Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design: The Banality of Evolution, Part 3

In the twentieth century evolutionists resisted the idea of a “Big Bang” beginning of the universe. They wanted a universe that had no beginning but the evidence did not cooperate but rather increasingly pointed to the Big Bang model. Now cosmologists, such as Cambridge University’s Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Stephen Hawking, say the Big Bang is no longer a problem to understand. It turns out the universe “blasted itself into existence spontaneously,” as one science writer put it. Or as a leading physicist explained, a consequence of general relativity is that “universes are free! It costs precisely zero energy (and zero anything else) to make an entire universe. From that perspective, perhaps it's not surprising that the universe did come into existence.”

Hawking and co-author physicist Leonard Mlodinow write in their new book, The Grand Design:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist … On the scale of the entire universe, the positive energy of the matter can be balanced by the negative gravitational energy, and so there is no restriction on the creation of whole universes.

There you have it, the culmination of evolutionary thought: The universe can and will create itself from nothing—universes are free! Evolutionary thinking, going back centuries, has thoroughly compromised science. It is now its own reductio ad absurdum.

Cosmologists report speculative hypotheses with all the certainty of a child telling you about their imaginary friend. Others in the field commend the “findings” and journalists dutifully pass along the new truth. For whom should we have more pity, the cosmologists promoting their “truths,” or the journalists who must package the silliness?

Here is one example of how evolutionary thinking influences cosmology. Hawking and Mlodinow explain that the discovery of planets orbiting distant stars refutes Isaac Newton’s suspicion that planetary systems did not arise from the unguided play of natural laws.

But why is that so? Certainly distant planets, by themselves, do not reveal their origin. In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories.

So how do Hawking and Mlodinow conclude that these planets refute Newton? Their hidden premise is that god would not create such planets. He would only create the planets that orbit the Sun and no others. The finding of others, given that religious premise, proves that planetary systems can evolve (in spite of the empirical evidence). Religion drives science and it matters.

119 comments:

  1. Cornelius Hunter:

    "There you have it, the culmination of evolutionary thought: The universe can and will create itself from nothing—universes are free! Evolutionary thinking, going back centuries, has thoroughly compromised science. It is now its own reductio ad absurdum."
    ====

    Looks like the Atheistic version of a Virgin Birth story goes back even further than "Abiogenesis" or even the "Never Cry Wolf to Whale" fable.

    This just gets more and more entertaining, especially when they do their darnest to make an otherwise saturday morning Bugs Bunny Roadrunner cartoon look so real world, then get offended when questioned about it. LOL

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  2. "In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories."

    What have you been smoking, Cornelius? Is cosmology now a branch of evolutionary theory?

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  3. Understandably, theists are outraged by challenges to their belief system.

    Here is one example of how evolutionary thinking influences cosmology.

    I didn’t know that Stephen Hawking is a biologist. Seriously, how does Dr Hunter define “evolutionary thinking”?

    So how do Hawking and Mlodinow conclude that these planets refute Newton? Their hidden premise is that god would not create such planets.

    Ah, that old straw standby, the "hidden premise," that puts into the minds of scientists thoughts they didn't know they had and arguments they never considered.

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  4. One can speak of matters that can never be proven and look somewhat intelligent. It all comes down to faith in the long run. What are you putting your faith in? A creation of the universe by the universe out of nothing? Or, the creation of the universe by an eternal God? One is without excuse, as everyone knows the evidence for God is overwhelming.

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  5. How can that be called science to conclude the universe created itself from nothing?

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  6. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing....



    I would love million bucks to appear spontaneously on my table right now.

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  7. Dr Hunter said, "The finding of others, given that religious premise, proves that planetary systems can evolve (in spite of the empirical evidence)"

    I'm curious as to what empirical evidence against planetary systems forming by natural processes you have in mind. Can you clarify that last paragraph

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  8. I have to wonder if Hunter himself isn’t a true blue ‘evolutionist’ at heart with a bit of an evil streak. Just conjure up some word salad of nonsense, like this OP (actually like all his Ops), and then just sit back and wait for the same predictable cadre of science illiterate rubes he knows will rush in like water from a broken pipe to defend and praise it. Hunter’s real chuckles start when the IDiots get their ‘brains’ (a term used loosely here) pummeled by people who actually understand science and have no fear of accepting reality for what it actually is. Hunter – the crème a la poe. Thanks for the laughs.

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  9. Cornelius said "In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories."

    Wow. Just... wow. Several planets contradict evolutionary theories. All this time I had believed that evolution was a theory about the diversification of life. I never new evolution described the properties of extrasolar planets.

    Cornelius, I had always thought you eccentric, but statements like this indicate a deep-seeded delusion, an intent to 'disprove' evolution at all costs, andy by any means necessary, rational or not.

    What's next? Discovery of new element contradicts evolutionary theory? Discovery of higgs boson contradicts evolutionary theory? Discovery of spare change in my couch contradicts evolutionary theory?

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  10. Keelyn 87, I suspected the same thing at first. Unfortunately, as an ex-YEC, I can assure you that it is possible to sincerely believe the nonsense that Cornelius sometimes posts. It would be quite mean to do what you suggest intentionally, and I don't think that fits what I know about Cornelius' character. For the most part, I think he's sincere. But his last two paragraphs rekindle my suspicion. I don't think he's an evolutionist, but I do think it likely that he's intentionally putting a nonsense phrase like: "In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories," in the post in hopes that some fellow creationists will call him out on it, proving that they do in fact have a modicum of intelligence. We'll see how many of them call him out on the absurdity of this statement, and how many, like Eocene, congratulate him on a good post.

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  11. Darren said "...as everyone knows the evidence for God is overwhelming."

    Is it now? Can you share with us this overwhelming evidence? (please, no bananas or jars of peanut butter.)

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  12. Since Dr Hunter's misunderstanding of biology is so profound, it should not be a surprise that his misunderstanding of cosmology is even greater.

    Hawking's point is that "on the scale of the entire universe" positive and negative energies balance and the universe is a big fat zero. It's not something from nothing, it is nothing from nothing.

    Of course, the presumed hegemony of "evolution" over all other sciences has to get thrown in. Creationist blogorrhea doesn't get more surreal than this.

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  13. It's not something from nothing, it is nothing from nothing.

    david vun

    Do you feel like nothing? Do you need a hug?

    Still waiting for my million bucks,dang it!

    Maybe I should pray to god of LMC to hurry up.

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  14. Hawking makes selective use of new and untested theories to make his case, he conveniently forgets to mention that the most commonly-accepted interpretation of quantum physics has a tendency to dramatically undermine his position. That interpretation is known as the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI), popularized by Nobel Prize winning physicist Niels Bohr. The CI postulates that particles don't really exist until they are observed -- they only exist in a potential way, as probabilities.

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  15. The "evolutionary thinking" Dr. Hunter refers to is the same distortion of science that he always makes. He constantly confuses the statements "we can't predict or test the God hypothesis so we must try other explanations for the nature of the world" with "there is no God, so we must try other explanations for the nature of the world."

    In the end, it doesn't matter; if you want predictible models of all this stuff we see everywhere, we must exclude a creator. That's too scary (or something) for Hunter though. So he repeatedly mischaracterizes this fundamental tenet, perverting all science into a mockery of itself. The story never changes. Its pathetic.

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  16. Espagnat said...
    The CI postulates that particles don't really exist until they are observed -- they only exist in a potential way, as probabilities.

    ============================================

    Even though the maths works well in quantum mechanics; one wants to ask what is a probability wave or virtual particle in reality? They’re nothing more than mathematical inventions that don't exist in nature.

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  17. Ambiorix said,

    Even though the maths works well in quantum mechanics; one wants to ask what is a probability wave or virtual particle in reality? They’re nothing more than mathematical inventions that don't exist in nature.

    ---------------------------------------

    Currently, there are no accepted interpretation of quantum physics. Not surprisingly, Hawking has rejected the CI in favor of another, less popular interpretation called the "many worlds" interpretation. According to Hawking's own review of the book, he applies this interpretation of quantum physics as if it is something that flows out of the science itself, rather than being an unproven (and currently unprovable) supposition that is rejected by large numbers of physicists.

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  18. Hawking is racing to exceed Darwin in how to establish a scientific theory without evidence.

    He may want to take a tip from the grand dupe-ster himself and put a finishing touch on his theory with something like, "unless one can show that the universe could not create itself from nothing then my theory is correct".

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  19. Childress,
    You posit yourself as a man of faith & an evolutionist. Yet, you still do not know the scriptures too well for a man of your "faith".
    Romans
    19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

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  20. Eugen,

    Hawking is saying that your million dollars will arrive on the same day as a tax bill for one million dollars...

