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TRUTH:
"Have No Fellowship With the Unfruitful Works of Darkness, But Rather EXPOSE Them!" ~ GOD, Ephesians 5:11

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April 05, 2007

SCIENCE vs. EVOLUTION

Over 3,000 SCIENTIFIC FACTS which annihilate evolutionary theory!

1 - History of Evolutionary Theory - How modern science got into this problem
2 - The Big Bang & Stellar Evolution - Why the Big Bang is a fizzle and stars cannot evolve out of gas
3 - The Origin of the Earth - Why the Earth did not evolve out of a molten state
4 - The Age of the Earth - Why the Earth is not millions of years old
5 - The Problem of Time - Why long ages cannot produce evolutionary change
6 - Inaccurate Dating Methods - Why the non-historical dating techniques are unreliable
7 - The Primitive Environment - Why raw materials on earth cannot produce life
8 - DNA & Protein - Why DNA and protein could not be produced by random chance
9 - Natural Selection - Why natural selection only makes changes within species
10 - Mutations - Why mutations cannot produce cross-species change
11 - Animal & Plant Species - Why the species barrier cannot be broken
12 - Fossils & Strata - Why the fossil/strata theory is a hoax
13 - Ancient Man - Why there is no evidence humans have evolved from anything
14 - Effects of the Flood - What actually happened after the Flood
15 - Similarities & Divergence - Why similar structures are not an evidence of evolution
16 - Vestiges & Recapitulation - You have no useless or unnecessary structures inherited from earlier life forms
17 - Evolutionary Showcase - The best examples of evolution have proven worthless
18 - The Laws of Nature - The laws of nature oppose the evolutionary theory
19 - Evolution, Morality, & Violence - Evolutionary theory is ruining modern civilization
20 - Tectonics & Paleomagnetism - The truth about plate tectonics and paleomagnetism
21 - Archaeological Dating - Correlating Egyptian and other archaeological dates with the Bible
22 - Evolutionary Science Fiction - Fabulous fairy tales which only tiny children can believe
23 - Scientists Speak - Evolutionary scientists say the theory is unscientific and worthless
24 - Utterly Impossible - Things evolution could never invent
25 - The Latest Evolution Crisis - The most recent news (to 2006) in the Evolution Battle
26 - The Case for Intelligent Design - The evidence keeps getting stronger
27 - Summary of the Anthropic Principle - Discovering a flood of coincidences
28 - Eighteen Factors Disproving Evolution - Evolution flunks the science test
29 - Say It Simple - What is this all about?
30 - Problems with Big Bang Creationism - When opposites are combined

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So for all you godless evolutionists out there, hopefully all these SCIENTIFIC FACTS will give you something to ponder over, and perhaps you will come to the conclusion that you didn't evolve from primordial slime after all!

*For more information go to:
=> Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia
=> Evolution-Facts.org

65 comments:

  1. Hmm. Yeah. Ok I guess it's good that you're on board with science (when yout think it supports what you already believe).

    But these links are full of things that are just plain wrong. False. They're lies. Made up. Never happened.

    And that's not really science.

    I'd love to see a good refutation of evolution. That's the epitome of science, really...getting at the truth regardless of how popular an idea is. But to do so, one has to rely on things that are actually true, rather than pulling them out of one's ass.

    Nice try though?

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  2. Dani, it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

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  3. WOW Phronk - I just posted this less than 30 minutes ago and you already read through all that information to determine all these links are full of things that are just plain wrong? False? They're lies? Made up. Never happened?

    Impressive - or are you the one pulling stuff out of your ass?

    Here's my favorite part -Eighteen Factors Disproving Evolution:

    Irreducible complexity— Biochemists and microbiologists have discovered that the various components of every living creature in the world are so complicated and interrelated, that it could not function without every one of them. There is no way that some of the parts could have been added later.

    Instantaneous complexity— Each entire living creature had to be totally assembled instantly, in order for it to begin living. If this was not done, parts would decay before other parts were made. All aspects had to be there together, all at once.

    Mathematically impossible— Mathematicians have found that the likelihood of DNA, enzymes, amino acids, and proteins being randomly assembled by the chance methods offered by evolutionary theory is impossible.

    Intelligently designed— Everything in creation—from the largest galaxy to the smallest atom—reveals the fact that it was planned, designed, and constructed by an Intelligent Being of the highest intellect and capabilities.

    Complicated interrelated functions of separate systems— All of the various structures and organs in every living thing are marvelously interrelated. In order to maintain its existence, each part depends on many others.

    Extremely involved production sequence— The various processes by which things are made in living organisms are complicated in the extreme. Very lengthy production sequences are generally required. Each step in the procedure must follow other correctly taken steps.

    Coded instructions which are referred to and obeyed— Not only are coded instructions provided for everything done in the cell, but proteins and enzymes read and obey these instructions—as though they had the brains to do this!

    Ideal location of structures— Every component on or within each organism is consistently located in the best place, in relation to other components, space limitations, and maximum efficiency in operation. Only careful planning could do this.

    Narrowed limits everywhere— Wherever we turn in the natural world (here on earth and in the sky above us) we find that, what is called, the "anthropic principle" is involved. An extremely narrow range of conditions exists where life can exist, stars can form, and planets can revolve and orbit around the sun. This narrowed range is found repeatedly by researchers, and is too compressed to have been caused by accidents or coincidents.

    Functional objects which provide an attractive, even beautiful appearance— Living creatures which are commonly seen are generally quite attractive in appearance. The production of a beautiful form requires intelligent planning and execution. In addition, attractive coloration is provided. Consider the color and shaping of the cardinal, the robin, and many animals and trees. These are elements and attributes which are not necessary for survival, yet which provide additional comfort and beauty. Only intelligence can produce beautiful things.

    Excessive information content and capacity in life forms— Such a capacity, far beyond the bare minimum needed for survival, is repeatedly found. The brain power of mankind is remarkable. The lower forms of life also show an abundance of capacity beyond the amount needed for mere survival.

    The characteristic of life itself— Within every living organism is a mysterious something which cannot be initiated by any known natural or human-induced device or method. Not even a superior created intelligence could produce this. Only God could implant life. In life, we are confronted with a continual miracle.

    The total impossibility of any other means to produce and maintain all these functions and organisms— All the functions and structures in multiplied trillions of organisms must continually be cared for by an Intelligence out of and beyond ourselves. We are told, "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

    The existence and operation of basic, and other, natural laws governing everything— Even the laws of nature had to be devised and set in place. They did not spring into being automatically.

    The existence, structure, and unvarying function of basic elements of matter— Gaze within the atom. Why do the various particles keep whirling about one another? There are puzzles here which far exceed our understanding of basic matter and electrical forces. The atomic structure, movements, and functions of the elements are amazing.

    All of nature is simply too astounding— We are too quick to take everything for granted. It is impossible for everything that exists—to exist—in its present useful form and function, much less in any form or function; yet it does.

    The inability of the opposing view to provide even one solid scientific evidence in support of its theory— This is a very revealing fact. A "scientific theory" is not scientific, when it lacks the underlying scientific evidence proving it to be worthwhile. Oh yes, evolution includes theories built on theories. But the basic theory, they are all piled on top of, is totally lacking in scientific evidence.

    While Creationists are able to present a multitude of scientific evidences (such as are found in this present book), evolutionists can only reply with ridicule and efforts to stifle discussion— They dare not present valid scientific data to support their theory, because they have none. The ridicule and lack of supporting scientific evidence are abundantly seen in the articles they write in scientific journals, attempting to refute Creationist books and articles. 

    Could all these claims really be bogus?

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  4. Dani, are you promoting Intelligent Design, or are you promoting Creationism?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Creationism which took place by an Intelligent Designer known as GOD.

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  6. Thank you for the clarification.

    I did enjoy reading some the articles you linked to. These links should be of interest to you, especially if you beleive you can use science to "prove" creationism or disprove evolution.

    Isn't it enough for you to be confident in your faith?

    There's a lot of great stuff here to read. See if you can refute any of it. I'll be back after dinner.

    http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/rosenhouse.html
    http://www.skepdic.com/intelligentdesign.html
    http://www.skepdic.com/creation.html
    http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/not-science.html
    http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/terminology.html

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  7. Thanks for the links, Adonis. I have plans tonight (since it's my b-day), but I saved the links and I will try to read through them and respond tomorrow sometime.

    To answer your question - "Isn't it enough for me to be confident in my faith?"

    Of course I am 100% confident in my faith! This scientific info is mostly for non-believers and evolutionist like you to contemplate. I suppose the main purpose is not necessarily to convince you that life did not evolve by chance, but rather that life has meaning since we were created by God with a purpose. The scientific evidence for creation is just a bonus confirming my faith.

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  8. This is ridiculous. My internet is down for months and I come back and this nutcase is still at it! Don't you know that your just an animal yet? Haven't you realized the freedom that Atheism gives us? I am serious it is amazing, I can do what I want when I want and not have to worry about some scary God comming to get me. You are stuck on your stone age philosophies and wont face the clear facts that life evolved from nothing which came from nowhere you stupid fundie.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Could all these claims really be bogus?"

    Yes, because they're not serious objections. Look at this whopper:

    "Intelligently designed— Everything in creation—from the largest galaxy to the smallest atom—reveals the fact that it was planned, designed, and constructed by an Intelligent Being of the highest intellect and capabilities."

    The mistake here is glaring: it PRESUPPOSES the very thing it's trying to prove, that we were intelligently designed. It simply tries to prove it by stating it: the evidence that we are intelligently designed is that we are intelligently designed! It's an absolutely idiotic argument.

    "All of nature is simply too astounding— We are too quick to take everything for granted. It is impossible for everything that exists—to exist—in its present useful form and function, much less in any form or function; yet it does."

    How is that even an argument? What's "too astounding"? Too whom? To our subjective intuitions? I thought we were talking about science here, which has no regard for what we find "astounding"?

    "While Creationists are able to present a multitude of scientific evidences (such as are found in this present book), evolutionists can only reply with ridicule and efforts to stifle discussion— They dare not present valid scientific data to support their theory, because they have none."

    This disgusting lie is simply vile. It's nothing but a lie, pure and simple. There are numerous scientific journals out there, all of them providing valid scientific data that is coming in every day from research. I have on numerous occasions provided valid scientific data (which, in any case, you're completely unqualified to judge one way or the other) based upon these studies. I have read many books presenting the data. The creationist lie-mongers are here simply trying to cover up the fact that their own pathetic "field" has yielded NOT A SINGLE PRACTICAL APPLICATION TO DATE. The morons who wrote this stupid list of "disproofs" have apparently never read another book apart from their own, which is itself probably based on yet more lies told to them by preachers and ignorant non-scientists. An absolutely despicable enterprise.

    Most of the rest are just standard, old-hat arguments from incredulity.

    "Of course I am 100% confident in my faith! This scientific info is mostly for non-believers and evolutionist like you to contemplate."

    It has been "contemplated" - and thoroughly debunked.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Tommy!

    Adonis – Obviously I didn’t have time to read through every single point on the links you provided, but I did take the time to respond to a couple of the more important ones.

    Who Designed the Designer?

    Quote from your link - “Living organisms are highly complex and consequently require a special sort of explanation. Most scientists explain them as the end result of a lengthy evolutionary process... The complexity of nature is used as the evidence that a certain sort of designer exists. This designer, in turn, is used as the explanation for nature. This leads to a problem. The existence of complex entities was precisely the phenomenon in need of explanation. Hypothesizing the existence of something more complex than the thing to be explained only replaces one problem with a far greater one. If the universe can only be explained as the product of design, then any designer capable of crafting the universe must also be so explained.”

    Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be a first-cause in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “first-cause” is God.

    God has always been here. Since God, by definition, is the Creator of the whole universe, He is the Creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so He has no beginning. There can only be ONE Creator, not two or three or many. Only ONE can be the first cause.

    1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
    2. Life has a beginning.
    3. Therefore, living organisms have a cause.

    The universe and everything in it requires a cause because it had a beginning. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, He has always existed so He doesn’t need a cause.

    The link basically answers correctly, “We might argue that the logic by which design proponents infer design in living organisms applies only to objects within the universe as we know it. If the designer resided outside of the universe - and how could it be otherwise if he is the entity that created the universe in the first place - then we cannot apply our Earth-bound logic to him… Saying that the designer is not himself subject to the principles of inference and logic applicable to everything else is equivalent to saying that he resides outside of all scientific investigation.”

    That’s true! Since God is a Supernatural Being, He is not bound to the physical laws of nature. Either God the Creator is the God of the universe, or primordial slime which supposedly always existed is the god of the universe. You decide who you will worship!

    *For more detailed info read my post => DOES GOD EXIST? (It includes ontological, teleological, cosmological, and moral arguments for God.)

    ------------------------------

    Does Evolution Have a Thermodynamics Problem?

    Quote from your link – “The basic creationist argument is this: The second law states that a spontaneous, natural process can only lead to an increase in the entropy of a system. Entropy is roughly a measure of disorder or complexity. So the second law implies that natural processes can only cause things to become more disordered and less complex over time. But evolution asserts that natural processes have caused organisms to grow more complex over time. This is a contradiction, and since no one is inclined to abandon the second law, evolution must not be correct…
    Everyone agrees that the growth in complexity that evolutionists claim took place over the course of natural history requires an explanation. And biologists have one. Many generations of natural selection acting on random genetic variations can cause the average complexity of organisms to increase.”


