Creationism Vs Evolution Vs Intelligent Design? Lets Solve this!

Creationism-vs-Evolution Vs ID

THE CHALLENGE

Can we clearly and politely determine which or which combination of these three theories should be taught in a Science class and why some theories would not belong?

It think it’s time someone addressed this topic rationally and maturely,  and explained why Creationism and Intelligent Design don’t belong in Science classes. Until someone responsible does that, I’ll take a crack at it. :)

Before I open this post for discussion I think it’s important to define these terms – so we are on the same general pages. I will also set a few ground rules for participants (I’d appreciate if everyone would follow. Feel free to call me on it if i don’t.)

For starters, one-liners are probably not an adequate response to most questions. I feel the rhetoric, oversimplification of some details and overcomplicating or mixing of concepts and positions may be hampering a rational and dispassionate discussion. Understandably, since this is a topic many people rightly feel passionately about, but hurt feelings and lack of mutual understanding and respect could be much of the cause for polarization on this topic.

My Confession:

When I first learned that there were people who believed in the Creationist view I was incredulous and mocked people that think this way. I still do to some extent out of frustration as much as anything else. I’d been raised in the Christian faith, and never had an inkling of an idea from my parents or pastors that they felt the Bible was to be taken 100% literally. Over time I was exposed to more and more people who indicated they felt the way about evolution, that i felt about creationists, that they were deluded fools, and not that numerous. They probably felt I was a heathen blasphemer, or deluding myself as well. Neither stance is very helpful for neither understanding the other’s POV nor resolving the impasse.

For this post I flirted with the idea originally of asking people to state their opinion and the to proceed to argue the other side, but that struck me as a bit gimmicky – perhaps an interesting exercise for another topic and day, for something less profound. It seemed like that might be a little too disingenuous and discouraging for some folks, and i really think there are some basic questions that can reasonably be addressed and answered without the need for ridiculing the other side. So for that reason, despite my own personal inclinations and history and overall tone of my blog, i would ask that anyone participate try to refrain from name calling or judging each other as ignorant, godless, etc. This has become a political topic in wider society, when really I think the whole disagreement thing is silly . . . but i don’t want to reveal more of my stance until we begin so i shall stop there for now.

I would also like to discuss scope for a moment. For today i don’t want to address the question of whether we were founded as a Christian nation, or whether it would be good for kids to be given a religious foundation or moral code in school. We are talking about a public school Science class and which of these topics belong there, in that setting and context.

I think it would be easiest if we address points individually as questions, and attempted to answer specific questions to an acceptable solution and then updated this blog based on what can be agreed upon.  Any objections?

Questions can be posed by either side, but try to keep them constrained to the belief and the context we are discussing. . . .Let’s untangle one knot at a time please. (if another blogger/commenter makes a good point that counters I previously settled/agreed upon answer i have no problem revising it as open again to discussion or pending new resolution or approval.)

Also note there are subtle differences between creationism and intelligent design and so it might be best if you are defending one of those, you state which one if it’s not obvious.

Now in the beginning. . .

Creationism (from Wikipedia) is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic God. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Abrahamic creation narrative. At this time those holding that species had been separately created (such as Philip Gosse in 1847) were generally called “advocates of creation” but they were occasionally called “creationists” in private correspondence between Charles Darwin and his friends. As the creation–evolution controversy developed, the term “anti-evolutionists” became more common, then in 1929 in the United States the term “creationism” first became specifically associated with Christian fundamentalist disbelief in human evolution and belief in a young Earth, though its usage was contested by other groups, such as theistic evolutionists, who believed in various concepts of creation.

Today, the American Scientific Affiliation and the UK-based Christians in Science recognize that there are different opinions among creationists on the method of creation, while acknowledging unity on the Abrahamic belief that God “created the universe.” Since the 1920s, Abrahamic creationism in America has contested scientific theories, such as that of evolution, which derive from natural observations of the universe and life. Literalist creationists believe that evolution cannot adequately account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on Earth. Fundamentalist creationists of the Christian faith usually base their belief on a literal reading of the Genesis creation narrative.Other religions have different deity-led creation myths, while different members of individual faiths vary in their acceptance of scientific findings.

When scientific research produces empirical evidence and theoretical conclusions which contradict a literalist creationist interpretation of scripture, young earth creationists often reject the conclusions of the research or its underlying scientific theories or its methodology.The rejection of scientific findings has sparked political and theological controversy. Two offshoots of creationism—creation science and intelligent design—have been characterized as pseudoscience by the mainstream scientific community. The most notable disputes concern the evolution of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geological history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system and the origin of the universe. However, the beliefs of evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution), a form of old earth creationism, embrace the findings of modern science and uphold classical religious teachings about God and creation.

If anyone would care to supply a better definition for US creationists specifically i would be happy to replace or add that description here.

My interpretation of Creationism:

Creationists believe God created man as outlined in the book of Genesis and woman from the rib of man – and made them the overlords of Earth and all her creatures. He also created the Earth in 6 days (as we perceive them.) Creationists believe the Bible is the entire history of mankind, and infallible. They believe that where the bible describes people living hundreds of years – these units of time are the same as our years, and that a timeline can roughly be built from passages and chronology in the bible. Before man there was no significant amount of time except a few days. The earth may be only 10,000 years old to Fundamentalist Christian creationist world view.

Evolution

Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations across successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.

Life on Earth originated and then evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.7 billion years ago. Repeated speciation and the divergence of life can be inferred from shared sets of biochemical and morphological traits, or by shared DNA sequences. These homologous traits and sequences are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct evolutionary histories, using both existing species and the fossil record. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction.

Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is a process that is inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals, leading to differential rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait differences are heritable. Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced by the progeny of parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place. This process creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform. Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.

In the early 20th century, genetics was integrated with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection through the discipline of population genetics. The importance of natural selection as a cause of evolution was accepted into other branches of biology. Moreover, previously held notions about evolution, such as orthogenesis and “progress” became obsolete. Scientists continue to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses, constructing scientific theories, using observational data, and performing experiments in both the field and the laboratory. Biologists agree that descent with modification is one of the most reliably established facts in science. Discoveries in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just within the traditional branches of biology, but also in other academic disciplines (e.g., anthropology and psychology) and on society at large.

My summary of salient evolution points:

The earth is around 5 billion years old. Life began a few billion years ago. It started out as microscopic organisms that joined together and became more complex and specialized over time. These simple organisms became progressively more complex until they became what we recognize as plants and animals today. The theory of evolution is that all life “evolved” from other forms of life through mutation, genetic drift and natural selection (the strong or more specifically the organism more capable of surviving long enough to pass its genetic code onto the next generation and create lots of progeny is selected by the environment while less capable variants of organisms and traits become extinct.) This theory is observable through fossil records for many long lived organisms and can be observed in nature in bacterial examples, fruit flies, and domesticated animals which are “bred” to emphasize specific traits or to deemphasize others.) Dogs, cows, farm crops, flowers, cats, etc are all examples of controlled/applied evolution at work.) Fossil records can be chronologically organized based on carbon dating. Carbon has a calculable half-life (a half-life being the time for half of the carbon C14 to break down to more stable C12) Carbon dating is a method by which a formerly living creature’s age can be determined.

Intelligent Design

Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute. The Institute defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”. The leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank, and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.

ID seeks to redefine science in a fundamental way that would invoke supernatural explanations, an approach its proponents describe as theistic realism or theistic science. It puts forward a number of arguments, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity, in support of the existence of a designer.The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism, and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws. The vast majority of the scientific community labels intelligent design as pseudoscience and identifies it as a religious, rather than scientific, viewpoint. It is rejected by mainstream science because it lacks empirical support, supplies no tentative hypotheses, and resolves to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.

Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling, which barred the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state. The first publication of the phrase “intelligent design” in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture, planned and funded the “intelligent design movement”. They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, where U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents”, and that the school district’s promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[17

My Summary of Intelligent Design

Life is so infinitely complex that to attribute a random cause to the existence of life is to deny or overlook an obvious explanation, that a supreme being with infinite power created life and designed the complexities of life in ways we will never fully understand. Because an infinitely powerful being could have created all things, and because you cannot disprove the existence of such a being empirically, you cannot rule out such a hypothesis. If you cannot rule it out, than this explanation could be as valid as any other explanation such as evolution. Therefore you should be able to teach ID as a valid theory for how life and universe was created. So many people in this country believe in a form of ID, that to overlook it would be something akin to supporting a Atheism, which has been recognized as a religion by the Supreme Court, or a disbelief in God.

Defintion of Science

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning (found, for example, in Aristotle), “science” refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained

Definition of Scientic Theory

A scientific theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.”Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy. As with all forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and do not make apodictic propositions; instead, they aim for predictive and explanatory force.

The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, which is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to those phenomena. Theories are improved as more evidence is gathered, so that accuracy in prediction improves over time. Scientists use theories as a foundation to gain further scientific knowledge, as well as to accomplish goals such as inventing technology or curing disease.

Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. This is significantly different from the word “theory” in common usage, which implies that something is unproven or speculative.

Scope clarification

Since we are discussing teaching all of these subjects in a “Science” class and not a theology class, it makes sense to me that the evidence for teaching a theory must rise to the “scientific theory” level. If anyone objects to this clarification we probably need to start here for purposes of resolving this discussion.

About crazycrawfish

I am a former Louisiana Department of Education employee. I was one of the principal student data folks for the better part of a decade. You can find my blog at crazycrawfish.wordpress.com
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256 Responses to Creationism Vs Evolution Vs Intelligent Design? Lets Solve this!

  1. I think the most important part of what you said is the ability of science to make falsifiable predictions. There are many assumptions in science that we cannot prove (just as I don’t believe we can definitely prove God’s existence or lack thereof). However, such assumptions in science can be used to derive new ideas that can be empirically tested. There is a feedback system to check on the original system.

    However, if we assume that a powerful deity beyond our comprehension created the world around us, where do we go from there? What kind of predictions can we make based on that assumption?

    This is the reason why I don’t consider ID and creationism science. Most of the “evidence” I seen for either one is simply an argument that life is too complex for abiogenesis/evolution to account for.

  2. Excellent answers. In summary form this is what I interpret. . .

    Man translated the Bible, man is falliable. Ergo the Bible may be falliable.
    There is no more evidence for a God creating life and man, than just some aliens planting some lifeform seeds.
    No testable evidence for a “God” theory.
    Inability of Creationism or ID to make repeatably reliable predictions
    Assumptions in science are not all 100% provable, but are useful and can be tested and discarded when disproven.
    Creationism and ID leave us without a useful scientific framework for further study.
    Evidence for ID is that life is too complex, but that is not a measurable and is relative to our current field of knowledge. . .one could have said the same thing about fire and electricty if during the stone ages.

    I fear there will be no ID’s or Creationists willing to participate. If such a situation arises, will anyone mind if I take up those causes until another champion comes along so as not to leave this discussion so one sided? ( I know i claimed i wouldn’t but whats the point of science if not testing and verfiying hypothsies or hosting a debate where everyone agrees?)

  3. Now to try and get this discussion back on track. Let us assume that every scrap of evidence we have supporting evolution is 100% true. “Evolution” is really just the name we’ve chosen to lump all these observations together under and to use these observations to predict past events and possible future changes to organisms.

    Is an infintely powerful creator ruled out as the basis for evolution? Can you have an evolution “sponsor,” if you will. . . Perhaps an entity for which time has no meaning?

    Could all the rules of the universe we use to construct a framework for physics and biology be just observations of how this entity has chosen to exert his/her/its will?

    Could ID and evolution coexist or must they be mutually exclusive concepts?

  4. Now I shall tell you what the spawn of monkey fish frog thinks: Cannot one believe in the two? They seem to work together quite nicely. I do believe we were all created, and I also believe we are evolving.

    • I suppose that depends on which two you are referring to and to what degree. I see nothing inherently wrong with believing a supreme being or force is responsible for creating the universe and everything in it using methods we can only dimly comprehend as natural laws and scientific theories. Intelligent Design might fly in that context. If you get down the the literal biblical interpretations of time and how exactly it happened you run into some significant contradictions. However, a science class is for teaching scientific theories, not just any ole theory, conjecture or possiblity. That could be an endless endevour and not a very productive one. One might even be able to use Intelligent Design as an example of an unscientific theory, but evolution as the scientific theory that define the mechanism such an entity might operate through. I doubt the Discovery Institute would approve of that interpretation though.

      I think it would be wise for parents that believe in a supreme being but also want their kids to grow up understanding how science works (in that it seeks to define usable concepts and systems of behavior through observations), to introduce the concept that the theological need not threaten the technological and that the two can coexist. If not, I have to wonder how long the theological view can perserve when there is evidence for one and only faith to support the other?

      Would it not be the height of arrogance to assume we knew exactly how a supreme being needed to operate, and to ignore the universe this being created, because it didn’t conform to our view of what a supreme being can or should do?

      • There is more than faith evidence supporting the other, luv. You mentioned the Discovery Insitute, and that set my mind off on a tangent to the Discovery Channel. I wayched a show where they proved that there are many things listed in the Bible that are true; therefore, are the two not theories?

        The height of arrogance, in my mind, is only teaching one theory. I do not know the mind of God, but I should like to think that God would want all forms of education to exist. I do believe God to be the greatest scientist and teacher and artist and singer and….oh, you get my point!

        Why would we not want to emulate goodness? There is no need to separate the two theories. The irony is that God gives us the choice to discern of our own free will. Why, then, cannot man?

        • The discovery institute is not associated with the discovery channel. It’s goal is not discovering truth from observable evidence but finding evidence that supports their truth.

          The Wizard of Oz has some elements that are true.  The is a place called Kansas for instance, that does not mean the entire story is true.

          All forms of education should exist?  What does that even mean? We are not discussing whether or not this theory can be taught just anywhere, but whether it belongs in a Science class. Do you believe the “evidence” supporting these theories rise to the level of a scientific theory level?  Other cultures “believe” creatures are reincarnated as other creatures depending on how they lived their lives.  Some religions teach/theorize that animal spirits control the weather, that earth is just one plane of existence on a giant tree, that there are mother and father nature forces, that various gods control all forces in the universe and that by praying to them you can cause specific events to transpire, even Catholics believe that prayer to Saints can impact the world around us.  Are those all theories that should be taught alongside gravity, thermodynamics, chemistry, and biology? 

           It would be awfully hard to demonstrate or conduct scientific experiments supporting those theories.  

          No one is suggesting to keep the teaching of “goodness” from children. I teach my kids how to be “good” every day at home (with varying degrees of success” and they learn other lessons in Sunday school and from their grandparents.  

           I’m not sure I’d want other people teaching my kids a state approved course in “goodness” that they would have to be graded on.  That’s not the government’s job. Moreover i don’t think the proper place for a goodness course is the same place we teach Newton, Curie, and Boyle.

          Do you really want teachers who may not share your beliefs teaching them to your children?

          Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

          • Yes. I’m quite fond of the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, just as I’m quite fond of the writings of Taoist, Buddhist, Native American, &c. I have no qualms with them being taught in school.

            I ask you; if we can openly teach sexual education to a child in a govt. school, cannot we include religion in the curriculum, as well?

            • flippertie . says:

              Include the study of religions as cultural phenomena by all means, but not in the science class. Teaching a specific religion as true is difficult in the UK, unconstitutional and illegal in the USA.

              • kurt hunsinger says:

                In the Spirit of the “Lets Solve This” title of the conversation, what can be said to help start drawing the issue to a close rather than the usual quibble about whose view should be taught in schools? Is it possible to build on what each side has in common? Or are we too wrapped up in being right, being defenders of our respective creators?
                Is someone here willing/able to name something creationism and evolution have in common?

                • I read “solving the question” as reaching the correct answer, rather than trying to reach a compromise.

                  The question is which of Evolutionary theory, Creationism and ID should be taught in school science classes in the USA.

                  Two answers are obvious:

                  Evolutionary Theory – yes. It is the consensus view of every major scientific organisation in the US [that has expressed an opinion] that evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth. Evolution is science and it stays until a better explanation is found.

                  Creationism – no. It does not meet the basic definition of a scientific theory, or even a hypothesis. It is not testable, and offers no suggested mechanisms or explanation, or predictive power. It’s contradicted by huge numbers of observations and evidence. It’s not science and does not belong in science classes.

                  As a side note: It’s been repeatedly found in courts of law that teaching Creationism in public schools violates the Establishment clause of the constitution and is thus illegal. If you want to teach creationism in the US schools you first need a constitutional amendment, or at the minimum a Supreme Court ruling overturning decades of precedents.

                  This leaves intelligent design. If it’s science it should be in the curriculum. If it’s ‘religion in a borrowed lab coat’ it’s out. My interpretation of the history of the idea of ID is the latter. Based on the wedge document, cdesign proponentists, and the Dover/Kitzmiller case, fossils, genetics etc….

                  You asked: “Is it possible to build on what each side has in common?”
                  I don’t think so, not if we’re interested in the truth, as opposed to winning arguments.

                  “are we too wrapped up in being right, being defenders of our respective creators?”
                  That’s two very different questions. This issue is all about what is right, what is true.

                  I’m not interested in dogmatically defending evolution and putting down ID. I’m interested in how we got here, and how we know that.

                  I’m happy to concede that it is *possible* a designer was involved in our being here. But it’s also *possible* the universe was created last Thursday, and all our memories implanted. I think both those ideas are vanishingly unlikely, and without convincing evidence neither of them belong in science lessons.

                  • kurt hunsinger says:

                    I’d like to come at this from a little different angle. From a point of view that makes no argument for creationism (nor against it) and no argument against evolution. Life has the capacity to adapt over time, humans and primates share common decent, none of that can be reasonably disputed. “evolution is a description of a process” as you correctly said, and i’d agree that that process is happening before our eyes. …and still, in the spirit of “lets solve this” it doesnt matter. I would argue that the evidence for evolution, however compelling, is not material to the issue.

                    The issue is that while the study of evolution is a science, the belief that evolution is responisble for life simply is not. When a person chooses – or more likely accepts by authority – that evolution is responsible for their existence THEN THEY ARE CHOOSING A CREATOR. And that is a religious act.

                    In other words, teaching “evoluton is responible for life” is no less a religious practice than teaching “God is responsible for life”. So if a parent rejects the notion that evolution has creative power and doesnt want the idea taught to their child they are being at least as reasonable as the parent not wanting religion taught to theirs.

                    Start dealing with the fact that people accept the creative power of evolution not because they’ve made a reasoned, objective choice, they accept it because they accepted the authority that told them to. And endowing that authority to teachers against the will of decenting parents is wrong.

                    So what do we do? It’s pretty obvious it’s an important issue. It’s a grand and compelling mystery The “where do we come from, what is our purpose” questions should be explored by both god-minded and science-minded people. The big questions ought to be talked about, looked at, studied. We should be sharing what we believe and what we learn without ever feeling that one point of view is a threat to another. I mean, Why not? And why dont we?! You can say, as you have, “it’s just a theory”, but come on, thats not the way it really plays out. Read a few plaques at any natural history museum or read pretty much any post on any evolution website and any youngster will quickly learn a decenting opinion will draw quick and ugly ridicule.

                    Heres what I think is a “lets solve this” proposal. (and compromise has nothing to do with it)First, start urging folks to end the “you’re ignorant if you still believe God created the world” language and mentality. Lets face it, it’s a hostile approach and it’s not working. They will continue to push back on that. (It’s the reason we have ID to deal with) Feedom of religion means freedom of religion. Leave it at that.
                    Then, and heres the real hard part, start urging all those in the science community to abandon the claim that evolution is responible for life. I know, thats a tough one. but good science is not religion; that means it has no business naming or supporting it’s own creator. the science of evolutionary biology is not in any danger here. It can still be all that it is, do all that it does without having to make that claim.

                    The belief in god as a creator is a sane, reasonable view of life. If we stop treating science as if it were the bringer of ultimate truth I believe the religious will leave the schools alone. And perhaps, over time, we can find what science and religion have in common; which, if you read anything from Robert Lanza or Fred wolf or even Eric Fromm, it’s the way science is and should be going.

                    • flippertie . says:

                      You are stretching the definitions of the terms Evolution and of Religion to make your argument. From.your first paragraph I take it that we both agree evolution happens,
                      The emergence of what we would call life from non living matter is not strictly part of Evolutionary theory. That’s a different field – abiogenesis. Evolution starts once there is a population of entities that can reproduce, largely accurately, but with some variation, which is subject to selection pressures. We may never know for certain how life originated on this planet – it was a very long time ago and didn’t leave any traces. But assuming that the process was most likely to have been natural and unguided [without a god/designer] is not a religious position by any common definition of religion.

                      I accept the evidence for evolution not because I was told to, but because I’ve read a lot about it and understand the broad strokes of the arguments and they make sense to me. I was raised in an Anglican Christian culture, but also exposed to Buddhists, Daoists and Hindus [This was Hong Kong in the 60s and 70s]. They all have powerful stories, but require suspension of disbelief to take them seriously. I’ve never seen talking snakes, men walking on water, flying horses, men with elephants heads or multiple arms – and tke those stories about as seriously as I take the existence of Gandalf and Sauron.

                      Regarding dissent from evolution drawing ‘quick and ugly ridicule': Evolution is both fact and theory. The Fact of evolution is that species and populations change over time. The Theory of evolution is our best explanation of how those changes occur. Arguing over the mechanics of evolution is fine. Arguing, as some do, that it does not happen, is so distanced from reality that I have no problem ridiculing people who take that position. As a parallel – we know gravity exists, and causes the planets to circle the sun. We don’t know how gravity works, and it’s fine to discuss that. But if you argue in the face of reality that the sun revolves round the earth, or that the earth is flat, – that is also worthy of ridicule.

