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Thread: Finding Darwin's God

  1. #1 Finding Darwin's God 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    I put this on the biology forum because its great biology, not so much the religion, of this book impressed me. From the books I've read it's the best on the topic of evolution (it's a great summary of all the research). "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller, has anyone else read it? What did you think of it?


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    The title already sucks. I hope the rest is better.


    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Why, cuz your an atheist (or agnostic)?

    If that's the reason you'll still love the first half (better than Dawkins, I swear) all science (the good kind), little theology or philosophy, but hate the second half, I think he gets some insights in the second half (how those who use evolution to support materialism may be making the creationist movement stronger) but you probably won't like it.

    Also it's unfortunate that most of those who are interested in evolution are atheists (I don't say that majority of non-creationists are atheists, since 40% believe in evolution, I think, and only 10% are atheists/agnostics, so that can't be true) because so many miss out on books like these (all just because of the title).
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    Spurious seems to be a professional grumpy old man. I wouldn't pay much heed. Everyone sane has something, some guiding principle they believe in. That is how the the use of the word 'God' in the title should be understood. Consequently it is irrelevant whether one is an atheist, theist, or aganostic, or which brand of these classes one falls in.

    And no, I haven/t read it, but I shall keep my eye open for it. The title sounds intriguing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Spurious seems to be a professional grumpy old man. I wouldn't pay much heed. Everyone sane has something, some guiding principle they believe in. That is how the the use of the word 'God' in the title should be understood. Consequently it is irrelevant whether one is an atheist, theist, or aganostic, or which brand of these classes one falls in.

    And no, I haven/t read it, but I shall keep my eye open for it. The title sounds intriguing.
    I should note that Kenneth Miller is a devout Catholic, but hopefully that doesn't put you off. He was at the Dover case though, so that's interesting. If you want a preview of Miller, here is a lecture he did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohd5uqzlwsU The book still worth reading though! What pisses me off is that " A Case for a Creator" is a best seller and this book isn't.

    I thought about quoting from the book, but most of the quotes are long and give a limited idea of the book, so I'll briefly describe the chapters:

    Chapter 1: "Darwin's Apple" - Miller describes the general view about The Origin among Christians, that it is somehow dangerous. He also talks about how he read it but couldn't find the "exciting/dangerous" part. Briefly talks about the views of Dawkins and E. O. Wilson.

    Chapter 2: "Eden's Children" - Miller states how science is useful tool to study far away places (like the sun) and long ago times (The 60's). He describes the basic evidence for evolution (mostly fossil evidence). He then talks about how scientists can use evolution as a tool in the laboratory to produce novel structures in bacteria. Then describes how evolution is both a fact and a theory.

    Chapter 3: "God the Charlatan" - Miller criticizes YEC's (mostly Henry Morris) on a scientific grounds, and does a great job describing how scientists check the results of radiometric dating (he also recalls some embarassing instances when he fell for one argument, then shows why he was wrong). Also talks about the idea of a deceitful God.

    Chapter 4: "God the Magician" - Miller respond to ideas put forth by Philip Johnson and others who accept the age of the earth but not evolution. He explains punctuated equilibrium and how consistent it is with Darwin. He also points out experimental data showing evolution progressing much faster (measured in Darwins) than in the fossil record, thus refuting the "micro"/"macro" myth. He also points out many transition fossils.

    Chapter 5: "God the Mechanic" - Responds to Behe and points out that biochemical machines can be made from parts with different functions. Also shows research on the blood clotting cascade.

    ---Warning Second Half---

    (Materialists May Not Like)

    Chapter 6: "The Gods of Disbelief" - Miller argues that Christians are attracted to creationism because evolution has been routinely used by atheists to attack Christianity, and therefore creationism is a kind of reactionism, caused partially by those such as Dawkins.

    Chapter 7: "Beyond Materialism" - Miller argues that God can work can work at the quantum level (because of the uncertainty principle). Also that God can work in the natural world without miracles and therefore even a theist (as opposed to a deist) God does not need to interfere with the natural order.

    Chapter 8: "The Road Back Home" - Talks a bit about the anthropic principle and the beginning of the universe. Responds to the idea that evolution is too cruel to be true. Also show that the Genesis accounts are contradictory and therefore no good as science.

    Chapter 9: "Finding Darwin's God" - Talks about the dangers of a "God of the gaps", unfortunately doesn't talk about an alternative God, although I personally think one should seek out which explanation fits better, there will always be a religious and a material explanation. Talks a little about Darwin, and pretty much does what the title suggests for the rest of the chapter.

    Hope you read it!
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    There are too many books written about evolution to read, gah.

    I've read the Origin of Species though, I had to for a course on Victorian social issues. It certainly does have dangerous parts for Biblical literalist, and at the time of it's publication most Christians were Biblical literalist. You'd think we would have moved pass that by now.
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  8. #7 Re: Finding Darwin's God 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    I put this on the biology forum because its great biology, not so much the religion, of this book impressed me. From the books I've read it's the best on the topic of evolution (it's a great summary of all the research). "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller, has anyone else read it? What did you think of it?
    Haven't read the book. A few years ago I would have been interested, but lately the whole idea just doesn't appeal to me. I find that I am getting more interested in the science - that is, real problems that have the potential to be solved - and less interested in the million different 'what ifs' that can never be tested and will forever remain untouchable, and are often abused by others to push hidden agendas.
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    lol I saw a book called like "why evolution is a fact" in big obnoxious letters.

    Yeah, Darwin was apparently in the seminary school or some such thing but failed out. I don't have specifics or a reference for that, does anyone have more info?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    lol I saw a book called like "why evolution is a fact" in big obnoxious letters.

    Yeah, Darwin was apparently in the seminary school or some such thing but failed out. I don't have specifics or a reference for that, does anyone have more info?
    Darwin was first sent to medical school but didn't do very well because he preferred being out in the countryside collecting bugs. His father got irritated with him and sent him to seminary school but again, Darwin neglected his studies there.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Why, cuz your an atheist (or agnostic)?

    If that's the reason you'll still love the first half (better than Dawkins, I swear) all science (the good kind), little theology or philosophy, but hate the second half, I think he gets some insights in the second half (how those who use evolution to support materialism may be making the creationist movement stronger) but you probably won't like it.

    Also it's unfortunate that most of those who are interested in evolution are atheists (I don't say that majority of non-creationists are atheists, since 40% believe in evolution, I think, and only 10% are atheists/agnostics, so that can't be true) because so many miss out on books like these (all just because of the title).
    I know this may sound jaded, but really, after hearing/reading about these kinds of ideas once, you've basically heard them all.

    Why is there room for god in a world with science? Because by its very definition god and the supernatural are untestable and unknowable by scientific understanding. It can never be disproven or supported, only shown that it is not necessary for an exterior guiding mind to be present in order for the universe to form as we know it. Reading the umpteenth book elaborating on this topic will not be telling me anything new. The information in the chapters reviewing the evidence for evolution as well as the information on the creationist/ID movement and the flaws in every single one of their arguments can easily be found well sourced and fully explained for free on the internet, and in a zillion other books.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in having a "you should really read this" list that is already prohibitively long, as well as being generally busy. I don't see a good reason to make time for this book. (And granted, taking time out to relax a bit and reading a book for entertainment purposes can also be a good reason for me, but this book wouldn't even be that.)

    For many of us who have spent large portions of our lives using a scientific mindset, we see no need to go to the extra effort to believe in something which is simply untraceable in the natural world. That is a philosophy and a world view and that is our choice. It is not our place to force a purely philosophical choice on other people. However, those who argue actively against religion typically do so (at least, in my understanding) because of the active ills they believe religion and religious belief can bring and have brought to the world.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Thanks Para!
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Why, cuz your an atheist (or agnostic)?

    .
    ´

    No, I am the God of reason.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    "Materialism"... one of those buzz words that works as a red flag for woo.
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    It's an ok book but there are much better books about Evolution out there:

    Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea by Carl Zimmer

    Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo by Sean Carroll

    At the Water's Edge : Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea by Carl Zimmer

    The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran

    Evolution: The First Four Billion Years by Edward O. Wilson

    Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald R. Prothero

    The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean Carroll

    The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans by G. J. Sawyer

    Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA by Daniel J. Fairbanks

    The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared M. Diamond

    Your Inner Fish by Shubin

    The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
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    The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean Carroll
    this one was really more about preaching to the choir than telling me stuff I didn't know. Is that to be expected from most of those books?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean Carroll
    this one was really more about preaching to the choir than telling me stuff I didn't know. Is that to be expected from most of those books?
    I think a lot of these books, though potentially informative for scientists, are largely intended for the general public, to help dispell the many illusions out there about evolution, and I appreciate that. But for me, a textbook is much more likely to be worth my time at this point. Unless it's in an area I'm unfamiliar with, in which case I'm essentially one of the public - I have the Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Carroll, for instance.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Hmm I'll keep an eye out for the book, it's a very clashing title, by definition of what he did, I would think darwin wouldn't have a god


    yeah I agree it's a shame so many evolutionists and scientists are devout atheists (seriously being an atheist is becoming a religeon ) even more annoying is the preconception that you are black or white, your either a christian or an atheist, scientist or creationist, I don't understand why we have to be so one or the other, I follow my own religion (seriously It's a form I developed for me) and am still a scientist through and through
    It's not how many questions you ask, but the answers you get - Booms

