Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flying Squid

When Thor Heyerdahl sailed Kon-Tiki from Peru to the South Pacific islands he noticed that squids occasionally fell onto the ocean-going raft. Did these legendary cephalopods fly through the air? Indeed they do fly hundreds of feet using their patented water gun propulsion system. Like a rocket, the high momentum of the squid’s ejected water translates into impressive acceleration through the air. As one writer explained:

Squids are able to propel themselves out of the water in the same way they swim through the water — by filling their mantle up with water and then forcing it out at very high velocities and pressures. Once a squid has propelled itself above the water, it can contort itself into a rocket — its fins catching the air like wings, the tentacles curled up to create another flat surface in the rear.

So first it was cephalopod’s nervous system that contradicted the expected evolutionary pattern. Then it was their eye that gave yet another example of evolution’s complete failure and left evolutionists with only absurd epicycles to explain it.

Now it is the squid’s propulsion and aerodynamic systems. Yes we know, random mutations just happened to form the mantle, muscles and control systems to eject high pressure water. And other random mutations just happened to shape the fins to catch air like a wing. And yet more random mutations just happened to adjust the tentacles and muscles to enable another aerodynamic surface. And of course more random mutations just happened to give the squid the brains and nervous system to coordinate and control all this.

And how did this massive design serendipity just happen to come together? Evolutionists have no idea, but they are absolutely certain that it did. After all, evolution is a fact. Who needs Jon Stewart for entertainment?

217 comments:

  1. You never hear of scientists in ANY other branch of science being surprised by new findings. You see, with real scientific theories, when we look at something new we always know exactly what we'll find, and we never find anything that wasn't expected. I mean, the instant we find something that we didn't expect, why we'd have to completely abandon everything we've ever learned and start over with all new observations and all new ideas about what it all means. Fortunately Evolution is the only so-called "theory" that doesn't predict future observations with perfect accuracy, quite unlike ALL of the rest of science.

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  2. And how did this massive design serendipity just happen to come together?

    Natural selection. You know, that observable, testable natural mechanism which has been demonstrably proven to increase information and create new biological features.

    It certainly wasn't serendipity. That would be silly. And no 'evolutionist' makes the claim that it was.

    Cornelius seems to have abandoned the claim that evolution is simply wrong/insufficient and has now moved on to pretending he doesn't know anything about how it is supposed to work at all.

    Or maybe he's not pretending.

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    1. CH knows how evolutionists say its supposed to work. There is just no evidence to support their tales of serendipity.

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  3. Ritchie,

    I think it is rather a lot to happen in just 10^17 seconds. I don't buy that stuff. Natural selection can only do marginal things, i.e. adaptations of already existing features to slightly changed environments. Read Darwin's caveat: his theory assumes myriads of infinitesimal steps over eons of time. Gradualism is not a panacea. In nature, you are bound to have discontinuities. So I believe, that there is no single tree of life, but a forest. Natural selection bangs its head against the wall of prohibitive amounts of information you need to accumulate to move from one taxonomic entry to another. Too much for gradualism to cope with.

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    1. This is exactly what we observe.

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    2. I think it is rather a lot to happen in just 10^17 seconds.

      ??? I have no idea what you're talking about here. Who said anything about anything happening in that time frame?

      Natural selection can only do marginal things, i.e. adaptations of already existing features to slightly changed environments.

      No, that may be all you are comfortable admitting it can do, but given enough time there is no barrier to the amount of information that can be added to a genetic sequence.

      So I believe, that there is no single tree of life, but a forest.

      You can belive what you like. Unfortunately genetics proves you wrong.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html

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    3. No, that may be all you are comfortable admitting it can do, but given enough time there is no barrier to the amount of information that can be added to a genetic sequence.

      What information added?
      The information of error, surely. If you give sufficient time to CO2 and H2O react, you will obtain CO2 and H2O, only. It need a previous information - rubisco, to give glucose.

      Delete
    4. Marcio -

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

      Lenski demonstrated the power of natural selection to add complex new information to genomes.

      Delete
  4. This is yet another example where, apparently, Cornelius thinks theories should not grow to explain more phenomena, should not become more accurate and should always predict the same thing, regardless if other separate theories that would impact those predictions change over time.

    Again, it's unclear how this is a reasonable, or even rational, expectation.

    Then again, I'm being generous in assuming Cornelius is attempting to reasonable or rational in respect to theories that conflict with his religious views.

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  5. Do you feel that you hold religious views, Scott?

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  6. Cornelius: "Now it is the squid’s propulsion and aerodynamic systems."

    Your position is that these features are somehow miraclous. The principle of jet propulsion is the same both above the surface and below. The water goes backwards and the squid goes forwards, conserving momentum. Fish can also jump out of the water. I don't fly but I can jump, for that matter. Does that break evolution too?

    Does this example of a squid's aerodynamics really warrant an explanation other than fluid dynamics? That is, the behavior of both gasses (air) and liquids (water) over the squid's body are quite similar to one another. So the same control structures that allow a squid to steer underwater are the same contortions that have a similar (degraded) effect in air.

    The argument of this article that a squid can jump out of water is evidence against evolution is drastically flawed, just like this, this, and practically every other article in this blog. No doubt, in true Cornelius fashion, we will be seeing this article linked to in further opinion pieces as another case closed "example of evolution's complete failure".

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  7. Smith: Do you feel that you hold religious views, Scott?

    No, I don't, Smith.

    See my comment to WG here.

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  8. Maybe now would be a good time to give your working definition of " religion" ,Smith.

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    1. Perhaps, though it is not my own.

      An ardent belief in principle. A fundamental set of beliefs, institutionalized or individual, regarding the nature of existence.

      And you, should you feel so inclined and all cheese aside?

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    2. I think that definition is missing an element, there needs to be a force or being which has beyond natural power. These would eliminate sports teams,cheese and bowling as religious. Some sort of external,transcendent essence. All religion is philosophy but not all philosophy is religion. An element of the sacred.

      Delete
    3. Possibly. Adding a supernatural element would ascribe a current connotation. But, what a version sans transcendence states is that we can believe in many things regardless of contradiction and defend them just as vehemently as the next; be they teams, cheeses or bowling.

      Do you feel that in order to hold something sacred, one must apply a supernatural component?

      Delete
  9. Thorton,

    In a previous thread you accused the author of a link I posted of:


    Looks like more good old fashioned lying for Jesus by the evangelistic writer.



    What a pompous and outlandish claim! The story was embarassing to you and you apparently don't know how to use google so you accuse the blog of lying for Jesus.

    Well you stupid little punk, I did a little digging, and it took me 20 seconds to find this. Now are you going to admit that you were wrong and that you play fast and loose with accusations and insults when you have nothing else in your bag of tricks? Of course your not, because your just an idiotic attack chihuaha for darwinism.

    Thanks for reminding me why I usually never pay any attention to your drivel on this blog.

    And while we're on the subject, I also found this:

    http://www.fredheeren.com/washtimes.htm

    which discusses the conference with the Chinese paleontologists. In case you're too lazy to read the article, I'll copy and paste some of the juicier bits from the article.



    Though the Western journals Nature and Science later carried articles of the 530-million-year-old fossil discoveries announced at this conference, they made no mention of the central questions emphasized by the discoverers themselves: Why do virtually all the forty or more major animal groups, called phyla, first appear in the fossil record at the same time? Why don’t we see new anima phyla continuing to evolve after this? Why don’t Chinese paleontologists find many millions of years of evolving ancestors for any of these new-but-advanced-looking animals in the strata below them? And why does the Chinese fossil record show evolution’s subsequent history running opposite to traditional Western evolutionary-tree diagrams?
    ...
    The reason scientists still haven’t found them, according to Westerners, is that the ancestors must have been too small or too soft, or the conditions for fossilization too poor. But Chen and Li’s discovery had actually demonstrated that small and soft animals were preserved in Chinese Precambrian strata.

    “The 580-million-year-old phosphorous rock has good potential to preserve animals, if they exist,” Chen reported to the conferees. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology, because we didn’t find hard evidence to show that this large number of Cambrian phyla was existing earlier. For me, natural selection is not enough to explain the number of evolution novelties.”...
    Li was also direct: “Evolution should be built on gradual change: mutation plus mutation creating the species, and then the genera and then the family—so how can these animals appear suddenly?”
    ...
    Western scientists would have none of it. “IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOUR FIND IT OR NOT!” declared German biologist Dieter Walossek, rallying his Western colleagues around him. “IT’S THERE! IT’S BY LAW! ALL OF THE MAJOR TAXA SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE PRECAMBRIAN, WHETHER PROVED OR NOT!”...
    At the conference, Chinese scientists encouraged the investigation of a variety of new hypotheses to explain the Cambrian explosion: hydrothermal eruptions, sudden seafloor changes, even intelligent design. This last was too much for one American paleontologist, who stood up and shouted, “THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE!”

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  10. wgbutler777

    Thorton,

    In a previous thread you accused the author of a link I posted of:

    Looks like more good old fashioned lying for Jesus by the evangelistic writer.


    LOL! Good one there butler! You find another exact copy of the same article and use it as corroborating evidence. You're not very bright, are you?

    Philip Johnson claimed the unnamed Chinese scientist lectured around the world, that American scientists got upset, and the Chinese scientist said "In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin."

    Now you claim the events happened in China, that a German scientist got mad (again, no names!), and there's no mention of the "In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin." quote.

    Let us know when you get your story straight.

    BTW, the author you are so vigorously defending, Fred Hereen, is a Intelligent Design Creationist who believes Genesis is a correct historical account.

    Fred Hereen defends Genesis

    He's also the author of the book Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God in which he tries to use modern science examples to prove his religious beliefs.

    If you think he writes unbiased articles you're even more gullible than I thought.

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  11. Scott,

    This message is in reponse to your last message from the previous thread:


    This is because design & judgement and non-design & non-judgement is a false dichotomy


    I agree that one does not necessarily lead to the other. Perhaps you have a theory why some materialists react have such hostility to arguments for design? I was just taking a shot in the dark.

    And I think at least some materialists do believe that if there is no Designer than they can do anything they want.




    that the Christian salvation narrative is a bad explanation, in that it's easily varied.


    I disagree that the Christian narrative is a bad explanation and that it's easily varied.

    In fact, I see the Christian narrative as the ultimate culmination and reflection of centuries of teachings written in the sacred Hebrew texts going back thousands of years earlier to the very beginning when the seed of the woman is prophesied to bruise the head of the serpent and restore mankind to its former state.


    For example, one could just as easily suggest that a perfectly just God couldn't tolerate sin for even a moment, rather than punishing each of us after we die, or that a perfectly just God wouldn't allow for another person to be punished for someone else's sins, etc.


    Do you think a perfectly just God can allow sin to ultimately go unpunished? I can't think of any way that could happen. Let's say that I murder someone. And at the judgement God simply says, "don't worry about it, I've decided to let that crime go unpunished." Ultimately the victim never gets justice and the universe has an unanswered moral crime in its history. How could a perfectly just Being allow this to go unpunished and remain perfectly just?

    And we now know from the latest research on black holes that all information in the Universe is never lost. Thus any evil perpetrated in the Universe is permanently recorded. If this evil is never punished, then someone could legimately claim that God is not ultimately and perfectly just.


    Rather, you seem to accept this specific variation merely because you think the Bible as a whole is authoritative.

    Furthermore, I'm sure the ancient Greeks thought their explanations were authoritative at the time, as well.


    And I'm sure that you think whatever sources of information you use as a basis for your worldview are authoritative as well.


    at's an argument from authority, rather than presenting an argument based on a long chain of multiple, independent theories.


    I became a Christian after looking at the scientific and historical evidence for it. This led me to the conclusion that the Christian scriptures are authoritative. Since I am a Christian, it sorta makes sense for me to see the Christian scriptures as authoritative.

    I suppose I could still be a Christian and ask 100,000 "couldn't God have done this better" questions but I don't see the point. If I am filled with that much skepticism about the God of the Christian scriptures, there really isn't much point in being a Christian.

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  12. Ritchie,


    I burned my finger on my frying pan whilst making pancakes

    Very sorry to hear that. I hope you get better soon.


    The theory holds that the universe was once incredibly dense and incredibly hot before it went 'bang'. That is all. The idea that it sprang into existence out of literally nothing is a step beyond what the theory actually states.


    Even atheistic scientists admit that the singularity of the Big Bang began out of nothing.

    It's astonishing to me that after all of the cosmological research and evidence I've posted you still don't seem to understand this. I take this as an admission of sorts that this fact makes you uncomfortable.



    I think the scientific evidence (matter is not eternal in the past and life only comes from life) begs for a reason for us to be here.

    How so?


    Because matter is not eternal in the past, how did it get here? Life can only come from life, how did it get here? Is this not obvious to you?


    we have no idea how many of them would produce universes hospitable to life of some kind.


    Yes we do, and VAST majority of them would be inhospitable to life of any kind.


    time had a beginning

    When was that scientifically established as fact?


    From:

    http://big-bang-theory.com/

    Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when men first walked upon the moon, "three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3


    The claim is that being religious makes you a better behaved person. That is belied if atheists are under-represented in jail.


    That wasn't a claim I was making. Those were the conclusions of the research I linked to. This is corroborated by other research which shows that religious people are more generous with their time and money, even to secular charities.

    Your atheistic study on the other hand, was biased and flawed. It failed to take into account that many atheists are college educated, and college educated people are less likely to commit violent crimes and end up in prison.

    However, I'd be willing to bet my life savings that if we did a survey of college graduates from Bob Jones University and compared them with atheistic college graduates from Berkely, that more of the atheists from Berkely would end up in prison vs the graduates from Bob Jones University!

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    1. Ritchie (2)


      Sorry, what?! So Christians are more likely to come from fatherless homes?


      Actually the opposite. Research shows that Christian couples who pray together and attend church on a regular basis are significantly less likely to get divorced compared to the general population.


      What results? Where are you getting these 'facts' from?


      The studies on the correlation between fatherless children and violent criminals are legion. Try doing a google search on this. Here are some links I found in a few seconds:

      http://www.photius.com/feminocracy/facts_on_fatherless_kids.html

      http://www.fathermag.com/news/2778-stats.shtml

      http://theamericano.com/2010/02/18/the-fatherless-epidemic/

      http://www.canadiancrc.com/Fatherlessness/Fatherlessness_in_Canada.aspx


      Okay, I watched 4 of the 12 videos, and I think I heard all I needed to. Correct me if I'm wrong there. But Barrie Schwortz already admitted the only thing identifying this image as Jesus is the crucifixion markings as the head wounds....


      You really need to watch the rest of the videos. The wounds on the shroud match perfectly the description of the crucifixion account we get from the gospels. The head wounds, the piercings of the nails, the spear in the side, the crown of thorns, the scourge marks on the back, even the abrasion on the shoulder indicating that the crucified person had to carry the cross to the place of execution. And the anatomical evidence is 100%, verified by no less than three leading forensic scientists in the world.

      But frankly that is pretty trivial compared to the other evidence. Three dimensional information is encoded on the shroud, and scientists have no idea how the image was formed. Leading botanists have traced pollen from the on the Shroud to plants (Zygophyllum dumosum) that only exist near Jerusalem, including the plant that the crown of thorns would have been made from (Zygophyllum dumosum). There are all other sorts of other unexplainable things, which is why I advise watching the videos.


      Also it's worth noting that in 1988, independent teams from the universities of Oxford, Arizona and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, radiocarbon dated the shroud to the 13th - 14th centuries.


      Watch the rest of the videos. We have scientifically peer reviewed research that conclusively demonstrates that the samples of the shroud that were carbon dated were from a section of the shroud that was repaired in the medieval period by expert seamstresses.

      Furthermore, there is plenty of other evidence which conclusively proves that the Shroud must be much older than the 13th century. For example, the wounds and blood stains match up perfectly with the blood stains on the Sudarium of Oviedo, an artifact which dates back centuries earlier.


      why is there an image of his hair?


      Another perplexing question is why does the image on the shroud show anatomically correct x-rays of Jesus teeth! How in the world would a medieval forger know what x-ray images would look like centuries later?


      Does resurrection cause a body to leave an imprint on its death shroud when it comes back to life? Why should it do that?


      Some scientists hypothesize that

      http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/the-shroud-of-turin.htm

      ...the subtlety of whatever mechanism instigated the image is mind-boggling. The closest similarity to this type of image is the radiation “shadows’ created by the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In order to reproduce an image with this level of subtlety and precision, it would require a computer-driven atomic laser, a technology that does not yet exist.

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    2. wg -

      Even atheistic scientists admit that the singularity of the Big Bang began out of nothing.

      No, not at all. This is the problem with getting your scientific knowledge via Christian apologetic sites and blogs. They invariably, deliberately or not, put their own religiously-biased spin on the facts. Here is Vilenkin himself explaining how Craig has misrepresented him:

      I then asked Vilenkin, “Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?” He immediately replied,

      'No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.'

      Vilenkin further explained,

      'For example, Anthony in his work with Gratton, and Carroll and Chen, proposed that the universe could be contracting before it started expanding. The boundary then corresponds to the moment (that Anthony referred to as t = 0) between the contraction and expansion phases, when the universe was momentarily static.'

      (Stenger, Victor J. The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is not Designed for Us. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2011. pp. 127-30)


      This is not at all the same as saying the Big Bang appeared out of absolutely nothing.

      When you want to know what scientists say, go to them directly. Do not find their words interpreted through the likes of William Lane Craig or Christian apologetic blogs. They are almost never representing such scientists accurately.

      Because matter is not eternal in the past, how did it get here?

      IF your premise is correct, then your question is just a mystery, isn't it?

      Life can only come from life, how did it get here?

      IF your starting premise is correct, then surely this just infers an infinite regress of living ancestors?

      Yes we do, and VAST majority of them would be inhospitable to life of any kind.

      Again with the obtaining scientific information via a Christian apologetic source.

      We do not know how many ways there are in which life can exist. We have a sample set of one - one universe and one sort of life. We might be able to identify the necessary conditions for the sort of life that we know about. But that is all.

      Any particular universe is itself unlikely. In exactly the same way as any specific set of 10 numbers selected randomly is unlikely. But that does not imply intelligent agency since all the alternatives are equally unlikely.

      And given a universe, it is not at all surprising to find the life that appears in that universe suits the conditions of that universe. Again, life adapts to the universe. It was not the universe which was deliberately 'finely tuned' to suit life.

      Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when men first walked upon the moon, "three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time.

      In 1988, Stephen Hawking had this to say:

      "Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no observational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined."

      [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), pp. 8-9.]


      The Big Bang is merely the beginning of time AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED since we cannot scientifically infer further back from this point. That is quite different from time itself suddenly beginning to exist at the Big Bang after previously not existing.

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    3. wg (2)

      That wasn't a claim I was making. Those were the conclusions of the research I linked to.

      Then what claim were you making? Why disassociate yourself from a study you yourself linked to if you don't support its conclusion?

      Your atheistic study on the other hand, was biased and flawed.

      It was neither. It merely pointed out that atheists are underrepresented in jail. Those are merely facts. And facts which undermine a causal link between religiosity and good behaviour which you (or the study you linked to), implied.

      My point to Ritchie is that THIS is why there are fewer atheists in prison compared to their numbers in the general population. It has nothing to do with atheists behaving better, it has everything to do with college educated individuals being less likely to become violent criminals.

      Which alone is not an unreasonable hypothesis. But that's all it is - a hypothesis. There are lots of factors my survey did not take into account. It did not take into account the ratio of black v white people. It did not take into account tall v short people. It did not take into account blonds v brunettes. But that does not justify you blindly picking any one of these random factors and attributing the results to that instead. You need to prove such a correlation before you can do that.

      It failed to take into account that many atheists are college educated, and college educated people are less likely to commit violent crimes and end up in prison.

      But why should that be? Why should the percentage of atheists increase the further up the education system we go? I mean, I can think of a pretty obvious reason, but I doubt you'd like it...

      Actually the opposite. Research shows that Christian couples who pray together and attend church on a regular basis are significantly less likely to get divorced compared to the general population.

      Then you've just scuppered your own argument. If Christians are LESS likely to get divorced then that makes it even MORE surprising that atheists are underrepresented in jails given your 'legion' studies correlating violent criminals with broken homes.

      Delete
    4. wg (3)

      The wounds on the shroud match perfectly the description of the crucifixion account we get from the gospels.

