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Thread: No Evidence Part 2

  1. #1 No Evidence Part 2 
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    I have a question, I would like to have as simple an answer as possible. This question is for those who believe in god, in a physical manner.

    If this supernatural being (god) exist, and god created the universe and everything in it, why is there no evidence for that?


    "Nature is an infinite sphere whos center is everywhere and whose circumferense is nowhere."
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    The Universe itself constitutes the evidence.


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    You say seeing is believing; God says believing is seeing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You say seeing is believing; God says believing is seeing.
    Is that the same concept with Santa Clause, or Big Foot, alien's, and Ghost. You can believe in flying elephants, loch-ness monsters or anything you really want to. If I believe honestly in flying elephants, does that mean I am going to see them . If I start seeing flying elephants I'll let you know, if I see god I'll let you know, first I'll have a cat-scan done, then I'll let you know. I still await an answer to my question. Evidence? Make the answer as simple or complex as you like. 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    ... believing is seeing.
    That very phrase was just used on one of the Santa Clause movies or The Polar Express with regard to the North Pole! My daughter has watched every Xmas movie made in just the last two days!
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    I met Him on August 30, 1975 at approximately 8:30 in the morning. He made a strong impression on me. That was all the evidence I ever needed.

    I have never met you, but I suspect you expect me to believe in your existence. Why should I believe your word and reject His? How do I know you are not someone else posing at Thamnophis? Do you have a birth certificate that bears the name Thamnophis? I grew up on the Oregon coast and we had lots of garter snakes there. I do not believe you were one of them.

    I am unaware of any significant religious movement based on the existence of flying elephants, Santa Claus, Sasquatch, aliens or Ghosts. Unless you consider the resurrected Jesus a ghost.

    And for your sake Skinwalker, I hope you did not have to sit through all of them with her.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Several times. I'm really starting to not like Tim Allen.
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    If nothing else, Skinwalker, we do have that it common.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  10. #9 Re: No Evidence Part 2 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thamnophis
    I have a question, I would like to have as simple an answer as possible. This question is for those who believe in god, in a physical manner.

    If this supernatural being (god) exist, and god created the universe and everything in it, why is there no evidence for that?
    Simple answers are for the simple minded. If you want to dig beneath superficial appearances, if you want to find reasons whereby you can make up your own mind instead of simply following the reasons of others then simple answers are not going to work.

    What in the world do you mean by believing in God in a "physical manner?" It is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that God is spirit. But spirit is thought of as more real and substantial than physical, because it is eternal.

    Define evidence? To do so in a way that will exclude what people can and do call evidence for God is more difficult than you think.

    However set that aside because there is a very important reason why there will never be evidence of a certain kind. God is spirit and spirit can only interact with the physical within the limits of quantum uncertainty. On the one hand it makes what people would call miracles quite possible only extremely unlikely, on the other hand, such events can always be dismissed as coincidence or the rare realization of the extremely unlikely. Physical scientific evidence must be repeatable and predictable, and these "miracles" or any other type interaction between the spiritual and the physical will never satisfy this criterion. This is in fact at the root of the distinction between physical and spiritual.

    Things which are physical are parts of the whole physical universe bound by its laws and therefore there is a consistent coherence with everything else that is physical in a way that makes for solid evidence. But the spiritual is not a part of the physical universe and it impacts on physical events only in isolated points of space and time. It can alter the course of events when events are sensitive to "happenstance" but it cannot interject macroscopic energies and forces in violation of physical law.

    "Seeing" evidence of this sort of spiritual interaction can only come from a gestalt of human experience in much the same way that we "see" the unique personalities of other human beings. We can see meaning in the actions of another person or not, likewise, we can see meaning in the events of our life, ... or not. It is possible to interpret a certain persons actions as representing something called love, while another person might see those same actions as self serving. To believe that someone loves you could be delusion or an act of faith. You can believe that people are capable of love or that they are only capable of following the inevitable chemical reactions which physical laws dictate. If you ask for proof of love, it is only manipulation, and more than likely all you will get is a better show. Evidence for spiritual things cannot be any easier than this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thamnophis
    I still await an answer to my question. Evidence? Make the answer as simple or complex as you like.
    One of the early cosmonauts, at the direction of the communist authorities, made much of the fact that in space he had not seen God. Your request for evidence seems to be on much the same simplistic level. I repeat my earlier answer, if you are looking for evidence look around you (and within).
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I met Him on August 30, 1975 at approximately 8:30 in the morning. He made a strong impression on me. That was all the evidence I ever needed.

    I have never met you, but I suspect you expect me to believe in your existence. Why should I believe your word and reject His? How do I know you are not someone else posing at Thamnophis? Do you have a birth certificate that bears the name Thamnophis? I grew up on the Oregon coast and we had lots of garter snakes there. I do not believe you were one of them.

    I am unaware of any significant religious movement based on the existence of flying elephants, Santa Claus, Sasquatch, aliens or Ghosts. Unless you consider the resurrected Jesus a ghost.

    And for your sake Skinwalker, I hope you did not have to sit through all of them with her.
    It would be a little difficult to type with no hands, or arms, so no I'm not a snake. But thanks for noticing my use of a scientific name, I study Herpetology. 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    The Universe itself constitutes the evidence.
    I don't understand this at all. If I look at the universe, all I see evidence for is a universe.
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  14. #13 Re: No Evidence Part 2 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    God is spirit and spirit can only interact with the physical within the limits of quantum uncertainty.
    ...
    It can alter the course of events when events are sensitive to "happenstance" but it cannot interject macroscopic energies and forces in violation of physical law.
    I would like to add to what I said that I do not mean to imply that God is incapable of violating physical law, but I do have some serious doubts about whether He would do so for several reasons.

    First, any direct alteration of the physical universe on the macroscopic level is an alteration of the form of physical universe as a whole. The physical laws of the universe are a part of its shape and form and any violation of this would be like a recreation of the entire physical universe. It would break the the causal continuity that connects the past to the future. I think it would be a fundamental violation of the independent existence of the universe and everything in it, reducing everything to the status of a figment of His imagination.

    Second, life exists in the local recreation of the universe as microsopic events are amplified from the realm of quantum uncertainty into the macroscopic realm governed by deterministic physical law. Altering the universe on the macroscopic level would run roughshod over this and would be counter to this whole process. I think it basically destroys (to some small degree) the life potential of the universe. As long as changes to the universe are limited to the local point changes by which all living and spiritual things interact with the universe then physical reality is a joint creation of them all collectively. But once the shape of the universe as a whole meddled with directly this localized becoming of the universe is interrupted and all the life and spiritual interactions cannot be said to create anything. To put it simply, real free will ceases to exist. By directly changing the form of the universe as a whole God immediately becomes completely responsible for everything.

    Therefore I think that God would limit himself to interacting with the physical universe as a spiritual participant in our lives. Furthermore, this may only be the beginning of the limits he puts upon Himself, for even within this limit I think He could overwhelm our free will with the power of his omnicience to manipulate the future course of events (the course of events almost always depend on accidents and happenstance). Admittedly, however, many religious people do think that God does exert something close to this degree of control over events, referring to His mysterious reasons for why He made things happen as they have. I tend to think that He has far less mysterious reasons for not interfering with events too much and leaving well enough alone. But I could be wrong.
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    Your question, Thamnophis, creates something akin to a very complex oxymoron, at least, to Judo-Christians.

    Both Judaism and Christianity are faith-based religions in which belief is rewarded rather than knowledge or ritual. (As to Jews, I mean those who practice their faith as opposed to those who are ethnically Jewish but are, essentially atheistic or agnostic.)

    If that God (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) actually exists and His requirement is faith-based belief, there would be no conclusive evidence of His presence. If there were honest to God proof, there would be no need for faith.

    Those who emphasize scientific method and knowledge to the exclusion of all other forms understanding can never find or accept proof because faith in God is based upon an awareness that goes beyond facts and figures. It is more like empirical evidence which is based on experience and observation alone.

    There are things which those who believe in God use as a sort of confirmation. Some people look at the universe and see the majesty of God. Others see only stars. Some people look at inexplicable phenomena and see the power of God while others see them only as yet to be understood natural occurrences. Some people look at the sense of vision and see how marvelously we have been constructed, other look at the sense of vision and see the results of genetic accidents.

    It is not me or you or any other person who can “prove” God exists. Only God proves His existence and that to individuals as and when He chooses. If you sincerely want proof of God, He can reveal Himself to you on His terms.

    I pretty much agree with what Michael has said in his last post although I think a God of infinite power who created a universe would have the power to tweak it. However, if the universal laws are perfect, there would be no need to do any tweaking. It is unlikely that God would suspend the law of gravity in order to save a falling person, still it is difficult to explain how that pregnant lady survived landing in a paved parking lot when her parachute failed to open.
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    It's really not THAT unbelievable. We have a maximum speed when we fall on earth, when when we reach that speed and then hit the ground it's usually fatal - but it's not always fatal. It wasn't for her, and she's very fortunate. But just because it's usually fatal doesn't mean you have to suggest (or even suspect) a miracle when it isn't fatal
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    Of course it was a miracle. Life is full of miracles. It precisely the type of event where I would expect miracles to occur -- completely inaccessible to the methods of science. No one would be likely to try repeated trials with real human beings and even if they did it would only verify the obvious that people falling from such heights do in fact die. At a ridiculous cost they may eventually assign some sort of probability of death. And where do you draw the line between miracle and non miracle? One in a hundred? one in a thousand? one in a trillion? Because of quantum mechanics, all physical laws are ultimately probalistic in nature and even one in a hundred is already close enough to zero to justify a universal law in many areas of physics and in most other sciences as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Of course it was a miracle. Life is full of miracles. It precisely the type of event where I would expect miracles to occur -- completely inaccessible to the methods of science. No one would be likely to try repeated trials with real human beings and even if they did it would only verify the obvious that people falling from such heights do in fact die. At a ridiculous cost they may eventually assign some sort of probability of death. And where do you draw the line between miracle and non miracle? One in a hundred? one in a thousand? one in a trillion? Because of quantum mechanics, all physical laws are ultimately probalistic in nature and even one in a hundred is already close enough to zero to justify a universal law in many areas of physics and in most other sciences as well.
    I am using the term miracle in probably the more common sense of the word, especially when speaking in context of God and religion. The 1st definition from dictionary.com will do.

    An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God

    Are you really claiming that if someone survives a great fall it MUST be due to supernatural intervention, and that it CANNOT be explained without such intervention?
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    It is usually inaccurate to state - the parachute failed to open. What would usually be more accurate is to say, the parachute failed to open fully. Now a partially open parachute will significantly reduce the velocity of the falling person. Instead of travelling at a little over 100 mph the speed may be reduced to perhaps as little as 70mph, or less. If there is a significant lateral component, then the vertical velocity will be lower still.
    Did the part of the parachute get entangled between the woman and the ground, providing a measure of padding?
    Was the woman unconscious when she hit? Broken bones occur as a result of being tense during impact.
    Put all the fortuitous arrangements together and you have not a miracle, but a very fortunate escape. And then someone drowns in two inches of water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I am using the term miracle in probably the more common sense of the word, especially when speaking in context of God and religion. The 1st definition from dictionary.com will do.

    An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God

    Are you really claiming that if someone survives a great fall it MUST be due to supernatural intervention, and that it CANNOT be explained without such intervention?
    But I do not think that supernatural is the common usage. After all we are talking about a woman surviving a fall and not some unknowable event from the bible. Furthermore I think that the word "supernatural" is misconceived, for it implies a violation of physical law in a strict sense and I think physical law is probabalistic rather than strict. Therefore a miracle is often simply an improbable occurance, but more essentially a miracle is an event in which we see meaning and significance. This does not mean that a miracle is not the intervention of God, because I see the "intervention" of God in events as an everyday and natural occurence little different from the intervention of a human being in events.

    As for explaining such an event there is a very diverse array of concepts that can be used including luck, ancestors and angels. Science may also be used, but explaining isolated improbable incidents like this is not its greatest strength. But I would certainly never claim that any particular explanation MUST be used or CANNOT be used.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is unlikely that God would suspend the law of gravity in order to save a falling person, still it is difficult to explain how that pregnant lady survived landing in a paved parking lot when her parachute failed to open.
    The explanation is physics. Reports estimated that she was falling only at about 50 mph, which is very slow, so obviously her chute was partially deployed and creating significant drag. Just not enough to land without breaking a lot of bones and losing a few teeth.

    If she had no chute or anything to create drag, and she were falling for just 5 sec, she would have reached a velocity of 50 m/s.

    She was fortunate to have deployed her reserve. Otherwise she would have gone splat and perhaps bounced a few times.
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    Let us step back a ways from the path this discussion has taken and look for a moment at different ways of looking at "the things that be."

    There seem to be two basic forms of world views.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and adopt those concepts which are satisfactorily proved to them. Things which are not proved are rejected until proven.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and eliminate those concepts which are satisfactorily disproved to them. Anything which has not been disproved is on a list of accepted or possible concepts.

    I do not suggest that one of these basic world views is superior to the other, but consider that they may serve the beneficial purpose of checks and balances in a free society. We can look at the middle East and see what a society dominated by religious fervor can be like. We can also look at the former Soviet Union and see what a Godless society can be like. Either of those societies is repugnant to most of Western civilization.

    I suppose it is nice to be able to state unequivocally that there is no God and evolution is completely and thoroughly proved. There is comfort in certainty.

    I do not “know” if God exists, but I firmly believe He does while recognizing that within the vast amounts of information I do not have at my command, there may be some definitive evidence of His non-existence. It seems highly improbable to me that such information exists. But is also seems probable (in my belief) that no evidence of His existence will be forthcoming unless He chooses to reveal it.

    Evolution is of little import to me. I can’t even figure out what evolutionist theory is most popular today. But none of them pose much of a threat to anything I can see as possible. Evolution does not preclude the existence of God, but serves merely as a discussion forum because so many people on either side of the issue think it does. Evolution only attempts to show how various life forms changed into other life forms, and does not nor can it address the issue of origins.

    My concern is that many people adopt evolution because they think it justifies their rejection of God when it really doesn’t. One can accept or reject most of evolution regardless of their religious position. One need not be an atheist or agnostic to agree with much of evolutionist thinking. Atheists and agnotics, however, are locked into evolution because of their religious (non)belief. For them, there is no and can be no other possible solution.

    It is far more important to the atheist or agnostic to be right in his religious (non)beliefs than to the religious to be correct in his beliefs. If, for example, the Christian is incorrect in his belief, he is no worse off than if he did not believe. He has lost nothing (i.e. eternal life), he ever had in the first place. If the atheist or agnostic is wrong, he loses that which he could have had. It is Pasqual’s wager, but I do not suggest people attempt to hedge their bets by attempting to feign belief.

    But back to Thamnophis’ original question, I will rephrase my original answer: The evidence is there for those who wish to see, but it is hidden from those who do not want to see.

    Whether evolution is 100 per cent true, 50 per cent true or minus 12 per cent true means nothing to me. Throwing it all into one pot, I find it to be about 20 to 25 per cent true, but I am not sure which 20 or 25 per cent and I am not locked into that position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Let us step back a ways from the path this discussion has taken and look for a moment at different ways of looking at "the things that be."

    There seem to be two basic forms of world views.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and adopt those concepts which are satisfactorily proved to them. Things which are not proved are rejected until proven.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and eliminate those concepts which are satisfactorily disproved to them. Anything which has not been disproved is on a list of accepted or possible concepts.
    Despite what you may have convinced yourself of, this is not in fact the attitude of the majority of the religious. Because if you accept everything that has not been disproven, you have to accept the existence of all the other Gods, plus an infinity of unimagined ones, as well as the truth of certain other "unproven" beliefs, such as belief in magic or the summoning of spirits, or astrology - which are verboten by the majority of religions.

    Picking and choosing of which not-disproven concepts to believe in and which to simply not bother about is precisely what introduces the subjectivity which the rational mind attempts to free itself from. It is for this reason that the two positions you describe are not as symmetrical as you may think.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not suggest that one of these basic world views is superior to the other, but consider that they may serve the beneficial purpose of checks and balances in a free society. We can look at the middle East and see what a society dominated by religious fervor can be like. We can also look at the former Soviet Union and see what a Godless society can be like. Either of those societies is repugnant to most of Western civilization.

    I suppose it is nice to be able to state unequivocally that there is no God and evolution is completely and thoroughly proved. There is comfort in certainty.

    I do not “know” if God exists, but I firmly believe He does while recognizing that within the vast amounts of information I do not have at my command, there may be some definitive evidence of His non-existence. It seems highly improbable to me that such information exists. But is also seems probable (in my belief) that no evidence of His existence will be forthcoming unless He chooses to reveal it.
    I do not "know" that God doesn't exist, but I firmly believe He does not. However, it is the very nature of the Universe and the very nature of Science, I believe, that makes it impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the existence of God, as you said. BUT this means it is also impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the non-existence of God. I'm quite certain of those absolutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Evolution is of little import to me. I can’t even figure out what evolutionist theory is most popular today. But none of them pose much of a threat to anything I can see as possible. Evolution does not preclude the existence of God, but serves merely as a discussion forum because so many people on either side of the issue think it does. Evolution only attempts to show how various life forms changed into other life forms, and does not nor can it address the issue of origins.