    Here is another perspective - What is Microsoft (or any public company)? From the perspective of their balance sheet, nothing. The assets of Microsoft perfectly balance the liabilities and equity. It is another example of a conservation law. If the universe started as nothing, that is all it can ever be.

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  21. Ambiorix:
    How can that be called science to conclude the universe created itself from nothing?

    This discussion reminds me of an outdoor sculpture I saw a couple of years ago at a small art museum in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

    The top portion consists of only the upper body portion of an extremely muscular man with hammer and chisel in hand ready to strike the next blow.

    The bottom portion is what presumably remains of what was once a tall monolithic column and contains what will eventually be the lower body portion of the man.

    The man was creating himself out of "nothing".

    This sculpture is about as close as one could get to a visualization of the creation of something out nothing, except in this case there was no "nothing".

    The creation of something out of nothing is a concept that is beyond my ability to understand it.

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  22. Neal & troy,

    Examples of discoveries that seem to contradict modern theories of "planetary evolution" can be found here:

    http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201008.htm#20100831a

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  23. It seems to me that Hawking is circumventing the causality problem. If you are going to say that universes are free (zero net energy), fine, I'll go along with that. But SOMETHING had to cause it to happen. It just seems to me that if you start out with NOTHING, then there is NOTHING to cause anything to pop into existence, which means you are still left with NOTHING. If you end up with SOMETHING, you still need to posit an original cause.

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  24. "But SOMETHING had to cause it to happen."

    ===============

    When I see this argument, I know what's coming next. Everything but God must have a cause.

    Why doesn't God require a cause? Because I said so.

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  25. Petruska said: "When I see this argument, I know what's coming next. Everything but God must have a cause. Why doesn't God require a cause? Because I said so"

    I didn't say anything about God (although I do believe that's who did it). But we are stuck with a causality problem nonetheless. If Hawking is going to say that the universe came into existance from nothing, that's fine with me, so far, so good. But if he is going to say that NOTHING caused it to happen, then we have a problem, no matter what you worldview, because of causality. As far as I can tell, he has not disclosed what he believes the SOMETHING is that caused all of this, but whatever it is, it can't be NOTHING.

    That's all I'm saying.

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  26. Besides that, SOMETHING has to have always existed, whether it be "matter" or "God". Either matter never had a beginning, or God never had a beginning. Take your pick.

    But I think it's safe to say at this point that there was a point in the past when "matter" did not exist. So then what caused it to exist?

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  27. "As far as I can tell, he has not disclosed what he believes the SOMETHING is that caused all of this, but whatever it is, it can't be NOTHING."

    ==============

    Requiring a first cause always leads to infinite regress, unless you claim some ad hoc entity that doesn't require a cause.

    Rather than posit imaginary entities that arbitrarily plug logic holes, it is simpler to assume that not everything requires a cause.

    Aside from simplicity, we have positive evidence that quantum level events are uncaused.

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  28. Hawking's really is, a con-artist in a wheelchair. But besides that, I am surprised that evolutionists are surprised the evolutionary mode of thinking has not interfaced with other scientific fields such as cosmology since Darwin waved his magic wand. They know for a fact that it has, yet they deny it.

    To Hawkings I say; keep up the good work. You make us IDiots look smart.

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  29. "To Hawkings I say; keep up the good work. You make us IDiots look smart."

    Really? You think that?

    My take on Hawking: http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2010/09/gods-become-ever-less-necessary-and.html

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  30. Petruska said: "Requiring a first cause always leads to infinite regress, unless you claim some ad hoc entity that doesn't require a cause."

    Then he said: "quantum level events are uncaused."

    To avoid an infinite regress, we are going to have to "plug some logic holes", and something is going to end up being uncaused. And as far as "positive evidence" of quantum level events being uncaused: according to what model? And in the end, wouldn't it be just that? A model, and a model filled with assumptions at that?

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  31. @troy: Either this post is anticipating the trend on UD to concentrate on incoherent and/or off topic entires or the list of replies to the last post got too long so a new thread needed to be opened.

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  32. "according to what model?"

    According to experimental evidence.

    But infinite regress is good evidence. Every way of avoiding the problem of infinite regress simply invents an ad hoc entity that doesn't require a cause. Which pretty much nullifies the assertion that things must have a cause.

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  33. Mike said:

    "It just seems to me that if you start out with NOTHING, then there is NOTHING to cause anything to pop into existence, which means you are still left with NOTHING."

    --------

    Yes, looking at the universe as a whole, it is nothing, therefore 'nothing' is sufficient to start it. How omnipotent do you have to be to make nothing happen? Not very.

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  34. from Mike: "according to what model?"

    Petrushka answered: "According to experimental evidence."

    Emperical data is one thing, applying a hypothetical model to it to explain it is another.

    Besides, you say quantum level events are uncaused? From whence come the laws of quantum mechanics?

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  35. The "laws" of quantum mechanics are statistical.

    The same kind of laws that allow casinos to make a consistent profit margin without cheating.

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  36. "Certainly distant planets, by themselves, do not reveal their origin. In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories."

    Baffling!

    1) I would argue the observations in fact DO reveal enough to support the origin of planets (see below)

    2) I suppose Cornelius means prevailing hypotheses of planetary formation through accretion. Of course this has nothing to do with biological evolution, except that they are both scientific theories.

    3) What is the empirical evidence of exoplanet formation that "contradicted evolutionary theories?" Another completely unreferenced, undefended claim. Is your "moderate empiricism" evidence based, Cornelius?

    Exoplanet formation is observed:

    http://www.universetoday.com/49446/planet-formation-observed-around-massive-stars/

    Of course, one could argue that observing complete planets, planets clearing disks, disk remnants, and nascent disks, and knowing of gravity doesn't constitute actually observing the process from start to finish. Insert metaphysical conjecture, and a creationist 'alternative': God made the distant exosystems with the appearance of forming in progress.

    Is that what you have in mind Cornelius?

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  37. Petrushka said: "The "laws" of quantum mechanics are statistical. The same kind of laws that allow casinos to make a consistent profit margin without cheating."

    You did not answer my question. From whence come the laws of statistics, then? Did you mean to say "they are that they are"? That sounds familiar... where have I heard something similar to that...?

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  38. "From whence come the laws of statistics"

    ===============

    Smoke dope much? That's the kind of deep question that get people giggling in dorm rooms.

    Someone says, "God," and someone says, "and whence came God," and everyone takes another drag.

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  39. Mike:

    "You did not answer my question. From whence come the laws of statistics, then?"

    Here's a little statistical riddle:

    You are presented with two identical-looking envelops and the information that one contains twice as much cash as the other. You choose one, open it, and it contains $X. Then the other envelop must either contain $X/2 or $2X, right? Therefore, the average dollar value of the unopened envelop is (X/2 + 2X)/2 = (5/4)X > X. Therefore, when given the chance you should always choose the unopened envelop, no matter which one you chose to open first.

    Apply the laws of statistics to that!

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  40. Isn't it obvious that God, the Lawgiver, gave us the laws of statistics?

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  41. Mike asked:
    "From whence come the laws of statistics"

    =============================

    This is an excellent question. For four hundred years, science has been based on the implicit belief that the laws of nature are themselves supernatural, and thus off limits to scientific inquiry. The time has come to challenge this fundamental assumption.
    Check out cosmos magazine's article below from Paul Davies.

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/1479

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  42. Darren said: "You posit yourself as a man of faith & an evolutionist. Yet, you still do not know the scriptures too well for a man of your "faith"."

    How presumptuous of you to think that I'm not familiar with this passage. (which is chaper 1, you forgot to cite that) I know the passage well; but it is irrelevant to your claim. You said you had evidence of God's existence. Quoting scripture is not presenting evidence, it is presenting a circular argument. If I were to say to you that I had 'evidence' that Mohammed was a prophet of Allah, and then presented to you passages of the Koran, that wouldn't be any different than what you're doing. Now, circular arguments aren't necessarily wrong, they're just useless as a starting point for demonstrating something to someone who doesn't already believe your claim to to begin with.

    From an apologetics standpoint, merely asserting that all of creation 'proves' the existence of God is like saying Christmas presents 'prove' the existence of Santa.

    Your claim was not just that you had evidence, but overwhelming evidence. Care to try again?

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  43. Hawking said

    Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

    So the laws of nature, such as gravity, exist regardless of the universe's existence and in fact predate it? That's what I read out of that statement.

