Doesn’t evolution prove the biblical account of creation to be false?

Posted on July 9, 2010 By

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity 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.”

Charles Darwin, the founder of evolutionary biology, as cited in his autobiography.

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“This much I can say with definiteness – namely, that there is no scientific basis for the denial of religion – nor is there in my judgment any excuse for a conflict between science and religion, for their fields are entirely different. Men who know very little of science and men who know very little of religion do indeed get to quarreling, and the onlookers imagine that there is a conflict between science and religion, whereas the conflict is only between two different species of ignorance.”

Robert Andrews Millikan, who won the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the elementary charge of electricity and on the photoelectric effect.

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If outspoken atheists such as Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) and Daniel Dennett (author of Breaking the Spell) are to be believed, there is a war raging between enlightened reason and primitive superstition. On the side of reason are those endorsing Darwinian evolution through random mutation and natural selection. On the side of superstition are those endorsing the view that life came about purely by special acts of creation by God.

But, as is often the case, reality more closely resembles a synthesis of competing views. Ideology often causes people to take extreme stances on such issues. As former Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Physics (and biblical scholar) Gerald Schroeder notes in his book The Science of God; The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom:

“The atheist often wants ‘Made by Monkeys’ stamped right across our wonderfully high brows, while the theist often seeks to prove we are a direct line from the ‘dust from the ground’ (Gen 2:7). According to the book of Genesis and two-thousand-year-old traditional commentary thereon, the reality of our existence lies somewhere between these two extreme positions.”

Schroeder devotes his book to demonstrating that this battle has emerged because persons on both sides of the debate have an inadequate understanding of both science and the Bible. Perhaps his most critical point is that:

“The God an atheist does not believe in is usually not the God of the Bible. Unfortunately, the god of the believer is also often not the God of the Bible….An infinite God obviously could produce [a] variety of creatures, but this would not be the God described in the Bible. Throughout the text, we read descriptions of nature functioning naturally. Why the creationist paradigm insists on selling short the phenomenal laws of nature is beyond me.”

Francis Collins, one of the world’s leading geneticists (former director of the Human Genome Project and recently appointed by Obama as director of the National Institutes of Health) and a Christian believer, echoes Schroeder’s sentiment that apparent conflicts between science and the Bible are often the result of an incorrect understanding of the Bible (and science). As his book, The Language of God, reminds us, Darwin stated in On The Origin of Species:

“I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone…A celebrated author and divine has written to me that he ‘has gradually learned to see that it is just as noble a conception of the deity to believe that he created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that he required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of his laws.'”

Collins later reinforces this point in light of the logical fallacies promoted by Richard Dawkins and others:

“Dawkins argues that evolution fully accounts for biological complexity and the origins of humankind, so there is no more need for God. While this argument rightly relieves God of the responsibility for multiple acts of special creation for each species on the planet, it certainly does not disprove the idea that God worked out His creative plan by means of evolution.”

Here Collins is touching upon the fundamental deceit perpetrated by atheistic authors: Using scientific claims which have a measure of validity to justify shoddy, unsupported philosophical claims. Such persons are seemingly unaware when they have crossed the bridge from science into philosophy…a field to which scientific expertise does not extend. Aware of this common tendency among scientists, Einstein commented, “the man of science is a poor philosopher.”

Perhaps no one drives this point home better than Alister McGrath, a Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, in his book The Dawkins Delusion.  McGrath cites Peter Medwar (an Oxford immunologist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine) from 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.”

David Bentley Hart, author of Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies further exposes the shoddiness of the philosophy distributed by Dawkins:

“He [Dawkins] does not hesitate, for instance, to claim that ‘natural selection is the ultimate explanation for our existence.’ But this is a silly assertion and merely reveals that Dawkins does not understand the words he is using. The question of existence does not concern how it is that the present arrangement of the world came about, from causes already internal to the world, but how it is that anything (including any cause) can exist at all…It is a question that no theoretical or experimental science could ever answer, for it is qualitatively different from the kind of questions that the physical sciences are competent to address. 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 paleontology 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.”

Those in the scientific community are fully aware of Darwinian evolution’s inability to explain the origins of life, but are usually reticent to admit it. This is largely due to an intense ideological commitment to atheism and the freedom from moral constraints that it permits.

At first blush, this may appear a bold assertion, but statements made by insiders in the field of evolutionary biology provide a window into this reality: Judging from his testimony in an interview, Richard Dawkins himself seems to understand that life on earth originated from a higher intelligence. He just differs from theists on who this intelligent source is. In his hypothesis, it was not God but extraterrestrial aliens that brought life to earth.  (Click here to see the interview).

Bringing this ideological bias further into view is David Berlinski, in his book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions:

“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.'”

“Major transitions in biological evolution? These are precisely the transitions that Darwin’s theory was intended to explain. If those ‘major transitions’ represent a ‘sudden emergence of new forms,’ the obvious conclusion to draw is not that nature is perverse but that Darwin was wrong.”

Berlinski goes on to reveal that:

“On this matter, biologists are not at all confused. Whatever the degree to which Darwin may have ‘misled science into a dead end,’ the biologist Shi V. Liu observed in commenting on Koonin’s paper, ‘we may still appreciate the role of Darwin in helping scientists [win an] upper hand in fighting against the creationists.'”*

And Gerald Schroeder reveals, in his book The Science of God, that:

“No less an authority on evolution than Ernst Mayr, professor emeritus of zoology at Harvard University, former curator at the American Museum of Natural History, and avowed lifelong advocate of Darwinian evolution, has finally come to admit that the origin of our species is a ‘puzzle’ (to use his word) that may never be solved. The link that leads directly to Homo Sapiens is missing.  That should not be a surprise.  Such direct ‘links’ are not abundant in the fossil record.”

And lastly, a 1995 article from the highly respected, peer reviewed journal Science entitled Did Darwin Get It All Right? dropped a bombshell when it stated:

“The most thorough study yet of species formation in the fossil record confirms that new species appear with a most un-Darwinian abruptness after long periods of stability.”

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.

This begs the question: If the scientific community is fully aware of Darwinian evolution’s grave shortcomings in explaining the emergence and diversification of life, why haven’t they abandoned it altogether? The answer lies not only in the intense ideological commitment to atheism prevalent in the scientific community, but in the current unavailability of a scientifically articulated alternative.

The master of the philosophy of science and the social psychology of scientists, Thomas Kuhn, drives this point home 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]

When Issac Newton’s physics could not explain the phenomenon of gravity, for example, his theories were not labeled as false and discarded. Rather, it was not until Einstein’s theories emerged (which explained gravity as the result of a curvature of the space-time fabric) that Newton’s model was displaced from its reigning position and integrated into the new, superior model. Newton’s physics, in other words, were shown to have a much more narrow range of applicability than Einstein’s. The subatomic realm and the realm of planetary motion (or, in other words, the very small and very big) were discovered to lie beyond the scope of Newton’s physics.

In a similar light, explaining the immense gap in complexity between non-living matter and the simplest living thing is beyond the scope (or “range of applicability”) of evolutionary theory.

Some readers are at this point almost certainly shouting, “But wait! The biblical view says that life emerged in six days and science says it emerged in nearly 15 billion years. These views are completely irreconcilable!”

But the discrepancy is only irreconcilable from the viewpoint of a pre-Einstein understanding of time. Time, according to Einstein (and as Gerald Schroeder reminds us) is relative to the velocity and gravity of the location of the observer. Schroeder goes on to explain that:

“The cosmic timepiece, as observed today, ticks a million million times more slowly than at its inception…In terms of days and years and millenia, this stretching of the cosmic perception of time by a factor of a million million, the division of fifteen billion years by a million million reduces those fifteen billion years to SIX DAYS!” [emphasis mine]

So did life as we know it emerge in six days (as according to the Bible),  or did it take roughly 15 billion years (as according to science)? The amazing answer to this question is ALL OF THE ABOVE!  For further clarification, readers are STRONGLY encouraged to visit Gerald Schroeder’s website, www.GeraldShroeder.com. Please also view the following videos.

View the below video to review an experiment which verifies Einstein’s theory of time dilation.

[iframe_loader title=”Youtube video player” width=”572″ height=”312″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/gdRmCqylsME” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

 

Please view MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder’s commentary in the video below or click here to read a condensed version.
[iframe_loader title=”Youtube video player” width=”572″ height=”312″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/EhrdtTG0nTw” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

Click here to see what the fossil record really shows in a two part video.  When you are done watching, you will have a good idea 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).  Mainstream biology is scrambling to find new ways to explain the origin and diversification of life without reference to God.
One of my favorite atheist explanations for the origin of life is the MAGIC CRYSTAL PIGGYBACK RIDE endorsed by atheist biologist Michael Ruse.  Sound strange?  Click on the link.

Click the following link to learn why life could not have emerged without God.

Such revelations may come as a shock to those who had dismissed the biblical account of creation as a mythological fairy tale. This is especially shocking when one realizes, as revealed by Schroeder, that the author of the Bible clearly understood the relativity of time thousands of years before Einstein.

For further exploration of this topic, please read my post titled Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism.

*(Readers looking to explore this subject further are encouraged to read Evolution: A Theory In Crisis by molecular biologist Michael Denton and 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).

 


  1. Christen says:

    This is really interesting stuff you have here. But, you are really smart and it shows You should really dumb this down a little, there alot of big words and complicated phrases that make it hard to understand. I know alot of christian people who need to hear this stuff, but they probaly could not understand what you trying putting across. Basic English 101 you should write for your audience, and I would hope your audience included lower middle class and religously confused people, and also the new followers of christ, and not all of them could understand what you are saying.

    • syoungren says:

      I appreciate your comment. This website is not going to be for everyone. It is true that you should never use a big word when a smaller one will do…otherwise you are just trying to look smart and harming effective communitcation in the process. I am afraid, however, that in many instances on this site, the subject matter does not allow for smaller words and simpler phrases. Despite this, I will take your comment to heart and do my best to keep it simple where possible.

  2. jason says:

    Isn’t the last quote only relevant if the cosmic timepiece had stayed at its original speed? To me it is saying that the universe WOULD have existed for six days IF the cosmic timepiece stayed at its original speed.

    • syoungren says:

      No…what it means is that the earth is roughly 15 billion years old in time as observed from the earth, but only six days old as observed from the location of the big bang. Einstein showed that time is relative to the position of the observer.

      • danno says:

        Allow me to be the skeptic. The earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Einstein’s theory of relativity can’t simply be interpreted to fit biblical ideas of how the universe began. Why use days to explain the big bang timeline? A day is subject to the rotation of the earth. I suppose it’s because the bible refers to it that way, and since science now shows a much more lenghty progression of earthly existence. However, it has been proven that the speed of light cannot be exceeded. Our galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years in diameter. How far are we from the big bang epicenter then? Six days–impossible, unless we are talking about something supernatural (by leap of faith) that is capable of such feats. Science is not a religion, it’s math and formulas used to prove theories and such. Please provide the five or so most substantive arguments that show evidence (proof if you got it) for the existence of a god. I hope all will not be a result of deduction, that because of “this and that,” there must be a god.

        • danno says:

          I feel the answer to the subject question is yes. Michael Behe (“Darwin’s Black Box”) simply DEDUCES to divine intervention based on supposed irreducible complexity. Approximately 3.5 BILLION years of adaptation and natural selection through random mutation does explain modern complexity. Read Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It substantiates evolution as a fact, which conflicts with the creation theory purposed by the bible. In Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” he explains that the existence of supernatural beings cannot be proved. But, where all was set in motion approximately 13.75 billion years ago (big bang), the origin (if there ever was one) of time and matter cannot be proved, and that very well may be the one-time creation of god, including life’s evolutionary processes as god’s “greatest” feat allowing things to evolve as they in fact do (or is god the puppeteer on the motions of genetics?). Just not any specific god (there are so many), but the one and only god creating all.

          • syoungren says:

            I think if I had to summarize the main point that I am trying to make with regard to the theory of evolution, it would be that the theory is being exploited by atheists to make bold philosophical pronouncements (i.e. no God) that are clearly not warranted by the science. In no way do I think that the word “false” should be applied to the theory evolution. When it comes to scientific theories, the core issue is not simply whether they are true or false. Rather, the key question is, “What is the range of applicability?”

            For example, Issac Newton’s physics were not proven “false” by Einstein’s physics and quantum physics. Rather, it has been shown that Newton’s physics have a range of applicability that does not include the subatomic realm or the cosmic realm of black holes and quasars (or, in other words, the very small and the very big). Classical (or Newtonian) physics cannot account for why stars and planets are attracted to each other by gravity. It took Einstein’s physics to show that gravity results from a curvature of the space-time fabric…to cite one example.

            In a similar light, I contend that the question of the origin of life lies entirely outside of the scope (or “range of applicability”) of Darwin’s theory. Please read my post entitled, “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” You will find that the scientific community is well aware that trying to apply Darwin’s theory to account for the origin of the first occuring, simplest living thing (or even to complex proteins) from non-living matter is not appropriate. The gap in complexity is just too vast to be bridged by random processes. Please be sure to watch the video of Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion, expressing his belief that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space.

            This being said, is Darwin’s theory “false?” No…explaining the modifications that living things make in order to better adapt to their respective environments fits well within its range of applicability, and it has therefore been demonstrated to contain truth by merit of the observational data. But it is one of my key contentions that the range of applicability of Darwin’s theory has been stretched beyond its limits to suit ideological purposes.

            Dawkins would ultimately be right in his assertion that “the existence of supernatural beings cannot be proved.” But Dawkins does not seem to understand the words that he uses. The existence or non-existence of God is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. The Oxford Dictionary defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Studying the “structure and behavior of the physical and natural world” is a fundamentally different exercise than discussing why there even exists a physical and natural world in the first place. The assertion that “the non-existence of God cannot be proved by science” is equally true.

            Discussing this subject falls under the scope of philosophy, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as ““the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” One should no sooner go to a scientist for novel philosophical insights than one should go to a plumber for legal advice. Einstein is famous for commenting, “the man of science is a poor philosopher.” Dawkins is the poster child for this since he is not even able to make the distinction between science and philosophy.

            This is one of the key themes of this website: Atheistic scientists using science to make bold but shoddy and unsupported philosophical assertions.

            Furthermore, I must point out that the probability that life occured from random chance is a question that a biologist is not qualified to answer. It is a question only a mathemetician is qualified to discuss. This is another incidence of Dawkins venturing outside his field of expertise.

            Therefore, please see my link to Oxford University mathemetician Roger Penrose’s assesment of this probability, entitled “OK, I want numbers.”

        • syoungren says:

          Well, it is your word against that of a physicist from MIT. When you say, “Einstein’s theory of relativity can’t simply be interpreted to fit biblical ideas of how the universe began,” you are countering a very well credentialed authority. Can you find an authority who comments on the subject of the bible and its relationship to Einsteins theories who counters Schroeder’s stance?
          Or does your argument rest on exclusively on your own opinion?

          Provided other substantive arguments that show evidence for the existence of God? Well, I have done so with my other posts. Please read them and reply at your leisure.

          • danno says:

            “the existence of supernatural beings cannot be proved.” – Dawkins

            “the non-existence of God cannot be proved by science” is EQUALLY (emphasis added) true. – Youngren

            So then what does the evidence on this site amount to? A convincing and/or persuasive argument, to some, speculative to others.

            philosophy…when considered as an academic discipline. Is your philosophy of academia? Not others, but yours? Perhaps it is…

            Einstein is famous for commenting, “the man of science is a poor philosopher.”

            But here, philosophizing, “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon. I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.” –Albert Einstein

            And “Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.” –Sir Isaac Newton

            Who are these scientists to be making such unsupported philosophical assertions? I didn’t use “shoddy” because that’s more of an opinion.

            • syoungren says:

              Proof is a difficult philosophical concept. Try proving that grass is green. When a jury convicts a defendant, it does so “beyond a reasonable doubt,” not “beyond any doubt.”

              No, these assertions by Einstein and Planck (not Newton) are not unsupported. Planck also said:

              “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.”

              He, in other words, knows that random chance cannot explain for what he witnesses in his research into the atom.

              Planck, Einstein, and many other physicists have come to the conclusion that a conscious, intelligent mind is behind reality, because their work involves examining the most fundamental aspects of the physical and natural world.

              Atheist biologists such as Dawkins have asserted that we can prove that there is no God because random processes working over exceedingly large periods of time can account for the origin of life. But he makes this assertion despite the fact that he admitted in an interview that neither he, nor anyone else can explain the origin of life. This is the essence of a shoddy, unsupported philosophical assertion.

              Further, biology is not the branch of science that examines the most fundamental aspects the physical and natural world.

          • danno says:

            Re: the MIT physicist…my argument doesn’t rest on much opinion at all. Explore the facts and philosophies of these revered figures and reply at your leisure…

            In “Misquoting Jesus,” observing early scribes’ chauvinistic and mythical alterations for example, Bart Ehrman contends that certain widely-held Christian beliefs, such about the divinity of Jesus, are associated not with the original words of scripture but with these later alterations. He doesn’t comment on Einstein’s and Schroeder’s comments, though. Nevertheless, he remained a Christian for 15 years but later became an agnostic because of the problem of suffering, or theodicy (=god + justice).

            Sam Harris, Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA – he notes, the Bible “does not contain a single sentence that could not have been written by a man or woman living in the first century.”

            Victor J. Stenger is an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist, and author, now active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism. As of June 2010, he has published nine books for general audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, atheism, and pseudoscience, the latest of which is “The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason,” which was released in September 2009. Stenger announced that work has begun on a tenth book, tentatively titled “The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: How the Universe is Not Designed for Humanity.”

            Daniel C. Dennett, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, University Professor, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies (with Ray Jackendoff) at Tufts University, is a prominent advocate of the Brights movement. Check it out…it goes something like this:

            Imagine there’s no Heaven
            It’s easy if you try
            No hell below us
            Above us only sky
            Imagine all the people
            Living for today

            Imagine there’s no countries
            It isn’t hard to do
            Nothing to kill or die for
            And no religion too
            Imagine all the people
            Living life in peace

            You may say that I’m a dreamer
            But I’m not the only one
            I hope someday you’ll join us
            And the world will be as one

            Imagine no possessions
            I wonder if you can
            No need for greed or hunger
            A brotherhood of man
            Imagine all the people
            Sharing all the world

            You may say that I’m a dreamer
            But I’m not the only one
            I hope someday you’ll join us
            And the world will live as one

            – John Lennon

            The internet is endless!

            • syoungren says:

              Here is what Physics World magazine says about Victor Stenger’s book. Please note, this is not some religious organization. Rather, it is the membership magazine for the Institute of Physics. Below is an excerpt of the article:

              Case not proven
              May 1, 2007
              God, The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
              Victor J Stenger
              2007 Prometheus Books
              294pp $28.00 hb
              It was with great anticipation that I opened this book, searching for details of the scientific experiment that proved that God does not exist. What was the experimental procedure? What did the distribution of data points look like? What were the error bars? Was it a 2-sigma or 3-sigma proof? Disappointment soon followed: there was no description of any such experiment.

              The case against a creator
              So what justifies the book’s bold subtitle? What the book in fact contains is a melange of homespun philosophy, amateur biblical interpretation and a smattering of scientific data served up under the pretence of being a proof. All this despite the fact that Immanuel Kant and David Hume emphasized two centuries ago that attempts to conclusively prove either the existence or non-existence of God by such reasoning could not work.
              While scientific understanding has increased vastly since then, the scientific method has not changed; it has the same strengths and weaknesses, and the same limited domain of application. The author is thus committing a category error in trying to use scientific proof in areas where it simply does not apply.

              Stenger summarizes his eight arguments for the non-existence of God on pages 229–231 (“Gods who disagree with the data”). I will respond briefly to each of the points he makes.
              • There are no signs of direct design in the natural universe
              Despite the prominence of the intelligent design lobby, direct design by a creator is not a serious scientific or philosophical proposal. Indeed, most competent scientist-theologians agree that evolution took place through natural selection. Thus the lack of evidence of design does not contradict the religious view as it refers to issues of mechanism that have no theological implications either way.
              • The mind is determined by physical processes; there is no scientific evidence for a soul
              This is the strongest argument the author puts forward for the non-existence of God as it relates directly to a number of religious claims and is plausible in terms of present-day neuroscience. However, it is certainly not a scientific proof, as we have not solved the hard problem of consciousness, and do not even know how to begin tackling it.
              • No independent evidence exists for the miracles claimed in the scriptures
              Here, Stenger undertakes an exercise in exegesis, based on a literalist reading of the Bible. This is not science in any ordinary sense of the word.
              • The universe came into being by natural processes (or, as Stenger puts it, “no violations of physical laws were required to produce the universe”)
              Here, Stenger puts forward his own debatable and unproven model of the creation of the universe, based on ideas from James Hartle and Stephen Hawking. This speculative theory, which apparently presumes that the laws of physics existed in some Platonic domain before space and time came into being, does not deal with the ultimate issues of creation or existence, and is certainly not proven science.
              • The universe is not congenial to human life (“the universe is wasteful of time, space, and matter from a human perspective”)
              This argument is not based on science; rather it is an emotional argument centred on the author’s personal opinions. “Wasteful” is not a scientific concept, nor can it lead to scientific conclusions. Stenger does not take seriously the arguments of John Barrow, Martin Rees, Steven Weinberg and others that only a very small region of the physical parameter space allows life to exist, which many scientists feel requires an explanation.
              • Religious revelations have not been empirically confirmed or given us any new insight
              This is an exercise in psychology and religious interpretation that has nothing to do with science. Stenger presents nothing here that a social scientist would recognize as valid data.
              • Humans define morals and values for themselves
              Despite Stenger’s disclaimer that he is not propounding moral relativism, this is indeed a moral-relativist position. While his claim is in part correct in describing how humans behave, it does not illuminate the sources of ethical right and wrong. Furthermore, it undermines any claim to the existence of an objective morality that all humans share, which the author implicitly claims to be the case in his subsequent argument.
              • The existence of evil
              Stenger claims that it is a scientific fact that evil exists, and that this is incompatible with the usual monotheistic idea of God. So what is the experiment that establishes evil as a scientific fact? There is none, as science does not comprehend the concepts of “right” and “wrong” – there are no units (“milli-Hitlers”) for degrees of evil. Hence this is an ethical claim falsely dressed up as science. But this argument does show a belief in absolute standards of right and wrong, in agreement with my own belief that there is a moral reality underlying the universe.
              All these points constitute acceptable philosophical argument for the non-existence of God, but none of them amount to a genuine scientific proof. Overstating what science can do is bad for science, as it undermines both its integrity and its believability. It is also a mistake to present the public with a false dichotomy between science and religion, because this will unnecessarily tend to fuel an antiscientific backlash in wider society.
              The aim of the book is to apply scientific-like reasoning to issues of ultimate reality. But this is not new: it has been developed in depth by philosopher-theologians such as Arthur Peacocke, John Polkinghorne and Nancey Murphy, whose writings on this topic are ignored by the author. Indeed these individuals have developed such an approach to a much more sophisticated level than is apparent in Stenger’s book. The author quotes Hume’s advice to be sceptical in all things, but does not take this advice to heart in relation to his own overblown claims for the power of science.

              About the author:
              George Ellis is in the Mathematics Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the 2004 Templeton Prize for progress in the understanding of science and religion

              Also, please note that Sam Harris is writing outside of his field of qualification when comments on the bible.

          • danno says:

            What say about “Misquoting Jesus?” Dennet? Lennon? Curious…

  3. Marvin Jones says:

    Scott,
    I was brought up as a staunch Catholic,and was catergorically taught that our Creator who
    is omnipotent,omniscient, omnipresent and INFALLIBLE! made me in his own image.
    SO! I am mixed with a brown skin,I have observed that there are black,white,chinese and all sorts that exist in this world.Who does God like? or is this due to evolution?

    • Marvin Jones says:

      A politicians answer.Never answers to the question.Maybe I am too simplistic.
      IF WE WERE ALL MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD WHY OH WHY DO WE NOT ALL
      LOOK THE SAME.
      I am only seeking an answer to my teachings from the words of God,spread by the representatives of God.Which one of the the different genetic and physical
      beings does God look like?

      • Marvin Jones says:

        This question must be too difficult to answer then in a simple and truthful way based on fact.

        • danno says:

          Marvin:

          “Guns, Germs, and Steel” and “Collapse” are killer reads by Jared Diamond, discussing the fates of human societies. Archeologists and paleontologists will forever continue to rewrite history by making it true.

          “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Dawkins is utterly awesome, discussing why evolution is a fact.

        • Bob Coleman says:

          Does it say physical image, Marvin? Read Genesis carefully, then return to the website.

          • Marvin Jones says:

            Bob

            You think Danno is an angry person?
            You mentioned Genesis.This is exactly why I feel the way I do about god and religion.
            With absolutely no proof but only Dogma in your armoury you are suggesting that I read a
            book where stories and myth are picked and chosen to suit by cunning,devious and superstitious people to convince the simple masses about hell and damnation if they do not believe in this delusion.Admittedly this debate between yourself,Danno and Scott is extremely interesting and even enlightening,and I wish I was as articulate enough to join in the science and physics being used to justify each argument.But strangely it seems a total waste of time using all that knowledge and intelligence to prove a delusion that is embedded in the pysche.

  4. Daniel says:

    You discuss the “range of applicability” for the theory of evolution, and specifically you note that evolution explains “the modifications that living things make in order to better adapt to their respective environments.” If I am understanding you correctly, another way to say this is that you endorse what is commonly called Mirco-Evolution (small modifications in a species to adapt), but believe Macro-Evolution (evolution of all specifies of animals from common ancestors) cannot account for “the origin of the first occurring, simplest living thing (or even to complex proteins) from non-living matter.”

    While I agree that evolution cannot as yet explain the origin of life, or the jump from non-living matter to the simplest living matter, belief in a evolution presents a philosophical problem for theists – the problem of death. Unless the first “human beings” were created with free will and chose to disobey God, thus being relegated to death, then humans’ inevitable death have always existed as evolution has continued and there was no set point where a human chose to act sinful in nature. Thus, death is not a punishment but a fact of life. Does this not affect the idea of salvation in the form of Jesus Christ? If we have always been dying, and if there never was a point where we chose sin but a sinful nature was from the beginning created in us, then Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was to atone for the natural tendencies God gave us and he has freed us from a death we have never chosen but was programmed into our physical beings.