    This is the Acadamy of Science! we don't need to 'prove' anything!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    Hmm I'll keep an eye out for the book, it's a very clashing title, by definition of what he did, I would think darwin wouldn't have a god
    Why not? Most men of his time did.


    yeah I agree it's a shame so many evolutionists and scientists are devout atheists (seriously being an atheist is becoming a religeon )
    Why is it a shame? I already explained why many scientists/students wouldn't be interested in the book because it's nothing new, not because it has "god" in the title. So what's the problem?

    even more annoying is the preconception that you are black or white, your either a christian or an atheist, scientist or creationist, I don't understand why we have to be so one or the other, I follow my own religion (seriously It's a form I developed for me) and am still a scientist through and through
    interesting, considering in your first sentence you made a black-and-what assumption that the author of "origin of species" must not have had a god. In any case, that is very untrue - the author of the book this thread is about a devout Catholic and a major proponent of evolution.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    (seriously being an atheist is becoming a religeon )
    That's silly. Having beliefs about religion is not at all the same as being a believer. Failing to play soccer is not a sport, is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    even more annoying is the preconception that you are black or white, your either a christian or an atheist, scientist or creationist, I don't understand why we have to be so one or the other, I follow my own religion (seriously It's a form I developed for me) and am still a scientist through and through
    I don't think all that many people really see things that way. Fundamentalists such as creationists do, but the average scientist sure doesn't and I don't think mainstream Christians equate science and atheism.
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    Hm, starting to sound more like a religion topic (from the length of the thread, of course ). I'll just say this, in one of the chapters "The Gods of Materialism", Miller points out that atheists generally encourage creationism. This leads me to believe that the only person that would be convincing to the public must be a theist. Very unfortunate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Hm, starting to sound more like a religion topic (from the length of the thread, of course ). I'll just say this, in one of the chapters "The Gods of Materialism", Miller points out that atheists generally encourage creationism. This leads me to believe that the only person that would be convincing to the public must be a theist. Very unfortunate.
    Miller is a theist, who has actively and publicly worked to spread an understanding of evolution. But where are we now? The US has one of the lowest rates of acceptance of evolution compared to most other industrialized countries. I don't think it matters to the public whether or not the person trying to explain evolution to them is a theist or not - if they've already decided to refuse to understand evolution, it won't make any difference.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    that is indeed the problem with many books which attempt to prove the case for evolution : it might do a good job to inform those who are willing to take the message on board, but try using one of these arguments in a debate with a creationist, and you'll be met with a wall of disbelief

    in the end you'll be debating a losing battle where you're being asked for impossible levels of proof, and if you're not careful you're being dragged into the realms of untestability, where to the uninformed onlookers it just becomes your opinion against that of the creationist, with very little to chose between them
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    with very little to chose between them
    So always wear a suit and an aura of authority.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    with very little to chose between them
    So always wear a suit and an aura of authority.
    Nah, the culture of accepting information on authority is just about the only thing that allows creationism to exist in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    Hmm I'll keep an eye out for the book, it's a very clashing title, by definition of what he did, I would think darwin wouldn't have a god


    yeah I agree it's a shame so many evolutionists and scientists are devout atheists (seriously being an atheist is becoming a religeon ) even more annoying is the preconception that you are black or white, your either a christian or an atheist, scientist or creationist, I don't understand why we have to be so one or the other, I follow my own religion (seriously It's a form I developed for me) and am still a scientist through and through
    Darwin makes many references to a creator in The Origin of Species, he seems to argue that God started life with one or a few organisms then let evolution take it's course. Some have argued though that this was just Darwin being political and trying not to publish something too outrageous.
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    It doesn't really matter. Darwin isn't an authority in science. The theory of evolution is.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    Hmm I'll keep an eye out for the book, it's a very clashing title, by definition of what he did, I would think darwin wouldn't have a god


    yeah I agree it's a shame so many evolutionists and scientists are devout atheists (seriously being an atheist is becoming a religeon ) even more annoying is the preconception that you are black or white, your either a christian or an atheist, scientist or creationist, I don't understand why we have to be so one or the other, I follow my own religion (seriously It's a form I developed for me) and am still a scientist through and through
    Darwin makes many references to a creator in The Origin of Species, he seems to argue that God started life with one or a few organisms then let evolution take it's course. Some have argued though that this was just Darwin being political and trying not to publish something too outrageous.
    The whole point of science is to accepted the tried and tested and discard the rest. Whether Darwin said it, believed it or was just joking, isn't relevant unless we actually feel like idolising him in the manner that certain critics say we do.

    We've discarded some of his science too, so discarding his religious beliefs is no biggie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It doesn't really matter. Darwin isn't an authority in science. The theory of evolution is.
    Yes, or perhaps more exactly the evidence is. We'll ditch the theory too if the evidence points elsewhere. Fact is, it does not.
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    although I was raised catholic and went to church and was confirmed etc.... I am not in any way a practicing christian. in fact, going to church all those years probably made me even more agnostic than I was in the first place. but the argument isn't about religion....it's about a book. you can hate all the ideas of a book but still recognize if it's well written. And there will always be someone to say "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."

    So whether or not you believe or think others should believe....that's not really the question here is it? The question is if you think it's a good book. And me not believing would be more of a reason to read it. The whole point of science is to expand your knowledge and to always question everything to continue building on your knowledge and to challenge your own perceptions. If we rule out a book simply because the word 'God' is in the title....that's kind of hypocritical don't you think? I thought the whole point was to gain knowledge of others' views and ideas?
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    Quote Originally Posted by salukigirl
    So whether or not you believe or think others should believe....that's not really the question here is it? The question is if you think it's a good book. And me not believing would be more of a reason to read it. The whole point of science is to expand your knowledge and to always question everything to continue building on your knowledge and to challenge your own perceptions. If we rule out a book simply because the word 'God' is in the title....that's kind of hypocritical don't you think? I thought the whole point was to gain knowledge of others' views and ideas?
    Why do I get the feeling that I keep repeating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I already explained why many scientists/students wouldn't be interested in the book because it's nothing new, not because it has "god" in the title.
    If this book will not expand the knowledge I already have, will not explain to me a new viewpoint that hasn't already been explained to me, then why should I read it?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Why do I get the feeling that I keep repeating myself?
    Because you're in a rare position to feel like I feel in most every single conversation I ever have. Having fun?

    Also: The title is boring, the book is boring, and its existence proves that our education system is a failure. Optimism!
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    if you haven't read it you don't know if it repeats everything you know or not. and the arrogance is not required to make a point.
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    I'll repeat myself again - I have a long, long list of books and articles that I really ought to read, and if I'm going to spend time reading a book I want there to be a good chance that it will significantly open my eyes in one way or another. No, I have not read this book. I am basing my opinion only on Golkarian's description of it, and taking his word for it. But based on that information, the chances do not seem good that this book is worth the time.

    If I had enough time and enough memory I would read every book I could get my hands on, but I don't, so I won't.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    He's making a "You can't know!" argument. Lets take his logic to the extremes to prove it fallacious: You can't know that water really IS composed of h2o until you examine it yourself. Or that Hydrogen has so many electrons and protons. Or that electrons exist. Or that there's an africa. Or anywhere outside your town until you've been there. Or outside your house. Or that there are stars (you've never seen them, just little lights!) etc.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    wow. well first off, my name has the word 'girl' in it. second, if i knew this site was going to be full of a bunch of arrogant jerks i wouldn't have come in the first place. thanks for taking everything so literally only when it suits your needs. glad to see everyone here is so down to earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by salukigirl
    wow. well first off, my name has the word 'girl' in it. second, if i knew this site was going to be full of a bunch of arrogant jerks i wouldn't have come in the first place. thanks for taking everything so literally only when it suits your needs. glad to see everyone here is so down to earth.
    saluki, you are not the first person to feel irritated by the tone of another poster's comments. Though I can understand being irritated with Darius his comments are on topic and and discuss your statements as they relate to this topic. Your comment on the other hand is pure personal reaction. If you want to yell at Darius, do it in PM. Don't do it in the thread.

    Darius, while you are on point, I'd appreciate it if you would try to tone down the snarkiness if only for the purposes of maintaining a reasonable discussion.

    /moderator mode
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    Okay you know what I'm sick of this bullshit "I didn't say that!" crap. Lets break this down simple to prove, ultimately, that you DID say that. No literal interpretation required.

    Quote Originally Posted by salukigirl
    if you haven't read it you don't know if it repeats everything you know or not. and the arrogance is not required to make a point.
    Logic breakdown: IF you don't do X YOU cannot know anything about X. Therefore, do X.

    IF you don't read book YOU cannot know if it repeats. Therefore, read the book.

    This is your argument. Unneccesary nastiness removed. Darius, chill out. This is what I'm talking about. It is possible to make your point, which you have done very clearly, without all the extra snarking. -Paralith
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    I should note that Kenneth Miller is a devout Catholic, but hopefully that doesn't put you off. He was at the Dover case though, so that's interesting. If you want a preview of Miller, here is a lecture he did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohd5uqzlwsU The book still worth reading though! What pisses me off is that " A Case for a Creator" is a best seller and this book isn't.
    Why does that irk you so?


