Talk:Theory of evolution/Archive 7

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I think this is brilliant![edit]

Full disclosure: I'm a liberal and I came to this site just because a friend told me what nonsense you idiots are putting up here. I say, keep at it! With the recent congressional turnover, Bush's dire approval ratings, opposition to the war in Iraq, all we need is stuff like this to further expose the mental inadequacy of most conservatives. Why not add something about the rapture to this article, or accuse evolution of being a communist plot? The more you isolate yourselves on the lunatic fringe, the less people will take you seriously, and that's just jim dandy. Bravo! --porkchop 10:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Thank you for your ignorant and totally irrelevant opinion, Mr. Pighead. You've just shown us the mental inadequacy of all liberals. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 11:00, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

I think the article which has "volcanos blown small animals all over the planet after the flood" is the best one - comedy gold! --Cgday 11:29, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Oh my, I hadn't heard that one before; its in the Post-Diluvian_Diasporas article in case anyone else is curious. -- Limulus 16:57, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes, the volcano bit made me go "...wha?", too. XD Especially since the only source points at a general information page about the volcano. --Sid 3050 17:01, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


This is one of the weakest encyclopedic articles I have ever read. No respectable encyclopedia presents articles with a biased point of view or, more crucially, without any proper discussion the the scientific theory the article is supposed to be about.

This article should have much more scientific information added to make it a balanced article with a neutral point of view. No article should be solely a list of the reasons why a theory is wrong without mentioning what the theory is about or why it may be correct. --TomT 17:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Sssiiiiiggghhh ScorpionStep on me and get stung 19:45, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Can you suggest the grade a student who was using this material (or any other about the physical and natural sciences found on this site) in college for a paper would get? Lets say you were in a geology class and were given the question "What is the age of a C-14 sample that has 300 counts compared to a modern sample that has 600 counts"? If you write down "older than creation", you've not received any credit on that problem. As it stands, this may be a good place to look up social information. But if you are going to try to pass a class in biology or chemistry or physics using what is here, you will be very disappointed. "Because the Bible said so" would only be a valid answer in a philosophy class - if even there. --Mtur 19:56, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Scorpion, I thought you'd left, depriving us of your insightful edits like the one above! But since you haven't, siiiiiiiiigh! But, another new user, another critic of this awful article. I'm with you, TomT, and so is everyone except Scorpion, Conservative, and Andy. Unfortunately, they have all the power.-AmesGyo! 19:48, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahem! Add me to the list of those who agree with the Panel's decision, Mr. Ames, or whoever you are.
"Scientific theory," IN-DEED! Evolution is a fraud, defended by fraud, and violative of every principle that the "community of scientists" claim to hold dear. I say claim, because the leaders of that community commonly change those rules whenever it suits them.

Who is this that darkeneth counsel with words without knowledge? Job 38:2 (KJV)

--TerryHTalk 21:33, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Terry, I don't think the panel has decided yet, much less been convened. --Mtur 21:38, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

I'm afraid I don't understand, Terry, but suggestion: read a real science book.-AmesGyo! 21:39, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

All right, let's talk your lingo. What is a real science book? What sort of book meets your definition of real science?
I'll tell you what I deduce from your entire tone since you came to Conservapedia. You think that if it is not materialistic, then it is not science.
I'll tell you something else: I've read biology textbooks that defend evolution. Funny thing--they all still feature the Ernst Haeckel drawings, though too many commentators than I can name right here have stated that those drawings are all fraudulent. They represent the sin of dry-labbing.
The practice known as "dry-labbing," constructing observations out of one's own head or passing off as one's own the observations of others, is an offense of such gravity that it warrants excommunication from the community of scientists.
Yale University Student Handbook
Now, Mr. Ames, suppose you tell me why Ernst Haeckel has not been excommunicated from the community of scientists, and why his dry-lab job still--still--appears in biology textbooks!

Understand this: when a person lies about a material point, everything he says is automatically suspect. The continued celebration of Ernst Haeckel as a legitimate contributor to the understanding of the change-over-time of animal life is definitely a lie about a material point. I therefore reject out-of-hand the entire doctrine of evolution on that ground alone. Evolutionists have no more regard for the truth than they appear to have for the sanctity of life itself--which is to say, none!--TerryHTalk 21:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Dude, chill. The respect for life point is a bit of a baseless and needless slur. I suggest some ice cream, the couch, and some TV. Wow. I'm not sure what your poor writing is actually trying to convey. However, I can take a shot. Let's concede arguendo that one scientist practiced a breach in scientific ethics. That renders him suspect, but not his entire field, or does Tom DeLay torpedo all Republicans?-AmesGyo! 21:57, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
  1. Tom DeLay is innocent. His prosecution is politically motivated and utterly without merit or foundation.
  2. Evolution justifies abortion--"it's OK to kill a fish." Indeed, evolution justifies selective breeding of people.--TerryHTalk 22:12, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Okay, I call foul on this guy. I think you're another Richard (liberal pretending to be a conservative to make fun of conservatives). You can't actually be serious. While I'm sure there are some that say that evolution "justifies" eugenics, it does no such thing. Some people HAVE tried to spin it that way, but they do not represent the scientific community. Second, on the Tom DeLay thing, seriously!? Read a newspaper. On second though, first, just leave your house, and read something other than AnswersInGenesis.-AmesGyo! 22:15, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Sir, I am serious. I have never been more serious than I am being to you right now, Mr. Ames--though I have addressed myself to certain other occasions with equal seriousness. And when I say serious, I mean that I weigh my words with the same meticulous care with which a nuclear weaponist weighs weapons-grade plutonium.

  1. I don't give an unripe fig, or a bottle of spoiled printer toner, for more than a few newspapers today. Ronnie Earle, the Travis County District Attorney, has tried Tom DeLay in the press. He has prosecuted him for an offense that was not illegal at the time. That's an ex post facto prosecution, and as one who intends to study the law ought to know, that is unconstitutional on its face. I further denounce most newspapers for hiding their affiliation with the Democrat Party, of which most of them are the house organs.
  2. You say that the eugenicists "don't represent the community of scientists." Well, all that proves is that the "community of scientists" is squeamish about the full implications, and the logical terminus ad quem, of evolution and evolutionism. That does not mean that evolution does not justify selective breeding of human beings. Evolution promises that the breeding of any organism is subject to improvement, and further suggests that directed selective breeding is possible. And by denying God, evolution removes every--and I mean every--objection to the practice on any and all organism, including homo sapiens. Declaring that "the eugenicists don't represent the community of scientists" is like declaring that Osama bin Laden does not represent the mainstream of Islam. That might or might not be true--that requires an official government inquiry, which no one seems to have the gonadal fortitude to call for--but as to the question of whether Osama bin Laden represents the text of Islam as written, whether he is or is not a "mainstream Muslim" is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. (You call yourself a lawyer-in-training, so I will talk to you like a lawyer, and argue with you like one.) Likewise, your statement about "representativeness" is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. What's relevant is whether you can find in the text of evolutionary theory and practice, and in evolution-derived morality you can find a justification and even an imperative for selective breeding. I have found it, and you know perfectly well that it exists, and if you thought for one minute that we creationists were going to ignore that point, then please disabuse yourself of that notion right now.--TerryHTalk 22:42, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Then why don't you read something other than Richard Dawkins? It seems the only reason you know anything about AiG at all is because you went to Rice, where you recieved the liberal perspective (which doesn't accurately represent their views). Since you recommended the "Blind Watchmaker" to me (I'll see if I can't get it from the library) why don't you read Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris? ScorpionStep on me and get stung 22:23, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Two reasons. First, I need every brain cell I can GET for law school, and I feel Morris would be counterproductive. Second, I have read AiG thoroughly, and I feel it about sums it up.-AmesGyo! 22:24, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