    My concern is that many people adopt evolution because they think it justifies their rejection of God when it really doesn’t. One can accept or reject most of evolution regardless of their religious position. One need not be an atheist or agnostic to agree with much of evolutionist thinking. Atheists and agnotics, however, are locked into evolution because of their religious (non)belief. For them, there is no and can be no other possible solution.
    You've made a jump from asserting that evolution is "not important" to you, to a general position of "since it doesn't disprove God, you can take it or leave it." That really isn't the case. Scientific discovery is pursued not just for its own sake, but to be useful to society as a whole. Not everything that science studies necessarily has an immediate application, but by making the discoveries, it adds to the store of human knowledge so that if an application arises it can be utilised. When Darwin publised the Origin of Species in 1859, it was an explanatory tool, but did not have any real applicability. In the subsequent 150 years, however, its applications have multiplied an hundred fold. And most particularly in the past twenty years, we have seen two effects which can be explained using the theory of Evolution, and thus understood and combatted. One is the lessening efficacy of cures which we have found for existing diseases, and the other is the appearance and propagation of new diseases, such as AIDS, SARS, MRSA and the new Avian 'flu. In the latter case governments all over the world are working on the assumption that the theory of Evolution is correct and that the influenza virus may well mutate in a way that will make it transmissable from human to human. This is the kind of thing which the theory of Evolution allows you to do which non-acceptance of the Theory precludes. It is not merely the fact of mutation or its inevitability - the Theory of Evolution is a specific mechanism, which is modelled by, and conforms to, certain mathematical certainties, which enable biologists to make reasonable predictions about the spread of diseases or new forms of bacteria. In other words, the information you gain from the Theory is more useful than simply "this will happen". It tells you how much it will happen, and how long it will happen for. The "God theory" (let's call it) does neither of those things.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is far more important to the atheist or agnostic to be right in his religious (non)beliefs than to the religious to be correct in his beliefs. If, for example, the Christian is incorrect in his belief, he is no worse off than if he did not believe. He has lost nothing (i.e. eternal life), he ever had in the first place. If the atheist or agnostic is wrong, he loses that which he could have had. It is Pasqual’s wager, but I do not suggest people attempt to hedge their bets by attempting to feign belief.
    Surely, if the Christian is right in his beliefs, but in point of fact has not lived up to God's ideals as much as the Christian thought, then the fact that the Christian is right is more important than if the atheist is right. If the atheist is right, everybody's happy in their non-existant post-Death state. If the atheist is wrong, maybe he's burning in Hell for eternity - alongside some Christians (and all the other non-Christian non-atheists), or maybe she gets the same oblivion that she would get from no afterlife due to no God.

    Although this is an argument from atheism, I'm surprised other people don't go for it either, which is that although you claim that the atheist "loses what he might have had, ie eternal life", I for one have never managed to conjure up an eternal life that would be remotely standable for even three or four hundred years, let alone eternity.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But back to Thamnophis’ original question, I will rephrase my original answer: The evidence is there for those who wish to see, but it is hidden from those who do not want to see.
    Many atheists, some of them on this site, indeed wish to see, in fact would like nothing better than to see unmistakeable evidence for God's existence.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Whether evolution is 100 per cent true, 50 per cent true or minus 12 per cent true means nothing to me. Throwing it all into one pot, I find it to be about 20 to 25 per cent true, but I am not sure which 20 or 25 per cent and I am not locked into that position.
    As I trust I've shown you, whether evolution is true or not is of 100 percent importance to you. And your conviction that "the theory of evolution is 20-25% true" has absolutely no meaning in the world at large. If it was 20-25% true, then various things in this world, things that may well affect you or your family, particularly in the realm of health, but also in the realm of agriculture and feeding the world's starving, would not be the way they are.

    I for one do not argue against Creationism because Evolution proves that there is no God. I argue against Creationism because Evolution is not just a proven fact, it is a tool which humanity cannot do without today, and which the United States in particular is heading towards losing the use of, with detrimental effects on that nation's dominance over the world.
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    Well, Silas, that just may be one of the best replies I have ever received here. Not that I agree, just that it is at least reasoned and logical and somewhat open minded.

    Silas quotes me and comments:
    daytonturner wrote:
    Let us step back a ways from the path this discussion has taken and look for a moment at different ways of looking at "the things that be."

    There seem to be two basic forms of world views.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and adopt those concepts which are satisfactorily proved to them. Things which are not proved are rejected until proven.

    There are people whose general approach is to look at all the possibilities and eliminate those concepts which are satisfactorily disproved to them. Anything which has not been disproved is on a list of accepted or possible concepts.
    Despite what you may have convinced yourself of, this is not in fact the attitude of the majority of the religious. Because if you accept everything that has not been disproven, you have to accept the existence of all the other Gods, plus an infinity of unimagined ones, as well as the truth of certain other "unproven" beliefs, such as belief in magic or the summoning of spirits, or astrology - which are verboten by the majority of religions.

    Picking and choosing of which not-disproven concepts to believe in and which to simply not bother about is precisely what introduces the subjectivity which the rational mind attempts to free itself from. It is for this reason that the two positions you describe are not as symmetrical as you may think.
    I’m not sure if you are reading something into that or I did not make myself perfectly clear. It was not intended to be so cut and dried as you attempt to interpret it. Certainly, there is reciprocity between the two world views I describe. No one would perfectly fit into one of those views, but all would tend to lean more or less toward one of them. Nor does my description intend to suggest the second group accepts “everything” which has not been disproven. Even if something is considered possible, it may not be considered probable.

    Silas points out:

    I do not "know" that God doesn't exist, but I firmly believe He does not. However, it is the very nature of the Universe and the very nature of Science, I believe, that makes it impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the existence of God, as you said. BUT this means it is also impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the non-existence of God. I'm quite certain of those absolutes.
    We are on equal footing there. I am sure it is as difficult for you to admit that you do not “know” God is a fiction as it is for me to concede that He could be a fiction.

    Silas goes on into a discussion of the importance of evolution to what appears to be the medical application of genetic understanding. Gregor Mendal did his genetic studies virtually unaware of the theory of evolution.

    I would agree that the study of evolution has provided reasons to study genetics, but the study of genetics can be conducted with or without a relationship to evolution. Many geneticists study without regard to evolution. Yet other are attempting to show through genetics how evolution may have or could have taken place.

    I agree that the study of genetics is very important, but I find it to be an adjunct to or by-product of evolution. It would be taking place even without any theory of evolution. I am very interested in the field of bio-tech and genetic engineering if only from the standpoint that I am invested in some such companies.

    Silas mentions viruses. I do not see them as providing any example of evolution. It is a strange life form of which we are not even quite certain whether it is plant or animal. It is a wonderful example of a life form which is able to make complex changes for the purpose of self preservation. However, no matter how many changes we have observed, viruses remain viruses. We have no knowledge of anything it may have “evolved” from, nor can we show anything it has ever “evolved” to other than more viruses. When someone is raising viruses in a sterile culture and they end up being amoebas, I will get very excited.

    Silas says:

    Many atheists, some of them on this site, indeed wish to see, in fact would like nothing better than to see unmistakeable evidence for God's existence.
    From my perspective as a quasi Calvinist Christian, my feeling is that anyone who sincerely and truly wants to see unmistakable evidence of God does so at God’s insistence and will be satisfied.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, Silas, that just may be one of the best replies I have ever received here. Not that I agree, just that it is at least reasoned and logical and somewhat open minded.
    Thank you for the tribute.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I’m not sure if you are reading something into that or I did not make myself perfectly clear. It was not intended to be so cut and dried as you attempt to interpret it. Certainly, there is reciprocity between the two world views I describe. No one would perfectly fit into one of those views, but all would tend to lean more or less toward one of them. Nor does my description intend to suggest the second group accepts “everything” which has not been disproven. Even if something is considered possible, it may not be considered probable.
    Well, I replied to the literal meaning of the word "anything". Otherwise, I agree with you about the shades of grey.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas points out:

    I do not "know" that God doesn't exist, but I firmly believe He does not. However, it is the very nature of the Universe and the very nature of Science, I believe, that makes it impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the existence of God, as you said. BUT this means it is also impossible to find any proof whatsoever of the non-existence of God. I'm quite certain of those absolutes.
    We are on equal footing there. I am sure it is as difficult for you to admit that you do not “know” God is a fiction as it is for me to concede that He could be a fiction.
    Actually, not! But I don't think that's true of all atheists, certainly.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas goes on into a discussion of the importance of evolution to what appears to be the medical application of genetic understanding. Gregor Mendal did his genetic studies virtually unaware of the theory of evolution.
    Actually I was pointing out that not one development in biological science had cast serious doubt on Evolution, but has bolstered it. Mendel's work did not depend on Evolution, but in fact the other way round: it was Mendel's discovery of particulate heredity that resolved problems inherent in the whole Theory if characteristics were totally inherited as a "mixture" of the characteristics of the parent.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas mentions viruses. I do not see them as providing any example of evolution. It is a strange life form of which we are not even quite certain whether it is plant or animal. It is a wonderful example of a life form which is able to make complex changes for the purpose of self preservation. However, no matter how many changes we have observed, viruses remain viruses. We have no knowledge of anything it may have “evolved” from, nor can we show anything it has ever “evolved” to other than more viruses. When someone is raising viruses in a sterile culture and they end up being amoebas, I will get very excited.
    Viruses are basically DNA wrapped in gloop, not even cells yet. But as the basic reproductive essential, they have all the necessary requirements for evolving. Not only do viruses evolve (in fact, getting them to stop is one of the big healthcare headaches of today), but the adaptation they can go through is an excellent laboratory demonstration of natural selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas says:

    Many atheists, some of them on this site, indeed wish to see, in fact would like nothing better than to see unmistakeable evidence for God's existence.
    From my perspective as a quasi Calvinist Christian, my feeling is that anyone who sincerely and truly wants to see unmistakable evidence of God does so at God’s insistence and will be satisfied.
    Well, some people are easily satisfied, obviously! My belief, however, is that God is quite careful about "unmistakeable evidence", that is why religion remains a personal experience.
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    Meanwhile, I have forgotten, for sure, what thread this goes to??!!! I hope it was this one.

    I want to compliment you again, Silas, for your reasonable attempt to address my question and to thank you for such a patient and tolerant posting.

    I can only hope that my reply here will be received as equally reasonable and tolerant rather than as a tirade or personal.

    My objections and skepticism toward evolution generally fall into two areas.

    As I have tried to point out in the past, my skepticism toward evolution is not born in religious reaction, but more, from my training in the law. In fact, I was always been somewhat dubious toward evolution, even before I became a Christian and this skepticism was only enhanced by eventual training in law.

    As I have also stated elsewhere, I do not feel that evolution, in and of itself, poses any threat to my beliefs about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That is, I do not necessarily believe that God and evolution are mutually exclusive. I have no problem with the possibility that God could have placed minimal form(s) of life on this planet and encoded them with the instructions for evolutionary change. I am equally at ease with the idea that God created many, many life forms and what we can observe today are but minor changes which have subsequently taken place.

    With my current state of knowledge, I do not feel I have observed sufficient evidence to convince me of anything about evolution. So the first area of my skepticism is based on insufficiency of evidence to convince me.

    Others, having a lower standard of sufficiency, may be adequately convinced.

    However, in that group of convinced people lies my second area of concern. Many of those are persons who are convinced not by the evidence of evolution, but by their atheism which automatically disqualifies any other explanation. For these people any amount of evidence is sufficient, as there is no other answer for them to explain the current status of life forms on the Earth.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    As I have tried to point out in the past, my skepticism toward evolution is not born in religious reaction, but more, from my training in the law. In fact, I was always been somewhat dubious toward evolution, even before I became a Christian and this skepticism was only enhanced by eventual training in law.
    Ahm, Dayton, I hope I'm not being too rude here, but this is a science forum in which (mainly) scientifically minded and educated people come to discuss scientific matters.

    So, I'm going to have to ask you to explain exactly how a training in the law has caused you to be skeptical of a particular scientific theory!

    Unless of course you're talking about forensic evidence as used in court cases, in which case "law" doesn't really have anything to do with it - but simply the rational evaluation of evidence to determine the facts on the balance of probabilities.

    Although I ought to wait for your reply, I feel I ought to preempt you just a little by pointing out that the scientific consensus based on evidence, is not based on "the balance of probabilities" in the same way that a jury verdict is.... it's far, far, far more rigorous. In fact, I do know that one problem prosecutors have had at least here in the UK is with too much scientific literacy amongst jury members, and it has to be explained that proving something in court beyond all reasonable doubt does not mean that they have to be sure with a scientific certainty that a case has been proven. A scientist would never allow a result to go through on the basis of the level of evidence acceptable in a court case.

    In some court cases, a little more scientific thinking would be welcome, in my opinion. In the UK one of our leading TV personalities, Jill Dando, was murdered in the street outside her home by someone who put a gun to her head and fired several times. The man arrested and convicted of the murder was a known stalker of Dando's. But the only forensic evidence that convicted him was a tiny fragment of cordite which was supposed to have been found in his coat pocket. The reason I would not have convicted him is that, like in any scientific result, the more the merrier. One piece of forensic evidence is not sufficient - for me it would have to be corroborated by a second piece at the very least. Otherwise you haven't eliminated the possibility of contamination during the evidence collection process. Even the Bible, the oldest commonly known book of Law in the world, recognises the importance of corroborative evidence, and there is a rule that no man be convicted on the word of only a single witness. In the modern world, I feel this must be extended to the scientific evidence of a crime.
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    Valid question, Silas.

    But first of all, this particular section of The Science Forum is called Religion and this thread is called “No evidence.” Thus, while science remains an underlying base of discussion, religion is fare game in this section and the topic of evidence would seem to open that door, too.

    While scientific proof and legal proof are not exactly the same, they both boil down to the question of, “What does it take to convince ya?” and, “What does this information show or not show?” and “Based on this information what can you eliminate or validate?”

    The legal systems of both the U.S. and U.K. are very similar in their standards of proof for different kinds of procedures. The graver the consequences of a given situation, the higher the standard of proof required.

    Beyond that, we each have our own built in level of standard of proof which is entirely independent of any legal or scientific standard. Those standards can then be compromised or dictated by other life influences and biases.

    Some of us are consummately skeptical of just about everything while others of us are eager to believe just about anything that is tossed out for discussions. Some of us adopt a position and cling to it no matter what quantity or quality of controverting information may be introduced. Meanwhile, others seem to alter their view with each added piece of information.

    One aspect of legal proof would be to look at a fact or situation and try to determine what it shows about other things.

    For example, you look at the adaptability of viruses as indicative of evolution. I look at the “fact” that we have never seen nor found any evidence that viruses have ever changed into another life form nor do we know of any predecessor life form that became a virus and I conclude this is not evidence of evolution, but adaptability. This would explain why we have several different kinds of, say, finches, but it does not explain why we have finches and parrots.

    I also look at the “fact” that we have observed millions of generations of fruit flies (in the last 100 years or so) and even with man induced genetic mutations and manipulations, we have never observed a fruit fly reproduce anything other that more fruit flies. The only mutational changes observed in fruit flies have produced inferior or unviable fruit flies. So what do these observations show? Certainly not evolution.

    For argument sake, let us say that a change from a fruit fly to a distinctively separate specie of fly is just around the corner. What this indicates to me is that even if evolution is the result of mutational alterations, they are few and far between. If it takes millions of generations for such a change to come about, and millions of changes would have been necessary to produced the currently known forms of life, we come up against a time crunch with even the most generous estimates of the time life has existed on Earth for all those changes to have occurred.

    I find these facts (and others) more persuasive, more convincing and more compelling than fossil gaps and inexplicable, undefinable mechanisms of undisoverable changes. Maybe I didn’t need law to observe these flaws, just a discriminating mind.

    One of my concerns is that atheists, by virtue of their very atheism, must completely and categorically discount or ignore or put down any idea that contradicts evolution. But they consistently delude themselves into believing they have made a well reasoned, objective and unbiased decision. They haven’t; they have merely come to the only conclusion which is open to them. Sort of like a fish deciding to process water instead of air. Thus I find evolutionary information espoused by atheists as being highly biased and carrying little weight.

    I know this view is very frustrating to the mono-viewed atheist. It still remains that I have not, as yet, read any plain English explanations of how fossils can be used to link and show direct relationships between any two separate families or genera of animals. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has anyone yet shown genetic marks which link different animals even though we can trace genetic marks of current humanity all the way back to a single tribe of African bushmen from which all races of humanity appear to have descended.

    Now some may say I cannot see those things because my mind is closed, but I merely counter that that is all they can see because they are totally blind to any other possibility.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Valid question, Silas.

    But first of all, this particular section of The Science Forum is called Religion and this thread is called “No evidence.” Thus, while science remains an underlying base of discussion, religion is fare game in this section and the topic of evidence would seem to open that door, too.

    While scientific proof and legal proof are not exactly the same, they both boil down to the question of, “What does it take to convince ya?” and, “What does this information show or not show?” and “Based on this information what can you eliminate or validate?”
    That's certainly a very strange way of looking at legal proof. First of all, a jury certainly has to take into account the vagaries of human psychology. It also has to determine a solution based on abstract issues such as motive. The guiding principle is not determining absolute truth, but administering justice and protecting society. Those judgements of fact are also undertaken by ordinary members of the public who are not trained in skeptical thinking and objectivity. At least some verdicts must have been decided by a jury member who based their decision on what it said in the astrology column of their newspaper. Legal proof is a very dodgy ground on which to be arguing about the scientific validity of Evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The legal systems of both the U.S. and U.K. are very similar in their standards of proof for different kinds of procedures. The graver the consequences of a given situation, the higher the standard of proof required.
    Nevertheless the validity of evolution is based on a century and a half of accumulative, confirmatory evidence, which is orders of magnitude in excess of the "standard of proof" required for a court verdict.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Beyond that, we each have our own built in level of standard of proof which is entirely independent of any legal or scientific standard. Those standards can then be compromised or dictated by other life influences and biases.
    But the realm of science is predicated on the maximisation of objectivity. Of course it's not 100% successful, after all scientists are only human. But the system is designed to have every result rigorously tested and re-tested, so that error can be rooted out. Evolution is a theory which has withstood such critical scrutiny for a century and a half.