    Chapter 1: "Darwin's Apple" - Miller describes the general view about The Origin among Christians, that it is somehow dangerous. He also talks about how he read it but couldn't find the "exciting/dangerous" part. Briefly talks about the views of Dawkins and E. O. Wilson.
    What Christians and any other people say they think and what they actually believe differ greatly. Some Christians fear that science has severely weakened classical Christian ideology because of uranium dating of the Earth proving it is much, much older than the biblical estimate of 6,000 years... and the fact that we arose from simple bacteria, like every other creature on Earth. On top of that, "the Heavens" are more vast than the Catholic Church ever suspected and we've observed no great celestial beings yet out there...in fact, no sentient life forms at all...this is why so many of them are so angry..they are frightened that humanity isn't quite as holy as they once believed...they believe that life will lose meaning without God...and, to be honest, I can't blame them...it is a bit scary to think this life I'm living right now might be it...

    Chapter 2: "Eden's Children" - Miller states how science is useful tool to study far away places (like the sun) and long ago times (The 60's). He describes the basic evidence for evolution (mostly fossil evidence). He then talks about how scientists can use evolution as a tool in the laboratory to produce novel structures in bacteria. Then describes how evolution is both a fact and a theory.
    Good.

    Chapter 3: "God the Charlatan" - Miller criticizes YEC's (mostly Henry Morris) on a scientific grounds, and does a great job describing how scientists check the results of radiometric dating (he also recalls some embarassing instances when he fell for one argument, then shows why he was wrong). Also talks about the idea of a deceitful God.
    I'm not sure what you're driving at here...that God purposefully lied about the Earth's age?




    (Materialists May Not Like)
    What does materialism have to do with evolution?

    Chapter 6: "The Gods of Disbelief" - Miller argues that Christians are attracted to creationism because evolution has been routinely used by atheists to attack Christianity, and therefore creationism is a kind of reactionism, caused partially by those such as Dawkins.
    That poor, poor Christian minority! Constantly being attacked by those vicious atheists...those intelligent, peaceful live-and-let live scientifically aware bullies. Seriously...how many scientists have you read about beating up on a Christian for being a Christian? Atheists are attacked often, most of the time only verbally but I've read stories about kids not being allowed to play on sports teams for being an open Atheist..and people being beaten to a pulp.

    Chapter 7: "Beyond Materialism" - Miller argues that God can work can work at the quantum level (because of the uncertainty principle). Also that God can work in the natural world without miracles and therefore even a theist (as opposed to a deist) God does not need to interfere with the natural order.
    Scientifically unprovable.

    Chapter 8: "The Road Back Home" - Talks a bit about the anthropic principle and the beginning of the universe. Responds to the idea that evolution is too cruel to be true. Also show that the Genesis accounts are contradictory and therefore no good as science.
    He refutes the idea that evolution is too cruel I hope.

    Chapter 9: "Finding Darwin's God" - Talks about the dangers of a "God of the gaps", unfortunately doesn't talk about an alternative God, although I personally think one should seek out which explanation fits better, there will always be a religious and a material explanation. Talks a little about Darwin, and pretty much does what the title suggests for the rest of the chapter.
    Speculation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    The whole point of science is to accepted the tried and tested and discard the rest. Whether Darwin said it, believed it or was just joking, isn't relevant unless we actually feel like idolising him in the manner that certain critics say we do.

    We've discarded some of his science too, so discarding his religious beliefs is no biggie.
    I wasn't implying his religious views had any importance relative to the science of evolution. Rather, Darwin is an extremely important historical figure that caused great upheaval in Victorian England. From a historical standpoint his religious views are important because it affects how people of his time and today view him.

    The science of evolution is completely separate. Booms made a reference to Darwin's views on religion, thus I made a reply to that. Darwin is often misrepresented as an advocate of atheism, which he most certainly never was, as would be evident to anyone who has read his writings directly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by salukigirl
    although I was raised catholic and went to church and was confirmed etc.... I am not in any way a practicing christian. .... but the argument isn't about religion....it's about a book. you
    The official position of the catholic church is that evolution is a valid scientific theory/fact. So it would have been your duty to support the pope in these statements had you still remained to be a practicing Christian.
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    Evolution errs in several ways:

    1) It uses our inability to fathom the concept of changes possible in millions of years as a logical basis. One can use this same inability to argue that we de-evolved from higher beings over millions of years.

    2) It tries to understand the creative with intellectual tools. No one does this in an art gallery.

    3) The fossiles are taken as evidence, but they admit to another logic: beings or animals that were created like they appear and that went extinct.
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Evolution errs in several ways:

    1) It uses our inability to fathom the concept of changes possible in millions of years as a logical basis. One can use this same inability to argue that we de-evolved from higher beings over millions of years.

    2) It tries to understand the creative with intellectual tools. No one does this in an art gallery.

    3) The fossiles are taken as evidence, but they admit to another logic: beings or animals that were created like they appear and that went extinct.


    1)Whose inability? Yours?

    2)Science does not assume anything, which includes the hand of a creator. You are arguing as if the involvement of a creator is a straight forward given and an essential starting assumption.

    3)Continually created? Why are they then so closely related and adapted to a different environment? What about directly observed cases of evolution? Do you even know what the mechanisms of evolution are? They are directly observed you know.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    1)Whose inability? Yours?

    2)Science does not assume anything, which includes the hand of a creator. You are arguing as if the involvement of a creator is a straight forward given and an essential starting assumption.

    3)Continually created? Why are they then so closely related and adapted to a different environment? What about directly observed cases of evolution? Do you even know what the mechanisms of evolution are? They are directly observed you know.
    Your "continually created" comment shows a way of perceiving changes over millions of years. Such a "continually" would be once in 100 000 years. I do not deny that changes can occur from hereditary means, only I assert that there must be a set of unchangeable genes for every species (much like a BIOS is needed for a computer). Otherwise the "program" runs on the wrong basis and the individual does not survive to procreate.

    I am not arguing like in your 2) in my 2). My assumption is that the writings is intellectual because of it's non-poetic, cold and factual nature, ignoring esoteric and estetic aspects.

    "Closely related" is taken care of by my first paragraph. "adapted to" can mean "designed for".
    Those are change in species observations?

    It may look like I argue like in your 2) but I present the logic such that someone who doesn't believe also has to deal with it (or appreciate it).
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    , only I assert that there must be a set of unchangeable genes for every species (much like a BIOS is needed for a computer).
    You make a wrong assertion. There isn't a single gene that isn't changeable.

    Even household genes change, or evolve.

    So dump your ram memory, and try to solve the problem again.
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    Grossly unchangeable in a fuzzy logic way.
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    Of course. And chimps are not grossly different from humans in a fuzzy logic way.

    And neither is a flatworm since most of them poop with their mouth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Evolution errs in several ways:

    1) It uses our inability to fathom the concept of changes possible in millions of years as a logical basis. One can use this same inability to argue that we de-evolved from higher beings over millions of years.

    2) It tries to understand the creative with intellectual tools. No one does this in an art gallery.

    3) The fossiles are taken as evidence, but they admit to another logic: beings or animals that were created like they appear and that went extinct.
    1) Incorrect. We are neither unable to understand change occurring over millions of years nor do we base anything on incredulity.

    2) I don't know what you are referring to when you say "the creative." Organisms? Changing organisms? Abiogenesis? (And people do in fact use their intellect in art galleries. Ever taken an art history class? Ever seen a piece of art critiqued and/or interpreted by an art professor?)

    3) Incorrect. Fossils show us that at certain point some members of a certain species had bones that looked like this (And huge amounts of soft tissue that we have very little idea about). No more and no less.

    Nor is it necessary that a certain species has some unchanging set of genes. The entire species could slowly change their genetic complement over time until they are very different from what they were tens of thousands of years ago. Choosing where to draw the line between the "old species" and the "new species" is an entirely arbitrary process, and not even necessary to draw in the eyes of some (including myself). As long as the population did not split up and maintained gene flow amongst its members I'd say it's still the same species. But this can be argued up and down because species concepts have been debated and probably will be debated for a long time to come.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Back on topic: Finding (out that) Darwin (is) God.

    Now that's a book I would read. :wink:
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    Your item 3) now states that you do not base the theory on the fossils. Then it must be based on logic.

    Add to this that you are even tying to blurr the definition of the objects of the theory. This in fact screws up the logic.

    No physicist is going to call momentum as distance or more or less the same thing.

    The critique thing is such that it does not tell you anything about the intention/meaning of the artwork, in fact most artists ignore it. I was talking about understanding not description or serialised word comment. I imagine an art professor will at least wave his arms in a meaningfull gesture coupled with suggestive word intonation.

    My item 3) is not logically opposed by yours, it just states observational fact and the fact that you identify bones with species. See how paragraph two's first sentence does not rhyme with this.

    The "back on topic" try makes as if the name does not refer to the issue.

    As for seriousmonkey: I'm sure fuzzy logic, being logic is quantifyable, which is unmistakably scientific and the only way to argue about this.

    I see nature as creative because none of the intellectual constructions of mankind resembles it. Picturising mathematics does not count, the formulae are the constructions.
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    I think a comment I made recently as a reply to arguing on youtube applies here..not only to religious debate but to other aspects of life as well:

    People in general need to stop thinking in terms of who is "right" or "wrong" b/c it's a moot point. Neuroscientists and informed laymen know that morals are subjective..everything is subjective...we can scarcely trust our own eyes...we believe what we see... yet what we percieve as individuals differs. A good example of this is the Necker cube...some people claim it slants down and to the left, others believe that it slants upwards and to the left...also, findings in neuroscience indicate that emotions play a role in all forms of decision making. Look into the work of Antonio Damasio if you want to understand why this is true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Your item 3) now states that you do not base the theory on the fossils. Then it must be based on logic.
    You don't think it could be based upon comparative anatomy, genetics, microbiology, or a host of other biological disciplines? It has to be fossils or logic?