                      Your last paragraphs:
                      >> “[Urge] the science community to abandon the claim that evolution is responible for life.”
                      If we believe that natural causes are responsible for life why should we abandon the claim? Do you expect religionists to abandon their claims that the universe is the result of Jehova’s magic spell, or is destroyed and recreated each time Brahma sleeps and wakes?

                      >> “The belief in god as a creator is a sane, reasonable view of life”
                      If you want to believe a god of some sort created the universe go ahead. I have no evidence for or against that proposition, but think it unlikely. But when people believe such a creator has given them instructions to interfere in my life I will [and do] object loudly and often.

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      Howdy.

                      I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page about evolution/natural selection, what it means, how it works. You cant really have a conversation about biology without evolution. You were right on the mark with “evolution is the name we give to a process”. I’ve used the same despription myself but hadnt heard anyone else describe it that way. I started to consider evolution as an adjective, with no verb quality at all, after reading the Tao. He makes the distinction between reality and the named reality, the world of 10,000 things. You mentioned Taoism so maybe I can make a huge shortcut to my point: both evolution and creation are amoung the 10,000 things. For some folks who’ve read the Tao that can be ‘nuf said.

                      You mentioned the field of abiogenisis as being different from the study of evolution. I suppose so, but only about as different as Baptists are from methodists. That might sound a little rude, i guess but in the end they are asking the same where, how and why questions as everybody else and coming up with answers that are compliant and consistent with the norms of their community. That doenst mean I think less of their work or that I dont think it’s important. I’ve got a ton of respect for the brilliant minds of many researchers and the centuries of diligent work that gifted people have done in science.
                      I’ll put it this way, the difference between the evolution-minded and the creation-minded is – bear with me now – like the difference between a vegan and a guy who eats red meat at every meal. To each other they may feel that they are on different tracks in life, making personal choices that feel individual and reasoned. But in truth they have an identical objective: to satisfy their hunger. The root of what they have in common is far more compelling and speaks more to what is at issue than the individual ways they deal with it. Likewise, the difference between the study of evolution and prayers to God is similarly superficial. They are all are busy at the same task: finding a creator.

                      Researchers I’ve known and read are intelligent, thoughtful, educated people – as you seem to be – and likely wouldn’t take all too kindly to having their work thought of in terms of “creator seeking”. But consider this, if you’ll hang in there with me…
                      We tend to think of our desire to answer the big questions as a matter of choice but I dunno, I’m not concinvinced of that anymore. I believe it’s a behavior. For example, we can choose to participate in sex – an unlikely array of personal variations that dont suite everyone! – but the reality is animal sexuality hardy reflects a choice. It feels like a choice but it’s a behavior. The fact is very little of what feels like choices to us really are choices at all.

                      I couldn’t say whether a mouse feels that scurrying is a choice or not, but I know he only does it for only one reason, preditors are real. Whales travel 1/2 way around globe to birth their calves only because those warm, safe waters are real. If they werent, they wouldnt exibit that behavior!

                      Our species’ habits includes some odd activities to be sure but one that has been with us long enough to charactorize our behaviour is our delibrate search for, and desire to understanding a creator. And as odd and as difficult as it is to swallow, the creator our species has overwhelmingly looked for thru history is a person of some sort. Hey, deal with it.

                      Bottom line is Nature just doesnt create animals that go about waisting their time looking for stuff that doesnt exist, nor does nature create behavior that doesnt have a payoff in reality. We know this, we see it played out everday in all the creatures around us, and yet the evolution-minded would have us believe we are the only species on the planet that can somehow invent useless, impotent behaviors for itself.

                      What best explains our species’ creator-seeking behavior is simply that there is one.

            • Kells,

              Of course we can. In a religion or philosophy class. Religion tries to answer the question of Why are we here. Science explains what we know. Science is not “right” per se, it’s just what we’ve come to understand based on observation and experimentation. Introducing religion in that context might have some unintended consequences.

              What will happen if all the children try to apply scientific principals to creationism and realize they can’t prove or observe any of it or use any of those teachings for predictive purposes?

              Sex ed is controversial as well and not taught everywhere due to religious or moral grounds, so that may not be the best example to use as an argument for Creationism as that would be its own topic.

              • I have been arguing with my son on this. He takes your stance, but I do not. Why should an hypothesis be limited to a science class?

                • I never said a hypothesis must be limited to a science class. You were the one arguing to put the creationism hypothesis in a science class which, if done correctly, would be rejected for lack of evidence for it, as well as much evidence that would seem to contradict.

                  Evolution may not be 100% right, but numerous other theories related to chemistry and physics would have to be wrong for creationism to be valid.

                  Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                  • Well, then, why are scientists so willing to accept that all laws of science and physics are not valid in a singularity?

                    • I’m not sure where you are going with this blackhole of a reasoning tactic, but by all means enlighten us? I’m pretty sure most theoretical physicists are not superkeen on Creationism. . . All that a singularity would prove is that the laws of physics as we understand them work differently in superhigh gravity well, not that the laws are false – merely that they are incomplete.

                    • Incomplete? They are of faith; same as religion.

                    • You will have to do better than that if you want me to think you are making a serious argument or taking this seriously.

                      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                    • Oh, brother! I don’t see the necessity in droning on and on like B. to make a simple point, which I did (quite satisfactorily, I might add.)

                    • B doesn’t drone, he spews hate, vitriol and poorly constructed arguments that feed into a conservative narrative he is fond of propogating. He seems like a very unhappy person.

                      This post was designed for more serious dialogue. I thought you had something interesting to contribute. I thought maybe I was missing something profound or insightful but it seems you are more interested in playing games. 

                      I will continue to wait for a well constructed response.

                    • flippertie . says:

                      Scientist are NOT “willing to accept that all laws of science and Physics are invalid in a singularity”.

                      What is postulated by theoretical physics and to some extent confirmed by experimental observation of black holes from outside the event horizion is that the “Normal” laws of phyiscs do not apply under those extreme conditions. Look up Hawking Radiation for more.

                      The ‘laws of science and physics’ that we’re used to are *all* generalisations for the ‘normal case’. The boiling point of water is 100degrees C. Unless you change the air pressure. Newtonian mechanics predicts the the behaviour of bodies in motion. Unless you approach the speed of light. Einstein’s General and Special relativity describe space and time close to the speed of light. But they too have their limits – and inside a black hole appears to be one of those limits.

                      That’s one way science works. Look at things. Describe how they behave. Make predictions based on those behaviours. Look for cases where observation does not match prediction predictions. Rinse. repeat.

                      But what your interjection has to do with ID/Creationism/Science is not clear to me.

  5. kurt hunsinger says:

    Howdy.
    Seems we just cant stop thinking about the whole where-did-we come-from question. Kinda odd to me that we still beat those 2 dead horses named Creationism and Evolution! Is there really all that much different between them? I mean, the proponents of each claim to know what force is responsible for life and each side is emotionally attached to what they believe. Evolution believers seem to feel they are making the more reasonable, objective choice but, in truth, we all have an equal propensity for following authority. (just because we’re not listening to the church doesnt mean we’re suddenly immune to buying into what another authority is selling)

    You can believe in Natural Selection, or believe in god, and you are not insane by any established measure. The science guys speak of science as if it were an entity all it’s own just as the religious speak of god; when it’s unknown if either one exists anywhere other than our skulls.
    Seems to me that if we are all equally invested in some kind of creator – whether you’re creator has the name god or the name Natural Selection – then we are all equally participating in religion.

    I know, I know, people of science take great exception to evolution being called a religion, but listen… if you feel you’ve discovered the force responsible for life and all the universe and if you feel it should be believed by others and if you believe your society would be better off if it were taught to children and if you believe it would benefit society if other ideas were abandoned in favor of yours, then, dude, open your eyes! you are amoung the religious. And you’d be the worst kind of religious. the kind that knows they’re right, the kind that fights for the education of children because they know the lives of our future generations will be better for having “the truth”.

    I had this discussion with a person who believed evolution was her creator and she protested “But evolution IS true!”.

    Do you believe that evolution exists independently of our understanding of it? Try to realize that evolution is an invention of the human mind, residing no more/no less than any other creator or diety only in the darkness of our grey matter. When you’re willing to see it that way, even just a little, you start to see how evolution and creation are like brushstrokes on the same canvas. All people being like all people. Not some people being right and some wrong.

    Kurt

    • You are almost correct. Evolution need not be “true” to be a valid scientific theory. There is evidence to back this theory up, but this still just a theory. In fact science encourages people to try to refine or disprove theories.

      Evolution is just a word created to define a process we’ve observed. . . nothing more. It would be silly to worship it, but then when you examine most any religion there are some silly or inexplicable things that must simply be accepted.

      What evidence are you providing for Creationism other than a book that has some historical facts mixed it with what may very well be fantasy or folklore designed to teach moral values?

      The beauty of religion is that it can explain the unexplainable or unknowable. It does not require evidence. It can provide comfort when rational thought has failed and hope has fled. However, when you try to insert religion into something that is desgined around proving and disproving concepts you run the risk of either transforming science into something worthless, or transforming religion into something incredulous when it fails to stand up to the same level of scrutiny other scientific theories must endure.

      Additionally, though Christian, I am not a fundamentalist. Teaching Creationism violates my religious beliefs and the beliefs of many other Christians. I’m sure it violates the beliefs of many other religions and cultures as well. Evolution is a description for a process we observe. It is no different than saying acceleration, gravity, friction or viscosity. Those are observable and/or calculable concepts we can use to define the world around us. While we can define things as red, hot, cold, 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and oblong, what science can’t answer is the “why.”

      Why do we exist? What is our purpose? What is good and what is evil? Those are concepts religion can answer and science cannot. Inserting religious beliefs into a science class would be no different than inserting it into a Math class.

      2+2=God. Perhaps a valid answer, but is it useful?

    • I think you’ve gone way off topic here Kurt. Let’s reel your whales back to the discussion at hand. The question is not whether or not belief in a creator is a conscious, valid/invalid choice, just whether it meets the criteria for being taught in a science class. You are waxing into the wildly philosophical, which would be fine for a college level philosophy class, but i think you are way off base with trying to introduce such broad topics as creators and reasons for existing into a middle school or high school science class.

      We’re trying to teach kids the scientific method and basic laws of gravity, cell structure, life cycles, etc. No one knows “why” cells specialize or do what they do, we just observe the behavior and theorize as to how such behavior and attributes might have developed. I think its perfectly fine for parents and religious leaders to explain to children that they believe a creator is driving the processes we see, that can’t be disputed or proven one way or the other. However, because it can’t be proven it does not qualify as science.

      I’m still waiting for someone to show how creationism can be proven using proper scientific techniques. . . Theorizing that the laws of the universe may have spontaneously and untraceably operated differently 10,000 years ago, might make sense from a religious point of view (one that does not require evidence or proof), but it does not fit well within the confines of a science class. Now you may say, well its unfair to confine this topic to something so restrictive as a Science class, however that decision was made by those who want to incorporate the teaching of creationism into that curriculum. That is not the fault of educators, or scientists that believe in evolution, but the Christian fundamentalists that feel their beliefs are threatened by a subject built on evidence and reason.

      So let us take the creationists side of view for the sake of argument. Let us say evolution is a religion, just as creationism is a religion. Creationists are trying to force people who believe in another “religion” to be force fed a diet of fundamentalist Christianity rather than attempting to dispute the theory of evolution and have it removed as a concept taught in school. Would they accede to evolutionary apostles coming to their Sunday schools and having biologists lay out the case for Evolution?

      I think if their true motive was divining the “truth” and their objection was that religion should not be taught in school, they would not be trying to force their beliefs on others, they would be trying to remove the influence of what they have defined as a contrary religion but that can also be done through their churches and from within the confines of the science class by producing evidence that contradicts the prevailing theory. The fact that they are trying to insert their own religious views into a school, sometimes to the extent of trying to discredit evolution while promoting creationism reveals their true motivation. I believe this is an attempt to force the state to pay for recruiting new members and to help persuade wavering members to stay with the flock.

      • kurt hunsinger says:

        Hello again,

        “reel in my whales…” good one. I can sea how you might think I was spouting off.

        The point is totally on topic though if you’re willing to connect just a couple dots. Try asking a few people, students and parents alike, ‘what are a few good examles of evolution and what are a couple facts that show what evolution has done in nature?’ I’ve asked people those questions for years. Family, friends, in casual converstion with new acqaintences and even my own kids (who all had evolution oriented science classes in public high schools) the answers are invarialby examples of artificial selection. The variety of dogs is definitely good evidence of natural selection in the mind of the average high school grad. Improved crop production too. Even the really silly answers like naming sequences in history leading from the wheel to the airplane are more common than answers that show any understanding of speciation. The point being that the “protect the sanctity of the science classroom” idealism that you’re spouting largely doesn’t exist. (and please dont blame the religious for that. Or the teachers!)

        A church near my home has a message board that reads “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”. They get to say that for themselves I guess. Freedom of religion, speech and all that, but how much of that kind of mentality are we producing in the minds of students when it comes to evolution. You may not think personally that this is a problem but get out and ask a few average evolution-believing joes why they think evolution should be taught in science classes and you’ll get a similar “Darwin said it, I beleive it, that settles it” kind of complient attitude. After more than a generation of science classes teaching evolution thats what we have. i”ve no doubt that there areplenty of indiviual examples of students getting an evolution oriented education who go on to practice good science but likely not a greater number than those who had recieved a creation oriented education. (not advocating either)

        My ‘whale’ of a point is that we should be asking (and demanding a reasonble answer to) ‘why do we want to know?’ There is nothing philosophical or esoteric about examing our behavior on this. It’s been a species-long inquiry, the vast majority of which spent seeking a person-like creator. You may not think that that has been time well spent but that has, none the less, been a hallmark of our species’ behavior. Blow that off and proclaim “well now we know better” if you want to but it’s only adding up to the two sides yelling over an unnecessary chasm at each other, putting our students in a unfair, muddled up middle ground that only serves to satify the egos of the powers on either side without even bothering to offer students – or the rest of us – why understanding our creator is even a need to know issue.

        So, I know, then you offer the same old argument “it’s okay to teach religious studies, just not in the science class”. This is still a problem. It generates a cascade of thought that makes a defacto claim based on a students otherwise appropriate respect for science that says “Science is about whats real… science says evolution created us… evolution as a creator is real.” And in turn leaves the student with “I can take religious studies if I want as long as I can admit theres no “real” answers there.” Not only is this likely not true it is a mentality that is permiating our culture. You may think that teaching evolution is a sort of freedom from religious trappings, that its leading students – and the rest of us – to intellectual enlightment, but if you really look around the impact is stiffling to individual choices (read some Carl Jung) and creating a mainstream acceptance by authority thats no different than any other religious acceptence. (which has always been my point)

        So, again, in the interest of “lets solve this” remove the concept that evolution is responsible for life from scientific language (unless, of course, one day we actually prove it. In the meantime making any “like believing the earth is flat” analogies is just plain silly. No field of biology can prove evolution = life any more than ID can prove anything) and move BOTH creationism and evolution-as-a-creator out of the science classroom. …..A theoretical sciences classroom that included both would likely help quiet the ‘chasm yelling’ and is likely more practical than hoping we can slove anything by continuing the debate the way it’s going.

        • What part of evolution are you objecting to exactly and what form of creationism are you advocating? You haven’t listed any specifics you think are unproven, but you admit creationism is unproven so I fail to see how your argument is credible or balanced.

          • kurt hunsinger says:

            Hello,
            I said in my first post that I’d like to try a different angle. The typical batting back and forth of “I object to this” or “I advocate that” has already been done now for 130 years or so. I believe theres something signigficant both sides have in common and felt discussing it might make a contribution to the issue. Maybe not. I was hoping to find a knowledgeable person to help explore the idea that our desire to understand a creator, be it religious or otherwise, was behaviorial, maybe even instinctive. I’ve read several researchers who are seriously questioning what roll reason and choice have in our decision making. Many feel it’s not near as much as we think, some consider reason and choice to be more of an illusion than we would have previously guessed. Does instinct have a greater influence than reason in our search for a creator? Is it possible the study of evolution is behavioral and in turn not entirely the intellectual pursuit we think it is. I don’t know. But it sounds like an interesting hypothosis worth discussion. Anyway, I likely made my point as good as I’m gonna, up to you if thats something you wanna talk about.

            Either way, I’m interested in what you might know about evolutions roll in creating conscienceness. Some research is saying that biology is not capable of generating conscienceness so in turn conscienceness and evolution are mutually exclusive. Thoughts? (I guess you could say this is off topic but what the heck, it is a question any given student might ask)

            • You have definetly left the building here. It’s not about batting anything back and forth so much as you haven’t even defined what it is you want to include or exclude. Science is a precise subject and does not lend itself to deep and openended existential ponderings – at least not at the elementary and seconday level. Your content would be more suitable for a post-secondary course, after the basic foundations of scientiic theory and various laws, measurements and forces are introduced. I still haven’t seen a simple, cogent argument for introducing creationism or even intelligetn design , or even what concepts people think should be introduced precisely. Are we just talking about openning up the book of Genesis and telling everyone stuff is the way it is – becasue God made it. Everything that was and everything that is, is all there will ever be. Now go home and read your bibles and forget about measuring or understanding anything. God gave you a brain, but he expects you to self-lobotomize it so you never having a deeper understanding of the universe than what ancient cave people did. Fire is magic and expect all burning bushes to talk to you.

              I don’t think evolution “created” anything. It’s just a process we observe and have named like “melting” is a name we give to describe a process whereby solids turn to liquids. Maybe God made the sun that made my icecream melt, but that doesn’t mean i don’t need a word to describe what is happening to my icecream.

              You were the one that defined evolution as a creator. It is a process, no different than melting, burning, flowing, rising, falling, chilling, freezing, puking, digesting, etc. It’s just a name for something we observe. Funamentalists are fearful that their very narrow and literal interpretation of the bible will be shaken by teaching science. Maybe that’s exactly what should happen? If their faith can’t understand a little science, if their view can’t expand with our enlarging understadning of the universe, then maybe they should be left behind.

              Ironically, even though they deny evolution playing a part in their own creation they are trying to promote a pro-life, natural selection agenda where they outbreed and crowd out everyone else and their beliefs. Even more recently they have been promoting a darwinian “survival of the fittest” economic model.

              I would argue ethics and true christian ideals would find a better home in an economic or free-enterprise class. What has happened is fundamentalists have taken evolution out of science classes and retooled it for their own purposes and placed it as a moral ideal to pursue in poli-sci and economics courses. I’m sure Milton Friedman would be proud, but I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ would not be.

              • kurt hunsinger says:

                >I still haven’t seen a simple, cogent argument for introducing creationism or even intelligetn design.

                In science classes? Why would I? Why would anyone? It’s a selfish notion. None of my posts even come close to suggesting it.

                >or even what concepts people think should be introduced precisely.

                Yes I have, I’ve made two. You seem to believe that the “evolution-is-responsible-for-creating-you” concept is not an issue but try to face it, whether it’s delibrate or implyed this is the impression students are walking away with. If science would delibrately put an end to this misconception I believe we could see an end to IDers trying to push into the science classroom. You were able to say “I don’t think evolution “created” anything.” If leaders in science could publicly make such an admission we’d be a huge step closer to “solving this”

                I also suggested moving both creationism (ID) and the evolution-is-responsible-for-life concepts into a Theoretical Sciences classroom. (?)

                >Are we just talking about openning up the book of Genesis… God made it… Now go home and read your bibles >and forget about measuring or understanding anything.

                Really? You’re gonna try to put that is my mouth? You’re really gonna try to fit me in with the people you already know how to deal with and whose ideas are easy to dispose of? Pretty lame dude!

                >You were the one that defined evolution as a creator.

                Incorrect. I tried to communicate that that is an all too common misconception that science leaders should make a delibrate effort to dispell.

                >If their faith can’t understand a little science, if their view can’t expand with our enlarging understadning of the >universe, then maybe they should be left behind.

                Should be left behind what? Behind your vision of enlightenment? Behind the current ideal for mankinds future? Thinking rather grand of yourself, aren’t you? Can you really not hear you own religiosity?

                >Ironically, even though they deny evolution playing a part in their own creation they are trying to promote a pro->life, natural selection agenda where they outbreed and crowd out everyone else and their beliefs.

                And you wanted to stay on topic? Outbreed the competition, eh? This is just a little weird. But feel free to elaborate if you want to.

                You’ve mentioned Christianity a number of times. I am not a Christian. I don’t think any single religious believe is the right way to go for me. I’m a layperson regarding evloutionary theory and even though I’ve read more on the subject than anyone in my acquaintence I still address the matter with a learning rather than a knowing perspective.

                So do you really mean to say a person must have an “argument” for one side or the other in order to speak on the topic? If so I think you are mistaken. That opnion would be born more of a desire for contention than conversation. .

              • >I still haven’t seen a simple, cogent argument for introducing creationism or even intelligetn design.

                In science classes? Why would I? Why would anyone? It’s a selfish notion. None of my posts even come close to suggesting it.

                That was he entire point of this post. It was not an existential discussion about what may or may not have been behind natural laws and evolutionary processes, but whether creationism or intelligent design belong in k-12 classroom settings.

                I have no problem with parents or religious leaders telling their children God directed evolution, my problem is that arument that evolution doesn;t take place, creatures don’t evolve new traits over time, natural selection doesn’t take place (except in economic scenarios), the only reason we find “new” creatures is because they always existed and we just finally got around to discovering them. That is the creationist argument. They believe the earth was formed in the 6 days outline in the bible. Our current concept of a day as one earth revolution around the sun (although they actually believe one sun revolution around the earth since the earth is the center of the universe) They believe dinosaurs just died out a few thousand years ago, and we still have a few running around off the coast of Japan or in Scotland. They don’t believe in carbon dating, half lives, or most of nuclear science I’d imagine. Creationists believe we were suddenly deposited on the earth in our current state, that God took one of Adams ribs and created a woman for him as a companion. Creationists believe man dwelled in the garden of Eden until snake got involved and that all creatures are here for our amusement. Creationists don’t believe we can have an impacton our enrironment, and that if we do, God will simply fix it for us if we ask him and we are worthy. Creationists want this taught in public school Science classes. Creationists don’t want evolution taught at all, they want science to be an extension of bible school. From their point of view it makes a certain kind of sense, but that’s why we have a Constitution that is supposed to define a separation of church and state. Their argument is, if you do anything to contradict my religious beliefs you are infringing on my religious beliefs, therfore you must teach my religious beliefs or you are taking a stand against them. If all religions took this stand, and it were accepted, we’d have total chaos and very little learning going on in schools.