    There is a common belief (I'm not suggesting for a moment that you share it) that the knowledge that comes from science has no more basis than the stories and doctrines of faith that religion has. In a small way, my own faith in science might be classed as not dissimilar to that, since as only an amateur in scientific knowledge, I personally have no more knowledge of science than I have derived from books. Real scientific training, however, does not derive solely from books, but from making the students repeat various classic experiments for themselves, and where the subject is not experimental, the theories are nevertheless based on close analysis of the physical evidence available.

    Given that all the other products of science have results which effect my everyday life, and which I can verify and see to work every day, the unilateral rejection of one extensively confirmed part of is simply not a valid option.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Some of us are consummately skeptical of just about everything while others of us are eager to believe just about anything that is tossed out for discussions. Some of us adopt a position and cling to it no matter what quantity or quality of controverting information may be introduced. Meanwhile, others seem to alter their view with each added piece of information.

    One aspect of legal proof would be to look at a fact or situation and try to determine what it shows about other things

    For example, you look at the adaptability of viruses as indicative of evolution. I look at the “fact” that we have never seen nor found any evidence that viruses have ever changed into another life form nor do we know of any predecessor life form that became a virus and I conclude this is not evidence of evolution, but adaptability.
    Evolution is adaptability, Dayton. Evolution is adaptability taken to the nth degree by simple dint of between hundreds of thousands and billions of generations over between tens of thousands and hundreds of millions of years. Making a thing about "one species turning into another" is simply excessive compartmentalisation. In everyday, static, current biology, a species is defined pretty much by what it can and can't reproduce with. But across the aeons, that definition of species becomes meaningless. Species are not discrete entities, they are a continuum.

    But let me also address the point you were trying to make. For some reason you believe that the theory of evolution consists of stating by fiat that species derive from other, different species. The reality is that the theory of evolution is primarily that all Life is related, that all Life had a single source. The mechanism for evolution is mutation and natural selection (ie survival of the "fittest", but really the spreading of successful genes throughout the gene pool), but in an important sense you are not quibbling with Darwinianism as a mechanism, but in Evolution as a whole.

    So the theory is that all Life is related. So we look at a lion and a tiger and a duck, and come up with the natural conclusion that lions and tigers are closer relations than lions and ducks. It's obvious! So how is the theory of pan-familia to be tested? Certainly not by waiting around to see a new species evolve from some earlier species. No, the theory is tested by looking at individual characteristics of related species and ancestral species, and we get into the cells and count the chromosomes, and then we extract a funny acid in the heart of every cell and discover the actual mechanism for growth and reproduction itself, that incredible thing DNA. And the fact that there is this one reproduction-capable molecule found in every living entity is pretty much proof enough that all life is related, but at every single stage between looking at lions and tigers and examining a strand of deoxyribonucleic acid there are a hundred different ways in which familial descent could be disproved. But they never transpire. Instead only those characteristics - at every level: externally physical, internally metabolic, chromosomal, genetic - only those characteristics which are consistent with familial relationship are the ones we see.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This would explain why we have several different kinds of, say, finches, but it does not explain why we have finches and parrots.
    Most people nowadays would simply accept the fact that finches and parrots are related, and thus evolved from a common ancestor, by simple dint of the fact that they are both birds.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I also look at the “fact” that we have observed millions of generations of fruit flies (in the last 100 years or so) and even with man induced genetic mutations and manipulations, we have never observed a fruit fly reproduce anything other that more fruit flies. The only mutational changes observed in fruit flies have produced inferior or unviable fruit flies. So what do these observations show? Certainly not evolution.
    First of all, we have not observed millions of successive generations of mutated fruitflies. Secondly, the research on fruitflies is to tell us about what different genes effect in the actual body design. The fact that mutating a gene causes certain changes which are part of the theory of the mechanism of how Evolution works simply is additional confirmatory evidence for Evolution - but confirming Evolution is not the reason for the research.

    And finally, it beggars belief that anybody would even expect some radical new species to develop. Certainly no evolutionary biologist hopes to recreate the conditions of a new specie emergence in the laboratory. Timescales are way way too short, and the populations involved are far, far too tiny. Anti-Evolutionists point to the low probabilities involved in beneficial mutations appearing and then spreading throughout the population. Well, Evolutionists wouldn't disagree that these events are low probability, the difference is that "low probability" is not "zero possibility". Given enough attempts you can eventually throw 100 heads in a row. Regarding fruit flies, the evolution of all the insect species is something that has involved probably quadrillions of individual life forms (think of all the billions of insects alive today, and remember that those ones actually out and flying represent probably 1% of the number of eggs laid) over hundreds of millions of years. We couldn't hope to duplicate that kind of variation and repeated trials in an experiment. The belief in evolution is not, and never could be, derived from direct observation of species generation, any more than the space-time continuum theory of the Universe or the Atomic and Quantum theories of matter.

    For argument sake, let us say that a change from a fruit fly to a distinctively separate specie of fly is just around the corner. What this indicates to me is that even if evolution is the result of mutational alterations, they are few and far between. If it takes millions of generations for such a change to come about, and millions of changes would have been necessary to produced the currently known forms of life, we come up against a time crunch with even the most generous estimates of the time life has existed on Earth for all those changes to have occurred.
    Uhm, you're right and wrong. Yes, the events are very low probability, but no, the timescales are not insufficient. Probably because you have no real concept in your mind of "a million years". Quite a lot of Young Earth creationism abounds with the clear non-understanding of the concept of scales of time, and this kind of thinking can leak into other areas.

    Evolution caused by substantial alteration of the environment has caused many observable changes to have appeared only since the Ice Age a few tens of thousands of years ago. Human evolution is known to have occurred over a period of two million years, with a number of species coming and going, and one at least, Homo Neanderthalis, co-existing with Homo Sapiens. Evolution caused through isolation of populations has been observed since the break up of the continents 100,000,000 years ago. And every little bit of non-microscopic life you see around you today is derived from something that appeared no more than 600,000,000 years ago. But LIFE itself, in microscopic algae and bacterial form starts off at least five times further back still.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I find these facts (and others) more persuasive, more convincing and more compelling than fossil gaps and inexplicable, undefinable mechanisms of undisoverable changes. Maybe I didn’t need law to observe these flaws, just a discriminating mind.
    But the rational mind accepts the evidence of centuries of rational discriminating thinking by generations of scientists as of value in itself, surely? It's the blythe dismissing of all that weight of knowledge, of experience, of objective observation and deduction, that is somewhat irrational. You are not possessed of a discriminating mind if you are basing your opinion solely on the small amount of direct knowledge you have. On another thread, you said that you had no knowledge of convincing evidence of Evolution. My suggestion (not replied to as yet) was for you to visit the library and see some real textbooks on the subject. My own direct actual knowledge of these things is really no greater than yours (though there are others on this forum who have indeed undergone substantial training in the disciplines involved) ... but I know that all that science is based on overwhelming evidence and generations of work which has built on itself endlessly and over and over again, never once turning up a piece of evidence that contradicts the theory. And all those generations of scientists are trained first and foremost in "discriminating thinking", in skepticism, in not accepting blind Authority.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    One of my concerns is that atheists, by virtue of their very atheism, must completely and categorically discount or ignore or put down any idea that contradicts evolution. But they consistently delude themselves into believing they have made a well reasoned, objective and unbiased decision. They haven’t; they have merely come to the only conclusion which is open to them.
    Au contraire. Atheism is bolstered by evolution, sure, but evolution is a fact whether religionists like it or not. In any case, though most of us here are declared atheists, we are not particularly using Evolution as an argument against God's existence - only as an argument against rejecting human knowledge for the sake of one book.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Sort of like a fish deciding to process water instead of air. Thus I find evolutionary information espoused by atheists as being highly biased and carrying little weight.
    It seems to me that many people who have argued here have done so entirely objectively. If you are assuming a priori bias, there's not a great deal we can do about that, but we are at least honest and up front about our beliefs. But judge the words and the evidence on their own merits, please, as I judge yours.

    You appear to be making a somewhat unwarranted assumption that all evolutionary biologists are atheists, or that the promotors of the theory of Evolution are atheists first and foremost. You're making what I like to call the theistic "God-is-everything" fallacy. To many particularly devout Christians, God is everything, and forms part of their everyday thinking. The converse of that, they sometimes think, is to think that athests therefore are constantly thinking about the non-existence of God. We don't - the absence of God is merely that - an absence, something we don't think about until asked to justify our beliefs. And scientists, regardless of their field, are not jumping up and down with every new discover shouting, "There's another one in the eye for God!" Scientists simply follow the evidence where it leads them and their rational objective minds. They no more think of disproving God than they consider they are disproving pink elephants.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I know this view is very frustrating to the mono-viewed atheist. It still remains that I have not, as yet, read any plain English explanations of how fossils can be used to link and show direct relationships between any two separate families or genera of animals. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has anyone yet shown genetic marks which link different animals even though we can trace genetic marks of current humanity all the way back to a single tribe of African bushmen from which all races of humanity appear to have descended.
    Well, other people can point you in the right direction as far as that is concerned. Nontheless, I see reports of genetic links between animal species periodically reported in the media all the time. How hard are you looking, really? Not everything is on the Internet. And again there's this thing about "a plain English explanation". Any explanation in "plain English" would undoubtedly fail to match your personal standard for a rigorously proved point. Not everything in human knowledge (scientific or otherwise) is truly expressible or understandable in plain English, but requires extensive training in the field, not least to master the jargon and technical terms involved - but such training involves nothing that cannot be accepted by the discriminating mind at every point throughout the learning process.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Now some may say I cannot see those things because my mind is closed, but I merely counter that that is all they can see because they are totally blind to any other possibility.
    I'm finding it hard to understand what other possibilities that we are supposed to be blind to. A God who messes around creating parrots and finches as separate species is a God who hasn't understood the full potential of the system He created. Evolution is the only natural explanation that anybody has sensibly come up with. Otherwise you are left with Super-natural explanations. We are not "blind" to supernatural explanations, we simply don't accept them as a) objective, b) testable or c) usefully predictive.

    Dayton, tell me there's no explanation for the formation of the Cell, or that we are nowhere near explaining the one factor that makes at least half the evolution in the world work, ie the Mind, and I'll agree with you. But don't tell me that God made the parrots and the finches.

    [Edited for wordsmithing, and to add a paragraph]
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    I always enjoy your patient and thorough replies to my posts, Silas. I am not sure why this last reply was not referred to me, but I found it only upon entering TheScienceForum on my own.

    About the only thing you said that I would serious contest was this:

    You appear to be making a somewhat unwarranted assumption that all evolutionary biologists are atheists, or that the promotors of the theory of Evolution are atheists first and foremost.
    I think my intent was just the opposite – that all atheists are evolutionists by default -- not that all evolutionary biologists are atheists or even that all evolutionists are atheists.

    There are some other areas where I would disagree, but more from a philosophical standpoint than from factual discrepancies.

    For example, Silas says, in part:

    ... but I know that all that science is based on overwhelming evidence and generations of work which has built on itself endlessly and over and over again, never once turning up a piece of evidence that contradicts the theory. And all those generations of scientists are trained first and foremost in "discriminating thinking", in skepticism, in not accepting blind Authority.
    I just don’t see evolution as being comparable to “all of science.” The theory of evolution is not the same as, say, the Doppler effect. This is a comparison of apples and oranges in a relationship which, apparently, only evolutionists are willing to make. Implicit in this statement is the thought that because the rest of science seems to be OK, evolution must be, too.

    The idea that no evidence contradicts evolution is, again, an idea that only evolutionists express. Many of the things evolutionist see as supporting evidence is not seen as such by others. And, meanwhile, the converse is true – those things which non-evolutionists see as detractions are of no import to evolutionists.

    It is not an accurate assumption that my opinion of science in general runs parallel to my opinion of evolution. I enjoy science and I am fascinated by many of the things science has opened the doors to.

    It is not my goal or expectation that I would cause any evolutionist to step back and suddenly exclaim, “Whoa, you know, this evolution crap is a bunch of hooey!” Even I don’t believe that.

    I do have a number of objections to things that evolutionists do and say. When evolutionists say evolution is a fact, I think that is an ignorant statement. It totally ignores the “fact” that evolution is called a theory because it remains a theory. The theories of relativity have far greater proof, verification and validation than does evolution and yet it remains a theory, not a fact, because it cannot be completely validated. The Doppler effect is a fact because it can be validated beyond any reasonable speculative objections. The only possible value of the “evolution is fact” statement is a false sense of assurance to those who need to have their doubts about the validity of evolutionary theory.

    Then you have people who somehow think that evolution “disproves” the existence of any God, which it doesn’t do at all. And others seem to think that evolution explains how life started, which it doesn’t. And when non-evolutionist point out problems with specific claims of evolution, it is either pooh-poohed or someone comes up with a new or different approach to account for the problem, thus producing conflicting aspects of the theories.

    Silas’ characterization that evolution only attempts to show that all of life is related but that it is not necessary to show who is related to whom is a convenience mechanism to explain away that which cannot be shown or explained. If all of life is related, we should be able to show the relationships. I mean, really, if man can go from Kitty Hawk to the moon in 66 years, we ought to be able to figure out how we got from at least one animal to the next in 150 years.

    I am a Jerry McGuire, I guess. “Show me the, money!” Show me the weapons of mass destruction. Show me the relationships. If you can.

    If I state that I am related to some famous person, you would want to know what that relationship is. If I said I am related to Mark Twain, you could take my word for it. But eventually, someone is going to ask for the basis of that claim. Well, according to my genealogical chart, I’m a third cousin, seven times removed to Samuel Langhorn Clemons who is Mark Twain. (Big deal. I bet you’re all impressed.)

    I do not think it unreasonable to have similar expectations that evolution could produce some similar genealogy between some life forms. I would not expect a chart from the amoeba to the elephant or the parameceum to the blue whale. But it seems there should be some ability to show that animals B and C were the progeny of animal A.

    Silas says:

    I'm finding it hard to understand what other possibilities that we are supposed to be blind to. A God who messes around creating parrots and finches as separate species is a God who hasn't understood the full potential of the system He created. Evolution is the only natural explanation that anybody has sensibly come up with. Otherwise you are left with Super-natural explanations. We are not "blind" to supernatural explanations, we simply don't accept them as a) objective, b) testable or c) usefully predictive.
    Herein is one of the great mysteries to me. Atheistic evolutionists seem to demand tangible proof of God while accepting that which I believe is less than tangible proof of evolution. Nor do I accept many of the explanations of evolution as being a) objective, b) testable or c) successfully predictive.

    I am as equally comfortable with the thought that God created finches and parrots as different kinds as I am with the thought that God created a system of evolutionary changes. I am not as concerned with how it was done as I am with who dunnit. But, since it is evolutionists who suggest this happened via natural process, it seems that evolutionists should be able to show how nature did this. Show me one animal that changed into another animal or any series of verified changes by which this occurred. Show me what the lion was before it was a lion or even less specifically, what cats were before they were cats.

    Silas also points out:

    First of all, we have not observed millions of successive generations of mutated fruitflies. Secondly, the research on fruitflies is to tell us about what different genes effect in the actual body design. The fact that mutating a gene causes certain changes which are part of the theory of the mechanism of how Evolution works simply is additional confirmatory evidence for Evolution - but confirming Evolution is not the reason for the research.
    Well, duhhhhhh. No plant or animal generates in one single file line. If we look at millions of generations of any life form, it would be down many lines of parenthood, spreading out just like a family tree. This should provide more opportunities for changes than single file generation. That, in fact, is part of the theory – that line A of such and such animal experienced a change that produced a new form X and that line B of such and such animal experienced a change that produced a new life form Y. Yet, no one has been able to provide a bona fide, verified example of such having taken place by naming names. It still remains only a theoretical possibility, not a varified reality.

    Silas, and others, tell me there are many examples, but so far the only things anyone has referred me to were examples of variations, one of which genetically explained why the brown spots on one set of goats were differently placed than were the brown spots on a set of goats from a different part of the world. They were still all goats. Shows me what goats were before they were goats.

    Show me the natural trail, fossil or genetic, of one animal turning into another. Show me nature’s fossil or genetic trail from salamanders to frogs or vice versa or a natural trail back to a common ancestor.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I always enjoy your patient and thorough replies to my posts, Silas. I am not sure why this last reply was not referred to me, but I found it only upon entering TheScienceForum on my own.

    About the only thing you said that I would serious contest was this:

    You appear to be making a somewhat unwarranted assumption that all evolutionary biologists are atheists, or that the promotors of the theory of Evolution are atheists first and foremost.
    I think my intent was just the opposite – that all atheists are evolutionists by default -- not that all evolutionary biologists are atheists or even that all evolutionists are atheists.
    I must have misunderstood your reasoning for rejecting all the evidence for familial relationships as being promulgated by evolutionary biologists who are "biased" because they are atheists. If you accept that not all evolutionary biologists are atheists, what is the reason you don't accept their evidence (apart from the obvious fact that you haven't actually examined any of it)?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There are some other areas where I would disagree, but more from a philosophical standpoint than from factual discrepancies.

