If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?

Posted on October 15, 2010 By

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), who is considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.

.

“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that… My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.”

–New York University Professor of Philosophy, and leading atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel

———–

Recently, a reader posted a comment to this website which read “GOD IS NOT REAL” …with a string of obscenities appearing before and after these four words (which I have removed to maintain a PG rating). It does not take a trained psychologist to perceive that there is more than just bare logic shaping these atheistic views. If this person had arrived at atheism purely from logical reasoning, he would have calmly posted a response to the arguments posted on this website or would have simply chosen to ignore them. But this person is hardly alone. Why do so many people take offense at the idea that there is a God? Further, why are so many smart people unconvinced despite the wealth of evidence? And if the evidence is so strong, as this website contends, why isn’t it more commonly known? R.C. Sproul comments in his book If There Is a God, Why Are There Atheists?:

“The New Testament maintains that unbelief is generated not so much by intellectual causes as by moral and psychological ones. The problem is not that there is insufficient evidence to convince rational beings that there is a God, but that rational beings have a natural antipathy to the being of God. In a word, the nature of God (at least the Christian God) is repugnant to man and is not the focus of desire or wish-projection” [as Sigmund Freud suggested].

Why is the idea of God repugnant to so many people? Sproul continues:

“God’s presence is severely threatening to man. God manifests a threat to man’s moral standards, a threat to his quest for autonomy, and a threat to his desire for concealment. God’s revelation involves the intrusion and indeed invasion of the ‘other,’ the ‘different,’ the alien and strange to human circumstances. In a word, it represents the invasion of light into the darkness to which man is accustomed.”

The notion of God, put another way, is a threat to humanity’s desire to be free from burdensome moral constraints…to fashion one’s own morals and be the king of one’s castle — answerable to no one. Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher, put it succinctly when he said, “all is permissible if God does not exist.” As a result of the revulsion that so many secular people feel toward the concept of God, there is a strong cultural current present (especially in academia and the media) to suppress or deny any knowledge of him. At first reading, this may sound like a fantastical conspiracy theory, but the claim becomes more plausible when one consults experts in psychology. Best-selling psychologist/author M. Scott Peck writes in his book The Road Less Travelled:

“[A] reason that scientists are so prone to throw the baby out with the bath water is that science itself, as I have suggested, is a religion. The neophyte scientist, recently come or converted to the world view of science, can be every bit as fanatical as a Christian crusader or a soldier of Allah. This is particularly the case when we have come to science from a culture and home in which belief in God is firmly associated with ignorance, superstition, rigidity and hypocrisy. Then we have emotional as well as intellectual motives to smash the idols of primitive faith. A mark of maturity in scientists, however, is their awareness that science may be as subject to dogmatism as any other religion.”

Peck continues:

“Another major reason that scientists are prone to throw out the baby with the bath water is that they do not see the baby. Many scientists simply do not look at the evidence of the reality of God. They suffer from a kind of tunnel vision, a psychologically self-imposed set of blinders which prevents them from turning their attention to the realm of the spirit.”

This “self-imposed set of blinders” is fashioned as a result of the “repugnance” that certain individuals feel toward the concept of God. And Peck is not the only psychologist to maintain that science can become a religion. Psychologist Charles Tart terms this religious belief system “scientism” in his book The End of Materialism:

“…but science is practiced by human beings, beings who, like the rest of us, are fallible, so [I present] ways of not knowing, ways in which essential science ossifies into scientism, a rigid belief system, and which genuine skepticism, an honest search for better truths, turns into pseudoskepticism, or debunking. As I’ve observed it in my career, and I think psychologist Abraham Maslow would have agreed, science can be practiced in a way that makes it an open-ended, personal-growth system for the practitioner or one of the most effective and prestigious neurotic defense mechanisms available.”

Examples of using science as an “effective and prestigious neurotic defense mechanism” are both abundant and transparent. One particularly poignant example is that of “directed panspermia”: With advances in molecular biology over the last several decades, it has become increasingly clear to scientists that the divide in complexity separating the simplest living thing (the self-replicating cell) from non-living matter is so vast as to be unbridgeable by random processes. Hence, Francis Crick, the Nobel Laureate well known as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, has stated in his book Life Itself:

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

Similarly, physicist and information theorist Hubert Yockey, who is the leading author of the primary text on the application of information theory to the origin of life, writes in the Journal of Theoretical Biology:

“Since science does not have the faintest idea how life on earth originated….it would be honest to confess this to other scientists, to grantors, and to the public at large. Prominent scientists speaking ex cathedra, should refrain from polarizing the minds of students and young productive scientists with statements that are based solely on beliefs.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies made the same point in his book The Fifth Miracle:

“Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled.”

Even prominent theoretical biologist (and atheist) Stuart Kauffman admits:

“Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on the earth some 3.45 billion years ago is a fool or a knave. Nobody knows.”

(As an aside, please view this Scientific American article titled Pssst! Don’t Tell the Creationists But Scientists Don’t Have a Clue How Life Began.  Predictably, the article ends with a lame atheist attempt at damage control by asking the question “What created the divine creator?”…as if an eternally existing being—without beginning— would require a creator.) This may come as a surprise to many readers who were taught in school (some very recently) that scientists were confident that the simplest living things were the product of random processes at work in a “primordial soup” or “prebiotic soup” composed of certain crucial chemicals. But what should come as a much bigger surprise to the reader is how atheistic scientists such as Crick have tried to wriggle free of the theistic implications present in this vast divide in complexity which is unbridgeable by random processes: Crick (in Life Itself) and others such as the biologist Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) and the British chemist Leslie Orgel have endorsed the concept of “directed panspermia” which states that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space. (This article reveals Crick’s support of the theory. Click here to view a video of Dawkins endorsing the idea in an interview). As the molecular biologist Michael Denton declares in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis:

“Nothing illustrates more clearly just how intractable a problem the origin of life has become than the fact that world authorities can seriously toy with the idea of panspermia.”

By endorsing directed panspermia, individuals such as Crick and Dawkins have done more than embarrass themselves, as Denton above insinuates: They have laid bare for all to see the perceptual filter steering their atheistic beliefs, which is religious in nature, as Peck maintains. This becomes especially apparent when one considers that, even if it could be demonstrated that aliens brought the first living organisms to earth, it provides no final answer as to how the first living things emerged from unintelligent, random processes. Rather, it just conveniently kicks the can down the road in order to avoid a question which is inconvenient to the religious belief system of scientism. Even if directed panspermia were true, one is still left with the unanswered question: How did alien life emerge from random processes?

As this article from Scientific American magazine points out, “It has been estimated that a supercomputer applying plausible rules for protein folding would need 10 to the 127th power years to find the final folded form for even a very short sequence consisting of just 100 amino acids.” And protein folding is only the first step in creating life from lifeless chemicals. Further, random processes would need a heck of a lot longer to fold proteins than would a supercomputer programmed to do so. But, the problem is, the universe is only about 15 billion years old. In short, it is important for the reader to understand that atheistic conclusions do not result from scientific research. Rather, they precede scientific research and restrict any notion of God before examination of data or facts. This is the case even when the result is a ridiculous, non-scientific, quasi-religious concept such as directed panspermia. But directed panspermia is hardly the only display of the scientistic (not to be confused with “scientific”) religious belief system at work in the scientific community. In The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry, Oxford University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) discusses the persistence of neo-Darwinian theory, despite its deteriorating scientific basis, with journalist Susan Mazur:

Margulis: “If enough favorable mutations occur, was the erroneous extrapolation, a change from one species to another would concurrently occur.”

Mazur: “So a certain dishonesty set in?”

Margulis: “No. It was not dishonesty. I think it was wish-fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

Mazur: “But a whole industry grew up.”

Margulis: “Yes, but people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

Here again the reader can clearly see that atheistic conclusions which purportedly arise from scientific research, such as neo-Darwinism, can hardly be characterized as the logical result of an objective examination of facts. Rather, they precede the examination of facts and reflect the religious beliefs of a scientist’s “tribal group.” This can be the case even when such theories have a basis which has been eroded by advances in scientific understanding. The late great Harvard University paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

“Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

In what “cultural contexts” are atheist biologists rooted, causing them to perpetrate “unconscious or dimly perceived finagling?” For one, in the cultural context that the material world is the most basic, fundamental plane of existence (a worldview known as “materialism” or “naturalism”). The Harvard University geneticist Richard C. Lewontin commented in 1997 that, in reference to defending Darwinism in a debate:

“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

In a similar light, Nancy Pearcey notes in her essay How Darwinism Dumbs Us Down:

“The media paints the evolution controversy in terms of science versus religion. But it is much more accurate to say it is worldview versus worldview, philosophy versus philosophy…” “Interestingly, a few evolutionists do acknowledge the point. Michael Ruse made a famous admission at the 1993 symposium of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ‘Evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to a kind of naturalism,’ he said—that is, it is a philosophy, not just facts. He went on: ‘Evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically.’ Ruse’s colleagues responded with shocked silence and afterward one of them, Arthur Shapiro, wrote a commentary titled, ‘Did Michael Ruse Give Away the Store?'” “But, ironically, in the process, Shapiro himself conceded that ‘there is an irreducible core of ideological assumptions underlying science,’ He went on: ‘Darwinism is a philosophical preference, if by that we mean we choose to discuss the material universe in terms of material processes accessible by material operations.'”

So entrenched is this cultural context, that it persists despite the fact it has been utterly discredited by modern physics, as demonstrated in my post entitled God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. —————– The ideological (as opposed to logical) opposition to the concept of divine creation pervasive in academia was expressed succinctly by George Wald, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine and physiology, when he said:

“When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!”

Similarly, Robert Jastrow, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, discusses how many atheist physicists react to the scientific proof that the universe had a beginning (thereby ruling out the atheist preference for an uncreated, eternally existing universe):

“Theologians are generally delighted with the proof that the universe had a beginning, but astronomers are curiously upset. Their reactions provide an interesting demonstration of the response of the scientific mind—supposedly a very objective mind—when the evidence uncovered by science itself leads to a conflict with the articles of faith in our profession. It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist, or we paper it over with meaningless phrases.”

Does the aliens-brought-life-to-earth explanation for the origin of life endorsed by atheist biologist Richard Dawkins not satisfy you? Well then, perhaps you will be satisfied by the explanation given by prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse: A MAGICAL CRYSTAL PIGGYBACK RIDE! Sound bizarre? Click on the link and watch the video. More bad news for atheism: Richard Dawkins (atheist biologist and author of The God Delusion) has admitted that “a serious case can be made for a deistic God” in a debate with Oxford University mathematician John Lennox. Click here to learn more or go to YouTube and view the debate. Please also listen to this 5 part audio by psychologist Paul Vitz about the psychology of atheism. Read this article about scientists and religion. Click the following link if you want to discover Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. Click here to review an illustration of the repugnance felt by many in academia for the idea of God and link to a documentary that provides more detail. This article discusses a paper written by two atheist physicists entitled Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant. What exactly is “disturbing” to the atheist authors? Their research points towards the existence of God (an “unknown agent” who “intervened in the evolution [of the universe] for reasons of its own,” in their words). Predictably, the article makes a lame attempt at atheist damage control by stating, “But creationists should not rejoice: even a god such as this can’t explain how things got so strange.”


  1. Dan Lucas says:

    “The Case for Christ” is a great book for anyone that wants to read about evidential matter as it would be presented in a court of law. It’s not about God, per-se. But, if you conclude that Jesus is the son of God, and is a God himself, then by default God exists.

    • Pyotr says:

      There is no way to conclude that Jesus is the son of God! All those words about Jesus then amount to nothing more than ‘words.’

      • syoungren says:

        There are plenty of ways to conclude that Jesus is the son of God…. but you have to be willing to examine the evidence rather than reject it before the fact because it does not fit with your ideology. Here are a few books that have been written about the subject:

        Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison. This author is a British journalist who set out to disprove the divinity of Christ, but came to opposite conclusion (Christ IS divine) as a result of his research.

        A Case for the Divinity of Christ by Dean Overman. This author writes very intelligently and convincingly (he was a Templeton Scholar at Oxford University).

        The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. This author is a former atheist (and journalist), who, similar to Morrison, set out to disprove Jesus’ divinity, but (also similar to Morrison) came to the opposite conclusion.

        • Josh says:

          Funny thing. A box is a box no matter what your background is or where you look at it from. Yet, you cannot always look at things from one point of view and assume you have the right answer right then and there. I find it amusing that many people say that our very existence is proof of God, yet what do other “holy texts” from other religions and beliefs say about our existence?If this were a valid argument then our existence is also proof of the Hindu gods. It is proof of Xenu and it is proof that all religions are correct. Is it correct to assume the bible is correct simply because it says it is correct? That would be like me saying I am a rabbit just because I say I am. A single point of view and single argument would NEVER suffice in any sort of conclusive proof of evidence or lack-of in any sort of reputable study. Also, calling Darwin and evolution a discreditable and weakening argument is fallible. 1st off, the same people writing about the scientific communities “tunnel vision” suffer from tunnel vision themselves. As a person who came out of an orthodox christian environment, not this pansy feel-good Christianity many practice today, most of people claiming to be Christians loosely follow the teachings of the bible itself. Then when someone asks for proof of correctness of the bible or proof of existence in God, all they can come up with is “the bible says”.

          Knowing only YOUR side of an argument is a very quick path to a very weak discussion in any case.

          • syoungren says:

            Suggesting that I am only looking at my side of the argument is a very bizarre assertion when you consider that many of the articles (and replies to comments) that I have posted at this site are responses to atheist arguments. If I did not know the atheist arguments, I could not write responses to them.

            One reason that I believe in the bible is because the account of creation found in the bible is very similar to what modern science says. MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder details how similar the two accounts are in his book Genesis and the Big Bang. Click on the preceding link to view the book on Amazon.com. Can you say that the Hindu scriptures accurately portray what modern science is telling us about the origins of the universe? If so, please tell me how.

            As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

            “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

            Can you find a Nobel Prize winning physicist who says this about the Hindu scriptures?

            By the way, you refer to the Hindu “gods” (plural). But, like Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism is actually monotheistic. Please read this article to see what I mean. Key excerpt:

            “But in reality Hinduism is monotheistic. As it says, it is only one god who has manifested and taken many forms like one body with many different parts. Each part plays its own role though it is part of one supreme being. All the little Gods in Hinduism are representations of one Supreme God.
            In short, Hinduism is monotheistic, with one supreme being. One cannot really describe this supreme being because as it has no form, it is beyond time, space, and causation and cannot be adequately portrayed by speech. God is neither male of female, or is both and beyond.”

            And therein lies the problem of attacking theism by suggesting that there are too many gods to choose from. There can only be one infinite being just as there can only be one infinity. Think of it this way: Infinity times two (or infinity times 22, for that matter) still equals infinity.

            So it is not so much a question of which God is the true God. A better way to phrase the question is, “Which human concept of God provides the best representation of God as God actually is?” And I am not suggesting that the Hindus got everything wrong. Quite the contrary, they got a lot right…. such as there belief in one supreme being and their belief that God is “beyond time, space, and causation and cannot be adequately portrayed by speech. God is neither male of female, or is both and beyond.”

            I am calling Darwinism completely false, but I am not suggesting that evolution is completely false. The two terms are not synonymous. Evolution within existing species (a.k.a. “microevolution”) is a very scientifically sound concept. But one species evolving into another is not. Doubt it? Read my post entitled “Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?” and get back to me with any rebuttal that you can furnish.

            An important excerpt:

            The scientific foundation underlying neo-Darwinism has become so eroded, in fact, that (as noted by molecular biologist Michael Behe in his book Darwin’s Black Box) University of Massachusetts and Oxford University Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (who won the U.S. Presidential medal for science) has predicted that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.” Behe further notes that Margulis is known for challenging molecular biologists present in the audience at her public talks to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. But, “her challenge goes unmet,” Behe reveals.

          • nick says:

            You use Behe to illustrate the inaccuracy of macro-evolution?

            2 brief quotes from Michael Behe on common descent – one species evolving into another – speciation – (macro-evolution):

            ‘Many people think that questioning Darwinian evolution must be equivalent to espousing creationism. As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an Earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it. I greatly respect the work of my colleagues who study the development and behaviour of organisms within an evolutionary framework, and I think that evolutionary biologists have contributed enormously to our understanding of the world.’
            -Darwin’s Black Box. By Michael Behe p.5-6

            ‘For example, both humans and chimps have a broken copy of a gene that in other mammals helps make vitamin C. … It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans. … Despite some remaining puzzles, there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives.’
            -The Edge Of Evolution. By Michael Behe p.71-72

            His perspective is not quite what you imply and seems in fair opposition to your claims that Darwinism is completely false. He believes that common descent and macro evolution are the best descriptions of the relationships existent in biology. His distinction away from Darwin is that it is the ‘intelligent designer’ who drives this process as opposed to ‘random forces’. This means that Behe accepts evolution on a micro and macro scale, endorsing the idea that humans speciated from apes and apes from early mammals and mammals from reptiles and so on. He supports Darwin on these key and major issues with his criticism coming in different areas of mechanical understanding.

            So does the use of Behe undermine Darwin or actually give Darwinism increased traction? Whilst dissenting from other areas of Darwinism, the irony is that Behe strengthens the foundations of Darwinian theory: micro-evolution, adaptation, ‘macro-evolution and therefore common descent’. Referencing Behe and Darwin’s Black Box as you have done, indirectly engages with the fundamental issue upon which you have voiced consistent refutation. He reveals the sharing of a common ancestor to be not false, but a scientific truth. Macro-evolution and common descent are where you draw the line, yet Behe argues that these two fundamental proposals are a scientific truth.

            Were you aware of Behe’s perspective on this issue? I thought that Behe was more of a creationist than most names out there, but he seems to be in agreement with micro and macro evolution, fundamental tenets of Darwinism, both of which would oppose the statement, ‘I am calling Darwinism completely false’.

            • syoungren says:

              No, I don’t use Behe to illustrate the inaccuracy of macro-evolution. I only cited an excerpt from his book Darwin’s Black Box where he quotes Lynn Margulis. I do not utilize his arguments, only his citation of Margulis.

              When I declare that Darwinism is false, I am saying that random mutation and natural selection cannot account for the diversification of life from a common ancestor. Since you mentioned Behe, let me share what I consider to be an important excerpt from his book Darwin’s Black Box:

              On a small scale, Darwin’s theory has triumphed… But it is at the level of macroevolution—of large jumps—that the theory evokes skepticism. Many people have followed Darwin in proposing that huge changes can be broken down into plausible, small steps over great periods of time. Persuasive evidence to support that position, however, has not been forthcoming.

              …With the advent of modern biochemistry we are now able to look at the rock-bottom level of life. We can now make an informed evaluation of whether the putative small steps required to produce large evolutionary changes can ever get small enough. You will see in this book that the canyons separating everyday life forms have their counterparts in the canyons that separate biological systems on a microscopic scale. Like a fractal pattern in mathematics, where a motif is repeated even as you look at smaller and smaller scales, unbridgeable chasms occur even at the tiniest level of life.” (Darwin’s Black Box p.15)

              So, no, Behe does not believe Darwinian evolution (random mutation and natural selection) allows one species to evolve into another (or “macroevolution”). Therefore, what he means by “common ancestry” is beyond me. From my recollection of Darwin’s Black Box, I do not, off hand, think that he provided a clear explanation of how he defines “common ancestry”. Perhaps you can clarify. But although the answer may prove edifying, I suspect that it is not relevant to the theme of this website.

              That being said, I should give credit where credit is due. Darwin’s theory has been very successfully proven on the micro scale. But Darwin intended for his theory to show that one species could evolve into another through strictly random processes… and this “macroevolution” is key to the commonly accepted understanding of what is meant by the term “Darwinism.”

          • nick says:

            Very broadly, Behe agrees with Darwin on topics which you have disputed and distinguishes himself and disagrees on other areas.

            The key area is common descent and macro-evolution, which you have disputed time and again. Behe argues that all life is related and species have evolved slowly and gradually into one another through speciation.

            His distinction and dispute with Darwin is that this does not occur via random or unguided processes as you have often said. His proposal and belief is that it is the ‘intelligent designer’ who guides the process of evolution. Therefore common descent is a fact, as is macro-evolution in his eyes, allthough the mechanism by which these occur is not natural random processes, but divine selection and guidance.

            You, Wells and Meyer all seem to say (as far as I understand) that no speciation has ever taken place. Micro-evolution occurs, but each species was individually created by God. Behe contradicts this view, saying that each species was the result of an evolutionary chain of events and processes as Darwin proposed. However, his major distinction is that it is not random processes that cause this change but divine intervention and selection. (The Edge of Evolution is his newer book and contains some revisions of ideas from Darwin’s Black Box)

            All of this is relevant because he confuses and contradicts some of the claims that you and some of his senior colleagues in Intelligent Design make. So if Darwin is right on the micro scale and Behe believes that Darwin was right on common descent and macroevolution, but perhaps wrong on his mechanisms, then at the very least Darwinism is in part true rather than completely false. If Behe is wrong, then surely his contemporaries Wells and Meyer should be in intellectual opposition rather then collaboration. Who is right? Common descent is a fundamental concept which splits Wells and Meyer from Darwin, with whom on this topic it would seem that Behe also, surprisingly, lays his hat.

            • syoungren says:

              Once again, I only cite Behe for his citation of Margulis. I do not cite any of the arguments that he himself produced. What he “confuses and contradicts” is therefore not of interest or relevance to me.

              I, Wells and Meyer seem to say that no speciation has never taken place? “Speciation” simply means the appearance of new species. I doubt that anyone, anywhere, ever has disputed this.

              You seem to be suggesting that it is only Wells and Meyer against Darwin’s account of gradual speciation through random mutation and natural selection. Have you forgotten our previous discussions? I hate to do this, but here I go again….

              Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

              And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

              Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

              Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the Journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

              Similarly, evolutionary biologists Martin Jones and Mark Blaxter write, “Despite the comforting certainty of textbooks and 150 years of argument, the true relationships of the major groups (phyla) of animals remain contentious.”

              Below is a copy and paste of what the late, great Harvard University paleontologist and biologist Stephen Jay Gould said:

              The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
              1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
              2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
              Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
              “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

              Johns Hopkins University paleontologist Stephen Stanley says, “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

              David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way:

              “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information” … (Raup, 1979).

              Recall what the University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said?:

              “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organism.”

              The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson (who was perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century) states:

              “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

              Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

              “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

              Lee Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and served a fellowship in biophysics at Johns Hopkins:

              “The neo-Darwinians presume that a long chain of random changes can lead to a large evolutionary change. This conjecture is an essential point of their theory…. Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands… The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory.”

              Nick, Darwin got the evolution within species part right. No question. But persistent belief in Darwin’s idea that one species evolves into another is just materialists/naturalists clinging to the “old-time religion” of unintelligent explanations for the diversification of life. In the absence of any real support for Darwin’s macroevolutionary ideas, the persistence of Darwinism is a sociological rather than scientific phenomenon. Recall what Lynn Margulis (Oxford and U. of Mass. biologist / winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) said:

              “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

              Also recall what Harvard University biologist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said:

              “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

              So, yes Nick, Darwinism is a persistent “cultural context,” but that is it.

          • nick says:

            I wasn’t only saying that Meyer and Wells are in opposition, this was not my intended implication. I was simply using them as randomly chosen figure heads, as they seem to represent the views of many of the others who you reference. I wasn’t engaging with all these other quotations, I was just querying your reference of Behe and as you seem to be saying, you reject his views here.

            Your summarising sentence does not quite align with what I was saying or what is evident. If:

            ‘persistent belief in Darwin’s idea that one species evolves into another is just materialists/naturalists clinging to the “old-time religion” of unintelligent explanations for the diversification of life.’

            then why does Behe support this view?

            He backs this idea of gradual evolution.

            But, the major distinction that he makes, is that this gradual process is mechanised not by random processes, but by ‘divine selection’ (to create a phrase that I’m not sure he uses, but that seems an appropriate description) or divine intervention.

            Behe agrees with a Darwinian model of the relatpionships and history of nature, albeit with some significant disagreements as well (regarding random processes vs. devine guidance), yet he is not a materialist/naturalist, he is a Discovery Institute Fellow and a supporter of Intelligent Design.

            • syoungren says:

              No, Behe doesn’t believe that evolution is a “gradual process,” as you put it. Darwin’s Black Box, p27:

              “Gould has been at the forefront of the discussion of another fascinating phenomenon: the ‘Cambrian explosion.’ Careful searches show only a smattering of fossils of multicellular creatures in rocks older than about 600 million years. Yet in rocks just a little bit younger is seen a profusion of fossilized animals, with a host of widely differing body plans. Recently the estimated time over which the explosion took place has been revised downward from 50 million years to 10 million years—a blink of an eye in geological terms.”

              “…With the discovery of the biological Big Bang, however, the window of time for life to go from simple to complex has shrunk to much less than 19th century estimates of earth’s age. It is not just paleontologists looking for bones, though, that are disgruntled. A raft of evolutionary biologists examining whole organisms wonder just how Darwinism can account for their observations.”

            • syoungren says:

              Can you show me a quote that demonstrates that Behe believes in gradual evolution? I have demonstrated time and time again that you will find a hard time locating a paleontologist who believes in gradual evolution. Here is an admission from one of the most important evolutionary biologists of the last 50 years, Ernst Mayr:

              “Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin’s postulate of gradualism … and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record.” (Mayr, E. Our [sic] Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought, 1991, p. 138)

              I have not read Behe’s newest book. So, if he supports gradual evolution, I would be quite surprised to see this…. especially considering that nobody in paleontology supports this.

              You seem to be wrongly equating “common ancestry” with “gradual evolution.” The two are not equivalent. What Behe means by “common ancestry” is not clear to me since I have not read his latest book, but this much is certain: Without gradualism, evolution (Darwinist or not) is stripped of its random, unintelligent mechanism. Atheist naturalists are going to have to think up some new unintelligent mechanism to explain what Mayr above describes.

          • nick says:

            It may be the case that he believes in divine intervention at the Cambrian as his Discovery Institute peers do and I’m sure he does as you find support of this. Yet from the Cambrian to the modern day he believes in gradual evolution, not via random processes, but probably via divine guidance. This is not to say he rejects gradualism entirely. It seems that he accepts gradualism at the least from the point of the Cambrian to the modern day. The Edge of Evolution is 7 years newer than Darwin’s Black Box and it seems to have some revisions and expansions on his original Book, which is to be expected or it would be the same book.

            So, to clarify, what are you saying to the endorsement of common ancestry from Behe?

            A further quote to confirm Behe’s understanding of common descent.
            “The bottom line is this. Common descent is true; yet the explanation of common descent — even the common descent of humans and chimps — although fascinating, is in a profound sense trivial. It says merely that commonalities were there from the start, present in a common ancestor. It does not even begin to explain where those commonalities came from, or how humans subsequently acquired remarkable differences. Something that is non-random must account for the common descent of life.”
            The Edge of Evolution. By Michael Behe. P.72

            And, what are the ramifications of his views on this subject with regards to your referencing of him (here and elsewhere), your recommendations of his books and with regards to his conflict over the ideas about Darwin with his colleagues such as Wells and others? I think that you have to take a side over this issue and if you take a side what are the effects of this?

            If you take Behe’s side then Darwin is more correct than Wells asserts and his ambition to euthanize Darwinism seems increasingly unjustified and approaching vindictive. If you take the side of Wells, then where does that leave Behe who claims to be on the side of Wells as an Intelligent Design proponent? It discredits much of Behe’s hypothesis and understanding and implies that his books are fundamentally wrong on this issue and thus others.

            Further, if this schism exists between them on this, why is not more debate held within the Discovery Institute? Surely the intellectual discussion should be prominent between them, which would be the healthy way to tackle such difference. Yet they seem to appear as colleagues in agreement, referencing and quoting each other in their various publications and supporting each other publicly. This is fine to an extent, yet Behe is fundamentally opposed to Wells’ ambition to destroy Darwin with the endorsement of common descent, so surely Wells should feel compelled to speak out against him on this?

            How can they be contemporaries when Behe opposes so centrally the outlook of Wells?

            • syoungren says:

              Once again Nick, you say that I am “referencing him (here and elsewhere),” but the simple fact is that I have never referenced his arguments. I only cited his citation of Margulis. If I had found out what Margulis said from Bozo the clown, I would have had to cite Bozo the clown. Behe was only my source for discovering Margulis’ challenging of her colleagues to cite an example of a new species emerging from an accumulation of mutations.

              True, I cited some of Behe’s book when you brought him up…. but I do not utilize any of his specific arguments in any of my essays. When I started this website, I very deliberately avoided citing scientists who are Christians whenever possible. This is because many atheistic and agnostic readers will see a word such as “Behe” and will immediately close their minds.

              What is or is not being debated within the Discovery Institute is not my concern. I can demonstrate the inadequacy of Darwin’s theory without the Discovery Institute and I strongly prefer to do so. Therefore, I don’t follow them much at all.

              I have read Darwin’s Black Box, but I know that referencing it will do more to close the minds of atheists and agnostics than to convince them of anything. It is much easier to convince atheists and agnostics using facts and reasoning provided by people who are not Christian authors that incite high profile controversy.

              So, in summary, there is a reason why I am not too familiar with the subtleties of what Michael Behe believes about evolution.

          • nick says:

            All of that’s fine. I’m not making any judgements over who is correct here. You do reference Behe on other pages and Darwin’s Black Box. Again, this is not what I am critical of. Perhaps you haven’t referenced his arguments, I forget. Although I know you have recommended Darwin’s Black Box once or twice and I think you have referenced some of his arguments in some of the comments/posts. I may be wrong, but this is not really the point of what I am saying, nor am I criticising you for any of this if you have or if you haven’t.

            If you are unfamiliar with Behe’s arguments, again I am uncritical. Now, however with the arguments in front of you I think that the question is apparent as to whether Behe or Wells is correct. I am asking for an answer over whether Behe is right or wrong. The answer to this question would seem to affect things whichever way it goes, which is why it is an important question, intriguing and is why I ask it. It is also not to be dismissed lightly as we are talking about two theistic views here with Behe being a scientist and a professor, meaning his perspective must be given some consideration.

            What goes on in the Discovery Institute should be of concern to you as you reference strongly many of their most vocal and senior fellows across this site. Dembski, Meyer, Wells, Behe, Spitzer, Chien and perhaps others are all senior members and feature prominantly on this site. I am not being critical of the use of these names, but in using them, the goings on within the Discovery Institute should be of concern to you.

            I admire your efforts to found your arguments in reason and to use as many non religious scientists on this website as possiible, as perhaps it will hold greater sway, but why should you have to? It is the contents of the arguments that should be evaluated primarily, not the protagonists. Although I can understand the reality of atheists seeing and being dismissive of religious authors.

            However, I am not critical of scientists for holding particular religious views. It is the logic and basis of their arguments that will persuade me. I will not dismiss someone simply because they are a Christian. For example Ken Miller is a pronounced Christian but an eminant scientist as well, whilst Gerald Schroeder seems to have a strong reputation in the field of physics as well as holding a strong commitment to Judaism. Wells, Behe and Meyer are all Christians, but I am perfectly happy to listen to their proposals. To shut people down because of preconceptions is to be dismissive and unscientific.

            I am looking for the answer to the question I have posed over who is correct. It is either Behe or Wells and whoever is correct will result in consequences. Both believe in God, so whoever you choose to support is not claiming that there is no God they are simply making a different statement about the natural world.

            The significance of this is not whether there is a God or not, as either choice is a theistic one, but has effects over Wells’ claims about Darwinism ‘and’ has effects over Behe one way or the other.

            • syoungren says:

              The reason I try to shy away from scholars and authors who identify themselves as Christians as much as possible is because many people who have an ideological commitment to atheism will not even listen to an argument presented by a Christian. So, for example, when a person such as the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, who identifies himself as an atheist says:

              “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question….”

              …it carries much, much more weight than if a person who identifies themself as a Christian were to say such a thing. If a Christian were to have made this statement, rather than a self-described atheist, one could more easily dismiss the statement as ideologically motivated.

              But in fact, the person who made the above statement was ideologically motivated against coming to such a conclusion. This much more strongly illustrates that a “common sense interpretation of the facts” really does suggest such things. If the facts and data lead to a conclusion that is in opposition to one’s ideology/worldview, they must do so very convincingly before one is willing to make an admission as such.

              You say that, “I am not critical of scientists for holding particular religious views. It is the logic and basis of their arguments that will persuade me.” Yes, Nick, you do seem to be very conscientious about maintaining objectivity…. and for this you deserve credit. Unfortunately, many readers who come to this site come with firmly entrenched ideas and make no such attempts to maintain open-mindedness. It is for this reason that I try to use non-Christian sources as much as possible.

          • nick says:

            I was only talking about Behe, theism and Darwin in my comments here.

            I was not making any further or wider inferences about materialism or atheism.

            What Behe means by common ancestry is reasonably clear.

            The difference is that he is not equating common ancestry with undirected, random and unintelligent causes.

            Forgive me for guessing, but I wonder where you get your base thinking about common descent from. My guess is that it comes from Wells’ and perhaps Meyer’s books. I may well be wrong about that, but it is my guess.

            Wherever you get your basic definiition of common descent from, I would ask you to consider why you relate it so covalently to atheism? There are two main theistic schools of thought that can undermine this link that you have built in to your core understanding of common descent. One is that whilst the natural selection and evolution process occurs, this still blatantly leaves open the possibility that God initiated the system/universe and gave it the freedom and capability to progress and create life. The second is as Behe proposes:

            Behe proposes that evolution has occurred in the broad sense exactly as Darwin described it, whereby every animal is the descendant and relative of previous generations.

            ‘However’, and this is a big ‘however’, this does not occur via random or unintelligent causes. He believes that it is God or the ‘Intelligent Designer’ who directs and influences this evolution.

            We have tracked the trail and can prove that these animals and organisms are related, but God is the directing force not natural selection.

            I suggested the phrase as an appropriate description; ‘Divine Selection’ as it perhaps simply explains Behe’s proposal. I don’t think he uses this himself, but it perhaps illustrates aptly what he is trying to say.

            You seem to say that gradualism is quite different from common ancestry. It is a little different, but one is effects the other and they are both interlinked.

            If Behe believes that animals slowly but surely evolved and changed having common ancestry, then I would say he believes in gradualism. This isn’t a huge step nor particularly controversial.

            It is likely that he believes in divine intervention at the Cambrian as you seemed to suggest with an excerpt. He can still believe in Darwinian gradualism from the Cambrian to now. That’s around 530 million years of gradualism, so this will count as gradualism endorsement I would propose.

            As is the case with many rules, there can be exceptions, anomolies and surprises. Perhaps he sees the Cambrian as an exception, or an example of God intervening.

            It is the case that Darwinian gradualism may have episodes of contradiction or exceptions. Increased change could very easily happen given the right conditions. You may get increased speed of evolution after natural disasters such as eruptions or asteroid strikes. Animals may need to adapt quickly to survive and we will see larger jumps rather than gradualism. Perhaps periods of greater stability may see reduced change because everything is in equilibrium. Imagine the period after a nuclear bomb has exploded. This is not a nice thought, but I do believe that increased mutations are seen in many organisms in the surrounding areas. Given such an event in the natural world, huge leaps in evolution could occur very quickly.

            • syoungren says:

              I don’t have any real base thinking about “common descent.” I am open to the idea, but since random, unintelligent processes are clearly not adequate to explain either the origin or diversification of life, I don’t see how it relates to the topic of the website.

              You still have not provided me with a citation from Behe that shows he endorses the gradualistic model. Remember that novel life forms appearing in the fossil record do so suddenly and with no clear signs of ancestry…. this is NOT limited to the Cambrian.

              Ernst Mayr (one of the leading biologists of the last 50 years) again:

              “Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin’s postulate of gradualism … and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record.”

              This is NOT a reference specifically to the Cambrian, but to the fossil record as a whole. There are ONLY sudden emergences of “anything truly novel” in the fossil record, and with no clear signs of ancestry. Where does “only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty” leave Darwinism?! Without ANY support from the fossil record.

          • nick says:

            Just to make a revision on what I said about Behe and gradualism. My thoughts were not thoroughly researched here and I did not reference any of his views as being definitely the case. My comments were what I presumed may be the case given what he says about common descent. I didn’t think that gradualism was hugely significant as majorly distinct from common descent, I saw them as related.

            I think I would have to research further what Behe says about gradualism to say definitively what his views are, or return with a citation.

            The definition of gradualism is also of necessity in order to categorise his views. I have seen a definition where it contains neccessarily the ideas of natural selection and the undirected process as a compulsary part of its meaning. If this is the case then Behe would probably not agree with this side of it, as he believes in design. However, I am not sure whether the title gradualism must as a matter of course include the mechanism as well. I was considering it just as a word meaning slow or steady whatever the mechanism, be it random or non-random. In this instance Behe would seem to agree with it.

            From what I have read, it is likely that Behe would agree with elements of gradualism, but quite probably disagree with other parts depending on the definition. Either way, I don’t think complete rejection or acceptance would be Behe’s perspective given what I have read and researched so far, but only further research and confirmation will determine this.

          • nick says:

            After reading around a little, it is apparent that gradualism can be understood in different ways. It has a changeable definition and is not confined to one specific understanding. It depends what you mean by gradualism when you say it, it depends what Behe understands by gradualism and it depends what Darwin understood by gradualism. It is a loose term that can be interpreted differently and can incorporate different propositions.

            It would seem that Behe does not entirely agree with a traditional understanding of gradualism with an incorporated proposition of natural selection, as I have seen from his webpage. This seems to be consistent with my revision above. However, he does not indicate that he outright rejects any understanding of gradualism as far as I can see. He rejects the understanding that natural causes are the driving force of evolution as he believes it is God.

            Again, understanding of gradualism will depend on the definition being used and has more than one aspect. I suspect that Behe would have to make acceptances for some aspects of gradualism as they are uncontroversial, such as the slow change in biology over billions of years whatever the mechanism. Behe would choose neither complete rejection nor complete acceptance of gradualism.

          • nick says:

            On the subject of Behe and Wells, I still wonder what your answer would be as to who is right over common descent. Leaving this aside if you are not sure, you should have a look at this talk. It begins with a prayer and is presented by a theist.

            This guy is a theist and a Christian. I’ve mentioned him before, but I’m not sure if you are aware of him or not.

            He is a professor of biology at Brown. It’s just an illustration of the strength of intellect that can accept Darwinism and Christian theism. I’ve posted a link to a book of his to prove it (I’m not saying read it. It’s just to prove that he is a Darwinist and a Christian).

            The last thing that you said was something like, Darwinism is a dead religion for materialism and naturalism. I just wanted to illustrate how theists and revered scientists can be both Darwinists, or even neo-Darwinists ‘and’ Christians. So, it is not a perspective solely for the materialists and naturalists.

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

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Darwins-God-Scientists-Evolution/dp/0061233501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314923903&sr=8-1

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              Regarding common descent, I just read an excellent excerpt from John C. Lennox’s book God’s Undertaker. Has Science Buried God? (Lennox is a mathematician from Oxford University). He writes:

              “Zoologist Mark Ridley makes an important observation that will be familiar to mathematicians: ‘the simple fact that species can be classified hierarchically into genera, families, and so on, is not an argument for evolution. It is possible to classify any set of objects into a hierarchy, whether their variation is evolutionary or not.’ Cars, for instance, can be arranged in a hierarchy. But all cars have similar parts because those parts are essential for their operation, and because they are constructed according to a common design — not because they have descended from each other.”

              “From this perspective, similarities in the DNA sequences could therefore logically equally well be read as evidence of common design. Indeed, the common ancestry might have been designed, so that the concepts are not mutually exclusive. For instance, Francis Collins [eminent biologist appointed by Obama to be directer of the U.S. National Institutes for Health], although he differs from Behe on the edge of evolution, suggests nonetheless that, although from our perspective ‘evolution could appear to be driven by chance, from God’s perspective, the outcome would be entirely specified.’ Similarly, Cambridge University evolutionary paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris is dissatisfied by the reductionism of the ultra-Darwinists who ‘having erected a naturalistic system that cannot by itself possess any ultimate purpose, still allow a sense of meaning to slip back in.’ Conway Morris thinks that there may well be some kind of analogue in biology of the fine-tuning in physics that we discovered in chapter 4 and cites van Till’s insistence that ‘It is not simply the numerical values of certain parameters that must be “just right” in order for life to develop. No, it’s the entire formational economy of the universe that must be “just right.” Conway Morris concludes that ‘Not only is the universe strangely fit to purpose, but so, too, as I have argued throughout this book, is life’s ability to navigate to its solutions. This doesn’t sound like a blind watchmaker, but rather like a clear-sighted navigator.”

              “In a more recent book, Conway Morris says as much about the phenomenon of evolutionary convergence: ‘Indeed, as our knowledge, especially of biochemistry and protein function, continues to expand, so at least my sense of amazement can only grow. If the watchmaker is blind, he has an unerring way of finding his way around the immense labyrinths of biological space… Conway Morris subsequently spells out that amazement: ‘Invariably the words tend towards adjectives of stupefaction: astonishing, astounding, remarkable, striking, even uncanny and stunning, are all stock-in-trade responses. As I have pointed out elsewhere, although pronounced by loyal Darwinians, these exclamations seem to reveal a sense of unease. This, I conjecture, is at least reflecting a hesitancy as to evolution’s having a degree of directionality and, perhaps in the more alert investigator, their worst fears of the re-emergence of a telos.’

              So, yes, on balance, I would agree with your assessment that Darwinism is not incompatible with Christianity. Rather, it is the materialistic philosophy that undergirds Darwinism in atheistic circles which is incompatible with Christianity. As my above excerpt illustrates, this materialistic philosophy does not result from an objective examination of facts, but rather, precedes and filters examination of facts.

          • nick says:

            Those who are smart will always make their decisions based on objective observation, research and consideration be they atheist, theist, deist, agnostic, etc.

            What this shows is that Darwinism can be accepted by any philosophy from theism to atheism. It is not just accepted by atheists. Those who are intelligent, be they believers or secular will have come to their conclusions based on objective consideration. The atheists you say who have a pre-existing commitment to materialism and use Darwinism to justify it are not practicing analytical, balanced and open investigation. However, many who conclude on atheist world views will have done so very honestly, having considered the available information. This is especially true of those in science, as they would be poor scientists if they began with a view and tried to make their research fit that view. The fact is though that the same Darwinistic mechanism for the understanding of the natural world has both atheistic and theistic supporters.

            I know Lennox, he is a hugely intelligent man. I saw him debate Dawkins on youtube. They had two debates, the first in Birmingham, America and the second in Oxford, England. It was a very interesting exchange. Lennox is a Christian and a very intelligent man. I don’t think for a minute that he would be in disagreement with Darwin fundamentally. I think that the quote that you reference of his only intimates an idea and he is not rejecting evolution in what he says. If animal groups are hierarchical or not, this proves nothing and I think that this is essentially all he says, which is fair enough. Observational classification neither confirms, nor disproves evolution.

            Going back to the link, did you look at the talk? It is very relevant and actually very interesting. Ken Miller is the man.

            • syoungren says:

              Darwinism can be accepted by any philosophy from theism to atheism, true enough.

              But what lies at the core of the debate is the mechanism. Can the Darwinian mechanism be deemed truly random so as to do away with the need for an intelligent creator?

              Clearly not. In fact, even atheist biologist numero uno, Richard Dawkins concedes this point. In Climbing Mount Improbable, Dawkins states , “It is grindingly, creakingly, crashingly obvious that, if Darwinism were really a theory of chance, it couldn’t work. You don’t need to be a mathematician or a physicist to calculate that an eye or a haemoglobin molecule would take from here to infinity to self-assemble by sheer higgledy-piggledy luck.”

              I urge you to read Lennox book God’s Undertaker. Has Science Buried God? (where I discovered the above Dawkins quote). If you read this book, I would be happy to discuss it with you.

              The Miller video you linked me to is 2 hours long. Hopefully I will have time to view it soon.

  2. syoungren says:

    I will again state my full, unflinching agreement with you that we are a “species that is so flawed and capable of the most vile atrocities imaginable.” Also, I will again remind you of how very biblical this view of yours is.

    What I would like to elicit from you is a reply to my contention (in my “If God is good, why do evil and suffering exist?” essay) that this choice to embrace evil was made by us, not God. It is the result of God giving us free will and the poor choices we have made with that free will.

    • danno says:

      So god directs the processes leading to complex orginisms, but not man’s decision to make good or poor choices? So many of these poor choices have lead to pain unimaginable. Moral freedom vs. autonomy…what say about the innocent victims? We inherent the risk (i.e., subject to others morals) whence conceived, which is necessary to be non-god or itself, right? But, spina bifida, Down Syndrome, etc…simply not fair, or the least bit compassionate. Is it a sometimes mean god, or is it unlucky fate resulting not from design, but sequential (sometimes flawed; i.e., protein didn’t fold right) developmental processes? What good could come out of a birth defect, particularly for that person?

  3. Marvin Jones says:

    Using the most used and bland argument about God giving us the free will to choose between
    good and evil cannot be the best explaination for the creation of a flawed project.If so then
    are tsumanis,earthquakes,typhoons and storms are not caused by the creator in one way or another?

    • CD says:

      Marvin,

      You asked; “If so then are tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons and storms not caused by the creator in one way or another?”

      Short answer; “No” (But only because of the way you structured your sentence)

      That is to say, all of existence (including the “disasters” you mentioned) should be credited to our Creator.

      Thanks,

      CD

      • Marvin Jones says:

        But I thought that He Created EVERYTHING.
        There you go again! Picking and choosing the bits that is convenient.

        • Richard says:

          I like this… This is what they do, in this part of the arguement they like to say god created earth but has no control of what happens with it, then it goes to global warming us polluting drilling and other things to make it seem like its the fault of humanity… ok maybe sometimes with the drilling… but we have no control over earths plate faults and what not and weather has been on and off before we had the pollution ect. thats what they all do is have excuses… even god is an excuse is to why we’re present today… excuses excuses

  4. Peter Veitch says:

    flawed premise, there is no evidence for imaginary friends in the sky, that is why so many intelligent people don’t believe , no evidence whatsoever.

    • syoungren says:

      No sir, I am afraid that it is your premise that is flawed. Here is a list of quotes proving you wrong:

      Some quotes to consider

      Further, if you are convinced that there is no evidence, I submit that this is a commentary on your perception, not reality. It is an ideologically imposed set of blinders at play…a perceptual filter. I challenge you to read the following posts (chock full of evidence) and then respond with a rebuttal:

      What is the chance the world is the result of chance?

      Why is there something rather than nothing?

      Scott

      • Veer Sharma says:

        You people must actually be kidding me, right? The reason people don’t believe you is because this entire website is built around articles that claim “the Bible says so”. Seriously, syoungren, Einstein says God exists, therefore he does? You seriously need to improve your logic. Soon these people will start to adopt the Ray Comfort and Ann Coulter approuch: Atheists are stupid, therefore God exists.

      • Ellen says:

        syoungren

        One can easily say the same thing about your perception of the world “an ideological imposed set of blinders at play…. a perceptual filter”. Be careful when you point something out and look where the other three fingers are pointing. Also, you keep pointing to peoples quotes as evidence. Just because someone says it does not make it true.

        • syoungren says:

          In order to turn the accusation of having “an ideological set of blinders” on me, one would need to point out excactly what it is that I am blinding myself from. Can you do this for me?

          I accuse atheists of ignoring the vast evidence for the existence of the spiritual world. For example, one atheist claim is that we are nothing but “survival machines” who serve no other purpose than to pass on our genes. If this is the case, why do we even have emotions? Why does a “survival machine” need to be able to perceive beauty (such as in nature and in music)? Why does a survival machine experince love? Why do survival machines make anonymous donations to charity….what survival advantage does this give? How about the ability to comprehend higher mathematics? Did our primitive ancestor who could comprehend higher mathematics have a better chance of surviving an attack from a predator?

          Please point out to me what it is that I am blinding myself from.

          You say that “just because someone says it does not make it true.” Of course not..but the views of highly qualified individuals should be given significant weight when making assesments about such subject matter. This is why “expert witnesses” are used in the court system.

          Scott

          • danno says:

            This is in response to:
            syoungren says:
            January 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

            Scott, do you mean like this quote?

            “I find your lack of faith…disturbing.” —Darth Vader

            In regards to survival machines…

            You don’t dispute evolution, right? …which includes humans sharing a common ancestor with the chimpanzee only 6 million years ago, and shrew-like mammals circa 200 million years ago; before that, jawless fish (500 million years ago), and but a cell 3.9 billion years ago. We didn’t always have the ability to appreciate a sunset or a civilization that allowed for extra-curricular activities such as solving complex equations.

            Life/nature is intrinsically beautiful. Passing your genes (sex) often requires courtship, and loyalty, usually incited passion for what makes you a man or her woman. A sunset is nice on the eyes, like a gruesome murder isn’t. Love, grief, and beauty are intrinsic to life. Pain and the feeling of loss are universal to the sentient. Out-running a lion…that is beneficial to survival. Anthropolgy 101!