    Since when does anything improve over time? Does your body get better or worse with age? Does your house become sturdier and fancier with time? If you have a junky rusted old car in your garage will it gradually turn into a red hot Ferrari in a couple decades? Come on?

    Take the Universe for example: Scientifically speaking, we know for a fact that the Universe could not have always been here because it would violate the laws of physics. Natural laws of the Universe have no exceptions. The Universe cannot be a perpetual motion machine because it would violate either the first or second laws of thermodynamics. If the Universe had always been here, the sun and stars would have burnt out by now and everything would be cold and dark.

    The Universe did not just pop into existence. We know this for a scientific fact, because matter cannot create itself out of nothing. Consider the law of cause and effect. Simply put, the law of cause and effect states that every material effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect. Material effects without adequate causes do not exist. The effect cannot be greater than the cause - Not only is it illogical and irrational, it is scientifically impossible!

    Therefore, since it is scientifically impossible for the Universe to have always been here or create itself out of nothing, an Infinite, Supernatural Creator who exists outside the natural laws of the Universe created everything. There is no other possibility! God is the first cause - He is the author and Creator of life.

    *Read my post => IS THERE PROOF OF GOD?

    ------------------------------

    I do have more to write, but time and space just don’t allow for it right now. Hope that helps you understand better from a Creationists perspective.

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  11. Critics of irreducible complexity consider that most, or all, of the examples were based on misunderstandings of the workings of the biological systems in question. Irreducible complexity is generally dismissed by the majority of the scientific community and is often referred to as pseudoscience

    The reason that a designer god is more absurd than natural selection is because a designer god requires complexity to have occurred all at once. Instantaneous complexity has never been observed. Natural selection creates complexity over a long period of time, one small change at a time. It is observable and happening all around us.


    Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have successfully converted an RNA enzyme (ribozyme) into a DNA enzyme (deoxyribozyme) through a process of accelerated in vitro evolution. The molecular conversion or transfer of both genetic information and catalytic function between these two different genetic systems, which are both based on nucleic acid-like molecules, is exactly what many scientists believe occurred during the very earliest period of earth's existence.


    Professor Gerald F. Joyce's latest study provides a modern-day snapshot of how life as we understand it may have first evolved. This "evolutionary conversion" provides a modern-day snapshot of how life as we understand it may have first evolved out of the earliest primordial mix of RNA-like molecules-sometimes referred to as the "pre-RNA world"-into a more complex form of RNA-based life (or the "RNA world") and eventually to cellular life based on DNA and proteins. Nucleic acids are large complex molecules that store and convey genetic information, but can also function as enzymes.

    The following is a completelt erroneous statement, certainly not evidence or proof.
    Intelligently designed—Everything in creation—from the largest galaxy to the smallest atom—reveals the fact that it was planned, designed, and constructed by an Intelligent Being of the highest intellect and capabilities.

    Complicated interrelated functions of separate systems—All of the various structures and organs in every living thing are marvelously interrelated. In order to maintain its existence, each part depends on many others, and continue to grow, change and mutate for the better through evolution.(I just added a few select words to make this statement work for the athiests cause).

    Complicated interrelated functions of separate systems—All of the various structures and organs in every living thing are marvelously interrelated. In order to maintain its existence, each part depends on many others.Doesnt this statement support evolution in that if one function doesnt work it evolves or mutates into one that does.

    Extremely involved production sequence—The various processes by which things are made in living organisms are complicated in the extreme. Very lengthy production sequences are generally required. Each step in the procedure must follow other correctly taken steps. Evolution takes time, incorrect procedures are corrected over a period of time.

    I fail to realize how most of these statements are in any way evidence of a god, intelligent designer or creator. They are merely observations. "Only intellience can produce beautiful things" What kind of crap is that. Maybe it should say Only intelligence can observe beauty. Do you think the robin, cardinal and many other trees and animals know they are beautiful, or did god just put them here for us to look at. Who are we mere mortals to judge what is beauty and what is not. You should post facts to support your argument, not likliehoods, observations and ideas. There are real scientists that are making breakthroughs everyday that support the evolutionary growth of everything we know. What you post is based on your faith in your god. Believe what you want, but how can you be right and the majority of scientists be wrong. Even after Michael Behe and his irreducible complexity theory were discredited at the dover trial, "Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large" you still post it as if were an absolute truth. Good Luck Dani gotta cut it short thnx

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  12. I can do one better than Phronk, who could not have read all of the information Dani presented in the 30 minutes since it was posted: I did not read any of it, and I will still claim that it is completely unreliable.

    Why?

    Hover your mouse pointer over any one of the links, and you'll see that you'd be directed to various sections of www.pathlights.com, a laughable creationist site. Some of you may recall a conversation Dani and I had some months earlier where I refuted information put forth on Pathlights with information from Answers in Genesis (AiG), another creationist site.

    Since Pathlights is clearly not in the habit of checking its information, and happily puts forth information so blatantly false that other creationist sights strongly recommend against using it YEARS after it has been refuted, how can we possibly trust anything that comes from them? It would be intellectually irresponsible for creationists and non-creationists alike to take anything that comes from Pathlights as truth until they retract their bogus claims and show us how the remainder of those they've made are in any way more responsibly made than the others.

    I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that you'd use those intellectual charlatans as a source again, Dani.

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  13. Dani

    Thank you for looking at some of the links I posted, and happy birthday!

    I believe that your best argument is your faith, which is clearly evident. I respect that you believe in God, but in my opinion, you don’t represent Him well by attempting to promote a scientific explanation for His creation.

    The story of God’s creation is really only outlined in his famous oeuvre, The Bible, inasmuch as he says God created the heavens and the earth, and then there was light, and he created the plants and animals and Adam and Eve. (That makes us all cousins!) That’s fine, but I wish you would point out to me where in the Bible God does all this complicated design work.

    As you are a fundamentalist, I understand you take the Bible literally, but I don’t see where all this intelligent design is written. I mean really, where in the Bible is there anything about atoms, molecules, DNA, thermodynamics, or how He designed the eye of an eagle, the skin of a cuttlefish, the scent of honeysuckle, how orchids are pollinated, or how the leopard got its spots? It’s just not in the book.

    Furthermore, the creation described in the Bible is not the only creation described by spiritual peoples. Interestingly, many are easily documented from before Genesis was written. The Babylonian Creation Myth, for example. (Google search: Creation Myths)

    Excerpt from a Hindu Creation:

    From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Om. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy. The night had ended. Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu's navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu's servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord's command. Vishnu spoke to his servant: 'It is time to begin.' Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: 'Create the world.'….

    A Native America myth:

    The Crow, who now reigns from the top of the totem of the Haida nation, was the grandson of the Great Holy Chief who made the world.
    When the crow cried, asking for the moon that hung from the wall of logs, his grandfather gave it to him. The crow threw it at the sky through the chimney hole; and again he cried, claiming the stars. When he got them, he distributed them around the moon….

    From China:

    Long, long ago, when heaven and earth were still one, the entire universe was contained in an egg-shaped cloud. All the matter of the universe swirled chaotically in that egg. Deep within the swirling matter was Pan Gu, a huge giant who grew in the chaos. For 18,000 years he developed and slept in the egg. Finally one day he awoke and stretched, and the egg broke to release the matter of the universe. The lighter purer elements drifted upwards to make the sky and heavens, and the heavier impure elements settled downwards to make the earth….

    What makes you so sure none of them is right?

    My point is this:
    You have nothing but your faith, and that is all you need!
    Dani, you don’t need to make stuff up if you have faith in your God.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Adonis - You're right, all I need is my faith. As I said, the science aspect for Creation is mostly for non-believers, but it also confirms my faith. I don't believe in creation myths because that's what they are, myths - Fairytales just like evolution.

    >>"where in the Bible is there anything about atoms, molecules, DNA, thermodynamics, or how He designed the eye of an eagle, the skin of a cuttlefish, the scent of honeysuckle, how orchids are pollinated, or how the leopard got its spots?"<<

    Nowhere specifically does the Bible address in detail those things, but it does say that God created each living creature "after its own kind" which eliminates the possibility of us all evolving from the same ancestral slime.

    Doesn't it take more faith to believe that atoms, molecules, DNA, thermodynamics, the design of an eagle's eye, the skin of a cuttlefish, the scent of honeysuckle, how orchids are pollinated, or how the leopard got its spots all came about by random chance mutations and everything here on earth (including you) is nothing more than a cosmic accident?

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  15. “There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be a first-cause in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “first-cause” is God.”

    Yet that “first cause” exhibits human characteristics like consciousness and a sense of morality?

    “The universe and everything in it requires a cause because it had a beginning. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, He has always existed so He doesn’t need a cause.”

    How do you know the universe hasn’t always existed, and also doesn’t need a cause? Or perhaps whatever caused the universe was always there, but wasn’t God?

    “Either God the Creator is the God of the universe, or primordial slime which supposedly always existed is the god of the universe.”

    You know, adults are reading what you say, so you might like to refrain from childish proclamations like that. First of all, no one says that primordial slime always existed (so I don’t know where you get your “supposedly” from, since no one says it). Secondly, such slime wouldn’t under any definition be classified as the “god” of the universe.

    “You decide who you will worship!”

    We have. We worship no one (your God is a pretty petty god if he wants to be worshipped. Talk about egotistical).

    “Does Evolution Have a Thermodynamics Problem?”

    Oh dear. After patiently debunking this myth – possibly one of the most grating and gratuitous in all of creationist folklore – you still repeat it as though it were proven fact. I’ll say it one more time for you, and for anyone else who hasn’t caught on by now: entropy increases in a CLOSED system. A CLOSED SYSTEM, not an OPEN system, which is what the Earth is. The Earth is a small planet receiving enormous amounts of energy from the sun, energy that can easily power processes here, even while the solar system AS A WHOLE is headed towards increased entropy as the sun burns through its nuclear fuel and converts its hydrogen and helium into other elements. One physicist has said, “life is negative entropy.” That means that it is a process that feeds off of energy fluxes in a larger system, that as a whole may be witnessing greater and greater disorder but is experiencing local decreases.

    Does evolution have a thermodynamic problem? No. This is really old-hat creationist propaganda, and is immediately seen to be fraudulent by any first year chemistry student.

    Anyway, it’s also obviously ridiculous because it implies that NO increases in complexity can actually occur, since “everything is headed towards increased disorder”. Embryos wouldn’t be able to turn into full-fledged people; houses wouldn’t get built, and neither would Ferraris. Yet all these things happen because these phenomena are being fed by energy inputs that allow them to craft matter into certain highly-organised and useful arrangements. In the former, it’s the food taken in by the mother and the subsequent chemical processes that build the baby, increasing the complexity of the foetus, eventually building a nervous system and a brain, and all the other systems of the body. In the latter two cases, it’s energy inputs from the workers in the construction yard or in the factory plant in Modena. Where do these people get their energy? From eating food that gets its energy from the sun. Actually, only a small fraction of the solar energy that reaches the earth is retained in the plant matter. When we eat herbivores like cows and sheep, we are effectively utilising solar energy that is now stored in the molecules of the meat. And of course, most of the energy radiated by the sun is lost into outer space and doesn’t even reach any of the planets, let alone ours. We receive only a tiny fraction of its total output.

    “Since when does anything improve over time?”

    When an embryo increases in complexity. When a city gets built. When a forest recuperates. When I study for an exam. Notice that all these things require energy inputs – just like biological evolution.

    “If you have a junky rusted old car in your garage will it gradually turn into a red hot Ferrari in a couple decades? Come on?”

    You have completely ignored the small matter of energy inputs, and are back to thinking in terms of pure chance to explain complexity, which no one else is in the habit of. I’m starting to think that the energy input I expend into trying to clarify these things for you is also just radiating into outer space.

    “The Universe cannot be a perpetual motion machine because it would violate either the first or second laws of thermodynamics. If the Universe had always been here, the sun and stars would have burnt out by now and everything would be cold and dark.”

    Actually, that’s too simple a picture. It has been proposed that the universe has been expanding and contracting forever, each time possibly slightly resetting its laws of physics. There are other possibilities.

    “Therefore, since it is scientifically impossible for the Universe to have always been here or create itself out of nothing, an Infinite, Supernatural Creator who exists outside the natural laws of the Universe created everything. There is no other possibility! God is the first cause - He is the author and Creator of life.”

    Is that why a majority of physicists are atheists? Do you really imagine that it’s as simple as you’ve portrayed it?

    “Doesn't it take more faith to believe that atoms, molecules, DNA, thermodynamics, the design of an eagle's eye, the skin of a cuttlefish, the scent of honeysuckle, how orchids are pollinated, or how the leopard got its spots all came about by random chance mutations and everything here on earth (including you) is nothing more than a cosmic accident?”

    Yes it does, and since no one says that it happened like that, it’s of no consequence anyway. Natural selection is the non-random component that smooths out the improbability. The genius of Darwin’s theory is that it deals with the problem of apparent improbability by invoking a mechanical process that is inherently non-random. This is why it’s ridiculous to object to the Darwinian evolution of complex organs and structures on the supposed grounds that it relies solely upon chance. It actually does something closer to the exact opposite.

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  16. WOW Phronk - I just posted this less than 30 minutes ago and you already read through all that information to determine all these links are full of things that are just plain wrong? False? They're lies? Made up. Never happened?