And I suppose Darwin and Dawkins are productive? Blah. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 09:42, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Saying that evolution implies eugenics since they're logically related is to say that any argument must needs be taken to its logical extreme. Which is bull. And I have stricken through your massively racist statements - Osama Bin Laden does not represent the majority of Islam.-AmesGyo! 22:45, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Evolution does not "deny God", you shameless liar. Evolution, like all scientific theories, offers a mechanism (alelle frequency change over time) for an observation (patterns in the fossil record, DNA and general biodiversity). It make so statements about any deities, including the Christian God, and it does not suggest that any particular action is moral, ethical, justified, immoral, unethical or unjustified. Scientific theories describe some aspect of the universe. That is all that they do. They do not act as prescriptions or proscriptions for human behavior. A scientific theory may be useful for predicting the outcome of a set of actions, but they cannot define whether the actions are themselves moral or ethical, nor can they be used to determine whether "the ends justify the means". Claiming that the theory of evolution justifies a particular action -- whether in defense of that action or in condemnation of the theory of evolution -- demonstrates only that the person making the claim is either a liar or an idiot. Claiming that evolution denies God demonstrates only that the person making the claim is either a liar or an idiot. Which are you? Dimensio 10:11, 3 April 2007 (EDT).

That was extremely discourteous of you, and therefore I have removed the strikeout tags. I stand by every word I said. Pull that stunt again, and I shall complain of you to Mr. Schlafly and request that he block you.

We do not know whether Osama bin Laden represents the majority of Muslims or not. That needs to be checked out. Muhammad specifically created the concept of taquiyya. Do you know what that means? I'll tell you: It is OK to lie, so long as you know the truth, and it advances the Muslim faith.

Nor does that matter. What matters is what the Qu'ran actually says. And it says:
Fight and slay the infidels wheresoever ye find them; seize them, besiege them, ambush them with every ambush.

Surah 9:5
And the above passage is current. Therefore to be a good Muslim is to be a murderer and a traitor--and not to be either of these things is to be a "cafeteria Muslim"--one who would take scissors to the Qu'ran and snip out those parts about which one is squeamish. (That is, if one is telling the truth.)

And if an argument not be taken to its logical extreme, what, then, shall we say about the law? Does the law stop short of its logical extremes? And you call yourself a lawyer-in-training. How did you get past the Logic Games section of the LSAT? Sir, the law proceeds relentlessly to its logical extremes, as any judge could tell you. The law is not what its drafters wanted it to mean. Rather, the law is the law and is nothing more, nor less, than the text of the law as it is written.

Likewise is evolution--and the Qu'ran.--TerryHTalk 23:24, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

First, what do you say of Jesus' statement, "I come not to bring peace, but fire & the sword"?
Out-of-context, of course. Jesus surrendered Himself for trial before a kangaroo court--one called at night, to boot, which was flatly violative of Jewish law. He even incriminated Himself by answering, "Yes," to the question, "Are You the Son of the Living God?" Jesus could have held His peace, but He did not. He also could have summoned twelve legions of angels, but again He did not.
Sure, Jesus said earlier that He came to bring a sword. But He also made clear that His Kingdom was not and is not of this world.
Muhammad's kingdom has always been of this world, and he led the way in spreading his religion by armed conquest.
You say:
Islam in its early years did depend on violence to spread its religion. But it is not representative of Muslims today.
Isn't it?
Second, that verse from the Quran was with regards to the first holy wars to spread the faith; almost all Islams regard it as discontinued in significance.
How can it be? By what principle is it "discontinued in significance?" You know, the one thing I hate worse than liars is stupid liars. Those Muslims can't even tell a smart lie--because by the Abrogation Principle (which states that the verse most recently written takes precedence) that verse is still current and still in force.
Third, If you would equate Eric Rudolph with all Christianity, then I will allow you to equate terrorism & hate with all Islam; otherwise, no go.
I refuse. Eric Rudolph stands in violation of Paul's explicit statement in his Letter to the Romans:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities Romans 13:1 (KJV)

The Koran has no such verse.
On to your next point, stop slandering my record. I am a law student, and I'll tell you that the goal of the law is not to proceed to extremes, but to find ways to limit itself. All law does this. So do humans in modern life, who recognize the logical extremes of democracy, and limit them, of social services (welfare), and limit them, and the logical extremes of science's influence on society, AND LIMIT THEM. -AmesGyo! 23:38, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Those limits have to be found in the text of the law. The text, sir. And it is no slander to say that you utterly fail in this elementary application of formal logic if you do not realize this.
You say that the goal of the law is to find ways to limit itself. Tell that, then, to your liberal activist friend Sarah Weddington, who argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court and, in 1973, obtained a ruling that her own client now recognizes as an abomination and indeed a travesty of the law.--TerryHTalk 23:58, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

TerryH, you seem to have confused two issues. Whether evolution justifies abortion, eugenics or Pre-Raphaelite art does not affect whether it is correct or not. --Horace 22:53, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

But it does. Nothing that justifies evil can be correct.--TerryHTalk 23:24, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Jesus justifies sinners? No? -- Crackertalk 23:44, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
He wipes the slate clean before God and before the Law. But He does not abrogate the Law, nor suggest that the sinners involved did nothing worthy of death or requiring His Sacrifice to expiate.--TerryHTalk 23:58, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I see that I have expressed myself poorly. I should have said: "Whether evolution is used to justify abortion, eugenics or Pre-Raphaelite art does not affect whether it is correct or not". --Horace 00:05, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Terry, first, please do not use line-by-line. It is disruptive and confusing. Onto this, I'm not going to argue textualism with you. It's a waste of my time. Read "Modalities of Constitutional Interpretation" to get the gist of what I'd say, that textualism isn't the limit of the law, and that responsivism is probably closer to it, and does impose real limits. Obviously you realize, too, that clients don't make the law - judges do - so what Ms Roe has to say now, after her miraculous conversion, is of no relevance. Now, onto the next, I think it's funny that you choose to examine the historical context of Jesus' line, but not the historical context of Mohammed's. I am certain that if you were a real scholar of islam, you would understand the difference between the date of the writing of that Surah (the hijra) and today, and therefore its limited application, as you would recognize the same for the "Fire & Sword & whatnot" line. So you admit that there is some relevance to text beyond its literal word, too - at least we're getting somewhere. That's very good news! Finally, you fail to address the probative value of the Rudolph analogy, so I'll assume it is conceded. Gee, how did you get past your LSAT?-AmesGyo! 00:17, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Wow, I don't think I have read such hateful and bigoted comments about another faith like Terry's above in a long time. It's amazing what ignorance can do to you.
PS. It's a good thing the Christians never fought any Crusades as "murderers and traitors". Jrssr5 08:03, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I fail to see how Christianity is "hateful and bigoted", any more so than Islam or evolutionism. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 09:46, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Right, that's why I pointed out the ignorance of TerryH's comments. Jrssr5 10:16, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