      But surely lots of bodies would? The body apparently shows flogging and crucifixion. Thousands of people must have met that fate in the first century alone. This is far from a unique or even remotely uncommon death. Shwortz says so himself. The only thing at all which marks the body out as even slightly unusual is the headwounds which is hardly conclusive. Even given these, many men must have met their end fitting such a description.

      But frankly that is pretty trivial compared to the other evidence. Three dimensional information is encoded on the shroud, and scientists have no idea how the image was formed.

      To be honest, that last sentence is as far as we need go. SCIENTISTS HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE IMAGE WAS FORMED. Exactly that. All we have is a mystery.

      It's not as if we have any idea WHY a dead body would leave an imprint on its death shroud if it came back to life. It's not as if we have any reason to think Jesus's body would have done so. Yet again, all you are doing is crying "Mystery, therefore miracle". And that is just a logically fallacious piece of God-of-the-Gaps reasoning.

      Furthermore, there is plenty of other evidence which conclusively proves that the Shroud must be much older than the 13th century.

      As I understand it, there seems to be quite the debate over the Turin shroud. Every attempt at authenticating or debunking it is challenged and counter-challenged. The radiocarbon dating of it alone has its own wiki page.

      The point here being the shroud cannot stand as evidence for Jesus until some kind of scientific consensus has been reached. It's not as if we have reliable scientists in one camp and crackpot conspiracy theorists in the other. Catholic scientist and Shroud expert Jacques Evin, who must be every be as much an authority as Barrie Schwortz, concluded the shroud probably belonged to a man crucified in the Middle Ages.

      The closest similarity to this type of image is the radiation “shadows’ created by the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Are you suggesting an atomic bomb went off in Jesus' tomb? Or that the process of resurrection is in any way similar to an atomic explosion?

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    6. Ritchie,

      Thanks for your latest posts. My response follows.


      They invariably, deliberately or not, put their own religiously-biased spin on the facts. Here is Vilenkin himself explaining how Craig has misrepresented him:

      I then asked Vilenkin, “Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?” He immediately replied, 'No. But it proves that...


      This is the exact same argument that Peter Millican attempted to use against William Lane Craig in October 2011 in their debate in the UK which you can listen to here. Specifically, he uses your argument word for word starting at the 45:05 mark.

      I hope that you are just repeating this argument out of ignorance, as this is a VERY deceptive quote mine of a letter that Vilenkin wrote to Victor Stenger.

      William Craig responds to this distortion at the 57:00 mark where he reads the FULL Vilenkin quote which says:

      You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time. This sounds as if there's nothing wrong with having a contraction prior to expansion. But the problem is that a contracting universe is highly unstable. Small perterbations would cause it to develop all sorts of messy singularities so it would NEVER MAKE IT TO THE EXPANDING PHASE. So if someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Bord and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning I WOULD SAY THAT THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES. If you are willing to get into subtelties then the answer is no, BUT...

      Ritchie, I cannot emphasize enough to you how completely sleazy and dishonest it is for atheists to contort Vilekin's theorem in an attempt to undermine the clear results of the BVG theorem, which proves with about as much certainty as anything can be proven that the Universe had a beginning.

      No one thinks our universe was ever in a contracting phase, and Vilenkin clearly says that if a universe was in a contracting phase, it would never be able to make it to an expanding phase, so he clearly does not think this special exception was the case in our universe.

      Vilenkin leaves no doubt whatsoever what he thinks when he emphatically stated that:

      All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.

      And he has also said

      There are no contradictions between my new results and the old ones. The multiverse theory suggests that the universe has no end, but I always said that it must have a beginning. Not everybody agreed, and my recent results indicate that I was actually right, and the universe must have had some sort of a beginning.

      I realize you probably saw this argument on some atheist website and repeated it without checking it out. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, but please try to be more careful in the future.


      Because matter is not eternal in the past, how did it get here?...
      IF your premise is correct, then your question is just a mystery, isn't it?


      Do you think that matter is eternal in the past? Why or why not?


      Life can only come from life, how did it get here?

      IF your starting premise is correct, then surely this just infers an infinite regress of living ancestors?


      That, or the possibility that a supernatural life which has always existed created all other life. The possibility of life developing out of non-life has not been scientifically demonstrated, so clinging to that hope is nothing more than blind faith.

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    8. Ritchie (2)


      Yes we do, and VAST majority of them would be inhospitable to life of any kind.

      Again with the obtaining scientific information via a Christian apologetic source.


      OK, two things here.

      First of all, I have BENT OVER BACKWARDS and supplied legions of evidence to you in past conversation straight out of the mouth of atheistic physicists who concede that the Universe is remarkably fine tuned for life and appeal to an infinite (or at least a 10^500) universe model to create the probabilistic resources to allow at least one life permitting universe to exist. So please stop it with the "I get all my evidence from creationist websites" routine.

      Secondly, in a previous conversation I explained to you that I didn't want to waste any time discussing these things with you unless you were willing to concede off the bat that the universe had a beginning and was remarkable fine tuned to allow life to exist. Initially you conceded this. Now it appears as though you are trying to walk this back.


      The Big Bang is merely the beginning of time AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED since we cannot scientifically infer further back from this point. That is quite different from time itself suddenly beginning to exist at the Big Bang after previously not existing.


      I suggest that you debate this with Stephen Hawking, who said:

      Time is defined only with the universe, so it makes no sense to talk about time before the universe began, it would be like asking for a point south of the South Pole.


      Then what claim were you making? Why disassociate yourself from a study you yourself linked to if you don't support its conclusion?


      Wait a second. I'm not disassociating myself from the study that found that deeply religious people had higher degrees of discipline and self-control. I was just telling you that that is what the (secular) psychologist found, it was his conclusion, not mine.


      It was neither. It merely pointed out that atheists are underrepresented in jail. Those are merely facts. And facts which undermine a causal link between religiosity and good behaviour which you (or the study you linked to), implied.


      It's things like this that make me think you're just a myopic atheist with a chip on his shoulder who sees everything in the world through the prism of your ideology. The data is manifest on why people end up in prison. The vast majority of criminals come from fatherless homes.

      How you can take what are painfully obvious facts about a terrible situation in our society and twist and contort them into an atheism vs religion debate completely boggles the mind. I find your line of reasoning stupefying and baffling and am starting to wonder if there is any hope for the human race.



      But why should that be? Why should the percentage of atheists increase the further up the education system we go? I mean, I can think of a pretty obvious reason, but I doubt you'd like it...


      I answered this question in another message. Research has demonstrated that academia is extremely hostile to Christianity and young college students are very impressionable people who are indoctrinated with militantly secular messages for several years.

      Delete
    9. I answered this question in another message. Research has demonstrated that academia is extremely hostile to Christianity and young college students are very impressionable people who are indoctrinated with militantly secular messages for several years.

      Apparently you didn't bother to read that report you cite. The only section that mentions 'hostility' is regarding the outlook towards Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians, not Christians in general. Even then, the negative views stem not from the religion per se but from the believers attempting to force their religious agendas into public policy. It's not just academia - according to the study most everyone in the country thinks the Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians should keep their religious beliefs out of politics, state funded schools, and all walks of public life.

      It's amazing how you born-agains just love to play the persecuted martyr. It's that 'holier-than-thou' chip on your shoulder attitude, exactly like the one you bring here, that gets so many people pissed at them in the first place.

      Delete
    10. Ritchie (3)



      Even given these, many men must have met their end fitting such a description.


      Not at all. To say that the crucifixion of Jesus was an unusual crucifixion would be an understatement. The vast majority of criminals who were crucified in the Roman empire were not scourged prior to crucifixion, and they stayed on the cross for days, they were not stabbed in the side by a Roman lance, nor were they subjected to wearing a crown of thorns made from a plant that only grows in the Jerusalem region.

      Again, despite that blood stains from this VERY unusual crucifixion is depicted with 100% medical accuracy on the Shroud of Turin is actually fairly trivial when you look at the other anomalies of the shroud.



      Yet again, all you are doing is crying "Mystery, therefore miracle". And that is just a logically fallacious piece of God-of-the-Gaps reasoning.


      Yet again, you are trying to define something that you can't explain in such a way that it can't be used as evidence for God.

      Tell you what, if atheists can simply duplicate the Shroud of Turin (not just the way it looks, but with its exact biological, physical and chemical properties and 3-dimensionally encoded information as well) then I'll admit that Christianity is false and atheism is true.

      Here, I'll even supply a short video to help you guys get started on your duplication efforts!



      Jacques Evin, who must be every be as much an authority as Barrie Schwortz, concluded the shroud probably belonged to a man crucified in the Middle Ages.


      So someone volunteered to be tortured and crucified in the middle ages in order to create a fake relic? And the 3 dimensional image in photographic negative got on the Shroud HOW exactly? And the wounds matched up with the Sudarium of Oviedo HOW exactly? And archeologically correct ancient Roman coins were imprinted on the image HOW exactly? And pollen from plants indigenous to Jerusalem got on the cloth HOW exactly?



      Are you suggesting an atomic bomb went off in Jesus' tomb? Or that the process of resurrection is in any way similar to an atomic explosion?


      No, but I would say that the (uncontrolled) energy involved in a nuclear blast is the probably the closest thing man can create to the (extremely controlled) energy source that caused the image to be imprinted on the Shroud.

      Delete
    11. wgbutler777

      It's things like this that make me think you're just a myopic atheist with a chip on his shoulder who sees everything in the world through the prism of your ideology.


      Wow butler. Your psychological projection puts the equipment at the IMAX theater to shame.

      Delete
    12. My day could not possibly be complete without a rant from Thorton, who complains that only conservative evangelical Christians are discriminated against on Universities, as though this somehow makes everything OK. Apparently its OK to be a Christian as long as you are a politically liberal Christian!

      It's worth noting that other corroborating research bears out the anti-Christian bias.

      You just gotta love liberal tolerance!

      Delete
    13. wgbutler777

      My day could not possibly be complete without a rant from Thorton, who complains that only conservative evangelical Christians are discriminated against on Universities, as though this somehow makes everything OK. Apparently its OK to be a Christian as long as you are a politically liberal Christian!


      LOL! Ahh, where would we be without the born-again fundy playing the poor persecuted martyr. Yeah wg, it's a shame California public universities won't give credit for a heavily spun "Christian" history book, just like they don't give credit for YEC "creation science" books. It's just awful when they uphold standards for teaching factual material only.

      It's worth noting that other corroborating research bears out the anti-Christian bias.

      Yeah, we all should accept uncritically everything that comes from a right-wing Fundy propaganda mill. If it agrees with your Fundy beliefs it *must* be true!

      You just gotta love liberal tolerance!

      Yeah, they're not like the kind loving conservative Christians who tied Matthew Shepard to a fence and tortured him to death.

      Idiots come in all denominations wg. Remember your own glass house before you start flinging stones.

      Delete
    14. wg -

      Vilenkin leaves no doubt whatsoever what he thinks

      Hmm, it appears you're right on Vilenkin's opinion on the matter. I'll concede that. Nevertheless, it is important not to mis-state the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theroem. All it shows is that the inflation of the universe had a beginning, not the universe itself. Please don't use the two interchangably. Are there significant problems with the idea of a universe existing before its expansion? Perhaps. That's a little beyond my ability to say. Does Vilenkin himself think so? Yes, it seems he does. But please don't overstate what the theorem actually shows and claim it proves the universe had a beginning. It does not.

      Nevertheless, I do find myself backed into the odd corner of defending an infinite universe, which is not a position I necessarily hold. My position is merely that we can only trace the universe as far back as the Big Bang, and that further beyond that is a mystery, which is the position, as far as I can tell, espoused by science. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem certainly does not challenge this.

      Do you think that matter is eternal in the past? Why or why not?

      I really don't know. I think the issue is beyond our ability to say. The idea of an infinite universe certainly warps my tiny little mind, but that's not to say anything about how likely it is to be true.

      However, if you want us to agree for the sake of argument that the universe had a beginning at the Big Bang, then so be it. It's not a position I have a problem with, and such a position still does not infer a Creator God.

      That, or the possibility that a supernatural life which has always existed created all other life.

      It is a possibility in the same way as 'a magic fairy showed up and poofed life into existence with her magic wand' is a possibility. I mean, technically yes it is possible, but how can we test for the existence of magic beings?

      The possibility of life developing out of non-life has not been scientifically demonstrated, so clinging to that hope is nothing more than blind faith.

      It hasn't been demonstrated yet, but abiogenesis is an interesting and growing field of study. There have been many interesting developments in that area. Would you really have everyone just give up and cry 'Miracle'?

      So please stop it with the "I get all my evidence from creationist websites" routine.

      Then please stop linking to creationist websites to make scientific points, like Uncommondescent and Christian blogs. If you want to show a scientist saying something, link to that scientist saying it, not have their words reported via religious apologists.

      in a previous conversation I explained to you that I didn't want to waste any time discussing these things with you unless you were willing to concede off the bat that the universe had a beginning and was remarkable fine tuned to allow life to exist. Initially you conceded this. Now it appears as though you are trying to walk this back.

      I am not walking back. For the purposes of argument I am willing to work under the premise that the universe had a beginning (even though this isn't an assumption I personally make). And I have specifically agreed that the universe is finely tuned - in as much as the conditions of it's existence in the current state is unlikely. But that does not imply a 'fine tuner'.

      Time is defined only with the universe, so it makes no sense to talk about time before the universe began, it would be like asking for a point south of the South Pole.

      I don't know how you're reading it but it seems to me Hawking is supporting my position on this...

      Delete
    15. wg (2)

      The data is manifest on why people end up in prison. The vast majority of criminals come from fatherless homes.

      Okay, let's walk this through: you are claiming:

      1) Generally criminals come from fatherless homes

      2) Christians are less likely to have broken homes.

      Given these, we should therefore expect Christians to be underrepresented in jails. But the opposite is true, it is the atheists who are underrepresented in jails.

      So what gives? Clearly something doesn't add up.

      How you can take what are painfully obvious facts about a terrible situation in our society and twist and contort them into an atheism vs religion debate completely boggles the mind.

      Now THIS make me burst out laughing. It was YOU who claimed being religious makes people better-behaved, not I. YOU were the one claiming a causal link between religious belief and good behaviour.

      Research has demonstrated that academia is extremely hostile to Christianity

      No university or college I know of actively promotes atheism as part of the curriculum. I'm sure it seems that way to fundamentalists who insist their religious agenda be taught in schools and keep getting refused (ID), but that is not the case.

      I urge you to read the post by Unknown at the bottom of this thread. Their experience mirrors my own at university. I met many friends who were equally convinced of the truth of different and mututally exclusive religions. Also, what IS taught in higher education is logical argument and rational, critical thinking, which religious belief is ill-equipped to survive.

      Delete
    16. wg (3)

      The vast majority of criminals who were crucified in the Roman empire were not scourged prior to crucifixion

      Source please.

      and they stayed on the cross for days, they were not stabbed in the side by a Roman lance,

      Source please.

      Yet again, you are trying to define something that you can't explain in such a way that it can't be used as evidence for God.

      Such is the problem of making a supernatural claim! No evidence can refute it, but no evidence can really support it either. It's just one of many reasons why the supernatural generally makes for a bad explanation.

      Tell you what, if atheists can simply duplicate the Shroud of Turin (not just the way it looks, but with its exact biological, physical and chemical properties and 3-dimensionally encoded information as well) then I'll admit that Christianity is false and atheism is true.

      Quite obviously an empty challenge, and yet one that demonstrates you missed the point again. I am not claiming to know how the image was created. I am saying that the fact that we don't know is not evidence for a miracle.

      So someone volunteered to be tortured and crucified in the middle ages in order to create a fake relic?

      I didn't say anything about anyone volunteering.

      And the 3 dimensional image in photographic negative got on the Shroud HOW exactly?

      I don't know. And neither do you. Even if it WAS authentic, you still don't even have a hypothesis which answers this.

      And the wounds matched up with the Sudarium of Oviedo HOW exactly? And archeologically correct ancient Roman coins were imprinted on the image HOW exactly? And pollen from plants indigenous to Jerusalem got on the cloth HOW exactly?

      Again, I don't know. But again, this still is not good evidence for your Jesus hypothesis because any naturalistic explanation I could make up, including 'complete coincidence' would be MORE likely than any supernatural explanation.

      This is something you have to come to terms with if you are making supernatural claims such as 'miracle' or 'Goddidit'. Yes, such theories might be unfalsifiable, but the flip-side is that they are also always the least likely possible explanation.

      No, but I would say that the (uncontrolled) energy involved in a nuclear blast is the probably the closest thing man can create to the (extremely controlled) energy source that caused the image to be imprinted on the Shroud.

      And why would you say that? What sort of energy blast does ressurection create?

      Delete
    17. Ritchie,


      But please don't overstate what the theorem actually shows and claim it proves the universe had a beginning. It does not.


      I'm loving every second of this! You STILL can't bring yourself to openly and freely admit that the Universe (not just the expansion of the universe) had a distinct beginning out of nothing. This speaks volumes.

      Do you realize that Vilenkin is an atheistic cosmologist who has dedicated his entire career to finding a way to avoid the "problem" of a cosmic beginning? He's even more motivated to avoid this beginning than you are, and he's one of the smartest guys in the world on the issue. But even he admits that all the evidence points the other way when he says:

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. THERE IS NO ESCAPE, THEY HAVE TO FACE THE "PROBLEM" OF A COSMIC BEGINNING (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

      How amazing and prescient were those first words of the Scripture:

      In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth


      but how can we test for the existence of magic beings?


      How can we test for the existence of alien beings on the other side of the universe? Just because we can't test for something does not mean that it does not exist.


      in that area. Would you really have everyone just give up and cry 'Miracle'?


      Not at all, I want all the research to continue. I enjoy learning new things and I find that the evidence and data we are getting back very faith affirming.


      If you want to show a scientist saying something, link to that scientist saying it, not have their words reported via religious apologists.


      I try to do this as much as possible. Sometimes scientists say things that are only easily found on intelligent design or religious websites, however. Just because a religious website reports on this does not make it false or misleading.

      Think about it for a second, if a scientist says something that is very thestic friendly (all the evidence we have points to the Universe having a beginning) then it is much more likely to reported on ID friendly websites than on atheistic websites.



      I don't know how you're reading it but it seems to me Hawking is supporting my position on this...


      I don't really see the point in arguing over this. It's pretty standard cosmology to say that our spacetime began at the Big Bang. There's no controversy there. I actually think that "metaphysical time" existed before the Big Bang when God was making plans and doing other things but that's a separate issue.

      Delete
    18. Ritchie (2),


      Okay, let's walk this through: you are claiming:
      1) Generally criminals come from fatherless homes
      2) Christians are less likely to have broken homes.
      Given these, we should therefore expect Christians to be underrepresented in jails. But the opposite is true, it is the atheists who are underrepresented in jails.
      So what gives? Clearly something doesn't add up.


      I have say it is really frustrating that you want to keep focusing on this, as I see this argument as a complete waste of time and really kind of beneath me to even respond to. But let me try to go through things and try to help you with this.

      Your study most likely is extremely self-serving in the way that it defines "atheists". If it defines atheists as individuals who are very emphatic that gods do not exist and self-identify as "Atheist" when presented with a survey, it is zooming in a very small percentage of the population which tends to tends to be overrepresented in higher education.

      We know from Gallup surveys that because the naturalistic and evolutionary worldview is so forcefully presented in colleges that a much higher percentage of college graduates buy into this worldview compared to the population at large. We also know from other studies that prisoners tend to be severely underrepresented in higher education. Indeed, a majority of them have not even completed high school.

      CAN YOU CONNECT THE DOTS NOW, or do I have to keep going? No, you can't? OK, let's continue then.

      Furthermore, your study is likely very self-serving in the way that it defines "Christians". If it defines "Christian" as anyone who is not emphatically an atheist, or as someone who perhaps has merely been exposed to some cultural religious experience in their lives then it is really distorting what it means to be a Christian. Most prisoners are probably apathetic agnostics. They don't really think about these sorts of issues and don't care either way. If they were all committed Christians what would be the point of all the various prison ministries that Christian organizations are always sponsoring?

      This is why when you want to do a study on the effects of Christianity or other religions, you really have to zoom in on deeply religious individuals who regularly practice their beliefs. I'm talking about people who attend church, give, and pray on a regular basis. THIS is the relevant demographic. And indeed when we focus in on THESE types of people in studies what do we find?