    Let's use some basic logic here. I said the links are full of false information. "Full of" means there is a lot of it. I did not say every piece of information on every page is wrong. Thus, it really doesn't take long to look around, take a random sampling of the information there, and see that all my samples were "full of" mistakes.

    Like, if I open the gate to a zoo, and all the cages I see have monkeys, I'd be pretty justified in saying "wow, this zoo is full of monkeys!" in less than 30 minutes.

    I was also helped by the fact that the information in this (previously debunked) Pathlights place was so dang EASY to falsify. Many of the arguments are "evolution says X, but there are NO observed cases of X / X is impossible"...but to disprove that, just type X into Google and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky", and bang, examples of X all over the place.

    You're not interested in facts anyway though, so I won't bother going into specifics.

    Happy belated birthday, and I hope you and your family and everyone else here had a wonderful Easter!

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  17. Dani, thank you for giving my comments your consideration. You said:

    “Adonis - You're right, all I need is my faith.”

    Excellent! You’re off to a good start! I hardly expected to hear a concession. And then you said:

    “the science aspect for Creation is mostly for non-believers,”

    Sorry, this is not correct. People who observe the world unencumbered by religious indoctrination will not be fooled by anyone proclaiming there is any ‘science aspect’ behind creationism.

    “but it also confirms my faith.”

    Indeed! What you call the ‘science aspect’ for Creationism is there to bolster your own faith, not for non-believers, because they are more likely to be critical thinkers. Then you write:

    “I don't believe in creation myths because that's what they are, myths - Fairytales just like evolution.”

    In fact, there is one creation myth you do believe in. It’s known as the Hebrew creation myth. It's in your Bible. You believe in it because of your faith.

    You then continued by responding to my question about there being no mention of intelligent design in the Bible:

    “Nowhere specifically does the Bible address in detail those things,”

    Terrific! I get another concession! As a fundamentalist, you cannot believe in intelligent design because it is not ‘documented’ in your book. It’s apocryphal. You go on with:

    “but it does say that God created each living creature "after its own kind" which eliminates the possibility of us all evolving from the same ancestral slime.”

    Oops! That’s irrelevant. It does not support the idea that intelligent design is in the Bible. You conclude with:

    “Doesn't it take more faith to believe that atoms, molecules, DNA, thermodynamics, the design of an eagle's eye, the skin of a cuttlefish, the scent of honeysuckle, how orchids are pollinated, or how the leopard got its spots all came about by random chance mutations and everything here on earth (including you) is nothing more than a cosmic accident?”

    Um, frankly, no. The definition of faith is “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof”. You believe that the Bible is the word of God and it is to be read literally. That requires faith. And you have faith, and that is all you need.

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  18. Careful now, we're getting mighty close to one of those "You are all FOOLS hardened to the TRUTH" declarations that seem to get whipped out whenever the science gets too thick, and haven't even really gotten a response from Dani regarding her use of such a ridiculous and previously debunked source as Pathlights (which was sort of the main point of the post, no?). It's intriguing how the issue always seems to shift away from the sensitive stuff 'round here.

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  19. If I may weigh in a bit here I think if this discussion is going to go anywhere we need to define the often thrown around word "faith". For me as a Christian I would define it completely different from what seems to be its usage by most here and in general culture. So I throw that one out to everyone, what is "faith"? I want to hear what Dani says as well as the Atheists.

    I personally try to avoid the word "faith" in talking with non-Christians because of how badly it is abused in culture. I will say more on "faith" after I others reply. I think in general "faith" is viewed as an irrational leap, an unjustified belief, or something along those lines. I would disagree strongly with that definition whether it comes from fellow Christians or the secular culture.

    I do think though in Dani's dialogue with Adonis she was getting at something. She used phrases like it takes "more faith" to believe in evolution... Well I personally wouldn't say something like that, however I think if we look at something said by Adonis intended to undermine belief in one religious account of creation over others equally stare the naturalism back in the face because his belief no matter how much he may stomp his foot and say "Science!" he too is caught in an epistemological dilemma. here's what he said:

    "What makes you so sure none of them is right?

    My point is this:
    You have nothing but your faith, and that is all you need!
    Dani, you don’t need to make stuff up if you have faith in your God."


    This is part of why I am asking people to define the word faith. This is a very post-modern approach to epistemology Adonis brings up here basically he is saying well there are dozens of creation accounts why do you think they are all wrong except one? What is it about this one that makes it trustworthy and the others false? Well I think the same is applicable to a naturalistic evolution based view. Let me ellaborate.

    In science there are things called paradigm shifts, it is when one theory replaces an older because really it is a bigger and better theory and the old theory failed to account for all the data. The classic case of a paradigm shift is from Newtonian Mechanics to Einstein's relativity. Yet there are numerous anomolies (datum unaccounted for even in Einsteins relativity). The same is true of every scientific theory because our understanding is limited. That said, what makes the evolutionist so cock sure that his theory (which is really based on soft science, not hard like physics) ofnatural evolution in a closed system is in fact true over all the other possible theories not only in existance but yet to come?

    Even more fundamentally at the root of having "faith" in science is the belief that what the data scientists are reporting represents reality and will represent reality. There is no basis I would argue that the future will resemble the past when we begin with Materialist presuppositions. So sure maybe right now if I walk off my apartment balcony I will fall and probably break my leg due to gravity, but there is no reason to think that that will always be the case. No matter how many times you repeat the experiment falling to the ground only to b injured there is NO point at which you can be certain that the next time you will indeed fall rather than sort of float down safely. This is Hume's riddle of induction, simply put it is by pure "faith" that science is able to proceed to make predictions when based upon Materialist presuppositions.

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  20. Oy vey!

    Can we use The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition 2000?

    FAITH: NOUN: 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief. , trust. 3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters. 4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. 5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith. 6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    OK?

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  21. Uber said >>"Some of you may recall a conversation Dani and I had some months earlier where I refuted information put forth on Pathlights with information from Answers in Genesis (AiG), another creationist site."<<

    Okay - So one site thought the layer of moon dust was relevant to a young earth, the other site disagreed. Big deal! That hardly makes Pathlights a ridiculous and debunked source. Seems a bit ignorant on your part, Uber to make such claims without even glancing at the information presented. If we compared all of the misinformation from Darwin and the scientific community which claims evolution is a fact, creationists have a lot more to debunk.

    From Answers in Genesis:

    All theories of science are fallible, and new data often overturn previously held theories. Just as evolutionists continually revise their theories because of new data, it should not be surprising or distressing that some creationist scientific theories need to be revised at times, too.

    ------------------------------

    Lui ->>"Embryos wouldn’t be able to turn into full-fledged people; houses wouldn’t get built, and neither would Ferraris. Yet all these things happen because these phenomena are being fed by energy inputs that allow them to craft matter into certain highly-organised and useful arrangements."<<

    In order for these "phenomena" to occur, there has to be an intelligent designer or builder behind it. Babies couldn't be born if a mother's body wasn't specifically designed to give it life. Houses and Ferraris don't get assembled after a series of tornados and hurricanes thrash through a neighborhood with pieces of wood, sheet metal and rubber. Even after billions of years, natural disasters don't create fully built cities or organized and useful arrangements – It’s illogical, irrational and unscientific.

    ------------------------------

    Bob - I hesitate to use the term "faith" too because most people equate that with a blind leap of trust and a crutch for the cripple minded.

    To me, this is what "faith" is (also the definition from the Bible):

    Faith is the essence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. When I look around at the creation, logic tells me that all this beauty and complexity in life didn't appear out of thin air by accident or evolve over billions of years. By faith I understand that the entire universe was framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen by my own eyes were not made of things which are visible. Logic and rationality says that evolution is scientifically impossible, and it is by faith that I know that a supernatural Creator must have created everything.

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  22. Adonis - I can also agree with the definition you gave:

    FAITH - Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

    I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    Thanks!

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  23. Good for you, Dani! I'm beginning to have faith in your understanding of God and Creationism. However, if you start in again trying to 'prove' God and Creationism, my faith in you will vanish.

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  24. Questions - How does evolution explain the concepts of good and evil?

    How did our conscience evolve and why do humans have a free will to choose to do good or evil?

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  25. "This is Hume's riddle of induction, simply put it is by pure "faith" that science is able to proceed to make predictions when based upon Materialist presuppositions."

    It is no part of science to demand absolute certainty. Why do scientists believe in evolution? For one reason, all the evidence points to it. Secondly, all the other theories that have been proposed to date have been shown to be wrong (or almost certainly wrong). It's hard to see how this can then be turned around as a DEFENCE of what Dani is saying, as though she had anywhere near as much grounds to say the things she does. By your rationale, absolutely any idea made up by anyone can be "defended" simply by virtue of the limitations of human knowledge. Even if you're right about faith, it is still not right to invoke it as though it were used to the same extent by everyone. Clearly there can be a spectrum of uncertainty to our knowledge. Things on the far end of the unlikely side of the scale aren't rescued and elevated, however, simply because things nearer to the likely end of the scale can't be known to be true with absolute certainty.

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  26. Lui ->>"Embryos wouldn’t be able to turn into full-fledged people; houses wouldn’t get built, and neither would Ferraris. Yet all these things happen because these phenomena are being fed by energy inputs that allow them to craft matter into certain highly-organised and useful arrangements."<<

    "In order for these "phenomena" to occur, there has to be an intelligent designer or builder behind it."

    No there doesn't. You're yet to provide a scrap of evidence to support that. You're just taking what seems apparent to YOU and inflating it to what MUST be true. But as I've said before, science shows us things that are counterintuitive (at least at first) but no less true because of that.

    "Babies couldn't be born if a mother's body wasn't specifically designed to give it life."

    I absolutely agree with you. A mother is an intricately designed entity with many interrelated parts functioning together in inimaginably complicated ways. So we both agree that invoking pure chance in order to explain such an exquisite machine as a mother is pure lunacy. Where I differ form you us that I don't think there was a DESIGNER, but instead a design PROCESS that builds things that to US have the illusion of having being deliberately designed. But the entities we see are laden with so many compromises and features that can go wrong that it's quite clear, once we actually think about it for a while, that they weren't consciously designed. Nature is horrendously wasteful, there is an enormous amount of suffering due to predation, parastism and starvation, and some of the designs are so fiendishly diabolical that it's hard to think that an omnibenevolent being could have engineered them. Think about the Ebola virus: it makes you vommit blood, your bladder cracks and urine leaks into your bloodstream, and it causes people to convulse violently when they're near to death (possibly an adapation to spread the virus to other hosts - or else a deliberately designed feature. But this seems more worthy of Satan than of God). Or ichneuomon wasps, which lay their eggs into the paralysed bodies of other insects or of tarantulas, where the larva eats them alive. There is a species of barnacle that looks like a white blob that clings to crabs and castrates them, in order to suck more nutrient out of the crab as its body allocates resources away from reproduction and towards those parts of the body that are most nutrious to the parasite. A species of worm (I think it's a worm anyway) gets inside the eye-stalks of snails and pulses, to make itself conspicuous to birds (the "aim" of the worm is to get into the body of the bird, and it uses the snail as a means to and end, for the bird is used in the next part of the life cycle). There is even a type of ant that has lost its worker caste and makes its living by infiltrating the nests of other species of ants. It uses chemicals that have the effect of making the workers in the nest kill their own queen and start working for the intruder. Or consider the cuckoo, which specialises in what is known as "brood parasitism". A mother cuckoo lays her egg in the nest of a reed-warbler, say, and flies off. The baby hatches and tosses the other eggs overboard. The resident mother comes back and finds this alien baby in her home, but she doesn't reject it. Instead, she feeds it as though it were her own. Even when the baby grows so large that the foster mother has to perch on its back to feed it, she still seems - amazingly to us - incapable of realising that it's not her baby. The red gape of the cuckoo provides the answer to this: it induces a state of hynosis in the foster mother's brain. The sight of the gape sets off some chain of event sin her nervous system perhaps not unlike what happens in a drug-addict when consuming heroin. This is exploitation par-excellence. From brain worms to hagfish, HIV to the bubonic plague, evolution has served up some pretty demonic contraptions. I think something like a quarter of all species are parasitic, and it's not difficult to see why: there is an excellent living to be made by exploiting other organisms, prodived that you can infiltrate their defences. This is what we should actively EXPECT to find if the process that gave rise to them is indifferent to suffering and hence opens the door to ruthless exploitation. Why SHOULDN'T we find parasites that weaken their hosts, or pathogens that debilitate their victims as long as they can get passed on? But these things, remember, are not accidents. They are often highly sophisticated pieces of biological machinery that have found novel and "ingenious" ways to penetrate their hosts.

    "Houses and Ferraris don't get assembled after a series of tornados and hurricanes thrash through a neighborhood with pieces of wood, sheet metal and rubber."Even after billions of years, natural disasters don't create fully built cities or organized and useful arrangements –
    It’s illogical, irrational and unscientific."

    Not really. Buidlings and cities are the sorts of things that require an intelligent design because the arrangements of matter seen have no other way to do so. Animate matter, on the other hand, has somethig handy up its sleeve: heredity. It can pass on instructions that can be altered slightly by mutations, many of which will not prosper but some of which will due to some beneficient effect. The process is necessarily slow because it's not guided by deliberate oversight. The analogy with buildings is therefore not appropriate. It's perfeclty logical (once you understand how it basically is supposed to work), perfectly rational (because the evidence supports it, and we find the sorts of things - like the above parasites - that we would expect to find if it's true), and hence is scientific.

