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Thread: Evolution is bad science

  1. #101  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    The same goes for evolutionist (or even creationist) claims about evidences they have. They must be put to stringent tests and peer-reviewed and corroborated with as many sources and sciences as possible before they can safely make strong conclusions about the evidences.
    I think both evolutionist and creationist have their fair share of inadequacies in this area.
    This is where we differ. The claims of evolutionists* have been subjected to exactly the stringent tests and the peer reviews and corroboration from multiple sources and disciplines and techniques. This has enable conclusions that vary from weak to very strong indeed. The weak ideas are either discarded, or, with new evidence or improved interpretation, gather in strenght. That is the way science works.
    I could certainly find inadequacies, shortfalls, oversights, mistakes and indeed blatant lies in some evolutionist research. But this is a fraction of the total research and is exposed and rejected in time by other researchers in the field. I simply do not see the same rigorous approach to facts and their analysis from the creationist school as is present in the evolutionist.
    Now you may say I am prejudiced, because I was trained as a geologist. My principal professor was the expert on Carboniferous paleaontolgy. I have looked at the detailed evidence for evolution, I have tramped up and down hillsides collecting fossils, I have studied the subject fairly rigorously. I have entertained some pretty wild ideas in my time, so I don't just 'toe the party line' when it comes to evolution. For me evolutionists have gathered, analysed and assessed the evidence in a rigorous scientific manner with no pre-conceived conclusions in place. Creationists cannot do this. They believe they already know the underlying answer - God did it. That can never, in my estimation, be science.

    *I don't like the term evolutionist, although I concede it can be convenient in discussion suchs as this. I have never known any scientist to ever declare themselves to be an evolutionist, except in debates with creationists. It is simply unecessary. The fact of evolution is absolute. The only possible meaningful debate is over its mechanism.

    By the way Starnamer, I lived in Singapore for six years in the 1970s. My wife is Singaporean and my son was born there.
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  2. #102  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    This is where we differ. The claims of evolutionists* have been subjected to exactly the stringent tests and the peer reviews and corroboration from multiple sources and disciplines and techniques. This has enable conclusions that vary from weak to very strong indeed. The weak ideas are either discarded, or, with new evidence or improved interpretation, gather in strenght. That is the way science works.
    I could certainly find inadequacies, shortfalls, oversights, mistakes and indeed blatant lies in some evolutionist research. But this is a fraction of the total research and is exposed and rejected in time by other researchers in the field. I simply do not see the same rigorous approach to facts and their analysis from the creationist school as is present in the evolutionist.
    Well, at least you are honest enough to admit there are inadequacies in the evolutionism field but are these inadequacies mentioned in the school textbooks? If they are already mentioned, then that's fine. If not, I would feel that they should be there.

    Here's a wiki on creationism.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism

    Again, as a sidetrack, if we really want to be precise and scientific, we need to verify the validity of this (and all other) wiki
    - Who wrote this wiki?
    - Has the person(s) wrote this with a neutral and objective viewpoint.
    - Is the information correct and accurate?
    - etc.

    Anyway, that is out of the discussion. For now, we assume the wiki to be reliable.

    From the definition, I guess I had to agree with you that creationist approach probably isn't that scientific. It is mainly based on a literal interpretation of Genesis, which I have previously mentioned that such an approach might not work out unless they managed to solidly prove against many of the current evidences.

    Here's a quote from the wiki.

    There is a fundamental difference between the scientific approach and the approach used by creationist advocates. The scientific approach uses the scientific method as a means of discovering information about the natural world. Scientists use observations, hypotheses and deductions to propose explanations for natural phenomena in the form of theories. Predictions from these theories are tested by experiment. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. This is a meritocratic form of systematic enquiry, where the best ideas supported by evidence and positive experimental results survive. Science does not seek answers that fit a certain pre-determined conclusion, but rather works to construct viable, testable, and provable theories based on a solid evidential foundation. Creationism works in the opposite direction: creating the conclusion first and working backwards to 'discover' corresponding evidence. This is fundamentally unscientific, and a hallmark of pseudoscience.
    I would pretty much agree the science definition here. It should be lead by evidence without any preconceived notions. Right, in a sense, creationist's approach needs to be revised if they really want to make a solid foothold in the scientific community. On the other hand, can we confidently say that today's scientists are truly objective without preconceived notions?

    Take for example the transitional fossil articles by Kathleen Hunt. Frankly speaking, I haven't seriously read it all through. Just probably the introduction. Too long. To me, she sounded so sure that these are indeed the transitional fossils. The tone of the articles is pretty one-sided towards evolutionism. Is that really scientific?

    Maybe she should also have a section on:
    - The list of all other possible explanations (including creationism) for the fossils.
    - How she tried to scientifically eliminate the possibilities that the fossils are not really transitionals, which in turn proves that they are indeed transitionals.

    Probably the above is not a good example but hope you get the idea.

    Same thing for the organic materials found on comet tempel. It seems to me that many scientist made a quick conclusion that Earth's life was seeded by comets. Why not other possibilities? Again, if they have seriously considered other possibilities, then that's good.

    Now you may say I am prejudiced, because I was trained as a geologist. My principal professor was the expert on Carboniferous paleaontolgy. I have looked at the detailed evidence for evolution, I have tramped up and down hillsides collecting fossils, I have studied the subject fairly rigorously. I have entertained some pretty wild ideas in my time, so I don't just 'toe the party line' when it comes to evolution. For me evolutionists have gathered, analysed and assessed the evidence in a rigorous scientific manner with no pre-conceived conclusions in place. Creationists cannot do this. They believe they already know the underlying answer - God did it. That can never, in my estimation, be science.

    *I don't like the term evolutionist, although I concede it can be convenient in discussion suchs as this. I have never known any scientist to ever declare themselves to be an evolutionist, except in debates with creationists. It is simply unecessary. The fact of evolution is absolute. The only possible meaningful debate is over its mechanism.
    I do have to admit that evolution is the current dominion theory. But to label it as absolute fact is already unscientific. It is like saying, "That is the way things happened. No doubt about it.". Doesn't it sounds much like creationist who argued that "God did it. No doubt about it.". Scientists (or evolutionist) today are putting evolution in an position that cannot be disputed. A fact. Isn't that unscientific.

    By the way Starnamer, I lived in Singapore for six years in the 1970s. My wife is Singaporean and my son was born there.
    For once I thought you are a female because J used to call you "girl". I must have misunderstood him. That's interesting to know that you are related to my country in a certain way.
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  3. #103  
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    By the way, the thing about science specifically puts God out of the process due to its theorems and whatever premises, is in a way closing all possibilities from the God perspective.

    It is like saying, "God cannot be tested, measured, or whatever, so God cannot be in science. Since that is so, all my interpretations of evidences must be pure naturally and without God."

    "What if" the answers do lie in the realm of God? Wouldn't that mean scientists will never be able to get those answers? They will be forced to tweak the interpretations to fit the no-God premise since God cannot be in science.

    Now is that scientific since one is not able to explore all possibilities for an evidence because of this premise?

    Just a quick thought.
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  4. #104  
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    I'm just going to dip into a couple of your points.
    You say, "Well, at least you are honest enough to admit there are inadequacies in the evolutionism field but are these inadequacies mentioned in the school textbooks?"
    Schooltextbooks perhaps not. They must necessarily simplify a complex subject. University level textbooks, very definitely. (If you find one that doesn't then you have simply found a third rate textbook.)

    You say, "On the other hand, can we confidently say that today's scientists are truly objective without preconceived notions?"
    This is an important point. I want to make what I feel is a very important distinction between science and scientists. Science is always objective, probing, unprejudiced, guided by the facts, ready to overturn hypotheses that are shown to be invalid. Scientists, on the other hand, are only human. Of course, some scientists, much of the time, and most scientists, some of the time, will not be objective. They will pursue 'beliefs'. Clearly, this is unscientific, but this is exactly where peer review and requirement for testable hypotheses, ect come to science's aid. The arguments of these scientists will sooner or later be consigned to the scrapheap.

    You say, " But to label it as absolute fact is already unscientific."
    I do disagree here. Evolution is a fact. The current definition of evolution speaks of changes in the allele frequency in a population over time. This has been observed in so many species, under so many circumstances that it simply is not up for debate. Even the creationists have accepted the overwhelming evidence for this.
    There is, by implication, an equal or greater body of evidence in the fossil record of the same processes at work. The only way this can be debated is to postulate that God created a world in which the sequence of sedimentary strata and the evident changes in the fossils they contain was placed their in a single supernatural act. I wont rule that out, but I also see no scientific way to investiagte that alternative. I ascribe to the pragmatic view that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has a bill, feathers and webbed feet, it may very well be a duck, and at the vert least is a close relative.
    To repeat the fact of evolution cannot be disputed. The mechanism of evolution is open to discussion, and here there are many interesting possibilities. My personal view is that there is some important mechanism involved with evolution that enables the diversity it is capable of producing. This suspicion is a mere speculation: not a theory, not even a hypothesis. As such I have no particular evidence to offer in favour of the idea. About 1/5 or less of the objections to evolution that creationists produce actually have any merit at all. [I hope you don't try to pin me down on that figure. It would be a lot of work to actually demonstrate it!] Those 1/5 or less 'weaknesses' the creationists have identified, would, I propose be explained by this 'missing' mechanism. In general, however, the creationists are far less effective at identifying such weaknesses than those involved directly in the research.

