Difference between revisions of "Talk:Atheism/archive12"

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(New page: === Biblical statements regarding atheism === The first sentence in this section ascribes Genesis 1:1 to Moses. Is this correct? Npov2 19:52, 21 September 2008 (EDT) ::Th...)
 
(Question regarding Why atheists disbelieve)
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::::The risk is to the young and impressionable, not to those of us tempered in the struggle. [[User:Bugler|Bugler]] 17:14, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
 
::::The risk is to the young and impressionable, not to those of us tempered in the struggle. [[User:Bugler|Bugler]] 17:14, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::Then why have an article on the [[Problem of Evil]] at all? I mean, the 'pedia is either going to talk about it or not, right? -[[User:GTBacchus|GTBacchus]] 20:12, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::Then why have an article on the [[Problem of Evil]] at all? I mean, the 'pedia is either going to talk about it or not, right? -[[User:GTBacchus|GTBacchus]] 20:12, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
 
+
::::::Perhaps The Section Should Be Deleted Altogether. [[User:Cal05000|Cal05000]] 17:29, 3 December 2008 (EST)
 
:I brought it up simply because I was reading the article, and that section seemed incomplete. As to why the article should have such a section at all, I can imagine it being useful for various reasons to know the causes of atheism. If you recognize an argument in discourse that you've heard of before, you may be more prepared to respond to it in an informed manner. Why do doctors study the causes of disease? Surely not so they can make more people sick.
 
:I brought it up simply because I was reading the article, and that section seemed incomplete. As to why the article should have such a section at all, I can imagine it being useful for various reasons to know the causes of atheism. If you recognize an argument in discourse that you've heard of before, you may be more prepared to respond to it in an informed manner. Why do doctors study the causes of disease? Surely not so they can make more people sick.
 
:As for what good it does our youth, we can't necessarily shelter them from hearing someone argue for atheism on the grounds of not accepting theodicy. Addressing such an argument in this article does not make it more powerful; it underlines the irrational basis of such "reasoning". Surely that's useful, no? Surely it does not validate atheism to point out that its source is often a vague but painful feeling, rather than a logical argument? -[[User:GTBacchus|GTBacchus]] 15:30, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
 
:As for what good it does our youth, we can't necessarily shelter them from hearing someone argue for atheism on the grounds of not accepting theodicy. Addressing such an argument in this article does not make it more powerful; it underlines the irrational basis of such "reasoning". Surely that's useful, no? Surely it does not validate atheism to point out that its source is often a vague but painful feeling, rather than a logical argument? -[[User:GTBacchus|GTBacchus]] 15:30, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Revision as of 16:29, 3 December 2008

Biblical statements regarding atheism

The first sentence in this section ascribes Genesis 1:1 to Moses. Is this correct? Npov2 19:52, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

The belief amongst Judeo-Christian religions is that Moses is responsible for the pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 19:58, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

copy-edit

It appears this article may require copy-editing; for example, I noticed the following:

  • In the section on "atheism and Communism," in the paragraph that begins with "[t]he theory of evolution played a prominent role in regards to atheistic communism..." it ought to be clarified that the theory of evolution is not the same as Lamarckism.
  • "Encyclopedia" is misspelled in the list of arguments against atheism.
  • In the section on "atheism and immoral views," the quote from Dr. William Lane Craig appears at a different URL from the one cited in its supporting footnote.
  • The quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn contains mismatched quotation marks.
  • Generally, quotation marks inside double-quotes ought to be single, rather than double.

Finally, a better explanation is required for the inclusion of Diagoras and Lucretius amongst the atheists, if they were atheists. Thank you. Npov2 21:26, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

Please explain this comment as the research for this sentence was done by someone other than myself: "a better explanation is required for the inclusion of Diagoras and Lucretius amongst the atheists" conservative 05:37, 22 September 2008 (EDT)
re: "The quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn contains mismatched quotation marks." I am in a bit of a rush now. Please make the change here and I will make the change in the main article: http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_Mass_Murder conservative 05:59, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

A joke's a joke chaps...

The 'parody of atheism' image is rather unessecary (although completely true) and should be moved into one of the 'criticisms' sections to avoid drawing comments from certain liberal or atheist points of view. (and how can liberals call themselves Christian when they let egomaniacal atheists to go unchecked?)--McWooty 16:43, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

I changed the wording. The word parody was changed to satire. Secondly, I put the image there and I am not particularly concerned about avoiding criticism. If it is legitimate criticism I will amend the article and if it is illegitimate criticism I will not amend the article. conservative 22:08, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Rewriting

I have spent quite a few days working on a rewrite of this particular article for the sake of neutrality. Being an atheist, I believe myself to be part of a group that should be in charge of HALF of this article: The half that describes, supports, and better characterizes what atheists are. To have theists do this is like having a dog try to describe a cat. The other half is your job: List VALID criticisms and describe your position. I wish to state some basic conditions that I feel must be met before this article can be improved at all:

1. This article be unlocked

2. It remain NPOV (regardless of policy, this article is currently a sham)

3. It be free from logical fallacies

4. When concerning atheist viewpoints, you SOURCE ATHEIST WEBSITES not THEIST ones

5. Every major (or even minor) change must first begin on the discussion page, and must consist of at least one theist and one atheist, and FACTS.

6. Double, triple, and quadrouple check your facts. I have seen too many sections that are "right for the wrong reasons", or simply outright lies.

7. You stop citing studies without also sourcing to atheist opinions

8. You will work on correcting OTHER articles related to this page in similar fashion

9. Always google for opposite points of view (e.g: Atheists aren't moral vs. Atheist morality or "Atheists are moral")

If these conditions are met, I continue to work with Conservapedia. I hope I don't have to define "unbiased" and "NPOV" again, as they have already been define ad-nauseum for the admins. One thing must be determined: Are you people after the truth, or simply out to serve your own dogmas? I, for one, prefer the truth, which is why I advise a half-and-half share in editing.


I second this opinion, as a whole this website is mainly dismissed because of the obvious bias in this article. If you want more people to visit here, give them a reason to --Freethinker 17:00, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

My deleted post

Isn't this article essentially one long appeal to consequences (a logical fallacy)? In other words, positing the argument that atheism causes so many bad things, therefore it must not be true. This is a logical fallacy because, though something may have bad consequences, that doesn't necessarily mean it's incorrect. I am actually shocked by the open bias in this article from an encyclopedia which criticised Wikipedia for bias. You could at least remove the "satire of atheism" thing about nothing happening to nothing - I could create one which highlights religion in a way just as stupid ("An all-powerful man who's everywhere and invisible made man out of clay and woman out of a rib 6,000 years ago, then put light from distance galaxies on its way to us just to trick us into believing he doesn't exist", for example). Either that, or put a similar one on the pages for all the Abrahamic religions.

I returned this post here after it was deleted by Bugler. I am guessing it was because he found it insulting and therefore worthy of censorship. Yet the atheism garbage on the main page is perfectly acceptable, despite being no worse than the above. Ho hum. Bugler, please do not remove this, I am merely posting a dissenting (and perfectly valid) opinion on the article. I now appeal to your higher sense of reason over whichever action you next judge appropriate. Why propagate a negative stereotype of Conservative americans by instantly deleting the above? LibAsCanBe 16:16, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

Your basic position is incorrect. We do not argue that atheism causes so many bad things, therefore it must not be true; rather, that atheism is not true, and as a consequence the Godless, in an attempt to fill the void, do many bad things. Nor do we ban on ideological grounds; polite discussion, as long as it does not become, or take place with the intent of being, destructive is welcome. Bugler 16:24, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

"We do not argue that atheism causes so many bad things, therefore it must not be true; rather, that atheism is not true, and as a consequence the Godless, in an attempt to fill the void, do many bad things." No you don't. Of the 32 sections on the atheism page, a total of 1/6 of a section is devoted to arguing that atheism is not true (7.1), although there is a further argument against atheism in section 14. Arguments about the consequences of atheism comprise 3 and 5/6 sections (6, 8, 9 and 7.2 - 7.6), and section 26 implicitly makes the link between atheism and Maoism. The remainder of the page is devoted to what the bible and theists say about atheism (not good things, surprisingly), that atheism isn't a popular movement, a few debaters who are presumably substitutes for philosophers, reasons why atheists are only atheists because they're mentally ill to some extent, some miscellaneous topics and a load of links and references to (in most cases) theist and evangelical sites. You don't argue that atheism is not true and then what the consequences are, because you don't actually argue that atheism is not true.