    "Faith is the essence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. When I look around at the creation, logic tells me that all this beauty and complexity in life didn't appear out of thin air by accident or evolve over billions of years."

    By "logic", you mean only personal, intuition-based incredulity, nothing more. For you cannot mean logic in the sense that you have actually studied how it might otherwise have been, because clearly you haven't.

    "By faith I understand that the entire universe was framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen by my own eyes were not made of things which are visible. Logic and rationality says that evolution is scientifically impossible,"

    "Scientifically" impossible? On what basis?

    "How did our conscience evolve and why do humans have a free will to choose to do good or evil?"

    Conscience is a mystery and will likely stay that way for a long time to come. But now that you mention good and evil, there have been numerous studies on non-human primates that show that at least some of them may well have the glimmerings of what we would call morality. Many primates are social animals, meaning that they live in groups. In these groups, dominance heirarchies will often form that are maintained by alliances within the group. It is likely that the large brains of dolphins and some primates evolved due to selection for the ability to think in ways that allowed members of groups to out-think their rivals and gain some sort of advantage (probably in the form of more access to mates). Interestingly too, it has been shown that monkeys would rather not see their companions suffering from electric shocks even if they have the choice of obtaining food. I'm not saying that monkeys have anything like the sense of morality we have, but I am saying that we have brains that predispose us to behaviouirs and feelings that we would class as ethical (or sometimes, not). It actually makes evolutionary sense for such a faculty to have developed. As Richard Dawkins has said: "Selfishness at the genic level can manifest itself as altruism at the organismic level." This is because cooperation can, in certain circumstances, pay your genes more than purely selfish behaviour. Maternal care is an obvious example, as well as being nice to close kin in general. But another way for altruism to evolve is via reciprocal atruism, in which both parties gain something that might otherwise have been difficult to obtain by an individual working alone. So evolution would have favoured, in these cases, genes that predisposed their survival machines to behave in these ways.

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  27. I recently listened to a podcast (i.e. radio show) that deals with both the issue of defining faith (vs. trust), and evolution. Anyone reading these comments would probably be interested...a transcript can be found here , as well as a link to listen to it.

    And I just gotta say, Lui, that's impressive stuff.

    You've sorta turned Dani's fallback position ("evolution can't explain morality") back on her. And it's a good point; evil is a problem for "intelligent design", assuming the designer is also good. It requires post-hoc complications like original sin, Satan, free will, etc. Evil is not a problem for evolution; it is an expected consquence of the theory.

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  28. One thing I forgot to mention:

    Bob: The classic case of a paradigm shift is from Newtonian Mechanics to Einstein's relativity. Yet there are numerous anomolies (datum unaccounted for even in Einsteins relativity).

    Yes, a good example! But the thing is, Newtonian mechanics weren't wrong. Everything in the Newtonian paradigm is still 99.9999% correct when it comes to most practical applications (e.g. predicting the movement of planets). There are some things it can't explain - like objects moving near the speed of light - so it was not a complete theory. But incomplete does not equal wrong. Similarly, relativity is still right even though it can't explain the behaviour of very small objects.

    Taking the analogy back to evolution, it is extremely unlikely that evolution will be shown false to the extent that you and Dani believe it to be. There are, however, things it can't explain, because it is not complete. Maybe another broad theory will encompass evolution, but that doesn't mean it was wrong all along.

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  29. Lui said:
    "It is no part of science to demand absolute certainty."

    I agree completely that is the nature of induction, it can only speak in probablilities. But the riddle of induction is more foundational than talk of whether theories are true, this really is at the root of whether we are justified to proceed at all and make predictions and theories. I have not even remotely begun to defend what Dani is saying in this post. Frankly I think a lot of things done in the name of "debunking evolution" is fairly schocky research, I haven't had the time to seriously look at the links Dani put up here. So I would agree with you by in large but however I am talking about something different then what you respod to.

    Phronk said:

    "Yes, a good example! But the thing is, Newtonian mechanics weren't wrong. Everything in the Newtonian paradigm is still 99.9999% correct when it comes to most practical applications (e.g. predicting the movement of planets). There are some things it can't explain - like objects moving near the speed of light - so it was not a complete theory. But incomplete does not equal wrong. Similarly, relativity is still right even though it can't explain the behaviour of very small objects."

    You are right on here, much of what Newtonian mechanics described about the universe is still applicable (99.9999% is a gross overstatement however). My point is simply that I find there to be many many anomolies in evolution theory, I think because it is the best thing we have to explain lifes origins without brining any God into the picture (therefore more "scientific") it has won the minds of many. I really think it is more ideological then evidential. This to me is particularly clear when you see what branches of science are the most vocal supporters of evolution theory; paleontology, for example is a pretty soft science. Yet it is from here that fossils get nice stories to go with them. I find this VERY subjective and reading of theory into the data. Now don't get me wrong I think ID guys do the same thing, so I am not trying to throw stones that I wouldn't level on theists.

    Adonis said:

    "Oy vey!

    Can we use The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition 2000?

    FAITH: NOUN: 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief. , trust. 3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters. 4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. 5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith. 6. A set of principles or beliefs."


    Well, actually this just begs the question. So you give me 6 potential meanings BASED UPON CONTEXT for the word "faith". So which do you mean when you refer to a Christians "faith" in God?

    I Think number one halfway describes a Biblical view of faith. I say halfway because it fails to state that this confidence is NOT irrational but is based upon reason, in that God has shown Himself to be trust worthy to the believer.

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  30. Bob, I don't see the word 'reason' in definition one, but I do see the word 'Christianity' in definition four. Can we agree that definition four is in the right context?

    I would like to suggest you also look up usage of 'begging the question'.

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  31. That hardly makes Pathlights a ridiculous and debunked source. Seems a bit ignorant on your part, Uber to make such claims without even glancing at the information presented.

    The reason I consider Pathlights a "ridiculous and debunked source" is because, by leaving things like the hilariously inaccurate moondust claim on their site, they have shown that they are not concerned with the factual accuracy of their claims.

    Now, since the moondust issue has been shown to be false and has not been retracted, how are we to know for certain that anything else they claim to be scientific fact isn't also false? What standard do you use to determine which claims they've made are false and which are not? Or do you care? You, yourself, quoted AiG's statement that Creationist arguments sometimes need to be revised too. If you read over Pathlights' claims, you'll find that they have NOT done any such thing.

    The fact remains that, unless they admit to having made the mistake and show the reader how they have not made the same mistake with their other "evidences", they are unreliable. Even if their remaining information were correct, they are still untrustworthy.

    One of your biggest intellectual weaknesses, Dani, is that you refuse to allow for any criticism of those sources that agree with your views. Your views and your cause would not be hindered in any way by recognizing that Pathlights is an unreliable source of information. If anything, they would be strengthened by the standards you might opt to employ in the information you choose.

    If we compared all of the misinformation from Darwin and the scientific community which claims evolution is a fact, creationists have a lot more to debunk.

    1. Any "misinformation" (what those in the scientific community like to call inaccuracies or errors) from Darwin, personally, has since been rectified by the scientific process since, or will be as they are discovered by reputable and accurate individuals and organizations.

    2. Considering your criticisms of evolution come from either Bob (who's not a scientist), or websites like Pathlights (that are demonstrably unreliable), your claims of "misinformation" are more than a little laughable. So long as creationists carry on attempting to "debunk" evolution in the intellectually incorrigible fashion that Pathlights et al has, the theory evolution, be it accurate or incorrect, has absolutely nothing to worry about.

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  32. PS. I would also like Bob to check the usage of "Begging the Question", since he uses it so darn often. How does Adonis' dictionary definition presuppose any particular conclusion?

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  33. Fair enough, Uber! I'm not going to take the time to argue this issue with you, but I will admit that Pathlights is an unreliable source of information when studying the layer of moon dust. Currently on their site they have nothing to say about moon dust one way or the other so I don't think they are an untrustworthy source. They probably retracted their claim last year once they discovered it was wrong. Other than that, I find all the other information to be accurate and scientific. Why don’t you at least read some of it? Maybe you could learn something new?

    For the record, I get a lot of my information from this textbook by scientist Walt Brown

    -------------------------------

    Phronk - Thanks for the link to that radio show. I listened to it and was pleased to hear them admit that evolution is nothing but a theory with much room for improvement.

    >>"And it's a good point; evil is a problem for "intelligent design", assuming the designer is also good. It requires post-hoc complications like original sin, Satan, free will, etc. Evil is not a problem for evolution; it is an expected consquence of the theory."<<

    Actually, if a good God didn't exist then evil couldn't possibly exist either. Just like the absence of light is darkness, the absence of good is evil.

    Evolution has no moral basis to determine good from evil because everything is survival of the fittest. Distinguishing good and evil requires an absolute standard, and Someone righteous and good to set those standards. Humans instinctively know there is good and evil, right and wrong, it is not something that evolved over time. God is the One who implanted that understanding in us; the laws of physics or natural selection simply can not achieve morality.

    --------------------------------

    Lui said ->>”You're yet to provide a scrap of evidence to support that [intelligent designer or builder behind it]...But as I've said before, science shows us things that are counterintuitive (at least at first) but no less true because of that.”<<

    So let me ask you this: Which came first, proteins or DNA? The code for each protein is contained in the DNA/RNA system. However, proteins are required in order to manufacture DNA. So which came first: proteins or DNA? The ONLY explanation is that they were created together.

    The Bible states that God created life according to kinds. The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe – namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, fish produce fish, trees produce trees, and humans produce humans. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits to biological change.

    >> “A mother is an intricately designed entity with many interrelated parts functioning together in inimaginably complicated ways. So we both agree that invoking pure chance in order to explain such an exquisite machine as a mother is pure lunacy. Where I differ form you us that I don't think there was a DESIGNER, but instead a design PROCESS that builds things that to US have the illusion of having being deliberately designed.”<<

    In order for reproduction to even occur the body must have all functioning parts at the exact same moment otherwise it would be impossible for a woman to conceive or carry a baby. The amazingly complex, radically different, yet complementary reproductive systems of the male and female must have completely and independently evolved at each stage at about the same exact time and place. Just a slight incompleteness in only one of the two would make both reproductive systems useless, and the organism would become extinct.

    Evolution theory predicts nature would select asexual rather than sexual reproduction. But if asexual reproduction (splitting an organism into two identical organisms) evolved before sexual reproduction, how did complex sexual diversity arise—or survive?

    Evolution has no mechanism to explain how male and female reproductive organs evolved at the same time, yet the Bible says that from the beginning God made them male and female in order to propagate the human race and animal kinds.

    *Read more about => Sexual Reproduction

    >>”Buidlings and cities are the sorts of things that require an intelligent design because the arrangements of matter seen have no other way to do so.”<<

    How much more complex is the human body and the arrangement of matter which makes it function properly?

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy) which states that all systems degenerate from order to disorder, was regarded by Albert Einstein to be the premier Law in science. The law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Entropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God – resulting in the curse. Historically most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “growing old like a garment”. Evolution directly contradicts this law.

    >>"evolution has served up some pretty demonic contraptions"<<

    No, it's called sin! The earth became increasingly hostile after sin entered the world and even more so after the global flood destroyed everything.

    >> “Conscience is a mystery and will likely stay that way for a long time to come. But now that you mention good and evil, there have been numerous studies on non-human primates that show that at least some of them may well have the glimmerings of what we would call morality…So evolution would have favoured, in these cases, genes that predisposed their survival machines to behave in these ways.”<<

    So it’s merely “genes” that determine morality? What really sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom? Why do we have a sense of right and wrong unlike any other species on earth? Is it just a matter of millions of years for animals to evolve into moral creatures like us?

    For example – it’s not evil for dolphins to kill and eat other fish or lions to kill and eat zebras, but it would be evil for humans to kill and eat another human. Primates and other animals like to defecate and mate in public, but there’s something about humans which makes us think that crapping in front of others or having sex in the open is not right to do.

    No matter how hard science tries, evolution cannot explain emotions such as love and hate, sadness and joy, anger or peace of mind. Matter and energy do not have feelings, nor do they know good from evil.

    ------------------------

    (Sorry this is so long, but Lui likes to write mini-novels and it takes time to respond to his points along with everyone elses comments. Thanks for patiently waiting.)

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  34. "PS. I would also like Bob to check the usage of "Begging the Question", since he uses it so darn often. How does Adonis' dictionary definition presuppose any particular conclusion?"

    (Sigh), I guess I should clarify that I use the phrase "beg the question" with two senses 1) The logical fallacy sense as Uber alludes to and 2) the colloquel sense in which most people us the phrase mean that just raises the same question again. It is the second sense that I used the term in referring to Adonis' reply to my askinge what HE meant when HE used the word "faith". I got American Heritage's 6 possible meaning of the word given it's context, NONE of which I would agree with as the definition of Biblical Christian faith. My point in asking wasn't really that special and yet again it seems like it is pulling teeth to just get basic answers from people, Adonis is the only person who is a non-believer who has even given an effort to try to define faith as I asked.

    So sorry for any confusion. All I was trying to do was to simply point out that a non-believer's perception of christian "faith" in God is radically different. I think it fits into the assumption that it is irrational and belief without warrant as the dictionary citation reads above. Honestly I asked a pretty simple question days ago and got so much run around i don't even really feel that it is an avenue worth pursuing anymore. I don't think it is too much when you ask people to define a word that is so often used when they give you 6 possible meaning to define which one they mean...is it?

