Talk:Evolutionism

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I've been wondering for a long time, is there any particular reason this artice uses <code> tags to produce monospaced text? Philip J. Rayment 02:10, 31 October 2007 (EDT)

'Weak Atheism'

Philip, you are obviously not familiar with 'Weak Atheism'. Unlike 'Strong Atheism', which makes a positive statement about the non-existence of God, regardless of the evidence, this states that there is probably no God as there is no objective proof of God. The 'world view' is dependant on the evidence, or lack of evidence, as is the science, so I fail to see how, in this case, the 'science is based on the world view', as you altered it to say. You appear to believe that the only difference between 'Strong Atheism' and 'Weak Atheism' is the strength of the assertion that there is no God, whether this fits in with the evidence or not. This is not the case. Urushnor 11:58, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

The article already said "Thus science is done on the basis of there being no God". Now, they may not hold the no-god view strongly, but if the science is done on the basis of there being no God, then it is being done on the basis of naturalism, just as for strong atheism, which means that the worldview is the basis for the science. Philip J. Rayment 11:52, 19 April 2008 (EDT)
And the reason that the science is done on the basis of there being no God is there is no solid, objective proof that there is a God, and, thus, to follow proper scientific procedures and processes, you cannot base anything on the idea there is a God until you prove there is a God. Thus, 'weak atheism' and science follow exactly the same principles and procedures. If you come with solid, objective proof of God, then you can start doing science on the basis of that 'fact', and most 'weak atheists' wouldn't be atheists of any kind any more. Urushnor 13:04, 19 April 2008 (EDT)
If there is no proof of a God, and no proof of no God, why is "no God" the default option? [User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Because you cannot do any proper science on the basis of an unproven assumption. In this case, in order to base anything on the idea that 'God did it', basically, you have to assume that God actually exists. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
This is nonsense. All science is done on the basis of unproven assumptions, such as the assumption that the laws of physics are constant, ...
Because all evidence, observation and experimentation to date suggests they are. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
That they are constant started as an assumption, and although observations are consistent with that, it is not provable, and it remains an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...the assumption that we can trust our senses in doing experiments ... Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Because of a distinct lack of evidence that we can't. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
A lack of evidence is not evidence, and if our senses were playing tricks on us, how could we tell? Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...and so forth. Your second sentence is wrong. You don't have to accept that God exists before you are able to conclude that God was responsible. All you have to accept is the possibility that God actually exists, and there is nothing unscientific in accepting that possibility. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
In the complete absence of evidence of this, yes there is, unless you present it as a pure conjecture (in colloquial terms, that would be 'a wild-ass guess'). Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, there is not. You are ruling out a possibility because you believe that there is no evidence. That is putting the cart before the horse. It's like saying that there is no evidence that people lived in England prior to (say) 1000 AD (I'm being hypothetical), so therefore you can't propose that Stonehenge was built by people. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It is rejection of that possibility that means that atheism—strong or weak—is basing its science on ideology. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
I've kinda said this as simply as I am able, using proper English,but you still don't seem to be getting it, so I'll try putting it even simpler. Evidence = scientific. No evidence = not scientific. 'Weak atheism' = no evidence of God, so no God. Get it now? Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I don't "get it". Your "no evidence of God, so no God" is like saying "No evidence = not scientific = doesn't exist". But just because there's no evidence doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Get it? Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
And why is this "proper scientific procedures and processes"? Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Because proper science is based on evidence, not faith. Indeed, step one of the scientific process, as taught in science classes the world over is 'examine the evidence'. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
This is wrong for the same reason that the second part of your previous response was wrong: you don't have to accept that God exists beforehand. If the evidence points to God, why not accept that conclusion? Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
If the evidence pointed to God existing, you'd have a point. Your problem is that this is simply not the case. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
The evidence does point to God existing. Your problem is that you have been indoctrinated into the idea that God doesn't exist so you are unaware of the evidence that He does. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Especially given that scientific endeavour started because of a belief in God ...Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
That's only if you define the whole of science as what most people define as 'modern science', and, even then, that statement is rather debatable, especially considering the opposition that religious authorities have had to many areas of scientific research going right back to the dawn of modern science (the article you linked to, for example, states that 'science proper' started in the 16th century, dismissing the achievements of the various ancient thinkers as being mere 'scholarship', and the first well-known conflict between modern science and religion was Galileo, who first got into trouble with the Church in the early 17th century). I would say that modern science started as a result of people wanting to know, for sure, how the world worked, rather than relying on faith that their holy texts were correct, which quickly led them into conflict with the church. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Ignoring your semantic quibbles about terminology, you have your history wrong, thanks to anti-Christian propaganda through the centuries. The religious authorities were very supportive of science, and the dispute with Galileo was not due to his science, but with things like personality clashes. The rest of your response was basically to offer your own subjective opinion and a straw-man argument about faith and motivation. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
So the Church formally ordered Galileo not to hold or defend the notion of heliocentrism due to 'personailty clashes'? The Catholic Inquisition put Galileo on trial for heresy, during which the idea that the Sun was at the center of the solar system was condemned as 'formally heretical', due to 'personality clashes'? At the end of that trial, his book, 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems', was banned, and any and all works by him, including any as yet unwritten, were also banned, due to 'personality clashes'? A general prohibition against the publication of ANY book advocating heliocentrism went into the Index Librorum Prohibitorum due to 'personality clashes'? He remained under house arrest for the rest of his life due to 'personality clashes'? Well, all I can say is that they must have taken 'personality clashes' FAR more seriously back then than they do now. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
I said "things like personality clashes". It was a very general, overly-simplified, reference. But apart from that, then the answers to your question are basically all "yes". See here for a detailed description. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
... and is still based on assumptions (such as an orderly universe) that only have foundation in a belief in God? Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
The idea that someone could ONLY believe in an orderly universe due to a belief in God shows a staggering narrow-mindedness and ignorance of science, to put it bluntly. Many of what you appear to call 'assumptions' made by scientists about the orderly systems that are in the universe were obtained through observation, examination of evidence and experimentation. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Despite your opinions, the documented facts of history are that science (or "modern science" if you prefer) began because of the Christian worldview of an orderly universe created by an unchanging God. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Nope, that's what your interpretation of the documented facts are. Same as what I put above for the reasons for the beginning of modern science are my interpretation. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Your interpretation of what? No, it's not my "interpretation". I provided a link above with more information. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Science assumes that the laws of physics, for example, apply throughout the universe: scientists have not gone throughout the universe to check that assumption. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
But they have made experiments and observations that prove that they are constant in every situation that exists naturally, or has been able to be manufactured, to date, here on Earth, and there is no evidence whatsoever that anywhere else is sufficiently different that the laws of physics would be, for some reason, invalid. Plus, of course, one of the laws of physics actually indicates that nothing that actually has any mass can go faster than the speed of light. This means it would take at least several billion years to do as you suggest. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, a lack of evidence is not evidence. True, it would take an awful long time to check: that only serves to show that it must remain an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It also assumes that the laws of physics have applied for all time: ...Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, it doesn't. It is generally believed by physicists (though this is really a hypothesis, at the moment), that, at the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, all physical laws and rules basically didn't apply. Indeed, it is commonly stated that the question, 'what came before the Big Bang?' is nonsensical, because, in the Big Bang, time, basically, did not exist (though there are a couple of hypotheses that actually challenge that). Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, the exception you cite doesn't disprove my assertion. If you want me to be more precise, science assumes that the laws of physics have applied for all time since a few microseconds after the hypothesised Big Bang. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...scientists have not gone back into the past to check that. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Mainly because the laws of physics indicate this is impossible. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, this only serves to show why it must remain an assumption. I wasn't criticising them for not checking; I was pointing out that it can't be checked, and therefore remains an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It also assumes that those same laws will apply into the future, so when they build bridges, etc., they use the laws that apply today to calculate required strengths and stresses and assume that they will continue to apply tomorrow. Clearly that is not "observation". Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it is logical extrapolation from observed evidence. For example, from repeatedly observing that the force of Earth's gravity does not radically change from one day to the next, we know that it is incredibly unlikely that we are going to wake up tomorrow and find gravity has trebled, so we need to build that bridge three times as strong. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
An extrapolation is an assumption, or based on one. That is, we consider it safe to extrapolate because we have this assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
No, that atheists choose to take a naturalistic approach means that they are basing their science on their ideology. Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, you show you are not familiar with 'weak atheism'. 'Weak atheists' are atheists due to a lack of evidence in God. It is the evidence, or lack of it, that has persuaded them in this, not, as you stubbornly continue to state, the other way around. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
'Weak atheists' are atheists because they ignore or are unfamiliar with or reject the evidence for God—there is no shortage of evidence—and therefore adopt a position of naturalism, basing their science on that ideology. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Really? I trust you will make the most important event in the history of the world happen, then, by conclusively and objectively proving that God actually exists? Bear in mind, of course, that any evidence that is dependant on the notion that God actually exists would be circular reasoning. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Much of your argument in your latest post has been that believing in the constancy of the laws of physics is reasonable, not that it's been proved. Yet now you switch standards to demand proof (for God), and for good measure throw in a demand that I don't use what is actually a typical atheistic straw-man argument. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
I believe you are making a common mistake in arguments of this sort. Please find above where Philip said there was a proof for God... Evidence and proof are not interchangeable words. Learn together 15:48, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, if there isn't clear, undeniable proof of God, that kinda destroys his whole argument that it is basically impossible for a 'weak atheist' to be an atheist due to the evidence (or, rather, lack of it), rather than an underlying world view. Urushnor 19:33, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it doesn't destroy my argument at all. See also the parts about proof and evidence at Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
And, to address this specifically, yes, it does. The only way you can definitively say that a 'weak atheist' cannot possibly be an atheist due to the evidence is if the evidence is so overwhelming in favour of there being a God that no-one could possibly fail to be persuaded by it. Urushnor 09:24, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
I didn't say that an atheist cannot be an atheist because of the evidence. I said that it didn't destroy my argument, but that was not my argument. My argument was that science done on the basis of there being no god was putting ideology ahead of the evidence. Why can't, for example, atheists do their science on the basis that there might be (not "is") a God? Presumably, because they are atheists! Philip J. Rayment 23:18, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
No, doing science that way follows the most basic of basic of scientific principles - that being that you do work based on evidence. I also refer you to my comments below. Why can't scientists do work on the basis that there might be an invisible pink unicorn? Urushnor 00:25, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, true science will not rule out a possible explanation a priori. Good question: why can't scientists work on the basis that there might be an invisible pink unicorn? That is, why rule out a possible explanation in advance? If the evidence is consistent with there being an invisible pink unicorn, why should scientists say "no, we can't accept that answer, even if it's true"? Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Simple - with enough imagination (and that's not much), people can make up, on the spot, patently absurd possibilities that are impossible to disprove. Look up Flying Spaghetti Monster for a classic example - it is a completely made-up 'religion' that, according to your argument, is a solid bit of science, as no-one has yet conclusively disproven it. Similarly, the invisible pink unicorn is a solid bit of science, as is the idea that the universe was created by being sneezed out of the nostril of the Great Snozuflu. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