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  44. troy,

    Wouldn't the odds still be 50/50? Aside from that, I'm just not sure that the average being greater than the x value is much of a statistical profundity. In fact, I'm not sure this is much of riddle.

    Then again, maybe I completely misunderstood what you were trying to say……

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  45. Mike:

    "Wouldn't the odds still be 50/50? Aside from that, I'm just not sure that the average being greater than the x value is much of a statistical profundity. In fact, I'm not sure this is much of riddle."

    Professional statisticians/mathematicians have been breaking their heads for decades - and still are - over this innocent-looking riddle.

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  46. "In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories."

    Genius! Comedy Gold!...

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  47. In "The Grand Design" Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics...the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate and later abandoned. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (fx raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

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  48. The "Evolutionist" bits are funny, but I suppose it is a marketing issue. Cornelius can't say "that majority of people of all and no faith, who support science that threatens my view of the Christian religion". By saying Evolutionist he makes it seem like they are the minority and are a homogeneous group.
    It is a difficult problem, because without being honest that he is picking on science that contradicts his theology there is no way to define why he accepts some science and not other science.

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  49. Petrushka,

    That's because the set of all sets cannot itself be a set.


    Petrushka: "When I see this argument, I know what's coming next. Everything but God must have a cause.

    Why doesn't God require a cause? Because I said so."

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  50. Fil,

    Don't ask Hawkings to go there. He won't and probably thinks he doesn't need to, either.

    The laws of physics are to his trade as OOL is to Neo-Darwinism; i.e. 'we don't need to explain it. Our theory doesn't depend on it. It explains everything after that.'




    Fil: "So the laws of nature, such as gravity, exist regardless of the universe's existence and in fact predate it? That's what I read out of that statement."

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  51. computerist29 said: "To Hawkings I say; keep up the good work. You make us IDiots look smart."

    Steve said: "Don't ask Hawkings to go there."


    O.k. is it just me or has anyone else noticed the propensity of IDers to refer to Stephen Hawking as Stephen 'Hawkings'? At first I thought it was a typo here and there, but it seems to be a consistent thing on this blog and at Uncommon Descent as well. Is there some creationist literature with this mistake that they are all copying? I know everyone makes typos now and then, but is it really to much to ask that you know the name of the person you're critiquing?

    It's Hawking. no 's'.

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  52. "That's because the set of all sets cannot itself be a set"

    ==============

    The universal set leads to a paradox, at least in most set theories.

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

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  53. The board is deleting posts again. A short one with no links this time.

    Can something please be done?

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  54. Derick,

    No s in Hawking. Got it. Thx for the correction.

    BTW, adding an s is probably due to often thinking about Stephen Hawking's ideas. So it is easy to write Stephen Hawkings when thinking about Stephen Hawking's ideas when posting quickly.

    Gotta watch those random s insertions. :)

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  55. Derick Childress chided:

    "O.k. is it just me or has anyone else noticed the propensity of IDers to refer to Stephen Hawking as Stephen 'Hawkings'? At first I thought it was a typo here and there, but it seems to be a consistent thing on this blog and at Uncommon Descent as well. Is there some creationist literature with this mistake that they are all copying? I know everyone makes typos now and then, but is it really to much to ask that you know the name of the person you're critiquing?"

    "It's Hawking. no 's'."
    =====

    How entertaining. Yes it's Hawking, as in hawking his atheism. Seems you both have something in common, with the exception that you do it under cover of sheep's clothing. Tho some of the scuttle around the world is he's changed his position on belief in God, he's simply making a reaffirmation his Atheistic position from the beginning.

    Let us also not forget that we live in a twisted world competing for fame, glitter and glory where even for a person with almost no normal life can grab handsfull of celebrity status before time has run out. Maybe his atheistic version of heaven is having ones brain and consciousness downloaded into a supercomputer.

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  56. Steve said:

    "No s in Hawking. Got it. Thx for the correction.

    BTW, adding an s is probably due to often thinking about Stephen Hawking's ideas. So it is easy to write Stephen Hawkings when thinking about Stephen Hawking's ideas when posting quickly.
    =====

    Perhaps the mix-up also comes from using and quoting another well known atheistic darling, DAWKINS, who does indeed have an "S".
    -----

    Steve :

    Gotta watch those random s insertions. :)
    =====

    Or better yet, those random "ASSERTIONS"

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  57. Hawkings is a mutation of Hawking. Get over it. Mutations happen.

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  58. hawking is correct, mutations happen and therefore evolution = true.
    "Hawkings" apparently did not adapt well with the evolutionists here. Perhaps "Hawking" really is irreducibly complex.

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  59. Computerist29: Perhaps "Hawking" really is irreducibly complex.

    Nope, "hawking" could have arisen through multiple rounds of endosymbiotic fusion, with all intermediate stages viable against the fitness landscape of spell check (ala Zach's Word Mutagenation)

    haw king
    ha w king
    ha w kin g
    ha w k in g
    h a w k i n g

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  60. Going back to the OP for a moment:

    "Cosmologists report speculative hypotheses with all the certainty of a child telling you about their imaginary friend."

    Project much, Dr Hunter? Ever listen to someone try to explain the Trinity? "He's One, but He's Three. He's really Three, but He's also really One." Childlike certainty when explaining imaginary friends, don't go there.

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  61. Steve said:

    "The laws of physics are to his trade as OOL is to Neo-Darwinism; i.e. 'we don't need to explain it. Our theory doesn't depend on it. It explains everything after that.'"

    That is a completely ignorant statement. I'm sure there are cosmologists who assume the laws of physics and then work out whether the implications of those assumptions match experimental data, but Hawking in particular, and in talking about M-theory in particular, is directly investigating the laws of physics themselves.

    If your psychological tic forces you to analogize cosmology and evolutionary biology, yes Hawking is doing OOL here.

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  62. Oh Derrick, I expected more from a man of supposed "faith". My quoting of scripture was not the evidence, but rather what the scripture actually said. Swing and a miss Mr. Childress! Being that you posit yourself as a Christian, yet still do not see the evidence for God is rather unfathomable in my mind. Maybe its time you check your heart. Cry out to God for mercy. This shouldnt be foreign to you, being that you are a Christian.....right?

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  63. Hawking is saying that your million dollars will arrive on the same day as a tax bill for one million dollars...

    david vun

    My name than should be even steven

    Now seriously ..you can not call "from nothing to nothing " science.
    Anybody can say whatever they want and call it science.

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  64. David vun Kannon said: "Childlike certainty when explaining imaginary friends, don't go there."

    And what do you tell your children, David? "well, little Billy, I know you are upset about dropping your sucker in the dirt, but ultimately, it doesn't really matter. In fact, all that you see around you is meaningless and vain, including your own life. So when others are mean to you and each other, try not to think about it, because being "mean" really isn't "bad", because there is no such thing as "bad", which means there really isn't much point to "justice being served", which means as long as you can get away with something "bad", feel free to do so, and you shouldn't feel "bad" about it either, because why should you feel bad about doing something "bad", when, like I said, "right and wrong" don't really exist, they are merely arbitrary constructs of society. So don't bother with looking to any "higher purpose" other than satisfying your own selfish desires, because, ultimately, love itself is merely an illusion, a product of purposeless evolutionary processes. And unless being “nice” just makes you feel better, don’t bother, because you certainly aren’t ever going to be held to account, unless you get caught. And as long as you can get good at not being caught, and “being nice” doesn’t do it for you, don’t bother with that “good/bad” thing.... now let me buy you another sucker while that sinks in".

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  65. Mike, I'm pretty sure I could explain principles such as the Golden Rule to my child without appeal to imaginary friends, thank you.

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  66. Golden Rule? What's the point?

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  67. Eugen said:

    "Now seriously ..you can not call "from nothing to nothing " science."

    Since it obeys a conservation law, it is a good bit closer to science than something from nothing.

    ps - you're breaking my name in the wrong place."Vun Kannon" is the family name.

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  68. David, "something from nothing" is exactly the discussion at hand, conservation aside.

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  69. Mike said:

    "Golden Rule? What's the point?"

    Hmmm... How about less pain all around? I don't need an imaginary friend to tell me to see the dentitst regularly, either. It turns out there are lots of rules that make sense without appeals to omnipotence, salvation, or damnation. If the only reason you can see for living by the Golden Rule is that God told you so, that is pretty sad.

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  70. Mike said:

    ""something from nothing" is exactly the discussion at hand, conservation aside."