I just have to point this out. Evolution would be against abortion. How can positive mutations occur when the organism is dead? One other point Evolution does not state if the mutations will be positive or negative just that they will be there and that due to the environment the mutation would be rendered beneficial--TimS 11:00, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Actually, evolution is not "for" or "against" anything. The theory of evolution is a described mechanism for explaining a given observation. As I said before, it can be used to make predictions for the outcomes of some actions, but it cannot say whether those actions are "justified" or not regardless of the outcome. There is no possible method for deriving "abortion is good" or "abortion is bad" (for any given constraint or condition on abortion) from "all extant organisms are related through common ancestry that diversified through alelle frequency change over time and population isolation". Moreover, despite TerryH's lie, it is also impossible to use the latter statement to conclude "God does not exist". Dimensio 11:12, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
A mutation wouldn't be rendered beneficial, it could prove to be beneficial. Rendering implies the mutation itself is changed. and as Dimensio says, evolution is not for or against anything. Usually evolution happens naturally, generally allowing for improvements of a species over time. Jrssr5 12:39, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
As I said above if the life is destroyed, then the possible allele changes would not occur, hence why abortion would be antagonistic to evolution. There is no way that people can claim that abortion is supported by evolution. You are correct Dimensio, evolution does not conclude that "god does not exist" but that the accounts in bible would be metaphorical in nature. Some Christians see the bible metaphorically anyway, does anyone truly believe the literal account in revelation that Jesus will return on a white horse in the middle of a battle?--TimS 17:49, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Abusive Citation Practices/Quote Mining[edit]

Please post allegations of abusive citation here. I'll start.-AmesGyo! 00:27, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Factual 'innacuracies'[edit]

Ok, forgetting for a moment the incoherent writing style and the idea that a piece on "evolutionary theory" maybe just maybe, ought to have a description of evolutionary theory in it, the very small portion of this article that might be useful is full of things that are just plain wrong.

Here's a few,

  1. Evolution is called a 'materialist' theory. Is there any other kind of scientific theory - or is this maybe a pointer to just how well the editors understand science?
  2. 'advocates' of evolution never defined evolution as natural selection. NS is the mechanism but which most of the interesting things in evolution have arisen.
  3. What Darwin published in the Origin was not "the theory of evolution" - there were a great number of biologists who had published evolutionary ideas before him and modern evolutionary theory has moved on enormously since Darwin's day (he didn't know what a gene was, we have whole genomes)
  4. Darwin was not the naturalist on the Beagle
  5. There is no evidence that Darwin's theories were forged on his trip to the Galapagos much less by those island's finches which he completely failed to understand (or even label usefully)

All of those errors are in the first 400 words. Surely this is evidence for whoever is deciding the future of this article that those currently assigned to maintaining it are not capable of doing so.

--Igor nz 02:01, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

If you doubt that mainstream Islam endorses violence[edit]

Then you might all like to take a gander at this article, titled The Trouble with Islam.--TerryHTalk 08:14, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

What in twelve hells does this have to do with evolution?! Nematocyte 08:17, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Nothing. I strongly advise the participants in this tangent to take it to a debate topic. Tsumetai 08:18, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Simply this: Mr. Ames stated that the lack of support for the idea of selective breeding among humans was sufficient to deny that the theory of evolution justifies the same. I state that it is not. A logical justification does not fail merely because the adherents of a theory turn squeamish rather than apply that theory to its logical terminus ad quem.

Furthermore: if historical context is to govern our interpretation of a given text, then words mean nothing. The only context I will accept is textual context. Liberals seems to drop textual context and favor the false "context" of "history" (by which they mean the zeitgeist) whenever and however it suits them. That won't work in the real world. All the historical context in the world did not stop nineteen hashshasheen from killing three thousand people in a single day. Nor did it stop a certain paper-hanging (censored) from killing six million Jews during his rule, or establishing a selective-breeding program of his own.--TerryHTalk 08:23, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Is this guy for real? Either way I say we just let him keep writing. Nematocyte 08:31, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
What the !?@@$@ does any of this have to do with Islam?! The "Assassin" guild was awful, but so were the Templar. Truly, you can't define a religion by its fundamentalists and its extremists, or God help us, Christianity would be defined by the Crusaders or abortion clinic bombers, which just sounds awful! As I said, too, I'm not arguing textualism with you until you read "Modalities of Constitutional Interpretation," or Sanford Levinson's "Constitutional Faith." Pick one.-AmesGyo! 08:26, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Oh, and only the mentally unstable take every argument or theory to its extreme.-AmesGyo! 08:31, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

I define any religion, any doctrine that purports to be a scientific theory, or any law by its text. Its adherents may--or may not--be misguided. But where does the guidance come from? From the text. And how can we determine whether any given group of adherents are misguided or not? By reading the text.

The sources you cited sound like the very sort of drivel that has given us a Constitution that means nothing from one composition of the Supreme Court to the next. It sounds like something that William O. Douglas must have been reading when he concocted his majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.

In sum, you are giving me the fashion reviews of a naked emperor--reviews influenced by his crooked tailors. And you sound like those crooked tailors, too. "The clothes are invisible to any who are stupid or unfit for their jobs of work." Or, as you put it, the "mentally unstable."

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am a strict constructionist. And when I use the term, I mean that I construe strictly the text of any scientific paper or anything else that one might use to justify personal or public policy.

So if you're going to deny that the theory of evolution justifies the selective breeding of human beings, then you need to show me chapter and paragraph from Darwin that makes that non-justification explicit. I'll tell you what you're going to find: nothing. Nothing but some quotes from his followers who turned squeamish when the aforementioned paper-hanging (censored) followed evolution to its logical terminus ad quem. --TerryHTalk 08:48, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

I'm totally lost ... this went from Evolution to Islam to abortion to selective breeding. Someone had way too much coffee this morning. Jrssr5 08:51, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Does the theory of gravity justify throwing babies of rooftops? Totally off the rails, man. Nematocyte 08:52, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Perhaps we should add the naturalistic fallacy to the list. Tsumetai 08:54, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
TerryH, can you show us the chapter and paragraph from Darwin that makes the justification explicit?? Jrssr5 09:02, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
In addition to there being no possible logical means to conclude "abortion should be legal" or "Jews should be exterminated" from the statement "all extant organisms share common ancestry" (note that creationists who make such appeals, in addition to lying about the theory of evolution, are also appealing to the logical fallacy of argument from consequence), there is also no evidence that Darwin himself was a supporter of Eugenics. From Chapter 5 of The Descent of Man:
The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind...
Note that Darwin refers to withholding care from a "weaker" individual so that the population as a whole may benefit as "evil", and that he clearly opposes such a practice. It would appear that TerryH's claims are shameless lies. How utterly shocking. Not that a creationist will ever admit mistake on any subject; creationists believe that lying is an acceptable debate tactic, and that acknowledging error, no matter how obvious the slip-up, is a sign of weakness and they will stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that any given claim that they have made is incongruous with reality. TerryH has already acknowledged a stubborn unwillingness to accept reality by insisting that it is the responsibility of those who deny that the theory of evolution justifies selective breeding, rather than his responsibility to show that the theory of evolution, which -- like all theories -- is nothing more than a description of "what happens" in given circumstances, somehow justifies selective breeding or any other course of action. Not only is it absurd to suggest that any scientific theory is a "justification" for engaging in any action (as scientific theories only describe the universe, they do not define morality or ethics), but it is also an extremely dishonest shifting of the burden of proof. TerryH isn't here to learn, TerryH has made it clear that he is here to make unreasonable demands of those who would counter creationist lies. Dimensio 09:50, April 3 2007 (EDT)