    How do you respond?

    • syoungren says:

      Oxford University and University of Massachusetts 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.” 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,” Michael Behe reveals.

      How do I respond? The biblical narrative says that the “fall from grace” involved all of creation, not just human beings. Human beings caused the fall, but we took all of creation with us.

      • Daniel says:

        Scott,

        Am I understanding your response correctly that evolution in now way is responsible for the formation of man, just the change in certain species on a smaller scale? Therefore, you must believe that God created man and woman wholly made from the beginning? I am not trying to make assumptions, I am just trying to figure out your view on how far evolution applies since I get the feeling you are more knowledgeable on this topic than I am.

        I am not trying to make over-simplify this matter, but it seems to me that either evolution is the answer for man’s present physical state or God created man in his present physical state wholly. If it is the latter, there is no problem. If it is the former, then my above stated problem of original sin, freewill and the consequences of death exist.

        • syoungren says:

          Daniel:

          I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that evolution was in no way responsible for the formation of man. In fact, I strongly suspect that it DID have something to do with the formation of man. How far evolution applies is something that science has not fully answered.

          Here is what I can say with utmost certainty: 1) Evolution cannot explain the origin of life, and in fact was never intended to. Evolution begins with the first self-replicating cell and goes from there.

          2) The picture of scientific certainty being portrayed by atheists such as Richard Dawkins is more ideology than science. The scientific picture is far more murky than the public understands.

          3) Much of the conflict between “creationism” and “evolutionism” is really not a true conflict, but rather, the result of the tendency of human ideology to polarize people into competing camps. The “creationists” refuse to give an inch to the “evolutionists” (when they really should), and vice versa. What results is two extreme and ridiculous pictures of the world. As is often the case in science (and life in general), the truth exists in a synthesis of competing views.

          MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder, for example, believes that “Adam” was the first primate (homo sapien) to have self awareness. I strongly recommend his book the Science of God. Below is a key quote:

          “The God an atheist does not believe in is usually not the God of the Bible. Unfortunately, the god of the believer is also often not the God of the Bible….An infinite God obviously could produce [a] variety of creatures, but this would not be the God described in the Bible. Throughout the text, we read descriptions of nature functioning naturally. Why the creationist paradigm insists on selling short the phenomenal laws of nature is beyond me.”

          Here is a key point: The picture of gradual evolution through natural selection that Darwin predicted has not been verified by the fossil record. In fact, it has been solidly contradicted. Please view this video for clarification.

          Have you read my post entitled, “Doesn’t evolution prove the biblical account of creation to be false?” and watched the videos? If you haven’t, please do. This will shed much light on the subject of evolution. It will take some time investment to watch the videos, but it is well worth it.

          Scott

          • danno says:

            MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder, for example, believes that “Adam” was the first primate (homo sapien) to have self awareness.

            This is pure nonsense. I just lost all interest in Schroeder. Talk about the tendency of human ideology to polarize people into competing camps. BTW, the video is a farce.

            I’ve read all the posts and comments and watched all the videos.

            • syoungren says:

              We are still waiting for something more substantive than mere characterizations of the content of the site. How about a rationally constructed rebuttal?

              You have expressed your opinion that the video is a “farce,” but you have not produced any rationale to support your opinion. Is your opinion to be valued above that of an MIT physicist and biblical scholar?

              You seem to take offense to the views expressed at this site. Am I correct in this assesment? If so, could it be for the reasons listed in my essay entitled, “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?”

          • danno says:

            I’m not offended. Just exploring. Debating. Enjoying. Haven’t had time to construct a web site based on all the atheist arguments out there (other sites do that). If you are taking offense to my comments, they are not intended that way. Your site claims evidence. I’ve read it, and continue to explore, and reply based on what I know and believe, as you do.

            Nick did the video research for me.

            A reputable physicist or biblical scholar, I suppose, must figure out way to justify their religious convictions, or else be forced to reverse their beliefs, which could be damaging to their careers or circle of constituents. Bart Ehrman bagan conducting his 30 years of research as a devout Christian, but now is agnostic after compiling extensive, conclusive evidence on how the bible came about.

            Either my, and others, replies help strengthen your argument or damage it. Let’s just vet it out.

            I like you. I can appreciate your intellect. Please keep in mind that your arguments for the evidence is convincing to some, speculative to others. I don’t dispute with my Christian friends. Your site invites dispute.

            I’m hungry to know everything about everything and know that I’ll be closer to that when I’m 90. I will read the books you suggest. Will you read the ones I have?

            • syoungren says:

              Danno:

              Thank you for your open-mindedness. It is a great thing that people on opposite sides of a highly contentious issue can discuss it in a civil manner.

              The biblical scholar I recommend is N.T. Wright. I will read some of the books you recommend…I just bought a Kindle. Which books would you recommend that I start with?

              Although you are on the opposite side of the debate, your comments are highly intelligent and very valuable as they keep me on my toes and enliven the discussion. There are and will remain highly intelligent people on both sides of the debate.

          • danno says:

            Scott…a true gentleman and pious scholar.

            I suggest reading “The Greatest Show on Earth” (Dawkins) first, to better understand the implications of evolution as fact, entirley relative to this post. His dozens of previous books are summed up in this one.

            I don’t recommend reading “The God Delusion” (Dawkins)unless you wish to continue refencing it. You mention it, but then usually only talk about this being the guy that believes (actually only suggested it as a possibility) in the whacky directed panspermia. I find it whacky, but don’t deny the unknown.

            “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” was shocking, enlightening. Bart Ehrman set out as an intensely devout Christian on a journey to become more intimate with the scriptures. Upon 30 years of research…(hint: not good :)

            I plan on reading “Letter from a Skeptic” (Boyd and Boyd) as it was suggested to me as the most convincing for a then wavering Christian friend of mine.

            What one book do you recommend for me to read first?

            • syoungren says:

              Danno:

              I recommend that you start with There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew. He was the “frontman” for atheism for decades…much like Richard Dawkins is today. In fact, he was a much much bigger deal to atheism than Dawkins because his paper Theology and Falsification was the most widely reprinted philosophical tract of the last half century.

              Then, I would recommed that you read A Case for the Existence of God by Dean Overman (a former Templeton scholar at Oxford University).

              I look forward to discussing these books with you.

              Scott

          • danno says:

            Scott, I’m reluctant (not avoiding) to read “Antony Flew’s” book “There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.” Recognizing that this is an atheist’s account of the book, Richard Carrier is making extensive claims that it was ghost-written by Christian apologists, and in fact Flew was incapable of and did not read or endorse all that was written (rather, he was somewhat senile), but more or less was engaged in a contract and trusted the authors. Carrier’s communications with Flew, critical to Flew’s convictions (hint: not good), are not mentioned in the book. I doubt that Antony Flew actually changed his mind. If he actually did not change his mind, then what worth is reading the book?

            http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/11/antony-flew-bogus-book.html

            Christian reviews of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” generally argue that there is no science in the book, just philosophical assertions. But at least he wrote it and/or fully endorsed every word.

            • syoungren says:

              Danno:

              Here is a link to a video where Flew clearly states his reasons for rejecting atheism. In light of Flew’s clear video testimony that he changed his mind, allegations that he did not write the book are highly suspect. Specifically, they strongly suggest that those making such allegations are afraid to confront the specific points that Flew makes in the book.

              Scott

          • danno says:

            Deism through the argument of intellegent design? Behe (a “Catholic” biochemist) lacks an understanding of biology and evolution, and most of all, the scale of time (3.5 “billion” years) suitable to explain the far from perfect and sometimes impractical complexity of organisms we see today.

            Not surprising how many people accept Christ just prior to their end of days. My sister did; people scared the crap out of her. She accepted just days before she lost her battle to cancer. Not prior to then, though.

            • syoungren says:

              Who is suggesting Deism though the argument of intelligent design? As a non-biochemist, it is very bold of you to declare that a respected biochemist “lacks an understanding of biology and evolution.”

          • danno says:

            Antony Flew is suggesting Deism through the argument of intelligent design in your video.

            Okay. Behe probably know a great deal about biology, but far from knowing much about evolution or the scale of time (3.5 “billion” years) suitable to explain the far from perfect and sometimes impractical complexity of organisms we see today.

            • syoungren says:

              In the book, Flew states that he believes in God, but he basically says that he needs more time to analyze the arguments for Christian theism. He admits that, while not embracing them outright, he finds them plausible. So, yes, it would be fair to say that he has made at least an intermediate stop at Deism at the time of the writing of the book.

              Behe is a qualified biochemist. What more is there to say?

          • danno says:

            Behe, in his book, doesn’t seem to understand evolution or the scale of time (3.5 “billion” years) suitable to explain the far from perfect and sometimes impractical complexity of organisms we see today. Biochemists are not all-knowing. in fact, you said “intelligence can be used to distort as easily as it can be used to clarify.”

            • syoungren says:

              No, biochemists are not all knowing. But I don’t really rely much on Behe in my posts. Further, it is very bold of you to say that a qualified biochemist doesn’t understand evolution.

          • danno says:

            Let’s say Behe does understand evolution (but does not). He entirely refutes it based on the concept of irreducible complexity, which does not account for approximately 3.5 billion years of natural selection http://www.zo.utexas.edu/faculty/antisense/tree.pdf. How many generations are there in 3.5 billion years for say a single-celled organism? Let’s say a generation of bacterium is 2 hours… that’s 15.33 billion generations. Why do some salamanders not use their eyes anymore? It’s because these species now live in caves, for example, where light does not penetrate or render eyes useful; nonetheless, they have eyes (useless eyes). If your mother held her mother’s hand, she held her mother’s hand, and so on for approximately 300 miles (or approximately 200,000 generations), the end mother would be sharing the same lineage as the chimpanzee’s end mother. Humans did not come from chimpanzees. Rather, chimpanzee’s ancestor and human’s ancestor, those specifically from approximately 6 million years ago, are the same. Behe argues that god designed the complexity we see today, and ignorantly claims it’s irreducible. That’s a non-understanding of evolution.

          • Mike D says:

            Re point 1: Evolution started well before the first self-replicating cell and you cannot prove otherwise.
            Re point 2: Explain what you mean, with examples and proof, by your comment “The scientific picture is far more murky than the public understands.” What gives you “special knowledge” insight and understanding about science, and by what authority do you purport to know what “the public” understands? Such arrogance!
            Re point 3: The conflict between creationists and sensible people is a true conflict. Evolution blows your creation theory out of the water in an instant, yet you now try and blur the boundaries and say “come, come – we don’t mind a bit of evolution every now and then.” Your assertion that 4.5 billion years is the same as 6 days depending on which side of the universe you’re standing on is hilarious and ridiculous. Give it up Scott, you have no proof, no original arguments, no rationally constructed debate, and no leg to stand on. There is no god (but if there is may he/she/it/they strike me dead this instant!)

            • syoungren says:

              Please read this post and submit a point by point rebuttal rather than unsupported assertions.

              Also, the following is a copy and paste from my “If the evidence is so strong….” post:

              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 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 when he said:

              “There has to be a pathway from chemistry to biology—powerful levels before Darwinian evolution even kicks in.”

              Evolution blows the creation theory out of the water? That is a pretty bold assertion considering that the best explanation for the origin of life that atheists (such as atheist numero uno, Richard Dawkins) can come up with is that life was brought here by aliens form outer space in their spaceship. Haven’t you watched the video? Even Dawkins admits (in this video) that absolutely nobody has the faintest clue as to how life emerged on earth. If you have evidence that life evolved from lifeless chemicals, you should share it with us.

              Haven’t you read the article which reveals that the famous atheist biologist Francis Crick also endorsed this hypothesis (in his book Life Itself)?

              Mike, I am just going to keep hammering this point home until you quit ignoring it. You still also haven’t responded to my point that Charles Darwin himself said “I deserve to be called a theist.” Should I feel that my belief that God created life is threatened by the aliens hypothesis? Do you endorse this hypothesis as well? If so, how did alien life emerge, Mike?

              My point that 4.5 billion years is the same as 6 days? That is not my point. Rather, that is your crude caricature of my point. Actually the application of time dilation (which was proved by Einstein…just google it) to biblical chronology was done by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder…not me. Your crude caricature of Schroeder’s arguments are indeed “laughable and hilarious,” but you have failed to supply us with a rebuttal to his actual arguments.

  5. Marvin Jones says:

    Danno, thanks,I will read these books that you have suggested.
    To Daniel.Have you ever even wondered where and how you have ended up with your beliefs
    about jesus and god and the bible being the word of god etc.You see,people have been so brained washed and forced with this stuff from birth, that the mere thought of any doubt or questions that may pass your mind is too terrifying to even contemplate.I have been there.
    Everything you have been taught about has been learnt by and written by humans.These very
    flawed humans who have the ability to rape,murder,abuse,kill,lie cheat and exaggerate for their own gain.If by any chance one is interested in history,how do you know that anything
    written by ANY historian is the very truth and not dramatised for the sake of selling their book
    etc.You have to take their word, until you read someone else’s account which could dispute
    the others interpretations.
    So because the old testament is being shot full of holes by science,we are being told to not treat it as fact and science and physics are being used by people to further brain wash you into
    deeper delusions.
    Read Thomas Paine’s “The age of reason” or Ludivic Kennedy’s “Its all in the mind” and you will see that not only that there is no evidence that the bible was not written by M,M,L and J, but
    noone actually knows who wrote this.AND all this was written about seventy years AFTER the death of christ.
    GIVE THE TRUTH A LOOK IN.

    • Daniel says:

      Marvin,

      While I appreciate your responses, I find them to be lacking in both substance and civility. I am questioning faith that I have held for most of my life, and I do find there are difficult issues involved. But, I also cannot say at this point that there is no evidence for the existence of God and his subsequent visit to earth in the form of man.

      While I agree with you that men and woman have done some very terrible things in the name of religion, I also can’t help but notice that, in almost every situation, these people were misguided in belief or had motives which are incompatible with religion, or at least with the common understanding of Christianity.

      Instead of posting generally baseless accusations against religion and its adherents, I think it would serve everyone, including yourself, to approach this topic, this website and its readers as Scott has: in a very civilized, reasonable and intellectual manner – an approach that the material requires in order to make an appropriate decision.

      • syoungren says:

        Daniel:

        Thank you for making this point. If all parties do not make every effort to maintain civility, it starts to look like this episode of point-counter point from Saturday Night Live. When this happens, nobody benefits.

        Scott

      • nick says:

        Very well said.

      • Mike D says:

        Daniel, if you “cannot say at this point that there is no evidence for the existence of God and his subsequent visit to earth in the form of man”, then you are in fact saying that there IS evidence for the existence of god and his subsequent visit to earth in the form of man.

        This is pretty good stuff and is bound to attract the attention of the world’s media. Could you please be so good as to inform us what this evidence is, and show it to us? Because I’ve been looking everywhere and I haven’t found any – certainly none on this site in any case.

        I look forward with civility to you providing something of substance.

  6. danno says:

    In response to…

    syoungren says:
    January 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I reversed your comments above:

    All of your points constitute acceptable philosophical argument for the existence of God, but none of them amount to genuine scientific proof.

    You are writing outside of your field of qualification when you comment on science.

    Your argument is not based on science; rather it is an emotional argument centred on your personal opinions.

    Overstating what religion can do is bad for religion, as it undermines both its integrity and its believability.

    …The pot calling the kettle black.

    My point is everybody has an opinion, many of whom are full of credentials. But the origin of life is unknown, likely to remain that way. There is no evidence. Just arguments, persuasive to some, speculative to others.

    • syoungren says:

      I agree completely with your statement that none of my arguments “amount to genuine scientific proof.” I will not argue with that one iota. But remember that the website is called GodEvidence.com, not GodAbsoluteProof.com. As I said in my “what it all boils down to” essay, complete proof either for or against the existence of God are not possible.

      Yes, writing on science would be outside my field of qualification, so I don’t make any scientific statements that aren’t backed up by a quote from a qualified scientist.

      You would be much more persuasive if you could construct a counter-argument rather than making potshots such as saying “there is no evidence.” This, again, is your attempt to modify and restrict the definition of “evidence” to suit your purposes.

      Here, again, is your reasoning applied to a courtroom setting. You are the defense lawyer:

      Prosecuting attorney: “We have multiple expert witnesses who say that defendant’s DNA was on the murder weapon and that his blood was on the victim’s clothing.”

      Defense lawyer: “That’s not ‘evidence.'”

      Prosecuting attorney: “We have multiple witnesses to the crime who say that they saw the defendant shoot the deceased.”

      Defense lawyer: “That’s not ‘evidence’. Vote to acquit!”

      I am still waiting for you to explain to us how things like love, grief, and the appreciation of beauty evolved in “survival machines.” According to neo-Darwinian theory, these things must have given some sort of survival advantage. Otherwise, they would be of no use to a “survival machine” and would not exist. Please describe the process.

      • danno says:

        No!

        Prosecuting attorney: “We have multiple expert witnesses who say that defendant’s DNA was on the murder weapon and that his blood was on the victim’s clothing.”

        Defense lawyer: “You’re right, DNA, given the right context, is conclusive scientific ‘evidence.’”

        Prosecuting attorney: “We have multiple witnesses to the crime who say that they saw the defendant shoot the deceased.”

        Defense lawyer: “Eyewitnesses don’t amount to fact: see the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo, but should be considered”

        Where’s your “DNA”?

        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, quotes, videos, and references.

        • syoungren says:

          The point I am trying to make is that you are trying to modify and restrict the definition of “evidence” to suit your purposes. The testimony of scientists and that of NDE experiencers cannot be thrown out as not being “evidence” anymore than the testimony of expert witnesses and crime scene witnesses can be thrown out as not constituting “evidence.”

          No, none of this evidence is “conclusive” because in a subject matter such as this, no amount of evidence can be completely “conclusive,” either for or against.

          You continue to take it for granted that “life/nature is intrinsically beautiful” and that “love, grief, and beauty are intrinsic to life.” But you still neglect to tell us how is it that we evolved the ability to perceive and experience beauty, love, grief….and the ability to comprehend such things as higher mathematics. So I will ask the question yet again:

          How did the ability to perceive and comprehend these things evolve through Darwinian natural selection? One could argue that we evolved the ability to run fast and throw objects because these abilities enabled us to hunt successfully (which is a big survival advantage). But what survival advantage did the ability to perceive and experience such things as beauty, love, and grief provide? Did these abilities help us hunt better? Or did they provide the survival advantage of being able to fight off predators? Survive diseases? What was it?

          The person who believes that we are the product of nothing but random, unintelligent processes has the burden of explaining such things….and you seem resistant to do so.

          You say that we are survival machines “only in the wild.” But this is not what Richard Dawkins says. Are you going to contradict him? If we are only survival machines in the wild, then what are we out of the wild (in modern society)?

          • danno says:

            It is what Dawkins knows. Have you read any of Dawkins works, or just Christian reviews of his works?

            We have evolved to a level of intelligence that inspires technological and medicinal advancements (e.g., math) and curiosity for life, replacing the need to survive. Nearly everyone gets the chance to reproduce (DEVO), rather than only the fittest being chosen for mating (component of natural selection). Have you ever lived without grocery stores, or with competing tribes nearby? No. Survival for humans now is getting checkups at the doctor’s office, and making sure you have enough gas to get to the store, for example.

            Beauty – Beauty is what it is. We evolved to a level of intelligence that allows us to contemplate and appreciate it. Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We are taught in America that body odor is offensive, not really anywhere else. Cultural memes or simply intrinsic, like all moral and values (many differing across societies; see the TV show, “Taboo”).

            Grief – The mother elephant mourns the inevitable abandonment of her sick baby, staying way behind the herd that must move on, having invested so much time nurturing for the sake of continuance of her existence. Now, she has to start over if she wants to advance the lineage. Evolution 101.

            Love – Passing your genes (sex) often requires courtship, and loyalty, usually incited passion for what makes you a man or her woman, him a bird and her birdette. Evolution 101.

            What is your explanation for love, grief, and beauty? It magically appeared, or was injected into Adam (i.e., intelligent design)?

            Did we share the same common ancestor with the chimpanzee, a shrew-like animal, a jawless fish, and a single-celled organism?

            You seem resistant to answer these questions, that is, without pointing to a post, quote, video, or reference.

            • syoungren says:

              I have read “The Selfish Gene.”

              How does “curiosity for life, replacing the need to survive” fit into the view that we are the purposeless result of blind randomness? Are you suggesting that we are no longer “survival machines?”

              Beauty – Intelligence and the ability to appreciate beauty are two separate things entirely. Why would high intelligence necessitate appreciation of beauty? Whether or not beauty is in the eye of the beholder is not relevant to the question of why we have an ability to appreciate it.

              Grief – What survival advantage would the mother elephant’s mourning her sick baby provide? It would seem more advantageous to survival if the mother was not burdened by such negative emotions. At what school is Evolution 101 being taught that involves this explanation for grief?

              Love – Passing on your genes requires courtship and passion…but not love.

              What is my explanation for love, grief, beauty? It is part of a purposeful divine plan.

              How does your common ancestor question relate to this discussion?

          • danno says:

            Not blind randomness, but natural selection driven by available niches and surrounding environmental pressures (predators/prey, etc.). Speciation 101. The gazelle that gets caught by the cheetah doesn’t get to pass on their genes. The cheetah that can’t catch the gazelle doesn’t pass on their genes. They get faster and faster. We are no longer survival machines because we have doctors and grocery stores. Mothers not fit to give birth died at birth, often along with the fetus (not anymore).

            Common ancestor reference: If you believe in evolution, then we evolved from non-intelligent organisms. We either evolved to a level of intelligence that allows for advanced intellect, or it was injected by god at a particular time (Adam?) along the evolutionary path.

            I’m not saying that intelligence “necessitates” an appreciation for beauty. I argue that we, and other highly-evolved species, evolved to a level of intelligence that allows us to contemplate and evaluate beauty and our existence.

            Love and passion ensures the survival of offspring. Loss of love inherently causes grief. Do bacteria love? Doubt it. Reproduction in bacteria doesn’t require nurturing. Do rats love? Don’t know. Probably, since rearing young is part of most mammals’ life cycle. The love between partners is the foundation for raising a family soundly fit for society (different for each species). Many, but not nearly all, require postnatal care for survival.

          • Daniel says:

            Scott,

            and, to a lesser extent, Nick,

            If evolutionists are to be believed, we evolved the ability to see in certain color spectrums – the better to identify what types of plants will kill us and what will be healthy to eat. A sunrise is a sunrise, and it would be so whether we were here to perceive it or not – the better question is, how did we come to “perceive” anything? What certain of advantages does a consciousness give to human beings? How are we better off with the “Four F’s” of survival being able to contemplate the sentence “I am?” And, if we are better off, why have other animals not developed this advantage as we have?

            • syoungren says:

              Exactly….why didn’t we just evolve automatic behaviors instead of consciousness? This would seem to be more consistent with Dawkins’ concept of “survival machine”.

          • danno says:

            Aware of existence and self, it seems, could have many advantages to survival (and progression). Many highly-evolved species possess some form of consciousness, right? Could consciousness contribute to reaching a higher evolutionary status?

            Progress of the human species; perhaps a result of consciousness. Other apes, cetaceans (whales), elephants…

    • syoungren says:

      So you consider the opinions of all these scientists, mathameticians, psychologists, etc.. to be speculative? The standard Big Bang Cosmology (which shows that the universe had a beginning) is speculative? The insane improbability of the universe arising from chance (as calculated by an Oxford University mathametician) is speculative? Are the results of 30 years of research into NDEs speculative?

      You can do better.

      • danno says:

        Are any of these scientists, mathematicians, psychologists, etc. non-religious, or even a non-Christian follower?

        The Big Bang describes the events following such an event, not the event or prior to, evidenced by detectable background radiation. There is no information as of yet (or will there ever be?) describing the Big Condensing (laws of physics would suggest so). How can you prove that the Big Bang was the beginning? Deduction via limited scientific information? You would need evidence that there wasn’t anything before the Big Bang.

        “the Big Bang theory CANNOT and DOES not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the universe since that instant.” wiki-reliable-pedia

        The chance by numbers, (and from a Christian priest)? It is argued that in fact all the conditions that happened to make life possible on earth, actually did happen (earth). Divine intervention beyond the creation of the universe (our planet’s position, the Cambrian explosion spin, enter Adam…man’s free will) sounds like fantasy fulfilled to meet an ideology.

        Have any non-Christian followers reported an NDE experience with the Christian god, angels, and/or Jesus?

        • syoungren says:

          I don’t know the religious identification of all of these scientists, mathamaticians, psychologists. You can look into that yourself if you want. But it is not the religious identity of the person presenting the argument that is relevant. Rather, it is the persuasiveness of the argument itself.

          What I do know is that they are very highly qualified to speak on the subjects which they address.

          How can I prove that the Big Bang was the beginning? I don’t need to…the question is irrelevant. Perhaps the Big Bang was not the beginning. There are speculative past-extended Big Bang models that, unlike the Standard Big Bang model, put the beginning of time and the universe somewhere before the Big Bang. Maybe one of these models will one day become scientific orthodoxy. But they still have a beginning.

          The real question is whether there was a beginning at all…or whether the universe (or multiverse) is eternal. Click here to find out why the we can know that the universe (or multiverse or oscillating universe, or whatever) had a beginning.

          The author is a Christian priest but his facts are checked by physicist Stephen Barr of the University of Deleware. Further, the author is not the one coming up with the numbers. Rather, it is the physicists and mathamaticians he quotes.

          You state that these things sound like a fantasy. However, it is much more fanciful to speculate that the universe and life emerged randomly from nothingness. The only thing that comes from nothingness is nothingness.

          Yes, many, many non-Christians have had NDEs which involved encountering God, angels, Jesus. Click on the “atheist NDE” links at the bottom of my “When I Die Is That It?” post.

          • danno says:

            Have any persons of a non-Christian culture (not atheists of a Christian culture) reported an NDE experience with the Christian god, angels, and/or Jesus?

            The reason I ask this is because it would be substantive to say that thousands of Muslims from the Middle East or Indonesia, or thousands of Buddhists from Asia, have reported an NDE experience with the Christian god, angels, and/or Jesus.