Furthermore, for a page supposedly about atheism, there's very little actually about atheism. There is no history of atheism, nor are the arguments of atheists explained. Few atheists are mentioned unless they can be linked to mass murder or sado-masochism, or have changed their minds. There's literally an opening section on what atheism is before the diatribe begins. The same pattern is found on the theory of evolution page. And before I sign off, what happened to the whole "wikipedia is too biased while we're trustworthy" thingy?JohnyGoodman 13:07, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Why not stop carping and start editing? if you are so dissatisfied with the article as it stands, do something about it, rather than display a Liberal mindset by expecting someone else to do so. Bugler 13:45, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

How do you suggest we edit the article? It's locked so only conservative can edit it. That's why everyones complaining. sigh... JohnyGoodman 15:18, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Write your proposed edits on the talk page, so that the protecting sysop can consider them. Bugler 16:39, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Check archives 10 and 11 for proposed edits. Even the simplest proposed edit (such as raising the possibility that atheists come to their beliefs through rational enquiry) seem to require page long essays in an attempt to convince conservative, although he rejects them all the same for the flimsiest of reasons. What about Jeremyhfht's post above, which hasn't been replied to or considered? The problem is that conservative has locked the page and he alone dictates what goes on the page, and if he wants to he can reject anything for any reason. What should be the case is that the page is free for editing and parts are removed if they are not sourced, accurate or relevant.JohnyGoodman 17:29, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

The page is locked because, presumably, it has when unlocked been the target for malicious atheistic vandalism. You could ask Conservative via his talk page to unlock it for you. Bugler
The atheists who insist on editing the atheism article remind me of a certain Fats Domino song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrtPVXwzgXI conservative 21:20, 30 September 2008 (EDT)

Well, Bugler, it looks like Conservative has answered. Guess we poor atheists are going to have to go back to suggesting edits in the talk page and being ignored for no clear reason. Btw, you said earlier that our discussions had to be polite. Does politeness cover such language as "Why not stop carping and start editing" and "(don't) display a liberal mindset by expecting someone else to (edit article)"?JohnyGoodman 17:22, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

Johny -- save yourself some heartburn. The purpose of this article is not to describe atheism honestly, but to pile on as much rhetoric as possible, and get it (by any means necessary) to the top of the Google search. As a theist myself, I initially thought such an article would do conservatism and Christianity a great disservice -- but then I realized that the open-minded (on both sides) already know that the views expressed by the article are only held by a tiny minority, and the closed-minded (on both sides) aren't affected one way or the other anyway. I suggest editing articles that aren't sacred cows, as this one is, and will continue to be, for the foreseeable future anyway. Ungtss 11:24, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
Ungstss, you claim the purpose of the article is not to describe atheism honestly. Setting aside the distinct possibility that you are not a mind reader, I do find it curious that you fail to show where the article is untruthful. Secondly, you fail to demonstrate that the views expressed only represent a tiny minority. Given the survey data of American views of atheists given in the Conservapedia article [1], I think your claim is rather suspect. In addition, even if the article did express views merely held by a tiny minority, I don't see why this would violate the conservapedia commandment that material must be verifiable and true. If you could fully support your claims in the future about this article, it would be much appreciated. By the way, I certainly would not mind citing survey data regarding other regions of the world views on atheism. If you look at the homosexuality article I did cite material regarding non-American views of homosexuality. [2] I do try to keep in mind that Conservapedia has a world wide audience. Next, there are certain irrational liberal gentlemen at a wiki who state that the Christian apologist JP Holding no longer cites Conservapedia's atheism article on his website, but their claim is merely the result of sloppy research. I suggest these liberal gentlemen do a search on A for atheism at this location of Mr. Holding's website. Lastly, although I will not disclose the details, there certainly is a distinct possibility that a website which is run by a coalition of ministries of the largest Christian evangelism organization in the world is going to cite conservapedia's atheism and evolution articles as resources to examine. I believe this to be true, as I was told by a representative of this website that this citation would likely occur. conservative 14:14, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
I went round and round with you on this a year ago, Ken, and I'm not going to waste any more time with it or you. The article is absolutely horrible, because it creates a caricature of atheism, instead of reflecting it as the true, nuanced spectrum of beliefs that it actually is. Fortunately, the article doesn't do that much harm, for the reasons I stated above -- i.e. nobody who counts takes it seriously. But it does sadden me to watch Conservapedia blow such an opportunity to actually accurately describe the issues -- to show our true position, with all its merits -- to fairly and accurately articulate other points of view, and then explain why we believe those positions are wrong and even harmful. This forum is such a great opportunity to accurately express what we are, and instead the most significant articles (like this one) are case studies in bigotry and ignorance. But so it goes. Ungtss 13:16, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
Ungstss, I find it telling that you fail to signicantly elaborate on your "nuances post" here in terms of its supposed great relevance. However, with that being said, no doubt there are differences in opinion among atheistic schools of thought as crooked sticks can deviate in various ways from straight sticks. After all is said and done though the "atheistic sticks" are all still crooked. Perhaps a very brief section on atheistic schools of thought with significant completed articles they attach to would might not be a bad thing. I had thought of doing so earlier but was waiting for the various atheism sub articles to be further developed (although there are two articles called weak and strong atheism). I am not sure if Conservapedia has significant articles and not stub articles on rationalism, positivism, objectivism, etc. etc. A conservapedian with the username Deborah did create a history of atheism article which the main atheism article links to though. conservative 14:43, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
Sorry friend, I won't play unless there's a fundamental change in philosophy on this page. The purpose needs to be to describe accurately first, and debunk second, rather than to mischaracterize first, and take potshots at strawmen second. This article is so deadset on criticizing everything about atheism that it fails to accurately describe the subject matter. Articles like these (and the ignorance they reflect) are the root cause of a lot of atheism -- because atheists do not meet theists who are capable of understanding -- really understanding -- Reality. But Ken, we have the Truth on our side. We don't have to write bigoted articles. We can afford to give them grace and patience and explain their POV accurately and in detail. Because when the chips are down, we're right, and the facts show it, if (and only if) they're fairly and accurately presented. Ungtss 13:35, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

[Religion] is the opium of the people

The hyperlinked source (17) on the aforementioned quote from Karl Marx is broken and I couldn't check to see if the quote was correct, so I did a little bit of research. In Selected Writings of Karl Marx (ISBN: 0-87220-218-6), the quote is translated as this:

Religious suffering is the expression of real suffering and at the same time the protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

It seems as if without the square brackets the connotation of the statement becomes drastically different, and implies neutrality rather than outward hostility. --JBEdgeworth 10:14, 8 October 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for bringing that to our attention, JB -- that's valuable insight. The purpose of this article, however, is to take things out of context, to caricature atheism as much as possible. Providing the quote in its full, nuanced context would not aid toward that end. Ungtss 11:53, 8 October 2008 (EDT)

The context to that Marx quote is just part of the liberal atheistic conspiracy. You can't prove that he actually wrote that, unless you use sources written by lefties or published by lefties, which would obviously be biased. I suggest you read some books by creationist Christian fundamentalists on Marx instead of academic scholars (see professor values) if you want to know the truth.

Yes, actually using a quote by Marx would be inappropriate.--British_cons (talk) 13:53, 12 October 2008 (EDT)

Stalin pic at head of the atheism article

I think the Joseph Stalin pic at the head of the article is a nice compliment to the Hitler pic at the head of the evolution article. If anyone has a suggestion on a better pic of Stalin which could be used this would certainly be appreciated. conservative 14:34, 12 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, they are both fantastic, though I think the Hitler pic is better.--British_cons (talk) 14:42, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
British cons, I believe you have fine taste in pictures although your glowing endorsement may be providing undue influence in my estimation of your taste in pictures.  :) If you could find a better pic of Stalin I would be most appreciative. In the meantime, I will replace the current picture of Stalin in the evolution article with the newly found Stalin picture which I featured in the atheism article. conservative 14:48, 12 October 2008 (EDT)

It's a crying shame there weren't any homosexual dictators, otherwise we could add one at the top of the article on homosexuality. Can we pass Alexander the Great off as a bloodthirsty gay?

We could always go with a couple of the early American presidents and maybe even some prominent scientists like A. Einstein. Foreversage 18:34, 13 October 2008 (EDT)
The only president who there's any real evidence for homosexuality is James Buchanan, and he wasn't really a bloodthirsty dictator or anything, just incompetent. --JeremyDB 18:51, 13 October 2008 (EDT)

Both the Joseph Stalin pic at the head of the article and the Hitler pic at the head of the evolution article do not fairly represent atheists or evolutionists fairly. Putting Stalin's picture there is like putting Osama bin Laden's picture at the head of a theism article!--JArneal 18:48, 13 October 2008 (EDT)

Jarneal, do you suggest we put at the top of the article a pic and caption reflecting how much less per capita American atheists give to charity even if church giving is not counted? See: Atheism and Uncharitableness conservative 19:57, 13 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm not really part of this discussion, but I would put that picture with the section on atheism and uncharitableness. (Personally, I think that shouldn't be in this article at all; this article should be about atheism as a philosophical viewpoint. The "atheism and uncharitableness" bit I would put in an article on atheists, atheism in America, or American atheists.) -CSGuy 20:00, 13 October 2008 (EDT)
CSGuy, I see no reason not to talk about the causes and effects of atheism. I do plan on covering more about the causes of atheism using some excellent sources. conservative 20:10, 13 October 2008 (EDT)

The question that you presented is flawed, conservative. It assumes that both options are better than having no picture or caption at all. In other words, I'm arguing to have no picture whatsoever in place of the Stalin pic.--JArneal 18:12, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Bias

One of the references, 64 or something, leads me to a website which says that atheists are not usually optimistic. The reference is then used to claim that atheism causes mental illness. But this quote was in that same article:

Dr Stephen Joseph added: "However, it is important to note that religious beliefs are only one path to finding a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. Those who put less emphasis on striving for financial or material success in their lives and instead focus more on fostering their sense of community, for example by donating money to charity, helping others, or those who strive to have good personal relationships, tend to be happier whether or not they are religious. What seems to be important is living your life in a way that emphasises the importance of being involved in your community and caring for people, and Christmas is a reminder to us all of this message."