    For example, Silas says, in part:

    ... but I know that all that science is based on overwhelming evidence and generations of work which has built on itself endlessly and over and over again, never once turning up a piece of evidence that contradicts the theory. And all those generations of scientists are trained first and foremost in "discriminating thinking", in skepticism, in not accepting blind Authority.
    I just don’t see evolution as being comparable to “all of science.”
    That's really your loss! And it really isn't a reasonable viewpoint. The theory of evolution makes predictions that allow us to make useful things, like drugs, like disinfectants and vaccines, like new breeds of crops giving better yields (but please, let's not get into a GM foods argument!)

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The theory of evolution is not the same as, say, the Doppler effect. This is a comparison of apples and oranges in a relationship which, apparently, only evolutionists are willing to make.
    Yes it is! Why is it that no matter how many times myself or Ophiolite or any of us on the pro-Evolution front explain again and again, over and over, that there is quite as much overwhelming evidence in favour of evolution and not one jot against it, you keep coming back with "it's not fact, it's not confirmed empirical science like physics is".

    Also you claim that "only evolutionists are willing to make" a comparison between Evolution and the rest of Science. That is true only in the sense that all scientists are evolutionists. All physical scientists and chemical scientists are evolutionists, and all evolutionary biologists are Relativity-ists and Atomists and Quantumists. Let's take the opposition to evolution - Creationism and Intelligent Design. But we find, with these "disciplines", that not only are they not accepted by evolutionary biologists, they are not accepted by any scientific body, journal or authority, nor by any (except a vanishing few) individual Christian scientists. Creationist "scientific papers" are simply not accepted by peer reviewed papers because they simply don't follow the first precepts of any scientific endeavour. And Intelligent Design is not accepted because it pre-supposes a level at which there is no point in investigating further, which is a fundamentally anti-scientific attitude.

    So your view that "only Evolutionists think of Evolution as a science" is somewhat misleading - sure, all of science consists of Evolutionists, but they are so because a) there is sufficient evidence for the theory, and b) it is a useful theory that gives us useful scientific results - which is certainly not true of either Creationism or ID. If you mean "only Evolutionary Biologists think of Evolution as science" - well, what's an evolutionary biologist - Stephen Jay Gould, who carefully traced many individual species and came up with radical new theories himself about the mechanisms of evolution? Or lab experimenters who are actually breeding viruses and bacteria and seeing how they adapt? Or geneticists who determine exactly what cluster of cells is responsible for causing what feature? Or agronomists who are determining yield. Or doctors who are trying to deal with the possible pandemic results of bird flu? They're all scientists, they're all doing useful scientific work, and they all consider Evolution to be confirmed. Confirmed quite as effectively as the Doppler Effect (where we've never actually seen electromagnetic waves); Relativity (confirmed by watching the light from a distant star split in two - two or three pixels on a monitor screen, that's what that amounts to); Atomic theory and quantum theory - you probably wouldn't accept any of the "evidence" for those theories, consisting as it does primarily of oscilloscope traces.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    that just about every scientist in any discipline recognises the validity of the methodology and reasoning behind Evolution, and would htere
    Implicit in this statement is the thought that because the rest of science seems to be OK, evolution must be, too.
    The products of science are completely open to everybody to examine and refute. I've already pointed out any number of areas in which the evolutionary theory is seen in action, and which would come up with negative results if it was not true.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The idea that no evidence contradicts evolution is, again, an idea that only evolutionists express. Many of the things evolutionist see as supporting evidence is not seen as such by others. And, meanwhile, the converse is true – those things which non-evolutionists see as detractions are of no import to evolutionists.
    "Others" only being religious-minded people with a subjective agenda, Dayton. Not anybody who has actually objectively looked at the evidence with the backing of some training or knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is not an accurate assumption that my opinion of science in general runs parallel to my opinion of evolution. I enjoy science and I am fascinated by many of the things science has opened the doors to.
    You just have not convinced me then, that you have a rational reason for rejecting evolution - apart from your stubborn refusal to go look at the deepwork on the subject - hard textbooks and papers, where family relationships between species are set out with convincing evidence at every stage. You persist in your determination to remain ignorant of the facts, and this gives you an excuse to "love all science except the one part I won't look too deeply into".

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do have a number of objections to things that evolutionists do and say. When evolutionists say evolution is a fact, I think that is an ignorant statement. It totally ignores the “fact” that evolution is called a theory because it remains a theory. The theories of relativity have far greater proof, verification and validation than does evolution and yet it remains a theory, not a fact, because it cannot be completely validated. The Doppler effect is a fact because it can be validated beyond any reasonable speculative objections. The only possible value of the “evolution is fact” statement is a false sense of assurance to those who need to have their doubts about the validity of evolutionary theory.
    Relativity, the Quantum Theory and Evolution are all in the realm of being considered fact. This world would not look the way it does if it were not the case. It isn't just atheists, or just evolutionary biologists, or just baity blokes like me on a forum. If Evolution were not considered "fact" by all reasonable people, governments would not make important decisions on the basis of its reality. Not all of those decisions are wise ones - viz attempting to poison every rabbit in Australia.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Then you have people who somehow think that evolution “disproves” the existence of any God, which it doesn’t do at all. And others seem to think that evolution explains how life started, which it doesn’t. And when non-evolutionist point out problems with specific claims of evolution, it is either pooh-poohed or someone comes up with a new or different approach to account for the problem, thus producing conflicting aspects of the theories.
    No non-evolutionist (ie Creationist) has ever actually pointed out a real problem with any specific claims. They may have pointed to areas of continuing lack of knowledge, but they have never been able to point to anything that specifically rules out the theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas’ characterization that evolution only attempts to show that all of life is related but that it is not necessary to show who is related to whom is a convenience mechanism to explain away that which cannot be shown or explained. If all of life is related, we should be able to show the relationships. I mean, really, if man can go from Kitty Hawk to the moon in 66 years, we ought to be able to figure out how we got from at least one animal to the next in 150 years.
    Oh, no, now your just making bad analogies in place of argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am a Jerry McGuire, I guess. “Show me the, money!” Show me the weapons of mass destruction. Show me the relationships. If you can.
    Why do you never reply to when I make the point that no explanation that would satisfy you can be contained within the confines of even a reasonably comprehensive website, let alone a forum post? Are you going to check up the actual work of evolutionary biologists or are you going to remain ignorant? Stephen Jay Gould completed a "standard work" on the subject, 1400+ pages of The Structure of Evolutionary Theory before he died, which I predict will become a standard University text on the subject. I nevertheless have no doubt that your "doubt" would remain completely untouched by it (I've never read it myself, or even had the opportunity to flick through it). But the Structure of Evolutionary Theory is based on a great deal more than 1400 pages of (illustrated) text. It is based on thousands upon thousands of papers, making probably hundreds of thousands of pages, of painstaking, evidence backed, scientific work, which will, if you wish, "Show you the money". There are plenty of plain English books out there, you just won't be convinced by any of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas says:

    I'm finding it hard to understand what other possibilities that we are supposed to be blind to. A God who messes around creating parrots and finches as separate species is a God who hasn't understood the full potential of the system He created. Evolution is the only natural explanation that anybody has sensibly come up with. Otherwise you are left with Super-natural explanations. We are not "blind" to supernatural explanations, we simply don't accept them as a) objective, b) testable or c) usefully predictive.
    Herein is one of the great mysteries to me. Atheistic evolutionists seem to demand tangible proof of God while accepting that which I believe is less than tangible proof of evolution. Nor do I accept many of the explanations of evolution as being a) objective, b) testable or c) successfully predictive.
    a) You're wrong. b) You're quite wrong. c) You're incredibly wrong. But I don't have the space here to prove my point. Either go find some stuff on the subject, or admit that your level of knowledge is insufficient for you to make a completely objective assessment.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am as equally comfortable with the thought that God created finches and parrots as different kinds as I am with the thought that God created a system of evolutionary changes. I am not as concerned with how it was done as I am with who dunnit. But, since it is evolutionists who suggest this happened via natural process, it seems that evolutionists should be able to show how nature did this. Show me one animal that changed into another animal or any series of verified changes by which this occurred. Show me what the lion was before it was a lion or even less specifically, what cats were before they were cats.
    I'm quite surprised that you imagine that this evidence simply doesn't exist. You have in your mind whatever it is that you will find convincing, but the nature of evolutionary evidence does not fall within your mindset. (Maybe there's something on talkorigins that will help, I don't know)

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, duhhhhhh. No plant or animal generates in one single file line. If we look at millions of generations of any life form, it would be down many lines of parenthood, spreading out just like a family tree. This should provide more opportunities for changes than single file generation. That, in fact, is part of the theory – that line A of such and such animal experienced a change that produced a new form X and that line B of such and such animal experienced a change that produced a new life form Y. Yet, no one has been able to provide a bona fide, verified example of such having taken place by naming names. It still remains only a theoretical possibility, not a varified reality.
    You personally have religious reasons for sticking to your story, and hundreds of years of painstaking effort by hundreds of thousands of scientists isn't enough to make you realise that evolution is a verified reality, not a theoretical possibility. If a theory is not only the only theoretical possibility, but is confirmed time after time at every level, from the superficial level of species, down through genes to the basic DNA, it's pretty much verified.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas, and others, tell me there are many examples, but so far the only things anyone has referred me to were examples of variations, one of which genetically explained why the brown spots on one set of goats were differently placed than were the brown spots on a set of goats from a different part of the world. They were still all goats. Shows me what goats were before they were goats.
    Smaller furry animals, then before that a form of pre-mammal called a therapsid, before that reptilian forms. There is plenty of published work out there that can go through this evidence piece by piece. And you'll still reject it.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Show me the natural trail, fossil or genetic, of one animal turning into another. Show me nature’s fossil or genetic trail from salamanders to frogs or vice versa or a natural trail back to a common ancestor.
    I've emphasised this again and again. Here it is one more time. There is more than enough published information, but you may have to go to University libraries in order to dig it out. I've done all I'm willing to.
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    You are persistent Dayton, I'll give you that. Would you be offended if I took to calling you Dogged Dayton? :wink:

    Silas, I was going to respond to several of Dayton's points, but you have addressed them all with such vigour, passion and conviction that I can think of nothing to add. I ran into the same problem with Dayton on another thread: to truly understand evolution you have to study, in depth, at least one aspect of it (for me it was an overview of the fossil record). Dayton seems unwilling to do so, yet feels it still acceptable to deny the reality of this evidence that he has chosen not to look at. This seems to me misguided, and almost verging on the intellectually dishonest.
    That is not a charge I would make lightly, and I do not suggest, Dayton, that you do so deliberately or with malice, but I urge you to buy Gould's book referred to by Silas. I have browsed through it, and only a suitcase already filled with Barnes & Noble purchases stopped me from buying it then. [Too expensive in the UK.] Buy it. Read. Relish it. Prepare to be amazed.
    If that is too much of a bite try The Ancestor's Tale, by Dawkins. It is so good I have forgiven the arrogant prat for the self indulgence of all his earlier works.
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    Hey! The Blind Watchmaker is only a little self-indulgent, and I rate it very highly as a well-written passionately argued argument.

    But thanks for the compliments, Ophiolite.

    Dayton, you may feel on reading my last post that I'm a little less patient than I may have seemed previously, but I did it all at once at the end of a working day, and posted it off without revision.

    I think I ought to become a writer. I just read an interview with British author Tony Parsons, who makes it his duty "whether it takes an hour or ten hours" to write 1,000 words a day - and I seem to routinely knock off 1,200-1,800 word posts over the course of a working afternoon, just to make a point on an Internet forum!
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    Again, neither of the replies by Silas or Ophiolite were forwarded on to me. I suspect more than a mere malfunction of the system.

    You are correct, Silas, continued exchange is probably of little value, although I have numerous other objections left in my arsenal. I thank you for your patience and your willingness to discuss. Most of the people on this forum have, like you, have found it impossible to satisfactorily answer the questions we objectors have. They all now ignore me, as I am sure you must do, too.

    I can only say, I am not the only person with the objections and questions I have posed, and you are not the only person who is unable to provide satisfactory answers.

    Ophiolite suggests I am dishonest -- so does that make every objector to evolution dishonest? I find it fascinating that one is dishonest because he cannot see that which is not there. Should I, in turn, suggest that all people who cannot “see” God are dishonest? Is TSF failing to notify posters of responses honest?

    Mostly, we are merely reiterating things that have been previously uttered or written by people who are probably more learned than we. Certainly, if you are at all familiar with this continuing discussion, you have read most of what I have said before and I can assure you I have read some version of everything you have said before.

    As I have maintained before, it is not my intent or expectation that my writings would move you or the other evolutionists on this forum to the other side of the issue.

    My perspective is that the jury is still out on this issue. And, it seems, the more knowledge we gain, the more disparate the opinions and interpretations of that which we know. There are those who say the more we have learned, the greater the case against evolution and there are those who say the more we have learned, the greater the confirmation of evolution.

    One of my points is not that evolution is or isn’t, but that those who are atheists must accept evolution on its face, because there is no alternate answer. Although I do have a religious orientation, I was skeptical of evolution long before I was religious. And I remain skeptical because evolutionists (do not seem to understand that they) are unable to provide satisfactory answers to the main objections to evolution. But, at least, you try.

    Another of my points is that many (atheistic) evolutionists erroneously believe that evolution disproves the existence of God and explains the origins of life, neither of which evolution is designed to do or capable doing.

    Perhaps the answers to this issue will be unveiled if even beyond our lifetimes, but for now I must insist it is far from a settled question.

    And if you folks cannot see that or understand that or accept that, I hardly think labeling me (and by implication anyone who does not believe in evolution) as dishonest speaks well of your kind.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    You do keep tilting at the windmills of atheists who claim that evolution disproves God. I'm quite sure you'll find that certainly neither Ophiolite nor myself have said any such thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You are correct, Silas, continued exchange is probably of little value, although I have numerous other objections left in my arsenal. I thank you for your patience and your willingness to discuss. Most of the people on this forum have, like you, have found it impossible to satisfactorily answer the questions we objectors have. They all now ignore me, as I am sure you must do, too.
    I said I didn't have the inclination to go googling for a list of the best textbooks, I didn't say that further exchange was of little value. Neither do I have any wish to ignore you.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I can only say, I am not the only person with the objections and questions I have posed, and you are not the only person who is unable to provide satisfactory answers.
    I won't make any particular claims for the satisfaction of my answers, but the fact that there are a number of people who don't believe in evolution is not a particularly good reason to join them. The scientific community has evidence and reason behind it.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Ophiolite suggests I am dishonest -- so does that make every objector to evolution dishonest? I find it fascinating that one is dishonest because he cannot see that which is not there. Should I, in turn, suggest that all people who cannot “see” God are dishonest? Is TSF failing to notify posters of responses honest?
    Ophiolite was being quite careful not to accuse you of dishonesty. Rather he was warning you of the intellectual dishonesty - to yourself as much as to anyone else - in rejecting one part of a body of science when happily accepting the rest of it; citing "lack of direct evidence" for evolution when you accept other science on exactly the same type, quality and quantity of evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    My perspective is that the jury is still out on this issue.
    It is that perspective that you have failed to justify, Dayton. You claim that I've "failed to provide satisfactory answers", primarily I suppose because you wanted to see the evidence of speciation that you think is the be-all and end-all of evolution, but what has actually happened is that I've pointed out that Evolution is a well-attested model of based on one hundred and fifty years of study by generations of researchers, which is not only accepted, but used by working scientists in a wide variety of fields. Given the overwhelming endorsement of Evolution by the scientific community, it is you who really have to come up with rational reasons for rejecting all of that, and for claiming (and btw this is where you steer close to intellectual dishonesty) that "the jury is still out". The jury of you, maybe, Creationists (who don't count) and ID-ers who have been thoroughly rebutted, but the jury of actual working science came back with a verdict a long, long time ago. Unlike criminal verdicts, the evidence keeps coming in afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And, it seems, the more knowledge we gain, the more disparate the opinions and interpretations of that which we know. There are those who say the more we have learned, the greater the case against evolution and there are those who say the more we have learned, the greater the confirmation of evolution.
    Now it's your turn to provide the source materials. There are enormous disagreements on the nature of evolution, of the mechanism of evolution. But the biological sciences have not cast any doubt on evolution itself, as far as I'm aware.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Although I do have a religious orientation, I was skeptical of evolution long before I was religious. And I remain skeptical because evolutionists (do not seem to understand that they) are unable to provide satisfactory answers to the main objections to evolution. But, at least, you try.
    I myself was "skeptical" of evolution when I first heard about it. Since that time I have learned that there is a difference between "skeptical" and "incredulous". It strikes me that your thinking is verging towards the "incredulous", which of course is not a valid basis for objective determination of the truth.

    Again, you are pursuing a path of truth-detemination which is not a valid scientific method. You say that evolutionists "are unable to provide satisfactory answers to the main objections of evolution". As far as I can see, your sole objection to evolution was "Show me where a species has given rise to another species". That is not really a scientifically valid objection to Evolution. (I'm not going to refer you to the talk-origins page on observed speciation, because I had a look at it myself yesterday, and I don't understand it. It's full of biological jargon.) It's not an "objection" to Evolution because all it consists of is incredulity.