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  35. Bob, I appreciate that you recognize my effort to clarify the definition of faith. My effort consisted of posting a reference from a source I hoped we could agree was reliable. The fact that there are six (not 6) variations represents a starting point. Sorry I didn't make that clear. What we see in those six definitions are choices relevent to context, as you so correctly mentioned. You thought that because definition one does not mention irrationality, then 'reason' must be implicit. In fact, definition four which puts the word in context, which we both value highly, clearly mentions Christianity and theology, which is obviously the correct context.

    Forgive me, but my mother was an English teacher, so I learned how expressive and subtle the English language can be, and think that if we are going to have these philosophical discussions, we should at least be speaking the same language and agree on the meaning of the words. Perhaps there is a word that more closely expresses to the rest of us what you mean by faith.

    So where do we go from here? Perhaps if you post a definition from another source we all find reliable and agrees with your concept, or find a word that better expresses your meaning, we can go on from there.

    Until then, faith and science are mutually exlusive by definition.

    P.S. I grant you that 'begging the question' has become so misused and abused, even in mainstream media and journalism that it's not unreasonable for people who are not formally educated in critical thinking to be misusing it. But now we know better. Which raises the question, what be be a more appropriate expression?

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  36. Ouch! I know I'm going to get hammered because after rereading my comments as posted, I see at least three errors. Please don't tell my mother.

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  37. Wrote Dani:

    "For example – it’s not evil for dolphins to kill and eat other fish or lions to kill and eat zebras, but it would be evil for humans to kill and eat another human."

    Dolphins eat fish, they don't eat other dolphins. Interestingly, dolphins will cooperate with each other when feeding off of a school of fish. Rather than all of them charging pell mell into the school of fish, the dolphins will form a ring around the school, and each dolphin takes a turn snagging a fish, thereby keeping the school of fish contained.

    "Primates and other animals like to defecate and mate in public, but there’s something about humans which makes us think that crapping in front of others or having sex in the open is not right to do."

    Well, I think the smell might have something to do with humans not defecating in public, Dani. Plus over the millennia we learned a thing or two about sanitation.

    Back during caveman times, sex probably did take place in or near the presence of other people who could see or at least hear what was going on.

    And yes, while we do have a sense of right and wrong, it does not seem to have sunk into the hearts and minds of enough of humanity over the course of history when you consider the horrible cruelties perpetrated on each other. It will not stop until enough people learn that caring for the welfare of others is the best way to secure our own. And that should be something we should all agree on, regardless of our religion or lack thereof.

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  38. Hey Adonis,
    You write:

    "You thought that because definition one does not mention irrationality, then 'reason' must be implicit. In fact, definition four which puts the word in context, which we both value highly, clearly mentions Christianity and theology, which is obviously the correct context."

    Well, I said I half agree with definition one, I think it is missing half of what I would consider to be essential in understanding what I mean when I say "I have faith in God". I would refer you to an article on my blog by Francis Schaeffer where the distinction between faith (biblical) and "faith" is made (It's in my blogs May 2006 archive if you want to read it, it is pretty short). The one is an irrational leap, the other is based upon reason.

    Now as for definition four that refers to faith as a virtue. There is a difference here. I am not trying to muddy the waters so I am sorry if that is what this seems like. But that refers to continuing to trust God in the midst of trials, like torture or cancer for example. This refers to faith as a virtue, a praiseworthy trait.

    "Forgive me, but my mother was an English teacher, so I learned how expressive and subtle the English language can be, and think that if we are going to have these philosophical discussions, we should at least be speaking the same language and agree on the meaning of the words. Perhaps there is a word that more closely expresses to the rest of us what you mean by faith."

    I completely agree. That is why I brought this up, I just think that often when a non-believer uses the word "faith" it is intended to be derogatory with irrational overtones. This is why I try to avoid the word because many believers even use "faith" and mean an irrational leap of blind trust in God.

    Again what I mean is just the opposite, a rational reliance in (trust) in God. That is as simply as I can put it, it is not a blind leap...it is NOT divorced from reason. Anything less is NOT what the Bible means when it refers to faith in God.

    "Until then, faith and science are mutually exlusive by definition."

    Now here is where I have beef. How does faith by it's very nature exclude itself from science? That can only be said if you presuppose the universe operates on a closed system and God does not exist. How does faith in God undermine science?

    I would argue that materialism undermines the scientific method, as it cuts us off from having a foundation to proceed upon and to make inductive predictions (whic is absoluteley necessary for almost all forms of science). Christian theism gives an adequate basis for the uniformity of nature and thus gives an answer to Hume's riddle of induction. So I would really say that unbelief in God and science are mutually exclusive, because if you proceed to make inductive predictions without a sufficient base to answer Hume's riddle of induction and provide a rational explanation of the uniformity of nature, then you are making a blind leap of faith in order to proceed an use the scientific method.

    So I really think just the opposite is logically true, an Atheistic closed universe system is what is exclusive to the scientific method, because it gives no foundation for why we can proceed to think that the future will resemble the past, thus no foundation for the scientific method.

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  39. Tommy - Thanks for stopping back in. Just a quick note, while dolphins may cooperate with each other when feeding, male dolphins like to gang rape female dolphins during mating season.

    My point is that humans are separate from animals (more worthy because we were created in the image of God) and we shouldn't try to imitate what animals do.

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  40. “Other than that, I find all the other information to be accurate and scientific.”

    How do you “find it to be” accurate? Because it aligns with what you already believe? So a scientific claim can only be trustworthy to you when it matches your pre-scientific notions?

    “Phronk - Thanks for the link to that radio show. I listened to it and was pleased to hear them admit that evolution is nothing but a theory with much room for improvement.”

    Obviously you don’t understand what theory means in its scientific usage.

    “So let me ask you this: Which came first, proteins or DNA? The code for each protein is contained in the DNA/RNA system. However, proteins are required in order to manufacture DNA. So which came first: proteins or DNA? The ONLY explanation is that they were created together.”

    Or so you’ve been told. Of course, this has been a hot question for a long time now, and it’s not nearly so simply as you make it out to be.

    Response to Claim CB015: DNA could have evolved gradually from a simpler replicator; RNA is a likely candidate, since it can catalyze its own duplication (Jeffares et al. 1998; Leipe et al. 1999; Poole et al. 1998). The RNA itself could have had simpler precursors, such as peptide nucleic acids (Böhler et al. 1995). A deoxyribozyme can both catalyze its own replication and function to cleave RNA -- all without any protein enzymes (Levy and Ellington 2003)."

    “Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes.”

    And of course, that has absolutely no bearing on the validity of evolution, because the theory ALSO states that such change is cumulative and slow. In other words, what you’re demanding is the very thing that the theory says we shouldn’t see happening in front of us. You’re actually asking for a miracle, and that’s not evolution. It’s creationism. If it ever happened, it would be worrying to evolutionary theory, not a vindication of it. I suggest you look into ring species to see why your supposition of discrete, immutable “kinds” is erroneous. And for God’s sake, look into fossil genes already.

    “The amazingly complex, radically different, yet complementary reproductive systems of the male and female must have completely and independently evolved at each stage at about the same exact time and place. Just a slight incompleteness in only one of the two would make both reproductive systems useless, and the organism would become extinct.”

    This is a stunningly naïve view of how evolution is supposed to work. What do you mean by “slight incompleteness”? The term is so vague it doesn’t even mean anything. Complementary systems evolve in a cascading positive feedback loop, in which one has a selection pressure on the other to favour a bit more of one thing. And vice versa. It’s like the cheetah and the gazelle: both exerted selection pressures on the other to divert more resources towards fast running. Of course, speed itself isn’t a “feature” of the organism: there was selection of a whole suite of features being tuned in certain directions. There was not only selection pressure for these things independently, but also selection pressure for these things to work well together in a multitude of ways. Likewise for sexual reproduction. Conceptually at least, it isn’t that hard to imagine, though of course the details will be pretty involved.

    “Evolution theory predicts nature would select asexual rather than sexual reproduction.”

    In some environments, yes. Asexual reproduction allows for the propagation of successful genotypes without the expenditures required of sex. But there are disadvantages that mean that sexual reproduction tends to prevail. For example, if conditions change, alleles can’t be mixed because interbreeding doesn’t occur – only cloning does. Most asexual lineages become extinct because they can’t adapt as readily. So evolutionary theory predicts the opposite of what you’re supposing.

    “But if asexual reproduction (splitting an organism into two identical organisms) evolved before sexual reproduction, how did complex sexual diversity arise—or survive?”

    That’s a separate question, to which no one knows the answer. Some ingenious hypotheses have been formulated, including the effects to segregation distorters, the refinement of bacterial conjugation, and some other possible mechanisms. Some of these or all of them might be right (depending on whether sexual selection evolved independently in separate lineages), and perhaps we’ll never know for certain, but it’s not something magical as it’s made out to be by those more accustomed to a one-dimensional conception of nature.

    “Evolution has no mechanism to explain how male and female reproductive organs evolved at the same time, “

    Yes it does. Co-evolutionary arms races, symbiosis and balancing selection.

    “yet the Bible says that from the beginning God made them male and female in order to propagate the human race and animal kinds.”

    The Bible says lots of things, many of them demonstrably untrue. And it has some glaring omissions. Surely it could have been mentioned that in humans, the default “form” is female? Yet we are to believe that a woman came from a man.

    >>”Buidlings and cities are the sorts of things that require an intelligent design because the arrangements of matter seen have no other way to do so.”<<

    ”How much more complex is the human body and the arrangement of matter which makes it function properly?”

    A lot more complex, but that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about a property possessed by living systems that is not possessed by artificial, human made structures, and which makes an enormous difference. It is not, as you have done, something to ignore when trying to compare the two. You don’t just look at two similarities between the two, and focus just on that.

    “Evolution directly contradicts this law.”

    No it doesn’t. As I explained, life has been described as “negative entropy”, because it feeds off of energy inputs. Surely you’re not going to deny that the Earth receives an enormous amount of energy from the sun? It’s hardly a closed system. I mean, have you ever seen Earth compared to the sun? There’s this really haunting photograph taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft, of Earth “suspended in a ray of sunlight.” Earth is tiny. Evolution (and just life) is a LOCAL decrease in entropy, more than paid off for by the overall increase in entropy in the solar system as a whole. There is no contradiction whatsoever.

    “>>"evolution has served up some pretty demonic contraptions"<<

    ”No, it's called sin! The earth became increasingly hostile after sin entered the world and even more so after the global flood destroyed everything.”

    Give me a break. You want to explain complex natural phenomena by invoking “sin”? This is what you call science? Can you imagine a scientist talking like this? “Let’s study how this female is able to infiltrate and exploit the nest of this species”. “No need. It’s because of sin.” Stark-raving mad, but that’s exactly how it SHOULD be perceived by anyone with any respect for science. I’ll say it again: these phenomena are COMPLEX things. They involve expenditure of resources towards deception. They need a proper explanation, not a dodge like saying that it’s sin. That explains absolutely nothing. The silly thing is that you’re not even invoking a mechanism. “Sin” isn’t a mechanism; it’s a human concept that has no bearing on what other organisms do. Since you have no mechanism to explain these things (saying God did it would go against him being a benevolent entity, so that’s out of the question, but even more out of the question is admitting that evolution is the cause, even in these cases), you pretty much have no choice but to try to dodge these inconvenient examples.

    Some examples of sin (I encourage everyone to have a look, and wonder whether invoking sin to explain them is not a cheapening of their beauty):
    Ant mimicking spider 1
    Ant mimicking spider 2
    Beetle micking spider
    Leaf-mimicking katydid
    Orchid mantis 1
    Orchid mantis 2
    Hornet clear-wing, a harmless moth mimicking a hornet
    Branch-mimicking moth
    Alligator snapping turtle with work-like appendage in its mouth to lure prey
    Bee-mimicking orchid, tricks male bees into trying to copulate with it as a means to spread its pollen
    Leaf insect, complete with leaf imperfections
    Leaf insect 2
    Caterpillar that looks like a snake
    Spiny stick insect

    “So it’s merely “genes” that determine morality? What really sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom?”

    I’ve talked about this at length previously. Does it really need to be said what sets us apart, and does it really need to be said that evolutionists fully acknowledge these things? (indeed, is the motivation for studying them in the first place?) Here’s something we can both agree on: humans are the most highly encephalised organisms on the planet. We are very good at transmitting cultural information and making use of it. We can simulate events in our heads to help us make decisions. And a whole bunch of other stuff sets us apart. What’s your point?

    “Why do we have a sense of right and wrong unlike any other species on earth?”

    Who says they don’t? Refer to what I already posted about primates. Even if they don’t, that would be a fact about the world that needs a proper explanation, not a platform from which to jump to conclusions.

    “Is it just a matter of millions of years for animals to evolve into moral creatures like us?”

    No; the conditions have to be in place for natural selection to favour encephalisation, given the trade-offs to be had. Growing a large brain for your body size is expensive in terms of resources that could have been used for other things, and that cost is not always worth the expenditure. Creatures that invest in other things at the expense of braininess may well do better, and natural selection will penalise any over-investment in brains. Even if all the conditions are in place to bring about the right selection pressures, it’s no guarantee, because extinctions can occur.

    “Primates and other animals like to defecate and mate in public, but there’s something about humans which makes us think that crapping in front of others or having sex in the open is not right to do.”