I think Dimensio's spoken very well. Good show. But TerryH, if all you're going to do is discredit my sources without even knowing what they are, that's fine, but you can't then claim that your strict constructionalism is "right" - you can just claim that it's ill informed. Let me know if you want me to send you the articles I recommended, I'm sure you'd find them illuminating. And they're not written by "crooked tailors" - they're written by law school professors to explain the differences between textualism and responsivism. They don't say that one is better; they just argue that both are legitimate. So reasonable people will disagree, but they're all supported by the Constitution. So... your anti-responsivism rant ("it's unamerican blah blah!") is just that. Please show an interest in educating yourself, and please stop being such a hateful individual.-AmesGyo! 10:32, 3 April 2007 (EDT) Sysop note:

  • I'm considering moving this thread so it becomes one of our Debate topics. Any thoughts on this move? --Ed Poor 10:08, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Some of it definitely needs to go. I'm not sure exactly how much, though. Perhaps only the parts about Islam should move, and leave the eugenics argument here. Red herring though it is, it's at least tangentially related to the topic. Tsumetai 10:09, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
You'd have to break up TerryH's comments to do it, as the comments on Islam are mixed in with the hysterical ranting lies about the implications of the theory of evolution. Dimensio 10:56, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Some comments[edit]

Apologies if this has been mentioned before (I haven't been watching the talk page very closely and now there are six (!) archives of comments) but instead of (or in addition to) quoting Merriam-Webster for a definition of evolution, why not quote Darwin from the 1st edition of the Origin of Species [1] where he repeatedly refers to "descent with modification"? (The exact word "evolution" is not actually used in the OoS, though the last word is "evolved"; see [2] for more info on the etymology of the word)

Also the article muddles the difference between 'descent with modification' and 'natural selection' in "Today advocates of evolution no longer adhere to "natural selection" as the definition of evolution"; consider Darwin from 1859 again: "I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification."

So there are actually two things that Darwin was trying to convince the reader of:

  • the fact of evolution (descent with modification)
  • his theory of why evolution happens (natural selection, etc.)

Finally, a nice quote from "Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia" (c) 1929:

"From the day that Darwin brought the Evolution theory prominently before the world's attention, it has been a storm center. Many have believed, and many still believe, that it conflicts with religion, though its advocates insist that the Christian and evolutionary views of the universe are perfectly harmonious. It is certain, however, that no one scientific doctrine has had a more far-reaching effect. Therefore all intelligent people, whether they accept it or not, should have a clear understanding of what it is."

-- Limulus 08:20, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Limulus: how can evolution not conflict with religion? Terminus ad quem again. Richard Dawkins certainly followed it to its terminus ad quem, and Mr. Ames not only does not object to Dawkins' he quotes him and cites him. And what is Dawkins' endpoint? That God is a "delusion."

Evolution cannot take place in a time frame having the limits that the Bible imposes. By which I mean, it cannot take place in six thousand years. (Nor can evolution have taken place in six billion years, if it started by abiogenesis--a fact which Francis Crick recognized, so he then said that life was deposited on this Earth by a guided missile, one of a large brace of missiles that an advanced civilization launched in all directions.)

That particular Compton's contributor got it as wrong as he could get it. Evolution can only be harmonious with the higher criticism of the Bible--which in turn states that the Bible is not history, anyway. The only remaining question, in evaluating that contributor, is whether he knew it at the time, or had thought the matter through. (Maybe he hadn't--because not thinking things through, and saying that anyone who does think things through is "mentally unstable," seems to be standard operating procedure for liberals.)--TerryHTalk 08:56, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Correct, it only conflicts with your faulty and non-christian interpratation of the Bible. Nematocyte 09:00, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Interesting discussion (could be)going on HERE.-_- Crackertalk 09:08, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Excuse me, Nematocyte, but how is our friend's interpretation of the Bible "faulty and non-christian"? ScorpionStep on me and get stung 09:53, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
See my user page. Biblical literalism is paganism. Nematocyte 12:28, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
You claim we're worshipping the Bible. What nonsense! We respect the Bible as the Word of God, we don't bow down to it. However, trying to mix evolution and the Bible is paganism. It just doesn't fit; if you have each of the six days of creation being eons of time, that puts death and suffering before the presence of sin. Plus, it's trying to compromise God's infallible Word with man's fallible theories. That's paganism. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 12:38, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure all of you really understand the definition of pagansim and are throwing it around like it's a derogatory remark. Bible literalism is ridiculous, there are passages that contradict each other, making it impossible to take everything as "infallible". And as people have pointed out before, evolution and the Bible can mix. The Catholic Church says it's ok. And for my personal beliefs, I'm Christian and I believe in evolution ... how's that fit into your belief system? Jrssr5 12:44, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I'll take this Scorp. He'll say the Pope didn't really say that and he'll say the Pope supports Intelligent Design and then he'll say you're not a real Christian. Or something like that. Myk 12:49, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
It is blasphemy to claim that the written words of men, however inspired they may have been when authoring the various books of the Bible, are as infallible as God. You do idolize the Bible when you claim that its contents are of direct divine authorship. The men who wrote the words of the Bible were not gods, even if they had personally experienced God in their lives. Dimensio 13:25, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
TerryH: I was actually trying to point out the last sentence ("all intelligent people, whether they accept it or not, should have a clear understanding of what it is"), in context. The article as its written does not do a good job of helping people get a "clear understanding" of what evolution is and why scientists support it IMHO :) My personal view is that creationism/evolution is a subset of the larger faith vs. skepticism debate, e.g. see Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." which is quite the opposite of science and I may be safely classified with the skeptics ;) If your particular interpretation of Genesis is extremely literal (e.g. the world is 6K years old) then there will definitely be a conflict. AFAIK, the Catholic Church currently accepts evolution, with some qualifiers, and an old earth. [3] Regarding Dawkins, I happen to agree with him, but that does not change the fact that religion and evolution can cohabit the same person's mind and be made to fit together one way or another. Regarding Crick on panspermia, see [4] (in 1993 "Crick and Orgel noted that they had been overly pessimistic about the chances of life evolving on Earth" 25 years earlier). As per "Nor can evolution have taken place in six billion years" why do you say that? If you're willing to accept the scientific viewpoint on the age of the earth, then the scientific viewpoint on evolution generally flows along fairly easily... BTW, I don't know if you noticed the copyright date of the quote from Compton's; it was 1929. People were generally less "liberal" back then :) The entries that mention religion are far from derogatory. -- Limulus 10:38, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
BTW, I just edited the Wikipedia article; on re-reading the quote about Crick I noticed that it was conflating abiogenesis with evolution; I've changed it to read "Crick and Orgel noted that they had been overly pessimistic about the chances of abiogenesis on Earth" -- Limulus 15:42, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
On Limulus: how can evolution not conflict with religion? by TerryH above. First off, there is the question of 'religion'. Judaism does not have this conflict[5][6]. Nor does Hinduism[7], nor does any religion where the practitioners accept the message given as stories about how to live life rather than "this is the one and only Truth" (Buddahism for example). One can also go to Catholicism. In Humani Generis Pope Pius XII affirmed "that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points."[8] Additionaly, Pope John Paul II stated "Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical, fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis"[9]. This has been reiterated by Pope Benedict XVI - "The minutes, to be issued later this year, will show how Catholic theologians see no contradiction between their belief in divine creation and the scientific theory of evolution, participants said after the annual closed-door meeting ended Sunday." [10] And so, I feel I can say "religion does not conflict with evolution - some people's literal interpretation of religious works conflicts with science" --Mtur 22:14, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure where Terry is, but I'll bet he's got better things to do than to sit at a computer chair arguing with a bunch of croaking bullfrogs. Croak on, boys! Croak on! You'll never find a mate! ScorpionStep on me and get stung 23:24, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I think I'm going to step away from my computer now to weep for America, that it has such people in it. Then, I'll go remind myself that America is not yet guided by creationism, and thank GOD for my antibiotics therein. Then, I'll go remind myself that law school is full of smart people, so I shouldn't waste my time on the not-so-bright.-AmesGyo! 23:28, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
You have offered a response to none of these assertions that religion and evolution are perfectly compatible and have simply relied upon an ad hominem attack to mock several religions, noted jewish scholars and three Catholic popes. I welcome you to try to demonstrate why the Popes are mistaken on the issue of theology. There are certainly some religious authorities that would argue TerryH's claim. --Mtur 23:33, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
'Never argue with a fool on his own level: he has far more experience of it than you do'! --Petrus 05:41, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
And that is why TerryH is not here arguing with you anymore! ScorpionStep on me and get stung 10:56, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Mtur wrote: "You have offered a response to none of these assertions that religion and evolution are perfectly compatible ... I welcome you to try to demonstrate why the Popes are mistaken on the issue of theology". I haven't read everything on this page, but I did see a response to the latter further up the page. But let me spell out some points.