            Survival machines? Only in the wild, Scott. Well, most of the time since we interfere with the success of so many. We stopped evolving when science and technology (particularly medicine) replaced the need to “survive.” We now aim to thrive, given the accessibility of grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and dating services. Now, nearly everybody gets a shot at reproduction.

            Note: These are not religious statements or convictions, and I’ve read all of your posts.

            • syoungren says:

              You say that “life/nature is intrinsically beautiful” and that “love, grief and beauty are intrinsic to life.” However, you still haven’t explained why a “survival machine” would need to be able to experience beauty or love or grief, etc… By stating that they are “intrinsic,” you have done nothing more than avoid the question.

              These things must have had a purpose in helping us pass on our genes (by Dawkins reasoning) or we would not experince them. So what specific purposes did they serve in helping us pass on our genes?

              You also haven’t explained how the ability to experience these things would have evolved. Can you describe the process to me?

              I will repeat my question from a previous post: Did the “survival machine” who was able to experience beauty, grief, etc. have a survival advantage over the “survival machine” that did not? What specifically were these survival advantages?

              The Darth Vader quote is there purely as a humorous way to begin the essay.

      • Rafel says:

        I would just like to point out that einstein did not believe in your god, his peculiar view stated that “god” was all of the intricacies in the laws of physics, not a creator god
        ;)

        • syoungren says:

          Please provide a scholarly citation for this. Show me a quote where he said that God was “all of the intricacies in the laws of physics.” He stated categorically “I am not an atheist.”

          • danno says:

            Did not find one either. Here’s some other interesting Einstein quotes, though.

            “You may call me an agnostic… I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

            “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty.”

            “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”

            “The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.”

            “It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

            “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

      • Richard says:

        SCOTT!!!!! QUOTING PEOPLE IS NOT EVIDENCE!!! FOR PETES SAKE GET IT THROUGH YOUR NUMBSKULL

        • syoungren says:

          No quotes alone do not amount to evidence. But if, for example, the majority of astronomers have reached theistic or deistic conclusions because of their research, and then they provide us with that research….that is evidence, and it is solid, powerful evidence.

          Please pay attention to the difference between the two following types of statements:

          1) “Einstein’s belief in God is evidence for the existence of God.”
          2) “The fact that the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics believe in God as a result of their research….research that they reveal, is evidence for the existence of God.”

          In no case do I make any statements such as #1. Please also note that I go into explaining what that research is in my essays. In short, you are correct to assert that an expert’s opinion on a subject is of no particular value unless that opinion is backed up by reasoning. But the simple fact is that I DO provide the reasoning to back up these expert’s opinions.

    • CD says:

      Peter,

      I consider your post evidence enough but find your use of the phrase “imaginary friends in the sky” somewhat pedestrian.

      How do you account for existence?

      Thanks,

      CD

    • Chrispy says:

      The information is present yet what people do with the information is wholly different. I could flat out say that there is no evidence whatsoever that your mother really does love you, and any argument you make about how she does could be countered just as easily countered if I were to say “she’s deceiving you.”

      So why do you believe your mother loves you? It’s what you do with the information given you.

      It may be the same thus with God. We have greater reason to believe He exists then not, perhaps in the same measure that you believe that your mother loves you, yet I am not able to prove something beyond that at all. In fact, reality is accepted by some means of faith. How do you know your friend exists and isn’t a figment of your imagination? How do you know your ears are giving you accurate information regarding sound?

      The reason I say all this, is that if I was to take the same stubborn stance Atheists take about proving God to common beliefs in life, my entire existence would be in shambles. I’m just asking that you check your heart to see if you are demanding an amount of proof that is unreasonable (in comparison) to all other things you believe in life.

      • syoungren says:

        Bingo! Great point. And one of the important points that I am trying to make with this website is that atheists fall for a common flaw of reasoning: Using a much higher degree of scrutiny to examine competing views than is used to examine one’s own views. In other words, atheists intensely scrutinize theistic views but then fail to use much scrutiny whatsoever when examining their own atheistic views.

        When just a little scrutiny is applied to examine atheistic views, one quickly discovers that atheism is based upon leaps-of-faith that usually take the form of “just is” or “just so” statements. Below is a cut and paste from a reply I wrote to another reader:

        Atheistic views, in reality, are not based upon logic and scientific facts. Rather, they are based upon “just is” or “just so” leaps-of-faith. A few of my favorite examples:

        1) One of the most important atheist philosophers of all time was Bertrand Russell. He stated that the universe is “a brute fact,” which was just his way of urging people to cease rational inquiry and accept that the universe “just is” and doesn’t require an explanation. Notably, this view rested upon the assumption that the universe has existed eternally…. an assumption which has been demonstrated to violate the laws of mathematics and physics (please view my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal?” in the “snippets” section for more detail).

        2) The atheist physicist Stephen Hawking states that the universe emerged “naturally through natural law,” but then he doesn’t mention how it is that natural laws can exist without a lawgiver. Rather, he seems to assume that natural laws “just are.”

        3) Outspoken atheist biologist Richard Dawkins insists that Darwinian evolution explains the existence of life. But when pressed to explain where life came from in an interview, he admits that nobody knows and he then proposes that life can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens from outer space. Where, then, did the aliens come from? From “some sort of Darwinian evolution” according to Dawkins. (Click here to view the interview). Dawkins makes the enormous leap of faith that “some sort of [undisclosed] Darwinian evolution” will one day be discovered that will explain the alien life. But when you look at what the actual science says, you quickly recognize that this is extremely unlikely. Please view my post entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” for more detail.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m a practicing Muslim, and I’m intellectually convinced of my beliefs. I love your site. Would it be okay if I showed it to a congregation?

  6. Veer Sharma says:

    No, syoungren, fear of dying. Death has been a natural part of life for over 100 million years. People were afraid of death, and other ailments, which is one of the reasons why they made up the idea of God.

    • syoungren says:

      Fear of dying? Can this really be used as a counter argument for all of the arguments posted on this website? You have clearly only read one post. Please read others and then post your rebuttals. I eagerly await your replies.

      • Richard says:

        This one right here is perfect example of why believing in such a thing has its flaws… there is certain things that you get stuck on and cant explain… you are scared scott, so arent we all but dont assume that he has only read one post just because of his comment… you know what they say about assuming right?

        • syoungren says:

          Explaining belief in God as the result of a fear of dying is a double-edged sword. Disbelief in God can just as easily be explained as a fear of being judged for one’s actions by a superior being….or as a fear of not being able to construct one’s own moral standards.

        • Chrispy says:

          But Richard, to state that religion exists due to the fear of dying IS to assume that all faith is accepted for the sake of afterlife. What if it’s guilt of actions that lead people to Christ? What if it’s desire for purpose or unconditional love from a perfect good being? I agree that many do come for the sake of fear over eternity, but the reality that people join faiths for many more reasons means it CANT be that people only join out of fear. Need yes, but not fear. If you would make a case that they were the same, I would say you eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of fear ;)

    • CD says:

      Veer,

      Why hasn’t evolution produced a life form that doesn’t die? Wouldn’t a self sustaining life form with out an expiration date be better suited at spreading it’s genes than one whose biological clock ticks?

      The existence of death is one of those “as yet unanswered” questions science wrestles (or should I say deliberately avoids wrestling) with.

      Thanks,

      CD

      • danno says:

        Natural processes involve inevitable detioration, even under the “most” efficient mechanics, still subject to environmental influences. Hence eventual death for all living orginisms. An intellegent designer should have came up with the everlaster, perfection…

        • Richard says:

          get em danno!! here is your answer CD!!! even the smallest of organisms die… the energy of which we are all made dies too, and just like dano said if their was someone designing all this surely their would be something that lives forever… their is nothin about evolution that would bring upon immortality… thats just an absurd comment

      • danno says:

        What could be more awesome than a continuum through generations, passing genes, those surviving to pass on the more suitable genes for the next generation, and the cycle goes on until the environment changes faster than a species can adapt? Sounds well-suited for long-term survival given the natural parameters…

      • James says:

        I’m sorry, but evolution still has to follow the laws of physics. It can’t just jump everything and produce the ‘ideal creature’, like superman or Godzilla. Creating an immortal being is physically impossible.

        By the way, I am cautious to ask, but are you a creationist? You don’t seem to understand how evolution works…

        • Matt says:

          @James
          Why not? After all, the evolutionist believes the universe expelled the laws of physics from nothing to begin with. Why suddenly insist that everything follow an ordered path now just because the laws are there at this point? Would it not follow that if the laws came to be on their own then why don’t new laws come to be at any given time?

          • Richard says:

            do some homework matt we didnt come from nothing… but yet we came from energy vs gravity microorganisms forming together over billions of years to get where we are today… the laws are what made everything they didnt just come along once we discovered them… thats the thing about discovering something… its always been there we just gotta find it.

            • syoungren says:

              Your statement, ” its always been there we just gotta find it,” is an excellent example of the “it just is” leaps-of-faith that undergird the atheist belief system.

              When you assert, for example, that “the laws are what made everything,” you are asserting your belief in an uncaused cause. The laws of the universe “just are” and don’t need an explanation…a characteristic atheist leap-of-faith.

              This belief is in no way more plausible or rational than a belief in an infinite being which produced those laws (as the uncaused cause).

          • Richard says:

            reply to: scott youngren replying to statement….

            way to take my words and twist em into your own crazy little ideas… I am not saying at all that the world “just is” how do you get that from me saying that the world has been here for billions of years and “matter” (this is what everything is made of) forming together to create what we know… there you go with assumptions again… because i know “god” isnt the reason wwe all came about doesnt mean that im settled and dont need an explanation… as a matter of fact it is much more the opposite there scott… believing in something like god is exactly what your talking about when you say that you dont need an explanation… you are very twisted in the head as like most believers… no matter what is brought to face you seem to deny as much as possible because it would be too hard to backout after dedicating so much into it your whole life… i get it i do … what it all always comes down to is your scared… its okay scott we all are … its okay to all believers we are all scared… but if you accept the truth and what the facts present you it makes it easier, and once you begin to understand you begin to live a better life because you realize this the only one you got …. and yes it is alot more plausible stop saying that you know all you do is repeat yourself on here all the time… nothing about someone noone has ever discovered before can equal out in plausibility to what we found and what we do know about ourselves… this whole thing is crap all your articles all these quotes… there just ideas without any of it coming together to prove anything… im done with this website as i usually do quit talkin to anyone who believes and we discuss it… because they get irrational about everything and stray away from facts and let their belief and faith get in the way of a factual conversation, to put it simple scott i think you are an idiot

        • syoungren says:

          God was not created. He exists outside of time and did not have a beginning.

          Please describe for us how evolution works. Did aliens from outer space evolve through some sort of unspecified “Darwinian process of natural selection” and then send life to earth in a space ship (as the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins suggests in this interview)?

          • Richard says:

            scott you amaze me with some of the things that come from you. “God was not created. He exists outside of time and did not have a beginning.” Can you really sit there and say that and truly believe it… come on man snap out of it !!

            • syoungren says:

              There has to be some uncaused cause. Here is why: A thing can do nothing to cause itself, and therefore, if you have nothing but an infinite chain of causes, you have an infinite chain of things which did zero to cause themselves. An infinite chain of zeros is still zero.

              Oxford University professor of philosophy Antony Flew comments on this matter:

              “Hume held that there is no cause of the existence of any series of physical beings beyond the sum of each member of the series. If there is a beginningless series of nonnecessary existent beings, then this is a sufficient cause for the universe as a whole. Conway rejected this objection on the grounds that ‘the causal explanations of the parts of any such whole in terms of other parts cannot add up to a causal explanation of the whole, if the items mentioned as causes are items whose own existence stands in need of causal explanation.’ So, for example, consider a software virus capable of replicating itself on computers connected by a network. The fact that a million computers have been infected by the virus does not in itself explain the existence of the self-replicating virus.”

              So either the universe is the uncaused cause, or God is. I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator)” that the universe could not be the uncaused cause.

              Further, since we are conscious and intelligent beings, it is a much smaller leap of faith to assume that the uncaused cause is a conscious and intelligent being.

    • Bob Coleman says:

      You are claiming that you understand the psyche of human nature, Veer. Please, present your research.

    • Bob Coleman says:

      Veer, your rebuttal, if you will, is merely an ad hoc attempt to hold on to your unreasoned claim. Opinions only continue meaningless chatter, whereas fact allows us to work on a legitimate argument. Try it sometime.

  7. CD says:

    Marvin,

    I take exception to your claim that “there are just as many or more on the opposing side”.

    Atheists make up less than 4% of the world’s population.

    Thanks,

    CD

    • Dashan says:

      Atheists who insult the integrity of scientists who reach the conclusion that Naturalism is NOT the best explanation for the data they observe, should be reminded of what Ad Hominem is:

      ad hominem fallacy. Ad hominem means “against the man.” An argument is ad hominem when the thrust of the argument is NOT made at against the conclusion one is denying and neither is it made against the soundness of the argument by challenging either its validity or the truth of its premises, an ad hominem argument is one where the attack on the argument is directed against the person who has offered the argument or who has asserted its conclusion.
      Now regardless of what one thinks of the Christian ….and regardless of whether A’s analysis was correct, the fact is that his past involvement in e.g. a (political organisation youth) has no bearing on whether his argument is sound. An ad hominem argument seeks to persuade by using psychological or emotional transference; the hearer is fooled into transferring their disapproval of a person onto the argument or its conclusion. An ad hominem abusive argument typically involves an attack on the character or integrity of the person making the argument or proposing the conclusion. He will be attacked morally or his intellectual competence is called into question or he might be smeared with a kind of guilt by association argument,
      Ad Hominem Circumstantial the truth or falsity of a conclusion depends on whether what it affirms is, in fact, the case. ad hominem argument does not become valid just because the attack on the maker’s character is accurate.

      • nick says:

        These are fair words and a reasonable point. But who is this for? Who has made these smear attacks?

    • Richard says:

      lol where the hell did you get those stats from genius!! there ya go making things up again!

  8. Ellen says:

    You state that Panspermia is the idea that “life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space”. However, Panspermia is the concept that life exists throughout the universe, and can be distributed by meteors, asteroids etc. These are two very different concepts. Furthermore, the concept specifically does not address the origins of life in the universe but how it may have started on Earth.

    • syoungren says:

      Directed panspermia” is the idea that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space. You are correct…”panspermia” without the “directed” is the concept that life exists throughot the universe and is spread around by asteroids and comets, etc…

      Prominent atheist biologists Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have endorsed “directed panspermia.”

      The concept does not address the origins of life in the universe but how it may have arrived on earth. It is a way for atheists to avoid the question of how life emerged from non-living chemicals by delaying the question or “kicking the can down the road.” In other words, because an answer to the question of how the first life emerged cannot be answered in a way avoids giving credit to God, they just avoid the question by making the hypothesis that it was put here by aliens.

      I encourage you to watch the video with Richard Dawkins and listen carefully to what he says.

      • Ellen says:

        I listened to the clip of Dawkins on “directed panspermia” and yes you are correct in your statement regarding his “endorsement” of the idea however….. he also goes on to say that this higher intelligence could have come about by some explicable process and couldn’t just have jumped into existence. He also points out that this is one of many ways in which life could have come to earth. In other words because he is a scientist he is willing to admit that he does not know all the answers and he is open to different ideas. You state that “because an answer to the question of how the first life emerged cannot be answered in a way avoids giving credit to God, they just avoid the question by making the hypothesis that it was put here by aliens”.

        Just because something does not have a scientific explanation yet… and may never….. does not mean the only other explanation is God. We once thought the world was flat……..

        Finally, if there are aliens that created us perhaps they are Gods creation as well.

        • syoungren says:

          The main point that I was trying to make by posting this video is that the atheist claim that there is air-tight evidence proving there is no God is absurd. Atheists such as Dawkins present a facade of scientific cerainty that masks a hollow shell of ideology.

          Please read my post God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism in reply to your comment that “just because something does not have a scientific explanation yet…does not mean the only other explanation is God.

          Scott

          • danno says:

            Spectrum of theistic probability: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_of_theistic_probability

            If I remember correctly, Dawkins is a De facto atheist. He said something like it being ridiculous to be a strong atheist. None of us know for sure.

          • Richard says:

            and now id like to take this comment to say that panspermia and directed panspermia both are even more believable than their being a outer universe timeless uncreated “god” to believe that god is uncreated, that person should have no arguement about humanity not being created… another contradiction… its so0o0o0o crazy to believe that humans arent created, but god.. oh god he wasnt created.. he has that exception… why dont you name your site idontunderstandandimscared.com/thissitehasnoevidencejustqoutingrandompeople

            • syoungren says:

              There has to be some uncaused cause. Here is why: A thing can do nothing to cause itself, and therefore, if you have nothing but an infinite chain of causes, you have an infinite chain of things which did zero to cause themselves. An infinite chain of zeros is still zero.

              So either the universe is the uncaused cause, or God is. You will be hard pressed to find a philosopher who doesn’t believe in some uncaused original cause. I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator)” that the universe could not be the uncaused cause.

              Further, since we are conscious and intelligent beings, it is a much smaller leap of faith to assume that the uncaused cause is a conscious and intelligent being.

  9. Daniel says:

    Scott,

    What are we to make of the near-overwhelming majority of so-called “scientists” who do not believe in God’s existence? Most of these individuals are intelligent and learned, more-so than the average man. In particular, they possess knowledge in their particular fields and indeed spend nearly everyday in the trenches of areas of science – biology, chemistry, cosmology, physics and so on. They possess the most up-to-date information and are using the most advanced technology to view and analyze that information. Should not their beliefs be give significant weight?

    If I have purchased a boat but have no knowledge concerning boats of any kind, and should not the fact that the majority of boat-makers who have examined the boat and claimed it is not seaworthy give me sufficient reason to pause?

    • syoungren says:

      Daniel:

      Your assertion is utterly false. Roughly two thirds of scientists believe in God. Click on the link, the research was done by a Rice University sociologist. And, yes, their opinions should be given significant weight.

      Scott

      • danno says:

        From your link:

        Those in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than researchers in the natural sciences, the study found.

        From this link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3341576&page=1

        Only 9.7 percent said they have no doubts about god’s existence. 2007 study conducted by a sociologist from the university of Buffalo. Of 62 percent of those surveyed, half said they do not believe in god, the other half said they do not know if there is a God and there is no way to find out.

        Many surveys, differing results. Most lean toward these conclusions.

      • Richard says:

        although they shouldnt be given significant weight. because they started as believers in god and obviously nothing changes the mind of the religious… show me the studies of scientists that started as nonbelievers and then after conducting their studies turned believer, i dont know but my educated guess would be NONE

        • syoungren says:

          No, there are plenty of examples of scientists who decided to believe in God because of their research. One such scientist would be Albert Einstein:

          Norman Geisler and Frank Turek write in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist:

          It was 1916 and Albert Einstein didn’t like where his calculations were leading him. If his theory of General Relativity was true, it meant that the universe was not eternal but had a beginning. Einstein’s calculations indeed were revealing a definite beginning to all time, all matter, and all space. This flew in the face of his belief that the universe was static and eternal [and therefore did not require a Creator].

          Einstein later called his discovery “irritating.” He wanted the universe to be self-existent—not reliant on any outside cause—but the universe appeared to be one giant effect. In fact, Einstein so disliked the implications of General Relativity—a theory that is now proven accurate to five decimal places—that he introduced a cosmological constant (which some have since called a “fudge factor”) into his equations in order to show that the universe is static and to avoid an absolute beginning.

          …He subsequently described the cosmological constant as “the greatest blunder of my life.” [After acknowledging his great blunder] Einstein said that he wanted “to know how God created the world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

          Another great example is the professor of mathematical physics Frank Tippler. He writes:

          “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”

          “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”

          Click here to view Tippler’s book The Physics of Christianity on Amazon.com.

  10. dave says:

    “The notion of God, put another way, is a threat to humanity’s desire to be free from burdensome moral constraints…to fashion one’s own morals and be the king of one’s castle– answerable to no one.” — So your saying without God there would be no moral constraints? On top of that, under your assumptions, who created this so-called human desire to be free from moral constraints? See my post below about prison population as well as http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frans-de-waal/morals-without-god_b_316473.html …since you are posting links i found in a waste of time to write everything out when it has already been written

    “Atheists make up less than 4% of the world’s population.”…not true…the number is actually over 10%…they are, on average, more educated than theists and make up a minimal % of the prison population(.3%)

    “Your assertion is utterly false. Roughly two thirds of scientists believe in God.” — misleading…2/3 of AMERICAN scientists believe in God, which is a primarily christian nation…if you take into account the majority of countries that have a higher relative population of atheists then the numbers move in the other direction…i understand why you would want to manipulate the evidence as much as you could though…ur argument falters without it

    “The existence of death is one of those “as yet unanswered” questions”…your right, and the easy, lazy answer, is that “god did it”

    as far as the other articles you mention, to disprove the big bang or the wave function of the universe does not prove god’s existence…and in the case of a statement of value, positive or negative, such as “god exists”, there must be evidence…if no evidence is given than i therefore lack a belief(definition of atheism and neutral, neither positive nor negative)

    “These are assertions without anything to back them up. I could just as easily assert that the ocean is made up of maple syrup, not water. If I did, however, it would be nothing but an assertion unless I provided a rationally constructed, fact based argument.” you have nearly done this by asserting that god is real…you have not “provided a rationally constructed, fact based argument” for his existence

    • syoungren says:

      If there was no Lawgiver, where did the moral laws come from? Did they evolve through Darwinian natural selection? In my essay entitled, “aren’t all morals relative?,” I quote Oxford professor C.S. Lewis, who started as an atheist but was converted to Christianity to a great extent by his realization of the moral law.

      Here is what wikipedia says about the “demographics of atheism:”

      The demographics of atheism are difficult to quantify. Different people interpret “atheist” and related terms differently, and it can be hard to draw boundaries between atheism, non-religious beliefs, and non-theistic religious and spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, atheists may not report themselves as such, to prevent suffering from social stigma, discrimination, and persecution in some countries, or, in cases where the situation is reversed, religious people may keep their beliefs secret in pro-atheist societies.[1] Despite these problems, one study classified 2.5% of the world’s population as atheists, and a separate 12.7% as non-religious.[2]

      No, the article I cite about scientists belief in God does not specify that they are American scientists. Only the most careless researcher would not try to control for nationality in such a survey. Such a researcher would not make it to an elite institution like Rice University. Do you have anything to back up your empty assertion that they were all American scientists?

      You say that to make a statement such as “god exists,” there must be evidence. Well, to that end, I will rehash a couple quotes from one of my essays:

      Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join “The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.”

      …and Physical scientist Henry F. Schaefer III, five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize, states in his essay Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and God.:

      “It is relatively unusual that a physical scientist is truly an atheist. Why is this true? Some point to the anthropic constraints, the remarkable fine tuning of the universe. For example, Freeman Dyson, a Princeton faculty member, has said, ‘Nature has been kinder to us that we had any right to expect.’

      Apparently these scientists are strongly convinced that there is a God as a result of their examination of the evidence. If you are not, well that is your decision. Yes, I have provided “a rationally constructed, fact based argument” in my essays such as “What is the Chance the World is the Result of Chance?” and “Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?“…and many others. If you want to continue to hide behind the assertion that I have not produced an argument, good for you. This is highly suggestive that you are not able to produce a point-by-point rebuttal to my arguments.

      Here is your logic applied to a courtroom setting (you are the defense lawyer):

      Prosecuting attorney: “Multiple expert witnesses have testified that the defendant’s DNA is on the murder weapon and that the victim’s blood is on the defendant’s clothing.”

      Defense attorney: “That’s not ‘evidence.’ You have provided absolutely no ‘evidence.'”

      You say, “The existence of death is one of those “as yet unanswered” questions”…your right, and the easy, lazy answer, is that “god did it:” I have absolutely no idea who you are quoting or what you are trying to say. Could you rephrase?

      Scott

      • Richard says:

        scott I have come to the conclusion that you are in dire need of mental help…
        If there was no Lawgiver, where did the moral laws come from? are you serious do you honestly believe that 100s and 1000s of years ago people lived by the morals we do today…. it is the same as life we have evolved into our morals through trial and error… we started ignorant and now we have grown into what we call morals today, whether the bible was created or not these morals would have eventually come into play throughout the existince of humanity…
        “The existence of death is one of those “as yet unanswered” questions”…your right, and the easy, lazy answer, is that “god did it:” I have absolutely no idea who you are quoting or what you are trying to say. Could you rephrase? ARE YOU KIDDING ME DOES HE HAVE TO DRAW A PICTURE !!! YOU ARE SCARED OF DIEING YOU DONT UNDERSTAND WHY IT IS THAT YOU WILL BE DYING AND THE ONLY COMFORT YOU HAVE IN THE WHOLE PROCESS IS THAT IT WAS “GOD PLAN”…. there, there is another way of saying it but i dont think it could get any clearer than how dave said it

        • syoungren says:

          Please read my essay in the “snippets” section entitled “Aren’t All Truths, All Morals Relative.” I have already responded to this.

  11. godidit says:

    I think religion is a deadly threat to the survival of the species and to the continued evolution of the brain. An atheist can still say he wishes it was true. It would be nice if it was true. I can’t see why it would be nice if it was true. I simply can’t see that. To have pre-cradle to post-grave round-the-clock supervision and surveillance by someone with a very devious form of morality, who wants this to be true? I’m delighted that there’s no reason to think that it’s true. It’s humanity’s most obvious falsification.

    About four years ago the Church of England asked Christian Research to give it a report on where the Church would be in 30 years’ time. Christian Research did their report, which said that in 30 years the C of E would hardly exist.

    Christian Research looked at the demographics of the C of E congregations. The average age of the viewers of Songs of Praise on BBC TV on Sundays is 67, and the average age of the C of E congregations is about the same. There are almost no young people at all in church on a Sunday. In fact, 66% of 12 to 19 year-olds describe themselves as atheist or agnostic.

    This is why Christian Research say the C of E will be almost dead in 30 years. Put simply, its congregations are just dying away.

    • syoungren says:

      How exactly is it that “religion is a deadly threat to the survival of the species and continued evolution of the brain?” If you read my post entitled, “Doesn’t religion cause killing?” you will see strong evidence that it is atheism that poses “a deadly threat to the survival of the species.”

      Please also read my posts entitled “What is the chance our universe is the result of chance?” and “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a Creator.)

      What is your explanation for how the universe came into existence?

      Yes, church attendance in much of Europe is way down. However, Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in places like China, South Korea and Latin America.

      How does church attendance in Europe relate to this website? Just because certain populations of people don’t believe something doesn’t mean it is not true.

      • Richard says:

        If you read my post entitled, “Doesn’t religion cause killing?” you will see strong evidence that it is atheism that poses “a deadly threat to the survival of the species.”

        scott i read this… it was dreadful but i did and again you say that there is “strong evidence” when there isnt even a single scratch at the idea of evidence, it is again other peoples beliefs that you are quoting and then giving your opinion…

        religion is a deadly threat… i will explain it to you in a list
        WWII
        The Crusades
        Civil War
        Palistine vs Isreal (still going on today dating back hundreds of years)
        Judaism vs Muslim

        i can continue but i think you got the point… wars begin from religion and some continue today….
        and now continuing the evolution of the brain… i will explain this…
        believing and settling for the fact that we have god and he controls everything and made everything and we are nothing but lab rats will make subject us to settling for not knowing… we have not evolved yet to use our full brain… do you think god wasted his time to create a whole brain in everyone and gave noone the power to use it??? NO we have no got there yet because of things such as religion… I believe ( and yes im sayin I BELIEVE because thats what i do when i say something that is not a fact un like my friends scott here which everything he believes is evidence ) anyway… I believe that the human brain and body has so much more to offer than what we know about today… and whether you believe it or not settling for the fact that we are lab rats stops us from growing… thats what happens when you settle, you cease to move forward… so in order to move forward we have to get out of our heads that we are hear to do nothing but live die and serve god in between… i also believe that one day soon enough some type enlightenment will come about to those who accept who we really are and those that still believe they are creations of a higher power to serve him, will be exactly that… slaves.

        How does church attendance in Europe relate to this website? Just because certain populations of people don’t believe something doesn’t mean it is not true……. by the by there Mr Youngren, just because you believe in something doesnt make it true either…. there is solid evidence and rationalsation to no existing god, yet there is obviously nothing but quotes for the existence of god… hey kinda like the bible!!!

        • syoungren says:

          You list these events (WWII, The Crusades, Civil War, Palistine vs. Israel), but you fail to even address the central points of the essay. An excerpt:

          “As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

          If religion as a category separate form culture and politics, etc., is just an invention in people’s heads, what is the point of continuing to attack religion?

          • Richard says:

            Was’nt talkin about your essay i was explaining what you asked GODIDIT for… Im over this place, just like anybody else no matter what is brought to your attention you will not accept the truth, you are a sad sack of shit and every other jesus lovin dumbass that is in this world, you people argue but dont have the slightest clue of what your talking about so it gets to the point where you use what other people say… and whats funny is that the quotes say things very obtusely and you take em as if they are 100% sure about it like its a fact… you people got your head twisted about opinion n fact, just because someone says something doesnt make it true… thats the problem that you have with the bible. you picked it up n told it was gods word and u took it literally… you are a pathetic waste of human flesh gett a life and stop holding on to your dumbass website by making up crazy ass ideas and copy pasting people and giving your opinion and calling it evidence…. you are doing just like preachers and pastors and insurance companys and bank loaners and all of those people…. laying false hope before the weak to suck them in and take whatever lil they have left… if i could meet you in person i would spit in your face and slap you senseless until you admitted that you are doing nothing but feeding bullshit.

            • syoungren says:

              Gee, Richard….could you be one of the people that is described in this essay? Based on the content of insults and strident rhetoric in your comments, I am gonna go out on a limb guess that you may be one of the people who finds the concept of God “repugnant.”

              Do you agree with several of your fellow atheists (who are prominent biologists) that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens from outer space? If so, what planet do you think that they came from? I am conducting a survey of atheists so as to determine what planet is the most likely candidate. Would you agree that we can rule out the Klingons right off the bat because they were too mean to do a nice thing like create life in their laboratory and then transport it to earth in their space ship?

              Pardon my sarcasm, Richard, but I really really really want you and other atheists and agnostics to figure this out on this side of death’s door. As I have told other atheist and agnostic commentators, I am in no position to criticize them for their beliefs because I was an agnostic for many years. When I use sarcasm and blunt comments, it is to wake you up, not to make fun of you.

              As far as I know, there are three main reasons that people find the concept of God repugnant. The first reason is that people are afraid that God wants to take away their fun and give them a set of burdensome rules which will restrict their freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. God does establish moral rules with which we are expected to comply. But in the final analysis, compliance with God’s moral rules actually increases our freedom. Nobody put it better than C.S. Lewis:

              “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

              A second reason that people are offended by the concept of God is that people are angry about some aspect of how their lives have turned out. I detail why God uses suffering to mold us in my essay, “If God is good, why do evil and suffering exist?” Please read.

              Lastly, many people who are offended at the concept of God because they subconsciously associate God with their earthly father….and they are angry or disappointed with their father. If this is the case with you, please recall that referring to God as a male parent figure is just a metaphorical representation. God is an infinite intelligence and we need metaphors such as “father” to provide symbolic representation. Rest assured, God has none of the flaws of the man who raised you, or failed to do so, whichever is the case.

  12. godidit says:

    They have ALL been proven false by Israel’s OWN Archaeologists, renowned throughout the World as the best in their field. For two hundred years they sifted the sands to find 40 years “wandering” by 2,500,000 people,+ 200,000 sheep.
    NOTHING not even one sandal strap, not one sheep dropping, not even one grave. Complete absence of any evidence. Now come on this IS Non-science. Anything can be just written, true or not, however evidence of absence IS absence of evidence.

    Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long. No evidence exists that Egypt ever suffered such a demographic and economic catastrophe, nor is there evidence that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds, nor of a massive population increase in Canaan, which is estimated to have had a population of only 50,000 to 100,000 at the time. That is utterly absurd. No Moses = No god. Proved.

    • syoungren says:

      Not so fast. Please see this link.

      Further, biblical scholars contend that some biblical stories may not have been meant to be taken as historical events. Rather, they may have been meant as stories intended to communicate concepts.

      • Richard says:

        AH HA there it is right there you’ve said it yourself ….Further, biblical scholars contend that some biblical stories may not have been meant to be taken as historical events. Rather, they may have been meant as stories intended to communicate concepts.
        you right there have just admitted that the bible is just stories and it is nothing can be taken literally from the bible that is why the world is going off the deepend…

        i know what your goin to say though ive been here before, but if the almighty god wrote this book and everything he says is truthful without questioin than these events in which he spoke of should be 100 % true not just aye I was just giving a concept … i hope you got it!!!

        godidit… you get it…

        • syoungren says:

          No, I don’t get it. You go from “some biblical stories may have been meant as stories intended to communicate concepts,” immediately to “you right there have just admitted that the bible is just stories and nothing can be taken literally from the bible.” This is a non sequitur if there ever was one.

          • Richard says:

            read what i said you dumbass i was quoting your words… another example of an idiot abroad… thats the problem scott you dont get it and reading thru all these comments you seem to keep holding on but you are still failing at your work… you put yourself in these holes with every comment you make. when are you just going to realize your wrong and there is not one quote in the world you can copy n paste to show evidence of any god… everything about you religion is a big damn contradiction… any religion for that matter, the bible, how religious people truly live their lives and how they thinnk about things, and last of all how you… yes YOU on this comment board just dont seem to get it… ive read all the way down this and youll say something someone will bring up a point to you… youll say something iin return… then that person will say something to completly shut it down, and then
            (like all believers) you switch up what your saying completely and throw in some big useless words to make it seems like you know what your talking about and try to hide the fact that your teeter tottering on you positions on things… or if that doesnt happen you just simply tell somebody to refer to another qoute or one of your time wasting essays that do absolutely nothing… It kind of looks like the book of ZEN. If you have ever read or even seen before… it consists of nothing but wise quotations… only difference is the wise part… your quotations are obviously showing disparity to hold on to somthing your not even really sure of yourself… its like your trying to convince yourself by trying to convince others… its hilarious when you take time to put it all together.

            • syoungren says:

              Richard,

              Please point out a specific example or two of where somebody said something to “completely shut me down” and then I “switch up what I am saying.”

              You are not paying attention to the difference between a logically based reply to an argument one one hand, and a spewing out of strident rhetoric and insults, on the other. To start with, what are your specific, logically based replies to the following points contained at this website?

              1) The anthropic fine tuning evidence described in my “Is there a God?…” essay which has caused the majority of astronomers / astrophysicists to “draw theistic or deistic conclusions.”
              2) The fact that the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics have, as a result of their research, come to the conclusion that “a conscious and intelligent mind” (to use the words of Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics) is the foundation of all reality. Because these conclusions were based on research, and because I give you an insight into this research in the form of the double-slit experiment, any claims that I am just furnishing opinions or quotes are invalid.

              These two points are a good place for you to start demonstrating that you can provide a fact-based, logically constructed rebuttal rather than a spewing out of angry rhetoric and insults.

              By the way, the fact that you are using such angry rhetoric and insults is highly suggestive that my website has disturbed your worldview. If not, why would you be so angry?

              Lastly, you spend a lot of words bashing “religion.” The problem is, scholars have never been able to come to an agreed upon definition of “religion.” By some definitions, atheism and agnosticism qualify as “religions.”

  13. danno says:

    This video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU

    …is relevant to “so many smart people unconvinced.”

    Psalms 14:1

    The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

    “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    • syoungren says:

      “Fool” is not a reference to someones intelligence, rather it is a reference to someone’s wisdom. As I have said before, many atheists are highly intelligent people…no question about it.

      But intelligence can just as easily be applied to distorting truth as to supporting it. That is why it does not come down to a head count of atheiests vs. theists. Debates are not setteled by head counts, but by producing compelling arguements.

      Can you, or any of the atheists in your video provide rebuttals to the follwing points?: 1) The universe clearly had a beginning, thereby removing the “eternal universe” foundation from underneath atheism and 2) The origin of life clearly involved a higher intelligence….and, in fact, even prominent atheist biologists acknowledge this.

      No how prominent you may be, if your beliefs are not supported by sound arguements, you are not demonstrating wisdom.

      • danno says:

        “Fool,” per Psalms… “They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

        “The universe clearly had a beginning” is how you see it; blind to other possibilities and unfinished science; basing it on numbers or possibilities, but ignoring the fact that it did happen…earth and then life. What are the odds? At least one in whatever number you want to use.

        “The origin of life clearly involved a higher intelligence” is how you see it; blind to evolution (I mean the whole gamut; not just parts…read “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry A. Coyne) and the imperfections in all living things. If a higher intelligence, an atheist biologist is certainly not talking about the way the bible or Behe (intelligent design) presents it.

        • syoungren says:

          Yes, the science of the origins of the universe will probably never be finished. However, what is finished is the possibility that the universe did not have a beginning. This is partly because the impossibility of an eternal universe has been demonstrated mathematically…and mathematics do not change.

          No, I am not blind to evolution. Much of evolution is completely uncontroversial, even among people who believe a higher intelligence was involved in the creation of life. Please review the below copy and paste of my reply to a comment about evolution made by another reader:

          Here is the problem: There are many definitions of “evolution.” Below is an excerpt from The Politically Incorrect Guide Darwinism and Intelligent Design:

          Eugenie C. Scott writes: “What unites astronomical, geological, and biological evolution is the concept of change through time. But…not all change is evolution, so we must distinguish evolution as being cumulative change through time.”

          Nobody rejects evolution in this sense.. Our grandparents had a perfectly good word for it: they called it “history.”

          In biology, evolution takes on additional meanings. Some biologists define it as “a change in gene frequencies over generations.” Like “change over time” or “cumulative change over time,” evolution in this sense is uncontroversial. My genes are different from my parents’, and my children’s genes are different from mine. So what?

          Charles Darwin’s term for biological evolution was “descent with modification.” When used in a limited sense, however, even this is uncontroversial.

          …Breeders have been using artificial selection to produce descent with modification for centuries—within existing species. Natural selection has also been observed to do the same in the wild–but again, only within existing species. So nobody in any field quarrels with “change over time” or “cumulative change over time.” And nobody in biology doubts “change in gene frequencies” or “descent with modification” within existing species.

          But Charles Darwin claimed far more than any of these things. In The Origin of Species he set out to explain the origin of not just one or a few species, but all species after the first–in short, all of the diversity of life on Earth. The correct word for this is not evolution, but Darwinism.

          So the problem is that the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism” are often used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous, when they are really not. Evolution, in certain senses of the term, is virtually undisputed. But evolution in the Darwinian sense that all species are theorized to have descended from one common ancestor (brancing out to form a “tree of life”) has been completely discredited by the fossil evidence. Please review this video for clarification.

          Further, Darwin’s claim that new species emerge from previously existing species (through a process known as “speciation”) has not been demonstrated in even one single example. University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said:

          None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.

          You may also recall the following from my “evolution” post, which I have copied and pasted below:

          University of Massachusetts and Oxford University Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis has predicted that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.” Behe further notes that Margulis is known for challenging molecular biologists present in the audience at her public talks to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. But, “her challenge goes unmet,” Behe reveals.

          Regarding this topic, please watch this video of atheist biologist Richard Dawkins being asked if he can cite an example of an evolutionary process or a mutation which can be shown to increase the information in the genome (which is necessary for more complex species to emerge from simpler life forms through natural selection). Please note that the question which he eventually answers was in no way the question he was asked. His eventual answer discusses intermediate steps in the fossil record, but does not answer the interviewer’s question. In short, whether or not there are intermediate steps displayed in the fossil record is irrelevant to the question of whether he can cite an example of an evolutionary process or mutation which can be shown to increase the information in the genome.

          • danno says:

            “Please review this video for clarification.” Hogwash. Study paleontology. (hint: soft-bodied organisms)

            “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another.” Hogwash. Study evolution (hint: a multitude of evidence; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent).

            Regarding, “please watch this video of atheist biologist Richard Dawkins”…

            Please read…
            http://www.skeptics.com.au/publications/articles/the-information-challenge/

            • syoungren says:

              I am afraid that it is you who need to be educated about paleontology. Please review this article about conflicts between paleontology and Darwinism.

              Here are some important excerpts:

              David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way:

              “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information” … (Raup, 1979).

              The paleontological case against gradualism was serious in Darwin’s day and time has only made matters worse. Stephen Jay Gould, professor of geology and paleontology at Harvard University, explains:


              The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:

              1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
              2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
              Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
              “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

              Please note that Stephen Jay Gould (quoted above) was an extremely well regarded and prominent paleontologist. If you really believe that paleontology supports Darwinism, then you are a victim of the persistence of this notion in the “textbook orthodoxy” as Gould put it.

              Did you really watch the video that I gave you a link to? It makes it pretty clear that the gradual evolution and speciation that Darwin predicted has been contradicted by the fossil record. The biologists it cites are from the University of California, Berkley and Brown University…in addition to the prominent Chinese biologist. They are not members of the Intelligent Design movement or any other organization that you could accuse of having an agenda.

              Are you really going to respond to a statement make by a Professor of Bacteriology from a respected university by calling it “hogwash” and then linking to a wikipedia post? I have used wikipedia, but I would not recommend using it to counter a credentialed scientist.

              Did you really read the article from the Australian Skeptics to which you provide a link? I strongly suspect that you just got that link from the video that tries to debunk the video I provided. If you really did read it and understand it, answer me this: Does Dawkins in any way provide an evolutionary process or mutation which can be shown to expand the information capacity in the genome. Yes, he shows how information content could be expanded, but not capacity. And, as he freely admits, an increase in the information capacity of the genome has occured since the first putative common ancestor.

              In fairness to Dawkins, I suppose it is not possible to be certain as to how to interpret the video that I linked you to. Maybe he was having a hard time thinking how to communicate his points to a non-biologist. It probably also can’t be proved that it wasn’t edited in a misleading way…so I will grant you that the video of Dawkins pausing to answer a question cannot count for much. So I will put it aside.

              That being said, however, all of this discussion about paleontology and common descent is ultimately irrelevant. We have gotten off on a tangent when it comes to the relationship between biology and the question of the existence of God. This is because, even if everything Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin could be proven to be true, it would not bring us one step closer to understanding how life could have emerged randomly from non-life. All that Dawkins and Darwin (and others) have done is try to explain how life diversified, NOT how it originated.

              Evolution, I will remind you, starts with the first self-replicating cell…which is an organism far more complex than any computer. Danno, I am interested: What is your theory as to how the first life emerged from lifeless chemicals? Did it result from lightning striking a pond with just the right mix of chemicals? Or would you side with Dawkins’ and Crick’s hypothesis that it was brought here by aliens from outer space? Or do you have a unique theory?

          • danno says:

            Gould often conflicted with leading evolutionary biologists.

            Do you agree that we share a common ancestor with the chimpanzee, jawless fish, plants?

            Just because there isn’t the science to prove origin, you deduce to there being a god.

            Are there any accounts of individuals of a non-Christian culture having an NDE experience with Jesus, angels, and/or a Christian god?

            Wow! Seriously, study evolution and paleontology, not the Christian versions, but the actual science…it’s fascinating.

            • syoungren says:

              What I am relaying here are not “Christian versions” of science. This is mainstream science that doesn’t make it into the texbook orthodoxy and into pop-science tracts like those written by Richard Dawkins.

              Gould was not a Christian. Neither is the Oxford University and University of Massachussets Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis who says that history will ultimately judge Neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

              Neither is Eugene Koonin from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the National Institues of Health, who said “major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity” in his paper entitled The Biological Big Band Model for Major Transitions in Evolution. And sudden emergence is the opposite of what Darwin predicted.

              Darwinian gradualism through unintelligent, random processes is still clung to in much of the scientific orthodoxy (especially in pop-science tracts and in textbooks), but its basis has been discredited by information theory, the fossil record, etc…

              Remember that Lynn Margulis asks evolutionary biologists present in the audience at her talks to name a single example of a new species arising from an accumulation of mutations. But her challenge has gone unmet.

              As far as the NDE question, I already answered this in a previous post. Non-Christian NDErs repeatedly report experiencing a “being of light.” The bible says “God is light.” (1 John 1:5)

              It is not surprizing that individuals often interpret the “being of light” according to their cultural lens because the being of light is not wearing a name tag. There are many cases, however, of people of other religions experiencing Jesus in NDEs. Here is one.

              Also, a jewish woman named Rene Turner gives her account of her experience with the being of light. She describes a man an awful lot like Jesus, but she says at the end that he had “no nametag.”

              Here is another example of a non-Christian (Jewish) meeting Jesus in an NDE.

          • nick says:

            To Lynn Margulis, I think there are several examples of speciation.

            • syoungren says:

              Please provide one. (How are you going to do this if Margulis is not able to find an evolutionary biologist that can?) By the way, Margulis is hardly alone. Below is a copy and paste of my reply to another reader:

              Darwin’s claim that new species emerge from previously existing species (through a process known as “speciation”) has not been demonstrated in even one single example. University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said:

              None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.

              The paleontological case against gradualism was serious in Darwin’s day and time has only made matters worse. Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, explains:


              The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
              1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
              2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
              Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
              “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

              That is what the belief that life evolved from a common ancestor is…residual “textbook orthodoxy.”

              Former Johns Hopkins University paleontologist Stephen Stanley (now at the University of Hawaii) says, “The known fossil record, fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

              I can provide more very highly esteemed scientists who make similar statements if you request.

          • nick says:

            I am a little confused as to why you refute evolution so strongly on some fronts but not others. You seem to be debating strongly against it here, yet at other times you accept much of it.

            It is OK and in fact scientifically healthy to ask questions and to be critical, but I think that the answers you demand from your criticism exist.

            You have already confirmed that you believe in real geological time, so you are not a Genesis Creation Fundamentalist. You believe in the era’s such as the Cambrian, the Triassic and the Palocene and large areas of evolution, so why is the theory as a whole not more palatable to you? It is simply an understanding of the mechanism of nature. I think you even agreed that it would not neccessarily undermine your belief in Christianity or Genesis. It is just a scientific understanding of the natural world. If you would like some examples of speciation, I will post some for you following this, there are many.

            In relation to this, I have had no feedback from the intelligence squared website I referenced which is fine (I just thought some people might be interested in it), but if you searched under Christianity you will find various content from a guy called Rowan Williams. I think he is a guy that you might be familiar with…. He accepts the scientific explanation of the universe and evolution and still has Christian faith.

            Try this video. It is an excerpt of Richard Dawkins interviewing Rowan Williams. I realise that this might not be a guy that you want to see, but I am referrencing this video as Mr. Williams voices a hypothesis of evolution not far from yours, where God is the creator and evolution is one of the mechanisms of his creation.

            http://atheistmovies.blogspot.com/2010/05/richard-dawkins-interviews-with.html

            If you don’t like the look of the video, watch the first 30 seconds and you will see what I am saying. I like Rowan Williams, he reminds me of an old school teacher I used to have who I always liked, perhaps you will like him too.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              To say that I reject evolution is completely inaccurate. Below is a copy and paste of my reply to another reader:

              Here is the problem with the evolution debate: There is more than one definition of “evolution.” Below is an excerpt from The Politically Incorrect Guide Darwinism and Intelligent Design:

              Eugenie C. Scott writes: “What unites astronomical, geological, and biological evolution is the concept of change through time. But…not all change is evolution, so we must distinguish evolution as being cumulative change through time.”

              Nobody rejects evolution in this sense.. Our grandparents had a perfectly good word for it: they called it “history.”

              In biology, evolution takes on additional meanings. Some biologists define it as “a change in gene frequencies over generations.” Like “change over time” or “cumulative change over time,” evolution in this sense is uncontroversial. My genes are different from my parents’, and my children’s genes are different from mine. So what?

              Charles Darwin’s term for biological evolution was “descent with modification.” When used in a limited sense, however, even this is uncontroversial.

              …Breeders have been using artificial selection to produce descent with modification for centuries—within existing species. Natural selection has also been observed to do the same in the wild–but again, only within existing species. So nobody in any field quarrels with “change over time” or “cumulative change over time.” And nobody in biology doubts “change in gene frequencies” or “descent with modification” within existing species.

              But Charles Darwin claimed far more than any of these things. In The Origin of Species he set out to explain the origin of not just one or a few species, but all species after the first––in short, all of the diversity of life on Earth. The correct word for this is not evolution, but Darwinism.

              So the problem is that the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism” are often used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous, when they are really not. Evolution, in certain senses of the term, is virtually undisputed. But evolution in the Darwinian sense that all species are theorized to have descended from one common ancestor (brancing out to form a “tree of life”) has been completely discredited by the fossil evidence.

              One of Dawkins’ (and others’) main methods of deception is a rhetorical device known as “equivocation.” This term refers to the practice of changing the definition of a word in the middle of an argument. Let me provide a rough example:

              “Bill’s car is a lemon. A lemon is a citrus fruit. Therefore, Bill’s car is a citrus fruit.”

              So when atheists such as Dawkins say “evolution is as undeniable as gravity,” they are correct in a limited sense of the term. Dawkins (and others) try to smuggle in Darwinism under the umbrella term of “evolution.” Thus, Dawkins and others are trying to surreptitiously make people believe that “Darwinism is a undeniable as gravity.”