      We find that they are far more generous in doing things like giving to charity (even secular charities), donating blood, and contributing their time to altruistic causes:


      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

      The single biggest predictor of someone's altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks' book says, "the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have 'no religion' has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s." America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one -- secular conservatives.

      We find that that religious people tend to be happier (would this lead to committing violent crimes and going to prison?):

      http://news.discovery.com/human/religion-happiness-social-bonds.html

      My co-author and I have found that religious people tend to volunteer more, care more about their community and do more good in their neighborhoods...

      Delete
    19. Ritchie (3),

      We find that deeply religious people have higher degrees of self-control:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/science/30tier.html


      pcoming issue of the Psychological Bulletin. He and a fellow psychologist at the University of Miami, Brian Willoughby, have reviewed eight decades of research and concluded that religious belief and piety promote self-control....
      Researchers around the world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages and be generally happier.



      We find that religoius people have better health:

      http://longevity.about.com/od/longevityboosters/a/religion_life.htm


      A study using data from the Women's Health Initiative found that women aged 50 and up were 20% less likely to die in any given year if they attended religious services weekly (15% reduction if they attended less than weekly) compared to those that never attend religious services. This analysis was controlled for age, ethnicity, income level and (most importantly) current health status. The data was collected through surveys and an annual review of medical records.


      and are less likely to commit suicide:

      http://www.adherents.com/misc/religion_suicide.html


      Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation....


      I can keep throwing these at you all day long...Is this painting the picture of a demographic group that is more likely to commit violent crime and end up and prison?

      IT DOES???? OK, let's keep looking then:

      http://www.adherents.com/misc/adh_prison.html#dichotomy

      There is no sociologically valid basis for comparing "theists to nontheists" with regards to incarceration rates (or any other sociological measure) because "theists" do not constitute an identifiable social group. The fact that non-practicing (functionally nonreligious) people are highly over-represented among prisoners is a separate issue, apart from questions relating to belief and philosophical position.

      To consider incarceration rates of "atheists" vs. "theists" is like comparing Hispanics to non-Hispanics. While it may be possible to group figures that way, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. Non-Hispanics are better broken down into Asians, African-Americans and Whites (if one doesn't further break them down by other factors such as age, education, etc.) Likewise, it makes no sense to group all non-atheists together, as if Amish, Muslims, Quakers, Baha'is, Hindus, Presbyterians, Orthodox Jews, Baptists, Deists, Lutherans, Unitarians, Rastafarians, Wiccans, etc., all exhibited similar behavior. Obviously some of these groups exhibit relatively little criminal behavior, while others would exhibit relatively more criminal behavior. Certain crimes are more prevalent among certain groups. 85% of Americans cite a specific religious affiliation. So if you combine figures for people of all religious affiliations you get essentially the same figure that you would get for the whole U.S. population. The figure would only be different if essentially all religious groups were skewed in one direction, which they are not....

      Delete
    20. Ritchie (4),

      Furthmore, I have given you the CLEAREST PREDICTOR of circumstances that lead to a person ending up in prison.

      The numbers on this are SO HUGE THAT NO ONE DISPUTES THEM. Atheism vs theism has nothing to do with this.


      Source please.


      Well we know that there were several different forms of crucifixion. The fact that the man in the Shroud was:

      1) Scourged in a very vicious way
      2) struck on the cheek
      3) had an abrasion on his shoulder indicating that he had to carry the cross
      4) crucified
      5) stabbed with a Roman lance
      6) had his head covered with a crown of thorns by a plant that only grows near Jerusalem
      7) had his eyes covered with Roman coins minted at the time of pontius pilate

      and other factors matches the description given to us in the gospels perfectly. The likelihood of another man being crucified in the same exact way in the Roman Empire is very low, and the forensics experts who have looked at the anatomical evidence agree that the man in the Shroud died in a manner consistent with the historical record in the gospels.



      So someone volunteered to be tortured and crucified in the middle ages in order to create a fake relic?
      I didn't say anything about anyone volunteering.

      Oooh..sounds like the beginning of another conspiracy story!


      I don't know. And neither do you. Even if it WAS authentic, you still don't even have a hypothesis which answers this....
      This is something you have to come to terms with if you are making supernatural claims such as 'miracle' or 'Goddidit'. Yes, such theories might be unfalsifiable, but the flip-side is that they are also always the least likely possible explanation.


      So lets see...Here we have:

      1) An artifact with evidence corroborating the historical crucifixion of Jesus in the exact same manner as described in the gospels
      2) A scientifically unreproducible image that no one knows how it got there and can speculate that only futuristic technologies could even create something like this
      3) with corroborating botanical and historical evidence that places its origin in Jerusalem

      and you want to say that this isn't evidence for Christianity? And your explanation is...what exactly? It's a clever fraud?


      What sort of energy blast does ressurection create?


      I don't think it was a blast. I think it was a flash of light from an energy source, the likes of which we cannot recreate except in things like nuclear blasts. But how would I know what type of energy is involved? Ask me this question after I'm resurrected!

      Delete
    21. wg -

      You STILL can't bring yourself to openly and freely admit that the Universe (not just the expansion of the universe) had a distinct beginning out of nothing.

      No, I won't make such an 'admission' because we have no evidence which leads us to conclude that this is in fact the case. We cannot extrapolate any further back than the Big Bang itself because all our laws and knowledge of the universe break down at that point.

      Do you realize that Vilenkin is an atheistic cosmologist who has dedicated his entire career to finding a way to avoid the "problem" of a cosmic beginning>

      It sounds very much like you are under the impression that it is some form of victory for the theists and devastating blow for the atheists if we DO assert that the universe had a beginning.

      And if so, then this is absolute nonsense. The universe MIGHT have begun at the Big Bang, it might have begun earlier, it might have always existed. There are many theories as to what existed 'before' the Big Bang, if such a concept even has meaning. Here are a bare few:

      http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/before-big-bang.htm

      But none of these options automatically imply a creator God.

      I already told you I will argue under the assumption that the universe DID have a beginning it that's what you'd like just for the sake of argument.

      How can we test for the existence of alien beings on the other side of the universe?

      We can search for them...

      Just because we can't test for something does not mean that it does not exist.

      If we cannot test for something then we are not at all rationally justified in thinking it does exist.

      Not at all, I want all the research to continue.

      Well it can only possibly do that if we allow them to assume methodological naturalism and keep God out of science.

      Delete
    22. wg (2)

      I enjoy learning new things and I find that the evidence and data we are getting back very faith affirming.

      Do you?

      The Miller-Urey experiment which showed that the chemical building blocks of life could emerge relatively easily under conditions similar to those of early Earth.

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

      The Murchison meteorite, which contained compounds very similar to those produced in the Miller-Urey experiment, which directly proves the right kind of probiotic was occuring somewhere in the early solar system and could find their way to Earth.

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301926800001236

      As Kral et al lists in Hydrogen consumption by methanogens on the early Earth, 1998:

      [I]t has been demonstrated that biologically relevant organic materials can be easily synthesized from mildly reducing mixtures of gases (e.g., Chang et al., 1983). The discovery of organics in comets (e.g., Kissel and Kruger, 1987), on Titan (e.g., Sagan et al., 1984), elsewhere in the outer solar system (e.g., Encrenaz, 1986), as well as in the interstellar medium (e.g., Irvine and Knacke, 1989) has further strengthened the notion that organic material was abundant prior to the origin of life.

      All these affirm your faith that life needed God to start it off? Really?!

      Well good for you if it does, though I cannot really see how it would...

      I don't really see the point in arguing over this. It's pretty standard cosmology to say that our spacetime began at the Big Bang. There's no controversy there.

      Exactly so.

      I have say it is really frustrating that you want to keep focusing on this, as I see this argument as a complete waste of time and really kind of beneath me to even respond to.

      Then don't. The fact that you do kinda suggests it isn't beneath you at all. In fact, you seem positively verbose on the topic. And why it should suddenly be beneath you when it was you who brought up the point still baffles me, but still...

      Your study most likely is extremely self-serving in the way that it defines "atheists".

      This is just an invented accusation, isn't it? What reason do you have to accuse my study (which, btw, comes from the Federal Bureau of Prison Statistics, not some religiously biased hack) of being the one which plays fast and loose with defining 'Atheists' and 'Christians'? Why couldn't exactly the same accusation be levelled at the surveys you have presented?

      We know from Gallup surveys that because the naturalistic and evolutionary worldview is so forcefully presented in colleges that a much higher percentage of college graduates buy into this worldview compared to the population at large.

      Which, AGAIN, is not a hypothesis I really have a problem with. But it does kick up the suggestive question of WHY religion tends to falter in the face of higher education.

      I'm talking about people who attend church, give, and pray on a regular basis. THIS is the relevant demographic. And indeed when we focus in on THESE types of people in studies what do we find?

      You're just cruising dangerously close to the No True Scotsman fallacy.

      We find that they are far more generous in doing things like giving to charity... tend to be happier... have higher degrees of self-control... have better health...

      All of which may be true. But are they RIGHT? None of this actually rationally justifies their religious belief.

      Is this painting the picture of a demographic group that is more likely to commit violent crime and end up and prison?

      Spoke too soon. Now you ARE employing the No True Scotsman fallacy.

      Delete
    23. wg (3)

      Furthmore, I have given you the CLEAREST PREDICTOR of circumstances that lead to a person ending up in prison.

      Yes, and you followed it up with more statistics claiming Christians are less likely to divorce. Which means THEY should be the ones who are underrepresented in jails.

      1) Scourged in a very vicious way
      2) struck on the cheek
      3) had an abrasion on his shoulder indicating that he had to carry the cross
      4) crucified
      5) stabbed with a Roman lance


      None of which would be unusual for someone put to death by the Roman authorities.

      6) had his head covered with a crown of thorns by a plant that only grows near Jerusalem

      Are you getting confused here? There appears to be puncture marks on the head, fair enough. But what makes you think they were made by a crown of thorns from a plant that grows only near Jerusalem?

      Is it the pollen samples? Because if this is the case then this is highly inconclusive. The shroud could have been contaminated with these pollen spores at any time by anyone who handled it. There is nothing to say the pollen dates to the time of the imprinting of the image.

      7) had his eyes covered with Roman coins minted at the time of pontius pilate

      Even Barrie Schwortz doesn't support this claim: My personal opinion, based on my photographic experience and my close examination of the Shroud itself, is that the weave of the cloth is far too coarse to resolve the rather subtle and very tiny inscription on a dime sized ancient coin...What he (Filas) saw as inscriptions, I saw as random shapes and noise. Such is the subjective nature of image analysis. For these reasons however, I cannot accept these coin "inscriptions" as viable evidence of a first century Shroud "date"...I do not argue that there appears to be something on the eyes of the man of the Shroud, and it may well be coins or potshards, since they were used in some first century burial rituals, but I do not believe we can resolve coin inscriptions

      http://www.shroudstory.com/coins.swf

      and you want to say that this isn't evidence for Christianity? And your explanation is...what exactly? It's a clever fraud?

      Could well be. Compelling arguments can be made against the Shroud's authenticity too:

      http://www.skepdic.com/shroud.html

      http://www.skeptictank.org/shroud.htm

      http://cybercomputing.com/freeinquiry//skeptic/shroud/as/schafersman.html

      Am I throwing these out there as absolute proof that the Shroud is a fake? No, such an analysis is beyond me. I'm no expert and I suspect you aren't either. We're just listening to the experts argue over it. No scientific consensus has been reached on the shroud. And until it has it is silly to simply declare it to beauthentic.

      But how would I know what type of energy is involved? Ask me this question after I'm resurrected!

      A cute dodge, but a dodge is all it really is. The fact is that you have no reason to suppose resurrection is accompanied by a flash of light, a blast of 'energy', or indeed, a controlled atomic explosion. There is not even any religious reason to suppose Jesus' resurrection would cause his image to appear on his death shroud. It really is just 'mystery therefore miracle' even if that miracle isn't at all part of the story.

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    24. Ritchie,

      Thanks for your latest response.


      No, I won't make such an 'admission' because we have no evidence which leads us to conclude that this is in fact the case.


      And this is the point where the scientific data clashes with your anti-God bias (i.e. your religious beliefs) and so you choose to go with your worldview over the scientific data. As the article I linked to admits:


      Many physicists have been fighting a rearguard action against it for decades, largely because of its theological overtones. If you have an instant of creation, don't you need a creator?


      Thanks for conclusively demonstrating that you are wedded to your secular humanistic religious viewpoint (and science can go jump in a lake if it contradicts your worldview) instead of really being an open minded seeker of truth, as you often try to make yourself out to be.


      I already told you I will argue under the assumption that the universe DID have a beginning it that's what you'd like just for the sake of argument.


      You say this, but you walk this back at every opportunity.

      Apparently all you are capable of doing is professing profound skepticism at scientific data which contradicts your worldview and then shrugging your shoulders and saying you don't know when I ask you for your explanation.


      Well it can only possibly do that if we allow them to assume methodological naturalism and keep God out of science.


      No, this is just another one of your convenient canards. We don't have to assume anything about a higher reality in order to do good science.


      The Miller-Urey experiment


      Here is another example of your scientific knowledge being behind the times.

      And do you REALLY think that an ocean of amino acids can create a simple lifeform from scratch? If the answer is yes, let me ask you another question. Could an ocean of alphabet soup randomly create Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 4.5 billion years? Why or why not?


      This is just an invented accusation, isn't it? What reason do you have to accuse my study (which, btw, comes from the Federal Bureau of Prison Statistics, not some religiously biased hack) of being the one which plays fast and loose with defining 'Atheists' and 'Christians'? Why couldn't exactly the same accusation be levelled at the surveys you have presented?


      Here is another classic example of your ideology trumping scientific data. As we have seen over and over again, when the science contradicts your worldview, you choose your worldview over the scientific data. Ritchie, its patently obvious that you are just a religious fanatic for atheistic secular humanism.

      Regarding your question, I have seen evidence that your study is flawed.

      As for my studies, they are done in peer reviewed research by leading psychologists in major universities. In many of these cases, the researchers conducted the study with a motivation to discredit religious believers or conservatives. For example, Arthur Brooks who wrote the book Who Really Cares initially conducted his research with a motivation to prove that liberals were more generous than conservatives. As he said about his research:


      These are not the sort of conclusions I ever thought I would reach when I started looking at charitable giving in graduate school, 10 years ago. I have to admit I probably would have hated what I have to say in this book

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    25. Ritchie (2)

      But if you want to make a case that my studies are biased because they are done by religious nutcases with an ideological axe to grind, go right ahead! I'm listening.

      Furthermore, if you want to stick by your guns and claim that atheism leads to less crime, connect the dots for me. Explain to me how convincing people that life originally came from an ocean of amino soup or that the universe has eternally existed leads to them being less likely to become violent criminals. What is the correlation exactly?

      MY case is that coming from a broken home and growing up without a father makes one much more likely to end up in prison. The data is on my side, not yours. But this apparently contradicts your ideology, and once again ideology trumps scientific fact in the the mind of Ritchie...

      As far as the Christian connection is concerned, I would only say that in the Judeo-Christian belief system, families are extremely important. Divorce is prohibited in most cases and fathers are seen as very important in the lives of their children. In modern secular humanism, divorce is just something that anyone can do when they are unhappy. Father's aren't really necessary, and any type of family unit (from single motherhood to homosexual couples) are all equally valid.

      What we see in the actual data is that this type of foolish thinking has led to disastrous results for society. In other words, Christianity got it right, and modern secular humanism got it wrong.




      Is it the pollen samples? Because if this is the case then this is highly inconclusive. The shroud could have been contaminated with these pollen spores at any time by anyone who handled it. There is nothing to say the pollen dates to the time of the imprinting of the image.


      It is conclusive. From:

      http://shroudstory.com/pollen.htm

      The famous and eminent archeologist William Meacham sided with Frei and endorsed his findings calling the doubts of critics "unreasonable." In August of 1983 he wrote:

      The pollen is another case of empirical data subjected to unreasonable doubt. Frei's pollen evidence does indicate a Middle Eastern origin for the cloth, which is not too surprising, as several other linen "shrouds" were brought back from the Crusades as relics..as a marker, percentages would be useful in determining the immediate environment represented by a deposit but not at all in proving that certain types are intrusive. The presence on the Shroud of a wide variety of Palestinian and Anatolian species is ipso facto evidence of an exposure to air in those regions, unless a similar presence can be documented in Holocene pollen deposits or on other medieval artifacts in France or Italy. It may be...that few STURP members give the pollen data any credence, but this does not detract in the least from the hard evidence Frei's work has revealed, especially in the identification of halophytes found almost exclusively around the Dead Sea. Riggi (1981), a member of STURP, has reported preliminary findings of Shroud pollen and minute animal forms "extremely similar in their aspects and dimensions" to those from Egyptian burial fabrics.

      It was up to Dr. Avinoam Danin, a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr. Uri Baruch, a pollen specialist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, to confirm and expand on Frei's work. In a recent conference of the Missouri Botanical Society in St Louis, Missouri, Danin, speaking about the pollen evidence and floral images found on the Shroud, reported that "In the light of our findings, it is highly probable that the shroud did in fact come from this part [the Jerusalem area] of the world."

      Delete
    26. Ritchie (3)


      Even Barrie Schwortz doesn't support this claim


      While I find the evidence for the historically accurate Roman coins on the eyes in the Shroud compelling, I admit that not everyone endorses this. It is EXTREMELY interesting that these coin images had of a Roman coin with incorrect spelling, before anyone ever actually found one of the flawed coins to corrobrate this!

      Nevertheless, your citation of Barrie Schwortz is valid. Schwortz is an extremely thoughtful and careful person who is very cautious not to make any claims or assertions about the Shroud beyond what is indisputed in the scientific research. And it speaks volumes that even though he is so careful with the conclusions, and that he himself is Jewish and has no religious motivation to draw any particular conclusions, he completely endorses the conclusion that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ!



      It really is just 'mystery therefore miracle' even if that miracle isn't at all part of the story


      Classic Ritchie quote!

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    30. wg -

      Thanks for your latest response.

      And you for yours.

      And this is the point where the scientific data clashes with your anti-God bias (i.e. your religious beliefs) and so you choose to go with your worldview over the scientific data.

      Not at all.

      I really don't think you grasp the fact that our models of physics break down completely when it comes to singularities:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nslc4/Horizon_20092010_Whos_Afraid_of_a_Big_Black_Hole/

      Singularities are a massive question mark in science. When singularities start, our knowledge totally disappears.

      We know the Big Bang came from a singularity. But beyond the singularity we are totally powerless to say.

      Those are the scientific facts of the matter. And I am not the one challenging them.

      You, however, are if you claim that we can know anything at all about the origin of this singularity with anything like the slightest shred of confidence, such as that it 'came from nothing'. I'm not saying it's impossible, unlikely or even dubious, I am just saying that it most definitely is not anything even remotely resembling an established fact.

      Apparently all you are capable of doing is professing profound skepticism at scientific data which contradicts your worldview

      I am doing nothing of the sort. You are merely way overstating the scientific evidence, making out that it says things it does not.

      No, this is just another one of your convenient canards. We don't have to assume anything about a higher reality in order to do good science.

      Absolutely untrue. Methodological naturalism is utterly essential if we are to perform science of any description:

      http://www.ebonmusings.org/evolution/naturalism.html

      Here is another example of your scientific knowledge being behind the times.

      The thermal vent theory is indeed another important hypothesis in the field of abiogenesis. It is also another which fails to support the idea that divine intervention is necessary.

      The Miller-Urey experiment may be dated, but it shows what it shows: that under the conditions of the experiment (meant to mirror those of early Earth), the chemical building blocks of life emerge fairly easily. This is especially interesting when taken in conjunction with The Murchison meteorite which showed that such chemical compounds were indeed being developed somewhere and could even reach Earth in a meteor.

      And do you REALLY think that an ocean of amino acids can create a simple lifeform from scratch?

      Yes, I do.

      If the answer is yes, let me ask you another question. Could an ocean of alphabet soup randomly create Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 4.5 billion years? Why or why not?

      Eventually it certainly would. I have no idea if 4.5 billion years would be a sufficient length of time. How big is the ocean?

      Though more to the point, I would like to hear you explain how you think this analogy is comparable.

      Here is another classic example of your ideology trumping scientific data. As we have seen over and over again, when the science contradicts your worldview, you choose your worldview over the scientific data.

      Nonsense. I am not the one challenging the data - you are. I am perfectly willing to accept the result of every survey you have linked to. You are the one trying to make my data disappear because it doesn't suit your religious bias.