  • "Religion" is not a monolithic block; it encompasses a wide range of beliefs. So yes, it is true that "religion" and evolution are compatible, depending on which religion you are talking about. However, it is manifestly not true that evolution and the Biblical record are compatible, for the following reasons (among others):
    • The Bible says quite unambiguously that the world—from the creation of light and Earth to the creation of man—took six days (and that these were normal Earth days). This is clearly incompatible with the evolutionary timescale.
    • The order of evolution and creation are different: The popular order of selected items is sun>Earth>fish>plants and land animals>birds. The Biblical order of the same items is Earth>plants>sun>fish & birds>land animals.
    • As was mentioned by someone else earlier on, and getting to the theological problem, the Bible says that man preceded the arrival of death and suffering. Evolution has things in the following order: life>death>man. The Bible has the order: life>man>sin>death.

Philip J. Rayment 07:20, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

If the bible so explicitly says these things, then how can there be such debate between religious scholars? How do Old Earth Creationists get their ideas of a longer creation from the bible and YEC get theirs? One of them's gotta be wrong and you can get neither will say they are. Jrssr5 08:30, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
That's a good question, but one with a fairly straightforward answer. The Old Earth Creationists do not get their ideas of a longer creation from the Bible. They get it from the secular view, and try and fit it into the Bible. This has been documented from statements of Old Earth Creationists. For example, Pattle Pun wrote:
It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve...
So why doesn't he believe that? I left a bit out of that quote. Here it is again with the missing bit highlighted:
It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of Genesis, without regard to the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve...
I've seen many attempts to rationalise old-Earth views with the Bible. But I've yet to see one clear explanation of how you actually read an old Earth from the Bible. If it could be read from the Bible, then various commentators would have done so for hundreds of years. But nobody (or so close to nobody it makes no difference) read millions of years from the Bible until secular views of millions of years started to appear.
Philip J. Rayment 09:02, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Gotcha ... makes sense. Thanks for the explanation. Jrssr5 09:17, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Where have I been[edit]

Gentlemen, if those of you on the liberal side of this apparently unbridgeable divide want to know where I have been, then I will tell you. I have been terribly busy doing something else: writing articles for and uploading images to CreationWiki (where I am a registered user and an administrator). I make no secret of my affiliations or of my perspective.

Sometimes, as Scorpion was good enough to say, I am better advised to sit and watch. This is particularly true when everyone is trying to contribute to this page at once, and I run into an editing conflict and constantly have to cut and paste my words to the "upper field." This has proved no exception.

Part of the problem I have in on-line debate is that I keep replying so fast that my opponents come under the misapprehension that I am the only one who holds my position. Well, that's not true, is it? Besides Scorpion, I must thank Philip J. Rayment, who has said, far better than I could have done, why evolution is incompatible with the God of the Bible. Simply put, you do not get evolution, or even old earth creationism, out of the Bible.

The Bible says that God created the world in six periods of time that the Bible calls a "day." The Hebrew word for this is yowm, which means a twenty-four-hour calendar day and never means anything else in the Bible.

The Bible further has meticulous genealogical records of ten generations of men--each generation spanning over a hundred years and involving men who lived eight or nine hundred years or longer--from Adam down through Noah and his sons. The Bible then describes a Great Flood that wiped out almost all of humanity (except for Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives), animal life (except the mating pairs that Noah carried with him), and every trace of any human civilization that existed in that era. And then the Bible tells us when one of Noah's sons had a son of his own (two years after the flood), and lists more generations, and more epochal events, in an unbroken string until the death of Nebuchadnezzar II. From then, historical records bring us to the present day.

Tot it all up, and you realize that the world is not much older than six thousand years. James Ussher calculated the date of creation at 4004 BC. Actually, I calculate it further back--at 4159 BC--after assuming that Abraham must have been born when his father was 70 years old (not 130 as Ussher concluded), and that the time that the Israelites spent in Egypt was 430 years, not the 215 years that Ussher assumed. But those are relative quibbles in comparison to the ridiculous time span that evolutionists insist upon for the earth.

I don't accept 4.6 billion years for the earth at all. I don't have to. Radiometric dating has been shown to be fraught with assumptions that bear a striking resemblance to circular reasoning. Different methods give different dates for the same object (non-correlation), and sometimes the same method gives different dates for the same object at different times (inconsistency). Stephen A. Austin and Andrew Snelling discovered this at key finds at the Crinum Coal Mine (1993) and Mount St. Helens (1996). In the latter case, K-Ar dates for five samples of dacite had wildly inconsistent dates that varied far beyond the rated tolerances for this method--and more to the point had a range from 500,000 to 2,800,000 years. This from a dacite dome laid down ten years before the study.

Any of you geological experts, explain this if you can: the United States Geological Survey reports that the youngest rock that they have records of anyone dating is supposed to be 700,000 years old. Do any of you know what that means? You couldn't reliably date the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 if you didn't have the meticulous eyewitness testimony of Pliny the Younger and other historians.

Faced with that, Drs. Austin and Snelling, and their colleague Dr. Larry Vardiman, formed the RATE Group--which stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth. They sought to answer the question: is something seriously wrong with the assumptions behind most radiometry today? And if so, might the findings make better sense if you assumed that the Bible was true and correct in everything it said?

The answers that they found are yes, and yes. In fact, they have concluded--after finding a lot of rocks containing radiohaloes, indicative of tremendous radioactive decay faster than any rational estimate--that on at least one occasion, radioactive decay was accelerated. This either happened during Creation Week (when no animals would have suffered the ill effects) or in the year of the Flood--and in the latter case it might have triggered the Flood by weakening the earth's crust to let out all those petaliters of geothermal water from the "fountains of the great deep."

