Talk:Theory of evolution/Archive 11

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Poor Example

I understand that this article has been locked to prevent unwanted changes, as is often a problem on sites such as this. However, I think that it is important to note that this page sets a very poor example. One of the reasons for founding conservapedia was an observed bias in existing information mediums. This bias is often formed by "cherry-picking" evidence and support for a particular viewpoint-- much as has been done on this page, if for the opposing viewpoint. If conservapedia wishes to change the way information is presented, I believe it should try to lead by example, not simply attempt to counter existing mediums. This article on evolution could be greatly improved by presenting both evidence for and against, in clearly labled sections. A reader who did not wish to expand their horizons could still simply read the section that applied to them, but having multiple viewpoints would foster an increase in the understanding of opposing viewpoints. I believe that this type of change would also reduce the risk of vandalism on the page.


stylistic changes

Just so everyone knows what I changed... I didn't make any content changes, just stylistic ones. All the major quotes are now using the {{cquote}} template. --Ymmotrojam 02:43, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

Thanks Tom! Could someone please archive most of this page?--Sysop-TK /MyTalk 04:37, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

Origin

Who was it that first came up with the TOE? It wasn't Darwin, I think it was some Greek, but I can't remember the name...anyone else? ScorpionVote for Pedro 10:23, 2 June 2007 (EDT)

  • Check out: [1] and [2] Darwin was the or among the very first, actually. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 12:08, 2 June 2007 (EDT)
I saw this question last night, and ignored it, because I wasn't sure how to answer it.
The problem, now that I've seen it afresh, is, what do you mean by "the theory of evolution"?
Evolutionary ideas certainly preceded Darwin, and you are right that the ancient Greeks had evolutionary ideas. But it was Darwin that put forward a specific hypothesis, the basis of what is considered evolution today.
However, even that is not the complete story, because Darwin's ideas have been changed and expanded in significant ways, so much so that evolution is sometimes referred to a neo-Darwinism, because it is sufficiently different to Darwin's hypothesis to be referred to as a new version of the idea.
(And all that ignores Wallace's involvement in the matter.)
Philip J. Rayment 19:41, 2 June 2007 (EDT)
Anaximander postulated that humans had to be born first of some form of primate because human infants can't care for themselves. He was writing around 600 BC or so. Lamarck came befre Darwin with an evolution-like theory that built on the chain of being. And the only people who refer to the current synthesis of Darwin's original theory and modern genetics as 'neo-darwinism' are people trying to attack it.--FunGuy 10:26, 11 July 2007 (EDT)
So I guess that Richard Dawkins is one of those trying to attack it? Philip J. Rayment 10:56, 11 July 2007 (EDT)
Richard Dawkins is a psuedoscience hack.--FunGuy 22:39, 11 July 2007 (EDT)
You may be thinking of Aristotle's Ladder (I think that's the name) which roughly stated that organisms can be organized heirarchically according the complexity, intelligence, sophistication, etc, with humans, of course, being the highest, and furthermore, that organisms tend towards complexity. This is something that evolution shows to be inaccurate. Teji 13:19, 8 June 2007 (EDT)
I might be thinking of that, although I've not heard that name. But I don't understand your last sentence. Philip J. Rayment 07:08, 9 June 2007 (EDT)

I suspect he's merely saying that, in the Darwinian model, the 'most developed' doesn't necessarily equate with the 'most complex' i.e. an organism could evolve to be less complex if it is beneficial - Rational 00:35, 23 June 2007 (EDT)

Suggestion on a change of format: point-by-point on evolution

I really like this article. I came on the site in large part because the collection of this much creationist information is just a good idea. But I think a good change for the article, or maybe just a new section at the bottom of the article, may be a point-by-point refutation of evolutionist ideology. Like, a table that would say "Evolutionists believe..." in one column, and "Creationists know..." in the other column? See, because this article is very long, and I think the information should also be printed in a more accessible fashion.-Phoenix 22:47, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Two comments:
  • The Conservapedia Panel have decreed that this article should remain much as it is, so adding a section like that would seem to be a significant change, and would require approval from the Panel, in my opinion.
  • As you said, the article is already very long. I suggest that another article be created comparing evolutionary and creationary beliefs, to supplement this one, rather than having it in this one. Do you want to create that article?
Philip J. Rayment 23:27, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Good suggestions! The new article is probably a good idea; didn't know about the lock. Who's the Panel? I don't know if I'm qualified. I don't know the appropriate Wiki code. If you set it up, I could fill it in, though?-Phoenix 00:30, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

  • It has been decided a template or info box, such as suggested, without adding or subtracting any points, is not a "change" to the freeze the Panel has put on the page. However the idea of another page, so long as the material is treated equally, might be the better course. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 03:13, 14 June 2007 (EDT)
Yes, depending on just what was in the box, it might fall within the Panel's decision, but I'm suspecting that this is going to be something more than just formatting a few existing points in a different way.
The Panel is the final arbiter of any disputes on Conservapedia.
I'm creating the page here. If that is still red, I haven't done it yet.
Philip J. Rayment 07:07, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

Just a quick commment. A table as described could be useful, however the column headings 'Evolutionists believe', 'Creationists believe' and 'Current scientific data shows' whould be less biased than the headings suggested originally. Tim Davies 12:47, 15 June 2007 (EDT)

Did you think to look at the article that was created (see my previous post just above yours), to see what it actually has? Philip J. Rayment 23:11, 15 June 2007 (EDT)

social effects

Conservative's (I assume) new section on the social effects of ToE, could stand quite a bit of copyediting, if nothing else.

  • there have been great...
  • In regards to demoralization ensuing in a specific portion of history...
  • George Stein concurs...
  • The Solzhenitsyn quote should be cleaned up
  • ...19th century evolutionists were racist in sentiment...
  • In his work entitled Darwinian Fairytales...this is not a sentence.
  • It would also be a better idea to summarize what the quotes say and cite them, rather than just pasting them in.

Murray 15:37, 17 June 2007 (EDT)

Murray, thanks for the helpful input. I believe I will take your suggestion regarding the quotes in regards to the Wilder-Smith and Stein quotes although it will be after a finish another matter in regards to Conservapedia. Conservative 17:26, 22 June 2007 (EDT)

Law Of Evolution

I've never heard of it. Any here have. Evolution means species change. Trying to deny it is trying to deny that the aids virus becomes adaptable to the drugs, because of the small change that one is resistant to it. The theory this page seems to be trying to disprove is Natural Selection. Evolution has been known for basically ever. It's common sense to presume that if your parents are tall you have a much more likelihood of being tall. Darwin came up with Natural Selection, which says that if there is an advantage of being tall then people will change to be taller. So please define what you mean by "The Theory of Evolution".

"Evolution", in popular parlance, means more than just species change. It means the complete development of life from the first living cell to all the different kingdoms, phyla, families, and species that we have today.
Adaptation by a living thing to its surroundings is not evolution, at least according to that description. And that understanding of evolution in a "scientific" theory has not been around forever.
That you are tall because your parents are tall is genetics, not evolution. Genetics was discovered by a creationist, Gregor Mendel.
Darwin did not come up with natural selection. A creationist described the idea before Darwin.
Natural selection says that if there is an advantage to being taller, the genes for tallness will be retained. It does not cause people to change to being taller. That is, it only conserves genetic information, it doesn't change it.
Philip J. Rayment 08:35, 21 June 2007 (EDT)

Which Creationist came up with the idea of Natural Selection before Darwin? And Genetics is the means of how evolution works. Gregor Mendel never read Darwin's Book, so he never had the chance not to be a Creationist.

1)Which Creationist came up with the idea of Natural Selection before Darwin?
Edward Blyth. "The original form of a species is unquestionably better adapted to its natural habits than any modification of that form; and, as the sexual passions excite to rivalry and conflict, and the stronger must always prevail over the weaker, the latter, in a state of nature, is allowed but few opportunities of continuing its race. In a large herd of cattle, the strongest bull drives from him all the younger and weaker individuals of his own sex, and remains sole master of the herd; so that all the young which are produced must have had their origin from one which possessed the maximum of power and physical strength; and which, consequently, in the struggle for existence, was the best able to maintain his ground, and defend himself from every enemy." -- The Magazine of Natural History Vol. 8, No. 1. January, 1835. pp.40-53.) Ungtss 18:33, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
2)Genetics is the means of how evolution works. Ungtss 17:59, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
This is a meaningless sentence. Ungtss 17:58, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
3) Gregor Mendel never read Darwin's Book, so he never had the chance not to be a Creationist.
First, the concept of evolution predated Darwin by at least 100 years, and Mendel was aware of it. Second, Darwin never read Mendel's work. That's why he had no idea how genetics works. Ungtss 17:58, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

100 years? I think the first time I hear something like it is 611 B.C.E with Anaximander, but it is a stretch to say he came up with the idea. Yes Darwin had a copy of the magazine Mendel published his work in, and never got around to reading it. Mendel had a copy of "The Orgin of Species" and never got around to reading it. Ironic. Edward Blyth did not describe natural selectoin in the way that Darwin did. He used it to restore species to their archetype not to evolve new species, so Darwin is still the first to introduce the idea.