    Several persons have incorrectly identified me a female. Something about the 'ite' ending in my pseudonym perhaps.
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  5. #105  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I'm just going to dip into a couple of your points.
    You say, "Well, at least you are honest enough to admit there are inadequacies in the evolutionism field but are these inadequacies mentioned in the school textbooks?"
    Schooltextbooks perhaps not. They must necessarily simplify a complex subject. University level textbooks, very definitely. (If you find one that doesn't then you have simply found a third rate textbook.)
    Well, that's why there is a debate going on there. They wanted the information in school textbooks as well. Simplification is necessary but at least they must try to include such important information somewhere like a page or section. If not, the students might have a false impression that everything is fine.

    You say, "On the other hand, can we confidently say that today's scientists are truly objective without preconceived notions?"
    This is an important point. I want to make what I feel is a very important distinction between science and scientists. Science is always objective, probing, unprejudiced, guided by the facts, ready to overturn hypotheses that are shown to be invalid. Scientists, on the other hand, are only human. Of course, some scientists, much of the time, and most scientists, some of the time, will not be objective. They will pursue 'beliefs'. Clearly, this is unscientific, but this is exactly where peer review and requirement for testable hypotheses, ect come to science's aid. The arguments of these scientists will sooner or later be consigned to the scrapheap.
    Yes. Agree. Science itself is as what you have said. It is the scientists that may make mistakes.

    You say, " But to label it as absolute fact is already unscientific."
    I do disagree here. Evolution is a fact. The current definition of evolution speaks of changes in the allele frequency in a population over time. This has been observed in so many species, under so many circumstances that it simply is not up for debate. Even the creationists have accepted the overwhelming evidence for this.

    There is, by implication, an equal or greater body of evidence in the fossil record of the same processes at work. The only way this can be debated is to postulate that God created a world in which the sequence of sedimentary strata and the evident changes in the fossils they contain was placed their in a single supernatural act. I wont rule that out, but I also see no scientific way to investiagte that alternative. I ascribe to the pragmatic view that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has a bill, feathers and webbed feet, it may very well be a duck, and at the vert least is a close relative.
    I still feel that the word "fact" probably isn't that suitable. It is too strong a word to use when there are still many areas that scientists need to look into. There are still plenty of room for questions. I can accept Gravity as a fact, but not evolution.

    If Einstein didn't challenge the well accepted "fact" about space and time at that time, he wouldn't have discovered relativity. If scientists didn't challenge Einstein's views on quantum theory, there will not have been more developments on it.

    To repeat the fact of evolution cannot be disputed. The mechanism of evolution is open to discussion, and here there are many interesting possibilities. My personal view is that there is some important mechanism involved with evolution that enables the diversity it is capable of producing. This suspicion is a mere speculation: not a theory, not even a hypothesis. As such I have no particular evidence to offer in favour of the idea. About 1/5 or less of the objections to evolution that creationists produce actually have any merit at all. [I hope you don't try to pin me down on that figure. It would be a lot of work to actually demonstrate it!] Those 1/5 or less 'weaknesses' the creationists have identified, would, I propose be explained by this 'missing' mechanism. In general, however, the creationists are far less effective at identifying such weaknesses than those involved directly in the research.
    So, to seal evolution as a "fact" is to me unscientific and dogmatic. There is a sense of unopenness to see things otherwise and explore other possibilities.

    I was thinking maybe creationists are not given enough opportunities to develop their theories. Partly their approach may need revision. Partly, they need to gain access to more data. Since they are not considered as mainstream science, they cannot access important archeological sites. Is that true? I am just speculating.
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  6. #106  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    Well, that's why there is a debate going on there. They wanted the information in school textbooks as well. Simplification is necessary but at least they must try to include such important information somewhere like a page or section. If not, the students might have a false impression that everything is fine.
    From memory any school text books I have read have addressed in some form or other the character of scientific research and the way in which hypotheses are established, tested and amended. Implicitly and explicitly this covers the uncertainties that will exist at the frontiers of any science. That is, frankly, as far as any textbook should go in this matter - unless it is appropriate to have a paragraph or two in the preface of every Bible stating "There is no proof for the existence of God. Many scientists consider religion to be nothing more than primitive, superstitious mumb-jumbo."
    Not a good idea. Science and religion are separate. I am as opposed to scientists, mistakenly, claiming God does not exist, as I am to fundamentalist Christian's claiming God made the world in six days and evolution does not exist. I am a devout agnostic: which is to say I take my uncertainty very seriously.
    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    I still feel that the word "fact" probably isn't that suitable. It is too strong a word to use when there are still many areas that scientists need to look into. There are still plenty of room for questions. I can accept Gravity as a fact, but not evolution.
    We have absolutely no idea what causes gravity. (Where is that Higgs boson when you really need it?) There is as much evidence for evolution as there is for gravity. With respect I suggest it is because the evidence for one is slightly more obvious than the evidence for the other. When you look closely, however, the evidence for evolution is so thorough, so absolute that to fail to call evolution a fact, is to ignore a billion observations and discard the very principles of science. The theory of evolution deals with how this observed fact has come about. The mechanisms for this are also clearly established by detailed, repeated observation and experiment. The only doubts lie, as they always must, at the edges o our understanding.
    But just as we do not say, "I do not know what causes gravity so I do not accept it as a fact", so we should not say, for example "I do not know to what extent the lacunae in the fossil record represent failures of preservation or instances of punctuated evolution, therefore evolution does not exist."
    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    I was thinking maybe creationists are not given enough opportunities to develop their theories. Partly their approach may need revision. Partly, they need to gain access to more data. Since they are not considered as mainstream science, they cannot access important archeological sites. Is that true? I am just speculating.
    Here is the difference between science and creationism: both start with an assumption, but science is ready to abandon any assumption if it does not fit the facts. The history of science is replete with assumptions that have been subsequently abandoned. Creationists are not prepared to abandon their primary assumption that God created the world in six days. No matter how many facts may run counter to that. They use scientific methods only to support their assumption, not to invetigate their assumption. That means what they are practicing is not science. It is not science and frankly it is not religion either.
    You are approaching this topic with an open mindedness that is commendable. You are being infinitely more reasonable in what you are prepared to consider thant the Creationists. It seems you would like to fit the two parties together in some form of amicable agreement. That is simply not possible, for, as noted above, Creationism is unscientific. To become scientific it would have to abandon its central tenet that makes it Creationism.
    Religion and science are perfectly compatible, for they are different ways of looking at different aspects of the Universe. Several great scientists have also been deeply religious men, even priests. Creationism itself is a religious dead end that would not be given the time of day in any serious theological discussion. It continues today because of the chance association between the materially wealthy US and the preponderance of religious fundamentalism in that country.
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  7. #107  
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    What he said.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    It seems you would like to fit the two parties together in some form of amicable agreement. That is simply not possible, for, as noted above, Creationism is unscientific. To become scientific it would have to abandon its central tenet that makes it Creationism. [emphasis added]
    Religion and science are perfectly compatible, for they are different ways of looking at different aspects of the Universe.
    We are discussioning Creationism as a belief system that:
    1. does not accept certain widely accepted scientific theories, such as evolution;

    2. does not accept scientific methodology ['God could have created the earth to look older than it is'];

    3. wants religious beliefs included in textbooks.

    Belief in a Creator and understanding of scientific principles and theories can fit together in 'amicable agreement', if each system does not encroach on the domain of the other.

    There is no conflict.

    As whether one should call evolution a 'fact', Creationists will refer to evolution as 'only a theory' [using deinition 6.], forcing scientists to give up on the scientific use of the term [see definition 1]:

    1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
    ...
    6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
    [American Heritage, 4th ed., online]

    However, if you want to discuss the abyssmal scientific education most schoolchildren get, I am on StarNamer's side. In my experience, school children are expected to believe scientific theories; little time is given to the evidence and the proofs.
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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  8. #108 An aside 
    j
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    ... I thought you are a female because J used to call you "girl". I must have misunderstood him. ...
    I should explain; 'You go, girl' is an idiom is common use in the U.S., that expresses approval and encouragement, particulary for an action or course of action requiring determination, resolve, and a willingness 'to kick ass and take names'; it is most commonly addressed to women.

    I, however, enjoy using irrespective of a person's gender. Men are startled, but then take it as a compliment coming from a women. [I suspect they might dislike it coming from another man.]

    I always think Ophiolite is a woman, because of the unfailing logic, reason, and patience evinced in his posts.
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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  9. #109 Re: An aside 
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    [quote="j"]
    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    I always think Ophiolite is a woman, because of the unfailing logic, reason, and patience evinced in his posts.
    And as a male I cannot, of course, find any fault in such a perceptive observation. :wink:
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  10. #110  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    From memory any school text books I have read have addressed in some form or other the character of scientific research and the way in which hypotheses are established, tested and amended. Implicitly and explicitly this covers the uncertainties that will exist at the frontiers of any science. That is, frankly, as far as any textbook should go in this matter - unless it is appropriate to have a paragraph or two in the preface of every Bible stating "There is no proof for the existence of God. Many scientists consider religion to be nothing more than primitive, superstitious mumb-jumbo."

