Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Non Scientific Claim Regularly Appears in Evolutionary Peer Reviewed Papers

Early in the twentieth century scientists studied blood immunity and how immune reaction could be used to compare species. The blood studies tended to produce results that parallel the more obvious indicators such as body plan. That is, humans are more closely related to apes than to fish or rabbits. These findings were soon proclaimed to be powerful confirmations of evolution. In 1923 evolution professor H. H. Lane cited this evidence as supporting “the fact of evolution.” This evidence would become another icon of evolution, lasting well through the twentieth century. In their 1976 text Evolution: Process and Product Edward Dodson and Peter Dodson argued that only evolution can explain the blood immunity data (which by the way is a non scientific claim to begin with, but that’s another story). Likewise Tim Berra argued from the blood immunity data in his 1990 Evolution and the Myth of Creationism. But the congruence that evolutionists celebrated was fleeting. Under the hood biology was not so cooperative.

Even by mid century contradictions to evolutionary expectations were becoming obvious in serological tests. As J.B.S.Haldane explained in 1949:

Now every species of mammal and bird so far investigated has shown quite a surprising biochemical diversity by serological tests. The antigens concerned seem to be proteins to which polysaccharides are attached. We do not know their functions in the organism, though some of them seem to be part of the structure of the cell membrane. I wish to suggest that they may play a part in disease resistance, a particular race of bacteria or virus being adapted to individuals of a certain range of biochemical constitutions, while those of other constitutions are relatively resistant.

Indeed these polysaccharides, or glycans, would become rather uncooperative with evolution. As one recent paper explained, glycans show “remarkably discontinuous distribution across evolutionary lineages,” for they “occur in a discontinuous and puzzling distribution across evolutionary lineages.” This dizzying array of glycans can be (i) specific to a particular lineage, (i) similar in very distant lineages, (iii) and conspicuously absent from very restricted taxa only. In other words, the evidence is not what evolution expected.

Here is how another paper described early glycan findings:

There is also no clear explanation for the extreme complexity and diversity of glycans that can be found on a given glycoconjugate or cell type. Based on the limited information available about the scope and distribution of this diversity among taxonomic groups, it is difficult to see clear trends or patterns consistent with different evolutionary lineages. It appears that closely related species may not necessarily share close similarities in their glycan diversity, and that more derived species may have simpler as well as more complex structures. Intraspecies diversity can also be quite extensive, often without obvious functional relevance.

So is the evidence a problem for evolution? No, of course not. For as the paper explains:

Here we discuss the significance of this remarkable diversity, mindful of the oft-repeated adage of Dobzhansky's that “nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.”

And so we are back to that “another story” again. This non scientific claim is, for evolutionists, the gift that just keeps on giving. It seems any evidential problem is easily disposed of with this handy truism. It is like a chant for evolutionists. Say it enough times and evolution is, as they say, a fact, in spite of the evidence. Here is how another, slightly more self-conscious, paper put it:

While we would certainly agree with the statement that “nothing in glycobiology makes sense, except in the light of evolution”, we must also realize that evolution only occurred once and that evolution does not follow well-defined rules. This situation is somewhat alleviated by the fact that after lineages diverge, more often than not they remain separated for good and, thus provide researchers with large numbers of iterations (“pseudo samples”) for which evolutionary processes have occurred independently. The study of these divergent lineages provides a good opportunity to elucidate evolutionary mechanisms.

Even in the worst of circumstances this favorite tenet of evolutionary thought is serviceable. It can always do the heavy lifting when necessary.

Religion drives science and it matters.

213 comments:

  1. Cornelius, you need to check your notes. You already did a Creationist drive-by butchering of this topic just a day ago.

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  2. Glycans: What Makes Them So Special? - The Complexity Of Glycans - short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXez_OyNBQA

    Glycans: Where Are They and What Do They Do? - short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgZ61TxnxKo

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  3. It would seem that Glycans, being on the cell's surface, would, besides immunity responses, be very important for explaining the exact positioning of cells in a multicellular organism (body-plan morphogenesis). In fact. experiments have been on done rearranging parts of a cell's surface in which the 'rearrangement' on the cell's surface carried forward even though the DNA sequence had remained the same:

    Cortical Inheritance: The Crushing Critique Against Genetic Reductionism - Arthur Jones - video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4187488

    So it seems clear that this 'cell surface information' represents another whole new level of information that is not reducible to DNA (central dogma of neo-Darwinism).

    Here is a article that gives a small glimpse at the extreme organizational complexity that goes into positioning all our cells into one human body:

    How many different cells are there in complex organisms?
    Excerpt: The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the cellular ontogeny of which has been precisely mapped, has 1,179 and 1,090 distinct somatic cells (including those that undergo programmed cell death) in the male and female, respectively, each with a defined history and fate. Therefore, if we take the developmental trajectories and cell position into account, C. elegans has 10^3 different cell identities, even if many of these cells are functionally similar. By this reasoning, although the number of different cell types in mammals is often considered to lie in the order of hundreds, it is actually in the order of 10^12 if their positional identity and specific ontogeny are considered. Humans have an estimated 10^14 cells, mostly positioned in precise ways and with precise organization, shape and function, in skeletal architecture, musculature and organ type, many of which (such as the nose) show inherited idiosyncrasies. Even if the actual number of cells with distinct identities is discounted by a factor of 100 (on the basis that 99% of the cells are simply clonal expansions of a particular cell type in a particular location or under particular conditions (for example, fat, muscle or immune cells)), there are still 10^12 positionally different cell types.
    http://ai.stanford.edu/~serafim/CS374_2006/papers/Mattick_NRG2004.pdf

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  4. Off to the races so soon, Thorton?

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  5. Slightly OT,BA,are you familiar with Robert J Russell?

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    1. Vel, No. But I know a little bit now. Thanks for the heads up.

      Robert John Russell Speaks on his Personal Journey to the Founding of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences - 15 minute video
      https://vimeo.com/25257066

      After watching the preceding, it seems, at least to me, that Dr. Russell is strong on his cosmological stance for intelligent design but is compromised a little bit on his biological stance for intelligent deisgn.

      Here Dr. Russell introduces George Ellis in what looks like it will be a very interesting video to watch later on today;

      Cosmology and Ultimate Causality - George Ellis - video
      https://vimeo.com/20681475

      Of note; George Ellis is a colleague of Stephen Hawking and mathematician Roger Penrose. As a team Hawking, Penrose, Ellis were instrumental in refining General Relativity to a point to reveal that not only did mass-energy have a absolute (singular) beginning in the Big Bang, but that space and time also had an absolute (singular) beginning:

      "Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past."
      (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) - 1970
      http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

      Amazing fine-tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word “miraculous” without taking a stand as to the ontological status of that word. - George Ellis

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    2. Thought it might be up your alley.

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  6. Why would religion drive science?

    Most religion is no threat to science, and science is no threat to most religion.

    There is no motivation for religion to drive science, and, of course, it does not.

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    1. Lizzie:

      Why would religion drive science?

      Well that is a deep question. The phrase “Theology is queen of the sciences” goes back to Medieval times so this is not exactly something new. Suffice it to say that while there probably are fairly straightforward answers to this question, it is also a deep subject. There is much to say, but for now I’d prefer to focus on the case of evolution. For starters, I would refer to you to this illustration of the reasons:

      http://www.darwinspredictions.com/Figure15.jpg


      Most religion is no threat to science

      Well there is little question that there is a complex interaction between religion and science. When and where religion becomes a “threat” is, I suppose, up for debate. But I think evolution is an obvious example where religion most definitely is a threat to science.


      There is no motivation for religion to drive science, and, of course, it does not.

      Given the abundant metaphysical and religious content of the evolution apologetic literature, I think that assertion would be difficult to defend.

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    2. CH said:"Well there is little question that there is a complex interaction between religion and science. When and where religion becomes a “threat” is, I suppose, up for debate. But I think evolution is an obvious example where religion most definitely is a threat to science."

      I do not follow you here Corelius, how can be religion a threat to science. Religion only can be a threat to bad science. And bad science is a threat to science.

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    3. Blas:

      Well science does not support the claims that something comes from nothing or that life and all the species spontaneously arose. Yet these ideas have penetrated science and today dominate science. Evolution is said to be a scientific fact, beyond rational doubt. But this all comes from religious mandate. So this is the sense in which I meant that religion is a threat to science.

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  7. Elizabeth, in the case of evolution, here is a good primer on how Charles Darwin used theology as a main argument for his theory.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/charles_darwin_theologian_majo046391.html

    Have you ever noticed during public evolutionary discussions that evolutionists invariably bring up some kind of argument about "God wouldn't have done it this way... disease, parasites eating birdies, eyeballs being wired backwards stuff and such".

    From my own discussions, I could not have a conversation for very long with an evolutionist before they bring stuff like this up. This is their rope-a-dupe strategy.

    The article from the British Journal for the History of Science investigates how Darwin used theology, not simply as a defense from arguments from Christians, but as a key support in building his case for Origin of Species.

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  8. Neal, whether or not Darwin had a theological rationale for his theory has nothing to do with its status as a theory. Newton had quite bizarre theological ideas, but it doesn't make his laws of motion any less acute.

    The reason that evolution makes sense isn't that "God wouldn't have done it this way". God might well have done it this way.

    The reason evolution makes sense is that it provides an excellent account of how complex, well adapted organisms can emerge without a Designer personally tweaking the designs. That doesn't mean there was no Designer, it just means that if there was, the Designer was smart enough to create a universe in which evolutionary processes would get on with the job, just as most religious people don't think that God personally guides each falling apple to the ground, or even (pace Newton) keeps the spheres in their motion, but simply designed a universe in which that's what apples, and orbiting spheres, do.

    Personally, ID seems a bizarre theory at least partly for reasons your evolutionist correspondents give - it seems far more coherent to me to posit a God who designed a universe with laws that meant that parasites as well as human beings with terrible child-bearing hips would evolve, than one who personally designed humans with terrible child-bearing hips and parasites to kill their children, just as it seems more coherent to posit a God who design a universe with gravitational forces that work willy nilly, for good or ill, than one who personally drops landslides on innocent villagers.

    But that's irrelevant to whether the science makes sense. However convenient for an atheist it is to have a theory of life that does not require divine creator to step in at some crucial time, that theory of life in no way rules such a God out either, so it would scarcely be a comfort.

    So there is simply no incentive for "religion" (or anti-religion) to "drive" science. Science neither helps nor hurts the case for a divine creator. It hurts the case for a divine creator who created the world 6,000 years ago in 6 days, of course, but the vast majority of religious people don't believe that anyway.

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  9. Elizabeth -

    It took me a while to get to the root of this rationale (and I can't swear I'm there), but as far as I can tell the reasoning goes thus:

    Science assumes metaphysical naturalism - that is, it assumes the world works exclusively on natural laws and that miracles never occur. This is an unjustified assumption - a religious bias driven by the belief that God did not create the world/does not exist.

    The ID-ers tend to get pretty cagey when anyone points out that the assumption of naturalism is not limited to evolution, or to biology, but to the whole of science. And that, quite apart from being a religious bias, is it an absolutely essential assumption for doing science.

    So now, whenever they see 'miracle' being discounted as a possible explanation (which they see 'evolutionist' biologists doing all the time), they cry "Religious bias".

    They don't necessarily insist any particular observation WAS brought about by a miracle. They just think science should be open to the possibility. It sounds so reasonable until you think it through and realise it renders science totally impossible.

    Unsurprisingly not one of them has actually proposed a method of performing science WITHOUT the assumption of naturalism.

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    1. Ritchie

      Unsurprisingly not one of them has actually proposed a method of performing science WITHOUT the assumption of naturalism.


      This deserves repeating.

      For all the bleating the IDCers here do about how naturalism is a such a horrible thing for science to assume, not a single one has offered any alternative, let alone a better one.

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    2. as to this comment: 'not one of them has actually proposed a method of performing science WITHOUT the assumption of naturalism.'

      This is a very peculiar statement for someone to make since it was the assumption of Theism, Christian Theism in particular,,,,

      (the universe was created by a rational Mind, and our mind is created in the image of that rational Mind, and therefore we can comprehend the universe to a deep level)

      ,,,that it was this Theistic assumption that brought science to a sustainable level of maturity and even grounds the pursuit of truth within science even to this day:

      Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
      IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
      Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
      http://www.robkoons.net/media/69b0dd04a9d2fc6dffff80b3ffffd524.pdf

      Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.
      ~ Alvin Plantinga

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    3. In fact a assumption of naturalism, that everything is the result of random material processes, is epistemologically self-defeating,,,

      Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? - Joe Carter
      Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
      http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/09/should-you-trust-the-monkey-mind

      The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory & The Multiverse - Dr. Bruce Gordon - video
      http://vimeo.com/34468027

      And Dr. Gordon's poignant last power-point is here:

      The End Of Materialism?
      * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
      * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
      * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
      * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

      And thus assuming (imposing) naturalism a-priori onto the scientific method, as a arbitrary constraint to what one may investigate and conclude, makes the scientific method itself epistomologically self-defeating.

      further note:

      Epistemology - Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? - article
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

      Is Life Unique? David L. Abel - January 2012
      Concluding Statement: The scientific method itself cannot be reduced to mass and energy. Neither can language, translation, coding and decoding, mathematics, logic theory, programming, symbol systems, the integration of circuits, computation, categorizations, results tabulation, the drawing and discussion of conclusions. The prevailing Kuhnian paradigm rut of philosophic physicalism is obstructing scientific progress, biology in particular. There is more to life than chemistry. All known life is cybernetic. Control is choice-contingent and formal, not physicodynamic.
      http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/

      "Nonphysical formalism not only describes, but preceded physicality and the Big Bang. Formalism prescribed, organized and continues to govern physicodynamics."
      http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/ag

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    4. BA :

      This is a very peculiar statement for someone to make since it was the assumption of Theism, Christian Theism in particular... that brought science to a sustainable level of maturity and even grounds the pursuit of truth within science even to this day

      Hogwash. Christians did not invent science. Science was a flourishing seed in the ancient cultures: Greece, Rome, Babylon, Egypt, etc. When Christianity swept to the fore in Western Europe, we had the Dark Ages - a period of almost total non-advancement. Science only got back on its feet thanks to the Renaissance, and later, the Enlightenment, both of which were breaks away from the yoke of Christian dogma.

      Indeed China - a civilisation far removed from Christian theology - has been step-for-step ahead of the West in virtually every scientific achievement of note until well into the Middle Ages.

      It is incidentally true that most scientists in the West have been Christian. But most PEOPLE in the West have been Christian. They were scientists in spite of, not because of, their religion.

      Now, returning to my actual point, Science MUST assume naturalism. Such an assumption is essential. This is how it functions. If you think science should allow for the possibility of miracles, then explain precisely how that would work. How could we ever trust the results of our own experiments if we allow for the possibility that a miracle has affected them?

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    5. You simply are misinformed and biased:

      Science and engineering, as foreign as it may sound to some people, was born out of a purely Judeo-Christian worldview. To be certain, other cultures, during the history of the world, have given fits and starts to science and engineering, but never did these foreign cultures bring science and engineering to a robust maturity through a sustained systematic development. It was only in the Judeo-Christian worldview, and in that worldview alone, that modern science was brought to the sustainable level of maturity that it has now reached. Several resources are available that document this seemingly mysterious, yet undeniable, fact of history. Here are a few.

      Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
      Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/jerry_coyne_on_the_scientific_047431.html

      The Origin of Science
      Excerpt: Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity.
      http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/science_origin.html

      Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper By Nancy Pearcey
      http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2005/09/post_4.php

      Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD - Tihomir Dimitrov
      http://www.scigod.com/index.php/sgj/article/viewFile/18/18

      A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
      http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

      Christianity and The Birth of Science - Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
      Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity - Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe's materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin's assumptions, you don't have a case of "closet atheists."
      http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

      Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline - Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer - video
      http://vimeo.com/16523153

      Several more resources are easily available on the internet, and through Amazon, for those who would like to learn more about the Judeo-Christian founding of modern science and engineering.

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    6. All my discoveries have been made in an answer to prayer. — Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), considered by many to be the greatest scientist of all time.

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    7. In fact it can be forcefully argued that modern science had its foundation laid during the protestant reformation of the 16th century and when the Catholic church had its own reformation from Greek influences during this era. The point being that modern scientific thought was born when 'pure' Christian influence was brought to maturity in western culture and stifling pagan influences were purged from it;

      The Reformation and the Development of Modern Science BY E. L. HEBDEN TAYLOR
      Excerpt: Stanford Reid points out in his paper read before the Royal Society of Canada titled "Natural Science in Sixteenth Century Calvinistic Thought" that such an empirical approach to the investigation of nature found its origin in Calvin’s own theological technique. He says:

      ‘In order to understand Calvin’s influence on the scientific method one must first look at his theological technique. Seeking to reform the church, he turned back to the original Christian source, the biblical text, which he believed to be the Word of God. His method of approach to the Scriptures was basically empirical for he rejected all speculation and all philosophising in favour of a strict grammatico historical exegesis under the guidance of God’s Spirit, which limits one to what the text actually says . . Calvin, however, did not stop with a theological method, for he held that God also revealed Himself in the works of His creation and providence. These latter man comes to know not by studying the Scriptures but by investigating nature itself. Here the two-level theory of
      reality came into play, for he insisted that one must investigate the things
      of this earth by appropriate mundane means, the only limitation being that unless men see this earth “in the light of eternity”, by which he means in the perspective of faith in Christ, they will neither understand it truly nor use it properly. At the same time he also insisted that since God is the creator and sustainer man can never understand all God’s works; he can only analyse their relationships and material causes recognising that even the ordo naturae because of its divine origin is never wholly subject to human rational analysis.’ (Institutes I, V, 9: rr, ii, I3).19
      http://www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk/reformation%20of%20modern%20science.pdf

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    8. Moreover, to the consternation of atheists, a significant Christian revival accompanied America's rise to scientific eminence:

      Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

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    9. BA -

      The point you are trying to make is utterly absurd, historically wrong and frankly just exposes your lack of understanding of what science is.

      To sneeringly dismiss the scientific output from all non-Christian societies, and then claim only Christian societies bare the credit for science is laughably circular. Why, exactly, should we discount the scientific and engineering achievements of China, for example? They were well ahead of the West for centuries.

      Perhaps we should ask Galileo whether Christrianity is so hospitable to rational scientific enquiry?

      Science and religion simply operate in two different spheres - theology of any sort occupies the untestable, unknowable world of philosophy and the supernatural. Science, on the other hand, deals with the natural world - the testable, the knowable, the demonstrable. Science owes absolutely nothing to Christianity which, history clearly shows, has operated more to stunt its growth than to encourage it.

      As the famous phrase goes, God is not permitted inside the lab.

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    10. Ritchie, I did not, nor did any of the references I cite, 'sneeringly dismiss the scientific output from all non-Christian societies'. As Robert Clark points out, and the undeniable fact of history is, non-Christian cultures never developed science to a sustained level of maturity.

      "However we may interpret the fact scientific development has only occurred in a Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on, science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did." - Robert Clark

      You state that China was 'They were well ahead of the West for centuries.' Yet I pointed out that 'pure' Christian thought did not reached dominance in western cultures until the protestant reformation, and the purging of pagan Greek thought from the Catholic church. i.e. Science did not flourish in the west until the 'correct' view of nature was broadly accepted.