              But a growing number of mainstream (not just Christian) biologists now reject Darwinsm. Examples of such would be Margulis, Gould, Linton, Stanley, Mayr, etc., etc.

          • nick says:

            I did not say that you rejected evolution completely. I said you rejected it on certain fronts. This is not quite a reply to the questions I just posted. If you read my post you will see that I say you accept evolution on many fronts but not all. Did you check out the video? I feel that you have not read the post completely and seemingly might have just reacted to the first half of the first sentence.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              I watched the first half of this video, and I agree completely with what Rowan is saying. The real question is not “where did God intervene?,” but “was he ultimately responsible?”

              Darwinism is palatable to neither I nor a growing number of mainstream biologists. The main objection that I have to Darwinism is that it insists on unintelligent, random processes. The idea that this has been scientifically demonstrated is far from accurate.

              But even if this were proven to be the case, it would still have no bearing on the question of God’s existence because it does not address the origin of life.

              Therefore, it is fair to say that my objection to Darwinism is really ultimately peripheral to the main theme of this website. All that I am really trying to do with regards to Darwinism is demonstrate that using a scientifically shaky theory such as Darwinism as a justification for atheism is not rationally sound. This is especially the case considering that, even if Darwinism were 100% true, it would not serve as a sound rational basis for atheism because it does not even attempt to address the origin of life.

              So I am making two basic points: 1) Darwinism does not even attempt to explain the origin of life, just the diversification of life. Therefore, using it as a rationalization for atheism (as Richard Dawkins does) is bizzare.

              2) Darwinism does not even successfully explain the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor. Therefore, Dawkins’ (and other’s) smugly self-assured view that Darwinism provides a rationale for atheism is doubly unjustifiable.

              My second point is, admittedly, superfluous and could be deemed ultimately peripheral to the main theme of the site….so I do see what you are getting at. Enough said.

          • nick says:

            Fair enough. Darwinism is not a shaky theory though, it is strong. Peripheral or not, God could still exist as you say. You could criticise Dawkins without criticising Darwinism.

            • syoungren says:

              Let me describe the reason I am confident that Darwinism is a shaky theory: It is built upon gradualism and progressive change through natural selection. But this does not square with the fossil record. As I have demonstrated, the fossil record shows that species appear fully formed in a period that paleontologists (such as the ones in the video I provide) describe as “virtually overnight.” This is utterly opposed to Darwin’s theory and Darwin admitted it in The Origin of Species. He just expected that further excavation of the fossil record would vindicate his theory. But as paleontologists have explained, the problem for Darwin’s theory only got worse from an additional 150 or so years of fossil excavation.

              The growing chorus of scientific voices criticizing Darwinism could hardly be described as a bunch of religiously motivated people with a biased viewpoint. Gould, Eldredge, Stanley, Raup, Koonin, Mayr, Linton, Margulis etc. are mainstream biologists and paleontologists from leading universities.

              Lynn Margulis, a Professor of Biology from the University of Massachusetts and Oxford University put it best when she said that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

          • nick says:

            Gould’s criticism was in the specific mechanics within the mechanisms of Darwinism. He was an undisputed advocate of Darwinism as a whole. He believed in the machine just as Dawkins and Dennett and the Biological community, he just disputed some of the inner mechanisms. This does not amount to Gould calling Darwinism shaky.

            This amounts to legitimate debate within the scientific understandings of the inner mechanisms of Darwinism. The fact that you accept evolution, means that you agree with the vast majority of Darwinism as well, with only a few exceptions. So if you agree with so much of it and only dispute certain areas of it, how does that make it shaky?

            • syoungren says:

              This is not an accurate assesment. Below is a copy and paste of what Gould said:

              The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
              1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
              2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
              Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
              “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

              Gradual evolution of species through natural selection is crucial to Darwinism, and Gould admits that this is not supported by the fossil evidence and that neo-Darwinism “is effectively dead.” How could this possibly be construed as him criticizing “specific mechanics within the mechanisms of Darwinism?” How could the “sudden appearance” of “fully formed” species be described as consistent with Darwinism?

        • nick says:

          im going to reply at the bottom ‘cos this bit is becoming massive….

          • nick says:

            ….err, that was handy, mabe I’ll reply here then ….

            I’m not entirely sure how much your reply here disagrees with what I just said. Gould believes in Darwinism, perhaps not neo-Darwinism, but Darwinism all the same.

            He postulates some slightly different methods within the spectrum of changes that occur in nature at different levels of the evolutionary tree. Lineages of life move in all directions depending on what route mutation and advantage takes them. He postulates some ideas that may not be quite incorporated with neo-Darwinism. He argues that sometimes you will find stasis in the fossil record, as you say, which may be the case. What is the problem with this? Why does this contradict Darwinism?

            It may contradict neo-Darwinism to an extent, but all that he is postulating is that there comes a point in evolution where an equilibrium of sorts can be reached and a plateau exists in the evolutionary tree where things remain consistent for a longer while than usual. Why is this a problem to Darwinism? Sauropods ruled the Earth for around 60 million years. They found a genetic formula that worked and remained fairly dominant and consistent for a huge period. Is this a fair example of stasis as I have understood he proposes? It is certainly something worthy of academic investigation, scrutiny and debate, but his suggestion does not dissent from Darwinism.

            You also say that species do not arise slowly from their ancestors, but fully formed and all at once. This seems like it may be a more complex proposition and I am not convinced that your reference illustrates the context. Species arrive as quickly or as slowly as the parameters for that species within it’s own environment will allow. For example smaller species with much shorter life cycles will exhibit changes at a seemingly much faster rate because of the frequency of reproduction and death. For example the reproduction of bacteria can be almost explosive. How quickly have you seen some forms of bacteria reproduce in a lab plate? At this rate of multiplication, mutation has a much faster chance of happening and so the rate of mutation and evolution appears much quicker. Whereas if you calculate the rate of mutation per generation of each bacteria it will carry a similar ratio to the evolutionary rate of most other life forms in nature.

            You say that gradual mutation is essential to Darwinism. The idea of gradual mutation is pretty central, but the apparent speed of generational mutations may be very fast in life cycles that are shorter. For exmple the human life cycle will take a lot longer, because our total gestation and growth to sexual maturity takes something nearing 15 to 16 years.

            • syoungren says:

              I just don’t think the implications of the Cambrian Explosion are getting through to you, so I will recap what the video I post (and other sources) say.

              1) You still refer to species “arising from their ancestors.” The fossil record (as this video explains) shows that the species arrived fully formed and did not have any ancestors in the fossil record. In the video, Jonathan Wells from the University of California, Berkley says, “From nothing we have almost everything, almost overnight…geologically speaking. This remains mysterious, nobody really understands how this happened.” (He says this 2 minutes, 6 seconds into the part one of the video). FROM NOTHING ALMOST EVERYTHING, ALMOST OVERNIGHT! Not from evolutionary ancestors, almost everything. Rather, from NOTHING almost everything, almost overnight.

              2) You still refer to the “evolutionary tree.” The paleontologists in the video (and paleontologists elsewhere) make it abundantly clear that there is no evolutionary tree. The fossil record has turned Darwin’s tree of life upside down (Start viewing 2 minutes, 50 seconds into part one of the video for this discussion).

              3) The female senior research fellow from the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology in the video says, “I do not believe that animals developed gradually from the bottom up. I think the animals suddenly appeared.” (5 minutes, 40 seconds into part one). NO DEVELOPMENT FROM THE BOTTOM UP!

              4) Jonathan Wells, U.C Berkley: “The general consensus among fossil experts is that before the Cambrian Explosion 530-540 million years ago, we have no fossil evidence of the ancestors of most of the modern groups of animals…. This is completely contrary to Darwin’s tree.” (6 minutes, 35 seconds into part one). NO FOSSIL EVIDENCE OF ANCESTORS! COMPLETELY CONTRARY TO DARWIN’S TREE!

              What Gould thought is somewhat peripheral to the topic. But how can you really say that he believed in Darwinism when Darwinism requires gradualism and he said “gradualism is dead?” And how can random, unintelligent processes be responsible if there is no gradualism, and NO EVOLUTIONARY ANCESTORS?

              For further reading, I recommend that you read The Altenburg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry. The title comes from a meeting in a town outside Vienna where 16 top scientists met to discuss laying the foundations for what is termed “post-Darwinian research”. If you don’t buy the book, you can still learn alot from viewing the content that is available on Amazon.

              Here is one of my favorite quotes from the back cover (which you can view on Amazon):

              “The scientific establishment has been somewhat scared of dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement. So for the topic to make the cover of Natureis a notable development.”

              Here is another one:

              “The Anglophone tradition [Darwinism] was taught. I was taught and so were my contemporaries. And so were the younger scientists. Evolution was defined as ‘changes in gene frequencies’ in natural populations. The accumulation of genetic mutations was tauted to be enough to change one species to another….No it wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.” Lynn Margulis, winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for science.

          • nick says:

            I hear what you’re saying about the Cambrian video, I just don’t agree with it I’m afraid. I’ve watched it more than once and am just not pursuaded by it. You say that there are no fossils Pre-Cambrian.
            Try these fossils. http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Paleobiology/Precambrian-Fossils.htm

            You also say that Gould did not believe in Darwinism. I’ve just done a bit of research on Gould and I would stand by everything I said. He argued for punctuated equilibrium, which is another method of interpreting Darwin within the evolutionary tree. Your reference to his suggestion of sudden appearance is indeed true, but taken out of context. The sudden appearance that he talks of is from a geological time frame, so a few hundred thousand years of developments to new species. This is a different view to overnight appearance.

            Did you know that Jonathan Wells, from your video, also denies that HIV causes AID’s? He signed a petition in 1991 demanding reconsideration of the scientific links between AID’s and HIV.

            • syoungren says:

              No, I did not say that there were no Pre-Cambrian fossils. This is a misrepresentation of what I said. What I said (and the paleontologists say) is that nothing in the pre-Cambrian can be desecribed as an ancestor of the animals that appeared suddenly and fully formed in the Cambrian. The post that you just linked to says, “Although the Precambrian contains some seven-eighths of Earth’s history, its fossil record is poor, with the majority of fossils being the stromatolites that are often heavily metamorphosed or deeply buried.” If you then click on “stromatolites” it says this: “Scientists disagree on how to define stromatolites. A common definition goes something like: A lamiated rock formed by the growth of blue-green algae (i.e., cyanobacteria). This definition is, in fact, such a gross oversimplification as be scientifically useless. It does contain a modicum of truth, however, in that the largest volume of stromatolite formations was likely formed by biogenic processes involving photosynthetic cyanobacteria.” So what we learn from your post is not that the fossil record contains fossilized ancestors to the animals that appeared suddenly and fully formed in the Cambrian. Instead, what we find is a life form that scientists have a hard time defining.

              Attacking Jonathan Wells is pointless. If he were a crank, he would not hold a professorship at a top-flight university. Further, there are just too many other scientists who agree with him: You forgot to attack Valentine, the paleontologist from Brown University (forgot his name) and Professor Chen from the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology. Then there are the other scientists that I quote who are not featured in this video….Margulis, Stanley, Koonin, Linton, Mayr, Raup, etc., etc..

              As far as Gould is concerned, lets not get caught up on semantics here. Gould did not believe in gradualism. Gradual evolution is a CENTRAL aspect to Darwinism, not peripheral. Maybe he did not come out and say something like “Darwin was wrong.” But he did criticize an absolutely central aspect of Darwin’s theory.

              Please also view the updates I made to my previous comment. I recommend viewing “The Altenburg 16” on Amazon (and then buying it).

          • nick says:

            I am not attacking Jonathan Wells, unfoundedly. His name appears on this list of HIV rethinkers. Look for yourself. Here is a link to the list and to the site. What is your opinion on HIV’s relationship to AID’s?
            http://www.rethinkingaids.com/quotes/rethinkers.htm

            Did you look through all the fossils on the link I posted? We obviously see evidence of pre-cambrian diversification and evolution, so that is a good start. Some of the fossils are indeed thought to be ancestors of post Cambrian Phyla. Try the ‘Parvancorina minchami’. All of the fossils resemble potential ancestral examples of the Cambrian fossils. Their radio-carbon dates would fit the bill and even if they were not the direct ancestors of the Cambrian fossils, they are strong examples of life evolving and growing from simple bacteria in to more complex forms, tens of millions of years prior to the Cambrian explosion. This would demonstrate Darwinism in action and ancestral evidence for the fossils of the Cambrian.

            With reference to Gould, here are 2 quotes of his. The first demonstrates his support of evolution and Darwin and the second deals with his slightly more controversial views on gradualism.

            ‘The equation of evolution with progress represents our strongest cultural impediment to a proper understanding of this greatest biological revolution in the history of human thought.’

            ‘The history of life is more adequately represented by a picture of ‘punctuated equilibria’ than by the notion of phyletic gradualism. The history of evolution is not one of stately unfolding, but a story of homeostatic equilibria, disturbed only ‘rarely’ (i.e. rather often in the fullness of time) by rapid and episodic events of speciation.’

            With regards to your other scientists, I would reply to their answers and listen to their criticisms, but I try to keep my posts to a reasonable-(ish) length so they are more readable, rather than writing huge swathes of replies on every detail. Although if there is anything important you ever feel I have missed, I will try to tackle that specific criticism too.

            • syoungren says:

              I have never heard about “aids rethinkers” in my life. To start discussing this topic would be a complete tangent. Maybe he is completely off base with regards to his views on AIDS, I don’t know. But other scientists would be attacking his positions on evolution if they disagreed with him. But this is not what is happening…quite the opposite.

              Pre-Cambrian evolution? Absoultely…but, once again, no biologist has ever been able to furnish an unambigous example of a new species evolving through an accumulation of mutations. (So you won”t be able to either). Thus, there is no way to justifiably claim that the evolution that occured before the Cambrian (as in all other geologic eras) was anything but evolution within already existing species.

              Let’s not get too off topic. The period in which the new phyla emerged during the Cambrian Explosion was just way too short to be explained by gruadual evolution through random mutation and natural selection, and I have cited multiple scientists to back up this assertion. And since this is the case, can you describe what random, unintelligent processes were responsible for this event?

              As far as your first Gould quote: Gould is saying that the words “evolution” and “progress” should not be equated because evolution does not imply progress. How does this relate to our discussion?

              Regarding the second one, this is Gould describing his concept of “punctuated equilibrium” that he co-authored with Niles Eldredge. It is an observation completely at odds with Darwin’s concept of gradual evolution through random mutation and natural selection. Moreover, it does not attempt to explain how random, unintelligent processes could have caused the emergence of new species. Rather, it just describes the manner in which new species present themselves in the fossil record. The appear rapidly, and fully formed in “punctuated” tempo….just like during the Cambrian Explosion. “Rapid and episodic events of speciation” is a concept completely contrary to Darwin’s concept of speciation through the very gradual process of random mutation and natural selection.

              Lastly, if Darwin’s theory isn’t rapidly falling into disrepute in scientific circles, then why are groups of sceintists from universities such as Oxford and Harvard holding meetings to discuss “post-Darwinian research?” (As mentioned on the back cover of The Altenburg 16, which can be viewed on Amazon).

          • nick says:

            oops… sorry. With reference to Gould’s first quote, you are right. I think I have misread it and quoted it slightly innapropriately. Apologies.

            He did, however, believe in evolution. Here is a slightly clearer quote that states his belief.

            “Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.”

            It comes from this a website that would seem to be his official/unofficial or personal website. You will find clear information of all his beliefs and publications on this site.

            http://www.stephenjaygould.org/original.html

            His theory of punctuated equilibrium is different from the traditional Darwinist gradualism, but not so different as to be incompatable. It is a different interpretation of the inner mechanisms of Darwinism. The rapid speciation and appearance of species happens via just the same methods of random natural selection that Darwinism suggests. It is also the case, that these sudden appearances, are postulated in reference to geological time, not recent history. So a sudden appearance of a species over the 4.5 billion year life span of the Earth could easily represent 1 – 10 million years.

            He makes these things clear on the site.

            It is also the case that within his theory of punctuated equilibrium, he postulates the sudden appearances of species, as speciation. This would contradict the suggestion that Lynn Margulis makes, where she suggests that there has been no provable case of speciation ever. Only one of these possibilites can be right.

            • syoungren says:

              Yes, Gould did believe in evolution. And he is 100% correct to say that evolution is a fact. But remember that the important question is which definition of “evolution” one is using.

              Recall the excerpt I cited from The Politically Incorrect Guide to Intelligent Design and Evolution:

              “a change in gene frequencies over generations.” Like “change over time” or “cumulative change over time,” evolution in this sense is uncontroversial. My genes are different from my parents’, and my children’s genes are different from mine. So what?

              Charles Darwin’s term for biological evolution was “descent with modification.” When used in a limited sense, however, even this is uncontroversial.

              It is when the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism” are used interchangably as if they were synonymous (when in fact they aren’t) that the misunderstanding occurs.

              Absolutely nobody denies that speciation occurs…not Margulis, not Gould, not me…nobody. “Speciation” simply refers to the emergence of new species. What is in dispute is the means by which speciation occurs, not speciation itself. Speciation through an accumulation of random mutations via natural selection is what is being disputed.

              It is not accurate to assert that “the rapid speciation and appearance of species happens via just the same methods of random natural selection that Darwinism suggests.” I challenge you to produce a single biologist or paleontologist who believes that these Darwinian processes could account for the sudden emergence of phyla that occured in the Cambrian. Remember that these phlya emerged in 5-10 million years, a period that paleontologists use phrases such as “a blink of the eye” to describe in geological terms.

              The key point that you are missing is that the Darwinian model acknowledges that huge amounts of time (much, much longer than 5-10 million years) are required to produce the speciation through randomness that it postulates. So you could say that Gould is still Darwinian in a limited sense, but randomness cannot be convincingly demonstrated to be the mechanism for speciation in the “punctuated equilibrium” model. Sure, somebody has probably proposed a hypothesis as to how randomness could be applied to the “punctuated equilibrium” model, but it would not be anything that has any substatiation behind it.

          • nick says:

            This is a rather addictive and massive line of discussion. I could investigate, read and talk about this topic endlessly.

            Thinking rather off topic though, I wondered if the following might be something that is relevant or of interest?

            I am currently unemployed and need really to try and find myself working again. However, one thing that a philosophy degree doesn’t set you up with is a stable career trajectory. As a graduate of philosophy I have lost much sense of direction. Things used to be so clear when I was younger, yet now I’ve been unemployed for years almost.

            One thing you haven’t discussed on this website, is the future and direction of humanity.

            Where are we going?

            This is a hugely philosophical question and is something that is certainly relevant to religion, as well as to all sections and political regions of society. Perhaps that is a topic that needs exploring. I have considered at great length in recent years the problems that humanity faces and the reasons for existing at all.

            Major challenges face humanity and I wonder what the best routes are. Huge problems include; global warming, the population explosion, deforestation, the economic direction, poverty, AID’s and the extinction event that we currently are living through. Did you know we are in the midst of the most abrupt, widespread and devastating extinction event the Earth has ever faced? There are more living tigers in captivity in the USA than there are left in the wild any where in the world. Statistics such as this are among the saddest things that I have heard in recent years.

            I am unemployed in part because I have contemplated over all of these massive challenges and have not been able to commit my life to a decent career as yet. The trouble is saving the African mega-fauna doesn’t pay the bills. I’d have no money and this is probably why it is a problem in the world.

            Such global challenges should indeed be of religious concern. Is it worth saving the animals or the forests? Should we just keep building brick houses and Starbucks until there is no wilderness left? I don’t really know the answers to these questions, but currently we are very much on target to do this. The current goal in almost every country is economic growth.

            Perhaps a section simply asking these questions might lead to some decent discussion. Do you have any opinions on this? A healthy idea of direction or future is often a very constructive thing.

            Perhaps this is not directly related to a proof of God, but should be of great concern to everybody, especially religion. If religion has no decent plans for the future or good ideas of direction, how can it claim any decent authority?

            This was just a thought, I know it is unrelated to our previous discourse. I often feel defeated by thoughts of doing good, because I don’t know if ultimately anything will come of it. Coincidentally, one of the reasons I like Rowan Williams and cited him, is because I have seen him talk on some of these issues and often I like what he says.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              I think that the important point here is that Christianity teaches that these huge problems which you cite are all the symptoms of human evil. Treating the symptoms is never going to be as effective as treating the cause. There would be no deforestation problems, for example, if we were better stewards of the earth that God gave us. Poverty wouldn’t be a problem if human selfishness didn’t result in many people having too little while a few have way too much.

              I feel for you with regard to your employment situation. In this economy, alot of people are suffering. I have read in the newspaper about cases where people with post graduate degrees from top schools like Harvard and Yale can’t find any work besides unpaid internships. One story cited a girl who couldn’t find anything but an internship at a street fair even though she had a degree from Dartmouth.

              This is something to ask God for help with.

          • nick says:

            Thanks very much, I appreciate the sympathy, but I wasn’t really searching for it, rather I was wondering over your views on some of these issues. Thank you though, you seem like a well intentioned guy although we don’t seem to agree on certain things. The job market has definately been harsh these last few years, but part of the problem has certainly been down to myself and thinking philosophically over global problems.

            I was raising this issue, because of the wider problems that I mentioned in the post. I think that these are obviously very valid concerns to have and should be and are of concern to religion as well. In relation to my thoughts over these problems, I was just wondering what someone like yourself would think and also were it to progress in to a larger discussion, what others would think too.

            I raised them to you because whilst this is a site promoting arguments for the existence of God, such issues are certainly of relevance in the wider area of this discussion. I have puzzled over them because I wonder what is going to be done, if anything. You wish to assert and argue for the authority of religion, but if religion does not have active positive plans for the future then, I believe it can claim no authority. This I believe is the central reason that these global problems for humanity beg contemplation, consideration and philosophy from religion. I think that you have touched on it in your doesn’t religion cause killing essay, but perhaps need to think about these issues in a wider context.

            You say that these problems are down to human evil. I think that some problems can be down to human evil, but some are simply not down to human evil. Even if it is the case that all of these problems are down to human evil, what are we to do? You mention that Christianity teaches that we should be good stewards of the Earth and I believe it does. So what are we going to do to help treat the cause if it is useless to treat the symptoms?

            This is the sort of thing that seriously needs tackling. I have mentioned Rowan Williams twice now and I feel that you may like him as you said that you completely agree with what he says. He is the Arch Bishop of Canterbury so is probably the most famous Christian in England.

            I think Rowan Williams has some very intelligent things to say on these sorts of issues and I wonder if perhaps you may consider what he says with more attention than what I say. Here are two links to talks related to these exact topics given by Rowan Williams. – One of them is a full 1 hour and a half discussion on issues such as this (not on the existence of god, but ethics and global morality), the other is about 5 minutes long but on the same subject.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va26W23E14g
            http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/crisis-and-recovery?SQ_ACTION=login

            I accept it if you do not wish to talk about these things, but the reason that I raised them was to see if they would be an area perhaps that you may consider exploring. There are so many issues in this area of evidence for God, yet if religion does not offer good ways to deal with the existing problems then surely Religion begins to waver.

            It may sound a bit hippyish, but the state of the environment is something that concerns me and is very relevant to your stewardship point. If we don’t think soon, everything will become extinct and we will have no trees. Does anybody care about this? It’s the sort of thing that people turn a blind eye to, but then once its happened its too late and the whole Earth is covered in Tesco’s and Wallmart’s. I am not a hippy by the way, it’s just that all of these sorts of things concern me.

          • nick says:

            …… I meant ‘Holocene Extinction’

  14. danno says:

    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge; it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” – Charles Darwin

    • syoungren says:

      Whether or not any given problem will be eventually solved by science is irrelevant to the question of God’s existence. I will rehash Peter Medwar’s comments on this matter:

      Medwar (an Oxford University immunologist who won the Nobel prize for medicine) says in his book The Limits of Science:

      That there is indeed a limit upon science is made very likely by the existence of questions that science cannot answer, and that no conceivable advance of science would empower it to answer…I have in mind such questions as:

      How did everything begin?

      What are we all here for?

      Doctrinaire positivism–now something of a period piece–dismissed all such questions as nonquestions or pseudo-questions such as only simpletons ask and only charlatans profess to be able to answer.

      Moreover, when it comes to the question of how the first life emerged, Charles Darwin was himself a creationist. Darwin only felt random, unintelligent processes were responsible for the diversification of life, not the origin of life. I will again rehash Darwin’s comments on this matter below:

      “[Reason tells me of the] extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capability of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”

      That’s right, Danno, Darwin thought that an intelligent mind was responsible for the origin of life.

      Lastly, when an atheist makes the statement, “we should not believe in God because science will eventually explain everything,” what they are really saying is that “science will eventually explain that everything is the result of unintelligent, random processes.” But this is a non sequitur. This is especially the case when you consider that modern physics now takes the stance that consciousness came first and matter emerged from it, not vice versa (as I have demonstrated in my “What It All Boils Down To” post).

      I think David Bentley Hart put it best in his book Atheist Delusions, when he said:

      Even if theoretical physics should one day discover the most basic laws upon which the fabric of space and time is woven, or evolutionary biology the most elementary phylogenic forms of terrestrial life, or palaeontology an utterly seamless genealogy of every species, still we shall not have thereby drawn one inch nearer to a solution to the mystery of existence.

      Even the simplest of things, and even the most basic principles, must first of all be, and nothing withing the universe of contingent things (nor even the universe itself, even if it were somehow “eternal”) can be intelligibly conceived of as the source or explanation of its own being.

      • danno says:

        “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.— I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.” – Darwin 1879

        See the original, unedited version of The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, restored in 1958.

        http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Freeman_LifeandLettersandAutobiography.html

        Not arguing the mystery of existence, just the undeniable facts of evolution as proposed by Darwin and proven by his successors.

  15. James says:

    There are so many weird things going on here.

    Every atheist is convinced that most scientists are atheists (I am among them…); every Christian is convinced of the opposite. And both can present evidence to prove it! I, for example, have heard that of 200 members of the Royal Society of Scientists interviewed, only 12 believed in a personal God.

    Both sides believe Einstein was on their side (does this mean anything?).

    syoungren, I disregard the quotes by such dubious scientists as Michael Denton, once an advocate of creationism. As a thinking person, I would have thought you’d know better than to quote them.

    But to the point of this post, absolutely nothing here computes. The suggestion seems to be- though I may be wrong- that there is a natural inclination not to believe in God.

    Firstly, this was a rather serious thing to overlook if God did deliberately design us.

    Secondly, over 5/6 of the world’s population believe in a personal God (professedly). So the majority of people have overcome their natural inclination not to?

    But, more importantly, it just doesn’t seem to make sense to say this. Evolutionary biology agress that humans favour deliberate over random explanation, because it is beneficial to survival. Furthermore, humans spent much of their evolutionary history under an alpha male, whose word was law, but who ultimately cared for his family unit. This, as Desmond Morris has famously suggested, amongst others, has left a big gap in our psyche because we are so naturally used to having an alpha male figure lording over us.

    So I would say that- and I believe the majority of scientists agree- we are used to having a God figure and feel initially empty without one.

    But just at a straightforward logic level, I can’t accept the implications of this argument. It seems, absurdly, to be based almost off a Freudian analysis of the ego and the superego- as though we subconsciouly rebel against the thought of being ‘controlled’ by a creator and so deny it to ourselves.

    But think about it this way. If I choose to be an atheist (still largely an ‘opt-out’ system in most countries, esp. USA), I gain nothing but a realtive freedom that comes from not following Biblical Law, and a sense of rational satisfaction.

    Believing in God grants me a certain place in eternal salvation: that’s infinite and undiminishing bliss. I have a constant, unconditional friend who supports me no matter what, and will always forgive me no matter what I do- something that could never be found in people. And, if I’m a less savoury individual, I might like the idea of all my non-believing rivals burning in Hell eternally.

    So how can it be said that we are naturally inclined away from God?

    • syoungren says:

      James:

      Please read my post entitled “Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to be False?” and watch the video there about what the fossil record really shows.

      Hint: There is a reason that the Johns Hopkins University paleontologist Stephen Stanley says, “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

      David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way:

      “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information” … (Raup, 1979).

      The paleontological case against gradualism was serious in Darwin’s day and time has only made matters worse. Stephen Jay Gould, professor of geology and paleontology at Harvard University, explains:

      The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
      1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
      2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
      Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
      “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

      When you are done, please read the post entitled “Can Life Evolve From Lifeless Chemicals?” And when you are done with that, please view this video of Richard Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis that life on earth originated when it was brought here by aliens from outer space. And Dawkins was not the only atheist scientist to endorse this view. Francis Crick was another. Would you agree with your fellow atheists that life originated when it was brought here by aliens? If so, how did alien life emerge? Or do you think that the first self-replicating molecule (which is far more complicated than any computer) came into being when lightning struck a pond which had just the right mix of chemicals? Or do you have a novel theory to introduce to us?

      Here is the problem with the evolution debate: There are many definitions of “evolution.” Below is an excerpt from The Politically Incorrect Guide Darwinism and Intelligent Design:

      Eugenie C. Scott writes: “What unites astronomical, geological, and biological evolution is the concept of change through time. But…not all change is evolution, so we must distinguish evolution as being cumulative change through time.”

      Nobody rejects evolution in this sense.. Our grandparents had a perfectly good word for it: they called it “history.”

      In biology, evolution takes on additional meanings. Some biologists define it as “a change in gene frequencies over generations.” Like “change over time” or “cumulative change over time,” evolution in this sense is uncontroversial. My genes are different from my parents’, and my children’s genes are different from mine. So what?

      Charles Darwin’s term for biological evolution was “descent with modification.” When used in a limited sense, however, even this is uncontroversial.

      …Breeders have been using artificial selection to produce descent with modification for centuries—within existing species. Natural selection has also been observed to do the same in the wild–-but again, only within existing species. So nobody in any field quarrels with “change over time” or “cumulative change over time.” And nobody in biology doubts “change in gene frequencies” or “descent with modification” within existing species.

      But Charles Darwin claimed far more than any of these things. In The Origin of Species he set out to explain the origin of not just one or a few species, but all species after the first-–in short, all of the diversity of life on Earth. The correct word for this is not evolution, but Darwinism.

      So the problem is that the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism” are often used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous, when they are really not. Evolution, in certain senses of the term, is virtually undisputed. But evolution in the Darwinian sense that all species are theorized to have descended from one common ancestor (brancing out to form a “tree of life”) has been completely discredited by the fossil evidence.

      Furthermore, you belief that most scientists would endorse your views about God is utterly unfounded. This article references a study done in 2005 by a Rice University sociologist which shows that only about a third of scientists don’t believe in God.

      Do you have a rationally based reason to conclude that Michael Denton is “dubious?” Or is it just because his views conflict with your own? Remember, it is the coherence of the arguments that matter, not the person presenting them.

      I can say that people are inclined to not believe in God because it gives them a freedom from moral constraints. Who wants to be told what is right and wrong and what they should or should not do?

  16. James says:

    I am so sorry – I did not realise I was talking to creationists. This changes the nature of the discussion quite a bit. Really there’s not much I can say that scientists haven’t said in opposition to creationism for the past 100 years. They just repeat the same tired old arguments and expect real scientists to refute them.

    Darwinian Evolution is clearly defined; just try wikipedia. It’s not difficult; but it’s unsurprising you raise the point, since a recent survey showed over 40% of the US public couldn’t even correctly identify how evolution works from a list.

    The paleantological record massively supports evolution, and always has. Creationists have systematically attempted to convince people otherwise for over 100 years now; which is why 50% of the American Public are creationists; but they have, now as ever, failed to make any indent on the scientific community, with over 96% of scientists still solid evolutionists.

    As one example, creationists in the USA recently managed to gather a list of 600 “scientists” (none of their credentials were listed) who doubted evolution.

    In response, the mainstream scientific community came up with a list of 1250 names in a month (with all credentials listed) of scientists who fully supported evolution; with one catch. Every one of those 1250 scientists had the name “Steve” or derivative.

    Can you see that, where creationists continually try to paint Evolution as a ‘theory in crisis’, there simply is no controversy?

    What’s especially interesting is that I’m no scientist, but I didn’t have to go farther than Wikipedia to find out the truth about S. J. Gould (quoted directly):

    One reason for such criticism was that Gould appeared to be presenting his ideas as a revolutionary way of understanding evolution, and argued for the importance of mechanisms other than natural selection, mechanisms which he believed had been ignored by many professional evolutionists. As a result, many non-specialists sometimes inferred from his early writings that Darwinian explanations had been proven to be unscientific (which Gould never tried to imply). Along with many other researchers in the field, Gould’s works were sometimes deliberately taken out of context by creationists as a “proof” that scientists no longer understood how organisms evolved.[59] Gould himself corrected some of these misinterpretations and distortions of his writings in later works.[60]

    It is so sad that people choose not to trust science here, but would rather regress to the state of scientific understanding that died over 150 years ago. Can’t you see that creationism amounts to a conspiracy?

    • syoungren says:

      I did not realize that I was talking to a “life was brought here by aliens” ist.

      Other atheists on this site (such as Danno) and I have agreed that Wikipedia is completely biased crap. I have quoted it in the past, but will do so no longer.

      Wikipedia just parrots the “textbook orthodoxy” as Gould put it.

      The reason that you cannot claim that “scientists understand how organisms evolved” is that scientists completely dispute with one another how life diversified, and none of them have the first clue as to how it emerged from lifeless chemicals…exept to hypothesize that it was brought here by aliens from outer space, etc. Gould, Linton, Stanley, Margulis, and many others say that there is no way that life diversified gradually through random processes. Dawkins and others disagree.

      Ultimately, the question of how life diversified from a putative common ancestor is completely irrelevant to the question of whether or not there is a God. Therefore, lets not spend too much time on this and stick to the heart-of-the-matter: How did the first life emerge from utter lifelessness?

      Was it the aliens? Or was it lightning hitting a pond with just the right mix of chemicals, thus creating something more complex than any computer? Or do you have a novel theory to submit?

      It is not enough to merely assert that Gould (and many others) were taken out of context. Please re-insert his statements into the correct context for us. Further, please describe how Gould (or any other scientist) explained how random processes caused new species to emerge. How can random, unitelligent processes be used to explain the rapid emegence of new species? (As the fossil record clearly shows).

      I am sure he has a hypothesis, but if he has such a good explanation, then why are scientists in such dispute on this matter?

      Darwin’s theory absolutely depended on slow, gradual, random processes. It did not predict what the fossil record actually shows.

      Not many people are willing to accept the answer of “because Wikipedia says so.”

      • nick says:

        Wikipedia is not that bad. You have used it to validate previous arguments. You just have to be careful with how you use it. It is not complete rubbish otherwise it wouldn’t have any credible status, whereas it is known and used (with care) by many. You just have to acknowledge that it is not an immutably perfect resource and is liable to challenge. Britannica would be one of, if not, the best resource and when compared to Britannica it is found that most of the basic detail found on Wikipedia correlates with Britannica, although Britannica is the superior reference resource.

        • syoungren says:

          Nick:

          Yes, I have used Wikipedia in previous arguments. However, due to complaints about its reliability from a couple participants on this site (and because of my own concerns) I am going to stop using it completely and ask others making comments on the site to do the same.

          Danno and I are in agreement that it is garbage. Another reader commented something to the effect of, “You are using Wikipedia? That’s it, I’m done.”

          This link discribes the issues I have with Wikipedia.

          Below is a cut and paste of the main point:

          Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia. Authors of articles may not necessarily be experts on the topics they write about, leaving a lot of room for errors, misinformation, and bias.

          The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has recently stressed that Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic uses, saying, “It is pretty good, but you have to be careful with it. It’s good enough knowledge, depending on what your purpose is.”

          • nick says:

            That’s pretty much what I just said, no? I remember that guy who left because you used wikipedia. I think he would have left anyway, it’s not a great line of debate to simply leave because of wikipedia. He should have challenged your reasons for using it and then evaluated your reaction, rather than assuming you were a fool for using it and leaving. If you weren’t aware of the problems in wikipedia, he would have been a better guy for telling you and seeing how you felt afterwards.

            Wikipedia is a good enough resource to be used, you just have to fact check it against something else if you are truely concerned. For you or Danno to say it is ‘garbage’ I think would be wrong. It is very accurate across many subjects. However, if you are going to use it scientifically, it has suffered some justifiable criticism because sometimes the specific information it has relayed has been faulty or debatable. I’m talking here about real in depth information a little beyond the realms of our discussion and conversation, such as molecular understandings and chemistry research. The simple basic science on show in Wikipedia is fairly reliable. And if you are unsure of it, then the best way to answer a query is to double check it against other resources.

            It’s not a bad resource at all really, you just have to be aware of it’s criticisms.

      • Danno says:

        Danno said, “I’m sticking with nonbiased information, if at all possible. I feel wikipedia is just that. Do you agree?” Scott replied, “I am starting to agree with you on this point more and more.”

        • syoungren says:

          Danno:

          Apparently I misread your 1st email to me. I thought you said wikipedia “isn’t unbiased.” But whether I said it is biased or unbiased is beside the point. The important thing to grasp is that it is not authoratative…biased is an entirely seperate matter. Your attempt to counteract the citations that I provide from credentialed experts with wikipedia posts is like trying to counteract statements made by Einstein with statements made by your high school science teacher.

          This link explains why I have stopped using wikipedia and will not accept it from others to substantiate arguments.

          Key excerpt below:

          Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia. Authors of articles may not necessarily be experts on the topics they write about, leaving a lot of room for errors, misinformation, and bias.

          When I cite a credentialed scientist to make a point, you need to cite another credentialed scientist (or other expert in the relevant field) if you want to counter my point. Even if I hadn’t screwed up and misread your comment, this would be the case. In other words, wikipedia is largely a non-expert source. Therefore to cite a non-expert source (Wikipedia) in reply to an expert’s comments just does not fly.

          Wikipedia is not acceptable in an academic setting, so it should not be acceptable here either.

  17. nick says:

    I think that whatever I say about evolution you will have a reply to. You say that Gould is 100 % right to say that evolution is a fact. You agree with diversification within species. You agree that gene frequencies differ and change between generations. You agree that speciation occurs.

    I find myself confused, as you agree with so much of evolution, but then draw lines and say that other parts are not demonstrable or incorrect.

    I am a little clearer as to Margulis’ angle. She says that speciation via random mutation has never been demonstrably proven, not that speciation has never occured. Is this correct?

    What is the next step from here? Evolution occurs naturally, but we cannot prove that it results in speciation at this moment. Here is where she ends her claims of real knowledge. What do you infer from this? Do you infer that God handles the speciation? Margulis does not infer this. Are you saying that Margulis is an anti Darwinist? She has clearly stated that whilst she believes she does not see evidence for random mutations leading to speciation, she believes that natural courses result in new species Darwinistically. She does claim not to be a neo-Darwinist though. I also think that there are various observable examples of speciation transpiring via random mutations.

    This is a quote from Lynn Margulis at one of her talks. “It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist.” But, she quickly added, “I am definitely a Darwinist though. I think we are missing important information about the origins of variation.”

    On the interchangeability of the words Darwinism and evolution, on this site and elsewhere, I completely admit guilt. You are right that often the two words are used as synonomous and I have done so more than once myself. I think that in coloquial conversation, usually this is acceptable and I did not see it as much of a problem generally because we know broadly what we are talking about. However, from a technical, academic and scientific point of view I think that you are correct to draw some distinctions. Evolution is the correct phrase for the whole theory of biological change, about which our knowledge has, evolved, progressed and expanded many times in the last 150 or so years. Darwinism from a very technical perspective might represent the idea that Darwin put forward himself of gradual change, natural selection and evolution 150 years ago. So when we say Darwinism, although we know generally what we are talking about, I suppose that academically speaking, we are talking about a less comprehensive theory and thus evolution and Darwinism are different. However, in general and in coloquial practice the two words are used interchangeably, because they are so similar.

    In this context though, you draw upon them to show that evolution is alive, but Darwinism is in trouble. Darwinism is evolving. It is an idea from 150 years ago and since then the whole field of genetics has arisen, the genome has been mapped and the journal of scientific knowledge has expanded exponentially, so yes ammendments to the original hypothesis have been made and greater detail is now known about the further complexity of the theory.

    About the length of time that requires gradualism, you also criticise me.

    Gradualism does not neccessarily have to be measured in generic years and days. Whilst it is usually true that it takes a very long time, species arrive as quickly or as slowly as the parameters for that species within it’s own environment will allow. For example, smaller species with much shorter life cycles will exhibit changes at a seemingly much faster rate because of the frequency of reproduction and death. For example, the reproduction of bacteria can be almost explosive. How quickly have you seen some forms of bacteria reproduce in a lab plate? At this rate of multiplication, mutation has a much faster chance of happening and so the rate of mutation and evolution appears much quicker. Whereas if you calculate the rate of mutation per generation of each bacterium, it will carry a similar ratio to the evolutionary rate of most other life forms in nature.

    You say that gradual mutation is essential to Darwinism. The idea of gradual mutation is pretty central, but the apparent speed of generational mutations may be very fast in life cycles that are shorter. For example the human life cycle will take a lot longer, because our total gestation and growth to sexual maturity takes something nearing 15 to 16 years.

    A very short period of Darwinistic gradualism amongst very small and simpler organisms, with a likely much shorter reproductive cycle, could very easily have happened in the several million years prior to the Cambrian explosion.

    • syoungren says:

      “Speciation” refers to the emegence of new species. In Darwin’s model, this occurs through random processes. In the biblical model, this occurs through a higher intelligence creating new species. The problem seems to be that the term “speciation” is inextricably linked to random processes in your head.

      No, Margulis is not a creationist. I find it unwise to cite creationist scientists (like Behe) too much because many atheists and agnostics will just reflexively dismiss everything they say from the get go. As I mention in my “What It All Boils Down to” essay, mainstream biology (Margulis included) is committed to finding naturalistic explanations for all biological phenomena. I cite biologists (and other scientists) such as her to demonstrate how little can actually be explained by viewing the world through a naturalistic lens.

      The important point here is that naturalism (or materialism) is an assumption that precedes the examination of facts rather than a conclusion that results from the examination of the facts and data. So of course Margulis thinks that natural courses result in new species. She is just more honest than other biologists who view the world through the lens of “naturalism” or “materialism” (a worldview which has been completely discredited by modern physics) in that she admits that Darwinism has failed as an explanation.

      You cannot assert that Margulis is a Darwinist. Recall that she says that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

      I am glad that you brought up bacteria. Don’t you recall what the University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said? See below:

      “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organism.”

      No Darwinism is not evolving…it is being abandoned. If you read the book “The Altenburg 16” (or view it on Amazon at least) you will see that scientists from leading universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Yale, UCLA and the University of Chicago (among others) have met each other to discuss laying the foundations for “post-Darwinian research”. Such meetings are being held in a rather hush-hush manner because, as Sam Smith (the editor of the Progressive Review) puts it, “the scientific establishment has been somewhat scared about dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement.” This quote can be viewed on the back cover of the book on Amazon.

      It would be more accurate to say that Darwinism has fallen apart, and that naturalistic (or materialist) scientists are feverishly searching for a new naturalistic explanation before too much of the public catches on.

      Your assertion that, “A very short period of Darwinistic gradualism amongst very small and simpler organisms, with a likely much shorter reproductive cycle, could very easily have happened in the several million years prior to the Cambrian explosion” is not very meaningful when you consider that no new species has been shown to emerge from a already existing species through an accumulation of mutations.

      What do I assert brought about speciation? Could it be God? Quite possibly, but where God intervened is not as important as the fact that God did intervene.

      • nick says:

        I do not think that we will agree over this topic of evolution. Whilst I appreciate how you view it, I would say that I would probably have a very Darwinistic pursuasion on the theory of evolution. It is another term that I have learnt from this site, but I would probably consider myself to be almost a neo-Darwinist.

        However, definitions here being a key part to your arguments, I am not entirely sure of the accurate scientific definition of Neo-Darwinist, or how far it goes. Whilst I also recognise that there is a distinction in definitions between the terms evolution and Darwinism, I am not sure of the exact parameters of this difference either. I believe that my previous definition is how I would see the distinction, although you seem to see Darwinism as so different that it is failing completely.

        I fail to see how Darwinism is falling apart. I really do fail to see how you can talk so confidently about the failings of a theory that so beautifully explains the processes of change biologically and geologically in the world that we can observe.

        I am all for debate and I think that science is obliged to accept criticism and answer questions. I think that you have raised some decent scientists that dessent from the orthodox views in science, in Lynn Margulis and Stephen Jay Gould who both seem very legitimate and have produced reason and research based critiques and alternatives to the traditional understandings of evolution. These kind of offerings, whilst controversial, are valid criticisms and should at least be given the chance of being heard. I accept both of their arguments and they have both turned my head from thinking solely about the orthodox.

        However, neither of these postulates anything unnaturalistic as a cause for evolution. They both believe that slightly different mechanisms from the orthodoxy could be the causes for the evidence of diversification and biological change in the history of our planet.

        The issue of defining Darwin comes up here. I have earlier postulated how I believe the distinction between evolution and Darwin might be made, but I am not sure of the exact academic definition of the difference between Darwin and evolution, so this may give rise to part of the confusion.

        However, both Gould and Margulis clame to be Darwinists. Margulis as you rightly say rejects neo-Darwinism as a religious sect, but she herself claims to be a Darwinist, which she distinguishes as different from neo-Darwinism. I did not assign her this categorization, I found quotations from her own talks, where she states categorically that she is a Darwinist. Below are two quotations from Margulis herself and the web pages that I have found them.

        “I want to support every effort to celebrate this roughly 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin. I’ve had a great time with the Cornell students,” Margulis said.
        http://cornellsun.com/node/27584

        “Although I greatly admire Darwin’s contributions and agree with most of his theoretical analysis and I am a Darwinist, I am not a neo-Darwinist.”
        http://www.edge.org/documents/ThirdCulture/n-Ch.7.html

        (also I didn’t accuse Margulis of being a creationist)

        I believe that there is very credible evidence for speciation available and I’m not really sure that your objection to speciation with regards to bacteria is one that convinces me. The realms that we are entering now are beyond the qualifications of both of us to speak with real credibility upon, as we are beginning to speculatively discuss areas of complex biology. I am not sure what to make of the Altenberg 16, except that it was written by a journalist rather than a scientist. Perhaps it has some valid points of contention. I would speculate that perhaps scientists do meet to chat about Darwin, so perhaps there is some truth in such a claim. However, I think that generally this is to debate and discuss legitimate new findings and evolution within the context of this theory that Darwin laid out 150 years ago. Again Darwin did not include things such as genetics in ‘The Origin of Species’, so this would be a good example of an area into which the theory has expanded and evolved or changed. I don’t think that scientists are meeting to discuss the iminent collapse of the theory of evolution, but perhaps the changing nature of it.

        With regards to this topic in general, I think you are tabling a very open debate on this website which is to your credit. My personal view is that I am convinced quite strongly of the general theory that Darwin laid out 150 years ago, although I would not regard it as complete and I would certainly entertain the possibility of credible and legitimate question and debate around its mechanisms, such as that advanced by Stephen Jay Gould. This does not amount to me believing that speciation has never been proved or that there is an intervention at the Cambrian.

        I think that generally, I would consider myself to be a neo-darwinist as far as I have understood it so far. When you speak of God in your last line, I do feel like your views of the Cambrian intervention are installed so as to confirm your belief in God. Perhaps you will say I am wrong here, but if it is so, or partially so, I can understand this logic.

        However, my views here are not in pursuit of a case against God. I see them as potentially causing difficulty to the philosophical discussion of God, but they do not eradicate the possibility. I would consider myself a neo-Darwinist, but actually I would still consider myself very open to the possibility of God. My views on evolution are based on the best reason and proofs that I have been able to find and research from science with regards to this topic, they are not in pursuit of disproving God.

        One of the greatest demonstrations of the credibility of Darwins theory for me is the incredible progress and almost miraculous achievements that we have seen in medical science in recent centuries.

        • Danno says:

          Gould spoke of…

          Google (pick your source[s])…

          Punctuated equilibrium
          Ediacaran biota
          History of paleontology
          Speciation
          Evidence of common descent

        • syoungren says:

          Let’s not get caught up in semantics here. Margulis may declare herself to be a Darwinist in a limited sense, but the key theme that we are discussing here is whether or not unintelligent (strictly random) processes are enough to account for the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor. In the Margulis quotes that you here furnish, she is acknowledging Darwin’s status as a figurehead in science, but she is not specifiying which aspects of his theory she is endorsing. If you read her writings, you will see that she endorses the idea of natural selection, but stresses that, in itself, it is insufficient to explain the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor.

          I have already demonstrated that absolutely nobody has anything better than fanciful speculation about how life could have emerged from lifeless chemicals through unintelligent processes (and Dawkins admits it in the video I link to in my evoluton post). So discussing how life could have diversified from a putative common ancestor is a somewhat peripheral topic. However, it is valuable in the sense that it allows me to demonstrate just how heavily atheists are overplaying their hand when they make statements justifying atheism based upon sceintific knowledge of biology.