    No, it is not. Go back and read the quotes from Hawking's book on the site that Dr Hunter links to. Hawking's point is that it is 'nothing from nothing' when looked at on the scale of the universe as a whole. Sure, Dr Hunter misunderstood that, rode his hobbyhorse and stamped his feet, but that doesn't change Hawking's position. If Hawking was saying that the universe didn't net out to zero, that there _was_ something that came from nothing, then he wouldn't be talking about net zero energy, now would he?

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  71. David, for the atheist, wouldn't the scenario I put forth be true? If the universe is nothing but meaningless natural processes, shouldn't that be what we tell our children?

    And why do you suppose it should be our goal to lessen pain in the world if nothing really matters? If you say that it matters to lessen pain, to what end? What do you tell the individuals whose only interest is to gain power, wealth and satisfaction for themselves at all costs? What do you say to them? “Why, you’re just a scoundrel…relatively speaking…. you know, because there’s really no such thing as morality…” What would you say to them if they put a cigarette out in your child’s face? “You’ll get yours!... oh, wait… no you won’t. you have all the guns… Carry on.”

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  72. Darren, you still have not answered my original question. You stated: "as everyone knows the evidence for God is overwhelming." I'm simply asking you to defend that statement by providing the 'overwhelming' evidence that 'everyone knows'. If I claim to have overwhelming evidence for the cause of autism, I would be expected to back my claim up with evidence that any reasonable physician would accept. If I claimed to have overwhelming evidence for having solved Fermat's last theorem, I would be expected to provide the mathematical proof. If I claim to have overwhelming evidence for the existence of Santa, I need to provide 'evidence' other than Christmas presents and cookie crumbs, things which have more accurate alternate explanations. You were citing scripture to frame your 'evidence', but you never said why the things that exist are evidence for God. One could equally say they are evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster, according to their holy book. Circular arguments like "scripture says the universe is evidence for God, and Scripture is true because God wrote it, therefore the universe is evidence for God," are not only useless from an apologetics standpoint, they have the inverse effect of making Christians look stupid.

    "Being that you posit yourself as a Christian, yet still do not see the evidence for God is rather unfathomable in my mind. "

    Perhaps you can clarify, is being a Christian a matter of evidence, or is it a matter of faith? I don't recall the passage: "Oh, Ye of little inference." There's even a colloquial term for someone who only believes based on evidence instead of faith: a "Doubting Thomas." If it is based solely on evidence, what is that evidence? (I'm of course not saying there is none, I'm just asking you to provide it to back up your claim.)

    "Maybe its time you check your heart. Cry out to God for mercy."

    Is this how you witness your faith? You ask people to 'check their heart?' Then what was all that talk about 'overwhelming' evidence? If you're making a bold claim about the existence of something, asserting that you have 'overwhelming' evidence of it, if at any point you fall back on pleads of 'checking one's heart' instead of actually providing the evidence you claim to have, you've accomplished nothing but making your position, and others who hold it, look foolish.

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  73. Mr Childress, my guess is that liberal theology has gotten the best of you. As a Christian brother, I expected you to react to rebuke differently. I dont "witness" to a professor but rather rebuke. From reading your posts, maybe I should be witnessing to you. Hence the "check your heart" post. I'm not going to argue evidence of God to a professor, now thats just silly. I think you would agree.

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  74. Mike said...

    David, for the atheist, wouldn't the scenario I put forth be true? If the universe is nothing but meaningless natural processes, shouldn't that be what we tell our children?

    And why do you suppose it should be our goal to lessen pain in the world if nothing really matters? If you say that it matters to lessen pain, to what end? What do you tell the individuals whose only interest is to gain power, wealth and satisfaction for themselves at all costs? What do you say to them? “Why, you’re just a scoundrel…relatively speaking…. you know, because there’s really no such thing as morality…” What would you say to them if they put a cigarette out in your child’s face? “You’ll get yours!... oh, wait… no you won’t. you have all the guns… Carry on.”


    What sanctimonious drivel. Altruism including things like easing of a person's pain is an overall benefit for everyone in the society. That's why individuals who go against the good of the population for selfish reasons tend to get punished. That's why altruistic behavior evolved and can be found in so many vastly different species, not just humans.

    None of those other species require the kowtowing to an invisible magic deity in order to understand the benefits of altruism over selfishness. Human don't either, except for the weak minded few.

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  75. Mike, the world is a better place because many people with antisocial personality disorders have religion to keep their behavior in check.

    Maybe.

    According to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics, 74% of inmates identified as Christian in 1997.

    http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm

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  76. I said: ""something from nothing" is exactly the discussion at hand, conservation aside."

    vun Kannon said: "No, it is not... Hawking's point is that it is 'nothing from nothing' when looked at on the scale of the universe as a whole."

    The implication of this is that something had to have caused this to happen. Conservation is one thing, but if there is nothing to begin with, then nothing at all will happen, given the causality problem, unless SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF THIS PHYSICAL UNIVERSE, whatever that is, caused it to happen. And eventually, you must appeal to an original cause that is uncaused, but you must start with an uncaused SOMETHING in order to make things happen. NOTHING simply cannot cause anything to happen.

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  77. Thorton said: "What sanctimonious drivel. Altruism including things like easing of a person's pain is an overall benefit for everyone in the society. That's why individuals who go against the good of the population for selfish reasons tend to get punished. That's why altruistic behavior evolved and can be found in so many vastly different species, not just humans."

    So then am I to understand that you wouldn't have a problem explaining to your child that nothing matters, and that all in this world is without meaning? Would you say that the scenario I put forth would be what we should tell our children. Would you tell your children that?

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  78. Thorton said: "Altruism including things like easing of a person's pain is an overall benefit for everyone in the society."

    If the betterment of the society is what is in view, would you agree that we should purge from us the mentally retarded, seeing as how they are a burden to us in that we have to take care of them? And how about the Logan's Run scenario? Should we purge the elderly as well? How does your evolutionary viewpoint account for such traditions such as caring for such people? Or were the Spartans and/or Nazis the culmination of evolutionary development?

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  79. David said: "Mike, the world is a better place because many people with antisocial personality disorders have religion to keep their behavior in check. Maybe. According to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics, 74% of inmates identified as Christian in 1997."

    How do you define “personality disorder”? Is it arbitrary? If not, what criteria do you apply to define it? Do you associate personality disorders with morality, or is morality a separate construct? The point being, would you tell your child that morality is ultimately arbitrary? Do you tell him he should obey the laws of the land, even though they are arbitrary? And what criteria do you give him to distinguish between just laws and unjust laws? Is THAT arbitrary?

    And do you suppose that calling one’s self a Christian makes them one? Should we accept all professing Christians as such if only they say so? Christ said that we would know them by their fruit, and I would tend to agree.

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  80. Thorton said: "What sanctimonious drivel."

    Actually, Thorton, I find that the true hypocrisy would be to tell others how they should behave when ultimately they themselves do not think that behavior really matters except as it benefits the population as a whole.

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  81. Mike said...

    So then am I to understand that you wouldn't have a problem explaining to your child that nothing matters, and that all in this world is without meaning?


    Life has plenty of meaning. I have no problem explaining to a child that we don't need to kiss the butt of some invisible sky pixie in order for life to have that meaning.

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  82. Mike said...

    Thorton said: "What sanctimonious drivel."

    Actually, Thorton, I find that the true hypocrisy would be to tell others how they should behave when ultimately they themselves do not think that behavior really matters except as it benefits the population as a whole.


    You've gone from sanctimonious drivel to outright stupidity. No one I know thinks or says behavior doesn't matter. To intelligent people the importance of behavior does not depend on the belief in punishment by some imagined Big Guy magic fairy.

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  83. Thorton, you say morality matters, but to what end? What is the ultimate meaning of morality, and how do you define it? Is it arbitrary to you? You say it is stupid to say morality doesn't matter, and I agree, but tell me, why does it matter to you, seeing as how it is merely a construct of evolutionary processes?

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  84. Mike said...

    Thorton, you say morality matters, but to what end? What is the ultimate meaning of morality, and how do you define it? Is it arbitrary to you? You say it is stupid to say morality doesn't matter, and I agree, but tell me, why does it matter to you, seeing as how it is merely a construct of evolutionary processes?


    Look, if you personally need the threat of imaginary eternal punishment from Big Sky Guy to tell you how to behave, more power to you. Just don't project your mental weaknesses on those who don't need that crutch. Your 'atheists can't be moral' stupidity was old years ago.

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  85. Mike said...

    You say it is stupid to say morality doesn't matter, and I agree, but tell me, why does it matter to you, seeing as how it is merely a construct of evolutionary processes?


    It matters to me because I'm a member of the human species, and I have a vested interest in seeing humanity (especially all my kin) thrive and prosper.