      Ritchie you then ask:

      'Perhaps we should ask Galileo whether Christianity is so hospitable to rational scientific inquiry?'

      Perhaps we should:

      “When I consider what marvelous things men have understood, what he has inquired into and contrived, I know only too clearly that the human mind is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.” Yet the potential of the human mind “… is separated from the Divine knowledge by an infinite interval.” (Poupard, Cardinal Paul. Galileo Galilei. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1983, p. 101.)

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    11. Ritchie you go on to state 'sneeringly';

      Science and religion simply operate in two different spheres - theology of any sort occupies the untestable, unknowable world of philosophy and the supernatural. Science, on the other hand, deals with the natural world - the testable, the knowable, the demonstrable. Science owes absolutely nothing to Christianity which, history clearly shows, has operated more to stunt its growth than to encourage it.

      As the famous phrase goes, God is not permitted inside the lab.

      Ritchie science simply is not possible without a foundational Theistic presumption:

      "Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth. As an exercise, try generating a philosophy of science from hydrogen coming out of the big bang. It cannot be done. It’s impossible even in principle, because philosophy and science presuppose concepts that are not composed of particles and forces. They refer to ideas that must be true, universal, necessary and certain." Creation-Evolution Headlines
      http://creationsafaris.com/crev201102.htm#20110227a

      Though you have several more points that are wrong in that short paragraph, let's focus on your last statement:

      'God is not permitted inside the lab.'

      I didn't know that omnipresent God needed your permission.

      Genesis, Quantum Physics and Reality
      Excerpt: Simply put, an experiment on Earth can be made in such a way that it determines if one photon comes along either on the right or the left side or if it comes (as a wave) along both sides of the gravitational lens (of the galaxy) at the same time. However, how could the photons have known billions of years ago that someday there would be an earth with inhabitants on it, making just this experiment?
      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2000/PSCF3-00Zoeller-Greer.html.ori

      Here is Wigner commenting on the key 'laboratory' experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries,,,

      Eugene Wigner
      Excerpt: When I returned to Berlin, the excellent crystallographer Weissenberg asked me to study: why is it that in a crystal the atoms like to sit in a symmetry plane or symmetry axis. After a short time of thinking I understood:,,,, To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
      http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_Course/WignerBio/wb1.htm

      "It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality" -
      Eugene Wigner - (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169)
      http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/wigner/

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    12. BA -

      the undeniable fact of history is, non-Christian cultures never developed science to a sustained level of maturity.

      What precisely is a 'sustained level of maturity'? That's a very vague term. How exactly do you quantify it? How does one measure 'scientific maturity'?

      And I have no idea how this Robert Clark can claim China's scientific advancement ever simply came to a halt. Do you? Can you back up this absurd claim?

      Yet I pointed out that 'pure' Christian thought did not reached dominance in western cultures until the protestant reformation

      Before the Protestant Reformation, Western Europe had been under Christian rule for centuries. Scientifically stunted centuries. Called the Dark Ages. Yes, Protestantism might not have been around yet, but how on Earth is Protestantism any more 'pure' a line of Christian theology than Catholicism (or any other branch you care to name)?

      Science did not flourish in the west until the 'correct' view of nature was broadly accepted.

      And what is this 'correct view of nature'? Please be really, really specific. If you only address one point in this post, make it this one! I really want to hear the answer here. Please tell me precisely what revelation Protestantism (or even Christianity) provided which paved the way for science to flourish.

      “When I consider what marvelous things men have understood, what he has inquired into and contrived, I know only too clearly that the human mind is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.”

      And yet they arrested him anyway. Kept him under house arrest until his death simply because his discoveries contradicted Church dogma. Truth did not interest the Church, science did not interest the Church, all that interested them was that their dogma be unchallenged.

      But can we attribute Galileo's discoveries to his religiosity? Can Christianity at least take credit for Galileo proving heliocentrism? Well no. He proved heliocentrism by making accurate observations of the night sky and extrapolating logically from that. No revelation led him to these discoveries, no divination, no prophesies, no spiritual visitations or interpretation of holy scripture. Nope, it was just him observing the world around him. It could have been done with anyone with eyes and a telescope, whether he was Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or Pastafarian. His opinions on the divine are simply irrelevant.

      science simply is not possible without a foundational Theistic presumption

      The only foundational presumption required to do science is that the world is run according to regular, testable forces. That is all. And that assumption is certainly not theistic in nature.

      I honestly think you copy and paste entire walls of text because it saves you actually having to THINK. I'm asking you to stop for a moment and think this through FOR YOURSELF. I want to hear YOUR words, not for you to just quote what every other loony Creationist has ever said about a given topic.

      Delete
    13. Ritchie, Galileo is certainly not one you should be calling on as a example of a atheists fighting against Christianity! Much has been written on the Galileo affair that reveals that it certainly is not anything close to the myth that atheists have falsely portrayed it to be. But let's focus on the underlying issue of the Galileo affair. In 1610, the Italian scientist Galileo Galilee (1564-1642) verified Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus's (1473-1543) heliocentric theory. The heliocentric theory was hotly debated at the time, for it proposed a revolutionary idea for the 1600's stating all the planets revolved around the sun. Many people of the era had simply presumed everything in the universe revolved around the earth (geocentric theory), since from their limited perspective everything did seem to be revolving around the earth. As well the geocentric theory seems to agree with the religious sensibilities of being made in God's image, though the Bible never actually directly states the earth is the 'center' of the universe.

      Job 26:7
      “He stretches the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing”

      Galileo had improved upon the recently invented telescope. With this improved telescope he observed many strange things about the solar system. This included the phases of Venus as she revolved around the sun and the fact Jupiter had her own satellites (moons) which revolved around her. Thus, Galileo wrote and spoke about what had become obvious to him; the planets do indeed revolve around the sun. It is now commonly believed that man was cast down from his special place in the grand scheme of things, for the Earth beneath his feet no longer appeared to be the 'center of the universe', and indeed the Earth is now commonly believed by many people to be reduced to nothing but an insignificant speck of dust in the vast ocean of space. Yet actually the earth became exalted in the eyes of many people of that era, with its supposed removal from the center of the universe, since centrality in the universe had a very different meaning in those days. A meaning that equated being at the center of the universe with being at the 'bottom' of the universe, or being in the 'cesspool' of the universe.

      The Copernican Revolution - March 2010
      Excerpt: Danielson(2001) made a compelling case that this portrayal is the opposite of what really happened, i.e., that before the Copernican Revolution, Earth was seen not as being at the center, but rather at the bottom, the cesspool where all filth and corruption fell and accumulated.
      http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201003.htm#20100317a

      Delete
    14. Yet contrary to what is popularly believed by many people today, of the earth being nothing but a insignificant speck of dust lost in a vast ocean of space, there is actually a strong case to be made for the earth being central in the universe once again.

      In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, 4-dimensional (4D) space-time was created in the Big Bang and continues to 'expand equally in all places':

      Where is the centre of the universe?:
      Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a "Big Bang" about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
      http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/centre.html

      Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as 'center of the universe' as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered 'center of the universe'. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, if that’s where you live.

      4-Dimensional Space-Time Of General Relativity - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/

      So in a holistic sense, as facts revealed later in this paper will bear out, it may now be possible for the earth to, once again, be considered 'central to the universe'. This intriguing possibility, for the earth to once again be considered central, is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), remaining from the creation of the universe, forms a sphere around the earth.

      Earth As The Center Of The Universe - illustrated image
      http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfOXQydzV2OGhz

      The Known Universe - Dec. 2009 - a very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe)
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4240304/

      This centrality that we observe for ourselves in the universe also happens to give weight to the verses of the Bible that indirectly imply centrality for the earth in the universe:

      Psalm 102:19
      The LORD looked down from His sanctuary on high, from heaven He viewed the earth,

      Delete
    15. Yet as stunning as higher dimensional 4-D space-time is to saving the Earth from Copernicus's mediocrity principle, the fact is that 4-D space-time is insufficient within itself to maintain the centrality we witness for ourselves within the Cosmic Background Radiation:

      The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity - Igor Rodnianski
      Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity - While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity.
      http://www.icm2006.org/proceedings/Vol_III/contents/ICM_Vol_3_22.pdf

      Yet if general relativity is insufficient to explain the centrality we witness for ourselves in the universe what else is? Quantum wave collapse to each point of unique conscious observation is!In fact, the argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

      1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality.
      2. If consciousness is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
      3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
      4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

      Three intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

      Delete
    16. BA -

      Woah there! Back up a minute before you run WAAAAAAAAY off topic.

      Galileo is certainly not one you should be calling on as a example of a atheists fighting against Christianity!

      I did not. I called on him as an example of someone who faced oppression from religion for their scientific work. Which he certainly did.

      He made many observations with his telescope and concluded that the Earth orbited the Sun, not vice versa. That was science - extrapolation based on observational data. Science. Christianity can not take the credit for it being done, since these observations could have been made by anyone with a telescope. Galileo may himself have been a Christian, but that is besides the point. His religious belief did not lead him to make these discoveries, not help him to make them in any way. The only relevant point where religion comes into the story is when the Christian authorities have him placed under house arrest since his work is considered heresay! No, Christianity is not the champion of science here. It is the oppressor of science.

      Next you swing the discussion out oddly to the conclusion that there is no 'centre of the universe', and that therefore the Earth can be considered the centre of the universe. Errrrmmm... do you really need me to point out what a contradiction that is?

      Then bringing up consciousness, it's clear we're way off topic.

      Again, I want to ask my central question - HOW is science possible if we allow for miracles?

      You've ducked and avoided this question, but I want an answer. Give me a working method for performing science without assuming naturalism. Show me how science is even possible without being secular.

      Delete
    17. I would also like to point out that neither Galileo nor Sir Isaac Newton were Protestant. The former was a Catholic, and the latter had fairly radical religious views, apparently - an antitrinitarian to give it a name.

      If it is specifically Protestantism which nurtures science, then I wonder how you reconcile the fact that these giants of the scientific world were not, in fact, Protestant...?

      Delete
    18. Ritchie, it is very sad to see you deny the obvious evidence presented to you for Theism to protect your atheistic worldview. Very Sad!!! I've already presented more than enough referenced citations to show the scientific method was born out of the Christian worldview. That you would cling to the myth that Christianity tried to suppress science in the Galileo affair is simply completely misguided. The Galileo affair was as much about the politics of the Church as it was about anything else. You really need to read into the underlying storyline to get a grasp on the subtle nuances of it. And as you pointed out Galileo remained a fervent Christian to his dying day and would be saddened greatly to see atheists twist his affair with the Catholic church for such un-Christian purposes. More to the point though, you assume a contradiction in my statement that the earth may be considered central in the universe from the fact that EVERY point can now be considered central from a 4-D space-time perspective. Yet I had a caveat that I had stipulated, 'as facts revealed later in this paper reveal'. These facts, which you did not inquire as to what they may be, besides quantum wave collapse to conscious observation, and that give us firm reason to believe that the earth is 'more central' than other 3-Dimensional places in the 4-D expanding hypersphere of the universe, are:

      Privileged Planet Principle - Michael Strauss - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318884/

      The Privileged Planet - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnWyPIzTOTw

      Privileged Planet - Observability Correlation - Gonzalez and Richards - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

      The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
      - Jay Richards

      Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross's book, 'Why the Universe Is the Way It Is';
      Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ≈ 10^-1333
      dependency factors estimate ≈ 10^324
      longevity requirements estimate ≈ 10^45
      Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ≈ 10^-1054
      Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe ≈ 10^22

      Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
      http://www.reasons.org/files/compendium/compendium_part3.pdf

      Hugh Ross - Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

      Isaiah 40:28
      Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

      Creation Calls -- are you listening? Music by Brian Doerksen
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwGvfdtI2c0

      Delete
    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    20. BA -

      I've already presented more than enough referenced citations to show the scientific method was born out of the Christian worldview.

      No you haven't. You have linked to other people saying 'reached maturity' during a Christian age, but precisely how this is defined is anyone's guess. It is as meaningless as it is vague.

      The point that you are really trying to make - that Christianity deserves the credit for science - has been made by no-one but yourself.

      Science was not born through Christianity, it has flourished most when religious fervour was weakest, and has done so perfectly well even in cultures that lacked Christian influence entirely.

      You have not even explained WHY science should require a theistic worldview. Science is demonstrably secular. WHY should a good scientist need to be a theist?

      And as you pointed out Galileo remained a fervent Christian to his dying day and would be saddened greatly to see atheists twist his affair with the Catholic church for such un-Christian purposes.

      I never denied Galileo was a Christian, but that is not the issue. His observations - the science that he performed - was not born out of any religious conviction, and owed nothing at all to his religious beliefs. It did not take a Christian to do what he did. That is the salient point. But it did require religion to come up with the concept of heresay...

      And you avoided the fact that Galileo was not a Protestant. How do you square this? Isn't it specifically Protestantism which is the 'pure' form of Christian thought?

      More to the point though, you assume a contradiction in my statement that the earth may be considered central in the universe from the fact that EVERY point can now be considered central from a 4-D space-time perspective.

      'There is no centre of the universe' and 'The Earth is the centre of the universe' are indeed contradictory phrases. I'm not saying either or both of them are wrong, necessarily, just that they are incompatible. You cannot hold both to be true.

      Delete
    21. Ritchie, you are clearly lying in your denying the tremendous influence that Christianity had in the founding of modern science (and the tremendous influence it continues to have). Whether willfully or by ignorance I do not know, but I do know that you are lying!!! Moreover I find it very particular that you, as a dogmatic atheists, have no rational basis as to how science can be grounded in a materialistic worldview (save for your unyielding claim that it must be so, and despite the fact that materialism is falsified by quantum mechanics!). But this 'minor' detail seems to be of far less importance to you than to attacking Christianity does for you. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!! ,,, Again in your comment that Galileo was a Catholic, not protestant, quote, it seems that you have skipped completely over the fact that I noted that the Catholic Church was purged of stifling pagan Greek influences during the same era as the protestant reformation. i.e. Across the board 'pure' Christian thought came to prominence in western culture! Thus once again it seems you are far more concerned with attacking Christianity than you are concerned with the actual truth of the matter. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!!!,, And again Ritchie in your last comment, you fail dramatically to consider your own falsified materialistic position, Copernicus's mediocrity principle, contrasted to the Privileged Planet principle, and 4-D space-time, and to the quantum wave collapse to each point of unique conscious observation that has been discovered by modern science. Thus once again you are completely baseless as to make a coherent criticism. Willful ignorance? Purposeful deception? Either way you have revealed, religion drives science and it matters!

      notes:

      Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

      Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

      The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      The following video, which I've listed before, is very suggestive to a 'spiritual' link in man's ability to learn new information in that the video shows that almost every, if not every, founder of each discipline of modern science was a devout Christian:

      Christianity Gave Birth To Science - Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer - video
      http://vimeo.com/16523153

      Atheism cannot ground Morality or Science
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ov3GNroapS12eg3rH0RxvlOdAXiFGaf436IPg5W2ids/edit

      Delete
    22. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    23. Bill Salus - The Future of America in Bible Prophecy - Ezekiel 38-39 - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKOKqCk5vuo

      Ritchie, you are clearly lying in your denying the tremendous influence that Christianity had in the founding of modern science (and the tremendous influence it continues to have). Whether willfully or by ignorance I do not know, but I do know that you are lying!!! Moreover I find it very particular that you, as a dogmatic atheists, have no rational basis as to how science can be grounded in a materialistic worldview (save for your unyielding claim that it must be so, and despite the fact that materialism is falsified by quantum mechanics!). But this 'minor' detail seems to be of far less importance to you than to attacking Christianity does for you. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!! ,,, Again in your comment that Galileo was a Catholic, not protestant, quote, it seems that you have skipped completely over the fact that I noted that the Catholic Church was purged of stifling pagan Greek influences during the same era as the protestant reformation. i.e. Across the board 'pure' Christian thought came to prominence in western culture! Thus once again it seems you are far more concerned with attacking Christianity than you are concerned with the actual truth of the matter. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!!!,, And again Ritchie in your last comment, you fail dramatically to consider your own falsified materialistic position, Copernicus's mediocrity principle, contrasted to the Privileged Planet principle, and 4-D space-time, and to the quantum wave collapse to each point of unique conscious observation that has been discovered by modern science. Thus once again you are completely baseless as to make a coherent criticism. Willful ignorance? Purposeful deception? Either way you have revealed, religion drives science and it matters!

      notes:

      Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

      Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

      The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      Delete
    24. Ritchie, you are clearly lying in your denying the tremendous influence that Christianity had in the founding of modern science (and the tremendous influence it continues to have). Whether willfully or by ignorance I do not know, but I do know that you are lying!!! Moreover I find it very particular that you, as a dogmatic atheists, have no rational basis as to how science can be grounded in a materialistic worldview (save for your unyielding claim that it must be so, and despite the fact that materialism is falsified by quantum mechanics!). But this 'minor' detail seems to be of far less importance to you than to attacking Christianity does for you. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!! ,,, Again in your comment that Galileo was a Catholic, not protestant, quote, it seems that you have skipped completely over the fact that I noted that the Catholic Church was purged of stifling pagan Greek influences during the same era as the protestant reformation. i.e. Across the board 'pure' Christian thought came to prominence in western culture! Thus once again it seems you are far more concerned with attacking Christianity than you are concerned with the actual truth of the matter. i.e. religion drives science and it matters!!!,, And again Ritchie in your last comment, you fail dramatically to consider your own falsified materialistic position, Copernicus's mediocrity principle, contrasted to the Privileged Planet principle, and 4-D space-time, and to the quantum wave collapse to each point of unique conscious observation that has been discovered by modern science. Thus once again you are completely baseless as to make a coherent criticism. Willful ignorance? Purposeful deception? Either way you have revealed, religion drives science and it matters!

      notes:

      Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

      Delete
    25. Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

      The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      Delete
    26. The following video, which I've listed before, is very suggestive to a 'spiritual' link in man's ability to learn new information in that the video shows that almost every, if not every, founder of each discipline of modern science was a devout Christian:

      Christianity Gave Birth To Science - Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer - video
      http://vimeo.com/16523153

      Atheism cannot ground Morality or Science
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ov3GNroapS12eg3rH0RxvlOdAXiFGaf436IPg5W2ids/edit

      It is also interesting to note that 'higher dimensional' mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated;

      The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

      Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
      Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

      Psalm 33:13-15
      The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

      Hillsong - Mighty to Save - With Subtitles/Lyrics
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-08YZF87OBQ

      Delete
    27. The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

      Delete
    28. Bruce Charlton's Miscellany - October 2011
      Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be - if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
      http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/10/meeting-richard-dawkins-and-his-wife.html

      Delete
    29. The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      Delete
    30. The following video is far more direct in establishing the 'spiritual' link to man's ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

      The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

      You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

      Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
      http://www.alisoviejochristianschool.org/sat_10.html

      Delete
    31. BA -

      I find it very particular that you, as a dogmatic atheists, have no rational basis as to how science can be grounded in a materialistic worldview

      Nonesense. I have explained this several times. Science is a process of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. We make hypotheses - we run experiments to test these hypotheses - we make our conclusions based on the results of those experiments. Simple. That's science. You're performing tests or you're formulating hypotheses.