Anaximander didn't speak of natural selection -- he spoke of common descent (fish kicking us out of the house). I was referring to Maupertuis and Darwin's grandpa, who spoke of random variation and natural selection in the modern evolutionary sense. The issue above was who "came up with natural selection" -- Blyth described natural selection in creationist terms -- as a means of maintaining the fitness of an original created type, rather than the creative engine behind new types. Modern creationists would also say that natural selection permitted the created types to adapt to changes in climate and ecological niches. Everybody acknowledges natural selection. The real debate is whether the creative engine is random mutation or design. Ungtss 10:21, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Reference Formatting

I have just noticed that almost all of the references for this article include the link only, and not the title/author/organization/pub date/retrieval date, etc. Since the article is locked, I cannot help with this - could someone with that power take care of it? It's easy to do - just click on the link and copy the info into the article just before the URL in the reference tag. Having the reference information spelled out helps a student to decide which sources might be useful to him, shows at a glance where most of the information is taken from (pro- vs. anti_ sites, etc.), and helps make the articles findable again if the original URL goes dead. The article on Homeschooling has some examples of how references can be done to include this information (though it is not perfect either!), and my talk page has some suggestions on how to do the code. --Hsmom 17:46, 22 June 2007 (EDT)

Social Darwinism

I propose that most of the 'Social effects of the Theory of Evolution' section should be moved to the Social Darwinism article. It has plenty of sources, which is what that article could well do with, and in the current context it feels as if it's being given as evidence for why evolution is 'bad', whereas it'd be more suitable as material documenting the phenomena itself. There are some parts in the section which don't directly relate, but most of it regards applying Darwinian concepts to society, which is what Social Darwinism is all about. - Rational 01:27, 23 June 2007 (EDT)

I believe the social effects were more than social darwinism. I also believe this was demonstrated in the article. Conservative 15:54, 24 June 2007 (EDT)

Sure, there are certainly other effects. However, most uses of Evolution in Nazism, Communism, racism etc. are to the effect of 'this group is less developed' or 'in being wiped out, this group has shown it is too weak to exist and so should have been wiped out', both of which can come under the definition of Social Darwinism. It's just a thought. - Rational 23:35, 24 June 2007 (EDT)

Some suggested grammatical edits.

The use of the colon to separate the man from the quote should be replaced with that. ex: ... Dobzhansky wrote that "The process ...

The switch between evolutionists and creationists is rather abrupt. Should there be a paragraph break in there?

Also, something about the use of the word Furthermore just doesn't seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the section. Or is that just me?

The second paragraph begins:

Darwin himself admitted that his theory required the existence of "transitional forms." Darwin wrote: ...

and then further along in the second paragraph:

... and no part with sufficient care...". Darwin's theory of evolution required that transitional forms exist. As Darwin grew older, ...

There must be a better way to phrase this so that there is no repetition.


The fifth paragraph is a strange attribution:

Q: "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them…" wrote David B. Kitts ...

The other attributions all run along the lines of, 'So-and-so, of some org., said, "blah blah blah ..."' Except for this one. I suggest that it should be flipped to read like the others.

A: David B. Kitts of the School of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma wrote that "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them…".

The sixth paragraph begins:

Q: David Raup, who was the curator of geology at the museum holding the world's largest fossil collection (the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago), observed: ...

Why is the name of the Museum parenthetical?

A: David Raup, former Curator of Geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago — holder of the world's largest fossil collection, observed: ...

And now I'm off to watch the Sonoma Race.

The Rev. - Yak 15:44, 24 June 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the suggestions. The vast majority were implemented. Conservative 16:08, 24 June 2007 (EDT)
No problem, it's what I'm here for. I'm sure I'll have more as I read on. The Rev. - Yak 01:52, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

Proposed changes

A first stab at proposed changes to the theory of evolution page.

The theory of evolution is a term primarily used to describe two different concepts:

  • The idea that organisms change over many generations through the process of variation and natural selection
  • The idea that all life on Earth is descended from a single protocell, and differentiated into its various forms solely through the processes of random variation and natural selection.

While there is no controversy regarding the truth of the theory of evolution in the first sense, there is a great deal of public controversy regarding its truth in the second sense. Specifically, creationism is an alternate viewpoint which holds that all life is not related, and life did not develop entirely by the processes of variation and natural selection; rather, a Creator designed and created life in a number of different, distinct, and unrelated forms, and endowed that life with the capacity to adapt to a changing environment through the processes of variation and natural selection.

Mechanisms of evolution

The following mechanisms are proposed for the processes of evolution:

Origin of life

  • Metabolism world hypothesis: the hypothesis that life originated with a spontaneous non-genetic metabolica cycle, and later evolved into cells;
  • RNA world hypothesis: the hypothesis that life originated with RNA, which had the capacity to act both as gene and enzyme;

Variation

Selection

Ungtss 22:21, 24 June 2007 (EDT)

Pope John Paul II

I'm just wonder why there is no mention at all in this article about Pope John Paul II accepting the theory of evolution?? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Thinkinglogically (talk)

Because it isn't true. We're not fooled by liberal spin here.--Aschlafly 23:45, 1 July 2007 (EDT)
He did not "accept" it. Bohdan 23:48, 1 July 2007 (EDT)
I thought he did, in part if not in total, but perhaps I'm getting confused with a different pope? Philip J. Rayment 01:11, 2 July 2007 (EDT)
Interesting article about this here: http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/0102-97/Article3.html --Britinme 12:32, 2 July 2007 (EDT)
Link didn't work, and please quote what you think is interesting. Thanks and Godspeed.--Aschlafly 12:35, 2 July 2007 (EDT)
It's a longish article, which is why I provided the link. I've fixed it now and it should work. This is a relevant section, but the rest of the article is an interesting discussion.

In his talk to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pope reportedly stated that evolution is "more than a hypothesis." At first, some critics of evolution argued that the pope was mistranslated into English here. What he really said, they argued, was that "new knowledge has led to the recognition of more than one hypothesis in the theory of evolution."Even the English language edition of the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, seemed to concur, until a corrected translation was published. John Paul II did say evolution was "more than a hypothesis," according to the paper.


In any event, it seems clear that the pope thinks evolution is supported, at least to some extent, by the evidence. Noting various discoveries and evolution's progressive acceptance by "researchers," he concluded, "The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."


Perhaps John Paul II was making a subtle distinction, sometimes made by philosophers of science, between a hypothesis and a theory. A hypothesis, on this view, is simply a possible explanation of a phenomenon; a theory is an explanation with some evidential verification, usually based on testing and research. The pope appears to think there's evidence to support evolution, hence it is "more than a hypothesis." --Britinme 12:43, 2 July 2007 (EDT)

Does that mean the Pope is a Liberal? BritCon 13:19, 2 July 2007 (EDT)

Some quotes from the Vatican; Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.

But also the message of Pope John Paul II cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe. Mainly concerned with evolution as it “involves the question of man,” however, Pope John Paul’s message is specifically critical of materialistic theories of human origins and insists on the relevance of philosophy and theology for an adequate understanding of the “ontological leap” to the human which cannot be explained in purely scientific terms.

Quotes taken from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20040723_communion-stewardship_en.html. Eriknh 12:57, 3 July 2007 (EDT)

Thinkinglogically, isn't the current Pope is more cautious regarding the theory of evolution than John Paul II? (see the article: Pope praises science but stresses evolution not proven at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-04-11-pope-evolution-creation_N.htm ) Second, I spoke to a Roman Catholic priest today and he said that according to Roman Catholic Church (RCC) doctrine, Roman Catholics are free to ignore Papal proclamations that are not Ex Cathedra proclamations (see Ex Cathedra at the Catholic site New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05677a.htm ). The Roman Catholic Church priest and I believe the Roman Catholic Church will never endorse the theory of evolution via a Ex Cathedra proclamation. If this is the case, according to RCC doctrine, Roman Catholics will always be free to reject the theory of evolution according to their . Also, both the RCC and Answers in Genesis believe that the theory of evolution is more than a hypothesis.[3] so I don't see the big deal about this part of the proclamation. As far as all organisms being genetically related as the the statement above asserts I believe this argument rest on the homology argument which I believe is a exceedingly weak argument (see: homology). Next, I don't recall the RCC church ever mentioning the fossil record in regards to the theory of evolution but perhaps there are statements I am unaware of. Given what the Conservapedia Theory of evolution article reveals about the fossil record this is not very suprising. Lastly, thank you for your input as it prompted me to put something about homology in the theory of evolution article. Conservative 17:50, 5 July 2007 (EDT)
Mostly valid points, Conservative, although I don't think your AiG reference proves much. They do refer to evolution as the "theory of evolution" in your linked article, but the article is not arguing that point. Rather, my impression is that they don't get hung up on terminology so are happy to refer to it as a theory without necessarily agreeing that it is a theory rather than a hypothesis. Also, my understanding is that there there is an Ex Cathedra statement that Adam was specially created (and Ex Cathedra statements can't be revoked, I believe), so even if the Catholic Church accepts the rest of evolution, they can never accept the evolution of man. Your are correct about the relatedness being an argument of homology, and your are right that homology is a weak argument (or even a non-argument). Philip J. Rayment 20:02, 5 July 2007 (EDT)

The theory of evolution is an attempt to explain the history of life on earth based solely on naturalism or materialism, and to require students in public school and universities to learn and accept t

"....and to require students in public school and universities to learn and accept this attempted explanation." That's not really part of the theory, per se - should that bit not be in a section or article somewhere about evolutionists/evolutionism? PFoster 15:30, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

I see your point, but disagree. Mandatory teaching of evolution is central to the theory itself. For example, discredited aspects of the theory will remain part of the theory as long as they can be taught in school, as illustrated by the Piltdown Man and the Haeckel diagrams. I welcome alternative wording but the theory is like a belief system and it cannot be divorced from the insistence by its proponents to use it primarily as a teaching device.--Aschlafly 17:03, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

"Mandatory teaching of evolution is central to the theory itself." Which page of which edition of Origin of Species is this on? I can't find anything about the teaching of the theory,or Piltdown Man or Haeckel diagrams on either of my copies. The teaching of the theory and poor scientific use or applications of the theory ae not central to the theory itself and don't belong in the introductory paragraph of an article about the theory. PFoster 18:04, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

The modern theory (significantly different from what Darwin proposed) depends in large part on what can be taught. I gave two examples of that, which you did not address. Those remained part of the theory due to their effectiveness in teaching.--Aschlafly 18:15, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

I asked you where this stuff was in Darwin - which is nowhere - and you did not address that. I *did* address the two examples you mentioned, and pointed out that they, and the teaching of the theory, which is distinct from the theory itself, may have a place in the article, but certainly not in the first sentence. Thankfully, however, one of your sysops removed the sentence in question a few hours back, so the point is moot. PFoster 18:39, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

Andy did address your question of where it was in Darwin—by pointing out that the modern theory is significantly different to Darwin's version. In other words, it doesn't have to be in Origin of the Species to be part of the theory of evolution. And would you mind not using such long headings? Apart from anything else, it doesn't do much for the page's table of contents. Philip J. Rayment 20:33, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
A third example of how the theory is motivated by the desire to teach it is as follows. Today the theory defines evolution as "change over time." No scientist, and certainly not Darwin, would accept such a meaningless definition with a straight face. But that definition is very easy to teach and defend, because all biological processes change over time. So, like my other examples, the theory is driven by the desire to teach it.
As with all Wikis, entries are constantly improving and this facual information will be reinserted in improved form. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 21:55, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

The theory has employed unscientific definitions, illustrations and assertions...