          Here, then, is what we need to focus on if we are going to stick to the topic of whether or not biology can be used to justify atheism (as it relates to the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor): Can we justifiably state that random, unintelligent processes are enough to explain this process?

          We should not expect people who are commited to the naturalist worldview (which includes most biologists) to give up trying. But a growing chorus of bilogists (mostly non-theistic) are admitting that the currently proposed random process (gradual evolution through random mutation and natural selection) is insufficient to explain the diversification of life from this putative common ancestor.

          This chorus includes not just Gould and Margulis, but many others including Valentine, Linton, Koonin, Mayr, Raup, Wells, Stanley, and the paleontologists from the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology (whose names I forgot)…and more. It is highly unlikely that any of these biologists will one day say, “we give up, God did it.” The lens with which they view the world does not allow for this. God has been filtered out BEFORE any examination of facts and data, not after.

          You say, “neither of these postulates anything unnaturalistic as a cause for evolution. They both believe that slightly different mechanisms from the orthodoxy could be the causes for the evidence of diversification and biological change in the history of our planet.”

          How slight or large the differences are between various proposed mechanisms for the diversification of life through unintelligent processes is largely beside the point.

          None of these proposed mechanisms has anything behind it besides just that…proposal. To see just how insufficient the Darwinian explanation is, please read Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution by Lee Spetner (who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and served a fellowship in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University…you don’t get much more qualified than that).

          In this book, Spetner demonstrates that speciation through random mutation and natural selection was a proposed mechanism, but not a substantiated one. Attempts to substantiate this mechanism have all fallen FAR short.

          Here is a good excerpt: “The neo-Darwinians presume that a long chain of random changes can lead to a large evolutionary change. This conjecture is an essential point of their theory…. Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands… The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory.”

          And this is just one of many objections that Spetner has with using random processes to explain the diversification of life.

          The author of The Altenburg 16 is a journalist. However, the book is nothing but a transcript of a series of interviews between her and various scientists.

          • nick says:

            I was trying to sum up a bit in my last comment and keep it a bit short, but it seemed to end up being just as long as others. This debate could probably go on much further.

            I just don’t see the merit in the ideas of intelligent design that you advance. You do it, to maintain an involvement of God.

            You seem to argue with my points as though I am an atheist, although you do not call me one. I am not an atheist. I am confused, yes, but an atheist, no.

            I probably consider myself to be a neo-Darwinist, but an agnostic.

            Previously, you were attacking the status of Darwinism as separately defined, yet now you retreat and do not wish to get involved in semantics. I think part of the confusion here is that I am not exactly aware of the exact difference in definitions and I’m not entirely sure that you understand them either. Previously you said that Margulis was not a Darwinist, but upon evidencial quotations from her own talks, you now withdraw that accusation.

            I think that random mutations or processes are where you want to call the distinction between our viewpoints. Perhaps it would be better, to descriptively identify the parts that you critique, as you have here, rather than attacking an ill or undefined idea of the exact perameters of Darwinism which is something that neither of us are exactly sure about. This uncertainty of definition is illustrated well upon further investigation, of what Margulis says.

            I understand that you believe in God and I accept the reasons why. I just think that people who argue for intelligent design do not bring enough to the table to overturn hard earned scientific understanding.

            I watched a debate recently with Stephen Meyer. Previously I did not particularly like him, but upon seeing him in action, I can understand why people find him so seductive. He is a very smooth operator and whilst arguing his points strongly, he seemed to make a strong effort to be respectful to his opposition and argue with reason. He seems to be an immensely articulate and pursuasive guy, but I couldn’t help but feel that there was some coherence lacking in many of his arguments.

            If you wish to believe in God, I can accept that, I even consider this myself. This is a very difficult subject matter, but I just fail to see the evidence for God pulling the strings in evolution in the way proposed by intelligent design.

            Perhaps God is involved in evolution, but the proposals from the intelligent design camp, just don’t seem to bring an awful lot to the debate. If God is pulling the strings, then we still need to understand how and thus far natural selection seems to be the best description of how. Perhaps you would wish to call natural selection God’s method? This might seem to be acceptable.

            • syoungren says:

              When I say that I don’t want to get caught up in semantics, I mean that I don’t want to start debating what aspects of Darwinian or neo-Darwinian theory a given person supports. What I want to distill it to is the core issue of this website, which is the question of the existence of God.

              So here is what our discussions about biology distill to: Can a reasonable case be made that life emerged, and then diversified by random processes? The only aspect of biology relevant to the theme of this website is the topic of randomness vs. intentionality. If randomness cannot be demonstrated to be behind the emergence and then diversification of life, then we have no choice to assume that intentionality was behind it. And intentionality requires intelligence. I have clearly demonstrated that nobody has anything but fanciful speculations about how life could have emerged by random processes.

              As far as whether life could have diversified from a putative common ancestor through random processes, I have clearly demonstrated that the case for this is pathetically weak. Here is even more for you. Below is a copy and paste from my last reply to Danno:

              Lee Spetner holds a PhD in physics from MIT and was a fellow in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University. In his book Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, he writes:

              “The neo-Darwinian theory was an attractive theory. Unfortunatly, it is based on the false speculation that many small random mutations could build up to large evolutionary changes. In Darwin’s day there was no scientific evidence for or against such a speculation. Nor did any evidence for it arise during the eighty years that elapsed from the publication of Darwin’s book until NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] was set up. The speculation was nevertheless accepted as possible, even as fact. But during the half century of the NDT, we have probed the molecular level of cellular functions. …We have alot of evidence of the nature of the mutations to which the neo-Darwinians assigned the role of the small variations. None of this evidence vindicates the Darwinian speculation that large-scale evolution has its source in random variation. All the evidence is against it.”

              Spetner’s statement that “speculation was nevertheless accepted as possible, even as fact” (regarding NDT) is echoed by Lynn Margulis (who won the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science and is an Oxford University and University of Massachussetts Professor of Biology) when she says:

              “The accumulation of genetic mutations were touted to be enough to change one species to another….No. It wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

              So the problem with NDT is that random mutations were assumed to be sufficient to bring about new species, but once adequate fact checking was done, this turned out to not be the case.

              Mathematicians are most qualified to comment on the mathematical probability of random processes accounting for speciation…not biologists like Dawkins. So lets see what some mathematicians have to say about NDT:

              Fred Hoyle is a mathematician (retired professor from Cambridge University) and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Chandra Wickramasinghe is chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cardiff. In their book Why Neo-Darwinism Does Not Work, they provide “a simple and decisive [mathematical] disproof of the ‘Darwinian’ theory.”

              Nick, the evidence for randomness creating and then diversifying life is just not there. You have failed to launch any rebuttal to these points. All I seem to get from you is statements such as “I disagree” or “I don’t see the merit of your ideas” that are void of any rationally constructed, fact based rebuttals. Can you cite experts to counter my points? Let’s start with my point that nobody has ever furnished an unambiguous example of a new species emerging from an accumulation of mutations. Can you cite a biologist who can furnish such an example? I’ll answer that for you: You can’t.

              I have cited mathematicians who state that random mutations and natural selection cannot account for speciation. Can you cite a mathematician to counter this? Or are you just going to make the empty statement that you disagree with them?

              I cite expert after expert, scientist after scientist; and all I get out of you is “I disagree with [such-and-such] expert” or “I fail to see the merit in your ideas.”

              I will restate: The only alternative to randomness is intentionality. And intentionality requires intelligence. So when you say such things as, “I just don’t see the merit in the ideas of intelligent design that you advance,” this should be viewed as a commentary on your inability to perceive things that your worldview does not allow for…not upon the merit of my arguments. Because the evidence for randomness is so pathetically weak, we have no alternative but to assume intentionality.

              The idea of “God pulling the strings” in evolution is something that you injected…not something that I proposed. I do not claim to know exactly where God intervenes in nature. Perhaps God just set up a set of laws and let nature run its course, as you suggest. All I can say for certain is that a higher intelligence was involved in the process.

              As far as definitions, where is the confusion? What definitions would you like me to provide you? Ask me for a definition and I will provide it. There is no confusion on my part.

              You say that Margulis is a Darwinist. Well, she categorically states that she does not does not think that the random processes proposed by Darwinism can account for speciation. She states that she believes that natural selection plays a role, but that in itself it is not sufficient. She thinks that Darwinism is part of the explanation, but it is inadequate as a stand-alone explanation. So what she is rejecting is not Darwinism as a whole, but the idea that Darwin’s proposed random mechanisms are sufficient.

              She is just more honest than biologists who state that Darwinism is sufficient in itself as an explanation. There clearly is natural selection as Darwin proposed, and Margulis agrees, but the random processes proposed by Darwin are not adequate to account for speciation…as she clearly states.

              The only thing I am retreating from is going off on tangents that do not relate to the theme of this website. Discussing aspects of Darwinism that do not relate to randomness is one of those tangents.

          • nick says:

            I voiced a few unsupported opinions in my last answer, as I felt I was trying to relinquish this debate on evolution a little.

            I didn’t want to type more massive texts on this topic on your site unless you would ask me to, I feel as though I have typed a lot, although I have found much of it very interesting, as well as surprising at times.

            I’m not sure if you wish me to provide further citations and support for my opinions, I have always done so to this point. If questioned, I believe it is perfectly just to ask for decent supporting evidence, but I was trying to sum up a little rather than continue, as I feel we could go on endlessly.

            I feel as though we will not agree on this topic of evolution, although I must say, I am surprised at your resilience against parts of Darwinism. I have always thought it to be a fairly sound and affirmed theory.

            I have already accepted that you site very legitimate and good scientists in Gould and Margulis. I think these are good people to discuss and investigate and represent fair alternatives to traditional Darwinism.

            You say that Margulis is more honest than other scientists. I think this is slightly incorrect, because understanding her position a little better now, she is controversial, it is not that other scientists are dishonest. She has her own slightly differing theory and if she is correct, then she will be proven so at some point soon. I will concede this is possible and this is something that I must say has been surprising for me. It may be a task for her and she may be wrong, but she could also be right.

            However, in Gould and Margulis, we see a perfect example of what intelligent design lacks. They criticise Darwin, but in place of neo-Darwinism, they propose their own theories, that can be tested and investigated. Intelligent design criticises Darwin but offers no alternative understanding.

            If God did start it all, then that’s fine, but we still need to see how these processes act and behave in reality. Darwinism is the best description of how these processes take place. If intelligent design is right and there is a God, then that is fine, but in order for it to be considered in the same room as science, then it must present an alternative understanding of the mechanics of evolution, such as punctuated equilibrium. If it does this one day and can demonstrate this in a lab then it will indeed enter the doors of science, but the reason for my disagreement with intelligent design is that, so far it lacks this demonstrable data. It says that God did it, but provides no illustration of the mechanisms in reality, whilst Darwin describes them rather well.

            We seem to agree about 70% of this topic. I say that God could be there. I agree with many of your conclusions, I just disagree with the arguments from the intelligent design people, notably including the ideas about the Cambrian. I think that they are wrong about that. However, this makes little difference for me in the overall scheme of things. You believe in the universe, the big bang, geological time, genes, evolution, physics, the lot; but you believe that something supernatural happened at the Cambrian. That particular proposal just doesn’t work for me, it just seems out of step with all the other consistency.

            I think that another hugely controversial idea from Margulis is that we might not all share a common ancestor. She suggests that there may be two or perhaps more original lines of life on Earth, from which all life currently diversified. If life began on more than one occasion, then life on Earth could have diversified from perhaps two or three different original lineages. This is a concept that I would consider to be hugely surprising, but plausible. Why not? Again, she is very controversial. We still have in place the orthodoxy, but if she could prove these ideas to be the case, then the orthodoxy could change. I might keep tabs on Margulis in the future. She proposes some thoroughly interesting ideas. They feel like ideas that could easily be true as well, yet have not been prominantly accepted or proven. However, importantly she still considers herself and her ideas to be largely Darwinistic and actually does not propose ideas that are massively dissentful.

            You have generally quoted Margulis correctly with her proposals about speciation. Again, here I would feel challenged by her, perhaps radical, ideas, but if she could test, prove and show what she proposes to be true, I would certainly have to re-evaluate. My current thinking is that I probably agree with the orthodox, but would love to see if Margulis’s ideas grow or receive increased agreement or dissent from genuine scientific investigation. She seems to be controversial and that is how I would probably view her ideas, but they are certainly worthy of note and further investigation.

            ‘Nick, the evidence for randomness creating and then diversifying life is just not there.’

            This could be a valid critique of the origins of life at the moment, as we just don’t know, but not for the diversification and theory of evolution. I think that whilst Margulis dissents from this, many, many scientists concur with natural selection and random mutations. To be honest I actually wish I was qualified in Biology, because I could research and investigate some of these controversies myself. I find it absolutely fascinating and think that the suggestions from Margulis, whilst radical, are things that I would like to understand more about.

            You say that I gave unsupported opinions in my last reply. I should not have to support every word I say with the quote of a famous professional. I should be able to give an opinion based on well constructed and reasoned arguments from time to time. The construct, coherence and logic of an argument should justify permission for the opinion of a coherent author. In addition, I try to never simply make baseless statements or accusations, as I feel you would be completely just in challenging such accord. I have always cited evidence and good reason in my arguments and will continue to do so, but feel it is acceptable to voice opinion sometimes without the supervision of a cited professor. It is fair also for you to reply and ask for citations when neccessary, to which I will always give if requested.

            • syoungren says:

              When you say that intelligent design provides “no illustration of the mechanisms in reality, whilst Darwin describes them rather well,” I must post two replies.

              1) Have you really read any of the intelligent design books (such as “Darwin’s Black Box” or “The Signature in the Cell”)? When you say that ID provides “no illustrations of the mechanisms in reality,” I can tell immediately that you haven’t really read any ID books. Rather you have just read and viewed media coverage of them.

              2) Darwin describes the mechanisms rather well? I have cited numerous mainstream (not Christian) paleontologists who say that Darwin’s theory just does not jibe with the fossil record. In fact, his “tree of life” is exactly backwards.

              I think that the problem here is that you are getting your impressions of science from the media and from pop-science tracts. This article describes why getting your science knowledge from the media is a really bad idea.

          • nick says:

            Your assumption here is correct. I have not read any of the intelligent design books, nor have I claimed to. Perhaps this is something that I should remedy.

            However, if random processes are not the cause for the course of evolution and development, what are? So far, I have heard a profound lack of alternative postulations, which is the basis for my disagreement with intelligent design. Could you offer or describe the alternative proposition? I will consider further my opinion, if you can offer a legitimate alternative.

            Your other suggestion that I get my information solely from the media, is innaccurate. It is true to an extent but, I try to search far wider than just the pages of the media.

            • syoungren says:

              The origin of the universe and of life can be distilled to a philosophical proof that philosophers refer to as a “disjunctive syllogism” (the latin name is modus tollendo ponens).

              Here is a simple example of a disjunctive syllogism:

              Bill is either at home or away from home.
              Bill is not at home.
              Therefore, Bill is away from home.

              With regards to the origins of the universe and of life, we can compose the following disjunctive syllogism:

              The universe (and life) resulted from either randomness or intentionality.
              The universe (and life) did not result from randomness (as I have demonsrated in my posts).
              Therefore the universe and life resulted from intentionality.

              And intentionality requires intelligence.

              Simply put, because there are only two options with regard to this issue, ruling out one option necessarily implies the other.

              The only ways to invalidate this philosophical proof are the following: 1) Demonstrate that there exists a third option to randomness vs. intentionality (which is impossible because there cannot be a third option). 2) Demonstrate that the universe or life resulted from randomness or that the universe is eternal (thereby doing away with the need for an origin). I have effectively eliminated both of these options in my posts.

          • nick says:

            I was touched by the comment of a teenager left on another page about this site. This kind of positivity in helping one another is the kind of thing that I believe can be so good with faith and I find it inspiring that it helps people in this way. I hope I have not overstepped any boundaries in these discussions. Such demonstrations of the inherent goodness that can be found in religion are why I find this subject so engaging yet also difficult at times.

            I think that I will probably have to say that we disagree on this issue of evolution.

            However, I do think that there are certain areas that are important for faith not to undermine. Evolution is one of those areas and I think that against the rest of this site, it is important that this area of evolution and Darwin is accepted as a scientific truth (not all-encompassing, we still have much to learn, but a scientific truth nonetheless). This is important for the benefit of society. Doctors, nurses, researchers and health practitioners need to believe in evolution or else progress will become stifled and suffer. The competitive scientific edge that nations such as America have earnt in areas such as medicine is a status worthy of protection and celebration. The pursuit of anti-Darwinism could be highly damaging to international scientific competitiveness as well as to life-saving health services.

            I will leave evolution there unless you think it needs more. I believe you should certainly consider Darwin at further length, perhaps from the other side of the debate to intelligent design. This does not necessarily have to be a Dawkins version, since I can imagine you may find him a little insufferable. There are plenty of science texts that are devoid of religious engagement and focus solely on the facts.

            Anything by Sir David Attenborough would represent a sound insight to anything biological and would probably blow you away. He has spent a lifetime recording documentaries on the natural world, so it may be quite pleasurable to select a good one and see in reality the mechanisms of Darwin and evolution, in movie length visual documentaries rather than extensive books. ‘Planet Earth’ is about as beautiful and comprehensive a piece of biological documentary that will ever be made (I would recommend buying it to own… in Blu-Ray if you can). I’m sure you’ve seen such documentaries before, but they can be a little more digestible or pleasurable than a book sometimes, as well as visually stunning. I think I would certainly recommend his documentary, ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’. You will see that he is not an argumentative or aggressive, anti-religious man, but a calm and good man who is passionate about his line of work and its importance in the world today.

            If you enter David Attenborough to google, you will also see that he is the patron of a global charity called, ‘The World Land Trust’. This is a man of science seeking to do good in the world because of what he has learnt. He may be a far better representative to you of the opposition to intelligent design, than an aggressor such as Dawkins. Sir David is an agnostic and has barely tackled the subject of religion in his career, he has sought only to learn about the world and deliver the message as he has found it. In mentioning him, I would be hopeful you may consider looking in to something of his, just to see.

            Please note that I am not arguing against God here. My understanding of Darwinian evolution still leaves plenty of room for God. It is a fallacy to say that Darwin destroys God.

            In talking of Sir David and ‘The World Land Trust’, I am also reminded of a post from a while ago regarding other issues that I raised in this kind of area. I was wondering if you had any musings or responses on such things? These are the sorts of things that religion could have such positive affects on, so I wonder about religious perspectives and understandings of them. But I also wonder how other people view them.

            • syoungren says:

              Please remember that this site in no way attempts to undermine evolution in most senses of the term. I only discuss Darwinism to demonstrate how heavily atheists are overplaying their hand when they use it as a rationalization for atheism.

              As I mentioned in reply to another comment, Charles Darwin himself was inclined to believe that the common ancestor which his theory proposed was created by God. In later versions of The Origin of Species, he states that life may have “been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one.” He also said, “When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”

              Also remember that it really is not a case of intelligent design types vs. mainstream biologists supporting Darwinism. As I have illustrated, many mainstream (non-creationist) biologists with a naturalistic/atheistic worldview believe firmly that Darwinism is inadequate to explain the diversification of life. I will not exhaust you with more quotations…unless of course you request, in which case I can bombard you with them.

          • nick says:

            I appreciate that and you do acknowledge a lot of the themes around evolution, but you have called Darwinism, ‘shaky’ as a repeated argument.

            You did not reply about David Attenborough. Have you heard of him before? I think that probably the best work of his that you could possibly choose would be, ‘Planet Earth’. I really think that you would enjoy this documentary. It is completely devoid of religious engagement and is a piece of biological documentary that will probably go unsurpassed. You say that you like to explore the arguments from all sides of the debate. This documentary series is the story of current life on our Planet. It is a depiction of the beauty and spectical of nature not a theological argument and it is illustrative, educational and stunning.

            Here is a link to it on Amazon. I own a copy myself and think it is one of, if not ‘the’ best, biological series that I have ever seen.

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003ZUXZCC/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1GEJWXR9K1P6726KFYQM&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294

            Check out the customer reviews for this product. You will see that pretty much the only bad reviews it recieved were for faulty discs or late delivery. 5 stars from almost all customers. Praise indeed. Buy it and watch it. It’s not Richard Dawkins. It is not an argument about religion. If you believe you engage in both sides of the debate, then you will do little better than this stunning series from one of the worlds most revered, respected and loved biological Broadcasters. This is a must see. Have a look at the trailor.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              I will check this out when I have time. When I say that Darwinism is shaky, I back this up mostly with citations from biologists who are not creationists (and who are mostly atheists as far as I can tell).

              Please forgive me for drowning you in quotes, but here are a few more. Here are Keith Stewart Thomson’s credentials:

              Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

              And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

              Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

              Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

              Speciation has never been observed by biologists or paleontologists. Not even once. Period. This puts Darwin’s theory on very shaky ground indeed.

              It should be noted that the above cited experts are not creationists, but rather Darwinists. They therefore believe in Darwinism in spite of the evidence rather than because of it. Their beliefs are therefore a commentary on the materialistic lens in which they view the world. Widespread belief in Darwinism by biologists should be viewed as a sociological and psychological phenomenon rather than a testimony to the veracity of its scientific underpinnings.

              Relevant to this topic is what I said in my “Why are so many smart people unconvinced post”:

              The late great paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

              “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

              In what “cultural contexts” are atheist biologists rooted, causing them to perpetrate “unconscious or dimly perceived finagling?” For one, in the cultural context that the material world is the most basic, fundamental plane of existence (a worldview known as “materialism” or “naturalism”). The Harvard geneticist Richard C. Lewontin commented in 1997 that, in reference to defending Darwinism in a debate, “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Lewontin went on to say that “materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

              And lastly, the Oxford University and University of Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis said: “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

              • James says:

                My friend, I am afraid that the paleantological record contains numerous examples of speciation. The only ‘missing links’ are for mammals/land animals, which understandably don’t get fossilised very often.

                But other than that speciation has been repeatedly observed. Creationists have been flatly refusing this for 100 years, which is why the scientific community now takes no notice of them (see ‘operation Steve’).

                Once again, I am stunned by the parallels of creationism to a conspiracy theory. Any contradictory evidence is simply denied to exist.

                • syoungren says:

                  Evolutionist Steven M. Stanley concluded that: “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition.” (Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, 1979 p. 39)

                  And yet another:

                  The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson states:

                  “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

                  Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

                  “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

                  Please also review the video of what the fossil record really shows.

                  Recall what the University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said? See below:

                  “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organism.”

                  New species appear, but “suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (to quote George Gaylord Simpson again).

                  So you are correct to say that speciation happens, because new species do appear, but they do not branch off from already existing species as a result of a gradual process of random mutation and natural selection.

            • syoungren says:

              David Attenborough is a journalist, not a credentialed scientist.

              I cited this article in a previous reply about why science knowledge from the media is virtually worthless:

              …scientists say communication and education of the public are significant challenges for science today. Majorities rate television (83%) and newspaper (63%) coverage of science as only fair or poor.

              Journalists like Attenborough can be counted on to parrot the “textbook orthodoxy” (as Stephen Jay Gould put it).

              Similarly, evolutionary biologists Martin Jones and Mark Blaxter write, “Despite the comforting certainty of textbooks and 150 years of argument, the true relationships of the major groups (phyla) of animals remain contentious.”

              I have not viewed this video of Attenborough (nor do I intend to), but I think it is fairly safe to assume that he cites “Lucy” (australeopithicus africanus) as a human ancestor—as do perhaps the majority of museums—despite the the fact that the top fossil experts reject this idea (as I have illustrated in a previous post). Am I correct in this assumption about Attenborough’s material?

              For future reference, I intend to ignore any and all media stories on science that you or any other reader produce, unless they cite an expert with credentials in the relevant field.

          • nick says:

            I have never accused you of being a creationist, nor any of your references generally.

            I hope you look into Planet Earth, or something of similar quality and content. If you are going to post comments and quotations such as these, it is important that you understand the wider aspects of the issue, as proposed from all sides.

          • nick says:

            I am quite literally astounded by the accusation you level at David Attenborough. You wish for credentials, I will list the credentials of this man.

            Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA.

            He is a ‘Companion of Honour’ (CH), ‘Commander of the Royal Victorian Empire’ (CVO) and a ‘Commander of the Order of The British Empire’ (CBE).

            As a CBE, he is honoured by the Monarch of England, a Knight of the Realm.

            He won a scholarship to Clare college ‘Cambridge’ in England in 1945.

            He studied Zoology and Geology, obtaining a degree in the natural sciences.

            He is a fellow of The Royal Society of London, quite possibly the oldest and most revered scientific society in the world.

            He is a fellow also of the Zoological Society of London.

            His list of awards, scientific and journalistic include the following:

            Society of Film and Television Arts Special Award
            Royal Television Society Silver Medal
            Zoological Society of London Silver Medal
            Society of Film and Television Arts Desmond Davis Award
            Royal Geographical Society Cherry Kearton Medal
            UNESCO Kalinga Prize
            Boston Museum of Science Washburn Award
            Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science Hopper Day Medal
            Royal Geographical Society Founder’s Gold Medal
            Encyclopedia Britannica Award
            International Emmy Award
            Royal Scottish Geographical Society Livingstone Medal
            Royal Society of Arts Franklin Medal
            Folden Kamera Award

            He has been honoured by Britannica, a source of information in the modern world that goes unrivalled.

            In 1980 he won an honorary doctorate from the Open University.

            In 2003 he won The Michael Farraday Prize from the Royal Society. (something you have referenced yourself)

            The list could go on, these being amongst a far greater list of endless awards.

            He is indeed a journalist, but so too is he a scientist with far more awards than many others quoted on this site.

            He is a collosus of the scientific world and has one of the most distinguished and respected scientific records of anyone on this site.

            He is a broadcaster which is a little different to a lab researcher, but what he relays in the form of film is undeniable, indisputable. Recorded documentation of the natural world in action is how we learn and make observations. You cannot make this up or fabricate it. If we cannot see how nature operates, then all we do is speculate.

            His contribution is immense and his narration and scientific understanding is heavyweight.

            He is no underqualified speculative journalist.

            The video I posted is nothing to do with austrelopithecus. It is a documentation of the planet at the moment. It is video footage and narration of the sea’s and the mountains, of the forests and the plains, of the deserts and the poles. It is the descriptive picture of the planet we live on, the animals, the plants, the habitats and life. Watch the video, it is a trailer, you will hear no words, only an orchestral music track and some of the astounding shots from the series.

            Ignorance of the natural world and documentaries such as this, is simply ignorance.

            There is no religious engagement, it is educational in the full and descriptive, beautiful and enlightening, nothing more.

            Finally, ‘The World Land Trust’ is the global charity that champions David Attenborough as their patron. An international charity seeking to do good in the world does not champion the patronage of an underqualified, ill-informed pretender as their front man in their mission for good.

            • syoungren says:

              He holds a degree in natural sciences? What, a bachelor’s degree?! He won a lot of awards….FOR HIS BROADCASTING and science popularization…not for any contributions to science. I have cited multiple experts who clearly state that the fossil record does not support Darwinism.

              Attenborough does not conduct any research or hold any advanced degrees. Of course he has won many awards…he recites the textbook orthodoxy to the masses in an appealing and entertaining fashion.

              You are going to use a broadcaster with a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences to counteract the exhaustive citations from biologists and paleontologists that I cite which clearly demonstrate that Darwinism stands on very shaky ground!? I am amazed.

        • nick says:

          I am quite literally astounded. Breathless. David Attenborough, amongst his awards for Broadcasting, is a fellow of the Royal Society.

          You do not become a fellow of The Royal Society without scientific qualification.

          He won the Farraday Prize. You do not win the Farraday prize without scientific contribution. You have used this as a supporting credential in professors you have cited.

          You reduce his science Degree from Cambridge to nothing, when one of the main qualifications behind your referenced professors is often their institution of study.

          He did not make these films alone. Indeed the production of such behemoths as the Planet Earth series would be a huge undertaking for just one man.

          The contributions from academics of the highest order and from institutions of the greatest recognition are required for the making of his films. Britannica distributes awards to none but the best and most scrutinised of academic sources. Attenborough is the voice of the scientific community globally. He represents the contributions from institutions of academia across the planet, including museums, research centres, universities and the best of science. He does not speak words only from his own thoughts, but from the compilations of papers from Harvard, from Oxford, From Cambridge and Princeton, from the Smithsonian, from Kew, from the British Museum of Natural History and from the Royal Society.

          Your derision of a good and honest man is poorly placed.

          • nick says:

            Of all the discussions on this site, I think that your reaction here is the poorest.

            You have preached and ‘practiced’ fair, balanced and well mannered discussion on this site. You have tabled a reasonable and open conversation, allowing different people to express different points of view and I give you great credit for this.

            However, on this occasion the lack of respect and derision you have exhibited for David Attenborough is well beyond the bounds of your previous good manners. I am disapointed to put it mildly.

            If you disagree with what he says, then as a respectful host you are entitled to say so of course. However the manner that you have discarded his credibility does not befit the quality of the rest of the discussions on this site, nor does it exhibit a fair and balanced hearing. I am reminded almost of the ad hominem critique from Dashan.

            This man holds a selection of credentials only exhibited by one at a time by many of your cited academics. I am not criticising the quality of your citings, I am merely asserting the status that Attenborough commands.

            It is farcical for you to assert and cite so many credentialed professionals and then to discredit the exact same credentials of a professional that I mention. You have mentioned in support of your claims, at least two previous Farraday prize winners in Peter Medawar and Paul Davies, emphasising their status as prize holders as part of their credibility. Attenborough too holds a Farraday prize.

            To discard the obvious biological accumen of such a figure as useless without investigation, illustrates utter ignorance towards exploration of the arguments. You do not have to agree with what he says, but if you cannot respect and read his books or at least listen to his view then you demonstrate no balance in reaching your conslusions. You have said many times that you must explore all sides of the debate to really engage it and understand.

            You assert that, ‘Attenborough does not conduct any research or hold any advanced degrees.’

            On the utter contrary. Attenborough is involved in the key part of the scientific process. His 50 year career represents some of the finest and most honest documentation of the reality and behaviours of the natural biological world.

            Here is a quote from another post you have written:

            ‘The test of whether something is scientific fact or law is through the Scientific Method, as follows:
            1. Observable. The act of seeing with the human eye the phenomena in question.’

            This first part of the scientific process is exactly what Attenborough has spent a lifetime doing. His evidence is indisputable. You cannot very well forge or fake biological video documentation of the natural world (especially not back in the 50’s). Attenborough is probably the world’s leading authority in this first step of the scientific process that you outline very well as ‘observation’. He has been at the forefront of investigation into all the unknown biological corners of the planet, bringing back to the lab his recorded and documented scientific observations for criticism, evaluation and analysis since the 1950’s. His status is such that he has recently had a new species of tree named after him.

            “Ever since the scientific naming of species commenced it has been used to honour great contributions to biology, and everyone involved was agreed that Sir David’s contribution to scientific knowledge of animal and plant life are second to none. We were delighted when he accepted the invitation to have a new species named after him, particularly when it is so unusual to discover new trees, with such beautiful flowers”.
            -John Burton.

            “Blakea Attenboroughii” – found in Ecuador.

            His role in science is key and profound. His experience and opinion is vast and weighty.

            If you disagree with his conclusions, this would be acceptable, but there would be no validity to the conclusions you make without first viewing his work. It’s like saying, ‘I hate that Picasso, load of old rubbish.’ – ‘Ah, but have you ever seen his work?’ ‘No, just think he’s rubbish.’

            I feel disapointed to say the least with your reaction to the status of this scientific figurehead.

            • syoungren says:

              Perhaps I should be have been easier on Attenborough. But can you demonstrate that he has any education in natural sciences beyond a bachelor’s degree? I reviewed his qualifications and didn’t see it. Perhaps I missed it.

              But here is my central point about what Attenborough is teaching. Recall what Thomas Kuhn, who is the most recognized figure in the psychology and sociology of science said about paradigm rejection in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:

              “Though they [scientists] may begin to lose faith and then consider alternatives, they do not renounce the paradigm [or broadly accepted set of scientific theories and beliefs] that has led them into crisis. They do not, that is, treat anomalies as counterinstances, though in the vocabulary of the philosophy of science that is what they are. In part this generalization is simply a statement from historic fact… These [examples] hint what our later examination of paradigm rejection will disclose more fully: once it has achieved the status of paradigm, a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternate candidate is available to take its place.….The decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgment leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other.” [emphasis mine]

              If Attenborough is teaching the Darwinian “tree of life” and speciation through random mutation and natural selection even though this view has been completely discredited by the fossil record (as I have demonstrated with my barrage of quotes and videos) then his views should be regarded as a psychological and sociological phenomenon.

              Here are my latest paleontologist quotes again. Sorry, but I have found it necessary to repeat myself in this area because it seems to have a hard time penetrating your worldview:

              Evolutionist Steven M. Stanley concluded that: “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition.” (Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, 1979 p. 39)

              And yet another:

              The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson states:

              “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

              Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

              “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

              I could go on and on and on, but rather than doing so, I will just let you review more citations from paleontologists here.

              So, if Attenborough is teaching what “every paleontologist knows” (in Gaylord Simpson’s words) is not supported by the fossil record, then Attenborough is a case study in the sociology and psychology of science. As Kuhn said, a paradigm is not rejected after it fails. Rather, a paradigm is rejected after it fails AND a new one comes to take its place. Because Attenborough has a naturalistic worldview, he will continue teaching the old naturalistic paradigm (Darwinism) until a new one comes along to take its place…even though it has fallen apart.

              The people and organizations who have given Attenborough awards for teaching a discredited paradigm must be declared participants in this sociological and psychological phenomenon.

          • nick says:

            I appreciate that slightly more respectful reply. You are entitled to disagree with Attenborough as much as you wish (allthough of course I would not myself). However, if you do not do this with respect and acknowledgement of his obvious honest and good reputation, your reply will fall short.

            With regards to your question of his qualifications, is a scholarship and a degree in natural sciences from Cambridge England not a good enough start?

            Attenborough is the most honoured academic in the UK. He tops a list of honorary degree holders in the UK with a staggering 29. This man dwarfs the academic record of most people on this site. He holds 29 doctorates from different institutions in Britain, including the Open University.

            Here is an article showing some of the people he surpasses (allthough the picture may be a little comical).

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/7920613/Sir-David-Attenborough-heads-lists-of-most-honoured-by-Britains-universities.html

            This man is no pretender or fraud.

            He believes in Darwin as you say. However, many of his documanteries focus not on Darwin but on the reality of life as he finds it.

            To dispute video documentation of the world that he relays would be insanity, because whilst disputes may be had on the inner mechanisms of biology, live pictures recorded are undeniable.

            This is why he commands such respect. He delivers the message as he finds it. That is why I referenced the series Planet Earth. Whether you believe in Darwin as the mechanism or not, is not the focul point of this series. It is an undeniable depiction of the world in which we live. There is no theological engagement, it is science and documentary at its finest. This is why I was so taken aback at your reaction.

            If you wish to dispute whether Darwin is the mechanism or not, you are entitled to of course, but the overwhelming message conveyed in his films is an understanding and picture of the world around us.

            His films and documentaries form one of the greatest contributions to science since its inception. For all of those biologoists who remain back at the lab, he brings video evidence of natural behaviour, of hunting strategies, of mating cycles, group interaction, of herbivores and carnivores, of trees and plants, of birds and fish, of algae and fungi, from all corners of the globe. This is the kind of invaluable observation that forms so central a part of the construction of scientific theory, hypothesis and understanding.

            This is what gives the man such deserved scientific and academic status, as well as any of the accollades and doctorates he has earned.

            You are entitled to your opinion about Attenborough of course, but I will not truely accept your criticism unless you can watch and evaluate some of his work, for yourself. Perhaps one of his books, or perhaps some of his documentaries. It would be helpful if there was something good on youtube, but I think that generally there are just clips, rather than full documentaries.

            Try watching that clip that I posted of Planet Earth from youtube. No words, no narration, just an orchestral soundtrack and some stunning visuals. This is what I mean by the quality in his work. It is 4 minutes long and uncontroversial.

            • syoungren says:

              Maybe I haven’t given Attenborough a fair shake. I don’t think he is a fraud. As I said before, I did not watch the video. Maybe I mistakenly thought you were using his material to justify Darwinism.

              I stand by my position that many biologists and paleontologists (perhaps even most) are fully aware of Darwinism’s grave shortcomings. There is no question that Darwinism is still the reigning paradigm, but recall what Thomas Kuhn said about paradigm rejection in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (as I quoted him in my previous post): Scientists do not reject a paradigm when they realize it has failed. They reject it when they realize it has failed AND a better paradigm has arrived to take its place.

              I suppose I should not fault Attenborough too much for believing in and teaching the reigning paradigm. As the biologist Lynn Margulis said, “people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

          • nick says:

            I think you are right to treat Sir David with this bit more respect. Even if you disagree with his conclusions, his record and contribution is undeniable, as is his legitimacy in this debate. One is not honoured as a Knight of the realm without due cause.

            There are several reasons that I mentioned David Attenborough earlier. Perhaps you should skim over some of his achievements that I have listed again (although there are many that I have not listed). Asside from his awards and doctorates, is the inclusion of a new species being named in his honour. This is something special, that honours the contribution of somebody special.

            There are so many sides to the work that he has done. I mentioned his name because I think that he brings incredibly valuable documentation of the biological world to the table, as well as his charity and efforts for good.

            I will not pretend that as an advocate of Darwin I think that his work illustrates Darwin’s theory. I was in part bringing up his name as I think he brings much credibility to Darwinian evolution.

            However, I was not pressing this and I replied to your response to Attenborough, as I was so shocked at your evaluation of him. There was far more reason for my mentioning him and as I have said previously, if you disagree with his conclusions, you are entitled to. What you must do though is give him respect and a fair hearing, as if you cannot look at the contributions that he makes with balance and objectivity, then you cannot claim to have looked at all the evidence. He has made occasional films solely for the argument of Darwinism, but he has made many more films that are simply documentations of nature.

            It is these films that I believe you cannot ignore and this was the main reason I mentioned his name. To make the statements that you have done about Darwinism, you need to have explored the topic from a wider perspective. You must have a look at some of the wider issues in biology and the realities of nature. This does not involve philosophical debates, or listening to someone evangelise such as Dawkins, but to investigate with your own eyes some of the pictures and evidence available. As you have said many times, the first part of the scientific process is ‘observation’. If you wish to demonstrate that Darwin is truely wrong you must do some investigation of your own into the subject matter. Their are few, if any better portrayers of the realities of the natural world than Attenborough.

            The Planet Earth series depicts nature in this fair and responsible way. It is a video recorded shot of the natural world that is indisputable. His narration, is of the events unfolding and it is this evidence and wealth of information, that I was asking you to investigate.

            I will not deny that you will hear his understandings of nature through Darwin in parts of this film, but of course you are entitled to disagree with these mentionings. The majority of his work is documentation and explanation of the natural world and this review and portrayal of modern nature is uncontroversial. If you conclude differently from him, having seen the natural world as his pictures portray, your arguments at least have fairness and balance to their conclusions.

          • nick says:

            to clarify …. ‘I will not pretend that as an advocate of Darwin I think that his work illustrates Darwin’s theory.’

            I meant the opposite of this…. I think that his work does illustrate Darwin’s theory.

          • nick says:

            Here is an example of the type of natural documentation Attenborough records.

            It’s just a 3 minute clip from a documentary about plants. It’s about the Venus fly trap.

  18. Danno says:

    If the evidence for speciation through random mutations, natural selection, and genetic drift is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced? Because they don’t understand evolution.

    • syoungren says:

      No, I am afraid that it is people who believe that speciation can occur through random mutations, natural selection and genetic drift who do not understand evolution.

      Lee Spetner holds a PhD in physics from MIT and was a fellow in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University. In his book Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, he writes:

      “The neo-Darwinian theory was an attractive theory. Unfortunatly, it is based on the false speculation that many small random mutations could build up to large evolutionary changes. In Darwin’s day there was no scientific evidence for or against such a speculation. Nor did any evidence for it arise during the eighty years that elapsed from the publication of Darwin’s book until NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] was set up. The speculation was nevertheless accepted as possible, even as fact. But during the half century of the NDT, we have probed the molecular level of cellular functions. …We have alot of evidence of the nature of the mutations to which the neo-Darwinians assigned the role of the small variations. None of this evidence vindicates the Darwinian speculation that large-scale evolution has its source in random variation. All the evidence is against it.”

      Spetner’s statement that “speculation was nevertheless accepted as possible, even as fact” (regarding NDT) is echoed by Lynn Margulis (who won the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science and is an Oxford University and University of Massachussetts Professor of Biology) when she says:

      “The accumulation of genetic mutations were touted to be enough to change one species to another….No. It wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

      So the problem with NDT is that random mutations were assumed to be sufficient to bring about new species, but once sufficient fact checking was done, this turned out to not be the case.

      Mathematicians are most qualified to comment on the mathematical probability of random processes accounting for speciation…not biologists like Dawkins. So lets see what some mathematicians have to say about NDT:

      Fred Hoyle is a mathematician (retired professor from Cambridge University) and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Chandra Wickramasinghe is chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cardiff. In their book Why Neo-Darwinism Does Not Work, they provide “a simple and decisive [mathematical] disproof of the ‘Darwinian’ theory.”

      • James says:

        Hey again.

        I wonder if maybe we should just never mention creationism/evolution again. It’s quite clear that no concensus will be reached, because everyone just keeps thrwoing quotations at each other. It’s a classic “read this website/book/paper and it’ll explain everything” thread. It’s sadly typical of creationism, which is why you never see a newspaper article entitled ‘An Independent Body of Secular Scientists in the USA have discovered no evidence of fossil evolution…’ or similar.

        Anyway, back to the point of this post. I still don’t agree that people have an intuitive dislike for religion. It’s like saying we have an intuitive repulsion for sex. If everyone hates it, why is everyone doing it?

        The thrust of your argument (quotations aside) seems to be that people want some kind of ‘liberation’ from moral contraints, that come with believing in God. But as an atheist I certainly don’t feel ‘morally liberated.’ Even if I were completely psychotic and amoral, I still have to follow the laws of the country (as I would make a hopeless criminal), so I can’t just do whatever I want. Furthermore, I still have moral ‘constraints’ because I am limited by the physical world. I can’t just do whatever I feel like.

        Nor would I.

        Secondly, there are so many potential benefits to believing in God (eternal bliss, an unwavering friend, miraculous support etc) that I believe these apparent attractions far outweigh any repulsion to religion people might feel.

        I am most interested to know how you explain why, if we are all so repulsed by the idea of a morally superior God, religion has been so dominant throughout all the globe until at most 150 years ago, and still holds such sway today.

        • syoungren says:

          Well, here is another important point about the whole Darwinism/creationism debate: It is largely irrelevant when it comes to the question of God’s existence. This because evolution only discusses the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor. Darwinism does not even attempt to explain the origin of life from lifeless chemicals.

          I just mentioned the following in a reply to another reader’s post: Charles Darwin himself was inclined to believe that the common ancestor which his theory proposed was created by God. In later versions of The Origin of Species, he states that life may have “been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one.” He also said, “When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”

          The only reason I even mention the topic is to show how heavily atheists are overplaying their hand when they try to use biology as justification for atheism.

          • James says:

            The problem, I think, for most atheists (and for many theists) comes in considering to what extent God would use his power.

            Evolution is a satisfying conclusion for many theists because it literally ‘takes God out of the equation’- God may be involved in it, but he isn’t necessary to it. In other words, once evolution has started, there is no reason why God would be needed in order for humans to evolve.

            The reason a lot of theologians see this as better is because God no longer has to be so ‘magical’. He can take his hands off the levers. Creationism, on the other hand, literally posits an endless series of miracles, in defiance of all laws of nature. But this seems to suggest that God created natural laws only to break them in the first few days of their existence.

            The problem is over abiogenesis. For me, it’s not obvious why, if one is willing to compromise and say ‘evolution is fact but God miraculously created the first life’, one shouldn’t just go the whole nine yards and say God created everything with miracles.

            In other words, if God is willing to get involved and break his own natural laws once or twice, why bother with using the natural laws at all? Evolution is a massively wasteful and unpleasant process, requiring the deaths of billions of animals to produce even a few humans. If God is willing to practice ‘miraculous intervention’ to produce the first life, why does he feel compelled to stop there?

            That as I see it is the problem with accepting evolution but believing that God had a hand in the initial creation of species.

      • Danno says:

        It appears that you have little to no education in biology or evolution, only quotes from others.

        Recommendations to the public: Explore the arguments from both sides, in full. Read about intelligent design and creationism. But don’t sell yourself short; study genetics and evolution from any university before saying outlandish things like…

        “No, I am afraid that it is people who believe that speciation can occur through random mutations, natural selection and genetic drift who do not understand evolution.”

        I expect nothing less than ideologically-driven retorts to this post. Danno, out.

        • syoungren says:

          I do explore the arguments from both sides. Have you noticed how I try to stay away from citing creationists as much as possible? I mention the creationist biologist Michael Behe, but only in reference to him citing another biologist who is not a creationist. The vast majority of experts that I cite are not creationists. Rather, they are people who believe that naturalistic explanations can account for the origin and diversification of life, but are honest in admitting that the current naturalistic explanations are insufficient. They therefore have a naturalistic worldview in spite of the evidence, not because of it.

          You seem to think that it is a case of creationist intelligent design types vs. mainstream biology when it comes to the issue of Darwinism. But this is not the case. Biologists who are not part of the “intelligent design movement” (including atheists like you) are increasing admitting that Darwin’s theory is inadequate to explain the diversification of life. The quotations I have provided demonstrate this and I will provide many more at your request.

          I recommend that you pick up a copy of The Altenburg 16: An Expose of The Evolution Industry. This book is basically a transcript of interviews between a journalist and several biologists…none of whom are creationists. The title refers to a meeting that occurred in 2005 in Altenburg, Austria where prominent biologists discussed laying the foundations for “post-Darwinian research.”

          It is not what my retorts are driven by that matter. Rather, it is the facts that matter.

  19. Dashan says:

    Steve,
    I get a lot of calls to “just show me the evidence”! I’m drafting an argument in favor of God as the only plausible explanation for realities that are beyond science. Please comment and critique it as u see fit. I would also like to give it a name:
    •P1 the universe consists only of matter & energy.
    •P2 Naturalism is the default explanation for the origin & existence of the universe.
    •P3 If Science is defined as the study of the natural world it must ultimately be able to explain everything without recourse to a immaterial (spiritual) dimension.
    •p4 there exists phenomena & questions that are metaphysical or philosophical in nature & hence beyond science.

    Therefore p1-p3 fail.
    Science cant explain
    • E.g why is there something instead of nothing?
    • Why the universe is rationally intelligible (obeys laws)
    • the origin of universal, immaterial complex laws that define the universe.
    • Why the universe is built on absurdly complex Math’ formulae & physical constants.
    • The claim that science can explain all reality is actually a philosophical claim.
    • Science cant make a judgment on moral issues because the animal kingdom is amoral. An alternative view would imply that there is an objective standard that exists to which we can compare good and evil.

    • syoungren says:

      Excellent. I would add to this the huge explanatory failures of naturalism. For example, the human brain is far far more complex and sophisticated than is necessary for survival. If we evolved for no other purpose than to pass on our genes, how and why did this extra sophistication come about? What is the evolutionary purpose of art and music? Why do we need emotions? Wouldn’t automatic responses be enough to suit our survival needs instead of emotions? What, for example, would be the evolutionary purpose of joy? It seems that obvious that a “survival machine” would be a lot more machine-like than we actually are.

      Dashan, I am very impressed with and greatly appreciate your contributions to this site.

      Scott (not Steve) ;)

      • James says:

        The answers to all of your questions can be found; perhaps someday they will. :) The problem is that some people are just incredulous- “no,” they say, “science will never be able to answer these questions!” But evolution explains an astonishing amount of our behaviour, and it is likely that one day it can be used to explain more.

        Let me have a shot. You mention ‘joy’ as an example of something you don’t think that we need to survive. Well, if we stick for the minute only with primitive joy (the type I think most of us would agree that canines and other mammals enjoy), there is a very obvious explanation once you think about it.

        In the wild, an average pack of dogs succeeds with only 1 in 10 hunts; they often fast for over a week. The hunting process is massively gruelling and presents genuine risk of injury or death with every attempt.

        With this in mind, it is not enough for the dog that its objective- getting food- is wrapped up in hunting. The process is so gruelling that any animal with just this incentive would soon be put off. A massively useful survival mechanism is to actually enjoy the hunt purely for its own sake. This is a powerful incentive. This explains why dogs enjoy chasing things like sticks or balls even when there is no food to be had. The animal enjoys the act unto itself.

        Can you see that, on close examination, there are plenty of explanations for why emotions such as joy are useful? Obivously I can’t explain every one here (I don’t know enough anyway), but I would recommend Desmond Morris’ ‘The Naked Ape’ for further analysis of human zoology.

        One final point, oft raised about art and music- why are they useful to us? This is a misunderstanding of evolution. Evolution doesn’t produce solely what is necessary. Anything that is not detrimental to the survival and, more importantly, reproduction of the species can be passed on. For example, men have never lost their nipples during growth because they present no evolutionary disadvantage. A man with nipples survives just as well as one without.