      But notice that to do any of this you must discount the possibility of miracles. Because if you don't, then you cannot discount the possibility that a miracle happened to interfere with your experiments. All at once you cannot trust your own results to be an accurate reflection of the world around you, and cannot draw any conclusions from them. Your data is flawed and your hypotheses untestable. Science stops.

      Please please please, just for a moment stop copy-and-pasting and just THINK THIS THROUGH. Engage your BRAIN, don't just slavishly cling to the words of anyone who is saying things you like to hear.

      it seems that you have skipped completely over the fact that I noted that the Catholic Church was purged of stifling pagan Greek influences during the same era as the protestant reformation.

      So what? Galileo was not a Protestant. He was a Catholic. You're saying that Martin Luthur created a schism in the church and all of a sudden Galileo (not a follower of his) got really clever as a result? Do you even think about what you're saying before you say it?

      Across the board 'pure' Christian thought came to prominence in western culture!

      Then explain to me in great and graphic detail what, exactly, about 'pure' Christian thought, nurtures science? I've asked you this several times and you just keep on ignoring it! It seems it is your habit to simply avoid questions you cannot answer.

      Please TELL ME precisely what is it about Protestantism that nurtures science? What Protestant insight does science require? What Protestant doctrine does science rely on? What is it about Protestantism that enables science?

      This is the central question of our discussion. This is the point. Answer this single question and you win. End of. But if you cannot answer it, then everything else in your posts is empty noise and bluster.

      And again Ritchie in your last comment, you fail dramatically to consider your own falsified materialistic position, Copernicus's mediocrity principle, contrasted to the Privileged Planet principle, and 4-D space-time, and to the quantum wave collapse to each point of unique conscious observation that has been discovered by modern science.

      And that all adds up to the universe having no centre AND the Earth being the universe's centre, simultaneously, does it?

      This is childishly simple. Does the universe have a centre? Yes or no. You cannot answer 'both'. It does or it does not. Saying both that 'it does' AND that 'it does not' is a contradiction. Your logic is demonstrably contorted and deeply, deeply flawed.

      Delete
    32. The science method, the 'logic' by which we do science, clearly cannot be grounded in a materialistic worldview yet you claim;

      'Nonesense(SEC). I have explained this several times. Science is a process of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. We make hypotheses - we run experiments to test these hypotheses - we make our conclusions based on the results of those experiments. Simple. That's science. You're performing tests or you're formulating hypotheses.'

      Ritchie, Please show me the exact material basis for the universal logical truths that we use to perform science!!!

      Is Life Unique? David L. Abel - January 2012
      Concluding Statement: The scientific method itself cannot be reduced to mass and energy. Neither can language, translation, coding and decoding, mathematics, logic theory, programming, symbol systems, the integration of circuits, computation, categorizations, results tabulation, the drawing and discussion of conclusions. The prevailing Kuhnian paradigm rut of philosophic physicalism is obstructing scientific progress, biology in particular. There is more to life than chemistry. All known life is cybernetic. Control is choice-contingent and formal, not physicodynamic.
      http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/

      "Nonphysical formalism not only describes, but preceded physicality and the Big Bang
      Formalism prescribed, organized and continues to govern physicodynamics."
      http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/ag

      You then state:

      'But notice that to do any of this you must discount the possibility of miracles. Because if you don't, then you cannot discount the possibility that a miracle happened to interfere with your experiments.'

      And Ritchie since atheistic naturalists presuppose randomness as the 'miracle' that created the whole universe, and all life within it, how in blue blazes are you going to discount the possibility a 'random' miracle happened to interfere with your experiments?

      Godel has shown;

      Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
      Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
      “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle - something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove "mathematically" to be true.”
      http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/incompleteness/

      And please note 'the circle' formed by the Cosmic Background Radiation:

      Picture of CMBR
      https://webspace.utexas.edu/reyesr/SolarSystem/cmbr.jpg

      Proverbs 8:26-27
      While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

      Moreover, atheists assume that 'randomness' is true (outside the circle) for the ultimate explanation for the origination of the universe, whereas Christian Theists presuppose God is true (outside the circle) for the origination of the universe. Yet insisting on randomness as the ultimate explanation for why the universe came into being leads to epistemological failure:

      The End Of Materialism? - Dr. Bruce Gordon
      * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
      * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
      * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
      * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

      Moreover, presupposing 'infinite randomness', as atheists do with the multiverse, actually concedes the necessary premise to make the ontological argument, for God's existence, complete;

      Ontological Argument For God From The Many Worlds/Multiverse Hypothesis - William Lane Craig - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

      Delete
    33. Moreover presupposing randomness, 'random miracles', as to the reason why humans exist, as Darwinism does, leads to epistemological failure:

      Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? - Joe Carter
      Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
      http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/09/should-you-trust-the-monkey-mind

      Further notes:

      Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness - Talbott - Fall 2011
      Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
      In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
      This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
      http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/evolution-and-the-illusion-of-randomness

      Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism - Casey Luskin - February 27, 2012
      Excerpt: "In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of 'natural selection' in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely 'scientific' and 'rational,' they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word 'chance', not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word 'miracle.'" Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) -
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/nobel_prize-win056771.html

      Delete
    34. Moreover, the success of modern science itself, since it was born out of the presupposed (outside the circle; Godel) truthfulness of Christian Theism, and no other (outside the circle) presupposition, is what further, and dramatically, testifies that the Christian presupposition is true;

      Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? - referenced article
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

      Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion - Michael Egnor - June 2011
      Excerpt: The scientific method -- the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature -- has nothing to so with some religious inspirations -- Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/jerry_coyne_on_the_scientific_047431.html

      Moreover, many modern physicists seem to have forgotten the lesson that was clearly born out by Godel, that you can't have a 'complete' mathematical theory of everything without assuming God as true, for they are vainly trying to unify Quantum Mechanics (QM) and General Relativity (GR), into a mathematical 'theory of everything'. Yet when one allows God into the picture, then a very credible, empirically backed, reconciliation between QM and GR readily emerges:

      The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
      Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century)
      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/07/the-god-of-the-mathematicians

      Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

      General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin - updated video
      http://vimeo.com/34084462

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    35. Of Related Note. The proof came out a few days ago.

      Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning - April 2012
      Excerpt: Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning.,,, They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must therefore have had a beginning. "Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past," they say.
      They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. "A simple emergent universe model...cannot escape quantum collapse," they say.
      The conclusion is inescapable. "None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal," say Mithani and Vilenkin.
      Since the observational evidence is that our universe is expanding, then it must also have been born in the past. A profound conclusion (albeit the same one that lead to the idea of the big bang in the first place).
      http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27793/

      Delete
    36. The science method, the 'logic' by which we do science, clearly cannot be grounded in a materialistic worldview

      No, science IS grounded in a materialistic worldview. Deal with it.

      Ritchie, Please show me the exact material basis for the universal logical truths that we use to perform science

      Easy. The universe is run be regular laws. If, under certain conditions, an event occurs, then given identical conditions it will happen again.

      Take, for example, an apple falling when I drop it. If I drop the apple under identical conditions it will again fall. It may fall at a different speed if I am on another planet, or not fall at all if I am in an environment lacking gravity. But these are not identical conditions. There are relevant variables.

      Therefore, as a scientist, I can repeatedly drop an apple, tweaking only one variable at a time, until I discover the variables that affect it's fall. I will thus learn about the forces which affect its fall.

      Now imagine I cal allow for miracles. Now my experiments have no merit. Maybe the 'natural law' is for apples to fly up into the air, and every time it has fallen down, it has in fact been a miracle. See? My results now mean nothing. Science is brought to a complete stop.

      And Ritchie since atheistic naturalists presuppose randomness as the 'miracle' that created the whole universe, and all life within it, how in blue blazes are you going to discount the possibility a 'random' miracle happened to interfere with your experiments?

      You clearly don't understand what I'm saying at all. Scientists do not allow for miracles AT ALL - random or otherwise. That's exactly the point.

      Now please do me the courtesy I have done you. I have repeatedly asked you to explain exactly what it is about the Protestant doctrine that is so essential for science and you have repeatedly ignored me. It is becoming increasingly clear that you are ignoring me because you cannot answer the question - because you are entirely wrong on this point and would prefer to simply ignore me than to acknowledge it - but to give you the benefit of the doubt (even though I predict you will just continue to ignore) I will ask you YET AGAIN:

      What is it about Protestantism that nurtures science? What Protestant insight does science require? What Protestant doctrine does science rely on? What is it about Protestantism that enables science?

      Delete
    37. Ritchie you claim:

      No, science IS grounded in a materialistic worldview. Deal with it.

      Okay, prove that materialism is true by the scientific method instead of just assuming it is true. This should be interesting to watch you do since quantum mechanics has falsified materialism.

      You then state:

      The universe is run be regular laws.

      And this transcendent universal laws are not reducible to materialism nor is the origination of them, as explained earlier, explicable to materialism.

      You state:

      Scientists do not allow for miracles AT ALL - random or otherwise. That's exactly the point.

      Apparently 'random' variation within Darwinism is just a 'inconvenient truth' for you! Moreover, as shown before, 'natural randomness' as assumed in materialism is epistemologically self-defeating for science!

      You accuse me of ignoring your question on Protestantism, but I have not. I have consistently maintained that it was a 'pure' Christian view of the world, both in Catholic and Protestant theology, that brought science to a sustainable level of maturity. I have not claimed sole propriety of the founding of modern science to Protestantism. The 'correct' Christian view of reality that brought science to a sustained level of maturity has been for you several times.

      Epistemology - Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? - referenced article
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

      Ritchie, I am satisfied with the case I have made thus far and I see no support for your position save from your dogmatic claims and personal opinion (which carry no weight with me). Perhaps you think you are being reasonable in all this, but I think otherwise, and will thus continue no more.

      Delete
    38. correction: The 'correct' Christian view of reality, that brought science to a sustained level of maturity, has been referenced for you several times.

      Epistemology - Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? - referenced article
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

      Delete
    39. BA -

      Okay, prove that materialism is true by the scientific method instead of just assuming it is true.

      No, no-one can PROVE materialism is true. But science ASSUMES it is true. That is the way science works.

      This should be interesting to watch you do since quantum mechanics has falsified materialism.

      No it hasn't.


      And this transcendent universal laws are not reducible to materialism nor is the origination of them, as explained earlier, explicable to materialism.


      Why not?

      BA -

      Apparently 'random' variation within Darwinism is just a 'inconvenient truth' for you!

      Are you deliberately misreading what I'm saying?

      There is nothing unscientific about randomness. Random variation is fine. What is not fine are miracles, be they random or otherwise.

      You accuse me of ignoring your question on Protestantism, but I have not. I have consistently maintained that it was a 'pure' Christian view of the world, both in Catholic and Protestant theology, that brought science to a sustainable level of maturity.

      And that wasn't my question.

      My question - the one you are consistently ignoring - is WHY? What Protestant doctrine is science reliant on? What Protestant creed is necessary to nurture science? Why should we believe the rise of modern science and the rise of Protestantism is not just a coincidence?

      I have not claimed sole propriety of the founding of modern science to Protestantism.

      It's what you're getting at. You want to claim that Christianity - specifically Protestantism - bares the credit for science, and therefore we should allow miracles in the scientific method out of... what... gratitude?

      Delete
  10. Ritchie:

    It took me a while to get to the root of this rationale (and I can't swear I'm there), but as far as I can tell the reasoning goes thus:

    Science assumes metaphysical naturalism - that is, it assumes the world works exclusively on natural laws and that miracles never occur. This is an unjustified assumption - a religious bias driven by the belief that God did not create the world/does not exist.


    As I said before, as a journalist you should be able at least to understand and repeat back a viewpoint, gut despite repeated explanations that has never happened. I suspect it is because this issue confounds people so much, even though it is quite straightforward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, can you explain the viewpoint, Cornelius?

      Delete
    2. Yes I can. I think a good place to start is here:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/04/there-is-one-thing-inherit-wind-got.html?showComment=1335369635673#c4429879757977652166

      Delete
    3. I'm not seeing it, Cornelius.

      Dobzhansky found the theory a persuasive fit to the evidence.

      So do I. How does that lead you to conclude that "religion drives science"?

      Delete
    4. I'm getting there, but I'm trying to limit the discussion to the other post for simplicity.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    6. Ah, thanks Thorton. I tend to forget that Establishment Clause!

      In the UK, of course, we are not Disestablished and the law still requires that religion be taught in schools (indeed that each day begins with a Collective Act of Worship). And many state (i.e. government-funded, non-fee-paying) schools are run by religious organisation ("Faith" schools). Perhaps that is why we are so godless a nation!

      But you still can't teach religion as science. You can teach scientific controversies, but ID is not actually a scientific controversy.

      Delete
    7. CH -

      As I said before, as a journalist you should be able at least to understand and repeat back a viewpoint, gut despite repeated explanations that has never happened. I suspect it is because this issue confounds people so much, even though it is quite straightforward.

      You rebuke me but do not, in fact, correct me. This is my understanding of your position. If I am in error I would appreciate being told exactly where.

      Your complaint is thus:

      1) In your view, science should not limit itself to assuming methodological naturalism. Correct? Yes or no.

      2) To assume methodological naturalism would be to adopt a religious bias. Correct? Yes or no.

      3) In your view, true science - untainted by any religious bias - should allow for the possibility of miracles. Correct? Yes or no.

      Delete
    8. Elizabeth Liddle Apr 25, 2012 11:31 AM

      Ah, thanks Thorton. I tend to forget that Establishment Clause!

      In the UK, of course, we are not Disestablished and the law still requires that religion be taught in schools (indeed that each day begins with a Collective Act of Worship). And many state (i.e. government-funded, non-fee-paying) schools are run by religious organisation ("Faith" schools). Perhaps that is why we are so godless a nation!


      In the US, the Founding Fathers clearly believed, as has been noted many times before, that freedom of religion meant freedom from religion. In order to protect the rights of all believers, no one faith must ever be allowed to get its hands on the levers of power. There were too many examples of what could happen, not least in the UK, for there to be any doubt about the importance of establishing such a freedom.

      In the UK, on the other hand, there was no equivalent to the Establishment Clause - at least, not until the European Convention on Human Rights was incorporated into British law. Article 9 of that Convention is the rough equivalent of the Establishment Clause and it would be interesting to see if the establishment of the Church of England could survive a legal challenge under its provisions.

      Delete
    9. You are misinformed. Freedom of religion was intended to keep religious practice free of control by those in power. i.e. There would not an American equivalent of the Anglican church.

      Delete
    10. Elizabeth Liddle

      I'm not seeing it, Cornelius.

      Dobzhansky found the theory a persuasive fit to the evidence.

      So do I. How does that lead you to conclude that "religion drives science"?


      It's a political strategy unique to the US. In the US, Creationism has been consistently rejected from being taught in public school science classes because it violates the US Constitution First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

      That means it's unconstitutional not only to pass laws that discriminate against religion, but laws that also promote any religious view over others. Which pretty much puts the kibosh on Christian Biblical Creationism.

      Creationist for years have tried and failed to get around the law with things like "Creation science", then "Intelligent Design", and now "teach the controversy - Academic Freedom". When those didn't work, the Christian right wing think tank Discovery Institute started pushing the idea "evolution is a religion". That way they could demand that if Creationism is barred from public science classes, then ToE should be barred also.

      It's a pretty ridiculous argument on many levels, but sadly most Creationists are so desperate they'll grasp at any straw.

      Delete
    11. Ritchie:

      You rebuke me but do not, in fact, correct me.

      No, I corrected you, but then finally gave up.


      This is my understanding of your position. If I am in error I would appreciate being told exactly where. Your complaint is thus:

      1) In your view, science should not limit itself to assuming methodological naturalism. Correct? Yes or no.


      Science may be so limited, or may not be so limited. For me, my preference is to stick to MN.


      2) To assume methodological naturalism would be to adopt a religious bias. Correct? Yes or no.

      No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Assuming MN is not adopting a religious bias.


      3) In your view, true science - untainted by any religious bias - should allow for the possibility of miracles. Correct? Yes or no.

      Similar answer as #1.

      Delete
  11. You might be right. Science of course does not assume "metaphysical naturalism". That's why what it does assume is often called "methodological naturalism".

    But that's just a fancy name for the working assumption that explanatory models are possible. If we dropped the assumption, we'd just stop making explanatory models. Which wouldn't tell us anything more, and almost certainly would tell us less.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I notice that you have written a book called "Science's Blind Spot", Cornelius, which, if the quotations from it on Amazon are a guide to your argument, seems to be saying that science is blind to what it is not looking for, and it is not looking for non-natural causes.

    You are absolutely right. It isn't.

    But that doesn't make it "religious". It makes it non-religious. It makes it, in fact, "blind" to religion. It can't tell us that religion is wrong any more than it can tell us that religion is right.

    You might as well criticise theology for not telling me how to knit a sweater.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The assumption that material effects are only influenced by material causes is a religious (metaphysical) one. Why? Because there is no logic to support it.

      This is especially true since the materialist assumption cannot explain consciousness. Heck, it cannot even explain why humans are infatuated with music and the arts. Does our fanatical love for the arts give us any survival advantage that natural selection can discern? The answer is no, of course.

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    2. Louis Savain

      The assumption that material effects are only influenced by material causes is a religious (metaphysical) one. Why? Because there is no logic to support it.


      What we do have to support it is 5000+ years of empirical observations and data. In all the recorded history of humanity, not a single verified instance of a non-material (i.e supernatural) cause producing a material effect has ever been documented. Not a single one. Key word is verified, not anecdotal.

      This is especially true since the materialist assumption cannot explain consciousness. Heck, it cannot even explain why humans are infatuated with music and the arts. Does our fanatical love for the arts give us any survival advantage that natural selection can discern? The answer is no, of course.

      Not every trait has to provide a survival advantage in order to be maintained in a population. In fact, most are effectively neutral. Appreciation for music and art are side effects from having developed large brains good at pattern recognition and information processing, things which do provide a survival advantage.

      Delete
    3. Thorton
      "What we do have to support it is 5000+ years of empirical observations and data. In all the recorded history of humanity, not a single verified instance of a non-material (i.e supernatural) cause producing a material effect has ever been documented. Not a single one."

      What do you mean by verified?
      How do you know that?

      Delete
    4. Blas"

      What do you mean by verified?


      I mean scientifically verified. An event that can be confirmed through objective repeatable observations and testing.

      To my knowledge no such supposedly "supernatural" events have every been so confirmed. All we have are anecdotal second-hand or third-hand accounts.

      Delete
    5. And how do you test supernatural?

      Delete
    6. Thornton:

      What we do have to support it is 5000+ years of empirical observations and data. In all the recorded history of humanity, not a single verified instance of a non-material (i.e supernatural) cause producing a material effect has ever been documented. Not a single one. Key word is verified, not anecdotal.

      Well, 'non-material' does not mean 'supernatural' since 'supernatural' is an ill-defined term. Non-material simply means non-physical. There is no law that says that only the physical can exist. Actually, there is a solid logical reason to support the notion that the physical cannot be all there is. Since everything physical is made of nothing and is created out of nothing (otherwise you run into a nasty infinite regress. I'll explain if asked) it follows that everything physical that exists must have been created by something else that is non-physical. Why, you ask? Because the physical cannot create itself. Why? Because nothing is its own opposite.

