Expelled: Ben Stein Takes on Evolution

Evolution reigns supreme in the educational institutions of America and Europe. However, there are major holes in the theory that remain even after over a hundred years of intense efforts to fill them in not to mention the billions of research dollars spent along with some of the careers of many of the finest scientific minds of the 20th century. Even so, alternative theories of how everything came about are routinely ostracized, ridiculed, and rejected without investigation. Ben Stein has done the leg work to track down this anti-freedom conspiracy and expose it for what it is: good old fashioned fear–fear of being wrong. Click the play button below to watch the trailer for this upcoming movie due to hit theaters this spring.

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103 responses to this post.

  1. However, there are major holes in the theory

    Such as? There is little debate indeed on whether or not evolution happens, it’s about as settled as gravity or that germs cause disease. There are minor tweaks that happen from time to time as new evidence becomes available but that happens with every known scientific theory.

    Even so, alternative theories of how everything came about are routinely ostracized, ridiculed, and rejected without investigation.

    What theories have been presented? Neither creationism or intelligent design are theories, they are both what is known as hypothesis since they have no evidence to support them.

    Ben Stein has done the leg work to track down this anti-freedom conspiracy

    And if you actually look at those academics denied tenure and such, you’ll find their beliefs regarding ID had nothing to do with it. For example; Gonzales’ record in his department was poor, with an abysmal amount of funding and grants brought in while only one of his students completed a thesis. Anyone would get refused tenure for such a performance.

    and expose it for what it is: good old fashioned fear–fear of being wrong.

    Scientists love to be proved wrong. Their job is to go out and prove other scientists wrong all the time.

    As for the movie… is this the same one creators lied to interviewees about? Fails to produce any actual evidence to support ID? Has had to resort to paying people to see?

    Reply

  2. Matt,

    One of the clear holes is abiogenesis. Another is the fact that natural selection effectively removes possibilities from the gene pool. The collective variance within a gene pool of organisms lessens with each generation. Yet, less variance, less total information is supposed to produce a higher order system? Another is speciation. No one denies microevolution occurs, only macro, the creation of entirely new species from old. Getting men from monkeys, birds from lizards. Fourth, there are nearly zero linking fossils found. Most that have claimed to be links have been found to be wrong. With billions of years of organisms dying you’d think we would find some clear fossil lines.

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  3. One of the clear holes is abiogenesis.

    The Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with the Theory of Abiogenesis, though both theories have substantial evidence to support them.

    Unlike ID.

    Another is the fact that natural selection effectively removes possibilities from the gene pool. The collective variance within a gene pool of organisms lessens with each generation. Yet, less variance, less total information is supposed to produce a higher order system?

    That indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of how Evolution works. There is no ‘less variance’; indeed Evolution encourages and creates more variation as species spread to different environments and adapt to them. Members of the same species who move to, for example, colder climates develop thicker fur and so on (to put it as simply as possible).

    Another is speciation. No one denies microevolution occurs, only macro, the creation of entirely new species from old.

    I suggest you refer to talkorigins.org which is a very highly regarded website, based solely on peer reviewed scientific research and papers. They have a page dedicated to scientifically laying out the evidence for so called macroevolution (which is just false anyhow, no actual scientist sees any difference between ‘micro’ and ‘macro’, it seems to be some weird definition made up by people ignorant of evolutionary mechanisms).
    29+ evidences of macroevolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Fourth, there are nearly zero linking fossils found.

    I think you mean ‘transitional fossils’ and the number of those that have been found and verified are many indeed. Again, talkorigins.org lists examples of such that have been found:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

    Most that have claimed to be links have been found to be wrong.

    That’s just a false claim.

    With billions of years of organisms dying you’d think we would find some clear fossil lines.

    a) All fossils that have been found and studied match up with Evolution.
    b) Only a very small percentage of animal remains fossilises as it takes some rather specific conditions.

    Anything else?

    Reply

  4. Posted by John Paul on February 25, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Matt,
    A few things I would like to point out in your first comment:

    is this the same one creators lied to interviewees about?

    The producers have responded to the acusations of misleading the interviewees here
    [audio src="http://intelligentdesign.podOmatic.com/enclosure/2007-08-29T10_52_26-07_00.mp3" /]
    So at this point its just a question of who are you going to believe, unless someone has produced hard evedence that contradicts what the other was saying.

    Fails to produce any actual evidence to support ID?

    Thats not the “premise” of the film. This film makes no attempt to prove or disprove either ID or Darwinism. Its a film about the treatment of those who go against the status quo on this subject.

    Has had to resort to paying people to see?

    resort? This movie was made by movie producers not charitable or educational organizations, i think its fair that they expect to see a return on there investment don’t you? I work at a college and I know that the school has to pay substantial fees to publicly screen a movie, documentary or otherwise.

    Reply

  5. Care to explain what the reasons are in that mp3? I have little desire to sit through a podcast at this time.

    So the film brings forward a mechanism, ID, but does not actually say why it should be researched? What validity it has? Then they produce no credibility for themselves at all then. In science, you just do not no researching things for no reason. You need cause, you need a testable hypothesis.

    You misunderstand my third point. The creators are actually paying people to see the movie, which does not speak well of their aspirations for box office sales.

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  6. Posted by JohnO on February 25, 2008 at 12:23 am

    From a wholistic perspective, without life, evolution cannot occur, and life does not spontaneously exist as the law’s of science state; life only comes from life. Biological life cannot come into existence from non-life. But as you truly stated, this isn’t exactly the purview of evolution, just a necessary step before it.

    As an aside, I don’t think evolution is entirely unable to fit within a theistic worldview. I do believe there are problems that need to be overcome. But my criticisms of evolution come strictly from evolution.

    As far as your “Unlike ID” comment, here is a comment from an athiest philosopher turned theist Antony Flew, based on the obvious design of the universe:

    “But Flew also came to the conclusion that the so-called “Monkey Theorem” of Shakespeare’s sonnets was absurdly flawed after reading a description of it by another scholar, Dr. Gerry Schroeder. The “Monkey Theorem,” in its popular form, holds that if you have an infinite number of monkeys banging away at an infinite number of keyboards, eventually you will get from one of them Shakespeare’s Sonnet Eighteen…

    Well, in the 1990’s the British National Council of the Arts, in an inventive use of taxpayers’ money, placed six monkeys in a cage with a computer. After banging away at the keyboard for a whole month— and using the computer as a bathroom at the same time—the monkeys had typed 50 pages but failed to produce a single word in the English language, not even the letter “a” by itself. Schroeder applied probability theory to the “Monkey Theorem” and calculated that the chance of getting Sonnet Eighteen by chance was 26 multiplied by itself 488 times (488 is the number of letters in the sonnet) or, in base 10, 10 to the 690th. If that number is written out, it is 1 with 690 zeroes following it. But, as Schroeder showed, the number of particles in the entire universe—protons, electrons and neutrons—is only ten to the 80th. Thus, even if every particle in the universe were a computer chip that had been spinning out random letters a million times a second since the beginning of time, there would still be no Shakespeare’s Sonnet Eighteen by chance. As Flew concluded, “if the theorem [the Monkey Theorem] won’t work for a single sonnet, then of course it’s simply absurd to suggest that the more elaborate feat of the origin of life could have been achieved by chance.””

    As for your point that my contention just doesn’t make sense, let me try and explain again. Natural selection means that any attribute of an organism that is not “the fittest” will not survive to pass on it’s genes. Therefore the gene pool will only contain a subset of all possibilities. As more obstacles to survival enter the habitat, less and less genes are suitable for life. This also takes into account that most gene mutations recorded are negative and extremely harmful. Moreover, mutation (not just combination based on procreation, which is the only possibility for re-introducing gene-combinations that were previously unfit), is less than common. Thefore, it would seem that the genetic variance decreases based on the mechanisms that are stated as defining Darwinian evolution. As a conclusion: in any situation requiring survival, only a small subset of all possibilities of genetic combinations are viable to live. As the habitat changes, different gene combinations will allow survival. Therefore, if the habitat changes regularly, only a certain, very small, subset of genetic combinations work towards survival in all aspects. This would suggest that natural selection ultimately supports de-evolving from a widespread diversity towards common surviving traits.

    Out of the media claims for transitional fossil finds I have heard recently, I’ve also heard overturns of those very same finds. That is what I based my comment on. I think it still remains to be seen just how exactly the examples you’ve linked are in fact transitional. Just because two things appear similar doesn’t in any case indicate they are similar under the surface or derive from an ancestor. Correlation does not imply causation. How does finding two fossils, one a fish with fins, and another a water animal with feet ultimately declare that these are descendant, in either order, from one another?

    Moreover, Stein also makes some points in the documentary that we haven’t studied. And shouldn’t we take heed what Darwin declared were his presuppositions, for one, simple cells; which we know is incredibly far from the truth. Darwin himself said without these presuppositions his claims fell apart.

    Reply

  7. From a wholistic perspective, without life, evolution cannot occur, and life does not spontaneously exist as the law’s of science state; life only comes from life.

    You seem to be appealing to the an old idea called the ‘Law of Biogenesis’, which has long since been shown to be false.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB000.html

    You quote Flew, somewhat indirectly, but fail to note that Flew’s mental health when making those quotes was and is, very sadly, rapidly deteriorating. He was once a proud intellectual and academic, but all current indications are that his mental faculties have deteriorated to such an extent that he can not even recall previous arguments and papers he has previously done.

    Natural selection means that any attribute of an organism that is not “the fittest” will not survive to pass on it’s genes.

    False. Natural selection means, and this is the important part, that the chances of it passing on it’s genes aren’t as great.

    Your talk of genetic variation seems to be an indirect appeal to the common misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Is this what you’re attempting?

    Out of the media claims for transitional fossil finds I have heard recently, I’ve also heard overturns of those very same finds.

    And where do you hear such claims of overturning from? AiG? The Discovery Institute? I sincerely hope not. The links I provided give all the research and such about transitional fossils you could ever like to know, certainly more than enough to prove their worth.

    Reply

  8. Posted by JohnO on February 25, 2008 at 1:01 am

    A failing memory doesn’t mean you can’t think. And he agreed with the research of another Dr who’s health is beyond question – so the point of seeing “design” still stands.

    The overturning claims was all from mass media.

    I didn’t have any thoughts of the second law of thermodynamics in writing that. It is purely an observation that unfit characteristics will not survive, and the implications.

    As for biogenesis, I would state that his experiment tested for complex life – that is truly all they could test for. But the implication of their find is that life does not come from non-life. And “There is no law of biogenesis saying that very primitive life cannot form from increasingly complex molecules.” is an argument from silence. It is true that life cannot come from non-life unless you prove that indeed it can. And I’ve not seen any record of life coming from non-life in a lab.

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  9. Posted by John Paul on February 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Matt,
    Sorry about the misunderstanding (way past my bedtime/ slight dyslexic reading.)
    Im not familiar with the paying people to see the movie? I just did a quick search online but didn’t see anything about that, can you post a link about it? The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that sometimes test audiences are paid and also asked to sign non discloser waivers (standard operating procedure in the industry.)

    The producer responses to accusations that he misleads people in the first 5 minutes of the mp3.
    That name changes happen all the time in the movie industry etc.

    The film does not bring forward the mechanism ID. It brings forward the conflict between the establishment (currently Darwinian Evolution) and the anti-establishment (ID’ers) and “documents” the relationship between the two. This is a film not a science experiment. Its not bringing forth theories. Its a documentary based on what I said before

    This film makes no attempt to prove or disprove either ID or Darwinism. Its a film about the treatment of those who go against the status quo on this subject.
    ~me

    The film attempts to show the arrogant and hostile attitude that is directed towards ID’ers.

    Reply

  10. Further on Flew. He himself admits that he has not kept up with latest research and findings, that he rejects Dawkins on the basis that he has not written on the development on living matter (when he has).
    Flews, sadly, is no longer any sort of authority on the subject. He’s welcome to his personal beliefs, as anyone is, but his credibility is now nowhere near as great as it once was.

    The overturning claims was all from mass media.

    Specific sources would be best, namely science papers and reviews.

    Im not familiar with the paying people to see the movie? I just did a quick search online but didn’t see anything about that, can you post a link about it?

    Some blogs have covered this nicely.
    http://badidea.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/expelled-the-intelligent-design-flick-so-bad-they-have-to-pay-you-to-see-it/
    http://theframeproblem.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/producers-of-expelled-trying-to-bribe-christian-schools-into-forcing-their-students-to-see-their-movie/
    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=107383

    PZ Myers gives his account of how he was misled here: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/08/im_gonna_be_a_movie_star.php#more

    The purpose of the film has also been shown to be largely false. It is most certainly a pro-ID film but fails to bring anything to the table in terms of proof or why people who are the proponents of such should even be given academic freedom to pursue it.

    Instead, from reviews given, it makes some key mistakes. Through imagery, it seeks to directly tie social darwinism to the theory of evolution when the two have nothing to do with each other, fails to actually investigate the academic records of those apparently discriminated against.

    Gonzales’ performance, for example, was poor. The funding/grants he brought into his department was nowhere near that of his colleagues in the same department, only one of his students completed a thesis and his published research was of both law quality and quantity. Anyone would be denied tenure with a record like that, no matter their personal beliefs.
    But that did not the film, did it?

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  11. The purpose of the film has also been shown to be largely false. It is most certainly a pro-ID film but fails to bring anything to the table in terms of proof or why people who are the proponents of such should even be given academic freedom to pursue it.

    I haven’t seen the film, but from the trailer it is apparent that the film is trying to alert our attention that freedom of speech should be allowed in the scientific arena. This is exactly what evolutionists do not want. If ID is so easily to defeat then why are evolutionists so up in arms about the situation? If it is so obviously incredible, then why make an issue? Just let the non-evolutionists do science…oh yeah that’s right…you aren’t a scientist unless you “believe” in the naturalistic explanation of origins. Yikes!

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  12. Posted by John Paul on February 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Mark,

    Some blogs have covered this nicely.

    Why did you simply link us to the filmmakers official site where they are offering reimburments of ticket stubs to schools and a reward to the school with most stubs? That doesn’t really sound like the “bribery” that your statment and the blogs make it out to be. It is a marketing ploy? yes (in there website they tell you that they and only doing it the first 2 weeks of distribution, when the gross is most important) one that has worked before for these film distributers of “The Passion” but as I said before i think they have the right to make money.