    Not a good idea. Science and religion are separate. I am as opposed to scientists, mistakenly, claiming God does not exist, as I am to fundamentalist Christian's claiming God made the world in six days and evolution does not exist. I am a devout agnostic: which is to say I take my uncertainty very seriously.
    Yes. The science textbooks for Singapore's schools do have introductory chapters on science, empirical methodology, proper attitudes of scientists, etc.

    And yes. Although I believe that science and religion are compatible in certain areas, religion is different in a sense that it has a "premise" or belief that God exist. So, it doesn't make religious sense to put a disclaimer statement in the bible. On the other hand, science requires evidence, premises, proofs, etc. It is "skeptical" and questions everything.

    We have absolutely no idea what causes gravity. (Where is that Higgs boson when you really need it?) There is as much evidence for evolution as there is for gravity. With respect I suggest it is because the evidence for one is slightly more obvious than the evidence for the other.

    When you look closely, however, the evidence for evolution is so thorough, so absolute that to fail to call evolution a fact, is to ignore a billion observations and discard the very principles of science. The theory of evolution deals with how this observed fact has come about. The mechanisms for this are also clearly established by detailed, repeated observation and experiment. The only doubts lie, as they always must, at the edges o our understanding.

    But just as we do not say, "I do not know what causes gravity so I do not accept it as a fact", so we should not say, for example "I do not know to what extent the lacunae in the fossil record represent failures of preservation or instances of punctuated evolution, therefore evolution does not exist."
    True. We accept gravity as a fact or law even when we don't know its internal mechanism. If one really wants to be skeptical (or scientific), he must even be daring to ask the following bizarre questions:
    - Is there actually no gravity?
    - Does gravity actually works in another bizarre way contrary to what we thought?

    I may be stretching things a bit too far but I think scientists are supposed to be curious, skeptical, open to all possibilities, ever questioning, etc.

    You used the words "thorough", "absolute" and "fact". If I were a full-time scientists working in the related field, I will not take you word by face value. I will require you to qualify every claim that you make with solid evidences, documents, facts, etc. And I will attempt to rebuke each and every claim to make sure that your "absolute" is really "absolute". But since that will flood the thread and tire ourselves out, let's not get into this.

    But I just like you to really think through about those words. Are the evidences really that thorough and absolute such that evolution is a hard fact? Take a look at the endless debates and arguments about evolution and you will know probably there are still lots of areas to be explored and ironed out. The recent concept of irreducible complexity has yet uncovered another important area which scientists cannot yet answer.

    Maybe I will just post a simple example. Yes, it may not be a good and accurate one and one may say I am attacking evolution but I feel that it is pretty legitimate to post doubts and questions about a scientific theory. Anyway, here goes.

    Did Darwin explore all alternatives scientifically possible before he reach the conclusion that the species must have evolved? ie did he look at the following things like (Maybe the last 2 is not scientific at that time since they involved God):
    - there is evolution
    - there is no evolution
    - there is creation
    - there is no creation

    Did he exhausted all his experiments, calculations, hypotheses, questions, proofs, etc before he finally reach a conclusion that there had to be evolution? Are there evidences to disprove that "there is no evolution"? If not, why were Darwin and the scientists not looking into these options too? Where are the papers which show that Darwin had scientifically and empirically nullify or tested the "no evolution" branch? If there are, I would appreciate that someone show us.

    Same goes for DNA. Why is it that similarities in DNA between 2 species must mean that one evolved from the other?

    Has anyone disprove these hypotheses:
    - DNA similarities does not mean evolution.
    - DNA similarities suggest these 2 species are of the same lifeform blueprint. (I replaced the word "created" to leave God out first)

    If yes, please give a couple of authoritative links to show them. If not, why aren't the scientists exploring these alternatives?

    Unless someone shows us the research work done to explore those unexplored branches, I would say Darwin's work isn't scientific enough. If there are, then I would accept that.

    Here is the difference between science and creationism: both start with an assumption, but science is ready to abandon any assumption if it does not fit the facts. The history of science is replete with assumptions that have been subsequently abandoned. Creationists are not prepared to abandon their primary assumption that God created the world in six days. No matter how many facts may run counter to that. They use scientific methods only to support their assumption, not to invetigate their assumption. That means what they are practicing is not science. It is not science and frankly it is not religion either.

    You are approaching this topic with an open mindedness that is commendable. You are being infinitely more reasonable in what you are prepared to consider thant the Creationists. It seems you would like to fit the two parties together in some form of amicable agreement. That is simply not possible, for, as noted above, Creationism is unscientific. To become scientific it would have to abandon its central tenet that makes it Creationism.
    Holding on to a 6-day thing doesn't mean they are unscientific. If they have exhausted all experiments, possibilities, explanations, theories, evidences and failed to prove the 6-day thing and they still hold on to it, then they are unscientific. Have they reach this stage? I am not sure. Maybe, maybe not.

    Creationism is in general "science of creation". It does not limit itself to just a 6-day theory. It can generally mean how God created the universe in scientific sense. If the steps are carried out in a scientific manner, creationism can be scientific.

    To add, for the creationists to be truly scientific, they have to go through the same healthy skeptism. ie they have to test all branches, alternatives, etc. They might even have to test the "there is no God involved" branches against their own theories or look into evolution, test them all before concluding.

    Not that they are being unbelieving or blasphemous but in the attitude of objectivity and seeking truth. If God is really the creator, I believe, one by one, those "no God" branches will fail leaving only the ones pointing to God. When they have done that, their theories will be very solid and convincing.
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  11. #111  
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    What he said.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    It seems you would like to fit the two parties together in some form of amicable agreement. That is simply not possible, for, as noted above, Creationism is unscientific. To become scientific it would have to abandon its central tenet that makes it Creationism. [emphasis added]
    Religion and science are perfectly compatible, for they are different ways of looking at different aspects of the Universe.
    We are discussioning Creationism as a belief system that:
    1. does not accept certain widely accepted scientific theories, such as evolution;

    2. does not accept scientific methodology ['God could have created the earth to look older than it is'];

    3. wants religious beliefs included in textbooks.

    Belief in a Creator and understanding of scientific principles and theories can fit together in 'amicable agreement', if each system does not encroach on the domain of the other.

    There is no conflict.
    By the way, I have edited my previous "long" post just in case you people missed out some new points there.

    I was thinking more in the general sense of creationism. Not in the 3 specific points above pointed by J. So if I were to see creationism in this viewpoint, ok, yes, it is not scientific. For point (1), I did not totally rule out evolution but to combine evolution with creationism (or God) would be a totally different and very "big" thing. Lots of work to be done there. Success or failure? I am not sure.

    For point (2), there is sub branch of creationism called Old earth creationism. They seem to accept the current scientific theories more. For point (3), I am not sure how people can really separate science and religion properly. Maybe there is a way? I have mentioned a couple of possibilities before but they might not work.

    As whether one should call evolution a 'fact', Creationists will refer to evolution as 'only a theory' [using deinition 6.], forcing scientists to give up on the scientific use of the term [see definition 1]:

    1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
    ...
    6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
    [American Heritage, 4th ed., online]
    I believe Ophiolite means definition (1). Again, back to my same skeptism about how thorough and absolute were those principles or theories tested. Did the scientists really test "all" branches and alternatives?

    However, if you want to discuss the abyssmal scientific education most schoolchildren get, I am on StarNamer's side. In my experience, school children are expected to believe scientific theories; little time is given to the evidence and the proofs.
    Maybe there isn't much room to put in those stuff into a small textbook. But maybe a few short and important ones there might be sufficient.
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    I set out the three points to clearly define the upper-case-C Creationism with which scientific methodology and teaching is in conflict. This conflict is not between religion and science in general; in fact, I find the religious instinct and the scientific instinct very similar. I think they may be one.

    As for
    Quote Originally Posted by Starnamer
    I am not sure how people can really separate science and religion properly. Maybe there is a way?
    An individual need not; one can see God science; one can be in awe of the elegance and complexity of the universe without a belief in God. What one should not do is deny scientific evidence on the basic of very old, poorly preserved, and mistranslated texts from [what I view as] as single religious movement. I can only repeat my considered opinion that science has no business with God.

    In defense of Darwin:
    Darwin was a 19th century naturalist; as scientist do today, he made logical inferences from his observations, but the technology with which his observations were made was far more limited. Furthermore, all inferences are effected by cultural expectations; Darwin read Malthus; he also studied for the ministry.

    With improvements in measuring systems, rigorous adherence to measuring definable parameters, and acknowledgment of the possiblity of cultural bias in designing experiments and interpreting results, science has advanced greatly since Darwin's time.

    The separation of church and science is an important element in identifying and eliminating the effect of cultural bias. This does not contradict my earlier point about an individual scientist holding religious beliefs.