In other words, it is possible to live life like a Christian while not believing in god, by giving to charity, etc. Not that I think this way, but that is what the website implies. I disagree with the website. Here is the link: http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2003/A/20037338.html --BernardW 08:17, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

This whole section is fundamentally flawed, because it is an appeal to consequences -- a logical fallacy in this context. An atheist reads this section and thinks, "So what? Christians are deluding themselves into false happiness through fictions that make them feel good. Truth may hurt, but at least it's truth." An effective article on atheism shouldn't even go here, because the emotional condition of believers in an idea is irrelevant to its truth. The article should instead focus on the merits of the issue -- that is, whether or not atheism is a meritorious position. Ungtss 14:44, 15 October 2008 (EDT)
The appeal to consequences fallacy would have been committed if the atheism article stated that atheism is false because it has bad consequences. The article never does that. Another failed fishing expedition by Ungtss. I think you need to remember that the atheism article is an encyclopedia article and is quite free to talk about the consequences of atheism. conservative 19:19, 15 October 2008 (EDT)
if it were an encyclopedia article, it would talk about all the consequences, both good and bad. Since it's merely a tirade, it only identifies the bad ones (and doesn't evidence the bad ones very well). The result is an implicit appeal to consequences -- "Look at what a bad thing atheism is!!!" Ungtss 23:03, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Please delete this article or allow rebuttals.

As an atheist and a conservative I can't even begin to articulate my rage at this sham of an article. It is filled with mistakes, logical fallacies and ad hoc conclusions that would make a 3rd grader giggle! For "God's" sake - you almost exclusively use long debunked "God of the Gaps" arguments! To begin with the article states that atheism is a "worldview"... that is simply IDIOTIC! This is like saying "Not-a-taoist" is a world view - now let's look at all the non-taoists out there like Stalin, Hitler, Cardinal Toquemada, Pol Pot, Moses and look at their atrocities. Most people here are "Non-Taoists" - what worldview is that? Atheism, a word that shouldn't even exist, only describes one of the things that a person doesn't believe in. We could include words like A-unicorn, A-Thor, A-ouijaboards, A-astrology, A-numerology... oh please, WHAT worldview does an A-numerologist have?

Understanding that Atheism or "Not-a-Theist" is the default position, the whole article is phrased in a bizarre, backwards format. Imagine... you don't believe in Scientology - you are an A-Scientologist (what's the worldview of A-Scientology?). Does the Scientologist attack your A-Scientology, maybe throw you in with other A-Scientologists like Hitler and Polpot? Do you write an article with the title: "Why A-Scientologists are wrong." That's BACKWARDS! You don't disprove a disbelief, you prove a belief! If you come to me claiming that Batman is real and I blow my nose at you - do you call me an A-Batmanist, lump me in with Stalin and Mao who ALSO didn't believe in Batman and then go on to write long fallacy riddled articles on the failure of A-Batmanism OR.....logically do you try to PROVE to me that the idea, (Batman or Scientology) is authentic?

Please allow conservative atheists equal access to the article or a rebuttal article or just delete this pathetic mistake of an article.

This article makes us conservatives look like biased idiots who are frightened by opposing points of view. If these arguments really aren't frail jokes that could be taken apart by a 5th grader... put 'em up for review with rebuttals.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Templarart (talk)

Not even theists who understand what atheism is are permitted to edit this article. It is, in essence, the brainchild of one user. Ungtss 14:07, 16 October 2008 (EDT)
Atheism is the belief that there is no God, and many people identify themselves as atheists, unlike the various other a-things that you mad up. And from this belief in no God flows other beliefs, such as naturalism or materialism, the view that nature or matter is all there is. And from that flows believe in evolution, the Big Bang, and so on. However, I have come to accept that atheism is not a worldview; rather, it's a category of worldviews. Just like theism is a category which encompasses the worldviews of Christianity, Judaism, etc., atheism is a category that covers the worldviews of secular humanism, Marxism, and so on.
There is no reason that I know of to consider atheism the "default position"; why is a belief in no God any more the default than belief in God?? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Philip J. Rayment (talk)
Obviously I can't speak for what Templarart meant by the comment, but I think that atheism can be regarded as the default position because it is the position of not having a religion, which differentiates it from the position of having a (specific) religion. Look up most definitions of "default" & you'll see that they involve defining something by it not having an attribute that others have. Hence the default religion (if such a term can be used) is no religion at all. Technically, we could say that agnosticism is the default belief regarding God, since it involves no strong conviction either in His existence or non-existence, whereas (strong) atheism involves a feeling of certainty that God does not exist. But that is wading into the semantics a bit too far. Sideways 11:14, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
This is an interesting issue -- seems to revolve around what we mean by "default." Sideways seems to view "default" as being simpler, more parsimonious belief -- in essence, I disbelieve until you convince me to believe. Others might define "default" as something closer to "majority opinion" and placing the burden on the minority ... or "intuitive explanation" and put the burden on those who seek to disprove what seems "obvious" to them ... or something else perhaps ... things to think about. Ungtss 12:26, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
I will remind the atheists that the person who is largely known in philosophy circles with heavily promoting the idea atheism is the default position in the 1900's, Anthony Flew, recently became a theist. Of course, theism is where the evidence clearly leads and reasonable people acknowledge this matter. conservative 12:32, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
Showing that the one who argued for the default position converted to theism does not disprove the default position theory. If anything, it is a rather logical path, and proves the superiority of theism. Maybe some space in article that at least describes the default position? --ToJones 12:54, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
About a year ago, there was a section differentiating strong atheism and weak atheism based on the definition of "default." However, that section was deleted, never to return. Ungtss 13:01, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
Too logical, I suppose.Rspeed

Question regarding Why atheists disbelieve

Hello. In the section of the article "Atheism and Why do Atheists State They Disbelieve," I think there's a significant reason missing. I have spoken with several atheists who say they do not believe because they find the existence of a Benevolent God to be morally irreconcilable with their experiences and/or observation of suffering. Essentially, they withdraw belief as a reaction to the Problem of Evil.

It is true that this is a different kind of answer to the question "why?"; it cites emotional causes rather than logical arguments. Nevertheless, I believe the cause to be significant, at least for some sub-set of atheists. Many beliefs stem from emotions rather than from reasoning, I suspect. -GTBacchus 22:47, 19 October 2008 (EDT)

That's an excellent point. Unfortunately, any reason for atheism which smacks even vaguely of genuine conviction, feeling, or rational analysis is anathema in this article. Ungtss 13:28, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm not sure we need to know why atheists disbelieve. What good does it do our youth, at impressionable ages, to read logic-bending justifications of their death-bringing inner emptiness? One might as well have a section 'How to score a wrap' in the article on cocaine. Bugler 13:36, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Wouldn't it be easier to turn someone away from atheism if you knew why they were an atheist in the first place? It sounds like you are afraid that a discussion of atheist logic will be so powerful and compelling as to convert Christians into atheists. HelpJazz 14:29, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
The risk is to the young and impressionable, not to those of us tempered in the struggle. Bugler 17:14, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Then why have an article on the Problem of Evil at all? I mean, the 'pedia is either going to talk about it or not, right? -GTBacchus 20:12, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps The Section Should Be Deleted Altogether. Cal05000 17:29, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I brought it up simply because I was reading the article, and that section seemed incomplete. As to why the article should have such a section at all, I can imagine it being useful for various reasons to know the causes of atheism. If you recognize an argument in discourse that you've heard of before, you may be more prepared to respond to it in an informed manner. Why do doctors study the causes of disease? Surely not so they can make more people sick.
As for what good it does our youth, we can't necessarily shelter them from hearing someone argue for atheism on the grounds of not accepting theodicy. Addressing such an argument in this article does not make it more powerful; it underlines the irrational basis of such "reasoning". Surely that's useful, no? Surely it does not validate atheism to point out that its source is often a vague but painful feeling, rather than a logical argument? -GTBacchus 15:30, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
True. But the purpose of this article is to malign and misrepresent, not to describe, explain, or effectively challenge. Ungtss 15:27, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Ungtss, are you accusing a senior CPfigure of malignancy and misrepresentation? Bugler 17:15, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
(after edit conflict) Ungtss, that may be someone's purpose for this article, but it's not my purpose for commenting here. -GTBacchus 15:30, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Creating more Atheists?