    The audio link i provided I believe was a direct responce to that article by PZ Myers. It seems from the letter that the producer didn’t exactly lie, he just didnt “warn” PZ that this movie was a “pro-Id propaganda film” like he which they had. As a Christian, they should have been Abundant In Truth with the interviewees, but if they are not Christians, I am not going to hold them up to that standards. They told them the truth, enough truth that would get them then interview they needed. I can see why they practiced such a tactic given the additutes of people like professor Dawkins who would never grant such an interview otherwise.
    Ive heard of the claims against Gonzales’ performance in the past, and would be dissapointed if they spent alot of time on him, or if they didn’t try and refute any of his claims. Ive looked at the wikipedia entry on the film (your information on Gonzales closly resembles whats stated there) that discusses some of the teachers involved and Gonzales’ is the only one that would look hard to defend. Do you know if the movie really does not try and deffend the acusations against him?

    To say that social darwinism has nothing to do with the theory of evolution is false. It relies very heavily on it. A more accurate statement may be: The theory of evolution does not rely on social Darwinism. Which is true, but social darwinism seems to be the logical progression.

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  13. I haven’t seen the film, but from the trailer it is apparent that the film is trying to alert our attention that freedom of speech should be allowed in the scientific arena.

    Freedom of speech is present and encouraged in the scientific arena. Scientists love being proved wrong, it’s all part of the peer reviewing of each others work.
    The problem is that ID simply is not science. Even Behe, one of the more notable ID proponents, was forced to admit in Court that if science standards had to be adjusted to classify ID as a science, then astrology would have to be allowed as well.

    If ID is so easily to defeat then why are evolutionists so up in arms about the situation?

    Simply because ID is trying to pass itself off as science, when it is clearly nothing of the sort. In such, it is wasting a lot of time and resources which could be spent on much more productive things.

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  14. Do you know if the movie really does not try and deffend the acusations against him?

    All reviews I’ve seen of the film, negative and positive alike, give no indication an actual investigation of the facts was given.

    But it is similar, from all indications I’ve seen, to every other case brought forth by the film as a case of ‘discrimination’. All the examples had solid, authentic academic reasons for letting the person in question go or refusing them tenure.

    Crocker, for another example, had some of the presentations used in classes leaked onto the internet. They were of extremely low quality and presented demonstratively false information as fact. This sort of work would get anyone fired.

    To say that social darwinism has nothing to do with the theory of evolution is false. It relies very heavily on it.

    Then kindly explain to me how social darwinism existed as a philosophy long before Darwin wrote Origin of the Species. Afterall, one of the early pioneers of social darwinism was Thomas Malthus in the 18th century … a christian minister, by the way.

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  15. Posted by John Paul on February 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Mark,
    2 of you links that I have clicked on so far have not been all that impressive.

    You seem to be appealing to the an old idea called the ‘Law of Biogenesis’, which has long since been shown to be false.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB000.html

    Im actually surprised that the link you provided here is little more than 2 sentences saying the law of biogenesis doesn’t exist any more because evolution happens.

    Also your link containing the “29 proofs of Macro-evolution ” contains an extensive link that refute the the article.

    http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1a.asp

    The author of the proofs article has both written a response and amended the original article.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/camp.html

    The critic has also replied to the response

    http://www.trueorigin.org/ca_ac_01.asp

    and the author of the original article has since amended his response article but has not replied. It seems that the Jurys still out on this one.

    … all i have time for now 🙂

    Reply

  16. I think anyone who actually knows science reads Camp’s rebuttals, they can see Camp actually doesn’t know what they’re talking about – as pointed out various times.

    It is one of the most frustrating things to do, attempt to debate with people who are ignorant of the field they profess knowledge of. Which, without meaning to sound insulting, is extremely common when it comes to people who claim Evolution is false – in almost every occasion, it turns out they simply do not know what they are talking about. Even so called experts from AiG and Discovery Institute (specifically Behe and Simmons) have been shown to be surprisingly ignorant of the science behind Evolution.

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  17. Posted by John Paul on February 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Matt,
    From what I can find online (like the original washington post article, and the dates of the blogs that released the slideshow)… that slideshow was leaked significantly after the school did not renew her contract.

    As to your point about social darwinism existing before darwin I just ask are the people who are practicing social darwinism is just ask who do those who practice social darwinism look to? While its true that Darwin was not the first to come up with such idea, in fact I have found some support that he may have even been influenced by them and had himself refined them, doesn’t change the fact that he gave them “scientific merit” and that he really got the ball rolling on the concepts. Quick example who do the recent (school or otherwise) mass shooting gunmen point to as their “hero’s” who has really set this concept. Who pops in your head when I say school shootings? if you live in america (where most of them happen) the answer will probably be The columbine shooters. Is it unfair to point to them because Charles Whitman did it first?

    in response to your entire last post,
    Here we have what these discussions always come down too. They don’t know science. Anyone who does not fall in line and swallow this statistically impossible theory (you refused to address JohnO’s post because Flew has had some mental problems, though what he said, and Dr. Schroeder work still has merit) is not really a man of science. AIG does not understand evolution, they dont know what they are talking about. What you find (and the reason that a movie like this is being made) is the immediate dismissal of those who have valid problems with this theory. People who won’t make leaps of faith about abiogenesis and the statistical impossibilities, and the lack of what should be thousands, million, perhaps billions transitional fossils that should map this out for us (there certainly is not a lack of fossils either.) There are plenty of other arguments (age of the earth, The sheer arrogance is quite the turn off. “These people are ignorant of the science, and anyone who listens to them are too.”

    This is the card you have played in your last post, or at least thats how I perceive it. I could have done the same thing and put my flag down claiming to be the true science and evolutionist dont get it. Anyone who understands true science wont fall for this stuff. Rather silly isn’t it?

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  18. … that slideshow was leaked significantly after the school did not renew her contract.

    So? Her superiors would have surely had access to it when making their decision (samples of work program, etc) and that is all that matters.

    As to your point about social darwinism existing before darwin I just ask are the people who are practicing social darwinism is just ask who do those who practice social darwinism look to?

    Faulty logic. That’s like someone blaming christianity for the KKK.

    They don’t know science. Anyone who does not fall in line and swallow this statistically impossible theory

    You misconstrue what was said. AiG and the DI do not understand the scientific method and seek to redefine what science is to fit their own hypothesis (as Behe was forced to admit, Dover trial). You can not do that, it simply does not work that way. People have attempted to bring forth hypotheses which explain the diversification of life we find before, using science, and they were given fair hearing because they used science. Of course, those hypotheses didn’t last long or were accepted because, while they used the scientific method, they were found to be simply wrong through examination of the evidence.

    Where ID has brought forth little to no evidence, depending who you listen to, and does not use the scientific method. And yet complains when they’re not taken seriously by the scientific community.
    What else could you expect to happen?

    And I did respond to the statement about Flew and pointed out that he is no longer any sort of credible authority on the subject, by his own admission. His mental faculties have deteriorated badly, where he can not even recall is own past work and research, he admits he doesn’t keep up with modern work on the subject and has been shown to be wrong in regards to other works (in this specific case, Dawkins). He may have been an intellectual and respected academic in decades past but, sadly, that is not so any more.

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  19. Posted by Lee on February 26, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Lulz. Matt is (winning) in actually knowing what he’s talking about.

    Can’t say the same for the rest of you.

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  20. Posted by onein6billion on February 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

    “Biological life cannot come into existence from non-life.”

    Well, that’s a negative assertion. How are you going to convince a scientist that in a billion years on a primodial Earth, life cannot come from non-life. To the contrary, there are multiple scientific speculations on how it could have happened and a one is described in the February issue of Discover magazine. Freezing water concentrates the organic chemicals and chains of molecules build up over time. Pre-life from non-life and then life from pre-life.

    “Matt is winning”

    It’s not a fair contest because Matt has reason, science and evidence on his side.

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  21. Posted by John Paul on February 27, 2008 at 9:17 am

    So? Her superiors would have surely had access to it when making their decision (samples of work program, etc) and that is all that matters.

    So, I thought you were trying to tell us why she got fired, not why she could have been fired if her contract wasn’t renewed.

    Faulty logic. That’s like someone blaming christianity for the KKK

    no, because the kkk isn’t a logical step from christianity (more linked again from social darwinism actually.) Your original statement was that social darwinism and the theory of evolution had nothing to do with each other. I wasn’t trying to blame Every single instance of social-darwinsim practice on the theory of evolution, but to say that they have nothing to do with each-other is entirely false. Do they contradict each other? (like the kkk’s policy of hate vs. Jesus’s command to love your neighbor) according to page 598 of Adrian Desmond & James Moore’s 1991 book Darwin

    “Darwin himself gave serious consideration to (Francis) Galton’s (the founder of eugenics) work”

    and Herbert Spencer’s ideas seem to be developing along side darwins (as if spencer is riffing off of darwin) While i wouldn’t entirely blame the theory of evolution for social darwinism… your statement that they have nothing to do with each other is false.

    Ive heard the same accusations of not using the scientific method used against evolution, yet it seems to be taken seriously. Scientific methodology involves challenging existing paradigms, and testing data. Such scientific method is conducted in the present. As soon as you make a statement about what happened in the far past, bearing in mind that you weren’t there, you step outside scientific methodology. Do you agree that the scientific method cannot ultimately prove or disprove matters related to origins because they involve the unrepeatable, unobservable past? So what do I expect to happen? I expect them to be treated the with some dignity, because their claim is no better than those they are ostracizing.

    Almost everything I said in my previous paragraph can also be said about “the lack of evidence for creation” Same charges. Huge lack of transitional fossils that you’d expect. The lack of duplication of the purposed results (i understand how it is hard to duplicate chance.) The apparent age of the earth not providing the required time needed to go through all of the evolutionary stages, this is off the top of my head and we know there are plenty more objections to the theory.

    I saw your statement about flew the first time you made it and your still throwing out the baby with the bathwater. You responded by addressing flew’s mental capacities and not specifically what was said, nor the statistical work done by Dr. Schroeder. Your tethering on the line of ad homonym here.

    But then again im not, and neither are most of the people who regularly view this site, really all that interested in debating this issue. The original article, and the movie, was about the unfair treatment of creationists when the evolution is put under scrutiny. Ive gone through this (debate) before. I can’t recall an argument for evolution that has not been addressed by the creationist community.

    Lee, sorry to let you down, but this is a theological site first and for-most, so your not dealing with a bunch creationist specialist here. If you want a more in-depth discussion with people who are alot more knowledgeable (and probably better debaters) on this subject, i would suggest going to a creation science blog. Many of us here have not researched all of the fine points but have seen enough arguments against evolution not buy it. If you want to start a debate with someone a little more knowledgeable, may i suggest (from a quick internet search)

    http://crevobits.blogspot.com/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/

    http://www.idthefuture.com/

    http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/is-id-code-langauge-for-biblical-creationism/

    http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/

    onein6billion…
    speculations on how it could have happened
    no scientific method there.

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  22. So, I thought you were trying to tell us why she got fired, not why she could have been fired if her contract wasn’t renewed.

    Her contract was not renewed because her classes were full of rubbish, as evidenced to the general public through the leaked presentations she made and used. I doubt you’d argue that her presentation were some sort of sad joke.

    no, because the kkk isn’t a logical step from christianity

    You better tell the KKK that, they seem quite attached to their big cross motifs.

    (more linked again from social darwinism actually.)

    And the only logical progression you get from Evolution to Social Darwinism is if you completely misunderstand Evolution.
    Just like Christianity to the KKK.

    according to page 598 of Adrian Desmond & James Moore’s 1991 book Darwin
    “Darwin himself gave serious consideration to (Francis) Galton’s (the founder of eugenics) work”

    And his conclusions were? There is no evidence that Darwin ever supported it. Heck, I give serious considerations to all sorts of ideas on a regular basis, that does not mean I agree with them. It just means I like looking at things from different perspectives and keeping an open mind.

    Ive heard the same accusations of not using the scientific method used against evolution, yet it seems to be taken seriously.

    Obviously what you have heard is false then.
    Care to cite some verified examples of peer reviewed evolution related research which has not used the scientific method being widely accepted?

    As soon as you make a statement about what happened in the far past, bearing in mind that you weren’t there, you step outside scientific methodology.

    That’s a gross misunderstanding of the scientific method. Take for example a murder scene that happened last week; using your logic, it would be impossible to say what happened at that murder scene if no one saw it, no matter how much forensic evidence was collected.

    The evidence collected relating to Evolution is truly massive, with transitional fossils, species distribution and diversification, DNA links and so much incredibly more all supporting the Theory.

    And what does ID have? A hypothesis with little to no evidence and they expect to be taken seriously.

    Huge lack of transitional fossils that you’d expect.

    Only a small percentage of animal remains get fossilised due to the specific conditions the process requires. That being said, the number of transitional fossils found, collected and studied are numerous indeed. Try talkorigins.org’s FAQ on the matter, since you seem to be behind in current findings. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

    The lack of duplication of the purposed results (i understand how it is hard to duplicate chance.)

    Are you seriously relating Evolution to chance? And you’re still claiming to know what you’re talking about?

    The apparent age of the earth not providing the required time needed to go through all of the evolutionary stages

    Says who? No research seems to indicate such.
    On a side note, fascinating how you say that science can’t possibly make claims about the distant past but suddenly you feel free to.

    this is off the top of my head and we know there are plenty more objections to the theory.

    It seems to me you’re simply not keeping up with research and proper scientific papers. Kindly take my advice, stop looking for knowledge at AiG and actually read some properly peer reviewed work.

    But then again im not, and neither are most of the people who regularly view this site, really all that interested in debating this issue.

    Indeed, for it seems clear now that you have little grasp of the actual topic.

    I can’t recall an argument for evolution that has not been addressed by the creationist community.

    And yet scientists, who love to be proven wrong, still have all that evidence supporting their case … isn’t that interesting?

    Reply

  23. Posted by JohnO on February 27, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Matt,

    With regard to knowledge about the past. Forensics has a case to give us information about the past – yet they do it only with the future, and it is all based on statistics.

    When they collect evidence in the present, it is compared with other evidence in the present, to determine exactly what happened (fact), and what could have happened (theory).

    The problem is going waay back where we have no definite knowledge of the control variables. The world has not always been the same – and we know that because the world is pretty messed up because of us now. Yes we can take organisms we see around us and compare and scrutinize them, but drawing conclusions that the similar design of organisms implies heritage seems entirely too simplistic. And notice I use the word ‘designs of organisms’ because that is precisely what we’re comparing when we look at developmental differences among organisms. You seem to hate the idea that this is based on ‘chance’, if it isn’t random, then it is purposefully designed no? It can’t be unpurposefully designed.