    Is that logical?
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1

    My item 3) is not logically opposed by yours, it just states observational fact and the fact that you identify bones with species. See how paragraph two's first sentence does not rhyme with this.
    There is nothing logical in assuming that magic bones were created to look just like those of extinct species. Common, really? This is your argument? The God is just testing us with really convincing evidence argument.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Your item 3) now states that you do not base the theory on the fossils. Then it must be based on logic.
    It states no such thing. Fossils show us that at one point individuals with a morphology like this were around; later individuals with a different but similar morphology probably descended from the population (not species) from which the earlier individuals were a part of. Fossils make up but one arm of the many arms of evidence that support the theory of evolution. So even if we had no fossils, evolution would still stand on the empirical support of a great many subfields. The logic of the theory applies only to the reality of the natural world.

    Add to this that you are even tying to blurr the definition of the objects of the theory. This in fact screws up the logic.
    I am not trying to blur anything. The species definition debate is a real one because organisms vary so greatly that finding one definition to fit the reality of them all is difficult. What works for humans or birds does not always work for bacteria, etc.

    The logic of evolution really applies to populations for which there is a solid definition: a group of individuals that exchanges genes more often with each other than with individuals outside of the group. A species may consist of multiple sub-populations or just one. The populations may merge or split or interact in various ways and what you call the results will depend on how you choose to define a species.

    The critique thing is such that it does not tell you anything about the intention/meaning of the artwork, in fact most artists ignore it. I was talking about understanding not description or serialised word comment. I imagine an art professor will at least wave his arms in a meaningfull gesture coupled with suggestive word intonation.
    You certainly can tell something about the intention/meaning of the artwork using intellect. You can study the themes present in the artwork, study the artist's life and perhaps his or her own words, and come to understand what is most likely to be the life experiences or opinions that the artist is attempting to convey to their audience. And not unlike science you can probably never prove with certainty what the intention was but you can approach through the gathering of evidence what the most likely intention was.

    I see nature as creative because none of the intellectual constructions of mankind resembles it. Picturising mathematics does not count, the formulae are the constructions.
    This still does not make sense to me. No, nature does not create the same things that a logical intelligent being like a human would create (an engineer, for example, would probably not have designed women to give birth to a large brained baby through the constricted region of the pelvis; probably through a nice open and bone-less area like through the abdominal wall). But just because something is illogical (in terms of human logic) does not necessarily mean it's creative (in terms of how humans can be creative) either.

    talanum, I'm not sure what your overarching goal is with these points. I will tell you now that if you're lending towards a supernatural explanation for natural phenomenon I will move your posts to pseudoscience. But it is not clear to me that this is your intention so I want to be sure I understand what you're trying to say before I do something like that.
    /moderator mode
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    The theory has it's basis on Living Systems and the remains of it (and nothing I read here contradicts this). Therefore a statement about non-living system changing into a living system is outside it's logic. Even the name: BIO-logic already draws the line at living systems. Coupling this statement (non-lving to living) to the theory borders on fraud - and it effects the ligitimate results of those who stay whithin the scope of Living Systems.

    There is a middle ground to the seeming contradiction: by considering the Bible as a poetic book, and sicence as fitting logic to observation. The first one tries to explain/record life truths of human beings and the other uses (currently available) observations. Scientists of the future may doubt some things we take for granted currently because of a lack of direct observational data.

    Creative processes essential difference is to improvise on error. i.e. to make a trail system, introduce (or let nature introduce) random factors and then reshaping the system trowards the desired results. In living systems this result would be stability which asumes adaptability.

    Thanks for the thinking practice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    The theory has it's basis on Living Systems and the remains of it (and nothing I read here contradicts this). Therefore a statement about non-living system changing into a living system is outside it's logic.
    Absolutely true. Biologists are well aware that evolution and abiogenesis are two quite different things.
    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Coupling this statement (non-lving to living) to the theory borders on fraud -
    Again I agree completely. This is why many scientists become enraged when creationists try to make this connection. I am pleased we can agree on this point at least. (Actually accusing them of fraud may be a little harsh. Willfully ignorant might be a better choice of words.)
    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Scientists of the future may doubt some things we take for granted currently because of a lack of direct observational data. .
    Scientists of today, when acting as scientists, take nothing for granted today. They certainly would not take something for granted in the absence of observational data. Therefore I am unsure what you mean by your statement.
    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    Creative processes essential difference is to improvise on error. i.e. to make a trail system, introduce (or let nature introduce) random factors and then reshaping the system trowards the desired results. In living systems this result would be stability which asumes adaptability.
    Sorry. That just sounded like a lot of arm waving, with nothing of substance. Perhaps you could rephrase it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    The theory has it's basis on Living Systems and the remains of it (and nothing I read here contradicts this). Therefore a statement about non-living system changing into a living system is outside it's logic. Even the name: BIO-logic already draws the line at living systems. Coupling this statement (non-lving to living) to the theory borders on fraud - and it effects the ligitimate results of those who stay whithin the scope of Living Systems.
    JohnGalt already addressed this nicely, so I'm just backing up those comments. Evolution assumes the existence of life. The study of evolution is separate from the study of abiogenesis. No debate there.

    There is a middle ground to the seeming contradiction: by considering the Bible as a poetic book, and sicence as fitting logic to observation. The first one tries to explain/record life truths of human beings and the other uses (currently available) observations. Scientists of the future may doubt some things we take for granted currently because of a lack of direct observational data.
    This is a perfectly acceptable middle ground to me, to view the bible as peoples' attempts to explain their world before the use of scientific method was as widespread as it is today. What is not acceptable to me as discussion content for this forum is taking the words of the bible as literal, factual truths with which natural phenomenon are explained.

    I'm curious about your comment of direct observational data. Scientists today do not take anything for granted for which there is not solid empirical evidence, which is not always direct, first-hand observation. Do you have an example in mind that might illustrate what you're trying to describe?

    Creative processes essential difference is to improvise on error. i.e. to make a trail system, introduce (or let nature introduce) random factors and then reshaping the system trowards the desired results. In living systems this result would be stability which asumes adaptability.
    Just because random factors are introduced into the system doesn't mean the system cannot be explained by intellectual means. It is through intellectual research that we understand how, when, and where the random variation is introduced, and what happens when it is introduced in order to effect divergence and adaptation in combination with the influence of environment. I cannot see how you arrived at your criticism of explaining a "creative" process (by your definition above) by intellectual means.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    We are always going to argue with Creationists who claim that they know everything and that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the intricate design of creatures such as the bombadier beetle are too complex to be the result of natural selection and other evolutionary mechanisms.

    Evolutionists will always say that one only need examine the fossil record, and on a more recent evolutionary timescale, the genes (because we of course can't examine a severly degregated DNA segment of a cave bear or wooly mammoth as well as we can non-extinct species).

    Although I am a proponent of evolution, I still admit that it is a theory. I will not yet state that evolution is fact. Many pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place, yet there is still much to learn. This will no doubt annoy and or anger some members here, and that is ok. There are many facts that support evolutionary theory (support, I say, not prove), however. Transitional fossils such as Archaeopteryx and Rhodocetus are interesting specimens. Yet I am simply uncertain of the proposed family tree of interrelated species the further back you go in the fossil record.

    We need to stop these incessant circular arguments. I can see both sides of the coin and see that each side is marred by rust. Evolutionary theory is marred by the rust of time and uncertainty. Creationism is marred by a history of blind faith... or so I believe based on my own personal experience..which doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

    For example, humans are social creatures. A fact that can be agreed upon by both sides. The reason we form close bonds is quite simple from an evolutionary perspective: our early ancestors were hunter-gatherers. Creationists believe that God has a master plan that draws us together. They think on a supernatural plane (basically, they are emotional thinkers). We use physical evidence to support our claims. They cannot. We agree on that much, fellow evolutionists...yet my studies of Neuroscience compel me to state that this doesn't mean that all Creationists are "ignorant" or "misinformed", as many of you would claim. Many of my Creationist friends (yes, I have a few) know of Archaepteryx and relatives, yet choose to "ignore" the evidence.

    The reason I placed "ignore" in quotation marks is to make a point. Seeing something in a certain light doesn't always involve vision. We, as Evolutionists, use sight primarily to guide our belief systems. Creationists rely more on what's going on in their minds. The belief in God may be hardwired into the brain. Many temporal lobe epileptics experience deep religious convictions. If the brain is responsible for belief, how can you say someone else is "wrong", when they are unable to experience what you call "right"? The study suggests that atheists may simply not be able "feel" those "righteous feelings" of the deeply religious. And, likewise, that the deeply religious may not be capable of altering their belief system.

    Humans have superior vision to lower mammals, yet some lower mammals have a better sense of smell. Pheromones are more important to them, therefore, in mate selection..whereas humans and New World monkeys choose mates based on looks.
    How can you say that our superior sight leads to superior mate selection? You can't. The quality of the mate is contingent upon the subjective experience of the mammal in question. Our world is shaped by our experiences. That is to say, seeing is believing for us humans..yet smelling is believing for many other species.