        With this in mind, it is easy to see how ‘side-effects’ crop up in evolution. Dawkins actually lists religion itself as a side-effect, a result of man’s instinctive tendency to humanise causes (I agree, though I’m not sure, as Dawkins is, that religion is an inherenty bad side-effect). Creativity is, without doubt, useful to human society. It allows us to construct tools, plan hunts etc. But evolution can’t pick and choose creatvity- humans with greater intelligence survived better, so general creativity was passed on. And with general creativity comes artistic and musical creativity.

        More gneerally, it may simply be the case that complex emotions and creativity are an inevitable result of a developed brain. The developed brain itself is useful to survival- massively useful. Any unfortunate ‘side-effects’ such as complex emotion don’t outweigh this usefulness, so are not discarded but are passed on.

        • syoungren says:

          If evolution doesn’t produce only what is necessary, then what is the mechanism by which it produces unnecessary things? Darwinism proposes that behaviors or traits that render a survival value are passed on. What survival value, then, does musical ability or artistic appreciation produce? What is the survival value of being able to appreciate beauty (such as the beauty of a sunset)?

          So elements that cannot be explained by their ability to render survival value are swept under the rug by labeling them “unfortunate side effects” or an “inevitable result”?

          I thought complexity required a long process of random mutation and natural selection. How does emotion evolve its complexity through random mutation and natural selection if it renders no survival value, but is only an “unfortunate side effect?”

          This is a rhetorical device used to do away with phenomena which cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution, and transparently so.

          What survival value does consciousness produce? Why does a “survival machine” (to use Dawkins’ term) need consciousness?

          Can you do away with this inconvenient question by just labeling consciousness an “unfortunate side effect?”

          Please describe how religion is a harmful side effect.

          • James says:

            I’ll say it again- Natural Selection does not only produce what is strictly ‘necessary.’ For a start, evolution is blind; it doesn’t know what’s necessary or what isn’t.

            Consider it a a genetic level. Random mutation. Say for the purposes of argument that there is an ‘artist gene’ (there isn’t) and that this develops in 0.1% of the population. An artist gene is no hindrance to an organism’s ability to survive/reproduce, so ‘artist organisms’ will survive just as well as others of the species, and so will be passed on.

            Religion is a very interesting example of this. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s very obvious that believing one’s parents without question is beneficial to survival- if mum says ‘don’t walk towards those alligators’, any baby that tested this command would be dead.

            But this has the ‘side-effect’ of children believing things even when they are transparently false. This includes wide ranges of beliefs, from the urban myth that hair regrows quicker once shaved, to – maybe – religion.

            As for consciousness, it’s a mystery, mostly because no one’s even sure what consciousness is. What are we talking about? If we are talking about self-awareness, foresight, thinking creatively, looking for short-cuts etc, then all of these things have very obvious practical applications, e.g. hunting, creating tools.

            I’d also like to point out one other thing I’ve noticed: why are people so eager to attribute all the good things to God (love, art, sunsets etc) but none of the bad? Isn’t this the precise opposite of the perspective you criticise in your post about suffering?

            BTW, I never said I consider religion a harmful side effect- that’s Dawkins. I think religious people are generally trying to help. :) I just find it a shame that we should need such motivation.

            • syoungren says:

              It is OK to believe these things. Just don’t confuse these beliefs with science.

              The test of whether something is scientific is through the Scientific Method, as follows:

              1. Observable. The act of seeing with the human eye the phenomena in question.

              2. Falsifiable. The ability to setup a test or experiment to determine the validity of the thesis.

              3. Repeatable. Any experiment must be repeatable to be valid and produce data that can be accepted.

              4. Null hypothesis. Statistical analysis of the data to fall within a given acceptable range that makes the data of use and value. This allows further predictions based on the model used in the experiment.

              5. Laws of operation. The laws of science (physics, chemistry etc.) must apply to both the phenomena and the thesis.
              What prevents Darwinism from ever becoming an established fact or law is that it can not pass the Scientific Method. Clearly, theories and scientific laws are not the same thing. Take a look at Newton’s Three Laws of Gravity. Newton’s theories of gravity became law because they could validated and verified by the Scientific Method, something that Darwinism can never be established by.

              So when you say that such human attributes as the ability to appreciate art, music, and beauty were caused by random genetic mutations, you are not making a scientific statement. This is because such a view has not been and never can be verified by direct observation or experimentation.

              Such views are best described as religious in nature. Recall what psychologists say about science becoming a religion. Psychologist Charles Tart in The End of Materialism:

              “…but science is practiced by human beings, beings who, like the rest of us, are fallible, so [I present] ways of not knowing, ways in which essential science ossifies into scientism, a rigid belief system, and which genuine skepticism, an honest search for better truths, turns into pseudoskepticism, or debunking. As I’ve observed it in my career, and I think psychologist Abraham Maslow would have agreed, science can be practiced in a way that makes it an open-ended, personal-growth system for the practitioner or one of the most effective and prestigious neurotic defense mechanisms available.”

              The claim that human attributes such as love and the ability to appreciate beauty, music, art (and what not) are caused by random genetic mutations is an assertion that springs from a scientistic (not to be confused with “scientific”) belief system, not from science. I am not criticizing your religious beliefs, I am just pointing this out.

  20. Dashan says:

    I should also add that for a scientific theory to be valid it must be testable, falsifiable, observable and make accurate predictions. To use the much abused phrase, “show me the evidence!” Name the physical laws & processes, what mathematics does macro-evolution entail?

    • nick says:

      Macro-evolution makes sense based on the wide array of evidence that we have so far. Genetic codes help demonstrate the similarities and organism traits within larger scale evolutionary diversification.

      Micro evolution is observable. We suspect very strongly that macro evolution happens in much the same way. We have vast reason to suspect that this is right and little evidence to say that this is wrong. Micro evolution is observable is a perfect example of the process initially in animals such as pigeons and dogs. We have bulldogs and labradors, terriers and dachshunds, collies and Great Danes, all coming from an original ancestral group of wolves. Humanity has done this itself; we have been doing this particular line of experiment for millenia. Obviously change does happen over time on the micro scale at the very least. Why shouldn’t it happen on the macro scale?

      For this we have genetics and DNA, fossils and geology. DNA sequencing and genetics are very strong examples of evidence in favour of macro – evolution. To find relationships between species using DNA would seem to be a very reliable form of evidence. DNA is a pivotal tool in Global justice. Most global court systems (in the developed nations) will accept DNA evidence as reliable enough to convict someone of murder.

      • Dashan says:

        Nick says: Macro-evolution makes sense based on the wide array of evidence” Where is it?
        You say that micro evolution is observable-no problem NO ONE IS QUESTIONING ADAPTATION! But as I said for a scientify theory to be valid it must be testable, falsifiable, observable and make accurate predictions. To use the much abused phrase, “show me the evidence!” Name the physical laws & processes underpinning MACRO evolution? what mathematics does it entail? Where are the 1000 of failed attempts & examples of the missing link which Darwin predicted?

        THe point missed by everyone in the evolution debate is that it is just a possible MECHANISM to explain the biodiversity of life. It says NOTHING about cause or agency. You may have a wonderful mouthwatering cake and have a room full of Nobel laureates in all disciplines to give their analyis of the cake (except for a mathematicians b/c theres no prize for maths). But explaining a process doesnt answer why it exists, or where it came from. You wont find the baker in his cake or the author in his book. Newton didnt say “ah now I have a mechanism like gravity to explain planetary motion, I dont need God.” He said “now I see how God did it.”

        Without God we have mechanisms without causes. If u believe the absurdly complex laws of science created themselves in an all material world, you’d believe in anything.

        BTW, I suggest everyone read New Scientists Jan 2010 in which Evolution by natural selection has been all but thrown out on the basis of Viral interference in cell replication. Which explains how sudden changes occur in the fossil record such as the Cambrian explosion.

        • nick says:

          I keep getting answered as though I am a fully fledged atheist. I make no logical steps from Darwinism to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist. This is a slightly separate question, although of course one does have some affects on the other. I am not an atheist.

          I believe in the science of evolution, not as a religious person has faith in something, but because the overwhelming array of evidence convinces me that Darwinism is the very best explanation for the diversification of life. If ammendments are made and very credible alternatives are voiced, then I will indeed re-evaluate my position. However, to this point I see Darwinism as the best explanation of the process of nature.

          If you look at Catholic beliefs, you will see that the Catholic Church has accepted the truth in Darwinian theory and yet it retains its faith in Christianity and God. Whilst it is a tricky issue, you see no official line on fundamentalist creationism in the Catholic Church. They believe in Darwin and they believe in God, saying that scientific findings on evolution and Catholic understandings of faith are not in conflict.

          You ask for missing links in the fossil record, yet every fossil that exists is a missing link. Each fossil that exists represents a different stage in the process of evolution of the last billion years. Try archaeopteryx. What a fantastic missing link between the evolution of birds from dinosaurs and feathers from scales.

          The primate australopithecus walked the Earth 3 million years ago. The skeleton of Lucy is evidence of the existence of this human ancestor. Pretty good intermediate fossil.

          How about two existing descendants of an ancient line of sirenians. Current elephants and the water dwelling manatee share the same ancestral heritage before they split apart millions of years ago. Again we see evidence of intermediate stages in their fossil record.

          If there is some alternative to evolution, such as viral interference in cell replication, then we still need to understand what happened, and if viral replication is a credible alternative postulation then perhaps that is how nature operates. However, this postulation again sounds very naturalistic to me, with no implications of divine intervention, so are you suggesting one naturalistic explantion in place of another? I think this brings us no closer to a proof of God.

          Science and Darwin demonstrate the best explanation for the natural world and the fossil record, but I know many Christians and people of faith, who do not dispute this, yet still believe in God.

          • syoungren says:

            I don’t think that you are an atheist. When you say that “every fossil that exist is a missing link,” you are mistaken.

            I think that the evolutionary biologist Henry Gee said it best (in 1999): “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way…To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”

            “Lucy”, for example, can in no way be demonstrated to be a human ancestor. This article shows what I mean. Here is a cut and paste of an important excerpt:

            ‘Lucy’ is the popular name given to the famous fossil skeleton found in 1974 in Ethiopia by American anthropologist Donald Johanson. To many people, Lucy is regarded as a certain link between ape-like creatures and man—thus supposedly proving evolution. But is Lucy really a pre-human ancestor?

            According to Richard Leakey, who along with Johanson is probably the best-known fossil-anthropologist in the world, Lucy’s skull is so incomplete that most of it is “imagination made of plaster of paris”.1 Leakey even said in 1983 that no firm conclusion could be drawn about what species Lucy belonged to.

            In reinforcement of the fact that Lucy is not a creature ‘in between’ ape and man, Dr Charles Oxnard, Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia, said in 1987 of the australopithecines (the group to which Lucy is said to have belonged):

            “The various australopithecines are, indeed, more different from both African apes and humans in most features than these latter are from each other. Part of the basis of this acceptance has been the fact that even opposing investigators have found these large differences as they too, used techniques and research designs that were less biased by prior notions as to what the fossils might have been”.2
            Oxnard’s firm conclusion? “The australopithecines are unique.”3

            Neither Lucy nor any other australopithecine is therefore intermediate between humans and African apes. Nor are they similar enough to humans to be any sort of ancestor of ours.

            I should also mention that Donald Johanson (the other of the top two fossil experts in the world and the discoverer of Lucy) places Lucy (australopithecus africanus) in a side branch not leading to man. (see A Systematic Assessment of Early African Hominids which appears in Science, authored by D.C. Johanson and T.D. White)

            So despite the fact that the two most well known fossil experts in the world (and many other fossil experts) deny that ‘Lucy’ is a human ancestor, she is spoken of as human ancestor in a matter-of-fact way in the media. This is what I mean when I say that widespread belief in Darwinism should be viewed as a sociological and psychological phenomenon.

            The same is true of many other supposed “missing links.” Evolutionist Derek Ager confesses:

            “It must be significant that all the evolutionary stories that I learned as a student, from Trueman’s Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers’ Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been debunked. Similarly, my own experience of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.”

            Ancestral lineages in the fossil record must be looked upon as nothing more than unsubstantiated projections of the materialist worldview upon the fossil record. Because such lineages are not scientific hypotheses that can be scientifically tested (and have been repeatedly debunked), they cannot be deemed to be anything more.

            As far as archaeopteryx is concerned:

            “Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.” (Patterson, Colin [late Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London], letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L.D., “Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems,” [1984], Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p89).

            Declaring ancestral lineages in the fossil record is NOT SCIENTIFIC because it is NOT TESTABLE. (“there is no way of putting them to the test”)

            and then:

            “It is not difficult to imagine how feathers, once evolved assumed additional functions, but how they arose initially presumably from reptilian scales, defies analysis.” (Stahl, Barbara J. [Professor of Biology, Saint Anselm College, USA], “Vertebrate history: Problems in Evolution,” Dover: New York, 1985, p349)

          • nick says:

            If Lucy belonged to another branch of primate lineage, that ultimately did not lead to man, we are still looking at a member of the primate family from 3 million years ago. It is of a different species to homo sapiens and therefore is evidence of change, adaptation and evolution.

            Human ancestor or not, it is evidence of evolution and change in species over time. There are no Lucy’s about today.

            I think that it is correct to consider macro-evolution occuring Darwinistically, because we see so many occurrances of fossils fitting within the proposed framework.

            If the theory is wrong, then we should see examples of fossils existing outside of, or contradicting this framework at intervals we have not predicted or not in alignment with hypotheses. We never see a fossil existing out of place in the record. Nothing exists in a place where it shouldn’t be. This is the kind of evidence that begins to ammount to reasonable proof.

            If we are to propose that speciation cannot occur in the way displayed in the fossil record, then modern forms of science should not be able to manipulate animals genes in any meaningful way to demonstrate the ability for animals to change retrospectively to any great extent.

            The field of genetics is one of the best areas of proof of how inherent the ability is in genes for animals to change into new species over time, as well as mappimg some of their previous changes. Within the genes of modern animals is the family history of their route through nature to their current existence. Within these genes are contained the ability to have longer legs, shorter arms, greater height or larger claws.

            Upon manipulation in labs, scientists have been able to change modern animals by stimulating different genes into action. The ability for us to see evolution in action is demonstrable via gene manipulation.

            With Archaeopteryx lies even further evidence of the ability for macro evolution to take place.

            Scientists hypothesise that reptiles have evolved into birds over eons. If this is true or even provable, then this is some of the best evidence of macro-evolution being able to take place. Birds and reptiles are certainly considered different species.

            In lab experiments done in recent years, gene manipulation has been tested in chickens. It has been found that chickens retain the genetic ability to grow reptilian teeth. This is an extraordinary ability that is recessive in modern chickens, but the gene’s presence inside the chicken is a monument to their ability to grow such teeth as reptiles in the deep past. This is but one of the similarities in chicken and reptilian makeup. Gene manipulation in labs in recent years has demonstrated the ability that chickens have to grow scales, a longer reptilian tail, teeth, longer legs and claws on their forewings. These are all ancient reptilian traits inherited from millions of years of evolution and speciation. Such abilities would not exist if there was no connection and correlation between family lineages, evolution and speciation.

            Here are a couple of articles with reference to these discoveries.

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=mutant-chicken-grows-alli

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29537188/ns/technology_and_science-science/

            Darwinism is not a social movement, it is scientific truth.

            • syoungren says:

              But change within species is not macro evolution. It is micro evolution, and virtually no creationist disputes micro evolution, nor would they have any reason to.

              Nick, I have cited expert after expert who say that no species has ever been shown to evolve into another. And none of these experts are creationists (to the best of my knowledge). Rather, they are just honest Darwinists. Are you just going to keep ignoring this and making assertions that fly in the face of the facts?

              You can keep asserting that the fossil record displays a lineage of species. I guess I have to recycle one of my previous quotes:

              Evolutionary biologist Henry Gee said it best (in 1999): “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way…To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”

              I recommend that you read this article as well.

              Important excerpts:

              The Curator of the invertebrates department at the American Museum of Natural History, Niles Eldredge, who was also the adjunct professor at the City University of New York, is a vigorous supporter of evolution. Dr. Eldredge openly admits that the traditional evolutionary view is not supported by the fossil record. He says, “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long,” as he writes, “It seems never to happen. Fastidious collecting of fossils, from the bottom upward, up sheer cliff faces, zigzags, minor oscillations…all showing the same results. That life forms all appear, fully formed, complete in body parts, at their first discovery”.2 “When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution“.2

              “…most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument made in favor of Darwinian interpretation of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.” (Dr. David Raup, Curator, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. (Quoted from “Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50 (1), 1979.)

              Darwinism is a scientific truth?!

              The test of whether something is scientific fact or law is through the Scientific Method, as follows:1

              1. Observable. The act of seeing with the human eye the phenomena in question.

              2. Falsifiable. The ability to setup a test or experiment to determine the validity of the thesis.

              3. Repeatable. Any experiment must be repeatable to be valid and produce data that can be accepted.

              4. Null hypothesis. Statistical analysis of the data to fall within a given acceptable range that makes the data of use and value. This allows further predictions based on the model used in the experiment.

              5. Laws of operation. The laws of science (physics, chemistry etc.) must apply to both the phenomena and the thesis.
              What prevents the theory of evolution from ever becoming an established fact or law is that it can not pass the Scientific Method. Clearly, theories and scientific laws are not the same thing. Take a look at Newton’s Three Laws of Gravity. Newton’s theories of gravity became law because they could validated and verified by the Scientific Method, something that the theory of evolution can never be established by.

              Genetics demonstrate evolution?! I have to recycle another quote that you have ignored:

              Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

              Nick, please don’t just keep making the same assertions without citations from credentialed experts to back them up.

      • syoungren says:

        Why shouldn’t evolutionary change happen on the macro scale? Because the fossil evidence clearly states that it doesn’t. Darwinian macro evolution is simply an unsupportable extrapolation of micro evolution.

        How many experts am I going to have to cite to finally get through to you?

        Here is yet another:

        Evolutionist Steven M. Stanley concluded that: “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition.” (Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, 1979 p. 39)

        And yet another:

        The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson states:

        “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

        Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

        “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

        Nick: I would like to administer a simple multiple choice test. Does the fact that, as Simpson put it, “all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences” support:

        A) creationism
        OR
        B) the Darwinian model which suggests gradual evolution through random mutation and natural selection.

        • James says:

          Hmm… Denial is not just a river in Egypt. This is one thing I’ve always found frankly amusing about creationism. Any theory that conflicts with their beliefs is simply thrown out. Radiocarbondating? Wrong. Evolution? No evidence, so wrong. Have geological ages been conflicting with creationism since 1791 (Lyell)? Wrong. Age of the universe? Wrong. Paleantology? Wrong.

          Now people are even trying to tell us that evolution isn’t ‘scientific’. Who’s spreading this stuff?

          Evolution makes a number of testable statements about the world. It makes predictions that can be tested. It can be falsified. It can be observed. One of the reasons Dawrin’s theory took off so well is that he made predictions that all kept panning out. The paleantological record shows clear evidence of evolution. One example of fossil rabbits in Jurassic rock would blast evolution out of the water. But this has never happened.

          Don’t believe the fossil record shows this? Have you been looking at examples? Try talkorigins.com. Here’s one example from that site:

          The first giraffids were Climacoceras (very earliest Miocene) and then Canthumeryx (also very early Miocene), then Paleomeryx (early Miocene), then Palaeotragus (early Miocene) a short-necked giraffid complete with short skin-covered horns. From here the giraffe lineage goes through Samotherium (late Miocene), another short-necked giraffe, and then split into Okapia (one species is still alive, the okapi, essentially a living Miocene short-necked giraffe), and Giraffa (Pliocene), the modern long-necked giraffe.

          Now how about going on the offensive, because creationism is just too absurd for words. It’s not testable – you going to get God to create something? – and it isn’t observable. And it doesn’t follow scientific laws, it requires God to actively break them. Call that scientific?

          Syoungren, I’m afraid your only reply, which I’ve seen five or six times now, is to mis-quote scientists such as Gould, who are supporting sudden evolution, but not creationism. Gould was an open evolutionist, and would hate that you’re doing this.

          Back to problems with creationism. Vestigal organs (predicted creationist response: denial)? Poor design in humans (predicted response: denial), such as tendency for back problems due to spine not being strong enough for eighty years of taking one’s weight; what about how our entire digestive system is wide open for disembowelling? How come we share so much of our DNA with other species (was God just lazy?) Where did all that water come from for the flood? For that matter, where did Noah find Polar bears and penguins in Palestine?

          • syoungren says:

            You are not responding to creationism, but to a crude caricature of creationism that you have created in your head and/or read about in books by Dawkins. Who is questioning radio carbon dating? If you took the time to watch the videos by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder, you would see that there is no conflict in the timelines of the bible and of mainstream science. Yes, the earth is about 4.56 billion years old and the universe about 15 billion. Conflicts between biblical chronology and scientific chronology are rooted in a pre-Einstein understanding of time. The universe is only in its seventh day of existence when viewed from an observer located at the locus of the big bang. This is what the bible is talking about when it refers to a six day creation. Review the video about Einstein’s theory of time dilation and then Schroeder’s videos (they are towards the bottom in my evolution piece).

            Since I have responded to other readers comments on this topic before, I am going to have to do a lot of copying and pasting below:

            Here is the problem with the evolution debate: There is more than one definition of “evolution.” Below is an excerpt from The Politically Incorrect Guide Darwinism and Intelligent Design:

            Eugenie C. Scott writes: “What unites astronomical, geological, and biological evolution is the concept of change through time. But…not all change is evolution, so we must distinguish evolution as being cumulative change through time.”

            Nobody rejects evolution in this sense.. Our grandparents had a perfectly good word for it: they called it “history.”

            In biology, evolution takes on additional meanings. Some biologists define it as “a change in gene frequencies over generations.” Like “change over time” or “cumulative change over time,” evolution in this sense is uncontroversial. My genes are different from my parents’, and my children’s genes are different from mine. So what?

            Charles Darwin’s term for biological evolution was “descent with modification.” When used in a limited sense, however, even this is uncontroversial.

            …Breeders have been using artificial selection to produce descent with modification for centuries—within existing species. Natural selection has also been observed to do the same in the wild–but again, only within existing species. So nobody in any field quarrels with “change over time” or “cumulative change over time.” And nobody in biology doubts “change in gene frequencies” or “descent with modification” within existing species.

            But Charles Darwin claimed far more than any of these things. In The Origin of Species he set out to explain the origin of not just one or a few species, but all species after the first––in short, all of the diversity of life on Earth. The correct word for this is not evolution, but Darwinism.

            So the problem is that the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism” are often used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous, when they are really not. Evolution, in certain senses of the term, is virtually undisputed. But evolution in the Darwinian sense that all species are theorized to have descended from one common ancestor (brancing out to form a “tree of life”) has been completely discredited by the fossil evidence.

            Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

            And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

            Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

            Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

            Speciation has never been observed by biologists or paleontologists. Not even once. Period. (If you want more quotes, just ask.) This puts Darwin’s theory on very shaky ground indeed. If you still doubt this, please go pick up a copy of The Altenburg 16. The title refers to a meeting of 16 biologists from universities such as Oxford, Harvard, the University of Chicago, etc. who held a hidden, hush-hush meeting in Altenburg, Austria to start laying the framework for “post Darwinian research.” Here is my favorite quote from the back cover (as can be viewed on Amazon): “The scientific establishment has been somewhat scared of dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement.”

            And my second favorite quote from the back cover: Oxford University and University of Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis (who won the U.S. Presidential Medal for science) says: “The Anglophone tradition [Darwinism] was taught. I was taught and so were my contemporaries. And so were the younger scientists. Evolution was defined as ‘changes in gene frequencies’ in natural populations. The accumulation of genetic mutations was tauted to be enough to change one species to another….No it wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

            Darwinism is a nothing more than a completely unsubstantiated projection of materialist philosophy upon the world. When adequate fact checking was done, it became increasingly clear that Darwin’s assumptions about speciation and the “tree of life” were false and that supporters of the theory had just assumed them to be true.

            I haven’t checked into your giraffe example because I have absolutely no reason to dispute what you say in this example. But this is not speciation…it is descent with modification within a species.

            It should be noted that the above cited experts are not creationists, but rather Darwinists. They therefore believe in Darwinism in spite of the evidence rather than because of it. Their beliefs are therefore a commentary on the materialistic lens in which they view the world. Widespread belief in Darwinism by biologists should be viewed as a sociological and psychological phenomenon rather than a testimony to the veracity of its scientific underpinnings. You are correct, Gould and these other (honest) Darwinist scientists would probably be enraged that I am quoting them. TOUGH LUCK!

            Recall what Thomas Kuhn said about paradigm rejection in the most important book written about the psychology and sociology of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Scientists do not reject a paradigm when they realize it has failed. Rather, they reject a paradigm when they realize it has failed AND a better paradigm comes along to replace it.

            Relevant to this topic is what I said in my “Why are so many smart people unconvinced post”:

            The late great paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

            “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

            In what “cultural contexts” are atheist biologists rooted, causing them to perpetrate “unconscious or dimly perceived finagling?” For one, in the cultural context that the material world is the most basic, fundamental plane of existence (a worldview known as “materialism” or “naturalism”). The Harvard geneticist Richard C. Lewontin commented in 1997 that (in reference to defending Darwinism in a debate), “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Lewontin went on to say that “materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

            And lastly the above quoted biologist, Lynn Margulis said: “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

            What about Darwinism is testable? How is your assertion that human emotion resulted from genetic mutation testable?

  21. James says:

    Syoungren, I can see we are not getting anywhere. After all, you just replied to my post with a cut-and-paste answer, word for word, from before: with plenty of made up stuff added in. The introduction of ‘period’ and ‘I have more quotes’ does not make your untrue assertion that speciation has never been observed true any more than a lack of observing speciation (in 150 years?) disproves evolution. I don’t want more quotes from scientists you know nothing about, that’s quote mining. I want you to actually explain this yourself. The very fact that you quote Gould AGAIN, after being repeatedly told that he was a strident evolutionist who wanted nothing to do with creationism, summaries my point perfectly.

    Have you noticed how at the very centre of creationism is an attempt to take a step backwards? Scientific theories often override old ones against strident opposition- just as Darwin’s did. But never before has an old, disproven theory managed to take a step back and replace the old one. It’s the equivalent of going back to believing in four elements rather than the periodic table.

    The idea that it is six days ‘from the locus of the big bang’ is just as ridiculous as God making the world younger. For a start, why would God use a big bang if it would lead to such confusion as ‘time dilation?’ Why is only one scientist – an Orthodox Jew – propounding this theory if it is so patently obvious? Time Dilation, like c-decay and white hole theory, is simply another desperate attempt by creationists to make the evidence fit their own views.

    Evolution – my turn to cut and paste is very clearly defined in biological terms. Honestly, do you believe Darwin could write a book to convince the scientific world without defining it? Here you go:
    Biological evolution … is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.”

    Let me ask finally- is there really any point in my discussing this with you?

    P.S. I am still interested to know how you consider man ‘repulsed by religion’ in light of my previous comments.

    • syoungren says:

      Do you want me to cut and paste it yet again, or will you start to furnish rebuttals to the points that I make? It seems that these realities are having a hard time making it through the materialist lens through which you view the world. (Even though materialism has been completely discredited by modern physics, as I have demonstrated in my “What It All Boils Down To” post).

      “Quote mining,” again, is a bizarre reference to how the quotes were obtained…in order to deflect attention from the fact that you do not have a rebuttal to the points made by the people I quote. It is a desperate rhetorical device used to protect your unsupportable views from scrutiny.

      You say: ” The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.”

      Everything you say here is 100% correct, right up until the last part where you say “….to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.” As I have clearly demonstrated, no species has EVER been demonstrated to evolve into another. I will YET AGAIN recycle a quote relevant to this topic below (and at least a dozen more if you request):

      Recall what the University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said? See below:

      “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organism.”

      James….speciation as a result of random mutation and natural selection is a FICTION…open and shut. As I probably mentioned in a previous post, the Oxford University and University of Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis is know for asking biologists present at her public talks to name a single unambiguous example of a new species emerging from an accumulation of mutations. But as Michael Behe notes “her challenge goes unmet.”

      Yes, Gould was a staunch Darwinist….a staunch Darwinist IN SPITE OF THE FACTS rather than because of them. The same is the case with virtually all of the scientists that I quote. This is because if I quote creationist scientists (such as Michael Behe), atheists will not even listen.

      Repetition seems to be the only tool I have left in my arsenal to get through to you. Darwinists like Gould and the other scientists “I know nothing about” will continue to embrace Darwinism after it has failed until a new paradigm that fits the materialist worldview comes along to replace it. Your inability to perceive things that lie outside your materialist worldview requires me to CUT AND PASTE YET AGAIN!! Here, yet again, is what Thomas Kuhn said in the most important book about the psychology and sociology of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:

      “Though they [scientists] may begin to lose faith and then consider alternatives, they do not renounce the paradigm [or broadly accepted set of scientific theories and beliefs] that has led them into crisis. They do not, that is, treat anomalies as counterinstances, though in the vocabulary of the philosophy of science that is what they are. In part this generalization is simply a statement from historic fact… These [examples] hint what our later examination of paradigm rejection will disclose more fully: once it has achieved the status of paradigm, a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternate candidate is available to take its place.….The decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgment leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other.” [emphasis mine]

      The late great paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

      “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

      In what “cultural contexts” are atheist biologists rooted, causing them to perpetrate “unconscious or dimly perceived finagling?” For one, in the cultural context that the material world is the most basic, fundamental plane of existence (a worldview known as “materialism” or “naturalism”). The Harvard geneticist Richard C. Lewontin commented in 1997 that (in reference to defending Darwinism in a debate), “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Lewontin went on to say that “materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

      And lastly the above quoted biologist, Lynn Margulis said: “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

      The fact that scientists continue to endorse Darwinism after their own statements demonstrate that it has clearly failed is a PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON….not evidence supporting the failed paradigm.

      Is there any point to discussing this with me? Not if you are unable to furnish any rebuttals.

      Yes, these quotes I have are gems. But if the only psychological defense mechanism you have to protect yourself from the unpleasant ramifications they pose to your worldview is to declare them “mined,” then I feel for you. Would the quotes be more acceptable to you if I had bought them from the jewelry store rather than getting them from straight from the “mine”?!?!

      You call my reference to the MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder’s citing time dilation to rectify the chronological discrepancies between the bible and science “desperate.” That is a nothing more than a characterization. If there were a logical argument preceding this characterization, the statement could be deemed something better than worthless. But there is no logical argument preceding it. Your attempt to casually dismiss my arguments without producing fact-based, logically constructed rebuttals (such as citing other scientists to counter my points) very strongly suggests that you realize that your stance cannot withstand debate.

      Is there only one physicist making this argument? I don’t know. But the subject matter that Schroeder is analyzing is something that only someone who is both a physicist and a biblical scholar is qualified to speak about authoritatively. How many people fit this bill? What does his being a Jew have to do with anything? Are Jews not able to think clearly?

      James, I am sorry if I have been harsh in my replies. But sometimes “tough love” is necessary. There are eternal ramifications for rejecting God, and I don’t want you or anyone else at this website (or anywhere else for that matter) to make that mistake.

      • nick says:

        Some noble and good sentiments in your conclusion here. Such motivation makes your cause good and you deserve respect for what you are trying to achieve.

        However, advocation of Darwin is not rejection of God. You can be a Darwinist of the strictest kind and have a faith in God. The argument here, in the main, is over evolution, not whether God exists. People retort strongly on this, because they are genuinely convinced that Darwin is correct, for very good reason, as am I.

        • syoungren says:

          Nick, you are right about Darwinism not really being opposed to God. Darwin himself thought that the common ancestor that he proposed was created by God. Like I said before, I only attack Darwinism to demonstrate how heavily atheists overplay their hand when they (like Dawkins) use it to rationalize atheism.

          Considering what we know about new species never emerging from already existing species—either in the laboratory or in the fossil record—what is it about Darwinism that you find so convincing?

          • nick says:

            It is the overall compilation of all the evidence together. It is the cumulative effect of all the lines of evidence that seem to point in the same direction. If it was just one ore two little bits, then I might find it more speculative, but there is such vast evidence that points to its correctness and I find this too compelling.

            • syoungren says:

              But, as I have demonstrated, the “tree of life” that Darwin predicted is exactly backwards.

              The fossil record show that species appear fully formed and very suddenly in geologic terms. Then, instead of diversifying, as Darwin predicted, the fossil record shows that life forms become less diverse. You would be hard pressed to find a paleontologist who disputes this. Remember how the paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson put it:

              “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

              Can you explain to me how random, unintelligent processes can account for the sudden emergence of life forms? Further, if they were not preceded by ancestors in the fossil record, how can you really say that Darwin had it right? Not a single biologist can cite a single unambiguous example of a new species emerging from an accumulation mutations.

              The evidence isn’t “vast” as you put it. The evidence is zero.

          • nick says:

            I cannot agree with this final statement. You have agreed with a certain amount of Darwinian theory yourself. Zero evidence would amount to denying the existence of things such as adaptation, which you have already professed to be true.

      • James says:

        This is my favourit quote so far: “James….speciation as a result of random mutation and natural selection is a FICTION…open and shut.”

        Oh, well if you say so. And you say you’ve got a ton of quotes to back up your point? Including… who is it again? … S.J. Gould!

        This is quote-mining of the most appalling order. I’m afraid that this website doesn’t really differ from the conventional creationist website in that numerous quotes from scientists are cut and pasted onto the site without reference or context.

        But I’ve already shown you that Gould was an out-and-out evolutionist. And Richard C Lewontin is also an ardent evolutionist- he merrely proposes a slight change to the formula, which is the context of his quote that you have so heedlessly pasted to me in reply.

        Seriously, this is absurd. If I were to go via google onto ‘quotes from famous evolutionists’ and others, and just post them all in streams, would you be happy?

        You would not have to look long to find that every respected scientist believes that creationism is a ‘FICTION’… open and shut.

        Yet, just as creationists have done for 100 years, the first crackpot idea that arrives is simply accepted. Take your ‘time dilation’ from Shroeder. This is just the latest in a long line of refuted theories, namely c-decay and white hole theory, that have been propounded by creationists to try and explain the evidence in their favour. Their ‘facts’ are never tasted or tried, indeed have no kind of of interraction with the scientific community at all. Yet they appear immediately on every creationist site on the web.

        It’s scandalous. Creationists want to bypass all the normal routes of evidence… publishing in journals, compiling evidence that’s submitted to the mainstream community- and just preach directly to the masses.

        In the face of their abject failure to ‘convert’ scientists, this is their only option left after 100 years of trying. They must resort to conspiracy – all scientists are hardline ‘materialist fundamentalists’ (even Christian evolutionists- how does that work?) who are supressing the truth.

        In reality, creationist ‘scientists’ make up a tiny handful of some 600 US scientists, all religious fundamentalists, many hardline preachers as well, many of whom are making millions from selling books to gullible people while real scientists toil in obscurity.

        To clarify:
        – The fossil record supports evolution. The creationist minority have been misquoting and misrepresenting for 100 years. E.G. Gould and Lewontin.
        -Creationists have attempted to step back to an outdated form of science by bypassing the scientific community and targeting the community using quote-mining, where scientists are taken out of context and without reference and quoted in hordes; examples being found on this very site. E.G. Gould, Lewontin.
        – Creationists attempt to deflect the truth by claiming that all scientists who believe in evolution are simply hardline materialists- even the religious ones- who don’t want to accept religion or spirituality even despite all the benefits of believing in eternal bliss that you still haven’t answered me about.
        – Creationists will and have believed any theory that supports creationism, from c-decay through to the latest, time dilation, even though these are works by independent scientists that haven’t been verified. Some persistent trends through creationism, however, such as irreducible complexity and alleged lack of fossil evidence, have been consistently repeated for 100 years. They have still made no headway in the scientific community.

        To summarise your belief, then: You believe that the vast majority of scientists, all 40,000 of them in the USA, are delusional materialists willing to hold on to any theory that rejects God- even though many are themselves religious, “two-thirds” according to your own evidence.

        On the other hand, creationists, despite believing in a literal interpretation of the Bible, accepting God completely, and believing that God will punish anyone who doesn’t accept their religion with eternal damnation, are completely without bias. In short, creationists such as Gish or Behe are completely reliable.

        You believe that the works of individual scientists with clear bias towards their own beliefs, such as the Orthodox Jew, Shroeder, are more reliable than independent panels of scientists.

        You believe that there is a persistent conspiracy amongst scientists to suppress the lack of evidence for evolution- even amongst the two thirds of scientists who actually believe in God. This conspiracy has been going for at least 100 years.

        There’s some tough love for you.

        • syoungren says:

          Cut and pasted without reference or context?! What additional context does a quote such as “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences” really need?!

          Perhaps the full quote appeared like this: ““…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences….Just kidding, I don’t really mean this.” I just removed the last seven words to take the quote out of context and deceive you.

          Once again, it seems like repetition and capital letters are the only devices I have in my arsenal to get through your perceptual filter.

          YES, THESE SCIENTISTS I CITE ARE ARDENT EVOLUTIONISTS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN CREATIONISM. BUT THEIR OWN STATEMENTS BETRAY THE FACT THAT THEY BELIEVE SUCH THINGS IN SPITE OF THE FACTS RATHER THAN BECAUSE OF THEM!

          This is either the third or forth time that I have copied and pasted the following, but here it goes AGAIN:

          Here, yet again, is what Thomas Kuhn said in the most important book about the psychology and sociology of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:

          “Though they [scientists] may begin to lose faith and then consider alternatives, they do not renounce the paradigm [or broadly accepted set of scientific theories and beliefs] that has led them into crisis. They do not, that is, treat anomalies as counterinstances, though in the vocabulary of the philosophy of science that is what they are. In part this generalization is simply a statement from historic fact… These [examples] hint what our later examination of paradigm rejection will disclose more fully: once it has achieved the status of paradigm, a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternate candidate is available to take its place.….The decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgment leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other.” [emphasis mine]

          The late great paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

          “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

          In what “cultural contexts” are atheist biologists rooted, causing them to perpetrate “unconscious or dimly perceived finagling?” For one, in the cultural context that the material world is the most basic, fundamental plane of existence (a worldview known as “materialism” or “naturalism”). The Harvard geneticist Richard C. Lewontin commented in 1997 that (in reference to defending Darwinism in a debate), “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Lewontin went on to say that “materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

          And lastly the above quoted biologist, Lynn Margulis said: “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

          The fact that scientists continue to endorse Darwinism after their own statements demonstrate that it has clearly failed is a PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON….not evidence supporting the failed paradigm.

          The fundamental flaw in your logic is thus: You fail to make the basic distinction between scientific research and the philosophical underpinnings that PRECEDE RATHER THAN FOLLOW that research. Materialism is a philosophical “cultural context” which mainstream biology adapts BEFORE ANY EXAMINATION OF FACTS OR DATA. It is not a conclusion that results from an examination of facts or data. Further, it is a philosophy which is at odds with modern physics, as I have demonstrated in my post entitled “What It All Boils Down To.” Scientists who refuse to adopt the philosophical system of materialism often find themselves “unemployable” to use Margulis’ word.

          Calling creationism “outdated science” is another manifestation of your inability to distinguish between science and philosophy. Neither creationism nor materialism are science. They are PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS. The Oxford Dictionary defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Creationism and materialism are philosophical views about the origin of the “physical and natural world.”

          Studying the “structure and behavior” of phenomena within “the physical and natural world” is a fundamentally different subject than discussing why it is that there exists a physical and natural world in the first place. This is the realm of philosophy, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.”

          I would not characterize mainstream biology’s belief in materialism to be a “conspiracy,” as you put it. Rather, it is a philosophical belief system. Once again, nobody is disputing evolution in most senses of the term. Rather, it is Darwinism and its belief in random processes driving the diversification of life that is in dispute.

          You say that I “believe that the works of individual scientists with clear bias towards their own beliefs, such as the Orthodox Jew, Shroeder, are more reliable than independent panels of scientists.” You ignore what I said in a previous reply. Independent panels of scientists do not dispute what Schroeder says. Rather, they don’t have any reply to what he says because very very few scientists even discuss the topic of biblical chronology as it relates to time dilation. Only a person who is a both a physicist AND a biblical scholar is qualified to comment on this subject matter.

          Do I believe that all all 40,000 scientists are delusional materialists? No, certainly not. But if they don’t believe in materialism, they had better keep their beliefs to themselves. This is what the biologist Lynn Margulis meant when she said, “If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

          By the way, I am still waiting for you to explain to us why scientists from elite universities such as Harvard, Oxford, the University of Chicago, etc. are holding hidden, hush-hush meetings about laying the framework for “post-Darwinian research” (as discussed in the book The Altenburg 16). Why are they afraid of “the powerful creationist movement” as this book also discusses? Am I taking this out of context as well? Perhaps the correct context is that they were joking.

          • James says:

            Well, I’ll try and explain again what Gould is saying, since you seem to be so hung up on it.

            Gould absolutely supported evolution. His controversy came when he debated whether evolution was gradual (slow and consistent) or phenomenal (sudden and broad, with long periods of little change). Gould absolutely did not say ‘actually, you know what, I think evolution is faulty.’ Don’t you think he’d be scandalised by this? As ever, real scientists are saying, “how interesting, phenomenal evolution might be right”. And every creationist in America jumps up and says “see, they don’t know what they’re talking about!”

            Back to the materialism conspiracy. I find it astonishingly hard to believe that two-thirds of scientists (who apparently are religious) are keeping quiet about creationism because of a tiny minority controlling them.

            The biggest irony is in the fact that most real scientists- evolutionists- actually toil in obscurity doing real scientific research, whereas creationists like Behe and Gish publish a few books for gullible people and make heaps of money. Being a ‘creation scientist’ is ridiculous, but it is definitely profitable.

            And no, surprisingly Shroeder is not agreed with by contemporary science. Numerous independent attempts have been made to try and ‘dilate’ 13.5 billion years into six days. It’s impossible.

            Quick quote from you: “Materialism is a philosophical “cultural context” which mainstream biology adapts BEFORE ANY EXAMINATION OF FACTS OR DATA”. But you said yourself that 2/3rds of scientists are not materialists because they are religious! Have you thought this through?

            Another example: In one of your posts you repeatedly claim that ‘mainstream physics’ completely opposes the idea of conventional materialism, thus somehow doing away with materialism (materialism= physical world. How does it do away with it?). But as soon as mainstream physics turns against you, suddenly Shroeder, this lone scientist with an obvious bias, must be right, and all 400,000 others are wrong.

            Also, you say Creationism is not actually even science. Well, it isn’t, you’re quite right… but since people of your ilk call it “creation science” it seems difficult to believe that everyone sees this. What’s more, you’ve just accepted that no scientific explanation for the origin of life exists; since God’s magic spells are not subject to scientific laws.

            Finally, a note on Lynn Margulis, an ardent evolutionist with a few controversial claims to do with symbiosis; and further evidence that you are simply quoting out of context:

            In 1995, Richard Dawkins- the biggest evolutionist on the planet- said this about her:

            “I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.”

            That’s what she refers to when she talks about conventionality, not creationism. But I assume you knew all of this.

            P.S. The Altenburg 16 was written by Creationists. Given their track record when it comes to honesty, I am disinclined to believe anything the book says. BTW, I still wait on a response as to why we are all so fundamentally against the idea of a God in light of my previous statements.

            P.P.S Any cut-and-paste answers will not be read.

            • syoungren says:

              Yes Gould absolutely supported evolution. And he should have, because evolution is true in most senses of the term.

              As I said before, all that I am disputing (or any other informed creationist for that matter) is Darwinism, which says that one species evolved into another. This clearly has NEVER been demonstrated to happen….not even once.

              Regarding your comment:

              “Back to the materialism conspiracy. I find it astonishingly hard to believe that two-thirds of scientists (who apparently are religious) are keeping quiet about creationism because of a tiny minority controlling them.”

              You insist on mischaracterizing it as a “conspiracy” when the citation I provide calls it a “cultural context.” You are building straw men and then shredding them. In other words, you are responding not to my arguments, but to crude caricatures of my arguments that you create.

              I said that 2/3 of scientists believe in God, not 2/3 of biologists. Mainstream biology is out of step with modern physics in its acceptance of materialism. A copy and paste from that article I cited earlier: “Some stand-out stats: 41 percent of the biologists don’t believe, while that figure is just 27 percent among political scientists.”

              Forty one percent is not a “tiny minority” as you characterize it. This is more than enough to establish a “cultural context” that accepts Darwinism. Such is especially the case when you consider that it is entirely possible to accept Darwinism and simultaneously believe in God. Charles Darwin himself believed that the common ancestor from which all life evolved (which he proposed) may have been “originally breathed by the Creator.”

              As I have said to another reader at this site (Nick), the only reason I bother to attack Darwinism is to demonstrate how heavily atheists overplay their hand when they use it to rationalize atheism. Darwinism and belief in God are not even really at odds because Darwinism just discusses the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor. It does not even attempt to discuss the origin of life.

              You say:

              “Another example: In one of your posts you repeatedly claim that ‘mainstream physics’ completely opposes the idea of conventional materialism, thus somehow doing away with materialism (materialism= physical world. How does it do away with it?). But as soon as mainstream physics turns against you, suddenly Shroeder, this lone scientist with an obvious bias, must be right, and all 400,000 others are wrong.”

              I don’t need to claim that physics has turned against materialism. Physicists claim this. For example, Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory said:

              “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

              Planck also said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

              The physicist Sir James Jeans said:

              “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we ought rather hail it as the governor of the realm of matter.”

              I can go on if you like. Just say the word.

              Where does physics turn against me? Time dilation and the relativity time are part of Einstein’s theories. Just google “time dilation Einstein.” You will be unable to find a single physicist who disputes time dilation.

              Can you provide a citation to back up your assertion that Schroeder got his numbers wrong with regard to time dilation and biblical chronology? Please provide a citation for one of these “numerous independent attempts” that you mention.

              Materialism and creationism (or theism) are philosophical beliefs that underpin scientific inquiry. I say that creationism and materialism are not scientific because science itself is silent about philosophy. It is the interpretation of scientific insights that produces philosophical beliefs.

              Creationism and its opposite (materialism) are not and can never be science, they can only philosophical views. Science only examines phenomena, it does not interpret the phenomena. Can you distinguish between science and philosophy?

              The Altenburg 16 is a very very anti-creationist book. It is basically a transcript of interviews between a journalist and various scientists from elite universities who are trying to piece together the foundations of “post-Darwinian research” since Darwinism has failed. This meeting of 16 prominent scientists was held in Altenburg, Austria in a hidden, hush-hush fashion because of their fear of “the powerful creationist movement.” These biologists are trying to piece together a new paradigm that fits the materialist worldview before too many people realize that current materialist paradigm (Darwinism) has fallen apart.

              You are waiting to hear my reply to why atheists are opposed to God? Is there something that wasn’t answered in my post entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?”

          • Richard says:

            darwinism has not fallen apart but has grown… at first it was a theory but we have been here long enough to witness it… you saying that it has fallen apart is nothing but a lie… only people who believe in creationism think that darwinsim has fallen apart… what world are you living in… why do you think that there is so many different types of species… studies prove that certain animals birds reptiles fish etc. that were once the same have evolved to adapt to where they live and how they live and what they eat… why would you not believe that we are a part of this… are we a sacred being jus because we are intelligent… I know i am jumping on almost every post on here but the more i read your explanations the more i get fustrated with your ignorance… either you are really dumb or you are a genius that is making money by getting people to discuss the obvious and arguing with them with absolute failure to truly explain anything just a bunch of your beliefs and beliefs and quotes of others… This is either a really good idea, or a pitiful waste of peoples time…

            • syoungren says:

              Actually, no, that is a totally false assertion. Behind the scenes, much of the scientific community realizes that Darwinian evolution has failed as a theory. Please read my post entitled “Doesn’t evolution prove the biblical account of creation to be false?” Respond with any rebuttals you may have.

              For further evidence, please read The Altenburg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry. The title of this book refers to a secretive meeting (the public and media were banned) held in Altenburg, Austria in 2009 by 16 top biologists and geneticists from top universities such as Oxford, Harvard, and UCLA to discuss laying the groundwork for “post Darwinian research.” Click on the title to view it on Amazon.com.

              On the back cover, Lynn Margulis (who is a Professor of Biology at Oxford University and the University of Massachusetts, and won the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) makes the following revealing statement:

              “The accumulation of genetic mutations were touted to be enough to change one species to another….No, it wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

              Another favorite quote from the back cover:

              “The scientific establishment has been somewhat scared of dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement.” –Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review.

              Why would the scientific establishment need to be dealing with new evolutionary ideas, and why would it be afraid, unless it had realized that Darwinism was no longer scientifically supportable?

              But that being said….If you want Darwinian evolution, YOU GOT IT! Assuming that Darwinian evolution is 100% correct scientifically, how do you explain the existence of the natural laws and the natural structure that allow such evolution to occur? The only answer that an atheist can give is another one of the “it just is” leaps-of-faith that underlie the atheist religion.

