on your souls.  See also http://www.layadvocacyforchristianunity.org and see “About Me” so you will know the reason for my faith in Jesus.

    And this is my ministry to the intellectual arrogants who dismiss the existence of the Highest Eternal Being without the least giving Him a reading of his various revelations.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You know, you’re right. I don’t have to “hide behind [my] pseudo-name”. My boss won’t fire me for expressing my opinions on the Internet, if my parents haven’t kicked me out for the opinions I express to their faces and on the Internet then they’re not going to, I don’t have an Internet stalker that I know of. Using my wallet name on the Internet is perfectly safe.

    I’m not telling you my wallet name, in solidarity with the people around here who are not as lucky as me.

    Also, have read the Bible, thanks. Liked Jesus. Didn’t like Leviticus. Didn’t like Paul. Hated Revelation. Came to the conclusion a long time ago that if God exists, and if she does and if she cares about people knowing it then one would think she’d tell us so in a manner that can’t be explained as anything other than God telling us she exists, then the way to determine what she wants from us is by studying rocks, stars, and one another.

  • isalcordo

    Re-submitted for minor corrections:

    Welcome. I understand your hesitantcy to expose your true identity. I hope all the others are as forthright as you are. 

    Now you know me, a bonafide “Ph.D. degree awardee” from a prestigious U.S. university, attending school as a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship awardee. As for your question as to who hired me upon returning to the Philippines, would you believe that I was elected by the Board of Regents of a regional State University at the age of 34 as university president and presided over the university for 12 years building it up to modernity with the approval of the country’s “Second World Bank Loan to the Philippines for Education?”
    Mind you, I am not your kind of Christian that you find in churches, Catholic or Protestant. But I am a solid follower of Jesus of Nazareth, as the Christ/Anointed of God, as the Incarnation of the Son of God, based solidly on His teachings on morality, spirituality, and promise of eternal life as recorder in the Bible and in “Jesus, A New Revelation” in the Urantia Book.
    I have opened myself to your abuses by putting on record my true identity. Why are you all so cowardly hiding behind your pseudo-names. Anyway, check http://www.truthbook. Who knows what change this will make on your souls. See also http://www.layadvocacyforchristianunity.org and see “About Me” so you will know the reason for my faith in Jesus.
    And this is my ministry to the intellectual arrogants who dismiss the existence of the Highest Eternal Being without the least giving Him a reading of his various revelations.

  • PJ Evans

    Also, have read the Bible, thanks. Liked Jesus. Didn’t like Leviticus. Didn’t like Paul. Hated Revelation.

    One of my acquaintances describes Revelation as reading like a bad trip. Paul can be okay, when he’s not being Romano-Jewish paterfamilias trying to tell all his kids how to run their own lives.

  • phantomreader42

    Cut the crap, you lying sack of shit. Everyone knows damn well that the only reason you listed your name was so you could put “Dr” before it and “PhD” after it. Now that you’ve realised people won’t be dazzled into mindlessly accepting whatever bullshit you spew because of your shitty and irrelevant credentials, you whine abput people using pseodonyms on the Internet in a and futileattempt to distract attention from the fact that you’ve releatedly exposed as an incompetent, willfully ignorant liar. If you had a speck of evidence on your side, it wouldn’t matter what name you went by or how many random letters you put after it. But you don’t have even the tiniest fragment of anything that even vaguely looks like evidence. And everyone knows it. That’s why you need so many idiotic smokescreens. Because everyone knows that your delusions are worthless garbage and can’t stand on their own merits. Even you.

  • AnonymousSam

    A living example of the Omnidisciplinary Scientist!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sorry, I did not come across your response, request. I have been
    studying TUB for two months now, spending 4-6 hours each day searching
    for contradictions.

    This sounds like Tim LaHaye when he overexaggerates how long it takes to figure out the basics of Bible prophecy via his particular method.

  • isalcordo

    I am not of the Tim LaHaye type of Christian. If you have read my first post here, you will see that I tried to point to the fact that Adam and Eve CANNOT be the first man and woman on earth and the proof of this is in the Bible itself. So, the Genesis Chapter of the Bible cannot be inerrant or free from error or infallible. . . and thus undermines the Protestant’s claim of total Bible Inerrancy. The Catholic allows for possible error in historical reports, but not in the moral teaching,  . . . possibly including the six days of creation as the Bible reports.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Funny how Catholics will denounce with equal fervor the idea that the Bible is right when it says it’s morally acceptable to sell one’s child into slavery and the idea that the Bible is wrong when it says it’s morally unacceptable for two men to fuck.

  • isalcordo

    Hi, EllieMurasaki:

    It is not for man to judge another, for Jesus said: “Judge not so you will not be judged, for whatever measure you used to judge another, the same measure will be used to judge you.  May be, the Church may have the right, but definitely not to condemn but to help lead one to what is true, good, and beautiful.