      Regarding your question, I have seen evidence that your study is flawed.

      And from that very site:

      "Theists vs. Nontheists" In Prison Populations: A False Dichotomy... Like theists, atheists are found among all races, ages, levels of income, religions, etc., and those factors are going to correlate far more readily to statistically predictable patterns of social behavior, including levels of incarceration.

      Which is precisely what I have been saying.

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    31. wg (2)

      As for my studies, they are done in peer reviewed research by leading psychologists in major universities.

      And I have not challenged any of them. I totally accept them.

      Furthermore, if you want to stick by your guns and claim that atheism leads to less crime, connect the dots for me.

      What?! I never made that claim! YOU were the one who insinuated a causal link between religiosity and good behaviour, that being Christian somehow made you better behaved, happier, etc.

      Atheists being underrepresented in jails does not alone make for a causal link between atheism and good behaviour (a claim I never made, btw), but it IS counter-evidence to a causal link between Christianity and good behaviour (which is what you were implying).

      MY case is that coming from a broken home and growing up without a father makes one much more likely to end up in prison.

      Fine. Not got a problem with that. That suits me down to the ground. I have never contested this. I have no idea why you apparently think I have.

      Although, just while I have you on this semi-related topic (kinda), I would like to ask what your response would be to the Abraham Test:

      http://bigthink.com/ideas/42385?page=all

      I think you said you have a one-year old? I know it's a tasteless question, and for that I can only apologise, but if you really believed God was directly instructing you to kill your child, would you? And why?

      What we see in the actual data is that this type of foolish thinking has led to disastrous results for society. In other words, Christianity got it right, and modern secular humanism got it wrong.

      You think so? You think prohibiting divorce is a good thing?

      http://www.daylightatheism.org/2009/09/the-religious-right-vision-of-marriage.html

      While I don't agree with everything the post says (the penultimate paragraph particularly seems unfair), the article it is critiquing is horrifying and deserves the scathing he gives it. It also raises sensible questions about what divorce prohibitions actually protect.

      I can only echo the articles closing vision of marriage as "a harmonious joining of equals, a partnership embarked upon for the sake of mutual happiness. And if one partner is unloving or abusive, that marriage deserves to end, so that the innocent partner can seek the happiness they deserve elsewhere."

      It's not that I think Christians WANT men to abuse their wives. But taking away the threat of repercussions is a green light to those who do. What is really being defended here? It is male authority and dominance within his family? From nogreaterjoy.org it certainly seems to be.

      Delete
    32. wg (3)

      It is conclusive.

      Okay, maybe I'm being dumb here, but I don't get it. How can pollen spores specifically verify the instrument which caused the apparent head wounds on the image?

      I'm not questioning that the spores were there, or their identification as plants specific to that area, or that the shroud itself went to, or was even made in, the Middle East. All Danin concluded was "[I]t is highly probable that the shroud did in fact come from this part [the Jerusalem area] of the world." But what connects the pollen specifically to the instrument which caused the apparent head wounds? Can we even be sure these spores date from the time of the image's imprinting?

      While I find the evidence for the historically accurate Roman coins on the eyes in the Shroud compelling,

      Do you? Can you really make out such letters in the image from the shroud?

      Classic Ritchie quote!

      Is it? Umm, okay.

      I notice however, that this serves as another dodge. This particular train of debate began with me asking what reason we have to think Jesus' resurrection would have left an imprint on the death shroud, and for all your flashes of light and atomic explosions, you still haven't actually given me one.

      Is conception accompanied by a flash of light/energy/whatever which leaves an imprint on anything in physical contact? Is birth? Is death? Why should resurrection?

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    33. Ritchie,

      A pleasure to hear from you as always.


      You, however, are if you claim that we can know anything at all about the origin of this singularity with anything like the slightest shred of confidence, such as that it 'came from nothing'. I'm not saying it's impossible, unlikely or even dubious, I am just saying that it most definitely is not anything even remotely resembling an established fact.


      Well, I am not the one saying that the singularity popped into existence from nothing. This is what we read from atheistic physicists like Stephen Hawking:

      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

      And Laurence Krauss (he of the famous 2+2=5 fame):


      there's a plausible case for understanding precisely how a universe full of stuff, like the universe we live in, could result literally from nothing by natural processes.


      I personally believe that the Universe came from SOMETHING (God). I find that idea completely ludicrous that a Universe (and especially an exquisitely finely tuned Universe at that) could pop into existence out nothing at all.

      What the vast majority of scientists (atheists and theists alike) are able to agree on at this point is that the Universe had a distinct beginning. Atheists have to say it popped into existence out of nothing, because they refuse to acknowledge God in any way and this is the only game in town for them, even though the concept makes zero sense at all. Theists can say that obviously the Universe did indeed begin to exist, and we have known this for thousands of years because this is exactly what is recorded in scripture.


      The Miller-Urey experiment may be dated, but it shows what it shows: that under the conditions of the experiment (meant to mirror those of early Earth), the chemical building blocks of life emerge fairly easily. This is especially interesting when taken in conjunction with The Murchison meteorite which showed that such chemical compounds were indeed being developed somewhere and could even reach Earth in a meteor.


      OK, but this doesn't really do anything for OOL. I'm happy to concede that amino acids are probably abundant throughout the universe. Saying that this solves the OOL problem is like saying that because we have discovered atoms and molecules THAT solves the OOL problem. Amino acids are nothing more than simple building blocks of proteins. You can't explain life by discovering abundant amino acids any more than you explain the Encyclopedia Brittanica by discovering a box full of preschool letters.

      And if all you need is an ocean of amino acid soup to create life, why not replicate this in a lab? Create a giant vat of amino acid soup and see if any life forms emerge.


      If the answer is yes, let me ask you another question. Could an ocean of alphabet soup randomly create Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 4.5 billion years? Why or why not?

      Eventually it certainly would. I have no idea if 4.5 billion years would be a sufficient length of time. How big is the ocean?

      Though more to the point, I would like to hear you explain how you think this analogy is comparable.


      It wouldn't be. And the analogy is comparible because no one thinks that amino acids can randomly assemble themselves into functional proteins anymore. This idea was peddled back in the 80s and 90s (I remember arguing with atheists back then who were extremely vociferous on the issue) but no serious biologist thinks this anymore. If you're going to argue for a naturalistic OOL you really need to get up to speed on the latest research.

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    34. Ritchie (2)

      At any rate, I'm not interested in going down another rabbit hole and debating OOL with you because to be quite honest I'm getting pretty tired of talking with you. I think you're a nice guy and I like you but your extreme stubborness and hyper-skepticism starts to get old. You never really present any ideas on why you think things are the way they are, you just present outdated or even deceptive evidence that you glean off of atheistic websites and act hyper-skeptical about all the evidence that points the other way.


      What?! I never made that claim! YOU were the one who insinuated a causal link between religiosity and good behaviour, that being Christian somehow made you better behaved, happier, etc.


      I absolutely think that studies show that deeply religious people are more self-controlled, generous to charities, happier, much less likely to commit suicide, and have better health.

      And I'd be willing to bet anything that deeply religious people are dramatically less likely to end up in prison as a result of perpetrating violent crimes (like you claim atheists are). I haven't really seen any studies to conclusively say this though, but based on all the other data I'd say its a very safe bet.

      My main point in this athiests are less likely to be in prison discussion has been that the biggest and easily most identifiable predictor of violent criminal behavior is whether or not someone was raised in a fatherless home. And that segways into the atheist-Christian debate because Christianity by and large is anti-divorce and values the role of fathers, whereas secular humanism says that divorce is ok and fathers are replaceable.

      The data overwhelmingly shows that the Christians are right and the secular humanists are wrong. If you agree with this (specifically that fatherless homes are bad for children and this greatly leads to them becoming violent criminals and having all other sorts of problems) then there is nothing further for us to discuss on this issue.


      I would like to ask what your response would be to the Abraham Test:



      What an interesting question! Thanks for asking me this.

      What would I do if I thought God appeared to me and thought that God ordered me to murder a child? It's hard to say what anyone will do in any situation until they are in that situation, but off the bat I think that I would reject any command that appeared to be clearly against what I perceive to be the revealed nature and character of God. As Paul writes in Galatians 1:8

      But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed

      Let me ask you a similar question. What would you do if the government invented time travel technology and sent you back to the time when Adolph Hitler was a newborn infant. But you were only able to be in that time for a few minutes, before going back to the present. Would you kill Hitler, or not?


      You think so? You think prohibiting divorce is a good thing?

      http://www.daylightatheism.org/2009/09/the-religious-right-vision-of-marriage.html


      Yeah, what a piece of garbage. I can assure you that the religious right does not condone husbands beating their wives or molesting their children. This is just radical feminist propaganda which is anti-family and promotes the idea that men (especially those men on the religious right, ooohhhh) are all wife beaters and sexual predators.

      Obviously if a woman is in a situation where she or her children are in danger, then she should leave. The vast majority of divorces that occur today are no-fault divorces where the divorce happens because one of the parties (usually the woman) is bored or emotionally unsatisfied. And this has disastrous consequences for the children involved.

      Delete
    35. Ritchie (3)


      Okay, maybe I'm being dumb here, but I don't get it. How can pollen spores specifically verify the instrument which caused the apparent head wounds on the image?


      Some of the pollen spores are from the thorny plant that was used to make the crown of thorns:

      http://shroudstory.com/pollen.htm

      The British Broadcast Company (BBC) reported on the recent conference of the Missouri Botanical Society:
      Professor Avinoam Danin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said an examination of pollen traces and floral imprints suggested that they could only have come from plants growing in a restricted area around Jerusalem and could date back to Jesus's time.

      He said: "This combination of flowers can be found in only one region of the world. The evidence clearly points to a floral grouping from the area surrounding Jerusalem."

      The pollen grains were collected from the shroud some years ago.

      His researchers also said a type of pollen from a thistle visible near the shoulder of the man's image on the shroud was believed to have come from the plant used for Jesus's crown of thorns.

      Two pollen grains of this same species were also found on the another relic, the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is widely believed to have been Jesus's face cloth at his burial.

      That has been traced back to the 1st Century.



      While I find the evidence for the historically accurate Roman coins on the eyes in the Shroud compelling,

      Do you? Can you really make out such letters in the image from the shroud?


      I admit that the enhanced image is very grainy, and I am willing to concede that this is a controversial point.

      But I can't emphasize enough how peculiar it is that the misspelling on the coins where first discovered on the Shroud of Turin. Only AFTER this was found on the shroud of Turin (and skeptics used this misspelling as evidence of the Shroud being a fake) were real Roman coins found with the flawed spelling. I think that's pretty strong evidence that the images came from real coins.


      Is conception accompanied by a flash of light/energy/whatever which leaves an imprint on anything in physical contact? Is birth? Is death? Why should resurrection?


      I really don't know. It's just a hypothesis that explains the image on the Shroud.

      I think I'm going to take a break from our discussion. You can have the last word, and I'm sure we'll talk again at some point in the future. Farewell.

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    36. wg -

      I think I'm going to take a break from our discussion. You can have the last word, and I'm sure we'll talk again at some point in the future.

      I don't doubt it. But with this in mind I'll post with a view towards wrapping up.

      I find that idea completely ludicrous that a Universe (and especially an exquisitely finely tuned Universe at that) could pop into existence out nothing at all.

      Yes, I can hear this resonating through your arguments. You set up a false dichotomy (either God or 'from nothing'), and conclude that since 'from nothing' sounds ridiculous, God must be the logical answer.

      This is flawed on many levels. For one thing, many ideas in science SOUND ridiculous but are nonetheless true, so the argument from incredulity shows nothing. For another, these are big questions in science. Little about them is known for sure, so saying they came literally 'from nothing' is either unsubstanciated (in the case of the Big Bang) or inaccurate (in the case of OOL). Finally 'Goddidit' is not really an answer. It is a non-answer. That is to say, as an explanation it is identical to 'It was magic'.

      Theists can say that obviously the Universe did indeed begin to exist, and we have known this for thousands of years because this is exactly what is recorded in scripture.

      Which scripture? Virtually every religion humanity has ever produced has included some kind of creation myth. So Judeo-Christianity certainly has no monopoly on the 'revelation' that the universe 'had a beginning'. And if we are to look at the specifics of these myths to decide which one is most likely to be true, we find that none of them, least of all the Judeo-Christian one, are at all scientifically accurate.

      I'm happy to concede that amino acids are probably abundant throughout the universe. Saying that this solves the OOL problem is like saying that because we have discovered atoms and molecules THAT solves the OOL problem.

      I'm not saying OOL is a solved problem. It's not. There are still holes in our knowledge here. But proving that no miracle is required for amino acids to form is almost certainly an important piece of the puzzle, and one less gap for God to hide in.

      And if all you need is an ocean of amino acid soup to create life, why not replicate this in a lab?

      An ocean of amino acids and, in all probablilty, a great deal of time. How many thousands of years are you willing to wait for a result?

      It wouldn't be.

      EVENTUALLY it would. If something is possible then, given an indefinite number of attempts, it is inevitable. A bazillion-to-one event will probably happen given a bazillion attempts. That's what bazillion-to-one means.

      Thinking that if an event is extremely unlikely it will therefore NEVER happen demonstrates a fundamental misconception of probability. Staggeringly unlikely events happen every day, and should cause no surprise each individual time they do.

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    37. wg (2)

      If you're going to argue for a naturalistic OOL you really need to get up to speed on the latest research.

      And you need to stop getting your scientific information from Creationist blogsites. Though they may reference real scientific studies (which therefore enable them to claim their position is 'based on the scientific evidence') they are virtually always distorting the facts.

      Meyer is certainly no scientist in the sense of someone who ever actually produces any scienctific work. He gave that up to peddle the Discovery Institute's particular brand of pseudo-scientific woo. His ideas are absolutely not modern consensus science. His favourite trick, as demonstrated here, is to insist that we need to go straight from non-organic life to a COMPLEX MODERN cell in one jump. Which of course is hugely unlikely. But cells have had billions of years to increase in complexity. The first living thing would have been a mere self-replicating molecule (or a hypercycle - a series of molecules) which would have been far more primitive than anything that exists today. Moreover, he presents the forming of these amino acid sequences as all-or-nothing single-step jumps rather than as the result of a cumulative process.

      To learn the REAL science of abiogenesis, please make sure you don't have a creationist explaining it.

      The data overwhelmingly shows that the Christians are right and the secular humanists are wrong. If you agree with this (specifically that fatherless homes are bad for children and this greatly leads to them becoming violent criminals and having all other sorts of problems) then there is nothing further for us to discuss on this issue.

      Wow. Way to twist my word there.

      Yes, I have no problem with studies correlating criminal bahaviour to broken homes. But since when did this equate to 'Christians were right and secular humanists were wrong'?

      It's like you think non-Christians all WANT to divorce. That they think it's fun to just have a marriage for a year or two until they fancy someone else. Perhaps some people do have this oddly disposable attitude to marriage, but I am sure the vast majority of people, religous or not, WANT their marriage to work going in to it. They WANT it to be their 'happily-ever-after'. The idea that only Christians view it as long-lasting, while secular humanists go into it PLANNING to divorce is ludicrous. Wanting the freedom to be able to divorce is a different thing entirely to actually wanting a divorce.

      People want to be happy. They want to be in love. That's pretty universal. And as long as that's true, marriage has a place. But the sad truth is relationships change. And staying in a destructive relationship can be far worse than divorcing.

      This is just radical feminist propaganda which is anti-family and promotes the idea that men (especially those men on the religious right, ooohhhh) are all wife beaters and sexual predators.

      Nonsense. It just recognises that some (mercifully some very, very few) are. And in those cases divorce is entirely appropriate.

      Obviously if a woman is in a situation where she or her children are in danger, then she should leave.

      So you DO approve of divorce in certain situations? It is not ALWAYS the best idea to stay in the marriage?

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    38. wg (3)

      ...off the bat I think that I would reject any command that appeared to be clearly against what I perceive to be the revealed nature and character of God.

      Let's be honest, that's a dodge. For one thing, I'm sure you think God is unknowable, His ways mysterious, His actions beyond human judgement, etc,. So if He ordered you to kill, who are you to judge that as inconsistent with His 'revealed' character? After all, there are many occassions in the Bible where God specifically orders many men, women and helpless infants killed. It is not at all against His character, as portrayed in the Bible, to do so.

      This test merely shows the ambivalence Christians must face. While most, yourself included I'm sure, are perfectly moral and upstanding people by our modern understanding of ethics, they are also yolked into accepting the barbaric morality preserved in the Bible which we as a society have long-since outgrown.

      The story of Abraham tells us in absolutely no uncertain terms that when God tells you at kill (and He does so many times in the Bible), you kill. It's a cornerstone story to the three great monotheistic faiths. And yet it teaches blind obedience over morality. Which is an incredibly dangerous path to go down.

      Would you kill Hitler, or not?

      Hmmm, a good question. I'm not committed to an answer since I see just how murky an issue it is, but on balance I think I would say yes I would. Committing murder to save the lives of many, many more does on the face of it seem a reasonable choice.

      His researchers also said a type of pollen from a thistle visible near the shoulder of the man's image on the shroud was believed to have come from the plant used for Jesus's crown of thorns.

      It's this I'd like to find out more about. Specifically the basis for this 'belief'.

      I really don't know. It's just a hypothesis that explains the image on the Shroud.

      But it's a hypothesis with no basis in anything other than 'It was magic'.

      But anyway, let's leave it there. Pleasure as always.

      Delete
  13. wgbutler777

    Your atheistic study on the other hand, was biased and flawed. It failed to take into account that many atheists are college educated, and college educated people are less likely to commit violent crimes and end up in prison.


    It's a well documented fact that the more education people have, the less strong their religious beliefs tend to be.

    Why the negative correlation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thorton,

      There is no negative correlation. I agree with you that atheists represent a higher than average percentage of people with college educations.

      My point to Ritchie is that THIS is why there are fewer atheists in prison compared to their numbers in the general population. It has nothing to do with atheists behaving better, it has everything to do with college educated individuals being less likely to become violent criminals.

      Delete
  14. wgbutler777

    There is no negative correlation.


    Yes wg, there is. It's pretty statistically significant too.

    Here is one major study from Harvard

    Education and Religion

    Here's another

    Harris Poll: The Religious and Other Beliefs of Americans 2003

    Look at Table 2.

    There are many other studies with similar results easily found with a simple Google search.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thorton,

      Sorry I didn't understand your original question. I take you are wondering why there is a trend towards atheism the more educated people tend to be. Ritchie asked me this too.

      The answer is pretty simple. Young people who go to college are very impressionable and academia is extremely hostile against Christianity. This is well established in research.

      Thus it makes perfect sense that students would trend towards atheim after spending several years at a university.

      Delete
  15. According to this:

    http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2011/religion-of-prisoners-england-and-wales-2010/

    it looks like a disproportionate number of people in British prisons profess no religion.

    I'm just speculating, but maybe there are two kinds of atheists. There are educated people who identify as atheists. Then there are less educated people who just say "I don't believe in God" without labeling themselves. I would imagine that a significant number of the prisoners could fit into the second category.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. natchuster,

      I think you hit the bullseye. There are basically two types of atheists.

      1) The "de facto" atheists, who essentially live as though God does not exist and they indulge themselves and do whatever they want, even if they have some cultural beliefs about religion. I'd say the vast majority of prisoners in jail are "de facto" atheists.

      2) The "TalkOrigins" atheists, who tend to be higher educated pompous blowhards who fancy themselves more enlightened and intelligent than everyone else. These are the types of people who tend to to be outspoken about atheism and check "atheist" on the survey list, and since a higher percentage of these people have degrees in higher education compared to the population at large, they are less likely to end up as violent criminals in prison.

      Delete
  16. WG: Perhaps you have a theory why some materialists react have such hostility to arguments for design? I was just taking a shot in the dark.

    Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by "materialist", as it's a vague and outdated term.

    WG: And I think at least some materialists do believe that if there is no Designer than they can do anything they want.

    Which would be yet another non-sequitor.

    WG: In fact, I see the Christian narrative as the ultimate culmination and reflection of centuries of teachings written in the sacred Hebrew texts going back thousands of years earlier to the very beginning when the seed of the woman is prophesied to bruise the head of the serpent and restore mankind to its former state.

    So, God had no choice but respond to the actions of human beings in the way he did? Were his hands tied?