                I was not putting anything in your mouth (yucky image). I was making the case of a person you are defending. I tried to get somone to actually fess up to what they were asking us to do, but everyone has coyly evaded the specifics because they know they are indefensible when specifically outline. Ask someone if they support the vague idea of creationism or ID being taught in school they are more likely to say “yes,” – most people in this country are Christians and they think it sounds innocent enough. However if you explain the specifics of what that would mean most non-Fundamentalists would (and have) said no.

                You were the one proposing to “solve” the problem by just accepting creationism and ID without even understanding what that would mean. By your own admission you didn;t understand this was a discussion about teaching those theories beside or in place of evolution. If you take a side, you really should be able to defend it. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

                I don’t mind exploring the question or the implications, but when you try to come to “wrap this up” without making a strong case or even defining what you are proposing exactly, you should expect a little pushback.

                • kurt hunsinger says:

                  >That was he entire point of this post.

                  Was it really? Was that really the *entire* point? That was all there was to it? The whole thing is *entirely* about one point? One point, just waiting there, standing alone, exclusive from all other points? Wow, what a point!

                  Really, man, not be rude, but there is no such point. No point is the entire point.

                  • Yup.  That was it.  Understand why i was getting frustrated?  I never said evolution had to exist without a creator or religious context, but I think that is something for parents, kids and religions to work out, outside of the classroom.

                    Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      >Understand why i was getting frustrated?

                      Yes, I do.

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      >If you take a side, you really should be able to defend it. I don’t think that is unreasonable. I don’t mind exploring the question or the implications, but when you try to come to “wrap this up” without making a strong case or even defining what you are proposing exactly, you should expect a little pushback

                      Fair enough. You’ve made strong arguments to support a position and I’ve made mostly observations. For me theres more to cover before making a strong case. It’s not the stuff you can address with a pre-packaged-science-in-the-classroom set of discussion points. Your call if you want that kind of broader discourse.
                      .
                      > I was making the case of a person you are defending.

                      I”m trying to examine what people believe focusing on why they believe it. Thats very different than defending it. I’m including evolution as something people believe in, that doesn’t mean I’m refuting it as science. I’ve already asnwered, yes, teach science not religion in the classroom. .

                      >I tried to get somone to actually fess up to what they were asking us to do, but everyone has coyly evaded the specifics because they know they are indefensible when specifically outline.

                      My approach may seem off topic so I can see how it might seem evasive. Not my intention.

                      >Ask someone if they support the vague idea of creationism or ID being taught in school they are more likely to say “yes,” – most people in this country are Christians and they think it sounds innocent enough. However if you explain the specifics of what that would mean most non-Fundamentalists would (and have) said no.

                      Agreed. There are plenty of hard core creationists just waiting at the door, hoping to win the classrooms for Jesus! Science-trained teachers should be teaching science and should be teaching that biology is capable of evolution. Should be a no-brainer, right? Seems like the whole debate shouldn’t even exist, it should be a slam dunk, non-issue for everyone. But it’s not! And it likely wont ever be. Odd but true. So if you’re really looking for a solution, getting to the of why/how people get so attached to what they believe IS the issue. Can you see that?

            • flippertie . says:

              Kurt,
              In several of your comments and again twice in the last one you refer to the desire to understand a creator, or the search for a creator as something that is common between science and religion. I think this is mistaken.

              In the distant past humans used their brains to survive as opposed to speed, strength, agility, teeth, etc like other species. This lead us as a species to have a hyper-active ‘agency detector’. When something unexpected happens we leap for explanations that assume something or something *made it happen*.

              In primitive times this was a survival tool. Hear a noise in the night and assume it’s a leopard or an enemy and you will survive longer than someone who assumes it’s the wind and goes back to sleep.

              Believing “someone did it” is the beginning of religions.
              If you think the crops failed because ‘somebody’ made them die – then rain dances and animal sacrifices to appease that ‘somebody’ make sense. If you think ‘somebody’s’ curse made your child’s cut get infected so she died – then hunting for the witch who placed the curse makes sense.

              But we have progressed beyond a life that is only about survival. Now as we have more time to think it’s obvious that not everything that happens has a thinking being behind it – lots of things have natural explanations.

              If you notice the crops failed when they don’t get enough water, then you might think of planting nearer the stream, or digging an irrigation ditch. If you notice that dirty cuts fester, and clean ones don’t – you might think of cleaning a dirty cut to stop it festering. Realisng that things can have natural causes is the beginning of science.

              The search search for *causes* is the common theme between science and religion. Assuming, or looking for, a *creator* who made it all happen is exclusively religious. The difference is absolutely crucial.

              • kurt hunsinger says:

                >the desire to understand a creator, or the search for a creator as something that is common between science and religion. I think this is mistaken.

                I’ve been told that before. The bible believers I know think I;m wrong about that too. And honestly, that still surprises me. The desire to understand IS what they have in common! Also the desire that others understand what creator they”ve discovered. And the desire that what they believe be taught to thier children. Niether side has to have the same goals or methods or beliefs or results or even be correct in a single assertion to have a common desire.This quote from Richard Dawkins says it well

                “A universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one. A physics, a biology where there is a God is bound to look different. So the most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory”

                If you’re willing to acknowledge that both science and religion are equally products of human desire, then you might be willing to admit the inverse: “A unverse with science would look quite different from a universe without it… the most basic claims of science are religious”

                >The search search for *causes* is the common theme between science and religion. Assuming, or looking for, a *creator* who made it all happen is exclusively >religious. The difference is absolutely crucial

                This is a super good point. The best i”ve heard you offer. I think we might be close to the same page – on this point – if you could acknowledge that at least some individuals engaged in the study of evolution – who would otherwise claim to be driven only by science are, at the heart of their desire, looking for a creator.

                ( what drives that desire is the issue I hope we can get to)

                • flippertie . says:

                  The Dawkins quote “Religion is a scientific theory’ is new to me.

                  It’s true in the sense that most religions make claims about the nature of universe. It is is also true that most of those claims have been disproved, or at least lack evidence, so religions are at best *failed* scientific theories.

                  We agree that both science and religion are products of humanity’s urge to understand what goes on around us. I also agree with the quotation “The most basic claims of religion are scientific”. e.g. The claim that the universe is 10,000 years old is scientific. it is also false.

                  For the converse “The most basic claims of science are religious” – We’re getting into semantic territory here – you give me a definition of ‘religious’ in this context and I’ll tell you if I agree.

                  It is true that some physicists and astronomers can sound almost mystical when they talk about the size of the universe, or the weirdness of quantum mechanics, but that does not mean they are invoking supernatural causes.

                  As for your last point “some individuals … who … claim to be driven only by science are, at the heart of their desire, looking for a creator.” I have no problem with that. Much of early science was openly driven by, or justified as, a desire ‘to know the mind of god’. Some scientists still hold to that openly. Others, I’m sure, hide their religion, and others perhaps subconsciously wish it were true.

                  Heck, I’m not a scientist but I’d love to believe. The idea that it’s all going to be OK in the end and big sky daddy’s looking after me must be wonderfully comforting. But I can’t get my mind to go there.

                  • kurt hunsinger says:

                    >getting into semantic territory… give me a definition of ‘religious’ in this context and I’ll tell you if I agree

                    Agreed on the semantics problem. I’d say, asserting a belief in, or claiming knowledge of, the source of existence. With that definition pretty much everyone is religious – which I kinda think is true. But since the creation-minded are capable of acting scientifically and the evolution-minded capable of “religious” motives, both delibrately and unconsciencely, I’m not sure how to nail it down. Oddly enough that Jung reference may apply here, “The individual cannot be defined by examing the group” (which now that I think of it, I tend to speak in terms of the individuals motives and charactoristics while you tend to speak in terms of the motives and charactoristics of groups)

                    >It is true that some physicists and astronomers can sound almost mystical when they talk about the size of the >universe, or the weirdness of quantum mechanics, but that does not mean they are invoking supernatural causes

                    Also agreed. I enjoy reading some physics related stuff but am far too much a novice to make any physics comments. Some of what Ive read, well, all that i”ve read suggest if we want to understand our universe – or even how we’re able to perceive it, it’s going to be thruough quantum machanics.Which makes me want to ask again what explaination evolution has for conscienceness? I haven’t found any. Some physics guys say conscienceness is more likely responible for what we see as evolution than the other way around.

                  • kurt hunsinger says:

                    >… Some scientists still hold to that openly. Others, I’m sure, hide their religion, and others perhaps subconsciously wish it were true.

                    Thanks for being so open about that.

                    >Heck, I’m not a scientist but I’d love to believe. The idea that it’s all going to be OK in the end and big sky daddy’s looking after me must be wonderfully comforting. But I can’t get my mind to go there

                    I get that. Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to be a real believer/advocate for either side, but instead I feel theres something equally substantial and hopelessly silly about both sides. Funny thing though, if I had to choose, it feels to me that evolution is more of a “big sky daddy”. You can say science is accountable to the facts and religion is not, but since we’ve established that both are inventions of human desire it’s fair to ask both sides what purpose that desire serves. Regardless of whether or not you buy into it, religion at least addresses the question, science ignores it; which is really weird because evolutionary science is very diligent about finding the purpose behind what drives the desires of other animals! Some groups of animals on this planet have been practicing the same faith for 5000 years. Evolution seems to think that that’s an issue for other sciences but I don’t think it is. What would cause a species to behave in such a manner if there were not a purpose for it? Blowing it off as a “big sky daddy” just doesn’t cut it.

                  • kurt hunsinger says:

                    >… Some scientists still hold to that openly. Others, I’m sure, hide their religion, and others perhaps subconsciously wish it were true.

                    Thanks for being so open about that.

                    >Heck, I’m not a scientist but I’d love to believe. The idea that it’s all going to be OK in the end and big sky daddy’s looking after me must be wonderfully comforting. But I can’t get my mind to go there

                    I get that. Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to be a real believer/advocate for either side, but instead I feel theres something equally substantial and hopelessly silly about both sides. Funny thing though, if I had to choose, it feels to me that evolution is more of a “big sky daddy”. You can say science is accountable to the facts and religion is not, but since we’ve established that both are inventions of human desire it’s fair to ask both what purpose that desire serves. Regardless of whether or not you buy into it, religion at least addresses the question, science ignores it; which is really weird because evolutionary science is very diligent about finding the purpose behind what drives the desires of other animals! Some groups of animals on this planet have been practicing the same faith for 5000 years. Evolution seems to think that that’s an issue for other sciences but I don’t think it is. What would cause a species to behave in such a manner if there were not a purpose for it? Blowing it off as a “big sky daddy” just doesn’t cut it.

      • Mmmm, Carl Jung is delicious….
        I say, Kurt, have you read Man and His Symbols?

        • kurt hunsinger says:

          sorry, not interested in a Carl Jung discussion. I’m mentioned him with that point because of his commitment to individuality; that any examination of the group is bound to produce misconceptions when attempting to learn something of the individual.

  6. eideard says:

    Science rules. Everything else is hanging onto ignorance for a number of reasons. Unscientific reasons.

    • I agree science should be taught in a science class. . . that seems pretty obvious. I don’t see much crossover from creationist creed that is applicable, but I’m still willing to listen if anyone has something they’d like to share. . .

      I think ignorance of what science classes are, drives some to feel they need to insert their religion. Most of us are not scientists, and don’t realize how science impacts every moment of their lives. . . from the temperatures they boil their water, the time they cook their pork, to their cars and iphones and internets. Its not fair to say all those who are religious are ignorant. No doubt there are some people who are very closed minded, uneducated, racist ,etc (and I’m sure there are plenty of people who believe in science that share those traits as well) but there are those who are more enlightened and educated who take comfort in the idea of a creator, of something greater than themeselves.

      Science can’t explain the “why” we exist or the “what” we should be doing. While some humanist theory would rationalize that taking care of our fellow man is taking care of our society and ourselves, I think it’s also comforting that think that “goodness” is a thing that some force or supernatual entity respects, encourages and rewards. What has saddened me is that religions are being lead astray siren songs of the corpratists who tell them their god wants them to punish the poor and weak but depriving them of shelter, and food so they will better themselves. . . and if they don;t god wants them to starve. They may as well replace their crucifixes of Jesus with ones of Milton Friedman, and their statues of Mary with statues of Ayn Rand.

  7. flippertie . says:

    These columns are getting too narrow for me so I’m leaping out to full width again…

    This is >> Kurt Hunsinger in reply to:

    “You can say science is accountable to the facts and religion is not, but since we’ve established that both are inventions of human desire it’s fair to ask both sides what purpose that desire serves. Regardless of whether or not you buy into it, religion at least addresses the question, science ignores it; ”

    Incorrect. I touched on it in an earlier comment – Curiosity and the desire for explanations was a survival trait in early humans.

    In their earliest forms Religion and Science were the same thing: asking questions like What made that happen? Is it going to happen again? Can I make it happen or stop it happening?

    A question I find more interesting is the reasons religions have survived past the point where they are helpful in individual survival, to the point where they can often be detrimental to individuals [suicide bombing? celibate priesthood?]

    One idea suggests suggests that in nomadic/tribal societies the group cohesion resulting from strongly shared beliefs may have helped religious tribes out-compete their ‘freethinking’ rivals. google Psychology of religion for more.

    Another fascinating possibility is that religions exist and survive past the point where they give individuals survival benefits – purely for their own advantage. This discussion was started by Richard Dawkins, if I remember rightly in ‘the selfish gene’. He coined the word ‘meme’ for a ‘unit of idea’ by analogy to ‘gene’ as unit of inheritability. He was trying to make the point that anywhere you have reproduction, variation, and competition you will have a form of evolution – not just in living animals. The fact that the meme ‘meme’ ‘went viral’ and reached millions of human brains (including yours, dear reader) has been an ongoing source of pleasure to him.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/9vly34x for a recent interview with him or look up his essay ‘Viruses of the mind’.

    • kurt hunsinger says:

      >getting too narrow for me so I’m leaping out to full width again

      I appreciate being able to run thru this stuff with you

      >Curiosity and the desire for explanations was a survival trait in early humans

      Cannot agree that a desire to seek/understand a non-existent, self-invented creator could possibly be a survival trait. Best we can tell life in one form or another has been on this planet for 3 – 4 billion years, thats about 20 – 25 percent as long as the whole universe has existed. And after all that a species comes along that somehow needs to desire knowledge of its creator for survival? That seems a bit far fetched.

      >…reasons religions have survived past the point where they are helpful in individual survival… helped religious tribes out-compete their ‘freethinking’ rivals.

      I’m sure lots of folks feel that idea of Dawkins holds water. But it isn’t it really just a shot in the dark? Why would any trait/behavior succeed in any species if it failed to jive with a genuine reality? His argument is so eager to dispute existence of a creator it contradicts basic ideas of evolution.

      >In their earliest forms Religion and Science were the same thing: asking questions like What made that happen?

      What do you mean by “early forms”? inquiry is inquiry. Instead of saying “Religion and Science were the same thing” wouldn’t it be more acurate to say “humans in all periods of time, regardless of geography, background or style of inquiry are asking the same things.” Pretty cool when you think about it.

      >not just in living animals. The fact that the meme ‘meme’ ‘went viral’ and reached millions of human brains

      Come on, now, that is hardly a fact. I can see how that idea could be satifying to an existing anti-creationist thinker, but otherwise wheres the beef?? Dawkins was a pretty smart guy but his bias shows around every corner. Why should examining any desire of any creature lead us to believe that the object of desire is non-existent?

      • flippertie . says:

        1>>”Cannot agree that a desire to seek/understand a non-existent, self-invented creator could possibly be a survival trait.”
        It’s *NOT* a desire to seek out a creator. I’m talking about an evolved desire to understand cause-and-effects that make the world tick. If you understand patterns in the world you can make predictions. If those predictions help you avoid predators or find food, then the tendency to seek explanations and understand things is a survival trait.
        The idea that a creator may be responsible for the universe is just a side-effect of our evolved pattern recognition habit. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

        >> “a species comes along that somehow needs to desire knowledge of its creator for survival? That seems a bit far fetched.”
        Again with the creator! You are mixing up an evolved trait in a species, with the uses that trait is put to by some individuals .
        Some proto-humans had high curiosity levels and a tendency to seek explanations. Those traits helped them survive and prosper. So their descendants (that’s us) are likely to have those traits in a heightened form. The fact that some of us come up with plausible but incorrect explanations for things is just a by-product.

        >> “Why would any trait/behavior succeed in any species if it failed to jive with a genuine reality?”
        If all your tribe believe sacrificing to Gazil the war god makes you invincible in battle, and that helps your tribe fight more fiercely and win food and territory – then believing is a beneficial trait, regardless of whether belief in Gazil ‘jives with a genuine reality’ or not.

        >> “What do you mean by “early forms”? inquiry is inquiry.”
        True. But what you do with the results of the inquiry is important too. Religious believers tend to fit observations to the answers they already have- which stifles development in the long term.

        >> “Why should examining any desire of any creature lead us to believe that the object of desire is non-existent?”
        Are you back to a creator again? The existence of a desire for something, does not mean that the desired object actually exists. I may desire a diamond the size of my head, but examination of that desire will soon lead us to believe that the diamond does not exist. Others may want to live in a universe that was deliberately created, but examination of that desire… etc.

        • kurt hunsinger says:

          >… an evolved desire to understand cause-and-effects that make the world tick. If you understand patterns in the world you can make predictions help you avoid predators or find food.

          Yes, I get that. Even our cat and dog get that, the cupboard opens, food bag rattles, time to eat, fail to recognize patterns and the dog gets your food! I’ve no doubt that recognizing patterns, understanding cause-effect and making predictions are survival traits and evolved given all variety of environmental and competition conditions. Theres an interesting book called The Incognito Brain where he observed how just a fleating glimps of a woman can often generate a more generous-than-deserved image in our mind as an example of how pattern recognition can be both potent and motivating.

          I cked out the link. Want to make sure I get how you feel this relates to our conversation. I’m reading you as saying: Since pareidolia stimulates us to assign significance to random images, we have, over time, eroneously assigned a pareidolia-style “creator” to what is, when viewed objectively, no more than an evolved behavior that confers a survival benefit. Is that right? I’ll comment more but wanna make sure here before I do.

          • flippertie . says:

            That’s fairly close to what I believe. I’d be more likely to phrase it thus:

            We have over time, [influenced by tendencies that evolved for other reasons] erroneously assigned a pareidolia-style “creator” to what are, when viewed objectively, naturally caused events [like seasons, floods, famine, disease, plant growth etc],

            Further – once you accept a creator god exists, then trying to influence its behaviour makes sense [praying, sacrifices, rituals]. Add in to the mix an increasingly complex society which needs bureaucracy, order and rules of behaviour to function, and bingo! Established religion.

            To me this sort of reasoning could explain both the similarities between religions the world over [They come from the same biology and are solving similar social issues], and the differences [the people who started them came from different environments]

        • kurt hunsinger says:

          Most of us have experienced pareidolia so I can understand the connection youre making. Heres where it fall s short for me – all the examples at that link – and all conceivable examples – show that when an erroneous image is applied to a genuine occurance the imagery consists only of known, genuine realities. Your example of imagining a daimond the size of your head is only possible because of your experience with actual diamonds and existing knowledge of heads. You can make the extrapolation of big diamonds – or of small heads – but pareidolia does not even suggest you could invent the notion of either if they didn’t already exist. In other words, pareidolia only works with stuff we have priori knowledge of. So unless youre saying early humans had knowledge of a creator the analogy just doesnt work. When you think about it, pareidolia would support knowledge of an actual creator in early humans more than contradict it.

          >The fact that some of us come up with plausible but incorrect explanations for things…

          If the “plausible but incorrect explanations” theory is correct why would it find expression only in the creator catagory. What would be another example of plausible incorrectness as pervasive throughout humanity as the notion of a creator? More importantly, what evidence could you offer to show that your belief on this issue is not equally influenced pareidolia?

          Curiosity and desire are funny things. The first plans for a manned mission into space was written by a scienstist who lived in the 1200’s (sorry dont recall his name) But both of us could think of many similar examples of how desire has represented, and found to revealed, genuine realities not in evidence at the time. So my question – Why should examining any desire of any creature lead us to believe that the object of desire is non-existent? – doesn’t have to be squeezed into an survival trait paradigm. Isn’t it just as plausible that the desire to understand a creator reveals a genuine reality?

          >… is just a by-product. >and bingo! Established religion

          The manner in which humanity, past and present, has sought to understand and relate to a creator has been delibrate and relentless. If you really believe it is “just a by-product” youre in denial. It has been one of our most prevailing pre-occupations throughout time. It is either an incurable insanity or it represents an actual reality. Maybe not the kind of reality Reverend Fire and Brimstone would have you beleieve but a reality non the less. If you could offer an alternative that holds water that would be great. But no one has, I’ve spent years looking. If it represents an insanity theres no reason to believe you or I or anyone else is immune to it. If it represents a reality – and theres no reason to believe it doesn’t – we should consider creator related science as seriously as any other. I know that opens up a huge can of worms, all those wacky religious fanatics running around thinking their on the inside track. But I believe evolutionary science should be called upon for a better explanation than the usual “it’s just a by-product” or it’s a “big sky daddy” and the like.