    I don’t read scientific journals, I read theological journals. So you surely know more about it than I do. However, part of what this whole issue is about is the caricaturizing of whole swaths of people (AiG, Discovery Inst…) in a blanket statement. I wonder if you’ve ever read one of their submissions to journals. And it seems that the big reason that they are cast as not conforming to scientific method is because they arrive at different conclusions looking at similar data as you. Which really just means there is an underlying presuppositional difference in terms of science.

    Social Darwinism does have something to do with Evolution – there is a reason is uses the founder of Evolutions’ name. It would seem to me that social darwinism took the idea of “the survival of the fittest” literally, after all that is what Darwinism is born from. Ironically, their construction of the theory seems strikingly similar to mine concerning evolution. The fittest survives, which does not mean an incredible diversity like we find. Hence the “cleansing solution” they all seem to find so attractive.

    Check out this book, it is less a statement of creationism and more a critique of evolution:
    http://www.amazon.com/Six-Days-Scientists-Believe-Creation/dp/1864364432/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204153015&sr=8-1

    I had more but I’m being rushed out the door….

    Reply

  24. When they collect evidence in the present, it is compared with other evidence in the present, to determine exactly what happened (fact), and what could have happened (theory).

    Which is exactly the same as what evolutionary scientists, in fact any branch of science that deals with the past, does.

    The problem is going waay back where we have no definite knowledge of the control variables.

    Actually, we have a pretty good idea. Such things as ice core samples, deep soil samples, etc … all of them tend to contain a whole lot of information about the previous state of the planet we call Earth.

    You seem to hate the idea that this is based on ‘chance’, if it isn’t random, then it is purposefully designed no?

    You’re falling for the same old ‘either designed or chance’ fallacy, which is sadly common. They seem to be the only two options you can see.
    Evolution is the exact opposite of chance.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB940.html

    Again, your ignorance in regards to understanding the mechanism of Evolution is on display.

    I don’t read scientific journals, I read theological journals. So you surely know more about it than I do. However, part of what this whole issue is about is the caricaturizing of whole swaths of people (AiG, Discovery Inst…) in a blanket statement. I wonder if you’ve ever read one of their submissions to journals.

    Their submissions get posted around on various websites all the time. As a joke and so people can read them and shake their heads at the complete twisting of science they attempt.

    I find the statement you don’t read science journals interesting. You refute evolution, which is a scientific theory, but obviously know little to nothing about it.

    That sounds about as sensible as trying to understand plumbing by reading a DVD player instruction manual.

    Social Darwinism does have something to do with Evolution – there is a reason is uses the founder of Evolutions’ name.

    The name has nothing to do with it, else you’d have to admit that McDonald’s can only be run by someone with the last name of McDonald.

    Anyone can adopt a name to anything they like, just look at all the scam churches which exist only to rip money off people who use ‘god’ and ‘jesus’ in their title.

    Reply

  25. Posted by JohnO on February 28, 2008 at 1:24 am

    I agree we can know a great deal about the past – but I contest whether we can know enough to map out an exact geneological tree of organisms. And I know you’re going to say “But that is exactly what they’ve done”. And I’m going to say that the tree of organisms they have mapped out seems entirely to say that organisms with similar designs or patterns are declared to be hereditary because of those similarities. Which is a fallacious argument, correlation does not imply causation – it remains to be proved.

    Good fallacious argument about McDonald’s. It is in fact named after the founders Dick and Mac McDonald. And I’m noticing that you keep avoiding my explanation of just what I think “survival of the fittest” would do – which I noted was exactly what Social Darwinism tries to do. I know you’re just going to say “Well you just don’t understand evolution”. But I’m saying something entirely different and you’re unable to hear it thus far. I’m giving an alternative explanation of just how “survival of the fittest” would work, contrary to yours. And I have many other people (social darwinists) who think this explanation is correct (since it is in fact their philosopgy).

    I agree entirely that selection is the opposite of chance. But then in the very next sentence, “random” is the word right next to selection. Random implies chance. Therefore a random chance occurred, not a random selection. A selection implies one to do the choosing. And most evolutionist deny any personality behind the choosing. Only Christians, or theists, who also believe in evolution see a personality behind the selection. And in that case, it seems very much like design.

    Reply

  26. Posted by onein6billion on February 29, 2008 at 10:40 am

    “A selection implies one to do the choosing.”

    It’s called “natural selection” for a very good reason.

    Reply

  27. Posted by JohnO on February 29, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    But “nature” isnt a personality. Therefore it is “random selection”, and entirely born out by “chance”.

    Reply

  28. This one’s just for JohnO (and kudos to Matt, you’re making more or less any responses I could give entirely irrelevent via your incisive reasoning)

    “Biological life cannot come into existence from non-life.”

    Then . . . where from? If we couldn’t have popped into being from nowhere, we must have either been here all along or been created by something else.
    This would be your God, right?
    The whole notion of evolution, natural selection amd abiogenesis is supported by, oh, a (lot) of evidence from scientists. I have always said this of Christians, and always will – because you can’t understand, or aren’t willing to understand, the complexities of life from chemicals, evolution etc you attribute it to the biggest get-out clause in the world, the answer which renders the question meaningless, the substitute for intellectualism and reason:

    Yes! It’s God! How did you know?

    “here is a comment from an athiest philosopher turned theist Antony Flew, based on the obvious design of the universe:”

    That’s not an argument, ol’ son. That’s just you spinning out an OPINION that happens to support your “logic”, and also which happens to be considerably more coherent than your spiels.

    And you don’t seem to fully understand it, possibly because you don’t read scientific journals. The idea of infinite monkeys crossed with the number of particles in the universe doesn’t correlate. It’s as if I’m trying to tell you that plastic is a fruit. It also doesn’t disprove the idea that life could happen by chance; it just provides a frame of reference to show how unlikely it is, which is not a consideration that bothers people of intellectual spirit.

    I have no idea who Flew is. Matt clearly does; however, even from the quote you disgorged at us it’s clear that Flew is making an assertation based not on fact or proof, but merely his inability to accept that the possibility of life happening by chance is worthy of discussion. Theists get scared by numbers, have you noticed that? I read that quote and I think: “Well, there is almost certainly no God, certainly no proof at all for God, so the only other option is that we came into being purely by a random collision of chemicals and events.” I would rather believe in the meanest possibility of our chance existence than forgo the questioning thereof by inserting God at suitable points.

    The theist view is biased by a deficit of reason and logic from the word go; shunted down a passage of scripture and unauthorised morality that shuts off a vast range of the world. The theist view offers no proof, only a vision – even Flew’s argument has no proof. I’ve never once heard any tangible concrete proof for the existence of God or the authority of the bible, for a start, simply people saying how great it all is.

    I’d like to ask you, JohnO – why do you believe in God? Why do you believe you are right? And why do you believe that scripture has authority?

    Reply

  29. Also, JohnO:

    “But “nature” isnt a personality. Therefore it is “random selection”, and entirely born out by “chance”.”

    I feel you’re now resorting to semantic juggling, which is about par for the course with you spods.

    Reply

  30. Hmmmmm….

    I’m a little late to the party it would seem, since the last post was a couple of weeks ago, but I feel utterly obliged to put things right here. After reading about this ID propaganda film receiving yet more bad press (from the New York Times), I couldn’t help but google it to see what the bloggers were saying. Evidently, some bloggers are morons.

    I mean, seriously. What is this? Ben Stein “takes on Evolution”? How? As I’m sure you’re aware, Evolution is a natural process. You must know that. You wouldn’t just been blogging out of your arse without doing your homework first would you?

    I’m generally not one for personal attacks, but JohnO: I spend a reasonable amount of time on the internet, and you are surely the thickest person I’ve ever come across. It’s truly remarkable that you can even use a computer; surely some kind of cheap trick. I’ve been reading your discussions with Matt, whom I applaud. He’s a valiant internet hero. When you come across the writings of someone deluded who thinks they’re clever, it’s always hard to tell if it’s some kind of joke or not. In this case, I’ll assume you’re serious.. well, to the extent that you believe what you’re writing to be correct.

    “I don’t read scientific journals, I read theological journals.”

    Ah yes, Theologians. Experts in the UNKNOWABLE. I suppose that’s why you don’t understand what Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection postulates:

    “Natural selection means that any attribute of an organism that is not ‘the fittest’ will not survive to pass on it’s genes.”

    Actually, organisms that are better suited to their environment are more likely to survive. How to organisms differentiate within a species? It’s called genetic Evolution, a process whereby random mutations in the genetic material of the parent lead to alterations in the DNA of the child. Random mutations? Oh my gosh! Increased diversity in the gene pool – blasphemy! Actually, no. Random mutations do occur. This is an observed, verified fact. This increases the information in the gene pool. If a parent has three children, one of which inherits mutated DNA which gives it a slight advantage, it is statistically more likely to survive and pass that advantage on to its children. This does not mean only the fittest survive, rather statistically the fittest fare better.

    As for abiogenesis and your comments regarding ‘No life from nothing’:

    If you need any more help, feel free to get an elementary education in biology. Put down the Theological journals, and read something relevant.

    Reply

  31. Posted by John Paul on March 13, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Zach and Sebastian,
    Both of your comments are quite rude and arrogant. You engage in much ad hominem, so I would be quite surprised if JohnO or anyone else payed much attention or responded to you. If you have the ability to engage in this conversation without this kind of behavior, I’m sure you would be given the attention that you desire.
    Thank you and may God bless you
    ~JP

    Reply

  32. Posted by Zak on March 13, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    JP,

    I haven’t addressed you in this matter. If you cannot bring up a relevant defense of Theology or ID/Creationism, don’t address me in your comments.

    As for ad hominem, I would make a special effort to avoid it, but this is an outstanding case. Really, I’ve never seen someone deny their own capability to think rationally to such an extent.

    May God bless and save every innocent child, dying of a terminal illness, lest He be unworthy of worship.

    Reply

  33. ” You engage in much ad hominem”

    As did you when you called us rude and arrogant.

    So tell me . . . how do you respond to the proven fact that the earth is at least 4 billion years old? How do you reconcile that with biblical teachings?

    What is your understanding of abiogenesis, and what do you think scientists understand by it?

    Why do you believe in god?

    Where is your authority for the bible proven?

    etc

    Reply

  34. Posted by John Paul on March 14, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Dear Sebastian and Zak
    A quick response, (all i currently have time for) that might address one or 2 of your theological questions. The biggest reason I believe in God because I believe it is the most logical answer to the question of how was Jesus Christ raised from the dead. This phenomenal act has yet to be duplicated or explained without any supernatural intervention. If you are interested in hearing an excellent debate on the matter involving one of the bibles most prominent critics here:

    [audio src="http://www.theradicalreformation.com/media/audio/debates/William%20Craig%20--%20Debate%20against%20Bart%20Ehrman.mp3" /]

    One of the reasons to believe in the authority of scripture is the fulfillment of the many many prophecies (you can find some pretty substantial lists easily online.) Another is God’s validation of Jesus’s claims and statements that he has taken from scripture by raising him from the dead.

    Reply

  35. That, of course, assumes that Jesus did actually arise from actual death … which is highly dubious and in no way independently verified.

    And even if he did rise out of his tomb, there is the theory that he had been drugged up while hanging like the proverbial sack of meat on the cross.

    As you can see, there is no reason to bring in any sort of ‘god mechanism’ when there are entirely natural and rational explanations for such things. Assuming, of course, those things happened in the first place.

    Reply

  36. Posted by Zak on March 14, 2008 at 5:21 am

    JP,

    Do you have any extra-biblical account of the existance of Jesus of Nazareth? I won’t use the name “Christ”, as it is merely a postfix meaning “the anointed one” which I do not believe him to be.

    How do you feel about the compelling evidence for Jesus being an amalgamation of pagan myths?

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=5216975979627863972&q=part+1+the+greatest+story+ever+told&total=328&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

    Furthermore, I encourage to research the recent translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, now the oldest text referring to Yahweh. It outlines Yahweh as just one of a pantheon of Gods. If He has ever referred to Himself as the only God you have two options:

    1. He is made up
    2. He is lying

    I will take some time to research any supposed biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled, however I will not accept vague predictions as evidence of anything. I can easily predict “The collapse of a superpower nation within the next 1000 years”, but that does not mean I have divine insight.

    Reply

  37. John Paul;

    It would help you some if you answered my questions instead of asking me questions . . .

    Questions to which the answers are meaningless, because there is no proof for them and you would believe anyway.

    Also, as Zak has said, vague predictions do not bear out the bible as being the word of God. All it proves is that there were smart folk writing the bible, which is entirely possible given that we owe a good deal of our modern thinking and philosopy to the Ancient Greeks; they were thinking incredibly smart (stuff) a fair few hundred years before the whole christianity thing really took off. There will always be thinkers ahead of their time, but it obviously does not infer the existence of a God.

    And, of course, the Greeks relied on empirical evidence and rational thought.

    I’ve just started looking through a list of fulfilled prophecies, and the original verses are so incredibly vague that only an idiot would assume they refer to specific events.

    Let’s take the very first one I found, about the destruction of the temple:

    “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

    That’s the bible quote. Now, I would be impressed if Jesus gave an exact time and date for the destruction, or specific details thereof. Nope! Nothing.

    All Jesus has said is that the building will be demolished to the ground. That is hardly an incisive thing to predict, considering he left an open-ended timescale for it to happen in. I could predict that the house I live in will be utterly taken to pieces. In fact, I DO predict it, as it’s probably to happen at some point through structural weaknesses, natural disaster, fire, new housing . . .

    Do any of these prophecies include specific details and dates, or are they all as vague as this?

    Now, some answers from the questions I asked you, please. Namely – reconcile the age of the earth (4.5 billion years) with the biblical age of the earth (6000 years).

    Reply

  38. “The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur–nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger.”

    This apparently relates to Palestine.

    Let’s go over a few points:

    There are certainly plants and vegetation in Palestine

    It is not on fire

    There is a distinct lack of sulphur and salt

    Also, Sodom was destroyed instantly. Palestine is merely a somewhat shabby place, maybe a wasteland in some senses, but the prediction speaks of utter destruction.

    Yet another prophecy debunked.

    Reply

  39. Posted by JohnO on March 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    1) Ad hominem is the fallacious argument by which you declare a person wrong because of their character. Which you’ve repeatedly done to me. JP said you were rude and arrogant. He didn’t say this makes you wrong. You said I was stupid and surprised I could use a computer, and therefore I was wrong. That is ad hominem.