    WG: Do you think a perfectly just God can allow sin to ultimately go unpunished? I can't think of any way that could happen.

    And your inability to "think" of any other way *necessitates* what a perfectly just being would do?

    WG: Let's say that I murder someone. And at the judgement God simply says, "don't worry about it, I've decided to let that crime go unpunished."

    First, why would you not be punished immediately? Since I "just can't think of any way that [couldn't] happen", that's *necessarily* what a perfectly good God would do, right?

    Furthermore, you seem to have forgotten that a supposedly perfectly just God demands the same punishment for murder that he does for every other sin. How is this perfectly just?

    WG: Ultimately the victim never gets justice and the universe has an unanswered moral crime in its history. How could a perfectly just Being allow this to go unpunished and remain perfectly just?

    Yet someone else is pushed for the murder's crime? Again, "I just can't think of any way that could happen", if God is perfectly just.

    And, since we are supposedly born in to sin, what about children that die before they were born? How could a perfectly just God overlook the sin we inherited from Adam?

    WG: And I'm sure that you think whatever sources of information you use as a basis for your worldview are authoritative as well.

    Let me guess, you "just can't think of any other way", so my world view must be authoritative as well?

    Just because you cannot imagine a form of epistemology not based on an argument from authority or justificationism does not mean alternate forms do not exist.

    WG: I became a Christian after looking at the scientific and historical evidence for it. This led me to the conclusion that the Christian scriptures are authoritative.

    Rather than asking, who is our authority, the question we should be asking is, how can we correct errors? This is because we explain our ability to create knowledge though conjecture and refutation.

    So, in accepting the Christian scriptures as authoritative, you're actually rejecting the means by which we create knowledge. You claim to desire knowledge, but actually deprive yourself of the means to create it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott,


      So, in accepting the Christian scriptures as authoritative, you're actually rejecting the means by which we create knowledge. You claim to desire knowledge, but actually deprive yourself of the means to create it.


      This is where you go horribly wrong. Belief in God is the very foundation of knowledge. If a person rejects this, they invariably go down the path of wickedness and foolishness.

      In Proverbs 9:10 the scriptures tell us that


      The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.


      and in Romans 1:21-22 we read that

      For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

      Reading the teachings of materialists we see futile and foolish teachings manifest themselves all over the place - universes creating themselves out of nothing, life forms self assembling out of mud, bacteria mutating into human beings, etc.

      But thanks for your dialogue anyway!

      Delete
    2. Reading the teachings of materialists we see futile and foolish teachings manifest themselves all over the place - universes creating themselves out of nothing, life forms self assembling out of mud, bacteria mutating into human beings, etc.

      The 'teachings of materialists' have produced cars, computers, telephones, the internet, x-rays, and a wide array of pharmaceutical drugs. It has allowed us to clone animals, perform heart transplants, maximise crop yields, decode the human genome and put men on the moon. It has allowed us to glimpse the ocean's darkest depths and the furthest stars in the sky. It has allowed us to understand gravity, genetics, mental disorders and the orbit of the planets.

      Absolutely every scientific achievement (which are demonstrably ample and incredible) we owe to the 'teachings of materialists'.

      Science works. It produces results. Repeatable, testable, demonstrable results. It is, in fact, the only means of acquiring knowledge which reliably does so.

      And you would have us throw it all away for a set of bronze-age myths which merely DECLARES itself to be the font of all knowledge? A belief system which would bring all science - all LEARNING - to a screeching halt as we declare all unexplained phenomena a miracle?

      Delete
    3. Scott: So, in accepting the Christian scriptures as authoritative, you're actually rejecting the means by which we create knowledge. You claim to desire knowledge, but actually deprive yourself of the means to create it.

      WG: This is where you go horribly wrong. Belief in God is the very foundation of knowledge. If a person rejects this, they invariably go down the path of wickedness and foolishness.

      I think you've missed a subtle difference here, which is also the key difference between creationism and Darwinsm.

      Specially, your belief in God is the foundation of your belief that all knowledge has aways existed, rather than having been created using a form of conjecture and refutation. However, it's unclear what evidence this believe is based on.

      In other words, the specific belief that all knowledge has always existed *is* in opposition to the ability to create knowledge. If we actually create knowledge, rather than knowledge having always existed, then assuming the bible is a error free source that is exhaustively true and and should not change is in opposition to the creation of knowledge.

      So, what I'm saying here is that the the key point of contention regarding evolutionary theory is whether knowledge is created or has always existed.

      For example, how do you explain out relatively recent and rapid increate in progress, as pointed out by Ritchie? Is that just what God must have wanted?

      Specifically, why does this progress come in the form of good explanations, like our current explanation for the seasons, rather than the ancient Greek explanation for the seasons, which represents a bad explanation?

      More importantly, if bad explanations are true, then how could we possibility know they are true? Please be specific. It seems to me, you think you know that bad explanations are true because they were divinely revealed to you to be true.

      WG: In Proverbs 9:10 the scriptures tell us that

      The scriptures are from God and that God is wisdom and insight. Which means that a belief that scriptures are from God is wisdom and insight?

      WG: and in Romans 1:21-22 we read that

      I've read that as well, but this hadn't led me to presume that all knowledge has always existed.

      WG: Reading the teachings of materialists we see futile and foolish teachings manifest themselves all over the place - universes creating themselves out of nothing, life forms self assembling out of mud, bacteria mutating into human beings, etc.

      And their futile and foolish because? You've highly simplified or misrepresented them so they sound foolish?

      Again, I'm suggesting that you think they are futile and foolish because of your underlying belief that all knowledge has always existed.

      Delete
    4. Scott: Again, I'm suggesting that you think they are futile and foolish because of your underlying belief that all knowledge has always existed.

      I'd point out that, this is similar to Robert Byers' comment.

      Since you're certain that knowledge isn't created, then there certainly couldn't be any evidence that natural processes could create knowledge. As such, it certainly couldn't be scientific, etc.

      Delete
    5. Scott,


      Specially, your belief in God is the foundation of your belief that all knowledge has aways existed, rather than having been created using a form of conjecture and refutation.


      When did I say that all knowledge has always existed? I said that belief in God was the FOUNDATION of knowledge. How you extrapolate that to claim that I believe that all knowledge has always existed is baffling.

      I have to admit, I haven't talked to anyone like you in a long while who can somehow say so much and yet say so little at the same time!

      Delete
    6. WG: How you extrapolate that to claim that I believe that all knowledge has always existed is baffling.

      Ok, then how do you explain how the knowledge in the genome, which is used to build the biosphere, was created?

      Delete
    7. Scott,


      Ok, then how do you explain how the knowledge in the genome, which is used to build the biosphere, was created?


      I believe that God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome.

      But if scientists can reproduce in a laboratory a genome and coherent DNA information arising naturalistically out of non-living components by completely random processes then I'm certainly willing to modify my views on the matter.

      I suggest reading Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell for a comprehensive look at the problems of the DNA information arising naturalistically.

      How do YOU think the genome was created?

      Getting back to your previous message that I thought all knowledge has always existed. I think I'd say that I would disagree with this. I think even God Himself is always in the process of acquiring new knowledge all the time.

      Delete
    8. WG: I believe that God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome.

      While that might "sound" good, exactly what does that mean? Please be specific.

      WG: But if scientists can reproduce in a laboratory a genome and coherent DNA information arising naturalistically out of non-living components by completely random processes then I'm certainly willing to modify my views on the matter.

      It's difficult to know what you mean by modifying "your views on the matter" means when it's unclear as to what what your view is in the first place.

      WG: I suggest reading Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell for a comprehensive look at the problems of the DNA information arising naturalistically.

      I'm aware of Meyer's argument, as he suggests the knowledge was located in one place (in the designer), them moved to another (the genome). However, Meyer does not address how this knowledge in the designer was created in the first place.

      For example, if the knowledge was previously located in the designer, how did it get there? Was it put there by some other designer. If so, where did it come from? Yet another designer?

      WG: How do YOU think the genome was created?

      I think we're still not quite on the same page. For example, are you asking, "what steps were taken to create the genome" or "how was the knowledge found in the genome created?"

      I'm asking the latter, not the former.

      WG: Getting back to your previous message that I thought all knowledge has always existed. I think I'd say that I would disagree with this. I think even God Himself is always in the process of acquiring new knowledge all the time.

      Craig is appealing to a specific level of reductionism.

      To use his example, God supposedly always knew that Columbus discovers America in 1492. As such, he supposedly always knew the phrase "Columbus will discover America" will be true in 1491 and false in 1493. The same can be said about the phrases "Columbus is discovering America.", "Columbus has discovered America.", etc. As such, it's unclear how this actually represents anything new.

      However, even if we accept this definition of "new", this doesn't effect the substance of the argument I'm presenting. This is because I'm referring to the knowledge of how to build adaptations in the biosphere, not knowledge in the form of "adaptations in the biosphere will be built", "is being build", "was built", etc.

      For example, one cannot perform a magic trick unless without the knowledge of how the trick is performed. If you could, it would actually be magic, not a magic trick. Statements in the form of "the trick will be performed", "is being performed" and "has been performed" have no impact on whether it the magician performed a magic trick or actually performed magic.

      Delete

    9. It's difficult to know what you mean by modifying "your views on the matter" means when it's unclear as to what what your view is in the first place.


      And it's even more unclear as to what YOUR views are in the first place.

      How do YOU think the first life got here? Where did the information in the genome come from? What is the origin of DNA? Please be specific.


      Craig is appealing to a specific level of reductionism.


      I think Craig made a pretty good point. And I also believe for other reasons that God is capable of learning new things. The scriptures tell us that

      Hebrews 5:8
      Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

      Nevertheless, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an expert on the ultimate capabilities or capacities of God. So grilling me about what God is or is not capable of doing or knowing is an exercise in futility. But if God ever conveys this information to me, I'll be happy to pass it along.

      Delete
    10. WG: I believe that God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome.

      Scott: While that might "sound" good, exactly what does that mean? Please be specific.

      WG: [ No response ]

      WG: But if scientists can reproduce in a laboratory a genome and coherent DNA information arising naturalistically out of non-living components by completely random processes then I'm certainly willing to modify my views on the matter.

      Scott: It's difficult to know what you mean by modifying "your views on the matter" means when it's unclear as to what what your view is in the first place.

      WG: "And it's even more unclear as to what YOUR views are in the first place.

      I'm not asking you to clarify MY view, I'm asking you to clarify YOUR view, which apparently you cannot.

      WG: How do YOU think the first life got here? Where did the information in the genome come from? What is the origin of DNA? Please be specific.

      Given that I've explained this several times, I can't tell if you even understand the question I'm asking you.

      So, again, I'm asking you to clarify what you mean by "God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome." in hope of illustrating my position.

      For example, do you mean, God put the knowledge he already had into the genome? Or do you mean that God arranged the genome in a particular order, which happened to end up representing knowledge. Or did God start out without the knowledge of how to build the biosphere, create the knowledge though some process, create the knowledge how to encode that knowledge into the four bases of DNA, then actually arrange the bases into DNA strands for each organism?

      Or perhaps you mean that God wanted organisms to turn out a particular way, God is all knowing and all powerful, so organisms turned out the way that did because, that's just what God must have wanted?

      Scott: However, even if we accept this definition of "new", this doesn't effect the substance of the argument I'm presenting. This is because I'm referring to the knowledge of how to build adaptations in the biosphere, not knowledge in the form of "adaptations in the biosphere will be built", "is being build", "was built", etc.

      WG: I think Craig made a pretty good point.

      Are you saying it does effect the substances of my argument? Or it's a good point because Craig said so, and you think Craig is an authority?

      WG: And I also believe for other reasons that God is capable of learning new things. The scriptures tell us that

      Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

      First, this would be yet another argument from authority.

      Second are you suggesting that God cannot know things without experiencing them directly? Is this really your position?

      WG: So grilling me about what God is or is not capable of doing or knowing is an exercise in futility. But if God ever conveys this information to me, I'll be happy to pass it along.

      So, Craig's definition of omniscience is an exercise in futility?

      Delete
    11. Scott,


      WG: I believe that God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome.

      Scott: While that might "sound" good, exactly what does that mean? Please be specific.

      WG: [ No response ]


      That means that I believe that God created life, including the information in DNA. If you're asking the specifics of exactly how God created life, I can't answer that question. How do you think I'm supposed to know? All that occurred billions of years ago.

      What is pretty obvious is that the more we learn about the genome and life, the more complicated it appears to be. Cells aren't just blobs of goo that originated in some warm little pond by naturalistic processes. And origin of life researchers don't have a clue about how life began. The best explanation for the complexity of life and the information in the DNA code is that it was originated by an intelligent Agent.



      I'm not asking you to clarify MY view, I'm asking you to clarify YOUR view, which apparently you cannot.


      No, what you are doing is acting like a prosecutor in a court room who is badgering a witness. You are asking me a bunch of meaningless questions like you have some sort of right to demand answers of me and it is my obligation to dutifully respond to you.

      Because I find your approach somewhat amusing, I have been humoring you. But eventually you will need to get to your point or I won't bother responding anymore.


      For example, do you mean, God put the knowledge he already had into the genome? Or do you mean that God arranged the genome in a particular order, which happened to end up representing knowledge. Or did God start out without the knowledge of how to build the biosphere, create the knowledge though some process, create the knowledge how to encode that knowledge into the four bases of DNA, then actually arrange the bases into DNA strands for each organism?


      Again, how do you think I'm supposed to know the answers to these questions? As far as the way God did things is concerned, all I can go by what is written in scripture, which says that God created the universe, and life.

      Let me ask YOU the same question. How do YOU think the information in the DNA code came about? How did the first life originate? Please be specific and quit dodging my question. I want answers. If you're not exactly sure what I am asking just take your best shot. Stop dancing around the issue.


      Are you saying it does effect the substances of my argument? Or it's a good point because Craig said so, and you think Craig is an authority?


      It's a good point because Craig made a cogent argument that is coherent. As far as whether or not he's an "authority" I'm not really sure what you mean by that. I think he's a very smart man who probably knows alot more about this stuff than you do. But that doesn't mean that I agree with him on every single thing, nor do I take his words as gospel.


      First, this would be yet another argument from authority.

      Second are you suggesting that God cannot know things without experiencing them directly? Is this really your position?


      What sort of things are you talking about? Like what it's like to experience pain? Then I would say the answer is yes, in much the same way that Craig talked about the sore back in the link I posted.



      So, Craig's definition of omniscience is an exercise in futility?


      No I think its a good definition, and think immediately think of anything wrong that he said.

      Delete
    12. WG: I believe that God is the Author of life and created the information in the genome.

      Scott: While that might "sound" good, exactly what does that mean? Please be specific.

      WG: [ No response ]

      WG: That means that I believe that God created life, including the information in DNA. If you're asking the specifics of exactly how God created life, I can't answer that question. How do you think I'm supposed to know? All that occurred billions of years ago.

      I'm asking for an explanation, which would have logical, empirical consequences for the current state of the system we observe today, based on our current, best explanations. This is how science works.

      For example, you seem to agree with Craig's definition, in that omniscience means knowing and believing in all truths, but there is an exception for tensed truths, as whether they are true or false will change. For the sake of argument, let's assume that is an accurate definition.

      Furthermore, as Cornelius keeps reminding us, unless a specific sequence was present in the genome, then the specific proteins we observe in an organism would not form, And if these specific proteins did not form, then the specific features we observe in each species of organism would not appear.

      In other words, the genome represents the knowledge of which sequence of genes will eventually produce the features that make up a specific organism.

      For example, Craig Venter recently developed a partially synthetic species of bacteria by sequencing the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides in to a computer, specifically modifying the sequence to change the specific features it will express, such as exhibiting a blue color, synthesizing an actual genome from this revised computer model and transferring it into the cell of an existing Mycoplasma capricolum bacterium that had had its DNA removed. When this bacterium replicated, it resulted in the synthetic variant of Mycoplasma mycoides, rather than a copy of an Mycoplasma capricolum. And it's offspring did the same, etc.

      So, if it's a true proposition that a specific sequence of genes will eventually produce the features that make up a specific organism, wouldn't this fit under Craig's definition of omniscience?

      For example, lets assume that God made Adam and Eve. If they were human beings, they had DNA. And their DNA was sequenced as such such that any offspring they would have would result in another human being.

      If God didn't know which sequence to use, then how could he know any offspring they would have would result in another human being? Was there ever a time where God did not know what genomic sequence he would use if he ever decided to build Adam and Eve? Did he guess what sequence to use, and only know if it was correct after Adam and Eve gave birth to a human son?

      Note that the tensed versions of this truth isn't relevant, as saying "a specific genomic sequence will result in a Adam and Eve", "is resulting in Adam and Eve" and "did resulting in aAdam and Ev" is dose not change whether God had the knowledge of which sequences would result in Adam and Eve.

      As such, even if we accept Craig's definition, it's not relevant to the question I'm asking.

      Delete
    13. WG: Again, how do you think I'm supposed to know the answers to these questions? As far as the way God did things is concerned, all I can go by what is written in scripture, which says that God created the universe, and life.

      Why can't you criticize scripture? Because you believe it's authoritative?

      WG: Let me ask YOU the same question.

      Again, I'm not sure you ARE asking me the same question.

      WG: How do YOU think the information in the DNA code came about?

      What's my explanation as to how the knowledge of what sequences will result in what features, as found in the genome, was created? We explain it in that is was created by a variation of conjecture and refutation. Specifically, conjecture in the form of genetic vacation, and refutation, in the form of natural selection.

      WG: How did the first life originate?

      Do you consider, "that's what God must have wanted", an explanation?

      For example, my explanation above would have logical, empirical consequences for the current state of the system we observe today, based on our current, best explanations.

      What's you criteria for an explanation?

      WG: Please be specific and quit dodging my question. I want answers. If you're not exactly sure what I am asking just take your best shot. Stop dancing around the issue.

      Again, I'm not even sure we're on the same page here. So, I'm not dancing around the issue. Rather, I'm asking questions specifically designed to clarify your position, even if you do not currently realize you own claims represent a specific position.

      That is, I'm attempting to take your own argument seriously. However, it's not clear why I should even bother, as you don't seem to be taking your own argument seriously.

      Delete
    14. Scott: I'm not asking you to clarify MY view, I'm asking you to clarify YOUR view, which apparently you cannot.

      WG: No, what you are doing is acting like a prosecutor in a court room who is badgering a witness. You are asking me a bunch of meaningless questions like you have some sort of right to demand answers of me and it is my obligation to dutifully respond to you.

      My questions are not meaningless, as I'm pointing out inconsistencies with your position. As such, they represent a criticism of your position. Just because you do not understand how they are relevant, doesn't mean they're not relevant. Nor have you presented an argument as to how they are not relevant.

      WG: Because I find your approach somewhat amusing, I have been humoring you. But eventually you will need to get to your point or I won't bother responding anymore.

      Given that you ignored all but the last part of the arguments I previously made here, it's unclear if you were merely humoring me, or if you merely have no response.

      Delete
    15. Scott,


      Was there ever a time where God did not know what genomic sequence he would use if he ever decided to build Adam and Eve? Did he guess what sequence to use, and only know if it was correct after Adam and Eve gave birth to a human son?


      Based on what we know from other branches of science (for example, the fine tuning of the constants in physics of the Universe which had to be set to very precise values in order to have a life permitting universe) I would speculate that God knew which exact DNA sequence to use when He created Adam and Eve. This is also born out in Genesis 1:26 where God says:

      God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

      This implies a planning phase where God engineers human beings with the end result in mind.


      We explain it in that is was created by a variation of conjecture and refutation. Specifically, conjecture in the form of genetic vacation, and refutation, in the form of natural selection.


      Interesting. So you believe that natural selection and random mutations are capable of eventually transforming a bacteria into a human being.


      I'm attempting to take your own argument seriously. However, it's not clear why I should even bother, as you don't seem to be taking your own argument seriously


      Thanks for trying to engage. Although I have to confess I don't really know where this conversation is going.


      My questions are not meaningless, as I'm pointing out inconsistencies with your position. As such, they represent a criticism of your position.


      Please define (a)what you think my position is, and (b)why it is inconsistent.

      Delete
    16. WG,

      My point is, before God could actually build human beings with specific features he had in mind, he had to have the knowledge of which genomic sequences would eventually result in the features he wanted? And this would also be the case for the entire biosphere, from the least complex organism to the most complex, right?

      So, my question is not if God always knew what features he had in mind, but if he always had the knowledge of how to build those features.