    Let's say you go see an Evolutionary Biologist and ask her to prove to you that a common house cat and a lion are derived from earlier species. She will highlight first of all the features that the two animals share in common today. She will then highlight the features the two animals do not share in common. Then, going to the fossil drawers, she will show you antecedents of the cat and antecedents of the lion, showing you how each antecedent in both lines shares all the features that the two animals share, and how the antecedent in each line shares those features that are found in the terminal animal of each line, but not those that are not shared by the other. There are likely to be fewer of these distinctive "line features" as the fossils go back in time, until we are left with an animal that only has those features which the two descendants share in common. This is the Common Ancestor. You look at all this, and you say, "But you haven't shown me the actual speciation event! Where is the proof that a proto-cat gave birth to the cat? There was no speciation because you have no evidence to fill in all the gaps!" At which point the Evolutionary Biologist shakes her head sadly, because having demonstrated that it's vastly more likely that the creatures are related than that they are not, the fact that we don't have every example of every generation in between is not really relevant or necessary. All you have demonstrated is an excessive willingness not to believe the "evidence of your own eyes". The fossil evidence is gappy, and is certain to remain so - does that mean we throw away a useful theory confirmed by all the evidence we do have?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Perhaps the answers to this issue will be unveiled if even beyond our lifetimes, but for now I must insist it is far from a settled question.
    Insist all you like. But our insistence is from a position of strong scientific knowledge. Your insistence is primarily down to you maintaining your own personal attitude of incredulity, about which obviously there is little we can do.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And if you folks cannot see that or understand that or accept that, I hardly think labeling me (and by implication anyone who does not believe in evolution) as dishonest speaks well of your kind.
    Well, now, let's see. Nobody "labelled" you as dishonest, I explained that some of the thinking you have demonstrated indicates, if not intellectual dishonesty, then honest self-deception. So now if you say that we "labelled" you as dishonest when we didn't - particularly with reference to how "our side" looks to independent observers - well, that sounds dishonest to me. If you say "by implication all the other non-evolutionists are dishonest too", again I don't see that we've done anything of the kind. It's the argument which is dishonest - dishonest about the veracity of scientific proof - but I am not arguing with other anti-Evolutionists here, but only with you. I think it is the experience of Ophiolite and myself that you have up till this last post not demonstrated the kind of dishonesty that we are only too used to putting up with from other anti-Evolutionists, well, full blown Creationists really, whose argument consists of throwing up mud and casting doubt upon rock-solid scientific proof of the kind even you would accept, about radiological dating of rocks and similar. You appeared to be arguing from doubt and from a position of not having seen the evidence the rest of us have seen. But as we have continued this argument, you have re-emphasised arguments that nobody was making with you, like the "atheists who insist Evolution disproves God", of whom no such person has contributed to the debate.

    I have certainly been more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but as your arguments become more irrational and your unwillingness to reasonably justify your rejection of sound scientific work, it certainly becomes harder to do. An outright Genesis-believing Creationist is one thing, but someone who claims to love and respects all the products of scientific learning except the one area that contradicts the Bible - certainly seems to me to be in the act of fooling themselves at the very least.
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    I have no idea what quantum of evidence would make me accept -- lock, stop and barrel -- evolution on the same level that Silas and other evolutionists do.

    I suspect it is about the same quantum of evidence which would make Silas accept God on the same level that I do.

    Darwin, it was, who said that evolution can take on the appearance of design. But the converse is equally true; design can take on the appearance of evolution.

    I am not any more likely to pour over Gould's textbook than I am to pour through someone's exhaustive commentary on the Bible.

    I have read numerous articles in which evolution skeptics point out their objections and also the counter arguments posited by evolutionist and the counter-counter arguments from both sides. And all I can say is that so far, I have found the information of the skeptics more convincing.

    I could find such a conconclusion "approaching intellectual dishonesty" only if the number of those who are skeptical was vastly and insignificantly small. To the extent that other (more knowledgeable) skeptics have, for example, read Gould's writings and found them unconvincing, it seems highly unlikely that my exhaustive reading of them would serve to convince me.

    Now, I would have some difficulty with the intellectual honesty of someone who denied the Holocaust or maintained the supremacy of a specific race, or ran counter to any other well-accepted and proven piece of knowledge or history to which there is little opposition.

    The fact that people believe in evolution does not shock me. What disturbs me is that many evolutionists cannot accept that there is large scale and legitimate disagreement which comes from learned people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The fact that people believe in evolution does not shock me. What disturbs me is that many evolutionists cannot accept that there is large scale and legitimate disagreement which comes from learned people.
    Sure there is. But those people aren't learned in evolution is the problem. So it's hardly legitimate. There's no scientific reason to reject evolution whatsoever. Plenty of religious opposition, but why should anyone care what they say about science?
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    Suggesting only religious people disbelieve evolution is as ignorant as if I said only atheists believed in evolution. I do not know the religious postion of all people who comment or write about evolution and neither does neutrino. If one suggested that religious people have a greater tendency to reject evolution and that atheists have a greater tendency to accept evolution, that might be accurate. But by neutrino's way of thinking, I should discount anything from atheists because they factor out information which I consider important.

    There are people from every possible religious and scientific combination who come down on both side of the question. Anyone who thinks only religious people are skeptical about evolution and that no scientific people are skeptical, needs to take the blinders off.
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    Maybe you'd be so kind to point out where I said that only religious people disbelieve evolution? Within biology, there is no significant, if any at all, opposition to evolution. It's fundamental to biology. The only opposition comes from the outside, and a lot of it is religiously motivated. I'm not sure what's so inaccurate about that. Like I said, there's no scientific basis to reject evolution.
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    I challenge anyone to show where there is any significant opposition to the fact of evolution from anyone who isn't religious.

    Science has no quarrel with evolution: it has been sufficiently demonstrated to be a fact. There are some disagreements within science on certain mechanisms, etc., but I would be more concerned if there weren't these disagreements.

    The only opposition to evolution as a factual occurence comes from the religious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I have browsed through it, and only a suitcase already filled with Barnes & Noble purchases stopped me from buying it then. [Too expensive in the UK.] Buy it. Read. Relish it. Prepare to be amazed.
    If that is too much of a bite try The Ancestor's Tale, by Dawkins. It is so good I have forgiven the arrogant prat for the self indulgence of all his earlier works.
    The next time you're in Dallas, drop me an email. I'll take you to Half-Price-Books where you can find some of the greatest titles for around $6! Bring a bigger suitcase, though!

    I've been watching two or three of their locations for The Ancestor's Tale for some time now. Apparently it sells as soon as they get it (but probably for more than the usual $6). I borrowed it from my library and only had the chance to get through a small portion. I've always been a fan of Dawkins' work, though I agree some of it was self-indulgent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I challenge anyone to show where there is any significant opposition to the fact of evolution from anyone who isn't religious.

    Science has no quarrel with evolution: it has been sufficiently demonstrated to be a fact. There are some disagreements within science on certain mechanisms, etc., but I would be more concerned if there weren't these disagreements.

    The only opposition to evolution as a factual occurence comes from the religious.
    I am with Skinwalker on this one 100% because I don't think "Creation science" is science. I don't think science is everything, in fact, science looks at the world in a very restricted fashion, and people who try to make it the answer to everything are making a religion out of science, and when they do that they aren't doing science any more than the Creation scientists are doing science. Both are rhetoric, and confusing rhetoric with science is something to which I am very opposed.

    I am not saying that none of the research involved is valid, although its use in the rhetoric of "Creation science" is not making any of this easy to recognize as such. But Christian churches and organizations have to butt out of science and to drop the pretense that their conclusions are in anyway scientific. That won't get them their ridiculous political agenda which amounts to intolerance of science.

    But truth be told I think this all derives from Christian laziness and complacency. They want to railroad their children into a Christian way of life rather than make the effort required to make their case with their children in a free thinking environment. Frankly, I think that if they cannot make the case of their Christian way of life to their children, it is because their life is only superficially Christian anyway. A superficially Christian life like this is a lie and a deceit and the children won't won't buy it because they are too close the parents to be fooled.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I have no idea what quantum of evidence would make me accept -- lock, stop and barrel -- evolution on the same level that Silas and other evolutionists do.

    I suspect it is about the same quantum of evidence which would make Silas accept God on the same level that I do.
    *sigh* This amounts to you accepting your subjective experience and rejecting my objective evidence, and holding the two viewpoints up as equal, but merely opposite. But my objective evidence is capable of convincing all sorts of people from all races, creeds, cultural backgrounds and nationalities, and all they have to do is examine the evidence available and draw their own conclusions. Your religious beliefs are specific to your culture, your community, how you grew up, what experiences you and you alone had in your life. Your exposition of the God experience consists (assuming a completely blank slate) of explaining about God the Creator, the chosen people and how He so loved the world he gave his only Son that we might be saved. The evidence you provide is contained within a book. Then you say to the uncommitted person, if you want to know God, just open your heart and Jesus will come into it. Well, that sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn't. Excluding real psychological factors, you have no rational explanation for the God experience, the mechanism behind it, nor any predictive ability as to who will get it and who won't.

    You still haven't justified rejecting this one branch of well-attested science. I'm not asking you to reject God simply because I'm unable to experience Him the way you do. But you really still have to do more to justify your inability to simply think like a rational being and accept that for which there is evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am not any more likely to pour over Gould's textbook than I am to pour through someone's exhaustive commentary on the Bible.
    Strangely enough, I'm more than willing to pore through exhaustive commentaries on the Bible!
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There are people from every possible religious and scientific combination who come down on both side of the question. Anyone who thinks only religious people are skeptical about evolution and that no scientific people are skeptical, needs to take the blinders off.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I could find such a conconclusion "approaching intellectual dishonesty" only if the number of those who are skeptical was vastly and insignificantly small. To the extent that other (more knowledgeable) skeptics have, for example, read Gould's writings and found them unconvincing, it seems highly unlikely that my exhaustive reading of them would serve to convince me.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The fact that people believe in evolution does not shock me. What disturbs me is that many evolutionists cannot accept that there is large scale and legitimate disagreement which comes from learned people.
    You are really going to have to justify those statements. Kindly name the learned people who displayed more than mere incredulity or used the Argument from Ignorance ("How can this feature possibly have evolved?") And remember, members of the Institute for Creationist Research don't count!
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    I am not a big fan of polls, especially those which I know are conducted by an obviously biased group whose poll participants are likely to have a similar bent.

    The following three fairly recent polls, however, seem to be from sources which I would consider less than advocates of religious or Christian thought.

    Polls conducted by apparently neutral pollsters have consistently shown that more people have doubts about evolution than accept it whole heartedly. I do not point to these polls for the purpose of saying “Neiner, neiner, neiner, I’m right and your wrong.” My purpose is merely to substantiate my consistent contention that evolution is not a well-settled issue among the general population.

    You folks continually operate from some self-assuring delusion that only unintelligent people still believe in creation. You seem to operate in your own little circle of equally deluded scientific people which is totally oblivious to the rest of the world.

    Evolution is not a fact and is not accepted, in toto, by a majority of people.



    NBC poll March 2005

    Which do you think is more likely to actually be the explanation for the origin of human life on earth: evolution or the biblical account of creation?
     Evolution - 33%
     Total biblical account of creation - 57%
     Don't know/none of the above - 10%
    Margin of error: plus or minus 3%
    http://www.telecomtally.com/blog/200...ing_pla_1.html

    Harris poll July 2005
     A majority of U.S. adults (54%) do not think human beings developed from earlier species, up from 46 percent in 1994.
     Forty-nine percent of adults believe plants and animals have evolved from some other species while 45 percent do not believe that.
     Adults are evenly divided about whether or not apes and man have a common ancestry (46 percent believe we do and 47 percent believe we do not).
     Again divided, 46 percent of adults agree that "Darwin’s theory of evolution is proven by fossil discoveries," while 48 percent disagree.
    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/har...ex.asp?PID=581

    CBS news poll, Oct. 2005

    NEW YORK (Oct. 23) - Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved.
    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/ar...24100409990019

    In addition to those quotes I found a compilation of several Gallup polls on this topic taken over the last 15 or so years, but could not cut and past salient info from it.

    The link is http://people-press.org/commentary/d...AnalysisID=118
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Again you make me sigh, Dayton. The only reason I'm having this argument with you is because you are clearly not one of the hoi polloi. That 51-57% of all Americans apparently believe in Genesis over scientific fact is very far from a surprise to me. When the rest of us here were arguing about "large numbers of people", I did of course mean "people who count" - and not necessarily professional scientists. Those 57% of Americans would not in the main part be remotely capable of conducting a discussion on the subject on the lines that you and I have been here. Most of them have no knowledge of the scientific method, or of the processes involved in skeptical thinking - as opposed to incredulity - and rational logic.

    So what it amounts to is, yes lots of individuals don't believe in Evolution, but this does not amount to, in your words, "large scale and legitimate disagreement". It's not legitimate, because it's uninformed and unthinking opinion. The precise opposite of what you and I have been doing here.

    (Sidebar: Those polls would come out very differently in the still largely Christian Europe. It's ironic when you consider that the US actually has prohibitions of religion in the classroom and the European countries by and large do not.)

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You folks continually operate from some self-assuring delusion that only unintelligent people still believe in creation. You seem to operate in your own little circle of equally deluded scientific people which is totally oblivious to the rest of the world.
    Ah, now, tut there, Dayton, you're getting defensive. In fact, as is patently obvious, it is the diametric opposite which is true. Scientific people are "oblivious" to the opinions of the rest of the world, when those opinions have nothing to do with verifiable fact. In fact, it's the rest of the world which lives in "its own little world", believing everything it's told on the TV and in the National Enquirer and by people like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh. Those people aren't finding the cure for cancer or feeding the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    The next time you're in Dallas, drop me an email. I'll take you to Half-Price-Books where you can find some of the greatest titles for around $6! Bring a bigger suitcase, though!
    Ah. I love Half-Price Books! [I know this is off topic. I try to visit one in Houston every trip. Great material I could never justify buying at the list price. But when I find an excuse to make it to Dallas again I'll drop you a line.]

    Dayton, I have been away from the thread for a few days. Again I find Silas has argued my position so cogently I am seriously worried I may have a split personality. :wink:
    I would just like to emphasise that I did not call you dishonest. I studiously avoided calling you dishonest. From my perspective you are lying to yourself. I may be mistaken. I tried to convey that as politely and gently as I could, out of respect for you. That respect has arisen from your apparent willingness think about the issues rather than follow dogma.
    However, as Silas has said, you appear to be moving further and further from that position.
    To return more closely to the topic itself, please name one scientist, just one, who rejects evolution. I am sure more than one exists, but let us find one and examine their arguments. Once we dispose of them to your satisfaction, we can move onto the next.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Again I find Silas has argued my position so cogently I am seriously worried I may have a split personality.
    If I'm just part of your split personality, how come I get the half that doesn't get to remember the '60s?
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    You are correct, Ophiolite, that you did not directly call me dishonest. You merely used the old “If-the-shoe-fits” tactic. I have used it often myself.

    The implication of what you wrote, to me, was that anyone who has sincerely studied the “evidence” of evolution and rejected it, can only do so by being intellectually dishonest. Or, conversely, the implication is that one who has not exhaustively studied the “evidence” is not entitled to comment. (You thus provided me a pair of ill-fitting shoes which I cannot quite remove.)

    If only the scientificos would observe those rules when commenting on religion in general and Christianity in specific.

    (Incidentally, Silas, I can only empathize with your missing out on the sixties. I too experienced them and still love the music our garage band [A Six Pack, can be located in the 60's category on pnwbands.com] played back in those days. Perhaps it will prove to you that, at least, I am -- ergo, I think. However, I think the developments in music since those days is evidence of devolution rather than evolution.)

    And skinwalker is also mostly correct that I am not going to find much anti-evolution information from non religious people. But I think that is more a function of apathy than lack of opinion. Most of them don’t know, don’t care and don’t want to be bothered.

    Some evolution antagonists, such as Michael Behe, claim to have been convinced by the lack of science’s ability to explain life systems complexities, but since he is apparently Catholic, he is considered “intellectually dishonest” by the fundamentalist scientific community.

    I do not deny being dogmatic in my stand that evolution is far from being accepted or validated in the eyes of the overall general population. I find it equally dogmatic of evolutionist to continually present evolution as axiomatic.

    Most theories and scientific concepts reach general acceptance in the general public in a rather short period of time because they are adequately validated and verified in a reasonable time period following their conception. The theory of evolution has not done so.

    If evolution is such a solid theory, why do evolutionist fear the scholarly presentation of alternate views? If those views are truly as crackpot and unsupported as evolutionists claim, would they not be more easily exposed in the open give and take of academic investigation and discussion?

    It is not those of us who have reservations about evolution who are attempting to suppress the presentation of evidence of evolution. It is the evolutionists who fear exposure of the flaws in their evidences.

    Dogmatic, opinionated and passionate in my view – that I am.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If evolution is such a solid theory, why do evolutionist fear the scholarly presentation of alternate views? If those views are truly as crackpot and unsupported as evolutionists claim, would they not be more easily exposed in the open give and take of academic investigation and discussion?
    Where are you getting this idea that evolutionists "fear" the alternative view? We don't fear it, we welcome it. We simply have not had the experience of an alternative view being scholarly presented in such a way that it cannot be immediately refuted, debunked or simply shown to be illogical. You certainly have done no such thing yourself here.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If only the scientificos would observe those rules when commenting on religion in general and Christianity in specific.
    If you'd like to present scientific evidence for the existence of God, or assuming His existence, scientific evidence for the promotion of the Christological view over and above the Judaical view or the Islamic view (or any of those over any other), then I for one would like very much to examine it. But there is no such evidence, which is why scientists do not in fact examine areas which they are not qualified to do.