  22. nick says:

    nick says:
    March 3, 2011 at 3:49 am
    nick says:
    March 5, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Would you have any opinions or reactions to the above 2 posts?

    I feel that these are hugely important topics in relation to religion and the existence of God and are something that you have not attended to on this site. These isssues and the future are hugely important areas.

    • nick says:

      thanks i have replied above

    • nick says:

      How are you doing…. I did appreciate your thoughts on environmentalism. It is painted often in Britain, that America is very unconcerned with sustainability, but I know there are many who feel it to be a necessary reality.

      • syoungren says:

        Doing great. I don’t think that image of the USA is deserved. Not sure what it is based on. SInce I am not trying to make a scientific point, I will allow myself to cite wikipedia on this topic, unless you object. Look at the number of environmental organizations based in the USA compared to other countries.

        • nick says:

          I don’t mind at all, that’s a fair thing to say and I know that many in America are hugely concerned with such things. The rewilding projects I thought were fascinating although perhaps controversial, where predators were reintroduced to areas near development.

          The numbers of environmental organizations must be balanced against the economic attitude though, which is the main source of the conflict. Think oil, energy and development. Ideals not unique to America, but revered and held by most of the developing countries around the world. The side affects of these things are the causes of the problems, that’s why it is painted that various countries, like America, are not very environmental. With governments like the Bush administration actively working to stifle the academic community’s warnings over climate change. I’m sure many citizens like yourself are concerned, but the outweighing factor is the desire to develop and grow. Think deepwater horizon, desire to drill in Alaska…etc. it’s the same all over the globe and is why the ecology of the planet is being decimated. Amazon slash and burning for farmland and timber, Indian tiger populations, African lion populations, poaching and hunting for sport, overfishing. It’s the economic goals and desires that fuel this fire, not the concerns of individuals like yourself who probably have good attitudes.

  23. David says:

    Greetings:

    GodEvidence.com makes a strong argument in If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced? I could not help but agree; however, I was seeing connections to other possible reasons that scientist and educators present science in the way they do. It has something to do with a political agenda that wishes to keep people in a state of left brain thinking. It’s all connected with keeping people blind to the truth because truth would set us free. More information can be found via David Icke and Alex jones. In any event, I think GodEvidence.com did a fine job explaining things.

    David

  24. Lear says:

    It saddens me that so many people in the world still believe that gods exist. Wake up everyone, and get real – there is no tooth fairy, easter bunny, st. nick, santa or god(s).

    • syoungren says:

      Believing that the universe is a “brute fact” (even though it has been demonstrated to have existed for a finite amount of time) is a much more child-like belief than believing that the universe and everything in it was created by a being with a personality. This is especially the case when you consider that we are beings with personalities.

      Imagine three kids sitting by the Christmas tree. The youngest of the three is the only one who still believes in Santa Claus. One of the two older kids says, “Santa didn’t put the presents there, our parents did.” And the other of the two older kids says, “Santa didn’t put the presents there, and neither did our parents. Nothing and nobody put the presents there. They are just a ‘brute fact.'”

      Which of the two older kids has the more plausible hypothesis?

      • Richard says:

        that is a rediculous statement, creation is tarded to believe… how is somebody going to create a whole universe and only create one habitatual environment… im not going to sit here and say i know exactly how we came about but to believe that somebody else made all of this is rediculous… and to say that we must come from a being with a personality because we have personalities is just plain stupid. No one in their right mind would think that the world is infinite because that means no explanation for a begining. it has to do with electrons protons neutrons… energy forced together… a constant fight between energy and gravity if we lost gravity we would all start floating away and the instantly rip apart… if we lose our built up energy we would all be crushed from an overpowering gravity… stop feeding these people all these lies and your beliefs, at least discuss the truths of it and then make your opinions afterwards…

        • syoungren says:

          Please note that merely characterizing arguments (“ridiculous”, “stupid”, “lies”) does nothing to bolster your case. Of course you consider theist views ridiculous and stupid…you view the world through an atheist/materialist lens, and anything that does not jibe with this worldview is going to appear ridiculous and stupid. Theists look upon your views in the same way.

          And you view the world this way despite the fact that materialism has been completely discredited by modern physics, as I demonstrate in my post entitled “What It All Boils Down To.”

          You say, “it has to do with electrons protons neutrons… energy forced together… a constant fight between energy and gravity if we lost gravity we would all start floating away and the instantly rip apart… if we lose our built up energy we would all be crushed from an overpowering gravity…” When you say this, what you are referring to is one of the examples of anthropic fine tuning that is discussed in my essay entitled “Is There A God? (What Is the chance that our world is the result of chance).”

          So I will ask you straight up: How is it that energy and gravity are balanced just exactly right so as to allow for our universe? Will you reply with one of the “it just is” leaps-of-faith that undergird the atheist belief system? Or do you have some other reply?

  25. Clyde Seger says:

    Lot’s of intelectual Philosophy, nada proof, which is all we are asking for.

    • syoungren says:

      This particular essay was intended as an explanation for the phenomenon of atheism, not as direct evidence for God. It wouldn’t sound right to call the website “godevidenceandexplanationofatheism.com”. Some essays at this site which provide more direct evidence for God (that you may want to start with) are “What it all boils down to,” and “Is there a God (What Is the chance that the world is the result of chance?)” and “Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it?”

      There is a lot more than just “intellectual philosophy” contained in the essays I mentioned above and elsewhere at the site. I would encourage you to read them and comment. Here is a favorite quote of mine to start you off:

      “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

      –Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Robert Jastrow.

      • Richard says:

        haha idiot… that is just an exciting way to tell you that stars come shooting from black holes… which doesnt prove creation at all but yet more proves that there are other univereses like ours… and all your stuff is nothing more than philosophy… not even all intellectual… some but not all. their is no evidence none whatso ever stop telling people that this is…. and how bout you call the website philosophyofgod.com, but no that probably wouldnt get as many people to click on it now would it…

        • Chrispy says:

          Richard, I question what proof would satisfy you.

          Lets pretend for a moment we are all computer programs, inside a box, and there is a man who designed it and owned the computer. Anything, anything at all, that the programmer would do to show his programs he exists could be explained away. Why? Because no matter what the programmer does, he does not reveal himself. To write “I am real and I exist!” on the clouds could be a hoax. A programming miracle could be an “illusion.”

          And then the programs would go about saying “There is no proof in a programmer!”

          Because no matter what I show you, its not the programmer. It just points to Him. God exists outside of the system, so how can testing things within the system possibly prove something outside of the system?

          All science truly is is study through experiments and information to obtain data. What is done with that data is not science. Evolution is not science. What you do with the information science gives you is not science: It’s logic and philosophy.

          I really don’t mean to upset people, all I want to do is show people the hypocrisy of their statements and beliefs in hope that they could find a God who loves them and created them for joy and freedom :)

  26. nick says:

    Did you ever look in to anything by David Attenborough? Planet Earth is a fantastic series. I have just found it available to watch online for free if you like. The visuals and quality are not done justice on this streamed internet version, although the quality of this stream is good enough to get a good understanding. The best place to watch this would be from a dvd or blu-ray.

    You can select episodes and watch them in their entirety for free and you will see the quality and integrity of his work.

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/planet-earth-the-complete-bbc-series/

    Not all of the episodes are on this site, but these are most of them. ‘Pole to Pole’ is episode 1 and a good place to start.

  27. david dodds says:

    hello
    Its ridiculous god isnt and cannot be proven to exist this conclusion is mere rhetoric. there is nothing but the writen word you either believe it or you dont, and I am not threatened by the fact that god may exist, all you have is belief nothing more and nothing less.

    • syoungren says:

      Belief in God is based on a lot of evidence, not just blind faith. Please read my posts entitled “Is there a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?)”, “What it all boils down to,” “Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it,” etc… Then post any rebuttals that you may have.

      Scott

  28. Douglas vincent says:

    The question is their a god? And the answers turning to science..Science is young,It changes What is often scientific fact now; often times has to change with new science and technologizes.If one observes both christianity and science you will begain to see that they are not disproving each other.But as science slowly developes it is proving more and more of the scriptures..For if their is a god,would he not be the ultimate of knowlage of science and of all knowlage?..I have read many of the question believers and non believers come up with.Some i have heard all my life.Why would an all powerful good god let such terrible things happen,Babies dying,Young people killed in car accidents,old age and all the other sufferings that go on in the world?..One must understand god dosent look at thing as we do.He is all knowing,dying means little to him,,He controls it,He understands it..But why dose he let us suffer?..One then has to acknowlage if god exists so dose satan.Satan wants the suffering and the turning away from god..God lets this happen because he has given us the free choice…And in the end he already knows the out come…He ever stop guiding us,it is not him who lets us down..And if one would think of it for a moment…About the sufferings that goes on in the world.It was stated to me once that this could be a blessing for humanity..For with out it think of it.If everything went right.Would we soon forget about god? believe we dident need him?..But what happens when tragedies strike.Who is it we ask why? Does it get us thinking about god one way or the other?..Think about it for a while….Douglas

  29. Richard says:

    Why do so many people take offense at the idea that there is a God? Further, why are so many smart people unconvinced despite the wealth of evidence? And if the evidence is so strong, as this website contends, why isn’t it more commonly known?
    R.C. Sproul comments in his book If There Is a God, Why Are There Atheists?:

    The New Testament maintains that unbelief is generated not so much by intellectual causes as by moral and psychological ones. The problem is not that there is insufficient evidence to convince rational beings that there is a God, but that rational beings have a natural antipathy to the being of God.

    hey contradiction in the first couple paragraphs just like the bible (believers are rediculous)
    non-believers get upset with believers because everyday there is someone trying to get you to crossover… countries are ran based on religion… people kill others and children too because “god” told them to. people everyday make horrible decisions that effect others because they make their decisions based on their religion. To say science is a religion is bull… science is not a belief it is gathered facts FACTS!!!! And what really makes me laugh about this whole thing is that it says evidence of god… even the link is called godevidence.com … yet i have yet to read one thing that states any evidence… all i see is a buunch of opinions givin by book writers and scientists… there is no evidence there never will be because such a thing does not exist… what does exist is us… everything here that is on earth and maybe other places…
    I have read almost everything that this scott youngren fellow has posted on his website and links and i have yet to find any evidence though he claims and other people claim that there is overwhelming evidence… what?? and then you are dumb enough to post a qoute from a scientist that there is not enough evidence to support the idea of a god and thats why people find it hard to believe… haha this is nothing more than a ” hey ill talk about anything, even this retarded so people can come to my website”… i give you props on that scott… good idea for a web page, but you are still a moron… i will give you the satisfaction of me commenting on this, but we have already spoken about the word evidence… i gavve you the definition and you clearly worte it back word for word, so you must understand what the word means… but yet you seem to use the word evidence as it it sits in a thesaurus with the words belief and faith…
    and just for the record I AM NOT AN ATHIEST I AM A MAN THAT CALLS IT HOW IT IS… i bet 90 % of these people who claim to believe, have never picked up a bible outside of their church (if they even go to one… hypocrites) and yet they try to talk as if they have… the bible is a horrible book of short stories. If you really read the bible ( and i have ) you will see that it is contradicting, ugly, demanding, fictional, and makes for nothing but a long ass horror movie. A book that everyone speaks of so highly and forgiving and love has an awful lot of blood, death, hate ( yes from god himself ) and deceitfulness, but yet noone that is a believer seems to want to discuss these matters… they tend to ignore them… the same people that claim their god is merciful and loving and caring and claim that god himself wrote this book, are the same people that come up with silly excuses as to why those passages were in the old testament… and the new testament which was obviously man made (so was the old one but were not going to get into that right now) revised and took out alot of those gruesome horrible passages that were so clearly spoken by the almighty caring loving lord… haha haha you people make me laugh, you make me sad, you make me confused, and you make me mad… stop letting your religion effect others and we will not argue with you about it and let you be with your beliefs.

    • syoungren says:

      You refer to yourself as a “non-believer,” but you clearly are a believer. You may not believe in God, but please recall that disbelieving in one explanation for the existence of the universe or for the existence of life necessarily means that you believe in some other explanation.

      If you are an atheist, then you believe that the universe and life “just are” and don’t need an explanation. The atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell, for example, called the universe a “brute fact.” This is just another way of saying that it “just is.”

      Is belief in a universe that “just is” or belief in life that “just is” a belief based upon facts? No, it certainly is not. Atheism, like theism is based upon certain leaps-of-faith. It is just that the leaps of faith are MUCH bigger in order to believe in atheism.

      Which requires a bigger leap of faith?: 1) A universe devoid of intelligence and consciousness which randomly evolved beings that are intelligent and conscious OR 2) a universe that was created by an intelligent and conscious being that contains other intelligent and conscious beings.

      How could it be that, in an eternally existing universe devoid of intelligence and consciousness that intelligent and conscious beings came into existence? Please realize that an infinite amount of time, or an infinite amount of universes, does nothing to explain the emergence of intelligent and conscious beings. This is because bare probabilities are causally inert and require a causal mechanism to achieve any result.

      What do I mean by this fancy preceding sentence? Let me illustrate: Take the statement, “If a person could, hypothetically, live forever, that person would eventually win the lottery.” How can we know that this statement is false? Because no matter how long a person lives, they will never win the lottery if they do not play the lottery. The act of going to the convenience store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is the causal mechanism that allows the bare probability of a lottery win to result in an actual lottery win.

      And in a universe devoid of intelligence and consciousness, there are no causal mechanisms that would allow the bare probability of life to result in the actual emergence of life….no matter how old that universe is.

      Give me a specific bible verse that involves “blood, death, hate and deceitfulness,” and I will be more than glad to discuss it with you.

      Lastly, I must point out that your comments rely heavily on strident rhetoric, forceful assertions, and insults to fill the gap left by your lack of logically constructed, fact based arguments.

      You will not see me calling anyone any names….I rely on my arguments to make my points, I don’t need insults.

      • Richard says:

        you know scott after awhile of all this dumbass excuses for things and all the ignorance it builds up and the truth comes out i am a man that says it how it is not a man to say what i believe believing is nothing but false hope i will tell you, you are being a fucking ats what you are idiot if thats what you are being and i can give tons of excerpts on the evilness that is truly in the bible, but i know from experience of doing this with other people, you will just find some irrational excuses as to why its not what it says and the only people who seem to understand it is deeply drivin religious folk… its just pitiful to watch someone go through so much trouble to fight for somthing they themselves dont even know for sure about… anybody with a brain in their head and with the REAL evidence that i can give you shall see that this whole god thing is a bunch of nonsense and is slowing us down …. wait actually stopping us from advancing (evolution of the mind now instead of our bodies) into what the human race is actually capable of… we someway or another are a mixture of most beings on earth and we’ve proved that we dont use our whole brain yet… once we learn to tap into that our very way of living will never be the same.

        • Friend says:

          Hi Richard,

          I hope I dont come across in a way that upsets you. I only find you to be interesting. I would like to ask you a couple of questions and hope you will give honest answers.
          First I would like you to know a little about how I believe so you can understand why you interest me and why I am asking you these questions.
          I believe in God. I only know that God is there from what is inside me. Its a feeling of home that is deep within me. No matter how much I question God being there or deny that God is there I cant shake the feeling deep inside that God is there. I often wonder if this feeling is in everyone even the ones that dont believe in it.

          Deep within you, do you not feel the presence of something unexplainable?

          I saw this documentary about Jesus not being real. It bothered me so because Jesus is a hero to me. I hope so much for him to be real. jesus to me was someone who did not judge anyone, who loved all, who sacrificed all of himself for others, who believed in everyone with all of his heart. Jesus is someone I aspire to be. So I googled was Jesus real and came to this website. I was wondering…

          Why did you come to this website?

          I wanted to talk about some of the things you wrote about and how I beleive….this is merely for my benefit. It feels good to type out my beliefs. Maybe that is why I came to this site….

          The bible to me is a book that was written by man and rewritten by man and interpeted in so many ways. There is alot of good in the bible and there is alot that is written that I simply do not see our God as being. I am not sure why it was written that way. I think maybe it was written that way to scare people into believing and as this method may be working on some I believe it scares more people into not believing. I believe more people do not feel worthy of God’s love and turn away from it. When I read the parts of the bible that make God out to be this vengeful, mean, scary God I believe that to be a verse that was put in by man to scare not a verse that was given by God. There are verses in the bible that are good and helpful…
          In the bible I love this verse…
          1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end.
          I try to live by this verse.
          I believe we and everything living is made by love. For I truly believe God is love. No matter who the person how good or how bad God loves all.

          How do you show evidence of love?

          I wonder why there are religions out there that kill in the name of God. I am not sure the purpose of this but I do believe there is a reason for everything. I often try to think of ways to open the eyes of people with hatred to love and peace but haven’t been able to think of a way to do that yet. I even thought about writing the terrorist a peace letter but as you can tell I am not much of a writer and may end up doing more harm then good.

          You are right about the fact that we dont use our whole brain and I have pondered on this as well. I wonder why do we have such a brain if we cant seem to use all of it? I came up with maybe we use different pieces of it in different lives until we open all of the secret doors. Maybe it is so complex and time consuming to make over and over again it is just easier to make it once and use different pieces of it in different lives until we use it all, and once we open it all up we are home (heaven). Or maybe it is preset to open up in different ways when one life ends and another begins. I dont know just silly thoughts…i wont ever know the answer to this and all the unanswered questions until the time comes for me to know the answers so in the meantime I would rather believe in something that is good, that is full of love and positive feelings then to not believe in anything and feel alone as if I am flandering like a fish out of water.

          I hope that you are able to see good and not bad that you find happiness, peace, joy and love and that this life for you is full of wonderful times and great adventures.

          God Bless

          Love – A Friend

  30. Rudrajit Dey says:

    How can you prove with the technologies and science that there really can be miracles. I know that there are many religions but all of them somehow end up to the place where a person has miraculous powers and can do anything. I mean how can some of the things that people think truly happened be explained by science. I have been thinking about this question for a long time and I hope to someday find the answer to it: WHAT IS THE ABSOLUTE PROOF THAT CAN BE EXPLAINED BY SCIENCE AND SHOWS THAT GOD EXISTS?

    • syoungren says:

      As far as miracles are concerned, please read this article.

      The assumption that miracles cannot happen is based upon the assumption that the universe is a “closed system.” In other words, it is assumed that miracles cannot happen because nothing outside the universe (such as God) interacts with the universe. We know that the universe cannot be a closed system because we know that the universe had a beginning and therefore had a cause. The very act of the universe coming into existence is a clear-cut example of something outside the universe (the cause of the universe) acting upon the universe. Please read my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal?” in the snippets section. Everything with a beginning requires a cause. This is the law of causation, without which science would be impossible.

      What is the absolute proof that God exists? There can be no such thing. And if you think about it, there is virtually nothing that we humans can have absolute proof of.

      For example, try to give me absolute proof that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. You can’t do it. But what you can do is give me some extremely convincing reasons that any reasonable person would accept. By looking at these reasons, the reasonable person would have to make the (ever so small) leap of faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

      In a similar fashion, a reasonable person has to make a very small leap of faith that God exists based upon the available evidence.

      The leap of faith made by the atheist, however, is much much greater (although very few atheists realize it). An atheist, for example, must take the huge leap of faith that the universe “just is.” To cite an example, the prominent atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell called the universe “a brute fact.” This is just another way of saying that the universe “just is” and doesn’t need an explanation.

    • Chrispy says:

      Rudrajit, what is the absolute proof that can be explained by science and shows that Love exists? Or truth? Or the fact that science is needed to be absolute proof? Please don’t make demands for proof you don’t ask out of anything else in life…

  31. Chrispy says:

    Hey I just wanted to give props to syoungren because after reading most every comment, it looks like He’s taking on everyone.

  32. Emily says:

    what should i do if people dont believe in God…so many people dont believe in God and i dont have an answer for them can u please help me out….

  33. Sasa says:

    Well done Youngren, Iv’e always felt that God exists because the concept of giving away wealth to help others and loving ones enemies would never be created by man alone. My life isn’t great but for those who suffer I believe they will be redeemed. Evil exists so good exists as suffering from pleasure one needs the other so that we may differentiate. When you spoil a child they never grow. Tough love is the way to go. Love, fear and respect your father. We must suffer to appreciate all we have. Much of the Bible is symbolic so when people take certain parts literally It is pretty funny, like the tribes of Israel, when I first read it I actually thought it was talking about this mans actual sons. In the end I felt stupid. It is a very complicated 2000 year old book I still can’t understand all of it. It’s funny how we use our scientific logic to determine our origins when existence defies logic. We shouldn’t always trust our senses but just go by what morally seems correct. Anyway that’s my view. :)

  34. Ernest says:

    I asked a woman that said she didnt believe in God if she believed in miracles? She said “NO”.I told her she had to believe in one or the other because If all this matter was just floating in space and a big explosion took place and it just happened to form our universe as complicated and mysterious as it is.It had to be a miracle.So thats you’r choice people either believe in God or believe in miracles.And with that being said.Its impossible for miracles to happen without God.So much for you’r choice..lol

  35. Ernest says:

    Sounds to me Richard like you have a problem with religion not God. I bet you really believe in God and just dont like organized religeon shoving anything down you’r throat.Its been my experience that a lot of people that go around claiming they are christians really arent some dont really believe in God at all.And Vice Versa with non believers.The reason the Bible is filled with blood and killing and horrible events taking place.Is because the world is full of blood and killing and horrible things.It was inspired by God and written by men.But If you read it with an open mind its more than just a book of short tragic stories.Theres a big picture and it all fits together and its not horrible or scarry or bad.Maybe its not what you are reading maybe its you’r mindset while you’r reading it? The Bible is the only book that says its Not ok to lie cheat murder and steal.Well its 2011 and its not now but it is the book that introduced the concept of goodness to the western world.So if it isnt true then we can all do whatever we want as long as the law dont catch us we are scott free? There are rules and laws for everything.otherwise nothing works.The Bible is the rules and the laws of living.Maybe If you looked at the Bible like a law book you’d get more out of it.Read the 10 comanments and tell me sir.Wich one of those is wrong?

  36. Ernest says:

    I used to skydive a lot when i was younger and have heard a few non believers scream out for God…lol..Anyone who really doesnt believe in God might just do anything.Because based on thier beliefs If they can get away with it untill they die then thier transgression goes unpunished forever.Theres No God to punish murderers child molesters thieves and liars and rapist.So If you’re good at your crimes thats all you got to worry about.So lets all go out get hammered and steal some cars and find some people to rob and kill? and if we get caught we can just commit suicide and get out of going to prison.Hell we are all gonna die anyway..lol…All you athiest keep screaming you want proof theres a God But you idiots cant prove there aint one either.I dont need proof all I gota do is look around.You skeptics wouldnt believe it If i told you something as simple as a paperclip just appeared out of the smoke of an unexplainable explosion.But You ready to believe that the whole universe did.I dont doubt theres a God but sometimes I wonder why he made some people so ignorant? Or is it just thier freedom of choice?..lol

  37. Steve R says:

    Ernst.

    I am having difficulty with existentialist philosophy that puts man in an absurd world where no rules or moral code exist. That he is what he becomes. And he becomes what he becomes through exercising complete freedom in the choices he makes. He is responsible for those choices – but what is responsibility? Effectiveley man is unique in that in his case he exists first and then essence comes after. The atheistic position on this is that this philosophy makes God dead. But there are Theist versions of the philosophy that postulates existentialism as being part and parcel of Gods creation. I’m agonising over all this right now as though in a wilderness of mid-life crisis. I have done much reading over the last month or so and it has left me feeling alone and lost. I want to believe because it obviously has a far more positive effect on ones life in this world than coming to terms with a Godless existence with no meaning or hope. People say you should look inside oneself to discover the true essence of who you are. But I need to know how to do that. Whenever I try it becomes nihilized.

    • nick says:

      Philosophy puzzles me too. What do you mean by, ‘Effectiveley man is unique in that in his case he exists first and then essence comes after’?

  38. Chris says:

    One has to wonder why atheists spend so much time defending their beliefs to the point of using insulting remarks to debunk any rational argument made for a higher power that may exist outside of themselves. However, just because there was a cause to the universe, does not mean that the creator has stuck around, nor does it mean that the creator will grant everlasting life to its creation. A deist will grant that there was a supernatural or inexplicable causation to create the universe, our unique planet with just the right amount of distance from the sun, the only known planet to hold life as ours, yet an artist does not hold onto his work for eternity. The only leap to a caring God is found in religious writings and there can be much said for the veracity of the gospels in the Bible.

    The bottom line: All of us are going to physically die. We will see a living creature that existed at one moment and then is gone the next. We can choose to rationalize and argue all we want, but how can any inidividual relate to things that are at odds with modern science, such as raising a person from the dead (someone who has been dead for several days) or turning water into wine or feeding thousands with very little food — every thing is rationalized, because miracles are something that do not happen; or they are random acts that happen to others who are simply too ignorant to understand the truth behind the phenomena.

    After death, we will either feel and know nothing for eternity, or we will somehow continue in a realm that is foreign to us in the form of an eternal spirit or soul.

    Perhaps the atheist is still harboring anger at his parents for deceiving him over Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and perhaps the atheist never allowed himself to be absorbed in the fantasies of mythological stories and to wish them to be true. What is wrong with the belief that there is something beyond this life? Why does the atheist say to a believer in God that he is ignorant of the truth. Is it so comforting to the atheist to go through life believing that there is nothing ever after this life that they have to force that belief upon everyone else?

    Most court cases are solved not on eyewitness testimony; they are solved on a collection of circumstantial evidence that allows the jury to come to a conclusion on the matter beyond reasonable doubt.

    Many believers have doubts; otherwise, we simply would party and rejoice when death took a loved one and gladly anticipate our own deaths. Yes, the uncertainty of what happens after death is scary to all and yes a belief in an afterlife can help alleviate the anxiety of mortality and what is wrong with that? Or would the atheist rather have people addicted to pharmaceutical drugs rather than addicted to God.

  39. Jake says:

    Strange to think so many people believe in one god, ironically to be devoted to a religion such as this you turn you back on all the others and then have the nerve to throw about the term atheist as if it is irrational. Please free your self from the constraints on religion, there’s such a wealth of hard evidence against god, EVOLUTION WHICH CAN BE WATCHED NOW DAYS IN A PETRI DISH WITH BACTERIA how can you argue with something like that whilst be a logical person.

    • syoungren says:

      First of all, no informed God-believing person denies that MICROevolution happens. Evolution has been very conclusively demonstrated within a given species. But MACROevolution (one species evolving into another) has not been demonstrated. Funny that you should mention bacteria!! Here is what the University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton said regarding macroevolution:

      “None [evidence] exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another… Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e. bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organism.”

      Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

      And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

      Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

      Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the Journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

      Similarly, evolutionary biologists Martin Jones and Mark Blaxter write, “Despite the comforting certainty of textbooks and 150 years of argument, the true relationships of the major groups (phyla) of animals remain contentious.”

      Below is a copy and paste of what the late, great Harvard University paleontologist and biologist Stephen Jay Gould said:

      The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
      1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
      2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
      Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
      “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

      Johns Hopkins University paleontologist Stephen Stanley says, “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

      David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way:

      “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information” … (Raup, 1979).

      The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson (who was perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century) states:

      “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

      Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

      “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

      Lee Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and served a fellowship in biophysics at Johns Hopkins:

      “The neo-Darwinians presume that a long chain of random changes can lead to a large evolutionary change. This conjecture is an essential point of their theory…. Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands… The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory.”

      SO WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE IN MACROEVOLUTION DIRECTED BY RANDOM, UNINTELLIGENT PROCESSES??

      In The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry, Oxford University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (who won the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) discusses the persistence of neo-Darwinian theory, despite its deteriorating scientific basis, with journalist Susan Mazur:

      Margulis: “If enough favorable mutations occur, was the erroneous extrapolation, a change from one species to another would concurrently occur.”

      Mazur: “So a certain dishonesty set in?”

      Margulis: “No. It was not dishonesty. I think it was wish-fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

      Mazur: “But a whole industry grew up.”

      Margulis: “Yes, but people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

      • Jake says:

        Look your arguing a factual debate, with opinion. As for the bacteria point (MICRO evolution) you couldent be further from the truth 1000s of new bacteria species evolve each year and begin to get further and further away from the parent species just look at primitive bacteria species. As for macro eveloution, look at the rich fossil records, DNA literally shows which species evolved from each ancestor. Selective breeding speeds the macro evolutionary process the are dog breeds, cow breeds now that have evolved so far they struggle now imagine 4 billion years yes 4 billion. WHY IS MAN SO VIEN get round the fact that were animals DNA proves it, ignorance denys

        • Jake says:

          *to breed with one another

        • Jake says:

          this made me laugh
          ” 1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
          2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
          Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
          “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).”

          To start science has moved miles since the 1980s religious folk and there outdate sources and species do not just appear all once look at the fossil records of say the horse aged by carbon dating although be careful some fossils may be older that the biblical world

          • syoungren says:

            Yes, science has moved quite a bit since the 1980’s….and the picture just keeps getting worse for Darwinism. You have seemingly failed to notice that I included several newer citations.

            Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

            And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

            Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

            Lee Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and served a fellowship in biophysics at Johns Hopkins:

            “The neo-Darwinians presume that a long chain of random changes can lead to a large evolutionary change. This conjecture is an essential point of their theory…. Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands… The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory.” (Spetner, 1998).

            Please also watch this video to see what the fossil record REALLY shows. Hint: It’s not good for Darwinism.

            Here’s a citation from 2007 copied and pasted from one of my essays:

            In the summer of 2007, Eugene Koonin, of the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health, published a paper entitled The Biological Big Bang Model for the Major Transitions in Evolution.

            This paper is refreshing in its candor; it is alarming in its consequences. “Major transitions in biological evolution,” Koonin writes, “show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity.”

            Hopefully you are starting to realize why biologists and paleontologists from elite universities such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, UCLA, and the University of Chicago felt it necessary to hold a secretive meeting (the public and media were barred) in Altenburg, Austria to discuss laying the foundations for “post-Darwinian research.” (See The Altenburg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry for more detail).

        • syoungren says:

          So let me get this straight: You are going to respond to what an eminent bacteriologist says by making an unsupported assertion (i.e. “1000s of new bacteria species evolve each year”)??? Do I have that right?

          Look at the fossil record? I have, now it is time for you to do so. Please review this video regarding what the fossil record REALLY shows.

          Selective breeding speeds the macro evolution process in dog breeds? No sir, dog breeds are not separate species. Rather, all dog breeds belong to the same species known as Canis Lupus. What you have cited is an excellent example of evolution within a species.

          • Jake says:

            what one bacteriologist in speech, why dont you actual quote say umm umm whats that word EVIDENCE its not as if you even quoted his research. My bad i should have back it up believe me its not unsupported, take a look at this article

            http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14094-bacteria-make-major-evolutionary-shift-in-the-lab.html heck theres a journal devoted to looking at newly evolved bacteria http://ijs.sgmjournals.org/ and which video

            the fossil record

            http://chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/HorseEvolution.htm

            the dog point is that it gradually getting there i mean its getting harder and harder for breeds far apart to mate same is true in cows.

            Now offense but is your going to be a smart arse with the lain name the last name should not be in capitals so Canis lupus although to be really accurate it should be underscored ans italic where possible

            • syoungren says:

              Evolutionary biologist Henry Gee (senior editor of Nature) said it best (in 1999): “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way…To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”

              The Curator of the invertebrates department at the American Museum of Natural History, Niles Eldredge, who was also the adjunct professor at the City University of New York, is a vigorous supporter of evolution. Dr. Eldredge openly admits that the traditional evolutionary view is not supported by the fossil record. He says, “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long,” as he writes, “It seems never to happen. Fastidious collecting of fossils, from the bottom upward, up sheer cliff faces, zigzags, minor oscillations…all showing the same results. That life forms all appear, fully formed, complete in body parts, at their first discovery”.2 “When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution“.2

              “…most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument made in favor of Darwinian interpretation of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.” (Dr. David Raup, Curator, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. (Quoted from “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50 (1), 1979.)

              But all of this discussion about the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor misses the most important point and is basically tangential to the core issue: It is the origin of life that poses the biggest nail-in-the-coffin to an atheistic view of the world. How do you explain the origin of life? Do you cite aliens from outer space, as do prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, Chandra Wickramsinge, Fred Hoyle, and others? Please watch this video of Richard Dawkins expressing his endorsement of the hypothesis in an interview. And you can read how prominent atheist biologist Francis Crick endorsed the idea in his book Life Itself.

              IF YOU AGREE THAT THE ALIENS CAN EXPLAIN THE ORIGIN OF LIFE, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE ALIENS GOT THERE. As Scientific American magazine points out, “It has been estimated that a supercomputer applying plausible rules for protein folding would need 10 to the 127th power years to find the final folded form for even a very short sequence consisting of just 100 amino acids.” And protein folding is only the first step in creating life from lifeless chemicals. Further, random processes would need a heck of a lot longer to fold proteins than would a supercomputer programmed to do so. But, the problem is, the universe is only about 15 billion years old.

              I just read an excellent excerpt from John C. Lennox’s book God’s Undertaker. Has Science Buried God? (Lennox is a mathematician from Oxford University). He writes:

              “Zoologist Mark Ridley makes an important observation that will be familiar to mathematicians: ‘the simple fact that species can be classified hierarchically into genera, families, and so on, is not an argument for evolution. It is possible to classify any set of objects into a hierarchy, whether their variation is evolutionary or not.’ Cars, for instance, can be arranged in a hierarchy. But all cars have similar parts because those parts are essential for their operation, and because they are constructed according to a common design — not because they have descended from each other.”

              “From this perspective, similarities in the DNA sequences could therefore logically equally well be read as evidence of common design. Indeed, the common ancestry might have been designed, so that the concepts are not mutually exclusive. For instance, Francis Collins [eminent biologist appointed by Obama to be directer of the U.S. National Institutes for Health], although he differs from Behe on the edge of evolution, suggests nonetheless that, although from our perspective ‘evolution could appear to be driven by chance, from God’s perspective, the outcome would be entirely specified.’ Similarly, Cambridge University evolutionary paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris is dissatisfied by the reductionism of the ultra-Darwinists who ‘having erected a naturalistic system that cannot by itself possess any ultimate purpose, still allow a sense of meaning to slip back in.’ Conway Morris thinks that there may well be some kind of analogue in biology of the fine-tuning in physics that we discovered in chapter 4 and cites van Till’s insistence that ‘It is not simply the numerical values of certain parameters that must be “just right” in order for life to develop. No, it’s the entire formational economy of the universe that must be “just right.” Conway Morris concludes that ‘Not only is the universe strangely fit to purpose, but so, too, as I have argued throughout this book, is life’s ability to navigate to its solutions. This doesn’t sound like a blind watchmaker, but rather like a clear-sighted navigator.”

              “In a more recent book, Conway Morris says as much about the phenomenon of evolutionary convergence: ‘Indeed, as our knowledge, especially of biochemistry and protein function, continues to expand, so at least my sense of amazement can only grow. If the watchmaker is blind, he has an unerring way of finding his way around the immense labyrinths of biological space… Conway Morris subsequently spells out that amazement: ‘Invariably the words tend towards adjectives of stupefaction: astonishing, astounding, remarkable, striking, even uncanny and stunning, are all stock-in-trade responses. As I have pointed out elsewhere, although pronounced by loyal Darwinians, these exclamations seem to reveal a sense of unease. This, I conjecture, is at least reflecting a hesitancy as to evolution’s having a degree of directionality and, perhaps in the more alert investigator, their worst fears of the re-emergence of a telos.’

              Jake, all of the above facts pose a severe threat to your atheistic view of the world. If you continue to pose dismissive replies such as “these are just quotes” rather than seriously engaging with and replying to the arguments, no reasonable person viewing this discussion is going to take you seriously.

    • syoungren says:

      I absolutely LOVE IT when atheists use crude caricatures of theistic beliefs (such as presented in your video) in lieu of rationally constructed replies to what theists actually believe. When atheists rely on attacking crude caricatures of theistic beliefs, it very clearly demonstrates that they cannot respond rationally to what theists actually believe.

      Regarding what creationists actually believe, please view this five part video by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder which demonstrates that the biblical account of creation is REMARKABLY similar to the account given by modern science. Please recall Einstein’s theory of time dilation which has proven that time is relative to the velocity and gravity of the observer.

      This article by Schroeder provides a somewhat condensed version if you don’t want to invest the time in the videos. In a nutshell, the universe is 15 billion years old when viewed from the time-space coordinates of earth. But when viewed from the time-space coordinates from where the universe began, the universe is only six days old! Hence, the six days of creation.

      Try to respond to this with a rationally constructed, fact-based rebuttal rather than another crude, uniformed caricature (such as your video). Sorry to pull the rug out from under you, but YOU CAN’T!

      While I am at it, I think it appropriate to show you some of the ridiculous things that atheists will resort to believing in to get around the concept of God. Several prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins (biologist and author of The God Delusion) seriously entertain the idea that life was brought here by ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE. Please click here to see Dawkins endorsing the idea in an interview.

      Please note that this is not a crude caricature. Prominent atheists such as Dawkins, Francis Crick, Chandra Wickramsinge, and Fred Hoyle ACTUALLY BELIEVE that such an explanation for life might be plausible. This is because such desperate explanations are the only way out of belief in God.

  40. Jake says:

    I hate to break it to you but you got the wrong name for your site maybe god opinion or god quote, where is the hard evidence that the name seems to suggest, no facts no figures just vague quotes. You cherry pick quotes to pretend there’s a argument like numbers of scientists are accepting god, well infact what you have been hiding is 93% of members of the national academy of sciences are infant atheist. Dont believe me?? http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html or google it

    Are you Christian? You are an atheist as much as me, unless of course you believe every religion. How is it you can so blindly dismiss other religions in the name of the one you grew up with.

    Thats strange if correct which i highly doubt religion a lies tend to go hand in hand, my point been you say the days of creation compared to the age of the universe now there different things you would be foolish to believe the universe is still been created now.

    • syoungren says:

      This is perhaps my favorite atheist argument of them all. Instead of replying to the evidence presented, many atheists believe that making repeated and/or forceful assertions that “there is no evidence” will substitute for a reply to that evidence. To begin, please respond to the “anthropic fine tuning” evidence as presented in my essay entitled “Is there a God? What is the chance our world is the result of chance?” When you are done, you can respond to the the remarkable similarity between the biblical and scientific accounts of creation, as presented by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder (please watch the videos and read his essay to which I link in the “Is there a God?” essay).

      If you continue to make empty assertions that “there is no evidence” instead of providing a rationally constructed, fact based rebuttal to the evidence presented….well, every reasonable person viewing this is going to see through your facade.

      As far as your article about scientists belief in God, click on this link to see a survey done by a sociologist at Rice University. According to this survey, fully 2/3 of scientists believe in God. But it is not a simple matter of a head count because, unfortunately, many people decide their worldview based upon psychological and ideological factors rather than upon pure logic.

      So in order to determine if a particular scientist or group of scientists bases their views on God on ideology or, alternately, based upon logic, it is crucial that one actually sift through that logic. As I detail in my essay entitled “What it all boils down to,” the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics believe in God because their research clearly demonstrates that consciousness is more fundamental than matter (read: God’s consciousness). This pulls the rug out from under the materialist worldview which says that matter is the most fundamental plane of reality. If a scientist disagrees with this view, it is important to examine why so as to determine whether it is for logical or ideological reasons.

      Next, let us sift through why the majority of those in biology disbelieve in God. As I detail in my essay “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?,” the prevailing cultural context in biology is to embrace materialism despite the fact that modern physics has declared materialism to be invalid.

      Harvard University geneticist Richard Lewontin admitted in 1997 that, “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Lewontin went on to say that “materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

      Nancy Pearcey recounts: Michael Ruse made a famous admission at the 1993 symposium of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ”Evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to a kind of naturalism,” he said—that is, it is a philosophy, not just facts. He went on: “Evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically.” Ruse’s colleagues responded with shocked silence and afterward one of them, Arthur Shapiro, wrote a commentary titled, “Did Michael Ruse Give Away the Store?”

      But, ironically, in the process, Shapiro himself conceded that “there is an irreducible core of ideological assumptions underlying science,” He went on: “Darwinism is a philosophical preference, if by that we mean we choose to discuss the material universe in terms of material processes accessible by material operations.”

      So because modern biology insists upon materialism, despite the fact that modern physics utterly discredits materialism, we can be certain that this is an ideologically based cultural context and not a conclusion based upon objective examination of facts.

      I have given you some of the logic for belief in God (anthropic fine tuning, remarkable similarity of biblical and scientific accounts of creation, consciousness is more fundamental than matter). NOW PLEASE GIVE US YOUR LOGIC FOR DISBELIEF IN GOD!

      Would you agree with prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, Fred Hoyle, etc.. that we don’t need a higher intelligence such as God to explain the origin of life because aliens from outer space brought life here? Please watch this video of Richard Dawkins expressing his endorsement of the hypothesis in an interview. And you can read how prominent atheist biologist Francis Crick endorsed the idea in his book Life Itself by clicking on this link.

      If you agree that the aliens can explain the origin of life, please then go on to explain how the aliens got there. As Scientific American magazine points out, “It has been estimated that a supercomputer applying plausible rules for protein folding would need 10 to the 127th power years to find the final folded form for even a very short sequence consisting of just 100 amino acids.” And protein folding is only the first step in creating life from lifeless chemicals. Further, random processes would need a heck of a lot longer to fold proteins than would a supercomputer programmed to do so. But, the problem is, the universe is only about 15 billion years old.

      Maybe the aliens came from another universe that is much much older?

      So tell me, do you think citing aliens from outer space to explain away the origin of life is based primarily upon logic…. or would it be an ideologically based cultural context?

      I am conducting a survey of atheists to determine which aliens are the most likely candidate to have brought life to earth. Perhaps you can agree with me that it was not the Klingons because they were to mean to do such a nice thing as create life in their laboratories and then bring it to earth in their spaceship.

      Do I think that all other religions are wrong? Actually, no. I am reading an excellent book entitled Finding God in Ancient China which depicts how the ancient Chinese believed in a God with the exact same attributes as the God of the bible. Additionally, I recently read a book which describes how the widespread belief that Hinduism is polytheistic is actually wrong. Experts on Hinduism describe how five of the six schools of Hinduism are actually monotheistic. The monotheistic God of Hinduism also shares many of the attributes of the God of the bible. Looks like the Hindus, ancient Chinese, and many many other cultures got an awful lot right about God.

      Regarding the days of creation, please read the article and view the videos by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder as presented in my essay entitled “Doesn’t evolution prove the biblical account of creation to be false?” The biblical and scientific accounts of creation are REMARKABLY similar. Einstein showed that time is relative to the velocity and gravity of the observer. The universe is about 15 billion years old as viewed from earth, but it is only six days old as viewed from the position of an observer at the locus of the Big Bang. Hence, the biblical six days of creation.

  41. Jake says:

    heres some more evidence droves of scientists are not turning to god http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2007/07/23/does_science_promote_atheism

    • syoungren says:

      OOOPS!! You forgot to read this one Jake!!!! Please read this link that you sent very carefully. It does not support your views.

      • Kyle says:

        It certainly does not support the view that droves of scientists are turning to god, which is in fact Jake’s clearly stated view, so please clarify.

        Studies show that scientists are less likely to be religious and those at the top of their fields are least likely, almost regardless of field. They also show that whereas older folks are generally more religious, the reverse is true among the academy. No one that I’ve read has been blunt enough to suggest one obvious hypothesis for fear of their ever-present indignation, but I will.

        Could it be that the more intelligent one is, especially the type of intelligence required by science, the less likely one is to be able to compartmentalize a whole raft of unfounded, “revealed” knowledge, much of which reads like fairy tales, is internally inconsistent, and/or drips with the same kind of ubiquitous supernatural claims that scientists know better than anyone have never, ever been found to have the slightest evidence behind them?

        • Jake says:

          Look i put the wrong link i wanted to do a balanced argument, i had a few and pasted the wrong thing. the fact is that 93 percent of scientists nas scientust are athesist

          • Jake says:

            But you are right it is a balanced it does not support the view droves of scientist are turning to god, as the site implys

            • syoungren says:

              No, I am not implying that droves of scientists are coming to God. I am implying that the idea that science supports atheism is nothing more than urban legend or “bar-stool wisdom.”

              • Kyle says:

                “I am implying that the idea that science supports atheism is nothing more than urban legend or “bar-stool wisdom.”

                You are also implying that quotes by scientists = science, as you always do.

                But as long as you want make Arguments from Authority, suck on this:

                Leading scientists still reject God

                Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

                The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever — almost total.

                Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 “greater” scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].

                In 1996, we repeated Leuba’s 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba’s 1914 survey to gauge belief among “greater” scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents.

                Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among “greater” scientists to their “superior knowledge, understanding, and experience” [3]. Similarly, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996 survey, “You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don’t think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such alien categories of knowledge.” [4] Such comments led us to repeat the second phase of Leuba’s study for an up-to-date comparison of the religious beliefs of “greater” and “lesser” scientists.

                Our chosen group of “greater” scientists were members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality). Overall comparison figures for the 1914, 1933 and 1998 surveys appear in Table 1.

                Table 1 Comparison of survey answers among “greater” scientists
                Belief in personal God……..1914……….1933……..1998
                Personal belief……………….27.7…………15………..7.0
                Personal disbelief……………52.7…………68……….72.2
                Doubt or agnosticism……….20.9…………17……….20.8

                Belief in human immortality………1914………1933………1998
                Personal belief……………………….35.2………..18………..7.9
                Personal disbelief……………………25.4………..53……….76.7
                Doubt or agnosticism……………….43.7………..29……….23.3

                Figures are percentages.

                Repeating Leuba’s methods presented challenges. For his general surveys, he randomly polled scientists listed in the standard reference work, American Men of Science (AMS). We used the current edition. In Leuba’s day, AMS editors designated the “great scientists” among their entries, and Leuba used these to identify his “greater” scientists [1,2]. The AMS no longer makes these designations, so we chose as our “greater” scientists members of the NAS, a status that once assured designation as “great scientists” in the early AMS. Our method surely generated a more elite sample than Leuba’s method, which (if the quoted comments by Leuba and Atkins are correct) may explain the extremely low level of belief among our respondents.

                For the 1914 survey, Leuba mailed his brief questionnaire to a random sample of 400 AMS “great scientists”. It asked about the respondent’s belief in “a God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind” and in “personal immortality”. Respondents had the options of affirming belief, disbelief or agnosticism on each question [1]. Our survey contained precisely the same questions and also asked for anonymous responses.

                Leuba sent the 1914 survey to 400 “biological and physical scientists”, with the latter group including mathematicians as well as physicists and astronomers [1]. Because of the relatively small size of NAS membership, we sent our survey to all 517 NAS members in those core disciplines. Leuba obtained a return rate of about 70% in 1914 and more than 75% in 1933 whereas our returns stood at about 60% for the 1996 survey and slightly over 50% from NAS members [1,2].

                As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of friction between the scientific community and some conservative Christians in the United States. The booklet assures readers, “Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral”[5]. NAS president Bruce Alberts said: “There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists.” Our survey suggests otherwise.

                Edward J. Larson
                Department of History, University of Georgia,
                Athens, Georgia 30602-6012, USA
                e-mail:edlarson@uga.edu

                Larry Witham
                3816 Lansdale Court, Burtonsville,
                Maryland 20866, USA

                References

                Leuba, J. H. The Belief in God and Immortality: A Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (Sherman, French & Co., Boston, 1916).
                Leuba, J. H. Harper’s Magazine 169, 291-300 (1934).
                Larson, E. J. & Witham, L. Nature 386, 435-436 (1997).
                Highfield, R. The Daily Telegraph 3 April, p. 4 (1997).
                National Academy of Sciences Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (Natl Acad. Press, Washington DC, 1998).

                • Kyle says:

                  Scott Youngren,

                  I’m calling you out. Explain the following:

                  1) The “Reply” button is absent from some of your posts, always a post of yours that is asking me for many, many responses rather than answering any my previous question. Be honest – Are you strategically turning off the reply feature to rig the debate?

                  2) I no longer get email notifications of replies to my posts. The same question applies.

                  3) I have thoroughly debunked your endless lying about the Dawkins video that flog in nearly every post, yet you ignore and continue to tell the exact same lies. Are you strategically ignoring it?

                  • syoungren says:

                    1) Which posts?

                    2) I have no idea.

                    3) Please describe how you have thoroughly debunked the fact that Richard Dawkins is on video endorsing the view that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens… and then his explanation for the aliens is “some sort of Darwinian process.”