This article states that one of the reasons someone may become an atheist is because of negative experiences with theists. This article in itself is pretty negative. Don't you think it might be better for your cause to write an informative article on atheists rather than a biased hate speech? Are their other articles here that equate mass murder with other beliefs (i.e. Christianity and Mass Murder)? Also, I was surprised at the number of times that evolution was brought into this article since the two concepts are not related. One is a personal set (in this case lack) of beliefs, and the other is a scientific theory. Tying the two concepts together is confusing and accomplishes little. Saying atheism is necessary for the understanding of evolution is incorrect, and I would think that you wouldn't want people who have seen the overwhelming evidence for evolution to have to think that they would have to choose between their faith and their understanding of a scientific theory. It's like saying that knowing that erosion exists disproves God. Lastly, the section about atheists targeting youth on the internet is completely comprised of a quote from Chuck Norris. Seriously this is a joke. --Rainedaye 14:30, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

I only hope the readers have had enough experience with theists to know that the views expressed in this article are espoused by only a few, and I hope they notice that this article is blocked to editing by theists and atheists alike. Ungtss 23:52, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
Atheism is the belief in no God, and microbe-to-man evolution barely qualifies as a scientific theory, given that it is unobserved. Evolution is closely tied to atheism; Dawkins said that it makes one an "intellectually-fulfilled" atheist, and its been well-documented that evolution makes atheists of people (no, not in every case, but in many). It's not like saying that knowing erosion disproves God, because erosion is something that we observe; evolution is an explanation of how things came to be, not an observation. And no, the evidence is not "overwhelming".
I agree, if this is what you are saying, that you don't need to be an atheist to understand evolution, so I will change that if that's really what it says, but you'll have to tell me where it is, as the article does not have the word "necessary" and none of the uses of "understanding" seems to be what you are referring to.
Philip J. Rayment 04:16, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Evolution is a scientific theory and has been observed, but I doubt we will get anywhere arguing that here seeing as how that pertains more to the evolution page. The problem is this page is supposed to be about atheists. However, in the subsection "Atheists and the Question of Origins" the first sentence states creationist views against evolution...no atheism there. The second sentence states that the more prominent vocal evolutionists were/are atheist. Only one of the sources for this statement name any atheist evolutionists, and only 11 names at that. While atheists like Dawkins may be popular in the public media (probably because of their controversial views), the large portion of people who publish scientific papers about evolution are not atheists since 80% of all American evolutionists are theistic. Just to kinda put in it perspective I searched Wikipedia and it has a list of 148 important evolutionary biologists, but only 95 names appear on a list of prominent atheists in all of the sciences. Then the last two sentences of this paragraph discuss problems with evolution...without mentioning atheism. Which I again believe is the whole premise of the Evolution article so it just seems out of place here.
Also, the "Atheism and Deception" section is completely devoted to evolution rather than atheists. This site seems to tie Darwin and evolution together even so far as to try and to somehow disprove evolution by delving into the personal life of Darwin. Here his picture is shown twice...on the page about atheism...when Darwin was not an atheist.
"What my own views may be is a question of no consequence to any one but myself. But, as you ask, I may state that my judgment often fluctuates. … In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind." -Charles Darwin 1879
So can't you at least fill this section with actual atheists. I'm sure if you look enough you could find some lying atheist on the internet to make your poster boy for all the evils of atheism, of course someone might be harder to find than a Christian liar on account of there being less than them due to the population differences, but with this articles current concepts of "deception" being mostly conjecture by CMI I'm sure it can be done. As much as I would hate it I'm sure that worse comes to worse you could just make something up. I would think it awfully ironic to deceive people in an article about deception, but if your irony meters aren't set off every time you get medical treatment based on evolutionary research then nothing will.
Cheers, --Rainedaye 15:54, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Simply restating the claim that evolution is a scientific theory does not make it so. And if microbe-to-man evolution has been observed, perhaps you'd like to cite an example of someone observing one kind of creature turning into another kind?
As far as the "Atheists and the Question of Origins" section is concerned, I agree that's not well-written, and if and when I get a chance, I'll have a go at rewriting it.
The "Atheism and Deception" section could possibly do with some improvement, but it is (a) making a case that Darwin was and atheist, and (b) using examples from evolution of atheists being deceitful. Was Darwin correct in your quote of him claiming to not be an atheist, or was he being deceitful? He was certainly no Christian (as atheists often claim), but exactly what he would be classified as I'd have to study further.
Much medical treatment was developed by creationists, and it owes little if anything to evolutionary research.
Philip J. Rayment 23:26, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
In fact, the field of medicine has been misled by falsehoods of evolution, as in the overzealous practice of tonsillectomies. Evolutionists insisted that tonsils were useless vestigial organs, which was a lie that misled doctors to remove them from millions of patients, often under general anesthesia that once had a fatality rate of several per hundred.--Aschlafly 23:40, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Tonsils were removed because it was thought that they were harboring bacteria that lead to recurring infections, because they did not understand how the lymphatic system worked it seemed like a good idea. They were not removed out of spite for being vestigial . Regarding Evolution as a theory it is an explanatory model that is testable and does not accommodate every possible outcome, it has predictive power and there is evidence in support of it, it is most certainly a scientific theory, that alone does not make it correct but it is a scientific theory none the less. --Brendanw
Tonsils were removed because of problems or potential problems, that is true, but they used to be removed far more readily than in more recent times because they were thought to be an evolutionary leftover with no current use. So the attitude was "if in doubt, take it out", whereas these days they know that it does have a use, and only take it out if they really consider it necessary. As for evolution being testable, see falsifiability of evolution. Some aspects of the idea are testable, but some are not. There is evidence in support of it, and evidence that is against it. (And I would say that there's much more of the latter.) Philip J. Rayment 22:12, 25 October 2008 (EDT)
Simply restating the that that evolution is not a scientific theory also does not make it so. And, if you limited science to simply physical means of observation then we would have very little to work on indeed, and what do you mean by "kind" exactly?
And yes you could claim that Darwin was being deceitful when saying when he wasn't an atheist, but at what point are you able to tell what someone really believes? The pope could be lying about his beliefs simply to deceive others into giving him a position of power, President Bush could have lied about his to gain votes, Richard Dawkins could be a devout Hindu and is just using atheism as a way to sell books. Darwin died too long ago for anyone to be able to really tell what he thought, indeed he lived a long life and going from clergy to natural history to a father of a family his beliefs probably changed many times. He could have been a Christian, an Atheist or anything between by the time he died.
Also, it doesn't matter if some founders of medicine were creationists, no more than the color of their hair matters. The fact that they were creationists did little to develop their research either way. Evolutionary research has greatly helped the medical field, but I have yet to hear of any way that creationism can produce testable hypothesis or have practical applications. And I don't quite understand your point Aschlafly. Are you denying the existence of vestigial organs? Evolution gives an explanation for why vestigial organs exist, but it doesn't say this or that organ is vestigial. Brendanw is right in that they were thought to not have a function and so they were removed, and that was because they hadn't observed that function. There was no one stating that evolution predicts tonsils have no function, much less that because they don't have a function they should be gotten rid of. --Rainedaye 21:05, 25 October 2008 (EDT)
"Simply restating the that that evolution is not a scientific theory also does not make it so.": That's a straw-man argument, because I didn't do that. The sequence was this:
* You stated that it was a scientific theory.
* I stated that it was not.
* You restated that it was. That advanced the argument nowhere.
I did not restate that it wasn't. Rather, I pointed out the fallacy of simply restating it.
"And, if you limited science to simply physical means of observation then we would have very little to work on indeed": Oh? So what non-physical means of observation do you propose? ESP? The third eye?
"...what do you mean by "kind" exactly?": I wasn't trying to be exact. I was talking about reptiles (or dinosaurs) becoming birds, or amphibians becoming reptiles, or a cow becoming a whale, or something. Nobody disputes that a wolf can become a dog, or that the relative populations of black and white peppered moths can change. The dispute is over the whole evolutionary "family tree", and it is these sorts of more significant changes that have not been observed. If you want to get exact, its the difference between sorting out existing genetic information (as happens with wolves becoming dogs) as opposed to the generation of new genetic information (for hair, skin, feathers, etc.) that wasn't there before.