    And less of the "scientificos" talk, please, there are many "scientificos" who believe in God and Jesus, and many atheists who pursue New Age chimera like crystals and auras instead of verifiable science.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Some evolution antagonists, such as Michael Behe, claim to have been convinced by the lack of science’s ability to explain life systems complexities, but since he is apparently Catholic, he is considered “intellectually dishonest” by the fundamentalist scientific community.
    Non-sequitor. I actually had no idea what religious views Behe held, and believe me the fact that he is in fact a Catholic removes in my view any consideration that he, personally, is motivated in his theories by religious belief (unlike if he were an Evangelical Protestant). No, the intellectual dishonesty with Behe lies in his own refusal to accept repeated refutation a) of his basic idea, which has been shown to be false in the examples he uses, and b) of his actual philosophy of science and what constitutes a valid scientific hypothesis. You yourself said it: he's "convinced by the lack of science's abillity to explain life systems complexities". That is not a valid position from which to make any hypothesis, let alone the Supernatural Power hypothesis.

    In 1915, Einstein published the General Theory of Relativity, which told us how the entire Universe could be described as a four dimensional spacetime structure. But we had no idea even how the Sun and all the other stars kept shining. As late as the 1940s, as far as we could tell from all the evidence and our understanding of it, the Earth was older than the whole Universe. If Behe had been around in those days, he would have been "convinced by the lack of science's ability to explain" the Sun's power source to postulate that it operated because of an Intelligent Designer. He would have been "convinced by the lack of science's ability to explain" the Universe apparently being younger than the Earth to postulate that the Earth was made by God, but made do without a Universe to float in until it was needed later.

    Fundamentally, Behe's theory is "unscientific" precisely because the entire thrust and raison d'être of science is to rule out supernatural entities (or any kind of Will) as an explanation when you've reached a limit of knowledge - because if you accept the Supernatural Entity explanation for one thing, you might as well accept it for everything and do no scientific exploration at all. Behe hasn't discovered key fingerprints of an alien intelligence or any such artefacts which can definitively point to a Designer (and begin to tell us about It). He's just looking at structures such as cells and saying "current theory does not tell us how this can have come to be ... therefore it was Designed".

    To use Paley's famous Watch metaphor (and to demonstrate the fallacy therein), Behe cannot point to the "mechanism of the watch" and say, lo! the Designer. He thinks he can, but he is simply wrong. The fallacy in William Paley's Watch is that he extends the simple fact that it is a working object and we can see how the components work together to make the object work, to imply that all objects that "work" necessarily have a Designer. This is not the case. To determine how the watch works, we break it down into its components, and we can see that there are cogs and springs within it. The cogs alone are artefacts that were clearly designed because a natural coming together of refined metal in such a symmetric way with precise angles of each cogtooth and precise meshing of the cogs, would be a clear and demonstrable violation of the Laws of Thermodynamics. That is the fundamental difference between Paley's Watch and the mechanisms of the organism. Behe can only say "We do not know how this formed with fewer than x minimal components", he cannot say "I can demonstrate definitively how the formation of this element of an organism violates the Laws of Thermodynamics". His leap to a superior Entity that designed the organism is therefore an unjustified one (and leaves us with the question of how that very Entity came to be).

    Leaving the scientific invalidity of ID, let me state that I'm quite certain that the basis for an Intelligent Designer on purported "evidence" would and should be regarded as unsustainable on theological grounds. A God who leaves His fingerprints on His Creation is not the Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnicompetent Being who can encompass all Infinity in his gaze. In other words, if I believed in God, I would regard the false discoveries of "proof" trumpeted by ID-ers as blasphemy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not deny being dogmatic in my stand that evolution is far from being accepted or validated in the eyes of the overall general population. I find it equally dogmatic of evolutionist to continually present evolution as axiomatic.
    .
    If I am feeling poorly I do not go out into the High Street and ask one hundred people what they think is wrong with me, or what I should do to correct it. I go to my doctor, who has been trained to do this; who knows where the pitfalls and uncertainties lie.

    The overall general population are a bunch of dick heads who can only find there arses because of the stench emanating therefrom. I really couldn't give a constipated aardvark what they think about evolution - the medical profession, agronomists, biologists, microbiologists, pharmacists, zoologists, biochemists, geneticists, vetrinarians, anthropologists, botanists, all accept and use evolution in their day to day work. It is simply not in any way contriversial in the scientific community.

    Evolution is a scientific theory. It must stand or fall on the basis of the scientific method. On this basis it not only stands, it stands magnificently, with foundations of great depth and solidity.
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    Say what you will; argue what you will; present what you will.

    It still remains that whatever “evidence” you have that proves to you evolution is axiomatic, more than half the people do not accept evolution that wholeheartedly.

    I have found that polls are only bad if they do not show what one thinks they should show. And, Ophiolite, neither would I conduct a poll of non-medical people on the street to diagnose a medical condition. That is a rather silly analogy to an organized professionally conducted poll.

    Polls are no better than the way the questions are framed and the nature of the sample taken. Gallup and Harris polls are respected because they make considerable effort and take special care to conduct polls that are unbiased by the form of their questions and that represent a cross section of society.

    The major flaw in their polls would be their inability to adequately represent the very poor and the very uneducated who, because of their very situations, are not easily available to be polled.

    Both Ophiolite and Silas tend to follow a general theme that the reasons polls show less than enthusiastic support for evolution is because people are not educated enough in evolution to understand.

    Perhaps that is true in some places. But here in the U.S., children are pummeled with the axiomatic teaching of evolution in virtually every public educational system in America starting in the first grade. This continues all the way through high school biology which usually focuses far more on zoology than on botany. Even those who drop out of school have still been profusely exposed to axiomatic evolution. Virtually any science program on TV also treats evolution as axiomatic.

    Even so, the majority of people in America do not accept evolution as the one and only possible explanation for biodiversty. And a majority believe that some form of creation or designing entity played a role.

    This is not evidence or lack thereof, but rather a reflection of the opinion of the evidence. If the evidence which is supportive of evolution were as cut and dried as you folks have deluded yourselves into thinking it is, these polls would have different results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But here in the U.S., children are pummeled with the axiomatic teaching of evolution in virtually every public educational system in America starting in the first grade. This continues all the way through high school biology which usually focuses far more on zoology than on botany. Even those who drop out of school have still been profusely exposed to axiomatic evolution. Virtually any science program on TV also treats evolution as axiomatic.

    Even so, the majority of people in America do not accept evolution as the one and only possible explanation for biodiversty. And a majority believe that some form of creation or designing entity played a role.

    This is not evidence or lack thereof, but rather a reflection of the opinion of the evidence. If the evidence which is supportive of evolution were as cut and dried as you folks have deluded yourselves into thinking it is, these polls would have different results.
    This really isn't true at all. I went through public school here in America, and evolution is far from "pummeled" as a subject. I took biology and AP biology in high school, I took a few bio courses in college, and I always loaded up as much science as I could at all levels. I did a google on "Biology 101 syllabus" to take a look at a sample biology intro course. Here's what I got on the very first link for a list of objectives for the course.
    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion of the course, the student should have achieved the following:

    1. Understand the “scientific method” used in biological research.
    2. Understand basic cell structure and function.
    3. Understand, in a general manner, how cells interact with each other and with
    their environment.
    4. Understand the basic interactions of the energy transfer between plants and animals.
    5. Understand how cells divide to promote growth of an individual as well as for gamete production.
    6. Understand DNA structure, basic molecular and Mendelian genetics, and how this applies to modern day genetic activities.
    7. Understand the basic anatomy and physiology of the human body systems as well as current topics of interest relating to them.
    8. Learn the components of the microscope and gain proficiency with its use.
    The syllabus then goes on to outline the 20 chapters of their textbook - none of which are on evolution. The only time the word even shows UP is in part of chapter 2 that's labeled "Evolution of the Eukaryotic Cell". Hardly the flood of evolution that I'd expect going by your description.

    That's the kind of stuff I studied, as well. Cells, anatomy, mitosis, meiosis, taxonomy, basic DNA structure, Mendelian genetics - but not really much on evolution. Evolution needs a heck of a lot more time and attention in biology class, and people ARE ignorant as to not only what evolution is, but the wealth of evidence for it. Whether you like it or not among people IN THE FIELD there is absolutely no controversy about evolution. Whether or not the general public is ignorant is of no consequence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I have found that polls are only bad if they do not show what one thinks they should show. And, Ophiolite, neither would I conduct a poll of non-medical people on the street to diagnose a medical condition. That is a rather silly analogy to an organized professionally conducted poll.
    It's rather silly for you to talk about a "professionally conducted poll" as if it would not involve polling "non-medical people on the street". The professionally conducted poll does indeed have to poll those non-medical people on the street if it is to determine the answer to its question, which is (roughly) "what proportion of Americans overall believe in the theory of evolution?" The polls were not designed to determine the truth or falsity of the theory based on the informed scientific consensus, merely a top line proportion of the beliefs of the whole population. As we keep pointing out, the beliefs or basic level of knowledge of the whole population is not a valid way of determining the truth of any scientific theory, and you yourself are denigrating your own intellectual credibility by claiming any significance for the proportion of the proletariat who don't know enough to make an informed judgement. You yourself are clearly well enough read to make your own informed judgement, now kindly justify your position!

    Neutrino, I trust that is some kind of college-level introduction, rather than something expected at public-school level.
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    If you want to find what the general public thinks about something or believes about something, you poll the general public.

    The polls I have cited on the other thread show only what people think and believe about evolution and creation or ID. It would not be a valid poll if it polled only Christians who attend conservative evangelical churches. Nor could it be a valid poll if conducted by calling homes between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays. It would not be a valid poll if it focused on any particular segment of the population.

    The point is not that the polls disprove evolution, only that they show far less than the widespread enthusiasm your tight knit, isolated little group of scientificos have deluded themselves into thinking there is.

    The claim that biology in public education does not emphasize evolution is incredibly naive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both Ophiolite and Silas tend to follow a general theme that the reasons polls show less than enthusiastic support for evolution is because people are not educated enough in evolution to understand.

    Perhaps that is true in some places. But here in the U.S., children are pummeled with the axiomatic teaching of evolution in virtually every public educational system in America starting in the first grade.
    How clear do I have to be. The majority of people, in the US and around the world are nice people, but they are as thick as two short planks cut in thirds and nailed one on top of each other. If that sounds elitist, then you are starting to get my message.
    Most people are sheep whose only original thought they well ever have is trying something other than the missionary position when making love. The majority of people may have the ability to reason, but they choose not to use it: much easier that way. Most people are not leaders, but followers and they will follow what ever is least challenging.
    I don't give a heap of manure that is sized inversely proportional to GWB's intellect, if only four people on the planet 'believe' in evolution it would not alter the 'fact' of evolution, just as your persistent shortminded, blinkered intransigence in the face of incontrivertible evidence will not alter the 'fact' of evolution.
    Dayton, wake up. Smell the ****ing roses, they evolved from algae or some such. It is recorded in their genes. We know it. Face reality or retreat into the oblivion of myth and comfortable fairy stories. Your choice. Oh, I see you already made it.
    In that case goodnight.
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    I should like to apologise unreservedly for the tenor of my last post.

    What I meant to say was "the public are a bunch of ****ing morons and anyone who appeals to their views in support of their opinions is a wally".

    Thank you. :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Neutrino, I trust that is some kind of college-level introduction, rather than something expected at public-school level.
    It is, but there's very little difference between a good high school biology course and an intro level biology course at most colleges. In fact in most places in America you can earn credit for those intro courses by taking a test prior to entering college because it goes over pretty much the same material.
    You could probably find high school syllabuses virtually identical to that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The point is not that the polls disprove evolution, only that they show far less than the widespread enthusiasm your tight knit, isolated little group of scientificos have deluded themselves into thinking there is.
    No, you were claiming that the anti-evolutionist views were accepted in viable scientifically educated circles, and that therefore anti-evolutionist views had intellectual substance. This has since been shown to be false. Just so you know, the scientific community is not living in cloud-cuckoo land with regards to how well informed the majority of the public are about any scientific matters. That is why they constantly have to produce TV programmes and books endless explaining it over and over again (let alone battling Creationism in the science classroom, which is actually a different issue).

    As I've pointed out before, Dayton, the "tight knit, isolated little group of scientificos" are actually out there trying to solve the problems of the world, to cure the diseases, to feed the hungry, to deal with God's latest addition (in your view) to the ecosystem, ie H5N1, and to alert the non-scientific of the perils of global warming (Greenland is melting away right now!) When New York is under ten feet of water, possibly someone might turn around and say, "Hey, maybe those scientificoes were right. Ah-choo!"

    And hey, what happened to the overtly pro-Science tone you started off your discussion in this thread with?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The claim that biology in public education does not emphasize evolution is incredibly naive.
    I personally would accept this point. Neutrino's college course may not have the word "evolution" in it, but there can be no doubt that the entire body of knowledge is imbued throughout with a basic underpinning of evolution, without which "Understand[ing] DNA structure, basic molecular and Mendelian genetics, and how this applies to modern day genetic activities" will not be possible.

    Actually, we are possibly unique in the Universe amongst all sapient races, in having derived the theory of variation by mutation and natural selection first, and then a substantial genetic, mathematically genetic and finally molecular model for the development of life. I bet when we meet our first alien races, they will have done it the other way round, discovering the rules of heredity, deducing chromosome activity, finally discovering DNA and then postulating a theory of mutation and natural selection to explain complex diversity in life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    I personally would accept this point. Neutrino's college course may not have the word "evolution" in it, but there can be no doubt that the entire body of knowledge is imbued throughout with a basic underpinning of evolution, without which "Understand[ing] DNA structure, basic molecular and Mendelian genetics, and how this applies to modern day genetic activities" will not be possible.
    Sure, but then we're back to evolution being assumed and not explicitly taught about and supported, as far as the classroom environment goes. Evolution is obviously key to a lot of the topics you'd find on this or any biology syllabus, but in a lot of these classes it isn't given the kind of time and attention in and of itself that dayton was suggesting occurs - That's the point I was making. Maybe I wasn't being clear about my point, maybe I'm still not.
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    At the cutting edge of any of the biological sciences (in which I include palaeontology) evolution is a central element in the research. It is such a central element that it is often taken for granted. Its paramount position is assumed, so that there is little or no emphasis on it. Thus those who are not at the cutting edge, but perhaps involved in teaching, do not emphasise it either.
    The imprint of evolution lies on everything in these sciences, yet it is barely mentioned. Either because, at the higher levels it does not need to be, and at the lower levels because it is not always fully appreciated. I think this is what Neutrino is saying. Yes, Neutrino? If so, I agree.
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    I took a rest from this thread. Upon return I find these interesting observations:

    Silas wrote:
    I personally would accept this point. Neutrino's college course may not have the word "evolution" in it, but there can be no doubt that the entire body of knowledge is imbued throughout with a basic underpinning of evolution, without which "Understand[ing] DNA structure, basic molecular and Mendelian genetics, and how this applies to modern day genetic activities" will not be possible.
    Neutrino added:
    Sure, but then we're back to evolution being assumed and not explicitly taught about and supported, as far as the classroom environment goes. Evolution is obviously key to a lot of the topics you'd find on this or any biology syllabus, but in a lot of these classes it isn't given the kind of time and attention in and of itself that dayton was suggesting occurs - That's the point I was making. Maybe I wasn't being clear about my point, maybe I'm still not.
    I thank you both for more clearly presenting one of my objections to the "teaching" of evolution. It is not really taught or explained or discussed. It is merely presented as an axiomatic assumption so intrinsically absolute that it is beyond question or reproach. It is taught as a priori knowledge to which even skinwalker should object.

    Perhaps if the biology of evolution were presented in a scientific manner showing all the supportive evidence and all the objections, then students could actually come to a scientific opinion as to the plausibility of the theory. At this juncture, I must point out that it is not the critics of evolution who object to this type of teaching of evolution. So why is that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I thank you both for more clearly presenting one of my objections to the "teaching" of evolution. It is not really taught or explained or discussed. It is merely presented as an axiomatic assumption so intrinsically absolute that it is beyond question or reproach. It is taught as a priori knowledge to which even skinwalker should object.
    Well first of all, it's going to depend on your particular school district and instructor. Sometimes evolution is taught in more detail, sometimes in very little detail. But this isn't different than how a lot of science is taught - there's only so much time, and only so much detail you can get into in intro classes. Evolution is, of course, central to biology so it should receive a lot of attention. However, objecting that all of the various evidences for evolution aren't taught isn't neccessarily fair. In a lot of intro science classes what we know/theorize is taught, and how and why we know it receives less attention because you have to move on to the next topic. In physics for example you usually start with Newtonian mechanics - you're taught a lot of formulas, but are you taught how they are derived? Usually not. Where's the religious objection to this - how is it any different? You ARE usually taught the scientific method at the beginning of almost every science class, and are taught that that's how scientific knowledge is obtained, in a general sense.