      But we need not stop there, as we could expand this in regards to how to build anything, such as cars, computers, space craft - anything that could possibility be built - including things we haven't build yet.

      For example, was there ever at time when God didn't have the knowledge of how to build the space shuttle, should he ever decided he wanted to?

      If starting out with the shuttle in mind, would he have to build a computer model, which is tested by simulating flight? Would he have to strap the orbiter on the back of an aircraft and make several test flights to see if it it's gliding profile worked as he desired? Would he need to test fire engines on the ground to ensure they worked with in the necessary parameters?

      Or would he already know exactly how to build the shuttle so it would work exactly, without any flaws, including the knowledge of how to design and build the o-rings and heat resistant tiles to avoid both shuttle disasters, if he did not want them to occur?

      Again, saying the design of the shuttle "will work", "is working" and "did work" isn't relative to whether God would have always had the knowledge of how to build the shuttle.

      WG: Interesting. So you believe that natural selection and random mutations are capable of eventually transforming a bacteria into a human being.

      I think conjecture, in the form of genetic variation, and refutation, in the form of natural selection created the *knowledge* of how to build the unique adaptations we observe in each species. That is, it created the knowledge of what genetic sequences will result in those specific adaptations. Random mutations are just one example, along with HGT, gene duplication, etc. This would also include other mechanisms we *will* discover that also represent a form of C&R.

      WG: Please define (a)what you think my position is, and (b)why it is inconsistent.

      We're still working on defining terminology, so it's difficult to say.

      However, as of now, you seem to think that God could design and build what he wants, merely because you define God as being able to design and build what he wants. The details of which are unimportant, irrelevant and not open to criticism.

      As such, it's unclear how you came to conclude the Bible is authoritative baed on evidence.

      Delete
  17. Jon Stewart argggg.
    Anyways this is a good post abouty the unlikelyness of evolutionary claims.
    It really does come down to the quality and quantity of evidence that needs to be amassed for such unlikely conclusions.
    since evolution is not true then there couldn't be that evidence much less from a scientific investigation.
    its all been lines of reasoning from people who didn't like God or Genesis deep down in their soul.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Intelligence is measured in many different ways. I can think of a hundred things that I'd ask a craftsman without a college education to help me with rather than ask a Harvard liberal arts grad. There are many who have advanced degrees who lack social skills. A good number of people learned how to become alcoholics and drug addicts (and atheists) in school too.

    Education is only as good as what is taught and how well the student learns. I'm not knocking a college education because I really believe that they are valuable, but they don't make someone an expert in evolution. People have a very strong tendency to follow or learn from those they preceive as authorities, especially when social and peer pressures are involved. Thousands of college grads learned from biology books filled with peppered moths, Haeckel's embryos, Piltdown Man, Miller-Urey, and bird beaks. A good book on Big Foot would have been of more value because those are usually qualified with statements that leave the door open for skepticism.

    What did ten generations (4 year education) of college students learn about Piltdown man and 30 generations of students from Haeckel's embryos? Would a 20 year old student in 1995 who wanted to graduate and get a job and a family, wonder if thousands of professional biologists and text book authors would purposely put a known forgery of embryo drawings in a college level book as evidence for evolution?

    Seriously? Haeckels drawings survived for over a century in college level text books? Where were the heads of professional biologists stuck for a century regarding this fraud?

    Why did it take 40 years for an expert to notice that Piltdown man had a modern human skull and the jawbone of a modern organutan? 40 years to figure out that the jawbone was from a modern organutan and evolutionists here want us to believe that their interpretation of 500 million year old Cambrian fossils are rock solid?

    Science is self correcting, but not fast enough. The myths of Darwinism die hard.

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    2. Neal -

      Intelligence is measured in many different ways. I can think of a hundred things that I'd ask a craftsman without a college education to help me with rather than ask a Harvard liberal arts grad.

      The point here is one of expertise. A university education does not grant you wisdom and knowledge in absolutely every field or every human skill. That is true. But it does grant you knowledge in the specific field in which you study. That is precisely the point.

      I'm not knocking a college education because I really believe that they are valuable, but they don't make someone an expert in evolution.

      It grants them a fair level of familiarity in evolution if that is what they studied.

      Thousands of college grads learned from biology books filled with peppered moths, Haeckel's embryos, Piltdown Man, Miller-Urey, and bird beaks.

      There is plenty that Peppered Moths, finches' beaks and Miller-Urey tell us about evolution. You might have learned this had you ever studied it.

      I defy you to find me a textbook which seriously presents Piltdown Man as evidence for evolution.

      And as for Haeckel's drawings, they are only used to illustrate the point that embryos pass through a stage, called the Phylotypic Stage where they look incredibly similar - which is indeed a scientific fact. They do. The drawings themselves might not be absolutely accurate but the point they are making is a perfectly correct and valid one.

      Delete
    3. RitchieFeb 23, 2012 08:00 AM
      "And as for Haeckel's drawings, they are only used to illustrate the point that embryos pass through a stage, called the Phylotypic Stage where they look incredibly similar - which is indeed a scientific fact. They do."

      And how this is evidence of evolution? Something starts different, then look incrdibly similar and then they go different again so?

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    4. Because features which develop during the Phylotypic Stage can then go on become structurally different features in the adults of different species. This is an observation that ToE provides a perfectly reasonable explanation for.

      Delete
    5. Ritchie,

      No, you won't find Piltdown man in textbooks today. The fraud was exposed in 1953. I thought I was clear that my point was that an obvious fraud was laid on the world and used as the template for understanding human descent for 40 years. 40 years of fraud. What kind of peer pressure, funding situations, insanity or bias enabled the jaw bone of a modern organutan to get a free pass by the magnifying glass carrying experts? So, its on to the next fraud until someone with enough authority speaks up and sets the record straight. If it took 40 years for someone to detect the jawbone of an organutan, by what level of accuracy do evolutionists have in piecing together an accurate phylogeny of 500 million year old fossils of animals they have never seen alive?

      So modern textbooks use Haeckel to only show a select few cherry picked verebrates (great difference exist in the mosaic of vertebrates), adjusted their size to match in the drawings, and then touched up the drawings in the Phylotypic Stage. Such is how evolutionary science is done.

      Cherry pick till you drop. It's like a mutual fund manager telling you that he had 20% growth, but failed to mention it was only in 1949 and the last 60 years averaged -20%. You call it science, I call it fraud.

      Delete
    6. RitchieFeb 23, 2012 09:01 AM
      "Because features which develop during the Phylotypic Stage can then go on become structurally different features in the adults of different species. This is an observation that ToE provides a perfectly reasonable explanation for."

      So ToE explains why different-similar-different happened.
      But the original though for ToE, that made by Haeckel was similar-similar-different was the pattern expected.
      Both patterns explain evolution? And if that incredibly similar were not so similar, would that be evidence against evolution? How much "incredibly similar" will support ToE and how less will falsify evolution?

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    7. No, you won't find Piltdown man in textbooks today.

      Then what the Hell are you complaining about?

      If it took 40 years for someone to detect the jawbone of an organutan, by what level of accuracy do evolutionists have in piecing together an accurate phylogeny of 500 million year old fossils of animals they have never seen alive?

      That's a total non-sequiteur. What is the connection between identifying an ape's jawbone in the first half of the 20th century and drawing up a genetic history of life on Earth today, besides the fact that they both fit into the broad scientific field of 'biology'?

      Einstein showed Newton's ideas of gravity weren't quite accurate. Does that mean we should shelve the theory of gravity? Is the whole of physics to be binned because one theory has been falsified?

      What you don't understand at all it that having theories falsified is all part and parcel of how science progresses. We are constantly coming up with new hypotheses and ideas to explain the data, and the wrong ones get discredited and discarded. That is exactly how science works.

      You keep approaching it with the religious mindset that science should be absolutely inerrant, and that if one theory ever can be shown to be wrong, that immediately undermines everything science has ever come up with.

      So modern textbooks use Haeckel to only show a select few cherry picked verebrates (great difference exist in the mosaic of vertebrates), adjusted their size to match in the drawings, and then touched up the drawings in the Phylotypic Stage. Such is how evolutionary science is done.

      The Phylotypic Stage is real. The fact that Haeckel's drawings are not entirely accurate does not discredit that.

      Delete
  19. There you have it folks.

    Since everyone "knows" evolution is not true, deep down in their soul, there couldn't possibility any evidence for it.

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    1. Cherry picked evidence is readily available for nearly anything you are determined to prove. The constant rhetoric back and forth could be quickly dispelled by genuine, scientific evidence. Instead we get bird beaks and peppered moths and we're told to trust the evolutionists that what they say could happen is a fact.

      Evolution explains nothing. Natural selection, sure. Mutation, sure. Adaptive variation, sure. But these scientific observations have been hijacked by the evolutionary fairy tale and promoted with fraud. With evolutionists the end justifies the means, even if scientific integrity and accuracy and clarity of thought is compromised in the process.

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    2. Neal, I'm referring to Robert Byers' comment. Looks like my comment didn't end up in the right place.

      Specifically..

      RB: since evolution is not true then there couldn't be that evidence much less from a scientific investigation.

      Delete
  20. Ritchie said, "There is plenty that Peppered Moths, finches' beaks and Miller-Urey tell us about evolution. "

    --

    Yes, that evolution is not supported by scientific evidence.

    Seriously, what does Miller-Urey tell us? How a few amino acids could not be generated on planet earth, except in a fask? Or, perhaps how the experiment probably did not reproduce Earth's early atmosphere and does not demonstrate how life's building blocks originated. Is that the clear takeaway from your textbook? Why not, that's the truth isn't it?

    How about the takeaway from Peppered Moths? Peppered Moths don't rest on tree trunks in the wild, but they will if dead one are pinned their by over zealous evolutionists? Or, Kettlewell's famous experiments are now questioned for poor scientific methodology? Is that the takeway you got? That's the truth isn't it?

    What about the takeaway that students get regarding bird beaks? That oscillating selection pressure on the finches over time produces No observable net change? Is that clearly taught?

    A good extra credit homework question would be why evolution is given a free pass to be so imprecise, sloppy and even fraudulent its textbook statements?

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    1. Seriously, what does Miller-Urey tell us? How a few amino acids could not be generated on planet earth, except in a fask?

      No. The experiment was an attempt to recreate the terrestrial conditions during the origin of life, showing that the chemical building blocks of life can form under such conditions.

      (Technically this actually doesn't tell us much about evolution. It tells us about abiogenesis, but I'll let that go since I assume that subtle point was lost on you too.)

      Or, perhaps how the experiment probably did not reproduce Earth's early atmosphere and does not demonstrate how life's building blocks originated.

      Even weakly reducing atmospheres still produce significant amounts of amino acids.

      How about the takeaway from Peppered Moths? Peppered Moths don't rest on tree trunks in the wild, but they will if dead one are pinned their by over zealous evolutionists?

      Peppered Moths DO rest on tree trunks, genius. The photographers merely pinned dead ones to the bark to get a decent photograph.

      Or, Kettlewell's famous experiments are now questioned for poor scientific methodology?

      Are they? By whom?

      What about the takeaway that students get regarding bird beaks? That oscillating selection pressure on the finches over time produces No observable net change?

      No, that features change in relation to selection pressures. There was only no net change at the end because the rainfall rate returned to average the previous year.

      A good extra credit homework question would be why evolution is given a free pass to be so imprecise, sloppy and even fraudulent its textbook statements?

      It is none of those things. You merely refuse to educate yourself on the topic because you refuse to believe it. The evidence is clearly there. You just don't want to accept it.

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  21. It seems that Heackel was not only falsiying his drawing of embryos, but he was selective in his choices:

    http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/faculty/hanken/public_html/documents/Richardson%20et%20al%201997%20Anat%20Embryol.pdf

    I believe the popular term is "cherry picking."

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    1. nat -

      I'm confused. I thought you didn't accept evolution. Are you accepting the conclusions of this paper you have presented or not?

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    2. I accept the facts that are presented, that different embryos don't always look that much alike. Whether that is the result of evolution is a mattere of interpretation. The problem is that evolutionist e.g. P.Z. Myers, site the similarities as evidence for evolution while the differences are ignored.

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    3. Ignored? But you just presented a paper by 'evolutionists' on that very topic!

      Are they ignoring this data or aren't they?

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    4. I suppose I should have said that most evolutionists ignore the differences. And what is published for the general public, e.g. textbooks, ignore the differences.

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    5. Scientific journals are published for the general public. They're free for everyone to see.

      Look back on the paper you yourself cited. It discusses the foetuses of entire classes. The very that they can group them like that is evidence of the nested hierarchy of evolution. The fact that there are tiny, but identifiable mammalian foetus characteristics which distinguish it from a bird foetus is itself indicative of this pattern.

      And what do they end up with? Look at figure 9. A tree of relations that matches the genetic tree of life. In short, more supporting evidence for ToE.

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    6. Scientific journals are available to all, but they aren't written for all.

      And while the foetuses can be group becuase they kinda like alike, they don't look as much alike as Heackel's drawings.

      And I was under the impression that figure 9 was based on things like adult morphology, not embryology.

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    7. Scientific journals are available to all, but they aren't written for all.

      Exactly what level of education are you talking about here?

      The fact is that there is limited time to teach kids. In high school there's barely time to learn the basics of most subjects. They get taught the basics of these subjects, and the basics is that these theries work. Yes there might be interesting specific cases where somethnig ever-so-slightly different is happening, but there simply isn't time to teach children every single paper that's ever been printed. The basic, simple bottom line is that during the Phylotypic Stage, feotuses look extremely similar.

      And while the foetuses can be group becuase they kinda like alike, they don't look as much alike as Heackel's drawings.

      So what? I do agree it would be better to use photographs, but the oint Haeckel's drawings makes is still a scientifically valid one.

      And I was under the impression that figure 9 was based on things like adult morphology, not embryology.

      Then read the caption: Hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships among the groups
      of vertebrates considered in this study.

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    8. Quote Ritchie:

      """"The basic, simple bottom line is that during the Phylotypic Stage, feotuses look extremely similar."""""

      Then why mot also teach that they don't look alike at other stages of development? And why use faked drawings. If they look alike enough to make a valid point, then use accurate drawings.




      The caption says that the phyolgenic tree was based on work in a book by Pough called "Vertebrate Life" or some such.

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    9. Then why mot also teach that they don't look alike at other stages of development?

      Why? What's the point of that?

      And why use faked drawings. If they look alike enough to make a valid point, then use accurate drawings.

      Many do.

      The caption says that the phyolgenic tree was based on work in a book by Pough called "Vertebrate Life" or some such.

      A fair point. But the work of the paper does at least bear it out. Each class shows distinct if small features. The same is true even within classes - for example, placental mammals are distinguishable from monotremes and marsupials. This is still supporting evidence.

      Delete
  22. Sorry should be falsifying. My bad.

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  23. And marsupials do thing very differently:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129203346.htm

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  24. natschuster,

    Haeckel even reused the same woodcut to print embryos that were supposedly from different classes. He even touched up some of the drawings to make them into what he thought best.

    He not only cherry picks, but produced an outright fraud. What would happen if your mutual fund manager changed his numbers to make them better? Prison perhaps?

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    1. Neal -

      Haeckel's theories are not part of modern evolutionary biology. His ideas were found to be incorrect and the result of inaccurate data and thus his theories were discredited. Stop acting like this casts a shadow on ToE in any way.

      Delete
    2. But Haeckel´s theories were though to be a fact. As evolution is a fact for darwinist. Were though to be so facts that they call them "laws" ("The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—and often expressed as "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haeckel%27s_law_of_recapitulation)
      And who do not beleive in that "facts" were call "dumb".
      Are ToE more fact than the Haeckel´s theories? May I doubt of evolution?

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    3. Blas -

      But Haeckel´s theories were though to be a fact.

      Were they? By whom? Can you source that Haeckel's hypothesis of 'ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny' was ever considered a scientific fact?

      Were though to be so facts that they call them "laws"

      No, facts do not turn into laws. There is no scale of certainly running hypothesis - theory - fact - law. In science, facts and laws are quite distinct things, and entirely different to hypotheses and theories.

      Are ToE more fact than the Haeckel´s theories? May I doubt of evolution?

      Of course you CAN doubt it. But if you want to show it to be wrong then you have to present evidence for that, seeing as how it is so massively well-evidenced and entrenched within science.

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    4. RitchieFeb 23, 2012 09:43 AM


      "Were they? By whom? Can you source that Haeckel's hypothesis of 'ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny' was ever considered a scientific fact?"

      If not was consider a fact would be published in every biology book also for elementary schools?


      "No, facts do not turn into laws. There is no scale of certainly running hypothesis - theory - fact - law. In science, facts and laws are quite distinct things, and entirely different to hypotheses and theories."

      But laws are based in well confirmed observations I call them facts.

      " seeing as how it is so massively well-evidenced and entrenched within science."

      So well evidenced as Haeckel`s drawings.

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    5. Blas -

      If not was consider a fact would be published in every biology book also for elementary schools?

      They are not published as facts. They are published as a representation of a stage which does in fact exist. The Phylotipic Stage IS a scientific fact. Haeckel's theories are not.

      But laws are based in well confirmed observations I call them facts.

      Yes, they are derived from facts. But you can draw up a law to explain facts. That does not necessarily mean that law is well-evidenced.

      So well evidenced as Haeckel`s drawings.

      No, no-one uses Haeckel's drawings as evidence for evolution.

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    6. RitchieFeb 23, 2012 10:24 AM
      "They are not published as facts. They are published as a representation of a stage which does in fact exist. The Phylotipic Stage IS a scientific fact. Haeckel's theories are not."

      Now, since the past fiften years. Before were considered facts. And my point was that "were though to be a fact."

      "No, no-one uses Haeckel's drawings as evidence for evolution."

      I know, but the "evidence" is of the same quality?

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    7. Blas -

      Now, since the past fiften years. Before were considered facts. And my point was that "were though to be a fact."

      Fifteen years? No-one has given Haeckel's theories any credit in one hundred and fifty years. And no-one considered them 'facts' at any time.

      I know, but the "evidence" is of the same quality?

      Such as what?

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    8. Ritchie:"Fifteen years? No-one has given Haeckel's theories any credit in one hundred and fifty years."

      Look at the data of the citations in the Richardson paper mentioned before:

      "As a consequence, all vertebrates are often said to pass through a
      common stage when they look virtually identical
      (Haeckel 1874; Butler and Juurlink 1987; Wolpert 1991;
      Alberts et al. 1994; Collins 1995)"

      "Thus the relationship between evolution
      and development has come to be modelled as an “evolutionary hourglass” (Fig. 1; Elinson 1987; Duboule 1994;
      Collins 1995)"

      When started to appear papers with the new model? late eighties When started to change texbooks?


      Ritchie: "And no-one considered them 'facts' at any time."

      Of course, never darwinians said something wrong is a fact!

      Ritchie:"The Phylotipic Stage IS a scientific fact."

      How many years will take darwinians accept that phylotipic stage it is not so "incredible similar" but ToE predicted it.

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    9. Blas -

      When started to appear papers with the new model? late eighties When started to change texbooks?

      ?? They are exaggerated, but they do show a phase which is scientific fact.

      Of course, never darwinians said something wrong is a fact!

      What? You're just making weird accusations now.

      How many years will take darwinians accept that phylotipic stage it is not so "incredible similar" but ToE predicted it.

      Well why don't you help that along by publishing that in a peer reviewed scientific journal?

      Delete
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  26. I was not spoon-fed "atheism" while in college. Nor was I told that any particular religions are bad. What actually caused my realization of atheism was a personal interest in questioning how there can be so many different religious views where all the participants are equally 100% sure of their positions. Stemming from this I sought to understand what atheism actually means, because I had before thought that atheism was an inherently bad thing due to all of the negative connotation it carries. When I forced myself to really understand the meaning of atheism, I realized that it's not a bad thing at all, and is in fact the most logical position if one values evidence based approaches. If anything, one could say that a college education aided me toward my personal realization of my atheism by showing me the value of critical thinking. But that's not the same as saying universities are spoon-feeding atheism.

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    1. Indeed.

      We create knowledge though criticism, not though arguments from authority.

      Delete
    2. If you just blindly accept everything a source tells you because you just trust that source to be inerrant, then you will never know if what the source is telling you is actually true.

      To know if something is true, you have to critically analyse it. If the proposal survives the rigours of critical analysis then it is reasonable to accept it.

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    3. Makes sense.
      Who develops the criteria?