    2) In Mk 13 Jesus declares that within a generation the temple would be destroyed violently. That is, it won’t rot, fall because of lack of maintenance, or something like that. But rather that the judgment of God would come down on it within a generation. Read the context of the passage.

    3) I don’t read scientific journals, I read theological journals.”

    “Ah yes, Theologians. Experts in the UNKNOWABLE”

    Take a Philosophy of Religion course and you’ll understand that we are not talking about anything unknowable here. I’m sorry that Theology is not relevant for you – however, it is for the other 5 billion people on the planet.

    4) The Bible does not proclaim that the earth is 6000 years old. I have no need to reconcile 4.5 million with 6000. We estimate 6000 years based on genealogies and very literal reading of Genesis (which in my mind, might not be entirely warranted based on the type of literature it is).

    5) Zak, there is much extra-biblical evidence of Jesus. The two earliest are from Tacitus in Rome, and Josephus in Palestine. Every scholar admits that a historical person Jesus from Nazareth existed. To say that the entire story of Jesus is pagan myth is seriously mislead. Read Ben Witherington’s “What Have They Done With Jesus”, or Bauckham’s “Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony” for conservative treatments. NT Wright’s work for a more moderate viewpoint. Even Dominic Crossan/Marcus Borg for a liberal and critical point of view. Yet they would all agree that Jesus existed and was crucified. Many secular scholars operate under the presumption that miracles can not happen. Listen to William Lane Craig (that JP linked to) for the historicity of the resurrection. NT Wright does good work here too, Scot McKnight as well.

    6) The greeks did not rely on empirical evidence – read aristotle sometime, no talk about evidence. It is rational, but from an extremely different foundation than any biblical writers. None of the Biblical writers (except for Luke) were born and educated as greeks. The rest were born, and generally only Lazarus and Paul were educated, Jewish. The Jewish people fought vigorously to keep their culture in light of Hellenization under greek and roman rule. And because they are all Jewish we are going to have to do a lot of work to understand their literary types, culture, and style. So giving a vague quote and saying “that doesn’t make sense to me, it’s a failed prophesy” falls extremely short of the mark.

    Reply

  40. Posted by John Paul on March 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    “And even if he did rise out of his tomb, there is the theory that he had been drugged up while hanging like the proverbial sack of meat on the cross.”

    I would give the Roman executioners a little more credit than that. They knew how to kill a guy, and thrust a spear in his his side just to make sure. Even drugged, he would not have survived.

    Do you have any extra-biblical account of the existance of Jesus of Nazareth?

    Flavius Josephus and Tacitus, two first century historians mention him, and he is mentioned in The Talmud.

    How do you feel about the compelling evidence for Jesus being an amalgamation of pagan myths?

    zeitgeist is to Christianity what Loose Change is to The 9/11 attacks. Very slick, but once the surface is pealed, the creators ignorance is shown.
    ben witherington does a very good job showing not only the poor job done trying to attach the Christian origins to the pagan traditions, but shows how poorly the movie does representing the pagan religions
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/12/zeitgeist-of-zeitgeist-movie.html

    While Yahweh has referred to himself as the one true God, he himself has referred to many other gods, not only the many pagan Gods mentioned by name in the scriptures, but the devil is also referred to as god.

    Now, I would be impressed if Jesus gave an exact time and date for the destruction, or specific details thereof. Nope! Nothing

    There are many many archeological sights from this time period and even earlier. Pieces of building still there. There is nothing left of that temple. Not one stone left. I can’t find the quote at this moment, but it has been said that Herold has adorned the temple with so much Gold, that when it was burned in 70ad, Gold was seen melting out from between the stones from the outside, so the solders pulled the stones apart in there searching for their plunder.

    Do any of these prophecies include specific details and dates, or are they all as vague as this?

    The most specific one I can think of is Daniel 9:25-26 where daniel predited the starting date of Jesus’s ministry. (using the restoration of Israel as the starting point.)

    reconcile the age of the earth (4.5 billion years) with the biblical age of the earth (6000 years).

    Sorry for the delay in replying to this point.. like I said, last nights post was going to be quick, and as pointed out before this is a theological blog so I and others are more attracted to answering theological questions.
    Even if the age of the earth is 4.5 billions years old, The bible doesn’t really say that the earth is only 6000 years old. It records the Genealogies from Jesus back to Adam about that amount of time.

    Yet another prophecy debunked.

    That can quite easily be one of 2 things:
    1. still unfulfilled
    2. poetic language referring to the barren land of palestine while israel was in exile. (Duet 28-30 seems to be a foretelling of the history of israel)

    Reply

  41. Posted by sean on March 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    As an atheist how do you account for the origin of the universe?

    Why do something exist rather than nothing?

    Why did the universe come into existence?

    What cause the universe to begin?

    How did the first life begin?

    You aren’t going to tell me that it rained on a rock for millions of years and then “poof” life sprung into being (considering the incredible complexity of even the simplest life)!

    How can you be sure that God doesn’t exist? Do you claim to have exhaustive knowledge?

    How do you account for my friend who had severe terminal brain cancer and then after intense prayer it was miraculously gone?

    Are you really prepared to say that everyone who doesn’t believe like you is completely delusional?

    If God does not exist then there is not any standard for morals. Thus, you as an atheist cannot say that it is wrong for someone to torture children for the fun of it.

    Reply

  42. To all the atheists in this thread who have replied with a million different excuses and reasons as to why you don’t believe in the God of the Bible, creation, sin, judgment, Jesus Christ’s resurrection, demons or angels, etc. etc. –

    If you’re looking for the Bible to appeal to your idea of intellegience or wisdom, guess what? God’s idea of wisdom is foolishness in the world’s eyes. He designed the scriptures so that those who were wise in their own eyes would be taken in their own wisdom. God is not going to bend over backwards to explain and defend Himself to us. He’s the boss – not us. If you’re so smart, then rescue yourselves from the grave and death. Let’s hear your wisdom on the day you stand before the creator and see how it holds up then.

    I don’t waste time arguing with guys who the scriptures say are “without excuse”. The truth is – you don’t want to believe, because to believe means you have to stop being your own god and yield to His authority. It’s your egos, gentlemen, that are driving you to this foolish behavior.

    Get over yourselves.

    http://www.pbc.org/files/messages/4519/0006.html

    Reply

  43. Posted by sean on March 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    If anything these pro-evolutionists have only verified our suspicion that we need a film that exposes this naturalistic bullying. Apparently unless one agrees with Darwin he is ridiculed and dismissed as being stupid.

    Reply

  44. “There are many many archeological sights from this time period and even earlier. Pieces of building still there. There is nothing left of that temple. Not one stone left. I can’t find the quote at this moment, but it has been said that Herold has adorned the temple with so much Gold, that when it was burned in 70ad, Gold was seen melting out from between the stones from the outside, so the solders pulled the stones apart in there searching for their plunder.”

    You are – perhaps wilfully- misunderstanding my point.

    I did NOT say that the events predicted by Jesus, in this case at least, didn’t happen. I said that the vagueness of the prediction makes the destruction of a building – in an open-ended timeframe – a very easy thing to correctly predict.

    Here’s a prophecy for you: “I say that the sky shall rain fire sometime before the end of the universe.”

    Ignoring the fact that raining fire can be interpreted as many things – meteorite, lightning, falling planes – you notice that I’ve left an unspecified period of time for the fulfilment of this prophecy. It is almost certain to come true.

    Likewise, when Jesus predicts that a building will not be left standing, he gives no time for it. He also gives no detailed reasons for the destruction of the building, or any specifics for the context.

    “The most specific one I can think of is Daniel 9:25-26 where daniel predited the starting date of Jesus’s ministry. (using the restoration of Israel as the starting point.)”

    Well, I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m tired, so you can furnish me with the relevant details on that one.

    “this is a theological blog so I and others are more attracted to answering theological questions.”

    As far as I’m concerned, any question that attempts to get a believer to discuss aspects of his or her faith is a theological question.

    “Even if the age of the earth is 4.5 billions years old”

    No. There is no “if”. The physical laws on which this evidence rests are, well, physical laws. There is a slight amount of irregularity from different samples, etc, but nothing more than a few tenths of a percent of the age itself, and these differences are nothing to do with the physics of it. Are you saying that the principles of radiometric dating are flawed?

    “The bible doesn’t really say that the earth is only 6000 years old. It records the Genealogies from Jesus back to Adam about that amount of time.”

    I just went researching this. Mathematically, that is what the bible gives as the age of the earth, from the date of creation onwards. Which is manifestly untrue, given what I’ve just said about radiometric dating techniques. And don’t give me no ifs . . . don’t shilly-shally. If you don’t believe the biblical account, say so. What age do you consider the earth to be?

    “That can quite easily be one of 2 things:
    1. still unfulfilled”

    Well, the source I found seemed pretty convinced, but this is the internets . . . so I’ll let that example go for the moment.

    ”2. poetic language referring to the barren land of palestine while israel was in exile. (Duet 28-30 seems to be a foretelling of the history of israel)”

    This is where it gets messy, for me, because anything which doesn’t correlate can be dismissed as poetic language. I found another one about wine flowing from the mountains, I forget the actual event predicted . . . at what point can you stop saying it’s poetic language and find the ultimate facts?

    Also, the description of the temple being pulled down is pretty poetic, to my mind. Yet you’re fine with that.

    Ok, moving on to others . . .

    SEAN!

    “As an atheist how do you account for the origin of the universe?”

    I can’t. No-one has anything more than vague speculations regarding the events that precipitated the big bang. At least, no scientist. You guys have your own charmingly deluded notions.

    “Why do something exist rather than nothing?”

    I don’t really understand what you’re saying there, so you might want to rephrase that.

    “Why did the universe come into existence?”

    I think that’s pretty much covered in origins of the universe.

    “What cause the universe to begin?”

    Again . . . we’ve covered that no-one knows. Asking the same question three times in different ways does nothing for your mental credibility.

    “How did the first life begin?”

    Abiogenesis is the most likely cause . . .

    Abiogenesis is the theory that chemicals, in the correct conditions, can combine to form organic molecules. NOT LIFE; organic molecules. Over a period of time that is, oh gosh, lots of zeroes and some numbers before that, the organisation and complexity of these organic compounds increases. We’re talking about DNA, fundamentally.

    And part of this stage has been recreated in laboratory conditions, truth to tell.

    “You aren’t going to tell me that it rained on a rock for millions of years and then “poof” life sprung into being (considering the incredible complexity of even the simplest life)!”

    Good gravy. I have to be quite severe with you, in lieu of using profanity.

    Take it simple, now:

    THAT IS NOT WHAT SCIENTISTS BELIEVE.

    It really isn’t. Life did not spring into being. All that abiogenesis is describing, in the simplest form, is a re-organisation of currently existing chemicals. They did not re-arrange and suddenly begin to write sonnets. The process is ridiculously slow; taking many stages and many many years before the organic compounds take on the characteristics of life (self-replication, on the basic level). This is something creationists seem to deliberately ignore; scientists do not believe in the spontaneous generation theory, yet you guys seem to think that we still do.

    All abiogenesis is is a chemical reaction. And, as I’ve said, it’s been proved in laboratories that chemicals can combine to form the basic building blocks for self-replicating molecules. Sadly these experiments cannot be run for millions of years, but they prove the basic theory is sound.

    “How can you be sure that God doesn’t exist? Do you claim to have exhaustive knowledge?”

    Again, let’s take this scientifically. No scientist can state that God does not exist, as to prove such a claim you would have to explore every particle in the universe. However, the inability to disprove something is not the same as positive proof. My favourite example is this: prove to me that there isn’t an enormous set of genitals floating out in deep space.

    Of course, you cannot.

    However, since there is absolutely no proof FOR god (or the genitals) that is credible, scientists prefer to take the 99.9% recurring certainty that there is no god; or, indeed, no huge meat and two veg.

    “How do you account for my friend who had severe terminal brain cancer and then after intense prayer it was miraculously gone?”

    Ah, that old chestnut. I cannot, because I’m not a doctor or a surgeon; I have no background knowledge on cancer. However, I DO know that remissions can occur. I would also invite you to consider all the people who prayed for cancer patients with no result other than a slow and painful death.

    “Are you really prepared to say that everyone who doesn’t believe like you is completely delusional?”

    Oh, absolutely. This is the key issue – what I believe is not based on christian notions of “belief”. Christians use this argument a great deal, that they have one set of beliefs and scientists have their own. This is entirely untrue, since belief in elementary physics makes no difference to the natural processes of the world. If we all died at this second, the sun would still rise and gravity would keep right on doing its thing. There is a strong distinction, in the scientific community, between “belief” in the christian sense (of replacing intellectual engagement with faith without proof) and passion. Scientists believe what they know is true, but it makes no difference – the belief is merely passion in the awesome complexity of the universe, and the knowledge to discover more.

    “If God does not exist then there is not any standard for morals. Thus, you as an atheist cannot say that it is wrong for someone to torture children for the fun of it.”

    This is such a grandiosely stupid statement that I really don’t know how to begin.

    Why can there be no standard for morals without God?

    I know if something is wrong because I have my own moral code based on personal observation of society and culure. Morals are subjective, sure, but the majority of people follow the same basic morality; the morality that, if everyone follows it, more or less guarantees a good life and the continuation of the human race (which is really where all this stuff comes from. We dress it up, but we are nothing more than animals with logistic capabilities.)

    I hope that helps, and tell me (as I’m asking all creationists this now); explain how the earth is 6000 years old when it’s been physically proven to be around 4.5 billion?

    Thank you.

    Reply

  45. Posted by Zak on March 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    “As an atheist…” how do you account for the origin of the universe?”

    At what point did I say I’m an atheist? You wouldn’t happen to be making baseless assumptions would you? Oh wait, silly question.

    “…how do you account for the origin of the universe?”

    Ah yes, the cosmological argument. Wonderfully current, if you live in 1260. This falls short at the first hurdle, subject to the problem of infinite regress. I can easily ask you “how do you account for the origin of god?” and so on. If at any point you attempt to suggest that god had no creator, then I can say the same about the Universe. If at any point you break the infinite regress, inferring that something had always existed, then why not the zero-space singularity from which the Big-Bang was catalysed?

    “Why do something exist rather than nothing?”

    More of the cosmological spiel Aquinas just couldn’t get enough of. How about this: “The Universe is just there and that’s all.” – Bertrand Russell (1964)
    Go Bert.

    “Why did the universe come into existence?”