    Perhaps if the biology of evolution were presented in a scientific manner showing all the supportive evidence and all the objections, then students could actually come to a scientific opinion as to the plausibility of the theory.
    I strongly disagree with you here because there ARE no valid scientific objections to evolution. What do you suggest - bringing in the local clergy to talk about it? Come on. Usually some of the evidence is taught, but in my experience it's usually in the context of another topic within the class.
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    Honest to God, do you believe that denying the flaws in evolutionary theories and the discrepancies that arise though altering the theory in an attempt to cover those flaws will make them go away?

    The problems found in evolution are not there because of the clergy, they exist because they are flaws and gaps and discrepancies, many of which I have enumerated in various threads on TSF and for which the usual response is, "Oh, that just some religious thinking." The clergy did not deposit the Cambrian layer millions of years ago just to be a thorn in the side of evolutionists. The Cambrian layer, all by itself, is an anomaly which evolutionists cannot explain without creating internal conflicts within the various guesses at how evolution took place.

    Trying to solve the mysteries of life without a thorough, in depth, honest study of evolution is like trying to prove theorums without an understanding of axioms and postulates. But teaching evolution as axiomatic is as wrong as using theorums as axioms or postuates.
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    ...what flaws? Are you holding evolution to a higher standard than every other theory or something? Do you expect it to be able to explain everything since the beginning of time in perfect detail? Evolution has tons of evidence, tons of explanatory and predictive value, and no other theory even comes close in biology. If there are unacceptable flaws in evolution then you can't accept any science, period, if you hold other theories to the same ridiculous standards you seem to hold evolution to.
    So what flaws? What about the Cambrian is so problematic?
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    The Cambrian layer confirms Evolution, it doesn't deny it. Up until relatively recently it was the starting point for any fossil investigation, but now we have ways of detecting non-boned/shelled life that formed the precursor to the life we see in the form of fossils. The "Cambrian Explosion" fits in precisely with what we would expect Evolution to produce, given that the primary environmental change that "drives" evolution is actually the environment of other life. When one lifeform develops something radically new, the lifeforms which survive to pass on their genes are those which evolve ways of combatting that one life form or which are the successful descendents of it. Nearly every (animal) life form can see, because the development of sight was so massively useful that only those creatures which had some form of proto-sight had the slightest chance of evading predators. Not everything with sight obtained it from the same common ancestors - the eye model has independently evolved a number of times.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The problems found in evolution are not there because of the clergy, they exist because they are flaws and gaps and discrepancies, many of which I have enumerated in various threads on TSF and for which the usual response is, "Oh, that just some religious thinking."
    I'm afraid you'll have to illustrate this with quotes. From what I can remember, all the supposed gaps and discrepancies were disposed of scientifically, or explained as the result of "unscientific" thinking, not religious thinking. That Creationism is propounded by religionists is a fact you are seemingly at pains to conceal, but the objections to Evolution you highlight have not been dealt with solely by saying "that's just religion talking", but with purely scientific reasoning.

    Incidentally, it was good of you to acknowledge that if Evolution were taught in schools by reference to all the evidence, then you would accept it. Of course, in fact, nothing is taught in schools by reference to all the evidence with the sole exception of those few physics, chemistry and biology elements which can be reasonably demonstrated in a laboratory - everything else in those subjects (nuclear physics, quantum physics, semiconductors) is told to the kids "on trust". History is taught out of history books, English is taught out of English textbooks, mathematics is pretty much taught by rote rather than rigorous bottom-up proof. (For instance, even in "short" division, you divide the first digit of one number by the divisor, take the remainder, "pre-pend" it to the next digit and divide again. Why the hell does this work? I've no idea, but that is how it's taught.)

    Delving in to the specifics of a subject and learning how we know what we know from first principles is the job of the University course and other further study. Otherwise, school would be pretty much useless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    do you believe that denying the flaws in evolutionary theories and the discrepancies that arise though altering the theory in an attempt to cover those flaws will make them go away?
    Okay. Enough. I challenge you to put into list format, each of the flaws and discrepancies that you are aware of that haven't already been scientifically explained or refuted in this forum.

    If you cannot do that, it is clear that you are speaking from an un-educated position, taking an anti-science point of view based solely on superstions propagated from your individual religious cult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    do you believe that denying the flaws in evolutionary theories and the discrepancies that arise though altering the theory in an attempt to cover those flaws will make them go away?
    Okay. Enough. I challenge you to put into list format, each of the flaws and discrepancies that you are aware of that haven't already been scientifically explained or refuted in this forum.

    If you cannot do that, it is clear that you are speaking from an un-educated position, taking an anti-science point of view based solely on superstions propagated from your individual religious cult.
    I wonder if what daytonturner sees as flaws are precisely what you see as strengths. Since the theory of evolution is based on observations of the natural world rather than on divine revelation, then it could be wrong! There is always the possibility that archeologists could find something that disproves the whole theory unlike this believe in an intangible invisible all-powerful God that requires us to have faith. If archeologist find evidence contradicting the Bible then it is obviously a demonic plot or test of faith. How can you argue with a position which rest on such unassailable grounds? Compared to this, science rests on shifting sand, where any day new evidence could bring the whole ediface tumbling down.

    From the scientists point of view, you can poke all the holes you want, but until you can come up with an alternate theory that better explains the observations of the natural world, you are wasting your time. Creationism and ID are not scientific theories. They do not explain observations in the natural world. They are religiously motivated rhetoric.

    Come on, daytonturner, you have got to realize that you are fighting the wrong battle in the wrong arena. You need to attack the unwarranted philosophical conclusions that are drawn from this scientific theory, not the theory itself. Surely you cannot believe that science is everything or that this is the only valid source of truth. Do you think that faith is irrelevant that you can prove incontrovertably that God created the world? Do you really think you know the details of the manner and techniques with which God created the world? Do you really think that God used magic like the special effects in a Harry Potter movie?
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    The comments come faster than I can reply. I am two or three behind here.

    I find it incredulous that Neutrino, an advocate of evolution, would not know about the Cambrian layer and be poised with a defense of the implications detractors draw from the “evidence” found in the Cambrian layer and its relationship to pre-Cambrian and post-Cambrian layers.

    Silas seems to be familiar with the Cambrian layer but adopts the normal evolutionist response of pooh-poohing the implications of the Cambrian layer and dismisses it by denying the detractive implications which can be drawn.

    I am merely paraphrasing here, but this, in a nutshell, is what detractors of evolution say concerning the Cambrian layer:

    The Cambrian layer starts at about 530 to 540 million years ago in the geological column. Within that one layer are found examples of virtually every life form which ever existed on earth. Prior to that layer, the only examples of animal life are simple invertebrate animals. Layers subsequent to the Cambrian layer show fewer and fewer life forms such that today, 98 percent of the life forms found in the Cambrian layer have gone extinct.

    No generalized paraphrase such as that one paragraph is going to adequately point out various and sundry differences of opinion as to the time frame covered. Some suggest that at least five catastrophic “kill offs” took place within the time frame of the Cambrian layer.

    Evolution would predict that pre-Cambrian layers should include fossils of precursor animals to the more complex animals which appear there. Evolution would also predict that the layers above the Cambrian layer would show increasingly complex animals. However, no such fossils are found in pre-Cambrian layers nor are post-Cambrian animals any more complex than those found in the Cambrian layer.

    The Cambrian layer is a serious problem for the concept of slow methodical evolution in that there was a profusion of new life forms in a very short period of time (on the geological chart).

    Darwin himself, I read someplace, was aware of the problems presented by the Cambrian layer but believed future techology and information would resolve the questions it raises. His belief has not yet been realized on that count.

    Silas says:

    From what I can remember, all the supposed gaps and discrepancies were disposed of scientifically, or explained as the result of "unscientific" thinking, not religious thinking. That Creationism is propounded by religionists is a fact you are seemingly at pains to conceal, but the objections to Evolution you highlight have not been dealt with solely by saying "that's just religion talking", but with purely scientific reasoning.
    There are two serious flaws here. The gaps and discrepancies have been disposed of only in the eyes of people who want to eliminate the flaws by saying there are no flaws. (Reminds me of the Vietnam era thinking in which people suggested we should declare we had won and just leave.) Evolutionists continue to claim a victory that is accepted only in their own little world. Second, you are the people who keep bringing religion into the discussion. Evolution is a flawed theory on its own merits. I have never used any Bible verse or religious concept to detract from evolution. But I have pointed out where Bible and evolutionary concepts sometimes seem to agree or parallel each other.

    I’m not sure what Silas is suggesting concerning the education process. Like evolution, education comes layer upon layer, concept upon concept in ever increasing complexity. That is we do not start out with advanced calculus in the fifth grade and then teach intro to algebra as a 400 course in college. Generally speaking, we teach things by introducing a broad concept and then fitting the individual pieces into that broad concept.

    I firmly believe that some basic evolution course should be introduced at the junior high level in which the evidence and ALL the interpretations of that evidence are put on the table. That would include explaining discrepancies such as those implicated by the Cambrian layer and what inferences are drawn from various findings by both evolutionists and non-evolutionists. There is no religion or creationism or intelligent design involved.

    Just to get back to my square one, yet again, my dispute with evolutionists is not a religious argument. In my thinking evolution can exist with God just as easily as it can exist without Him. My objections are focused on evolutionists who use evolution as a part of their justification for disbelieving in God and those who misunderstand evolution to a point of believing that it supports the idea of the spontaneous generation of life.

    It does occur to me, as it should anyone, that if evolution is a questionable theory, then the only other proposed explanations on the table seem to be intelligent design or creationism. That, of course, is why atheistic evolutionists (who currently hold sway on the educational presentation of evolution) resist and deny any and all objections to evolution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I find it incredulous that Neutrino, an advocate of evolution, would not know about the Cambrian layer and be poised with a defense of the implications detractors draw from the “evidence” found in the Cambrian layer and its relationship to pre-Cambrian and post-Cambrian layers.
    Well, you have to demonstrate a problem before a defense of the problem can be made. Simply claiming that there's a problem doesn't really qualify as one last I checked.

    the Cambrian layer starts at about 530 to 540 million years ago in the geological column. Within that one layer are found examples of virtually every life form which ever existed on earth.
    Well, this is absolutely false, so I'm not sure how exactly to rebut your claims. It's simply false. How about plants, for example? Or mammals. Or birds. Or reptiles. None of those were found in the Cambrian. Kind of invalidates your claim that "virtually every life form that ever existed are found in the Cambrian" if there's no plants (besides algae), mammals, reptiles, or birds doesn't it? Only primitive life forms are found, which is right in line with evolution. So, again, what exactly is this major problem you keep talking about?

    Layers subsequent to the Cambrian layer show fewer and fewer life forms such that today, 98 percent of the life forms found in the Cambrian layer have gone extinct.
    Organisms go extinct. How exactly is that a problem for evolution?

    Evolution would predict that pre-Cambrian layers should include fossils of precursor animals to the more complex animals which appear there. Evolution would also predict that the layers above the Cambrian layer would show increasingly complex animals. However, no such fossils are found in pre-Cambrian layers nor are post-Cambrian animals any more complex than those found in the Cambrian layer.
    How can you be saying that there aren't more complex like forms after the Cambrian? Like I said, what about plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds? Those don't qualify? If not, how exactly are you measuring complexity?

    The Cambrian layer is a serious problem for the concept of slow methodical evolution in that there was a profusion of new life forms in a very short period of time (on the geological chart).
    ...again, you are claiming that there's a problem, but I don't see why there's a problem. The Cambrian isn't the only "explosion" in the geologic record and it isn't a problem for evolution except in the eyes of the religious.


    I firmly believe that some basic evolution course should be introduced at the junior high level in which the evidence and ALL the interpretations of that evidence are put on the table. That would include explaining discrepancies such as those implicated by the Cambrian layer and what inferences are drawn from various findings by both evolutionists and non-evolutionists. There is no religion or creationism or intelligent design involved.
    Now THIS is ridiculous. Why should unqualified, religiously motivated opinions be taught in science class? Only qualified scientific theories should be taught. It's SCIENCE class, after all. If you want to come up with a scientific challenge to evolution, feel free. But we all know that isn't going to happen anytime soon, if ever.

    It does occur to me, as it should anyone, that if evolution is a questionable theory
    It isn't. This is what the religious fail to understand. Find me valid scientific objections to evolution that originate from within the field of biology, and not some religious website. If you listen to religious propoganda then evolution is highly in question. But if you listen to people within biology (ie, people who know what they're talking about), not only is it not in question but it's as supported as any scientific theory out there.

    then the only other proposed explanations on the table seem to be intelligent design or creationism. That, of course, is why atheistic evolutionists (who currently hold sway on the educational presentation of evolution) resist and deny any and all objections to evolution.
    Well, those aren't scientific so they don't really qualify as potential replacements for evolution.
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    Neutrino sez:

    Well, you have to demonstrate a problem before a defense of the problem can be made. Simply claiming that there's a problem doesn't really qualify as one last I checked.
    But simply claiming there is no problem qualifies as a rebuttal? Just closing your eyes to the different interpretations of the same information does not negate the interpretation you disagree with. I say again, if your atheistically motivated version of these observations is so overwhelmingly obvious and convincing, why do polls show that a small percentage of people agree with it?

    Neutrino, again:

    Well, this is absolutely false, so I'm not sure how exactly to rebut your claims. It's simply false. How about plants, for example? Or mammals. Or birds. Or reptiles. None of those were found in the Cambrian. Kind of invalidates your claim that "virtually every life form that ever existed are found in the Cambrian" if there's no plants (besides algae), mammals, reptiles, or birds doesn't it? Only primitive life forms are found, which is right in line with evolution. So, again, what exactly is this major problem you keep talking about?
    Your misunderstanding of what is found in the Cambrian layer is appalling. I suggest you do some reading on Cambrian layer life forms. I guess if you cannot alter the significance of the facts, it is necessary to attempt to alter the facts.

    Neutrino:

    Organisms go extinct. How exactly is that a problem for evolution?
    The problem here is that evolution predicts the proliferation of life forms, not a diminishing number of life forms. But since Cambrian layer, the number of life forms has radically diminished and much of it long before mankind was able to make a significant environmental influence to contribute to the loss of life forms. What it shows is that the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest do not increase life forms as evolution suggests, but rather, these forces lead to the elimination of more life forms than they produce. But, of course, that is not a problem if you turn it around to say that evolution has always predicted that the number of life forms on earth will decrease to only a few of the fittest. So what produced the large number of life forms to the point of diminishing return? The problem is that evolution, to be valid, requires the development of more and more life forms, but our observations show diminishing numbers of life forms. It is an absolute paradox that the processes which are credited with producing multiple life forms are actually the very processes which reduce the numbers of life forms. But, of course, this is not a problem for evolutionist. Just ignore it.

    Neutrino:

    How can you be saying that there aren't more complex like forms after the Cambrian? Like I said, what about plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds? Those don't qualify? If not, how exactly are you measuring complexity?
    Again, you do not seem to realize that all these life forms are present among Cambrian layer fossils.

    Neutrino:

    ...again, you are claiming that there's a problem, but I don't see why there's a problem. The Cambrian isn't the only "explosion" in the geologic record and it isn't a problem for evolution except in the eyes of the religious.
    No, it is you again ignoring the contradictions. The Cambrian layer contains several explosions and mass extinctions which have religious implication only if you believe that God was a direct causative. Cambrian layer flies in the face of early evolutionary predictions that the fossil records would show a long, slow gradual development of increasingly complex animals. This data exists with or without the presense of God and presents its implications with or without the presense of God.

    Neutrino:

    Now THIS is ridiculous. Why should unqualified, religiously motivated opinions be taught in science class? Only qualified scientific theories should be taught. It's SCIENCE class, after all. If you want to come up with a scientific challenge to evolution, feel free. But we all know that isn't going to happen anytime soon, if ever.
    The only thing I see as being ridiculous is that atheistic evolutionist insist evolution should be taught in the same way communism taught history – one side of the story was presented and any disagreement was labeled as lies or imperialist American propaganda. This is exactly the tactic you use when you label any controverting opinions or interpretations on evolution as being religiously motivated poppycock.

    What you seem to be saying is that the only valid "scientific" interpretations of data, observations and studies are those which support your view. Anything else is unscientific. This kind of thinking is so nonsensical that I have spent the last five minutes chastising myself for dignifying it with a response.

    Skinwalker: I am not going to reiterate all the counter-evolutionary arguments I have previously placed on this forum. If you want to see the conflicts I have presented, I believe there is a way to look at all of my posts. It is far easier for you to re-read them, than it is for me to re-enter them. (It also preserves bandwidth for Mr. Universe.) I work on them one at a time as they come up. I think I have presented about five or six major areas of conflict to which evolutionist, as Neutrino here, have consistently replied, “Not a problem for me." They are thus summarily dismissed as religiously motivated non-issues.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Well, this is absolutely false, so I'm not sure how exactly to rebut your claims. It's simply false. How about plants, for example? Or mammals. Or birds. Or reptiles. None of those were found in the Cambrian. Kind of invalidates your claim that "virtually every life form that ever existed are found in the Cambrian" if there's no plants (besides algae), mammals, reptiles, or birds doesn't it? Only primitive life forms are found, which is right in line with evolution. So, again, what exactly is this major problem you keep talking about?
    Quote Originally Posted by dayton
    Your misunderstanding of what is found in the Cambrian layer is appalling. I suggest you do some reading on Cambrian layer life forms. I guess if you cannot alter the significance of the facts, it is necessary to attempt to alter the facts.
    Well this is from Talkorigins:
    Only some phyla appear in the Cambrian explosion. In particular, all plants postdate the Cambrian, and flowering plants, by far the dominant form of land life today, only appeared about 140 Mya (Brown 1999).