  8. flippertie . says:

    >> “pareidolia only works with stuff we have priori knowledge of. So unless youre saying early humans had knowledge of a creator the analogy just doesnt work.”
    Early humans were creators themselves so the analogy is fine. E.g. I can make a boom noise with a drum – must be a *really* big guy and drum making thunder noises…

    >> If the “plausible but incorrect explanations” theory is correct why would it find expression only in the creator catagory.
    It doesn’t. Humans come up with plausible, but incorrect explanations all the time. I spent an hour yesterday convinced I’d dropped my wallet or been burgled. In fact my wife had moved the wallet from where I’d left it by the unlocked front door.

    >>Why should examining any desire of any creature lead us to believe that the object of desire is non-existent?
    Our desires are separate from the existence of the objects we desire. We can desire things that exist, may exist, have existed, will someday exist, cannot ever exist, etc.

    >> Isn’t it just as plausible that the desire to understand a creator reveals a genuine reality?
    ” the desire to understand a creator” – Again I think you’re coming at it from the wrong angle. I believe we have a a ‘desire to understand the universe’, and the ‘creator hypothesis’ is only one of several possible explanations.

    >> “It is either an incurable insanity or it represents an actual reality. If it represents an insanity theres no reason to believe you or I or anyone else is immune to it. ”
    False dichotomy. It’s a deeply ingrained trait, not insanity. To people with limited knowledge the creator hypothesis is a rational explanation of things. As more data have come to us over history it becomes less credible. Same with flat-earthism.

    >>If it represents a reality – and theres no reason to believe it doesn’t …
    The biggest reason to believe the creator hypothesis does not represent reality is the lack of evidence.

    >> But I believe evolutionary science should be called upon for a better explanation than the usual “it’s just a by-product”
    Why? The scientific method has given us our current understanding of the world around us. If you or anyone else believes this knowledge is founded on false premises then you need to provide evidence to back it up.

    I think our fundamental difference in this area is that you concentrate on “the desire to understand a creator” while I think of that as a subset of “the desire to understand the universe” . I admit that the god hypothesis has been remarkably prevalent throughout humanity’s history. But I also note that it has been becoming less pervasive over the past few centuries – roughly in parallel with the rise of science and general education. I am aware that ‘correlation does not imply causation’ – but I think in this case there probably is a link.

    • kurt hunsinger says:

      >I’d dropped my wallet… desires are separate from the existence of the objects we desire

      I’ll rephrase the question: can you sight an example of the “plausible but incorrect explanations” theory that has been as universaly known, accepted, practiced, and as persistent as the desire to understand a creator? It’s not the concept that you need to explain, I get that. Do you have an example that is more on the scope we’re talking about?

      >I think you’re coming at it from the wrong angle.

      Yes, I know, thats why I want to talk with you. I want to understand something that can only come from a person like you. What is the glue that holds your conviction together? The point I’ve tried to explore with all my posts is that those with a pro-evolution position have a faith-like commitment to evolution; an often unsubstantiated faith that leads them to make unsupported statements that, when you really get down to it with folks, are religiously held. Ya gotta admit “drum making thunder noises” is just not a terribly convincing argument for rebuking the sum of humanities commitment to the existence of a creator throughout human history. Not to sound combative here, but do you have anything more substantial than pareiodia style survival traits, banging drums and losing your wallet to offer??

      > the ‘creator hypothesis’ is only one of several possible explanations

      Agreed.

      >To people with limited knowledge the creator hypothesis is a rational explanation of things.

      Wow, sorry dude, but thats just arogant. Somehow we’ve adopted the idea that pre-evolution-thinking is limited and post-evolution-thinking is expansive. What a myth! An evolution-creator myth. As I’ve said before, the power of faith-by-authority is just as potent in science as in religion and if you read more about ancient Mesopetamian, Samarian, Babalonian, Egyptian, Islamic or native American people I believe you would cease thinking of early humans as having “limited knowledge” as well.

      >As more data have come to us over history it becomes less credible.

      What data would that be, exactly? And who does it need to be credible to? What is the criteria for crediblitiy? This is kinda serious and speaks to the original blog issue. Are you really suggesting that “science” should evaluate the credibility of where people place their faith?

      >reason creator hypothesis does not represent reality is the lack of evidence.

      I suppose thats true. But with what motive has evolutionary science looked for evidence of a creator thus far? Try Michael Talbut, Robert Lanza or Pim Lommel for a less bias view.

      >a better explanation than the usual “it’s just a by-product” Why?

      Because “it’s just a by-product” does not speak to reality of how people actually live, actually think, actually raise the children or how people actively embrace their history, culture and identity; because “it’s just a by-product” marginalizes the thrust of how our species actually behaves.

      > I also note that it has been becoming less pervasive over the past few centuries – roughly in parallel with the rise of science and general education.

      I’ll ck this out but I do not believe this is true. I’ve heard recently that just the opposite is true but will ck on it.

      • flippertie . says:

        >> an example of the “plausible but incorrect explanations” theory as persistent as the desire to understand a creator?
        We’re going round in circles here. The pervasiveness of religion is almost universal – I don’t deny that. But it is a sub-set of the desire to understand our origins, and that in turn is a subset of our drive to seek explanations. The pervasiveness of religions is fascinating and definitely worthy of study. The need to understand our origins must relate to something deep and fundamental about our minds and the way they work. But that does not mean that any of the hundreds or religions that have existed are true.

        >> pro-evolution position … faith-like commitment to evolution …unsubstantiated faith … unsupported statements … are religiously held.

        I disagree. I don’t know the people you have spoken to, but for me the commitment to the truth of evolutionary theory is akin to my commitment to the theory that the Roman empire once existed. I don’t know all the evidence, but what I do know, and the consistent position of scholars who know much more than me, leads me to believe that both are true. The difference is that some people, mainly religious believers, find that Evolution conflicts with their beliefs whereas no-one is threatened by the Romans.
        Show me where I am wrong, and I’ll adjust my beliefs. For example the changing views of the utility of ‘non-coding / junk’ DNA – fascinating and overturning some things I thought were true.. With religious people the opposite tends to be true.

        >>To people with limited knowledge the creator hypothesis is a rational explanation of things.
        >thats just arogant.
        Possibly. But that doesn’t make it wrong

        >> Somehow we’ve adopted the idea that pre-evolution-thinking is limited and post-evolution-thinking is expansive. What a myth! An evolution-creator myth.

        Are you seriously claiming that Sumerians, Babylonians etc had the same knowledge of Astronomy, plate tectonics, geology, atomic theory, relativity, genetics, anthropology, radioactivity etc as we do today?
        I’m not saying those peoples were not intelligent – just that they had less information to work with, so their solutions were more likely to be incorrect. We are all ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’

        >>As more data have come to us over history it becomes less credible.
        >What data would that be, exactly? And who does it need to be credible to?
        For example data about the age of the earth and the universe. The fact that the earth is a minor planet in orbit round a minor star, in an unremarkable part of an unremarkable galaxy.. and not the centre of the universe. The fact that we share our genetic makeup with every other living thing so far discovered, no sign of special creation. Etc Etc…

        >>Are you really suggesting that “science” should evaluate the credibility of where people
        place their faith?
        I’m saying that I choose to put my ‘faith’ where the most evidence points. And the fact that we have several thousand years more to draw on than did the Babylonians suggests that where we are more likely to be correct about these things than they were.

        >> I also note that [god hypothesis] has been becoming less pervasive over the past few centuries – roughly in parallel with the rise of science and general education.
        >I’ll ck this out but I do not believe this is true.
        Perhaps not in the US – but in Europe, and the UK certainly it is:

        http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-10-europe-religion-cover_x.htm

        http://www.aljazeera.com/INDEPTH/OPINION/2011/12/201112189292367590.html

        • kurt hunsinger says:

          >We’re going round in circles here.

          Maybe. If you feel we’ve reach the agree to disagree point I can live with that.

          >an example of the “plausible but incorrect explanations” theory as persistent as the desire to understand a creator?

          Yes, I think you need to come up with something comparible in scope if “plausible but incorrect explanations” is to apply here. If not the argument has no teeth.

          >The need to understand our origins must relate to something deep and fundamental about our minds and the way they work

          Couldn’t agree more. Just why it is so deep and fundamental is the substance I think of our whole conversation.

          >pervasiveness of religion is almost universal… But it is a sub-set of the desire to understand our origins, and that in turn is a subset of our drive to seek explanations

          Why “a sub-set”? What standard does that come from?? Someone with an opposite agenda could just as acurately insert “the primary reason” or “the exclusive motivation”. Actions either confer an advantage or they dont. Really, labeling one type of action as “sub-set” is an arbitrary extention of your “just a by-product ” bias. But the rest your sentense describes the same point I’ve made all along, difference being that you feel the creator-image represents an illusion and I believe it represents a reality.

          >for me the commitment to the truth of evolutionary theory is akin to my commitment to the theory that the Roman empire once existed. I don’t know all the evidence

          The existence of the Roman Empire is not a theory. What you’ve done here is called borrowed credibilty; applying an established fact to lend credibilty to an unrelated theory. (I guess it’s a lot like pareidolia :) maybe you didnt even know you did it. A great quote from W. Churchill, ” The best argument against democracy is 10 minutes the average voter”. Sometimes I think the best argument against evolution (and creationism) is 10 minutes with the average believer. We are all subject to bias, authority, ego, group mentality, placebo… and pareidolia . All of us. Creationism is not the cause and science not the cure. There is no “truth of evolutionary theory” anymore than there is “truth of creationism”. They are mechanisms through which we observe and experience, an extention of the observer. And there is no experience free of bias. I’d challenge you to name anything that is wholely indiginous to evolutionary theory that is objectively true.

          >Show me where I am wrong, and I’ll adjust my beliefs

          Not my intention or desire to have you adjust any beliefs on my account! I’m more interested in our conversation to see if my own beliefs hold any water. Hope you feel same.

          >I choose to put my ‘faith’ where the most evidence points.

          We have a capasity for both intellect and faith but evidence points to faith being the more potent of two, even when it feels like intellect. Group acceptence more potent than choice, even when it feels like choice. Placebo more potent than reason, even when it feels like reason. (paraphrasing Fred Wolf) As far as evidence goes, what is the evidence that evolution by natural slection accounts for conscienceness?

  9. flippertie . says:

    >>I think you need to come up with something comparible in scope if “plausible but incorrect explanations” is to apply here.
    Why? You are the one claiming we have an urge to seek a creator. I think that is incorrect as I have stated several times. If you want to convince me, or anyone else, that such an urge exists you need to provide evidence.

    >>…a sub-set of the desire to understand our origins, and that in turn is a subset of our drive to seek explanations
    >Why “a sub-set”?
    Because the urge to “seek explanations of our origins” is only a small part (=sub-set) of a wider tendency to “seek explanations of things we don’t understand”.

    >> The existence of the Roman Empire is not a theory. What you’ve done here is called borrowed credibilty; … :) maybe you didnt even know you did it.
    I chose that example deliberately :) Dawkins used it in the intro to one of his books.
    How would you prove to someone that the Romans existed if he had faith in a holy book that told him the similarity in European languages and the existence of the ruins etc were just snares of Satan set to deceive him?

    >>There is no “truth of evolutionary theory” anymore than there is “truth of creationism”. …
    Ah. You raise a key point. **Evolution is both a fact and a theory**
    The Fact of evolution: populations and species change over time. Species once existed that do not exist now, and species that live now did not exist in the distant past. To deny that requires that almost the whole structure of modern science is wrong.

    The Theory of evolution is our best explanation we have of the mechanisms underlying the observed facts of evolution.

    So – Evolution is true in the sense that change happens. The Theory of Evolution will be updated and refined, but the basic mechanisms of mutation, variation, and selection are as well established as anything in science.

    >>And there is no experience free of bias.
    True. Which is why the scientific method is the most important tool humanity has developed for seeking the truth. It is the only truly effective tool we have for discovering and minimising individual bias when talking about the world around us.

    Ask a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or atheist the nature of god, or the age of the earth and you get multiple,incompatible answers.
    Ask the same group to measure the speed of light in a vacuum, or rate of caesium decay and you get the same or very similar answers. Any individual bias or error is subject to scrutiny and eventually exposed. That’s why there is no separate Hindu Science, Buddhist science (or Creationist science).

    >>wholely indiginous to evolutionary theory that is objectively true.
    Not really sure what you mean by this. Remember science, including Evo.Theory does not *prove* things are true. The best it can say is “None of the observations and experiments we have done so far contradict the hypothesis that xxxxx is true”

    >>We have a capasity for both intellect and faith but evidence points to faith being the more potent of two, even when it feels like intellect.
    Possibly. But that’s where the scientific method comes in – to get other people to help eliminate the bias introduced by our taking things on faith.

    >>what is the evidence that evolution by natural slection accounts for conscienceness?
    I don’t know. But looking at say slugs, fish, dogs, chimps and humans it’s possible to see a progression in complexity and self awareness that could be explained by evolution. What is the evidence that anything other than natural evolution accounts for it?

    Kurt, it’s been fun, and stimulated me to think about these things again – but I think you’re right – we’re getting close to agree to disagree time here.

    • kurt hunsinger says:

      Lets leave it here then. Yes, has been fun. This is the first time I’ve tried to write out some of these ideas, so thanks for the chance to try that and thanks to Crazycrawfish for the place to do it.
      If I come across something new or interesting I hope we can try it again

  10. Pertinent to the idea we’re programmed to seek explanations:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017102451.htm

    “Even though advanced scientific training can reduce acceptance of scientifically inaccurate teleological explanations, it cannot erase a tenacious early-emerging human tendency to find purpose in nature. It seems that our minds may be naturally more geared to religion than science.”

    • kurt says:

      Howdy, been a while.
      Yes, that mostly makes sense to me. What is strange to me is how the article defines our tendency to see purpose in nature as our being “geared to religion” without considering that we might tend to see nature that way because purpose acually exists. (though it did seem at least warm to the idea) Calling it an “early-emerging human tendency” only sounds like an explanation, it doesn’t actually explain anything. It would seem science is willing to expose our tendency to see purpose in nature but unwilling to allow us to experience purpose in nature. The idea that humanity might be capable of credibly decerning nearly any reality without science to hold it’s hand continues to be disallowed. Seeing purpose in nature. When you think about it, thats a very potent personal experience. I guess its accurate enough to call it religious or spiritual, but in doing so we should not summarily consider it inaccurate. Andrew Newberg is a neuroresearcher who has shed some good light on how it is our brains decide what is real. Apparently there is no decernable difference between a spiritual (intuitive) observation and a scientific observation as far as our brains are concerned. Neurologically, they are both equal fodder for producing the sensation of “knowing”. So is there purpose in nature? What does your brain tell you?

  11. Jethro says:

    In order to properly debate a theory one must go to the beginning. and there are several tproblems with that. In fact I have NEVER seen or heard of anyone teaching what the first life form was. Most teachers embrace the THEORY from the mid-point of life forms, as in reptiles and plants. And there are several facts that are assumed but not possible.
    For instance, there was no primordial soup. If there had never been life on earth there was no organic material to create this “soup”, just minerals, rocks and water.
    2) IF life suddenly materialized from the rocks and water, what did it eat and how did it procreate?
    3) Was it a plant or animal? Plants, according to the theory of evolution, had to come first, which means the plant suddenly appeared out of rocks and water and was capable of photosynthesis. A rather complex first step, no?
    4) If that happend then when and how did plants become animals?
    5) And my final point for now, why is it that every life form evolved to perform a specific function necessary to the “chain” of life? In other words, why are there still gorillas, chimps, elephants, crocodiles, fish, trees etc? Why didn’t ALL things evolve into a higher life form?

    • Jethro, I’m not sure any of your comment is very cohesive. Would you care to try again and address a single point? Scientists have actually been able to create psuedo life based on naturally occuring amino acids and electrical current, which are the building blocks for life, and what primordial soup was hypothesized to be composed of.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

      Before we address your other issues, perhaps you would care to comment on this?

      Your other questions seem like they could be addressed by taking a simple biology class.

      Your understanding of how life evolved, biological processes, and the various stages and classifications of life appears to be very limited.

      • Jeff Milum says:

        You make my point exactly, the scientists were an outside entity who put together the necessary ingredients for life and hence were able to CREATE life in a test tube. But they didn’t throw all the ingredients together, shake them up and shock them into life. Another MAJOR point, in the beginning, THERE WERE NO AMINO ACIDS. Amino acids are from an organic source and if there had never been any living thing, then there was no amino acids, only rocks, minerals and water. Finally, what theory has been proven without a starting point? All theories that have been tested and proved, had a beginning point. You couldn’t very well get an atomic bomb by starting with the firing mechanism and then finding something to put in the bomb to make the necessary fuel for combustion. First you find the material, then assemble the pieces, then the triggering mechanism, etc. EVERY THNG HAS A BEGINNING. NOTHING STARTS FROM THE MIDDLE AND GOES FORWARD. You had E=MC 2 BEFORE YOU HAD THE BOMB. iT’S THE SAME WITH EVOLUTION. YOU MUST START AT THE BEGINNING AND GO FORWARD, NOT THE REVERSE. Think it over and let’s continue the discussion in a civil manner. I thoroughly enjoy intelligent conversation even if we disagree. Thanks for the response, Jeff AKA Jethro Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2013 20:12:45 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

        • Jethro – The whole point of the Miller-Urey experiments was to demonstrate that Amino Acids can and do form spontaneously under the right conditions. And those conditions were present early in the earths history.

          So there you have the starting point….

          • Jeff Milum says:

            So amino acids formed from rocks and water, got hit by lightning and became a plant that was capable of photosynthesis and procreation and then mutated into multi-celled plants which then became animals. You find that easy to believe? And do you really believe that an acid, lying in a field could suddenly become a plant that was capable of photosynthesis and procreation? Amino acid to living organism in an instant? jethre Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 02:25:01 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

            • No Jeff, I don’t find that at all credible, and nor, to the best of my knowledge does anyone.

              No biologist has ever claimed that the first forms of life, or proto-life would have been plants. Photosynthesis and multicellular organisms are very complex, and much later developments.

              If you’re interested in what actual biologists think are possible ways that life may have started try googling ‘abiogenesis’ and read a few of the articles. here are a couple that may answer a few of your questions.

              http://is.gd/ermKap

              http://is.gd/jVyHlk

              If you read them and think they’re wrong, or make unlikely assumptions please let us know what and why.

              One key point you don’t seem to appreciate is that the process was not sudden. However it happened it was very gradual and took place over many millions of years.

        • Jeff,
          You are correct that I should have been more civil. My appologies. That was my stated purpose for this post and dialog. I think flipertie responded well to your other points/questions. I do think some of your understanding of biology and biological processes are lacking but I blame creationists and intelligent design advocates for that. You are quite likely a victim of their flawed and misguided agenda.

        • Kurt says:

          Hi Jeff,
          Is it only the question of origin that is at issue for you? I get the feeling from your posts that maybe there is something about the whole concept evolution that doesn’t set right with you. You seem like you’ve done a little reading, given it some genuine thought and decided that there is something irreconcilable between your current understanding of evolution and your current set of personal beliefs. Would you be willing to just clearly state what you currently believe and we can go from there?
          When you think about it, there are a lot of different groups out there that believe a lot of different things about the origin of life and I’m gonna guess you don’t take the time to debate them all. So why evolution? Why should the difference between your personal view and the work of evolutionary science be worth debating?
          (I hope you’ll answer with some heart)

          • Excellent attitude, Kurt. I commend you on handling this topic and discussion better than me. :)

            • Jeff Milum says:

              No, I have problems all through the threory. But before we discuss whether one thing turned into another, we have to know what the start of the whole thing was. So, if the first step is this: What was the first living organizm? If and that”s a big if, spontaneous life occurred, was it a plant? If so, how did it procreate, perform photo-synthesis and when did it morph into a animal? Big questions but there are big conflicts in the whole theory. Life from rocks and water with the ability to procreate, perform photosynthesis, mutate into multi-celled plants, then jump over and become animal life which eats plants. The whole thing reeks of contradictions and very improbable leaps of faith. Jethro Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2013 03:46:06 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

              • kurt hunsinger says:

                >No, I have problems all through the threory. But before we discuss whether one thing turned into another, we have to know what the start of the whole thing was.

                I think I get where you are coming from, jeff. I’ve posted here before about how a commitment to evolution appears to require a measure of faith. And that there are those who do accept the theory exclusively by faith. I disagree though that we have to know what the “start” was. We don’t need to observe a runner start a race in order to extrapolate where the race is headed, or to critique his stride. And since we’ve never known what the “start” was, answering that question has never really been the job of evolutionary theory. So, using the runner analogy, it might help to consider evolutionary theory as a spectator along the route rather than a helicopter that can view the whole race at once.

                >So, if the first step is this: What was the first living organizm? If and that”s a big if, spontaneous life occurred, was it a plant? If so, how did it procreate, perform photo-synthesis and when did it morph into a animal? Big questions but there are big conflicts in the whole theory. Life from rocks and water with the ability to procreate, perform photosynthesis, mutate into multi-celled plants, then jump over and become animal life which eats plants.

                I wanna ask you, do you have knowledge that evolutionary theory is faulty or do you have faith that it is faulty? I ask because there is real value in learning to discern the difference between science and philosophy. We are all entitled and qualified to have our own philosophy about anything using no more than intuition. Entire civilizations have come and gone on this planet using little else to leave their mark in history. Personally, I feel that intuition (our spiritual self) is of great value most of the time, and your intuition about the weaker areas of evolutionary theory could be right on the mark. unfortunately thats not of much use if you want to banter with people of science. Which, by the way, I am not. I have a philosophy, a personal perspective on evolution that I enjoy developing almost continually. My point is, it might be good to decide if you want to debate quantifiable data or if you want to make a philosophical argument. I have found that if you want to argue against the theory, philosophy is the stronger suite since there is really no such thing as quantifiable data that proves evolution is not happening. A good place to start developing a philosophy is by reading more science. Compare what Behe has to say in Darwins Black Box with what Berra has to say in Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.