"And yes you could claim that Darwin was being deceitful when saying when he wasn't an atheist, but at what point are you able to tell what someone really believes?": By looking more closely at all their comments, what their motivations might have been, and whether they were consistent with their actions. For example, being hypothetical, if Darwin wrote in one place that he wasn't an atheist, but in another that he believed that God didn't exist, then you'd have to figure that he was being deceitful with one of those comments (except, of course, if they were written at different times and he had changed in mind in between.
"Richard Dawkins could be a devout Hindu and is just using atheism as a way to sell books.": Talking of Dawkins, he's favourably quoted the opinions of Christian leaders supporting evolution, but in other places has criticised the idea of such people selectively choosing which parts of the Bible to believe.[3]
"Also, it doesn't matter if some founders of medicine were creationists, no more than the color of their hair matters.": It matters because you said that medicine was based on evolution, yet these people made their medical discoveries without believing in evolution.
"The fact that they were creationists did little to develop their research either way.": You are changing the subject by turning it around 180 degrees. I was refuting your claim that the discoveries relied on evolution; I wasn't claiming that that they relied on their creationary beliefs. But, actually, many of these scientists did base their research on their creationary beliefs.
"Evolutionary research has greatly helped the medical field...": Repeating it doesn't make it so. You've offered no evidence.
"I have yet to hear of any way that creationism can produce testable hypothesis or have practical applications.": Then I suggest that you study creationism a bit more than just from anti-creationist sources.
"Are you denying the existence of vestigial organs?": Every single vestigial organ (useless evolutionary leftover) in humans has now been found to not be useless.
"There was no one stating that evolution predicts tonsils have no function, much less that because they don't have a function they should be gotten rid of.: You're basically right on the first point, but not so much on the second. Evolution predicts that useless leftovers would be at least reasonably common, whereas creationism would predict that every organ had a designed purpose. So when an organ was found with no discernible purpose, it appeared to support the evolutionary prediction, because that is what evolutionists expected. So tonsils were removed more often than necessary because they were considered to be useless leftover organs. But they were wrong, and the organ turned out to have a purpose, as creationism would predict. So evolutionary belief actually resulted in organs being removed when in some cases they would have been better off left there. And by the way, Andy linked to the Vestigial structures article (as I have already in this post); did you read that? Because it had something to say specifically on this issue of removal of tonsils because of the evolutionary belief.
Philip J. Rayment 22:48, 25 October 2008 (EDT)
I was talking about the physical limitations of the human eye. Our eyes are imperfect.
And while you may not have been trying to be exact, you asked if I would like to cite an example and to do so I would need to know what definition of 'kind' you were talking about. I'm still a bit unclear on where you would like to draw the line between what constitutes a kind separate for another. Not that I blame you, species are pretty transitory so any classification is almost arbitrarily done just for convenience. However, I think I'm going have problems finding an example you accept since you outright deny the lack of new genetic material. Also I named Richard Dawkins as an example of a person who says he is not Christian. I don't see how his comments on evolutionary theists pertain there.
Evolution is the foundation of modern biology. A few examples:
And just because medical discoveries were made without evolution does not mean that it doesn't help discoveries today. Not all the fundementals of physics were discovered after gravity but that doesn't put it in doubt.
And I cannot find practical applications of creationism. While a simple google search turned up more than I could even look through for evolution and medicine. How did scientists base their research on creationary beliefs?
Why should humans matter when it comes to vestigial organs? They are not terribly common since it would greatly benefit the organism to get rid (and therefore not waste resources) on an organ that was no longer used. Some retain lesser functions or develop new functions. Are you saying that the tailbone, the appendix, the plica semilunaris, and ear muscles (that can no longer move the ear) are not vestigial organs? Does all junk DNA have a purpose? --Rainedaye 23:44, 25 October 2008 (EDT)
We weren't talking about the eye. What are you referring to?
Evolution requires new genetic information. That you can't find an example of that shows that the evidence for evolution is lacking.
I agree that my comment about Richard Dawkins didn't directly address your reference to him. It was simply an example of evolutionists/atheists/whatever being somewhat two-faced.
"Evolution is the foundation of modern biology.": We were talking about medicine. You've now introduced a totally-new claim.
"[An overview]": This is not talking about microbes-to-man evolution, but variations in or losses of information. See here for more.
"[A specific example]": This article makes the claim that you are making, but provides no supporting evidence of that claim.
"[A publication devoted to applying Evolution & Medicine]": The existence of a journal purporting to be studying both doesn't prove that evolution is the foundation of biology.
"...just because medical discoveries were made without evolution does not mean that it doesn't help discoveries today.": No, but it doesn't mean that it does either.
"And I cannot find practical applications of creationism.": Not all that surprising given that creationism gets almost zero funding. Most research is of what is, not what caused it to be. Therefore there's little in the way of practical applications of creationism or evolutionism. But then I guess you could consider research into supposedly-vestigial organs to be a practical application of creationism, couldn't you?
"How did scientists base their research on creationary beliefs?": See Natural science#beginnings, for the basics. And one trivial extra example: an original supercontinent being broken up into today's continents was proposed by Antonia Snider in about 1859, partly on the basis of the Genesis account reading as though God originally created a single land mass.
"Why should humans matter when it comes to vestigial organs?": Why not?
"They are not terribly common since it would greatly benefit the organism to get rid (and therefore not waste resources) on an organ that was no longer used.": It depends on what you mean by "terribly common". As the Vestigial structures article says, there use to be 108 claimed vestigial organ just in humans, and that list is now down to zero. Now you try and marginalise that by claiming that they wouldn't be very common anyway!
"Are you saying that the tailbone, the appendix, the plica semilunaris, and ear muscles (that can no longer move the ear) are not vestigial organs?": Yes. The coccyx is the anchoring point for muscles, and there's no reason to think that it's a leftover tailbone. The appendix is covered in the vestigial structures article (didn't you bother reading that???) The plica semilunaris's "purpose is to enable unrestricted mobility for the eyeball when abducted (turned outwards)"[4]. I know people who can move their ears, so that one's wrong.
"Does all junk DNA have a purpose?": It appears that the so-called junk DNA does have a purpose. But evolutionary thinking held up research into this for some years.
Philip J. Rayment 07:47, 26 October 2008 (EDT)
Medicine relies on Biology. Pre-med students usually get their undergrad in Biology before going to med school. You cannot talk about medicine without biology which is based on the theory of evolution, the same as you can't discuss the orbiting of planets without talking about physics which is based on the theory of gravity.
And no the existence of a journal does not prove anything. It was the numerous articles in it that focus on evolutionary applications in medicine I was hoping you would look at.
Ok, first you claim that I'm not looking hard enough for practical applications of creationism, then you claim it's because they are underfunded, then you state that research doesn't focus on theories, and finally you ended with saying that creationism and evolution don't really have practical applications to begin with? Which is it? A lack of funding wouldn't mean a lack of proposals or a lack of hypothesis, and if it was that important I'm sure no church would deny supplying funding for a practical application that could save lives, general research does focus on theories because without knowing the cause how can we find a solution, and practical applications from the understanding of evolution help practical research. We use fruit flies and mice as model organisms because due to common descent what we find out about their biology can help us with ours.
So was the research into human vestigial organs spearheaded by creationists? Or was it done by scientists while creationists stood by and stated that they didn't prove evolution because they were just examples of "de-evolution" due to the fall. Are creationists now looking into why chickens can have teeth and embryos have gills? And I stated before that vestigial structures can have uses. An organ doesn't have to be completely worthless to be one, ones that retain some function or develop new functions are more likely to be kept in a population. Just because you know someone who can wiggle their ears a bit does not mean that it isn't a vestigial structure. Does it have a biological function, can they use it to point their ears towards sounds? What about people that grow tails? It's hard to say a bone isn't a tailbone when it can become part of a tail.
And as for the super-continent, does this mean you are not a YEC?
"And yes some junk DNA has a purpose. I certainly wasn't denying that. I stated that not all of it does. Regulatory functions require some specialized parts of "junk" DNA. However, a lot of our genome is still composed of pseudogenes and retrotransposons from retroviruses. About 95% of our DNA is considered junk DNA, but it is estimated that 5% is the minimum amount that humans would need to act for regulatory purposes. That number may go up as we learn more about DNA, but it is widely accepted that some sequences (like those from HERVs) do not have functions. You should probably take a look at the pufferfish Takifugu that has removed most of it's junk DNA and introns from it's genome. Also, I don't really see how evolutionary thinking "held up" this research. --Rainedaye 14:08, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