    For one to know definitely what is allowable to the Spirit of God one needs to submit one’s mind to the ministration of God. God ministers to our minds three-fold:

    (1) the ministration of God the Father –  through the indwelling of our minds by his pre-personal spirit – should the mind ask the Father for guidance on what is right and what is wrong on any matter – to lead us to what are to Him TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOOD. The opposites are. of course: FALSE, UGLY, and EVIL.

    (2) the ministration of God the Son (Jesus Christ) – through His Spirit of Truth to lead our minds to discrimninate between spiritual truths and spiritual deceptions;

    (3) the ministration of  God the Spirit – through the Holy Spirit to help us produce His fruits in the totality of our personality in relation to our neighbors and to God the Father, and these are: love, peace, joy, faith, gentleness, goodnes, long-suffering, meekness, and temperance (best to remember as: lpj-fgg-lmt); AND to embue our soul with courage, counsel, knowledge, understanding, intuition, worship and wisdom (best remembered as: cc-kui-ww) – the “seven spirits of God like lamps standing before His throne.”

    If you take these seriously and ask the One Eternal and Undivided God through His Three-Persons Manifestations of His eternal and infinite Reaity in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Spirit in memory and contemplate of their specific ministrations to mankind, MIRACLES can happen.

    God bless.

    isalcodo

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I feel like you totally ignored her point there, man. Why even frame your post as a reply to hers if you weren’t going to address her concern?

  • isalcordo

    I answered Ellie. . ‘s point. I do not have to be blunt. She understood it.

  • PJ Evans

     And you showed that you don’t have a clue about it.

  • phantomreader42

    Because isalcordo has neither the capability nor the will to address anything in the real world.  All he knows how to do is babble nonsense and whine.  

  • EllieMurasaki

    If it is not for man to judge another, then why does the idea that I might want the option of legally marrying another woman come in for such criticism from the Catholic hierarchy? I’m not even asking for a wedding Mass. Just the ability to tell hospitals that I am my significant other’s immediate family with medical-decision-making-in-SO’s-incapacity power and have them fucking listen.

  • isalcordo

    The true leaders of the true Church or Churches understand that theirs are “ecclessia” or communities  founded on the “Fatherhood of God and Divine Sonship of Man/woman  by Faith in God.”  I regret that these churches call their leaders “Priests” thus perpetuating the divisive social classification of “priests and laymen.” In essence, the Catholic Church is a “spiritual community” and “church marriage” is marriage not only of the flesh but also of spirits-souls. Remember my “mind-indwelling spirit” of God the Father” in my earlier post.

    If a pair of the same sex wants to get married to get the protection and privileges provided by civil law , get a civil marriage before a civil authority.  There is nothing spiritual about that. Do not insist in marrying before the Roman Catholic Church because that will never happen!

    And for the community of the third sex, they should accept this “spritual isolation” as self-imposed by your very own free wills. Any church that perform same-sex marriage is definitely not a true “ecclessia of God.”  Should individual accept them as “brother or sister?”  To me, yes I will as to “our common humanity” leaving their spirituality or spiritual fate to God.

    But then, God the Father is infinite love; and God the Son is infinite mercy. And the Son incarnated into our world to show and demonstrate in the flesh in Jesus of Nazareth the “the combined Infinite Love and Infinite Mercy of the One Eternal Undivided God.” Place your hope on this.

    God bless.

    isalcordo

  • EllieMurasaki

    How, pray tell, am I to get legally married to another woman before a civil authority in a jurisdiction that DOES NOT PERMIT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?

    If God the Father is infinite love, then surely he knows that same-sex couples are as capable of reflecting the love of God in their intimate relations as mixed-sex couples are. If God the Son is infinite mercy, and if same-sex marriage is a transgression, then surely he finds it in his heart to forgive the transgressors.

    And meanwhile the Catholics and Mormons and whoever else have no right to tell me who I can and cannot legally marry, and yet they persist in telling state and federal congresscritters that permitting me to legally marry someone whose genitals are shaped the same as mine is an infringement of their religious freedom.

  • hapax

     

    The true leaders of the true Church or Churches understand that
    theirs are “ecclessia” or communities  founded on the “Fatherhood of God
    and Divine Sonship of Man/woman  by Faith in God.” 

    Oh, well, if you’re talking about the One True Real-io True-lio Honest-to-Gosh Church of the True Scotsman, that’s different.

    So, is everyone who gets a doctorate from Urbana-Champaign qualified to use the Official Stamp of Truth?  Or just you?

  • phantomreader42

     Do you have anything, anything at all, that even vaguely looks like the slightest speck of evidence to back up any of this?  No, of course not, the very idea of evidence is against your religion and beyond your feeble mind’s comprehension. 

  • isalcordo

    The so-called scientists in this website must have uniquely NARROW minds, arrogantly dismissive of a Creator while absolutely failing to induce one simple distinct specie of a mutant. 