            Again, I am not speculating that the universe and life emerged randomly from nothingness. I have stated no claim of origin; in fact I default to it always having been here until undeniable proof says otherwise.

        • Dashan says:

          Sorry danno Alex Vilenkin, Russian cosmologist is not a theist: “With the proof now in place, current cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe.There is no escape: we have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
          I just wonder what the sceptic would be saying if the Bible followed the Hindu Script and stated that the universe was eternal or self generating? The idea of a “multiverse would be laught out of town if it came from a religious text. Such is the fanciful gymnastics that atheism has reached to account for the science we observe!
          You seem to be implying that matter & energy have an eternal past? Imagine I had a cosmic video recorder on which I had recorded every past physical event (matter & energy are famous for providing data this way). Now let’s say we wanted to view all these finite events so we pressed the rewind button. Would we ever reach the beginning of the tape?

  7. Bob Coleman says:

    Poor angry Danno. If you believe we are merely a product of natural selection, life has no intrinsic value, and death is the ultimate end, then why do you try so hard to push yourself off on other people? Are you just lonely and want to drag others down with you?

    • danno says:

      Bob, come again? Should I come back at put you down now? I’m exploring. You are certain. Good for you. Not angry or lonely in the slightest. Thirsty for knowledge. Enjoying debate. Looking for undeniable evidence. Still looking.

      • Bob Coleman says:

        Oh, Danno. I am a Psychologist, and your responses speak of “anger” through and through. Just the fact that you say “. . . put you down now . . .” says it all. I work with men like you all of the time who are lashing out at the external world. Danno, if I told you that I was holding a red balloon in my right hand, and you could clearly see that it did not exist, would you bother arguing the point? You are desperately searching for an answer, for you are not happy with you own life. If you were, you would be doing some self-searching instead of demonstrating outward ridicule in your responses. By the way, Danno, I also have a degree in Astrophysics. Any questions?

        • nick says:

          Hello Bob, you are a psychologist and an astro physicist? I am impressed. As an intellectual of both of these pursuits, are you also a Christian or religious? You stated, that this site has helped to substantiate your faith and I was just wondering what religious outlook you would adhere to. I think that this site is both open minded and reasonable and whilst I am not a Christian, I do think that there are some plausible arguments put forward here in relation to the unknown. I have found most areas of agreement here from a cosmological perspective.

          You mentioned dark matter almost flippantly in a comment on another page. I think that you mention it as a response to the Gerald Schroeder explanation for the creation story in Genesis. As an astro physicist, are you saying that Schroeder is correct in his postulation that, as observed from the Big Bang epicentre, the universe is 6 days old?

          I have a slight query with this, which would be, that speculation and hypothesis has been made that the Big Bang is one of many similar events in a much larger picture of the univers that we are unable to see and access. It is postulated by more than one very reputable physicist, that potentially the Big Bang, as we know it, is one of many that have happened and will continue to happen in a far larger and longer history of the universe than we currently understand.

          If this were to be the case, then Schroeder and his creation theory of 6 days from the Big Bang, would not account for an awful lot of previous space and time. What would your opinion be regarding this issue and how does dark matter help to explain previous time unnacounted for by Schroeder?

          Roger Penrose is one man who postulates events from pre Big Bang. I’m sure you are aware of him and he is also used as a credible resource on this site. I believe that he is a credible resource, which is why I am open to consider his hypothesis.

        • danno says:

          Woh Bob. “Should I come back and put you down now?” is rhetorical. The answer is, “Of course not. That would be childish.” I’m not trying to put anyone down, or strip their faith. I simply wish everyone would explore the arguments from both sides prior to stating their convictions. Not happy? Real positive approach, Bob the psychologist. I like you nonetheless. I’m mamby-pamby, so please don’t aim to hurt my feelings.

  8. nick says:

    Sann makes this point on another page, as does Danno above.

    In response to the question of grief; it provides extra strength to social creatures – For example, animals that exist in herds, groups, gangs, packs, prides and pods. Greater numbers provides greater potential for survival success. Therefore, greater, more complex and more successful interaction provides greater potential to succeed. Greater ability to communicate provides greater potential to successfully hunt a wildebeest as a group. By the same means, greater ability to communicate allows a gang of chimpanzees to alert one another should danger be prowling. The evolution of emotions comes from various benefits provided to animals that have found success in existing in groups.

    For example it is a bad thing when a group member is killed, lost or dies, because the group’s number of members is lessened. This is especially bad in species with a very long period of gestation and growth to adulthood such as primates or elephants. Much effort and investment will have gone in to the protection and cultivation of group members, which will ultimately serve as beneficial to all the group. When deaths occur, not only is all this effort lost, but the benefits of that members contributions are also lost. Their ability as a lookout, hunter, carer, builder and extra body in battle or hostility are lost. This promotes the feeling of anguish or grief to the group as a matter of course because of the implications of the loss. The benefit of the ‘grief’ emotion from an evolutionary perspective, is that it reminds the group of the importance of its members. The huge benefit that greater numbers brings to survival chances is therefore given an evolutionary reinforcement via grief, thus encouraging the community to value, respect and try to protect its members with greater effort.

    Thus it is more likely that groups who evolve greater respect and value to its members will be more likely to survive and thrive, as their numbers are likely to remain more robust to decline. Therefore the development of emotions such as grief will have beneficial evolutionary effects to those communities that acquire them, compared with those communities that have no grief or value for their members.

    • syoungren says:

      This is a good counter-argument. But then we could go on to things like the ability to appreciate beauty, the ability to comprehend higher mathematics, art, music, the reason that people make anonymous donations to charity, etc., etc..

      In light of this subject matter, I would like to call attention to a quote I just came across from The Galileo Connection by Charles E. Hummel:

      Asa Gray [a professor of natural history at Harvard during the 1800’s] stated that the true issue regarding design is not between creationism and Darwinism but between design and chance, purpose and no intention.

      …For twenty years Gray and Darwin corresponded concerning the relationship between Christian theism and natural selection. Despite their differences, they agreed that the theory of evolution itself deals only with efficient causes, the observable events of nature and their mechanism.

      …George Wright, a friend and collaborator of Gray for fourteen years, published many articles concerning the theory of evolution. He opposed the Baconian philosophy of science to which the Christian anti-Darwinians had wedded their theology. Wright showed that in a changing world modern science offers approximations and not certainties. The Christian Darwinians affirmed that evolutionary theory, with its implications of probability and development, was not only better science but also more in harmony with biblical theology than was the philosophical concept of fixity of species. They reaffirmed the age-old biblical conviction that God’s superintendence of his creation is immediate and continuous, not limited to any special creative acts or miracles.

      The first sentence of this quote is the most important. Everyone must ask themself: Is life the result of purposeless, blind chance, or is it the result of purposeful divine plan?

      In order to take the former stance, one must filter out alot of information. If the emotion of grief, for example, evolved purely though purposeless randomness, why did it not evolve purely as an automatic behavior rather than an emotion? Put another way, why do we have experience at all? Why do we need to experience grief? Why don’t we just have automatic behaviors to protect the members of our group…with no experience, no consciousness behind the behaviors? Isn’t this more consistent with Dawkins’ concept of “survival machine?”

      • danno says:

        Nick had a fine explanation. It just got dismissed. Survival machines? Only in the true wild. Blind randomness? No. Natural selection driven by environmental parameters.

        Natural selection: random mutations (“almost” all deleterious), or variations within species, benefitting the survival of an individual, one that carries the lineage. Over millions or billions of years, changes are relative to survival within the surrounding enviroment of each generation.

        • Bob Coleman says:

          That is all “matter”, Danno. What is matter driven by? My observation is that you have gained nothing from your research of Youngren’s site. Your ideas have not expanded an iota. Of all the respondents, you seem to be the most unlikely to move on. I will be using your, and only your, comments in my next article concerning male anger. I don’t mean to be offensive, Danno, for I am quite serious about your openly observable state of mind. At least Narural Selection “appears” to be moving on. Relax, take on new possibilities. Without new ideas, you will remain wherever it is you started from.

          • danno says:

            Woh Bob. Scott, do you endorse this? Very offensive, wanting to cite me in a anger article. No anger here. Peace, Bob.

          • Daniel says:

            Bob,

            As a psychologist and possessing a degree in Astrophysics, I would expect you to be a bit more “intellectually graceful.”

            You brought up a good point (“what is matter driven by?”) although this point and the implications it presents may be more appropriate under another article – perhaps “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

            The rest of your comment is lacking in both substance and civility. Do you really thinking accusations are the best approach in encouraging discussions of such important magnitude?

    • Daniel says:

      Nick,

      I appreciate your response and its implications – namely that, not only are physical attributes developed via evolution it seems social interactions have been as well. It would seem this would cover the bases in most situations, but I do question the tendency of many species, most notably human beings, to care and attempt to nurture the weaker of the species – the sick and affirmed, even the old. Why, if they can provide no advantage in furtherance of the species?

      Additionally, I would like your thoughts on abiogenesis and its difficulties. Evolution has evidence in its favor, of course. But the modern evolution can only present evidence to show development of species, either through gradual changes or Steven Jay Gould’s hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium. However, as much and as far as I have researched (with my limited scientific background, of course) the evidence that living matter formed from non-living matter (abiogenesis) is lacking. If evolution cannot account for this form of “spontaneous generation,” and as yet it seems unable to do so, is not God alive and well?

  9. nick says:

    in response to:

    syoungren says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I understand that you believe in purpose, design and order. I am not neccessarily taking issue with these statements in the argument that I have made.

    I am arguing for the evolution of emotions via the means of natural selection.

    This process may not have an ultimate purpose as you believe, or perhaps it does. The process by which emotions and other beneficial evolutionary traits develop, can very much be a combination of randomness AND order.

    The means by which this transpires is via random mutation, as you perfectly cited on another page. However, the mutation is random and often not advantageous and will result in a faster death for the unfortunate individual. The results of mutations are evaluated and tested in the natural world. So, a mutation that results in faster runners, bigger teeth, or higher intelect will be advantageous to the creature that has mutated.

    Now the order in the process is demonstrable in the direction that the evolution takes. Evolutionary progression tends towards improved performance in the species that acquizition beneficial mutations. Therefore, we can see an order developing in the evolution of a species. A fast cat will become ever faster through its generations, because each time it gains extra speed it returns from the hunt more successfully. So, via a simple demonstration, we can see how there is some order that occurs in the development of species via natural selection. It is a combination of order and randomness.

    • Bob Coleman says:

      Again, I don’t mean to offend you, Danno. I have limited time here, so I will be brief. I did not say that you are a bad person–I don’t know much about you. However, perhaps you should take a collective look at the comments you have made. Few are fact, and even fewer are made without one form or another of bitter sarcasm. I visited this site many times before deciding to speak, and from a professional observation, you are the only one I have noticed that seems–well, angry more than inquisitive. Studying such responses on over fifty different sites (Blogs) is what I have been doing for two years so I can prepare my article. In addition, I like to post statements in order to see how those I observe might respond. You are a real piece of positive work; that is, you do have a good deal of energy in you, while many don’t seem to possess that trait. If it’s any consolation, Danno, you are not the only male out there who seems to have a wee bit of anger residing within you–not unusual in today’s society. And yes, it is perfectly legal to quote open websites–look that one up. That’s all I really mean. Talk later.

      • Bob Coleman says:

        Again. limited time, Nick. Danno is a man. His vocabulary and method of writing make that clear. If Danno were to be a Professor, for example, I may not be able to tell, for on that level of education our writing is neutral; however, Danno’s education is not at that level and his writing is more personal. No offense, guys. Furthermore, Nick, I am touched by your sensitivity. Imagine, a machine based on survival defending a man he does not even know. I wonder why that is. What purpose exists behind behavior that has nothing to do with survival? I will write more in week to explain my intentions concerning Danno. Oh, and Danno, I did not say that you were a bad person. All people have anger to one degree or another in them. Until then . . .

  10. Bob Coleman says:

    Wow! Scott, this is Bob’s friend James writing again. He has requested that you remove his entries. He is quite surprised at how much he has hurt tender male feelings with so little effort. If you need for him to make this same request when he returns before responding, all of us in the Fellowship will understand. Sincerely, James

    • nick says:

      Hello Bob and James.

      You have not hurt my feelings.

      I was not making a judgement on your personal world view or views, I would embrace any discussion that you wished to bring to the table and my first reply to Bob illustrated exactly this. I try to be open minded and tolerant in my outlook.

      The problem I had was with the conduct under the claim of being a psychological professional. I feel that the manner of behaviour was not befitting true and proper scientific process, as well as subject confidentiality and fair treatment.

      I feel that as a mental health and psychological professional, the discretion of the subject of your research is of paramount importance for more than one reason. I am not familiar with the legalities of the revelations and claims about the subject that you made publicly, but I’m sure they flirt strongly with improper conduct.

      Perhaps it is legal to quote from a public forum in an article, but I’m not sure how legal it is to disclose a public diagnosis of someone that you perceive is in trouble (as a mental health/psychological professional). To do such a thing and then nonchalantly state that you will be publishing his words in a less than positive scientific paper demonstrates huge disregard, disrespect and neglegance for someone you have flagged up as being in trouble. You have done all of this with no consultation, discretion or consent. Would this be considered good conduct by health practitioners?

      Furthermore, your approach in search of your data could be likened to provocative incitement and almost to entrapment. You have confronted and provoked users with an ultimate aim to publish angry words. Surely if you wish to carry out such research, proper and due process must be followed where all are treated with respect and care due to the nature of your work and the potential outcomes.

      At the very least the subject should be consulted and asked for consent in order for their words to be quoted in an outsourced paper.

      I apologise if I am wrong about any of this. I did offer in my last reply that if I am wrong here I will make appropriate concessions, it just seems to me that your conduct has been improper to say the least. Would I be wrong in the overall evaluations I have made here?

      I apologise again, as I do not usually seek to make waves, but this issue seems to be outside the considerations of this site’s debate.

      • danno says:

        Danno is happy. Have had troubled times in my life. But sincerely happier than ever been before. Danno is not angry. I’ve expressed anger before. Never been so un-angry in my whole life.

        Peace, love, and happiness. Intellectual debate for me brings all three, among many other things, like reading, love-making, sports, etc. But the external world can be unreliable. My internal world is golden.

        • Daniel says:

          “But the external world can be unreliable.”

          One thing we can all agree on.

          • nick says:

            Yeah, hi Danno.

            I feel bad for voicing too much concern if you were not bothered.

            I made no judgements about you being unhappy or angry. I thought, untill this, that we were having a fairly reasonable debate about quite a contreversial topic. This was not really about you, rather it was for concern over the actions of someone who is supposed to carry a certain amount of responsibility.

            I know that in the UK we have rigorous checks for malpractice within areas such as health and mental health. I really wasn’t judging you Danno, I was judging the assumptions and conduct of someone who may very well be looking after people who need care.

            I apologise if I spoke out of turn and I would also be happy to talk with Bob if he wishes to explain his actions. I wasn’t seeking conflict although, I will stand by my criticism until otherwise convinced.

            I would have no problem if all my comments relating to this were removed, as I’m sure they’re not relevant to the site, which has been very good otherwise.

          • danno says:

            Nick, I was in fact taking back quite a bit at Bob’s comments. I am honored that you expressed what you did on my behalf. You’re writing and vocabulary make me believe that you are a well-studied and extremely articulate male between the ages of 18 and 95 (semi-bitter sarcasm). Don’t feel bad. I was hoping someone would come to my defense without me having to do so. You so eloquently spoke in turn and I appreciate it. Let’s continue the discussion…

  11. nick says:

    Hi Scott, wise words….

    I think on this occasion though, this is slightly different from mudslinging. I think that Bob owes at least a good explanation and an apology for his actions.

    If you’d like to wipe all of this conversation, I would be pleased because I think it is quite irrelevant and distracting. However, perhaps if you wait till Bob reads my criticism and explains himself… he said he was coming back…

    Would you agree with any of my misgivings about thiis?

    This is the last I will say regarding this, unless he comes back to talk or you have questions…

  12. Ray says:

    There appears to me nearly endless possibilities. I am aware of the argument that time was in fact “condensed” the more one looks to the past. Either God created EVERYTHING or he did not, and that is of course the issue. If he created everything, then that also includes time of course. A maker would be able to control all aspects of his creation, including time. In this event, time would be as the maker would wish it to be.
    Supposing the literal “creation” of everything by evolution over billions of years. Would this NECESSARILY mean that God is not all powerful. Of course not, but his choice. The creation of time to evolve a species, as opposed to a special “instant” creation. Which really shows the greater power anyway ? In any event, it would be God’s choice.
    YES, I DO BELIEVE IN GOD. THIS THOUGH IS THROUGH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, AND I DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH CAN BE FOUND THROUGH REASON ALONE. MUCH OF THE “REASON” I SEE DISPLAYED IS RELATED TO PRIOR PREJUDICE, AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REAL REASON AT ALL. THIS APPLIES TO BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT.

  13. lexicon says:

    I’m limited in my scope on the issues of creationism and evolution, but the fundamental question I want to ask both camps is this; if man evolved from ape were did the ape came from?

  14. I would like to comment on this website. I think both parties would agree that if we took all the unbiased material presented we would come to two conclusions. One being, to the Christian that we got were we are buy chance is unrealistic. Two, to the atheist being the unrealistic chance of there being a God. But either beleife requires faith. I came to beleive that God is in control because i am a selfish person. I did not want death to be the end of me or my family, wife, kids, and friends. It was not until then that i began to really understand God. It says knock and the door will be open unto you, seek and you shall find. This website helped me get past the scientific barriers. Not buy proving that God exist but the fact that he could, and in my open minded opinion science points to him. I believe that most people on this website are not lacking in knowlege but could use a little wisdom. I of course am lacking in both as you can tell by my grammer. What is wisdom? I believe wisdom is having the ability to look at anothers perspective and leaving your self and prior beleifes out of it. To better understand why i beleive what i beleive then you have to see things as I do. DANNO you seem to be an intelligent person and I would like to challenge you to do this. One of the things that was hardest for me to get past was suffering. The only way to do this is for you to understand to ultimate goal of a true christians life for any of the God stuff to make any sense. My ultimate goal is to get to heaven and take my family and everyone I can there with me. Im not trying to press my beleife on you but am only sharring this with you because I love you. If I beleive that heaven is the ultimate reward and the only thing that matters then anything can be explained. Take a person born with mental illness for example. From a worldly standpoint it a unfair and cruel God that did this. In my point of view it is the most loving God i can imagine. The bible tells us that children go to heaven because they have not reached the age of understanding. The mind of a mental ill person may never reach this point therfore they are answerable for no sin and recieve what I call the ultimate reward. The only way to understand suffering is to have a view from this point. The only cruel God is the God that you do not understand. I will openly admit that this is my biggest struggle, If my wife had a child and I loved that child very much and it passed away could i still take my christian view and celebrate my child going to heaven or would I see the world through my eyes again and be selfish and be mad at God. My point is that If you really beleive then this world does not matter, I would hope that I could use that situation in my life to share the good news to people. I beleive everthing has a purpose and God is in control and that I will live forever with the people who i love in a place called heaven. Agian i apoligize for the grammer errors. Danno i really think you are a great person with a thirst for knowlege and I hope one day you will join Gods side because your are a very influential person seeking the truth and God could use your personality in many ways. I know im off the subject of the debate but i see relationships being built on this site because of the open mindedness that is so hard to put forth. And danno if you never do cross over to my side then I would still like to be friends.

  15. Scott, I have read your page on this subject, and your entire website I might add. When I say that this is my biggest struggle I do not mean that I dont understand evil and suffering. God has opened my eyes to see what my heart and goals should be set on. Getting to heaven and taking everyone there that I can is my goal in this life and nothing can get in the way of that. I do however struggle with not wanting to be an example a suffering person. Job lost everything and never faultered because he knew that this suffering was only a fraction of the everlasting heaven he was soon bound to. This is where my faith is the weekest and my selfishnesh hits its peek. Some people struggle with not being able to let material things go if they have to, others it may be popularity, or power. I have no problem with these things and could give them up with out the slightest resentment towards God. I do not try to protect these things if they get in the way of my relationship. What I enjoy in this life is the physical things, biking, clibing, skydyving ect… I do get scared that if God used me as and example say in a car wreck to lead other disabled people to God that I might be angry with him. But Scott the more I grow and study the more I let go of this world and start to see it as a short time to share the news and nothing more. Keep up the good work you are an encouragement to me and many others.

    • syoungren says:

      Brennan, thanks for the compliments. It is encouraging to me to know that there are people who are benefiting from the site.

      You made a good point before about how the case for the existence of God is bolstered by citing atheist and agnostic scientists. One of my favorite examples is the Cambridge University astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, who 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.”

      Despite making this statement (and others similar to it), Hoyle remains an atheist. Examples such as that of Fred Hoyle are testament to the fact that human beings (perhaps more often than not) choose their beliefs based upon personal taste and lifestyle preferences rather than upon bare logic. Hoyle, if fact, is the guy who first came up with the “directed panspermia” hypothesis, which says that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens from outer space.

      As I said in one of my posts, one can derive enormous entertainment value from watching the contorted mental gymnastics that many people will resort to in order to avoid acknowledging God.

      Another example I like to cite is that of Albert Einstein. It was only with great reluctance that Einstein acknowledged the existence of God…and even after doing so, he seemed to maintain a strong distaste for traditional religious belief.

      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 [or “fudge factor”] 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.”

      I make it a point to cite Christian believers at this website as little as possible. This is because many atheists will just immediately dismiss everything a theist says as biased and unreliable. But when I cite atheists and agnostics to make my points, many atheist and agnostic commenters to this site will say things like, “He didn’t believe in God, so you can’t cite him to make your point.” But persons making such statements are incorrectly assuming that the average person’s beliefs are based solely on the results of logical reasoning. Unfortunately, as I said before, this is not the case.

      So to summarize, the reasoning I get from hostile atheist and agnostic commenters to this site usually goes something like this:

      1) Everything a theist says that supports the existence of God can be immediately dismissed because it is biased or even deliberately deceptive.

      2) Everything an atheist or agnostic says that supports the existence of God can be immediately dismissed because the person making the statement is an atheist or agnostic, and their statement therefore must have been taken out of context.

      Not surprisingly, I still have never been able to get one of these commenters to re-insert the supposed “out of context” statement into what they consider the correct context to be.

  16. john says:

    I do not agree with Darwins theory at all, for no two human beings look the same,not even twins.Secondly the Church has survived for centuries…..just food for thought.

  17. Tony says:

    If you talk to God, you are said to be Praying?
    If God talks to you, you are probably Schizophrenic!
    There lies your answer.

  18. Tony says:

    You know what my beliefs are, and I know what yours are. Neither of us will change the other’s point of view, so what is the point of all this.
    PS. I come from a religeous background, you know alter boy and all that stuff!

    • syoungren says:

      The point of all of this is for me to show you that atheism really does not have a solid rational foundation. Rather, it is a sinking ship full of holes that are patched with absolutely huge leaps-of-faith and self-referencing cultural contexts.

      What do I mean by this? An example of an atheist leap-of-faith (perhaps my favorite) is the belief held by several leading atheist biologists that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens from outer space. Where, then, did the aliens come from? Atheist biologist Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) cites “some sort of Darwinian evolution”. Please click here to see him endorsing these views in an interview. Please also read my essay entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” for more detail.

      When I cite “self-referencing” cultural contexts, I am referring to the fact that atheists believe such things because their atheist mentors and peers believe them, not because of any rationally sound argument underlying the beliefs. Irrespective of the fact that atheists such as Dawkins have no idea whatsoever what this undisclosed “some sort of Darwinian evolution” is, life evolving from lifeless chemicals is completely impossible by the laws of physics, as I demonstrate in my post entitled “Can life evolve from lifeless chemicals?” (in the “snippets” section).

  19. Tony says:

    Your beliefs don’t require any huge leap of faith? I am amazed by that! Wow.

    • syoungren says:

      Every belief requires a leap of faith. For example, as I have pointed out to other commenters, you cannot prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning with absolute certainty. What you can do is provide some extremely compelling reasons which any reasonable person would accept. But these reasonable people would still have to make a (very small) leap of faith.

      The purpose of this website is to demonstrate that the leaps of faith involved in believing in God are much smaller than the leaps of faith involved in disbelieving in God. Here is another atheist leap of faith: The universe “just is,” and has existed eternally despite that fact that the laws of physics and mathematics have demonstrated this belief to be false (as I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal…thus doing away with the need for a creator?” (which appears in the “snippets” section).

      Bertrand Russell, one of the most prominent atheist philosophers of all time, declared that the universe is a “brute fact” that does not need an explanation for its existence. Even if it weren’t for the fact that physics and mathematics have proven his beliefs to be false since he died, calling the universe a “brute fact” is really just an exhortation to cease rational inquiry into explanations for the universe.

      Yes belief in God requires a leap of faith, but it is a much much smaller leap of faith than disbelief in God. The facts fit into the theistic framework much better, as declared by the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics… which I demonstrate in my post entitled “What it all boils down to.”

      Scott

  20. Tony says:

    Ok, so if God is responsible for all this, who made God? and who made his Creator? And so on and so on, Until whatever you believe has had to not have existed. The Universe is so massive that the Creator and his Creator and so on, have gone to a lot of trouble for our benefit.

    • syoungren says:

      God was not created. God is eternal.

      Both theists and atheist philosophers generally acknowledge that there has to be an original uncaused cause (or a “non-contingent” reality). Here is a simplified version of why this is so:

      1) All contingent things (which includes everything but the non-contingent reality) require a cause. For example, the cause of the car you drive is the factory that it was made in, and the cause of the factory was the workers who built the factory, etc., etc…

      2) A contingent thing can do nothing (zero) to cause itself. Rather, it must be caused by something else.

      3) Because an infinitely long string of zeros still adds up to zero, an infinitely long string of contingent causes cannot explain existence.

      Please watch this video for more detail.

      One of the key reasons that we now know that this original uncaused cause (or “non-contingent reality”) is God, and not the universe, is that modern physics declares that consciousness is more fundamental than matter. I delve into this topic in my post titled “What it all boils down to.” Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist credited with founding quantum physics, made this point when he 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.”