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    5. Seriously?

      "Oh yeah, it totally makes sense that we should question authority. Now who's the authority on questioning authority? I want to make sure I do it right."

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    7. Scott: "We create knowledge though criticism, not though arguments from authority."

      When we read a biology book that says a phylotipic Stage IS a scientific fact. Do we create knoledge?

      Delete
  27. Smith: Makes sense. Who develops the criteria?

    Who? But that would be yet another argument from authority, would it not?

    Rather the question would be, how do we explain our relatively recent, rapid increase in in knowledge.

    How do you explain it?

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    1. Scott,

      Regressing to one of you're previous questions, what if god did come complete with all knowledge? I'm not sure how that changes anything, save terminology. That is, now you would have to ask "how is knowledge discovered" vs. "how is it created".

      Its a interesting distinction to a logician. It seems to paralell a split between classical logic and construtivist logic. In classic logic, a statement is assumed to be either true or false whether or not we can actually prove which it is. To a constructivist, statements are neither until the time at which one or the other can be shown. My knowledge on the subject is limited, but both systems are interesting in their own right. With classic logic we can construct the real numbers, but with constructivist I believe we avoid mathematical paradoxes. However in both systems, as with discussions about god, unknowns are simply just that, unknowns.

      Again, this practically changes nothing. We still have to discuss how we discover/create knowledge, so your question is a good one. Let me pose an answer as to how we explain our relatively recent, rapid increase in in knowledge. Divine revelation. Its a sign that god thinks we are ready for his knowledge so he is giving us more of it.

      Delete
    2. How is divine revelation transmitted?

      Delete
    3. T Cook: Its a interesting distinction to a logician. It seems to paralell a split between classical logic and construtivist logic. In classic logic, a statement is assumed to be either true or false whether or not we can actually prove which it is.

      In general, what you're calling classic logic is referred to as realism.

      FYI, I'm a realist and a critical rationalist, rather than a constructionist.

      T Cook: Again, this practically changes nothing.

      Actually, I'd strongly suggest otherwise.

      If we theorize that knowledge was created, rather than discovered, this would have necessary empirical consequences for observations of the current state of the system.

      For example, if knowledge had aways existed, an abstract designer could have simultaneously created both the most complex forms of life and the least complex forms of life. In addition, it could have created life in the order of most complex to least complex. This is because an abstract designer has no defined limitations. Nor would an all knowing, supernatural designer that has always existed need to create knowledge.

      However, if knowledge of how to build more complex forms of life was created over time using a form of conjecture and refutation, this would have the *necessary* consequence of life appearing from least complex to most complex. Furthermore, it would *necessary*rule out the most complex and least complex forms appear simultaneously.

      In other words, adaptations cannot be built until the knowledge necessary to build those adaptations has been created. To suggest otherwise is to suggest these adaptations were created by magic.

      T Cook: Let me pose an answer as to how we explain our relatively recent, rapid increase in in knowledge. Divine revelation.

      Here's another difference. If we receive knowledge by divine revelation, then we would expect….

      A. Knowledge to be exhaustively true and to never become more accurate over time unless the revelation we're receiving is deceptive.

      B. Knowledge would not change as this source could account for an infinite number of parallel yet unrelated events that might effect it's outcome. Essentially, knowledge is prophecy, since it predicts what we will experience in the future.

      This is in contrast to creating knowledge, which results in explanations of how things *are* in reality, which changes over time.

      T Cook: Its a sign that god thinks we are ready for his knowledge so he is giving us more of it.

      What is God's criteria for being ready? This seems ad-hoc.

      For example, if hominids with essentially the same brain structure as our own have been around for roughly 150,000 years. What recently changed that indicated we were "ready?"

      Delete
    4. T Cook: I'm not sure how that changes anything, save terminology. That is, now you would have to ask "how is knowledge discovered" vs. "how is it created".

      If we discover knowledge, this would require some sort of principle of induction. Specifically, it would require a means by which a number of singular statements based on observations could become universal statements. What's you explanation for how this would occur?

      Delete
    5. Scott, I'm not talking about realism. I mean classical logic in the mathematical sense, wiki, vs. constructivism, wiki

      Your example: The designer could have designed life from most complex, but not necessarily. So the emperical consequence depends on your explanitory framework that (wrongly?) expects that he would want to. The contrary position does requre that life emerges from simple to complex, so I agree that it does make a better explanation. But this isn't my point. My point is that whether or not god new everything and always did is inconsequental, in the same way that aliens evolving a long time ago in a galaxy far away with technology far superior to ours is inconsequental to the state of our knowledge. That knowledge was created already, however it was lost and must be rediscovered.

      Delete
    6. "In other words, adaptations cannot be built until the knowledge necessary to build those adaptations has been created. To suggest otherwise is to suggest these adaptations were created by magic."

      This doesn't make sense. The knowledge in the genome is the adaption. So the knowledge is not created before the adaptation. This is not equating mutations with magic. Moreover, I find it just as likely that a mutation could have happened in a previous generation, and the same mutation would have had the same effect. So, if you accept that the same phenomenon would have had the same effect at an earlier time--before it was actually created--then this really muddies the water.

      Delete
    7. Scott, re Divine Revelation.


      A. Uhh. We're being led down a path by god and he reveals what's best for us at the time and in terms we can currently understand.

      B. Sure. Everything that ever could or will happen must be known by god. That hardly changes the definition of god.

      "...this seems ad-hoc."
      Yeah, don't it? I'm sorry. I posted this divine revelation part in the role of devil's advocate and don't really care to defend it properly anymore.

      Delete
    8. "If we discover knowledge, this would require some sort of principle of induction. Specifically, it would require a means by which a number of singular statements based on observations could become universal statements. What's you explanation for how this would occur?"

      Interesting. Sounds like you are saying that to discover knowledge we first need an explanitory framework; which to my mind is a symbolic language. So to discover knowledge we first need a language to express the knowledge. So to gain knowledge we must first have knowledge of a language. Thats quite profound. However, the solution to this is the same as that as for knowledge creation. We discovered the knowledge to do this. (Through, of course, conjecture and refutation.)

      I don't think I'll get back to further replys today. Thanks Scott.

      Delete
    9. T Cook: Your example: The designer could have designed life from most complex, but not necessarily. So the emperical consequence depends on your explanitory framework that (wrongly?) expects that he would want to.

      There are only necessary consequence for the order *if* knowledge of how to build the biosphere had been created. There are no necessary consequences if knowledge knowledge of how to build the biosphere had always existed.

      We can say the same regarding how over 98% of all species have gone extinct.

      If all knowledge had existed, the designer could have designed each species so it could adapt, rather than go extinct. This is because it would have knowledge of the environment, including what the knowledge of species it will design, future events, how to build the features necessary for the organism to adapt, etc. In this case, there is no necessary consequences for the current state of the system.

      However, if the knowledge of how to build the biosphere was created, then the knowledge of what future environment will be, what species will appear, how to build the features necessary to adapt, etc., will not yet exist. Rather, the knowledge will start out in a primitive form and get more accurate over time. As such, there *would* be *necessary* consequences for the current state of the system.

      T Cook: My point is that whether or not god new everything and always did is inconsequental, in the same way that aliens evolving a long time ago in a galaxy far away with technology far superior to ours is inconsequental to the state of our knowledge. That knowledge was created already, however it was lost and must be rediscovered.

      God, supposedly created everything from nothing.

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    10. I wrote: God, supposedly created everything from nothing.

      To clarify, God, supposedly created everything from nothing. Aliens did not. As such, whether all knowledge had always existed, which God supposedly always had access to, would have a necessarily consequences, should we take that assumption seriously.

      Delete
    11. Scott: "In other words, adaptations cannot be built until the knowledge necessary to build those adaptations has been created. To suggest otherwise is to suggest these adaptations were created by magic."

      T Cook: This doesn't make sense. The knowledge in the genome is the adaption. So the knowledge is not created before the adaptation.

      One significant difference between objects we design, such as cars, and organisms, is that cars do not build themselves. As of yet, they do not repair themselves. Nor do we take a small chunk of material from a car, suspend it in a mixture of oil and gas and end up with a complete car several months later. As such, the knowledge of how to adapt raw materials into a specific make and model of car resides in us, books and the robots we've constructed to build them, rather than the car itself.

      However, organisms do build themselves. Human beings start out as a single fertilized egg that, when provided energy from it's mother, results in an entire infant six months later. In fact, some salamanders actually can rebuild entire limbs, including skin, muscle, bone and even nerves.

      As such, organisms do contain the knowledge of how to build themselves, as the cell contains the knowledge of how to adapt resources to build the specific features which are unique to each species. So, the question I'm asking is, how was this knowledge created?

      What you seem to be referring to is the knowledge of how to build DNA. But, as we see above, this knowledge must also exist in the organism as additional strands of DNA are assembled by the cell when it divides. So the knowledge of how to build DNA strands is part of that same knowledge.

      In other words, the ability to construct DNA strands is just one of many adaptations that requires knowledge to build.

      T Cook: This is not equating mutations with magic.

      Mutations are not magic. They represent conjecture in the form of genetic variation, which is part of the process by which the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations is created.

      Delete
    12. Scott: "To clarify, God, supposedly created everything from nothing. Aliens did not. As such, whether all knowledge had always existed, which God supposedly always had access to, would have a necessarily consequences, should we take that assumption seriously."

      I do take the assumption seriously. It's the necessity of consequences I doubt. That god had known everything from the beginning is no more of a hurdle for theism than the existence of god in the first place or him creating everything from nothing. God is afterall by definition all knowing and has always existed. God could have designed the universe differently, i presume, but since we don't know his motives then those consequences remain a mystery.

      In your post above the one I quoted you say, "There are no necessary consequences if knowledge knowledge of how to build the biosphere had always existed." Are we in violent agreement on this point? Because you are arguing against the consequnces first but then you follow it up with saying that there are consequences.

      Delete
    13. Scott: "So, the question I'm asking is, how was this knowledge created?

      What you seem to be referring to is the knowledge of how to build DNA. But, as we see above, this knowledge must also exist in the organism as additional strands of DNA are assembled by the cell when it divides. So the knowledge of how to build DNA strands is part of that same knowledge.

      In other words, the ability to construct DNA strands is just one of many adaptations that requires knowledge to build."

      Yes. The knowledge to build the DNA is coded in the DNA. The knowldege of how to build DNA presumably came from non-DNA and or non-living replicators.

      Adaptataions come from additional knowldedge gained through imperfect replication. In a very real sense, the adaptations are the mutations, the adaptations *are* the knowledge. We don't have adaptations without the knowledge. So yes, in a sense the knowledge must be "created" first. However, as I said before, this is exactly the same as specifying that the knowledge must be "discovered" first. There is really no difference.

      You insist on using "created," since it suggests god having all knowledge from the beginning; which you suppose is somehow a problem. I don't see how. It seems to me that you are using "created" as a mechanism to disprove god. Careful with this line of thought. God can do anything. He stands as the solution to every paradox and contradiction. He can't be disproven. Its one thing to say that its a bad explanation, but you seem to be going beyond that here.

      Delete
    14. Scott "...would have a necessarily consequences, should we take that assumption seriously."

      Is this a question? I read it as "we should." not "should we?"

      I think I just wasted a lot of time agreeing with you. No. I don't think we should take this seriously.

      Delete
    15. T Cook,

      I think we're in agreement.

      Whether there are necessary consequences depends on whether God aways had knowledge of how to build everything and anything possible. If God always had this knowledge, there would be no necessary consequences for the most complex and least complex appearing simultaneously, the order in which appeared, etc.

      Note, I'm not referring to God always having known what he wanted to create, chaining his mind, etc. While I think these things are problematic, they do not impact the substance of the argument I'm presenting.

      T Cook; So yes, in a sense the knowledge must be "created" first. However, as I said before, this is exactly the same as specifying that the knowledge must be "discovered" first. There is really no difference.

      What do you mean by discover? Does all knowledge come to us from the senses? If so, in what way? In other words, how do you explain our ability to make progress?

      For example, if we discovered knowledge, wouldn't that have an effect on the type of knowledge we'd end up with? Rather than becoming more accurate over time, it would be exhaustively accurate because we somehow discover it already packed up for us in reality through our senses.

      However, if we create knowledge, we'd always expect our it to contain errors and to gradually become more accurate over time as we discard them. We would never expect it to be exhaustively accurate as there would always be errors to discard.

      So, if knowledge had always existed, it would be a sort of prophecy, in that it would predict what we experience, rather than represent unseen explanations about how things are in reality.

      T Cook: I don't see how. It seems to me that you are using "created" as a mechanism to disprove god. Careful with this line of thought.

      I'm not trying to disprove God. I'm pointing out that the claim that "God did it" has no necessary, empirical consequences for the current state of the system. As such, it's unclear how could we determine if this assumption is wrong, rather than merely dogma. This is faith

      On the other hand, CH says there is no evidence that evolution is true, so it's also faith.

      However, if the knowledge of how to build the biosphere was created by conjecture, in the form of genetic variation, and refutation, in the form of natural selection, there would be *necessary* empirical consequences for the current state of the biosphere. So, there is empirical evidence that the underlying explanation behind evolutionary theory is true.

      Scott: Scott "...would have a necessarily consequences, should we take that assumption seriously."

      T Cook: "Is this a question? I read it as "we should." not "should we?"

      T Cook: I think I just wasted a lot of time agreeing with you. No. I don't think we should take this seriously."

      We have to take it seriously to determine if it contains errors, such as being self-inconsistent. We also need to take it seriously to determine if it would have any necessary consequences based on the rest of our current, best explanations.

      However we need to be weary of theories that essentially claim a particular consequence is necessary as part of the theory itself. See my discussion with WG above for an example. (A just God would necessarily do X because the theory also claims X is what a just God would necessarily do.)

      Delete
    16. Scott,

      It does sound wierd to say "knowledge discovery." Knowledge requires a knower, so I prefer "truth* discovery." Where the asterick over truth represents how we only have finer and finer approximations of some ultimate reality. I present this in contrast to what you previously wrote to butler, below. (As an aside, "truth" discovery is where my comment about constructivism comes in. In constructivist mathematical logic, showing that something implies a contriadiction is not a valid method for proving the opposite. Instead, that something has to be directly shown to exist. When I think of the universe in these terms, it makes the actual existence of undiscovered universal reality seem that much more mysterious. Can they actually be called truths? Are they actualy real?)

      You wrote:
      Specially, your belief in God is the foundation of your belief that all knowledge has aways existed, rather than having been created using a form of conjecture and refutation. However, it's unclear what evidence this believe is based on.

      In other words, the specific belief that all knowledge has always existed *is* in opposition to the ability to create knowledge. If we actually create knowledge, rather than knowledge having always existed, then assuming the bible is a error free source that is exhaustively true and and should not change is in opposition to the creation of knowledge.

      So, what I'm saying here is that the the key point of contention regarding evolutionary theory is whether knowledge is created or has always existed.


      I'm not arguing that the Bible is error free. What I'm saying is that God having knowledge is irrelevant to us having knowledge. Isn't it? Him having knowledge is not in opposition to us creating knowledge for ourselves. That is unless you define knowledge creation as a one time universal process, (do you?) in which case I suggest that our knowledge creation is simply the discovery of what is already known by god. (Except he also knows the error associated with our approximate knowledge and we still have to discover that part.)

      I agree that the explation of "revelation" of knowledge is ad-hoc and unfounded, and when you think of knowledge discovery in this way it is equally arbitrary. Clinging to the inerrency of the bible also retards our knowledge creation. But the inerrency doesn't negate god having all the knowledge unless you assume that the bible reflects that knowledge. I'm sorry for arguing this without first making that point clear. Its a bit of argumentation of a point out of its original context. I am not assuming a perfect bible, nor the necessary perfection of any knowledged gained.

      What do you mean by discover? Does all knowledge come to us from the senses? If so, in what way? In other words, how do you explain our ability to make progress?

      For example, if we discovered knowledge, wouldn't that have an effect on the type of knowledge we'd end up with? Rather than becoming more accurate over time, it would be exhaustively accurate because we somehow discover it already packed up for us in reality through our senses.


      I don't see why discovered truth* would necessarily be exhaustive if what we are discovering is finer and finer approximations of some universality. Discovered knowledge on the other hand, perfect and bundled, is a problem, and doesn't reflect the world we see. So I agree with the description of created knowledge being the accumulation of discovered truths*. I don't agree that knowledge created is universal, however. Its on a per individual, per lineage basis, and so god having knowledge is irrelevant to us. Wouldn't you agree?

      Delete
    17. Scott, I'd like to make a note regarding when you say there is no consequence on the state of the world for god having all knowledge. That is, he could have made the world in any way so it didn't necessarily have to be this one. There is a consequence of this theory, but not on the state of the universe. Assuming he's perfect and would do perfect things, then what does the state of the universe tell us about god's motives? He could have made it in any way, why this way? First, we have to assume a god in the first place. Not a problem for most people. Secondly, we have to assume that our dedutive methods even apply to god. They don't. This is another way in which the god hypothesis is a utterly useless one. Not only does it tell us nothing about the universe in which we live, but the universe in which we live tells us nothing about god.

      I know I'm preaching to the choir on this one. I'll take my response off the air.

      Delete
  28. Haeckel's embryo drawings were presented for over a century in biology textbooks as evidence for evolution.

    The takeaway from the drawings were that they were scientifically precise and accurately depicted embryos. The drawings themselves were taught for over a century as a factual depiction of reality, but they were doctored drawings for the purpose of committing scientific fraud.

    On that point it is outright fraud and deceit.

    Professional biologists, such as evolutionist and author Stephen Gould, knew that drawings were fake but said nothing for years until creationists spoke out critically of the fake drawings. After pressure from creationists, evolutionists slowly and hesitantly admitted they were fake. Gould came clean and admitted the sham, but many evolutionists still want to whitewash it.

    With so many evolutionists willing to continue to whitewash an obvious fake, how do we expect them to have integrity with things that are less obvious?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tedford the idiot

      blah blah blah Haeckel's embryo blah blah blah Piltdown Man blah blah blah Miller-Urey blah blah blah


      It's amazing that Creationist idiots like Tedford haven't updated their act since the 1960's. BORING.

      Delete
  29. It does make one think about what else evolutionists are lying about, or just plain wrong about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. natschuster

      It does make one think about what else evolutionists are lying about, or just plain wrong about.


      ...says the guy who admitted to lying about being interested in science just to troll the board, and who also just got caught lying about reading a scientific paper.

      You have an interesting sense of timing to go along with your complete lack of ethics.

      Delete
  30. The point is that if scientists are lying, then why should we believe them?

    If the evidence for evolution is so strong, why do they need to fake the visual aids?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. natschuster

      The point is that if scientists are lying, then why should we believe them?


      They're not. It's Creationists like you who are lying to push your religious agenda.

      If the evidence for evolution is so strong, why do they need to fake the visual aids?

      They don't. That's another Creationist lie which has been refuted 1000x over.

      Delete
    2. But the actual embryos don't look like the drawings. How could they not be faked?

      Delete
    3. And if they weren't faked, how come I keep reading that they where?

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

      And why can't they use accurate drawings, if the evidence is so good?

      Delete
    4. nat -

      But the actual embryos don't look like the drawings. How could they not be faked?

      'Faked' is perhaps a little emotive a term. Exaggerated is more accurate. The point of the drawings is to demonstrate similarity of embryos - a similarity which does in fact exist.

      And why can't they use accurate drawings, if the evidence is so good?

      A reasonable point. Many do.

      However, the issue is that slavering, rabid ID-ers are pointing to Haeckel's drawings as evidence that 'ToE is based on LIES'! Which clearly is not the case.

      Delete
  31. natschuster said, "If the evidence for evolution is so strong, why do they need to fake the visual aids?"

    Good point. Why indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ritchie said, "If you just blindly accept everything a source tells you because you just trust that source to be inerrant, then you will never know if what the source is telling you is actually true."

    --


    Evolutionists published fake Haeckels drawings for over a century. That's blind acceptance of obvious fraud.

    Piltdown man. Blind acceptance by a whole generation - 40 years



    Richitie said, "To know if something is true, you have to critically analyse it. If the proposal survives the rigours of critical analysis then it is reasonable to accept it."

    --

    Let me know when evolutionists are ready to begin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Let me know when evolutionists are ready to begin."

      The starting gun reported a long time ago, Tedford. You better start running, you're already way behind.