(Unindent) So, to summarise what appears to be your entire argument, what you are basically saying is that you are free to propose anything you like, and, if people cannot definitively prove you wrong, that is a solid scientific theory. OK, I'll do this myself. The universe was created by an invisible pink unicorn which cannot be seen or detected by any known method. Prove me wrong. Urushnor 09:22, 22 April 2008 (EDT)

No that is not my argument at all. Reread the part of Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia about "proving God". It doesn't directly explain where you are wrong, but should give you some idea. Philip J. Rayment 23:18, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, so far, you have argued on the basis that there is no absolute proof that God does not exist (in much the same way as there is no absolute proof that the invisible pink unicorn does not exist), and you are using that to try to say that to do science on the basis of there being no God is unscientific. Indeed, that is how this whole discussion started - you making an edit to the effect that failing to reinterpret evidence to account for the existence of God due to a lack of evidence for God existing is down to a 'world view', not science. Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is, you now seem to be changing the argument to 'scientifically testing the existence of God is impossible, even if He does exist'. Well, that may or may not be true, but, if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, even if the reason is that it is impossible to scientifically test it, that is still unscientific. Unless, of course, you're referring to the rest of that section of your essay, in which case you appear to be saying, more or less, 'because the 'evidence' is enough to convince some people of the existence of God, regardless of whether that evidence is solid, objective or anything else, it is unscientific to base anything on the idea God does not exist.' Urushnor 00:25, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
"... so far, you have argued on the basis that there is no absolute proof that God does not exist...": I don't think I've put my argument in quite that way, but I'll grant that this would be inferred from what I've said as one of my points, but not the key or only point of my argument.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, sorry, I 'infer' that from pretty much everything you have said above, so, if that is not the 'key or only point of your argument', you need to learn to express yourself better. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps. Or perhaps you need to read it better, or with a more open mind? Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
"...you are using that to try to say that to do science on the basis of there being no God is unscientific.": Again, that could be inferred, but my point really was that one shouldn't rule out a possible explanation in a priori.
"...failing to reinterpret evidence to account for the existence of God due to a lack of evidence for God existing is down to a 'world view', not science.": No, ruling out a possible explanation a priori is down to a worldview, not science.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, that's not quite correct - you use the evidence to, in effect, 'rule in' possibilities. You start from the basis of nothing at all. Starting from the idea that God exists is not doing that. Starting from nothing means that you have to see solid evidence of the existence of God before you accept that. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not suggesting starting from the basis that God exists. I'm suggesting starting from the basis that God might exist, rather than exclude that possibility a priori. Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
So you a priori rule in the possibility of God existing BEFORE looking at the evidence. THAT is doing science based on a 'world view'. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, that is proper science. Science doesn't (shouldn't) limit possible answers by having to "rule in" certain answers first. When an explanation for something is required, scientists don't have to consult a list of "ruled in" explanations to see what they are allowed to consider as possible explanations. And neither should they have to consult a list of "ruled out" explanations. They should be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
You've got it almost right in your last sentence - they should, indeed, be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations, but they base those possible explanations on those observations. To 'rule in' any explanation before examining the evidence is filtering science through a 'world view'. Otherwise we have the situation of the invisible pink unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Great Snozuflu being solid science, as there is nothing conclusively proving them wrong. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
What do you think "rule in" means? To me it simply means not "ruling out". Atheists rule out God as a possible explanation before considering the evidence: that's not science. And you are making an almighty leap to suggest that allowing for the possibility of the invisible pink unicorn, etc. amounts to them being "solid science". Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
If you 'rule out' something, this means it was 'on the table', so to speak, as a possibility, then something made you reject it as a possibility. If something is 'ruled in', it means it was not 'on the table', but something made you start to consider it as a possibility. In science, as I have said, you start with nothing 'on the table' and use evidence to rule possibilities in. As for comment about the invisible pink unicorn, if you're not considering it as solid science, why would you base absolutely anything on that idea, then? This lesson is told in the Bible, so you should know it, but is true of science as well - anything is only as solid as what it's built on. Any 'science' that is built on anything that is not solid science is itself not solid science. Urushnor 15:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
"Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is...": Given that that wasn't my argument, you've only demolished a straw-man.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Then it's a 'straw man' you constructed yourself. What is your actual argument, then, given that everything you have stated above seems to be concerned with the idea that there is no absolute proof of the non-existence of God? Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I've explained my argument numerous times by now: that if you a priori rule out considering the possibility of God being involved, then you are putting ideology ahead of the science. Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
And the reason you believe that is, apparantly, discounting the possibility that God exists due to a lack of evidence is down to a 'world view', not science. Unfortunately, you haven't explained your reasoning as to how you came to the conclusion that following the evidence is not scientific, considering that examining the evidence is the whole basis of scientific enquiry. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Following the evidence is scientific. And if the evidence points to an intelligent creator, scientists should be free to consider that explanation. Ruling that explanation out a priori is imposing ideology on the science. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
"...you now seem to be changing the argument to 'scientifically testing the existence of God is impossible, even if He does exist'": No, I've acknowledged that all along (that is in Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia), but I'm not "changing the argument".Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, right, so I'm supposed to have read all your essays, and rely on them rather than what you say here if the two seem to be advancing different arguments. Sorry about that(!) Of course, the other point is that if, as you say, it is utterly impossible to scientifically test if God exists or not, I fail to see how you can argue that it is scientific to base anything on the idea that God exists. Yes, you can have a religious faith this is so, and you can say that this might be so from a philiosophical point of view, but you simply cannot say this from a scientific point of view. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I said nothing about reading all my essays. Perhaps this is an example of you not reading me properly? I referred to a specific essay that I have linked to before in this discussion (i.e. one that you would have already read) and merely did so to support my point that I've long acknowledged that God's existence cannot be scientifically tested.