    I think we would need a long discussion of historical scientific practices to truly appreciate Darwin's work. We would also need a long discussion on the widely held social and economic theories of his time to fully understand it. No discipline exists in a vaccuum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    I set out the three points to clearly define the upper-case-C Creationism with which scientific methodology and teaching is in conflict. This conflict is not between religion and science in general; in fact, I find the religious instinct and the scientific instinct very similar. I think they may be one.
    Let me rephrase what I have mentioned previously in respond to your 3 points below.

    We are discussioning Creationism as a belief system that:
    1. does not accept certain widely accepted scientific theories, such as evolution;

    2. does not accept scientific methodology ['God could have created the earth to look older than it is'];

    3. wants religious beliefs included in textbooks.
    (1) I do not think that challenging or not accepting widely accepted scientific theories is wrong in general. One needs to put forth their arguments why they challenge those theories. If their arguments or hypotheses have not been scientifically falsified, then the science community cannot deny them, even if the hypotheses might seem absurd or very impossible. Some may argue that Creationism (since you mentioned that capital C thing) puts God into the picture and that means their theories cannot be falsified. I think scientists can still work on nullifying their theories based on the science (and not God) portion.

    As mentioned before, if they held on to those theories even after they are scientifically and conclusively nullified, then I think they are not being scientific and maybe that isn't what God is looking for too. God is truthful and He will desire His people to be truthful too.

    (2) Actually I didn't quite get what you meant by this statement especially when you add that last part about God there. Anyway, I believe God is truthful and does not lie. He will not create something to make it "look" old but in actual fact it is young and want people to believe it is young. So, if the universe is irrevocably old, then the creationist might have to drop their 6-day thing and take another look, unless there are things we have seriously overlooked that did not actually violate God's truthfulness. That I am not sure.

    As for scientific methodolgy, if creationists are really not employing them properly, maybe they should start doing so. But since I am not sure what stage are the creationists at, I think I better not make too many comments whether their research is scientific or not. Let science be the judge.

    (3) Again, it is a big topic on how to settle this issue. If creationists do succeed in getting scientific theories out, they will need to have a way to fit their theories into the textbooks yet maintain clear separation of religion and science. The same problem goes for theistic evolution.

    As for
    Quote Originally Posted by Starnamer
    I am not sure how people can really separate science and religion properly. Maybe there is a way?
    An individual need not; one can see God science; one can be in awe of the elegance and complexity of the universe without a belief in God. What one should not do is deny scientific evidence on the basic of very old, poorly preserved, and mistranslated texts from [what I view as] as single religious movement. I can only repeat my considered opinion that science has no business with God.
    I think "misinterpreted" text would be more appropriate. The bible translation process as far as I know is pretty stringent. The error rates are very low. It is the human interpretation of the scriptures that can go wrong. But that doesn't mean the creationists have truly misinterpreted the text. I dare not make that statement. Well, I would also repeat my opinion - Science has business with God and the implications on us can be very big.

    In defense of Darwin:
    Darwin was a 19th century naturalist; as scientist do today, he made logical inferences from his observations, but the technology with which his observations were made was far more limited. Furthermore, all inferences are effected by cultural expectations; Darwin read Malthus; he also studied for the ministry.

    With improvements in measuring systems, rigorous adherence to measuring definable parameters, and acknowledgment of the possiblity of cultural bias in designing experiments and interpreting results, science has advanced greatly since Darwin's time.

    The separation of church and science is an important element in identifying and eliminating the effect of cultural bias. This does not contradict my earlier point about an individual scientist holding religious beliefs.

    I think we would need a long discussion of historical scientific practices to truly appreciate Darwin's work. We would also need a long discussion on the widely held social and economic theories of his time to fully understand it. No discipline exists in a vaccuum.
    Scientific methodology has little to do with technology. It is a process, mindset, etc regardless of the technological limitations. Darwin did not need to learn advanced radiometric dating techniques to analyse that there are actually 2 possible alternatives to the similarities of fossils - evolution and no evolution (note that "no evolution" does not involve God yet). I would say it is more of logical analysis. Or in another example, "common ancestor vs not common ancestor (probably common blueprint)".

    Even if one argues that technology is indeed required, why is it that with today's advanced sciences, why didn't those scientists went back to the unexplored branches to check them out so as to complete the analysis?

    These alternatives or unexplored branches are not minor stuff or "nice-to-have" options that have little effects on anything. I would dare say that:

    They are fundamental concepts or issues that can reshape the whole scientific community in many aspects that evolution has influenced today.

    With such big implications, don't the scientists think they ought to seriously take a look at them if they really want to seek the truth?

    I do not discredit Darwin's work totally. I simply think that we only saw half the picture and the community ought to take a closer look at this half. Note that one can still put God out of the picture while looking at this half.
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    These three points of mine are starting to annoy me.

    Quote Originally Posted by j
    We are discussioning Creationism as a belief system that:
    1. does not accept certain widely accepted scientific theories, such as evolution;
    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    (1) I do not think that challenging or not accepting widely accepted scientific theories is wrong in general. ... God is truthful and He will desire His people to be truthful too. [cropped to save space]
    So, we are on the same page here, I think; challenging a current theory with rigorous scientific inquiry differs from flatly refusing to accept it.

    Quote Originally Posted by j
    2. does not accept scientific methodology ['God could have created the earth to look older than it is'];
    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    (2) Actually I didn't quite get what you meant by this statement especially when you add that last part about God there... So, if the universe is irrevocably old, then the creationist might have to drop their 6-day thing and take another look, ...
    Same page there; sorry if my post was unclear.
    Quote Originally Posted by j
    3. wants religious beliefs included in textbooks.
    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    (3) ... they will need to have a way to fit their theories into the textbooks yet maintain clear separation of religion and science. ...
    My position is that this is impossible by definition; but I don't think discussion it is getting us anywhere. This is such a fundamental difference, I just want to drop it for a while.

    And so, on to the interesting stuff:

    RE: Darwin
    My point about Darwin and technology is that Darwin was theorizing from phenotypical variation only; Darwin could not define evolution as changes in allele frequency because the mechanism of inheritence had not been discovered. Furthermore, I submit that the inferences he drew from his observations were influenced by the prevailing economic and religious beliefs of his culture.

    So we might agree that Darwin saw only half the picture, but disagree over which half was missing.

    RE: Common ancestor v. common 'blueprint'
    Not "versus" , but "and"; parallel evolution.

    As a chemist, I am not up on current studies being done to advance and refine evolutionary theory. Maybe someone has done DNA analysis of Darwin's finches, although, frankly, I don't see the point; Darwin was dealing with phenotypical variation and modern evolutionary theory deals with genotypical variation and the corresponding phenotypical variation. No-one is researching Aristotle's theories of atom, either.



    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    They are fundamental concepts or issues that can reshape the whole scientific community in many aspects that evolution has influenced today.
    This seems to be what you really want to discuss; would you be so kind as to give me the post # where you have laid them out? Eight pages is a lot to scroll through.

    But I am not be able to discuss them with authority; I am a chemist, not a biologist, geologist, or physicist [now, there's a field whose place in evolution seems to be widley ignored]

    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    I think "misinterpreted" text would be more appropriate. The bible translation process as far as I know is pretty stringent. The error rates are very low.
    This is an extremely important point. I know a little bit about classical scholarship.

    I do realize that this is the first time the issue has been raised in this post, and that the translations of the Bible with which we are familiar may be different. Furthermore, we must alway remain aware of the cultural and language differences between us [not that I mean to imply that your English is poor, or even only adequate; your command of the language is enviable].

    So, I would need to know what translation of the Bible you are familiar with; the Bible that many reference is the King James.

    I stand by my use of the word 'mistranslated'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    However, if you want to discuss the abyssmal scientific education most schoolchildren get, I am on StarNamer's side. In my experience, school children are expected to believe scientific theories; little time is given to the evidence and the proofs.
    I cannot comment on current teaching methods. My own recollection, which is somewhat dim (I went to school in the late Jurassic), is that evidence, proof and the scientific method were central to the teaching of science. That said the scientific controversies were not dealt with. This, to me, is proper. Science at this stage is about learning the basics - like understanding the alphabet when you learn to read.
    And Starnamer, the point that seems to be eluding you in your otherwise open minded thinking, is that evolution is not controversial. The fact of evolution is not controversial, the broad mechanisms of evolution are not controversial. It is only in some detailed areas where controversy, the very lifeblood of science, is to be found. The controversy over evolution as a fact is coming almost entirely from non scientists. There is simply no obligation on scientists to consider unscientific concerns expressed by non-scientists. The creationist school is large and potent in the states - it is consigned to the same status as palm reading in Europe.

    Starnamer, you said "I think I better not make too many comments whether their research is scientific or not. Let science be the judge." Science has judged. The judgement is not favourable. (That is a euphemism.)