                • syoungren says:

                  This article discusses scientists and belief in God. Key excerpt:

                  A new study by social scientists confirms that there is a secularising trend in the beliefs of the science community, but the authors question whether science has anything to do with it. “The first systematic analysis in decades to examine the religious beliefs and practices of elite academics in the sciences supports the notion that science professors at top universities are less religious than the general population, but attributes this to a number of variables that have little to do with their study of science.”
                  The lead researcher is quoted as saying: “Our study data do not strongly support the idea that scientists simply drop their religious identities upon professional training, due to an inherent conflict between science and faith, or to institutional pressure to conform.” Furthermore, the researchers found little to distinguish social scientists from scientists, which is another indication that the sciences are not exerting any distinctive influences above those of other academic disciplines.
                  The authors flag up childhood experience of religion as a major factor in their study. “Academic science has a disproportionately large number of people raised with no religion, potentially producing many more people who do not believe in God.” The authors discuss this significant finding in their paper, offering tentative leads, and pointing to further research. I found this comment interesting: “Scientists lament a lack of scientific understanding among the U.S. population (Scientific American 2005; Lakoff 2005). While the general American public may indeed have a less than desirable understanding of science, our findings reveal that academic scientists may have much less experience with religion than many outside the academy.”

          • syoungren says:

            OK, please provide a citation to a scholarly study which shows this to be the case. I linked you to an article about a study done by a Rice University sociologist which indicates that fully 2/3 of scientists believe in God. Click here to see that article again.

            You can’t just come up with a number (93%) and expect people to believe it just because you said so.

        • syoungren says:

          Please provide a link to these studies. I am going to call you out and say that these studies are urban legend, nothing more.

          Could it be that the more intelligent one is, the less likely one is to believe that aliens brought life to earth? Could it be that the more intelligent one is the less likely one is to believe that life occurred through random processes even though it would take 10 to the 127th power years for a super computer to fold a short sequence of 100 proteins (and the most simple cell has 100 million proteins)? See Confronting Science’s Logical Limits from Scientific American Magazine to see what I mean.

          Scientists know that supernatural claims don’t have even the slightest evidence behind them? I have seen this tactic among atheists many many times before. You seem to think that you can forcefully assert something over and over until it eventually becomes true. Just keep asserting that there is no evidence of the supernatural while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present in my essays (such as “Is there a God? What is the chance the world is the result of chance?” and “What it all boils down to.”) Nobody will take you seriously if you do this.

          Here are some of my favorite quotes. (Yes QUOTES. A quote is what you use to communicate a person’s views). I know you don’t like them, and that they are damaging to your worldview, but here I go:

          “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

          –Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Robert Jastrow. Please also see Jastrow’s book God and the Astronomers.

          “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. . . The impression of design is overwhelming.”

          “It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”

          –Physicist Paul Davies, winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Institute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (amongst other awards).

          “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

          –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle commenting on the incredible fine-tuning necessary for life to exist.

          “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”

          –Nobel Prize winning physicist Arno Penzias.

          “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.”

          –The great astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington

          “A Creator must exist. The Big Bang ripples and subsequent scientific findings are clearly pointing to an ex nihilo creation consistent with the first few verses of the book of Genesis.”

          –Quantum chemist Henry F. Schaefer III, five time nominee for the Nobel Prize, as above.

          • Kyle says:

            Repeating refuted arguments and ignoring evidence is LYING.

            “Could it be that the more intelligent one is the less likely one is to believe that life occurred through random processes even though it would take 10 to the 127th power years for a super computer to fold a short sequence of 100 proteins (and the most simple cell has 100 million proteins)?”

            Yep! Good thing they aren’t random processes, you moron.

            “Scientists know that supernatural claims don’t have even the slightest evidence behind them? I have seen this tactic among atheists many many times before. You seem to think that you can forcefully assert something over and over until it eventually becomes true. Just keep asserting that there is no evidence of the supernatural while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present in my essays (such as “Is there a God? What is the chance the world is the result of chance?” and “What it all boils down to.”)”

            Is it actual evidence or just convoluted, just so, cherry picked, unsupported premises laden, apologetics, logical abortion, arguments like every “proof of gawd” ever? An argument is not evidence. An argument is supported by evidence. What exactly is your EVIDENCE?

            Then you posted six of the moronic, yet absolutely standard “Arguments by Quotation”, as if they were not prima facie fallacious arguments. A quote can, as you say, “communicate a person’s views”. So what? Assuming that they are all accurate and in context – a big assumption with you guys, all you’ve shown is that smart people can reach irrational conclusions. You and I both know that, in the NAS for instance, such views are in the small minority. What is crystal clear to all rationalists, but you are ideologically incapable of perceiving, is that 100% of believers are being irrational.

            People have strong tendencies to irrationality, thus the power of the scientific method, which is designed to minimize the effects. So let’s use the scientific method. Present your evidence. Then I could present the Mount Everest size pile of evidence for the actual, non-magical phenomena of religion – which could include peer reviewed papers in several fields.

            You first.

            • syoungren says:

              No it is not evidence by quotation. If you review my essay entitled “Is there a God? What is the chance our world is the result of chance?,” you will see that there are many many parameters that had to be just right for our universe to exist.

              You seem to be afraid of this essay…. I have asked you to reply to it many times but you apparently refuse to.

  42. Jake says:

    okay your first link is worthless not knowing the questions asked perhaps a majority were not sure. Look im a science student im say that you have not put evidence forward by definition, scientist x says.. that’s opinion. “the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics believe in god” wait that’s no really true, I care not for the philosophy of the scientists but there findings. ENOUGH QUOTES anybody can cherry pick a life time of speeches to back there own side. Who believes in god shouldn’t be considered when assessing the likelihood of his existence its bad practice you have to go with the evidence. In case anybody reading believes that science leads to theism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology

    And your arguing that biology as faculty that has been responsible for countless life changing break threws, cured 1000s of diseases, is wrong.. You mistake the fact that biology is too complex to simply calculate for it being materialistic.

    Evolution is not a theory anymore its proven fact thanks to DNA, complete fossil records which i thought you would have known are carbonated amongst other more accurate dating methods into order, look at the gradual evolution of the horse. Evolution is taught in school because its no longer theory.

    Yes wrong link, i was looking at both sides as You Should.

    My logical reason for not believing in god, there is no hard evidence only opinion. You may argue there is no evidence against god however i cannot believe in something that is not backed up, otherwise perhaps father Christmas is real or my finger holds the world together. Our beginnings dawning from Alien life has never been my argument im afraid.

    “The universe is about 15 billion years old as viewed from earth, but it is only six days old as viewed from the position of an observer at the locus of the Big Bang. Hence, the biblical six days of creation.” okay first off how do we know this calculation is correct its just a prediction nobody has been to the locus of the big bang however ill presume its correct. the second day the god made the earth so thats 2/6’s in 2/6s of 15 mill is 5million so therefore 15 mill minus 5 mill means the world would be 10 million years old which is wrong SO dissproven. Anyway the universe stoped been created along time ao so its out anyway

    • syoungren says:

      No, Jake, it is not a matter of “scientist X says such and such, and therefore such and such must be true.” Rather, these scientists (as presented in my “What it all boils down to” essay) believe in God because they have determined that consciousness is most fundamental, not matter. If you were to watch the video of the double slit experiment, you would get a glimpse of the research that has led these scientists to this conclusion.

      As I said before, one must examine why a particular scientist draws a particular conclusion so as to determine whether that conclusion is based upon logic or upon ideology.

      We can be certain that the atheistic conclusions arrived at by many biologists are based upon ideology and not logic. Why can we be certain? Because if they had a logically sound explanation for the origin of life, they wouldn’t need to resort to profoundly ridiculous explanations such as “aliens brought it here.” Do you suppose that they have any evidence that aliens brought life here? No, of course not. So it is perfectly transparent that no biologist has any logically based biological reason for disbelief in God.

      But the physicists in my “What It All Boils Down To” essay DO have a logical reason for belief in God (as I describe above). Further, many physicists such as Einstein and Sir Arthur Eddington came to theistic conclusions despite admitting to be ideologically opposed to theism. In fact, Einstein admitted that the biggest mistake of his career was when he introduced a sort of “fudge factor” into his equations so as to avoid the inescapable conclusion that the universe had a beginning and therefore requires a Beginner.

      You assert that, “My logical reason for not believing in god is that there is no hard evidence only opinion.” ONCE AGAIN, you have displayed the common tendency that I have often observed among atheist commenters to this site: You assert that “there is no evidence” while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present to you. Start off by responding to the “anthropic fine tuning” evidence as presented in my “Is there a God?” essay.

      Many atheist commenters to this site (such as yourself) seem to think that if you assert something often enough or forcefully enough, it will become true. If you just keep repeating “there is no evidence” while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented, then the evidence will go away. It is like believing that if I keep repeating “the earth is flat” often enough and loud enough, the earth will become flat.

      So, I will ask you again, what is your reply to the anthropic fine tuning evidence? WHAT IS YOUR REPLY?! WHAT IS IT? Stop evading the question being asked of you.

      Judging from your last paragraph, I seriously doubt that you watched the videos or read the essay by MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder. You are not grasping what Einstein taught about time dilation. Please review the video I provided a link to. Time movers faster or slower based upon the velocity and gravity of the observer.

      • Jake says:

        These scientists (as presented in my “What it all boils down to” essay) believe in God because they have determined that consciousness is most fundamental. So what just because they think that doesn’t mean anything, your not talking about there findings but there philosophy. I bet there is a chance some scientists believe in ghosts does that provide evidence for ghosts… nope. And the same is true in your case. For something to be fact in the scientific community it must be rigorously tested, not an opinion poll. That includes biology, im afraid ideology is left behind in the name of the evidence before you. You obviously dont know much about biology or science even if a scientist has an ideological bias if the conclusion doesn’t fit the data it will not be published in a journal or acknowledged.
        The logical disbelieve in god from a biologists point of view, evolution (which is fact now but lets not cover old ground) proves that each stage of life evolved from ancsetors if you follow it back you get a common ancestor. This removes the need for god. To believe in something there is simply no hard data or facts for is illogical. Im not after cherry picked opinion but something that is proven to a scientific standard god is not. You clearly do not understand what a fact is
        Einstin was raised jewish surprised he believed in god, to be honest not really. Funny you should talk of Einstein, the famous equation E = mc2 proves that energy and mass are equivalent to each other as Energy = mass x speed of light in a vacuum. Where it gets interesting is rearranged mass = energy/ speed of light in a vacuum squared. Although not in his life time scientists using the LHC and the tevatron prove that mass can be created without a god. Particles are accelerated round a circuit an smashed together with enormous kinetic energy compared to there size, and more mass is produced than initially collided, just so were clear do you deny this? Its been done many times in repeatable experiments here’s a clip from BBC explaining it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6cbaMj883c
        No I get it what Gerald Schroeder is saying but the thing is that’s measured to not the universe stopped been created billions of years ago, not now. What I was saying was even if it were true the proportions of time in accordance to the bible do not work.

        • syoungren says:

          Let’s do a little review. Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner says:

          “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”

          This means just what it says. Namely, it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness. That is not a statement of Wigner’s religion or philosophical preference. It is a research conclusion.

          Quantum physics is the most rigorously tested scientific scientific theory to date.

          Darwinian evolution, however, is not rigorously tested. In fact, one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century, Karl Popper, declares that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection is not even testable. He says: “I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program.”

          Since you assert that evolution “proves that each stage of life evolved from ancestors if you follow it back you get a common ancestor,” I will have to rehash some citations.

          First of all, no informed God-believing person denies that MICROevolution happens. Evolution has been very conclusively demonstrated within a given species. But MACROevolution (one species evolving into another) has not been demonstrated.

          Evolutionary biologist and paleontologist Henry Gee (senior editor of the science journal Nature) said it best (in 1999): “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way…To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”

          The Curator of the invertebrates department at the American Museum of Natural History, Niles Eldredge, who was also the adjunct professor at the City University of New York, is a vigorous supporter of evolution. Dr. Eldredge openly admits that the traditional evolutionary view is not supported by the fossil record. He says, “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long,” as he writes, “It seems never to happen. Fastidious collecting of fossils, from the bottom upward, up sheer cliff faces, zigzags, minor oscillations…all showing the same results. That life forms all appear, fully formed, complete in body parts, at their first discovery”. “When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.“

          Keith Stewart Thomson (B.SC. Birmingham, AM, PH.D. Harvard) is currently a senior research fellow of the American Philosophical Society and an emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford. He was appointed director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in July 1998. In 1987 he was appointed president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the oldest American natural history institution. He had earlier been a dean at Yale University and director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the author of several books and essays that deal with paleontology, the history of science and evolution.

          And here is what Thomson said to the American Scientist in 1997: “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun… The smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”

          Evolutionary biologists Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) and Dorion Sagan wrote in 2002: “Speciation, whether in the remote Galapagos, in the laboratory cages of the drosophilosophers, or in the crowded sediments of the paleontologists, still has never been directly traced.”

          Biologists Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolph Raff, in the Journal Developmental Biology write: “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest… The origin of species—Darwin’s problem—remains unsolved.”

          Similarly, evolutionary biologists Martin Jones and Mark Blaxter write, “Despite the comforting certainty of textbooks and 150 years of argument, the true relationships of the major groups (phyla) of animals remain contentious.”

          Below is a copy and paste of what the late, great Harvard University paleontologist and biologist Stephen Jay Gould said:

          The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with [Darwinian] gradualism:
          1) Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
          2) Sudden appearance – in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Gould, 1977).
          Gould honestly admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and
          “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (Gould, 1980).

          Johns Hopkins University paleontologist Stephen Stanley says, “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

          David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way:

          “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information” … (Raup, 1979).

          The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson (who was perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century) states:

          “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Major Features of Evolution, 1953 p. 360)

          Evolutionist biochemist Philip Handler claimed that:

          “Some 25 major phyla are recognized for all the animals, and in virtually not a single case is there fossil evidence to demonstrate what the common ancestry of any two phyla looked like.” (Biology and the Future of Man, 1970 p. 506)

          Lee Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and served a fellowship in biophysics at Johns Hopkins. His 1997 book states:

          The neo-Darwinians presume that a long chain of random changes can lead to a large evolutionary change. This conjecture is an essential point of their theory…. Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands… The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory.”

          Jake, IF ANYONE IS GOING TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO COME UP WITH AN ARGUMENT MORE SUBSTANTIVE THAN “THESE ARE JUST QUOTES.” Yes, these are quotes…. because quoting someone is how you make direct reference to that person’s research conclusions and analysis. And if these renowned experts are convinced that the fossil record cannot be cited as supporting evidence for Darwinism, then we need to take such assessments seriously.

          Einstein very clearly DID believe in God, which is why he said, categorically, “I am not an atheist” and, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.” If you don’t believe me, just Google it.

          Yes, the earth is done being created. If you had watched the Schroeder videos, you would realize that the universe is in its 7th day as observed from the locus of the big bang.

          • nick says:

            If all of these quotes are representative of the research of these individuals, then context and understanding of what is meant by them from their purporters should be easy to find. Could you explain the background context and intention of each of these quotes with reference to what these scientists mean?

            A quote may give an indication of views, but does not represent actual demonstration of the research and perspective of the scientist. It is a sound byte, which is not how research is represented and may quite easily be taken out of context or be a misrepresentation of a person’s views.

            For example, I may say, ‘I hate all pizza’s with peppers on them.’

            You would be able to quote me as saying, ‘I hate all pizza’s’.

            This would be an accurate quote of four consecutive words that I have spoken, yet the meaning has been utterly changed. The context has been omitted and the actual sentence has been dissected. You are left with a short quote that is accurate, but incomplete, misleading and incorrect.

            The fact is, I love almost any pizza without peppers on it, so the above shortened quote is useless as a representative of what I had originally said or my general viewpoint. This is not to say that any quote is useless. That would also be incorrect, but understanding, meaning and context are essential to qualify and verify references if they are used as evidence.

            Could you elaborate on what was meant by the following people and the quotes you have referenced? I know where these quotations came from and their intent and meaning. Could you verify this?

            Eldridge. Gould. Gaylord Simpson. Stanley.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick, to make the claim that a quote was taken out of context, it becomes necessary for the person making such a claim to then re-insert the quote into what he considers to be the correct context. Otherwise such a claim is utterly meaningless.

              In the pizza example, subtracting the words “with peppers on them” would be removing modifiers from the end of the sentence. Very few of the quotes I have provided have been chopped up in the middle of the sentence. It is readily apparent that people who have their worldview threatened by certain quotes like to hide behind the accusation of “taking out of context” or “quote mining” so as reassure themselves that their worldview is correct.

              Claiming “taking out of context” is a cure-all for atheist commenters to this site who find their worldview threatened… not that I am accusing you of being an atheist.

              Furthermore, many or most of the quotes that I provide are categorical statements. So, in other words, they mean the same thing in no matter what context they are inserted.

              For example, when Gaylord Simpson says “…every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences,” no matter what context you insert this statement in, it means the same thing.

              Specifically, it means that every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.

              Now when naturalist/materialist scientists such as Simpson make such a statement, often times they will conclude the quote by introducing a hypothetical explanation that rationalizes what they have just said with their naturalist/materialist worldview.

              But despite whatever naturalist/materialist rationalizations are provided, the fact remains that Simpson has admitted that every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.

              How could such a quote be taken out of context? Were the words, “Just kidding, I didn’t mean that” deceitfully subtracted from the end of the quote?

          • nick says:

            I am not claiming that you have intentionally misrepresented these quotes or placed them out of context yourself. Many of them I’m sure are correctly referenced and in context such as Spetner’s and others. I may well be saying that whatever resource you have retrieved these quotes from may or may not have referenced them in their entire context and may or may not have referenced the entire phrases or sentences from their origin.

            As you say my, pizza example displays deliberate misrepresentation of a statement. I am not saying that all, or perhaps any of your quotes are misrepresented to this extent.

            However, some of them have been extracted from a different context and wielded to demonstrate something different from the speakers views.

            I think what you are trying to say in general with these many quotes is that Darwin is wrong or that macro evolution is wrong or that the fossil record is not in accordance with macroevolution and probably all three together.

            This is the basis, as I understand it, that you interprate from your many quotes.

            What I also feel is inferred or understood by yourself, is that people such as Eldridge, Stanley or Simpson are claiming that macro-evolution is not true or are against the mainstream understanding in biology. This second thought of mine may be wrong and you may not think this, but it seems to come across in the references and answers that you give.

            What you understand or try to prove by using names such as Eldridge simply do not support the views that you have set out about macro-evolution, Darwin or the fossil record.

            Below I will cut and paste the location of Gaylord Simpson’s quote. It is long so I will leave it at that for the moment, but there are other similar examples that I can find. The sum of the context displays a slightly different picture to that which one might infer if I were simply to go on the quoted section.

            This is what I mean by a small quote or a sound byte being insufficient or incomplete as a proof of a scientists world view or research history.

          • nick says:

            “The chances that the remains of an organism will be buried, fossilized, preserved in the rock to our day, then exposed on the surface of dry land and found by a paleontologist before they disintegrate are extremely small, practically infinitesimal. The discovery of a fossil of a particular species, out of the thousands of millions that have inhabited the earth, seems almost like a miracle even to a paleontologist who has spent a good part of his life performing the miracle. Certainly paleontologists have found samples of an extremely small fraction, only, of the earth’s extinct species, and even for groups that are most readily preserved and found as fossils they can never expect to find more than a fraction.

            “In view of these facts, the record already acquired is amazingly good. It provides us with many detailed examples of a great variety of evolutionary phenomena on lower and intermediate levels and with rather abundant data that can be used either by controlled extrapolation or on a statistical sampling basis for inferences as to phenomena on all levels up to the highest. Among the examples are many in which, beyond the slightest doubt, a species or genus has been gradually transformed into another. Such gradual transformation is also fairly well exemplified for subfamilies and occasionally for families, as the groups are commonly ranked. Splitting and subsequent gradual divergence of species is also exemplified, although not as richly as phyletic transformation of species (no doubt because splitting of species usually involves spatial separation and paleontological samples are rarely adequate in spatial distribution). Splitting and gradual divergence of genera is exemplified very well and in a large variety of organisms. Complete examples for subfamilies and families are also known, but are less common.

            “In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families and that nearly all new categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences. When paleontological collecting was still in its infancy and no clear examples of transitional origin had been found, most paleontologists were anti-evolutionists. Darwin (1859) recognized the fact that paleontology then seemed to provide evidence against rather than for evolution in general or the gradual origin of taxonomic characters in particular. Now we do have many examples of transitional sequences. Almost all paleontologists recognize that the discovery of a complete transition is in any case unlikely. Most of them find it logical, if not scientifically required, to assume that the sudden appearance of a new systematic group is not evidence for special creation or for saltation, but simply means that a full transitional sequence more or less like those that are known did occur and simply has not been found in this instance.”

            (Simpson, George Gaylord, The Major Features of Evolution, 1953, p. 360)

            • syoungren says:

              OK, please paraphrase how the Simpson text that you added has changed in the slightest the meaning of the more brief Simpson text that I provided.

              The simple fact is that the fossil record cannot be used to justify Darwinism. Rather, one must use “controlled extrapolation or a statistical sampling basis for inferences as to phenomena on all levels up to the highest,” in order to come up with “examples of “a species or genus [that] has been gradually transformed into another,” as Simpson says in the text that you added.

              As Oxford mathematician John Lennox points out, “one problem here is clearly that extrapolating from the observed to the unobserved is fraught with danger. S.F. Gibbert, J.M. Opitz and R.A. Raff maintain that ‘Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern only the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest.’ As Goodwin (1995) points out, ‘the origin of species — Darwin’s problem remains unsolved,’ thus echoing the verdict of geneticist Richard Goldschmidt: ‘the facts of microevolution do not suffice for an understanding of macroevolution.'”

              What Simpson is doing here is extrapolating from microevolution to macroevolution, not providing evidence for macroevolution. This is a crucial distinction.

              Furthermore, since Simpson’s time, our grasp of the fossil record has gotten much better. You will recall from the videos I link to about the Cambrian explosion that we have a remarkably good fossil record of the Cambrian which even includes fossilized sponge embryos, which have no solid parts but are fossilized nevertheless. Despite the remarkably good fossil record, the transitional forms just are not there. And you will recall my quote from the curator of the Field Museum, Raup, which shows that we actually have less fossil evidence to support Darwin’s theory than we did during Darwin’s day.

              So to summarize, the Simpson text that you added in reality adds nothing and subtracts nothing to the main point made in the categorical statement by Simpson that I provided. What you have added amounts to three things. First, we see the naturalist/materialist Simpson’s rationalization of why the fossil record does not support his views (he believes that it is inadequate).

              Second, we see how naturalist/materialists have come to their conclusions: Through “controlled extrapolation or on a statistical sampling basis for inferences as to phenomena.” Some of the key words here are “extrapolation” and “inferences.” Nick, scientific evidence is scientific evidence, not extrapolation and inferences.

              Third, we see the naturalist/materialist reaffirming his worldview. He says, “most of them [paleontologists] recognize that the discovery of a complete transition is in any case unlikely. Most of them find it logical, if not scientifically required, to assume that the sudden appearance of a new systematic group is not evidence for special creation or for saltation.” Well OF COURSE they make that assumption… that is why they are called “naturalists” or “materialists.” But please note that they have not provided any fossil evidence to support this view, but rather “extrapolation” and “inference” that reflects (or rather “projects”) their worldview.

              This is what I mean when I say that Darwinism is a projection of the naturalist/materialist belief system, nothing more.

          • nick says:

            The contextualising of Simpson’s comment changes much.

            Primarily, on a comparible note to my pizza example, the start of the sentence you have quoted has been excluded. The sentence begins, ‘In spite of these examples…’

            Why is it neccessary for a quoter to ommit these words? What examples is he talking about? It detracts from the content of the quote, but such an ommission is not honest or a complete reference to what he is saying. So, as with my pizza example, why the dishonest quoting? What are these examples Simpson talks about?

            The two paragraphs leading up to the quotation, he is explicitly clear in stating that there are many transitional sequences and fossils. Requoting:

            ‘Among the examples are many in which, beyond the slightest doubt, a species or genus has been gradually transformed into another. Such gradual transformation is also fairly well exemplified for subfamilies and occasionally for families, as the groups are commonly ranked. Splitting and subsequent gradual divergence of species is also exemplified, although not as richly as phyletic transformation of species (no doubt because splitting of species usually involves spatial separation and paleontological samples are rarely adequate in spatial distribution). Splitting and gradual divergence of genera is exemplified very well and in a large variety of organisms.’

            This could not be any clearer or explicit. Nor could it be false. He states emphatically that we have many examples of gradual speciation and evolution occuring, micro and macro.

            This is a man who you quoted as being a hugely qualified paleontologist, of huge reputation and distinguishment. Why would he lie about these fossils and if these fossils don’t exist then what is he talking about?

            He directly contradicts any notion that macro evolution does not take place. He says that we have undoubted fossil record evidence of gradualism.

            Yes he finishes by saying that the fossil record is incomplete. I thought that you would interpret this as materialism. He is an atheist I think, but many who are theists or deists do not see this incompleteness as counter evidence of Darwin. This is not exclusive to materialism. Do you think that every species of animal that ever existed was framed in rock for our discovery?

            This incompleteness is due to the fact that the majority of animals are not fossilised, still lie buried, or are destroyed in geological and tectonic processes. This is something that any theistic Darwinist will attest to as well with little question, as it is common sense that we will never have a complete fossil record.

            This quote is very revealing as it shows just how much is ommited by simply using a small paraphrase.

            What gives this case increased need for investigation, is the fact that so many of the quotes that you use are extracted from similar pieces, conversations and situations. These are not neccessarily people who are even discussing God, so it is not materialism that they are trying to justify, you will find that these quotes all come from discussions about science and I’m sure that plenty of these people will believe in God, so they are not trying to validate atheism, but understand the natural world.

            The reason that I have referenced Ken Miller in a separate post, is precisely because this incompletess in the fossil record does not only lead to atheism and materialistic conclusions only. Philosophy leads to a world view. Interpretation of the facts is philosophy. Establishment of facts is science and Darwinism is so far beyond dispute, it is the philosophy of how we interpret this mechanism that should be discussed, not whether it is true or not.

            I’m sure that by reviewing Simpson’s works, research and even just this specific book, we can find many of the examples of evolutionary gradualism that he he talks about. This is a stark contrast to the idea that the fossil record is devoid of any gradualism and contradicts Darwin. This is why a small quote does not do justice to the extent that an individual scientist tells us.

          • nick says:

            You seem to have had a sudden influx of posts, allthough I am curious as to your response to this. I think immediate denial would be far too easy. Reread Simpson’s words and consider why the quote you use was snipped and taken out of the context of what he was saying. The evidence of the sequences he talks of should be readily available too.

            Consider also, that this is just one quote that I have re-inserted into its context. There are many others where the same can be done, such as Gould, Stanley, Eldridge and more. Please note that I am only referring to biological quotes here related to your arguments about evolution, not others about personal belief in God or astronomy. This stuff does not disprove God and I am not trying to.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              You are just reasserting what you said before… without replying to my response. The sequences he talks about were “extrapolated” and “inferred.” Using extrapolation and inference to move from the observed to the unobserved is fertile ground for projecting one’s worldview onto the fossil record. It is clear that microevolution has been very conclusively demonstrated to be true. But is also true that macroevolution is nothing more than an extrapolation from microevolution. It is not something that has been demonstrated in its own right either from the fossil record or otherwise.

              And, keep in mind that George Gaylord Simpson is just one of many paleontologists to make this point.

              Also, I will reiterate: Gould, Stanley, Eldredge, and Simpson and the like are clearly people who adhere to the materialist / naturalist worldview. That is why it crucial to distinguish between what they can demonstrate scientifically and what they merely infer as a projection of their worldview. Many of the supposedly “out of context” quotes are only out of context in the sense that they are removed from the text in which the individual re-asserts his worldview.

              The Simpson quote we just discussed is an excellent case-in-point. He says, “most of them [paleontologists] recognize that the discovery of a complete transition is in any case unlikely. Most of them find it logical, if not scientifically required, to assume that the sudden appearance of a new systematic group is not evidence for special creation or for saltation.” Well OF COURSE they make that assumption… that is why they are called “naturalists” or “materialists.” It is impossible to conduct science without a philosophical framework underlying the science. The problem is that ideological commitment prevents many people from changing their philosophical framework when the evidence says that they should.

          • nick says:

            There is an ideological framework, but it is not atheism, it is Darwinism. The evidence supports this ideological framework and you just refuse to believe this.

            You have not answered my further points and seem to simply be dismissing and ignoring them. To your two quotations, the first regarding ‘extrapolations’ and the other regarding a full transitiion being unlikely, the man is explicitly clear that many transitions in the fossil record have been undoubtedly proven.

            To this you have not answered. For these examples, there is no need for data extrapolation or perhaps statistical fiddling as you seem to believe, he offers the affirmative fact that transitions exist, have been found and have been proven.

            I am not surprised that you seem to be so resistant to this data, but it still shocks me, if that makes sense.

            A huge example in contrast to this commitment to materialism that you seem to be so sure of are cases such as Ken Miller. He is a renowned Christian. He shares the same belief system as you, he ultimately believes in God and is a theist.

            He, and others like him, believe that Darwinism and the fossil evidence are clear. This is agreement with the fossil record without commitment to atheism. Non scientific academics will share his view. For example, I know that the official line of the cathoilic church accepts Darwin and does not oppose the science. Most of the clergy within it will accept the reality of evolution but still maintain their faith. I know that the last Pope John Paul was a popular pope and an open Darwinist, as is the new pope.

            Rowan Williams, who I linked you to once before is the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, the 2nd highest rank in the Church of England (behind the queen, I think) accepts Darwin. I think that he is a very good and intellectual man and appears on the same list of multiple honorary degree holders as David Attenborough who we once talked about. Williams is renowned and respected.

            The Simpson quote has been removed from its context where he re-asserts his world view is what you say. With this quote, the very short preface has also been snipped. This preface is not of a world view, but refers to counter examples of what he says in the quote. Even if there are only a few, how academically significant and relevant that they should be snipped. In research and study we should not just discount such majorly important data, with such relevance to the issue.

            Please reply with regards to the above issues. Solid examples of transitions cannot be explained away as commitment to atheism.

      • Jake says:

        Mass can be created from energy without god this proves there is a godless natural mechanism for creating matter, and can and did form the universe

        • syoungren says:

          OK Jake, where did the energy come from? Where did the natural mechanism come from? The atheist belief system relies on “it just is” or “just so” leaps-of-faith. Therefore, an atheists only possible reply to the questions I have just asked you are to either A) make an “it just is” statement such as “energy and natural mechanisms just are” or B) Delay answering the question by referencing something else such as “energy came from a quantum vacuum fluctuation.”

          If the atheist answers A), the question immediately becomes, “How can it be that energy just is?” The only feasible reply is that the atheist is making a leap-of-faith.

          If the atheist answers B), the question immediately becomes, “where did the quantum vacuum fluctuation (or whatever) come from?”

          • Jake says:

            You are implying that god created an mass energy equivalence with no evidence not even the bible suggests this. And im making a leap of faith? You misunderstand, im saying that mass and energy are equivalent, which makes it possible to create a universe without god. There is no mechanism, that was a reference to the fact the universe can be created without god, energy and mass are the same thing in different forms.

            Okay first off there are many scientific theory’s behind the origin of the energy. Personally i would agree with as the most constant law in physics, which is correct on every scale. That would be the law of conservation of energy. “energy is neither created nor destroyed” So this scientifically proves the energy has to be from one of two possiblitys. Always has existed or the total energy of the universe is zero.

            Quantum vacuum fluctuation, is where an antiparticle and a particle appear in a vacuum and annihilate, which is a phenomenon which can be observed in a man made vacuum.

            By the way Einstein was religious before his research don’t imply science turned him to god as this is a falsehood.

            Heres some scientific facts that disagree with the bible

            The Earth was not the first planet created, in fact the planet PSR B1620-26 b is actually 12.7 billion years old being the oldest planet we know off.

            The is no geological evidence of Noah ark, in fact if it did happen there would be no fresh water fish as as water would be cross contaminated.

          • Kyle says:

            OK Scott, to your questions regarding where the energy came from, how it “just is”, or where quantum fluctuations come from – what’s wrong with the answer, “We don’t know”, especially to questions regarding the earliest beginnings of the universe? To a rationalist, there’s nothing at all wrong with it. It’s the only answer that leads to further inquiry. (Which is a good thing for all but medieval-minded faith-heads) In fact, it is irrational to claim certainty when nothing close to it is available.

            However, humans being irrational, it is common as dirt for people to choose to believe – even rabidly – wholly unsupported conclusions. See any religion, supernatural belief, or loopy conspiracy theory as an example.

            Your above post is a classic, unapologetic (or unwitting), and utterly fallacious “god-o-the-gaps” argument. 100% of it, in fact. It is also the weakest version of it, which I note that creatards of all stripes are using more and more. When you loons fall back on a gap that occurred in the first 10^-43 seconds of the universe 13.73 BYA, and often use it as the opening volley in a debate of anything related to biological evolution, I laugh out load at the lengths the human mind will go to maintain irrational beliefs.

            It is grossly irrational to criticize the “atheist belief system” (sic) for relying on “it just is” or “just so” leaps-of-faith, while you invoke for the zillionth time the hilariously obvious false dichotomy that we either know all the answers with certainty or your particular version of the omnipotent invisible sky fairy just HAS to be the answer.

            Who’s making the leaps of faith here?

            We all know you’re far too deluded and/or dishonest to engage productively on any of these matters, so I do so primarily for the potential 3rd party who might be swayed by your propagandizing for irrationality. However, I hate to give up on anyone, so I’m reaching out to help you. I recommend that you do the following quietly and just for yourself.

            Imagine life in an ancient civilization. Contemplate all of the things that were not known. Think of all of the blanks that were likely (or are known) to have been filled in by “goddidit” or some other supernatural explanation. We know from study of history and primitive cultures that nearly every phenomena but the most mundane and obvious was routinely explained in just this way.

            Now consider all of the gaps that got filled in over the centuries; the rate increasing exponentially. In the past, you wouldn’t have ever heard of a big bang or quantum fluctuation, so you would be making the exact same (astoundingly fallacious) argument as you did here, except the questions might have been, depending upon the date:

            “OK Jake, where does the rain come from?”

            “OK Jake, why did lightening strike our village?”

            “OK Jake, why did uncle Grog get sick and die?”

            “OK Jake, why don’t the stars fall from the sky?”

            “OK Jake, where did those giant bones come from?”

            “OK Jake, how do the characteristics of parents carry over to offspring?”

            “OK Jake, how does a small cow plus grass make a big cow?”

            “OK Jake, how does fire make wood disappear?”

            “OK Jake, why do the planets follow predictable paths?”

            “OK Jake, why did the volcano erupt?”

            You get the idea. You know very well that something akin to “goddidit” was the default position for virtually everything. There was resistance to some, but most of these claims were abandoned quickly when the answers were found. Not once have non-magical explanations been abandoned because of evidence for the supernatural. Do you not feel the least bit stupid for grasping at the same fallacious “if we don’t know, it’s magic” conclusion after rational inquiry’s perfect record?

            The existence of the universe isn’t the only unresolved issue in science. We also don’t know how gravity exerts forces across distance. We don’t know why the spin of galaxies and the expansion rate of the universe are as they are, though we hypothesize types of matter and energy that might account for them.

            You clearly ascribe the “1st cause” in our universe to sky daddy, adamantly enough to ridicule anyone who doesn’t see the “logic” of it (snicker). Would you just as vociferously claim that the man in the sky pushes everything toward everything else with a force based upon its mass and the inverse square of the distance? Including 5 times more invisible matter than the visible? Or is there no dark matter and he’s just pushing arbitrarily harder here and there? All the while pushing them all away from each other on larger scales?

            If your answer is, “No”, then why not? Is it because they’re simply too blatant “god of the gaps” arguments, whereas it seems somehow less obvious when discussing “1st cause”?

            If so, refer back to my (one would think unnecessary) explanations of both the 100% failure rate and the grossly illogical false dichotomy of all such arguments.

            Then there’s evolution, whose fundamental facts are fully, coherently, and mutually supported by trillions of data points across a dozen scientific fields of study, an understanding of which underlies a large body of fruitful scientific advancement in every one of them. It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from “We don’t know”. All we don’t know are inevitable (and in no way threatening) gaps in the historical record of how it all came down and the finer details of some of its mechanisms.

            That it happened, happens, and is the source of biological diversity is as established a fact as the proportionality of gravity to the product of the masses and the inverse square of the distance. And we know infinitely more about the mechanisms, too. Yet you don’t see gravity denialism. Why is that?

            Isn’t it true that you attack the fact of evolution with all your being and every deluded and deceptive tactic at hand while ignoring the mysterious matter of gravity (and expansion, etc.) because the buybull doesn’t have a couple of chapters that can be interpreted as gawd perpetually pushing everything together? Yet you recently leveled a baseless charge of blind faith in a priori conclusions towards me!

            Think about it, Scott. You might want to take a page from St. Francis of Assisi and devote a little less of your life to lying for Jebus and associating xtianity with reality denial.

            • syoungren says:

              And again, Kyle, your use of strident rhetoric and insults instead of cool rational language absolutely betrays the fact your worldview is threatened .

              Under no circumstances does an informed God-believing person think that we should cease rational inquiry and just say “God did it” when a more detailed understanding of how God did it can be determined. You are persistently confusing two concepts: Intermediate causes and ultimate causes. Questions such as “why did the volcano erupt?” and “where does rain come from?” are questions that can be answered by citing intermediate causes. The specific intermediate causes in these cases would be the release of pressure in a magma chamber and the condensation of cloud vapor, respectively. Both theists and atheists would agree on these intermediate causes.

              Theists and atheists only come to disagreement when it comes to ultimate causes. Ultimate causes are invoked in such questions as “How did life originate?” and “What is the cause of the universe?” and “What is more fundamental, mater or consciousness?”

              Because atheists disbelieve in a conscious creator behing everything, but instead believe in randomness and inert matter as the most fundamental plane of reality, they persistently invoke “no-God-of the-gaps” or “random-processes-of-the-gaps” assumptions. In other words, it is necessarily the case that a person’s beliefs about ultimate causes directs his or her assumptions about unexplained intermediate causes. A perfect example of a “random-processes-of-the-gaps” explanation exists in the Richard Dawkins / aliens video that I linked you to. Where does Dawkins suppose the aliens came from? Answer: “Some sort of Darwinian process.” (If I didn’t get his words exactly, I am at least very close).

              Another great example of a “no-God-of-the-gaps” explanation would be the prominent atheist philosopher Bertand Russell’s statement that the universe is “a brute fact.” By declaring the universe to be a “brute fact,” Russell is basically urging us to cease rational inquiry and assume that the universe “just is” and that it has existed eternally. But, as I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator) [found in the “snippets” section],” the laws of mathematics and physics clearly demonstrate that the universe in NOT eternal.

              So the question we need to focus on if we are to keep this discussion about the theism / atheism debate is: What does logic suggest is the best explanation for ultimate causes? Are the ultimate causes intelligent, or unintelligent and random? Is matter more fundamental or is consciousness?

              Well, to start with, when modern physics declares that consciousness is more fundamental than matter, those supporting mindless/material explanations have a lot of explaining to do. To this end, I will rehash some quotes:

              Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory):

              “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

              Albert Einstein:

              “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

              Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner:

              “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”

              Did you get that last quote Kyle? It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness. I encourage you to read The Matter Myth by physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbon. In this book, they explain why the belief that matter is most fundamental (“materialism” or “naturalism”) is not scientifically supportable.

              With regards to evolution Kyle, yes, microevolution has been very conclusively demonstrated. But macroevolution is nothing but an extrapolation of microevolution that has not been supported by the fossil record. But the question of whether or not macroevolution is true would be a discussion of an intermediate cause, not an ultimate one. Therefore, to go off on a tit-for-tat about macroevolution would be tangential to the main subject of the theism vs. atheism debate. If you review my discussions with the commenter named Nick, you will see that we are in a tit-for-tat about macroevolution, which is a discussion about intermediate causes and is therefore not relevant to the theism vs. atheism debate.

  43. Jake says:

    You had me going for a little while, but the truth has came to light EINSTEIN WAS AN ATHEIST. Yes he was born into a Jewish family but actually this is a great case of nicks “I hate pizza” argument. Enstien uses the word religion with a different meaning after religious folk set about using the heavy weight scientist, well like propaganda. he wrote a article to clear any confusion that he believed in god. Sources http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=einstein+and+god&aq=4s&oq=einsten+and but more profound and recently http://www.newscientist.com/blog/space/2008/05/was-einstein-religious.html or perhaps a quote “Why do you write to me “God should punish the English”? I have no close connection to either one or the other. I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him.”

    • syoungren says:

      So you are going to continue believing that Einstein was an atheist despite the fact that he made the following categorical statements?:

      “I am not an atheist” and “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University, page 214

      Jake, that is called believing in something in spite of the facts rather than because of them.

      • Kyle says:

        I find it quite revealing that you ignored Jake’s links entirely while expressing bewilderment that everyone doesn’t agree with you. Very telling indeed.

        Albert Einstein’s religious views have usually been expressed in subtleties and with rhetorical flourishes and idiosyncratic use of language, but anyone truly interested in his actual positions could have easily and unambiguously determined them 70 yrs ago.

        He only rejected the term “atheist” because he seemingly associated it with only strong atheism and did not want to be associated with the (still rampant, as Scott proves) negatives falsely attributed to atheists and his inexplicable belief that atheism denies a sense of wonder.

        He absolutely and repeatedly denied any belief in a personal god and was generally disgusted by religions. His god was “Spinoza’s god”. From Wikipedia’s Spinoza entry – “Spinoza was considered to be an atheist because he used the word “God” [Deus] to signify a concept that was different from that of traditional Judeo–Christian monotheism. “Spinoza expressly denies personality and consciousness to God; he has neither intelligence, feeling, nor will; he does not act according to purpose, but everything follows necessarily from his nature, according to law….” Thus, Spinoza’s cool, indifferent God is the antithesis to the concept of an anthropomorphic, fatherly God who cares about humanity.”

        Anyone dispassionately interested in the truth about Einstein’s religious beliefs has no reason whatsoever to be misinformed on the matter. In almost anyone’s modern usage of terms, Einstein was certainly not a theist, or even a deist. Ten minutes on the internet, assuming you have the sense to avoid the sites of the clearly biased, is enough for anyone to conclude that if the choice is between agnostic and atheist, atheist fits far better, your quote notwithstanding.

        • syoungren says:

          Kyle, you are using Wikipedia again. You will have to find a source much more reputable than that. Click on this article again about the unreliability of Wikipedia.

          No, Einstein did not believe in a personal God, but he very definitely did believe in God. Otherwise he would not have said things such as “I am not an atheist.” And ““In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

  44. Rich P. says:

    I use the existence of Geese (though there are also other things like DNA to think about), as proof there is a God. I am NO super brained person, but still I can not fathom how all that is known about Geese and how they migrate, that it could occur from chance, or years of Geese practicing to get things right. How Geese fly in a V formation, at an altitude, rotating, where they are going, when they go, etc. What, did they brake out some books, picked the right letter of the alphabet, checked the weather on TV, one of them happened to have a compass and a map, and they all agreed to keep doing it each year thereafter.

  45. Kyle says:

    Scott,

    For some reason (maybe your doing?), there is no reply button to your 5:35PM response to me. This will not prevent me from responding:

    “And again, Kyle, your use of strident rhetoric and insults instead of cool rational language absolutely betrays the fact your worldview is threatened.”

    It is very rational, though you’ll never admit it. So what if it’s strident, at least my conclusions are rationally supported. And the stridency is way overdue. My “worldview” is not threatened by your irrationality, my WORLD is!

    “Under no circumstances does an informed God-believing person think that we should cease rational inquiry and just say “God did it” when a more detailed understanding of how God did it can be determined.”

    1) They effectively do so all the time; you are simply refusing to acknowledge it. If you disagree . . .
    2) . . . please point me to the vast volumes of scientific research into gawd’s mechanisms. That’s a trick question; there is not only no real ID research, there is no scientific research into any other aspect of religion . . .
    3) . . . except for the anthropology, neuropsychology, neurology, etc. that clearly shows that religion is a purely natural phenomenon.
    4) Your theistic assumptions are showing. What justifies investigating gawd’s mechanisms without evidence that goddidit?
    5) Or that gawd exists?
    6) Or that anything supernatural ever existed or occurred?

    “You are persistently confusing two concepts:”

    Your theist assumptions are showing again. I see no reason whatsoever to assume that the first question must invoke an ultimate cause and neither does science. Many, including some scientists, do explicitly or implicitly state that the second question necessarily invokes an ultimate cause, but you yourself have discussed the multi-verse concept, which does not – unless you invoke one of those obtuse evidence-free exercises in mental masturbation like the BVG theorem.

    The third question reveals even more about your theistic assumptions than the first as the data is infinitely greater. Our only examples of consciousness are all associated with physical brains, i.e., matter whereas we know conclusively that brains can exist without consciousness and that material damage to the physical matter correlates to impairment or loss of consciousness. The impairment or loss is caused by the damage, not the inverse. We know in ever increasing detail the functions of the various bits of neural circuitry. I find it fascinating that Jeff Hawkins, in the book “On Intelligence”, appears to have sketched out the universal hardwired algorithm of the neocortex and functionally defined cognition and consciousness by extension. There is no more reason to think that consciousness is “more fundamental” than matter than there is to think that orange juice is more fundamental than oranges.

    “Because atheists disbelieve in a conscious creator behing everything, but instead believe in randomness and inert matter as the most fundamental plane of reality, they persistently invoke “no-God-of the-gaps” or “random-processes-of-the-gaps” assumptions.”

    You are over-using the tired IDiot ploy of defining “not gawd” as “randomness.

    “ In other words, it is necessarily the case that a person’s beliefs about ultimate causes directs his or her assumptions about unexplained intermediate causes. A perfect example of a “random-processes-of-the-gaps” explanation exists in the Richard Dawkins / aliens video that I linked you to.”

    Ignoring for the moment your apparent continued complete misrepresentation of Dawkin’s position, let me see if I understand your theistic assumptions correctly. Are you saying that since Dawkins hypothesized that any alien life would likely have arisen by natural processes (as it likely did on Earth), he is just as blinded by BELIEF as you are for “hypothesizing” (sic) that it arose by magic because we lack knowledge and you are incredulous? Do you not see that all “god-o-the-gaps” arguments are both variations on Arguments from Incredulity as well as variations on Arguments from Ignorance and variations on False Dichotomies? Just because we don’t know something doesn’t mean it can never be known. Your inability to conceive of something happening is not evidence that it cannot happen. “It’s a miracle” is not only not the sole valid alternative to “We don’t know”, it is the least valid of all.

    “Another great example of a “no-God-of-the-gaps” explanation would be the prominent atheist philosopher Bertand Russell’s statement that the universe is “a brute fact.” By declaring the universe to be a “brute fact,” Russell is basically urging us to cease rational inquiry and assume that the universe “just is” and that it has existed eternally.”

    Is that his explanation of what he meant, sourced from “Quote Mine Central”, or your own personal attempt at Argument by (Misleading) Quote?

    “But, as I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator) [found in the “snippets” section],” the laws of mathematics and physics clearly demonstrate that the universe in NOT eternal.”

    I understand now! Therefore – an eternal, omnipotent being (for which no other evidence exists whatsoever), possessing infinite supernatural abilities (although nothing supernatural whatsoever has ever been observed). What could be more logical than that?

    “So the question we need to focus on if we are to keep this discussion about the theism / atheism debate is: What does logic suggest is the best explanation for ultimate causes?”

    All “Arguments from Best Explanation” are both bogus and embarrassing to your cause! All they do is open the door to an infinity of contorted “proofs”, replete with unfounded and even unstated premises, tangled logic, etc. that could “prove” anything. Aren’t you at all embarrassed by these convoluted mash-ups of QM, philosophy, theoretical cosmology, etc. that read like Prof. Irwin Corey’s version of a medieval argument about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin? WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? If such evidence-free arguments are your best ones, you should just concede and abandon your blog.

    “Are the ultimate causes intelligent, or unintelligent and random?”

    False dichotomy . . . again.

    “Is matter more fundamental or is consciousness?”

    All EVIDENCE says “matter”. You have no EVIDENCE for the inverse whatsoever.

    “Well, to start with, when modern physics declares that consciousness is more fundamental than matter, those supporting mindless/material explanations have a lot of explaining to do. To this end, I will rehash some quotes:”

    1) Plank and Einstein represent “modern physics”?
    2) If you must insist upon the fallacious Argument by Quotation, would you please provide the statistics on the relative numbers of world-class physicists that declare that consciousness is more fundamental than matter and those that declare that matter is more fundamental than consciousness? You can’t? Then shut the eff up, moron.

    “Did you get that last quote Kyle?”

    Did you get mine?

    “With regards to evolution Kyle, yes, microevolution has been very conclusively demonstrated. But macroevolution is nothing but an extrapolation of microevolution that has not been supported by the fossil record.”

    That is a bald-faced lie. Since you claim that the two differ such that one “has been very conclusively demonstrated” while the other “has not been supported by the fossil record” (as if the evidence were limited to the fossil record!):
    1) Please provide your operating definition of the difference(s) between micro and macro evolution.
    2) Please explain how the mechanisms differ.
    3) Please explain how one distinguishes between them.
    4) Please explain what constraint(s) prevents micro + micro + micro + micro from = macro.
    5) Please provide evidence for this constraint. (And no, cribbed BS, IDiot, pseudoscientific, pseudo-philosophical word salad =/= evidence.)