    I suggest you take the position of Tonio. You will never find what you refused to search. As Jesus said, “Search and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” And Jesus referred to spiritual truths.

  • phantomreader42

     What a surprise that isalcordo, who worships his own willful ignorance above all else, has not the slightest understanding of anything on this blog where he has been babbling nonsense for days!

    Really, isalcordo, are you functionally illiterate?  That’s not even sarcasm at this point, I’m genuinely wondering if you’re capable of comprehending written English, or any other language for that matter. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I tried to get a copy of his thesis, but it’s so old it hasn’t been electronically scanned, so no PDF for me. I might go to the trouble of an interliberary loan for it, though.

    /morbid curiosity

    PS. No law says some dorkus can’t be masquerading as the real I. Alcordo. O.o

  • phantomreader42

    PS. No law says some dorkus can’t be masquerading as the real I. Alcordo. O.o

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, expecially after that idiotic whine about pseudonyms.  Constant, shameless, pathological lying and breathtaking levels of hypocrisy are standard operating procedure for creationists.  Faking credentials even when they’re hopelessly irrelevant fits the profile perfectly too. 

  • isalcordo

    What ignorance? That I failed to call you “mutationists” that you really are? What a big deal!!!  I believe the time to part ways has come. I have planted the seed of “faith in God.” Stump on it or live by it. The choice is yours.

  • phantomreader42

    isalcordo the delusional willfully ignorant pathological liar babbled: I have planted the seed of “faith in God.” Stump on it or live by it. The choice is yours.

    You may think you’ve planted a seed, but all you’ve done is drop a pellet of shit.  It’s not at all surprising that you’re too stupid to tell the difference.  If you are an example of what comes from faith in god, then you are living proof that no god worthy of worship can exist.  

  • Tonio

     Again, you’re making a sectarian argument, since many people who hold that a single god exists do not believe that the god is found through searching. I can appreciate the deist approach of dealing with the god concept wholly apart from anything that might be deemed spiritualism or philosophy, and I’ve encountered plenty of atheists who are philosophical. But the starting point of your argument is that Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong. You haven’t proved the latter, which is almost a requirement to prove the former. That’s not even arguing, it’s simply advertising. I’m not trying to prove anything except the merit of skepticism, which is neither blind rejection nor acceptance.

  • isalcordo

    I am not against all atheists, only athesists who are dismissive, abusive, and contemptible of the object of faith –  God the Father, the Ctreator of heaven and earth and everything therein –  of the millions upon millions of humans and despising their fellow humans as being mentally retarded for believing in someone that they cannot, by scientific/material  evidence be demonstrated to exists.

    YET  these same atheists will insist that they have MINDS which they have not proven to one another by presenting weighable or dimensionally measurable evidence except by inference – from the intellectual products of one’s mind. 

    So is God as the Bible proclaim in  Ro 1:18-20: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    Non-Christian theists and deists who are not dismissive of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, whether they believe in Jesus’ divinity or not, I respect.  Islam is another matter. Islam demands “absolute slavery to Allah” calling for the death of “infidels or non-believers of Allah” even for the slightest of slights against their god, his prophet, or the koran.  The True God does not need man to defend Him. He can defend Himself.

    Tonio, you are an agnostic as you claim. But one day you will come to have to make a decision. I hope it not be on the side of Islam.

    I answered your post because were one person who had not been abuse to anyone.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    If a pair of the same sex wants to get married to get the protection and privileges provided by civil law, get a civil marriage before a civil authority.

    Perhaps you’re unaware of US law, but same-sex marriage is not currently a legal right in most of the US (and even where it is recognized by the state it is still not recognized at the federal level) and the Catholic Church as an organization is trying to prevent same-sex civil marriage from becoming legal. So your advise for those in “self-imposed” “spiritual isolation” is not that helpful.

  • AnonymousSam

    I don’t know about others, but I would rather be blessed in ignorance than agree with someone making excessive use of ad hominem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arthur.paliden Arthur Paliden

    Creationism Gives Man Dominion Over God
    —————————————-

    If you believe in Creationism you must reject the underlying science that supports the Theory of Evolution.  This includes the rejecting the fundamental principles of chemistry and physics.

    If you reject the fundamental principles of chemistry and physics then you must believe that God preforms each and every chemical reaction in the Universe.

    Now according to the Bible Man has free will. This means that God does not know what Man is going to do nor when he is going to do it.

    So if I have a glass of vinegar and a spoon full of baking soda, it is up to me alone if and when I put the baking soda into the vinegar to to produce CO2. God does not know either because I have free will.

    Yet when I do put the baking soda into the vinegar the expected reaction happens. Which, according to Creationism, can only happen if God is doing it.

    Therefore I have summoned God to do my bidding. I have dominion over God.
     

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Is there some way that we could consider the giant cruciform phallus to be a sufficient show of how big a cock our nation has and therefore not feel the need to bomb Syria too?


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