But you were originally arguing that it is unscientific to follow the evidence, basically. You did not actually reference that essay until well into this discussion. Does this mean I should have already read this essay, so that I knew what you were apparantly arguing wasn't what you were REALLY arguing? Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I have never said that following the evidence is unscientific. On the contrary, I believe that science means following the evidence, even if that leads to God being the explanation. Which you can't do if you've already ruled God out. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
And despite putting this in the article and saying it here several times, you still don't get it. Science hasn't 'ruled out' God, and neither has 'weak atheism'. It has, basically, failed to 'rule in' God as there is no solid objective evidence of God. I should also point out that, if you now admit that following the evidence is scientific, then the edit you made to the article, which started this whole discussion off, is wrong - 'weak atheism' follows the evidence, as does science. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
You say that "Science hasn't 'ruled out' God", yet according to your version of the article, "science is done on the basis of there being no God". That is "ruling out" God. Yes you do qualify it by saying "unless His existence becomes objectively proven", but all that says is that if at some future time, God's existence is proven, then you can consider Him a possible explanation. (Which is tantamount to saying, if weak atheism ceases to be atheistic...!). Until then, however, He is ruled out as a possible explanation. "Weak atheism", if it does science on the basis of there being no God, is not following the evidence. Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
The science is based on the idea there is no God as there is no evidence of God, as I have stated repeatedly. So, according to your argument, it is scientific to totally disregard the evidence and base your conclusions on imagination. This only confirms to me that you do not have the slightest clue about even the basics of scientific practice. Urushnor 15:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
How do you scientifically test that there were people in England capable of building Stonehenge at the time that it was supposed to be built? You can't. But does that therefore mean that you can't propose such people as builders of the monument? Of course not. But you would argue (if you are being consistent with your arguments about God) that you can't propose that people built Stonehenge because you can't scientifically prove the existence of such people! Instead, you are forced to conclude that Stonehenge is a natural phenomenon, presumably carved by the wind and rain over thousands of years! Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, where this argument falls to pieces is that there is pretty damn clear-cut evidence of the existence of man in Britain at the time. If you were saying hypothetically what if there was no evidence of man in Britain, then yes, you would be correct - we couldn't scientifically test it. However, from the evidence we actually have, if man didn't exist in Britain at the time, neither would Stonehenge. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I was being hypothetical, as I said. And yes, if man didn't exist in Britain at the time, then neither would Stonehenge. But that's putting things back to front. If you didn't know that men existed in Britain at the time, but you did know that Stonehenge exists, would you (a) conclude that men must have existed at the time, or (b) ruled out that men could have made Stonehenge because you don't have evidence that men existed in Britain at the time? Your methodology in regard to God is the latter: you are saying that God couldn't have made the world because you don't have evidence that God exists. Instead, you could, like choice (a), conclude that the evidence leads you to conclude that God does exist, because that's a more reasonable explanation than saying that the universe popped into existence from nothing for no reason. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, in absence of solid evidence, to follow scientific practice, I would have to conclude (b), in your hypothetical situation, which would leave the question of 'who built Stonehenge?' unsanswered. I could maybe propose (a) as an unproven hypothesis, or even a pure conjecture, but it would face major problems to be overcome before it could even remotely be called a 'theory'. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
It's just as well you're not a scientists then (or at least I hope you're not), if you are willing to ignore the evidence that there must have been men in Britain at the time Stonehenge was built (the evidence being Stonehenge itself) simply because there's no independent evidence that men were in Britain at the time. This debate has gone on long enough, and I'm restoring the article, because you have argued yourself into a corner. Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
If the only evidence of the existence of man in Britain at the time Stonehenge was built was the simple fact that Stonehenge existed, you can, at best, state that man built Stonehenge as an unproven hypothesis. In the case of direct experimentation to test the hypothesis being impossible, a hypothesis becomes a solid scientific theory through independant evidence conforming to that hypothesis. Again, this is basic scientific practice. The fact you don't know this is more evidence, quite frankly, of your ignorance of science. As for 'arguing myself into a corner', sorry, from my point of view, it is you who have argued yourself into one - by your argument, the only way that you can revert that article and actually think it's accurate is if you genuinely think the invisible pink unicorn, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Great Snozuflu and the idea that we were created by Zmopugvf of the plant Xijtfbvj (just to make another one up on the spot) is, in any way, solid science. Urushnor 15:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
"...if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, ... that is still unscientific": Not at all. You seem to be saying that the solutions have to be proved before they can be proposed. Science is about proposing solutions then trying to determine if they are correct. Sometimes you are unable to prove them one way or the other, which means that (in a scientific sense) the solution remains tentative. But you don't rule out a solution/explanation a priori on the basis that the solution/explanation hasn't (yet) been proved.
Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
You almost got that correct. Science is about proposing solutions based on evidence, then trying to determine if they are correct. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes, but you don't rule out potential explanations a priori just because those explanations have not been "scientifically proved". Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
You missed the part about proposing solutions based on evidence. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I didn't miss it at all. I agree with that part, which is why I said "yes". I've also now expanded on that above. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, if you're considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence you are NOT proposing solutions based on evidence. You are proposing solutions based on imagination. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Having read this whole fascinating correspondence I have to say that Urushnor is correct. The point "Weak Atheism" makes is that there is no evidence that God exists. It goes on to suggest that - given this - we have no obligation, need, or reason to to believe in Him.--British_cons (talk) 16:11, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence! I'm considering possible explanations for the evidence, without rejecting any because they have not been independently proven.
For what evidence? You haven't looked at any yet. You look at the evidence first. Once you do that, you come up with explanations based on that evidence, then, essentially, try to disprove them by experimentation, if possible. Urushnor 15:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Furthermore (and this is answering both of you), it is absolute nonsense to suggest that there is no evidence for God's existence. The very fact that we exist is evidence!
Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Applying the same standards, it's also evidence for Allah. It's also evidence for Jehovah. It's also evidence for YHWH. It's also evidence for the invisible pink unicorn. It's also evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's also evidence for the Great Snozuflu. It's also evidence for anything and everything that my imagination can conjure up to explain the beginnings of life generally, or the beginnings of man specifically. And, of course, it's also evidence for evolution. Urushnor 15:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