                >The whole thing reeks of contradictions and very improbable leaps of faith.

                Maybe not the whole thing but I get your drift. As far as anyone can tell we are the only creatures in all the universe that have any knowledge of natural selection. We’re the only ones able to devise such an answer and we’re the only ones capable of devising such a question. And we’re the only ones that need be satisfied with what we devise. We’re asked to believe that natural selection has, by chance, developed a creature who, on a little 8000 mile wide rock in a potentially infinite 14 billion year old universe, in just the past few thousand years,only by means of randomly developed survival traits, accurately ascertained the workings of the mechanism that had no intention of creating it in the first place. It is indeed improbable. (that’s a philosophical argument)

    • Jethro, Further to CC’s reply here are some other thoughts:

      Evolution is about change. The theory of evolution describes our best current understanding of how changes *in existing life forms* come about. It specifically does not deal with the origin of the very first forms. The study of the origins of life is called abiogenesis http://is.gd/vIGMNf

      Current understanding of the history of the universe and the solar system dates the age of the earth at about 4.5 Billion years ago, and the appearance of the first life forms about a billion years after that. http://is.gd/eaZoMA

      The very first forms would not have been plant or animal as we recognise them. They would most likely have been single complex molecules that had the remarkable property of binding available organic compounds together to create mostly accurate copies of themselves.
      The exact process is uncertain, and we may never know exactly how it happened. It was a long time ago, and the first replicators were obviously very small and fragile, and would not have left long lasting traces of themselves.

      As CC said, your numbered questions show a lack of knowledge of basic biology. If you read more about it you’ll understand that your current assumptions are incorrect:

      >> Organic (carbon based) compounds DO occur naturally without the presence of life http://is.gd/KhJjsg

      >> Life did NOT “suddenly materialize from rocks and water”. The process took hundreds of millions of years.

      >> The first proto-life forms were neither plant nor animal, (think viruses, or prions for current examples of simple life forms.).

      >> Asking “why are there still gorillas, chimps, elephants, crocodiles, fish, trees etc?” is the equivalent of asking “If Americans are descended from Europeans and Africans, why are there still Europeans and Africans?”.

      • Here’s a classic example of the “middle of the race” example. And I don’t mean this in an offensive or crude manner.

        Which came first, the mouth or the rectum? And all the parts in between? Did we, as primitive life forms, ingest our food without excreting waste? And if we did it seems to me htat we would never have developed a digestive system.

        Which, by the way, is an “all or nothing” system. You either have the mouth and everything in between or you have nothing.

        And something that complex couldn’t possibly develope over millions of years. Impossible.

        • Jeff, Nobody, outside of creationist circles, is suggesting that a digestive system came into being fully formed from one generation to the next.

          The simplest form of a digestive system would be where the cell or cells absorb nutrients directly across their cell walls from their environment. A slightly more advanced system would be where they envelop the food, and absorb what they can from it before ejecting what’s left. Amoeba and jellyfish are single cell and multicellular examples of this sort of digestion. The amoeba don’t really have a mouth or an anus, whereas the jellyfish has a single organ that served both purposes.

          Over time, in multicelluar animals, different areas of cells became more efficient at absorbing different types of nutrition. holding the food and passing it from one area to the next allows more efficient use of the available nutrients – and eventually led to the sort of complex digestive system we see in complex animals today.

          You said “something that complex couldn’t possibly develope over millions of years. Impossible” . That’s an unsupported assertion and contributes nothing to the discussion. Can you imagine any other way a complex system like this could develop other than tiny step by tiny step, over uncounted and uncountable generations?

          As has been said a couple of times already in this thread – your understanding of this topic would benefit from reading some basic biology texts. Tens of thousands of biologists, over multiple generations have devoted their lives to studying this sort of thing and teasing out our current understanding of how they work, and how they came to be. If you are unwilling to devote the time required to understand the basic questions then you’re unlikely to be satisfied with any answers you receive.

          • Okay, so an amoeba and a jellyfish take a perfectly good system and decide they need a far more complex one. And while they are eating and living they begin construction of the most complicated digestive system in the world, starting at both ends or at the middle and work their way out, all while using the one they already have.
            And you think that makes sense?

            • That does not make sense, nor is that evolution. You are trying to debate something you have little grasp of. Why don’t you tell us what you think makes sense?

              You are just lobbing out strawmen arguments right now and using the chewbacca defense.

              • What makes sense is intelligent design. Every organism on earth performs a specifc function in a specific way and every one of it’s off-spring does the same thing.
                The only way anything as complicated as a living organism, even a living cell, could come about is with outside help.
                Cars evolved with the help of designers.
                Humans evolved with the help of a designer.
                There is no other reasonable explanation.

                Jeff

                PS Scientist have NEVER found a positive mutation in hundreds of years of study.NONT A ONE

                • Jeff, that’s not even close to being a correct statement. Although it does make me wonder where you think diseases and viruses come from? Who’s idea was the mosquito and the bubonic plague?

                  • Kurt hunsinger says:

                    >Humans evolved with the help of a designer.
                    There is no other reasonable explanation.

                    I grew up hearing relatives and church leaders express very strong feelings similar to yours. So much so that even into my adult life just the word evolution could trigger an emotional response in me. So for me it has really been worth the effort to fetter out just what exactly is reasonable about the theory and what is not. It can be a tough question to sort out. I think one problem for the average person is the word “evolution” itself. It’s used very loosely to describe pretty much any and all kinds of change, it’s easy to get the impression that evolution is something that happens all by itself, by a power all its own. But evolution hasn’t the power to do anything, and no one I’ve ever read who studies and publishes work on it has ever said that it does. The power, the engine behind the scenes, (as the theory goes) comes from Natural Selection. And it’s worth talking about it separately from evolution. You might find that it is really natural selection that is at the heart of your concern, not evolution at all.
                    Flippertie or Crawfish are much better qualified to describe it and I’d appreciate hearing what they have to say as well. It’s a concept that is nearly always treated as an assumed reality without discussion or definition.

                    • Kurt hunsinger says:

                      Just had another thought, a question for you jeff. You are a believer in a God-creator right?Do you consider yourself to have a 100 percent correct image God and a 100 percent correct understanding of what God created and how he created it? Probably not. More likely you are humbled by it all, likely you are in a state of awe and wonder most of the time just like the rest of us. Can you not appreciate that people of science are just the same. Why would they have to be 100 percent correct about thier view of creation when you don’t even expect that of yourself?

                    • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

                      Never did I say I was 100% certain about anything. However, I feel it takes far more faith to believe that life spontaneously appeared out of nothing and then morphed into millions of different plants and animals.
                      Many refer to a virus being the first living organism. If, and that is one HUGE if, a virus was the first living organism, what did it eat and how did it procreate?
                      Also, do you really believe that a virus could mutate into plants and that plants could mutate into animals? Really believe it?
                      If so, that takes, in my opinion, far more faith than intelligent design.
                      And why is it that it is illegal to discuss such a “theory” as ID in school? That’s what Scope’s Monkey was all about, discussing competing theories. Now ID is illegal?
                      Talk about hypocrisy. It doesn’t get any worse than that.
                      Freedom of speech? Not on that subject.
                      Why? Because of the two competing theories, Intelligent Design takes less faith than evolution.

                    • Kurt hunsinger says:

                      I’ve really thought about how to respond to you Jeff but I don’t know how. Youre style of mixing emotions with little tidbits of information is all over map and a bit hard to relate to, especially when youre so hardcore about it. And so far you’ve shown no sign of giving a single thing I’ve said, or flippertie, any genuine condieration. You give the impression that you are not in the least bit interested in a convesation, that you’d much rather just say a few strong words to defeat your enemy and move on. So why continue? What do you want?

                    • I’ve been impressed with how you and flippertie have tried to engage Jeff but it seems pointless. Rather than respond in a thoughtful or dispassionate way he’d rather try to lob emotional hand grenades and what he thinks are “gotchas” because he’s bought into the strawmen arguments ID sets up and knocks down. They mingle in just enough pseudo science to make them feel like they are engaging on an equal level, but the “science” they employ is pre-k level. They use words like theory, in place of scientific theory, as if they are one and the same. They try to get people to engage them on an emotional level because then they feel like people that support evolution are defensive because they have something to hide and that they have revealed a weak spot. They don’t recognize the emotion is frustration based – like trying to engage and explain complex concepts to someone who just says “nuh uh,” or “poop on you” it makes you feel frustrated for wasting your time, and even more frustrated because there are so many intractable irrational “Jeff’s” out there spewing nonsense and wielding a disproportionate amount of power and influence on society. That is the source of the frustration and anger. Its best to see Jeff as a victim of this diseased group and move on. They will continue to reap the benefits of our advances and biology, medicine, genetically modified crops, animal breeding programs, penicillin, etc, totally oblivious to how things work. It’s their right to be ignorant. We just must fight to make sure they don’t inflict their diseased thought processes on the young. Perhaps one day their self-imposed devolution will be their ironic undoing? :)

                    • Jeff. What makes you think you know exactly how God does things and how he doesn’t? If God is all powerful and all knowing and timeless, could not evolution be an actual observable process through which God has creating everything was, is and will be? Are you saying evolution would be beyond Gods ability to set up all the dominos in such a way that we are all created? Wouldn’t that imply a limit to Gods power?

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      >could not evolution be an actual observable process through which God has creating everything was, is and will be?

                      This motivates me to throw out one more thing. I’ve get the feeling that Jeff is looking for something that he doesn’t know quite how to ask for. So heres just a couple more questions Jeff, and a suggestion.

                      If you feel that scientific observations of nature cannot be trusted, then by what measure do you trust any observation of nature? Scientists possess the same human eyes and ears and the same human desire for knowing as you do. You can condemn their ability to accurately observe and understand nature, but by doing so can you see that you are then equally condemning your own? That is not to say that we can’t disagree with science! There is plenty about the theory that we can and should dispute, discuss and share ideas on. But even if you disagree with every single thing you ever learn about evolution that doesn’t mean it’s something that needs to be defeated. Why not use what you learn as a springboard for positive philosophical discourse? Bottom line is theres just no enemy here unless you want to make it one.

                      I’m gonna make an analogy here that might seem from left field but hang in there with me… Answer this question: Is your race superior to other races? If you are white, are you, by virtue of your whiteness, superior in any way to blacks or Hispanics? Your answer is no, right? All of us are related, we share a common human history, there is simply no such thing as a better or worse, deserving or undeserving, superior or inferior human is there? Even though theres a variety of surface features, a human is a human. Those who believe otherwise are rightfully called bigots. Now extrapolate that simple truth into the evolution/creation debate and answer this question: Are your beliefs superior to other beliefs? Once again there are a variety of surface features, some of us look at nature and see the work or God, some see the work of natural selection but the greater truth worth building on is that we are all looking for something. If we allow ourselves to build on the inner sensation that we have a superior perspective we become guilty of a theological bigotry that is just as ugly as racial bigotry. If we can choose not to allow the apparent differences in race to separate us, why should we allow the differences in how we observe nature to separate us?

                      My suggestion to you is to share with us what you believe about nature and life, where it came from and why, and do so speaking only in the affirmative without any mention of evolution in the negative. I realize that doing this would be a bit of a risk but, hey, since you’re not qualified to teach anyone here on science, why not teach us what you are qualified on? Your own beliefs! By doing so you might start a real conversation that could actually go somewhere.

                • ” Scientist have NEVER found a positive mutation in hundreds of years of study.NONT A ONE”

                  Actually that’s incorrect. Scientists have found and documented many hundreds of beneficial mutations.

                  http://bit.ly/XAFr8x

            • Again Jeff, you’re arguing against something that nobody believes. No individual organism decides to build a new organ, or re-purpose an existing one, and no biologist has ever claimed that they do.

              I have a couple of simple questions for you:
              Are you interested in understanding why [and what] biologists and people like me actually believe?
              Are you willing to make a little effort to get that understanding?

              I have no delusions that I, or any of the other commenters here will change your mind, but, as happened with me and Kurt earlier in this thread, it might be interesting to understand a bit more about why we both believe what we do.

              • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

                Well, if nobody believes that simple animals became complex animals and that plants turned into animals, how and why does anyone support the case for evolution?

                • Jeff. Each and every one of your objections and questions have been answered. You have not responded to any requests for clarifications, questions or supported anything you have claimed with anything remotely resembling evidence, nor have you tried to make a philosophical case. You are just an uninformrd negator who offers nothing and doesn’t even make even half decent arguments. I’ve presented more of a case for ID than you seem to be capable of. If you are unwilling to address other questions or engage in meaningful dialogue you are no longer welcome. Some people actually have real questions, ideas, and perhaps original thoughts on this subject. You have not offered anything but negativity and ALL CAPS SHOUTING MESSAGES.

                • Jeff, you’re again using sophistry to try and score cheap ‘gotcha’ points without addressing what any of us have actually said.

                  Here are some of the straw man beliefs you have attributed to people who accept the reality of evolution:

                  >>life suddenly materialized from the rocks and water,

                  >>plant suddenly appeared out of rocks and water and was capable of photosynthesis

                  >> amino acids …got hit by lightning and became a plant that was capable of photosynthesis

                  >> an acid, lying in a field could suddenly become a plant that was capable of photosynthesis and procreation

                  >> Amino acid to living organism in an instant …

                  >> amoeba and a jellyfish … decide they need a far more complex [digestive system].

                  And some of the provably false statements you have made:

                  >> a digestive system … is an “all or nothing” system.
                  >> Scientist have NEVER found a positive mutation
                  >> a virus could mutate into plants
                  >> if there had never been any living thing, then there was no amino acids,

                  All I can say is that if, as you claim, you have really spent more time than the rest of us reading and studying evolutionary theory it was not time well spent.

              • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

                Again, I doubt there is a person on this blog, yourself included (no offense intended) who has read more and studied the case for evolution more thoroughly than me.
                That is why I always try to take people like you back to the beginning. It had to start somewhere and all things had to come from the same, single source because all life forms are based on the double-helix, which means whatever happened only happened once (or a designer used the template and modified it for each living thing).
                Now, you don’t want to go back to the beginning but EVERY theory MUST start with a hypothesis, a beginning if you will, just like the big bang. So if the very universe had a beginning and scientists plug in the numbers they can at least create a formula to support their theory.
                And you, and ALL evolutionists want to start in the middle of the process. Which makes the case untenable.
                Give me the beginning and work from there.

                Jeff

                • Reading material about how evolution is a crock does not count as reading or trying to understand evolution. Based on your questions, and assertions its obvious either you understand very little biology and evolutionary theory or you are intentionally trying to play dumb to incite emotional responses. Are you just a troll or someone capable of intelligent discussion. You know, this goes both ways. You don’t get yo just come here and lob unsupported arguments and misrepresent others viewpoints and ignore their points and questions.

                  We addressed how life began.

                  You claimed amino acids required animals to be around first. That was disproven

                  Then you took conversation to middle of process with mouths and rectums. That issue was addressed.

                  Then you claimed no documented mutations have been recorded in hundreds of Yeats. That is laughably easy to refute.

                  Now you recycle your beginning argument.

                  That has been addressed and you have not acknowledged your earlier misstatements that eviscerates your argument

                  Answer my question. Is it beyond your Gods power to create life through a process we call evolution? Its not beyond mine.

                  • Jethro says:

                    You see, you have made an assumption about what I read. You assumed I have filled my mind with information written by weirdo “Christians” and not kept an open mind.

                    For what it’s worth I was an atheist, completely and totally. My brother too. Between us we studied the subject, objectively, shared books and notes and over several years came to the conclusion that evolution was impossible as an explanation for the beginning of life.
                    ATHEISTS, not Christians who read slanted material.
                    And you, my friend, are doing exactly what you accused me of. First you assumed what material I was reading, then you COMPLETELY DUCKED THE SUBJECT OF THE BEGINNING OF THE THEORY.
                    I guess it’s no use debating this subject but I can say with all honesty that I, unlike every person I have debated this with, came at it with a truly open mind. The other side invariably has their mind made up before hand and most are anti-Christian.

                    • Kurt hunsinger says:

                      >You see, you have made an assumption about what I read.

                      No, he made an assessment. And given what you’ve provided it was a fair assessment. I’ve asked you a coulpe times to offer up what you do believe instead of just bashing at what you don’t. Since you refuse to do that and everyone here has made it clear that your negative approach has grown too weary to bear, why are you still posting here? You give the impression that youre fishing around to be respected or congratulated for having such deep and unique insights into how ignorant others are. Sorry, thats just not very interesting.

                    • Jeff also doesn’t seem to grasp that even if he were somehow able to disprove evolution,that would do nothing to further his own cause. He also doesn’t understand that ID and evolution are not an either or proposition.

                      What he is really trying defend is a literal interpretation of the Christian Bible, like most IDers, he just doesn’t want to admit that because it nullifies the ID as “science” argument.

                    • Since Jeff is unable or unwilling to answer my question I may start a new post on the subject. Any other questions you guys want me to ask feedback on?

                      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      Do you mean starting a new topic related to evolution separate from Lets solve This?

                    • Right. A more focused fresher one. I may have to ban Jeff though.

                      Jeff is incapable of answering yes or no questions and his tactics are obvious and repetitive. Answer his question about microbes and he will explain how he’s been watching a pitrie dish all day and no giraffes or bald eagles have jumped out of it while he watched so he knows evolution is impossible. Any basic biology text would answer the questions he poses, had he actually ever cracked one. His persistence and lying is perplexing but also tiresome as you pointed out.

                      No one even mentioned Christians and he brought up that he was being attacked as a Christian. So very strange. He seems to think all Christians believe as he does too. I’d say reason and rational thought are not his strong suits.

                      So Kurt, would you care to take a crack at my question? Can you impose physical limits on what an all powerful being is capable of? Perhaps Jeff worships a pagan God. They have limits and foibles and were very popular at one time in our religious evolutionary history.

                    • kurt hunsinger says:

                      >So Kurt, would you care to take a crack at my question? Can you impose physical limits on what an all powerful being is capable of?

                      If you believe such a being is imaginary, then yes, imposing whatever you like makes perfect sense. If you believe God is genuinely real, then no, imposing anything makes no sense at all. The irony is that all too often we profess the belief but then go on imposing anyway. I can’t figure why a true beleiver would even bother imposing ID on an all powerful being. But either way it’s a tricky business. My feeling is it takes a great deal of effort and training to resist imposing yourself into anything, real or imagined. The only people I think that might have a handle on that are Buddhists, and most of them don’t even bother with God, ID or evolution.

                      I think a good question to ask ourselves is to what degree we are equipped to perceive the accomplishments of any being in the first place? The full extent and impact of even our own accomplishments are not always apparent to us. The same should be asked of how ill-equipped we may be to perceive evolution. We perceive it, but to what extent of it’s genuine reality? My dog is a good analogy, he can fully perceive the wag of another dogs tail, cogent of the full extent of its purpose and implication. Not so much with television. He’s aware of it but incapable of grasping it’s purpose or implication. It’s possible we perceive evolution to a greater extent then my dog perceives televison, but it’s just as likely we don’t.

                      >Right. A more focused fresher one. I may have to ban Jeff though.

                      I’d suggest something focusing on DNA. What it does, how it works, and it’s roll in evolution. It’d be pretty tough for anyone to BS their way into that. Plus it really needs to be talked about more than the usual evolution banter offers. What I’ve read has been difficult to retain without someone to bounce questions off of.

                    • You’re not debating, you’re shouting.
                      You have been answered numerous times.
                      Answer my question.
                      You can choose to answer it as an aetheist if you choose but that would negate your ID argument.

                    • Jethro says:

                      I am notsui shouting, I’m typing without the slightest bit of animosity or anger. And to answer your question, which I have done several times, yes, I am aware of the reasoning behind scientific evidence for evolution. As I said, I have read extensively on the subject from both perspectives.
                      Now perhaps you would answer my questions: What was the first livinng organism and how did it reproduce and what did it use for energy?
                      As an aside, why is it that no one wants to tackle that series of questions?

                      Jeff

                    • Most people consider writing in all caps “shouting” its an ettiquette rule. You would probably have to be very old or very young not to know that.

                    • And for the record, I am not anti-christian, I am anti-fundamentalist. I view them as unevolved Christians.

  12. Jethro says:

    Free speech? Clarence Darrow argued, sucessfully, in court to allow the “theory of evolution” to be taught alongside crationsim.
    So why is it illegal to discuss intelligent design in a public school?
    Is it because when you compare the two theories evolution doesn’t stand the test?

    • Not illegal to teach ID nor creationism. Every school in Louisiana can and dozens of public and private schools teach creationism. Hundreds do nationwide. Where do you get your facts? Are you a kid?

    • One last try. Jeff asked:

      “What was the first livinng organism and how did it reproduce and what did it use for energy?”

      You are trying to get simple answers to complex questions which is a recipe for confusion and misunderstanding.

      The simplest answer (as I have already said in this thread) is that we do not know, and may never know. It happened billions of years ago, and left little if any evidence. but That’s not really satisfying to any of us.

      More complete answers would depend on how you define ‘life’ and ‘organism’. We need to make sure we’re talking about the same things. At the very beginning the boundary between life and non-life is not clear cut. If you define an organism as a
      “An individual animal, plant, or single-celled life form” then the first organism was a very simple single cell, possibly using methane as an energy source,.

      But, and this is the part you seem to be fixated on,
      >>**these cells did not spontaneously and suddenly appear fully formed** <>** It does not matter if we don’t know how the process started. **<<

      Attribute it to a designer if you wish, though I have no need of that hypothesis. Replication with variation. Competition for resources. That's all you need for evolution to happen.