I'll bite if noone else will.

Medicine relies on Biology. Pre-med students usually get their undergrad in Biology before going to med school. You cannot talk about medicine without biology which is based on the theory of evolution, the same as you can't discuss the orbiting of planets without talking about physics which is based on the theory of gravity.
Your analogy illustrates your flawed thinking. Biology is not based on the theory of evolution/common descent, and neither is physics based on the theory of gravity. The theory of evolution is merely part of biology, and the theory of gravity is merely a part of physics. You don't need to believe in common descent to know how an eye functions. You don't need to believe in common descent to perform a surgery. You don't need to understand gravity to understand inertia or mass-energy equivalence. Biology is not a subset of evolution. The theory of evolution is a subset of biology, and one that is irrelevant to the vast majority of things biologists do. Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
We use fruit flies and mice as model organisms because due to common descent what we find out about their biology can help us with ours.
What can we learn about our own biology from fruit flies due to common descent that we couldn't learn from them due to a common designer? Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
So was the research into human vestigial organs spearheaded by creationists? Or was it done by scientists while creationists stood by and stated that they didn't prove evolution because they were just examples of "de-evolution" due to the fall.
What research are you talking about? All that incredibly valuable research that "proved" they were vestigial? How many lives has that saved? Useless speculation is all it is. Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
Are creationists now looking into why chickens can have teeth and embryos have gills? And I stated before that vestigial structures can have uses. An organ doesn't have to be completely worthless to be one, ones that retain some function or develop new functions are more likely to be kept in a population. Just because you know someone who can wiggle their ears a bit does not mean that it isn't a vestigial structure. Does it have a biological function, can they use it to point their ears towards sounds? What about people that grow tails? It's hard to say a bone isn't a tailbone when it can become part of a tail.
All this is irrelevant to common descent, so I don't understand why you're talking about it. Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
And yes some junk DNA has a purpose. I certainly wasn't denying that. I stated that not all of it does.
It's certainly not a scientific statement to claim that not all of it is useful. How can you prove a negative like that? Just 'cause we don't know something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But of course if you're out looking for junk DNA because you want to believe our DNA is the product of random processes, you'll be more likely to jump to that conclusion. Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
That number may go up as we learn more about DNA, but it is widely accepted that some sequences (like those from HERVs) do not have functions.
Better do some research on that one. A lot of ERVs are indispensable. Sheep can't reproduce without some of theirs. Some of us think ERVs are how the Creation was accomplished. Ungtss 10:43, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
Gravity is important to physics, and there are certain things that cannot be explained without using it such as the orbiting of planets. I never claimed that you needed to know about gravity to do everything, although I'm sure it helps. And no, you don't need to know about evolution to do surgery, but medicine is a lot more than just physical manipulation. A PubMed search for "evolution" produces 229804 results, the majority of which are papers that describe the evolution of genes or groups of genes. Intelligent design, and creationism garnered only 751, and 98 papers respectively. A lot of which were articles talking about the debate rather than any research papers. I usually don't like citing sources that are not neutral but Talk Origins has a nice list that sums up evolution's practical potential here, and it cites their sources from peer-reviewed papers that are neutral.
And if common design means common designer then why do we use mice as opposed to cats? Chicken's with teeth and children with tails are all examples of pseudogenes and are VERY relevant to common descent. We have the genes to grow a tail, one of our ancestor's lost that ability, the gene is still there it has just been rendered nonfunctional. Chicken's are descended from ancestors with teeth, they have the genes to make teeth, you could even probably build a phylogenetic tree using this gene to see how chickens descended from other birds and eventually reptiles. A common design, common designer argument doesn't quite cut it here. The most compelling evidence for common descent is genetically based. This was constructed from the comparisons of the complete genomes of these organisms (which is why we see so many of our model organism friends such as Arabidopsis, Drosophila, Escherichia, Saccharomyces" and Mus who were considered important enough to have their genomes completely sequenced).
You cite one indispensable ERV. I'm sure there are more out there with such functions, but most have been completely inactivated due to mutations. These areas tend to accumulate more mutations than coding regions of DNA because they are not selected for, which is a good indicator that they are not of use to the host organism. No, it doesn't prove it, but then again proofs are for math and if you are going to spend your whole life wanting someone to prove to you that eating strawberries isn't going to cause you to die, from the toxin that we may not know about (it doesn't mean it isn't there!), then you need to empty your medicine cabinet and make yourself a tin-foil hat. Some of the junk DNA that was found to have a function was found because its sequences were being conserved. Natural selection would prevent mutations from accumulating over generations only if those mutations did not harm the fitness of the organism, which implies that DNA must therefore be important to the organism even if it is non-coding. Of course this is another application of common descent in the field of biology, and also when it is applied to genetic diseases involving these regions, to medicine.
The existence of the ERV function was explained using evolutionary theory: “We currently think that enJSRVs arose from ancient infections of small ruminants during their evolution. Previously, these same ruminants relied on a native gene that had evolved to orchestrate the early stages of pregnancy. But when the virus embedded itself following infection, it produced a protein which did the job even better, and became part of the ruminant’s own, heritable DNA. Ruminants with the virus gene bred more successfully as a result, so the gene became dominant in the early ruminants and in the sheep which evolved from them. “Now, we know that enJSRVs are found in the DNA of every sheep on the planet,” -Thomas Spenser, one of the authors of this paper. I would like to hear how you think ERVs played a role in creation though. --Rainedaye 18:41, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Reply to Rainedaye

Thanks, Ungtss, for stepping in here. I had missed that reply from Rainedaye. Here are my own comments on his last two posts.
Ungtss has explained well how evolution is not necessary for biology.
" ... first you claim that I'm not looking hard enough for practical applications of creationism": No, my comment was a response to your claim that you've yet to hear any way that creationism "can" have practical applications.
"...then you claim it's because they are underfunded...": That is why it will be hard (not impossible) to find actual applications.
"...then you state that research doesn't focus on theories...": No I didn't. Perhaps you are referring to my comment that "Most research is of what is, not what caused it to be." In that I was referring to research in general, not creationary research. That is, research into the properties of a new compound, for example, is not research into how the compound came to be, but research into what it can do and how it reacts. As such, this research has nothing to do with either creation or evolution. I was saying that this type of non-origins research comprises most scientific research, and also that this type of research is the research with practical applications. Very little origins research, by contrast, has practical applications, whether that be creationary or evolutionary.
"...and finally you ended with saying that creationism and evolution don't really have practical applications to begin with? Which is it?": It's a bit of everything. That origins research doesn't have much in the way of practical applications doesn't mean that it has none.
"A lack of funding wouldn't mean a lack of proposals or a lack of hypothesis...": A known lack of funding will mean that there will be very little in the way of formal proposals developed. It would be a waste of time.
"...if it was that important I'm sure no church would deny supplying funding for a practical application that could save lives...": Churches don't have that much money. And very little origins-based research would have life-saving results anyway.
"...practical applications from the understanding of evolution help practical research. We use fruit flies and mice as model organisms...": Ungtss has answered this.
"So was the research into human vestigial organs spearheaded by creationists?": I couldn't say. How is it relevant?
"Or was it done by scientists while creationists stood by...": Why do you refer to scientists and creationists as two mutually-exclusive groups?
"...I stated before that vestigial structures can have uses.": I don't recall you stating that, but the whole idea of vestigial structures is that they are useless evolutionary leftovers. Every biological structure is supposed to be the result of evolution; the idea behind vestigial ones is that they disprove the creationary view because God would not have made something useless. I know that evolutionists have tried to hang on to the idea of vestigial structures now that uses have been found for them by claiming that vestigial structures can have uses, but that goes against the whole point of them in the first place.
"Are creationists now looking into why ... embryos have gills? ... What about people that grow tails?": Embryos don't have gills and people don't grow tails. You've been misled by evolutionary propaganda.
"And as for the super-continent, does this mean you are not a YEC?": No. What gives you that idea?
"And yes some junk DNA has a purpose. I certainly wasn't denying that. I stated that not all of it does.": Originally, they thought that none had a purpose. That's why they called it junk DNA. Since then, they've found that its presence matters, and that "junk" was an incorrect label. Okay, so they haven't (yet) found that all of it is not junk, but all that might mean is that they haven't found it yet. Given the track record of finding purpose for "useless" organs and DNA, I wouldn't hang my hat on the parts that they are still considered useless.
"Also, I don't really see how evolutionary thinking "held up" this research.": They didn't bother investigating it for some time because they had decided that it was just junk.
"...Talk Origins has a nice list that sums up evolution's practical potential...": That page is a lot of rot, partly because they have no idea what they are talking about. A few examples to demonstrate my point:
  • "Directed evolution allows the "breeding" of molecules or molecular pathways...": "Directed evolution"? That sounds like intelligent design to me!
  • "The evolutionary principles of natural selection, variation, and recombination are the basis for genetic algorithms...": Natural selection, variation, and recombination are all creationary principles just as much as evolutionary ones! Creationism includes all those concepts; but rejects the evolutionary family tree, which requires more than just those concepts. TalkOrigins can't even distinguish how evolution differs from creation!
  • "Many statistical techniques, including analysis of variance and linear regression, were developed by evolutionary biologists...": So? That doesn't meant that evolution was necessary for those techniques.
"...if common design means common designer then why do we use mice as opposed to cats?": Because God created different similarities in different creatures. If similarity is due to common ancestry, why do we sometimes use sheep and pigs?
"We have the genes to grow a tail...": No we don't.
"Chicken's are descended from ancestors with teeth, they have the genes to make teeth.": Creationism has no problem with a loss of genetic information. Evolution requires a gain, so that example misses the point.
Philip J. Rayment 23:09, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Pleasure as always, Mr. Rayment:).