A fresh start

Okay, let's try it this way.

Example 1

Archaeologists find a Stonehenge-like structure in a part of the world and dated to a time where there has previously been no evidence of people having lived. Here is how three different groups would consider different options.

ChristianWeak atheistStrong atheist
The formation was formed by nature Reject: Nature does not arrange rocks in concentric circles and stacked on each other in this manner.
The formation was created by animals Reject: The rocks are too large for most animals to handle, and animals don't arrange rocks like that.
The formation was created by aliens Reject: Aliens don't exist Reject: According to Occam's Razor, the next option is preferred.
The formation was created by an unknown group of humans Agreed. This is within the capabilities of humans and is the sort of thing they might do.
The formation was created by God Reject: No evidence of and no motive for creation by God Can't consider: No evidence for God's existence Reject: God doesn't exist

Do any of the groups of scientists hold the last option with absolute certainty? No, nothing in science is considered certain. But there would be no real doubt about it. In fact, the presence of humans in a particular time/place has often been determined on evidence flimsier than this. Remember, science cannot actually prove anything, so saying that "no-one would be able to prove this hypothesis scientifically" is axiomatic.

In your hypothetical situation, we have one bit of evidence only - the simple fact Stonehenge exists. NO hypothesis can be confirmed when there is only one bit of evidence. In the above situation, the correct scientific conclusion is, actually, in effect, 'insufficient data'. You don't know what weak atheism would say, nor strong atheism because we aren't in that situation. You assert that they would accept the idea man built it, but it is entirely possible that they would echo the scientific conclusion - 'we don't know'. I would also say that there would, in fact, be a likelihood that some Christians would actually view the fact of Stonehenge's existence as further proof of God, as who else would be able to make it pop into existence like that, with zero evidence being left behind of anyone else building it, or even living in the same landmass as it? Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Your reply ignores the reality, which I mentioned, that the presence of humans in a particular time/place has often been determined on evidence flimsier than this. Scientists would not say "we don't know". This would be taken as quite sufficient evidence. There's no evidence of it "popping into existence", so no, Christians would not see it as proof of God.
Nope, sorry, there are quite a few Christians who believe certain things that there is actually fairly solid evidence AGAINST, so a simple lack of evidence in support is not a problem for them. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
You're not addressing the point: You said that some Christians would likely see it as proof of God, because it "popped" into existence. It didn't "pop" into existence, so your conclusion is nonsense. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
Rather than a hypothetical example, I'll give you a real example. Stone artifacts, determined to be spear heads, have been found in Manitoba, and these have been dated to 10,000 to 8,000 years ago (not that I accept the dates, but that's by the way). Apart from these items, there is no evidence for humans existing there at that time. So were these tools made by God, by nature, by animals, by aliens, or by humans? According to you, the only bit of evidence is "the simple fact [the spear heads] exist. NO hypothesis can be confirmed where there is only one bit of evidence. In the above situation, the correct scientific conclusion is, actually, in effect, 'insufficient data'... [I] assert that [weak atheists] would accept the idea man built it, but it is entirely possible that they would echo the scientific conclusion - 'we don't know'." Really? Well, according to the University of Manitoba web-site, it was .... humans! ("A handful of spear heads provides the only evidence of this early human presence")[1]
Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
There, you're comparing apples with oranges. We know that the spearheads were created by man as we can compare them with independant evidence that very similar spearheads were created by man. In addition, we do have evidence of man in the areas surrounding the region, and there was, at the time, no barrier to man moving into that region. In your hypothetical example, Stonehenge is fairly unique and unusual (to such an extent that we still haven't actually figured out exactly what it's for) and, in your hypothetical example, the one and only piece of evidence we actually have that man was even on the same landmass was the simple fact Stonehenge existed, so there was a barrier to man simply moving into the region - it's called the sea. Now, if the simple existence of these artifacts were the one and only bit of evidence that we had of the existence of man at the time in the whole of the North American continent, and these were so strange, unusual and unknown that we simply couldn't work out what they were for, then you would be comparing apples with apples. However, that's not true. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
You're trying to find a distinction that doesn't exist. We know that Stonehenge was created by man as we can compare it with other large constructions created by man. And we have evidence of man in surrounding regions. We know that he was capable of crossing water, so that's not an issue. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
Example 2