    • Jeff,

      Clarence Darrow argued, sucessfully, in court to allow the “theory of evolution” to be taught alongside crationsim.

      For the record, you are wrong about the result of the ‘Monkey Trial’.

      John Scopes was found *guilty* of teaching Evolution. That was illegal under the Butler act in Tennessee, and remained illegal there until 1967 when the act was repealed.

      He was fined the minimum possible amount – 100 dollars. The verdict was later overturned on a technicality: The judge set the fine amount because the jury had neglected to.

      Your knowledge of history seems on a par with your basic biology.

      http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/scopes-trial.html

      • It was once illegal to teach evolution in Tennessee because a bunch of fundamentalist Christians passed the Butler act making it so.

        The requirement to teach ID as a scientific theory was ruled unconstitutional in Dover, Penn. because the judge found that ID, as presented there, is a religious concept, and thus against the first amendment of your constitution.

        The judgement was so thoroughly researched, and reasoned that no one else has tried to force the teaching of ID because they know the precedent is likely to stand.

        I believe it would still be OK to teach ID in a comparative religion or philosophy class, along with other similar ideas – because then the US Govt would not be favouring one religious belief over all others.

  13. Weird. A chunk of my comment got missed out. I guess I shouldn’t use the <> signs for emphasis..

  14. kurt hunsinger says:

    >Again, I doubt there is a person on this blog, yourself included (no offense intended) who has read more and studied the case for evolution more thoroughly than me.

    Just a quick note to jeff, if youre still tuning in,
    I can think of no well educated person I’ve spoken with who has ever made a point of saying their better educated than I am. But i can think of several poorly educated people who have. Just something to consider.

    • Jethro says:

      FYI If you read my post you will see quite clearly that I DIDN’T CLAIM TO BE SMARTER (OR MORE INTELLIGENT) THAN ANYONE. I said that I doubted if anyone has read more extensively than me on the subject. But even though you mis-quoted me, I will give you that point. There are probably people on this blog and elsewhere who have read as extensively as I have.
      My point was that I have read a great deal on the subject from both perspectives. A point you apparently missed.
      Two quick points: You said you couldn’t think of a person who said they were smarter than you without the inverse being the actual case.
      In that statement you said “I can think of no well educated person that I’ve spoken to who has ever made a point of saying their more educated than me.”
      You used the wrong verbiage when you wrote “their”. It should have been “they’re” not their.
      And to date NO ONE HAS YET TO GIVE ME AN OPINION ON WHAT THE FIRST LIVING ORGANISM WAS, HOW OR WHAT IT ATE AND PROCREATED AND IF THEY BELIEVED THAT PLANTS TURNED INTO ANIMALS.
      Start at the beginning. You can carbon-date a rock but you have to have the rock. You can believe in evolution but you have to have a beginning. And no one gives a beginning to the theory.
      Finally, every time someone refers to evolution they use the words “believe in” which implies faith.
      If you believe that rocks and water produced life you, my friend, have faith. A lot of faith.

      • Jeff,

        I will not warn your again. You have obviously not read anyone’s points or comments, or you would realize your are still shouting, you would realize you are arguing not about evolution but abiogenesis, and that you are now sinking to trying to correct people’s grammer when your own is less than stellar.

        You continue to make baseless and inaccurate all encompassing claims that have now firmly crossed over the ignorant and annoying threshold. If you post another ignorant comment that demonstrates you have not reviewed your previous replies, and are thus disrespecting us and this forum, it will be deleted.

      • Jeff,
        If you’re going to criticise someone for misquoting you, it would make sense to be accurate yourself.
        You said you had studied more about evolution than anyone else here. Kurt commented about people who claim to be ‘well educated’, and you SHOUTED BACK IN ALL CAPS that you had never claimed to be “SMARTER (OR MORE INTELLIGENT) “. You’re fighting against something that was never actually said.

        Then if you’re going to point out Kurt’s mix of “their” and “they’re” you should perhaps look to your own spelling and grammar which are both less than perfect. I refer you to Matthew 7:3. http://bible.cc/matthew/7-3.htm

        Then you shout

        NO ONE HAS YET TO GIVE ME AN OPINION ON WHAT THE FIRST LIVING ORGANISM WAS, HOW OR WHAT IT ATE

        If you read my comments of February 3, and Feb 15 you’ll find I’ve twice replied to that point: http://is.gd/IJxLWE

        http://is.gd/fuWncV

        But here it is again – Nobody knows exactly what the beginning of life looked like. We may never know. It depends on how you define life. It was certainly not a plant or animal as we know them today, but something much simpler. Got that? The answer to your oft repeated question is that it depends on how you define life. Give a precise definition if that if you can, and you’re one step closer to getting a precise answer.

        Carrying on through your comment: You boldly claim “You can carbon-date a rock”. Wrong again. The half life of Carbon 14 puts a practical upper limit of about 50,000 years, and rocks are dated in the millions of years. You may be thinking of potassium-argon dating or uranium-lead dating.

        Next you state

        “every time someone refers to evolution they use the words “believe in”

        .
        If you search this page for the “accept ” you will note that both Kurt and I use the phrase “accept the evidence for” rather than “believe in”.

        And finally let me make one point.
        It does not affect the validity of the Theory of Evolution in the slightest if we admit that we do not know how the process started. We can look at the evidence, do the experiments, make the predictions and test them, all without knowing how the process started. It’s like looking at buses. It’s perfectly possible to time them, predict where they’ll stop, when they’ll turn etc. without knowing exactly where they started their journey.

        You can make educated guesses about where the bus station might be and what it might look like, just as we can make educated guesses about the start of life.

  15. >> Kurt: If you believe such a being is imaginary, then yes, imposing whatever you like makes perfect sense. If you believe God is genuinely real, then no, imposing anything makes no sense at all. The irony is that all too often we profess the belief but then go on imposing anyway. I can’t figure why a true beleiver would even bother imposing ID on an all powerful being.

    I’m not sure you can “believe” in an imaginary thing? However if you are manufacturing one that you choose to believe in, you can design whaever limits you like of course. The Greek and Roman, Norse, Babylonian, and Indian etc. gods has all sorts of strengths, powers and weaknesses. If you believe in a god that is not all powerful, or even just has limits to his power, then you could impose limits, but then his ID theory would seem to fall apart. . . except if his theory was we were designed by superior beings, but not gods, in which case there could still be an all powerful force out there, tooling around i guess.

    Now, if you believe god is all powerful, that the universe was created by this all powerful being, then the laws of the universe would behave exactly as designed and intended. Combustion is what we call the process where energy is released when things are burned or transformed into gases and ash. Combustion is just a word used to describe something we observe occurs and does not prove or disprove a divine entity anymore than the process we describe as evolution proves or disproves one.

    We call the process by which creatures evolve or were created out of thin air, or directed by a supernatural force we don’t understand Evolution. To believe in it or nor believe in it does not prove or disprove the existence of god. However, to say that this process is impossible, even to a God, does prove, assuming they are telling the truth, that a person does not really believe in an all powerful god.

    So, if they believe in a supernatural being, that is not all powerful, could there not also be another being out there more powerful than the one they worship? And if so, if that being is all powerful, then couldn’t that being have created the process we describe as evolution?

    Perhaps Jeff just worships a lesser god, or a supernatural force that is not the true creator? That would seem to be what his argument indicates.

    As for ID, well, people have used gods and beings to describe how the universe works since probably the begining of language. Humans like to understand things, and when they don’t they try to make up stories and legends to help them remember, understand, and warn others. It’s probably an evolved survival trait. :)

    • Kurt hunsinger says:

      Looks like ya’ll dispatched Jeff while I was away. You are correct about not engaging him, tough to tell just what was on his agenda.

      >crawfish – I’m not sure you can “believe” in an imaginary thing?

      Yes, it gets a bit weird doesn’t it? I recently read Why God Won’t Go Away which attempts to gain some understanding of why our notions and images of god are so potent and resilient. The author performed thousands of brain scans on both regular folks and practicing believers like nuns and zen masters while in prayer and meditation. Turns out as far as our brains are concerned, speaking with god can be as real as speaking with any person. (god not always being the subject with meditators) For the nuns and other christian meditators, the important ingredient is belief. Essentially, if we believe we can speak with god and trained act on that belief, our brains are willing and able to react just as vibrantly as with any conversation in our everyday lives. Our brains is an equal opportunity employer, both intellectual and religious pursuits are equal fodder for generating the sensation of “knowing”. How then are we qualified to label one as representing a greater reality than the other? The author suggests it may be a subjective choice either way.

      >We call the process by which creatures evolve or were created out of thin air, or directed by a supernatural force we don’t understand Evolution. To believe in it or nor believe in it does not prove or disprove the existence of god.

      As far as I can tell the science of evolution and a persons faith in whatever god could be totally compatible. Natural selection on the other hand maybe not so much. If evolutionary science could just refrain from insisting natural selection is the mechanism responsible for evolution then more folks might be inclined to embrace evolution as something that could be integrated into the rest of their world view. As it is most evolutionary sciences take an all or nothing posture that claims natural selection is and forever will be the only mechanism, disallowing the integration of a creator as a mechanism at any level. How do you feel about that? Should science be warmer to idea of letting go of natural selection? Or are NS and evolution siamese twins that would both die if separated?

      >…could there not also be another being out there more powerful than the one they worship?

      I admitted to myself years ago that I don’t know what worship is. It’s something more substantial than believing I’m sure, but exactly what it is and how to do it is a total mystery to me. Maybe it takes a certain genetic marker for worshiping, I’ve heard that that’s why peas taste so good to some people and not to others. Either way I don’t have it, for worshipping or for peas!

  16. Has anyone heard about the recent discoveries related to DNA? The gene switches I think they are being called for the moment.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    I’d suspected there was more going on than we were able to define with just DNA when i saw the results of a calico cloning experiment that yielded different colorations for the kittens with identical DNA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calico_cat

    http://epigenome.eu/en/1,6,0

    • Fascinating. I’d not heard of the cat cloning or that so much of the ‘non-coding’ DNA is now known to have a function.

      The bit that really got me thinking was the fact that when the DNS strand is coiled up the switches are often near to the genes the affect. This means they’re going to have to start studying the whole thing in 3D rather than just as one long extended sequence. The amount of computing power that’s going to require is mind boggling.

      And for your earlier suggestion of starting a separate thread: My enthusiasm for this sort of discussion comes and goes in waves. I’d be an interested observer but probably not an active participant unless someone like Kurt or Jeff presses one of my hot-buttons…

      • kurt says:

        >I’d be an interested observer but probably not an active participant unless someone like Kurt or Jeff presses one of my hot-buttons…

        If you do happen think of something that might press a button for me, feel free.

  17. Jeff wrote :

    I think everything that is posted missed the simple YES AND NO QUESTION I asked, what was the beginning of your theory? The first life form, how it replicated and what it used for food.

    Do you understand what a ‘Yes or no’ question is? it’s one that can be answered with a simple affirmative or negative…….

    The first cells – however simple they were – wouldn’t have “eaten” anything. They would have simply harvested available organic matter required for replication. Rremember Miller Urey :Organic matter existed prior to the first cells. Amino acids, nucleotides, lipid micelles, etc all form naturally under appropriate conditions.

    If you’d care to read the comments on this thread you’d see that I’ve addressed the question at least three times before this. If you won’t listen to me, try these links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

    • Jeff started spamming this thread so I marked his last nonsensical posts as spam. In all seriousness I think Jeff may have a mental problem, but at the very least he too enamored with himself and his make believe world where is being persecuted to focus on anything else. Please stop engaging him. He may be a small child or a member of a religious cult that promotes a childlike worldview and I really don’t think.he’s capable of understanging more than he thinks he already knows.

      • I was working on the assumption that if he’s visiting threads like this and engaging then he must, at some level, be aware that his world view is not consistent with reality. If he’s asking questions there’s always a chance that he’ll eventually listen to an answer or two. I’m going to step back from this thread for now.

        • I thought so at first. But I think its much more likely he’s just prosthelytizing, he never listened to anything anyone said on any topic and kept pushing his discredited idea. It was like he was arguing with someone else, not us, but what he thought we would or should have said.

          It might be interesting to discuss how someone could develop such a deluded world view, and why it might be beneficial to promote such a seemingly self-destructive agenda.

    • Jim says:

      ok now im hooked watched video like it say at the end im thinking about it .
      and ho hum reading all the reactions . everybody has a point of view .
      thanks for the link

  18. Kurt hunsinger says:

    >I’d suspected there was more going on than we were able to define with just DNA when i saw the results of a calico cloning experiment that yielded different colorations for the kittens with identical DNA.

    Oddly enough I have a related question I had planned on throwing out to you, There is a species of desert mouse, I think in Arizona , some are black and live only in an area that has a rocky black terrain, some are tan and live only in sandy areas. This color variation is regarded as a good example of how evolution works, natural selection favoring the color mutation that aids in survival, in this case being less visible to predators. The funny thing is that genetically they are all black mice! And all have the same potential for brownness or blackness depending on if the marker for brownness is on or off.

    Can anyone here help shed some light on how the marker for brownness knows when to turn on and when to stay off? How is the information from their respective black and tan environments communicated to the internal chemical world of DNA?

    • kurt says:

      Another question is, if these mice already possessed the chemical capacity for brownness, why would expressing it’s brownness be considered an example of evolution? Since both the black and the tan mice had and continue to have the same genetic identity and potential, wouldn’t it more accurate to say that evolution has not taken place?

      • Hi Kurt,

        Can anyone here help shed some light on how the marker for brownness knows when to turn on and when to stay off? How is the information from their respective black and tan environments communicated to the internal chemical world of DNA?

        Without knowing the details I’d guess that the brown fur colour is controlled by a recessive gene. A mouse has two copies of the gene, one from each parent. If it is Bl/Bl or Bl/Br then fur will be Black. Only in the case of Br/Br will brown fur show up.

        Even where Black is strongly selected for the Brown variant can still be passed on. A brown mouse will have less chance of surviving to breed, but not all will be killed while immature. And a black mouse carrying a recessive gene for brown fur can pass that on to its offspring.

        If a population of mice with a small minority carrying the gene for brown later finds itself in an environment where Brown fur is selected for then the rare Br/Br mouse that pops up will have an advantage and will pass on the Br gene to all its offspring – so the proportion of brown mice in the population will rise.

        If you want to search more the classic examples for explaining Dominant/Recessive inheritance are Blue/Brown eyes in humans, and the light /dark variants of pepper moths in early industrial England.

        The key point is that no knowledge of the external environment is transmitted to the genes to switch on or off in an individual mouse. The relative frequency of each variant in a population is entirely dependent on the survival rate of the previous generation. If more brown mice breed then there will be more brown genes in the next generation.

      • Since both the black and the tan mice had and continue to have the same genetic identity and potential, wouldn’t it more accurate to say that evolution has not taken place?

        In this specific example what you are seeing is natural selection at work. Some mice survive to breed, others provide snacks for predators.

        Evolution would be where, for example, in a population of all light desert mice a mutation creates a variant that produces more dark pigment. Under normal circumstances that would be a disadvantage and might not take hold in the popultion. But if the mutant mouse happened to be near the edge of the desert, where a dark colour was an advantage then its offspring would hava an advantage and would prosper- and the mice population would be able to expand into a new habitat.

  19. Jim says:

    I started getting into this sort of thing when I was asked one day how did the big bang come from nothing ? my thought was then .. how did god come from nothing ?
    evolution seems to me the easy solution based on science with MORE proven facts. the bible is just another book with many discrepancy’s . how many middle eastern people do we know with the names Mathew matt Luke or John
    so evolution is the one that should be taught in schools.
    antagonist am not :-)
    good page this enjoyed the debate from people who seem to know what they are talking about .
    wish you guys were teachers at my school would have been fun thanks

  20. Hi Jim, Glad you enjoyed the conversation.

    Re your note about the apostles names not sounding Middle Eastern – remember the bible you know has been through many many versions, and the names used were updated with each translation to sound familiar to the people reading it.

    Jesus, if he existed, would have spoken Aramaic, and most of the disciples would have had Aramaic names. They were then written down in Hebrew, translated into Greek, then Latin, then eventually to English (or French, German, Spanish or whatever)

    A quick hunt through google turned up this:

    Matthew is of Hebrew origin. Its Hebrew form is Mattityahu (Matt-tee-YAH-hou), meaning “gift of Yahweh” (God).

    Mark is a Latin name . Its Latin form is Marcus (MAR-koos), meaning “sea-green” or “hammer”..

    Luke is originally a Greek name. Its Greek form is Loukas (LOO-kass), meaning from Lucania, a region in Italy.

    John is from the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning “Yahweh (God) is gracious”. Latin version is Iohanis

    Jesus would have been called Yehoshua, or the Hebrew Yeshua.

    • Jim says:

      how many middle eastern people do we know with the names Mathew matt Luke or John .. Sorry about the flippant joke with the names .. feel a bit childish now
      I often make jokes about Google that it should be a religious cult .you can ask it anything and it knows the answer to almost everything .
      humor or humour take your pick !
      I repeat last night I read this whole blog yes it kept me entertained almost as good as …
      Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
      and once again thank all of you even Jeff :-)

  21. Jim says:

    “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.” Quote from said book

  22. flippertie says:

    Jim, I guess I fell victim to a kind of of anti-poe’s law. I assumed you were making some sort of argument about the validity of the bible based on the fact that the authors had used anachronistic names while they were making it up. Or something. Hmm.. Maybe that could be flip’s law : ” The less you ponder before assuming someone’s being foolish, the more likely it is to be yourself….”

    • flippertie says:

      Jeff said

      I have never met anyone who is willing to even speculate on what the first living organism was, how it procreated and how and/or what it ate

      You lie.

      Earlier on this page you asked and I speculated

      “They would most likely have been single complex molecules that had the remarkable property of binding available organic compounds together to create mostly accurate copies of themselves.”

      You are asking the same question over and over and not listening to the answers.

      • Jim says:

        Jeff
        The people that have posted there points of view , do it with certain amount of {Gusto} and I might add a lot of knowledge.
        if you could only listen and open your mind ,you would find a lot more avenues of thought .
        pondering on the ideas of others, it gives us mere armature philosophers ( tongue in cheek ) the help to move on.

          • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

            Bye, and keep dodging that question. It’s the one that makes the theory of evolution completely ridiculous.

            • You’re just tiresome and not worth anyone’s time anymore. Come back when you actually learn the theory, or learn the name of the actual theory you are trying to debate.

              • kurt hunsiner says:

                Hi Jeff, there was a person who contributed here a couple months ago who had a similar approach as yours, and similarly the conversation petered out pretty quickly. If you’d really like to explore the creation/evolution debate a good way to start is to write out what you currently believe and why, maybe let us know what authors or particular books you’ve read that support your point of view, then be open to offering and accepting critique as the conversation develops. There are some pretty smart people here who might be able to lend you some valuable insight if you are willing to take a more constructive approach. I’d guess you posted here in the first place because you have a perspective you’d like to share, so share it! What do you believe?

    • As we’ve said before many many times. That is not evolution. No one is making the strawman claim you are determined to knock down.

      • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

        Okay, we’ll leave the beginning alone for now. I have another very difficult question that I’d like to throw out there, and it’s this: Has there ever been a verifiable/documented positve mutation in an animal?

        As to my beliefs, I was a very firm believer in pure evolution, life from nothing. But over the years I have examined the evidence found in various books, including several by the famous Leaky (sp?) family. And I’ve been to museums and read individual studies on finds related to human evolution, such as the famous fossil of “Lucy” one of the presumed missing links. And when I saw the actual pieces of bone that were found, and saw that they fit into the palm of your hand, and the picture that the anthropologists made of “her” I just thought a fair evaluation of the evidence was vastly over-rated and the claims made by “believers” in the theory of evolution, I actually went the other way and became a proponent of ID.

        A single living cell, plant ot animal, is so complex, no combination of amino acids, crystals or any inorganic material, could produce life from non-living material.

        So I am a proponent of ID which begs the question, “who or what was/is the designer?”

  23. kurt hunsiner says:

    Oh wait! You ARE the guy who posted here a few months ago! Never mind.

  24. Hi Jeff,
    Bear in mind that we’ve only known about DNA for 50 years, and only been able to read genomes for about a decade – so the windo for coclusive documentation is pretty small.

    But here’s one “verifiable/documented positve mutation in an animal” : http://is.gd/mLFxCP

  25. flippertie says:

    Jeff,
    Bear in mind that the structure of DNA was only discovered 50 years ago, and we’ve only been able to read genomes for about a decade – so the window for finding and analysing a (very rare) “verifiable/documented positve mutation in an animal” is pretty small. But here is one :http://is.gd/mLFxCP

    Re Leakey family / Lucy bones
    You’re correct they’re not very impressive when seen close up. The thing to remember is that many paleontologists and archaeologists have dedicated their entire working lives to the study of those and similar bones, and are able to see a lot more than you or I would. It’s like wandering through a junkyard and seeing a bit of broken red plastic. That’s all I see, but the guy next to me sees part of a Taillamp Lens – from an old Chevrolet truck, (probably a Fleetside), from about 1967-72. Sometimes you take the experts at their word.

    “A single living cell, plant ot animal, is so complex, no combination……” etc…
    Here you’re making an unsupported assertion.

    Unless have examined every single possible variation, combination and permutation of organic and inorganic material, under all possible circumstances over all possible timescales (which would effectively make you a god) that statement remains wishful thinking. You cannot prove something is impossible – only show that it’s unlikely.

    The way I see it is that the evidence for evolution and an old earth is strong enough to be effectively undeniable. How the process started we may never know.

    I think the probability is that it was a natural unguided process, you think that it needed to be started by an outside agent. That’s OK – we can agree to disagree.