Ummm, since when do theories have agency and "employ" anything? PEOPLE employ different devices to propagate a theory or to somehow see its implications actualized in society. Theories are ideas and don't really do all that much, left to themselves. PFoster 22:20, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

OK, that's nitpicky, but I'll search for a better verb. Hmmmmm. I'll try "utilized", though I doubt any verb will satisfy you. Especially not if you think the theory is still the same as what Darwin proposed. Do you really think Darwin defined "evolution" as "change over time"? Godspeed to you, regardless.--Aschlafly 22:56, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

No, but I do think that an encyclopedia entry on the subject should 1. Start at the beginning and define the term as it was originally used, 2. Give a detailed discussion of the fundamental tenets of the theory and the historical background to its development and then 3. Go on to talk about how the term has - no pun intended - evolved over more than a century of use. And a writer of encyclopedia articles should differentiate between ideas and the people who use them - evolution, Marxism, Christianity, Nazism, and fundamental Islam don't do anything, and they don't employ any devices to replicate themselves. Evolutionists, Marxists, Christians, Nazis and fundamental Muslims - in other words *people* - are what try to spread these ideas.

As for being "nitpicky" - this is an *encyclopedia.* Did Encyclopedia Brittanica or L'Encyclopédie Universalis get to be what they are by avoiding nitpicking? PFoster 23:06, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

Instead of changing the verb, how about "Proponents of the theory have employed...". And a link to Definitions of evolution would be a good idea around there too (although it's already in the "see also" section).
Being nitpicky, PFoster, your last message had point 1., but no further (numbered) points!
Philip J. Rayment 23:14, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
We're open-minded here. But PFoster, with all due respect, your comments have a glaring omission: are you doubting the theory of evolution defines evolution as "change over time"? You seem to complain about the definition without stating what you think the definition is.
Also, no, an historical review of the changing theory is not appropriate for the introduction. Students and adults want to know up-front what the latest version of the theory is. When we have an entry on a topic in chemistry, for example, we don't give prior views of the chemical compound. We state science in its current form. History can be addressed later in the entry or in a separate entry for those with an historical interest. But your comments are appreciated. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 23:19, 15 July 2007 (EDT)


"are you doubting the theory of evolution defines evolution as "change over time"?" Well, that might be how I would explain it to a six-year-old....but I'm sure the people who are allowed to edit the page in question can do a better job than that. PFoster 23:47, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

PFoster, you're a bright guy. You're bright enough not to rely on others. Many of the 13% of Americans who believe in evolution as it is taught in school think it must be true because they think others have the answers to explain it. They don't. Some are making money off the theory (Dawkins, the late Stephen Jay Gould, all the professors and museum officials), and some like the political effects of teaching it. All the people who sincerely believe in the theory AND have thought it through for themselves might fit in my modest living room.
Evolution is defined as "change over time." For adults as well as children. No kidding. Please look for yourself. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 00:03, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
Evolution, the theory, not the word, is defined a little bit more precisely than just "change over time", although I do agree that it's defined far to broadly. See Definitions of evolution#Gene frequency for more including a reference. Philip J. Rayment 00:20, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
Well, right, I think it is implicit that "change" refers to genetic change. We're not talking about velocity or acceleration here. But thanks for adding some precision. I'll insert genetic in parentheses in the entry.--Aschlafly 00:23, 16 July 2007 (EDT)


Oh, c'mon Aschlafly, give the people some credit: "Evolution is defined as "change over time." For adults as well as children. No kidding. Please look for yourself." Words' meanings differ depending on context. Language is elastic and words mean different things in different circumstances. If I'm talking about, say, the history of jazz, I'll talk about how the style "evolved" from swing to bop. If I'm talking about baseball, I'll talk about how the game has "evolved," and, yeah, in those cases, I mean to talk about "change over time." And if I'm talking about the evolution of life on Earth as described in theories first developed in the 1760s by Bonnet and developed and popularized by Charles Darwin, among others, then the word "evolution" means something more specific and far more complex. None of which has anything to do with the fact that the article as it stands now ascribes agency to an idea and misses important parts of a specific formulation of a specific theory, and does a lousy job of contextualizing the intellectual climate that that theory came out of, and focuses - in a simplistic manner - on a very narrow aspect of the political fallout of the application of that theory without meaningfully engaging with important parts of the theory itself. PFoster 00:33, 16 July 2007 (EDT)

PFoster, I know how evolutionists define their term. I've urged you to look it up. You don't seemed to have done that yet. Please, open your mind, and look up the definition of the word. The entry is correct and your criticism is misplaced. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 00:42, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
PFoster, I agreed that the definition is a bit more than just "change over time" (and Andy has noted that). But I don't think you've actually proposed an alternative. What do you think it means? Philip J. Rayment 01:23, 16 July 2007 (EDT)


Today's definition...

I am unclear on something -

"Today advocates of evolution no longer adhere to "natural selection" as the definition of evolution, but rather define it simply as "change over time" in the gene pool of a population over time through such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.[4]"

How can natural selection be discounted in the second half of that sentence when it's posited as a necessary part of the definition in the first? If you trim down the sentence you get - "Today advocates of evolution no longer adhere to "natural selection" as the definition of evolution, but rather define it simply as "change over time" ...through such processes as...natural selection..."

Which means pretty much the same thing. And if "natural selection," as opposed to "change over time" is the touchstone for defining evolution, then perhaps we should not rely on Dictionary.com as the only source, as this article does. Perhaps we should consult a few others:

From Encarta: “1. biology theory of development from earlier forms: the theoretical process by which all species develop from earlier forms of life. According to this theory, natural variation in the genetic material of a population favors reproduction by some individuals more than others, so that over the generations all members of the population come to possess the favorable traits.”

From the Compact OED: “noun 1 the process by which different kinds of living organisms are believed to have developed, especially by natural selection.”

From Wordsmyth English Dictionary: “the continuous modification and adaptation of organisms to their environments through selection, hybridization, and the like.”

From the American Heritage Dictionary:” Biology a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.”

From the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: “A theory first proposed in the nineteenth century by Charles Darwin, according to which the Earth’s species have changed and diversified through time under the influence of natural selection”

From Biology online: “evolution is the change in the gene pool of populations over generations. The major prerequisite for evolution is genetic variation without which it cannot take place. There are two manifestations of evolution: adaptive evolution and neutral evolution: adaptive evolution is driven by natural selection, which operates on the correlation between heritable variation of traits and variation in reproductive success.Neutral evolution takes place through random genetic drift, which is a stochastic process, leading to random changes in the genotype of the trait in question. Natural selection can only operate on traits that are heritable and are correlated with reproductive success while drift affects all traits (expressed & nonexpressed, hertiable & non-heritable, etc) to varying extents.”

And that's after one quick search.PFoster 16:13, 16 July 2007 (EDT)

When I asked you for a definition, what I was wanting was a proposed wording for the article, not cut-and-paste definitions. Sorry I wasn't clearer on that.
I agree that there are a variety of definitions out there. But dictionaries at least tend to define words in the way that they are generally understood, not the way that scientists understand them. Therefore the one you posted which is probably closest to the current scientific definition, the Biology online one, essentially said "genetic change over time", which is what I said above and Andy agreed with. The Encarta one wasn't all that much different.
I agree that Natural Selection is still considered one of the processes involved with evolution, but I think that the question is over how much it is considered part of the definition. Biology online seems to be specifically excluding natural selection as part of the definition, by saying that only some evolution involves natural selection.
I'm not trying to defend the exact current wording of the article; it probably could be improved a bit. But I'd like to see what you would actually propose instead.
Philip J. Rayment 22:03, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
The more credible definitions confirm exactly what the entry says: evolution is defined as (genetic) change over time. Talk.origins, which evolutionists consider to be their authoritative resource, says this: "The word 'evolution' ... is used for the fact (sic) of biological change over time."[4]
I'm fine if you want to propose an alternative definition, but you haven't done that yet. Instead, you have proposed many definitions, the most credible of which are identical and the others of which you have not endorsed.
If you want to define evolution in terms of "natural selection," then it becomes necessary to define that word. Its definition is typically circular: "natural selection is survival of the fittest. The fittest are those that survive (from generation to generation)."--Aschlafly 22:16, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
I suggest reading the following footnote I added: http://www.arn.org/docs/anderson/an_appb.htm Conservative 20:29, 17 July 2007 (EDT)
I did some research on this topic and added some footnotes and made the sentence more precise. Conservative 20:53, 17 July 2007 (EDT)
Here is how that section reads now: Critics of the theory of evolution state that some of today's proponents of the theory of evolution have diluted the meaning of the term "evolution" to the point where it includes or is defined as change over time in the gene pool of a population over time through such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.[5][6][7][8] For example, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati states the following: ".many evolutionary propagandists are guilty of the deceitful practice of equivocation, that is, switching the meaning of a single word (evolution) part way through an argument. A common tactic, ‘bait-and-switch,’ is simply to produce examples of change over time, call this ‘evolution,’ then imply that the GTE [General Theory of Evolution] is thereby proven or even essential, and creation disproved.[9] Conservative 20:57, 17 July 2007 (EDT)
The use of equivocation is worse than I thought. I modified the statement above in the article and gave better references. Conservative 14:18, 18 July 2007 (EDT)

This article is being written by very few contributors?