Biologists find complex information-carrying structures in living things, which they name "DNA". Here is how the three different groups would consider different options.

ChristianWeak atheistStrong atheist
DNA was formed by nature Reject: Inconsistent with the Bible and with scientific observation Accept: Only acceptable option
DNA was formed by animals Reject: DNA predates animals, so animals could not have formed it. Also, technology involved is beyond animals.
DNA was produced by aliens Reject: Aliens don't exist Reject (although a few might accept); the next option is preferred.
DNA was formed by an unknown group of humans Reject: DNA predates humans, so humans could not have formed it.
DNA was created by God Accept: Consistent with the Bible and with the evidence that information only comes from an intelligence. This is within His capability and is the sort of thing He might do. Can't consider: No evidence for God's existence Reject: God doesn't exist

Notice the inconsistency there. In the first example, weak atheism was prepared to accept, even if tentatively, that humans were responsible even if there was no other evidence of humans. In the second example, weak atheism is not even prepared to consider the possibility of God being involved, despite the exact same situation. Actually, I'd lump weak atheism in with strong atheism, but I'm using your descriptions.

Well, the 'inconsistency' is due to your assertions. Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
But you haven't succeeded in showing that my assertions were incorrect. Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
And here we are back at your whole underlying mistake - that people must prove you wrong, rather than you proving yourself correct. In science, you have to back up what you say with evidence. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
It's a basic principle of debate that you must show my argument to be wrong if you want to dismiss it. You tried dismissing it without showing that it was wrong. Equivocating into a different point that merely sounds similar is fallacious. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
Something else that occurred to me about your two tables. According to what you seem to think science is, then all of the various hypotheses for both scenarios are, actually, solid science, even the hypothesis of DNA on Earth being created by an unknown group of humans, as that could be people who are, basically, humans, but from a massively more advanced civilization from a different planet. The only exception to this, according to your table, is the idea that DNA is formed by nature, but even that is due to your assertion that this is 'inconsistent with scientific observation', which is, basically, wrong. Urushnor 14:47, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Humans "from a massively more advanced civilization from a different planet"? Er, that's "aliens".
Not if they're the same species. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Oh dear, oh dear. How can beings of the "same species", which means that they contain DNA like us, have created DNA?????? Please try and follow the argument! Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
When I refer to DNA being produced by nature, I am, of course, talking about the origin of DNA, not about DNA being produced by living things that have DNA instructions telling those living things how to produce DNA. Given that, no, the statement is not wrong at all. DNA being produced by nature is inconsistent with scientific observations. DNA contains genetic information, and no known natural mechanism produces new genetic information. Even Richard Dawkins was unable to name any examples.[2] Rather, there are known mechanisms that destroy or eliminate information. More on that below.
Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
I remember hearing about that. You know something? The reason Dawkins was 'stumped' was because he was struggling to hold onto his temper. The reason this was the case case was that he had been told that he was being interviewed for a film, called Crossroads, that explores the relationship between science and religion. Being asked that question gave the game away that he was, in fact, being interviewed by creationists for a creationist piece of propoganda. This is because this question is so easy to actually answer that only creationists ask it, and the reason he stopped the interview was in sheer anger at being lied to. I gave you three examples in an article below, one of which was, arguably, actually a decrease in genetic information, even though this lead to an advantageous ability. However, for a rather more definitive answer, try Down's Syndrome. In this, not just a protein, or even a gene, is added, but an entire extra chromosome. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, yes, I thought I remembered seeing a response to that, written by Dawkins himself - here it is.[3] Urushnor 16:37, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
How about broadening your mind to include reading from sources that are not so one-sided and bigoted? If you actually read the link that I provided, you would see that some of the claims you made there are simply not true. For one thing, "strugging to hold onto his temper" was not the reason he was stumped, as he had realised that he was being questioned by creationists prior to that. Second, if the question is "so easy to actually answer", why has he still not answered it? And why would it be that only creationists would actually ask for evidence? Aren't evolutionists interested in evidence? Third, he was not lied to. You're earning a block for your false accusation of lying and your bigoted comment about propaganda.
I've answered the three examples, and none of them are clearly increases in information. And where did the "entire extra chromosome" with Down's Syndrome come from? By copying an existing chromosome! So it's NOT new genetic information, but a duplicate of existing genetic information. Yet again, we have someone arguing against creation that simply has very little idea of the creationist arguments. "Pretending to be wise, they became fools". If you want to argue against an idea, learn about that idea first.
Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

"The science is based on the idea there is no God as there is no evidence of God, as I have stated repeatedly.": And as I have stated repeatedly and substantiated, there is evidence for God.

Well, you have stated repeatedly there is evidence for God. If you've actually substantiated it, you did it incredibly subtly and I missed it. Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Hmmm, perhaps I haven't substantiated it in replies to you, although I certainly have in other discussions. For one thing, it's an established principle that everything that has a beginning has a cause, which means that the natural universe must have had a cause, and as the cause of everything that is natural cannot itself be natural, then the cause must be supernatural, i.e. God. For another, information is only seen to arise from intelligent beings. DNA contains genetic information, and the only candidates for intelligent beings predating DNA are God and aliens, and the aliens would have to have something equivalent to DNA, which raises the same question for the source of that information, so eventually you are back to God being the only candidate. That's just two bits of evidence (not necessarily proof) for God. Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, sorry, we're back at the 'it must be God, as we're here to talk about it' argument, just one step removed. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
I note that when you can't answer the argument, you write nonsense. That's not the way to win arguments. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

"For what evidence? You haven't looked at any yet.": Who says I haven't? I have evidence in the form of a Stonehenge-like structure, for example.