    “If you review my discussions with the commenter named Nick, you will see that we are in a tit-for-tat about macroevolution, which is a discussion about intermediate causes and is therefore not relevant to the theism vs. atheism debate.”

    Tit-for-tat seems to imply that you and Nick are in a dead heat. You wish. You neglect that that discussion would have definitely been considered about ultimate causes, like damn near everything else, when your mythologies were being hashed together or even 200 YA, which was the point I was making earlier that went cleanly over your head.

    What’s relevant here is irrationality, more specifically, yours since this is your blog. If your variety of irrational thoughts were unrelated, then my remarks would not be relevant, but my entire point is that they are intimately related. Sky daddy beliefs correlate to belief in conspiracy theories, several varieties of science denial, and magical thinking in general. Irrationality conditions you to accept or even produce more irrationality. Irrationality has always made the world a worse place, but we are at a point where it is too dangerous to allow it to go on uncontested.

  46. syoungren says:

    Kyle,

    Tell me which one of your replies today you want me to respond to. The others will be deleted. I am giving the choice to you. Right now it is 8:30 am where I am in Chicago. If you have not chosen by this time tomorrow, I will make the choice for you.

    I may not have time to today, but please tell me which one you want me to respond to. I will not let you hide behind the excuse of me not responding to arguments that you have presented because you have flooded me with so much spam. Pick the argument of yours that you want me to respond to. I am sure you can do it in a few paragraphs and keep out the rhetoric and insults that only make you look someone who is angry because your arguments have fallen apart.

    Scott

    • Kyle says:

      Scott the Liar,

      First, let’s take a moment to reflect on the lives lost and families torn apart ten years ago today. We can do nothing more productive in this regard than to shed the light of understanding on how such things can happen; thereby perchance reducing the potential of future slaughter by some tiny increment, be it on such a large scale or small, as well as the countless lesser related injustices and dangers.

      On this, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, let us all remember that they, like the Inquisition, Crusades, centuries of witch burnings, slavery, the intimidation, house arrest, and censoring of Galileo, the torture and execution of Bruno, the millions of unnecessary HIV deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, etc., were made possible and sanctioned by irrational faith. Except for true psychopaths, which no one even suggests the hijackers were, all humans possess strong, evolved moral instincts against such behavior. This is confirmed by large bodies of scientific research in humans, other primates, other mammals, and non-mammal social species.

      One can conceive of no argument that would convince atheists to similarly commit suicide in order to kill thousands of randomly chosen individuals. There is real truth in the old adage, paraphrased as:

      “Bad people are prone to doing bad things. Good people are prone to doing good things. It’s a trivial matter to get bad people to do good things. To get good people to do truly bad things requires religion.”

      It is not a trivial matter to get good people to do truly horrible things. This requires invoking the evolved “in group vs. out group” distinction that negates the evolved moral instincts that otherwise apply. This is likewise confirmed by large bodies of scientific research in humans, other primates, other mammals, and non-mammal social species. Anyone with a true desire to learn and a desire for truth, rather than merely supporting their dogma at all costs, may Google “kinship selection” to gain some understanding of the evolutionary psychology involved.

      One of the most powerful drivers behind the phenomena of religion is its effectiveness in simultaneously drawing a stark “in group vs. out group” distinction and rationalizing irrational decisions and actions based upon that distinction. Divine command theory makes any belief or action attributable to one’s chosen man in the sky intrinsically good.

      Scott Youngren cannot logically or rationally find fault with the beliefs and actions of the 9/11 hijackers other than that they either prayed to the wrong man in the sky or accepted mistaken interpretations of dogma concerning their man in the sky. Scott cannot logically or rationally find fault with the manner in which they reached their decisions – via faith and dogma – without being plainly hypocritical. Scott cannot logically or rationally find fault with their morality – objectively derived, as theists like to claim, from supernatural authority – without being plainly hypocritical. His only out is to declare his faith-based worldview valid and theirs invalid and he can only do so on faith-based grounds. He will deny this, of course, because the alternative is to admit to both the irrationality and the dangers of faith and faith-based worldviews and Scott is all about justifying his beliefs, not open inquiry.

      In memory of 9/11, I ask everyone to please strive daily to be rational in ALL things, not all things except when religious dogma interferes, and to cease being intimidated into giving faith an undeserved pass. Now moving on:

      “I will not let you hide behind the excuse of me not responding to arguments that you have presented.”

      GASP! Egad, the brazenness! You’re ability to post this kind of thing over and over is jawdroppingly brazen. Thanks again for doing my job for me, i.e., demonstrating the total reliance of apologetics, and especially creationism, on dishonest means of discourse.

      “Tell me which one of your replies today you want me to respond to. The others will be deleted. I am giving the choice to you. Right now it is 8:30 am where I am in Chicago. If you have not chosen by this time tomorrow, I will make the choice for you.”

      It seems that the wielding of gawd-like powers is a deeply engrained concept in your worldview. Unless anyone should fail to see the obvious, let me point it out – You are hoping that since it’s the weekend and that I may be getting discouraged by your censorship and intractable stonewalling, I might miss your, no doubt gawd-given, deadline. I will not be cowed this way.

      I also reserve the right to skip a day or more to suit my schedule without you declaring victory and/or deleting further evidence of your inability to defend your arguments. I have other demands, however, unlike your arbitrary and essentially dishonest ones; mine are all rational and defensible:

      1) If I am limited to a single response per day on said topic, then you should be also. Failure to comply will be a de facto admission of defeat and just another example in a long line of your intellectual dishonesty. It will be treated as such.

      2) Any use of the Big Lies that I will list later will be de facto concessions, whether you admit it or not, and will be treated as such. You have not only lost the debate here on these Big Lies (or conceded them by refusal to engage on them honestly), they were exposed many times and long ago, not to mention that they were prima facie lies before the first creatard used them. Don’t like that condition? Well I don’t like many of the conditions you’ve been imposing from the get-go either, but there’s a difference. As with all of mine, I impose this one – invalidating repetitions of transparent lies that you are too dishonest to acknowledge – in the interest of furthering the discussion rather than shutting it down.

      3) Argument by Quotation, whether blatant quote mining or more subtle, is still not a valid argument, though the unsupportable creatard position is so reliant upon this logical fallacy that they will never admit it. Whether you admit it or not, invoking it will be a de facto concession and will be treated as such. As an example, if you choose to continue any of the herein enumerated Big Lies instead of honest engagement, your concession will be a compound concession if you argue for the validity of the Big Lie by means of quotes that reference it.

      4) All diversionary tactics are disallowed. In your blog, you constantly jump willy-nilly among your short list of arguments instead of honestly engaging rebuttals to any one of them. I won’t declare it a concession if you do, though I should, but I will point out such childishness and reiterate my refusal to take the bait in such a sophomoric trap.

      What to discuss? Well, I don’t see the initial posts wherein I rebutted many of your mistakes; those you have studiously ignored while flailing to change the subject and otherwise dissembling. I should not have to recreate them and I won’t, so you win on most by means of maximum intellectual dishonesty. Your thirst for truth must make your gawd so proud of you.

      I’ll list a couple of topics, perhaps censored and gone, or perhaps not, and let you pick the one that we’ll discuss, in the likely vain hope of shaming you into remaining on topic when you inevitably try to evade it. (Likely by your all-purpose invocation of the problem of first cause, aka The Ultimate Argument from Ignorance, aka The Ultimate False Dichotomy, aka The Weakest, Most Desperate “Proof of God’ Ever, aka the effective admission that all other apologetic arguments, from which you incessantly launch this evasion, must not be much better.)

      Your choice. Shall we discuss:

      A) Your brazen, breathtaking inanity and willful ignorance, for which you’re willing to appear retarded, regarding the Big Lie that the Dawkins video is properly interpreted as Dawkins believing that aliens seeded life on Earth.

      So far, you have simply repeated the Big Lie several times while evading all my attempts to get you to deal with the crystal clear context and my multiple explanations of it. See condition #3 above. Further use of the Big Lie technique without engaging honestly will be a concession. Making me first repeat my argument from scratch yet again will be allowed, but the inevitable conclusion that you’re stalling and incapable of honest engagement would discourage most sane people from doing so.

      B) The Big Lie that the difficulty of computing how a large protein will fold according to the laws of physics is equivalent to the difficulty of it actually folding according to the laws of physics. Also, the associated Big Lie that actual scientists discussing the difficulty of said computation are actually discussing the difficulty of the actual occurrence of said folding, absent supernatural intervention, of course.

      As of this time, you have only repeated this Big Lie in the course of posts to others and have ignored, and possibly censored, my clear explanation of the desperate, dead obvious, fallacious, bait-n-switch nature of this Big Lie. In my response, I went directly to the primary source – the paper which the creatards were wholly misinterpreting – and explained the nature of the Big Lie both in terms of protein folding and by analogy in terms of one of the paper’s other examples OF ITS ACTUAL THESIS IN ITS ACTUAL FIELD. It’s quite predictable that you would, being a typical creatard, repeat the Big Lie in the absence of addressing the explanations just as with the Dawkins video, so I am preemptively invoking precisely the same condition – Further use of the Big Lie technique without engaging my rebuttal honestly will be a concession.

      Two additional Big Lies, both used incessantly, can be predicted to be used in the context of this topic and any further use of these Big Lies to avoid engaging honestly will also be a concession – The natural processes that you routinely characterize as random are decidedly not, nor is the associated False Dichotomy valid. At this point, it is a metaphysical impossibility that you do not know that you are being deceptive when you repeat these errors, therefore:

      • Any statement that effectively repeats your deliberate Big Lie False Dichotomy between “the result of “random processes” or necessarily “intelligently directed”” will be a concession.

      • Likewise, using near infinite regression, as you have done many times, to evade any given topic at hand by asserting this same dichotomy in regards to the ultimate first cause in the universe, is STILL a false dichotomy. You simply arbitrarily define terms and assign attributes on unfounded philosophical assertions, precisely as William Lane Craig does and has for many years. (Shockingly (not), he never addresses the rebuttals and repeats the arguments as if the rebuttals did not exist. Another fine example of the kind of “reasoning” and “truth-seeking” that this world can no longer allow a free pass.) In addition, this particular usage of this Big Lie is a most obvious evasion of the topic at hand, displays a knee-jerk reliance on a single, very weak argument, and is therefore a concession on multiple grounds.

      • Any statement that effectively repeats your deliberate Big Lie that the mechanisms of biological evolution, the hypothesized mechanisms relating to abiogenesis, the mechanisms at work in protein folding, or any other OBVIOUSLY non-random process, are in fact random, will be a concession.

      Should you choose to concede by ignoring or objecting to any ONE of my conditions – and only ONE will be considered at any ONE time – BESIDES CONCEDING YOUR CHOSEN ARGUMENT, you will have also instantaneously changed the subject of our exchange ENTIRELY to the ONE and only ONE dishonest tactic, invalid argument, or Big Lie that you chose to employ or whose rejection you refuse to accept.

      This totally invalidates your near-certain objections that I am unjustifiably rejecting your dishonesty and sophistry. To the contrary, you will have the opportunity to debate the validity of the tactic of your choosing and to do so with all diversionary tactics disallowed. I predict that you will go this route, though I can only guess which dishonest tactic/sophistic argument you will choose to defend rather than engage honestly on the topic you choose.

      The above process is sure to be very long and very trying, though it would be a cinch if you were rational and intellectually honest. There’s another, easier, and quicker step that you could take toward refuting the pathological nature of, and the dangers associated with, the theistic mind:

      C) Alternatively, it would be an interesting test of your religiously-based mental pathologies to see if you can allow even the slightest crack in the bulwark of dogmatic denialism and thereby show some evidence that your purpose is truth rather than winning by any means. If you were arguing from the standpoint of positions arrived at by evidence and logic, it would be a trivial matter for you to admit to ONE error of yours; ONE that I identified; just ONE admission that a rebuttal was correct. It could be ONE admission of factual error, ONE admission of obfuscation, ONE admission of evasion, ONE admission of Argument by Quotation, ONE admission of dishonest quote mining, ONE admission of an argument based upon a logical fallacy such as a non sequitur conclusion, an Argument by Bare Assertion, a false Dichotomy, a bait-n-switch, etc. A trivial admission of error would be obvious deception; the error must be in the context of conceding that your argument failed because of it.

      You are free to make said admission regarding any rebuttal I have made, be it still on your blog or one that you censored. Just ONE. If you should actually take this route, I further predict that you will only do so if you can find an error that does not, by extension, reveal that the entire professional creatard science-denial community is in error as well. That would be unthinkable.

      • syoungren says:

        Kyle,

        Since you did not pick a comment-of-the-day for me to respond to, as I requested, I have deleted your other comments for today. Since this is your latest one, it is the one I will respond to. The one comment per day rule stands. I would not have to do this if you subtracted the angry rhetoric and insults…. and just provided some sort of argument.

        Regarding your connection of religion with violence, you have still not responded to my essay entitled “Doesn’t religion cause killing?,” in the snippets section. You can also click on the preceding link that I created for you.

        Argument by quotation? Really?! How, other than by quotations, does one communicate an individuals views? Secondly, at no point do I make any statement resembling “such and such is true because such and such expert says it is.” Rather, I provide the reasons why such and such expert has come to such and such conclusion. For example, in the “Is there a God? What is the chance that our world is a result of chance?” essay, several of the specific values subject to anthropic fine tuning are cited. I do not merely say, “such and such expert says that the universe was finely tuned, therefore it must be.”

        Citing “quote mining” (whatever this means) and “argument from quotation” is what one resorts to when one is not able to respond to certain quotes or facts that conflict with their worldview. It is a way to HIDE from the quotations rather than engage with them. This is utterly transparent. For the record, what exactly does quote mining mean? Does it mean, “selecting quotes that bring the atheist worldview into doubt”? Does it mean that I have taken a quote out of context? If so, then please tell us what you feel is the greater context. I would love to hear. Saying that something was taken out of context without providing a convincing case for what you feel is the correct context is utterly meaningless.

        A) Regarding the Dawkins video: I have always used the term “hypothesis” with regards to his endorsement of the aliens-brought-life-to-earth suggestion. It should not be understood to mean that he has firmly concluded that it is the case. But it certainly does mean that he (and other prominent atheists such as Francis Crick) really do take the idea seriously. Here again are the links to the Dawkins / aliens video and the article which discusses Crick’s endorsement of the aliens-brought-life-to-earth hypothesis (known as “directed panspermia”) in his book Life Itself. And there are other prominent atheist besides Dawkins and Crick who endorse the idea…. as I mentioned before. I will let other readers view and read these links and then decide for themselves if I am lying. Does that sound like a fair deal? How you are going to make the case that I lied about this, when the evidence is right there in front of you, is beyond me.

        B) So you think that computing how a protein is folded is more complex than actually folding the protein? Did I get that right? Is computing how the space shuttle was made more complex than actually making a space shuttle? Any reasonable person can see that the reverse is true. Are you going to take the stance that life isn’t really that complex after all? That would be a novel approach.

        You say: the natural process that I “routinely characterize as random are decidedly not, nor is the associated False Dichotomy valid”. OK, you don’t think that the natural processes are random. I guess I assumed too much. What then guides these natural processes if it is not randomness and it is not higher intelligence? Please free me from the “false dichotomy” by citing what you feel is the option I have been missing. You invoke this “false dichotomy,” but then you don’t even mention what option I have been failing to consider. If it is not random processes or higher intelligence, then what is directing these natural processes? What Kyle? What? I am not saying that there cannot be a third option, I am just curious as to what you think it is.

        Lastly, Kyle, I want you to again seriously consider the following question: How do you think it makes you look when you utilize so much angry rhetoric and so many insults? Does a person who has strong arguments need to resort to such tactics? In other words, if an argument is strong enough to stand up based upon its logical persuasiveness, then why would a person need to prop it up with verbose rhetoric and insults? Most people reading this will be smart enough to see through this.

    • Kyle says:

      It’s hard to say what most people reading this think of it, but it is perhaps likely that your readership is primarily self-selected creatards. If so, they are already used to extreme cognitive bias and may well see things as you describe them. If they were rational people, they would see that I must be making some pretty good arguments, since you generally evade them, erase them, or fail to acknowledge that they ever appeared here.

      Assuming that your reading comprehension is worth diddle, by all rights I should just declare that you have conceded a dozen different ways, because you did almost everything I said not to do and didn’t do anything that I said to do. In fact, you (shocking!) didn’t even acknowledge any of them. It’s almost like you never read the above post. Of course, it seems the same in regards to most of my posts. You even had the nerve to delete my posts on the basis that I’M THE ONE WHO WOULDN’T NARROW THE DISCUSSION DOWN TO ONE ISSUE. Hell, I WAS INSISTING ON IT, and I went further and gave you two from which to choose. You couldn’t get that right either; you addressed (using the term in the loosest sense) both of them!

      I did not set the conditions randomly nor were they to be unfair; they were to pin your slippery butt down long enough to actually have a discussion. The most obvious conclusion is that you are willing to do anything and everything that you can to prevent that from happening. However, since I’m a nice guy and since some possibility does exist that your reading comprehension and/or reasoning skills are this poor, I will hold your hand a little longer. But if you’re not kidding when you misunderstand a basic explanation or fail to grasp that one was even given, that doesn’t square with the apparent grasp of language displayed in your blog. The only explanation is that you merely copy-n-paste verbatim from other creatard sources, but then that’s absolutely std creatard behavior.

      Before I begin, do you have the integrity to admit that I not only fully agreed to narrowing the discussion to one item, I gave you two to choose from (which you failed to do)? If you can (I’m not holding my breath), do you have the integrity to reinstate the posts that you censored?

      OK, how do I get you to actually be responsive? I’ve tried so many ways to no avail. Shaming you doesn’t work. How about this? I’ll start a new paragraph and lead off with a Roman numeral immediately prior to every key question. I won’t for minor questions, rephrased questions, sub-questions, or rhetorical questions. That way, when you respond, you can simply repeat the same with your answers. When you’re done, you should have a the same number of answers as I had questions. No more excuses.

      I am going to give you several benefits of doubt, though you really don’t deserve them and I’m going to expend considerable time and effort repeating myself and explaining simple things that should not require it. I would like, but do not expect, some appreciation for expending this extra effort and for turning a blind eye to your likely willful refusal to grasp or even acknowledge what I have posted in the past. If you continue your behavior to date and remain willfully ignorant and/or simply fail to respond to these questions, you will be in danger of being so transparently disingenuous that even your fellow creatards will catch on.

      “Since you did not pick a comment-of-the-day for me to respond to, as I requested, I have deleted your other comments for today. Since this is your latest one, it is the one I will respond to. The one comment per day rule stands. I would not have to do this if you subtracted the angry rhetoric and insults…. and just provided some sort of argument.”

      I. Please name the two topics from which I asked you to pick one. (Answer should list two topics)

      You failed top acknowledge my question:

      II. Will you also be limiting yourself to a single daily response in regards my posts? (Yes or no answer)

      I gave arguments for both of these topics prior. For one of them, I also did a “Dick and Jane” version trying to shame you into acknowledging the original.

      IIIa. For the first of the two suggested topics, paraphrase my argument.

      OR

      If you claim to not understand my argument well enough to paraphrase it,

      IIIb. Quote my argument, interrupting to insert questions regarding it.

      IVa. For the second of the two suggested topics, paraphrase my argument.

      OR

      If you claim to not understand my argument well enough to paraphrase it,

      IVb. Quote my argument, interrupting to insert questions regarding it.

      “Regarding your connection of religion with violence, you have still not responded to my essay entitled “Doesn’t religion cause killing?,” in the snippets section. You can also click on the preceding link that I created for you.”

      YOU NEVER ASKED ME TO RESPOND TO THIS BEFORE! That said, I just looked at it and found exactly what I expected. First, you used the excuse of religion infusing all aspects of life until modern times to dismiss any and all religious causation of violence because it couldn’t be disentangled. Are we to assume then that none of it was religious? This misses the key concept that even if the underlying motives were economic or political, people routinely were swayed to act by religion and often to act in ways that only religion can justify. Then you went into the thoroughly refuted – a million times – argument that communists were atheists, therefore all communist violence is atheist violence, which is prima facie wrong, IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the argument you just used to dismiss all religious violence, and was thoroughly destroyed by danno, whose rebuttal you – of course – simply denied.

      “Argument by quotation? Really?! How, other than by quotations, does one communicate an individuals views? Secondly, at no point do I make any statement resembling “such and such is true because such and such expert says it is.” Rather, I provide the reasons why such and such expert has come to such and such conclusion.”

      Your first two concepts are in conflict. You seem to be fixated on others’ views, but then seem to imply that you don’t intend to imply that others’ views are evidence. You now claim to resolve the conflict by quoting their views! That is what you’re doing after all; it would take volumes to actually go through the arguments, thus the appeal of Arguments from Authority, which is all Argument by Quotation is, whether you admit it or not (and you won’t).

      “Citing “quote mining” (whatever this means) and “argument from quotation” is what one resorts to when one is not able to respond to certain quotes or facts that conflict with their worldview. It is a way to HIDE from the quotations rather than engage with them. This is utterly transparent. For the record, what exactly does quote mining mean? Does it mean, “selecting quotes that bring the atheist worldview into doubt”? Does it mean that I have taken a quote out of context? If so, then please tell us what you feel is the greater context. I would love to hear. Saying that something was taken out of context without providing a convincing case for what you feel is the correct context is utterly meaningless.”

      You are here we are left to believe one of two things. Either that you’re so incredibly green at Lying for Jebus that you have never, ever read a single thing by your opponents, or that you lie as easily as you breathe. In this post’s spirit of generosity, I will assume the former, but that is NOT something you should be proud of. It would, however, go a long way toward explaining how you can repeat the same, lame, 20 yr old creatard talking points as if they were fresh and unscathed and summarily dismiss all rebuttals. You may honestly not know how tired or how thoroughly destroyed they are.

      To avoid looking like the greenest noob in the world, I suggest that you begin reading your opposition. Perhaps you have been warned not to by the professional Liars for Jebus that know that the rationalist responses are 1000 times better than the creatard criticisms and reveal the insane dishonesty that infuses ALL creatard arguments. You should begin by Googling “The Quote Mine Project”. You will find links to an almost comically vast database of dishonest creatard quote mines along with a thorough explanation of this, the number one creatard deception tactic. You’ll also find references to a couple of feeble and transparent attempts by creatards to justify the practice, but they’re so bad that they have to know that only those who’ve drank the Kool-aid like yourself will buy them. The practice is so widespread as to warrant a large portion of the Wikipedia article “Fallacy of quoting out of context”. Don’t you dare try to dismiss the content because it’s wiki; deal with the content or just fail to acknowledge per usual:

      “Quote mining and the creation-evolution controversy”

      Scientists and their supporters used the term quote mining as early as the mid-1990s in newsgroup posts to describe quoting practices of certain creationists.[10][11][12] It is used by members of the scientific community to describe a method employed by creationists to support their arguments,[13][14][15] though it can be and often is used outside of the creation-evolution controversy. Complaints about the practice predate known use of the term: Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in his famous 1973 essay “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” that

      Their [Creationists’] favorite sport is stringing together quotations, carefully and sometimes expertly taken out of context, to show that nothing is really established or agreed upon among evolutionists. Some of my colleagues and myself have been amused and amazed to read ourselves quoted in a way showing that we are really antievolutionists under the skin.

      The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) described the use of “[a]n evolutionist’s quote mistakenly used out of context” to “negate the entirety of [an] article and creationist claims regarding the lack of transitional forms” as “a smoke screen”.[16]

      Both Answers in Genesis (AiG) and Henry M. Morris (founder of ICR) have been accused of producing books of mined quotes. TalkOrigins Archive (TOA) states that “entire books of these quotes have been published” and lists prominent creationist Henry M. Morris’ That Their Words May Be Used Against Them and The Revised Quote Book (published by Creation Science Foundation, now AiG, and available from the AiG website)[17] as examples, in addition to a number of online creationist lists of quote-mines.[18] Both AiG and ICR quote mine Stephen Jay Gould on intermediate forms.[19]

      This has been compared to the Christian theological method of prooftexting:

      Pseudoscientists often reveal themselves by their handling of the scientific literature. Their idea of doing scientific research is simply to read scientific periodicals and monographs. They focus on words, not on the underlying facts and reasoning. They take science to be all statements by scientists. Science degenerates into a secular substitute for sacred literature. Any statement by any scientist can be cited against any other statement. Every statement counts and every statement is open to interpretation.
      —Radner and Radner, Science and Unreason, ISBN 0534011535

      [edit] Stephen Jay Gould on intermediate forms

      The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change. All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. Gradualists usually extract themselves from this dilemma by invoking the extreme imperfection of the fossil record.

      — Stephen Jay Gould[19][20]

      The full context shows that Gould only states this argument in order to reject it:

      Although I reject this argument (for reasons discussed in [“The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change”]), let us grant the traditional escape and ask a different question.[20]

      Knowing that creationists are quoting him as if he were promoting this position, Gould responded with this scathing remark:

      Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. The punctuations occur at the level of species; directional trends (on the staircase model) are rife at the higher level of transitions within major groups.[21]

      [edit] “Absurd in the highest degree”

      Since the mid-1990s, scientists and their supporters have used the term quote mining to describe versions of this practice as used by certain creationists in the creation-evolution controversy.[10] An example found in debates over evolution is an out-of-context quotation of Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species:

      To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

      This sentence, sometimes truncated to the phrase “absurd in the highest degree”, is often presented as part of an assertion that Darwin himself believed that natural selection could not fully account for the complexity of life.[22] However, Darwin went on to explain that the apparent absurdity of the evolution of an eye is no bar to its occurrence.

      The quote in context is

      To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

      Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.
      —Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

      Va. Did you read the above?

      Vb. Do you understand it?

      Vc. Do you still wish to contend that you had no idea what quote mining was, even though it has been the number one tactic used by your ilk for half a century?!

      “A) Regarding the Dawkins video: I have always used the term “hypothesis” with regards to his endorsement of the aliens-brought-life-to-earth suggestion. It should not be understood to mean that he has firmly concluded that it is the case.”

      This is a LIE. I will allow you to recover some credibility by fessing up and posting the evidence of it. Failure to do so will result in me going to the effort and you looking even less honest that you do already.

      VI. Quote yourself in this very exchange quite clearly putting the lie to your above claim.

      “I will let other readers view and read these links and then decide for themselves if I am lying. Does that sound like a fair deal? How you are going to make the case that I lied about this, when the evidence is right there in front of you, is beyond me.”

      Those other links are smoke screens, that’s why I continue to try to nail you down to just the Dawkins video Big Lie. And you’re going to make the case for me or look all the more the liar when I do it.

      REMINDER: IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO ALREADY, ANSWER QUESTION III.

      “B) So you think that computing how a protein is folded is more complex than actually folding the protein? Did I get that right?”

      No, you got that entirely wrong. I ask again – did you read my explanation? What do you not understand?

      “Is computing how the space shuttle was made more complex than actually making a space shuttle? Any reasonable person can see that the reverse is true.”

      Did you choose a known designed item because you’re stupid or because you’re dishonest?

      “Are you going to take the stance that life isn’t really that complex after all? That would be a novel approach.”

      PROOF that you don’t even read my posts – You asked me this before – VERBATIM – and I already denied it!

      Now, I wonder why you cooked up the retarded Space Shuttle analogy instead of the perfectly analogous N-body problem, which was one of the other examples in the paper that the creatards were dishonestly misrepresenting AND THAT I USED AS WELL! It is, after all, a perfectly natural process that I don’t think even you would insist requires an omnipotent being to direct.

      VII. Explain what it is about the N-body problem analogy that you do not understand.

      “You say: the natural process that I “routinely characterize as random are decidedly not, nor is the associated False Dichotomy valid”. OK, you don’t think that the natural processes are random. I guess I assumed too much. What then guides these natural processes if it is not randomness and it is not higher intelligence? Please free me from the “false dichotomy” by citing what you feel is the option I have been missing. You invoke this “false dichotomy,” but then you don’t even mention what option I have been failing to consider. If it is not random processes or higher intelligence, then what is directing these natural processes? What Kyle? What? I am not saying that there cannot be a third option, I am just curious as to what you think it is.”

      I can safely conclude then that you’ve never had any exposure to any basic science – ever. This will make it difficult to explain to you since you can always use your ignorance to avoid understanding, but I’ll try anyway:

      The third possibility, besides random and intelligently directed, is by the laws of physic, you moron! Proteins would not fold randomly if gawd wasn’t deciding every move! Chemical elements and compounds don’t react randomly either! If they did, why would there be a field of study called “Chemistry”? There would be nothing to study!

      VIII. Do you understand this insanely obvious point? If not, what will it take to get through to you?

      Since your reading comprehension is so poor, let me tell you now that I already preempted your next predictable weasel maneuver – Skipping all the way back to the Big Bang in every case is a cop-out, a blatant admission that your “random processes” argument fails in every case, and a comical, knee-jerk reversion to the same lame argument to evade your failed arguments in each case.

      “Lastly, Kyle, I want you to again seriously consider the following question: How do you think it makes you look when you utilize so much angry rhetoric and so many insults? Does a person who has strong arguments need to resort to such tactics? In other words, if an argument is strong enough to stand up based upon its logical persuasiveness, then why would a person need to prop it up with verbose rhetoric and insults? Most people reading this will be smart enough to see through this.”

      I HAVE VERY STRONG ARGUMENTS. You prove it every time you evade them.

      Now, your next post should either include eight clearly identified answers that are actually responsive to my clearly identified eight questions or an apology for wasting my time and being a waste of flesh.

      • syoungren says:

        OK, Kyle, let’s make this really simple. Take a quote that I produced which you feel is “out of context” and re-insert it into what you feel is the correct context. As I have said to other commenters, suggesting that a quote is out of context without providing a convincing case for what you feel is the correct context is utterly meaningless.

        Let’s take the additional text of your Gould quote: “The punctuations occur at the level of species; directional trends (on the staircase model) are rife at the higher level of transitions within major groups.” The key words here are “punctuations occur at the level of species” and “transitions within major groups.” This is the very definition of microevolution. To demonstrate macroevolution, one must demonstrate a gradual transition that is NOT “within major groups,” but rather a gradual transition from one group to another. “Punctuations occur(ing) at the level of species” is the precise opposite of one species gradually transforming into another.

        Did you really read this expanded Gould quote that you furnished? Please pay attention to the difference between furnishing greater context and merely furnishing additional text.

        Now let’s look at the additional Darwin text that you provided:

        “Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.”

        Well, who could argue with that? But the problem is, “numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor” have NOT BEEN SHOWN TO EXIST. If you review the video I link to about “what the fossil record REALLY shows,” you will see that all of the major phyla appeared suddenly and fully formed in the fossil record, with no hint of ancestors, during the Cambrian period. Click here to review. The sudden emergence of ALL of the major phyla during the Cambrian in what amounts to a “blink of an eye” in geologic terms is not in dispute among paleontologists.

        Darwin admits the severe threat that the fossil record posed to his theory, but he hoped that further study of the fossil record would vindicate his theory. But, in fact, the opposite has occurred. The fossil record has made things MUCH WORSE for Darwin’s theory. Below are Darwin’s own words:

        “Consequently, if my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures. To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer.”

        Regarding the Cambrian explosion of life, Darwin writes: “The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.”

        “The several difficulties here discussed, namely our not finding in the successive formations infinitely numerous transitional links between the many species which now exist or have existed; the sudden manner in which whole groups of species appear in our European formations; the almost entire absence, as at present known, of fossiliferous formations beneath the Silurian strata, are all undoubtedly of the gravest nature.”

        Detail for us again what the “N-body program” is. Apparently I lost it somewhere in the huge volume of text that you produce which is comprised mostly of long winded, strident rhetoric and insults.

        You seem to keep going back to the accusation that I lied about the Dawkins / aliens video. If you want to think that I told some sort of lie, that is fine with me. But you just keep evading the important question: If atheism provides a more logical explanation for such things as the origin of life, then why do the most prominent atheist thinkers cite such absurd hypotheses as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis and the life-emerged-from-a-piggyback-ride-on-crystals hypothesis?

        OK, Kyle, is it the laws of physics that cause proteins to fold and life to form? Fine. How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law? (Such as the laws of physics, chemistry, or thermodynamics). How can such a structure of laws (or “regularities” if you prefer) that govern the universe devoid of a conscious and intelligent source? Please note that this is a question that science can never answer because it is not a scientific question. Rather, it is an ontological question. The only road that an atheist can take to explain this is to cite one of the “just so” or “it just is” explanations that serve as the foundation for the atheist belief system. Atheism and “just so” storytelling go hand-in-hand.

        Regarding religious violence: Please refute Cavanaugh’s arguement:

        What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.

        It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.

        Cavanaugh is saying that “religion” as a separate category only exists in people’s heads, not in reality. You have done nothing to furnish “a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history.” How has Danno refuted this? Please keep in mind that religious scholars have been completely unable to come up with anything close to an agreed upon definition of “religion.” If “religion” cannot be defined, how can it be cited to induce violence? Don’t you get it? Please read this post to grasp the difficulty with defining religion.

        Please lay down for me, in concise language (without long winded rhetoric) exactly what arguments I have evaded.

        Your understanding of “argument from authority” is completely flawed. A statement that commits this logical fallacy would be something to the effect of “such and such is true because so and so says so.” But at no point do I do this. In my Is There A God? What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance? essay, for example, I cite numerous experts regarding the anthropic fine tuning data. But I also cite many examples of the values that are subject to this fine tuning. A statement to the effect of “so and so expert believes such and such for such and such reasons” is not committing the logical fallacy of “argument from authority”. You seem to think that merely citing an authority is committing the logical fallacy of “argument from authority.” This is a bizarre stance.

        Take the following statement: “The Surgeon General declares that smoking is hazardous to your health.” Does this statement commit the logical fallacy of “argument from authority” because it cites an authority? If one argued that the statement is true only because the Surgeon General said so, then one would be committing the logical fallacy of “argument from authority.” But if one merely cited the scientifically demonstrated link between smoking and several diseases, one would clearly not be committing such a logical fallacy.

        You STILL evade my essay titled Is there A God? What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance? I am guessing that this is about the 4th time I have asked you to engage this essay with some sort of rebuttal. You seem very hesitant to do so? Why do you suppose this is?

        Yes, I intend to limit my responses to your comments to one a day.

    • Kyle says:

      You completely bombed on your last outing. I could have declared your concession on a dozen grounds, but I was stupid enough to give you one more chance. No more.

      You have hereby forfeited every single issue we’ve ATTEMPTED to engage upon because you are some combination of too damn stupid to conduct a debate or too damn dishonest to do so when you know you’ll lose.

      You sir, are a complete waste of flesh; too stubbornly insistent on obfuscation, too willing to ignore my posts for all eternity, and either your reading comprehension is too poor or you’re just too damn dumb. What was the last thing I told you?

      GIVE 8 ANSWERS TO MY 8 QUESTIONS – IDENTIFIED AS I DID.

      You totally washed out.

      You STILL failed to even acknowledge many of my key points.

      You admitted to never reading my detailed rebuttal to the dirt-stupid protein folding creatardism. I suppose that you conveniently deleted it so that I would have to recreate it, you effing bastard!

      You have the brass ones to repeat the dishonest SJG mined quote and actually argued in its favor, WHILE NEVER ACKNOWLEDGING SJG’S EXPRESS CONDEMNATION OF IT!

      In the process, you manged to completely invert his meaning on the technical matter as well.

      You were even MORE DISHONEST in the Darwin matter, because you introduced a new mined quote! Then, inexplicably, you rolled over and admitted the proper context – AND THEN PROCEEDED TO REPEAT ANOTHER DISPROVED, DISHONEST CREATARD TALKING POINT. Your video link is a pack of lies. You like quotes; why did you post the creatard pack of lies and IGNORE the SJG quote about transitional fossils? Hmm?

      As for your latest go-to lie, the Cambrian, I suggest that you really need to read SOMETHING other than creatards:

      1) The Cambrian “explosion” lasted a few 10’s of millions of years. As a point of reference, all mammals today evolved from small, burrowing survivors of the KT extinction 65 MYA. That’s right, everything from Mexican free-tail bats to blue whales, with anteaters, polar bears, orangutangs, and giraffes in between.

      2) We have fossils of multicellular life forms prior to the Cambrian, but they are few and of a different quality because they were soft-bodied. Thanks for illustrating the obvious point that not everything fossilizes. No doubt, many of the phyla were around for some time in soft-bodied forms.

      3) An evolutionary arms race plus many available ecological niches drove rapid evolutionary change around the time of the Cambrian. The evolution of eyes – several variations in trilobites alone – repeatedly – and well documented in the fossil record – as well as the evolutionary response of exoskeletons, also repeatedly, caused an “explosion” in fossilization. The end of the “Snowball Earth” period created vast, unexploited environments and coevolution was in hyper-drive.

      4) The evolution of the Hox genes and Hox clusters resulted in segmented bodies and specialized appendages. We’ve studied the Hox in many diverse species and teased out many of their functions. Manipulation of Hox genes is the cause of “thalidomide babies” as well as the famous fruit flies with legs instead of antennae. We have then inferred the Hox configurations from the morphology of extinct species and cross-correlated with other genetic markers and their mutation rates. Indications are that the Hox genes and then Hox clusters appeared shortly before the Cambrian.

      5) As with all such newly evolved systems, there is a rapid profusion of variation initially and then some of these variations become “fixed” as redundant and non-coding sequences are lost or degraded.

      Your welcome for the remedial education.

      YOU find my N-body explanation, jerkbait, or GO TO THE ORIGINAL PAPER YOU CREATARDS ARE MISREPRESENTING AND SEE IT FOR YOURSELF! Then, as I had asked, either paraphrase the actual argument made by the paper or ask me specific questions about anything that you don’t understand.

      Since you REFUSE to answer any questions, let me again try to shame you – DID YOU ALSO FAIL TO READ MY EXPLANATION OF THE (ALREADY CRYSTAL CLEAR) DAWKINS’ VIDEO?! I suggest that you find it, read it for comprehension, and then DO WHAT I ASKED LAST TIME! Either paraphrase its meaning or quote it with questions inserted. THAT’S THE ONLY WAY I’M EVER GOING TO GET YOU TO ENGAGE HONESTLY ON ANYTHING.

      Ignore me again and show all your fellow creatards what a maximally dishonest little turd you are. You’re not fooling anybody. Do you think gawd likes it when you are a complete jerk and a pathological liar in his name? Hmm?

      You then repeated the Big Lie about the Dawkins’ video in the context of the Big Lie that atheism provides explanations for anything. SCIENCE provides the explanations. Atheism allows us to a avoid being delusional denialists about science. You also repeated your half-truth, Arguments from Incredulity YET AGAIN – “such absurd hypotheses as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis and the life-emerged-from-a-piggyback-ride-on-crystals hypothesis”.

      “Please lay down for me, in concise language (without long winded rhetoric) exactly what arguments I have evaded.”

      Your brazenness is of Olympic quality. I will not dignify this with any response except that I’VE ALREADY LISTED THEM OVER AND OVER AND OVER YOU FLIPPING MORON!!!! And you yourself have just touched on some of them, WITHOUT ADDRESSING THEM.

      You then repeated Cavanaugh’s point AS IF I HAD NEVER VERY EXPLICITLY AND DIRECTLY REFUTE IT! This is classic creatard! What the eff is the point of posting ANYTHING to someone as thick-skulled as you?! And then, after repeating what I had rebutted as if I never had, you – OF COURSE – completely failed to acknowledge (or read?) the counterpoints that I made in regards to atheism and violence, INCLUDING POINTING OUT THAT IF YOU CAN GIVE RELIGION A PASS FOR CAVANAUGH’S REASON, THEN ATHEISM SHOULD GET A GOLD-PLATED PASS JUST TO BE LOGICALLY CONSISTENT! Shocking. Shocking, I say.

      You then proceed to completely miss my point about your all-too-typical creatard use of quotation as argument from authority. Repeating one example wherein you claim to have given adequate attention to the actual arguments does not relieve you are the entire creatard industry from the staggering weight of this, its primary dishonest tactic. I note that you also failed to acknowledge the key points there, which bear repeating:

      “This has been compared to the Christian theological method of prooftexting:

      Pseudoscientists often reveal themselves by their handling of the scientific literature. Their idea of doing scientific research is simply to read scientific periodicals and monographs. They focus on words, not on the underlying facts and reasoning. They take science to be all statements by scientists. Science degenerates into a secular substitute for sacred literature. Any statement by any scientist can be cited against any other statement. Every statement counts and every statement is open to interpretation.
      —Radner and Radner, Science and Unreason, ISBN 0534011535”

      “You STILL evade my essay titled Is there A God? What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance? I am guessing that this is about the 4th time I have asked you to engage this essay with some sort of rebuttal. You seem very hesitant to do so? Why do you suppose this is?”

      B_E_C_A_U_S_E_ _Y_O_U_ _E_V_A_D_E_ _E_V_E_R_Y_T_H_I_N_G,_ _A_L_L_ _T_H_E_ _T_I_M_E,_ _A_N_D_ _C_A_N_N_O_T_ _B_E_ _S_H_A_M_E_D_ _I_N_T_O_ _A_N_ _H_O_N_E_S_T_ _E_X_C_H_A_N_G_E,_ _T_H_A_T’_S_ _W_H_Y_!!!!! I suspect more and more that you may actually be completely fooled by the professional Liars for Jebus and that you may actually lack the intellectual capacity to carry on a debate. I further suspect that you’re ~10 yrs old.

      At this point, I do not even expect a response, and if you do respond, I fully expect it to be just as non-responsive as all your others, just as packed with repetitions of, and links to, the same laughably bad creatard arguments, and just as willfully ignorant.

      Prove me wrong. Respond to my last post as you should have. Anything else will result in me calling you what you clearly are and demanding that you engage honestly or shut the eff up. Just pick one of the two damn issues I offered up, look up my earlier response to it, and then, pretend that you’re sentient being and engage it like anybody else would.

      • syoungren says:

        Once again, Kyle, you are very transparently trying to use forceful assertions and strident rhetoric to disguise your deficient arguments.

        Regarding the Stephen Jay Gould’s “express condemnation” of creationists using his quotes: OF COURSE Gould finds it “infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists” ….Gould is a biologist who participates in the “cultural context” (to use his words) of the naturalist / materialist worldview, despite the fact that modern physics has completely dismissed this worldview. If your own quotes could be used to demonstrate the bankruptcy of your worldview, you would be infuriated to!!

        Please respond to my previous response to your attempt to insert his quotes into what you feel is a greater context. I will reiterate: The additional Gould text that you provided only demonstrates microevolution, which is something that no informed creationist denies. Gould states that the punctuation occurs at the species level: In order to demonstrate macroevolution, you must demonstrate a gradual transition from one species to another. This is the very opposite of punctuation occurring at the species level.

        My video link about the Cambrian is “a pack of lies”? So these eminent biologists are just telling a bunch of lies?

        Let’s look at your responses to my video about the Cambrian (click here if you need to view it again):

        1) The Cambrian explosion did not last a “few 10’s of millions of years,” as you assert. It lasted between 5 and 10 million years. This is a “blink of an eye” in geologic terms, as the experts in the video describe. If it was a prolonged period of time in geologic terms, why is it referred to as an “explosion” or as “biology’s Big Bang”? Please provide a scholarly citation indicating that the Cambrian explosion lasted “10s of millions of years” as you assert.

        2) Soft bodied forms? The video addresses this, Kyle… but you ignored it. There are an abundance of soft bodied sponge embryos fossilized prior to the Cambrian, so yes, soft bodied organisms do fossilize. Therefore, it the phyla were around prior to the Cambrian in soft bodied form, the fossils would be there, but they aren’t. This point is made by the experts in the video, but you ignore it.

        3) OK, so there was “rapid evolutionary change” around the time of the Cambrian. How are you going to rectify this with the fact that Darwin said, in The Origin of Species that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

        Don’t you see the contradiction between “rapid evolutionary change,” and “numerous, successive, slight modifications”? Darwin’s mechanism for evolution was such “numerous, successive, slight modifications” through random mutation and natural selection. What mechanism are you suggesting was behind the “rapid evolutionary change” in the Cambrian explosion?

        4) Hox genes? Did you really view the video? Please detail your response to what the expert in the video said about Hox genes.

        5) What is the mechanism that causes “rapid profusion of variation”? Is it random mutation, as in Darwin’s theory? If these mutations are random, what mechanism causes them to suddenly accelerate? Why are there not successive graduations in the fossil record even though we have an abundance of soft bodies sponge embryos in the fossil record?

        If you are so confident in your “N body” argument, why don’t you just copy and paste it for me to see? Why do you insist that I go find it myself? Your replies are long winded and intertwined with rhetoric and insults. It is very hard for me to sift through them.

        The same thing with your reply to the Dawkins / aliens video. If you are so confident in your argument, why not accomplish the simple task of restating it or at least copying and pasting it? Your insistence that I go find these arguments myself is highly suggestive that you don’t have much faith in them. Further, there is no room for interpretation here… Dawkins is on video endorsing a hypothesis which says that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens. Period. End of story. What needs to be interpreted?

        And I have more bad news for you regarding Dawkins. He admitted in a debate that “a serious case could be made for a deistic God.” Click here. OOPS! So much for being certain that God is a “delusion”!

        But, Kyle, I am going to bring the discussion back to the heart-of-the-matter because we have gotten off on a tangent: As I have pointed out before, the question of evolution is largely irrelevant to the topic of the existence of God. This is because, even if macroevolution were to be clearly demonstrated to be true, there remains the question of how the mechanisms which drive macroevolution came to be. Take this simple illustration: Imagine an automobile factory where all of the manufacturing is done by robots (this is not too far in the future, I suppose). Could we reasonably conclude by observing the robots doing all of the work that people have no role in automobile manufacturing? No, of course not… because the question immediately becomes: Who made the robots? Who wrote the software that tells the robots what to do? Where did the factory itself come from?

        For the purposes of this discussion, I will continue my argument from the standpoint that everything you say about evolution is 100% accurate.

        You have stated before that evolution is driven by natural laws. The crucial question (which I have asked you before, but which you did not respond to) is this: How can it be that inanimate matter can be induced to obey a set of laws? Please note that this is not a scientific question. Rather, it is a meta-scientific or ontological question. Therefore, any references to me or anyone else practicing what you refer to as “pseudoscience” are irrelevant because we are not even dealing with science.

        I will restate the question again so that you don’t miss it or attempt to evade it: HOW CAN IT BE THAT INANIMATE MATTER CAN BE INDUCED TO OBEY A SET OF LAWS? (Such as the laws of chemistry, physics, or thermodynamics?) How, Kyle? HOW?

        Regarding Cavanaugh, you still have not responded to his point, which I will again copy and paste:

        What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.

        It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.

        Your last response to Cavanaugh simply assumed that there is “a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history.” You did not make a case for “religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life” as anything more than “an invention of the modern West.”

        Here is a copy and paste of your last reply regarding Cavanaugh’s arguments about religion and violence:

        “First, you used the excuse of religion infusing all aspects of life until modern times to dismiss any and all religious causation of violence because it couldn’t be disentangled. Are we to assume then that none of it was religious? This misses the key concept that even if the underlying motives were economic or political, people routinely were swayed to act by religion and often to act in ways that only religion can justify.” (Bold added by me).

        Your arguments continue to assume the existence of a discrete category of human activity known as religion, despite the fact that Cavanaugh’s very argument is that there is no such discrete category. That is not merely a bad reply, rather, it is no reply at all!

        This is the fifth time (if my count is correct) that you have evaded responding to my essay titled Is there A God? What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance?

  47. Kyle says:

    Your intellect sir, is so ideologically blinded as to make conversation impossible. I’m so effing pissed at your production of yet another steaming pile of diversions, attempted diversions, repetitious lies, restated arguments that IGNORE the rebuttals just made, etc., that I’ll respond to it later. And yes, damn straight, I’m not going to take the rabbit trail, “Is there A God? What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance?” a 6th time either, dipsquat. It’s NOT EVADING to insist that you cease evading!

    Instead, while I cool down and ponder how Richard and danno kept their cool as long as they did, I’ll post something else for your cognitive dissonance to digest. I reviewed the comments – I’m not the first one to get your number. Richard NAILED it! Yep! I think I’ll give you some of your own medicine and go off on some tangents. I do it for the same reason that you do it – BECAUSE YOU MAKE AN HONEST EXCHANGE IMPOSSIBLE!

    From Wikipedia’s page (just to piss you off) on “Evidence of common descent”:

    Contents

    1 Evidence from comparative physiology and biochemistry

    1.1 Genetics
    1.1.1 Universal biochemical organisation and molecular variance patterns
    1.1.2 DNA sequencing
    1.1.3 Endogenous retroviruses
    1.1.4 Proteins
    1.1.5 Pseudogenes
    1.1.6 Other mechanisms
    1.2 Specific examples
    1.2.1 Feline endogenous retroviruses
    1.2.2 Chromosome 2 in humans
    1.2.3 Cytochrome c
    1.2.4 Human endogeno