      Even without modern physics, however, there is plenty of reason to believe that God is the uncaused original cause. We live in a universe with conscious, intelligent beings that have personalities (us). Therefore, it does not take much of a leap of faith to assume that the original uncaused cause also is a conscious, intelligent being with a personality. How could such beings emerge in a universe devoid of an intelligent and conscious foundation.

      Recall what I said before to another commenter: A universe without a conscious and intelligent foundation has no causal mechanisms. Bare probabilities cannot be cited as the cause for anything because bare probabilities are causally inert. As an example, take the statement, “If a person were to live long enough, that person would eventually win the lottery.” We know this statement is false because, even if a person were to live forever, that person would not win the lottery unless he or she played the lottery on a consistent basis. 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.

      Atheists are fond of citing an uncaused universe, long periods of time, and random events as the cause of conscious and intelligent beings (us), and our universe as it is. But such a setup does not have any causal mechanisms.

  21. Tony says:

    Well thanks for the interchange, but you are not convincing me to change my mind. If God is so powerful and has created all this, and wants us to acknowledge his existence, he/she should give us real tangible evidence. We are expected to believe he is possible by taking the writings of very ancient people, who thought the earth was the whole universe, with the earth in a glass dome or something similar (so they thought) with the stars being images of some king on the surface of the dome.
    Even you can’t deny that this was the knowledge of the people at the time the Bible was written. My how our knowlede of things has advanced since those days.
    And the earth was flat until recently.
    I think I would prefer to believe the more tangible evidence that I can see with my own eyes.
    I could just as easily believe in the tooth fairy, santa or the easter bunny. there is about the same amount of evidence for all these.

    • syoungren says:

      I am not convincing you? That is no surprise. Somebody once said, “a person convinced against their will, shall be of the same opinion still.” In other words, a person will not believe something they don’t want to…no matter how great the evidence.

      The question is: Can you provide a solid, rationally constructed, fact-based rebuttal to what MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder says about the REMARKABLE consistency between the biblical and scientific accounts of creation. Guess what, YOU CAN’T (That’s right, I am challenging you). Go to the bottom of this essay and click on the link to his videos or at least his article on the topic.

      Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t have huge amounts of evidence supporting them. The bible DOES. Further, if you review my post entitled “Some quotes to consider….if you think science leads to atheism,” you will realize that God has a lot more support from the most important contributors to modern physics than does Santa or the Easter Bunny.

      Perhaps you should take to route out of belief in God taken by prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, Chandra Wickramsinge and others…SUGGESTING THAT LIFE WAS BROUGHT TO EARTH BY ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE. Click here to see a video of Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) endorsing the idea in an interview.

      Why doesn’t God give us an obvious sign of his existence? He does, the signs are all around us. Please read my essay entitled “If God is there, why doesn’t he just show himself?”

      • Kyle says:

        Scott, this is yet another of your repetitions of a SELF-EVIDENT lie. Will you retract it everywhere you’ve made it?

        • syoungren says:

          No, I am afraid it is true. I provide a link to Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis in an interview and a link that describes how the famous atheist biologist Francis Crick endorsed the idea in his book Life Itself. The other names I mentioned can easily be identified as supporters of this hypothesis (known as “directed panspermia”) by Googling them.

          Sorry, but facts are facts. How could I be lying when I provide clear verification? I am sorry if this puts a crack in your atheist worldview, but facts are facts.

          • Kyle says:

            Yes, facts are facts, something I’m almost surprised that you admit, as you dismiss so many.

            OK, I guess it’s possible that you’re so rabid that you don’t see the obvious, which I saw even before seeing Dawkins confirm it, so I’ll spell it out for you.

            First, let me point out that any of these people, Dawkins included, “endorsing a HYPOTHESIS”, does not, BY DEFINITION, necessarily mean they BELIEVE it to be true! They aren’t even CONCLUDING it to be true; not even PROVISIONALLY! They are merely affirming that it is a valid hypothesis. (Why can’t you guys just once Google “scientific method”?)

            AND THIS IS MADE CRYSTAL CLEAR IN STEIN’S QUESTION!!! (Excuse the caps but I’m at a loss how to beat the obvious into impervious skulls.)

            Note your words:

            “. . . taken by prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, Chandra Wickramsinge and others…BELIEF THAT LIFE WAS BROUGHT TO EARTH BY ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE. Click here to see a video of Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) endorsing the idea in an interview.”

            It’s funny, sad, and a little frightening how you guys consistently conflate accepting, even provisionally, a conclusion based on evidence and reason with belief. You do it every time you try to hand wave away your unfounded beliefs by equating it with a rationalists acceptance of scientific evidence.

            If that isn’t enough for ya, consider that Dawkins has written thousands of pages that make it crystal clear that he sees no difficulty with what the evidence shows – that Earthly evolution is a sufficient explanation (principle of parsimony). Why would you, Stein, and the pack ignore thousands of pages of published writings in favor of a contradictory and sophomoric straw man attack? Because that’s what IDiots do! If it weren’t for quote mining and taking things out of context, they would forgo 90% of their “arguments”.

            As for your refusal to provide the context in YOUR source, one almost has to conclude intentional deception at this point. I’ll do it for you:

            Ben Stein: “What do you think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in Darwinian evolution?”

            Dawkins is quite used to the routine propaganda techniques of the ID/creationist crowd. He knows that IDiots cannot help themselves from assuming the ID’er is their deity, so he leaped at the chance to illustrated this false dichotomy. It was also immediately apparent to him, and I when I first saw the consistently dishonest “Expelled”, that if he said, “None”, he would be accused of doing what IDiots are doing with every breath – a priori excluding an hypothesis (and in their case, evidence, and thoroughly supported theory as well). Dawkins later confirmed this to be exactly why he responded as he did!

            However, even with his experience with IDiots, he failed to anticipate the astoundingly and obviously intentional way that that was misinterpreted. Which, of course, you not only repeat uncritically, but will almost certainly stick with forever as all IDiots do when every single one of their failed arguments, logical travesties, gross distortions, mined quotes, and bald-faced lies are revealed. Dawkins, having failed (correctly) to be cornered by this amateurish ploy into admitting that a magic invisible entity, wholly lacking in evidence, is a valid scientific hypothesis, was instead subjected to this. IDiot dishonesty knows no bounds.

            Prove me wrong. Admit to the proper context. Then admit that Stein, the rest of the pack, and yourself, are transparently conflating his admission that an intelligence designing biological systems (as we are beginning to do) is a valid hypothesis with claiming that he BELIEVES it to be true. If you can’t, then you have proven yourself to be a typical liar for Jebus and will be treated as such.

            Oh yes, that reminds me – Even with Dawkins and others, some quite long ago, having accepted the validity of this hypothesis, no IDiot has undertaken or even proposed a scientifically valid attempt to test the hypothesis. Virtually none of millions of $’s collected by the evolution denial ministry – I mean industry – goes to anything that even they claim to be research. All while they insist that, “It is so science!”

            And no, a thousand laughably pseudo-scientific variations of the Argument from Incredulity, transparently inverted evidentiary burdens, including the vacuous and thoroughly debunked irreducible complexity, the bogus information theory arguments, the “laws” developed via the rectal extraction method, etc., published only to the masses without peer review – or very occasionally slipped into some obscure journal devoted to a virtually unrelated field, do not count.

            • syoungren says:

              OK Kyle. Let’s just simplify this. You assert that science supports atheism. And yet the best answer that atheists can come up for regarding the origin of life is the hypothesis that it was brought here by aliens from outer space. The point I am trying to make here is not that atheists are weirdos that believe in aliens. Rather, the point I am trying to make is that atheists forcefully assert that a non-intelligent explanation for the origin of life (that involves random processes) is more logical.

              And yet, when we actually dig just a little deeper to see what this more logical explanation for the origin of life is….. well, we come up with ridiculous things like the aliens.

              So if you have a better explanation for the origin of life than the aliens…. NOW WOULD BE THE TIME TO LET US KNOW!! Please include in your explanation an explanation of the fact that, as the article from Scientific American magazine entitled Confronting Science’s Logical Limits points out, it has been estimated that a supercomputer applying rules for protein folding would take 10 to the 127th power years to fold a simple sequence of just 100 proteins. Also include the fact that most simple cell has about 250 proteins, and the fact that the universe is only about 15 billion years old.

              Rather than wasting your time spewing out angry rhetoric and insults, why don’t you just go ahead and build your case? More angry rhetoric and insults are only going to strengthen the impression that you are desperately trying to divert attention away from the fact that you don’t have a logically constructed reply!

      • Kyle says:

        Oops, I meant to paste in the following – the lie:

        “BELIEF THAT LIFE WAS BROUGHT TO EARTH BY ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE. Click here to see a video of Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) endorsing the idea in an interview.”

        I’ll repeat the hint that shouldn’t even be necessary:

        When Dawkins spoke of aliens seeding life on Earth, WHAT WAS THE QUESTION BEING ANSWERED, you monumental twit?

        • syoungren says:

          Gee, Kyle, you seem to be getting mad. Could it be that you have some sort of intense ideological opposition to God? If your atheist views were logical in nature (rather than purely ideological), it seems that you would be able to stick to logic rather than getting all emotional and calling me names!

          Dawkins is not the only atheist who supports the hypothesis that life on earth can be explained by the fact that aliens from outer space brought it here. Atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous for being the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix) expressed his support of the hypothesis in his book Life Itself. Click here to read an article that describe this fact. Other prominent atheists who support this view (known as “directed panspermia”) include Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickaramsinge, and others.

          Kyle, do you agree with your fellow atheists about life being brought here by aliens? If not, do you have some alternate theory about how life arose that we should know about? Was it lightning hitting a pond? If it was the aliens, what planet did the aliens come from? And if it was the aliens, how did the aliens get there?

          • Kyle says:

            There goes that astonishing level of transference again.

            I’ll not repeat myself regarding your Big Lie, so see my previous reply above. Please respond. I predict you cannot or will not admit the obvious.

            “Kyle, do you agree with your fellow atheists about life being brought here by aliens?”

            First, you are (almost certainly intentionally) misinterpreting their positions, so the question is like “Have you stopped beating your wife?”, so it doesn’t even deserve an answer. But since I’m the generous sort, I’ll answer it anyway. I doubt that the hypothesis will garner anything close to sufficient evidence to be generally favored over “home grown” abiogenesis, nor do I see any difficulties with the latter that cries out for this alternative.

            “If not, do you have some alternate theory about how life arose that we should know about? Was it lightning hitting a pond? ”

            Assuming that you mean “hypothesis” (eyes rolling), my study leads me, and many, many others, to favor those regarding mineral (likely sulfides) surface catalyzation of organic polymers, “metabolizing” of reduced metals at sea floor vents (observed wherever they appear), self-catalyzing RNA (produced in the lab and shown to evolve), and simple lipid bubbles (naturally produced in vast qty in the prevailing conditions) as proto-cell membranes. Fascinating stuff. I highly recommend reading the literature – assuming that you can understand it – and assuming that Gawd won’t smite you.

            “If it was the aliens, what planet did the aliens come from? And if it was the aliens, how did the aliens get there?”

            How dense can you be?! Clearly, to thinking people, Dawkins answered the last part in YOUR linked video! But since willful ignorance is the bedrock of science denialism, I’ll spell it out – by natural processes, by Darwinian mechanisms, by molecular evolution.

            • syoungren says:

              Yes Dawkins answered the question “how did the aliens get there?” in the last part of the video. And his answer was “some sort of Darwinian process.” That is what you call a “random-process-of-the-gaps” explanation.

              So “Darwinian mechanisms” and “molecular evolution” explain the origin of life? Kyle, did you forget that for mechanism of random mutation and natural selection to work, it needs living things to work upon? Evolution starts with the first self-replicating cell. Go back to the Dawkins / aliens video and you will hear Dawkins admit this. You can’t have random mutation and natural selection unless you have a cell with reproductive capability that can mutate!

              There is no random mutation in lifeless matter, because lifeless matter can’t reproduce or mutate. How could you have missed this?

          • Kyle says:

            As for being mad? Hell yes. I have good reasons. For one, it seems that you have some sort of intense ideological opposition to reason and that is a damn scary thing in the modern world. I could write chapters on the specifics, but I’ll just mention this for now:

            You have repeated the accusation that atheists are atheists so that they can be immoral. My request for supporting evidence of our motives has been ignored. I knew better than to even ask for an apology, yet pointing out your wholly unsupported mythologies and primitive magical thinking usually elicits cries of persecution.

            You repeatedly accuse me of being ideological in my opposition to something that neither you nor anyone else has ever shown a shred of evidence to even exist, while declaring the non-existent evidence to be incontrovertible.

            You quote mine (lie) like the every IDiot instead of discussing evidence.

            Like every IDiot, you never, ever acknowledge the failure of any argument, nor the revealing of any lie as such, nor any evidence ever produced.

            As an example of the latter, you have declared macro-evolution and common descent lacking in evidence and made the completely false “No transitional fossils” assertion.

            You are a maximally dishonest, which is a prerequisite for being an IDiot.

            Your kind is setting back this country and the world. If your thought processes were accepted, a new Dark Ages would descend. It’s been pointed out that had not the church been so insistent in placing dogma above reason, we’d be exploring the stars by now, and it IS NOT hyperbole.

            Mad? Hell yes, I’m mad.

            Do you think that Gawd gave us just enough oil to get us to the rapture, too? That AGW science (and ocean acidification) can be safely ignored because Gawd gave us dominion and wouldn’t let it happen? Even if not, by legitimizing your shared mental pathologies, you are enabling those who do.

            You are effing up the world and I like the place. So do my kids and grandkids. The time has definitely come when the benefits of religion are outweighed by its dangers, most of which relate directly to its legitimizing and institutionalizing of irrational thought. Primitive superstition, inverted logic, and blind faith must die or more people will suffer – and even die.

            • syoungren says:

              Once again Kyle, why don’t you spend some time replying to the first bit of evidence for God that I referred you to? That would be the anthropic fine tuning evidence as presented in my “Is there a God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?” essay.

              It is thoroughly transparent to any reasonable person viewing this that your gushing forth of angry rhetoric and insults is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that you do not have a logically sound reply to this first piece of evidence!

              If you had a logically constructed, fact-based reply to this evidence, you would no doubt immediately proceed to present it. But you don’t. Rather, you persist in your diversionary tactic of cranking out high-volume angry rhetoric and insults.

              I have made false transitional fossils assertions? No, paleontology itself has made these assertions. I can cite quote after quote after quote to this fact. And if you try to dismiss them based upon “quote mining,” nobody is going to take you seriously. Crying “quote mining” is a strange way to respond to a scholarly citation. The expert said what the expert said, period. Many of the statements are categorical and so are virtually impossible to take out of context.

              Do I think that AGW science can be safely ignored because God gave us dominion and wouldn’t let it happen? This is perhaps one of my favorite atheist tactics: Putting words in the mouth of a God-believing person so as to avoid responding to what the God-believing person actually argued.

              Legitimizing and institutionalizing irrational thought? And belief that random, unintelligent processes can account for the dizzying complexity of life is rational thought? Citing aliens as a hypothesis to explain away this dizzying complexity.

              You prefer “mineral (likely sulfides) surface catalyzation of organic polymers, “metabolizing” of reduced metals at sea floor vents (observed wherever they appear), self-catalyzing RNA (produced in the lab and shown to evolve), and simple lipid bubbles (naturally produced in vast qty in the prevailing conditions) as proto-cell membranes” to explain the origin of life? So this is how something that a supercomputer couldn’t even begin to do in 10 to the 127th power years is accomplished? And so this self-catalyzing RNA accomplishes this task with the assistance sea floor vents and lipid bubbles through purely random processes?!

              There is no reason to doubt that self-catalyzing RNA, sea floor vents and lipid bubbles were involved in the origin of life… I will start from the assumption that you are correct. But once again, Kyle, you confuse intermediate causes with ultimate causes. The self-catalyzing of RNA is an intermediate cause. Regarding questions of ultimate causes, the question would be, “How was the RNA able to self-catalyze?” Through intelligent, or merely random and unintelligent causes?

              Well, in answering this, keep in mind what the Scientific American article entitled Confronting Science’s Logical Limits said about a supercomputer programmed to do so would need 10 to the 127 power years just to fold a simple sequence of 100 proteins. And couple this with the fact that a simple cell has about 100 million proteins.

              Was it the sea floor vent that performed this complex operation? If so, THAT IS ONE SMART SEA FLOOR VENT!

  22. Kyle says:

    I found these three whoppers right in a row. Coincidence or a sign of intentional deceit?:

    1) “Those in the scientific community are fully aware of Darwinian evolution’s inability to explain the origins of life, but are usually reticent to admit it.”

    The truth – They unanimously keep telling you the glaringly obvious fact that evolution doesn’t even pretend to explain abiogenesis and that by incessantly conflating the two you are being intellectually dishonest.

    2) “This is largely due to an intense ideological commitment to atheism and the freedom from moral constraints that it permits.”

    The truth – First, it’s a non sequitur as it has nothing to do with your (intentional) conflation of separate concepts. It’s also an attack on atheists’ morality as a transparent diversionary tactic. It’s wholly unsupported as well and ignores the fact that the most atheistic nations are the happiest, healthiest, and moral – see Sweden and Denmark. Funny how an 80% atheist country blows away the 80% theist USA in terms of crime, violence, bigotry, care for the needy, etc. All in all, by saying that “This is largely due to . . .”, you reveal yourself to be maximally illogical as well as maximally deceitful.

    3) “At first blush, this may appear a bold assertion, but statements made by insiders in the field of evolutionary biology provide a window into this reality: Richard Dawkins himself admitted in an interview that he believes life on earth originated from an intelligent source.”

    Again, this is a total non sequitur! Have you know logical train of thought whatsoever?! That said, the question remains: Are you so stupid that you do not understand the clear context of Dawkins’ response? Even if you can’t see it for yourself, it’s been revealed many times, even by Dawkins himself. Or will you admit that you know full well and are lying for Jebus?

    • syoungren says:

      1) You missed what I said later in the essay: “If the scientific community is fully aware of Darwinian evolution’s grave shortcomings in explaining the emergence and diversification of life, why haven’t they abandoned it altogether?” The scientific community is fully aware of Darwinian evolutions’s grave shortcomings in explaining the emergence and diversification of life. When I review the essay, though, it appears that I left out the diversification part earlier in the portion which you have cited. Good catch…I will seriously consider correcting that in the essay.

      But the fact remains that the scientific community is fully aware of Darwinian evolution’s shortcomings in explaining the diversification of life also, NOT JUST THE ORIGIN of life. To this end, check out the book The Altenburg 16 which details how biologists and paleontologists from elite universities such as Oxford, Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, UCLA, etc. 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.” You can view the book on Amazon and read one of my favorite quotes as it appears on 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). It this is not enough for you, I can provide you with citation after citation after citation which clearly demonstrates that the scientific community knows Darwinism is not adequate to explain even the diversification of life, let alone the origin of life. Just say the word and I will open the floodgates.

      2) No, this is not an attack on atheists morality as a diversionary tactic. It is an explanation of why atheism is so prevalent among biologists despite the fact that there is no way to interpret the scientific findings as supporting atheism. I go into this subject in much more detail in my essay entitled, “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” Please click on the preceding link to read it and please also view the videos.

      Where on earth did you come up with a statistic of 80% of Swedes are atheist? Please read this wikipedia post which cites a 2005 Eurobarometer poll revealing that about 23% of Swedes are atheist. (Don’t worry, I would never cite a Wikipedia post if that post didn’t in turn cite a reputable source).

      Unless you can cite a reputable source to support your 80% figure, we have no choice but to conclude that it is you who are being illogical and deceitful.

      3) Sir, non sequitur is a Latin term that means “does not follow.” Here is what clearly DOES FOLLOW: Richard Dawkins and other atheist biologists suggest that science shows that there is no God. When we look just a little deeper, though, it becomes immediately obvious that the science leads to no such conclusion. How do Dawkins and other very prominent atheists such as Francis Crick, Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickaramsinge, etc. get around a need for an intelligent creator to explain the origin of life? They know that they can’t get around the need for an intelligent creator, and so they hypothesize that the intelligent creator of life was aliens from outer space!!! Sorry to pull the rug out from under your worldview, but those are the facts…Jack. I am being dishonest? Click on the interview and click on the link that I provide to an article about Francis Crick’s endorsement of the hypothesis in his book Life Itself.

      Biology shows that there is no God because aliens created life in a lab and brought it to earth in a spaceship thereby doing away with the need for God. NOW THAT IS A REAL NON SEQUITUR!!

      Am I missing the “clear context of Dawkins’ response”? OK then, why don’t you go ahead and tell me? I am all ears. We would like to hear what your logical interpretation is. Was he joking?

      In order to accuse me of dishonesty, you necessarily must demonstrate specifically where and how I am being dishonest. Otherwise, it will look an awful lot like you are assuming dishonesty because I called attention to facts which contradict your worldview, which you just know is true, a priori.

      • Kyle says:

        I see that your response is twice as long as mine and contains many more mistakes than the handful that I originally addressed. I think I can safely predict that this pattern will continue as I have seen it many times before. Dishonest creationist tactics #3, 4, & 5 are to exponentially increase the number of unsupported claims, introduce tangential arguments, and ignore all points just made by the rationalist. Your post is a perfect example, so I have a few questions:

        a) Will you, until the original issues are resolved, retract the newly introduced matter of the straw man of “Darwinism” and the (snicker) looming collapse of evolutionary fact and theory that has all of the “elites” peeing their pants (eyes rolling)?

        b) Assuming that you really meant the modern evolutionary synthesis instead of 150 yr old “Darwinism”, just stating that it has grave shortcomings in explaining the diversification of life is what is known as a naked assertion. Will you admit as much?

        c) Will you refrain from quoting other creatards or quote mining actual scientists as substitutes for making a meaningful argument that the modern evolutionary synthesis has grave shortcomings in explaining the diversification of life?

        d) Will you admit that the brief passage of yours that I addressed contained multiple non sequiturs or would you rather I spend an entire post showing exactly that in excruciating and humiliating detail?

        Assuming you have the intellectual integrity to answer the above in the affirmative, we can address my initial points instead of obfuscating them:

        1) You and I both know this wasn’t an oversight and that you’re moving the goal post – to a different stadium in this case. Creationists constantly, deliberately, and deceitfully attempt to somehow discredit biological evolution for not having answers about something outside the field. It is equivalent to discrediting chemistry for not explaining the existence of atoms. You have been caught using dishonest creationist tactic #2. You know it. Telling more lies to cover up is both counterproductive to your argument and counterproductive to the goal of hiding the fundamental deceptiveness of creationists.

        2) Dishonest creationist tactic #1 – “ideological commitment to atheism and the freedom from moral constraints that it permits” remains a total non sequitur unless you are prepared to provide credible evidence that this is indeed the primary motivation for scientists to admit that which they not only admit, but beat you about the ears with in every debate – to no avail, of course.

        3) The very link that you provided clearly states the context. Rather than spell it out for you, I challenge you to show some intellectual honesty and tell me what it is. Hint – it lies in the question to which he was responding. Can you tell us the true context and why it renders “Richard Dawkins himself admitted in an interview that he believes life on earth originated from an intelligent source.” to be a transparent bald-faced lie? Can you do it? Can YOU be LOGICAL? Or do I need to spell it out in excruciating detail as well? Otherwise, it will look an awful lot like you are avoiding your obvious dishonesty by willingly appearing to be stupid. Hmm?

        “. . . because I called attention to facts which contradict your worldview, which you just know is true, a priori.” I’m wondering if your blatant transference is the result of delusion or simply calculated deception. Science’s “worldview” is that of inquiry, observation, testing, and going where the evidence leads. Your worldview dismisses, obfuscates, and denies all results contrary to said worldview as it is interpreted by your chosen source from ancient mythologies that you BELIEVE – A PRIORI.

      • Kyle says:

        Apparently you’re strategically ignoring my response, but in case you’re still reading me, I’d like to point out that your constant flogging of “The Altenburg 16” is pretty damn hilarious. It seemed to be your all-purpose comeback for a while there. Too bad that the author is a blithering IDiot and a buffoon. Have you not read any rationalist responses to her ludicrous interpretations?!

        Which is it? Are you being maximally deceptive or is your head that far up your rectum?

        • syoungren says:

          Oxford University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (winner of the US 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.”

          Kyle, the author of The Altenburg 16 is a journalist who is interviewing various prominent biologists and paleontologists (all of whom are very anti-creationist). Above is an excerpt from the book. Do you think that Lynn Margulis (an Oxford University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis and winner of the US Presidential medal for science) is “a buffoon?”

      • Kyle says:

        I’m forced to reply here because the “Reply” button is strategically missing to the relevant post.

        “Once again Kyle, why don’t you spend some time replying to the first bit of evidence for God that I referred you to? That would be the anthropic fine tuning evidence as presented in my “Is there a God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?” essay.”

        Are you confusing me with someone else? I can’t keep up with the barrage of disconnected propaganda points that you fling like monkey poo at the zoo. Also, I’m sick of being bombarded by questions when you won’t answer questions or acknowledge answers. Besides – the fine tuning principle? Really? Is that your ace in the hole? That says something right there.

        “I can cite quote after quote after quote to this fact. And if you try to dismiss them based upon “quote mining,” nobody is going to take you seriously. Crying “quote mining” is a strange way to respond to a scholarly citation. The expert said what the expert said, period. Many of the statements are categorical and so are virtually impossible to take out of context.”

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that you will continue the endless creatard Argument by Quotation fallacy no matter how many times it is revealed because it works on simpletons – your target audience. I’m not going to search any further to see what particular mined quote you’re referencing, so I’ll simply answer with this from the Wikipedia entry for “Transitional fossil”. If you were actually interested in truth, you could go there and follow up on the citations, including the links to extensive lists of transitional fossils:

        From Wikipedia:

        Common creationist arguments

        Proponents of creationism have frequently made claims about the existence or implications of transitional fossils that paleontologists consider to be false,[12][13] and in some cases deliberately misleading.[14] Some of these claims include:

        ‘There are no transitional fossils.’ This is a claim made by groups like Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research.[3][12][15][16] Such claims may be based on a misunderstanding of the nature of what represents a transitional feature[15] but are also explained as a tactic employed by creationists seeking to distort or discredit evolutionary theory and has been called a “favorite lie” of creationists.[17] Some creationists dispute the lack of transitional forms.[18]

        ‘No fossils are found with partially functional features.'[19] Vestigial organs are common in whales (legs),[20] flightless birds (wings), snakes (pelvis and lung), and numerous structures in humans (the coccyx, plica semilunaris, and appendix).