    You also asked "Did Darwin explore all alternatives scientifically possible before he reach the conclusion that the species must have evolved?"
    I may get a little heated here. Let me apologise in advance. Nothing personal, just a passionate commitment to my position on this matter.
    What the **** has Darwin got to do with evolution? We could remove all of Darwin's writings from the literature on evolution and it would make no difference to our understanding of evolution. This is in now way to denigrate the man or his achievement. He opened the door to a possibility, but it is those who walked through this door that established it as a fact. Consequently, identifying shortfalls in Darwin's methodology or thinking in no way brings into question evolution. It is exactly what subsequent researchers have been doing for a century and a half.
    Remember I arrived at this position by being skeptical, doubting and questioning, as you rightly suggested earlier was an appropriate scientific state of mind. I don't need to ask the same questions three times if I was happy with the results the first two times.
    So when I am describing something as a fact it is because I am satisfied it is a fact. You have, it seems, several options: you can study detailed biological, biochemical, genetic, palaeontological and geological data for several years and reach a similar conclusions; you can accept that hundreds of thousands of dedicated scientists working in varied disciplines for over a century have got it right, and thus save yourself the effort; or, you can subscribe to the narrow view of the Creationists who base their entire thesis on a literal interpretation of a single Holy book. I don't see any other significant options.
    Each person must make their own choice. I already opted for the first and I am happy with it, because it is subject to continuous re-evaluation by the body of scientists in option 2.
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    Right. Looks like we have clarified the 3 points. For the last point, I guess it's better to let your country's government, scientific and religious community to sort things out themselves. So, let's close the discussion for the 3 points.

    Quote Originally Posted by j
    RE: Darwin
    My point about Darwin and technology is that Darwin was theorizing from phenotypical variation only; Darwin could not define evolution as changes in allele frequency because the mechanism of inheritence had not been discovered. Furthermore, I submit that the inferences he drew from his observations were influenced by the prevailing economic and religious beliefs of his culture.
    I agree that it will be impossible for Darwin to see his theories in terms of advanced scientific stuff available only later on. It is the same with scientists today defining the Big Bang theory wrt only today's state of science and not decades later.

    However, I am referring to the scientific methodology which by his time should be more or less well established. This methodology (ideally) is not dependent on technology, culture, religion, economy, politics, or any other factors. Yes, a lot of times, people cannot run away from circumstantial factors around him as they work. The same goes for me as I work as an IT Engineer.

    Well, ideally we should try to separate ourselves from these influences as much as possible especially in scientific research where there is comparatively more autonomy than software engineering. Maybe I am too idealistic?

    It is also ok that he hypothesised evolution happening when he observed fossil similarities. That's a general process of hypothesising and forming theories. Much like Newton hypothesising that there is gravity (and not "there is and there is no gravity"). The next step would be to list down and test or weigh all possible cases (for or against the hypothesis). Finally, one determines if the hypothesis is sound from the testing and goes on to drop it or refine it.

    So, even if we say that there were prevailing influential factors during his times, with the advancement of science and identification and separation of cultural biases today, the scientists today ought to go back to relook at his works and fill in the gaps. If they really want to have a complete and strong theory, they cannot ignore these unexplored paths. If you want to convince people, you have to work hard.

    So we might agree that Darwin saw only half the picture, but disagree over which half was missing.

    RE: Common ancestor v. common 'blueprint'
    Not "versus" , but "and"; parallel evolution.
    Right. That leaves more areas to be looked into. Now we have:
    - Common ancestor or not common ancestor
    - common blueprint or not common blueprint
    - (common ancestor and common blueprint) or not (common ancestor and common blueprint)
    - Any other possibilities?

    Note: God is not in the picture yet.

    As a chemist, I am not up on current studies being done to advance and refine evolutionary theory. Maybe someone has done DNA analysis of Darwin's finches, although, frankly, I don't see the point; Darwin was dealing with phenotypical variation and modern evolutionary theory deals with genotypical variation and the corresponding phenotypical variation. No-one is researching Aristotle's theories of atom, either.
    I would say "why not?". Why is there not a point to do so? Darwin's works laid much of the fundamentals for modern evolutionism. Fundamentals are very important stuff. I have done some research work before during my University times and I understand that when one writes a paper, referencing past papers is an important part. Without references, what I wrote would be of little value.

    This is the same in science today. Scientists base their knowledge, theories, etc on the past established works. Seldom do people re-invent the wheel and goes back to redo research in logic, mathematics, calculus, etc from scratch before working on his own work.

    Previous established works set the directions which subsequent works will head towards. This is more so if the previous work laid the foundation for all future works. I am sure you will understand the significant impact of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    They are fundamental concepts or issues that can reshape the whole scientific community in many aspects that evolution has influenced today.
    This seems to be what you really want to discuss; would you be so kind as to give me the post # where you have laid them out? Eight pages is a lot to scroll through.

    But I am not be able to discuss them with authority; I am a chemist, not a biologist, geologist, or physicist [now, there's a field whose place in evolution seems to be widley ignored]
    Post #? I wasn't actually referring to any previous posts that I have made. I was stating my own viewpoints about how unexplored branches in a major scientific theory, like evolution, can affect many aspects of science today. I am sure evolution has great impacts today - chemistry, biology, medicine, palaeontology, etc. As for the exact possible extent of impact, I am not qualified to make any comments here. It is just my viewpoint.

    Whether looking into those unexplored branches really brings about new discovery of not is a different story. It is responsibility of science to explore all cases even if the cases turn out to be nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SN
    I think "misinterpreted" text would be more appropriate. The bible translation process as far as I know is pretty stringent. The error rates are very low.
    This is an extremely important point. I know a little bit about classical scholarship.

    I do realize that this is the first time the issue has been raised in this post, and that the translations of the Bible with which we are familiar may be different. Furthermore, we must alway remain aware of the cultural and language differences between us [not that I mean to imply that your English is poor, or even only adequate; your command of the language is enviable].

    So, I would need to know what translation of the Bible you are familiar with; the Bible that many reference is the King James.

    I stand by my use of the word 'mistranslated'.
    I mainly refer to the NIV (New International Version) for English Bible. Sometimes I would refer to NASB (New American Standard Bible), BBE (Bible in Basic English), and other versions. I have also referred to KJV (King James Version) before especially when I search for verses online. If you want, I can refer to KJV too. I don't see it as a big issue except maybe I will have to try to understand the context and language used.

    Here's a good website about Bible translation if you are interested to know more.
    http://www.ibs.org/niv/munger/index.php

    Actually I often read the Chinese version of the Bible. A new translation was done up years ago. It has a preface about how the translation process was done. About 30+ scholars, linguists, theologians, pastors from various denominations, etc work for around 20+ years. They also referred to other sources like archeology, concordances, commentaries, and even opinions from other christians.

    We had a older chinese version translated by early western preachers who came to China but it was slowly becoming out of context to modern chinese. That's why there is a need for a modern chinese version. Also, with the recent discovery of ancient scriptures like Dead Sea Scrolls and access to original ancient Greek translations, the translators were able to refer to these versions instead of more modern versions which ensures minimal errors. As far as I know, they often refer back to the original ancient Greek version which was by far the one of the most accurate language in terms of expression and form.

    All in all, I would say that the translation process is pretty stringent and accurate although I dare not claim 100% accuracy or free of errors. As and when errors are found, they will make the necessary amendments.

    The problems arise when people misinterpret the meaning conveyed by the scriptures either because of preconceived notions, lack of Bible/theological knowledge, lack of linguistic skills, cultural factors, personal agendas, failure to double check meaning with other authoritative people like pastors, scholars, etc.

    So I hold on to the "misinterpretation" stand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by j
    However, if you want to discuss the abyssmal scientific education most schoolchildren get, I am on StarNamer's side. In my experience, school children are expected to believe scientific theories; little time is given to the evidence and the proofs.
    I cannot comment on current teaching methods. My own recollection, which is somewhat dim (I went to school in the late Jurassic), is that evidence, proof and the scientific method were central to the teaching of science. That said the scientific controversies were not dealt with. This, to me, is proper. Science at this stage is about learning the basics - like understanding the alphabet when you learn to read.
    I can understand that as a private tutor myself. The average elementary or intermediate level student has enough things to learn every year. To squeeze in all those controversies, proofs and evidences would overwhelm them. So, it's really up to the authority to decide on what to put there.

    And Starnamer, the point that seems to be eluding you in your otherwise open minded thinking, is that evolution is not controversial. The fact of evolution is not controversial, the broad mechanisms of evolution are not controversial. It is only in some detailed areas where controversy, the very lifeblood of science, is to be found. The controversy over evolution as a fact is coming almost entirely from non scientists. There is simply no obligation on scientists to consider unscientific concerns expressed by non-scientists. The creationist school is large and potent in the states - it is consigned to the same status as palm reading in Europe.
    I have already stated my Darwin and DNA examples as places where evolutionism has yet to seriously look into. These unexplored branches are not just about minor areas in evolutionism. They are concerned with fundamentals and foundations of the theory. So, there is a controversy there, not a minor one.

    Well, I am sure many will get heaty over my comments here. But I would say, instead of getting heaty, it is better to direct their efforts to look into the issues. Prove me wrong. If one is really committed to the theory and hoping to see it as a truly strong one and as a fact, such efforts cannot be spared.

    Starnamer, you said "I think I better not make too many comments whether their research is scientific or not. Let science be the judge." Science has judged. The judgement is not favourable. (That is a euphemism.)
    Well, as I have said, it what you have said is really true, then they need to do something about it.

    You also asked "Did Darwin explore all alternatives scientifically possible before he reach the conclusion that the species must have evolved?"