Gravity is important to physics, and there are certain things that cannot be explained without using it such as the orbiting of planets. I never claimed that you needed to know about gravity to do everything, although I'm sure it helps. And no, you don't need to know about evolution to do surgery, but medicine is a lot more than just physical manipulation.
As I understood your original argument, you argued that medicine depends on evolution because medicine depends on biology and biology depends on evolution. I showed that to be false by showing that biology does not depend on evolution, as evolution/common descent is only one small part of biology, and medicine is all about the manipulation and maintenance of organisms as they exist today. Now one step further, I'd argue that there is nothing in medicine that can be understand adequately only if understood with reference to common descent. Can you think of one? Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
A PubMed search for "evolution" produces 229804 results, the majority of which are papers that describe the evolution of genes or groups of genes.
That's what Kuhn would call "Normal science." The scientific community has a paradigm, and they're all working within a paradigm. As soon as you find a gene, you have to explain how it arose from random processes and selection -- it's just how scientists have been taught to think. But just because they always interpret their results within an evolutionary framework (as they were taught to do in school) does not mean common descent is an indispensible element of their research. On the contrary, I'd argue that all their results can be interpretted through an ID framework without losing any explanatory power. Scientists are trained in inductive and deductive reasoning, but they are not trained in the abductive reasoning required to question their paradigm or evaluate another. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
Intelligent design, and creationism garnered only 751, and 98 papers respectively. A lot of which were articles talking about the debate rather than any research papers. I usually don't like citing sources that are not neutral but Talk Origins has a nice list that sums up evolution's practical potential here, and it cites their sources from peer-reviewed papers that are neutral.
The fact that the scientific community currently interprets its results within an evolutionary paradigm does nothing to prove that no other paradigms are valid. It is a function of culture, history, social, and political forces -- not irrefutable evidence. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
And if common design means common designer then why do we use mice as opposed to cats?
I'm not sure what the point here is. Certainly some designs are going to be more similar to others, and the more similar designs are going to be more useful for experimentation. That does not prove we are related. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
Chicken's with teeth and children with tails are all examples of pseudogenes and are VERY relevant to common descent. We have the genes to grow a tail, one of our ancestor's lost that ability, the gene is still there it has just been rendered nonfunctional. Chicken's are descended from ancestors with teeth, they have the genes to make teeth, you could even probably build a phylogenetic tree using this gene to see how chickens descended from other birds and eventually reptiles.
As usual, evidence of de-evolution is being used to support evolution. This is the loss -- not the gain -- of genetic diversity and biological capacity. Did chickens used to have teeth? Perhaps. Can random processes explain the loss of teeth in chickens by destruction of the code? Yes. Does this do anything to support the idea that the genes for teeth were created through random processes? Absolutely not. It's like saying, "Certainly random processes could have created that stopwatch -- look -- this one rusted, so part of it doesn't work anymore!" It's totally backwards. The problem with common descent is not the idea that we have made lost genetic information -- that's entirely possible. The problem is that there's no reasonable mechanism for us to gain genetic information. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
A common design, common designer argument doesn't quite cut it here. The most compelling evidence for common descent is genetically based. This was constructed from the comparisons of the complete genomes of these organisms (which is why we see so many of our model organism friends such as Arabidopsis, Drosophila, Escherichia, Saccharomyces" and Mus who were considered important enough to have their genomes completely sequenced).
If you look into how those comparisons are performed, you'll find that they are done purely mathematically. Meaning they looked at which had the most similar information in their genome. That does nothing to prove they are actually related. I could do a similar analysis on computer programs, all of which were designed. Microsoft Word would doubtless come out as more "related" to Wordperfect than to Warcraft, because its subroutines will be similar. I could create a family tree of computer programs using the same algorithm. But my tree would be meaningless. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
You cite one indispensable ERV. I'm sure there are more out there with such functions, but most have been completely inactivated due to mutations.
How do we know that? Have we tested your hypothesis by removing them from the genome to see what happens? If we haven't tested the hypothesis, then it's not science -- it's speculation. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
These areas tend to accumulate more mutations than coding regions of DNA because they are not selected for, which is a good indicator that they are not of use to the host organism. No, it doesn't prove it, but then again proofs are for math and if you are going to spend your whole life wanting someone to prove to you that eating strawberries isn't going to cause you to die, from the toxin that we may not know about (it doesn't mean it isn't there!), then you need to empty your medicine cabinet and make yourself a tin-foil hat.
I'm not asking for a geometric proof. I'm asking for experimental evidence. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
Some of the junk DNA that was found to have a function was found because its sequences were being conserved. Natural selection would prevent mutations from accumulating over generations only if those mutations did not harm the fitness of the organism, which implies that DNA must therefore be important to the organism even if it is non-coding. Of course this is another application of common descent in the field of biology, and also when it is applied to genetic diseases involving these regions, to medicine.
I assume you meant "if those mutations harmed" rather than "if those mutations did not harm." If so, I agree. And the fact that we have 30,000-some-odd HERVs in our system, no observed mechanism or instance where an ERV managed to establish itself in the genome (consider -- it has to infect germ cells in exactly the same place, and that alteration then has to overcome genetic drift and spread throughout the entire genome -- no easy task unless there is an advantage to the ERV) I think the most reasonable explanation for ERVs (abductive reasoning here again) is that ERVs are either 1) the means of genetic engineering used to design us; or 2) extremely advantageous to our genome, such that they were selected to spread throughout the entire genome. The evolutionary explanation -- chance infection without any selection advantage -- is absolutely ludicrous. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
The existence of the ERV function was explained using evolutionary theory: “We currently think that enJSRVs arose from ancient infections of small ruminants during their evolution. Previously, these same ruminants relied on a native gene that had evolved to orchestrate the early stages of pregnancy. But when the virus embedded itself following infection, it produced a protein which did the job even better, and became part of the ruminant’s own, heritable DNA. Ruminants with the virus gene bred more successfully as a result, so the gene became dominant in the early ruminants and in the sheep which evolved from them. “Now, we know that enJSRVs are found in the DNA of every sheep on the planet,” -Thomas Spenser, one of the authors of this paper. I would like to hear how you think ERVs played a role in creation though.
We create ERVs every day -- it's called genetic engineering. When we want to alter an organism genetically, we often use a retrovirus to insert the desired sequence into the gene. If we were genetically engineered/created, the most reasonable way to believe that was accomplished was through ERV alteration of pre-existing genomes to achieve the desired changes. Thus, for example, a chimpanzee blueprint could have been intentionally altered through ERVs to create Man.

So let's break this down.

  • Fact: ERVs have to infect an entire gene pool through the germ line;
    • ID: ERVs were placed in the germ line deliberately via ERV-vectored genetic engineering;
    • EV: No known mechanism or demonstration of an inherited retrovirus. No explanation for how an RV could spread to an entire population unless extremely advantageous.
  • Fact: There are over 30,000 ERVs in the human genome, and we only share 7 with great apes;
  • ID: A few ERVs were used on both humans and apes; the majority of ERVs were used only on humans;
    • EV: Need to explain why humans and apes were in the same gene pool 100x as long as they've been separate, yet are so disimilar in their ERVs;
  • Fact: There are over a dozen different enzymes used to clot human blood that are absent in chimps; without any one of them, blood does not clot and the species dies;
  • ID: All the changes were made at once, eliminating the stepwise problem;
    • EV: Um ... really really lucky?

I won't go into any more detail. Is it a testable hypothesis? Not yet. But it's some solid abductive reasoning, IMO. Ungtss 11:12, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