        Henry M. Morris and other creationists have claimed that evolution predicts a continuous gradation in the fossil record, and have misrepresented the expected partial record as having “systematic gaps”. Due to the specialized and rare circumstances required for a biological structure to fossilize, only a very small percentage of all life-forms that ever have existed can be expected to be represented in discoveries and each represents only a snapshot of the process of evolution. The transition itself can only be illustrated and corroborated by transitional fossils, but it will never demonstrate an exact half-way point between clearly divergent forms.[15]

        The theory of punctuated equilibrium developed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge and first presented in 1972[21] is often mistakenly drawn into the discussion of transitional fossils. This theory, however, pertains only to well-documented transitions within taxa or between closely related taxa over a geologically short period of time. These transitions, usually traceable in the same geological outcrop, often show small jumps in morphology between extended periods of morphological stability. To explain these jumps, Gould and Eldredge envisaged comparatively long periods of genetic stability separated by periods of rapid evolution. Gould made the following observation of creationist misuse of his work to deny the existence of transitional fossils:

        “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.”
        —Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb[22]

        See also

        Evidence of common descent
        List of transitional fossils

        “Do I think that AGW science can be safely ignored because God gave us dominion and wouldn’t let it happen? This is perhaps one of my favorite atheist tactics: Putting words in the mouth of a God-believing person so as to avoid responding to what the God-believing person actually argued.”

        LOL! Yet you do it consistently. My mote – your beam. You even claim to know motives – remember your claims that atheism only exists so we can be naughty? Note that I ended my post with these questions and DIRECTLY tied them to the central matter of the danger of your irrational belief system. Also note that you DID NOT ANSWER. Could it be that you have elsewhere already copped to other areas of science denial and perhaps other conspiracy theories (science denial always invokes them as well), proving my point about the infectious nature of irrationality? Hmm?

        “ And belief that random, unintelligent processes can account for the dizzying complexity of life is rational thought? “

        Thank you for yet another example of repeating the same errors after they’ve been revealed as such 1000 times. And you wonder why creatards are called dishonest? Once more for the hard of thinking:

        THE OPPOSITE OF INTELLIGENTLY DIRECTED IS NOT RANDOM, YOU MORON!

        “Citing aliens as a hypothesis to explain away this dizzying complexity.”

        Once more for the hard of thinking:

        YOU ARE DELIBERATELY DISTORTING CONTEXT THAT IS BLATANTLY OBVIOUS IN YOUR OWN SOURCE, YOU MORON!

        “So this is how something that a supercomputer couldn’t even begin to do in 10 to the 127th power years is accomplished? And so this self-catalyzing RNA accomplishes this task with the assistance sea floor vents and lipid bubbles through purely random processes?!”

        You need to stop exclusively reading creatard propaganda because it is FULL of lies and distortions. Thanks for the perfect example; let’s look at its inanity, shall we?:

        The entire article is about limitations of computation in science. There is a universe of difference between computing a simulation and the actual event. The creatard interpretation is so far out in left field that it’d be funny if you clowns weren’t so damn dangerous. This example in the article (freely available online) doesn’t discuss a supercomputer folding a protein. It discusses a supercomputer computing how a protein would fold based upon the KNOWN (just because you don’t know doesn’t mean it isn’t known, can’t be known, or goddidit) parameters that affect the folding. The number of parameters and the exponential nature of their interactions makes it essentially impossible to simulate or predict how a large protein will fold. SO WHAT!

        This was the second example of three in the article. Since your belief system interferes too much whenever biology is involved, let’s use the first one as an analogy. It was about the N-body problem. From the paper:

        “Broadly speaking, this problem looks at the behavior of a number, N, of point-size masses moving in accordance with Newton’s law of gravitational attraction. One version of the problem addresses whether two or more of these bodies will collide or whether one will acquire an arbitrarily high velocity in a finite time. In his 1988 doctoral dissertation, Zhihong ( Jeff) Xia of Northwestern University showed how a single body moving back and forth between two binary systems (for a total of five masses) could approach an arbitrarily high velocity and be expelled from the system. This result, which was based on a special geometric configuration of the bodies, says nothing about the specific case of our solar system. But it does suggest that perhaps the solar system might not be stable. More important, the finding offers new tools with which to investigate the matter.”

        Are you so stupid that you can’t see that he is discussing the difficulty of calculating the motion over long periods of a large number of objects orbiting a body? He is NOT discussing a supercomputer controlling their motions, you effin’ moron! To make it perfectly clear – The bodies will interact and move, for billions of years, following the rules of motion and gravity TO THE LETTER whether anyone ever tried to simulate it or predict it. Does this imply magic! Now read this very slowly for comprehension:

        THE PROTEIN WILL FOLD, EVEN IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND, FOLLOWING THE RULES OF PHYSICS AND QUANTUM MECHANICS _T_O_ _T_H_E_ _L_E_T_T_E_R_ WHETHER ANYONE EVER TRIES TO SIMULATE IT OR PREDICT IT. _D_O_E_S_ _T_H_I_S_ _I_M_P_L_Y_ _M_A_G_I_C_?_!

        “There is no reason to doubt that self-catalyzing RNA, sea floor vents and lipid bubbles were involved in the origin of life… I will start from the assumption that you are correct.”

        Whiskey tango foxtrot! I’ll give you the opportunity to claim that you typo’ed. If you actually meant to type this, then it appears that you are beginning to acknowledge just how many gaps your gawd has been evicted from. But how can you square acceptance of that with denial of “macro” (sic) evolution and common descent?!

        “But once again, Kyle, you confuse intermediate causes with ultimate causes. The self-catalyzing of RNA is an intermediate cause. Regarding questions of ultimate causes, the question would be, “How was the RNA able to self-catalyze?” Through intelligent, or merely random and unintelligent causes?”

        You are simply obfuscating – or tap dancing. Why is “How was the RNA able to self-catalyze?” a question of ultimate cause? Because you have a priori assumed it’s magic? Just like molecular shape or orbital mechanics, the RNA self replicates because of the KNOWN rules of chemistry! How do you think the researchers arrived at the idea of the research? The details of it? Was it all RANDOM and therefore MAGIC? No, they predicted it based on SCIENCE.

        And again: THE OPPOSITE OF INTELLIGENTLY DIRECTED IS NOT RANDOM, YOU SIMPERING TWIT!

        “Well, in answering this, keep in mind what the Scientific American article entitled Confronting Science’s Logical Limits said about a supercomputer programmed to do so would need 10 to the 127 power years just to fold a simple sequence of 100 proteins.”

        (face->palm)

        “Was it the sea floor vent that performed this complex operation? If so, THAT IS ONE SMART SEA FLOOR VENT!”

        Holy crap – are you ever thick! The sea floor vent nor any other entity or condition that I mentioned needed to KNOW anything! It was the KNOWN rules of chemistry (which, btw, can be derived directly from particle physics/QM). Thank you for illustrating so well one of the two evolved irrational characteristics of human cognition that is fundamental to all superstition – False attribution of agency. You are the gift that keeps on giving. I could use you as the exclusive subject of extensive studies of the evolutionary psychology of religion and neurotheology.

        Now, I am sick and tired of being bombarded with questions – stupid, dishonest, often diversionary – so start acknowledging some answers, answering some of my questions, etc. I suggest that you answer the big implied questions above, which are all variations of:

        “Do you acknowledge this error?”

        “Will you cease repeating this error?”

        “Will you admit that the pro and semi-pro liars for Jebus have been feeding you a steady diet of BS?”

        “Will you apologize for your willful ignorance and incessant insulting of those who have been trying to correct you?”

        “Will you actually check the veracity of your sources in the future; possibly even study some science, before repeating long discredited, ignorant, dishonest creatard propaganda?”

        • syoungren says:

          Wow, that is a lot of typing that doesn’t seem to say much. If the opposite of intelligent isn’t random, what is it? Wikipedia is garbage. Click on this link to see what I mean.

          Kyle, your replies are incoherent. Try to limit your replies to only the necessary points. I will repeat that your use of insults and strident rhetoric only betrays the fact that you feel your worldview threatened. Why else would you be angry if you didn’t feel a threat to your worldview?

          Here are some questions I want you to answer so that you can start debating and quit spewing out angry and incoherent rhetoric:

          1) How did the first life (which is several orders of magnitude more complex than any man made technology) emerge from lifeless matter? Is it the “laws of chemistry?” OK how did laws of chemistry emerge if the universe is not grounded in an intelligent cause? Is it the case that the laws of chemistry, which, as you suggest, are capable of creating dizzingly complex organisms, “just are?” Once again, it is about ultimate causes, not intermediate ones.

          You say “The number of parameters and the exponential nature of their interactions makes it essentially impossible to simulate or predict how a large protein will fold. SO WHAT!” So how did something so complicated emerge from lifeless matter through random processes? Are you suggesting that life is not really that complex after all? That would be a unique approach.

          Was it the molecules on a piggyback ride on crystals as prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse suggests in this video?

          AND YET AGAIN: Please respond to the anthropic fine tuning evidence as presented in my “Is there a God? What is the chance our world is the result of chance?” essay. Kyle, what is your reply? WHAT IS IT? What is it? What is it? What is it? Don’t you have one? I have asked you to respond to it several times and so far have gotten nothing.

  23. Kyle says:

    I tire of your hysterical blindness – Here’s the dead obvious explanation, that was then made by Dawkins, and then explained to you. Now do what you do best and use every intellectually dishonest weasel maneuver in the faithhead arsenal to either misrepresent it, pretend not to understand it, insist that black is white, and obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate – most likely by asking crap like, “How did X happen?”, “How could random processes do Y?”, “Oh yeah, well explain to me how watermelons could possibly function as truck differentials.”

    Let the obfuscation and denialism begin!:

    Kyle says:
    September 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Yes, facts are facts, something I’m almost surprised that you admit, as you dismiss so many.

    OK, I guess it’s possible that you’re so rabid that you don’t see the obvious, which I saw even before seeing Dawkins confirm it, so I’ll spell it out for you.

    First, let me point out that any of these people, Dawkins included, “endorsing a HYPOTHESIS”, does not, BY DEFINITION, necessarily mean they BELIEVE it to be true! They aren’t even CONCLUDING it to be true; not even PROVISIONALLY! They are merely affirming that it is a valid hypothesis. (Why can’t you guys just once Google “scientific method”?)

    AND THIS IS MADE CRYSTAL CLEAR IN STEIN’S QUESTION!!! (Excuse the caps but I’m at a loss how to beat the obvious into impervious skulls.)

    Note your words:

    “. . . taken by prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, Chandra Wickramsinge and others…BELIEF THAT LIFE WAS BROUGHT TO EARTH BY ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE. Click here to see a video of Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) endorsing the idea in an interview.”

    It’s funny, sad, and a little frightening how you guys consistently conflate accepting, even provisionally, a conclusion based on evidence and reason with belief. You do it every time you try to hand wave away your unfounded beliefs by equating it with a rationalists acceptance of scientific evidence.

    If that isn’t enough for ya, consider that Dawkins has written thousands of pages that make it crystal clear that he sees no difficulty with what the evidence shows – that Earthly evolution is a sufficient explanation (principle of parsimony). Why would you, Stein, and the pack ignore thousands of pages of published writings in favor of a contradictory and sophomoric straw man attack? Because that’s what IDiots do! If it weren’t for quote mining and taking things out of context, they would forgo 90% of their “arguments”.

    As for your refusal to provide the context in YOUR source, one almost has to conclude intentional deception at this point. I’ll do it for you:

    Ben Stein: “What do you think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in Darwinian evolution?”

    Dawkins is quite used to the routine propaganda techniques of the ID/creationist crowd. He knows that IDiots cannot help themselves from assuming the ID’er is their deity, so he leaped at the chance to illustrated this false dichotomy. It was also immediately apparent to him, and I when I first saw the consistently dishonest “Expelled”, that if he said, “None”, he would be accused of doing what IDiots are doing with every breath – a priori excluding an hypothesis (and in their case, evidence, and thoroughly supported theory as well). Dawkins later confirmed this to be exactly why he responded as he did!

    However, even with his experience with IDiots, he failed to anticipate the astoundingly and obviously intentional way that that was misinterpreted. Which, of course, you not only repeat uncritically, but will almost certainly stick with forever as all IDiots do when every single one of their failed arguments, logical travesties, gross distortions, mined quotes, and bald-faced lies are revealed. Dawkins, having failed (correctly) to be cornered by this amateurish ploy into admitting that a magic invisible entity, wholly lacking in evidence, is a valid scientific hypothesis, was instead subjected to this. IDiot dishonesty knows no bounds.

    Prove me wrong. Admit to the proper context. Then admit that Stein, the rest of the pack, and yourself, are transparently conflating his admission that an intelligence designing biological systems (as we are beginning to do) is a valid hypothesis with claiming that he BELIEVES it to be true. If you can’t, then you have proven yourself to be a typical liar for Jebus and will be treated as such.

    Oh yes, that reminds me – Even with Dawkins and others, some quite long ago, having accepted the validity of this hypothesis, no IDiot has undertaken or even proposed a scientifically valid attempt to test the hypothesis. Virtually none of millions of $’s collected by the evolution denial ministry – I mean industry – goes to anything that even they claim to be research. All while they insist that, “It is so science!”

    And no, a thousand laughably pseudo-scientific variations of the Argument from Incredulity, transparently inverted evidentiary burdens, including the vacuous and thoroughly debunked irreducible complexity, the bogus information theory arguments, the “laws” developed via the rectal extraction method, etc., published only to the masses without peer review – or very occasionally slipped into some obscure journal devoted to a virtually unrelated field, do not count.

    • syoungren says:

      Kyle:

      From this point forward, I am enforcing a one comment per day rule. All comments in excess of one per day will be deleted.

      You are not the first angry atheist to try to spam me out with huge volumes of text. It is far too time consuming for me to respond to the roughly one dozen comments you make per day. But even if you only made one comment per day, you could actually say a lot more than you are saying with fewer words if you just subtracted all of the insults and empty, angry rhetoric.

      Try to work on the qualitative aspect of your comments as opposed to the quantitative aspect.

      It is not difficult for anyone to see what you (and several other angry atheists) are trying to do: You are trying to make it look like you are winning the debate by writing so much stuff that I will inevitably not respond to some of it due to time constraints. I don’t know what your employment status is, but I have a full time job and other responsibilities.

      Persuasion happens as a result of presenting a logically cohesive argument… not as a result of forcefulness and repetition of assertion.

      Now lets get back to the debate: What is your reply 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?” Post your as briefly as possible by including only rationally constructed, fact based arguments and no empty rhetoric. I will note that I have asked you to reply to this first piece of evidence several times before.

      • Kyle says:

        “From this point forward, I am enforcing a one comment per day rule. All comments in excess of one per day will be deleted. You are not the first angry atheist to try to spam me out with huge volumes of text.”

        Your transparent excuse was used to delete my posts that listed in detail every refutation that you refused to acknowledge. Can’t have that, can you? What to do? Well, since morality has no correlation with belief, other than the inverse correlation with dogmatic reality denial, you have simply made sure that the public never sees the list of refutations that you refuse to acknowledge.

        Here’s the infinite loop pattern of your online activities that any rational person sees immediately:

        1) You post a string of lame, utterly unoriginal, long discredited, thoroughly refuted, ignorant, fallacious, talking points cribbed from the closed universe of the IDiot faithhead community.

        2) Then come the rebuttals. Many of them are devastating, many of them almost self-evident, most of them being rebuttals that anyone blogging on the subject matter should already know and almost could not help from already knowing. These include hard evidence of your errors, irrefutable explanations of fallacies you’ve used, and good evidence that many errors are effectively lies.

        3) You repeat one or two of the refuted arguments, bogus evidences, and/or lies without regard to rebuttals. You ignore the rest as if they’d never been there. You post a different string of lame, utterly unoriginal, long discredited, thoroughly refuted, ignorant, fallacious, talking points cribbed from the closed universe of the IDiot faithhead community.

        4) Repeat steps 1 – 3 until you are, usually very quickly, repeating the first lame, utterly unoriginal, long discredited, thoroughly refuted, ignorant, fallacious, talking points cribbed from the closed universe of the IDiot faithhead community.

        You call my attempts to get you to engage honestly spamming, yet most of your posts are repetitious – and of the above variety as well – to the max. – far more so than mine were, which were only repetitious because of your intellectual dishonesty.

        So can I assume that you will be limiting yourself to one post/day? No? Shocking. Shocking, I say.

        But it does appear that – for now – you have allowed my reposting of the long-ignored – and unnecessary for the honest and rational – explanation of how you were lying like rug in your statements regarding the Dawkins video.

        Having now deleted the embarrassing long list of ignored rebuttals, will you now at least acknowledge this? Or, since you lied dozens of times about the Dawkins video, just as you flogged Susan Mazur’s abominable – and comical and childishly – “Altenburg 16” dozens of times (my post regarding that was – gasp – ignored), I suppose the gawdly thing to do is continue to ignore that as well.

        After all, I can only point it out once a day. That is, until you ban me altogether.

        Seems that if your arguments had any merit at all, you’d not have to resort to such tactics to maintain your willful ignorance. Here’s what I want you to do now – when you lay down tonight, try to let your reality barriers down a little and think about the behavior that I have accurately described in this post. Then consider that the behavior is made necessary by the irrational thinking processes of religion. Now extrapolate these thinking patterns and this behavior to the sizeable fraction of 305,000,000 Americans that share your mental pathologies.

        If you can do this – a very big if – you cannot help but shudder a little. That’s the fear rational people feel.

        • syoungren says:

          Still just a lot of rhetoric Kyle… Still no response to the “Is there a God? What is the chance our world is the result of chance?” essay at this site.

          Kyle, you haven’t furnished any rebuttals. All you have furnished is strident, angry rhetoric in order to divert attention from the fact that you apparently cannot furnish a rebuttal to this first piece of evidence that I have asked you to address.

          Yes, Kyle, you have been spamming me. Yesterday you sent roughly a dozen posts, many of which were even more long winded and devoid of rational argument than the one above.

          You are just giving us a textbook example of trying to use rhetoric to disguise a deficient argument. Please pay attention to the difference between characterizing an argument on one hand, and actually responding to it, on the other. To cite one example, calling Susan Mazur’s book “abominable — and comical and childish” is not a logically constructed response to the excerpt from that book. Rather, it is merely a characterization.

          Maybe you just need to take some time off to cool off. Come back when you are feeling more relaxed and in better spirits.

          The “irrational thinking processes of religion?” As I said before, there is no settled upon definition of “religion” amongst religious scholars. Atheism fits easily into some of these definitions of religion. Regarding the “irrational thinking processes” of the “religion” of atheism, how do you respond to the atheist biologist Michael Ruse’s magic crystal piggyback ride explanation for the origin of life? Is his hypothesis more sound than Dawkins’ alien hypothesis?

          • Kyle says:

            Thank you again for being so transparently dishonest; it makes my whole point. Let’s look at the latest:

            “Still just a lot of rhetoric Kyle…”

            That is a LIE. You are deliberately ignoring my line-by-line refutations of YOUR arguments. That is dishonest.

            “Still no response to the “Is there a God? What is the chance our world is the result of chance?” essay at this site.”

            This is at least as bad as a lie, because you are brazenly repeating for the – I’ve lost count – time that I should address a question that I have repeatedly told you that I would not – yet – but also in an ASTOUNDINGLY dishonest display of refusal to acknowledge. And what is it that you are refusing to acknowledge – a long list of other refusals to acknowledge!

            It is ALWAYS the case that apologists, and most especially creatards, are grotesquely dishonest in every conceivable way. Displaying it as you do on this blog is fantastic evidence for the poverty of your arguments.

            So no, you transparent weasel, I will not address ANOTHER of your weak and discredited arguments, be it this one or whatever you think point was made in the Ruse video, or any other new weak, discredited argument.

            NOT UNTIL YOU ADDRESS YOUR COMPLETE FAILURE TO ADDRESS MY REFUTATIONS OF THE WEAK, DISCREDITED ARGUMENTS OF YOURS THAT I’VE ALREADY ADDRESSED.

            “Kyle, you haven’t furnished any rebuttals.”

            That is what is known as a bald-faced lie. I could go back and find them and repost them, assuming that you have not deleted them, as you dis the FIRST TIME I DID SO!

            “All you have furnished is strident, angry rhetoric in order to divert attention from the fact that you apparently cannot furnish a rebuttal to this first piece of evidence that I have asked you to address.”

            First, please prove to me that that is the first question you asked of me. Secondly, even if that were true, it doesn’t change the fact that even THEN it was a DISHONEST evasion of all of the counter-arguments I had already made. I pointed out blatant reliance on logical fallacy = IGNORED. I pointed out misstatements of fact – IGNORED. In no debating rules that I have ever known, is one allowed to evade addressing the criticisms of your arguments by loudly chanting new ones!

            “Yes, Kyle, you have been spamming me. Yesterday you sent roughly a dozen posts, many of which were even more long winded and devoid of rational argument than the one above.”

            They were long, yes, but only because they contained the long lists of criticisms of your fallacious, factually incorrect, and often dishonest arguments that you you REFUSE TO ADDRESS. If I am wrong, prove it by reinstating them ;o)

            “You are just giving us a textbook example of trying to use rhetoric to disguise a deficient argument.”

            Pot – kettle – black.

            “Please pay attention to the difference between characterizing an argument on one hand, and actually responding to it, on the other. To cite one example, calling Susan Mazur’s book “abominable — and comical and childish” is not a logically constructed response to the excerpt from that book. Rather, it is merely a characterization.”

            I never CLAIMED to be rebutting it. What I CLEARLY claimed is what is still obvious – that you have never read a non-creatard account of her “work” on the “Altenburg 16”. Well, there is one other possibility – that you are being the absolutely typical creatard and being 110% dishonest. Prove me wrong. Use Google and then minutes of your precious time and find out what a complete buffoon – and what a DISHONEST buffoon she was being about the whole affair. Find out what that conference was REALLY about and not the BIG LIE.

            “Maybe you just need to take some time off to cool off.”

            Do I have any choice since you have shut me down to one post/day – and THEN, were dishonest enough to post response to multiple posts, all asking your usual endless string of questions! I suppose that’s the Gawdly thing to do, eh?

            “Come back when you are feeling more relaxed and in better spirits.”

            And only be able to point out once a day that you’re effectively admitting that you cannot defend your own arguments? And then be accused of everything you dream up while ignoring all criticisms again?

            Once/day I can point out that you still prefer to appear functionally retarded rather than admit the already obvious, and then painstakingly explained – twice – LIE that was your entire point about the Dawkins’ video – that had been your go-to, all-purpose, evasive, mantra-like response to every non-faithhead post for weeks. And then you’ll just pretend to be retarded one more time?

            “Atheism fits easily into some of these definitions of religion.”

            Yawn. Stupidist, tiredest, lamest non-argument in the very big book similar apologist arguments. Let me translate:

            TRANS: “By creative abusive of language and logic, I can make the claim that you’re as illogical as we are.”

            I recently watch William Lane Craig debating Sam Harris. WLC is, by many accounts, the premier apologist debater, essentially making it his – likely profitable – profession. I had not heard him prior, but with his reputation, I just assumed that he must have some unique tactics that prevented him from having to be as dishonest and non-responsive and from using intentionally fallacious arguments.

            I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I found – He studiously ignored every devastating rebuttal, even repeating his already discredited argument almost verbatim as if the rebuttal had never existed! He also repeated criticisms of Harris’ arguments that Harris had tacked head-on minutes before as if Harris had never spoken!

            It was obvious that he was utterly unafraid to be very blatantly deceptive, even for little potential gain. He knows that his target audience of true believers is both predisposed by the pre-existing cognitive bias and irrationality of religion and preconditioned by the fundamental nature of all apologetics – more of the same. This was made clear when Harris made a statement that, though clear in meaning, one could easily see an apologist twisting to imply that Harris had insulted certain individuals. Harris, of course, explicitly and unambiguously preempted that misinterpretation in the very next sentence – emphatically.

            So, any guesses what Craig did a few minutes later? Hmm? It was even more obvious than your refusal to acknowledge any understanding of the Big Lie about the Dawson video. It was even more obvious than your incessant characterization of my refusals to answer further gawd of the gaps Arguments from Ignorance while repeatedly ignoring, censoring, and mischaracterizing my attempts to get you to acknowledge and address rebuttals to those that I’ve already rebutted.

            OK, that’s my one allowed post for the day; now you can repeat every lie and every dishonest tactic one more time while continuing to stonewall. While you’re at it, you might as well go to the other posts that I’m not allowed to answer and chide me for not answering your latest gawd of the gaps Arguments from Ignorance.

            Or, if miracles are real, you could do something you’ve never done before – engage honestly. Pick just one of your lame arguments that I rebutted and deal with my rebuttal. Or even just admit that you’re not retarded and that the proper context for Dawkns’ video response was just as I’ve explained – and therefore that the interpretation that Stein, the rest of the pro liars for gawd, and yourself have been telling, and brazenly sticking to, is one of the most transparently self-refuting lies ever perpetrated upon the terminally gullible creatard audience.

  24. nick says:

    There is so much to reply to from challenges and questions put in your last comment on the other page, but I am just going to refer to the Dawkins stumped video that you brought up. There is plenty more that you have asked for, but it is simply too much to deal adequately with all in one post. One (of the 7) points per post would be inadequate space with which to answer, so I will just concentrate on the stumped video.

    In points 2) and 4) we basically address the same issue which is this clip of Dawkins being stumped. I am not convinced that you have read his response that you also linked to.

    Dawkins, I’m sure, can cite numerous examples of the occurrence of novelty in the genome. I have cited 2 myself. In three books Dawkins outlines explanations and examples of increased information and complexity in evolution; The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden and Climbing Mount Improbable. These are 3 volumes of data that he might say answers the query put in your stumped video.

    One example that Dawkins gives in his written response that you linked to of ‘information increases’ is Haemoglobin protein molecules in our blood.

    ‘The story of the globins is just one among many. Gene duplications and deletions have occurred from time to time throughout genomes. It is by these, and similar means, that genome sizes can increase in evolution.’