    I may get a little heated here. Let me apologise in advance. Nothing personal, just a passionate commitment to my position on this matter.
    Not an issue. I expected some rise in temperature anyway. :wink:

    What the **** has Darwin got to do with evolution? We could remove all of Darwin's writings from the literature on evolution and it would make no difference to our understanding of evolution. This is in now way to denigrate the man or his achievement. He opened the door to a possibility, but it is those who walked through this door that established it as a fact. Consequently, identifying shortfalls in Darwin's methodology or thinking in no way brings into question evolution. It is exactly what subsequent researchers have been doing for a century and a half.
    Remember I arrived at this position by being skeptical, doubting and questioning, as you rightly suggested earlier was an appropriate scientific state of mind. I don't need to ask the same questions three times if I was happy with the results the first two times.
    Darwin is considered as the father of evolutionism. He laid the scientific fundamentals and foundations of evolutionism, natural selection, common ancestory and other important concepts. Modern evolution theories are either in part or entirely based on the concepts and foundations that he had laid. Although modern advancements in evolution have way outshone his research achievements, scientists cannot simply remove his works like that.

    It is like an architect who laid the foundation of a house and later on built the rest of the house over it. Some years later, he found an big issue with the foundation. Can he simply dig out and remove the foundation and believe that the house remains? No. The house will crumble.

    Another example would be computer digital certificates. To authenticate a certificate, the system traces the chain of authenticity all the way back to the very root certificate authority. If the root certificate authority happens to be invalidated, the entire chain of certificates including the one in question is considered invalid. If the root certificate is missing, or the root server is down, the entire authentication system fails to work.

    As I have mentioned in my previous post, research papers largely depend on references to past established works. How can any scientists write a proper paper on evolution if Darwin's works are totally removed? One may argue that the paper references only recent evolutionary works and not Darwin's works directly. But if one is to trace back the references, one will ultimately trace back to Darwin. Without this root reference, one by one the papers will lose their credibilities much like a ripple effect starting from the earliest ones. I am sure you have written many papers before and would know the importance of referencing and how taking out Darwin's works just won't do.

    So when I am describing something as a fact it is because I am satisfied it is a fact. You have, it seems, several options: you can study detailed biological, biochemical, genetic, palaeontological and geological data for several years and reach a similar conclusions; you can accept that hundreds of thousands of dedicated scientists working in varied disciplines for over a century have got it right, and thus save yourself the effort; or, you can subscribe to the narrow view of the Creationists who base their entire thesis on a literal interpretation of a single Holy book. I don't see any other significant options.

    Each person must make their own choice. I already opted for the first and I am happy with it, because it is subject to continuous re-evaluation by the body of scientists in option 2.
    There are many examples in the history of science that certain notions, concepts or theories were held to be correct for long periods of time, (centuries or more), such as the flat earth theory, geocentric theory, no relationship between space and time, etc. If people never question these notions, theories or whatever and felt satisfied about them being facts, where will we be today?

    So, taking J's example about Aristotle's atomic theory which is by now thousands of years old. If there are fundamental issues about that theory that scientists have overlooked, no matter how small, troublesome, tiring, effort-consuming, absurd, laughable, stupid, whatever, as long as they are valid scientific issues and have not been falsified, the scientists better seriously look into them. They might just make some big discoveries (or maybe nothing). It is the responsibility of science in the cause of seeking truths and knowledge to do so.

    The points I have made about evolution are pretty much valid and scientific and I have purposely left God (and Creationism) out of the picture as much as possible. You have chosen to disagree and to hold on to your current views. Well, it is the same that I have said to J. You have absolute freedom to make your choices and no one can make them for you. I can't and God won't. :wink:
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    I congratulate you both on your decent early scientific education; and I agree that school-children are given a firm grounding in scientific methodology and a decent introduction to basic concepts.

    However, I belief that the reason that most people are willing to simply not believe certain scientific theories is that they have not been exposed to the evidence supporting these theories and the process of their development. I believe many have no concept of the development of scientific theories. School-children are given a few examples of the evidence, a wildly simplified version of the current theory, and are then expect to believe it, rather than fully understand it.

    Furthermore, some do not even get a decent grounding in basic concepts. I graded high-school [secondary school, what is the term used internationally, anyow?] unclear on what pH was. This was clearly not a reflection of my natural abilities or inclinations. In fairness to my instructors I must say that when I graduated I could rip apart any logical argument with a cup or coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

    [BTW: that is a somewhat dated local idiom similar in meaning to 'with one hand tied behind my back'.]

    Which brings us back to Darwin:

    SN begins with a flawed premise. Darwin is no more the father of modern evolutionary theory than Aristotle is the father of modern atomic theory.

    Darwin's contribution remains central to the teaching of the theory of evolution remains central because it is such a charming story; the sea voyage, the romantic Galapagos, the delightful finches, even the cute name of the ship. However, please consider that both Darwin and Wallace based their work on the economic theories of Thomas Malthus, and so far Malthus' theory has proven less accurate than Marx & Engles'.

    And finally, on classical scholarship:

    I do not intend to impugne the professionalism or scholarship of those who have translated the Bible, but there are four things one must alway bear in mind when reading translation of ancient text:

    1. Raw Data: the raw data are incomplete and flawed; the translations are based on poorly preserved original texts, translations of poorly preserved original texts, repeated copies of translations of poorly preserved original text, and, even, translations of repeated copies of poorly preserved translations of original text.

    2. Observation: the original text are in extinct languages; no-one is absolutely certain of the meaning of words in ancient languages; the meaning of words can change in an individual's life time.

    3. Interpretation of Data: every word in every language has a subtle connotation; and grammar has its own influence. As an example, English has only a vestigal subjunctive, and has no second person singular pronoun that does not suggest gender [I have adopted the newer use of the word]; cultural bias can not be avoided in translation.

    4. Selection of text: I can not address this issue in depth, as I am not a Biblical scholar, but the selection of texts to include in the Bible must have been influenced by the cultural biases of the early leaders of Judaism and Christianity.

    And so, I submit that, compared to the current translations of the Bible, the scientific evidence for evolution is as easy to read as Dr. Suess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    SN begins with a flawed premise. Darwin is no more the father of modern evolutionary theory than Aristotle is the father of modern atomic theory.

    Darwin's contribution remains central to the teaching of the theory of evolution remains central because it is such a charming story; the sea voyage, the romantic Galapagos, the delightful finches, even the cute name of the ship. However, please consider that both Darwin and Wallace based their work on the economic theories of Thomas Malthus, and so far Malthus' theory has proven less accurate than Marx & Engles'.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_...nary_synthesis
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/modern-synthesis.html

    Ok. I admit that my argument was not totally accurate. I see Darwin as the father of evolutionism in general sense and not specifically modern evolution or neo-Darwinism.

    Yes. The theory has since advanced but Darwin's ideas (like the terms evolution, natural selection, species, common ancestor, etc) were not totally replaced. They were simply enhanced. I would still think that one can't actually just remove Darwin's works without causing any effects to modern evolutionary theory. He laid much of the foundation.

    Even if one says that it is perfectly ok to remove them and says that modern evolution theory has totally no relation with Darwin (and other pioneers), my points will still hold.

    Has any scientists of the modern theory scientifically disprove the hypotheses:
    - Similarities in fossils does not mean evolution
    - Similarities in DNA does not mean common ancestor

    Here's a quote from the wiki on Evolution.

    Not much is known about the earliest development of life. However, all existing organisms share certain traits, including cellular structure, and genetic code. Most scientists interpret this to mean all existing organisms share a common ancestor, which had already developed the most fundamental cellular processes...
    Why did they not look into the other parts of the interpretation - common blueprint and common ancestor + common blueprint, etc. There are no scientific proofs against them, so they are valid paths to be explored.

    If scientists really want to make evolution a strong theory, they should daringly explore these paths in the same amount of effort as evolution and after weighing both sides, conclude that evolution is indisputably the most suitable theory to explain the observations.

    And finally, on classical scholarship:

    I do not intend to impugne the professionalism or scholarship of those who have translated the Bible, but there are four things one must alway bear in mind when reading translation of ancient text:

    1. Raw Data: the raw data are incomplete and flawed; the translations are based on poorly preserved original texts, translations of poorly preserved original texts, repeated copies of translations of poorly preserved original text, and, even, translations of repeated copies of poorly preserved translations of original text.

    2. Observation: the original text are in extinct languages; no-one is absolutely certain of the meaning of words in ancient languages; the meaning of words can change in an individual's life time.

    3. Interpretation of Data: every word in every language has a subtle connotation; and grammar has its own influence. As an example, English has only a vestigal subjunctive, and has no second person singular pronoun that does not suggest gender [I have adopted the newer use of the word]; cultural bias can not be avoided in translation.

    4. Selection of text: I can not address this issue in depth, as I am not a Biblical scholar, but the selection of texts to include in the Bible must have been influenced by the cultural biases of the early leaders of Judaism and Christianity.

    And so, I submit that, compared to the current translations of the Bible, the scientific evidence for evolution is as easy to read as Dr. Suess.
    Yes. I need to qualify my claims here with more references but I am not well versed in classic scholarship. What I have mentioned and referenced can only give you a idea about the translation process.