Now that ought to show you that while evolution is incompatible with a proper understanding of the Bible, science need not be. The trouble with some of you people is that you falsely equate evolution with science. And one of you stated flatly that of course evolution is materialistic, because if it were not, then it would not be scientific. That is your greatest error, and weakness.--TerryHTalk 12:43, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Plenty of PRATTS in there but frankly nothing new - everything above (besides the special pleading) is covered by and other sites. --Cgday 12:49, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

That's what you think. Go to CreationWiki and look for responses against for the other side of that.--TerryHTalk 12:56, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Ah yes, another dishonest creationist accusing all who accept evolution of being "liberals". Dimensio 17:37, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
To paraphrase Johnny Olsen, Mark Goodson, Bill Todman, and the irrepressible Gary Moore:
Will the real! Conservative believer in evolution! Please! Stand up!--TerryHTalk 20:25, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Thank you for demonstrating that you have absolutely no evidence to support your shameless lie that all who accept evolution are "liberals". How, exactly, do you expect to be believed when you lie so brazenly, and so shamelessly? Dimensio 09:16, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Approximately one-third of self-identified conservatives accept the evolution of humans from earlier species.[11] I imagine those aren't real conservatives, though. Tsumetai 09:37, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the kind words, TerryH, but just one correction, yom can mean other than a normal day, in certain contexts. It's not that it can't mean anything else, but that it can't mean anything else in the context of Genesis 1. Philip J. Rayment 06:04, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Atheistic evolutionists are liberals. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 08:54, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
How, exactly, have you determined this? Also, what about those who accept evolution who are not atheists?
The fact is, not all who accept evolution are "liberals". Not all atheists are liberals. Wallow in your ignorance all you like, but when you brazenly claim that anyone who disagrees with you in their acceptance as valid a theory of biological science, don't be shocked when people tell you what you are: you are a liar. Dimensio 09:14, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I like the reference to the debunked claim on polonium halos, it really shows that you have done no research. It's not surprising, though. When you rely on the research of an organization that preassumes Biblical literalism as absolute truth, you shouldn't expect valid results, because they will utterly refuse to conclude that their initial assumptions are incorrect no matter how much evidence is against them.
NOTE: The ICR, AiG and other creationist organizations have OPENLY STATED that they BEGIN with the assumption of Biblical literalism and that they will NOT accept any other conclusion. Their work involves twisting any and all observations to fit their preassumed conclusion. They will NEVER accept that their initial assumption of Biblical literalism is incorrect no matter what is observed. This is antithetical to science. No credible scientific work can be done with this methodology. A refusal to consider that an initial assumption is incorrect will NEVER yeild meaningful results. IF you are going to assert that there exist scientific research organizations that accept evolution as valid that have stated that they will refuse to consider that the theory of evolution is wrong, then you MUST show a "mission statement", or another statement analagous to the DOCUMENTED statements from AiG, ICR and others, from that organization or your claim will be nothing more than a lie. Dimensio 09:38, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Perhaps I've missed something, because I can't see how a supposedly debunked claim on polonium halos means that someone (who?) hasn't done research.
"When you rely on the research of an organization that preassumes Biblical literalism as absolute truth, you shouldn't expect valid results..." Why not? Or are you starting from the a priori assumption that the Bible has to be wrong? That sounds very much like the faith position of an atheist.
"...they [creationists] will utterly refuse to conclude that their initial assumptions are incorrect no matter how much evidence is against them." Again, sounds to me like an atheist. Your subsequent attempt to support that point is incorrect.
"The ICR, AiG and other creationist organizations have OPENLY STATED that they BEGIN with the assumption of Biblical literalism and that they will NOT accept any other conclusion." Incorrect. The first part (that they start with the assumption that the biblical record is true (they reject literalism, by the way)) is correct. The second part is your interpretation, not what they state. Seeing you throw around the accusation of lying so readily, should I accuse you of lying here?
"They will NEVER accept that their initial assumption of Biblical literalism is incorrect no matter what is observed." Just as an atheist will never except that his initial assumption of naturalism is incorrect, no matter what is observed.
"This is antithetical to science. No credible scientific work can be done with this methodology.". Not at all. Science flourished because of a Christian worldview, and there are still Christians today with this worldview who do successful science.
"A refusal to consider that an initial assumption is incorrect will NEVER yeild meaningful results." Unless, of course, the initial assumption is correct. And perhaps even sometimes if it isn't, especially if the initial assumption is not that relevant to the research.
"IF you are going to assert that there exist scientific research organizations that accept evolution as valid that have stated that they will refuse to consider that the theory of evolution is wrong, then you MUST show a "mission statement", or another statement analagous to the DOCUMENTED statements from AiG, ICR and others, from that organization or your claim will be nothing more than a lie.". That does not logically follow. The claim could be true but without those organisations admitting it, for example. If that's the case, then creationist organisations should be congratulated for openly stating their starting assumption.
Philip J. Rayment 11:32, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Science doesn't start with any presupposition, but through the course of the last 150 years, most scientists have realized that the Bible is a complete non-issue in their field of work. Science goes about asking why does this happen, not JUST find evidence to support this view as AiG does (look at their heading, "Upholding the authority of the Bible from the very first verse") I'm sure that there is science out there to support the "truths" in the Qu'ran, the "truths" in the Upashinads, the "truths" in L. Ron Hubbard's books, for gosh's sake. But if you actually look for answers without a presupposition. Saying "the Bible has to be true, all evidence which doesn't meet this criteria is invalid", as AiG does, tosses out invalid evidence. Starting with nothing gives you evidence which supports a normal, atheistic world. What evidence is there for God, besides pseudoscience? --Hojimachongtalk 11:49, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
TerryH referenced polonium halos as evidence for a young earth. The claim that such halos demonstrate a young earth has been thorougly debunked, and if TerryH had actually done any research, he would know this and not use a false claim in his argument.
I never claimed that there should be a presupposition that the Bible is incorrect. However, starting with the presupposition that any religious claim is correct and then "interpreting" all data to fit that assumption while refusing to even entertain the possibility that the presupposition is incorrect will not produce valid scientific data, because the scientific method is a process to obtain conclusions, not a process to obtain explanations of how observations fit preassumed conclusions. TerryH is referencing organizations whose methods are antithetical to science as a means of countering scientific claims. Her sources are inherently unscientific, and as such their claims have no merit in a discussion of science. Dimensio 12:19, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Do creationists agree that the polonium halo argument has been debunked? Or is it merely a case of the anti-creationists attempting to refute it, and their followers then claiming that it has been debunked when perhaps it hasn't been?
Your argument is still essentially that a false presupposition will lead to a false conclusion, and that creationism therefore leads to false conclusions, which is only valid if the presupposition is false. Your claim that creationist organisations are antithetical to science is nothing more than anti-creationist rhetoric. I've yet to see atheists entertain the possibility that their presuppositions could be incorrect, yet I don't see you claim that they are unscientific as a result. And yes, their atheism does guide their science. Philip J. Rayment 07:32, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
That you assert that all who disagree with the creationist position are atheists shows that you are fundamentally dishonest. Not everyone who accepts an old age of the earth and universe is an atheist, and as this fact has already been made clear you are a liar for suggesting that all who oppose creationist claims are guided by "atheism". Any argument that you make that assumes that all who disagrees with creationists are atheists is inherently faulty because you are using a lie as a premise.