    This is a quote from the article that you say you have read. He qualifies this by saying that these duplications do not always result in increased information, but this is the means by which it occurs.

    Further, the carefully selected section that your response video picks from Dawkins’ response article is not the answer to the question in the original video. Here is the original question posed in the stumped video.
    ‘Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?’

    The cherry picked paragraph in your response video is the answer to a different question or proposal. Here is the preceding sentence to the paragraph:
    ‘But we can use the “length of book” thought-experiment to agree upon what it would mean to ask the question whether information content increases over evolution, if only we had ancestral animals to look at.’

    This preface to your selected paragraph asks a question of an overall trend. Does the ‘trend’ of evolution lead to increased information? The paragraph your video has cherry picked answers this and as Dawkins states, the answer is intriguing and has supporters on both sides.

    However, this question of trends is different to the question initially posed in the stumped video, which asks for a specific example of an increase in information. There are many specific examples of this occurrence, but is the overall trend towards an increase or not? This is the question answered in your response video. Does this make the response video dishonest, or poorly researched? It is one of the two.

    I have also ventured two examples of evolutionary increase in information. I will begin by saying that my first might have been a good example to use, but it is one amongst others and Dawkins gives his own example anyway, so it should not matter that he did not use it.

    In point 2) you ask why you should waste your valuable time looking at nylonase flavobacterium? This is the evidence that I have provided and here is a perfect example of you showing extreme resistance to looking at it. You ask me, where is the evidence for Darwin? If you don’t want to look at it, how will you see it? Nylonase is one example.

    I did not come up with this example by myself, how could I? I make no such claim that I know more than Dawkins on this subject, however I am capable of doing some understanding and some research.

    This example was drawn to my attention by the Christian and non-materialist scientist Ken Miller, who I would say seems to be a good and reliable guy. It is easier to deal with things that are brief sometimes so I will paste the youtube clip (viddler) of him describing this example. It is 2 minutes in length and very clear so it must be watched. This is a professor of biology at Brown relaying this information so we are not talking about an unreliable source. It is also of note that he gives another example in this clip of genetic novelty in a bacterium that digests the explosive TNT. These are two good examples that would answer the ‘Dawkins Stumped video challenge’.

    http://www.viddler.com/explore/Seanpit/videos/35/

    http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/61/5/2020?view=long&pmid=7646041

    Below the video clip is an article that is peer reviewed dating and detailing the proposition that this event of evolution with the nylonase has occurred. (Date Paper Accepted – 8 February 1995) Peer Reviewed and accepted.

    This makes this example more than an unbased proposal merely from myself, but an example of a tested and proven, ‘peer reviewed’ case of entirely new information evolving in the genome.

    My other example of Down syndrome is less striking and categorical than the nylon bacteria. However, it is an instance of new information of a lesser sense occurring through reproduction. However rare this occurrence may be, it is an example of what was asked. Here is a pasted paragraph from the very Down Syndrome article to which you linked me, which seemed to conclusively illustrate the point that new information is inherited through reproduction.

    ‘Trisomy 21. More than 90 percent of the time, Down syndrome is caused by trisomy 21. A child with trisomy 21 has three copies of chromosome 21 — instead of the usual two copies — in all of his or her cells. This form of Down syndrome is caused by abnormal cell division during the development of the sperm cell or the egg cell.’

    To finish, I would like to give another example from the work of Ken Miller, a theist.

    ‘Four or five million years ago, for example, the Antarctic Ocean, which was warm at the time, froze over as a result of a kind of climate change on this planet. Well, to this day, there are fish that swim in the oceans of Antarctica. One of the interesting things about those fish is that even though the saltwater is actually below the freezing point—our own blood would freeze solid in that cold water—these fish don’t. The reason they don’t freeze solid is because their blood contains an antifreeze protein, sort of the biological equivalent of ethylene glycol in antifreeze.

    Well, how did they get it? It turns out that the antifreeze protein that is found in the blood of Antarctic fishes was the result of a digestive enzyme that was mutated, retargeted to the bloodstream, and then mutated again and again to enhance its antifreeze properties. All of these changes were the result of mutation.

    Now, that Antarctic fish has a kind of biological information that its ancestors didn’t have. It has the ability to make a completely new protein that enables it to survive in very cold waters by preventing its blood from freezing. That’s novel information, and it’s information that was produced by the process of mutation.’

    I realise this is a long post, but this is the kind of information available, yet I have barely scratched the surface with regards to the Dawkins video, or the wider 7 points raised in the previous post.

    To summarise the actual examples and data listed above as direct responses to the question in the stumped video: at least one example in the response of Dawkins (haemoglobin), 3 books at least written by Dawkins, 3 different examples from Ken Miller – a Christian, a peer reviewed paper in a journal from the American Society of Microbiology on the example of nylonase (other peer reviewed papers would be available) and the example of Down Syndrome, as well as, I’m sure, many others. This dispels any notion that Dawkins could not reply to the question asked in the video, although he may have been stumped at the time.

    This is not a response to all of the issues and challenges you posted in your previous comment, it is the answer and evidential response to the Dawkins video point alone of the 7 points from your previous answer. This is the sort of evidence that could be brought to the table, when you ask for the data for Darwin and make claims to the tune that there is none. You have set many questions in that post, I may answer them or maybe not, but I think this response was warranted to show that I was not fabricating answers such as with the nylonase.

  25. nick says:

    I have pasted this here, because the post where this is from has become intollerably long and is rather hard to negotiate, and since this is the answer to the above post and is on the subject on this page I will answer it here. I’m sure that’s appropriate…

    syoungren says:
    September 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm
    Here are the key excerpts from the Mayo Clinic article about Down Syndrome:

    “Most of the time, Down syndrome isn’t inherited. It’s caused by a mistake in cell division during the development of the egg, sperm or embryo.”

    “When translocations are inherited, the mother or father is a balanced carrier of the translocation, which means he or she has some rearranged genetic material, but no extra genetic material.”

    I am not sure how you have refuted this.

    Nick, I just watched the Ken Miller Nylonase video that you linked me to. Miller says that this new enzyme “evolved from junk DNA…. flipping around of the genetic material.” This is exactly what I was talking about with regard to Dawkins’ reply to his “stumped” video. Dawkins talks about how the useful information content of the genome can be increased by rearranging junk DNA so as to make it into useful DNA. However, he does not show how the total genetic CAPACITY of the genome can increase. In other words, the genetic information in the genome can be rearranged so that there is more useful DNA and less junk DNA. But Dawkins does not show how the total capacity of information in the genome (useful and junk combined) can be increased. Your nylonase example therefore is just another example of the rearrangement of already existing genetic capacity, NOT an example of an increase in capacity.

    • nick says:

      I am astounded.

      ‘Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?’

      This is the original question posed. I have listed an entire assembly of examples and data and you say these are incorrect.

      With the Down syndrome you seem to misunderstand the very quote you use to support your case.
      “When translocations are inherited, the mother or father is a balanced carrier of the translocation, which means he or she has some rearranged genetic material, but no extra genetic material.”

      No extra genetic material is existent in the carrier. This is what your quote says. In the new born child a duplication of a gene is the cause of down syndrome. This is the occurrence of extra genetic material in a new human inherited through reproduction, at least in trisomoy 21.

      This is an unbelievably clear cut example of extra information being added. What may be argued, is that this is not entirely novel information, because it is a copy of a gene, but it is indeed the case that more information than in normal reproduction is inherited in the newborn’s genome. This is an example of new information occuring in reproduction by mutation.

      The reason that Dawkins’ answer is so long is because there are several ways of defining information in this context and by asking it with a lack of clear definition we are seeing a loaded question being asked, where any answer can be considered to be wrong, because there are different ways of answering the same question.

      I am pleased that you watched the quick video. You relay what he says correctly, but your interpretation is amiss.

      The total genetic capacity is a different kind of information as the functional genetic material. Dawkins makes a distinction between the two definitions in his response. He makes the comparison of a hard drive of a computer and the functional information in that hard drive. Eg. my laptop has a hard drive of 500GB roughly. This is it’s total capacity. This is a different thing to the functional programs and information that are on it. My functional data/information is the content such as windows, microsoft office, my programs, media files etc. etc. These are two different understandings.

      The total capacity that you talk of is different from the functional in-use information. My laptop hard drive is 500gb in size yet I have only filled up lets say 70gb with programs and media that I use every day. Why would I need my overall capacity of 500gb to increase very much if I don’t even use 100gb? This issue of total genome capacity is a different answer to a loaded question that was ill defined and that could be answered in a few different ways.

      Extra information can come within the functioning data that is separate from the overall hard-drive capacity. Extra information such as with Down syndrome can occur here, or entirely novel information such as nylonase.

      Both of these are categorical answers to the original question posed, yet all three of these issues are different, but are answers to such a loosely defined and poorly asked question.

      You watched the 2 minute video. Did you take the time to read through the peer reviewed paper I linked you to detailing this event of evolution from the American Society of Microbiology? This is from a nationally recognised institution in this field.

      Junk DNA flipping around, has resulted in new enzymes, previously non-existent, forming within this bacteria. These new enzymes, were previously NON-EXISTANT. Nylon has only been around for 70 years. Therefore these enzymes are examples of something NEW. The original question asked for a process of how new information can be acquired. Here is a categorical example. The old information was not sufficient to break down nylon, therefore a new understanding had to be made. This is NEW information.

      I think your next comment will be that these abilities already existed within the genes in independent forms. I will look into this and it may be the case that the ability to break down nylon was only formed from rearranged genes, although from my reading I’m pretty sure that new information is acquired in addition to this rearrangement, so I will check this out. But the ability to break down nylon is NEW, therefore it is NEW information from old, which is the whole premise of evolution.

      Furthermore, Miller has offered two other examples with the antifreeze proteins in arctic sea blood, and TNT digesting bacteria. Dawkins gives the example of haemoglobin, as well as several books of data. The most important information will be from the peer reviewed paper of which there are others. In what way can you dispute this? This is detailed information, with explanations and has been subjected to testing and experiment. Please read this.

      You have not successfully refuted any of the above data.

      • syoungren says:

        Nick:

        You are just not getting this. I am astounded. Here again is a copy and paste of the Mayo Clinic article about Downs Syndrome:

        Is it inherited?
        Most of the time, Down syndrome isn’t inherited. It’s caused by a mistake in cell division during the development of the egg, sperm or embryo.

        Translocation Down syndrome is the only form of the disorder that can be passed from parent to child. However, only about 4 percent of children with Down syndrome have translocation. And only about half of these children inherited it from one of their parents.

        When translocations are inherited, the mother or father is a balanced carrier of the translocation, which means he or she has some rearranged genetic material, but no extra genetic material. A balanced carrier has no signs or symptoms of Down syndrome, but he or she can pass the translocation on to children.

        Nick, NO EXTRA GENETIC MATERIAL in the only form of Downs Syndrome that can be inherited. Yes, there is extra genetic material in the forms that can’t be inherited. But if this extra genetic material only lasts for one generation, how can it be cited as an example of the genetic capacity of the genome being increased for the purpose of evolution? This extra genetic material is NOT passed on and so it is a case of extra genetic material lasting one generation. For an increased genetic capacity in the genome for future evolution, the increase in genetic capacity must be lasting, not a one generation phenomenon.

        How can you really cite a disease in which abnormal cell division during the development of the sperm cell or the egg cell causes an increase in the genome for a single generation as an example of how the genetic capacity of the genome can be expanded for the purpose of the evolution of more complex organisms?

        You say:

        The total capacity that you talk of is different from the functional in-use information. My laptop hard drive is 500gb in size yet I have only filled up lets say 70gb with programs and media that I use every day. Why would I need my overall capacity of 500gb to increase very much if I don’t even use 100gb?

        ..Extra information can come within the functioning data that is separate from the overall hard-drive capacity.

        YES, what you say here is true! And I have agreed with this all along! But here is the crucial point you are missing: For a case to made for evolution from a common bacterial ancestor, there has to also be an increase in the total information capacity of the genome, not just a reshuffling of existing genetic material so as to utilize previously unutilized genetic capacity.

        A cut and paste of Dawkins reply to his “stumped” video again:

        “The total information capacity of the human genome is measured in gigabits. That of the common gut bacterium Escherichia coli is measured in megabits. We, like all other animals, are descended from an ancestor which, were it available for our study today, we’d classify as a bacterium. So perhaps, during the billions of years of evolution since that ancestor lived, the information capacity of our genome has gone up about three orders of magnitude (powers of ten) — about a thousandfold.”

        The Downs Syndrome example is an example of a ONE GENERATION increase in the genetic content of the genome that is NOT passed on.

        Another copy and paste from Dawkins reply:

        Almost all of evolution happened way back in the past, which makes it hard to study details. But we can use the “length of book” thought-experiment to agree upon what it would mean to ask the question whether information content increases over evolution, if only we had ancestral animals to look at.

        The answer in practice is complicated and controversial, all bound up with a vigorous debate over whether evolution is, in general, progressive. I am one of those associated with a limited form of yes answer. My colleague Stephen Jay Gould tends towards a no answer. I don’t think anybody would deny that, by any method of measuring — whether bodily information content, total information capacity of genome, capacity of genome actually used, or true (“Stuffit compressed”) information content of genome — there has been a broad overall trend towards increased information content during the course of human evolution from our remote bacterial ancestors. People might disagree, however, over two important questions: first, whether such a trend is to be found in all, or a majority of evolutionary lineages (for example parasite evolution often shows a trend towards decreasing bodily complexity, because parasites are better off being simple); second, whether, even in lineages where there is a clear overall trend over the very long term, it is bucked by so many reversals and re-reversals in the shorter term as to undermine the very idea of progress. This is not the place to resolve this interesting controversy. There are distinguished biologists with good arguments on both sides.

        Nick, there is “vigorous debate over whether evolution is, in general, progressive,” to cite Dawkins’ above quote. Even Dawkins only believes in a “limited form of a yes answer.”

        How can you say, from this admission by atheist biologist number one, that there is a scientifically sound basis for believing in macroevolution?

        Did you watch the David Berlinski videos I linked you to? Here are some key points from those videos:

        1) Mathematicians “scratch their heads” and even “laugh” or “hoot” at Darwinian theory. It is not even mathematically possible.

        This includes “dozens” of mathematicians such as John VonNeumann (one of the greatest of the 20th century) and Fred Hoyle from Cambridge. Can you cite a mathematician who says Darwinian macroevolution is mathematically possible? I’ll bet you can’t.

        2) Darwinian evolution can’t be replicated in a computer simulation even though the math is much less complicated than processes in physics which CAN be replicated in a computer.

        3) Scientists have a hard time finding beneficial mutations. The vast, vast majority are harmful. How can a case be made for macroevolution when the vast majority of mutations are harmful?

        Considering all of this, how can you really believe that Darwinian macroevolution is real science and not just a projection of materialist philosophy that persists for ideological / sociological reasons?

        • nick says:

          Let me deal with this one part at a time.

          Down Syndrome. Perhaps you are right that cases where there are increases in information this is not passed down. I’m not sure, I will have to continue to read about this. However, in your quotes it states that the carrier has no extra genetic information. Provide a detailed explanation of what happens to the recipient of this carried problem. I am not saying you are wrong here, perhaps you are right. However, if it is the case that no new information is gained by the recipient, then perhaps what you say is true. If it is the case that the carrier has no new information, but the recipient does, then your assertion does not stand. Perhaps you are right, I will reserve judgement untill you can show me the detail of the recipients information.

          However, with regards to the original stumped video question, Down syndrome is a clear example of mutation leading to increased information in the genome. Perhaps this is something that is not able to be inherited and you may be correct on this. However, to the question give an example of increased information in the genome via mutation, Down Syndrome Trisomy 21 is a clear example of increased information via a duplication mutation. If this only lasts one generation perhaps you would be right to say that it does not demonstrate an example of something that can be passed on, but an answer to the original question it most certainly is.

        • nick says:

          You say that Down Syndrome with increased information is not passed on and perhaps you are right about this. This does nothing to stop trisomy 21 being an example of increased information occurring via mutation (and I think you agree with this too). Perhaps it is a dead end mutation, but the original question did not ask exclusively for something that can be demonstrably hereditary, it was an open question asking for any examples. Trisomy 21 is a clear example of a mutation leading to increased information, but perhaps not something that lasts longer than a single generation. This sounds plausible and you may have this correct.

          You progress from here to talk about Dawkins’ response. You have obviously read what he says, but you have failed to interprate it properly.

          There is a difference of various information types and we seem to agree that total capacity is different from working information. ie. total capacity – 500gb hard drive. ie. working information – music files, microsoft office etc… Reasonable analogy.

          The overall capacity has increased and can increase. The majority of the capacity I believe is junk DNA, or genes that are currently dormant. Whenever new information is added the genome will extend in capacity as it is simply added to the strand and if it is not new/novel information being added, but deletions or activations of existent genes then no new capacity is required or made, so an awful lot of evolution can happen with no need for increased capacity whatsoever, as it is already huge. I believe that Dawkins cites our active human information as to be roughly 2% of our entire hard drive (or 10gb in my 500gb hard drive). How much extra active information would we need to even come close to needing extra capacity?

          There is a debate over whether evolution is progressive. Again you relay his words correctly. But why is it hugely important that evolution is progressive in the modern era in terms of information content? Over several billion years the trend has been towards progression. What the trend is now is the debate. Why should it not be in ever so slight depreciation, or ever so slight increase or indeed equilibrium? The overall trend of the economy has been for growth over the last 500 years, but it swings backwards and forwards and grows quickly and slowly, with fits and starts and slow curves as well as recessions. We are currently in a recession. The debate between economists over current trends is always changeable. The consensus would be that the overall trend to this point for 500 years has been growth, but where are we now and where will we be in the future? This is why there is a debate over trends of progression in evolution.

          You then begin to conflate macroevolution with the issues at hand. Macro evolution is a related issue, but we are dealing with the stumped video. You progress to talk about macroevolution once you have settled the current issues and topic. I did not mention Berlinski, nor is his contribution relevant to whether new information can be acquired via a mutation. If Berlinski has a paper that counters the nylonase paper then, by all means bring him in.

          Currently, the 3 examples by Ken Miller, with the strong backing of a peer reviewed paper detailing the occurance of this novel information knock down the notion that Dawkins could not answer every intended meaning of the information question in the video.

          I am drawing no larger ideological conclusions from this, so I will listen to Berlinski another time, I am simply dealing in fact. Mutations have been shown and proven to increase information in various places and the stumped video is answered and no longer stands as an argument.

          • nick says:

            You can delete this, but I thought you may find this funny…

          • nick says:

            Having posted some of the above required evidence, as agreed previously in this conversation, do you now concede that on this specific topic of the Dawkins stumped video, the question has been answered? With regards to no further topics or inferences, but the question from the Dawkins stumped video, there is very strong evidence presented above that renders this argument, answered and concluded.

            • syoungren says:

              No, there is nothing to concede. I didn’t reply to your last post because I missed it. Kyle has been sending me these huge replies that cause me to miss other comments.

              You say, “There is a debate over whether evolution is progressive. Again you relay his words correctly. But why is it hugely important that evolution is progressive in the modern era in terms of information content? Over several billion years the trend has been towards progression. What the trend is now is the debate.”

              Here, you misrepresent what Dawkins said. His exact words were, “The answer in practice is complicated and controversial, all bound up with a vigorous debate over whether evolution is, in general, progressive.”

              He did not say that there is a debate over whether evolution in the modern era is progressive. He said that there is a debate over whether evolution is in general progressive. The keywords here are in general. I am not sure how you came up with the idea that it is a debate about evolution in the modern era.

              Yes, of course there is more genetic capacity in the genome now than when the only life forms were single celled organisms. Nobody contests this point. The issue at hand is whether random mutations can be deemed responsible for this.

              Regarding your Ken Miller nylonase example, he says very plainly in the video that you linked me to that this new enzyme occurs as a result of reshuffling of junk DNA.

              Please present for me again what his other two examples are. I don’t think that you specifically mentioned them.

              This article illustrates the difficulty of using Dawkins’ example of gene duplication in hemoglobin as an example of an increase in the genetic capacity of the genome.

              Here are some excerpts:

              The proposition that large scale evolution has occurred via gene duplication is contradicted by numerous lines of evidence. Little evidence currently exists to support the belief that gene duplication is a significant source of new genes, supporting one University of South Carolina molecular evolutionist’s conclusion that scientists can not ‘prove that [genome duplication] didn’t happen, but [if it did], it didn’t have a major impact. … For me, it’s a dead issue’.10

              It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental. Chromosome duplication can produce useable variety—but only within what are most likely created kinds—in plants and invertebrates, and single gene duplication appears to do likewise in rare cases in vertebrates, but otherwise gene duplication generally causes disease and deformity. The existing experimental evidence does not support gene duplication as a source of new genes for at least populations of fewer than one billion.30 According to Hughes, ‘Everything we’ve looked at [fails to] support the hypothesis.’39 Darwinists promote gene duplication as an important means of evolution, not because of the evidence, but because they see no other viable mechanism to produce the required large number of new functional genes to turn a microbe into a microbiologist. In other words, evolution by gene-duplication is yet another example of just-so story-telling.

              You say that I conflate the issue to macro evolution in general. If you want to confine the discussion to the Dawkins stumped video, that is fine. But what is the point of discussing gene duplication when Darwinian macroevolution has been deemed mathematically impossible by scores of mathematicians, including “many, many very significant figures” such as John VonNeumann? (VonNeumann was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century).

              As Leonardo Da Vinci put it, “No human investigation can be called true science without passing through mathematical tests.”

              Click here to review that Berlinski video.

              If you want to investigate the mathematical problems with neo-Darwinism in more detail, I recommend that you read Why Neo-Darwinism Does Not Work (click on the preceding link) by Cambridge University mathematician Fred Hoyle and Cardiff University mathematician Chandra Wickaramsinghe.

          • nick says:

            You say, ‘You say that I conflate the issue to macro evolution in general. If you want to confine the discussion to the Dawkins stumped video, that is fine. But what is the point of discussing gene duplication when Darwinian macroevolution has been deemed mathematically impossible by scores of mathematicians?’.

            This was my exact point in a post not so long ago. I am not avoiding the overall topic of macroevolution. I am engaging in a specific example that you raised to defend your position. If this specific example is proved one way or the other, then we can deem whether this example is worthy as a defence for or against the idea of macro evolution or even micro evolution. That’s how diagnosis and investigation is done. If we leave evidence hanging, then we have no idea whether it is valid or not. We come back to macro-evolution once we have resolved each specific example, I do not avoid it.

            If it is found that you or I are wrong about the Dawkins video then it can either be used to defend the case against macroevolution or dropped as an argument because it has failed. If we begin to talk about other things that are off this specific topic, then we do not resolve this particular argument and it will be brought up again. If we conclude as to whether it is accurate or not, then we have another brick in the wall for whichever side of the case it falls and we can bank this information.

            I recall a similar situation with the Kirk Durston essay. If we did not stick to and investigate thoroughly, his claims, then his arguments would be brought up again and again as defence, because we will not have concluded over their validity. It turned out that in the end, you realised his article was at the very least very poorly researched, or at the worst something far more serious.

            If you want to talk about words in Dawkins’ answer, I will accept that he says ‘in general progressive’. I think that this is a little confusing. I ask again, why is it important that evolution is in general progessive? Dawkins points out that many evolutional lines become less complex as they progress. Natural selection reduces the complexity of certain organisms because in some cases simpler is more successful. He gives the example of parasites often having a trend of decreasing complexity. Evolution macro or micro does not have to be progressive solely, it has cases of many different things going in all different directions. The fact that it is debatable as to whether it is in general progressive is interesting but has no ultimate implication over the veracity of macroevolution. Change to decreased complexity is just as consistent with the idea of evolution as is change to increased complexity, although perhaps this sounds surprising initially.

            ‘Yes, of course there is more genetic capacity in the genome now than when the only life forms were single celled organisms. Nobody contests this point. The issue at hand is whether random mutations can be deemed responsible for this.’

            Perhaps they can or perhaps not. Again you are conflating macro-evolution. If we cannot even see examples of mutations how can we begin to answer the issue as you have put it. The primary issue at hand is the Dawkins stumped video and answering whether mutations can even lead to increased information. The answer to this has been yes as demonstrated in many examples above. You say, ‘Regarding your Ken Miller nylonase example, he says very plainly in the video that you linked me to that this new enzyme occurs as a result of reshuffling of junk DNA.’

            You have watched the 2 minute video which is a good start. I have finally got nylonase on the table, where before you disregarded it. You are correct that his lay explanation of how this evolution occurred involved reshuffling. Now have you read the peer reviewed article that I pasted with it? This is a scientific article detailing the mechanism of this event of evolution. Even if it is just reshuffling of dormant or Junk DNA, we see a new ability arise. This is entirely new information, even if it comes from existent genes. No organism, has before encountered nylon as it is synthetic, so this is entirely new information from old. This is the whole idea of evolution caught in action and detailed on this peer reviewed paper.

            Please come up with a strong answer as to how this does not represent new information occurring in the genome. Is it increased information? Maybe or maybe not, I will research this now, but it is entirely new information. This is how new information comes about and demonstrates perfectly, empirically and with certainty, the fact that mutations do lead to new information.

            You go on to ask, ‘Please present for me again what Miller’s other two examples are. I don’t think that you specifically mentioned them.’

            This shows that you are not really reading these comments. It was not unclear or in an erratic long winded comment, but very clearly placed in the initial comment to this string about 4 above here. It is not lost in the detail or jungle of other comments, it was barely 4 ago.

            I will copy and paste the 3 examples he gives below, from the original comment – obviously nylonase first, then the below ones.

            ‘It is also of note that he gives another example in this clip of genetic novelty in a bacterium that digests the explosive TNT. These are two good examples that would answer the ‘Dawkins Stumped video challenge’.’

            ‘Four or five million years ago, for example, the Antarctic Ocean, which was warm at the time, froze over as a result of a kind of climate change on this planet. Well, to this day, there are fish that swim in the oceans of Antarctica. One of the interesting things about those fish is that even though the saltwater is actually below the freezing point—our own blood would freeze solid in that cold water—these fish don’t. The reason they don’t freeze solid is because their blood contains an antifreeze protein, sort of the biological equivalent of ethylene glycol in antifreeze.