      Not every trait has to provide a survival advantage in order to be maintained in a population. In fact, most are effectively neutral.

      Yeah, I've heard this argument many times before. You don't get it, though. Appreciation for the arts is not a trait that is selected for or against based on some other criterion such as fitness for survival. Appreciation for the arts is a criterion for selection. If you are a human and you have no love for the arts, you are unlikely to find a mate and procreate, period. You would be shunned by society. In other words, There are now two fitness criteria when there should only be one.

      But's that's not all. Things like beauty, love, appreciation, etc. are spiritual concepts. They have no place in a purely physical universe. Why? Because, no matter how you look at it, beauty is not a physical property of matter.

      Appreciation for music and art are side effects from having developed large brains good at pattern recognition and information processing, things which do provide a survival advantage.

      I've also heard this one many times before. It's a very lame argument, in my opinion. You call this science? Where is the research that validates that an appreciation for music is a side effect of large brains? Where is the empirical evidence? Don't tell me. I know. There is none.

      In reality, however, it can be shown that appreciation for the arts has nothing to do with the size of the brain since many humans are born with abnormally tiny brain (as small as 10% of the size of a normal human brain) and still go on to live normal lives.

      Write back only if you have some actual science to discuss. Otherwise, you are merely digging yourself into a pseudo-scientific hole of your own making.

      Delete
    7. If you have no love for the arts ,it is unlikely that you will find a mate and procreate and you will be shunned by society? This is a whole new area of discussion. Would you mind going into your reasoning? I sounds like you have thought it out.

      Delete
    8. Louis Savain

      If you are a human and you have no love for the arts, you are unlikely to find a mate and procreate, period.


      Really? There are a couple of billion people in the world living in abject poverty just above the starvation line, fighting to find enough food and water to live one more day. A love of the arts doesn't seem to be too high on their priority list yet they keep mating and reproducing like bunnies. Why is that?

      Delete
    9. Louis Savain

      I've also heard this one many times before. It's a very lame argument, in my opinion. You call this science? Where is the research that validates that an appreciation for music is a side effect of large brains? Where is the empirical evidence? Don't tell me. I know. There is none.


      Er...

      Music, evolution and language

      Abstract: Darwin (1871) noted that the human musical faculty ‘must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed’. Indeed, previous research with human infants and young children has revealed that we are born with variable musical capabilities. Here, the adaptive purpose served by these differing capabilities is discussed with reference to comparative findings regarding the acoustic behavior of nonhuman primates. The findings provide evidence supporting Darwin's hypothesis of an intermediate stage of human evolutionary history characterized by a communication system that resembles music more closely than language and possibly acting as a precursor for both current language and music.

      Lots more can be found with a simple Google Scholar search.

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    10. Thornton:

      Really? There are a couple of billion people in the world living in abject poverty just above the starvation line, fighting to find enough food and water to live one more day. A love of the arts doesn't seem to be too high on their priority list yet they keep mating and reproducing like bunnies. Why is that?

      Wow. This is such a bigoted, uninformed and elitist statement, I don't know how to begin. One does not have to be rich to have a love for beauty. I've been to third world countries and I can tell you that poor people do adorn themselves and their houses as much as they can. They use haircuts, tattoos, makeup, clothing, shoes, etc. just like anyone else. They sing and dance to music and play musical instruments just like every other culture. Even the remotest tribes in the Amazon jungle have a pronounced sense of the arts and they show it in their songs and adornments.

      You need to wake up, Thorton. Your capacity for delusion has reached a new high.

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    11. Thorton:

      Abstract: Darwin (1871) noted that the human musical faculty ‘must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed’. Indeed, previous research with human infants and young children has revealed that we are born with variable musical capabilities. Here, the adaptive purpose served by these differing capabilities is discussed with reference to comparative findings regarding the acoustic behavior of nonhuman primates. The findings provide evidence supporting Darwin's hypothesis of an intermediate stage of human evolutionary history characterized by a communication system that resembles music more closely than language and possibly acting as a precursor for both current language and music.

      Lots more can be found with a simple Google Scholar search.


      Wow. "Evidence supporting Darwin's hypothesis of an intermediate stage of human evolutionary history characterized by a communication system that resemble music more than language"? What a crock! How can anybody claim to have any credible evidence of anything that happened millions of years ago and left no trace whatsoever? Did these researchers find some ancient sound recordings left by cavemen? Talk about pseudo-scientific hogwash.

      The capacity of evolutionists to delude themselves is near miraculous. It must be a case of mass hypnosis whereby a huge number of otherwise intelligent individuals become stupid whenever the word 'evolution' is mentioned.

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    12. There are cave paintings thousands of years old,in fact there is evidence that our cousins the Neanderthals engaged in the artistic endeavors,whales seem to have an appreciation of the song.So humans are not alone in the artistic impulse.You seem to be ignoring,your arch enemy's point,there are practical aspects of art and song,such as conveying meaning, memories and emotions beyond simple love of beauty. And you still need to make the connection to reproductive success to art and song,respectfully.

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    13. velikovskys:

      There are cave paintings thousands of years old,in fact there is evidence that our cousins the Neanderthals engaged in the artistic endeavors,whales seem to have an appreciation of the song.So humans are not alone in the artistic impulse.

      Why should I take an evolutionist's opinion that neanderthals were not humans just because they looked different? Is an African pygmy a different species than a Caucasian? In my opinion, neanderthals were simply another human race that were wiped by either disease or war or both. Genocide is known to have happened in human history.

      You seem to be ignoring,your arch enemy's point,there are practical aspects of art and song,such as conveying meaning, memories and emotions beyond simple love of beauty.

      Practical or not, there is no escaping the artistic aspect. The fact is that both primitive and non-primitive societies have a knack for abstract aesthetics that transcend a mere desire to communicate. The archaeological record is clear on this issue.

      And you still need to make the connection to reproductive success to art and song,respectfully.

      This is so simple, I'm a loss to understand your pretense of incredulity. It's not just about the love of art and song but the love of beauty in general. There can be no art without a sense of beauty. If one has no way of judging the beauty (or ugliness) of one's surroundings and/or that of other individuals, one is clearly mentally ill and this will be readily apparent in one's behavior. Historically speaking, human societies tend to isolate individuals with mental illness.

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    14. Interesting definition, what about the blind? Without visual reference could anyone judge beauty of one's surroundings? Or even know what beauty consisted of.

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  13. "How does that lead you to conclude that "religion drives science"

    When you see that "religion" is often derided as causing one to have more of an attachment to beliefs than to observations, by people who seem to have more of an attachment to beliefs than to observations, you begin to wonder what the objector is really objecting to. One of the quickest ways to force a resolution is to call the objector them self religious and observe the defense. That is often a theme of the posts here.

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  14. Well, I'm not talking about internet spats. I'm talking about the science that actually goes on in science departments.

    In what sense is that driven by religion?

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    1. I think the tests and the buildings they are done in do not themselves state what principles and laws are in operation as they do confirm or reject the viability of various theories of principles and laws. So the data itself is not driven by religion (if accurate), but the types of theories held to be viable "knowledge" in light of the data often are.

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    2. Lizzie:

      In what sense is that driven by religion?

      The arguments for why evolution is a fact entail metaphysical claims.

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    3. I'd like a citation for an argument that a) claims that evolution is a fact and b) entails a metaphysical claim.

      All arguments I have seen that claim that "evolution is a fact" specifically define evolution in the narrow sense of "[biased] changes in allele frequencies over time". Which is indeed an observed fact, and not the slightest bit "metaphysical".

      Any claim that "the theory of evolution is a fact" is a hyperbolic oxymoron, and not something any scientist would make as a scientific claim. It lacks precision for a start.

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    4. EL:

      All arguments I have seen that claim that "evolution is a fact" specifically define evolution in the narrow sense of "[biased] changes in allele frequencies over time". Which is indeed an observed fact, and not the slightest bit "metaphysical".

      Any claim that "the theory of evolution is a fact" is a hyperbolic oxymoron, and not something any scientist would make as a scientific claim. It lacks precision for a start.


      Well then evolutionists must not be scientists. The evolutionist’s claim that evolution is a fact is in reference to the standard, colloquial understanding of the word, that is, it is in reference to the origin of the species. No one disagrees that allele frequencies change over time. There is no need to argue over that.

      For instance, the National Academy of Sciences explains that in science the word “fact” can be used “to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong.” - National Academy of Sciences, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999.

      Here is another example making clear that the claim is not about allele frequencies:

      “It is a fact that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.” - R. C. Lewontin "Evolution/Creation Debate: A Time for Truth" Bioscience 31, 559 (1981).
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

      Here’s another example, from a textbook, showing that the evolution of life is a fact:

      “The term theory is no longer appropriate except when referring to the various models that attempt to explain how life evolves … it is important to understand that the current questions about how life evolves in no way implies any disagreement over the fact of evolution.” - Neil A. Campbell, Biology 2d ed. (San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings, 1990) 434.
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

      Continued ...

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    5. Continued ...


      Here’s another textbook example from the same website:

      A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors--the historical reality of evolution--is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.
      - Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., 1986, Sinauer Associates, p. 15


      I'd like a citation for an argument that a) claims that evolution is a fact and b) entails a metaphysical claim.

      “Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.” --Stephen Jay Gould, “The Panda’s Thumb,” The Panda’s Thumb, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1980) 20-21.

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    6. Nice own goal CH. Every one of those citations supports exactly what Dr. Liddle said. Every one of them makes a clear distinction between the observed fact of evolution and the theory of evolution that explains the observed fact.

      After all this time why do you still equivocate between the two very different meanings?

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    7. Every one of them makes a clear distinction between the observed fact of evolution and the theory of evolution that explains the observed fact.

      No, try reading next time.

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  15. Dr. Hunter,

    In describing these "falsifications of evolution," it might be helpful if you clearly state what you believe the evolutionary prediction was, and what the data is that falsifies it.

    For example you state:
    "This dizzying array of glycans can be (i) specific to a particular lineage, (i) similar in very distant lineages, (iii) and conspicuously absent from very restricted taxa only."

    So what is the "evolutionary" prediction? In the paper, there are actually 4 cases:

    1) Glycans conserved across many taxa.

    Objection?

    2) Glycans specific to a particular lineage, such as capsule murein peptidoglycans in bacteria (Figure 1A) or gangliosides in vertebrates.

    Objection? 1 and 2 show quite beautiful phylogenies.

    3) Glycans similar across distant taxa-e.g. cellulose in bacteria and plants.

    Is this the "falsification" of evolution? That convergent evolution has produced a simple linkage of glucose twice?

    4) Glycans absent from restricted taxa only. An example would be loss of N-glycolylneuraminic acid in humans because an Alu broke our enzyme that makes it.

    Is loss of a function in a lineage a falsification of evolution? Interestingly, this relates to the "purge" of viruses in the human lineage, as Neu5Gc is a key receptor.

    What is the evolutionary prediction Dr. Hunter? Did convergent evolution, evolution of a feature conserved in vertebrates, or loss of function in some lineages falsify it?

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    1. RobertC:

      In describing these "falsifications of evolution,"

      I’m not sure why you have that in quotes. I don’t believe I used that phrase. Recall that the label on the OP is “False expectations.” Given the seemingly endless list of evolution’s falsified expectations, the lack of scientific evidence that life, the species and all of biology spontaneously arose, and the constant drumbeat of sophomoric metaphysics mandating evolution, it is indeed awfully tempting simply to refer to the entire project as having been falsified. If there ever was merit for so jumping the gun, it would seem to be here. But I try to avoid such conclusions, no matter how compelling, and stick to the many falsifications of the expectations.


      For example you state:
      "This dizzying array of glycans can be (i) specific to a particular lineage, (i) similar in very distant lineages, (iii) and conspicuously absent from very restricted taxa only."

      So what is the "evolutionary" prediction?


      Evolution did not expect lineage-specific biology. As the quotes from the papers indicate, the findings were “puzzling” with “no clear explanation,” provided no “clear trends or patterns consistent with different evolutionary lineages,” and so forth.

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    2. "Evolution did not expect lineage-specific biology."

      Of course evolutionary biology does! You've just said evolution predicts evolution doesn't happen. If there isn't something specific (different) about the lineages coming from a common ancestor, then they are identical, and the same species. Unchanging.

      Does the human lineage share the same exact biology as chimps?There are obvious anatomical differences. But when it comes to something like glycans, under strong selective pressure by viruses, you expect the biology to be conserved in all hominids?

      I know you've snipped some exciting words from the review paper, but you haven't addressed the science behind it one bit.

      You've falsified the opposite of an evolutionary prediction.

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    3. RobertC:

      CH: Evolution did not expect lineage-specific biology.

      RobertC: Of course evolutionary biology does! You've just said evolution predicts evolution doesn't happen. If there isn't something specific (different) about the lineages coming from a common ancestor, then they are identical, and the same species. Unchanging.

      Does the human lineage share the same exact biology as chimps? There are obvious anatomical differences. But when it comes to something like glycans, under strong selective pressure by viruses, you expect the biology to be conserved in all hominids?

      I know you've snipped some exciting words from the review paper, but you haven't addressed the science behind it one bit.

      You've falsified the opposite of an evolutionary prediction.


      You often make good points, but this is tedious. Of course evolution expects change to occur within a lineage. The term “lineage-specific” biology goes beyond this. It refers to more dramatic change within a lineage, such as what we see in humans as one example (referred to as human uniqueness).

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  16. Elizabeth said, "Personally, ID seems a bizarre theory at least partly for reasons your evolutionist correspondents give - it seems far more coherent to me to posit a God who designed a universe with laws that meant that parasites as well as human beings with terrible child-bearing hips would evolve, than one who personally designed humans with terrible child-bearing hips and parasites to kill their children, just as it seems more coherent to posit a God who design a universe with gravitational forces that work willy nilly, for good or ill, than one who personally drops landslides on innocent villagers."

    Case in point... Like I said, I can't have a discussion with an evolutionist without it coming to a discussion of what God would/wounldn't do. If it really was "irrelevant" then why did you bring it up? I think this carries a lot more weight with you than you may realize.

    I don't think its irrelevant to evolutionists, because evolution can only exist because of these "irrelevant" theological statements. Fluctuations in bird beak sizes and colors of moths and such is not evolution. These observable changes aren't going anywhere. As with incipient speciation, evolution must always rely on what they speculate happened in the distant past or could happen in the future.

    I think we can put the speculation to rest by other means and I don't need to refer to theology to do so. The tree of life has been falsified from the root (which it never had) to stem by scientific evidence. The mixing and matching of traits is overwhelming and absolutely devastating to evolutionary predictions beyond the pale of trivial terms like convergence to salvage.

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    1. But my whole point is that whether evolutionary theory is a good theory does not depend on what I, or anyone else, personally thinks God would or wouldn't do. I think evolutionary theory makes a lot more theological sense, as it happens, but that's not a reason to adopt it as a theory. If I came across incontrovertible evidence that God created the world in 6 days 6,000 years ago, then I might not like it theologically, but I'd go with the evidence.

      So we need never mention it again!

      "I don't think its irrelevant to evolutionists, because evolution can only exist because of these "irrelevant" theological statements."

      Absolutely not. Theological ideas about what God would or would not do, or how many gods might have been involved, or whether the earth was hatched from a turtle egg or whatever, have absolutely nothing to do with the question as to whether evolutionary theory is a good scientific theory. The only criteria for a scientific theory is whether it is a good fit to the data.

      "Fluctuations in bird beak sizes and colors of moths and such is not evolution."

      Well, so you keep saying, but it is indeed evolution - not only is it variation in allele frequency over time, it's actual adaptive variation in optimal beak size over time, given fluctuations in the distribution of seed sizes. In other words, natural selection in action.

      "These observable changes aren't going anywhere."

      They go "somewhere" every generation. What I think you mean is that they oscillate over time, rather than move steadily in, say, the direction of larger beak sizes.

      But the obvious reason for that is that for the population in question (I assume we are talking about the Grants' Galapagos finches) is that seed size distributions also oscillate, and the distribution of beak sizes tracks the distribution of seed sizes.

      What do you expect you'd see if for some reason, available seed sizes steadily increased, and small seeds became extremely rare? Are you saying that at some stage the beak sizes would be unable to track the seed sizes?

      "As with incipient speciation, evolution must always rely on what they speculate happened in the distant past or could happen in the future."

      Well, obviously there are limits to how much of a slow process we can observe in real time.

      But that isn't a reason in itself to think there is something wrong with the theory.

      Why couldn't, given selective pressure in favour of ever larger beaks, finches evolve ever-larger beaks? In your view?

      Now, it's possible that they could not. If the seed availability changed rapidly enough, the finch populations might simply go extinct, as the panda population threatens to do.

      But why shouldn't some populations get lucky? What are the "bounds" on adaptive change that you think must exist?

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    2. Neal: Case in point... Like I said, I can't have a discussion with an evolutionist without it coming to a discussion of what God would/wounldn't do. If it really was "irrelevant" then why did you bring it up? I think this carries a lot more weight with you than you may realize.

      This is a parodical argument, as creationism is a general purpose argument that can be used to deny the creation of anything, not just the knowledge of how to build the biosphere.

      For example, did Charles Darwin author the book, On the Origin of Species? Did Cornelius author this blog post? Did you author the comment I'm responding to?

      That would depend on whether God would choose to create the world we obesrve in the distant past, 30 years ago, 30 days ago, 30 minutes ago, 30 seconds ago, etc.

      If God chose to create this world 30 years ago, he would have authored On the Origin of Species, not Darwin, along with every discovery before then. If God chose to create this world 30 second ago, then he would have authored this blog post, your comment and a great deal of mine as well.

      So, it's unclear how one can have a discussion about anything without making assumptions about how God would create things.

      In fact, if all of the theories that supposed influenced Darwin's theory, along with the theory itself, were actually authored by some designer when he created this world 30 minutes ago, then Cornelius claim that Darwinism is a religion would be false, as Darwinism wasn't actually created by human beings in the first place.

      So, it would seem that Cornelius' argument that Darwinism is a religious belief itself hinges on assumptions about how God would create this world, and is therefore incoherent.

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    3. Elizabet said:
      "But the obvious reason for that is that for the population in question (I assume we are talking about the Grants' Galapagos finches) is that seed size distributions also oscillate, and the distribution of beak sizes tracks the distribution of seed sizes."

      So Linneo was right, animals evolves according the needs.

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    4. If you believe in quantum teleology, perhaps the seeds are anticipating the needs of the beak,;)

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    5. Then, as Neal said, this is not an example of evolution.

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    6. Elizabeth,

      There are different views by those that hold to the view of design. You seem like a nice person and somewhat open to civil discussion, so here goes.

      At least consider what I'm saying and research it further. The term creationist has evolved into meaning those that hold to a young earth. I think this is an unfortunate categorization that leads to intentional or unintentional oversimpification of the views that are held by those that are skeptical of evolution or reject evolution.