    Every time you ask a question beginning with the word “Why”, you make a baseless assumption that there is a reason (and preferably one you can relate to) for the answer. No one can assume this. Thus it’s better to ask “How”. I will assume (and safely I think) that you have not studied cosmology or astrophysics to a degree standard. Thus, I will point you to a video I linked to many during my degree, which explains what we evil scientists believe in broad scientific terms:

    Watch Part 2 as well.

    “What cause the universe to begin?”

    A highly dense, zero-space singularity housing all of the known Universe’s Energy could not be sustained, and rapidly expanded. If you ask me what happened before that, you’ve entered the infinite regress again.

    “How did the first life begin?”

    This is a process known as abiogenesis. I can not account for the ‘first life’, since this is likely to have occurred on another planet. Life on Earth began as outlined rather eloquently in this well sourced video:

    “You aren’t going to tell me that it rained on a rock for millions of years and then “poof” life sprung into being (considering the incredible complexity of even the simplest life)!”

    You aren’t going to tell me that god sat on his gigantic arse for millions of years and then “poof” created life by magic (considering the tremendous number of biological flaws)!

    I’m afriad Sean, that this is a strawman. Do try harder will you?

    “How can you be sure that God doesn’t exist? Do you claim to have exhaustive knowledge?

    Reply

  46. “Apparently unless one agrees with Darwin he is ridiculed and dismissed as being stupid.”

    Not even apparently. You ARE stupid if you don’t agree with Darwin and evolution and such; it’s like not agreeing with gravity or electricity. It is an observable phenomenon.

    Reply

  47. As for Steve P:

    “I don’t waste time arguing with guys who the scriptures say are “without excuse”. The truth is – you don’t want to believe, because to believe means you have to stop being your own god and yield to His authority. It’s your egos, gentlemen, that are driving you to this foolish behavior. ”

    It’s a noble effort to shame me, but it falls short. You utterly fail to provide proof for the theistic authority of the bible, and you accept that happily as you’re in a logistic circle; you don’t need proof, as it’s only for believers, and the bible itself says it is the word of god, so you don’t need proof . . .”

    Me be ashamed? Really? You take pride in your inability to explain your faith. I take pride in my ability to explain why your faith is nonsense.

    Reply

  48. “Take a Philosophy of Religion course and you’ll understand that we are not talking about anything unknowable here. I’m sorry that Theology is not relevant for you – however, it is for the other 5 billion people on the planet.”

    That is not an argument, ol’ son, that’s just you loving religion and trying to prove it on an emotive issue. Five billion people? Right . . .

    “The Bible does not proclaim that the earth is 6000 years old. I have no need to reconcile 4.5 million with 6000. We estimate 6000 years based on genealogies and very literal reading of Genesis (which in my mind, might not be entirely warranted based on the type of literature it is).”

    It may not proclaim it, but mathematically that is how it works out. From creation onwards, roughly 6000 years. And nice job on side-stepping my question. Also:

    “I have no need to reconcile 4.5 million with 6000\ We estimate 6000 years”

    So you estimate 6000 years. So you think the earth is 6000 years old. If not, how old do you believe it to be, and how do you reconcile it with the scientific age of the earth? You have a very great need to reconcile the two, no matter what you say, because it’s one of the clearest ways to shoot down creation theory, and I’ve yet to hear any kind of decent comeback to it.

    “there is much extra-biblical evidence of Jesus”

    But little of him being the son of God, or blessed with divine powers, or generally being anything other than a guy with big ideas.

    “The greeks did not rely on empirical evidence – read aristotle sometime, no talk about evidence. It is rational, but from an extremely different foundation than any biblical writers.”

    I admit I generalised the greeks hugely, but even their philosophical notions – which I have studied, to an extent – are applications of reason and logic. The empirical evidence part was mainly directed at the foundations of geometry, mathematics and basic physics.

    “None of the Biblical writers (except for Luke) were born and educated as greeks.”

    At no point did I say they were. I was using the example of the Greeks to show that intelligence can exist outside of God, and that the points of the bible where things are “prophecised” are simply mortal men making largely open-ended predictions.

    “So giving a vague quote and saying “that doesn’t make sense to me, it’s a failed prophesy” falls extremely short of the mark.”

    If it helps, I can run through some more. How was it a vague quote? I took it from a christian website about the prophecies; it seemed quite specific to me.

    Reply

  49. Sebastian,

    Men are forever learning, yet unable to come to a knowledge of the truth….like all those PhD’s on evolutionary theory are going to come to naught. They’ll perhaps be useful for toilet paper. With all man’s so-called wisdom, he shames himself due to his ego. God calls us stupid and foolish if we say “there is no God”.

    The “creation” has no business arguing with the “creator”. He takes “the wise” in their own craftiness. He’ll outfox you every time. I’ll say it one more time. The scriptures are written in such a way, that unless you approach them with a humble attitude, you’ll be unable to receive from them. God tells us thru Paul in 1st Corinthians that He planned it that way. It’s the same reason that Jesus told his disciples that unless they received the kingdom as a little child, they would not enter in.

    Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Balaam’s ass talking and reproving him, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah in the belly of the whale, and so forth.

    All true. All foolish to the natural mind.

    Man mocks and laughs. His ego can’t accept this “foolishness”. After all, we know all about DNA and how to split the atom.

    Maybe so, but in practice we’re still morons, lacking true wisdom.

    To repent is to submit your ego to the cross and receive salvation. One way or the other our egos are going to die – either now, unto salvation, or in the judgment, unto the lake of fire.

    It’s God’s world, He designed it, and us, and He calls the shots. The clay can kick and scream at the potter all it wants. We can be broken at the cross, or fall on the cornerstone and be broken, it’s our choice.

    Reply

  50. Posted by Sebastian on March 14, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    “Men are forever learning, yet unable to come to a knowledge of the truth….like all those PhD’s on evolutionary theory are going to come to naught.”

    And just like that you cheerfully disregard centuries of accumulated scientific knowledge, which IS knowledge of the truth. Go back a thousand years; our modern technology would be completely alien to the folk alive then. And here we are, understanding it and pushing the boundaries. Given the leaps in scientific knowledge over the last few centuries, it seems remorselessly naïve to expect that there is some plateau of knowledge beyond which there is nothing more to be learnt.

    “The “creation” has no business arguing with the “creator”. He takes “the wise” in their own craftiness. He’ll outfox you every time. I’ll say it one more time. The scriptures are written in such a way, that unless you approach them with a humble attitude, you’ll be unable to receive from them. God tells us thru Paul in 1st Corinthians that He planned it that way. It’s the same reason that Jesus told his disciples that unless they received the kingdom as a little child, they would not enter in.”

    So the bible states, alongside it being the word of God, that you cannot argue with it? Pretty safe book, if you’re a believer. It contains everything you need. However, those who seek a more reasoned understanding have to question it, just as scientific theories are constantly being prodded and questioned by other scientists. Science is all about being proved wrong, little as you would admit that; we cheerfully accept hard evidence that refutes a scientific theory, as that in itself is science, so the whole cycle just keeps on going. Yet you give yourself a text which authorises itself. It’s like trying to checkmate someone who won’t even sit at the board; I ask for evidence and all you give me is the same tired rhetoric. Whereas I provide proof for how it cannot be the word of God, you are shut inside a box of circular reason that can only be opened from the outside.

    “Man mocks and laughs. His ego can’t accept this “foolishness”. After all, we know all about DNA and how to split the atom.
    Maybe so, but in practice we’re still morons, lacking true wisdom.”

    That is a masterfully contradictory statement.

    What is this “true wisdom” of which you speak?

    How are we morons given the knowledge you just said we had?

    “To repent is to submit your ego to the cross and receive salvation. One way or the other our egos are going to die – either now, unto salvation, or in the judgment, unto the lake of fire.”

    You have a thing about how this is ego. I think you rationalise people challenging your beliefs by attributing it to ego, rather than an unbiased argument based on irrefutable facts. Similar attitudes I’ve encountered elsewhere have been that atheism is an evil spirit that makes us question the bible. Christians just can’t accept anyone questioning their faith.

    And before you respond to that with “well, scientists can’t accept anyone questioning them either”, that’s because science is not negotiable and entirely divorced from faith, and to question science – at least from a religious viewpoint, not from the viewpoint of attempting to rectify a scientific theory with another scientific theory – is the act of a fundamentally misguided person.

    I tell you, god or jesus would be a far better disputant than any follower of them I’ve encountered. Hear me well when I say – and god can hear this too, presumably – if there is a God, I will take him to task on the entire affair. If he can’t or won’t explain himself, he is not God; if he sends me to hell for not believing in him despite knowing my reasons, he is not your God, and certainly not a god worth worshipping.

    “It’s God’s world, He designed it, and us, and He calls the shots. The clay can kick and scream at the potter all it wants. We can be broken at the cross, or fall on the cornerstone and be broken, it’s our choice.”

    What a beautiful philosophy. I see you’re THAT kind of christian, who doesn’t even see the need to defend the inconsistent nature of his beliefs; well, I tell you wholeheartedly . . .
    If it’s a choice between having self-respect and a knowledge of the universe and breaking at the cornerstone, or having my intellectual ideals cruelly raped by the illogical and unproven notion of a God . . . I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

    Maybe YOU can tell me how the bible fits in with all the scientific facts that disprove it; you know, all the stuff I mentioned in my first big post that you have entirely sidestepped. Come on, give it a go! Biblical age of earth vs scientifically verified age of earth. Surely you can try? Or are you afraid that the only possible answer breaks your bitty faith like dry bread?

    I try to answer questions asked by christians, because they are answerable. So let’s have some of that from you that doesn’t rely on a tide of self-authorised scripture.

    Reply

  51. Posted by JohnO on March 14, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Sebastian,

    As for the 5 billion… there 5 billion people on this planet that
    have some kind of faith, therefore theology is relevant. I’m sorry
    that fact bothers you.

    As for the age of the earth… It doesn’t matter if the earth is 4.6
    billion years old (or whatever that number is this year… it keeps
    changing) or 10-6,000 years old. I’ve seen evidence for both. As far
    as I’m concerned the Christian faith makes no claim as to how old the
    earth is. There is no verse that says: The earth is such and such
    age. The age of the earth (and many Christians will disagree with me
    here) makes no difference to the Christian worldview nor the biblical
    stance. The creation account of Genesis, in my view, is not meant to
    be taken literally. It is poetic (we’ll get to that).

    There is the poetic, and the apocalyptic. Apocalyptic literature
    plays a specific function in Judaism (and as far as I know, it is
    specifically a Jewish thing not found in any other culture or
    religion). The poetic is slightly different that the apocalyptic – it
    is found in two places: (1) ancient near eastern literature (both in
    judaism and elsewhere), and (2) psalms and prophets. Apocalyptic is
    found in the prophets, a little in late Isaiah, and mostly Daniel and
    Revelation (pseudopigraphical material and dead sea scrolls as well).

    It’s not so simple as you attempt to make it out to be. There are
    many critical scholars who still understand these things and attempt
    to crush the Christian faith. They’ve been trying for hundreds of
    years.

    Reply

  52. There are millions who believe that the positions and movement of the planets dictate their lives and think that crystals have massive healing properties. That does not make astrology and new age ‘medicine’ relevant.

    Of course, believing that something is real does not make it so. The superstitious beliefs that have been shown to be wrong are multitude indeed – the old ‘the sun is Ra’s chariot racing through the sky’ is a classic. Billions used to believe that and other myths throughout history, none of them were true and none of them are relevant.

    And then you jump into the old argument about some parts of the Bible aren’t meant to be taken literally. How do you decide? How do you judge that some parts are literal and some are just parables? The very instant you try to do that, you’re placing subjective human judgement on a supposedly holy text – thus taking away from it any possible claims of divinity from it.

    In short, you can not just pick and choose what bits suit you and which bits don’t. The Council of Nicea did that back in the day and look at that mess that caused, creating a set of books which contradict each other while omitting those which they didn’t like (usually for political reasons).

    Reply

  53. Sebastian wrote – “Maybe YOU can tell me how the bible fits in with all the scientific facts that disprove it; you know, all the stuff I mentioned in my first big post that you have entirely sidestepped. Come on, give it a go! Biblical age of earth vs scientifically verified age of earth. Surely you can try? Or are you afraid that the only possible answer breaks your bitty faith like dry bread?”

    My reply –

    Peter, an apostle of the Lord, wrote by inspiration in 2 Peter 3 –

    ” Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

    First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    Because scientists deny the flood of Noah ever happened, they fail to take into account how it upended the various strata and affected the fossil record. Compounding their error, scientists continue to work by circular reasoning. They date the fossils by the layer they’re found in, and they date the layers by the fossils found in them.

    If you want to see numerous examples of just how inconsistent the fossil record is, then read the following treatise. It shows how the Creation?flood model best fits the fossil evidence.

    http://home.att.net/~creationoutreach/pages/strange.htm

    Steve

    Reply

  54. You really need to do more research, especially trying to verify the veracity of sources you link to. Thirty seconds in Google produces information which really shows that page to be pretty worthless and long debunked.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/coso.html

    And the flood never happened because there is zero evidence for it and plenty against. Where did all the water come from? Not above due to the effect such would have on the hydrosphere, it’d make Earth uninhabitable for thousands of years. Not below … if so, we’d have to throw out the entire tectonic plate field, and that’s pretty much undebatable as it stands.

    But then, maybe the flood was just one of those little parables you mentioned earlier and not to be taken literally, hm?

    Reply

  55. Matt,

    I’m assuming you were replying to me because of the page you linked. The page I linked had numerous examples cited. The spark plug was just one of them, and there was a reference to it within the link admitting it was bogus. So to take that one item and throw out the rest of the examples won’t cut it.

    The Genesis account states that the flood was the result of the windows of heaven being opened and the fountains of the deep being breached. The crust of the earth was breached (meteor?) and the waters under the surface apparently were under pressure and exploded upward, crystallizing in the upper atmosphere. Falling back to earth they flash froze many animals in place (such as the hairy mammoths).

    I’m not familiar with the tectonic plate field or the hydrosphere arguments you raise, but the truth is that if God had water stored under the crust and outside the upper atmosphere, who are we to argue that it wasn’t there to use? He says it was and neither you nor I were there to prove or disprove it. I accept it as a matter of faith in the scriptures, and because I can see the result in the fossil record. By the way, after Mt Helena erupted numerous trees were uprooted and blown off the mountain, ending up in lakes around that region. They were fossilized within 5 years of the eruption.

    5 years – not thousands if the conditions are right.

    Consider this as well – the Grand Canyon was formed from the waters abating after the flood. It all happened in less than a year, not millions of years as most think. What you see now was not there before the flood. The whole world surface, including mountain ranges, were changed radically.