The rebuttal of the polonium halo claim is an explanation of how such halos can form in ways other than how Gentry asserts. The closest to a "rebuttal" that I have seen is a creationist whining "You haven't PROVEN that the halos did form that way!", which is a meaningless assertion because the entire basis for the creationist claim is the assertion that the halos cannot form through a means other than polonium decay. Merely showing that the halos can form in another fashion is sufficient to debunk the claim, but when confronted with such a debunking the creationist shifted the goalposts. But I won't expect you to try and understand the discussion. You've already made it clear that you are dishonestly framing this discussion as "atheists versus theists". Dimensio 08:53, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
"That you assert that all who disagree with the creationist position are atheists... ". And just where did I assert that? I'll await your apology.
A quick read of the Talk.Origins articles doesn't appear to show that they have demonstrated that they can form in other ways. It's more a case of "I think this alternative might be a better explanation", rather than anything of substance. And one of the articles used the argument that "Gentry's theory doesn't fit with the uniformitarian theory so it must be wrong"! (my wording, not a quote).
Most of the rest of your post is based on the false claim (lie?) that I've equated all anti-creationists with atheists.
Philip J. Rayment 10:23, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
This is a discussion of those who accept the theory of evolution as valid versus creationists. When you said "I've yet to see atheists entertain the possibility that their presuppositions could be incorrect, yet I don't see you claim that they are unscientific as a result.", I assumed that you were using "atheists" as a synonym for those who accept evolution as valid, rather than introducing the irrelevant concept of atheism without warning. I didn't realise that you were just changing the subject for lack of a reasonable counter-argument that would have stayed on topic. I'm sorry that I assumed that you wouldn't dishonestly switch topics on me.
Regarding Talk Origins's counter; the claim that Gentry has made is that the polonium halos can only be produced through polonium decay. The entirety of his claim rests upon his assertion that there is no possible way that the halos could have formed through another means. Talk Origins merely has to point out that Gentry has failed to substantiate his claim that no other mechanism can exist. That they provide alternative mechanisms is just a means of showing that Gentry hasn't thought his cunning plan all the way through -- unless you have a reference to show that the mechanisms that they propose are impossible. Dimensio 13:29, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahem! I am male, not female. My name might seem needlessly epicene to you, but in fact it is a surname that goes back a few generations in my family.
As to the merits of your argument, such as they are: Philip J. Rayment has said it best. Evolutionists start with the presupposition that only naturalistic and materialistic explanations are permitted. Consult the Wikipedia entry on Eugenie Scott if you think I'm misrepresenting evolutionism on this point.
There. You wanted a mission statement? You've got it. I give you the Humanist Manifesto, of which Eugenie Scott is a signatory and, if I am not mistaken, was a drafter.
You state that science is a process to obtain conclusions. That's not what I have observed. Any given scientist starts with his own presuppositions; otherwise he could never design an experiment. That's fair enough--but when the experiments don't work as you expected, then you have to ask yourself whether you really thought of everything.
I have watched as evolutionists (in biology and in astronomy) keep not finding things that they expected to find, and finding things that they would not expect to find. And then they don't know how to deal with it. Lay aside for a moment the outright frauds in evolution's name, such as Piltdown man. None of you have begun to address the serious issues with the assumption of an old earth, or the repeated failures of the uniformitarian hypothesis in geology. Or the lack of evidence for a "reducing atmosphere" having ever existed on earth. Or the rapid weakening of the earth's magnetic field. Or why the missing links remain missing--or why forms that ought to have been long since extinct persist still (e.g., coelacanth). Faced with all of that, I hear that "of course it's materialistic, and were it not so, it would not be science." I read that right on this very Talk page.
Now: let's see some answers.--TerryHTalk 12:42, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I work with a female "Terie", hence my gender slip-up.
Your criticism of evolution only allowing naturalistic and "materialistic" explanations is meaningless. Naturalism is a boundary of all science. All scientific research is conducted under the exact same constraint. Singling out evolution as though it is special in that regard demonstrates only that you are ignorant of the scientific method.
Yes, scientists do often start with presuppositions. The difference is that the presuppositions themselves are tested, with the scientist seeking either to establish further confidence in that presupposition or to discard the presupposition should observations contrary to that starting assumption be observed. These "presuppositions" are the result of observation and research, and they are formulated after evidence is gathered, not before, and then tested for consistency with reality. Creationists, by contrast, start with their presuppositions before any evidence is gathered. Moreover, they don't actually test their presuppositions, as scientists do with theirs. Creationists insist that their presuppositions must be true, and that any contradictory evidence must be "reinterpreted" to match what they wish to believe true. That process is antithetical to science, and that is why such a methodology is invalid when attempting to discuss science. When a group of scientists are faced with observations that contradict their previous conclusions, they question their conclusions. When creationists are confronted with observations that contradict their presumptions, they assume that they overlooked something in their observations; rethinking their presumptions is never an option for them.
Nice of you to name "Piltdown man" as an "outright fraud". It should be noted that it was the scientific method that exposed Piltdown Man as a fraud; had scientists opted for the "creationist method", Piltdown Man would never have been rejected. Moreover, no discussion of Piltdown Man would be complete (at least, except on a creationist forum where inconvenient facts are omitted) without a mention that its exposure made the established lineage of homo sapiens make a lot more sense, as Piltdown Man did not fit in properly with any of the legitimate pre-human fossil finds. Now, can you name four "outright frauds" in support of the theory of evolution besides Piltdown Man? I'll give you "Haeckel's embryos" (though I am curious as to whether you understand what Haeckel was trying to prove and how widely accepted his claims were). Now give me three more.
Regarding some of your other claims: what do you mean by "reducing atmosphere"? Your magnetic field question again shows that you have done no research. What do you want to see regarding "missing links"? Are you asking about transitional vertebrate fossils? What extant organisms "should" be extinct according to the theory of evolution, and why "should" they be extinct according to the theory? Please explain what particular part of the theory of evolution says that the coelacanth that exist today (as opposed to the physically different coelacanth that existed millions of years ago) should not exist. Be specific. Explain the relevance of your "of course it's materialistic" statement. All of science is materialistic. If a study goes beyond the scope of materialism -- going beyond the realm of the natural universe -- then it is not science. It might be a perfectly valid field of study, but it is still not science. Dimensio 13:01, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
"Naturalism is a boundary of all science. ... Singling out evolution as though it is special in that regard demonstrates only that you are ignorant of the scientific method.". No, biological evolution is not special in that regard. The criticism can also be made of cosmology, abiogenesis, etc. In one sense naturalism does apply to all science, but with empirical science as opposed to historical/origins science, it doesn't make any difference, so it's not an issue there. The real heart of the matter is, is science going to exclude, a priori, a supernatural explanation of origins, or is it going to allow itself to go where the evidence leads? The naturalistic basis of science (which has not always been the case) excludes a possible explanation (the supernatural) on ideological grounds.
"The difference is that the presuppositions themselves are tested...". If they are tested, they are not presuppositions.
"Moreover, they don't actually test their presuppositions, as scientists do with theirs.". So how do you test the presupposition that I mentioned below, that we are able to trust our senses when observing the world?
"It should be noted that it was the scientific method that exposed Piltdown Man as a fraud; ... its exposure made the established lineage of homo sapiens make a lot more sense, as Piltdown Man did not fit in properly with any of the legitimate pre-human fossil finds.". Actually, it wasn't so much the scientific method that exposed it; it was the fact that it no longer fitted with the prevailing view of the evolution of man that caused the scientists to have another look at it.
"Your magnetic field question again shows that you have done no research.". Or perhaps he has done his research and rejects Talk.Origins attempts at a rebuttal?
Philip J. Rayment 07:32, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
"Science doesn't start with any presupposition...". Incorrect. It starts with several, although in most cases everyone agrees with them. For one, it starts with the supposition that our senses are capable of correctly interpreting the world around us. For another, it starts with the supposition that the laws of physics, etc. are fixed, and are not randomly changing or being arbitrarily changed by the gods (it is this second assumption in particular that led to the rise of modern science. Greek science was stillborn because they didn't accept this point, but the Christian worldview said that God didn't change the laws on a whim, and that his creation was capable of being studied). These days it also starts with the presupposition that natural (as opposed to supernatural) explanations are always sufficient.