    Could it also be true that emotion is a sensory experience that is more highly evolved in some humans? If so, how can one judge it as "wrong"? We need to stop fighting and accept our differences regardless. It gets old.
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    I have several sources to back up my claims:

    Phantoms in the Brain by VS Ramachandran (studies on temporal lobe epilepsy)

    The Making of the Fittest by Sean Carroll (discussion of opsins in mammals)


    Bear, Mark F.; Barry W. Connors, Michael A. Paradiso (2006). Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. p. 264 ..."there has not yet been any hard evidence for human pheromones that might change sexual attraction for members of either sex naturally"
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    Hi gottspieler, I quite enjoy reading your posts here at The Science Forum. However, I do wish you wouldn't use the term "Evolutionist" or refer to evolution as "just a theory".

    For "Evolutionist" I'd just use "biologist" or "evolutionary biologist".

    I'd also recommend the Wikipedia article on Theory

    Apologies if I have offended you in anyway, but you happened to hit on a couple of my bugbears with that post. It's also a bad-hair day and way past my bedtime; maybe I'm just being a little grumpy right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Hi gottspieler, I quite enjoy reading your posts here at The Science Forum. However, I do wish you wouldn't use the term "Evolutionist" or refer to evolution as "just a theory".

    For "Evolutionist" I'd just use "biologist" or "evolutionary biologist".

    I'd also recommend the Wikipedia article on Theory

    Apologies if I have offended you in anyway, but you happened to hit on a couple of my bugbears with that post. It's also a bad-hair day and way past my bedtime; maybe I'm just being a little grumpy right now.
    No offense taken. I was only being fair to the opposition by giving us the moniker "Evolutionists" to their "Creationists". The Sonny to their Cher (and Sonny was sooo much cooler than Cher...damn the tree that killed him!!!). And I personally believe that there is much much physical evidence for evolution. I just think that we and Creationists (quite obviously) have differing worldviews..they will never experience the joys of being an evolutionary biologist or whatnot..and you and I will most likely never experience their level of spiritual bliss (ok I won't, at least...and neither did Mother Teresa for that matter!!! Her last letter to a bishop friend reveals her true thoughts!!!)...and that that is ok. Not something to fight about.
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    From Time Magazine:


    On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the "Saint of the Gutters," went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. "It is not enough for us to say, 'I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'" she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had "[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one." Jesus' hunger, she said, is what "you and I must find" and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world "that radiating joy is real" because Christ is everywhere — "Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive."

    Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. "Jesus has a very special love for you," she assured Van der Peet. "[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

    The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction — that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.

    And in fact, that appears to be the case. A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

    That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'" Says the Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and the author of My Life with the Saints, a book that dealt with far briefer reports in 2003 of Teresa's doubts: "I've never read a saint's life where the saint has such an intense spiritual darkness. No one knew she was that tormented." Recalls Kolodiejchuk, Come Be My Light's editor: "I read one letter to the Sisters [of Teresa's Missionaries of Charity], and their mouths just dropped open. It will give a whole new dimension to the way people understand her."
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    gottspieler, in the first part, talanum does not appear to me to be a creationist. Or at the very least he/she heeded my warning about bringing the supernatural into the equation and has so far failed to do so, so interesting though your points are they are not actually relevant to this discussion.

    Secondly, you are making a mistake that is actually common amongst creationists and IDers as well. You are mistaking the overarching theory of evolution, or the "big idea" of evolution as Eugenie Scott puts it, with the mechanisms of evolution. The big idea of evolution is that life descends with modification. I have a feeling you have no problem with this. Creationists and IDers do. Even those who may accept small changes, "microevolution," cannot accept that all life on earth arose in this manner. This is not a simple matter of "reconciling our differences." All the rest of our knowledge of evolution and indeed of biology is organized around this basic principle. If you cannot accept this principle you in effect cannot accept vast amounts of the biological knowledge we have today.

    The points you bring up are all valid problems currently being researched and the details of which are not yet all understood - they have to do with the mechanisms of evolution and the details of species history. But just because we do not know in minute detail how every organism that ever existed on this planet evolved does not mean that there is a flaw in the theory of evolution. What would be a flaw is if we found an organism for which there was strong evidence that it did not come to exist through descent with modification. And such evidence has never been found.

    The article on Mother Theresa is touching and no doubt resonates with many people who have come to atheism through a long hard road - but I don't really see how it relates to the discussion at hand.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    gottspieler, in the first part, talanum does not appear to me to be a creationist. Or at the very least he/she heeded my warning about bringing the supernatural into the equation and has so far failed to do so, so interesting though your points are they are not actually relevant to this discussion.
    The discussion began due to a questioning of the book, Finding Darwin's God...excerpts from the book seem to have a Creationist leaning. I was going back to that and the arguments brought up earlier.


    The big idea of evolution is that life descends with modification. I have a feeling you have no problem with this. Creationists and IDers do. Even those who may accept small changes, "microevolution," cannot accept that all life on earth arose in this manner. This is not a simple matter of "reconciling our differences." All the rest of our knowledge of evolution and indeed of biology is organized around this basic principle. If you cannot accept this principle you in effect cannot accept vast amounts of the biological knowledge we have today.
    I'm obviously aware of this, I've written about it just a few days ago. Macroevolution can and does occur, I don't question that. I just wish that we had genetic evidence linking ancient fossils together and forming an accurate family tree all the way to humans.

    What would be a flaw is if we found an organism for which there was strong evidence that it did not come to exist through descent with modification. And such evidence has never been found.
    What if some ancient fossils were not related, rather examples of convergent evolution?

    The article on Mother Theresa is touching and no doubt resonates with many people who have come to atheism through a long hard road - but I don't really see how it relates to the discussion at hand.
    This was in response to a response to an earlier one of my responses, which stated:

    No offense taken. I was only being fair to the opposition by giving us the moniker "Evolutionists" to their "Creationists". The Sonny to their Cher (and Sonny was sooo much cooler than Cher...damn the tree that killed him!!!). And I personally believe that there is much much physical evidence for evolution. I just think that we and Creationists (quite obviously) have differing worldviews..they will never experience the joys of being an evolutionary biologist or whatnot..and you and I will most likely never experience their level of spiritual bliss (ok I won't, at least...and neither did Mother Teresa for that matter!!! Her last letter to a bishop friend reveals her true thoughts!!!)...and that that is ok. Not something to fight about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    The discussion began due to a questioning of the book, Finding Darwin's God...excerpts from the book seem to have a Creationist leaning. I was going back to that and the arguments brought up earlier.
    The book was written by a prominent champion of teaching evolution in schools and keeping creationism out. It's about how religion and evolution are reconcilable, it's not about advancing creationism at all.

    I'm obviously aware of this, I've written about it just a few days ago. Macroevolution can and does occur, I don't question that. I just wish that we had genetic evidence linking ancient fossils together and forming an accurate family tree all the way to humans.
    I wish we did too. But what does this have to do with the big idea of evolution? Would you consider that evidence against evolution? Doing so is a god of the gaps argument and a typical ID tactic.

    What if some ancient fossils were not related, rather examples of convergent evolution?
    Again, you take this as evidence against evolution? We have living examples of convergent evolution all around us. Fish and aquatic mammals, birds and bats, etc etc. Still these animals came to exist through descent with modification, via natural selection, and in similar environments arrived at similar modifications. What is the problem?

    This was in response to a response to an earlier one of my responses,
    In general I don't see how Mother Theresa and what she did or did not experience relates. Are you trying to say not all creationists are happy? Of course they aren't. Not all evolutionary biologists are happy either. And at the same time there are also plenty of both that are quite happy with how they see the world.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    The book was written by a prominent champion of teaching evolution in schools and keeping creationism out. It's about how religion and evolution are reconcilable, it's not about advancing creationism at all.
    I know, I've seen a video of him on youtube. Some of his arguments toward the end of the book seemed a bit shady to me and seemed a bit of a stretch for him.


    I wish we did too. But what does this have to do with the big idea of evolution? Would you consider that evidence against evolution? Doing so is a god of the gaps argument and a typical ID tactic.
    I'm sorry Paralith, I love ya but I have to roll my eyes. Please do not ever compare me to an ID person. I resent it passionately. I was merely stating that gaps exist...they don't disprove anything, yet bridging gaps sure wouldn't hurt anything either.

    Again, you take this as evidence against evolution? We have living examples of convergent evolution all around us. Fish and aquatic mammals, birds and bats, etc etc. Still these animals came to exist through descent with modification, via natural selection, and in similar environments arrived at similar modifications. What is the problem?
    I am aware that we have living examples of convergent evolution. I'm talking millions of years ago..what about, say, Pakicetus and Indohyus? How can we be certain that they are closely related? Yes they share a similar anatomy. Is that proof enough? This may be ignorance on my own part..I know little about these fossils.


    In general I don't see how Mother Theresa and what she did or did not experience relates. Are you trying to say not all creationists are happy? Of course they aren't. Not all evolutionary biologists are happy either. And at the same time there are also plenty of both that are quite happy with how they see the world.
    It was a sidenote. Not that important.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    I am aware that we have living examples of convergent evolution. I'm talking millions of years ago...
    The examples of convergent evolution I know about are fossil examples. That's a consequence of having studied palaeontology rather than biology. In all the examples I can think of the convergence is one of outer form, not inner structure. The similarity (not identity) of outer form reflects the adaptation to similar (and sometimes identical) environments. How this is achieved is clearly different in different lines, so that the confusion you postulate canot arise.