You really fail at understanding evolution. ERV's have to be associated with some genetic material that survives to be found in an entire population, not beneficial themselves. If you get on a bus and the bus goes across the country does that mean that you took the bus across the country? No, it means you were taken with the bus across the country, the driver drove the bus and it was powered by fuel.
Where did you get the number 7? The 30,000 number is way off, try 98,000 elements and fragments found in the Human genome project. I know that we share at least 11 with Gorillas, and that these were found with out looking at the complete genomes of the other animals. Once we actually look at the whole code if the number is still low then you can point to evolution and laugh, until that time hold on to your horses. Looking around it would seem that that number is from the year 2000, 8 years old is not new in genetics, you might as well be talking about geology from 50 years ago.
With signal pathways it is very easy to add one or take one away A->C can easily become A->B&C then A->B->C Luck implies chance plus good fortune, this is just a case of chance, our system works no better, we did not luck out, we just changed. --Brendanw 11:45, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
An ERV was originally a retrovirus. Ostensibly, the retrovirus infected one individual. How did that ERV spread through inheritence to an entire population? It had to infect a germ cell (something we've never observed), and then that genome as modified had to spread to the entire population. How could it spread to the entire population? Either it was very very advantageous, or very very lucky. Genetic drift makes the second option implausible. The first is the most reasonable option. As to your numbers, whether the ratio is 7:30,000 or 11:98,000, it's inconsistent with evolution that we would share such a small percentage of our ERVs with species we spent the majority of our collective existence interbreeding with. In a Common Descent scenario, the ratios should be reversed. We should have more shared ERVs with the apes than unique ones. But we don't. Ungtss 12:08, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
Genetic drift says that things will not stay static, and even with minimal selective pressure chance alone will prevent two separate alleles from remaining in the same ratio's, Genetic drift actually predicts that random things will occasionally spread fairly widely through out the genome, and will occasionally disappear almost entirely. Lets say that through random chance an ERV spread to 20 individuals that lived in an area, and those 20 individuals were swept to an island and become a new species over time, that ERV would be in the entire population of that new species, if the Ark story were true that ERV would only need to be in 1-2 individuals to be found in the entire gene pool now. But even with out that random chance lets say an ERV happened to land next to a really good gene, a gene that conferred immunity to some nasty bug. That really good gene would spread and take with it all for the genetic material around it, including the lucky ERV. Germ Line cells aren't particularly rare, viruses infect them all the time, just like every other cell type, if the cell has the receptors the virus needs to attach then the virus attaches and injects its contents and infects the cell, simple as that. We have seen this happen in the laboratory thousands and thousands of times, in fact every single time that scientists genetically modify an organism they do so by infecting the germ line cells. My point with the numbers on the ERV's was that we hadn't looked yet, you cannot take numbers for something we haven't looked at yet and proclaim them proof of your position, just like I cant take the fact that we haven't looked yet and claim it as proof of mine, we simply do not have the evidence yet, we do not have a fact to draw a conclusion from. I would predict a very large number, but we don't know yet. Not as large a number as you think however, ERV's are probably not highly conserved so many probably become unrecognizable, but I would predict at least a 80,000:98,000 ratio, (very few of them perfect copies mind you, just recognizable) but we do ocassionally eject them from our genomes, and if they are ejected from a germ line cell and happen to be associated with either a string of rare chance or a good gene. Come to think of it ERV's make up 8% of our genome, and we only differ with chimps by 2% so we must have at least 75,000 in common, that assuming that the only changes are in ERV's which we know is not true. I think that means that I win. --Brendanw 13:32, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
Looks like I was wrong 94% based on a base by base analysis; thats still proof that there are more than 11 in common, has to be at least ~24,500. --Brendanw 13:41, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
Genetic drift says that things will not stay static, and even with minimal selective pressure chance alone will prevent two separate alleles from remaining in the same ratio's, Genetic drift actually predicts that random things will occasionally spread fairly widely through out the genome, and will occasionally disappear almost entirely.
Genetic drift also says that over times, alleles will tend to either become set in a population or eliminated from a population, and that alleles in only one or two individuals have a much higher probability of being snuffed out than of taking over an entire population, unless they are advantageous in some way.
This is math, its not up for questioning. Yes the chance that any random small allele will spread to a large portion of the population is small, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, random changes happen constantly, random insertions happen constantly, why don't you learn calculus or statistics, once you do you will learn that your small probability complaint becomes more than a certainty given just a few hundred generations in a population of 10,000 -B
Lets say that through random chance an ERV spread to 20 individuals that lived in an area, and those 20 individuals were swept to an island and become a new species over time, that ERV would be in the entire population of that new species, if the Ark story were true that ERV would only need to be in 1-2 individuals to be found in the entire gene pool now.
True. But in such a bottleneck scenario, suppose we find just a few ERVs in common with the mainland population, and thousands of ERVs set in the island population. Do we then assume that the germ lines of those lucky progenitors were infected by thousands and thousands of RVs? It seems ludicrous.
You are using the numbers that we don't have again, stop that. If that were the case yes that would mean that we spent a whole lot more time apart than we did together, but we don't know that to be the case, or have any reason to suspect it if we are not starting with the premise that your conclusion is correct. -B
But even with out that random chance lets say an ERV happened to land next to a really good gene, a gene that conferred immunity to some nasty bug. That really good gene would spread and take with it all for the genetic material around it, including the lucky ERV.
So you're now looking at a population bottleneck and ERVs closely associated with beneficial genes for each of the thousands of ERVs.
Did I say bottle neck? No, in fact I did not, I did not describe a bottle neck either. Resistance to a nasty bug is a possitive selective force, all other things being equal my scenario would probably result in a larger population than baseline because densities could go up because of resistance to the bug, this does not explain them all, just some of them. They had a long long time to accumulate, and its not as if they had to be very lucky, they insert them selves fairly regularly, any kind of selection imaginable will grab an individual that has some "junk" DNA that is not shared universally and spread it around, every individual you can get genetic material from has this kind of thing in it. -b
Germ Line cells aren't particularly rare, viruses infect them all the time, just like every other cell type, if the cell has the receptors the virus needs to attach then the virus attaches and injects its contents and infects the cell, simple as that. We have seen this happen in the laboratory thousands and thousands of times, in fact every single time that scientists genetically modify an organism they do so by infecting the germ line cells.
We've seen it in the context of genetic engineering, but never observed a naturally occurring virus infect a germ cell naturally, and be passed on to the next line. That's my point. I think ERVs are better understood as being the an artifact of the genetic engineering of us than the result of an extremely improbable string of coincidences.
The only reason you haven't seen it is because you haven't looked.[1] [2] These articles popped up when i put germline retrovirus in to google, you didn't try at all before you declared that there were no reports, try and show a little academic integrity. Also even though we do have records of this happening spontaneously what does it matter if we do it with the intent of infecting the germ line cells? We infect the animals just like they would be infected in nature and the viruses inject genetic material into germ line cells just like they do in nature. Looking at an extremely improbable series of events and saying it can't happen because of the odds is like looking at the odds of winning a lottery and saying that no one will win, the foundation of your argument is your own personal ignorance, yes the odds are low but one chromosome will eventually win out, just like there will be a lottery winner. The odds multiplied by the instances equals the outcome, and a one in a trillion chance of something happening, multiplied by 50,000,000 places for it to happen multiplied by 65,000,000 generations is something that will happen 3,000+ times. Its a numbers game and you really need to learn statistics before you try, its not intuitive. -B
My point with the numbers on the ERV's was that we hadn't looked yet, you cannot take numbers for something we haven't looked at yet and proclaim them proof of your position, just like I cant take the fact that we haven't looked yet and claim it as proof of mine, we simply do not have the evidence yet, we do not have a fact to draw a conclusion from.
My intent was not to claim it as proof -- only to present it as a fact which (as we now understand it) is inconsistent with common descent, and consistent with ID. The facts may change, the theories may morph, but right now it's a black eye for common descent, IMO.
Its not inconsistent because we haven't looked, thats like getting a letter from the govt. in the mail and declaring that it is unconstitutional before you open it, we don't have the information so it is impossible for it to be inconsistent with what we know. (although the next point down I'll show you were we have enough data to know that its at the very very least fairly consistent, we just haven't tagged them all yet). -B
I would predict a very large number, but we don't know yet. Not as large a number as you think however, ERV's are probably not highly conserved so many probably become unrecognizable, but I would predict at least a 80,000:98,000 ratio, (very few of them perfect copies mind you, just recognizable) but we do ocassionally eject them from our genomes, and if they are ejected from a germ line cell and happen to be associated with either a string of rare chance or a good gene. Come to think of it ERV's make up 8% of our genome, and we only differ with chimps by 2% so we must have at least 75,000 in common, that assuming that the only changes are in ERV's which we know is not true. I think that means that I win.
As I understand it, the correct number is 4% difference. Interestingly, however, only 29% of genes code for the same proteins across both species. The alterations seem to be very well targetted to achieve a 70% change in output with only a 4% change in programming. That screams ID to me, rather than random processes. As to your projected common ERV count, I'll wait for experimental evidence rather than projecting based on the assumption that the ERVs are evenly distributed. Ungtss 14:51, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
Here's a video about ERVs that may clear things up a bit. I don't have time right now, but both you you are getting a little off about how ERVs are distributed to all humans. It's like mitochondrial eve, the most recent common ancestor, you don't need to go into the founder's effect or even for extreme selectional pressures to explain it. --Rainedaye 21:38, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Thats ~29% identical, and had you read the paper thats from you would have known that in the same bullet point it is mentioned that the typical ortholog differs by only two aminoacids (and most of these are small changes, with little effect on function). Looking at the paper of that 6% difference about 2.7 is gene duplication, deletion, and relocation (occasionally a chunk of DNA will just get snatched up and moved, or copied during crossing over, or deleted during crossing over, or cut out because our cells think its a virus, all of this has been observed happening in organisms in the lab and the field) and about the same number of basepairs have been changed in single base pair events, so being generous with rounding lets say that 1% might be ERV's (Addition and deletion) and this doesn't count the other things that can happen (Like horizontal gene transfer, or horizontal junk DNA transfer), that means that of the 98,000 ERV's in humans we share at least 85,000 with chimps, at least 85,000. We don't have them specifically tagged but they have to be there otherwise we would have gotten a different number for the total similarity. [3] and remember, this is the same ERV's in the same place (or a different one but with the same neighbors in the case of chromosomal rearrangement), so your argument about the ratio is now worthless (why do I feel like you are about to use to kettle defense, where in you bring up a second argument that is mutually exclusive when held against the first?) This isn't a projection that can shift your way with further research, we know that X amount of the bases are identical, The data is collected, we just haven't labeled them yet. The only reason all of this screams designer to you is that you have the conclusion that there is a designer as one of your premises for proving a designer, this is not evidence of design, if you can work some numbers and show me that the trend is wrong then maybe you can claim it, but as of yet you are working on intuition which is not good at statistics.speaking of working numbers, and if you need more proof, what kind of numbers would you expect to see if there were no designer, in the identical genes department that is, higher or lower? Can't answer? its because you were making things up in the first place. The theory that can accommodate anything explains nothing --Brendanw 16:41, 3 November 2008 (EST)

  1. http://dev.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/124/14/2789
  2. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=362159
  3. http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/DIR/Chimp_Analysis.pdf