    Again, what’s your point? This is stuff we’ve covered already, at length. Every species of animal is unique, and we are no exception. Perhaps we’re “exceptionally exceptional”, but only by some criteria. We still share nearly all our systems and chemical processes with other mammals; we share nearly all our genes with chimpanzees.

    “No matter how hard science tries, evolution cannot explain emotions such as love and hate, sadness and joy, anger or peace of mind.”

    It can at least explain the significance for having these things from a survival perspective. It cannot actually explain how these emotions are manifested in the brain. THAT is still a mystery.

    “Matter and energy do not have feelings, nor do they know good from evil.”

    True, but irrelevant, because we’re talking about matter that has been arranged in a very specific way. It’s strange that you should go on about how “impossible” complex physical systems are, and then cast them aside as though they had no relevance to the matter of morality and emotions. I have always maintained that subjective emotions are emergent properties of sufficiently complex physical systems; you have always maintained that the soul is the entity in which emotions and such reside. If physical systems are irrelevant anyway – if “matter and energy do not have feelings” – then why worry about whether evolution is true or not? What difference would it make?

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  41. Lui – Either you can type really, really fast or you have a lot of free time on your hands. I am only going to respond to a couple points then will have to move on to other topics.

    >> “Surely you’re not going to deny that the Earth receives an enormous amount of energy from the sun? It’s hardly a closed system. I mean, have you ever seen Earth compared to the sun?”<<

    Yes – and just imagine how much energy the earth received from the sun billions of years ago!

    Read this => The Sun is Shrinking :

    Recently, "John A. Eddy (Harvard -Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and High Altitude Observatory in Boulder) and Aram A. Boornazian (a mathematician with S. Ross and Co. in Boston) have found evidence that the sun has been contracting about 0.1% per century…corresponding to a shrinkage rate of about 5 feet per hour." The diameter of the sun is close to one million miles, so that this shrinkage of the sun goes unnoticed over hundreds or even thousands of years.

    What does the shrinkage of the sun have to do with creation and evolution? The sun was larger in the past than it is now by 0.1% per century. A creationist, who may believe that the world was created approximately 6 thousand years ago, has very little to worry about. The sun would have been only 6% larger at creation than it is now. However, if the rate of change of the solar radius remained constant, 100 thousand years ago the sun would be twice the size it is now. One could hardly imagine that any life could exist under such altered conditions. Yet 100 thousand years is a minute amount of time when dealing with evolutionary time scales.

    How far back in the past must one go to have a sun so large that its surface touches the surface of the earth? The solar radius changes at 2.5 feet per hour, half the 5 feet per hour change of the solar diameter. The distance from the sun to the earth is 93 million miles, and there are 5,280 feet in one mile. Assuming (by uniformitarian-type reasoning) that the rate of shrinkage has not changed with time, then the surface of the sun would touch the surface of the earth at a time in the past equal to or approximately 20 million B.C. However, the time scales required for organic evolution range from 500 million years to 2,000 million years. It is amazing that all of this evolutionary development, except the last 20 million years, took place on a planet that was inside the sun. By 20 million B.C., all of evolution had occurred except the final stage, the evolution of the primate into man.

    One must remember that the 20 million year B.C. date is the extreme limit on the time scale for the earth's existence. The time at which the earth first emerged from the shrinking sun is 20 million B.C. A more reasonable limit is the 100 thousand year B.C. limit set by the time at which the size of the sun should have been double its present size. The change in the size of the sun over the past 400 years is important in the study of origins.

    Over 100 thousand years these changes would have accumulated so much that life of any kind on the earth would have been very difficult, if not impossible. Thus, all life on the earth must be less than 100 thousand years old. The sun, 20 million years ago, would have been so large that it would have engulfed the earth. The earth cannot be more than 20 million years old. Those dates as upper limits rule out any possibility of evolution requiring hundreds of millions of years. However, the tiny change that would have occurred in the sun during the Biblical time since creation would be so small as to go almost unnoticed. Thus, the changes in the sun are consistent with recent creation.

    The changes detected in the sun call into question the accepted thermonuclear fusion energy source for the sun. This, in turn, questions the entire theoretical structure upon which the evolutionary theory of astrophysics is built.

    >>"Some examples of sin (I encourage everyone to have a look, and wonder whether invoking sin to explain them is not a cheapening of their beauty)"<<

    Beauty is not a result of sin, death, suffering and disease are a result of sin. Evolution is what cheapens the beauty of these creatures by saying they exist by chance and billions of years worth of accidental mutations.

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  42. Dani: I listened to it and was pleased to hear them admit that evolution is nothing but a theory with much room for improvement.

    True, but by putting "nothing but" in there, you seem to imply that the ability to improve is a weakness rather than the strength that it is.

    It's a GOOD thing that the theory gets better and better as we learn more about it. The field of biology is improving every day. If a theory didn't change with new knowledge, it would get worse and worse every day, as we learn more and it explains less. Intelligent design is an example of the latter.

    Actually, if a good God didn't exist then evil couldn't possibly exist either. Just like the absence of light is darkness, the absence of good is evil.

    That's a good point. I was more concerned with the fact that evil is allowed to actually occur, though, rather than just being concievable. The fact that God allows evil is a problem that requires a solution. The fact that nature allows what we label as evil is expected given what we know about it, and requires no extra explanation.

    Evolution has no moral basis to determine good from evil because everything is survival of the fittest. Distinguishing good and evil requires an absolute standard, and Someone righteous and good to set those standards. Humans instinctively know there is good and evil, right and wrong, it is not something that evolved over time. God is the One who implanted that understanding in us; the laws of physics or natural selection simply can not achieve morality.

    We've been over this a dozen times, so I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I just wish you had REASONS to disagree with me rather than stating your case repeatedly. Myself and others have put forward perfectly plausible ways in which morality could have evolved naturally, and perfectly good proofs that morality could not have and/or does not require some absolute standard or God, but it always ends there. You don't rebut the rebuttles.

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  43. Lui: It cannot actually explain how these emotions are manifested in the brain. THAT is still a mystery.

    It's not a complete mystery. We know quite a bit about emotions and how they relate to the brain. And it probably won't be much of a mystery for long.

    And I wonder, if one believes that stuff like emotion and morality are uniquely human, and properties of the soul, how come altering the physical brain (through damage or stimulation or whatever) can alter emotion and morality? How is the immaterial soul affected by screwing with the physical brain?

    That's awfully perplexing unless you admit some degree of materialism.

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  44. I just realized, rereading my last post on this thread, that I forgot to post my evidence that Pathlights had not retracted their "moon dust" claim.

    You can find a statement made by Pathlights affirming this claim on this page. Simply use your find function and type in "moon dust", or scroll down to just below "7—POTASSIUM-CALCIUM DATING", under the category of "PROBLEMS WITH ALL RADIODATING METHODS". That took 15 seconds for me to find. If I had the patience to read anything further from Pathlights, I'm certain that I could find more.

    Personally, I'd very much like to get a response to my last post on this thread. Just putting that one out there.

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  45. I just got to bring this up because I like Phronk:

    "We've been over this a dozen times, so I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I just wish you had REASONS to disagree with me rather than stating your case repeatedly. Myself and others have put forward perfectly plausible ways in which morality could have evolved naturally, and perfectly good proofs that morality could not have and/or does not require some absolute standard or God, but it always ends there. You don't rebut the rebuttles."

    I would again also just reply that the best you can do is form a utilitarian form of ethics. With pseudo-senses of wrong and right emotions that have developed over time. As far as giving a real foundation for why one action is REALLY wrong and another REALLY bad, these are just man made catagories. As such they can be dismissed, the only real impetus for living morally in this sort of view is the fear of jailtime.

    As Nietzche would say all you are doing is just making a slave morality to impede the strong from doing what is really natural (and therefore right)...raping, pilaging and killing.

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  46. Bob,

    When you talk about something in regards to it being "REALLY wrong" and "REALLY bad", I'd maintain that what you're actually talking about is the universal-objective morality that I discussed extensively on your own blog here. (Currently the last comment, and one or two of my comments immediately previous that one)

    In that explanation, I also mentioned how and why our explanations have no need to prescribe ethics, as you continue to insist on getting an answer regarding, since they merely describe what they are, generally, and how and why they come about.

    Also, several of us have gone further than that to explain why we behave morally according to our developed system. These explanations dealt with your concern regarding reasons for humans wanting to avoid jail-time and other such unpleasantness. Do you remember those?

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  47. "In that explanation, I also mentioned how and why our explanations have no need to prescribe ethics, as you continue to insist on getting an answer regarding, since they merely describe what they are, generally, and how and why they come about."

    So what do you want me to say Uber, since you have in effect given up on being able to give any rational reason as to what right and wrong are and you can't answer the question doesn't make the question go away or make it less meaningful. You see I live in the real world where I make real ethical decisions everyday, and without prescribed morality and without moral oughts all is permissable. All that is left is power, you might go to jail for rape.

    Also you didn't describe ethics at all you just have a fuzzy story about how they "evolved" nuerogically in our conscious. That doesn't make them meaningful. We are just basically fooled into thinking our moral actions have meaning when really they don't. Boy that evolution sure is smart...I mean one would think that our moral inclings would mean right and wrong catagories really do exist, but that is really just chemicals in my brain tricking me to help our race survive.

    "Also, several of us have gone further than that to explain why we behave morally according to our developed system. These explanations dealt with your concern regarding reasons for humans wanting to avoid jail-time and other such unpleasantness. Do you remember those?"

    No I guess I don't. I guess I would just say do you remember how I pointed out how empty they were?

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  48. You know the "We have dealt with that already and have solidly answered don't you remember?" line gets used a lot around here. Maybe to make it easy on you guys you could just save your airtight answers in Word and just cut and paste them so you can shut us up everytime we bring up issues you have roundly answered with no errors in logic.

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  49. So what do you want me to say Uber, since you have in effect given up on being able to give any rational reason as to what right and wrong are

    Given up? Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't recall the part where you refuted our explanations of right and wrong. I'll apologize if I'm mistaken on this one, but it seems to me that the argument with you, Bob, goes as follows:

    1. You declare some sort of shortcoming in our worldview (usually that we can't account for right and wrong, or morality, or something similar)

    2. We provide an explanation when challenged.

    3. You find a problem with this explanation that winds up not actually being a problem for our explanation (eg. universal-objective ethics/morality), and then declare the case closed.

    4. You forget everything we said and proceed with the same criticisms as if you had never read the objections in the first place.

    Now, if you honestly need it repeated again, I'll be happy to:

    I believe that "Right" and "Wrong" are subjective human ideals developed over the course of our existence through the learning of the necessary behaviour required to peacefully co-exist (as opposed to having been arbitrarily created around a campfire one night, as seems to be a popular creationist straw-man). This development accounts for the perception that morality is universal and objective, since it is widespread. Further, a point you've consistently ignored, is that this explanation for human morality ("Right" and "Wrong") is a DEscriptive one, meaning it merely shows how and why things are the way they are. It does not attempt, and does not need, to explain how anyone should behave.

    This is an extremely important distinction between my views and your own on the origins of human morality, which are PREscriptive. That is to say, they lay out a particular moral code and then state that everyone must follow it (on pain of damnation).

    The reason this distinction is so important to our discussion is that you have been criticizing a descriptive explanation as though it were prescriptive. If my system merely explains how people will behave, it makes no sense to criticize it for not saying why people should behave a certain way. And lets face it, you not liking our "fuzzy story about how they "evolved" nuerogically in our conscious" has absolutely no bearing on its accuracy. Appeal to ridicule all you like, you still have not provided a valid criticism of our views.

    You also seem to have this funny idea that, if our system were true, the world would suddenly change in some fundamental way, people would feel different things for different reasons, and large quantities of people would start randomly raping others because it was in their power. This only betrays either an inability to grasp the implications of a DEscriptive explanation, or a deliberate choice to ignore and mock an explanation that you, personally, don't like.

    So there you have it. Yet another abridged version of my position, just for you, and a detailed explanation of why your current criticisms simply don't work when applied to mine.

    I'd recommend, since you seem to be the one having a hard time remembering, that you take your own advice and save a sample of my worldview in Word for yourself, so that when you decide that we have nothing to say on the matter you'll have a file there for you as evidence to the contrary.

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  50. Um the funny thing is that it is the part you put in bold that I describe as "giving up":

    "It does not attempt, and does not need, to explain how anyone should behave."

    I don't know how you can't see this as anything but a giving up on the ability to explain WHY people should live morally. Also that said I don't know how you can with intellectual honesty say this leaves you with a sufficient moral base to act morally upon. You have previously fully confessed a relativism, thus you conclude with the above statement.

    I would flat out disagree, YOU DO NEED TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER THE WHY'S of morality or else you might as well just be uttering incoherent dribble every time you say "X is wrong" or act like "X is wrong". If you can't give a why, and why we should act is such you might as well say in place of classic things like "Rape is wrong!" "Shlizzp flarp plip plorp!"
    Unless you can explain whys that's all we are left with.

    From here all I can say is live like it.

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  51. I just want to clarify since I mulled this stuff over as I ate my dinner. When I said I live in the real world and I deal with real ethical deciscions everyday I was being very serious.

    What Uber has in effect said is that he as an Atheist doesn't need to give a rational answer as to why I should behave morally...really because he simply can't. So he casts the debate and says that is a non issue all he needs to do is say morality could have evolved he says. So what I am saying is no matter how much Uber may stomp his foot and say I don't need to answer they "why's of morality" that really only reaffirms the Theist's thesis: That Atheism can't really provide a basis for morals.