I can see that this article is controversial - very much so, in fact. Without getting involved in anything regarding the content of this article, don't you think that it might reduce the controversy if you allowed more than one editor to write it? By allowing only one editor, 'Conservative', to write pretty much the entire article, you are inviting controversy. It behooves him to be essentially the world's greatest living authority on Evolution. Is he? What are his credentials? And isn't the article written from a very defensive perspective? I understand clearly that CP is not going to be the place to find Evolutionary beliefs, so wouldn't it radically help your case if the article simply had a few lines and some major points about this theory, add a link to Creationism as a recommended reading, and don't continue into the remaining 95% of the article which is simply Evolution Refutation? Encyclopedia's are not normally places where an article teaches all the things the topic ISN'T.

Why not be proud of your beliefs? I don't see Wikipedia's Creationism article being an interminably long article refuting the Creationist claims, point by point? Rather, it lays out clearly what Creationists believe, point by point. I can understand that you might find it biased, but there's little denying the basic overview of the topic is much better than this overview of Evolution? BritLibDem 20:50, 18 July 2007 (EDT)

Some articles by their nature are "hot spots". While it may seem that Conservative is making alterations on his own, it is under the careful guidance and with approval of others. Please understand that presentation of Creationist viewpoints is one area in which, outside of Conservapedia, they are generally suppressed and by the nature of this site it is going to be important to see them presented. I'm not sure I'd use the wiki articles you mentioned as models. They use references such as the "Scopes Monkey Trial" rather than Scopes Trial and such odd comments as Evolution was taken out of textbooks until the 1960's. That's a new one on me. Perhaps they mean in a single state or location, but that's not presented. And, have you ever looked at their article on Intelligent Design? That is anything but even handed or neutral. Learn together 22:03, 18 July 2007 (EDT)
BritlibDem, I cite the greatest authorities on the theory of evolution in the article. Thanks for your input though. By the way, isn't the article on Wikipedia rather negative about Creationism and Creation Science? I notice you failed to mention that issue. Conservative 20:08, 19 July 2007 (EDT)

Misleading Citation

<Deleted because I was wrong> Nonetheless, here a more accurate discussion of the referenced poll: http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/rncse_content/vol17/5319_many_scientists_see_god39s__12_30_1899.asp. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gantczak (talk)

You'll find that every time you fix one error like that, a dozen more will spring up. I've given up on this article, and you probably should too. --John 14:25, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
You are wrong. Here is what the cited page states: "Among scientists, only 5 percent hold the literal Bible view, 40 percent believe in theistic evolution and a majority, 55 percent, believe in evolution without help from God." [10] I think you are just playing games here. Conservative 14:38, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
Games? I've watched this article for ages and by far the most damage has been done by you, particularly after you began to assert unilateral domination over its contents. As to the source in question, find a more specific sort--what, in the eyes of the survey, constitutes a scientist, what fields do the scientists surveyed specialize in, and why do all of them fall within only three of the many views about evolution? There's no mention of intelligent design, views of other religions/liberal Christian churches, OEC, etc. Find a better source. --John 14:44, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
And, uh, wow, you changed the title of this subsection to "false accusation of misleading citation?" What a way to preframe the issue to suit your own purposes! While I agree with you that the article you cited does indeed state what you quoted above (the 5% literal, 40% theistic, 55% nontheistic), I think your handling of this debate is indicative of your long string of abuses of your powers as a SYSOP. Conservative, I accuse you of being an intellectual lightweight and loudmouth who plays hard and fast with the facts and then silences dissent. I accuse you of being a parasite upon this encyclopedia and upon all who have come here looking for truth or who have sought to improve it. --John 14:50, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
pardon me, I meant "fast and loose," not "hard and fast."--John 14:51, 23 July 2007 (EDT)

Gantczak, I don't see the point of you proposing a different reference. The existing reference is there merely to support the content of the article, not as a "further reading" reference, and the existing reference appears to do that just as well as your reference.

John, I agree that Conservative should not have changed the title of the section, but not for the reason that you say. How is Conservative's section title "prefam[ing] the issue" any more than Gantczak's original heading was?

Philip J. Rayment 05:04, 24 July 2007 (EDT)

The reason the conservapedia editor in question wants the NCSEWEB citation rather than the more authorative ABC news citation is that the evolutionist in question wants the article to cite a evolutionary viewpoint propagandist website. Conservative 14:26, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
Interesting how you say that ABC is more authoritative than a government institution, especially since Andy has stated several times that "journalists and news corporations opinions" are not valid citations. I think it used to be in the commandments... --Ħøĵímαζĥŏήğθαλκ 14:35, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
Hoji, I don't believe that the National Center for Science Education is a government institution despite its authorative sounding name which I believe was chosen for propaganda purposes. Hoji, please give me a source saying that the National Center for Science Education is a government institution. Conservative 14:38, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
Saying that it was a government institution was a foolish lack of investigation on my part. But still, Andy has said that journalists are the worst sources, so regardless of what the NCSE is, it is by default better than ABC. Alas, I am sure this rule will quickly be beacktracked and disregarded, since the NCSE "doesn't count" because it's a "liberal" organization. And you shouldn't throw the term "propaganda" around so lightly. A viewpoint is severely discredited when paranoia becomes a factor in that viewpoint's argument. And propoganda inherently implies that the perpetrators are aware of the falsity of their views; most people who "believe" in evolution are quite sure in their views. --Ħøĵímαζĥŏήğθαλκ 14:46, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
Hoji, Eugenie Scott, the leader of the NCSE, was recently awarded the American Humanist Association’s 1998 “Isaac Asimov Science Award”.[11] If you do a search on the American Humanist Association I think you will find they emphasize secular humanism. I believe the NCSE is just atheism propaganda organization with pseudoscience as window dressing (see what Pierre Grasse, the ex president of the French Academy of Sciences, stated regarding the evolutionary position promoted in the 1970's in regards to pseudoscience). Conservative 14:53, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
What are you two arguing about? The NCSE article is a reprint from the Washington Times. Both are from news organisations!
And except in exceptional circumstances, the section heading should remain as written by the person creating the section.
Philip J. Rayment 23:58, 5 August 2007 (EDT)

Okay guys

Since this is called "Conservapedia," I expected obviously a heavy conservative slant on the actual pages, but don't you think you could at least be a little more open to actual discussion on the discussion page? I scroll down and all I see is the same two or three guys stomping on anyone who presents a different point of view from their own. I mean, your whole raison d'etre is "objectivity," right? Laughable though that may be, you could do for a couple of improvements to your thinking here. For example, stop saying that "creationists" came up with scientific postulates before Darwin did. Everyone was a "creationist" before Darwin, that's why he's important! He published the works that made it possible to not be a creationist, so it's totally moot that other people had the same ideas before him and that they were creationists. All he did was put together other peoples' pieces and publish them... that's common knowledge. The theory of evolution, like pretty much every scientific theory, has been amended over and over again, to the point where it now simply refers to the change in allele frequency within a population over time as a result of selective factors (weather, sickness, predation). So if you are attempting to deny the "theory of evolution," such as you have mistaken it, you are essentially trying to disprove that if there is a small interbreeding population of birds, half green and half blue, and a bigger bird with poor eyesight that can only see the blue ones among the trees really likes how this particular species tastes, then after a couple of generations of this type of bird eating only blue smaller birds, there will be more green birds than blue birds left. Why would you bother trying to deny that? Give it two seconds of honest consideration, kids. If the big bird eats the blue birds, there will be fewer blue birds to have babies, and therefore fewer blue bird babies. That's all Darwin really said, and all the theory means. Besides, Darwin actually said himself, IN HIS BOOKS, that he believes that God had a hand in the origin of life. So what are you kids trying to disprove, exactly? Is it the actual theory of evolution, which you so vehemently or misguidedly hate, or is it just whatever atheists say at any given moment? Drewsta42 17:13, 11 August 2007 (EDT)

You're awfully long-winded, as many liberals are. I'll add that to the Essay:Liberal Style. You're right that the definition of evolution has been changed to "change ... over time," but such dilution of a theory is NOT "like pretty much every scientific theory." Real science becomes more precise, not less so, as we learn more.--Aschlafly 17:38, 11 August 2007 (EDT)
What you (Drewsta42) call "stomping", I call "answering". We can't help it if the anti-evolution answers are so good that you feel the evolutionists have been "stomped"!  :-). Seriously, I don't see any evidence of genuine discussion being suppressed here, as you imply.
Although it is true that many (not all) people before Darwin were creationists, it is still relevant to mention that creationists (for example) described natural selection before Darwin because (a) many believe that natural selection = evolution, and (b) many believe that natural selection and creationism are incompatible. In fact many claim/believe that being a creationist is incompatible with being a scientist (I even heard a BBC interview yesterday that opened with the interviewer asking the scientist who was a Christian (not necessarily a creationist) how it was possible to be both a scientist and a Christian!).
You are correct that the definition of evolution (<--please read that article) has been modified to the point that it is so broad that it can not be denied, but you are incorrect to claim that a change in allele frequency is all that evolution is. Evolution is (includes) the idea that all living things have evolved from the first living things, rather than being separately created. To define evolution as merely a change in allele frequency and show that that definition is true, and thereby imply that the whole evolutionary family tree is thereby true—which is what happens—is equivocation of the worst sort and really nothing short of dishonesty.
So now who's misguided?
Philip J. Rayment 20:18, 11 August 2007 (EDT)
It is not correct to say that "Evolution includes the idea that all living things have evolved from the first living things". I don't think that Darwin ever said that, or that the evolutionists ever define evolution that way. RSchlafly 04:42, 12 August 2007 (EDT)
Did you read the definition of evolution link in my post? More specifically, see Development of life. Philip J. Rayment 05:52, 12 August 2007 (EDT)
Drewsta42, you say you want reasonable discussion. Yet you wrote: "Everyone was a "creationist" before Darwin, that's why he's important!" I don't see where you ever demonstrated this contention. If everyone was a "creationist" before Darwin then everyone was a theist before Darwin. I don't see where you ever demonstrated this contention and I don't believe you can. Next, evolutionary ideas were taught by the ancient Greeks as early as the 7th century B.C. (see: http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i2/naturalism.asp ). If you had actually read the article you would have known that. Next, I don't see what the watered down definition of "evolution" is doing for you. It is certainly not demonstrating that the macroevolutionary position is valid. Lastly, you wrote, "If the big bird eats the blue birds, there will be fewer blue birds to have babies, and therefore fewer blue bird babies. That's all Darwin really said, and all the theory means." Needless to say, I don't believe you supported this assertion either. I guess your forte is putting uncited statements on talk pages. Conservative 14:57, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

Theory

I don't think this is still classified as a theory is it?