    Yet I am simply uncertain of the proposed family tree of interrelated species the further back you go in the fossil record.
    It it is OK with you I'd like to give you the same rolled eyes you gave Paralith. (I won't say I love ya. We haven't even been formally introduced.)
    It is this uncertainty that inspires and motivates scientists and those interested in science. If there were certainty then all we have left to us is dry book learning. The uncertainty offers a mystery to be solved, understanding to be nurtured, darkness to be dispelled.
    I am astounded that you would see this uncertainty as a justification for witholding 'approval' of evolution as a fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    I know, I've seen a video of him on youtube. Some of his arguments toward the end of the book seemed a bit shady to me and seemed a bit of a stretch for him.
    Well, I just find it odd that "a bit shady" is enough to send you off into a rant about the creationism vs evolution debate, when really none of that was much going on in the thread to begin with.

    I'm sorry Paralith, I love ya but I have to roll my eyes. Please do not ever compare me to an ID person. I resent it passionately. I was merely stating that gaps exist...they don't disprove anything, yet bridging gaps sure wouldn't hurt anything either.
    Roll your eyes as much as you want. I'm only calling it as I see it - you seem to take issue with what is yet unknown as though it actually counts as evidence against evolution, or at least evidence enough to seriously start to doubt it. Of course having more knowledge is desirable, but at some point we have to come to terms with the fact that some details we may simply never be able to know for certain. We will never be able to get DNA from fossils of animals that died hundreds of millions of years ago. The bone morphology is all we have, period. No evolutionary biologist denies this reality when it comes to debates of evolution vs creationism, because it does not serve as evidence against evolution, even though IDers think it's a valid criticism. If I've completely misunderstood your position then tell me.

    I am aware that we have living examples of convergent evolution. I'm talking millions of years ago..what about, say, Pakicetus and Indohyus? How can we be certain that they are closely related? Yes they share a similar anatomy. Is that proof enough? This may be ignorance on my own part..I know little about these fossils.
    We aren't 100% certain. We have a hypothesis of their relatedness, which is made more likely by their similarities in bone morphology, even more so if there are many similarities across the whole skeleton, even more so if they are less directionally functional similarities making it less likely they are due to functional convergence alone, etc. But the possibility of convergence is hard to rule out, and it may not be possible to rule out completely in every case.

    edit - ah, JohnGalt provided a much better explanation than I did. Thanks.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Abiogenesis isn't uncorrelated to evolution.

    This is because all the lifeforms that didn't undergo evolution only lasted for a short while.

    Hence you could call it abiogenesis of evolutionary lifeforms. Hence I dispute that the two events can be separated unless you are referring to a theoretical possibility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Abiogenesis isn't uncorrelated to evolution.

    This is because all the lifeforms that didn't undergo evolution only lasted for a short while.

    Hence you could call it abiogenesis of evolutionary lifeforms. Hence I dispute that the two events can be separated unless you are referring to a theoretical possibility.
    Not sure if this is the point you are making, but the one I see is a good one:

    It is perhaps a mistake to completely separate abiogenesis from evolution, since there is no clear dividing line between life and non-life. The first forms of "life" were necessarily uncomplicated. I think the separation of the two gives many creationists the impression that abiogenesis is purported to have happened relatively instantaneously, like you have a puddle of mud struck by lightening and 12 minutes later you have fully functional archaea, while in all probability it was a very long chain of events that includes self replicating molecules somewhere along the line.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    I am merely saying that all the life that was formed through what process you may imagine that didn't follow the evolutionary principle of descent with modification only had short life ahead of it on our little planet.

    If you can't evolve you can adapt.

    And that's fine if nothing ever changes, but the minute evolving life developed all life that didn't evolve was fucked.

    That is if it is even technically possible to have non-evolving life. I don't think so.
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    I think that's a good point, that as soon as something alive came to exist it was more or less instantly subject to natural selection. Be able to deal with the environment or die. But the mechanisms are still different when it comes to the formation of that very first life and the evolution/natural selection of that first life. I don't doubt that were hard on each other's heels, though.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    I know, I've seen a video of him on youtube. Some of his arguments toward the end of the book seemed a bit shady to me and seemed a bit of a stretch for him.
    Well, I just find it odd that "a bit shady" is enough to send you off into a rant about the creationism vs evolution debate, when really none of that was much going on in the thread to begin with.

    I'm sorry Paralith, I love ya but I have to roll my eyes. Please do not ever compare me to an ID person. I resent it passionately. I was merely stating that gaps exist...they don't disprove anything, yet bridging gaps sure wouldn't hurt anything either.
    Roll your eyes as much as you want. I'm only calling it as I see it - you seem to take issue with what is yet unknown as though it actually counts as evidence against evolution, or at least evidence enough to seriously start to doubt it. Of course having more knowledge is desirable, but at some point we have to come to terms with the fact that some details we may simply never be able to know for certain. We will never be able to get DNA from fossils of animals that died hundreds of millions of years ago. The bone morphology is all we have, period. No evolutionary biologist denies this reality when it comes to debates of evolution vs creationism, because it does not serve as evidence against evolution, even though IDers think it's a valid criticism. If I've completely misunderstood your position then tell me.

    I am aware that we have living examples of convergent evolution. I'm talking millions of years ago..what about, say, Pakicetus and Indohyus? How can we be certain that they are closely related? Yes they share a similar anatomy. Is that proof enough? This may be ignorance on my own part..I know little about these fossils.
    We aren't 100% certain. We have a hypothesis of their relatedness, which is made more likely by their similarities in bone morphology, even more so if there are many similarities across the whole skeleton, even more so if they are less directionally functional similarities making it less likely they are due to functional convergence alone, etc. But the possibility of convergence is hard to rule out, and it may not be possible to rule out completely in every case.

    edit - ah, JohnGalt provided a much better explanation than I did. Thanks.
    You don't fully understand my position. I don't doubt evolution. I'm curious about some details. I am simply the most skeptical person on earth and will always focus on things with a nagging negativity bias. I will always quietly doubt even well-established ideas. I often doubt historical interpretations because I personally wasn't there..lol...What I was trying to simply point out is that (to put it kindly) we need to stop pandering to Creationists because they are simply incapable of seeing things our way in most instances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I am merely saying that all the life that was formed through what process you may imagine that didn't follow the evolutionary principle of descent with modification only had short life ahead of it on our little planet.
    i'd go even further : i would DEFINE life as any chemistry that exhibits descent with modification
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    reponding from page 4:

    I meant that understanding implies usability, like on understanding ions and magnetic fields one can conceive a device to confine a plasma.

    There was the woman who lived with gorillas, and was even able to manipulate the male a bit using the gestures (possibly scent signals too) of them. She didn't take them out of their setting in any way but put herself in their setting. It is the serialised nature of word sentences that does not facilitate this (or cannot record exactly the how). I think you would need fuzzy logic (with the degree of fuzziness quantified) and animated diagrams to understand it better. This is because the settings would constantly change and interact (food availability, temperature, symbiosis, ecological niches) on the normal time scale. And the major ( ) of the previous sentence would need to be determined for the longer time scale.

    Direct observational data are those aquired with complete knowledge of the errors of the instrument/method. For example it may be that for data aquired with instrument D and used in theory A and data aquired by another instrument (C) are used in theory B, we can only compare/correlate A and B if the instrument C is comparable to D. The data of A is then indirect if their instrument C is better in some way and they cannot conceive of the errors of D i.e. the errors of the earlier instrument is unknown or not documented and the errors affected A unintededly.

    It is possible that we cannot conceive of the errors (mainly things they considered not recordable but which may be important to us) of the ancients. Then taking that as all they knew about is a mistake.

    That was actually ONE essential difference (at the definition).
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    What I was trying to simply point out is that (to put it kindly) we need to stop pandering to Creationists because they are simply incapable of seeing things our way in most instances.
    This I can agree with, but your opening post seemed to be saying the opposite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I am merely saying that all the life that was formed through what process you may imagine that didn't follow the evolutionary principle of descent with modification only had short life ahead of it on our little planet.
    i'd go even further : i would DEFINE life as any chemistry that exhibits descent with modification
    Well, I completely agree with you. So you should go even further to be radical in my eyes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    What I was trying to simply point out is that (to put it kindly) we need to stop pandering to Creationists because they are simply incapable of seeing things our way in most instances.
    This I can agree with, but your opening post seemed to be saying the opposite.
    It was merely highlighting our differences. Creationists are not trying to be the way that they are, they simply are. That was my argument. Likewise, our thoughts and behaviors are hardwired and we can't change our own positions. It gets complicated when you get into the mechanisms behind our thought processes..the circuits, the neural networks that form from repeated experience to stimuli, evolutionary adaptations we probably have that have yet to have been discovered, etc. I was simply saying that what you see isn't always what you get. Haekel's idea that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" (check out his book Natural History of Creation (Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte, in the original German) was questioned (before Shubin found the arc in our hands), for example and now resurrected in a new form known as Evo-Devo. Now we know of Hox genes that exist in all animals and correspond to our body plans. Evolutionary biology has also seen a change in eukaryotic lateral gene transfer making phylogenetic trees more difficult to decipher. My point: NOTHING is obvious or certain. Ever. In any field. What I will say is that some things are more plausible than others, like evolutionary theory.
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    In all the examples I can think of the convergence is one of outer form, not inner structure.
    Can you list some for me? I don't mean this in an obtuse way..I honestly want to learn...
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    Here's a link to an article that may relate to your discussion:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...snt-make-it-so
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Here's a link to an article that may relate to your discussion:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...snt-make-it-so
    No, it doesn't feel right for me. I'm saying for others it does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    It was merely highlighting our differences. Creationists are not trying to be the way that they are, they simply are. That was my argument. Likewise, our thoughts and behaviors are hardwired and we can't change our own positions. It gets complicated when you get into the mechanisms behind our thought processes..the circuits, the neural networks that form from repeated experience to stimuli, evolutionary adaptations we probably have that have yet to have been discovered, etc. I was simply saying that what you see isn't always what you get.
    You're saying we're hardwired from birth to be either a creationist or to accept evolution? I know of no evidence that would lead me to think this is true. The rest of your comments - I don't really understand what you're trying to say.