    Once the first conditions were in place (replication, variation, competition and lots of time) I think those are sufficient conditions for the development of the complexity of life as we see it. ID states that at certain points on the path there must have been outside intervention. You can believe that – I accept the views of most biologists that there is no need for that hypothesis.

    So to your final question: If I don’t believe there is a designer, then its pointless to speculate on who or what it might have been.

  26. flippertie says:

    Jeff,

    Has there ever been a verifiable/documented positve mutation in an animal?

    Here’s one :http://is.gd/mLFxCP

    Leakey Family / Lucy
    You’re right – the lucy bones are not impressive when seen close up. The thing to remember is that many paleontologists and archaeologists have spent their lives studying and comparing these fragments to others and working out what the differences mean. Consider walking through a junkyard: I see a bit of broken red plastic. The owner of the yard sees the same thing and knows it’s part of the tail-light from a Chevrolet truck, probably a Fairlight, from about 1967 – 1969. Sometimes it makes sense accept the experts know what they’re talking about.

    A single living cell, plant ot animal, is so complex, no combination of amino acids, crystals or any inorganic material, could produce life from non-living material

    This is just an unsupported assertion. Unless you have examined every possible combination and permutation of organic and inorganic molecules under every possible environment over every possible timescale you cannot say it’s impossible – only that it’s unlikely.

    We’ve agreed to leave the question of how the first replicators started. But once they existed all the requirements for evolution to happen are in place. They are really very simple: Replication, variation, competition, and lots of time.

    Given those four conditions I think natural unguided processes are enough to account for the variation (and similarity) of life that we see around us.

    You/ID think an outside agent must have been involved at key points, but have no evidence yet that will persuade me, or a significant number of practicing biologists, to change our minds.

    So to me your final question about the identity of the designer is meaningless. If I don’t believe it existed its not useful to ask what it was.

  27. flippertie says:

    Weird – all my comments seem to be getting delayed and posted out of order. I Just now wrote a long reply to jeff – that seemed to get lost when the page reloaded. So I re-wrote it from memory, and posted again – and now both of them have appeared – but above, not below ths comment I was replying to. Sometimes the internet is frustrating…. :-/

    • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

      Apparently I am on the wrong blog. For that I apologize. Since my conversion to ID, I have been trying to get an answer to the question of how it all began, absent ID. And no one anywhere has ever even attempted to answer that question.

      I find it quite troubling that almost everyone everywhere discuss things such as “qhich of the three theories makes more sense?” when I think every theory is predicated on the beginning. A theory has to have a beginning which can be verified before you can complete and/or certify the theory as valid.

      But you all have fun discussing these highly complex theories and if you every get around to wondering how it all began, and come up with a reasonable hypothesis, please let me know.

      Jethro

      • Great. Please stop commenting and wasting everyone’s time. You are seemingly incapable of reason, logic, or rational thought. Evolution beyond what you are may indeed be impossible for you. My sympathies to your designer.

        • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

          Until you explain how life began you are a complete and total idiot. Want proof? Tell me which came first, the mouth or the rectum?
          My sympaties to the educated idiots who actually believe something a two-year old would know is impossible.
          Life from rocks and water.
          Single celled plants becoming multi-celled, becoming trees and all the other plants.
          Plants turning into animals at some point on the timeline.
          Single-celled Amoeba’s or something similar, mutating into mutti-celled animals.
          Multi-celled animals turning into animals with fins, legs, complete digestive tracts, lungs or gills and each uniquely adapted to a particular life-style.
          And all this happening just by chance, beginning with non-organic material, time, water and a little sunlight.And you evade the beginning in your intellectual arguments and theorizing. It’s like throwing a bomb in a junkyard and having a brand new Toyota come driving out of the carnage.
          Magic Rocks. And you think I’m dumb?

          • flippertie says:

            It didn’t take much to get through the veneer of civility did it? A few words from Crawfish, and you’re back spewing the same unthinking creationist straw man talking points that you came in with.

            And in response to your question: Yes, I do.

            • kurt hunsiner says:

              Jeff: My sympaties to the educated idiots who actually believe something a two-year old would know is impossible.

              Truth is, Jeff, it’s just not possible for humans to possess both knowledge and disbelief of one thing simultaneously. Our brains don’t work that way. (Ck out Why God Won’t Go Away by Andrew Newberg). So when Crawfish said it might indeed be impossible for you to know what evolution is it was not an insult, it’s just a simple reality that applies to all of us that information cannot become knowledge in the absence of belief.
              So my two cents to you is just go with what you do believe, dive head first into scriptures of all sorts, modern and ancient philosophy, let the angst you have about evolution dissipate by learning to pray and meditate, visit churches of all denominations, when you meet a Muslim or Jew or catholic or even a homeless guy strike up a conversation about what beliefs you might have in common, you obviously have some passion about it so why spend your time going about on the internet calling people educated idiots?! You can do better than that, right?

  28. CCTLA says:

    The headline is flawed. Did you read the Kitzmiller case? Did you miss the evidence from Dr. Forrest? Creationism = Intelligent design, period, proven, over.

    • Wow.  That would be an engaging blog entry.  

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

      • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

        The Atheist Bible clearly states that in the beginning there was nothing. And the nothing exploded very violently and created the universe. Then everything that is randomly formed from matter that never existed in the first place. Then on earth living organisms formed, also at random, and formed complex life forms which evolved into plants and the plants later changed over to animals which used the plants for food. Eventually the animals began to eat each other in addition to the plants and in time formed human beings which eat plants and animals. And all this came about when nothing exploded into something and random mutations created all things despite the current laws of physics (thermodynamics) which states definitively that order cannot come out of confusion without an external force directing it.
        But it all came from nothing. I wonder if we aren’t still nothing? Since there was nothing to begin with.
        Amazing, all that we see and are came from something that was originally nothing. Absolutely remarkable.

        • I think it would be a little improbable that atheists would have a bible.  

          Peddle your sad strawman arguments and random gibberish somewhere else, Jeff.  

          Your arguments are beyond salvation.

          • Jeff Milum says:

            Who said I was a Christian? I’m just asking you mental giants (no sarcasm intended) to tell me where the whole thing started and what the first life form was. You are all enjoying this debate but you’re starting at the middle of the train. You just assume there is an engine (what kind or how it works is apparently irrelevant) and a caboose. Using that analogy wouldn’t you ask who built the train and if someone is at the controls? Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 00:32:43 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

        • kurt says:

          There was a short post from CCTLA, not sure what he/she was getting at, maybe could explain? As far as Jeff goes, did you take any of my advise from the last time? Have you studied a variety of scripture, engaged others in face to face conversation on this issue? I’m sure you mean ‘atheist bible’ euphemistically, but it’s as if you’re saying all atheists subscribe to Darwinist thinking. They don’t. The Dalai Lama gives a wonderful perspective on the failings of Darwinism in his book The Universe in a Single Atom while maintaining an atheist perspective. Also, I know folks who embrace evolution while at the same time profess a love of God. I’d be interested in sharing my two cents worth on it all – provided you are capable of listening, not just speaking. Are you?

          • Jeff Milum says:

            You are all debating theories which by their very nature had to start billions of years into the evolutionary process. So it’s like debating how a ’67 Camaro changed into a ’69 Camaro by random mutations. No one is asking where the original car came from. Same with the universe. You’re jumping into the debate and skipping the main point: Where did it all begin? Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 01:35:04 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

            • kurt says:

              >You are all debating theories which by their very nature …

              I offered nothing even close to a debate, Jeff, just an offer to converse.

              >Why is it that no one I’ve ever met is willing to discuss the very beginning?

              Who have you met that offered anything of value? If you have, what was it?
              What can you, yourself, say about the “very beginning” that might be fodder for discussion?

              • jeffmilum@hotmail.com says:

                Let’s start right there. Before any of your theories can be presented and/or discussed, you must go back to where this life began. And if there is no logical explanation for when, where and how, then how do you explain jumping into a debate about something very far up the evolutionary ladder? It’s quite bizarred really.
                Have you seen Ben Stein’s movie about discussing this very subject in a school or scientific community/conversation, you would be immediately over-ruled and your subject made the butt of laughling by the “intelligent” people who believe that life came from nothing and just grew and had millions of all positive mutations, even to the point of creating animals from plants.
                What a bizarre set of beliefs.
                And just a few short years ago, some idiot tried to teach evolution and was taken to court. Now, conversely, it is the creationists that ARE NOT ALLOWED to speak of such things as opinions, subjects of of conversation or even remotely possible theories.
                It reminds me of the way Galileo was treated. Lock him/them up and shut the door because their opinions are heretical.

                • Am I alone in thinking Jeff comes from some opposite bizarro-world where up is down and left is right?

                  Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                • kurt says:

                  >Let’s start right there. Before any of your theories can be presented and/or discussed, you must go back to where this life began.

                  I might be starting to get your drift a little, Jeff. I agree that natural selection/evolution can seem like a bizarre notion and can be difficult to sort thru philosophically. The defacto claim of Darwinism is that we, simply one species among many, on a tiny little 8000 mile wide rock, somehow evolved the physical and mental faculties that just happen to be just right for detecting and describing the process that unintentionally and purposelessly created us, and just happened to provide us with the desire to do so with intention and purpose in mind. That does seem very unlikely, and smacks of self-invention, maybe even some self-delusion. The Buddhists and Taoists I’ve read agree with that perspective and many people of science agree as well. We can cover some specific examples if you want.

                  A popular hypothesis is that man first started erroneously crediting life to a God-creator because it merely conferred a survival benefit. Early humans that were united by a belief would be favored as tribes by natural selection since they would then be more united in farming, defense and reproduction. If true then it does seem a bit suspicious that the proponents of this idea credit natural selection only toward God oriented beliefs while stanchly crediting intellect toward their own. Could supporters of evolutionary theory be considered a “tribe”? If so, evolution-belief might not be any more of an “intellectual choice” than god-belief. Evolution-believers (for lack of a better term) should admit to being motivated by the same terms of natural selection that they assign to the motivation of God-believers. Flippertie and I have talked about this before and I recognise his opinion that evolutionary theory is a wholly different enterprise compared to a creator oriented belief. But I believe he is correct only in a myopic sense. In a larger sense, if we are all equally susceptible to a tribe-building instinct motivated by commonality of belief, how different could they be?

                  >a debate about something very far up the evolutionary ladder?

                  What I have to say here is entirely philosophical. Its worth talking about but its not evolutionary science. I get the feeling, Jeff that you believe yourself to be making a scientific argument. I know what you are trying to get at by saying “the evolutionary ladder “ but using that kind of vernacular is not the stuff of science. Very qualified people study the process of life and they call that process evolution and for all their effort they still don’t know what the “very beginning” was anymore than you or I do. Get over it. It’s not a big deal.

                  >Have you seen Ben Stein’s movie about discussing this very subject in a school or scientific community/conversation, you would be immediately over-ruled and your subject made the butt of laughling…

                  Yes, I saw that. Ben Stein is a pretty sharp guy, for what I know about him, and the video was compelling. But I don’t think there was anything definitive about it. It played like a documentary about some tribal territory dispute to me.

                  >And just a few short years ago, some idiot…

                  I’ll bet if you jettison the negative talk about others you might be taken more seriously.

        • @Jeffmilium
          ” the current laws of physics (thermodynamics) which states definitively that order cannot come out of confusion without an external force directing it.”

          That is an incorrect formulation of the second law of thermodynamics. There is no requirement for direction – only an external source of energy is required to reduce entropy (ie to create order, or accomplish useful work).

          Entropy in the universe as a whole is increasing, but in localised systems such as the earth order can come about spontaneously because of the energy input in the form of sunshine.

          • Jeff Milum says:

            Oh, so we had billions of objects flying across the universe in random fashion and some shunshine made it all come together into perfect order. Then, a little more sunshine at just the right angle, throw in some water and we have millions of living organisms and an eco-system to support it. Sorry, I forgot about the sunshine (energy). :( A little more sunshine, a little more life, a little more order. Maybe if Afghanistan got a little more sunshine each year they’d actually find peace from random violence. Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 04:04:50 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

        • CCTLA says:

          You are mis-informed on the second law.

          • Which is irrelevant anyway since he keeps making slighlty new variations of the same logic fallacy of ignoratio elenchi.

            Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

            • Jeff Milum says:

              Slight variations of your logic. Millions of living organisms and a perfect universe from a big bang. Argue that one. Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 16:07:35 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

              • Off topic.  Not arguing big bang.  Find another forum please.

                Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

                • Jeff Milum says:

                  No, you’re arguing the middle of the process and skipping entirely over the beginning. LIke finding a tire and debating what it is made of and how it got grooves in it. You just blindly and ignorantly assume it had a beginning that made sense and it now is. But even a tire had a beginning and a designer and it is evolving. It’s doing so with the help of a designer. Jeff PS Why is it that no one I’ve ever met is willing to discuss the very beginning? It’s like watching Ben Stein’s show and having some moron that can’t even shave correctly saying life started “on the backs of crystals.” But don’t let that distract you. Keep discussing the molecules of the rubber and forget about where it started and how it got into the shape of a tire. Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 20:21:53 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                  • @jeffMilum
                    What is it that you want to discuss about the very beginning? From what i have read in this thread a few people have tried but you have not responded. Do you mean the very beginning of life on earth, or the very beginning of everything? Whichever it is = what to you think is the best explanation?

  29. James says:

    Complete systems don’t just happen. And there is no way they evolve. Order does not come from chaos. No thing ever comes from nothing.

  30. Pingback: Do you believe in Human Evolution

  31. ffare says:

    Good job … difficult topic.

    • Jethro says:

      I have no anger or animosity towards anyone. If you could grasp my voice inflection and/or body language when writing these comments you would see that in most cases I am chuckling or at least smiling.
      And no one has yet to tell me how “they think” life began and/or what it was that “became living matter.”
      Here is a very simple experiment for you all: Take four red marbles, four white marbles, four blue marbles and four black marbles. place them in a blind container and draw each one out in order and lay them on a table. How many tries will it take to get a red, a white, a blue and a black marble in order four times in a row. The rest of your life and then some?
      Then tell me how 26,000 genes (each of which is a complex structure in and or itself) could line up perfectly, suddenly bind together and become a living thing, what it would eat or feed itself, how it would replicate and how it would then mutate into other living things.
      It seems from observing your conversations you are all starting at the 95% mark and debating things from there.
      All I am suggesting is begin at the start and carry a logical argument forward from there.

      • Jeff –
        Your marble picking thought experiment is a false analogy. The marble picking is a random process and the “natural selection” part of evolution is by definition non-random.

        Your use of the word ‘suddenly’ betrays your basic misunderstanding. At the time when life on earth was beginning there were uncounted billions upon trillions of random chemical reactions happening in all sorts of different environments. These reactions were happening all day, every minute of every day of every year for millions and tens of millions and hundreds of millions of years. . It would only take *one* of those reactions to produce a molecule capable of combining available ingredients into a copy of itself to start off the process of chemical evolution.

        If you learn nothing else from your interactions on this thread over the past year learn this:

        Evolution is a very very slow process that takes place over multiple generations. It does not happen suddenly.

        • Jeff must get bored and needs to seek out drama from time to time. He seems to want to converse but lacks any capacity to understand anyone else or to move beyond his bizarre fixation on how things can be discussed or analyzed. I wonder what kind of environment formed/evolved a personality like, Jeff’s? Surely he did not just come to this strange behaviour and idea “suddenly”. There must have been some precursor formative events.

          • Jethro says:

            If life formed millions of times then why does every living thing in the world have the same genetic makeup? Hm? Are you saying that living organisms spontaneously came into being and each and every one of them had the exact same genetic structure with no variation? Seems like even more of a coincidence than mathematics can calculate.

            Jethro

            • That is a false statement and a false hypothesis based on false assumptions and shows you have a very poor understanding of what you are talking about.

              • Jethro says:

                Now it you who are insulting my intelligence. You are refusing to admit that before life began the ONLY things on earth were minerals, rocks, water and sunlight.
                And from that you ALL believe, (or ignore) that you cannot get life from those three things. Yet you continually jump ahead in the “evolutionary chain” and begin at “living organism positively mutating into living organisms. Thus, like all these debates you insult my “lack of intellect: (I have a 142 IQ) and revert to insults instead of offering a plausible explanation of how the first life form(s) came into being. And from there how they replicated, fed themselves and how they mutated into the multi-celled plants and animals that became the ecosystem of life on planet earth.
                Please, someone, address the VERY beginning, not the later “positive mutations” that made life possible.
                Until and unless you address the beginning you are taking a quantum leap in your theories and beginning at a very advance place in a mathematical equation that has no foundation.
                I’m sorry that you all ridicule my question instead of addressing it. I expected more from such an “intelligent” group.

                Jethro, Himself

                • You are making statements not backed up by fact. You are also shifting the topic from evolution to abiogenisis or some other precursor theory. Your approach is flawed. You are trying to disprove something by disproving an unrelated theory not under discussion. Whether life originated from rocks, magic fairy dust, or a God is irrelevant to how or whether life evolved or whether natural selection and mutation played roles in evolution.

                • Kurt Hunsinger says:

                  Always enjoy chiming in on this topic but looks like just more of the same as last time. Worth mentioning thought that jethro, as most of us do, is spring-boarding from imagination to reality. Which is not all bad. imagination is recognized by great thinkers in Buddhism and science as a reasonable, viable means of inquiry. Whether it’s named Meditation or Thought Experiment  it serves to engage our sense of awe and expand our desire for knowledge. The trick of course, in both traditions, is to use an educated, well trained and mentor-guided mind do so! 

                  Flippertie: It would only take *one* of those reactions to produce a molecule capable of combining available ingredients into a copy of itself to start off the process of chemical evolution. 

                  The trouble I think many folks have with Natural Selection is that science tends to present it as if it were a truly on going, independent, external reality to which all life, and all study of life, is eternally subject. But, really, no one should have to accept that kind of demonstrative assertion from any source. We should reject that kind of “ownership” of reality from the secular just as we should reject it from the religious.  Darwinism fails in the same way that religion fails in that they are both unwilling to recognize that what they holds as eternal realities are actually personalized inventions. Natural Selection, like a deity, is comprehended only by it’s human inventors and cannot be shown to persist in the absence human perspective. Natural selection is credited with producing a creature conscious of itself, it’s own deeds and desires, and even more amazingly, capable of detecting the Natural Selection that created it. And so it is with all deities: they produce in us the desire to seek them out.

                  What is it about Flipperties above statement that is compelling enough to show that Natural selection is independently capable of such a feat, without benefit of our personal acceptance of the notion that it did so?     

                  • Jeff Milum says:

                    Anybody who is stupid enough to believe that life came from inanimate objects doesn’t deserve the time it takes to debate the subject. Tell someone who believes you can make a dime come out of a junkyard with an explosive charge and you have just found someone to debate with. And that analogy is accurate. So leave me alone. Einstein, Newton, Pascal, they all had ways to prove their theories. You don’t. Plain and simple you believe an unprovable theory. But there is no sense in debating with you and your educated friends. You’re not open minded enough to consider that fact that you may just be wrong. Please leave me alone and we’ll see. We’ll all be dead soon enough (including you) and we’ll know then. Jethro, Himself Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2014 02:16:22 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Lol. You are the one who keeps coming back and only one who has started off stating you are closed minded to an idea. I think you left out the decimal place in your 142 IQ.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Would you like to debate the subject in a controlled environment, in person? 100 people picked at random from the phone book. And we’ll let them vote at the end. No moderator just time limits And remember, Mr. Insulting, you’ve never answered the original question: What was the first life form? And you never will answer the question because its impossible to have spontaneous life from rocks and mineral, then become several billion life forms, plant and animal in a perfect ecosystem. Time and place? Jethro, Himself PS And consider this: Prior to the “God is dead” announcement, the Christian world produced incredible scientific advancements because they believed in a transcendent order to things. This caused them to discover gravity, mathematics, the world’s hydraulic system, ocean currents, the relationship of the sun to the universe (a Christian almost died over that one) the Red Cross, nuclear energy, radar, the fact that the world is round, aerodynamics (the Wright Brothers, as with all the others, were Christian or Jewish) the splitting of the atom, the American Constitution, (which is being ignored). A Christian discovered the link between micro-organisms and disease, and on and on. What has evolution brought us? Neitsche, Hitler, Stalin, the military complex, constant war, abortion, (there would be no debate about illegal immigrants if HALF those babies had been brought to term). Atheism has brought barbarism and always will. And blind obedience. And still no one can explain the first living organism. Your beliefs take far more faith than mine, Mr. IQ. So bring ten of your best friends to help you if it facilitates the meeting. Jethro, Himself I don/t know your age but pretty soon you will be in the still-debated euthanasia age group. How’s that make you feel? Like a lump of irrelevant lump of clay? Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2014 15:39:49 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Wow. Talk about coming unhinged. Do you belong to a cult? None of that rant made any sense.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Hwy, that wasn’t a rant and only a presumptive idiot would attempt to add voice inflection to an email. As I told the previous emailer, life is short, very short, and the only way to know for sure is to croak. So if you’re right I’ll never know it and neither will you. But if I’m right you’ll have a lot to think about and a long time to think it over. See you over there. Maybe. Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2014 16:44:08 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • By the way, IQ. you omitted the word “the” from your response. As in, “you’re one”. You left out “the”. Typical for a low-IQ person.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      What’s it matter anyway? The only way to know for sure is to croak. At since I’m sixty its right around the corner. You too will find out very soon. A lot sooner than you think. Time flies as they say (that’s a biblical quotation, by the way) and you’ll know then. No malice intended. Just pointing out that one of us is VERY wrong. And we’ll both find out soon enough (actually, if you’re right I’ll never know the difference. But if I’m right? Well, kind of speaks for itself. Jethro, Himself Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2014 16:44:57 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Kurt Hunsinger says:

                      Oh well, so much for trying. Jethro, you just cant seem to recognize a supporting argument even when I’ve handed to you on a silver platter.