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  86. Thorton said: “Look, if you personally need the threat of imaginary eternal punishment from Big Sky Guy to tell you how to behave, more power to you. Just don't project your mental weaknesses on those who don't need that crutch. Your 'atheists can't be moral' stupidity was old years ago.”

    Thorton, you did not answer my question. Is morality arbitrary to you?

    Thorton said: “It matters to me because I'm a member of the human species, and I have a vested interest in seeing humanity (especially all my kin) thrive and prosper.”

    WHY do you have a vested interest in this? Why do YOU care? WHY is pain and suffering loathsome to you, other than it being an evolutionary response? Why is it important to you that your children be safe and well? WHY is it wrong to leave crippled babies at the base of a cliff to perish because they will be a “burden” to society? Or better yet, why does your heart hurt when you think that people actually used to do that? Is it an evolutionary response, or is it just plain WRONG?

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  87. Mike asked,

    How do you define “personality disorder”? Is it arbitrary? If not, what criteria do you apply to define it?

    I would say that term fits the hypothetical examples you’ve given of persons who are aberrantly socialized, such as people who need to ask questions like “WHY is pain and suffering loathsome to you, other than it being an evolutionary response? Why is it important to you that your children be safe and well? WHY is it wrong to leave crippled babies at the base of a cliff to perish because they will be a “burden” to society?”

    Thank God religion is keeping people like that from acting out their mental pathology so the rest of us can have some peace and safety.

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  88. Mike said:

    "David, for the atheist, wouldn't the scenario I put forth be true? If the universe is nothing but meaningless natural processes, shouldn't that be what we tell our children?"

    Not so much true as silly. If I were a Christian, I wouldn't take the event of my child dropping their ice cream cone on the ground as an excuse for a sermon on the Resurrection, either.

    I don't think the world is meaningless, but neither do I feel that its meaning is imposed from the outside by God. The natural world is meaningful because we have imposed our sense of meaning upon it.

    As Thorton has already pointed out, altruism doesn't need a designer. It is an optimal behavior for a wide variety of life. Similarly, Tit-For-Tat was a winning strategy even in the Hobbesian world of the Iterated Prisoners Dilemma (see Axelrod's The Evolution of Cooperation), a finding that reflects the creation of stable and peaceful societies without reference to an external moral law. An atheist world is not a race to the bottom.

    If you think that human beings, without God, would be praying mantises you are wrong.

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  89. Mike said:

    "Conservation is one thing, but if there is nothing to begin with, then nothing at all will happen, given the causality problem, unless SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF THIS PHYSICAL UNIVERSE, whatever that is, caused it to happen."

    I see two problems here. 1 - the universe doesn't have to be embedded in something larger. 2 - there is no causality problem. Sometimes things just happen.

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  90. Mike said:

    "How does your evolutionary viewpoint account for such traditions such as caring for such people? Or were the Spartans and/or Nazis the culmination of evolutionary development?"

    We have escaped the tyranny of our genes, Mike. Our societies are formed by thinking agents, not by evolution. Our brains and culture operate on a time scale to fast for evolution to assert any control.

    We keep many people alive today who would have died much faster in other societies, but it seems pretty much universal to care for people to the limits of our resources. Universal not just across current cultures, but across time as well. I'm pretty sure we have discovered skeletons from many thousands of years ago showing such disability at death that the person must have been cared for extensively. We see a similar pattern of care even in animals, though the limit of an animal's ability to care for another is reached much faster than ours.

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  91. David, I don't understand.

    1. why would you make such an assertion? how would you go about finding evidence to support this 'it doesn't have to' assertion? What is science to do if 'things don't have to be' a certain way?

    2. Again, how do you go about doing research on something that 'sometimes just happens'?

    Isn't doing science predicated upon the idea that things are knowable?


    vun Kannon: "see two problems here. 1 - the universe doesn't have to be embedded in something larger. 2 - there is no causality problem. Sometimes things just happen."

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  92. Hi Steve,

    The shoe is really on the other foot. The person making the positive claim that the universe _must_ be embedded in something larger (call it the mind of God or whatever you want) has the burden of proof. Mathematically, it is quite easy to talk about the surface of a sphere (for example) without assuming the the sphere is embedded in a larger three dimensional space, or has anything inside it. It is just a finite but unbounded two dimensional object of constant curvature and no holes.

    There are things that just happen - radioactive decay for example. Einstein hoped for "hidden variables" that would make these events deterministic. I'm pretty sure the hope for hidden variables is dead, and we have to accept that our base reality is only probabilistic in nature. That seems to be Hawking's position.

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  93. Darren said: "I dont "witness" to a professor but rather rebuke. From reading your posts, maybe I should be witnessing to you. Hence the "check your heart" post. I'm not going to argue evidence of God to a professor, now thats just silly. I think you would agree.

    Darren, It seems that you chose the word 'professor' because it represents higher education and intellectualism in general, else you could have used a word like 'evolutionist' or 'atheist' instead, or at least specified what kind of professor. I take it to mean that people who are more educated than you and believe differently are to be rebuked, not conversed with. (lest the demons of knowledge infect you as well) Why is it 'silly' to argue evidence of God to a professor? Do you have so little faith in your Faith that you wouldn't risk debating someone with a higher I.Q.? Or is it because you know that when a professor hears the word 'evidence', they have in mind something more substantial than: "Because duh Bible sez so!"

    "Mr Childress, my guess is that liberal theology has gotten the best of you. As a Christian brother, I expected you to react to rebuke differently."

    Mr. Willis, my guess is that an ignorant, anti-science superstition rooted in a centuries-out-of-date understanding of the natural world has gotten the best of you. As a Christian brother I (should be able to) expect you to not make a fool of yourself, and by extension your other brothers and sisters, by pontificating on subjects in which you don't have the slightest bit of education in, or understanding of.

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  94. Darren stated:

    "Mr Childress, my guess is that liberal theology has gotten the best of you. As a Christian brother, I expected you to react to rebuke differently. I dont "witness" to a professor but rather rebuke. From reading your posts, maybe I should be witnessing to you. Hence the "check your heart" post. I'm not going to argue evidence of God to a professor, now thats just silly. I think you would agree."
    ===========

    Hmmmmmmm, could he be an atheist masquerading as an Angel of light ??? Now where have I heard that before ??? Oh yeah. lol

    He like other theistic evolutionists never truthfully explain in any type of straight forward manner why they believe in God or any other god for that matter and never explain where to find the proof from the bible where it explains in even simplistic terms how God used evolution to accomplish this task. But if you've noticed in following his postings, he is on record for continually bashing and making fun of the bible. How do I know for a fact he inadvertently is revealing his atheism ???

    Take a look here. When debating the origins/beginnings of life from an atheistic "Virgin birth" concept version called "Abiogenesis", he unknowingly reveals/exposes himself as an atheist through and through by this bold statement of record.

    Derick Childress admitted his Atheism:

    "Eocene, unless you believe that biological life has always existed, abiogenesis isn't a 'story'; it's a fact. There is now biological life in the universe, and at one point in the past there wasn't. Biological life came into existence at some point, there is simply no denying that. Where the disagreement comes in is just in what caused the life to come into existence: Was it a 'miracle' or can it be explained in terms of cause and effect?"
    ==========

    Take special note that most all individuals (who believe in God) who argue the position that life only begotten from pre-existing life is a position viciously argued against by Derick "the professed god believer" Childress. Notice how he took and opened his true nature by saying that life coming from non-life is a FACT, therefore "Abiogenesis" (a strictly Atheist position and invention) is also a fact. Yet if he truthfully did believe in God (whom he insists is Jesus Christ), he would have given credit for the beginnings of life (even if he still believed evolutionary mechanisms were a god invention thereafter) to this god he claims belief in. But he doesn't. Nor will he ever explain (typical M.O. with most all theistic-Evos) or prove how God set the whole evolutionary dung heap mechanism in motion in the first place.

    Keep in mind, he's not really your brother. He's certainly not mine.

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  95. Derrick said:

    "Darren, It seems that you chose the word 'professor' because it represents higher education and intellectualism in general, else you could have used a word like 'evolutionist' or 'atheist' instead, or at least specified what kind of professor."

    FWIW, I think you are misreading Darren. He's calling you a professor because you "profess" to be a believer in the Christian God. If you substitute 'believer' for 'professor' in his message it is much clearer why he thinks you don't need witness, but rebuke.

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  96. David said: "FWIW, I think you are misreading Darren. He's calling you a professor because you "profess" to be a believer in the Christian God."