    Haekel's idea that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" (check out his book Natural History of Creation (Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte, in the original German) was questioned (before Shubin found the arc in our hands), for example and now resurrected in a new form known as Evo-Devo. Now we know of Hox genes that exist in all animals and correspond to our body plans. Evolutionary biology has also seen a change in eukaryotic lateral gene transfer making phylogenetic trees more difficult to decipher. My point: NOTHING is obvious or certain. Ever. In any field. What I will say is that some things are more plausible than others, like evolutionary theory.
    gottspieler, evolutionary biologists don't argue that. It is possible that one day we will find evidence of an organism that did not arise through descent with modification. In the event of that possibility we will have to re-evaluate what we know. But just because that is true doesn't decrease the importance of the fact that in the face of continuous exhaustive research, that big idea of evolution has so far failed to be disproved. Evolution is not just more plausible than other things, it is one of the most plausible and most probable to be true phenomenon that we have ever come to understand in biological science.

    I'm having trouble understanding the point you've been trying to make in this thread. Here you say that creationists simply are what they are and it's impossible to change and there's nothing we can do about it. In earlier posts and in this post you make a big deal about what we don't know yet and how our knowledge has changed over time - it seems to me that you're trying to say it's important that we acknowledge this fact in the evolution-creationism debate, and we do. But why is it important to admit anything if nothing we do can change the viewpoint of a creationist? If it's a well-understood issue amongst scientists and arguing with creationists is pointless anyway, what is the point of everything you've been trying to say here?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    It was merely highlighting our differences. ... .. .............. ........ ............. What I will say is that some things are more plausib le than others, like evolutionary theory.
    This I agree with evem more strongly. I felt, during the sixties and seventies, that biologists were being too glib in their confidence about the mechanisms of evolution. The partial acceptance of at least some aspects of punctuated equilibrium, the promotion by Woese of the importance of gene transfer in prokaryotes, the discovery of hox genes, the emergence of evo-devo, all of the these things confirmed in my mind that my scepticism has been valid. Not a scepticism in evolution, but a scepticism about the precise mechanisms.

    The same scepticism exists for me when I consider abiogenesis. We may well identify pathways and mechanisms which can explain how this occured so relatively quickly. So far we have not done so, yet the same glib confidence is exhibited by many, especially those on the periphery of the field.

    Can you list some for me? I don't mean this in an obtuse way..I honestly want to learn...
    Fish, ichthyosaurs and dolphins all have fins which are used for much the same purpose. They are not derived from the same part of the anatomy.

    The same applies for bird wings and bat wings.
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    You're saying we're hardwired from birth to be either a creationist or to accept evolution? I know of no evidence that would lead me to think this is true.
    I've mentioned this before in several posts. Research temporal lobe epilepsy. "God" apparently resides in the temporal lobes.

    But why is it important to admit anything if nothing we do can change the viewpoint of a creationist? If it's a well-understood issue amongst scientists and arguing with creationists is pointless anyway, what is the point of everything you've been trying to say here?
    I think my point has been pretty clear throughout and I don't understand why you can't understand my simple point. I agree with Mr. Galt's comment:

    biologists were being too glib in their confidence about the mechanisms of evolution
    Some aspects of what we study are as of yet uncertain. I don't appreciate the "know-it-all" attitude of anyone, Creationist, Evolutionary Biologist, Car Salesman, etc...No one here is arguing about the "Big Idea" of evolution, as you put it..the Devil is in the details...I personally think too many people in this world (in every profession I can think of) are self-serving, self-righteous hypocrites...so many people take offense to questioning what today is in vogue as a scientific trend and ignore the fact that history always repeats itself and we will discover that many of our ideas were in fact wrong. I simply think everyone needs to chill out and eat humble pie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    You're saying we're hardwired from birth to be either a creationist or to accept evolution? I know of no evidence that would lead me to think this is true.
    I've mentioned this before in several posts. Research temporal lobe epilepsy. "God" apparently resides in the temporal lobes.
    This is far from providing support for a genetically determined viewpoint when it comes to evolution versus creationism. This only shows that we have a tendency to believe in a god. But it's something that ALL humans share and clearly not all of us are creationists.

    I think my point has been pretty clear throughout and I don't understand why you can't understand my simple point. I agree with Mr. Galt's comment:

    biologists were being too glib in their confidence about the mechanisms of evolution
    Some aspects of what we study are as of yet uncertain. I don't appreciate the "know-it-all" attitude of anyone, Creationist, Evolutionary Biologist, Car Salesman, etc...No one here is arguing about the "Big Idea" of evolution, as you put it..the Devil is in the details...I personally think too many people in this world (in every profession I can think of) are self-serving, self-righteous hypocrites...so many people take offense to questioning what today is in vogue as a scientific trend and ignore the fact that history always repeats itself and we will discover that many of our ideas were in fact wrong. I simply think everyone needs to chill out and eat humble pie.
    But if, as you seem to believe, creationists can't change their viewpoint, then what will their "eating humble pie" do? Many think evolutionary science is dead wrong and they will continue to teach this to their children and attempt to teach creationism in schools as long as they hold this viewpoint.

    I will admit that I highly dislike it when people begin to refer to scientists as establishment dogmatic bigots. As I've said before scientists are people too and we have our fair share of idiots and bigots as and we can make mistakes as much as any other group of humans would. But the essence of science and scientific research holds at its core the uncertainty of knowledge and a loyalty to the evidence - if the evidence says the knowledge we currently have is wrong then we take it into account and adjust our thinking. All yours and JohnGalt's examples - is the scientific community holding out on these things? Or has the scientific community integrated and moved forward with these new discoveries? Of course there are a few hold outs like the people who originally developed the old ideas, but to cast aspersions on the whole of science is I think a great injustice. I'm glad you both are skeptical as well you should be. But it's not as though you alone are the only ones thinking in this manner. And roll your eyes again if you want, but this is yet another typical ID type of tactic that I've run across many times - to accuse science of working in a way that it doesn't work.

    We don't know it all. We admit that every day. Yet we're treated by many as though we're saying the exact opposite.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    This is far from providing support for a genetically determined viewpoint when it comes to evolution versus creationism. This only shows that we have a tendency to believe in a god. But it's something that ALL humans share and clearly not all of us are creationists.
    It's a start. Yes, all humans could possibly potentially believe in a God or other "higher power", however atheists do not. And many, many people are atheists, whether they chose to admit it or not. I would wager to say over half the population. So although they may have the potential to be stimulated by an electrode or epilepsy to experience God or spirituality, that is not their natural state. There is no evidence at this point that would lead me to believe that this isn't genetically determined. The fact that so many people are atheists (closet or otherwise...I've had two of my own formerly religious friends admit to atheism recently, in fact...) rules out that our brains were wired to not believe by mere chance. There is, therefore, a great chance that it is a genetically determined variable. That or nurture. But if it were nurture, then why do some many people become atheists later in life after years, decades of indoctrination?
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    But if, as you seem to believe, creationists can't change their viewpoint, then what will their "eating humble pie" do? Many think evolutionary science is dead wrong and they will continue to teach this to their children and attempt to teach creationism in schools as long as they hold this viewpoint.
    I simply see religion as a form of culture. It unifies like-minded people and builds communities. However, I agree that if Creationists attempt to keep the teaching of Evolution out of schools, that they need to be put in their place! And I think they have been for the most part. Most schools do teach Evolution today as far as I know. Correct me if I'm mistaken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This is far from providing support for a genetically determined viewpoint when it comes to evolution versus creationism. This only shows that we have a tendency to believe in a god. But it's something that ALL humans share and clearly not all of us are creationists.
    It's a start. Yes, all humans could possibly potentially believe in a God or other "higher power", however atheists do not. And many, many people are atheists, whether they chose to admit it or not. I would wager to say over half the population. So although they may have the potential to be stimulated by an electrode or epilepsy to experience God or spirituality, that is not their natural state. There is no evidence at this point that would lead me to believe that this isn't genetically determined. The fact that so many people are atheists (closet or otherwise...I've had two of my own formerly religious friends admit to atheism recently, in fact...) rules out that our brains were wired to not believe by mere chance. There is, therefore, a great chance that it is a genetically determined variable.
    Having a genetic component to a belief and being pre-set from birth what beliefs you will hold as an adult are two separate issues. Belief systems, like most complex behaviors, are most likely affected by a multitude of genes and a multitude of environmental affects. The presence of a single gene or a single associated trait will at most give you a percentage likelihood that this person may believe one thing or the other, but that is the most it can give you - and that percentage could be very small without information from other related genes and traits.