      But, even among young earth it is common to not hold to 6000 years but to 10,000 years for the age of the earth. Then there are those that hold to an old earth (4 billion years). Then there are creationists (I have a hunch that this is the majority) who don't really make the age of the earth an issue and aren't going to argue one way or another.

      The "Intelligent Design" people, such as members of the Discovery Institute hold to an old earth. I have not seen anyone there take a young earth view. If there are, I am not aware of any. They are very skeptical of neo-Darwinism and do not consider evolution to be a fact. They are not closed to evolution, but they haven't drank the Kool-aid that biology only makes sense because of evolution. Their books, like Signature in the Cell, by Stephen Meyer was on the best seller list and is certainly a serious book to read.

      Finch beaks - if the bmp4 protein regulation were to mutate (speculation #1) just right to allow for ever increasing beaks, this is not your only concern. Unless other mutations occured closely in conjunction to increase skull size to hold the larger beak properly and neck muscles and structure would change to support the bigger beak... and larger wing size to be able to lift the larger head and beak structure... evolutionist constantly dumb down and make everything sound so unrealistically simple.

      If the definition of evolution is natural selection causing variations to oscillate over time, then you've got evidence. But how does oscillating variation directly show that descent of one life form to others is unbounded? That change is unbounded is a hypothesis, but I've never seen observed evidence to take it beyond that. Telling skeptics that it is up to them to show that its not is a complete cop out. That's another one of Charlie D's oldest and most ingenius tricks.

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    7. Thanks Neal, and yes I understand that IDers include lots of old earthers.

      "They are not closed to evolution, but they haven't drank the Kool-aid that biology only makes sense because of evolution. Their books, like Signature in the Cell, by Stephen Meyer was on the best seller list and is certainly a serious book to read."

      It isn't Kool-aid, and it isn't that "biology only makes sense because of evolution". Evolution certainly makes a great deal of sense of biology, however. And despite Cornelius's odd interpretation of Dobzhansky's essay, it doesn't make a nonsense out of Divine Creation either.

      I have read Signature in the Cell. I didn't think much of it. I didn't honestly think it was a terribly serious book, although a reasonably readable, if long-winded, piece of science journalism, with nice pencil sketches. And I found its arguments seriously flawed.

      "Finch beaks - if the bmp4 protein regulation were to mutate (speculation #1) just right to allow for ever increasing beaks, this is not your only concern. "

      It's unlikely that alleles of the protein gene are the ones that governs beak size - much more likely to be alleles of regulatory genes that govern expression of that protein during development. And we know that beak sizes vary, and that they track the distribution of seed sizes, thanks to the Grants' meticulous work, so we know that the phenotypic variance is accessible, genetically.

      "Unless other mutations occured closely in conjunction to increase skull size to hold the larger beak properly and neck muscles and structure would change to support the bigger beak... and larger wing size to be able to lift the larger head and beak structure... evolutionist constantly dumb down and make everything sound so unrealistically simple. "

      But I didn't say it would necessarily happen. If the environment changed too rapidly, then the result would probably be extinction. But, as we know that there are alleles that govern skull size, beak size, wing size etc, and that these are close in mutation terms, there is no reason, given slow enough change, why the beak sizes shouldn't track seed sizes indefinitely.

      Or, if there is, you need to provide one, because your claim that evolution is "bounded" is the positive claim. All I'm saying is - it happens on a small scale, why shouldn't it continue?

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    8. oops post was too long - here is the rest:

      "If the definition of evolution is natural selection causing variations to oscillate over time, then you've got evidence."

      Yes indeed.

      "But how does oscillating variation directly show that descent of one life form to others is unbounded?"

      Well, why should it be? And what do you mean by "from one life form to another"? It's unlikely that any one offspring over time looks radically different from its parent. That doesn't mean that it won't look very different from its remote ancestor, if, down the lineages, successful variants have been generated and retained.

      New sequences are generated all the time, so the gene pool in any population is constantly drip-fed with new variants. Most phenotypic features are polygeneic, so no one novel sequence is likely to make a big difference on its own, at least in multi-cellular, sexually reproducing populations. But given a rich pool of variants, combinations that work in environment A will consist of a certain subset, and of environment A persists, that subset will become much more prevalent than the subset that work best in environment B. Keep making A more A-ish, and keep drip-feeding slight variants into the gene pool, and after a while you will have a population with adaptations to a very A environment that includes genetic sequences that weren't present at all in the original environment.

      I think the problem is thinking of new variants as single genes or alleles that immediately have a substantial advantage (or disadvantage). It's far more likely that most genes are near neutral and that the best breeders in any generation are simply those individuals that inherited a beneficial cocktail. But the ingredients of that beneficial cocktail will be passed preferentially on, with a few novelties thrown in, some of which might contribute to an even better cocktail in some future environment.




      "That change is unbounded is a hypothesis, but I've never seen observed evidence to take it beyond that. Telling skeptics that it is up to them to show that its not is a complete cop out. That's another one of Charlie D's oldest and most ingenius tricks."

      Well, the best evidence are the transitional series in the fossil record, as well as genetic evidence of variants that are associated with particular traits. The "evo-devo" literature and evidence is particularly interesting, as it shows how even slight changes to regulatory genes can have quite substantial phenotypic effects.

      Anyway, nice to talk to you :)

      Lizzie

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    9. Elizabeth said:

      !And we know that beak sizes vary, and that they track the distribution of seed sizes,

       But, as we know that there are alleles that govern skull size, beak size, wing size etc, and that these are close in mutation terms, there is no reason, given slow enough change, why the beak sizes shouldn't track seed sizes indefinitely."

      This is not evolution, because it is not ramdom is guided. They "track" seed sizes.

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  17. The reason evolution makes sense is that it provides an excellent account of how complex, well adapted organisms can emerge without a Designer personally tweaking the designs.

    Ignoring the purported excellency of evolutionary accounts of the emergence of “well adapted organisms”, you understate the problem at hand in at least two ways. I don't think you did this intentionally or maliciously, but your summary statement masks important issues which must always be borne in mind when discussing undirected, unguided evolution.

    First, you assume that life can arise from non-life; i.e. that biological entities can arise from inorganic matter. Nothing in centuries of careful observation of the abiotic physical world supports this assumption.

    Second, you describe life as merely “adapted”. But biological organisms are not only well adapted to their respective environments, they are also highly adaptive. A common claw hammer, such as a carpenter might routinely use, is well adapted for driving and pulling nails; it could, however, hardly be called adaptive. “Adapted-ness” is one thing; “adaptive-ness” is something else entirely.

    A fuller elaboration of the problem confronting biology runs something like this: “As scientists, we've made countless observations of abiotic physical systems winding down towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The behavior of these systems is well understood, and well documented. How is it that, against all thermodynamic odds, a sperm whale could have arisen? Specifically, what caused the emergence of this organism as a system of systems? Furthermore, how did it come to be an adaptive system?”

    It is precisely at these points of inquiry that dsyteleological evolutionary theory is weakest—indeed, in my opinion, an utter failure.

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  18. Robert,

    One thing to note is that Cornelius' objections are based on specific assumptions about the relationship between the components of a scientific theory. In other words, it's based on a specific philosophy of science, which he projects on everyone else.

    However, he hasn't explicitly disclosed his philosophy of science, presented an argument as to why that philosophy should be used and ignores corrections that it's not actually used. This is part of the straw man that Cornelius uses in his arguments.

    Specifically, he's appealing to a specific level of reductionism, in that a scientific theory separately consists of formalisms, predictions and interpretation. This is similar to how he appeals to a particular level of reductionism in regards to conjectured genetic variation and natural selection.

    Note that we never speak of the existence of dinosaurs, millions of years ago, as an interoperation of our best theories of fossils. Rather, we say that dinosaurs are the explanation for fossils. Nor is the theory primarily about fossils, but about dinosaurs, in that they are assumed to actually exist as part of the explanation. And we do so despite the fact that there are an infinite number of rival interpretations of the same data that make all the same predictions, yet say the dinosaurs were not there, millions of years ago, in reality.

    For example, there is the rival interpretation that fossils only come into existence when they are consciously observed. Therefore, fossils are no older than human beings. As such, they are not evidence of dinosaurs, but evidence of acts of those particular observations.

    Another interpretation would be that dinosaurs are such weird animals that conventional logic simply doesn't apply to them. (Cornelius makes this sort of appeal when he implies some aspect of biology is so weird that is "beyond our comprehension")

    And one could suggest It's meaningless to ask if dinosaurs were real or just a useful fiction to explain fossils. (Which is an example of instrumentalism as found in the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.)

    None of these other interpretations are empirically distinguishable from the rational theory of dinosaurs, in that their existence explains fossils. But we discard them because they all represent a general purpose means to deny absolutely anything.

    Since, as noted above, interpretations are infinitely variable, while still accepting the same observations, assuming they are separate from predictions and formalisms makes it appear that interpretations cannot make predictions, cannot be tested and are not scientific. And one could say the same about any particular formalism as well.

    As such, Cornelius is attempting to portray scientific theories as nothing more than predictions to be observed and tested, in isolation from any formalism or interpretation. However, this is equivalent to assuming observations are irreducible, independent, primitive aspects of a theory. And this is inconsistent with the very idea of a developing a concept of measurement that is scientific.

    In other words, he assumes it's possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework, which includes formalisms, and interpretations.

    So, the purpose of formalism, predictions and interpretation in a scientific theory is to present a unified explanatory theory, which is an assertion about objective reality as a coherent whole, for the purpose of criticism. This is in contrast to merely being just about what human beings may or may not experience in the future.

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    1. Sure, I'm aware of Hunter's peculiar view of science. I generally just post to demonstrate his interpretation of the literature is wrong.

      If we play the prediction/observation that tests it game, shouldn't he at lease state the prediction and explain the data that falsifies it?

      These posts really fail even at that level. The other day, the "data" Hunter was interpreting--of ERVs that weren't--did a 180. Conclusion? The same.

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    2. Robert: If we play the prediction/observation that tests it game, shouldn't he at lease state the prediction and explain the data that falsifies it?

      I agree. However, you and I are not Cornelius' target audience.

      If "the choir" he's preaching to is sufficiently persuaded, then details are irrelevant. All that matters is evoking uncertainty and doubt.

      Delete
  19. Kent D

    First, you assume that life can arise from non-life


    Please provide your definition of "life" and "non-life". Not an example, a definition with criteria that allow determination of each state. Hint: It's not binary, and it's not near as easy as one might think.

    Second, you describe life as merely “adapted”. But biological organisms are not only well adapted to their respective environments, they are also highly adaptive.

    The ability to rapidly adapt to changing environments provides a distinct survival advantage. Why is it surprising that animals evolving such an ability would be selected for?

    A fuller elaboration of the problem confronting biology runs something like this: “As scientists, we've made countless observations of abiotic physical systems winding down towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The behavior of these systems is well understood, and well documented. How is it that, against all thermodynamic odds, a sperm whale could have arisen? Specifically, what caused the emergence of this organism as a system of systems? Furthermore, how did it come to be an adaptive system?”

    Oh please, not the old "2LoT disproves evolution" again.

    1)Nothing in thermodynamics prevents local processes from decreasing entropy as long as the overall entropy of the system increases.

    2) Feedback processes that use random variations filtered by selection and which retain heritable traits (i.e. evolution) have been empirically demonstrated to produce increased complexity.

    Nothing you have mentioned is the slightest problem for evolutionary theory.

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    Replies
    1. @Thorton:

      Thanks for a thought-provoking response. Hopefully you will forgive me if I answer what I consider to be your "easier" objections first. (I acknowledge that the "What is life?" question is a relatively tough one.)

      You wrote:

      Feedback processes that use random variations filtered by selection and which retain heritable traits (i.e. evolution) have been empirically demonstrated to produce increased complexity.

      Feedback-capturing mechanisms, selection filters, heritable trait retainers -- these sound suspiciously like components of a system. In fact, they sound suspiciously like components of a designed system. Did the empirical demonstration to which you refer, which exhibited increased complexity, rely on a feedback/response system that arose autonomously, or was it intelligently designed by the persons carrying out the experiments? Just curious...

      Delete
    2. @Thorton:

      Nothing in thermodynamics prevents local processes from decreasing entropy as long as the overall entropy of the system increases.

      I have in a drawer behind me several 1.44-inch floppy diskettes. Some fraction of them, say 2 out of 3, are no longer readable, due to entropic forces acting on their magnetic substrate. My copy of MS-DOS 5 might be affected; let's say for the sake of argument that it is. Are you suggesting that there exists some naturally occurring process, independent of any intelligence, that will restore the information on that diskette to its original state?

      Or, to take another example, how about my analog wrist watch? I can easily increase the entropy of the watch by crushing it with a sledge hammer. But its entropy will not decrease in any meaningful way (i.e. in such a way as to restore its time-keeping function) apart from intelligent intervention. Or is there some non-intelligent natural force that I'm missing here?

      In any functional system, entropy must be measured so as to account for the system's function, or lack thereof. Energy may be introduced to fund the intelligent, directed decrease of entropy in the system. But the injection of undirected, raw energy is highly unlikely to decrease functional entropy. The more complex the system, the less likely it becomes.

      Viewed in the light of functionality, the laws of thermodynamics are not conducive to evolution's success--apart from intelligence.

      Delete
    3. Kent D

      Feedback-capturing mechanisms, selection filters, heritable trait retainers -- these sound suspiciously like components of a system. In fact, they sound suspiciously like components of a designed system. Did the empirical demonstration to which you refer, which exhibited increased complexity, rely on a feedback/response system that arose autonomously, or was it intelligently designed by the persons carrying out the experiments? Just curious...


      Experiments are set to duplicate empirically observed naturally occurring evolutionary processes. The complexity arises solely from the interaction of those processes and not from any deliberate external intelligent intervention.

      Evolutionary Algorithms

      Are you suggesting that there exists some naturally occurring process, independent of any intelligence, that will restore the information on that diskette to its original state?

      Don't be a doof. Just because local processes can sometimes reverse entropy doesn't mean every instance of entropy increase can be reversed by a natural process.

      When the temperature drops below 0 deg C. and the pond in your backyard freezes, that's a local decrease in entropy. Did the ice require an Intelligent Ice Designer to form?

      In any functional system, entropy must be measured so as to account for the system's function, or lack thereof. Energy may be introduced to fund the intelligent, directed decrease of entropy in the system.

      That big yellow thing in the sky also funds undirected, natural processes like photosynthesis that also decrease entropy locally.

      But the injection of undirected, raw energy is highly unlikely to decrease functional entropy.

      Nonsense. It happens all the time in endothermic chemical reactions. External thermal energy is converted to chemical bond energy and complex molecules form from simpler ones.

      Viewed in the light of functionality, the laws of thermodynamics are not conducive to evolution's success--apart from intelligence.

      Seriously Kent, do a little reading. The 2LoT argument is one of the dumber ones in the Creationist repertoire.

      Delete
    4. @Thorton:

      Experiments are set to duplicate empirically observed naturally occurring evolutionary processes. The complexity arises solely from the interaction of those processes and not from any deliberate external intelligent intervention.

      Absent the intelligently designed feedback/response system that these experimenters created, would the experiment have succeeded in demonstrating increased complexity? I think not. The naturalistic evolution of feedback/response systems in living organisms has not, emphatically not, been empirically observed. Yet any meaningful complexity arising out of the experiment you described arises solely as a result of the feedback/response system. Whether the intervention was deliberate or not, the complexity was not introduced naturally.

      You don't see problems with hidden assumptions and non sequiturs in the conception of this experiment, and the interpretation of its results?

      Delete
    5. @Thorton:

      Just because local processes can sometimes reverse entropy doesn't mean every instance of entropy increase can be reversed by a natural process.

      Agreed. But you should stop for a minute and ponder: Why are some instances of increased entropy irreversible by natural processes? The answer to that question has important implications for answering another question: Why are the probabilities of life arising by means of natural processes (i.e., without intelligent intervention) vanishingly small?

      Delete
    6. @Thorton:

      When the temperature drops below 0 deg C. and the pond in your backyard freezes, that's a local decrease in entropy. Did the ice require an Intelligent Ice Designer to form?

      Theoretically, no. Yes, water expands when it freezes, and becomes less dense than its liquid form, so ice floats. Scientists tell us that life, in general, relies on precisely this property of water for its existence. While this phenomena (ice floating), by itself, does not necessarily require an inference of design, it is not inconsistent with design, and (to me) it is certainly suggestive of "fine tuning".

      Incidentally, the probability that water will behave as you describe when the temperature drops (entropy decreases) is very high--virtually certain, in fact. It has been observed countless times. How many times has a local decrease in entropy in an abiotic system been empirically observed to produce life? What are the probablilities of that happening?

      (Yes, the pesky question remains: What is life? I haven't forgotten, and hope to address that in a post later today.)

      Delete
    7. @Thorton:

      That big yellow thing in the sky also funds undirected, natural processes like photosynthesis that also decrease entropy locally.

      You're ignoring the question of where the photosynthetic system came from in the first place. Does the existence or origin of photosynthesis (as opposed to its current operation) depend on intelligent agency? Is it possible for the photosynthetic process to arise independently of intelligence? These are the pertinent questions. The empirically observed behavior of abiotic physical systems suggests that the dysteleological evolution of a photosynthetic system is highly unlikely.

      Delete
    8. Kent D

      Absent the intelligently designed feedback/response system that these experimenters created, would the experiment have succeeded in demonstrating increased complexity? I think not.


      Please Kent, stop with the silly IDCer evasion - claiming experiment that show the rise of complexity through natural processes don't count because the experiments were designed. That's just intellectual dishonesty.

      Why are some instances of increased entropy irreversible by natural processes?

      Because of the way the laws of chemistry and physics work. Now if you want to argue those laws were designed that's a whole other topic, not evolution.

      While this phenomena (ice floating), by itself, does not necessarily require an inference of design, it is not inconsistent with design,

      What observations are inconsistent with design? Please give me a few examples.

      How many times has a local decrease in entropy in an abiotic system been empirically observed to produce life? What are the probablilities of that happening?

      We've explored 1 planet and found 1 instance. That tentatively makes the probability 1.0

      You're ignoring the question of where the photosynthetic system came from in the first place.

      Photosynthesis is an endothermic chemical reaction. Life is an extremely complicated endothermic chemical reaction but the basic concepts are the same. The laws of chemistry and physics allow for local reductions in entropy. Just the scale is different.

      The empirically observed behavior of abiotic physical systems suggests that the dysteleological evolution of a photosynthetic system is highly unlikely.

      Unless you can produce the data and calculations to support such a claim that's just unsupported personal incredulity on your part.

      Delete
    9. @Thorton:

      Please Kent, stop with the silly IDCer evasion - claiming experiment[s] that show the rise of complexity through natural processes don't count because the experiments were designed. That's just intellectual dishonesty.

      I didn't discount the experiment because it was designed. Obviously, the experiment was designed. I discounted the experiment because its conclusions are logically flawed. The inferences drawn from the experiment depend necessarily upon a fundamental assumption that has no sound empirical basis.

      Perhaps I worded my prior response somewhat imprecisely. For clarity, let the original feedback/response system, the one found in nature, be called FRS1. Let the second feedback/response system, the one implemented by the experimenters, and actually utilized by the experiment, be FRS2.