    That is a good observation David, it may well be the case. To me, his wording suggested that he is referring to someone besides me as 'professor': "I dont "witness" to a professor but rather rebuke. From reading your posts, maybe I should be witnessing to you." I read that to mean: "...to you also but I may have interpreted it incorrectly. Your interpretation does make more sense of "I'm not going to argue evidence of God to a professor, now thats just silly." I suppose only he could clarify what he meant.

    Darren, if I misunderstood what you meant by 'professor', I apologize.

    But, if you did mean 'professor' and 'believer' interchangeably, why would it be 'silly' for two believers to discuss what is or is not evidence for God? If I thought that the fact that the doors of a grocery store opened automatically was evidence for God's intervention in human affairs, why should you not point out to me that that is idiotic, and that it only makes my position look foolish?

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  97. David said...

    Understandably, theists are outraged by challenges to their belief system.


    Understandably, evolutionists are outraged by challenges to their belief system.

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  98. Is no one here willing to directly answer my question on whether morality is arbitrary or not? Is it wrong, no matter what culture or era you are in, to throw weak or deformed babies into a chasm for the sake of society?

    You can’t say anything about what’s best for society here, because how to you define “best”? And you can’t say that it is an evolutionary development to care for children because animals in the wild abandon their young all the time. Is it that human evolutionary development is a little behind? Have we regressed? Have we not developed the desire to discard the unhealthy (well, some of us have). The only reason you would want to keep a crippled baby is for the love of the child itself, which would seem to transcend the “needs of society”. Do you deny that?

    And you can’t say that we have “escaped our genes” through the use of rational thought because the Spartans certainly came to a different rational conclusion that we would have, wouldn’t you say? Is it just that our thought is more rational? Why is it more rational to keep the child then? Is it more rational to love the child? Oh, there’s that pesky transcendent “love” thing again.

    And you certainly can’t say that morality is arbitrary in this case, because then you would look like a rotter. But if it’s not arbitrary, then what is it that makes it wrong to throw a crippled baby into a deep, dark hole in the ground?

    You cannot escape the fact that qualities such as right and wrong, love and hate transcend the physical world that we live in. It simply cannot be explained by evolutionary processes or rational thought. And if you are going to posit a moral law, you automatically posit a moral law giver, and if you posit a moral law giver, you automatically posit just punishment for any infractions against that law.

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  99. Mike said:

    "And you can’t say that we have “escaped our genes” through the use of rational thought because the Spartans certainly came to a different rational conclusion that we would have, wouldn’t you say?"

    No, I wouldn't say. I'd make a guess that Spartan parents loved their children, even those born with deformities, as much as we love ours. But the society could not support and care for those children to the same level we can today. The result was infanticide. We also have our limits, and allow caregivers to "pull the plug".

    Besides, the issue is not that we sometimes fall to the level of brute utility, it is that we so often rise above it. Either as individuals or as societies, you can't claim that a necessary condition for this transcendance is accepting Jesus as your personal Savior.

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  100. Gary:

    Understandably, evolutionists are outraged by challenges to their belief system.

    If there were an "evolutionist belief system" you might have a point.

    In reality, there are biologists who use evolutionary theory as a tool in their work. Understandably, they are annoyed when persons who are motivated by religious prejudice and ignorant of science and its methods object to the existence of that tool, because it threatens their beliefs.

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  101. Mike:

    You cannot escape the fact that qualities such as right and wrong, love and hate transcend the physical world that we live in.

    Right and wrong, love and hate, are words that describe judgments and feelings. To think that they represent entities that have some kind of existence “out there” is to commit the fallacy of reification (Google it).

    It simply cannot be explained by evolutionary processes or rational thought.

    Really? And you know that because you have studied all of the literature on evolutionary processes and rational thought?

    And if you are going to posit a moral law, you automatically posit a moral law giver, and if you posit a moral law giver, you automatically posit just punishment for any infractions against that law.

    You’re the one positing laws and lawgivers. Please give the rest of us a break.

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  102. Pedant:

    "If there were an 'evolutionist belief system' you might have a point. In reality, there are biologists who use evolutionary theory as a tool in their work."

    So when evolutionists say god wouldn't make this world they don't really mean it?

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  103. Eocene splurted: " He (Derick) like other theistic evolutionists never truthfully explain in any type of straight forward manner why they believe in God or any other god for that matter..."

    Eocene, I've lost count of how many times I've made it clear to you not only that I believe in God, but even more specifically, that I believe Jesus was God incarnate, and that He was resurrected after being executed. In the same way that a paragraph or two in a blog post is insufficient to explain every detail of why I accept evolution, or plate tectonics, or relativity, it's also insufficient to explain every detail of why I accept the existence of God and the Deity of Christ. I can only do my best to counter objections one at a time and provide references to more thorough arguments. I don't think that I could make the case for my Faith any better than C.S. Lewis does in "Mere Christianity." (Eocene, I suppose you may consider Lewis an atheist because he accepts evolution: "The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, the circulation of the blood..." (p.62) and he even uses biological evolution to illustrate spiritual transformation) If I had to give the cliff notes version, I would start by saying that using a null hypothesis is helpful in examining any claim that goes against everyday experience. In the case of unicorns, a null hypothesis might be something like "Unicorns don't exist; they are simply figments of people's imaginations." For me, the evidence surrounding unicorns is consistent with the null hypothesis. When I evaluate the things I see and experience in nature, (the fact that the universe exists, that it has the properties it does, subjective personal experiences, to name a few) to me, those things are not as consistent with the null hypothesis of God as they are with the alternative hypothesis. But, since some of those things are subjective, I don't hold to my position dogmatically; unlike some other Christians I don't view atheist as irrational in the least; I just think they draw a different conclusion from the data. But that's o.k., because like I said, some of it is personal or subjective to begin with. I disagree with Dawkins: I think that the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, design, purpose, and intent.

    "...and never explain where to find the proof from the bible where it explains in even simplistic terms how God used evolution to accomplish this task."

    And I also never explain where to find the 'proof' from the Bible where it explains even in simplistic terms what relativity theory is, what x-rays are, how to build a space station, how computers work, how new stars form, who's buried in Grant's tomb, or even the fact that planets in our solar system orbit the sun; because guess what, those things aren't in there. Your sentiment that "If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't true," is so far beyond ridiculous it deserves no further elaboration here.

    Continued below...

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  104. "But if you've noticed in following his postings, he is on record for continually bashing and making fun of the bible.

    Eocene, I do my best to defend the Bible against people like yourself who arbitrarily consider some parts of it 'silly,' (like you said about a 144-hour creation week) who make a mockery of the text by twisting it to fit their folk science, and who perpetuate the notion that Christianity lags behind science by a few centuries. I don't consider any part of the Bible silly; but some interpretations are, especially ones that don't line up with what we know about reality, or ones that aren't even internally consistent. Eocene, I know you are one who gets bent out of shape when you think someone has made 'false accusations' against you. Please, out of curiosity, point out one example where I've ever made fun of the Bible. You're projecting. (though, I have ridiculed ridiculous interpretations of the Bible)

    "How do I know for a fact he inadvertently is revealing his atheism ?? Take a look here. When debating the origins/beginnings of life from an atheistic "Virgin birth" concept version called "Abiogenesis", he unknowingly reveals/exposes himself as an atheist through and through by this bold statement of record. Derick Childress admitted his Atheism:

    {Derick said:} "Eocene, unless you believe that biological life has always existed, abiogenesis isn't a 'story'; it's a fact. There is now biological life in the universe, and at one point in the past there wasn't. Biological life came into existence at some point, there is simply no denying that. Where the disagreement comes in is just in what caused the life to come into existence: Was it a 'miracle' or can it be explained in terms of cause and effect?"


    Eocene, that is the non sequitur to end all non sequiturs.

    You somehow conclude that I don't believe in God at all based on the fact that I believe that God brought about our world differently than you do? "Those darn atheistic protestants; rejecting the doctrine of transubstantiation; Those darn atheistic Catholics with their rosary beads."

    I can't fathom how dense one would have to be to not realize abiogenesis is a FACT if they don't also believe that life has always existed. I would usually like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn't read my explanation as to why that is the case, but you quoted it, so I know that is not the explanation. I'll try once more to say this as simply as I can: At some point in the past, there was no biological life. At some later point, there was biological life. That is all abiogenesis means; that biological life came from biological non-life. (like 'dust of the ground') If you believe that God made Adam out of clay, that is positing 'miraculous abiogenesis'. If you believe that God assembled the DNA of the first cell, and that evolution proceeded from there, that positing guided abiogenesis. If you believe that life arose as a consequence of natural chemical laws, that is positing naturalistic abiogenesis. One more time: Every single person who doesn't think that biological life has existed eternally believes in abiogenesis, as an inescapable consequence of logic. The question is: What caused the abiogenesis; was it due to a miraculous intervention or was it carried out by natural causes that were set in motion aeons before?