    Nor is atheism versus religion a firm dividing line. People fall on a wide range of continuums.

    How many atheists in the world?

    Beliefs about evolution in the US in 2007
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    But if, as you seem to believe, creationists can't change their viewpoint, then what will their "eating humble pie" do? Many think evolutionary science is dead wrong and they will continue to teach this to their children and attempt to teach creationism in schools as long as they hold this viewpoint.
    I simply see religion as a form of culture. It unifies like-minded people and builds communities. However, I agree that if Creationists attempt to keep the teaching of Evolution out of schools, that they need to be put in their place! And I think they have been for the most part. Most schools do teach Evolution today as far as I know. Correct me if I'm mistaken.
    Simply a form of culture? What happened to the genetically predetermined beliefs you were talking about in the previous post? Does that only apply to atheists?

    Time spent teaching evolution in US high school biology classes

    Out of a class that lasts for an entire year, only 22% of classes surveyed spend more than a week (5 days) studying human evolution (and 17% of classes surveyed don't cover it at all - mine certainly didn't), and only 36% of classes surveyed spend more than two weeks studying general evolutionary principles, despite the fact that evolution is the major organizing principle for all of biology.

    A quote from the paper:
    Community pressures place significant stress on teachers as they try to teach evolution, stresses that can lead them to de-emphasize, downplay, or ignore the topic.
    Granted, this is just in the states, but it's still a sordid state of affairs. Even when evolution is part of the required school curriculum, angry parents come straight down on the teachers, making it difficult for them to do their jobs.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Having a genetic component to a belief and being pre-set from birth what beliefs you will hold as an adult are two separate issues. Belief systems, like most complex behaviors, are most likely affected by a multitude of genes and a multitude of environmental affects. The presence of a single gene or a single associated trait will at most give you a percentage likelihood that this person may believe one thing or the other, but that is the most it can give you - and that percentage could be very small without information from other related genes and traits.
    It could involve several genes. I don't doubt that. Nurture may also have a role, but not as much as Mother Nature. At least I don't think so. I may study this in the future.

    Nor is atheism versus religion a firm dividing line. People fall on a wide range of continuums.
    That is merely an opinion. I personally think most people either believe or don't. You can't halfway believe something.
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    Simply a form of culture? What happened to the genetically predetermined beliefs you were talking about in the previous post? Does that only apply to atheists?
    I see it as a form of culture. The determinations of Creationists lead them to believe it's something more. You see, I can only expound my own worldview, which is admittedly biased in favor of scientific reasoning.
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    They effectively buried my argument in junk now.

    It should be clear that you would need fuzzy logic to reason scientificly around differences between organisms.

    Some replies above now uses wilfully ignorant premises.
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    talanum, if you believe ignorant statements were made, don't just say so and leave it at that. Explain what you think was ignorant and why.

    I fail completely to see why fuzzy logic is required to understand differences between organisms. Certainly at today's level of technology and knowledge we cannot always be as precise as we would wish, but that is a far cry from a requirement.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    No you don't need to apply fuzzy logic.

    Evolutionary theory is not strictly based on fossils.

    You are ignoring phylogenetics, comparative anatomy, embryology and a slew of other evidence that supports evolutionary theory.

    You're the one who is being wilfully ignorant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    They effectively buried my argument in junk now.

    It should be clear that you would need fuzzy logic to reason scientificly around differences between organisms.

    Some replies above now uses wilfully ignorant premises.
    You can actually measure variation quite precisely. People actually do that. No approximation needed.
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    The willfully ignorant statement: could actually have been in another related post.

    Take your DNA as analogous to a computer program. It certainly is such because it tells the cell how to make proteiens and copy itself.

    Now if you insert a nonsense statement in it (that executes but does nothing to the data and registers of the program and does not alter other instructions) you have essentially the same program, it will just take a few more clock cycles to execute.

    Now you need to have a way of considering two programs as essentially the same. If you have error checking codes that see that your programs get copied (correctly?) this error checking must be fuzzy (or like in sense making determination i.e. logic that looks if there is meaning in a sentence, not if the meaning fits in a whole) in order to allow changes in the copied cell structure.

    If there are many possible places to insert nonsense statements this compounds the problem. You have at least that the progam length is fuzzy while allowing correct operation.

    There could also be other sources of fuzziness like sub program interactions where the parameters need not be exact.

    Fuzzy logic is not like aproximation if the degree of fuzziness is quantified and qualified, it makes exact statements.

    I would like to know how that quantification works. What is it based on?

    Those other evidence could be such evidence of inherited changes (nature taking it's course) but not of the total theory. This statement does not require me to know every detail of the mentioned fields since they do not include building life from replicating molecules (which needs some support mechanismssss). You can start to quantify those by the amount of different proteins in a working cell.

    If you understood these mechanisms, it would have been possible to simulate the whole process (dead to live ecosystem reaching a stable state) on a computer.
    It also matters what isn't there - Tao Te Ching interpreted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    The willfully ignorant statement: could actually have been in another related post.

    Take your DNA as analogous to a computer program. It certainly is such because it tells the cell how to make proteiens and copy itself.

    Now if you insert a nonsense statement in it (that executes but does nothing to the data and registers of the program and does not alter other instructions) you have essentially the same program, it will just take a few more clock cycles to execute.

    Now you need to have a way of considering two programs as essentially the same. If you have error checking codes that see that your programs get copied (correctly?) this error checking must be fuzzy (or like in sense making determination i.e. logic that looks if there is meaning in a sentence, not if the meaning fits in a whole) in order to allow changes in the copied cell structure.

    If there are many possible places to insert nonsense statements this compounds the problem. You have at least that the progam length is fuzzy while allowing correct operation.

    There could also be other sources of fuzziness like sub program interactions where the parameters need not be exact.

    Fuzzy logic is not like aproximation if the degree of fuzziness is quantified and qualified, it makes exact statements.

    I would like to know how that quantification works. What is it based on?

    Those other evidence could be such evidence of inherited changes (nature taking it's course) but not of the total theory. This statement does not require me to know every detail of the mentioned fields since they do not include building life from replicating molecules (which needs some support mechanismssss). You can start to quantify those by the amount of different proteins in a working cell.

    If you understood these mechanisms, it would have been possible to simulate the whole process (dead to live ecosystem reaching a stable state) on a computer.
    DNA isn't a computer program.
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  98. #97  
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    Quote Originally Posted by talanum1
    The willfully ignorant statement: could actually have been in another related post.
    talanum, as a mod I have to insist that if you plan on making accusations about other posters then you need to explain yourself. If it your accusation is actually relevant to the topic of discussion at hand, fine, but allow the accused to defend their position - something they can't do if they don't know what they're accused of. If your accusation is simply that you think the poster him or herself is ignorant, that is a personal attack and not allowed in this forum. If you do not clarify your position either way I will start editing your posts to remove these statements.
    /moderator mode



    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    DNA isn't a computer program.
    Repeated for emphasis. DNA isn't a computer program. Functionally it is similar but the mechanisms are extremely different. When you design a computer that runs on protein interactions, you let me know.

    Now you need to have a way of considering two programs as essentially the same. If you have error checking codes that see that your programs get copied (correctly?) this error checking must be fuzzy (or like in sense making determination i.e. logic that looks if there is meaning in a sentence, not if the meaning fits in a whole) in order to allow changes in the copied cell structure.

    If there are many possible places to insert nonsense statements this compounds the problem. You have at least that the progam length is fuzzy while allowing correct operation.

    There could also be other sources of fuzziness like sub program interactions where the parameters need not be exact.

    Fuzzy logic is not like aproximation if the degree of fuzziness is quantified and qualified, it makes exact statements.
    Perhaps I don't understand you define fuzzy logic, then. But if you mean, are there are predefined rules for how large a genome must be, how long a gene must be, exactly how many errors can occur before a gene's function is severely affected, etc etc - of course there are no hard and fast rules. Especially considering how much the value of a gene's function is dependent on the environment. How is this a valid complaint against evolution, though? That I simply don't see.

    If you understood these mechanisms, it would have been possible to simulate the whole process (dead to live ecosystem reaching a stable state) on a computer.
    Are you a computer programmer, talanum? I ask because I have come across several people, programmers, engineers, physicists, etc - who think they can wade into biology with a few simple principles and somehow help us poor biologists explain all those things we've failed to explain yet. What all these people have in common is that they fail to appreciate the vast complexity of biological systems. To completely simulate every single aspect of a complex organism AND all the environmental factors it could encounter during it's life would require computer power that we simply don't have yet. To do so accurately will require a completeness of knowledge that we simply don't have yet.

    Yet in spite of these facts people who study biological systems are able to model in simulation certain aspects of organisms, specific cellular pathways, certain population genetics processes, the reaction of certain qualities of an ecosystem to specific changes, etc. These models are far from complete and of necessity through our lack of complete knowledge come with some assumptions, yet some of them can do fairly well. In other words: biological system are knowable, quantifiable, and can be modeled - but to ask us to completely and accurately model an entire organism is simply asking for information we don't have yet.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    What is this thread about now?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    What is this thread about now?
    It's about how people will debate endlessly over retarded things that mean nothing to modern day thinking.
    Om mani padme hum

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    It's about understanding how evolution actually happens, which is quite relevant to anything involving biology.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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