            Well, how did they get it? It turns out that the antifreeze protein that is found in the blood of Antarctic fishes was the result of a digestive enzyme that was mutated, retargeted to the bloodstream, and then mutated again and again to enhance its antifreeze properties. All of these changes were the result of mutation.

            Now, that Antarctic fish has a kind of biological information that its ancestors didn’t have. It has the ability to make a completely new protein that enables it to survive in very cold waters by preventing its blood from freezing. That’s novel information, and it’s information that was produced by the process of mutation.’

            I must ask, are all these examples wrong every time? We have a variety of examples coming from a variety of sources, with extremely strong evidence to back them up from establishments such as the American society of Microbiology. Surely not all of these cases are wrong? Surely there is something along the way that you must think, hold perhaps that’s true? All of these academics can’t keep getting it wrong? How can they be academics if they are?

            Here is the nylonase peer reviewed paper again. This is perhaps the strongest piece of evidence I have brought, so perhaps a rebuttal to this would be the best way to resolve the issue.

            http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/61/5/2020?view=long&pmid=7646041

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              I will copy and paste again what I feel to be the key excerpt from Dawkins’ reply:

              “First, recall the three way distinction between total information capacity, the capacity that is actually used, and the true information content when stored in the most economical way possible. The total information capacity of the human genome is measured in gigabits. That of the common gut bacterium Escherichia coli is measured in megabits. We, like all other animals, are descended from an ancestor which, were it available for our study today, we’d classify as a bacterium. So perhaps, during the billions of years of evolution since that ancestor lived, the information capacity of our genome has gone up about three orders of magnitude (powers of ten) — about a thousandfold.”

              What we are looking for is an explanation for how the total capacity of the genome went from the “megabits” in simple organisms to the “gigabits” in more complex organisms such as ourselves.

              Even if we humans only utilize 2% of our DNA, as you suggest, there still needs to be an explanation for how this total information capacity increased. Two percent of our total genetic capacity is still far more than the mere “megabits” of total genetic capacity present in simple organisms. Remember, it was a roughly thousandfold increase in total genetic capacity. There is nowhere near enough total genetic capacity in a putative bacterial common ancestor to account for the emergence of complex organisms such as humans merely through the process of DNA reshuffling.

              Offhand, I didn’t see anything in your nylonase article that I disagree with, so there is nothing to rebut. Unless I am missing something, it doesn’t show how the total capacity increased. I have no disagreement with new enzymes evolving in an organism through DNA reshuffling.

          • nick says:

            Further testimony to the veracity of this nylonase example, from differing sources, with another peer reviewed paper.

            ‘Again it was reasoned that if the new enzymes were just old enzymes with minor changes to allow digestion of nylon byproducts, they should retain at least a slight amount of activity with their original substrates. But the new enzymes had no activity on biologically derived molecules having similar chemical structures. So, by this attribute as well, the new enzymes were seen to be unique.

            It seemed that if the new enzymes were indeed derived from randomly ordered amino acids, they would be very inefficient compared to the usual highly evolved enzyme, since the new enzymes would not have had billions of years of natural selection to reach a pinnacle of biological perfection. It has been shown that one of the new enzymes (the linear oligomer hydrolase) has about 2% of the efficiency demonstrated by three other enzymes that perform similar reactions with biologically derived substrates (Kinoshita, et al). Thus, by this criterion, as well as the others, the enzyme appears to be newly formed.’ – William M. Thwaites. Professor of Biology at San Diego State University.

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022283607005347

            http://www.journalarchive.jst.go.jp/jnlpdf.php?cdjournal=bbb1961&cdvol=39&noissue=6&startpage=1219&lang=en&from=jnltoc

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              I am not contesting the emergence of new enzymes…just the increase in the total genetic capacity of the genome through random mutation. We are in agreement that the veracity of macroevolution is irrelevant when it comes to the question of God.

          • nick says:

            The very short and simple answer to your contention is that duplications increase the overall geneome capacity every time.

            It is truely a simple idea. If a gene is duplicated, the strand will have one extra gene in it and will thus be longer, therefore having a minutely larger capacity (by the measure of this 1 duplication or however many occur).

            Genome capacity increases in evolution and occurs every time there is a duplication. It is as simple as that. Deletions, in contrast, will reduce the capacity. On a basic level, it is as simple as that, adding and subtraction.

            I will return to the example of Trisomy 21 in Down Syndrome. Here we see a duplication of a gene that leads to increased information content and total capacity. You may well be correct in saying that this is a dead end mutation, that cannot be passed on, as you suggested earlier. But this does nothing to stop the recorded and demonstrable occurrance of this duplication mutation leading to increased information. By it’s simple definition, there is an increase in total capacity, because extra has been added.

            Even if this is not passed on via reproduction, it is empirical proof of the ability of an increased total capacity to occur in the genome via mutation.

            ‘We are in agreement that the veracity of macroevolution is irrelevant when it comes to the question of God.’

            Not quite, but pretty much, yes.

            We may agree on this, but you have failed to defend the Dawkins stumped video argument. Numerous examples, as above have demonstrated, that it is answered from every possible meaning of ‘information increase’. This shows that the question has been answered and no longer stands as an argument. I’m sure you have to agree.

          • nick says:

            I have replied to this point more than once in this list of comments. –

            syoungren says:
            September 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm

            I have given a thoroughly coherent and straight forward answer to this in the preceding comment which you have missed…

            nick says:
            September 26, 2011 at 3:10 am

            The overall capacity of the genome can increase, has increased and will again increase. It can also decrease.

            Duplications are the best example of a mechanism via which information capacity increase can occur. Imagine a duplicated gene added to a strand that is otherwise copied perfectly. This gene will make the strand 1 gene longer, thus the overall capacity is increased by 1 tiny gene sized amount. More duplications equal increased overall size or capacity. It has been demonstrated many times. Each interpretation of the information increase challenge from the Dawkins stumped video can be answered with examples.

            Here is a page detailing some papers (again peer reviewed) where duplication mutations have lead to documented and proven events of evolution.

            http://www.genetics.org/content/138/4/1331.short

            ‘What we are looking for is an explanation for how the total capacity of the genome went from the “megabits” in simple organisms to the “gigabits” in more complex organisms such as ourselves.’

            This is not the question asked in the original stumped video. This is a valid but separate and wider issue, which is essentially macro-evolution again. First we must see if information increase, by even the tiniest amount is even possible, before we can even contemplate the idea of macro-evolution.

            The original question from the video was, ‘Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?’ and this is the question we are answering first.

            The answer is yes and I have given several, with underpinning explanation, logic and documented examples (perhaps 20 alone on the link above, as well as the seperate examples of novel information such as nylonase). Yes the overall information capacity can increase, but does so in tiny duplication mutation size steps.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick:

              I already linked you to a response to the gene duplication explanation for increase in the total capacity of the genome. Here it is again. It cites peer reviewed papers and responds to the very scientist (Ohta) that your paper cites. Some excerpts:

              Another statistical challenge has been noted by evolutionist genetics professor Steve Jones who concluded that an inverse relationship exists between the amount of DNA on one hand, and, on the other, both lethargic lifestyles and the speed at which organisms can evolve: the more DNA, the slower it is able to evolve. It takes a great deal of energy and resources to duplicate DNA, and the less of it an organism has, the faster it can reproduce (and the more efficient it is). Jones notes that ‘all weeds have small genomes, while more established plants are packed with DNA and can take a month to make a single egg cell’.26 Another example Jones cites is lungfish, which ‘are stuffed with DNA (most of it with no apparent function) and their evolution has stalled altogether … bacteria are speedy and have no excess genetic material, while salamanders, torpid as they are, are filled with DNA’.26 In his view, natural selection selects against gene duplication.

              Gene duplication is a supposed method of exaptation—the takeover of an existing function to serve another purpose. Gould believed exaptation was so important that ‘the defining notion of quirky functional shift [i.e. exaptation] might almost be equated with evolutionary change itself … in textbook parlance, “the origin of evolutionary novelites”’.38 But this kind of argument is fundamentally flawed. If all evolutionary novelties arise from something else that was itself exapted from something else, then an indefinite regress results. The problem with an indefinite regress is that explanation ‘A’ depends on an earlier explanation ‘B’ that you have not given, and explanation ‘B’ itself depends upon an earlier explanation ‘C’ that you likewise have not given. While you may appear to be explaining something, there is no actual explanatory content—it is no explanation at all.

              Multiple information conservation mechanisms are at work in all living organisms, ranging from natural selection eliminating the unfit, through various reproductive and chromosomal controls, to error correction routines and DNA repair mechanisms, including (it appears) restoration from non-DNA sources. As a result, many, if not most, genes are ‘evolutionarily conserved’, meaning that they are very similar in many unrelated organisms, both ‘simple’ and complex, modern and ancient. Many genes in the assumed earliest forms of life are very similar to those in the most advanced forms. These facts argue strongly against gene duplication as a mechanism of evolution, because they indicate that most genes were optimally functional from the beginning.

              The proposition that large scale evolution has occurred via gene duplication is contradicted by numerous lines of evidence. Little evidence currently exists to support the belief that gene duplication is a significant source of new genes, supporting one University of South Carolina molecular evolutionist’s conclusion that scientists can not ‘prove that [genome duplication] didn’t happen, but [if it did], it didn’t have a major impact. … For me, it’s a dead issue’.10

              It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental. Chromosome duplication can produce useable variety—but only within what are most likely created kinds—in plants and invertebrates, and single gene duplication appears to do likewise in rare cases in vertebrates, but otherwise gene duplication generally causes disease and deformity. The existing experimental evidence does not support gene duplication as a source of new genes for at least populations of fewer than one billion.30 According to Hughes, ‘Everything we’ve looked at [fails to] support the hypothesis.’39 Darwinists promote gene duplication as an important means of evolution, not because of the evidence, but because they see no other viable mechanism to produce the required large number of new functional genes to turn a microbe into a microbiologist. In other words, evolution by gene-duplication is yet another example of just-so story-telling.

              When I said “‘What we are looking for is an explanation for how the total capacity of the genome went from the megabits in simple organisms to the gigabits in more complex organisms such as ourselves,” I was referring to the fact that the total genetic capacity of a putative bacterial common ancestor was far less than that of more complex organisms. This is still the same issue of an explanation needed for how total genetic capacity in the genome can increase.

              Gene duplication is an explanation that is “totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental,” as the article I cite demonstrates.

          • nick says:

            I’m afraid this is not a peer reviewed article. It is not from a scientific journal or indeed from any scientific location. This article is from a Young Earth Creationism site.

            I’m afraid that I really can’t give much credibility to an anti-evolution article that comes from a site whose members do not even believe in the last Ice Age.

            You said that anyone who does not believe in the true age of the Earth is a ‘quack’. This article that you reference comes from a site of people who have just these beliefs. Here are a few excerpts from their belief statement.

            ‘The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the Earth and the universe.’
            ‘Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation.’
            ‘The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of Creation.’
            ‘The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.’

            I cannot give much credibility to a science article or a scientist who cannot accept the true geological age of the Earth.

            Most of this reply here is cut and pasted from the linked article. It asserts that duplications do not occur. You then assert that duplications do not occur. The article says, ‘It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.’

            You then say, ‘Gene duplication is an explanation that is “totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental,” as the article I cite demonstrates.’

            This is rediculous. Duplications have been documented and witnessed. I will relay your words from earlier in this discussion, with regards to Down Syndrome Trisomy 21.

            ‘Yes, there is extra genetic material in the forms that can’t be inherited.’

            Trisomy 21 is an actual documented event of duplication that is witnessed, documented, tested and can be proven in every case that it happens. This is a duplication event that you have already agreed occurs. Here is the explanation/definition of the cause of Trisomy 21 from a medical resource and it is also a perfect example of a duplication mutation.

            ‘In most cases, Down syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. This form of Down syndrome is called Trisomy 21.’

            This is a documented case of duplication that is far from isolated. How then can your article make the following claim?

            ‘It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.’

            This is rediculous. This claim is quite contrary to the clearly demonstrable case of Trisomy 21 and many others. I know that you have claimed that this condition is not heriditary and may be a dead end mutation. I have conceded that this is possible, but the evidence for it being a duplication is still open for all to see. This is a complete contradiction to the assertion made in your linked article.

            Further to the example of Trisomy 21 are the following demonstrated, ‘not inferred’ examples of duplication events. These are scientific examples that have been put through the process of experiment and testing, quite contrary to the claims of the article. Please have a look. The immediate apparent fact is that these duplication events have been tested and subjected to experiment. This subjection alone (whatever the results) is counter to the claim made in your linked article.

            http://www.genetics.org/content/138/4/1331.short

            Total genetic capacity can increase by duplication and it has been proven so. If I have five textbooks and I duplicate one of the textbooks, I now have six textbooks. This is how an increase in total capacity occurs.

            • syoungren says:

              Where the article came from is utterly irrelevant, Nick. Even if the article came from Bozo the Clown, you will still have to respond, for example, to evolutionist genetics professor Steve Jones (under the heading “The Statistical Challenge”). I don’t know if the people who prepared the article have some quirky beliefs. Perhaps they do. But we are not addressing their quirky beliefs here. Rather, we are addressing the article which cites many peer reviewed papers and provides logical arguments.

              Can you respond, for example, to the paper by Behe and Snoke?:

              Behe and Snoke have pointed out that evolutionists must assume that multiple mutation events are required to produce a new functional gene, and each of the mutations must not be deleted until the gene has evolved to the degree that positive selection occurs.30

              Nick, I am truly surprised that you would disregard the article because it was (allegedly) produced by “young earth creationists.” I say again, who produced the article is utterly irrelevant. Don’t fall for the trap of attacking the presenter of the argument as a convenient alternative to addressing the argument itself.

              Can you respond to the “indefinite regress problem” that the article cites, etc? No amount of peer reviewed research in going to address the fact that gene duplication as a source of evolution is based upon faulty logic. Here is an excerpt from under the “indefinite regress problem” subheading:

              If all evolutionary novelties arise from something else that was itself exapted from something else, then an indefinite regress results. The problem with an indefinite regress is that explanation ‘A’ depends on an earlier explanation ‘B’ that you have not given, and explanation ‘B’ itself depends upon an earlier explanation ‘C’ that you likewise have not given. While you may appear to be explaining something, there is no actual explanatory content—it is no explanation at all.

              This is just a cold, hard logical problem that those supporting gene duplication as an evolutionary mechanism must address. And yet another problem that must be addressed:

              Multiple information conservation mechanisms are at work in all living organisms, ranging from natural selection eliminating the unfit, through various reproductive and chromosomal controls, to error correction routines and DNA repair mechanisms, including (it appears) restoration from non-DNA sources. As a result, many, if not most, genes are ‘evolutionarily conserved’, meaning that they are very similar in many unrelated organisms, both ‘simple’ and complex, modern and ancient. Many genes in the assumed earliest forms of life are very similar to those in the most advanced forms. These facts argue strongly against gene duplication as a mechanism of evolution, because they indicate that most genes were optimally functional from the beginning.

              Of course there are peer reviewed papers citing gene duplication as a source of evolutionary novelty. All scientific theories, whether they turn out to contain any truth or not, have peer reviewed papers that try to support them.

              Of course the article is not peer reviewed! It is a journalistic piece, not a peer-to-peer piece for geneticists. But the fact remains that it cites numerous peer reviewed papers….papers that make points that you need to respond to if you really want to invest the time in keeping this discussion going.

              Click here to again review the article.

          • nick says:

            Here is another resource of researched and observed occurrances of gene duplication.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=gene%20duplication

            Results: 1 to 20 of 15519 articles. I don’t think that this means 15519 separate observations of different gene duplications, but I think even one tenth of this number would be huge. Here is an excerpt from an investigation into Trout.

            ‘In the present study, duplicated MARCH5-like cDNA sequences were isolated from rainbow trout… Phylogenetic analyses including an additionally isolated MARCH5-like sequence from whitefish (Coregonus maraena) suggest that teleosts possess an additional MARCH5 gene copy resulting from a fish-specific whole genome duplication.’

          • nick says:

            So what is your conclusion with regards to this Dawkins video? Your last comment does not hold its ground in the face of the above scientific experiments, that it claims do not exist.

            Your article says that duplication is neither demonstrable nor has had experiments done in pursuit of understanding it. Let’s disregard the results of the experiments. The fact that a link above with 15,000 related papers, articles and experiments related to duplication offers a large challenge to the article’s assertion. It is also the case that details throughout are given of duplication mutations occuring within various genomes. So, not only is their a catalogue of investigation into duplications, there is positive evidence in support of them (some of which you have already accepted – Trisomy 21). It is also of note that your referenced article accepts the case of Trisomy 21, (in the top section) yet moves to conclude at the end that, ‘It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.’ This is a complete contradiction.

            Can you conclude any other way than the Dawkins video is answered and explained? Without conclusion, no-one will be any the wiser with regards to that Dawkins video and the challenge it raises may well be brought up again. If it is unfounded, its future use would be wrong. A conclusion over this specific issue would be good.

  26. nick says:

    I did not fall into the trap of attacking the authors of the article and failing to respond to the arguments. I responded with much data and various answers to the arguments made.

    It is not utterly irrelevant who writes the article, but is of significance that the belief of the authors of this article is Young Earth Creationism. You may describe this as quirky and perhaps that is fair. Refraining from using any more adjectives as they are entitled to their beliefs, from a scientific standpoint, a belief in a young Earth no older than 10,000 or so years is just wrong. On a simple level this is a very poor starting point to write a credible article about the natural world, when we have frozen mammoth remains dating back 15,000 years at least. This article shows the unearthed frozen body of a baby mammoth that dates back 40,000 years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/08/AR2010030803850.html
    This is not an ambiguous fossil, but an actual carcass with flesh and bone, hair, skin and stomach contents and we are able to extract its DNA. It is incredible that a scientist could argue for a young Earth in the face of such discoveries as this 40,000 year old mammoth and thus the credibility of such an article suffers before we have started.

    Disregarding the issue over the ‘potential’ young Earth perspective of the article, but definately of the site Creation Ministries, I have still responded to the arguments brought up and spent the majority of my reply doing so.

    The article is not peer reviewed, which is fine and it cites various papers. You ask me to respond to the arguments it makes. I have responded to some of the arguments it makes and the arguments that you made from this paper. I have responded above with evidence and papers to back up my responses.

    The very clearest response is the major contradiction and falsehood it professes about experiments. The article agrees at the beginning that duplications do occur and Trisomy 21 is singled out as an example. We agree on this and so it seems does this article.

    Here is the contradiction that you quote as a conclusion, taken from the conclusion of the article. ‘It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.’

    This is just incorrect and a complete contradiction to statements at the top of the same article. There is a wealth of empirical evidence of gene duplications and a vast array of experiments from a plethora of different sources and investigations into these duplication mutations. I have linked to just some of these articles and experiment write ups above. Jerry Bergman is either unaware of this data or is deliberately ommitting it from his article. Gene Duplications occur. They are not inferential but empirically demonstrable, proven and the evidence is in the link in my above post.

    This is a response to the argument in the article, not an attack on young Earth creationism.

    The other questions – Behe/Snoke & the infinite regress – I have not answered, but are answerable. It is the above contradiction that is a huge critique of the accuracy of the article, the conclusions drawn, the argument that you made and the reliability of the author. How can this author be reliable if he flatly denies the existence of experimental tests done on duplications? This is not disagreement with conclusions of experiments, but flat out denial of their existence, or a failure to properly research.

    • syoungren says:

      Nick,

      You do not need to convince me that Young Earth Creationism is ridiculous. You know from this essay what I think about the age of the earth. I accept MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder’s stance.

      I don’t know what all of the beliefs are of the people who produce the Creation Ministries website. But even if it had been produced by the Flat Earth Society or a bizarre cult made up of people who believe that they are space aliens, it still makes many powerful points and cites much peer reviewed research. I will again insist that addressing the apparent weirdness of the authors does NOTHING to counteract the arguments that the authors present. What they believe about the age of the earth is an entirely separate subject matter from the topic of gene duplication. I am addressing Richard Dawkins’ belief in gene duplication as an evolutionary mechanism even though he endorses the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis, aren’t I? In a similar light, you can’t get away refusing to address the arguments made by people who hold some unrelated, but apparently weird beliefs.

      Yes, gene duplication clearly does occur. I don’t think anybody disputes that. The question at hand is whether or not it can be cited as a means by which the genetic capacity of the genome can be increased, thereby providing adequate genetic capacity to allow for evolution from bacteria to humans.

      If you read what the author of the article is saying in full context, he is not arguing against gene duplication itself, but gene duplication as an evolutionary mechanism. It is very clear from the article that the author believes that gene duplication clearly does occur. You cite the sentence “it is also clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental” as evidence that the author is denying gene duplication itself. But here is some expanded text:

      The proposition that large scale evolution has occurred via gene duplication is contradicted by numerous lines of evidence. Little evidence currently exists to support the belief that gene duplication is a significant source of new genes, supporting one University of South Carolina molecular evolutionist’s conclusion that scientists can not ‘prove that [genome duplication] didn’t happen, but [if it did], it didn’t have a major impact. … For me, it’s a dead issue’.10

      It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental. Chromosome duplication can produce useable variety—but only within what are most likely created kinds—in plants and invertebrates, and single gene duplication appears to do likewise in rare cases in vertebrates, but otherwise gene duplication generally causes disease and deformity. The existing experimental evidence does not support gene duplication as a source of new genes for at least populations of fewer than one billion.30 According to Hughes, ‘Everything we’ve looked at [fails to] support the hypothesis.’39 Darwinists promote gene duplication as an important means of evolution, not because of the evidence, but because they see no other viable mechanism to produce the required large number of new functional genes to turn a microbe into a microbiologist. In other words, evolution by gene-duplication is yet another example of just-so story-telling.

      Perhaps the author could have worded the first sentence in the second above paragraph better. But from the rest of the paragraph (and the article as a whole) it is clear that he is not denying gene duplication itself, but rather “gene duplication as an important means of evolution.”

      Regarding Trisomy 21, forgive me if I forgot, but what was your response to my argument that it can’t be cited as a source of increase in the capacity of the genome because the increase in genetic content only lasts one generation (because it cannot be passed on)?

  27. nick says:

    Let’s disregard the YEC issue. I see it as important, but this was not my only response.

    ‘It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.’

    The reason that I used this quotation, was because you used it as a point to demonstrate with conviction that duplications do not exist in a prior post. This is a contradiction to things that you know to be true, that I know to be true and indeed Bergman’s article say to be true.

    I see it in the conclusion to the article and I know the context it is used in. The author could have worded this sentence very differently because it completely contradicts other things that he says in the article and is contradicted by the evidence I have produced. I understand that the wider context is that he does not deny duplications, but their existence as mechanisms of evolution. Then why make such an error in his concluding sentences? I responded to this point, as you drew on this exact sentence as an argument and it is important to note.

    ‘Yes, gene duplication clearly does occur. I don’t think anybody disputes that. The question at hand is whether or not it can be cited as a means by which the genetic capacity of the genome can be increased, thereby providing adequate genetic capacity to allow for evolution from bacteria to humans.’

    There are 3 separate questions in this paragraph.
    Firstly, does duplication occur? We both agree that it does.
    Secondly, can duplication be cited as a means by which the genetic capacity of the genome can be increased? The answer to this is yes. A duplication means that a genome capacity will be larger, because more information exists. Duplication is not a changing around or a swapping of information, it is an addition of information that increases the size or capacity of the genome. It is a simple illustration of an increase in capacity and is a demonstration that increases in genome capacities can occur.
    Thirdly, does this increase in capacity demonstrate the ability for evolution from bacteria to humans? This is the question of macroevolution. The fact that we witness information capacity increase is the beginning of the answer to this. We must explore further to discover a more thorough answer to this question of macro evolution, but the fact that we have a mechanism that serves to increase genome capacity is one part of the answer to this question.

    This third question is not part of the original challenge in the Dawkins video. It is a question of macro-evolution and is valid and relevant to this topic, but was not put in the original Dawkins question. The original question only wanted demonstration of the ability for genome capacity increase, it did not ask the wider question of macro-evolution, so with regards to the original Dawkins video, we are not discussing macro-evolution as it is a much wider topic, we are simply trying to understand if information increase ‘can’ happen, or not. Below is the original question.

    ‘Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?’

    Macro evolution is the parent issue, but first we must answer this question put, so we are not discussing macro-evolution, we are simply trying to answer the challenge in the Dawkins video.

    Regarding Trisomy 21, I wrote a post in direct response to your points about this (perhaps 20ish posts further up the page) in the below location. In this post I accepted your contention that Trisomy 21 might be a dead end mutation. I await proof, but it sounds plausible and you may well be correct, so I have accepted this.
    nick says:
    September 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm
    ‘You say that Down Syndrome with increased information is not passed on and perhaps you are right about this. This does nothing to stop trisomy 21 being an example of increased information occurring via mutation (and I think you agree with this too). Perhaps it is a dead end mutation, but the original question did not ask exclusively for something that can be demonstrably hereditary, it was an open question asking for any examples. Trisomy 21 is a clear example of a mutation leading to increased information, but perhaps not something that lasts longer than a single generation. This sounds plausible and you may have this correct.’

    • nick says:

      So, from here, we are simply pursuing an answer to the original question posed that stumped Dawkins, which I have restated above.

      We have the answer that information can increase in various ways and we have also seen that duplications can increase the capacity of the genome. We have working examples of all interpretations of informtation increase and you have agreed to them. Even Bergman agrees that Trisomy 21 is an example of an increased capacity occuring in the genome via a duplication. So, on so many levels the original question has been answered.

      We have not discovered whether macro-evolution is possible, we have simply answered the question put in the video, which is about information increase and discovered that it demonstrably occurs and also that Dawkins could very compitently have answered this challenge.

      The final question that perhaps needs to be answered is that of a duplication that can be passed on to a new generation as opposed to a dead end duplication which may be what Trisomy 21 is. A working example of a duplication that is passed on is what is needed to show that duplications can provide a future lineage with increased genome capacities. If this can be shown, then regardless of its scarcity or rarity, we will have an evolutionary mechanism by which information capacity in the genome can increase ‘and’ can be passed on. This will be the final response that will answer in completion the challenge in the stumped video.