Your whole point is that you're considering possibilities, then ruling out the possibilities using evidence. It is not possible to do it this way around and claim you're proposing possibilities based on evidence. Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Huh? Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Your whole point is that, according to you, in science, you use the evidence to eliminate possibilities. If you are only using the evidence to eliminate the possibilities, what did you use to establish the possibilities you're now eliminating? It can't be the evidence, because you have to establish the possibilities before they are there to be eliminated. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
That's still almost a "huh?". Until you eliminate possibilities, everything is already a possibility by default. When a scientist wants to explain some evidence, he is (or should be) free to propose any possibility that fits the evidence. He doesn't have to consult a list of approved possibilities or draw up a list of possibilities before he can start considering them. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

"Applying the same standards, it's also evidence for Allah. It's also evidence for Jehovah. It's also evidence for YHWH. It's also evidence for the invisible pink unicorn. It's also evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's also evidence for the Great Snozuflu. It's also evidence for anything and everything that my imagination can conjure up to explain the beginnings of life generally, or the beginnings of man specifically. And, of course, it's also evidence for evolution.": Oh dear, oh dear. Let's pull that nonsense apart.

I said that it's evidence for "God". What is "God"? "God" comes from the Old English, meaning "supreme being, deity"[4]. It is not a name, but a term.

According to the Bible, the supreme being (for which, in English translations, the term "God" is used) has the name (transliterated from the Hebrew), "YHWH". The anglicised form of this is "Jehovah". The Muslim term for the the supreme being is "Allah".

Now what is the "invisible pink unicorn"? Is it (a) a fictitious being created as a parody, or (b) a claimant to the title "supreme being"? The same question can be asked of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Great Snozuflu, and anything else you dream up.

Let's assume for the moment that the answer to the last question was (a). Then no, evidence for a supreme being is not evidence for a fictitious being created as a parody, as fictitious beings can't actually create anything!

Alternatively, let's assume that the answer to that question was (b). In that case, "invisible pink unicorn" is nothing more than an alternative term for "God"! As was "Allah"

So the first part of your last paragraph amounts to the following:

"Applying the same standards, it's also evidence for God (a.k.a. Allah). It's also evidence for God (a.k.a. Jehovah). It's also evidence for God (a.k.a. YHWH). It's also evidence for God (a.k.a. the invisible pink unicorn). It's also evidence for God (a.k.a. the Flying Spaghetti Monster). It's also evidence for God (a.k.a. the Great Snozuflu). It's also evidence for any other synonym for God that my imagination can conjure up..."

Is that really any sort of answer to my point???? Of course not!!

Well, firstly, you seem to be wanting to duck the argument by playing semantics. Well, this is flawed as, you seem to be saying that God is a generic term for a supreme being. Well, it's not - that's god. Small 'G'. God, big 'G', is a proper noun - the name for the Christian god. Secondly, your argument seems to be 'everything is God unless I say it's not'. Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
I should really expand on that - you see, you're putting a false dichotomy. You're saying that something must be either (a) or (b). What if it's something else? What if the invisible pink unicorn is not a 'supreme being', but simply a quite powerful one? What if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is simply a creature from another planet? An example I gave below - what if we're a cosmic lab accident? Urushnor 14:59, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
It's not semantics. People often use an initial capital for pronouns referring to God (see, for example, the sentence after next). That they are capitalised does not mean that they are names. The same with "God"—capitalisation does not mean that it is His name. And no, my argument is based on etymology, facts of history, and logic: not on "everything is God unless I say it's not". You haven't disputed any of my argument, apart from your failed attempt regarding the capital letter, so the argument stands.
No, it doesn't, as what you've basically said is that, as well as using 'God' to refer to the Christian god, you can also use 'He' and 'His'. You still haven't proven, in any way, that 'God' can also be used, for example, to refer to the Great Snozuflu. Even if the claim was, in fact, that he/she/it was a 'supreme being', he/she/it would be a god, not 'God'. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
If the Great Snozuflu was the 'supreme being', then it would be appropriate to refer to that being with a term that was capitalised, i.e. "God". So by definition, the 'supreme being' is "God". Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
Your point about a false dichotomy could have some validity, except that I assumed that you were using those invented names as they are normally used, not in some novel way you just decided on.
Well, in the case of the Great Snozuflu, what, exactly, is the normal way that term is used? I invented that term, so, in effect, the 'normal way' for that term to be used is whatever I say it is. If I decide that term is referring to a being from another planet, then that's what it refers to. If I decide it refers to a god, then it does. If I decide it refers to my pet cat, and we were created by my cat sneezing and that snot hitting a quantum subspace wave in the fabric of the space-time continuum, which catapulted it back in time, and that was the first set of microbes from which all life evolved, then it does. According to your argument, all three of those scenarios are actually solid science until someone comes up with solid evidence that disproves them. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, you are not reading what I'm saying. I have previously denied that proposing an idea amounts to it being "solid science". Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
If you want to use them that way, then yes, the fact that we exist may be evidence for aliens ("a creature from another planet"). But as I point out above, where did this creature come from? Ultimately, you get back to a supernatural Creator as the ultimate cause.
Nope, sorry. Ultimately, you get back to a cause. Scientifically, there is no evidence that it must be a 'supernatural Creator'. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Why not? I thought my argument was valid. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
So even if you are correct, I'm still correct! Further, "evidence" can support more than one explanation. So our existence being evidence for aliens does not preclude our existence also being evidence for God.
Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
But we're back at the 'it must be evidence for God, because otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it' argument, which is no argument whatsoever. The question being asked is 'how did we come to exist?' You're saying the answer is, 'we exist, so it must be that God created us.' Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
You are correct that that is a summary of the argument, but if you are suggesting that is the entire argument, you are quite incorrect. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

"And, of course, it's also evidence for evolution.": Only if evolution has the capability of creating us. But it doesn't, as it cannot create genetic information.