Some notable individuals have stated the "theory of evolution" is a mere hypothesis (see: Falsifiability of evolution ). I don't know of any notable inviduals who advocate the "law of macroevolution". Conservative 16:23, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
Laws aren't "more correct" than theories... Kazumaru 00:27, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

A fundamental flaw in conservapedia

The idea of wikipedia was to have articles edited by anyone so that eventually the academic consensus would come out and that one would be able to devine truth from it. Conservapedia however, has decided to use mediawiki software (built and pioneered by the wikimedia foundation and wikipedia) to present a very narrow and decidedly unscientific viewpoint. Ordinarily, I would not have a problem with this, but conservapedia purports to be "the trustworthy encyclopedia", when in fact it is not. You can tell very simply by the fact that articles like this are blocked so that none but admins can edit them. It is also clear to me that this encyclopedia skews it's facts by citing sources from people who are far from preeminent in their fields, or by misquoting those who are. Niles eldredge is quoted in this article as saying that (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Scientists do not agree on details of evolutionary mechanics." While this is true, there is incredible scientific agreement on the idea that evolution did happen and is happening. It is contrary to proper science and academia to have a conclusion and then to search for evidence for it, while denying all that one sees around them. I challenge you to find one peer reviewed scientific article written in the last 5 years which attempts to prove the theory of intelligent design. Natural selection has been proven over and over and over by experiment after experiment. You are not trying to devine truth here, but to prove your own narrow, religion-centered world view, and that is dangerous. You have no NPOV standard here, and while you may believe that wikipedia is liberally biased, they try their best not to be, but you here work on a conservative bias. You are no more trustworthy than the op-ed section of the newspaper.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by ThorsHammer (talk)

I've just replied to a post on another page where the poster doesn't seem to be aware of paragraphs. Sigh.
You are incorrect to claim that "Conservapedia ... has decided to ... to present a ... decidedly unscientific viewpoint". Conservapedia has decided no such thing. That is merely your biased interpretation of Conservapedia's goal.
I also consider you incorrect in thinking that it's viewpoint is unscientific. This sounds like the old furphy that creationism is unscientific, contrary to the fact that it was a creation viewpoint that gave rise to science.
This article is locked because of a decision of the Conservapedia Panel. Other articles are locked often because of persistent vandalism; the particular articles tend to atract vandals, for some reason.
You are correct that there is widespread agreement among scientists that evolution did happen, but I think that you, along with many others, overstate the agreement when there is widespread disagreement about quite basic aspects of it, such as whether it happened slowly and gradually as per classic Darwinism, or in spurts, as in Gould. I doubt that there is any other theory with widespread agreement with so little agreement on the most fundamental aspects of it. That they agree that it happened sometimes seems to be about the only point on which there is agreement. Plus, of course, the minority that believe that it did not happen is too large to be ignored; they number in the thousands.
I agree that it "is contrary to proper science and academia to have a conclusion and then to search for evidence for it, while denying all that one sees around them". So why do evolutionists do that?
I'm not sure quite what you would count as a "peer reviewed scientific article ... which attempts to prove the theory of intelligent design", but how about this one?
You comment about natural selection being proved over and over demonstrates that you know very little about the viewpoints (creationism and intelligent design) that you seem to think hold so little water. Wouldn't you agree that if you are going to attempt to argue that an idea is wrong, you should at least understand what that idea claims? Creationists and ID proponents accept natural selection, and natural selection was described by a creationist before Darwin.
I suggest that it is you who is trying to prove your own religion-centred view (yes, evolution is based on the religion of atheism).
Wikipedia in theory is neutral, but doesn't try all that hard to be so.
Philip J. Rayment 10:44, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Thorshammer, first the word is "divine" and not "devine" so I assume you are not part of the academic consensus you think we should use in order to divine the truth (By the way, I did provide a section in the article in regards to the scientific consensus issue). Secondly, I believe it is fair to say that much of academia is very liberal so I am afraid we will not be "divining the truth of evolution" vis a vis academia's consensus. Lastly you wrote: "I challenge you to find one peer reviewed scientific article written in the last 5 years which attempts to prove the theory of intelligent design." Well first of all I think many scientists do not necessarily attempt to prove things in regards to the origins debate but often times provide material which provides the inference to the best explanation. So I think you are being quite naive here. Nevertheless, if I am not mistaken Rivista di Biologa is a peer reviewed science journal so here is a ID citation: Jonathan Wells, “Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?," Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 37-62.Conservative 12:01, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Technically, Conservative, the citation you provided does not attempt to "prove the theory of intelligent design". The author views the organelle from a holistically designed standpoint to explain the mechanism of action of centrioles. I would use the analogy of saying something like "if you view a group of muscles as a holistically designed pair of opposing lever systems" to explain how muscles work. I viewed the purpose of the article as explaining the mechanism of action. A paper to prove ID (to use my earlier analogy) would explain how the muscle groups are irreducible in complexity and ID is the sole rational explanation for it.
Philip J. Rayment, I wouldn't consider that evolutionists conclude first, then find evidence for it later. In every field of science, a hypothesis is proposed, then evidence is sought to either support or refute it. For example, physicists currently view the Standard Model of physics as the correct standing scientific theory (as almost all of the experiments agree with it). However, they are still eagerly awaiting the completion of the Large Hadron Collider to provide evidence of the existence of Higgs boson, predicted by the Model. The "evolutionists" you referred to probably think that evolution is the most rational and probably theory provided by science thus far. I don't know what you meant by "denying all they see around them", but if they do that indiscriminately, then yes, they are absolute fools.
A large problem may stem from the fact that a lot of people get natural selection and evolution, and the origins of life mixed up. One may believe in a small level of evolution and still calls it "evolution", instead of clarifying.
Also, by classifying evolution as an instrument of the religion of atheism, you introduce a bias intrinsic to the battle of religions - which I think does not belong in science.
Thorshammer, although there is scientific consensus that natural selection has, and is occurring, there are large divisions in whether speciation occurs or not, or the speeds at which evolution occurs. To expand on the point raised by Philip J. Rayment, so far the only certain study of evolution is in such a small scale that it is unable to explain scientifically (i.e. using a falsifiable theory) the larger scale of the origins of life. It conjectures that speciation would occur if genetic mutation occurs in isolated systems, yet the supporting evidence is so narrow and unsatisfactory in explaining deviations (and convergences) in anything on the Kingdom or Phylum level.
To state my viewpoint, given these shortcomings of the theory of evolution, I still find it the most rational and probable explanation. Intelligent design falls second only because I believe that if a "divine" being exists, it would not be one described by any of the world's religion. (So God, Allah, Brahma, etc. does not exist in the way told by stories of their religion.)
Sorry about the long post; I cannot write concise paragraphs without dragging it on. ATang 14:34, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
I clearly addressed the "proved" issue in my last post. Secondly, here is what the Discovery Institute states regarding Wells publication in the journal above: "Most animal cells contain a pair of centrioles, tiny turbine-like organelles oriented at right angles to each other that replicate at every cell division. Yet the function and behavior of centrioles remain mysterious. Since all centrioles appear to be equally complex, there are no plausible evolutionary intermediates with which to construct phylogenies; and since centrioles contain no DNA, they have attracted relatively little attention from neo Darwinian biologists who think that DNA is the secret of life. From an intelligent design (ID) perspective, centrioles may have no evolutionary intermediates because they are irreducibly complex. And they may need no DNA because they carry another form of biological information that is independent of the genetic mutations relied upon by neo-Darwinists. In this paper, Wells assumes that centrioles are designed to function as the tiny turbines they appear to be, rather than being accidental by-products of Darwinian evolution. He then formulates a testable hypothesis about centriole function and behavior that—if corroborated by experiment could have important implications for our understanding of cell division and cancer. Wells thus makes a case for ID by showing its strong heuristic value in biology. That is, he uses the theory of intelligent design to make new discoveries in biology."[12] I will further add that we both know what Skells said about the theory of evolution providing no heuristic value and his colleages agreed. Conservative 14:42, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
ATang, the fossil record does not support the theory of evolution as demonstrated in the article and even evolutionary biologists have heaped disparagement upon Gould's punctuated equilibrium theory (PE). I challenge you to find 5 notable evolutionary biologists who praise the PE theory. Conservative 14:48, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

<----- I feel like such an idiot for missing your response to the "prove" issue. However, even though Wells used ID as a tool of his paper, it doesn't support it. (A used to explain B, with an assumption in A) Later research concentrated on the formation of centrioles can break down the "black box" that Wells used in his paper - that centrioles were designed and its formation can be ignored in the scope of the paper. (If we break A down and look at it, we may find that there is an alternate path that, though different from the original A, the new path provided a more satisfactory answer that leads to B.)

How come the lack of DNA contained in centrioles is reason for neo-Darwinists to ignore them (if they do so at all)? Major research has gone on to a lot more organelles that do not contain DNA, so I don't think it's fair to say that centrioles were neglected because of that. Even though the function of centrioles were not clear, it was known that they were vital in cell reproduction. I further miss your point regarding how centrioles could be independent of the genetic mutations because it may not need DNA - most organelles does not "contain" DNA, yet is still deeply affected by it. Take enzymes and other proteins for example.

Even though fossil records contain large gaps that evolution cannot explain, the absence of the evidence of the "transitional forms" does not mean it didn't exists. I cannot comment on PE because I do have limited knowledge of the issue; I will do more reading first. Conflicting theories are very common in science, and actually is extremely beneficial because it promotes competition and drives research.