    Sure one may say evolution explains where morality came from. But this is entirely different from answering what is moral and why one should act as such. Uber avoids this by saying he doesn't need to answer these questions...that's a cop out folks. And frankly if you live in the real world like me you should have real reasons for why acting like a complete debauched pig is just that.

    Christianity gives us a basis on which to proceed and make rational moral decisions. That basis is more then just a fear of judgement, as most kind of sloppily assert, Christian morality is not founded primarily on fear of damnation, that is simply a straw man of what Christians believe in regards to ethics because it represents only a part of the picture and Biblically judgement is never the primary motive to act morally. Rather, because right is right and God is glorified by man who is made in His image behaving like God.

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  52. Bob, the conclusion I draw from your comments is that maybe the mass of mankind needs to believe that there is a Supreme Being that wants us to do x but refrain from doing y. Of course, it does not provide evidence that this Supreme Being exists, merely that the belief in and of itself is good for humanity.

    I don't know if you were ever a fan of the tv show "Cheers" Bob, but if you were, you might recall the following episode. If you remember, after Norm Peterson got fired from his accounting job, he ended up becoming a house painter. In the episode in question, a customer at the bar tells Norm that he is unemployed and if Norm would take him on as an employee. Norm ends up hiring him and another customer to work for him.

    Unfortunately for Norm, the two guys do not respect his authority and do very little work. In order to motivate them, Norm creates a fictional boss over him that he calls Kreitzer, who is a mean and abusive hard ass. Norm tells his workers that Kreitzer is very angry with them and that they have to start working harder. He even goes so far as to have Kreitzer yell at him while the workers are standing outside of the closed office door, when it is in fact Norm that is alternating between his own voice and the imaginary Kreitzer. If memory serves, I think Norm ends up going too far with the Kreitzer facade and the guys end up quitting on him. But it is illustrative of how the creation of an authority figure that is fictional but believed to be true can be a motivating force. That is how I believe the God of the Old Testament came about. The Israelite priests wanted to encourage the people to engage in some behaviors and avoid others, so what better way to do that than to invent an angry and vindictive god?

    As for what makes certain behaviors right or wrong, I will take a bite. Allow me to use an analogy. You would surely agree with me that throughout human history, engineers would devise better and better way of building structures. For instance, compare pictures of the earliest Egyptian pyramids all the way up to the grandest of them all, the Cheops pyramid and you will note the improvement. But consider more practical applications. Buildings constructed using materials and techniques that make the buildings sturdier and less likely to collapse are clearly more desirable than buildings that use inferior standards. Who would want to live or worship in a building that could collapse at any moment? As each new technique is discovered, the objective standard for constructing a building is raised further higher. It is a cumulative process.

    Human experience over time made it evident that certain behaviors created favorable conditions and other behaviors created unfavorable conditions. Behaviors that both you and I would agree are wrong have negative consequences. Why is rape wrong? Well, for starters, it is highly traumatic for the woman or girl who experiences it. Second, if the rapist is carrying an infectious disease, that disease would be passed on (or at least is likely to be passed on) to the rape victim. The rape victim can then conceivably pass on that infection to someone else. Third, the rape victim could conceivable become pregnant. Since you and I are not women Bob, we do not know what it is like to be pregnant. Perhaps Dani can chime in here and enlighten us and tell us if she experienced morning sickness and how bad it was. You also have to take into account that until fairly recent in our history, childbirth could be very dangerous for women and sometimes women would die from the experience. It is bad enough that a woman could die from giving birth to a child fathered by her husband, but to die from it as a result of being raped by some brigand would only add injury to insult.

    In closing, if the person most dear to you had to be admitted to the hospital for a complicated surgery in order to save that person's life, are you going to barge into the operating room and demand to know if the surgeon is a God fearing Christian before beginning the operation, or would you prefer to know that the surgeon is competent and experienced at what he does? If, after the hopefully successful operation, you find out that the surgeon is an agnostic, are you going to badger him and pester him as to why he became a surgeon because without belief in Christ there is no objective reason to believe that saving peoples lives in the operating room is a worth endeavor? Isn't it enough that he saved your loved one's life?

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  53. Hey Tommy,
    I really appreciate your candid response. Honestly I think what you have stated in here is a great attempt to explain the moral whys Uber is puposely avoiding. However, there is a reason Uber avoids doing what you do here (attempting to give ethical why's and the why's to define things as "right" or "wrong") which I will point out when I come to the meat of what you say above.

    I appreciate what you write because it shows you live in the real world and make real moral choices and at least think you have sufficient reason to do such. These issues are not merely scholastical and polemical debate points these issues effect how we live.

    That said, I haven't seen that episode of Cheers but it sounds absolutely hilarious. It does fit excellently with your point that people can intentionally invent ideas "God" in order to minipulate people in to doing what they want. I completely agree. The Catholic church was a master at doing this in the Middle ages (indulgences is the hallmark example). However, it doesn't necessarily follow from this that God is non existant and just a human invention for minipulation. God can still exist yet people use the word "god" as a minipulator. To that I completely agree.

    You write:

    "That is how I believe the God of the Old Testament came about. The Israelite priests wanted to encourage the people to engage in some behaviors and avoid others, so what better way to do that than to invent an angry and vindictive god?"

    Well when we come to the OT we see that there was more going on then just a group of elites talking about this figure "God" in order to control the people. I mean Aaron the high priest looses two of his sons for approaching God in a cavilier manner. Also there were numerous Divine manifestations to confirm God's leading of the Israelites, the parting of the waters and walking on land would be a pretty hard one to fake and then continue to point to it to keep an angry mob from revolting as Moses often did.

    So ultimatly I think to say that men have used the word/concept "god" in order to minipulate and control others therefore God's doesn't exist and the Biblical accounts in the OT are just men using "god" words to minipulate others, is to commit the logical fallacy of begging the question against the existance of God and the Bible's testimony.

    Moving from that you begin to lay out some moral reasonings. By the way I in no way think that just because you are an Atheist that you automatically are a completely a-moral unstable person, I assume you are probably a pretty moral law abiding fellow. Anyway in giving your reasons from an Atheistic perspective for why we should act morally and how we know what is moral you write:

    "Human experience over time made it evident that certain behaviors created favorable conditions and other behaviors created unfavorable conditions. Behaviors that both you and I would agree are wrong have negative consequences. Why is rape wrong? Well, for starters, it is highly traumatic for the woman or girl who experiences it. Second, if the rapist is carrying an infectious disease, that disease would be passed on (or at least is likely to be passed on) to the rape victim. The rape victim can then conceivably pass on that infection to someone else. Third, the rape victim could conceivable become pregnant. Since you and I are not women Bob, we do not know what it is like to be pregnant."

    First off I want to say that I admire your sympathy for others. I think we certainly should care about the welfare of others and that should be part of our moral reasoning. I say this because I think human life has value being made in the image of God.

    However you are coming from a non-Theistic worldview when you say things like: "Why is rape wrong? Well, for starters, it is highly traumatic for the woman or girl who experiences it." You assume that I should care about other people. You are correct that rape is very traumatic for women, but in a chance universe that is just one of the things that happens. The strong exert themselves on the weaker, a man rapes a woman. That's just what happens, yes trauma, but that's just what happens. To say that it is wrong because rape causes trauma is like saying rain is wrong because it causes wetness.

    The same applies for the other two reasons given. These are just things that happen in a chance Materialist universe. Women are raped by men and this causes std's, trauma, and unexpected pregnancy. It doesn't follow if we presuppose Materialism that therefore rape is "wrong". Sure most women probably don't like these effects but that doesn't make the actual act wrong. Again that is like saying the Sun shining is wrong because most people don't like glares on their TV's when the Bears are playing.

    "You also have to take into account that until fairly recent in our history, childbirth could be very dangerous for women and sometimes women would die from the experience. It is bad enough that a woman could die from giving birth to a child fathered by her husband, but to die from it as a result of being raped by some brigand would only add injury to insult."

    Again this assumes that something that is very natural in a Materialist universe (death) means that which causes it is "wrong". Again that is like calling charging Rhino's or Tornado's "wrong", these are just things that happen.

    "In closing, if the person most dear to you had to be admitted to the hospital for a complicated surgery in order to save that person's life, are you going to barge into the operating room and demand to know if the surgeon is a God fearing Christian before beginning the operation, or would you prefer to know that the surgeon is competent and experienced at what he does?"

    No it wouldn't matter at all. For the reason I stated above. I think you Tommy are probably a fairly moral person, I just don't think you can be so logically based upon YOUR worldview.

    "If, after the hopefully successful operation, you find out that the surgeon is an agnostic, are you going to badger him and pester him as to why he became a surgeon because without belief in Christ there is no objective reason to believe that saving peoples lives in the operating room is a worth endeavor? Isn't it enough that he saved your loved one's life?"

    Well yes I would be wonderfully grateful for his very kind and loving service. However, I could ask him why he even thinks extending the existance of biological machines (humans) is a "good" thing based upon his worldview.

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  54. "Beauty is not a result of sin, death, suffering and disease are a result of sin. Evolution is what cheapens the beauty of these creatures by saying they exist by chance and billions of years worth of accidental mutations."

    Hang on, you said that these creatures are the result of sin. So the spiders that look uncannily like ants - in order to be able to infiltrate and parasitise an ant colony - is, according to you, the result of sin. I think we can all see who's cheapening nature. You should at least employ some consistency before spouting off a load of nonsense. Absolutely everyone here can see that you got well and truly screwed by my response (no wonder you didn't attempt to reply to more than one of the points; instead, you went off on a tangent about the sun. Yeah, I've heard these types of arguments before - taking one factor, ignoring everything else, and then extrapolating back to arrive at some completely ridiculous conclusion (it's strange that creationists should accuse evolutionists of making assumptions about constant rates of this and that, when that's exactly what they do when it suits them. And they do so even when there is evidence that advises against assuming constancy. It's an old tactic. They take what REAL scientists discover, and then twist and pervert it to fit in with a feeble-minded, banal word-view. You sit there talking about science; yet we're to believe that the folks at NASA are too stupid to see what's in front of them? Give me a break. NO ONE buys that, probably not even you). You just don't seem to understand the idea that science is COMPLICATED, and that's why it takes years of training to achieve competence in a given field. All creationism does is complain and sit on the side lines, taking pot shots and scavenging for anything that can be made to sound anti-Darwinian.

    >Lui: It cannot actually explain how these emotions are manifested in the brain. THAT is still a mystery.<

    "It's not a complete mystery. We know quite a bit about emotions and how they relate to the brain. And it probably won't be much of a mystery for long."

    Sorry, I should have been clearer about what I meant. I'm also fascinated with the advances in neuroscience, and I enjoyed Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate" (which I highly recommend to anyone). What I meant was that the thing we call consciousness has not been sorted out - as in, we don't know how it is actually "done", even though we have a good idea of how it is effected by stimuli.

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  55. Bob,
    Here are some of the great morals your Bible teaches:

    "Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

    "All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense." (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    "Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants." (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

    '"Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told."' (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

    "This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: 'I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.'" (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)

    "(Moses) stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, "All of you who are on the LORD's side, come over here and join me." And all the Levites came. He told them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Strap on your swords! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other, killing even your brothers, friends, and neighbors." The Levites obeyed Moses, and about three thousand people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, "Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Because of this, he will now give you a great blessing." " (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)

    " "Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD. "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction"." (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)

    "As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you." (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

    " If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)

    "If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife." (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

    "Consecrate to me every first-born that opens the womb among Israelites, both man and beast, for it belongs to me." (Exodus 13:2)

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  56. Well Bob, the difference between rape and weather phenomena is that rape is a result of a conscious act by one person against another. Rape does not just happen.

    Notice how I put first the trauma and harm it causes to the victim. As you may know, back in the day, and sadly even in some places today, women were seen as property of their husbands or their families. A woman who was raped was deemed as having brought shame upon the family. Even today in some of the more hillbilly parts of the Muslim world there are still "honor killings".

    A society or culture is demonstrably better by just about any measurable criteria when its members exercise an ethic of mutual respect for each others' welfare, safety and property. That is what allows a civilization to thrive. This is what the Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu spoke of in propounding his doctrine of universal love.

    I would warrant that close to 100% of the population does not want their spouses or children to be raped. So society comes to a collective decision that rape is a crime that should be punished. It sends a message to would be perpetrators that there conduct will not be tolerated. But enacting the law is only the first step. The next step of course is that the law is enforced, or else it becomes just a hollow statement. Otherwise the law will be flouted and respect for the law will vanish.

    In NYC during the late 80's and early 90's, there was a serious crime problem. In one year, 1992 I think, NYC had over 2,200 murders. In response to this, the NYPD adopted the "broken windows" doctrine of policing and started enforcing the law against seemingly low level offenses like turnstyle jumping. (For those not familiar with that term, the turnstyle is where you have to pay before passing through to get to the subway platform.) Once the police started arresting turnstyle jumpers, crime on the subways went into decline. Why? Well, some people came to the bright realization that the troglodytes who commit crimes on the subway are more likely to be the people who jumped the turnstyles.

    It helps to foster a virtuous circle. More tourists visit. More businesses open up and more job opportunities are created. Tax revenues increase and needed social services can be better funded.

    Regards,

    TK

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  57. I don't know how you can't see this as anything but a giving up on the ability to explain WHY people should live morally.