Philip J. Rayment 10:22, 29 April 2008 (EDT)

I'll actually have to double check, but I think the mechanism for creating this genetic information is technically not part of evolution, so your second sentence is correct, but your first is not. If I wrong in this, then both your sentences are incorrect. Urushnor 12:39, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, I've checked, and the answer seems to be that it depends on exactly what you mean by evolution. If you mean the entire process (which is the definition used by most, if not all, evolutionary scientists), then, yes, the mechanism for creating this genetic information is part of evolution, and thus your second sentence is wrong, in addition to your first one. If you restrict evolution to only the mechanism of the selection of the traits that are changed from one generation to the next, then, no, it's not included, and thus it is only your first sentence that is incorrect, but you miss out that evolution does not need to create genetic information as another mechanism does this. This is backed up by the fact that this has been observed to happen. Here, for example, is an article detailing a few.
The other point, of course, is, even if you were completely and totally correct to say that evolution was incapable of creating genetic information, and thus incapable of creating us, the argument for our mere existence backing up God, when it comes down to it, is that 'God must have created us, otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it'. Well, by the same token, I can say that evolution must have overcome that barrier, otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it. Or that we must have been sneezed out of the nose of the Great Snozuflu because otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it. Or that we are the result of a hyper-advanced alien race's lab experiment that went wrong, otherwise we wouldn'r be here to talk about it, etc, etc, etc. Urushnor 14:33, 29 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I mean microbe-to-man evolution, and yes, the creation of new genetic information is supposed to be part of this process. The problem is, it doesn't work!
You're not getting the distinction. Some people (generally not scientists) think that evolution is only concerned with the actual mechanism whereby genetic features change from generation to generation. This means that this mechanism takes existing genetic features and alters them. Evolution is normally regarded by scientists as also including the mechanism whereby these genetic features arose in the first place. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Either I'm still not getting the distinction that you're trying to make, or you're not understanding me. I essentially agree with what you said, but my point is that even though scientists think that, evolution can't do that. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
As for the "observations" backing up the idea that mutations can create information, let's have a look at them:
  • "people ... acquired mutations that allow them to continue digesting milk into adulthood", "Creationists ... dismiss this as a malfunction, as the loss of the ability to switch off the production of the milk-digesting enzyme after childhood.": Okay, that's the claim and counter-claim. How do they refute the creationist claim? They don't—they move on to the next claim!
I'll give you a clue - evolution states that advantageous genetic features arise and are selected for, and thus spread through that selection process. Guess what the ability to digest milk as an adult is, in the circumstances detailed in the article? Depending on how you define 'information', that means that is either an increase in information (as the body gains the information not to eliminate the ability to digest milk) or a decrease in information, as the mechanism for this is a situation whereby the body fails to produce the enzyme to trigger the elimination of this ability. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Yeah? How is that a clue? Even according to you, this beneficial mutation could be caused by a loss of information, which is what creationists claim, and for which no refutation is offered. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
  • "a simple change in gene activity in sea squirts can turn their one-chambered heart into a working two-chambered one. Surely this counts as increasing information?": Er, no. Simply suggesting that an increase in information was the cause does not make it so.
You're missing the point. They know the cause - a change in gene activity. The results of this change is the development of a more complex heart, which is exactly the kind of thing evolution requires. This more complex heart also requires more information in the genetic sequence - the information to create two chambers, not one. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Is the second chamber due to new information, or duplication of existing information on building a heart chamber? Unless you can show that it is new information, you haven't made a case. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
  • "Some monkeys have a mutation in a protein called TRIM5 that results in a piece of another, defunct protein being tacked onto TRIM5. The result is a hybrid protein called TRIM5-CypA ...": So a mutation causes an existing, but unused protein to be put to use. I can't tell much about this one, but it doesn't appear very convincing.
So, what 'information' would a completely non-working protein be? If God created it, the only 'information' would be 'I can't create very well, as I left all sorts of useless crap in the genetic code'. This mutation adds information by taking a useless piece of protein and adding it to a working protein, thus creating a different protein. Again, exactly what evolution needs to work, especially as the part you lopped off that sentence is, 'which can protect cells from infection with retroviruses such as HIV.' Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
A non-working protein might be like a television with a blown fuse: originally working, but with one crucial little bit damaged. Again, if you had a clue what you were arguing against, you would know that God created things without faults, but that since the fall, things have 'run down', including accumulating defects. So the existence of defects does not meant that God created them with defects. And there are many examples of cells resisting infection or etc. due to a loss of information. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
And that's it. Three examples, presumably the best they could come up with, and none of them stack up.
Well, in short, that is an article detailing three instances of exactly the kind of changes that the Theory of Evolution predicted way back before the existence of genes and genetic code was even known, and you're still saying that evolution is impossible and cannot happen. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it is not "exactly the kind of changes that the Theory of Evolution predicted". Evolution predicted one type of creature changing into another type of creature. This is not that. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
"the argument for our mere existence backing up God ... is that 'God must have created us, otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it'. Well, by the same token, I can say that evolution must have overcome that barrier, otherwise we wouldn't be here to talk about it.": Yes, you could say that. But just like atheists dismiss that argument about God, I can dismiss it about evolution. If you want to believe on faith that evolution can do this, then I can, with at least equal legitimacy, believe it about God, and you can't reject me doing so, and be consistent. To put it more bluntly, calling that faith in evolution "science" and my faith in God "religion" as though the two were somehow qualitatively different—as so many do—is dishonest.
Thank you - you have just defeated your own argument. If you remember, it was you who originally advanced that our mere existence was evidence for God. I merely pointed out that by the same standards, it was also evidence for evolution, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the invisible pink unicorn, etc, etc, etc. By my standards, not yours, this is not evidence for any of them, including evolution. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I have not defeated my own argument. I guess I failed to show that you were using the same argument, but that is all. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
But there is a difference. That is, claiming that evolution can create new information is inconsistent with our observations that information only comes form an intelligence, but claiming that God can do it is consistent with those same observations. It still isn't proof, and ultimately is taken on faith. Are you therefore agreeing that your view is a faith position?
Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
No, because your assertion that 'information can only come from intelligence' is wrong. I'll give you an example. Go to the number pad on your computer keyboard. Close your eyes and type in four numbers completely at random. I'll do the same - 4337. The result is information, in my case, the number four thousand three hundred and thirty-seven. Randomness is, in fact, capable of producing information. It may not be useful information, but, guess what? Not everything in any creature's genetic sequence is actually useful. In fact, it's fairly typical that there's plenty that's not. Urushnor 16:20, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Incidentally, you touched on 'my position' being faith-based. Well, I am actually an agnostic. However, I am an agnostic from a philosophical position - there is no guarantee that science will be able to give all the answers to the whole of existence, and there is no argument that persuades me about any particular religion. Science, however, is based on evidence, and there is no objective evidence of God, or any other god-like being, so you can have faith that God exists from a religious standpoint, and you can say that God might exist from a philosophical standpoint, but you cannot base any science on the idea God exists. Urushnor 16:57, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Typing in a number into a computer requires a keyboard/computer and a keyboard/computer require intelligence. Conservative 17:05, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
You're confusing the mechanism for recording the number with the number itself. The number itself was derived from a purely random process. Urushnor 19:05, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
You are correct in your reply to Conservative, and his comment was missing the point (although he gets to it below). However, you are also missing the point, in that a random number is not information. Information is something with meaning, and this meaning is conveyed by arbitrary symbols (such as English alphabet letters and numerals or DNA 'letters') that only have meaning to someone who knows the code (i.e. knows what meaning is attached to what symbols or combination of symbols). So "4337", by itself, is not information; it has no meaning: it's just a random arrangement of symbols. If I asked you "how many brothers do you have", and you closed your eyes and typed on the keyboard "4337", and gave that as your answer, I'd wonder what you'd been smoking. Because that "answer" has no meaning for that question. Of course, you could type just a single digit, say "6", which would appear to possibly be a meaningful answer, but, except by co-incidence, it would be wrong. And the reason it would be wrong would be because it was produced by randomness, not by your intelligence. Information does require intelligence, and that principle is the basis of the SETI program: they are looking for a non-random signal in order to determine that they have discovered intelligence. A random signal won't do it. DNA has information, which could only have come from an intelligence. That is science.
Non-useful DNA may be the result of the Fall (defects arising since creation), but geneticists are finding that much of what they thought was "junk DNA" actually has a purpose, as a creationary view would predict, but an evolutionary view would not (which is why it was so readily thought of as 'junk': an example of the evolutionary view holding back science).
As for your last paragraph about philosophy, you are merely putting a point of view that I've already pointed out the errors in, such as the claim that there is no objective evidence of God.
Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
A raindrop falling into a lake causes a ripple. That ripple contains information on the force with which the raindrop hit the lake. Information from a completely unintelligent source. Information comes from everything and anything.Raggs 17:08, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
I suggest looking at the concept of specified complexity.Conservative 17:17, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
Basically a claim of incredulity. Just because the information in DNA leads to a specific result (the protein and it's properties), is not to say that the drip of water doesn't, it leads to the ripple, which may lead to a number of specific results. The drop is simpler because it cannot replicate itself. Imperfect replication is the key to DNA's success. The selfish gene, it is indeed a truly brilliant theory (though in truth I don't think you could claim it even as a theory, it is simple logic). In short my point with the previous comment was simply to show that just because a system contains information, it most certainly does not mean that system, or information, was made by an intelligence.Raggs 17:31, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it's not a claim of incredulity. The ripples do not contain a message, because there is no specified complexity, as Conservative mentions. The ripples are the result of natural processes, whereas the information on DNA is not, because the DNA is not arranged by natural laws, but by machines that put it together according to a code. Philip J. Rayment 10:51, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
Actually DNA is a self-assembling molecule, arranged by natural laws. Many common pieces of lab equipment use this fact to replicate, expand and sequence DNA molecules. If you take the four bases, sugars and phosphates and place them in a simple solution they will bind to form a DNA molecule. The reason for this is that the DNA configuration is a lower energy state compared to the individual molecules of the bases, phosphates and sugars. As for information encoded in DNA, well that is another issue.--Able806 11:39, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
I must admit that the methods used in laboratory DNA replication, etc. is something that I don't know much about. However, the only places we have ever seen DNA forming are (a) in living things, and (b) in laboratories. This is because it simply does not occur naturally. What you are talking about is getting existing DNA to replicate or join, in very precise conditions that scientists create, which is hardly DNA being arranged simply by natural laws. Also, I found this on Wikipedia (not always a trustworthy source, but probably reasonable in this case), which says "The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique widely used in molecular biology. It derives its name from one of its key components, a DNA polymerase used to amplify a piece of DNA by in vitro enzymatic replication." In other words, in order to amplify DNA, the process includes the machines (DNA polymerase) that I mentioned above were required. Doesn't that actually support what I was saying? Philip J. Rayment 22:17, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Ending Debate