    And by the way, you keep referring to an event that you consider to be made up nonsense as "the atheistic virgin birth as if the idea of a virgin birth is nonsense. So, in your book, is the virgin birth as 'silly' as a 144-hour creation?

    Continued below...

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  105. Eocene said: "Take special note that most all individuals (who believe in God) who argue the position that life only begotten from pre-existing life is a position viciously argued against by Derick "the professed god believer" Childress."

    Biological life is begotten from pre-existing biological life, except for at least one time, obviously. Really, is this so hard to understand? Assuming for sake of argument that Adam was created as a direct act of God from dirt, that would mean he was not begotten from pre-existing biological life! If God created each kind of life separately, then there are at least as many instances of abiogenesis as there were 'kinds'. Now, you might be thinking that you can play with semantics and say "God counts as life!" But unless you believe that God has DNA and is made out of meat too, and can substantiate that claim, don't bother.

    "Notice how he took and opened his true nature by saying that life coming from non-life is a FACT, therefore "Abiogenesis" (a strictly Atheist position and invention) is also a fact."

    That doesn't even make grammatical sense. Did I say "Abiogenesis is a fact, therefore abiogenesis is a fact?" Life from non-life is the definition of abiogenesis, not a conclusion.

    "Yet if he truthfully did believe in God (whom he insists is Jesus Christ), he would have given credit for the beginnings of life (even if he still believed evolutionary mechanisms were a god invention thereafter) to this god he claims belief in. But he doesn't."

    *Sigh* I do give credit to the Creator for the beginnings of life; please try to get it through your thick skull that I only disagree with you as to how He accomplished this task. Do I think God ordained the invention of the computer? Yes. Do I think He made the first one pop into existence from nothing? No. Do I think God ordained the origin of mankind? Of life? Yes and yes. Do I think he made either one of those forms pop into existence from nothing? No. At least, not until evidence suggests otherwise.

    "Nor will he ever explain (typical M.O. with most all theistic-Evos) or prove how God set the whole evolutionary dung heap mechanism in motion in the first place."

    Again with the word 'prove'. Science doesn't prove things, You're thinking of math. (I believe that's the first time I've accused you of thinking) Science places things on a sliding scale of likeliness. That microorganisms cause communicable diseases is incredibly likely. That eruptions occur because the volcanoes are mad is incredibly unlikely.

    Continued below...

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  106. Eocene said: "Keep in mind, he's not really your brother. He's certainly not mine."

    Good to know you can disagree with someone over the details of a doctrine and not hold a grudge. The funny thing is Eocene, that from all appearances, you are an annihilationist; surely you part ways with as many Christians over that doctrine as I do over evolution.

    A few parting quotes:

    "We must be on our guard against giving interpretations which are hazardous or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers." -Saint Augustine

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn... For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion." - Saint Augustine

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  107. Hunter quoted me:

    "If there were an 'evolutionist belief system' you might have a point. In reality, there are biologists who use evolutionary theory as a tool in their work."

    And then asked:

    So when evolutionists say god wouldn't make this world they don't really mean it?

    The term “evolutionist” being subject to disambiguation, I will assume arguendo, in light of your original post on this thread, that you are referring to Stephen Hawking in this case and labeling him an “evolutionist.”

    Kindly look at my quoted statement again. Is Hawking a biologist? (I think you were asked this question earlier in the thread, but I didn’t see an answer.) He is not a biologist. Does he use evolutionary theory (random mutation and natural selection, etc) as a tool in his work? No.

    Hawking is a cosmologist, cosmology being a discipline more distinct in its concepts and tools from biology than chalk is different from cheese. So it is a stretch to label him an “evolutionist.” But maybe you will in time provide the definition you have in mind that justifies this label and clarify this issue.

    As to his assertions about God and creation, surely you are aware of the difference between the primary, peer-reviewed scientific literature and works intended for a non-peer (popular) audience. (It would be remarkable and newsworthy if you could find an hypothesis relating to a god in any of Hawking’s primary papers.) Given the freedom afforded by the medium of a popular book, a scientist may make statements in it that are not scientific. That is what Hawking did in this case. Whether he really meant it or not, is something between him and his god, but that point is not even tangentially related to the actual science of cosmology.

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  108. Pedant:

    ===
    The term “evolutionist” being subject to disambiguation, I will assume arguendo, in light of your original post on this thread, that you are referring to Stephen Hawking in this case and labeling him an “evolutionist.”
    ===

    No, I was sticking with what I assumed to be a conventional meaning of evolutionist (ie, those asserting biological evolution as fact) on your part.

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  109. Pedant said: “Right and wrong, love and hate, are words that describe judgments and feelings. To think that they represent entities that have some kind of existence “out there” is to commit the fallacy of reification”

    Love and hate are two categories by which we can classify the desires, longings and lusts of our heart, or soul, or being, or whatever you want to call it. They help to define who we are. And I would certainly not call these “concrete” or “material” things, and I think I have made it clear that I believe them to be very abstract indeed.

    But for being so abstract, they are the very impetus behind every single thing we do, and a lot of times it’s not very pretty. Lust can drive a man to abandon his family, so that he can maximize his free time to solicit sex, or stare at pornography. Greed can drive a man to kidnap infants and pimp them out to those who would pay to have sex with them. Revenge can cause men to do countless and unbounded horrible things to each other. I could go on endlessly here, but the point is, for such “abstract things”, they cause some very concrete results.

    -----------------------------------------

    I said: “It simply cannot be explained by evolutionary processes or rational thought.”

    Pedant said: “Really? And you know that because you have studied all of the literature on evolutionary processes and rational thought?”

    Has anyone studied ALL the literature on evolutionary processes and rational thought? Is it a requirement to study ALL the literature before making an assertion? There’s a lot of literature out there, you know.

    I’m sure there is no end to the attempts to explain these things away with naturalism, but at the end of the day, any time we see a horrible injustice, especially when perpetrated against us, there is something within all of us that cries out “THAT’S WRONG!”, and we desire it to be made right.

    -----------------------------------------

    Pedant said: “You’re the one positing laws and lawgivers. Please give the rest of us a break.”

    ALL of us, if we are honest with ourselves, posit a moral law, and that on a day-to-day basis. Most of us make ourselves to be the moral law-giver, and a lot of times, we would certainly love to be the punisher. But it shouldn’t be too hard to see that the things we deem as “wrong” transcend our own say in the matter. We know them to be wrong whether we say so or not. And if we are ultimately not the law giver, then who is?

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  110. I said: "And you can’t say that we have “escaped our genes” through the use of rational thought because the Spartans certainly came to a different rational conclusion that we would have, wouldn’t you say?"

    vun Kannon said: “No, I wouldn't say. I'd make a guess that Spartan parents loved their children, even those born with deformities, as much as we love ours. But the society could not support and care for those children to the same level we can today. The result was infanticide. We also have our limits, and allow caregivers to "pull the plug".”

    As far as I understand it, it wasn’t just that they weren’t able to care for the child, as if all they needed was an incubator to lower the bilirubin count. I don’t know what the criteria was that they were looking for, but rest assured the elders were presented with a living, breathing child that would no doubt survive if tended to. The pronouncement was not “well, look, this kid’s gonna die soon anyway, so let’s throw him to the pit”, because many of them were taken away to be slaves if not “fit” enough. But this kind of behavior should not be too surprising, given the fact that mothers in our country, before it was banned, would suck the brains out their unborn baby’s skull to abort them easier. These children would have certainly survived if delivered (instead of killed for the sake of convenience).

    vun Kannon said: Either as individuals or as societies, you can't claim that a necessary condition for this transcendance is accepting Jesus as your personal Savior.”

    I’m not sure why you brought that up, but I would agree with you. Issues such as “right and wrong” are written in the hearts of men.

    vun Kannon said: “Besides, the issue is not that we sometimes fall to the level of brute utility, it is that we so often rise above it.”

    Brute utility is one thing, and is much less wicked than some of the other reasons we do what we do. But as far as rising above it: all our righteousness is but filthy rags (lit. bloody tampons) in the sight of God. Our very best is always polluted with pride, greed, men pleasing, self-interest, self-righteousness, social obligation, sloth, grumblings, envy, etc., etc. And since you brought it up, this is exactly why we should seek his righteousness. Ours simply will not do.