      Beyond this question, we can make all sorts of other investigations into macro-evolution and discuss the veracity of the wider issues raised by Bergman. I will look to find an example of a duplication like Trisomy 21 that can be passed on into future generations.

      • syoungren says:

        Nick,

        On the topic of gene duplication, let me share with you what Behe says. The following is an excerpt of a conversation between Behe and Lee Strobel excerpted from Strobel’s book A Case for the Creator:

        “Sure, gene duplication happens,” Behe replied. “But what the fans of gene duplication rarely recognize is that when you get a duplicated gene, you don’t get a new protein with new properties. You’ve got the same protein as before. And that’s a problem.”

        I was having difficulty seeing why. “Could you explain that?” I asked.

        He glanced down at the mousetrap, which was still sitting on his desk. “Let’s go back to the mousetrap analogy,” he said. “Suppose you have a one-component mousetrap, with two ends of a metal spring being bent and pressing against each other under tension so that if a mouse disturbs them, they’ll slip and spring and hopefully catch a paw or a tail. And say you wanted to develop a more efficient two-component trap that has a wooden base as well as the spring.”

        “According to the concept of gene duplication, you would make a copy of the first spring. Now you’ve got two springs–except the second spring somehow becomes a wooden base. Do you see the conceptual disconnect? You can’t just say the spring somehow morphs into a wooden base without doing more than just saying, ‘gene duplication did it.’ The problem is, Darwinists don’t provide the details of how this can actually happen in the real world.”

        “When one scientist tried to come up with a step-by-step scenario of how blood-clotting could have developed, he couldn’t avoid generalizing by saying a component suddenly ‘appears,’ or ‘is born,’ or ‘arises,’ or ‘springs forth,’ or ‘is unleashed.’ What’s causing all of this springing forth and unleashing? There’s no meaningful explanation of what could have caused these steps to take place. These are details that doom these scenarios.”

        “And there are a lot more problems than that. How can blood clotting develop over time, step by step, when in the meantime the animal has no effective way to stop from bleeding to death whenever it’s cut? And when you’ve only got part of a system in place, the system doesn’t work, so you’ve got the components sitting around doing nothing–and natural selection only works if there is something useful right now, not in the future.”

        “Besides, at best the explanations that some people attempt are mere word pictures. In science we’re supposed to do experiments to show something is true. Nobody has ever done experiments to show how blood-clotting could have developed. Nobody has been able to show how a duplicated gene can develop some new function where it starts to make a new irreducibly complex pathway.”

        So if you were able to find a source of gene duplication that could be passed on to another generation, the problem would not be solved. Any putative increase in genetic capacity as a result of gene duplication cannot merely be assumed to be useful for evolutionary purposes. As Behe asks, how can one protein just morph into another? Or by means of analogy, how does the duplicated mousetrap spring somehow become a wooden base?

        • nick says:

          What you say here is not quite the same discussion as the question that we are trying to answer which was the challenge posed in the Dawkins video.

          What you say here may be arguments over seperate issues, but until we resolve the challenge in the Dawkins video they are tangents.

          You know the question asked in the Dawkins stumped video:

          ‘Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?’

          We talked earlier in the discussion about novel and different types of mutation, but you decided that you wanted a mechanism that revealed an ability for total capacity increase. This is what I heve been trying to address here. If you change and evolve the question as we proceed with the disussion, then we will not answer the question that you originally asked. Here is the question that you posed and this is a legitimate interpretation of the challenge in the Dawkins video, so you were justified in asking for it:

          ‘I am not contesting the emergence of new enzymes…just the increase in the total genetic capacity of the genome through random mutation.’

          ‘I was referring to the fact that the total genetic capacity of a putative bacterial common ancestor was far less than that of more complex organisms. This is still the same issue of an explanation needed for how total genetic capacity in the genome can increase.

          Gene duplication is an explanation that is “totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental,” as the article I cite demonstrates.’

          Here are the two points where you pose the clear objective that you wish to see a mechanism for increased capacity. This could be one way of interpreting the Dawkins stumped challenge, so this is a valid question. How does capacity increase? Also here, in the same quote, is your use of the quotation from Bergman’s article.

          Leaving asside the Bergman quotation, because you have already said that to be a mistake, gene duplication is a valid mechanism for increased capacity, which is what you asked for.

          I have not made wider claims with regards to duplication, except that it can account for an increase in capacity. You agree that duplications exist. Extra genes as a result of this means extra capacity because the whole thing has something added to it, not swapped or flipped, but added.

          This is the answer to one interpretation of the stumped challenge and the question you asked.

          To back this up, I have also found an example of a duplication like Trisomy 21, but that has been demonstrably passed on to future generations without negatively effecting the newborn.

          I have found papers, articles and experiment write ups to show this to be the case in populations of fruit flies, with peer review and acceptance from a variety of sources.

          My point is that we have a mechanism for capacity increase. What your above post argues, is not against capacity increase, but how novel information can arrise from existing genes if it can. This is the other interpretation of the Dawkins stumped challenge which is also valid.

          Yet we already discussed examples of genetic novelty arrising from different mutations to duplications. Let’s just concentrate on the capacity situation. I believe that duplications answer this question. They are a demonstrable mechanism that increases capacity. Do you agree?

          The answer should be yes and so we have one answer to the question in the stumped video. The other side to it (which is the question of novelty) we have already discussed, but we can address that once we conclude on this idea of capacity, which I believe has been demonstrated.

          • syoungren says:

            Well, go ahead and produce an “example of a duplication like Trisomy 21, but that has been demonstrably passed on to future generations without negatively effecting the newborn,” as you say.

            Go ahead and furnish the “papers, articles and experiment write ups to show this to be the case in populations of fruit flies, with peer review and acceptance from a variety of sources,” as you say.

            Please keep Behe’s comments in mind.

            A magazine article contains information. If I make a photocopy of a magazine article, do I have more information capacity? The answer would only be “yes” if it could be demonstrated that the information in the photocopied article was alterable so as to produce new and different information. If the photocopy were such that I could substantially rearrange the letters so as to produce a new article, then, yes, I would have an increase in information capacity. If not, then all I would have is the same information twice.

            To say that information which is not substantially alterable represents new “information capacity” would not be correct. So in order to demonstrate that gene duplication can produce an information capacity, it is first necessary to demonstrate how the information in the duplicated gene is substantially alterable.

            Otherwise, labeling duplicated genes as an “increase in information capacity” is simply equivocation. I will again copy and paste Behe’s comments below:

            “Sure, gene duplication happens,” Behe replied. “But what the fans of gene duplication rarely recognize is that when you get a duplicated gene, you don’t get a new protein with new properties. You’ve got the same protein as before. And that’s a problem.”

            I was having difficulty seeing why. “Could you explain that?” I asked.

            He glanced down at the mousetrap, which was still sitting on his desk. “Let’s go back to the mousetrap analogy,” he said. “Suppose you have a one-component mousetrap, with two ends of a metal spring being bent and pressing against each other under tension so that if a mouse disturbs them, they’ll slip and spring and hopefully catch a paw or a tail. And say you wanted to develop a more efficient two-component trap that has a wooden base as well as the spring.”

            “According to the concept of gene duplication, you would make a copy of the first spring. Now you’ve got two springs–except the second spring somehow becomes a wooden base. Do you see the conceptual disconnect? You can’t just say the spring somehow morphs into a wooden base without doing more than just saying, ‘gene duplication did it.’ The problem is, Darwinists don’t provide the details of how this can actually happen in the real world.”

            “When one scientist tried to come up with a step-by-step scenario of how blood-clotting could have developed, he couldn’t avoid generalizing by saying a component suddenly ‘appears,’ or ‘is born,’ or ‘arises,’ or ‘springs forth,’ or ‘is unleashed.’ What’s causing all of this springing forth and unleashing? There’s no meaningful explanation of what could have caused these steps to take place. These are details that doom these scenarios.”

            “And there are a lot more problems than that. How can blood clotting develop over time, step by step, when in the meantime the animal has no effective way to stop from bleeding to death whenever it’s cut? And when you’ve only got part of a system in place, the system doesn’t work, so you’ve got the components sitting around doing nothing–and natural selection only works if there is something useful right now, not in the future.”

            “Besides, at best the explanations that some people attempt are mere word pictures. In science we’re supposed to do experiments to show something is true. Nobody has ever done experiments to show how blood-clotting could have developed. Nobody has been able to show how a duplicated gene can develop some new function where it starts to make a new irreducibly complex pathway.”

          • nick says:

            You have quoted this exact passage in your previous comment. I have read it and you are contesting something other than that which I am trying to confirm.

            I am simply trying to answer the question that you posed far earlier and reach a conclusion over this question in isolation.

            Can capacity increase in the genome and how?

            This is all I am trying to demonstrate and conclude over.

            Duplications show capacity to be able to increase by their very nature!

            That is the only conclusion I seek in my above post. Perhaps they don’t bring novel information. If they do or they don’t I am not trying to make that argument. I am simply trying to say that a duplication results in an increased capacity in the genome.

            It may be detrimental in the vast majority of cases, but if it happens at all, then it increases the overall capacity, be it positively or negatively. That is all I am trying to conclude over.

            The reason that I referenced fruit flies, is because it has been demonstrated in fruit flies to have occurred without having detrimental effects to future generations. This means that duplications ‘can’ occur that can be passed on and do not negatively effect the recipient’s existence.

            Can we just conclude over capacity increase and I will cite the papers where these fruit fly duplications have been observed.

          • nick says:

            This means that duplications ‘can’ occur that can be passed on and do not negatively effect the recipient’s existence.

            error- overemphasis on ‘can’. I know you accept duplications, I meant to emphasise more parts of this sentence.

            This means that duplications ‘can’ occur that ‘can’ be passed on and ‘do not negatively effect’ the recipient’s existence.

    • syoungren says:

      Nick,

      Do you disagree with my previous point that it is clear from reading the article as a whole that he is never denying gene duplication itself, but rather gene duplication as a mechanism that is useful to evolution? What would be the point of him denying gene duplication itself? It is an easily observable phenomenon. You are not reading that sentence in question in the proper context if you think he is denying gene duplication itself.

      • nick says:

        I am not sure exactly what he is arguing at times, he is inconsistent and muddled.

        I am aware of the context and I would agree with your description of his words here.

        But how can he make such an incorrect statement in his conclusion to an article? The sentence contradicts the context that he infers in the rest of the article, so what does he mean? It is a rediculous and out of place statement in his concluding words, which are often the most important in writing articles. You actually picked up the sentence yourself and quoted it earlier in the discussion. You have since rescinded this particular argument I think, but this shows what can happen when such a poor statement is made in the all important conclusion to an article.

        • syoungren says:

          Nick,

          I have not rescinded this particular argument because I never made it in the first place. You must have misunderstood. As far as I can tell, absolutely nobody denies gene duplication itself. It is gene duplication as a mechanism for evolution that is in question. You have been barking up the wrong tree. Now I understand why you were quoting all sorts of “peer reviewed” papers about the phenomenon of gene duplication (perhaps most of which didn’t mention it as an evolutionary mechanism). I was quite puzzled for a while as to why you were doing this.

          I don’t think it would be fruitful to continue discussing this particular point.

          What in particular is inconsistent and muddled? Maybe I can clarify.

          • nick says:

            Perhaps I have misunderstood. If you accept that duplications exist then we are on the same page.

            So, perhaps the fact that you made this argument earlier was a mistake or a misunderstanding. But you did make the argument. Here are the exact words you used from the exact post.

            syoungren says:
            September 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

            ‘Gene duplication is an explanation that is “totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental,” as the article I cite demonstrates.’

            You have cited that very questionable sentence in the conclusion of Bergman’s article.

            Perhaps the mistake was made in the wording of Bergman’s conclusion. Perhaps the mistake was in the wording of your sentence, or perhaps you did not mean what you said. Perhaps I have misunderstood.

            However, a mistake has been made.

            I know that you accept the existence of gene duplications and I have been discussing this issue presuming this to be the case.

            ‘It is gene duplication as a mechanism for evolution that is in question.’

            This is the question that you pose.

            We are still trying to conclude on whether or not duplication is a valid mechanism via which increased capacity can occur. This is the live question, which you posed far earlier.

            That is all that I am trying to infer. You are skipping ahead a few questions, when we are still trying to answer the simple question of capacity and you will not reach a conclusion on this issue.

            Here is the figure 1. If I duplicate this figure ….. 1.1.
            I now have two figure 1’s. This is an increase in capacity if they are connected together, as strands of genes are.
            That is ‘all’ I am trying to infer and conclude upon.

            Let’s conclude on this question of capacity increase in isolation before we talk about evolutionary processes.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              Please note that I said “gene duplication is an explanation that is ‘totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental.'” This in no way implies that gene duplication itself is inferential, and not empirical or experimental. Rather, it means that gene duplication as a substantial explanation for increase in genome capacity is inferential, and not empirical or experimental.

              If someone said, “contaminated water is an explanation for the plague that is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental,” is that person therefore denying the existence of the phenomenon of contaminated water? Of course not. Rather, that person is merely denying that the plague in question can by explained as the result of contaminated water.

              You just misunderstood….lets move on.

              You suggest that I am skipping ahead of the question of increased genetic capacity, but I really am not. Here is why: If duplicated genes cannot be substantially altered so as to change the information content, as Behe suggests, then how can duplicated genes be cited as additional capacity?

              Back to the magazine article analogy. A magazine article contains information. But if you make a photocopy of the article, you have the same information capacity as before. A photocopy of an article cannot be substantially altered so as to produce a new article.

              The term “capacity” in this context necessarily implies substantial alterability.

              Let me use another analogy: If you put a read-only compact disk into your computer, does your computer now have more information capacity? Well, it has more information content, but no more information capacity, because a read-only compact disk cannot be altered once the information has been burned into it.

              If the information on the CD could be substantially altered while inside of your computer, then you could accurately state that inserting a CD into your computer has increased the information capacity of your computer.

          • nick says:

            If I have misunderstood what you were saying on that specific point, then it is my mistake, but this does not really affect too greatly the points I made beyond that.

            I was making the assumption that you had rescinded that initial argument, so we were still on the same page. However, it was not that you had rescinded that argument, but that perhaps you had never made it. In either case, I was still working with the understanding that you accepted duplications.

            Capacity is what I am trying to conclude over, so this is the crux of the points I have been making in my last posts.

            The reason for this was because that a long while back, this was the fundamental question that you posed ‘and’ that was posed, in part, in the Dawkins stumped video which is what I am trying to conclude upon.

            What you talk about after this is the relevant issue. I am saying that you skip ahead a little, but perhaps what Behe says is relevant to what you are trying to argue, just so long as we remain on capacity until a conclusion is reached.

            You are making a huge assumption and a definitional error in your comments regarding capacity.

            First off you have defined capacity in a very specific way. ‘The term “capacity” in this context necessarily implies substantial alterability.’

            Does it? Capacity is a general term that describes the overall size or storage space for something. It may be alterable, but not necessarily. If I have a laptop with 500gb hard drive it has a capacity of 500gb. If I plug in a 4gb data stick, it now has a greater capacity by the size of a 4gb data stick. This extra capacity may well be alterable, or perhaps it is not, but if the data stick memory is added to the original laptop capacity then we have an overall increased whole content of 4gb to 504gb.

            If there is nothing that I can do to alter or manipulate the data on this data stick then perhaps this additional capacity is unalterable. However, we have an increased capacity none the less. If I were to calculate the total capacity of the system with the data stick plugged in, it would now be 504gb which is an increased capacity.

            It is false to try and say that this extra capacity neccessarily has to be functional or alterable for it to count in this context. All I am trying to prove is that extra capacity can be achieved, even if it is non functional, not novel or even detrimental, that’s it. If you begin to ammend the meaning of the word capacity then you change the definition to fit different means. We are just talking about overall capacity, functional or non functional, it does not by any scientific definition, ‘necessarily’ in this instance as you imply, have to be alterable.

            If you wish to use your non writable CD example, then the same understanding applies. Let’s say it has 1gb of space on it but, there is no way we can alter it. Once plugged in to the system of 500gb, with this addition of capacity we now have 501gb, whether this additional 1 is alterable or not. Even if it is unalterable 2 points can be made 1) the capacity has increased none the less. 2) the information that is on the disc may well be usefull when plugged in. If there is music on the disc for example, then perhaps that will have an extra beneficial function to the end user, even if this is never alterable, so we see that an increase in capacity can bring advantageous change even if it is unalterable.

            The big assumption you make is that Behe is correct in saying that additional capacity cannot mutate into anything new. This is a seperate point. I am not arguing whether increased capacity can or cannot then mutate into anything novel at this stage. I am simply arguing that extra capacity can occur via duplication, that is the limit of my argument at this stage. That is why I say that you skip ahead with what Behe argues.

            You do not deny duplications. Does Behe deny duplications? I don’t think so. All I am trying to demonstrate is that a duplication in the genome leads to a tiny, but demonstrable increased amount of total capacity.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              Well, I guess by your definition, there is an increase in capacity. It is just a matter of what definition one chooses. But if the new information can’t be demonstrated to be substantially alterable, of what use is the increased “capacity” to evolution.

              I do not make a big assumption in believing that Behe is correct in saying that duplicated genes cannot mutate into anything new. The following is an excerpt copied and pasted from this Discovery Institute article.

              A recent study in Nature admitted, “Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown.” (Ilan Wapinski, Avi Pfeffer, Nir Friedman & Aviv Regev, “Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi,” Nature, Vol. 449:54-61 (September 6, 2007).) Yet the crucial question that must be answered by the gene duplication mechanism is, exactly how does the duplicate copy acquire an entirely new function? Stephen Meyer explains in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington that it is difficult to imagine how duplicated genes acquire new functions since they must successfully undergo “neutral evolution” and traverse a random walk in order to acquire a new function:

              [N]eo-Darwinists envision new genetic information arising from those sections of the genetic text that can presumably vary freely without consequence to the organism. According to this scenario, non-coding sections of the genome, or duplicated sections of coding regions, can experience a protracted period of “neutral evolution” (Kimura 1983) during which alterations in nucleotide sequences have no discernible effect on the function of the organism. Eventually, however, a new gene sequence will arise that can code for a novel protein. At that point, natural selection can favor the new gene and its functional protein product, thus securing the preservation and heritability of both.

              This scenario has the advantage of allowing the genome to vary through many generations, as mutations “search” space of possible base sequences. The scenario has an overriding problem, however: the size of the combinatorial space (i.e., the number of possible amino acid sequences) and the extreme rarity and isolation of the functional sequences within that space of possibilities. Since natural selection can do nothing to help generate new functional sequences, but rather can only preserve such sequences once they have arisen, chance alone—random variation—must do the work of information generation—that is, of finding the exceedingly rare functional sequences within the set of combinatorial possibilities. Yet the probability of randomly assembling (or “finding,” in the previous sense) a functional sequence is extremely small.

              (Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” Proceedings for the Biological Society of Washington, Vol. 117(2):213-239 (2004).)

          • nick says:

            A standard definition of capacity includes all the storage and content within a system. If you qualify the definition, then perhaps you might say things like, functional capacity or non-functional capacity, which you may wish to do, but these are qualifications of the meaning of the word. Capacity means the total of all the space or size within the system including functional and non-functional, it is the total.

            This point about alterability is valid in the next part of the discussion, but in simply concluding whether we have increased capacity or not, it is not needed. An unalterable increase of information to a system will still increase the total capacity of that particular system, even if it is unchangeable.

            That is all I have argued and you seem to say that providing my definition is used then this would be true. I think that this is what I am after and I cannot see how any other definition of total capacity can be used unless you qualify it to mean different things such as functional capacity etc.

            You’re second point relating to this question of capacity and functionality is, ‘If the new information can’t be demonstrated to be substantially alterable, of what use is the increased “capacity” to evolution?’

            Again, whether it is alterable or not is the next part of the discussion, but let’s presume that it is completely unalterable as you suggest.

            One advantege that a duplication of gene’s or functions may bring is back up. If a new born organism has been born with a rare duplication mutation that is not detrimental, but is benign and does not affect the organism in any negative way then the organism will be living its life as normal. This is what has been noted in populations of fruit flies, where duplications do not negatively affect the new born in any way.

            What possible advantage might this new information be to the organism, when it is simply a copy of something that is already there so does nothing new? Well, what if the original gene becomes corrupted, deseased or simply stops functioning? What if a gene that controls something hugely important, such as blood production fails and corrupts? If you have a copy of this gene that has been sat in the background doing nothing to this point, then this gene may very well save your life by acting as a back up in case of other failures. Imagine a species with backup support for genes that fail, because there are duplications that remain in the background providing no extra or novel function. In this case of emergency these duplications could come in and take over from malfunctioning genes and actually provide life saving back up. Surely such a species would have an advantage in the natural world, because it would be more robust to sickness, desease or age. This is a simple example of how a duplication may very well be extremely useful and thus, evolutionarily beneficial to an organism in the wild, without having any novel functionality or indeed alterability. It is simply extra backup, which could prove to be life saving.

            These are very good reasons why extra capacity can be shown to occur and how, even unalterable, duplications can provide advantages to a new organism. Would you agree that this is the case now?

            With regards to the issue of alterability and Stephen Meyer’s article as well as Behe’s comments, this is the next stage beyond capacity in trying to understand the Dawkins stumped video. We have already talked about this and there are answers to this, but do you agree that extra total capacity can be shown to occur in the genome?

          • nick says:

            After well over a month and a half, we have progressed some way to concluding over the Dawkins stumped video, but we have still not concluded.

            This is what happens in science. The topics are so hard and complex that they cannot be dismissed and understood in a short instance.

            2 months later! …. rather than the initial assumption that Dawkins was completely stumped, you have accepted that given a standard definition of capacity increase, we can see how evolution can increase information in some small way at least.

            We have still not concluded properly on this video, yet at the very least we are some distance from your assertion when you first referenced this video:

            syoungren says:
            September 10, 2011 at 2:41 am

            ‘4) You say that I wont engage deeply in your examples…. If Richard Dawkins could not come up with an example of a genetic mutation or evolutionary process shown to increase the information in the genome, why should I think that you can? If he can’t come up with such an example, it doesn’t take much of a leap of faith to assume that this is because there are no such examples.’

            There is so much detail to answer this video challenge, that far from being unanswerable, it has taken the best part of 2 months to investigate just a small proportion of this information.

            2 months just to understand one 2 minute video!

            This shows how close to impossible it is to argue ‘briefly’ about evidence against evolution and macro-evolution, such as short soundbites and quotes, that this particular investigation began with, when it takes the best part of 2 months just to investigate properly, one tiny video… and still we have not concluded.

            • syoungren says:

              Nick,

              I have not accepted that “given a standard definition of capacity increase, we can see how evolution can increase information in some small way at least,” as you say.

              How you deduced that from my words is beyond me. I made it explicitly clear that since there is no way for duplicated genes to make a change from one protein to another, calling gene duplication means for increasing genetic capacity would be ridiculous.

              You are trying to support your views by making terminology changes or “semantic shifts.” If there is some definition of “capacity” by which gene duplication could be declared an increase in “capacity,” fine. But if that definition of “capacity” is not a definition sufficient to explain for how the evolutionarily useable capacity could be increased, what is the point? It is not sufficient to demonstrate that gene duplication meets just any old definition of “capacity increase.” Rather, it must meet the definition which is pertinent to the question at hand: Can the gene duplication account for an increase in genetic capacity which will allow for the emergence of more complex organisms from more simple ones?

              The comedian Groucho Marx once said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution….but who wants to live in an institution?” By shifting the definition of “institution” in the middle of the sentence, Marx achieves a humorous result.

              Darwinists rely on the tactic of shifting definitions in order to create the illusion that their views are scientifically validated. For example, Darwinists are fond of saying things such as “denying evolution is like denying gravity.” This statement is fair enough when applied to microevolution, but not when applied to macroevolution. And it is only macroevolution that is in dispute. As I said before, you will not be able to find a mathematician who thinks that macroevolution is mathematically possible. John Von Neumann (one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century) laughed at Darwinian macroevolution. Fred Hoyle, a mathematician from Oxford University, wrote a book called Why Neo-Darwinimsm Does Not Work, in conjunction with the astrobiologist Chandra Wickaramasinghe.

              And when I say it is in dispute, I don’t just mean in dispute between “creationists” and Darwinists. Rather, it is in dispute by differing factions within Darwinism. Some Darwinists believe in the mechanism random mutation and natural selection over huge amounts of time, and other Darwinists believe in the “punctuated equilibrium” views promoted by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldridge. This is not a subtle difference. The “punctuated equilibrium” view cannot cite random mutation and natural selection as its mechanism.

              These two factions within Darwinism hotly debate each other to the point of exchanging insults.

              Considering this, how can it be said that denying macroevolution is like denying gravity? If the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection over huge periods of time has been so conclusively demonstrated, why do Darwinists sling mud at each other over issues that are absolutely fundamental.

              Of course these two groups are united by their common ideology which says that only purely naturalistic explanations for the phenomenon of life are acceptable. But without an agreed upon naturalistic explanation, what do these two groups have besides an agreed upon ideology?

  28. nick says:

    Two posts above you say the following,

    ‘Nick,

    Well, I guess by your definition, there is an increase in capacity. It is just a matter of what definition one chooses. But if the new information can’t be demonstrated to be substantially alterable, of what use is the increased “capacity” to evolution.’

    That is where I made my deduction. You say by my definition, which probably means, by mine but not by yours. I am not shifting definitions. I am using a standard definition of capacity, which is entirely consistant and appropriate. I am not using semantic shifts. You qualify this ability to increase in capacity as necessarily needing to include the ability to be changeable. The increased capacity has this ability as well. This can be demonstrated and explained as well if you wish to qualify it this way. I was just trying to illustrate a simple mechanism for capacity increase, be it changeable or unchangeable as a starting point without overcomplicating. Doing too much all at once becomes confusing.

    My conclusion following this would seem to be entirely consistent. It was merely an observational post. We have not concluded over this stumped video. I think that this was a fair comment. You have investigated this video and I was simply observing how much data exists on such issues, where initially you were dismissive. I was merely observing that we have been able to discuss this data for a period of 2 months.

    It was fair to point out that there is a lot of information in response to this stumped video. It could be argued that Dawkins was stumped because of the sheer volume of data that he could have used to respond. He had too many examples to offer and suffered a mind-block, because of the amount he could have said.

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