Well, I have been blocked for 'accusations of lying'. Ironically, that, in itself, is a complete lie. I have no interest in continuing what I regarded as a healthy discussion and exchanging of views with someone who resorts to such tactics. Goodbye. Urushnor2 16:30, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

You said, "the reason he stopped the interview was in sheer anger at being lied to.". That is, you were accusing the producers of the video of lying. Admittedly, you were basing your accusation on what someone else has said, but you weren't putting it as a quote or attributing it to someone else, but repeating the accusation yourself. So no, that reason for the block was not a lie. Secondly, that was only one of the reasons for the block. Why didn't you mention the other? Why misrepresent the reasons for the block by only mentioning one of the reasons? Philip J. Rayment 08:20, 10 May 2008 (EDT)
Well, as the person who said that the interviewers lied was Richard Dawkins, the person being interviewed. That is NOT a 'third party', that is a FIRST party. Secondly, if you are blocking me for saying this, I guess you're saying that this did not happen (unless, of course, you feel justified in blocking someone for stating the truth), so this means that you are accusing Richard Dawkins of lying, so feel free to block yourself for 'allegations of lying' any time. Thirdly, the reason that I did not mention the other reason for being blocked was that I was going to let that slide, as certain things I have said could be perceived as being insulting, if you're rather sensitive about such things, but since you've brought it up, let's address it - the only thing I have said that could really be perceived as an insult is that you are ignorant of science. Considering I have seen you call people ignorant of creationism or ignorant of intelligent design, blocking me for that 'insult' is blocking me for something you do yourself. There is a word that is not very nice for such actions, that begins with 'H', but I will refrain from saying it, as you will no doubt say I'm insulting you again. Urushnor2 15:24, 10 May 2008 (EDT)
I didn't use the term 'third party'. Saying that they didn't lie does not mean that I'm accusing Richard Dawkins of lying. It could (and does, incidentally) simply mean that I'm claiming Dawkins was mistaken. Not that that justifies him making accusations of lying, but that's a separate issue.
As for the insult, rather than try and figure out what I must have meant, how about reading what I said (on this page) was the reason? It wasn't for calling me ignorant, so ho hypocrisy involved.
Philip J. Rayment 02:05, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
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