                  • Kurt, What I am saying is that the very basics of natural selection are easy to understand. You need
                    1 – replication with variation
                    2 – competition for the resources required to replicate.

                    The results will be different rates of replication for different variations – and hence different rates of survival to the next generation.

                    The above applies equally to any environment where the 2 factors I listed above apply. Some examples might be
                    > simple chemical replicators floating in a solution of organic chemicals
                    > bacteria reproducing in the soil outside my home
                    > humans parading up and down in any town on a saturday night..

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      So you’re in essence saying that million, perhaps billions of life forms sprang from the rocks and every one of them had a minimum of 26,000 genes formed into a double helix. Far out. Lets end the debate. We’ll all know soon enough. Me, I’m 60 and in a few short years I’ll know for sure. Whatever age you are you won’t be able to prove a thing till you croak. Then you’ll have your proof. No offense, just the truth Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2014 05:35:28 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Tell us your belief. How can we be non-believers if you can’t even explain what you believe? My God believes in evolution so I’m good.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Intelligent Design, plain and simple. And no offense, really, I’m saying this with respect. But you can’t have “your” own god. There can only be one. I’ll give you the point that there are lots to choose from. One has to make an educated guess based on the evidence at hand. Personally I’ve been through the experience. A hard-core atheist, then agnostic. Having read Leachy et al, I settled on a god. The god of intelligent design. And since you seem decent, would you mind telling me why, in your opinion so many people get really nasty when the theory is equally valid? I really don’t understand the anger. Jeff PS I would very much like to carry on a civil dialogue with you. Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2014 17:08:02 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Interesting. So let’s try the civil route. This is not a trick question. Can you briefly explain the theory of gravity and how it works?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      There is no “theory” of gravity. It was proven, therefore is no longer a theory. But I’d be happy to explain the mathematics of it if you like. Jeff Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:19:01 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • That is not actually true. We have defined a set if behavior as gravity and bound that observed behavior to a set of mathematical observations and equations. One might as easily call that behavior the God force. We chose to call it gravity.

                      What was gravity before God or the universe?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      You beg the point. Gravity is PROVEN. Just ask the astronauts if it works according to a set of very specific mathematical laws. Jeff Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 00:21:21 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Behavior we have observed and reproduced is called gravity. Where did the gravity come from? Doesn’t everything have to have a beginning to you?

                      Also, the laws and behavior of gravity are still being ironed out as we observe new phenomenon. Blackholes and Kugekblitzes turn many of our gravitational theories and formulae on their heads. Gravity is only a “thing” because we have described it as such.

                      We can’t physically travel to other planets or back in time to verify our calculations about the movements of comets, stars, galaxies, etc, but we can use observations and math to extrapolate how things move, where they were, where they may be.

                      Just because something can be observed and defined does not mean our explanation is the only possible one, nor does it address where all the matter and stars came from in the first place.

                      Whether we say god created the universe, or a big bang or we all live on Yggdrassil it doesn’t alter the concept of gravity. Science can be used to explain and define the what, but not the ultimate How or Why. How does gravity work the way it does and not some other way? Why does gravity and the universe exist? Gravity cannot explain. What it does allow us to discuss is how to explain and operated within our environment in a meaningful way. Evolution is no different. Its not a How or a Why it’s a what. Obviously we can’t observe evolution take place over millions of years anymore than we can travel billions if years back in time to see how the universe formed or travel billions of lightyears to see how the gravitational forces of galaxies interact. We can extrapolate, theorize and describe what we observe. We can ask others to review our calculations and observations. We are only right until we are proven wrong. Evolution and a supreme being are not mutually exclusive anymore than gravity and a supreme being are mutually exclusive. It may not be correct, but its one of our best working theories on how species change over time and new traits are introduced.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      You are absolutely right! Gravity did have a beginning. Just like with congress a law has to be written in advance, it doesn’t just form out of nothing. Gravity performs to a very specific set of (already passed) laws. Evolution, on the other hand, has not a single proven law, its entirely theory. Entirely. And ID explains gravity very well. Gravity is necessary for life on this planet (and any other for that matter) and so had to be put in place PRIOR to the design of life. This is circular reasoning.” Laws never made anything happen to begin with. Newton’s law of motion, for instance, never made a billiard ball move. It took/takes and outside force to begin the process.” (quote Dr. Lennox) Jeff You know, ultimately everyone believes what they are predisposed to believe. Most people try and make facts support their beliefs instead of seeking objective truths. Personally I don’t believe that any life ever came from non-living matter. And remember, in the evolutionary beginning there was no dead organic material. That could only have come from previous life forms decaying. So its life from rocks and water. Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:30:10 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Jeff wrote “Isn’t something a theory until it is proven? And once proven it becomes the “Law of Gravity” not the “Theory of Gravity.” Is that not correct? And evolution is still a theory.

                      That is incorrect. It’s a common misunderstanding based on different uses of the word theory in everyday speech and in science.

                      In science a Law describes what happens or what is observed, and a Theory describes our best understanding of *why* it happens. In science a Theory, (with the capital T) is the highest level. But as knowledge increases Theories are revised while Laws generally remain the same. e.g. Newtons measurements of gravity’ effects and his Law describing them remain unchanged. But his Theory of why was replaced by Einsteins Theory of General Relativity, which has been further refined by Quantum Theory. Quantum Theory remains our best explanation for gravity – but will almost certainly be improved upon in the future.

                      In summary : Scientific Laws and Theories are related but separate and one does not replace the other.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      There is an old proverb that says: “Never argue with a fool, from a distance its hard to tell who’s who.” Let’s briefly use another analogy, the microchip. We applied the technology of a vacuum tube to microchips and they worked. We continued the process and now have multi gigabyte computers sitting on our laps. Ditto the law of gravity. Universally proven, broadly applied. but I think you just want argue so I give up. Forget it, just wait till you croak, then you’ll know one way or the other. Till then I hope you enjoy your search for the Holy Grail. Jeff Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:30:10 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • No skin off my blog.

                    • Kurt Hunsinger says:

                      I don’t really have the education to dispute almost any claim Darwinism makes. People of science are to be respected, period. There is an assumption though that Darwinism makes that I believe it cannot support… the claim that humans, namely Darwinists, are capable of accurately observing reality as it exists independent of themselves. And can accurately extrapolate how this external reality existed and will continue to exist even in their absence. Of course this claim is not indigenous to Darwinism. Best guess is our ancestors have credited themselves with having this ability for perhaps 500,000 years. But where did this self-image of insightfulness come from? Obviously it is not a discovery of science. It is, part and parcel, a religious assumption, a concept that we gleefully, and for the most part unwittingly, perpetuate. An Optimistic Bias at best.   Of course that’s not a problem for the creationists. God simply endowed us with it. No problem at all. And they would have every right to say so. They invented this utterly ubiquitous and unquestioned notion ages ago. And it is this likely-erroneous self-image alone that allows all dogma, including Darwinism, to gain and hold acceptance. I’m sure you will argue that Darwinism is not a dogma, (and I’d agree if Natural Selection could be shown to account for consciousness), but consider that Darwinism does indeed offer the hope knowing genuine truths while pinning the assertion on the original religious notion that humanity is capable of knowing genuine truths in the first place. You give the impression, Flippertie, that you do believe yourself capable of discerning reality as it exists independent of yourself. But I wonder why? What is it about Natural Selection that could prompt and support this belief if not for its reliance on our long-held, pre-existing religious assumptions?

                    • Jeff said “There is no “theory” of gravity. It was proven, therefore is no longer a theory.”

                      Here you are showing that you don’t understand that words have different meanings when used in a scientific context to when they are used in everyday life. Specifically Theory, and probably Law

                      Gravity is a FACT. You drop something it falls, planets orbit, balls move in parabolic arcs etc.

                      There is a LAW that describes the effects of gravity: Newtons “Law of universal Gravitation”. This is the mathematical inverse square law etc. that describes how gravity’s effect varies with distance and mass.

                      Then there is the THEORY of gravity that describes our best understanding of why this happens. A Theory starts as a HYPOTHESIS (a possible untested explanation) which is then tested by experiment. Failed hypotheses are discarded and ones that have not been disproved may be accepted as theory. The key point is that Theories change frequently as new experiments and observations refine our knowledge.

                      There is a nice explanation of this here:

                      https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070807220925AAwEBXl

                      In the same way there are facts, laws and theories of fields of research like Electro-Magnetism, Thermodynamics, and yes, Evolution.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Sir, Honestly, Isn’t something a theory until it is proven? And once proven it becomes the “Law of Gravity” not the “Theory of Gravity.” Is that not correct? And evolution is still a theory. Which is why I believe it is necessary to start with the beginning of the theory and work forward. Anything else is an assumption and we seem to be advancing incredibly complex formulas and theories beginning with assumptions. Also an honest question: Do you really believe that non-living matter became living matter and over time evolved into billions of complex organisms? I mean, the odds are astronomical. More than astronomical. Which is why I became a believer in ID. The odds are just too great. Immense. And remember, every life form is based on the same genetic code, the double helix. If life spontaneously formed multiple times don’t you think there would be some different kinds of building blocks? And thank you for your civil discussion. Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 04:53:02 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

            • Jeff – If you want an answer to your often repeated question about the very first origins you need to take the time to read what people actually write, not what you think they are going to write. You completely misunderstood what I wrote above.

              You ask: “If life formed millions of times then why does every living thing in the world have the same genetic makeup?”
              There were uncountable chemical reactions going on but it only took ONE replicator to form by accident and everything follows from that.

              You ask “Are you saying that living organisms spontaneously came into being and each and every one of them had the exact same genetic structure with no variation?
              No. That is completely different from what I was saying.

  32. Well Jeff, if you are really leaving good bye, and have a nice life. Don’t waste it – it’s probably the only one you’ll have ;-p

    It’s not that I want to argue – but in order to have a fruitful discussion both parties need to be using the same words to mean the same things. You have misconceptions about how science and evolution work, and you misunderstand how words like Law,Theory, evidence and proof are used in a scientific context

    As long as you continue to misapply those words and concepts you will be talking past the people you want to communicate with. It’s a bit like going to a foreign country and assuming that people will understand you if you just speak slowly and loudly.

    • Jeff Milum says:

      As to what should be taught in school, lets compromise and say neither. With the discovery of the human genome and the advances in medical science, where we started is irrelevant. We can work it out from where we are on the evolutionary scale or the ID scale. Both are irrelevant to a child. Rather than insist on teaching one of two concepts that can’t be proven, lets spend the time working forward from where we are, and what has been proven scientifically. Meanwhile you and I wait to croak and we both hope science finds a way to allow us to live hundreds of productive and exciting years in the meantime. The only difference between us will be lifestyle choice. And I don’t begrudge you a long, Epicurean lifestyle. And I’ll be quite content to live by the golden rule and live a honest and humble existence to the best of my ability. Sincerely, Jeff PS Did you know that Christian NGO’s feed, clothe and educate millions of poor children every day? So at the very worst, those wacko Creationists do some good while they are on this earth. Which is a hell of a lot more than can be said for the atheists. Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 14:23:34 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

      • Uhm. Not all Christians are creationists. Not all aethists are bad people. Many of them are better than many professed Christians and Creationists who only do things out of fear of Hell and promise of eternal rewards. Many live by the Golden rule and work in NGOs to help people that are alive stay alive and comfortable on tge earth we all know we share. As you said, that is focusing on things we know and which can be proven. You seem to have a lot of incorrect sterotypes in your head, Jeff. Judge not lest ye be judged. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That does not mean declare all people who disagree with your brand of Christianity as evil and deluded or hateful of others. You are judging millions of people you have never met based on what you think they believe, or because you believe they would behave in an evil or unethical manner without the constant threat of Hell or promise of Heaven hanging over their heads. That is wrong, and a direct contradiction of how you want people to see and treat you and your beliefs.

        • Jeff Milum says:

          Sir, for you to quote the bible to me is A) an admission that you believe it, and B) an insult as I happen to have a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies. Now, back to the “debate” over evolution. Let’s say you are 100% correct, evolution is true, life came from nothing and all living things evolved. So what? The past and how we came to be is totally irrelevant since we cracked the human genome. Now all that matters is where we go from here. And we can do that by using intellect to improve our species and the various life forms we feel need help. As I said, the origins of life are totally irrelevant. Completely and totally irrelevant and ANY teaching about them is a waste of time. Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2014 02:20:37 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

      • Jeff said : lets compromise and say neither.
        No. Let’s not.

        School science education is intended to give students a basic grasp of the accepted state of scientific knowledge.

        The Theory of Evolution is one of the most robust and well supported theories in all of science. It has stood the test of every challenge put up over the past 150 years and not been falsified. It has been, and will continue to be refined as more science advances. but the chance of the basic principles of mutation and natural selection being falsified are about the same as the chance of us discovering that the world is actually flat after all.

        Intelligent design is at best an unsupported hypothesis. An interesting idea, with no supporting evidence and no reason to suspect that any evidence will be found soon.

        So the accepted state of biology, to the overwhelmingly large majority of practicing Biologists is that the Theory of Evolution is largely correct, and that is what should be taught in schools.

        • Jeff Milum says:

          Please tell me one thing that can be gained by teaching evolution in school. Whether it happened or not is now irrelevant. We’re where we are and any future evolution we can do on our own, and it will be done with intelligence too. At the very best evolution is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter one iota where we came from but it means a hell of a lot where we go from here. And evolution won’t affect that at all. After all, we can direct it ourselves from here on in. Evolution: A complete waste of time. Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2014 13:14:27 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

          • I do not understand how evolution determines where we “go from here”? Can you explain how believing in evolution means you can’t believe in God or an afterlife?

            A lot of science we learn does not directly lead to a specific benefit or improvement of our lives. It is the accumulation of this knowledge that begins to yield benefits. Evolution, whether you believe it or not, is based on application of scientific processes. Experiments are done by two different scientists all the time with different results, interpretations or discoveries. When you conduct an experiment you may prove youself wrong. That does not mean you did something valueless. You have discovered what is not true and perhaps moved yourself and the scientific community closer to what is “true” or more correct. Most of the discoveries in science are not miraculous breakthroughs, but to get to those it takes a lot of failures and what you might see as “useless” information.

            What is important is the process. Designing an experiment that tests a hypothesis or theory that fits readily observable evidence.

            Carbon and other types if dating methods have applications beyond Evolution. We use these methods in forensics/ criminology for evaluating evidence victims, and documenting/verifying authenticity of historical objects and events for instance.

            • Jeff Milum says:

              Man, you are making up things and attributing them to me. Read the post below and tell me where I mentioned God. And answer my question: What does it matter if we evolved? We are where we are on the “evolutionary scale” and going forward we can control our own evolution if we choose to via controlled genetics, cloning, etc. We evolved, we are here, what does it matter how we became what we are? Whether or not we evolved ts totally irrelevant, especially to our future. Read the post. Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:13:13 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

              • So you don’t believe in God?

                You obviously do not understand science.

                I explained why the science behind the theory matters.

                • Jeff Milum says:

                  Who mentioned God? Not me. I just want someone to state what it matters if we evolved or not. We can argue from now on but please keep your words out of my mouth and answer the one simple question: What difference does it make? Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 01:11:50 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                  • It determines whether environment plays a role in creation or destruction of new species and all life on earth as well as other planets. Are we alone in the universe because we were created and not because these types of chemical reactions are possible on the trillions of other planets in the galaxy and universe. It matters because it helps us understand our past and what might happen in our future, and what we can do about it. It matters because knowledge matters for its own sake. It matters because it makes the world seem less random and more amazing and sensical, not less so. So yes, it matters.

                    And it does not prove or disprove a divine entity.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      You didn’t convince me. That is one piss-poor argument. We have SETI constantly combing the cosmos looking for other life forms and if anything on earth makes a sudden turn in its evolutionary process, we’ll know about it immediately. Take the dinosaurs for instance. It is commonly assumed that they were wiped out by an asteroid impact. So what, just knowing they’re gone and knowing how or why is a waste of time. Its done and the knowledge of how and/or why is irrelevant. There’s an old southern cliché that says: “It doesn’t matter where you been, it matters where you’re going, so plan accordingly.” Its not only a waste of educational time its a moot point. Jeff Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:29:43 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Lol. So sad you feel way. Why are we using SETI if God created us and we are unique? Shouldn’t we just stop all that nonsense?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      As a matter of fact I think SETI is a total waste of time. But if someone wants to do it at least its looking for “intelligent life”. But you’re still evading my question/point: What good does it do to teach children where and how we came to be? I say none whatsoever and believe the class time could be put to much better use. Jeff Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:36:11 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • So you don’t believe in teaching kids the bible or especially genesis?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Nope. And I don’t think we should teach evolution either. Both are irrelevant to the education of children. Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:52:08 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • So you think adults should be taught these things, but not children?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      I don’t think ANYONE should be “taught” either of these theories. Like I said, It’s irrelevant. Everyone can draw their own conclusion to either theory whenever they want. My problem is that it is a waste of classroom time for children And you still haven’t answered the question: What good does it do a child to “learn” about either theory? Why are you ducking the question? Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 23:00:31 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      By the way I am a creationist. But it doesn’t change the fact that teaching evolution is totally irrelevant. Jeff Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:29:43 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Of course you are. Incidentally, that is not a fact, that is an example of an opinion, as is your belief in Creationism.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Thank you for acknowleging that evolution is an opinion. It seems to be a very difficult thing to extract from those who believe in evolution. Like I said before, whether we were created or formed from the minerals and water (there was no such thing as the primordial soup. If life evolved it did so from minerals and water because there had never been any living thing prior to to the first life forms) NEITHER of them should be taught in school because how we came into being is now irrelevant. We are what we are and we can start from there. Jeff Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:37:23 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • Lol. I said no such thing. Your tactics are aa childish as your arguments.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      But you are still evading the question: What good does it do to teach either creationism or evolution to children? The obvious answer to me is nothing. Can you tell me what good it does to spend hours upon hours teaching evolution to a child? Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:50:09 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • I already answered your question but you either did not read my answer or chose to disregard it. I am not in the habit of repeating myself. Now answer mine. Do you believe teaching history, the bible and genesis is a waste of time?

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      Your reply was a series of questions. Read it and see. As to what should be taught to children in school, I think proven and establish history is a must. And no, I think teaching CHILDREN the bible or creationism is a waste of classroom time. Creationism or evolution is the responsibility of the parents if they CHOOSE to teach it. And it should be done at home, not in school. If you have children ask them to apply evolution to where the world is today. Jeff PS By the way, remember that it was illegal to teach evolution in school until the Scope’s Monkey trial. Now it is MANDATORY that children be taught evolution and it is illegal to teach creationism. And in my opinion neither of them should be taught in school Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:59:11 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

                    • You are wrong but it’s not worth arguing.

                    • Jeff Milum says:

                      I’m ? I asked you a question and you won’t answer, and that make me wrong? Talk about jumping to conclusions. But I guess its very similar to assuming life began by random alignment of rocks that were hit by lightning and came to life then building a whole THEORY from there that explains life. And your children? Afraid to ask them or you don’t have any? Jeff PS I just realized that you may be saying there was a “primordial soup” that produced life. If so, explain what was in it. Because if there had never been any living thing, then there were only minerals, rocks (no topsoil, that has living organisms in it and decomposed plant matter). So I can state definitely that your theory says life came from rocks and/or loose minerals and water. Also, IF your theory is true, do you really believe plants turned into animals? Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 02:03:34 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

              • Tell me where in evolution God does not exist?

                • Jeff Milum says:

                  Get it through you head, I DIDN’T MENTION GOD! What I said was what does it matter if we evolved or not. And you’re not answering my question. You’re trying to draw me onto a rabbit trail about God. What I want to know is what does it matter if we evolved? We are what we are and we don’t need to know where or how we got to this point. So answer MY question: What does it matter if we evolved or were created?

                  Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 01:12:42 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

      • There’s an old saying along these lines:

        “Good people will generally do good things and bad people will generally do bad things. But to get good people to do bad things – that takes religion”.

        I have no doubt that religious people do good things every day – but I am also aware of the terrible things that have been done throughout history and are still being done in the name of religions today.

        And like you Jeff, I try to live by the golden rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That ancient Ethic of Reciprocity has been used in societies the world over since ancient times and is present in almost every religion and ethical code aver devised.

        But I like to think that we follow it because we are basically social and empathetic beings. That seems so much better than being nice out of fear of an angry god’s temper.

        • Jeff says:

          I have no fear of death or God or where I’ll spend eternity if it exists. But the more I ponder evolution I am more and more convinced that it doesn’t matter one iota. It won’t change the past or the future, (we can do the future ourselves now, with our own intelligent design.
          As to school, what can be gained by teaching evolution? Honestly? We’re here, at this point in time and/or evolution. So what does past evolution do if you teach it? Not a single thing. It’s totally irrelevant and a waste of time.

  33. Jymbo says:

    Maybe i am a little slow but = Radiometric dating of the rock formation that contained fossils from the early dinosaur genus Eoraptor at 231.4 million years old establishes its presence in the fossil record at this time.
    in spite of conclusive evidence of the Earth’s antiquity, the proponents of “scientific” creationism stubbornly maintain that the Earth is only about 10,000 years old
    does this not rule out creationism ?

    • does this not rule out creationism ?
      To anyone who understands and accepts the principle of radioactive decay and half-life, yes. But…..

      • Jeff Milum says:

        Okay, lets say you are 100% correct. What good does it do a student to know that “fact?” Nothing whatsoever. It’s totally irrelevant. We’re here and the future will be determined by “intelligent” people. After all, we’ve cracked the human genome and can direct our own evolution. So instead of wasting time arguing about whether evolution is true or not, lets spend the time teaching children things that will affect their future. In essence evolution is irrelevant. The future is all that matters. Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2014 13:03:24 +0000 To: jeffmilum@hotmail.com

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