      Now clearly FRS2 was intelligently designed. However (as you point out), FRS2 was intelligently designed to mimic FRS1. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the experimenters faithfully reproduced the functionality of FRS1 in their implementation of FRS2, and that the experimental results obtained from FRS2 are equivalent in all significant respects to what has been empirically observed from FRS1.

      Now regarding FRS1, there are precisely two mutually exclusive possibilities: FRS1 arose dysteleologically (completely independently of intelligent agency), or it arose teleologically (as a consequence of at least some intelligent intervention in natural processes). If FRS1 arose apart from intelligent agency, then we can justifiably conclude, given FRS2’s results, that our experiment demonstrates dysteleologically produced complexity. On the other hand, if FRS1 arose as a consequence of design (some intelligent intervention), then we cannot justifiably conclude, given FRS2’s results, that our experiment exhibits dysteleologically produced complexity. (Sorry for the wordiness—I’m trying to avoid potential misunderstandings.)

      Herein lies the rub: The experimenters assume that FRS1 arose dysteleologically, and hence that the observed complexity, produced by their experiment, arose likewise. Their assumption has no direct empirical support; i.e., we simply do not know if nature, apart from intelligence, can produce a complex system like FRS1. We do know with certainty, however, by an abundance of empirical observations, that intelligent agents routinely produce comparable systems.

      For experimenters, or for other modelers of natural phenomenon, it's all too easy to smuggle intelligent agency in the back door, and then attribute derivative results to dysteleological natural processes. Richard Dawkins, in his METHINKSITISLIKEAWEASEL debacle, is a case in point.

      Delete
    10. Kent D

      I didn't discount the experiment because it was designed. Obviously, the experiment was designed. I discounted the experiment because its conclusions are logically flawed.


      I see you've powered up the rocket powered goal posts. Shame on you.

      The original question was "can empirically observed evolutionary process produce complexity without deliberate external guidance" The answer is an emphatic YES.

      You then changed the question to "where did empirically observed evolutionary processes come from" which is a completely different topic.

      The answer to that is they emerge naturally out of the material properties and laws that govern out universe. ANY feedback system (be it biological, electrical, mechanical, mathematical) with imperfect self-replicators filtered by selection will produce complexity.

      You've now fallen back enough to be a theistic evolutionist - the Designer created the properties and laws of the universe so evolution would happen on its own without further intervention. Once you've reached that point you've left the realm of science.

      BTW I'm glad to see you finally abandoned the 2LoT argument. There's a lot of really bad science and bad logic coming from the Creationist camps, but that is about the worst.

      I'll also note that the rote repetition of Creationist catch-phrases (i.e "evolution models smuggle intelligence in") with no support or understanding are almost as bad.

      Delete
  20. @Elizabeth:

    The reason evolution makes sense is that it provides an excellent account of how complex, well adapted organisms can emerge without a Designer personally tweaking the designs. That doesn't mean there was no Designer, it just means that if there was, the Designer was smart enough to create a universe in which evolutionary processes would get on with the job...

    I find it exceedingly odd that intelligence is only required if the Designer exists, and (implicitly) if he is in fact responsible for jump-starting evolution. If there was a Designer, you write, he “was smart enough to create a universe in which evolutionary processes would get on with the job...”. This seems to imply that if he wasn’t smart enough, evolution wouldn’t get on at all (a point with which I can wholeheartedly agree). But perhaps I misunderstand you. In any case, if a Designer is optional, then his level of intelligence is for all practical purposes irrelevant, since nature-without-Designer (or nature-in-spite-of-Designer) is perfectly up to the job of producing life—or so we’re told.

    But is nature-without-Designer up to the job? Religious wishful thinking says “yes”. But the empirical evidence says otherwise. ID is truly an inference to a better (scientific) explanation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "But is nature-without-Designer up to the job? Religious wishful thinking says “yes”. But the empirical evidence says otherwise."

      Which evidence is that?

      Delete
    2. I don't understand your question.

      What empirical evidence says that nature-without-Designer isn't up to the job?

      What empirical evidence could even address that question?

      Delete
    3. That is what I'm asking Kent.

      Delete
    4. @ Robert & Elizabeth:

      What empirical evidence says that nature-without-Designer isn't up to the job?

      What empirical evidence could even address that question?


      Mountains of empirical evidence tell us unequvocally that naturally improbable arrangements of matter in complex functional abiotic systems do not arise except by intelligent agency. By "naturally improbable arrangements of matter in complex functional abiotic systems" I mean, for example, functional automobiles, transistor radios, computers, nuclear reactors, and the like--artifacts whose production has actually been observed, and which do meaningful work while smimming upstream against the entropic currents of nature, so to speak.

      ID's claim that the inference of intelligence is an inference to the best explanation seems eminently reasonable to me--more reasonable that its dysteleological evolutionary alternative.

      Delete
    5. Henry Ford building the automobile is the empirical evidence that nature without a designer isn't capable of making complex systems?

      "complex functional abiotic systems" aren't living and reproducing with variation.

      Delete
    6. Kent: Mountains of empirical evidence tell us unequvocally that naturally improbable arrangements of matter in complex functional abiotic systems do not arise except by intelligent agency.

      Unequivocally?

      For the sake of argument, let's ignore the fact that you haven't shown exactly how you determined how probable it would be since this represents a different kind of unknowability.

      You're appealing to inductivism and Popper has presented a strong argument that the use of induction in science is is a myth. However, you don't have to take my word for it, or even Popper's.

      Given your claim, it would seem that we would also have mountains of empirical evidence that tells us unequivocally that intent and intelligence does not occur except when a complex material nervous system is present, since every designer we've observed designing things had a complex material brain. Right?

      Yet, I'm guessing you would strongly disagree with that conclusion.

      Delete
    7. Kent D

      Mountains of empirical evidence tell us unequvocally that naturally improbable arrangements of matter in complex functional abiotic systems do not arise except by intelligent agency. By "naturally improbable arrangements of matter in complex functional abiotic systems" I mean, for example, functional automobiles, transistor radios, computers, nuclear reactors, and the like--artifacts whose production has actually been observed, and which do meaningful work while smimming upstream against the entropic currents of nature, so to speak.


      That is demonstrably false. There is a widely used industrial process known as genetic algorithms that produce extremely complex designs just using evolutionary processes with a few simple rules.

      NASA Evolvable Systems Technology

      And NO, just because the systems are modeled and run on a computer doesn't mean intelligence is "smuggled in", any more than modeling a hurricane with weather software on a computer means hurricanes are intelligently designed.

      Delete
    8. @Scott:

      I think you (and perhaps other responders to my various posts) are confusing one categorical assertion (which I did make) for another (which I did not make). Perhaps I’m guilty of ambiguity. Allow me to clarify.

      Let’s start with what I am not claiming. I am not claiming, on the basis of empirical evidence, that complex functional systems (CFS’s) cannot arise from abiotic, dysteleological natural processes. I.e., I do not assert that the empirical evidence necessarily precludes such an event. My claim is much more modest. I am merely asserting (categorically, and to the best of my knowledge, correctly) that we have no direct empirical observations of such an event.

      (I don’t intend to restrict the observed “event” to an instantaneous, single event. My use of the term allows for an aggregate event, representing a series of potentially many events over time, which ultimately produce a CFS. And when I say “direct observation”, I mean an observation spanning from point A in time, when the yet-to-be-created CFS did not exist, to point B in time, when the new CFS is clearly present. Post-production inferences from the existence of a given CFS, absent observation of its creation, do not count, for my purposes, as “direct observation”--although in such a case I would consider claims based on necessary inference from reasonable, non-arbitrary premises.)

      I wrote:

      But is nature-without-Designer up to the job [of producing a CFS]? Religious wishful thinking says “yes”. But the empirical evidence says otherwise. ID is truly an inference to a better (scientific) explanation.

      Dysteleological evolutionists often give the impression (to me at least) that natural production of CFS’s is both possible and actual—i.e. that nature is capable of creating CFS’s, and has in fact done so already. They claim that, yes, “nature-without-Designer is up to the job”. I assert that, given the available empirical evidence, their claim cannot rise above the level of a mere assumption, or wishful thinking. Furthermore, it seems to me that (as Mr. Hunter has repeatedly observed) the evolutionists’ confidence in the truth of their claim is religiously motivated.

      To repeat: In my opinion, ID is an inference to a better (empirically based) explanation.

      Delete
    9. Kent D

      I am merely asserting (categorically, and to the best of my knowledge, correctly) that we have no direct empirical observations of such an event.


      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes can produce what you call CFSs.

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes did indeed produce the varieties of life forms we now see.

      As far as directly observing the process in real time from start to finish with biological life form - we have direct empirical observations that with life forms the entire process can take from tens of thousand to millions of years, depending on the magnitude of the change. Why in the world would you expect to see such a complete change in a few years, or even a few decades?

      I assert that, given the available empirical evidence, their claim cannot rise above the level of a mere assumption, or wishful thinking.

      Your assertion seems to be based on an almost complete ignorance of the available scientific evidence. As such it doesn't deserve any serious consideration.

      Delete
    10. @Scott:

      You're appealing to inductivism...

      I make no appeal either to induction, or inductivism. I simply appeal to the available empirical evidence. I hope my previous post makes that abundantly clear.

      The available empirical evidence does not necessarily support what dysteleological evolutionists confidently and commonly assert to be (scientific) fact.

      <<<
      Given your claim, it would seem that we would also have mountains of empirical evidence that tells us unequivocally that intent and intelligence does not occur except when a complex material nervous system is present, since every designer we've observed designing things had a complex material brain. Right?

      Yet, I'm guessing you would strongly disagree with that conclusion.

      >>>

      Premise: Every designer we've observed designing things had a complex material brain.

      Conclusion: Intent and intelligence does not occur except when a complex material nervous system is present.

      The conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. It may in fact be true (from a scientific standpoint), given the available empirical evidence. But it is not necessarily true.

      I do strongly disagree with the conclusion, but I don’t appeal only to science for proof that the conclusion is false. Empirical science is a powerful tool, and a useful one; however, standing by itself, apart from other intellectual tools, science is severely--sometimes fatally--handicapped. Hence, science alone is not always the right tool to use for evaluating truth claims.

      Delete
    11. Kent D.

      I make no appeal either to induction, or inductivism. I simply appeal to the available empirical evidence. I hope my previous post makes that abundantly clear.


      I don't say this to be smarmy or insulting, but you have demonstrated almost complete ignorance of the available empirical evidence. 

      You're like a guy who lived his entire life in a cave and had no contact with the outside world. You make the claim there is no available empirical evidence to support the idea that heavier-than-air flight is possible. To you it's true but to the rest of the world it's trivially false.

      Also, the logic you use to support ID is just atrocious:

      "Humans design complex things
      We see complex things in nature
      therefore complex things in nature were designed"

      compare to

      Humans design sprinklers to water the lawn
      Rainclouds water the lawn
      Therefore rainclouds were designed"

      It's one of the most common mistakes in the IDC community, but it's a doozy.

      Delete
    12. @Thorton:

      I wrote:

      I am merely asserting (categorically, and to the best of my knowledge, correctly) that we have no direct empirical observations of such an event.

      You responded:

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that [dysteleological] evolutionary processes can produce what you call CFSs.

      My statement was categorical, allowing for no exceptions. You can falsify it simply by providing a single counter-example. Can you?

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes did indeed produce the varieties of life forms we now see.

      On the contrary: We have precisely zero direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes did indeed produce the varieties of life forms we now see. The theory of evolution (whether teleological or dysteleological) is an inference from available evidence. The theory of evolution, as David Berlinksi correctly asserts, “lies at the end of an inferential trail.”

      Now there is nothing in principle wrong with inferences, or inferential trails. Some inferences, or chains of inference, compel belief; to doubt their conclusions is to deny (in a self-swallowing way) rationality itself. But other inferences are more tenuous, and even in some cases outrightly fallacious. Many people, on rational grounds, do not find Darwinism to be compelling. They question whether the available evidence is of the quality or quantity that Darwinists claim it is, and whether Darwinian conclusions follow necessarily from the available evidence.

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes did indeed produce the varieties of life forms we now see.

      Your assertion has numerous problems. One obvious and seemingly insuperable problem is the empirical inaccessibility of abiogenesis in the distant past. Unless you have a relatively recent example of observed abiogenesis...?

      Delete
    13. @Thorton:

      <<<
      ...
      the logic you use to support ID is just atrocious:

      "Humans design complex things
      We see complex things in nature
      therefore complex things in nature were designed"

      compare to

      Humans design sprinklers to water the lawn
      Rainclouds water the lawn
      Therefore rainclouds were designed"

      It's one of the most common mistakes in the IDC community, but it's a doozy.

      >>>

      I use no such logic to support ID.

      Your first syllogism is a grossly inaccurate caricature of ID thought. A more accurate portrayal runs something like this:

      Some things that humans produce are complex
      in ways that, within our observational experience, are
      produced only as a consequence of intelligent agency.

      All living organisms (perhaps uniquely among natural entities)
      appear to exhibit complexity of a similar kind.

      Therefore, living organisms are a product of
      intelligent agency.

      I pass by obvious and important questions here, and leave them unanswered. For example, What is “intelligence”? What are the hallmarks of intelligently produced artifacts? In addition, I assume in the first premise that humans are in fact intelligent; that humans can act upon their innate intelligence; that they can leave discernible evidence of intelligence upon artifacts that they produce; and that other humans, by means of their intelligence, can recognize those artifacts as having been intelligently (as opposed to randomly) produced. These issues need not detain us here—primarily because I suspect there’s substantial agreement on them, at least in practice, between ID proponents and ID opponents. (Although in theory, I suspect that there are fundamental differences—especially with respect to the definition of intelligence.) It’s sufficient for present purposes to observe that my syllogism is different in crucial ways from the syllogism you proposed.

      Note the qualifications on complexity in my first premise: Some human artifacts are complex in ways that, within our observational experience, are produced only as a consequence of intelligent agency. It is not merely complexity in its broadest sense that interests us in this case, but complexity of a certain kind. Note further, in the second premise, that among all the things things we’ve encountered in nature, living things might be the only things that appear to be complex in that specific way. In fact, it seems safe to say that complexity of that sort is a necessary property of living organisms; i.e. any object not having complexity of that sort cannot reasonably be categorized as biological.

      The conclusion is obviously not a necessary inference from the premises, and, as such, does not constitute deductive proof of the validity of ID. The conclusion is, however, a reasonable inference—absent evidence to the contrary. Dysteleological evolutionary theory does not provide, in my opinion, credible evidence to the contrary. ID seems to me to be a reasonable inference to a better explanation.

      Your syllogisms fail to demonstrate any fundamental logical problem with ID theory. Your syllogisms do, however, clearly indicate that you are ignorant of ID’s fundamental claims.

      Delete
    14. Kent D

      You responded:

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that [dysteleological] evolutionary processes can produce what you call CFSs.


      No I didn't. Don't change my statement and put words in my mouth. That's quite dishonest.

      My statement was categorical, allowing for no exceptions. You can falsify it simply by providing a single counter-example. Can you?

      I already did. Go back and read the NASA link about evolutionary algorithms. The processes created the complexity, not the platform the processes are running on.

      On the contrary: We have precisely zero direct empirical observations that evolutionary processes did indeed produce the varieties of life forms we now see.

      Your scientific ignorance is showing again Kent. We have over 150 years' worth of positive scientific evidence from hundreds of different scientific fields that show evolutionary processes at work in nature. Evidence that cross-correlates and forms one large coherent, consilient picture, just as a giant jigsaw puzzle. The evidence left behind is directly empirically observable.

      They question whether the available evidence is of the quality or quantity that Darwinists claim it is, and whether Darwinian conclusions follow necessarily from the available evidence.

      People who have studied the evidence in detail and who work with it for a living say an emphatic YES. Those like you who are ignorant of the evidence and who don't understand the width and depth of it say NO. Guess which carries more credibility.

      Your assertion has numerous problems. One obvious and seemingly insuperable problem is the empirical inaccessibility of abiogenesis in the distant past.

      The direct empirical observations are of the evidence the events left behind. In science we don't have to observe an event in real time to have evidence that the event occurred.

      Sheesh.

      The Ken Ham "were you there??? did you see it???" argument is just as stupid as the 2LoT one.

      Delete
    15. @Thorton:

      I wrote that you wrote:

      We have plenty of direct empirical observations that [dysteleological] evolutionary processes can produce what you call CFSs.

      To which you responded:

      No I didn't. Don't change my statement and put words in my mouth. That's quite dishonest.

      You did in fact write exactly what I attributed to you. Are you familiar, Thorton, with the conventional usage of square brackets [ ] to delimit material that has been added by an editor? They signal the reader that any additional words, enclosed in brackets, are not those of the original author, and should not be attributed to him. Dishonesty on my part would have been to insert the word “dysteleological”, unbracketed.

      Now if I have materially changed the meaning of what you said, I invite you to point that out. As it is, your phrase “evolutionary processes” maps quite clearly back to a paragraph I wrote in a post to Scott, and to which you responded directly after quoting the last sentence in my paragraph. Here is my paragraph, in full:

      Let’s start with what I am not claiming. I am not claiming, on the basis of empirical evidence, that complex functional systems (CFS’s) cannot arise from abiotic, dysteleological natural processes. I.e., I do not assert that the empirical evidence necessarily precludes such an event. My claim is much more modest. I am merely asserting (categorically, and to the best of my knowledge, correctly) that we have no direct empirical observations of such an event.

      Any third party following our discussion would naturally have assumed that by “evolutionary processes”, you were referring back to the phrase “dysteleological evolutionary processes” in my original paragraph. You are arguing in favor of dysteleological evolution, aren’t you? If so, how does my bracketed material, which was intended merely for clarification, alter the meaning of what you wrote?

      Am I misunderstanding you?

      Delete
    16. Kent D

      You did in fact write exactly what I attributed to you.


      No Kent, I didn't. Adding the word "dysteleological" even in brackets completely changed the context and meaning of my specific point in that answer.

      In the future please have the intellectual honesty to respond to what was written, not alter it and reply to the strawman change.

      Delete
    17. @Thorton:

      No Kent, I didn't. Adding the word "dysteleological" even in brackets completely changed the context and meaning of my specific point in that answer.

      Please explain how. Specifics would be helpful.

      Needless to say, if your statement allows for teleological (i.e. intelligently purposeful) natural processes, then it does nothing to advance your argument, or take away from mine. What then was the intented purpose of your assertion? What are you trying to say?

      Delete
    18. Kent D

      Thorton: No Kent, I didn't. Adding the word "dysteleological" even in brackets completely changed the context and meaning of my specific point in that answer.

      Please explain how. Specifics would be helpful.


      I already did. You ignored my answer.

      Evolutionary processes - feedback systems filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits - create complexity without external intervention no matter how the processes originated.

      To the best of our knowledge that such processes produce complexity is an emergent property of the universe's laws of chemistry and physics.

      If you want to claim your Designer created the universe's laws of chemistry and physics, you are arguing cosmology not evolutionary theory.

      Delete
  21. Thorton:

    What we do have to support it is 5000+ years of empirical observations and data. In all the recorded history of humanity, not a single verified instance of a non-material (i.e supernatural) cause producing a material effect has ever been documented. Not a single one. Key word is verified, not anecdotal.