    If my statement regarding how a descriptive explanation of morality were the only thing I, or anyone else, had ever said on the matter, I'd probably agree with you. There is, however, much more to it than that, and your inability to extrapolate from the explanation I've provided seems to perpetuate your further inability to really get what I mean when I distinguish between the universal-objective and the human-subjective. I suggest that you think about THAT distinction a little more over your next meal.

    Do you remember the part in the my last comment where I mentioned our subjective morality being widespread? That was an important part of the argument, particularly concerning what you've just brought up. You'll see why in a little bit.

    When I walk out my door and decide that something should or shouldn't be a certain way, I might make those decisions consciously and unconsciously based on a number of potential factors:

    1. How I was raised (Dad always told me that things could be solved better with diplomacy rather than violence, stealing's bad, etc, and the resulting consequences if I did one of those things)
    2. How I was socialized (Moral ideas promoted in society and the media that find application in my life)
    3. My personal experiences since my childhood (Cheating on a loved one hurts everyone involved in some way or another, etc)
    4. The law (Modes of behaviour prescribed and prohibited by the government)
    5. My intellectual understanding of the consequences of certain behaviour, based on my reaction to the above factors

    and likely much more than that (Phronk once mentioned the likelihood that we also carry around culturally ingrained behaviour in our psyches that would be expressed through our everyday behaviour without the need of any outside influence, which is a neat idea).

    In any case, I draw on any one of those things, alone or in combination, to make what I feel are "moral" decisions. Because of the above factors, I feel that they are "right". One thing that reinforces this feeling of "right" is that the majority of the people in the section of society in which I live develop similarly enough through childhood, socialization, personal experience, etc, that we all have a large portion of those feelings of what is "right" and "wrong" in common. (They're widespread, in other words). So, in my particular society, if I declare something "right" or "wrong", and that society agrees, I am supported in my assertion that that thing is right.

    So, really, to answer the question of by what authority I say a thing is wrong, I have to say that I do so by my own, and by the society in which I live.

    Since not all societies would likely agree in a system like this, given the vastly different circumstances in which they find themselves and through which they have developed, we should expect to see some disagreement on what is right and wrong. We do, in fact, see this happening in the world, and so the prediction is confirmed.

    So, the reason, which you so prematurely declared absent, for why the system I described earlier does not need to explain why a person should behave a certain way, is that a person's moral beliefs depend entirely on the context in which they were formed. The system is descriptive, and so it has no prescriptive power. I can tell you, from the standpoint of a person in my society, why you should behave a certain way, but some of that might have little to no bearing on how you should behave according to a tribal leader in Africa, or to a Tibetan monk, or to an impoverished Argentinian beggar.

    What Uber has in effect said is that he as an Atheist doesn't need to give a rational answer as to why I should behave morally...really because he simply can't.

    I have never said anything like it, only tried (and tried and tried) to show you the distinction between the subjective and the universal as it concerns moral prescription. Good of you to jump to that conclusion on that one, particularly given the extensive explanations in the past. Again, an excellent idea you had regarding the copying and pasting of arguments into Word. Following this post, you should have no reason whatsoever to declare that I have not both given you a viable system of how human morality potentially developed, and roughly how that system functions every day.

    In any case, in your combined last post, you've labeled my assertions as "giving up", that I have never stated why I feel I can say "X is wrong", that I believe I don't have to give a rational answer for why I can do that and that they don't need to be found, when all of this is clearly untrue. I thank you, then, in that a little thinking over your dinner has allowed you to fill my own mouth with so many words.

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  58. BigTex:
    Hey thanks for the reply, my problem with your objection to Biblical morality is simply that you assume that you have a moral foundation on which to point to a different standard and say "wrong". You don't, you might not like what the Bible has to say about things but unless you can provide an objective standard for morality all your criticisms and objections are just your subjective opinion and bereft of any real weight other than that you don't like some things in the Bible.

    Hey Tommy thank you also for your reply, you write:

    "Well Bob, the difference between rape and weather phenomena is that rape is a result of a conscious act by one person against another. Rape does not just happen."

    Well on the contrary. Have you heard of B.F. Skinner? Well basically he advocates that really all our actions are chemically determined. He really is one of the core thinkers shaping modern psychology, he of course is assuming a Materialistic system in order to support his view of behavioural determinism. I personally found it interesting when the Astronaut story came out how many psychologists responded, I heard one say that that women given her circumstances could do nothing other than what she did. It was just as natural as someone sneezing was the analogy given by the psychologist. Isn't that frightening? Where is guilt when horrible actions really are determined by circumstance and chemical imbalances?

    So to I would say that to try to create a difference between volitional and non-volitional actions is problematic for the Materialist as well. I would say that all our actions are determined by factors outside of our control when we assume a closed Atheistic system, just like many of the Atheist thinkers do. So just like how the wheather just acts so do we as things that are part of this machine called the universe.

    I would also simply say that a man's desire to have sex is in fact natural, so how can it be right to say that the acting upon these urges is wrong (when we assume Materialism)? Because they hurt others? So what.

    Now next you start to bring forth a different reason for viewing things like rape as wrong, the health of society.

    "A society or culture is demonstrably better by just about any measurable criteria when its members exercise an ethic of mutual respect for each others' welfare, safety and property. That is what allows a civilization to thrive. This is what the Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu spoke of in propounding his doctrine of universal love."

    You are already departing from a blank Atheist position and leaning on eastern mystics to bail you out. Anyway to answer this I would just simply again say who cares. Why should anyone care at all about the welfare of others and the welfare and efficiency of a society as long as he is getting his? That is the question at hand. Why should some one care at all about any of these things (living morally, and the well being of others/society) when we assume Atheism?

    I am not trying to be mean but you simply haven't given a why yet, you are just saying we should be moral because others will be happier in a society where people are moral. Well why should I care about the happiness of others at all?

    "I would warrant that close to 100% of the population does not want their spouses or children to be raped. So society comes to a collective decision that rape is a crime that should be punished. It sends a message to would be perpetrators that there conduct will not be tolerated. But enacting the law is only the first step. The next step of course is that the law is enforced, or else it becomes just a hollow statement. Otherwise the law will be flouted and respect for the law will vanish."

    You're absolutely right I don't want anybody to rape anybody (because I am a Christian and know human beings have dignity being made in the image of God). However, stripped of its Christian base such ideas lose their value. Again a blank so what is in order here. So what if 100% of the people would not like action X. That doesn't make it wrong. All it means is that 100% of the people THINK it is wrong.

    "It helps to foster a virtuous circle. More tourists visit. More businesses open up and more job opportunities are created. Tax revenues increase and needed social services can be better funded."

    Again this is purely pragmatic. So we want more tourists to come so we will throw rapists in jail. Well it doesn't necessarily follow logically that the actions for which people are jailed are "wrong". All that we can conclude is that we would prefer to not have those actions in our fine cities so we can make money off of tourists. Just because someone goes to jail for an action does not make the action morally wrong.

    Likewise just because a society forbids certain behaviours does not make the forbidden behaviours wrong, all that we can logically conclude is that society has banned these bahaviours and ACTS like they are wrong.

    Now my two cents on the way things are going and your reasons for living morally Tommy is this: You know rape is wrong, and you know that hurting others is wrong, trauma, spreading STD's etc are ALL great reasons for viewing rape as immoral...from a Christian worldview. Because in a Christian worldview humans are made in the image of God, they are not just parts of an impersonal machine, humans are more than just biological machines, they have value.

    Honestly is there any higher value that you can imagine giving to any person than to say he is made in the image of God? What higher esteem can you give someone? On this basis things like rape are wrong because it is a devaluing of something that has intrinsic value, a human person.

    SO Tommy, I think your arguments are fine, from a Christian base that gives a foundation for human dignity and worth. From an Atheistic base none of what you said has any real meaning because humans are just biological machines, in an impersonal universe with no meaning. There is no intrinsic worth of human life over that of say a slug if we assume Atheism, to say otherwise is simply irrational.

    Again, I don't think you view the world as I have been describing, you know that human beings have worth, and you know that rape is wrong. This is because you Tommy are made in God's image and you know right from wrong.

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  59. Caring for and respecting the welfare of others contributes to a climate that respects our own. When you oppress or hurt others to get what you want, you generate resistance to you. And I was not relying on Eastern Mysticism to bail me out, because Mo Tzi was approaching the issue from a pragmatic point of view, not a mystical one. And he said these things centuries before anyone ever heard of Christianity. That is why I argued in a post on my blog that I derive my values from the accumulated wisdom and experience of all humanity.

    As for B.F. Skinner, that guy was a weirdo, so I don't countenance anything that he had to say. As for our impulses being caused by chemical reactions in our bodies, while they certainly influence us, we are not bound to be enslaved by them. The diaper astronaut woman clearly had a choice. For many of the wrong choices I made in my life, there was a voice telling me not to go ahead but I did not listen to it. Afterwards, I would chide myself for not listening to what my common sense and wisdom told me.

    To sum up again, you believe that only the God of the Bible can provide an objective standard of right and wrong. I argue that the God of the Bible was invented to serve this purpose. If it helps you to lead a better life, then more power to you. I am doing just fine without it.

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  60. Bob,

    Yes, I believe the morals in the Bible are wrong, based on some of the passages I listed. Those are but a small portion of what drove me towards agnosticism. There are many more examples that I could list for you. There are also many contradictions I would be glad to point out for you (but surely you already know about them because you are well-versed in the Bible, right?)
    I listed those passages because you seem to base you morality on what the Bible states. So do you think the Bible is true and accurate? If so, then do you base your morals on passages like those I listed? What do you think about those passages? Why would your God be so 'evil'? (I use quotes because it is MY definition of evil- so we don't get into a debate about what is truly evil and truly good.)

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  61. I just wanna jump in and respond to some random points:

    Have you heard of B.F. Skinner? Well basically he advocates that really all our actions are chemically determined. He really is one of the core thinkers shaping modern psychology

    True, Skinner (and behaviourism in general) helped shape modern psychology. But it is also important to note that behaviourism is all but dead. It was a neat hypothesis, but it simply didn't work when we examined the real world, and now we study the human mind as if people have thoughts and feelings and free will and all that. We're not just black boxes where stimuli go in and behaviours come out. We need to look inside that box.

    And even if we are "just" chemical reactions, nobody - atheist or religious - actually feels like we are. We all know that we make choices and have real thoughts and some control over our actions. Whether we really do or not is interesting but mostly irrelevant to morality.

    From an Atheistic base none of what you said has any real meaning because humans are just biological machines, in an impersonal universe with no meaning.

    I've said this before, but I still fail to see how your system solves this alleged problem. You just add another layer to it, making it even more complicated and demanding more explanation.

    Atheists might argue that we are biological machines resulting from physical processes.

    You might argue that these biological and physical processes arise from a magical immaterial being called God.

    OK, so maybe it did. How does that give it more meaning? Because God created the universe? Well, atheists could argue that the universe was created by the same physical processes that gave rise to morality.

    And any accusations that an atheistic system is arbirary apply to your God as well. OK, so God says that rape is wrong. But WHY does God say it's wrong? It's just His opinion, right? Is it REALLY wrong in the universal sense that you, Bob, demand?

    If God came down tomorrow and said rape was right, would you suddenly believe that rape is right?

    How is "morality is defined by what God says" any less arbitrary than "morality is defined by what's best for the most people"?

    Just some questions to think about. Perhaps these ARE genuine problems when we discuss morality...but they are problems for BOTH a religious view and an atheist view of it.



    On a side note: I think we all need to remember that we're discussing where morality in general came from; not where it came from for any individual. So I think Bob would argue that even atheists have a sense of morality, put in our hearts by God, even if we don't believe in Him. Likewise, atheists would argue that religious people have a sense of morality that was written in our hearts by evolution and social interaction, even if they think it came from a fictional god. So arguments like "I'm an atheist and I still help old ladies cross the street!" really don't address anything here.

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  62. " BigTex:
    Hey thanks for the reply, my problem with your objection to Biblical morality is simply that you assume that you have a moral foundation on which to point to a different standard and say "wrong". You don't, you might not like what the Bible has to say about things but unless you can provide an objective standard for morality all your criticisms and objections are just your subjective opinion and bereft of any real weight other than that you don't like some things in the Bible."

    Actually, he does. It's obvious that you're just trying to bail out by appealing ot the bogus and annoying (not to mention self-righteous and arrogant) "atheists have no grounds for their morality" claim. When you come to think of it, Christians have even less grounding on which to stand on the issue of morality because they are powerless to object to God's Nazi-like atrocities in the Old Testament. The only thing they can do is to give sycophancy another name: "morality". That's not ethics, that's co towing to the arbitrary dictates of a tyrant (a petty tyrant, at that). Atheism, on the other hand, forces us to try to find morality from another source, (and to define it more clearly, if that's possible) and that involves looking at how evil can arise and what can be done given what we know about human psychology and evolution. The findings of neuroscience force us to see other people as conscious agents with feelings and emotions just like ourselves, not just pawns in a cosmic "plan". The latter is the most corrupt and hypocritical conception of morality I can think of.

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  63. "The inability of the opposing view to provide even one solid scientific evidence in support of its theory—"

    Looks more like the total inablity for christians to use google or be honest.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/chance.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-3.html

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  64. If you ask me Dani, despite the evidence, many people are like the Pharaoh of the Exodus, they continue to harden their hearts against God and pretend like He doesn't exist.

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