    Even among animals, not all types appear in the Cambrian. Cnidarians, sponges, and probably other phyla appeared before the Cambrian. Molecular evidence shows that at least six animal phyla are Precambrian (Wang et al. 1999). Bryozoans appear first in the Ordovician. Many other soft-bodied phyla do not appear in the fossil record until much later. Although many new animal forms appeared during the Cambrian, not all did. According to one reference (Collins 1994), eleven of thirty-two metazoan phyla appear during the Cambrian, one appears Precambrian, eight after the Cambrian, and twelve have no fossil record.

    And that just considers phyla. Almost none of the animal groups that people think of as groups, such as mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and spiders, appeared in the Cambrian. The fish that appeared in the Cambrian was unlike any fish alive today.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC300.html

    Their sources are clearly listed. (Another major difference between talkorigins and religious sites - you can actually verify the sources and check them yourself) Are you saying it's wrong? If so - source?

    The problem here is that evolution predicts the proliferation of life forms, not a diminishing number of life forms. But since Cambrian layer, the number of life forms has radically diminished and much of it long before mankind was able to make a significant environmental influence to contribute to the loss of life forms. What it shows is that the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest do not increase life forms as evolution suggests, but rather, these forces lead to the elimination of more life forms than they produce.
    Wait, what are you saying here? That species shouldn't go extinct? And that so many do, contradicts evolution? Species go extinct for a number of reasons - sometimes the entire population evolves. Sometimes part of the species evolves down a particular line then out-competes the old. Sometimes a new species entirely comes along that out-performs the old within their niche. Sometimes a predator evolves a mechanism that swings the balance and damages the population. Sometimes the environment changes and the species can't adapt. Sometimes local or global catastrophies occur. This is just off the top of my head and I'm no biologist. Shit happens. Where exactly is the problem for evolution here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    How can you be saying that there aren't more complex like forms after the Cambrian? Like I said, what about plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds? Those don't qualify? If not, how exactly are you measuring complexity?
    Quote Originally Posted by dayton
    Again, you do not seem to realize that all these life forms are present among Cambrian layer fossils.
    Again, source?

    The only thing I see as being ridiculous is that atheistic evolutionist insist evolution should be taught in the same way communism taught history – one side of the story was presented and any disagreement was labeled as lies or imperialist American propaganda. This is exactly the tactic you use when you label any controverting opinions or interpretations on evolution as being religiously motivated poppycock.
    Well, it is. From within biology there just isn't the controversy you are painting. It's religious garbage.

    What you seem to be saying is that the only valid "scientific" interpretations of data, observations and studies are those which support your view.
    No, but they have to support the evidence. Intelligent design has no scientific basis, and creationism and magic are simply unfalsifiable and hence, unscientific. Intelligent design is nothing more than dressed up creationism anyway - as evidenced by when they rewrote "Of Pandas and people" by simply replacing God with "the designer." Yeah, that really makes it scientific now...
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    I am trying to get some work done, then I read the last couple of pages of posts and just want to cry. Such ignorance on both sides of the argument. Please excuse, in advance, any obscenities or personal remarks that creep in here.

    Off course the Cambrian is a ****ing problem for palaeontologists. Over the course of as little as twenty million years (some say less) we go from three phyla to thirty five phyla. No new phyla have come into existence since then. A couple have disappeared.

    That is way unusual and strange and ****ing unique and demands an accounting. Certainly there is some evidence for some of these phyla a little earlier, as microscopic forms - in which case part of the Cambrian explosion was just an enlargement of scale. But this remains, to date, an unexplained mystery. Trying to minimise the scale of this mystery is an insult to every scientist who is studying it, has studied it and will study it.

    So will the scientists here please wise up, back off, and accept that the Cambrian explosion is a ****ing issue, because we do not what caused it.................yet. Science is strong because it successfully investigates mysteries, which reveal new mysteries and so on. In an effort to defuse dayton's claims you are being decidely unscientific and becoming guilty of the faith based conclusions you are criticising.

    Dayton, what the **** has an interesting aspect of a single spot in the ongoing evolution of life on Earth have to do with disproving evolution, which is what you implicity and perhaps explicitly are trying to do with it.
    We might never discover how and why the Cambrian explosion happened and it would have **** all effect on the reality of evolution as expressed by the evidence from the rest of the fossil records, from comparirive anatomy and from genetic studies.

    You are absolutely correct to say that scientists don't properly understand the Cambrian. You are right to berate Silas and others for adopting a baseless stance, but you are totally ****ing wrong to think this has any impact upon the reality of evolution. For what I truly hope is the last time - science adopts and adapts based upon evidence. (Silas et al this is why Im so pissed off with you lot for letting the side down by ignoring the evidence that the Cambrian is a problem.).

    Now that I've suitably pissed everyone off I'm going back to work.
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    Thanks to Ophiolite for his post that in some way supports my claim that Cambrian layer is a major discrepancy to what early evolutionists predicted.

    But I think I may need to back off on some things I said which may have been misleading. Neutrino is correct in his implication that we do not find cats and dogs and elephants among Cambrian layer fossils. However, we do find representatives of them.

    It is not my objective, Ophiolite, to disprove the entirety of evolutionary thinking but only to point out that there are many yet to be explained questions which modern evolutionists attempt to ignore as immaterial. It may be that some natural explanations to these questions can be validated; it may also be that no natural explanations are to be found. Until they are explained, they remain open to speculation and guesses as to what happened and why. I find it difficult to totally eliminate any source of speculation because it lacks the stamp of approval from any specific community of thinking. When we are guessing, anybody's guess has the potential to be at least partially accurate.

    I can certainly see that life forms of today look different from the life forms of 500 million years ago and that the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest has played a big role in those changes. So I sort of understand what Ophiolite means when he says evolution is a fact. But what he means by that is vastly different from what most people mean when they say that.

    It remains that while evolution generally predicts an inflation of life forms, experience shows, rather, a deflation of life forms. Thus there is an unexplained conflict between theoretical prediction and actual experience. To me that is a problem such as would have occurred in relativity if the atomic bomb had been a dud.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It remains that while evolution generally predicts an inflation of life forms, experience shows, rather, a deflation of life forms. Thus there is an unexplained conflict between theoretical prediction and actual experience. To me that is a problem such as would have occurred in relativity if the atomic bomb had been a dud.
    I've read a lot of texts that deal with evolution both directly and indirectly and have participated in college-level coursework that likewise deals with evolution. I don't recall the terms "inflation" or "deflation" being used. How are you defining them in this context?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Thanks to Ophiolite for his post that in some way supports my claim that Cambrian layer is a major discrepancy to what early evolutionists predicted.
    Point 1: (minor) I dislike the term evolutionist. I have never encountered it until coming to forums such as this. I can see its convenience in discussion, but one might just as well call such persons 'clear thinking individuals, swayed by logical reasoning, structured argument and cohesive evidence', though I'll grant you that 'evolutionist' is marginally catchier.
    Point 2: (major) The early evolutionists did not, too my knowledge predict this. I agree that there was a percpetion that life had, over time, become more complex.
    That remains true on two levels: firstly, there is more diversity today than there was three billion year ago; secondly, within phyla there is arguably more diversity today, than there was at the end of the Cambrian.
    The only surprise is that most of the phyla seem to have appeared rather suddenly. That single fact in no way falsifies evolution.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Neutrino is correct in his implication that we do not find cats and dogs and elephants among Cambrian layer fossils. However, we do find representatives of them.
    .
    Absolutely true. The chordates are present in the Cambrian. We are a darn sight closer genetically to a hagfish, than a gram positive bacteria is to archean halophile.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is not my objective, Ophiolite, to disprove the entirety of evolutionary thinking but only to point out that there are many yet to be explained questions which modern evolutionists attempt to ignore as immaterial.
    I am unaware of any 'evolutionist' working in the field, who regards these issues as immaterial. Quite the contrary. This is why I was so incensed by the implication by others that these as yet unexplained mysteries are unimportant. However, I believe they were overcome by their passionate belief, which I share, that they are irrelevant to the reality of evolution. That is quite different from saying they are irrelevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I find it difficult to totally eliminate any source of speculation because it lacks the stamp of approval from any specific community of thinking. When we are guessing, anybody's guess has the potential to be at least partially accurate.
    However, the 'evolutionists' are not guessing. They are interpreting a vast body of evidence, using tried and tested techniques, and validating their conclusions against prior and concurrent work, always registering such conclusions as provisional and subject to change, and always open to rigorous peer review. That is quite a different matter from guessing.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I can certainly see that life forms of today look different from the life forms of 500 million years ago and that the processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest has played a big role in those changes. So I sort of understand what Ophiolite means when he says evolution is a fact. But what he means by that is vastly different from what most people mean when they say that.
    If I may revert again to a censored obscenity, as a means of conveying the intensity of my feelings on this matter. I really don't give a **** what most people mean by evolution. As I have remarked before, most people are thicker than a milk shake made with quick drying cement. I am interested in what thinking, self assessing, inquisitive, intelligent, educated, informed disciplined persons think.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It remains that while evolution generally predicts an inflation of life forms, experience shows, rather, a deflation of life forms. Thus there is an unexplained conflict between theoretical prediction and actual experience. To me that is a problem such as would have occurred in relativity if the atomic bomb had been a dud.
    I really don't understand where you have picked up this notion that evolution predicts and inflation of life forms. (Nor, for that matter the notion that there has been a deflation.) I echo SW's request for evidence to support this.
    Evolution does not predict either, though it does, if viewed correctly, predict both. It predicts that changes will take place in response to the character of the enviroment, as permitted by mutations that do occur. If those environmental changes reduce the number and variety of ecological niches we shall see deflation, and vice versa.

    Finally, appropos nothing in particular. I am a closet Lamarkian. This can get one out of almost any evolutionary cul de sac. I fully expect, within a decade, to be able to declare my Lamarkianism openly, because the pendulum will be swinging. All that will do Dayton, is to reinforce the reality of evolution, by providing additional mechanisms for its implimentation.
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    Ophiolite (in reference to your previous post), right on! (Man, everybody's posting so fast!) And thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. In my defence, however, I stand by the very broad and general theory I advanced: Explosion caused by arms races. That was just a theory, not an examination of evidence, nor a working out of a mathematical model. Neither do I recall minimising the level of the problem for scientists, nor dismissing the Cambrian as irrelevant. What I pointed out was that nothing in the explosion actually ruled out evolution (common descent) as the fact underlying the diversity.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The only thing I see as being ridiculous is that atheistic evolutionist insist evolution should be taught in the same way communism taught history – one side of the story was presented and any disagreement was labeled as lies or imperialist American propaganda. This is exactly the tactic you use when you label any controverting opinions or interpretations on evolution as being religiously motivated poppycock.
    No, we only say that about religiously motivated poppycock. The ID "alternative" to evolution does not fulfill any standard criterion for a scientific theory.

    Astrology is scientific theory, according to Behe - which is a distorted way of putting it, but what happened was during the Dover County case Behe was forced to admit that under his definition of a scientific theory, Astrology would qualify.

    Ultimately, though, since we have brought in the other subjects that children are educated with, perhaps the ID theory needs to be extended? You see, the principle reason ID is not accepted as a scientific theory is that, as a hypothesis, you can pretty much apply it to anything. Why does lighting hydrogen gas in an Oxygen atmophere produce water? Because the Intelligent Designer meant it that way. I'm exaggerating of course, but the Intelligent Designer is a one-size-fits all hypothesis to fill in the gap in our ignorance. As such, it is of course, absolutely useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Evolutionists continue to claim a victory that is accepted only in their own little world.
    I'm getting very tired of you constantly just making statements like that without addressing my rebuttals of them. To whit:
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The point is not that the polls disprove evolution, only that they show far less than the widespread enthusiasm your tight knit, isolated little group of scientificos have deluded themselves into thinking there is.
    No, you were claiming that the anti-evolutionist views were accepted in viable scientifically educated circles, and that therefore anti-evolutionist views had intellectual substance. This has since been shown to be false. Just so you know, the scientific community is not living in cloud-cuckoo land with regards to how well informed the majority of the public are about any scientific matters. That is why they constantly have to produce TV programmes and books endless explaining it over and over again (let alone battling Creationism in the science classroom, which is actually a different issue).

    As I've pointed out before, Dayton, the "tight knit, isolated little group of scientificos" are actually out there trying to solve the problems of the world, to cure the diseases, to feed the hungry, to deal with God's latest addition (in your view) to the ecosystem, ie H5N1, and to alert the non-scientific of the perils of global warming (Greenland is melting away right now!) When New York is under ten feet of water, possibly someone might turn around and say, "Hey, maybe those scientificoes were right. Ah-choo!"

    And hey, what happened to the overtly pro-Science tone you started off your discussion in this thread with?
    Please respond before making incorrect, fallacious and basically dishonest claims that "evolution is only accepted in the small world of evolutionists".

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Second, you are the people who keep bringing religion into the discussion. Evolution is a flawed theory on its own merits. I have never used any Bible verse or religious concept to detract from evolution. But I have pointed out where Bible and evolutionary concepts sometimes seem to agree or parallel each other.
    Well, again, the religious agenda behind ID and any current attempt to knock down Evolution is what we are arguing against, not scientifically valid objections to a current scientific theory, nor the institution of religion or people's individual beliefs.

    As it happens, I do not personally believe that Michael Behe is religiously motivated, I think he has come across a gap in knowledge, and made a fallacious jump to seeing evidence for a Designer - this gets labelled as his theory and he feels he has contributed to science. We constantly see the same attitude amongst people who want to tear down Einstein's Relativity.

    In fact, of course, Behe hasn't contributed to science, because he hasn't recognised (and bullheadedly refuses to recognise) that the Intelligent Designer hypothesis is ruled out of consideration as a real scientific theory if his only contribution is to say "We don't know how this happend, therefore it was Designed". If he can say something sensible about the Designer, pick out common factors in things the Designer has done that only a Designer could do, and make successful predictions about other unknown stuff where the Designer hypothesis hasn't been applied so far, then it's a scientific theory worthy of examination. But he hasn't done any of those things, in fact he explains precisely nothing with his theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Come on, daytonturner, you have got to realize that you are fighting the wrong battle in the wrong arena. You need to attack the unwarranted philosophical conclusions that are drawn from this scientific theory, not the theory itself.
    I for one fail to see where that particular battle is taking place! I see atheists propounding the absence of God from the absence of evidence - no miracles, divine intervention, things ascribed to God being no more than coincidence etc, and I see scientifics defending Evolution against ignorance and the wholesale rejection of the eminently successful scientific method which is its natural corollary. I do not see anybody using Evolution as proof of the non-existence of God.
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    Well, like I said several times, I'm not going to simply take dayton's word that there are problems. If there are, that's fine. Science doesn't know everything and I certainly don't either. I expect him to provide me with something from a non religious site presenting the problem, however, and until he does I see no reason to assume one. Creationists claim there are problems ALL THE TIME, so it isn't really a habit of mine to do their homework for them when it comes to figuring out exactly whether or not there is one. I looked up a few websites on Cambrian fossils, found no apparent problems, and dayton didn't present any evidence to examine.
    To me a problem is not: everything isn't known. I am understanding dayton's use of the term problem to indicate a serious problem for the theory of evolution that amounts to more than a knowledge gap.
    I'm curious Ophiolite: are you an expert on every topic? Or do you just play one on TV?
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    It is much harder to convert a christian to an atheist than the other way around.

    The discussion got heated when the subject of evolution was brought up, as it seems to define the confrontation line between scientist and christian today. Like the argument that the earth moves around the sun some time ago.

    In the past life was much simpler. God created earth in five days. Then out of a lump of clay he created Adam, the first homo sapien on earth.

    Later, when it was found that earth did not simply pop out of thin air, the Bible needs to be reinterpreted to fit the fact in. "Five days" means five God DAYS, which are thousands of million years in man's measurements. Now strange fossils are found, some more reinterpretations are needed. The way God created man and all other lives was not by transforming them out of clay, literally, but by putting life force in numerous organic forms. Some were extinct, having fulfilled their purposes, whatever they are.

    I believe that Christianism will continue to prosper, but the interpretation of the Bilble will continue to be revised to fit the facts discovered in later date.

    Evolution theory threatens Christianism because it provides a credible answer to how lives come into being without resorting to the divine intervention.

    Evolution theory helps us to produce many useful things that improve our quality of life. It may make some wrong predictions, but it makes many more right predictions. Christianism does not make predictions, it make promises.

    About the evidence of God, any christian can show you. "If HE does not exist, how come I believe in HIM?"

    Why don't I see HIM? - Well, you have to believe in HIM first.

    If I believe in HIM, will I be saved? - Of course, God has infinite love.
    But I see many believers suffer horribly! - HE moves in mysterious way, you cannot expect him to be predictable (or consistent).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I'm curious Ophiolite: are you an expert on every topic? Or do you just play one on TV?
    I know nothing about embroidery. I only speak one language. I have only visited fifty two of the two hundred and eighty (?) countries in the world. I have only lived in six of the world's capital cities. I still don't understand quantum mechanics. Vetrinary medicine does not interest me. My IQ refuses to climb above 150. I hold no post graduate degrees. My ignorance is very great.
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