    This isn't true, Thorton. You simply are in the habit of discounting away any facts having a supernatural cause as its origin.

    For example, on October 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, the Miracle of the Sun took place, witnessed by believers and non-believers alike.

    But the "fact" that cannot be explained except by Divine intervention is that all the effects caused by hours of rain disappeared in minutes. A man standing knee high in water before the miracle began found himself completely dry, as well as the ground around him. There's no "natural" explanation for this. (See here. Search word: "dry")

    All you can do is "deny" it; which, of course, is easy. I deny that I just wrote the last sentence. See how easy it is!

    The Shroud of Turin's image has been approximated using laser's, the only known technique that can duplicate it. Well, how do you explain a "laser-formed" image prior to the development of lasers? Have you an answer, or simply a denial?

    If you deny these things--which are patently "real" and visible--then you can deny anything.

    My years teach me that there are two classes of people: those who look at reality and construct and conform their world-view accordingly, and those who construct their world-view first, and then require reality to conform to it.

    You know into which class evolutionists fit.

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    1. From the description of the Miracle of the Sun on Wikipedia: The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening those who thought it a sign of the end of the world. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling".

      Are you interpreting this as the Sun actually approaching the Earth, Lino? If so, would not people in other locations on the Earth observe the same thing? And if they did not, perhaps it was an optical illusion?

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    2. oleg:

      And if they did not, perhaps it was an optical illusion?

      There's two kinds of optical illusions that come to my mind: like thinking you see a body of water while dying of thirst in the desert (something with a physical causation) and the kind that magicians perform (an intelligent agent is the causation). From what is described of the miracle, it was not caused by physical principles. So, then, Who is the intelligent agent who brought about this "optical illusion"?

      Standing in muddied waters up to your knee, and then, minutes later, to be standing there atop completely dry ground while yourself being completely dry----this is not an optical illusion; nor can it be explained via physical causes.

      Personally, I've lived through the future (for about a minute or less) one minute before it happened. Now, I can't explain to you how it happened; but it certainly wasn't due to physical causation. But the "intelligent agent" could very well have been the Devil. Whatever the case may be, whether from God or the Devil, what I experienced was completely beyond natural explanation.

      St. Joseph of Cupertino was known to "fly" through the air. Any explanations? Or do we just sweep all of this under the rug and pretend nothing happened? Just those "believers" being hysterical.

      Do you conform life to you opinions, or your opinions to life? Your choice.

      Delete
    3. It was observed up to 18 miles away. On the other hand, many in the field, both believers and nonbelievers, reported no unusual occurrence. A miraculous drying effect was not reported as well. There is some conjecture that demons may have interfered,this is unconfirmed.

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    4. velikovskys:

      A miraculous drying effect was not reported as well.

      A man followed up on the witnesses, and the witnesses themselves said that the ground dried up.

      Are there reasons for you not to believe this? When I noted two classes of people above, Creationists also can fall into the class of people who conform their world to their world-view.




      There is some conjecture that demons may have interfered,this is unconfirmed.

      Obviously you're not Catholic.

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    5. Lino,
      How exactly did you live thru the future? A sort of pre déjà vu? Or actually physically?.

      Delete
    6. Last time I checked,I was a Catholic,would you like a recitation of The Apostle's Creed?. Since the point was verified evidence, I merely am reporting on eyewitness accounts,the same sort of accounts which you are basing your evidence.

      To tell the truth, if God wanted to demonstrate His miraculous powers ,I would hope that He would pick something a little more beneficial to humanity than drying a bunch of people's clothes. Of course, His Ways are inscrutable

      Delete
    7. Correction: 18 kilometers away,reports put the crowd at somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000.

      Delete
    8. velikovskys:

      A fellow Catholic--wonderful. As to the witness accounts, are you relying on witnesses not reporting it? If you were standing in two feet of water which disappeared suddenly, you might comment on that; if you weren't, then the Miracle of the Sun would assume prominence. I have always heard that people's clothes all dried.

      As to the "future", it wasn't a pre deja vu; it was exactly how I lived it, but one minute delayed. No experiential difference at all. Hard to explain, but that's what happened. I had one other similar experience years before that is of a more personal nature.

      I've had some real humdingers of 'deja-vu' experiences; but those are simply the re-living of dreams. But, again, it was a dream about what the future would hold for me. The only explanation I have for it is that, for God, the present, the past, and the future are all the same: He possesses them all.

      Delete
    9. From interviews of the attendees in the field, some reported the sun coming closer to the earth , some nothing of note. It would seem strange that the drying was localized only to those who observed the sun. But again miracles are miraculous . Added to the whole issue is that something miraculous had been predicted to occur at that time. While anything is possible,this account does not seem like ironclad proof of divine intervention to me.
      Your experience sounds very personally significant. Regardless of its cause.

      Delete
    10. Lino D'Ischia Apr 26, 2012 01:01 AM

      velikovskys:

      A fellow Catholic--wonderful. As to the witness accounts, are you relying on witnesses not reporting it? If you were standing in two feet of water which disappeared suddenly, you might comment on that; if you weren't, then the Miracle of the Sun would assume prominence. I have always heard that people's clothes all dried.


      Some who were present, both believers and non-believers, reported seeing nothing out of the ordinary. The Sun was not seen to do anything unusual elsewhere in the world either. These observations suggest it was a local rather than a global phenomenon, possibly caused by some property of the human visual system.

      I've had some real humdingers of 'deja-vu' experiences; but those are simply the re-living of dreams. But, again, it was a dream about what the future would hold for me. The only explanation I have for it is that, for God, the present, the past, and the future are all the same: He possesses them all.

      That sounds similar to the concept in physics of the block universe. One problem with it, though, is that if the future can be known it must be because it already exists but, if it is already fixed, how can there be free will?

      Delete
    11. Lino: St. Joseph of Cupertino was known to "fly" through the air.

      Ok. Let's take that claim seriously for a moment.

      Was Cupertino the patron saint of the air? Could all other other saints "fly" though the air? If not, why?

      In other words, it's unclear why Cupertino, rather than say some other "man of the cloth", could fly. Apparently, Cupertino flew because that's just what God must have wanted.

      So, It fails as an explanation before we even bother trying looking for evidence, because it appears arbitrary. As such, an assumption that Cupertino actually did fly is a bad explanation for the existence of the story that Cupertino flew though the air.

      Delete
    12. Lino: The Shroud of Turin's image has been approximated using laser's, the only known technique that can duplicate it. Well, how do you explain a "laser-formed" image prior to the development of lasers? Have you an answer, or simply a denial?

      And, everyone and their brother knows each and every possible technique to form an image, right? So, it must be supernatural?

      This would be an appeal to inductivism.

      Even if lasers were the only way the shroud could be formed (which isn't clear) which we've discovered a wide range of naturally forming lasers, including a C02 lasers on Mars and Venus.

      http://laserstars.org/
      http://laserstars.org/history/mars.html

      Are you going to claim that a designer was the direct cause of these lasers as well?

      Delete
    13. Scott:

      So, It fails as an explanation before we even bother trying looking for evidence, because it appears arbitrary. As such, an assumption that Cupertino actually did fly is a bad explanation for the existence of the story that Cupertino flew though the air.

      Wow!

      "I saw a bird flying yesterday," I state. You answer: "Well, how do you explain that?" I answer: "Well, birds are able to fly." And you say, "That's no explanation at all."

      Now what do I say?

      Delete
    14. Scott:

      Even if lasers were the only way the shroud could be formed (which isn't clear) which we've discovered a wide range of naturally forming lasers, including a C02 lasers on Mars and Venus.

      Water erodes limestone/marble. Is that the cause of the Pieta? Or the Da Vinci's famous statue of Moses?

      Delete
    15. Lino: "I saw a bird flying yesterday," I state. You answer: "Well, how do you explain that?" I answer: "Well, birds are able to fly." And you say, "That's no explanation at all."

      Now what do I say?


      If you have to ask what more could be said, it's unclear if further discussion would be fruitful.

      Merely stating that "birds are able to fly." is a bad explanation, in that it's shallow and easily varied.

      For example, compare the following: St. Cupertino flew because, that's just what the designer must have wanted. Birds fly because, that's just what the designer must have wanted.

      In the case of the latter, we can do much better. That is, we have a deep and hard to vary explanation for why birds fly.

      They fly because they have feathered wings, which have specific aerodynamic features. They have bones, muscles and nerves which allow the wing to change it's profile, move dynamically, etc. This allows the bird to to create lift, which is in part, based on the Bernoulli principle.

      It's hard to vary in that If you could somehow provide heat and oxygen to a bird without having an impact on it's flight characteristics and released it at high altitudes it wouldn't be able to fly because the air was so thin.

      However, we have no explanation as to why, out of all the saints, a designer would enable just Cupertino to fly. Of course, if Cupertino was strapped into a hang-glider, onboard an aircraft, etc. that's something all together different.

      Delete
    16. Scott:

      You fail to see that if people see someone flying, that constitutes a fact.

      You're insisting that if what happens cannot be explained using merely known forces, then it cannot have happened. Most people cannot explain how and why birds fly. It would take biologists and aerodynamic engineers to put forth a detailed explanation. Nevertheless, people know when something is flying or not. Isn't that rather straight forward?

      So, you're simply calling them liars. Why? Because you don't want to deal with the implications of what they're reporting. If you're looking for truth, is this way to find it?

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    18. Lino: "You're insisting that if what happens cannot be explained using merely known forces, then it cannot have happened."

      NO. Scott did not say that, YOU DID:

      Lino: "Isn't a trip to Mars a two-year mission? How could I have done it yesterday? No need for an experiment."

      You're not just putting words in Scott's mouth and then refuting them, you're putting your own words in Scott's mouth and then refuting them.

      Delete
    19. PaV Lino

      You fail to see that if people see someone flying, that constitutes a fact.


      No it doesn't. You have no evidence that any people saw someone flying. You have about a 15th-hand hearsay uncorroborated account that someone saw someone else flying.

      That isn't scientific evidence for someone flying and it doesn't make someone flying a fact.

      I know you desperately want to believe all the fairy tale baloney you read, but that doesn't make the baloney scientific or true.

      Delete
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    Replies
    1. Thorton:

      Re: The Miracle of Fatima:

      (1) There were 7,000 people there. Their testimony is repeatable.

      (2) Atheists were there. They saw the same thing.

      Read my definition of verified PaV

      "I mean scientifically verified. An event that can be confirmed through objective repeatable observations and testing"


      Can you scientifically "verify" that life came about from lifeless matter?

      Can you scientifically "verify" that all the phyla that exploded onto the scene during the Cambrian did so via Darwinian mechanisms?

      And the list could go forever.

      So, who are you kidding? Yourself?

      Re: The Shroud of Turin:

      LD: The Shroud of Turin's image has been approximated using laser's, the only known technique that can duplicate it.

      T: So an Italian religious group claims. Who else has repeated and confirmed their work?

      It's always one unverified fantastic claim after another, with gullible people like you swallowing the guff because you desperately need to believe.


      The odds of cytochrome C forming itself at random is 10^-200, but you think this happened. Who's gullible?

      If you think the "Italian group" is wrong, then please, explain how the Shroud's image came about. You'll win a Nobel Prize, and will be famous throughout the world. We await.

      Yeah, we're firmly in the first. You Creationist fantasy-world dwellers should join us sometime.

      But Thorton, you've just demonstrated what class you belong to: you deny the Fatima account, and dismiss out of hand a group of Italian scientists. Why? Because otherwise you would have to make room in your world for a Supernatural Being; and you "desperately need [not] to believe."

      I don't have that problem. I don't have to deny any of this.

      Delete
    2. PaV Lino

      Re: The Miracle of Fatima:

      (1) There were 7,000 people there. Their testimony is repeatable.


      What are their names? Where do they live? Please have them repeat their testimony. Unverified hearsay is not scientific evidence PaV.

      The odds of cytochrome C forming itself at random is 10^-200, but you think this happened.

      LOL! More dumb arguments from bogus probability numbers you can't support. No one in science thinks cytochrome C "formed itself at random." It was the result of a long term iterative process, not a one time "POOF!"

      Who's gullible?

      Apparently you are, and quite.

      If you think the "Italian group" is wrong, then please, explain how the Shroud's image came about.

      It's not up to me to disprove their fantastic claims. The Church needs to make the Shroud available to the general scientific community for scrutiny and verification. Why don't they PaV? What are they hiding?

      But Thorton, you've just demonstrated what class you belong to: you deny the Fatima account, and dismiss out of hand a group of Italian scientists. Why?

      Because their claims all amount to unverified hearsay, not repeatable scientific evidence. More power to you if you want to believe such baloney, but don't expect the scientific community to be as gullible and naive as you.

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    4. a god can heal all people on the world. Let jesus or some angel come here and say hey we exist. he could end all the suffering on this world. NO for all those thinks he chose to make the ground dry. yes i am convinced. I will now go to church.

      It is also possible that it was an alien with very advanced technologie playing a joke with all those people.

      religious people say it was god

      ufologist say it were aliens

      just pick the one you like best,but both of them have no scientific evidence

      Delete
    5. Thorton:

      Because their claims all amount to unverified hearsay, not repeatable scientific evidence. More power to you if you want to believe such baloney, but don't expect the scientific community to be as gullible and naive as you.

      I drove to a hospital yesterday. Now, is this true, or not? Should we do an experiment?

      You see, O foolish Thorton, "truth" is not simply the result of repeated ("successful") experimentation. So, if you limit yourself only to scientific experimentation as the fount of knowledge, with the concomitant methodological exclusion of supernatural causation, then whatever "truth" science can determine is, de facto, limited in scope. Ergo, it can't give us final answers. It's but tentative.

      For the most part, supernatural intervention is an unnecessary element of scientific investigations. But, in the case of OOL, and in the case of life itself, it cannot be overlooked. To take the position that no such thing as "supernatural intervention" can take place is to deny countless "miracles." And to insist upon this is to insist that common sense be left behind.

      Only fools do that.

      More dumb arguments from bogus probability numbers you can't support. No one in science thinks cytochrome C "formed itself at random." It was the result of a long term iterative process, not a one time "POOF!"

      How do you know that cytochrome C "was the result of a long term iterative process"? What's your evidence?

      From above:

      Blas:

      What do you mean by verified?


      Your answer:

      I mean scientifically verified. An event that can be confirmed through objective repeatable observations and testing.

      What "objective repeatable observations and testing" have determined that cytochrome C is the result of an iterative process?

      You can't provide any of this. You simply assume this---and then present it as almost a "fact". This renders your arguments, and your logic, hollow.

      Delete
    6. Lino: "I drove to a hospital yesterday. Now, is this true, or not? Should we do an experiment?"

      As it happens, I too drove to a hospital yesterday, and have several time during the week. So have tens of thousands of other people (at least) That is not an extraordinary claim; thus it does not require extraordinary evidence. And, if for some reason it were called into question, I could produce evidence to back it up: Parking stubs from the parking deck, Pictures that I took while at the hospital (that are not only of recognizable features of the hospital but are tagged with the GPS co-ordinates as well) security footage of myself at the hospital, and eyewitness testimony of people who saw me there. (who are still alive and could give an account, by the way) Since going to the hospital is an ordinary event, I would believe you based on your testimony. However, if you said you'd been to Mars yesterday, have to produce much, much more evidence before I would consider believing you. (and note that that is not even a supernatural claim, just an extraordinary one)

      I can always tell that someone is a creationist when they think that something has to be 'repeatable' to be empirically tested, or that an an experiment must be performed. Experiments provide evidence in some cases, but in other cases, the evidence is already generated by events that have happened in the past. (Surely you're familiar with forensic science; a murder does not have to be 'repeatable' to be prosecuted."

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    7. PaV Lino

      I drove to a hospital yesterday. Now, is this true, or not? Should we do an experiment?


      Evidence for a drive to the hospital is repeatable. We can find corroborating evidence in examining the car to see if it is road-worthy, and the road to see if it is passable, and the hospital visitation records.

      Where's the repeatable testimony of those 7000 eyewitnesses you claimed to have?
      BTW, even assuming those people saw something, how is that evidence that what they saw was supernatural? Not just a freak weather condition, or maybe a bolide entering the earth's atmosphere?

      How do you know that cytochrome C "was the result of a long term iterative process"? What's your evidence?

      Here's some evidence

      Evolution of the primate cytochrome c oxidase subunit II gene

      Where's your evidence that cytochrome c was just "POOFED" into existence all at once?

      Science has the evidence PaV. You Creationists don't. We win.

      Delete
    8. Thorton:

      Evidence for a drive to the hospital is repeatable. We can find corroborating evidence in examining the car to see if it is road-worthy, and the road to see if it is passable, and the hospital visitation records.

      I said I drove to the hospital. I didn't say I went in.

      And as to the car, you'd have to rely on which car I said I took. What if I didn't really go, but someone else did. And I have use of their car. And I say I took the car that someone else took to the hospital, then what experiment would you perform?

      Why not just take my word for it?

      That's the whole point of the exercise: people's statement of what did, or did not happen, is probative. Social life could not function without this.

      Thorton:
      BTW, even assuming those people saw something, how is that evidence that what they saw was supernatural? Not just a freak weather condition, or maybe a bolide entering the earth's atmosphere?

      The fact that not everyone saw it proves it wasn't a "freak weather condition," since everyone would have seen that. Now, perhaps, you understand the importance of having some people NOT see the miracle.

      As to your LINK to the Cytochrome C "evolution":

      Here's what part of the abstract says:

      In congruence with previous studies on COII, we found that the monkeys and apes have undergone a nearly two-fold increase in the rate of amino acid replacement relative to other primates. Although functionally important amino acids are generally conserved among all primates, the acceleration in amino acid replacements in higher primates is associated with increased variation in the amino terminal end of the protein.

      Do you see how woefully inadequate this is relative to the evidence I was asking for based on the wild claims you've made?

      Where's the evidence Thorton? I await.

      Delete
    9. D. Childress:

      Since going to the hospital is an ordinary event, I would believe you based on your testimony. However, if you said you'd been to Mars yesterday, have to produce much, much more evidence before I would consider believing you.

      Isn't a trip to Mars a two-year mission? How could I have done it yesterday? No need for an experiment.

      Going to the hospital is an "ordinary event", and no need for an experiment.

      And looking up at the sky and seeing the sun is an "ordinary event", and no need for an experiment to prove the claim that "I saw the sun." And if 7,000 people all claim they saw roughly the same unusual event, then why be skeptical?

      BTW, no Catholic is required to 'believe' anything at all about the Miracle of Fatima because it is a "private revelation." But the Catholic Church, having investigated it, declared it to be a miracle.

      I can always tell that someone is a creationist when they think that something has to be 'repeatable' to be empirically tested, or that an an experiment must be performed.

      This means you're convinced that Thorton is a creationist.

      Delete
    10. Lino D'Ischia: "Isn't a trip to Mars a two-year mission? How could I have done it yesterday? No need for an experiment. "

      So what you're saying is that since going to Mars in a day is currently impossible, we can rule it out on those grounds, no need for further investigation, regardless of human testimony. Or in shorter words: "IF SOMETHING SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, WE CAN RULE IT OUT A PRIORI"

      Wow. If you let Christians talk long enough, they eventually refute their own arguments.