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  111. First of all, this is an especially slovenly post from Dr. Cornelius. He clearly hasn't read Hawking's book. (Nor have I, but I didn't trash it dishonestly.)

    Hunter's description of Hawking as an "evolutionist", his claim that theories from astrophysics(!) are "evolutionist" too, and his claim that "evolutionary thought" has influenced astrophysics, are pure bunkum.

    Cornelius is now using Kent Hovind-type creationism, full of horrible phrases like "evolutionary geology" and "evolutionary physics" and "evolutionary astronomy".

    This language is used because creationists need to explain why no real scientists from any field (not just biologists) believe the universe is 6,000 years old, geological strata were not laid down in Noah's Flood, and so on.

    And just like Ken Ham, we get outright claims of theories disproven, strangely not backed up by facts:

    >>In fact, several of the distant planets have contradicted evolutionary theories.

    ...The finding of others, given that [atheist] religious premise, proves that planetary systems can evolve (in spite of the empirical evidence). <<

    OK, Cornelius, WHICH "empirical evidence" shows planetary systems cannot evolve, as you claim?

    WHICH distant planets "contradicted evolutionary theories"?

    References, please.

    (He'll never say. It's Cornelius: fart and dart.)

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  112. Hunter, you asked:

    So when evolutionists say god wouldn't make this world they don't really mean it?

    You then quoted Pedant:

    ===
    The term “evolutionist” being subject to disambiguation, I will assume arguendo, in light of your original post on this thread, that you are referring to Stephen Hawking in this case and labeling him an “evolutionist.”
    ===


    And you replied:

    No, I was sticking with what I assumed to be a conventional meaning of evolutionist (ie, those asserting biological evolution as fact) on your part.

    Are you now saying that Hawking is not an “evolutionist”? Are you retracting the claim of your original post, that Hawking used “evolutionary thought” to commit a reductio ad absurdum? Are you contradicting yourself? Surely biologists don’t make claims about a god making this world, and cosmologists don’t go around making pronouncements about biological evolution in the peer-reviewed literature.

    ----to be continued---

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  113. ---continued---

    You were sticking with what you assumed to a “conventional meaning of evolutionist.” Is there a conventional meaning, or is it sometimes a pejorative, like “Darwinist,” or “Socialist,” or “Keynesian”? Is there a journal entitled “Evolutionism”? A Google search for “evolutionist" turned up a Wikipedia article on “evolutionism,” which states:

    In the modern scientific community, the term is considered an anachronism and redundant since the overwhelming majority of scientists accept evolution, and so it is not used.

    So why do you use such terms? Wikipedia goes on to explain:

    To say someone is a scientist implies evolutionary views. In the creation-evolution controversy, creationists often call those who accept the validity of the modern evolutionary synthesis "evolutionists" and the theory itself as "evolutionism." Some creationists and creationist organizations, such as the Institute of Creation Research, use these terms in an effort to make it appear that evolutionary biology is a form of secular religion.

    How apposite to the theme of this blog, Darwin’s God.

    In light of the above, my answer to your question:

    So when evolutionists say god wouldn't make this world they don't really mean it?

    is to refer to what I said concerning Hawking’s statements about God in the context of his field, cosmology, but putting it now in the context of biology. You will not find God-related statements in the primary, peer-reviewed scientific literature, because such concepts are beyond the purview of science.

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  114. Mike,

    Thank you for your replies. I agree with much of what you wrote, but regarding:

    ALL of us, if we are honest with ourselves, posit a moral law, and that on a day-to-day basis.

    You have a tendency to make blanket statements. I someone does not posit a moral law, but believes that respect for the rights of others, empathy, and generosity, are worthwhile attitudes, is she dishonest?

    But it shouldn’t be too hard to see that the things we deem as “wrong” transcend our own say in the matter.

    If someone thinks that disrespecting the rights of others is wrong, why is that “transcendent”? Why is it not a reasonable and pragmatic approach to living in society, including one’s family, on purely rational grounds?

    And if we are ultimately not the law giver, then who is?

    If a person does not posit an objective moral law, then she does not require a lawgiver. For further information, you might Google “moral argument for god.”

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  115. Pedant said: "If someone does not posit a moral law, but believes that respect for the rights of others, empathy, and generosity, are worthwhile attitudes, is she dishonest?”

    Okay, she is either dishonest or she simply hasn’t thought about it long enough. If you consider these things "worthwhile", you are automatically positing moral law. Or in other words, such a statement is a proclamation. You are DEFINING such things as "virtuous". Now, if you say this is not the case, that such behavior is simply “reasonable”, then you need to explain WHY it is reasonable or rational to "respect the rights of others", and as soon as you attempt that, you take yourself down into a rabbit hole of circular reasoning and/or relative morality. Eventually you end up having to nail down a moral imperative that stands by itself (unless you disregard morality altogether).

    This is exactly why the common man will simply say "That's just plain WRONG!" when he sees indecent or wicked behavior, or is slighted. He is placing the behavior into a category, based on what he “knows” to be true. We just know it when we see it. The thinking man might be unsatisfied by this, but like I said, any attempt to figure out WHY it's wrong will only lead to frustration. It's just wrong, and that's all there is to it. This concept is encapsulated in the US Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident...”

    Pedant said: “If someone thinks that disrespecting the rights of others is wrong, why is that “transcendent”? Why is it not a reasonable and pragmatic approach to living in society, including one’s family, on purely rational grounds?"

    It is transcendent simply because these “laws” do indeed seem to stand by themselves, and they defy any attempt to explain them away through logic or reason, or to explain them as a result of the physical world around us. Either they are just there, or they are an illusion. Take your pick.

    Pedant said: “If a person does not posit an objective moral law, then she does not require a lawgiver”

    This is true, but if you decide to nail down certain behaviors as either “right” or “wrong” per definition, then you are indeed positing a moral law that stands or falls by itself. And if you posit moral law, you posit justice. And both of these lead inexorably to a law giver and a punisher.

    Dr. Hunter Likes to end his pieces with the words “religion drives science and it matters”. The morality issue is exactly why it matters. Read this and tell me what you think:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/09/darwinian_morality_how_the_tru038001.html

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  116. Thanks for your trouble, Mike, but you’re just not getting it, and I’m not about to buy the argument that I have to believe in your god in order to live a life of love, generosity and sacrifice with my wife, my children, and the rest of humanity.

    I read the Klinghoffer piece you linked to and it just reinforces the case you’ve been making for the necessity of your god by citing some quotations that are meant to be scary from people whose opinions don’t matter to me.

    I think you and I have given this matter a fair shake, and I wish you well. Perhaps you will take the trouble to investigate further the arguments counter to your moral argument for god, as I suggested earlier. You might gain a better appreciation of the fact that people don’t need adhere to a particular religious belief in order to behave themselves in a way that their parents would be proud of.

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  117. Pedant, I never said that believing in God is required to experience genuine love. I was only trying to point out that there must be an author of such things.

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  118. There’s a new posting at physicsworld.com by Hamish Johnston that brings up the issue of the potential damage caused by this to the cause of science funding in Britain:

    This morning there was lots of talk about science on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme — but I think it left many British scientists cringing under their duvets.

    Hawking explained that M-theory allows the existence of a “multiverse” of different universes, each with different values of the physical constants. We exist in our universe not by the grace of God, according to Hawking, but simply because the physics in this particular universe is just right for stars, planets and humans to form.

    There is just one tiny problem with all this — there is currently little experimental evidence to back up M-theory. In other words, a leading scientist is making a sweeping public statement on the existence of God based on his faith in an unsubstantiated theory…

    Physicists need the backing of the British public to ensure that the funding cuts don’t hit them disproportionately. This could be very difficult if the public think that most physicists spend their time arguing about what unproven theories say about the existence of God.

    http://physicsworld.com/blog/2010/09/by_hamish_johnstonstephen_hawk.html

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  119. TORTOISE (Hinduism) and DRAGON (Taoism) are symbols for ENERGY or WAVE, both are analog with MAGEN DAVID (Judaism). "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the metaphor, also Thawaf seven times circling around the Ka'ba and Sa’i oscillating along “the sinus” Marwah-Shafa during rituals of the Hajj (Abraham).
    "A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME - From the Big Bang to Black Hole" by Stephen W. Hawking is the best scientific interpretation of AL QUR'AN by a non believer. It is also a “genuine bridge stone” for comprehensive study of Theology. Surprise, this paradox is a miracle and blessing in disguise as well. So, it should be very wise and challenging for Moslem scholars to verify my discovery.
    NeoSUFI visionary strategic thinking.

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