    Reply

  56. “As for the 5 billion… there 5 billion people on this planet that
    have some kind of faith, therefore theology is relevant. I’m sorry
    that fact bothers you.”

    There are certainly not 5 billion fundamentalist christians, and considering that’s who most atheists end up arguing with, that’s who I’m concerned with.

    “As for the age of the earth… It doesn’t matter if the earth is 4.6 billion years old (or whatever that number is this year… it keeps changing) or 10-6,000 years old. I’ve seen evidence for both.”

    You could not possibly have seen evidence for both, given that one is true and one is not. Incidentally, the known age of the earth changes as older material is found and analysed.

    “As far as I’m concerned”

    I’ll just stop you here and say good! Because I’m concerned with the Christians who would oppose you strongly when you say:

    “the Christian faith makes no claim as to how old the earth is. There is no verse that says: The earth is such and such age. The age of the earth (and many Christians will disagree with me
    here) makes no difference to the Christian worldview nor the biblical
    stance. The creation account of Genesis, in my view, is not meant to
    be taken literally. It is poetic (we’ll get to that).”

    I KNOW there’s no verse that specifies age, but if the Bible is taken as the literal word of God (and as such it is seen by many) then mathematically that is what the Bible is claiming, whether overtly or not.

    The age of the earth does change the Christian worldview and the biblical stance. Here’s why: Many people take the bible as, well, gospel. It is all true. So if one part of it can be disproved by science, it calls into question the rest of it.

    “There is the poetic, and the apocalyptic. Apocalyptic literature
    plays a specific function in Judaism (and as far as I know, it is
    specifically a Jewish thing not found in any other culture or
    religion). The poetic is slightly different that the apocalyptic – it
    is found in two places: (1) ancient near eastern literature (both in
    judaism and elsewhere), and (2) psalms and prophets. Apocalyptic is
    found in the prophets, a little in late Isaiah, and mostly Daniel and
    Revelation (pseudopigraphical material and dead sea scrolls as well).”

    I would be taking you more seriously had you not qualified yourself with “in my view” and “as far as I’m concerned”. But anyway.
    Your points still do not answer my fundamental questions of where the authority for the bible comes from, and also at what point you can stop deeming different sections “poetic” and such. The bible is either an entirely subjective account, or it is the literal word of God. It can’t be both, you can’t pick and choose.

    “It’s not so simple as you attempt to make it out to be. There are
    many critical scholars who still understand these things and attempt
    to crush the Christian faith. They’ve been trying for hundreds of
    years.”

    Actually, it is. By picking which bits fit in with criticism you disown the entire scripture. All scholarly learning of the Bible is merely the perspective of humanity.

    As for Steve;
    “Peter, an apostle of the Lord, wrote by inspiration in 2 Peter 3”

    Etc.

    That’s not how arguments work, Steve. As I’ve said, I try to critically respond to points that christians raise. I asked you to justify your belief in the bible when scientific evidence proves portions of it to be incorrect, and your response is to quote the bible at me! It’d be funny if it wasn’t so . . .

    Actually it IS pretty funny.

    You merely prove that you are incapable of serious debate when you ignore my scientific points and dredge up yours, which obviously are not science but pseudoscience. For example, fossils allegedly laid down by the flood are carbon-dated to an age far greater than six thousand years. Any response to that?
    You plainly have no truck with or understanding of science, which does rather explain your unwillingness to argue on a scientific basis, but you might as well TRY. I responded to your nonsense about the flood with scientific fact, so you going to try to respond to me?

    Without a torrent of unproved scripture?

    Of course not. A foolish notion, I do apologise.

    Reply

  57. Sebastian,

    I have a B.S. in Biology from Fordham University and a Master of Science degree in Animal Science as well. I was halfway to a PhD when I quit and changed careers. Now I’m a CPA and work as a controller for a large real estate management company. I understand science fairly well, and I read a great deal, as those who know me will attest to. The Genesis account was a major stumbling block to my faith at first, but later on I realized just how screwed up the theory of evolution was and how Satan used science, falsely so-called, to try and bring disrepute to the scriptures and destroy faith in it.

    The truth is that Satan hates the Genesis account because it explains where we came from, and predicts his eventual destruction. Without Genesis, there is no fall. Without man’s fall,there is no need for a savior. Satan knows that if he can cause people to doubt the Genesis account, he can blind them to their need for redemption.

    I’m a bit tired and frankly I don’t really care that much about this subject anymore. I know the God of the Bible is real, and that there is a judgment coming. Soon. So if you want to spend the rest of your life trying to justify your faith in evolution, what can I say? Neither one of us is going to convince the other. You’re not going to change my mind and I’m not going to change yours. If you choose to not believe in God, then nothing I say is going to convince you. It’s a heart issue, and I leave it at that.

    Reply

  58. The page I linked had numerous examples cited.

    All of which, like the sparkplug, have been disproved. They’re all based in the same extremely poor research and misunderstanding of science.

    But then I doubt you have done any research of your own to find the articles which show them to have been disproved.

    The crust of the earth was breached (meteor?) and the waters under the surface apparently were under pressure and exploded upward

    What meteor? What waters? There is no evidence for either.

    crystallizing in the upper atmosphere.

    Which goes straight into that hydrosphere problem I mentioned. Do you have any idea what effect that much moisture being locked in the upper atmosphere would have on the entire planet?
    It also goes well against the way rain and such actually works but well… let’s not even go there.

    That much water falling from the atmosphere, for example, would have had to fall with such force that it would have vaporised the oceans instead of making them bigger. The resulting cloud of super heated steam would sterilised the planet completely. Not only would the Ark have had nothing to float on, the crew would have been turned into weird versions of steamed dim sims (very briefly) before their flesh fell off their skeletons.

    Falling back to earth they flash froze many animals in place (such as the hairy mammoths).

    So the great flood was responsible for one of the ice ages, hm? So why doesn’t any actual evidence support that?

    I’m not familiar with the tectonic plate field or the hydrosphere arguments you raise

    At this point I have to assume you don’t know much about science at all. Tectonic plates: parts of the crust the things we refer to as ‘land’ sit on, which move against each other which is what causes earthquakes.

    but the truth is that if God had water stored under the crust and outside the upper atmosphere, who are we to argue that it wasn’t there to use?

    Logical, rational people who actually can figure out how things simply do not appear and disappear and violate the natural laws of the universe while doing so, perhaps? You’re claiming that something happened for which there is no proof whatsoever.

    That would be just like me claiming to have pulled an elephant out of a small hat but then adding that I made it disappear again before anyone saw it. And it’s a magic elephant so it left no trace at all.

    He says it was and neither you nor I were there to prove or disprove it.

    No, he did not say it. Whoever wrote genesis noted it down, quite possibly high on ayahuasca at the time.

    I accept it as a matter of faith in the scriptures, and because I can see the result in the fossil record.

    The fossil record goes directly AGAINST the global flood theory. If there was a global flood, you’d have a globally uniform sediment and remains layer … which doesn’t exist.

    after Mt Helena erupted numerous trees were uprooted and blown off the mountain, ending up in lakes around that region. They were fossilized within 5 years of the eruption.

    I suggest you actually research that event to
    a) find what actually happened.
    b) find out how it happened.

    Right now, you’re displaying that you don’t actually know what happened or that those trees were not fossilised as the general term was used.
    I’ll even point you in the right direction:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mtsthelens.html

    the Grand Canyon was formed from the waters abating after the flood.

    You’re seriously claiming that? For that to happen, water would have had to run up hill – the topography is entirely wrong for your theory to be correct.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH581.html

    Again, your lack of research is showing.

    The whole world surface, including mountain ranges, were changed radically.

    Mountain ranges are (usually) created through movement of tectonic plates and not floods. But then, you don’t seem to even know what tectonic plates are.
    Here’s a clue: The Himalayas were formed when India collided with the rest of Asia a very long time ago.

    Reply

  59. Note: previous comment is awaiting Moderation.

    I understand science fairly well

    But you don’t know what tectonic plates are? Or understand that enough water to cause a flood falling to Earth would hit with enough energy to vaporise the oceans and sterilise the planet completely?

    but later on I realized just how screwed up the theory of evolution was

    With problems such as what, precisely? You’ve obviously had some specific problems with the Theory so what are they?

    Reply

  60. Matt,

    I know what the tectonic plates are, but you seemed to be implying in your earlier reply that there was something about them that was inconsistent with the the possibility of a global flood. That I don’t understand or agree with.

    Regarding the water – you say the water would fall with such power that it would sterilize the earth? How do you know that? Did you conduct an experiment? You’re speculating and making an assumption.

    I’d continue to debate you but I’d rather get a good night’s sleep and there are over 40 replies in this thread, so everyone’s position has been established and isn’t going to change.

    Instead of resisting God, try having some faith in the scriptures – it’s good for the soul, Matt. 😉

    Steve

    Reply

  61. To cover the surface of the Earth, how many litres of water do you think it would take? And that is enough water to cover all land masses, including the highest of mountain ranges.

    That’s a layer of water at least 2-3km high that suddenly appeared from nowhere and fell from the sky. At a quick calculation (and backed up by David Wong’s numbers over at creationtheory.org, specifically http://www.creationtheory.org/Arguments/Hartman-6.xhtml ) that a million trillion tons of water falling onto the surface of the Earth all in a matter of days.

    Now what do you think is going to happen when that much water hits the surface in such a ridiculously short amount of time?

    Reply

  62. Posted by Zak on March 15, 2008 at 4:46 am

    My last comment was not approved, despite containing no coarse language. There was a little blasphemy in there, by way of the use of reason. Is the author afraid Jesus might see it?

    Reply

  63. Sebastian,
    “I have a B.S. in Biology from Fordham University and a Master of Science degree in Animal Science as well.”

    You are yet to give any kind of evidence that you understood the concepts, however, and given the admission you quit halfway through . . ? In any case, you think science is actually given to us by the Devil, so it makes no difference what you knew in the first place.

    “The Genesis account was a major stumbling block to my faith at first, but later on I realized just how screwed up the theory of evolution was and how Satan used science, falsely so-called, to try and bring disrepute to the scriptures and destroy faith in it.”

    It’s become clear to me that arguing with a creationist is like arguing with someone who contends fruit is actually a meat. All arguments against science that I’ve heard, all explanations for the bible and creation theory, seek to undermine the credibility of those who challenge it. The notion of trying to disprove these things is so utterly alien to you that you have to justify it by being the external malign influence of the devil instead of free thinking based on evidence.

    Also, precisely how is the theory of evolution “screwed up?” You make these assertions but do nothing to back them up aside from quoting the Bible. To say confidently that evolution is screwed up requires a sound scientific knowledge of the underlying principles, which thus far you have not offered. What evidence can you offer for the flaws in evolution?

    All you’ve said is that you couldn’t reconcile scientific evidence with Genesis, so you decided science itself was wrong.

    “Satan used science, falsely so-called”

    The selective damning of science from creationists never ceases to amaze me. I’m sure you live in a house with electricity, a tv, a microwave, probably a car, a pc. It’s likely you’ve flown in a plane. So where exactly do you draw the line at Science being a tool of Satan? The point at which it inconveniences your faith? Surely Satan is just stopping planes from dropping out of the air, so our faith in science is not dented! Logically, you would live in cave surviving only on what you could kill with hand-made natural tools . . . if you really thought science was satan’s work. But of course! It’s not science, it’s just the portions of science that nullify everything you believe in.

    “The truth is that Satan hates the Genesis account because it explains where we came from, and predicts his eventual destruction. Without Genesis, there is no fall. Without man’s fall,there is no need for a savior. Satan knows that if he can cause people to doubt the Genesis account, he can blind them to their need for redemption.”

    I hate to tell you, but that’s just an opinion.

    “I’m a bit tired and frankly I don’t really care that much about this subject anymore”

    You’re tired? Really? Oh no! Well, get in line. I have that effect on fundamentalists, because I persist in asking the questions they cannot answer whilst still maintaining credibility in their faith. Biggest cop out there is, trying to place yourself above the debate. You can’t explain yourself so you’re leaving the conversation. Congratulations.

    We both know you’ve offered no proof and failed to respond meaningfully to any of my points. As a former scientist, you must surely remember – somewhere – the importance of evidence.

    “I know the God of the Bible is real, and that there is a judgment coming. Soon. So if you want to spend the rest of your life trying to justify your faith in evolution, what can I say? Neither one of us is going to convince the other. You’re not going to change my mind and I’m not going to change yours. If you choose to not believe in God, then nothing I say is going to convince you. It’s a heart issue, and I leave it at that.”

    Masterful. Just masterful. You cannot “know” something without proof, and since you’ve admitted it is a “heart issue”, you’ve also admitted there is no proof. Congratulations for defending your faith so poorly, you make it too easy.

    Reply

  64. “The Genesis account states that the flood was the result of the windows of heaven being opened and the fountains of the deep being breached. The crust of the earth was breached (meteor?) and the waters under the surface apparently were under pressure and exploded upward, crystallizing in the upper atmosphere. Falling back to earth they flash froze many animals in place (such as the hairy mammoths).”

    I’ve seen the “proof” offered for this, as Matt plainly has (or, more likely, Matt knew about the underlying principles off his own bat.) I have also seen this proof absolutely killed by irrefutable SCIENCE. The events you describe that would fit in with a biblical account would, as Matt pointed out, bring about a global cataclysm without survivors.

    “Regarding the water – you say the water would fall with such power that it would sterilize the earth? How do you know that? Did you conduct an experiment? You’re speculating and making an assumption.”

    Now, I know the fashion is to link to videos, which I’m not a fan of too much; however, if you’re serious about the above question, this video will explain how Matt was able to make such an ASSERTION (not an assumption). You got halfway through a science degree, so I’m assuming – possibly wrongly – that the physical laws discussed in this video are entirely familiar to you.

    “I’d continue to debate you but I’d rather get a good night’s sleep and there are over 40 replies in this thread, so everyone’s position has been established and isn’t going to change.”

    Good going. You give up when we’re still trying to get answers to our questions, having answered all of yours.

    Reply

  65. Sebastian,

    I notice that you and Matt spend a lot of time defending your “faith”. I have my faith too, I just don’t get as worked up about evolution vs creation as you do. It’s a non-issue in one sense to me. I believe the scriptures because over the last 27 years God revealed Himself to me thru His Son Jesus Christ.

    You’ve spent a disproportionately large amount of time on this thread trying to convince Christians that our faith in the scriptures is for naught. The reason we have faith is because it comes from hearing the word of God. If you’re not willing to approach God with humility then He states very emphatically that He will resist you, and He is resisting your efforts to deny His creation and His power.