      You didn't just switch sides of your argument, (unwittingly, I gather) you went even further to our side than we are. I'm a skeptic, but even I wouldn't rule out a one day trip to Mars a priori, I'd at least ask for the evidence first. Sheesh.

      "This means you're convinced that Thorton is a creationist."

      No. What Thorton was saying is that the evidence must be repeatable, e.g. multiple people must be able to inspect the evidence for an event, be it fingerprints, blood, tire tracks, lava flows, fossils, photographs, etc. Creationists often think that the event itself must be repeatable to be scientific, as in "I'll believe in evolution when scientists can make a monkey give birth to a human in a lab." (or other variations like that. In this forum, "bacteria to whales" are often cited for some reason)

      Delete
    11. Lino D'Ischia: "And if 7,000 people all claim they saw roughly the same unusual event, then why be skeptical? "

      Lino D'Ischia: (in the previous post) "The fact that not everyone saw it proves it wasn't a "freak weather condition," since everyone would have seen that. Now, perhaps, you understand the importance of having some people NOT see the miracle."

      I'm going to go ahead and call this now. I think you're a Poe. either that, or you've got some sort of split-brain disorder. I've seen Christians inadvertently refute their own arguments, but not within 12 minutes.

      You can't have it both ways: It can't both the case that everyone seeing the same thing is strong evidence for an event, while at the same time, not everyone seeing the same thing is strong evidence for an event. You've just shown that you're resolved to believe in the event, regardless of the evidence.

      But it's even worse than that; it's not just that some people reported seeing something different - some people reported seeing nothing at all. If having some people testify that yes, they were there, and no, they didn't see anything unusual, makes the testimony of the ones who claim to have seen something unusual more credible in your mind, then theres' just something seriously wrong with whatever part of your brain is responsible for discerning reality. Does the evidence get stronger the more people who testify that nothing happened? What if only one person claims to have witnessed a miracle, and 7,000 people nearby swear they didn't say a thing - does that upgrade the event to a 'fact' in your mind?

      That's like the man who overdosed on his homeopathic medicine -- he forgot to take it one day.

      Your statement is so absurd, I'll post it again in hopes that you can read it with fresh eyes:

      "Now, perhaps, you understand the importance of having some people NOT see the miracle."

      Again, to claim that having people not see something makes it more credible is just staggering.

      Delete
    12. Lino D'Ischia: "To take the position that no such thing as "supernatural intervention" can take place is to deny countless "miracles." And to insist upon this is to insist that common sense be left behind. Only fools do that."

      Lino D'Ischia: "Isn't a trip to Mars a two-year mission? How could I have done it yesterday? No need for an experiment. "

      Ah, but Lino, "To take the position that no such thing as "day trips to Mars" can take place is to deny countless "extraordinary events." And to insist upon this is to insist that common sense be left behind. Only fools do that."

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    13. PaV Lino

      Why not just take my word for it?


      Because you might be hallucinating, or confused, or lying. That's why eyewitness testimony alone isn't acceptable as scientific evidence. It needs corroborating physical evidence.

      That's the whole point of the exercise: people's statement of what did, or did not happen, is probative. Social life could not function without this.

      This is not social life we're discussing. It's scientific evidence. You have none.

      The fact that not everyone saw it proves it wasn't a "freak weather condition," since everyone would have seen that. Now, perhaps, you understand the importance of having some people NOT see the miracle.

      So some people who were there and didn't see the same event, but you claim that's evidence???

      You're further around the bend than I thought.

      Do you see how woefully inadequate this is relative to the evidence I was asking for based on the wild claims you've made?

      You asked for some repeatable evidence, you got some repeatable evidence. I asked for your repeatable evidence and got none. You lose again PaV.

      Isn't a trip to Mars a two-year mission? How could I have done it yesterday? No need for an experiment.

      Isn't the sun a super hot gaseous sphere massing 2x10^30 kg, and located 1.5x10^9 km away? How could it have entered the Earth's atmosphere and danced around like a jumping bean? No need for an experiment.

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    14. D. Childress:

      Or in shorter words: "IF SOMETHING SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, WE CAN RULE IT OUT A PRIORI"


      You've missed the point entirely. I was speaking of an entirely "natural" explanation for the person's statement, just like there's an entirely "natural" explanation for seeing the sun, or going to the hospital. I didn't make a "supernatural" claim about going to the hospital, did I?

      We're dealing here with human observations, not simply human assertions, as statements about reality.

      The presumption you have made in all of this is that only by conducting experiments can we "test" whether I went to the hospital or not. In my response to Thorton, I made it clear that very likely this would lie outside of anything science could determine dependent on certain circumstances, coupled to my desire to mislead. So, not only are the tests unnecessary, they could easily end up with the wrong conclusion, thus failing as a truth-detector.

      IOW, you think that ONLY experiments can weed out the truth from non-truth. This isn't the case. We have our own way of determining the truth--scientific experiments are just one way. What I observe is, in most cases, true (unless I'm at a magic act, etc). I cannot deny reality. What I saw, I saw.

      Is it impossible for humans to fly? Yes. Unless God intervenes. That's the whole point. If people saw St. Joseph of Cupertino flying, then God was involved somehow. You simply want to say: "But they didn't see what they saw."

      How do you know?
      How can you prove that---unless you say "THAT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, I CAN RULE IT OUT A PRIORI." Which is what athesits do, eh?

      Delete
    15. D. Childress:

      You can't have it both ways: It can't both the case that everyone seeing the same thing is strong evidence for an event, while at the same time, not everyone seeing the same thing is strong evidence for an event. You've just shown that you're resolved to believe in the event, regardless of the evidence.

      Again, you haven't thought this through well enough, and probably because you just want to dismiss it out of hand.

      (Listen in Thorton): No one claims that the sun "actually" spun and danced around the sky, and then came crashing down towards earth. Instead, this is what people saw. That's the supernatural part of the equation: they "saw" this in exactly the same way as they see things everyday of their life; but the event didn't actually happen.

      Now, your first reaction is: "Oh, look, you've given away the farm again!"

      No, nothing of the sort. I'm pointing out the "supernatural" component instead.

      If they had truly seen the sun do all of what they reported, then we would go through a scientific explanation of what happened. The sun moved, the light rays emanating from it came to earth, struck the retina of these people, which in turn sent a signal to the brain, which was interpreted by the mind in its usual manner.

      But there WERE NO such light rays. That's the whole point of the people who saw nothing--a point which, as usual, completely evades you (and Thorton).

      So, please, D. Childress, how do you explain 7,000 people all seeing what they weren't seeing? How did this happen?

      There is NO natural explanation. Only denial.

      If you say: "Well, they were just hysterical, this is no more than a denial. You're simply denying the possibility that something actually did happen to them."

      Quit beating yourself on the chest and thinking you're so smart. You need to put your thinking cap on instead.

      Delete
    16. D. Childress:

      Ah, but Lino, "To take the position that no such thing as "day trips to Mars" can take place is to deny countless "extraordinary events." And to insist upon this is to insist that common sense be left behind. Only fools do that."

      And, apparently now, you can't tell the difference between a hypothetical event and an actual event.

      When you don't want to comprehend something, it's very easy to misunderstand everything about it. Liberals do it everyday of their lives.

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    17. Thorton:

      This is not social life we're discussing. It's scientific evidence. You have none.

      No, that's NOT what were talking about. We're talking about arriving at the truth. And if I'm a trustworthy person, that you take my word for things. This is one way at arriving at the truth. Scientific investigation is another way of attempting to arrive at the truth.

      You asked for some repeatable evidence, you got some repeatable evidence. I asked for your repeatable evidence and got none. You lose again PaV.

      I asked for evidence that cytochrome C came about through an iterative process, something you claimed to have happened. The study you liked to simply points out similarities and differences between various primate lineages, and says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about how cytochrome C came into existence.

      You make this latest claim of yours in open defiance to the truth.

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    18. PaV Lino

      (Listen in Thorton): No one claims that the sun "actually" spun and danced around the sky, and then came crashing down towards earth. Instead, this is what people saw. That's the supernatural part of the equation: they "saw" this in exactly the same way as they see things everyday of their life; but the event didn't actually happen.


      So you've supposedly got 7000 people whose testimony you can't produce. The few stories you can produce vary wildly in their details. Now you say they were all suffering some sort God produced mass hallucination. Got it.

      How is an hallucination supposed to be evidence of a supernatural event?

      You just don't think these things out at all PaV.

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    19. PaV Lino

      That's the supernatural part of the equation: they "saw" this in exactly the same way as they see things everyday of their life; but the event didn't actually happen.


      But just above you made this claim:

      PaV Lino: But the "fact" that cannot be explained except by Divine intervention is that all the effects caused by hours of rain disappeared in minutes. A man standing knee high in water before the miracle began found himself completely dry, as well as the ground around him. There's no "natural" explanation for this.

      Are you now going to retract the first claim about the mud drying? Was that just a God induced hallucination too?

      I can't wait for your next convoluted twist to your fantasy story.

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    20. Thorton:

      Are you now going to retract the first claim about the mud drying? Was that just a God induced hallucination too?

      I was simply anticipating the usual non-believing position, which is: it must have been some kind of mass hysteria.

      But you cannot discount the disappearance of water on personalist (i.e., mass hysteria) grounds.

      I had to explain the importance of those "not-seeing" the Miracle because most of you didn't think it through very well, except for Smith.

      BTW, Thorton, now that I have your attention, there's an article in this week's issue of New Scientist about Sauropteryx. You may remember my discussion with Geoxus about this.

      Here's what they say:

      When Ostrom viewed the new "feathered dinosaur" in China he recalls that he "literally got weak in the knees". But alas, even though the first scientific description of Sinosauropteryx appeared in 1998 in Nature, no evidence then or now has emerged showing that these structures are anything other than collagen fibres supporting a typical reptilian frill. The fact that the filaments are located within a clearly demarcated body outline - indicating the fibres were not external, as they would be if they were feather-like structures - was completely ignored. . . . . . .

      Additional fibres of varying forms and lengths classified as various stages of protofeathers have subsequently been described in myriad dinosaurs, including in a recent Nature paper on tyrannosaurids. Other fibres have been described in herbivorous ornithischians and pterosaurs, which have no connection with birds, but there is still little evidence to connect any of these structures with feathers..........

      Birds as "living dinosaurs" is now a cornerstone of modern palaeontological thought. But a consensus is always in danger of turning into dogma. Indeed, given the cult-like belief in the field's orthodoxy, it seems that every fossil pulled from the Chinese deposits is accompanied by hyperbolic pronouncements of it having filled a major evolutionary gap. Yet many of these discoveries lack normal scientific stringency, and we see a transition from normal scientific falsificationism to simply confirming what is already thought to be known.

      The certainty applied to these magnificent fossils has produced some, to my mind, fantastical proposals: dinosaurs with protofeathers, dinosaurs with bird wings and modern feathers, four-winged gliding dinosaurs, and tiny supposed theropods from the Jurassic period with avian wings.

      In my opinion - admittedly a minority one, though growing in popularity - these proposals are all wrong. Sinosauropteryx is a standard dinosaur with no feathers, and specimens with true feathers are not dinosaurs but early birds. The tiny tree-dwellers are primitive birds, and the four-winged dinosaurs, including the famous Microraptor, are descended from birds, not ancestral to them.

      Looking back to the 19th century, one gets a distinct sense of déjà vu. In 1868, Thomas Huxley, enamoured of anatomical similarities between ground-dwelling birds and dinosaurs, proposed the "dinosaurian origin" hypothesis. This, incorrectly, viewed modern birds as evolving from flightless ratites - ostriches and the like - that evolved from dinosaurs but never went through a flight stage.

      It was Huxley's nemesis, Richard Owen, who in 1875 set the record straight on flightless birds: they were, he said, products of arrested development, or technically heterochrony - evolutionary change due to changes in the rate and timing of development. Owen predicted that "science will accept the view of the Dodo as a degenerate Dove rather than as an advanced Dinothere," thus stating the crux of the current controversy.


      As to Sauropteryx, the Prum and Brush article never made use of putative "proto-feathers." As I look back on the discussion, that was the point I needed to make, but didn't.

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    21. PaV Lino

      Thorton: Are you now going to retract the first claim about the mud drying? Was that just a God induced hallucination too?

      I was simply anticipating the usual non-believing position, which is: it must have been some kind of mass hysteria.

      But you cannot discount the disappearance of water on personalist (i.e., mass hysteria) grounds.


      LOL! First you sat the physical event definitely DID happen.

      Then you say it DIDN'T happen, it was just God planting the idea in some people's minds.

      Now you again say it DID happen!

      Maybe you should come back when you can get your story straight. Although it is quite funny when you get into blithering Creationist "make it up as you go" mode.

      I had to explain the importance of those "not-seeing" the Miracle because most of you didn't think it through very well, except for Smith.

      Why don't you publish evidence for flying dragons in your back yard by explaining how you don't see them. I'm sure it will be well received.

      BTW, Thorton, now that I have your attention, there's an article in this week's issue of New Scientist about Sauropteryx.

      Clumsy attempt to change the subject away from your embarrassing flip-flops noted.

      Delete
  23. Henk,
    Certainly that is a view, the standard catechism answer why God is elusive is based on free will, if He provided overwhelming evidence for His existence and Power, choice would be eliminated. Instead He provides ambiguous evidence so we are free to choose or not. Interestingly from a religious standpoint this would undermine ID. To be able to prove scientifically that the only possible means of life's diversity is Divine would deny us the free will which God desires. You would think He would anticipated that possibility

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  25. Elizabeth said, "It's unlikely that alleles of the protein gene are the ones that governs beak size - much more likely to be alleles of regulatory genes that govern expression of that protein during development. And we know that beak sizes vary, and that they track the distribution of seed sizes, thanks to the Grants' meticulous work, so we know that the phenotypic variance is accessible, genetically."

    --

    What you said disagrees with at least two studies:

    http://www.hras.org/sw/sw11-04.html

    --

    Imagination and speculation about future events via the lens of evolution is usually inaccurate. But since evolution has never been observed in the history of science, evolutionists must say something that sounds scientific. It all sounds so possible and attractive, but when something specific that evolutionists say is investigated it invariable turns out to be hogwash. Evolution is an archaic and simplistic view of nature that was popularized in the age of the steamboat. It will not survive as a fact when the information age has fully matured.

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    1. Neal wrote:

      "What you said disagrees with at least two studies:"

      From Neal's link:

      "Tabin et al. conclude that regulation of the Bmp4 protein is the principal way in which beak variation occurs in the finches."

      What I wrote:

      "It's unlikely that alleles of the protein gene are the ones that governs beak size - much more likely to be alleles of regulatory genes that govern expression of that protein during development.

      From your link again:

      "Tabin’s team looked at the location and timing for the production of ten different growth factors during beak development of the small-beaked birds versus the large-beaked birds. Bmp4 was the only factor that had a different pattern of expression in the two groups."

      Where, in your link, do you see any information that tells you that it is alleles of the actual protein gene, Bmp4, that vary in finches with different size beaks? What the work in both cases showed is that it is the regulation of the expression of that gene during development that affects beak size.

      Therefore the likely candidate alleles for the variation are alleles of the regulatory genes that govern the expression of the Bmp4 gene. I could be wrong, which is why I used the work "likely".

      "Imagination and speculation about future events via the lens of evolution is usually inaccurate."

      I won't comment on that loaded and unsupported assertion. Plenty of sensible evolutionary hypotheses have been confirmed by empirical data.

      "But since evolution has never been observed in the history of science, evolutionists must say something that sounds scientific."

      And as I keep saying, this is wrong. Evolution has been observed many times, not least in those finches you keep mentioning. Also fruitflies, guppies (in the lab) and of course peppered moths.

      Oh, and bacteria, over and over. Unfortunately for us.

      "It all sounds so possible and attractive, but when something specific that evolutionists say is investigated it invariable turns out to be hogwash."

      What is "hogwash" about any of the examples I have given?

      "Evolution is an archaic and simplistic view of nature that was popularized in the age of the steamboat. It will not survive as a fact when the information age has fully matured."

      Your understanding of evolution certainly seems archaic and simplistic! I suggest you do not reject it until you have brought it up to date.

      The information age should help with that.

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  26. Derick - "Again, to claim that having people not see something makes it more credible is just staggering."

    Yet a musician would argue that the rest gives the note its power. Some people hear the rest. Some people hear nothing.

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    1. Heads I win,tails you lose. Fewer eyewitnesses, less evidence. If it was otherwise the most convincing would be an event with the fewest witnesses

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  27. Evolution as never been observed and it is believed by many. Where does that put evolutionists?

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    1. The universal claim that that gravity is actually a uniform law of nature has never been observed. Rather, all we have are a number of singular observations of how gravity behaves in our vicinity.

      Where does that leave physicists?

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    2. Scott said, "Rather, all we have are a number of singular observations of how gravity behaves in our vicinity"
      Where does that leave physicists?

      --
      That's much more than evolution which has never been observed in the history of science. What do you call the philosophy that equates irrelevant physics observation with something completely different in biology that has never been observed?

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    3. You keep saying that "evolution has never been observed". When we give you examples of evolution being observed, you say that "evolution is much more than that".

      You'd better explain exactly what you mean when you say that "evolution has never been observed". Obviously, in real time, we can only observe very limited evolution, because large changes take a long time.

      We can nonetheless infer large scale changes from other kinds of observations, including genetic evidence, palaeontology and cladistics.

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    4. Neal: That's much more than evolution which has never been observed in the history of science.

      No one has "observed" the universal claim that gravity is actually a uniform law of nature. There can be no mere observations of a universal claim because our next observation could disagree with our observations in the past.

      Instead, what we do have is a number of singular observations that show objects moving in a particular way in our vicinity.

      Furthermore, despite the fact that we have an overwhelming number of observations in our vicinity, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of possible observations in the entire universe. Not to mention all of the different times at which we could make observations in all of those locations in the future.

      Using the sort of probability logic we've seen around here, one could say that it's astronomically unlikely that gravity is a uniform law of nature. The fact all of the singular observations in our vicinity does't justify assuming that it's uniform everywhere else. This is because we could come up with an infinite number of interpretations that agree with the very same observations, yet deny that gravity is a uniform law.

      In other words, the idea that this is how gravity acts universally isn't evident in those observations. Rather, the universal claim is based on the explanatory roles we think gravity plays in space time itself, holding galaxies together, black holes, gravitational lensing, etc.

      So, you seem to be confused between a number of singular observations of objects moving in the same way and gravity as a uniform natural force.

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  28. Fair question. What needs to be observed ,precisely? The whole history of life or the mechanisms of evolutionary theory in nature? Do we need to see Everest rise or is observing present day forces and the historical record enough,to make a provisional statement?

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  30. Slightly off topic of evolution but still under the umbrella of agenda driven pseudo science... As of today Antarctic Ice area is 20% larger than in 1979 and Arctic ice is right at normal for this time of year based on NSIDC artic ice extent data.

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    1. Have you checked the volumes?

      Also, the date of maximum extent is getting later. That's not the same as the maximum extent increasing.

      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

      I don't have an agenda, but I don't like to see cherry-picked data. You need to look at more than one indicator.

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