      Delete
    2. Neal -

      Evolutionists published fake Haeckels drawings for over a century.

      But it is not used as evidence, as so many bungling ID-ers claim. It is published, true, but only as an illustration of a scientific fact which is, in fact, true.

      Piltdown man. Blind acceptance by a whole generation - 40 years

      Discredited theories and exposed frauds does not undermine the importance of critical analysis - nor the credibilty of the theory of evolution, since evidence for absolutely every claim it makes can be found if one has the slightest willingness to look.

      Delete
  33. Tedford,

    Unlike you would love to believe, Piltdown man was never without skeptics since it didn't quite fit all the predictions of the time. Regardless it was widely accepted. However, as more fossils were recovered and Piltdown man appeared more aberrant from the evolutionary expectation, skeptics grew. Eventually "magnifying glass carying" evolutionists, proved that it was a forgery. They closely investigated the skull precisely because they expected it to be fake. Evolution made a prediction that it was fake, and was vindicated yet again. Yes, that the hoax lasted for 40 years does point to the fallability of scientists. What were you expecting, scientists to be perfect like priests? On the other hand the uncovery of the hoax is a success for evolution.

    Its a hypocritical double standard that you hold evolution to. That all evidence ever presented under its banner must be true or else its all false. Do you hold Chrisitanity to the same standard?

    ReplyDelete
  34. T Cook,

    Nothing is ever without skeptics, but it was, as you say widely accepted. But this is not an isolated incident. Piltdown and Haeckel were the extreme frauds that many educated people were taught when they were young, but other well known examples of evolution were published with a scientific matter of factness, when they were far from it.

    What examples: Everything I can think of, some worse than others. Miller-Urey, peppered moths, and bird beaks leave the scientific method of experimentation and reporting weeping in the house of shame. Other examples, such as arguing for common descent from homology is circular reasoning. On and on goes the shabby, corrupted evidence that evolutionists routinely use (i.e abuse).

    ReplyDelete
  35. (T Cook, on the discovery of knowledge):
    Yes, but if I've read Scott correctly, he believes that knowledge is created, not discovered.

    Ritchie: "To know if something is true, you have to critically analyse it. If the proposal survives the rigours of critical analysis then it is reasonable to accept it."

    If truth requires critique for validation, the method of critique itself is authoritative, is it not?

    Scott: "... This is in contrast to creating knowledge, which results in explanations of how things *are* in reality, which changes over time."

    Are you saying that reality is relative to the what is known about it, and that the knowledge created about reality alters reality over time?

    If so, what is the authority by which knowledge is created?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smith -

      If truth requires critique for validation, the method of critique itself is authoritative, is it not?

      Errr, no. I don't see why. Authority doesn't come into it. It's a different process altogether.

      A claim is true or it is not. Some claims are true, others false. Critical analysis is the process we use for filtering the true claims from the false ones. The claims which have survives such a process we may be reasonably confident are true.

      Delete
    2. Truth is not authoritative?

      Delete
    3. What do you even mean by that? Are you just playing silly word games?

      Delete
    4. Is truth authoritative?

      Silly word games? Hardly.

      Delete
    5. Sophistic philosopher is sophistic.

      Delete
    6. Is truth authoritative?

      You've just repeated the question. I would like you to explain what you mean by it please, not just repeat it.

      Delete
    7. Of course.

      Scott: "We create knowledge through criticism, not through arguments from authority"

      and

      Richie: "To know if something is true, you have to critically analyse it. If the proposal survives the rigours of critical analysis then it is reasonable to accept it.

      To paraphrase, truth and knowledge are created or validated through criticism.

      So,
      1. the boundaries for criticism must be made
      2. if we make the boundaries, we authorize the criticism
      3. criticism is an argument from authority
      4. knowledge is not created through arguments from authority

      Is truth, then, authoritative as it is a product of the authority of criticism?

      Or, is truth authoritative as it is a product of the authority of those make define the boundaries of criticism?

      Delete
    8. 2. if we make the boundaries, we authorize the criticism

      Wrong sense of the word 'authorize'.

      We might have to decide and agree on what constitutes valid critical analysis, but we do not make such decisions via authority alone.

      The sense of 'authority' as in 'argument from authority' is to accept a statement as true just because someone says it is true WITHOUT EVALUATING IT ON ITS OWN MERITS.

      Critical analysis, by contrast, does analyse claims on their own merits.

      You cannot both analyse, and not analyse, a claim.

      Delete
    9. What he seems to be aiming for in his own ham fisted way is a variation on the old creationist canard: "If nature has 'laws' there must be a law giver, therefore God."

      He's aiming for something like "If truth is authoritative there must be an authority that made it so, therefore God."

      Delete
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      Delete
    11. Smith: To paraphrase, truth and knowledge are created or validated through criticism.

      1. the boundaries for criticism must be made

      2. if we make the boundaries, we authorize the criticism

      What do you mean by "boundaries"?

      Smith: If truth requires critique for validation, the method of critique itself is authoritative, is it not?

      Is critiquing explanations for errors authoritative?

      For example, If one suggested, the man who robbed the bank was a married bachelor, would it be authoritative to say that this explanation failed criticism?

      To use another example, if someone said they recognized the bank robber from as a man who lived in the building across the street, but the video surveillance clearly indicated the man never took of his mask. What if that someone was blind? Would it be authoritative to say these explanations failed criticism?

      My point is that the process of criticism isn't authoritative in that it does not positively justify one specific possibility as being true. Rather, we use criticism to exclude explanations based on their own assumptions, along with the rest of our current, best explanations.

      Delete
    12. So then, Ritchie, part of critical analysis is dependent upon our authority, but part is not. What else, beyond our authority, constitutes critical analysis?

      I see, Scott. So We work with what we have within the frameworks that we have made.

      Delete
    13. Smith -

      So then, Ritchie, part of critical analysis is dependent upon our authority, but part is not.

      No, I never said that - you did.

      Meet Bob. Bob is a very loyal and obedient worker. He believes everything his boss tells him. He thinks his boss is ever-so clever and knows everything about everything. If his boss says something is so, then Bob believes it, and that's all he needs to know.

      Now meet Harry. Harry works for the same boss. However, he has far more reservations about just taking the boss' word for everything. Instead, he actually goes out of his way to test his boss' claims, whether by logical deduction, or real-world experimentation, or straw polls among other people he knows, or whatever. The point is that he tests the claims his boss makes to see if they are true - and finds that they don't always match up to Harry's data, which gives him reason to doubt those claims.

      Who has more knowledge, Bob or Harry? Bob certainly has an answer for every question, and that's good enough for him. He's perfectly happy like that. But the thing is, he has no way of telling if his beliefs are true. If his boss said something that wasn't true, he would have no way of catching it. Harry at least stands a chance of picking up on it because he tests his boss' claims against the outside world to see if the reflect reality.

      Fair enough Harry has to use his own judgement as to whether his tests are sufficient to validate or falsify his boss' claims, but this is by no means an appeal to authority.

      It is Harry whose beliefs stand a much better chance of being correct.

      Delete
    14. Ritchie: "We might have to decide and agree on what constitutes valid critical analysis, but we do not make such decisions via authority alone."

      Smith: "...part of critical analysis is dependent upon our authority, but part is not."

      A re-phrasing. What else constitutes the decisions regarding critical analysis beyond authority?

      Delete
    15. Smith -

      You're trying to box me into making claims I have not made. Critical analysis is not dependent on authority at all.

      Critical analysis is steered chiefly logical deduction. Authority doesn't come into it.

      Delete
    16. Smith: I see, Scott. So We work with what we have within the frameworks that we have made.

      This seems unnecessary vague, as it could be applied to almost anything.

      Delete
    17. Smith,

      You seem to think that a means of criticizing explanations for errors must be based on authority. However, this isn't the case.

      Specifically, we create explanations as to how we make progress, then criticize those explanations for errors.

      As such, the question is not, "Which method should we use?" Rather, the question is, "How can we correct errors in our our method of criticism.

      For example, what's your explanation for our relatively recent, rapid, increase in the creation of knowledge?

      Delete
    18. Ritchie: "We might have to decide and agree on what constitutes valid critical analysis, but we do not make such decisions via authority alone."

      And then,
      “…Critical analysis is not dependent on authority at all.”

      No, I’m not trying to box you in. You have indeed made one for yourself though. I am curious as to which version you feel is most accurate.

      Scott: “You seem to think that a means of criticizing explanations for errors must be based on authority. However, this isn't the case.

      Specifically, we create explanations as to how we make progress, then criticize those explanations for errors."

      Which brings about our discussion of criteria. Yet, criteria for criticism requires knowledge, which is brought about by criticism, which requires knowledge, which is brought about by criticism...

      What are the means for criticizing explanations based upon?

      Delete
    19. Smith -

      No, I’m not trying to box you in. You have indeed made one for yourself though. I am curious as to which version you feel is most accurate.

      The latter then. There is no appeal to authority in critical analysis.

      Delete
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      Delete
    21. Smith: Which brings about our discussion of criteria. Yet, criteria for criticism requires knowledge, which is brought about by criticism, which requires knowledge, which is brought about by criticism...

      Smith, it's seems you've being unnecessarily vague, yet again.

      I specifically indicated that criticism represents testing an explanation for errors. This includes internal consistency, along with consistency with the rest of our current, best explanations.

      Are you suggesting we cannot create explanations as to how knowledge is created, then criticize them for errors? If so, why not?

      Do we create knowledge because "That's just what God must have wanted"? Is it magic?

      How do you explain our ability to create knowledge?

      Delete
    22. “Current best” would require a standard of evaluation to deem it so. If the designation and standard are derived from the method of critical analysis, it would seem that the method is inherently “authoritative.” Otherwise, it is up to those who critique to determine the standard, using said critical analysis as the means by which the standards are decided. This may well be the case, and cheers to that. Yet, I puzzle over the validity of such a model – especially if critical analysis both creates and evaluates the very knowledge that must exist in order for critical analysis to be a useful method.

      By your descriptions, critical analysis as a method just “is.” Certainly either magic or deity. Is that what you're going at?

      Delete
    23. Smith: “Current best” would require a standard of evaluation to deem it so. If the designation and standard are derived from the method of critical analysis, it would seem that the method is inherently “authoritative.”

      I realize it may "seem" that way to you, as you appear to be a justificationist.

      However, see the question I asked above, with you did not respond to. Specifically…..

      Are you suggesting we cannot create explanations as to how knowledge is created, then criticize them for errors? If so, why not?

      Smith: Otherwise, it is up to those who critique to determine the standard, using said critical analysis as the means by which the standards are decided. This may well be the case, and cheers to that. Yet, I puzzle over the validity of such a model – especially if critical analysis both creates and evaluates the very knowledge that must exist in order for critical analysis to be a useful method.

      No, that would also be authoritative as well. Again, I'd suggest you find this puzzling because you're a justificationist.

      From the Wikipedia entry on Critical Rationalism.

      Justificationism is what Popper called a "subjectivist" view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way.

      In contrast, we create explanations for how we create knowledge, using conjecture. We then test those theories for errors. This includes testing any empirical content of the explanation via observations.

      As such, those performing the critique do not determine which explanations we DO use. Rather, the process of critique results in discarding explanations that are, themselves, found in error.

      Smith: By your descriptions, critical analysis as a method just “is.” Certainly either magic or deity. Is that what you're going at?

      At this point you seem to be using mirroring language, rather than addressing my questions regarding an explanation for how we create knowledge.

      The explanation I'm presenting is not "magic" as it does not represent the spontaneous appearance of knowledge. Nor am I presenting a simplistic "explanation", such as we create knowledge because God must have wanted us to and God gets what he wants.

      Delete
  36. I just want to commend all of the IDiots, and especially wgbutler, for continuing to show that none of you know anything about science and reality, that all of you are quite insane (especially butler), that all of you are dishonest and will try any deception to avoid facing reality and the truth, and most of all I want to thank you for proving beyond any doubt whatsoever that ID is a dishonest religious and political agenda, not a scientific one. With godbot screwballs like you speaking for ID, it will never be accepted by science, and for good reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  37. re: scott

    What you imply of conjecture and refutation in an evolutionary context is autonomic. How you apply conjecture and refutation in a theory testing environment is in a cognitive and choice-based context.

    Clearly, there is a difference, unless you regard those enacting the tests as followers of the critical rationalist philosophy as an absolute requirement for creating and understanding knowledge.

    It's also good to know that we're making par with one another in regards to answering/not answering questions.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Smith: What you imply of conjecture and refutation in an evolutionary context is autonomic. How you apply conjecture and refutation in a theory testing environment is in a cognitive and choice-based context.

    Clearly, there is a difference, unless you regard those enacting the tests as followers of the critical rationalist philosophy as an absolute requirement for creating and understanding knowledge.


    We can approach this in two ways..

    First, people are unique in that we can create explanations. Natural processes cannot.

    For example, it's likely no one has performed research to determine of eating a square meter of grass every day for a week would cure the common cold. Why is this unlikely? Is it because it's logically impossible? No. Is it because it's unfalsifiable? No, it would be trivial to test.

    So, why is it unlikely to have been the subject of research? Because we have no explanation as to how eating a square meter of grass every day would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it before we even bother testing it. And we do this for a near infinite number of possibilities, across all fields of science, each and every day.

    On the other hand, natural processes cannot create explanations. Which means they cannot use the lack of an explanation as to why a particular conjectured genetic variation would be beneficial to discard it, a priori, before it is tested by natural selection.

    So, they both represent variations of the same underlying explanation of how knowledge is created, conjecture and refutation.

    Second, while many people may think they use inductive reassigning to justify conclusions, this is actually a myth. If they did, this would require a principle by which singular statements based on observations could be turned into a universal statement.

    However, such a principle has been criticized and found to be in error.

    As Karl Popper put it, "The objectify of scientific statements lies in the fact that they can be inter-subjectivly tested."

    ReplyDelete
  39. Again, I'm still not clear.

    Are you suggesting we cannot create explanations as to how knowledge is created, then criticize them for errors? If so, why not?

    ReplyDelete
  40. "Again, I'm still not clear.

    Are you suggesting we cannot create explanations as to how knowledge is created, then criticize them for errors? If so, why not?"

    Not at all. Yet, the manner by which we validate the explanations and the methods by which we criticize them are based in subjectivity, as is apparent from your descriptions of the application of conjecture and refutation. CR is no different. Popper’s armageddon scenarios of rebuilding civilization requires both the belief that they would want to rebuild and the belief that the knowledge in the books used to rebuild was objective. The builders would have to adhere to the knowledge in the books. It would be their guide for how to order and structure their existence.

    Many years later, their descendants may ask where the knowledge to build and structure had come from. The builders would have to reply something to the effect of, “We learned it from books. We trusted in the knowledge found in books. ”

    A third civilization may have had another set of books entirely. They may have built their existence in stark contrast to the others. Their response would be, “The others are wrong. They are a danger to our existence. We must ensure that our way of life as given to us through books remains intact at all costs.”

    We’ve heard that before, have we not? And we discount such statements and their various roots as entirely religious, do we not?

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  41. "So, why is it unlikely to have been the subject of research? Because we have no explanation as to how eating a square meter of grass every day would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it before we even bother testing it. And we do this for a near infinite number of possibilities, across all fields of science, each and every day."

    You are taking the problem backwards, we do not test the grass because we do not know how it will cure the cold. We do not test the grass because we know what cause a cold and what happen whe we eat the grass.
    There are many fields in science where we take a "eat grass" approach because we do not know what cause the problem. For example, an approach to find new drugs is produce chemically variants of a given molecule (that can be without any activity)and test them all for unspecified bilogical activity, then search for each molecule with biological activity whot kind of activity has, and then test for potential use as drug.

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  42. Smith: Not at all.

    Then what's you explanation for how we create knowledge? How does evolutionary theory not fit this explanation?

    Smith: Yet, the manner by which we validate the explanations and the methods by which we criticize them are based in subjectivity, as is apparent from your descriptions of the application of conjecture and refutation. CR is no different.

    Again, you're assuming there is nothing but either subjectivity or objectivity. This is a common justifications view, and is explained in detail by Popper. Nor is it clear how we can get from singular statements based on observations to universal statements, which would be necessary for the type of objectivity you're appealing to.

    Smith: Popper’s armageddon scenarios of rebuilding civilization requires both the belief that they would want to rebuild and the belief that the knowledge in the books used to rebuild was objective. The builders would have to adhere to the knowledge in the books. It would be their guide for how to order and structure their existence.

    You're presenting a "subjectivist" view of the truth. That is, you're confusing whether some statement is true with the question of whether it can be justified (verified, established, proven) in some way.

    In other words, whether they choose to rebuild or not doesn't change whether these books did or did not contain knowledge.

    Smith: Many years later, their descendants may ask where the knowledge to build and structure had come from. The builders would have to reply something to the effect of, “We learned it from books. We trusted in the knowledge found in books. ”

    They would "have to reply"? You're assuming the knowledge in these books didn't include our explanation of how the knowledge it contained was created.

    Smith: A third civilization may have had another set of books entirely. They may have built their existence in stark contrast to the others. Their response would be, “The others are wrong. They are a danger to our existence. We must ensure that our way of life as given to us through books remains intact at all costs.”

    Why exactly would they do this?

    Again, you're assuming the knowledge in these books was not created over time, but thought to be infallible, error free, etc. As such, it could not be criticized, etc.

    Smith: We’ve heard that before, have we not? And we discount such statements and their various roots as entirely religious, do we not?

    What I'm hearing is your continued attempt to slip justificationist assumptions back into your argument.

    The question is, are you really this unaware of your assumptions, or are you disingenuously adding them, knowing full well it's a misrepresentation of my position?

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  43. Scott: Because we have no explanation as to how eating a square meter of grass every day would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it before we even bother testing it. And we do this for a near infinite number of possibilities, across all fields of science, each and every day."

    Blas: You are taking the problem backwards, we do not test the grass because we do not know how it will cure the cold. We do not test the grass because we know what cause a cold and what happen whe we eat the grass.

    First, you haven't made a clear distinction between "we lack an explanation as to how eating a square meter of grass every day would cure the common cold." and "we know what cause a cold and what happen whe we eat the grass."

    What's the difference?

    Second, how would we know what causes a cold and what happens when we eat grass? If your answer is induction, then how could we know this we did not empirically test using observations?

    Blas: For example, an approach to find new drugs is produce chemically variants of a given molecule (that can be without any activity)and test them all for unspecified bilogical activity, then search for each molecule with biological activity whot kind of activity has, and then test for potential use as drug.

    But this research is built on a number of explanatory frameworks, such as chemistry, molecular biology, explanations for similar interactions with similar molecules, etc.

    Again, you seem to be having difficult understating the subtle, yet important difference in what I'm suggesting.

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  45. Scott said:

    "What's the difference? "

    It simple Scott, if we do not know what cause the cold and we do not know what happen with the grass when eated it would be worthy to try cure the cold eating grass. Probably ancient cultures did, and tried other solution that we now discard in advence.
    You said that we do not try because we do not have an explanation and that it is not true, we do not try because we have an explanation why do not try.

    "explanations for similar interactions with similar molecules, etc. "

    No, the case I was refering is with ramdom molecules, the pipelines with know molecules al fully exploded by Pharma companies, they are looking for new if they exists.

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  46. Blas: You said that we do not try because we do not have an explanation and that it is not true, we do not try because we have an explanation why do not try.

    The thing is, you're not disagreeing with me. You only think you are.

    Essentially, you're explaining our lack of trying in that we lack an explanation as to why eating a square meter of grass every day for a week would cure the common cold.

    Which is my point.

    Blas: No, the case I was refering is with ramdom molecules, the pipelines with know molecules al fully exploded by Pharma companies, they are looking for new if they exists.

    Again, random molecules belong to the set of all molecules. We have theories about molecules in general that we're using when we decide to test random molecules.

    If you tried different objects as an alternative to a bowling ball you would base what alternatives to use based on general theories of mass, geometry, etc. You might randomly pick objects, such as feathers, but discard them, since we have no explanation as to how a feather could know down a bowling pin from several feet away. But you might pick a rock, a small tree stump, etc.. depending on its shape, weight, etc.

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  47. Blas: It simple Scott, if we do not know what cause the cold and we do not know what happen with the grass when eated it would be worthy to try cure the cold eating grass.

    What about singing in the shower, tap dancing, or standing on our head? What about the other near infinite number of logically possible cures for the common cold?

    Why are these not worthy of trying as well?

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