    To really understand and appreciate it, we must get in some experts to explain and even show us how things are really done. I guess it would be the same as you people arguing that we need to be shown the evidences and scientific processes to acknowledge that evolution really works. Or the same as you saying that we need a long discussion of Darwin's works to appreciate them. I am not qualified to go into that kind of discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    Well, ideally we should try to separate ourselves from these influences (cultural, social etc)as much as possible especially in scientific research where there is comparatively more autonomy than software engineering. Maybe I am too idealistic?
    This is exactly what science does. Science assumes a bias on the part of scientists. It overcomes this bias by insisting upon:
    1. Rigorously constructed experiment and observation.
    2. Repeatability of results.
    3. Peer review
    4. More peer review.
    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    So, even if we say that there were prevailing influential factors during his times, with the advancement of science and identification and separation of cultural biases today, the scientists today ought to go back to relook at his works and fill in the gaps. If they really want to have a complete and strong theory, they cannot ignore these unexplored paths. If you want to convince people, you have to work hard.
    These paths were not ignored. The evidence was repeatedly sifted. When the facts, the observations and experiments are not contradicting the hypothesis you move on to the areas where contradictions, paradoxes and uncertainties do exist. This is exactly what has happened with evolution.

    [Sorry SN that I missed your original post during travelling. I was not ignoring your points.]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    This is exactly what science does. Science assumes a bias on the part of scientists. It overcomes this bias by insisting upon:
    1. Rigorously constructed experiment and observation.
    2. Repeatability of results.
    3. Peer review
    4. More peer review.
    Yes. It does have this mechanism as a check. But wouldn't it be better if scientists train themselves to let go of the biases in the very beginning? Instead of waiting for science to overcome the bias probably after years, decades or even centuries (as in some theories), why not see the issue and all possible paths in an objective manner in the very beginning. Saves time, effort and advances technology faster.

    These paths were not ignored. The evidence was repeatedly sifted. When the facts, the observations and experiments are not contradicting the hypothesis you move on to the areas where contradictions, paradoxes and uncertainties do exist. This is exactly what has happened with evolution.
    Yes, the scientists worked hard on the contradictions regarding the evolution theory but not on the alternative paths of the theory. I did find a whole chapter of the "Origin of species" paper by Darwin talking about difficulties of his theory but he never go on to explore them further using the same amount of enthusiasm and effort he put in evolution.

    As mentioned before, show us the established papers that scientists (past and present) did on exploring, hypothesising, scientifically eliminating all possible unexplored paths wrt and against evolution before finally concluding that evolution must be the best theory to explain things.

    [Sorry SN that I missed your original post during travelling. I was not ignoring your points.]
    It's ok. I am also quite busy with work and personal matters and wasn't that in the mood to rekindle the debate. So, just shared a few points above but don't expect another heaty debate. :wink:
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    Starnamer:But wouldn't it be better if scientists train themselves to let go of the biases in the very beginning?
    They do. A significant part of any science course is on experimental method, both in theory and practice. In one sense they learn only two things: 'fact' and 'method'.
    Most scientists, most of the time are unbiased. The other checks I spoke of are to cover the occasions when they are also human.
    Starnamer:As mentioned before, show us the established papers that scientists (past and present) did on exploring, hypothesising, scientifically eliminating all possible unexplored paths wrt and against evolution before finally concluding that evolution must be the best theory to explain things
    I can offer two options: wait till I have retired, written several best selling novels and one or two popular science works, at which point I shall research and write a book that meets your above request; alternatively, do the research yourself now. :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I can offer two options: wait till I have retired, written several best selling novels and one or two popular science works, at which point I shall research and write a book that meets your above request; alternatively, do the research yourself now. :wink:
    Why do you need to wait till you retire before starting the research? You can start looking at these alternative paths little by little in your everyday work. That is, as you go about your work, come across evidences, fossils, papers, whatever, try to think out of the box in terms of these unexplored paths.

    I am only an IT engineer. :wink:
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    Starnamer, I already did that work four decades ago. I don't need to research it. I am very comfortable that the alternatives have been fully explored. What I can't do is provide you with a list today of citations that would convince you because I don't have them here, too hand. Just as I don't have any of the notes from my undergraduate physics courses. The absence of these notes, however, does not invalidate Newton's Laws of Motion.
    You are the one who is expressing doubt. I have suggested how you could remove that doubt by researching this for yourself. If I had a way to shortcircuit the process for you I would be happy to do so. But I haven't. Either you do the research, or I do the research. I don't want to go through it all again. I have new things to learn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Starnamer, I already did that work four decades ago. I don't need to research it. I am very comfortable that the alternatives have been fully explored. What I can't do is provide you with a list today of citations that would convince you because I don't have them here, too hand. Just as I don't have any of the notes from my undergraduate physics courses. The absence of these notes, however, does not invalidate Newton's Laws of Motion.
    Since you are in the scientific field, you should know that claims and works must be backed by peer reviewed papers to establish the credibility. You claimed to have done the work 40 years ago. You will need to back your claims. It is the same as those scientists asking the creationists or ID to back their theories and work with papers. Since you said you will write some novels or papers when you retire, then we will have to wait till then and after your novels or papers have been peer reviewed before the community can accept your claims or past works.

    I am not trying to corner you, but I guess it is a valid request. :wink:

    True. Absence of papers or notes does not mean the alternative paths were truly totally ignored. They may be lying around there somewhere which we haven't found them yet.

    But if there were indeed very good papers published, I believe they should have been easily found. If the papers showed that the alternative paths were falsified or weak paths, surely the evolutionists would have quickly published them on their websites like talkorigins.org to strengthen evolution. If the papers showed that the alternative paths were scientifically explored and not falsified (whether they falsify evolution or not), the creationists would be very glad to publish them to strengthen their case.

    Moreover, you being a scientist (or geologist to be exact) for years I presume should have at least come across one or two such papers during your lifetime. Even if you don't your colleagues or superiors might have. If you are interested, you can always check with your peers. :wink:

    From the above points, we can roughly say that the chances of such papers existing are not too high.

    You are the one who is expressing doubt. I have suggested how you could remove that doubt by researching this for yourself. If I had a way to shortcircuit the process for you I would be happy to do so. But I haven't. Either you do the research, or I do the research. I don't want to go through it all again. I have new things to learn.
    If I were a full time scientist in this field, I most probably would do that. But being a normal IT guy with other work and personal stuff to handle, and also without direct access to raw data, to come up with a proper research work would be effort consuming and most probably the quality of the work would not be high.

    I have been thinking maybe I would probably consolidate the essence (mainly the approach) of what we have discussed here into an article in my blog. That's about the most I could think of for the time being. But that's again if I have the mood, time and "guts" (anticipating lots of rebuttals from scientists and evolutionists).
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnamer
    Since you are in the scientific field, you should know that claims and works must be backed by peer reviewed papers to establish the credibility. You claimed to have done the work 40 years ago. You will need to back your claims.
    I am well aware of this. However, I only need to back my claims with the data if I consider it vital that I convince you of their validity. While I would like to do so, the simple equation of benefit to effort suggests that it isn't going to happen.
    I'm trying to find a way of saying this without appearing rude, which is definitely not my intention.
    Here's a thought. Often at University we were taught facts. We had two practical choices in relation to those facts. We could accept them, because they came from authority, or we could check them out ourselves. I'm saying if you doubt these principles we are discussing, check them out yourself. I'm not going to do the leg work for you, because I can't see any huge upside, for me, in doing it for you.
    The papers relating to this would be fairly easily found, but almost certainly, because of their vintage, not on the internet. I do not currently have ready access to a University library.
    You are correct that I am a geologist, by training, inclination and interest, but I work as an engineer and a teacher in a commercial setting. My peers are more interested in variations in the compressive strength of different lithologies and their response to drilling bits, than they are in any aspect of evolution, so they are not a practical source of the data.
    I really don't think you can use failure of my memory over three decades and an inherent laziness as evidence that the research does not exist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I am well aware of this. However, I only need to back my claims with the data if I consider it vital that I convince you of their validity. While I would like to do so, the simple equation of benefit to effort suggests that it isn't going to happen.
    Its ok. I can understand that. :wink:

    I'm trying to find a way of saying this without appearing rude, which is definitely not my intention.
    Here's a thought. Often at University we were taught facts. We had two practical choices in relation to those facts. We could accept them, because they came from authority, or we could check them out ourselves. I'm saying if you doubt these principles we are discussing, check them out yourself. I'm not going to do the leg work for you, because I can't see any huge upside, for me, in doing it for you.
    Sure. I understand that. Why should you spend your time researching on something to clear another person's doubts. I am not a kid (and specifically, not "your" kid) but an adult who can find things out myself. I can't expect you to spoonfeed me. I was just hoping you could try it out and probably you might find something.

    The papers relating to this would be fairly easily found, but almost certainly, because of their vintage, not on the internet. I do not currently have ready access to a University library.