    Regarding your last comment, you’re not trying to get answers to your questions as much as you’re trying to debunk the scriptural account. There are numerous warnings in the scriptures about a judgment coming, a day when God will judge the world by the man He has appointed, Jesus Christ. You would do well to consider that day in light of all the issues facing our modern society, despite it’s technology and science. I don’t dispute all science, just that which contradicts itself like evolution.

    Now I have to go do some tax returns for our wonderful government, which is desperately trying to bail out Bear Stearns and prevent a systemic collapse of our banking system. You do know that the scriptures mention a day when no one can buy or sell without some man’s approval? That day is fast approaching. You and I live in it.

    I’d suggest you use the time God has graciously given you to consider His grace and mercy. In light of Christ’s dying for you, get yourself on the right side of things- with God and His son Jesus Christ.

    Read or re-read this link I posted earlier, which addresses that.

    http://www.pbc.org/files/messages/4519/0006.html

    Steve

    Reply

  66. “I notice that you and Matt spend a lot of time defending your “faith”. I have my faith too, I just don’t get as worked up about evolution vs creation as you do. It’s a non-issue in one sense to me. I believe the scriptures because over the last 27 years God revealed Himself to me thru His Son Jesus Christ. ”

    We really can’t be more clear on this, especially since I’ve stressed this point before now on this blog.

    What we believe in is not “faith”. Faith is the belief in something without the evidence to support it. Faith and belief have nothing to do with the fundamental principles on which the universe operates. We call it “faith” in science because we are passionate about the workings of nature, but it is a semantic fallacy which you choose to take entirely out of context. Faith does not change physics.

    Everything else you’ve said is simply the same scripture quoting that you’ve been doing all along, and as is now abundantly clear there’s no point responding to it; I ask you to prove the bible and you simply give me more bible quotes promising death and damnation. However:

    “I don’t dispute all science, just that which contradicts itself like evolution. ”

    That means you DO contradict all science, as evolution is observed fact, like all science. You can’t pick and choose which aspects of science you support. It would be like me being in favour of lasers whilst desperately trying to refute particle physics.

    You keep saying evolution is flawed. TELL ME HOW IT IS FLAWED then! I back up everything I say with reasoned argument and evidence. You keep saying the same things and then stop talking about it. So how, exactly, does evolution contradict itself?

    If you can’t answer me there you are finally proving your real worth as a disputant.

    Reply

  67. I read through the link you posted (I wonder if you watched the video I linked to, the one which proves how your theories of the flood are entirely false) and it is just more of the same. Christians argue as if the people they argue with are already converted. It is NOT ENOUGH to use the bible as proof of its own divine authority, and certainly not enough to say “Look at the power of nature! Look at the storm! IT’S GOD!”

    Reply

  68. Sebastian,

    When I said evolution contradicts itself, perhaps I should have said, “evolution is a theory (not a law)which contradicts established scientific law”.

    2nd Law of Thermodynamics – “All matter left unchecked tends towards disorder.”

    Evolution states – “Matter, unchecked (random), began with simple forms and over billions of years became more and more complex to the present time.”

    Creation states – “Matter, without God holding it in place tends towards disorder” (Colossians 1:15-17)

    Which theory is clearly more consistent with the 2nd law of Thermodynamics?

    Several links to more on this topic of scientific law as it relates to the theory of evolution vs creation -if you’re inclined to read them.

    http://www.digisys.net/users/ddalton/creation_vs__evolution.htm

    http://www.digisys.net/users/ddalton/can_evolution_produce_an_eye.htm

    Been down this road of fruitless debate before, Sebastian. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    Back to those tax returns. 😉

    Steve

    Reply

  69. “When I said evolution contradicts itself, perhaps I should have said, “evolution is a theory (not a law)which contradicts established scientific law”.
    2nd Law of Thermodynamics – “All matter left unchecked tends towards disorder.”
    Evolution states – “Matter, unchecked (random), began with simple forms and over billions of years became more and more complex to the present time.”
    Creation states – “Matter, without God holding it in place tends towards disorder”
    (Colossians 1:15-17)
    Which theory is clearly more consistent with the 2nd law of Thermodynamics?”

    Steve . . .
    It took me ten whole seconds to confirm for myself that your understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is wrong:

    “The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the universal law of increasing entropy, stating that the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.”

    You have missed out the part about an isolated system. The earth is not an isolated system; an isolated system cannot receive heat and matter from its surroundings. And I’m sure even you can acknowledge that the Earth as a system is heated by the sun; matter can enter the system in the form of stellar debris, and leave it in the form of man-made devices, etc.

    So by not even understanding the law by which you seek to challenge evolution, you render your entire argument spurious.

    Also, I’m not sure where you got your definition of evolution from, but you seem to have combined evolution with theories on the origins of life. Evolution simply describes the changes in inherited traits, generation by generation, in a species. And whilst life is made from matter, we are not “matter” in the sense of the term as you mean it. Biological “matter” is self-replicating.

    So, given that the earth is not a closed system and your knowledge of the 2nd law of dynamics is shabby, you have failed to give any flaws in evolution on a scientific basis. Evolution does NOT contradict established scientific law.

    “Several links to more on this topic of scientific law as it relates to the theory of evolution vs creation -if you’re inclined to read them.”

    I went through the first page and nearly threw up. Let’s just go through a few examples of how wrong this page is.

    “1st Law of Thermodynamics :
    “Matter cannot be created or destroyed”
    question:
    • Then where did matter come from?
    1. God – Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God…” God can do anything He wants. He is The Creator. He makes the Laws!
    2. Evolution – Big bang theory: All matter began condensed to the size of a dot, spinning around and around until a great explosion occurred.
    question:
    • Where did the “dot” matter come from? (defies 1st Law of Thermodynamics)
    • What made it (the “dot”) come together?
    • What caused the “dot” to begin spinning? (defies Law of Motion – takes energy to make it move)”

    Here’s a question; where did God come from?
    The laws of thermodynamics etc apply WITHIN this universe. So as soon as the universe was created – and, indeed, we have no more than speculation as to the why – these laws are observed to be true. Before that, no-one knows; therefore the laws which are constants now were non-limiters at the big bing. As I’ve said, not that it matters, my own belief is that we enter a realm of physics beyond our current comprehension when we attempt to work out the events before the origin of the universe. That’s just a personal hypothesis, though; nothing more.

    “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum:
    “if a spinning object explodes, the pieces are going to spin in the same direction”.
    question:
    • If Big bang started with a singular spinning dot exploding, then shouldn’t everything be spinning in the same direction?
    It’s not…..
    • Venus & Uranus spin backwards.
    • Numerous moons are spinning backwards
    • Several moons are even traveling backwards ”

    This is so stupid that I had to punch myself in the throat to recover myself. The big bang did not take place and simply launch the entire universe into being as we see it now. Zak the astrophysicist (as familiar as I am with the fundamentals, you really need to talk to a scientist to get fully detailed answers) says: angular momentum is conserved, however the fragmententation of mass during the expansion of the early Universe led to nutation of the momentum vectors.
    There.

    The initial form of the universe was a super-dense, super-hot mass of energy out of which – through processes that are more easily explained by researching it for yourself rather than have me simplify it – solid matter eventually coalesced.

    “The Sun
    The sun burns up approximately 5 million tons of “fuel” per second. As it burns its shrinking. Which means it use to be bigger than it is now. And heavier… meaning heavier gravity.
    So…
    If the earth was even 20 to 40 million years old (scientists claim it is much older than that), the sun would have been touching the earth! (talk about hot!). Far too hot to support any life whatsoever.”

    Where does the proof for this come from? There is no scientific evidence that confirms this theory, quite aside from the fundamental figures being incorrect.

    “Been down this road of fruitless debate before, Sebastian. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    It would be much less fruitless if, just once, you looked at all the “scientific” hypotheses from creationists and compared them to how science ACTUALLY is. Because I tell you, nothing I’ve read from creationists stands up to the reality of current knowledge.

    Reply

  70. A misplaced appeal to the second law of thermodynamics … a classic creationist argument but one that has been disproved for … well, since the second law of thermodynamics was set down.
    That was bad enough.

    But the sun shrinkage one? Come on, that is just ridiculous. Do you know what happens when a sun starts burning up all it’s fuel? It gets BIGGER, not smaller. Give our Sun a couple of billion years and it will exceed the orbit of the Earth in size and most likely reach somewhere around Mars.

    Then it will shrink again and possibly explode, releasing all the gas and matter which will then reform and create a new solar system … like it has twice (maybe even three times) before. That’s right, our little sun has not always been there – it’s a third generation star.

    Of course, the entire sun shrinking argument is a load of ol’ phooey. There is no evidence at all to back it up, no observations that stand up to any sort of scrutiny and … well, when someone brings it out, you know you’re dealing with someone who has no science knowledge at all.

    But then, considering that NONE of the arguments raised by scientific evidence in this series of comments has been refuted, there is any case of one side having evidence anyhow.

    Reply

  71. Posted by mark on March 16, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Wholley agree with Matt’s first comment. Unfortunately, it is hard to have rational debate with people who claim Darwin said humans come from monkeys. He did not. They clearly do not understand evolution and have not bothered to use critical thinking or read the original materials. Merely repeating misconceptions and ignorance does not further the cause of those who wish to critisize evolutionary theory (if you are not a trained scientist then the term evolutionary fact would be more appropriate for you to understand how evolutionary theory is understood among scientists (that is that the common term theory is not the scientific word theory).
    I just watched a streamed copy of O’Reilly and Ben Stein. It is clear that neither of them understand almost anything about abiogenesis or about evolution. Their comments also betray an understanding of creationism and ID. Finally, their logic and application of philosophy is out of whack.
    It’s on a par with listening to two ignorant drunks in a bar.

    Reply

  72. “It is clear that neither of them understand almost anything about abiogenesis or about evolution. Their comments also betray an understanding of creationism and ID. Finally, their logic and application of philosophy is out of whack.
    It’s on a par with listening to two ignorant drunks in a bar.”

    But they think it’s UNFAIR! Unfair, I tell you! It’s unfair that irrefutable scientific evidence should hold sway over untested, unproved delusional hypotheses.

    Idiots.

    Reply

  73. Actually Sebastian, the real idiocy is the “creation” rationalizing how it somehow came into existence without a creator. And how complex organs like the eye somehow evolved as a product of time and chance, abiogenesis or not.

    The truth here, Mark, Matt, and Sebastian, is that Satan always tries to strip God of the glory and honor due Him as the creator. The truth is that we were all born caught up in a unseen war between God and Satan. A war over who will rule the universe and over the souls of men. Satan is the one who “deceives the whole world”, and we’re all caught up in that deception to one degree or another. When you agree with evolution and deny the Genesis account ever took place, you are taken captive by him, and God gives you over to him.

    Unlike us humans, God is always ready to forgive and to forget our transgressions. That is called grace and mercy, which are demonstrated to us in that Christ died for us while we were sinners. But just as we have emotions, God, who created us in His image, also has emotions.

    “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”.

    There are some actions that will put you on the wrong side of things, by which you become an enemy of God. And woe be to the man or woman who dies in that unrepentant state.

    The scriptures confirm that Jesus Christ believed in the Genesis account, for he referred to it and quoted from it. So did all the prophets and the apostles. As we now come to the conclusion of the 6,000 years of man’s day, men’s hearts are starting to fail them with fear as they look upon the things that are coming upon this earth. The day of the Lord is almost upon us. Neither Darwin nor abiogenesis nor any other scientific theorem is capable of explaining the primary problem facing us today, which is that the heart of man is desperately wicked, because he is a fallen creature, separated from the God who formed and made him.

    Salvation is possible to all who repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ which is still preached for our benefit. Satan hates the gospel because it proclaims his eventual defeat and he intends to take as many people down with him as he can. That is why he always acts to denigrate the scriptures.

    None of us will be without excuse who refuse the offer of salvation which is freely given to us. None of us can say in that day of judgment, “I never heard. Why didn’t someone warn me?”

    I don’t expect you to change your mind right now, but I want you to understand that the scriptures testify that the real issue was, is, and will continue to be….

    …..”the heart of man”.

    Steve

    Reply

  74. Sure, none of us can say we never heard, on the day of judgement. We all heard because you guys don’t shut up about it; but we’ve not heard any reason to believe aside from vague blanket statements abotu death and destruction. Fear tactics don’t work on right-minded people.

    Reply

  75. Steve,

    I also think it’s cute that after you finally tried to offer up some “scientific” proof for your beliefs, Matt and myself owned you so thoroughly that you’ve not mentioned the fact in your most recent post. Shock! Could it be that you just don’t know what you’re talking about, and have to go back to vague biblical quotes?

    “Actually Sebastian, the real idiocy is the “creation” rationalizing how it somehow came into existence without a creator. And how complex organs like the eye somehow evolved as a product of time and chance, abiogenesis or not.”

    The notion of a creator is intimated only by your personal philosophy. Scientists have no such need to fill gaps with that kind of answer. And the thing about the evolution of the eye is – AGAIN – simply a statement of your own incredulity rather than any sound disproof of the evolution of the eye. I believe if you go looking you’ll find all kinds of suggestions as to how the eye evolved.

    And, again, simply because scientists don’t know the why of the creation of the universe is not to say that they never will. I keep saying similar things, but a thousand years ago the notion of travelling outside the earth’s orbit was the stuff of magic. So to say, in this day and age, that eventually discovering the truth of creation is asinine . . . is in itself asinine.

    Reply

  76. ALSO, Steve, I had another look at the page that attempts to show that the eye was designed rather than by chance.

    I don’t think there’s a single point where the argument advances from “but it’s unbelievably complex!” and various reiterations thereof. Nowhere does the author try to disprove the actual scientific notions of the evolution of the eye – it doesn’t look as if they even bothered to research it. Nope, the argument sticks in plain old “how can all these numbers POSSIBLY be true?” and never sees the need to refine itself.

    A sterling example of a creationist in action. Thank you.

    Reply

  77. Sebastian,

    The scriptures bear witness to the design and the creator. It is your lack of faith in the inspiration of the scriptures that is the problem, not the author’s argument.

    “He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?” Psalm 94:9

    Steve

    Reply

  78. “The scriptures bear witness to the design and the creator. It is your lack of faith in the inspiration of the scriptures that is the problem, not the author’s argument.”

    It’s probably fortunate that the people whose work ensures you have hot food every night, and electric light bulbs, deal only in certainties and not faith. Otherwise we’d all be screwed.