"Science goes about asking why does this happen...". For the most part, yes. But when it comes to evolution, it goes further, asking "how did this come about", which is a question about the unobservable, untestable, unrepeatable past.
"not JUST find evidence to support this view ...". In theory. In practice, many scientists have an idea and set out to find evidence to support it.
"Saying "the Bible has to be true, all evidence which doesn't meet this criteria is invalid", as AiG does, tosses out invalid evidence.". That's not a quote, but your interpretation, and your conclusion presumes that there is valid contrary evidence.
"Starting with nothing gives you evidence which supports a normal, atheistic world.". Can I get away with saying that the atheistic view is therefore based on nothing? :-) Seriously, as I've stated above, you don't start with nothing. You start with presuppositions no matter what worldview you have.
"What evidence is there for God, besides pseudoscience?" Science. Seriously, I object to your characterisation of evidence for God being pseudoscience. The evidence for God is that scientific observations are opposed to a naturalistic explanation. For example, scientific observations are that life only comes from life. The naturalistic explanation goes against that and proposes that at some time in the past, life came from non-life. Therefore the scientific observations support a supernatural (i.e. God) explanation over an naturalistic explanation.
Philip J. Rayment 12:13, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Take a look at the Mission Statemen and the Statement of Faith at AiG. They openly admit that their core assumption is that the Bible (as they interpret it) is inerrant and that Genesis is literally true. The reason for their existence is to explain observations in the context of that assumption. They will not entertain the notion that their starting presumption of Biblical inerrancy in inaccurate. That is not science, that is apologetics.
I should also note that concluding "God" from the absence of an observation of life emerging from non-life is a non-sequitur, and it is unscientific. You haven't even specified from where you have derived the existence of this "God" or to which "God", out of the thousands of deities worshipped and acknowledged throughout human history, you refer. You cannot spontaneously invent supernatural entities to explain otherwise unobserved events and call it science. To do so is to misstate science or to lie. Dimensio 13:13, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
"That is not science, that is apologetics.". Correct. But they use science to do their apologetics.
"I should also note that concluding "God" from the absence of an observation of life emerging from non-life is a non-sequitur, and it is unscientific.". And concluding that life came from non-life in that same absence of observation is scientific? But you are wrong. If our observations in the natural world are that life only comes from life, and life has not been going on forever, then the only conclusion left is that life came from something supernatural, i.e. God. That in itself doesn't explain which claim of God is correct, but it is still a reasonable conclusion that some entity that could be called "God" must be responsible.
Philip J. Rayment 07:32, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
You are misrepresenting science and you are still pushing unscientific conclusions.
In the abscence of any physical evidence on the means by which the first organisms came to exist, the only conclusion that is scientifically sound is "unknown at this time". Inventing a supernatural entity to explain an event is intellectually dishonest. Essentially you are asserting that when humans reach the limit of their current knowledge, they should stop all research and conclude that the supernatural is behind everything else. That methodology is fundamentally opposed to science. In the abscence of any natural explanation, science does not conclude a supernatural explanation, it instead concludes nothing at all 0and the matter remains an open question. Any other conclusion is unscientific, and claiming a supernatural conclusion as scientific is fundamentally dishonest. Your conclusion may be correct, but it is not science. Dimensio 09:29, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
"You are misrepresenting science and you are still pushing unscientific conclusions". Continuing to repeat it does not make it so.
"Inventing a supernatural entity ...". I didn't invent one. There's already one offering.
"Inventing a supernatural entity to explain an event is intellectually dishonest.". Why? Because you say so? Because atheists say so?
"Essentially you are asserting that when humans reach the limit of their current knowledge, they should stop all research and conclude that the supernatural is behind everything else.". No, I am not asserting that. I'm asserting that we go with the evidence, which evidence is that these things do not happen naturally, leaving the supernatural as the only alternative.
"Your conclusion may be correct, but it is not science.". Why? Because someone has decided to rule that option out before it is considered?
Philip J. Rayment 10:37, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
If you have not invented the supernatural entity that you are invoking as an explanation, then how has its existence been determined or derived beforehand? Also, how have you absolutely ruled out any possible natural explanation? Be sure to explain how you have arrived at a perfect and complete and inerrant understanding of the natural universe, as such an understanding is required to authoritatively rule out any and all possible natural explanations for the origin of life. Also explain why "unknown" is a less scientific position than "a supernatural agent did X".
Note that science does not "rule out" the supernatural. Rather, science does not address the supernatural, because supernatural events exist beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. That I cannot measure electrical output with a yardstick does not mean that a yardstick "rules out" electricity, it means only that the yardstick is an incorrect tool for studying electrical output. Electricity exists in a form that cannot be observed by a yardstick, much like the supernatural exists in a form outside of the observational ability of science. Dimensio 12:12, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Let me observe at once that your last series of posts has exposed a key weakness. "Science does not rule out the supernatural," you just said. But materialism certainly does deny the supernatural.
Furthermore, you are pretty much admitting that science can go only so far, and no farther. My impression of modernistic, materialistic philosophy--not science as such, but philosophy--is that it assumes that what is unknown today will become known tomorrow. Do you hold to that?
And what do you propose that science do with a clear demonstration that something has happened that defies all the laws of nature, and that those laws simply would not allow a process like life to come into existence from nothing?--TerryHTalk 12:28, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
The scientific method is materialistic in that the only information relevant to it is that of the natural universe. Supernatural, non-material (where "material" refers to both matter and energy) elements are outside of the scope of consideration of science. As such, science can make no statements -- inculding a denial -- regarding the supernatural. Yes, I am stating that science can only go "so far", and no further. If an event has a supernatural cause, then the scientific method can never uncover the cause. "A supernatural event" may be the correct answer when defining the cause, but the process used to derive that answer is not the scientific method, even if it is a completely correct process.
I do not hold to the belief that "what is unknown today will become known tomorrow". I must concede that there is always the possibility of some information being wholly unknowable, even with the most exhaustive investigative techniques.
Should science come to a clear demonstration that something has happened that defies all laws of nature, then -- unless the current understanding of the laws of nature prove to be incomplete or inaccurate (as has happened before, such as with gravity) -- science would be an inadequate tool for deriving an explanation for that event, and the scientific answer for the cause of that event would be "unknown", even if a non-scientific process had derived a completely correct answer for the cause. However, as there is no evidence that "life came from nothing", your question is purely academic. Dimensio 13:25, April 6 2007 (EDT)

The difference is accurately presented in this sketch : [12]

No, that is not accurate. That is an anti-creationist straw-man. Philip J. Rayment 08:20, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
How so strawman? Are you saying Biblical literalists could conclude anything other than YECism? RDre 09:32, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
For several reasons, but for one because this is a debate between supporters of evolution and creation, not between science and creationism. Both are faith positions that can use the methods of science to test aspects of their views. Philip J. Rayment 10:37, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
So, basically your rebuttal is the old "evolution is faith" chestnut? Check the article on Evolutionism, the site founder disagrees ;) RDre 11:03, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Chestnut? Evolution is based on faith, yes. Where does the Evolutionism article say otherwise, please? Philip J. Rayment 11:16, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Check out the quotes section ;). Based on faith is it? Here was I thinking it was a rational conclusion based on observable facts from a multitude of disciplines. Boy howdy, I expect your local biology department will be glad for you to forward your counter-thesis to set them straight :D . RDre 11:26, 6 April 2007 (EDT)