Like I stated, the rationale behind my belief is that so far in my research, there is less evidence supporting religion (and hence creationism and intelligent design) than secular science. Of course this is an ongoing process and perhaps one day my opinion might change. ATang 15:22, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Atang, I am just curious. I am working on the atheism article right now. Are you an atheist? Conservative 15:39, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
(Responding to ATang) How many evolutionists consider alternatives to evolution? They may well look at the evidence first then form hypotheses on particular details, but for the evolution as a whole, the vast majority have already made their mind up and are looking for evidence consistent with that. Furthermore, many of them are dedicated to studying the issue from a naturalistic viewpoint. That is, they a priori rule out considering the possibility of a supernatural cause. Whilst I grant that the supernatural is not itself amenable to study, it is possible to deduce from evidence that a supernatural being could have been involved, yet this option is rejected out of hand on philosophical, not scientific, grounds.
My reference to denying the evidence was to things like denying the evidence of design in living things. Many scientists will admit that things look designed, then go on to argue (not demonstrate with hard evidence) that this need not be so. Fools? Yep, God said that those who say in their hearts that there is no God are fools.
I agree that a large part of the problem is confusion about what is meant. Thus we have an article definitions of evolution. But there is a big difference between the sort of things required for going from bacteria to biologists (i.e. huge amounts of genetic information) and the information-sorting and information-losing processes that we do observe and which you are probably referring to as "a small level of evolution".
I'm not quite sure what you are getting at with the reference to classifying evolution as an instrument of atheism. It's not a classification as such, more a simple fact. And I think your comment about religion and science is based on a misunderstanding of what I think you are referring to. That is, it is unfair to categorise creationism as as "religious", if by that you mean (as many do), simply a belief that has nothing to do with the real world. The Bible purports to be (in part) a book of history, including the history of the world and life. As such, it purports to be about real events in the past. Trying to disconnect that from science by labelling it "religious" is merely an attempt to avoid having to consider the biblical account.
There is no large division on whether or not speciation has occurred. Some lay creationists do deny it, but most creationary scientists accept it. What there is disagreement on is whether or not this amounts to goo-to-you evolution. In other terms, speciation has been observed to occur, but involves sorting or losses of genetic information, not the creation of new genetic information required for goo-to-you evolution.
I found your last comment on that post interesting. You reject intelligent design because of a belief for which you've offered no evidence whatsoever, and which appears to me to be both unnecessary and not relevant to the argument anyway!
Responding to a point or two in your second post, I agree that a lack of transitional forms does not necessarily mean, or prove, that transitional forms didn't exist, but it is surely good evidence that they didn't (given the number of fossils discovered) and that they did exist can only really be held as a matter of faith.
I accept that as far as your research is concerned, you've seen more evidence favouring secular viewpoints than "religious" ones, but I would point out that the "religious" viewpoints are systematically excluded from most sources of information (such as science journals and magazines, the education system, and the media in general), so that is hardly surprising and is therefore not a very good rationale for that conclusion.
Philip J. Rayment 23:22, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Philip, if they are ruling out supernatural causation on philosophical grounds, then we need to discuss the Philosophy of science here. That topic in turn brings us close to discussions of religion vs. atheism.
I don't think U.S. public schools should indoctrinate pupils in "naturalism", materialism or atheism. To do so violates both of their First Amendment religious rights. --Ed Poor Talk 23:52, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Or the topic of theistic religion vs. atheistic religion. I'm not sure that I was strictly correct in claiming that they rule it out on philosophical grounds (that is, I'm not certain that "philosophical" is the most appropriate word), but it is certainly not on scientific or logical grounds.
I agree regarding schools. The U.S. is supposed to have the policy of keeping religion out of schools, but effectively in doing so has introduced tenets of humanism and other atheistic religions into schools.
Philip J. Rayment 03:05, 15 August 2007 (EDT)
In response to Conservative, I think I'm considered an agnostic (with atheistic tendencies?). In other words, I didn't find concrete evidence yet that directly and exclusively point to a God from Abrahamic religions, or a god where it's a divine, thinking being that currently still has a hand in our universe (so Hinduism is out too). Buddhism and Taoism are also tentative in my books, but I don't know enough yet.
This ties into Philip J. Rayment's points regarding my classification of creationism with religion, my views on ID, and the Bible being a historical source. A lot of evidence given in the arguments for God is from the Bible (like the many points listed in The Case for Christ), and while they're sound and logical, they did not address the issue of how trustworthy the Bible is. This is the reason I link creationism and ID to religion, while a Godless evolution is explicitly non-religious. You argue that evolution is a tool of the religion of atheism, and my main objection to that connection is that there are non-atheists who are also pro-evolution.
While we seem to agree that a person would be a "fool" to reject God, we differ in reasoning. You cite the Bible, while my reason is that it's a universal negative (now of course we could talk about what "God" refers to in this, but then this will probably just degrade into semantics). I still view the quote from Bible as an illogical deterrent to NOT believe - after all, no one wants to be called a fool. It's the same as a company representative saying "Whoever says in their heart 'Heinz ketchup is bad' is a fool."
You're correct in pointing out that my opinion is formed within the limitations of my research. Even though I try to read as much literature as possible on both sides of the argument, I obviously don't have the complete picture yet (if that is even possible). For example, I still haven't read any books of the Bible (amidst the insistence of my sister). However interesting the topic is, my priority of "things to read" has the Iliad and Odyssey above the Bible (same category on my list - mythology).
My main problem is that children is brainwashed by their religious parents, who teach the Bible as fact (many would contest this point of course...). At an age where they cannot decide for themselves logically (Santa Clause?), this is very dangerous indeed. Now, before you say that atheists brainwash their kids into non-believers, I am against that as well. What happened to promoting open minds and analytical thinking? Present both sides of the story.
In regards to schools teaching evolution - I think in biology, only natural selection should be taught. The origins of life debate should be a separate course, and it should showcase all sides of the debate.
This is already too long, and I regret that I cannot address all of the interesting points raised (this is such an exciting topic, I find it near impossible to do it without real-time feedback). ATang 12:45, 15 August 2007 (EDT)

That would be fine of biology were a physical science. It's not that cut and dried. Animals can respond to human emotion and can be trained by human beings to act differently from their wild nature, and therefore there's an extra element there. Human beings, of course, have immortal souls even if scientists don't feel up to the task of studying that part.

Schools are using naturalism to brainwash children into materialism, which violates their First Amendment rights. The government should not insist that people believe any particular religious idea ("make no law regarding establishment of religion") and should not stop people from expressing their religious views ("... or prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]").

Telling schoolkids that they can't argue against evolution violates their religious rights. The naturalistic theory of evolution simply chooses to discount any supernatural cause. Why? Because they want a "court of opinion" in which only physical causes are allowed.

The argument that physical forces alone are insufficient to account for evolutionary change - as seen in the fossil record - is thus dismissed on the grounds that only physical forces can be discussed.

But students ought to be free to debate whether this rule is valid.

If the teacher can explain something to everyone's satisfaction - such as how the planets go around the sun - in terms of physical forces alone, then I can see how it would not be necessary to bring up other ideas. This would be fine for the hard sciences, like physics or chemistry.

But most people are NOT satisfied with the explanation given by naturalistic evolution. In the U.S., only about 15% of adults accept this; see origins debate. --Ed Poor Talk 15:28, 15 August 2007 (EDT)