    The scriptures do not bear witness to the creator any more than this:

    “And Jeff said unto the people, Lo! There shall be an eighteen foot tall set of lips, and He shall lead you to your promised land; worship Him and He shall provide for you.”

    bears witness to there being a huge set of lips with godly powers. BECAUSE I JUST MADE IT UP.

    The author’s argument is the heart of the problem, considering I’ve heard no evidence that anything other than blind faith will make it work. Any document that requires faith to paste over the gaps is unworthy of inspection.

    And why is it, then, that you haven’t responded to me destroying your scientific theories? Why did you even make them if you’re not prepared to stand up to them?

    Reply

  79. Oh dear. A direct appeal to scripture.
    Which means absolutely nothing, since it assumes said scripture is historically accurate or has verifiable predictive properties. Neither of which are attributes it possesses.

    Appeals to scripture is also nothing more than classic circular logic. “God is real because the Bible says he is, the Bible is the word of god because god says it is…”

    Reply

  80. Sebastian,

    The reason I don’t defend the authors I referenced is because no matter what I or anyone else here says, you’re mind in made up, at least at this point in your life. Frankly, as I’ve said before, my interests lie in a different direction. I have faith in the scriptures but it’s not a blind faith. The scriptures are in truth, spirit and life, as Jesus testified. They are a living word to those who respect and believe them, but a dead letter to those who mock or scoff at them. Until you experience the love of God, you’re looking at everything analytically. The Word won’t necessarily appeal at first to our wordly intellect. Paul testified that the preaching of the cross was foolishness to the Greeks, who sought after wisdom (philosophy).

    To be wise in our own eyes is to put ourselves in a real predicament, because God authored the Word through His prophets in such a way as to cause the wise to reject it, and the fools (in the world’s eyes) to accept it. That’s why Paul testified that not many mighty, not many powerful, not many wise, are called.

    God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness for our sins is available to all, freely given through the sacrifice of a sinless man, Jesus Christ. You and Matt have devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to a cause that attempts to account for our existence without acknowledging a creator. I wonder if you’ve ever asked yourself why that seems to appeal to your intellect. Have you considered the possibility that you’re being deceived by Satan, who uses the very thing God gave you in abundance, your intellect, to cause you to turn on and reject Him?

    Just a thought.

    Steve

    Reply

  81. Posted by JohnO on March 19, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Just thought I’d drop this in here:

    Reply

  82. Posted by Brian on March 19, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Matt

    I’m new to the discussion and have not read through all the entries, so forgive me if this is redundant. You wrote fairly early on —

    “…indeed Evolution encourages and creates more variation as species spread to different environments and adapt to them. Members of the same species who move to, for example, colder climates develop thicker fur and so on (to put it as simply as possible)”

    Can you describe for me the process that allows the thicker fur to develop? My understanding of how this works (which I recognize is very simple) is that the genetics for thick fur and light fur are already present in the species and selection would allow for the survival of the thicker fur species over the lighter fur species. No “information” is added, in fact some is probably lost. Obviously this is over simplified, but the point is that selection takes place but no evolution takes places.

    I have one other question. Is SETI science?

    Reply

  83. “Is SETI science?”

    The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence is carried out through scientific methods. It would cease to become science if scientists simply assumed non-earth life existed from the bunch of eye-witness reports that support it, which is what religion does in comparable attempts to prove God.

    I did find this interesting quote from Michael Crichton:

    “The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion”

    The Drake equation seeks to estimate the number of civilised societies that exist in our galaxy. I wouldn’t view SETI as a religion or pseudoscience; as I said, it is founded in scientific principles. Only the aim is abstract, as it is not a certainty that life exists elsewhere; but the odds – given that the chemical processes and environment that resulted in life on Earth are certainly present or possible on other planets – are high. Especially since life on earth is only around a third of the age of the universe; imagine our society in another six billion years, considering the foundations of modern science have only been around for a few hundred. The chances of advanced civilisations existing are high – what IS slim is the chances of detecting them, at least at the moment, out of ridiculously large numbers of galaxies and stars in the universe.

    I hope that makes some kind of sense.

    Reply

  84. Posted by Brian on March 22, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Sebastion,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I think Michael Crichton has done some interesting stuff to help clarify what is science and what is not.

    The reason for my question is directed not so much towards the underlying scientific principles, but rather how those involved with SETI “do” their science. Here’s where I am going with this. My understanding of SETI in real basic terms is that of pointing radio telescopes out at some galaxies and taking in all the radio “noise” out there and seeing if any of it seems to be coming by way of nonnatural sources. This thinking is based on the assumption that there is “someone” out there who would be making some radio noise. There also seems to be a thinking that you could discriminate between “noise” and radio transmissions produced in some other way. Now if someone else comes to this process with an a priori commitment to the idea that there absolutely cannot be anyone out there who could produce radio transmissions, then no matter how convinced someone from SETI would be that something was evidence of nonnaturally produced radio transmissions, the person who is committed to the idea that it cannot be would simply say that we need more science to understand why this radio noise seems like something more than just noise.

    I use this example because it seems to me that many times when discussions of evolution and science come up, they are most often point toward the sense that the very definition of science is one which a priori cannot allow there to be any explanations for anything other than that which is caused naturally. The idea that there could be a scientific way to recognize whether radio “noise” from distant galaxies would be produced by unnatural sources seems OK to many folks, but those same folks disallow any of that thinking to be directed to anything else. I know this illustration breaks down after a bit, but I think it does help make my point.

    Wondered what your thoughts were on this.

    Reply

  85. Brian,

    Well, I think the two examples are a bit too disparate. Nobody could come and state that there is no chance at all of picking up recognisably artificial radio transmissions from outside the solar system, OR that there is no chance that extra-terrestial societies would use forms of communication detectable to us. Considering there is proof already of radio transmissions from a sentient civilisation in the universe (that being us) it is not inconceivable that we shall eventually pick up transmissions from other sources.

    “The idea that there could be a scientific way to recognize whether radio “noise” from distant galaxies would be produced by unnatural sources seems OK to many folks, but those same folks disallow any of that thinking to be directed to anything else.”

    Origin of life and evolution could indeed be explained by God, but it’s not a satisfying explanation, especially considering the weight of scientific proof against the notion. Even if the chance is small, there is a very real possibility of SETI picking up alien radio transmissions (based purely on the statistical likelihood of the chemical precursor to abiogenesis being or having being present elsewhere on the universe).

    SETI is science; it’s based on scientific principles and statistical probability. Evolution and origin of life can be explained by science, and considering the lack of proof that it was designed by an external deity (for the record, complexity is NOT proof) science has the answers. It’s not about being biased, or viewing things from “scientific viewpoint”. There is science, and then there is all the things that aren’t true, can’t be proved, or won’t be proved. That really is all there is to it. It’s not two sets of belief systems battling it out; it’s a belief system versus universal physical laws.

    Reply

  86. Posted by onein6billion on March 31, 2008 at 7:31 am

    “I have faith in the scriptures but it’s not a blind faith.”

    LOL Please give me a good definition of “blind faith”.

    Reply

  87. Well faith comes from hearing the Word of God. The word of God can be likened to a big jigsaw puzzle. The pieces come together to form a picture. The pieces are the individual verses which fitted together show a plan, and a purpose. God’s intention is to make salvation a free gift, but He also wants us to work diligently to seek out His truths, which are woven throughout the Bible. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the honor of kings is to search it out.” Those who are so diligent will reign with Christ in the millenial kingdom.

    The opposite is also true. Those who refuse to honor God and mock Him, he delivers up to a mind devoid of judgment, which is Satan.

    “Can the blind lead the blind, lest they both fall into the ditch?” is God’s way of saying, “if you’re going to refuse my knowledge and wisdom, you will be blind to spiritual truth, and be attracted to and led by others with a similar viewpoint”.

    Reply

  88. Again, you offer only a vision based on the scriptures which you STILL can’t justify or authorise. If you can’t see the similarities between what you’re doing (telling the story written down by someone in the past as entirely true) with what Scientologists do (telling the story the Hubbard wrote as true, with loads of creepy shit to deal with as well) then you’re kind of lost.

    Reply

  89. Since when does man justify or authorize the scriptures? The scriptures were God-breathed, given by God to man by inspiration. There’s a vast difference between the scriptures, which God Himself authorized, and the writings of L.Ron Hubbard or Joseph Smith.

    Just the prophecies in the scriptures concerning the Messiah, his birth, life, manner of death, resurrection and ascension, confirm that they are God-breathed. They need no confirmation from man to validate their inspiration.

    “Woe to the one who quarrels with His maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing? or the thing you are making say ‘He has no hands?'”

    Isaiah 45:9

    Reply

  90. Gee, the Council of Nicea and various other committees which settled on which books went into an official version of the bible might show otherwise.

    Reply

  91. Posted by onein6billion on April 3, 2008 at 1:40 am

    “be attracted to and led by others with a similar viewpoint”

    That seems like the better alternative to me. I would much prefer the company of scientists and thinkers.

    And you certainly do seem to illustrate a good definition of “blind faith”.

    Reply

  92. “I would much prefer the company of scientists and thinkers.”

    I suppose that’s your privilege.

    As for myself, I prefer the company of those who study and revere the Bible as God’s word.

    To each his own.

    Reply

  93. Posted by onein6billion on April 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    “Can you describe for me the process that allows the thicker fur to develop?”

    It’s called “natural selection”. If there is some kind of mutation in the genes that causes a slightly thicker fur to develop and if there is an environment where thicker fur is an advantage, then the animal with thicker fur is more likely to have offspring that survive in that environment than the animal with the “normal” gene. And those offspring are more likely to have the “special” gene. So goes evolution (over countless generations of animals).

    Reply

  94. Posted by Brian on April 14, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    onein6billion

    When I asked the question, I indicated that I understood that selection would work to allow for the emergence of the”thicker fur.” It’s the idea that “some kind of mutation in the genes” produces this genetic advantage that I have trouble with. So little is understood about genetics, and yet there is this attitude that it must be this way because . . . , well because it just must. I don’t see the science of coming to this conclusion but rather wishful hypothesizing, because evolution must be true because of an a priori position that no other explanation is possible.

    Reply

  95. Posted by onein6billion on April 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    “because evolution must be true because of an a priori position that no other explanation is possible.”

    If you have a better scientific theory, you might very well win a Nobel Prize.

    Now I remember that my sister told me that if it gets too cold, her horses will grow longer hair. No mutation needed?

    Reply

  96. Posted by onein6billion on May 2, 2008 at 2:39 am

    “It’s the idea that “some kind of mutation in the genes” produces this genetic advantage that I have trouble with.”

    Yes, I can see how someone who has no real knowledge of science might have trouble with that.

    Reply

  97. Posted by Brian on May 5, 2008 at 8:53 am

    onein6billion

    “Yes, I can see how someone who has no real knowledge of science might have trouble with that.”

    I am tempted to get “snarky” with this comment. It mostly saddens me that in the end all you need to do is proclaim me ignorant and that somehow settles the argument. I may have no real knowledge (as opposed to what? fake knowledge?) of science, but I do know a little thing about debate and you don’t win the debate by declaring the other guy ignorant.

    I spent no small amount of time earlier in my life working through the issues of the existence or non existence of God. In the end, I found that the explanations for how we got here offered by evolution very intellectually unsatisfying. In my reading of the Bible I have found its explanation to make more sense. To you this probably seems ignorant, but I can certainly live with that. The Scriptures teach that everyone by looking at the creation around them should know that there is a Creator behind it all. We each have our choices to make.

    Maybe evolution just made some folks to believe in a god. You certainly can’t hold it against us since we are just the product of an evolutionary process that did not have us in mind. Or maybe we are not.

    Reply

  98. Posted by onein6billion on May 13, 2008 at 12:57 am

    “I found that the explanations for how we got here offered by evolution very intellectually unsatisfying.”

    I’m so sorry that reality has disappointed you.

    “hold it against us”

    I wish you would not vote for people that will try to introduce creationism into a high school biology class.

    Reply

  99. Posted by Brian on May 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    onein6billion

    “I wish you would not vote for people that will try to introduce creationism into a high school biology class.”

    I’m not sure how you know who I vote for. In my son’s high school biology class not one word is mentioned about creation — not even a word about how some biological systems are so advanced and complex that some people question the explanatory power of Darwinian evolution. Instead he gets told that evolution explains everything, that evolution is as equally factual as the earth rotating around the sun, and that to question any of this is just not an option. I really don’t mind my son being taught evolution, I just wish they would teach it warts and all, and cool it with the “Thus saith Darwin…..” A little recognition that us little ole human beings might not be as smart as we make ourselves out to be would be nice.

    Reply

  100. not even a word about how some biological systems are so advanced and complex that some people question the explanatory power of Darwinian evolution.

    Those people have not been able to provide a scientifically based alternative theory, so their doubts fall into one of two categories:
    a) Based on ignorance of the Theory of Evolution.
    b) Simply not scientific, such as with Intelligent Design.

    Instead he gets told that evolution explains everything, that evolution is as equally factual as the earth rotating around the sun

    Good. That is the scientific reality.

    Reply

  101. Posted by Brian on May 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Matt

    “Good. That is the scientific reality.”

    That you cannot recognize the difference between the science of understanding that the earth orbits the sun, and the “science” of evolution amazes me. There is much science in evolution — there are many facts and data about fossils, rock layers, molecular clocks, DNA, etc., etc., etc. It is when scientists then give their explanation from this data for how we got here, that they step outside the bounds of science. I think it’s called metaphysics. Instead of recognizing the limitations of science for explaining reality, many choose to define reality by only what science can explain. If science cannot explain it, it cannot exist. It certainly is one way to approach understanding reality, but you don’t get to say it is the only way. It seems more intellectually honest to me to just say there are some things that science cannot explain. I can’t help but think of a Bible verse: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

    Reply

  102. That you cannot recognize the difference between the science of understanding that the earth orbits the sun, and the “science” of evolution amazes me.

    Argument from incredulity. Basically, it seems to me that you don’t (or possibly can’t) understand the Theory of Evolution and therefore don’t agree or accept it. That doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard.

    Science is incredibly well equipped to explain the natural world but you are right that it does not have the answers to ‘everything’ and no one claims as such. But it does have the capability to explain the observable Universe and the evolution of all the species on the planet, which it does so rather nicely.

    Reply

  103. Posted by onein6billion on July 2, 2008 at 2:37 am

    “I wish you would not vote for people that will try to introduce creationism into a high school biology class.”

    Like the people of Louisiana have done.

    Reply

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