    You are correct that I am a geologist, by training, inclination and interest, but I work as an engineer and a teacher in a commercial setting. My peers are more interested in variations in the compressive strength of different lithologies and their response to drilling bits, than they are in any aspect of evolution, so they are not a practical source of the data.
    True. Many research thesis and papers by students or professors are usually found physically in the university libraries. That's the case in my university. That's why I didn't say they are totally missing. I don't really know how research papers circulate but I still feel that the alternative paths are not fully looked at. If they are, their papers would have been widely used by either evolutionists or creationists as what I have mentioned before. That's my personal opinion.

    I really don't think you can use failure of my memory over three decades and an inherent laziness as evidence that the research does not exist.
    Well, as I have said, I did not totally rule out the possibility of the research existing and definitely I did not mean you have bad memory or lazy. To really qualify if the research exists, one will need to seriously look around in various sources - libraries, internet, check with peers, whatever, before concluding. I am somewhat lazy to do that too.
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    Just one point of clarification. It was I who was criticising my own memory and noting my own laziness. You'll have to trust me on both these points. I know there are no published research papers covering either condition for me, but I am sure o both. :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Just one point of clarification. It was I who was criticising my own memory and noting my own laziness. You'll have to trust me on both these points. I know there are no published research papers covering either condition for me, but I am sure o both. :wink:
    Anyway, edited some points in my previous post especially the last part. Ok. I can trust you on that.
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    I do not know if I lament or if I am relieved that I was not involved in this discussion. It has been so wonderfully and honestly discussed here that I fear I might have detracted from it rather than contributing to it.

    Starnamer has so eloquently expressed so many of my thoughts, I can in complete admiration say, "I wish I had said that." I have also learned much more about the views of you, Ophiolite and j, in this discussion than I have in our exchanged on other threads.

    I want to say that I also admire your approaches to these questions and the clarity and reasonableness of your ideas and logical way in which you have presented them.

    The only thing that has surprised me is that the many resident atheists have not hopped in to ridicule attempts to show how religion and science walk hand in hand.

    About the only thing I would add or clarify is j's comments on Bible translation. I think we can be reasonably certain that we know what the original words were. There are enough manuscripts available from different sources to compare and come to close to certainty as to the text.

    Now when it comes to really knowing what they meant to the people who orinally encripted them, that is a different story. Hebrew, ancient Greek and Aramaic are rather small languages when it comes to words available for use.

    Many words have slightly different meanings depending on their context and the difficult problem is understanding idiomatic uses of words and phrases.

    When it comes to modern translations and even paraphrases, they have been taken from the earliest manuscripts available.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not know if I lament or if I am relieved that I was not involved in this discussion. It has been so wonderfully and honestly discussed here that I fear I might have detracted from it rather than contributing to it.

    Starnamer has so eloquently expressed so many of my thoughts, I can in complete admiration say, "I wish I had said that." I have also learned much more about the views of you, Ophiolite and j, in this discussion than I have in our exchanged on other threads.

    I want to say that I also admire your approaches to these questions and the clarity and reasonableness of your ideas and logical way in which you have presented them.

    The only thing that has surprised me is that the many resident atheists have not hopped in to ridicule attempts to show how religion and science walk hand in hand.

    About the only thing I would add or clarify is j's comments on Bible translation. I think we can be reasonably certain that we know what the original words were. There are enough manuscripts available from different sources to compare and come to close to certainty as to the text.

    Now when it comes to really knowing what they meant to the people who orinally encripted them, that is a different story. Hebrew, ancient Greek and Aramaic are rather small languages when it comes to words available for use.

    Many words have slightly different meanings depending on their context and the difficult problem is understanding idiomatic uses of words and phrases.

    When it comes to modern translations and even paraphrases, they have been taken from the earliest manuscripts available.
    That kind of response is worth all the times I've asked myself, 'What am I doing here?', slogging through the evo/creo slanging matches.

    You will notice from posts in this and other threads that although neither Ophiolite nor I am Monotheists, neither are we aetheists. There are intelligent and respectful atheists on this board; they just don't post their belief structure as frequently and stridently as do the religiously juvenile members, both Believers and atheists.

    On translation, I will accept your contention that the words can be determined with reasonable accuracy, as you acknowledge that the connotation of the words can be debated. I reiterate that I never intend to impugn the work of bibical scholars. However, I will maintain that one does not go to the Bible for factual evidence.

    [Total aside:
    Do you know of a language in which the words for 'thread' and 'camel' are similar? I don't think it's Aramaic.]
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    No, J, I do not know what, if any, language has similar words for thread and camel. I am pretty much mono-linguistic. Je sais un petit Francais left over from taking that to fulfill language requirement for a BA degree. However, I coasted through that based on high school Latin from which I remember only how to decline the pronoun qui, quae, quo and how to conjugate first conjugation verbs and a couple of irregular verbs such as scio (I know) for which the third person singular is scit (pronounced sheet but which we insisted on mispronouncing). We loved that!

    Meanwhile, I am not sure of your statement that one does not go to the Bible for factual evidence. There is a sense in which I agree. I would not go there, for example, to find how to do brain surgery. I think, however, the historicity of the Bible has been found to be quite accurate, so I might rely on it for some historical facts.

    Overall, I think the Bible has a two fold purpose for the believer. First, it tells the believer everything he needs to know about how to have a proper relationship with God. Second, it provides a great deal of advice on how to have proper relationships in the physical world. So I might look there for that kind of information. I think it is a mirror which reflects my image next to the image of Jesus for comparison. It is not a magnifying glass through which I am allowed to inspect other persons.

    I think most of the problems and disputings arise from misapplications and attempts to apply literal translations to things, accounts and stories in the Bible which are really allegorical or symbolic or typographies. This would true of the first several chapters of Genesis. Assuming Moses wrote these accounts, we have to take into considerationt that he could only write within the framework of the words of his knowledge and vocabulary. I suppose if God told you or me the same story and we wrote it down in the language of our day, the people some 3,000 years hence would have difficulty accepting what we had written as factual. I am sure people 3,000 years hence will guffaw and chortle at some of the ideas which are proposed and given serious consideration today.

    For example, I do not find it necessary to believe the Noahic flood was a world-wide event. Even the fact that a number of other civilizations have similar stories does not necessarily mean the are all accounts of the same event. Here where I live there was a catastrophic flood (the Missoula Flood) which took place several thousand years ago and for anyone in the vacinity, it would certainly have seem that the whole world was being flooded. In that time frame there were many such floods as the ice age came to an end and glacial melting formed huge lakes which eventually broke open and flooded vast areas.

    I think the story of Noah represents something in the background of the people who eventually became God’s chosen people. I can believe there was a catastrophic flood and that there were survivors, but I don’t find it necessary to believe Noah built an ark and loaded it with pairs of all the animals of earth. But if this was an end-of-the-ice-age event, it hardly seems there has been enough subsequent time for animal life to have diversified to the degree we have observed. (No doubt, some Christians would feel that thinking as being akin to blasphemy.)

    I personally enjoy discussing the Bible and the potential meanings and significances of various passages. Hardly anyone here, however, is really interested in a rational explanation of various passages, especially those they like to use to make the Bible look silly.
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    Well, people looking for a good historical discussion of the Bible are not going to wander into a thread in the Pseudoscience forum titled "Evolution is Bad Science". it's just not what people are going to expect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think most of the problems and disputings arise from misapplications and attempts to apply literal translations to things, accounts and stories in the Bible which are really allegorical or symbolic or typographies. This would true of the first several chapters of Genesis. Assuming Moses wrote these accounts, we have to take into considerationt that he could only write within the framework of the words of his knowledge and vocabulary. I suppose if God told you or me the same story and we wrote it down in the language of our day, the people some 3,000 years hence would have difficulty accepting what we had written as factual. I am sure people 3,000 years hence will guffaw and chortle at some of the ideas which are proposed and given serious consideration today.
    It strikes me as strange that you express a overtly rational view of the Bible and where its value can truly be derived from, but in the middle you drop the phrase "Assuming Moses wrote these accounts...." But Moses demonstrably did not write the accounts. It is this kind of thing which causes misunderstanding about precisely what your beliefs are, and raises the question as to whether you are possibly an "infiltrator", if you don't mind me saying so.

    I don't see that the people of 3,000 years hence are likely to "chortle and guffaw" at a culture which has unlocked the secrets of the atom at one end, the furthest galaxies at the other, and has delved back to within a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. On the other hand, I myself am not one for chortling and guffawing at the so-called "ignorance" of past ages. The level of insight involved in "Let there be Light" is, to me, absolutely staggering - genius level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    it's just not what people are going to expect.
    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. 8)
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    Uh oh...

    "Pwepawe the Cwistians fow the WIONS!"

    *Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends*
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    I'm a lumber-jack, and I'm okay ...
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    Ophiolite, one recalls the admonition of Archimedes regarding learning geometry. It's appropos your suggestion to Starnamer than he 'do the research".

    "There is no royal road to geometry."

    It applied in the 3rd C BCE and it still applies now. It's been pointed out time & again that the reasons the ID/creationists say what they do is because it's easier to be ignorant of scientific knowledge, than to learn it. Theirs is a position founded upon ignorance and no science.

    Or to more or less quote H.L. Mencken, "Fundamentialism arises wherever learning is too great a burden for human minds."
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