I'll address Ed Poor's post first. He and I are on the same "side", but not always on the same wavelength!
I'd classify biology as a physical science. It is, after all, studying physical things (plants, animals, cells, etc.).
The difference between studying goo-to-you evolution and studying the planets orbiting the sun is that the former is studying the past, whilst the latter is studying the present. Which means that the study of goo-to-you evolution is the study of history, rather than being a scientific study. We can observe, measure, and re-observe things happening in the present, such as planets going around the sun. But we can't observe nor measure dinosaurs changing into birds 65,000,000 years ago. And even if we could reproduce it and show that it was possible, it would still not prove that it actually happened 65,000,000 years ago.
Now to ATang's post, which I must add is (with his other posts) quite refreshing after so many abusive and self-righteous posts on this and similar topics.
You say that "A lot of evidence given in the arguments for God is from the Bible ... and...did not address the issue of how trustworthy the Bible is". I'm not sure whether you are referring to this article, Conservapedia as a whole, or the wider field of apologetics, but if you are talking of the wider field, I would disagree to the extent that you are implying that there is a hole in the argument. There is sufficient argument for God that is not from the Bible, plus plenty of argument that the Bible is a reliable and authoritative source. All these arguments are not always found in the same place, but they do exist and are sufficiently common.
You are correct in saying that there are non-atheists who are pro-evolution, and superficially this does appear to make a case. However, tools can be used in different ways by different people; the fact that many non-atheists believe evolution doesn't negate that atheists can use it as a tool. Furthermore, it has been acknowledged that Darwin's intention was to replace God as an explanation. So the fact that Christians accept a theory that was designed to do away with God is an interesting paradox, but hardly an argument against the claim. And it wasn't just Darwin. Most of the leading lights of evolution are and have been atheists. Sure, there are Christians, etc. who believe it (in my opinion because they've been effectively brainwashed to believe that science has proved it), but it isn't primarily theists who promote it. And it's been well documented that belief in evolution has been the destruction of faith in God.
I cited the Bible on saying that atheists are fools merely to point out that the Bible agrees with the point, not as evidence of the truth of the claim. You claim to have a different reason, but how do you know that the reasoning of the author of that part of the Bible didn't have the same reason?
If I can make an argument for study of the Bible ahead of the other books you mentioned, I would point out that whilst pretty well everyone accepts the Iliad and the Odyssey as mythology or at best inaccurate history, there are and have been many many people, including very intelligent and educated ones, who see and have seen the Bible as accurate history. In addition, belief in the Bible has changed society in ways that the other books you mention could not put a scratch on. For example, it was belief in the bible that led to the rise of science. And it was Christians, acting on their beliefs, that were responsible for the instigation of things like schools, orphanages, democracy, hygiene, charities, the abolition of slavery, and a whole host of other things. Furthermore, the Bible is much more popular and more read. In many different ways, the Bible is clearly the book with the greater claim to importance.
When training children, you cannot help but impart to them certain values as truth. For example, you teach them that they must not hurt other people, play with matches, or swallow small objects. And you teach them various things that they should do, like being polite, eating properly, how to dress, etc. If you then give them both sides of a debate such as whether or not the Bible is true (and I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't give them both sides) and then tell them that it is up to them to make up their minds, you have just imparted to them the idea that, unlike many of the other things you have taught them, belief in the Bible is an optional extra that is sufficiently unimportant and of such small effect that they can make the choice themselves. However that thought itself is contrary to Christian thinking, just as the idea of no God is contrary to Christian thinking. Thus you are actually asking that Christians teach their children something contrary to their own strongly-held beliefs, and to instead teach them something that people such as you (i.e. people having a different viewpoint) believe instead. See the problem?
You say that only natural selection and not the origin of life should be taught in schools. However, natural selection, a component of both evolutionary and creationary models, is not synonymous with evolution, and most evolutionists argue (with much validity) that the origin of life (abiogenesis) is also not evolution (natural selection only works on living things, so can't explain the origin of living things), so you have not actually made clear whether or not you believe that microbes-to-man evolution should be taught or not. I believe that it should, but along with its problem and with the other side of the story, as you suggest.
Philip J. Rayment 23:49, 15 August 2007 (EDT)
I should clarify first to Ed Poor that what I meant by "natural selection" is the theory that DNA carries genetic information, and this information is passed on from parent to child. Depending on external forces, the success (or failure) of each individual is determined, thus affecting the frequency at which specific alleles exist in a population. I thought, through discussion with Philip J. Rayment, that it was made clear it does not include origins of life and speciation. Therefore by saying "only natural selection should be taught", I meant "of the different areas of evolution (natural selection, origins of life, speciation), only natural selection should be taught" - I should have elaborated. However, this doesn't mean that the entire theory of evolution should be discarded - like any other theories, failed or otherwise, they should be taught in the process of learning the most current theory. A good example will be the Bohr-Rutherford model of the atom (which only applied to a few elements) as an introduction to Quantum Theory. (Or Lamarck's theory of Acquired Characters as a precursor to Darwin's theory) Mind you, these are still taught as "theories", not "facts".
I've always thought that science requires physical proof that could be peer-reviewed, and that's why paranormal or supernatural events are hard to study with science (a combination of difficulty in obtaining evidence and low frequency of occurrence, I'd assume). How this naturalistic approach is considered a "religion" - and therefore should not be taught in school - is beyond me. I do, however, agree that there should be no suppression of freedom of religion in school. I did not attend school in the US, but up here in Canada, evolution was taught as a theory (although I think my teacher stated that to avoid religious debates).
In regards to the Greek classics - didn't people believed it as truth back then? (They'll pray to Apollo if there's a plague, etc.) That's a considerable amount of people as well. In terms of impact to humanity, I agree that the Bible has much more impact throughout history - both positive and negative. However, during the classical period, Greek myth dominated society as well (the aforementioned prayer, sacrifices, etc.) Cultural impact should not, and does not, reflect the accuracy and authenticity of the work. The most popular religion differ from country to country, and each believer always thinks their religion is "right".
I see your point regarding Christians teaching contrary to their belief - and that is exactly the point I have beef with. Religion, by its very own definition, rejects other religions and suppress freedom of choice when it comes to believes. An extreme version would be Islam, where any persons born in a Muslim family must be Muslim as well, and if you convert you are punishable by death (in some countries). This rigidity in thinking imposed upon by religion is the cause of many conflicts (The Crusades, although some of them just use religion as an excuse to invade). That's why I'm against this practice - no teaching should be so dead-set as to say that there are absolutely no alternatives in the world (that nothing is outside of what you consider as "optional extra").
As it applies to other things you listed, however, can't the golden rule be used to each core values of life? (And the golden rule is not an exclusive invention of Christianity. Seems to me it's just a fundamental nature of men) The most valuable lesson taught by my father is that the job of a parent isn't to teach them what is right or wrong, or how to succeed in life. It is to teach them about responsibility. Once one understands that actions have consequences, and one must be responsible for said consequences, right and wrong automatically falls into place.
ATang 10:18, 16 August 2007 (EDT)
Just to clarify, natural selection and speciation are common to both creationary and evolutionary views. The distinction is that creation puts major limits on speciation (it can only be within the created kind), whereas evolution puts no limit on it. To be more precise, evolution proposes that mutations give rise to new features (via new genetic information) from which natural selection chooses the best, with different species, families, etc. being the result. Creation proposes that mutations only lose information (or are neutral) and natural selection culls out the defective ones, leaving the fitter ones. But because there is no new information, they are no "better" than before—except in the sense that they be better adapted to a particular environment—and may even be worse, so the change is "downhill", not "uphill", as proposed by evolution.
Science is limited to the study of the natural world, and has to be, in that sense, naturalistic. But it does not have to be naturalistic (but generally is anyway) in only allowing for naturalistic causes. That is, although science can't study the supernatural, there is no reason it can't deduce that a supernatural agent is responsible. It's the same thing in principle as an archaeologist finding a stone tool. The maker of the tool is no longer around to study, but by studying the tool he can still determine something of the tool's maker. In only allowing for natural causes (when a supernatural cause is logically possible), it becomes religion/philosophy, and not merely methodology.
I don't know much about the acceptance of the Greek gods in ancient Greece, but no, I don't think that it was accepted in the same way that Christianity has accepted the Bible. Yes, they did believe in their gods to some extent or in some manner, but they also had an altar "to the unknown god". That is, they felt that there was more. They were not certain that they understood correctly. It seems to have been something of a grasping-at-straws type of situation, where they were searching for the truth but were not really convinced that they had it.
Although nothing to do with the Greeks, I recall reading (Eternity in their Hearts, by Don Richardson) of a tribal group in India or Bangladesh who worshipped the "spirits of the mountains", because they felt that said spirits had shown them a way through some mountains, but their elders retained a memory of "the one true god". That is, even though they prayed to spirits, they knew deep down that the spirits that they prayed to were not the true God.
I wasn't claiming that the Bible was correct because of its popularity, but that its popularity perhaps gave it a stronger claim to being considered than other accounts.
You criticise religion (let's say Christianity) because it rejects other beliefs, but by doing so you are rejecting Christianity, or the belief that Christianity has that it should not be rejected. That's the pot calling the kettle black. This is the point that I was trying to make. You must teach children something, whether that be (a) that the Bible is correct, (b) that the Bible is incorrect, or (c) that the question is not sufficiently well known to be able to say for sure. You obviously believe (c), whilst I believe (a). And in telling me that I can't know my view for sure, you are claiming to know your view for sure! In claiming that I can know for sure, I am being consistent. In you claiming that you can't know for sure, you are being inconsistent in claiming to know that for sure.
What makes the Golden Rule correct? How is it just a fundamental nature of men? According to one view (the evolutionary one), one of the things that caused us to be here is survival of the fittest—out-competing our neighbours. This is the opposite of the Golden Rule. But I can go further. It's only an omniscient infallible Being who is capable of providing absolute morality (or the distinction between right and wrong). Without God, there is no basis for morality, other than what each person (subjectively) considers reasonable, and of course people are going to have different opinions.
Philip J. Rayment 11:17, 16 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm not familiar with the unknown God - but if the Greeks had it, then they had the right idea!! They accept that their religion is not explanation for everything, while Abrahcmic religions simply states "this is the truth, there is no more to it". Because of the inherent unknowns of the universe, I am very hesitant to say "this is it" (about anything, science, religion or otherwise).
I wholeheartedly disagree with your interpretation of my thoughts on religion. You used the phrase "pot calling the kettle black", but you're comparing apples and oranges here. I am rejecting a religion because the religion states "this is right, everything that says otherwise is wrong". My view does not intrinsically promote that!! My view states "never take anything as the one and only, undeniable truth". If someone says "There is no God", I will reject that just as readily as I do religions that says "There is one God." Back it up with hard evidence, and maybe I'll believe it! Since all evidence is suggestive at best, with the conclusion reached by inference, it's not convincing enough yet. (And also, a mainstay of religion is based on faith in the absence of evidence, and, like corporate advertising, I am just not going to "take your word for it")
Survival of the fittest, when simplified, does lead one to think that it promotes selfish behaviour. For example - if fitness is defined solely as the ability to jump long distances - then I will do everything in my power to jump as far as I can. Logically, I will even better my chances if I break my competitor's legs (ouch). However, life is not as simple. "Fit" is defined with a multitude of indicators - say, jumping distance, jumping height, and ability to find food. I may only be good at jumping high and long, but I might be terrible at foraging (what's this? I wonder if I can eat it? *eat poisonous food* *fall over and die*). So by cooperating with others when it comes to jumping - I will push you to help you start - you can help me find food that doesn't kill me. Now, times this by a large number, and you might get close to what real life is. No one is good at everything, and co-operation ensures survival. (Imagine a trade market - one's specialized blacksmith, other's a lumberjack. Blacksmith needs wood for his fire, lumberjack needs sharp axes. Trading = benefit to all)
The golden rule is a simplified corollary of the above idea. I may be good at killing others (and hence improving my chances of reproduction), but one day I will get old and I will be killed, if everyone has this philosophy. If we both utilize the same strategy and agree not to kill each other (do unto others as you would yourself), we don't need to worry about getting decapitated when sleeping! One could reach the same conclusion from the Prisoner's Dilemma standpoint. Basically, by setting limits to actions that directly harm others, we can each benefit because we can have certain security that we will not be harmed. (And to deal with occasional rule breakers, instead of one person punishing the other, we have laws to enforce this - basically less expenditure of energy by each person to induce great punishment to lawbreaker -- for the greater good).
Check out the Prisoner's Dilemma programming contest. It produced some very interesting results - the winning program in the first year is called "Eye for an eye" - further suggesting (at least to me) that the Bible simply stated the most efficient strategy for prosperous living. In other words, someone figured out "hey, if I don't slash your throat, you won't go after my children!", and decided to put it in writing. I don't view it as the other way around - that we didn't have this until God gave it to us. After all, the Bible is authored by man, and, as history tells us, God is also a creation of man, as is all the Gods of Greek, Roman, Norse, or Eastern mythologies. (And in case you can't tell, I think it's a "God of the gaps", and one day we'll do the same to the popular religions now as we did to the past religions).
ATang 13:42, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Discussion continued

(new heading simply because the section was getting too large)

ATang, I think you are engaging in some speculation above. I suggest reading this article: http://www.apologeticsinfo.org/papers/actsarcheology.html Conservative 18:25, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Will do. ATang 12:07, 17 August 2007 (EDT)
Could you tell me where I engaged in speculation?
I've the article you provided - and let me tell you, it's no easy task. Archaeology can be a drag at times. It's an interesting article, and showcased many proves that the Book of Acts is historically accurate - and it also included a citation to the "alter to the unknown"!
There are a couple of points I'd like to address. First, he used the "principle of charity" as a reason to omit evidence that does not support the thesis. Even though this is also prevalent in scientific papers, I do not agree with this practice. Many scientific papers address the shortcomings, or attempt to refute disagreeing evidence, not outrightly omit. In addition, Hawkins stated that the benefit of doubt is given to the document in question, unless compelling and studied evidence warrants otherwise. Yet he didn't mention how this topic qualifies the "principle of charity" (i.e. by listing how there is no compelling evidence saying Acts is wrong)
The author mentioned constraints of space and scope, and that is absolutely understandable. I will attempt to find further articles regarding this issue.
Near the conclusion, he mentioned Occam's razor - how the two alternate theories (basically that the author(s) is well versed in historical matters, thus writing a historically accurate book) are highly unlikely. I find that Occam's razor is often used erroneously to prove a point. The introduction of an infallible being that we cannot understand (in terms of psychology, motive, etc.) inherent discredits the use of Occam's razor - otherwise everything can be explained by God! Why did this man get a job at the bank? Because he wants to get money, which in tern allows him to feed his family, thus fulfilling his desire to become a successful father? NO! God told him. Why did country A invade country B? Is it because country A wants to consolidate control over country B's resources, along with making a statement to other countries that country A is a force to be reckoned with? No... God said "invade the infidels."
The above argument isn't one often used by the religious, I reckon. But it's a prime example of how a supernatural, omnipotent being can turn logic on its head when combined with Occam's razor. The razor could only be used within the physical realm of proof - and even then it shouldn't be used extensively (or at all, in my opinion). Quite often the the simplest explanation isn't the correct one. I bet this whole section will get some serious flak, but that's what religion seems like to me. Combine this with my earlier point about God of the Gaps, and you would see why I only see religion as an explanation of the unknown, as the ancient civilizations have done with their mythologies.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the argument seemed... trivial. A historically accurate book is only accurate in history. Where is the proof of the miracles performed by the Disciples? A lot of contemporary fiction is historically accurate, yet we know many plot lines (such as a character) are fictitious. For example, I could write a book about the tragedies and disasters of recent times, and introduce simple, cookie-cutter, good-vs-evil supernatural forces. For simplicity I'm using childishly silly names, but parallels could be drawn with any mythology.
Here's the synopsis:
Mr. Bad spread its lies and corruption into Bin Laden, as his latest plot against Mr. Good. Bin Laden plotted 9/11.
Mr. Bad has further corrupted America into a hedonistic lifestyle, where money, power, fame, and pleasure has become the mainstay of society. Mr. Good has had enough, and punished America by bringing death and destruction, via Hurricane Katrina.
Now, using these events, and describing these physical events with incredible historical accuracy, no one will be able to tell the difference two thousand years from now. Both Mr. Good and Bad are, of course, made-up - but it could be embedded in any "historical document". It does not make it true. This is a further continuation of my point in previous posts that there is no evidence for the existence of God - it is all by indirect inference, and as a result is subjective.
I think I'm going to take a little hiatus in the talk page and switch back to contribution mode, lest I violate the 90/10 rule. I can't keep track of words when I'm having fun.
ATang 14:06, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

(This is a response to ATang's post dated 13:42, 16 August) in the (now) previous section, above.)

You agree that some religions were tentative in their beliefs (although previously making a somewhat different claim), in contrast to Abrahamic religions being certain, then claim, without providing any justification whatsoever, that the uncertainty of the former is better that the certainty of the latter. What if, if you'd mind being hypothetical for a moment, the followers of one of the Abrahamic religions were actually correct in their beliefs? What is wrong with being certain of that?

You make a few comments along the lines of this one: That your view states "never take anything as the one and only, undeniable truth". But am I supposed to take that view as undeniable truth? If so, then you have contradicted yourself (like saying "Everything I say is a lie"—if that is true, then it is false/a lie!). If not, then what's your point? The point is, you do have a fixed view—that you can't have fixed views! That's the justification for the pot and the kettle comment.

Your defence of "survival of the fittest" is nothing more than an ad hoc explanation to get around the implications of the principle. In other words, "survival of the fittest" must mean the non-survival of the less fit, but that's not what we always see, so "survival of the fittest" is redefined to mean the opposite—survival of the less fit because it helps the "fittest" survive (presumably at the expense of the less fit, but wait, the "fittest" have just helped the less fit survive!). To put it another way, rather than reject the principle because the evidence doesn't fit, the principle is flexed beyond recognition to fit the evidence, then claimed as the truth because the evidence can be fitted to it!

You refer to "the greater good", but haven't defined what this is or what makes it "good".

Why does the fact that "working together" works, suggest to you that this is why the biblical authors wrote such? Why doesn't it suggest that they wrote such because that is the way that things were designed (by God) to work? It appears as though your preconceptions are colouring your conclusions more than actual evidence is.

Your claim that "after all, the Bible is authored by man" is put as though it's a point of agreement on which we can build an argument, or as if it's self evident, yet this claim (assuming that it's meant as "authored by man rather than God" is (a) contrary to the Bible's own claims, (b) contrary to Christian belief, (c) not a point of agreement, and (d) not self-evident. In other words, here yet again is a preconception on your part that you do nothing to justify, despite it being something that is a long way from being agreed.

Your further claim that "history tells us, God is also a creation of man" is patently false. History tells us no such thing. Various atheistic types claim that God is a creation of man, but history does not tell us that, and again, the same four points (a) to (d) above apply to this claim.

Philip J. Rayment 10:59, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

(This is a response to some points in ATang's post dated 14:06, 17 August, above.)

You said, "The introduction of an infallible being that we cannot understand (in terms of psychology, motive, etc.) ...". What makes you think that we cannot understand an infallible being? Sure I can't fully understand you, and I can't fully understand God, but that doesn't mean that I can't understand either you or God at all. Until you explain that, your conclusions based on that, including that everything can be explained by God (alone) is without foundation.

You said, "A historically accurate book is only accurate in history. Where is the proof of the miracles performed by the Disciples?". But those miracles are part of that history. I'm not sure what sort of "proof" you are after (what proof is there that you exist?), but you question as though the miracles are something distinct from the history, when they are part of the history, which you otherwise seem prepared to accept. Perhaps a good article for you would be The Impossible Faith, which argues, in part at least, that the proof of miracles is to be found in the continued existence of Christianity.

Your analogy of writing a historically-based novel with fictitious parts is not a good analogy to the Bible, for the simple reasons that your novel is known to be a novel, so is not questioned, and the Bible, in contrast, was written as history (not novel) and at a time when witnesses of the the events described were still around (not 2000 years later) and those witnesses could dispute the accuracy of the history.

No, the evidence for the existence of God does not rely solely on indirect inference. I also relies on, for example, the written testimony of eyewitnesses. That is, the Bible.

Philip J. Rayment 11:18, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Minor formatting suggestion

In the headings, nearly every word is capitalized. It is somewhat difficult to read and looks generally awkward. Is it possible for this to be changed? SigmaEpsilon 12:14, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Theory of evolution parody page

I created a theory of evolution parady page that is located here: User:Conservative I hope my fellow conservapedians enjoy it. Conservative 18:27, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

A query

"There is a difference between intellectual discourse, and attacking someone for what they believe. Wikipedia condones bullying and mob rule, we don’t. "

"You must be civil. No bullying."

"Conservapedia has about 16,300 educational, clean, and concise entries" (sounds like the number of articles present...I do hope you dont count this one)

"Articles should be written as much as possible to be understandable at a high school (ages 14 to 18) level, in order to insure they will be accessible and educational to students. If more complex information is necessary, as in advanced math entries, then it should be explained as simply as possible in the introduction, and a full explanation should follow in the body of the article."


Just a few statements I have quoted from the Conservapedia commandments and guidelines...and I do NOT see how these can be applied here, or maybe this is just an article where its ok to "forget" about the commandemts and guidelines of Conservapedia? Especially the last one...how on earth is a 14 year old going to understand exactely what the Theory of Evolution based on this article? This whole article is just one big trashtalk to the Theory of Evolution with tiny little pieces of information stuck here and there.

I suggest that either this article gets a GOOD cleanup (a total swipe would be good) or moved to say "Trashtalk about the Theory of Evolution" or "Critisicm about the Theory of evolution" and create a new one that actually is comprehendeble and about the theory. However, as of now, I cant do anything since this article has been blocked for life. --Sachaztan 20:29, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Theory of Evolution

So in the opening paragraph you quote a scientist who doesn't even have his own article on Conservapedia (nor on Wikipedia for that matter) and you expect to be taken seriously? Come on, stop feeding the prejudices! Neehoor 10:03, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

There's nothing stopping you writing an article on him here on Conservapedia, is there? But somehow I don't think you'd be satisfied anyway, would you? Philip J. Rayment 10:28, 18 August 2007 (EDT)
No I wouldn't be, but that's not the problem. The problem is that most people probably won't even continue reading an article that so clearly is not to be taken seriously. I'd like to read an conservatist article on the theory of evolution that's not overly Christian, is not as poorly written as this one is, and does not in its opening paragraph quote a scientist of whom I, Wikipedia and Conservapedia have never heard of. --Neehoor 16:41, 18 August 2007 (EDT)
If that's not the problem, why did you post as though it was?
I'm not disagreeing with all your criticism, but whether you have heard of him is hardly relevant (if it is relevant, then it should also be relevant that I have heard of him). And although neither Wiki you mentioned has an article on him, it's not accurate to say that neither has "heard of" him. Clearly Conservapedia has, as it quotes him in this article, and I also found I think it was three references to him on Wikipedia.
Philip J. Rayment 09:42, 19 August 2007 (EDT)
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